Gaza crisis: A Little Context

The ancestral lands of the Palestinians are gone for good.

YOU can see why Hamas doesn’t want a cease-fire in Gaza yet.

It is hoping that international outrage at the huge loss of life caused by Israel’s massive firepower will somehow, eventually, force Israel to give it what it wants.

    Hamas would gladly stop firing its pathetic rockets – which have killed a grand total of three civilians in Israel – if Israel ends its seven-year blockade of the Gaza Strip.

Dream on.

    Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s goal is harder to define.

Domestic political pressure to “do something” about those pesky rockets pushed him into this war, but now he must produce some kind of success in order to justify all those deaths: around 1250 Palestinians and more than 50 Israelis already.

    But what kind of success could it be?

He cannot destroy all the rockets, so he has moved on to destroying all the “terror tunnels.” 

But Israel can’t stop Hamas from digging more tunnels unless it can ban picks and shovels in the Gaza Strip.

    Meanwhile, the slaughter of Palestinians continues, and sympathy for Israel shrivels even in the United States.

You cannot use high explosives in this crowded environment without killing a great many innocent civilians, and Netanyahu knew that from the start.

    So the Israelis are being brutal and stupid, and the Hamas leaders are being brutal and cynical.

But this is not to say that the two sides are equally to blame.

There is a broader context.

    The vast majority of those who live in the Gaza Strip are Arab refugees, or the descendants of Arab refugees, who fled or were driven out of what is now Israel during the 1948 war.

    Israel has traditionally insisted that the refugees freely chose to flee, but even if that were true, fleeing your home in time of war does not deprive you of the right to go home when the fighting ends.

Yet Israel is adamant that the Palestinians will never be allowed to go home.

    The ancestral lands of the Palestinians are gone for good.

The “peace” everybody talks about is really just about giving them real self-government in the one-fifth of former Palestine that they still occupy.

Unfortunately, that is not even visible on the horizon.

    Netanyahu gives lip-service to a “two-state solution” that includes an independent Palestinian mini-state, but everybody in Israel knows that he is really determined to avoid it.

Israel is effectively committed to penning in and controlling the Palestinians forever more.

    When their objections to this situation get too violent, they have to be disciplined.

That is what is happening now.

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