Monday, December 04, 2023

The Middle East is Not Listening to Us

 Once again, today, there's a news article about a street demonstration in San Francisco demanding a ceasefire in Gaza.  Several Bay Area cities (including mine) have passed resolutions demanding a ceasefire in Gaza.  I've been thinking, and I have to get this off my chest.

Folks, neither side is listening to us and our "ceasefire resolutions."  Certainly not to the cities of Oakland and Richmond, CA.  The Israelis aren't even listening to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, who said recently

"In this kind of a fight, the center of gravity is the civilian population. And if you drive them into the arms of the enemy, you replace a tactical victory with a strategic defeat," Austin said, drawing on his experience as a four-star general overseeing the battle against Islamic State militants.

"So I have repeatedly made clear to Israel's leaders that protecting Palestinian civilians in Gaza is both a moral responsibility and strategic imperative."

The real problem in Gaza is that neither side wants to compromise.  Netanyahu has built an entire career on opposing a 2-state solution, which (in my humble opinion) is the only peaceful answer to this.  One of the reasons Hamas is in charge of Gaza is that Netanyahu supported them against the Palestinian Authority, because he knew they would never agree to a 2 state solution, and Mahmoud Abbas might have.  So when Hamas started this (and they did), they knew that Netanyahu would throw everything Israel had at Gaza.  Which is a lot.  I'm going to guess that Hamas also assumed what has happened would happen - millions of people around the world would see Israel bombing civilians in Gaza and killing many times the people the Oct. 7 invasion killed - and would immediately assume that Israel is to blame for the horror.

No, folks.  Hamas started this.  And Hamas' stated goal is to destroy Israel and take all of Palestine back, "from the river to the sea."  Which Netanyahu will do everything he can to prevent.  I don't know if Hamas didn't realize how much Israel would throw at them (I don't believe that), or if they simply didn't care how many Palestinian civilians got killed, because it would all make Israel look worse.  (I wouldn't be surprised.)

I'm in the camp that believes the only long-term solution for Israel and Palestine is a 2 state solution, preferably with Israel not run by Netanyahu and his right-wing gang, and with the Palestinian state not run by Hamas.  Israel has a good chance of getting Netanyahu out of office - he was on trial for corruption, and it just picked up again, after being paused for the war.  And before October 7, a lot of Israelis were demonstrating against him.  

I don't know what anyone could do about Hamas; but a non-Netanyahu Israeli government might be able to negotiate something with the Palestinian Authority.  Except that Mahmoud Abbas was elected to a 4-year term as PA President in 2005, and they haven't had an election since then (not to mention that Abbas is 88 - definitely older than Joe Biden whom many are complaining about!).

And the trouble with Israel "destroying Hamas" is that Hamas is not just an organization (one whose leaders, I might add, don't live in Gaza) but an ideology.  Go back and read Lloyd Austin's comment again, he understands.  Every Palestinian Israel kills have relatives who are potential recruits for Hamas.

I wish I had answers.  Should the U.S. quit giving Israel money?  Are we then saying they shouldn't defend themselves?  Is the only real solution the one that neither side will agree to?