Time to cancel special passes
Israel claims a right to launch an offensive that has killed hundreds of people, most of the initial casualties police officers and most...
Israel claims a right to launch an offensive that has killed hundreds of people, most of the initial casualties police officers and most of the rest civilians, because they were subjected to rocket attacks from Gaza.
In 1967, Israel claimed a right to launch an offensive known as the Six Day War, which put Gaza under their control, because several Arab powers blockaded the Israeli port of Eilat. This, despite some awkward arguments to the contrary, was an act of war.
But the blockade of Gaza that led to the rockets that led to the offensive? There's no recourse to the international system about that act of war because Israel has the US government's veto in its pocket.
That special permit to violate international law needs to be canceled.
It helps Israeli propagandists to have Hamas as their foil, and they got those guys after a concerted campaign to discredit Fatah, which was for years the dominant Palestinian faction.
The problem between the Israelis and Palestinians is a land dispute that the British created during and after World War I.
All of the religious overtones, historical analyses and racial theories are self-serving trash talk. It's an argument over land, and the solution has been on the table for many years now.
There are to be two states, Israel and Palestine, living within the borders that existed before the 1967 war, with the exception that Jerusalem shall remain undivided and have a special international status. Israeli settlements are to be abandoned. The Palestinians are to swear off the possession of heavy weapons. Both sides are to end incitement of enmity and suppress hate crimes by members of their respective communities against members of the other.
Fatah accepts this, Hamas rejects it. All major Israeli parties reject it. But this is the solution that the great majority of the world insists upon and hasn't been able to impose because of the US veto in the United Nations Security Council.
It's a good idea for the Americans to maintain their guarantees of Israel's continued existence. Some great power must play that role. But the time is long overdue to serve notice on the Israeli politicians that such a guarantee is not the same thing as a blank check for every reprehensible thing that they might decide to do.
How to get from here to there? A private comment to the Israelis that Mr. Obama is not amused could do wonders. A mass release of Palestinian political prisoners by the Israelis would likely put a new generation of leaders who have the sophistication and mandate to negotiate for peace atop of the Palestinian Authority. A show of unity in the Arab League, for an overall peace with Israel and against rejectionism on both sides, is required.
It's not safe to stop breathing while waiting for all this to happen, but meanwhile the credibility of the elected political leaders of both Israel and Palestine is being blown to bits in Gaza. The last thing that the world community ought to do is to put the shards back together as they were before. We need to get beyond this land dispute once and for all.