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As of this writing (August 6, 2014), Palestinian tolls in the conflict with Israel are 1,800 dead 300 of which are children and 10,000 wounded; on the Israeli side, there were just 64 soldiers killed and three (3) civilians, but this is not about keeping score or fairness; after all, Israel has sophisticated war artilleries, including defense systems against rockets launched from Gaza by Palestinian fighters. That may help explain why the number of casualties is so low on the Israeli side. In war, one side always prevails, at least most of the time. This is not a request for the world community to side with the Palestinians (the underdog) or provide them with better war equipment so that we can all sit back and watch a fair fight (war). Far from it! War is hell. Israel and the Palestine have been in a permanent state of war for as long as history has been recorded. If you believe in the Bible, that conflict will not end until the return of Jesus, the Savior of the World; if you are sensible, the solution to the conflict is not impossible. What have been standing in the way of a permanent solution are the West Foreign Policy, the US Media and a Stubborn and Inflexible Israel.
The West Foreign Policy
The permanent conflict between Israel and the Palestine is one of the most blatant proofs that UN is widely irrelevant. In most World Affairs, UN serves the interests of the West and its Sympathizers (Israel is one of which) almost exclusively. The Arab countries in general, the Palestine in particular have either been wrongfully dealt with or penalized for the same action the West (or its sympathizers) is given a pass. On the International stage, partisanship is by far the worst approach to diplomacy; as such, the United Nations has failed miserably.
Instead of dealing appropriately with the very issue that is at the roots of the Israeli-Palestino conflict, UN has relinquished its task – to pressure Israel into UN Resolution 181(II) compliance – to waging campaigns labeling Hamas a terrorist organization while Israel’s groups such as Lehi and Irgun are never mentioned, not even once as terrorist organizations; we’ll get to that in a minute. Equally important is the fact that the UN has turned its back on the Palestine which was wronged by Israel from the very onset. What good is UN anyway if it cannot perform the job for which it’s supposed to exist? The Map below provides a timeline of how Israel has singlehandedly exacerbated the conflict, with no desire to resolve the issue.
In order to put an end to the internal, frequent and bloody fights between the Arabs and the Jews and provide a home for the latter, UN crafted Resolution 181(II) (UN Plan 1947 in the Map) which delineated the territory that belongs to Israel and which belongs to the Palestine. Unfortunately, when the 1949 signed armistice that would have put an end to the fights between those two groups was completed, Israel decided to take 60% of the area (1949-1967 in Map) that UN Resolution 181(II) allocated to the Palestine; UN did absolutely nothing, US said absolutely nothing. This is at the roots of a conflict with no end in sight. Despite the rhetoric on both sides (Israel and the Palestine), the solution couldn’t be simplest and most obvious. The Palestine wants the stolen territory back unconditionally (incidentally, it has every right to expect such) and Israel to return the area to its original owner, the Palestine; unfortunately Israel has either provided all sorts of excuse not to comply with UN Resolution or set ridiculous conditions to do so. Any third grader would be able to decide on this matter without much fuss and yet the diplomats in Washington and the officials at the UN can’t seem to make an inch of progress.
To put it in perspective, when Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, it took US and International Coalition forces just one month of deliberations to launch a full scale air and missile attack on Iraq to force its troops out of Kuwait. If the Palestine did to Israel what the latter had done to the former, the West (US in particular) would be up in arms, building coalitions to chase the Palestinians away. As it stands today, US seems okay with what Israel had done, to take away Palestinian territory. Due to its biased relation towards the Palestine, US is in no position to be a trusted broker. The end to that conflict depends entirely, unfortunately on Israel and the UN to make good on Resolution 181 (II). After waiting for over half-century, it is quite safe to conclude that UN is not lifting a finger to right the wrong Israel has done to the Palestinians. What good is UN anyway if it cannot do the job for which it’s supposed to exist? That’s where Hamas comes in.
Hamas in Black and White
Notwithstanding its approach to “incentivize” Israel, Hamas’ goal is righteous, to right the wrong done by Israel to the Palestine. For all purpose of fairness, US should have supported the Palestinians’ cause to prove the world it can be a trusted broker; for all purpose of relevancy, UN should have worked diligently to pressure Israel into compliance with UN Resolution 181(II). Neither the US nor the UN have thus far lived up to the roles they want the world to accept them for. So, what exactly makes Hamas a terrorist organization? Washington which claims to have the last word on who’s who in the world, irrespective of one’s action, has long labeled Hamas a terrorist organization; by association, the Palestine is tagged a terrorist “State”. As such, to kill Palestinians (civilians or fighters) has Washington’ stamp of approval; in other words, Palestinians’ lives are not worth much, at least not as much as the Israelis. Who cares that hundreds, thousands or even millions of Palestinians are slaughtered by Israel?
According to a succinct and simplistic definition of the word, terrorism is “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.” It is thus logical to accept that the Hamas Group is indeed a terrorist organization. After all, it is no secret the Group has long been fighting Israel through terrorist acts to achieve what should have been done without bloodshed, the return of its territory as drafted in UN Resolution 181(II). However, the use of the terrorism label by the West –and ironically by Israel also – in regards to Hamas aims to achieve more sinister outcomes i) Delegitimize the Palestinians’ cause ii) Let Israel get away with non-compliance. – US went to war with Iraq in 2003 citing non-compliance with UN Resolution 1441 – Naturally, Washington rides on two aspects of the word terrorism that create ambiguity for most, a) Terror with Purpose b) Terror without Purpose
Terror with Purpose
Notwithstanding its approach, the Hamas Group has a very specific objective, to get back the territory Israel snatched from the Palestine. However, the word “terrorism” is liberally used by Washington to imprint in the public’s mind a lack of legitimacy to Hamas’ cause because of its use of terrorist measures to achieve the objective. Ironically, Israel, in the same predicament as Hamas, resorted to similar measures, the use of terrorism. It seems that terrorism is legitimate if used by Israel, unacceptable for all others.
Israel’s terrorist arm, Fighters for the Freedom of Israel (see the parallel: Hamas, Freedom Fighters for the Liberation of the Palestine), most commonly referred to as Lehi, used violent actions against the British Mandate in 1940. On November 6, 1944, Eliyahu Hakim and Eliyahu Bet Zuri – both members of the Israeli terrorist group Lehi – assassinated in Cairo, capital of Egypt, Lord Moyne, the British Minister of State for the Middle East. The assassination was just a warm-up and Lehi was not the only Jewish terrorist groups; there were three major deadly such groups: Lehi, Irgun and Haganah.
To consolidate resources and coordinate their effort, they formed the Jewish Resistance Movement and went straight to action, carried a series of bombing attacks. In 1946, the group blew up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem killing 92 people. On April of 1948, the Israeli terrorist group slaughtered roughly 600 Palestinians (all civilians), an act recorded in history as the “Deir Yassin massacre”. That same year, the group assassinated the UN mediator Folke Bernadotte in Jerusalem. The greatest irony however is that Israel’s future Prime Minister, Yitzak Shamir was one of the conspirators in the assassination of UN mediator Folke; it seems that terrorism rewards handsomely, for Yitzak at least. Imagine that, an assassin Prime Minister of Israel!
To be fair, Israel’s resort to terrorism had a purpose, to put an end to the unfair treatment under the British Mandate; its principal goals were to chase away the British authorities from Palestine and form a Jewish State. Sound familiar? Like the Hamas group, the Israeli terrorist organization had a manifesto. In an article published in its underground paper He Khazit (The Front) in August 1943, the Israeli group made it clear that the use of terrorism is an acceptable mean of combat, “Neither Jewish ethics nor Jewish tradition can disqualify terrorism as a means of combat. We are very far from having any moral qualms as far as our national war goes.”
Much like any terrorist group with a cause, the Israelis had unshakable belief that gave them the inner strength and the determination to see things through at any cost. Its morale was at its peak when the group published the article. The following paragraph expressed a sense of grandeur and unwavering determination which should send chills to the spine, “We have before us the command of the Torah, whose morality surpasses that of any other body of laws in the world: ‘Ye shall blot them out to the last man.’ But first and foremost, terrorism is for us a part of the political battle being conducted under the present circumstances, and it has a great part to play: speaking in a clear voice to the whole world, as well as to our wretched brethren outside this land, it proclaims our war against the occupier. We are particularly far from this sort of hesitation in regard to an enemy whose moral perversion is admitted by all.” That type of rhetoric resembles a lot like what Hamas uses today towards Israel, the occupier. Again, it was okay because it was Israel.
Even the future Prime Minister of Israel, Mr. Yitzak Shamir, rationalized the use of violence and terrorist actions, “There are those who say that to kill Martin Clifford, a British intelligence corps sergeant, is terrorism, but to attack an army camp is guerrilla warfare and to bomb civilians is professional warfare. But I think it is the same from the moral point of view.” Mr. Shamir’s declaration wasn’t mere words; to shore up his position and justify the use of terrorism as a combat strategy, Mr. Shamir drew parallel with the terrorist method he used to the deadly use of the atomic bomb, “Is it better to drop an atomic bomb on a city than to kill a handful of persons? I don’t think so. But nobody says that President Truman was a terrorist…
For us it was not a question of the professional honor of a soldier, it was the question of an idea, an aim that had to be achieved. We were aiming at a political goal…” Well, it’s ok, it was Israel.
Hamas, Fighters for the Liberation of the Palestine, has a specific objective just like Israeli’s Lehi did. They want the occupier out. Without being overly sarcastic, it seems that Israel’s use of terrorist actions to achieve a political goal is okay but unacceptable for the Palestine.
Terror without Purpose
Irrespective of a purpose or lack of one, acts of terror are not limited to its immediate victims; the victims’ families or even a whole country may be impacted by the outcome of terror. When it’s without purpose or a reasonable goal, it shakes the very foundation of humanity. When the group Boko Haram kidnapped 300 Nigerian girls, the world community came together to demand that something be done to capture its leaders and free the girls. However, that was just a drop in the ocean as far as terror caused by the group’s actions. According to the Nigerian government, over 12,000 people are killed and more than 8,000 crippled by Boko Haram’s constant acts of violence against civilians. The group which was founded by Mohammed Yusuf – a Muslim sect leader, killed in the 2009 Nigerian sectarian violence – in 2002 sought to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria, the group’s principal goal. One could say that the group has no real purpose; its members were not wronged. The country is not occupied; its citizens are not oppressed. Terrors –based exclusively on some form of ideology – with most casualties inflicted into the civilian population, are without merit. As such, groups such as Al-Qa`ida, Boko Haram and the likes must be kept at bay at the very least, disbanded at best, its leaders arrested at the most.
And there is the US Media. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict seems to be the only event (local and global included) that unites the US media in report content, commentaries and yes guest invites. Not even the latest tragedies at Sandy Hook school could achieve such a uniform reporting among the major “factions” of the US media. Washington has done such an incredible brainwashing job in regards to the Israel-Palestine conflict that even professionals in the media were not exempt. But the mass behavior towards Israel is not black and white. To no fault of the Jews, and for purely domination reason, Conquerors such as Great Britain, Spain, Italy, France made use of the Bible to subdue civilizations in other continents. Ironically, US was not spared; the fear of God, according to the Bible, is tantamount to the beginning of wisdom. Who would not want to have wisdom or pretend to have it in the case of none?
Legend has it that when the Europeans struggled to subdue the indigenous and fail, they put a divine plan in motion, to bring the Natives to God; and so it happened that during prayer time when all eyes were closed and heads bowed down, the armed colonists surprised the indigenous and kill them all. Only a few skeptics among the aborigines escaped the massacre, but some will later die in the mountains due to lack of food, shelter and care. If nothing else, America was introduced to a God who chose Israel as his beloved country. One would be hard pressed to find any Christian in defiance of the Bible for fear of the wrath of God. So, America has no choice but to accept and support whatever the Jews do. Who would want to fall under the wrath of God?
Shamefully however, despite historical documentations and instantaneous propagation of news via the wire and the internet, the US media continues to be biased in favor of Israel, even in the face of irrefutable facts of wrongdoings. For instance, during the latest skirmishes in Gaza, the UN informed Israel authorities 17 times in regards to a school where 3,000 people (including children) took shelter and yet Israel shelled the school, leaving behind at least two dozen dead and scores of wounded; such atrocity, such blatant disregard for human lives did not generate any anger or condemnation in the US Media. If Israel does it, however wrong it is, God must have approved it. Even the UN, the almost irrelevant organization believes that Israel may have committed war crimes.
Israel’s stubbornness is intricate; it can however be explained quite sensibly. Notwithstanding the “supermanic” effort to differentiate itself from the Palestine, for many centuries Israel had shared the same space, breathed the same air, competed for the same resources as its Palestine counterpart. As such, both Israelites and Palestinians have a similar philosophy of life. In fact, as discussed in Israel Can Do No Harm article, the Israeli underground groups (Lehi, Irgun, Haganah, etc.) used the same terrorism techniques as their Palestinian counterparts.
Interestingly, contrary to the Palestinians who have localized their fights – mainly in the Gaza, Jerusalem and Tel Aviv areas – Israeli terrorist groups exported terrorism overseas; they sent explosive letters to British Officials, carried out multiple bombing attacks, at the British Embassy in Rome and several areas in London. The Israeli terrorist groups came close to dropping a bomb on the House of Commons in London had it not been foiled at the last minute by the French intelligence that discovered the plot.
Their persistence to carry those terrorist actions finally paid off when the UN intervened to help put an end to the British Mandate in the region in 1948 and create a Jewish State. Israel is thus aware that the Palestinians will not stop until they succeed but the Israeli authorities hope however to discourage them by killing as many as possible, a genocide of sort that has received Washington unconditional approval. Much like UK deprived the Jews of privileges awoke the need to fight the British to the death, Israel has deprived the Palestinians the territory that belongs to them, the area that was officially allocated to them, what’s legitimately theirs.
Despite Israel’s PR willingness for compromise, its actions are nothing but. Israel’s rationale is that Hamas Co-founder Sheik Ahmed Yassin’s intent is to liberate Palestine from Israeli occupation and to establish an Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; however, Hamas’ 1988 Charter Article 31 also states that “Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions—Islam, Christianity and Judaism—to coexist in peace and quiet with each other.” In addition, over several decades, Palestinians Leaders have extended olive branches to Israel all of which were rejected by the Israeli leaders.
In late 2006, Ismail Haniyeh, then Hamas political leader, said that if a Palestinian State was formed within the 1967 lines, Hamas was willing to declare a truce that could last as long as 20 years. The opportunity for such an offer was simply shrugged off by the Israeli authorities. Even the US government snubbed the Palestinian advances; a letter sent to George W Bush via Jerome Segal (President and founder of The Jewish Peace Lobby) stating they “don’t mind having a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders” was completely ignored by the Bush administration.
In June 2008 an Egyptian-brokered ceasefire proved successful – Hamas stopped rocket attacks on Israel and even made efforts to prevent attacks by other Palestinian Fighter Groups – until Israel, after four months of calm and for no verifiable reason, carried out a military action with the stated aim of preventing an abduction planned by Hamas which could never be proven; neither the US nor the UN condemned Israel’s action for breaking the peace agreement.
In 2009, Ismail Haniyeh, in a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, repeated his support for a two-state settlement based on 1967 borders: “We would never thwart efforts to create an independent Palestinian State with borders [from] June 4, 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital.”
Again, on December 1, 2010, Ismail Haniyeh reiterated, “We accept a Palestinian State on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees,” and “Hamas will respect the results [of a referendum] regardless of whether it differs with its ideology and principles.”
In February 2012, according to the Palestinian authority, Hamas forswore the use of violence. To prove its willingness to abide by its new commitment to non-violence, Hamas abstained from attacking Israel even after a Jihad leader was assassinated by Israel on March 2012. And yet Israel has rejected truce offers by Hamas because it contends the group uses them to prepare for more fighting rather than peace.
Those statements by Israeli authorities are mere window dressing for Washington and the US media; behind the scene however, Israel already made the decision not to pursue any peace agreement that requires compliance with either UN Resolution 181(II) or the 1967 lines. According to a June 9, 2013 article in USA Today, A senior member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party (Deputy Defense Minister Mr. Dany Danon) made it clear in an interview broadcast on Israel Radio “that the Israeli government will not accept a Palestinian State with the borders favored by the Palestinians and the international community.” Netanyahu’s office was quick to distance himself from the comments but provided no further clarification. It seems at best that the “cat and mouse” comments between the Prime Minister and his Deputy were meant to create imbalance and confusion in the public mind. In fact, Mr. Danon reinforced his previous statement by saying that “…hawks inside the governing coalition will never allow a Palestinian State to be formed.”
Regardless what the Israeli authorities think the Palestinians long term plan is and whatever political analysts and Middle East experts believe of the conflict or its final outcome, one thing is however certain today, Israel violated UN Resolution 181(II), snatched Palestinian territory and has categorically refused to compromise despite the fact it has wronged the Palestinians over several decades.
Neither the US nor the UN can fill the shoes of a trusted broker in the conflict between Israel and the Palestine. UN lacks the spine to enforce its own resolution and Israel since the beginning has been hiding behind US skirt; US bias is too glaring to be of any help in resolving the conflict.
When Crimea annexed with Russia, US was up in arms in minute demanding Russia to reverse course but somehow Washington is perfectly okay with Israel snatching every inch of Palestinian territory. Crimea willingly (95.5% of residents said so) decided to become a part of Russia, not so for the Palestine in regards to Israel. The West (US in particular) is in no position to broker deals in the Middle East; that is an important factor to consider if a permanent solution is to be crafted and implemented for the Israel-Palestine quagmire. It is perhaps time for the International Community to seek a trusted broker capable to help put an end to a conflict that has lasted far too long and has cost far too many lives.
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