Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right

When will we learn?

Of course you’ve heard of the quickly escalating conflict between Israel and Hamas. It’s been on your television, your news reader, in your papers. There was a brief mention on your radio station before you switched to the next one. The world is watching the Middle East once again (because let’s face it, the Western media has all but forgotten the plight of Syria.) Most media stations have expressed the sentiment that Gaza will fall. World leaders are waiting for the bombs to finish falling, waiting to see which group drags themselves out of the rubble so that they can quickly change allegiance or reaffirm support for the group they knew would win.

And in the middle of it the innocents die and are forgotten.

Now, I won’t pretend to be an expert on this. I don’t fully understand the reasons or the predicted outcomes. I am not in the position of either Binyamin Netanyahu or Hamas. I will never be able to see the situation as they do. But I will say that what either side is doing is not working, and that it will never work.

Hamas’ approach is wrong.

Hamas attacking Israeli citizens with rockets will do nothing but cause the deaths of Palestinians in return. They know this. The idea that this whole affair is them testing their allegiance with Egypt’s new Islamist leadership is disgusting, and despicable. Yes, Palestinians have been severely wronged but that is not justification for deaths on both sides. Provoking Israel like this will only cause more Palestinian death, or push Israel to destroy Gaza entirely–the only reason they have not so far is because of the outcry from Western allies. Any more condemnation from the Western media and that may no longer be Israel’s concern.

Israel’s approach is wrong.

To quote this excellent Guardian article, Israel’s reaction is a result of the logic of escalation. They can’t be seen to back down and so they escalate the situation, returning fire and marching on Gaza. Except this time it seems Hamas may not back down and might even (possibly) be supported by the Egyptians. They say offence is the best defence, but Israel’s actions are not only harming its own citizens but forcing itself into a corner. If violence is Israel’s answer, it may as well kill all the Palestinians and do to them the very same thing that the Germans did to the Jews, in an irony which would not go unnoticed by many.

Now if fighting is not the answer, should speech be? Perhaps. I almost grow tired of repeating myself regarding issues of conflict, and suggesting that opposing sides should talk. I guess I’m an undying pacifist. But I say it because it seems the only option which few try. They laugh instead and tell us pacifists that we don’t understand, that we can’t. And yes, I am aware that decades of mistreatment and enmity will not go away magically because of one peace talk. But I am also aware that these talks are possible. Colombia and FARC are making an attempt, even if Colombia’s unwillingness towards a ceasefire are making things difficult. And all are aware that even one day of peace would save more innocent lives than one more day of gunfire.

10 thoughts on “Two Lefts Don’t Make a Right

    1. dlaiden Post author

      It’s completely futile. I wonder that the leaders of Israel and Hamas don’t realise this, or worse whether they do and choose to ignore it out of blind stubbornness. It’s a sad state of affairs and the worst part is that like the world leaders I can only watch and wait and see what rises from the rubble.

  1. yepiratesays

    I think that was a brilliant analysis. I wish someone else would ‘step up to the plate to mediate’. Who, I don’t know. Norway tried. Blair is shameful as a representative but it cleverly locks the Russians in with the EU to keep them in check – as organised by USA and Israel, in my opinion born of evidence seen.
    Saudi Arabia presented a peace plan and could try harder, as they have the ear of USA?.Why doesn’t Egypt make a stand for negotiation? Wish they did – or Brazil, and India. Just wish they did.

    1. dlaiden Post author

      I’m glad you didn’t find it too shoddy! And yes, I really do wish someone tried to mediate. The Arab League is apparently trying to bring about a ceasefire by sending delegates to show support for Gaza; I’m not sure at all that Israel will care for that. Of course the US has waded in and defended Israel’s right to defend itself with no mention of peace talks. Egypt won’t try for peace, I think, because its new government sees the Gaza-Israel affair as a case of Jews bashing Muslims. Saudi Arabia could definitely change things (especially if they loudly support the actions of the Arab League), but generally it seems that–like usual–unless someone is gaining something significant, other countries are reluctant to intervene.

      1. yepiratesays

        I think your analysis is spot on. I forgot about Turkey, ex-ally of Israel and growing power, but clearly not able to grab this by the horns and try to sort some kind of ceasefire out.

  2. oscarjamieson

    A fair analysis, especially in recognising that innocent people are the largest casualty. But considering the hatred for the opposing culture ingrained within each nation, would an official peace treaty stop the missiles?

    I don’t know much about the conflict, so I’m just appealing to reason, and the fact that human nature shows that it requires a behavioural overhaul to fully overcome tensions like this.

    I’m not a pacifist, so what do I know 😛

  3. auuinisrael

    I agree with you that this cycle of violence is not achieving anything and I wish people could be logical about it, or if not be logical then decide to commit themselves to nonviolence from a moral standpoint. (I recently wrote a post about this as well.)

    But I live in Israel and I find that one of the blocks to peace is that many of the Jewish people are so incredibly traumatized from thousands of years of oppression around the world and the loss of a huge portion of their community in the Holocaust. There is a deep deep pain and fear and a sense that “everyone wants to kill us – and we will never let it happen again no matter what it takes”. Sure there are some Israelis that are motivated only by fundamentalist religion or ideology, but I don’t thin that is the majority. There is a sort of national post-traumatic syndrome which often drives the choices made here – I’m not sure that people outside of the Jewish community recognize that sometimes. And the trauma piles up more with each round of violence. I’m guessing that there may be a similar thing going on with the Palestinians.

    What I do not know is how you defuse that, acknowledge the pain and fear, and say “we’re going to make sure you are safe and that these terrible things are not going to happen to your community anymore” and also convince people to change their ways and recommit to peace. I really don’t know how that is going to happen, especially as nearly every conversation about this situation, even among people who are not directly involved, seems to descend immediately into shouting and recriminations and inability to hear anyone else.

    1. dlaiden Post author

      Ah, meant to reply to this days ago; apologies.

      That is a very interesting point, and it is certainly something I didn’t think about. The Jewish have been subject to a lot of hatred in the past, heck, it’s still ongoing now in many parts of the world. Anti-Semitism was once wildly popular and hasn’t really gone away. Hmm. I think the situation, looking at it from this light, is quite similar to America and its knee-jerk reaction to Islam or anything Middle-Eastern after 9/11. I really don’t know how such a situation can be defused. If foreign countries propose the idea it might seem like temporary pacification, so that Palestine has more time to restock weapons…I don’t know. It’s a paranoia, and a justified paranoia too; I really do think peace might be the only way forward. But of course it’s the prisoner’s dilemma again. Nobody will want to drop their weapons for fear that they’ll be the ones left defenceless while the other country stabs them in the back. I suppose we can really only hope and talk and pray for the change to happen. Hopefully one day we’ll even see it. Thanks for the comment; it’s given me a lot to think about.


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