In 1978, a 28 year old Israeli by the name of Ben Nitay took part in a debate in the United States on Israel’s borders.
Today Ben Nitay has a different name: Benjamin Netanyahu.
Why did he call himself Ben Nitay? There are some unconfirmed reasons. Some believe he wanted to make it easier for his American colleagues (he studied in Harvard and MIT) to pronounce his name.
In the debate he is asked as a witness to outline what he sees as a possible solution for the fate of millions of Palestinians living in the West Bank and the Gaza strip under Israeli occupation. He is also asked whether he believes there should be a Palestinian state.
Just listen to his views then, and compare to what he is saying now. The biggest change in rhetoric is his Bar Ilan speech in which he stated that he believes in the 2 state for the 2 people solution.
However in reality, with his settlement policies he has made establishing a Palestinian state even more impossible. And lets not forget, he was so against the Gaza withdrawal in 2005 that he resigned as Finance Minister just before it.
I invite you to watch the video and to judge for yourself.
But dear Israeli compatriots, this is the man who after the current operation will use whatever happens in Gaza to undermine peace with the PLO. The fact that the PLO has cooperated in an unprecedented manner with Israel in areas of security and has recognized Israel means nothing to Netanyahu. Why? because in my honest opinion he does not believe in the 2 state solution. He just pays lip service to it.
So why did Netanyahu decide to launch the recent ground operation in Gaza?
There are numerous reasons. However in my opinion, one of the major reasons is a thwarted terror attack by Hamas which took place last Thursday.
Hamas had successfully dug a tunnel right into Israel, without Israel finding out about it. Had the militants not been discovered upon leaving the tunnel, the residents of the adjacent Kibbutz Sufa could have been massacred.
After that attack, most probably the question which arose in the Israeli government was: “how many other tunnels has Hamas dug into Israel, which we don’t know about? Can we risk doing nothing about it?”.
The answer seems to have been a resounding no.
The next question is: will the current operation bring security to Israeli citizens?
In the short-term, by destroying the tunnels, the answer will most probably be yes.
In the long-term, the answer is no.
The reason being that when it comes to dealing with Palestinians, Netanyahu is all about tactics, not strategy.
Fighting Hamas is a tactic.
If Netanyahu had an actual strategy to address Israel’s security challenges, he would have taken the negotiations with the PLO seriously. Instead he drove them away from the table by building more settlements.
And as long as Israel just deals with tactics without an overall strategy, the Israeli public will keep finding itself in a cycle of violence.
So if the status quo continues, once the current operation is over, set your countdown timer for the next war in Gaza.
Can you imagine the loss of lives in Israel if Hamas missiles were not shot down by the Iron Dome anti-missile system?
Israel’s missiles and bombs are of course much stronger than those of Hamas.
However Hamas’s missiles, if they score a direct hit on to a house or a car can kill. Here is one example. A paint factory was destroyed by one of them. Here is another example of a direct hit against a residential building.
Hamas missiles not being intercepted would also have domestic political implications.
History has taught us that after major losses of life, the Israeli public votes for right wing parties.
For example take the 1996 elections. Even the outpouring of sympathy after Yitzhak Rabin’s assassination was not enough to secure the Labour party a victory. The Hamas suicide bombings which soon took place after Rabin’s assassination and the high number of casualties which they caused pushed the Israeli voter towards the right.
And what little remains of the Israeli left would have become even more miniscule, had the Iron Dome system not shot down so many of Hamas’s missiles.
So the Israeli left needs to thank the Iron Dome for two reasons. First for keeping them safe, much like everyone else in Israel. And secondly for not destroying what little influence they (we) currently have.
Its difficult to describe the sadness which I felt when I saw the news about the death of the four Palestinian children who were killed on the beach of Gaza. I shudder to think what their parents must be going through right now. I hope there is an investigation launched, and if they were killed on purpose, those responsible are sent to jail. People who intentionally kill innocent civilians deserve to rot in jail.
Some among you who are reading this are probably thinking: “All Israeli soldiers deserve to go to jail. They are all murderers. Israel only murders. Thats all it has done since it was created”.
While some others are probably thinking “Its the dead children and their parents who are at fault. This war is Hamas’s fault. Israel never kills anyone and has never killed anyone on purpose. It never would. Impossible. “
Well, you are both a bunch of dishonest frauds. And YOU , yes both of you are partly responsible for the continuation of this war. Its your views that create so much hate on the other side. Hate which feeds the beast of hatred which is devouring this region.
How much of a liar do you have to be to paint an entire group of people with one brush?
Yes, some things are facts. Yes Israel is occupying Palestinian lands. Yes Hamas is firing at Israeli indiscriminately. But how much of a fraud do you have to be to refuse to even consider that there are nuances. That there are shades of grey.
How much of a racist do you have to be to think that all Palestinian mothers want is for their children to die, and all that Israelis want is to kill and murder indiscriminately?
Today 20 missiles were found at a UN UNRWA run school in Gaza. So Hamas, the defender of the Palestinian people, puts Gaza children at risk by using their schools as weapons storage. How much disregard would you need to have for the lives of your own people to do this?
And you think settlement building will stop after all the recent misery of the current war? think again. The humiliation of the Palestinian people will continue. And we wonder why they are angry. Why they don’t want to live under our rule.
So keep putting your little messages on facebook depicting Israel as a racist state with no right to exist or to defend itself and Palestinians as violent, child beating terrorists. Keep demonizing the other side. Keep portraying the other side as the devil and reincarnation of Satan and your side as innocent angels.
But when you do, please remember, you are only creating hate and ignorance.
More importantly, you are being patently dishonest. Or in other words, a fraud.
One of the other depressing things about war is the realization how ignorant and intolerant some people are on both sides of the conflict.
Those who say that its the Palestinian’s fault for getting killed, because they elected Hamas. Note: they elected Hamas in 2005, and there have been no elections since, because Hamas does not allow it. If the people of Gaza knew this is what awaits them, would they have elected Hamas? No. So its their fault for dying?
Many people in this group also say Arabs only want to kill us and that they do not want peace, when as a matter of fact the PLO has cooperated in fighting terror in the West Bank. Their leader Abu Mazen has been described as peace partner by Israelis including President Peres. And yes Mahmoud Abbas was involved in a peace process with Israel before Netanyahu derailed the talks with settlement building.
Those who say Israel only intents to kill Palestinians, when in fact on many occasions warnings have been given to the areas which are about to be attacked.
If you want to kill, kill, kill, then why bother calling people and warn them to leave? For fun?
The same people also see no problem with Hamas using civilian areas to fire on Israelis, which puts the lives of Israelis and Palestinians at risk. They would have us living under Hamas rocket attacks day and night, because Hamas is operating from civilian areas.
Ignorance leads to war? Yes it does. It also leads to its continuation and repeat later on.