Saturday, November 17, 2012

Israel's Real Purpose in Gaza

Gershon Baskin, the co-chairman of the Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information, a columnist for The Jerusalem Post, and a back-channel intermediary between Hamas and the Israeli government, has followed up a Haaretz column a few days ago with a piece in this morning's New York Times online opinion page, arguing that Israel is "shortsighted" for not pursuing strong indications that Hamas was ready to sign a long-term ceasefire agreement  with Israel.(
The problem, however, is much worse than Israeli "shortsightness."  As the record unmistakably shows, as discussed in my International Security article (, Israel also refused many opportunities to negotiate long-term or even permanent ceasefires with Hamas before its massive attack (Operation Cast Lead) on Gaza in 2008-09, and even deliberately violated existing ceasefire agreements.

Therefore, the appropriate conclusion is that Israel has no interest in a long-term ceasefire, let alone a negotiated political settlement, with Hamas, undoubtedly because it would rather have unending wars than reach an agreement that would leave Hamas in power, and in all likelihood result in a two-state settlement of the overall Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli conflict.

In short, the Israelis are not "shortsighted," they are mad.


Jim Donnellan said...

I couldn't agree more.

pabelmont said...

Israel is not mad, but coldly (and profoundly immorally) calculating. Recall Hitler's military triumphs before he involved the USA and USSR? He did well -- though immorally -- by careful calculation. Ghastly violence has much to recommend itself as a tool of those not repelled by it. so far, Israel says, so good, and what sign is there that it is wrong?

Continual war is, of course, its goal, not peace, and Israel has as powerful a military-industrial-complex as the USA has, another practitioner of perpetual war.

Jim Donnellan said...

Regrettably, you are correct in my view. Israel does not now, nor has it ever, wanted peace or a Palestinian state.

What shocks me is that no one raises this issue when interviewing Oren or responding to the pronouncements of Netanyahu.

Why are they allowed to get away with such egregious political doublespeak.

I don't get it.

Anonymous said...

Israel's refusal to enter into a vague and supposedly long-term ceasefire that isn't directly negotiated and signed by both parties... IS NOT indicative of a desire not to negotiate for a permanent peace deal.

It's clearly NOt appropriate to use disinterest in the first to try to conclude disinterest in the second.