POLITICAL observations & opinions

* Israeli attacks on Gaza are justified, but …

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 29, 2008

Michael Oren writes in The New Republic …

  • CNN International’s coverage of yesterday’s fighting in Gaza concluded at midnight with a rush of images: mangled civilians writhing in the rubble, primitive hospitals overflowing with the wounded, fireballs mushrooming between apartment complexes, the funeral of a Palestinian child.
  • Missing from the montage, however, was even a fleeting glimpse of the tens of thousands of Israelis who spent last night and much of last week in bomb shelters; of the house in Netivot, where a man was killed by a Grad missile; or indeed any of the hundreds of rockets, mortar shells, and other projectiles fired by Hamas since the breakdown of the so-called ceasefire.
  • This was CNN at its unprincipled worst, grossly skewering its coverage of a complex event and deceiving its viewers. 
  • Within minutes of the first Israeli air strike, the Arabs were screaming “massacre” and the media had all but forgotten the serial assaults that provoked it.
  • The press once again attached the word “disproportionate” and the “continuing cycle of violence” term to describe a supremely justified and largely surgical (the targets were exclusively military, the victims overwhelmingly Hamas gunmen) operation.
  • As of this writing, the Security Council is meeting and will no doubt find Israel and Hamas equally guilty for disrupting the ceasefire and demand its immediate restoration.

Michael B. Oren, a professor at the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and a distinguished fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem. Read the entire article at … http://www.tnr.com/politics/story.html?id=b80c860d-dca8-4d79-9cc4-05d91b6d4721


There are two questions here, in this seemingly never-ending Israeli-Palestine conflict: Was Israel justified in attacking Hamas? Why does Hama continue to attack Israel and deny its right to exist?

In my view, the answer to the first question is clearly YES. Israel should and must defend itself, and has every right to do whatever it can to eliminate Hamas killers, even though Israeli leaders surely know that military means will not bring peace. That’s the easy question, and I’m sure President Obama will give the same answer. 

Understanding why Hamas continues to attack Israel (which is essential to ever getting them to stop) is anything but clear or simple. The Palestineans in Gaza live a horrible life, and have for decades. Would making their lives better end the violence? Or is their violence a reflection of a broader antipathy toward Israel, Jews, the U.S. and the West, in which case Hamas is using the horrible conditions in Gaza as an excuse for violence and will thus seek to undermine solutions that others might think are reasonable. Remember that Hamas was elected in Gaza, perhaps in a corrupt election, but elected nevertheless.

It seems to me that only a broad coalition of many world powers, including Arab and Muslim states, can effectively bring to bear the combination of swords and carrots that might lead to permanently changed behavior in Gaza. No recent President has been able to bring about such a coalition, which requires mutual understanding and cooperation on many issues that have little to do with Israel and Hamas. 

President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton (and perhaps special ambassador Holbrooke, if rumors are true) have the task of trying. It won’t be easy and it won’t be quick. And meanwhile, CNN and others will continue to distort the news.



5 Responses to “* Israeli attacks on Gaza are justified, but …”

  1. Joe said

    The funds do not go to building a Palestinian State. It was said that it was for Humanitarian aid. Right! Ha Ha Why are we sending money to a terrorist state? It is controlled by Hamas and will continually be controlled by terrorist. Again, why are we funding terrorist? The money will end up in the hands of Hamas and will unfortunatly make more rockets aimed at Israel.

  2. Lew Weinstein said

    I agree that there can be no peace without recognition of Israel. But there can be no recognition of Israel without a Palestinian state with the means and will to do so. The only way to break the cycle is to help create such a Palestinian state, with the provision that it must recognize Israel and contain its own terrorist elements.

  3. Joe said

    Peace cannot exist when Palestinians do not recognize Israel as having a legitimate existance. The 9 million U.S. dollars are said to be going to the reconstruction of property that was damaged by Israeli attacts. It is very likely that Hamas will get much of the money through corrupt construction contracts.

  4. Lew Weinstein said

    There will be no peace in the Middle East until there is a viable Palestinian state which has the incentive and the means to reject Hamas and other terrorism. This is the collective responsibility of the Arab countries, Israel, the U.S., and Britain (which created the mess to begin with). It is a matter of national security to accomplish this objective. I believe the Obama, Clinton, Mitchell team has the best chance in a long time to move this problem toward a solution.

  5. Joe said

    Maybe we should give 900,000,000 to the Palestinian’s? Laughable

    Good work Obama

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