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Palestinian American
January 30, 2009

First, many senior Israeli political and military leaders strongly opposed the June 19 cease-fire with Hamas, and looked for opportunities to re-establish Israel’s fabled ‘deterrent capability’ of instilling fear into its enemies. These leaders felt Israel’s deterrent capability was badly damaged as a result of their withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, and especially after the widely criticized failures in the 2006 Israeli war with Hezbollah. For this powerful group a cease-fire was at best a tactical pause before the inevitable renewal of conflict, when conditions were more favorable. Immediately following Israel’s aerial assault, a New York Times article noted that Israel had been eager ‘to remind its foes that it has teeth’ and to erase the ghost of Lebanon that has haunted it over the past two years.

A second factor was pressure surrounding the impending elections set to take place in early February. The ruling coalition, led by Ehud Barak and Tzipi Livni, have been repeatedly criticized by the Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu, the former prime minister, who is leading in the polls, for not being tough enough on Hamas and rocket-fire from Gaza. This gave the ruling coalition a strong incentive to demonstrate to the Israeli people their security credentials in order to bolster their chances against the more hawkish Likud.

Third, Hamas repeatedly said it wouldn’t recognize Mahmud Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority after his term runs out on Jan. 9. The looming political standoff on the Palestinian side threatens to boost Hamas and undermine Abbas, who had underseen closer security coordination with Israel and was congenial to Israeli demands for concessions on future peace proposals. One possible outcome of this assault is that Abbas will remain in power for a while longer, since Hamas will be unable to mobilise its supporters in order to force him to resign.

Supporter of Israelis and Palestinians
January 29, 2009

Enough lies! This conflict is not a result of the occupation. it is not a result of Palestinian refugees.

It is a result of the Arab world refusing to accept a Jewish state’s right to exist in an Arab-Muslim neighborhood. I agree, both sides have committed injustices and both sides have legitimate claims to the land. Both peoples have the right to self-determination. But any claim that calls for the destruction of another people should be fought against by all people of conscience.

Today Israel has put a peace proposal on the table that it is [under negotiation] with Al Fatah, another Palestinian faction currently in control of the West Bank. The proposal includes dismantling of the majority of settlements, withdrawal from over 95 percent of the West Bank (the other five percent is where there are major Israeli cities/settlements), and land swaps for the remaining five percent. It also includes the division of Jerusalem, and sharing of natural resources (i.e. water). In return, Israel is asking for one thing…security.

Why would Hamas fire rockets at Israel while moderate Israelis and Palestinians are negotiating peace? The answer is that they don’t want peace with Israel. They want the destruction of Israel! Even moderate Palestinians speak out against Hamas. We need to continue to encourage positive developments between moderate Israelis and Palestinians. Peace is possible if you believe in it!

Jarkin
January 31, 2009

This should not be an academic argument, nor should it be a military one. Let’s just look at the present and future.

The one fact about the past that is rarely brought up: Palestinians never had any sovereign control over their land, ever. The idea that every inch of Israel has been ‘stolen’ from a stateless people is ludicrous.

Looking forward, we can see that a return to pre-1967 borders is impossible and indefensible. Israel wouldn’t agree to that even in the presence of a peaceful settlement with Hamas. Why then, base a peace on a concession that will probably never happen?

Gazans can look forward to a period of great accomplishment and productivity should they hold their leaders to a more humane and rational standard. Israel is ready to reward the Palestinians with something their Arab brethren have never offered them – a home and a genuine, vigorous helping hand to build it should they ask.

Yes, the Palestinians are frustrated and yes, they have been dealing with death and destruction for too long. Let’s encourage them to throw off the yoke of the real oppression that binds them – that of radicalism and hate.

The Israelis will not tolerate a terrorist state in their midst and neither will the international community.

Julia Pitt
January 31, 2009

This editorial is full of misinformation concerning Hamas’ stance on Israel. The main idea in which this article presents is that Israel’s war on Gaza was justified partially because of Hamas’ supposed refusal to accept Israel’s right to exist. We know this is not true. Hamas has accepted the two-state solution on the June 1967 border, a resolution which is voted on every year in the UN for 30 years and consistently voted against by the USA and Israel (in 2008, the only other nations to vote against it were Australia and some south-sea island countries whose names I can neither spell nor pronounce). Even after the recent war, Hamas leaders have still signaled their willingness to negotiate. In other words, Hamas wouldn’t be attacking Israel if Israel just went along with the rest of the international community and got out of every bit of land they took in 1967.