Saturday, July 17, 2010
I recently read an article that said something to the effect that the Palestinian Arabs are beginning to adopt a Ghandi like style of non-violent civil disobedience in confronting Israel, and that the Gaza flotilla was an example which showed how this type of confrontation was successful in winning International sympathy for their cause. The flaw in this assessment of the Gaza Flotilla is that it was not non-violent or Ghandiesque. Ghandi would not have attacked the Israeli sailors who landed on his boat with clubs and knives. Ghandi would not have shot rockets into Israel. Also, it is not the International Community that the Palestinians need to win over if they are really serious, but rather the Israeli people. Israel unilaterally removed the settlements in the Gaza Strip and withdrew as a first step in what was hoped to be the beginning of a separation that would allow the beginning of an independant Palestinian state. But the test failed. The Gazans elected a government (Hamas) that plainly states that it is committed to the destruction of Israel (the Jews) and backs up that statement with frequent rocket attacks across the border into Israel. Under those circumstances, how can anyone expect Israel not to react? Ehud Barak offered Arafat a peace plan that would have dismantled the settlements, given the Palestinian government a presence in Jerusalem, and was not so different than the Saudi Plan. But Arafat rejected it and instead reacted with the Intafada. Most of the Israeli public crave peace and security, but have elected a hard line government because the soft line hasn't worked so far. They would love to deal with a Ghandi, but Hamas would have to change drastically before it could qualify as a Ghandi. Remember, Israel really is a republic elected by its citizens. Show them a reason and a way to reach a settlement and a Palestine that is seriously willing and able to make such a settlement. Then the Israeli people will elect a government that will do it.