Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Israel rejects Gaza truce calls

Israel rejects Gaza truce calls: "Mr Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni were reportedly opposed to the ceasefire plan [of a 48 hour truce to let humanitarian aid into Gaza], while Ehud Barak, the defence minister, was said to be inclined to examine it...a government spokesman, Mark Regev said that Israel was not looking for a "band aid", or something that would expire a month from now. But he said dialogue would continue. ..

A Hamas spokesman quoted by AFP news agency criticised the current international truce proposals as unbalanced. "The current efforts aimed at ending the combat and installing a ceasefire put the executioner and victim on equal footing," Fawzi Barhum said."

So what would put both sides on an equal footing? An equal number of deaths on each side? An equal value of destroyed property?

It reminds me of the Oliver and Hardy film where they take turns in smashing each others' vehicle, part by part, after a collision. Oliver and Hardy showed how absurd retribution is, but this is the political "reality" in Israel/Palestine. We are watching a group psychosis, a mutual interaction of anger, working its tortuous way across the land.

Israel wants to destroy Hamas' organisational infrastructure, because Hamas wishes that the state of Israel did not exist. Israel exists because the Nazis tried to destroy the Jewish people in the 1940s. They did this by putting the Jews first into ghettos, then into death camps. What is Gaza but a ghetto? The imminent invasion of Gaza, if it goes ahead, will be spun as a defensive war by the Israeli Government, but viewed as a pogrom by the Palestinians.

So hatred and anger is an irrational form of mutually reinforcing political interaction. The solution? First, to realise what is going on. Second, to realise that ideal perfection is not attainable. Third, to accept that irrationality and destructiveness are as much human traits as rationality and constructiveness. Finally, to recognise that humans are not predestined to act irrationaly and destructively: we can choose to act rationally and constructively.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Israel exists because the Nazis tried to destroy the Jewish people in the 1940s"

Does it? An interesting claim, given that the first Zionist Congress was held in 1897, aiming at "establishing for the Jewish people a publicly and legally assured home in Palestine".

In that year, two rabbis who had been on a fact-finding mission to Palestine reported that "The bride is beautiful, but she is married to another man."


PS. On berachot, Google has the following: