Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Blame the Israel people and not just the government?

This sounds plausible, and reasonable:

I get notes all the time from family and friends in Israel. These are generally liberal, secular people. None of them are settlers. None of them vote for Likud, to say nothing of parties further to the right. Overwhelmingly, the sentiment among people I know in Israel was in favor of the Gaza war, in favor of the embargo and blockade, in favor of a policy of collective punishment against the people of Gaza.

The reason is simple. From the perspective not only of the Israeli center but of people who consider themselves basically on the left, though not the far left, when Israel unilaterally left Gaza that meant the Gazans “got what they wanted” and left no basis for continued hostilities. The fact that, after the withdrawal, Hamas rained mortars and rockets down on Israeli territory, proved that Hamas had no “legitimate” political goals but was simply interested in destroying Israel and killing Jews. After that, whatever Gaza got, from their perspective, they had coming to them, and there’s nothing more to say.


If you think about it, though, it’s not at all hard to “understand” why Hamas launched their rockets. First of all, because they could. Israel was the enemy, fleeing with her tail between her legs. Why should they refrain from shooting? Second, of course they still had grievances. Even from the perspective of the most moderate possible interlocutor on the other side, what Israel “gave” the Palestinians by unilaterally withdrawing from Gaza didn’t remotely satisfy Palestinian grievances. Did Israel actually expect the people of Gaza to say “thank-you?”

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