Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thoughts on Operation Cast Lead



1) The score so far: Dead - 285 to 1 in favour of Israel.

2) Israel's claim of killing "only" 15 civilians so far would be pretty good considering the reality of war - until one recalls that as far as Israel is concerned, police or Hamas government workers are not civilians. The picture on the right is of the ruins of the "Saraya" the main prison in Gaza City. Presumably neither the guards not the prisoners count as civilians.


3) I am not a pacifist. Sometimes violence may be needed for self defense. But it should always be a last resort. Israel did not try, in any meaningful way, to negotiate with Hamas. Israel attempted to dictate the situation: to have a ceasefire while maintaining its siege and pressing the Gaza population to overhrow Hamas. Hamas refused these terms and tried to pressure Israel into lifting the seige of Gaza by ending the ceasefire and firing rockets (big mistake as it turned out!). Israel is using the opportunity to "change the rules of the game" (as per IDF spokesman.) Perhaps if negotiations and a lifting of the seige had started six month ago we would not have come to this. But that would have left Hamas in power, something Israel is not ready to accept.

4) In the end Israel cannot defeat the Palestinians as the allies defeated Hitler. Unconditional and total surrenders are very rare in the modern world. There will be some sort of negotiated agreement - whether temporary of permanent. War may be a means of achieving an agreement, but it must be part of a carrot and a stick approach. War is the stick. But Israel has no carrots - at least none it is prepared to discuss right now with Hamas. When this round of fighting is over, the question we will have to ask ourselves is, could the ceasefire to come have been achieved with less killing, wounding, and economic damage? Does it build towards future agreements, or does it build towards a future war?


4) Israel has ruined a lovely Hannukah song by naming this war "Operation Cast Lead" after a line from a popular poem/Hannukah song by Haim Nahman Bialik:

(By using the Hannukah imagery presumably Hamas is being cast as the Greeks, and the IDF as the "few fighting the many".)

Father lit the candles for me

The shamash shone so bright

The shamash shone so bright

Oh, do you know what it is for?

Do you know what it is for?

Do you know what it is for?

It's for Chanukah.

Mother made me latkes

A latke warm and sweet

A latke warm and sweet

Oh, do you know what it is for?

Do you know what it is for?

Do you know what it is for?

It's for Chanukah.

My teacher gave me a dreydl

A dreydl of cast lead

A dreydl of cast lead

Oh, do you know what it is for?

Do you know what it is for?

Do you know what it is for?

It's for Chanukah

אבי הדליק נרות לי
ושמש לו אבוקה-
יודעים אתם לכבוד מה?
לכבוד החנוכה!

מורי הביא סביבון לי,
סביבון בן- עופרת יצוקה -
יודעים אתם לכבוד מה?
לכבוד החנוכה!

אמי נתנה לביבה לי,
לביבה חמה, מתוקה -
יודעים אתם לכבוד מה?
לכבוד החנוכה!

דודי נתן תשורה לי,
פרוטה אחת שחוקה -
יודעים אתם לכבוד מה ?
לכבוד החנוכה !

(also see http://zemer.co.il/FlashPlayer/player.asp?version_id=13 )


4) See what some of my favorite other Jewish bloggers have been saying:

The Magnes Zionist from Jerusalem, Saturday night

The Magnes Zionist From Jerusalem, Sunday morning

Tikkun Olam from Seattle, Sunday afternoon

1 Comments:

Anonymous Shmuel said...

Well said. Thanks.

5:45 am  

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