The Bailey Mail
March 7, 2008
The Arab League threatened Wednesday to withdraw their continued offer of normalized relations with Israel in return for the Jewish state’s withdrawal to the borders as they stood before the 1967 war. The Arab Peace Initiative was first made in 2002, when Israel swiftly rejected it, but seemed to consider it more deeply when it was reoffered last year, in an attempt by Israel to make some regional allies against Iran.
The threat from the Arab League is in response to what they call Israeli war crimes in Gaza and the other occupied territories, war crimes which it says are being recorded. I regret to say that it is unlikely the threat will make much of an impact on Israel’s behaviour. The truth is Israel doesn’t want peace because it comes at a far higher price for them than continuing the conflict:
They have the continued support of the international community as they starve the population of Gaza to death, and if that isn’t enough they can bomb the place up a bit for good measure, aided by the millions in military aid from the U.S. buying them the best weaponry, and they have hardly any civilian casualties. If Israel did find peace the military aid would stop and they would lose their precious East Jerusalem; there is no incentive for Israel to find peace and until that changes there will be no peace.
Meanwhile, Palestinian Authority President and supreme rule of the West Bank Mahmoud Abbas has been led by the nose by Condoleeza Rice. Abbas froze peace talks with Israel over the weekend to protest Israel’s deadly strikes on Gaza, and he had said earlier Wednesday that a ceasefire would be necessary to get him back to the table.
Rice however insisted the two were not linked: “I have talked with … president Abbas and obviously he wants calm … but this is not a condition for the resumption of the talks.” How can Rice decide what a precondition for talks is, Abbas set the precondition for god sake. Either way, Abbas did as he was told and will return to negotiations while bombs fall on Gaza. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert did say there would be no further attacks on Gaza if the rocket fire ceased.
The International Herald Tribune ran a story on the Palestinian divisions caused by Hamas’ continued rocket fire. According to IHT Israeli officials have said the point of last weeks operation was to show Hamas the cost of continued rocket fire, and to create more popular dissatisfaction at Hamas rule. What better way to reduce support for Hamas than to kill dozens of innocent children and hundreds of Palestinians, what they call a method in the madness. The article only surveyed a handful of Palestinians, more of whom supported resistance than didn’t and the popular opinion even among Fatah supporters is that Israel’s disproportionate violence serves to increase support for Hamas, not weaken it.
The continued violence is also causing dissent among Israelis, especially as it comes again after the run up to last year’s Annapolis conference and the re-release of the Arab initiative along with Israel’s desire to form a regional alliance against Iran had many analysts, myself included hoping that peace maybe closer than ever before. Israeli newspaper Haaretz, last week ran a story on how a majority of Israeli citizens support talks with Hamas on resolving the conflict.
With Israel offering to stop attacking Gaza if the rocket fire stops, and Hamas offering a long ceasefire (hudna) in return for a complete halt to all Israeli operations in the West Bank and Gaza, the uninformed may wonder why the violence continues. I put it like this:
If Hamas stopped firing rockets, then Israel stopped attacking Gaza, before too long Israel would provoke Hamas by launching a police raid to arrest wanted militants, or an assassination and it would all start again. This has been the way it has gone time and time again, because like I say Israel has no incentive to find peace and many incentives to continue the conflict, until this conflict starts costing Israel there will be no peace.