Wednesday, 19 September 2007

More Israeli twisted logic

BBC News:

Israel declares the Gaza Strip a "hostile entity", which may lead to it cutting off vital fuel and electricity supplies.

Because surely cutting off vital resources and inflicting collective punishment won't increase support for terrorists opposed to Israel...

Why do they think Gaza has grown so hostile? It was in part a result of Israel's horrendous policy towards the Palestinian territories. Yes, Hamas has brought Gaza to a new low, but why should regular people pay? I hope someone in the Israeli government will recognize the faulty logic of shutting off electricity and other essential utilities from people who have already suffered enough, and are already understandably angry at their overbearing neighbor.

As far as the legality of collective punishment goes,
Under international law, Israel is considered an occupying power in Gaza, even though it has removed its troops and settlers. Denying civilians access to the necessities of life is considered collective punishment and a violation of international law under both the Hague and Geneva conventions.

Of course America rushes to the defense of Israel on this matter. Israel is just in calling the Hamas haven of Gaza 'hostile', but punishing the 1.4 million residents of the entity is no solution -- in fact, it ultimately hurts all parties.

I understand Israel's dilemma. After all, the most direct way to confront the militants firing rockets into Israel would be to invade or launch a military attack. That would be the worst thing Israel could do; it would draw scorn from foreign powers as well as serve as the perfect rallying cry for the same rebels Israel wishes to defeat. I do not know, however, if it is sending covert special forces to help take down the rocket-firing militants — just the militants. I certainly would not be against that.

If Israel really wanted peace in Gaza, it would stop fueling the fire paradox (counterintuitive actions in fighting terrorism), and that includes inflaming the already-disconsolate -- and often radicalized -- civilian population of Gaza. Hamas also needs to look at the damage it's doing to its own people, innocent Israelis, as well as its own political standing. If it ever wants legitimacy, it needs to recognize Israel. There are steps for both parties to take, but neither is willing, especially Hamas.


henwy said...

Yes, Hamas has brought Gaza to a new low, but why should regular people pay?

Because they elected Hamas? And why should Israel support a territory which is run by a government whose stated purpose is the destruction of Israel? It seems strange to have suggest that Israel has some sort of obligation to send their enemies electricity or food or whatever.

clearthought said...

Under international law, Israel is obligated to allow essential services to the people of the Palestinian territories. It would be different if Palestine was an independent state, but it isn't. Israel is technically, as the IHT article says, an occupying power. And it's not like the electricity, etc., is charity either — they're paid services. Israel is denying access to those services seen as essential.

Israel cutting off essential services not only is counterproductive in its fight against anti-Israeli extremism, but it does conflict with its legal (and humanitarian) obligations.

(See my follow-up post to this post for more on the matter.)