Pity it Tripled deaths from rocket attacks; but there are glimmers of hope
We can all relax now that Operation Kill Children to Boost Poll Ratings has achieved partial success. Barak and Livni now have their chances to be the next Israeli Prime minister who bombs and starves Gazans rather than Benjamin Netanyahu. That’s a triumph for humanity (1,2).
Cynics point out that the offensive actually increased rocket attacks. The Israeli Foreign Ministry website shows one Israeli civilian was killed by rocket attacks in the six months before the offensive, while three were killed in the three weeks during it (3).The cynics miss the point though. Reducing rocket attacks was never the aim.
More Palestinians have been radicalized by a thousand deaths and Israeli spokesmen have been able to claim that it’s the ‘undemocratic’ Hamas, not their own government, which has refused to negotiate. That may be the opposite of the truth and Hamas may be elected, but who cares. Israel “won”;the Labour-Kadima governing coalition matched Likud in the polls; the untermenschen Israeli Arab parties are banned from the next election (edit - a law later over-turned in Israeli courts) and the settlement of the West Bank continues. Palestinians are again relegated to their assigned roles of being ethnically cleansed and used as an enemy to rally Israeli voters against (4 – 11).
The Israeli government can also continue to propagandise about being the "only democracy in the Middle East", even while (yet again) trying to overthrow the democratically elected government of one of the other two (the Palestinian Authority) by force and repeatedly trying the same in the other (Lebanon).
There are some glimmers of hope though - Barack Obama has announced his administration will talk to Hamas, which would make it hard for the Israeli government to justify not acccepting offers of talks, especially if Obama threatens a cut in financial aid and arms shipments behind the scenes, as even George Bush Senior did when he was President (12).
Many people have also begun their own boycotts of Israeli produce and some company directors, including, I'm proud to say, one of my own relatives, have said their firms won't trade with Israel as long as the slaughter of civilians continues. So even if governments fail to put sufficient pressure on the Israeli government their citizens might yet do it.
(1) = Haaretz 31 Dec 2009 ‘Poll: Most Israelis support continuing Gaza military op’,
(2) = BBC News 08 Jan 2009 ‘Israelis back Gaza action - for now’,
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7816794.stm (see last two sections under sub-headings ‘Ratings War’ and ‘High Stakes’)
(3)= Israel Foreign Ministry ‘Victims of Palestinian Violence and Terrorism since September 2000’, http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Palestinian+terror+since+2000/Victims+of+Palestinian+Violence+and+Terrorism+sinc.htm
(4) = Telegraph 09 Feb 2006 ‘Hamas offers deal if Israel pulls out’,
(5) = Guardian 4 Mar 2006 , ‘Hamas says peace possible at Moscow talks’, http://www.guardian.co.uk/international/story/0,,1723217,00.html
(6) = Guardian 22 Jun 2006 ‘Climbdown as Hamas agrees to Israeli state’ http://www.guardian.co.uk/frontpage/story/0,,1803184,00.html
(7) = Ynet news (Israel) 22 Dec 2007 ‘Report: Hamas weighing unconditional truce with Israel’, http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3485394,00.html
(8) = IHT 23 Dec 2007 ‘Israel rejects Hamas request for cease-fire talks’,
(9) Guardian.co.uk 21 April 2008 ‘We can accept Israel as neighbour, says Hamas’,
(10) = Khaled Hroub (2006) ‘Hamas : A beginner’s guide’ , Pluto Press, London, 2006
(11) = Haaretz (Israel) 13 Jan 2009 ‘Israel bans Arab parties from running in upcoming elections’, http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1054867.html
(12) = 09 Jan 2009 'Obama camp 'prepared to talk to Hamas'',