Saturday, January 3, 2009

War and Peace

Shalom All,

I believe that it is time to change our terms. What is and has been going on between the Israelis and Palestinians is not yet a PEACE process. It remains a WAR in progress with a few temporary halts and some changes in its day to day functioning. Fundamentally, it is a WAR process. What is the difference? Why call it that?

Well, in a war, you both wish to harm your enemy and engage in actions that attempt to accomplish that wish. Negotiations are equally a part of war as they are a part of peace, so the presence of negotiations, including various kinds of temporary cease fires, agreed upon humanitarian aid convoys, and even the withdrawal of troops to agreed upon boundaries does not render what is war, somehow peace.

Right now, even during "Peace" negotiations, the Palestinian Authority demands concessions that further its WAR aims and harm its enemy Israel, such as demanding the Right of Return to Israel of people hostile to its very existence and willing to fight to eradicate it. That is not a peaceful demand. The PA is also at war with Hamas, both negotiating things that harm Hamas and actively engaging in violence against Hamas. Hamas meanwhile is actively engaged in WAR against Israel on every front including the diplomatic one. Israel is at war with Hamas, but attempting PEACE with the rest of the Palestinian people.

Peace requires one step that the Palestinians have yet to take. It requires that the government defend its FORMER enemy even to the point of using lethal force against its own to do so. Neither Hamas nor the PA have made any attempts to prevent their own from attacking Israel using lethal force. Israel has done so toward the PA on at least one very prominent occasion, namely the case of Baruch Goldstein who was killed by Israeli troops while killing Palestinians. That is the extreme of what PEACE requires, namely the killing of your own who attempt to violate the peace of your former enemy. It certainly also requires the constant disarming of those among your own who would use violence against your former enemy in an attempt to violate peace between you and them. Israel arrests and disarms those among its population who do so. Neither the PA, much less Hamas, have attempted to do so among their populations, which is a clear indication that they are not yet engaged in a "peace" process.

Don't get me wrong. I do not believe that the PA necessarily has the strength to engage in one. They face a civil war, even in the West Bank, if they try. But that is exactly what PEACE will require that they do.

Instead, what we have is a War Process that the world looks upon hoping to see positive signs. It pretends that tactical cease fires are signs that peace is prevailing, that lulls in fighting are not there solely to establish stronger fighting the next time those lulls are broken. The world pretends to see doves being lobbed over the border that offer kisses upon landing. It dreams that underneath the Egypt-Gaza border teddy bears are being smuggling into Gaza by clowns who need to entertain the children, rather than missiles carried by terrorists who wish to blow up Israeli children.

Peace is not a state of preparing for intensified war. That is war. Peace is fighting one's own to prevent war and so far only Israel has even attempted it.


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