Not quite. Israel's central dilemma regarding Hamas-controlled Gaza can be discerned behind Israeli decisionmaking in recent days. The latest events mark the clear arrival of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad PIJ organization to a primary role in the ongoing conflict. Two IDF soldiers — a man and a woman — were wounded. The attack took place against the background of a Hamas-organized border demonstration. Israel's response then led to further Hamas missile and rocket attacks.
The latest confrontation marks the arrival of Palestinian Islamic Jihad to a primary role in the conflict. The ability of Islamic Jihad to heat up the situation on the border is the subject of concern and close attention in Israel. Islamic Jihad, unlike Hamas, is not a largely independent actor with deep roots in Palestinian society.
Rather, it is a purely military organization, which from its formation has been closely aligned with Iran. Its current leader, Ziad Nakhala, is based in Syria and is a frequent visitor to Teheran. Israeli officials consider that the recent uptick in PIJ activity out of Gaza is part of an Iranian desire to draw Israel into a prolonged operation in Gaza.
This would be intended to divert attention from the more crucial front to Israel's north — in Syria and Lebanon. In that arena, an ongoing, undeclared conflict between Israel and Iran is under way. Iran is seeking to build an infrastructure for future attacks on Israel. Israel is trying to prevent this.
Gaza is a mere irritant by comparison. For Teheran, however, it is a useful irritant. Control and direction of Islamic Jihad is intended to enable Iran to turn the flames in Gaza up or down according to its immediate needs. Israel's reluctance to be drawn into a long and open-ended campaign in the area should be seen against this larger regional backdrop. But herein lies the dilemma. It was the era of dialogue. Many Palestinians stood witness to Israeli trauma rooted in the Holocaust. Israelis, weary of a six-year Palestinian intifada, wanted Oslo to lead to lasting peace; Palestinians believed it would result in the creation of a free nation of their own, side by side with Israel.
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Even then, however, there were disturbing signs. I was confused. Why, then, would something like this be authorized? Was it possible we were witnessing the beginning of the end of generations of bloodshed and trauma? Already, however, there were dissenters. Mourid Barghouti, a Palestinian poet who, like thousands of his brethren, returned from exile in the early days of Oslo, was shocked to find former PLO liberation fighters reduced to the status of petty bureaucrats lording it over ordinary citizens.
Clearly the PLO has transformed itself from a national liberation movement into a kind of small-town government… What Israel has gotten is official Palestinian consent to continued occupation.
At the time, many Palestinians wrote off Said as someone intent on obstructing real, if incremental, progress. Or maybe he did. In fact, the accords only seemed to facilitate it. The question worth asking on this 25th anniversary of those accords, which essentially drove policy in the U.
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Billions of dollars and endless rounds of failed negotiations later, did Oslo ever really have a chance to succeed? Those were, of course, the very confrontations that had helped fuel the success of the First Intifada, creating the conditions for Oslo. But at the time, for many, it seemed worth the price. For Palestinians, Oslo remained a kind of tabula rasa of hopes and dreams based on the formula of getting an agreement first and working out the details later.
We did not build real democracy. And they pointed out that some settlements remained in both of these unofficial agreements and that neither included any kind of Palestinian right of return — considered by Israelis as a potential death blow to their state and by countless Palestinians uprooted in as a non-negotiable issue. She points out that when American settler Baruch Goldstein assassinated 29 Palestinians praying in a mosque in Hebron in , Rabin could have seized the moment to end the settlements.
But it really relates to what he intended to do in the first place. Yet Baskin believes that when Rabin, having just addressed , Israelis at a peace rally in Tel Aviv, was gunned down, Israeli priorities changed strikingly. The latest Israeli rampage was set off by the brutal murder of three Israeli boys from a settler community in the occupied West Bank.
A month before, two Palestinian boys were shot dead in the West Bank city of Ramallah. That elicited little attention, which is understandable, since it is routine. We have no dignity, no pride; we are just soft targets, and we are very cheap.
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Either this situation really improves or it is better to just die. I am talking about intellectuals, academics, ordinary people: Everybody is saying that. In January , Palestinians committed a major crime: They voted the wrong way in a carefully monitored free election, handing control of Parliament to Hamas. The media constantly intone that Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel.
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In reality, Hamas leaders have repeatedly made it clear that Hamas would accept a two-state settlement in accord with the international consensus that has been blocked by the U. In contrast, Israel is dedicated to the destruction of Palestine, apart from some occasional meaningless words, and is implementing that commitment. The crime of the Palestinians in January was punished at once. The U. When Hamas had the effrontery to foil the plans, the Israeli assaults and the siege became far more severe.
There should be no need to review again the dismal record since. Once the lawn is mowed and the desperate population seeks to rebuild somehow from the devastation and the murders, there is a cease-fire agreement.
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Though Israel maintained its siege, Hamas observed the cease-fire, as Israel concedes.