While we hear Canadian PM Steve Harper & US President George Bush stating that Israel has the right to defend itself, the hypocrisy of their statements is deafening.
Since February 2005, Hamas declared a one-sided ceasefire and halted all suicide bombings. Yet since then, Israel has killed hundreds of Palestinian civilians and wounded multiple times that number. Israel has rained thousands of shells on Gaza’s defenseless populations, and the homemade Qassam rockets that Hamas has tried to fight back with has killed a handful of people.
After the latest spate of killings, including the murder of a Palestinian family picknicking on a beach, the Palestinians were finally able to attack a military- not a civilian- post, capturing one soldier and killing two. The resistance of an occupied people to the occupation’s military is enshrined in international law. Yet the result of this Palestinian self-defense? Dozens more killed and wounded, including many children and entire families, terrorizing the Palestinian population with sonic booms all through the night, and the cut-off of electricity, water and food. All this under the watchful eyes of Harper, Bush and the rest of the world.
And what was the Palestinian demand for the release of the captured soldier? A release of the illegally imprisoned women and children being held by Israel and under atrocious conditions. There are close to 10,000 political Palestinian and Lebanese prisoners held, with over 1000 of those held with no charge under “administrative detention”. The vast majority of the remainder was convicted based on confessions extracted through torture. This has been well documented by human rights organizations worldwide, including the Israeli group Btselem.
Similarly, Hizbollah from Lebanon, attacked the Israeli military at the border and captured 2 more soldiers. Israel has continued to illegally occupy the Shebaa farms, and these border skirmishes have continued for years. Hizbollah’s demand for release of prisoners also, has resulted in Israel killing dozens of Lebanese civilians in the past few days. The bombings of bridges, the Beirut airport and the Lebanese infrastructure are designed to punish the Lebanese people, and are inexcusable. Not surprisingly, Hizbollah has retaliated by firing rockets back on Israeli cities.
So where to from here? It seems the impasse can only be resolved if the US pressures its’ problem-child Israel. Considering the latest UN sessions, the history of US vetoes in the past to protect Israel, and the strength of the Zionist lobby in DC, this seems highly unlikely. Two scenarios however, may provide an outlet to the end of bloodshed.
The first is related to oil. If the prices of oil skyrocket to such an extent that there is an uproar over the “wallet-pain”, then the US administration may intervene to put Israel in check. The scenario would be accelerated if Iran utilizes the oil weapon and threatens the production levels. Arab countries on the other hand such as Saudi Arabia, are highly unlikely to incorporate this strategy and/or follow Iran’s lead in such a case. What it would come down to is the factors of pressure on government due to the high price of oil on the one hand vs. the profitability of the big oil companies and their benefactors (Haliburton, etc.) on the other.
The second scenario is related to the so-called Arab street. Here the Arab populations in countries subjected to totalitarian pro-US regimes such as Jordan, Egypt and others, would become so enraged with the brutal Israeli victimization of their Lebanese and Palestinian brethren, and consequently the complicity of their regimes, that the uproar and instability would force the US to reconsider its’ stance, and stop Israel. This possibility however, seems much more remote.
The only way to peace is an end to the “might is right” policy, and all its’ consequences. In the meantime, one can only hope that the bloodshed of innocents will end quickly.