Cette lettre est reprise du blog allemand Al Sharq, Naher und Mittlerer Osten . Un israelien exprime son point de vue a l’un des bloggueurs.
you asked me what I think of the present situation here. I know that the present situation is, in my eyes at least, very bad indeed, if you ask me how to get out of it, the answer is I do not know.
You know my political views but I do not hesitate to tell you that when Jamus Oron, the leader of the leftist-zionist Meretz party, on the day of the Israeli air strike, issued a statement supporting the action I fully agreed with it. There is no point, again in my Israeli eyes, to look at a situation as it was on the day of the attack without looking at what led up to it. The so called « cease fire » between Israel and Hamas was about to come to an end. I call it « so called » because during all this time an average of at least eight rockets were fired at Sderot and other towns/villages every day. Towards the end, when Israel was willing to extend the cease fire, Hamas increased the daily dosage and range in the hope of getting better terms, partly unacceptable to Israel. Before that cease fire, ever since the withdrawal of Israel from the Gaza strip eight years ago, the rockets came daily and Israel practically did nothing (neither did the world). And that because there were no mass casualties. « Only » a person killed here or there, some badly injured. I myself often had a bad conscience when I encouraged that policy of restraint. Here I was living in safe Jerusalem abandoning the population in the south to their fate for years. These were not settlers in the occupied areas with whom I have little sympathy. These were Israelis like me. Parts of the population fled, others who could not stayed, had their business and livelyhood ruined and their children growing up with all sorts of problems as a result of living in daily fear and having to hide under the table in school a number of times a week. For eight years.
And all that after the withdrawal, thank the Lord, from the Gaza strip, at no small political cost to the government. The agricultural infrastructure left behind to the World Bank to enable the resettlement of Palestinian refugees was burned by them and the area is used as a base for rocket attacks ever since. The fact that Israel did not act, except for an occasional commando raid, was seen as weakness and resulted in Hamas increasing its demands and the intensity of its attacks.
There are statements claiming that the attack is connected to the oncoming elections. If the government had not taken action perhaps this might have increased the chances of Bibi Nataniahu winning the elections. Would that have been good for the future of the Middle East? Even so I am very much afraid he may come out top. You have no idea what influence the affair of the Israeli soldier (Gilad Shalit), who has been prisoner of Hamas has on public opinion here. Three years without news, three years without the Red Cross or anybody else having any contact with him « and the government (and the world) doing nothing ». Unfortunately the majority of Israelis are not members of Merez. It is no crime in a Democratic country for the government to be influenced by public opinion. I did not see that the government, under the
circumstances, had any option but the use of force.
What happened after the first few days is another story. Actually the usual story for which Israel is as much to blame as anybody else and perhaps even more so. This stupid policy of not talking to the other side, not trying any other way than the use of force and not knowing when to stop using force. Even here, I admit, my criticism is more concerned with not talking enough to Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority than with not negotiating with Hamas to whom most of the world was not talking to and talking to them meant weakening the Palestinian Authority.
I was just intercepted by a call telling me that the ground forces have started to enter Gaza. I had hoped this would not happen. With Hamas showing that it had the capability of sending its rockets to Beer Sheva and Ashdod and not hesitating to do so, I am afraid that from an Israel point of view this move was unpreventable. As to the public opinion war, this there is no chance of winning. I appreciated the Prime Minister of Turkey calling the Israeli action a « crime against humanity ». Compared with what Turkey has and is been doing to the Kurds in Turkey and ouside its borders, the Gaza action is small beer indeed. No, I am afraid that Hamas « asked » for it. But that does not make the situation in Gaza any less tragic.
I hope I have not disappointed you too much by being such an Israeli patriot. If I like it or not I have to agree that the security of Israel and its inhabitants is the first consideration any government has to take intoaccount. I think that the attack on Gaza was under the circumstances unavoidable. That after that we tend to « overkill » and try not to use political means with the same vigour as we fight, is unfortunately also often true.
Now I can only hope that the ground actions will only be a matter of daysand not drag on once again with even more tragic results…