Saturday, March 8

The Vicious Cycle of Violence

A terror victim at Mercaz Harav in Jerusalem (Y-Net)

The past week has been a week of revenge and hate. Qassams and Katyushas fell in Sderot and Ashkelon and caused injury and shock to the people of these towns. The result of these attacks was felt, not by the regular members of Hamas (who celebrated a victory when the Israeli Army withdrew from Gaza). The fact that 165 Palestinians were killed, many of whom were innocent, and not involved in the violence did not seem to make any impression on Hamas and company. The predictable rhetoric based on fantasy and an unrealistic world view was rapid in coming from their spokesmen. The arms caches hidden in private homes under Hamas orders turned many Palestinian women and children into human shields, exposed to the wroth of the Israeli Army in its quest to rout out the Hamas terrorists.

The situation remains tense and the motivation for Hamas terror has increased. The situation has become difficult and any form of sanity is still far from reality. Reports of innocent Palestinian babies and children being killed and injured are coming in. It is shocking that children on both sides have fallen victim to this cycle of violence. Nothing on earth can justify killing of innocent people whether Israeli or Palestinian.

The latest terrorist attack occurred on Merkaz Harav Yeshiva in the Kiryat Moshe neighbourhood of Jerusalem where 8 students were killed and nine others wounded. This attack was despicable and ought to be condemned in the strongest terms! The repercussions resulted in a rallying point for the right wing which makes political capital of this ghastly and tragic act. Various claims of responsibility for the attack were made. An organization calling itself "Galilee Freedom Battalions - the Martyrs of Imad Mughniyeh" claimed responsibility for the attack, according to Hezbollah's Al-Manar television station. This claim has yet to be verified. The terrorist, Ala Abu Dhaim, who was himself shot dead, acted alone. Hamas’s terrorist wing denies any responsibility for the attack. Later reports did state that this terrorist acted alone.

This terrorist attack served the interests of extremists on both sides of the great divide. The celebratory shooting in the air in Gaza that followed the terrorist attack in Jerusalem last night showed that the penetration of Merkaz Harav was viewed as an unusual political and military achievement for the group responsible.

The attack brought something to a wide public in the Gaza Strip that it had been waiting for all week - revenge. The Israeli right wing demonstrations with its spine-chilling chanting of “Death to the Arabs” were reactions that were just as despicable as the reactions of joy in Gaza.

This yeshiva is the spiritual centre of the religious Zionist movement. Many right wing rabbis graduated here. The ideology of the religious Zionist movement is another of many complex factors that are obstacles to any form of negotiated peace settlement. The terrorist who committed this awful deed was killed in a shoot out. The cynical use of political ideologies at a tragedy of this magnitude is disgusting. It reaches a level approaching the level of Hamas’s reaction to killing of Israelis.

The peace process is in shreds. Even resumption of negotiations with President Mahmoud Abbas is a hopeless exercise in achieving peace. Abbas does not represent his people. The division of Palestine into two entities means that Gaza is not part of the overall peace process. Mahmoud Abbas does not have the authority to negotiate on their behalf. The situation is so hopeless and the US is very unrealistic in its approach towards a negotiated settlement. How peace will be achieved before President Bush leaves office at the end of 2008 is anybody’s wild guess.

The cycle of violence – terror and Israeli army retaliation will continue. How much innocent blood needs to be spilt before both sides come to their senses? Both peoples have had enough of this destructive and tragic violence. Al Jazeera’s Odeh said the latest incident could prompt greater willingness to negotiate.

"The political buzz in the Palestinian territory is that this attack has really awakened the politicians on both sides to a reality - the status quo will not work and they need to work on reaching a ceasefire," she said.

"This is the second attack [inside Israel] in one month, something that Israelis haven't seen in a very long time. They don't want to be subjected to that again. The calls for a ceasefire, mutual and reciprocal between Israelis and Palestinians, will be a lot stronger."

A cease-fire and a stop to all violence and terror must be declared!


2 comments:

Colin H said...

A "ceasefire" for hamas only means that they need more arms and will start again once more show up in gaza. It has happened time and time again and this will not be any different. They want war, plain and simple and its about time Israel gave them what they want.

Anonymous said...

COLIN H,

Nobody 'wants war' What Hamas and the palestinian people want is their rights back, their land back and to be treated as human beings, Israel is ILLEGALLY occupying Palestinian Land. If someone told you they where having your land and that if you come back into your land you would be in danger of attack would you sit back and accept it or would you do all you can to defend yourself anf your family? ...I dont want war, nobody does, I just want whats right and just. Palestinians free to leave in PALESTINE and Israeli Zionist Terrorists to end the illegal occupation.

Your a fool / ignorant to think otherwise

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