Posts Tagged

gaza

Debate in Israel about the government’s strategy in the Gaza war is heating up.  While a majority of Israelis still support the war in Gaza, a growing minority are questioning whether continuing the war against Hamas will bring greater security to Israel or stability to the region, arguing that the government’s military campaign will perpetuate a conflict damaging all parties – not least Israelis themselves. Benjamin Netanyahu’s failure to bring home the Israeli hostages has reinforced tensions and doubt among the public. But continuing the war suits the incumbent government, enabling them to remain in power.  Paradoxically, it also suits Hamas. Only when a majority of Israelis themselves conclude that the current strategy puts at risk rather than guarantees their …

Despite the appalling course of events since 7 October, the continuing fighting and the suffering of the bereaved and displaced in Israel and Gaza, people are beginning to ask where this will all end, how it will end, and even whether it will end? It is essential to address these questions now, because a lasting solution can only be found once people on both sides have some hope for the future The emergence of the two-state solution Since the 1917 Balfour Declaration declared support for a Jewish homeland in Palestine and fuelled the two growing national movements of Jews and the Palestinian Arabs, there have been only three possible solutions to the question of who lives in the land between …

Over Gaza, the international criminal justice system (ICJS), spearheaded by the International Criminal Court (ICC), must pick a trench: Does international criminal justice entail the active involvement in humanitarian relief and prevention in conflict zones? I call those who support this proposition, “legal activists”, for a lack of better terminology. Or might, in contrast, the sole objective of ICJS operations be the realisation of ex-post justice, as “purist” interpreters of international criminal justice usually espouse? This post argues that these two objectives are not mutually exclusive. Instead, I argue that a legal activist approach in situations of acute conflict facilitates ex-post justice in the long run. Gaza, War Crimes, Silence The ICC’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office has been investigating war crime allegations in …

Last week Yochanan Gordon posted a blog entry on The Times of Israel’s website entitled “When is Genocide Permissible?” The answer to this question so blatantly obvious that one has to wonder why the question was asked. Indeed, this inaugural post was almost one word long. However, I felt compelled to look at Mr. Gordon’s reasoning given that it has caused such outrage among people on both sides of the conflict. To borrow from J.S. Mill, doing otherwise makes dead dogma out of living truth (Mill, 37). Genocide is obviously evil, but the forensic examination of an argument with which we disagree is the best way to refute it and, hopefully, convince those who hold it to put it aside.

In September 1938, European statesmen gathered in Munich for a fateful conference. Hitler wanted to annex the Sudetenland, a German-speaking region of Czechoslovakia; Britain and France, desperate to avoid war with Nazi Germany, caved in and granted the Führer’s request. It was hoped that Hitler’s appetite for territorial expansion would be sated: Neville Chamberlain, Britain’s prime minister, proclaimed that the concession had achieved “peace for our time“. Within a year, Hitler had invaded Poland and the Second World War had begun. The policy of appeasement, it appeared, had failed and forever would fail – or so it came to be thought. As the twentieth century evolved, ‘appeasement’ evolved into a term of abuse that would automatically discredit the granting of concessions to satisfy an opponent. What had previously referred to the pacific settlement of disputes through pragmatic negotiation, argues historian David Dilks, “came to indicate something sinister, the granting from fear or cowardice of unwarranted concessions in order to buy temporary peace at someone else’s expense”. The spectre of Munich came to hang over every international crisis: the Korea, Vietnam, Falklands and Suez wars were all justified in terms of the inevitable failure of appeasement. Most recently, the willingness of the West to allow Crimea to fall to Russia has been denounced as ‘appeasement’, and it is common to hear the crisis spoken of as ‘Obama’s Munich‘. The 2005 Gaza Disengagement was Israel’s Munich moment: in Israeli discourse, ‘Gaza’ is to ‘unilateral withdrawal’ what ‘Munich’ is to ‘appeasement’. Israel withdrew its army and 8,000 settlers from Gaza Strip; the power vacuum was soon filled by Hamas, and this densely populated coastal strip became a launching pad for thousands of rockets against Israeli civilian areas, provoking two mini-wars.