Asian Conversations - an online magazine to explore Asia's future

Where have all the flowers gone?

12 JUNE 2018: THE unyielding and seemingly intractable Israel-Gaza cycle of violence, ceasefire and fresh violence that continues to result in horrendous levels of civilian casualties evokes an ongoing storm of outrage in the world press. Palestinian border protests continue to attract Israeli sniper fire, that has wounded or killed children, nurses, and some militants.

The New York Times writes, "The shift from the politics of Rabin and Shimon Peres to that of Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman is a move from pluralism to ethnocentrism, from relentless engagement to segregation. It’s a shift from tough realism to the magical thinking that Palestinians are somehow going to go away."

Writes the same author, "It is clearly in Israel’s interest to maneuver the Palestinians away from extremism and to weaken the extremists in its own ranks. And yet sometimes Israeli policies seem callously designed to guarantee an extremist response."

The Washington Post would like to see Israel use non-lethal means of restraint. "Israel, a high-tech powerhouse that has already pioneered missile defenses, should now take the lead in nonlethal weapons. These could be augmented with additional physical barriers to avoid deadly confrontations."

It continues: "If Hamas wants to ease the suffering of its people, it needs to do what the Palestinian Authority has already done: Accept the existence of Israel. But if it does that, Hamas will lose its raison d’etre. This, ultimately, is why the 1.8 million people of Gaza are consigned to an 'open-air prison.' Their jailers are Hamas, not Israel."

The Guardian advises common sense solutions as the alternatives are far too bleak to contemplate. "As Israel grows richer, Palestinian destitution becomes more troubling. Its dilemma grows more acute as the number of Palestinians in the Holy Land approaches that of Jews. Israel cannot hold on to all of the land between the Jordan river and the Mediterranean, keep its Jewish identity and remain a democracy. It is in Israel’s interest to accept that Palestinians need a state as much as Israelis do. Otherwise, the choices are a single entity in which Jews could eventually be a minority; a form of apartheid; or perpetual occupation."

Viewed through another prism, Richard Falk wrote earlier in AlJazeera, that Arab regimes appear to have abandoned Palestine. The sticking point is Hamas. He writes, "The core explanation of Arab complicity has to do with the Arab governments hating and fearing the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), of which Hamas is viewed as a branch, far more than they resent Israel, and its encroachment on their region, and even its appropriation and control of Muslim sacred places in Jerusalem."

The AlJazeera article adds, "While Israel talks about rockets and tunnels, its massive military operation is being increasingly interpreted as punitive, and directed not only at Hamas but at Palestinians generally."

While there has been strong domestic support for Benjamin Netanyahu, especially from the ranks of settlers in forward positions deemed most at risk, some argue he may have stepped too far. Lebanon's The Daily Star maintained earlier that this casued a backlash. "Israelis from all walks of life, and increasing numbers of diaspora Jews, are speaking out, rejecting what they call Israel’s frequent violation of international law and the injustice of what they describe as a two-tier system of citizenship and law."

The Economist writes that "the pummelling of Gaza has cost Israel sympathy, not just in Europe but also among Americans." The magazine states, "A global poll in and about several countries, conducted for the BBC long before the latest strife in Gaza, reported that negative views of Israel’s influence in the world outweighed positive ones by more than two to one."

Growing anti-Semitism in Europe is another negative - and highly visible - consequence as the backlash against Israel grows. – Asian Conversations