There are 10 days until Jan. 20, 2009.
Wednesday 7 January 2009
A wounded Palestinian policeman gestures while lying on the ground outside Hamas police headquarters following an Israeli air strike in
The only way to make sense of
I write as someone who served loyally in the Israeli army in the mid-1960s and who has never questioned the legitimacy of the state of
Four decades of Israeli control did incalculable damage to the economy of the
In August 2005 a Likud government headed by Ariel
The real purpose behind the move was to redraw unilaterally the borders of Greater
Israel's settlers were withdrawn but Israeli soldiers continued to control all access to the Gaza Strip by land, sea and air.
As so often in the tragic history of
Like other radical movements, Hamas began to moderate its political programme following its rise to power. From the ideological rejectionism of its charter, it began to move towards pragmatic accommodation of a two-state solution. In March 2007, Hamas and Fatah formed a national unity government that was ready to negotiate a long-term ceasefire with
It continued to play the old game of divide and rule between rival Palestinian factions. In the late 1980s,
The war unleashed by
The timing of the war was determined by political expediency. A general election is scheduled for 10 February and, in the lead-up to the election, all the main contenders are looking for an opportunity to prove their toughness. The army top brass had been champing at the bit to deliver a crushing blow to Hamas in order to remove the stain left on their reputation by the failure of the war against Hezbollah in Lebanon in July 2006.
As always, mighty
To be sure, Hamas is not an entirely innocent party in this conflict. Denied the fruit of its electoral victory and confronted with an unscrupulous adversary, it has resorted to the weapon of the weak - terror. Militants from Hamas and Islamic Jihad kept launching Qassam rocket attacks against Israeli settlements near the border with
Whatever the numbers, killing civilians is wrong. This rule applies to
The brutality of
A wide gap separates the reality of
The Biblical injunction of an eye for an eye is savage enough. But
No amount of military escalation can buy
This brief review of
• Avi Shlaim is a professor of international relations at the University of Oxford and the author of The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World and of Lion of Jordan: King Hussein's Life in War and Peace.
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"The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and everything to lose--especially their lives." Eugene Victor Debs