by Randolph T. Holhut
American Reporter Correspondent
July 24, 2014
ISRAEL VS. PALESTINE: A SENSELESS WAR WITHOUT END
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- The hawks in Israel call it "mowing the lawn," the periodic bombardments and incursions into Palestinian territory to keep radical groups like Hamas under control.
Hamas fighters in Gaza launch a few rockets into Israel. Because of Israel's "Iron Dome" antimissile defense system, few cause any damage.
In return, Israel unleashes the might of one of the most powerful military forces in the world to shoot up and blow up one of the most densely populated areas on Earth.
More than 600 Gazans have died and more than 3,700 have been injured, as of this writing, since the Israeli bombardment began on July 7. About 70 percent of the casualties are civilians, although to hear some hawks talk, there is no such thing as a civilian in Gaza.
Since Hamas routinely used civilian sites for storage and deployment of its weapons, you could make that argument. But you could just as easily make the argument that Hamas wouldn't be lobbing missiles at Israel if Israel hadn't turned Gaza into a prison camp.
Gaza has been blockaded by Israel since 2006, after its citizens cast their ballots for Hamas - and Israel and the United States refused to recognize the result. This blockade has been done in violation of United Nations protocols against collective punishment.
But the United States keeps supporting the nation that has illegally occupied Palestine for nearly five decades.
Israel may have a right to defend itself, but it does not have the right to keep 4.4 million Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank as its de facto prisoners indefinitely. But the hardliners of the Israel Lobby, led by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), prevent the Obama Administration and Congress from pointing this out.
It doesn't have to be this way.
The resolution to this conflict has been sitting in plain sight for years - Israel returns to its pre-1967 borders, with a shared Jerusalem as the national capital, in exchange for a Palestinian unity government strong enough to negotiate a lasting peace while recognizing Israel's right to exist.
Unfortunately, there is now zero chance of seeing a two-state solution, and that's by design. The Netanyahu government is absolutely opposed to the creation of a Palestinian state, and instead backs creating a "Greater Israel" that permanently incorporates Gaza and the West Bank while denying Palestinians equal rights.
And if that is the official policy of Israel, there will continue to be armed resistance to Israel by Palestinians, and the cycle of violence will keep spinning.
The tragedy of the current conflict is that Israel will never be able to wipe out Hamas, and Hamas will never be able destroy Israel. All that can happen is more death and destruction brought on by two foes that will not compromise and will not not seek common ground.
AR's Chief of Correspondents, Randolph T. Holhut, holds an M.P.A.from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and has been an award-winning journalist in New England for more than 30 years. He edited "The George Seldes Reader" (Barricade Books). He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.