Wednesday, January 7, 2009

The Great Escape

Yet again, it appears that the Israel government has gotten away with summary murder, riding above the realm of international law. During the ongoing incursion into the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces have destroyed international installations and killed countless civilians, knowingly in breach of the Geneva Conventions. This is the latest episode in a long succession of violations that have been almost continuous since the 1970s. The mere act of control over the borders of the Palestinian Territory's borders constitutes a de facto invasion and de jure occupation: Israeli troops are denying Palestinians access to food and other aid via a blockade supposedly aimed at deterring Hamas rockets. Such an action fails to realize that it also constricts the ability of the Palestinian Authority to govern the West Bank but more importantly does recognize that in practical terms, Hamas is the government of Gaza and that a cease in rocket attacks will only occur once Israeli forces the right of rule to Hamas, who in 2006 won a free and fair election and have also omitted their call for the destruction of Israel from their manifesto. Simply put, Ehud Olmert and his advisers have again failed to realize that terrorism and crime only escalate when infrastructure fails to exist. This failure led to humiliation in the invasion of Lebanon in 2006 and looks set to turn off the tap of goodwill towards Israel with Ban Ki-Moon demanding an immediate halt to military operations. Perhaps if the Israeli government followed the western model and tried those accused of terror in courts rather than executing summary justice, the bloodshed and condemnation would be avoided.
My use of the word condemnation perhaps is unjust for whilst Ban Ki-Moon and thus the UN are furious, that body matters little to Olmert. Outgoing President George W. Bush remained unflinching in his support of the Israeli cause, explaining how,"I understand Israel's desire to protect itself and that the situation now taking place in Gaza was caused by Hamas," whilst him imminent successor Barack Obama has not issued a statement supportive of either belligerent.
Gordon Brown remained agnostic, declaring a need for "security to both the Palestinian people and the Israeli people". This is broadly line with the opposition Conservatives as well as France's Nicolas Sarkozy. Indeed, only LibDem leader Nick Clegg called for an arms embargo and demanded that the Prime Minister condemn the wrongdoings of Israel, joined by China's Hu Jintao in criticising Israeli actions. Hugo Chavez completed the field of non-Middle Eastern political leaders and took very heavy action, expelling the Israeli ambassador. Unfortunately, that move will be of little consequence when Israeli's guardian angel fails to whisper in her ear that the needless violence must come to an end for things to progress.

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