POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY DAVID HIRSH IN THE GUARDIAN
Mr. Hirsh, you are simply wrong.
I do think, and I know that any of the defenders of Israel’s brutality will not agree, that most people reach fair and reasoned views in these matters just from the facts in the press. Israel’s behavior is unethical and unacceptable and doomed to never bringing peace.
Milne was accurate in describing Israel's response as a "killing spree." Your rationalization does not make it otherwise.
When a bad kid in an American ghetto kills someone randomly, as by dropping a rock from a highway overpass (something which actually happened in the past many times), the police don't respond by burning down the entire neighborhood, slaughtering women and children.
Yet this accurately describes Israel's workaday approach to Palestinians, and we always find people trying to tell us, just as you now are trying to tell us, that it is reasonable or appropriate or unavoidable.
You only demonstrate here an ethical view that is utterly corrupted by politics, and this seems to be the case for all defenders of Israeli brutality. In effect, one senses much of Jewish opinion - once among the world's leading voices in matters of human rights - gradually being dragged down in trying to defend the indefensible behavior of Israel.
Only recently, Israel killed something like 1,500 people in Southern Lebanon, left the place littered by a million cluster-bomb bomblets, killed four UN observers doing their duty, and destroyed a quarter of a city on the flimsy excuse that two soldiers were kidnapped. I’m sure you made the same arguments for that hellish behavior.
Israel treats all of its neighbors with contempt. It refuses to talk to an elected government in Palestine, calling them “terrorists,” quite an irony when you consider all the terror Israel has used in its founding and fifty years of expansion.
I am convinced Israel has a better chance of reaching a reasonable peace with an honest outfit like Hamas than it does with Arafat’s pathetic party, but I am equally convinced Israel does not want such a peace. Why else treat Hamas as though they were witches in the Middle Ages? Why else imprison elected officials against all international law? Why else threaten to assassinate the leader? Why else try to starve them out?
Just talk to people, be ready to compromise, treat them with respect, and peace will break out. You don’t have to like your neighbor to live in peace. But this is not what Israel wants. It wants the rest of land of the Palestine minus its people. There is no other sensible explanation for its behavior.