Cross-posted from Reader Supported News
The emerging images of Gaza reduced once more to rubble by the Israeli military make clear that the civilian infrastructure has been directly targeted. Such destruction of civilian targets is collective punishment and without a doubt a violation of international law and the Geneva Conventions.
Israel and the US press lay the blame for all of this at the feet of Hamas. For the record, Hamas is an old-school, "destruction of the state of Israel" organization. But they are a paper tiger, and the Israelis are well aware of it. Moreover, Hamas could easily be brought to a constructive negotiation. But that would invalidate them as a threat to Israel's security, and remove Israel's primary excuse to make war on the population of Gaza.
Hamas must immediately stop trying to rearm. Although they have every right to, it is precisely what the Israelis are hoping for and what best empowers the military incursions.
Hamas is trying to implement one of Gandhi's primary principles of resistance. Gandhi said, "You must make the injustice visible, and be prepared to die like a soldier to do so." That's the part Hamas gets right. What they forget is Gandhi's total instance on nonviolent means. It is the lack of this key element that dooms them to failure every time. If Hamas intends to emulate Gandhi, they would do well to read Gandhi.
Israel has the means to improve the human rights situation quickly and effectively anytime it wants.
They must turn their attention to the refugee camps. The camps were a staggering injustice when they were created decades ago, and they have been allowed to stand and fester, in some cases for over 50 years. Justice and Israel's security are both served by aid to these enclaves. Lifting the residents out of abject poverty and despair makes their lives better and the lives of the Israelis around them more secure. Failure to address the refugee camps in a meaningful way has been a perpetual mistake, for which the Israelis pay dearly, time and time again.
Infrastructure: the Israelis build it for themselves, and deny it to the Palestinians. In doing so, they miss a key opportunity to create a foundation for a stable relationship with the Palestinian population.
Cultural respect: The Palestinians want it, the Israelis refuse it. Nothing could be lower cost, simpler, or more effective than honoring and respecting cultural traditions.
The Israeli right-wing categorically rejects these simple steps. It's time for the Israeli left to begin taking some risks. For the sake of Israel and its future.