TFF logoFORUMS Meeting Point

TFF Home | About us


Iraq Forum

Features by others

Links to all issues

New stuff

Other associate articles

Burundi Forum

Publications on-line

Paul McCartney

Nyt på nordisk

Jonathan Power

EU conflict-handling

The 100 best books

Annual Reports

TFF Associates


Reconciliation project

Øbergs Kalejdoskop

Support TFF on-line

Activities right now

Gandhi & India

Teaching & training

Oberg's photos

Support TFF off-line

PressInfos - Analyses

Macedonia Forum

Lærestof på dansk

TFF News Navigator


Israel's war on Gaza

"The truth is the reverse..."




Richard Falk, TFF Associate


July 24, 2006

In a shocking display of disregard for the restraints of international law and morality, Israel has been resorting to a massive, flagrant, and cruel display of collective punishment inflicted on the essentially helpless and captive 1.2 million population of Gaza.

Almost as shocking has been the silence of the world community in the face of these criminal violations of the Geneva Conventions, which contain the fundamental rules of international humanitarian warfare.

The alleged justification for this behavior was the seizure of a single Israeli soldier and the killing of two other members of the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) in a raid carried out by an armed Palestinian group that is apparently independent of Hamas that is in political control of Gaza as a result of its decisive electoral victory in January.

To punish the entire Gaza population, already enduring incredible hardships as a result of Israeli refusal to allow economic assistance in view of their electoral choice, is beyond the pale of any reasonable response, especially as Hamas has agreed to help free the soldier if Israel is willing to negotiate the release of Palestinian women and children being held in Israeli prisons.

Not only have Gazans in recent weeks been terrorized by frequent missile attacks, but the entire population is kept at the brink of death by nightly sonic booms and random attacks on supposed militants. Perhaps the worst Israeli excess is the destruction of the main source of Gaza's electricity through the bombardment of its principal power station, thereby depriving much of Gaza of water and sewage control, threatening to generate disease and a survival ordeal intensified by summer heat. Supposedly, this punishment of Gaza as a whole is an Israeli response to the election of a Hamas leadership.

Prime Minister Olmert has repeatedly threatened the Palestinians with continuing punishment stretching over a period of months if the Israeli soldier is not unconditionally released. It seems clear that the Israeli policy is basically motivated by political considerations that have little to do with the fate of this soldier.

The most plausible rationale of the policy is to repeat the approach taken by Ariel Sharon in relation to Yasir Arafat, attacking the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people while claiming that Israel has no alternative but to impose its own version of 'peace' because it has no negotiating partner.

Now Olmert is doing the same thing with respect to the leadership selected by Palestinians in the course of democratic elections. Victorious Hamas seemed ready to embrace a pragmatic approach to the conflict, offering a truce, and even an end to armed struggle once the occupation of the Palestinian Territories had ended. It was the reasonableness of such an approach that seemed undoubtedly threatening to Israeli plans to incorporate most of the West Bank settlements and carry on with their separation wall built on occupied Palestine in defiance of a near unanimous decision of the World Court a year ago. Tel Aviv is now in the process of creating a situation in which at the very least it can claim that it has no negotiating partner.

The truth is the reverse as has been pointed out recently: it is the Palestinians who lack a negotiating partner. It is the Palestinians who are primarily suffering from the failure of the international community to insist on the implementation of international law. It should not be removed from historical memory that the United Nations has had a special responsibility for several decades for ensuring a just solution for the two peoples. It has failed miserably, succumbing along the way to geopolitical forces siding with Israel.

Would you be reading this now,
if it wasn't useful to you?
Get more quality articles in the future

Europe, inexplicably, has basically followed Washington's pro-Israeli approach since Hamas won the elections, and has been notably silent during the recent Israeli military campaign in Gaza. Only the Swiss Government has had the integrity and decency to condemn Israel's failure to act in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.

Turkey also deserves praise. It will be recalled that Ankara took a controversial diplomatic initiative by meeting with the Hamas leadership to encourage greater moderation on its part in the hopes of averting the sort of deepening crisis that has occurred. It is probably the case that this initiative was doomed to fail as the Israeli Government did not want to shift the conflict onto a political plane as that would undermine their plans to impose a unilateral outcome.

Now apparently the Turkish Government is being urged behind the scenes to exert some sort of mediating influence so as to resolve a confrontation that is now a shock to the conscience of humanity, but as before, given Israeli priorities, it has little or no chance of succeeding. But for the sake of the victimized Gazan population, every attempt at ending the violence should be supported, even if its chances are slim.

In the end, this Gazan campaign shows the world that the Israeli Government is prepared to wage indiscriminate warfare with high technology weaponry against an entirely vulnerable civilian population.

Such behavior violates the most elementary laws of war. It also demonstrates the unwillingness of either the United Nations or the countries in the region or European Union to react in a manner that takes seriously either Palestinian rights or Palestinian suffering. It is a very sad moment for the region and the world.

The extension of this approach based on wildly disproportionate retaliation to Lebanon threatens a wider sphere of violence as well as additional suffering for another country that has experienced colossal distress due to Israeli policies in recent years.


Get free articles & updates

© TFF & the author 2006  



Tell a friend about this article

Send to:


Message and your name




S P E C I A L S & F O R U M S

Iraq Forum

Gandhi & India

Burundi Forum

Photo galleries

Nonviolence Forum

TFF News Navigator

Become a TFF Friend

TFF Online Bookstore

Reconciliation project

EU conflict-management

Make an online donation

Foundation update and more

TFF Peace Training Network

Make a donation via bank or postal giro

Basic menu below












The Transnational Foundation for Peace and Future Research
Vegagatan 25, S - 224 57 Lund, Sweden
Phone + 46 - 46 - 145909     Fax + 46 - 46 - 144512

© TFF 1997 till today