From Gaza to Where?

Israel is entitled to defend itself against rocket attacks launched from Gaza. But the lesson of the last two decades is that attacks stop, and intifadas do not start, when there is a prospect of peace – and that, when there is no such prospect, Palestinian militancy is uncontainable.

CANBERRA – The wisest words on the Second Gaza War may have come from an Israeli living in a kibbutz near the Gaza border. “If you want to defend me… Don’t send the Israel Defense Forces for us in order to ‘win,’” Michal Vasser wrote in Haaretz on November 15. “Start thinking about the long term and not just about the next election. Try to negotiate until white smoke comes up through the chimney. Hold out a hand to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Stop with the ‘pinpoint assassinations’ and look into the civilians’ eyes on the other side as well.”

Israel is, of course, entitled to defend itself from rocket attacks. But the lesson of the last two decades is that attacks stop, and intifadas do not start, when there is a prospect of peace – and that, when there is no such prospect, Palestinian militancy is uncontainable.

The chances of a comprehensive and sustainable two-state settlement now being negotiated with Mahmoud Abbas’s West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) – and of its acceptance, albeit grudgingly, by Gaza’s Hamas after a popular vote – may be slim and receding. But the only alternative is an endlessly recurring cycle of deadly violence between Israelis and Palestinians.

To continue reading, please log in or enter your email address.

To read this article from our archive, please log in or register now. After entering your email, you'll have access to two free articles every month. For unlimited access to Project Syndicate, subscribe now.

required

By proceeding, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy, which describes the personal data we collect and how we use it.

Log in

http://prosyn.org/DE35MDH;

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated cookie policy and privacy policy.