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War without political horizon is futile
Published Sunday 18/11/2012 (updated) 23/11/2012 13:49
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Jihad al-Masharawi, a BBC employee in Gaza, mourns over the body of
his 11-month-old son Omar, who was killed by an Israeli air strike in
Gaza City, Nov. 15. (Reuters/Mohammed Salem)

Once again we are witnessing a sharp escalation of violence without any pretense of looking for a political horizon. Israel is shelling Gaza from land, sea and air without even thinking about a political perspective.

Pundits and activists will argue over who is to blame for the current round of violence and what are the goals of the Israeli offensive, but in all the tough talk, no one is even considering to look further than the military solution.

Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas made a short television appearance Friday insisting that the PLO is planning to go to New York on the 29th of November seeking a vote for an upgraded status for Palestine.

Among other things, such a status (which would be similar to that of the Vatican) will allow Palestine to take Israeli war criminals to the International court at the Hague.

Israel’s stated goal in this cycle, which began with the assassination of a Hamas military leader, is deterrence. An Israeli activist, Gershon Baskin, states that Ahmad Jabarri, who supervised the prison exchange with Israel last year, was involved in discussions about a long term cease fire between Hamas and Israel.

So if the Israelis are not interested in a long term ceasefire what are they interested in?

At best the current Israeli offensive will degrade and weaken Hamas’s military power but is unlikely to end their rule or their ability to return again and resist the Israelis. If the lessons in Lebanon are to be looked at, a resistance movement that survives Israeli onslaught will be more powerful and will have even more weapons to use.

A political solution obviously will require a change of position from Israel towards Hamas as well as regarding the two state solution. Israel has been talking with the newly Egyptian administration of Muhammad Mursi who was elected after being nominated by the Muslem Brotherhood. The idea that Israel (as well as the US and other western powers) will continue to avoid talking to Ismail Haniyeh, who was freely elected by the Palestinian people, makes little sense or logic.

It is true that the term of Haniyeh who headed of the largest parliamentary block, as well as Abbas who was elected president, has long elapsed. But until new elections can take place, the Gaza- based Haniyeh has as much legitimacy as the Ramallah-based Abbas.

But irrespective of the recognition or lack thereof, the Israelis as well as the international community have an important and relevant political decision to make before the end of this month.

Palestine’s request for an upgraded status by the UN General assembly will be put to a vote on the UN- declared International Day of solidarity with the Palestinian people.

The same UN General Assembly vote back in 1947 for the partition of Palestine into a Jewish and an Arab state was received in jubilation by Jewish Zionists in Palestine.

It is ironic that as rockets from Gaza are reaching the outskirts of Tel Aviv that Israelis including those who danced and celebrated in the streets of this coastal city and their descendents don’t see the importance of fulfilling the other half of that partition plan.

While Israeli occupation and colonial settlement activities have made the two state solution more and more remote from a Palestinian perspective, it still holds the most appropriate and acceptable political solution to this century old conflict.

The re elected US president, his UN representative and the US congress should support the vote for Palestine rather than buy the Israeli claims that their offensive war on Gaza is merely an act of self defense.

Daoud Kuttab is a journalist and former professor of journalism at Princeton University.
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1 ) Tibi / Tubas
18/11/2012 05:49
Perhaps Israel believes that "War without" end, and the clearly "futile" Arab resistance, will create a situation with "political horizon," and in most rational (not Palestinian) minds, they would be correct !!

2 ) Brian Cohen / Israel
18/11/2012 17:06
Kuttab chickens out of addressing the real issue: there is no political horizon with Hamas. Hamas does not believe in a political solution at all and simply talks about a long-term "lull". Hamas refuses to use the word "ceasefire" since they always reserve the "right" to "resist" - shooting or blowing up Israeli civilians. The real reason the 2-state solution is remote is that the Palestinians made it impossible. Kuttab should talk true reality: a 3 state solution. Israel, Palestine and Gaza.

3 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
19/11/2012 16:35
@ 1), No, those "rational" minds--including those in Israel--that would think a situation for a "political horizon" would be created would be dead wrong ... THAT'S the whole problem: Continued hope--under any conditions--that this 2-nation solution has hope. Although 2) is much more accurate in his assessment, the 2-nation/"3-nation" solution is still 100% hopeless. David Kuttab, when he says we're not even thinking about a political perspective while this Gaza horror goes on, is (cont.)

4 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
19/11/2012 16:36
absolutely right. Since 4 years ago from our last Gaza offensive, Hamas has recouped and amassed even MORE rockets that are larger and deadlier: Grad and Fajr rockets able to bomb Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Our horrific, murderous assault in Gaza won't do a damn thing for hope; it has 100% demolished it and galvanized international support for the U.N. Palestinian upgrade. America will vote no (it should at least abstain) and so its credibility with the Palestinians has 100% collapsed.

5 ) ian / australia
20/11/2012 13:33
#2 "...there is no political horizon with Hamas. Hamas does not believe in a political solution at all...the real reason the 2-state solution is remote is that the Palestinians made it impossible." Interesting Brian, but not what Khaled Meshaal says: "a Palestinian state in the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital, without any settlements or settlers, not an inch of land swaps and respecting the right of return." I'd call that a political solution. Just not the one you want to hear. But a

6 ) ian / australia
20/11/2012 13:35
(contd.) political solution which lets Israel carry on however it likes (as "The Jewish State" or whatever) in over 3/4 of historic Palestine. It's a good deal. A generous offer. A reasonable "political solution" which you won't even admit is on the table.

7 ) Yehuda Solomon / Israel
22/11/2012 17:37
@ 6), I'm not debating the logic of your (basically, the Saudi Arabian) plan. As I've said many times before, yes, it does make sense. I only reiterate the correct fact: If we reverted back to the 1967 lines that would make Israel approx. 1/5 of all of historic Palestine, (not 3/4). If for the sake of accuracy if not for anything else, everybody must understand that historic Palestine was part of the Ottoman empire before the British, existing on BOTH sides of the Jordan River.

8 ) ian / australia = / hamas sock puppet
23/11/2012 12:22
And they have our answer. STICK IT WHERE THE SUN DON'T SHINE !
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