A durable truce

A durable truce

Thank you for your excellent coverage of local reactions to the awful situation in Israel and Gaza. However, your article, “Gaza combat leaves Zionist Left conflicted: Operation is justified, they say, but Israel needs lasting solution,” (July 31) represents me as saying something that was exactly the opposite of my intended meaning.

The article quotes me in an e-mail to NJJN as saying “Israel has no alternative but to manage the conflict by periodically counter-attacking to degrade Hamas’s weapons and deter it from attacking for a while. Since this is the third major conflict with Hamas in six years, every few years Israel will have to fight a war like this in Gaza to keep Hamas at bay.”

In fact, I cited this in order to point out that it was a view to which I am opposed so as to contrast it with my own view.

My position, as stated in my e-mail to NJJN, but which was not quoted in the article is that “the current approach,” cited above, “forces Israel into a situation of endless war, closing off any chance of ever finding peace and security. Yes, Hamas wants to destroy Israel, but that’s only the beginning of the story. We can’t change Hamas’ ideology, but we can affect their  ability to act on it. We can do that not only with IDF counter-attacks on Hamas’ weapons and destruction of the tunnels, but with smarter political policies that will make it much more difficult for Hamas to re-arm or to attack Israel, while at the same time weakening Hamas politically among Palestinians.”

I explained that I support a threepronged cease-fire proposal which has been gaining ground among senior Israeli security, intelligence and diplomatic officials, which would offer Israel the chance for a long-term truce with Hamas. The elements of that solution include:

1. Israel and the U.S. Congress would “accept a Palestinian national reconciliation government, led by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, which would take over security and  political responsibility for Gaza from Hamas.”

2. A UN Security Council resolution would be passed, which the Arab League should be asked to support, to oversee partial demilitarization of Gaza — “partial” because most Israeli
experts agree that complete demilitarization of Gaza is not a realistic goal.

3. Israel, Egypt, and several Arab countries would facilitate “economic improvement and reconstruction for the impoverished people of Gaza. Israel would lift its blockade of Gaza while ensuring no imported materials would be used for military purposes.”

Another temporary cease-fire which does not address these underlying sources of conflict will doom Israel to fight large-scale wars in Gaza again and again, leaving Israelis exposed to future rocket attacks on the scale they have been experiencing last month, or worse, and Palestinians to ever more death, destruction, and misery. A durable truce in Gaza would
also create a more stable security and political environment for future peace talks with moderate Palestinian leaders aimed at resolving the larger issues fuelling the Israeli-Palestinian  conflict.

(Gidon) Doni Remba
executive director, The Jewish Alliance for Change

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