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Analysis: Three years after the war on Gaza
Published Sunday 01/01/2012 (updated) 02/01/2012 19:38
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Smoke rises over Gaza City after an airstrike during the 2008-9 war on Gaza.
(MaanImages/Wissam Nasser)

Three years ago the Israeli army initiated a major military offensive against the people of the Gaza Strip with the aim of stopping the shelling from Gaza and the release of one of their soldiers that was held in the strip.

Over 1,400 Palestinians, many of them women and children, were killed, thousands were injured, and public, private and internationally owned properties were damaged as a result of the attack that came from land, sea and air.

Both publicly stated goals failed in this criminal war against a defenseless population and lightly armed militants.

Shelling from Gaza has continued intermittently since the war. It slowed down considerably as a result of a unilateral decision by Hamas, and could end immediately if Israel were to deal with the Islamic movement. As to the captured Israeli soldier, the Israelis were forced to do what Hamas offered them from day one, to trade him for imprisoned Palestinians.

Israel and to a lesser extent, Hamas, were accused by renowned UN appointed international jurists of having committed war crimes.

Following extreme pressure on him and his family the head of the UN commission South African judge Richard Goldstone, later wrote an opinion article changing some of the conclusions of the committee he headed. He never made any official change in the report that was submitted as an official document to the United Nations.

The Israeli-imposed siege on Gaza has continued and has been publicly justified by major world countries even though this siege was and remains totally illegal. No international body has approved the restriction of movement of people and goods into or out of the Gaza strip.

An international effort to break the siege has resulted in a de facto loosening of this siege. Unfortunately this effort has cost nine Turkish peace activists. Israel's relations with an important NATO member has since collapsed due to Israel's refusal to apologize for killing Turks in international waters.

While the slight easing of the siege (especially in regards to badly needed building materials) has resulted in the beginnings of a rebuilding campaign, much more is needed. The hundreds of millions of dollars pledged at the Sharm al Sheikh conference for the rebuilding of Gaza have slowly trickled into the populated strip but have gone mostly to or through international organizations such as the United Nations Refugee Works Agency.

Whether it has been the result of the Arab Spring (especially in as far as Hamas's Damascus headquarters) or for other reasons, Hamas has slowly experienced discernible change since the breakout of the war. Ruling and governing can do a lot to soften any movement's ideologies. The fear of losing in future elections can do amazing things for softening the sharp edges of any movement.

In this respect, the Palestinian reconciliation efforts have produced some unprecedented changes in the political discourse as well as in the daily actions of the Hamas movement and government. Hamas chief Khalid Mashaal is now proclaiming his movements' change of resistance strategy.

The militant movement is now committed to prioritizing nonviolent resistance in all its activities. This position is translated on the ground in Gaza by the movement refraining from launching missiles towards Israel and in arresting or otherwise preventing any individual or group from doing so. This is explained as necessary for the higher interest of Palestinians in Gaza.

Politically the Hamas movement is slowly removing all the issues that caused it international isolation.

By agreeing to join the PLO Hamas is indirectly recognizing Israel, which the Palestinian Liberation Organisation officially did on the eve of the 1993 Oslo Accords.

Internationally, the world community will not be able to justify continued isolation of Hamas even if Israel insists on such an isolation. After all, US and other western leaders have publicly stated their willingness to work with the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamists who have won elections or power in Tunis, Libya and Egypt.

Gaza at the end of 2011 is not the same as it was at the end of 2008, both negatively and positively.

The Arab Spring requires that the current siege and all its effects are once and for all removed so that Palestinians in Gaza can live normally with the ability to move in and out of the strip. Also, Palestinian goods and people from the West Bank should equally have the right to move unfettered to the strip without the illegal and immoral siege restricting them.

Daoud Kuttab is a Palestinian journalist and former professor of journalism at Princeton University.
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1 ) Colin Wright / USA
01/01/2012 12:19
'Three years ago the Israeli army initiated a major military offensive against the people of the Gaza Strip with the aim of stopping the shelling from Gaza...' (I) It's interesting to see how Israel manages to get lies accepted as truth -- even by the most surprising people. There HAD BEEN a cease fire. Israel started methodically violating it, eventually provoking a Palestinian response.

2 ) Colin Wright / USA
01/01/2012 12:22
'Three years ago the Israeli army initiated...' (II) Israel even went so far as to feign interest in a return to a cease fire -- producing an immediate and sharp drop in rocket fire. THEN came the Israeli strike. It turned out that was just so that she could mount 'Cast Lead' as a 'surprise.' (Israel loves surprises). We are, incidentally, repeating this cycle. Israel is stepping up her provocations, once again seeking to create the justification for another militarized pogrom.

3 ) Colin Wright / USA
01/01/2012 12:27
'Three years ago the Israeli army initiated...' (II) Israel (in case you haven't figured it out) feels compelled to try to force the Palestinians to live as victims, to be humiliated, dispossessed, and killed at will -- for all eternity. Submission is not really an option, since the Zionists will never allow the Palestinians to live except as perpetual targets of abuse. The only real question is what do the Palestinians intend to do about it.

4 ) Colin Wright / USA
01/01/2012 12:33
In my view, the PLO should insist that Israel's de facto rule over all of Palestine is real -- and that therefore, everyone living in Israel is entitled to vote in Israeli elections. Israel has no ethical basis for denying the franchise to Palestinians living in Palestine. It would be a fatal error to pursue what can only be a Palestinian Bantustan. Take back the whole thing. Once they lose power, the Zionists will leave.

5 ) Tony B? / ME
02/01/2012 11:19
My oh my. This website gives such a lot of space to Colin Write, whilst blocking most of us who refute his version of events. One may be forgiven for thinking he has some connection with the editors. The run-up to Cast Lead is still fresh in most readers minds. Israel pulled out of Gaza. 8000 rockets are fired into Israel by Gazans. Israel goes back in to kick some ass. Hamas cease fires are a tactic used both then and now. They shoot, then call a cease fire. They shoot again then call another.

6 ) Ben Alofs / UK/Netherlands
02/01/2012 15:53
Tony B @ 5. You may fool the naive reader, but not those well informed. Hamas was observing a cease fire scrupulously from June 2008 onwards as even confirmed in a report by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Centre, which is very close to the Israeli army. Israel refused to even relax the Gaza siege and invaded the Strip in November 2008 killing 6 Hamas members. While Hamas was interested in an improved renegociated cease-fire Israel opted for invasion and massive war crimes.

7 ) BEN JABO / ISRAEL
02/01/2012 16:46
To any and all that aren't aware, it's a War, with some brief intermissions, it resumes each and every time a rocket is fired at Israel Colin Wright, you're expert from the USA, has a view on everything and anything he hasn't seen or experienced In his view, anyone living in Israel is entitled to vote in Israeli elections, does that also apply to anyone living in America, including 20 million illegal immigrants? Colin is what we could call the equivalent of a Shamas in a pickle factory

8 ) @ 5) tony / USA
02/01/2012 17:40
if you would leave the squats and occupation i am sure the rockets will stop....you aree creating the terrror you complain aboutt....youur who state was invented and stolen.....are you that stupid? palestinians nhave to fight ytou back to exist

9 ) Colin Wright / USA
02/01/2012 22:55
To Ben Jabo #7 'In his view, anyone living in Israel is entitled to vote in Israeli elections, does that also apply to anyone living in America, including 20 million illegal immigrants?' It certainly applies to anyone born here, which is more than Israel can say.

10 ) BEN JABO / ISRAEL
02/01/2012 22:56
#8 What Occupation, yours? I dare you or any of the Palestinian posters in this forum to answer the following question Why isn't Palestine,Jerusalem or Al Aqsa mentioned in your Quran since you insist on claiming the first two belong to you??

11 ) Colin Wright / USA
02/01/2012 23:01
To TonyB? #5 'This website gives such a lot of space to Colin Write, whilst blocking most of us who refute his version of events.' Refute me? I doubt it. There are arguments that are hard to win, but debunking Zionist propaganda is a pushover. It's like winning an debate with someone who thinks the moon is made of green cheese. Really -- it's that clear-cut. No other position so transparently indefensible has existed since 1945.

12 ) Colin Wright / USA
02/01/2012 23:03
To Beb Jabo 'o any and all that aren't aware, it's a War, with some brief intermissions, it resumes each and every time a rocket is fired at Israel ' And Israel takes good care to bait the Palestinians into firing those rockets, because she needs that war, because every time the dust starts to settle, the complete injustice of her position starts to become manifest.

13 ) Tony B? / ME
03/01/2012 09:42
#6) Like I said. They shoot, then call a cease fire. Then they shoot again and call another one. #8) The Palestinian flag symbolises the reason for over 60 years of warfare. They want the lot, from the Jordan to the sea. Its always been the case. During the last 30 yrs we have heard Pal leaders restraining their 'death to Jews' rhetoric for their English language audience. But its still their when they speak to their Arab audience.

14 ) BEN JABO / ISRAEL
04/01/2012 00:34
12_ Colin, yeah sure, we have a swuad of Cheerleaders encouraging them to fire the rockets When are finnally coming to see something of others?

15 ) Robby / USA
04/01/2012 05:27
11 ) Colin Wright / USA - LOL!!!! Do you really think you are winning debates with anyone other then those who already agree with you? That's called playing for the home crowd. A debate should stand on its own, not resort to diversion tactics and deflections. Do you think belittling people of opposing views by calling them liars and mocking them is winning a debate? Maybe you should do a little research into why people belittle others, don't be scared.

16 ) johnny benson / usa
04/01/2012 23:18
there is no colin wright.....not in the states....that enity is a propaganda writer for the palestinian views.....pure and simple......but i do commend the maan folks for...posting pro israeli views...more then any other pro palestinian web site...especially ones run by liberal lefist jews

17 ) Robby / USA
05/01/2012 16:26
16 ) johnny benson / usa "that enity is a propaganda writer for the palestinian views" - I doubt that is true, if this person were professional they would do a much more effective job. I agree with you about Maan compared to other Palestinian sites.

18 ) southparkbear / usa
08/01/2012 10:18
what war? there was only a swift hamass victory

19 ) Igiligilis / france
08/01/2012 13:38

I am happy to read Colin Wright here! Colin writes for all of those whose voices cannot be heard from Gaza. Maan pages are not enough large to record all the voices of Gaza!
The zionist propaganda lost its usual targets!

I am always flabbergasted when I read that poor TSAHAL is at war against the unarmed population of Gaza!
I guess that there are people (particularly zionists) who have the incredible ability to believe their own huge lies!



20 ) Colin Wright / USA
08/01/2012 19:52
re johnny benson #16: 'there is no colin wright.....not in the states....that enity is a propaganda writer for the palestinian views.....pure and simple...' Novel. Coulda sworn I was real...planted some leeks in the backyard yesterday, and I just looked. They're really there. Incidentally, it's 'entity,' not 'enity.'

21 ) Colin Wright / USA
08/01/2012 20:00
To Ben Jabo #10 'Why isn't Palestine,Jerusalem or Al Aqsa mentioned in your Quran since you insist on claiming the first two belong to you??' I'm not sure what the relevance of that is. The English are a predominately Christian people, and yet London isn't mentioned in the New Testament, and yet London indubitably belongs to the English.

22 ) Colin Wright / USA
08/01/2012 20:14
To Robby #15 'Do you think belittling people of opposing views by calling them liars and mocking them is winning a debate?' Well, they ARE liars: I've often observed that I've never read more than one hundred consecutive words in defense of Israel that didn't contain at least one lie. One has to lie to support Israel.

23 ) southparkbear / usa
08/01/2012 20:14
#19, an famous general once said, "I rather fight 5 german divisions on the front line than 2 franch brigades supporting me from behind"

24 ) Colin Wright / USA
08/01/2012 20:21
To Robby #15 'A debate should stand on its own, not resort to diversion tactics and deflections.' It's mildly comic to take this in context. 'Cast Lead' is a topic of the article. I made four posts about that article. Since then, the Israel brigade has been talking about everything BUT that.

25 ) Colin Wright / USA
08/01/2012 20:24
To Ben Jabo #12 '12_ Colin, yeah sure, we have a swuad of Cheerleaders encouraging them to fire the rockets When are finnally coming to see something of others?' What does this mean?

26 ) Robby / USA
09/01/2012 16:42
22 ) Colin Wright / USA - I will leave you to figure out the irony of your response! Either you are deliberately being funny or you have a lot of hubris.

27 ) Robby / USA
09/01/2012 16:55
22 ) Colin Wright / USA - BTW please point a lie that I have made.

28 ) Carlos / USA
09/01/2012 22:43
I have to compliment Colin Wright. He gets right to the point. Another compliment to Ben Alofs / UK/Netherlands.

29 ) Igilgilis / France
15/01/2012 00:00
To twenty-three: what did Georges Washington said about De La Fayette? You are not grateful!

I guess that you can be as heroic as those soldiers who pissed on afghan corpses?

Personnally, I do not like soldiers nor generals, even Patton and La Fayette. Because they can fight for a "noble cause" and then murdered peoples just because they do not belong to their "civilisation". Suivez mon regard!
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