Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Neve Gordon On Gaza

From Democracy Now, 12 January 2009

NEVE GORDON: The problem is the—yes, intentions are important, but the facts are more important. And the fact is that Israel is the one that’s doing the harm to—much more harm to civilians than the Hamas ever did and ever will do. Israel has killed in the past two weeks 275 children, and not Hamas, regardless of the intentions. You mentioned the school. Israel is dealing with a propaganda war. Israel is the one that disseminated a video of Hamas shooting rockets from a school, a video that’s almost two years old, claiming that the video was taken a day or two earlier. So Israel is in a propaganda war. Yes, the Hamas is fighting out from a civilian population, but Israel has the choice whether it’s going to bomb the civilian population ore (sic) not, and it is intentionally deciding to bomb the civilian population. So in terms of intentionality in bombing areas where there are civilians, Israel is acting like a state terrorist. So, if your definition of terrorism doesn’t take into account the identity of the actor—and state actors can also be terrorists—then when you bomb a school and when you bomb a university and when you bomb a neighborhood and you’re killing much more civilians than militants, then you’re doing something that is an act of terror.

And I have a problem. I think my views are pro-Israelis. I would like to see Israel existing in the Middle East sixty years down the line, and not only the first sixty years. And the only way for Israel to continue to exist in the Middle East is if it changes its approach towards the region and see itself as a leader of peace and not a belligerent actor in the region. And Israel has been living on the sword. Some of our neighbors have been living on the sword. But we have to come out and say we no longer want to live on the sword, because those who live on the sword, as the Bible tells us, also die on the sword. We have to come out and say we are willing to talk with our enemies, even with people that say that they do not believe in the existence of Israel. The PLO—you mentioned Fatah—the PLO said that they do not believe in the existence of Israel for many years. And ultimately, we sat down and talked with them, and they are now considered our Palestinian partner. I believe that if there is a pragmatic side, a strong pragmatic wing in Hamas, that if we start negotiation with them, over the years these people will also agree to the existence of Israel and be willing to live side by side with us. If we do not talk with them, if we continue this cycle of violence, ultimately Israel will be destroyed, because ultimately, the technological edge that we have over our neighbors will not be meaningful. So we have to change our approach. We have to be pro—by changing our approach, we’re actually pro-Israeli. We say we want to see Israel a hundred years from now. And the only way we’ll see Israel exist a hundred years from now is if Israel makes peace with Syria, with Lebanon and with the Palestinian people.

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