09 March 2009

Eyeless in Gaza

The latest (26 March 2009) New York Times Review contains an interesting exchange between New York Times columnist Roger Cohen and David A. Harris, Executive Director, American Jewish Committee, on the subject of the Israeli attack on Gaza. Harris writes in response to an article, Eyeless in Gaza by Cohen in the 12 February edition.

Aside from responding to Cohen on the bilateral Israeli-Palestinian issues, Harris raises the subject of Iranian support for Hamas. Cohen responds to Harris; Harris’s letter and Cohen’s response can be found here.

I am with Cohen, in particular on his core theses that peace in the Middle East is not achievable “without coming to terms with the deeply entrenched Middle East realities that are Hamas and Hezbollah”, and that the “ ‘Tehran Connection’, like Hamas, needs revisiting with constructive sobriety rather than slogan-hurling hysteria”.

As the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, told the House Armed Services Committee in relation to Afghanistan on 10 September 2008, “We can’t kill our way to victory...” Or as Israeli historian and journalist Tom Segev, author of One Palestine, Complete: Jews and Arabs Under the British Mandate and 1967: Israel, the War and the Year that Transformed the Middle East, put it in this 29 December 2008 article in Ha’aretz, “Since the dawn of the Zionist presence in the Land of Israel, no military operation has ever advanced dialogue with the Palestinians”.

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