Entrenched Warfare

The Palestinian Authority’s continued failure to rein in militants in its territory is the chief reason behind the latest, ongoing Israeli military action in Gaza to handicap terrorist activity there.

While there is worldwide protest against Israel’s strikes, including here in Bali, Israel does have the right to defend itself and cannot do so when there are rockets raining down on it on an almost daily basis.

At the UN Security Council this week, there was no agreement on a resolution calling for a permanent ceasefire, and that’s not surprising, because the institution is impotent. And anyway, Iran-aided Hamas is not likely to adhere to any UN decree; Israel has ignored them for years.

Meanwhile, as the bombs kept falling on Gaza, a UN official described the humanitarian situation as “hell.” Medical sources said at least 660 Palestinians – some 200 of them children – have been killed and almost 3,000 injured in the ongoing offensive. Military hardware has razed swathes of Gaza and supplies have dried up as living conditions have become unbearable.

But here’s the rub: Hamas, listed by many countries as a terrorist organization, enjoys robust support among the Palestinian people due to its extensive social programs that range from healthcare to education, and this was largely what propelled it to political power in the 2006 parliamentary election that saw it gain a majority. Hamas, whose leaders have been cut down in the ongoing military action, does its people a grave disservice, however, in its unrelenting strikes on Israel.

And as Britain’s Foreign Secretary David Miliband said at the Security Council on Wednesday Bali time, like many others before him, the only realistic outcome of this never-ending crisis is a workable two-state solution. And that means compromise. If hardline Hamas really wants an equitable outcome for the Palestinian people, it should work toward that goal, not against it and with a hail of rockets.

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