israel planning to re-take gaza strip

the associated press is reporting that israel is planning to re-take the gaza strip. this, obviously, is yet another escalation to the already tense situation in the middle east. it's a shame, really, that israel is contemplating this, because we are at a point in time where both israelis and palestinians are under new leadership. i don't mean to be rude, just straight: arafat is dead and sharon is in a coma. both sides are without some major figure-heads, which means there is room for new influence, new voices. the problem is, both sides are deciding to go into a decidedly more militant rout.

you have a situation where hamas refuses to give up terrorism, despite becoming the political ruling party for the palestinians. now, when your official party platform is for the destruction of another country, chances are there will be some retribution. just a bit. with hamas refusing to condemn the latest suicide bombing in tel aviv, and failing to stop militant rocket fire from the gaza strip, israel believes it has no choice but to re-take the gaza strip. on top of this, hamas has decided that it will form a new security force commanded by jamal abu samhadana, who heads a group responsible for many of the rocket attacks and is a suspect in a deadly attack on an american convoy. (how they plan on paying this new security force is a mystery to me, considering they are running out of money and are now
relying on god to somehow get salaries paid. not to be too pecimistic, but i figure if god hasn't answered your prayers for peace or victory yet, then chances are asking for money isn't going to happen either.) because of all this, the entire hamas cabinet is on israel's assassination list, which i think is a first for any government cabinet. (is that a guinness record?) palestinian president mahmoud abbas is the only one acting rationally. he has vetoed the appointment of jamal abu samhadana and he has called the possible re-occupation of the gaza strip a "deadly mistake."

at any rate, re-taking the gaza strip is not going to make hamas change, nor is assassinating every single member of their cabinet, because at this point, hamas is more of an idea, maybe even a way of life for some, than specific figureheads. besides, even if you eliminated hamas, another group will crop up in its place. it just seems like neither side really wants peace, or more specifically, israel can see peace but on their terms, and hamas can see peace but only if israel is completely destroyed. i do believe israel wants to end it all, to have peace, but they don't want to give up enough and the palestinians, actually, specifically militant groups like hamas, will never accept any concession short of israel being destroyed. the palestinian people themselves, i believe also want this all to end, that they want some sort of brokered peace, despite having elected an extremist, terrorist organization.

it almost seems that these militant groups don't want peace, because what would they do once peace is established? go to a 9-5 job? start a grocery store? maybe some might, but there is this culture of definition, of manhood (and i say manhood in a general sense) that has been established amongst these militant groups, that will be nearly impossible to break. for some, this is all they know; having their relatives imprisoned by the israeli government or having their homes destroyed by the military, and then subsequently being treated as second class citizens really does a number on a person's psyche. for some, being a part of these groups, is a way to assert their manhood, to be worth something, to do something with their lives, even if it is just to strap on some explosives and blow themselves up. how else do you think these groups recruit? by appealing to their zest for life? these groups give them purpose, so what would happen if peace were established through some sort of settlement agreement? would these militant groups lay down their arms, or would they continue to attack israel? it's an interesting throught. i have a feeling it would be the latter. but maybe that's just my perpetual "the glass is half empty" outlook to humanity.

regardless, it should be noted that doing violence is always a choice. a conscious decision is made, so i don't believe in this whole "no choice" arguement for either side. there is always a choice; sometimes you don't have many options, and sometimes certain choices will hurt and will cost you, but in the end, you can chose to do violence or opt for peace, and in this case, both sides are going for the former.

(source 1)

(source 2)