Monday, January 12, 2009

Israel & Hamas: Laying Blame

Imagine a world where laying blame ended wars. Imagine where we as people, we as a country could end wars merely by saying it was one side's fault. Those who we judged as responsible for starting the war would simply put down their weapons when they heard our opinion; all rockets would stop, all hatred would cease, all century-old conflicts would be over. But such a world is a fantasy, it's very premise runs contrary to reality. And yet this delusion of a world, is a world many have chosen.

As the crisis between Israel and Hamas continues unabated, many have taken to laying blame onto the other side, stating it's either Hamas' or Israel's fault for the ungodly state of war between them; and I am left wondering, why?

Peter Kent, the new Conservative minister of state for foreign affairs stated, as reported in TheStar: "The position of the government of Canada is that Hamas bears the burden of responsibility for the deepening humanitarian tragedy." And with this statement the war continues and people are being killed.

Michael Ignatieff, the Leader of the official opposition declared, as reported in that same article: "Hamas is to blame for organizing and instigating these rocket attacks and then for sheltering among civilian populations." Even with this additional statement in support of the government's position, the war continues and people are being killed.

It must be recognized that opinions by Mr. Kent and by Mr.Ignatieff on who is responsible for this bloodshed will not stop it. Both the Conservatives and Liberals must realize issuing guilt does not end wars, building compromises and negotiation does. However, as long as governments and politicians laying blame continues, so too will wars.


The Doctor said...

You left out the UN Human Rights Council and their laying of blame (solely on Israel).

It has not ended the war.

What will end the war is a cessation of the unrelenting rocket attacks that Hamas has for 8years to endure forced Israelis.

Kent and Ignatieff have stated the obvious. Democracies have the right (and indeed obligation) to protect their citizens from hostile attack. Hamas, in its own charter, calls for Israel's destruction.

Israel was compelled to respond and our Government and Official Opposition understood that. said...

The Doctor: Did you read my post? Laying blame does not inspire people to negotiate peace yet that's exactly the attitude you reinforce.

I don't care who is right. I do know that Kent, Ignatieff and you are wrong for impeding the negotiation process.

The Doctor said...

And how about the UNHRC?

Why did you not include them?

The Doctor said...

You choose only to critique those who support Israel. said...

The Doctor: If you read my post I cited an article that reported both the Conservative and Liberal position. I could have cited the UNHRC and I could have cited a hundred other sources but I don't elect the UNHRC, I frankly don't care what the UNHRC says.

I don't think the UNHRC has stated that Israel is to blame for the war, but if it has they are wrong to do so. But the UNHRC making such a statement is not even as close to as important as our two major parties making it.

Lastly I said it's wrong for anyone to lay blame, which necessarily implies wrong for the pro-israel or pro-palestinian supporter. You can insinuate that I am biased, but I am only sickened by both sides.

The Doctor said...

Not sure how you missed the UNHRC.
It is a lead story in the Toronto Star and has been on every radio stations news cast that I have heard all morning.

Here is the Star article:

We're the only one of 47 nations on UN rights panel to refuse to condemn military offensive in Gaza

Jan 13, 2009 04:30 AM
Comments on this story (275)
Bruce Campion-Smith
Les Whittington

OTTAWA–Canada stood alone before a United Nations human rights council yesterday, the only one among 47 nations to oppose a motion condemning the Israeli military offensive in Gaza.

The vote before the Geneva-based body shows the Stephen Harper government has abandoned a more even-handed approach to the Middle East in favour of unalloyed support of Israel, according to some long-time observers.

Thirty-three countries voted for the strongly worded motion, which called for an investigation into "grave" human rights violations by Israeli forces, while 13 nations, mostly European, abstained.

The United States, regarded as Israel's greatest ally, is not a member of the council.

Marius Grinius, Canada's representative on the council, said the language of the motion, which accused Israel of sparking a humanitarian crisis, was "unnecessary, unhelpful and inflammatory."

He said the text failed to "clearly recognize" that Hamas rocket attacks on Israel triggered the crisis.

But observers say Ottawa's unwavering support of Israel in the current conflict – highlighted by yesterday's vote – is a break from more neutral positions of the past.

Paul Heinbecker, a former Canadian ambassador to the UN, said that, although Canada was always considered "a friend of Israel," until recently Ottawa's representatives at the UN voted on Middle East issues on the basis of "principle" and "fair-mindedness."

Of Canada's current approach, he said, "It's not a middle-of-the-road position. It is a frankly supportive position of Israel."

He said internationally Canada is increasingly seen as being on the American-Israeli side on these issues. But assessing yesterday's vote at the UN's human rights council, Heinbecker pointed out "the resolution is unbalanced" in its repeated condemnations of Israel.

Along with Arab states, countries backing the resolution included Russia, China and Brazil. Among those abstaining were Britain, France, Japan and South Korea.

The council itself has faced accusations it is biased against Israel. The U.S., arguing the council's credibility has been undermined, has declined to be a member.

However, in this conflict, Heinbecker said the Canadian government has "not tried itself to introduce a lot of balance into its position" on the fighting in Gaza.

"There are now 900-plus (Palestinian) deaths, a large number of whom are civilian, who are the predictable victims of a military campaign in a densely populated space where the people can't flee because the borders are closed," he said. Thirteen Israelis have been killed.

Given Canada's past actions to expand protection of civilians in conflict zones, he would have expected Ottawa to put more stress on the "urgent" need for a ceasefire and a demand that both sides in Gaza respect international protections for non-combatants, Heinbecker said.

Harper made clear his strong support for Israel just months after he took office in 2006. That summer, he defended Israel's military incursion into Lebanon with a controversial comment that it was a "measured" response.

NDP MP Paul Dewar (Ottawa Centre) criticized Ottawa's "muted" reaction to this latest offensive. He said Canada should be taking a "robust" role to deliver aid to civilians and monitor any ceasefire.

Instead, he said Canada is sitting on the "sideline," suggesting a pro-Israel viewpoint by the Conservative government was the reason for lack of outcry from Ottawa.

The Canadian Islamic Congress yesterday called on the federal government to act as a peace broker and "lead the world as it used to.

"It's not time that we speak on who is right and who is wrong. I think it is time that innocent people in Gaza and Israel be protected," Zijad Delic, the congress's national executive director of the congress said.

"I worry that Canada did not take a fair approach," he said.

The government's vote won praise from B'nai Brith Canada, which commended Harper for Ottawa's "principled stand."

Frank Dimant, the group's executive vice-president, called the motion "perverse" for failing to mention Hamas and its "pivotal" role in provoking the conflict.

Last night, the foreign affairs department said Canada had opposed a "deeply flawed" resolution.

"The resolution wholly failed to acknowledge Hamas's continual rocket attacks on Israel that brought about the current crisis, and ignored a state's legitimate right to self-defence," a spokesperson said in an email.

"Canada remains deeply concerned about the ongoing hostilities ... and encourages all diplomatic efforts to achieve an immediate, sustainable and durable ceasefire. But first and foremost, Hamas's rocket attacks must stop so that a ceasefire can be realized."

I'm proud of Michael Ignatieff, he has demonstrated sound thinking in his first test as Liberal Leader. said...

The Doctor: I don't understand your last comment. Did you read my response to your original UNHRC comment?

Could you please not copy full articles and ignore what others say while pretending you're having a discussion.