Tuesday, January 06, 2009

So It Begins


As two of the largest political organizations in our country who seemingly reflect two opposing views in ideology, when similarities do arise between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party they should be noted. When it is taken into consideration that many Liberals fear a more conservative Liberal Party under Michael Ignatieff these similarities should not just be noted, but emphasized.

In light of the current Israel-Hamas crisis there is more than one similarity in positions between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party:

Lawrence Cannon (Minister of Foreign Affairs): “Canada is deeply concerned about the increase in hostilities between Israel and Hamas."

Michael Ignatieff: "I am greatly concerned by the deepening violence in Israel and the Gaza Strip..."

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Lawrence Cannon: "We urge renewed international diplomatic efforts to achieve a sustainable and durable ceasefire, starting with the halting of all rocket attacks on Israel. Canada maintains that the rocket attacks are the cause of this crisis."

Michael Ignatieff: "The Liberal Party of Canada unequivocally condemns the rocket attacks launched by Hamas against Israeli civilians and calls for an immediate end to these attacks. We affirm Israel's right to defend itself against such attacks, and also its right to exist in peace and security."

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Lawrence Cannon: "Just as urgent diplomatic efforts are needed to bring about an end to the crisis, it is essential that the international community come together to address the humanitarian situation. This includes ensuring access to food, fuel and medical supplies."

Michael Ignatieff: "The international community has a responsibility to ensure that the cost of conflict is not borne by the innocent and Canada must stand ready to assist and ensure that basic humanitarian assistance reaches those who need it."

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Lawrence Cannon: "Since hostilities began, I have spoken to a number of my counterparts in the region and around the world to stress the need to protect civilians and bring this current crisis to an end."

Michael Ignatieff: "We regret the loss of life sustained on all sides of the conflict. We call on all parties to end these hostilities, mindful that a durable ceasefire will be necessary to prevent continued civilian casualties and lasting damage to essential civilian infrastructure."

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The commonalities between the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party are made all the more poignant when one looks at the NDP's position as given on their website. RuralSandi, a commentor made note that the NDP uses similar language as the two aforementioned parties, but I should add that it is important to identify that the NDP differs greatly in substance.

Where the Red and the Blue simplify the issue greatly by prioritizing the laying of blame on Hamas rocket strikes, the Orange NDP does not. Where the Liberal and Conservative organizations state that Israel is justified in its attacks, the NDP does not. Where the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party suggest Hamas halting its attacks is the only necessary requirement for peace, the NDP includes Israel's ceasation of its aerial assault.

When one considers these more refined policy positions of the NDP, it is clear the NDP offers a more nuanced, sophisticated perspective which does not take a side and instead takes into consideration the complexities involved, both historically and socially of this current crisis.

21 comments:

Red Tory said...

Brilliant!

Steve V said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve V said...

Scott

I'd probably take you more seriously, if you didn't have an action figure behind you in your videos. Is that "Self-Righteous Man"?

RuralSandi said...

What about comments from Layton?

Mon 29 Dec 2008

Canada's New Democrats condemn the unacceptable escalation of violence in the Middle East causing death and injury to so many civilians in the Gaza Strip and Israel.

It is a tragedy that hundreds of civilians have again become the victims of violence in this conflict. The continuing airstrikes by Israel on civilians in the Gaza strip and the ongoing rocket attacks on Israeli civilians are serving to compound the existing civilian disaster and further harm chances for a negotiated peace.

We call on the Government of Canada to immediately call for an end to the aerial bombing of Gaza, the blockade of aid to civilians and the indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israel. Indeed, the government must urge both sides to agree to end the current hostilities immediately, reinstate the ceasefire and return to the peace process.

...they're all talking the same tune.

Cherniak_WTF said...

I've already commented on this.
Part of it also echoes Israeli talking points and the "messages" Israel wanted pushed.

I wonder how many of the pro-Israeli lobby are working within Iggy's entourage...

Even the Liblogs has prominently placed Iggy's message...

Cherniak_WTF said...

Yes, the same tune - even the more neutral BQ is echoing the same...

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

Steve V:

If that's what limits people from taking me serious then I don't want them to.

RuralSandi:

I agree, however that NDP statement calls for Israel to stop its aerial bombing while the other two parties overtly suggest Israel is in its rights to do so.

WesternGrit said...

Of course they will all talk the same tune... A careful diplomatic answer is best in such a charged atmosphere. How else can one say, "Hamas deserves a shit-kickin'", while still pointing out that Israel "has gone over the line" on the scale of reprisals..., without actually blurting that out?

Some people think both sides need to have a good UN-backed spanking, and sent to the corner.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

WesternGrit: I would point out that the NDP has indeed tyaken a different line. Though its language is just as careful, the NDP has taken a relatively strong position against Israel by not assigning blame to Hamas and instead calling for Israel to stop its aggression.

It is the Conservative Party and the Liberal Party who are whistling Dixie.

Northern PoV said...

"Even the Liblogs has prominently placed Iggy's message..."

but Jason gave up blogging??? - until it suits him to use a sticky to hijack the site he started (but should no longer control given his actions)

Cherniak_WTF said...

The Bloc has an interesting take:
Le porte-parole du Bloc Québécois en matière d’Affaires étrangères, Paul Crête, demande au premier ministre du Canada, Stephen Harper, de faire preuve de leadership au plan diplomatique pour qu’une force d’interposition onusienne intervienne rapidement dans la bande de Gaza afin de permettre notamment l’acheminement de l’aide humanitaire.

« Le Canada ne peut se contenter de simplement reconnaître le droit d’Israël de se défendre. Il est vrai que les tirs du Hamas sur le territoire israélien qui perdurent depuis trop longtemps sont inacceptables, tout comme le refus du Hamas de reconnaître le droit d’Israël d’exister. Cependant, pour éviter d’être accusé d’avoir choisi ce moment précis, soit juste avant les élections israéliennes et l’entrée en fonction de l’administration Obama à Washington en janvier, pour riposter avec une telle vigueur, le gouvernement israélien doit permettre l’envoi des casques bleus et l’établissement d’un corridor sécuritaire pour que l’aide humanitaire puisse entrer dans la bande de Gaza » a déclaré Paul Crête.

« Les populations israélienne et palestinienne ne doivent pas être prises en otages. Le premier ministre du Canada ne peut rester les bras croisés. Stephen Harper doit multiplier les pressions pour que la force d’interposition sous l’égide de l’ONU voit le jour » a conclu Paul Crête.


They seem to see this as a political move on the part of Israel and are calling for the UN to send in aid...

Cherniak_WTF said...

but Jason gave up blogging??? - until it suits him to use a sticky to hijack the site he started (but should no longer control given his actions)
But this is Israel we are talking about - I've often said that little Napoleon is more of a pro-Israeli Zionist than a Liberal...

WesternGrit said...

But Scott... Can you with any measure of fairness assign blame to Israel alone, and not Hamas - the instigators - as well?

We should remain "neutral", and not take sides. I would, however, support UN led intervention in the region. Unfortunately the US would never let an unbiased 3rd party in...

It is a very "tricky" situation to start assigning blame to a problem that is decades old. Both sides lived in peace for millenia - until foreigners came in and f'd it all up. Now the foreigners want to wash their hands of it, and are letting the two sides mash it out. Things have been serious cluster-f@ck since WW2 - and the "outside world" shoulders the blame... Whoops... I guess I just blamed the rest of us...

No solution can make both sides happy without a compromise. To take Hamas' side is as bad as blanket approval of "carpet bombing" Palestine. There are peace groups in Israel and moderates in Palestine - which represent MOST of those populations - which want peace.

It's time for a serious time out for BOTH sides. I also think that there needs to be a serious global push for supreme recognition of the World Court to help resolve such disputes - and more importantly prosecute anyone guilty of war crimes... but we tend to put issues like the importance of the UN and the World Court on the back-burners until something like this happens...

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

WesternGrit: I hope I did not imply I was only issueing blame on Israel or in support of such a blame allocation. I merely said the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party had assigned blame on Hamas and forgot to assign any on Israel whereas the NDP appears to assign blame on both.

I would argue suggesting Hamas are the instigators is contrary to your opinion of remaining "neutral" (I don't understand why you put that word in quotes). When one looks at the history and stated rational of Hamas, it appears they're actions were in response to Israeli occupation. I am not saying they were right or wrong to act the way they did, but I will say to claim Hamas are instigators is to take a side and abandon neutrality.

As for solving this mess, which I admire your bold initiative to offer a solution, I could only haphazardly offer one, and would be no clearer than a negotiation reinforced through economic benefits and penalities between Israel, Palestine, and the United States.

The Mound of Sound said...

Good post Scott. You're saying what's been on the minds of a lot of us lately.

WesternGrit said...

Scott, starting the violence by lobbing missles at your neighbor is technically "starting it", however, like I said, I don't care to assign blame on either side. If I hit you over the head with a shovel, and I stab you back, we're both guilty, right?

Besides, we can't go back through the sands of time to point out "who started it". That would be like the 5 year-old me fighting with my 3 year-old brother. At this point, we just can't do that. There was a "cease-fire" before Christmas, and Hamas refused to extend it, then began launching rockets into Israel. It's pretty straight-forward.

If I chopped down my neighbor's tree, and he sued me 3 years ago, he doesn't have a right to come walking over and chop down my fence this year. He'd be going to court too...

The point is, continuously pointing to the past is the best way to continue enmity. What do Reformers do in Western Canada - they keep talking about the NEP of 40 years ago. Progress means looking to the future and addressing the present - not cowering in the past.

I hear you saying you're not "blaming" anyone, but the response has to be balanced. I only mention Hamas as the instigators in the violence because they are. Gotta call a spade a spade. I also feel Israel's response is wrong - that there are other ways of getting Hamas - including sending in Mossad commandos to take out it's leadership (maybe the Zohan?). Heck, a satellite guided drone or bomb can take out a car, with very little collateral damage. There are options, which really make this Israeli exercise more of a "sending a message" one, than a true strategic response. My fear/pain is that this response kills civilians and is damaging to Israel in the long run - exacerbating the situation.

It keeps coming back to one fact... One party broke the cease fire. The world - and history - will agree that the response was far too much. An "outside" solution is required - such as when Jimmy Carter sat with Sadat and Begin and created peace. The Palestine situation is more troubling since the power struggle involving Hamas and Fatah. If only Yasser Arafat was still alive. He would have shut Hamas out of Palestine. Unfortunately, the new Fatah cannot maintain control over an unwieldy and foreign funded and trained Hamas.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

WesternGrit:

I don't know why saying who started it or who instigated should even be brought up. I believe you admit this but go on to add 'But Hamas did.'

I'm not venturing into who started it period. I will acknowledge and I believe everyone must, that there are valid arguments to who started it on BOTH sides. And only with such recognition can neutrality be achieved.

I don't mean to agrue for Hamas or against Israel but you seem to be offering a position that requires it. You mention Hamas failed to extend the cease fire but then state Hamas actually broke it. Not extending and breaking a cease fire are different and should not be confused.

I will just emphasize there is no need to argue about who started what, we merely must recognize that both sides have validity in their claims so we can be honest brokers in this crisis.

WesternGrit said...

Scott, Hamas refused to extend the agreed to cease-fire, then broke it by lobbing missles into Israel. I'd say that qualifies as "breaking a cease-fire".

As far as "blame" goes, I'm only stating that we can't go trolling through past history to assign blame, so I'm only looking at events which have transpired since the cease-fire which ended in December. In that particular case Hamas "started it".

It is quite obvious that Hamas began these recent hostilities in December. We can't re-write the current historical facts, which have been appearing on the telly since Christmas. I do agree that Israel's response was too much - too indiscriminate - but feel we need a recognized 3rd party (World Court/UN) to assign guilt in all circumstances (including any possible war crimes - committed by either side). Unfortunately, this will require US, Russian, and Chinese agreement (good luck with that - time to change the Security Council Membership).

What complicates matters further, is that Hamas is NOT the defacto representative of the Palestinian Authority. They are a rogue element - a group of guerrillas - with their own private agenda, making it very difficult for Fatah (the voice of reason) to establish law and order. Israel is justified in going after Hamas, but their current reaction is going to hurt their "allies" (moderates) in Palestine, and we're seeing this daily.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

WesternGrit:

If one is just limiting it more current situations, "Hamas blamed Israel for the end of the ceasefire on Friday, saying it had not respected its terms, including the lifting of the blockade under which little more than humanitarian aid has been allowed into Gaza."
-http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7791100.stm

But I'm not saying Hamas is blameless, I'm saying both Hamas and Israel have arguments for the other to be blameworthy and both are credible.

And as such both sides must stop and neither is justified.

We both agree the fighting needs to end, why is it necessary to say one side is responsible or instigated the current situation?

WesternGrit said...

Scott, I think you're missing my point: nothing justifies picking up a gun/bomb/missle. An agreement that doesn't work requires further negotiation, not bombs and missles. Maybe I'm a little to "Gandhian" on this - could be my Indian heritage - but I don't believe in beginning a war over a political dispute. Never have, never will.

My point is, Hamas broke the peace, and Israel's response was rather overblown.

thescottross.blogspot.com said...

WesternGrit:

Yes nothing justifies picking up a gun, missile etc. but nothing justifies imposing a blockade causing a humanitarian crisis and occupying a region that is not yours to occupy.

I'm not defending Hamas, or justifying their actions, but just as I see why Israel did what it did, I see why Hamas did what it did. And as I do I can see both are responsible and both have valid reasons for assigning blame on the other.

I don't see real disagreement here other than you wish to assign atleast the initial blame on Hamas. I feel doing so ignores the underlying motivation of that organization and creates an environment where any settlement is one sided.