Saturday, January 24, 2009

One state with equal rights

Al-Jazeera may be Arab world's fox news. But, this article in the aftermath of the recent Israeli invasion of Gaza strip speaks about a rather interesting solution to the Israel-Palestinian issue.

Also for those who wonder where is Hamas's place among the people of Palestine, this might give a clue.
Hamas's lack of creativity should not have decisively shaped the broader context of Palestinian politics, as polls rarely showed its popularity exceeding 20 per cent.

However, by 2002, with negotiations nowhere in sight, whole regions of cities such as Nablus and Jenin destroyed, and Israel sewing chaos across the West Bank and in so doing destroying the basic foundations of PA rule, Hamas's power was rising quickly.
Looking back at 60 years of failed policies, broken promises and violence from both sides, Mark LeVine's road to peace is an interesting proposition.

The futility of violence as a strategy to achieve either society's core objectives has never been so clearly on display, as has the bankruptcy of a two-state solution that was likely miscarried at the very inception of the peace process a decade and a half ago.

It is not likely that Israel will emerge from this tragedy ready to offer Palestinians a territorially viable Palestinian state. 


However, it seems more likely that the two-state solution will remain as illusive in the near future as it has in the past.

In such a situation Palestinians face a choice: continue to play by Israel's rules and see their dreams of independence disappear for at least another generation, or change the rules by demanding the same rights enjoyed by Israelis over the entirety of historic Palestine. 

By taking heed of Olmert's warning, Palestinians can begin the journey towards a future in which Jews and Palestinians can share the land of historical Palestine/Eretz Yisrael for the benefit of both peoples, rather than at the expense of the other.
On the outset, this is a solution that makes most sense from a rational standpoint and have parallels to the South Africa anti-apartheid movement. But I don't think either party, Israel or Hamas would like to see this happen. For Israel, this changes the demographics significantly - add 2-3 million to the existing <1million>

My best bet is still a two state solution which guarantees a sovereign state for Palestinians, not the kind with locked down borders and airspace, but a real country with control over its borders and natural resources.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

War Machines of 21st century

Wired War isn't a page from a science fiction. It is a fascinating but chilling story on the evolution of warfare. NPR has an interview with the author of this book, P.W. Singer.

With the ease of playing a computer game, the designated 'soldiers' work out of their offices in California and Arizona to fly the unmanned drones over the desired targets half way across the world and they kill. The precision of their attacks and the legality of these operations are unknown. Detached from the battlegrounds, these 'soldiers', after their regular killings, go back to their homes and have dinner with their family. Some might argue that this is the natural evolution of war, but to me this is morally reprehensible. And if you think this is something of a prototype that has limited use, there are 5000+ of these in use. This is one way to reduce the American casualties, especially if you are not counting the deaths on the other side.

Listen to this transcript.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The end of the massacre, for now.

The war in Gaza has ended apparently, hundreds dead, thousands homeless and Israelis retreat in time for the celebration of Obama's presidential ball. The heart breaking stories such as this continue to flow from Gaza, while an apathetic world watches on. Reports from various sources including U.N indicate that there have been wide use of weapons with Depleted Uranium and White Phosphorus. These are war crimes, but then again, this is not the first time Israel has been involved in killing civilians - Shabra and Shatila, Qana, Jenin to name a few. In the U.S too, there is mounting evidence that Bush's administration committed war crimes, but no one will prosecute them either. War crimes are only crimes if they are committed by the losers of the war.

In the larger context, people will forget this invasion too, especially in the U.S. The euphoria around the new president will invariably mask the unspeakable horrors of this illegal invasion. While the Gazans patch up what is left of their lives and loved ones, the rest of the world can look away -