Time for yet an other quasi-religious political discussion.
This time I have some serious questions about Israel. Now here’s the problem. There are two basic approaches to the Israel question. There’s the one that basically looks at the issue from Israel’s perspective. Then there’s the one that basically looks at the issue from the issue of international law. While I’m very sympathetic to Israel, let me bring up the international law approach.
Basically under international law you can’t gain territory from a war. So even though Israel was attacked and wasn’t the aggressor in the various wars she fought up to the Lebanon invasion it doesn’t matter. Israel under law can’t take over the lands of the Palestinians. All the various UN resolutions relate to this. Further, under this, Israel has no right to Jerusalem there are tens of thousands of Israelis living as illegal occupiers of lands.
Back under Oslo much was made of Israeli concessions. Yet Israel never came close to making concessions that would put her under accordance with the law. From this legal perspective the only people to make concessions weren’t the Israelis but the Palestinians.
Now the other side. International law is all just and good, especially when you are living in Sweden with no one trying to kill you. Once you are in a small little land with everyone around you wanting to kill you, it’s hard to feel sympathy for international law which does nothing to guarantee your safety. Perhaps had there been international peace keepers guaranteeing Israel’s safety from Palestinians, Egyptians, Jordanians and Syrians international law would be worth something. In the meantime Israel has to live by realistic means. And that means international law doesn’t apply.
Here’s the problem. If we take Israel’s position seriously, then what do we do with the very notion of international law? If it can’t apply in Israel, why should it apply anywhere?
If I understand Israel, their position is that unless there are real penalties for aggression then there is nothing to stop her enemies from attacking her. The only thing stopping them is knowing that they lose real resources in attacks and that Israel is militarily stronger.
The problem is that this mindset has left us with a mess since the 70’s. One can almost see most of current middle eastern events as an aftermath of events in the late 60’s and early 70’s. So what should we do? Can international law have any teeth when most European nations and the US violate it rather regularly. (Meaning international law broadly to include trade agreements) What brings these nations back to the table? Fear of trade sanctions. When even the first world in practice treats international law so pragmatically, is it wrong to ask Israel to act differently.
Here’s the ultimate question. What should we as members push our elected officials to do with respect to the situation. It’s not just Israel. There’s the overarching question of democracy and Hamas. Is there a gospel solution?