Who Won? Israel or the Palestinians?

Adam Shatz:

The ceasefire agreed by Israel and Hamas in Cairo after eight days of fighting is merely a pause in the Israel-Palestine conflict. It promises to ease movement at all border crossings with the Gaza Strip, but will not lift the blockade. It requires Israel to end its assault on the Strip, and Palestinian militants to stop firing rockets at southern Israel, but it leaves Gaza as miserable as ever: according to a recent UN report, the Strip will be ‘uninhabitable’ by 2020. And this is to speak only of Gaza. How easily one is made to forget that Gaza is only a part – a very brutalised part – of the ‘future Palestinian state’ that once seemed inevitable, and which now seems to exist mainly in the lullabies of Western peace processors. None of the core issues of the Israel-Palestine conflict – the Occupation, borders, water rights, repatriation and compensation of refugees – is addressed by this agreement.

The fighting will erupt again, because Hamas will come under continued pressure from its members and from other militant factions, and because Israel has never needed much pretext to go to war. In 1982, it broke its ceasefire with Arafat’s PLO and invaded Lebanon, citing the attempted assassination of its ambassador to London, even though the attack was the work of Arafat’s sworn enemy, the Iraqi agent Abu Nidal. In 1996, during a period of relative calm, it assassinated Hamas’s bomb-maker Yahya Ayyash, the ‘Engineer’, leading Hamas to strike back with a wave of suicide attacks in Israeli cities. When, a year later, Hamas proposed a thirty-year hudna, or truce, Binyamin Netanyahu dispatched a team of Mossad agents to poison the Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Amman; under pressure from Jordan and the US, Israel was forced to provide the antidote, and Meshaal is now the head of Hamas’s political bureau – and an ally of Egypt’s new president, Mohamed Morsi.

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  • Jim

    I read the title of Mr. Schatz’s article: Why Israel didn’t win. A great Oregon poet wrote a collection of poety with the title, In War there are two losers. I agree Israel didn’t win, but they didn’t exactly lose either. I don’t remember ever hearing an American president come out so quickly and stridently for Israel as Obama did. Israel got away with assasinating a Palestinian who was actually working for peace and trying to negotiate with Israel at the very time he was killed. And, of course, they continue to make the Gaza look more like the stone ages than a future country as they build new settlements in the West Bank.

    They might not have won, but they achieved their goals.

  • Percival

    I suppose Mohamed Morsi won but consequently has overplayed his hand in Egypt with his attempted power grab.

  • Richard Worden Wilson

    Among “the core issues of the Israel-Palestine conflict – the Occupation, borders, water rights, repatriation and compensation of refugees” Shatz failed to mention the very existence of Israel, which is undoubtedly a core issue not “addressed by this agreement,” because it is THE core issue for most Islamicists. This tendentious if not propagandistic article probably shouldn’t have been given the “airtime” and linkage it got here.

  • Mike M

    Israel is on stolen ground so where is their right to do this? It’s much like saying the “Trail of Tears” was an American right instead of a monstrosity.

  • John I.

    If Israel is on stolen ground, then so is Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States. In fact those countries are more thieves than Israel, because at least the Jews can argue that they are descendants of an indigenous population.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    John I – and so are those of Norman ancestry (since 1066) in England, or those of Saxon ancestry since the 5th and 6th Centuries in England, or those of Visigothic ancestry in Spain, or ……

    That being said, it is better to look at the current situation, and work out peaceful compromises (from all sides), than trying to right past injustices. Because just how far do you go? Give Europe back to the Neanderthals?

    This goes for all sides in these dismal, tragic conflicts.

  • Bill


    Compromise…what does that look like? Let’s see, give up Gaza. That will work, right?

    Nope. Give up Gaza, get Jew-hating Hamas. Some compromise.

    Adam is also spilling the swill of “Gaza is a concentration camp” anti-Israel activist talking points. Israel does not knee-jerk into war as Shatz woud like us to believe. How many months and how many missles must Isarel endure before they say, “Enough is enough”? The Jews are criticized for being Israel and being in Israel, or anywhere on the earth for that matter, and then they get criticized for trying to defend their borders. What the heck!

    Gaza is in the shape it is because of anti-Israel, Jew-hating, Hamas, not Israel. Humanitarian aid crosses into Gaza every day from Israel and that continued even during the latest fire fight (I think there were some interruptions though).

    Israel has trouble winning the war against Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood and PA and Hezbollah propaganda and they don’t do a good job fighting it. Israel is the loser.

    Hamas is backwards, angry and hateful as too many Middle East Islamic states are. They lose because their hate for the Jew and practically anybody else who doesn’t tow the Islamic line is really what drives them to self-destructive behaviors. They lose.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    Obviously, nobody is standing with clean hands here. But how is ranting and raving going to solve anything??

    So, if no compromise, then what???? Death and destruction hence forth and forever more? Wow, ain’t that nice?

  • Bill


    Not sure I’d characterize my reply as a rant. I thought I was being rather coherent. Israel did compromise by giving up Gaza and that’s a fact. They gave up Gaza, Hamas moved in with their missles and Islamic ideology. This is a fact. Now Israel has to contend with the land-for-peace myth. That’s a fact.

    I am sort of passionate about the whole thing. If you picked that up, I’m not sorry. I tried to lay out that I thought both sides lose something. But what is really clear, Israel gets missles and Islamic vitriol for compromise. I think Israel is the bigger loser.

  • Marshall

    YHWH called on Israel to be a blessing to all the nations. Jesus said the same thing.

  • Klasie Kraalogies

    9 – Bill, they gave up what they had conquered in 1967. Of course, the Palestinians had to give up a lot of what they had (well, lived on, since it was Ottoman Territory) prior to 1917. Of course, we can go back even further in history.

    Point is that trying to outscore your opponent based on historical events only works if you limit the history you are considering.