Last week, Israel launched massive air strikes on the Gaza strip, killing nearly 300 Palestinians. The Israelis called up 6,500 reservists, and have now launched a ground campaign into the Strip.
A crisis has been brewing in the Gaza strip for a while. This occupied territory has been treated by Israel as a virtual prison for its million-plus inhabitants. Gazans cannot leave, an economic blockade prevents the free flow of goods and services. It’s a humanitarian crisis of Israel’s making. Now it’s turned into full-scale warfare, with a nation hellbent on wiping out its Islamic minority, much like a replay of the Serbs war on the Bosnian Kosovars.
But what to do? Some suggest economic sanctions against Israel, much like the ones that toppled the Apartheid regime in South Africa. At this point, I don’t believe sanctions will work.
Here’s my solution. Treat Israel the way Serbia was treated during the Bosnian and Kosovo wars. Israel is a rogue state, engaged in ethnic warfare against their minority population. If Israel will not cease their attacks, then they need to be brought to heel. It’s going to take a concerted NATO bombing campaign against Israeli military targets to do that. It’s going to take bringing Ehud Olmert and his cabal before international tribunals for crimes against humanity to do that.
Put international peacekeepers on the ground in Gaza to protect the Gazans from the Israeli military, in the same way that troops were put on the ground to protect the Kosovars and the Bosnians. Put the Gaza Strip under EU or NATO humanitarian control, until it can either be granted self-determination and independence or possibly even retroceded back to Egyptian control (though I am aware that the Egyptians don’t want Gaza back).
The Gazans are not innocent. I know that. They have been firing rockets at Israel for years. But Israel’s policy of oppressing the citizens of Gaza for decades is the root cause. That doesn’t mean that I should turn a blind eye to Israel’s reaction; with every bomb that falls, with every bullet fired, with every soldier that moves further and further into the Gaza Strip, Israel hardens their opposition and turns world opinion against them.
Israel can’t solve the problem of Palestine and Gaza on their own any longer. If anything, they’ve shown they’re unwilling to solve the problem. Turning a blind eye, like James Bow wrote on his blog yesterday, only leaves us with blood on our hands from our complicit silence.
NATO airstrikes on Belgrade forced a solution to the Bosnian and Kosovo crises. NATO airstrikes on military targets in Israel can do the same, forcing Israel to the negotiating table. Carrots haven’t worked. It’s time for sticks.