Sunday, February 1, 2009

Rwanda, Israel and "Cycles of Violence

Frankness at the outset of negotiations is almost always better than sounding apologetic. It was nice to read that Israel is now promising a "disproportionate response" to any rocket attacks. Reuters News Agency reports as follows.

"JERUSALEM, Feb 1 (Reuters) - Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert threatened on Sunday a "disproportionate response" to the continued firing of rockets into Israel from the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. There have been sporadic rocket attacks by militants on southern Israeli communities and several Israeli air strikes in the Gaza Strip since a truce came into effect on Jan. 18 following a 22-day Israeli offensive in the territory. At least two rockets struck southern Israel on Sunday, causing no damage or casualties. A wing of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, a group belonging to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah faction, claimed responsibility."

It is worth noting that the rockets, which were fired at civilian targets during a ceasefire were fired by a faction loyal to PA President Abu Abbas, who is supposedly Israel's "partner for peace".

The death toll from factional fighting and the suffering caused by the choice of war made by Hamas has replaced the economic growth that was taking place during the "occupation" with fear and poverty. Instead of becoming another Singapore, with peace and prosperity in small geographic boundaries, the choice to strive only for the destruction of a potential trading partner has been the source of their misery.

The Nations of Europe and to a lesser extent the United States have shifted the responsibility to Israel with inane phrases like "the cycle of violence" and "taking risks for peace".

There is a country that took great "risks for peace" Rwanda was not taken by surprise when close to a million Tutsi tribe members were massacred in 1994. Rwanda had a culture of forgiveness. It was thought that past wrongs had to be forgiven if there was to be a united country.

There were massacres of thousands of Tutsi at regular intervals before there was a massacre of a million. In 1994, the pious west did not want to feed the "cycle of violence by arming the Tutsi. Predictably, helplessness invited aggression.

There were prior massacres of Tutsi by Hutu in 1962,1963,1967 and 1973. These were full scale pogroms with a death toll in a tiny country that dwarfed America's worst riots. Each was followed by efforts to "forgive and forget". A harsh and crushing response early on would have saved lives on both sides. Rwanda is still attempting to forgive crimes which cry out for harsh punishment.The same hostilities continue and spill over Rwanda's borders into remaining countries.

Israel is being asked to follow the same failed strategy of tactical forgiveness, of declaring an arbitrary sweeping forgiveness that jars collective memory. When Sami Kuntar, an Arab terrorist beat a four year old girl to death, a national holiday was declared in his honour when he was freed in a prisoner exchange in which Israel received corpses.

We should learn from Rwanda that the best way to end the "cycle of violence" is with harsh and certain punishment. It is far better to have a cold and grudging coexistence than to put masks of peace over faces seething with hostility.

It may sound very harsh, but arms dealers have brought far more peace to the world than diplomats ever have. The Hutu in Rwanda had machetes. They killed with almost no help from modern weaponry. There was three months in 1994 to arm the defenseless Tutsi. It was as much this defenselessness that killed the Tutsi as any other factor. And it was the pontificating west that fed the cycle of violence by refusing to arm the Tutsi.

The west has no wisdom with which to stop the hostilities in the Holy Land. Listening to peace envoys and letting in peace keepers invites more bloodshed. It is time for Israel to learn from Rwanda, and stop the cycle of violence through military strength. Sphere: Related Content

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