Three articles in the Jerusalem Post I find are relevant to several discussions that have occurred concerning Israel and the Middle East on this blog. The first one is more than six months old but perhaps the most relevant. It is "Law professor: Hamas is a war crimes 'case study'" written by Haviv Rettig Gur. The law professor is "Irwin Cotler - a former Canadian justice minister, MP and law professor at Montreal's McGill University."
The article begins:
"The fighting tactics and ideology of Hamas are a "case study par excellence" of a systematic violation of international humanitarian law, according to a leading expert in international law who visited the Gaza periphery region on Tuesday.
There is "almost no comparable example" anywhere in today's world of a group that so systematically violates international agreements related to armed conflict, Irwin Cotler - a former Canadian justice minister, MP and law professor at Montreal's McGill University - told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.
Hamas is committing at least six violations of international law, Cotler explained.
"First, the deliberate targeting of civilians is in and of itself a war crime," he noted, referring to the Hamas rockets fired at southern towns for eight years. "
The second article is several days old and is titled "Diplomacy: Israel vs. Human Rights Watch." It is written by Herb Keinon. The article begins:
"A group of Soviet dissidents gathered in a Moscow apartment nearly 35 years ago and courageously formed the Moscow Helsinki group, with the aim of monitoring how the Soviet Union was living up to the human rights component of the 1975 Helsinki Accords that dealt with ways to improve ties between the communist bloc and the West.
One of those involved was Natan Sharansky. Using this group as a model, Helsinki Watch, an NGO founded largely by Robert Bernstein, an American Jew concerned with human rights, was established soon after, also as a way to monitor Soviet compliance. In the intervening 31 years, Helsinki Watch has morphed into Human Rights Watch (HRW), a mammoth human rights NGO that went to Saudi Arabia in May and used its work castigating Israel as a way to solicit funds in one of the world's worst human rights violators.
That transformation, at least for Sharansky, is simply too much."
The third article was published today, July 19, and is very important if the writer's assessment is true. Barry Rubin has written an article explaining how events are causing the right and left in Israel to come to an agreement on exactly what Israel will and will not agree to concerning the Palestinians and peace in the Middle East.
The article, "The Region: Israel's new national consensus," begins:
"This could be the most important article I write this year. Israel has entered a new era of thinking and policy in which old categories of Left or Right, hawk or dove are irrelevant under a national unity government bringing together the two main ruling parties.
How did this new paradigm arise? Between 1948 and 1992, the consensus was that the PLO and most Arab states want to destroy Israel. When - or if - the day comes that they're ready to negotiate seriously we'll see what happens.
Then came the Oslo agreement and a huge shift. The governing view was that maybe the Palestinians and Arab states learned the cost of their intransigence enough to make peace possible. The Left thought a deal could bring real peace; the Right thought it was a trick leading to another stage of conflict on terms less favorable to Israel. But both expected a deal to materialize.
The year 2000, the Camp David failure, the Syrian and Palestinian rejection of generous offers and the second intifada destroyed illusions.
Since then, the country has groped for a new paradigm. Prime minister Ariel Sharon offered unilateralism; prime minister Ehud Olmert and foreign minister Tzipi Livni constantly offered more in exchange for nothing. But the more they did so, the more international abuse Israel received.
NOW A NEW approach has finally emerged capable of reversing this situation. .."
If you are interested in the future of Israel these are important posts to read.