War peace & hope II

The cease fire has been broken yet again by Hamas yet we have withdrawn our troops from Gaza. The war simmers with no end-game in sight. The Israeli army must be allowed to use its full capabilities on an enemy that seeks our destruction. At the same time we must embark immediately on a new diplomatic course that has, at its core, making peace with the Palestinians and moderate Arab states and the replacement of Hamas with an internationally backed security force and the economic reconstruction of Gaza and Palestine.

On the military side of things there is strong consensus around the notion that no one outside Israel, be they friend or foe, should tell us how to protect ourselves. Israelis are in the front line defending ourselves against cruel and harsh enemies. The Holocaust has taught us that we cannot rely on anyone else to defend us. At that the end of the day we will determine how to protect and defend ourselves militarily and that is as it should be. Fortunately, we have a strong and well trained army and a military alliance with the US and this enables us to protects ourselves and defeat our enemies.

However, this autonomous notion of military defense should not apply in the diplomatic realm. They are two different things. On the diplomatic side we need all the help and advice we can get from our friends. However strong we are militarily, we are weak diplomatically and we need to do something about it immediately. Something has to change. We are not equipped for building the broad international coalition required for replacing Hamas with an international security force and lack the experience or know-how of an economic reconstruction in Gaza on a Marshall Plan scale. We are capable of building and operating modern day force fields and drones but can we win the peace as easily? No we cannot. We are blocked and have our head in the sand of a rhetoric that is outdated and ill equips us to win the peace.

Our diplomatic and PR position internationally is at an all time low. Anti-semitism is rearing its head abroad and the position of Jews around the world is greatly impacted. The Diaspora has an interest here and Israel has a responsibility to ensure its welfare. Goldstone II is on the way and we are being treated like pariahs by too many so that we cannot ignore the problem. There is a tsunami of support for a genuine peace process and we must recognize it and embrace the opportunity. If the magnitude of the failure on the diplomatic and PR side was happening in the economic realm we would have sacked the Finance Minister long ago and brought in an expert to help us chart a new economic course.

We desperately need a new approach to diplomacy. Maybe a national unity government should be formed to help chart the new course. We must take advice and support from our friends abroad and ensure that we have an experienced and professional team managing this Herculean challenge. We cannot allow ourselves to be boxed in and blinded by internal political pressures, interest groups and outdated rhetoric. The Foreign Minister must change or get out of the way. Tzippy Livni or Yair Lapid could do a better job and Netanyahu must now use his broad public support to lead us towards peace. Do not send our children to die in a war that does not bring us closer to peace.


About the Author
Simon Fink lives in Israel and is originally from Melbourne, Australia. He studied Law Politics and Economics and is interested in public policy. He has worked for governments in Israel and Australia and currently works for a Bank in Israel.