Feb 25, 2008

this human chain does not hold a candle to the first one

Israel is expecting something like 40,000 Hamasnik Palestinians to march today toward Israel in a human chain and attempt to break through the border with Israel. This is expected to happen despite Israeli warnings against it. As a matter of fact, I just heard on the radio a few minutes ago that the Defense Minister said that "the marchers should know that whoever gets close to the fence will not return alive".

The first thing I thought of is that Israel is good at ignoring these things. In the pre-disengagement days, the Israeli right was doing everything it could to thwart the disengagement plans, including some interesting non-violent protests. One of those was the human chain stretching from Gaza (Gush Katif) to the Western Wall in Jerusalem. It included 100,000 people holding hands (my two hands were included) to make the chain. Ariel Sharon simply ignored it and did not allow it to influence anything (like the Likud referendum that he had lost).

So Israel was able too ignore a 100,000 person strong human chain involved in non-violent protest, but will not ignore this 40,000 person strong human chain.

The difference is clear. This march today, if it happens and Hamas tries to call Israel's bluff, is not non-violent. Even if they do not shoot at Israeli troops, any attempt at breaching the border is automatically violent with hostile intentions. Last time they breached the Israeli border, it was to shoot at Israeli troops and kidnap Gilad Shalit. So a Hamas breach of the Israeli border should be deemed as being violent and I hope the Defense Minister was not just bluffing with what he said above.

The only thing that concerns me is that if Israel is not bluffing, and if Hamas does not back down, Israel will shoot and kill Palestinians, possibly a lot of them. Hamas will likely mix among their terrorists a lot of civilians including women and children.

Israel will be condemned in the world for shooting at "non-violent" protestors and civilians. They will have forced Israel's hand and started the war in Gaza, which is likely what this will lead to, that Israel has been delaying and trying to avoid for months.

Maybe, if we are lucky, it will rain hard today, harder than the light drizzles expected, and the marchers will delay it for another day or maybe it will even fizzle out...

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