Middle East

Friday 25 July 2014

Extremists are the only winners in vicious cycle of violence and revenge

Chris Doyle

Published 03/07/2014|02:30

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Hamas militants

Israeli authorities believe a Hamas operation resulted in the murder of the three teenagers kidnapped more than two weeks ago.

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Hamas has denied the claim, but if the killers were from within its ranks the murders were most likely to have been carried out by elements seeking to weaken Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president.

As a grieving Israeli public demands action, the country's politicians have ordered air strikes on Gaza as part of a "make Hamas pay" strategy.

Clashes have broken out in Jerusalem following the death of a Palestinian teenager in a reported revenge attack.

Over the past few weeks, there have been more than 400 arrests, including use of administrative detention and the demolition of homes belonging to the families of two suspects.

'Operation My Brother's Keeper' has seen five Palestinians killed and many injured. Human rights groups point to abuse of legal processes. For Palestinians, Mr Abbas looks weaker, helpless to limit Israel's crackdown.

The Hamas leadership risks being blamed by many Palestinians for triggering Israel's actions.

Internationally, Hamas's failure to condemn the killings will not improve its standing and its mainstream fears losing the unity deal with Mr Abbas's Fatah faction for which it worked hard to gain at a time when it had lost many of its regional patrons.

Politically, Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, has every intention of ending all chances of the Fatah-Hamas deal reaching fruition.

Sadly for peace, he may succeed, given the frailty of ties between the two Palestinian groups.

From a Palestinian perspective, this round of events never started with the kidnappings.

The Israeli use of live fire against Palestinians has increased, according to the UN, Israeli and Palestinian human rights groups. The killing of two Palestinian teenagers at Ofer in May was as painful to Palestinians as the killings of the three Israeli teenagers. Israeli forces and settlers have killed six Palestinian children so far in 2014.

When Palestinians are rounded up and detained without trial they are seen as kidnap victims.

The end result is that the extremists win and the peace camp, such as it is, loses. The cycle of violence and revenge continues, with Israel able to inflict by far the greater harm. Palestinians will collectively suffer for the actions of its violent minority. Israel will be no more secure.

Either side can seek vengeance and retribution, but it will not bring security, rights, justice or peace. The sad thing is that it is not clear just who is fighting for that right now. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Chris Doyle is director of the Council for Advancing Arab-British Relations.

Irish Independent

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