Saturday November 24, 2012

While welcome, the cease-fire reached between Israel and Hamas is so vague in its specifics that its collapse would surprise no one. Even if the truce holds it won’t bring a long-term peace agreement any closer, and without that agreement, violent and destabilizing flare-ups like the one of the past week will continue to erupt.

Israel’s dilemma was seen in the celebrations in the Gaza Strip, where in spite of the death and destruction, Hamas, the ruling party which does not acknowledge Israel’s right to exist, was seen as having stood up to its powerful neighbor. Fatah, the moderate party of the Palestinians, shifted further into irrelevance.

This has been a difficult time for the Berkshire Jewish community, most significantly for Eiran and Michele Gazit, Israeli citizens, Lenox residents and owners of the Gateway Inn, as their son Adam serves on the front lines with the Israeli Defense Forces (A-1). For Israel to have any semblance of peace it must be prepared at all times to fight, an irony that has existed for decades.

Najwa Squailia of Pittsfield, who as a member of the Palestine Action Coalition has advocated for peace with people on all sides of the equation, said in Friday’s Eagle that "the fates of Israel and Palestine are inextricably linked." What is bad for one, like war, is bad for the other. The creation of a Palestinian state -- the so-called two-state solution -- is the only way to provide even the possibility of a long-term peace, but there appears to be no will anywhere to make the necessary compromises. A cease-fire is a long way from a peace accord and lasting harmony.