Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Carrots and Sticks

This Jerusalem Post opinion piece by David Kimche heavily features NCF's Secretary General William Morris. Asked to put himself in Olmert's shoes, William weighs in with some thoughts on how Israel might best respond to the situation in Gaza.

History has shown us that military might is not, on its own, an answer to the sort of situation that exists in Gaza. The French sent their mighty army into Algeria to quell the insurrection there, and were thrown out. The Americans sent their mighty army into Vietnam, and were thrown out. And even here, in what was then Palestine, the British heaved a great sigh of relief with their targeted killing of Avraham Stern after capturing him, only to be confronted by Yitzhak Shamir, who led Lehi, the so-called Stern Gang, into even more audacious attacks on them. Faced with the determination of the Jewish community, the mighty British army, like the French and the Americans in later years, was forced to leave.

SO WHAT are we supposed to do? Sit tight and do nothing while the Kassams continue to endanger the lives of our citizens in the South? I put this question a few days ago to William Morris, the president of the Next Century Foundation, a group based in London that has been discreetly involved in Middle Eastern conflict resolution, with an emphasis on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The foundation has some very interesting members on both sides of the divide, including at least one former Likud minister. William Morris himself is an extraordinary man, a British political missionary completely devoted to converting our region to the religion of peace.

"What would you do about Gaza if you were in the shoes of our prime minister," I asked him.

"Heaven forbid," he replied, laughing.

Morris has been to Gaza many times. He has met with virtually the entire Hamas political leadership, and is one of the few foreigners who know them well enough to be able to engage in ideological arguments with them.


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