Ari Parritz’s column Friday — although well argued and well reasoned — failed to provide any justifiable reason why the Israeli Defense Force is blockading humanitarian aid to Gaza Strip (One Qassam too many, 11/20/2008).

Hamas is a terrorist organization. It is in no way a legitimate partner in the pursuit of peace, and its leadership needs to be marginalized by all sides in the months and years to come.

However, the Israeli government’s blockade of essential food and medical shipments to Gaza makes absolutely no sense. Medication and food cannot be used as weapons, so this policy doesn’t even make sense from the perspective of defending Israel’s security.

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict is more nuanced than Parritz would seemingly like to admit. Israel’s policy in the West Bank and Gaza has been far from ideal when it comes to promoting peace and prosperity. Responding to rocket attacks by destroying entire villages and inflicting severe civilian casualties is not how a rational power eliminates terrorism.

The people of Gaza hate Hamas. And, eventually, Hamas’s inability to govern effectively and enforce laws will lead to the organization’s demise. Israel has every right to defend itself, but in doing so, it should not take such extreme measures that lead to civilian casualties. Not only because civilians should be left out of this conflict by both sides, but also because it undermines Israel’s and the international community’s long-term goal of isolating and destroying Hamas.

Israelis and Palestinians are trapped in a never-ending prisoner’s dilemma. Each side wants to make rational choices. And from each side’s limited perspective, the choices are in fact rational. But the combined outcome of those choices, however, seldom is.

What we need in that region is not reductive one-sided argument, but nuanced discussion of policy and history. That is what is missing from the discourse. We let extremists hold the megaphones on both sides, and the moderates are the ones who pay the price.

Fahad Faruqi
LSA senior

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