Thursday, 24 July 2014

Constructive Dismissal and the Aggressive Actions of Israel

I know people have been saying that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is caused by Hamas but I want to offer another thought here. (Please note that I am not defending violence - I always try to speak against it)


In business there is a action known as 'constructive dismissal'. This occurs when a business creates an environment where an employee is highly likely to resign in response. This can be done in a number of ways, none of which at first might seem necessarily aggressive, but all lead to creating an untenable situation.


To the onlooker it may look like the employee has left of their own volition but in fact they have found that there has been little option left to them.


My reading of the Israeli situation is that they have continually created an environment for the Palestinians that is untenable. Now the onlooker may want to start their criticisms at Hamas and their willingness to fire rockets at Israel. Whilst I will join with the idea that violence is counterproductive I believe that this is the wrong starting place.


The powerful are invariably the culture shapers and this situation is no exception. Israel, as the 4th largest military nation, has been criticised by some major international bodies and charities for the harm it has done to civilians in trying to defeat Hamas.


One might also consider that the IDF has both the intelligence and the technology to defend themselves with pin point accuracy. It seems that they are less diligent when it comes to their bombing of hospitals and schools.


So let's suppose that Hamas is worthy of criticism. Let's consider that they may hide their rockets in built up areas. Does anyone truly believe that peace is served by the disproportionate attack on civilians. The more you attack an already beleaguered country the more likely you are to create radicalised civilians, and the more you reduce the possibility of peace.


If, however, your plan is to create a moment of global 'constructive dismissal' in which you construct such an untenable position for the Palestinians that some of them might do unthinkable things then thoughts of peace will not be upper most in your minds.


Would I support Hamas position of firing rockets into Israeli territory; no.

Does the nation of Israel have the right to defend its borders; international law says yes.

Do they have the right to harm civilians; international law says no.


In business 'constructive dismissal' is found to have taken place when an employer creates the kind of circumstances where the employee has little option but to resign. The business leaders present their actions as a perfectly reasonable way of responding.


I would suggest that what we are seeing is the manufacturing of circumstances whereby an already oppressed people group feel as if they have little option left but to fight back. Israel's leaders may present their actions as perfectly reasonable but the world is watching. So far they have much to do to convince many that war crimes are not being committed.


Before the growth of social media then perhaps the major fallout from their actions was an increase in the number of people radicalised to be part of a violent response. Now, however, there is a greater problem they face: they have started to wake people up to the truth of their actions and some of us are making an argument in our own countries. This collective and global response may not be violent but it may well be more powerful than they have anticipated.


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