Israel Invades Gaza: Online coverage, "citizen reporter" resources.


Today, the Israeli government sent ground troops into Gaza, after an intense 8-day air offensive on Hamas. Two recent Boing Boing posts related to this topic drew intense discussions with an extremely high number of comments, so I thought I'd open up a new thread today -- clearly you, our community, have a lot to say about this, and about alternative resources for news, information, and insight on the conflict.

Among the resources I've pointed to before: Global Voices' special coverage on the Gaza conflict. Rocketboom did special coverage from the region earlier in 2008, worth re-watching for FAQ about those homemade rockets from Hamas. Last week, representatives of the Israeli government held press conferences of a sort on Twitter, and today Twitter is abuzz with tweets pointing to Al Jazeera's new "Gaza coverage" twitterbot. CNN is reporting that some of the weapons being used by Israel to attack mixed civilian and military targets come from the United States. There are an awful lot of protests, pro- and against, going on around the world.

A request in advance to those joining the discussion thread here on Boing Boing: keep it civil, respectful, on-topic, and please avoid personal attacks and moralizing. The road to Godwin's law is a short one. Let's not go there. Predictably, there is much fawning about in mainstream outlets over amateur op-eds on YouTube. If you *really* want endless rivers of unmoderated attack-comments, please just go there, instead. And to members of our international audience who have friends or fam on either side of the battle lines, my heart goes out to you. (Thanks, Derek Bledsoe)

Image: Israeli flag holder on right, courtesy formsixteen. Palestinian flag holder on left, courtesy jilliancyork.

656

  1. Better No Offensive. This will only end in tears, and deaths for scores of children and other non-combatants. Of course being Palestinian don’t count.

  2. I just hope it means it’ll be over sooner. For both sides.
    I’m Israeli, so I’m obviously a bit nervous about seeing my soldier friends go into Gaza, but the situation in the South is such that it appears no other option remains. Hamas have dug themselves a hole with their refusal to extend the ceasefire, and now innocents on both sides have to suffer for their pride.
    The rockets being fired at Israel by Hamas achieved no goal other than innocents suffering, and cannot be justified, even through Palestinian resistance rhetoric, I don’t see the point.
    I don’t see the point to armed struggle anyway when Israel is willing to negotiate peace, but rejecting the international quartet’s demands lay in the core of Hamas’s ideology.

  3. Here are two all-waking-hours liveblogs from Israeli perspectives:
    muqata.blogspot.com
    israellycool.com

    Your characterization of Israel’s targets as “mixed civilian and military targets” is prejudicial at best. Unless you can demonstrate that any of Israel’s intended targets are civilians, a more fair characterization would be “military targets sited in civilian structures.” That would get across the potential for civilian casualties while accurately characterizing Israel’s intentions and the military situation in Gaza.

  4. “Better No Offensive”
    I agree, but a ground offensive will have fewer civilian casualties.

  5. Physicians for Human Rights-Israel is probably one of the only NGOs who can still pump medical supplies into Gaza, they need your help:
    http://yishaym.wordpress.com/2008/12/30/phr-gaza-appeal/

    Combatants for peace is an organization of Palestinians and Israelis who were involved actively in the conflict and are now devoting their energies to promoting grassroots dialogue and non-violence, they need your support:
    http://yishaym.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/new-year-same-old-vicious-cycle/

    If you care about Gaza & Sderot, please don’t waste your time commenting on 5 reader blogs or staging furry protests in SL no one gives a f&$k about. Help the people on the ground, on both sides, who are making daily personal sacrifices in a noble attempt to make a difference.

  6. I don’t see the point to armed struggle anyway when Israel is willing to negotiate peace

    Peace with apartheid? Peace with bulldozers? That’s not peace and it will never be peace. The oppressed have the inalienable right to secure their independence and freedom by any means necessary.

  7. shay @ 4 – “Israel is willing to negotiate peace” – while the blockades and the walls still stand?

    1. Moderator note:

      Links in this thread must be informative. Propaganda links from any perspective will be unpublished.

  8. SAMMICH @9: of course. If there were no walls, no settlements, no quassams or grads, no prisoners or captives on either sides, we would be negotiating a free-trade zone. As it happens, we have a violent conflict and we need to negotiate peace. The Fatah gov started negotiations with the Israeli, then Hamas denounced all agreements on the grounds that it does not recognize Israel.
    I’m not saying that justifies bombings, but yes – there were peace negotiations. There was a ceasefire. Hamas thought it can get a better deal by terrorizing the south of Israel, an Israel thought it can get a better deal by terrorising Gaza.

  9. @Antinous – No, peace in the commonly accepted understanding of the word. If you need a history lesson in how far the Israelis were willing to go for peace, read historian Benny Morris’ piercing interview with former prime minister (and current minister of defence) Ehud Barak: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/15501

    @Sammich – The blockade on Gaza was set in place due to Hamas’ refusal to accept the minimum requirements of the international quartet (The UN, The EU, The US and Russia), which also appear in the PA constitution. Hamas refuses to renounce violence, to accept Israel’s right to exist and to abide by agreements that the Palestinian National Authority has reached with Israel in the past including the Quartet-sponsored roadmap peace plan which envisions a two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.
    In 2005 Israel withdrew from the Gaza strip. In 2007, Hamas took over Gaza in a bloody coup and since then has constantly shelled Israeli cities. These aren’t illegal settlements or anything, these are in proper 1948 Israel. These are kidnergartens and schools and shops and houses being shelled by the thousands for years.
    So yeah, Israel, with a wide consensus of the international community placed a financial blockade on Gaza to pressure Hamas. Because a financial blockade is still considered the lesser evil than either letting Hamas keep arming and shelling or a full scale operation, which is what we’re seeing now.
    As for the wall in the west bank, it is the single most effective measure taken against terrorism coming form the west bank. I can’t say I’m 100% pleased with it’s path, but the high courts keep correcting the government on it’s placement, in accordance with international law, and I am confident that even though it was a last-measure strategy, it’s effectiveness is proof of its necessity. If peace were to be signed, Israel would still be within its rights to fence up its border, but one would hope such drastic measures wouldn’t be necessary.

    1. These aren’t illegal settlements or anything, these are in proper 1948 Israel.

      You seem to forget that most of the world’s population regards 1948 Israel as an artifact of illegal land theft born of a terror campaign carried out by groups like the Irgun. Perhaps this will refresh your memory.

  10. Several years ago I had some sympathy for the Palestinians. This is no longer true.

    They have had a number of good offers that were declined. In addition they have continued to deliberately target civilians with both suicide bombers and rocket attacks.

    Yes Israels response has caused civilian casualties, but as far as I know that was not deliberate unlike the Hamas. When the troops and leaders deliberately hide or shield themselves with civilians then… As sad as it is, the civilian population should not allow themselves to be used as shields.

    Tell me what other country in the region would allow rocket attacks into their country without responding harshly. Egypt? Syria? Iran? …

    At this point I would not only build the wall between Israel and Gaza but I would also set up automated artillery to return fire on ANYTHING that comes over the wall.

    When it comes right down to it, if the Palestinians want to be masters of their own fates then they must accept the responsibilities and CONSEQUENCES for their actions.

  11. “I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.”

    ~ Mohandas Gandhi

  12. I want, so badly, to be able to support Israel, they face overwhelming resistance from bad, bad people. But when I hear news-reports about hospitals and mosques being hit by air raids, and seeing those images of injured people, I just can’t. I’m not saying that Hamas is innocent, but this response (along with the devastating blockade that has being going on for the past six months) is, IMHO, far, far out of proportion. I’m starting to suspect that the real goal for Israel isn’t peace, it’s Gaza reduced to rubble. I can’t get behind that, for one second.

    The truth is, no one is innocent in that region, and no one is 100% to blame. Everyone is guilty, of something. There will never be peace until the rest of the world (and especially the US, with their unquestioning support of Israel) realize this.

  13. Of course, if the Israeli offensive is spectacularly successful and Hamas is wiped out as an effective force, that will create a power vacuum. What are the odds of the power vacuum being filled by moderates willing to compromise, rather than even more aggressive hardliners? Not great, from what I’ve read.

    Apparently al-Qaeda has been struggling to get a presence in the Palestinian territories, largely due to existing groups like Hamas having covered their market. Perhaps opening a space for al-Qaeda is actually part of the Israeli offensive’s aims, because that would make Israel’s fight the West’s as well.

  14. Yish @ 12 – is it a level battleground? have the Palestinians also blockaded Israel? Do the muslims build walls to segregate the jews?
    I stand as an outsider watching in horror, seeing the hugely imbalanced retaliatory death-toll, and if you are Jewish/Israeli I can tell you that your governmental PR machine is NOT WORKING on the international stage.

  15. I’d also just like to say that I, for one, take no pleasure in seeing the people of Gaza suffering. Nobody wants that. Really. But I can’t look into my cousins-down-south eyes and tell them they need to live with 70+ rockets fired a day on them because we are unwilling to act due to the likelihood of innocents on the other side getting hurt.

    There’s also a lot of bogus rhetoric on the web regarding ‘proportionality’, ‘collective punishment’ and so-called ‘war crimes’ committed by Israel. This stems from a misunderstanding of international law and international humanitarian law.

    One merely needs to read Article 28 from the 4th Geneva convention to realize that civilian casualties do not mean that war crimes are taking place:

    “The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.”

    .

    That is, so long as Israel is targetting Hamas combatants, supply, and infrastructure, it is completely legal. On the other hand, Hamas generally does target civilians.

    Regarding proportionality, Alan Dershowitz explains:

    The claim that Israel has violated the principle of proportionality — by killing more Hamas terrorists than the number of Israeli civilians killed by Hamas rockets — is absurd. First, there is no legal equivalence between the deliberate killing of innocent civilians and the deliberate killings of Hamas combatants. Under the laws of war, any number of combatants can be killed to prevent the killing of even one innocent civilian.
    Second, proportionality is not measured by the number of civilians actually killed, but rather by the risk posed. This is illustrated by what happened on Tuesday, when a Hamas rocket hit a kindergarten in Beer Sheva, though no students were there at the time. Under international law, Israel is not required to allow Hamas to play Russian roulette with its children’s lives.

    Basically, proportionality has to do with proportional use of force against the threat posed, no legal lacuna requires tit-for-tat or eye for an eye as a rule of law.
    Israel is not required to manufacture Katyusha rockets and fire them indiscriminately into the Gaza strip merely because that is what Hamas is doing.
    Also, more Germans died in WWII than British, and yet still we feel that the allied forces actions were justified. Just something to think about..

  16. Hamas really, really hates Palestinians who won’t take up arms against Israel. To them, civilian casualties – on both sides, Israel and Palestine – are only good for propaganda. For Hamas, if Palestinians were really committed to a Palestinian state, all Palestinians would be military, none civilian.

    So when Israel blasts the hell out of mosques and homes, and “innocents” die, Hamas doesn’t care. They mourn the loss of fighters, martyrs; they’re not mourning people hiding for their lives, not mourning people who’d negotiate peace rather than take arms against Israel and wipe it from the Earth.

  17. Will progressive blogs like BoingBoing, in an effort to appear unbiased, miss the chance to condemn an inhumane act?

    The question should be, why are they doing this. And my guess is not that they are afraid to offend Israelis or Jews, but because they still simply do not know enough about this conflict to make an informed comment.

    After all, many of us who consider ourselves fair do take a stand on the China/Tibet conflict.

  18. #18 Antinous:

    You seem to forget that most of the world’s population regards 1948 Israel …
    [citation needed]

    #20 sammich:
    No,no, and no. And not my government. see #6.

  19. You seem to forget that most of the world’s population regards 1948 Israel as an artifact of illegal land theft born of a terror campaign carried out by groups like the Irgun. Perhaps this will refresh your memory.

    If Israel is illegitimate because of this, isn’t European settlement in North America, Australia, New Zealand, &c., also illegitimate? Or does a certain amount of time have to pass before one’s ancestors’ crimes become just the way things are?

    1. isn’t European settlement in North America, Australia, New Zealand, &c., also illegitimate?

      A) Yes, and B) that’s called concern trolling.

      The Irgun, those bombers of hospitals and schools and buses, are the political predecessors of Likud, a key player in Israeli politics for many decades. The government was founded within living memory by people who murdered innocent civilians in barbarous acts of terrorism. Moral high ground – ur doing it rong.

  20. You seem to forget that most of the world’s population regards 1948 Israel as an artifact of illegal land theft born of a terror campaign carried out by groups like the Irgun.

    Really? *Most* of the world’s population? I’d be surprised if more than 50% of the world’s population has ANY opinion on the border definition of Israel.

    As for this latest conflict? I don’t really have an opinion either way. Hamas refuses to stop sending rockets into Israel, Israel refuses to stop answering rocket attacks with military actions. Somebody is going to have to be the bigger person here, and neither side has shown any inclination to do so. And I can’t say that I could put myself in that position and agree to ignore either sides’ attacks.

  21. @Antinous I was unaware you were elected spokesperson for “most of the world”.
    I do not need a lesson in history, and I am quite capable of linking to Arab attacks (Hebron massacre, for example), but I really don’t see the point to that.

    The pre-1967 borders are the de facto accepted borders of Israel, as it is the borders accepted by the important players on the international field such as the US and EU as well as locally important players such as Egypt, HK Jordan, and the Palestinian Authority.
    The rest of the world can think whatever they want, I can’t say I care much for their opinion.

  22. @17 Oskar

    But when I hear news-reports about hospitals and mosques being hit by air raids, and seeing those images of injured people, I just can’t [support Israel].

    Is a mosque that’s also a weapons cache an invalid target? How many of the injured you see are un-uniformed fighters? Keep in mind that there are people on both sides who have a great interest in playing on your emotions with prejudicial images.

    I’m starting to suspect that the real goal for Israel isn’t peace, it’s Gaza reduced to rubble.

    Really, if that were the goal, Gaza would be rubble now, the death toll would be orders of magnitude more than hundreds, and there’s no way that Israel would send in ground troops or use reduced-explosive, high-precision bombs (made in the USA)!, for that matter, when carpet bombing with high explosives (God forbid) would do the trick.

  23. FYI, again – not to justify Israel’s tactics, but just to get a better picture of who we’re dealing with. Now, please advise how to conduct a constructive, civilised dialogue with these good ‘ol boys:

    The Hamas Covenant also states:

    The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

    “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).

    …

    Israel, Judaism and Jews challenge Islam and the Moslem people. “May the cowards never sleep.”

    http://www.hurryupharry.org/2008/07/10/were-being-sued-by-hamas-uk/

  24. After the failure of Camp David and Taba, Israel propagated the myth that Arafat (and therefore the Palestinians at large) rejected peace. When in fact it was an unfair proposal (in Camp David), and bowing to domestic political pressures (Barak’s defection from Taba talks), that killed it.

    Clinton and America still accept this miss, citing the tired phrase, “Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity”. Then in 2000 after Israelis elected war criminal Ariel Sharon, the slogan became, “Palestinians chose the path of terror instead of peace”.

    Just ask yourself, have you read the details of the Camp David offer? Do you know what % of the West Bank Arafat was asked to let go of? Did you know that he wasn’t offered any part of central Jerusalem (which is actual home to Palestinians)? Did you know he was asked to kiss the refugee/reparations question goodbye?

    Time to interrogate those slogans.

    My link suggestion is a tough one: it’s for American Jews and Israelis who are not afraid to ask themselveds the tough questions, a blog by the amazing Philip Weiss: http://www.philipweiss.org/mondoweiss/2009/01/times-serves-as-baraks-mouthpiece.html

  25. Shay – My reaction to what’s happening isn’t based upon an understanding of International Law or International Humanitarian Law. My reaction is visceral and human. I see a huge and overwhelming technologically superior state, having eroded the freedoms of those opposed to it via blockades both within and to the outside world, crushing dissent with overwhelming force, irrespective of whether the victims are civillians or indeed babies…

  26. If Israel is so sure of its righteousness, why didn’t it plead its case for war before the UN? Because it has no case.

    It is illegal to declare war on nations on the account of the actions of a terrorist minority. US actions in the Mid East have set a precedent of unaccountable intervention, and unfortunately Israel needs no excuse to follow suit.
    If we, the West, were so instrumental in creating a modern, multicultural West Bank, then why don’t we have some say in how it is run, rather than letting a bunch of racist radical dickheads kill each other for sport?

    Finally, let’s not forget who supplies all the missiles.

    Pray for the children.

  27. If we’re just basically picking sides here, I’m rooting for the Jews.

    I mean… with sporting events, I usually pick the underdog… But I dunno, these guys… they have heart, good coaching, great offensive plays. Once in a while it’s nice to pick the winning team.

    Plus, the JDF cheerleaders are pretty hot. I’m just not feeling the other side’s questionable choice of robed women with bombs. I won’t link directly to pics of my team’s pep squad, I mean, their esprit de corps is a propaganda in unto itself.

    Since I’m doing about as much to affect the conflict as everyone else vehemently choosing their sides based on relative perceptions of history and then posting it, I feel to choose a side is best left to instinct and the aforementioned quality of the pep teams.

    Also, some things are so serious, one can’t help but laugh at them.

  28. Antinous:

    You seem to forget that most of the world’s population regards 1948 Israel as an artifact of illegal land theft born of a terror campaign carried out by groups like the Irgun.

    So, out of the countless changes in ruling societies in this region going back 3,000 years, which would you not categorize as an illegal land theft? And how exactly is that relevant? You might as well argue that Oklahoma should be returned to Native Americans, irrespective of what happens to the millions of people who live there now who had nothing to do with that illegal land theft.

    Furthermore, that most of the world’s population believes something says nothing whatsoever about factual accuracy. Most of the world doesn’t use toilet paper. Most of the world believes in a friendly being in the sky and a never-ending fun-park awaiting you post-life.

  29. @33 That’s pretty much the best reasoning I’ve seen so far in this entire discussion, hats off to you sir.

  30. @Guston – You recite historical revisionism. Even if Israel’s proposal at Camp David was unfair, nothing prevented Arafat from offering a counter-proposal. He was urged to do so. It is not only Israel who holds the position that Arafat refused to end the conflict. Prince Bandhar of Saudi Arabia and Bill Clinton both state that this is the case.
    Again, I refer you to historian Benny Morris’s interview with Ehud Barak: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/15501
    This position is further backed up by former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami in his book Scars of War, Wounds of Peace: The Israeli-Arab Tragedy.

    I was very sad when Arik Sharon was elected prime minister, but this came after the Palestinian Al-Aqsa Intifada erupted and Arafat rejected Clinton’s December proposal which was even more far-reaching than what was offered in Camp David, and for all intents and purposes was an offer for 100% of the territory – including a painful Israeli compromise on the temple mount.
    With this in mind, Israelis sought to ‘punish’ the Palestinians. That they did not ‘deserve’ a left-wing prime minister like Barak who went so far left that his government could not hold, and in return, all that Israelis received was more terrorist bombings in Israeli streets.

    This is an Israeli perspective, obviously, I can’t help that, but history backs up my position, your position is only backed up by Palestinian propaganda.

  31. How many Israeli dead up until the commitment of ground forces?

    A group of people blowing up a house is a criminal act; as an occupant, Israel was unable to bring a stop to these criminal acts.

    Now, the Israelis claim that the authorities of the palestinian people are responsible for bringing these criminal acts to a stop. For this failure, they are inflicting a series of collective punishments on the palestinian people. These punishments involve obliterating the civilian institutions of the palestinian authorities – including police stations. Do they expect this to improve the situation, or are they merely trying to deepen the humanitarian crisis which they have created until it reaches a point when the palestinian people cease to exist as a political entity?

    Even if one accepts that it is justifiable to murder suspected criminals without proof or trial, in what circumstances is it justifiable to terrorize, starve and murder civilians to get to the criminals?

    In what situation does the molester get to blame his victim for what he does to one who is entirely at his mercy?

  32. @sammich – What would you expect your government to do if you lived in a city that was being shelled on with rocket fire for the past 8 years?
    Israel tried to extend the ceasefire, Hamas responded with a dramatic increase of rockets fired to the upper 70s or 80s a day.
    No one can be expected to live like that. The Israeli government’s first responsibility is to Israeli citizens, only after that to Palestinians in Gaza who have not been under Israeli jurisdiction for over 3 years.
    I’m not saying I’m too pleased with the situation, but what can we do?

    I urge anyone who reads this who has any influence on Hamas to make them stop firing rockets, for the good of both people.

  33. #39 guston: try UN resolutions US.
    #40 sammich: OMGIWMSL. never mind, see you another day.
    And please, if you really care so much – do something in the real world too.

  34. @Shay. Yes, let’s all read Benny Morriss. I insist! Read him because he is one who laments that Israel did not finish the job of ethnically cleansing palestinians, who still calls for them to be ‘transferred’ outside of Israel.

    I do not bother to refute the rest of your speciaous claims. Except with a couple book recommendations of my own. TWO BY ISRAELIS:

    The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine, by Ilan Pappe:
    http://www.amazon.com/Ethnic-Cleansing-Palestine-Ilan-Pappe/dp/1851685553/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1231035918&sr=8-1

    Amazon.com: Israel’s Occupation, by Neve Gordon
    http://www.amazon.com/Israels-Occupation-Neve-Gordon/dp/0520255313/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1231035964&sr=1-1

    The Truth About Camp David: The Untold Story About the Collapse of the Middle East Peace Process (Nation Books):
    http://www.amazon.com/Truth-About-Camp-David-Collapse/dp/1560256230/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1231036028&sr=1-2

  35. @ urinalpooper: the world suffers from a severe lack of a sense of humour, be it black, morbid or otherwise.

    What I feel many protestors (regardless of side) fail to take into account, is die Realpolitik of the situation. The logic of the conflict betwixt Israel and Hamas is circular:
    -Hamas refuses to acknowledge the existence of Israel, is hostile by policy etc, will not engage in dialogue and so on.
    -Israel will not deal with a group that refuses to acknowledge its very existence.
    -The people of Gaza supposedly support Hamas, by virtue of the fact that they voted them into power.

    So what happens now? We have two parties which cannot meaningfully engage in negotiations without breaking with their own stances/beliefs/ideologies, and thus any power relations between them seem to end up in violence.

    We are sitting in our Western homes, fervently discussing our stances and what group we side with, while our politicians make statements about how Israel/Hamas are very naughty boys etc. This makes not one jot of difference to the situation on the ground, where Israel and Hamas are goading each other into perpetuating the current cycle of violence.

    For such a cycle to be broken, the parties involved must take some kind of action that differs from what has previously tended to occur (rocket attacks, then airstrikes, then rock attacks, and so on). A ground invasion by Israel disabling Hamas, or the declaration of a ceasefire or similar may put an end to this cycle, and it looks like the former has occurred.

  36. @40 Sammich
    I fear Shay and Yish have been parachuted in…

    Xeni Jardin, in starting this thread, asked for no personal attacks. When you start questioning other commenters’ origins, it says a lot more about you than it does about them.

    1. I fear Shay and Yish have been parachuted in

      I am keeping very close tabs on potential astroturfing and following every link to see if it adds some value to the discussion. So far, I’ve only unpublished one link.

      Xeni Jardin, in starting this thread, asked for no personal attacks.

      I expect this discussion to be heated. The rule of thumb is that it’s okay to be angry but not okay to be hateful. Sometimes easier said than done.

  37. @42: the problem was that, in Gaza, the very authorities whose job it was to stop the criminals were none other than the criminals, or at least under the same banner and mission statement. The rockets were, to all intents and purposes, a Gaza government programme. And if those controlling the “civilian institutions” were complicit in these acts of war, do they really count as “civilian institutions”?

    Of course, this does absolutely nothing to reduce the suffering of the Palestinian civilians hit by he retaliation, but given that Hamas are an Islamist organisation, they’re probably not too bothered. After all, any involuntary human shields who die in the inevitable retaliation will become martyrs and get 72 virgins and such.

    IMHO, the problem in the middle east could be summed up as “too much religion”, on both sides. Any Israeli government of the day, even if it wanted to compromise and seek peace, would find its hands tied by hardline religious parties in the knesset. And the discourse on the other side being increasingly dominated by Wahhabi/Iranian-style jihadist theology (rather than the more secular and inherently pragmatic pan-Arabism of the original PLO) makes compromise unlikely there. And it doesn’t look like things will get less grim any time soon.

  38. For such a cycle to be broken, the parties involved must take some kind of action that differs from what has previously tended to occur (rocket attacks, then airstrikes, then rock attacks, and so on).

    How about unilaterally withdrawing all Israeli military posts and evicting all Jewish residents from Gaza, leaving behind valuable civilian infrastructure, as Israel did in 2005? That seems like the kind of move that could have been a game-changer.

  39. @Sammich I’m not a spokesperson for anyone.

    @34 – Very poignant. I often feel like for many people, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a spectator sport.
    People don’t realize it’s true human suffering going on, on both sides. They just pick a side and f*ck the other side to hell.

    @32, 39 The UN has a well-documented anti-Israel bias.
    Between Syria’s Hama Massacre and HK Jordan’s Black September, Israel’s actions in 100 years of conflict pale in comparison.
    Hell, over a million(!) Algerians died in the French occupation of Algeria, which is orders of magnitude more than what’s been going on since 1967. Not that it justifies the occupation, but as occupations go, it’s not one of the worst. It pales in insignificance compared to the horrors wrought in Sudan, or by evil regimes like Iran or North Korea, but nobody wants to talk about that when you can just focus your attention on kicking Israel.

  40. @44: Are we to assume that one wrong cancels out another, unrelated one? I’d have to see some peer-reviewed studies on that before I’d believe it.

  41. @ACB – don’t buy into Hamas or Islamic Jihad rhetoric; At the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict there is a national conflict, not a religious one. Relegating the conflict to religious terms serves only to further encroach both parties in the position that no peaceful resolution to the conflict is possible, because the word of god is infallible, and if (s)he calls for Jihad or whatever, then the conflict can never end.
    The majority of Israeli Kensset parties are secular, not religious, and Fatah, arguably the largest Palestinian party is secular as well.

    1. At the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict there is a national conflict, not a religious one.

      I completely agree. Religion is rarely about religion. You could scarcely accuse other Arab countries of showing true Muslim solidarity with Palestinians. Individuals might feel it, but governments just use the conflict to further their own political agendas.

  42. http://www.counterpunch.com/eno01022009.html
    Brian Eno summarizes it well here:

    “Gaza is now an experiment in provocation. Stuff one and a half million people into a tiny space, stifle their access to water, electricity, food and medical treatment, destroy their livelihoods, and humiliate them regularly…and, surprise, surprise – they turn hostile. Now why would you want to make that experiment?”

    Note: THE RESTRICTION OF MOVEMENT AND TRADE imposed by Israel on Gazans to/from the West Bank/ Israel/ Egypt PREDATES QASSAM ROCKETS. I don’t remember exactly which year but it was soon after The 1993 Oslo Accords.

    1. guston,

      An interesting quote, but Brian Eno is, um, an odd choice to toss into a serious discussion of international politics.

  43. @Shay: Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it that (a) the Knesset elected by proportional representation, meaning that outright majorities seldom if ever occur and to form a government, a party must horse-trade with a number of minor parties to form a coalition, and (b) that this almost always involves them having to court hardline religious and/or nationalist parties? As for Fatah, aren’t they in charge in the West Bank, rather than Gaza (which is, from what I recall, a Hamas fiefdom)?

    It is, of course, a national conflict, of course, as was, for example, Northern Ireland (which was certainly not about the transubstantiation of communion wafers or whatever). However, religion is a superb incendiary agent for blowing those out of proportion, amplifying absolutism, making compromise difficult and motivating zealots. Religion is the fuel that keeps infernos like this burning.

  44. True Hamas refused to extend the ceasefire, on the other hand, Israel seems to be unclear on the concept of a ceasefire, or they would not have gone in and killed six Palestinians while it was still in effect (November 4th). The Palestinians then started up their rocket attacks …

  45. Yish @ 28, 38, 44 et al,( and Isaac @ 47 ) – a kneejerk reaction, and I apologize – I see that you’re in here for the long haul… unlike Shay, who just showed up today…

  46. I agree completely. Religion is a vehicle, a scaffold, onto which a liberationist movement latched to formalize itd tenets and find its (occasionally ugly inspiration). I hate religion personally, and not a big fan of fundamentalism, but Hamas is a resistance movement first, religous one second.

    Hamas official in Guardian interview:
    “We are not engaged in a religious conflict with Jews; this is a political struggle to free ourselves from occupation and oppression”.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/may/12/hamascondemnstheholocaust

  47. @ #33 yish

    “yes, don’t we all object to *other people’s* violence?”

    Well, as a Canadian (the country that invented UN peacekeeping), I object to everyone’s violence.

    Neither side has a moral right to kill the other. Let them both back away from revenge or else nothing will be solved.

  48. @Guston – Your claim that the blockade predates Qassam rockets is categorically false. Qassam rockets have been fired, pretty much non-stop since 2001 Al-Aqsa Intifada, the blockade began shortly after Hamas’ bloody coup in Gaza, late 2007.
    The claim that Gaza has been under an economic blockade since 1993 is preposterous.

  49. @SHAY. Please understand what I am saying before you refute it. It was not a blockade in the form that was imposed recently after Hamas was elected.

    The restrictions after Oslo were ones on freedom of movement. In terms of trade and supplies, everything had to pass thorugh Israel’s border, customs taxes, and other restrictions that did not at that time have the aim of starving the population. Merely of controlling its life and commerce. Sara Roy, of Harvard, talks about the commerce aspect, and how Israel systematically de-developed Gaza from 1967 until the present situation of utter obliteration.

  50. @Antinous. I take it you think people involved in the arts are jokers who can’t talk politics and human rights? ARE YOU LISTENING XENI?

  51. @ACB – Current polls would indicate that a completely secular unity government is possible.
    Hamas took over the Gaza strip in a bloody coup in 2007. While they won the internal Palestinian government elections, they refuse to abide by PA constitution which would require them to renounce violent resistance, accept Israel’s right to exist, and adhere to previous Palestinian-government signed agreements.

    @FF11 – Hamas was the first to break the ceasefire when on the 23rd and 24th of June 2008 mortars and rockets were fired from the Gaza strip on Israeli cities. The November 4th raid was to eliminate a Hamas unit planning on kidnapping an Israeli soldier in the same MO as by which they captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. It was pre-emptive strike, but completely justified under the circumstances.

    @Sammich – I read Boingboing daily, have been doing so for years. I decided to comment today because I think it’s important to hear from someone who’s actually here.
    But it’s 5AM now, and I think it’s time I go to bed.

  52. @Shay. You may find this link useful:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_West_Bank_barrier

    There can be no peace thru apartheid. Palestinians are literally walled in, unable to move freely. Which was why they built tunnels. Why is why Israel broke the peace by bombing those tunnels. Which is why Hamas responded with rocket fire. Which is why Israel has chosen a relentless shock-and-awe response.

  53. #45 AVI SOLOMON
    Ralph Peters provides the best insight into Israel’s Gazan dilemma..

    Really? I found that article to be horrendously biased, and even bigoted in places.

    So far, this retaliatory campaign has been a superb example of how to employ postmodern airpower.

    some 300 terrorist dead.. ..propaganda-savvy information office of Hamas has struggled to prove that 20 civilians died.

    ..exposing the incompetence and sloth of Arab culture.

    ..while legions of Arab nationalists, Islamist extremists and Western leftists want every Jew dead.

    Enemies who believe their god ordains their actions can’t be placated.

    Really?

    While the article has one or two interesting projections, if that’s your “best insight”, there may be no hope in discussion.

  54. Hamas and Hezbollah are two of the most calculating, manipulative, and evil terrorist organizations to ever exist. In their brief histories, they have been responsible for many horrific attacks on both Israeli citizens and American military personnel. Those of you -like Mojave- who would side with these organizations by decrying Israel as the aggressor, fail to realize that their existence is, by and large, based on Arab-on-Arab tribal disputes that have been fomenting for fifteen-hundred years or more and not until recently has gained a ‘common’ enemy.
    In the schools that they control in Gaza, the West Bank, and in Lebanon, they teach their children to hate all Jews and to live only for the destruction of Israel and its population. They dress toddlers in ‘Palestinian’ flag keffiyehs with toy AK-47’s in their hands to indoctrinate the next generation of ‘freedom fighters’ in their ’cause’. They store their weapons in hospitals, schools, mosques, and apartment buildings -knowing full well that the Israelis will strike them wherever they are- in order to provide the most objectionable images for broadcast on TV stations that are either controlled by them, or are sympathetic to their ’cause’. They are the first to show up with TV cameras at sites that are bombed -because they stored weapons there- to show the weeping and ullulation of their women mourning for the dead.
    The only way that the ‘Palestinians’ will ever achieve ‘peace’ with Israel, is when they begin to value the lives of their children, their grandchildren, and future generations of ‘Palestinian’ children, more than they value the death and destruction of Israel and the Jews. Yes, it is terrible that people are dying -anyone with any conscience at all should be appalled at the loss of lives- but, Hamas and Hezbollah have created a culture of death that they wish to continue and pass down to generations to come. Those that would ‘sympathize’ with either Hamas or Hezbollah, should not be so quick to blame -when you fail to understand the complete history behind the conflict- and should first educate themselves and then re-evaluate their ‘opinion’ before condemning Israel for its actions.

  55. @Guston – You say that as if controlling ones borders is an illegitimate act by the state. The goal was to create Palestinian economic independence. This was done completely in cooperation with the PLO. Before the first Intifada, most Palestinians worked in Israel. By the time the Oslo Accords were signed, this was becoming a security issue, and in order to create a viable Palestinian state, both parties agreed that Palestinians would need to have a sustainable economy independent of Israel’s.
    All this revisionist history feels like it’s taken straight out of Nineteen Eighty-Four. What was once a goal of the Palestinians is now a weapon Israel ‘systematically’ used to hurt them. Meh.

  56. @Shay:
    “Current polls would indicate that a completely secular unity government is possible.”

    Are you referring to Israel or Gaza?

    1. “Current polls would indicate that a completely secular unity government is possible.” Are you referring to Israel or Gaza?

      How about both together? I think that a Palestinian homeland is a really stupid idea. Look at India and Pakistan. Now increase the acrimony and shrink the physical space. Long term survival for Israelis and Palestinians would be best served by a democratic, secular state.

  57. @SHAY.Controlling Freedom of movement between Gaza and Ramallah would be against Geneva Conventions since they are both occupied territory.

    Tens of thousands of people in Gaza were denied permits to get an education, go seek medical help, visit their families in Jerusalem or the West Bank, travel overseas, and reach sites of worship.

    I’d say these are rather egregious restrictions.

    And let’s not talk of imprisonment/ detention/ torture/ practices which also contravened international law.

  58. SHAY, Guston had it right, you have it wrong. The first Qassam to hit Israel: 2002. The “Security Barrier”: 1996.

  59. @Pilcrow – Unable to move freely into Israel, you mean. That’s kind of the point, really.
    Like I said, a last measure, I wish we didn’t have to come to it, but a very effective one.
    In the long term, preventing Palestinian terrorism from the West bank improves chances for peace between the nations, which is ultimately a good thing for both sides.

    The tunnels are in Gaza, not the West Bank, and the situation is really nothing like South African Apartheid, I really wish people were more informed of the facts before they picked a side in this wonderful spectator sport.

    The economic blockade on Gaza has always had a diplomatic wayout; For Hamas to accept the international community’s demands as presented by the quartet. Their refusal to do so has led to a lot of suffering on the Gazan side, but it is their choice to refuse, not ours.
    The quartet’s demands are very reasonable to anyone with a moral compass and a desire for peace: Renounce violence, accept Israel’s right to exist, and adhere to Palestinian National Authority’s previously signed agreements which include a dedication to a two-state solution.

  60. @Falcon_Seven.Go see my link above about the Hamas interview in the Guardian. It’s entitled:
    “Hamas condemns the Holocaust”
    Doesn’t sound as evil as one can get with a jewish state.

  61. @75 – The Security Barrier around Gaza is not the blockade Gazans are crying about now. Seriously, people, get your facts straight or stfu.

  62. @SHAY. You are 100% correct. But it did make Gazans poorer, more miserable, imprisoned, and shot up the unemployment by a factor of 10.

  63. @Guston – Neither Gaza nor the West Bank fall under the legal category of occupied territory, as they were never part of a sovereign state. Before 1948, this was all part of the British Mandate. From 1948 to 1967 Gaza was occupied by Egypt. From 1948 to 1967 The West Bank was occupied by the HK Jordan. Jordan even went further and officially annexed the west bank to Jordan. This was only recognized by the UK I believe, and you can still see the west bank in official Jordanian maps to this day, though I believe King Hussein (RIP) renounced his claim to the west bank near or around the signing of the Oslo Accords in the early 90s.
    Movement between Gaza and the West Bank, so long as it requires going through Israel, is not a natural right of anyone. Israel’s security concerns supersede anyone else’s right to cross through its borders. This goes without saying for other countries, but is for some reason not taken for granted in Israel.
    In a peace agreement, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank would be connected by a “safe passage” bridge which would not require Israeli scrutiny or passport control.
    So long as a peace agreement is not reached, Gazans and West Bankers who want to travel visit eachother will have to comply to Israeli security demands.

    1. Neither Gaza nor the West Bank fall under the legal category of occupied territory

      Invoking the British Mandate is not a very good basis for any argument. The relatively arbitrary creation of nations at the end of World War II was one of the worst ideas since the relatively arbitrary creation of nations at the end of World War I. Everything falls apart. The center cannot hold.

  64. The Security Barrier around Gaza is not the blockade Gazans are crying about now.

    Bunch of whining babies, huh?

    Wow.

  65. In short, the policies Israel adopted since the mid-nineties began to hurt the entire population of Gaza, and only got worse.

    That’s at least 13 years of bitterness, resentment, and injustice against the population of Gaza.

    And let’s not talk about bulldozed orange groves, extrajudicial assassinations, kidnappings, unlawful detention and imprisonment, psychological damage, missiles from the air and always “sorry, too many” civillian casualties. Etc.

  66. @shay, I wish it were so simple that we could easily throw it on the shoulders of the people living in Gaza, blaming (and ultimately punishing them) for electing a militant group with strong anti-Israel rhetoric. However, continuous Israeli airstrikes, embargos and raids into the area are, more than any other factor, to blame for this zeitgeist which allowed a group such as Hamas to be elected.

    Israel can’t make friends by cutting them off from the world, bombing the hell out them and then laughing when their hospitals have no electricity.

    And yes, the rocket strikes were wrong. But it is a deplorable oversight of Western media here to ignore the fact that Israel is every bit as much to blame for breaking the peace in the first place. Even Israeli media admits as much.

  67. @82 – Yes, because we’re just so likely to get along.
    Multinational states are a failed experiment. See: Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, and soon: Belgium.

  68. The way things are going, eventually the problem will be only be solved when the arab israelis come to outnumber the jewish ones.

  69. @SHAY #83.I don’t have to bother discussing your claim. Tell that to the world which voted unanimously in the UN security council that these areas, and their inhabitants, are precisely, “occupied”, in the legal definition of the world.

  70. Israel turns my head upside down. On the one hand I respect the rights for Jews to defend themselves, but I personally feel they have gone too far. Personally, I have never been to Israel, but I have been dead-center in the middle of my family’s conflict over Israel.

    I’m not going rehash my family history, but before World War II my father was a proud teenage Zionist. He truly believed that Israel was a solution to the problems his family and other Jews faced in Europe. The World War II happened. Then he met my mom and after some years in Polish annexed parts Germany, he moved the family to Israel.

    They didn’t stay long. And eventually moved to the U.S. He always portrayed the move to America as a positive, but every now and then he would get visibly upset at the war in the mid-east and rant about how crazy the whole mess is and how there would never be peace.

    What that meant to me is he had dreams of an ideal Jewish state. The Jewish state was forced into existence after Jewish terrorists basically forced the British to leave and give them the land. He moved there. He got sick of being caught in a war. And left.

    I’m caught in the middle since I was born later on in the U.S. and have no real Israeli ties. I have a bizarre array of cousins who seem to only be able to say “Come to Israel…” when contacted for casual contact. And not much else. My brother and sister have pretty much denied their secular Jewish past and see Israel as the only valid expression of Jewish life. Oh, they acknowledge the diaspora world of the Jews… But that always comes second to Israel. And their blind praise of Israel and somewhat delusional view that this isn’t a war—seriously, to them it’s “something else” and never a war—has really driven a huge rift in the family. Between me and them and even their kids who really were never raised in Israel and have issues relating to Jewish secular life outside of Israel.

    Fun-Fact: Did you know that being a secular Jew in the U.S. has become more difficult as each year passes? For many, you might as well be an atheist. When in reality if you look back on the rich Jewish life of the 20th Century, so many great things were created in a secular diaspora… Post-Israel? It’s not the same.

    In my mind Israel is an effing mess to say the least. In retrospect some part of Poland should have simply been broken off and made into a Jewish state and Israel could have been a “sister state” or something. I don’t know. There is no real solution.

    But looking at what’s happening in Gaza, it’s just sick. It’s simply an Israeli debacle that will be their Iraq war. A mess of blood and vengeance wrapped in the guise of “defense”. And the Palestinians are caught in them middle.

    2009 is really the first year I’ve truly gotten angry at this mess and question Israel’s methods. There simply MUST be a better way. If Israel wants to kill Hammas agents and leadership, can’t they simply employ counter-terrorist methods on a small scale? Send one small group into Gaza and blow up one basement? These bombing raids are sick and will only inspire MORE Hammas membership.

  71. SHAY, I’m not sure what you are trying to achieve. Israel was making regular incursions into Gaza and the Palestinians were firing rockets. But the cease fire had put an end to that for 5 months until Israel’s raid in November.

  72. @81 – What made Gazans poorer was that Israelis slowly replaced them in the workforce during the 80s and 90s due to repeated attacks by employees on their employers during the first Intifada.
    If Arafat and his cohorts wouldn’t have robbed all the money the international community poured into the PA, the Palestinian’s would probably be building Disneyland Gaza by now and have had a completely independent and sustainable economy.
    Arafat is probably the only revolutionary figure in history to become a multi-billionaire during his revolution.

  73. @Antinous: a democratic, secular state would be terrific. Problem is, it doesn’t look like you can get there from here.

    For one, secularism is in short supply in the region. The entire area is so steeped in religion, millennia of it, that it has a profound effect on people. In an area where many visitors find themselves wandering the streets in hotel bedsheets thinking they’re John the Baptist, putting religion on the shelf may be a big ask (more’s the pity).

    1. The entire area is so steeped in religion, millennia of it, that it has a profound effect on people.

      I’ll bet you twenty bucks that Israel will have gay marriage before the US does. There’s a strong base for secularism, but the government is still living in the shtetl, at the mercy of the ultra-orthodox.

  74. @SHAY. Yeah, yeah. Arafat sucked big time, but he was still fighting to protect his people from Israel’s closure policies. Gazans could have done ok if they were permitted by Israel to go to the West Bank for work. But they were not.

    But according to you, Nothing is ever Israel’s fault.

    Adios, everyone. Peace.

  75. So why didn’t the British create a “national home for the Jewish people” in, like, western Australia or something, where they could spread out and kibbutz themselves into bliss?

    The fight over Palestine will never end.

  76. How much financial aid did arafat receive from the international community? It is close to the 3 billion dollars that the US annually gives Israel?

  77. perhaps we should be turning our eyes to what may happen next, rather than how this situation arose.

  78. @84 – I wasn’t being cynical at all. I wasn’t even being figurative, I’ve seen people cry, on both sides of the fence. Nobody here takes this shit lightly.

    @85 – The terror attacks of the mid 90s weren’t so fun on our side either.

    @90 – UN Resolutions can say what they like, common sense (and Israeli law) will still require people passing through Israeli borders into Israel to be scrutinized by security. Common sense wins again.

    @93 – So Israel was just supposed to allow Hamas to strike the first blow and kidnap another soldier? I’m sorry, Israeli security concerns supersede any ceasefire agreement reached with a terrorist organization. They fired many rockets in the day later which went unretaliated. They had the opportunity to extend the ceasefire, they chose to increase rocket fire. Even Egypt places the blame firmly on Hamas, and they really can’t be seen as being pro-Israel in this conflict.

  79. How much financial aid did arafat receive from the international community? It is close to the 3 billion dollars that the US annually gives Israel?

    I don’t know, but is that number anywhere near the number of rockets fired from Gaza in 2008?

  80. 3 billions? The figure I saw was 2.4 billion last reporting year. That would be US$2,400,000,000.00 given freely by America to Israel and then used by Israel to buy the same amount in weapons. 75% of these weapons coming from the USA.

    This is what is called a “business relationship” – well, so long as you don’t ask non-shareholders in Haliburton et al, people like ordinary American taxpayers. This cosy relationship may end in one month. Many stakeholders do not like that.

  81. @#104 POSTED BY ISAAC

    I don’t know, but is that number anywhere near the number of rockets fired from Gaza in 2008?

    In all seriousness, aren’t there Israeli anti-rocket/anti-missile systems that can knock out these rockets in flight?

    I know the Patriot MDS was a fiasco and never worked well against SCUD missiles. But I seem to recall some system being developed specifically to protect against this kind of stuff.

  82. @99 I never said nothing was ever Israel’s fault, I’ve been very critical of Israel, just not on most of the points you’ve raised.
    I’m part of the Israeli peace camp, have been all my life. I still believe peace is the only solution to the conflict, but the mindset needs to shift from arguing over history and justice to pragmatic considerations of the future.
    The fact of the matter is, that the Israeli peace camp has done a great job through the decades in creating a consensus for peace. A real willingness to give up some of the Israeli dreams not because the other side is right, but because it’s a better future for our children. No such change in mindset has occurred on the other side. This is what distresses me most. Rhetoric there still speaks of injustice and reparation and not much at all of compromise. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a Palestinian under the age of 25 who believes in a two-state solution. This is very distressing.
    The blame game here can never end, the question is where is Israel willing to go the distance to see this conflict end, compared to where are the Palestinians willing to go to make a historic compromise and mark an end to the conflict.

  83. ‘m gld w gv mr mny t srl thn ny thr ntn s thy cn s t fr wpns t kll whvr thy fl lk. Gd blss mrc.

    /s

  84. #6: Thank-you. Most useful post so far.

    #21: “Also, more Germans died in WWII than British, and yet still we feel that the allied forces actions were justified. Just something to think about..”

    Who would “we” be? I hold the city bombings in WWII (of both Germans and Japanese) to be almost as bad as the holocaust. (And the city bombings are the main reason that more Germans died than British or Americans.)

    The goal was the same: wholesale slaughter with the only discrimination being the ethnic or national identity of those slaughtered.

    That said, you’re really shooting yourself in the foot by comparing the Israeli bombings in Gaza with the WWII Allied military campaign: The Israelis are at least supposedly aiming for military targets, while the Allies were deliberately aiming (and occasionally succeeding) to wipe entire cities off the map.

    #24: Interestingly, in South Africa, we had the Resititution of Land Rights Act, intended to return land to people who, either directly or through their ancestors, had lost it due to the unfair practices of a white-minority government. That act set the cut-off date at 1913. The reason for this is that, if you go far enough back (even just a few hundred years), a lot of South African land was taken from Khoisan-speaking peoples (who are now a dwindling minority) by Bantu-speaking peoples, who now form the majority of the country’s population.

    This is true all over the world – at some point you need to make a cut off, as deconvoluting the twists and turns of hundreds or thousands of years of history to try to determine who “really” should have which land is deeply impractical and likely to be unfair.

    Jewish people are fairly unique in their “hope of 2000 years”.

    ———–
    So, lastly, I leave you with the reason I have little hope for resolution in Israel any time this generation, from an article from the political analyst I distrust least:

    “The demographic danger is that Israeli Jews will end up as a minority within the territory ruled by Israel. It is almost a reality already: the 600,000 Jews who lived in Israel when it was founded in 1948 have grown to six million, but despite the huge number of Palestinians who fled to surrounding countries in the various wars, a higher birth rate means there will soon be six million Arabs living in territory under Israeli control. Then there will be seven million, and then eight million.”

    “Olmert was absolutely clear: if this single political space persists, and the Palestinians become the majority population within it, they will stop asking for their own state. They will just demand the vote—and Israel will have to choose between granting them their demand and ceasing to be a Jewish state, or rejecting it and ceasing to be a democracy.

    That dilemma has been implicit ever since the Israeli conquests of 1967. It is now explicit and imminent. In fact, it is already the position of the Hamas movement, which controls the Gaza Strip. So Olmert wanted to make a deal that gave the Palestinians their own state, in order to preserve an Israel that was both Jewish and democratic.”

  85. Yish @ 12 – is it a level battleground? have the Palestinians also blockaded Israel?

    There is actually an Arab boycott of Israeli goods. I suppose you could call that a blockade.

    Do the muslims build walls to segregate the jews?

    The Jews in the West Bank feel the need to live behind walls. I don’t think any Jews live in Gaza at all. I presume that this state of affairs would continue in any Palestinian state.

  86. @Jack – No. Nautilus was being developed and was scrapped (though the radar module is being used today). There is another system being developed, with slightly higher hopes, but we’re years before it becomes operational, and it still might not help the ultrashort range cities like Sderot.

  87. @113 All Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip were removed in the 2005 Withdrawal.

    A Palestinian state would indeed be Judenfrei. I must admit, I take no issue with this Palestinian stance. I would demand as much if I were them. The only problem really is Hebron, but, I, for one, am willing to make that compromise.

  88. #112 POSTED BY KIERAN O’NEILL

    That said, you’re really shooting yourself in the foot by comparing the Israeli bombings in Gaza with the WWII Allied military campaign: The Israelis are at least supposedly aiming for military targets, while the Allies were deliberately aiming (and occasionally succeeding) to wipe entire cities off the map.

    You realize you’ve walked right into a classic piece of propaganda that has been used consistently since 1945? You realize I also have used this line of logic until this past year and have been embarrassed to have ever been a part of that?

    Every new war and battle is explained away with the so-called “aiming for military targets” excuse.

    There is no doubt in my mind that weapons are better. But humans are still humans and make mistakes. Also, Hammas deliberately uses CIVILIAN AREAS as staging and launching grounds for attacks.

    So if you live on a quiet street and somehow a few Hammas guys just decide to jump on your roof… Like magic, your building is now a military target.

    Israel has every right to defend itself. But at this point it’s clear NONE OF THESE MILITARY OFFENSIVES ULTIMATELY WORK!

    Killing 500 people to get ONE Hammas leader has stopped nothing. For every relative killed in this mess, some relative who still lives has now been turned to Hammas because you know what? When your family is blown to bits and you have nothing else to lose, why not join the fight? You’re already in hell. Go down fighting.

    THAT is the main reason this stuff will never work. Israel is defending itself in a way that just creates another generation of bloody hungry folks with nothing else to lose.

  89. And more Gwynne Dyer, writing directly about the current conflict:

    “For Israel’s political leaders, this is mainly about looking tough in front of an electorate that just wants someone to “do something” about the Palestinians and their rockets. Nothing much can be done, short of a peace settlement generous enough to reconcile them to the loss of their land, but Israeli politicians have to look like they are trying. Hundreds of people are dying in the Gaza Strip to provide that show.

    The Hamas leaders are equally cynical, since they know that every civilian death, and even every militant’s death, helps to build popular support for them.

    The dead are pawns, and the game is politics. No wonder there is such lack of enthusiasm elsewhere for spending much effort on trying to persuade the two sides to agree to a ceasefire.”

  90. @Antinous–117
    That’s what I find so baffling. I have such sweet Israeli friends that have the most liberal views on all topics–except the Palestinians. They look at the TV and see the dead bodies of children, the 1:100 body count, and they feel nothing.

  91. Dear Kieran: do you see similarities in how the Hamas leadership “serves” the Palestinians and how the Israeli leadership “serves” the Israelis? I know Israeli domestic politics is a brawl with groups from their respective far ends despising the other even to death (reassuring), but is there the possibility that like the Gazans, the Israelis are being taken for a ride? I doubt many dare raise this since it is likely attacked as disloyalty to the group, but what do you think?

  92. Tanks against rocks, soldiers against children, Gaza is the new Warsaw ghetto. General Gabi Ashkenazi, or General Jurgen Stroop. The more things change….wait, they really haven’t nhave they? The killing is wrong, no matter. It was said “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds”. Once in the Gita, last by Oppenheimer. What are we doing?

  93. @115 – Are you being cynical? Polls show that less than 4% of Jewish Israelis are opposed to the operation in Gaza. Close to 80% are Very Much in Favor, and about 13% In Favor. this basically encapsulates the entire political spectrum in Israel.
    The fact that the international left’s kneejerk antiwar anti-Israel stance doesn’t see things the same way the Israeli left sees them likely lies in ignorance of the facts rather than all of Israelis being warmongering bastards.
    True Marxists would be disgusted in the way the international left sides with hate-spewing jihadist fanatics like Hamas.
    I blame Chomsky, personally.
    But this is offtopic.

    Anyway, I’m off to bed.

    Godspeed.

  94. @110, peace at the end of the barrel isn’t true peace. Continued ‘military actions’ against ‘terrorist targest’ will ultimately lead to another generation of fighting between two people. Are you really prepared to forgive and forget when your family number among the dead? It becomes far more difficult.

    Sadly, the next generation will have access to even more lethal technology than this one, and they will likely use it if they are desperate enough. That’s why it is so important to stop the cycle of violence in this generation, and not leave it for your children.

    Israel’s long standing policy of massive retaliation for any perceived transgression is doomed to failure. And so is apartheid. I am unaware of any historic example of successful apartheid.

  95. #117: I’m not justifying the Israeli bombings, just pointing out that they are not comparable to the WWII Allied city bombings. If they were, the death toll would be in the hundreds of thousands, not the hundreds.

    (I think you’re attacking the wrong person’s argument.)

  96. Takuan, so, they finally remembered to flood the tank with warm water and bring up the lights, eh?

    Shay, you are something else.
    The rest of the world can think whatever they want, I can’t say I care much for their opinion.

    I still believe peace is the only solution to the conflict, but the mindset needs to shift from arguing over history and justice to pragmatic considerations of the future.

    Bad sportsmanship. A ruthless minority of people seems to have forgotten good old-fashioned virtues. They just can’t stand seeing the other fellow win. If these people would just play the game…

    Hamas has only one hope and that is to provoke Israel into doing something stupid. Looks like its working.

  97. Quoting #45:

    What I feel many protestors (regardless of side) fail to take into account, is die Realpolitik of the situation. The logic of the conflict betwixt Israel and Hamas is circular:
    -Hamas refuses to acknowledge the existence of Israel, is hostile by policy etc, will not engage in dialogue and so on.
    -Israel will not deal with a group that refuses to acknowledge its very existence.
    -The people of Gaza supposedly support Hamas, by virtue of the fact that they voted them into power.

    These situations also occur between individuals on a smaller scale. They (Hamas and Israel) should then instead base their negotiations on something else than mutual acknowledgement. If this sounds ridiculous to you then you’re not thinking enough out of the box. They need a professional team of negotiators to be plunged in between them.

  98. #120: Tak-kun, I’m not sure I know enough about the internals of Israeli politics to comment directly, but let me try: I guess it depends on what you mean by “being taken for a ride”. You could argue that politicians on both sides are doing what they feel is best for their people, just in a very bloody and cynical way.

    The reasoning (on both sides interchangeably) could simply be as follows: My people need a strong, central government in this time of crisis. I am the closest to that, so I must keep myself in power. To keep myself in power, I need the support of my people. To do so, I need to strike at the other people.

    (Of course, that’s allowing them some level of idealism, which, in politics, could be a fairly large allowance.)

  99. So how are Israel’s talks via go-between with Syria going? Because ultimately I think there’s something about that that is affecting this mess.

  100. KIERAN–131
    I can’t believe you are laughing about this. What if it was your father or grandfather killed, and counted amongst terrorists?

  101. Yes better no offensive at all.

    That said, when a British styled concentration camp is involved (Concentration camps were invented by Cromwell in order to cordon off the Catholics of N. Ireland into a small areas surrounded by a three mile no mans land, later copied by Nazi Germany later still the British used in Africa until the 1980’s), there is little to do but bang your tin cups on the bars.

  102. quite the reverse dear Nail, the icy, coffin-grip of the crushing, black depths is conducive to thought.

    I see a similarity in #130 and the self-justification of the Cheney Interregnum.

  103. #133: I’m laughing about the synchronicity of the comments, and certainly not at the situation in Gaza/Israel. If you read my other posts in this thread, perhaps you might realise that.

  104. #135 You are right.. there is more to it.
    But still it’s just effed up. The Un says they won’t deal with the adult male count so as to err on the conservative side??!!

    “This has led almost certainly to an underestimate of the civilian death toll. It may be weeks before Israeli and Palestinian rights groups and journalists are able to produce accurate figures.”

  105. #136: Indeed, now I think of it – at both the national and international levels. (My country needs strong government / the world needs a strong country to “govern” it).

    Interregnum. Good word.

  106. Borders are defined by the nation-states that can defend them. In the long run, Might establishes rightful legitimacy; to pretend otherwise is to know no history. If you want it and you can take it, take it; history will absolve you. Everything is eventually forgiven the victors, even genocide.

    Israel and the Palestinians are today committing great crimes while pleading with the world for understanding. Thy cn bth g fck thmslvs.

  107. wardish@14:Yes Israels response has caused civilian casualties, but as far as I know that was not deliberate unlike the Hamas.

    17 Israelis were killed by Hamas attacks launched from Gaza for the entire year of 2008 (or 26 depending on how you count). In a week, Israel has killed about 60 innocent palestinian civilians including 30 or more children. Any attempt to define “deliberate” to excuse Israel’s far higher body count of innocent kills while condemning Hamas is hypocritical fascist flag waving propaganda.

  108. shay@20: There’s also a lot of bogus rhetoric on the web regarding ‘proportionality’, ‘collective punishment’ and so-called ‘war crimes’ committed by Israel. This stems from a misunderstanding of international law and international humanitarian law. One merely needs to read Article 28 from the 4th Geneva convention to realize that civilian casualties do not mean that war crimes are taking place

    OK, shay, in 2008, Hamas militants kiled about two dozen israelis from attacks launched from gaza. How many innocent Palestinians does Israel get to kill before it becomes immoral?

    Are you telling me that the Geneva Convention really does allow Israel to kill ten thousand Palestinian children as long as israel is aiming somewhere in the general proximity of a hamas militant? Are you going to hide behind the geneva convention just to avoid the morality of Israel killing far more innocent palestinians in a week than Hamas killed in an entire year?

    How many innocent palestinians does morality allow to die by Israeli bombs?

  109. Shay@42: Israel tried to extend the ceasefire, Hamas responded with a dramatic increase of rockets fired to the upper 70s or 80s a day.
    No one can be expected to live like that.

    Just pointing out that “No one can be expected to live like that” is code for “They made us do this” which is only a skip away from “the blood of innocents we kill is on their hands”.

  110. @142/144 GregLondon
    Are you telling me that the Geneva Convention really does allow Israel to kill ten thousand Palestinian children as long as israel is aiming somewhere in the general proximity of a hamas militant

    Give us all a break and can your hyperbole. When Israel has killed 10k Palestinian children (God forbid) or has abandoned its current suite of practices designed to minimize civilian casualties, your rhetoric may become relevant. In the mean time, if you don’t like the Geneva Conventions, please propose a set of principles for just warfare that you think make more sense.

    You can shout “60 > 17!” until you’re blue in the face, and it won’t get us any closer to an adult understanding of Israel’s and Hamas’ respective responsibilities in this conflict. Neither law nor morality is simply a numbers game.

  111. Shay — is Ehud Barak your uncle?

    I noticed that, after my last post (#123), the reference in your blog to Ehud Barak as your “uncle” has been altered. The phrase “my uncle” has been replaced with the word “Barak”.

    I have a full cache on my anti-astroturfing site here. Here’s the cached page in Google, and the current version.

  112. The economic blockade on Gaza has always had a diplomatic wayout; For Hamas to accept the international community’s demands

    Did Israel get its blockade of Gaza approved by the UN Security Council? Also, who, exactly is enforcing the blockade? UN Peacekeepers? And to call it an “economic” blockade when Israel has repeatedly refused to allow food and medicine to enter Gaza is a disgusting act of sheer propaganda.

    Much of the world condemns israel’s crippling blockade of Gaza. And Israel will only lift its blockade when it gets exactly what it wants: A complete submission of the palestinians to Israeli rule.

    The blockade started in 2006 when Hamas won political elections in Gaza. Israel enforced the blockade to attempt to force its own political will on the Palestinians and eject Hamas from offices gained by democratic elections.

    No doubt, the apologists like Shay will howl in protest about how evil all of Hamas is. But one could legitimately compare Israel’s attempt to outlaw Hamas to be equally stupid and shortsighted as America’s attempts to outlaw Bathe party members in Iraq. And normally, I don’t have a problem with someone like Israel acting like complete and absolute morons. Except its innocent palestinians who are paying the price for Israels beligerence, hubris, and stupidity.

  113. (I digress terribly, but the more I think about it:)
    “The painting depicts a moment from the aftermath of the wreck of the French naval frigate Méduse, which ran aground off the coast of today’s Mauritania on July 5, 1816. A limited number of lifeboats were available on board, and 147 passengers were forced onto a raft, which was eventually abandoned by the other crew. The raft floated for 13 days, during which time most of its occupants died. Before the survivors were rescued on July 17, they suffered from starvation, dehydration and madness. The disaster resulted in an international scandal, and its cause was widely attributed to the incompetence of the French captain, who had been granted his post in an act of political favour by the court of the recently restored French monarchy.”

  114. It’s about time for the US to stop sending money and weapon systems to Israel. People in the US should contact their representatives.

  115. I have had Al Jazeera streaming all day. At 2:55 PM Pacific time today I heard a live report form Al Jezeera’s corespondent Amir Al-Kahki live from the border crossing to Gaza. He reported personal seeing 40 tons of medical supplies and 20 tons of baby formula cross the border in Red Cross trucks earlier this afternoon.

    So the story that there is no humanitarian supplies getting in is just propaganda, unless you are now arguing that an Al Jezeera corespondent is lying in favor of Israel.

  116. Why is Israel’s refusal to open its territory to Gaza or those doing business with Gaza considered a ‘blockade’? Is Israel preventing Egypt from sending aid to Gaza or preventing Gazans from entering Egypt?

    1. Is Israel preventing Egypt from sending aid to Gaza or preventing Gazans from entering Egypt?

      Yes. It was a huge international news story a couple of months ago. They finally allowed access for a while.

  117. Give us all a break and can your hyperbole.

    Right back at you, shay. How many innocent palestinians will you allow Israel to kill? If you want to get out of hyperbole, stop hiding behind legalisms and put out a number that you will allow to be killed.

    Oh, yes, I know this is just hyperbole and it’s not like real people out there are really dying, so don’t you worry about it none. It’s all perfectly legal according to your interpretation of the Geneva Convention.

    Israel kills 38 civilians on eve of ceasefire

    Israel kills 42 civilian lebonese

    Israel kills 7, mostly teenage civilians

    Israel has killed more than 100 palestinians in Gaza in the first four months of 2008

    Israeli airstrikes kill 54 civilians

    Israel kills 19 civilians in Gaza

    Israel kills another 20 civilians despite UN Resolution

    Israel kills 17 civilians in convoy evacutating Lebanon

    Israel kills dozen of civilians, calls it a ‘mistake'”

    Israeli airraid kills 56 civilians, 37 of them children

    Man, I gotta say, that’s a lot of fake dead bodies for such hyperbole. Good thing we’re keeping it real by avoiding talking about actual casualties.

  118. I think it’s about time we take religion out of the equation. Enough with all the wars based on religion. It’s time we get our sh#@t together and start loving one another, and just do away with past angst.

    <1-- Read more at: http://raverantrage.blogspot.com/2008/12/kill-baby-kill.html
    Home page: www.RaveRantRage.blogspot.com -->

    Peace!

  119. and that (#151) is why this discussion here is important. There are minds being made up, as opposed to prejudices confirmed. This forum, and others like it that deserve the title, are subject to the interested parties’ schemes. I imagine there has been less Hamas astro-turfing since they just haven’t the linguistic/cultural depth to reach here.
    Oh yes, just as the IDF said,the blogosphere is a battleground – and an important one.

    To myself the issue is simple: both the Hamas leadership and the Israeli government are served by the deaths of Gazans. They know what they do and why, and they both deserve denunciation. I do hold Israel’s moral burden the worse since they have the advantage of power.

    Cutting any aid but food and medicine to both would be a start. Even if that does upset the weapons makers.

  120. #151 xiptg wrote

    “It’s about time for the US to stop sending money and weapon systems to Israel. People in the US should contact their representatives.”

    The US provides annually to Israel 2.7 billion in military aid, all of which must by law be spent on US made weapons , providing jobs to many thousands of US Defense industry workers at a time when the economy is on the rocks and layoffs are everywhere. Many argue this aid to Israel is in fact a subsidy to the US defense industry even more than a subsidy to Israel.

    On the other hand, Israel’s GDP last year was 135 billion, so the cutting of US aid would not hurt Israel all that much. Israel does not require this aid to survive.

  121. Shay@122: The fact that the international left’s kneejerk antiwar anti-Israel stance doesn’t see things the same way the Israeli left sees them likely lies in ignorance of the facts

    Yes, any criticism of Israel is going to be kneejerk, antiwar, anti-israel and ignorant. Israel, of course, is the only country who are thoughtful, truly peace loving, and well informed of the issues. Thank you for really explaining where all this criticism is coming from, Shay.

    1. I think that Shay’s comments have been thoughtful and sincere. I’ve also verified that he’s not astroturfing.

  122. how then,Two Gun,would you feel about the retraction of the American military defense umbrella as well? Do you really believe Israel would use nuclear weapons as she has threatened? Or would she moderate her territorial ambitions. Maybe the bluff will be called.

  123. shay@65: Hamas was the first to break the ceasefire … It was pre-emptive strike, but completely justified under the circumstances.

    “They started it” and “we are righteous” in one paragraph. Nice hyperbole, dude. keep avoiding actual death toll numbers as long as you can.

  124. shay@50: The UN has a well-documented anti-Israel bias

    WEll, since you said it, it must be true. I’m sure Israel hasn’t done anything lately to deserve international criticism. It’s just that the world hates the modern state of Israel for no particular reason.

  125. I’m inclined to agree with you Antinous, but I do think it important that the possibility of astro-turfing be raised early and often so as to preempt it. No one is served if it becomes an epithet, but I am distressed by the number of people I meet that it does not even occur to. Question everything. Demand evidence. Do your own corroboration. Those are the values I wish to spread. (for some reason, rabbis,priests and imams dislike me)

  126. #157 Antinous wrote:

    “Is Israel preventing Egypt from sending aid to Gaza or preventing Gazans from entering Egypt?

    Yes. It was a huge international news story a couple of months ago. They finally allowed access for a while.”

    No! This is the biggest lie of all. Egypt as any fool with Google Earth can verify for themselves has a border 20 Kilometers long with Gaza. you always hear over and over about the so-called Israeli wall. Well what about the Egyptian Wall? Currently this border is a 20 foot high steel and concrete, barbed wire topped wall manned by thousands of Arab Muslim Egyptian soldiers siting in guard towers with shoot to kill orders against any Arab Muslim Gazans who try to cross it. Note, this is an international border, separating the sovereign state of Egypt from Gaza, with no Israeli soldiers anywhere near. The Egyptians could open it whenever they want and the Israelis could do nothing to stop them.
    The big question is why this lie of it being an “Israeli” blockade when it should properly be called an “Egyptian-Israeli” blockade.

    And why, you may ask are the Arab Muslim Egyptians shooting their brother Gazans when they try to cross the Egyptian border? The answer is simple. Hamas is an off-shoot of the banned Muslim Brotherhood Jihadi movement which has been trying to overthrow the Egyptian government for 50 years, and among other things assassinated Sadat. That, and the Iranian influence on Hamas makes the Egyptians hate Hamas even more than Israel does, and all the Arab government feel the exact same way too. Look at what Syria did to the Muslim Brotherhood when they took over the town of Hama in Syria in 1982. the Syrian Arab Muslim Army massacred at least 30,000 innocent Syrian Arab Muslim civilians at Hama in 2 days, from Feb. 2 to Feb. 3 1982, according to Amnesty International.

    That is why Egypt is blockading Gaza

    1. Two Gun Cohen,

      Does it occur to you that Egypt might have some legitimate worry that Israel would launch a military attack against them if they didn’t comply?

  127. on the topic of info-war; how any others felt something fishy about the IDF video of “Grad rockets being loaded”? I am open to other examples of Hamas media distortion being cited as balance,I just mention the “rockets” since I had doubts from the moment I saw it a day or two ago. Before,I pointedly add, any media mention of “welding cylinders”.

  128. “Peace with apartheid? Peace with bulldozers? That’s not peace and it will never be peace. The oppressed have the inalienable right to secure their independence and freedom by any means necessary.”
    True, but Israel also has an inalienable right to defend itself and its citizens.
    It’s so easy to get bogged down in a mess of inalienable rights, personally I just want a solution that stops the fighting.

  129. #165 posted by Takuan

    “How then,Two Gun,would you feel about the retraction of the American military defense umbrella as well? Do you really believe Israel would use nuclear weapons as she has threatened? Or would she moderate her territorial ambitions. Maybe the bluff will be called.”

    There is no American military defense umbrella over Israel. She has never asked one American soldier to ever fight her wars for her. Israel has always defended herself on her own against 100 to 1 odds if you look at the Arab nations population and wealth compared to Israels.

    And what territorial ambitions. You mean her “territorial ambitions” of pulling out of the entire Sinai Desert in 1982, an area twice as big as Israel herself, in return for a piece of paper from Egypt ? Or maybe you mean her “territorial ambitions” in withdrawing from 100% of Lebanon to the international border in May of 2000 as certified by the United Nations?
    Or maybe you mean her “territorial ambitions” when Ehud Barak offered at Camp David 96% of the west bank and 100% of Gaza in return for peace, supported in opinion polls by the vast majority of Israelis. Or is it her “territorial ambitions” of pulling 100% out and removing all settlements from Gaza in 2005. Or maybe her repeated offers to return the Golan to Syria for peace which Syria keeps rejecting?

    So I am confused. To which of the above “territorial ambitions” of Israel’s do you refer?

  130. Israel has killed 75 palestinian children in the last few days

    also, from that same article:

    The Israeli offensive has prompted condemnation from around the world (but that’s just a knee-jerk, anti-israeli thing, right?)

    Amnesty International (berated) the administration for its “lopsided” support for the Israeli assault (but we know how biased Amnesty is, right?)

    Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was national security adviser for US president Jimmy Carter, (said) “that the US policy right now is completely bankrupt” and the Israeli offensive “will further radicalize the Palestinians.”

  131. The revenge killings and preemptive killings of tens, hundreds, and thousands of people will seem negligible when the uncontrolled sorts who fire conventional rockets get their hands on nuclear weapons. Collateral damage and retaliation will not be a consideration. Some of those who remain alive will wish that both sides had made the painful choices to be more restrained. Because the deaths will be in the millions. A holocaust on both sides. Regrettable. Maybe the start of a third world war. Then won’t the people of the region be respected and tolerated by the remainder of the people alive on the planet!

  132. twogun: There is no American military defense umbrella over Israel. Israel has always defended herself on her own

    allow me to introduce you to Operation Nickel Grass.

    he U.S. Air Force shipped 22,325 tons of tanks, artillery, ammunition, and supplies to Israel during the Yom Kippur War, probably the only reason Israel won that war. In response, Arab states enforced an oil embargo on the US, leading to the 1973 Oil Crisis in the states.

  133. Doesn’t Egypt come second after Israel for American arms aid? Hasn’t America pledged alliance to Israel if Israel is attacked? I didn’t realize that meant nothing to Israel. I am pretty sure it means something to Iran though. As to territory; a democracy without non-Jews still has to be somewhere. Which logically means the non-Jews have to be elsewhere.

  134. @#168 POSTED BY TAKUAN:

    I’m inclined to agree with you Antinous, but I do think it important that the possibility of astro-turfing be raised early and often so as to preempt it.

    Takuan, I’ve had some ups and downs with you and have learned to respect you. But in this case, astro-turfing really isn’t the issue. Read my comment in #91; basically there is almost a brainwashed state to many people who instinctively defend Isreal that might read as astro-turfing. I’m not saying their feelings are wrong, but there is something bizarre and dysfunctional to the way Israel sees itself in the world. Somehow if you are not 100% for Israel or have ANY sign of doubt, you are SMACKED down hard. So I can completely understand how someone raised there would react the way Shay does.

    It’s all effing sad and tragic.

    I hope E.T. or some magical Unicorns can come down and do something.

    Heck, what’s Maru the cat up to?

  135. PS: Let me say that Israel has a right to exist. But to deny this is an effing mess on both sides is delusional.

  136. #176 Antinous wrote

    “Does it occur to you that Egypt might have some legitimate worry that Israel would launch a military attack against them if they didn’t comply?”

    Right, that just makes so much logical scene.

    Because they let some traffic over their own sovereign border of their own country into Gaza, Israel is going to go to war with Egypt, a country of 90 million people, with a gigantic American armed army, with whom she has a peace treaty guaranteed by none other than the United States ( you must remember that picture of Sadat, Begin and Carter all three signing the Peace treaty on the Whitehouse lawn, Oh sorry, I forgot you weren’t born yet were you)

    Right perfect sense. Israel is going to go to war, possibly loosing tens of thousand of casulties with the first Arab country to make peace with her, throw away the most important strategic achievement she has made in 60 years of fighting, namely peace with the largest and most powerful Arab country, all to stop them allowing the Gazans importing some groceries.

    Don’t you think the answer is a bit more simple, i.e. the Egyptians, along with Jordon, and the Saudis hate Hamas, and fear what it represents for their own regimes, far more than they hate and fear Israel.

    1. Actually, Two Gun, I was born during the Eisenhower administration. And it would be helpful if you could compose yourself a bit.

  137. I’m a late-comer to this discussion, but to Yish: #27 (at the time of this comment) is the second time the charter of Hamas has been quoted on Boing Boing. Curiously, nobody seems to want do discuss it.

  138. @Antinous #163 — Agreed, Shay’s comments are superb, and he’s supporting his position extraordinarily well. I hope he stays.

    However, if he is indeed the nephew of Ehud Barak, Israel’s Minister of Defense, then it would be helpful to reveal it. At very least, he should offer an explanation as to why, as soon as I pointed it out in post #124 (then in post #149), his blog was altered such that the reference to Ehud Barak as his “uncle” was removed.

    1. Jonathan,

      His original assertion is almost certainly true. Since he’s commenting in good faith, I don’t see a point in pursuing it.

  139. When are the Jews and Arabs going to figure out that:

    a) Neither of their sky-Gods actually exist;

    b) A sky-God that doesn’t exist can’t promise you land;

    c) They are pretty much genetically identical.

  140. Maru? quietly practicing his Fur-Buddhism no doubt. A peaceful, though itchy sect.

    I understand what you mean.The True Believer’s faith can seem to be astro-turfing. I have more patience for True Belief since the are ultimately victims and deserve compassion. Astro-turfing on the other hand is deliberate lying with intent, lies used as a weapon.

    I read something today about patriotism in China. Many want out of “a third world kleptocracy”, but find it expedient and safer to sing the loudest. Rather like McCarthy era America.

  141. @#182 POSTED BY TWO GUN COHEN

    Don’t you think the answer is a bit more simple, i.e. the Egyptians, along with Jordon, and the Saudis hate Hamas, and fear what it represents for their own regimes, far more than they hate and fear Israel.

    Indeed that’s true. But the fact remains Israel seems particularly blood-thirsty right now and this is all scary.

    I mean just look at the U.S. with Bin Laden and Pakistan. We respect Pakistans borders but have clearly launched covert actions into Pakistan.

    Which brings me back to a point I made before: Why can’t Mossad launch a covert operation into Gaza instead of this big show of death and blood?

  142. #178 GregLondon wrote

    “The U.S. Air Force shipped 22,325 tons of tanks, artillery, ammunition, and supplies to Israel during the Yom Kippur War, probably the only reason Israel won that war.”

    Nixon had his own reasons for this. The 1973 was at the height of the cold war, with the Arabs and Israelis being proxies for the fight between the US and Russia.

  143. @#186 POSTED BY SECRET_LIFE_OF_PLANTS

    When are the Jews and Arabs going to figure out that:
    a) Neither of their sky-Gods actually exist;
    b) A sky-God that doesn’t exist can’t promise you land;
    c) They are pretty much genetically identical.

    Well might I add my own theory. Do you work in a company with a CEO? How many times do you EVER go above your immediate manager to deal with problems in day-to-day work? The answer for most of us is ZERO. You deal with stuff in your own sphere and realize that the only time stuff floats to the CEO is when things are really, really, really bad.

    That said, let’s say you think there is a magical CEO of the universe out there. Do you actually think that even if that entity exists they would make any effort to deal with what—in the great scheme of the universe—is a small squabble? I mean wars are not as important as creating planets and life, right?

    So that’s what drives me NUTS about “true believers”. They honestly believe someone so omnipresent would actually waste time dealing with what is a petty squabble.

    Seriously, stop invoking magical men in the sky to justify the deaths/lives of others. This is all a horror and both sides are very, very, very flawed.

  144. Two kids in the back seat of a car. Little brother starts poking big brother in the stomach. Big brother tells him to stop it, possibly with a little hair-pulling. Little brother continues. Big brother eventually gets angry and starts beating on little brother with his fists. Dad in the drivers seat finally notices confrontation and pulls them apart, yelling at big brother for being such a bully.

    Sometimes poking big brother is really stupid, even if it’s just designed to get attention from Dad.

    This parable is brought to you by the letters P and I and by the number 2.

  145. #189 POSTED BY TWO GUN COHEN:

    Nixon had his own reasons for this.

    And that has always lead to great things!

  146. @143
    “condemning Hamas is hypocritical fascist flag waving propaganda.”

    I can see hypocritical.. but fascist? Just because you disagree with someone does not make that person a fascist.

  147. #179 Takuan wrote

    “Hasn’t America pledged alliance to Israel if Israel is attacked? ”

    Nope, No pledge, no Treaty, Nothing. The US has never offered to defend Israel militarily, and does not have to as Israel can take care of herself, as evidenced by her repeated victories in war after war against overwhelming odds, outnumbered 100 to 1.

    #179 Takuan wrote
    “As to territory; a democracy without non-Jews still has to be somewhere. Which logically means the non-Jews have to be elsewhere.”

    If I understand your implication, you are trying to say you think Israel does not grant rights to non-jews. This is a totally false claim. There are over a million Arab and Christian Israelis comprising 18% of the population. As guaranteed in the Israeli declaration of Independence and in the equivalent of the Israeli Bill of rights, they have the same full civil and political rights as any Jewish Israeli does. The 120 seat Israeli Kenesset has 12 Arab Muslim members and 3 Christians. There is an Arab cabinet minister in the current government and the Israeli Supreme Court has a Muslim justice.

    So much for your “democracy without non-jews” claim.

    1. they have the same full civil and political rights as any Jewish Israeli does.

      So any Muslim can get automatic Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return? No. Jewish Israelis and non-jews carry exactly the same identification cards and have the same travel rights? No. Property ownership? No. The list is endless. Israel is an apartheid state.

  148. “Indeed that’s true. But the fact remains Israel seems particularly blood-thirsty right now and this is all scary.”

    What evidence do you have to support this statement, as opposed to ‘Israel wants to defend itself against rockets. If you don’t fire rockets at them you’re probably fine’. Note, for instance, that the west bank isn’t being invaded.

  149. Antinous #176 –

    You’re really speculating here – what evidence do you have that there has been any threat to Egypt from Israel over aid to Gaza? As a poster mentioned above, Al Jazeera has documented aid being delivered into Gaza from Egypt recently.
    Isn’t it far more likely that Egypt hates and fears Hamas and its master, Iran, (as do many Arab nations) and is willing to work with the Israelis to Hamas’ detriment?

    1. Isn’t it far more likely that Egypt hates and fears Hamas

      It’s certainly one possible explanation, but I don’t find it more compelling than the idea that Egypt fears military reprisal by Israel or economic/political reprisal by the US. Honestly, the conflict has gone on so long that I don’t think that it’s possible to define direct causal relationships any more. It has a life of its own, and motivations are convoluted and arcane.

  150. you know Jack, I really do believe the Israeli government just wants to kill as many Gazans as they can as a war of attrition. One way or another, get rid of them. I also think the gangsters running Hamas want as many “martyrs” as they can get. I really can’t find it in me to blame the average Gazan at all. Even if they fire rockets. They shouldn’t, but just as much or even more so, the average Israeli should not support this cynical butchery for political gain.

    1. Moderator note:

      Comments are automatically renumbered when anonymous comments are approved and fall into queue. If you don’t pull a quote or use a name, your response may be gibberish.

  151. “Indeed that’s true. But the fact remains Israel seems particularly blood-thirsty right now and this is all scary.”

    What evidence do you have to support this statement, as opposed to ‘Israel wants to defend itself against rockets. If you don’t fire rockets at them you’re probably fine’. Note, for instance, that the west bank isn’t being invaded.

  152. If you trace this thing back to its roots, you just can’t help but blame God. He’s the original decider, and look where they get us :^/

  153. Comments are automatically renumbered when anonymous comments are approved and fall into queue. If you don’t pull a quote or use a name, your response may be gibberish.

    That often happens irrespective of numbering or labeling schemes :^)

  154. @#204 / Antonius

    I had no idea that was how the system worked. Maybe there’s a better place to put this then at the bottom of a 204 comment post?

    1. If I put it in the moderation thread it would be comment #1229. I mention it periodically, but there’s really no place to put it where people would read it before commenting.

  155. the discussion may not have been formalized,`Two Gun, but it there have been sufficient expressions from the American side that any threat to Israel (and American interest in the region) would not go unchallenged. I suppose it has become a point of ideology in some circles in Israel that they have always stood alone and unaided (your oft repeated 100 to 1 odds). People need their heroes and Spartans but even more they need the certainty in their enemies minds that powerful allies will appear when needed. Whether by timely gifts of weapons (like recent bunkerbusters?) or by general public statements of the “right to self defense”, it has become an established fact in the minds of those around Israel that if they attack they will also face the American response – populist Israel opinion aside. Further, I suspect many in Israel would be quietly telling you to change the subject considering that many Americans are also reading your protestations of total independence. Who knows? They may take you at your word. Pride in country can be a fine thing, but the ruthless military machine now grinding through Gaza was forged in the flames of realpolitik and the aggressive use of every advantage.

  156. #190 Jack wrote

    @#182 POSTED BY TWO GUN COHEN

    “Indeed that’s true. But the fact remains Israel seems particularly blood-thirsty right now and this is all scary.”

    Particular bloodthirsty? Israel is doing everything it possibly can to avoid civilian casulties. The United Nations says at most 25% of the 500 casulties so far are non-uniformed civilians, so we are talking about approximately 100 innocent men women and children. Obviously even one civilian death is a tragedy, I say with complete honesty, but in the context of the middle east Israel is and always has shown respect for human life. For example, in September of 1971, the current Jordanian regime murdered up to 50,000 Palestinian civilians in a period of one month when they attempted an uprising.

    The current Syrian regime, according to Amnesty International, murdered up to 30,000 of their own Muslim civilian citizens after a group closely related to Hamas attempted an uprising, in a period of 2 days in Feb. of 1982.

    As I noted both these murderous regimes are still ruling their respective countries.

    And of course I am sure you are familiar with the over 100,000 innocent Iraqi civilians murdered in Shiite vs Sunni bombings and massacres over the last 4 years.

    So if Israel is “particularly bloodthirsty” for killing approximately 100 civilian Palestinians that they have tried in every way to avoid will going after their intended target of armed combatants, what adjective can you use to describe the Arab Muslims surrounding Israel who intentionally kill their own brother Muslim civilians in numbers thousands of times greater than Israel does on a regular basis?

  157. Btw, isn’t this the most annoying/boring conflict known to man/woman in known relative history. Can’t we just quarantine the place or something?

    I always imagine what would happen if this part of the world would fell in to a black hole, like it just totally vanished sorts. Would this conflict between the two sides just end it all finally? Or does humanity “need” this type of conflict to justify itself? I’d almost be willing to just give “rapture” a chance if it meant giving this sore on the world a break once and for all.

    UGH… I’m so sick of this isht.

  158. Is anyone interested in my proposal for building a double-decker Israel? One side get’s the original temple mound/mosque, the other gets sunlight.

  159. I see the US has blocked a UN resolution for a cease fire. Who could the Bush White House be helping? Hamas?

  160. any of this untrue?

    “Demographic bomb

    Israeli historian Benny Morris states:

    The Israeli Arabs are a time bomb. Their slide into complete Palestinization has made them an emissary of the enemy that is among us. They are a potential fifth column. In both demographic and security terms they are liable to undermine the state. So that if Israel again finds itself in a situation of existential threat, as in 1948, it may be forced to act as it did then. If we are attacked by Egypt (after an Islamist revolution in Cairo) and by Syria, and chemical and biological missiles slam into our cities, and at the same time Israeli Palestinians attack us from behind, I can see an expulsion situation. It could happen. If the threat to Israel is existential, expulsion will be justified[…][77]

    The term “demographic bomb” was famously used by Benjamin Netanyahu in 2003[78] when he noted that if the percentage of Arab citizens rises above its current level of about 20 percent, Israel will not be able to maintain a Jewish demographic majority. Netanyahu’s comments were criticized as racist by Arab Knesset members and a range of civil rights and human rights organizations, such as the Association for Civil Rights in Israel.[79] Even earlier allusions to the “demographic threat” can be found in an internal Israeli government document drafted in 1976 known as The Koenig Memorandum, which laid out a plan for reducing the number and influence of Arab citizens of Israel in the Galilee region.

    In 2003, the Israeli daily Ma’ariv published an article entitled, “Special Report: Polygamy is a Security Threat,” detailing a report put forth by the Director of the Population Administration at the time, Herzl Gedj; the report described polygamy in the Bedouin sector a “security threat” and advocated means of reducing the birth rate in the Arab sector.[80] The Population Administration is a department of the Demographic Council, whose purpose, according to the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics is: “…to increase the Jewish birthrate by encouraging women to have more children using government grants, housing benefits, and other incentives.”[81] In 2008 the Minister of the Interior appointed Yaakov Ganot as new head of the Population Administration, which according to Haaretz is “probably the most important appointment an interior minister can make.”[82”

  161. Antinous wrote

    “they have the same full civil and political rights as any Jewish Israeli does.

    So any Muslim can get automatic Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return? No. Jewish Israelis and non-jews carry exactly the same identification cards and have the same travel rights? No. Property ownership? No. The list is endless. Israel is an apartheid state.”

    Arab Israelis have exactly the same passports as Jews and exactly the same travel rights to go anywhere in the country they want whenever they want as any other Israeli can, and any suggestion to the contrary is false. The same is true of all other civil rights. Every university is full of Arab Professors, the lecture halls are full of completely mixed populations of Arabs and Jews ( Haifa University is over 50% Israeli Arab for example), the hospitals are full of Arab doctors treating Jewish patients and vise verse.

    And I have already pointed out above that the Keneset has an Arab minority representation that puts to shame most western democracies, especially the US, which if you notice has now for example exactly 0 Black senators now that President Obama has left the senate.

    And don’t even get me started on how the US and Canada treat your native populations or we will be here all night.

    You seem to have some vision of Israel based on propaganda and that has no little connection to reality.

    True she does have a Law of Return, allowing Jews, who were not allowed to get citizenship in most of the world when they were trying to get away from the Nazis, citizenship. Just exactly like Germany offers ever native German speaker on earth automatic German citizenship, as does Japan offer automatic citizenship for all ethnic Japanese from anywhere in the world, as do many other countries.

    1. Yeah, but Germany doesn’t offer citizenship to people based on Teutonic ancestry and Japan doesn’t offer it based on being Shinto.

      Where are you getting your information about life in Israel?

  162. #212 POSTED BY TWO GUN COHEN

    Israel is doing everything it possibly can to avoid civilian casulties.

    I’ll preface this by saying YET AGAIN, I believe Israel has a right to defend itself much like ANY COUNTRY.

    But the concept that somehow bombings in Gaza are somehow “avoiding” civilian casualties really holds little bearing. Face facts: CIVILIANS ARE DYING. And Israel by doing this non-intentionally or intentionally is breeding the next generation of Hamas.

    Might I point out that the concept of “intention” has biblical law roots. Meaning that if you somehow can prove you did not intend to do something, all is good. Honestly, Israel is perverting this concept to the nth degree. In the eyes of the “almighty” somehow this makes things better.

    Let’s lay this out straight: NO IT DOESN’T.

    I can’t tell you how many B.S. accounts of IDF goodwill I have gotten over the years from relatives I have now happily cut off. Accounts of IDF forces storming homes, but then magically sweeping up their mess before they leave. Or e-mails explaining that Israeli bombings are acceptable because of a leaflet drop that happened the day before. Basically tons of “bubbe meises” that are designed to make horrific acts seem right and just.

    I don’t know about you but if ANY military force stormed my home, sweeped up and then said “I’m sorry…” I’d think I was patronized. And if leaflets were dropped near by home, I honestly have NO IDEA how I would act or what I would do to save myself, my friends and my possessions.

    Technically speaking the “intention” of a U.S. SWAT team throwing a flash grenade into the home of an elderly woman is to get rid of a bad guy. The fact that said SWAT team tossed a grenade into an innocent person’s home and caused them stress, heart-attack or even death doesn’t make things better. And I can’t cite a specific incident about this because this same scenario has played out in the U.S. more often than it should.

    Should Israel live in peace? YES! But do not for one second pretend that Israel’s illegal settlements and power-grabs of land has had nothing to do with this mess.

    Hamas is the feral bastard child of revolution, but Israel is really the well-educated and well funded entity that could do better BUT DOESN’T.

    The idea that all of this is exacerbated by biblical nonsense is 100% insane. Look for a better way in the Torah, because honestly I’d like to think there’s a true way to end this violence in Israel.

  163. The fundamental problem here is that anyone recognizes gaza as anything more than an anarchic region. There is no police force or governing body and there is no hope of peace in any form. Israel’s approach as reprehensible as it is, is the only effective approach in addressing a neighboring region that completely lacks any formal government. That is simply the sum of it for better or worse.

    1. There is no police force or governing body

      Possibly because Israel has bombed various government buildings and incarcerated or killed members of the government.

  164. @#229 POSTED BY ANTINOUS

    Possibly because Israel has bombed various government buildings and incarcerated or killed members of the government.

    And past that Israel doesn’t allow any valid infrastructure to exist there for any reason.

    I’m not joking when I said “feral” in a previous comment. True, good intent needs to be proven, but just imagine if Israel somehow built a true “grid” there and then passed the proverbial keys to Gaza residents? Might cost less than bombing raids and might do a lot more to repair bad faith.

  165. FYI Ehud Olmert puts it best when he says, “We are a country that has lost a sense of proportion about itself.”

    You know what, the idea that Israel can somehow absorb all of the world’s Jewish population is insane. And it’s part of the reason settlements have expanded.

    Since we’re now 60+ years away from the Holocaust and it’s meaning behind Israel’s creation, think EVERYONE in the Jewish community and Israel needs to take a real hard look at what it means to be a Jew in the world in the 21st century. And within what scope Israel should exist within that constraint.

    It’s truly time to be realistic. Because unless Syria negotiates peace with Israel in the near future, there’s really no solid chance at peace in the region at any level.

  166. I will attempt to demonstrate with a little math that peace is unlikely in the Middle East, and focus on a couple of reasons.

    Consider an infinite sequence of numbers S, where each number is a constant multiplied by the previous number; that is, S(i) = R * S(i-1). If the magnitude of R is less than 1, then the sequence will converge, while if the magnitude of R is greater than 1, then the sequence will diverge or “blow up.”

    Repeated application of the principle of “an eye for an eye” would lead to a semi-stable situation, but occasionally two eyes or ten will be taken, by accident or on purpose. Then the other party will take two eyes or ten, and the situation will be stable at a higher level–until the next escalation. The principle of “an eye for an eye” plus escalation leads to an average magnitude of R greater than 1.

    The principle that each person is responsible not only for his own actions, but for the actions of his neighbors and relatives and ancestors, also leads to an magnitude of R greater than 1. The magnitude of R apparently is larger for bad behavior than for good.

    People in the USA do not know history, so they are doomed to repeat it.
    People in the Middle East do know history, so they are doomed to repeat it.
    If people in a region know and can use knowledge of history without blowups, then they can make better decisions. If people cannot use history without blowups, then their safe level of knowledge of the past is lower, and at best they would make poorer decisions. Therefore, high magnitudes of R are sub-optimal.

    I think that it would be desirable but difficult for people to get beyond the principles above, since they are deep in the religion and the culture of the region. On the other hand, the Middle East sequence could blow up even faster than it has of late; maybe there is some moderating influence on R.

  167. I pray that there will be minimum casualties on both sides. I also hope that the Hamas loses this battle and that new moderate and responsible Palestinian leadership will grow. As Obama said in his victory speech:

    “to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you. To those who seek peace and security: We support you.”

  168. #226 Antinous wrote:

    “Yeah, but Germany doesn’t offer citizenship to people based on Teutonic ancestry and Japan doesn’t offer it based on being Shinto. Where are you getting your information about life in Israel?”

    So Germany distributing automatic citizenship based on if your mother tongue was German, even if your family left German hundreds of years ago like the Amish, and Japan giving citizenship to anyone on earth who can prove they are 100% pure racially Japanese while refusing all non-racially Japanese citizenship even if they live there 50 years is ?NOT? racist but Israel giving refuge to one of the most discriminated groups on earth, a group traditionally denied citizenship in countries around the world for the last 1000 years ?IS? racist?

    I am sorry but I just cannot see your logic here.

    And you ask where do I get my information. Well, I can tell you where you get your information. You just copied in your post above an entire page from Wikipedia. You copied from this page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arab_citizens_of_Israel

    At least it would have been polite to give them a credit.

  169. I don’t even know what my opinion of this conflict is any more. The opinion one develops on such things is dependent on where and when you cut off getting information. If I go back far enough, Israel’s evil. If I go back further, than Palestine’s evil.

    If I get my information from certain sources everything seems one way and then that’s probably biased anyway.

    I’m not even sure how people here even form opinions on this stuff at all at this point.

  170. I try so hard to find the compassion inside of me to grieve for what the Palestinian people are going through right now, but I just can’t find it in me anymore.

    No matter what the basis of a conflict is, you do not need to even be a parent to twitch in your seat when seeing images of dead children. There is absolutely no argument that can justify that kind of imagery.

    Except of course when an opposing force engaged in war intends just that to happen. This conflict has brought to light just how powerful the tool of propaganda and instant relaying of images of war can be used as weapon in the arsenal of global sympathy.

    I have read about ambulances, mosques and even hospitals being targeted by the IDF and I guess in some sick sense of resentment I no longer care about it.

    When I see videos like the one posted below of Hamas soldiers using UN Marked Ambulances as troop carriers it makes it even easier to no longer blame the obviously dominate IDF, but rather the ones that choose to use Children, Women and non-combatants as tools of war.

    See for yourself, maybe you have more compassion than I do.
    http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=116_1231063776


  171. If you care about Gaza & Sderot, please don’t waste your time commenting on 5 reader blogs or staging furry protests in SL no one gives a f&$k about. Help the people on the ground, on both sides, who are making daily personal sacrifices in a noble attempt to make a difference.

    You are 50% right. It is possible to give while fighting the propaganda war too.

  172. @ #226 ANTINOUS

    “Yeah, but Germany doesn’t offer citizenship to people based on Teutonic ancestry and Japan doesn’t offer it based on being Shinto.”

    Actually, many countries do offer citizenship to descendants of their emigrants, and not necessarily because they face persecution where they live, as Jews potentially did and do. A Korean American, for example, will be fast-tracked to citizenship if they choose to move to Korea. A foreigner of non-Japanese descent, say, who tried to get citizenship in Japan faces a really hard time. European countries (Ireland, I think, for example) has these laws as well.

    Even if other countries didn’t have such laws, it wouldn’t make it wrong that Israel did.

    Palestinians have the right to return to Palestine, and should, God willing, there ever be a Palestinian state, they’ll have the right to go to Palestine and help build it.

    (Of course there’s the refugee issue, how they should be compensated or if they should be allowed to return. That’s separate though from wether or not Jews should be allowed to move to Israel and get citizenship easily.)

  173. It is hardly surprising that Palestinians trapped in Gaza in the conditions they are in cast around for ways to attack Israel and Israelis.

    It is hardly surprising that Israel seeks to attack people who fire rockets or and make suicide bomb attacks on the general population.

    Seems to me that everyone involved is trapped by history.

  174. “Israel and the Palestinians are today committing great crimes while pleading with the world for understanding. Thy cn bth g fck thmslvs.”

    I wish to apologize for writing the above. It was hasty and thoughtless of me and it deserved disemvowelment. I was too imprecise. I meant to say that the Israeli military and Hamas should go fuck themselves.

  175. OK, I am feeling better. I mean that I am *feeling* after almost stopping feeling.

    All that’s happening is so overwhelming that it threatens to render one numb. Those who can’t afford numbness, because they are in the middle of all that shit for example, still quite often fall short of fully feeling. They use all sorts of tricks, either or explaining what happens (rationalization), making the victims responsible of their fate, invoking the absolute right to self defense, blinding themselves to the abuse committed by their own camp…

    I don’t want to stop fully caring, I don’t want to be content with false pretenses, hyper intellectualism, hate of the other or any other crutch.

    I’ve chosen my party and it is the one of the vast majority in any society, the party of those who simply want to live the best life that they can, those whose ultimate goal is to be satisfied that they gave their full effort when comes the time to depart.

    I’ll give, I’ll pray, even though I am not much of a believer in any religion, I’ll listen and I’ll help any way that I can.

  176. “I’m not joking when I said “feral” in a previous comment. True, good intent needs to be proven, but just imagine if Israel somehow built a true “grid” there and then passed the proverbial keys to Gaza residents? Might cost less than bombing raids and might do a lot more to repair bad faith.”

    Israel, has in the past done just that. The problem is that the Palestinians (somewhat justly) see this as little more then an effort to distract themselves from the issue of the land they still see as rightfully theirs.

    That being said, the only way this conflict will end is when both sides grow so sick of the fighting that they stop caring about who the land belongs to and just try to make some peace.

  177. Well, since I view this thread as being “about alternative resources for news, information, and insight on the conflict” I’ll chime in on that topic.

    My frustration with altternative news sources is that with the barriers to entry so low (all you need is a web browser and maybe a camera), the ability for either side of a conflict to flood the web with mis-information or half-truths is a given. Add to that the simple reality that most people (I believe) tend to gather their news and opinions from just a handful of sources, so the likelihood of only being exposed to one basic point of view is very high.

    Conflicts like this are, in my humble opinion, very complex, and when the motives and arguments for either side are distilled down to, say a short blog post or youtube posting, the only thing you can be sure of is that you aren’t getting a full picture of the conflict.

    The reality is I can likely find sources to support any position I’m pre-disposed to take, which makes it hard to find the one, true position taking all the facts into account. That someone else can find equally convincing sources to support the position they are pre-disposed to take doesn’t make either of us right or wrong, we are, instead, both stuck in the un-edited mud created by alternative news sources, and we both are positive our positions are correct, and we have our list of sources to support our positions.

    A posting by a child, wearing an elmo t-shirt, talking about the dump truck toy he lost in a bombing and the dog that was killed by shrapnel is an emotional plea that (in many cases) ignores any greater motivation by either side and causes the viewer to side with the child for any of a number of reasons that have nothing to do with understanding the greater conflict: Maybe you had a dog or a dump truck toy you loved as a child, maybe you feel a special connection to elmo, or maybe you just want to comfort a child.

  178. To be honest Israel lost pretty much all my sympathy with the invasion and flattening of Lebanon recently, on minimal provocation. It was an atrocity, made all the more appalling by the fact it was counterproductive (it only helped Hezbollah to gain power) and killed so many innocent people. I am also ashamed at my government’s (Canada) pathetic boosterism regarding that appalling war.

    Israel, sadly, will never have peace until it chooses to recognize the humanity of the Palestinians. The actions of the IDF over the past few years indicates quite the opposite.

    Not that Hamas is off the hook, or those who support them, but neither side has had anny connnection with justice or being ‘the good guys’ for a long time.

    For a comparison, a few people blow up a couple of highrises and the US blows a gasket and invades/bombs a few hundred thousand people into oblivion ‘because we were attacked’. Various parts of Gaza get flattened weekly, and their pathetic rockets are justification for further flattening?

  179. The middle east, alas, is an ongoing demonstration that there is nobody you can be so totally angry at and frustrated with as your closest relatives.

    Despite having family history associated with one of the sides in this conflict, I’m increasingly coming to the conclusion that peaceful co-habitation is simply not achievable. Perhaps the entire region should be salted with radioactives to make it impossible to live there for the next thousand years, and preserved strictly as a historical exhibit, depopulated except for a few caretakers.

    These days I feel about Israel the way I feel about unions: Fine idea, was important at one point, and I *want* to like it… but these days I really worry that it’s more of a problem than a solution. I don’t like that conclusion, but it’s hard to avoid.

  180. Sigh. I wonder if this is happening now because Israel’s gov. thinks Obama won’t be so supportive of this type of action. Pretty ironic for a nation that congealed the way it did to be fencing in a minority group, cutting off their basic necessities, and killing them. Who wouldn’t send whatever pathetic bottle rockets they had at anyone doing this to them, and how can anyone not expect such a population to become more militant? If this goes on long enough it could eventually be considered a… no wait the word ‘holocaust’ is taken… Hmm… maybe this is the first “Dehydrocaust?”

    BTW: There might not be oil under Palestinian territory, but there is water, and when living in a desert that is kind of useful too. It’s probably not a coincidence that Israel wants these territories since it’s where the wells need to be to tap the aquifers and provide Israel with cheaper fresh water than any other source. Israel doesn’t allow Palestinians to drill wells, and instead is offering an expensive desalinization plant as a source (which would put total control of the region into the hands of whoever controls that plant, which must be the actual goal since the project makes no economic sense).

    The following is quoted from http://www.idrc.ca/en/ev-127192-201-1-DO_TOPIC.html

    “Most water resources in the POT come from the three water aquifers in the West Bank and the coastal aquifer in the Gaza Strip. In addition to these resources there are two other resources, the river Jordan basin and some springs. However, these latter sources are not as important as the first source, the aquifers.

    As noted earlier, the Israelis began taking all necessary measures to control Palestinian land and water. They delivered most water resources in the POT to the Israeli National Water Company, MEKEROT, giving it a great deal of authority to control almost all water resources and management.

    The main purpose of controlling land and water in the POT was to transfer tens of thousands of their civilian population into the POT, putting pressure on the Palestinian population so they would be forced to leave the country. This policy was more evident when the Likud Party assumed power in 1977 (Rouyer, 2000)…

    …It was noted above that the PA exerted every possible effort to promulgate modern progressive laws with regard to water. Among these laws was the Water Law No. 3 (2002) which stipulates explicitly that “every person has the right to obtain his needs of good quality of water for human needs”. It provided for ‘every person’, not every citizen, which shows the progressive nature of the law because everybody in the POT, even a tourist or a visitor has the right to water of an adequate quantity and good quality. These stipulations conform to the already established rules and principles of public international law and those existing rules of international humanitarian law.
    [emphasis mine]

  181. #226 Antinous wrote

    Yeah, but Germany doesn’t offer citizenship to people based on Teutonic ancestry and Japan doesn’t offer it based on being Shinto.

    You’re under the misconception that Judaism is just a religion. It’s not. Jews are a people, with a very long history. Judaism is hereditary – if your mother was a Jew, you’re a Jew. And under a lot of anti-Semitic regimes, if your grandmother was a Jew, you’re Jewish, and therefore ought to be killed. The point is that it’s not a good comparison; Israel’s right of return law is meant for the Jewish people, religious or secular. Jews who have never practiced, or have absolutely no relationship with the religion itself, are still welcome in Israel.

  182. Rats and Carrion birds are cheering BOTH sides. Their ideology is “meat’s meat and critters gotta eat” – With a nod to Farmer Vincent of a similar phrase being also on track. Killing often has hidden profit motives even if they seem oblique. The best hope would be starving those carrion eaters by peace ending the killing. Sadly I don’t think Gaza’s rats are at risk of hunger for some time. Though there IS a risk of carrion birds too bloated to fly if this goes on. Heinlein’s “Crazy Years” perhaps begin?


  183. A posting by a child, wearing an elmo t-shirt, talking about the dump truck toy he lost in a bombing and the dog that was killed by shrapnel is an emotional plea that (in many cases) ignores any greater motivation by either side and causes the viewer to side with the child for any of a number of reasons that have nothing to do with understanding the greater conflict: Maybe you had a dog or a dump truck toy you loved as a child, maybe you feel a special connection to elmo, or maybe you just want to comfort a child.

    What about this: when we see the suffering of a child, Palestinian or Israelite, maybe we just realize that your ‘greater conflict’ is pure madness ?

  184. like most other people here i find this all very depressing. there just doesn’t seem to be an end in sight. it’s so hard to see the wood for the trees what with the complex and violent history of that small strip of land.

    in one way, the island of ireland (where i am from) seems comparatively lucky to have had a definite direction for its struggle for independence defined, in part, by its definite geographical independance.

    the border of an island can change only by natural forces, it doesn’t subtly shift like the gaza strip after a war or power struggle. it doesn’t have other countries pushing and pulling at it’s border.

    the border of a non-island country is imaginary, and pressures exerted on it are passed directly to the people, creating immense tension and complexity over time. imaginary borders need to be slowly dissolved if the human race is to progess and develop.

    it may not be working perfectly, but at least the EU is partially dissolving national borders (while admittedly creating new ones)

    basically what i’m saying is, is there’s a niche for a terra-forming company to come along and build islands for and relocate landless peoples until we’ve evolved a bit. anybody?

    also… in my opinion the most depressing photo i’ve seen from this current trouble (not a violent or gorey photo)

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/world/2009/0102/1230842350607.html?via=rel

  185. Thank you BoingBoing for organising an informative debate.
    I think, given the atrocious history of the last 80 years in the region, that if I were a Palestinian I’d fight against the Israeli state and if I were an Israeli I’d fight against the aggression coming from the neighbouring states.
    But you can’t count on the poor bloody infantry to come up with a lasting solution.
    It’s time for the politicians to earn their salaries and positions. They should really be held accountable around the world.

  186. T m, mst f th fcts — nd pnns — rgrdng th crrnt stt f vnts s dplrbl, mddy rvr. t s lmst mpssbl t mk p my mnd s t th ccntblty r rspnsblty fr hw w hv ndd p t th crrnt sttn.

    S fnd t nstrctv t try t ct thrgh th ns nd lk t bth srl’s prmry gls. Nt th 2000 pc ffr, nt th 1948 r 1967 brdrs, bt th frst gls dsrd bv ll ls by Plstn nd srl.

    — srl wnts t b rcgnzd nd t lv prdctvly nd pcflly wth th rst f th wrld.

    — Hms wnts vry Jw n th wrld t b dd nd ths shld/cld b ccmplshd wth qnmty thrgh mrdr.

    vrythng ls s ns, bt ths nfrms th fndtn f whr my sympths l.


  187. basically what i’m saying is, is there’s a niche for a terra-forming company to come along and build islands for and relocate landless peoples until we’ve evolved a bit. anybody?

    What an innovative (and desperate) angle! I don’t think that I’ve heard that one before.


  188. — Israel wants to be recognized and to live productively and peacefully with the rest of the world.

    — Hamas wants every Jew in the world to be dead and this should/could be accomplished with equanimity through murder.

    And you don’t even see how slanted this is I bet. If the rest is noise, this is a lie.

  189. As the late, great Warren Zevon said it:

    The Envoy
    written by Warren Zevon
    1980 Zevon Music BMI

    Nuclear arms in the Middle East
    Israel is attacking the Iraqis
    The Syrians are mad at the Lebanese
    And Baghdad does whatever she please
    Looks like another threat to world peace
    For the envoy

    Things got hot in El Salvador
    CIA got caught and couldn’t do no more
    He’s got diplomatic immunity
    He’s got a lethal weapon that nobody sees
    Looks like another threat to world peace
    For the envoy
    Send the envoy
    Send the envoy

    Whenever there’s a crisis
    The President sends his envoy in
    Guns in Damascus
    Woa, Jerusalem

    Nuclear arms in the Middle East
    Israel is attacking the Iraqis
    The Syrians are mad at the Lebanese
    And Baghdad do whatever she please
    Looks like another threat to world peace
    For the envoy
    Send the envoy . . .
    Send for me

  190. Antinous @ #7:

    “The oppressed have the inalienable right to secure their independence and freedom by any means necessary.”

    There’s an inalienable right to send suicide bombers into pizza parlors and blow up teenagers? There’s an inalienable right to send rockets into civilian areas?

    Um, no, not under international law.

  191. The rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza into Israel are repeatedly used to justify this invasion. To put this into a little perspective, these rockets (range about 10km) have managed to kill all of 15 (fifteen) Israelis in the past 7 years (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Qassam_rocket_attacks). While this is obviously horrific for the families, and can’t be condoned, I really wonder if this is what might be called a “proportionate response”, especially considering the perpetual hardships the Palestinians are forced to live under in daily life (limited electricity, food, water, exports/imports etc).

  192. If you look at the geography of the Middle East, and Israel in particular, you’ll notice that some key roads run right through it. These are very old roads, going right back to prehistoric times.

    If you look at the cities in Israel, you’ll find certain key places (Megiddo, AKA Armageddon), where there are at least 25 to 30 layers of archeology going straight back to the stone age.

    Nobody “owns” this land. It has been conquered so many times even in recorded history that for anyone to get up and say “this is my land because it was the land of my people” is ridiculous. So let’s dispense with this notion right now. Religious text is not a basis for discussion here.

    The question is who can defend the land, and who can prosper there. And this is where Hamas simply doesn’t get it. The reason why so many countries were in favor of creating a land for the Jews after WW II is because it was already pretty much a fact on the ground. They were already living there. The empire which had sold the land to these people was long gone. The British saw no reason to continue holding things together there. So basically, that’s how it happened.

    But a funny thing occurred later: The Palestinian birth rate VASTLY outpaced the Jewish birth rate. Now we have a very large population of people who are laying claim to this land by virtue of having been born there, and oh, by the way, they believe the others are infidels and must be pushed out to sea.

    There is no way to negotiate this. The conflict is inevitable. It is sad. I know of no Israeli who likes the notion. But they’re dealing with survival here, and so too are the Gazans. The shame of it is that if they could put down their history for just a moment, they might be able to negotiate. But the region is steeped in it. There is no escaping it. And so, the fighting goes on.

    Let it be a lesson to the rest of us.

  193. @48 verygneiss

    So what happens now? We have two parties which cannot meaningfully engage in negotiations without breaking with their own stances/beliefs/ideologies, and thus any power relations between them seem to end up in violence.

    America liberates Gaza.

  194. If only the did, this or that111, then peace will dawn….

    seriously, and some point one must account for the strange phenomena of fetishizing this sad conflict.

    how is it that all around the Internet the noise around this conflict (or indeed any thing Israel does, in Lebanon or elsewhere, reaches a deafening proportion)

    All the while, other conflicts and even genocides (Iraq Afghanistan, or pick whatever happens in Africa in most any given moment almost gets no critical mention much less so many comments.

    why is that?

    why is one of the most complex problems the world faces, gets so many uninformed opinions?

  195. Claims that Israel’s existence is due to the terrorist actions of the Irgun are incorrect. The majority of Jews living in the British Mandate did not support the Irgun. Moreover, in 1948 there was an initial proposal for a partition by the UN which was accepted by the major Jewish groups and rejected by all the Arab groups who not only rejected that plan but rejected any plan which would result in a Jewish state no matter how small. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Nations_Partition_Plan_for_Palestine

    This lead directly to the 1948 war. Attributing the State of Israel’s existence to the Irgun is simply historically inaccurate.

  196. “I’ve chosen my party and it is the one of the vast majority in any society, the party of those who simply want to live the best life that they can, those whose ultimate goal is to be satisfied that they gave their full effort when comes the time to depart.”

    INNOCENT, Welcome to the Big Party! Always room for one more.

    VILLAGE IDIOT, Thanks a lot for that link. It’s really useful.* Water is ultimately more important than oil. Those of us who read human history as the struggle for food, water, and safety should not be distracted by naive chatter about religion, tradition, and surplus wealth.

    *TAKUAN, the Water Wars are upon us and can only expand.

  197. We can argue all day long or until the cows come home or (insert your metaphor here…) What it all comes down to is the injustice of it all. Over on the NYTimes website they have a slideshow….cmpr nd cntrst th scns f ttr dvsttn n Gz wth th pr, pr lttl srl wmn sttng t hr nc dnng rm st, tchng hr frhd whr sh gt b-b. Pr wddl chsn n….

  198. Joshua,

    do you contend that the terrorism pre-1948 had no effect at all?
    If a majority of the Jews didn’t actively support their actions did they oppose it?
    What about the fact that the totality of the Irgun members, terrorists as they were, became integrated to the IDF in 1948 with no form of process?

    What happened of those terrorist? A few examples.

    Ben-Eliezer, Aryeh (1913-1970) Elected to the Knesset as a Herut member and served as Deputy Speaker.

    Cohen, Ben-Zion (“Giora”) – “[c]ommanded the capture of the village of Dir Yassin (Dir Yassin was a massacre) and served as deputy commander in the capture of Malha.” Later joined the IDF and attained the rank of Major

    Katz, Shmuel (b. 1914) – one of the founders of the Herut movement and a member of the First Knesset; was later inivited by Menachim Begin to be his propaganda advisor.

    I could go on forever. Cut the BS propaganda if you don’t mind.

  199. T sd wth Hms n ths n s jst pln lncy. Hms’ mn gl s th dstrctn f srl.
    s fr s nyn thnkng srl’s rspns s dsprprtnt, lt m sk y ths:
    f lntc ws btng n yr dr, wld y wnt th cps t snd n ffcr r mny t cntrl th lntc…nd prtct y?
    Th mn rl f ny gvrnmnt s t prtct thr ctzns.
    Lstly, f Hms rlly crd bt thr ppl why wld thy stckpl mmntn nd fr rckts frm msqs, schls nd nnr cts?

  200. Awesomerobot, right now, this thread is probably not the best place for sarcasm. I think the one thing everyone has in common is frayed nerves.

  201. There is always a danger in lumping everyone in any particular group together as a whole; I’m sure there are plenty of Palestinians in Gaza who want Hamas to stop firing rockets, just as there are plenty of Jews in Israel and around the world who think Israel should give up the West Bank as part of a two-state solution. Rarely do the reasonable, peaceful, forgiving people have much of power in these kinds of issues

    As a neutral outsider it is hard for me to wade through all the information on the Israel/Palestine issue and pick a clear “good guy”; shall we count up and weigh the number of dead innocents on each side to choose a moral “winner”? Hamas continues to fire rockets, and has turned down several peace agreements over the years, but Israel continues to treat Palestinians as second-class citizens, and build settlements in the West Bank.

    Sometimes I picture King Solomon wearing a t-shirt that says “Kill Them All and Let G_D Sort Them Out.” (And don’t misinterpret; “all” means both sides.)


  202. To side with Hamas on this one is just plain lunacy. Hamas’ main goal is the destruction of Israel.

    One can argue against the treatment reserve to the Palestinian without siding with Hamas.

    As far as anyone thinking Israel’s response is disproportionate, let me ask you this:
    If a lunatic was beating on your door, would you want the cops to send one officer or many to control the lunatic…and protect you?

    I wouldn’t want them to kill the guy systematically. I most certainly wouldn’t them to kill his family too…

    The main role of any government is to protect their citizens.

    In that case the government of Israel has failed quite a few thousands times and with remarkable constance since 1948.

    Lastly, if Hamas really cared about their people why would they stockpile ammunition and fire rockets from mosques, schools and inner cities?

    To make you look bad and Israel is helping them to succeed wonderfully.

    Jesus! Propagandist here are so lame!

  203. Ill Lich, and isn’t that the problem in general. People like to say the law is to protect the minority from the will of the majority, but that is often backasswards. More often than not, it is the majority of us suffering at the hands of a powerful minority. Let me paraphrse someone elses comment, the 80% of us who are fighting over 20% of the pie, who vote for these self serving rich power brokers are suffering an acute case of Stockholm Syndrome.

  204. @#268 POSTED BY CRAIGGER1:

    As far as anyone thinking Israel’s response is disproportionate, let me ask you this:

    This is tragic. Here’s the deal. The fact that Israel cannot even see the craziness in their own behavior is part of the problem. Is going back to pre-1967 borders that reprehensible? Let’s face reality: The land grab that was part of the 6 day war in 1967 has done more to destabilize the region than any other act in this mess.

    #251 POSTED BY PITHE , JANUARY 4, 2009 7:51 AM

    You’re under the misconception that Judaism is just a religion. It’s not. Jews are a people, with a very long history … Jews who have never practiced, or have absolutely no relationship with the religion itself, are still welcome in Israel.

    B.S. Here’s why. Cultural and secular Judaism indeed exists, but in the case of Israel’s defense it ALWAYS gets muddled. One second biblical right is invoked. The next second everyone of every strip is welcomed! One second IDF attacks are characterized as defense as ORDAINED IN THE TORAH! The next second, it’s argued as simply an act to defend people.

    The reality is Israel has perverted itself to justify bizarre behavior. And as Jew myself (secular) let me say that Israel suffers from a HUGE complex about Jews and their ability to fight. The general—and mainly anti-semitic mindset—is that Jews don’t fight. And every IDF person I have ever met is far more proud of their ability to kill than ANY MILITARY FORCE member I have ever met from any place else. To deny that the IDF has “something to prove” is to deny the national language of Israel was changed from Yiddish to Hebrew mainly because you can’t order troops with the intrinsically passive voice of Yiddish.

    #250 POSTED BY VILLAGE IDIOT

    Sigh. I wonder if this is happening now because Israel’s gov. thinks Obama won’t be so supportive of this type of action.

    Partially you’re right. But Israel is having it’s own elections and to sit back and do nothing assures that whoever is in office now won’t be elected come February 10, 2009.

    It will be very interesting to see what happens between January 20th and February 10th.

  205. #260 pstd by TPS Rprts , Jnry 4, 2009 8:56 M

    ntns @ #7:
    TPS Rprts @ #260:

    “Thr’s n nlnbl rght t snd scd bmbrs nt pzz prlrs nd blw p tngrs? Thr’s n nlnbl rght t snd rckts nt cvln rs?

    m, n, nt ndr ntrntnl lw.”

    –ntrntnl lw, r n: th srls tk *Plstn* frm th *Plstnns* (s?, t’s n thr nm!!!!) thrgh trrrsm nd brt frc.

    Trrrsm nd brt frc r th nly wy tht lnd wll vr b rclmd fr th Plstnns.

    Tt fr tt s crtnly fr, nd n ths cs, t’s th Plstnns nly hp.

    Blwng p srl tngrs n pzz prlrs n stln lnd s fr mr jstfd thn blwng p nncnt Plstnns n thr vllgs ws whn th srl dd t n th 1940’s!!!

  206. Speaking as a moderator, I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has tried hard to be civil and articulate despite being angry. Given the subject matter, this thread has required remarkably little moderation.

    To anyone who came late to the debate, didn’t read the whole thread and just yelled an opinion, you probably lost your vowels.

    Two Gun Cohen,

    You’ve now accused me of several things that are untrue. I’ve never seen the Wikipedia page that you referenced. You’re a first time commenter who’s posted ten lengthy, one-sided rants in this thread. Feel free to write me or Teresa to explain why you’re not an astroturfer.

  207. Iam,

    Don’t construct strawmen. They aren’t helpful. I did not make any claims that “terrorism pre-1948 had no effect at all”. Nor did I claim that there was widespread opposition to the Irgun. The fact that the the Irgun was integrated with the IDF also is close to irrelevant and if anything goes against the argument you are making since it lead to more control of the Irguniks by the moderates.

    I moreover don’t understand why you think successful election of former Irguniks is somehow evidence that the Irgun was the reason the state of Israel was formed.

    I find it interesting that you ignored the majority of my comment which discussed the history of the partition plan. Instead of accusing people of propaganda you could, you know, maybe try to respond to their points?

  208. Attributing the State of Israel’s existence to the Irgun is simply historically inaccurate.

    Actually, I attributed Likud’s existence to the Irgun. Irgun terror was certainly a factor in the creation of Israel, but the British and other western powers are ultimately responsible for the territorial hack job that created most of the problems in the Middle East.

  209. “Israel and the Palestinians are today committing great crimes while pleading with the world for understanding. Thy cn bth g fck thmslvs.”

    I second that emotion.

  210. On one hand, ratio of casualties prior to ground offensive was about 100 to one. The main post mentioned Godwin’s law, so I won’t be mentioning which unsavory historical regime was content with 10 to one retaliation. I would also like to remind that several Croatian generals are tried for alleged war crimes for vastly lower proportion of collateral victims in action conducted on our (Croatian) own ground.

    On the other hand, something had to be done about those random rockets and mortar rounds. Additionally, it seems that Israeli troops entered Gaza strip almost unopposed; therefore, Hamas is good only at yelling, emptying AK-47 magazines in the air and occasionally terrorizing civilians and livestock.

    I think that solution could be a tampon area of several kilometers manned by UN or NATO troops, but seriously armed and with mandate to use those weapons. However, I don’t see either side agreeing to something like this, or, for that matter, many countries volunteering their soldiers.

    BTW, I remember when most of radical Palestinian resistance consisted of (USSR-supported) lefties. Now we have religious loonies. Which do you prefer?

    1. BTW, I remember when most of radical Palestinian resistance consisted of (USSR-supported) lefties. Now we have religious loonies. Which do you prefer?

      I’ll take lefties.


  211. Don’t construct strawmen. They aren’t helpful. I did not make any claims that “terrorism pre-1948 had no effect at all”. Nor did I claim that there was widespread opposition to the Irgun.

    Just to keep the discussion on solid bases, your words were:

    Claims that Israel’s existence is due to the terrorist actions of the Irgun are incorrect. The majority of Jews living in the British Mandate did not support the Irgun.

    Now you admit that Israel’s existence is in some part due to the Irgun?
    How do you reconciliate ‘no support by the majority’ and ‘no widespread opposition’? Not denunciating terrorist violence with all the vigor that you can muster is support in my world.

    The fact that the the Irgun was integrated with the IDF also is close to irrelevant and if anything goes against the argument you are making since it lead to more control of the Irguniks by the moderates.

    Irrelevant! Having the fanatic mass murderers in your ranks is irrelevant to you? Rewarding their crimes with complete acceptance means nothing to you?
    As for control, when Irguniks were regularly promoted to the rank of superior officers who controled who and what?

    I moreover don’t understand why you think successful election of former Irguniks is somehow evidence that the Irgun was the reason the state of Israel was formed.

    That wasn’t my point at all. My point is that non only cold blooded murderer, terrorists and authors of many mass massacres got into the IDF without an itch, not only did they get promoted but some even became high ranking government officials who defined the actions and policies for Israel.
    If you find this just fine there’s little I can do for you.

    I find it interesting that you ignored the majority of my comment which discussed the history of the partition plan. Instead of accusing people of propaganda you could, you know, maybe try to respond to their points?

    There simply was nothing of interest in it for me but, if you insist:
    you see, I was and still am 100% in favor of a state for the Jewish people who want to live there. It is a protection that is necessary to a people which was the victim of so many persecutions. It is also a defense against the rapid decline in the numbers of people who identify themselves as Jew.

    There is no way however that I can condone how it was achieved, by terrorism, massacres, expulsions, theft of land, incarceration of whole populations in enclaves, denial of the most basic human rights and of the means to satisfy the most basic needs on a whim… I’ll stop there.

    Did you really want me to address that part too?

  212. Lefties? Really? I think the only time I consistently see that dated and insulting phrase used is in the case of any Israel discussion.

    Hate to break the news to some folks, but most of the progressive folks in the U.S. who did such “leftie” things as march for civil rights, help African-Americans get the right to vote and generally stand for human rights are Jewish “lefties”…

    Somehow there’s a strain of progressive thinking in Judaism that has been smothered in Israel.

    Might be worth it to find and integrate it again. At this rate, it can’t be any worse than the mess happening now.

  213. As near as I can tell, the US (and by extension, Israel) is demanding that the Palestinians give up all of their bargaining chips, eg, violence, recognition of Israel, before talks can happen. This is just plain stoopid. I can’t believe that anyone actually expects the Palestinians to go along with this, so I guess that actual compliance isn’t what is desired.

    At the same time, Hamas doesn’t seem to want to allow some people who live in the area to live there. That seems pretty darned stoopid too.

    Regardless, basing a country on the ergot inspired rantings of tribal elders from 2500+ years ago is, truly, insanity. Especially when there’s ample evidence that there is no jewish people. The idea of quoting history endlessly at each other to justify inhumane acts only intensifies conflict, especially since history as written is never recognizable to the people who lived through it. Since they’re usually dead.

    At some point the residents of Israel and the residents of Palestine are going to have to kick out the leaders that find that the best way to win an election is to kill as many of “the other” as possible.

    1. Especially when there’s ample evidence that there is no jewish people.

      The British people are mingled Gaels, Picts, Norse, Normans, etc. That doesn’t mean that they’re not a people.

  214. First of all, I’m an Israeli, so I have a somewhat obvious bias.

    I’m from the peace camp, but the status quo over here is causing me despair.Hamas won’t talk, no matter what other people think. When, in march 2006, it won the elections Israel wasn’t that pleased but declared it would talk with Hamas if it recognized Israel and removed the sections for Israel’s destruction and the genocide of the Jews.Hamas response?Warlike rhetoric and rockets. After some time(I think it was that summer) Israel retaliated.

    Things have been going in that vein for the last two and a half years. The general sentiment over here, to which I am party, is that Hamas is a fundamentalist organization with dark-ages tribal mentality that wouldn’t take any peace offer short of Israeli mass suicide. Israel is far from being pure as the driven snow, but at least some of our governments made an attempt at peace- Barak himself has been resisting calls for an operation that has been going on for the last month or so. According to his speeches he was hoping for the cease-fire to be continued, he was essentially saying:”Things are quieting down and maybe we’ll have a chance at peace in a year or three- we don’t need a new round”.Unfortunately Hamas felt differently.

    As to the “Blockade” propaganda- more then 400 truckload of humanitarian supplies have been let into Gaza since the beginning of this operation, and AFAIK more are being allowed in routinely.And no, Israel won’t be opening its borders with Gaza anytime soon: we have no interest in supplying people who want us dead with the means.As to bombing the houses of people where the Hamas has stashed ordnance, they are called a few minutes beforehand to allow them to evacuate: they usually do so.

    One last thing:Egypt has long blockaded the Gaza border(since 2005 IIRC).Mubarac views Hamas, for many justified reasons, as a threat to his rule.In addition Hamas pretty much mocked Egypt when the latter asked them to consider extending the cease-fire and maybe talk things over with Fatah.

    To be clear- I don’t think all Palestinians(or even all Gaza residents) think Hamas is the latest and greatest, and I hate the choices that led where we are currently, but sometimes all you have is bad choices. And like most people I’m somewhat barbarian, as the term was defined in Joel Rosenberg’s “Not For Glory”.And some responsibility should be assigned to the Palestinian side in all of this- not all of it, not by far, but some.

  215. If only half of what is reported in that article is true, the willingness to act out of an unquestioning arrogance is astounding. I have often wanted to give them some benefit of the doubt, you know maybe they are just doing things we can’t understand, but this truly is an extraordinarily incompetent group of people. This quote says it all.

    With few good options left, the administration now appears to be rethinking its blanket refusal to engage with Hamas. Staffers at the National Security Council and the Pentagon recently put out discreet feelers to academic experts, asking them for papers describing Hamas and its principal protagonists.

    Shouldn’t they have thought of this a couple of years ago?

    1. Staffers at the National Security Council and the Pentagon recently put out discreet feelers to academic experts, asking them for papers describing Hamas and its principal protagonists. Shouldn’t they have thought of this a couple of years ago?

      When Hamas joins OPEC, the US will pay attention to them. Until then, they’re just one of many excuses for us to ‘safeguard our strategic interests in the region’. How would peace enrich the US?

  216. God of Dirt @295
    You want peace talks you have to stop shooting at the other side and agree he has the right to live.Just common sense.There are plenty of other matters that have to be agreed upon before any final agreement will be signed:What happens to Jerusalem?The refugees?The large settlements?And that’s before we go into the 1001 details that go into such stuff.

    PS.And remember- you can always resume shooting later, if the need arises.Peace talks are a much rarer commodity in this area, unfortunately.


  217. On the other hand, something had to be done about those random rockets and mortar rounds. Additionally, it seems that Israeli troops entered Gaza strip almost unopposed; therefore, Hamas is good only at yelling, emptying AK-47 magazines in the air and occasionally terrorizing civilians and livestock.

    They know that they are not up to confront the IDF with its tanks and air support, artilery, modern weapons so they will go underground for some time and they will resurface like the damn floater shit that they are.
    Israel knows that as well. This operation is not about getting rid or controlling Hamas: it is about terrorizing the general population. The famous ‘collateral damages’ aren’t ‘just something that happens’. They are a strategic element which is statistically analyzed, precisely described in manuals, which effects are cataloged and the way to achieve them rehearsed. It’s all in the military and the political logic

  218. It seems that everyone has forgotten that Israel initially bankrolled Hamas as a counter to Fatah.

  219. I’m not forgetting it as much as ignoring it as irrelevant: what is relevant, to my mind is the present and recent history.Otherwise we risk going into infinite regression loop.

  220. I find it very difficult to respect a country that has violently occupied another peoples land for 40 years, continues to expand those territories at the point of a gun, and then claims they are perusing ‘peace’.

    All the rest is just chaff, designed not only to obscure the essential facts, but also to cover the trail of a leadership that has discovered a basic political truth – eternal war is a path to perpetual power.

    Find an enemy, wage a low level war that you cannot ever lose, prosecute it in such a way that it seems endless, then claim you are the only one that can keep the people safe. It goes hand-in-hand with soldiering – the oldest protection racket on earth – and seems a pretty simple ploy for a people who claim so much history to fall for.

    It’s true that I would be considered an anti-semite, in the same way I could be called anti-Xtian, or anti-islam, because I find any group that engages in exclusionary, chosen one, phobic behavior, to be inferior and more akin to animals than human beings.

    My solution. Put a fence around ALL of the holy land, and once you enter, there’s only one way out. Ban modern weapons, and televise the ensuing fun. I call the body bag concession.

    Actually, #264 Sutra is dead on. The USA should sign a treaty with the Palestinians, then take all the money we send to Israel every year and use it to rebuild Gaza and force the borders back to the ’67 lines. We could reverse the Arab streets perceptions of America overnight and end this travesty in one fell swoop.

  221. suppose Gaza was occupied only by Israeli Jews. Suppose an extremist separatist splinter started launching rockets against the rest of Israel to achieve their political aim. Using the general populace as a shield. What degree of force would the IDF be using to put it down?

  222. Anton @ 298:

    Talks happen when you talk. Cease fire talks happen, by definition, when there’s firing going on. Peace talks happen, again, by definition, when a state of war exists.

    If it didn’t work that way, there would be no need for talks.

  223. Iam,

    “is due to” and “in some part is due to” are different statements. My wording was careful. Did the Irgun have some effects? Yes. Does that mean that but for the Irgun Israel would likely not exist? Far from it.

    As to your claim that “Not denunciating terrorist violence with all the vigor that you can muster is support in my world” I find it interesting that you would buy into the “If you aren’t with us your against us” mentality that has caused so much trouble for the US in the last decade.

    As to your later repetition of the integration of the Irgun into the IDF it really isn’t relevant to the point at hand; how the state of Israel came to be. One doesn’t need to like how Israel handled the Irgun and one doesn’t need to be happy with it. I’d be one of the first people to acknowledge that Israel as a whole has not acknowledged how bad the Irgun was and that there are serious elements of cognitive dissonance in that regard (one example that springs to mind is the wording of the official plaque about the King David hotel bombing at the site which portrays the Irgun as almost blameless). But I’m not arguing that Israel is blameless or that its handling of the Irguniks was ideal (I’m not completely sure what else they should have done. There’s some evidence that incorporating militant groups into the mainstream can moderate them (see Ireland for example) but that’s a very OT discussion). The issue is the claim that Israel exists because of the Irgun. That claim simply isn’t accurate.

    In any event, Antinous’ clarified remark about Likud strikes me as more accurate (although the political history especially in regard to the first Herut is complicated).


  224. And some responsibility should be assigned to the Palestinian side in all of this- not all of it, not by far, but some.

    First off I’d like it if the Palestinians were not identified to the Hamas automatically. I certainly will never make the error to assimilate all the Jews to Israel most fanatics.

    Also, as much as I’d would like to assess blame where it belongs, I can’t bring myself to blame the terrorized and the dying right now. Can you understand?

  225. GODOFDIRT @306
    Peace talks don’t usually happen while shooting is going on.Tends to make the matter a bit explosive- a state of war is not necessarily characterized by shooting:Israel and Syria has been officially at war since at least 1973(probably earlier), and the Syrian border is the quietest one, maybe excepting the Jordanian.

  226. @Anton:

    The myth is that there “should” be a Jewish state in Palestine, because the Jews were kicked out ca 80CE, and that the land was promised to the Israelites in the Bible (which is what I referred to previously as “ergot-inspired rantings”). I say “Bible”, because, of course, it was the Limeys and Frogs (I can use those words because I have mixed English and French heritage) promised it to the Zionists in 1917. mtDNA studies and recorded history (in some cases, the lack thereof) say “No single Jewish People,” just people who are Jewish.

    And it matters because its a myth that is used from dividing the residents of one very small area land from one another. “Britishness” isn’t used in the same way at all. My grandmother was born in Thames-Ditton, England, but that does not allow me to move to England and claim citizenship (not that I’d want to).

    Both history and myth need to be forgotten, or at least put into perspective, for any kind of solution to take hold. History is written by the survivors, and is most often used to justify their own actions. Most of the history I’ve seen quoted in this discussion is of that sort.

  227. I’m aware that U.S. foreign policy usually takes the easy route and creates chaos and dictators, with the goal usually no more than corporate profitability. But this administration has from the beginning refused to do their homework, with predictably disastrous results. I’ve said it before maybe this is what they wanted, maybe they just don’t give a crap about the cost; they came into office with an agenda and must act now, while they have the chance. But forcing elections without doing any research is astounding, especially if the desired result was a vote of support for Fatah.

  228. @Anton

    Regardless, talking and shooting are not exclusive. Peace talks were ongoing between the US and Viet Nam even while bombs were still being dropped on the Ho Chi Minh Trail, and AK-47 rounds were killing and wounding US conscripts.

    If a party insists that the other side lay down arms before talking, talks will never start, and the shooting will never stop.

  229. @GODOFDIRT 311

    I think you’re talking to someone else- I don’t deal much in “should” during these arguments- I deal in “is” and “can be”.There is a Jewish state in the Middle East currently(Israel), and it has the right to protect its citizens when attacked.The Palestinians want a state- fine by me, the land is big enough for two. But they also want the Jewish state to be destroyed, at least according to their leaders, and since this would probably involve either the death or exile of me and my family, you probably can understand me not being thrilled.

    As to Jews being a nation- we are.We are a nation with a long and convoluted history, the last of the old religion/tribe hybrid identities to survive in the first world.I’m a good example: I consider myself a “Jewish Atheist”- because it isn’t a contradiction in terms.Judaism is more then a religion, and less- it includes a whole lot of cultural baggage usually associated with nations, and, in its orthodox form, is very hard to get into if you weren’t “born in”, and if you’re “born in” you have about zero choice.


  230. IamInnocent @299: have you seen those manuals?can point to some reliable citation of them?

    No.

  231. @#278 posted by Jack:
    To deny that the IDF has “something to prove” is to deny the national language of Israel was changed from Yiddish to Hebrew mainly because you can’t order troops with the intrinsically passive voice of Yiddish.

    You have obviously never seen an angry old Jewish lady. Yiddish can be nasty.

    #295 posted by God of DIrt
    Regardless, basing a country on the ergot inspired rantings of tribal elders from 2500+ years ago is, truly, insanity. Especially when there’s ample evidence that there is no jewish people.

    No Jewish people? How do you figure that?

  232. fascinating bit of history there, thanks Avram. As an example though, I would say it points to restraint rather than excess.

  233. Antinous @202

    So any Muslim can get automatic Israeli citizenship under the Law of Return? No. Jewish Israelis and non-jews carry exactly the same identification cards and have the same travel rights? No. Property ownership? No. The list is endless. Israel is an apartheid state.

    I’m not a long-time poster and so I may be misunderstanding the way things work here, but in my experience moderators generally recuse themselves participation in debate. It’s a symbol of the forum’s neutrality and it safeguards the moderator from accusations of bias.

    1. in my experience moderators generally recuse themselves participation in debate. It’s a symbol of the forum’s neutrality and it safeguards the moderator from accusations of bias.

      We don’t have that rule. As you can see, I’ve disemvoweled comments from both sides of the debate. I’ve also allowed a number of links to Israeli blogs because first hand information, even if I disagree with the blogger’s perspective, is valuable to the discussion. Having spent six months being excoriated as an Obama supporter (which I’m not), I’m quite used to accusations of moderatorial bias.

      1. Also, there aren’t biased moderators and unbiased moderators; only ones who honestly tell you their bias and ones who don’t. I know which kind I think is more likely to strive for balanced moderation.


  234. Did the Irgun have some effects? Yes. Does that mean that but for the Irgun Israel would likely not exist? Far from it.

    I can only agree to this very clear formulation.

    As to your claim that “Not denunciating terrorist violence with all the vigor that you can muster is support in my world” I find it interesting that you would buy into the “If you aren’t with us your against us” mentality that has caused so much trouble for the US in the last decade.

    You will use my opposition to any form of terrorism to link me to Bush & Co. ?
    That’s rich!

    The issue is the claim that Israel exists because of the Irgun. That claim simply isn’t accurate.

    I concede that there is a rather large degree of inaccuracy in that formulation.

    I intervened because it was all too easy to understand your initial statement as meaning that the Jewish terrorists pre-1948 had no effect on the creation of Israel and on the orientation that it has taken since.

  235. @PITHE

    “No ‘Jewish People'” in the sense of common ancestry, language, region of origin, etc… that were scattered in a mythical diaspora about 2000 years ago. For all of the criticism that Shlomo Sand has come under for “When and How Was the Jewish People Invented?” that central point has not been refuted.

    And after a cursory reading of the history of the British Mandate of Palestine, I think that the Palestinians and the Israelis should get together and invade Britain. Its really all the Brits fault.

  236. I have learned many amazing, horrifying and downright absurd things through this fascinating discussion. Can’t help the feeling though that the more i learn about humans through this exchange of words the less i believe in any a way for achieving peace in anywhere.

    I mean, what is this so called debate? People are dying, people are suffering. People. Humans. And we are arguing here about who’s vision of history/realpolitiks/religions/righteousness/you-pick-your-favorite-kind-of-fish-to-slap-around-with is best. It all seems to revolve around defending ones opinion about how things are. Like IT would be under attack.

    Any ideas how this kind of conflicts could be resolved? This particular one?

    And someone tell me why i’ve been so fascinated by this show of verbal pugilism?

    1. shiroitatsu,

      Odd, because I’ve observed commenters here exchanging ideas and information, and changing or refining their opinions. I’ve certainly learned from the discussion.

  237. Antinous, as I said, I’ve learned a lot. But mostly I’ve become aware of that that we like to toss the hot stone around more than finding a way to cool it down.

    Well, I might try to do my part by sharing an insight that I think should be thought in elementary schools all around the world. I first understood it while reading Daniel Gilbert’s article He who cast the first stone probably didn’t. Following quote is from it:

    “First, because our senses point outward, we can observe other people’s actions but not our own.

    Second, because mental life is a private affair, we can observe our own thoughts but not the thoughts of others. Together, these facts suggest that our reasons for punching will always be more salient to us than the punches themselves – but that the opposite will be true of other people’s reasons and other people’s punches.”

  238. I’ve got a new identity! And I owe it all to this thread. All along I thought ”American” would be enough, and fair enough for the three-quarters of me that goes back ten generations (the remaining quarter being the harps McInerney and Ryan who got off that potato boat in 1850); but now I can also self-describe as a secular Christian, I guess, because I descend from people who were, more often than not, Christians for at least fifteen centuries — although not so much for the last hundred years.

    It doesn’t matter that I am no more a Christian than my cat; I observe some of the cultural trappings of of that tradition:— cursing in the names of the Father and Son, observing Xmas with decorated fir trees and baked hams, calling preachers “Reverend,” and exchanging marriage vows in churches (if the bride’s parents insist). I’m sure there are lots of other things that I let go by unnoticed, since I am a secular Christian and have no interest in such stuff.

    So I am no more a Christian than a secular Jew is a Jew. I just never thought of myself that way before. I was satisfied being an ordinary garden-variety American agnostic*. It’s going to take some getting used to, this Secular Christian thing.

    * “agnostic” because I have no opinion on Eternity or Infinity.

  239. It’s been my experience in the past as a professional forum admin/moderator (30-50k people) that it’s a good idea to stay out of debates. It’s not about whether you are biased or not, it’s about making sure there is zero ambiguity about what hat you’re wearing. It’s about appearance not fact, and you’ll never get around that. The only way to stay clear is wear one hat or the other and never switch mid thread.

    A couple ways to have your cake and eat it too…

    * Create an alt account and post with it, but DO NOT TELL THE OTHER MODERATORS. If one of your fellow moderators moderates you without knowing, it’s a great lesson in how it can feel.

    * Swear on a stack of pancakes you will not post opinion if you moderate or vice versa – leave it to another moderator to fill the role you aren’t taking. Once you pick a role, stick to it and suck it up if you want to switch mid way through the conversation.

    * Make sure everyone can see you are a moderator when posting with your main account. Here on BB, there is no way to know who is one beyond Theresa’s . There should be a special tag by your name or some such thing.

  240. anyone who reads the Moderation Policy thread instantly knows who is who.

    Regarding the idea of Jews as a “people”, “race”, “tribe”,”religion”: I agree with Buddy.

  241. Re: Recognizing the “state” of Israel.

    The political state is pretty well established.

    The geographical state seems to be ever expanding.

    For decades I have watched Israel expand its borders. State funding of “illegal” settlements seems never ending.

    So I ask: Why is it expected, demanded, that entities recognize the “state” of Israel when its boundries are ever expanding?

    What geographical “state” of Israel are they supposed to accept?

    To our posters who are Israelis I humbly and sincerely ask: Where do you want to see your borders drawn?

  242. How to stop war has nothing to do with history or fault.

    War is a series of socially acceptable murders. The only way to stop war is to stop murdering each other, whether socially acceptable or not. As to whether or not someone was forced to engage in these murders is unimportant. War is constructed to coerce everyone into committing murder, whether the threat comes from an attacker, the government, or a third party. It is important to understand, that in a war everyone is killing in self-defense.

    Until we have the courage to die instead of kill, then there will always be wars. The problem is this is damn hard to do when your children are going to be victims as well. This is why I don’t believe in conventions. War should be so barbaric and costly that it becomes unthinkable. We are slowly becoming a less violent world, rules of war allow us to continue fighting with modern sensibilities.

    Peace will only be achieved when we as individuals realize our lives and government policy actually have little or nothing in common. Because the truth is government policy generally serves only the few percent that own our world. When we learn that we are in many respects all the same and that 80% of us are fighting over 20% of the pie then we will stop fighting their wars and start defending each other.

    Only then will all people be treated equally and justice finally served. We divide ourselves for those that would exploit us. Until we are united and indivisible, there will never be Liberty and Justice for all. And not until there is liberty and justice for all will there be peace. We must decide to ignore our governments and connect locally.

    A famous example of this occurred in WWI, when front line soldiers spontaneously declared a truce on Christmas 1914. (This also happened the next year between French and German soldiers.) This action stunned military leadership, who immediately issued ultimatums to the troops to continue the fighting. Thereafter on Christmas Eve leadership ordered artillery barrages to preempt informal truces. What would have happened if they had ignored orders en mass?

    It is long past the time for us to ignore orders and work together across lines to unite ourselves against those that foment hate and fear, and profit from our ignorance. Imagine if the majority of peaceful Israelis and Palestinians just ignored their respective governments and decided to stop fighting and start sharing. Imagine if they all suddenly started working together to regain control of their lives from extremist and fear mongers on both sides.

    Only when the majority is ready to die will the minority lose control, because their control is contingent on our fear.

  243. anon@283: Framing the debate in terms of “proportionality” obfuscates the underlying issues

    Anyone who wants to say there is an “underlying issue” more important than how many people are being killed right now simply doesn’t want the spotlight focused on how many people are being killed right now.

    26 innocent israelis were killed by Hamas militants from Gaza during the whole of 2008. About 100 innocent palestinians have been killed by israel in the last week alone. My links at #152 show that Israel killed another 100 palestinian civilians in Gaza in the first four months of 2008.

    There is no greater sin going on right now than how many innocents are being killed and hidden behind the righteousness of “underlying issues”.

  244. dreadletterday@285 has it. headline: Israel’s Labour rebounds in polls after Gaza blitz.

    Bush’s popularity skyrocketed to 90+% after 9/11, then slowly dragged down to 60% around mid february of 2003. By mid february, it was clear that Bush was going to invade Iraq, and his approval rating jumped to 80%.

    Israeli elections are in a few weeks and the incumbents were hurting and this little demonstration of Israeli force, at the small cost of a few innocent dead palestinians, ought to help the party in the elections. Nothing like a little war to win an election.

  245. antongarou@296: And some responsibility should be assigned to the Palestinian side in all of this- not all of it, not by far, but some.

    Responsibility is a very simple thing.

    Hamas militants are responsible for the 26 or so innocent Israelis it killed in 2008.

    Israel is responsible for the 100 or so innocent Palestinians it killed in the last week or so. Isreal is also responsible for the innocent palestinians it killed in the rest of 2008 as well.

  246. tak@304: suppose Gaza was occupied only by Israeli Jews. Suppose an extremist separatist splinter started launching rockets against the rest of Israel to achieve their political aim. Using the general populace as a shield. What degree of force would the IDF be using to put it down?

    Now, don’t be going and asking questions like that. We’ve seen the Israeli government bomb illegal israeli settlements just as hard as it has bombed Gaza.

    What? It didn’t? Soft touch? Well, there goes that theory. Maybe Israeli is just a touch fascist towards palestinians. A tad. A tiny little sliver of a bit.

    Maybe we should look at how the Israeli government has been talking about Palestinians and Gaza prior to their invasion.

    http://www.antiwar.com/orig/cook.php?articleid=13780

    “it would be pointless for Israel to topple Hamas because the population [of Gaza] is Hamas.” Deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai’s infamous remark about creating a “shoah,” or Holocaust, in Gaza, has been matched by Israeli measures. Israel’s Minister of Public Security, Avi Dichter, believes punishment should be inflicted “irrespective of the cost to the Palestinians”; Meir Sheetrit has urged that Israel should “decide on a neighborhood in Gaza and level it”

    Yeah, it seems that there is a slight hint that Israelis place absolutely zero value on the innocent palestinians it kills.

    Avi Dichter even cancelled a trip to to England in 2007 because he was worried he might be charged with war crimes for his part in assassinating a Hamas military leader back in 2002.

    In September 2005, former Israeli GOC Southern Command Doron Almog flew to London and found that a British police officer was waiting in the terminal with an arrest warrant for him. Almog remained on the plane and returned to Israel to avoid arrest.

  247. @278 Jack
    “Israel is having it’s own elections and to sit back and do nothing assures that whoever is in office now won’t be elected come February 10, 2009.”

    @285 DreadLetterDay
    “The old schemes are the good schemes.”

    and

    @336 GregLondon
    “dreadletterday@285 has it. headline: Israel’s Labour rebounds in polls after Gaza blitz.”

    seem to have hit the nail on the head. This current situation’s proximate cause is internal Israeli politics.

    The solution? It’s much simpler than FoetusNail suggests (@332). People don’t have to be willing to die rather than kill. People just have to vote for a party who will not kill in their name.

    People in this case being the 80% of Israelis who are unreservedly in favour of the current agressions, and the citizens of the world who are not ensuring their governments are applying the strongest possible pressures on Israel.

  248. @#341 POSTED BY DR80085

    This current situation’s proximate cause is internal Israeli politics.

    Also let’s not forget: Wars for potable water will make the wars for oil seem like child’s play in the mideast.

    Amy Goodman tipped me off to this on Democracy Now. And honestly, he’s 100% right about the role of water to wars in the region.

  249. A new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll of 18 countries finds that in 14 of them people mostly say their government should not take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Just three countries favor taking the Palestinian side (Egypt, Iran, and Turkey) and one is divided (India). No country favors taking Israel’s side, including the United States, where 71 percent favor taking neither side.

    And yet US politicians are at Israel’s beck and call.

  250. What could Obama possibly do now? Remember, the lame duck administration he’s replacing on January 20th idiotically used the mid-east crisis to make their final days seem better by declaring they would create peace by the end of 2009.

    O Rly? Nah rly!

    It’s better if Obama sits back and says nothing until the moment he’s in charge. And for all we know Obama’s team could be involved in peace talks between Israel & Syria (brokered via Turkey).

  251. srl hs bcm Nz Grmny. Thy r rmd t th tth, blt Wll nd xct t wll.
    Th xtnt f th pprssn thy xrt s qt vl t wtnss.
    Hw cn th lnd b hly whn ths tht cntrl t hv bsltly n cnnctn t Gd?

  252. Something’s been bothering about this and the other previous threads that I couldn’t put my finger on until just now. While I appreciate the fact that a region can only be truly understood when its entire history is understood, there is something… off… about discussions that keep going back to 1948 or 1973 or whenever. I brought up some bits myself, but I realized just recently that all that does is take attention off the current situation.

    This isn’t about whether Jews needed or deserved their own homeland after the holocaust. This isn’t about whether Jews rightfully or unrightfully took land from palestinians and displaced them so they could form the modern state of Israel. Yes, those are issues that would probably need to be acknowledged as a source of the current political situation. But they’re not what is actually at issue now.

    What is at issue now is not whether Israel has a right to exist, but whether Israel’s current war against Gaza is legitimate. The United States has a right to exist. That doesn’t mean that America’s invasion of Iraq in March 2003 was legitimate, a wise decision, or a proportional response to 9/11. The history upon which America was founded is irrelevant to the legitimacy of its invasion of Iraq in 2003 and occupation at least until 2009, probably 2010 or later.

    What is at issue now is whether Israel’s bombardment and invasion of Gaza was a legitimate response to Hamas militants killing two dozen Israelis in 2008.

    And while we’re on the subject of issues, another non-issue that’s been coming up on the threads and in discussions is Hamas’s mission statement. It’s been quoted a number of times as calling for the complete destruction of Israel. And it’s been provided as justification for an anhilation of the people of Gaza. And if that’s the case, then I’ve already brought up numerous statements by Israeli politicians who have made clear that they are willing to wipe out entire swaths of Gaza, that they are willing to conduct their war as if all civlians of Gaza are indistinguishable from Hamas militants, that Israel will bring a holocaust upon the palestinians, and that they are willing to conduct this Israeli bombardment and invasion without any regard to teh cost to palestinian civilians.

    At which point, neither side can claim the moral high ground in their “mission statements” or intents or whatever you want to call it. Hamas calling for the destruction of Israel is immoral. But Israel’s various polticians statements calling for war against all of Gaza regardless of civilian casualties is no less immoral.

    What is at issue right now is the Israeli blockade of Gaza, Hamas attacks from Gaza, and Israel’s bombardment and invasion of Gaza. The responsibility of everyone’s actions and the morality of everyone’s actions around these events can be discussed in a fairly straightforward manner without engaging in a historical regression back to Moses and the promised land. And the more time you spend discussing events not directly related to the current issue at hand, is more time you spend directing attention away from the current issue at hand.

  253. For decades I have watched Israel expand its borders.

    Really? That’s an extraordinary statement. Most people would say that Israel’s retreat from the Sinai Peninsula represented the opposite of an expansion. You could argue that settlements in the West Bank and Gaza were expansions of its territory, but it’s hard to quantify them because the border has not yet been determined. In any event, Israel withdrew from Gaza and removed its settlements from there – which once again is a contraction, not an expansion.

  254. @347: You obviously need a lesson in history. Try watching some films (or better still- read!) about Nazi Germany.

    @348:
    “But Israel’s various politicians statements calling for war against all of Gaza regardless of civilian casualties is no less immoral”

    -who are these politicians you speak of? care to name them?

  255. @#348 POSTED BY GREGLONDON:
    Well, another thing to realize is Israel’s noble stance of opening it’s borders to all Jews all over the world is really scary if you’re not Jewish and live in the region.

    First, thanks Israel for providing me—and other Jews—with an open door. But I prefer living in NYC in the USA and not in Israel.

    But let’s say right now every Jew in the world decides to immigrate to Israel. Israel simply cannot physically absorb them. But Israel’s foundation is built on providing a home for all Jews?

    So guess what neighboring states… Israel might slowly grab land to provide for others.

    While Hamas clearly just wants death and destruction of all of the Jews, I really cannot imagine the feeling it must be to be a neighboring state who sees your land as a future land grab and not much else.

    Hamas’s view is pure death. And Israel’s open-door policy spells death for anyone near Israel.

    It’s all sick.

  256. fuzzyami@350: who are these politicians you speak of? care to name them?

    I already posted the link twice.

  257. #351 POSTED BY TAKUAN:

    I would really like to see some workable solutions proposed.

    If Syria and Israel could negotiate peace and form an anti-Hamas coalition, then that would really be the best and most practical solution to this. In fact I want to thank Boing Boing for having this discussion because layout out my own opinions and reading what others have said has helped me personally see this as the only way to peace. Israel and Syria becoming allies would change A LOT.

  258. Israel is a reality, but then so are Gaza and the West Bank. It’s tedious to argue the past regardless of how valid points of history may be; it’s clear no argument will sway either side. What might be a good first step is an honest broker. But currently we seem to be the only “intelligent” life in this universe, so I guess until this deadly war of attrition is over we will have to endure this endless merry-go-round of petty point scoring and self-justification on the part of the interested observers, and the deadly reprisals of those vying for the same piece of land. Almost thirty years ago, as a teenager, and as the West pressed USSR to submit, I was too naive to realise that after WWII the Russians didn’t have the stomach for another brush with annihilation. This time round though, I’m not so certain that anything short of annihilation will “solve” this problem. Maybe a world-wide conflagration would do the trick, then we could start all over again, taking special care to learn from the past… oops!

  259. Especially when there’s ample evidence that there is no jewish people.

    If Jews say they are Jews (as a people, not just religion), then they are.

    About “lefties” I mentioned, I had in mind what someone else mentioned, that USA and Israel tried to undermine Fatah by bankrolling likes of Hamas. Now they have more than they bargained for.

    1. that USA and Israel tried to undermine Fatah by bankrolling likes of Hamas. Now they have more than they bargained for.

      Like when the US armed Iraq to fight Iran? That worked out well.

  260. The myth is that there “should” be a Jewish state in Palestine, because the Jews were kicked out ca 80CE, and that the land was promised to the Israelites in the Bible (which is what I referred to previously as “ergot-inspired rantings”).

    Both history and myth need to be forgotten, or at least put into perspective, for any kind of solution to take hold.

    I might agree that formation of State of Israel (especially as it was done, by partitioning Palestine) was wrong. But that is now irrelevant.

    mtDNA studies and recorded history (in some cases, the lack thereof) say “No single Jewish People,” just people who are Jewish.

    Genetic studies also show that, judging by your criteria, no European nation exists. For example, Hungarians have more Slavic genetic stock than Bulgarians. So what?

  261. Jonathan Schwarz has an interesting post. It’s about the 6 Day War, in 1967, which I would normally say is in teh past and not very relavent to right now, except for this:

    In 1967, Egypt was blockding part of Israel, and Israel announced repeatedly that a blockade was a casus belli, a justification for Israel to go to war against Egypt.

    Oh, and one of the posts in the thread gives a link to more quotes of Israel’s true intentions towards Palestinian civilians:

    Palestinians are like cancer. There are all sorts of solutions to cancerous
    manifestations. For the time being, I am applying chemotherapy.’
    Moshe Y’alon, Israeli Chief-of-Staff

    ‘Eventually we will have to thin out the number
    of Palestinians living in the territories.’
    Eitan Ben Eliahu, Israeli Air Force Commander

    ‘I believe in liquidationists.’ (Assassination brigades targeting Palestinian activists)
    General Meir Dagan, Head of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service

    Add these to the previous links and quotes I’ve already posted, and I can only conclude that any attempt to quote teh Hamas mission statement without quoting the equally morally reprehensible statements of Israeli military and government officials is nothing but propagand attempting to demonize Hamas for something Israel is also guilty of.

  262. #361 POSTED BY TAKUAN

    what does Syria need, what does Syria want?

    Based on nothing but optimistic reading between the lines, but look at Bush versus Obama. Nobody anywhere wants to give ANY credit to the Bush administration for anything, correct? So let’s say Syria became allies with Israel and signed a peace treaty while Bush is in office… Bush and “the usual gang of idiots” get credit, all of this idiotic war is validated and Obama is made to look like a fool; because Obama is supposed to be the person who can induce change.

    I’m going to bet that peace negotiations with Syria and Israel with Turkey and a new U.S. administration will happen sometime in February. After Bush is gone and Obama is in power. And after Israeli elections.

    And if Syria is seriously talking to Israel and it has been kept secret, I’m willing to bet Jordan is watching and waiting as well.

    Let’s make it clear. Israel is not the only group that hates Hamas. A united group of Arab/Israeli allies could smother them for good.

    Otherwise, I see no solution.

  263. An article by Barry M. Lando (a graduate of Harvard and Columbia University, spent 25 years as an award-winning investigative producer with “60 Minutes”, who identifies himself as a Jew), posted in February of 2008, asks “Why no outcry when Israel launches a brutal blockade—a collective punishment of 1.5 million Palestinian men, women and children—threatening their supplies of fuel, food and medicines?”

    On page 2 of the article, he discusses a 60 Minutes story he tried to do on AIPAC (the American Israel Public Affairs Committee), and how none of the American politicians wanted to talk unfavorably about AIPAC on the record.

    Interesting stuff. Might explain how most americans think we ought to remain neutral but the US government keeps coming down to blind support of Israel. Sounds like AIPAC is to Israel like the NRA is to guns, a lot of lobbying money and power that US politicians ahve to reckon with.

  264. I never understood why for instance the House of Saud didn’t just buy the US government…oh wait…

  265. Jack @365:
    the 2 main problems with that are:
    1)Arab dictators have been blaming Israel for all their woes to get the people off their backs for years.Now most of them can’t cooperate with Israel without being held as traitors.

    2)Bibi Netanyahu stands a good chance of winning the election over here, and he’s of the old :land before life” extremist school.Not to mention a disaster of Thatcherite proportions as PM. If he becomes PM any and all peace talks will grind to a halt.

  266. #355

    good link.

    unfortunately, common sense will never prevail as long as the concerned parties prefer violence to mediation and pacificism.

    we need another Gandhi …

    when I despair, i remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. there have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall — think of it, always.

    how they fall is what the concern is here.

  267. Takuan, yes, but would they have the stomach to execute 1000 or 10000 of their own. What would happen if there were no one to pull the trigger?

    We must value our own lives less than those that would exploit us. Because we naturally place a rather high price on our own lives and that of our families we do things that are not in our long term best interest as a society. But imagine if we suddenly decided our lives were of less value to us than they were to them. In other words, live free or die, instead of live free or kill.

    Imagine what would happen if 300,000 Palestinian women suddenly left their homes in the Strip and started quietly walking to the border. Imagine if 3,000,000 Israeli women left their homes with bread and met them there.

    This is what it means to be a pacifist. This is why there will be wars. This is why I’ll murder the bastard that fucks with my family.

    Until then, as posted before, the U.S. conducts a new round of negotiations. The U.S. finds out what it will take to satisfy the Palestinians once and forever. Then the U.S. forces Israel to sign the agreement or the U.S. withdraws support, meaning we cut off funding for the state of Israel and use any other economic or trade leverage at hand. We do this while also providing humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians in the Strip. Done deal.

    As we have mentioned before the coming water crisis is going to force agreements or wars. Israel needs to repair her relations with her neighbors before this happens.

    Water negotiations will require peace.

    http://www.defense-update.com/newscast/1206/analysis/analysis-291206.htm

  268. As usual that was beautiful and simple, apologize, recognize, and share. I’m hopelessly verbose, thanks for reading. Rest well.

  269. #280:
    “One thing the people holding guns here (literally and metaphorically) have in common, on all sides, is an unshakeable conviction that they are right; IMHO, people who usually think that are right, are usually wrong.”

    This is absurd. People who *think* they are right are *usually* wrong? You must think that the statement you just made is accurate, therefore…

    And don’t you ever take a stand? Aren’t some things self-evident?

    Although Palestinians and Israelis the world over have been involved in ugliness, in keeping with the broader human tradition, there is one stark and undeniable fact: the Israelis used brute force and terrorism to *steal* that land (known as *Palestine*) from the *Palestinians*. You can claim to be circumspect for good reasons, that it’s somehow noble to prevaricate because Israel makes this human rights issue more complicated, or you can quibble over the definition of the verb steal, but the brutality and terrorism of Israel in the late 1940’s remains.

    You cannot pick this issue up by the head. We need to get to the root of the conflict: a vicious land-grab that needs to be righted.

    Also, regarding the moderator’s censorship: fully lucid (a good quality, by the way) justifications of Israel’s ongoing aggression have not been censored — why is there such a blatant double standard? Why do you censor posts that simply state that Palestine has a just reason to continue it’s aggression?

    1. jali1221,

      I disemvowelled your last post because it was loud but it didn’t really say anything. The discussion at that point had advanced beyond the yelling stage.

  270. Here is my take on this. I may be shouted down, hell I may be wrong, I admit I’m not as educated on this topic as I’d like to be.

    That said.

    There was a cease-fire in place. The legally elected Palestinian government ended the cease-fire and began sending rocket attacks into Israel.

    At that point, so long as the people responsible for the rocket attacks are at large and sending rockets, I feel that Israel should continue its attacks into Gaza.

    A government’s primary responsibility is to its populace. Israel is acting to wipe out the attackers while Hamas is needlessly risking the lives of the Palestinian people to continue this vendetta against Israel.

    Now I’ve heard that Hamas has made demands before they will accept a new cease-fire. Think about this for a moment. Hamas has been attacking a nation that could, if it chose, wipe the entire Palestinian population off the map (though they have many VERY good reasons not to), and now Hamas wants to make demands from a position of weakness?

    So long as other nations in the region continue to bankroll the attacks in Israel so that they can appear innocent of wrongdoing, the Palestinian people will suffer for the actions of greedy, hate-filled men.

    The Palestinian people need to stop looking towards Israel as the cause of their problems, and look at the nations around them that keep funding the attacks that bring Israeli retribution in the first place.

  271. “For decades I have watched Israel expand its borders.”

    “Really? That’s an extraordinary statement.”

    Thank you calling me on it Joe.

    I should have said, “For decades I have watched Israel expand its settlements.”

    Would that statement be less extraordinary?

  272. srl hs bcm Nz Grmny. Thy r rmd t th tth, blt Wll nd xct t wll.
    Th xtnt f th pprssn thy xrt s qt vl t wtnss.
    Hw cn th lnd b hly whn ths tht cntrl t hv bsltly n cnnctn t Gd?

  273. Can we please stop with the idiotic invocations of Godwin’s Law already? Wasn’t being disemvowelled once enough? Do we really need more “Israel R teh Nazi’s” claptrap here?

  274. I should have said, “For decades I have watched Israel expand its settlements.”

    Would that statement be less extraordinary?

    Quite unexceptionable. Thanks for correcting it.

  275. hell I may be wrong, I admit I’m not as educated on this topic as I’d like to be.

    Well, there would be that.

    That said. There was a cease-fire in place.

    Israel’s blockade began in 2006 when Hamas won the elections in gaza. An article as far back as January 2008 is saying the blockade is creating a humanitarian crisis. Officials condemned the action as a type of “collective punishment”, which can be interpreted as a form of war crime under the Geneva Conventions. That blockade has been going on since mid 2006, has been going on all throughout the ceasefire, and is still going on throughout Israel’s bombardment and invasion of Gaze right now.

    The article goes on to quote the Israeli Foreign Minister who out and out lied, saying that Hamas had stolen fuel from Gaza’s power plant and that was the only reason they couldn’t generate electricity, not because of Israel’s actions.

    “However, there was no evidence to support this claim and Israel was forced to back down, with Ehud Barak, the defence minister, allowing supplies of fuel to the power station to be restored.”

    When Egypt blockaded only a part of Israel’s borders in ’67, Israel swore that such a blockade was an act of war and justified Israel to launch a war against Egypt. Now, Israel has completely blockaded all of Gaza, lies and tries to blame Hamas for the damage Israel’s blockade has done, and expects that a blockade is not an act of war as long as it is Israel who is enforcing the blockade.

    Irresponsible, lying, hypocrites.

  276. @GregLondon

    I was under the impression that a cease-fire didn’t mean that a state of war didn’t exist, only that hostilities had been suspended. Considering that the demands made by Israel prior to the blockade? Renounce violence and let us exist in peace?

    Frankly, any nation that refuses to allow another to live in peace is going to be a big issue. I feel sorry for the suffering of the Palestinian people, but they have nobody to blame right now but Hamas.

    All Hamas had to do to end the blockade, at any time, was to renounce violence and agree to recognize Israel’s right to exist. In other words, they needed to join the global community. Instead they refused and the people in Gaza are paying the price for the hubris of Hamas.

    If my next door neighbor regularly threatened to kill me, and periodically tried, I’d take action too.

    1. Ceronomus,

      You’ve taken the conflict out of its regional and historical context and reduced it to a morality play. Your accusations are so generic, I could apply them to Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War.

  277. I agree with 383. I don’t really know what happened in the past, and I am not really sure if I can figure out. There is so much propaganda on either side, its almost impossible to separate signal from the noise.

    What I do know is that Hamas willingly ended the cease-fire.Hamas is the ruling party in gaza. Therefore the attacks it carries out are acts of aggression, apart from acts of terrorism. The people of Palestine elected Hamas. They allow the use of their land/resources to carry out attacks on Israel. They deliberately attack civilian targets, unlike the Hamas. I believe Israel has a right to protect its people and itself.

    I can relate to their problems, India has been a victim of Pakistani state sponsored terrorism. Instead of doing something about it though, we continue playing the victim.

    The Palestinians should accept the fact that however much they wish, they cannot make Israel go away and should learn to live in peace. I hope the Israelis avoid civilian casualties as this will only generate more hate and more problems.

    1. The Palestinians should accept the fact that however much they wish, they cannot make Israel go away and should learn to live in peace.

      You do understand that Israel routinely bulldozes Palestinian homes to make way for Jewish settlements? What are you asking them to make peace with? Oppression? Genocide?

  278. Thank you Ceronomus: you are the living proof of the necessity of understanding something before forming an opinion.

  279. we may be up to 390 posts, but I wish people would read the thread before commenting. Read AND think.

  280. All Hamas had to do to end the blockade, at any time, was to renounce violence and agree to recognize Israel’s right to exist.

    That certainly morally condemns Hamas. Unfortunately for you, Israel has made clear that all palestinians are nothing more than a cancer and the Israeli army is chemotherapy, which is no less morally repugnant than Hamas.

    Israeli officials have described all palestinians in Gaza as being Hamas militants. Israeli officials have threatend to level entire neighborhoods of Gaza in pursuit of Hamas militants. Israeli officials have described Palestinians as a cancer to be erradicated. Israeli officials have said that the palestinian population in the occupied territories needs to be “thinned out”. Israeli officials have said they believe in liquidationists (assasination) squads. Israeli officials have said it should pursue Hamas, regardless of what the cost to innocent palestinian lives may be. Israel is blockading all of Gaza. And yet when Israel was blockaded by Egypt, Israel called the blockade an act of war.

    Just because Israel hasn’t written this complete disregard for palestinian life into their national “mission statement”, doesn’t mean Israel has given palestinian civilians a “right to exist” any more than Hamas has given Israel a right to exist.

    On that grounds, you’re both morally repugnant.

    On the grounds of who kills more innocent people per year, Israel wins that disgusting position. And you want to condemn Hamas because it threatens to wipe out Israel, while Israel kills far more innocents per year than Hamas???

    Seriously?

    What you’re doing is nothing but simple, brutal, bloody tribalism. And your words are nothing but attempts to avoid the specifics and instead enforce the tribal worldview that is at the root cause here. You place absolutely no value on palestinian life. You kill them with as much moral concern as Hamas kills Israelis. And yet while you kill more innocents than Hamas, you continue to claim the moral high ground on some perverted notion that Hamas “makes threatening gestures” that “Hamas says mean things” to you. As if threats of innocent deaths somehow become more important than actual innocent deaths.

    Israel kills more innocents than Hamas.

    The rest is self-delusional spin meant to demonize your enemy so that killing them doesn’t morally stain you. But just because you’ve bought it, doesn’t mean anyone else has.

    If my next door neighbor regularly threatened to kill me, and periodically tried, I’d take action too.

    Your “next door neighbor” analogy only works because you never talk about the specifics of your response.

    if you killed your neighbor, his wife, his kids, and the rest of his family by boarding up the windows and doors (blockade) and then setting his entire house on fire (bomb and invade), you’d be arrested for multiple murders.

    FYI: Standard propaganda tactic. Analogize the circumstances so that the narrative contains the sins committed by the enemy as if in a vacuum. Make no mention of the actions taken by your side previoius to this point. Then demand that the circumstances require some response.

    And make sure to suspend the analogy at the moment some response is approved. analogize to get permission to do something, without specifying what that something is. Once you’ve gotten permission to do “something”, you’ve deluded yourself that you’ve gotten permission to do anything.

    Israel has a right to exist. That doesnt’ mean Israel has a right to wage war with complete disregard for Palestinian civlian deaths. Israel doesn’t care how many civilian deaths it causes on the palestinian side, as long as it can get away with it.

    Israel missiles, bombs, and guns have killed more innocent people than Hamas has. Everything else is propaganda to try and avoid this simple fact.

  281. “Israel has a right to exist?”

    What a strange statement! It deserves questioning.

    A living person has a right to self-defense. This is not the same as having a right to exist. We must perform various actions in order to exist for a time and rights do not enter into this.

    A nation, like any other collective entity, exists on sufferance granted by people. No nation that ever existed has had a right to exist – that’s not something they can have, it’s like saying bacteria have a right to sex toys, it’s completely nonsensical.

    The native people of Palestine (including the native-born children of foreign Zionist invaders) have a right to defend themselves. That’s the only “right” I see here.

  282. The native people of Palestine (including the native-born children of foreign Zionist invaders) have a right to defend themselves.

    If your parents immigrated to Israel, and you were born there, you would have a right to remain in Israel, but your parents would not? You are basically arguing that the fundamental human right is that “a person gets to live wherever they are born” and that this surpasses the right to life itself?

    This is actually Israel’s argument that they deserve Israel because God promised it to the Jews way back when. This says the primary human right is a right to own land. The only difference is each group has a different measuring rule so that they get the land. This is definitely a tribal worldview.

    The primary human right is the right to live. Way, way, way down on the priority scale from there is some legal system to deal with land ownership and keep it fair. Land can be moved around if it means people stop dying. This is the fundamental moral argument for giving Jews a homeland of their own in the first place. Not a religious argument, but a moral argument. Give them a homeland so they aren’t killed in persecutions in other countries. Land is less important that human lives.

    But if the moral argument that allowed land to be taken from one group and given to another in order to save lives is valid then, it is valid now. THe only difference now is that the people being killed are palestinians. And if rearranging the borders is what it takes to keep people from getting killed, I support it.

    And I refuse to engage any argument that poses the notion that land rights trumps the right to live, or any notion that where you were born determines where you can morally be allowed to live.

  283. Phew! Okay, I’ve actually read this entire string, and learned a lot in the process. I certainly don’t have as thorough a knowledge of the area and its history as some folks here, and I certainly don’t have any concrete suggestions for a solution. However, I am mindful of the old saying,

    “The only way to stop playing the game is to stop playing the game.”

    A simple idea, but not simple in execution. A one-sided cease fire. I would also humbly suggest that that is easier to do from the side of strength. (I’m not saying that it can ONLY be done from strength, only that it is probably EASIER.) Yes, it would doubtless lead to people dying. But there is already round after round after round of that.

    I’d also recommend the excellent book “The Evolution of Cooperation” by Robert Axelrod.

    When I see conflicts like this (and the U.S. “War on Terror”) I can’t help but see it as an iterated Prisoner’s Dilemma. Of course, that’s a very basic mathematical simplification. But it makes me think, in cases like this, perhaps there are some people involved who WANT the game to keep going. Why should that be? And why does that remind me of the old saying, “Follow the Money”?

    p.s.

    Actually, there IS another way to stop playing the game. Kill EVERYBODY.

    -end rambling

  284. Not a morality play, a simple breakdown. Certainly, you can look at all the history of the region. Of course, the history of the region tells us that there isn’t going to be peace in the Middle East until everyone is dead.

    History does not need to be an unbreakable chain.

    Lest some of you misunderstand (as some obviously have) I said I wish I was BETTER educated on the matter, not that I’m uneducated. I’ve got friends who have served in the Israeli military, I’ve got friends who support Palestine and still scream that there is no such country as Israel.

    But facts are facts, and Snarky Moderators aside (Antinous), the fact is that Israel’s strikes tend to be RETALIATORY. You can bitch or complain all you want about appropriate levels of force, but when Hamas is hiding weapons inside a Mosque, the Mosque is going to be a target.

    Let’s face it, the tactics that Hamas uses are cowardly, because they simply cannot win a stand-up fight. Of course, SANE people might go to the negotiating table at that point, but the Middle East is certainly not a sane area, on either side.

    Fact is that, Israeli rhetoric aside, The Pelstinians (whether the old PLO or Hamas) launch attacks against Israel, Israel responds with overwhelming force… repeat through history. Only when the Palestinians came to the negotiating table did they make any progress. So, rather than resting on their laurels, they are going BACK to the old method of antagonizing Israel until they get bombed all to hell.

    This is not sane.
    This is not rational.
    This is not even a realistic world-view.

    Let’s say for a moment that every negative thing that has been said here about Israel is true. Even if that *IS* the case, the current course of Palestinian action is futile and counter-productive.

    So even if the Israelis ARE the villains (and I hold forth that they are not) Hamas is bringing death and destruction down on their own heads by launching feeble offensives rather than negotiating.

    The request of “stop attacking us and we’ll stop attacking you” has been made by both sides. Israel COULD take the high ground and stop the attacks first but they are in the position of strength and aren’t going to give that up.

    Hamas is at a disadvantage and it is time that they face that simple fact. If they were to renounce violence and start working on internal problems, within a decade Palestinians would probably be THE charitable cause.

    The Palestinians NEED help, it is within Hamas’ power to get them the help that they need. They refuse, and the Palestinian people suffer. This isn’t the evil of Israel, this is the evil of fundamentalism (on both sides). The problem is that one side could EASILY wipe out the other.

    Do the people of Palestine have a right to defend themselves? Certainly. However, are they doing themselves more harm than good every time they send rockets into Israel? Yes.

    1. Ceronomus,

      There’s a word for peace without justice; it’s ‘tyranny’. I have no use for Hamas, but calling for the Palestinians to surrender without justice is both morally empty and strategically simplistic.

  285. @GregLondon

    “Your “next door neighbor” analogy only works because you never talk about the specifics of your response.

    if you killed your neighbor, his wife, his kids, and the rest of his family by boarding up the windows and doors (blockade) and then setting his entire house on fire (bomb and invade), you’d be arrested for multiple murders.”

    Yes, but if my neighbor was shooting into my house from his home and I returned fire, even if I ended up killing his wife and children in the process (so long as they were not my intended targets) I’d be covered under self-defense (at least in the US). Now, if I *DELIBERATELY* killed his entire family, you would most certainly be correct.

    However, the Palestinians are the ones targeting schools and hiding their weapons in Mosques, not the other way around.

  286. I wholeheartedly disagree. Tell me, what do you think is “Justice” for the Palestinians? Hamas seems to think that it is killing every Jew in Israel.

    If you want to look for tyranny, look no further than Hamas, who are bringing attack after attack down on their own people. If the Palestinians want justice, let them string up the people REALLY responsible for their current troubles.

    1. If the Palestinians want justice, let them string up the people REALLY responsible for their current troubles.

      Just Likud, or the whole Knesset?

  287. Ceronomus: Yes, but if my neighbor was…

    This is why analogies suck. Rather than talk about the facts, you talk about some idealized version of the facts that you invented, you discard bits of truth you don’t want to enter the analogy, and you keep spinning a more and more complicated story to get the moral you want.

  288. the fact is that Israel’s strikes tend to be RETALIATORY

    Seriously? In retaliation to 26 Israeli deaths caused by Hamas in 2008, you inflict the deaths of 100 innocent palestinians in a week and say it was retaliation?

    That’s your moral superiority?

    Really?

    YOu just fessed up to this being nothing but pure tribalism. That the value of palestinian life is far, far less than the value of Israeli life. You killed far more innocent, uninvolved, nonmilitant civilians in a week than Hamas killed in a year, and you think it’s moral because it was retalitory????

    Because you do it out of retaliation, that makes killing innocent people OK?

    Israel COULD take the high ground and stop the attacks first but they are in the position of strength and aren’t going to give that up.

    Again, you statement is nothing more than a confession that Israel’s actions are not moral. Instead Israel is invoking a tribal notion called “It is right because I can do it”. A more famous version of that idea is “might makes right”. We are stronger than them, so whatever we do is righteous.

    The request of “stop attacking us and we’ll stop attacking you” has been made by both sides.

    Congratulations, you’ve just explained that this war is nothign more than tit-for-tat. You’ve cast the morality of the other side as tit-for-tat (if you stop, then we’ll stop), and then you use it as justification to lower yourself to that level of immorality.

    What I am saying (and a lot of people who are protesting Israel’s actions here) is that killing innocents civilians is wrong. Hamas is wrong for killing 26 or so innocent Israeli civilians in 2008. Israel is wrong for killing 100 or so innocent civilians in the last week.

    You attempt to avoid the entire moral discussion by casting this as nothing more than might makes right, as a tit-for-tat battle where that last person to get a strike “wins”.

    Hamas is responsible for the deaths of 26 innocent Israelis. Israel cannot claim the moral high ground by killing 100 innocent Palestinian civilians in retaliation, by treating Palestinians as a cancer, by selecting a gaza village and leveling it, by conducting military operations in Gaza with zero regard for the cost of innocent lives it inflicts on Palestinians.

    You’ve done nothing but show that your morality is no better than the Hamas militants who have no value for Israeli life, no better than the Hamas militant who wants to get the last strike against Israel, no better than the Hamas militant who kills innocent Israelis in retaliation to some innocent Palestinians killed by Israel.

    The request is not “Stop killing us and then we’ll stop killing you”. The request is that you change your actions so that they reflect some bare minimum of morality that rises above the tribalism that makes you no better than the Hamas militants you condemn.

    Israel COULD take the high ground and stop the attacks first

    You just don’t get it. You already killed more innocent civilians in retaliation to Hamas killing innocent civilians. There is no moral high ground as long as you continue killing more innocent civilians in retaliation to someone else killing innocent civilians. The only moral high ground left is to stop killing innocent civilians. Until you stop, you’re operating on the low ground, the immoral ground. YOur actions are immoral regardless of whether or not Hamas’s actions are immoral too.

    Your immoral actions do not suddenly become moral simply because Hamas is immoral too. You’re engaging in retalitory strikes. You’re killing far more innocent civilians in a week than Hamas killed in a year. You’ve made clear that you are going to force Hamas to stop first because you have military might. YOu have made clear that your definition of morality hinges on strength. You have made clear that you want to get the last hit in. And therefore you are nowhere but traveling the low, immoral, path.

  289. excusing what is being done to ordinary Gazans by saying they should overthrow Hamas is just that: excuse for atrocity. May as well blame the victims of Hamas rockets in Israel for having bad government. The innocent are still dying. Say something new Cernomus, say something new.

  290. Ceronomus: what do you think is “Justice” for the Palestinians? Hamas seems to think that it is killing every Jew in Israel.

    We’ve discussed this before, but maybe it was before you arrived to this thread. The short of it is that Israel lost the right to ride this high horse a while ago. Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel. Israeli officials have repeatedly said they are going after the whole of the palestinians.

    http://www.newint.org/issue359/essay.htm/

    “Palestinians are like cancer. There are all sorts of solutions to cancerous manifestations. For the time being, I am applying chemotherapy.”
    Moshe Y’alon, Israeli Chief-of-Staff

    “Eventually we will have to thin out the number of Palestinians living in the territories.”
    Eitan Ben Eliahu, Israeli Air Force Commander

    “I believe in liquidationists.” (Assassination brigades targeting Palestinian activists)
    General Meir Dagan, Head of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service

    http://www.antiwar.com/orig/cook.php?articleid=13780

    Israel’s Minister of Public Security, Avi Dichter, believes punishment should be inflicted “irrespective of the cost to the Palestinians”;

    Meir Sheetrit has urged that Israel should “decide on a neighborhood in Gaza and level it”

    Deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai talks about bring about a palestinian holocaust.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1226404716066&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FPrinter

    “it would be pointless for Israel to topple Hamas because the population [of Gaza] is Hamas.”

    If Israel gets to attack Hamas because of what Hamas says, it must be true that Hamas gets to attack Israel simply based on what Israel says. Otherwise, its moral hypocracy. Israel is guilty of the same crimes you accuse Hamas of committing. Both sides have called for wiping out entire populations. Both sides have refused to distinguish any difference between civilians and military personel. You’re righteousness is undeserved.

    Enough.

  291. From the UK Times Online on 30 December 2008, http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5418172.ece

    “The goal of the operation is to topple Hamas,” Haim Ramon, the deputy to Ehud Olmert, the Prime Minister, said.

    Hamas is the politcal party in charge in Gaza. Therefore Israel has stated that one of its goal of attacking Gaza is “Regime Change”.

    From a classified memo from the UK’s Attorney General to the Prime minister about the legality of getting involved in the invasion of Iraq:

    http://www.globalpolicy.org/security/issues/iraq/document/2003/0307advice.htm

    “the lawfulness of military action depends not only on the existence of a legal basis, but also on the question of proportionality.”

    “regime change cannot be the objective of military action.”

    Just found that interesting. No matter how much the Israeli apologists want to say that “proportionality” doesn’t matter, it would seem that it actually does matter, from a legal sense it determines the legitimacy of the military operation.

    And a whole other discussion could be had around the folly of trying to invade and occupy another land in an attempt to enforce a “regime change”, in an attempt to get the people you’re bombing and killing to do exactly what you want them to do, and whether such a goal would be in accordance with the geneva convention.

  292. @GregLondon
    “YOu just fessed up to this being nothing but pure tribalism. That the value of palestinian life is far, far less than the value of Israeli life. You killed far more innocent, uninvolved, nonmilitant civilians in a week than Hamas killed in a year, and you think it’s moral because it was retalitory????”

    I said no such thing. HOWEVER, unless the Palestinians want to turn over an equal number of people to be executed, you are never going to find fairness now are you. Looking for such a thing in warfare is child-like idealism at best.

    What I’ve said is, the Palestinians keep attacking Israel until Israel strikes back, and then have the gall to complain that someone they’ve been attacking finally hit them back.

    Yeah, it sucks that Israel is bigger and better armed, however that doesn’t mean that they are not allowed to take action.

    I feel for the people caught in the cross-fire. Hell, they don’t even have any place to run. That sucks, and I get that. HOWEVER, their own government is causing the problem.

    How hard is that to really understand. Hamas effectively declared war on Israel at the foundation of their organization. They are now a ruling political party. If you declare war, expect war.

    How hard is that basic premise to grasp?

    War sucks. Civilians die. That is one of the true horrors of war. Of course, since the Palestinians don’t wear uniforms and hide themselves in hospitals and Mosques, it makes it a lot harder to tell who is a combatant. It also makes it harder to avoid civilian casualties. I put to you that Hamas’ very actions put their people at risk.

    They’ve been beaten. Period. They cannot win, they can only get their people killed. Surrender might not be in their vocabulary, but cease-fire is. They should have the basic wisdom to cease-fire and go back to the negotiating table rather than to repeat this suicidal lunacy time and time again.

    Their rocket attacks will not bring down Israel. I think we all can agree. Their rocket attacks invite reprisals by Israel. That’s a fact we’ve all seen.

    So tell me, what exactly are they accomplishing OTHER than getting their own people killed?

    As for the Vanity Fair article? US Foreign Policy. Short-sighted, disastrous, and often immoral. I can’t argue with that.

    That doesn’t change the fact that all Hamas is doing is getting Palestinian’s killed. We can argue about the right or wrong of Israel’s actions until we are blue in the face and we’ll most likely never agree.

    However, the simple fact is that Israel REACTS to Hamas and Hamas is well aware of this. HAmas is just as culpable for the deaths of those Palestinians as Israel is. Hamas KNOWS what will happen when they launch these attacks, but I suppose that they need more martyrs.

  293. Let me put it another way.

    In 2006 the Gaza population was 409,680. The population of Israel is 7,184,000. Is it a sensible plan of action to follow a course of rocket attacks when 150 of your own people die for every 26 of the enemy you kill? You can’t even win that as a war of attrition.

    Despite the words put in my mouth by GregLondon, I do not support the killing of civilians. I do, however, recognize that such things are a part of war. I don’t have to like it to recognize it as reality. Putting on Polyanna glasses and wishing that only combatants would be killed, when one side won’t even IDENTIFY their combatants, makes that impossible.

    What I have said all along, is that the course of action that Hamas has dedicated itself to is suicidal and bound to failure… yet they refuse to look at the other options on the table. Hamas is the reason that these people are dying. They DO have other options, they choose not to take them.

  294. I’m satisfied you are not reading anything. Much less thinking.

    Is there anyone out there who has something besides recycled reaction to share?

  295. “Much less thinking.”

    Nice to see that when someone disagrees with you, that you can drop to base internet trolling to change my mind.

  296. you’re not engaging, just repeating. I actually do read everything you write and process it against my own ideas. I do not even think you disagree with me,I don’t see any evidence you have considered anything I said to be able to know if you agree with it or not. We are not touching here at all. I do not think that is entirely my fault.

  297. That could be true (the we aren’t even disagreeing), I’ve just been dealing with so many people putting words in my mouth it is really difficult to separate the wheat from the chafe at this point.

  298. then perhaps choose one, single point you wish to make clear and see if there can be agreement on that. Everything begins somewhere. Even peace.

  299. Greglondon is right about one thing. The intent of Israel is to topple the democratically elected leadership of the Palestinians. I think it is arrogant of Israel to assume it knows better than the mind of a foreign electorate.

    To Takuan’s earlier question – solution:

    My best-case solution involves a negotiated Palestinian state allowing Israel and Palestine to coexist, side-by-side, the way Israel and Jordan appear to. That would probably satisfy the populations of both places – though just to negotiate the land is, to understate it criminally, the hard part.

    The difficult question: is the Hamas leadership able, or willing, to negotiate with the leadership of Israel? We can see that neither side can negotiate with the other. If the goal is a negotiated settlement for nationhood, and one nation is militarily superior, it would seem Hamas cannot battle its way to the bargaining table, even if it were so inclined. So it’s war or triage. The Palestinians must have leadership that can negotiate with Israel to gain a stable, functioning nation. Hamas, while legally elected, does not appear to be that leadership. It should step aside as the first gesture for a lasting peace. Israel, in turn, must make its own difficult sacrifices in response. Remember: this is my fantasy solution based on what I see from a long and safe distance.

  300. yes Teller, you and I both are safe and far away. The situation is complex, verging on insoluble. But can we agree that it would be a good idea if the current killing was to be stopped for the time being?

  301. ceronomus: Yeah, it sucks that Israel is bigger and better armed, however that doesn’t mean that they are not allowed to take action.

    No, it sucks that Israel has bigger bombs than Hamas and an equal disregard for the civilians that it kills just like Hamas.

    Stop trying to cast this as a defensive maneuvar. Hamas killed 27 Israelis in 2008. In the last week, Israel has killed several hundred Palestinians, at least a hundred or so of which were innocent civilians. In the last two years, Israel has had Gaza in a crippling blockade, since Hamas won elections in 2006. And when Egypt blockaded Israel back in the day, Israel declared that any such blockade was an act of war. Israel has been enforcing an act of war on all of Gaza for two years now.

    Lemme guess, that was defensive too. You know why it was defensive? Because you get to go back, just far enough to find some crime by Hamas committed against Israel, prior to your action. Never mind that Hamas can go back just prior to their action and find some crime by Israel against Hamas or palestinians.

    You have one thing right. You are not morally superior to Hamas, you just have bigger bombs. You’re bigger and better armed. Congratulations. Too bad that doesn’t have squat to do with acting morally.

  302. and I deeply appreciate it. I in no way mean to denigrate any suggestion you made and I hope you didn’t take it that way.

    As to Hamas stepping down; I believe they have the morality of gangsters and will step down at gunpoint and no sooner. Whether they believe their own fanatic propaganda or if they just cynically exploit the situation, they are spending lives to make their political points. I don’t think they represent sane Palestinian opinion. I do think they would have the lead now if outer forces had not meddled.

  303. How hard is that to really understand. Hamas effectively declared war on Israel at the foundation of their organization. They are now a ruling political party. If you declare war, expect war.

    yeah, I know, all those quotes by Israeli officials, they don’t count. right? They’re retalitory, right?

    Sorry, cor, doesn’t fly. Israel doesn’t get a free pass to treat palestinian civilians as bugs, to be killed without moral cost, simply because Hamas declared war. Hamas declares war, and Israel doesn’t have to worry about civilian casualties? Hamas declares war and Israel doesn’t have to worry about rules of war? Hamas declares war and Israel doesn’t have to worry about the geneva convvention?

    Tribalism. Pure and simple. They declare war on you, so you get to ignore civilian casualties. I quote half a dozen Israeli government officials who are making statements about their tactics which are direct violations of teh Geneva Convention.

    You don’t get to declare “dibs” on ignoring the rules of war just because Hamas declares war on you. You never get to ignore the rules of war and maintain the moral high ground. Treat civilian populations like a cancer, apply chemotherapy, and guess what? You’re actions are immoral and possibly war crimes. Pick a gaza village and level it with artillery fire and you’ve committed a war crime.

    You think somehow the fact that Hamas has declared war that you don’t have to follow the rules of war? Hamas is repugnant. But Israel’s insistence that it gets an exception to the rules of war, And Isreal’s body count, inflicting far more deaths on innocent civilians than Hamas ever did, is amazingly something that Israel is proud of. We’re better armed, you say. Yeah? Well, you’re committing more war crimes than Hamas is.

    Of the 26 Israelis that Hamas killed in 2008, half of them were civilian. The other half were IDF. IF you accept that its a state of war, then Hamas killed about 12 Israeli civilians in 2008. In the last week, Israel’s disregard for the rules of war caused it to bombard Gaza and kill around 100 unarmed civilians, half of which were children.

    Congratulations. You’ve got bigger guns and bombs are were able to inflict a larger civilian death toll on noncombatants than Hamas ever did. Did you get that? You condemn Hamas for killing civilians and in response you kill far more civlians than Hamas ever did.

    Your government officials have been quoted repeatedly showing a complete disregard for the civilian population in Gaza, a disregard that could qualify as a war crime, and you still think you’re riding the white horse.

    Of course, since the Palestinians don’t wear uniforms and hide themselves in hospitals and Mosques, it makes it a lot harder to tell who is a combatant. It also makes it harder to avoid civilian casualties. I put to you that Hamas’ very actions put their people at risk.

    Hamas rockets from Gaza killed a dozen Israelis in 2008.

    Israeli rockets, bombs, and missiles killed about 50 palestinian children in the last week.

    I put to you that Israel killed those children and I put to you that the rules of war say Israel is responsible for those deaths.

    Isreal killed far more innocent people in the last week than Hamas killed in a year, and you insist you’re side is righteous. There is no explanation for this other than that you’re looking at this whole thing through a tribal world view. They are bad. We are good.

    You selectively filter reality. You have quoted, repeatedly Hamas’s mission statement to destroy israel and similar statements, yet you ignore quotes from Israeli officials that declare all palestinians are militants, all palestinians are cancer, all palestinians are to be punished collectively, and so on, which are no less repugnant statments. You have story after story, narrative after narrative, excuse after excuse, that allows Israel to do exactly the same thing Hamas is doing and condemn Hamas and praise Israel.

    You kill far more civlians than Hamas, and you boast that it means you’ve got a bigger army. Like a bigger army means you’re actions are righteous.

    Hamas kills civilians and when they boast of it, you quote their boasts and use it to condemn them as animals.

    The level of hypocricy is just amazing.

    As long as you can justify this level of hypocricy, as long as you keep dancing around with justifications rather than looking at simple objective facts like numbers of innocent civilians killed by either side, then you can’t hear anything I say, other than to auto-respond with some memorized bit of propaganda.

    I despise Hamas but Palestinian civilians do not deserve genocide because of Hamas. The rules of war are not suspended because of Hamas. The immorality of killing civilians does not disappear because of Hamas.

    Yet you do exactly what Hamas does, while still calling them evil and Israel the righteous, mainly based on a selective sense of history that allows you to decide when the war “started”.

    At least the US isn’t pumping billions of dollars in foreign aid into Hamas. But Israel’s actions in Lebanon in 2006, in its starvation of Gaza for the last two years with its blockade, in this gross, ultraviolent bombardment and invasion of Gaza, it’s complete disregard for civilian casualties, quotes from its government officials stating its complete disregard for civilian casualties, and the fact that Israel is doing all this with American made guns, tanks, helicopters, and a truckload of American money, absolutely sickens me.

    You’re acting no better than Hamas in many respects, the civilian deaths you inflict are worse than hamas and you respond to that fact with boasts, and my tax dollars are supporting you.

    I am morally repulsed.

  304. Despite the words put in my mouth by GregLondon, I do not support the killing of civilians. I do, however, recognize that such things are a part of war. I don’t have to like it to recognize it as reality. Putting on Pollyanna glasses and wishing that only combatants would be killed, when one side won’t even IDENTIFY their combatants, makes that impossible.

    don’t even acknowledge your own officials who made clear statements stating that Palestinians as a whole were a cancer. Just blame it all on Hamas. Don’t even acknowledge that Israeli officials have suggested wiping out whole Gaza villages. Ignore all the facts and only talk in propaganda.

  305. Tak, I linked to a .pdf from the Baker-Hamilton report, it had a number of suggestions for settling some fo the main issues between Israel and Palestine. It seemed to take a mostly pragmatic approach. Did it not go into the sort of detail you were looking for?

    I’ve been pondering solutions that might rein in Hamas, and I’m coming up with only fairly vague notions. But then I ponder solutiosn that might rein in Israel, and I’m coming up with equally vague notions.

    How do you take two self-righteous, self-justifying organizations who both think the other side is totally at fault, who both think they are fighting on the side of God, on the side of righteousness, and get this level of assholery to deal with each other as human beings?

    It would probably help if the US wasn’t a paid Israeli shill at the UN. A resolution or two that condemns Israel’s blockade and bombardment/invasion to be no less morally reprehensible than Hamas’s rocket attacks would be a good place to start. Get both assholes off their goddamn high horses. But I don’t think the US has ever allowed the UN to pass a resolution critical of Israel, ever. At least nothing wiht any teeth to it. So I don’t know.

    If the UN took some kind of direct action that actually helped palestinians in Gaza and the other territories, and helped them for the long term, then Hamas would lose a lot of it’s influence, I think. Hamas gets some of its power from the fact that it brings in money to rebuild all the shit that Israel blows up. Hospitals, schools, whatever. If palestinians had these things, then they wouldn’t need Hamas to build it for them.

    And Hamas gets some of its power from teh fact that half of Gaza lives at or below the poverty level. Israel’s two-year long blockade was meant to do this. They froze currency and gaza banks basically collapsed. Palestinian lands need to be brought out of this level of econmoic ruin. Step one would be to call the blockade what it is: an act of war and demand that Israel stop it.

    rebuild the infrastructure. Get power back on. Fuel. communications. rebuild the schools, hospitals, and mosques. Rebuild all the homes that Israel has bombed and bulldozed.

    It won’t be too unlike trying to get Afghanistan back on its feet, and about as hard.

    create a full palestinian state independent of Israel so that they have a state that protects their interests rather than a government that views them as secondary (or worse) citizens that need to be herded onto the shitty pieces of land.

    figure out a water solution. settle all the land issues. undo the gerrymandering that Israel has attempted to impose by building its wall wherever it wanted it, and come up with a border that actually makes sense for both nations, both people. If Israel wants a wall, it can build it on its own land. If Israel wants a “dead man’s zone” it can create one on its own land.

    There’s a simple rule when you build a fence in an urban area, you have to build it some distance inside your own property line. You don’t get to build it on your neighbor’s land just so you can expand your backyard.

    Deal with jerusalem. Make it an international city. move the walls if need be.

    Stuff like that, if the world actually sat both sides down, figured out a reasonable solution, forced both sides to wipe their tallies of wrongs that need to be avenged (both sides), and created a two-state solution that works for both sides, and made sure it remained in place, then we’d be a hell of a lot closer to a solution than having Israel show Hamas that killing civilians is wrong by killing more civilians.

    The reasoning for the creation of Israel was that Jews were not safe in any other country adn needed their own state. That same reasoning now applies to the palestinians. They cannot remain occupied territories of Israel. They cannot remain second class citizens of Israel. They cannot remain under a government that considers them second class citizens, considers them a cancer, considers them expendable, considers them indistinguishable from an armed combatant, and considers their deaths irrelevant, they cannot remain under such a scenario and there ever be a peace.

    If there was anything that would bring the region a hell of a lot closer to peace, it would be to quit fking around and establish an official state of palestine and to find boundaries that work for both sides, rather than allow Israel to use military force, bulldozers, illegal settlements, and its “security fence” as an excuse for it to impose a border that is neither fair not workable for palestinians. Land swaps. Reparations. Whatever it takes.

    This may all be a pipe dream, for all I know. Obama’s position on Israel/Palestine is still sufficiently murky that I won’t yet count on anything until after the inauguration and Obama starts taking action on the issue. Of all the issues going on right now, this one seems to be fairly cheap in terms of how much money it would cost compared to the payoff possible from having actual, workable, long term peace in the middle east.

    Deal with Israel/Palestine and Israel/Lebanon and Israel/Syria and so on, and you take a lot of the influence away from the more radical elements.

  306. I read the pdf file but it seemed primarily framed around America/Iraq.

    I can’t help but feel that any workable peace will have to spring from the Israelis and the Palestinians, without help or hindrance from outside players. Right now a cease-fire is all the larger world should be shouting for.

    I do not believe it is in the basic nature of the Israeli people to want to exterminate the Palestinians. The current pogrom is an aberration – not a realization.

    Perhaps Ireland can lend a model, there is still grief there but they have made breakthroughs in what seemed utterly, utterly impossible.

    First a cease fire. Stop the immediate killing in Gaza, suppress the Hamaa rocket fire with real, humane care and the actual precision the Israeli army IS capable of. They are not thumb fingered idiots, they bloody well can stop the rockets without wholesale slaughter. If permitted by their masters.

    Then a people power movement.How I do not remotely know.I just know both sides have been failed by their leadership.

    The situation needs saints, extraordinary people, a new Gandhi as many have mentioned. I believe they exist already on both sides and can make a peace – if permitted. I know I myself would not have the strength to forgive. In spite of that I would do what I could to help those who can. The situation needs talk of reconciliation.of compromise, of acknowledgment,of apology, of hope.
    These are the things that create an environment where hope of peace can grow. Constant recrimination, blame laying – no matter how correct – , raking up the past and justifying the wrongs of today do nothing but perpetuate the past.

    First stop the immediate killing, cease fire on any terms. Then give people breathing space enough to ask what do they REALLY want?

    None of this can be externally imposed. None of the Hamas or Israel leadership shows any sign of recognizing this. How can the ordinary people on both sides by raised to action – or refraining from wrong action?

  307. getting tired, but the typos shouldn’t obscure the meaning.

    why are there no Palestinian voices here?

    1. why are there no Palestinian voices here?

      No electricity or internet connection makes it hard to get the word out. Not, I think, a coincidence.

  308. When I first heard the term ‘expats’ I thought it was only for Irish people. Genuinely (eg. no joke).

  309. why are there no Palestinian voices here?

    That is a good question though.

    You may have noticed that in discussions about Iraq there aren’t that many Iraqis either. Same about Afghanistan or Arabs in general if we were talking about Al-Quaeda.

    Is it possible that they have written out the Western world completely, that the very vast majority places no hope in it, that they’ve decided that we are the enemy at the same title as Israel?

  310. The war report for today.

    Israeli bombs strike a UN school where palestinians from a refuge camp had sought shelter. three civilians killed. UN officials had provided Israel with coordinates of their buildings to make sure that they were not targeted.

    Since Dec 27, Israel has killed more than 500 palestinians, more than 100 of which were civilians, nonmilitants. Israel has encircled Gaza City, the most densely populated city in Gaza, with tanks, troops, and artillery.

    Israel says it killed 130 Hamas militants in the last two days. Hamas is thought to have about 20,000 fighters.

    Extrapolating, say 75 militants killed every day, to kill 20,000 fighters that will take 266 more days, assuming Israel can keep up the pace. With a mere 12 civilians killed by Israel every day per 75 militants, that means that Israel will kill about 3300 civilians.

    This is justice? This is moral? In response to 26 Israelis being killed by Hamas in all of 2008, Israel is launching a campaign to wipe out Hamas and at the current rate could easily kill 2,000 or 3,000 unarmed palestinian civilians to achieve that goal?

    more than 100 unarmed civilians dead in a week, and this is proportional or moral?

    the international Red Cross said Gaza was in a “full-blown” humanitarian crisis. about 800,000 had no access to running water since tuesday.

    There is no sense of proportionality here. None at all. The only way this can be justified is by an overwhelming sense of self righteousness that allows Israel to ignore the facts and listen to its own propaganda.

    George W. Bush, the ultimate expression of someone listening to their own propaganda, and someone I hope to see brought up on war crimes for his reckless disregard for life in invading Iraq, sided with Israel.

    Enough already.

    Stop killing unarmed innocent civilians.

  311. Before blaming Hamas for what is going on we should ask our selves what is led to this situation. The siege and oppression that been exercised on these people has led them to do what they do. Israel wants us to believe that these people do not deserve a life. These people have fed their kids hate and killing Jews. But the real story that those people have been ignored and oppressed for a long time. Youth do not see a future for them selves. They think dying to free their country is more honorable than dying from hunger or basic sickness. Israel has damaged their homes, bombed all infrastructures that they built in a very hard way with the little that they had, and finally has put them in a big prison were no one can get in or out, no food, no medicine, no clean water they have noting. Then we expect that oppressed nation to be civilized and wish for their neighbor peace life and happy Hanukkah……

  312. Israel is like a bull in a china shop. Why raze a whole area killing many civilians in the process in retribution for some relatively minor attacks? With Israel having one of the finest militaries in the world, I find it hard to believe that they cannot punish Hamas in a more efficient (and cleaner) fashion.
    Israel’s invasion is obviously a statement of might makes right, but this is counterproductive as it will only stoke Hamas hatred for anything Israeli; Israel is cutting off it’s own nose to spite it’s face.
    As far as the (very nearly) irrelevant bush, of course he agrees, this is just his style but look what it bought HIM.

  313. via Glen Greenwald’s blog, a quote from George Orwell from Notes on Nationalism:

    Indifference to Reality. All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side.

    The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them. For quite six years the English admirers of Hitler contrived not to learn of the existence of Dachau and Buchenwald. Many English people have heard almost nothing about the extermination of German and Polish Jews during the present war. Their own antisemitism has caused this vast crime to bounce off their consciousness. In nationalist thought there are facts which are both true and untrue, known and unknown. A known fact may be so unbearable that it is habitually pushed aside and not allowed to enter into logical processes, or on the other hand it may enter into every calculation and yet never be admitted as a fact, even in one’s own mind.

    Every nationalist is haunted by the belief that the past can be altered. He spends part of his time in a fantasy world in which things happen as they should — in which, for example, the Spanish Armada was a success or the Russian Revolution was crushed in 1918 — and he will transfer fragments of this world to the history books whenever possible. Much of the propagandist writing of our time amounts to plain forgery. Material facts are suppressed, dates altered, quotations removed from their context and doctored so as to change their meaning. Events which it is felt ought not to have happened are left unmentioned and ultimately denied

    Indifference to objective truth is encouraged by the sealing-off of one part of the world from another(*), which makes it harder and harder to discover what is actually happening. There can often be a genuine doubt about the most enormous events. Probably the truth is discoverable, but the facts will be so dishonestly set forth in almost any newspaper that the ordinary reader can be forgiven either for swallowing lies or failing to form an opinion. The general uncertainty as to what is really happening makes it easier to cling to lunatic beliefs. Since nothing is ever quite proved or disproved, the most unmistakable fact can be impudently denied. Moreover, although endlessly brooding on power, victory, defeat, revenge, the nationalist is often somewhat uninterested in what happens in the real world. What he wants is to feel that his own unit is getting the better of some other unit, and he can more easily do this by scoring off an adversary than by examining the facts to see whether they support him.

    (*) Israel’s Supreme Court ordered the Israeli government top prohibiting journalist from entering Gaza. A senior Israeli minister criticised the decision, saying Israel had the right to prevent reporters from “exposing the world to terrorist propaganda.” Talk about indifference to reality.

    Are you reading any of this, Ceronomus? You’re reading a mirror. The only question is whether you’ll admit that you can see yourself or not.

  314. Israel bombed another UN school killing 34 civilians, many of them children.

    United Nations staff estimate around 15,000 people have fled to 23 U.N.-run schools they have turned into makeshift refuges.

    The international Red Cross said an ambulance post was hit as well on Tuesday, injuring one medical worker.

    Unbelievable.

  315. death toll numbers from that same article:

    Before Tuesday’s deaths, U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said the overall Palestinian toll since the opening of the Gaza campaign on Dec. 27 stood at about 500, with about 125 of them civilians.

    A total of 58 Palestinians were killed Tuesday in fighting — with just two confirmed as militants, health officials in Gaza said.

  316. A lot has been said about the faults of the Jews in Israel, likely a bit too much. Less has been said about that of the Palestinians in Gaza, as it is a difficult to blame the ones who are doing the dying, but some blame was shelled anyway. What surprises me utterly is how little mention was made about the responsibility of the financiers, chiefly the US, who are making this all possible.

    Wouldn’t the whole dynamic in the Middle East change if the American people, of which many of you are a part, was putting pressure on their government to stop funding the massacre?

    I thought of mentioning it so, at the very least, the debate and the research for a solution would bear on all parties responsible.

  317. innocent: What surprises me utterly is how little mention was made about the responsibility of the financiers, chiefly the US, who are making this all possible.

    I posted about a poll that showed that something like 70% of americans think the US shouldn’t take sides in the Israeli/Palestinian wars. The US government, though, responds to lobbyist money first, not votes. But, yeah, it’s come up on the discussion.

  318. The recent history of a single Israeli Official, provided as proof of how much Israel suffers when it harms innocent palestinians:

    In summer of 2007, Israeli Deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai began preparing a plan on behalf of his boss, the Defence Minister Ehud Barak, to declare all of Gaza a “hostile entity” and dramatically reduce the essential services supplied by Israel — as long-time occupier — to its inhabitants, including electricity and fuel. The cuts were finally implemented late last year after the Israeli courts gave their blessing.

    October 2007, Vilnai said of Gaza: “Because this is an entity that is hostile to us, there is no reason for us to supply them with electricity beyond the minimum required to prevent a crisis.”

    January of 2008, Vilnai said that Israel should cut off “all responsibility” for Gaza, though, in line with the advice of Israel’s attorney general, he has been careful not to suggest that this would punish ordinary Gazans excessively.

    Around this time, Vilnai also said “We want to stop supplying electricity to (Gaza), stop supplying them with water and medicine”

    July 2008, Vilnai said that Gaza “will bring upon themselves a bigger shoah because we will use all our might to defend ourselves”. The media translated “shoah” to mean Holocaust. Israeli apologists played it down, saying that “shoah” should be translated to mean “disaster”. However, no one in Israel was fooled. “Shoah” — which literally means “burnt offering” — was long ago reserved for the Holocaust.

    August 2008, Barak revealed that his officials were working on a way to make it lawful for the army to direct artillery fire and air strikes at civilian neighbourhoods of Gaza in response to rocket fire. They are already doing this covertly, of course, but now they want their hands freed by making it official policy, sanctioned by the international community.

    At the same time Vilnai proposed a related idea, of declaring areas of Gaza “combat zones” in which the army would have free rein and from which residents would have little choice but to flee. In practice, this would allow Israel to expel civilians from wide areas of the Strip, herding them into ever smaller spaces, as has been happening in the West Bank for some time.

    Vilnai and Barak’s ultimate goal appears to be related to Vilnai’s “shoah” comment: Gaza’s depopulation, with the Strip squeezed on three sides until the pressure forces Palestinians to break out again into Egypt. This time, it may be assumed, there will be no chance of return.

    And then Israel can take over the land.

    article

    Such humanitarians.

  319. I wonder. If the current Israeli Deputy Defense Minister Vilnai came out and stated that Israel would unleash a holocaust on Gaza, and Vilnai then launches the very bombardment and invasion of Gaza that we’re seeing right now, does that qualify as sufficient to disable Godwin’s law on this topic?

    Can we only call it a holocaust when it’s over and too late to do anything about it? When all of Gaza is emptied by Israeli tanks and bombs? Can we only make legitimate comparisons to nazi’s and the holocaust when everyone is dead or ejected from their land by Israel?

    Israel chose to threaten the palestinians with a holocaust. THat was their words. At what point do we get to call it that without Godwin’s Law tripping up the facts?

    Just wondering.

  320. Greg, sorry but that is all too easy to blame the corruption of the US government and if it is all that came up, something that make the American public look way too good IMHO, that only proves my point.
    The US is still a democracy and it supposedly elected a hell of a guy lately: there should be a real chance that pressure coming from the people would have an effect. Yet, not much is done at all, not even commenting here about the role of the US and the responsibility of its citizen in a discussion like this one.

  321. Jack, thank you for sharing your perspective, especially the early one describing your father’s experience in Israel.

    AntonGarou, thank you also; if you would like to see the “manuals” you asked iaminnocent for, please consult the writings of Abraham Stern (particularly the “principles of rebirth”). As I understand it, Stern split from the Irgun because they were insufficiently violent and genocidal; he was what we’d now recognize as a classic erudite Jihadi mentality. His poetry is particularly telling in this regard. I am told that the Israeli government honors Stern with an annual day of remembrance, statues, military decorations, and postage stamps.

    My Jewish friends say that when the British left Palestine, the Haganah soldiers became the IDF, the Irgun terrorists became the government, and the Stern Gang murderers became Mossad.

  322. Of course you won’t hear any condemnation from the media or U.S. politicians lest they be labeled “anti-Semite”.

  323. there’s far too much here for me to respond to all at once, so I’ll just start with iaminnocent’s last comment, including
    …the American people putting pressure on their government to stop funding the massacre

    I have to assume that you, like many critics, are referring to American aid to Israel, and are therefore, like most of those same critics, ignoring the many millions of dollars (and Euros – why single out the US?) handed to the Palestinians that have been spent on weapons and to line the pockets of corrupt Palestinian “leaders” instead of on infrastructure and other things that would actually promote peace and security in the region.

    Yes, please, let’s make sure ALL the parties responsible are noted. Why isn’t more pressure being put on China (the manufacturer of the rockets), Iran (the original purchaser), Syria (the initial intermediary), Sudan (the next step) and Egypt (the last step in the chain before the rockets are smuggled into Hamas’s hands), etc.?

  324. I would like to find them also. I would like to find those which describe the deployment of Israel nuclear armament. I would like to have those which are used to instruct their torturers. I would like to assist at many reunions where the strategy is adopted. I guess that I’d be soon dead though.

    One thing that I know. With the weaponry of 1995, NATO managed 3515 sorties on the Bosnian Serbs, during Operation Deliberate Force, which, do they claim, caused *no* collateral damage. The Israeli Air Force is likely the best in this world, (at least the one which has the most chances to train on live targets) and has better weapons than there was in 1995. Why so much collateral damage then, more than 20% of the casualties?

  325. @Yiftach

    I have no problem whatsoever with not financing war or any pressure to bring down the violence in the region. To be clear though, I doubt that much $$ went to Hamas, which is the most pressing matter ATM. I agree with the corruption at the Fatah but can you spell Benyamin Netanyahou who is about to get re-elected before throwing your stone?

    I do not vote in China, Iran or Gaza though, not even the US anymore for that matter. For the last elections here, I voted for the only party that had a clear position against anything that would encourage or help violence in the Middle East and we got, absolutely against our craziest expectations, one deputy elected, one, believe it or not, of Palestinian descent. (BTW, we also elected, in 1808, the first Jew of the whole Commonwealth; the Brits took him down though.). That’s a start.

    I stand for what I believe in. I lost two jobs for not doing unconsionable actions, both times fired by Jews, one dumb ass, one fanatical rabi; I lost one tooth in an altercation with skinheads who were attacking a Hassidic Jew at a bus stop (the guy was doing quite OK but he was alone) and had some rough time with a Palestinian immigrant/taxi driver who was giving shit to an old Jewish women friend of mine (boy was that guy crazy…).

    @Takuan:
    do anything that goes in the right direction and don’t miss one occasion of doing it.

  326. yiftach@450: ignoring the many millions of dollars (and Euros – why single out the US?) handed to the Palestinians that have been spent on weapons and to line the pockets of corrupt Palestinian “leaders”

    US aid to Israel is currently supporting Israeli Deputy defense minister Matan Vilnai’s holocaust against Gaza. When Israel starts taking the high ground, it can start condemning “corrupt” palestinians getting US aid. As long as Vilnai is allowed to bring his holocaust upon the entire people of Gaza, you haven’t earned the right to ride that high horse.

  327. innocent: Greg, sorry but that is all too easy to blame the corruption of the US government and if it is all that came up, something that make the American public look way too good IMHO, that only proves my point.

    Anyone who wants to deal with the problems of guns in the US has to acknowledge the NRA as a lobbying force. IF they don’t, they’re idiots. A brief mention of public opinion polls and how they differ significantly from what politicians do can only be understood in terms of lobbyists and political donations. Reporting that fact doesn’t change individual responsibility. I think you may be reading a bit more into my post than is actually there.

  328. article

    Israeli historian Avi Shlaim shows that in July 1981, US diplomat Philip Habib brokered a ceasefire between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel. For the next year, the PLO infuriated Israel by refusing to violate the ceasefire and thereby provide an excuse for Israel’s long-planned attack on PLO refugee camps and bases

    on 3 June 1982, a member of the Abu Nidal organization shot and wounded Shlomo Argov, the Israeli ambassador in London. Abu Nidal, or Sabri Khalil al-Banna, was a Palestinian. The PLO had passed a death sentence on Abu Nidal for assassinating some of its moderate members who advocated a dialogue with Israel.”

    The next day, Israeli prime minister Menachem Begin called an emergency cabinet meeting. Begin told them: “‘They are all PLO.'” An intelligence aide told Army Chief of Staff Rafael Eitan that Abu Nidal’s men were evidently responsible for the assassination attempt. ‘Abu Nidal, Abu Shmidal,’ Eitan sneered; ‘we have to strike at the PLO!'”

    Two days later, Israel invaded Lebanon, which would kill over 18,000 people, including the massacres of Palestinian refugees at Sabra and Shatila, and push Lebanon further into a morass of imperial and sectarian violence. Of course, the lying excuse endlessly proffered for the invasion, enshrined in its nickname “Operation Peace for the Galilee,” and obligingly circulated by the American media, was that Israel could no longer be expected to tolerate a constant barrage of PLO rockets across its northern border.

    In Israel’s recent rush to invade Gaza, we witness the same predisposition to violence, the same aching aggravation with Palestinian peace offensives, and the same willingness to conflate all resistance, all frustrations, into a single enemy: “They are all Hamas!” And we see that Hamas, like the PLO, refused to oblige Israel with a single provocative act. For more than four months after 19 June 2008, Hamas refrained from any military actions that might endanger the negotiated truce or “calm” with Israel.

    In a document entitled “The Hamas terror war against Israel,” The Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides striking visual evidence of Hamas’s good faith during the lull. It reproduces two graphs drawn up by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center

    The graphs show that the total number of rocket and mortar attacks shrank from 245 in June to 26 total for July through October, a reduction of 97 percent. Even this was not enough for Israel, which violated the truce by imposing a terror-famine in Gaza for most of these months.

    But despite these violations, Hamas refrained from launching rockets until Israel definitively cancelled the truce on the night of 4-5 November by sending an Israeli commando squad into Gaza, where it killed six Hamas members. Hamas responded with 30 rockets.

    These charts proved too revealing for the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the night eve of 4 January 2008, as Israeli occupation forces launched a ground assault on Gaza, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs removed them from its website.

    The more I dig, the more facts I find, the more this whole thing disgusts me.

  329. Greglondon @454: First of all, please stop with the holocaust thing. Matan Vilnai was an ass for using the word shoah, and pretty much everybody of any import distanced themselves from that. You keep implying that what’s happening in Gaza is comparable to what happened in Europe in the 1930s and -40s, and, as simply as I can put it: IT AIN’T. Not even close. If you want to argue about the literal definition, not the colloquial use, of the word, let’s do it, but at some language blog, not here.

    As to the current situation: Vilnai isn’t bringing anything “upon the entire people of Gaza”. Let’s be clear: Since the unilateral withdrawal of all Israeli forces and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas has incessantly, consistently and deliberately targeted civilian population centers (residential homes, schools, whatever you can think of) with increasingly accurate, increasingly deadly rockets whose range is increasing. If they had instead engaged in 1) negotiation with Israel and/or 2) construction and development in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead would have remained a theoretical exercise.

    How long do you think the United States itself would have remained on your “high ground” if Mexican rockets were raining down daily on civilian targets in Texas, Arizona, or California (here in San Diego, I’m within range of Hamas’s rockets if they were launched from Tijuana)? I venture to say it wouldn’t have been nearly as long as the three plus years Israel has waited.

  330. Keep digging, Greg.

    During this so-called lull, Hamas spent their time and resources digging tunnels to use for smuggling weapons and fighters for attacks on Israeli civilians, and for gathering more and deadlier ammunition. Instead, I say again, of spending their time and resources on oh, say, building (something other than those tunnels, and the bunkers for their leaders so conveniently located under hospitals, mosques, etc.), education (something besides the textbooks teaching Palestinian children that Jews are dogs, etc.), or whatever…

  331. First of all, please stop with the holocaust thing. Matan Vilnai was an ass for using the word shoah, and pretty much everybody of any import distanced themselves from that. You keep implying that what’s happening in Gaza is comparable to what happened in Europe in the 1930s and -40s

    Sorry, you either get to quote what Hamas’s mission statement says, calling for the destruction of Israel, and I get to quote Valnai calling for a holocaust on all of Gaza,

    or

    you get to dismiss Valnai’s statement as not matching up with reality and therefore irrelevant, and I get to dismiss Hamas’s mission statement as not matching up with reality and therefore irrelevant. In that case, we keep the discussion strictly to number of people actually killed. 27 Israelis killed by Hamas in 2008. about 125 innocent, unarmed palestinians killed by Israel in the last week.

    what you don’t get to do is quote Hamas mission statement as if it were what Hamas is actually doing, and then downplay Valnai’s statement because it doesn’t match exactly what Israel is doing.

    If Hamas’s mission statement is enough to condemn all of Gaza, enough to go to war over, then Valnai’s statement are equally condemning.

    If Valnai’s statement must be discarded as not matching reality, then Hamas’s mission statement is also irrelevant since it does not match up with what’s actually going on either.

    If you want to stick to the facts of what is actually happening on the ground, here they are:

    Hamas killed 26 innocent Israelis in 2008.
    Israel killed 125 unarmed innocent Palestinians in the last week.

    If you want to condemn Hamas based on their statements, Valnai condemns Israel based on his statements.

    But if you quote Hamas to condemn them, while dismissing Valnai’s statements as irrelevant to the discussion, then the word you’re looking for is “hypocrite”.

    If you want to argue about the literal definition, not the colloquial use, of the word, let’s do it, but at some language blog, not here.

    enough propaganda. ENOUGH.

    Holocaust (Ha Shoah in Hebrew)

    Former FM says Israel a captive of Shoah memories. he concluded his speech with criticism of Israel and Jews in general, saying “if the strongest nation in the Middle East refers to every war and every threat as a threat of Holocaust, we ourselves are making the Holocaust banal.”

    Containing the world’s largest repository of information on the Holocaust, Yad Vashem is a leader in Shoah education, commemoration, research and documentation.

    I have several quotes from Valnai that make clear he thinks of all Gazans as nothing but insects to be wiped out. All of Gaza is Hamas. You pretend his “shoah” quote was made in a vacuum, when he has a history of dismissing the value of Palestinian life.

    Even if you play word games with shoah, you can’t dismiss all his other statements. Taken together, they show a man who clearly despises all palestinians.

    Let’s be clear: Since the unilateral withdrawal of all Israeli forces and settlers from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas has incessantly, consistently and deliberately targeted civilian population centers

    Absolute lies. The link I posted in #457 has graphs from the Israeli Foreign Ministry that show that the total number of rocket and mortar attacks shrank from 245 in June 2008 to 26 total for July-October 2008, a reduction of 97 percent.

    And during this time, Israel continued its complete and total blockade of Gaza.

    A truce was reached and Hamas stopped rocket attacks for four months, yet Israel continued to starve Gaza, cut their electricity, and blockade their entire border.

    And who broke the truce? According to the BBC, it was the Israelis. Israeli troops killed six Hamas gunmen in a raid into the territory.

    Did Israel kill these Hamas individuals because they launched a rocket at Israel? No. Israel attacked Hamas and threatened the truce that had succeeded for months by this point, not because Hamas had launched a rocket, but because Israel found a tunnel, and they said it was a very spooky tunnel. Very scary indeed. Worthy of killing sevearl Hamas after months of a successful truce and cease fire.

    That was why the truce was broken.

    And Israel cannot be so farking stupid to kill their enemies during a truce and not think there might be retaliation.

    Anyone who believes this was anything other than provocation is a damned fool or a liar. Either Israel was being run by absolute and complete morons at this point, or the whole thing was an obvious provocation to justify an Israeli bombardment and invasion.

  332. Failure to read the thread is more than adequate grounds for clicking on the eyeball.

    For instance, Yiftach, I see we’re back to arguing the morality of indiscriminate mass reprisals against civilian populations in response to actions taken by an organization which Israel doesn’t recognize as having any legitimate role in Palestinian society.

    You haven’t read the thread.

    Reply?

  333. Just in case anyone couldn’t slog through that long post, here’s the short version:

    Israel and Hamas reach a truce/ceasefire in June 2008.

    These graphs show that Hamas rocket attacks had dropped off to zero after the truce was agreed upon.

    And yet, Israel maintains it’s crippling blockade of Gaza during this time.

    Back in May of 2008, Jimmy Carter called Israel’s blockade of Gaza a Human rights crime.

    By October of 2008, Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead McGuire arrived in Gaza to protest Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza.

    And as a result of this blockade, people are digging tunnels to smuggle food, medicine, and other supplies into Gaza. Yes, Hamas may very well have been bringing weapons into the area at that time, but they were observing the truce. And anyone who suggests all tunnels are for Hamas to smuggle weapons is a propagandist or an idiot. People used these tunnels to smuggle food more than anything else.

    So, after four months of a successful ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, and while starving Gaza with a crippling blockade condemned by two Nobel Peace Prize winners, Israel found a tunnel dug under Gaza. Israel then sent troops into Gaza, and killed six members of Hamas, during the ceasefire. They claim it was a very evil tunnel. But the existence of a tunnel and accusations of cease fire violatiosn, doesn’t prove anything anymore than Bush’s accusations that Saddam had put his biological weapons labs onto mobile trailers and were hiding them in the desert.

    You have a successful ceasefire with a group you claim is radical extremist militants, you find a tunnel, and then you invade and fire upon them, killing six of the people you were supposed to have a ceasefire with?

    what part of cease fire do you not understand?.

    Either Israel is run by morons to think that breaking a ceasefire, killing members of Hamas, justifying it because they found a tunnel, would be a good thing. or this whole thing was pulled off by a bunch of coniving bastards who knew that breaking the ceasefire would only cause Hamas to react by breaking the ceasefire as well, allowing Israel to escalate to the point that Valnai who is still in defense minister would get to bring his shoah upon Gaza.

    A tunnel from a land you’re blockading to the point of starvation??? That was your justification????

    YOU MORONS.

  334. If we dismiss what both sides are saying, we’re left with a situation where what Israel is doing looks like ethnic cleansing — and that’s using the least inflammatory term for it.

    Feeling insecure does not justify doing whatever it takes to make you feel secure.

  335. Greg, the black & white world you live in must be nice. So much of what I’m reading from you is so one-sided as to be laughable if it wasn’t impacting my friends and fellow citizens on a daily basis.

    Teresa, I hadn’t read the ENTIRE thread when I jumped in, but I thought I had the gist and I thought I was playing by the ground rules.

    I think Greg’s comparison of Vilnai’s statements to the Hamas charter are utter bollocks. One source is a single elected official – in a democratic government whose publicly stated and commonly accepted goals are coexistence with its neighbors – making a terrible, unfortunate statement about his feelings for his country’s enemy which may or may not out him as a raging genocidal nutjob. The other source is the official founding document and raison d’etre of an organization that routinely attacks civilians from its own dense population centers… whatever, we all have this information at this point.

    I’ll go ahead and recuse myself at this point.

    I’ve got to get home to my 2-year-old daughter and my newborn son and their mother.

    I guess I’ll check in tomorrow to see if I’ve been banned.

  336. So, I wrote up a post on my war handwavium site here.

    Basically, Israel imposed a blockade against Hamas because Hamas won the elections. Then Hamas started launching rockets. then around July of 2008, Israel and Hamas came to an agreement for a ceasefire (Hamas wanted some extra hamburgers and cement). Hamas observed the cease fire for four months, even while Israel maintained its starvation blockade on Gaza.

    Then Israel found a tunnel, and said Hamas was going to attack. The equivalent of some “Niger Yellowcake” documents, as far as I can tell. Israel then uses this fabricated or inflated smoking gun to violate the cease fire. It invades Gaza, fires upon Hamas, and kills six of its members, before retreating.

    Hamas resumes rocket fire in response.

    Israel further tightens its blockade, pushing Gaza further and further into starvation. food is short, no electricity at the hospital, clean water is nonexistent, running water is rare.

    Hamas increases its rocket attacks, which kill maybe a few Israelis for the month of December.

    In response Israel bombards and invades Gaza, killing at least 125 innocent civilians.

    israel and Hamas had a cease fire that was working for four months. Hamas rocket attacks had killed some Israelis from January to July 2008, but Israel was willing to agree to a ceasefire anyway.

    Now that Israel violated the ceasefire in such a way that only a moron wouldn’t have known it would force an escalation into war, the world needs to demand Israel call off its fabricated war, pull out of Gaza, return to th original ceasefire that Israel violated, and demand that Israel stop this unholy abomination that is starving an entire population. End the blockade of Gaza.

    This whole thing is nothing but “Niger yellowcake” bullshit that Israel fabricated to lie its way into a war. Some politicians probably saw the advantage of having a popular war right before elections. Some military commanders (Valnai, etc) probably saw this as an opportunity to justify bringing his holocaust upong all of Gaza. And some civilian apologists for Israel are nothing more than following Orwell’s script for blind nationalism.

    America isnt’ the only country with George Bush idiots, Dick Cheney assholes, and Wolfowitz morons. America isnt’ the only country with flag waving knuckleheads who still think invading Iraq was a good idea.

    That’s all that’s going on in Israel. Hamas was honoring the ceasefire, had been honoring the ceasefire for four months while Israel maintained its starvation blockade on Gaza. And then some people fabricated and inflated some niger cake documents and lied their way into a war.

    We’ve been down that road before.

  337. You’ve made some very interesting posts Greg. It is a shame that your biased rhetoric robs your work of any effect. You could have convinced someone. The only one who can agree with you now are those who were already convinced, for one reason or the other, not all of them honorable.

  338. It is a shame that your biased rhetoric robs your work of any effect. You could have convinced someone.

    Yeah. Right. I lived in America through March 2003.

    People with vested interests aren’t convinced by the facts. The chest pounders who cheered as we invaded Iraq? They’ll never admit they made a mistake. Either Bush lied to them, or Bush didn’t execute the war properly, or something.

    All I’m doing is trying to understand what happened on a factual level. No spin. No bullshit.

    Israel and Hamas were operating under a working ceasefire for over four months, and then Israel violated the ceasefire on bullshit pretenses, and reacted in such a way that only a moron would have thought there wouldn’t be any backlash or that it might not possibly escalate into a war.

    A tunnel coming out of a land you are starving??? Are you kidding me? That’s your excuse for throwing a match into the powderkeg?

    I said in my post that there are Isralis who are horrified by what their government is doing right now. There were a few who opposed Bush in March 2003. Not enough to stop him though. Someone said israelis support their government’s war by 80 or 90% right. Doesn’t sound like there’s enough to stop it in israel either.

    What do you want me to do? lie just so I can convince someone? Isn’t that how we got here in the first place? Israel violated a working ceasefire. America Invaded Iraq on false pretenses. How else would you have me say that?

  339. It appears to me that a number of Israelis looked back at the horrors of the holocaust, and concluded that one way to prevent a future holocaust, was to become more belligerent: to walk loudly, brandish a big stick, and occasionally jab it into eyes. But what if the past was mis-interpreted, and the wrong lesson was learned?

    The full effects of a mis-interpretation might not show up right away. As time goes on, Israel may be less and less able to attack or intimidate all of the countries and groups that could acquire nuclear weapons. If a nuclear weapon gets into the hands of crazies or terrorists, they probably will use it.

    Israel has been busily drawing down the sympathy given to it after the horrors of the holocaust. I think that the Israelis would be wiser to focus less on acquiring more real estate, and to focus more on achieving better terms with the world, to reduce the chance of a nuclear holocaust.

    Although I don’t belong to any of the sects in the Middle East, I have a direct stake in the matter. If there ever is a third world war, _everyone_ will be invited.

  340. #392
    agreed.
    there is a lot that is neither new or well thought through here. there have been a couple of dozen “peace initivatives” over the decades. none have proved satisfactory for multiple reasons – depending on the situation both regionally and globally at the time.

    #416
    i see what you did there.

  341. I’d like for anybody who can to relay the information that they have about the reliable aid organisms that are working into Gaza and about what we can do to help ourselves.

    Please.

    Jean

  342. Yeah Reg, I’ve got some musical punctuation :)

    Nice to see you getting adventurous with the links.

    May I inquire.. tabs?

  343. The truth is rather simple. A Jewish state was created that effectively robbed millions of people of their homes and land. This continues as Israeli settlements are created or expanded.

    According to the Israeli News Agency, Israel is “#2 in invested international venture capital, and Israel uses the same accounting and financial systems as the United States,”

    Israel is also the best armed, most powerful country in the M.E.

    What everyone who supports Israel seems to be saying is the most educated and financially connected country in the M.E. operates at the whim of Hamas, and is incapable, after 60 years, of reaching a just and fair agreement with the Palestinians, and the fault for all of this lies on the doorstep of the oppressed people of the Gaza Strip.

    You do realize this is like charging someone with resisting arrest when they are being robbed and beaten by corrupt cops. Don’t blame the victims for making Israel face the real consequences of their actions.

    I know this will not go far, but here it is.

    100% of the blame for all of this belongs to France, the U.S., and Israel. They took the land and created a country. That country refuses to compensate the original occupants for the land, which was stolen from them to create that country. They have now created a suffocating ghetto, which contains 1.5 million people. That ghetto refuses to accept being treated as animals by other holier than thou animals.

    If there will ever be peace in the M.E. it is up to Israel, and Israel alone. If Israel cannot arrive at this conclusion by themselves, then the international community, lead by Israel’s chief apologist and sponser the U.S., must force Israel to settle this once and for all.

    To continue to blame the victims of a land grab, for failing to sign inequitable agreements is unbelievable. Israel could have and should have settled this issue a long time ago.

    Well, Israel is now running out of time. They are the ones that owe the Palestinians compensation. They can not only afford to pay that compensation, but cannot afford not to pay that compensation. Settling in a just and equitable way with the victims of their land grab, will create goodwill and yield huge dividends in the upcoming water negotiations over the Golan Heights and West Bank.

    The clock is ticking.
    The world is watching.
    And the water is running out.
    Pay off your victims and move on.

    Israel holds all the cards. They have the keys. They are the only ones standing in the way of peace. You cannot blame the victims for refusing to sign away their rights without just compensation, which Israel and the U.S. owe and can afford to pay.

    The Palestinians have been ignored for 60 years. The reponse for those 60 years as been shutup, or to quote Mr. Helpmann.

    Bad sportsmanship. A ruthless minority of people seems to have forgotten good old-fashioned virtues. They just can’t stand seeing the other fellow win. If these people would just play the game…

  344. So, after sleeping on it, I just need to review this one more time to make sure I got everything straight:

    Israel imposed a blockade against all of Gaza when Hamas won democratic elections in Gaza back in 2006. source

    By May of 2008, Nobel Peace Prize winner, Jimmy Carter called Israel’s blockade of Gaza a “human rights crime”. source

    Israel itself was blockaded by Egypt back in 1967, and back then Israel insisted a blockade was an act of war. source

    July 2008, Israel and Hamas agree to a ceasefire. source

    Hamas rocket attacks, as reported by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, dropped off to nothing from the beginning of the cease fire, and Hamas would maintain the ceasefire for the next four months. source

    By October of 2008, Nobel Peace Prize winner Mairead McGuire arrived in a boat off the coast of Gaza to protest Israel’s continuing blockade of Gaza. source

    In November, 2008, Israel finds a tunnel coming out of Gaza. Most are being used to smuggle food, fuel, and other supplies into Gaza, slipping through the Israeli blockade. But Israel declares that this tunnel is going to be used by Hamas to attack Israel. Despite the fact that Hamas has been observing the cease fire for the last four months.

    Israel violates the ceasefire in november 2008, invades Gaza, fires on Hamas, kills 6 members of Hamas, and then retreats. source

    Hamas responds to Israel’s violation of the ceasefire by firing rockets at Israel.

    What exactly did Israel expect? Did Israel think it could violate a working ceasefire with impunity? Does Israel think it can operate unilaterally and simply demand that the world put up with it?

    Israel reacts to the rocket attacks by tightening the blockade. Electricity is cut. Food is in short supply. Fuel is scarce.

    Hamas responds to the tightening blockade by increasing its rocket fire at Israel.

    Israel then uses the sudden and “unexplainable” rocket fire from Hamas as its justification to bombard and invade Gaza.

    From November 5, the moment Israel violated the cease fire, to December 27, the moment Israel invaded Gaza because of Hamas rockets, the total number of Israelis killed by Hamas rockets was in the single digits. 9 or less. For the entire year of 2008, Hamas attacks had killed 17 Israelis. Most of those took place before Israel agreed to the cease fire.

    So, Israel violates the cease fire, Hamas starts shooting rockets again, Israel tightens the blockade, and Hamas increases rocket fire. Hamas rockets kill a few Israelis, and Israel uses that as justification to bombard and invade Gaza, killing 150 innocent Palestinians, women, children.

    So, is this about right? Does this describe the events that led directly to this abomination of a war we’re watching right now?

    Israel either is run by morons who thought they could violate ceasefire that had been working for four months, by opening fire on Hamas and killing some of them, and get away with it. Or Israel knew exactly what it was doing, used the tunnel as an excuse to escalate and kill members of Hamas, knowing full well that Hamas would resume rocket fire, and then use the rocket fire as an excuse to escalate and bomb and invade Gaza.

    Either way, Israel violated the ceasefire, escalating the situation that had been relatively calm for four months into a full fledged war. There is no way anyone can be held responsible for Israel’s violation of this ceasefire but Israel.

    As for proportionality, Hamas attacks from the point where Israel violated the cease fire to the beginning of the invasion killed half a dozen Israelis, and Israel then used these few deaths as an excuse to bombard and invade gaza, causing the deaths of at least, 150 innocent palestinian civilians.

    There is no way anyone can look at this response and say that any sense of proportionality was observed. It’s much more in the realm of vengeance.

    On another note, how many nobel peace prize winners must declare Israel’s blockade of Gaza to be a human rights crime before Israel will stop starving the people of Gaza?

    The only way anyone can defend Israel’s actions that led us directly to this current war is if they’re one of Orwell’s nationalists.

  345. UN investigators state that no Hamas militants were near UN school that was bombed by Israel, killing 40 innocent civilians.

    article.

  346. #6 repost

    6 posted by yish , January 3, 2009 5:12 PM

    Physicians for Human Rights-Israel is probably one of the only NGOs who can still pump medical supplies into Gaza, they need your help:
    http://yishaym.wordpress.com/2008/12/30/phr-gaza-appeal/

    Combatants for peace is an organization of Palestinians and Israelis who were involved actively in the conflict and are now devoting their energies to promoting grassroots dialogue and non-violence, they need your support:
    http://yishaym.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/new-year-same-old-vicious-cycle/

    If you care about Gaza & Sderot, please don’t waste your time commenting on 5 reader blogs or staging furry protests in SL no one gives a f&$k about. Help the people on the ground, on both sides, who are making daily personal sacrifices in a noble attempt to make a difference.

  347. The “who speaks for Gazans” looks to be here

    Far as I can tell, the guy is doing nothing new. Gaza civilians voted for Hamas back in 2006, therefore Gaza civilians are Hamas, therefore when Israel kills Gazan civilians, they’re really killing Hamas.

    Standard “demonization of your enemy” propaganda bullshit. Not much different than American propaganda films of WW2 showing Japanese as devils.

    Hey, yiftach, did you know that Hamas was observing the ceasefire for four months before Israel violated it in November of 2008? Israeli forces invaded Gaza, fired on members of Hamas, and killed six of them?

    What did you expect Hamas to do? Send you a thank you card?

    Israel violated the cease fire in November of 2008. From November to December, Hamas rockets killed half a dozen Israelis while Israel tightened it’s act-of-war blockade of Gaza. And in response to those half-dozen deaths sparked by Israel’s violation of the ceasefire, Israel launches a total bombardment and invasion of Gaza killing 600 palestinians, about 150 to 200 of them being innocent civilians, women, and children.

    Only a nationalist, someone who sees “good” and “bad” defined by what uniform someone wears and what flag they live under, would see Israel’s violation of a four-month long cease fire as Hamas’s fault. Only a nationalist, an Israeli apologist, would see Hamas’s rocket attacks started up after Israel violated the ceasefire causing the deaths of half a dozen Israelis as something that justifies Israel to kill 150 innocent palestinians.

    Hamas and Israel had a ceasefire. Hamas observed it for four months. Israel violated it by invading and killing six members of Hamas. Hamas restart its rocket attacks and kill half a dozen Israelis and Israel uses that to justify the killing of 150-200 innocent civilians.

    Hamas is responsible for those half dozen Israelis it killed in November and December of 2008. But only Israel can be held responsible for the 150 to 200 innocent palestinians that Israeli military forces killed in the last two weeks.

    And you want to post a link to some propaganda bullshit that says since these civilians voted for Hamas that they are Hamas? Is there is a clause in the Geneva Convention about civilians losing their status based on who they vote for? Are you farking kidding me??? This is complete horse puckey.

  348. You’re a regular broken record, Mr. London. And please stop patronizing me (a la Hey, yiftach, did you know that Hamas was observing the ceasefire for four months before Israel violated it in November of 2008?). Let’s see, the four months before Nov. are Jul. through Oct.
    Qassam Rocket and Mortar Fire Jan-Sept 2008

    That chart doesn’t include Oct., but that doesn’t really matter, does it? Because there was no cease-fire, Greg. There was, in the absurd euphemism of the region, a “lull.” 50+ rockets fired into Israel.

    Did you read all of the Burston piece? Because it includes this paragraph, which pretty much perfectly characterizes your role in this “conversation”:
    … Still others who have spoken for the Gazans undermine their own arguments by forgiving, justifying, dismissing as negligible, or simply turning a blind eye to thousands and thousands of rocket attacks against Israeli population centers. …

    You don’t know me, so cut the personal attacks and insults (it’s taking every ounce of willpower I have to leave them out of this post) and stick to the facts.

    The last fact is this: I am done talking to you. As I tried to say earlier, I am not going to engage with you any more. I might post links to things I think are indicative of the bravery and optimism of the majority of both civilian populations despite the current conflict, but I WILL NOT RESPOND TO YOU.

  349. that link does more to support greglondon than your own position, imho.

    it shows an immediate reduction of all missile activity by over ~95% beginning with the cease fire. it looks lto me like hamas was trying pretty hard, despite the circumstances, to reign in the activity of militants.

    or are you equating all militant rocket fire to hamas rocket fire?

    which brings us back to mr. london’s point about generalizing all palestinians as hamas in order to justify barbaric behaviour.

  350. Teresa, the claim that Israel’s actions “looks like ethnic cleansing” is simply not accurate by any reasonable definition. There have been no large scale attempts to massacre populations. Given their air superiority if Israel wanted to do anything resembling ethnic cleansing they would take out the napalm and cluster bombs on Gaza City. The only way their actions are ethnic cleansing are if you think every single air raid during WWII by the allies were ethnic cleansing. And the Israelis have been far more precise and restrained in their actions.

  351. how about Gaza being heavily occupied by UN troops? If Israel can’t stop the rockets without killing civilian children, let someone else do it.

  352. they can kill three observers by “accident”, but they couldn’t get way with thousands. Bring them all over from the lost cause in Afghanistan.

  353. Because there was no cease-fire, Greg.

    liar.

    others who have spoken for the Gazans undermine their own arguments by forgiving, justifying, dismissing as negligible, or simply turning a blind eye to thousands and thousands of rocket attacks against Israeli population centers.

    Thousands of rockets?

    You dismiss as neglible the palestinians deaths Israel inflicted with Israeli guns and bombs in two weeks, and you justify those deaths based on “thousands and thousands of rocket attacks” that occurred over a year and killed a dozen or two?

    You have the sheer audacity to compare rockets and killings as morally equivalent?

    That’s the problem right there, yiftach, you compare thousands of rocket attacks as if they killed thousands of israelis. Do you want me to list the thousands of artillery missions, the thousands of bombing sorties, and the thousands of automatic weapons fire launched by Israel against Gaza in the last two weeks?

    shorter yiftach: “Hamas launched THOUSANDS of rockets. Israel only killed HUNDREDS of civilians. THOUSANDS is greater than HUNDREDS, so Hamas is therefore more evil than Israel.”

    Seriously? That’s your moral defense???

    yiftach: 1000 Hamas rockets > 200 Palestinian dead, ergo Israel “good” and Hamas “bad”.

    Really? How about comparing apples to apples and oranges to oranges:

    Hamas killed 17 innocent Israelis.
    Israel killed 200 innocent palestinians.

    ergo, Israel’s bombardment and invasion of Gaza was grossly disproportional.

    How about comparing lives to lives. dead to dead?

    You want to start counting individual rockets, then, I swear to farking god, I will find out how many hundreds of thousands of submunitions that Israel just fired into Gaza in these last two weeks. Israel still using cluster bombs in civilians areas? You want me to count each one of those submunitions and compare it to the number or rockets launched by Hamas?

    This is absolute horse shit.

    You want to play arbitrary number comparison games just so we can ignore how many innocent people Israel just killed? Fine. Here’s my arbitrary number: amount of explosives launched at each side.

    Quassam rockets have a payload of 1 pound, 10 pound, or 20 pounds of explosives, depending on if it is a quassam 1, 2, or 3. about 1750 quassams hit israel in 2008. Say each one was a quassam3 with a 20 pound warhead. That’s about 35,000 pounds of explosives. that’s about 17 tons of explosives in a year. (which killed about 17 Israelis in the year, half of them civilians)

    (Here’s a neat little factoid: In 2006, the Israeli Ministry of Defense viewed the Qassams as “more a psychological than physical threat.source. about 1000 quassam rockets were launched at Israel in the year 2006. But now, even a single rocket is justification for full out invasion.)

    In the first four minutes of its December 2008 attack, Israeli fighter jets and helicopters launched 100 tons of explosives ordinance at Gaza. source (by the end of the first day of bombardment, Israel had killed about 225-292 palestinians, maybe 50 of them civilians.

    Hamas: 17 tons in a year
    Israel: 100 tons in a day

    Does that make Israel morally better than Hamas? Or does it just mean, teh only difference between you and Hamas is the size of your arsenals? I could keep tallying it up if you’d like. Israel has pounded Gaza for days now. my guess is that if I added up a rough estimate of artillery shells (about 10 pounds of explosives per shot) and apache missiles (about 20 pounds per shot) or apache rockets (maybe 10 pounds of explosive per rocket, depending on the warhead), that it would probably average at least 50 tons of explosives a day launched by Israel against Gaza in the last 12 days. So, maybe Israel launched about 600 tons of High Explosives at Gaza in the last two weeks. That’s probably a conservative estimate.

    In 2006, the Israel-Lebanon war, Israeli commanders said they fired the vast majority of 1,800 cluster bombs, containing 1.2 million bomblets, at lebanon in the last ten days of the war. At 1 pound per bomblet, that’s 1.2 million pounds, 600 tons, of explosives in ten days, just from the rocket launcher division of the Israeli military. (and I think they might have more than a pound per bomblet)

    So, 50 tons of high explosives a day for teh whole military is probably an ultra conservative estimate.

    Hamas: 17 tons in a year.
    Israel: 1000 tons in two weeks.

    Do you think that makes you somehow more moral than Hamas?

    But you don’t compare apples to apples, do you? No, you pick two completely unrelated statistics, and then declare that since the number you picked for Hamas is bigger than the number you picked for Israel, then Israel is better than Hamas.

    i.e. Hamas fired 2000 rockets. Israel killed 200 palestinian civilians. 2000 is greater than 200, therefore Israel is not overreacting to Hamas.

    You can make these comparisons with a straight face???? This violates basic mathematical rules from grade school that units must match to do math on them. 2000 apples minus 200 oranges equals what? It doesn’t even make sense, mathematically. And you want to use “2000 rockets is greater than 200 lives” as the basis for the moral argument for this whole goddamn war? Are you kidding me?

    How about a statistic that actually has moral implications: Loss of life.

    Hamas killed 17 Israelis in 2008.
    Israel killed 600 palestinians in two weeks. 150 to 200 of them were innocent civilians.

    150 to 200 is far greater than 17, therefore???

    “Stick to the facts” you say???

    The facts would say that Israel’s killing of 200 civilians is groslly disproportional to Hamas’s killing of 17.

    If you want to count tonnage, then 1000 tons is far greater than 17 tons.

    Trying to say the “fact” that Hamas launched “thousands” of rockets can be directly numerically compared to Israel killing “hundreds” of innocent civilians, and some moral equation can be extracted, is nothing but sheer propaganda.

    PROPAGANDA.

    And you demand I stick to the “facts”?

  354. War has just broken out with Lebanon.

    Katusha are hitting northern Israel and the Israelis are firing back.

  355. josh@493: Given their air superiority if Israel wanted to do anything resembling ethnic cleansing they would take out the napalm and cluster bombs on Gaza City.

    You know, it’s really funny that you just mentioned that because I just posted a link to a little tidbit of information about Israel’s little Quixote war into Lebanon back in 2006. Israel droped thousands of cluster bombs on lebanon in a few days, resulting in over one million submunitions on the ground.

    Many, many, many of these submunitions failed to detonate and the cluster bombs basically turned into “air deployed mine fields”. teh UN said it would take months and possibly years to clear all these submunitions out of lebannon.

    The international outrage over Israel’s use of cluster bombs is the only reason Israel stopped using the bombs. (if they did actually stop, I’m not even sure. I’m just giving them the benefit of the doubt.) Israel didn’t give a fuck about lebanese civilians it was killing with these unguided and indiscriminate weapons that turned urban areas into minefields that would take a year or more to clear. They didn’t give one flying fuck. They defended the use of cluster bombs all through the war, and after the war they refused to acknowledge any wrongdoing in using them.

    The only reason they stopped using them is because of the international outrage was so gawdamn loud that it was actually possible that even the US would be unable to stop the UN from passing a resolution condemning Israel and implementing some actual punishments on Israel.

    It wasn’t for moral reasons. It was purely a matter of calibrating their weapon systems to figure out exactly what they could get away with. Find me an apology by the Israeli government for using cluster bombs in 2006, find me a copy of a check from Israel to Lebanon for reparations for using cluster bombs, find me some news article that shows Israel sent in demolition teams to clean up their minefields in lebanon, and I’ll retract this statement. otherwise, it stands.

    Here is the horror that Israel created using cluster bombs in Lebanon.

    here is the Israeli military court system declaring that the Israeli military was within international law to use these abominations of a weapon in urban areas. The UN Says that most of the bombs were dropped by Israel in the last 72 hours of the clonflict, when a cease fire was imminent. In other words, Israel used cluster bombs specfically because they were air-deployed-minefield and would fuck with Lebanon for months or years, not because Israel was attacking some enemy forces that were attacking them.

    So don’t talk to me about the high and mighty morality of Israel when it comes to their use of cluster bombs. They used them indiscriminately and unapologetically in Lebanon, and used them as a last minute collective punishment they could inflict on all of Lebanon. If they stopped using them, it’s only because international outrage was so bad, that the US might have been unable to stop a UN resolution condemning Israel and punishing it

    As far as Gaza is concerned, Israel figured out they could slowly starve Gaza with a blockade and the US government would defend it. Israel called a blockade an act of war when Egypt blockaded Israel. Now Israel is exercising complete hypocricy by starving all of Gaza in the very same act of war and expecting to get away with it.

    They have starved Gaza for two years. cut its electricity. cut its fuel. shut down its banks. thrown the entire region into hell on earth.

    And what they discovered is that slowly starving someone to death was something they coudl get away with and the US would defend them against any UN sanctions.

    Slowly starving an entire population, slowly cutting them off from water, from electricity, from medicine, bombing their police academy during graduation ceremony, dropping leaflets to tell them to evacuate, then bombing the UN schools where they have evacuated to, leaves them no where to evacuate, but to leave Gaza entirely.

    More and more this seems to be Israel’s goal. To turn Gaza into a hell on earth so heinous and horrible, by a slow starvation of a blockade and then a few bombs here and there to take out any infrastructure that didn’t collapse on its own, seems to be Israel’s strategy. At least, there is nothing in Israel’s actions that would rule out this is the intent of their behaviour.

    And slowly starving a people and then using war to tell them there is no safe place in their territory, is doing nothing but creating the conditions neccesssary so that they are predisposed to leave Gaza entirely. The fact that they walked out of Gaza voluntarily does in no way remove Israel’s responsibility for doing everythign in its power to make sure that was the result. And that result, killing or removing an entire people, an entire population, from their land, is nothing more than ethnic cleansing.

    Why else would Israel maintain the blockade after the ceasefire took effect and Hamas was honoring it for four months? If all it wanted was for the rockets to stop, it got that. If what it really wanted was either regime change of Hamas, or the total evacuation of Gaza, then Israel would find some excuse to insist on keeping the blockade in place.

    And that’s exactly what it did.

  356. “war”?

    UPDATED ON:
    Thursday, January 08, 2009
    09:38 Mecca time, 06:38 GMT

    News Middle East
    Rockets from Lebanon hit Israel
    Nasrallah warned “all possibilities” were open in the fight against Israel [AFP]

    Several rockets have been fired into northern Israel from neighbouring Lebanon, Israeli police say.

    Micky Rosenfeld, an Israeli police spokesman, said the Katyusha rockets fell around the town of Nahariya, about 8km south of the Lebanese border, early on Thursday.

    The Israeli military fired mortars into southern Lebanon in response to the missile barrage.

    AL Jazeera’s Rula Amin, reporting from Beirut, said there had been no immediate claim of responsibility, but Lebanese security forces were confirming that “one or two rockets” had been fired across the border.

    Lebanon is home to thousands of Palestinian refugees.

    Al Jazeera’s Jacky Rowland, reporting from southern Israel, said the firing of rockets from Lebanon “could mean the opening of a second front” in the war on Gaza.

    The attacks came after Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, warned that “all possibilities” were open against Israel as he gave a speech condemning Israel’s offensive in Gaza and voicing support for Hamas.

    The Shia Muslim Hezbollah movement fought a month-long war with Israel in 2006 in which about 1,200 mostly Lebanese civilians were killed.

  357. A Katusha hit an old folks home in Nahriya, on the Mediterranean coast 2 KM south of the Lebanese border. Israel Radio says no-one was killed, and it seems to be a low yield, and very old 129 mm war-head, not known to be in the possession of or ever used in the past by Hezbollah and Israel Radio speculates it was not Hezbollah that fired it, but instead some random rouge Palestinian group in Lebanon that shot off an old missile into Israel in the hopes of starting a war in the north to take pressure of Gaza.

    So far the Israelis are holding back from a major response in hopes this was a one-off.

    Al Jezeera reports the Israelis responded back in low key to the Katusha with just a few mortars.

    Neither Hezbollah or Israel wants another war and this might be some rouge actor trying to pull them into another war.

    Israel Radio says all Israelis on the northern border can come out of the bomb shelters.

    Lebanon Radio says all schools in southern Lebanon have closed and the students sent home just in case.

  358. Israel Radio is saying the IDF had intelligence and plenty of warnings that Palestinian groups would try to heat up the northern border like this, but as it is in neither Hezbollah’s nor Israel’s interest to allow this to occur, no-one is reacting out of hand.

    Schools have resumed studies across Northern Israel, and it looks like everyone in Lebanon and Israel is just shrugging it off as no big deal.

    The Israelis are saying that they are keeping their eyes on on the Northern border and have thousands of reservists standing ready to invade just in case Hezbollah really does try a massive surprise attack, but for the time being it looks like this event is winding down.

    South Lebanon Television is reporting it was a small Palestinian group that shot the very small old missile, and both Hezbollah and Hamas in Lebanon are both denying responsibility. The Lebanese Army and the UN Peacekeeping force UNIFIL are deploying across the northern border to prevent any more attempts to start another war.

  359. Since I keep having to deal with it, I decided to write up a generic reponse and will post a link to it when this crap comes up in the future.

    The fallacy of “something must be done”

    “Something must be done” invokes the emotional response in the audience of the triggering event, an appeal to emotions, fear, anger.

    “Something must be done” brings implied accusations that the other person is an enemy sympathizer.

    “Something must be done” avoids discussing what specifically should be done.

    In my examples I talked about Alice invoking the attacks on 9/11 in order to ask Bob, “Shouldn’t something be done?” To invoke the fear and anger that people felt on 9/11, to accuse Bob of being an Al Queda sympathizer, and to avoid discussing what specifically Alice wants to do (invade Iraq).

    WHile I use examples of 9/11, direct parallels can be made between that and anyone who wants to invoke the “thousands and thousands” or rockets launched by Hamas in order to (1) invoke the fear and anger of those rockets, (2) accuse the otehr person of being a Hamas sympathizer, and (3) avoid talkinag about their specifici response to those rockets (i.e. full scale bombardment and invasion of Gaza).

    I’m sick of this propaganda bullshit.

  360. report for day 13 of Israel’s bombardment and invasion of Gaza.

    Current number of palestinians killed by Israeli weapons is around 700. Estimates are that about half of the dead are civilians.

    Israeli troops fired on a UN truck bringing humanitarian aid to the area, killing the driver. The UN said it had coordinated deliveries with Israel and that the truck was marked with UN insignia. The Israeli army said it was “investigating”.

    Combined with the two UN schools that Israeli forces have attacked, among others, the United Nations says it is suspending aid deliveries to Gaza until Israel stops killing UN personel.

    Israel said it was “investigating” all of those attacks.

    Meanwhile, Israel’s government is secretly celebrating that humanitarian aid to Gaza has stopped for the time being. Israel has been starving Gaza for about two years now, and these UN trucks were really starting to hamper Israel’s ability to bring the entire civilian population to its knees.

    If they can just keep this up long enough, palestinians will be forced to choose between leaving gaza, being blown up by Israeli bombs at UN shelters or while hiding in civilian homes, or starving to death. At which point, Gaza will be empty and Israel will move the borders again.

  361. sum zero: that link does more to support greglondon than your own position, imho.
    um, no, but thanks for playing. all GL has been harping about is how Israel violated the cease fire. My understanding of the English language says that “cease” means “stop” or “lack of”. Rocket fire into Israel continued throughout the period, period.

    GL: Pls, sr. G fck yrslf. tld y wsn’t nggng wth y, y pthtc pc f trrrst plgst scm. DN’T. DDRSS. M. GN.

    Trs, t l: ‘m dn hr.

  362. condescend much?

    so yes, you do equate any rocket fired by a militant in gaza during this period as being a hamas rocket attack. thanks for clearing that up.

    only a zealot could look at that graph and not acknowledge that there was an immediate and significant change in the situation on the ground following the declaration of the cease fire. it’s too bad that you’re so intent on cutting off your nose to spite your face that you’ll miss every opportunity for peace.

  363. Y knw wht? Scrw tht. ‘m nt dn.

    Grg, ll y’v dn s rs my bld prssr nd pss m ff, ll whl spwng sch mssv mnts f bllsht tht my scrn s strtng t smll.

    Y wldn’t knw mrl f t cm p nd kckd y n th nts, s dn’t lctr m bt mrl qvlnc. srl s th nly cntry n ths plnt tht hs t rg dly – n th pblc sphr nd wth th bld nd swt f ts ctzns – fr ts rght t xst. N ppl bt th Jws r dnd th bsc hmn rght f ntnl hmlnd. cknwldg tht Plstnn dsplcmnt nd th lck f n tnms Plstnn stt s hstrcl nd cntnng hmntrn trgdy, whch th Plstnns thmslvs, lng wth th rb wrld, r jntly rspnsbl fr lng wth srl nd vrs Wstrn pwrs. f y blv tht tht jstfs th lbbng f thsnds – ys, sshl, thsnds – f rckts nd mrtrs t cvln ppltn cntrs (FRM, nd rmnd vryn, n’s wn cvln mdst) wth th ntnt t d mxmm hrm t prprty nd bdy, thn y r prtng wth svrly mlfnctnng mrl cmpss.

    Yr cmprsn f bdy cnts s tslf th wrst knd f mrl qvlnc. rlz tht t’s bn hrd fr m t rspnd drctly t yr bdy cnt rgmnts bcs ssmd ws tlkng t n dlt wth dvlpd ntllct nd mrls, nt wth chld wh s stll bng dctd bt th wys f th wrld. S hr t s n th smplst trms, whch nly hp y cn cmprhnd:

    Th wy ndrstnd yr rgmnt, y thnk t wld hv bn mrl fr srl’s ldrs t wt ntl hndrds f srl ctzns, ncldng kndrgrtnrs nd schlchldrn, Jws nd rbs, wr klld by Hms’s ndscrmnt rckt nd mrtr fr, bcs th srls knw tht thr (mch mr trgtd) mntns wld nvtbly kll hndrds f cvlns n tryng t prvnt r rtltng fr sd rckt-dlvrd mss mrdr.

    Tht, sr, mks y n mmrl psych trrrst plgst, nd y cn tk tht rgmnt nd shv t. f tht sn’t wht y mpld, y’r pss pr cmmnctr nd shld jst STF.

    Yr bllsht rntngs bt ths tnnls nd wht thy wr sd fr s bng drwnd t by th bmbs my r Frc s drppng, yrs t lt, t dstry nd sl thm ff. G tll Gld Shlt’s fmly tht ths tnnls wr fr smgglng fd nd mdcn, y stpd wst f DN. n fct, why dn’t y g spnd ny mnt f tm t ll n Sdrt, Nhl z, r vn sm pn fld n th mddl f th Ngv nd wt fr th fckng Qssm r Grd t fll n yr mlfrmd mrls nd pt s ll t f r fckng msry.

    ‘m rlly wy t wrkd p t frthr ddrss ny f th rtrdd bl prng frth frm yr mw. Bt m, y gt.

  364. all GL has been harping about is how Israel violated the cease fire.

    Israel’s violation of ceasefire was hardly all of it. More like a sliver of it.

    There’s Israels starvation blockade of Gaza that has been called a human rights crime by nobel prize winner Jimmy Carter in May 2008. The same blockade was protested by another Nobel Peace Prize winner in October 2008, just before Israel violated the ceasefire.

    Then there’s all the smoke and mirrors going on about who is responsible for what, and people like you comparing 2000 hamas rockets with 200 innocent palestinians killed by Israel, saying 2000>200 therefore Hamas is worse than Israel.

    I am doing nothing but getting rid of apologists. Hamas is responsible for the 17 innocent Israelis it killed in 2008. Israel is responsible for the 300 innocent palestinians it killed in the last two weeks.

    An apologist would say the 17 killed by Hamas are Israel’s fault. You’ve never heard me say that. Ever. An apologist would say the 300 innocent palestinians killed by Israel are Hamas’s fault. You, sir, have been saying exactly that.

    total responsibility would hold Hamas to be responsibel for teh 17 it killed and Israel be resopnsible for the 300 or so that it killed.

    GL: Please, sir. Go fuck yourself. I told you I wasn’t engaging with you, you pathetic piece of terrorist apologist scum. DON’T. ADDRESS. ME. AGAIN.

    An insult followed by a command to not reply to the insult?

  365. No people but the Jews are denied the basic human right of a national homeland.

    Israel is an independent state.
    Palestine isn’t.
    Who doesn’t have a homeland?

    The way I understand your argument, you think it would have been moral for Israel’s leaders to wait until hundreds of Israeli citizens … were killed by Hamas’s … because the Israelis knew that their (much more targeted) munitions would inevitably kill hundreds of civilians in trying to prevent or retaliating for said rocket-delivered mass murder.

    first of all, “mass murder” is an interesting choice of terms. It implies 20 people killed by Hamas is “mass murder”. And yet 300 innocent civilians killed by Israel… isn’t…. mass murder. So, are you going to compare numbers or not? Or are you going to label 17 deaths a “mass murder” and not even mention the hundreds of innocent civilians Israel just killed in response to those 17 deaths?

    second of all, if Hamas actions killed 20 Israelis, then if Israel’s military response is going to result in the deaths of a thousand innocent civilians, then Israel needs to find another response or its actions are grossly disproportional.

    You cannot argue that an action is moral simply because it is the only action you want to do.

    Al Queda attacked the US on 9/11. A lot of Americans by february and march of 2003 really, really wanted to attack Iraq. A lot of people insisted it was either attack Iraq or we’d all die. Does that make it moral? There were plenty of options available in March 2003, the main one being the fact that weapons inspections were working and the chief inspector said they’d be done in a few months. But Bush and plenty of americans wanted to bomb Iraq, right then.

    Israel had a working cease fire with Hamas. during the four months of that cease fire, Hamas rockets dropped off by 97%. You mock it as not being a cease fire, not unlike Bush and many americans mocked the weapons inspectors, pointing out how Iraq was failing to comply with inspections. And yet, the UN and the UN inspection teams all said Iraq was complying to the degree that the UN would be finished with inspections in a few months.

    Now, tell me, what was the moral thing for America to do back in March 2003? Wait for inspections to finish? Or allow the anger from 9/11 and months of demonization of Iraq to cause America to demand justice, demand that the US invade Iraq?

    The entirety of your argument is based on ignoring any and all alternative actions. You present the situation as if Israel could only choose between (1) full scale bombardment and invasion of Gaza or (2) do nothing.

    Israel had a workable ceasefire with Hamas. Working for four months. You complain about the rockets that got through (about 25 in four months by my count), but you don’t mention the blockade that you still have goign on, starving Gaza, while the ceasefire is actually making progress.

    Israel’s only choice was to maintain an enforcement of the blockade, while the ceasefire was working?

    When Israel found the tunnel, it’s only response was to invade and kill six members of Hamas during this ceasefire? Couldn’t have just collapsed the tunnel? Done something else? Figured out a way to not violate teh ceasefire?

    All along the way, there were options. But like the Americans who wanted to invade Iraq back in March 2003, you don’t want to consider them. The options you will only consider is (1) full scale bombardment and invasion or (2) do nothing.

    That’s not morality, that’s propaganda.

  366. FACTBOX- Developments in Gaza fighting on January 8

    * DEATH TOLLS – The Palestinian death toll reached at least 765, according to medical officials. U.N. officials say many of these were civilians.

    The Israeli death toll reached 13, including five soldiers in combat in Gaza, four in “friendly fire” incidents and three civilians and a soldier who were killed by militant rocket fire into Israel.

    GAZA – The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said its officials and Palestinian ambulance workers found four starving children huddled with at least 12 corpses in Gaza in a house just 80 metres (yards) from an Israeli military position.

  367. yiftach, here’s a question for you.

    Is there anything Israel has done in the last couple of years that you condemn?

    If not, do you really think it’s because Israel’s actions have been entirely beyond criticism, or could it be that you refuse to criticize it?

    millions of cluster bombs in Lebanon in 2006?

    A blockade of Gaza condemned by at least two nobel peace prize winners in the last few months?

    Nothing of significance?

    Can you rationally dismiss every ounce of criticism of Israel coming from the rest of the world as nothing more than anti-semitism, terrorist apologists, and ignorance of people who don’t have to live under the threats that the Israelis have to live under?

    Can you rationally assert that Israel has not done one single thing to even remotely contribute to the current clusterfuck that is the mideast?

    Can you rationally believe that is what’s going on?

    Could it possibly be that at least some of Israel’s actions are worthy of criticism and you simply cannot acknowledge a single one of them?

    Jimmy Carter, and the rest of the whole wide world, are all part of some massive anti-semite conspiracy theory?

    Applying Occam’s Razor, do you really think that’s the simplest explanation of what’s going on in the world? Wouldn’t a simpler explanation be that Israel has done some things worthy of criticism and you, and a lot of Israelis including its government, can’t acknowledge any of them?

    How many Nobel Prize winners would have to condemn the blockade of Gaza before you’d actually question the morality of Israel’s actions around the blockade? That’s a serious question. I’m curious if there is a threshold at which point you’d actually challenge Israel’s actions. If there isn’t, how is that not the behaviour of an apologist?

    I guess I’m too emotionally involved.

    When America was hit by the attacks on 9/11, we became an emotional nation. We focused on the past, on the images of 9/11, and felt anger. We focused on teh future, of the possibility of another attack, and felt fear.

    The one thing we did very little of was focus on what we were actually doing right now, in the moment. In the emotional state of anger of the past and fear of the future, it diluted “now” to the point that it didn’t exist. We weren’t looking at what we were doing ‘now’, we were wrapped up in the anger of 9/11 and the fear of another attack.

    It is only in the “now” that we can judge the morality of our actions, that we can exercise some level of introspection, that we can see ourselves for what we really are. The more we focus on the past and the future, the less there is for the now and some level of self awareness.

    How many nobel peace prize winners condemning Israel’s blockade of Gaza would it take to get you to consider the blockade to be immoral?

    That isn’t a rhetorical question. It’s a question whose answer indicates who much you’re able to see yourself versus how much you’re wrapped up in the anger of rocket attacks and fear of more attacks in teh future. Introspection, self assessment, self regulating, self correcting, are all traits most needed in a time of war, in a time where mistakes means people die.

    it’s easy to claim self awareness in a time of peace, with your feet up, sipping ice cold drinks. The worst you’d have to admit is that you ate too much at the beach party. In a time of war, you might have to admit you or your country commited some horrible thing.

    And if you can’t admit such a thing, then that’s just a fair-weather morality.

    Was every action executed by Israel in the last decade not just the only action Israel could take, but the best possible action Israel could take? Has Israel done nothing worthy of criticism? Has Israel done nothing to contribute to the current mideast situation?

  368. Holy shit. The US just abstained from a UN vote calling for an immediate cease fire. The resolution passed 14-0!

    “Israeli U.N. Ambassador Gabriela Shalev did not comment directly on the call for an immediate cease-fire, saying the international community must focus its attention on the cessation of “Hamas terrorist activity and make clear that a terrorist organization can never be a legitimate leadership.””

    Israel violates the original ceasefire. The UN just demanded a new ceasefire, and Israel says Hamas is the one who needs to stop? And then they slip in their demand for regime change?

    It would be funny if it weren’t so fucking depressing.

  369. U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said the harm to civilians in Israel caused by Hamas rockets was unacceptable. But she said Israel must abide by international humanitarian law regardless of Hamas’ actions. Pillay called for an independent investigation of possible war crimes in Gaza and Israel.

    article

  370. 18 April, 1996, the Qana massacre: Israel bombards a UN compound in Lebanon where civilians had fled to for shelter. Israeli shelling kills 106 civilans, wounds 116. A United Nations military investigation later determined it was unlikely that Israeli shelling of the U.N. compound was the result of technical or procedural errors.

    video of carnage

    Warning, video is very graphic

    For Americans who think this blind, unquestioning, support of Israel’s actions do not affect us, think again.

    Muhammad Atta, the man who led the attacks against America on 9/11, wrote his “martyrdom will” on April 18, 1996. Up until that point, Atta was a graduate student studying architecture. Five years later, Atta would pilot one of the planes into the World Trade Center.

    When Israel commits attrocities against civilian populations, it radicalizes people against Israel. When the US blindly supports and unquestioningly defends any action taken by Israel, then the US opens itself to attack by the very radicals that Israel is creating.

    This is your basic, standard, “Boston Massacre” scenario. If a military kills foreign civilians, it can only turn the rest of the foreign population against that military. It cannot be avoided. And that military cannot stop the backlash that occurs from committing such attrocities, by committing more attrocities.

  371. article by Michael Scheuer a 22 year CIA employee.

    Israel’s main goal of its current war in Gaza is to ensure that Obama is tied as tight as Gulliver to the status quo of U.S. foreign policy in the Muslim world.

    The American people should be livid … with their bipartisan political elite and the Israel-firsters as well as that hive of anti-American U.S. citizens that fund and lead AIPAC, for involving them in this barbarous mess. At some point down the road, every U.S.-taxpayer-funded bomb, artillery shell, and bullet aimed at the Palestinians will yield Americans killed at the hands of al-Qaeda, its allies, or those it inspires in attacks launched in response to U.S. support for Israel. Those Americans will be killed because their political and media leaders – corrupted to the bone by AIPAC – have involved them in a religious war that threatens nothing vital to their country’s principles or national security, their personal economic well-being, or their children’s lives.

  372. Brave Hamas leadership in Syria rejects UN call for Gaza ceasefire, demand of Gazans that they commit suicide, and then return after the news conference to their cozy 5 star hotel accommodation in Damascus to order up some nice room service.

    Cowardly? get over yourself. It’s not like Livni and Olmert are out in the streets with M-16’s, going door to door, clearing buildings. I’m sure they’re in some air conditioned bunker, sipping coffees, watching TV, and enjoying the luxuries of things that most Gazans dont have right now, like, you know, food.

    As far as the UN demand for a ceasefire, Israel is refusing to stand down too. And Israel is the attacking, invading force in this situation, so the only side who can actually withdraw is Israel.

  373. AIPAC

    AIPAC is a “de facto agent for a foreign government”, whose “success is due to its ability to reward legislators and congressional candidates who support its agenda, and to punish those who challenge it. — (University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer and Harvard University Kennedy School of Government professor Stephen Walt)

    Jimmy Carter stated that AIPAC is putting enormous pressure on politicians running for office who do not share AIPAC’s goals

  374. An interview of Yuval Steinitz, an Isaeli politician that some think may become the next defense minister if Likud wins the next elections.

    video

    2 minutes in: Steinitz: “We withdraw from Gaza two years ago and suffer thousands of rockets since then.”

    (APparently, the blockade doesn’t count for anything.)

    3 minutes in from the interviewer: “You have the fourth largest military industrial complex in the world, fighting against a group launching homemade rockets, and yet you portray yourself as the victim”

    (point)

    8:50: Steinitz: It would be better if Hamas hadn’t violated the ceasefire.

    (apparently, Israel views its killing of 6 members of Hamas during a ceasefire as not being a violation of a ceasefire.)

    9:10, question: if Israel’s strikes are so precise, why are 25% of caualties are civilians?

    Steinitz: Israel’s casualties have been smaller, but 75% of them are civilians.

    (apparently, he didn’t want to mention actual numbers comparing hundreds of civilians killed by Israel to the 12 or so Israeli civlians killed by Hamas)

    10:00, interviewer: so is that you’re moral argument? that because other people have killed more people that it’s OK for you to kill 500?

    But the absolute gold nugget?

    10:40 question: How long was Israel planning this?

    Answer: for at least the last 8 or 9 months.

    interviewer: but you went into a cease fire during that period of time. You went into a ceasefire in bad faith. It shows that you didn’t want a ceasefire, you were planning to attack from the beginning.

    (Pretty much sums it up right there.)

  375. The UN human rights chief warned a special session of the Human Rights Council on Friday that Israeli violations in the Gaza Strip were severe and that some reported incidents may warrant prosecutions for war crimes.

    article

  376. I would love to see an international poll of people to see what patterns there might be of Israel’s strongest defenders.

    America’s government seems to support Israel because of lots of lobbyist money and because the government likes having a militant nation in the area who is friendly to US interests. Sort of like our own French Foreign Legion. Plus there’s the racism that comes from many Israeli’s speaking english at least as a second language and many arabs don’t speak english at all and wear those towels on their heads. Humans seem to have an easier time killing that which they don’t understand.

    Internationally, I’d be curious to see what the Jewish population support of Israel is. I know there is a split where many Jews support Israel, and other Jews adamantly condemn Israel’s violence. It would be interesting to see how the statistics split among people who list themselves as Jews support/oppose Israel.

    There’s six billion people on the planet, it would be interesting to get some statistically significant data to see who thinks what.

  377. Is it improving or what? I’m not giving anyone the benefit of doubt any longer. After Obama picked Clinton, an unapologetic supporter of Israel, for Secretary of State, hope is fading fast.

    Greg, thanks for all the hard work. I hope others are reading.

  378. Since this thread has been overwhelmed with certain individuals reprinting supposed accounts of Israeli atrocities for the sole purpose of trying to create hatred of Israel, it is only fair here to present some examples of how the rest of the “civilized” world, i.e. major western democracies respect the “Principle of Proportionality”, when they feel their national interests are at stake. Note we are not talking about an existential threat to survival like Israel has faced on a daily basis for 60 years, but merely economic or other interests. This comparison of Israel’s behavior to others provides an important perspective.

    For just one of many examples consider the US invasion of Panama, December 20th, 1989, justified on the flimsiest of basis.

    Casualties:
    24 US Military deaths
    205 Panamanian Military deaths

    The number of Panamanian civilian deaths is in dispute.
    They were nearly all caused by a firestorm started by the United States Air Force surprise bombing of the cramped downtown El Chorrillo slum on the night of December 20, 1989 as the women and children of Panama City slept unaware in their beds.

    The United States Military admits at least 1000 Panamanian CIVILIANS DIED according to the US Military.
    This gives a kill ratio of 1205 to 24, or in other words a ratio 50 Panamanians dead to every 1 American, of which the Panamanian civilians comprised 82% of the dead.

    Source of the US military estimate of civilian deaths in Panama:
    http://www.google.ca/books?id=8WJJGyfeFwUC&pg=PA118&vq=internal+Army+memo&dq=Emperors+in+the+Jungle:+The+Hidden+History+of+the+U.S.+in+Panama&source=gbs_search_s&cad=0

    Most independent investigations by such reputable organizations such as Human Rights Watch put the true number of Panamanian civilians, women, children, and the elderly, incinerated in their squalid barrios as they slept at closer to 4000 Panamanian CIVILIANS DEAD.
    According to this more realistic and credible estimate, the kill ratios is up to 4205 to 24 or in other words a ratio of 175 Panamanians dead to every 1 American, of which the Panamanian civilians comprised 95% of the dead.

    Sources for the independent estimates of Panamanian civilian casualty figures:
    http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/02/29/america/LA-GEN-Panama-US-Invasion.php
    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4463872926662

    Not to say for a moment that even one civilian casualty anywhere is ever “okay”, but to put this in perspective this means the United States military killed as many or more civilians in a !!!SINGLE 24 HOUR PERIOD !!!, December 20, 1989,
    than Israel has killed Palestinian civilians in the last !!!TWENTY FOUR YEARS !!!, from 1984 through today, including all the civilian Palestinians killed the entire Second Intifada and the Gaza War combined. This is according even to the heavily pro-Palestinian biased casualty figures of betselem.org.

  379. “the sole purpose of trying to create hatred of Israel”: a patently false statement. I offer a true one in exchange: “some have been posting here for the sole purpose of excusing any action the Israeli government undertakes, no matter how heinous a war crime”.

  380. “the sole purpose of trying to create hatred of Israel”: a patently false statement.”

    Obviously you genuinely feel a human rights crisis is occurring and you feel the need to speak out, not because of a particular axe to bear against Israel but because humans are suffering period, regardless of the religion of those who suffer or those who inflict the suffering. I can certainly understand that as I feel the same way. This is the decent way to feel for the innocent of Gaza. We all wish them all, Israeli and Palestinian, to stay safe and hope the war will end as soon as possible.

    But, how do you then explain the lack of concern shown by the world, the media, the protesters, the blog posters, the UN Human Rights Commission etc. for other groups that also suffer, suffer in fact on a scale far, far greater than the Palestinians do.

    For example, I have been trying to help in my small way with efforts to bring attention to the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo. According to the UN, the war in the DRC, which started in 1994, is by far the worst war occurring on earth. More than 5 million innocent civilians have been brutally murdered, more than 500,000 women mass raped, and more than 1.2 million refugees have fled their homes, according to the United Nations High Commission on Refugees, UNHCR. This is the worst war in terms of human suffering to have been fought on earth since WWII. The war in the DRC is worse than Cambodia, Rwanda, and the Vietnam War all combined together. 1000 Congolese DIE EVERY DAY from this war according to UNHCR, so just during the 14 days the Gazan war has gone on so far, 14,000 Congolese have died.

    Here is Ben Affleck’s recent short film, jointly produced with Mick Jagger and UNHCR to help raise awareness of the suffering in the DRC.

    Btselem.org (a biased anti Israeli organization) statistics of Palestinian casualties during the same period as the war in the Democratic Republic of Congo, i.e. 1994 till today, show Palestinians deaths amount to approximately 5500 deaths give or take, about half of whom are classified as armed combatants who died engaging in armed conflict. Another 600 Palestinians were killed by other Palestinians in civil war. During this same period approximately 1900 Israelis died at the hands of Palestinians, the vast majority of whom were innocent Jewish civilians deliberately murdered on direct orders of the Hamas leadership while eating in pizza parlors, riding on buses, going to discos etc.

    All that death is sad, for both sides, but during this same time period, 1994 to today, the people of Congo suffered at a rate ONE THOUSAND times GREATER than the Palestinians did, 5 million to 5000. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that the Congolese suffering has received about ONE THOUSAND times LESS attention and concern and aid from the world as the Palestinians have. This means that the ratio of attention for the actual suffering of the Palestinians compared to the attention given to the actual suffering of the Congolese is about 1 MILLION to 1 in favor of the Palestinians.

    So how do you explain that ? How do you explain that Palestinian suffering receives attention, concern, and foreign aid approximately 1 MILLION times out of proportion with the tragically minuscule assistance the world extends to the Congolese ? I really want to know. Why?

    1. Two Gun,

      What you’re doing is called concern trolling. This thread is about Israel and Palestine. There have been many posts on BB about wars and human rights violations in other parts of the world. The subject under discussion here is what’s happening in Gaza.

  381. concern trolling ? I believe you may not using this term in its commonly understood sense. You are an expert on moderating forums, much more than me obviously, but I thought the term meant something like this:

    wikipedia:
    “A concern troll is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user’s sockpuppet claims to hold. ”

    Can this term fairly be applied to the raising of the single worst war on the face of the earth where 1000 people a day are dying ?

    Just as I accept the honest feelings of concern you and Takuan have over the welfare of innocent Palestinians, (I share those concerns myself), should you not also accept my honest concern for a human disaster of a scale 1000 times greater than that which has befallen the Palestinians according to the UNHCR, a disaster almost completely ignored by the world?

    I will try to stick more on topic.

    1. A concern troll is a false flag pseudonym created by a user whose actual point of view is opposed to the one that the user’s sockpuppet claims to hold.

      That’s garden variety trolling (Trollus trollus). Verbithrax redirectus, the concern troll says that one cannot solve the problem at hand until all similar problems have been solved. The most common statement is that nobody can blame X for doing Y to Z because the US is built on the genocide of Native Americans. It’s true, but has nothing to do with the discussion.

  382. I suggest you read my comment history, with particular attention to subjects such as Tibet, The Shoah, Africa, South American aboriginal peoples, and many more. While perfection may evade me, I do strive for consistency.

    Do not try to make this issue about Israel. It is about what the current Israeli government is doing. Now.

  383. B’Tselem
    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    (Redirected from B’tselem)
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    B’Tselem (Hebrew: בצלם‎, “in the image of”, as in Genesis 1:27) is an Israeli non-governmental organization (NGO) which also calls itself “The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories”. The group was founded on February 3, 1989 by a group of Israeli public figures, including lawyers, academics, journalists, and members of the Knesset. Its executive director is Jessica Montell.[1]

    B’Tselem’s stated goals are “to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel”.[2] In December 1989 the organization received the Carter-Menil Human Rights Prize.[3][4] B’Tselem is financed by the foreign ministries of the United Kingdom and Norway, as well as foundations based in Europe and North America.

  384. “Attacks on staff

    B’Tselem staff members have alleged both verbal and physical attack by both Israeli settlers and military/police, including the slashing of tires on the organisation’s jeep and the assault of two of its fieldworker staff. In one such incident, captured on film on 19 January 2008, a fieldworker was allegedly beaten by Israeli soldiers, then arrested for attacking them.[10] In another, on 20 June 2008, a worker was allegedly beaten and had his film confiscated after filming IDF troops ignoring violent crimes by Israeli settlers. Following B’Tselem’s complaint, Israeli military police opened an investigation.[11]

  385. This is a long comment. I hate to make these but, besides the sheer relief of ranting, my hope is that I have an angle that is different enough to bring a bit of new in the debate.

    @Two gun Cohen

    I command you for sticking with it. You show more guts than others who tried to defend Israel and chickened out.
    I’ll also want to make clear that I despise Hamas. I have no respect for any comment here about the rockets attacks which treas them as if it were, ‘once more’, a case the Jews complaining for no reason. Any person killed or wounded deserves as much care and attention no matter who they are. Given a chance, Hamas will do worse than Israel, although it’d take some serious dedication and effort to catch up since they don’t even have to fake a concern for the Human Rights.

    Now Mr. Cohen sit down.

    ———————————

    Firstly, you can take your accusations of racism and stuff yourself with them. You can search my comments to see how ridiculous this is. You’ve been brainwashed into believing that antisemitism is omnipresent and pervasive. The truth is that the world doesn’t care enough about you or any other small ethnic group for that. If you could stop making the news you’d be so left alone that you’d find the ensuing silence deafening. Israel is not nearly as special as you think and make it.

    If you think that Israel is blamed because of the anti-semitic prejudices then you should consider that maybe the conflict in Congo is ignored because there is an even worse prejudice against the black person. I find it strange that you envy their fate, which is of being left to die. Do you wish that the Western world forgets about you, stops financing your wars and leaves you to your own devices, just the same, really?
    Yet the reason for the difference in attention is simply that there are more connections between Israel and the Western world. The connection is especially with the US whose tax dollars you are using to buy your weapons and whose political weight saves you from obliteration… and with who you are using every political trick in the book to tie to your cause.

    You wonder why the actions of Israel are under such a scrutiny? After over a century of pogroms (pre-1948), massacres and terrorist action (both sides) in Palestine, of which 60 years into the existence of Israel there is still no end in sight. You have institutionalized that misery and made it to last forever. That’s one reason, one difference from any other conflict on this planet.

    Your handling of the situation is intentionally radicalizing the whole Muslim world, with the hope that the US and the Western world in general won’t have any choice but siding with you. This political action is something that is a threatening the whole planet.

    You attract many comments because your criminal actions (sorry but they are many and all too well documented to ignore), although not unique among the nations, are encased in such a sticky web of hypocrisy. false pretence of democracy, spin and smoke screens that it takes that much debunking to counteract your propaganda and to get to the truth. I am so sick of seeing your criminals in the military and the political get away with the most atrocious crimes receiving nothing but a slap on the wrist at worse to then go on to become influent members of the IDF or your government, up to prime minister.

    About making a special case of criticizing Israel: do a search on BB and you’ll find infinitely more criticism directed at the US and GB, on all sorts of subjects. You’ll find that the same people criticizing the present ‘intervention’ will protest against any form of antisemitism. You’ll find that attacks on Human Rights all over the planet are reported and condemned on BoingBoing.

    I’ll stop here that litany which could be as endless as Israel devotion to seeding misery for yourselves and others.

    Sincerely hoping that you’ll see some light some day.

  386. cohen, are you seriously arguing that no one in America wants the attrocities in Dufar to stop? (a lie) Or, are you simply complaining that we should talk about Dufar instead of Israel? (an attempt to redirect the spotlight from Israel)

    The only alternative is that you are actually trying to argue that the attrocities committed in Dufar are worse than the atrocities committed by Israel, therefore, Israel’s atrocities are OK? (one of the more extreme examples of moral relativism I’ve seen in a while.)

    Oh, and this: “the sole purpose of trying to create hatred of Israel”

    You really, really, really, really need to drop your persecution complex. Criticism of Israel’s actions immediately turns into having no purpose other than to “create hatred”? Get over yourself.

    In march 2003, I was criticizing America’s relentless push to invade Iraq. Do I hate America? No. In response to my criticism, I occaisionally ran into idiots and morons who would respond to facts like “weapons inspections were working and would be done in a few months” with shouts of “If you don’t love America, why don’t you leave?” which is the American-red-breasted-chest-thumper’s version of your “You just hate Israel” nonsense.

    All you’re doing with that is trying to shout down the critics to maintain the illusion that Israel is infallible and righteous and above any and all criticism. Because to criticize Israel has only one, sole, purpose, to generate hate for Israel. Right?

    You either allow criticism, or you’re advocating a kind of fascism. Chose.

  387. In the face of a UN demand for ceasefire, Israeli planes dropped leaflets warning of an escalation in attacks. an Israeli tank shell killed nine people in a garden outside a home in the northern Gaza town of Jebaliya. 2 women. 2 children. Israeli shelling and bombing raised the total number of Palestinians killed to about 800. about one-fourth to one-half of those are civilians.

    Yesterday, Hamas launched a total of about 10 rockets. No Israelis were killed by the rockets. Yet Israel is using those 10 rockets to justify escalation of its war against Gaza.

    Once Hamas rockets stop completely, Israel will find some other excuse to continue its operations. Most likely, it will quote the number of rocket attacks and use that to justify occupation of Gaza until it kills every last memeber of Hamas. About 10,000 to 20,000.

    israel’s self-righteousness knows no boundaries. It can do no wrong. Criticizing Israel can only have one possible purpose: to generate Hate of Israel.

  388. It would be a sad period of time indeed for the world’s Jews… to have lived to see a day where the nation meant to be their homeland and caretaker of their holy land becomes a perpetrator of genocide.

  389. It’s actually kind of funny that Israel’s apologist want to compare Israel’s actions to Dufar or America or any other situation, other than comparing it to Hamas.

    Hamas launched 10 rockets yesterday.
    Israel fired at a minimum 50 to 100 artillery shells into Gaza.

    Hamas didn’t kill any Israeli civilians yesterday.
    Israel’s military killed at least 10, probably 20, civilians yesterday.

    But israeli apologists want to talk about he thousands killed in Dufar instead.

    Several of them have argued on this thread that Hamas launched thousands of rockets and Israel only killed hundreds of gaza civilians. Now Hamas is firing 10 rockets a day and Israel is killing 10 to 20 civilians a day. and 10 rockets<20 civilians, so they won't be making that comparison. it'll be "total" rockets versus "total" civilians killed. Or, they'll want to start making comparisons to Dufar instead.

    The ability of the human mind to avoid simple facts is unbelievable sometimes.

  390. Antisemitism.
    No, I never used that term or said anyone was one. I have had enough battles with the KKK and Nazis and Jihadis to recognize it and I did not here. Anti Israeli critics often think they are being accused of antisemitism just because we disagree with them but this is not the case in general.

    I promised to stay on topic, but sorry, GL is in need of a geography lesson. GL, open a map of Africa. Darfur is in Sudan. The Democratic Republic of Congo is *different* country, to the south of Sudan.

    But that really says it all does it not? When GL has never even heard of a country with a population of 60 million, and a land area of 2.3 million sq. km, making it the 12th largest country on earth, which has had the WORST, bar none, WORST, human rights disater of the face of the earth ongoing since 1994, 1000 times worse than Palestine. And poor GL over there has apparently never even heard of it and mixed it up with Darfur which is in a different country altogether.

    Does that not prove my point though, that GL is willing to spend weeks and weeks dredging up every anit-Israeli canard from the last 60 years that he can find on Google, but has never even heard of the DRC, or even heard that they are having right now, today, this second, as we sit here, a war that is killing 1000 people a day?

    iaminnocent may have a good point about the racism towards Africans being at the root of this.

    And GL, by the way, I posted a link from the Guardian, the most anti-Israeli major paper in Europe, stating unequivocally that HAMAS has rejected the UN security council ceasefire. I see that I have to post it again since in your posts you seem to have forgotten this unarguable fact.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/09/hamas-gaza-ceasefire-un-israel

  391. why do you persist in this “anti-Israel”? If the current government officials all fell over dead today, would the nation cease to exist? How do you account for all the Israelis that oppose this Gaza pogrom?

  392. cohen@553: I promised to stay on topic, but

    but you wont. Anything to avoid the actual topic, eh?

    sorry, GL is in need of a geography lesson.

    snip off topic righteous rant.

    the congo and darfur aren’t getting three billion dollars of foreign aid a year from the United States.
    Israel is. The congo and darfur aren’t flying US made F-16’s or Apache helicopters. Israel is.
    The congo and darfur aren’t driving US made M1 tanks. Israel is.

    Again, you’re only relevant point here is that some country is committing more attrocities than Israel, so we shouldn’t talk about Israel.

    Except Israel is committing all these attrocities with billions of dollars of American money. Except Israel is commiting all of these attrocities with american built weapons.

    If you want to talk about some country that teh US isn’t pumping billions of dollars into every year, then you need to start a different thread on your own blog. If you want to post on this thread, you’d probably want to keep it to the topics of Israel and Palestine.

    GL is willing to spend weeks and weeks dredging up every anit-Israeli canard from the last 60 years

    Actually, most of the shit I keep talking about only goes back a few years. Every once in a while, I might go back to something older than that. But I have focusedon events directly related to the current situation.

    Israel’s human rights crime that is the blockade of Gaza started in 2006 when Hamas won elections in Gaza. There was a ceasefire that started in July 2008. And during that time Hamas rocket attacks dropped off to basically nothing. If Israel wanted perfection, then it should offer perfection and stop the human rights crime of a blockade that is starving an entire nation. Then Israel violated the ceasefire in November of 2008. Hamas rockets resumed. Israel bombed and invaded.

    I could limit the whole discussion to the last 5 years and could list enough Israeli attrocities to choke a horse. Lebannon 2006, Israel dropped millions of submunitions from cluster bombs in heavily populated areas. And they dropped the vast majority of these 1 and 2 days before the ceasefire.

    Israel’s blockade and starvation of Gaza started in 2006 because Hamas won political elections and Israel wanted regime change. Israel is currently insisting that it is fighting in Gaza right now to topple Hamas from power, and will continue fighting in Gaza, despite any number of demands for ceasefire, until it has removed Hamas.

    I posted a link from the Guardian, the most anti-Israeli major paper in Europe, stating unequivocally that HAMAS has rejected the UN security council ceasefire.

    seriously, get over yourself. Hamas refuses the ceasefire because the ceasefire says nothing about Israel’s illegal blockade of Gaza. Meanwhile, Israel refuses the blockade because it hasn’t killed all members of Hamas.

    Hamas was willing to ceasefire from July to November of 2008 even during a blockade. But Israel violated the ceasefire. Israel insists on continuing to violate the ceasefire, and won’t ceasefire until all of hamas is dead.

    You both are violating the UN demand for ceasefire, but when you compare reasons (Hamas says they want guarantees that Israel will lift the blockade. Israel says they want to wipe out all of hamas.) it seems to me that Israel’s excuse is the least defensible.

    More importantly, Israel is the invader here. You want Hamas to stop shooting while Israeli troops remain in Gaza?

    Bullshit.

    YOu want a ceasefire, then pull Israeli troops out of the land you just invaded. As long as Israeli troops remain in gaza, shooting and killing civilians, Hamas will return fire. withdraw from Gaza and stop shelling Gaza, and then you condemn Hamas for violating the cease fire.

    As long as Israeli troops remain in Gaza and continue shelling gaza, you have absolutely no justification for condemning Hamas while excusing Israel’s behaviour.

    Don’t get all righteous and indignant about Hamas violating the latest ceasefire when Israel violated the first one in November and is violating the current one by continuing its war, warning that it will escalate its war, and keeping troops in Gaza.

    Only a hypocrite would condemn its enemy for something he himself is doing.

  393. link

    “Damascus-based Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal … called for an end to Israeli attacks, the removal of its forces from Gaza, and a lifting of the Gaza blockade.”

    Israel is the invader here. Israel must withdraw for any ceasefire to take effect. As long as Israeli troops remain in gaza, as long as Israeli troops continue to shell Gaza, no ceasefire is possible. Israel invaded, Israel needs to withdraw for any ceasefire to be possible.

    If Israel seriously thinks it can keep troops in Gaza and continue shelling Gaza, yet demand Hamas stop shooting at Israel, it is nothing but blatant hypocricy.

    As far as the blockade goes, it is clear that Israel is using it as collective punishment, starving Gaza, attacking relief trucks that carry supplies, cutting power, cutting medicine, freezing bank currency and causing an economic collapse. Only a fool would trust Israel to continue its human rights crime of a blockade at this point.

    Hamas demands three things: That the israeli forces who invaded Gaza withdraw from Gaza. That the Israeli forces stop shelling Gaza. And that Israel completely and totally lift its illegal blockade of Gaza.

    The first two demands are required by the UN ceasefire. The third one is something the international community has been calling for for months or even years.

    Anyone who wants to argue these “demands” are unreasonable is an Israeli apologist who wants to justify Israel’s continuing occupation of Gaza goign forward.

    Israel must withdraw from Gaza. Israel must stop shelling Gaza. Israel must lift its illegal blockade of Gaza.

    Hamas was willing to enter a ceasefire in July of 2008 if Israel would ship an extra 200 head of cattle to it a day. Pragmatic solution. Hamas makes three demands which are nothing more than the UN demand for ceasefire and an enforcement of international law on the illegality of the blockade.

    Israel refuses to ceasefire because it wants to continue towards its goal of regime change in Gaza and because it wants to occupy Gaza when this is all over. Both are immoral and illegal.

  394. one bunch has their Hidden Imam, another has their red heifer riding messiah, the third is praying for doomsday… I’m agreeing with Nail that what comes out of the desert seems to be sand and ashes.