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If I had known then what I know now, the Goldstone Report would have been a different document.
April 2, 2011 3:44 AM   Subscribe

Richard Goldstone reconsiders his report on the Gaza war of 2008-2009.

The Report Itself
posted by beisny (246 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
For example, the most serious attack the Goldstone Report focused on was the killing of some 29 members of the al-Simouni family in their home. The shelling of the home was apparently the consequence of an Israeli commander’s erroneous interpretation of a drone image, and an Israeli officer is under investigation for having ordered the attack. While the length of this investigation is frustrating, it appears that an appropriate process is underway, and I am confident that if the officer is found to have been negligent, Israel will respond accordingly.

In the states, we call that type of reporting "fair and balanced". Well actually...only one side does.
posted by hal_c_on at 3:57 AM on April 2, 2011


How many rockets hit Israel before Israel struck back? Ok. How many Libyan bombs or rockets hit the US before the US bombed Lybia? Might be noted that this past week even a Human Rights group; consisting of Arabs inside of Gaza denounced at last Hamas for concealing weapons within civilian highly populated areas and their complaint was that since many of those rockets fell short or misfired, they killed their own people. The complaint was not about using rockets but how they sometimes killed Arabs.

Now here is what a founder of a Human Rights group has to say:

https://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/20/opinion/20bernstein.html?_r=1
posted by Postroad at 4:21 AM on April 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Postroad, here is the denouncement you were referring to.

Yeah...storing rockets near civilians is just plain...dumb.

But what does this have to do with the Goldstone report?
posted by hal_c_on at 4:34 AM on April 2, 2011


Storing rockets near civilians isn't dumb, it's a way to force your enemy to decide between leaving the rockets alone, or bombing civilians.
posted by dubold at 5:12 AM on April 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


I've always found it interesting that Israelis have the right to defend themselves, while I've never heard a single peep from any major media or government officials about Palestinians' rights to the same.
posted by nevercalm at 7:02 AM on April 2, 2011 [16 favorites]


Yeah...storing rockets near civilians is just plain...dumb.

Depends. Now, of course, fundamentally, war is dumb -- spend a lot of money and effort to slaughter other people, who get pissed off and return the favor, repeat. This "logic" is the logic of war, which is actually logical, if you overlook the fundamental dumbness of it all.

You have a medium range weapon. The other guys have air superiority. You're not at full scale war, so just bombing people who aren't actually in a military force is considered not okay. (Yet. War is dumb, remember?)

You could put your rockets in a rocket base away from everyone. Whereupon, they will be blowed up real good by the other side's airplanes. Or, you can hide them in buildings in populated areas, and count on the other side's willingness to blow up your rockets being less than their willingness to blow up your civilians.

Of course, if you do that, you're likely to not have them sited particularly well to actually use. This is, well, dumb -- but less dumb that just having them blown to bits by aircraft. However, it does leave that touchy problem of actually using them if you are convinced that you need to.

Also, maintenance. Hidden weapons are harder to maintain, esp. if that involves large trucks and the like which would say "Rockets Are Here! Lovely Place For A Bomb, Dontcha Think?" So, your caught between dumb. You can be dumb and not maintain the weapons, or you can be dumb and expose their location, ensuring that the first thing that will happen should the other side's willingness to bomb level change.

Now, you might think that the real right answer to this is to try to come to a mutually beneficial agreement that would let both sides profit, and even better, not need to decide between all of this very dumb alternatives. But alas, there seems to be only one truth deeper than "War is Dumb."

And that's "Humans are Dumb."
posted by eriko at 7:54 AM on April 2, 2011 [21 favorites]


I've never heard a single peep from any major media or government officials about Palestinians' rights to the same.

It just depends on what government. And who you consider 'major' in the media. The neat thing about the Internet is one can find peep'n on whatever subject. And some of it is correct and useful.

Not to mention if you matter and make a comment about the matter - you end up like Helen Thomas.

It'll be interesting to see how things go once a large nation stops being interested in the Middle East due to a lack of oil, a lack of need for oil or the costs of being interested become too great.
posted by rough ashlar at 8:20 AM on April 2, 2011


I've always found it interesting that Israelis have the right to defend themselves, while I've never heard a single peep from any major media or government officials about Palestinians' rights to the same.
But Palestinians don't have to defend themselves: they're under the protection of Israel. In fact, it's as true today as it was in Golda Meir's time: "there are no Palestinians." There is only Israel.

But when the tanks roll into Gaza, while IDF artillery pounds and helicopter gunships strafe, that activity should in no way be construed as similar to the Libyan government attacking its own citizens.
posted by fredludd at 8:23 AM on April 2, 2011 [9 favorites]


while I've never heard a single peep from any major media or government officials about Palestinians' rights to the same.

Do you consider that the Palestinians had a right to commit approximately 8600 rocket attacks against the Israeli population in the period 2001-2009 leading up to the war in Gaza, or the numerous rocket attacks since then?
posted by knoyers at 8:25 AM on April 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


knoyers, about as much right as the Israeli state had to its aggression.
posted by Dysk at 8:33 AM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Storing rockets near civilians isn't dumb, it's a way to force your enemy to decide between leaving the rockets alone, or bombing civilians.

In other words, using your own people as human shields.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:47 AM on April 2, 2011 [6 favorites]


I've always found it interesting that Israelis have the right to defend themselves, while I've never heard a single peep from any major media or government officials about Palestinians' rights to the same.

indiscriminately launching rockets into civilian areas to deliberately cause civilian causalities is not "defending" anything.

I despise the policy of the Israeli government as much as the next guy, but that does not make what Hamas did right.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:49 AM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


thank you Ironmouth. Are we really discussing the strategic value of using a populace as human shields?
posted by fingers_of_fire at 8:49 AM on April 2, 2011


You could put your rockets in a rocket base away from everyone. Whereupon, they will be blowed up real good by the other side's airplanes. Or, you can hide them in buildings in populated areas, and count on the other side's willingness to blow up your rockets being less than their willingness to blow up your civilians.


thank you Ironmouth. Are we really discussing the strategic value of using a populace as human shields?



they are counting on their own civilians being killed so that the Israelis will be condemned for killing civilians. Let's call things by their real names.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:52 AM on April 2, 2011 [8 favorites]


Israel, or any country, cannot be expected to tolerate the provocation of constant attacks against its civilian population and territory indefinitely.

That the Palestinians have legitimate grievances against Israel does nothing to mitigate Israel's right to defend itself, to respond to attacks against itself, and to undertake to debilitate the means of future attacks.
posted by knoyers at 8:55 AM on April 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


they are counting on their own civilians being killed so that the Israelis will be condemned for killing civilians. Let's call things by their real names.

It also means that, when Palestinians target Israeli civilians, they can argue a false equivalence, that both sides target civilians, although the circumstances could not be more different.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 9:00 AM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not to mention if you matter and make a comment about the matter - you end up like Helen Thomas.

After asking Ari Fleischer the precise question tabled – "Does the president think that the Palestinians have a right to resist 35 years of brutal military occupation and suppression?" – she then retained her unique status for another eight years before leaving after saying Israeli Jews should "go home" to "Poland, Germany and America".
posted by topynate at 9:02 AM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


As we all know by now, when dealing with issues involving this subject, no one changes his mind and all seems an Either/Or with no middle ground. Recently, Abbas on behalf of the street protests among the Palesinians who want reconciliation with Gaza, said he would visit and try to bring such a joint effort to pass. This is the response he got from Hamas:

READ HERE
posted by Postroad at 9:04 AM on April 2, 2011


From Goldstone's op-ed: "That comparatively few Israelis have been killed by the unlawful rocket and mortar attacks from Gaza in no way minimizes the criminality. The U.N. Human Rights Council should condemn these heinous acts in the strongest terms."

We both know that the HRC isn't going to do anything. We're told the IDF drops a bomb on Gaza just because they like killing Arabs, and the Palestinians are merely fighting for their freedom.
posted by autoclavicle at 9:06 AM on April 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ah, the rocket argument again, I'll just quote myself on March 2nd quoting myself from November 5th 2009:

On the topic of rockets... I'm just going to quote myself from November 5, 2009, when I was again trying to resist contributing to a pointless back and forth in an Israel/Palestine thread.

"Sigh. Let's consider the recent invasion of Gaza.
Take a look at this chart.

The rocket attacks basically stopped during the quasi-ceasefire, then started up again after Israeli troops attacked and killed 6 Palestinians inside Gaza. If the Israelis were serious about peace and stopped expanding into Palestinian territory [continued settlement building], there would be a significant chance of a lasting solution."


Some Israeli military analysis suggests that Operation Cast Lead actually reduced Hamas' capability to prevent rocket attacks against Israel. (as they were doing remarkably well during the ceasefire)
posted by knapah at 9:12 AM on April 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Storing rockets near civilians isn't dumb, it's a way to force your enemy to decide between leaving the rockets alone, or bombing civilians.

In other words, using your own people as human shields.


Evil sure, dumb no.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:15 AM on April 2, 2011


Hamas' digging of a tunnel into Israel brought about the failure of the ceasefire and the escalation from Nov. 4, 2008.
posted by knoyers at 9:25 AM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or was it the Israeli incursion amplified by their unwillingness to open the border crossings despite impressive reductions in rocket fire from Gaza during the ceasefire?

If the border crossings aren't open, then people will of course use tunnels to get goods in, not just weapons, food, fuel etc. etc.

Going back and forth is fairly pointless. Neither side are perfect. I think the Goldstone report was pretty good over all, but I'm worried this piece shows that he is too trusting of internal investigations (on both sides). Any investigations should be independent and international in origin in my opinion.
posted by knapah at 9:30 AM on April 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Why would Israel open any border to a terrorist group that is at war against Israel? Because of "reductions in rocket fire"?
posted by knoyers at 9:33 AM on April 2, 2011


Because it was part of the ceasefire agreement?
posted by knapah at 9:35 AM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Without looking it up even, I can be fairly certain that Israel never agreed for Hamas to dig a tunnel to Israel as part of a ceasefire.
posted by knoyers at 9:40 AM on April 2, 2011


Why do these threads always pop up on weekends?
posted by Amanojaku at 9:48 AM on April 2, 2011


The IDF's Arabic language spokesman on Al Jazeera speaking about the the most recent rocket fire coming from Gaza (with English subtitles). His main point is the following: If you argue that the rockets are merely a pretext for Israeli agressions in Gaza, then why give Israel that pretext?
posted by beisny at 9:49 AM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Why do these threads always pop up on weekends?

The op-ed was posted on Friday night...
posted by beisny at 9:51 AM on April 2, 2011


I'm hopeful that this is the post where an absolute, objective and universally agreed-upon position on the Israel/Palestine issue is found, and everybody involved, through a process of calm discussion and readiness to listen, eventually agrees on a broad consensus within the parameters of that position.

Come on, guys. The rest of the Internet has already managed it. Why can't we?
posted by running order squabble fest at 10:18 AM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


How many rockets hit Israel before Israel struck back?
How many of those rockets actually injured people?
Do you consider that the Palestinians had a right to commit approximately 8600 rocket attacks against
Again, how many of those rockets caused any injuries? As far as I know, only a handful and only a few people (if any) were killed.

The problem with arguments about whether or not Israel was "justified" completely ignore the scale of the supposed pretext. According to wikipedia 1,417 Palestinians were killed, over rockets that basically did no damage.

If someone slaps you, it's assault. If you respond by shooting them, it's manslaughter. The crime is the disproportionate response, it's not a question of "who started it" like some fucking argument between kindergarteners.
posted by delmoi at 10:51 AM on April 2, 2011 [13 favorites]


If someone slaps you, it's assault. If you respond by shooting them, it's manslaughter. The crime is the disproportionate response, it's not a question of "who started it" like some fucking argument between kindergarteners.

Ignoring causality only continues the killing.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:53 AM on April 2, 2011


Maybe we should give the Palestinians smart bombs.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:59 AM on April 2, 2011


If someone slaps you, it's assault. If you respond by shooting them, it's manslaughter. The crime is the disproportionate response, it's not a question of "who started it" like some fucking argument between kindergarteners.

This argument is problematic to the extent to which it creates an equation in which it is Israel's interest to suffer more losses and thereby "even things out." Why develop the Iron Dome missile defense system - if successful (a big if), it would only guarantee that these numbers stay even more skewed? Maybe they should strategically allow a few successful attacks, thereby assuring that sympathies around the world would be more in favor of Israel.

I understand the point that you are trying to make, but followed to its logical conclusion, it suggests that Israel's success in preventing attacks actually, whether rockets or suicide bombings, necessarily reduces its international support.
posted by beisny at 11:12 AM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


If someone slaps you, it's assault. If you respond by shooting them, it's manslaughter. The crime is the disproportionate response,

The rockets are actually perfectly capable of killing people. A closer analogy would be whether you're justified in picking someone off from 200 yards with a scoped rifle if they're firing a pistol at your family.

As for a disproportionate response being a crime: if you mean under international law, then a disproportionate response is one that does more harm to civilians than necessary to achieve a legitimate military purpose, not a response that does more damage than is being done to you.
posted by topynate at 11:12 AM on April 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ignoring causality only continues the killing.

Yeah, Israel's insane, murderous overreaction to any slight hint of sound and fury coming from the oppressed people surrounded its border is the fault of "causality" in much the same way a US smart bomb falling on an Afghan wedding is the fault of newtonian mechanics

A good rule of thumb for most conflicts: all else being equal, the guy who has more conventional and nuclear weapons, money, soldiers, US support, a bunch of the other guy's land, and a 1000-1 advantage in body bags - that's not the good guy. Let's calling it the "fucking obvious razor"
posted by crayz at 11:23 AM on April 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


WTF>?

The problem with arguments about whether or not Israel was "justified" completely ignore the scale of the supposed pretext. According to wikipedia 1,417 Palestinians were killed, over rockets that basically did no damage.
you wait till Iran sends better and bigger missiles and many get killed and then you are justified in hitting back? rocket after rocket came day after day. Previously, suicide after suicide till Israel erected a way to stop them. Many were killed by suicide bombers.

How easy to sit at a keyboard and tell those who face hatred and those who would murder them that they ought not to hit back.
cratyz: the other guy's land? since when? would you give back any land taken in a war without some agreement with the enemy beforehand? Arabs have money given by other arab nations; Israel has not used nukes...etc sides are not always equal, but when you are surrounded by a zillion people who have sworn to eliminate you then you do what you have to in order to survive.
posted by Postroad at 11:39 AM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speaking of killing people at a wedding. Here's HAMAS killing some folks for singing at a wedding (nsfw). How many other Palestinians have been killed, intimidated or otherwise bullied by these "good guys".
posted by humanfont at 11:50 AM on April 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


A good rule of thumb for most conflicts: all else being equal, the guy who has more conventional and nuclear weapons, money, soldiers, US support, a bunch of the other guy's land, and a 1000-1 advantage in body bags - that's not the good guy. Let's calling it the "fucking obvious razor"

As this devolves into the usual, I've just gotta say that in any contest where one party is starving the other via totally random roadblocks and sanctions preventing seemingly innocuous stuff from coming into a country while "settling" (read: stealing) their land and enjoying a massive military advantage? And the other one fights back by any means necessary?

Sorry, I'm rooting for the little guy there. A holocaust in your past doesn't qualify you to perpetrate one in your present.
posted by nevercalm at 11:53 AM on April 2, 2011 [11 favorites]


The side I agree with is totally justified in their actions against a monstrous enemy.
posted by rhizome at 11:55 AM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh ok. Let me change my statement:

Storing rockets near your own people is BRILLIANT!!!
posted by hal_c_on at 12:00 PM on April 2, 2011


Jewish settlers shot dead a Palestinian girl while attacking homes in the West Bank city of Hebron today after the funeral of an Israeli soldier killed in a roadside ambush, Palestinian witnesses said.

Eight-year-old Neveen Jamjoum was shot while sitting just inside the doorway of her house, her mother said. Palestinian medical sources said nine Palestinians were wounded by gunfire.


Damned friggin 8 year old Muslim terrorists.
posted by nevercalm at 12:08 PM on April 2, 2011


the end of the mubarak regime in egypt means there will be another israeli-arab war... soon. the only question is how widespread the fighting will be.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:24 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I'm rooting for the little guy there. A holocaust in your past doesn't qualify you to perpetrate one in your present.

Quoted for truth.
posted by jeanmari at 12:33 PM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


As this devolves into the usual, I've just gotta say that in any contest where one party is starving the other via totally random roadblocks and sanctions preventing seemingly innocuous stuff from coming into a country while "settling" (read: stealing) their land and enjoying a massive military advantage? And the other one fights back by any means necessary?


Thank you very much for helping this devolve into the usual with your hyperbole and casual disregard towards such pesky things as the truth.

That "one party" is not starving the other. Israel subjects the Palestinians to roadblocks, which are a cause of unemployment and frustration among the Palestinians, but there is no "starving" going on. And it's obscene to say that at a time when Misurata in Lybia actually is being starved.

"And the other one fights back by any means necessary?"

Those "necessary" means just included the stabbing of a 3 month old baby. With a knife. If you want to know how discussions of the situation there devolve so quickly, take a look in the mirror.
posted by ocschwar at 12:36 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]




A good rule of thumb for most conflicts: all else being equal, the guy who has more conventional and nuclear weapons, money, soldiers, US support, a bunch of the other guy's land, and a 1000-1 advantage in body bags - that's not the good guy. Let's calling it the "fucking obvious razor"


No, let's call this for what it is: the stupidest thing anyone said in this thread. Any dipshit can score a truckload of AK 47's and start an underdog militia, and in fact, many do. Doing that and picking a fight with a conventional army does not make you a good guy.
posted by ocschwar at 12:40 PM on April 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


No, let's call this for what it is: the stupidest thing anyone said in this thread.

You're not being helpful. Please stop.
posted by nevercalm at 12:42 PM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


[few comments removed - dial it back or go to MetaTalk. Thanks. ]
posted by jessamyn at 12:52 PM on April 2, 2011


Again, how many of those rockets caused any injuries? As far as I know, only a handful and only a few people (if any) were killed.

The problem with arguments about whether or not Israel was "justified" completely ignore the scale of the supposed pretext. According to wikipedia 1,417 Palestinians were killed, over rockets that basically did no damage.


The Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel have, in fact, killed people; however, if my town was bombed by some foreign state or entity, and let's say, 17 people were killed, I would not want the U.S. to go and proportionately kill 17 of their people for revenge. I would want the U.S. to do whatever it could to destroy that enemy's capacity to bomb me again, while minimizing civilian casualties in that action as far as possible.

Israel was (and is) perfectly within its legitimate rights to attempt to destroy Hamas' capacity to bomb Israel. It is absurd to expect any state to tolerate violent foreign attacks against its citizens. I find that certain people only feel that way when the state in question is Israel.

A holocaust in your past doesn't qualify you to perpetrate one in your present.
posted by nevercalm at 11:53 AM on April 2 [+]


Nothing having to do with the recent events of the Israel/Palestine conflict justifies the use of the word "holocaust" at all.
posted by knoyers at 12:54 PM on April 2, 2011 [7 favorites]


Here's my takeaway from the article (setting aside my skepticism about pretty much all the underlying assumptions): There's nothing here that will change anybody's mind about Israel/Palestine. None of this stuff is unexpected -- except maybe the part about the HRC, and AFAICT no one pays any attention to the HRC on Israel/Palestine except when it confirms their own biases. If I were in Richard Goldstone's shoes, I would be feeling depressed about the futility of my work.
posted by twirlip at 12:58 PM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]



The Palestinian rocket attacks against Israel have, in fact, killed people; however, if my town was bombed by some foreign state or entity, and let's say, 17 people were killed, I would not want the U.S. to go and proportionately kill 17 of their people for revenge. I would want the U.S. to do whatever it could to destroy that enemy's capacity to bomb me again, while minimizing civilian casualties in that action as far as possible.


Exactly. If Israel could prevent the rockets using means that cause 0 Palestinian casualties, it would be Israel's legal duty to use those means and thus keep Palestinian casualties at 0, no matter what number of Israelis had been killed.

Maybe Iron Dome will accomplish that, but I doubt it.

But as to why Israel can't prevent the rockets without killing lots of Palestinian civilians, well, look at Hamas's tactics: they launch rockets literally out of school yards, store them in homes, and wear civilian clothes when they go out to launch the things. They even design their rockets to look like compressed natural gas canisters so that Israeli air drones have trouble distinguishing a Hamas rocket squad from a Gazan household getting more gas for their kitchen. That is why Israel's response is so deadly. But that does not diminish Israel's right and duty to respond.
posted by ocschwar at 1:00 PM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


You know, there have been times in history when, forced to take sides, I would feel very much a solidarity with the Israeli's. I'm old enough to remember the news reports of suicide bombers in Israeli cities and I can absolutely concur that they had a right to seek an end to those. No one should live in fear of just riding a damn bus.

And then, I hear news like this these days:

Right-wing Israelis are expected to move into a room in an East Jerusalem Palestinian family's home on Monday, after a court sided with their claim.

Israel authorized the construction of hundreds of new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank in response to the killing of a married couple and three of their children in Itamar settlement late Friday, the prime minister's office said.

Which is ridiculous because Israeli settlers expanding into Palestinian villages has been on the upswing for months before this attack.

Housing construction in East Jerusalem and West Bank settlement building have been major issues during talks. In a blow to efforts to keep direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians from faltering, the Israeli government is planning to construct new housing units in East Jerusalem, Israeli and U.S. sources confirmed Friday. (October 15, 2010)


The state has presented the High Court of Justice a reply to a petition against the construction of a water purification plant for the settlement of Ofra on land that is privately owned by Palestinians.


Nonsense like this on the part of Israeli's is EXACTLY what has changed my perspective on this conflict. You don't pick and pick and pick and pick at the dignity and security and resources of a people (who already have NOTHING and who you have already in many respects have gained mastery over) again and again and again and again, and then expect sympathy when you get all indignant when they lob a rocket or rocks in any attempt at all to make a stand against this water-torture.

You don't think we see these little indignities piling up over and over? I don't condone anyone killing anyone, either side. But Israeli is blatantly provoking Palestinians. Israel has shown me through its actions that it doesn't want peace. And that any support that we give Israel to secure peace? Is being wasted unless the provocation stops.

You want to call me an anti-semite? I call bullshit. Switch the roles of the populations around and I would be just as pissed off at the Palestinians. Call them Swedes and Norwegians. I don't much care. It's the dynamic and the extreme, skewed balance of power and punishment that I have issues with.
posted by jeanmari at 1:02 PM on April 2, 2011 [22 favorites]


[Last chance to back it up and not turn this thread into another "MeFi can't do this topic well/decently/at all" Give it a shot? Thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:10 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


"You want to call me an anti-semite?"

Please no
posted by rosswald at 2:24 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hamas military wing says it won't guarantee Abbas' safety in Gaza
posted by rosswald at 2:27 PM on April 2, 2011


**Let's try this again, sans the derail.**

Peace may simply be impossible while Gaza is ruled by Hamas. I understand why Israel is reluctant to empower the Palestinians if that means risking another similar situation in the West Bank, now that Israel has Hezbollah on its northern border and Hamas in Gaza -- both terrorist organizations for whom peace with Israel is antithetical.

I'm honestly curious, who WOULD be in control of Gaza for peace to be possible? What exactly would have to happen in Gaza and for HOW LONG for Israel to consider peace to be possible?

I doubt that Israel will make the sacrifices required for peace unless it can really expect to be left in peace -- a likelihood that seems remote at present.

What is the line? What would have to happen for Israel to finally feel "left in peace"? No nation can expect that everyone else around them is going to say, "Okay, you win, we love you. Now can we all hug?" Does Israel deserve not to have suicide bombers in its streets? Absolutely. No rockets? Absolutely. Can it expect that every anti-Israeli group will disappear tomorrow? Not going to happen. Nor will every US Govt hating group disappear tomorrow (from inside or outside of its borders). North Korea hates South Korea. India and Pakistan aren't going to be shacking up together anytime soon. You see where this is going? If Israel's condition to peace is that all potential threats to its existence disappear? Then I'm going to reiterate, Israel doesn't want peace.

It has always struck me as an irony that Americans should criticize Israel for reasons such as this.

Oh BELIEVE ME. I am just as vocal about these issues with my own government as well, and put my money and time where my convictions lie on these matters. It doesn't excuse the US either.
posted by jeanmari at 2:28 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm honestly curious, who WOULD be in control of Gaza for peace to be possible?

Hamas does some good things for the Palestinians- helping build infrastructure, etc. They also attack Israel, which is a bad thing for Palestinians, because it gives Israel a reason to attack Palestinians.

The Palestinians really would do well to find some alternative to Hamas that can do the helpful things without being violent. Unfair or not (insisting on fairness simply sucks this discussion into a black hole of who-did-what-first), it would be of great practical benefit to them.

Would a unilateral peace on the part of Israel give Israel such a practical benefit? I'm not as sure about that.
posted by Jpfed at 2:36 PM on April 2, 2011


The situation right now is crazy. But in a way, I think one reason it is crazy is that the radical elements on both sides are desperate. Most Israelis and most Palestinians want peace and a two-state solution. Hamas and the right-wing Israelis have hi-jacked the situation because they intuit this is their last chance ever. It's not essentially different from the US tea-party, or semi-fascist parties in Europe. And the way politics work in Israel/Palestine lets them do it. Also, American foreign policy makes it easier for radicals.

In the meantime, real people get killed. I'm not at all flippant about this, I'm worried. To me, this is similar (but different) to the situation in the early 20th century, where those who opposed the reality of modernity hi-jacked most European countries and then most of the world into totalitarianism and two great wars. But in the end, the wars boosted the reality of industrialism, democracy and globalization. Fascism, Nazism, Italian and Japanese colonialism and the German concept of Lebensraum seem ridiculous to us today.
posted by mumimor at 2:38 PM on April 2, 2011


Well, it's not like Fatah wasn't once just as involved in terrorism as Hamas and Islamic Jihad now are. Who controls Gaza is not as important as whether or not rockets get fired, kidnapping plots get made, etc. Concrete measures that would certainly go a long way would be the release of Gilad Shalit, a credible commitment to ending rocket and mortar attacks, and absolutely no attempts to kidnap Israelis holidaying in Gaza. If Hamas isn't willing to move in this direction, then it really truly doesn't want peace, not in the sense of not being prepared to tolerate a low level of attacks on it, but in the sense of wanting to pro-actively commit offences against civilians. That does of course suck for civilians in Gaza, who have no way of removing Hamas.
posted by topynate at 2:39 PM on April 2, 2011


Holidaying in the Sinai, I mean, duh.
posted by topynate at 2:40 PM on April 2, 2011


jeanmari: "I'm old enough to remember the news reports of suicide bombers in Israeli cities and I can absolutely concur that they had a right to seek an end to those. No one should live in fear of just riding a damn bus."

I'm glad you remember 10 years ago, but I don't think you understand: now people are living in fear of being in their own houses, neighborhoods, and schools. What is the difference?
posted by autoclavicle at 2:44 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm honestly curious, who WOULD be in control of Gaza for peace to be possible? What exactly would have to happen in Gaza and for HOW LONG for Israel to consider peace to be possible?

The answer is: probably not a terrorist organization whose goal is to permanently end Israel and which regularly attacks Israel and Israelis at present and throughout the history of its existence, not to mention its history of attacks and oppression of Palestinians.

What is the line? What would have to happen for Israel to finally feel "left in peace"?

I don't know; maybe that would mean not being constantly and regularly attacked and threatened.

Oh BELIEVE ME. I am just as vocal about these issues with my own government as well, and put my money and time where my convictions lie on these matters.

Since my own country made war on Iraq, for example, in the absence of any attack or even a credible abstract threat, I wouldn't cast stones at another country because it responded to actual attacks against its civilians and territory. That would be presumptuous.
posted by knoyers at 2:46 PM on April 2, 2011


Since my own country made war on Iraq, for example, in the absence of any attack or even a credible abstract threat, I wouldn't cast stones at another country because it responded to actual attacks against its civilians and territory. That would be presumptuous.

No one in this thread is speaking on behalf of their governments. Tens of millions of Americans opposed Iraq. This is not a good debate topic, defend your position on the merits.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:29 PM on April 2, 2011


*debate tactic.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 3:29 PM on April 2, 2011


Ignoring causality only continues the killing.
There is a difference between "causality" and "who started it". The problem is you go right down the rabbit hole of arguing whether or not something counts as a 'provocation' or not. Israel bombs gaza because Hamas fired rockets because Israel fired a few rockets because Hamas was digging a tunnel because Israel closed the border because bla, bla bla. It's a completely pointless argument.
This argument is problematic to the extent to which it creates an equation in which it is Israel's interest to suffer more losses and thereby "even things out."
No, it does not. In fact, that's a completely insane thing to say.
The rockets are actually perfectly capable of killing people.
Except, they didn't. IIRC they killed only one or two people. Israel responded by an offensive that killed 1,400 people or something like that. That's not a proportional response.
I would want the U.S. to do whatever it could to destroy that enemy's capacity to bomb me again, while minimizing civilian casualties in that action as far as possible.
Why does it matter to me, or anyone else what you want? Massacring people isn't okay because you "want" to do it.
The answer is: probably not a terrorist organization whose goal is to permanently end Israel and which regularly attacks Israel and Israelis at present and throughout the history of its existence
Hamas "wants" to end Israel, and that's an insurmountable problem, yet Israel has in fact succeeded in ending Palestine and continues to occupy the west bank, and that's not?

The problem with that argument is that you are basically saying that the appropriate response to words is death. Hamas says it wants to end Israel, and therefore they must be destroyed along with anyone living nearby them. The fact that people have divergent interests is why you have negotiations.

It's especially a problem when you're interpreting past statements, rather then what people are currently saying when you ask them. Hamas has said, IIRC that they are willing to negotiate, but the fact that they didn't recognize Israel in their charter from the '80s means that they can't be negotiated with, or whatever.
posted by delmoi at 3:35 PM on April 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


There is a difference between "causality" and "who started it". The problem is you go right down the rabbit hole of arguing whether or not something counts as a 'provocation' or not. Israel bombs gaza because Hamas fired rockets because Israel fired a few rockets because Hamas was digging a tunnel because Israel closed the border because bla, bla bla. It's a completely pointless argument.


Then why do you engage in it? Hamas fired rockets to push forward the policy it outlines in its party platorm, which includes war with Israel up to the point of Israel's annihilation. Israel invades and bombs Gaza to deny Hamas the means and personnel with which to do it. When you bring up "who started it" it's only so you can have a strawman to knock down.

The rockets are actually perfectly capable of killing people.

Except, they didn't. IIRC they killed only one or two people. Israel responded by an offensive that killed 1,400 people or something like that. That's not a proportional response.

And that shows that you have no understanding what a "proportional response" means.

Example: Israeli air drone notices a group of men carrying a rocket. Israeli helicopter mows them down with a chain gun. 5 Hamas men die. No Israelis die. And you, reading Google News, shake your head at the "disproportionate" nature of this response.

Except the response was perfectly proportionate. The helicopter squad used a weapon suitable for killing that group of men wihtout taking out a whole block. That's what proportionate means: proportionate to the task at hand.
posted by ocschwar at 3:56 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jeanmari: I looked at your citations and I'll take them in order.
  1. Right-wing Israelis are expected to move into a room in an East Jerusalem Palestinian family's home on Monday, after a court sided with their claim.
    • Three things. Firstly, an eleven-year court battle indicates that this wasn't some arbitrary thing and there has been an appropriate level of consideration and judicial review. Eleven years is a long time for a court case.
    • Secondly, the article says that the plaintiff only succeeded in part, because of a statute of limitations. That tells me that we're talking about a legal argument, not an emotional one.
    • Thirdly, the article says that the family moved into the property in 1952, which is after Jordan expelled all Jews from Jerusalem in 1948. So yes, it was the Palestinian family's home, and losing part of your home sucks. On the other hand, despite being the beneficiaries of ethic cleansing, they still got to keep part of it. Plus, they've had an extra eleven years of occupancy fighting their eviction.

  2. Israel authorized the construction of hundreds of new homes in Jewish settlements in the West Bank in response to the killing of a married couple and three of their children in Itamar settlement late Friday, the prime minister's office said.

    OK, so what? Building houses is not an evil act. If you think anyone has been hurt by this then talk about the injury.

  3. Housing construction in East Jerusalem and West Bank settlement building have been major issues during talks. In a blow to efforts to keep direct negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians from faltering, the Israeli government is planning to construct new housing units in East Jerusalem, Israeli and U.S. sources confirmed Friday. (October 15, 2010)

    Again, so what. Incidentally, Wikipedia says the two towns where the houses are to be built have about 100,000 residents between them and that they're the among the oldest "new" areas of Jerusalem. It is inconceivable that any peace deal would not leave them in Israeli hands.

  4. The state has presented the High Court of Justice a reply to a petition against the construction of a water purification plant for the settlement of Ofra on land that is privately owned by Palestinians.

  5. Yes, there's a matter currently before the courts regarding an already-constructed sewer plant. Why do you think this is outrageous? This is what courts are for: to resolve competing claims. Do you know what Ofra's side of the story is? I don't. The editorial writer didn't tell us. Maybe Ofra argues that it owns the land? Maybe the Palestinian village doesn't actually own it. Maybe there are other arguments.

    You want to call me an anti-semite? I call bullshit.

    Has anyone actually called you an antisemite, or is this some sort of pre-emptive attack?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:57 PM on April 2, 2011 [5 favorites]


You've made some errors reading the article, twirlip. In fact, the whole point was :

The report was based upon the "if it looks like a dead duck, then a duck poacher was involved" theory, reasonable given the lack of cooperation. Israel has actually been investigating their own killings of civilians, turns out most commanders have fairly good reasons for their questionable decisions, suggesting few war crimes on Israel's side. It's pretty bloody obvious Hamas' attacks were targeting Israeli civilians though, but Hamas has not investigated. The PA otoh has investigated accusations of war crimes on the part of Fatah, largely confirming them.

In short, Israel and the PA are the "not as bad" guys, but Hamas are bad guys. We don't yet know if either Israel or the PA will actually prosecute any of their own who committed war crimes, but maybe.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:08 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Goldstone's report accepted Hamas' claim that most of the Palestinian casualties were civilians, despite Israel claiming the opposite was the case. It was subsequently revealed (through Hamas's own casualty reports, IIRC) that many Palestinian casualties that had been identified as civilians were in fact Hamas fighters. So Goldstone is now back-pedaling furiously while defending his record:
  1. We didn't have any evidence to show that they were fighters.
  2. It wasn't supposed to be a judicial report anyway.
  3. Hamas may be exaggerating its combat figures for some unfathomable reason of its own
  4. Anyway, it's Israel's fault for not cooperating
  5. And as I said, it wasn't a judicial report.
I'm pleased to see that Goldstone is capable of humor, although it may be unintentional:
At minimum I hoped that in the face of a clear finding that its members were committing serious war crimes, Hamas would curtail its attacks. Sadly, that has not been the case. Hundreds more rockets and mortar rounds have been directed at civilian targets in southern Israel.

Did Goldstone really think that Hamas was firing these rockets accidentally, or that it needed to conduct an inquiry into how they happened to be fired at civilians? They're practically un-aimable and therefore useless against military targets. The whole point of firing them is to create civilian casualties. It's an extraordinary admission of cluelessness.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:12 PM on April 2, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, Israel's insane, murderous overreaction to any slight hint of sound and fury coming from the oppressed people surrounded its border is the fault of "causality" in much the same way a US smart bomb falling on an Afghan wedding is the fault of newtonian mechanics.

You declare deliberate attacks on civilians to be not a war crime. If so, how possibly could you declare any attack of Israel upon civilians to be morally wrong. You attempt to license murder for only the side you like.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:23 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm glad you remember 10 years ago, but I don't think you understand: now people are living in fear of being in their own houses, neighborhoods, and schools. What is the difference?

I do understand. No one should be shooting rockets. However, when you back someone into a corner over decades and generations and they become desperate--especially since the blockade and military incursions--should you really be surprised when they try to put up some sort of fight? Sderot used to be called Najd) and Najd's Palestinian villagers, approximately 620 in 1945, were expelled on 13 May 1948, the day before Israel was declared to be a state. It's the village closest to Gaza, less than a mile. If weak and wimpy rockets are going to hit anything, they are probably going to hit Sderot. Is it right? No.

But the poke, poke, poking continues. If you keep taunting and poking any sane person, at what point are they going to get angry and strike back? Am I for the people of Sderot defending themselves against rocket fire? Yes. Absolutely. However, Israel doing things like this that Israel KNOW will provoke and escalate (thus providing a handy "cover" excuse for not pursuing peace) is obnoxious.

-Israeli occupation forces (IOF) advanced hundreds of meters into Qarara town east of Khan Younis, to the south of the Gaza Strip, on Tuesday and bulldozed farmland.
--An Israeli military college has printed damning soldiers' accounts of the killing of civilians and vandalism during recent operations in Gaza.
--UN's Gaza flotilla probe finds Israeli soldiers committed 'willful killing'

Good God, they are blockaded, they can't travel, they have to be ready for planes overhead or bulldozers razing houses and farmland at the whim of the IDF. I feel for the people of Sderot AND they can leave Sderot, even for a day, to get a break from the constant insanity. The Palestinians of Gaza? Are trapped in a cage. So, yes, rockets? Bad? And unrelenting provocation of a people who you've herded into a desert ghetto? Also bad.

The answer is: probably not a terrorist organization whose goal is to permanently end Israel and which regularly attacks Israel and Israelis at present and throughout the history of its existence, not to mention its history of attacks and oppression of Palestinians.

That is not an answer. That is a non-answer. I'll ask again, who WOULD be in control of Gaza for peace to be possible? What exactly would have to happen in Gaza and for HOW LONG for Israel to consider peace to be possible?

I don't know; maybe that would mean not being constantly and regularly attacked and threatened.

Again, a non-answer. Maybe I should change my question. What needs to happen for Israel to stop IDF incursions in Gaza with bulldozers or for settlers to stop building? What needs to happen for Israel to hold the line on protecting itself without constantly doing things that provoke others?

I'm glad that most of Israel wants a two-state solution, if that is really the case. If the problem is the right-wing politicians in Israel, than perhaps the U.S. needs to do for Israel what Israel is doing for Gaza---withhold resources, money and support until a more moderate government is elected.
posted by jeanmari at 5:27 PM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


OK, so what? Building houses is not an evil act.

I disagree. You suppose the minimiaztion of potential land for the Palestinan state is a valid Israeli goal. I disagree.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:28 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK, so what? Building houses is not an evil act.

Land, buildings and settlers are the whole root of this problem. Establishment of a physical state IS the issue. And, yes, building houses in this case is an act of provocation.
posted by jeanmari at 5:34 PM on April 2, 2011


You've made some errors reading the article, twirlip.

You're right, jeffburdges, thanks for the clarification. Israeli forces and Hamas both committed war crimes, but the difference (according to the article) is that in Israel's case the war crimes were not official policy.
posted by twirlip at 5:39 PM on April 2, 2011


Right-wing Israelis are expected to move into a room in an East Jerusalem Palestinian family's home on Monday, after a court sided with their claim.

An Israeli court? Right. Got it. Because that has worked so well in the past in the pursuit of justice for Palestinians.

It is inconceivable that any peace deal would not leave them in Israeli hands.


Inconceivable to who? Israel? Jerusalem is a city important to three world religions. Newsflash. People are going to be sensitive about Jerusalem. To pretend otherwise is either disingenuous or intentionally ignorant of the issues. Having read your posts on this topic before, I'll rule out intentionally ignorant of the issues.

The situation at Ofra is not the first or only example of Israel defacing land used by Palestinians for living, agriculture or grazing. Come on.
posted by jeanmari at 5:41 PM on April 2, 2011



I do understand. No one should be shooting rockets.


Your payment of lip service is duly noted. Now, on to your apologia:

However, when you back someone into a corner over decades and generations and they become desperate--especially since the blockade and military incursions

A blockade that is itself the result of the rocket attacks, and military incursions that are themselves done to frustrate these rocket attacks.

--should you really be surprised when they try to put up some sort of fight?

Is anyone here claiming to be surprised?

Sderot used to be called Najd) and Najd's Palestinian villagers, approximately 620 in 1945, were expelled on 13 May 1948, the day before Israel was declared to be a state.

It then became a refugee camp for Jews who were driven out of Morocco by violence and discrimination incited by radio broadcasts from Palestinian leaders.

It's the village closest to Gaza, less than a mile. If weak and wimpy rockets are going to hit anything, they are probably going to hit Sderot. Is it right? No.

So weak and wispy, indeed, that Hamas prefers to launch them around 7:55 AM, to maximize the odds that they will hit schoolchildren.

BTW from his surname, you can surmize that Osher Twitto is a grandsom of Moroccan Jewish refugees. Refugees, by the way, who have NOT been setting off bombs in Morocco.
posted by ocschwar at 5:43 PM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]



Right-wing Israelis are expected to move into a room in an East Jerusalem Palestinian family's home on Monday, after a court sided with their claim.

An Israeli court? Right. Got it. Because that has worked so well in the past in the pursuit of justice for Palestinians.


This is a courtcase about a Jewish owned home that was stolen from its Jewish owners in 1948 when it fell into Jordanian hands, given to an Arab family in 1952, and is now being handed to the Jewish family's heirs and assigns, after a court case that has been dragging on for years.

Sounds like justice is being done here, and that in this particular case, the Palestinian side would be better off with something other than justice. But like a neighbor once told me, "fools pray for justice, the wise pray for mercy."
posted by ocschwar at 5:46 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Times- JERUSALEM — With revolutionary fervor sweeping the Middle East, Israel is under mounting pressure to make a far-reaching offer to the Palestinians or face a United Nations vote welcoming the State of Palestine as a member whose territory includes all of the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem.

The Palestinian Authority has been steadily building support for such a resolution in September, a move that could place Israel into a diplomatic vise. Israel would be occupying land belonging to a fellow United Nations member, land it has controlled and settled for more than four decades and some of which it expects to keep in any two-state solution.

posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:49 PM on April 2, 2011


Your payment of lip service is duly noted.

Excuse me?
posted by jeanmari at 5:50 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ah, also noticed that you still have refused to answer my questions. Let me remind you again:

-Who WOULD be in control of Gaza for peace to be possible? What exactly would have to happen in Gaza and for HOW LONG for Israel to consider peace to be possible?

-What needs to happen for Israel to stop IDF incursions in Gaza with bulldozers or for settlers to stop building? What needs to happen for Israel to hold the line on protecting itself without constantly doing things that provoke others?
posted by jeanmari at 5:52 PM on April 2, 2011


Okay, jeanmari:


Your payment of lip service is duly noted.

Excuse me?


That's what it was. You wrote a token condemnation of the rockets immediately followed up by excuses for why Hamas is firing those very same rockets. A disgusting rhetorical ploy, and I prefer to call it out as such.

-Who WOULD be in control of Gaza for peace to be possible? What exactly would have to happen in Gaza and for HOW LONG for Israel to consider peace to be possible?


Chuck Norris? The Quakers? I'd prefer it be a democratically elected government. Then if the Gazans yet again vote for war, they could be reminded that the privations of war are their democratically elected desire. And if they vote for a government that doesn't launch rockets, then peace will be possible as soon as said government takes office and rockets cease.



-What needs to happen for Israel to stop IDF incursions in Gaza with bulldozers or for settlers to stop building? What needs to happen for Israel to hold the line on protecting itself without constantly doing things that provoke others?


Incursions into Gaza will cease when the rockets cease. The settlers are a corollary of the principle of "land for peace." It's called "land for war." So long as the Palestinians keep attacking, they will keep losing more land to the settlements.
posted by ocschwar at 5:58 PM on April 2, 2011


Incursions into Gaza will cease when the rockets cease. The settlers are a corollary of the principle of "land for peace." It's called "land for war." So long as the Palestinians keep attacking, they will keep losing more land to the settlements.

That's not going to work. It has never worked.
posted by krinklyfig at 5:59 PM on April 2, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's called "land for war." So long as the Palestinians keep attacking or not attacking or being provoked to flailing about so Israel can call it attacking and keep their coffers of foreign aid full, the Palestinains will keep losing more land to the settlements.

FTFY

I assure that my condemnation of rockets was not token. Though it seems it must be difficult for you to accept that someone who doesn't want Palestinian civilians to die also cares about Israeli civilians not dying.
posted by jeanmari at 6:03 PM on April 2, 2011


Don't forget the rocket and mortar attacks have been coming from Gaza since 48. They continued intermittently during the time that Gaza was under Arab control. Hamas could have chosen a path of international legitimacy in the wake of it's electoral victory. Instead it refused to make simple and obvious steps: publically renounce violence and recognize the right of Israel to exist. That doesn't mean Israel within its current borders, its 48 borders or even the UN partition plan, or even Balfore. Instead they chose to continue policies which have utterly failed to achieve Palestinian aims for 80 years.
What is frustrating to me personally is that it has been almost 20 years since Oslo and the world has watched another generation grow up in refugee camps. More Fatah and Hamas bullshit that is all lobbing bombs and dicking over everyday Palestinians with corruption and incompetence. All that money taken from the camps by thugs as "taxes" and bribes that goes to buy AK-47s and rockets from Iran.
Do you know the sick part. Fucking Hamas needs the blockade. Controlling food and rations is how they keep power. Those assholes in charge are rich as shot. Go to Gaza sometime and see how the power brokers really live like Sultans in their little castles in the Med. Spewing jihad by day and leering at girls while smoking water pipes and watching satalight dishes. Rolling aroun the hood in the Benz's with tinted windows and drivers. The whole Jihad is a racket to keep a few gangsters in power. I get the sense that this generation of rising Palestinian youth are less inclined to go along with the plan. 80 years of bombing and all the old people have to tell you about is some pointless rocket attack that accomplished fuck all for their pointless bullshit.
posted by humanfont at 6:10 PM on April 2, 2011 [3 favorites]


OK, so what? Building houses is not an evil act.

Ironmouth wrote: I disagree. You suppose the minimiaztion of potential land for the Palestinan state is a valid Israeli goal.

I don't suppose anything of the sort. These are houses within large towns, towns that will certainly remain part of Israel under any peace settlement. They have nothing to do with "minimization of potential land for the Palestinian State".

The article says "The new housing is slated for the large blocs of settlements in the West Bank that Israel wants to hold on to as part of a peace agreement". According to the Washington Post it's for 400 new houses among four towns that have collectively around 160,000 residents. As with the other article cited by Jeanmari, it is inconceivable that these would not be within Israel under any proposed peace settlement.

Incidentally, at least one of these towns was actually built in 1927 on land purchased by Jewish farmers. They were repeatedly driven off their land by Arab attackers, and all Jews were expelled from the area when Jordan conquered it in 1948, but it was rebuilt within a couple of years after the Six-Day War by former residents and their heirs. It's a large and built-up area that is contiguous with other Israeli towns so there's no pragmatic argument for it being turned over to a Palestinian state - and I hope you'll agree that there's no moral argument for this either.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:51 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


The hawk line seems to boil down to this:
Israel has to be a violent state, because they are surrounded by people who want to kill them and take their land. However, Palestine cannot be a violent state, even though they are surrounded by people who are killing them and have taken their land.
I will never understand this line of thinking.
posted by notion at 6:55 PM on April 2, 2011 [11 favorites]


Jeanmari wrote: The situation at Ofra is not the first or only example of Israel defacing land used by Palestinians for living, agriculture or grazing. Come on.

I will happily concede that your argument may be supported by facts of which you and I are ignorant.

An Israeli court? Right. Got it. Because that has worked so well in the past in the pursuit of justice for Palestinians.

It got them most of a house which didn't formerly belong to them, and 11 years of rent-free living in the bit they lost. Which, according to the article, was one bedroom and a yard, but which their lawyer claims includes a chicken coop and a storage shed. And this case went to the highest court in Israel.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:59 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't suppose anything of the sort. These are houses within large towns, towns that will certainly remain part of Israel under any peace settlement. They have nothing to do with "minimization of potential land for the Palestinian State".

Half these places were olive groves 10 years ago. Half the homes are unoccupied because peole are scared to live there. I've visited these places many times and we're talking urban sprawl which could be built elsewhere, if it should be built at all.
posted by humanfont at 7:34 PM on April 2, 2011



I assure that my condemnation of rockets was not token. Though it seems it must be difficult for you to accept that someone who doesn't want Palestinian civilians to die also cares about Israeli civilians not dying.


Your condemnation of rockets was immediately followed by making excuses and rationalization for those same rockets. You can assure that your condemnation was not token, but you know full well your assurance means nothing.
posted by ocschwar at 7:42 PM on April 2, 2011


Why does it matter to me, or anyone else what you want? Massacring people isn't okay because you "want" to do it.

You seemingly fail to comprehend my point, which is that a state must take any necessary steps to protect its people to the greatest possible extent when they are under attack. Merely equalling the enemy's attack, on the other hand, would be pointless and useless. The safety of a state's own civilians is necessarily a higher priority to it than that of the enemy's people.

Israel endured thousands of rockets over many years before finally resorting to Operation Cast Lead.

yet Israel has in fact succeeded in ending Palestine and continues to occupy the west bank, and that's not?

That the Palestinians have been the losers of land in this conflict has no bearing on Israel's duty and right to protect its populace.

The problem with that argument is that you are basically saying that the appropriate response to words is death.

Thousands of rocket attacks does not constitute "words."

It's especially a problem when you're interpreting past statements, rather then what people are currently saying when you ask them. Hamas has said, IIRC that they are willing to negotiate, but the fact that they didn't recognize Israel in their charter from the '80s means that they can't be negotiated with, or whatever.
posted by delmoi at 3:35 PM on April 2 [1 favorite +] [!]


"Didn't recognize Israel in their charter" is a highly euphemistic and innocuous description.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas_Covenant

In any case, Hamas' behavior and principles concerning Israel have not changed significantly since.

To Jeanmari: I think that my previous answers to you were adequate. Moreover, I am not claiming that Israel is completely just, or that the Palestinians don't have a valid grievance. However the legitimacy of Israel's military response to rocket attacks against civilians is not contingent on Israel being a just and perfect society, or on Israel being fair to the Palestinians. Israel's populace was under attack and Israel had the right to try and stop that attack.

Israel has to be a violent state, because they are surrounded by people who want to kill them and take their land. However, Palestine cannot be a violent state, even though they are surrounded by people who are killing them and have taken their land.
I will never understand this line of thinking.
posted by notion at 6:55 PM on April 2


Israel is a sovereign state and has the right to protect itself. The Palestinians do not have the right to violence against Israel and Israelis in order to call attention to what they are missing.
posted by knoyers at 7:45 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


These are houses within large towns, towns that will certainly remain part of Israel under any peace settlement.
Of course they will, because the only type of "peace settlement" that Israel will agree to is one with a bigger Israel.
posted by moorooka at 7:45 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Israel is a sovereign state and has the right to protect itself.
Palestine is not a sovereign state, and it doesn't.
posted by moorooka at 7:48 PM on April 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder how many Libyan civilians have been killed by rebel rockets? What's the threshold before Gaddaffi is justified in bathing Bengazi in white phospherous?
posted by moorooka at 7:50 PM on April 2, 2011


Israel can blockade Gaza and bomb it under the current circumstances and a actions by the Hamas leadership. Right and sovereignty have nothing to do with it. There are other ways they could deal with it, but they arn't and there is little that will change the situation in the current global political environment. Furthermore this situation has now persisted for some time. The strategy of bombing Israel has not achieved any progress for Palestinians.

Looking at the 80 year history of the conflict Palestinians have only gained political strength when their leaders renounced violence and accepted the right of Israel to exist. The PlO tried for 30 years to use violence. They got nowhere. American diplomats were legally forbidden from having official contact with the PLO. Then one day Arafat made a speech he renounced terrorism and suggested a two state solution. Over the next few years Palestinians got meaningful political power.

Then Hamas and the Israeli right conspired to fuck it up.
posted by humanfont at 8:22 PM on April 2, 2011


Over the next few years Palestinians Arafat got meaningful political power.
posted by moorooka at 8:32 PM on April 2, 2011


In no way do I sanction militant Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel. This is carried out by a minority of those who have the misfortune to be imprisoned in Gaza.
In 2010 the following was reported.
Gaza food supplies were strangled by 1,000-day blockade.
WHO: Medical Supplies Blocked From Entering Gaza.
As recently as last month UN is reporting UNRWA hobbled by unwieldy customs procedures on Gaza border.
Over half of Gaza’s 1.5 million residents are food insecure, according to World Food Programme estimates.
This collective punishment should be considered unacceptable to even the most rabid Israeli cheerleaders in this thread and at large.
posted by adamvasco at 1:33 AM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Palestine is not a sovereign state, and it doesn't." ( ha(ve) the right to protect itself )

Well then, if Palestine isn't a sovereign state, and Hamas isn't a legitimate government we're back to "Israel is responsible for the territory they legitimately captured in war against Egypt and Jordan"

Why hasn't the Israeli Government arrested and put on trial the criminal terrorists financing, planning and launching the rockets? There is no international issue.

It's a lack of "equal protection" and "due process" issue.
posted by mikelieman at 9:40 AM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"
Why hasn't the Israeli Government arrested and put on trial the criminal terrorists financing, planning and launching the rockets? There is no international issue. "


Becausee that would require door to door combat in the middle of Gaza and tens of thousands of innocent casualties? DUH..
posted by ocschwar at 9:52 AM on April 3, 2011


Becausee that would require door to door combat in the middle of Gaza and tens of thousands of innocent casualties? DUH..

The police don't do "door to door combat". Did you see the part about "due process of law"?
posted by mikelieman at 10:12 AM on April 3, 2011


"The police don't do "door to door combat". Did you see the part about "due process of law"?"

The Israeli police don't do jack shit in Gaza without securing access into the city courtesy of the Israel Defense Forces.
posted by ocschwar at 10:48 AM on April 3, 2011


The Israeli police don't do jack shit in Gaza without securing access into the city courtesy of the Israel Defense Forces.

And isn't that the problem? Israel captured the territory legitimately. Egypt gave up their claim. So, it's Israel's territory, and the safety and security of the people in that territory are Israel's responsibility.

If the Israeli Government ever stepped up and actually took their responsibility for the safety of EVERYONE they're ethically, morally and arguably legally responsible for, they would actually enjoy the consent of the governed.
posted by mikelieman at 10:58 AM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"And isn't that the problem? Israel captured the territory legitimately. Egypt gave up their claim. So, it's Israel's territory, and the safety and security of the people in that territory are Israel's responsibility.

If the Israeli Government ever stepped up and actually took their responsibility for the safety of EVERYONE they're ethically, morally and arguably legally responsible for, they would actually enjoy the consent of the governed."

The people living in this territory have made it abundantly clear that they want to rule and police it themselves. Israelis are cool with that. What they are not cool with is the rockets and bombs coming out of that territory. If the Gazans want Israel to treat these issues as a police matter, they can surrender to full Israeli rule yet again. Otherwise, Israel is well within her rights to treat this as a military matter.
posted by ocschwar at 11:16 AM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


moorooka: " Of course they will, because the only type of "peace settlement" that Israel will agree to is one with a bigger Israel."

The actual political and diplomatic situation is a lot more complex than this and has parallels in US politics.

The Israeli right wing's followers are a diverse group, some of whom (perhaps a majority of whom) are definitely supporters of the "Greater Israel" concept. The right wing has several parties that are united by (among other things) concern for Israeli security. To varying degrees, they support the Settler movement. They also distrust Hamas, for obvious reasons.

There is a substantial portion of the Israeli population that are moderate and left wing, who are more interested in peaceful coexistence with the Palestinians, and more likely to think it possible. Most don't have a problem with the creation of a Palestinian state, which they probably feel is inevitable. They think the Settlers are fanatics. But they don't trust Hamas, either. And they don't believe Hamas is interested in peaceful coexistence.

If you haven't been to Israel, it might be helpful to understand that the '68 borders are difficult to defend. Perhaps indefensible. Hilltops overlook towns and cities. A single mortar set up on a hilltop could do major damage. The Israeli public is aware of this. Returning to those borders is a non-starter with them. A high majority would vote against any peace agreement because they feel it would give their Palestinian neighbors a tactical advantage in the event of a conflict.

Israeli public opinion shifts between right to left in a predictable manner. When cease-fires are in place, opinion shifts left. When rockets, suicide bombers and bombings are happening, public opinion shifts to the right.

So the Left wing parties have a problem. They need cease-fires. They need security measures in place that will allow the Israeli public to feel comfortable enough to embrace peace negotiations and terms. They need the public to feel secure, so they will be willing to take a leap of faith, so to speak. When the Palestinians bomb and launch rockets, it weakens them politically.

Everyone knows it. So Hamas deliberately derails peace negotiations. The right wing parties support the Settlers -- even to the extent of defending them when they defy an Israeli Supreme Court order to raze their buildings. They also push for various measures to increase Israeli security which are pretty much guaranteed to antagonise the Palestinian population. This helps shift Israeli public opinion. So do horrors like the Itamar massacre.

Here in the US, there is a parallel in Republican and Democrat policies and rhetoric. Republicans know that if they can paint Democrats as soft on crime, terrorism, war and various enemies of the state (defined as other Americans, more often than not) they can take or keep power. Democrats take and keep power when times are better, during peacetime or when Republicans over-reach into the draconian.

Religious and political hetoric on "Greater Israel' is an issue. Possibly a bit less these days than it used to be? Settlers are considered problematic extremists by most, I think. But it's best not to assume that Israel is all of one mind about the Palestinians.
posted by zarq at 11:32 AM on April 3, 2011


The people living in this territory have made it abundantly clear that they want to rule and police it themselves.

But since they can't do that, the responsibility is still with the people who legitimately captured in back in June of 67.
posted by mikelieman at 11:56 AM on April 3, 2011


But since they can't do that, the responsibility is still with the people who legitimately captured in back in June of 67.

Israel is the only nation in the world that thinks those settlements are legitimate.

Until the Israeli government cares enough about the peace process to stop stealing more land by placing their civilian human shields over the territory they want, there cannot be peace. That's precisely why they are continuing the settlements despite huge international pressure and pathetic groveling from the State Department. After peaceful settlement, they can't take any more land.
posted by notion at 12:51 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Until the Israeli government cares enough about the peace process to stop stealing more land by placing their civilian human shields over the territory they want, there cannot be peace. That's precisely why they are continuing the settlements despite huge international pressure and pathetic groveling from the State Department. After peaceful settlement, they can't take any more land."

Until Israel's critics admit that a good portion of those "illegitimate" settlements is on land that was Jewish owned and cleansed of Jews in the 1948 war, Israelis will continue not to give a damn that those critics see the settlements as illegitimate.
posted by ocschwar at 12:54 PM on April 3, 2011


Until Israel's critics admit that a good portion of those "illegitimate" settlements is on land that was Jewish owned and cleansed of Jews in the 1948 war, Israelis will continue not to give a damn that those critics see the settlements as illegitimate.
During the 1948 War, around 10,000 Jews were forced to evacuate their homes in Palestine or Israel, but in the three years following the war, 700,000 Jews settled in Israel, mainly along the borders and in former Arab lands. ( source )
According to what I've read, between 400,000 and 700,000 Palestinians were forced off of their land in the 1948 War. If it's worth it to you to keep the war going for the pride of 10,000 citizens who are probably dead, I guess that's one choice. Another could be to honor their desire to have a safe homeland by ending the colonization of Palestine.

Otherwise, the only difference between the Israel position and the Palestinian position is the quality of the rhetoric and hundreds of billions of dollars of military weaponry.
posted by notion at 1:16 PM on April 3, 2011


So Israel needs to embiggen itself because the 67 borders are "difficult to defend"?

Please.
posted by moorooka at 1:23 PM on April 3, 2011


"According to what I've read, between 400,000 and 700,000 Palestinians were forced off of their land in the 1948 War."

And 800,000 Jews in various Arab countries were driven INTO Israel shortly thereafter. Your point?

" If it's worth it to you to keep the war going for the pride of 10,000 citizens who are probably dead, I guess that's one choice. Another could be to honor their desire to have a safe homeland by ending the colonization of Palestine."

It's not like Israel had a choice to keep the war going or not. The Arab League swore to keep it going, and several of its member states have kept the war going, non-stop. In the mean time, Israel decided that if the war was going to continue, so would Israel's expansion. There is nothing especially sacrosanct about the pre-1967 boundaries, especially regarding such things as the Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem, the Etzion villages, and other areas cleansed of Jews, whose "cleansing" is deemed sacrosanct by the UN. If the Arab nations and the PLO wanted the boundaries of 1967, they could have had that in 1967. They chose war, and so they lost more land.

Goes to show they really should give peace a chance.
posted by ocschwar at 1:27 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


That the acquisition of territory through war is inadmissible is the bedrock principal of international law.
posted by moorooka at 1:49 PM on April 3, 2011


Of course, I guess it's not "law" if it can't be enforced, so... go nuts Israel, take all you want
posted by moorooka at 1:50 PM on April 3, 2011


"That the acquisition of territory through war is inadmissible is the bedrock principal of international law."

You can say that with a straight face?
posted by ocschwar at 1:50 PM on April 3, 2011


This is not 1967. It's 2011. And the current leader of Israel has no interest in peace, and I bet all of the old guard in his government feel the same way.
The scene was both pathetic and outrageous. The last of Netanyahu's devoted followers, who believe he is the man who will bring peace, would have immediately changed their minds. Presidents Barack Obama and Shimon Peres, who continue to maintain that Netanyahu will bring peace, would be talking differently had they seen this secretly filmed video clip. Even the objection of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to conducting direct negotiations with the man from the video would be understandable. What is there to discuss with a huckster whose sole purpose is "to give 2 percent in order to prevent 100 percent," as his father told him, quoting his grandfather.

Israel has had many rightist leaders since Menachem Begin promised "many Elon Morehs," but there has never been one like Netanyahu, who wants to do it by deceit, to mock America, trick the Palestinians and lead us all astray. The man in the video betrays himself in his own words as a con artist, and now he is again prime minister of Israel. Don't try to claim that he has changed since then. Such a crooked way of thinking does not change over the years.

Forget the Bar-Ilan University speech, forget the virtual achievements in his last visit to the United States; this is the real Netanyahu. No more claims that the Palestinians are to blame for the failure of the Oslo Accords. Netanyahu exposed the naked truth to his hosts at Ofra: he destroyed the Oslo accords with his own hands and deeds, and he's even proud of it. After years in which we were told that the Palestinians are to blame, the truth has emerged from the horse's mouth.

And how did he do it? He recalled how he conditioned his signing of the 1997 Hebron agreement on American consent that there be no withdrawals from "specified military locations," and insisted he choose those same locations, such as the whole of the Jordan Valley, for example. "Why is that important? Because from that moment on I stopped the Oslo Accords," he boasts. The real Netanyahu also brags about his knowledge of America: "I know what America is. America is something that can be moved easily." For the White House's information. ( source )
The Palestinians are not going to roll over and allow Israel to take the rest of Palestine. They will fight back with every desperate tactic they can think of, and they are. The problem with this line of thought is that the United States is currently the only nation willing to arm Israel for free. If Israel refuses to stop the settlements and refuses to negotiate, it is only increasing the likelihood that one day a truly well armed Arab force will invade. And since you continue to establish the precedent that might makes right, they may well destroy all Israeli military targets that are not within the 1967 borders.

And no, it's not implausible. There could be a huge Pan-Arab movement of freedom marching across the Middle East, after their successes in Egypt and Tunisia. All they would need to do is trade some political favors on the UN Security Council, call the oppression of Palestinians a humanitarian crisis that must be addressed, and crank up the war machine in the other direction for the first time in about forty years.

As long as they adhere to international law during the war, are you still going to see their invasion as legitimate? If not, why not?
posted by notion at 1:51 PM on April 3, 2011


Sure, because it's true
posted by moorooka at 1:52 PM on April 3, 2011


"This is not 1967. It's 2011. And the current leader of Israel has no interest in peace, and I bet all of the old guard in his government feel the same way. "

Netanyahu has been voted out of office every time the Israeli public felt the peace process was moving towards actual peace. If the rockets stop, he'll be out on his ass within weeks.
posted by ocschwar at 1:55 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


As for international law and the acquisition of territory through war, perhaps you should pay attention to all the territories recently acquired through war to see why that notion fails the giggle test. It's ludicrous to expect Israelis to pay attention to any provision in international law, let alone a fictional provision like this one, when it has been made abundantly clear through precedent that no Israeli can expect to draw any benefit from the protection of international law.
posted by ocschwar at 1:57 PM on April 3, 2011


Last time a bunch of countries tried to acquire territory through war it was called fascism, world war 2, and led to the creation of an international system to spare future generations from it's scourge. If you're saying that Israel is operating under the standards of the 19th century colonial age, you're right, we know that
posted by moorooka at 2:10 PM on April 3, 2011


Netanyahu has been voted out of office every time the Israeli public felt the peace process was moving towards actual peace. If the rockets stop, he'll be out on his ass within weeks.

So, it's in his best interest to keep the rockets coming. He's doing a heckuva job.
posted by notion at 2:33 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also:

It's ludicrous to expect Israelis to pay attention to any provision in international law, let alone a fictional provision like this one, when it has been made abundantly clear through precedent that no Israeli can expect to draw any benefit from the protection of international law.

Switch Israelis with Palestinians, and perhaps you'll understand why that position is so untenable.
posted by notion at 2:36 PM on April 3, 2011


So Israel needs to embiggen itself because the 67 borders are "difficult to defend"?

Please


No, that's not what I'm saying. I was explaining the foundation and scope of the "Greater Israel" problem you raised in your comment.

You and I discussed this once before, in another thread a couple of years ago. The human rights problems in Gaza, the wall, the bombings, the murders, the geographic divisions, the checkpoints, the Settler encroachments in the West Bank, the use of civilian shields and the constant low-level and outright armed conflict are not going to solve themselves without a huge, multinational war unless the Israelis and the Palestinians stop dicking around, stop their extremists and fight for peace. And the only way to get Israeli government to do that in good faith is to give their citizens some sense that once a Palestinian state is acheived, it won't turn into an armed and dangerous aggressor and start an all-out war.
posted by zarq at 3:09 PM on April 3, 2011


A dangerous aggressor? Are they worried that the new Palestinian state with its massively powerful army and air force and its 200 nuclear weapons are going to invade and occupy israel and start colonizing its land with Arab-only settlements connected by Arab - only land, confining the Jewish population to walled-off ghettos and holding thousands of them prisoner without trial? Are they worried that after the Palestinians do this that the united states congress will demand that Israelis end all armed resistance before negotiations take place, and that aspiring presidential candidates will fall over themselves to defend Palestine's right to "self-defense"?

My opinion is that your argument is fundamentally flawed because it regards both Palestinian and Israeli extremists as being a problem. But from Congress' point of view, there's no such thing as an Israeli extremist; once they are in government, they are an ally and a partner no matter their position. Israeli extremism isn't a problem, because according to those who pay this conflict's bills, it just doesn't exist.
posted by moorooka at 3:39 PM on April 3, 2011


It's ludicrous to expect Israelis to pay attention to any provision in international law

I see. Well, here's to the lowest common denominator setting the standard once again.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:44 PM on April 3, 2011


"So, it's in his best interest to keep the rockets coming. He's doing a heckuva job."

It's Hamas that decides whether the rockets continue, not Netanyahu.
posted by ocschwar at 3:52 PM on April 3, 2011


"Switch Israelis with Palestinians, and perhaps you'll understand why that position is so untenable."

Last I checked international law is not something Hamas pays any attention to either.
posted by ocschwar at 3:53 PM on April 3, 2011


Last I checked international law is not something Hamas pays any attention to either.

So, would you say Hamas is leading the way for Israel? Or is it the other way around?
posted by krinklyfig at 4:01 PM on April 3, 2011


I'm saying this notion that international law is a relevant thing to invoke is ridiculous.

The so called "international community" has made it absolutely clear that under no circumstances will they invoke international law in any way that will benefit an Israeli. Ever. So it's absurd to expect Israelis to be so attached to obeying it.
posted by ocschwar at 4:06 PM on April 3, 2011


A perfectly valid chain of reasoning for criminals everywhere
posted by moorooka at 4:14 PM on April 3, 2011


Actually, Moorooka, self defense is a fundamental part of international law, just as "self help" is a fundamental part of common law. If the world were willing to protect Israel (or any other country) from its neighbours it might be a different matter, but as things stand it is effectively at war with Gaza even though it is in the extraordinary position of being held responsible for its inhabitants.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:25 PM on April 3, 2011


If the world were willing to protect the Palestinians from Israel, then Israel might have to give up the extra "living space" and go back to its borders.
posted by moorooka at 4:51 PM on April 3, 2011


"A perfectly valid chain of reasoning for criminals everywhere"

The term you're reaching for is "outlaw." I.e. someone who has been declared outside the protection of the law. You do not need to be a criminal to wind up an outlaw, as Israelis know perfectly well.
posted by ocschwar at 4:51 PM on April 3, 2011


It's Hamas that decides whether the rockets continue, not Netanyahu.

No, as the leader of the nation that is disallowing the Palestinians their right to self govern with bullshit ultimatums so they can place more human shields on the territory they desire, Netanyahu has a lot to do with it.

Israel likes to pretend that everything is the fault of the Palestinians. But when you have claimed a good portion of someone else's land less than 50 years ago, whatever the circumstances, there are concessions that you should be willing to make if you ever want to live in peace. For all of those fifty years, regardless of whether Palestinians were shooting rockets or not, Israel has been building settlements, especially since the Oslo Accords, for the specific purpose of claiming land and planning on never returning it to the Palestinians. Despite the agreement they made in the Oslo Accords to give the land back.

If violence and invasion isn't the answer they want the Palestinians to seek, Israel should take their own advice, and as the occupier, and as the controller of all of Palestine's borders, and as the vastly superior military, and as the claimant of more bodies in the conflict by far for decades, Israel should be the one taking the first steps. Instead, they are using underhanded loopholes in treaties they have signed to undermine Palestinian sovereignty, and then expecting Palestine to return to the negotiation table every year to beg for what's left of their country, and live in grinding poverty, without any ill effects on their side of the fence.

Israel has established that vigilante justice is the way they would like to solve the problem. If you don't want Palestinians to use homemade rockets, sell them the same equipment that we give away to Israel. I'm sure they'd much rather bomb the IDF headquarters than shoot another rocket off into the dark that's made out of scrap metal and household chemicals.
posted by notion at 4:51 PM on April 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


"
No, as the leader of the nation that is disallowing the Palestinians their right to self govern with bullshit ultimatums so they can place more human shields on the territory they desire, Netanyahu has a lot to do with it."

No, the people sending the rockets are human beings endowed with free will. They can send rockets, or refraind from sending rockets. They always have that choice. They consistently choose to send rockets. Not only that, they consistently choose to send the rockets at 7:55 AM to maximize the odds of hitting schoolchildren.

They have 100% to do witth the issue of the rockets, and they choose to send those rockets not because of settlements. but because Israel exists and they intend for Israel not to exist, as per their overtly declared intentions., Do try to keep up, dear.
posted by ocschwar at 4:55 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Israel likes to pretend that everything is the fault of the Palestinians."

The rockets are 100% the fault of the Palestinians: they are the ones launching the rockets.
posted by ocschwar at 4:56 PM on April 3, 2011 [2 favorites]


No, the term I am looking for is "criminal". The reason that theives are not protected by law is because theft is illegal. If Israel wants to be treated like every other country it can behave like every other country and stop attempting to acquire territory illegally.
posted by moorooka at 4:58 PM on April 3, 2011


"No, the term I am looking for is "criminal". "

Which shows more about you than it shows about Israel.

"The reason that theives are not protected by law is because theft is illegal."

Actually, thieves are protected by law. Due process and all that, punishment of defined duration, limited by law and which cannot be extended ex post facto, et cetera.

Civics class, in 8th grade, remember?

Outlaws, however, are people who have been declared ineligible to the protection of the law.

Example: Jews in Europe, 1932-1945.

Example: Jews in Arab countries, 1941 to present day.

Example: Gilad Shalit, soldier, captured by Hamas, who has yet to enjoy any of the protections of the Geneva Convention.

The simple fact is that regardless of anything Israel does, no Israeli is eligible to invoke and benefit from any provision of international law, because violations of international law are ignored when they are inflicted against Israelis. ergo, guilty or not, Israelis are outlaws, and well, if you're going to do the time, might as well do the crime.

" If Israel wants to be treated like every other country it can behave like every other country and stop attempting to acquire territory illegally."

"Illegally", there you go using that word again. According to you, land that was owned by Jews, and cleansed of Jews in 1948, cannot be restored to Jews because that would somehow be "illegal".

That is, because the cannibals in Turtle Bay say so. Which is a pretty ludicrous definition of what is "legal" or "illegal."

Which is why Israelis treat your attitude with the contempt it deserves.
posted by ocschwar at 5:04 PM on April 3, 2011


The west bank was not owned by Jews and cleansed of jews in 1948. The settlers who are moving in on that land have absolutely no claim to it whatsoever, and it says a whole lot about YOU that you think that they have some sort of racial entitlement to it by sheer virtue of being Jewish, and that the Arabs who have lived there for centuries should just hand it over because they aren't. Acquisition of territory through war is inadmissible under international law, building settlements on occupied land is illegal under international law and the reason that israel is condemned for these things and other countries aren't is because israel is doing these things and other countries aren't.
posted by moorooka at 5:25 PM on April 3, 2011


The west bank was not owned by Jews and cleansed of jews in 1948.

Thank you for putting your utter ignorance on display.

Jewish Quarter of the Old City of Jerusalem: owned by Jews, captured by Jordan. All Jews kicked out. Synagogues demolished. Gravestones used to line latrines.

Etzion Villages, west of Hebron. Captured by Jordan 1948. All Jews killed or captured. Villages destroyed.

Hebron: cleansed of all Jews in 1936.

All of this ethnic cleansing not only disregarded by the international community, but rendered sacrosanct, and all attempts to reverse this cleansing is labeled "settlement activity" and decried as a violation of international law.
posted by ocschwar at 5:38 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ethnic Han Chinese settlement in Tibet. Turkish Settlement in Northern Cyprus. Kurds vs Arabs in Northern Iraq There are lots of places in the world where empires are being built on settlers. Let's not be too harsh on Israel just because the are the easy propaganda target for Arab dictators.
posted by humanfont at 5:50 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


700,000 Palestinians were cleansed from territory that is now Israel during 48-49. Are you saying that the palestinians have "a right of return"? Or are you instead saying that the Palestinians should occupy israel and establish an apartheid military regime, kicking Jews out of their homes and constructing Arab-only settlements connected by Arab-only roads? Or are you, in fact, saying neither, because what applies to Jews doesnt apply to non-jews?

Thank you for putting your racist double standards on display.
posted by moorooka at 5:55 PM on April 3, 2011


mooroka, you claimed no Jews were cleansed out of the West Bank in 1948./ Are you ready to admit that you are wrong?

They were cleansed. Their cleansing is officially condoned. Does this not bother you?

While we're at it, there is the slight matter of the Jews cleansed out of Arab countries and INTO Israel at the same time period. Is that also okay with you?

You're the one demonstrating 1. utter ignorance, and 2. a racist double standard.
posted by ocschwar at 6:07 PM on April 3, 2011


Moorooka, the borders you're talking about existed for only nineteen years - from 1948 to 1967. They were never meant to be permanent; they were just where the armies happened to be when hostilities ended. They didn't mark a border between Israel and a Palestinian entity, but between Israel and its neighbours: Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. Jordan only relinquished its claim to the West Bank in 1988, and Syria has never relinquished its claim to the Golan Heights.

The west bank was not owned by Jews and cleansed of jews in 1948.

Bits of it were. Did you read the Wikipedia link on Gush Etzion, the site of some of the new construction you're upset about? Here are some photos of the ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem. And of course there were other Jewish areas, like the Jewish Quarter of Hebron, that had been ethnically cleansed about twenty years earlier.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:10 PM on April 3, 2011


They have 100% to do witth the issue of the rockets, and they choose to send those rockets not because of settlements. but because Israel exists and they intend for Israel not to exist, as per their overtly declared intentions.,

Netenyahu has stated unequivocally that he does not plan on giving the land back per the Oslo Accords, and it appears his plan to continue destabilizing the situation with settlements is working quite well. I really want to know why you think this means that the Israeli government has no part in perpetuating the violence.

There are also members of far right parties in Israel who demand the destruction of Palestine. You seem to prefer comparing Israeli doves to Palestinian hawks:
Israel has cancelled work permits for 45,000 Palestinians who worked inside Israel, cut off the Gaza Strip from any external contact, vastly restricted imports of consumer goods, uprooted crops from thousands of hectares of orchards and imposed a curfew that is so severe that people find it difficult to get even to hospitals, let alone places of work. Sewage plants, irrigation systems, power facilities, radio towers, roads and airport runways have been the favourite bombing targets. All exit and entry points are controlled by Israelis, air links have been cut off, and a maze of networks control the movement of Palestinians within their neighbourhoods. In the Gaza Strip, all of which is surrounded by barbed wire, there are two main roads for the Palestinians, both of which have been bombed or bulldozed. Even the Palestine Central Bureau of Statistics had its computers ransacked and its files destroyed. And Arafat is of course under house arrest in Ramallah, with high-tech armour surrounding his residence.

The policy thus seems to have three objectives:

1. To beat the populace into abject submission through military assault, political repression, encirclement and starvation;

2. The permanent destruction of infrastructure as well as the Palestinian Authority as such, so that living conditions become so insufferable that sizeable numbers of people would be forced to flee the occupied territories;

3. The toppling of Arafat and negotiating with local leaders so that the leaders become the equivalent of the "chiefs" in colonial Africa and are then made to manage the remaining population on the model of the Bantustans in apartheid South Africa. Nelson Mandela's old remark that the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories was "worse than apartheid" is thus becoming remorselessly true.

Alex Fishman, who is reputed to have excellent connections with top security officials, reported in Yediot Aharanot, the rightwing Israeli daily, in December 2001 that Sharon had prepared a plan to get rid of Arafat "even before the election" of February 2001. . .

Similarly, Foreign Report (Jane's Information Group) of July 12, 2001 disclosed a plan by the Israeli Army for an "all-out assault to smash the Palestinian Authority, force out leader Yasser Arafat and kill or detain its army". The blueprint, titled "The Destruction of the Palestinian Authority and Disarmament of All Armed Forces", was presented to the Israeli government by Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz on July 8 and envisages the suicide bombings by the Hamas militants as sufficient justification for it. ( source )
If your standards meant anything, you would hold the Israeli government to account for their role in the violence. Hamas can say they want to destroy Israel, even if they have no way to do it except for desperate acts of terrorism, and you call them criminals. Israel can create blueprints for destroying out the Palestinian people, carry it out, but as long as they only accidentally kill Palestinians and keep their entire culture on life support and expect Palestinians to grin and bear the occupation, and then use any flare up as an excuse to take more from them, you seem to have no problem with the intent or effect of the Israeli government's actions.

When an F-16 drops a bomb and kills a family, you don't see terrorism. When a homemade rocket kills a family, you do. I want to know what the difference is.

Do try to keep up, dear.

You have yet to cite anything.

The rockets are 100% the fault of the Palestinians: they are the ones launching the rockets.

It's good to know that when the Chinese invade with better equipment, you'll apathetically watch them take your land and kill your countrymen without ever thinking of resorting to violence. It's a very odd brand of pacifism you espouse. You prescribe submission for David, and carte blanche violence for Goliath.
posted by notion at 6:28 PM on April 3, 2011


The simple fact is that regardless of anything Israel does, no Israeli is eligible to invoke and benefit from any provision of international law, because violations of international law are ignored when they are inflicted against Israelis. ergo, guilty or not, Israelis are outlaws, and well, if you're going to do the time, might as well do the crime.

Wait, I thought we were all about accountability here. You said: The rockets are 100% the fault of the Palestinians: they are the ones launching the rockets.

Can we not also say, "The deaths of Palestinians are 100% the fault of the Israelis. They are the ones flying the planes and helicopters"?
posted by notion at 6:35 PM on April 3, 2011


"Netenyahu has stated unequivocally that he does not plan on giving the land back per the Oslo Accords,"

Those same Oslo Accords that Arafat was violating before the ink was even dry?
Why the hell should Israel stick by those accords? If the PA was going to observe them mainly in the breach, so would Israel.

"Similarly, Foreign Report (Jane's Information Group) of July 12, 2001 disclosed a plan by the Israeli Army for an "all-out assault to smash the Palestinian Authority, force out leader Yasser Arafat and kill or detain its army". The blueprint, titled "The Destruction of the Palestinian Authority and Disarmament of All Armed Forces", was presented to the Israeli government by Chief of Staff Shaul Mofaz on July 8 and envisages the suicide bombings by the Hamas militants as sufficient justification for it. ( source )"

Hmm. July 12, 2001, weeks after Arafat's forces launched numerous shooting attacks against Israel Israel decides to win the war Arafat began.

Good. Those attacks by Hamas are, in fact, sufficient justification.





"It's good to know that when the Chinese invade with better equipment, you'll apathetically watch them take your land and kill your countrymen without ever thinking of resorting to violence. "

If that would happen, I would attack the Chinese soldiers. I would not go around killing my own country's Chinese-descended citizens, and I would not launch rockets randomly at Chinese cities.
Get the idea?

Can we not also say, "The deaths of Palestinians are 100% the fault of the Israelis. They are the ones flying the planes and helicopters"?

The deaths of Hamas combatants are not a "fault" of anyone, they are a credit to the marksmanship of those who dispatch them.
posted by ocschwar at 6:45 PM on April 3, 2011


"
When an F-16 drops a bomb and kills a family, you don't see terrorism. When a homemade rocket kills a family, you do. I want to know what the difference is."

The difference is codified in the Geneva Conventions, which consider the targeting of civilians to be a war crime, and the inadvertent killing of civilians not to be a war crime when it happens in pursuit of a legitimate military goal.

You know, international law. That thing Israel bashers love to invoke but can never seem to bother reading.
posted by ocschwar at 6:52 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oschwar, I'm not ready to admit that I'm wrong because I'm not. Check your comprehension skills. I said that "the West Bank was not owned by Jews and cleansed of Jews". I didn't say that "the West Bank wasn't owned by Jews or cleansed of Jews". A few bits of the West Bank is not the West Bank, and so it's false to say that the "West Bank was owned by Jews".

But since you're using ethnic cleansing in the 1940s to justify modern crimes, how about the much larger ethnic cleansing of 700,000 Palestinians, who had to be expelled in order to create a Jewish majority state?

Most of the families living in Gaza are not actually from Gaza - they're from Israel. Do you think that the descendents of these Palestinians, many of whom have lived three generations in refugee camps, have a right to return to Israel and live there? If not, why not?

Why do you think that Jewish settlers, many of whom are from Russia and America and have no familial connection to any part of the West Bank whatsoever, are entitled to march in and violently seize Palestinian land simply on account of their being Jewish...

... but you don't think that Palestinian families, many of whom still possess the Ottoman property deeds to the homes that they lost, do not have the right to return to Israel?
posted by moorooka at 6:52 PM on April 3, 2011


Israel has occupied the West Bank for 40 years and had control over Gaza as well until the unilateral pullout. In that time they have thwarted and undermined every element of civil society. They did nothing to build infrastructure or the economy of the residents. Now they are suddenly surprised after all the educated and reasonable peole have left that the remainders are violent and pissed about shortages of food and the breakdown of basic services.
Israel has controlled the territories the entire time. Instead of building settlements for te last 40 years in the name of greater Israel they should have been building the Palestinian state.
posted by humanfont at 6:57 PM on April 3, 2011


Those same Oslo Accords that Arafat was violating before the ink was even dry?

I'll need a citation.

Hmm. July 12, 2001, weeks after Arafat's forces launched numerous shooting attacks against Israel Israel decides to win the war Arafat began.

It seems like you haven't read about the Second Infitada.
The starting date of the Second Intifada is disputed. One source records the start of the uprising as September 27, 2000, "when a Palestinian security officer on a joint patrol with Israeli forces turned his firearm on his Israeli counterpart and murdered him"; however this incident, referring to Yossi Tabaji, took place on the 29th. More commonly cited is September 28, 2000, when Palestinian rioting erupted following Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount, an area known to Muslims as Al-Haram Al-Sharif. Still others believe it started a day later on Friday September 29, a day of prayers, when an Israeli police and military presence was introduced and there were major clashes and deaths. . . In the first five days of rioting and clashes after the visit, Israeli police and security forces killed 47 Palestinians and wounded 1885, while Palestinians killed 5 Israelis.
The deaths of Hamas combatants are not a "fault" of anyone, they are a credit to the marksmanship of those who dispatch them.

And the thousands of dead Palestinian civilians? Can't you also write off the 500 souls of Israeli civilians so casually, or is there some difference in their value to you?
posted by notion at 7:01 PM on April 3, 2011


The difference is codified in the Geneva Conventions, which consider the targeting of civilians to be a war crime, and the inadvertent killing of civilians not to be a war crime when it happens in pursuit of a legitimate military goal.

You know, international law. That thing Israel bashers love to invoke but can never seem to bother reading.


Aggressive war is not considered to be legitimate. Virtually every international body of law has condemned the occupation as an illegal and aggressive war, and if you'll remember, participants in aggressive wars are not only responsible for the people they directly kill, but for all of the people that die as a result of damages to infrastructure, access to medical care, clean water, etc. Under international law, the death of Palestinians and Israelis are equally reprehensible. It's unfortunate that many Israelis don't feel the same way.

There are several hundred UN resolutions condemning Israeli violence. You should probably read them.
posted by notion at 7:09 PM on April 3, 2011



Oschwar, I'm not ready to admit that I'm wrong because I'm not. Check your comprehension skills. I said that "the West Bank was not owned by Jews and cleansed of Jews". I didn't say that "the West Bank wasn't owned by Jews or cleansed of Jews". A few bits of the West Bank is not the West Bank, and so it's false to say that the "West Bank was owned by Jews".


Nobody owned the entire West Bank. Literally nobody. Most of it was pastureland available for lease from the Ottoman Crown to shepherds but owned by nobody. But Jews did own several towns, cleansed entirely. And the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem, containing the most important sites of the Jewish faith. Cleansed entirely. And the Jewish Quarter of Hebron, cleansed entirely.

And this doesn't bother you in the slightest. Not even that, but you're here complaining because those "settlers" dare to work to undo those crimes.

But since you're using ethnic cleansing in the 1940s to justify modern crimes, how about the much larger ethnic cleansing of 700,000 Palestinians, who had to be expelled in order to create a Jewish majority state?


How about the much larger cleansing of 800,000 Jews from Arab countries INTO Israel (and comparable numbers into France and the US)?

While we're on the subject...

"
Most of the families living in Gaza are not actually from Gaza - they're from Israel. Do you think that the descendents of these Palestinians, many of whom have lived three generations in refugee camps, have a right to return to Israel and live there? If not, why not? "


And most of the familes being rocketed from Gaza are descended of refugees from Morocco. Three generations in refugee camps, well, except Israel built the refugee camps into very nice towns. So horrible of Israel to do so, isn't it?

But hey, at least you're not spouting nonsense about international law.

What we have here is a minority enclave, carved out by an oppressed minority, at the expense of members of the majority who were sitting on the wrong real estate. Lots of suffering on both ends. Major need for pragmatic solutions to let both sides live with dignity. And that can start with an end to the rockets.
posted by ocschwar at 7:11 PM on April 3, 2011


"There are several hundred UN resolutions condemning Israeli violence. You should probably read them."

Yes. Several hundred resolutions by an organization that has made satire obsolete by putting Lybia in charge of its human rights council. The UN is not the law. And the reason the UN is not the law is its demonstrated record of acting like a star chamber.
posted by ocschwar at 7:14 PM on April 3, 2011


"Aggressive war is not considered to be legitimate. Virtually every international body of law has condemned the occupation as an illegal and aggressive war, and if you'll remember, participants in aggressive wars are not only responsible for the people they directly kill, but for all of the people that die as a result of damages to infrastructure, access to medical care, clean water, etc. Under international law, the death of Palestinians and Israelis are equally reprehensible. It's unfortunate that many Israelis don't feel the same way."

Not only are you spouting nonsense, you're not even using terminology from any existing body of international law.

Going after Hamas is not "aggressive war." It is an action taken to frustrate the activities of an organization devoted to murdering Israeli civilians. Just because the Turtle Bay Cannibal Club wants to call it "aggressive war" doesn't make it so.
posted by ocschwar at 7:16 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


notion: "There are several hundred UN resolutions condemning Israeli violence."

And none condemning Hamas, a government that bombs civilians: their own when rockets fall short, and Israel's.
posted by autoclavicle at 7:28 PM on April 3, 2011


And this doesn't bother you in the slightest. Not even that, but you're here complaining because those "settlers" dare to work to undo those crimes.

Wait... when Palestinians try to take over land, it's a crime, but when Israelis take over land it's not? How does this logic work? Let me guess, it's a narrow interpretation of international law and cherry-picked dates in history...

And that can start with an end to the rockets.

But Israeli invasions and violence should continue without repercussions as long as Israelis consider it to be legitimate. We've got it.

Not only are you spouting nonsense, you're not even using terminology from any existing body of international law.

Going after Hamas is not "aggressive war." It is an action taken to frustrate the activities of an organization devoted to murdering Israeli civilians. Just because the Turtle Bay Cannibal Club wants to call it "aggressive war" doesn't make it so.


Yes, two of the most heinous crimes are "waging aggressive wars" and "excessive use of force." The reason Israel has boycotted the ICC is because it's military commanders and politicians would likely be charged with war crimes, along with members of Hamas, if the Rome agreements were ever officially ratified.

I have to ask, have you ever read anything about international law? This is all fairly common knowledge.
posted by notion at 7:36 PM on April 3, 2011


Yes, two of the most heinous crimes are "waging aggressive wars" and "excessive use of force."

Then perhaps you can name the bodies of international law you are citing here? Oh, right. You can't. You're just making shit up.
posted by ocschwar at 7:38 PM on April 3, 2011


"But Israeli invasions and violence should continue without repercussions as long as Israelis consider it to be legitimate. We've got it."

Israeli policy is land for peace, land for war. Arafat chose to resume war within days of starting the Oslo process. And so, Israeli expansion continued. Ain't life a bitch.
posted by ocschwar at 7:39 PM on April 3, 2011


Moorooka wrote: Most of the families living in Gaza are not actually from Gaza - they're from Israel. Do you think that the descendents of these Palestinians, many of whom have lived three generations in refugee camps, have a right to return to Israel and live there? If not, why not?

They're Palestinians living under a Palestinian government a few miles from where their grandparents were born. International law does not actually give anyone the right to return to their place of birth, let alone to their ancestors' place of birth.

Mind you, it is outrageous that so many Palestinians live in refugee camps outside the areas presently governed by Palestinians, and I think your concern for Palestinian rights might be directed at, e.g., Egyptian and Lebanese laws that deny citizenship to Palestinians; the arbitrary removal of citizenship from Palestinians in Jordan; or the way that the UN denies Palestinians the attention of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:45 PM on April 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


And none condemning Hamas, a government that bombs civilians

Hamas isn't a legitimate government and Gaza isn't a sovereign nation. I hesitate to speculate on the implications of considering them to be a legitimate sovereign entity, but I do question the loyalties and motives of those who would promote this gang of criminal terrorists as legitimate.

This isn't to say there shouldn't be a two-state solution with a sovereign government of the state of Palestine.

Hamas ain't it.
posted by mikelieman at 7:50 PM on April 3, 2011


From the WikiPedia article entitled "Wars of Aggression":
A war of aggression, sometimes also war of conquest, is a military conflict waged without the justification of self-defense usually for territorial gain and subjugation. The phrase is distinctly modern and diametrically opposed to the prior legal international standard of "might makes right", under the medieval and pre-historic beliefs of right of conquest. Since the Korean War of the early 1950s, waging such a war of aggression is a crime under the customary international law. It is generally agreed by scholars in international law that the military actions of the Nazi regime in World War II in its search for so-called "Lebensraum" are characteristic of a war of aggression, the waging of which was called the supreme crime by Justice Robert H. Jackson, chief prosecutor for the United States at the Nuremberg Trials.
Israeli policy is land for peace, land for war. Arafat chose to resume war within days of starting the Oslo process. And so, Israeli expansion continued. Ain't life a bitch.

So, under your own admission, Israel is violating international law.

The Nuremberg Trials eventually lead to the formation of the International Criminal Court. Israel signed, but did not ratify, the agreement that would hold them responsible for excessive use of force and their settlement activity.

From Haaretz:
Israel was one of the countries behind the ICC initiative, but changed its stance at the last minute, once settlements in the territories were included in the list of serious crimes under the court's jurisdiction. At the end of 2000, following an intense debate in the government, Israel signed the Rome Statute from which the International Criminal Court was established, but said it would not ratify its signature because of concerns that the institution would be used for political ends. Since then, Israel has stuck by its refusal to join the ICC and be answerable to its judgments.

Barak said that "Israel is part of the international community, and it must conduct itself in accordance with the interpretation that is common in international law." As president of the Supreme Court, Barak changed an entrenched approach that rejected court involvement in security considerations. In a ruling on the issue of the route of the separation fence, he established the formula of "reason and proportionality" in the exercise of security authority in the territories. His approach also guided the current court president, Justice Dorit Beinisch, in last week's ruling regarding the use of Route 443 by Palestinians.
posted by notion at 7:56 PM on April 3, 2011


They're Palestinians living under a Palestinian government a few miles from where their grandparents were born. International law does not actually give anyone the right to return to their place of birth, let alone to their ancestors' place of birth.

The "right of return" is in fact international law that gives someone the right to return to their place of birth. It's in the UDHR.
posted by notion at 8:00 PM on April 3, 2011


From the WikiPedia article entitled "Wars of Aggression":

Okay, so ytou you're reduced to citing Wikipedia.

Here's a hint: international law is not codified in Wikipedia.

I cited an actual work of international law. You can't find any. (Here's a hint: the ICC is not international law, precisely because it has not been ratified. Ratification is what produces bodies of international law.)
posted by ocschwar at 8:02 PM on April 3, 2011


"The "right of return" is in fact international law that gives someone the right to return to their place of birth. It's in the UDHR."

Funny how it doesn't apply to Muslims or Hindus who crossed the lines of partition in 1947.

Or to Germans who were expelled from Czechoslovakia.

Or Jews who were expelled from the numerous Arab countries.

This "law" you cite is in fact a privilege.
posted by ocschwar at 8:06 PM on April 3, 2011


A dangerous aggressor? Are they worried that the new Palestinian state with its massively powerful army and air force and its 200 nuclear weapons are going to invade and occupy israel

In a way, yes. Once the Palestinians have their own state, it is a foregone conclusion that the countries that had previously been sending them munitions will do so openly, and Israel will not be able to stop them. If the Palestinians achieved their state and declared war, it seems highly unlikely that Egypt, Syria, Iran and Libya would not support them. Iranian President Ahmadinejad has already all but announced that Israel should be exterminated. Egypt was supplying the Palestinians with guns, rockets, bombs and supplies through tunnels for years. In that hypothetical war, Israel would then be fighting a war on multiple fronts.

The Six Day War was only a success because Israel acted before they could be 'pushed into the sea.' They were outnumbered and outflanked, so they attacked and caught their enemies off guard. They got lucky, it won't happen again and the Israelis know it. So they're going to balk at any agreement they think is unsafe.

The Palestinians would certainly have a score to settle, wouldn't you say? I'd expect a carthago delenda est situation after statehood is achieved.

and start colonizing its land with Arab-only settlements connected by Arab - only land, confining the Jewish population to walled-off ghettos and holding thousands of them prisoner without trial?

No, they're afraid of being the victims of the genocide promised them by Hamas.

Are they worried that after the Palestinians do this that the united states congress will demand that Israelis end all armed resistance before negotiations take place, and that aspiring presidential candidates will fall over themselves to defend Palestine's right to "self-defense"? My opinion is that your argument is...

Whose argument?

We agree, you and I, that the Palestinians are being oppressed. We agree that Israel has committed human rights violations against Palestinian civilians. We (I assume) also agree that Israel is wrong not to stop the Settler movement from invading the West Bank. But the Palestinians have also committed humans rights violations against Israeli citizens. None of this is excuseable, as far as I'm concerned. It should all be stopped.

You do not need to convince me of any of that. Nor is the Israeli right wing perspective *my* argument. I am simply trying to explain to you a bit of the Israeli perspective. They are scared of a Palestinian state, of an Islamic Nuclear Bomb and of being the victims of a second holocaust. I don't blame them for being scared. I'm scared for them. But I don't think that fear should excuse or justify any of what I listed above.

My opinion is that your argument is fundamentally flawed because it regards both Palestinian and Israeli extremists as being a problem.

They are. Whether Congress takes sides or not. Because long-term peace is ultimately up to the Israelis and the Palestinians. No one else. If it were imposed externally, that would just be another kind of cease-fire. Temporary.

But from Congress' point of view, there's no such thing as an Israeli extremist; once they are in government, they are an ally and a partner no matter their position. Israeli extremism isn't a problem, because according to those who pay this conflict's bills, it just doesn't exist

I completely agree that this is a real problem. I do not believe that it is insurmountable. I do think it would be a hell of a lot easier if cease-fires were stuck to.
posted by zarq at 8:06 PM on April 3, 2011 [4 favorites]


Joe, I'm just trying to see if the same standards apply here. Obviously not.
posted by moorooka at 8:15 PM on April 3, 2011


"Joe, I'm just trying to see if the same standards apply here. Obviously not."

Of course not. The UN applies its standards ad hoc, as per the instructions of its member states. Nobody gets to be subjected to uniform standards of any kind on the basis of UN action. Israel and the Palestinians are hardly special here.

But then, what's the matter with you? You clearly have no interest in applying uniform standards of any kind either.
posted by ocschwar at 8:17 PM on April 3, 2011


Okay, so ytou you're reduced to citing Wikipedia.

No, I'm reduced to having to dig up paraphased entry level literature so you don't accuse me of making up the phrases "excessive use of force" and "wars of aggression".

The ICC is the de facto court of international law, and as I stated already Israel has signed but not ratified the agreement that took effect in 2002. In fact, as I again have already stated, Israel is refusing to join specifically because they want to avoid facing the criminal charges for Operation Cast Lead.

Even ignoring all of that, as a signatory of the UN Charter, Israel is already subject to it's laws:
The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.

1. The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.

2. All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.

3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

4. All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.


103. In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the Members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the present Charter shall prevail.
So, Israel is subject to International Law under the UN Charter, and according to the Supremacy Clause in Article 103, they have to abide by the UN Charter if it conflicts with any other international agreement. Even though Israel has kept the Palestinian territories in a legal black hole - the ICC is currently trying to determine if it can qualify as a state and sue Israel - that does not absolve them of their legal obligations.
posted by notion at 8:21 PM on April 3, 2011


"
3. All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered."

And which are the members here?

Hamas is not a UN member.
The PLO is not a UN member.

Once again you show that you have no idea WTF you're talking about. You're making shit up and calling it international law. Not even the UN gets to do that, let alone you.
posted by ocschwar at 8:25 PM on April 3, 2011


Notion wrote: The "right of return" is in fact international law that gives someone the right to return to their place of birth. It's in the UDHR.

Actually, no, the UDHR (sArticle 13 (2) says: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country." As the Wikipedia article you linked to explains, "There is disagreement as to what this actually means in practice as well as whether country refers to a state or a specific area of land." Pakistanis don't have an automatic right to enter India (as far as I know) or vice-versa. Greeks of Turkish origin don't have an automatic right to visit Turkey, although this issue must be nearly moot by now.

In the case of the Palestinians of the Gaza Strip, Israel is not their country - and really, why would anyone think it was, given that the whole point of the two-state peace solution has been to create a Palestinian country. In effect that's Gaza is; in conjunction with the Palestinian Authority it even issues its own passports. Whether this makes Gaza their country (I think it does) would be up to Hamas.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:30 PM on April 3, 2011


And which are the members here?

As I stated already (once again), Israel still has to abide by their agreements even when dealing with non-member states, or even non-state territories, like Palestine. Don't make me parse the articles word for word.

Seriously, dude. Stop digging. Start reading.
posted by notion at 8:34 PM on April 3, 2011


"As I stated already (once again), Israel still has to abide by their agreements even when dealing with non-member states, or even non-state territories, like Palestine."

As YOU stated. You who keep making shit up.

You who keep claiming that it's "aggressive war" when the IDF kills one of Hamas's rocket squads.
posted by ocschwar at 8:36 PM on April 3, 2011


The Arabs aren't colonizing Israel. If they were, the same standard would apply
posted by moorooka at 8:41 PM on April 3, 2011


Joe, if you want to destroy the spirit of the law with the letter and split hairs over "country" and "land", that's fine.
posted by notion at 8:43 PM on April 3, 2011


"The Arabs aren't colonizing Israel. If they were, the same standard would apply"

What standard? You and notion keep regurgitating pabulum and calling it a "standard."
Nobody's colonizing anything. Israelis are indigenous at this point, since they intermarry among the communities that gathered into it, and those communities include the Oriental Jews. Israel is a minority enclave, of the kind that the Kurds would like to set up in their area.
posted by ocschwar at 8:44 PM on April 3, 2011


I'm just regurgitating international law as laid down in scores of UN resolutions. Israel within the 67 borders is a legitimate country, but its colonial expansion beyond that is an international crime and is almost universally recognised as such. But as you've got it into your head that the Israelis are a special case that's above the law, and that Jews have a racial entitlement to as much Palestinian land as they want, there's really nothing more to talk about.
posted by moorooka at 9:01 PM on April 3, 2011


As YOU stated. You who keep making shit up.

What have I made up? Please get very specific, and cite your refutation. And if you think that member states don't have to abide by international law when dealing with non-member states, well... for fuck's sake, man. How exactly do you think the law works?

You who keep claiming that it's "aggressive war" when the IDF kills one of Hamas's rocket squads.

I'm going to repeat myself again. Aggressive war is defined as one that is waged for land or subjugation, and not for peace. You already admitted that Israel was expanding using Palestinian violence as a pretext: And so, Israeli expansion continued. Ain't life a bitch.

Israeli occupation is straight colonialism, and uses the same arguments that the United States used when it cleared Native Americans so European immigrants could take over. We took land, and then when the native population resisted, we took more land for "security."
posted by notion at 9:04 PM on April 3, 2011


"What have I made up? "

"Aggressive war" for starters. That phrase you won't even find in any actual treaty.

"And if you think that member states don't have to abide by international law when dealing with non-member states, well... for fuck's sake, man. "

Member states do not have to treat non-member states based on the UN treaty. Want that loving kindness? You have to join the UN.

And for fuck's sake, man, don;t cite the UN charter as a reason why Israel should allow Hamas to pursue its overtly declared goal of annihilating Israel. That's so absurd it goes beyond satire.
posted by ocschwar at 9:16 PM on April 3, 2011


"I'm just regurgitating international law as laid down in scores of UN resolutions."

UN resolutions are ad hoc decisions laid down by an organization so farcical it put Lybia in charge of its human rights commission.

They are not international law. Just as bills of attainder are not law in the US.

" Israel within the 67 borders is a legitimate country,"

That is certainly not how Jordan and Egypt felt in 1967. Google "Three Nos of Khartoum."

" but its colonial expansion"

Said expansion was in a war started (and lost) by Egypt, Jordan and Syria.
Start a war, lose land. So it goes.

" beyond that is an international crime and is almost universally recognised as such."

Which is why all you can cite about it is regurgitated post-colonialist twaddle, instead of, you know, actual international law.


" But as you've got it into your head that the Israelis are a special case that's above the law,"

Nice strawman you're trying to build out of what I said.

International law to you is this game of Calvinball in which you are Calvin.
But that is not the way these things work.

Israel has little regard for international law because Israel does not expect ever drawing a benefit from any provision of international law, since the UN has a demonstrable record of setting international law aside whenver it is on the side of Israel.

Israel's enemies have little regard for international law for their own reasons.

Which is why citing international law instead of the legitimate needs of Israeli and Palestinian people, is, well, just silly. But if you're going to do it, at least get it right,.
posted by ocschwar at 9:23 PM on April 3, 2011


You think the Jews are entitled to all the Palestinian land they want, on account of their race. Case closed
posted by moorooka at 9:37 PM on April 3, 2011


That phrase you won't even find in any actual treaty.
In 1950, the Nuremberg Tribunal defined Crimes against Peace, in Principle VI, specifically Principle VI(a), submitted to the United Nations General Assembly, as:

(i) Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;

(ii) Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i). . .

The relevant provisions of the Charter of the United Nations mentioned in the RSICC article 5.2 were framed to include the Nuremberg Principles. The specific principle is Principle VI.a "Crimes against peace", which was based on the provisions of the London Charter of the International Military Tribunal that was issued in 1945 and formed the basis for the post World War II war crime trials. The Charters provisions based on the Nuremberg Principle VI.a are:

Article 1
Article 2, paragraph 4
Article 33
Article 39
I had to refer to WikiPedia again, because you lack a fundamental understanding of international law.

Member states do not have to treat non-member states based on the UN treaty. Want that loving kindness? You have to join the UN.

Why are you lying? UN Charter members must abide completely with the agreement, without any mention of that depending on the other party being part of the UN.

[Don't] cite the UN charter as a reason why Israel should allow Hamas to pursue its overtly declared goal of annihilating Israel. That's so absurd it goes beyond satire.

Israel has the right to defend itself. It does not have the right to colonize Palestine, or to assassinate political leaders, or to use excessive amounts of force in retaliation.
posted by notion at 9:44 PM on April 3, 2011


Notion wrote: Joe, if you want to destroy the spirit of the law with the letter and split hairs over "country" and "land", that's fine.

I assure you that the law was written by people who were careful to distinguish between the two concepts, and that if this were a justiciable matter it would be interpreted by a court that was capable of distinguishing between them. I'm sure you want it to support your position, but as a matter of law - which you invoked, to rebut me - it actually says something else.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:33 PM on April 3, 2011


Notion, etc what about the rocket attacks and shelling that occurred between 1948-1967. Also the attacks in the 1969-1970 era from Egypt and the 1973 war from Egypt. Finally what about ongoing shelling from South Lebanon and area which Israel has been withdrawn from for quite a long time now.
posted by humanfont at 7:13 AM on April 4, 2011


Andrew Sullivan today
posted by beisny at 10:11 AM on April 4, 2011


Why are the '67 borders sacrosanct? There hasn't been a peace deal to codify them, and that was 50 years ago.
posted by rosswald at 11:00 AM on April 4, 2011


Notion, etc what about the rocket attacks and shelling that occurred between 1948-1967. Also the attacks in the 1969-1970 era from Egypt and the 1973 war from Egypt. Finally what about ongoing shelling from South Lebanon and area which Israel has been withdrawn from for quite a long time now.

Predictably, you don't ask about the invasion of Palestine from 1900 or so until 1948.

I understand and accept that Israel was created so the Jewish people would have a homeland in which to defend themselves, and I also am under no illusions about the depravity of the rhetoric from hardline anti-semites in the region. What I don't understand is why everyone pretends that no violence or instability was introduced with the invention of the state of Israel.

You cannot found a nation based on a preference for one ethnicity over another and expect any sort of democracy to emerge. Nor can you introduce millions of immigrants and expel a native population that has been living there for nearly two thousand years without any repercussions. So, while I totally repudiate any anti-Semitism, I equally repudiate the anti-Arab political element that allows Israel to treat them as prisoners and second class citizens and expect them to accept whatever Israel is willing to give them.

Settlers, who are members of political parties that have shot and killed Palestinians and call for the destruction of Palestine, still have the right to vote and voice their opinion. They are human shields for Israeli conquest, and seen as patriots. Palestinians who happen to live in Gaza and who want the right to govern their own borders and themselves are being strangled by unilateral Israeli violence and are denied the same rights. If it's not racism, it's certainly very close to it, and depressingly ironic when you consider that Israel was founded to escape violence predicated upon ethnic and religious superiority.
posted by notion at 12:01 PM on April 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


"the Zionist claim that Palestine was 'a land without a people' is challenged by pro Palestinian historians who cite census figures showing a substantial Palestinian-Arab population by 1914. Zionists note that most of this increase seems to have occurred after 1880, when Jews began developing Palestine"

Is there data for 1880 to 1914?
posted by rosswald at 1:37 PM on April 4, 2011


There is quite bit of data about who supposedly settled where and when. Unfortunately it is all so highly politicized that it is difficult to know exactly who moved where and why. Lots of Lebanese Arabs moved to the United States from the 1880s on was that explosion from ethinic strife or just normal movement.

So notion it is your view that only that descendents of Arabs or Jews who were settled in the current political boundaries of Israel/West Bank/Gaza that have a right to be there?

Notion why no mention of Arab riots against Jewish populations in the 1900-1948 era? The slaughter of the Armenan communities by the Turks and the later expulsion of some turks as the Ottoman empire collapsed. Conflicts between Arab groups who were taking Bedouin grazing pastures lands and making them into farms to drive a cash based economy. Just blaming this all on the Jewish migration ignores the real complex issues of the demographic, political and population shifts that affected the entire region as the Ottoman empire collapsed. Furthermore it places the blame on Jewish people pushed off their lands by the Tsar. Many of whom ended up settling in Palestine because that was the only place they could get to.

Most of these folks were not colonists, try were refugees. The holocaust wasn't the start of settlement, it was a small wave of survivors who came to an area that had built a vibrant Jewish culture. You can build a nation on a shared culture and other nations seem to have no laid claim to the idea that they can control their immigration policies to preserve that culture. It seems like a doublestandard to suggest that the millions of Jews in Israel can't make their own claim. To be fair it is also unreasonable to suggest that Palestinians be deprived of their same rights. The only issue in my mind is borders.

For borders we could talk about the 1917 Balfore declaration and the Sikes Picot agreement that established the borders of the space east of Egypt and south of Turkey to Iran. Until the British mandate Palestine was a place like the "Rockies" or "Midwest" are places in America. It was a geographic region without clear boundaries. It wasn't an administrative area of the Ottoman empire like a provance. This is not to diminish the Palestinian identity because it exists today. It is just to state that drawing the map and making claims about who owns which land and what country it belongs in is much more complicated than your black and white world divided by a green line.


History had the chance to take another path in 1919. We could also talk about the 1919 US King-Crane commission which pushed for a single state based in Damascus to include Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. This report raised concerns about anti-Jewish violence and anticipated most of the problems seen today. It recommended a working to bold a liberal, secular and democratic society. Unfortunately the British and French ignored the findings.
posted by humanfont at 3:36 PM on April 4, 2011


ocschwar: Netanyahu has been voted out of office every time the Israeli public felt the peace process was moving towards actual peace. If the rockets stop, he'll be out on his ass within weeks.

notion: So, it's in his best interest to keep the rockets coming. He's doing a heckuva job.


This bears repeating. It is not within the current Israeli government's political interests to pursue peace. I would have more respect for Israel-supporters who would acknowledge this; Israel-supporters who would condemn the repeated acts of provocation used to goad Palestinian refugees and provide cover to right-wing Israeli politicians.
posted by jeanmari at 5:24 PM on April 4, 2011


Notion wrote: You cannot found a nation based on a preference for one ethnicity over another and expect any sort of democracy to emerge.

I don't know what expectations have to do with it; Israel is in fact a democracy and a very robust one. But as far as your assertion goes, most nations have been established on the basis of a common ethnicity or have chosen to pass laws privileging one ethnicity over another. I gave a few examples upthread: India and Pakistan were divided on the basis of religion; Pakistan and Bangladesh on the basis of ethnicity. Incidentally, the proposed Palestinian constitution privileges both Palestinian ancestry and Islam.

Predictably, you don't ask about the invasion of Palestine from 1900 or so until 1948.

That's a very racist way to describe an influx of refugees, particularly when you restrict the term to Jewish immigration. In any event: so what.

Nor can you introduce millions of immigrants and expel a native population [...]

I don't accept your division of people into natives and immigrants; it's too close to some unfortunate ideologies about blood and soil. But as a matter of fact many, perhaps most Palestinians are the descendants of migrants from nearby countries - as are many Jews. Yasser Arafat's family came from Cairo; was he more "native" than a Jewish migrant from Cairo?

So, while I totally repudiate any anti-Semitism, I equally repudiate the anti-Arab political element that allows Israel to treat them as prisoners and second class citizens [...]

Israel had an Arab as its President (acting, but still ...) before the USA had an African-American.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:23 PM on April 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Israel-supporters who would condemn the repeated acts of provocation used to goad Palestinian refugees and provide cover to right-wing Israeli politicians."

You removal of any agency from the Palestinians is a little gross. And really, you could just as easily:

Palestine-supporters who would condemn the repeated acts of provocation used to goad Israelis and provide cover to right-wing Palestinian politicians.

(its not a useful comment either way)
posted by rosswald at 7:46 PM on April 4, 2011


There is quite bit of data about who supposedly settled where and when. Unfortunately it is all so highly politicized that it is difficult to know exactly who moved where and why. Lots of Lebanese Arabs moved to the United States from the 1880s on was that explosion from ethinic strife or just normal movement.

Nonsense. The data shows Palestinians outnumbering Jews and Christians by 5 to 1 until the influx of immigrants in the eartly 20th Century.

So notion it is your view that only that descendents of Arabs or Jews who were settled in the current political boundaries of Israel/West Bank/Gaza that have a right to be there?

According to literally everyone in the world except for Israel, Israeli settlements outside the 1967 borders are illegal. In 1967 there were 10,000 settlers in the West Bank area. Today there are half a million.

Notion why no mention of Arab riots against Jewish populations in the 1900-1948 era?

Because that's entirely common when you flood a small area with millions of immigrants. It happened in the United States as well. Because it's common doesn't mean it's right, but Arab fears that Britain would use force to create a Jewish State and turn Arabs into second class citizens turned out to be correct. Imagine the uproar if Muslims wanted a Muslim state carved out of South Carolina.

The slaughter of the Armenan communities by the Turks and the later expulsion of some turks as the Ottoman empire collapsed. Conflicts between Arab groups who were taking Bedouin grazing pastures lands and making them into farms to drive a cash based economy. Just blaming this all on the Jewish migration ignores the real complex issues of the demographic, political and population shifts that affected the entire region as the Ottoman empire collapsed. Furthermore it places the blame on Jewish people pushed off their lands by the Tsar. Many of whom ended up settling in Palestine because that was the only place they could get to.

Red herrings.

You can build a nation on a shared culture and other nations seem to have no laid claim to the idea that they can control their immigration policies to preserve that culture. It seems like a doublestandard to suggest that the millions of Jews in Israel can't make their own claim. To be fair it is also unreasonable to suggest that Palestinians be deprived of their same rights. The only issue in my mind is borders.

Israel would not exist if it didn't deny immigration based on a lack of shared ethnicity. Just think about that for a second. It's exactly like America only allowing in specific white Europeans. Does Israel get a pass on having racist immigration policies for some reason?

It is just to state that drawing the map and making claims about who owns which land and what country it belongs in is much more complicated than your black and white world divided by a green line.

This is the most ridiculous argument. The 1967 borders exist, and everyone agrees that it is the correct one with small adjustments for security that could be swapped evenly. However, instead of abiding by the Oslo agreement, Israel is using loopholes to prolong the conflict to try to get more land by falsely pretending that any area with a settler is a security zone. It's a bullshit, underhanded argument that is costing lives and stability throughout the area.

History had the chance to take another path in 1919. We could also talk about the 1919 US King-Crane commission which pushed for a single state based in Damascus to include Israel, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. This report raised concerns about anti-Jewish violence and anticipated most of the problems seen today. It recommended a working to bold a liberal, secular and democratic society. Unfortunately the British and French ignored the findings.

Well, keep living in 1919 I guess. Right now I see a military superpower colonizing a nation that has millions of permanent refugees using outbreaks of predictably violent resistance and terrorism to justify further their goals of taking more land.
posted by notion at 5:59 AM on April 5, 2011


Nonsense. The data shows Palestinians outnumbering Jews and Christians by 5 to 1 until the influx of immigrants in the eartly 20th Century.

The Arab population also expanded dramatically. The population of the entire region was under 400K including Jews and Arabs in 1880, today it is 10 million. That's a 20x increase in the population. Both populations were boosted by migration from other areas. As pointed out Arafat's family was from Cairo.

According to literally everyone in the world except for Israel, Israeli settlements outside the 1967 borders are illegal. In 1967 there were 10,000 settlers in the West Bank area. Today there are half a million.

The Palestinian leadership rejected the boundaries until the 1990s and instead spoke of driving the jews into the sea. Hamas continues to hold the position that there can be no state of Israel. While I don't support the settlement policies and it is something not allowed by the UN most peace proposals have indicated that most of the settlements will be retained in a future settlement, with Palestinians receiving compensation or land swaps for the existing settlements. The final status of settlements is going to be subject to negotiations.

Israel would not exist if it didn't deny immigration based on a lack of shared ethnicity. Just think about that for a second. It's exactly like America only allowing in specific white Europeans. Does Israel get a pass on having racist immigration policies for some reason?


Try that line in Arizona.

The 1967 borders exist, and everyone agrees that it is the correct one with small adjustments for security that could be swapped evenly.

Everyone except Hamas and the Israeli right which hold significant political sway in both nations. As the primary combatants who are the ones who need to come to the table, it would seem that this is a major obstacle.


Right now I see a military superpower colonizing a nation that has millions of permanent refugees using outbreaks of predictably violent resistance and terrorism to justify further their goals of taking more land.


In Gaza where Israel has removed the settlements and pulled back to the 67 borders they have been met with a rain of rocket fire and a political leadership that refused to recognize Israel's right to exist. Perhaps the political leaders of Hamas should show some agency and take a firmer stand rather than importing rockets from Iran and lobbing them over the border. It isn't like someone just gets ahold of a rocket, gets training on it and lobs it over the border. This is an expensive item, requiring training and long supply chain. These arn't lone actors, but must be directed by political leadership.
posted by humanfont at 8:09 AM on April 5, 2011


"Israel-supporters who would condemn the repeated acts of provocation used to goad Palestinian refugees and provide cover to right-wing Israeli politicians."

You removal of any agency from the Palestinians is a little gross.


No, it's not gross, it's valid. You're dodging the issue. Poorly.

If a Palestinian citizen or someone with the right of return benefits to Gaza (except their are none) were having a conversation in this discussion, I would have something similar to say to them.
posted by jeanmari at 8:57 AM on April 5, 2011


The Arab population also expanded dramatically...

Not through militarily enforced immigration.

The Palestinian leadership rejected the boundaries until the 1990s and instead spoke of driving the jews into the sea.

242 and modifications in the 70s and 476 in 1980 both supported a two state solution based on the 1967 borders, and both were supported by the PLO. Hamas even backed a two state solution in 2008 before Operation Cast Lead. The only two states in the UN to ever veto the two state solution are the US and Israel, and sometimes Dominica.

Try that line in Arizona.

Um, if Arizona started to invade Mexico and "deport" citizens out of the conquered territory, your argument might make some sense.

In Gaza where Israel has removed the settlements and pulled back to the 67 borders they have been met with a rain of rocket fire and a political leadership that refused to recognize Israel's right to exist. Perhaps the political leaders of Hamas should show some agency and take a firmer stand rather than importing rockets from Iran and lobbing them over the border. It isn't like someone just gets ahold of a rocket, gets training on it and lobs it over the border. This is an expensive item, requiring training and long supply chain. These arn't lone actors, but must be directed by political leadership.

You are so full of shit it's, well, entirely predictable.

Qassam rockets are made locally. Israel didn't just leave Gaza, they've had it under a blockade since 2007. Malcom Smart of Amnesty International said in 2008, "This action appears calculated to make an already dire humanitarian situation worse, one in which the most vulnerable -- the sick, the elderly, women and children -- will bear the brunt, not those responsible for the attacks against Israel."

And during Operation Cast Lead, the IDF destroyed food production facilities and other civilian infrastructure. Why is the wholesale destruction of Gaza infrastructure to punish civilians in Gaza acceptable? And why in the fuck do you think that it's reasonable to expect them after 40 years of this sort of behavior to think that civil disobedience -- which have all turned violent after being crushed like the First Infitada in 1987 -- is going to work?

People, regardless of their ethnicity or religion, turn to terrorism when they are left with little to no choices, and usually only after being subject to extreme hardship. To assume otherwise is flatly and undeniably a racist impulse.
posted by notion at 8:58 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


humanfont, the rockets reduced to practically nothing while the ceasefire held. Israel may have 'pulled out' of Gaza, but they've done it in a way that's like taking the prison guard out of the cell. And as for Hamas showing greater agency and stopping the rocket attacks, as I pointed out above, senior Israeli officials think that Cast Lead reduced Hamas' ability to prevent rocket attacks. (An ability they had clearly demonstrated during the ceasefire.)

Oh yeah, and Hamas have repeatedly stated they're willing to enter a long term truce based around the 1967 borders with a viable Palestinian state. "Hamas drops call for destruction of Israel from manifesto".

Of course, when the Israelis reject even the incredibly generous peace terms offered by the Palestinian Authority, in favour of more settlement building, you have to question their commitment to the peace process.
posted by knapah at 9:04 AM on April 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


humanfont: "Perhaps the political leaders of Hamas should show some agency and take a firmer stand rather than importing rockets from Iran and lobbing them over the border."

notion: "Qassam rockets are made locally."

Yep. But they're not the only ones Hamas has. Grad rockets, produced and presumably shipped to Hamas by Iran, and WS-1E rockets produced in China and also presumed to have been shipped in to Hamas by Iran are part of their arsenal. This was known about in 2007 and confirmed in 2008 and 2009. Hence the various news reports of Grad rockets being launched at Israeli towns from Gaza.
posted by zarq at 9:38 AM on April 5, 2011


notion: " People, regardless of their ethnicity or religion, turn to terrorism when they are left with little to no choices, and usually only after being subject to extreme hardship.

More on this, from a previous FPP. The linked editorial (in the FPP) gives a rather shabby understanding of the professor's work, but there are better links and explanations throughout the comments which are worth reading.

To assume otherwise is flatly and undeniably a racist impulse."

No, it's not. Often, it's a matter of education: learning and understanding what drives terrorism. It certainly was in my case.
posted by zarq at 9:55 AM on April 5, 2011


Notion are you suggesting that Hamas' local rocket factory makes them less responsible for the attacks? Not to mention that someone is supplying the steel, potassium nitrate and TNT for the things. Maybe they should use the fertilizer to grow food for the local population.

Um, if Arizona started to invade Mexico and "deport" citizens out of the conquered territory, your argument might make some sense.

Mexico? I'm talking about the Navaho nation. Perhaps you missed the whole flooding of sacred lands to make Lake Powell, or the boarding schools, dismissing claims of sovereignty at the whim of congress, plague blankets, etc. Now they get stopped and detained if they don't had papers to prove they army Mexicans. Also you may have missed the fact that the US conquered Arizona from Mexico and then flooded the area with white settlers.
posted by humanfont at 10:27 AM on April 5, 2011


Notion are you suggesting that Hamas' local rocket factory makes them less responsible for the attacks? Not to mention that someone is supplying the steel, potassium nitrate and TNT for the things.

No, I'm pointing out that you seem to misunderstand basic facts about the conflict.

Maybe they should use the fertilizer to grow food for the local population.

The Gaza Strip is 4-10 miles wide and 25 miles long. It has 1.6 million people, exceeding the population density of Paris and Berlin. Are you sure you've ever read anything about it?

Also you may have missed the fact that the US conquered Arizona from Mexico and then flooded the area with white settlers.

Well, I guess we're in agreement that Israel is acting no differently than expansionist America during the Mexican-American wars? I'm not quite sure that aids your argument.
posted by notion at 10:53 AM on April 5, 2011


I've spent time in Gaza working with Pestinians. The population is very densely packed in multifamily dwellings and apartments. There are farms, citrus groves and strawberry patches. Agriculture plays major role in the economy. There were grand plans for the Gaza airport to ship flowers, vegetables and fruits to Europe by airfreight.

Notion you still havnt answered the basic questions. Is Hamas responsible for the rocket attacks? Shouldnt they just recognize Israel's right to exist?
posted by humanfont at 12:23 PM on April 5, 2011


Notion you still havnt answered the basic questions. Is Hamas responsible for the rocket attacks? Shouldnt they just recognize Israel's right to exist?

That's amusing considering you completely ignored my comment about rockets and Hamas' view of Israel.
posted by knapah at 3:25 PM on April 5, 2011


The Quartet has recently been looking at modifications to the specific actions Hamas must take to officially recognize Israel, but currently it is the opinion of the international community that Hamas has not met it's obligations to renounce violence and recognize Israel.

Hamas needs to rethink it's negotiation strategy because firing rockets and continuing to hold Galid Shalit (or his remains) hasn't been working for them.

The concessions that were noted in the "Palestinian Papers" have been denied by Abbas and denounced by Hamas, so it would seem that they were not realistic proposals.

The other problem with the reasoning you offer is either:
Hamas' leadership has the power and authority to reduce rocket attacks and production. In which case they are responsible for ongoing violence. Or they are not able to exercise power and authority over the rocket attacks in which case there is no point in negotiating with them since they can't deliver on their agreements.

I'm very sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinian and Israeli people. Solutions arn't going to be found in delegitimizing the real grievances of either side. Both sides have made tragic and terrible mistakes. As long as violence and terrorism is the means of dispute resolution the Palestinians are going to come out on the losing side.
posted by humanfont at 5:29 PM on April 5, 2011


Notion wrote: The Gaza Strip is 4-10 miles wide and 25 miles long. It has 1.6 million people, exceeding the population density of Paris and Berlin.

Those figures really surprised me, so I checked them. Yes, its population density (4,118/km2) exceeds that of Berlin (3,857.6/km2 ). It's less dense than London (4,807/km2) and much less dense than Paris (20,807 /km2). Then I discovered that New York City has a city density of 10,630/km2, an urban density of 2,098.7/km2, and a metropolitan density of 1,092/km2. So which of these is a good comparison?

Population density isn't a useful way to compare how crowded an area is, unless you know that you're comparing similar things and you're excluding airports and major rivers. It's better to look at a map and see how built-up the place is. And if you look at a map of the Gaza Strip you can see that it's mostly empty space.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:16 PM on April 5, 2011


"If Israel attacked Gaza we would declare war against the Zionist regime," ElBaradei told Al-Watan, according to YNet. "In case of any future Israeli attack on Gaza - as the next president of Egypt - I will open the Rafah border crossing and will consider different ways to implement the joint Arab defense agreement."

It is 1971 all over again. There will be no peace until the borders can be firmly set.

I was re-reading Rashid Khalidis' "Palestiaian Identity". He relates the story of the 1909 clashes around al-Shajara. In April, The Bar Giora was founded to guard lands of the new settlements. They recieved permission to arm themselves from the Ottoman Authorities. The re-located arabs were now powerless to some extent as former watchman and cultivators in thier land from jewish settlers, after years of little power/ownership in the area. (Serjera)
Wiether it is the Ottoman revolution of 1908 or the post W.W. I settlement. 1948 to Jenin. The National Identity of the Palestinian people has withstood history and re-location, killing and being killed (lebanon 30,000 dead in total out of 400,000 people) The massacre at Hama...even this latest bullshit war. I'm biased towards being zionist but I also believe in a homeland for the Palestinians, perhaps that is our problem.

It can be traced that the Bar Giora off shoot, Ha-Shomer was the core of the Haganah, the fore runner of the IDF. It also of note that the Palestinian armed groups of the 30s' adopted the Kaffiyya and the term resistance to as symbols of continuing the armed struggle against armed jewish settlers.
posted by clavdivs at 1:39 AM on April 6, 2011


Hamas needs to rethink it's negotiation strategy because firing rockets and continuing to hold Galid Shalit (or his remains) hasn't been working for them.

Will Israel release the thousands of people it has illegally kidnapped too? How is one man worth more than the peace he was supposedly fighting for?

Notion you still havnt answered the basic questions. Is Hamas responsible for the rocket attacks? Shouldnt they just recognize Israel's right to exist?

They already have, if it's along the 67 borders. What neither Hamas, nor the Palestinian Authority, nor anyone in the international community except the United States can accept is the refusal of Israel to obey the law and their agreements to stop colonizing the West Bank. There are half a million people settled illegally there.

If Israel wanted peace, they could accept the 67 borders with minor modifications for security. But they prefer land instead.
posted by notion at 8:14 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


What makes the 67 Borders more legitimate than the UN partition borders in 1948? Or the borders offered in the Palestine Papers? Dislocating another million people isn't going to bring peace. It is as pointless as lobbing rockets at Israel.

The only viable solution is to take the border today and maybe swap a little labs here and there. Drop the claims and just try to rebuild with what's left.
posted by humanfont at 10:48 AM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


notion: "They already have, if it's along the 67 borders."

I've been mostly staying out of this argument, but Hamas barely made a headfake away from an avowed genocide against all Jews in Israel, while simultaneously calling for their supporters to send them arms, money and men to they can continue to fight. From your link:
Hamas politburo chief Khaled Mashaal on Wednesday urged supporters around the world on to send Hamas arms, fighters and money to back its fight against Israel.

"We ask all the people in surrounding Arab countries, the Muslim world and everyone who wants to support us to send weapons, money and men," Mashaal said in a speech at a pro-Palestinian event in Qatar.
They're saying 'Won't you please send us money so we can kill the Jews' and telling those same Jews, 'We promise not to slaughter you, we swear.'

The logical conclusion to draw from this is that they cannot be trusted.
posted by zarq at 10:57 AM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Former leaders of Shin Bet and Mossad have proposed a new Peace Initiative today
-1:1 land swap for settlements with 67 borders representing the relative size of the states
-normalized relations with Arab states
-symbolic return for a few Palestinians to Israel
-5 year withdrawal from Golan Heights
-Return for any Palestinian to the future Palestinian state
-Palestinians get east Jerusalem and the Arab parts of the old city. Israel gets western wall and Jewish quarter, plus Malah Adenim.

This would be a good deal.
posted by humanfont at 5:39 PM on April 6, 2011


Clavdius wrote: It is 1971 all over again. There will be no peace until the borders can be firmly set.

Why would you possibly think that firmly-set borders would mean peace?
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:01 PM on April 6, 2011


Don't be silly silly.
1a)
posted by clavdivs at 11:32 PM on April 6, 2011


or what humanfont wrote
doing that tdlr thing. Identity is about land.
isthatnotrightjoe
or example,
You think I want Ohio to have one solid inch of Michigan, Never.

This would be a good deal.
posted by humanfont

it is a start, the real problem is breaking treaties and access to water and Armed conflict and religion too.
posted by clavdivs at 11:38 PM on April 6, 2011


They're saying 'Won't you please send us money so we can kill the Jews' and telling those same Jews, 'We promise not to slaughter you, we swear.'

But when the United States donates billions more in aircraft, tanks, and other advanced weaponry and Israel happily accepts with photo ops and handshakes all around, they're doing it because they want peace, or?

I don't understand how your brain works. You seem to value rhetoric over action, and while I agree that Hamas and the PLO have been fucking terrible at presenting their case, the actions of the IDF have been far, far, far worse.
posted by notion at 10:45 AM on April 7, 2011


notion: " But when the United States donates billions more in aircraft, tanks, and other advanced weaponry and Israel happily accepts with photo ops and handshakes all around, they're doing it because they want peace, or?

You're not addressing my point, but rather raising another.

I did not address Israel's motivations in my comment. Nor did I say that they have not been hypocritical. They have.

However, you asserted that Hamas has stated that peace was possible if Israel retreated to the '67 borders. Sure they did. At the same time, they say things and take actions that make such promises seem hollow.

Again, the logical conclusion to draw is that they cannot be trusted.

I don't understand how your brain works. You seem to value rhetoric over action...

I'm not sure I understand this statement. I certainly place a higher value on people sitting down and hammering out an agreement over them blowing each other up or stealing land and property, if that's what you're trying to say.

...and while I agree that Hamas and the PLO have been fucking terrible at presenting their case, the actions of the IDF have been far, far, far worse."

This isn't a PR problem. Launching anti-tank weapons at school buses isn't a fucking image problem. It's sociopathic. There's no justification for that. It's completely indefensible. For you to characterize the situation that way seems incredibly disingenuous.

If I were to declare that Israel "has been fucking terrible at presenting their case" I'd deserve to be laughed and mocked out of this thread.

Neither group has an image problem. They're both in the wrong, and have committed inexcusable, unforgivable acts.

Both sides are targeting civilians. Men, women and children. They are doing so with a blatant disregard for human life. Both sides are equally at fault for that.

The number of bodies makes no difference. If Hamas had Israel's weapons, they would slaughter Israelis indiscriminately, rather than in tens and twenties on school & passenger buses or at pizzerias.

Both groups are murdering innocents and that's a crime against humanity which needs to stop.

Everything else is resolvable.
posted by zarq at 7:07 AM on April 8, 2011


The latest escalation of tit for tat attacks this past week. Hamas soldiers fired an anti-tank weapon at a school bus.

Hamas has issued a statement of regret over the incident.

Netebyahu has accused the Paeatinians of crossing a line. 6 civilians in Gaza were killed as the IDF launched retaliatory airstrikes. (along with 10 militants and a Gazan police officer.
posted by humanfont at 5:29 AM on April 10, 2011


They didn't mean to target the bright yellow school bus with the sign saying "children" on it? Was there some other bright yellow school bus in the vicinity?
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:43 AM on April 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would find it easier to accept that it was a mistake if it wasn't concurrent with firing 120 assorted missiles, mortars, etc at civilian neighborhoods in Negev. I'm sure that the Hamas apologists will bring up "accidents" with UAVs, like that time we blew up a girls school. Deliberate or not this is the kind of terrible stuff that happens in war.
posted by humanfont at 8:34 AM on April 10, 2011


However, you asserted that Hamas has stated that peace was possible if Israel retreated to the '67 borders. Sure they did. At the same time, they say things and take actions that make such promises seem hollow.

Again, the logical conclusion to draw is that they cannot be trusted.


Are you trying to say that the Israeli side has been up front and honest, and held to the agreements they signed? Both sides are talking peace and arming themselves. However, one side has satellite guided bombs and fighter jets and nukes, and the other has homemade rockets and suicide bombers.

I'm not sure I understand this statement. I certainly place a higher value on people sitting down and hammering out an agreement over them blowing each other up or stealing land and property, if that's what you're trying to say.

I'm saying the IDF functionally is more evil than Hamas, but you seem to concentrate on the rhetoric instead of the history.

This isn't a PR problem. Launching anti-tank weapons at school buses isn't a fucking image problem. It's sociopathic. There's no justification for that. It's completely indefensible. For you to characterize the situation that way seems incredibly disingenuous.

Accidentally killing thousands of civilians is also sociopathic. Turning Gaza into an outdoor prison and destroying civilian infrastructure is sociopathic. Secretly plotting to undermine every effort to make peace in order to get a little more land, and knowingly increasing the risk of starting an all out war is sociopathic.

And giving sociopaths an excuse to continue committing terrorism to keep the land your nation is illegally stealing as a further pretext to steal more land is undoubtedly sociopathic.

Both sides are targeting civilians. Men, women and children. They are doing so with a blatant disregard for human life. Both sides are equally at fault for that.

I completely agree.

The number of bodies makes no difference. If Hamas had Israel's weapons, they would slaughter Israelis indiscriminately, rather than in tens and twenties on school & passenger buses or at pizzerias.

Israel is slaughtering people indiscriminately. That's why the body count is so high.

Hamas is pretty much like Irgun. When they lack the weapons to carry out attacks on high value targets, like the IDF military infrastructure, they muster whatever weapons they can and strike the softest target they can find. That's what you get in asymmetrical warfare, every fucking time. As soon as the Zionists were sufficiently armed, they didn't continue with straight terrorism. They attacked more "valid" targets and started calling it war.

I'm not saying Hamas' actions are just, I am saying they are to be expected given the situation. And if it were reversed, I guarantee you Israelis would be using the same tactics if they had no other options.

Israel has the weapons. They have the only political support that really matters: the backing of the US military. They have far more security against Hamas than Hamas does against the IDF. They are the party that has the most control, and the most power, and therefore the most responsibility. They can't keep using predictable outbreaks of violence to further entrench themselves in patterns of behavior that cause more violence.
posted by notion at 10:37 AM on April 10, 2011


Hamas has other options though, such as a unity goverent with Abbas.
posted by humanfont at 12:02 PM on April 10, 2011


Notion wrote: Israel is slaughtering people indiscriminately. That's why the body count is so high.

When you say "indiscriminate" do you mean that Israel kills people without any attempt to prevent civilian casualties? Because that's terrifying!

Earlier you said "The Gaza Strip .... has 1.6 million people, exceeding the population density of Paris and Berlin." It's generally accepted by all parties (including Hamas) that 1,100 - 1,400 Palestinians were killed during the recent war, of whom about 700 were Hamas fighters. If that's indiscriminate slaughter it implies that half the population of the Gaza strip fights for Hamas! Hamas has an army of at least 800,000 people, nearly as much as the US Army plus the US Army National Guard put together!

It is clear that something must be done to control this outrageous militarization. You have done the world a favor, although I don't think the Palestinians of the Gaza strip will be especially grateful now that their little scheme has been exposed.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:35 PM on April 10, 2011


When you say "indiscriminate" do you mean that Israel kills people without any attempt to prevent civilian casualties?

I can't speak for notion, but when Amnesty International used the word in their July 2009 report on Operation Cast Lead, they were referring to "attacks that failed to distinguish between legitimate military targets and civilian objects." Specifically:
Hundreds of civilians were killed in attacks carried out using high-precision weapons -- air-delivered bombs and missiles, and tank shells. Others, including women and children, were shot at short range when posing no threat to the lives of the Israeli soldiers. Aerial bombardments launched from Israeli F-16 combat aircraft targeted and destroyed civilian homes without warning, killing and injuring scores of their inhabitants, often while they slept. Children playing on the roofs of their homes or in the street and other civilians going about their daily business, as well as medical staff attending the wounded were killed in broad daylight by Hellfire and other highly accurate missiles launched from helicopters and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), or drones, and by precision projectiles fired from tanks.

Scores of civilians were also killed and injured by less precise weapons, such as artillery shells and mortars, and flechette tank shells, which can be accurately aimed but which disperse thousands of deadly metal darts at great velocity over a large area.

White phosphorus, a highly incendiary substance, was repeatedly fired indiscriminately over densely populated residential areas, killing and wounding civilians and destroying civilian property. [...]

Israeli forces could not conceivably have been unaware of the presence of civilians in locations which were repeatedly attacked, including with white phosphorus and other imprecise weapons, given that these areas were under close surveillance by Israeli drones.

Even though Israeli officials knew from the first days of Operation “Cast Lead” that civilians were killed and wounded in significant numbers, Israeli forces continued to employ the same tactics for the entire duration of the 22-day offensive, resulting in growing numbers of civilian casualties. The pattern of attacks and the resulting high number of civilian fatalities and casualties showed elements of reckless conduct, disregard for civilian lives and property and a consistent failure to distinguish between military targets and civilians and civilian objects.
Interestingly, none of this is contradicted by Richard Goldstone's statement that "civilians were not intentionally targeted as a matter of policy."

If that's indiscriminate slaughter it implies that half the population of the Gaza strip fights for Hamas!

I know you're being sarcastic, but stop and think for a minute about where this kind of rhetoric leads.
posted by twirlip at 10:12 PM on April 10, 2011


Amnesty's report has two fundamental flaws. The first is that it was written by an absolutist organisation. Amnesty's campaigns are more usually directed against torture - which it always opposes; the death penalty - which it always opposes; and the imprisonment of political prisoners - which it always opposes. It is hardly to be expected that it would accept the idea of a "just war", despite the fact that this is fundamental to international law.

The second fundamental flaw is that it was an act of supreme hubris for Amnesty to attempt this report in the first place. Amnesty had no better sources of information than had Richard Goldstone; no deeper insight; no greater capacity for deliberation. It frequently relied upon facts fed to it by Hamas, some of which are now known to be false.(*) Complaining that Israel didn't give it any assistance is no excuse: it was Amnesty's report and Amnesty that got it wrong. It really ought to join his mea culpa, although I don't expect that it will.

Amnesty's absolutist position leads it to say things like "The Israeli military must must ... publicly commit not to use artillery, white phosphorous and other indiscriminate weapons in densely populated areas." The fact is that all weapons meant to be used at a distance are indiscriminate, except perhaps some rifles. I don't think Amnesty really expects Israel to enter the Gaza strip and fight hand-to-hand until it reaches the place from which rockets were fired some days earlier; I think it's being disingenuous. Amnesty doesn't want Israel to use any practical method defend itself, because Amnesty does not accept the idea of a just war.

In any event, Amnesty uses the word "indiscriminate" to mean things like artillery, which are incapable of discriminating between a soldier and a civilian standing within a building that is a legitimate military target. In contrast, Notion says "Israel is slaughtering people indiscriminately." Amnesty's charge is that Israel is insufficiently careful to prevent civilian casualties. Notion alleges that Israel welcomes them - that it seeks them out.

Twirlip wrote: I know you're being sarcastic,

Sardonic.

... stop and think for a minute about where this kind of rhetoric leads.

Does it lead to people saying that Israel "is more evil than Hamas"? Does it lead to people saying "Hamas' actions ... are to be expected given the situation"? Does it lead to the old antisemitic canard that Jews secretly welcome attacks against them? Because that's the rhetoric I think you ought to address.

(*) See, e.g., page 6 where it accepted Hamas' claim that the policemen killed at the start of the war were civilians, a position from which Hamas itself has now retreated.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:10 AM on April 11, 2011


The blaming of Israel for indiscriminate civilian casualties was the allegation retracted by the author in the link atop this fpp. (the UNOHCR vs. Amnesty report).

It seems to me that if Hamas was really interested in finding a way out, there are many actions they could take other than rockets and bombs. Right now it seems likenthey are only interested in the bare minimum of window dressing to try to gain international sympathy while continuing a campaign of sustained violence against Israel.
posted by humanfont at 9:21 AM on April 11, 2011


Amnesty's report has two fundamental flaws.
What are they? You only listed ad hominem attacks on Amnesty, nothing about the report itself.
posted by rhizome at 10:09 AM on April 11, 2011


Rhizome, I cited specific problems with the report and illustrated them with quotations from the report itself. I can't believe that you would have failed to notice this if you'd actually read my comment.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:26 PM on April 11, 2011


Amnesty's absolutist position leads it to say things like "The Israeli military must must ... publicly commit not to use artillery, white phosphorous and other indiscriminate weapons in densely populated areas." The fact is that all weapons meant to be used at a distance are indiscriminate, except perhaps some rifles. [...] In any event, Amnesty uses the word "indiscriminate" to mean things like artillery, which are incapable of discriminating between a soldier and a civilian standing within a building that is a legitimate military target.

So we are agreed, then, that Israel's choice of tactics in the Gaza war was indiscriminate. (Again, I won't speak for notion's intent in using that word; my point was simply that it is entirely legitimate to use that word in this context.)

By your own numbers, 35-50% of Palestinians killed in the Gaza war were civilians. How high would that number have to be before you found it unacceptable? And no, that's not a rhetorical question.

[Amnesty] frequently relied upon facts fed to it by Hamas, some of which are now known to be false.

Some of the facts Amnesty relied on are indeed now known to be false. As far as I am aware, though, the main conclusions of the report -- that Israeli forces used specific tactics that knowingly put civilians in harm's way -- still stand.

Does it lead to people saying that Israel "is more evil than Hamas"? Does it lead to people saying "Hamas' actions ... are to be expected given the situation"? Does it lead to the old antisemitic canard that Jews secretly welcome attacks against them? Because that's the rhetoric I think you ought to address.

What your rhetoric leads to is the assumption of guilt by association. It dehumanizes people by writing off entire populations as the enemy. That's what makes the slaughter of innocents politically acceptable, whether it's Israel doing the killing or Hamas.

I'm more than happy to call out Hamas as the murderous bastards they are. But Israel has more blood on its hands than Hamas does. In the 8 years leading up to the Gaza war, their rocket attacks had killed 23 people; by your own numbers, Israel's act of retaliation killed 400-700 civilians in three weeks. And since Israeli forces knowingly used tactics that put innocent lives at risk, I consider them exactly as culpable for each of those deaths as Hamas is for the deaths of each of its victims.

On top of that, the leader of my country publicly supported Israel during Operation Cast Lead, whereas Hamas is a designated terrorist organization. This is a consistent policy: my government also supported Israel during the Lebanon war.

As long as all those things are true, I think it makes sense for me to spend more time criticizing Israel than criticizing a group like Hamas, which is evil but far less powerful and enjoys far less support in this part of the world.
posted by twirlip at 7:00 PM on April 11, 2011


The blaming of Israel for indiscriminate civilian casualties was the allegation retracted by the author in the link atop this fpp.

No. What Goldstone retracted is the allegation that Israel "intentionally targeted civilians as a matter of policy." Israeli forces didn't intentionally target civilians; they chose to use tactics which they knew would result in substantial civilian casualties (i.e., tactics which do not discriminate between combatants and civilians). The dead Palestinian civilians weren't targeted, they were collateral damage, and their deaths were forseeable.
posted by twirlip at 7:08 PM on April 11, 2011


Twirlip wrote: So we are agreed, then, that Israel's choice of tactics in the Gaza war was indiscriminate.

No, we are not. You shouldn't use shoddy tactics like that.

By your own numbers, 35-50% of Palestinians killed in the Gaza war were civilians. How high would that number have to be before you found it unacceptable?

Casualty ratios are not a useful way to measure morality or legality in war. Suppose Hamas has set up a bunker on an apartment building - as they do, here's a photo of one - and all Hamas' fighters have fled the area. That bunker is a military target, attacks on it are legal under the Geneva Conventions, but any attack on it will lead to a 100% civilian casualty rate if even one person dies.

Conversely, suppose that a bunch of captured Israeli soldiers were lynched by a crowd - as they have been. That's a 100% military casualty ratio, but it's obviously an outrage to human decency and it's contrary to the Geneva Conventions.

A more useful metric, one actually applied by international law, is proportionality: whether an attack "may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated." This test has nothing to do with death ratios; it's solely concerned with the "concrete and direct military advantage" of the action compared to the civilian cost.

What your rhetoric leads to is the assumption of guilt by association. It dehumanizes people by writing off entire populations as the enemy. That's what makes the slaughter of innocents politically acceptable, whether it's Israel doing the killing or Hamas.

In this very thread we have someone saying that "Hamas' actions ... are to be expected given the situation". You haven't called him out on his "rhetoric".
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:29 PM on April 11, 2011


A more useful metric, one actually applied by international law, is proportionality: whether an attack "may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated." This test has nothing to do with death ratios; it's solely concerned with the "concrete and direct military advantage" of the action compared to the civilian cost.

The legalism here is kind of chilling. Accidental or not, militarily justified or not, legal or not, you're talking about killing innocent people. Children. I'd like just once to see an Israel supporter actually express some emotion over it.
posted by empath at 6:13 AM on April 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


notion: "Are you trying to say that the Israeli side has been up front and honest, and held to the agreements they signed?

No. Nor did I imply it. I responded directly to an assertion you had made. At the time, I didn't really see a need to elaborate further.

Both sides are talking peace and arming themselves.

You didn't mention that either side was doing so in your original comment. You simply declared that Hamas made a claim and (apparently) intended to reach for peace in good faith. I pointed out why you were wrong. That's really all I intended to address in responding to you.

However, one side has satellite guided bombs and fighter jets and nukes, and the other has homemade rockets and suicide bombers.

Again, the weapons being used by both sides do not justify their murders of civilians. Suicide bombers and rocket attacks by Hamas and disproportionate responses by Israel are not self-defense and there is zero moral high ground that can be claimed by anyone targeting innocents. I do not subscribe to the view that one side is somehow *more* or *less* evil than the other. That's a ridiculous false metric, raised specifically to absolve responsibility and somehow justify one side's actions over the other.

I'm saying the IDF functionally is more evil than Hamas...

Yes, I understand what you're saying. To repeat myself, we disagree.

...but you seem to concentrate on the rhetoric instead of the history.

I truly don't have any idea what you're talking about here. Perhaps I'm just not savvy enough to understand your repeated reference to "rhetoric," but if you're trying to accuse me of something, then you'd better say it outright. I do not understand what you are trying to say here.

Accidentally killing thousands of civilians is also sociopathic. Turning Gaza into an outdoor prison and destroying civilian infrastructure is sociopathic.

I tend to agree. None of this refutes my earlier points.

Secretly plotting to undermine every effort to make peace in order to get a little more land, and knowingly increasing the risk of starting an all out war is sociopathic.

The plotting isn't secret. It's quite open. It's being done in open defiance of at least one or two C&D orders from the Israeli Supreme Court and in open opposition to Israeli public opinion. I would not characterize the Settlers as sociopathic. I would characterize what they are doing as incredibly shitty behaviour, stupid beyond reason, based on religious bullshit, as well as politically and bodily dangerous.

And giving sociopaths an excuse to continue committing terrorism to keep the land your nation is illegally stealing as a further pretext to steal more land is undoubtedly sociopathic.

Palestinians spent years targeting and killing Israeli civilians with rockets, mortars and suicide bombs prior to the current, disproportionate Israeli oppression in Gaza and the West Bank. Also prior to the ramp-up of the settlements in the West Bank. There are no settlements in Gaza, and haven't been since Israel's unilateral disengagement plan went into effect in 2005. Hamas cannot use non-existent Gazan settlements as a justification anymore. The West Bank settlements (and incidentally, those in the Golan Heights) are contributing to the derail of the peace process and I believe they should be razed. I'm infuriated that Likud and Netanyahu are supporting the Settlements.

But again, their presence is simply not an excuse for murder of innocents by either side.

Neither side's actions justify the other. I do believe that Israel has helped perpetuate the cycle of rocket attacks and suicide bombings. However, Hamas is directly responsible for the rocket attacks. Hamas (and Fatah and Al-Aqsa) have been directly responsible for the suicide bombings. I do not agree that Israel's actions negate Hamas, Fatah's or Al-Aqsa's responsibility for what they have done and continue to do.

And yes, I'm very much aware of how oppression can foment suicide bombers. I believe the Palestinians are being oppressed. But that doesn't make the bombings right, either.

Israel is slaughtering people indiscriminately.

"Indiscriminately" is not precisely true. Hamas specifically uses the Gazan population as human shields -- sometimes willingly, sometimes not. From a news article in the left-wing paper Ha'aretz in 2006 about the "Cast Lead" attacks on Gaza:
The IDF believes that about two thirds of Hamas' underground rocket launch sites in the northern Gaza Strip were destroyed in the first round of Air Force sorties, on Saturday.

Additional bunkers were destroyed in the days that followed, after a way was found of striking them when civilians were not in the vicinity.

The IDF has made frequent use of what is known as "knocking on the roof": Militants are warned by phone when a residential building used to store arms will be bombed, and told to vacate the premised together with their neighbors. The weapons caches are hit only after the residents leave.

Hamas has tried placing civilians on the roofs of such buildings when the phone call warning comes in. In these cases, the IDF fired antitank missiles near the building, and in a few cases the residents left.
Yes, if the Israelis were targeting civilians indiscriminately, they would be wrong to do so. I see disproportionate attacks here, but not "indiscriminate" ones.

That's why the body count is so high.


Any argument which points to the body count is neither a valid argument for Hamas moral superiority, nor for Israel's greater culpability. If you believe it is, then we'll simply have to disagree on this point.

Hamas is pretty much like Irgun.

Ironically enough, an uncle of mine was killed by the Zionists in that bombing. When Hamas starts warning school buses full of children in advance to give them time to evacuate before they launch anti-tank weapons at them, then tell me more about how they're like the Irgun terrorists. Or about the present-day IDF. Until then, this argument carries little weight with me. Their goals are similar. Their methods were and are dissimilar. Neither Hamas nor the Irgun are (or were) noble or justified in any way for their acts of terrorism.

When they lack the weapons to carry out attacks on high value targets, like the IDF military infrastructure, they muster whatever weapons they can and strike the softest target they can find. That's what you get in asymmetrical warfare, every fucking time. As soon as the Zionists were sufficiently armed, they didn't continue with straight terrorism. They attacked more "valid" targets and started calling it war.

I don't disagree with this as a general assessment. But you're making a huge assumption that Hamas would choose to follow that course if they suddenly were sufficiently armed. Absolutely no evidence has been presented by you or anyone else that Hamas will ever renounce terrorism or stop targeting Israeli civilians until every last Israeli Jew is dead. Hollow promises and repeated reneged agreements guarantee nothing. You're hypothesizing here and trying to present it as proven fact.

I'm not saying Hamas' actions are just, I am saying they are to be expected given the situation.

I really am having trouble seeing how Hamas "should be expected" to attack and murder civilians in cold blood. I'm having trouble seeing how calling their actions "expected" isn't absolving them of responsibility for what they have done.

And if it were reversed, I guarantee you Israelis would be using the same tactics if they had no other options.

If they did, I'd be condemning them for it, too. And please note that I am condemning Israel for targeting, attacking and killing civilians.

Israel has the weapons. They have the only political support that really matters: the backing of the US military. They have far more security against Hamas than Hamas does against the IDF. They are the party that has the most control, and the most power, and therefore the most responsibility.

I tend to agree. But the responsibility is to respond proportionately when they are attacked, not to simply ignore rocket attacks and suicide bombers launched against their people. They have a responsibility to not take actions which cause humanitarian crises for the Palestinians. And they have a responsibility not to oppress a group of people who are, for better or for worse, dependent on them.

But if you're arguing that they have no right to respond when attacked by terrorists, then no, we disagree.

They can't keep using predictable outbreaks of violence to further entrench themselves in patterns of behavior that cause more violence."

I agree. The same should apply to Hamas.
posted by zarq at 7:26 AM on April 12, 2011


Sorry. Didn't realize you had bolded a line of text and I didn't close the tags properly. :(

That section should read:

Israel is slaughtering people indiscriminately.

"Indiscriminately" is not precisely true. Hamas specifically uses the Gazan population as human shields -- sometimes willingly, sometimes not. From a news article in the left-wing paper Ha'aretz in 2006 about the "Cast Lead" attacks on Gaza:
The IDF believes that about two thirds of Hamas' underground rocket launch sites in the northern Gaza Strip were destroyed in the first round of Air Force sorties, on Saturday.

Additional bunkers were destroyed in the days that followed, after a way was found of striking them when civilians were not in the vicinity.

The IDF has made frequent use of what is known as "knocking on the roof": Militants are warned by phone when a residential building used to store arms will be bombed, and told to vacate the premised together with their neighbors. The weapons caches are hit only after the residents leave.

Hamas has tried placing civilians on the roofs of such buildings when the phone call warning comes in. In these cases, the IDF fired antitank missiles near the building, and in a few cases the residents left.
Yes, if the Israelis were targeting civilians indiscriminately, they would be wrong to do so. I see disproportionate attacks here, but not "indiscriminate" ones.

That's why the body count is so high.

Any argument which points to the body count is neither a valid argument for Hamas moral superiority, nor for Israel's greater culpability. If you believe it is, then we'll simply have to disagree on this point.
posted by zarq at 7:29 AM on April 12, 2011


"Indiscriminately" is not precisely true. Hamas specifically uses the Gazan population as human shields -- sometimes willingly, sometimes not.

And Israel has made the decision that, ultimately, they'll kill human shields to accomplish their military goals. Maybe they'll fire a warning shot. Maybe two. Maybe 10. But, eventually, they'll just kill whoever happens to be in between them and their target.

Hamas might put people in the way, but they aren't going to get killed unless Israel decides to kill them. Somebody has to decide to pull the trigger.
posted by empath at 7:33 AM on April 12, 2011


empath : " Hamas might put people in the way, but they aren't going to get killed unless Israel decides to kill them. Somebody has to decide to pull the trigger."

I agree.

I'm not trying to absolve them of what they're doing here. But describing it as "indiscriminately" is clearly not accurate.
posted by zarq at 7:44 AM on April 12, 2011


I am reminded of that scene from The Simpsons where Bart says, "I'm going to walk forward waving my arms around like this, and if you get hit, it's your own fault," and Lisa's like, "I'm going to walk around kicking my legs in the air like this, and if you get hit, it's not my problem."

To me, the use of indiscriminate tactics is slaughtering people indiscriminately, by definition, and the body counts and civilian casualty ratios are an important part (but not the only part) of any evaluation of the morality of military action. But I guess this is where the agreeing-to-disagree happens.

Joe in Australia wrote: In this very thread we have someone saying that "Hamas' actions ... are to be expected given the situation". You haven't called him out on his "rhetoric".

Evidently you didn't read the last three paragraphs of my comment.

Anyway, what notion actually said was, "I'm not saying Hamas' actions are just, I am saying they are to be expected given the situation." That's not a defense of the legitimacy of Hamas's tactics, nor does it dehumanize Israelis.
posted by twirlip at 2:24 PM on April 12, 2011


Both Hamas and Israel would like the rest of the world to think they don't have a choice about whether to kill civilians or engage in violence to achieve political ends. But they do have a choice, and over and over again they choose to kill.

I'm tired of both of them.
posted by empath at 3:07 PM on April 12, 2011


The second fundamental flaw is that it was an act of supreme hubris for Amnesty to attempt this report in the first place. Amnesty had no better sources of information than had Richard Goldstone; no deeper insight; no greater capacity for deliberation. It frequently relied upon facts fed to it by Hamas, some of which are now known to be false.(*) Complaining that Israel didn't give it any assistance is no excuse: it was Amnesty's report and Amnesty that got it wrong. It really ought to join his mea culpa, although I don't expect that it will.

If we ask Saddam Hussein to show us that he has no WMD and he refuses to comply, what are we to assume? Any organization that refuses third party review is automatically suspect for a very good reason: they are refusing to be held accountable for their actions.

Does it lead to people saying that Israel "is more evil than Hamas"? Does it lead to people saying "Hamas' actions ... are to be expected given the situation"? Does it lead to the old antisemitic canard that Jews secretly welcome attacks against them? Because that's the rhetoric I think you ought to address.
Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas. According to the sources, Barak maintained that although the lull would allow Hamas to prepare for a showdown with Israel, the Israeli army needed time to prepare, as well.

Barak gave orders to carry out a comprehensive intelligence-gathering drive which sought to map out Hamas' security infrastructure, along with that of other militant organizations operating in the Strip.

This intelligence-gathering effort brought back information about permanent bases, weapon silos, training camps, the homes of senior officials and coordinates for other facilities.

The plan of action that was implemented in Operation Cast Lead remained only a blueprint until a month ago, when tensions soared after the IDF carried out an incursion into Gaza during the ceasefire to take out a tunnel which the army said was intended to facilitate an attack by Palestinian militants on IDF troops. ( source )
Joe, don't be so fucking petty and try to insinuate that I'm a racist. If that's what you think, come out and say it. I'm merely commenting on the recorded reality of IDF strategy.

And yes, when you use military force to keep a whole society on the brink of collapse, violent resistance should be expected. And yes, when you are the unquestioned military power in an area, and you use that power to foment violence for territorial gain, you are not only responsible for the people you kill, but for the violence you perpetuate against your own people. That's why aggressive wars are illegal.

I hold this standard to both the IDF and Hamas, but again, when one side has all the weapons, all the money, and all of the political support that matters, they are the party with the most responsibility to act morally. And no, not in that legalistic, loophole manner that Israel operates under. I mean taking earnest steps towards peace without dishonoring the dozens of dead Israeli citizens by killing hundreds of Palestinians and delaying peace for their own cynical purposes.
posted by notion at 3:16 PM on April 12, 2011


zarq, I unfortunately don't have time to respond in full, but I agree with nearly everything you said. I just believe Israel, as the party with the most power in the situation, should be making earnest steps to keep the peace instead of relying on the crutch of pretending that all Gazans think exactly like Hamas. That's what I mean by focusing on the rhetoric instead of the actions: Hamas says evil things and carries out depraved acts of terrorism, but the reality of Israeli policies on Gaza are far more evil.

It's like when black South Africans started "necklacing" collaborators, and instead of considering the decades of oppression that led to such a society, white South Africans used it as further evidence that they should be denied equal rights. Human beings are psychologically fragile creatures, and those who put them in cages and use the resulting depravity to further enslave them are, in my opinion, evil motherfuckers.
posted by notion at 3:25 PM on April 12, 2011


Joe in Australia: "Amnesty's report has two fundamental flaws. The first is that it was written by an absolutist organisation. Amnesty's campaigns are more usually directed against torture - which it always opposes; the death penalty - which it always opposes; and the imprisonment of political prisoners - which it always opposes. It is hardly to be expected that it would accept the idea of a "just war", despite the fact that this is fundamental to international law."

Operation Cast Lead doesn't fit the description of a "just war." It fails on multiple criteria, including that it must not create widespread humanitarian crises that are worse jus post bellum than they were at its start. There was clear evidence of human rights violations and vital civilian-dependent infrastructure destroyed by Israel during the conflict. A "just war" also should never be started without clear goals and a reasonable expectation of success. The Israelis knew going in that invading Gaza was likely to be pointless. They knew that the PA and Egypt had refused to take responsibility for Gaza.
posted by zarq at 3:28 PM on April 12, 2011


In the year leading up to Cast Lead 3000 rockets were fired in the 10 months that followed 300 were fired. The result was a return to the prior status of tacit ceasefire for a significant time. Thus I think it is reasonable to assert that the operation was not pointless.

The Amnesty International Report also notes the failure of Hamas to act to investigate war crimes and protect the civilian populations of Gaza and Israel.

Some suggest that Israel as the more powerful party has greater responsibility to protect than Hamas. I agree, but I think that an evaluation of the facts demonstrates that they are doing more to protect civilians, thus meeting their obligations. Specifically Israel has:
-Internal security to limit irregular forces, while Hamas is openly working to create and protect these forces. Settler groups occasional do things in the west bank, but they are also stopped more often than not. Settlers arn't crossing the border and murdering Gazans in their homes, or lobbing mortars.
-Military training regarding protection of civilians and the laws of war. Again this is something that Hamas seems to actively train against.
-Rules of engagement specifying when return fire may be done, and civilian protection as an element of military operations. That is to say when Israel does counter fire, or bombs a convoy they do consider the collateral damage impacts and attempt to limit or mitigate it. Constrast with Hamas which seems to be actively seeking civilian targets in its operations.
-Documentation and access to POWs and detainees -- Civilians and militants detained are listed and access is provided to various 3rd parties to verify the safety of prisoners and basic needs. This is not true for Shaleet, whom we arn't even certain is alive at this point.

Hamas' leaders could issue rules of engagement regarding rocket fire. They could use their internal security capabilities to reduce rocket attacks. They could issue statements calling on militants to stop attacking civilian targets. It should also be noted that WRT to the average Gazan daily human rights abuses are about 1000x times more likely to occur because some Hamas goon abused you, than an Israeli soldier.
posted by humanfont at 6:09 PM on April 12, 2011


Hamas' leaders could issue rules of engagement regarding rocket fire. They could use their internal security capabilities to reduce rocket attacks.

They did! Here is that chart again. In the first half of June 08, pre-ceasefire, there were 237 rockets and mortars fire. In the second half, post-ceasefire, there were 8.

In October 2008, 1 rocket and 1 mortar. In November (after the Israeli strike on the Hamas members), 193.

The rocket argument does not help the pro-Israeli cause.

and here is a chart from wikipedia, if you prefer.
posted by knapah at 6:45 PM on April 12, 2011


Knapah, I don't think anyone, anyone in the entire world believes that Hamas has meaningful rules of engagement. Every missile fired by them is an attack on a civilian population and most attacks are made from within a civilian population. Every single one of these is a war crime.

The so-called ceasefire you keep talking about was merely a reduction in the number of war crimes they commit on a daily basis; and if they genuinely have the ability to stop these attacks on civilians but continue to carry them out then they are all war criminals, each and every one.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:00 PM on April 12, 2011


I think it's interesting that you choose to highlight the number of rocket attacks rather than the number of actual casualties.
posted by empath at 8:19 PM on April 12, 2011


The point is that when under the terms of the ceasefire they showed they could reduce the numbers of missiles fired to practically nothing. A few they either couldn't or didn't do anything about slipped through, but dropping 97% in a month (237 to 8) is incredible.

Yes, rocket attacks are bad, but they showed willingness to crack down on rocket attacks until Israel broke the ceasefire (from their perspective).

I think it's interesting that you choose to highlight the number of rocket attacks rather than the number of actual casualties.

Wikipedia has another good chart on that.

I do love charts!
posted by knapah at 8:44 PM on April 12, 2011


Empath wrote: I think it's interesting that you choose to highlight the number of rocket attacks rather than the number of actual casualties.

Interesting? You might show some emotion.

Knapah wrote: The point is that when under the terms of the ceasefire they showed they could reduce the numbers of missiles fired to practically nothing.

Of course they can, if they're the ones responsible for firing them. Incidentally, I don't think "practically nothing" could ever be an appropriate way to describe random death falling from above.

As for the level of Israeli casualties - I'm not sure what your point is. Surely this is morally and legally irrelevant. But if it makes you happier, apparently most children in Sderot suffer from PTSD. Did you know that the missiles are timed to catch them on the way to school?
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:24 PM on April 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


So if they have operational control over the rockets they can stop them. Firing rockets at civilian areas where there js no mulitary target from a civilian area is a war crime. What youseem to be suggesting is they decided to fire rockets at a school bus and a few houses but only a few people got hurt? So 8 in month? So you'd not expect any military response if 2 rockets we're landing in your neighborhood a week? So long as it only is mortar Monday and Thirsday night Qassem Strike mostly shattering widows ppl should he totally laid back. I'm thinking if native Americans and were shelling your suburb from the res you'd have a different view of the situation.
posted by humanfont at 10:33 PM on April 12, 2011


Of course they can, if they're the ones responsible for firing them. Incidentally, I don't think "practically nothing" could ever be an appropriate way to describe random death falling from above.

I think you're holding them to an unfair standard. It was a 97% reduction in one month, there are 1.6 million people living in the Gaza strip. Frankly, they can't stop them all. There are too many groups, some more radical than Hamas, and they can fairly easily fire a rocket or mortar with Hamas unable to do anything about it.

As for the level of Israeli casualties - I'm not sure what your point is. Surely this is morally and legally irrelevant. But if it makes you happier, apparently most children in Sderot suffer from PTSD. Did you know that the missiles are timed to catch them on the way to school?

empath brought up casualties, I just posted that chart because I happened to have it in another tab. I agree completely that it must be horrendous for the people in Sderot and the surrounding areas. I don't support rocket attacks at all, in case that wasn't clear to anyone.

So if they have operational control over the rockets they can stop them. Firing rockets at civilian areas where there js no mulitary target from a civilian area is a war crime. What youseem to be suggesting is they decided to fire rockets at a school bus and a few houses but only a few people got hurt? So 8 in month? So you'd not expect any military response if 2 rockets we're landing in your neighborhood a week? So long as it only is mortar Monday and Thirsday night Qassem Strike mostly shattering widows ppl should he totally laid back. I'm thinking if native Americans and were shelling your suburb from the res you'd have a different view of the situation.

I, like most people, think the attack on the school bus was wrong, but if you're in what is effectively a war, sometimes the dominant power may have to show a bit more restraint in the interests of peace. If every time a rocket is fired, movement towards peace is reset, we'll never get anywhere.

I'm from Northern Ireland, where when the IRA fired a mortar at a police station, the local town wasn't attacked by the British Army or RAF. I had British Army helicopters landing behind my house and bomb scares on the way to school. I still wasn't calling for a military response to bomb scares, or hoping that the IRA had a surface to air missile to shut the damn helicopters up.

The people in Sderot could leave the area, move north, and not fear the rocket attacks, although I'm not suggesting they necessarily should. The people in Gaza are stuck there, they can't leave. Both are scared, both probably blame the other side, but that will get us absolutely nowhere.
posted by knapah at 7:35 AM on April 13, 2011


Knapah wrote: I'm from Northern Ireland, where when the IRA fired a mortar at a police station, the local town wasn't attacked by the British Army or RAF. I had British Army helicopters landing behind my house and bomb scares on the way to school. I still wasn't calling for a military response to bomb scares, or hoping that the IRA had a surface to air missile to shut the damn helicopters up.

That's the difference between domestic and cross-border attacks. Britain has police access to Northern Ireland so Britain can and does use police methods to deal with terror attacks. It would be a different matter if the Republic of Ireland were to be lobbing missiles across the border on a daily basis. Similarly, Israel sends people in to investigate terror attacks launched in or from the West Bank, and it can potentially arrest the people responsible (there's been a lot of devolution to the PA and I don't know how that works in practice). It can't send people in to investigate the missiles that are launched from Gaza, and there wouldn't be much point in doing so, given the way Hamas boasts about them.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:06 PM on April 13, 2011


The child on the school bus that was attacked with the anti-tank weapon has died from his injuries.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:25 PM on April 17, 2011


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