Tensions Rising
November 16, 2012 11:20 AM   Subscribe

Hamas militants have launched a rocket on Jerusalem - the first time the holy city has been targeted in decades - and the first such attack from Gaza.

Tensions escalated when Ahmad Jabari, the operational commander of Hamas's armed wing, the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades, was killed on Wednesday alongside his bodyguard, Mohammed al-Hams, in an initial Israeli strike on a car in Gaza City after Israel cited rocket attacks against its cities.

On a brief visit to the Gaza Strip, Egyptian Prime Minister Hesham Qandil has denounced Israel's attacks on the Palestinian territory and said Cairo would try to secure a ceasefire.
posted by DynamiteToast (580 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm still pretty new around here, and am not sure what the policy is with regards to posts about Israeli conflicts, as the subject tends to get heated very quickly. However I hadn't seen a post about this yet and my favorite part of metafilter so far is the discussion and links from perspectives and sources I'd never considered that come from these threads about current events. Sorry if I'm stepping on toes.
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:20 AM on November 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


Right now I really can't see past how awful this thanksgiving will be if I can't avoid seeing my zionist relatives.
posted by elizardbits at 11:26 AM on November 16, 2012 [26 favorites]


For Netanyahu, Gaza escalation could pave the way to Iran strike
posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on November 16, 2012


I can't get past "Here we go again..."
posted by vibrotronica at 11:28 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The conflict, explained (mother jones)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:29 AM on November 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


How likely is it that Egypt would intervene? Haven't kept up with the Egyptian military's capability vs. the Israeli army since the last time they got into a shooting match.
posted by arcticseal at 11:29 AM on November 16, 2012


Israel massively outclasses everyone else in the region militarily and if anyone officially raised a hand against them America would come in swinging, so it's very unlikely. Egypt would have to be suicidal.
posted by Artw at 11:31 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


My understanding is that Israel could spank the Egyptians should this broaden into a wider conflict but fortunately it seems like most of the parties seem to want to avoid the negative impacts of a widescale conflict.
posted by vuron at 11:33 AM on November 16, 2012


The real danger here (for the world, obviously the people of Gaza, and to a lesser extent Israel, have other more proximate dangers) is Egypt backing up their current rhetoric of solidarity with Gaza. The balance of power in Egypt is pretty strange right now, between the military and Islamists. They would be foolhardy to engage Israel, but that doesn't mean it would not happen.
posted by OmieWise at 11:33 AM on November 16, 2012


How far would Israel have to go to lose support of the US?
posted by HFSH at 11:34 AM on November 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


Never gonna happen.
posted by Artw at 11:34 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Right now I really can't see past how awful this thanksgiving will be if I can't avoid seeing my zionist relatives.

The only people with political views I disagree with that I keep on my Facebook feed are my cousins, who are all, somehow, involved with Israeli politics and I am not looking forward to this at all.

Also, nearly every tweet from IDF's official Twitter deserves a "stay classy."
posted by griphus at 11:35 AM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Once upon a time....umm, well, fuck it.
Forever and ever, the end.
posted by Mblue at 11:35 AM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


How far would Israel have to go to lose support of the US?

Launching missiles at the US would might cause the loss of support.

Might.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 11:36 AM on November 16, 2012 [53 favorites]


From roomthreeseventeen's motherjones link:
Who Should You Be Following For More Information?

Reuters is running a live blog on the conflict. For Twitter accounts check out @acarvin, the senior strategist at NPR who is providing live updates, @JonDonnison, a BBC Gaza and West Bank correspondent who is providing updates on the strikes on Gaza, @pdanahar, the BBC Middle East Bureau Chief, and @LaurenBohn, an Associated Press reporter who covers Israel. You can also check out the Israeli military account, @IDFSpokesman the account of Hamas' Al-Qassam Brigades.
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:36 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Israel Heightens Warnings Over Palestinians’ U.N. Bid - I doubt this is unrelated, but even if it isn't it's all looking very worrying.

So... I'm guessing US media just looked up from the CIA sex scandal thing?
posted by Artw at 11:37 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Launching missiles at the US would might cause the loss of support.

Might.


Conventional or nuclear? And is the bit of the US they are aimed at a battleground state?
posted by Artw at 11:38 AM on November 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


For Netanyahu, Gaza escalation could pave the way to Iran strike

I was thinking that the one piece of good news with this spat was that it would put an Israel-Iran shooting war on the back burner. So much for that. I'm going to go look at kittens or something.
posted by Blue Meanie at 11:38 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile next door, civil war in Syria still rages, and protesters are calling for the overthrow of the King in Jordan.
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:38 AM on November 16, 2012


The conflict, explained (mother jones)

The conflict, explained (metafilter)
posted by Mayor West at 11:39 AM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


I was thinking that the one piece of good news with this spat was that it would put an Israel-Iran shooting war on the back burner.

On the other hand it could be this is just Netanyahu's consolation prize for his boy not winning and Iran falling out of reach.
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on November 16, 2012


Artw: "For Netanyahu, Gaza escalation could pave the way to Iran strike"

Yeah, it's a bit disturbing when the chief Rabbi (in the UK? I'm not quite sure how this all works, actually, in terms of hierarchy - I didn't think there was much of one) when asked about the situation on the BBC (thinking he was off air at that point)candidly expresses that this is about Iran, and then when someone points out they were still on air, does this whole "Oh, of course, violence is terrible, we pray for all involved..."

Guardian report on incident
-----
Whether that's just one man's opinion or whether it has a bit more backing due to his knowledge via interactions with other power players in the region, I don't know. But it still is certainly disconcerting, to say the least.
posted by symbioid at 11:43 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Launching missiles at the US would might cause the loss of support.

Nope. In 1967 Israel launched a missile attack on a US Navy ship in international waters, killing 34 American sailors and wounding 171.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:43 AM on November 16, 2012 [23 favorites]


Brandon Blatcher: "How far would Israel have to go to lose support of the US?

Launching missiles at the US would might cause the loss of support.

Might.
"

Infiltration of our security apparatus certainly wasn't enough.
posted by symbioid at 11:45 AM on November 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


I had no idea (until today) about Israel's Iron Dome project - very interesting
posted by antonymous at 11:45 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Accidentally.
posted by koeselitz at 11:45 AM on November 16, 2012


I am not about to get into a pro anti thing here but do want to point out:
1. rockets sent at Jerusalem. Jerusalem, we are told, is one of the holiest of sites for Muslims.
2. Israel-Arabs support in a l
demonstration in Jerusalem their support for Hamas while Hamas fires rockets in their direction.
posted by Postroad at 11:46 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


On Wednesday, the Israeli Air Force took out a car carrying Ahmed Said Khalil al-Jabari[AJE], head of the military wing (the Al-Qassam Brigades) of Hamas, the Palestinian terror group that governs the Gaza Strip. Shortly after, the Israeli military started going to town on Gaza, again.

And like that, the Israel Defense Forces took to social media to promo the assassination.[NationalJournal]
- How The IDF Used Social Media To Brag About An Assassination[Mother Jones]

Israel hammers Hamas in Gaza offensive[Reuters]
Israel live-tweets assault on Gaza, provides video of assassination[ArsTechnica]
The Israel Defense Forces didn’t just kill Hamas military leader Ahmed al-Jabari on Wednesday as he was driving his car down the street in Gaza. They killed him and then instantly posted the strike to YouTube.[wired] Then they tweeted[Twitter] a warning to all of Jabari’s comrades: “We recommend that no Hamas operatives, whether low level or senior leaders, show their faces above ground in the days ahead.” The Jabari hit is part of the biggest assault the IDF has launched in more than three years on Gaza, with more than 20 targets hit[NYTimes]. And it’s being accompanied by one of the most aggressive social media offensives ever launched by any military. Several days before Jabari’s elimination[IDFBlog], the IDF began liveblogging the rocket attacks on southern Israel coming from Gaza. Once “Operation Pillar of Defense” began, the IDF put
up a Facebook page[FB], a Flickr feed, and, of course, a stream of Twitter taunts — all relying on the same white-on-red English-language graphics[Storify]. “Ahmed Jabari: Eliminated,”[Twitter] reads a tweet from 2:21 p.m. Eastern
time on Wednesday.
Twitter warfare in Gaza[TNI]: 'Unlike the IDF spokesperson, however, the al Qassam Brigades are a bit less careful in managing their image—while they usually refer to their activities as “Resistance,” they mark some of their attacks with the hashtag #terrorism.'
[Wired]Hamas shoots rockets at Tel Aviv, Tweeting Every Barrage
On day one of the fight between Israel and Hamas, the Israeli Defense Forces executed a top leader of the militant group — and took to Twitter and YouTube to brag about it. On day two, the Palestinian group hit back, launching its most sophisticated rockets and announcing every new barrage[Twitter] on social media.
25 OCT: Israel and Gazans in tit-for-tat attacks[AJE]
9 NOV: Israel Blames Hamas For Gaza Blast[AJE]
11 NOV: Israel 'prepared to escalate' in Gaza dispute[AJE]
16 NOV: For Both Hamas And Israel, There Are Reasons To Escalate, As Sirens Blare, Israel Seeks To Punish Hamas Without Occupying Gaza[CSMonitor]
Is Hamas Responsible For Gaza Rocket Fire? Not Exactly[CSMonitor]
Another Israel-Gaza War?[NYTimes]
Wagging the dog in Gaza: Netanyahu's Skirmish of Fear[InformedConsent]
Ten Things You Need To Know About Gaza[HuffPo]
Bibi Bares Some Fang[TAC]
The Symmetry and Asymmetry of Violence in Gaza
[TNI]
As Phyllis Bennis points out[The Nation], who appears to be retaliating against whom depends on when you start the clock. Most American media accounts have begun coverage of the latest rounds of violence with a Palestinian attack on Israeli soldiers on November 8. Less noticed in the coverage was that the soldiers were part of an element of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), including four tanks and an armored bulldozer, that was operating inside the Gaza Strip at the time. Exactly what those operations included is still unclear, but the IDF did later say it was “investigating” the death of an 11-year-old boy that day. Within the next three days the Palestinian Center for Human Rights[PCHRGaza] documented the deaths of five more Palestinian civilians, including three children, with 52 other civilians wounded. Most of the casualties were incurred in a single Israeli attack on a playground soccer field. The ensuing two-way violence continued until Egypt was able to mediate a short-lived cease-fire, broken when Israel launched this

Wednesday a substantial aerial attack, including the assassination of a senior Hamas leader, Ahmed Jabari.
Israel's Gamble in Gaza[ForeignAffairs]
Israel's usual strategy might not bring about such decisive results this time. Hamas will find it hard to pull itself back from the brink and start stopping others' rocket fire. Jabari's death has infuriated Hamas' military wing, and whoever replaces him will be just as militant, if not more. Such a leader will press for revenge and warn Hamas' governing arm that his troops might well join rival groups if Hamas throws in the towel. After all, Hamas is trying to be both a resistance movement and a government. In many ways, it has succeeded as a government, establishing law and order and delivering basic services in Gaza. But Hamas must take care not to lose credibility among Palestinians for its willingness to fight -- and die -- in the struggle against Israel. So Hamas has tried to walk a fine line by allowing some attacks -- and, at times, even participating in them -- to maintain its militant street cred while shying away from an all-out assault that would push Israel to repeat Cast Lead.

Mapping violence in Gaza[AJE]
Reformatting Palestine[JacobinMag]
What is called “formatting” becomes sanitized in English as “retaliation,” part of preparing “international public opinion for an Israeli operation in Gaza,” as the Israeli Prime Minister’s Office explained the pre-attack propaganda blitz.

Here’s how it works.

Gaza: A Way Out?[NYRB]

I had this all ginned up!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:46 AM on November 16, 2012 [92 favorites]


I just don't understand what the end goal is here for Israel. Just to keep the status quo, forever? I mean I just seriously don't understand.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:49 AM on November 16, 2012 [26 favorites]


I'm with you liz.
posted by Mister_A at 11:51 AM on November 16, 2012


Right now I really can't see past how awful this thanksgiving will be if I can't avoid seeing my zionist relatives.

Yeah, I'm spending it with my half-Israeli cousin. Sigh.
posted by restless_nomad at 11:52 AM on November 16, 2012


I think I understand what the Israeli PM thinks he gains from this conflict (he may weaken Hamas and boost his standing with the electorate). I don't think it makes much sense long-term, but that's another matter.

But what does Hamas gain? I ask because they also seem intrested in fighting. Can someone explain? Does another Israeli invasion of the Gaza strip help their cause that much? Are they hoping to pull Egypt out of its peace treaty with Israel?
posted by Area Man at 11:53 AM on November 16, 2012


Talk of Zionist relatives makes me appreciate that I only have to talk people off the "is this a sign of 2012 really being the end?" ledge. (And, fortunately, despite their leaps of illogic, it's a very large ledge which does not require much pull back -- just patience from me.)
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:56 AM on November 16, 2012


I just don't understand what the end goal is here for Israel. Just to keep the status quo, forever?

Palestinians are actively pursuing a bid for heightened recognition at the UN; this would give them non-nation observer status and possibly allow them to sue for human rights violations--in this case, Israel's land confiscation and settlement building.

Israel, naturally, opposes this. And is also aware that if this comes up for a vote it will pass overwhelmingly. Meanwhile, Netenyahu just happens to be up for re-election soon.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:56 AM on November 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Reformatting? On the one hand I have a penchant for abstract threats ("you're going to get sorted") but the metaphor of wiping out everything on the disk is vaguely genocidal. It's not something the Minister for Home Front Defense ought to be saying.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:57 AM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm going to go on record that the Minister for Home Front Defense being on Twitter at all is pretty questionable.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:58 AM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I am not about to get into a pro anti thing here but do want to point out:
1. rockets sent at Jerusalem. Jerusalem, we are told, is one of the holiest of sites for Muslims.


Very telling point concerning the bullshit to the effect of "Iran would never use nuclear weapons against Israel because Jerusalem is the second holiest site in Islam."
posted by Behemoth at 11:58 AM on November 16, 2012


Well that sure is a better post than mine. Sorry for stealing your thunder!
posted by DynamiteToast at 11:58 AM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


No worries, I was surprised it hadn't gone up earlier.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:00 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Other than the long-term tragedy of the plight of the Palestinian people, the short-term tragedy here is the distraction from the Syrian clusterfuck.
posted by Aizkolari at 12:00 PM on November 16, 2012


Israel is gearing up for a big fight. Israeli ministers were on Friday asked to endorse the call-up of up to 75,000 reservists after Palestinian militants nearly hit Jerusalem with a rocket for the first time in decades and fired at Tel Aviv for a second day.

I read somewhere else that they "only" called up 20,000 back in 2008, so this is a major step up.
posted by ymgve at 12:00 PM on November 16, 2012


It's worth pointing out, symbiod, that the Pollard case represents a clear split between Israel and America - perhaps not to the degree that many (here and elsewhere) would like, but it nonetheless is a case where American policy is not caving to Israeli requests. See here for more details (including Biden!).
posted by fingers_of_fire at 12:00 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Talk of Zionist relatives makes me appreciate that I only have to talk people off the "is this a sign of 2012 really being the end?"

And, perhaps I should appreciate that none of my rah-rah-Israel relatives are particularly (if at all) religious and this is 100% politics.
posted by griphus at 12:01 PM on November 16, 2012


Very telling point concerning the bullshit to the effect of "Iran would never use nuclear weapons against Israel because Jerusalem is the second holiest site in Islam."

I'm pretty sure most holy documents are big on not recklessly and indiscriminately murdering hundreds and thousands of people and yet both sides seem to not give a shit about that either. Can we stop pretending Rand McNally determines who makes sense here?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 12:03 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure most holy documents are big on not recklessly and indiscriminately murdering hundreds and thousands of people

You've never read the Bible, have you? Try the Book of Judges.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 12:04 PM on November 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


I'm grateful for this thread. I don't know much about the conflict, and I learn a lot from all of your perspectives.
posted by mudpuppie at 12:06 PM on November 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


From The Guardian's live coverage:
Haaretz reports that rockets have been fired from the direction of Egypt – that's Egypt – toward the Eshkol Regional Council, east of Gaza. We're awaiting updates on that bulletin report.
and
A reporter for the Times of London and NPR says Israeli police have confirmed that missiles fired toward Eshkol regional council came from the Sinai peninsula inside Egypt. No casualties were reported. It was the first report since Wednesday of an attack on Israel originating outside Gaza.
posted by Celsius1414 at 12:07 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


if anyone officially raised a hand against them America would come in swinging, so it's very unlikely.

You think so? I don't see an American intervention as likely under any circumstances.
posted by IvoShandor at 12:07 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Very telling point concerning the bullshit to the effect of "Iran would never use nuclear weapons against Israel because Jerusalem is the second holiest site in Islam."

I would think that, to the Iranians, Kerbala would be the #2 spot.
posted by NoMich at 12:07 PM on November 16, 2012


This latest outburst does seem to carry the scent of Israeli politics, bolstering Netanyahu after his US election gamble and Iran rhetoric didn't pay off.

Very sad that people have to pay with their lives, but that's how it goes with these things.
posted by cell divide at 12:08 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


But what does Hamas gain? I ask because they also seem intrested in fighting. Can someone explain? Does another Israeli invasion of the Gaza strip help their cause that much? Are they hoping to pull Egypt out of its peace treaty with Israel?

Pretty much. They're convinced a modern day Saladin will come riding to their defense from... somewhere. More practically, in the short term, they may be interested to see if the new government in Egypt will take an active military role in defending Gaza, or at least open up the taps in terms of money and munitions, and open the border between Gaza and Egypt.

Israel's probably interested to see how that works out, too.

Meanwhile, civilians die as the psycho fuckwits on both sides play patty-cake.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:09 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Egypt president toughens rhetoric on Israel.
posted by ericb at 12:11 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Turkey raps Israel on Gaza, to discuss with U.S., Egypt
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan decried Israeli's air strikes on Gaza on Friday as a pre-election stunt and said he would discuss the crisis with Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi in Cairo this weekend.

Under Erdogan's Islamist-rooted AK Party, Turkey has sought to use its clout as a rising democratic power in the Muslim world to increase its influence in the Middle East, distancing itself from former ally Israel.

Erdogan said he would speak by phone with U.S. President Barack Obama later on Friday and that Ankara was also seeking talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid the prospect of a full Israeli ground invasion.

The United States says it has asked Turkey and Egypt to encourage the Islamist Hamas movement that rules Gaza to cease rocket fire into Israel, but Erdogan laid the blame for the deepening crisis firmly on the Jewish state.
posted by ericb at 12:14 PM on November 16, 2012


But what does Hamas gain?

They stay in power and don't bend the knew to Israel.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:15 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure most holy documents are big on not recklessly and indiscriminately murdering hundreds and thousands of people and yet both sides seem to not give a shit about that either.
Yeah, you might want to try actually reading some of them. I used to get in trouble for adding drawings of modern military hardware to sunday-school handouts when I was little. It just made so much sense. Sadly, in retrospect.

A lot of religious documents are chock full of horrible violence. That is part of what made the teachings of people* like Jesus and the Buddha so challenging to the status quo.

* people who were, quite possibly, fictional. But we don't need to get into that now.
posted by b1tr0t at 12:16 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Both sides are ill-served by their leaders. The Israeli government probably can keep its people mostly safe in the short-term, but has no good plan for the long-term survival or peace, and Hamas seems all too willing to engage in another war that will leave its population devastated.

Neither government seems concerned about the civilians on the other side, though you have to assume that the vast majority of civilian deaths will be in Gaza.
posted by Area Man at 12:18 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Very telling point concerning the bullshit to the effect of "Iran would never use nuclear weapons against Israel because Jerusalem is the second holiest site in Islam."

which is a red herring because the reason Iran would never use nuclear weapons against Israel is that Israel has a nuclear arsenal and the population of Iran is heavily clustered around urban centers.

The other side of the Camp David accords (Egypt's soon to be annulled peace treaty with Israel) is that Israel is (and was) an (un)official nuclear power and that it has the willingness to unilaterally use those weapons, particularly if it's back was against the wall. The reason why Israel (and by extension the US) is so completely opposed to any Middle Eastern country (other than Israel) acquiring nuclear weapons is that they would effectively deter Israel from using it's own weapons, even as a last resort.

The current political culture in Israel came to maturity when the leaders in the Arab world were completely corrupt and insulated from public opinion. Erdogan and Mursi will feel a real pressure to get more involved the more Israel kills people in Gaza and I don't think this new reality is in the DNA of Israel's leadership.
posted by ennui.bz at 12:19 PM on November 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


Haaretz reports that rockets have been fired from the direction of Egypt – that's Egypt – toward the Eshkol Regional Council, east of Gaza. We're awaiting updates on that bulletin report.

WHAT.

Please, please, please tell me that is either a more regular occurrence I'm not aware of or that Hamas/similar group smuggled missiles into that region and not that Egypt has suddenly decided to not love its children.
posted by Slackermagee at 12:20 PM on November 16, 2012


But what does Hamas gain? I ask because they also seem interested in fighting. Can someone explain?

Well, it's either sit there and let Israeli forces roll right over you, or lob a few rockets at them in hopes of slowing them down.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:22 PM on November 16, 2012


Hamas/similar group smuggled missiles into that region

That would be the case. Hamas wants to drag Egypt into this, but Egypt don't wanna - and if it was Egypt, they have artillery and other stuff that would work a lot better than DIY rockets, and better targeting.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:24 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


As as long time student of Irish history and resident of Northern Ireland, let me assure you it was the other side that started it.
posted by Damienmce at 12:24 PM on November 16, 2012 [71 favorites]


> I just don't understand what the end goal is here for Israel.

Any time I try to imagine what the end goal could possibly be for any of the parties in this conflict I get depressed by a variety of possible answers.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:24 PM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Well, it's either sit there and let Israeli forces roll right over you, or lob a few rockets at them in hopes of slowing them down.

They've been firing an increasing number of rockets at Israel over the last couple of years and recently attacked IDF troops near the border. I'm not saying this to justify the Israeli actions, but rather to explain my claim that Hamas also seems interested in fighting.
posted by Area Man at 12:28 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


My knowledge on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict isn't that extensive, especially when it comes to anything happening within the last five years, so I ask this question genuinely based on the facts I have read in recent news reports. Many people here seem upset that Israel is shooting rockets into Gaza. I agree that this is a crappy thing to do because civilians are inevitably going to get killed. What I don't understand is what other options they have. It seems like if they stop their cities will be bombed, and so they're trying to target the people in Gaza that are terrorizing them with rockets.

For all of you that are upset, what other course of action do you think they should be taking? What am I missing?
posted by Defenestrator at 12:30 PM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


which is a red herring because the reason Iran would never use nuclear weapons against Israel is that Israel has a nuclear arsenal and the population of Iran is heavily clustered around urban centers.

Also don't forget the fact that Iran doesn't have any nuclear weapons, and are at least years away from building even a single one.
posted by ymgve at 12:31 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


For all of you that are upset, what other course of action do you think they should be taking? What am I missing?

Well they can stop rattlin' the saber all the time and trying to goad the United States into striking Iran, that might help win my sympathies.
posted by Atreides at 12:32 PM on November 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


That first Haaretz link is paywalled. Can someone explain how Iran is being tied to this? BBC world service was just asserting "Iranian rocket" fired from hamas this morning. Proof?
posted by stratastar at 12:33 PM on November 16, 2012


That first Haaretz link is paywalled. Can someone explain how Iran is being tied to this? BBC world service was just asserting "Iranian rocket" fired from hamas this morning. Proof?

To be fair, the Gaza strip isn't famed for its aeronautical R&D. They came from somewhere.
posted by Damienmce at 12:36 PM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


One thing I'm wondering about in this conflict - how much influence does Hamas actually have? If Hamas withdrew their support of those launching the rockets, would the attacks stop?
posted by ymgve at 12:40 PM on November 16, 2012


I think I've read that the range of the rocket suggests it was Iranian, but can't find a source for that right now.
posted by Area Man at 12:40 PM on November 16, 2012


I'm going to pray that the media has the (uncharacteristic) good sense to confirm things before reporting them during this situation. When tensions are this high, an errant tweet might cost people their lives.
posted by Riki tiki at 12:40 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gonna be a little bit flippant here. "Afghanistan isn't famed for weapons R&D. Those shoulder-fired Stingers Afghani's used against the Soviet Union had to come from somewhere."

How is the casus belli actually being made (not vaguely asserted that Hamas is a Iranian proxy)? There's a black market of arms, no?
posted by stratastar at 12:42 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The rockets are traveling only about 50-70 miles at most and they are really basic in design as I understand it. They probably are manufactured in small machine shops hidden within the Gaza strip instead of imported.
posted by humanfont at 12:43 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Israel massively outclasses everyone else in the region militarily

With the exception of the nuclear weapons Israel is supposed to (and most likely) has, I'm not really convinced of that. Whether or not Israel would succeed or lose in any armed conflict with a foreign military is dependent on a few factors.

For the moment, let's restrict our analysis to the discussion of conventional weapons and military force. Rather than nuclear weapons.

We don't really know what Israel's current conventional military capacity is. They're very secretive. We probably know about most of what the US has sold them, but not what they've bought from other countries. We know that they haven't engaged in a war with a foreign military since the 1980's. Since then, they've only launched attacks and counter-attacks against minimally-armed civilian and terrorist forces. We also know they have more advanced technologies than their neighbors, assuming Egypt, Iran, Lebanon and Turkey haven't bought advanced firepower in the ensuing years that we're not aware of. However, we can make some assumptions.

Egypt's standing army is massive compared to Israel's. They're also highly organized. In terms of sheer numbers, Egypt has the following: (all numbers from wikipedia)

Available for military service 41,157,220, age 18–49 (2011)
Fit for military service 35,305,381, age 18–49 (2011)
Active personnel 468,500 (ranked 10th)
Reserve personnel 1,000,000
Expenditures Budget USD5.85 billion (2009) including USD1.3 billion of U.S military aid annually

By contrast, here's Israel:
Available for military service 1,554,186 males, age 17–49 (2000 est.), 1,514,063 females, age 17–49 (2000 est.)
Fit for military service 1,499,998 males, age 17–49 (2000 est.), 1,392,319 females, age 17–49 (2000 est.)
Active personnel 176,500 (ranked 34th)
Reserve personnel 445,000
Expenditures Budget 50.6₪ billion (~$14.5 billion) (2012)

And here's Iran:
Active personnel 545,000 (ranked 8th)
Reserve personnel 1,800,000 (ranked 6th)
Expenditures Budget $9.174 billion (2008)

In a long, protracted ground / air war with either Egypt or Iran, Israel would be toast. This basic fact hasn't changed in 40 years. They are a tiny, vulnerable country with large population centers. A wide-scale initial strike would be likely to badly cripple their conventional military capability. And if someone strikes them first, they wouldn't have surprise on their side.

Their only hope in a war would be to strike fast, hard and decisively. Which is why PM Netanyahu has been trying to goad and manipulate the US into a proxy attack of Iran. He knows full well that if israel launches a war against Iran, they might not be able to finish it without being destroyed.
posted by zarq at 12:44 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Israeli police have confirmed that missiles fired toward Eshkol regional council came from the Sinai peninsula inside Egypt.

The Sinai has a lot of militants and is only loosely governed by Cairo. This is not an act of war by Morsi. Sinai militants attack Egyptian soldiers too.
posted by Blue Meanie at 12:45 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


1. rockets sent at Jerusalem. Jerusalem, we are told, is one of the holiest of sites for Muslims.

i've got to say that this seems like a new level of craziness going on here
posted by pyramid termite at 12:45 PM on November 16, 2012


A wide-scale initial strike would be likely to badly cripple their conventional military capability. And if someone strikes them first, they wouldn't have surprise on their side.

We heard that in 1973. A first strike against Israel did not work out as planned.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:46 PM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


To those surprised with attacks coming from Egypt: Egypt doesn't want to / is not able to secure the Sinai peninsula from Islamists. Last year Israel had a major attack in Eilat that originated from the Sinai. Nothing has really changed since then.
posted by gertzedek at 12:46 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


I would be surprised if the Egyptian military allowed anything to put the annual haul of American dollars at risk.
posted by wrapper at 12:47 PM on November 16, 2012


One of the reasons that Hamas is popular is that they do things - distribute food, advocate for people, etc. Another is that day to day life for many Palestinians is extremely difficult - not enough food, not enough schools, sharply limited access to they type of medical care that Israelis take for granted, settlers and IDF occasionally firing guns at Palestinian children as they play. Average Palestinians are stuck. They have very, very few political, financial, educational or social options and there are huge rates of stress-related illnesses*.

People who don't want Hamas in power might start by not using a blockade to collectively punish a large and diverse group of people.


For all of you that are upset, what other course of action do you think they should be taking? What am I missing?


Here is what invariably happens, and I have been paying attention to this since the mid-nineties: Palestinians are blockaded in and live a life of check-points and shortages, while Israelis live a fairly average first-world existence. Israeli settlers occasionally bulldoze Palestinian homes. Hamas or someone shoots off a rocket, sometimes out of the blue and sometimes in response to the IDF killing a kid (as has happened this time). The Israeli government goes to town, drops white phosphorus on people, blows things up, destroys infrastructure, all the while saying that they are in tremendous danger from Hamas or another entity which has a teeny-tiny fraction of the arms and money that Israel has.

If Israel really wanted to solve the problem of Palestinian suicide bombers/Hamas/whatever, they would make it so that material conditions weren't so desperate and hopeless.

Leaving aside any ideological aspect to this, it's a case of one very weak group with few resources and nowhere to flee against a much larger, richer group with lots of guns and incredibly fancy arms (Israel is actually a major arms-developer who works with the US extensively.)

All you have to do is look at the casualty figures to see what nonsense this whole thing is.

It's bullying but with guns, pure and simple - pretending that you're in danger when you're ten times stronger than the other guy so that you can justify punching him.

I am an anarchist, I care very little for nationalism. But I can't be having with strong against weak, whether the weak are nice or terrible.

(I add that the worst picture I've ever seen - so much the worst that it didn't get too much internet traction, just circulated amonst Indymedia and radical journalists, I have it in my email somewhere but don't want to look at it - was from the 2010 attacks - a man holding up the burnt corpse of his child, a little toddler whose body was so burned that it looked like it had been cooked, looked like a turkey. If you're a strong rich nation with lots of guns dropping white phosphorus on a densely-packed and diverse poor and weak nation knowing full well that you're going to burn civilians and children to death in large numbers, you are not the good guys. No matter who you're fighting.)
posted by Frowner at 12:50 PM on November 16, 2012 [125 favorites]


With the exception of the nuclear weapons Israel is supposed to (and most likely) has, I'm not really convinced of that. Whether or not Israel would succeed or lose in any armed conflict with a foreign military is dependent on a few factors.

Israel has won each and every war with larger coalitions than that, a few times without US support. Currently it does outclass those powers. Raw number comparisons don't really mean that much. Could Israel occupy Egypt? No. Could it defend against Egypt's entire military might? Yes, and it has.

Having said that, this is about Bibi's reelection. It is sad that Hamas has to do this now, because otherwise, Bibi would have lost reelection and we would have been able to solve this problem.
posted by Ironmouth at 12:52 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Can someone explain how Iran is being tied to this? BBC world service was just asserting "Iranian rocket" fired from hamas this morning. Proof?

Well, for one, Hamas is a radical Sunni organization. Iran is a radical Shia state so... uh... but hey at least they're both Islamic. It's not as if Iran isn't the number one enemy of the number one funder of radical Sunni organizations in the Middle East?

Whether or not Israel would succeed or lose in any armed conflict with a foreign military is dependent on a few factors.

Israel lost against Hezbollah in Southern Lebanon last time around. Operation Cast Lead was supposed to make up for that loss politically within Israel. Except that everyone else in the Middle East sees Operation Cast Lead as a massacre which can't be allowed to happen again...
posted by ennui.bz at 12:53 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Did Israel really lose against Hezbollah? That border has been peaceful ever since then, and that's what Israel wanted.
posted by Area Man at 12:56 PM on November 16, 2012


[Mostly-preemptive warning time: I am going to be camping out in this thread all weekend in an attempt to keep things civil. Inflammatory remarks are likely to be removed, whether or not they were intended to be inflammatory. Thanks for understanding. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 12:56 PM on November 16, 2012 [24 favorites]


I just don't understand what the end goal is here for Israel. Just to keep the status quo, forever? I mean I just seriously don't understand.

Slow genocide. They want to choke the Palestinians slowly but surely, so that the Palestinians decide to get up and leave (as if that were an option), or the Palestinians' population is low enough that they will no longer be a threat.
posted by zardoz at 12:59 PM on November 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


Hey yeah so preemptive thanks to the mods, I know these threads can go badly here but they still go better than at most other places and it's largely thanks to you guys.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:00 PM on November 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


Operation Cast Lead was supposed to make up for that loss politically within Israel. Except that everyone else in the Middle East sees Operation Cast Lead as a massacre which can't be allowed to happen again...

Operation Cast Lead 2.0: Israel and Hamas are battling it out in the Gaza Strip in a conflict no one can win.

Previously
posted by homunculus at 1:00 PM on November 16, 2012


restless_nomad: "I am going to be camping out in this thread all weekend in an attempt to keep things civil."

I just want to tell you good luck. We're all counting on you.
posted by Riki tiki at 1:01 PM on November 16, 2012 [39 favorites]


If simple numbers were worth more than advanced weapons systems and American backing Iran would have won against Iraq. Not even just the weapons and America are on Israel's side - there's an organizational factor as well: I very much doubt the surrounding nations could put together this hypothetical sneak attack without fucking it up.
posted by Artw at 1:01 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


zarq, you left out Turkey, a NATO member which has 656 000 active duty military personnel (more than triple Israel's armed forces) and a military budget larger than Israel's (~17.5 Billion). Turkey has what is probably the strongest conventional military in the region, and it is fortunate for Israel that relations have always been more or less friendly.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:02 PM on November 16, 2012


I can't be having with strong against weak, whether the weak are nice or terrible.

That makes no sense. If 10 cops arrest and throw a single unarmed psychopath in prison, is that a bad thing? If the majority of the Palestinian population would never accept Israel's existence peacefully -- why should Israel ever relent?
posted by shivohum at 1:03 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Did Israel really lose against Hezbollah?

Yes, they did.
Apologists for Israel's failure in this campaign will try to spin the surprise suffered by Hizbullah to mean defeat.

It is nothing like that. In fact, the surprise of the ferocity and persistence of the Israeli riposte makes even more significant the Hizbullah recovery under extreme pressure and the quality of the defense they mounted.

Claims for Israeli "victory" in the Lebanon campaign continue to puzzle me:

- Strategic Victory? Israel did not force the Lebanese government to carry out the "tasks" that it had in mind for it. It is not disarming Hizbullah. It is not preventing re-supply of Hizbullah.

- Diplomatic Victory? The multinational force is there, but doing little that the Israelis would want. This time the French have brought tanks with them. Do you think it is the Lebanese Army or Hizbullah that inspired that deployment? No. The French have long experience of what the IDF has done with tanks vis a vis UN Forces.

- Operational Level Victory? (campaign level) The Hizbullahis still have a lot of rockets and are still in southern Lebanon where they could start shooting into the Galilee. The Hizbullahis fired more rockets into Israel on the last day of the war than on any previous day. Conclusion: The Israelis did not succeed in stopping rocket fire into Israel.

- Tactical Victory? Where?

Israeli and associated political warfare is trying to spin this set of defeats into victory. Good luck to them.

Pat Lang
posted by ennui.bz at 1:03 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


NY Times: Pentagon Says 75,000 Troops Might Be Needed to Seize Syria Chemical Arms

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon has told the Obama administration that any military effort to seize Syria’s stockpiles of chemical weapons would require upward of 75,000 troops, amid increasing concern that the militant group Hezbollah has set up small training camps close to some of the chemical weapons depots, according to senior American officials.


Hezbollah fighters have been training at “a limited number of these sites,” said one senior American official who has been briefed on the intelligence reports and spoke on the condition of anonymity. “But the fear these weapons could fall into the wrong hands is our greatest concern.”
posted by Golden Eternity at 1:04 PM on November 16, 2012


Surreal Instagrams From Israel Defense Forces Soldiers: As drama unfolds between Israel and Hamas — both in real life and over their Twitter accounts — young soldiers Instagram photos of themselves at ease.
posted by homunculus at 1:04 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Did Israel really lose against Hezbollah?

Yes. For more details on this than you probably wanted, here's The 2006 Lebanon War: A Short History. And Part 2 of this series.
posted by honestcoyote at 1:04 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


If the majority of the Palestinian population would never accept Israel's existence peacefully -- why should Israel ever relent?

That's all well and good, but when you can also ask "If the majority of the Israeli population would never accept Palestine's existence peacefully -- why should Palestine ever relent?"... well. It's a bit complicated, is all.

Also, I think it's unfair to use the metaphor of a psychopath when there are completely innocent people on both sides of the conflict.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:05 PM on November 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


Area Man: "Well, it's either sit there and let Israeli forces roll right over you, or lob a few rockets at them in hopes of slowing them down.

They've been firing an increasing number of rockets at Israel over the last couple of years and recently attacked IDF troops near the border. I'm not saying this to justify the Israeli actions, but rather to explain my claim that Hamas also seems interested in fighting.
"

-----------
Here's one quote from reddit (I swear I saw something about Israel not letting a man get to the hospital which led to the shooting of the military or something) and then some soldiers shooting at some kid playing soccer 1500 ft away from a base or something and killing him - but I can't dig too far for that right now, so here's the bit from /r/socialism (xposted to /r/communism)

-----------
Let's be absolutely clear on the course of events: the PFLP on saturday attacked an Israeli military jeep patrolling Palestinian territory, wounding 4 soldiers. The IDF responded by shelling Gaza, killing 4 civilians: 20-year-old Matar Abul Ata, 17-year-old Mohammed Harara, 15-year-old Ahmed Harara and 18-year-old Ahmed Dardasawy, and wounding over 30 people. This (and other Israeli attacks) led Palestinian resistance groups to fire rockets into Israel. Over the weekend two more people were killed, apparently militants of Islamic Jihad. Monday Palestinian resistance groups said they would agree to a truce if Israel halted military operations. This led to a significant decrease in rockets fired. Tuesday one more person died of injuries sustained during the attack on saturday. By Monday night Egypt had brokered a truce, until not 24 hours later Shin Bet killed Ahmed Al-Jaabari, the commander of the military wing of Hamas, plus a passenger after firing a missile at their car. Missile firings began anew and Israel started a new assault on Gaza.

Israel responded to an attack on their soldiers in occupied territory by indiscriminately killing civilians. When the Palestinian resistance groups made an attempt at a cease fire, brokered by Egypt, Israel assassinated Hamas' military commander after a truce had been negotiated. Then, after resistance groups started firing missiles again in response, the IDF launched an intense bombardment of Gaza. Among the people killed are a six-year old and an eleven-month old.

Support for Israel is incompatible with Marxism, with Socialism, with Communism, and with being a decent human being. Anyone defending this inexcusable collective punishment of a civilian population for daring to resist occupation should get the fuck out of here and never come back.

e: Tiny mistake: the truce wasn't still being negotiated, it was already concluded. Al Jazeera reports only one missile being fired from Palestine by 0800 GMT.

e2: It previously said "occupied territory" instead of Palestinian territory, clearly Gaza isn't free and is still often invaded by the IDF but it's not technically occupied territory (though Israel decides who/what comes in/goes out and regularly invades Palestinian territory)
posted by symbioid at 1:07 PM on November 16, 2012 [10 favorites]


Can someone explain how Iran is being tied to this? BBC world service was just asserting "Iranian rocket" fired from hamas this morning. Proof?
Well, for one, Hamas is a radical Sunni organization. Iran is a radical Shia state so... uh... but hey at least they're both Islamic. It's not as if Iran isn't the number one enemy of the number one funder of radical Sunni organizations in the Middle East?

Those notorious right-wing backers of Israel at the Guardian are trying to deceive us all: "Fajr-5 missile gives Palestinians rare if short-lived advantage: Use of Iran-developed rocket that can reach Israel's civilian heartland points to scale of arms smuggling into Gaza"

It's not controversial that Iran backs groups in the Palestinian territories that are Sunni. (The U.S. backs Israel without being Jewish.)
posted by Jahaza at 1:08 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Instragram, Twitter, live-blogging of rocket fire (both sending and receiving): warfare in the interconnected age.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:08 PM on November 16, 2012


Slow genocide. They want to choke the Palestinians slowly but surely, so that the Palestinians decide to get up and leave (as if that were an option), or the Palestinians' population is low enough that they will no longer be a threat.


If that's the plan then boy is Israel is doing a shitty job at it considering Gaza has the 6th highest population growth rate in the world.
posted by PenDevil at 1:10 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


How far would Israel have to go to lose support of the US?
Never gonna happen.


If the choice is tossing Israel under the bus or having no oil to run the bus - I'm guessing there would be a whole lotta pressure to keep that oil flowing and bus moving even if there became a big bump.

I mean I just seriously don't understand.
I'm with you liz.


Why would a person running for office start talking about rape and how there can't be pregnancy from such? Because they were attempting to answer the question in a way that would "play to their base".

What's been the rhetoric and how does this play to the past statements made to make "the base" feel good? If a part of the government "you need" wants to see you on no-pants Tuesday with no pants - you won't have pants on Tuesday.

asserting "Iranian rocket" fired from hamas this morning. Proof?

Consider that Gaza has a blockade on things like crayons, toilet paper, and violins exactly how did these "Iranian rockets" make it in through such a blockade?

(and in the interest in equal time and really to just bring back something from the memory hole Now an account of what happened has been patched together: the Iranian ship was loaded with radioactive sand from China, and was en route to the Suez Canal and then the Mediterranean. The goal was to blow it up off the coast of Israel and send a lethal radioactive cloud over the Jewish state during Yom Kippur. It strikes me as the game afoot here is rather big and any misstep could set off WWIV )
posted by rough ashlar at 1:12 PM on November 16, 2012


ennui.bz: "Well, for one, Hamas is a radical Sunni organization. Iran is a radical Shia state so... uh... but hey at least they're both Islamic. It's not as if Iran isn't the number one enemy of the number one funder of radical Sunni organizations in the Middle East?"

The enemy of my enemy etc.

Frowner: "If Israel really wanted to solve the problem of Palestinian suicide bombers/Hamas/whatever, they would make it so that material conditions weren't so desperate and hopeless."

The "desperation and hopelessness" angle is a canard. Acts of terrorism are not committed out of desperation, they're aspirational. Do you seriously think any of these guys was desperate and hopeless?
posted by gertzedek at 1:13 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Israeli Negotiator: Hamas Commander Was Assassinated Hours After Receiving Truce Deal from Israel

Israel killed its subcontractor in Gaza
posted by homunculus at 1:13 PM on November 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


Sure, it wasn't an appropriate response. I didn't claim it was, but Hamas has been dealing with Israel for some time. They know who the PM is, they know when the elections are going to be held, and they know what Israel did last time. Given all that, why would they increase the number of rockets shot into Israel? I think Hamas wanted a war. I think the Israeli government did too.

(I think if Israel were being smarter and more humane, it would have responded differently. And I am in no way suggesting that what is happening to civilians in Gaza is okay. It isn't.)
posted by Area Man at 1:15 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jahaza:
Those notorious right-wing backers of Israel at the Guardian are trying to deceive us all: "Fajr-5 missile gives Palestinians rare if short-lived advantage: Use of Iran-developed rocket that can reach Israel's civilian heartland points to scale of arms smuggling into Gaza"
Again, I am asking is there any*proof.* A matched analysis of rocket signature, an unexploded rocket part. Whatever. Putting a scary name on a rocket and saying they "have them" is crap. And I doubt stratfor has any legitimate private sources on this.

It's not as if journalists never are fed information, or never print stuff unquestioningly. Nor are used in promotion of war.
posted by stratastar at 1:16 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


11-month-old son of BBC picture editor is killed in Gaza air strike

The story behind the photo: Journalist’s 11-month-old son killed in Gaza strikes
posted by homunculus at 1:17 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Frowner: "It's bullying but with guns, pure and simple - pretending that you're in danger when you're ten times stronger than the other guy so that you can justify punching him."

So - it's a bit like the "gay panic" defense... Only instead of "teh gays" it's "teh arabs"... Arab Panic? Palestenian Panic? Palesteinophobes (to make a corollary with homophobes)?
posted by symbioid at 1:17 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Ironmouth: " Israel has won each and every war with larger coalitions than that, a few times without US support. Currently it does outclass those powers. Raw number comparisons don't really mean that much. Could Israel occupy Egypt? No. Could it defend against Egypt's entire military might? Yes, and it has.

Decades ago. It seems likely that Egypt in particular would have learned valuable lessons from the Yom Kippur War.

Having said that, this is about Bibi's reelection. It is sad that Hamas has to do this now, because otherwise, Bibi would have lost reelection and we would have been able to solve this problem."

This is how it works. Hamas has a vested interest in perpetuating the conflict as does Netanyahu and the Israeli right wing. The ~200 rockets launched into Israel over the past couple of weeks were not a coincidence. Neither is Netanyahu's aggressive reaction. He will use the attacks to solidify his support, engage in a ground assault of Gaza and cause mass Palestinian casualties. It is sad, and sickening.

Netanyahu is not the only war hawk in the Israeli government, nor the only barrier to peace. The right-wing coalition would still retain power if he's ousted.

Ha'aretz (paywall):
Hours before Hamas strongman Ahmed Jabari was assassinated, he received the draft of a permanent truce agreement with Israel, which included mechanisms for maintaining the cease-fire in the case of a flare-up between Israel and the factions in the Gaza Strip. This, according to Israeli peace activist Gershon Baskin, who helped mediate between Israel and Hamas in the deal to release Gilad Shalit and has since...
More from the Huffington Post.
posted by zarq at 1:18 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


gertzedek: "Acts of terrorism are not committed out of desperation, they're aspirational."

They don't even have to be aspirational, Hamas could have used this moment to simply protect its own place in the Palestinian power structure from both pacifist, or more militant parties.
posted by stratastar at 1:18 PM on November 16, 2012


Again, I am asking is there any*proof.* A matched analysis of rocket signature, an unexploded rocket part. Whatever. Putting a scary name on a rocket and saying they "have them" is crap. And I doubt stratfor has any legitimate private sources on this.

Did you RTFA? Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, and Moshe Yaalon all agree that the Palestinian side had Iranian designed missiles. You can be all "teach the controversy!" but no one involved disagrees on this point.
posted by Jahaza at 1:19 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


This Land Is Mine
posted by Drinky Die at 1:20 PM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


the man of twists and turns: "Instragram, Twitter, live-blogging of rocket fire (both sending and receiving): warfare in the interconnected age."

All we need to do is create AI's, then remove the rockets, and let the AIs taunt each other over twitter, and then we can get on with living instead of dying, and ignore the twidiot AIs.
posted by symbioid at 1:22 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


The "desperation and hopelessness" angle is a canard. Acts of terrorism are not committed out of desperation, they're aspirational. Do you seriously think any of these guys was desperate and hopeless?

I just don't think the 9/11 attackers and Palestinian militant groups are equivalent. They were a stateless group fighting for an abstract ideal, the Palestinians are fighting for (what, to them at the very least, is) their country.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:22 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


"Hamas is funded by Iran.. [Hamas] claims it is financed by donations.. but the [sum provided by] donations is nothing like what it receives from Iran." - Mahmoud Abbas

In every I/P thread in Metafilter there are always those who are "skeptic" of an Iran/Hamas or a Iran/Hezbollah connection. It's the middle eastern version of "WHERE'S THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE".
posted by gertzedek at 1:22 PM on November 16, 2012



That makes no sense. If 10 cops arrest and throw a single unarmed psychopath in prison, is that a bad thing? If the majority of the Palestinian population would never accept Israel's existence peacefully -- why should Israel ever relent?


1. On a literal level, yes, what I wrote was over simplifying - we could say "strong groups and institutions against weak in contest over resources" and call it square, perhaps. Although I didn't think of it in the moment, I'd add that extremely unequal contests invite abuse - which is why there are many cases where the ten cops abuse or kill criminal suspects and the mentally ill instead of making the effort to detain them so that they can be treated or tried. (While we're on the topic of cops, not that that is an inflammatory subject or anything....)

2. Why should Israel ever relent? See, to me that's the wrong question. It should be "what can a strong and rich nation do to make conditions less desperate and miserable for a poor nation that it essentially controls?" And "what can be done to address the real, documented wrongs of 1947 while still leaving Israel reasonably secure, with "reasonably secure" not meaning "no bad thing will happen ever"?"

It's so hard to think of how to fix anything, when all these old conflicts - whether it's slavery and native genocide in the US or the obvious aftermath of the Holocaust - linger on and on in a nation's psychic life. And yet I have to believe that people - in the US and in Israel - can honestly address the traumas of the past and act with generosity, love, humility, greatness.

A lot of people want to ideologize this conflict because it's intellectually convenient. My suggestion would be "fix the large, obvious material problems facing the Palestinians - which would include guaranteeing their land against being seized and putting a lid on the gun-happy settlers" and only then start reading this as an ideological conflict.

It's not a nice situation, and there's plenty of anti-Semitism in the Middle East - but at the moment the people who are getting it in the neck are the Palestinians, not the Israelis.

I'm on the side of "everyone has a place to live that is secure and everyone has roughly equal access to food, education and medicine whether they are Israeli or Palestinian", that's the side I'm on. Right now, Israel is not on that side. To me this is deeply troubling and sad, because I have a lot of sympathy with many of the pre-Israel socialist Jews who wanted to settle in Palestine, and I have a lot of sympathy with many of the kibbutz/community ideals upon which Israel was founded. When I was little, before I found out about all of this business, I wanted to go and work in a kibbutz, something I'd read about in a novel.
posted by Frowner at 1:23 PM on November 16, 2012 [23 favorites]


...the Iranian ship was loaded with radioactive sand from China, and was en route to the Suez Canal...
Your source is a blog entry that uses two other (now 404) blog entries as its only source. If you're going to start throwing fuel on the fire in the interest of "equal time", maybe choose something a bit more credible?
posted by cdward at 1:23 PM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


My mistake, I admit to skimming and missing the relevent quote. Back to my original point, how then is the casus belli against Iran made? They may get 1 or 2 of them through back channel means or via various factions of Irans internal politic. The weapons could be acquired in a number of ways not directly sanctioned by the regime itself.
posted by stratastar at 1:24 PM on November 16, 2012


showbiz_liz: " I just don't think the 9/11 attackers and Palestinian militant groups are equivalent. They were a stateless group fighting for an abstract ideal, the Palestinians are fighting for (what, to them, is) their country."

Yes.

There have been extensive studies into the motivations of suicide bombers. Dr. Robert Pape's work has been highlighted previously on Mefi. See: The Logic of Suicide Terrorism. His conclusion:
"The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major suicide-terrorist campaign-over 95 percent of all the incidents-has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw."

posted by zarq at 1:26 PM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Your source is a blog entry that references two other (now 404) blog entries. If you're going to start throwing fuel on the fire in the interest of "equal time", maybe choose something a bit more credible?

FYI, that blog is also one of the anti-Islam sites that Breivik used in his argument for why his massacre was necessary. Not exactly impartial or credible.
posted by ymgve at 1:27 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


showbiz_liz: "Palestinians are fighting for (what, to them, is) their country."

Except Hamas is not fighting for Palestine. Hamas is fighting for Hamas.
posted by gertzedek at 1:27 PM on November 16, 2012


gertzedek: "The "desperation and hopelessness" angle is a canard. Acts of terrorism are not committed out of desperation, they're aspirational. Do you seriously think any of these guys was desperate and hopeless?"

Did you just actually take 19 Saudi individuals and compare their material conditions to daily life in Palestine? THEY ARE TWO DIFFERENT THINGS, and maybe if you would stop conflating different groups with different motives, different ground conditions and everything else, we might be able to move along and have constructive dialog, but if you're going to blur the lines like this, it's clear we won't be able to have a genuine look at things, because the trees are lost in a giant forest.
posted by symbioid at 1:28 PM on November 16, 2012 [15 favorites]



"Hamas is funded by Iran.. [Hamas] claims it is financed by donations.. but the [sum provided by] donations is nothing like what it receives from Iran." - Mahmoud Abbas

In every I/P thread in Metafilter there are always those who are "skeptic" of an Iran/Hamas or a Iran/Hezbollah connection. It's the middle eastern version of "WHERE'S THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE".


I have no doubt that Hamas gets weapons and money from Iran. But my point is that the Revolutionary Islamic Republic of Iran and Hamas are ideological enemies. The idea that Hamas acts as a proxy for Iran is ludicrous and caters to extreme ignorance in the Western audience.

It's like saying Hitler is the catspaw of Stalin because they signed a peace treaty.
posted by ennui.bz at 1:28 PM on November 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


I have no doubt that Hamas gets weapons and money from Iran. But my point is that the Revolutionary Islamic Republic of Iran and Hamas are ideological enemies. The idea that Hamas acts as a proxy for Iran is ludicrous and caters to extreme ignorance in the Western audience.

Hamas are not in a position where they can reject co-operation with Hezbollah. Working with Hezbollah means being involved with Syrian and Iranian intelligence. There's weapons and resources that come with that, but also strings.
posted by jaduncan at 1:32 PM on November 16, 2012


Wait a second - you're trying to tell me that the "Road Map for Peace" didn't work?!? That can't be right - you must have missed a turn somewhere. For god's sake, would you please stop looking at the map and just stop and ASK somebody for directions?!?
posted by wolfdreams01 at 1:33 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


gertzedek: ""Hamas is funded by Iran.. [Hamas] claims it is financed by donations.. but the [sum provided by] donations is nothing like what it receives from Iran." - Mahmoud Abbas

In every I/P thread in Metafilter there are always those who are "skeptic" of an Iran/Hamas or a Iran/Hezbollah connection. It's the middle eastern version of "WHERE'S THE BIRTH CERTIFICATE".
"

And Abbas is a direct political rival to Hamas, he can be impugned as not being the most impartial source on the matter.

A point: don't assume other countries and body-politics are solid masses of belief or action. What's the benefit to Iran of officially giving just 2 short range missiles to Hamas, when they could give 100, or 500? Hedging against the risk of getting caught? Does it make more sense that random factions could be responsible for the weapons, or even just black market weapons dealers (given as mentioned above, that factories can be located in as faraway places as Khartoum?).

There's a reason why asking for proof is important, you don't flippantly give just cause to go to a war that gets hundreds of thousands of civilians killed.
posted by stratastar at 1:34 PM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


zarq: "There have been extensive studies into the motivations of suicide bombers."

1) We're going too deep on the suicide bombing rabbit hole here, but let's not forget that suicide bombing has mostly become a thing of the past in the Israel/Palestine conflict, thanks to the maligned west bank barrier. We're not seeing any suicide bombing in this campaign and it should (one hopes) stay like that.

2) In every suicide bombing attack there are two parties who I presume have very different motivations - the suicide bomber and the suicide bomber "outfitter", for lack of a better word. I think you would find that none of them is particularly desperate or hopeless.
posted by gertzedek at 1:35 PM on November 16, 2012


with all respectd to fmy lefty friend, that video of the lefty talking about what a useful gufy that terrorist leader of Hamas military was, he is res[p0nsible for a ton of bad shit:

While at the Islamic University of Gaza, Jabari joined Fatah, which advocated armed struggle against Israel. In 1982, he was arrested by the Israeli authorities and imprisoned for 13 years. After being released he joined Fatah's Islamist rival Hamas' militant wing and was believed to have been involved in the bombing of a bus in Kfar Darom, following which he was arrested by the Preventive Security Force of the Palestinian Authority in 1998, being released the following year. In 2002, Jabari became the operational head of Hamas' militant wing following the retirement of Mohammad Deif. In this position; Jabari was also a high-ranking official within Hamas' political leadership, as well as the founder of the Nur Association, which aimed to help "martyrs and prisoners."[3]

In fact, he kept well under cover but went public when he gave up the Israel soldier he was responsible for kidnapping.

If Hamas and Jabari wanted "peace" it was merely a cessation so Hamas could rearm.
That Hamas can not control radical forces within Gaza tells us what? That the govt still responsible for 300 rockets fired at Israel.

Call me old fashioned but I will believe peace possible when Hamas publicly renounces its goal of destroying Israel, and when they also make public the right of that sovereign state to exist.

Till such time, don't dare tell me it is all the fault of Israel.
posted by Postroad at 1:35 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


There is some chance that Operation ‘Pillar of Defence’, as the Israelis are calling their current campaign, might become a full-scale war. But even if it does, it will not put an end to Israel’s troubles in Gaza. After all, Israel launched a devastating war against Hamas in the winter of 2008-9 – Operation Cast Lead – and Hamas is still in power and still firing rockets at Israel. In the summer of 2006 Israel went to war against Hizbullah in order to eliminate its missiles and weaken its political position in Lebanon. That offensive failed as well: Hizbullah has far more missiles today than it had in 2006 and its influence in Lebanon is arguably greater than it was in 2006. Pillar of Defence is likely to share a similar fate...
...
...So what is going on here? At the most basic level, Israel’s actions in Gaza are inextricably bound up with its efforts to create a Greater Israel that stretches from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Despite the endless palaver about a two-state solution, the Palestinians are not going to get their own state, not least because the Netanyahu government is firmly opposed to it. The prime minister and his political allies are deeply committed to making the Occupied Territories a permanent part of Israel. To pull this off, the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza will be forced to live in impoverished enclaves similar to the Bantustans in white-ruled South Africa. Israeli Jews understand this quite well: a recent survey found that 58 per cent of them believe Israel already practises apartheid against the Palestinians.
A Pillar Built on Sand - John Mearsheimer at the LRB blog.
posted by Abiezer at 1:36 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Whatever happened to those nice reasonable Fatah people?

Oh... Right.
posted by Artw at 1:37 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hamas has a vested interest in perpetuating the conflict as does Netanyahu and the Israeli right wing.

I think Hamas wanted a war.

Why does Hamas want war and perpetuated conflict? This part doesn't make sense to me.
posted by Golden Eternity at 1:37 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


It should be "what can a strong and rich nation do to make conditions less desperate and miserable for a poor nation that it essentially controls?"

I sympathize with many of your points, but if they made conditions less desperate, what if that emboldened the other side? What if compassion were read as weakness? I mean, there's clearly a lack of trust.

Has there ever been an analogous case of a compassionate approach working in this kind of geopolitical situation?
posted by shivohum at 1:38 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why does Hamas want war and perpetuated conflict? This part doesn't make sense to me.

For the same reason politicians in Israel want war and perpetuated conflict: it keeps them in power.
posted by OmieWise at 1:38 PM on November 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


This part doesn't make sense to me.

it doesn't make sense to me that people continue to look for sensible explanations for nonsensical acts.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:39 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I sympathize with many of your points, but if they made conditions less desperate, what if that emboldened the other side? What if compassion were read as weakness? I mean, there's clearly a lack of trust.

Well, apartheid and military occupation haven't worked. Why not try something different?
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:40 PM on November 16, 2012 [19 favorites]


I sympathize with many of your points, but if they made conditions less desperate, what if that emboldened the other side? What if compassion were read as weakness? I mean, there's clearly a lack of trust.

Has there ever been an analogous case of a compassionate approach working in this kind of geopolitical situation?


I don't know if this exact situation has existed before anywhere, but what about South Africa? Shit ain't perfect there but at least they don't have apartheid anymore...
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:41 PM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


gertzedek: " 1) We're going too deep on the suicide bombing rabbit hole here, but let's not forget that suicide bombing has mostly become a thing of the past in the Israel/Palestine conflict, thanks to the maligned west bank barrier. We're not seeing any suicide bombing in this campaign and it should (one hopes) stay like that.

The fact that they're not blowing themselves up on buses and pizza parlors is an improvement, yes. But there's no evidence that Palestinian motivations for launching attacks against Israel have changed, just because they're not killing themselves in the process.

2) In every suicide bombing attack there are two parties who I presume have very different motivations - the suicide bomber and the suicide bomber "outfitter", for lack of a better word. I think you would find that none of them is particularly desperate or hopeless."

I didn't say they were. I quoted Dr. Pape, who said in an interview: "every major suicide-terrorist campaign -over 95 percent of all the incidents- has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw."
posted by zarq at 1:41 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Celsius1414: "Well, apartheid and military occupation haven't worked."

Haven't worked for whom? Israel just turned 64 against all odds. I say it has been working pretty well for them.
posted by gertzedek at 1:42 PM on November 16, 2012


Speaking of Iran/Shiites and enemies of enemies and sources of "information" regarding what that enemy is doing, remember Ahmed Chalabi? Yeah, it's kinda like that.

Also - to compare claims of this nature and the request for evidence of such a heavy claim to right-wing birther's demands for a birth certificate for Obama shows a sever lack of logical thinking, or at the very least a disingenuous conflation of two very different things. In fact, in both comments, I've noticed a big conflation of elements that are not related in an attempt to smear or discredit those you disagree with.

With Obama, there has always been evidence, but everytime there is more evidence presented, the wingers demand more proof.

The ONLY evidence we have received so far is a claim by a reporter (and supposedly sourced from STRATFOR (if my reading of this thread is correct and I haven't overlooked anything) who has quite often been wrong on many occasions as it is) -- rumormongers are not good for reporting for war, especially when these rumors are used to push war into a specific direction.
posted by symbioid at 1:42 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Golden Eternity: " Why does Hamas want war and perpetuated conflict? This part doesn't make sense to me."

Among other things, it keeps them in power. But also, until relatively recently, their stated goal (it was written into their charter) was the destruction of Israel and the formation of a contiguous Palestinian state in the land currently occupied by the Palestinian territories and Israel.
posted by zarq at 1:44 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


zarq: "The fact that they're not blowing themselves up on buses and pizza parlors is an improvement, yes. "

Well, next time someone calls the West Bank Barrier the "Apartheid Wall", can you please remind them of that.
posted by gertzedek at 1:44 PM on November 16, 2012


So - it's a bit like the "gay panic" defense... Only instead of "teh gays" it's "teh arabs"... Arab Panic? Palestenian Panic? Palesteinophobes (to make a corollary with homophobes)?

I think so, yes. I think it's intellectually dishonest to claim that the Palestinians have anything like the capacity to inflict harm that the Israelis have. That doesn't mean that everything Palestinians do is right, or that an Israeli family who loses a child is any less in pain than a Palestinian family. It just means that people need to be honest about who is really stronger here, and who really has access to enough food, enough medicine, freedom to move, freedom of education.

And I do think it's an emotional thing. I think that traumas and fear persist and are reinscribed in new generations.

I guess I think that global anti-Semitism does produce a violent murderous Israeli state which is supported by ordinary Israelis. (And remember the photos from the last time of Israelis sitting outside in lawn chairs to watch the bombing? That was pretty terrible. And Cast Lead was popular, really popular. Shockingly popular given the horribleness of the white phosphorus. When average people are cheering for that kind of thing, there's some serious emotional stuff going on.)

You can certainly imagine a militarily secure Israel - even one backed by US military force - that was honest and generous with the Palestinians, an Israel which really wanted a peaceful resolution. (Of course, this would actually make Israel more secure, since it would remove anger over Palestine as a mobilizing force in the Middle East.)

Vis a vis suicide bombers: remove the popular support for suicide bombings through righting the large, obvious wrongs of the situation and you'll cut down on the incidence, not only because people will grow up with something to do besides blow themselves up but because there won't be the emotional or material support in society for bombs. Why is it that we haven't actually had lots and lots of repeat 9/11s? Do you really think it's because of TSA screenings? No, it's because people who want to blow themselves up for a cause are pretty rare, especially when they have the opportunity to do meaningful work in other ways.

The point isn't that if Israel stopped with the attacks then all Palestinians would be nice forever and everyone would hold hands; the point is that Israel can make things a lot better or go on making things worse.

(It's also intellectually dishonest to pretend that the "threat" of Hamas is suddenly more serious whenever you need a boost in the elections or want to push for some advantage in the Middle East. )
posted by Frowner at 1:45 PM on November 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


Haven't worked for whom? Israel just turned 64 against all odds. I say it has been working pretty well for them.

See Frowner's post above.
posted by Celsius1414 at 1:45 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Haven't worked for whom? Israel just turned 64 against all odds. I say it has been working pretty well for them.

Not sure how many Israelis you interact with regularly, but I know/talk to plenty and 64 years of ongoing war is not doing the nation's collective psyche a lot of good.
posted by griphus at 1:45 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


gertzedek: " Well, next time someone calls the West Bank Barrier the "Apartheid Wall", can you please remind them of that."

You seem to be arguing unrelated points with someone who isn't me, here.
posted by zarq at 1:46 PM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


What are the prospects for the next 64 years?
posted by Area Man at 1:47 PM on November 16, 2012


zarq: "But also, until relatively recently, their stated goal (it was written into their charter) was the destruction of Israel"

Until recently? Have they changed it?
posted by gertzedek at 1:47 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Vis a vis suicide bombers: remove the popular support for suicide bombings through righting the large, obvious wrongs of the situation and you'll cut down on the incidence, not only because people will grow up with something to do besides blow themselves up but because there won't be the emotional or material support in society for bombs. Why is it that we haven't actually had lots and lots of repeat 9/11s? Do you really think it's because of TSA screenings? No, it's because people who want to blow themselves up for a cause are pretty rare, especially when they have the opportunity to do meaningful work in other ways.

I think your analysis here is flawed. The 9/11 attackers weren't poor and desperate with nothing else to do. You are glossing the very public sentiment among many Palestinians that the destruction of Israel is the best possible, and maybe only allowable, endpoint. That does not excuse all Israeli actions, but concentrating too much on the wrongs done to Palestinians without considering their stated goals leads to solutions that may not actually be solutions.
posted by OmieWise at 1:50 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Noam Chomsky writes powerfully about the situation in Gaza, following his trip there on October 25-30, 2012.
posted by ZipRibbons at 1:50 PM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Has there ever been an analogous case of a compassionate approach working in this kind of geopolitical situation?

I'd say it's much more that no one wants to take a compassionate approach, because it would be psychically costly for ordinary people (no more enemy), materially costly for settlers, politically costly for the appalling government (I mean, what's more appalling than using this kind of thing to gain electoral advantage?).

I do think that there have been national acts of magnanimity and decency in the past - the Truth and Reconciliation process, some of the healing processes in South American countries after the (US-backed) juntas, those states that have made sincere efforts to reconcile and repair relations with Native peoples. I don't think it's impossible for people ever to do that kind of thing.

I grew up, honestly, really admiring Judaism as a moral philosophy, and of course really admiring the role of Jewish radical intellectuals in Western political history. I want to believe that people who view themselves explicitly as a Jewish nation are just the people to act with greatness, thoughtfulness, generosity. States are states, I know, and national advantage is national advantage - but surely someone somewhere can break that cycle.
posted by Frowner at 1:51 PM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


gertzedek: " Until recently? Have they changed it?"

Ah. No. My mistake.
posted by zarq at 1:53 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


zarq: "But also, until relatively recently, their stated goal (it was written into their charter) was the destruction of Israel"

Until recently? Have they changed it?


As the link you provide notes, quoting the Hamas Covenant to describe the present day situation is about as relevant as now to... well, it's just not.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 1:54 PM on November 16, 2012


I want to believe that people who view themselves explicitly as a Jewish nation are just the people to act with greatness, thoughtfulness, generosity

I have made it plainly obvious what "side" I am on, but this sort of pedestalling of a people is ridiculous.
posted by griphus at 1:55 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


maybe choose something a bit more credible?

What part isn't correct? The ship being "Iranian"? The Somali pirates? The Radioactive "sand"? China involvement? (one claim says it was North Korea) Or the leap to 'blow it up so the dust goes over Israel?

A ship where pirates look like they are dead from radiation - how much news coverage should that have gotten?

And exactly what would you need to see to be convinced of 'a truth' or 'credibleness'?

Remember how "true" it was that sharks were swimming on city streets during hurricane Sandy. Where in this conflict is "truth" to be found?
posted by rough ashlar at 1:56 PM on November 16, 2012


Frowner: "I want to believe that people who view themselves explicitly as a Jewish nation are just the people to act with greatness, thoughtfulness, generosity."

griphus: " I have made it plainly obvious what "side" I am on, but this sort of pedestalling of a people is ridiculous."

Pfft. Don't listen to him. Tell me more about how great I am. :D
posted by zarq at 1:57 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Well, Jews in general. I'm not Israeli. :)
posted by zarq at 1:59 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think your analysis here is flawed. The 9/11 attackers weren't poor and desperate with nothing else to do. You are glossing the very public sentiment among many Palestinians that the destruction of Israel is the best possible, and maybe only allowable, endpoint. That does not excuse all Israeli actions, but concentrating too much on the wrongs done to Palestinians without considering their stated goals leads to solutions that may not actually be solutions.

I guess I wasn't clear - what I was trying to say is "the 9/11 people weren't poor and miserable; you would think that if ideology trumped everything else there would have been a lot more of them, but instead it's actually rather hard to recruit non-desperate people to blow themselves up or to support others in blowing themselves up".

I also think that magnanimous people listen with the heart, not the dictionary. By analogy: While I was at work, I met a Native man who told me that he didn't like any white people and then shut a door in my face. I could get all bent out of shape about this. I could say "obviously Native people just never ever want to live in harmony with whites". But the human and emotional thing to do is to recognize that this guy had virtually certainly (given other facts I have) had incredibly shitty experiences with white people. He was old enough to have been in a residential school, he lived in a poor segregated area with a history of police violence against Natives, etc etc.

Israelis have the power to act with fairness, regardless of what the other people do. Act with fairness first, and then see how people feel when they're safe and secure.

This is especially true because at the moment no Palestinians have the power to destroy Israel. Even if Israel withdrew from the settlements and stopped blockading supplies and let people go to school, etc etc, Palestine still would not have the power to do anything to Israel.

Also, for serious, violence and racism are bad for regular people. They're corrupting. I say this as a white person who frankly has seen plenty of corruption-of-the-spirit among white people as we/they ignore how we participate in racism and learn to ignore the racist violence that goes on around us every day. It petrifies the feeling, as Robert Burns would have it.
posted by Frowner at 1:59 PM on November 16, 2012 [20 favorites]


As the link you provide notes, quoting the Hamas Covenant to describe the present day situation is about as relevant as now to... well, it's just not.

If it isn't relevant, why don't they change it? I'm not sure that in this kind of situation you get to have it both ways...anti-Semitic for rhetoric but then immune to charges of anti-Semitism when they are inconvenient. I mean, people are dying. Disavow it if you don't believe it.
posted by OmieWise at 1:59 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Israelis express support for military, reoccupation of Gaza
posted by homunculus at 2:01 PM on November 16, 2012


I have made it plainly obvious what "side" I am on, but this sort of pedestalling of a people is ridiculous.

Oh sure, it's silly. It's not something I seriously believe. It's just a bit of emotional leftover from childhood reading done in a very right-wing Christian milieu. I don't think I conveyed that very well!
posted by Frowner at 2:01 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Israelis have the power to act with fairness, regardless of what the other people do. Act with fairness first, and then see how people feel when they're safe and secure.

This is especially true because at the moment no Palestinians have the power to destroy Israel. Even if Israel withdrew from the settlements and stopped blockading supplies and let people go to school, etc etc, Palestine still would not have the power to do anything to Israel.


I agree that this is a great aspiration, and one I wish Israel would pursue.
posted by OmieWise at 2:01 PM on November 16, 2012


I have made it plainly obvious what "side" I am on, but this sort of pedestalling of a people is ridiculous.

Also, I apologize if it sounded creepy and fetishizing! Which I could see how it would, sadly.
posted by Frowner at 2:03 PM on November 16, 2012


Can anyone tell me what a good outcome looks like in this conflict? I just don't see it. It looks like prolonged tragedy to me.
posted by zerobyproxy at 2:23 PM on November 16, 2012


YouTube Refuses to Yank Israeli Kill Video as Hamas Attacks Jerusalem
posted by homunculus at 2:32 PM on November 16, 2012


Anonymous Attacks Israeli Websites To Show Gaza Support In Conflict
posted by homunculus at 2:49 PM on November 16, 2012


homunculus: "Anonymous Attacks Israeli Websites To Show Gaza Support In Conflict"

TL;DR: But while heavy on rhetoric, Anonymous' mission may not have caused much harm. Forbes writer Andy Greenberg notes that most of Anonymous’ target websites were still online.
posted by gertzedek at 2:56 PM on November 16, 2012


[Attempting to frame the entire conflict in soundbite-sized rhetoric is almost certain to go poorly. Please avoid. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 3:00 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's not an "attempt to frame the entire conflict", restless_nomad and gertzedek, it's an attempt to explain the very obvious reasons Palestinians think the way they do with respect to the state of Israel. That thinking is what's usually cited by Israelis and western observers when they attempt to explain why Palestinians deserve what they get. (i.e. they deny Israel's "right to exist", they hate Jews, etc.)
posted by downing street memo at 3:03 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jabari was in the process of negotiating a ceasefire. (dunno if this is already covered in the Haaretz article, but it's not behind a pay wall and is written by Gershon Baskin, who negotiated the release of Gilad Shalit)
posted by dustyasymptotes at 3:12 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


downing street memo: "very obvious reasons Palestinians think the way they do with respect to the state of Israel"

You may think so, but your list wasn't a register of the obvious. Sorry.
posted by gertzedek at 3:13 PM on November 16, 2012


What is the economic goal of Hamas? by that I mean a cost/effect basis. What do they gain by lobbing hundreds of rockets? they will not bring Israel down but will incur major loss via airplanes to the point that they have already lost Hamas buildings, ammunition warehouses, rocket sites, and --yes--drone factory. Israel is trying to stave off rockets; what, though is Hamas trying for?
I doubt what one comment says: both sides have right wingers trying to keep in power. Hamas still popular in Gaza and Bibi will win, but would not if he allowed rockets to continue.
Doews Hamas believe it can draw Iran, or Egypt or Hezbollah into a war? I am at a loss for what I view as doing too much with very little if anything to gain.
posted by Postroad at 3:31 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


showbiz_liz: I just don't understand what the end goal is here for Israel. Just to keep the status quo, forever? I mean I just seriously don't understand.

It isn't status quo, liz. Israel is slowly digesting Palestine, settlement by settlement. The constant conflicts are because they keep eating more and more and more of it, taking all the good land, leaving the Palestinians with worthless crap.

It won't go on forever, because eventually there won't be any Palestine left.
posted by Malor at 3:38 PM on November 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


>Has there ever been an analogous case of a compassionate approach working in this kind of geopolitical situation?

Yes, Northern Ireland. Look it up. But I disagree with you using the term compassionate. Not persecuting people, not confining them to ghettos, not imprisioning them and not preventing them from working isn't compassionate. It should be the default.

I really don't see what Israel's long game is in terms of Gaza and I don't think anyone else does either. Continuing misery? Declining levels of health care and education? Orphanages? Right now they're just fucking over the people who live there so its no surprise the Palestinians want them gone or that many individuals are willing to make a deal with Hamas to achieve that. What do they have to lose?
posted by fshgrl at 3:38 PM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


I think they hope the Palestinians will all just sort of disappear or something as the settlements expand. As mentioned above what they are doing is a sort of slow, half assed, ineffective genocide.
posted by Artw at 3:44 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Postroad: "What do they gain by lobbing hundreds of rockets? "

Psychological warfare. Look up PTSD and Sderot.

Plus when they launch rockets early in the day, there's a chance they might get the added "bonus" of killing an Israeli child on their way to school.
posted by zarq at 3:45 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think its important to remember that Hamas is basically a gang and not beholden to the people of Palestine in the same way the government of Israel is to its citizens. Hamas may be popular in Gaza but they're not elected officials and we outsiders really have no way of understanding the complexities of that relationship.
posted by fshgrl at 3:49 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Sounds like someone I wouldn't want to live next to.
posted by rosswald at 3:51 PM on November 16, 2012


The whole situation is pretty hopeless. Neither side has a strategy.
posted by humanfont at 3:58 PM on November 16, 2012


What is the economic goal of Hamas? by that I mean a cost/effect basis.

Hamas wants at least two things from this:

1) The credibility of fighters standing up to Israel. They need this in the region, and among Palestinians.

2) A "disproportionate" response from Israel that draws international condemnation. They want threads like this one on the internet, where most people are sympathetic to the Palestinians. They want strongly worded statements from European governments, another UN General Assembly motion against Israel, another US veto in the Security Council (if it gets to that). The are getting what they want.

Keep in mind that Hamas cares no more about the proximate well-being of individual Palestinians than the Knesset cares about the individual well-being of individual Israeli soldiers. The two sides have been engaged in this back and forth for a really long time, and the risks and rewards are probably pretty far off from any standard model of what we might expect.
posted by OmieWise at 3:58 PM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Well, TBH, Israel's reputation outside of America isn't going to get any lower. And it would take a lot more than killing a few thousand people to overide "because rockets"* and get Americans to care.

It's possibly that the present troop massing means they are just going to say "fuck it" to any notion of propriety or good will from the outside and indulge in outright massacre - 2009 wasn't far off and had no real consequences for them.

* yes, Hamas are horrible people who help no-one, I think we are all agreed on that.
posted by Artw at 4:10 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Livestreams of the conflict:
operation pillar cloud
teleport4
Russia Today
Russia Today on air
Al Jazzera
BBC World News
Presstv
Reuters live on the gaza strip

Twitters:
Harryfear
IDFSpokesperson
AlassamBrigade

Youtube:
CNN interview of Gaza resident interrupted by shelling
posted by clarknova at 4:10 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I probably shouldn't get involved in this thread but....why not.

I can't find myself "rooting" for either side here, neither Israel's government, nor Hamas. The Israeli security establishment has set up an apartheid state for Palestinians. This is terrible, and it's no wonder people want to fight. I've spoken with at least one Israeli who advocated genocide of Arabs as the solution, and from talking to other people with experience in Israel, this is not a particularly fringe view.

Hamas is an avowedly Islamist organization. I have shake my head at the fact that the Israeli government encouraged the rise of Islamist organizations as counterpoints to the secular PLO. Frankly, negotiating with secular materialists is easier. And personally, I wouldn't want to live in a state governed by an Islamist party. I see a lot of my friends on facebook and twitter putting out calls of support for Hamas; that's just not something I can get behind. It's ironic, because my friends who are doing this are mostly secular agnostics or atheists, and I don't think they'd be very happy living in an Islamist dominated state. An old friend of mine who has studied the issue extensively seems to think that Israel can't defend all the settlements, and that eventually they will pull back to only the ones that are easily defended and supplied, while leaving the Palestinians whatever is left.

It seems to me that the IP conflict is an example of why religious or ethnic based nation-states are a bad idea.
posted by wuwei at 4:12 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


I can't find myself "rooting" for either side here, neither Israel's government, nor Hamas.

Well, that the terms here are Israel or Hamas pretty much is an Israeli PR victory in itself. It's like if the British were bulldozing half of Belfast with the residents still inside and we were busy discussing if the IRA were bad.
posted by Artw at 4:15 PM on November 16, 2012 [27 favorites]


I'm going to go look at kittens or something.

Here ya go.
posted by homunculus at 4:18 PM on November 16, 2012


* yes, Hamas are horrible people who help no-one, I think we are all agreed on that.

We aren't. Hamas is responsible for much of Gaza's civil infrastructure.
Israeli scholar Reuven Paz estimates that 90% of Hamas activities revolve around "social, welfare, cultural, and educational activities." Social services include running relief programs and funding schools, orphanages, mosques, healthcare clinics, soup kitchens, and sports leagues.
Yes they engage in all the activities of a terrorist organization, but they keep the society up and running too.
posted by clarknova at 4:21 PM on November 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


Plenty of gangsters and terrorist do that sort of thing, and remain parasitic and destructive, especially as any infrastructural role they play is made necessary by the collective punishment they invite from Israel.
posted by Artw at 4:25 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Artw: really? Because Sinn Fein wasn't governing Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

Look, I'm sure if I were a Muslim Palestinian born in Gaza, I'd be a Hamas supporter. But I'm not. It's not my fight.
posted by wuwei at 4:32 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Plenty of gangsters and terrorist do that sort of thing, and remain parasitic and destructive, especially as any infrastructural role they play is made necessary by the collective punishment they invite from Israel.

I am honestly not completely up on the history of this conflict. So this is not a rhetorical question. But was Israel not doing this stuff to Palestine before Hamas existed? If it wasn't, why does Hamas exist?
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:33 PM on November 16, 2012


Artw: really? Because Sinn Fein wasn't governing Northern Ireland during the Troubles.

/shrugs.

Given an overwhelming Sinn Fein electoral victory I don't think destroying houses or killing civilians would be justifiable as a response to IRA attacks either.
posted by Artw at 4:47 PM on November 16, 2012


Look, Hamas, which has a really impressive civilian presence, is also a terrorist organization. I'm glad they do stuff that is good on the civilian side, but were they not a terrorist organization they would remove much of the current justification, such as it is, for Israeli attacks. If Hamas were an organization like Gandhi's, we would not be having this conversation because a two-state solution would already be a done deal. It's really problematic to act like Israel is the only bad actor here because it distorts the truth in a way that makes it hard to understand what's going on. The modern Palestinian approach to "conflict resolution" began with the massacre of the Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics. Hamas is a direct continuation of that action. I understand very well what led to that on the Palestinian side, but as a policy blueprint it does not lead toward sweetness and light. There simply is no political actor here that is admirable, which does not excuse current Israeli actions, but explains them much better than a "Hamas is just a mutual aid organization" narrative does.
posted by OmieWise at 4:57 PM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Attacking Palestinian civilians for the actions of Hamas is not at all justifiable, I don't care what they do.

We didn't bomb a town in Colorado after the Oklahoma City bombing. (or Idaho? I can't remember where that movement actually founded).
posted by fshgrl at 5:01 PM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Artw: where did I say anything about what's justified? I was only talking about why I wasn't rooting for either side to win this one.
posted by wuwei at 5:14 PM on November 16, 2012


90% social infrastructure, 10% terrorism... Sounds like every government on the planet.

The morality of this conflict depends heavily on it's temporal context. Isreal is one of the last countries to take new land and they are holding on with everything they have. The strategy makes sense in the long view. In one hundred years the answer to the Palestinian question will be the same as to the American Indian question.

I think this confict resonates with the west because it sounds like an echo from our past. Most of us live on territory that has at one time or another belonged to some other people. Most of us rationalize it with the fact that it happened a long time ago.

Nationalism and universal human rights are incompatible.
posted by goat at 5:25 PM on November 16, 2012 [8 favorites]


fshgrl: "Hamas may be popular in Gaza but they're not elected officials"

Weren't they elected back in 2007 or something?
posted by gertzedek at 5:26 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


It is my understanding that the IDF claiming that they are targeting specific Hamas members and locations in Gaza; and not simply engaged in an unrestrained rampage. One's support for this claim is probably affected by location, personal view of the conflict and political leanings.

From my far off vantage point I can see how difficult it would be to be a civilian on either side of the conflict.
posted by humanfont at 5:27 PM on November 16, 2012


The morality of this conflict depends heavily on it's temporal context. Isreal is one of the last countries to take new land and they are holding on with everything they have. The strategy makes sense in the long view. In one hundred years the answer to the Palestinian question will be the same as to the American Indian question.

I think this confict resonates with the west because it sounds like an echo from our past. Most of us live on territory that has at one time or another belonged to some other people. Most of us rationalize it with the fact that it happened a long time ago.


This x100. The US has to support Israel's claim because otherwise it has no ground to stand on; the only difference between US and Israeli legitimacy is that the destruction of the Palestinian people has faced a lot more snags than that of the Native American peoples.
posted by threeants at 5:29 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


(Not to erase the lives of present-day American Indians. But as autonomous peoples, they sure are destroyed).
posted by threeants at 5:30 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Folks, while terms like "genocide" and "ethnic cleansing" may or may not have a basis in fact, they are about the most inflammatory accusations you could make here. Let's please move the conversation back to the specifics of the current situation and away from debating the general cases here. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 5:31 PM on November 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


threeants: "the only difference between US and Israeli legitimacy is that the destruction of the Palestinian people has faced a lot more snags than that of the Native American peoples."

Wow. This is so wrong I don't even know where to start.

Israel has voluntarily returned Arab land conquered in combat. It did so with the Sinai. It did so with Gaza (people seem to forget that Gaza was occupied and returned to the Palestinians in 2005). Israel (ignoring the lunatic fringe with their Greater Israel schemes) has no interest in taking Palestinian land beyond what would guarantee Israeli security. The only reason the occupation of the West Bank continues is because of a security buffer - if the Al-Aqsa Brigade was free to do in the West Bank what Hamas is doing in Gaza, they could shut down half of Israel, rain rockets on Tel Aviv, close Ben Gurion airport. They could literally stop the country from functioning. That's why the IDF is in the West Bank. That's why the settlers are not going anywhere, they're part of that buffer (I profoundly disagree with the way the settler situation is handled in case you're wondering).

It has nothing to do with an imperial will to take land or resources from Arabs/Palestinians - Israelis have had multiple chances to do so in history but have done the opposite - returning land, as in the Sinai and Gaza examples mentioned above.
posted by gertzedek at 5:43 PM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Plus when they launch rockets early in the day, there's a chance they might get the added "bonus" of killing an Israeli child on their way to school.

Or if they wait until evening there's a chance they might get the added "bonus" of killing an Israeli child on their way home from school.

Neither side has declared children off limits.
posted by Sailormom at 5:44 PM on November 16, 2012


It has nothing to do with an imperial will to take land or resources from Arabs/Palestinians - Israelis have had multiple chances to do so in history but have done the opposite - returning land, as in the Sinai and Gaza examples mentioned above.

They had land taken in Europe. They took land in the near middle east. They couldn't hold on to some of it. They're slowly taking some from someone else. Lets not pretend it's anything more or less than that.

This whole thing really starts with the Germans winning the ethnic cleansing part of the war. It's been a bloody, ugly mess ever since.
posted by clarknova at 5:52 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wow. This is so wrong I don't even know where to start.

Israel has voluntarily returned Arab land conquered in combat. It did so with the Sinai. It did so with Gaza (people seem to forget that Gaza was occupied and returned to the Palestinians in 2005). Israel (ignoring the lunatic fringe with their Greater Israel schemes) has no interest in taking Palestinian land beyond what would guarantee Israeli security. The only reason the occupation of the West Bank continues is because of a security buffer - if the Al-Aqsa Brigade was free to do in the West Bank what Hamas is doing in Gaza, they could shut down half of Israel, rain rockets on Tel Aviv, close Ben Gurion airport. They could literally stop the country from functioning. That's why the IDF is in the West Bank. That's why the settlers are not going anywhere, they're part of that buffer (I profoundly disagree with the way the settler situation is handled in case you're wondering).

It has nothing to do with an imperial will to take land or resources from Arabs/Palestinians - Israelis have had multiple chances to do so in history but have done the opposite - returning land, as in the Sinai and Gaza examples mentioned above.


The US has returned land to American Indians too. Neither the United States nor Israel can return all land to the prior inhabitants, because they would cease to exist. I don't blame the current constituents of these countries for landgrabs before their birth, but I'm talking about entities through history here.
posted by threeants at 5:52 PM on November 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


As a Jew, I really think the formation of the State of Israel was not just incredibly problematic in and of itself and for its disastrous effects on Palestinians, but was also the greatest tragedy of the post-Holocaust era for the Jewish people. Right now we could be mopping up the last very trickles of anti-Semitism in the world-- a cemetery vandalism here in France, a racist employer there in Florida-- and instead we have entire countries of people who would like to see the complete destruction of "the Jews" again.
posted by threeants at 5:58 PM on November 16, 2012 [12 favorites]


Lets not pretend it's anything more or less than that.

You keep using this construction, and it is misplaced. Our disagreement is not because I'm pretending, nor is it because you are right. If you want to have a conversation about this, you might consider that your version of "the truth" is already filtered through your opinion (as, I'm sure, is mine), so continually asserting it as the only option makes you seem more like an ideologue and less like a reasoned interlocutor.
posted by OmieWise at 6:01 PM on November 16, 2012


threeants: "Neither the United States nor Israel can return all land to the prior inhabitants, because they would cease to exist."

It's funny how you speak of Israelis returning land in Israel to the "prior inhabitants" as if Jews are completely alien to the land.
posted by gertzedek at 6:03 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Right now we could be mopping up the last very trickles of anti-Semitism in the world-- a cemetery vandalism here in France, a racist employer there in Florida-- and instead we have entire countries of people who would like to see the complete destruction of "the Jews" again.

Yeah, I've done quite a bit of studying of anti-Semitism, and I think you are disturbingly wrong. I basically agree with the European Zionists that the existence of (an) Israel is the thing that will prevent another Holocaust. We can differ on this, but the German Jews felt pretty secure in Weimar, too.
posted by OmieWise at 6:06 PM on November 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


We're not really disagreeing? Alright then.
posted by clarknova at 6:07 PM on November 16, 2012


It's funny how you speak of Israelis returning land in Israel to the "prior inhabitants" as if Jews are completely alien to the land.

What percentage of the people living there were Jews before the Zionist movement? (Non-rhetorical; I don't know.)

I do grant that the fact that there were literally 0 Europeans in the Americas pre-15th century makes the situations different in detail, if not in gist.
posted by threeants at 6:08 PM on November 16, 2012


It's funny how you speak of Israelis returning land in Israel to the "prior inhabitants" as if Jews are completely alien to the land.

Err, they were?
posted by Artw at 6:11 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Israel is gearing up for a big fight. Israeli ministers were on Friday asked to endorse the call-up of up to 75,000 reservists after Palestinian militants nearly hit Jerusalem with a rocket for the first time in decades and fired at Tel Aviv for a second day.

I read somewhere else that they "only" called up 20,000 back in 2008, so this is a major step up.


Erm, at what point (in any part of the world) do you suspect an imminent civilian massacre and start calling for outright intervention at the U.N.?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 6:15 PM on November 16, 2012


Yeah, I've done quite a bit of studying of anti-Semitism, and I think you are disturbingly wrong. I basically agree with the European Zionists that the existence of (an) Israel is the thing that will prevent another Holocaust. We can differ on this, but the German Jews felt pretty secure in Weimar, too.

I think we will have to differ. I am not a scholar of anti-Semitism, but in my opinion, many aspects of the State of Israel simply reify racialistic notions that make possible the environment for racial genocide. Ironically, Israel's right of return and Germany's policy around Spätaussiedler are the only two contemporary instant-citizenship schemes based on ethnicity that I am aware of.
posted by threeants at 6:18 PM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


many aspects of the State of Israel simply reify racialistic notions that make possible the environment for racial genocide

Yes, I am familiar with that argument, but I think it presupposes a kind of Jew-blaming perspective, as if anti-Semitism, which history has shown is basically irrational, is actually the fault of the Jews, some sort of legitimate response to Jewish actions. I know you don't think of it this way. I understand based on what you've written that you think that you're actually coming at it from a social justice perspective, but the "if only the Jews wouldn't do [X] they wouldn't be so hated" narrative is a mainstay in the history of the hatred of the Jews.

We're not really disagreeing? Alright then.

I think we disagree about where we locate the [majority of] the fault. We may well not agree about where things should go from here, and what would be best for all involved.
posted by OmieWise at 6:28 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Err, they were?

In the sense that everybody not in Africa is at some point alien to their land, I guess.
posted by Justinian at 6:29 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's funny how you speak of Israelis returning land in Israel to the "prior inhabitants" as if Jews are completely alien to the land.

I know it's in poor taste to link to Wikipedia, but there have been Jewish people in Palestine for a long time. Relations did not used to be terrible. If my memory of Doris Lessing's memoirs serves me well, even some of the Jewish socialists who emigrated to Palestine in the early 20th century were not Zionists as we understand it today - they felt a historical link to Israel (which isn't irrational!) but did not want to build a state by driving out the Arabs already there. There is already a history of Jewish and Arab co-existence in the Middle East.

I guess when I think about this situation, I realize how it is utterly the product of 20th century modernity but many people dress it up in fake historical garments, as if there were some law of history that Palestine has "always" been this way or that way, or that Jews and Arabs have "always" been in conflict and thus somehow justifying events as they are now.
posted by Frowner at 6:31 PM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Israel has voluntarily returned Arab land conquered in combat. It did so with the Sinai. It did so with Gaza (people seem to forget that Gaza was occupied and returned to the Palestinians in 2005). Israel (ignoring the lunatic fringe with their Greater Israel schemes) has no interest in taking Palestinian land beyond what would guarantee Israeli security. The only reason the occupation of the West Bank continues is because of a security buffer - if the Al-Aqsa Brigade was free to do in the West Bank what Hamas is doing in Gaza, they could shut down half of Israel, rain rockets on Tel Aviv, close Ben Gurion airport. They could literally stop the country from functioning. That's why the IDF is in the West Bank. That's why the settlers are not going anywhere, they're part of that buffer (I profoundly disagree with the way the settler situation is handled in case you're wondering).
Whether or not somebody agrees with it, the main part of your paragraph at least makes sense. I can follow the logic of it, and understand the motivations that might lie behind such actions. But the last sentence doesn't follow, doesn't make sense. It's hard to understand why Israeli governments would want or let settlers build within a security buffer. A buffer is there to pull two things away from each other, not to draw them nearer. I'm sincerely struggling to understand how settlement of the West Bank is purely for security.
posted by Jehan at 6:37 PM on November 16, 2012


I'm fairly certain the US has never returned land to American Indian tribes. Regardless of that fact the tragedy in the Americas resulting from European contact is really not a useful analog to the problems arising from population growth, migration and the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Jews, Greeks, Turks, Arabs, Armenians, Druze, Kurds and other ethnic groups have been displaced during the last 100 years and undergone demographic shifts. Each of these groups is divided into factions with competing agendas.
posted by humanfont at 6:50 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jehan: "It's hard to understand why Israeli governments would want or let settlers build within a security buffer."

It's a way to guarantee that the buffer doesn't easily move nor shrink. The Israelis did the same thing in Gaza, and when they disengaged they had to kick out the settlers there. I bet many in Israel are now regretting that decision - if they hadn't left in 2005, they wouldn't have to be contemplating going in Gaza for the second time, just to do exactly the same thing they did in 2008.
posted by gertzedek at 7:20 PM on November 16, 2012


Err, they were?

No, they weren't. "Jews are Imperial Colonists!" is a less-than-forthright talking point that ignores or disregards Jewish, Arab and Ottoman history. Jerusalem in 1845 was indisputably a Jewish city, well before Zionism was even conceived... and Zionism itself happened with the permission and blessing of the Ottoman Empire.

It's a little skeevy to talk about Jewish Israelis as interlopers or invaders - it reminds me way too much of how some Americans view Chinese or Latino immigrants. At the time, the Jews were welcome immigrants. This changed dramatically after WWI, and again after WWII... but by then, Zionism and Jewish immigration to the area was absolutely nothing new or novel or wrong.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:31 PM on November 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


It's a way to guarantee that the buffer doesn't easily move nor shrink.
Do you mean that fixed settlements help to physically demarcate the buffer, or that they help ensure political support for the buffer (in the sense that no politician would weaken/abandon a buffer which held settlers)?
posted by Jehan at 7:31 PM on November 16, 2012


Also, civilian homes are supposed to be a military buffer? That doesn't make sense.
posted by clarknova at 7:36 PM on November 16, 2012


The land is a military buffer. The homes are a political buffer.
posted by Justinian at 7:37 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


But wait if the homes aren't on the land then where are the homes????
posted by clarknova at 7:42 PM on November 16, 2012


No comprendo.
posted by Justinian at 7:42 PM on November 16, 2012


Well that strikes me as, I don't know, some kind of odd logic. If the settlers are a political buffer, I assume the argument is "don't give up the land, because you'll put settlers in danger". But the political buffer is only there to ensure the military buffer. And the military buffer is there because, without it, it puts Israel in danger. It's like saying, the only way to keep us all safe is if some of us are extra unsafe. Or, the only way to save us all from rockets, is to ensure that some folk are near enough to actually, you know, get hit by rockets.
posted by Jehan at 7:48 PM on November 16, 2012


Buffer logic stopped making sense a long time ago, but the short of it is, if there are a lot of Jews living there, it has to be part of Israel. Therefore, Israel can put defensive fortifications and troop deployments all up and down the river Jordan, to protect them from Jordan. You know, Jordan, who's way more interested in being the next Islamic nation to follow Turkey into the first world to spend a single dinar or drop of blood on Israel, and who fought a brutal civil war against a Palestinian coup, and is a staunch US ally.

So, the buffer no longer makes sense, and this has been true for the better part of a decade.
posted by Slap*Happy at 7:57 PM on November 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


The current narrative of this war is problematic because it's short sighted. The majority of the international community seem to think of Jewish Israel as having been a state imposed on Arab Palestine, a British colony, immediately after World War II when, in fact, Palestine was a British holding only in the twilight of the empire: it passed to British control with the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

Jerusalem, and Galilee, were Jewish under Ottoman rule. What we are seeing is the long-delayed conflict in a collapsed empire, which in many ways has been forgotten. The Ottomans ruled from the Persian Gulf to the Sinai even as late as 1923, and thus it's less than a century since they finished their death throes (that had begun with their interminable wars with Russia, another forgotten conflict that lasted centuries).

To clarify, I am not pro-Israel in this conflict. Both sides are terrible, and Israel is less morally defensible... but it's not quite as cut and dry as many people think.
posted by sonic meat machine at 8:01 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


No, they weren't. "Jews are Imperial Colonists!" is a less-than-forthright talking point that ignores or disregards Jewish, Arab and Ottoman history. Jerusalem in 1845 was indisputably a Jewish city, well before Zionism was even conceived... and Zionism itself happened with the permission and blessing of the Ottoman Empire.

Right... throughout the 19th century and up to the end of the 40s, where there was conflict, massive European imigration and accompanying flight of non-Europeans, which would be the period much of the grievances stem from.

Pushing that under the carpet would be a little skeevy too.
posted by Artw at 8:24 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Pushing under the carpet the massive migration of middle eastern Jews kicked out of their homes as retaliation for the establishment of the state of Israel would also be a little skeevy.
posted by gertzedek at 8:32 PM on November 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Folks, we are wandering fairly far afield (and into territory not so much well-trodden as stomped into an eternal sucking bog) from the specific subject. Can we please not debate the entire history of the middle east right here? ]
posted by restless_nomad at 8:35 PM on November 16, 2012


threeants: "This x100. The US has to support Israel's claim because otherwise it has no ground to stand on; the only difference between US and Israeli legitimacy is that the destruction of the Palestinian people has faced a lot more snags than that of the Native American peoples."

Gonna push back against this, the US supports Israel for modern geo-political reasons, nothing about guilt over native genocide. It's all international politics.
posted by stratastar at 9:12 PM on November 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Romanes eunt domus!
posted by Justinian at 9:38 PM on November 16, 2012


Who Started the Israel-Gaza Conflict?
posted by homunculus at 10:49 PM on November 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


797 rockets fired into Israel in 2012. Unbelievable.

Any other country on the planet would have declared war and responded with overwhelming force by now.
posted by zarq at 12:55 AM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


So, the buffer no longer makes sense, and this has been true for the better part of a decade.

Without passing judgment either way on Israel's special policies, in general I think basing your security on the idea that a neighbor in a notably volatile region will always be exactly as non-belligerent as they are today is extremely short sighted. I mean, today, the Muslim Brotherhood is sponsoring large protests in Jordan calling for the King's downfall. Which is against the law, but thousands of people are protesting anyway.

I think Israel has extremely good reason to be paranoid about their eastern borders. The idea that Jordan is a stable, peaceful government and that will never change is just not realistic.

As I said, that is not to defend Israel's specific responses to this analysis, only to say that Israel has legitimate non-paranoid reasons for believing that Jordan's government could change.
posted by Justinian at 1:24 AM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Lord Alderice On The Psychology Of Terrorism
Yes, I guess the definition of terrorism has been a big problem for some, but for me it is clear. For me it isn’t a moral term. In other words, I am not using terrorism to say that this is very bad violence. I see it as a technique of asymmetric warfare where, in order to press your attack against a powerful force that you are too weak to engage directly, you attack a victim who is dependent on your enemy.
Pepe Escobar, Asia Times: Bomb Iran? No. Bomb Gaza? Yes!

Asia Times: Netenyahu Calls Obama's Bluff

A Gaza Ground Invasion Will End Badly
By attacking Tel Aviv with its missiles, Hamas has crossed a major red line. No Israeli leader can ignore such an attack. The fact we have elections coming up in Israel makes it more difficult for the government to ignore today’s attack.
Tel Aviv is my city. I live here. It’s my home.
As much as I detest and condemn Hamas’s attack today, I am not sure how a massive ground invasion is going to solve the problem.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:36 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jadaliyya: The Agonies of Susan Rice: Gaza and the Negroponte Doctrine
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:19 AM on November 17, 2012


Debating this issues is a challenge to any community. Props to all those trying to keep it civil here. But I find it profoundly disappointing for an intelligent community such as this to use the term 'terrorist' and 'terrorism' as if these words referred to natural kinds, and were not simply mud flung by opposing powers. There are no significant movements whose distal goal is to instill terror. Even the 9/11 bombers had further goals of establishing an Islamic caliphate, or something.

Once a comment employs the term 'terrorist' or 'terrorism', reason has left the building and divisiveness is ensured. How sad that this stupid term is now routinely employed even by articulate, well-informed, discussants.
posted by stonepharisee at 5:08 AM on November 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


I had a real interesting conversation with a Palestinian man to whom I'm vaguely related by marriage about the conflict once; this was like ten years ago and so I'm not sure exactly what occasioned the conversation but what he said always stuck with me:

"You have to understand, the Palestinians have been pushed so far for so long. After a while, humans become like a cat who is forced into a corner: the first and only instinct is to lash out."

This guy also has a great sense of humor. My uncle is a nuclear engineer, gave this dude his card once, and the dude made a big show of freaking out because he'd put my uncle's card in his wallet and forgotten about it and HOMELAND! There was also an aviation training place near his home and driving past it he'd always talk about his intent to sign up for flying lessons one of these days.

Note well that this guy and his wife had been harassed all the time by the CIA/FBI because they were ZOMG Muslim and ZOMG Palestinian; hence the dark humor.
posted by angrycat at 5:13 AM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Several people asked why Hamas started massively increasing the number of rocket attacks at this time. I suspect that the main reason is that Hamas' main enemy isn't actually Israel: it's the Palestinian Authority, presently dominated by Fatah. The President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has declared that he intends to seek "observer state" status in the UN, and he may be getting some traction on this. Hamas can't afford to let the Palestinian Authority win this, as it would inevitably lead to their fall from power in Gaza and elsewhere. So their attacks, at this time, accomplish three things: firstly, they increase their popular support among Palestinians; secondly, they make it less likely that a UN bid would succeed; and thirdly they remind Mahmoud Abbas that he will need to deal with Hamas in order to move forward with any bid for statehood. It's a win-win situation for them.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:27 AM on November 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Stonepharisee wrote: I find it profoundly disappointing for an intelligent community such as this to use the term 'terrorist' and 'terrorism' .... There are no significant movements whose distal goal is to instill terror. Even the 9/11 bombers had further goals of establishing an Islamic caliphate, or something.

With respect, you misunderstand the term. Terrorism is a tactic, not a goal. Terrorists really do want to terrify their enemy, but that says nothing about the reason they want to do this. The IRA used terror attacks in order to force the UK government into negotiations. Osama bin Laden used terror attacks to show Muslims that the USA was weak. Hamas, I argue above, wants to stymie a UN bid by their political competitors and to rally support amongst Palestinians - but randomly firing rockets against civilian targets is definitively a terror tactic.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:39 AM on November 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Any other country on the planet would have declared war and responded with overwhelming force by now.

Nation States declare war vs Nation States.

Declaring War VS "terror tactics" of individuals who are just hanging out in a Nation State works our exactly how well?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:43 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


stonepharisee: "Once a comment employs the term 'terrorist' or 'terrorism', reason has left the building and divisiveness is ensured. How sad that this stupid term is now routinely employed even by articulate, well-informed, discussants."

Sorry, but I don't fall for your moral relativism of "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter". If you're making every possible effort to maximize civilian casualties, you are a terrorist. Hamas is a terrorist group using terrorist tactics.
posted by gertzedek at 5:47 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Terrorism/state terrorism: a car bomb is a poor man's B-52.
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:49 AM on November 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


More Tired, More Frustrated, More Rotten
At times like this, the same thing always happens: the Israeli military kills and injures large numbers of Palestinians with guided missiles while Palestinians fire a few rockets at Israel and kill and injure a much smaller number. These numbers and the mismatch seem important, as does the question of who broke the truce first. Who was justified in killing innocent people in response to the killing of innocent people? Who is blameworthy, for having killed more innocent people than necessary?
Second Thoughts About Defensive Means - talks about Israel's 'Iron Dome' system.
The Iron Dome, Press Bias, and Israel's Lack Of Strategic Thinking

Gaza: Backgorund and Context
By far the best place to get a real background understanding for Israel’s current war on Gaza is Jerome Slater’s superb analysis[PDF] of the 2008-2009 war, which appears in the current issue of Harvard and MIT’s jointly published journal, International Security. Here are some salient excerpts, which provide the kind of context one doesn’t receive from the American political class or most of the American media. They only capture a few of Slater’s many profound points; those interested should read the whole piece.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:30 AM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Terrorists really do want to terrify their enemy, but that says nothing about the reason they want to do this. The IRA used terror attacks in order to force the UK government into negotiations. Osama bin Laden used terror attacks to show Muslims that the USA was weak.

From a broader perspective, terrorists want to make their enemy cripple itself with security precautions. From this perspective, the 9/11 attack was the most successful terrorist attack operation ever executed. In exchange for the cost of 19 airline tickets and some flight training, Osama Bin Laden tricked the US into spending trillions of dollars, and destroying its own rule of law. He caused us far more damage than Hitler or Stalin did, by fooling us into hurting ourselves.

The last time I looked, our total systemic bill for security and invasions, post-911, was about double the cost of World War 2, even adjusted for inflation. 19 guys with boxcutters did more damage to us than the Axis.

Even looking at those soldiers that killed him, bin Laden must have been snickering, inside; after a victory of that magnitude, his personal death was irrelevant. I'm sure he died very satisfied with the outcome of that conflict. He was the US's most successful adversary both in absolute dollars spent and, in terms of relative costs incurred, the most efficient by probably eight, maybe nine orders of magnitude.
posted by Malor at 6:32 AM on November 17, 2012 [9 favorites]


Update: Israel has responded to a random rocket landing in a field near Jerusalem yesterday... With an air strike on the Palestinian Prime Minister's building in Gaza.

Seems just and proportional.
posted by pla at 6:36 AM on November 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


I don't know what to make of this or the author but he alleges that Israel used a fake graphic to bomb hospital in Gaza
posted by angrycat at 6:40 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


State-sponsored / sanctioned / encouraged / supported terrorism *is* an act of war.

The consequences of such a declaration by Israel would be beyond tragic. But if something similar happened in the US: if say a Native American reservation was shelling US cities with hundreds of rockets and the occasional mortar, do you think for a moment that the US would simply dig in and take a defensive posture? I don't.

I'm against the occupation, the illegal settlements, the human rights violations, the mistreatment of the Palestinian populations in the West Bank and Gaza, and the blockades in their current form. But in the same situation, the US would have attacked and installed their own government years ago. So would most other countries.

I want to see a Palestinian state established. What happens then? Will the rockets continue? If they do, the situation will then escalate out of control into a huge war.

No easy answers here. No winners, only losers. And no power willing to drag both groups back from the brink. It's a damned tragedy in progress.
posted by zarq at 6:42 AM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


pla: "Seems just and proportional."

Again with the "proportionality" argument.

Clearly the only proportional response to a missile fired into an empty field is another missile fired into an empty field. Israel should wait until Hamas develops the capabilities to do significant damage, and then respond.

Sorry for the sarcasm, but this is ridiculous.
posted by gertzedek at 6:45 AM on November 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


hmm not to deny one jot of the ways anglos have shat on Native Americans, but it is a bit of a stretch of an analogy, no? Native Americans are not confined to reservations, enjoy rights as U.S. citizens -- I know there's a body of law re: N.A. with which I'm not familiar, but I believe that's true.

I'd hate the 19th century U.S. to be used as a standard for modern actions, esp. if it's like, oh regional war? Not to deny the many ways the U.S. has been a giant jerkface in many ways up to present day.
posted by angrycat at 6:50 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


angrycat: "I don't know what to make of this or the author but he alleges that Israel used a fake graphic to bomb hospital in Gaza"

Here's what to make of it - (1) the "Electronic Intifada" is not an unbiased source (2) the IDF social media campaign is in bad taste (3) the "Goldstone report" that the EI site refers to, is kind of a sham, in the words of Mr. Goldstone himself.
posted by gertzedek at 6:54 AM on November 17, 2012


Angrycat, I think he's alleging that Israel's use of a fake graphic based on these allegations is meant to justify future bombings of hospitals. And it might be, but I think the graphic is really meant to imply that the Hamas leadership are cowards; there's already plenty of video evidence of them using civilian homes, mosques and schools to store or fire missiles.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:00 AM on November 17, 2012


Angrycat, yes it's an imperfect analogy. I don't know of a perfectly analagous situation we can use for comparison, so I used that one.

The gist of what I was trying to say is still clear, yes?
posted by zarq at 7:27 AM on November 17, 2012


zarq, your point is generally clear
posted by angrycat at 7:52 AM on November 17, 2012


Seeing a lot of my Israel-supporting friends on Facebook posting the Benjamin Netanyahu quote:

"If Palestine were to lay down their guns tomorrow, there would be no war. If Israel were to lay down theirs, there would be no Israel." - Benjamin Netanyahu"

I don't mean to speak in absolutes, but this is just dead wrong right?
posted by windbox at 8:06 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think that one key part of this is that Israel wants to eliminate the threat of rockets Gaza and Lebanon prior to the start of any hostilities with Iran. Various publications seem to suggest an emerging consensus that the US or Israel will act against Iran this comming summer if no agreement is reached.
posted by humanfont at 8:20 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


"If Palestine were to lay down their guns tomorrow, there would be no war. If Israel were to lay down theirs, there would be no Israel." - Benjamin Netanyahu"

I don't mean to speak in absolutes, but this is just dead wrong right?


There is a preponderance of evidence from the past century or so that it is at least half right. The first part is up for debate, but it looks like we'll never find out empirically.
posted by Behemoth at 9:17 AM on November 17, 2012


Ten Things You Need to Know About Gaza

Ten Myths about Israeli Attack on Gaza

Via
posted by homunculus at 9:44 AM on November 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ten Myths about Israeli Attack on Gaza

Cole's being sloppy with his third point there, unless there's been another incident I've missed, as I presume he's referring to a comment made by the UK chief rabbi on radio, unaware his words were being broadcast.
posted by Abiezer at 10:02 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


gertzedek : Again with the "proportionality" argument. Clearly the only proportional response to a missile fired into an empty field is another missile fired into an empty field.

Good strawman - I actually started responding to it in-kind - But no. "Proportional" does not mean "identical".

Killing two of theirs for every one of yours counts as "proportional". Even ten to one counts as proportional, though seems somewhat excessive. Israel normally sticks to around forty to one - Basically a bloodbath, but still at least maintaining some semblance of proportionality.

But when you start right off by responding to an ineffective attack by killing their prime minister? Who the hell does that leave to negotiate with? And more importantly, it leaves no room to escalate - At that point, if such a drastic step doesn't get the message across (which it won't), it basically leaves Israel in the position of maintaining a garrison at every intersection. Not mere "occupation", but occupying with forces of a magnitude comparable to the population of Gaza itself (70k highly trained and well armed IDF vs 1.4 million dirt-farmers? Rats in the subway have better odds).

All that, though, appears a moot point in this case. This build-up has nothing to do with stabilizing Gaza, but rather, it aims to completely obliterate any noise that might distract from the real target of Iran.

Things will get ugly this summer. I fully expect we'll either find the US pulled into another pissing contest in the sandbox, or if the US manages to stay out of it, we'll see the second wartime use of nuclear weapons by the end of the year. I've said before that I very much respect and admire Netanyahu, but I no longer mean that in a "good" way.
posted by pla at 10:33 AM on November 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


State-sponsored / sanctioned / encouraged / supported terrorism *is* an act of war.

Then how should the Russians have acted with the Mujahideen actions back in Afghanistan then?

Perhaps with the overwhelming force mentioned upthread for an attack?

How about the Georgian/Chechen events during the non-Putin timeframe?

Because the name of the State doing some of the sponsoring escapes me....perhaps someone here on the Blue can help out and name those State-sponsors?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:35 AM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


maintaining a garrison at every intersection.

Gosh, that sounds expensive. I wonder how that will be paid because that sounds like a way to make the citizens paying for such to go bankrupt.
posted by rough ashlar at 10:37 AM on November 17, 2012


using civilian homes, mosques and schools to store or fire missiles.

Where are they to be stored? In their own Military Garrison? A Garrison with the logo painted on the roof perhaps?

It seems the Palestinians are acting in the manner they are from a perception of not having their grievances addressed.

Can anyone point to the cases under a "Rule of Law" where the issues at hand were discussed and a decision reached about what was done and how the actions was found to be legal and therefore the Palestinians are overreacting?
posted by rough ashlar at 10:51 AM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


The summer is 8 months away. There's no use talking that far in advance.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:01 AM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


rough ashlar : Can anyone point to the cases under a "Rule of Law" where the issues at hand were discussed and a decision reached

I don't know whether or not you consider the UN HRC "legitimate" or not (the US government apparently does not), but they've looked into the issue several times. Probably the closest you'll come to "case law" (outside Tel Aviv) as regards the I/P situation.



roomthreeseventeen : The summer is 8 months away. There's no use talking that far in advance.

You don't boil a frog on "high".
posted by pla at 11:21 AM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Guardian: Gazans in frantic hunt for safety as Israeli forces prepare to invade
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:53 AM on November 17, 2012


Haaretz is running a IDF prepares for ground invasion live blog.

(paywall may apply - it seems a bit random if you get it in the NYTimes manner)

7:55 P.M. Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Israel's operation in Gaza: "The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for forty years."

Not looking good.
posted by Artw at 11:58 AM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Guardian: Israel is bound by its own logic of escalation
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:04 PM on November 17, 2012


Huffpost: Ahmed Jabari, Hamas Military Chief, Topped Israel's Wanted List
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:08 PM on November 17, 2012


UN vote on Palestinian state put off amid lack of support
posted by Artw at 12:13 PM on November 17, 2012


Has Obama or any other U.S. representative gone into any detail about how much of a response to these attacks would be too much? Obama said Israel can decide how to defend itself, but the scale of the retaliation is clearly out of scale with the original attack, and is starting to look like a politically-motivated "strike while the iron is hot" type of assault that is hard to justify as a defensive maneuver given Israel's superior defensive capabilities.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:16 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


They might be slightly disapproving and a bit slow in delivering new bombs like last time, that's about all you can expect. He's already done his "Israel has the right to defend itself and everyone else should bend over and take it" boilerplate speech.
posted by Artw at 12:22 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


He's already done his "Israel has the right to defend itself and everyone else should bend over and take it" boilerplate speech.

Yeah, my (probably futile) hope was that he was just engaging in election-year pandering to the AIPAC crowd. Surely there must be limits to how forcefully Israel can defend themselves -- like, I don't think Obama would be okay with Israel "defending itself" by invading Iran in the way the US "defended itself" by defending Iraq (which Obama opposed.) I'm not saying Israel would do that, but I would really like some clarity on whether sending Gaza " back to the Middle Ages" is an appropriate response to some rocket attacks that have left, what, 3 Israelis dead? All death in this conflict is a tragedy, but this really isn't sounding like "defense" by any meaningful interpretation of the word.
posted by tonycpsu at 12:30 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know whether or not you consider the UN HRC "legitimate" or not

What I think doesn't matter much because I don't have access to any kind of firepower to enforce anything under a "power comes from the barrel of a gun" kind of rule Humanity is under. The "legitimacy" should matter to others who may later go to that same body and ask for a ruling no?

If one can not obtain a redress of grievances in a Court (AKA peaceably) then what is left as an option?

(And what options exist if the Courts are corrupt?)

Israel has the right to defend itself

And what obligations exist towards others so that one can claim that right. Rights do have obligations tied to 'em right?
posted by rough ashlar at 12:34 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it isn't relevant, why don't they change it? I'm not sure that in this kind of situation you get to have it both ways...anti-Semitic for rhetoric but then immune to charges of anti-Semitism when they are inconvenient. I mean, people are dying.

Uh, everyone is aware that the Palestinians are Semitic, right?
posted by Ironmouth at 12:57 PM on November 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


Israel does have the right to defend itself. The US was right to give it the Iron Dome to shoot down missiles aimed at its cities. It is wrong for Hamas to fire missiles into population centers.

However, killing Hamas' military chief in retaliation for a missile fired from Egypt is not Israel defending itself.
posted by Ironmouth at 1:03 PM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Uh, everyone is aware that the Palestinians are Semitic, right?

Funny thing that - when I mentioned Semites were a very large class of people, the Blue reaction was to the effect 'Semites are Jews' to make Anti-Semite == Anti-Jew. Its almost like words have emotional meaning and thier use is set up to push emotional buttons VS being logical and asking questions like "Say: How *DID* we get here?"

But here is a bit of framing for consideration - 1.4 trillion cubic feet of gas lie beneath the sea associated with Gaza.

(but its all about the rockets red glare, them falling from mid air right?)
posted by rough ashlar at 1:05 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is there a reason the missile fired from Egypt couldn't have been a Hamas missile?
posted by Justinian at 1:05 PM on November 17, 2012


Is there a reason the missile fired from Egypt couldn't have been a Hamas missile?

Is there any reason to assume anything beyond "This rocket that landed here was tracked by radar as having come from there"?

And the more cynical can point to "remember the Maine" or "Gulf of Tonkin" or more tied to the topic Lavan Affair and ask the question "Am I being lied to?"

At what point should things be considered "believed" or "truth"? And where is that line in the events being claimed here?

A translation as "By Way Of Deception, Thou Shalt Do War." and all that jazz comes to mind.
posted by rough ashlar at 1:13 PM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Social Media Companies Have Absolutely No Idea How to Handle the Gaza Conflict
Violence Escalates In Israel - Pictures
Israel's Rocket-Hunting Ace Got His Start Playing Warcraft
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:14 PM on November 17, 2012


Is there any reason to assume anything beyond "This rocket that landed here was tracked by radar as having come from there"?

No. But if that's where you start, it doesn't matter where the rocket was fired from or who fired it, you just don't believe anything anyone is saying. So there's no point in objecting to targetting the military chief of Hamas for a rocket fired from Egypt since you wouldn't care where the rocket was fired from.
posted by Justinian at 1:17 PM on November 17, 2012


Uh, everyone is aware that the Palestinians are Semitic, right?

Yes. Everyone is aware that "anti-Semite" specifically refers to hatred of Jews because of it's history as an invented term of art meaning "hatred of Jews", right?

To be honest, I almost only ever see objections to it on the grounds that other people are Semites too from people who are anti-Semitic. It's often part of a strange "the Jews think they're so special they've even co-opted this word that broadly describes hatred of many groups to be just about themselves" kind of vibe. I'm NOT suggesting that that's going on here, but it is something I've encountered a bunch of times in the past.
posted by OmieWise at 1:28 PM on November 17, 2012 [8 favorites]


NY Times: If You've Got a Hammer
--Ronen Bergman is a senior correspondent for security and intelligence affairs at Yediot Aharonot and contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine.
posted by Golden Eternity at 2:09 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The natural gas near Gaza is only one of many finds off the coast of Israel. Currently there is a lot more development going on off the coast of Haifa. The Gazan gas reserves are a fairly minie prize here.
posted by humanfont at 2:24 PM on November 17, 2012


you just don't believe anything anyone is saying.

Do the various actors involved have a history of telling the truth?

If there is a history of lies - why should the default be "Oh, this time the truth is being told."? In other parts of polite society are known liars greeted with "You speak the truth until proven otherwise" - no matter how long ago and how minor the lie?

(and what that has been reported in this matter would rise above hearsay in a Court of Law?)
posted by rough ashlar at 2:25 PM on November 17, 2012


I think we're talking past eachother. I'm not saying you should believe them. I'm saying the specific objection, in the comment I was originally replying to which I don't believe was even from you, makes no sense if one refuses to believe anything anyone is saying. That's all.
posted by Justinian at 2:28 PM on November 17, 2012


Pla wrote: But when you start right off by responding to an ineffective attack by killing their prime minister?

I think you're mistaken. Neither of the people claiming to be the Palestinian Prime Minister (i.e., Salam Fayyad in the West Bank and Ismail Haniyyeh in Gaza) have been killed in this conflict. Of course, it's not clear what the title means, given that a "Prime Minister" implies the existence of some sort of democratic process.

What Israel apparently did do is destroy the (Hamas) Prime Minister's headquarters. The Independent goes on to say
In all, 42 Palestinians, including 13 civilians, have been killed, while three Israeli civilians have died. [...] The Israeli military said more than 950 targets have been struck since the operation began.
As regards what you call "an ineffective attack", surely you're aware that there have been hundreds of these attacks over the past few days; that several Israelis have been killed; many injured; and that most of Israel lives in terror, scared to venture more than a few steps from a bomb shelter? And that people living close to the border with Gaza have been living this way for years?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:18 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Time to move on from the definition of semite/anti-semite. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 3:20 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Joe in Australia: "that several Israelis have been killed; many injured; and that most of Israel lives in terror, scared to venture more than a few steps from a bomb shelter? And that people living close to the border with Gaza have been living this way for years?"

And that's on the side where they've got the attack helicopters, nukes, and a first-world quality of living!
posted by dunkadunc at 3:26 PM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


I think it's safe to say that the rocket attacks are "ineffective" compared to the Israeli operations, given that the death toll ratio is something like 10 Palestinian for every 1 Israeli. While it is true that Palestinian rocket attacks are a threat to Israelis, they are not nearly as much of a threat to the average Israeli as the Israeli attacks are to the average Palestinian.
posted by tonycpsu at 3:28 PM on November 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


The missiles used to strike at Jerusalem and Tel-Aviv are beleived to be Iranian designed Fajr-5. Foreign Policy magazine has a bit more and some interesting comments on the current situation.
posted by humanfont at 3:53 PM on November 17, 2012


Tonycpsu, when you use the term "effective" to compare Palestinian and Israeli attacks you're comparing apples and oranges. The Palestinian missiles are largely un-aimed and are directed against civilian targets. By saying that insufficient Israeli deaths shows that the attacks are ineffective you're buying into terrorist terminology, accepting that war crimes are a good thing and that Palestinians win when Israelis die.

In contrast, according to The Independent's figures Israel has struck 950 Palestinian targets and there have been only thirteen civilian casualties. It would be quite reasonable to call the Israeli attacks ineffective if they failed to destroy Palestinian military sites, but further civilian casualties wouldn't mean that the Israeli attacks were more effective: on the contrary, it might imply that the attacks had been poorly aimed.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:00 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I wonder what the Palestinians would target if they had precision guided weapons and air superiority.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:08 PM on November 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm not making a moral assessment of effectiveness, Joe. I'm saying that Israel has a far superior force that makes their attacks more effective than Hamas' in relative terms, with "effectiveness" being defined the way each side defines it, not the way you or I do.

Of course Hamas is wrong to target civilians. This goes without saying. The question is whether Israel had to respond with such a devastating attack that has killed 4 times the number of civilians by accident than Hamas did on purpose, plus many more military casualties. I think this is a fair question to ask.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:24 PM on November 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


I am no expert in anything, but I betcha if the Palestinians had precision guided weapons and air superiority, Israel might have a bit of a different attitude towards settlements and the rights of the Palestinians in general.

I am no fan of war and certainly no fan of civilian deaths. But the Palestinians are desperate on several levels. I just can't summon moral outrage about their response. I do not think it is right. But the poverty, the unemployment, the basic levels of deprivation -- of course they are going to lash out. Of course you're going to have fundamental extremism.

And Israel seems to be somewhat delusional in the idea that all they have to do is bomb them back to great levels of desperation and that will fix things. I mean, no.
posted by angrycat at 4:25 PM on November 17, 2012 [10 favorites]


Tonycpsu: I really can't understand your position. The government of Gaza is attacking Israeli civilians. Israel has responded with (what is apparently) an amazingly precise attack against Gazan military targets. I can't imagine that any military response by anyone ever in the entire world has been anything like as precise. Every single one of Hamas' attacks has been a war crime. For Israel to have failed to respond would arguably be in breach of international law: Israeli citizens have human rights too.

There are videos of huge ammunition dumps exploding in Palestinian civilian areas, and I suspect that these must account for many of the civilian casualties. Have you no outrage for Hamas' cynical use of Palestinian lives? What sort of response do you suggest that Israel make? Should it not attack Palestinian missile sites? Should it not attack the ammunition dumps?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:49 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


If the Palestinians could target military targets only, do you think they might?

It just seems like any response from a non-technologically advanced foe is a war crime by default.
posted by Drinky Die at 4:56 PM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


I submit that a military response that inadvertently kills Palestinian civilians may not be the best way to stop the attacks and protect Israeli civilians since this conflict is fueled by mutual rage. Your implication that a military response is compelled by international law seems absurd.

between January 2009 (the conclusion of the last all-out Gaza war) and September of this year, 25 Israelis were killed by Palestinians

While a tragedy, I suspect more people have died in Israel in car accidents or from alcohol overdose or any number of other causes during this time period and that perhaps that level of casualties can be sustained in the name of breaking a cycle of violence and forging a long term peace.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:09 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Drinky Die asked: If the Palestinians could target military targets only, do you think they might?

That's a really weird response and I have no idea where you're coming from, morally. Suggesting that people attacking civilians might concentrate on soldiers if they had better weapons is like saying that rapists might have normal relationships if they had better social skills.

It just seems like any response from a non-technologically advanced foe is a war crime by default.

Any attack directed against civilians is a war crime. Surely you can understand this? There is no exception for people who find it inconvenient to kill soldiers - and I note that attacks against soldiers can also be war crimes, and in the case of Hamas presumably are: the deaths are not proportionate to the military advantage which, given the absence of any apparent military strategy, is effectively non-existent.

I suspect more people have died in Israel in car accidents or from alcohol overdose or any number of other causes during this time period and that perhaps that level of casualties can be sustained in the name of breaking a cycle of violence and forging a long term peace.

Perhaps surprisingly, I agree that the number of deaths is not the biggest issue. The point is that these attacks are intended to cause terror, and they do. Israelis living in the south of Israel, such as in Sderot, may never be more than fifteen seconds from a bomb shelter. The sirens go off constantly. Everyone suffers from stress disorders. It is intolerable and I suspect that you wouldn't expect anyone else to tolerate it.

Here's a link to Hamas' logo. Do you see the map at its top? This map represents the territory they claim. It encompasses every inch of Israel. Here is a link to Hamas' covenant. It expressly states that Hamas' aim is not merely political but the cornerstone of their faith, and that it includes the obliteration of Israel.

So we have these undirected rocket attacks against a civilian population, by an organisation which proclaims that it wishes to "obliterate" and then rule the country in which they live. I don't think your suggestion that Israel simply acquiesce to this permanent state of terror should be taken seriously.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:43 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the suggestion is that if Israel stepped back, and stopped collectively punishing 1.6 million people, and ignored rocket attacks in the interest of breaking the circle of violence, the current situation might be brought to an end.

There's a bunch of really nasty people in the past who have used collective punishment against civilian populations, and Israel should be above it.
posted by dunkadunc at 5:49 PM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Collective punishment" is a dog whistle, as the rest of your comment bears out. Targeting Hamas installations in civilian locations is not collective punishment.

Frankly, the notion that Israel should not respond to rocket attacks is laughable. I have no doubt that were you living in the path of rocket attacks you would be clamoring for some pretty serious fuckibg intervention, peaceful ideals or no.
posted by OmieWise at 6:04 PM on November 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


Attacks against missile launchers and ammo dumps are not collective punishment.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:04 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


dunkadunc: "and stopped collectively punishing 1.6 million people" ... "people in the past who have used collective punishment against civilian populations"

You keep using those words. I don't think they mean what you think they mean.

What you call "collective punishment" of the people of Gaza is a self-defensive reaction to an actual act of collective punishment: the thousands and thousands of rockets that Hamas has launched indiscriminately against the civilian populations in southern Israel.
posted by gertzedek at 6:10 PM on November 17, 2012


I think it is understandable that Israel would go after the rockets and launchers. It seems all it would take is a few chemical weapons warheads and Hamas could do horific damage. It would really be helpful if there were a way to stop these things from getting into Gaza.

It would also really help if the Israeli government would stop making reprehensible statements like this:

7:55 P.M. Interior Minister Eli Yishai on Israel's operation in Gaza: "The goal of the operation is to send Gaza back to the Middle Ages. Only then will Israel be calm for forty years."
posted by Golden Eternity at 6:14 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


There may be some merit to the view that if Israel did x the y would occur. However the Hamas leadership could also negotiate exactly those terms. Israeli leaders have been open to such a deal for a long time. Hamas could recognize just the Israel-Gaza border, agree to limitations on its military capabilities and work to stop terrorist actions by citizens living in Gaza along with other operations. In return the sanctions would be lifted and borders opened. This deal has been on the table for 7 years now. Has just has to accept those conditions. Instead they kidnap soldiers, fire rockets and run 24x7 tv programming focused on killing the Jews.
posted by humanfont at 6:19 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's a really weird response and I have no idea where you're coming from, morally. Suggesting that people attacking civilians might concentrate on soldiers if they had better weapons is like saying that rapists might have normal relationships if they had better social skills.

No, it's nothing like that and your rape comparison is offensive, emotionally manipulative, and out of place.

I think if Americans in WWII had access to weapons that would have allowed them to destroy the military of their opponents without killing civilians they would have been very likely to take that route instead of using the more primitive weapons that did more civilian damage. However, I don't judge them as monstrous purely for using the means they did in the cases where there were no good alternatives.

Any attack directed against civilians is a war crime. Surely you can understand this?

Don't call me Shirely, but yes I understand you. What I am trying to say is that the Palestinians do not have the ability to otherwise fight. If they have a responsibility to protect themselves, and this is the only available route, they are logically going to chose it.

Or maybe it's a nation of evil terrorist supporters (look at the logo!) who just want the most innocent death possible, but I don't find that particularly convincing.

Frankly, the notion that Israel should not respond to rocket attacks is laughable

Oh, I agree. I just think that the chosen response, bombing campaigns that provoke more violence and have not ended the rocket attacks so far, is not an effective response to end the violence. A peaceful, diplomatic response, and strong display of a will to pursue peace has a better chance of changing the status quo.

I have no doubt that were you living in the path of rocket attacks you would be clamoring for some pretty serious fuckibg intervention, peaceful ideals or no.


Yes, I might be terrified and be screaming all kinds of things. That would not make my terrified demands the wise course of action. For instance, a variety of deeply frightened Americans supported a number of ill conceived decisions after 9/11.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:21 PM on November 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


I gave a quick re-read of this thread, and it is loaded of recommendations of what Israel should do. Interestingly, there aren't as many suggestions of what should Hamas do to stop the tragedy that is about the befall Gaza from happening.

And it's a very simple list:

* Stop the rocket attacks;
* Abide to existing agreements made by the Palestinian Authority;
* Recognize Israel's right to exist;
* Renounce terrorist tactics.

None of these things are unreasonable.
posted by gertzedek at 6:23 PM on November 17, 2012 [5 favorites]


Drinky Die: "What I am trying to say is that the Palestinians do not have the ability to otherwise fight."

You are assuming they absolutely must fight. That they have no alternative but to fight. This is a fallacy.
posted by gertzedek at 6:25 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


You are assuming they absolutely must fight. That they have no alternative but to fight. This is a fallacy.

Yes, it is, for both sides.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:28 PM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


Apologies if this has already been linked to upthread, just don't have time to carefully go through all this right now. But...

Anonymous attacks over 650 Israeli sites, wipes databases, leaks email addresses and passwords
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:30 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Unsurprisingly, Anonymous is following the Hamas playbook - attacking Israeli civilians.
posted by gertzedek at 6:37 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


The IDF has set a victory condition that is unrealistic and totally unobtainable. This is not a winning strategy. It is not possible for an urban center of almost 2 million people to be reduced to a 40 year period of Middle Ages technology capability. Fortunately this should ensure that Bibi loses the election after Israelis realize what a fiasco they've been lead into.
posted by humanfont at 6:42 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


He's already done his "Israel has the right to defend itself and everyone else should bend over and take it" boilerplate speech.

Obama Fiddling While Gaza Burns
posted by homunculus at 7:11 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Two resources that provide a lot of information on the topics at hand, not easily available elsewhere in English, are the folks at Independent Media Review and Analysis (IMRA) and Middle Eastern Media Research Institute (MEMRI). They have an obvious slant (no points for guessing), but interesting nonetheless.
posted by Adamchik at 7:31 PM on November 17, 2012


[Please figure out a way to discuss this without calling half the thread "enemies of human life." ]
posted by restless_nomad at 8:21 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, alright, I'll restrict my comment to this: gertzedek is making an excellent point, that for all the talk of how badly Israel has failed to come up with an endgame, it's important to note that Hamas, too, has nothing resembling an endgame (beyond their stated desire to drive the Jews into the sea, which I guess counts). Mind you, Israel is pretty much reaping the whirlwind after sowing the wind; they undermined Fatah at every turn, when Fatah was pretty clearly willing to deal. But to yell at Israel for being (as) short-sighted (as Hamas) only makes Israel less inclined to believe that Western activists have any interest in the survival of Israel as a state, or even in the survival of individual Israelis.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 8:30 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: calling half the thread "enemies of human life."
posted by Dasein at 8:36 PM on November 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Perhaps if Palestine was allowed to import concrete or other basic materials so as to construct basic infrastructure we could give advice to a government.

The Palestinians live in ghettos and abject poverty.
posted by Shit Parade at 8:38 PM on November 17, 2012 [11 favorites]


I have a strong interest in Israel surviving as a state, but the last time I checked, Israel is located on Earth, and Bibi Netanyahu is putting the fate of the entire planet in jeopardy.

As was said earlier, 25 Israeli fatalities from Palestinian attacks over four years is tragic, but unquestionably tolerable as part of a long-term strategy of de-escalating the conflict. Of course Hamas bears responsibility for their role in escalating, but when you're sixteen years old and your three year old brother is punching you in the leg and biting your ankle, you don't knock his teeth out when you can just let him punch himself out and put him down for a nap.

I agree that Israel had every right to defend themselves from these attacks, but taking out a thousand targets and lining up for a ground assault on Gaza is a hundred or perhaps thousand fold escalation of the force of Hamas' rocket attacks. It's uncalled for, it's clearly politically-motivated, and it's the kind of thing that history has shown can lead to these conflicts escalating to a regional or global scale.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:01 PM on November 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


tonycpsu, I hear ya, but doesn't it seem problematic to compare an active political entity made up of grown people to a three-year-old? I mean, I don't want to make any accusations, but I feel like there's a kind of low expectations game being played with Hamas that does no one any favors.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:06 PM on November 17, 2012


I wonder what the Palestinians would target if they had precision guided weapons and air superiority.

Well, Hamas has a long history of sending suicide bombers not against groups of soldiers in Israeli streets (of which there are many), but against civilians, so I think we know the answer to that.

The greatest tragedy of this conflict is that the Palestinians could have had a state years ago if they'd followed the example of the U.S. civil rights movement and embraced non-violence. Instead, they pursued violent opposition to Israel that had characterized the Arab response to the presence of a Jewish state since 1948. When this violence reached its zenith in the second intafada, it effectively obliterated the Israeli peace movement that had been sympathetic to the Palestinian cause - Israelis saw not a people struggling for self-determination, but extremists bent on murdering Jews. Those two descriptions accurately sum up the difference between Fatah and Hamas today, IMO.

While I think Palestinians made a massive historical mistake in choosing violence, I think Israelis have made a massive historical mistake in not embracing the recent Fatah move away from that tradition. You could not ask for better Palestinian peace partners than Abbas and Fayyad, but Netanyahu, who has no real interest in peace (his approach to settlement-building being pretty clear evidence of this), has thrown the opportunity away - deliberately, I think. If someone like Rabin were in power today, I suspect there would be a peace treaty.

The central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland.

Robert Pape may be right about this, but it doesn't help much if the "homeland" identified by Hamas happens to include six million Jews. And I would suggest that that identification is very much driven by religion, in the same way that Eretz Israel craziness among settlers is.
posted by Dasein at 9:07 PM on November 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


ThatFuzzyBastard: "tonycpsu, I hear ya, but doesn't it seem problematic to compare an active political entity made up of grown people to a three-year-old?"

Well, note that I didn't use an adult to represent Israel in my analogy, either. :)

Yes, it's a low expectations game, and that sucks, but I think it's reasonable to expect a bit more from nations with nuclear weapons and F-15s, and a bit less from wanna-be nations dealing with crippling blockades and economic sanctions.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:21 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Dasein: I think it's pretty clear that I'm no knee-jerk apologist for the Palestinian cause, but it's worth noting there has been non-violent resistance by the Palestinians, and it was ignored by both the West and Israel. While the PLO's enthusiastic embrace of violence has done no one any favors, I fear there's little reason to believe peaceful resistance alone would have produced better results.
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 9:37 PM on November 17, 2012 [4 favorites]


I fear there's little reason to believe peaceful resistance alone would have produced better results.

Non-violence has been totally overshadowed by violence - there needs to be a rejection of violence across Palestinian society, or rather there needed to be a long time ago. Democracies are unable to withstand non-violent group demands for self-determination. Israel would find itself totally ostracized by other democracies if it was trying to deny a non-violent minority statehood. But if it's a case of Israel acting in self-defence, it becomes a different story. If Hamas weren't firing rockets and sending bombers, but organizing peaceful marches (no AK-47s, no chants of "death to Israel") on a weekly basis, there wouldn't be support in Israel for a blockade of Gaza, and Israel would lose U.S. support, too.
posted by Dasein at 9:44 PM on November 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, Hamas has a long history of sending suicide bombers not against groups of soldiers in Israeli streets (of which there are many), but against civilians, so I think we know the answer to that.

Well, they have a history of both. Attacking both has a long history in warfare in general as well. The suicide bombings seem to have stopped since 2008 with fatalities dropping every year since the massive spike during 2002 either due to a Palestinian decision or increased security. I think that shows us that we don't need to consider them an ever-present sign of what to expect.

Rather than ask what the Palestinians would do with air superiority and precision weapons I think maybe it's better to look at what Israel would do without them. Unable to fight back by any other means, I think they would surely consider otherwise unthinkable tactics.

I think most nations would make the decision to kill civilians rather than risk their own existence. I wonder what message the nations of the world that still have nuclear weapons are sending about what they would be willing to do in the name of their own security if they felt truly desperately that their existence was at stake.
posted by Drinky Die at 10:10 PM on November 17, 2012 [6 favorites]


This guy is liveblogging from the Israeli side. I can't link to this story directly, so I'll quote it here:
Surreal story from Eli Birnbaum in Tekoa:

Erev Shabbat in Tekoa (like most places) is a contradiction of tension and relief. This time the arrival of Shabbat was accompanied by warning sirens for a missile attack. Surprise and unbelief “Missiles here in the Judean desert?” Before we can really grasp what was happening, there came the resounding boom of an explosion echoing in the hills reflecting the shock in our faces. The security van careens through the streets calling people to find shelter. Within minutes another siren warning. This time prayers are halted . “Quickly under the shul,” someone commands. Within the confusion we grab our children and grandchildren in our arms and climb down to the open area under the synagogue which affords more protection. We all move quickly in the darkening evening finding space on the floor . I hold one of my grandchildren talking to him softly . He thinks it is a great game. We begin to sing and wait for the next boom.

It was at that moment that my son Pinny’s cell phone rings. As a member of a search and rescue team it is not uncommon for him to get calls even on Shabbat. But this call was different “Shabbat Shalom” . It is a familiar voice with a very distinct accent. “ Pinny, its Muhammad, what do I do? What’s happening? I heard your sirens”. There is real panic in his voice.

At first this may not appear to be an abnormal situation, but Muhammad is an acquaintance/friend who happens to live in the Arab village of Tuqua which the army will only enter in large numbers. Pinny quietly explains that we were being rocketed from Gaza and the best thing he could do is to remain in doors and stay away from windows. Muhammad thanks Pinny profusely apologizes for calling on Shabbat “ Shabbat Shalom Pinny – B’Emet todah!”. So this Friday night , a “Palestinian Arab” called a “Jewish Settler” for help regarding a rocket attack from Gaza – Surreal!
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:25 AM on November 18, 2012


but when you're sixteen years old and your three year old brother is punching you in the leg and biting your ankle, you don't knock his teeth out when you can just let him punch himself out and put him down for a nap.

and when he keeps sneaking out of bed, time after time, over years and years, always punching and biting your ankle, eventually you are going to knock his teeth out. and break his arms. because nothing else worked.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 5:02 AM on November 18, 2012


Drinky Die: "The suicide bombings seem to have stopped since 2008 with fatalities dropping every year since the massive spike during 2002 either due to a Palestinian decision or increased security. "

"Either due"? Please. The reason the suicide bombings have stopped is because of the Gaza disengagement + blockade, and, most of all, because the West Bank Security Barrier - universally maligned as an "apartheid wall". Well, there you can clearly see what the barrier has accomplished. It has *nothing* to do to a "Palestinian decision".
posted by gertzedek at 5:54 AM on November 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Shit Parade: "Perhaps if Palestine was allowed to import concrete or other basic materials so as to construct basic infrastructure we could give advice to a government."

What do you mean "if Palestine is allowed"? There is no entity called "Palestine" in Gaza. There's no civil society. There is Hamas. And they will use "concrete and other basic materials" to construct "the basic infrastructure" of terror - tunnels to smuggle weapons under the Egyptian border, weapon caches and fire pits around civilian areas. That's what they have done time and time again, and they have shown zero indication that they will act differently.

Give Hamas a brick, they will throw it at Israel.
posted by gertzedek at 6:01 AM on November 18, 2012


but when you're sixteen years old and your three year old brother is punching you in the leg and biting your ankle, you don't knock his teeth out when you can just let him punch himself out and put him down for a nap.
and when he keeps sneaking out of bed, time after time, over years and years, always punching and biting your ankle, eventually you are going to knock his teeth out. and break his arms. because nothing else worked.


And when you get yelled at by your parents for starting the situation by taking what the 3 year old had, poking/slapping the 3 year old, perhaps breaking the 3 year olds legs a few years ago when changing the diaper and other assorted misdeeds - are you a sociopath when you deny such, or are you a sociopath when shown the videos made of your abuse of the 3 year old and still make your denials?

Because at some point in this whole finger pointing 16/3 year old hypothetical brawl there are enabling adults. If only there was some kind of League of Adults who could step in and settle things. Not really sure how A League of Adults would separate the feuding children and the enabling adults. Perhaps a United Adults collective should be formed if the League of Adult fail to deal with the hypothetical 16/3 year old child-brawling*? But perhaps the 'lets have an argument over fake 16/3 year olds actions' will have a worthwhile idea that can get translated into what this thread is about.

*Did you know that children brawling acts like eagles having a falling out?
posted by rough ashlar at 6:09 AM on November 18, 2012


[Maybe everyone let the hypothetical "3-year-old" analogy go now, and return to your regularly scheduled untortured unmetaphor?]
posted by taz at 6:47 AM on November 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Palestinians aren't a bunch of irrational children throwing a tantrum. Many of their leaders have advanced degrees in engineering and medicine. The whole analogy seems to deny the Palestinians agency for their actions. Hamas isn't lobbing missiles as a tantrum. It is a calculated strategy devised to further their interests.
posted by humanfont at 7:11 AM on November 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


I used the toddler metaphor to highlight the imbalance in military strength, not to suggest that Palestinians can't control their actions. I think this is clear in the original context. Rather than taking shots at the imperfect metaphor, maybe we could focus on the question of whether Israel needs to be amassing a large ground force and threatening to send Gaza back to the middle ages after a slight (historically-speaking) escalation in hostilities.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:35 AM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Palestinians aren't a bunch of irrational children throwing a tantrum. Many of their leaders have advanced degrees in engineering and medicine. The whole analogy seems to deny the Palestinians agency for their actions. Hamas isn't lobbing missiles as a tantrum. It is a calculated strategy devised to further their interests.

And the thousands of refugees that become the victims of the IDF attacks? Are they calculating too?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:36 AM on November 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


after a slight (historically-speaking) escalation in hostilities.

Oh, only a slight escalation of hostilities. How quaint. I am sure if a slight escalation of hostilities resulted in rockets on your land, on the homes of your family, you wouldn't be so blasé.
posted by rosswald at 7:45 AM on November 18, 2012


Israel’s Shortsighted Assassination
posted by Artw at 7:47 AM on November 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


Oh, only a slight escalation of hostilities. How quaint. I am sure if a slight escalation of hostilities resulted in rockets on your land, on the homes of your family, you wouldn't be so blasé.

Actually, if I felt that further escalation would cause many more casualties in the future, making my family less safe in the long term, I absolutely would.
posted by tonycpsu at 7:56 AM on November 18, 2012


At least 10 civilians killed in Israeli airstrike.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:23 AM on November 18, 2012


While the PLO's enthusiastic embrace of violence has done no one any favors, I fear there's little reason to believe peaceful resistance alone would have produced better results.

"Fewer dead people" counts as a pretty massive improvement in my book.
posted by multics at 8:39 AM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Emergency Routine: Israelis are once again going to war, even as they admit no sweeping victories are on the horizon.
posted by homunculus at 8:48 AM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Israel’s Shortsighted Assassination

The problem with such framing is there is always another frame to put things in.

Is "the cause" of this round of violence because a 13 year old was headshot while playing football or because as that same story notes "Israeli military vehicles and tanks had entered Gaza some 500 meters east of Khan Younis, where they came under fire from militants."
posted by rough ashlar at 9:00 AM on November 18, 2012


Teaching the Palestinians a lesson: The Israeli government’s insistence on maintaining the political and diplomatic status quo in Gaza and the West Bank guarantees many more years of violence and suffering – especially for the Palestinians.
posted by homunculus at 9:17 AM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Linguists including Noam Chomsky condemn "reprehensible" Gaza coverage
Stanford, We Are Complicit In Gaza Violence
Dissecting IDF Propaganda - The Numbers Behind Rocket Attacks
Gaza Is NO Longer Alone
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:03 AM on November 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Gaza journalists wounded by Israeli attack on buildings: Israeli aircraft hit two Gaza media buildings on Sunday, wounding eight journalists and drawing concern from press covering the fighting between Palestinian militants and the Jewish state.
posted by homunculus at 11:06 AM on November 18, 2012


War Is Social
posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:19 AM on November 18, 2012


Then how should the Russians have acted with the Mujahideen actions back in Afghanistan then?

The situations are not analogous, and I don't think drawing conclusions from that situation and trying to apply them here is at all appropriate. The Mujahideen were regional warlords who were used by the US, USSR, Pakistan, Egypt, China, Saudi Arabia, the UK, Egypt, and Iran to fight a proxy war. Gaza is an occupied territory, and while we know that munitions, funding and other forms of support have come to them in the past from Arab and non-Arab nations, this is not a war by proxy.

How about the Georgian/Chechen events during the non-Putin timeframe?

You're speaking about the two Chechen wars in the 1990's and early 2000's? I think Russia should have stopped after the first war, denied all requests for monetary, military and supply assistance to the Chechens and let them function completely autonomously from Russia after the peace treaty was signed in 1997. This would likely have prevented the apartment building bombings in 1999 and later, and avoided a second war entirely. Russia's inability to stop interfering in Chechen civil unrest and independence efforts even after that treaty was signed led to terrible tragedies.

I've spoken out against the disproportionate force used by Israel against the Palestinians in the past on Metafilter. My opinion hasn't changed. I am appalled beyond all fucking reason at how Israel is reacting here. And I am very worried and concerned about friends and family living in Israel, as well as a friend's family who all live in the West Bank.

Because the name of the State doing some of the sponsoring escapes me....perhaps someone here on the Blue can help out and name those State-sponsors?

In Gaza, I am referring to the elected party of Palestinians which administrates the area: Hamas.

Hamas-sponsored terrorist acts should not be excused or dismissed as non-terrorism because the Palestinians don't yet have an official state. If Hamas can represent the Palestinians at peace talks then they should absolutely be held responsible when they sponsor terrorist acts in the name of Palestinians.
posted by zarq at 12:07 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are you referring to the refuges who were made homeless because some Hamas military commander picked their neighborhood as a location for a weapons depot or concealed rocket launch point? Perhaps you refer to the ongoing poverty in Gaza because Hamas refuses to abide by UN and Gang if Five demands that they renounce terrorism, recognize Israel and stop cross border attacks. Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. They tore down the settlements there. This was a big step and yet what has Hamas done in response? Hamas has continued to pursue a strategy that ordinary Palestinians strongly oppose. A strategy that can only lead to continued confrontation without any possibility of resolution. Hamas' leadership has gotten wealthy off corruption, tunnels and state sponsored shakedowns by militiamen. They use the struggle against Israel as a means to power, not a path to progress for the Palestinians people.
posted by humanfont at 12:08 PM on November 18, 2012


Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005. They tore down the settlements there. This was a big step and yet what has Hamas done in response? Hamas has continued to pursue a strategy that ordinary Palestinians strongly oppose.

Yeah, this plus the fact that the Palestinians rejected the peace plan in 2000 which gave them all of Gaza and 95% of the West Bank make me wonder what Israel could ever do to appease them other than cease to exist.

What if there are people with whom you simply cannot reason, who will hate and attack you no matter what? What is your moral responsibility in that case?
posted by shivohum at 12:26 PM on November 18, 2012


Will Arabs Turn Out For Gaza?
Social Media War Machine
Palestinians Say Israelis Trying To Silence Media By Attacking Journalists
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:50 PM on November 18, 2012


How to End the War in Gaza - What an Egypt-Brokered Cease-Fire Should Look Like
This time, ending the conflict and restoring stability will require a different type of arrangement. The cease-fire agreement should involve other parties and contain additional checks on violence. It will have the best chance of lasting if it is primarily based on an Israeli-Egyptian agreement, supported by the United States and, possibly, by the European Union. It will be up to Hamas to adhere to the terms.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:10 PM on November 18, 2012


Today, Israeli forces attacked two media buildings in Gaza, drawing round condemnations and notes of caution from media accuracy groups. Reuters reported that the Israeli government justified the attacks by explaining they were targeting "Hamas communications devices" atop the buildings. Nonetheless, eight journalists were injured in the attacks. The Associated Press released a video of smoke pouring from one of the buildings' roofs in the aftermath of the attack.

"Journalists are civilians and are protected under international law in military conflict," Robert Mahoney, the head of the Committee to Protect Journalists, said in a release. "Israel knows this and should cease targeting facilities housing media organizations and journalists immediately." Reporters Without Borders (RSF) was even more harsh, outright condemning the attacks. In a statement, RSF head Christophe Deloire said: "Even if the targeted media support Hamas, this does not in any way legitimize the attacks. We call for a transparent investigation into the circumstances of these air strikes. Attacks on civilian targets are war crimes and serious violations of the Geneva Conventions. Those responsible must be identified."
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 2:00 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


At least 10 civilians killed in Israeli airstrike.

An Israeli airstrike here on Sunday killed 10 members of one family, mostly women and children, marking the deadliest single attack and worst civilian tragedy since the current fighting in the Gaza Strip began last week.
posted by homunculus at 2:44 PM on November 18, 2012


Whyareyouatriangle: Here's a blog post from BBCWatch with an (apparently) accidentally shown video of a reporter (?) broadcasting from that very building. I've transcribed the English subtitles. There are some indistinct voices in Arabic in the background, and for most of the video she's talking to someone on her phone.

Female broadcaster: ... we have four open windows.
[off-camera, indecipherable voice in Arabic]
Female broadcaster: What? A missile was launched from our place? From here?
It was launched from here! No, from under our building.
How many? Was the missile that was launched from our place a "Grad"? The missile was launched just now.
It seems it was launched just from underneath the office.
It made a big bang. I thought it was an airstrike but it was a missile.
They launched it from under the office!
My view is that the building, which hosts Hamas' media and communications for Gaza, would be a legitimate military target anyway. The journalists allegedly injured in the attack placed themselves at risk and in any event should not have compromised themselves by working there. Furthermore, given that missiles were apparently fired from that very building, it takes enormous chutzpah for the "Committee to Protect Journalists" to defend Hamas' right to use journalists as human shields while seeking to murder Israelis.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:45 PM on November 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


God, homunculus, what a headline.... 10 civilians bombed by a fighter jet is the worst thing that's happened all week.
posted by Malor at 3:38 PM on November 18, 2012


What if there are people with whom you simply cannot reason, who will hate and attack you no matter what? What is your moral responsibility in that case?

That's a good question. How should the Palestinians deal with the Israelis? The poor bastards are sitting on land that Israel wants.
posted by Malor at 3:40 PM on November 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Are you really completely incapable of seeing that both sides have legitimate grievances, Malor?
posted by Justinian at 3:42 PM on November 18, 2012


Malor, if Israel wants the area why did they withdraw from it in 2005? Why did they force their own citizens out of it at gunpoint? Why did they try to get Egypt to accept the return of the area in 1972 (as I recall)? Israel has done everything it can to separate itself from Gaza. Your suggestion is just silly.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:47 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Because the Palestinians see that losing Gaza as a single piece, because it's not interesting to the Israelis, is their death sentence as a nation. The remainder of Palestine will be slowly digested, too small to make a nation. With Gaza, there might someday be a functioning state of Palestine. Without it, they're gone forever.
posted by Malor at 3:49 PM on November 18, 2012


[The "which side is more horrible" question is one that will not and cannot be settled here, no matter how many metaphors or repetitions or how much sarcasm is used. This thread has been going super-well when we stick to the immediate scale - let's please continue that.]
posted by restless_nomad at 3:53 PM on November 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


My impression is that the Israelis are pretty much done deciding how much of Palestine they will digest. The borders have been set with 20' tall concrete barriers and security roads. Hamas' approach of continued confrontation and endless conflict is deeply unpopular. People know that there is a deal to be had and what the borders would look like. It is only a matter of time before the deal is made.
posted by humanfont at 4:29 PM on November 18, 2012


Malor, can we agree that Israel does not want Gaza in any way, shape or form? Because I think that's pretty well undisputed; and then we might discuss whether Hamas' actions are aimed at changing Israel's behaviour and presence in the West Bank.

My view is that Hamas isn't actually interested in the West Bank as a Palestinian entity; their logo depicts the whole of the post-1922 British Mandate (i.e., it has no room for Israel) and their covenant expressly says that the whole area is an Islamic Waqf and that no entity has the right to concede a single inch of it. They're not defending the West Bank (obviously) and they haven't linked their attacks to any Israeli actions there. Even a local solution to the blockade of Gaza is contradicted by their strategy of attacking Israel with the very weapons that the blockade is meant to restrict. My opinion is that their anger is focused on the existence of Israel per se, not any alleged despair over what you call the slow digestion of "the remainder of Palestine".

I don't know if there is any path to peace in the region, but if there is such a path it will necessarily require that all parties can live in security. If, as I argue, Hamas is not interested in anything other than all of Israel it means that Hamas will need to be disarmed or otherwise neutralised. And given that Hamas shows no signs of ceding power to anyone, it means peace will require an invasion and an occupation of Gaza by Israel or someone else.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:00 PM on November 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


...We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too.

There should be no electricity in Gaza, no gasoline or moving vehicles, nothing. Then they’d really call for a ceasefire...

...IF THE government isn’t prepared to go all the way on this, it will mean reoccupying the entire Gaza Strip. Not a few neighborhoods in the suburbs, as with Cast Lead, but the entire Strip, like in Defensive Shield, so that rockets can no longer be fired.

There is no middle path here – either the Gazans and their infrastructure are made to pay the price, or we reoccupy the entire Gaza Strip. Otherwise there will be no decisive victory...


Gilad Sharon, writing in the Jerusalem Post.



posted by the duck by the oboe at 5:21 PM on November 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


"Either due"? Please. The reason the suicide bombings have stopped is because of the Gaza disengagement + blockade, and, most of all, because the West Bank Security Barrier - universally maligned as an "apartheid wall". Well, there you can clearly see what the barrier has accomplished. It has *nothing* to do to a "Palestinian decision".

Ok, sure. They just plain ran out of bombs and access even though they can still get Iranian rockets in, that's what happened.

But we could look instead at a recent previous ceasefire and notice that the rockets had almost entirely stopped as well until Israel again struck (to stop the rockets?) so I think we can attribute that to a decision to abide by the agreement.

Where is the pragmatic argument that a military strike was necessary to counter the stopped rocket attacks? Why a military strike when a blockade and a wall can stop the rockets just like they did the bombs? Well, maybe you need an iron dome instead of a wall.

No, I think we have to think a bit deeper on this one than the inevitability of Palestinian terrorism and maybe consider ramping down tensions rather than ramping up tensions.
posted by Drinky Die at 5:23 PM on November 18, 2012


Drinky Die: "They just plain ran out of bombs even though they can still get Iranian rockets in, that's what happened. "

Sorry, but you are confused.

The suicide bombing attacks came mostly from the West Bank. The security barrier worked by preventing attackers from sneaking into Israeli soil. You can't simply wander from the West Bank to Israel as you could in the past - you need to go through the checkpoints. That's why the suicide bombing attacks ended - the bombers can't get to their targets.

It may be necessary to note that the West Bank and Gaza are two different locations, governed by two different Palestinian factions, and they pose two different security issues for Israel.

"Where is the pragmatic argument that a military strike was necessary to counter the stopped rocket attacks? Why a military strike when a blockade and a wall can stop the rockets just like they did the bombs?"

I honestly have no idea what you're talking about here. The blockade did not stop the rockets, as they're being manufactured inside Gaza and smuggled through tunnels under the Egyptian border.
posted by gertzedek at 5:35 PM on November 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


That's why the suicide bombing attacks ended - the bombers can't get to their targets.

It's probably the most important factor, I agree, and a pretty clear moral justification for the separation barrier (though not the route that it takes). But it's also important to recognize that the new Palestinian leadership in the West Bank has made major efforts to crack down on extremism and terrorism, rather than encourage it. Abbas and Fayyad don't get nearly enough credit for what they've done, and Netanyahu doesn't get nearly enough criticism from the U.S. for throwing away the best chance Israel has ever had to deal with someone who wants to make peace.
posted by Dasein at 6:26 PM on November 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's no accident that, over and over, Israel sabotages any chance at peace.
posted by Malor at 6:29 PM on November 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Malor, there is no chance for peace as long as Hamas holds to the position that the only permanent resolution of the conflict is the annihilation of the state of Israel and removal all the jews living there. There have been a number of opportunities for leaders on both sides to bring this thing to an end.
posted by humanfont at 7:36 PM on November 18, 2012


Israeli spokesperson admits to targeting journalists in Gaza
By the Israeli army’s own admission, they knew journalists were in the building at which they fired: “We obviously knew there were journalists in the building, so we did not attack other floors in the building. But my advice to journalists visiting Gaza is to stay away from any Hamas position, site or post for their own safety,” army spokesperson Avital Leibovich told the press today (BBC Middle East Bureau Chief Paul Danahar recorded her admission).

According to Protocol 1, Article 79 of the Geneva Convention, it is a war crime to target journalists. Furthermore, to suggest that anyone can “stay away from” anything at all during this relentless assault on tiny, sealed-off Gaza is patently absurd. But to instruct journalists to stay away from the conflict on which it is their job to report points to Israel’s reckless disregard for the public’s right to information and the journalist’s duty to provide it. Israel seems clearly bent on preventing information from getting out of Gaza.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 7:53 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Drinky Die wrote: we could look instead at a recent previous ceasefire and notice that the rockets had almost entirely stopped as well until Israel again struck (to stop the rockets?)

I don't know the source of your graphic, but it's absolutely contradicted by this article:
October saw highest number of Gaza rockets since June. It's quite a discrepancy: one mortar and one rocket according to your graphic, but 116 rockets and 55 mortars according to the Israeli security service Shin Bet. There's also a Twitter account that records the number of rockets on any given day, and a more detailed Facebook acccount that also has its own app.

So, no, the rocket attacks had not only not stopped but were actually increasing.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:55 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whyareyouatriangle wrote: Israeli spokesperson admits to targeting journalists in Gaza

No: he specifically said that the IDF did not target journalists: We obviously knew there were journalists in the building, so we did not attack other floors in the building. How lazy and stupid does Electronic Intifada think its readers are?

Incidentally, at the bottom of this article you can see multiple videos showing the attack on the communications buildings. They are remarkable: the missiles are literally being aimed at the base of individual satellite dishes and antennae. This is probably the best documented non-war-crime in history.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:05 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Except for the eight injured journalists.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 8:08 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Malor, there is no chance for peace as long as Hamas holds to the position that the only permanent resolution of the conflict is the annihilation of the state of Israel and removal all the jews living there.

Is there newer evidence to refute Hamas's 2006 abandoning of calls for the destruction of Israel? Or is it just generally not believed as credible by those of you putting forth the claim above? Or, other?
posted by Brak at 8:08 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing that, as quoted in that article, Hamas stating it is not ready to recognize the right of Israel to exist is seen as problematic. They're not saying Israel needs to be eradicated but they're not not saying it needs to be eradicated, wink wink.
posted by Justinian at 8:12 PM on November 18, 2012


Just a coincidence, obviously.

5 of last 7 elections took place after IDF ops
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 8:52 PM on November 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Pfft. Amateurs. Here in the U.S. we just keep a war or three going on at all times to avoid any appearance of impropriety.
posted by tonycpsu at 8:54 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


No: he specifically said that the IDF did not target journalists: We obviously knew there were journalists in the building, so we did not attack other floors in the building. How lazy and stupid does Electronic Intifada think its readers are?

You're right. And I'm pretty sure that when you're charged with manslaughter you can stop the prosecutor in their tracks by claiming negligence or recklessness.

Oh wait. That shit would land me in a jail cell.
posted by Talez at 8:55 PM on November 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Joe in Australia:
Drinky Die wrote: we could look instead at a recent previous ceasefire and notice that the rockets had almost entirely stopped as well until Israel again struck (to stop the rockets?)
I don't know the source of your graphic, but it's absolutely contradicted by this article:[...]


That chart doesn't seem to be terribly recent. It appears to be an annotated version of a graphic which appeared in a 2008 report (PDF, chart is on the bottom of page 10) from The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center.
posted by multics at 8:59 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Brak, that's article was written when Hamas was running for election in 2006. The headline is a bit misleading because it makes it look as though they had changed their policies. It cites a single Hamas candidate (i.e., it was not an official statement) as saying "Hamas is talking about the end of the occupation as the basis for a state, but at the same time Hamas is still not ready to recognise the right of Israel to exist." That doesn't sound to me like a declaration of pacifism; it's the absolute minimum you need to say if you're running for election to a body based on something less than the entire area of the 1922 British Mandate. Against that very equivocal statement by some Hamas candidate there are lots and lots of explicit statements by various Hamas people calling for the destruction of Israel, and, of course, their continuous violent attacks against Israel and its people.

In any event, Hamas' logo continues to show the entire area of the 1922 British Mandate, and their "covenant" expressly calls for the destruction of all Israel and says that nobody has the right to accept anything less than this.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:00 PM on November 18, 2012


Israeli strike kills 9 members of Gaza family
Israel says it was targeting a Hamas militant as part of its campaign to stop the group from firing rockets at its cities. The dead were women and children.
For hours panicked neighbors and rescue workers clung to hope of finding survivors. While a bulldozer pulled apart pieces of the collapsed walls, volunteers in orange vests scrambled over the wreckage and searched for signs of life.

In a grim, heart-wrenching scene that played out over 90 minutes, the bodies of four children were pulled out one after another.

Each time they found a body, some of the men would yell excitedly and wave their hands at the bulldozer's driver to stop digging, while others would climb down to retrieve the child. As mobs of onlookers chanted "God is great," a rescue worker would race toward a waiting ambulance with a limp, dust-covered child.

"This is a massacre," shouted a distraught Nasser Dalu, 56, a cousin and neighbor, as he watched his relatives being pulled from debris. "What did these children do?"
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 9:02 PM on November 18, 2012


That doesn't sound to me like a declaration of pacifism

Oh, definitely not a statement of pacifism. Hamas will likely advocate for armed resistance at least until a Palestinian state is realized. I've just been trying to track down the "real" position on the ground today, with regards specifically to the idea of the destruction of Israel. While it is correct that it says so "on their letterhead", so to speak, I've been reading conflicting reports as to their current position on the matter, and have found the reality hard to track down in the press.
posted by Brak at 9:10 PM on November 18, 2012


Multics wrote: That chart doesn't seem to be terribly recent. It appears to be an annotated version of a graphic which appeared in a 2008 report [...]

Ah, thank you so much for that. I thought it belonged to this year (and so did Drinky Die, I presume) and I was astonished at the flagrant discrepancy. The report is well worth reading.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:21 PM on November 18, 2012


" We need to flatten entire neighborhoods in Gaza. Flatten all of Gaza. The Americans didn’t stop with Hiroshima – the Japanese weren’t surrendering fast enough, so they hit Nagasaki, too."
posted by Artw at 9:22 PM on November 18, 2012 [4 favorites]


Artw, the exact same statement was already quoted above. Yes, Gilad Sharon is a very angry man. He claims to be the one responsible for Israel leaving Gaza in the first place, so the repeated attacks from there are probably a particular affront to him. But he's one person and he isn't even a politician. He's a farmer! The only reason I can see for his notoriety is that he's Ariel Sharon's son.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:15 PM on November 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


[Yeah, there have been a few repeated links by different posters. I know it's getting to be a long thread, but going forward it would be good if folks just do a quick once-over check to see if the link or update you are adding has already been posted. Thanks, all.]
posted by taz at 11:00 PM on November 18, 2012


Wrong side of the fence - "In taking the logic of settlement to extremes and shutting out minorities of every stripe, Israel damages only itself"
Settler states such as America, Australia, or South Africa have common features, common founding myths. There’s always a first, founding-fathers ethnic group — Anglo-Americans or Dutch Germans or, in Israel’s case, European Jews. There is always an indigenous ‘native’ group (considered inferior), and then there’s a third group of subsequent, international migrants (not as good as the founders, but much better than the natives). In Israel, many of those later migrants were Jews from the Middle East, who were disproportionately sent to undeveloped regions on the nation’s ‘periphery’ and who, as a result, remained inevitably weaker in terms of access to power and resources.
The Tunnels Of Gaza

Israel and Palestine demonstrate something that I've been considering for years, now, rolling the implications in my head.

"Civil engineering" was initially named to distinguish it from regular "engineering," which was strictly military. Roads for armies, aqueducts for camps, ports for navies, fortifications. But these techniques and structures are useful in the civilian world - roads for travel and commerce, aqueducts and sewers for cities, the lessons of fortification applied to buildings and city planning.

The security fence, settlements, tunnels underneath Gaza - these are how war is waged, every day, in Israel and Palestine. Territory gained and defended, subverted and attacked. The D9 as weapon, with concrete, plywood and rebar the armaments of combative construction.

We call it 'shaping the battlefield,' but if "The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting," by creating and controlling the landscape so as to make victory inevitable we can avoid direct combat altogether, make it meaningless, unnecessary.

This war is being waged in concrete, gravel and steel, in the 'temporary fence' that becomes permanent, in the undermining and digging, in gates and checkpoints and ports and space. The conflict shapes the space, and is shaped in turn by it. Note that the "Iron Dome" doesn't protect people, it protects areas of land, protecting the built-upon and sacrificing the unimproved.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:36 AM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


What do you mean when you say that it "doesn't protect people"? The whole reason it fires at rockets heading towards built-up areas is that there are people there.

As for Rachel Shabi's article, if she had different sympathies she'd identify Levantine Muslims as the "founding father group", Jews as the inferior natives, and Circassians and Bedouin as the "subsequent, international migrants". Read any account of the status of Jews in the area under Ottoman rule. Their lives weren't worth living. Or consider the status of Jews in the Arab world today.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:56 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Brigades That Fire on Israel Are Showing a New Discipline [NYT]
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:11 AM on November 19, 2012


Yes, Gilad Sharon is a very angry man. He claims to be the one responsible for Israel leaving Gaza in the first place, so the repeated attacks from there are probably a particular affront to him. But he's one person and he isn't even a politician.

And Ann Coulter was just one person when she wrote an editorial on 9/12/2001 saying we should invade all the countries in the Middle East and convert them to Christianity. It was equally disgusting and was equally a rhetoric that was spread by nature of its publication without condemnation.

Certain sides of this argument who continue to wish to use "but THEY wanna destroy AAAAALLLL of ISRAEL! AAAAAH!" as an actual talking point about what actions they agree with may want to consider that, and not scoff at the relevance of the leader of one side's offspring being allowed to openly advocate genocide lest they look very, very hypocritical.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:15 AM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


[Be decent to each other or take a walk, thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 7:07 AM on November 19, 2012


XQUZYPHYR, I don't understand who you're addressing or what you mean. Please rephrase.
posted by gertzedek at 7:13 AM on November 19, 2012


XQUZYPHYR: "t was equally disgusting and was equally a rhetoric that was spread by nature of its publication without condemnation. "

No one here is excusing that fuckwit or failing to condemn him. No one is scoffing. Joe is merely pointing out that Sharon does not hold political office. He's a racist asshole and a right wing extremist, but he's also an economist / farmer, not an elected politician or influential political leader. His lineage doesn't automatically denote political authority, any more than it would for say, the Bush twins .

...at the relevance of the leader of one side's offspring being allowed to openly advocate genocide lest they look very, very hypocritical.

Ariel Sharon hasn't been the leader of anything in Israel since he died six years ago. Gilad Sharon, his son, is a regular columnist for Yedioth Ahronot, which is known for printing controversial (whackjob) right-wing editorials -- like this one, which just happened to be published by the JPost, but would have fit right in over at YA. See the mefi wiki for more about Israel's newspapers. (Disclaimer: I wrote that wiki entry.)

G. Sharon's spent the last year or so trying to lionize his father through a published biography. He has a seriously checkered history.

Certain sides of this argument who continue to wish to use "but THEY wanna destroy AAAAALLLL of ISRAEL! AAAAAH!" as an actual talking point about what actions they agree with

Some of us have not written off the possibility of peace.

Whether you wish to acknowledge it or not, Israel's concern that Hamas is interested only in their complete annihilation is reasonable. So is demanding that Hamas make more than a superficial, cosmetic effort to distance themselves from their original charter calling for the destruction of Israel, since they are trying to be considered good-faith peace negotiators.

The fact still remains that the Israel is as much responsible for establishing peace in the region as the Palestinians. And ultimately, allaying Israel's concerns about their own safety and security will determine whether or not they agree to more than a short-term cease-fire.
posted by zarq at 8:11 AM on November 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ariel Sharon hasn't been the leader of anything in Israel since he died six years ago.

Err... not dead yet! Though he is in a persistant vegitative state.
posted by Jahaza at 8:49 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Could a Gaza Land War lose the Middle East for America?
posted by homunculus at 9:13 AM on November 19, 2012


Jahaza: " Err... not dead yet! Though he is in a persistant vegitative state."

Ack! You're right. I don't know why I thought he had died.
posted by zarq at 9:18 AM on November 19, 2012


Live Report from Gaza Hospital: As Civilian Toll Mounts, Israel Again Bombs Palestinian Journalists
posted by homunculus at 10:11 AM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Guardian: Israel-Gaza: truce talks ongoing in Cairo – live updates as Egypt peace talks continue amid fears of ground invasion

Honest broker: Egypt's role on path to peace in Gaza. "Mohammed Morsi must consider Egypt's interests as it mediates between Israel and the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip"

Christian Science Monitor: Can Israel End This War At A Time of Its Choosing?
It is clear Israel has adjusted its strategy since the last Gaza operation. Cast Lead, as it was called, left more than 1,000 Palestinians dead in just three weeks, bringing strong international condemnation on Israel – most notably in the Goldstone Report, which accused both Israel and Hamas of war crimes.

This time around, Israel has been more careful – though some say not careful enough – to avoid civilian casualties. It also has deployed 25,000 volunteers to help with its public relations campaign to explain why no country can be expected to live with the missiles of an Iranian proxy group raining over three million of its citizens’ homes.

But some say it is repeating one mistake it made last time: not having clear goals for the operation beyond the initial 24-hour air strikes on Hamas’s long-range missile stockpiles.

“I am afraid that the Israelis did not have an exit door,” says political scientist Menachem Klein of Bar Ilan University. “The same thing happened in Cast Lead. Cast Lead ended not because Israel preplanned an exit door but because [Defense Minister Ehud] Barak, [Foreign Minister Tzipi] Livni, and [Prime Minister Ehud] Olmert could not agree on the targets of the operations and how to finish it.”

Prof. Klein says the cease-fire efforts this time around are unlikely to succeed if Israel doesn’t allow Hamas to walk away from the negotiations with something.

posted by zarq at 10:52 AM on November 19, 2012


Top Egyptian official to Haaretz: We are very close to cease-fire deal.
According to the IDF, the death toll in the coastal territory since the operation began has reached 95 people, one-third of them uninvolved in the conflict."
...
Hamas-run Health Ministry says number of Palestinians killed in Gaza reached 100 on Monday. According to the ministry, the dead include 24 children and 10 women. (Reuters)
...
The IAF killed senior Islamic Jihad member Ramez Hamez, who was involved in launching long-range missiles toward Israel. The IDF reports it hit three more Jihad operatives: Baha Abu al-Alta, a member of the organization's supreme military council, who was also involved in launching long-range missiles; Tayasir Jabari, also a member of the military council in charge of its operations portfolio; and Khalil Bahatini, also involved in long-range launches. According to the report, the four were hit at the Gaza media center. Antennae and other broadcasting equipment stationed on the roof of the building were also damaged.
...
From the start of Operation Pillar of Defense, the IDF has attacked more than 1,350 targets in the Gaza Strip, 80 of them on Monday. The Iron Dome system intercepted 324 rockets, 19 on Monday. 1,128 rockets were fired at Israel, with 37 landing in populated areas. 42 rockets were fired Monday at Israel, compared with 230 rockets on Saturday and 156 on Sunday

posted by zarq at 11:01 AM on November 19, 2012


Hamas Leader Dares Israel to Invade Amid Gaza Airstrikes
posted by gertzedek at 11:51 AM on November 19, 2012


Hamas Leader Dares Israel to Invade Amid Gaza Airstrikes

Be careful what you wish for...
posted by DynamiteToast at 12:01 PM on November 19, 2012


I think it is extremely unlikely that Israel will invade Gaza. The current policy of retaliatory airstrikes and posturing for an invasion seems to give them a stronger negotiating position. An invasion has too much uncertainty in terms of outcomes. As long as it appears that they can get a deal with the UN and Egypt, they don't need to ratchet things up anymore.
posted by humanfont at 12:23 PM on November 19, 2012


For Israel, it's different this time
Changing geopolitics make military action in Gaza far riskier than in the past

posted by Golden Eternity at 12:39 PM on November 19, 2012


gertzedek: "Hamas Leader Dares Israel to Invade Amid Gaza Airstrikes"

They're trying to goad Egypt and Israel into removing their blockades. It's very unlikely to work with Israel since that would vindicate Hamas' terrorism and encourage future rocket attacks.
posted by zarq at 1:31 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ya, I can't see how Israel would agree to end the blockade without some kind of international force involved in maintaining the peace, or weapons inspections, or both.

Without the blockade Hamas would be able to amass enough rockets and even heavier-weapons to make this current round look like child's play.
posted by rosswald at 1:37 PM on November 19, 2012


Israelis brought out lawn chairs to watch the Iron Dome in action
posted by gertzedek at 1:48 PM on November 19, 2012


PHOTO ESSAY: Death, fear and protest as attacks on Gaza, Israel intensify
posted by homunculus at 2:44 PM on November 19, 2012


NSFW
posted by growabrain at 2:53 PM on November 19, 2012


The Big Picture: Israel - Gaza conflict

In Focus: Israel Steps Up Attacks, Gaza Returns Fire
posted by homunculus at 2:56 PM on November 19, 2012


Homunculus wrote: Live Report from Gaza Hospital: As Civilian Toll Mounts, Israel Again Bombs Palestinian Journalists

That link goes to DemocracyNow! (the exclamation mark is part of their name), which provides a video from "from a hospital in Gaza City". What basis does the reporter have for saying that "this bombing is targeting journalists"? He wasn't there, and his claim is contradicted by video of the attacks as well as common sense: if Israel wanted to destroy the communications building it would have done so.

Here's a report on the attack via AFP, which provides actual, sourced, identifiable information. Here's a post on IsraelPolitik, which is "a project of the Israeli Consulate in New York City". It says that Israel was targeting four senior members of Islamic Jihad, of which at least three were killed. It names them.

These are much more informative reports than something filed by a guy standing outside a hospital and, I believe, they give an entirely different impression of the events. Most of the reports we get aren't documented nearly this well: they're based on statements by bystanders or, as with the report on DemocracyNow!, the source of the information may simply be rumors, or claims by people associated with one or another faction.

I didn't post this before because the subject matter is repugnant, but there were mainstream media reports about a child killed by an Israeli airstrike. It turned out that there is very good reason to think that the child was actually killed by shrapnel from a Palestinian rocket, and most of those same media organisations have corrected their reports on this basis. Here's what the Sunday Telegraph has to say about it:
The child’s death on Friday figured prominently in media coverage after Hisham Kandil, the Egyptian prime minister, was filmed lifting his dead body out of an ambulance. "The boy, the martyr, whose blood is still on my hands and clothes, is something that we cannot keep silent about," he said, before promising to defend the Palestinian people.

But experts from the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights who visited the site on Saturday said they believed that the explosion was caused by a Palestinian rocket.
It's great that they corrected their coverage, but who arranged for it in the first place? Surely the Egyptian and Hamas Prime Ministers weren't just standing around the gates of the hospital, despite the redoubtable Max Fisher offensively suggesting that anyone who has spent time covering Egyptian politicians might doubt their ability to elaborately stage a photo op with this degree of precision. I think it pretty clearly was a photo-op using a dead child as a prop.

My point is that there is an awful amount of misinformation out there, some of it merely rumor; some of it frankly based on lies; and emotive stories like this tend to obscure the real issue: Hamas is attacking a civilian population; Israel is trying to stop them. It is inevitable that Israel's response will lead to people being killed - both people who are in some way guilty as well as those who are innocent. But Israel and the rest of the world view the death of innocent Palestinains as a failure, not a victory. In contrast, the only question people are asking about Hamas is whether their attacks will be "effective". I think this is morally bankrupt. Every rocket attack by Hamas is an assault against civilians and is therefore a war crime. The death of children (whatever the cause of their death) is a tragedy, but Hamas' attacks are an outrage.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:36 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well, yes: Is Israel Inadvertently Legitimating Hamas Rule in Gaza?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:47 PM on November 19, 2012


Netanyahu's comment above about the war being over if only "Palestine were to lay down their guns," is disingenuous. Accepting it relies on first accepting this myth about what goes on in the occupied territories, and why there is Palestinian resistance.

There has been mention about how hard it is to live in Sderot, and it must truly be. Thousands of illegal rocket attacks over recent years, leaving 13 dead, and many more injured. How could one live here and not experience post-traumatic stress disorder? How could one not feel terror from these attacks?

If you can get this, then you should be equally able to comprehend the everyday state Gazan's live under. Gaza is not called a prison out of a PR ploy. Life there is hell. Men, women, and children there live under the very real threat of death in some security operation, or patrol. Business as usual has seen the death of nearly 300 people in Gaza since Cast Lead, outside of this conflict. As Dr. Rajaie Batniji put it in the Lancet, "Gaza is something of a laboratory for observing an absence of dignity.” This is the war - the war that goes on every day that we don't hear about because it's not newsworthy.

And that this daily war exists is taken as a matter of course. Palestinians are portrayed as some kind of demonic hate machines. They just decided out of the blue to start killing suddenly (Munich, mentioned above, or hijackings). On this matter I think I can put it no better than the late Eqbal Ahmad,

"The Palestinians, for example, the superterrorists of our time, were dispossessed in 1948. From 1948 to 1968 they went to every court in the world. They knocked at every door in the world. They were told that they became dispossessed because some radio told them to go away – an Arab radio, which was a lie. Nobody was listening to the truth. Finally, they invented a new form of terror, literally their invention: the airplane hijacking. Between 1968 and 1975 they pulled the world up by its ears. They dragged us out and said, Listen, Listen. We listened. We still haven’t done them justice, but at least we all know. Even the Israelis acknowledge. Remember Golda Meir, Prime Minister of Israel, saying in 1970, ‘There are no Palestinians.’ They do not exist. They damn well exist now. We are cheating them at Oslo. At least there are some people to cheat now. We can’t just push them out. The need to be heard is essential. One motivation there.

"Mix of anger and helplessness produces an urge to strike out. You are angry. You are feeling helpless. You want retribution. You want to wreak retributive justice. The experience of violence by a stronger party has historically turned victims into terrorists. Battered children are known to become abusive parents and violent adults. You know that. That’s what happens to peoples and nations. When they are battered, they hit back. State terror very often breeds collective terror.


Someone said targeting rocket launch sites is not collective punishment. Yes, that's right. It isn't. Daily status quo in Gaza is the collective punishment. Unless and until this is acknowledged without attempts to justify it, and, moreover, until it is rectified, don't expect the "cat who is forced into a corner" to give up its instinct to lash out.
posted by Dodecadermaldenticles at 4:10 PM on November 19, 2012 [7 favorites]


The Northern Irish peace process would never have gotten anywhere if the UK government had made Sinn Fein and the IRA repudiate their support for unification and "recognize Northern Ireland's Right To Exist(TM)" as a pre-condition.
posted by moorooka at 4:15 PM on November 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Also, Israel needs to realize that dead kids v. people in lawn chairs looking at their awesome defense shield at work is a balls to the wall image problem (whether or not it is a moral problem).
posted by angrycat at 4:16 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


PARIS — Reporters Without Borders has condemned Israeli missile attacks on two media centers in Gaza that wounded six Palestinian journalists Sunday and damaged the equipment of foreign media outlets.

The attacks on the two high-rise buildings damaged offices of the Hamas TV station, Al Aqsa, and a Lebanese-based broadcaster, Al Quds TV, seen as sympathetic to the Islamists. Germany’s public broadcaster ARD; Russia Today, a state TV network that broadcasts in English; and Sky News Arabia said they lost equipment in the attacks.
-
The Israeli military said the strikes targeted Hamas communications equipment on the buildings’ rooftops and accused the group of using journalists as “human shields.”

posted by Drinky Die at 6:42 PM on November 19, 2012


In regards to my previous comment, I think "a recent previous ceasefire" and the timeline going into December made it pretty clear I was not referring to the current conflict. I was discussing the previous question of what we can expect from Palestinian resistance and the idea that targeting civilians will always be the default option. They can adjust tactics to technology and circumstances and cease fire when they have agreements.

I have less than zero interest in getting balls deep into the, "No, YOU started it." discussion in regards to the current conflict or the historical conflict. Both sides are capable of perusing peace when they want to and fighting clean or fighting dirty.
posted by Drinky Die at 6:45 PM on November 19, 2012


The Northern Irish peace process would never have gotten anywhere if the UK government had made Sinn Fein and the IRA repudiate their support for unification and "recognize Northern Ireland's Right To Exist(TM)" as a pre-condition.

Actually first there was the ceasefire agreement and then political negotiations under the terms of the Mitchell Principles. These principles put fairly significant preconditions and required that Sinn Fein repudiate several key principles of their organization. It was renounced by a number of hardliners for abandoning the long held principle that the only outcome would be one of a United and Independent Ireland. In order for negotiations to begin the political leadership of the IRA had to accept the possibility that Northern Ireland would remain independent. They had to recognize that there was legitimacy to the claims of the Unionists and agree to resolve disputes between these claims through negotiations and democratic processes, not violence.

If Hamas can't make the tiny concession to abandon the fantasy of evicting all Jews from Greater Palestine; what is the point of trying to negotiate over bigger things. If their political coalition is so unstable that this concession would break them, there is no point; one might as well wait for someone to come along who can actually agree to something and make it stick. If they are so intransigent that they bend on this point; then sitting around the table to hear more of their unobtainable demands is a waste of time.

A better analogy is that this is like the negotiations between Obama and Republicans on the budget prior to the election. Republicans refused to move forward with any tax increase and Obama refused to move forward without one. Obama and the Republicans could hold all the meetings they wanted to, but they were just going to be theater until one side was made to change its position. In the same way that any objective outsider could see that taxes were a necessary component to the budget talks; recognition that there will be a state of Israel and Palestine is necessary to meaningful peace talks between Hamas and Israel.
posted by humanfont at 7:43 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Israeli-Hamas conflict creates wedge in U.S. relations with Turkey and Egypt, two key partners in Middle East
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:10 PM on November 19, 2012


An interesting Russia Today interview with an IDF spokesperson. Russia Today is one of the news organisations which was in the media building attacked earlier. Stay to the end for a surprising revelation (well, it was to me).
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:18 PM on November 19, 2012


Perhaps, instead of cryptically alluding to something in an eight minute video, you could just tell us what the 'surprising revelation' is.
posted by codacorolla at 8:32 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Israeli-Hamas conflict creates wedge in U.S. relations with Turkey and Egypt, two key partners in Middle East

Compare that to this article from just two weeks ago:

Turkey: America’s new key ally in the Middle East? Relations between the US and Turkey have soared during Obama's first term
posted by homunculus at 8:58 PM on November 19, 2012


Thanks for your link to the Mitchell Principles humanfront.

However, in those six principles I didn't notice any that required the IRA to recognize the permanence of UK rule in Northern Ireland, which seems to be the equivalent of what is demanded from Hamas.

It seems quite reasonable to expect that Hamas should drop the position that all Jews must be evicted from historical Palestine (assuming that they do in fact hold such a position).

It also seems reasonable to expect that Hamas, as an outcome of negotiations, should be prepared to accept the reality, if not the legitimacy, of Israel's presence, and to renounce the use of violence against an Israel that is itself prepared to withdraw to the 67 borders.

But demanding that Hamas recognize the right of a "Jewish State" - that is, a state with a Jewish racial identity - to exist, *forever*, in historical Palestine does not seem to be a reasonable starting point, or even a reasonable end-point.
posted by moorooka at 9:02 PM on November 19, 2012


Dodecadermaldenticles wrote: Gaza is not called a prison out of a PR ploy. Life there is hell.

Is it your position that Hamas is attacking Israel because of despair caused by Israeli retaliation? That seems very circular.

I don't want to seem superficial, but apart from the conflict (which is obviously horrible) and the present regime, Gaza is actually a pretty good place. It has a pretty Mediterranean beach, nearly a dozen hotels, relatively high life expectancy and low infant mortality (i.e., not as good as Israel's but in line with most Arab states), many schools and universities, decent hospitals (although a lot of sophisticated cases are treated in Israel), and if you look at photos taken there when there's no conflict it certainly doesn't look like a prison to me.

Daily status quo in Gaza is the collective punishment. Unless and until this is acknowledged without attempts to justify it, and, moreover, until it is rectified, don't expect the "cat who is forced into a corner" to give up its instinct to lash out.

I don't like this dehumanising metaphor that denies Palestinian agency, and I don't know what you mean when you say that they are "forced into a corner". How are the Gazans forced into a corner, and not the residents of the West Bank?
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:14 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Moorooka wrote: But demanding that Hamas recognize the right of a "Jewish State" - that is, a state with a Jewish racial identity - to exist, *forever*, in historical Palestine does not seem to be a reasonable starting point, or even a reasonable end-point.

Are you aware of Hamas' position on creating an Islamic state in historical Judaea? Because that's the actual problem here, not some hypothetical argument on religion and state that nobody but you is actually making.

Incidentally, I have no idea what a "Jewish racial identity" is. I recall some early Zionist leader saying that (the future State of ) Israel would be Jewish in the same way that England is Christian; and that doesn't seem unreasonable to me.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:20 PM on November 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


U.N. Report Sees Bleak Future (for Gaza) Without Major Improvements
A United Nations report released in August 2012 concluded that Gaza may not be “a livable place” by 2020 unless intensive efforts are made to improve infrastructure and services in fields like energy, health, water and sanitation.
Despite some economic growth in 2011, 80 percent of Gaza households receive some form of assistance, according to the report, and 39 percent of the residents live below the poverty line. Unemployment was 29 percent in 2011. The report said many Gazans faced food insecurity, primarily because of poverty rather than a shortage of food.
Incidentally, I have no idea what a "Jewish racial identity" is. I recall some early Zionist leader saying that (the future State of ) Israel would be Jewish in the same way that England is Christian; and that doesn't seem unreasonable to me.

Wikipedia:
Israel's Declaration of Independence called for the establishment of a Jewish state with equality of social and political rights, irrespective of religion, race, or sex.
...
Amendment 9 to the 'Basic Law: The Knesset and the Law of Political Parties', states that a political party "may not participate in the elections if there is in its goals or actions a denial of the existence of the State of Israel as the state of the Jewish people, a denial of the democratic nature of the state, or incitement to racism."
...
Dr. Wahid Abd Al-Magid, the editor of Al-Ahram Weekly's "Arab Strategic Report" predicts that "The Arabs of 1948 (i.e. Arabs who stayed within the bounds of Israel and accepted citizenship) may become a majority in Israel in 2035, and they will certainly be the majority in 2048."
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:39 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hamas' position is fairly well documented. Their charter calls for the eviction of all Jews who arrived after WWI and the establishment of an Islamic state over the whole region. Some leaders within Hamas have suggested that Hamas may be willing to enter into a long term truce, there is done hope that this might be a starting point for a process leading to a permanent agreement. It is not clear how credible this is as an offer and the current Israeli government and the Gang of 5 have rejected it as a non-starter.

These preconditions only apply to long term talks regarding a final settlement. Hamas, Egypt and Israel are currently negotiating a ceasefire thought to consist of two phases. Phase 1 is a cooling off quiet for quiet period. Hamas wants this to be short, Israel wants it to be a longer period. Phase 2 would be a phased opening of border crossings, a prohibition on assasination of Hamas leaders and removal / dismantling of rockets by Hamas. Egypt will need to ensure the border crossing is not a conduit for weapons and also work to stop militants in Sinai. Israel also wants retain some ability to go after terrorists in Gaza, should Hamas fail to reign them in. There seems to be a reasonable chance of an agreement.

The US and Tuekey may also play a role in helping monitor an agreement. The US is moving some warships into position near Gaza.

Finally there are rumors that Israel will take less on Gaza in exchange for more action by US-Egypt-Turkey vs Syria and/or a clearer timetable/commitment to attack Iran failing negotiations. There is a view that this whole business is a big distraction created by Iran to protect Assad, even the editor of the widely read Arabic newspaper Alsharq Al Awasat was reported to suggest this was a Syrian-Iranian ploy.
posted by humanfont at 10:00 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


If Hamas want to aspire, politically, to the creation of an Islamic state in historical Palestine, then that is not a position that I think anyone should agree with, but it is also not a position that I feel that they should be required to renounce as a precondition for peace talks any more than Sinn Fein should have been required to renounce their political aspiration for a unified Ireland prior to peace talks. And by this I mean long-term talks regarding a final settlement.

As for a "Jewish racial identity", well, being ethnically Jewish entitles an individual to a so-called "right of return" to Israel, whereas Palestinians have no such "right of return", even if they are actual refugees, even if they posses property deeds for the homes they lost in Israel's War of Independence. They are, quite simply, the wrong ethnicity. This is the same reason that Israel cannot simply annex the West Bank and give the Palestinians Israeli citizenship. It is a state with a racial identity.
posted by moorooka at 10:44 PM on November 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


Red Color

A video showing how Israeli children suffering from rocket-induced stresses are helped with music therapy. I thought it was heartbreaking. The video is five years old, incidentally, and they've been dealing with the rockets for considerably longer than that.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:21 AM on November 20, 2012


"historical Palestine"
Please define. Are these the 1948 borders? 1967 borders? The British Mandate?
posted by gertzedek at 4:23 AM on November 20, 2012


Here's how great things are in Gaza today, according to the CIA factbook:

High population density and Israeli security controls placed on the Gaza Strip since the end of the second intifada have degraded economic conditions in this territory, which is smaller than the West Bank. Israeli-imposed border closures, which became more restrictive after HAMAS seized control of the territory in June 2007, have resulted in high unemployment, elevated poverty rates, and the near collapse of the private sector that had relied on export markets. The population is reliant on large-scale humanitarian assistance - led by UN agencies. Changes to Israeli restrictions on imports in 2010 resulted in a rebound in some economic activity, but regular exports from Gaza still are not permitted.

I was the one who supplied the cat metaphor, and I support it for the following reasons: a) It was given to me by a Palestinian man and b) Humans are animals, after all. Push any animal too hard and it will not necessarily act rationally. Hell, people don't act rationally under much less stressful conditions.
posted by angrycat at 5:24 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"there’s no country on Earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders,” Obama said at press conference in Thailand
posted by rough ashlar at 5:32 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hell, people don't act rationally under much less stressful conditions.

That is the whole idea behind Public Relations or what it used to be called Propaganda.
posted by rough ashlar at 5:34 AM on November 20, 2012


Thousands of illegal rocket attacks over recent years

Where is this court that made a determination of illegality and is that court open to the 'other side' so that if they have a grievance that needs redressing said 'other side' will have the same fair hearing that resulted in the determination of illegality cited above?
posted by rough ashlar at 5:42 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Some numbers from the UK's The Economist magazine:

Number of Israelis killed by fire from Gaza between January 1st 2012 and November 11th 2012: 1
(Source: Wikipedia)

Number of Palestinians in Gaza killed by Israeli fire during the same period: 78(Source: United Nations)

Number of Israelis killed by fire from Gaza, November 13th-19th 2012: 3(Source: press reports)

Number of Palestinians in Gaza killed by Israeli fire, November 13th-19th: 95 (Source: IDF)

Number of those killed in Gaza under 15 years of age: 19
(Source)

Total number of Israelis killed by rocket, mortar or anti-tank fire from Gaza since 2006: 47(Source: Wikipedia. This is disputed; another source says 26)

Number of Palestinians in Gaza killed by Israeli fire from April 1st 2006 to July 21st 2012: 2,879(Source: United Nations)
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:01 AM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Guardian Live Blog:

Gaza conflict: ceasefire talks intensify. Hillary Clinton heading for Jerusalem
• Morsi expects end to 'farce' of Israeli aggression
• Hezbollah urges Arab states to send arms to Hamas
• UK gives full recognition to Syrian opposition

Egyptian president, Mohamed Morsi, says he expects the "farce of Israeli aggression" to end today after negotiations in Cairo to end the conflict. He predicted positive results in the next few hours. Diplomats indicated the deal came after Hamas said it was prepared to delay discussions about ending the blockade of Gaza.
Hillary Clinton is en route to the Middle East to join efforts to broker a ceasefire in a move that suggests a breakthrough is close. She is due to hold talks in Jerusalem, Ramallah and Cairo, where she will meet the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, Palestinian officials and Egyptian leaders.
• Russia has suggested that the US is blocking a UN security council statement condemning the escalating violence. The draft statement says: "The members of the security council deplored the loss of civilian lives resulting from this escalation and emphasized that the civilian populations must be protected." But Russia foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, says Russia and the US are backing Egypt's attempt to broker a truce.

Israel/Gaza conflict
The Israeli Defence Forces said 51 of the 90 rockets fired from Gaza today, were intercepted. One rocket reached the outskirts of Jerusalem. The IDF said it targeted 100 sites in Gaza.
Up to seven people were killed in Israeli air raids on Gaza this morning. A hospital in Gaza city claimed 130 people have been killed since Israel began hitting targets in Gaza last week. Reporters witnessed an area near an ambulance station in Gaza being hit.
The UN human rights chief pressed Israel to avoid strikes on civilian structures in Gaza, and Unicef said children in the enclave were showing signs of severe trauma after direct hits on dwellings that have killed dozens of civilians. The International Committee of the Red Cross also reminded both sides of their obligation to comply with humanitarian law to minimise civilian casualties.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Israel of “ethnic cleansing” towards Palestinians. AFP quoted him saying: “Israel is committing ethnic cleansing by ignoring peace in this region and violating international law. It is occupying the Palestinian territory step by step.”
• The leader of Lebanon's Hezbollah movement, Hassan Nasrallah, has accused Arab governments of acting like sheep over the Gaza conflict and urged them to send arms to Hamas, Beirut's Daily Star reports. It quotes him saying: “Israel is betting that the resistance in Gaza will use all the rockets in its possession ... Arab countries should send arms to Gaza to enhance the resistance’s chances in resisting the aggression rather than just act as a mediator between Israel and the Palestinians."
posted by zarq at 7:06 AM on November 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


The Big Picture: Israel-Gaza Conflict
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:11 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Counting and photographing and tweeting injured children on each side isn’t dialogue. Scoring your own side’s suffering is a powerful way to avoid fixing the real problems, and trust me when I tell you that everyone—absolutely everyone—is suffering and sad and yet being sad is not fixing the problems either.
- Dahlia Lithwick's heartfelt piece in Slate, I Didn’t Come Back to Jerusalem To Be in a War
posted by Panjandrum at 8:39 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Joe in Australia: " I don't want to seem superficial, but apart from the conflict (which is obviously horrible) and the present regime, Gaza is actually a pretty good place. It has a pretty Mediterranean beach, nearly a dozen hotels, relatively high life expectancy and low infant mortality (i.e., not as good as Israel's but in line with most Arab states), many schools and universities, decent hospitals (although a lot of sophisticated cases are treated in Israel), and if you look at photos taken there when there's no conflict it certainly doesn't look like a prison to me. "

That merely makes it a pretty ghetto.

Aside from the obvious freedom issues, 80% if not more of the population are dependent on UN assistance and/or international aid for basic necessities. The poverty rate is over 40%. There is a housing shortage in Gaza, which cannot be resolved because of the blockades. Gazan industry was drastically reduced thanks to the blockades prior to the last conflict (Operation Cast Lead) which further damaged them. It has not been rebuilt, in part again because of the blockades.
In a report issued in June this year, ILO warned that the unemployment rate among Palestinians – at 21 per cent – and rising frustration at the stalled Middle East peace process could fuel more desperate measures.

It indicated that future employment is clearly one of the biggest concerns facing Palestinian youth. In 2011, more than 53 per cent of young women and 32.2 per cent of young men aged 15 to 24 were unemployed, with a total of 222,000 jobless people in the occupied Palestinian territory. More than 70 per cent of the population there is under the age of 30.

In Gaza, the unemployment rate is three times the regional average. More than 80 per cent of Gaza’s 1.6 million residents are dependent on international aid, and over 40 per cent live in conditions of poverty.
Back in 2007, it was estimated that one third of Palestinian households were food insecure and highly dependent on assistance thanks to what they termed 'the livelihood crisis and cash income decline.' The blockades are in their fifth year. In the ensuing time, has that changed for the better or gotten worse?

I think the blockades have proven to be necessary, to help prevent Gazan Palestinians from re-arming and committing acts of terrorism against Israel. At the same time, I also believe they're unnecessarily draconian and the long-term damage they're causing far outweighs the good.

You don't seem superficial. However, the superficial perspective is useless here. It clearly does not reflect a reality of life for Palestinians in Gaza.
posted by zarq at 8:54 AM on November 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Gaza’s Health Crisis and Israel’s Crimes Against Humanity
posted by homunculus at 9:21 AM on November 20, 2012


Today 6 suspected collaborators were summarily executed by Hamas gunman and their dead bodies were dragged through the streets behind motorcycles (warning graphic photo).
posted by humanfont at 11:34 AM on November 20, 2012


It is a state with a racial identity.

You know, I get your meaning here but could I respectfully ask you to please use a different term?

Jews are not a race. We don't have a single racial identity. Israelis are a nationality, but all Israeli Jews do not share a single racial identity.

We are a people who stem from diverse ancestries. We may share common religious traditions and/or cultures, but in actuality those are quite diverse as well. Jewish religious sects differ on who can be defined as Jewish, and Israel's law of return purposefully gives one of the broadest possible definitions as a way of offering protection from persecution to those who self-identify as Jews.

IMHO, the distinction matters for a couple of reasons. In the last decade or so, the idea that Jews are a race of people has been pushed by right wingers (Jewish and non) as a form of Israeli nationalism and solidarity. Saying Jews and specifically Israelis have a single racial identity plays into that rhetoric. And of course, the term has been used inaccurately for many decades by antisemites and anti-Jewish persecuting groups. So it may make a lot of Jews bristle defensively.
posted by zarq at 11:39 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


MSNBC reports that the IDF has been dropping leaflets on Gaza warning civilians to get out in advance of a, and I quote, "final blitz". Leaving aside where exactly civilians in Gaza are supposed to go when they "get out", calling it a final blitz seems an extremely unfortunate phrasing by MSNBC. Blitzkrieg having a rather specific historical context and all.
posted by Justinian at 12:02 PM on November 20, 2012


This is the translation of the leaflet. It's only being dropped in certain districts of northern Gaza. The words "final blitz" are not mentioned. (Unless a different leaflet with similar content is being dropped that I'm not yet aware of.)
English Translation of IDF leaflet dropped over Gaza:

To the people Sheik Ahjleen, Tel El Hawar, South of Rimal, Zaytoun area, Shajiah Toroukman and New Shajiah - the IDF is not targeting you, we do not want to harm your families.
For your safety you are requested to evacuate your houses immediately and move towards Gaza City Centre through the following routes:
- Cairo street
- Arabic countries university
- Al Aqsa street
- Um il Laymoun street
- Salahaddin
- Al Mansura street
- Baghdad street
Once you are in Gaza City you should stay west of Salahaddin, north of Omar Muktar Streets, East of Al Nasser street and south of Al Quds street.
This fight is temporary and the end of it you will all return to your homes.
By following these orders you will not be harmed.
More.

This is SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for the IDF. They usually drop leaflets when they are going to be targeting Hamas installations near civilian areas. Most of the time those leaflets are very specific, as this one is. They warn civilians to leave their homes or to evacuate, and they give escape routes and/or areas that they can go to, where they can be safe during that specific airstrike.
posted by zarq at 12:09 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Reuters: Hamas says Gaza truce agreed; Israel, Egypt say no deal yet
Hamas official said Egyptian mediators had clinched a truce with Israel on Tuesday that would go into effect within hours, but Egypt and Israel said a Gaza ceasefire deal was still up in the air after a week of fighting.

"The talks are still continuing," an Egyptian official, who declined to be identified, told Reuters. He said Cairo was hopeful of an agreement later in the day.

posted by zarq at 12:18 PM on November 20, 2012


The leaflet dropped on November 15 looked like this. Per the IDF's website:

"The IDF dispersed leaflets above several locations in the Gaza Strip. These leaflets warn the residents of the Gaza Strip to stay away from Hamas and other terror organization operatives and facilities that pose a risk to their safety.

"Important announcement for the residents of the Gaza Strip:

For your own safety, take responsibility for yourselves and avoid being present in the vicinity of Hamas operatives and facilities and those of other terror organizations that pose a risk to your safety.

Hamas is once again dragging the region to violence and bloodshed. The IDF is determined to defend the residents of the State of Israel. This announcement is valid until quiet is restored to the region. Israel Defense Forces Command."

posted by zarq at 12:27 PM on November 20, 2012


Israeli Negotiator: Hamas Commander Was Assassinated Hours After Receiving Truce Deal from Israel

Agreeing to a peace deal and then killing their leaders? That's straight out of Mars Attacks.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:27 PM on November 20, 2012


Yes, to be clear it was the MSNBC talking head who called it a "final blitz", not a translation of the leaflet.
posted by Justinian at 12:27 PM on November 20, 2012


Ah! I understand. What a crappy choice of words.
posted by zarq at 12:41 PM on November 20, 2012


Gertzedek, "historical Palestine" is a commonly used term to refer to modern Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, that is, the British territory of Palestine before the division.
posted by moorooka at 1:01 PM on November 20, 2012


Gaza Ceasefire to Be Decided in Cairo, But Will Washington Rein In Israeli Occupation, Blockade?
posted by homunculus at 1:08 PM on November 20, 2012


Zarq, I guess this "racial identity" business depends on your definition of "race", which is an inexact term. But that really doesn't change the point, which is that being of the wrong ethnicity is why Palestinian refugees cannot have the same "right of return" that Jews in Russia have (even if they are, unlike the Russians, literally "returning"), or the whole "demographic problem" discourse which I'm sure you are familiar with.

And if you have a problem with talking about Israel's Jewish "racial identity" because it's playing into ideas being pushed by the nationalist Israeli Right, well I'm sorry but it just so happens that it is the Israeli Right that is in power, and with very little prospect of losing power in the foreseeable future, and it is their quite horribly racist ideas that are today determining the "facts on the ground" in Israel and Palestine. So I think it's an apposite wording in the current circumstances.
posted by moorooka at 1:22 PM on November 20, 2012


moorooka: "But that really doesn't change the point,"

I clearly said that I understood your point right up front. My request was not related to that.

moorooka: " And if you have a problem with talking about Israel's Jewish "racial identity" because it's playing into ideas being pushed by the nationalist Israeli Right,

No, I have a problem with the term because it's inaccurate, and (again, I say this with respect,) makes you sound somewhat ill-informed. To me, if not others.

It also has been used as a talking point by the Israeli right, and historically by antisemites.

it is their quite horribly racist ideas that are today determining the "facts on the ground" in Israel and Palestine.

Allowing the israeli right wing to define the terms of the discussion changes its dynamic. That's why I use the term "Occupation" rather than "Administration" when it comes to speaking about the way Israel treats and abuses Gaza and the Palestinians. One word has a higher emotional import and conveys a much more accurate meaning than the other.

A similar situation can be seen in the abortion debate in US politics. The right wing here likes to brand themselves "pro-life" to cast their opponents as murderers. However, the description "anti-choice" is a more accurate description of their position, and also defuses a bit of the partisan emotional import the other term inaccurately conveys.

Regarding Israel and Palestine, one of the problems with this issue is that there are a lot of groups on both sides attempting to steer perspectives through propaganda, bias, historical revisionism and the use of specific terms. Each side constructs their own narrative, often in the most simplistic possible terms. One side is evil, the other can do no wrong. Etc. Which side is which depends on what side you're on.

Long-term, that's a huge obstacle to constructive, accurate discussion.

So I think it's an apposite wording in the current circumstances."

You have a right to disagree, of course. But as far as I'm concerned, it was worth mentioning.
posted by zarq at 1:43 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay, so if "racial identity" is out, is "ethnic identity" okay? I would suggest that the Palestinian victims of this discrimination would find it a rather fine distinction. It would seem that you're using the vagueness of a particular term to dance around an uncomfortable truth.
posted by moorooka at 1:50 PM on November 20, 2012


moorooka: "Gertzedek, "historical Palestine" is a commonly used term to refer to modern Israel, Gaza and the West Bank, that is, the British territory of Palestine before the division."

Doesn't seem very commonly used to me, and it's a loaded term.
posted by gertzedek at 2:17 PM on November 20, 2012


The ‘Kids’ Behind IDF’s Media: Young Israeli soldiers have pushed older commanders into adopting a more aggressive social media strategy
posted by homunculus at 2:22 PM on November 20, 2012


moorooka: "Okay, so if "racial identity" is out, is "ethnic identity" okay?

Sure, I think it's okay.

I would suggest that the Palestinian victims of this discrimination would find it a rather fine distinction. It would seem that you're using the vagueness of a particular term to dance around an uncomfortable truth."

I swear to you, that's not my intention. I didn't want to muddy the waters by discussing everything at once.

For whatever it's worth, here's my opinion on the matter.

We know that Israel's law of return was originally set up to protect Jews from persecution (and homelessness) by giving them a place to go where they would be instantly taken in as citizens. As someone who lost family in the Holocaust, I am very, very sympathetic to why this was considered necessary. Jews escaping the Nazis were turned away by many countries, including the US.

So, the Law of Return is a form of preferential treatment for Jewish immigrants to Israel and the non-Jewish members of their families. It is not the only way that someone can become an Israeli citizen. But yes, I think that by its very nature the policy can be considered a form of discrimination against non-Jews.

Personally, I have difficulty objecting to it. I know it's imperfect. But if Israel had existed in the 1940's, my family would have been larger than it currently is, and people I only know through pictures and stories might very well not have been murdered by the Nazis. To be honest, I'm not sure how to weigh that, ethically. I really don't. I have family who fought to help establish Israel. I see the need for its existence. At the same time I also understand Palestinian grievances regarding its founding. I can't give you a black and white answer on any of these topics. My feeling is that the best possible outcome 60 years on is going to be a two state solution.

Anyway, modern-day Israel isn't solely made up of Jews, and an argument could also be made that the Law of Return seems to contribute to discrimination within Israel's borders by establishing the priority of one demographic over another. There are Israeli Arabs and Christians. And there have been studies (most significantly the Or commission) that have shown that Israeli Arabs have been treated unfairly and unjustly by the Israeli government, and have been subject to various acts of institutionalized racism by Israeli Jews. On paper, it looks as if Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs are equal in every respect but one: the latter group are not required to serve in the IDF. That's a matter of civic duty, not of a basic human right. But (to use your phrase) the facts on the ground tell a different story.

Is this different than bias, prejudice and racism that occurs in many other countries? No. Should it be tolerated or allowed? No. Israel's taken steps to try and deal with it, but I don't think they've gone far enough yet. Perhaps, as in the United States, the situation will take generations to resolve.

On preview... I don't think there's any reason why we shouldn't be holding Israel to a high standard and decrying similar or worse discriminatory policies in Arab nations. The problems of the latter do not negate those of the former.
posted by zarq at 2:30 PM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


[Folks, have the discussion here like respectful adults, take side discussions to email and chill out. Thanks.]
posted by jessamyn at 2:31 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Such a complex issue as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict can be difficult to get a firm grasp on.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:45 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whenever I read about the "two-state solution," I think of a pair of essays I read on Everything2, from 2009: Three-state solution and the no-state solution.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:52 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Thank you for your thoughtful answer Zarq.

I absolutely understand the ‘affirmative action’ style case for a Jewish state.

The problem is where it lands, so to speak; other people had to make way for it, out of no fault of their own, and they can’t ever be allowed to come back, for ‘demographic’ reasons.

And they’re expected to recognize the legitimacy of the situation before negotiations even begin. I don’t blame them for considering this an injustice.
posted by moorooka at 3:05 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


The Purple Prose of Cairo
Egypt boasts of making peace in Gaza, after letting in the Iranian missiles that provoked the war.
Organizing Life Around Hamas
In 2007, I traveled to Sderot to make a film. Months later, I made it my home—and Gaza my neighbor.
Israeli kids 'playing' tzeva adom (color red, i.e. rocket warning) in the park

[They run into their "shelter" and sit quietly in two little rows, shushing themselves until the "sirens" are over. It's somewhere between cute and tragic.]

Senior Terrorist in Gaza Disguises Himself as Journalist
Muhammed Shamalah, commander of Hamas forces in the southern Strip and head of the Hamas militant training programs, was targeted by an Israeli air strike while driving a car clearly labelled “TV”
Hamas Using Hospital As Cover for Rocket Launch
The Globe & Mail‘s Patrick Martin reports that Palestinians launched rockets at Israel in proximity to Shifa Hospital.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:07 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I don’t blame them for considering this an injustice.

Neither do I. :(
posted by zarq at 3:40 PM on November 20, 2012


Israeli kids 'playing' tzeva adom (color red, i.e. rocket warning) in the park

Thanks for posting it. Very sad to watch.

The first kid down the stairs looks a lot like my son.
posted by zarq at 3:50 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Robert Farley: The Cost Of Iron Dome
Israel may also have pinned its hopes on the idea that Hamas will simply give up the rocket game in the face of Iron Dome’s impressive batting average. However, If we read Hamas’s strategic intent in launching the rockets as much in domestic as international terms—launching rockets demonstrates resolve in the face of Israeli strength, improving Hamas’s standing vis-à-vis Palestinian political competitors—then where (or whether) the rockets land simply doesn’t matter very much. Given that from 2009 to 2011, over a thousand Palestinian rockets resulted in ten dead Israelis, it’s a good bet that Hamas fires rockets not as part of a slow motion effort at genocide, but rather for these reputational reasons. Most of the rockets won’t do $40,000 worth of damage even if they land in populated areas (although of course a very few will inflict considerably more destruction). Moreover, Hamas may determine that forcing Israel to pay $40,000 to shoot down cheap, ineffective rockets is well worth it’s time and effort, even if 90 percent of the rockets are destroyed on the way down.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:06 PM on November 20, 2012


Gertzedek, my response to your link seems to have been deleted.

But I would like to respond, again, by inviting you to follow your own google link and read the wiki definition that pops up on the side:
Palestine is a conventional name, among others, for the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River, and various adjoining lands.

To distinguish this "Palestine" (which includes modern Israel) from the modern Palestinian territories (i.e. the West Bank and Gaza), we call it "historical Palestine".

This is not a loaded term at all, it is simply the conventional name for the geographic region between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan River.
posted by moorooka at 4:21 PM on November 20, 2012


Is Hamas's Twitter Account Illegal?
posted by homunculus at 4:25 PM on November 20, 2012


Iron Dome does not launch every time a rocket is fired. It actually calculates the likely behold the incomming rocket will hit something and only launches when needed. Also while the rockets Hamas is launching are cheap they still cost a few thousand dollars each.
posted by humanfont at 4:45 PM on November 20, 2012


I don't think Farley was saying it activates on every Hamas rocket, just that it will have to activate on enough of them to be prohibitively expensive. And I've read that many of the rockets Hamas is using are still in the hundreds of dollars, not thousands.
posted by tonycpsu at 4:55 PM on November 20, 2012


Israeli Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom Has Been Hacked by Anonymous
posted by homunculus at 7:09 PM on November 20, 2012


Yeah, that's a good idea.

Pissing off the Mossad strikes me as one of the surest possible ways to "win" a Darwin Award. I'm sure this will end well.
posted by zarq at 7:20 PM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Exclusive: Iron Dome in action

Al Jazeera reporter in Israel reporting on Hamas attacks reacts to rockets in her vicinity. I posted it mostly because it still feels weird to have an international Arab news channel reporting straight news from Israel.

Hat tip: Elder of Ziyon, worth following for his Ziyyions (sic) of links.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:59 PM on November 20, 2012


explosion on bus in Tel Aviv, as per BBC
posted by angrycat at 2:28 AM on November 21, 2012


There Is No Side Worth Taking In Gaza
I would like to have an opinion on this continual bloodletting that didn't sound banal but, goddammit, I'm out of them. I am thoroughly sick of both sides here. Opportunistic cutthroats poke a stick at the region's most powerful military, knowing full well that said military will overreact and that the overreaction will fall most heavily on the civilian population on whose behalf the cutthroats are allegedly acting. Said military reacts right on cue, with all the modern military hardware against which the cutthroats know that they and the people they allegedly represent have no possible defense. Innocent people die. Then more innocent people die. (This, by the way, is how, down through the decades, the IRA went from being a legitimate vehicle of Irish nationalism to being in many places simply a criminal gang.)
Gaza's Grim Prophecy
The Gaza conflict has highlighted two powerful trends that have emerged from the Arab Spring revolutions. In country after country, democratic elections have elevated Islamist governments that have strived to more accurately reflect the will of the Arab street, and no grievance more inflames Arab public opinion than the Palestinian cause. The fact that those new governments are not only Islamist but weak (or, in the case of the Syrian government-in-waiting, fighting a violent civil war) has also created far more fertile soil and room to maneuver for violent Islamist extremist groups.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:03 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


This, by the way, is how, down through the decades, the IRA went from being a legitimate vehicle of Irish nationalism to being in many places simply a criminal gang.

a) this piece ends with "Stop killing each other. Just stop, you know.", which is roughly as coherent as an ending saying "Also, I would like a very special pony. I shall not give you any ideas how to obtain the pony."

b) Hamas, like it or not, is arguably still in the legitimate vehicle of Palestinian nationalism phase; what made the IRA a criminal gang was the shift from the widely supported IRA to the more extreme PIRA/Provos after compromise via the creation of the Irish state. This pattern has happened again with the split between the PRIA and the Real IRA after the Good Friday agreement. This strongly suggests that the way to defang Hamas' militant wing is to deny them broad-based support in the medium to long term by giving the Palestinians a state. It's almost like Hamas grew in an environment where Fatah wasn't winning many benefits though compromise or something.

c) Israel holds a lot of the cards here. Their right wing should probably stop authorising new settlements and economically crushing/periodically invading Gaza if they want moderates to have any chance whatsoever of winning out.
posted by jaduncan at 3:53 AM on November 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Jaduncan wrote: Israel holds a lot of the cards here. Their right wing should probably stop authorising new settlements and economically crushing/periodically invading Gaza if they want moderates to have any chance whatsoever of winning out.

When was the last new settlement built? Wikipedia says it was in 1999, and that was evacuated several months ago. But let's suppose that Israel does all the right things and there is joy in the hearts of Palestinian moderates. How do you suppose they can possibly "win out", given that Hamas rules Gaza with an iron fist, decides who and what comes in and out, and publicly executes its opponents? I'm not trying to be snarky here: I used to believe in regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq and all these places. Now I'm not so sanguine: it seems to me that sufficiently-brutal regimes can be shattered, but like the broken pieces of a magnet they will draw themselves back together. The faces will change, but the violence goes on.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:23 AM on November 21, 2012


the man of twists and turns: "I am thoroughly sick of both sides here. Opportunistic cutthroats poke a stick at the region's most powerful military, knowing full well that said military will overreact and that the overreaction will fall most heavily on the civilian population"

That's whose side to be on, here. Everyone orchestrating the conflict is a fucking asshole.
posted by clarknova at 4:50 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Joe in Australia: " When was the last new settlement built? Wikipedia says it was in 1999, and that was evacuated several months ago.

In the West Bank, the settlements aren't static. They're expanding. Your own wikipedia link has links to articles that give details about various official Settlement expansion plans/efforts., which show further plans have been made to build an additional 500 homes in the West Bank. It also mentions that the IDF has covertly earmarked 10% of the West Bank for further settlement.

So this month, the Israeli government has begun building 1,200 new settler homes. And lest we forget, the Israeli government also offers incentives to settlers.

How do you suppose they can possibly "win out", given that Hamas rules Gaza with an iron fist, decides who and what comes in and out, and publicly executes its opponents? I'm not trying to be snarky here: I used to believe in regime change in Afghanistan and Iraq and all these places. Now I'm not so sanguine: it seems to me that sufficiently-brutal regimes can be shattered, but like the broken pieces of a magnet they will draw themselves back together. The faces will change, but the violence goes on."

I'm no expert. And this solution is very imperfect. But...

At this point, why not just ignore which regime in place and conclude that there will never be a perfect one to negotiate with? Israel must realize that their own actions are helping to perpetuate Hamas and keep them in power. Walk away. Withdraw completely, give the Gazan Palestinians own state and leave them to their own recognizance.

At the same time, make perfectly clear to them and the rest of the world that the first rocket which crosses the border will constitute an act of war, and if it does, you'll turn their whole country into a parking lot. Whether you intend to follow through or not, the threat has to be made and it has to be made forcefully.

Then, exercise a ton of patience while their government makes clear and transparent efforts to crack down on militants. Give them a deadline (perhaps multiple deadlines) to get their people under control.

This would not be a perfect solution. But dealing with nation states is very different than dealing with people that are under your direct control and for whom you are partially responsible. Giving the Palestinians their own country does level the playing field to a point where, if it comes to it, Israel won't have to justify or defend retaliation. But hopefully, instead it will put the Palestinians in a position where they will once again have free will and human dignity and not be pawns of their own regime or anyone elses.

Hamas is taking advantage of the current situation and their support stems from it. Give the Gazan Palastinians their own state and put Hamas in a position where they and only they will be directly responsible for the welfare of their people. Where they won't be able to blame the Israelis for their predicament. Where Hamas will have to choose whether arming their people against a country that no longer holds power is more important than feeding them, putting them to work and rebuilding their infrastructure.

From Israel's standpoint, I think Gaza as quasi-Lebanon would be far preferable to Gaza as it is today.
posted by zarq at 7:15 AM on November 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Just to clarify, I'm not advocating a three state solution, meaning separate ones for Gaza and the West Bank. Just the two state solution that's been on the table for a while.
posted by zarq at 7:41 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Top Israeli ministers have ruled out a unilateral cease-fire unless Hamas stops rocket attacks, after a meeting of the nine-member inner council headed by prime minister Netanyahu.

How the 'imminent' Gaza ceasefire unravelled.
The reality, it emerged on Wednesday, is that both sides were facing internal opposition to the proposed ceasefire.

In Israel, according to some reports, a cabinet split saw the defence minister, Ehud Barak, prepared to accept the ceasefire originally on offer while the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, were opposed.

That split, some analysts have speculated, may have as much to do with Israel's internal politics, with an election on the horizon, as the substance of any deal.

On the Palestinian side the argument was even more complicated, pitting factions within Hamas who were happy to accept a ceasefire against hardliners around Mohamed Deif, Hamas's military commander and other groups, who seek an immediate lifting of the blockade and opening of the Rafah border crossing.

In Hamas itself there has been growing competition both between the military side, which has taken increasing prominence, and the political wing, and between Khalid Meshaal, the main leader in exile, and the Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniya.

Tel Aviv bus hit by bomb; Hamas celebrates:
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri hailed the explosion.

"Hamas blesses the attack in Tel Aviv and sees it as a natural response to the Israeli massacres...in Gaza," he told Reuters. "Palestinian factions will resort to all means in order to protect our Palestinian civilians in the absence of a world effort to stop the Israeli aggression."

Sweet cakes were handed out in celebration in Gaza's main hospital, which has been inundated with wounded from the round-the-clock Israeli bombing and shelling.

posted by zarq at 8:42 AM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


BBC: Hamas and Israel agree Gaza ceasefire at Cairo talks

Reuters: Israel agreed to Gaza truce, won't lift blockade: sources
posted by rosswald at 10:16 AM on November 21, 2012


If there is a lasting ceasefire from this, then perhaps the parties will find their way to talk out the issue of the blockade and lasting security arrangements.
posted by humanfont at 10:27 AM on November 21, 2012


Interesting. The ceasefire seems to provide for a lifting of the blockade of Gaza, though it's not specific about which crossings would be opened (to Israel or Egypt?). Still, that would seem like a victory for Hamas. But I guess that the Israelis are denying this would be the effect, per rosswald's link.
posted by Dasein at 11:41 AM on November 21, 2012


Israeli-Hamas conflict creates wedge in U.S. relations with Turkey and Egypt, two key partners in Middle East

Administration declines to condemn Turkey calling Israel a ‘terrorist state’

Erdogan Anti-Israel Talk Negates Mediator Role in Gaza Conflict
posted by homunculus at 11:44 AM on November 21, 2012


At this point, why not just ignore which regime in place and conclude that there will never be a perfect one to negotiate with? Israel must realize that their own actions are helping to perpetuate Hamas and keep them in power. Walk away. Withdraw completely, give the Gazan Palestinians own state and leave them to their own recognizance.

At the same time, make perfectly clear to them and the rest of the world that the first rocket which crosses the border will constitute an act of war, and if it does, you'll turn their whole country into a parking lot. Whether you intend to follow through or not, the threat has to be made and it has to be made forcefully.


The problem with that, though, is that it is an absolute fact that there *will be* more rockets fired. Hamas could announce tomorrow that they're all converting to Judaism, Netenyahu could declare the day after that the West Bank and Gaza will become the nation of Palestine with billion-dollar Marshall Plan payouts every month, and some asshole would still want to shoot some rockets. And then what?
posted by ThatFuzzyBastard at 11:53 AM on November 21, 2012


There seems to be an emerging journalistic consensus linking the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai nearly three years ago to Hamas' acquisition of Fajr-5 rockets:

With Longer Reach, Rockets Bolster Hamas Arsenal
Gaza War Sheds Light on Hits in Sudan, Dubai
IDF Tracked Rockets From Iran to Hamas

Incidentally, these Fajr-5 rockets are big (around eighteen feet I think) and heavy, and their launcher looks like a six-wheeled truck with four large pipes mounted on the back. It's not the sort of thing you can hide easily. The articles talk about the missiles being taken apart and transported through tunnels, but what about the launchers?
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:04 PM on November 21, 2012


15-Year-Old Egyptian Cyber Activist Takes on Israel: How one teenager helped prep Gazans for an Internet shut off—with the help of Anonymous.
posted by homunculus at 1:48 PM on November 21, 2012


English text of the agreement

Some observations. The agreement applies to all Palestinian factions. Israel gets quiet on the border. Hamas cant blame Islamic Jihad, Fatah or militants in Sinai for the rockets. In exchange Israel agrees to stop going into Gaza. This stops their assasinations and cross border raids to arrest "terrorists". Egypt takes on a major role in future peace talks. This is a big win for Morsi.
posted by humanfont at 1:58 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


At the same time, make perfectly clear to them and the rest of the world that the first rocket which crosses the border will constitute an act of war, and if it does, you'll turn their whole country into a parking lot.

How about we don't murder innocent civilians or demolish their infrastructure?
posted by crayz at 2:22 PM on November 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Celebration in the streets of Gaza
posted by clarknova at 2:38 PM on November 21, 2012


Morsi Emerges as Key Power Broker in Gaza Conflict
posted by homunculus at 3:08 PM on November 21, 2012


The problem with that, though, is that it is an absolute fact that there *will be* more rockets fired. Hamas could announce tomorrow that they're all converting to Judaism, Netenyahu could declare the day after that the West Bank and Gaza will become the nation of Palestine with billion-dollar Marshall Plan payouts every month, and some asshole would still want to shoot some rockets. And then what?

I'm hopeful that removing one of the primary motivations for terrorism would help. I would also like to think that having gained a state, a majority of Palestinians would have sufficient incentive to do their best to keep terrorist elements in check.

I don't know if it would work. But the situation needs to change. The current path is obviously untenable.

How about we don't murder innocent civilians or demolish their infrastructure?

In the scenario I'm suggesting, if both sides leave each other alone, then that wouldn't happen. And if the threat of force, (but not actual force) were used to effectively prevent further incidents on both sides, then that would be a hell of an improvement.
posted by zarq at 3:46 PM on November 21, 2012


Hamas could announce tomorrow that they're all converting to Judaism, Netenyahu could declare the day after that the West Bank and Gaza will become the nation of Palestine with billion-dollar Marshall Plan payouts every month, and some asshole would still want to shoot some rockets. And then what?

In a perfect world the police in Gaza would arrest him, and he would be tried and convicted.
posted by Golden Eternity at 4:04 PM on November 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Twelve rockets have allegedly been fired at Israel since the ceasefire was due to come into effect.

From the IDF Blog, a factoid I found interesting:
Total number of rockets launched from the Gaza Strip: 1,506 rockets
[...]
Failed launching attempts: 152 rockets


That's a pretty high failure rate. Since they're firing from built-up areas it has probably been responsible for at least some of the civilian Palestinian casualties. I think that Hamas' actions are as bad as they could be, but this doesn't make them any better.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:13 PM on November 21, 2012


At the same time, make perfectly clear to them and the rest of the world that the first rocket which crosses the border will constitute an act of war, and if it does, you'll turn their whole country into a parking lot.

You can make the threat but who will let you carry it out if your enemy tests your resolve? Do you really think you can order the murder if 1.7 million civilians and expect your generals to follow? Your allies will not back your atrocity. This kind of bluster will not intimidate your enemies. They know you cannot carry out the threat.
posted by humanfont at 6:40 PM on November 21, 2012


In a perfect world the police in Gaza would arrest him, and he would be tried and convicted.

Do you mean the same Gaza police who just had their headquarters destroyed by Israel?
posted by moorooka at 6:55 PM on November 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Humanfont wrote: You can make the threat but who will let you carry it out if your enemy tests your resolve? Do you really think you can order the murder if 1.7 million civilians and expect your generals to follow?

Besides: the ceasefire has already been broken. Do you really want Gaza turned into a parking lot? Or will you give them another chance? I vote for another chance. Oops, ceasefire broken again. I still vote for another chance because you just can't do that. There will be rockets coming over the border until you have a strong government there which isn't committed to war with Israel.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:01 PM on November 21, 2012


[Comment deleted; this is a long, difficult thread about terrible things, and sarcasm isn't a great way to introduce information or keep the discussion from going off the rails. We appreciate everyone's patience, thanks.]
posted by taz at 6:18 AM on November 22, 2012


At the same time, make perfectly clear to them and the rest of the world that the first rocket which crosses the border will constitute an act of war, and if it does, you'll turn their whole country into a parking lot.

Then you're giving power to the individual or small group that wants war. It makes no sense to destroy an entire country because of one rocket.

If Israel wants true peace and not simply to be the dictator its going to have to stop empowering the small group that really wants war and murder.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:44 AM on November 22, 2012


Peace, however it is achieved, will need to be enforced. That will require changes in attitudes and to the status quo on both sides.
posted by zarq at 9:14 AM on November 22, 2012


I don't see any confirmation of the rumor that rockets have been fired in violation if the truce. Media outlets are reporting that the truce is holding. There is some disturbing news out of
Egypt today that indicates the move to Democracy is encountering a setback.
posted by humanfont at 9:48 AM on November 22, 2012


Homanfont: Do you mean this?
Egypt's Morsi assumes sweeping powers, branded new pharoah
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi assumed sweeping powers on Thursday, putting him on a collision course with the judiciary and raising questions about the country's democratic future.
[...]
"The president can issue any decision or measure to protect the revolution," according to a decree read out on television by presidential spokesman Yasser Ali.

"The constitutional declarations, decisions and laws issued by the president are final and not subject to appeal."
I'm very much not surprised; the whole constitutional redesign process since the fall of Mubarak seems to have been designed to counter any actual democracy or checks and balances.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:12 PM on November 22, 2012


From the department of cosmic irony: Man killed by celebratory gunfire in Gaza
GAZA CITY (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian man was killed by stray gunfire as crowds hit the streets of the Gaza Strip on Wednesday night to celebrate a ceasefire deal which ended eight days of deadly fighting. [...] Spokesman of Gaza's health ministry, Ashraf al-Qidra, said a man was killed by gunfire and three others wounded. He appealed to citizens not to shoot into the air.
Yes, quite.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:41 PM on November 22, 2012


Soldiers spell out critique of Netanyahu as a ‘loser’ for not using ground forces in Gaza
The IDF Spokesman’s Office said Thursday it was looking into a photograph circulating widely on Facebook in which 16 IDF soldiers arranged their uniformed bodies on the sand, to spell out the Hebrew words “Bibi loser” — in a deft physical critique of Prime Minister Benjamin (Bibi) Netanyahu’s failure to send ground troops into Gaza during the just-ended Operation Pillar of Defense.
It's a funny picture, and apparently "loser" in Hebrew is "loser". Who knew.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:10 PM on November 22, 2012


From the IDF blog: Operation Pillar of Defense: Summary of Events
[I'd really like to read something similar from Hamas' point of view]

Gaza leader Haniyeh thanks Iran for helping make Israel ‘scream with pain’
[Well, perhaps not.]

Only 1 in 5 think Israel ‘won’ the eight-day battle against Hamas
Netanyahu gets ‘good’ rating from 38%; chief of staff Gantz’s performance seen as good by 79%
Egyptian President and Obama Forge Link in Gaza Deal
The White House phone log tells part of the tale. Mr. Obama talked with Mr. Morsi three times within 24 hours and six times over the course of several days, an unusual amount of one-on-one time for a president. Mr. Obama told aides he was impressed with the Egyptian leader’s pragmatic confidence. He sensed an engineer’s precision with surprisingly little ideology. Most important, Mr. Obama told aides that he considered Mr. Morsi a straight shooter who delivered on what he promised and did not promise what he could not deliver.
[A remarkably positive write-up, if the allegations in the next article are correct]

TV report: Warnings that peace deals with Egypt, Jordan could collapse led Israel to end Hamas assault with no ground offensive
Channel 2 also reported that Egypt’s President Mohammad Morsi rejected an American request to speak to Netanyahu as he mediated the negotiations that on Wednesday brought eight days of conflict between Israel and Hamas to a halt. So firm was Morsi in rejecting the notion of speaking to his Israeli opposite number, the TV report claimed, that the Americans didn’t even bother telling Netanyahu about their attempt to foster direct contact.
[...]
Morsi has been hailed by Israeli and American leaders for his “responsible” role in mediating a ceasefire in the conflict. It has also been noted that he publicly uttered the word “Israel” for the first time at a meeting with the Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week.
[That attitude doesn't bode well for peace in the region, quite apart from Morsi's problems with democracy.]

From ‘sewage pipes with wings’ to sophisticated missiles
How Hamas acquired its 10,000-rocket arsenal
[Well worth reading.]

Christine Amanpour from CNN interviews Khaled Meshaal, head of Hamas' "political wing". [transcript]

[He's good at not quite answering questions:
AMANPOUR: But my question is, is there ever a circumstance under which you will recognize Israel's right to exist?

MESHAAL (through translator): [...] I accept a Palestinian state according to 1967 borders with Jerusalem as the capital, with the right to return.
]
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:57 PM on November 22, 2012 [1 favorite]


How Not to Talk about Gaza
posted by homunculus at 9:10 PM on November 22, 2012


How Israeli Drone Pilots Made Their Life-and-Death Choices Over Gaza
posted by homunculus at 10:13 PM on November 22, 2012


Hamas statements regarding the 67 borders are actually encouraging. I think the strategy of disengaging with the Palestinians with a truce would be a good alternative to a negotiated peace agreement. If the situation were more like North and South Korea that would be progress.
posted by humanfont at 7:57 AM on November 23, 2012


Morsi’ Second Coup Provokes Mass Protest in Egypt
posted by homunculus at 11:27 AM on November 23, 2012


So now I wonder if this Morsi dictatorship move proves the conservative narrative that Egypt's revolution was, all along, an opportunity for Islamic theocrats to gain control of a population too illiberal for democracy, and that this would mean, among other things, the eventual destruction of the Camp David accords and a further destabilization of the region. I hope not, but I guess time will tell.
posted by shivohum at 4:06 PM on November 23, 2012


I expect that Morsy will have to back off. Too much at stake for those on the other side and they are too powerful.
posted by humanfont at 5:34 PM on November 23, 2012


I hope you're right but it doesn't seem like a foregone conclusion to me.
posted by Justinian at 9:46 PM on November 23, 2012


Hamas: We do not support Abbas's statehood bid
Hamas denied on Thursday that its prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, had expressed support for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s effort to upgrade the UN status of a Palestinian state to non-member.

Supporting Abbas’s statehood bid would mean that Hamas is willing to accept a Palestinian state “only” within the pre-1967 lines.
It's interesting that Hamas isn't even willing to pretend to accept a deal like that.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:22 AM on November 24, 2012


For Israel, Gaza Conflict Is Test for an Iran Confrontation [NYT]
The conflict that ended, for now, in a cease-fire between Hamas and Israel seemed like the latest episode in a periodic showdown. But there was a second, strategic agenda unfolding, according to American and Israeli officials: The exchange was something of a practice run for any future armed confrontation with Iran, featuring improved rockets that can reach Jerusalem and new antimissile systems to counter them.
It's an interesting article, particularly the implication that the USA is using Israel as a test-bed for developing strategic missile shields.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:27 AM on November 24, 2012


In other news: Yasser Arafat's body to be exhumed for cause of death tests - Palestinian officials want former leader's remains to be examined after traces of polonium-210 were discovered on his clothing
posted by homunculus at 10:07 AM on November 24, 2012


Hamas: Ending arms smuggling not part of truce
Hamas official Risheq says deal with Israel to end fighting doesn't include Egyptian commitment to stop flow of weapons into Gaza.
I can't see this ending well.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:56 PM on November 24, 2012


Not really on-topic, but I think it's worth reading and I doubt that there will ever be a thread in which it's more relevant: What Does It Feel Like To Be an Israeli-Arab?

And this, which is funny: When Israelis come to the US, what are they most surprised by? One of the answers is: Humus in America comes in 2,819 flavors, except for Humus.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:21 PM on November 24, 2012 [2 favorites]


Life inside the Iron Dome: Why President Obama shouldn't accept Israel's policy of defensiveness and despair.
posted by homunculus at 11:14 AM on November 25, 2012


Hamas and Hezbollah can talk all the shit they want as long as the borders stay quiet. Eventually their own people are going to turn on them. Their posture is not going to bring them prosperity.
posted by humanfont at 2:22 PM on November 25, 2012


A blast from the past: Here's a news report about Gaza from 2005 - after the Israeli withdrawal, but before the ill-starred Palestinian elections: Military sources: Abbas at political low point. It looks as though literally nothing has changed in the last six years.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:31 PM on November 25, 2012


An Alternative Timeline of the Gaza Escalation
For years, Hamas had been cooperating with Iran and Sudan to improve its ability to strike deep inside Israel.
A really great article on the sources and routes of some of the missiles used in the present conflict, with links.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:32 PM on November 25, 2012


Hamas to free Fatah prisoners in Gaza

Interesting development.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:03 PM on November 25, 2012


Fatah: We also fought Israel in Pillar of Defense
Gaza-based armed groups tied to Abbas's Fatah party claim they fired 516 rockets at Israel during recent conflict.
I have no idea of the significance of this, or whether it has anything to do with Hamas' announcement that it would release Fatah prisoners.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:52 PM on November 25, 2012


Gaza: It's Mostly Punishment - testimonies from IDF soldiers.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:53 AM on November 26, 2012


Where Hamas Goes From Here
In the American and Israeli media, portrayals of Hamas often focus heavily on the group's commitment to eliminating the Jewish state. And certainly any fair study of the group should take into account that goal. Yet for Hamas, the end of Israel is more an ideological starting point than a practical program. And what comes after the starting point is unclear: Hamas has never developed a vision of what a resolution short of total victory might look like, nor has it spelled out an agenda for governing its own constituents, despite all these years in power. In part, that is because Hamas is a diffuse and contested movement, whose competing factions all work toward their own self-interest.
America, Israel, Gaza, The World
As Israeli airstrikes and naval shells bombarded Gaza this weekend, the world asked the question that perennially frustrates, confuses and enrages so many people across the planet: Why aren’t the Americans hating on Israel more?
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:04 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Inside Israel's Twitter War Room

Why Israel Didn't Win
That Netanyahu stopped short of a ground war, and gave in to key demands at the Cairo talks, is an indication not only of Egypt’s growing stature, but of Israel’s weakened position. Its relations with Turkey, once its closest ally in the region and the pillar of its ‘doctrine of the periphery’ (a strategy based on alliances with non-Arab states) have deteriorated with the rise of Erdogan and the AKP
Short Cuts
In the course of the eight-day aerial bombardment of Gaza by Israel – using drones, F-16s and Apache helicopters – more than 1350 buildings were hit. They included military depots, which are considered legitimate targets under international humanitarian law. But the police stations, TV stations, a local healthcare centre, ministries, road tunnels and a bridge that were also targeted are legally protected as civilian infrastructure. To justify their destruction, Israel argued that ‘they belong to a terrorist entity.’ This is an argument that would render all public buildings and physical infrastructure in the Strip legitimate targets: it is not accepted by international lawyers outside Israel.
A New Form Of Supporting Israel
There are some people who are willing to ‘support’ Israel, when this is the kind of mindset such support requires. I find it hard to imagine that support will continue for particularly long. In the US, the issue is becoming increasingly partisan: conservatives might unconditionally support Israel, but progressives no longer do.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:48 AM on November 26, 2012


Israel, which is not a signatory to the Seabed Arms Control Treaty or the Biological Weapons Convention has been criticised for its activities on the Mediterranean seabed, which world leaders have described as "madness". Now scientists report gas leaks near Israel's coast, warning that they "don't know yet what kind of gas" is being released but say that "its role in undermining the stability of the seabed is clear" and "any leak could cause an ecological disaster."

OK, I'll be good now.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:41 PM on November 26, 2012


Jon Stewart Shreds Apart Media Coverage Of ‘Winners’ And ‘Losers’ In Truly Unwinnable Israel-Gaza Conflict
posted by homunculus at 10:10 PM on November 26, 2012


Israel successfully test fires Magic Wand, Iron Dome successor
posted by homunculus at 2:09 PM on November 27, 2012


In Gaza, attempted warning failed to protect civilians
View Photo Gallery — In Gaza, attempted warning failed to protect civilians: The Israeli Defense Forces often calls the militants whose homes it intends to strike minutes before doing so, a way of minimizing the deaths of any women and children who might be inside. But the phone calls are no guarantee that innocents will be spared.

posted by Joe in Australia at 9:30 PM on November 27, 2012


Spoiling the Gaza Ceasefire
In negotiating a ceasefire to end the current conflict in Gaza, most of the focus has been on Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), who have launched hundreds of rockets into Israel. But in order for the ceasefire to be sustainable, it must address the role of other, non-Hamas-aligned militants from Gaza and Egypt's Sinai Peninsula who have been involved in the attacks as well.

I hadn't heard of most of the entities listed, but Googling them takes you to strange and troubling parts of the web. Try this one, for instance, but you probably shouldn't do it from a work or military address.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:52 PM on November 27, 2012


Hamas and the Two-State Solution
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:29 AM on November 28, 2012


Israeli Uses Disproportionate Force To Harm Palestinian

Heh.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:02 PM on November 28, 2012


Following Gaza ‘victory,’ Hamas sets its sights on the West Bank
Haniyeh reassured his audience that while the ceasefire may last “for days or years,” Hamas’s strategic choice remains armed struggle. [...]
The land in question, Haniyeh stressed, is not merely Gaza, the West Bank and Jerusalem — a subtle reference to PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s recent Channel 2 interview in which he acknowledged all land beyond the Green Line as “Israel” — but rather “Palestine as we know it, whose borders were drawn by our heroes from Ras Al-Naqoura to Rafah and from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River.”

posted by Joe in Australia at 3:15 PM on November 28, 2012


gertzedek: "What you call "collective punishment" of the people of Gaza is a self-defensive reaction to an actual act of collective punishment: the thousands and thousands of rockets that Hamas has launched indiscriminately against the civilian populations in southern Israel."

You think there is a justification for what Israel is doing and that it somehow means that what they are doing to Gaza is not collective punishment.

In the past, regimes have carried out collective punishment on populations for what seemed like completely logical reasons- because local partisans wouldn't stop taking potshots at the invading country's police, or because persons from the invading country, who had been just been 'given' land in town, kept turning up dead.

Those unreasonable locals, refusing to turn over the partisans.
posted by dunkadunc at 12:33 AM on November 29, 2012


I do not think suicide bombing civilians is in any way justifiable no matter the circumstances. That includes Palestinians bombing pizza restaurants full of high school kids, bombs that deliberately target civilians, including pregnant women and small children, or a deliberate rocket attack against a school bus filled with children.

The history of the region, and Israel's acts of collective punishment do not exist in a vacuum. Nor is there any productive value in excusing atrocities committed by Hamas, Fatah, the IDF or any other group on either side.

The current situation came about over decades, in responses to acts of aggression by the Palestinians *and* Israelis against civilian populations and military targets. Both sides have escalated those attacks and other tactics over time. The idea that one group bears all responsibility and the other should be entirely excused is absolutely wrong.
posted by zarq at 5:54 AM on November 29, 2012 [3 favorites]


I think that's right. I have a really hard time talking about this reasonably with anyone who locates all of the bad actions on either side.
posted by OmieWise at 6:48 AM on November 29, 2012


BBC Arabic picture editor Jihad Misharawi's 11-month-old son was killed by an Israeli rocket attack during the Gaza conflict. There are additional photos here.
Wars are often defined by their images, and the renewed fighting between Israel and Gaza-based Hamas has already produced three such photographs in as many days. In the first, displayed on the front page of Thursday’s Washington Post, BBC journalist Jihad Misharawi carries the body of his 11-month-old son, killed when a munition landed on his Gaza home. An almost parallel image shows an emergency worker carrying an Israeli infant, bloody but alive, from the scene of a rocket attack that had killed three adults. The third, from Friday, captures Egyptian Prime Minister Hisham Kandil, in his visit to a Gazan hospital, resting his hand on the head of a boy killed in an airstrike.

Each tells a similar story: a child’s body, struck by a heartless enemy, held by those who must go on. It’s a narrative that speaks to the pain of a grieving people, to the anger at those responsible, and to a determination for the world to bear witness. But the conversations around these photos, and around the stories that they tell, are themselves a microcosm of the distrust and feelings of victimhood that have long plagued the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The old arguments of the Middle East are so entrenched that the photos, for all their emotional power, were almost immediately pressed into the service of one side or another.

posted by zarq at 7:10 AM on November 29, 2012


I've been reading and reading about Palestine and statehood. I understand what makes Israel a 'state,' but I don't really understand the form of government in the Palestinian territories. It's not an independent state, nor is it a fully-integrated territoy. Instead it seems to be semi-autonomous, non-contiguous, self-ruling but without the usual trappings of states - a uniformed military, border controls, international recognition (thought it has some limited forms). The relationship between the PA, PLO, Hamas, and various factions is similarly fractured - like the territory claimed. So how do you administer a state when travel between the various parts is not under your own control?

BLDGBLOG: The Continuous Enclave: Strategies in Bypass Urbanism

A typical pie-in-the-sky project from an architecture student, but an interesting though experiment: the co-located nation. "Ultimately, this thesis questions the potential absurdity of partition strategies within the West Bank and Gaza Strip by attempting to realize them."

This then calls to mind another BLDGBLOG post: Nakatomi Space
During that battle, Weizman writes, "soldiers moved within the city across hundred-meter-long 'overground-tunnels' carved through a dense and contiguous urban fabric." Their movements were thus almost entirely camouflaged, with troop movements hidden from above by virtue of always remaining inside buildings. "Although several thousand soldiers and several hundred Palestinian guerrilla fighters were maneuvering simultaneously in the city," Weizman adds, "they were so 'saturated' within its fabric that very few would have been visible from an aerial perspective at any given moment."
It references Eyal Weizman's Lethal Theory(PDF), about the IDF's path through Nablus via non-traditional means: floors, ceilings, and walls.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:52 AM on November 29, 2012


Gaza Quiz
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:41 AM on November 29, 2012


Also don't forget the fact that Iran doesn't have any nuclear weapons, and are at least years away from building even a single one.

AP Punked on Iran by Junk Science Graph (Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists)

AP's dangerous Iran hoax demands an accounting and explanation
posted by homunculus at 12:17 PM on November 29, 2012


The man of twists and turns wrote: I've been reading and reading about Palestine and statehood. I understand what makes Israel a 'state,' but I don't really understand the form of government in the Palestinian territories.

It's basically an ossified stage of the "Road Map" agreed upon as a consequence of the Oslo accords. The idea back then was that Palestinian self rule would start with Israel surrendering sovereignty in Palestinian cities (Area A), then expanding that to include areas of high population density (Area B) and then withdrawing altogether (Area C).

Parallel to this, the dominant faction in the PLO formed a government, the Palestinian Authority. The sexy and exciting duties of a government are defense and international relations, but in fact the vast bulk of it consists of things like road maintenance and birth registries. I am frankly amazed that the Palestinians were able to get their act together enough to do this while their leaders were making idiots of themselves, and my heart goes out to the anonymous civil servants who have worked to create a civil society in the midst of chaos. Anyway.

I referred to "the dominant faction in the PLO". The PLO itself is a roof body of (most of) the Palestinian factions that were around in 1964, with a few amendments. Things have changed an awful lot since its structure was set: factions that were once significant are irrelevant; new players (like Hamas) have appeared; charismatic leaders have died; new ones have come along but have been stymied. Despite all this, the structure and the number of votes assigned to each faction has remained fairly static. Fatah is the dominant faction and it has done its best to hang on to power, but as a consequence of this Fatah itself is factionalised. One of its sub-factions is the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigade, for instance - a notorious group of terrorists funded by Fatah, the very faction that is allegedly involved in making peace.

Fatah was never universally popular, and its role as a government didn't make them love it any more. It was quite evident that Fatah couldn't or wouldn't restrain "militants", particularly in Gaza. In fact Mahmoud Abbas, who is still the official President of the Palestinian Authority, made it clear that he had no control in Gaza and would not seek to exert control there.

The other players in this peace process (the Quartet) thought that having Palestinian elections sooner rather later would strengthen the PA, allow more genuine leaders to come forward, show militants that the Palestinians weren't with them, and so forth. Unfortunately exactly the opposite happened: Hamas, which is a militant Islamic and rejectionist party, won a plurality of the seats. Worse, they made it clear that they weren't hypocrites: they planned on doing exactly what they had said, which was to continue "militancy" against Israel. Oops.

The Quartet's reaction was to blockade the Palestinian Authority (i.e., Palestinian areas in the West Bank and Gaza) and encourage Fatah to wrest control from Hamas. This wasn't a great idea, IMO, and it didn't work: Hamas retained control in Gaza and it practically defined itself by being unwilling to re-enter negotiations. Israel and the Quartet stopped blockading the West Bank and supported Mahmoud Abbas' government there, despite the fact that it had been rejected in elections. So now Fatah, besides being vicious kleptocrats, were also quislings. This has not made them more loved.

Since then nothing much has changed on the political front. Abbas still refuses to negotiate; Fatah still pretends that it isn't a terrorist front; Hamas still rules Gaza; nobody wants to give the Palestinians another chance to elect a government (although they have had local elections, which is an admittedly good sign.) Despite all this the people doing the actual work of governing Palestinian areas have been doing their jobs far better than you might expect (even in Gaza); Israel has actually been withdrawing control in small ways (there are only something like a dozen checkpoints now I believe, a huge reduction); and I could actually see the Road Map eventually being implemented in full over time, despite the fact that the Palestinians still don't have a functioning government.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:51 PM on November 29, 2012


Executed Gaza 'collaborators' were in custody before war
Seven Palestinians who were accused of spying for Israel and publicly executed during the latest assault on Gaza were already in jail when the war started, and several had been held for more than a year. [...]

Taher al-Nunu, a spokesman for the Hamas government, promised a full investigation into the killings, which he described as unlawful.

However senior Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahhar dismissed criticism from Palestinian human rights groups.

"We will not allow one collaborator to be in Gaza, and let human rights groups say whatever they want. A human has rights if they have honor and not if they are a traitor," he said Saturday.

If Hamas were a D&D character it would be Chaotic Evil.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:05 PM on November 29, 2012


Here's another followup to the execution story. It comes from the Daily Mail, but it has pictures and what are allegedly quotations from the victim's family, so ...

Girl, three, who lost her father to Gaza's motorcycle lynch mob (and why his widow is convinced he wasn't an Israeli spy)
His family, neighbours and friends believe the notion that he spied for Israel is absurd – and there is much that supports their view, not least that as a prisoner Badawi was under armed guard during last week’s conflict.

Badawi was a member of the Islamist group Jaljalat – Thunder – which takes its inspiration from Al Qaeda and is more hardline than Hamas.

He had been in prison since 2009 when he was arrested on terrorism charges. It was alleged he was one of several fighters planning to launch attacks on Hamas.

Badawi’s family claim that while in prison, he was tortured until he confessed to being a traitor.

posted by Joe in Australia at 8:09 PM on November 29, 2012


Success of Israel's Iron Dome Renews Interest In Missile Defense Systems
posted by the man of twists and turns at 5:34 AM on November 30, 2012


Israel Pushing Settlement in Disputed Area of Jerusalem
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:02 AM on November 30, 2012


Argh, the settlement thing is maddening.

As a New Yorker until a few years ago, I deeply appreciate the horror of terrorism that Israelis experience. Or I should say, I think I appreciate it more than many Americans. I think generally, although we expect terrorism attempts in our future, we have a certain security that we as individuals are not likely to experience another 9/11.

So, I can get, to a great degree, why Israel is so aggressive. But it's like the Bush administration caught in its post 9/11 bubble. The entire world seemed to be like, 'fuck, dudes, chill!" and we refused to for a long time.

If the U.S. really wants to be a friend to Israel, it should say, 'we fucked up, foreign policy wise. learn from us, or we're not going to support you.'
posted by angrycat at 9:26 AM on November 30, 2012


Post-UN bid, anybody still think Obama is going to 'save Israel from itself'?
posted by homunculus at 11:51 AM on November 30, 2012


LRB: Why Israel Didn't Win

CNN: Why U.S., Israel should welcome Palestinian move at U.N.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 12:07 PM on November 30, 2012


The situation in Israel and Palestine isn't one of a single horrific act like 9-11 shaping the narrative. It is ongoing spasms of violence that have never ended. My impression of the Israeli perspective is that Israeli's have witnessed repeated shelling and attacks from Gaza going back for a long time. Prior to 1967 when the area was under Egyptian control there were numerous cross border incidents. From the perspective of the Israeli's this isn't some over-reaction, many would say that they have been extremely patient and muted in their response to this problem.
posted by humanfont at 12:22 PM on November 30, 2012


Okay, I'll grant you that. But why settlements? Isn't that responding to the Palestinian U.N. move (which, on its face, if not in fact, seems reasonable) with a pretty obvious 'fuck you?' How is building settlements diplomatic in any way, shape, or form?
posted by angrycat at 1:45 PM on November 30, 2012


Despite Ceasefire, Israel-Gaza War Continues Online
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:24 PM on November 30, 2012


Gaza Through Israeli Eyes
In both headline reels there is not a single mention of the Palestinian death toll, or the fact that a family of 10 was massacred amid Israel’s recent round of “surgical strikes,” that journalists have been killed, and residential areas targeted. The revolving photo albums for Operation Pillar of Defence show images exclusively from Israel and diplomatic boardrooms.

The only one taken in Gaza is of a rocket launch.

That is Gaza for most Israelis.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:32 PM on November 30, 2012


The move to expand settlements again seems to me like a tit for tat response. Take the last bit of open farmland and pastures between Ramallah and Jerusalem and threaten to throw up some sprawl on top of it so that East Jerusalem can never be outside the borders of Israel.
posted by humanfont at 2:51 PM on November 30, 2012


Devastation In Meatspace
The missile rushing over your head was processed through an Instagram filter just hours previously. As you see it pass out of sight behind the apartment block opposite some young conscript is preparing for video footage of it to be compressed and uploaded to YouTube before the hour is out. By nightfall tonight that explosion which just shook your neighborhood, in one of the most densely populated areas on earth, will have been liked over 8,000 times on Facebook. Welcome to Gaza City.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:01 PM on November 30, 2012


One, Two or Three States: What Future For the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict?

Gaza Thanks Iran For Help With Israel
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:17 PM on November 30, 2012


Why Americans Don't Understand Palestine
One explanation for such sentiments is that most Americans take foreign policy cues from political leaders, and no prominent American politician is willing to publicly express sympathy or compassion for Palestinians at the expense of Israel. Since roughly the time of John F. Kennedy, the politically ambitious have understood that expressing a wish for even-handedness between Israel and Palestine would threaten one’s career. Whatever their private views might be, by the time they get to Congress legislators learn that uncritical support for Israel is the “smart” political choice.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:33 AM on December 1, 2012


Humanfont wrote: Take the last bit of open farmland and pastures between Ramallah and Jerusalem and threaten to throw up some sprawl on top of it so that East Jerusalem can never be outside the borders of Israel.

Did you see the picture at the top of the article that Golden Eternity linked to? My gosh, look at the verdant farmland. Admire the rolling pastures. The place looks like Mars. Here's the Wikipedia page on the area, and a link to it on Google maps. This is storm-in-a-teacup stuff.

Question: the people who are concerned, deeply concerned about Israel building houses, did they express concern when the Palestinians were firing rockets? Have they ever expressed concern over illegal Palestinian acts of any kind, including - horrors! - Palestinians building houses? Or is this just some stupid "we must equate the acts on each side" nonsense, which inevitably means equating Palestinian war crimes with the very human act of making homes for families?
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:46 AM on December 1, 2012


I'm not saying building houses is evil, I'm saying that it is unnecessarily and stupidly inflamnatory.
posted by angrycat at 6:19 AM on December 1, 2012


[Joe in Australia, please act like you understand that this is a difficult topic and it's all of our responsibilities to not make it worse.]
posted by jessamyn at 6:58 AM on December 1, 2012


It's not just "building houses." It's building houses on land that does not belong to them. Which is theft. I think theft is wrong. When it's used as a political tool by one government, to deliberately punish another, I'm comfortable calling it incredibly shitty behaviour and an obstacle to peace.

We should not have to pass a false-equivalency litmus test in order to be able to decry injustice when we see it, Joe. But for the record, over the years I've spent hours condemning Palestinian bombings, rocket attacks and slaughter of innocents on mefi.
posted by zarq at 7:02 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


The timing does imply that it was intended as some sort of "see the consequence of your actions!" display but I think it's a pretty weak one.

The land wasn't being used for anything; it can't be used for anything other than construction because it is so stupendously desolate; whether it might actually be owned by anyone in the entire world is a fascinating issue of international law that would require a graduate-level dissertation before you could even get to who or what that person or institution might be; the only reason that it can even be seen as a provocation is that the normal day-to-day life of Israelis is seen as being intrinsically wrong.

You know how kids in the back of a car can fight over stupid stuff, like where someone's foot is, or who is humming, or how someone is looking at them at certain parts of the song? That's what this sounds like to me. In contrast, there are real provocations that people mostly ignore because there are things of real consequence to worry about.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:20 AM on December 1, 2012


The people who are concerned, deeply concerned about Israel building houses, did they express concern when the Palestinians were firing rockets?

...yes? It's just that the relative death tolls make this look rather one-sided; I don't really see that killing civilians via F16 (or, indeed, oppression leading to huge PA suicide rates) is particularly morally superior.

It's not acceptable to randomly shoot rockets at civilian populations though, no. The whole place would probably be improved hugely by UN peacekeeping; just remind me who it is that constantly resists internationalisation?
posted by jaduncan at 7:55 AM on December 1, 2012


the normal day-to-day life of Israelis is seen as being intrinsically wrong.

wat.

The land wasn't being used for anything; it can't be used for anything other than construction because it is so stupendously desolate

Or a transportation link, of course. Almost like it's strategic for that reason for both sides, and that's why houses are being built on it. You seem either ludicrously one-eyed or disingenuous about this.
posted by jaduncan at 7:56 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


the only reason that it can even be seen as a provocation is that the normal day-to-day life of Israelis is seen as being intrinsically wrong

No, one can endorse the existence of Israel and still see certain actions as provocative.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:00 AM on December 1, 2012


whether it might actually be owned by anyone in the entire world is a fascinating issue of international law that would require a graduate-level dissertation before you could even get to who or what that person or institution might be; the only reason that it can even be seen as a provocation is that the normal day-to-day life of Israelis is seen as being intrinsically wrong.

OK, now I've simmered down.

Luckily there's an ICJ judgement (Legal Consequences of the Construction of a Wall in the Occupied Palestinian Territory - a summary is here) that examines many of the issues. Protip: they are not exactly all in for building on PA areas.

Example finding: "The Court then considers the information furnished to it regarding the impact of the construction of the wall on the daily life of the inhabitants of the Occupied Palestinian Territory (destruction or requisition of private property, restrictions on freedom of movement, confiscation of agricultural land, cutting‑off of access to primary water sources, etc.). It finds that the construction of the wall and its associated régime are contrary to the relevant provisions of the Hague Regulations of 1907 and of the Fourth Geneva Convention; that they impede the liberty of movement of the inhabitants of the territory as guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and that they also impede the exercise by the persons concerned of the right to work, to health, to education and to an adequate standard of living as proclaimed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and in the Convention on the Rights of the Child."

This reasoning does not apply less when one is building houses to remove freedom of movement.
posted by jaduncan at 8:06 AM on December 1, 2012


Did you see the picture at the top of the article that Golden Eternity linked to? My gosh, look at the verdant farmland. Admire the rolling pastures. The place looks like Mars. Here's the Wikipedia page on the area, and a link to it on Google maps. This is storm-in-a-teacup stuff.

The land is currently used as a seasonal pasture. Jerusalem has enough urban sprawl already.

To be fair the land ownership situation is unresolved. It is certainly building in areas that were formerly part of the territory east of the green line established in the 1949 ceasefire. The result of this taking and development will be to make it extremely difficult to draw a future border between Israel and Palestine with the Arab neighborhoods directly connected to Ramallah. Before this land was used for housing one could see a circumstance where it was included in the future state an Palestine and used for either resettlement of refugees or building a road into East Jerusalem.
This move is being done at the same time that the Israelis are making a real effort to include the Arab population into civic life of Jerusalem for the first time. Building restrictions on Arabs have been eased slightly, streets are getting name and more civic participation is being welcomed by the annexed citizens. Israel is trying to make East Jerusalem more like Nazareth.
posted by humanfont at 8:44 AM on December 1, 2012 [1 favorite]


Top Hamas leader to visit Gaza for first time
posted by the man of twists and turns at 4:37 AM on December 2, 2012


Despite the Hype, E1 Doesn’t Cut West Bank in Two
Settlement activity’s a divisive issue, even among Israelis. But let’s get one thing clear.

Developing E1 doesn’t divide the West Bank in two. [...]
The Palestinian waistline — between Maale Adumim and the Dead Sea, is roughly 15 km wide. That’s a corridor no different than the Israeli waistline. Indeed, that has never caused a problem of Israeli territorial contiguity.
Any territorial compromise will necessarily leave both Israelis and Palestinians making circuitous trips around each other's territory or traversing tunnels or other road easements. There is simply no way to avoid it, even if the boundary line were to follow the course of the 1948 ceasefire - this is why you had such lengthy sessions between Israeli and Palestinian negotiators, back when there were still negotiations. Also, the landscape between Jerusalem and the Dead Sea is remarkably hilly - Jerusalem is elevated; the Dead Sea is below sea level; the ground between them is cut by valleys and ravines. You can't look at a 2d map and see what makes sense.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:30 AM on December 2, 2012


Jaduncan wrote: The whole place would probably be improved hugely by UN peacekeeping; just remind me who it is that constantly resists internationalisation?

There are presently UN or multinational forces: Nobody actually expects them to "keep the peace"; they haven't been able to do that and they would be ludicrously under-equipped for the job. Here's a funny quote from the Wikipedia article on UNIFIL whichs, IMO, sums it up:
[Lebanese] TV reported that in some cases, villagers attempted to block UNIFIL vehicles from fleeing the combat zone, demanding that they return and fight. However, current and former UNIFIL officials said that at that point in the conflict, it was out of peacekeepers’ hands. One of former UNIFIL official also explained that he has been in these situations before, and when the opposing sides is determined to shoot each other, there’s nothing UNIFIL force can do. There is also another statement from a former UNIFIL commander concerning about UNIFIL action to preserve neutrality for both sides, he stated that if UNIFIL force intervene to protect IDF, for instance, UNIFIL will be accused by Hizbollah or the people of protecting the Israelis, and collaborating with the enemy. On the other side, if UNIFIL force do the same with the Lebanese, Israel will accuse UNIFIL of collaborating with Hizbollah.
So, you know, it's better to just get out of the way and wait until peace returns, so they can keep it some more.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:48 AM on December 2, 2012


Sure, they aren't there for hot fighting, they are there for peacekeeping. The other 99% of the time, they keep the peace. That's a valuable thing.
posted by jaduncan at 2:51 PM on December 2, 2012


Pushback: Israel withholds Palestinian revenue, approves new settlements

Noam Chomsky: Palestine 2012 — Gaza and the UN resolution and in 3quarksdaily: Emerging World Order and the Arab Spring

The Zone
In what would appear to us as one of the darkest moments in Palestinian lived history, a ‘dream-world’ has somehow emerged in the West Bank: a host of commodified desires, semblance of normality, have been constructed atop the debris of political failure and collapse.
Here, new lifestyles, desires, senses of self mingle and collide with a persistent denial of the disasters of Palestine’s current situation.
Why Israel Desires to be Hated by Palestinians
While it has been noted that one motiv­a­tion for the Israeli gov­ern­ment, in the run-​up to elec­tions in Janu­ary, is to unite voters behind a ‘no choice’ rhet­oric, there is a deeper motiv­a­tion at stake here — to restrict the hori­zons of polit­ical debate, to con­trol what should be regarded as a lit­mus test for ‘real­istic’, ‘mod­er­ate’ and ‘reas­on­able’ voices.
If They Come In The Morning: Gaza And Black Solidarity

Jadaliyya: Quick Thoughts On The Significance Of The November 2012 Palestine UN Bid

The Invisible Occupation
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:45 PM on December 2, 2012 [1 favorite]


Jaduncan wrote: they aren't there for hot fighting, they are there for peacekeeping. The other 99% of the time, they keep the peace. That's a valuable thing.


Ye-es, but that's like me saying I keep my neighbourhood safe from tigers. It's not clear what I do to keep them away, and if they ever came here I'd flee, but 99.9% of the time I serve a valuable role keeping my neighbourhood safe from tigers.

Also, and I'm really not trying to be snarky here, UN peacekeepers have a bad reputation. Israel has specific concerns about UNIFIL in particular, under whose auspices Hezbollah has been allowed to rearm - preventing this (i.e., "ensuring the return of [the Lebanese Government's] effective authority in the area") was actually the point of having UNIFIL there in the first place.

Also, there was the incident where Israeli soldiers were abducted in a cross-border raid by Hezbollah, allegedly with UN collusion (the UN denies this). The UN was extremely unhelpful to the Israeli investigation, and lied about the existence of a videotape showing Hezbollah operatives trying to recover UN-labelled vehicles and UN uniforms used in the raid.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:03 PM on December 2, 2012


Ye-es, but that's like me saying I keep my neighbourhood safe from tigers. It's not clear what I do to keep them away, and if they ever came here I'd flee, but 99.9% of the time I serve a valuable role keeping my neighbourhood safe from tigers.

It's more like saying that beat cops aren't the riot squad, but still provide valuable services. The role of peacekeepers isn't to fight hot wars, it's to administrate the peace and record violations. The RoE very often prevent shooting without extremely high level approval in any case, and the RoEs are often agreed by the very nations that invite the peacekeeping force. I'm not sure what you expect from those forces once they arrive, but moving from a lightly armed observer force to a beliggerent generally isn't either realistic or even a good idea. Believe me, I get the temptation; we had someone in our unit who broke RoE and shot a Serb in Bosnia rather than let him keep shooting civilians and everyone remained quiet about it.

It's also not that peacekeepers have to be the only forces in the region, they tend to just be adjudicators and recorders in many areas. That, in and of itself, is an extremely valuable thing. You should probably also note that now the PA is recognised the chances of an international peacekeeping force have just gone up an awful lot. The PA can, for example, seek to invite them onto purely PA territory without UN intervention. They could even play a little rougher and ask allied nations to provide internal security for them; it's not like Hezbollah didn't get an awful amount of assistance from Syrian forces through the years.
posted by jaduncan at 4:58 PM on December 2, 2012


Actually the MFO isn't a UN force. The MFO is its own thing supervised by a israel and Egypt and created by the Camp David Accords. The UN was supposed to keep the Siani demilitarized after the Suez crisis. They withdrew peacekeepers over Israeli objections. This was one of the triggers of the Six Day War.
posted by humanfont at 9:14 PM on December 2, 2012


Save Your Kisses For Me: How the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and the Israeli Right Wing Became Co-Dependants In An Abusive Relationship
This has happened not only in America and in Britain - but all over the world. And I want to tell the story of how it happened in the Middle East. It is the intertwined story of the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas in the Gaza strip and the reactionary right-wing nationalist groups in Israel.

All three groups are driven by an angry, pessimistic vision of the world, of human nature - and the inability of politicians to transform things for the better. It's a fascinating story because it shows how the underlying similarities led those groups to become tightly locked together - helping each other cement their ruthless grip on their people - and freeze out any progressive alternatives.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 8:44 AM on December 3, 2012


That article is weirdly tendentious: it makes very obvious historical errors that have the effect of making political Zionism and large-scale Jewish immigration and development much later than it actually was.

For instance, it claims that Zionism was “invented by Theodor Herzl in the 1890s”; something which would have come as a surprise to the many existing Zionist groups of the time. It mentions ” the Zionists who were moving into Haifa and the rest of Palestine in the 1930s”, giving the impression that it was this time that major Jewish immigration to the area began.

Here’s a paragraph that sums up Curtis’ approach to history:

“Starting in the 1930s, the Israelis set out to try and build in Palestine the new kind of Zionist society that Theodor Herzl had laid out in his novel Altneuland – Old New Land. ”

What? Quite apart from the howler of calling them Israelis in the 1930s, everybody knows that the first large Zionist (as opposed to just Jewish) settlement was Rishon LeZion ("first to Zion"), founded in 1882. Even this was long after the first Zionist projects there, e.g Mikveh Israel in 1870.

Then he says that "The new capital was called Tel Aviv [....]"

In fact Tel Aviv was named and formally laid out in 1910 after decades of Jewish migration to the then-small town of Jaffa nearby. The architect Patrick Geddes, referred to by Curtis presented his plan to the Tel Aviv council in 1925 – but Curtis describes this as being based on “the technocratic belief that flourished in the 1930s – and again in the 1950s – that you could shape the environment around human beings as a total system that would make them stronger, more confident and morally better human beings. ”

So, not only late, but fascist.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:04 AM on December 3, 2012


My Family In Israel: One Direct Hit, Two Near Misses -- And The Brainwashing Behind The Rockets

I liked the beginning of this article, which talks about his family, more than the end. I've read enough about Palestinian media incitement to last me forever, but I suppose other people haven't and they might be surprised how vicious, hyper-focused, and unrelenting Palestinian propaganda is when it comes to Jews, Israel, and Israelis.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:32 AM on December 6, 2012


Journalists targetted in Israeli attack.
posted by eurypteris at 2:09 PM on December 7, 2012


Khaled Meshaal, the leader of Hamas, has been visiting Gaza for its 25th birthday celebrations. Here's an article covering his address to "hundreds of thousands" [perhaps exaggerated?] of Palestinians in Gaza:
Mashaal vows to continue fighting Israel rather than give up ‘any inch’ of Palestine
“We are not giving up any inch of Palestine. It will remain Islamic and Arab for us and nobody else. Jihad and armed resistance is the only way,” Mashaal said, referring to holy war. “We cannot recognize Israel’s legitimacy.” [...]

“From the [Mediterranean] sea to the [Jordan] river, from north to south, we will not give up any part of Palestine — it is our country, our right and our homeland,” said the Hamas chief.
I'm posting this because every now and then someone hits upon a statement from someone in Hamas which maybe kinda sounds like they might possibly be interested in compromise. They're not: the destruction of Israel is fundamental (ha!) to Hamas' raison d'être. They say this over and over, in their official documents and public speeches and their logo and even (yes, really!) in the decorations on their birthday cake. Incidentally, do you see the picture of the banner showing a rocket against a city background? That city is West Jerusalem.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:21 PM on December 8, 2012


Parting Ways: Judith Butler and the Cause of the Other
posted by homunculus at 5:52 PM on December 10, 2012


Leaving Palestinian communities disconnected from infrastructure, declaring large areas as firing zones and destroying cisterns are part of an intentional policy since the early 1970s. Its goal is to leave as few Palestinians as possible in the majority of the West Bank (today's Area C, under Israeli civil and military control), to expedite Jewish settlement and thus make it easier to annex these areas to Israel.
Drying Out The Palestinians from Haaretz.com
posted by clarknova at 1:15 AM on December 11, 2012


Choose Your Own Israeli/Palestinian Peace Deal, with interactive partition drawing exercise.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:22 PM on December 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


TNR: Understanding Mohamed Morsi - His journey from farm boy to most powerful man in the Middle East.
I noticed a poster hanging on an otherwise bare wall. It showed the Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem above the slogan, in Arabic, “We will return, oh Aqsa.” I asked his cousin how I should interpret these words. “A war will happen again between the Arabs and the Jews,” he told me matter-of-factly, “and we will regain Jerusalem.”
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:43 PM on December 12, 2012


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