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Israel bombing Gaza again
July 8, 2014 12:13 PM   Subscribe

"Israel and its Palestinian adversaries in Gaza sharply escalated the latest deadly resurgence of hostilities on Tuesday, with the Israeli military conducting an intense aerial bombardment that targeted at least 50 Gazan sites, including homes, and militants in the enclave responding with a long-range missile volley aimed at Israeli population centers, including Tel Aviv."

Israel has mobilized troops along the Gaza border and is preparing for a possible ground invasion. The intensification in violence follows several incidents: the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers; the subsequent murder of Palestinian Mohammed Abu Khdeir (alleged to have been burned alive by Israeli religious youths); and the beating of American Tarek Abu Khdeir by Israeli soldiers.

Some have accused the Israeli government of deliberately inflaming public opinion during a tense situation. Others note the anti-Arab mobs are no aberration, and that objectionable behavior extends to some Israeli lawmakers themselves.

Previous Metafilter coverage of attacks into Gaza: Operation Cast Lead (2008-9) and Operation Pillar of Defense (2012).
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles (1777 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite

 
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posted by Renoroc at 12:16 PM on July 8 [8 favorites]


Air raid sirens stopped sounding in Jerusalem 10 minutes ago.
posted by qi at 12:22 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


I've been watching this cycle repeat itself for literally my entire adult life. I wonder what will end it? Surely not more attacks.
posted by jetsetsc at 12:24 PM on July 8 [14 favorites]


More children will die.

..................(and on forever, apparently)

Even very smart people don't have good solutions for this, I can only feel sad.
posted by poe at 12:25 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


Dan Carlin does these amazing "pop history" podcasts, one is a very involved and lengthy (Hardcore History) but he also does a shorter 'history relating to modern events' one called "Common Sense". Sort of a politically loaded name, but it's fairly even-keel and remarkably interesting.

His most recent one is about the politically carved borders in the Middle East. It's utterly fascinating and worth a listen.

"The Middle East seems to be imploding. Dan thinks this is likely all part of a natural process of redrawing artificial borders and re-balancing power relationships. But that doesn't mean it's going to be fun to live through."
posted by four panels at 12:26 PM on July 8 [11 favorites]


I wonder what will end it?

It won't. Those in power remain in power so long as there is no peace, so there will be no peace.
posted by mhoye at 12:27 PM on July 8 [10 favorites]


More and more dead children for no reason.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:29 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


I would like it very much if the US stopped taking sides in this, told everyone we disapprove of murderous behavior no matter who started it, and then stay out of it.
posted by Foosnark at 12:31 PM on July 8 [41 favorites]


Same as it ever was.

For a time I actually had hopes that there were nonviolent ways to end the conflict, to give both peoples self determination and a nation of their own.

I no longer have those hopes. I can't pinpoint when they died, but they're gone. Maybe--maybe--when the old guard literally dies out of the Knesset and younger people take over, on both sides, maybe there'll be substantive dialogue.

Until then it's just going to be I shot you because you shot me because I shot you because you shot me ad infinitum, and it fills me with despair. The British and the IRA managed to initiate and hold a ceasefire, for God's sake. There's so much here that echoes so much of the Troubles, but it seems... worse, somehow. More intense. Both sides much more intransigent.

Children are dying because of this conflict. How does that have no effect on anyone on either side?

Sigh.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:32 PM on July 8


I would like it very much if the US stopped taking sides in this, told everyone we disapprove of murderous behavior no matter who started it, and then stay out of it.

This thread is no place for humor.
posted by fairmettle at 12:32 PM on July 8 [14 favorites]




Man, that electronicintifada "article" is some garbage.
posted by rosswald at 12:34 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


I would like it very much if the US stopped taking sides in this, told everyone we disapprove of murderous behavior no matter who started it, and then stay out of it.

Me too. But I should add that the US does exercise some power over the current situation, and they have in the past restrained Israel, so its not that the US should 'stay out of it', its more that they have an active role to play to stop it.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:35 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]




My coworkers in Hebron (in the West Bank) haven't been permitted to leave their city for a few weeks now. No one can go in or out.

I get weird reactions when I tell people that we (a criminal defense ngo) work in Palestine. The first reaction from Americans is usually "wait, they have police/courts/lawyers/judges there?," as if the idea that it's not just a lawless series of refugee camps had never occurred to them. Then, although most people don't say anything about it, I can tell that they're trying to figure out what role my organization plays in the I/P conflict, because that is literally all anyone here knows about Palestine, no matter who they support. The notion that we work entirely within the Palestinian court system on internal matters is apparently mindblowing. Like they're saying, what "internal matters" could there possibly be? Don't you know Palestine only exists insofar as it relates to Israel?

I don't even know what I'm getting at here, except to say: Palestine, whether you think of it as a country or not, is a place where lots of people live and work, and they're mostly just... regular people. They're not indistinguishable Muslim hordes, they're not figurines in a global game of Risk, they're not blank slates for us to impose our ideas about what ought to happen or who did what to whom and who ought to pay for it, they're just human beings trying to get on with their lives, completely independent of whatever slapfight we might choose to indulge in on the internet.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:36 PM on July 8 [204 favorites]


The Arabic press is reporting that the Al Qassam brigades attacked a military base called Zakeem on the shore near Tel Aviv.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:39 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


showbiz_liz, I think the words "refugee camp" imply something other than a civilization to many.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 12:39 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


the middle east is getting closer and closer to its franz ferdinand moment - someone is going to make a grave miscalculation and all hell will break loose
posted by pyramid termite at 12:41 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Maybe--maybe--when the old guard literally dies out of the Knesset and younger people take over, on both sides, maybe there'll be substantive dialogue.

Or maybe not.
posted by Atom Eyes at 12:42 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Iron Dome game
posted by stbalbach at 12:43 PM on July 8


That sounds depressingly likely. And there's basically not a single thing any of us can do to stop it.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 12:43 PM on July 8


Is it at all possible the initial kidnapping was not political? Maybe just some sort of psychopath?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 12:44 PM on July 8


showbiz_liz, I think the words "refugee camp" imply something other than a civilization to many.

New research from Oxford University contradicts popular assumptions about refugees' dependency and economic status

Although, unlike The Guardian, I couldn't bring myself to extrapolate findings from one region's camps to all camps everywhere, without sampling some in disparately different locations and continents.
posted by infini at 12:47 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Is it at all possible the initial kidnapping was not political? Maybe just some sort of psychopath?

Not mutually exclusive.
posted by el io at 12:49 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]


From the front page link in the post:

Israeli experts often describe Israel’s periodic campaigns in Gaza in terms of “mowing the grass,” a kind of routine maintenance with the limited goals of curbing rocket fire, destroying as much of the militant groups’ infrastructure as possible and restoring deterrence.

“This sort of maintenance needs to be carried out from time to time, perhaps even more often,” Yoav Galant, a former commander of Israel’s southern district, including the area around Gaza, told Army Radio.


This is the system now. It will just go on and on.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:49 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


Both sides have more reason to hate the other than they did two weeks ago, fueling even more extremist sentiment.
I can't see any other way this plays out except more and more dead children.
posted by rocket88 at 12:53 PM on July 8


those are internal things but I just don't see the structural configuration of the middle east encouraging a general war right now. However if Israel or Iran start talking about declining power, watch out.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:55 PM on July 8


I have learned from long experience not to spend too much time on these threads, but for those interested in the latest minute-by-minute news in English:

Ha'aretz, a left-wing Israeli paper, has a constantly updated blog: here and constantly updated here.

Lebanon's Daily Star has a slightly sparser newsfeed.

YNet, the internet arm of the largest newspaper in Israel also has live updates.
posted by blahblahblah at 12:56 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


I know we have Israeli mefites - do we have any currently living in the Palestine territories?
posted by item at 1:00 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


"I no longer have those hopes. I can't pinpoint when they died, but they're gone. Maybe--maybe--when the old guard literally dies out of the Knesset and younger people take over, on both sides, maybe there'll be substantive dialogue."
Meet the younger people taking over, translated from the linked facebook post of a leading young member of the ruling party in the Knesset:
"This is an article by the late Uri Elitzur, which was written 12 years ago, but remained unpublished. It is as relevant today as it was at the time.

The Palestinian people has declared war on us, and we must respond with war. Not an operation, not a slow-moving one, not low-intensity, not controlled escalation, no destruction of terror infrastructure, no targeted killings. Enough with the oblique references. This is a war. Words have meanings. This is a war. It is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. These too are forms of avoiding reality. This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started.

I don’t know why it’s so hard for us to define reality with the simple words that language puts at our disposal. Why do we have to make up a new name for the war every other week, just to avoid calling it by its name. What’s so horrifying about understanding that the entire Palestinian people is the enemy? Every war is between two peoples, and in every war the people who started the war, that whole people, is the enemy. A declaration of war is not a war crime. Responding with war certainly is not. Nor is the use of the word “war”, nor a clear definition who the enemy is. Au contraire: the morality of war (yes, there is such a thing) is founded on the assumption that there are wars in this world, and that war is not the normal state of things, and that in wars the enemy is usually an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.

And the morality of war knows that it is not possible to refrain from hurting enemy civilians. It does not condemn the British air force, which bombed and totally destroyed the German city of Dresden, or the US planes that destroyed the cities of Poland and wrecked half of Budapest, places whose wretched residents had never done a thing to America, but which had to be destroyed in order to win the war against evil. The morals of war do not require that Russia be brought to trial, though it bombs and destroys towns and neighborhoods in Chechnya. It does not denounce the UN Peacekeeping Forces for killing hundreds of civilians in Angola, nor the NATO forces who bombed Milosevic’s Belgrade, a city with a million civilians, elderly, babies, women, and children. The morals of war accept as correct in principle, not only politically, what America has done in Afghanistan, including the massive bombing of populated places, including the creation of a refugee stream of hundreds of thousands of people who escaped the horrors of war, for thousands of whom there is no home to return to.

And in our war this is sevenfold more correct, because the enemy soldiers hide out among the population, and it is only through its support that they can fight. Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. Actors in the war are those who incite in mosques, who write the murderous curricula for schools, who give shelter, who provide vehicles, and all those who honor and give them their moral support. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.

But the week's festivities and respect to both houses of two murderers are vile. I guess they where mourning tents, and the city come to pay my respects to my mom and dad raised the devil. The two houses need to be bombed from the air, to destroy and to kill. And we have to explain that from now on that will happen to every home of a martyr. There is nothing right and probably not even that useful. Each bomber should have known he was taking with him both his parents and his home and neighbors. All UM Jihad hero that sends her son to hell needs to know that she's going with him. Along with the House and all that.

The list cannot be focused. That's war. What is thwart focused preventive and unfocused. We opened this naughty war we could not finish it. The key to a ceasefire in the hands of the Palestinian people. We can only burn their fingers until you want to use them. "
The toxic atmosphere in Israel and the occupied territories grows even more poisonous, as extremists on both sides ratchet up the hate talk.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:02 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


showbiz_liz: what I was hoping after the three kidnapping/murders was to see some charges filed in the Palestinian court system. Is this a realistic expectation? Or was there just not enough time to put a case together? I think taking things to the courts rather than the battlefield has to be part of a solution at some point. Like dealing with post-9/11 terror in civilian courts. The wheels of justice are slow and frustrating, but the wheels of retributive attacks may turn forever.
posted by jetsetsc at 1:04 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


I have wondered these past few days--since Israel began hitting back, why Hamas has continued non-stop in what appears a fruitless launching of more and more rockets. Ok. you get pissed for this or that reason and you do this or that. But when Israel decides to hit back in a very hard way, why continue sending rockets to invite further attacks by Israel. Hamas know what Israel can do. They also know the limits of what they can do and the cost to Gaza from Israeli bombings. What, then, keeps them at this seemingly insane course of action?

Egypt no longer is coming to their aid or even acting to try to end things. Jordan is silent.
and then there is the very recent deal between Abbas of the West Bank and Hamas (Gaza) to unite and be perhaps the basis for a future state. But now? Does Abbas side with Hamas or cut ties?
posted by Postroad at 1:06 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


Can't we just take the people perpetuating the continual hate on both sides, stick them in Ramat Gan Stadium with clubs, and let them have at it?
posted by Talez at 1:08 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


what I was hoping after the three kidnapping/murders was to see some charges filed in the Palestinian court system. Is this a realistic expectation?

I was under the impression that no one knows who actually did it. Who would be charged?
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:08 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


Every time someone says hey, maybe we'll beat this climate change problem, people are smart!

...point them to this.
posted by aramaic at 1:10 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


I was under the impression that no one knows who actually did it. Who would be charged?

People on both sides don't give a shit who did it so long as someone's blood from the other side is spilled.
posted by Talez at 1:11 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


What, then, keeps them at this seemingly insane course of action?

it's obvious to me that they want the israeli army to invade gaza - they've had years to prepare for it and probably think they've got some shocking and deadly surprises in store

they could be right
posted by pyramid termite at 1:12 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


I came upon this a short time ago and find it helpful

THE TRAGEDY OF THE ARABS, from the current issue of The Economist, neither heavy to the right or the left.
posted by Postroad at 1:14 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


I have wondered these past few days--since Israel began hitting back, why Hamas has continued non-stop in what appears a fruitless launching of more and more rockets.

They need the status quo of violence to maintain their legitimacy.
posted by KokuRyu at 1:14 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]




We've got talking about the enemy as subhuman.

For decades, yeah.
posted by qi at 1:18 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


Meet the younger people taking over, translated from the linked facebook post of a leading young member of the ruling party in the Knesset:

I think there's some confusion here. Shaked -- the person you're quoting -- isn't in Likud (Netanyahu's party), she's in Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home), part of the ruling coalition but a very different thing. Here she is, interviewed in Ha'aretz in 2012.
posted by escabeche at 1:23 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


I should note while the 'both sides do it' has some merit to it, the two sides we are talking include a) a functioning state with strong formal democracy 2) a nonstate opposition group.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:27 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


From the McClatchy link:

“What happened to us is a very big crisis in our education,” President Shimon Peres said in a meeting with high school students. “In my view the crisis is not just a criminal crisis but a moral crisis. . . . We could not imagine that something so cruel and ugly could happen in our camp.”

*bangs head against wall*
posted by echocollate at 1:39 PM on July 8


I've been watching this cycle repeat itself for literally my entire adult life. I wonder what will end it?

I was going to point to the North Ireland Peace Process bringing an end to the never-ending bloodshed there as an example for a peaceful resolution to a long-fought war, but I didn't know about the Real Irish Republican Army that splintered off in the wake of the 1997 peace process, or the 2011 murder of a police officer and the vowing of further violence.

There will always be people who are unhappy unless they get everything they want, who are incapable of making peace for anything less. When they have the will to injure others to get what they want, there will always be bloodshed.
posted by filthy light thief at 1:39 PM on July 8


I have wondered these past few days--since Israel began hitting back, why Hamas has continued non-stop in what appears a fruitless launching of more and more rockets. Ok. you get pissed for this or that reason and you do this or that. But when Israel decides to hit back in a very hard way, why continue sending rockets to invite further attacks by Israel.

I've always figured Hamas's actions were designed to goad an overreaction from Israel to win international sympathy. Hamas can't think they can defeat Israel militarily or change public opinion by murdering Israelis and lobbing rockets at Israeli cities. These are more PR actions than military actions.
posted by echocollate at 1:46 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


I lived in Israel during the time of the first Intifada. I was very involved in the Peace Now (Shalom Achshav) movement. I was so young then and I had every hope in the world that we would be living in peace today, even though I was among those searching for the first round of kidnapped soldiers (Avi Sasportas and Ilan Sa'adon). I thought, back then, that when the tiny groups of young Palestinians and Israelis that wanted peace grew strong enough, they would elect someone who was actually interested in peace.

I fear that poe (above) is right and that "even very smart people don't have good solutions for this." I, too, can only feel sad.
posted by Sophie1 at 1:49 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]




Perhaps I'm overly optimistic, but I have hopes that if, one day, the US changes its policy towards Israel in the same way that it changed policy towards South Africa there might be the possibility of this war ending.

And perhaps it is overly US-centric of me to imagine that it is the continued support of America that allows the militants on the Israeli side to keep power and continue with a policy of what amounts to slow genocide, but I suppose I keep hoping that simply for the hope that there **CAN** be an end to this other than the extinction of the Palestinians. I think its clear at this point that the Israeli government has the ultimate goal of simply exterminating the Palestinians, and I hope that it is only that the US supports Israel in this that the parties in Israel seeking that outcome can keep winning elections.

At the very least though I want the US out simply because I see no way our involvement is doing anything positive. Cut the losses, get out, and see if perhaps with US support pulled the Israeli government finally starts adopting a non-genocidal policy.
posted by sotonohito at 1:50 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


"The Euro-Mid investigation documented a theft of $370,000 in cash during the 387 incursions it examined, as well as $2.5 million worth of property, including cars, computers, mobile phones and jewelry. The money and property were seized from homes, universities, health clinics, media companies and currency exchanges. Euro-Mid believes, however, that its estimates are on the low end, since families and institutions have not been able to itemize all of their missing items and many thefts have not yet been reported."

Report: Israeli forces stole USD 3 million in cash, property from Palestinians during West Bank raids
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 1:52 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


I think there's some confusion here. Shaked -- the person you're quoting -- isn't in Likud (Netanyahu's party), she's in Habayit Hayehudi (Jewish Home), part of the ruling coalition but a very different thing.

Shaked used to work for Netanyahu. Her husband, Naftali Bennet is the leader of "Jewish Home" Party and former chief of staff for Netanyahu.
Although this is the first time that Bennett has run for office, he is not a political naïf. Between 2006 and 2008, he worked as chief of staff for Netanyahu, who, as the leader of the Likud Party, was then in the opposition. Bennett, along with Ayelet Shaked, a secular woman from Tel Aviv who is in her mid-thirties, ran Netanyahu’s affairs with the hope of returning him to the Prime Minister’s office. But both left abruptly, under circumstances that they won’t discuss. This being Israel, those circumstances are known to all: Bennett and Shaked ran afoul of Netanyahu’s wife, Sara, who is described in the Israeli press as a combination of Mary Todd Lincoln and Nancy Reagan—high-strung, paranoid, intrusive. Sara Netanyahu regarded Bennett and Shaked as suspiciously ambitious, and made their lives impossible. Shaked is now a deputy in Bennett’s movement, and she told me she is convinced that he will be Prime Minister “in ten or fifteen years—he’s made of the right stuff.”
posted by ennui.bz at 2:01 PM on July 8




The Euro-Mid investigation documented a theft of $370,000 in cash...

The Euro-Mid Observer, chaired by the former director of a Hamas PR group.
posted by Behemoth at 2:10 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]




Also, from the same New Yorker article about Bennet and Shaked:
Meanwhile, Israeli politics continues its seemingly endless trek to the right. Every day, the Web carries the voice of another leader of the settler movement who insists that the settlers are the vanguard now, that the old verities are to be challenged, if not eliminated. Early last year, Benny Katzover, a leader in the settlement of Elon Moreh, told a Chabad paper, Beit Mashiach, “I would say that today Israeli democracy has one central mission, and that is to disappear. Israeli democracy has finished its historical role, and it must be dismantled and bow before Judaism.”
this is where Israeli politics is going...
posted by ennui.bz at 2:13 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]




@qi: Criticism of the Israeli government is not a blanket condemnation of all Israelis, nor all Jews. Take your wild and innaccurate accusations of hate speech elsewhere. If we can't honestly assess the actions of the Israeli government then there is no point in discussing anything.

And the Israeli government is, and has for a very long time, engaged in a program of encouraging illegal settlements, destroying Palestinian infrastructure, and at one point Dov Weisglass, then an official in the Olmert government, anounced that the policy of Israel was to starve Palestine, but not to starve them to death: "The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger". cite

If the ultimate objective of the Israeli government is not the extermination of the Palestinians, then why does the Israeli government continue to kill Palestinians, demolish Palestinian infrastructure, promote official policies of hunger for Palestinians, and encourage Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory?
posted by sotonohito at 2:21 PM on July 8 [39 favorites]


the two sides we are talking include a) a functioning state with strong formal democracy 2) a nonstate opposition group.

I'm not entirely sure what opposition means in this context, since Hamas is effectively running the Gaza strip (but alright, they're not formally part of the new government, so opposition against Fatah, I guess). But you're missing the third side, aren't you? -- there's almost 2 million people living in a territory roughly the size of two Manhattans, and I don't think I'm the only one who would prefer if they could be allowed to be more than just a recruiting ground for the Al-Qassam Brigades...
posted by effbot at 2:33 PM on July 8


I fail to see how claiming " its clear at this point that the Israeli government has the ultimate goal of simply exterminating the Palestinians" is consistent with "honestly assess the actions of the Israeli government".

If they wanted to exterminate the Palestinians they have the means to do so. That they haven't done so is pretty good evidence that they don't want to do so.
posted by Justinian at 2:34 PM on July 8 [14 favorites]


I was talking with my father in Ashkelon (right near Gaza) a couple hours ago during the 8th or 9th siren today. Granted this was after he had to head to the bomb shelter while visiting his doctor, but, man, he's always been a rational and fairly left wing person for most of my life, and to hear the words he was spewing was right awful. Him and his friends' solution to the current problem - cut all the power lines into Gaza. Since I love to egg him on, I was like, why not just air drop chemicals to kill all their crops and sterilize all the males? He claimed to like the idea, but I think he was half-joking.

And having just googled the electricity idea for fun, apparently it's not an original idea.
posted by gman at 2:35 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Hamas has been stepping up its attacks on Israel with hundreds of rockets recently. Tel Aviv was just hit. It is amazing, if not surprising, how some people blame Israel for responding to these attacks.
posted by knoyers at 2:37 PM on July 8 [8 favorites]


If they wanted to exterminate the Palestinians they have the means to do so. That they haven't done so is pretty good evidence that they don't want to do so.

I'm not sure that this follows. That's a course of action which might make the US stop supporting them, for example.
posted by showbiz_liz at 2:37 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


Hamas has been stepping up its attacks on Israel with hundreds of rockets recently. Tel Aviv was just hit. It is amazing, if not surprising, how some people blame Israel for responding to these attacks.

There is a huge difference between responding to an attack and bombing people as collective punishment.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:38 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


Not to mention that, in any other part of the world, Israel's actions with regard to the settlements would be considered a very clear causus belli.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:41 PM on July 8 [12 favorites]


Hamas has been stepping up its attacks on Israel with hundreds of rockets recently. Tel Aviv was just hit. It is amazing, if not surprising, how some people blame Israel for responding to these attacks.

I feel that it is fair to ask the stronger, more secure party to the violence to step back first.
posted by Aizkolari at 2:42 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


I think its clear at this point that the Israeli government has the ultimate goal of simply exterminating the Palestinians,

I think your quick resort to hyperbole and libel is particularly obscene when it trivializes the real thing going on right next door in Syria.
posted by ocschwar at 2:43 PM on July 8 [10 favorites]


@Justinian: I can see that argument, and I suppose I should have said "to covertly exterminate the Palestinian people". This isn't the old days when, like the US government did, they can simply send in the army to kill lots of civilians and no one on the international stage will object.

I'm also pretty sure that if the Israeli government openly and directly started committing genocide they'd lose the support of the Israeli people. And even the support for the covert program of slow genocide is not really supported by most Israelis, it's the product of the coalition politics.

But when we look at the continuous destruction of Palestinian infrastructure, the official policy of encouraging hunger in the Palestinian population, the ongoing support for expanding settlements, its difficult to come to any conclusion other than that the Israeli government is seeking slow genocide against the Palestinians.
posted by sotonohito at 2:45 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]


I feel that it is fair to ask the stronger, more secure party to the violence to step back first.

Yea, at the risk of taking this a place it possibly shouldn't go, this is very similar to the arguments of men who want it to be "the same" to punch a girl who slaps them at a bar or whatever, when they're twice her size and easily shrugged off the slap.

On some really, really simplistic and juvenile level it's sort of, maybe, technically justifiable. But it is not equivalent force, and it's coming from a place of security the other side simply doesn't have.

When one side could completely destroy the other side in minutes, and the other party could at best do some minor to low-moderately damage them... then it just isn't a "well they punched me so i get to punch back" thing with no complicating factors.
posted by emptythought at 2:46 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


Sigh. I remember Rabin and when there was a moment of hope. Sob.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 2:47 PM on July 8 [12 favorites]


Well, what (if anything) do you think Israel should do in response to those missiles?
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:50 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]



Yea, at the risk of taking this a place it possibly shouldn't go, this is very similar to the arguments of men who want it to be "the same" to punch a girl who slaps them at a bar or whatever, when they're twice her size and easily shrugged off the slap.


You've done precisely that.

A rocket is not something you can just "shrug off." You run the 10 seconds to the nearest designated cover spot, or else you play Russian roulette with yoru life.

True, the cylinder on this gun is much larger than 6 like on a Colt .38. And there is still only one round in it.

But if you're hit, you die. The might of the IDF will not save you.

It is very true that Hamas is not able to inflict large numbers of deaths with the rocket program.

But a death is a death.

Ergo, your analogy is indeed taking this a place it shouldn't go.
posted by ocschwar at 2:50 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]


I agree it's absolutely fair for the stronger party to be expected to back off first but I'd say that only holds true when there is some reasonable expectation that the weaker party will then stop as well. It's less reasonable to ask the stronger party to unilaterally back down while the other side keeps on going.
posted by Justinian at 2:52 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


Err... that shouldn't be taken as support for any particular Israeli policy since there are a large number of bad Israeli policies out there. I'm just saying its more complicated than "the stronger party should stop!"
posted by Justinian at 2:52 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


@dances_with_sneetches, I think he really could have made peace. But that wouldn't do for the religious/rightist elements in Israel so they stirred up so much hate against him that they drove one of their own to kill him. And now those same elements are running the country...
posted by sotonohito at 2:53 PM on July 8


Well, what (if anything) do you think Israel should do in response to those missiles?

How long before they can fly surveillance drones with 100% 24/7 coverage and just drop a bomb within minutes on any location where a rocket gets fired out?
posted by bukvich at 3:01 PM on July 8


Well, what (if anything) do you think Israel should do in response to those missiles? Joe in Australia

Deescalate, deescalate, deescalate. Deescalation will happen one way or the other eventually, but probably after a lot more death.

So what is deescalation at this point? Probably could be many forms, but it should be announced. I would suggest small targets, infrastructure rather than human targets.

Not that I'm saying the current Israeli administration has anything in mind other than escalate.

Maybe Carter has the respect to negotiate a cease-fire.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 3:01 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


Israel ought to remove all settlements ["Condemned by 158 out of 166 nations in one vote, and 160 nations out of 171 nations in a different vote, in the UN; The international community considers the settlements in occupied territory to be illegal, and the United Nations has repeatedly upheld the view that Israel's construction of settlements constitutes a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention"] and revert back to pre-67 borders. Then we'll see about the need for a discussion on "what-to-do about the rockets".
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 3:03 PM on July 8 [46 favorites]


Maybe Carter has the respect to negotiate a cease-fire.

Wow, that fails the giggle test. Carter? Respect? From the Israelis?

No.
posted by ocschwar at 3:04 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


I think its clear at this point that the Israeli government has the ultimate goal of simply exterminating the Palestinians,

Because most people running an extermination campaign call up the targets to warn them to get out first? Plenty of awful stuff is happening on both sides. There's absolutely no need to talk it up into even more awful stuff.
posted by zachlipton at 3:06 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


In ecology, there is a concept called "resource holding potential" that is used when discussing territoriality. It is kind of an amalgamation of physical ability (size, caloric reserves) and mental resolve. Under that concept, a physically weaker opponent can deter a superior one if it is more convinced that the resource in question rightfully belongs to it (anthropomorphizing wildly here). For example, if two butterflies clash over a territory of blooming flowers, the one that was there first will be more persistent in the fight, and will likely prevail; the newcomer is more apt to give up and go look for his own flowers. But. If you catch the territory-holding butterfly and keep him in a jar for a few hours, another butterfly may settle in and claim his territory. Then, if you release the "original owner", you will have a situation where both butterflies think they are the "rightful owner" of the flowers. They will fight much harder, and much longer than they would otherwise.

I'm not sure that this leads to any useful conclusions, other than "don't be a dick and take butterflies away from their flowers in the first place."
posted by agentofselection at 3:06 PM on July 8 [8 favorites]


It is true that Israel has a massive force advantage over any Palestinian faction, Hamas or otherwise. Israel has F-16s, helicopters and nuclear weapons and Hamas does not. As important as that is to recognize, however, I don't think it gets to the fundamental asymmetry in this conflict or the timeline of what caused the current situation.

Israelis are occupying Palestinian territory; Palestinians are not occupying Israeli territory. What whyareyouatriangle said is right: any end to the violence will require an end to the occupation. This has to be the starting point of any resolution to the conflict.

(and yes, "effective control" of a territory, as the Israelis have over Gaza, constitutes an occupation according to International Law; not to mention East Jerusalem and the West Bank where the Israeli military is present physically)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:11 PM on July 8 [14 favorites]


zachlipton: Yes, you would do that if you are walking a PR tightrope. One of the things that gets forgotten is that while the Israel Lobby is powerful, it does have limits. Unrestricted warfare would be a serious test of those.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:11 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


If Israel had "effective control" over Gaza they would probably stop them from firing missiles.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:15 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


note: the headline says Israel bombs Gaza again..

Edit: Israel retaliates after non-stop rockets sent against Israel.
say you live in Maryland and Cuba sent rockets at DC and NYC (Jerusalem and Tel Aviv)...what do you think an appropriate response should be?
posted by Postroad at 3:17 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


There is a huge difference between responding to an attack and bombing people as collective punishment.
posted by Tomorrowful at 2:38 PM on July 8


Collective punishment has become a loaded term against Israel. Any and all warfare is inevitably "collective punishment" to a degree. In this warfare, Palestinians are the ones who indiscriminately target civilians with their rockets.

Not to mention that, in any other part of the world, Israel's actions with regard to the settlements would be considered a very clear causus belli.
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:41 PM on July 8

Whatever one thinks of the settlements, a country's right to defend itself against the attacks of its enemies isn't contingent on meeting some particular standard of fairness as a society.

I feel that it is fair to ask the stronger, more secure party to the violence to step back first.
posted by Aizkolari at 2:42 PM on July 8 [+]


If, for example, you are American, and America was attacked by a weaker enemy, I doubt you would apply this standard and want your leaders to passively ignore the attack. The weak don't have a special right to be freely violent relative to the strong, without expecting a response. In this case, the response isn't just expected, it was very much deliberately provoked.
posted by knoyers at 3:19 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]


I feel that it is fair to ask the stronger, more secure party to the violence to step back first.

While you are of course entitled to your feelings, that's ... just not how geopolitics works. Israel is a basically democratic country with a substantial military and full of citizens with expectations from their government that include things like ensuring they aren't subjected to random rocket attacks. If someone fires rockets across the border, the people who are put at risk are going to demand that their government do something to stop it, using the military if that appears to be the effective and expedient solution.

Expecting Israel to do anything else is unrealistic.

I can't think of any other country which is expected to stand idly by while people fling ordnance across the border, with the sole exception of perhaps South Korea. And they're forced to suck it up because, realistically, they don't have the option of taking the fight over to the DPRK's side of the border. If they could, I'm sure their citizens would demand that.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:22 PM on July 8 [10 favorites]


say you live in Maryland and Cuba sent rockets at DC and NYC

Not sure that's helpful, really. This is a low-intensity conflict that's been going on since at least 1946. Every single thing that happens is one side retaliating for something the other side did before...
posted by effbot at 3:27 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


See, my viewpoint is that if you don't want acts of war targeted at you, perhaps you should not be engaging in acts of war yourself.

And the settlements are very much acts of war.
posted by NoxAeternum at 3:27 PM on July 8 [19 favorites]


The population of the Palestinian Territories has been growing at a rate of about 1M per decade. If that's "extermination", I'm not sure we're speaking the same language.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:27 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


#BBCtrending: Are #GazaUnderAttack images accurate?

In light of their history of doctored pics and video, it would be considerably more surprising if they weren't faked.
posted by jpe at 3:28 PM on July 8


@qi: Criticism of the Israeli government is not a blanket condemnation of all Israelis

You're accusing Israel of officially sanctioning extermination of Palestinians. In other words genocide.

Take your wild and innaccurate accusations of hate speech

They are neither.

If we can't honestly assess the actions of the Israeli government

You're accusing them of deliberately exterminating Palestinians and you think that's "being honest"

then there is no point in discussing anything.

You entered into this conversation accusing israel of extermination of palestinians. The idea that anyone is being dishonest about Israel's motives in contrast to that is laughable.

And the Israeli government is, and has for a very long time, engaged in a program of encouraging illegal settlements,

Also not extermination.

destroying Palestinian infrastructure

In direct response to Palestinian aggression against Israel, including rocket attacks and straight up murder of innocent civilians in non-military areas especially throughout the last decade and a half.

Still not extermination.

, and at one point Dov Weisglass, then an official in the Olmert government, anounced that the policy of Israel was to starve Palestine, but not to starve them to death: "The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger".

This is the worst case you list and its definitely creepy and wrong, and the only one you mention that could be considered an extermination policy. But the purpose of Gaza blockade was to protect Egypt and Israel from Gazan rockets and bombers and the recognition of Hamas as a legitimate rulers of Gaza. Or are you also accusing Egypt of having a extermination policy toward Gaza?

If the ultimate objective of the Israeli government is not the extermination of the Palestinians, then why does the Israeli government continue to kill Palestinians,

The stated goals of Fatah, the PLO and Hamas when founded: to kill Zionist Jews & eliminate Israel's existence as a Jewish state through armed aggression. PLO changed their tune in '93 and recognized Israel. Fatah and Hamas contiue to refuse to recognize a Jewish state. So does the PA

encourage Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory?

They withdrew from Gaza voluntarily back in 2005. 757 missiles from Gaza hit Israel between the withdrawal and the end of June 2006. Operation "Summer Rains" started after. Look how well that turned out. The West Bank settlements are illegal and Israel should dismantle them and remove the settlers by force. The Settlements are evidence of illegal Isreali land seizure but not Palestinian extermination or genocide.
posted by qi at 3:28 PM on July 8 [10 favorites]


Yeah, the Palestinian Territories have one of the fastest growing populations in the world. Calling it an extermination, slow or otherwise, is just stupid.
posted by Justinian at 3:29 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


The reason some expect Israel to step back first is the same reason that no one blinks an eye when a good student earns an A. People expect better from Israel.
posted by kat518 at 3:36 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Maybe we should back off the "extermination" derail and discuss the current situation instead?
posted by zachlipton at 3:38 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


People expect better from Israel.

How many rockets have to land in Israel before they're saintly enough to fight back?
posted by qi at 3:39 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


[Yes, let's try to drop the "extermination" derail and discuss the current situation instead]
posted by mathowie at 3:40 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


"The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy, instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you may murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate." - Martin Luther King.

"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." - Matthew.
posted by Thing at 3:41 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Israel is a basically democratic country with a substantial military

which is occupying land full of millions of non-citizens who have no rights in that democracy

it hasn't worked - it isn't working - and it won't ever work
posted by pyramid termite at 3:41 PM on July 8 [41 favorites]


How many rockets have to land in Israel before they're saintly enough to fight back?

Let's not pretend both sides don't have legitimate grievances, here. This isn't a case of some people bombing some other people out of the blue for no comprehensible reason, just for fun.

No, that doesn't mean I think it's justified.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:41 PM on July 8 [7 favorites]




"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." - Matthew.

Hold on -- those Israelis aren't good Christians?
posted by mr. digits at 3:44 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Yeah, what does the Gospel of Matthew have to do with either Israelis or Palestinians? Seems kinda culturally hegemonic.
posted by Justinian at 3:45 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]




Let's not pretend both sides don't have legitimate grievances, here.

There's no pretense. "Since 2001, more than 12,800 rockets and mortars, an average of 3 attacks every single day, have landed in Israel." The Palestinians do have legitimate grievances. Do those grievances justify nearly thirteen thousand rocket & mortar attacks? Twenty thousand? Thirty? How many rockets and mortars before an Israeli military response will be considered acceptable? If Israel is expected to hold itself to a higher standard, then define it. Be honest that they're already holding themselves to one that no other country would ever voluntarily agree to. The US wouldn't. If Mexico started shelling non-military targets like towns and cities with hundreds of homemade rockets and mortars our own Yeehadists would demand war.
posted by qi at 4:06 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


I wonder about the casualties in that WaPo video. How did the victims fail to receive the warning call? Did their cells run out of power? Maybe they just chose to ignore an incoming call from an unknown number. I know I do sometimes.
posted by klue at 4:15 PM on July 8




"...before they're saintly enough to fight back"
You are using these words, but I do not think they mean what you must think they mean.
posted by Blasdelb at 4:21 PM on July 8


It's called sarcasm.
posted by qi at 4:41 PM on July 8




The occupation itself is an ongoing act of war. The Gaza Strip is a giant prison camp.
posted by empath at 4:43 PM on July 8 [29 favorites]


If Mexico started shelling non-military targets like towns and cities with hundreds of homemade rockets and mortars our own Yeehadists would demand war.

When did we occupy Mexico?
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:44 PM on July 8 [10 favorites]


The occupation of their territory, replete with illegal settlements, justify the rocket attacks

It's your argument that indiscriminate attacks on civilians are a justified response to occupation? I mean, I can see arguing that armed resistance is a justified response to occupation. But you're flat-out saying that widespread attempts to murder civilians is an appropriate response?

Do you think the IRA were justified, then?
posted by Justinian at 4:45 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


When did we occupy Mexico?

1848.
posted by Justinian at 4:46 PM on July 8 [19 favorites]


The occupation of their territory, replete with illegal settlements, justify the rocket attacks

I recommend you watch the excellent movie Clearcut that investigates abstractions such as these.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:59 PM on July 8


It's your argument that indiscriminate attacks on civilians are a justified response to occupation?

It's called asynchronous warfare. It's the path the US has decided to go down with regard to terrorism. The Palestinians have about as much ability to mount a frontal armed attack against Israel as Al-Quieda has in attacking the US.

I'm not a fan of attacking civilians, but at some point it becomes understandable. Last night the news had a story about a teenager killed by Israeli military. These same soldiers gave his cousin a beating he was lucky to survive. My first thought when watching that was, "If I were that kid I'd shot the next Israeli soldier I could find." My second thought was, "Well, that would just make that kid dead." So yeah, while firing off a rocket in the general direction isn't exactly a master plan, it beats trying to make an armed uprising against a country that controls your tax revenue, denies you a voice in government, and has a shitload of international backing.

At some point you get tired of it and you fire the fucking rocket. Also, these rockets haven't exactly been surgical drone strike like the US mounts. They are hand-me-down or homemade rockets with questionable efficacy.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:02 PM on July 8 [9 favorites]


Yeah, I know what asynchronous warfare is and how it relates to the roots of terrorism. But I note you're describing it and not saying whether it is justified. Which allows us all to sidestep hard questions but isn't exactly responsive to the question.
posted by Justinian at 5:07 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


(I note again that you could just as easily be talking about the IRA and the British.)
posted by Justinian at 5:07 PM on July 8


One of the mistakes I made for too long is viewing the conflict as my own person, which is necessary, but it's illuminating to view struggle through a culture and upbringing very different than your own. We know this rationally, of course, but even with books we so often gravitate to interests already aligned to our own.

'5 Broken Cameras' is a documentary centering on the day-to-day of the region from the viewpoint of Palestinian children. Immeditely you may recoil, certain it will be "one way" or "the other way." Children are endlessly used to further adult positions.

But if I could implore MeFi members - it's a very kind, honest, heartfelt and sincere lens into what is happening right now, and what's been happening for some time. It's not so political as it is human.

It doesn't document the evils or moral triumphs of one side or the other. It simply shines a klieg light into the day the day existence of a group of people, caught up in the turmoil, each day anew.

It's on Hulu Plus, if you have it, Google Play for rent, or if you overlook the unrelated political nature of the uploader free here in HD on YouTube.

It would be worth your time to give it a watch, and you may expand your own view, or even your mind. Or at least see the world very differently through someone else. Not bad for 90 minutes of your time.
posted by four panels at 5:08 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]


When did we occupy Mexico?

Justinian is off by three years. It was 1845.
posted by bukvich at 5:09 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


@Justinian, actually I do rather think the IRA's cause was justified. Their methods, like the methods of Palestinian combatants, I'm not so sure about.

I don't like attacks on civilians, nor yet indiscriminate attacks. On the gripping hand, there really isn't much else they have. Israel has fancy guided bombs and whatnot, and apparently the view of many people is that attacking with fancy weapons is good, while attacking with primitive weapons is bad.

As for attacks, clearly the Palestinians are on the losing side, over seven times more Palestinian civilians have been killed than Israeli civilians.

It's difficult to see Israel as anything but the aggressor here since that government is actively engaging in the destruction of Palestinian infrastructure, and supporting displacement policies in the form of illegal settlements. To reverse the question asked earlier about how many rocket attacks Israel must endure before they are justified in retaliation, how many settlements must Palestine endure before they are justified in retaliating? And since Israel is the aggressor, really can anything Israel does be truly termed retaliation?

I don't like dead civilians. I don't like indiscriminate attacks.

But peaceable means don't seem to have achieved anything (the current leadership of Israel drove the murderous rage that resulted in the last Israeli politician who seriously tried to settle things peacefully being assassinated by an Israeli right winger), and at some point it is unreasonable to tell a people that it is wrong for them to fight back when they've been pushed out of their homes, had their infrastructure demolished specifically to make them suffer and make their quality of life worse, and had their land taken. How can I say that those Palestinians who take up arms against such aggression are wrong? How can I say that they must stand back and do nothing while Israeli bulldozers smash power and water stations, and Israeli "settlers" take their land and homes?

Surely, at some point, the moral impetus rests on the aggressor to stop aggressing?

I can't and won't say that it was wrong of Mandela to take up violence against the aggression of white South Africans against him and his people. I can't and won't say it was wrong for the IRA to take up violence against the aggression of the British against them and their people. And on that note I can't and won't say it is wrong for the Palestinians to take up violence against the aggression Israel against them. I don't like it. I don't want dead civilians, blown up buildings, and general chaos.

But if peaceful means for ending an aggression have failed, then I would argue that violence is justified.
posted by sotonohito at 5:17 PM on July 8 [30 favorites]


Yeah, I know what asynchronous warfare is and how it relates to the roots of terrorism. But I note you're describing it and not saying whether it is justified. Which allows us all to sidestep hard questions but isn't exactly responsive to the question.

(I note again that you could just as easily be talking about the IRA and the British.)


It's totally not justified. Most acts of war aren't.

The difference between the IRA and the British is that a solution was found there. Every solution presented here has been rejected by one side or the other.

Also, if we're going to make an analogy, I would suggest African Apartheid is a better one.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:19 PM on July 8 [6 favorites]


I do rather think the IRA's cause was justified.

Jean McConville and her family might disagree.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:20 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Killing civilians is an established method of warfare. I don't know of one single entity engaged in warfare that does not do this...including the United States.

Right or wrong, this is what happens in war. Kinda like torture.

Most of us sitting at a desk with a keyboard in front of us, do not understand why this is accepted (or justified) because it makes us think "holy shit, bad things can happen to me regardless of my support or apathy".

Fighting sucks, and just because you aren't fighting doesn't mean you won't get punched.

Also, everyone kills civilians.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:21 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Justinian is off by three years. It was 1845.

That really depends on how you look at it, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in 1848. But this may be just sliiiightly off topic so lets just agree it was in the 1840s!
posted by Justinian at 5:21 PM on July 8


Also, everyone kills civilians.

There's a large difference between an attack on a military target which also kills civilians and and attack which is specifically intended to kill civilians. How is that even a debate? We have tended to hang (or at least lock up forever) people who confuse the two? There are edge cases of course as with unrestricted submarine warfare or whatever but no-one ever seriously argues that there isn't a difference at all.
posted by Justinian at 5:23 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


I am not a Catholic, so I am not linking to this as one, but I do agree with their Just War Doctrine. Read it and ask yourself, Do the Israelis have a Just war? Now, reread it and ask, Do the Palestinians have a Just War? Sadly, I am able to answer yes both times, which just goes to show how fucked this is. Your answer may differ.

There's a large difference between an attack on a military target which also kills civilians and and attack which is specifically intended to kill civilians. How is that even a debate?

Because intent doesn't much matter to the mothers of dead children?
posted by cjorgensen at 5:26 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


Maybe we could provide the Palestinians with smart bombs so they can only accidentally kill civilians as collateral damage.
posted by empath at 5:27 PM on July 8 [15 favorites]


Because intent doesn't much matter to the mothers of dead children?

Probably it does not. It does, however, matter a great deal when it comes to legality and morality.
posted by Justinian at 5:29 PM on July 8


There's a large difference between an attack on a military target which also kills civilians and and attack which is specifically intended to kill civilians. How is that even a debate? We have tended to hang (or at least lock up forever) people who confuse the two? There are edge cases of course as with unrestricted submarine warfare or whatever but no-one ever seriously argues that there isn't a difference at all.

I disagree with all your statements.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:30 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Probably it does not. It does, however, matter a great deal when it comes to legality and morality.

We can agree on the first assertion and disagree on the second, right?
posted by cjorgensen at 5:34 PM on July 8


Probably it does not. It does, however, matter a great deal when it comes to legality and morality.

True. But legality and morality take on this ambiguous meaning in warfare. It's an afterthought, not a determinant for action.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:35 PM on July 8


Yeah, what does the Gospel of Matthew have to do with either Israelis or Palestinians? Seems kinda culturally hegemonic.

It's true that most Palestinian Christians are now in the diaspora, but at the time the state of Israel was founded, there definitely were 3 religions cohabiting in the region. And if you find yourself forgetting there's millions of people on either end of those weapons each with a separate viewpoint on why they're a member of the country they're in, it's worth remembering that Israel is composed of people from all 3 of those traditions, and Palestine composed of 2 of them.
posted by ambrosen at 5:37 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


There's a large difference between an attack on a military target which also kills civilians and and attack which is specifically intended to kill civilians. How is that even a debate? We have tended to hang (or at least lock up forever) people who confuse the two? There are edge cases of course as with unrestricted submarine warfare or whatever but no-one ever seriously argues that there isn't a difference at all.

I disagree with all your statements.


Then you disagree with the Geneva Conventions and the entire corpus of laws of armed conflict accrued over centuries.

Which is a pretty typical level of flippant arrogance for Mefites.
posted by ocschwar at 5:40 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


Then you disagree with the Geneva Conventions and the entire corpus of laws of armed conflict accrued over centuries.

Quit putting words in my mouth. I'd love it if the Geneva Conventions was used as a basis for all military action. But it's not, and you are ignorant about what happens in war or you're an idiot commander if you think those are the standards in warfare.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:46 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


Also, if we're going to make an analogy, I would suggest African Apartheid is a better one.

Though it may be a popular analogy, this has always struck me as silly. The Palestinians have had two great opportunities to have their own state, which they rejected. Something which Chechens, Kurds, Basques, Uighurs, etc. etc. would jump at.

The population sizes of the two populations is way different from Apartheid South Africa.

And lastly the history of the conflict is way different. The conflict started (and continues to be based on) a war that was fought between two sides. There was never a gross enslavement of one population by another.

I think the occupation should end, but I don't think bending words and history makes a legitimate argument
posted by rosswald at 5:47 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


At some point you get tired of it and you fire the fucking rocket.

That implies you have rockets on hand for such an occasion, the way I keep money on hand to buy lunch for days I'm too harried to make myself a sandwhich.

That's not quite how this works.

To fire the rocket, first you have to dig up some sewer pipe from the streets. Gaza's already pretty short on that material, which is why they are now wading in their own sewage, now that most of their sewer lines are stored as spent rockets in the police impound lot in Sderot.

Then you have to put the fuel together. And weld a cap and some wings on the rocket. Then position the thing and fire it. This is not a decision of some put upon underdog. It's decided as policy by Hamas and its rivals in Gaza.


At some point you get tired of it and you fire the fucking rocket. Also, these rockets haven't exactly been surgical drone strike like the US mounts. They are hand-me-down or homemade rockets with questionable efficacy.


So what? It's not like they want a particular Israeli to die. Any Israeli will do. As for their efficacy, they're efficacious enough.
posted by ocschwar at 5:48 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


I'm surprised anyone here is arguing in favor of attacks on civilians, and more surprised that they aren't immediately shouted down.

Cjorgensen wrote: intent doesn't much matter to the mothers of dead children

I'm not even sure your statement is correct, but in any event the laws of war are meant to protect living children. In the absence of those laws there would be many more grieving mothers, because civilians are easy targets.

Hal_c_on wrote: legality and morality take on this ambiguous meaning in warfare. It's an afterthought, not a determinant for action.

That's not true, and a soldier acting that way would rightly be tried as a war criminal.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:49 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


I'd love it if the Geneva Conventions was used as a basis for all military action. But it's not, and you don't know much about war or you're an idiot commander if you think those are the standards in warfare.
posted by hal_c_on


Do you think all people who served in the armed services are evil? I mean, I am being slightly facetious, but there are plenty of documented cases of militaries doing as much as possible (and sometimes even cancelling operations) to save lives.

And of course there are examples going the other way, but you are using a pretty big brush their chum.
posted by rosswald at 5:51 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


...a soldier acting that way would rightly be tried as a war criminal.

I disagree with just one word of your statement, replace the "would" with "should".
posted by hal_c_on at 5:53 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Quit putting words in my mouth.

Your exact words, in that context, very clearly stated that you disagree with the letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions. Speak more carefully if you don't want your words taken to their logicall conclusion,
posted by ocschwar at 5:54 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Do you think all people who served in the armed services are evil? I mean, I am being slightly facetious, but there are plenty of documented cases of militaries doing as much as possible (and sometimes even cancelling operations) to save lives.

Quit putting words in my mouth. I never said that. And yes, there are people in the military who are against war, and save lives.

What I am saying is this: once you open the floodgates of warfare, it's a free-for all.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:56 PM on July 8


Also, these rockets haven't exactly been surgical drone strike like the US mounts. They are hand-me-down or homemade rockets with questionable efficacy.

Syrian-made M302 rocket fired by Hamas at Hadera
In March, the Israel Navy intercepted an Iranian arms ship destined for Gaza, which included 40 Syrian made M302 rockets that had a range of between 90 to 160 kilometers.
I think the missile they're referring to is this: Khaibar-1. The name apparently refers to the Battle of Khaybar, an early Islamic battle against a Jewish town.

Hamas rockets reach Jerusalem and Tel Aviv
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:00 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


Your exact words, in that context, very clearly stated that you disagree with the letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions. Speak more carefully if you don't want your words taken to their logicall conclusion,

Quote please. One can think that following a criminal code would make the world a better place, AND think that it's unrealistic to put people in a specific situation and not expect them to violate it.

Please read more carefully.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:00 PM on July 8


Context in italics.
Your words in bold.



There's a large difference between an attack on a military target which also kills civilians and and attack which is specifically intended to kill civilians. How is that even a debate? We have tended to hang (or at least lock up forever) people who confuse the two? There are edge cases of course as with unrestricted submarine warfare or whatever but no-one ever seriously argues that there isn't a difference at all.

I disagree with all your statements.


The difference between an attack on a military target and an attack aimed at civilians is explicitly mentioned in the Conventions.

If you disagree with "all" that context, then you disagree with the letter and spirit of the GCs.

Speak more carefully if you don't want your words to be taken to a logical conclusion you don't like. Especially if that logical conclusion is nothing less than an apologia for war crimes.
posted by ocschwar at 6:03 PM on July 8


I am not a Catholic, so I am not linking to this as one, but I do agree with their Just War Doctrine. Read it and ask yourself, Do the Israelis have a Just war? Now, reread it and ask, Do the Palestinians have a Just War? Sadly, I am able to answer yes both times, which just goes to show how fucked this is. Your answer may differ.

I am familiar with the concept of Just War Theory, but I am not so familiar with it that I can wield the theory like a sword to win an internet argument.

The fact of the matter is that there is sorrow in war.
posted by KokuRyu at 6:06 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


No one has suggested one big dance-off for the territories, winner take all.

It's an avenue to explore.
posted by delfin at 6:08 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


I am an American and I lived in the West Bank.
If the sort of whole-sale land thievery that I witnessed by the settlers occurred in my neighborhood here in the U.S. by some outside aggressor, there would be a hell of a lot more guns in the streets. Americans wouldn't tolerate it.
And we expect the Palestinians to just watch as their ancestral orchards and brick-and-mortar inheritance is literally taken from them by force by outsiders under the watchful eye of a powerful military.
There really aren't two sides to this issue - and I haven't met a single American who spent time in the West Bank who feels there's any balance to this mess. And even if, somehow, peace can be found it will take centuries for the wind and rain to wash away the scar that the wall has carved into the Holy Land.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 6:14 PM on July 8 [42 favorites]


Speak more carefully if you don't want your words to be taken to a logical conclusion you don't like. Especially if that logical conclusion is nothing less than an apologia for war crimes.

Sure. Some people need extra help.

There's a large difference between an attack on a military target which also kills civilians and and attack which is specifically intended to kill civilians. How is that even a debate?

I disagree because there is no difference. The end result is dead civilians.

We have tended to hang (or at least lock up forever) people who confuse the two?
A large number of war crimes have been committed after the Geneva conventions came about. We tend to not find most of the people who have committed war crimes, so there is no punishment to be doled out for most war crimes. This means that we do not tend to punish war criminals.

There are edge cases of course as with unrestricted submarine warfare or whatever but no-one ever seriously argues that there isn't a difference at all.

I disagree because I argue that there isn't a difference at all if an attack on a school deemed to be "collateral" vs an attack on a school because it was designed that way. In the end, it's civilians who die.

So as you can see above, I disagree with everything that was said, and I still agree with the Geneva Conventions. What I don't agree with is someone thinking that it is a main factor for determining a specific course/behavior in warfare. It would be nice, though.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:15 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


I disagree because there is no difference. The end result is dead civilians.


Car crashes also result in dead civilians. The difference is there. It's codified in the Geneva Conventions. If you disagree, then you disagree with the Geneva Conventions.

Own your words and be ready to eat them
posted by ocschwar at 6:18 PM on July 8


I'd love it if the Geneva Conventions was used as a basis for all military action. But it's not, and you don't know much about war or you're an idiot commander if you think those are the standards in warfare.

Many countries actually do respect the Geneva conventions. There's little reason not to do so.

Notice that the Geneva conventions don't ban nuclear weapons, which are horrible but militarily useful. In contrast, deliberately targeting homes, schools and hospitals for conventional bombing doesn't actually accomplish much as a way of winning a war. Likewise, torture isn't actually a very good way of gaining information. Countries agree to ban weapons and tactics only when their barbarity far exceeds their military effectiveness. That's why non-monstrous countries play by those rules - they lose little military effectiveness by doing so and gain reduced frightfulness inflicted on their own citizens. Even the Nazis played along part of the time, notably by not using battlefield chemical weapons.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:19 PM on July 8


Car crashes also result in dead civilians. The difference is there. It's codified in the Geneva Conventions. If you disagree, then you disagree with the Geneva Conventions.

Please show me the part in the Geneva about civilians as collateral damage. I'm asking for this education, as I'd actually like to read this.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:23 PM on July 8


More and more dead children for no reason.

Related: The New Way of War: Killing The Kids
posted by raztaj at 6:27 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


One of my (Palestinian) college roommate's nephews in Gaza is trapped under his bombed house as of an hour ago, and presumed dead.
He wanted to be a mobile app developer. We had talked about the IT industry back when he was in middle and high school.
I brought him a proscribed laptop years ago, because as a Jewish American, I could get it through the checkpoints with a minimum of bribes. Among other things, he used the laptop to set up mesh wifi internet networks during the Egyptian Spring, with some software I guided him to, to help other members of the family living in Cairo.

It's likely one of my younger Israeli cousins, or their friends, was in the jet that bombed my roommate's family's home.
Did I ever mention there is an illegal Israeli settlement on some of their confiscated family farm and olive grove, west of the UN-condemned Green Line?

I am praying for comfort and peace for everyone.
Because apparently, that is all I can do.
posted by Dreidl at 6:29 PM on July 8 [49 favorites]


Many countries actually do respect the Geneva conventions. There's little reason not to do so.

Yes, as a system, the US and most other countries dorespect the Geneva Conventions. But, as small groups of people within that system, who take warfare personally, the Geneva conventions is not on their mind when they decide that a specific course of action will be pursued. This is what war is, and it's naive to think that the PR face of warfare is what actual warfare is.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:30 PM on July 8


It's likely one of my younger Israeli cousins, or their friends, was in the jet that bombed my roommate's family's home.

This is why this conversation about collateral damage is ridiculous- as if only one side of this conflict was killing civilians. It's bad when Palestinians do it. It's bad when Israelis do it. It's all bad. And it's all tragic, because all of these people "know" that they "have" to do these things.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:32 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]




What I am saying is this: once you open the floodgates of warfare, it's a free-for all.

It's not, but more importantly, your fatalism on points like this is fuel for those who espouse statements like this with relish.
posted by fatbird at 6:38 PM on July 8


Please show me the part in the Geneva about civilians as collateral damage. I'm asking for this education, as I'd actually like to read this.

Probably the most relevant are articles 51 and 52 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Convention.
posted by Justinian at 6:38 PM on July 8


I see ocschwar has linked article 51 while I was googling which article it was.
posted by Justinian at 6:38 PM on July 8


Please show me the part in the Geneva about civilians as collateral damage. I'm asking for this education, as I'd actually like to read this.

Protocol 1 of the Geneva Conventions, Sections 51 and 54.

You're not allowed to target civilians - bombing with the goal of killing them.

"Indiscriminate" attacks are prohibited. Bombing must be aimed at "a specific military objective."

What's not prohibited is collateral damage. If you are attacking a specific military target but some civilians are in the way, it is sometimes OK to attack the target knowing that the civilians will die. (conditions apply)

Example: It's a war crime to blow up a school because you want to murder a bunch of children. It's not a war crime to bomb an enemy command post that's been set up in the school gymnasium.

What the Geneva conventions are trying to tell us is that civilians will always die in wars, which is why we should try to stop having wars, but that doesn't mean soldiers should be permitted to run around massacring civilians like the Mongol hordes. The US has killed a lot of civilians lately but they're not in the same monstrous class as Imperial Japan.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:40 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


The military objective must also be proportionate. That's where I think Israel fails a lot of the time; you can't level a block because one militant has a home there.
posted by Justinian at 6:44 PM on July 8 [8 favorites]


Nice to see 5 years on I am consistent in my views. If I'd had an edit window back then I would have corrected PT to PR. The rest stands.

So what? It's not like they want a particular Israeli to die. Any Israeli will do. As for their efficacy, they're efficacious enough.

Right. That's how asynchronous warfare is fought. Also, one photo of a living child who is missing half a leg actually supports my argument. That's not a very effective missile/rocket attack at all. Yes, hitting a kid sucks. I am pretty sure that's not what the guy firing the rocket meant to happen. It actually gives sympathy to the enemy. That's pretty fucking shitty efficacy.

The other side can put a bomb down a chimney of the opposition live on TV.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:45 PM on July 8


Everyone is trying to hurt people they perceive as other, the other who hurt them. Parts of my families are attacking each other.
More hurt is not going to repair anything or bring back any of the dead.

I'd better get offline, pray my afternoon and evening prayers, and say Kaddish for my roommate's nephew.

The last major prayer I will ritually say this evening is Shalom Rav -

Let there be abundant peace
for Israel Your people and
for all living on earth forever.
For there is a ruling Source of peace
May this Source find it good
to see the blessing of Your people Israel
and all peoples everywhere and all times
with wholeness/completion/peace.

posted by Dreidl at 6:46 PM on July 8 [8 favorites]


Showbiz _liz wrote: This is why this conversation about collateral damage is ridiculous- as if only one side of this conflict was killing civilians.

Do you actually know that the nephew is a civilian, and that the target wasn't a military installation? It's even possible that Dreidl is mistaken about the events - Hamas' rockets are frequently lethal to the people around them, and there are regular reports of Palestinians killed when one misfires or falls short. It's worth reading this: WHAT REPORTERS NEED TO KNOW during Operation Protective Edge.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:48 PM on July 8


I'd just like to point out that hal_c_on made a good faith request for information and got what he was asking for from several people. Awesome. I don't know if that information will change his mind, but any disagreement we have going forward is likely to be a lot more constructive.

Isn't this an Israel/Palestine thread? Aren't we supposed to stop listening to each other, dig in our heels and flail blindly at straw men? Why are we behaving like grown-ups all of a sudden?
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 6:49 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Right. That's how asynchronous warfare is fought. Also, one photo of a living child who is missing half a leg actually supports my argument. That's not a very effective missile/rocket attack at all. Yes, hitting a kid sucks. I am pretty sure that's not what the guy firing the rocket meant to happen. It actually gives sympathy to the enemy. That's pretty fucking shitty efficacy.


You are giving a factual description (though for mercy's sake it's assymetric, not asynchronous) but turning itt into an implicit apologia. Poor form.

And you're getting the details wrong. Hamas strives to time the rockets particularly for the morning and afternoon bells to maximize the chance of hitting kids. They've explicitly decided Jewish kids are fair game.
posted by ocschwar at 6:50 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Joe, are you seriously suggesting, absent any evidence whatsoever, that this dead kid was probably secretly an enemy soldier whose death is acceptable?
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:51 PM on July 8 [18 favorites]


So if one side of a conflict has the ability to strike military targets at will, and the other side doesn't, then basically any amount of property destruction and killing of civilians and children done by one side is perfectly okay, while significantly less destruction and death caused by the other side is an affront to humanity?
posted by empath at 6:54 PM on July 8 [9 favorites]


I received a text from someone I've known since college, about a boy I have met and had substantial discussions with several times, in a house I have been to, belonging to a family I have visited with all over North America, Europe, and the Middle East.

No doubt some of the Palestinian family are militants (though they despise Hamas as religious bigots and tolerate Fatah as a gang of corruption), just as some of my entirely secular Israeli cousins are in the IDF.

Regardless of who else was in that house, a young man has been unnecessarily killed and a refugee family's home destroyed. How is this going to make the world better?
posted by Dreidl at 6:58 PM on July 8 [18 favorites]


[…] for mercy's sake it's assymetric, not asynchronous […]

Thanks for the correction. My brain flipped the two today. As an English major I have no idea why. Probably the rum. I do feel admonished.

You are giving a factual description […] but turning itt into an implicit apologia. Poor form.

Yeah, facts are so pesky. i'm not being an apologist. I just refuse to be a propagandist. I think both sides are fuckheads. Strangely, I can usually express this opinion about one side without people calling me names and saying I am a bigot. Say the exact same thing about the other and suddenly I an un-American and an asshole.

I think the killing will go on for as long as people believe a "two state solution" is a solution. I honestly believe there's no way to discuss this other than to actually stick to facts. Once you start putting in perceived motives, politics, justifications, whathaveyous, then everything goes sideways.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:00 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Yeah, article 51 is the relevant one. Look how it's phrased:

4. Indiscriminate attacks are prohibited. Indiscriminate attacks are:

(a) those which are not directed at a specific military objective;

(b) those which employ a method or means of combat which cannot be directed at a specific military objective; or

(c) those which employ a method or means of combat the effects of which cannot be limited as required by this Protocol; and consequently, in each such case, are of a nature to strike military objectives and civilians or civilian objects without distinction.


a is about straight up bombing civvies. Pretty damn clear.
b becomes more ambiguous.
Now look at paragraph c. Does that not mean that any "collateral damage" is against the c. If you bomb a hideout, but you can't prevent those bombs from burning up the school 50 feet away, is that not against the conventions?

How man fucking times has that horrible situation happened without any repercussions for whatever military did the targeting?

INTENT MATTERS. If you disagree with that, you disagree with the Geneva Conventions.

Intent does not matter to the innocents who die, it only matters IF someone is brought to some kind of court for the purposes of absolving them. Also, quit telling me what I do and do not agree with; I can determine that on my own.
posted by hal_c_on at 7:01 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]



So if one side of a conflict has the ability to strike military targets at will, and the other side doesn't, then basically any amount of property destruction and killing of civilians and children done by one side is perfectly okay, while significantly less destruction and death caused by the other side is an affront to humanity?


Read the Geneva Conventions.

It is not wrong to have an advantage over your enemy. It is wrong to target civilians without a legitimate military aim.

Yes, Israel can kill many more than Hamas can. The Internet is full of people moaning that for every 10 dead Palestinians there is only one dead Israeli. Well, 10 times 0 is 0.
posted by ocschwar at 7:04 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Now look at paragraph c. Does that not mean that any "collateral damage" is against the c. If you bomb a hideout, but you can't prevent those bombs from burning up the school 50 feet away, is that not against the conventions?


No, it is not. The hideout is legitimate. That makes the bombing legitimate.

You're grasping at straws trying to fit the GC's around your views.

Just own your decision and admit you don't care for the GCs and disagree with them.

Yeah, facts are so pesky. i'm not being an apologist. I just refuse to be a propagandist.

You are presenting the facts in a fashion that implies an apologia for Hamas's war crimes. Very poor form. Yes, Hamas cannot wage effective war against the IDF without commiting atrocities. To a man with morals, that implies Hamas is obliged to cease and desist.
posted by ocschwar at 7:09 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


Read the Geneva Conventions.

"In 2004 the International Court of Justice, in an advisory, non-binding opinion, noted that the Security Council had described Israel's policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in the occupied territories as a "flagrant violation" of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The Court also concluded that the Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (including East Jerusalem) have been established "in breach of international law" and that all the States parties to the Geneva Convention are under an obligation to ensure compliance by Israel with international law as embodied in the Convention."

No one in this conflict is respecting the Geneva Conventions.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:09 PM on July 8 [16 favorites]


Joe, are you seriously suggesting, absent any evidence whatsoever, that this dead kid was probably secretly an enemy soldier whose death is acceptable?

The distinction between combatants and non-combatants is a very tenuous one that we cling to in order to reduce the number of deaths overall. I actually don't want anyone to die, civilian or combatant, and there are very few circumstances in which I would say that a death was "acceptable". I'm saying that neither of us knows that he was a civilian - or in fact his age; Dreidl didn't say. Hamas and other militia don't wear uniforms and my understanding is that combatants' affiliation generally only becomes public when they receive a military funeral or receive some other public recognition. But even assuming that he wasn't a combatant, the great number of explosions in Gaza caused by misfirings means we don't actually know that the home was destroyed by the IDF, or (if it was) what reason they had for doing so.

My greatest fear is that Dreidl's view is correct:
Regardless of who else was in that house, a young man has been unnecessarily killed and a refugee family's home destroyed. How is this going to make the world better?
Past experience has shown that IDF bombings are only effective at reducing Hamas' attacks for months, at best. What if there is literally no way for Israel to stop Hamas firing rockets? What then?
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:09 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Now look at paragraph c. Does that not mean that any "collateral damage" is against the c. If you bomb a hideout, but you can't prevent those bombs from burning up the school 50 feet away, is that not against the conventions?

It depends on things like proportionality. The answer is "it depends".
posted by Justinian at 7:09 PM on July 8


Read the Geneva Conventions.

Quite frankly, I don't care what the Geneva Conventions say. They're a legal construct, not a moral one. And they get ignored routinely by all sides of a conflict.
posted by empath at 7:11 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


They're a legal construct, not a moral one.

A legal construct that codifies a moral one:
The moral difference between waging war against combatants versus targeting civilians.

But hey, there's no real moral difference. Right?
posted by ocschwar at 7:14 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


empath: Quite frankly, I don't care what the Geneva Conventions say.

Don't have much to add to the plain quote, it sort of speaks for itself.
posted by Justinian at 7:15 PM on July 8 [3 favorites]


A legal construct that codifies a moral one:

The moral one being the pretense that there is a moral way to fight a war.
posted by empath at 7:16 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


The moral one being the pretense that there is a moral way to fight a war.


So there is no difference in your eyes between targeting civilians or targeting combatants.
posted by ocschwar at 7:18 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


So there is no difference in your eyes between targeting civilians or targeting combatants.

There's no difference in my mind between civilians being killed intentionally and civilians being killed as a predictable side effect of targeting 'combatants'.
posted by empath at 7:19 PM on July 8 [4 favorites]


There's no difference in my mind between civilians being killed intentionally and civilians being killed as a predictable side effect of targeting 'combatants'.


Or civilians dying in a car crash. All the same, right?
posted by ocschwar at 7:20 PM on July 8


But thank you, empath.

It is clear that in your view of the world, a man firing a rocket at 7:50 AM with the intent of maximizing the chance of hitting kids running to the morning school bell is on the same moral plane as the man patrolling the sky over Gaza, who notices this and sends an air-to-ground missile, hitting the first rocketeer and some gawkers who are standing with him.

No difference whatsoever.
posted by ocschwar at 7:23 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


This seems like a pretty good way to get an overview of what has been going on: the incident alerts page from GANSO (Gaza NGO Safety Organisation), an EU NGO that looks after the safety of other NGOs in Gaza.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:29 PM on July 8


Empath, are you a pacifist? That's not a gotcha question or anything it's just the best way I know to reconcile your position.
posted by Justinian at 7:30 PM on July 8


Apparently Hamas launched (and took credit for) a sea-attack earlier, sending in five marine units. Algeiminer and some other sites have a video IDF Foils Palestinian Terror Attack Launched From Sea Near Gaza (NSFW!)
posted by rosswald at 7:33 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


This microscopic focus on rules and laws is just splitting hairs.

You can't just isolate one tiny individual transaction and declare it moral / immoral without considering the context and the big picture. For example, a bank finds a customer delinquent on his loan payment and thus chooses to repossess a house that customer put on as collateral. That in itself is fine. What's not fine is if this is just the end step of a predatory lending regime where the bank takes advantage of customers' financial illiteracy by setting up "independent" financial advisers which give customers bad financial advice, convincing them to take unwise loans they can't afford at disadvantageous rates and terms of sale, having them sign over their existing assets as collateral, and then allowing a portion of them to default so the bank can grab the collateralized assets for themselves.

The jet fighter dropping a bomb on a Hamas rocketeer and killing civilians in itself may be justifiable in some people's eyes, but it's the long sequence of events that led to this point that many others find make this morally indefensible.
posted by xdvesper at 7:38 PM on July 8 [9 favorites]


Empath, are you a pacifist? That's not a gotcha question or anything it's just the best way I know to reconcile your position.

I think the Geneva Conventions are a convenience used by the great powers to justify whatever they feel like getting away with while demonizing whoever their enemies are. I mean, look at the disproportionate outcry from the establishment over violations of the Geneva Convention like Abu Ghraib when the entire invasion and occupation of Iraq was a disaster from its inception to its conclusion.
posted by empath at 7:41 PM on July 8 [12 favorites]



The jet fighter dropping a bomb on a Hamas rocketeer and killing civilians in itself may be justifiable in some people's eyes, but it's the long sequence of events that led to this point that many others find make this morally indefensible.


Bullshit. Bombing a Hamas rocketeer is justifiable in and of itself. That long sequence of events may include things you find indefensible. That does not, however, oblige the IDF in any way to spare his life.
posted by ocschwar at 7:42 PM on July 8


There's no difference in my mind between civilians being killed intentionally and civilians being killed as a predictable side effect of targeting 'combatants'.

I agree.

Or civilians dying in a car crash. All the same, right?

What kind of bad faith argument is this? Are you equating dying in a car accident with being killed by a bomb as a civilian?
posted by hal_c_on at 7:47 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


What kind of bad faith argument is this? Are you equating dying in a car accident with being killed by a bomb as a civilian?


You're equating being murdered by someone who was looking to kill civilians with being killed by someone who was going after a legimate military aim (such as, for example, killing a Hamas rocket crew that's setting up shop) and then you accuse me of bad faith?

This after on the one hand expressing direct disagreement with the letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions and at the same time denying you were doing so?
posted by ocschwar at 8:03 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


You're equating being murdered by someone who was looking to kill civilians with being killed by someone who was going after a legimate military aim (such as, for example, killing a Hamas rocket crew that's setting up shop) and then you accuse me of bad faith?

being killed by a bomb=being killed by a bomb
being killed in a car accident does NOT equate to being killed by a bomb

That is not bad faith at all, and there are quite a few people who have agreed.

This after on the one hand expressing direct disagreement with the letter and spirit of the Geneva Conventions and at the same time denying you were doing so?

How many times are you going to twist my words around. NUMEROUS people have said in this thread that its not that they disagree with the geneva convention, its that they don't really think its followed.

Also, whats your fucking point about the geneva convention? Do you really believe one or the other side to not have violated it several hundred (if not thousand) times?
posted by hal_c_on at 8:19 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


being killed by a bomb=being killed by a bomb
being killed in a car accident does NOT equate to being killed by a bomb


Why not? You're just as dead. And that's all that matters, right?
No distinction between murder, manslaughter, negligence, or plain old tragedy, right?
No distinction between war and crimes thereof, right?

Dead is dead.
posted by ocschwar at 8:24 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Three mods, people. We have three mods.
posted by um at 8:32 PM on July 8 [9 favorites]


[guys, if your comment is just arguing with other users and calling them out by name, it's better to move on to other threads.]
posted by mathowie at 8:35 PM on July 8


obligatory
posted by mrjohnmuller at 9:15 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


His most recent one is about the politically carved borders in the Middle East.

Every border on Earth is politically carved. Its a fantasy of 20th century political nationalist movements that there are "natural" borders for human states. Here's how the paradigm works--if your on the outs, then the borders aren't "natural" meaning your group doesn't have is share of the pie. And if you're satisfied with the borders then you rely on the legalism long after you can actually make good the complete claim for the land as a practical matter.

Americans here have a duty to let the people who represent them know how they feel about the middle east. That's because persons here have the ear of the deciding power in the region. People like me owe it to tell our political representatives about what we want. Sorry the rest of the world, we are working at fixing the problems.

frankly, Israel is the major impediment to peace now. telling our reps about it is a big deal. now the us is changing, moving away from israel. you can just see it with your own eyes. And the more we tell the politicians that, the gigantic ship that is the us will continue to turn away from its old course.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:28 PM on July 8 [9 favorites]


Every border on Earth is politically carved.

Ahem.

And that's not actually true even in countries that are not islands: the US and most American and European borders were established by conquest; most borders in the Middle East were established by colonial powers doing a deal. That's a huge difference: it means that they carry little historic or emotional weight and they are less likely to be appropriate to the terrain or its population.

frankly, Israel is the major impediment to peace now

Oh come on. Let's assume, hypothetically, that everybody in Israel converted to Islam and it became the western province of Greater Jordan. Which conflicts in the Middle East would disappear?
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:43 PM on July 8 [2 favorites]


I thought this video was interesting.:
IDF attack house that was used as a lunching site in Gaza [sic]

I think the size of the explosion may be due to the secondary detonation of missiles there, but I don't know. It does show how very dangerous this war is to the civilians of Gaza, though: even the debris from an explosion in an isolated house looks capable of killing people.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:23 PM on July 8


frankly, Israel is the major impediment to peace now

Oh come on. Let's assume, hypothetically, that everybody in Israel converted to Islam and it became the western province of Greater Jordan. Which conflicts in the Middle East would disappear?


This is very, well, weird. We're talking about Israel and Palestine in this post. Not other conflicts.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:25 PM on July 8 [1 favorite]


Patriotism is the most evil force on the planet, a mindless hole of stinking pain and gibbering idiots.
posted by maxwelton at 11:11 PM on July 8


What was the quote? Nationalism is all about taking pride in things you haven't done and hating people you've never met?
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:36 PM on July 8 [5 favorites]


My apologies for misunderstanding you. But fair do's, it was such a ridiculous suggestion that I thought you must have meant something else. I mean, Hamas has never been willing to enter into negotiations with Israel; it is a body set up to make war both on Israel and on Israel's Jewish population. Hence its name: Islamic Resistance Movement.

Furthermore, while Hamas exists as an entity separate from the Palestinian Authority there is actually no body that can possibly speak for all Palestinians. This is a deliberate policy decision of Hamas, by the way, as reflected in their charter.1 Which means that all the time your Mr Kerry spent on shuttle diplomacy was wasted, because the Palestinian Authority is not even in a position to negotiate about Gaza.

1 One of many impossible-to-make-peace lines in the charter says that "so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement".
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:53 PM on July 8


if you do action X and result Y results on a consistent basis then by continuing action X, result Y is part of your intent

anyone who claims otherwise is lying
posted by pyramid termite at 12:58 AM on July 9


This is not to justify nor condemn any particular volley of rockets from either side, but the Israeli government could go a long way toward protecting its citizens by abandoning the aggressive campaign of invasion-by-illegal-settlement.

I do not understand why the Israeli government willfully and with full awareness of the nearly-inevitable consequences condemns Israeli civilians to death in this way.
posted by univac at 1:22 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


if you do action X and result Y results on a consistent basis then by continuing action X, result Y is part of your intent

That's over-simplifying. It depends on if there are other results along with Y and so on. If I have blood drawn to check for diabetes every so often and it causes pain every time it would not be fair to say that causing pain is part of my intent, only a consistent side-effect.
posted by Justinian at 1:34 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I do not understand why the Israeli government willfully and with full awareness of the nearly-inevitable consequences condemns Israeli civilians to death in this way.

The only answer that makes sense is that they consider the alternatives worse. I don't understand how that can be but apparently they must. Either that or they're completely irrational. Which is not a cheery prospect.
posted by Justinian at 1:36 AM on July 9


the Israeli government could go a long way toward protecting its citizens by abandoning the aggressive campaign of invasion-by-illegal-settlement.

Israel doesn't have any settlements in Gaza, and it abandoned the ones it had there. None the less, the rockets come from Gaza and they are aimed at Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, not "settlements".

A relative of mine, who left Hungary just before the borders closed, had a theory about how Jews could have had better relations with their non-Jewish neighbours. It was something about Hungarian rabbis should have given classes on Christianity or something. But you know what? The Arrow Cross (Hungarian Nazis) didn't care about that stuff. He was just deluding himself by trying to explain their ideology as if it were some sort of reaction to Jewish behaviour, something that could have been averted if their victims had done the right thing. It's the same with people who try to explain Hamas' ideology as if they made some distinction between good Israel and good Jews, and bad Israel and bad Jews. They don't. They never have. It's all Israel and all Jews. I linked to their charter, above, but just take a look at their logo, here. Do you see the green map it incorporates? That's what they consider to be their territory. It's green, because they consider it to be "Islamic" territory. Do you see any room for Israel there? Do you see any room for Jews there?
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:43 AM on July 9 [4 favorites]


The IAF will continue striking the homes of key Hamas militants on Wednesday. According to the officer, residents of the buildings that were previously targeted have tried to avert the attacks by going up to the roofs en masse. Such ploys will not be effective, the officer says [7:00 am]

Chilling words.
posted by klue at 2:45 AM on July 9


>Do you see the green map it incorporates? That's what they consider to be their territory. It's green, because they consider it to be "Islamic" territory. Do you see any room for Israel there? Do you see any room for Jews there?

Extremists are always going to be extreme. Edge-cases make shitty policy. Everytime.

And I've had to listen to family members advocate using neutron bombs and comparing the "fastest growing population rates" to "just what happens when vermin aren't killed" so, you find nitwits on both sides.

The real problem here is while the extremist idiots on both sides are driving policy, their choices are killing children and destroying lives of people who just want to find the next dollar and take care of their kids.

How about we focus on the US Declaration of Independence's principles, "All Men are created equal, and endowed with inalienable rights -- life, liberty, purfuit of happineff", etc, and figure out how to get that to EVERYONE regardless of what side of the Green Line they're on?
posted by mikelieman at 3:23 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


This is not to justify nor condemn any particular volley of rockets from either side, but the Israeli government could go a long way toward protecting its citizens by abandoning the aggressive campaign of invasion-by-illegal-settlement.This is not to justify nor condemn any particular volley of rockets from either side, but the Israeli government could go a long way toward protecting its citizens by abandoning the aggressive campaign of invasion-by-illegal-settlement.

History says otherwise. Gaza settlements were abandoned & destroyed in 2005. Palestinias saw that as a sign of weakness. Launched 757 rockets at Israel to provoke a response. Got one.

The West Bank settlements are illegal and should be abandoned too. Probably will be one day. But that won't stop the rockets. Didn't last time.
posted by qi at 3:56 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Hamas does not make up the entirety of the people living in Gaza. If, perhaps there were some opportunity for a decent life for the people that live there, perhaps they wouldn't support the guys whose only agenda is to kill as many Israelis as possible.
posted by empath at 4:08 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I trust that Israel will be consistent in their bulldozing of terrorists' family homes and take their Caterpillar D9's to the abodes of those who murdered teenager Mohammed Abu Khdeir the other day?
posted by gman at 4:24 AM on July 9 [7 favorites]


Empath, I wouldn't assume that Hamas has popular support. According to a recent-ish poll they would only get 33% if new elections were held. They haven't held an election in Gaza since 2006, and they even told their supporters not to vote in the 2012 municipal elections held in the West Bank.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:28 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


For people who claim to be targeting militants only and that all dead children are mere "collateral damage" (always the phrase of choice used by the strong to excuse their terror attacks on the weak, see the heavy reliance of the US on that phrase with regards to its terror attacks on weddings, funerals, first responders, etc), Israel has managed to kill ten times as many Palestinian children as the brutal, animalistic, Palestinian fighters who "deliberately target children".

I would argue that the facts simply do not support the claim that Palestinian fighters are deliberately targeting children, or that the IDF is a noble force that only attacks military targets and would never think of targeting children.

But, again, we have to ask about intent and purpose. Why is the nation of Israel so intent on demolishing infrastructure in Palestine, in making life as miserable as possible for the Palestinian people as a whole, in breaking up Palestinian territory into ever smaller pieces and using illegal settlements to accomplish that goal?

Justinian wrote: "The only answer that makes sense is that they consider the alternatives worse. I don't understand how that can be but apparently they must. Either that or they're completely irrational. Which is not a cheery prospect."

There is, of course, another possibility, one which is central to the whole issue and without consideration makes any discussion run in pointless circles. But mentioning it is "derailing" and causes wild and bizarre accusations of anti-semitism and hate speech. And thus the conversation is channeled into territory where we are forced to the position that either a) the Israeli government has super secret information that makes the illegal settlements rational and good, or b) the Israeli government is insane. The explanation for the settlements that accounts for all known facts and does not require us to believe that the Israeli government is insane is forbidden from discussion.

What logical, rational, goal could account for the settlements? Hint: its the same goal that the US government had for virtually its entire history with regards to the native Americans. I can't say it clearly, because that would be anti-semitic hate speech and derailing.

Again, I strongly suspect that just as with South Africa and Apartheid, as long as the US supports Israel then Israel will continue its current policy towards the Palestinian people. And that if the US ever ends support of Israel then just as in South Africa than shortly afterwards the policy of that nation will change. Without US support I really don't think the majority in Israel would be content to allow the current coalition of right wingers and religious fanatics to keep their nation on this course.

Thanks to US support and the fact that the Palestinians have insufficient force to even be an annoyance to the average Israeli, its possible for the majority of voters to see the right wing and religious extremist policy towards Palestinians as unfortunate, but internal political disputes as more urgent and important. Absent US support the cost of allowing other political matters to take precedence over the Israel/Palestine war that the rightists and religious Israelis are so in love with will exceed the willingness of the non-right wing and religious fanatic Israeli to allow to continue.

Or at least I hope so.
posted by sotonohito at 4:39 AM on July 9 [15 favorites]


All the talk of settlements as the aggression is a red herring. Yes, new and expanding settlements are a provocation - and intended to be so. But Israel is unique as far as I can tell in that they have a proven and lasting history of trading land for peace. They removed their own settlements from the Sinai Peninsula and from Gaza - thousands of people, in meaningful cities, with many of the Israeli citizens who lived there armed and unwilling to go. Any land that is built on that becomes part of a future Palestinian state is going to be razed and handed over. There will likely be some existing West Bank settlements that will be swapped for currently Israeli land that is either heavily Arab in population or allows for them to have a meaningful, contiguous state.

Every time Israel takes military action against the terror group that is part of the elected Palestinian government, they have to justify their actions in the world court of public opinion. So Israel doesn't always take military action, even though Hamas and their supporters are literally attacking Israeli civilians every day. Sometimes they build. It's the only country I can think of that retaliates against violence by building homes for people - how horrifying. But the thing is, if the Palestinians would ever elect a government willing to have a two-state solution, settlements would be dismantled. That is a proven fact.

Saying that Israel is the problem here because they won't perpetually turn the other cheek and sometimes actually take military action against a group who makes no distinctions between military and civilian targets other than to prefer the latter, is remarkably short-sighted. Saying that they are the main obstacle to peace because they build houses shows more about your values for the abstract idea of peace than any desire for what makes peace - no more aggression. Hamas is the bad guy here. When civilians choose to crowd the rooftops on their buildings to form human shields for military targets, often with their children, what are you supposed to do? Sometimes the best response may be to build a house someplace else - especially if you know that the house is inevitably temporary.

This is not me saying everything Israel does is right, or apologizing for killing any civilians or destroying their property. But pretending that this is a one-sided conflict and ignoring the actions and statements of Hamas about their intentions is just as smart a move here as it is in the rest of the Middle East. Some Islamic resistance groups don't care about civilian casualties, including their own. No one has figured out how to fight them fairly. But they are the main obstacle to peace in the entire region.
posted by Mchelly at 5:26 AM on July 9 [5 favorites]


@Mchelly: Israel could end the war tomorrow. It would be politically impossible given the current state of the Israeli government, it would be difficult in that either abandoning or evacuating all the Israeli settlers would be a massive undertaking, but Israel could end the war tomorrow.

The side that has the power to end a war has the moral imperative to do so, or to present a very compelling case for the continuation of that war. What is the moral case for Israel continuing the war against the Palestinian people rather than ending the war?

And yes, ending the war would require trading land for peace. Lots of land. Enough land that it would cause even a lot of Israeli citizens who aren't part of the right wing or the religious extremist groups to complain. Because unless Israel trades enough land to make a viable Palestinian state then that isn't ending the war. Stolen goods need to be returned. The US fought an internal war over the same principle, those American citizens who stole the freedom of their slaves were forced to give up, without compensation, what they stole. They hated it, and I'm sure the "settlers" from Israel will hate it too. My sympathy for such people is non-existent.

If Israel did that then, other than a small anti-semitic rump, world opinion would immediately shift against any Palestinian aggression.

Israel doesn't have to wait for the Palestinians to elect a government that the Israeli government likes or approves of. It can do the whole thing unilaterally.

But the Israeli government won't. Because either the Israeli government is insane, or it has super top secret information that makes withdrawal impossible, or because the goal of the current Israeli government is eventually to force out all Palestinians and establish a Greater Israel that encompasses all Palestinian reservations.

The historic parallels to the USA and the native Americans are inescapable. At any time the US government could have ended the war waged against native Americans, the USA had the military power, it was the aggressor in all cases, ending the war was entirely up to the USA. But the USA had the goal of genocide (the definition of which includes displacement) and eventual American possession of all valuable land owned by indigenous people.
posted by sotonohito at 5:42 AM on July 9 [18 favorites]


I disagree with pretty much everything you have said. I support the Road Map and a two state solution. And I believe that requires good faith and laying down of weapons on both sides.
posted by Mchelly at 5:50 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Can you please explain why in your view Israel couldn't unilaterally end the war then? What specific power does that nation lack?

EDITED to be less demanding.
posted by sotonohito at 5:56 AM on July 9


Israel is a colonial government that exercises strong hegemony over the Palestinian territories, one of which (Gaza) is akin to an open air prison, with a higher population density than Hong Kong.

The core problem has never been, and never will be, violent resistance to the Israeli state. One cannot find a solution to this problem by looking at the actions of the weaker party.

I cannot stress enough the disparity between the two central actors involved in this scenario.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:57 AM on July 9 [13 favorites]


Israel is not a colonial government. Zionism is not colonialism.

The "weaker party" has tried and nearly succeeded to destroy Israel in several occasions.

This is not as black and white as you're trying to make it.
posted by gertzedek at 6:01 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


gertzedek, can you please explain what you think the difference is between Zionism (as it is practiced today) and colonialism? Also how Israel isn't a colonial government given its occupation and colonization of Palestinian territory?
posted by sotonohito at 6:09 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Mchelly: They removed their own settlements from the Sinai Peninsula and from Gaza - thousands of people, in meaningful cities, with many of the Israeli citizens who lived there armed and unwilling to go.

The unilateral Gaza withdrawal was a well thought out plan by Sharon to vacate a patch of sand in as quick a fashion as possible, while retaining control over most of the infrastructure, so as to leave the Palestinian Authority unready and with their pants down, and prove that Israel couldn't possibly trust the Palestinians to control the much more desirable and settlement-filled West Bank. It was pretty genius, actually. And I say this as a Jew who lived in Israel as a child, with many relatives including my father still there.
posted by gman at 6:18 AM on July 9 [13 favorites]


sotonohito,

Do not forget to mention the continual support of the siege of Gaza--while the settlements are no longer there, there are frequent incursions into Gaza by the IDF and Israel, along with Egypt, controls Gaza's borders.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:19 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I don't know what you mean by Zionism "as it is practiced today". Zionism is about the Jews' right to a Jewish state.

Israel does not have an imperial will to take land or resources from Arabs/Palestinians (forget about the lunatic fringe) - Israelis have had multiple chances to do so in history but have done the opposite - returning land, as in the Sinai (a land multiple times the size of Israel itself) and Gaza (which Israel returned to the Palestinians by having to evict Jews by force from it, only to have it become a nest of terrorist activity).
posted by gertzedek at 6:20 AM on July 9


Also if anyone wants to discuss Gaza and have more than newspaper level knowledge of what they are talking about you absolutely need to read Sara Roy who is like the world's foremost scholar of the political economy of Gaza.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:28 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


[A couple comments deleted; this really, really needs to not become people attacking or insulting each other. Please focus on the issues and not other commenters.]
posted by taz at 6:33 AM on July 9


Mchelly: I disagree with pretty much everything you have said. I support the Road Map and a two state solution. And I believe that requires good faith and laying down of weapons on both sides.

Israel has the power here and the more sophisticated government/ruling institutions. They can make peace, Palestine can't. This is quite apart from who is right, who is wrong, and who started it. Palestine simply cannot impose policies on its people the way Israel can on its own. That's not to say Israel doesn't have extremists, of course it does, but Israel has robust state institutions that it can use to deal with it. Israel also has a level of internal legitimacy that no single Palestinian party/ruling coalition enjoys. Palestine cannot squeeze it's militant wing the same way Israel can.

Again, this is quite different from who is right or wrong. The facts on the ground are that Israel can impose peace and practice restraint in a way that the P.A. cannot. The extremely sad truth is that it order to do this, Israel will have to react dramatically differently, and less violently, to inevitable civilian atttacks. There's going to be rockets for some time, even after a cease fire is declared, and Israel would have to tone down how it reacts to preserve the peace.

gertzedek: The "weaker party" has tried and nearly succeeded to destroy Israel in several occasions.

Completely ahistorical. Those "several occasions" were not Palestine, the PLO or Hamas, those were wars waged by multiple Arab states. Neither intifada threatened the existence of Israel.

What will threaten the existence of Israel is if they don't make peace on a two-state model soon. In a few decades Israel will find that demographics have imposed a one-state solution upon them.

Peace is far more in Israel's interest than Palestine's. So, even if you don't buy that they are the "strong party", they certainly should pursue peace out of rational self-interest.
posted by spaltavian at 6:35 AM on July 9 [4 favorites]


getzedek: Israel does not have an imperial will to take land or resources from Arabs/Palestinians

They already did. Let's not pretend the current borders of Israel reflect the facts on the ground before the mandates.

Perhaps it would be better to drop the question of whether "Zionism" is or has colonialist elements and ask whether the state of Israel is currently pursuing/allowing some colonialist policies.
posted by spaltavian at 6:38 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Israel does not have an imperial will to take land or resources from Arabs/Palestinians

Really? This seems to be the cause of the Palestinians' continually disappearing land (map). Where the Palestinians were in the past, either Israel proper or Israeli settlements are now. I don't see how that can be attributed to anything other than Israeli policy.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:38 AM on July 9 [10 favorites]


Israel could end the war tomorrow. It would be politically impossible given the current state of the Israeli government, it would be difficult in that either abandoning or evacuating all the Israeli settlers would be a massive undertaking, but Israel could end the war tomorrow.

I would not have phrased this this way but I think I agree. I cannot imagine a world without Israel. To me, that is almost on par with imagining a world without the U.S. People may say that they want to wipe it off the planet but they might as well be saying something else that's not going to happen. I hesitate to think of an example for fear of being proven wrong but it's comparable, in my mind, with seeing the inauguration in the U.S. of President Ron Paul.

Right now, while there is desire for one, there isn't a comparable Palestinian state. Nothing even close. When I met a Palestinian in Jordan, my first (incredibly ignorant) thought was that Palestine was politically on par with Narnia - it's just not a thing.

If everyone stopped bombing each other, it would absolutely be better for everyone. But Gaza would continue to be a hellhole and Palestine would continue to be basically a non-entity.

I realize that this is not a subject about which I have any expertise and I apologize if this is offensive. That is really not my goal. But if you're interested in an outsider's perspective, there it is.
posted by kat518 at 6:43 AM on July 9


kat518: Right now, there isn't a comparable Palestinian state.

That's the point, though. The Palestinian's want a state. There's no reason to think they're incapable of having one, I mean, as long as there is a North Korea, the bar is pretty low.
posted by spaltavian at 6:46 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


spaltavian, I edited my point to include that. I thought it went without saying and apologize if I wasn't clear.
posted by kat518 at 6:49 AM on July 9


[Folks, please do not edit your posts to change or delete content (this is actually spelled out on the edit window itself, and is also in the FAQ). Edit is for typos and minor errors only.]
posted by taz at 6:54 AM on July 9


HAMAS and the Settler movement complete each other. They both want the same thing-- to dominate the area and kick the other one out by any means necessary.

This entire rocket attack and bombing response feels like political theater, and I don't say that lightly as I am writing this right now about 3km away from where a Hamas rocket landed last night (literally 5 seconds after Germany scored their first goal of the onslaught, for half a second I thought it was a celebration until I felt the full blast).

The settler movement, once a weapon created by Sharon's gang in order to seize as much land as possible before final status negotiations took place, has metastasized and is eating Israel from the inside. I never thought I'd see a day where Bibi's primary political challengers are on the right. Without Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza, the Israeli right wing loses its political control of the country.

By the same token, without continued Israeli aggressions (if you look back through every single bombing raid and rocket attack, you can find that both sides are guilty of violating periods of calm; the popular narrative is of Hamas launching attacks unbidden, which has happened, but not every time) HAMAS loses its power base. As I said, they complete each other. The average people will die so these maniacs can engage in a long, drawn-out, unrealistic battle.

The funny(?) thing about it all is that the longer this low-intensity (yes, it's low intensity, 3x more people have died in Kashmir since 1990 than in the entire 75 year history of I Vs. P) battle goes on, the more we get to what at one point was an extreme left-wing idea with zero traction-- the one state solution.

Personally, I back a 3 state solution: two open air prison camps for the crazies, one state for the rest of us.
posted by cell divide at 7:24 AM on July 9 [16 favorites]


Hamas poster calling on Gaza rezsidents to act as human shields for targetted buildings.

The hypocrisy is delicious.

Hamas knows full well that if Israel was anywhere near as brutal as they claim (or as flippant Mefites claim), this tactic would not work.
posted by ocschwar at 7:27 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Personally, I back a 3 state solution: two open air prison camps for the crazies, one state for the rest of us.
posted by cell divide at 10:24 AM on July 9 [+] [!]


eponysterical
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:38 AM on July 9


Hamas knows full well that if Israel was anywhere near as brutal as they claim (or as flippant Mefites claim), this tactic would not work.

I'm surprised at how much faith you have in Hamas. This tactic does work precisely because Hamas wants civilian casualties in order to garner support. You're making the mistake of assuming that Hamas wants to use human shields to protect buildings. They want to use human shields because that will create more martyrs or collateral damage, depending on where you sit.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:41 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Israel is not a colonial government. Zionism is not colonialism.

Read The Iron Wall sometime. It will dissuade you of that notion quite thoroughly.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:10 AM on July 9


Colonialism is the setting up of a colony to advance the interests of a mother country. Israel is not doing that. Ergo, Israel is not colonialism. Israel is a minority enclave, with a lot in common with the enclave now forming in Kurdistan.
posted by ocschwar at 8:13 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Except that the state of Israel was set up to further Western interests - more specifically, to assuage Western guilt. There's also the fact that there's a lot of colonial thought in the later constructions of Zionism that superceded the original Hertzelian version (again, The Iron Wall, which views the Western expansion of the US and the treatment of the Native nations as a model, is rather illuminating in this regard.)

Perhaps it's not a textbook reading of colonialism, but it's rather close.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:30 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


Except that the state of Israel was set up to further Western interests - more specifically, to assuage Western guilt.

This is emphatically not true, btw. Guilt had nothing to do with the establishment of Israel. I'd tell you where I read this but I forget.

Colonialism is the setting up of a colony to advance the interests of a mother country.

What we think of as colonialism was actually a very diverse practice with a lot of heterogenous elements. Israel's relationship to Palestine is obviously not an ideal type of colonoialism but there are more than enough isomorphisms to make the characterization meaningful, useful and accurate.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:40 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]



I never thought I'd see a day where Bibi's primary political challengers are on the right.Without Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza, the Israeli right wing loses its political control of the country.


as much as the ascendance of the extreme right in Israel is tied to the I/P conflict, you can put it in context with the resurgence of the extreme right in Central/Eastern Europe i.e Hungary, Ukraine, and in Greece.

The funny(?) thing about it all is that the longer this low-intensity (yes, it's low intensity, 3x more people have died in Kashmir since 1990 than in the entire 75 year history of I Vs. P) battle goes on, the more we get to what at one point was an extreme left-wing idea with zero traction-- the one state solution.

The one-state solution is the only solution, unless the West Bank has magic petroleum which will only flow for the Palestinians. The Oslo two-state deal was premised on the idea of a landlocked West Bank, completely dependent on it's neighbors for water with no economy outside of Israeli sweatshops and NGOs was somehow going to work. But the settler idea of carving the Palestinian population into a archipelago of Gazas which slowly evaporate is completely delusional.

Israel only has to lose once. Once the honeymoon/shock and awe wears off for Sisi in Egypt, there is only one way to distract attention from the cratering of the Egyptian economy.
posted by ennui.bz at 8:47 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


What, then, keeps them at this seemingly insane course of action?

Every retaliatory action they can provoke from Israel increases sympathetic international press for them.
posted by corb at 8:48 AM on July 9


Except that the state of Israel was set up to further Western interests - more specifically, to assuage Western guilt.

Poppycock. The people who set up Israel were doing so to advance Jewish national self determination.
posted by ocschwar at 8:49 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Once the honeymoon/shock and awe wears off for Sisi in Egypt, there is only one way to distract attention from the cratering of the Egyptian economy.

He'll let guns and fighters through to Gaza, but Egypt isn't going to directly touch Israel as long as their government is a subsidiary of American defense interests.
posted by spaltavian at 9:00 AM on July 9


Colonialism is the setting up of a colony to advance the interests of a mother country.

It's also colonization, as in settling areas inhabited by other people. It's doesn't fit the Jamestown/Plymouth Rock model, but this is just splitting hairs.
posted by spaltavian at 9:04 AM on July 9 [2 favorites]


To add: I'm not sure the "colonialist" disucssion would futher anything, but a better analogy would be the American experience of Manifest Destiny in the West. It's wasn't the mercantilist model some people seem to take that word to mean, but it's still apt.
posted by spaltavian at 9:06 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


with a lot in common with the enclave now forming in Kurdistan

On the one hand that might be true, given that Jews are a unique and distinct minority in the middle east. On the other hand the Kurds struggle in some ways seems to be more similar to the Palestinians-- national ambitions repeatedly frustrated by both stronger regional powers and world superpowers, reputation for terrorism, watching others gain statehood or freedom while yours is denied. It's harder to compare Israel with Kurdistan since the Kurds didn't arrive en masse from Europe starting 100 years ago.

It's actually really difficult to find an analog for 20th Century Israel, perhaps in all of world history. The former South Africa is probably the closest recent parallel that makes sense, but that doesn't quite fit either. Perhaps someone with more knowledge of history could find a good example that really works.
posted by cell divide at 9:24 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Except that the state of Israel was set up to further Western interests - more specifically, to assuage Western guilt.

People always wonder what's the point where criticism of the state of Israel becomes antisemitism. This is it.
posted by gertzedek at 9:26 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


Updated 5:52 pm: The Gaza health ministry has released the names and ages of 41 Palestinians killed so far in the besieged strip since Israel began its relentless assault early Tuesday. Among those killed, 13 were aged 16 or younger. The youngest victim, 18-month-old Mohammed Malakiyeh, was killed along with his 27-year-old mother. The oldest victim, 80-year-old Naifeh Farjallah, was killed in an air strike on the town of Moghraqa, southwest of Gaza City.

The single deadliest strike killed eight people Tuesday in southern Gaza when Israel bombed the Hamad family home.

Al-Akhbar will update the list as new information is released.

Tuesday, July 8:
1. Mohammed Sha’aban, 24, was killed in a bombing of his car in Gaza City.
2. Ahmad Sha’aban, 30, died in the same bombing.
3. Khadir al-Bashiliki, 45, died in the same bombing.
4. Rashad Yaseen, 27, was killed in a bombing of the Nusseirat refugee camp in central Gaza.
5. Riad Mohammed Kawareh, 50, was killed in a bombing of his family’s home in Khan Younis.
6. Seraj Ayad Abed al-A’al, 8, was wounded in the same bombing and succumbed to his injuries on Tuesday evening.
7. Mohammed Ayman Ashour, 15, died in the same bombing.
8. Bakr Mohammed Joudah, 22, died in the same bombing.
9. Ammar Mohammed Joudah, 26, died in the same bombing.
10. Hussein Yousef Kawareh, 13, died in the same bombing.
11. Mohammed Ibrahim Kawareh, 50, died in the same bombing.
12. Bassim Salim Kawareh, 10, died in the same bombing.
13. Mousa Habib, 16, from Gaza City’s al-Shujaiyah neighborhood, was killed along with his 22-year old cousin while the pair were riding a motorcycle.
14. Mohammed Habib, 22, was killed with Mousa Habib.
15. Sakr Aysh al-Ajouri, 22, was killed in an attack on Jabaliyah, in northern Gaza.
16. Ahmad Na’el Mehdi, 16, from Gaza City’s Sheikh Radwan neighborhood, was killed in a bombing that wounded two of his friends.
17. Hafiz Mohammed Hamad, 30, an Islamic Jihad commander, was killed in the bombing of his home in Beit Hanoun, along with five of his family members.
18. Ibrahim Mohammed Hamad, 26, died in the same bombing.
19. Mehdi Mohammed Hamad, 46, died in the same bombing.
20. Fawzia Khalil Hamad, 62, died in the same bombing.
21. Dunia Mehdi Hamad, 16, died in the same bombing.
22. Suha Hamad, 25, died in the same bombing.
23. Suleiman Salman Abu Soaween, 22

Wednesday, July 9:
24. Abdelhadi Jamaat al-Sufi, 24, was killed in a bombing near the Rafah crossing.
25. Naifeh Farjallah, 80, was killed in an airstrike on the town of Moghraqa, southwest of Gaza City.
26. Abdelnasser Abu Kweek, 60, was killed in the bombing of Gaza’s central governorate along with his son.
27. Khaled Abu Kweek, 31, Abdelnasser Abu Kweek’s son, was killed in the same bombing.
28. Amir Areef, 13, died in a bombing in Sha’af.
29. Mohammed Malkiyeh, one and a half years old, died in a bombing along with his mother and a young man.
30. Amniyeh Malkiyeh, 27, Mohammed Malkiyeh’s mother, died in the same bombing.
31. Hatem Abu Salem, 28, died in the same bombing.
32. Mohammed Khaled al-Nimri, 22
33. Sahar Hamdan, 40, died in the bombing of her home in Beit Hanoun.
34. Ibrahim Masri, 14, Sahar Hamdan’s son, was killed in the same bombing.
35. Unknown
36. Sumoud al-Nawasra, a mother, was killed in a bombing along with her two children.
37. Mohammed Khalaf al-Nawasra, 4, arrived at the hospital “in shreds.”
38. Nidal Khalaf al-Nawasra, a child of unreported age, died along with Mohammed and Sumoud.
39. Salah Awwad al-Nawasra, was killed in the same bombing. His body was found under the rubble of the house.
40. Amal Youssef Abdel Ghafour
41. Ranim Jawde Abdel Ghafour, a young girl

Putting names to numbers: The victims of Gaza: A list of Palestinians killed in Israel's ongoing assault
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 9:29 AM on July 9 [3 favorites]


Except that the state of Israel was set up to further Western interests - more specifically, to assuage Western guilt.

People always wonder what's the point where criticism of the state of Israel becomes antisemitism. This is it.
posted by gertzedek at 12:26 PM on July 9 [+] [!]


Stop it please. As I said upthread, the idea that Israel was established to assuage western guilt is wrong. However, I only know its wrong because I'm a scholar who (used to, long story) study this conflict and remember reading a fairly convincing argument that guilt played no role in support for Israel--however, sympathy did.

My point in this is that the claim that guilt played a role in establishing Israel is a fairly common misconception believed by some very respectable people (some of them Jewish/pro Israel!). To immediately empty your quiver isn't helping this conversation.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:39 AM on July 9 [9 favorites]


The single deadliest strike killed eight people Tuesday in southern Gaza when Israel bombed the Hamad family home.

Dear God.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:51 AM on July 9


Furthermore, while Hamas exists as an entity separate from the Palestinian Authority there is actually no body that can possibly speak for all Palestinians. This is a deliberate policy decision of Hamas, by the way, as reflected in their charter.1

This is a deliberate policy decision of Israel, actually. It funded and allowed Hamas to grow to undercut the PLO. This is a well documented fact that not even Israel denies.

its called divide and conquer. The oldest move in the book.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:59 AM on July 9 [17 favorites]


"17:54 Gazan journalists describes fresh air and sea attacks

Mohammed Omer, an independent journalist based in Gaza City, spoke to MEE as bombing increases in the strip:

“Right now there are F-16 warplanes bombing next door to us in Gaza City. I don’t know what the target is but all I can see is people running away from smoke that is coming out of the blast zone. It could either be a house or agricultural land, since it happened less than a minute ago it isn’t clear yet."

Omer said the strikes had reduced earlier in the day but that Gazans were now preparing for a night of intense attacks.

“The bombing calmed down for about an hour, not stopped entirely however, but they are now increasing again. They always increase at this time, overnight until seven or eight in the morning."

The bombs aren't just being dropped from the air, as the Israeli warships are now bombing from off Gaza's coast.

“The Israeli warships are also bombing from the sea at the moment and they are quite close to the beach. They can’t fire too far in from the beach and are only able to attack the houses along the coastal line."

“They have hit the fire department, the fishing habour and the container for the Palestinian navy from the sea. The bombing started from the sea last night and has intensified since."

Omer said mosques have been hit, as well as an United Nations school, while bemoaning the fact increased bombing takes place just prior to the time for Muslims to break their daily fast.

“Three mosques have been targeted in the last 24 hours, with the worse hit in the east of Khan Younis. An UNRWA school was hit too, earlier today, but it did not get any attention from the media. The school was damaged but nobody was hurt at no one is at school at the moment.”

“All of this is happening just half an hour before Iftar [breaking of the fast], which is supposed to be a time where people have inner peace and sit quietly reciting the Qur’an. It is very risky to go to the mosque or shops.""

Live blog From Middle East Eye
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 10:16 AM on July 9 [1 favorite]


"One either rejects the killing of non-combatants on principle or takes a more tribal approach to such matters. In the case of Israel and the Palestinians, the global outpouring of grief and condemnation over the killing of three Israeli youths in the occupied West Bank is the moral equivalent of Rolf Harris denouncing Jimmy Savile.

Over the past 14 years, Israel has killed Palestinian children at a rate of more than two a week. There seems to be no Israeli child in harm’s way that Barack Obama will not compare to his own daughters, but their Palestinian counterparts are brushed aside with mantras about Israel’s right to self-defence. The institutionalised disregard for Palestinian life in the West helps explain not only why Palestinians resort to violence, but also Israel’s latest assault on the Gaza Strip.

The current round of escalation is generally dated from the moment three Israeli youths went missing on 12 June. Two Palestinian boys were shot dead in Ramallah on 15 May, but that – like any number of incidents in the intervening month when Israel exercised its right to colonise and dispossess – is considered insignificant.

Binyamin Netanyahu immediately blamed Hamas for the three Israeli teenagers’ disappearance. The White House almost as quickly confirmed Hamas’s guilt, which has since been treated as established fact by the media. Yet the culprits remain at large and their institutional affiliation unclear. For its part Hamas, which like other Palestinian organisations never hesitates to claim responsibility for its actions and is prone to exaggerate its activities, has this time denied involvment.

What we do know is that a distress call made by one of the Israeli youths on 12 June included the sound of gunfire, which led the Israeli security establishment to conclude they had been killed. Netanyahu suppressed the information, and used the pretext of a hostage rescue operation to launch an organised military rampage throughout the West Bank. His demagoguery, even by his standards, plumbed new depths of vulgarity. To blame the subsequent burning alive of a 16-year-old Palestinian on a few errant Israeli fanatics (after attempts to portray it as the murder of a gay boy by his own family had failed) is to pretend such barbarism exists independently of the colonial and political contexts that produce it."
From the London Review of Books: Institutionalised Disregard for Palestinian Life by Mouin Rabbani
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 10:39 AM on July 9 [13 favorites]


"Nobel peace laureate Desmond Tutu has lashed out at Israeli and Palestinian leaders for behaving "like children," seeking to blame each other for the latest bloody conflagration in the long-running conflict.

"Once again, the people of Israel and Palestine are embroiled in a deadly contest of tit-for-tat violence in which there can never be victors, only losers," the South African cleric said in a statement.

"Like children following a playground dust-up, political and religious leaders fall over each other, not to make peace, but to proclaim: It wasn't us, they started it."

"The world is looking to Israelis and Palestinians to be bigger than themselves; to act now, before any more children are harmed," said Tutu."
posted by hal_c_on at 12:00 PM on July 9 [4 favorites]


It's actually really difficult to find an analog for 20th Century Israel, perhaps in all of world history.

oh, i think the crusader states might be pretty close

that didn't turn out real well for the crusaders, did it?
posted by pyramid termite at 12:55 PM on July 9


I don't think that's the best analogy because the Crusaders were almost universally outsiders while many Israelis are from the region. Lots of others have moved there since the founding, of course, but Israels roots are local in a way that the Crusader States were not. I don't know what a good analogy would be.
posted by Justinian at 1:52 PM on July 9 [2 favorites]




Justinian, while the "Crusaders" were alien Europeans, there were native Christians, and an ancient native Christian culture, in Palestine at the time. That's not super different from the 20th century, were you had Jews in the region, but the state was largely created by Ashkenazim immigration/principles.
posted by spaltavian at 6:21 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


I don't think that's the best analogy because the Crusaders were almost universally outsiders while many Israelis are from the region.

Were they? Some of the Crusader States were around for centuries.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 6:33 PM on July 9


spaltavian: I believe there's a lot of recent scholarship which argues that the invading Crusaders held themselves as Catholic ruling elite which kept almost completely apart and segregated from the subject population of Muslims and some Eastern Christian sects. There really wasn't so far as I am aware any intersection between people who lived in the area and the Crusader elite. At least in the Kingdom of Jerusalem, I'm much less familiar with Antioch or the others.

The Crusader States seem a much more direct analogue to South African apartheid than Israel does.
posted by Justinian at 7:31 PM on July 9




its called divide and conquer. The oldest move in the book

Second oldest.
posted by spitbull at 11:59 PM on July 9 [1 favorite]


It's harder to compare Israel with Kurdistan since the Kurds didn't arrive en masse from Europe starting 100 years ago.

Neither did the Israelis.

I don't like engaging with this sort of argument. Telling people to "go back where you came from" is crudely racist, particularly when it's done on a collective rather than an individual basis. The irony is particularly acute in this case, since a common European jibe was to tell Jews to "go back to Palestine". Furthermore, the idea that Jews have no "home" was and remains a staple of both European and Arab anti-Semitism: it's not like European countries thought of their Jewish minorities as being indigenous, no matter how many centuries their ancestors had lived there. The suggestion that Jews are alien to Israel is part-and-parcel with the suggestion that Jews are alien to Europe: it's a blood-and-soil narrative that should have no place in contemporary political discourse.

On a purely factual level, though, I should point out that Israeli Jews are not primarily European - still less so today, but not even at the time of Israel's establishment. Israel is practically the home of all the residual Jewish communities in the Middle East. All the great Jewish communities have been destroyed, ending continuous social and cultural traditions that dated back thousands of years. Hundreds of thousands of Jews from these communities fled to Israel, and the number of Middle-Eastern and European refugees was roughly equal. This is quite beside the pre-existing Jewish community in (what is now) Israel itself, of course.

While I'm at this, I should point out that many or most Palestinians also originate from people who moved to (what is now) Israel over the past hundred years or so. This was a time of huge migrations and diasporas, a period which probably came to an end several years after the establishment of Israel. This is why, for instance, UNRWA's definition of a "Palestine Refugee" simply requires that their "normal place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948". Even the PLO defines Palestinians as "Arab nationals who, until 1947, normally resided in Palestine". There is no suggestion that you go looking further back, and no desire to do so. I believe that it is reprehensible in any case to stigmatise Jews today because of Jewish migrations a century ago, but the failure to be even-handed shows that this argument is merely prejudicial.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:13 AM on July 10 [10 favorites]


The narrative that Jews are alien to the middle east is one of the last socially accepted forms of antisemitism.
posted by gertzedek at 2:48 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


Furthermore, the idea that Jews have no "home" was and remains a staple of both European and Arab anti-Semitism

I've always thought that we were supposed to keep wandering around until the Messiah comes. Personally, I find the 'distributive' nature of this to be robust and fault-tolerant, but it does tend to cause some distress to Nationalists.

I observe that no-one is firing rockets at Jews in New York. I credit it to the principles expressed in the US Declaration of Independence, which while not-perfect in their implementation, is a good spec to work from.
posted by mikelieman at 2:50 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


[A few comments removed: please don't make it personal. Thank you.]
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:23 AM on July 10




"I observe that no-one is firing rockets at Jews in New York."

Jews were doing pretty well in the major cities of Prussia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire too.
posted by gertzedek at 5:34 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


the logical conclusion of the very true premise that Israeli Jews have been in Israel for a very long time is that the Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs and Palestinians are so culturally similar and intertwined that the only reasonable option is not separation but rather a one state solution.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:14 AM on July 10 [2 favorites]


the logical conclusion of the very true premise that Israeli Jews have been in Israel for a very long time is that the Israeli Jews and Israeli Arabs and Palestinians are so culturally similar and intertwined that the only reasonable option is not separation but rather a one state solution.

Many of the Palestinians are descended from Jews living in Palestine who converted to other religions since 70 AD.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:46 AM on July 10


the logical conclusion of the very true premise

The whole Middle East is filled with genetically related groups who hate each other due to geography, politics, or religion.

Also, Jewish Refugees of the Arab World (from CAMERA) - it wasn't just Europe or indigenous Jewish populations.
posted by rosswald at 6:56 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


Jews were doing pretty well in the major cities of Prussia and the Austro-Hungarian Empire too.

They're both gone, and of historical interest I suppose.

WE ARE STILL HERE.

So, I'm not sure if that's really an effective refutation of my suggestion of the distributive nature, or fault tolerance or that the essential principles of the United States work pretty well in this context.
posted by mikelieman at 7:04 AM on July 10


> The narrative that Jews are alien to the middle east is one of the last socially accepted forms of antisemitism.

It's not a narrative, it's a fact. We're not talking about all Jews, but rather recent (within the past 20 years) immigrants to illegal settlements (often from well-heeled families from the USA). This is not difficult to grasp.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 9:53 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


We're not talking about all Jews, but rather recent (within the past 20 years) immigrants to illegal settlements

No, we're not. The conflict goes back a lot longer than 20 years, and has been noted, there are no settlements in Gaza, where the rockets are coming from.

The argument has always been that settlement in the West Bank was essential for Israel's security. Recent events are making the case for that perspective.
posted by Slap*Happy at 10:15 AM on July 10 [4 favorites]


mikelieman: It's more of a defense of one of the core tenets of Zionism - that without a homeland, Jewish people will not be safe from religious persecution. That tenet tends to falter when you look at the US model of separation of church and state, so they point to other states where there was religious "freedom" preceeding sectarian persecution, in a sort of implicit "it can happen here, too!"

The problem is that there's too much difference between the European and American models to make the argument - the European model is more grounded in cultural assimilation of national identity (so you see perennial arguments in France of new immigrants refusing to "become French"), whereas the US model is more of cultural fusion (which is why the Hyphen-American appellation is so prevalent.)
posted by NoxAeternum at 10:25 AM on July 10


talking about the origins of the conflict is kinda irrelevant, no? the current disparity between the two groups is the issue. the disparity of wealth, power, and casualties all leave the Palestinians much poorer than the Israelis.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:37 AM on July 10


The argument has always been that settlement in the West Bank was essential for Israel's security. Recent events are making the case for that perspective.

Uprooting the settlements will be difficult. A lot more than Gaza. An estimated 500,000 - 650,000 settlers live in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. In 2005 at the time of the pullout there were 8,500 settlers in Gaza.
posted by qi at 10:42 AM on July 10


I have to say - I would like to see some cites about 'settlers == well-heeled families from the USA' because it comes across, to me at least, as...
posted by rosswald at 10:42 AM on July 10 [1 favorite]


[if you think a comment or line of discussion is inappropriate, please flag it and/or contact us rather than making accusations in-thread. Thanks.]
posted by restless_nomad at 10:43 AM on July 10


I would like to see some cites about 'settlers == well-heeled families from the USA'

equating the two is inaccurate, but its not a rare occurrence:

Hirschhorn's dissertation, which she is doing at the University of Chicago, presents the first known attempt to draw up a comprehensive demographic profile of Americans within the Israeli settlement movement. Her findings seem to imply they are somewhat overrepresented: According to Hirschhorn, who had access to confidential records from the American consulate in Jerusalem, 45,000 settlers have American citizenship, or about 15 percent of the Israeli West Bank population. In comparison, Americans make up less than 8.5 percent of all Israeli Jews, based on estimates of 500,000 Americans among Israel's 5.8 million Jews.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:47 AM on July 10 [3 favorites]


talking about the origins of the conflict is kinda irrelevant, no? the current disparity between the two groups is the issue

That is pretty silly - how could ignoring the history of a conflict help in understanding and discussing it?

And of course you seem to want the issue to center around the disparity of the two groups, because using that as a metric faults one side and not the other. Personally I have a hard time believing that the morality of a side in a conflict is a direct inverse relationship to the size and capabilities of its armed forces.
posted by rosswald at 10:49 AM on July 10


So much nonsense in the dying embers of this thread. Yes, Israel is the home for all Jews and now lots of Eastern and southern and even African Jews live there. But Zionism was a European project and before 1900 there were very few Jews living in Israel. I am personally descended from Weizmann who became a very famous family in Israel and part of the ruling elite. I assure you we are very European even to this day in Israel! It is not antisemetic in the slightest to say the roots of Zionism are European! The success of the nationalist movement, call it colonialist of you want, mean that every Jew from any part of the world (even a tribe on South America) are welcome but don't erase our history and how the country was created.
posted by chaz at 10:51 AM on July 10 [10 favorites]


certainly the power disparity determines who has the power to effect change and thus who bears responsibility.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:01 AM on July 10


qi: So what? Doing the right thing is, more often than not, difficult.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:05 AM on July 10


Israeli public sentiment in 2005 was strongly in favor of uprooting the 21 Gaza settlements. It was widely believed in and outside Israel that the settlements were stopping a successful peace agreement. This is what Palestinian negotiators and pollsters told Israel. This is what Israeli leaders told their people.

That year 8500 Israeli settlers in Gaza were removed. Some went voluntarily but many were forced at gunpoint. Homes were destroyed by the IDF so they would not be capable of returning. It was the right thing to do: the settlements were illegal and blocking the peace process. Yet removing the settlements in 2005 did not bring peace. The attacks escalated and hundreds of rockets & mortar shells rained down on Israel from Gaza in the months that followed. In June 2006 Israel responded. From this many Israelis drew the conclusion that the West Bank settlements were a red herring and not an impediment to peace. The Israeli right felt vindicated: they said 'you can't negotiate with or give concessions to Palestinians. They only want to kill Israelis.' It's taken almost a decade since for a majority of Israelis to conclude that the Settlements are a drain on Israeli society and harmful to US Israel relations. They still don't necessarily believe the remaining settlements are an impediment to peace. Look at what happened in Gaza in 2005.

The Israeli government incentivized people to settle in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Four years ago resolution would have been easier. Now in the West Bank alone there are 350,000 Settlers. Small cities instead of small villages like last time. It will take more effort and possibly a civil war to uproot them. The Israeli public will have to believe the Settlements must be abandoned and fight to make that happen. Public opinions are closer then they were but aren't there yet,possibly since it's widely known Hamas has a pattern of escalating conflicts to distract from their economic problems. Possibly because many believe the Settlements are security against Palestinian attacks. The "right thing" to do is not considered a forgone conclusion.
posted by qi at 12:01 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


The fact that there are so many settlers does not magically make those settlements any less illegal by international law. In fact, the whole point of having so many settlers was an extremely cynical strategy of creating "facts on the ground" - establishing population bases to force ceding the land (which, it should be pointed out, often coincided with water and arable land) to them.

So, I consider the numbers to be meaningless. If Israel has to remove half a million people that were placed on land illegally by its self serving policy, then so be it. It's the price to pay for illegal conduct.
posted by NoxAeternum at 1:20 PM on July 10 [10 favorites]


So, I consider the numbers to be meaningless.

So, you're in favor of a civil war and forced re-settlement at gunpoint of a half-million people on top of everything else? Spiffy!
posted by Slap*Happy at 1:52 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


The fact that there are so many settlers does not magically make those settlements any less illegal by international law.

Obviously.

So, I consider the numbers to be meaningless.

It's convenient to think in black & white terms and ignore the details. But not very practical. Figuring out how the settlements can be torn down without causing an Israeli civil war that could spread throughout occupied Palestinian areas and engulf the rest of the region is not a trivial goal. Israeli public opinion about the settlements and whether they are an impediment to peace isn't a triviality either. Not if you want to convince them to dismantle their own settlements.

If Israel has to remove half a million people that were placed on land illegally by its self serving policy, then so be it. It's the price to pay for illegal conduct.

No one in this conversation has said Israel shouldn't dismantle the settlements. Nobody has said they're not illegal.
posted by qi at 1:55 PM on July 10


Rather telling and thankfully, lists the source of the information below each image.

9 Graphics to Help You Understand What Life Is Really Like in Gaza
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 2:11 PM on July 10


You're right, nobody has been outright stating "we should not dismantle the settlements". Instead, we're being told that there are so many people in the settlements, that forcing these people to leave will cause a civil war, that public sentiment needs to be shifted. Oh, and that the fact that not only has the Israeli government refused to freeze settlement development, but has in fact ramped up the process should be quietly ignored.

In light of all that, I have to ask - do you really take me for a fool? Because while you might not be saying "don't dismantle the settlements" outright, the hints are there. That is the whole purpose of the "facts on the ground" strategy - to make it so that removal of the settlements becomes untenable. Which is why the answer has to be to say to those arguments "that's a problem for the people who decided on implementing an illegal and cynical policy."
posted by NoxAeternum at 2:14 PM on July 10 [10 favorites]


Yes, Israel is the home for all Jews and now lots of Eastern and southern and even African Jews live there. But Zionism was a European project and before 1900 there were very few Jews living in Israel.

That depends on what you mean by "very few". Jews have been a majority in Jerusalem, for example, for something like 150 years. But it's true that in absolute numbers there weren't all that many... but it's also true that the total population of the region we now call Israel was quite low. There were fewer than 300,000 people there until the 20th century!
posted by Justinian at 2:37 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


It's also true that a lot of the Jews that used to live in the area pre 20th century were driven out by pogroms. One couldn't claim that, say, the Cherokee aren't historically from Georgia (and other southeastern states) because they migrated out of the area. They didn't have a lot of choice in the matter.
posted by Justinian at 2:40 PM on July 10 [3 favorites]


con't

42. Rashid al-Kafarneh, 30, was killed when the motorcycle he was riding was bombed.
43. Ibrahim Daoud al-Balawi, 24
44. Abdelrahman Jamal al-Zamli, 22
45. Ibrahim Ahmad Abideen, 42
46. Mustafa Abu Mar, 20
47. Khalid Abu Mar, 23
48. Mazen Farj al-Jarbah, 30
49. Marwan Slim, 27
50. Hani Saleh Hamad, 57, was killed in a bombing in Beit Hanoun along with his son Ibrahim.
51. Ibrahim Hamad, 20, was killed in the same bombing.
52. Salima Hassan Musallim al-Arja, 60, was killed in a bombing in Rafah that wounded five others.
53. Maryam Atieh Muhammad al-Arja, 11, was killed in the same bombing.
54. Hamad Shahab, 27
55. Ibrahim Khalil Qanun, 24, was killed in a bombing of Khan Younis.
56. Muhammad Khalil Qanun, 26, was killed in the same attack.
57. Hamdi Badieh Sawali, 33, was killed in the same attack.
58. Ahmad Sawali, 28, was killed in the same attack.
59. Suleiman al-Astal, 55
60. Muhammad al-Aqqad, 24
61. Ra’ed Shalat, 37, was killed in a bombing that wounded 6 others.

Thursday, July 10:
62. Asma Mahmoud al-Hajj was killed in a bombing in Khan Younis that killed eight members of the same family and wounded 16 other people.
63. Basmah Abdelfattah al-Hajj, 57, was wounded in the bombing and succumbed to her injuries shortly afterwards.
64. Mahmoud Lutfi al-Hajj, 58, died in the same bombing.
65. Tarek Sa’ad al-Hajj died in the same bombing.
66. Sa’ad Mahmoud al-Hajj died in the same bombing.
67. Najla Mahmoud al-Hajj died in the same bombing.
68. Fatima al-Hajj died in the same bombing.
69. Omar al-Hajj died in the same bombing.
70. Ahmad Salim al-Astal was killed in the bombing of a beach house in Khan Younis that critically wounded more than 15 people.
71. Mousa Mohammed was killed in the same bombing. The two bodies were recovered four hours after the bombing.
72. Ra’ed al-Zawareh, 33, succumbed to his wounds and died. The location of his death was unreported.
73. Baha’ Abu al-Leel, 35
74. Salim Qandil, 27, was killed in a bombing.
75. Omar al-Fyumi, 30, was killed in the same bombing.
76. Abdullah Ramadan Abu Ghazzal, 5, was killed in a bombing in Beit Lahiya.
77. Ismail Hassan Abu Jamah, 19, was killed in a bombing of Khan Younis that injured two children, one critically.
78. Unknown
79. Mahmoud Wulud was killed in a bombing of a civilian vehicle in northern Gaza. His remains were taken to Kamal Adwan Hospital in Jabaliya.
80. Hazem Balousha was killed in the same bombing. His remains are at Kamal Adwan Hospital.
81. Alaa Abdelnabi was killed in the same bombing. His remains are at Kamal Adwan Hospital.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 2:54 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Instead, we're being told that there are so many people in the settlements, that forcing these people to leave will cause a civil war, that public sentiment needs to be shifted.

Two options: Either an outside force steps in and forces Israel to dismantle the settlements or the Israelis do it themselves. The first option would lead to war. The second option could lead to war. But Israel voluntarily evacuating Gaza did not lead to war so we can assume it is avoidable. Why not be honest about the differences between 2005 and 2014 if we are going to discuss the problem and solutions?

Oh, and that the fact that not only has the Israeli government refused to freeze settlement development, but has in fact ramped up the process should be quietly ignored.

Quietly ignored? I mentioned it explicitly and Isaid they incentivize the settlers. I linked to a report that mentions the ramping up and also says settlers are not all religious extremists and many might move back to Israel if given the right counterincentives.

Because while you might not be saying "don't dismantle the settlements" outright, the hints are there.

This is what I said: "The West Bank settlements are illegal and Israel should dismantle them and remove the settlers by force." and "The West Bank settlements are illegal and should be abandoned too. Probably will be one day. But that won't stop the rockets. Didn't last time."

There are no "hints" and this is not making excuses or obfuscating. We can't analyse complex problems without acknowldging they are complex.
posted by qi at 2:56 PM on July 10 [1 favorite]


When you say "settlements", do you include (e.g.) the Old City of Jerusalem, including the Western Wall? How about suburbs of Jerusalem like Sheikh Jarrah / Shimon haTzadik, Ramat Eshkol, Pisgat Ze'ev and Neve Yaakov? Because all those locations have substantial populations; are built-up areas contiguous with areas behind the "Green Line"; were not historically contemplated as part of an Arab state; and were built on land privately owned by Jews before 1948. The only reason they are described as "settlements" is that the inhabitants were massacred or expelled by the Jordanians in 1948, after which the areas were occupied by Jordan until 1967. I can't see any reason why this brief occupation, which was recognised by precisely three other countries (Great Britain, Iraq, and Pakistan), should trump every other reason.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:34 PM on July 10 [2 favorites]


Oops.

From a CNN interview with Diana Buttu, described as a "former legal advisor to the [...] PLO and [...] a negotiator in Israeli/Palestinian talks".

Diana Buttu: The idea that Palestinians use children as human shields is racist and reprehensible, and the idea that Israelis are somehow skewing this and we're to believe it is also racist and reprehensible.

Jake Tapper: Diana, it's not racist - we have video of a Hamas spokesman on television telling people to stay in their homes and that it's an effective way to make sure ... to fight off the Israelis. That's not racist, that's just a fact.

Diana Buttu: Jake, I haven't seen the tape [...]
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:47 PM on July 10


Would withholding US support for the Israeli Government until they in good faith adopt a policy of extending the core democratic principles of Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness for EVERYONE, regardless of ethnicity or whether they're inside or outside the Green Line change the 'facts on the ground' strategy?

No one is saying the Israeli Government HAS to change, but if they don't get in line with Freedom and Liberty, they go forward without my support.
posted by mikelieman at 5:33 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


Would withholding US support for the Israeli Government until they in good faith adopt a policy of extending the core democratic principles of Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness for EVERYONE, regardless of ethnicity or whether they're inside or outside the Green Line change the 'facts on the ground' strategy?

In a motherfucking heartbeat. But group of powerful entities collectively known as the Israel Lobby will not allow the US to do that.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:25 AM on July 11






[please post links to articles, don't copy/paste entire articles here, thanks]
posted by mathowie at 11:05 AM on July 11 [4 favorites]


Yet terrible as the deed itself is, to my mind the public reaction is even worse. Because there isn’t any.

“Today shame goes forth from Zion,” the president said, adding that the murder should shock the entire nation and that “the world cannot remain silent when a child is murdered and burned to death.”

http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/Peres-calls-murder-of-Abu-Khdeir-a-moral-crisis-that-must-be-handled-immediately-361879


Here's an editorial in Ha'aretz, "the New York Times of Israel"

"Many Israelis are deluding themselves by declaring Jewish values is a safeguard against murder and terrorism; this murder should come as no surprise."

If you really think normal Israelis, or their leaders, are shrugging off this sickening murder and its sickening perpetrators, I just don't even know what to say.
posted by escabeche at 11:15 AM on July 11 [1 favorite]


"The longer Operation Protective Edge continues, the clearer the nature of the IAF’s targets become. This time they include the homes of Hamas and Islamic Jihad operatives. Israel’s B’Tselem human rights organization said yesterday that this violates the international humanitarian law, which permits attacks only against targets that effectively assist military efforts. The homes of people involved in the fighting against Israel do not meet this definition. Nor is killing their relatives a military necessity. "
Caution, another Cast Lead lies ahead: The first few days of Operation Protective Edge indicate that Israel hasn’t learned anything from previous instances of mass killing

International law requires Israel to take all measures to ensure that its attacks are proportional, distinguish between military and civilian objects, and avoid civilian casualties, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said.

"We have received deeply disturbing reports that many of the civilian casualties, including of children, occurred as a result of strikes on homes. Such reports raise serious doubt about whether the Israeli strikes have been in accordance with international humanitarian law and international human rights law," Pillay said in a statement.
U.N. rights boss doubts legality of Israel's Gaza offensive

Since the beginning of its occupation in 1967, Israel has rebuffed the applicability of international humanitarian law to the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Despite imposing military rule over the West Bank and Gaza, Israel denied the applicability of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War (the cornerstone of Occupation Law). Israel argued because the territories neither constituted a sovereign state nor were sovereign territories of the displaced states at the time of conquest, that it simply administered the territories and did not occupy them within the meaning of international law. The UN Security Council, the International Court of Justice, the UN General Assembly, as well as the Israeli High Court of Justice have roundly rejected the Israeli government’s position. Significantly, the HCJ recognizes the entirety of the Hague Regulations and provisions of the 1949 Geneva Conventions that pertain to military occupation as customary international law.

Israel’s refusal to recognize the occupied status of the territory, bolstered by the US’ resilient and intransigent opposition to international accountability within the UN Security Council, has resulted in the condition that exists today: prolonged military occupation. Whereas the remedy to occupation is its cessation, such recourse will not suffice to remedy prolonged military occupation. By virtue of its decades of military rule, Israel has characterized all Palestinians as a security threat and Jewish nationals as their potential victims, thereby justifying the differential, and violent, treatment of Palestinians. In its 2012 session, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination described current conditions following decades of occupation and attendant repression as tantamount to Apartheid.
No, Israel Does Not Have the Right to Self-Defense In International Law Against Occupied Palestinian Territory

Is Gaza Still Occupied and Why Does It Matter?
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 12:12 PM on July 11


con't

82. Mahmoud Wulud, 26, was killed in a bombing of a civilian vehicle in northern Gaza. His remains were taken to Kamal Adwan Hospital in Jabaliya.
83. Hazem Balousha, 30, was killed in the same bombing. His remains are at Kamal Adwan Hospital.
84. Nour Rafik Adi al-Sultan, 27, was killed in the same bombing. His remains are at Kamal Adwan Hospital.
85. Ahmad Zaher Hamdan, 24, was killed in a bombing in Beit Hanoun.
86. Mohammed Kamal al-Kahlout, 25, was killed in a bombing in Jabaliyah.
87. Sami Adnan Shaldan, 25, was killed in a bombing in Gaza City.
88. Jamah Atieh Shalouf, 25, was killed in a bombing in Rafah.
89. Bassem Abdelrahman Khattab, 6, was killed in a bombing in Deir al-Balah.
90. Abdullah Mustafa Abu Mahrouk, 22, was killed in a bombing in Deir al-Balah.

Friday, July 11:
91. Anas Rizk Abu al-Kas, 33, was killed in a bombing in Gaza City.
92. Nour Marwan al-Najdi, 10, was killed in a bombing in Rafah.
93. Mohammed Mounir Ashour, 25, was killed in a bombing on the al-Ghanam family home in Rafah.
94. Ghalia Deeb Jabr al-Ghanam, 7, was killed in the same bombing.
95. Wasim Abd al-Rizk Hassan al-Ghanam, 23, was killed in the same bombing.
96. Mahmoud Abd al-Rizk Hassan al-Ghanam, 26, was killed in the same bombing.
97. Kifah Shahada Deeb al-Ghanam, 20, was killed in the same bombing.
98. Ra’ed Hani Abu Hani, 31, was killed in a bombing in Rafah.
99. Shahraman Ismail Abu al-Kas, 42, was killed in a bombing in a refugee camp in central Gaza.
100. Mazen Mustafa Aslan, 63, was killed in the same bombing.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 12:14 PM on July 11 [3 favorites]


If you really think normal Israelis, or their leaders, are shrugging off this sickening murder and its sickening perpetrators, I just don't even know what to say.

Have they leveled the houses of the perpetrators' families? Because what was done wasn't just a murder but an act of terrorism, and thus the state should treat it as it would any other such act. Or they can renounce the use of collective punishment period.
posted by NoxAeternum at 12:20 PM on July 11


Have they leveled the houses of the perpetrators' families?

I don't like this policy myself, but the reasoning behind it is to counter the financial incentives offered to Palestinians and their families for murdering Israelis. There was no financial incentive for the Israeli murderers to perform their heinous act, so punishing them financially doesn't make sense.
posted by rosswald at 12:30 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]




Amnesty International is calling for a UN-mandated international investigation into violations committed on all sides amidst ongoing Israeli air strikes across the Gaza Strip and continuing volleys of indiscriminate rocket fire from Palestinian armed groups into Israel.

Since Israel launched Operation “Protective Edge” in the early morning of 8 July, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip, most of them civilians who were not directly participating in hostilities. This includes at least 24 children and 16 women as of Friday morning. More than 600 people have been wounded, many of them seriously. More than 340 homes in Gaza have been completely destroyed or left uninhabitable and at least five health facilities and three ambulances have been damaged. In Israel, at least 20 people have been wounded by rocket attacks and property has been damaged.
Israel/Gaza: UN must impose arms embargo and mandate an international investigation as civilian death toll rises
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 5:25 PM on July 11 [2 favorites]


That depends on what you mean by "very few".

I don't understand claims like this. What it comes down to is that there are a lot of people who live there were born there and live there. They have no other place to call home. Let's not say that they belong there less than anyone else who was born there and lives there.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:06 PM on July 11


I don't understand these claims that Hamas killed the 3 israeli kids. Not only is Hamas (who regularly takes credit for acts of terrorism) denying this, but it would be a waste of effort on their part to do ANYTHING and not take credit for it. Why will they not take credit for that, but they will take credit for firing rockets into Israel. That kinda doesn't make sense to me.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:09 PM on July 11


How Politics and Lies Triggered an Unintended War in Gaza

The takeaway here is that Netanyahu knew almost immediately that the kidnapped boys were dead, but lied about it to whip up public sentiment, and that they also knew a renegade arm of Hamas was responsible, not Hamas proper, yet the affair was used as an excuse to attack Hamas (and the Palestinians) anyway. This goes beyond cynicism into insanity.
posted by Bromius at 8:42 PM on July 11 [1 favorite]


I don't understand claims like this.

You're quoting me and then saying something which doesn't contradict what I said but in a way that makes it seem like it does, so I'm not sure?
posted by Justinian at 9:18 PM on July 11


You're quoting me and then saying something which doesn't contradict what I said but in a way that makes it seem like it does, so I'm not sure?

No. That wasn't what I intended. Sorry if I caused confusion. I just took that tidbit from you because it kinda summed up everything right there.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:41 PM on July 11


I don't understand these claims that Hamas killed the 3 israeli kids.

Hamas' official position was that they would neither confirm or deny that they were responsible. [Google translate link to source] I don't know whether it has since changed. There's a definitional problem here, though. What is Hamas? We're not talking about a democratic body, or one with strict discipline and a clear operational hierarchy. If the claims in the link to the (Jewish, left-wing) Forward that Bromius supplied are correct, it was a group associated with Hamas, that work with Hamas, but which may or may not be Hamas. Because what does that even mean? Hamas is fundamentally a criminal organization; it has operational heads and spokespeople, but at a lower level there are a bunch of gang leaders and warlords who are Hamas in the sense that they are tolerated, or not, and cooperate, or not, and their actions are acknowledged, or not. The same goes for groups like Fatah: it's the party of Mahmoud Abbas and hence the Palestinian Authority; it's also the party of the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade, which everyone acknowledges are terrorists. So how is Fatah Israel's partners for peace? Well, it's not convenient for Israel to acknowledge that Fatah is also the party of terrorism, so it mostly keeps quiet about it. Israel wants to have a peace process, even if it doesn't have peace, so it doesn't generally come out and say "Listen, Abbas only has a job because he's supported by Fatah, and Fatah is basically a criminal gang supported by his ex-gratia payments." Because if Israel did that, who does it have to talk to?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:43 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


It's one of the ironies of history that the criminal Israeli state tolerated and encouraged the criminal organization Hamas in its early days, viewing it as a useful counterbalance to the criminal secular/nationalist PLO.
posted by Mister Bijou at 4:48 AM on July 12 [1 favorite]


con't

101. Mohammed Rabih Abu Humeidan, 65, was killed in shelling that struck northern Gaza.
102. Abdel Halim Ashra, 54, was killed in an airstrike on Wednesday in the area of Birka Deir al-Balah, but his body wasn’t discovered till Friday.
103. Saher Abu Namous, 3, was killed in an airstrike on his home in northern Gaza.
104. Hussein al-Mamlouk, 47, was killed in an airstrike on Gaza City.
105. Saber Sukkar, 80, was killed in an airstrike on Gaza City.
106. Nasser Rabih Mohammed Samamah, 49, was killed in an airstrike on Gaza City.

Saturday, July 12:
107. Rami Abu Massaad, 23, was killed in a strike on Deir al-Balah.
108. Mohammed al-Samiri, 24, was killed in the same attack.
109. Houssam Deeb al-Razayneh, 39, was killed in an attack on Jabalia
110. Anas Youssef Kandil, 17, was killed in the same bombing.
111. Abdel Rahim Saleh al-Khatib, 38, was killed in the same bombing.
112. Youssef Mohammed Kandil, 33, was killed in the same bombing.
113. Mohammed Idriss Abu Saninah, 20, was killed in the same bombing.
114. Hala Wishahi, 31, was killed in an attack on the Mabarra association for the disabled in Jabalia.
115. Suha Abu Saade, 38, was killed in the same attack.
116. Ali Nabil Basal, 32, was killed in a strike on western Gaza city.
117. Mohammed Bassem al-Halabi, 28, was killed in the same strike.
118. Mohammed al-Sowayti (Abu Askar), 20, was killed in the same attack.
119. Ibrahim Nabil Humaide, 30, was killed in a bombing in the Tufah neighborhood in eastern Gaza City.
120. Hassan Ahmed Abu Ghoush, 24, was killed in the same attack.
121. Ahmed Mazen al-Ballaoui, 26, was killed in the same attack

As of this minute, the death count is reportedly up to 127.

Al-akhbar (with its own problems) has a live blog here.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 12:34 PM on July 12 [4 favorites]


Gazan youth manifesto:

"Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community!

"We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference like the Israeli F16s breaking the wall of sound; scream with all the power in our souls in order to release this immense frustration that consumes us because of this fucking situation we live in...

"We are sick of being caught in this political struggle; sick of coal-dark nights with airplanes circling above our homes; sick of innocent farmers getting shot in the buffer zone because they are taking care of their lands; sick of bearded guys walking around with their guns abusing their power, beating up or incarcerating young people demonstrating for what they believe in; sick of the wall of shame that separates us from the rest of our country and keeps us imprisoned in a stamp-sized piece of land; sick of being portrayed as terrorists, home-made fanatics with explosives in our pockets and evil in our eyes; sick of the indifference we meet from the international community, the so-called experts in expressing concerns and drafting resolutions but cowards in enforcing anything they agree on; we are sick and tired of living a shitty life, being kept in jail by Israel, beaten up by Hamas and completely ignored by the rest of the world.

"There is a revolution growing inside of us, an immense dissatisfaction and frustration that will destroy us unless we find a way of canalising this energy into something that can challenge the status quo and give us some kind of hope.

"We barely survived the Operation Cast Lead, where Israel very effectively bombed the shit out of us, destroying thousands of homes and even more lives and dreams. During the war we got the unmistakable feeling that Israel wanted to erase us from the face of the Earth. During the last years, Hamas has been doing all they can to control our thoughts, behaviour and aspirations. Here in Gaza we are scared of being incarcerated, interrogated, hit, tortured, bombed, killed. We cannot move as we want, say what we want, do what we want.

"ENOUGH! Enough pain, enough tears, enough suffering, enough control, limitations, unjust justifications, terror, torture, excuses, bombings, sleepless nights, dead civilians, black memories, bleak future, heart-aching present, disturbed politics, fanatic politicians, religious bullshit, enough incarceration! WE SAY STOP! This is not the future we want! We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace. Is that too much to ask?"

This manifesto gains significance when considered with Doug Saunders's article in this morning's Globe and Mail: "Arab's are in chaos, but they're only passing through". Saunders writes:

"Juan Cole, a Mideast scholar at the University of Michigan, has written the mirror-image book. His field work, in the same countries over a similar period, was among Arab liberal and nationalist movements (that is, anti-Islamists). His book, The New Arabs: How the Millennial Generation is Changing the Middle East, concludes that the Arab revolutions are now where the French Revolution was in 1852, and where Eastern European democracy was after the Prague Spring was crushed in 1968: trapped between thesis and antithesis, waiting for the next generation to step in.

That (huge) young Arab generation, he notes, is less prone to fall for the logic of illiberal democracy versus undemocratic faux-liberalism: It is far more literate, urban and connected and, crucially, measurably less religiously observant or interested in sharia law. Or most of it is: There is a “polarization” of Arab millennials “with most of them tending to be less observant but a significant number supporting fundamentalism. Some of the vehemence of the religious right,” he notes, “may be in part a reaction against this decline in the proportion of observant Muslims in this generation.” As other scholars have noted, fundamentalism tends to be a response to a wider secularization of society."
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 12:39 PM on July 12 [11 favorites]


My god, whyareyouatriangle, THAT gives me hope. Thank you. Is there a similar manifesto coming from Israeli youth?

Can you imagine the power if there were, and the two connected? Youth on both sides telling all the old men killing them to just fucking stop it already?

Thank you. Seriously and sincerely. My shriveled little heart grew two sizes today from you posting that. Thank you.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:10 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


Feckless fecal fear mongering: That's actually a pretty mainstream position in Israel.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:11 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


There's a definitional problem here, though. What is Hamas? We're not talking about a democratic body, or one with strict discipline and a clear operational hierarchy.

You're right. Its an organization. If the organization had sanctioned or condoned the killing thats one thing. But as it hasn't, and it actively is denying it, why say that Hamas did it?

Could it have been people from Hamas acting on their own? Yes. Does that make it Hamas? No. Could it have been something totally different? Possibly. Either way, nothing is known or even established yet. But action is being taken because its assumed that "Yes, Hamas did it".

Hamas has done horrible things, but what bothers me here is that they are actively denying it, while doing other bad things, and how the Israeli gov't is talking about striking back at Hamas because of it. That just doesn't make sense.

Also, it seems pretty bullshit when Israel is talking about striking back for these acts, when they haven't even convicted anyone of this. Thats something I would expect out of Iran or Qaddafi or an ayatollah or something.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:16 PM on July 12


It's also denying that it's denying it, as I linked to above. But in any event, the current conflict between Hamas and Israel is only coincidentally associated with the killings, so it's a bit of a red herring.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:43 PM on July 12


the current conflict between Hamas and Israel is only coincidentally associated with the killings, so it's a bit of a red herring.

Well its not coincidental. Its what was used to garner support.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:53 PM on July 12


Also, it seems pretty bullshit when Israel is talking about striking back for these acts, when they haven't even convicted anyone of this. Thats something I would expect out of Iran or Qaddafi or an ayatollah or something.

The Shin Bet has imprisoned the Israelis accused of killing the Palestinian teen - neither the PA nor Hamas have accomplished the same of the Palestinians who killed the Israelis.

Speaking of the Shin Bet, they claim that "Israeli forces thwarted in 2013 over 50 attempts by Palestinian terrorists to abduct Israelis. 14 attempts by Hamas and others were thwarted since January 2014."

It would seem that Hamas is constantly looking to take Israeli hostages, so whether the kidnapping was a stamped plan directly from Khaled Mashaal or was just Hamas members taking advantage of a random situation Hamas shares a lot of responsibility for the killings of the teens.
posted by rosswald at 7:28 PM on July 12 [2 favorites]


It would seem that Hamas is constantly looking to take Israeli hostages, so whether the kidnapping was a stamped plan directly from Khaled Mashaal or was just Hamas members taking advantage of a random situation Hamas shares a lot of responsibility for the killings of the teens.

How does Hamas share responsibility for the kidnappings if they neither knew about the abduction/killings of the 3 Israelis beforehand, nor had any hand in carrying it out (and since the crime was not even carried out in an area that they control; it happened in the West Bank)? Despite what you may think of Hamas otherwise, they seem like a completely innocent party wrt that crime.

(Btw if you want to talk about numbers of Palestinians vs numbers of Israelis being abducted/jailed/etc., I don't think you're going to like which side comes out of that looking worse. Hint: military occupations result in a lot of arbitrary detentions.)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:41 AM on July 13 [1 favorite]


Feckless fecal fear mongering: That's actually a pretty mainstream position in Israel.

"Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA!" is a mainstream position in Israel? That seems unlikely.

I mean, maybe that position is held by someone like AATW but certainly no one mainstream or in power in Israel.

(Or maybe you were referring to something else, Joe? But that's what it seems to be that you're saying...)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:02 AM on July 13


I meant fffm's paraphrase: " Youth on both sides telling all the old men killing them to just fucking stop it already".

But there's probably a big contingent that would subscribe to yours, too. Israel's a pretty left wing country.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:37 AM on July 13


But there's probably a big contingent that would subscribe to yours, too. Israel's a pretty left wing country.

Mmm... I don't know about that. Israel's current and historical actions do not befit a country that I would describe as "left."

And regardless of its military actions / foreign policy, the internal culture seems to be drifting rightward (or, perhaps one may argue that it was always this way and there is no drift).
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 10:24 AM on July 13


But there's probably a big contingent that would subscribe to yours, too. Israel's a pretty left wing country.

No it's not.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:58 AM on July 13


A couple engaging articles I found this morning:


Repetition and Death in the Colony: On the Israeli Attacks on Gaza
Repetition is merely the sign for the oppressed to surrender to fate. Either you accept your suffering or you unleash more suffering. Only eventual freedom will give meaning to the deaths of Gazans.

At the moment of writing these lines, the BBC reports 100 deaths thus far in Gaza in the recent Israeli onslaught. As we have seen these scenes before, the invocation of repetition comes naturally. “Once again” is a commonly used word when it comes to death and suffering under occupation in Palestine and specifically Gaza.1 It can be a rhetorically deployed knee-​jerk reaction (as in: once again Israel is killing Palestinians; or: once again Israel has to defend itself against Palestinian attacks). It can also be deployed by a well-​meaning third party who perceives the rhetorical deployment of “once again” as a propaganda war between two parties involved in a tragic conflict. Repetition is equated with futile death.


On the Gaza Border by Ben Ehrenreich
I WENT YESTERDAY to Sderot, the largest Israeli town that borders the Gaza strip. I had been there once before and had noticed the strange abstractness of the place, and been creeped out by it. All crappy suburbs feel abstract, presenting more the idea of living — houses, streets, schools — than the messiness and uproar of actual life, but Sderot’s sterility goes deeper, accentuated by the cement bomb shelters attached to every dwelling, and the public shelters at bus stops and in parks. All of them, in their concrete and often graffitied shabbiness, are devoted to the protection of “life,” bare life, or something like it — something that feels a lot like death. Which makes life — this sweating, pulsing, vertiginous thing — feel somehow insufficient, obscene, undeserving of these squat, sepulchral monuments. Which is perhaps why the local kids feel compelled to spray-paint them, drink beer in them, break bottles and pee in the corners. Life finds a way to revolt.

How Politics and Lies Triggered an Unintended War in Gaza: Kidnap, Crackdown, Mutual Missteps and a Hail of Rockets
In the flood of angry words that poured out of Israel and Gaza during a week of spiraling violence, few statements were more blunt, or more telling, than this throwaway line by the chief spokesman of the Israeli military, Brigadier General Moti Almoz, speaking July 8 on Army Radio’s morning show: “We have been instructed by the political echelon to hit Hamas hard.”

That’s unusual language for a military mouthpiece. Typically they spout lines like “We will take all necessary actions” or “The state of Israel will defend its citizens.” You don’t expect to hear: “This is the politicians’ idea. They’re making us do it.”

# PALESTINE /// Infrastructural and Militarized Cartography of Gaza
As the military siege on Gaza (the fourth since the 2005 evacuation of the Israeli settlers) continue to kill every day (81 Palestinian killed in bombings so far), I go back, once again to the idea that we should as much focus on the exceptional violence that affects many of us emotionally, as on the normal violence that unfolds itself on a daily basis upon what has been legitimately named “the largest prison on earth (1.65 millions inhabitants). Let it be clear, making maps won’t save any life, and the production of knowledge during urgent situation is always problematic. Moreover, maps tend to be disincarnated and therefore carry the risk of a desensitization on the contrary of photographs and/or videos that allow us to identify with situated bodies. There is therefore a need for articulating the emotional approach to violence — it manifests most of the time through the notion of spectacular — with a more structural and analytical approach of it, as I have been recently writing again.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 1:23 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


Israel's current and historical actions do not befit a country that I would describe as "left."

Really? Can you contrast Israel's behavior with that of another country in similar circumstances? As for the links you quoted, one has been thoroughly debunked (which is why it's from 2013 and hasn't got a current followup); three are from more-or-less hate sites (i.e., Mondoweiss and Electronic Intifada); the last shows Israelis from Sderot (i.e., the place that is perpetually subject to missiles from Gaza) cheering on the IDF's response. And well, I don't think I would be piously wringing my hands under those circumstances either.

Here's why I would describe Israel as left-wing: because it's a vibrant participatory democracy with universal health care and education, state welfare at all levels of society, and many socialised enterprises. Hal_c_on linked to Ha'aretz's outraged report that a (small) groups of thugs attacked a (smallish) anti-war demonstration and, apparently, got away with it because the attack occurred while the police and demonstrators were running for shelter from a rocket attack. Wow! Do you know anywhere else in the world that police would be defending anti-war protestors during an actual attack on their country?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:40 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]


Really? Can you contrast Israel's behavior with that of another country in similar circumstances?

Sure: "Meanwhile, those who speak for the Israeli government go around claiming that no state could tolerate missiles being fired into its territory and that any state would have to retaliate. This is false, indeed absurd: much of British policy in Northern Ireland in the 1970s and 80s was deplorable, but though the IRA fired plenty of mortar rounds across the border, nobody seriously contemplated taking out “terror operatives” by aerial bombardment of civilian housing in the Irish Republic."

(In any event there could be no historical parallel and that still would not make Israel "left.")

As for the links you quoted, one has been thoroughly debunked

Oh?

three are from more-or-less hate sites (i.e., Mondoweiss and Electronic Intifada)

The idea that Mondoweiss and EI are hate sites is absurd. They just happen to critique the Israeli government in some of their material. That does not a hate site make.

Hate is what that Mondoweiss article is quoting the Israeli girls as saying -- things like "Hating Arabs isn't racism it's a commandment from God."

And well, I don't think I would be piously wringing my hands under those circumstances either.

Would you be cheering on the massacre of another people (current death score: 167-0)? That's depraved, and that's what those Israelis in Sderot are doing. That's why people find that picture upsetting.

I don't disagree with you that Israel is a social democracy (Palestinian discrimination inside Israel proper aside, and ignoring the whole occupation thing, if we can) and has features that one might expect of one. But its shortcomings in the foreign policy field are grave. That's what people who take issue with Israel's policies are mad about -- not the fact that Israelis have health care.

Wow! Do you know anywhere else in the world that police would be defending anti-war protestors during an actual attack on their country?

I can't get to the Haaretz article about the protest because it's paywalled. Here's one from the Jerusalem Post. The demonstrators appear to be alleging that the police were not protecting them.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:24 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]


I find it funny that the initial proof that Israel isn't a leftist country was to a leftist Israeli daily-newspaper. A popular paper further to the left (by most definitions) than any daily I see in the US. One rightist attack on protesters doesn't color the politics of an entire country.

Would you be cheering on the massacre of another people (current death score: 167-0)? That's depraved, and that's what those Israelis in Sderot are doing. That's why people find that picture upsetting.

Silly and melodramatic. First, Sderot is right on the border of Gaza and the city has been hit by rocket and mortar fire from Hamas long before other Israeli cities were in range. Decades. Even during "ceasefires" there are still several rockets a week hitting the city. Personally, I can see why they especially would be glad when a launching-site gets hit.

Speaking of rocket-sites, the current numbers (BBC) has Israel striking 1,320 sites resulting in 172 deaths. If I math correctly, for 87% of all the strikes not a single person was killed - something everyone should cheer for.
posted by rosswald at 7:26 PM on July 13


Palestinians in Hebron cheer as Gaza rockets fly toward Israeli population centers

Hundreds of Arabs Celebrate atop Temple Mount after rocket attacks on Jerusalem

West Bank Palestinians Cheer Hamas rocket attacks Israel
(2012)

Probably a cheap shot, but here's 2001 as well.

Fatah's other official response to the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens.

Depraved, indeed.

The way this thread has devolved is appalling. There isn't any atrocity Hamas can commit that won't be handwaved away by some of you, while Israel - still under attack from hundreds of missiles and rockets aimed directly at civilian centers - is being called out as monstrous for (gasp) acting like Palestinians. Calling it a "death score" is just icing on the cake. The death toll lies squarely on Hamas's shoulders. Both Ban Ki-moon and Abbas have called on Hamas to end the attacks. Only here in the last couple days of this thread are they not even mentioned by those screaming about how awful it is to attack civilians.

I wish the loss of human life were lower - were zero, if possible. I absolutely wish no children were hit. But the lack of Israeli casualties is not because Hamas isn't bloodthirsty, it's because Israeli families build bomb shelters under their homes and flee into them when under attack. Right now what we're seeing below Gaza homes are weapons caches, and Hamas spokesmen urging their people to rush to their rooftops when alerted (alerted! called and notified!) that bombs are about to fall.
posted by Mchelly at 7:37 PM on July 13 [4 favorites]


And just to be clear, I only posted the first few links in my last comment as a direct response to the charges against Israelis in Sderot as being unusually "depraved". I don't think it's appropriate to point fingers at the way ordinary people under severe stress react to what looks at the outset like relief from oppression. What matters is the official response of the governments. Israel is still sending out knocks on the roof and doing the most any army could possibly do, attempting to limit civilian casualties. Hamas is still aiming rockets directly at civilian targets and telling their citizens to act as human shields. There is a difference.
posted by Mchelly at 7:45 PM on July 13


Would you be cheering on the massacre of another people (current death score: 167-0)? That's depraved, and that's what those Israelis in Sderot are doing.

You have no idea what they're doing. You have a photograph (source) of people watching the assault on Gaza, and a claim that they clapped when they heard blasts. You don't even know if anyone was killed during those particular bombings: according to the figures rosswald cites above, the odds are good that they weren't.

The people in Sderot are under regular assault from Gaza. The people there are the victims of both direct violence and PTSD. A few months back there was a study showing a 59% rise in spontaneous abortions for Sderot women, compared to women without similar stress levels. How can you presume to judge them? As for calling the IDF's strikes depraved, you're confusing the fire and the firemen. It is Hamas' attacks that are depraved, and each and every missile constitutes a crime against humanity.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:48 PM on July 13


Incidentally, it's ironic that some posters here think worse of Israelis than Hamas does. Hamas tells Gazans to go to the roofs of buildings targeted by the IDF, because it believes Israelis are so compassionate that they will accept rocket fire rather than deliberately take civilian lives ...
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:56 PM on July 13 [1 favorite]




Responding to a bunch of comments...

One rightist attack on protesters doesn't color the politics of an entire country.

And by that logic, one paper that is more left than a mainstream paper one can find in the US (which I agree Haaretz is -- no one like, say, Gideon Levy in the US) does not color the politics of an entire country. In any event, Israel is still occupying Palestinian territory.

Personally, I can see why they especially would be glad when a launching-site gets hit.

But that's just the point! Despite what the Israeli army may be telling you, these strikes don't surgically take out rocket launching sites. Perhaps some do, but inevitably there's "collateral damage" and innocent civilians get killed. Lots of them. (If these strikes are so effective, one must wonder why the rockets keep flying out of Gaza.)

If I math correctly, for 87% of all the strikes not a single person was killed - something everyone should cheer for.

Let me remind you that even if the Israeli munitions don't kill, they could wound or destroy infrastructure. Just because the attack isn't deadly doesn't mean harm isn't caused.

In any case, I don't applaud missiles being launched at defenseless civilian populations, even if they happen to not kill anyone. I suppose that's a difference between us.

There isn't any atrocity Hamas can commit that won't be handwaved away by some of you

Has anyone in this thread, or anyone identifiable in US public life, stood up and applauded Hamas' actions? Anyone? No, and that's because no one that is concerned about human rights, including myself, views Hamas as a completely innocent party in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Sure, there's plenty of blame that falls at their feet. But there's a larger context, with other actors, one of which is far more powerful, violent and culpable.

But the lack of Israeli casualties is not because Hamas isn't bloodthirsty, it's because Israeli families build bomb shelters under their homes and flee into them when under attack.

Sure, that's a contributing factor, but the more important one is that the Gazans' weapons (in the vast majority of cases) are completely pathetic. They're what Middle East scholar Juan Cole calls "8th grade chemistry experiments."

Hamas spokesmen urging their people to rush to their rooftops when alerted (alerted! called and notified!) that bombs are about to fall.

It's sad to realize, but the only defense that Gazans have against Israeli attacks is throwing their bodies between Israeli weapons and their homes. The lack of empathy required to condemn the Palestinians for doing this (regardless of whether it is Hamas' idea or not, which in most cases I presume it isn't) is astounding.

The Palestinians don't do this to appeal to the Israelis' compassion. They do it because the only thing that may -- just may (and even this seems doubtful most of the time, sadly) -- prevent further fire from raining down on them is the world's shock at the appalling body count that is mounting.

Israel is still sending out knocks on the roof and doing the most any army could possibly do, attempting to limit civilian casualties.

With regard to texting the phones of homes the Israelis are about to bomb: if someone texted you and told you your house was going to be destroyed, would you consider that an act of kindness or an act of terrorism? Palestinians would consider it the later, I imagine. (And there are the logistical objections: what if the Israelis don't have the right number; what if the Israelis don't give enough lead time before they attack; what if the person with the phone is not home but the rest of the family is; etc.)

But the Israelis were not content with that. Now they're telling one hundred thousand Gazans to leave their homes in advance of a purported strike. This is mass psychological terror. Not a nice favor that the Israelis are doing the Gazans. (And, not to mention, completely impractical -- the Gaza strip is a tiny piece of land that is for the most part completely sealed off from the outside world... where are these people supposed to go to be safe from bombing?)

You have no idea what they're doing.

We have a news report.

It is Hamas' attacks that are depraved

Agreed, just in case there is any doubt at this point, which I hope there is not.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:49 AM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Noisy Pink Bubbles, I checked your claim that "the IRA fired plenty of mortar rounds across the border". I haven't been able to find any references to support this. Did they in fact fire any mortar rounds across the border? And how could this be relevant to the present situation, given that the IRA was neither based in nor governing the Republic of Ireland?

the Gazans' weapons (in the vast majority of cases) are completely pathetic. They're what Middle East scholar Juan Cole calls "8th grade chemistry experiments."

This is nonsense, and a disgraceful attempt to minimise attacks on civilians.


It's sad to realize, but the only defense that Gazans have against Israeli attacks is throwing their bodies between Israeli weapons and their homes.

You're obviously not talking about collateral damage; you're talking about houses targetted by Israel, presumably because they are used for military purposes. A far better defense would be not storing missiles in the homes, and not allowing them to be fired from there.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:27 AM on July 14


Can you contrast Israel's behavior with that of another country in similar circumstances?

South Africa under Apartheid is the obvious and most accurate comparison.

I wish the loss of human life were lower - were zero, if possible. I absolutely wish no children were hit. But the lack of Israeli casualties is not because Hamas isn't bloodthirsty, it's because Israeli families build bomb shelters under their homes and flee into them when under attack.

Again, many seem to compare Israel and Hamas and subject them to the same moral calculus--when in fact they are completely and essentially different types of entities. Israel is an extremely powerful state. Hamas is a moderately powerful gang that rules an open-air prison called Gaza. Gazans can't even get clean drinking water, Israelis can build bomb shelters under the homes.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:04 AM on July 14 [12 favorites]


Joe in Australia: A far better defense would be not storing missiles in the homes, and not allowing them to be fired from there.

This assumes the homeowner has a level of choice equivalent to someone who does not live in a war zone with armed gangs.
posted by spaltavian at 8:02 AM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Following assaults on anti-war protesters in Tel Aviv, parties on Left demand answers
One of the people at the center of the right-wing counter- protest was rapper Yoav Eliasi, better known by his stage name “The Shadow.”

Ahead of the protest Eliasi called for people to come to the square, saying that “at 8 p.m.

we’ll be there in full force like lions.”

The morning after the protest, amid reports of violence and attacks on left-wing protesters, he wrote on his Facebook page that the police officers at the scene “were great to us and we could see on the faces of the riot cops the pride and satisfaction they felt towards us.”

Eliasi thanked the far-right group Lahava for taking part in the protest as well as what he said were a group of Betar FC fans, Kahanists, and other far-rightists.

He added: “Together we are a force against the real enemy that circles among us – the radical Left.”
2 Israelis Wore Neo Nazi Shirts During Attack on Anti War Protest in Tel Aviv
On July 12th, a violent fascist mob led by ultras attacked an anti war protest in Tel Aviv. Two of the participants could be seen wearing blatant neo nazi t-shirts that read “good night left side.” For those who are not familiar with this slogan, it’s used by neo nazi groups all over Europe and in the US to combat the original “Good Night White Pride” slogan used by antifascists.
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:55 AM on July 14


"the Gazans' weapons (in the vast majority of cases) are completely pathetic. They're what Middle East scholar Juan Cole calls "8th grade chemistry experiments.""

Bullshit. Syrian-made M-302, also used by Hezbollah, with a range of 100Km. Also Iranian made Fajr-5, with a range of 75km. That in a country slightly bigger than New Jersey (much smaller if you discount the Negev that's not involved in this war at all).
posted by gertzedek at 12:41 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


"Is there a similar manifesto coming from Israeli youth? "

It's incredible how people forget or ignore that Israel, contrary to all other countries in the region, has an actual functioning civil society. Just look at the anti-war protests in mentioned in the post above.
posted by gertzedek at 12:49 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Joe in Australia: A far better defense would be not storing missiles in the homes, and not allowing them to be fired from there.

Spaltavian: This assumes the homeowner has a level of choice equivalent to someone who does not live in a war zone with armed gangs.

Yes, that's a very fair point. On the other hand, those home owners are sheltering missiles that will be used to commit war crimes. Even if Hamas really does force unwilling people to shelter missiles (I think operational security would make this unlikely, but who knows) the owners' property interests do not take priority over Israel's need to defend its citizens. This scenario is explicitly referred to in the Geneva Conventions, as it happens: military targets don't become civilian just because civilians are stationed there.

Hamas, incidentally, is more than an armed gang. It is actually the government of Gaza; it claimed (with good reason) to be the legitimate ruling party of the Palestinian Authority; and it's been part of the Palestinian unity government since the beginning of June.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:50 PM on July 14 [3 favorites]


I think that the assumption that every casualty is a "Human Shield" is misguided and enables the continuing tragedy. Really, does anyone believe that when you drop hundreds of bombs, all of the children you kill deserved it?
posted by mikelieman at 2:01 PM on July 14 [7 favorites]


Israel has tried encouraging civlians to leave the area to avoid being killed but then... Hamas calls on evacuated Gazans to 'return immediately.'

I am sure that 100% completely innocent people have died, but, in my mind, the fault lies with Hamas and their macabre-and-cynical doctrine. Earlier in the thread Noisy Pink Bubbles described Hamas' intentions as:
They do it because the only thing that may [...] prevent further fire from raining down on them is the world's shock at the appalling body count that is mounting.
Hamas has successfully weaponized the life of every person in Gaza. They make sure to sting Israel hard enough to provoke a response, and then wait for the body-count and pressure against Israel to grow.
posted by rosswald at 2:26 PM on July 14 [2 favorites]


Joe, wrt IRA mortars, see here and here and here, etc. (One could extend the analysis to other IRA tactics, as well.) One wonders what the author had in mind with his reference to the "IRA," since that has historically referred to a number of different groups. But I take his point that the British did not respond with massive aerial bombardment as collective punishment. Yes, there are clearly differences in the situations, as you point out.

This is nonsense, and a disgraceful attempt to minimise attacks on civilians.

I think we can distinguish between two things here:

1) The sophistication of rocket technology being used by Hamas, et al
2) The morality of using such rockets on civilian populations

I am pointing out that their weaponry sucks, generally speaking (yes, there are exceptions, as gertzedek points out). I am not condoning its use on civilian populations.

You're obviously not talking about collateral damage; you're talking about houses targetted by Israel, presumably because they are used for military purposes. A far better defense would be not storing missiles in the homes, and not allowing them to be fired from there.

Well, many Palestinians dispute that. It looks like there exist two competing straw man positions:

1) Every target that the Israelis hit is exclusively, unambiguously a military facility
2) Every target that the Israelis hit is a civilian home with no military value whatsoever

The truth of the matter is probably somewhere in the middle. There's a lot of targets, a lot of civilians, a lot of uncertainty, and the only news comes from parties with a point to push. I would wager that some targets are military targets, some are not, and some are mixed-use. But the Fog of War obscures what is really going on, unfortunately.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:02 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Certain members of political organizations are taking violent military actions against the State of Israel.

Israel's response is to bomb all the people of Palestine. Seems pretty fucking stupid.
posted by hal_c_on at 6:16 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Noisy Pink Bubbles, I'm not sure if any of those mortars were actually fired across a border. The one fired on Downing St certainly wasn't; the ones fired on the Newry barracks probably weren't. I don't think any of them were fired at civilians; and the number of attacks was vastly lower: one of the Wikipedia articles you link to says that "between 1973 and early 1978 a total of 71 mortar attacks were recorded". And, of course, the IRA was not the government of the Republic of Ireland. There would have been no point in the British Army attacking the Republic of Ireland, because (a) that's not where the attacks were coming from; and (b) and the Republic of Ireland was also interested in stopping IRA violence.

In contrast, the government of Gaza is firing more mortars every day than the IRA fired in a year, at civilian areas, and from within their own territory.

Do you really find this at all comparable, to the extent that you can say Britain would not have behaved the way Israel is now doing?
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:18 PM on July 14 [1 favorite]


Interesting historical analysis: In defense of the Sderot cinema
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:55 PM on July 14


Certain members of political organizations are taking violent military actions against the State of Israel.

I don't see it that way at all. I see it as "Certain terrorists are committing criminal actions against civil order."

And the solution to criminals isn't to drop bombs on their neighborhood, is it?
posted by mikelieman at 3:41 AM on July 15


These are not members of political organizations. These are not "certain terrorists". They are the de facto government of Gaza. They rule Gaza as clearly as the communist party rules China.
posted by gertzedek at 3:59 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


If they're a government then there are a whole lot of UN conventions on treating civilian populations of that government during wartime. Is the Israeli Government in compliance?
posted by mikelieman at 4:11 AM on July 15


Additionally, if they're a government, then isn't the blockade of their nation a legitimate act of war?
posted by mikelieman at 4:12 AM on July 15


Yes, Hamas is at war with Israel.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:00 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


Do you really find this at all comparable, to the extent that you can say Britain would not have behaved the way Israel is now doing?

Well, yes, in the way I stated: "But I take his point that the British did not respond with massive aerial bombardment as collective punishment." In that way Israel and Britain have had different responses to terrorism.

Keep in mind that the situation is more nuanced than you describe:

- Hamas is not the only Palestinian entity firing rockets; there are many who do who are "not the government" of Gaza
- The Israeli-Palestinian "border" is not an interstate border either, since Palestine is not a bona fide state
- Hamas employs tactics other than just firing mortars across the border; they also have operations in Israel proper
- The IRA at various points did have organization in both the Republic of Ireland as well as Northern Ireland
- There are periods of more or less rocket fire from Gaza; in particular I don't believe there were any rockets being fired in the period before the recent Israeli operations (but perhaps I'm wrong on that)
- There are various Palestinian factions (Fatah, for instance, who controls the West Bank) who are at odds with Hamas over a great deal from time to time

Point is I think you're getting derailed by your literalist interpretation of the blogger's argument. But again, I concede that, like most historical analogies, there are differences between the situations that one could point to.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:08 AM on July 15


They rule Gaza as clearly as the communist party rules China.

LOL. This is fucking absurd! If you're making the argument that Hamas is a government and that Gaza is a separate state than the West Bank. Then Hamas is literally the worst government ever.

Or, more specifically, there are very few characteristics that Hamas possesses that would enable one to accurately characterize Hamas as a national government. I'm a political scientist in training, if a fellow political scientist attempted to characterize a nonstate actor like Hamas as a national government I would seriously question their methodology.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:29 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


BBC: Israel has resumed its air strikes on Gaza after its brief ceasefire was met with continuing rocket fire.
Israel had earlier accepted an Egyptian truce proposal for the conflict and stopped operations on Tuesday morning.

However, the armed wing of Hamas, which controls Gaza, rejected the initiative as a "surrender"
posted by rosswald at 7:05 AM on July 15 [1 favorite]


From the live blog at Haaretz:

4:15 P.M. Operation Protective Edge must end with the IDF "controlling all of the Gaza Strip," says Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, urging a stop to the "never-ending hesitation and asking of questions."

"Israel must go all the way," he added, speaking at a press conference. "A cease-fire is a tacit agreement that Hamas continue to build up its power. All the diplomatic formulations are, in this case, hurtful… A full takeover of the Gaza Strip is Israel's only course forward," said Lieberman, calling any cease-fire "nothing but a preparation for the next round" of fighting. "It is clear that Hamas will use any cease-fire to make more rockets and smuggle in more explosives."

The global pressures pushing for an Israeli return to its '67 borders are misguided, says Lieberman, and display the world's callous lack of concern for Israelis' security. The Foreign Minister cites Hamas' Gaza Strip rocket-fire as evidence that Israel's pullout from the Gaza Strip in 2005 was a mistake. "We have to tell the world - you pressured us into [the disengagement], this is what your [beliefs] led to, and just because of that, you need to give us the backing now to go all the way."

posted by mediareport at 7:22 AM on July 15


Interesting: the top-trending Twitter hashtag in South Africa right now is #ExpelIsraeliAmbassadorToSA. Some more background.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:44 AM on July 15


"One Nation, With Liberty And Justice For All". Gets my vote.
posted by mikelieman at 7:48 AM on July 15






What happened to the Gaza 'cease-fire' and what happens next?
During the first few days of Operation Protective Edge there seemed to be a reluctance of the Egyptians to get involved too deeply. Following the death of the short-lived and one-sided "cease-fire", it seems that when Egypt finally acted, theycould have done so too quickly, without securing at least some minimal understanding with Hamas that they were prepared to go along.

Whether or not there is any truth to Hamas claims that they learned the terms of cease-fire from the media, it is clear there was little chance of them coming round at this point.
Seems like sort of a blow to al-Sissi, but it looks like Bibi's intent all along has been to fully reoccupy Gaza and I'm not sure al-Sissi would mind. Would anyone be sorry to see Hamas go? Why not have the UN occupy Gaza?

Three Israelis Confess to Revenge Killing of Palestinian, Officials Say
... as Muslims marked the end of the daylight Ramadan fast, the three suspects "patrolled Arab neighbourhoods of Jerusalem for a number of hours, in an attempt to find a victim to abduct, until they spotted Mohammed Abu Khudair".

Bundling him into their car, they drove to a forest outside the city where the 29-year-old suspect beat him on the head with a tyre iron (wheel brace) and, helped by the two 17-year-olds, doused him with fuel and lit it, the Shin Bet said.
I watched Israeli police beat my American cousin. Most Palestinian victims don’t even get that much attention.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:47 AM on July 15 [4 favorites]


NYT: Israelis Watch Bombs Drop on Gaza From Front-Row Seats

Guardian: Israel resumes air strikes after Hamas ceasefire rejection kills civilian: First Israeli killed in conflict by one of 50 rockets fired from Gaza during halt in Israeli bombardment, which has killed almost 200

"It is an optimistic man who opens his mirror shop in the midst of a one-sided and fragile ceasefire.

At his shop on Tuesday morning – an hour after Israel said it was pausing its assault on Gaza – Abdullah Sawafri, aged 62, was sitting outside with his glass cutting tools reading the Qur'an as Gaza's streets filled up in hope of an end to the current eight-day conflict.

"There have been no air strikes since nine this morning," he says, "so I'm optimistic. I haven't had any customers yet but I'm expecting people to call me to fix their broken windows.""
'I want peace. I'm exhausted by war': Gazans speak out amid brief lull
Gaza's streets fill with people as businesses open their doors for the first time in eight days and locals reflect on the conflict

posted by whyareyouatriangle at 12:08 PM on July 15


"Palestinian health workers in Gaza are once again scrambling to cope with the casualties from the latest Israeli airstrikes which have killed nearly 200 people. FRANCE 24’s Gallagher Fenwick took a ride with an ambulance team.

Sirens wailing, the speedometer climbing to 120 miles, an ambulance screeches through the empty streets of Beit Lahia, a northern Gaza city located close to the border with Israel.

For over a week, ambulance workers in this blockaded, densely populated strip of land have been working round the clock as Israeli airstrikes wreck a deadly toll.

“There was an airstrike,” explains Mohammed Salah, a Palestinian medical worker as he dons surgical gloves in the ambulance, ready for the next round of casualties."
On the road in Gaza with Palestinian ambulance crew
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 12:23 PM on July 15


I think there will be a ground invasion now, unfortunately. Hamas rejected the ceasefire.
posted by Justinian at 2:08 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]




LOL. This is fucking absurd! If you're making the argument that Hamas is a government [...]

It is absolutely uncontroversial that Hamas governs the Gaza Strip. They have recently become part of the Palestinian Authority once again (at least officially), but it is indisputable that they are the de facto and perhaps de jure rulers of the Gaza Strip. From their page on Wikipedia:
Since 2007, Hamas has governed the Gaza Strip, after it won a majority of seats in the Palestinian Parliament in the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections and defeated the Fatah political organization in a series of violent clashes.
[my emphasis]
I don't mean to offend you, but you've made a bunch of statements above here that would make any informed reader roll their eyes. Claims like "Hamas isn't a government" and "Gazans can't even get clean drinking water" are just noise. There's definitely an informed discussion that could be had regarding the water supply in Gaza (which I believe is administered by Mufiz al-Makhalalati, the Health Minister for the Palestinian Government in the Gaza Strip, appointed by Hamas), but that discussion will never happen in a forum dominated by emotive and ill-informed agitprop.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:24 PM on July 15 [4 favorites]


Rosswald: I think that is very unlikely. I cannot imagine any other country taking similar care to avoid civilian casualties.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:25 PM on July 15 [2 favorites]


OK, this is surreal: Israel Electric Corp. workers brave rockets, restore power to Gaza

Also, watch Hamas rocket attacks in real time! Red Alert
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:16 PM on July 15 [3 favorites]


Legal opinion: Israel can cut off water, power to Gaza during conflict

Document states that imposing economic sanctions would be legal, that electricity is not a basic humanitarian need.


Israel is permitted to cut off water, fuel and electricity supplies to the Gaza Strip in response to hostile actions, according to a legal opinion submitted to the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee yesterday...The opinion was formulated by Prof. Avi Bell of Bar-Ilan University...The opinion states, “Imposing economic sanctions on the Gaza Strip, such as refraining from the supply of water, fuel and electricity, does not involve military power and is thus a legal measure, despite the collateral effect on the Strip’s residents.”

...The document states that electricity is not considered a basic humanitarian need, and therefore Israel can stop supplying electricity. “Moreover, Israel is permitted to attack power stations in Gaza and thus prevent Gaza from providing its own electricity. Similarly, Israel is permitted to stop supplying water, but it must allow the supply of water by a neutral third party, if such a party seeks to do so.”

posted by mediareport at 7:27 PM on July 15 [1 favorite]


(Btw, the free registration at Haaretz gets you 6 free articles a month, which you can probably extend by paying attention to your cookies, if you're the kind of person who doesn't mind going around paywalls.)
posted by mediareport at 7:28 PM on July 15


What part of "Hey stop killing each other and talk" is misunderstood by the people in power on both sides.

Children are being killed. Surely that is something that Islam and Judaism can agree is a bad thing? Please? I want to believe they can agree on that.

Because if they can't, there will be a land invasion and it will precipitate so, so much horror.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:40 PM on July 15


Hamas's position is essentially a theological one, laid out in its charter. It expressly rejects a number of positions, including the idea that non-Moslems can rule over any territory consecrated as a waqf (i.e., most of the Middle East) or that any negotiations or compromises with non-Moslems can be made. The charter possibly allows for non-Moslems to live in a Moslem state if they have been subjugated, but I'm not sure if this is meant practically: there are many references to the treacherous nature of Jews and the obligation to kill "enemies". And this duty, it says more than once, falls upon every Moslem - which means that from their perspective it isn't actually a bad thing for a Moslem child to die in the cause of "resistance".

Yes, this is crazy.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:44 AM on July 16


Hamas's position is essentially a theological one, laid out in its charter.

You're right that there's much in Hamas' charter that is crazytalk, but their actual negotiating positions are much more reasonable. They have been willing and able to dialogue with Israel in the past. The current "cease-fire" that they are refusing to accept is a return to what they see as an unacceptable status quo. But since Israel proposed something that they knew Hamas would reject, Israel gets to trumpet that it is the party that wants peace, making Hamas look like the guilty party (while conveniently omitting the details of the affair).
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:46 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Hamas rejected the ceasefire.

Worth noting again that the cease-fire was negotiated only between Israel's Netanyahu and Egypt's al-Sissi. Here's another good Haaretz behind-the-scenes piece about the process, which was done quietly between Israel and Egypt (both with their own reasons for keeping Kerry away), without involving Hamas in any meaningful way:

Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip were also surprised to learn of the Egyptian cease-fire proposal, especially Hamas, which still views itself as the sovereign in Gaza. All the factions knew that talks about a cease-fire were taking place, but they had expected Egyptian intelligence to fully coordinate any serious proposal with them, as had been the case in the past. They did not expect to hear about it from the media – nor did they expect that Egypt would coordinate with Israel but not with them.

When a member of the Israeli team asked whether Hamas would agree to the terms of the initiative, the Egyptians tried to reassure him, saying that if Israel agreed, Hamas would have no choice but to do the same.

In reality, the opposite occurred. The Egyptians gave Hamas’ political leadership minimal information and didn’t communicate with members of its military wing at all. The internal disputes between these two wings further contributed to the confusion, and to Hamas’ feeling that Egypt was pulling a fast one.

When the diplomatic-security cabinet met Tuesday morning, there was no real discussion of the Egyptian proposal. Netanyahu, one minister said, presented the proposal as a fait accompli to which no changes were possible.

“The general idea was that if the Egyptians had issued a cease-fire proposal, it would be inappropriate for Israel to reject it,” said one minister. “Netanyahu and Ya’alon told us this is an opportunity to strengthen the alliance with Egypt, and a positive response to the Egyptian proposal would earn us a lot of brownie points internationally and increased legitimacy to expand the operation against Hamas if needed. This was true and logical, and most of the ministers were convinced. But a few hours later, we discovered we’d made a cease-fire agreement with ourselves.”


It's a strange kind of cease-fire agreement that only "minimally" involves one of the two parties to the fighting, and stranger still to hold that party to an agreement they had no hand in negotiating.
posted by mediareport at 6:15 AM on July 16 [8 favorites]


Egypt proposed the terms of the ceasefire, not Israel. And your clam about their "actual negotiating positions" is just convenient apologia, like your claims about, e.g., the inoffensive nature of Hamas' weapons.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:21 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Despite the cease-fire being some kind of Israeli-Egyptian conspiracy (/s), the Arab League encouraged both sides to take the deal
posted by rosswald at 6:28 AM on July 16 [2 favorites]


Breaking the Silence: Israeli soldiers talk about the occupied territories

How an army of defense became an army of vengeance
I will never forget the evening my friends and I were sent to kill Palestinian police officers in a revenge attack. We went from soldiers sent to defend our families to murderers of innocent people.
As an ex-soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces, I've seen how shockingly we treat Palestinians
I remember a friend who had taken part in Cast Lead. He returned shaken by the fact that homes of “Hamas members” were deemed legitimate targets for bombing without any relation to the risk they posed to our soldiers in the field. That was the first time he had encountered such orders during his military service.
...
The same red line that was crossed during Operation Cast Lead has become the starting line for Operation Protective Edge. Homes of “Hamas members” were added to the IDF’s long list of potential targets in the Gaza Strip.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:46 AM on July 16


The night it became dangerous to demonstrate in Tel Aviv
The fascists attacked. Police didn’t respond in time and ran away when the sirens wailed. We were lucky to get away with only three injured, one in the hospital and many traumatized.
...
It made no difference that fascists had attacked demonstrators before (for example: just two weeks ago at the end of the demonstration outside the Defense Ministry) and the lesson was not learned – that these are the same gangs, among them masked men who rioted in Jerusalem just a week and a half ago, attacking Arabs. On the heels of the slogans and the incitement coming from the government, Muhammad Abu Khdeir was kidnapped and burned to death.

And then came the siren. The policemen disappeared. And the fascists attacked. They chased down people who were running to shelter, pushing them, swearing at them and sexually harassing them. With no other choice, we grouped up tightly, surrounded by a human chain, linked arm to arm. We called out all the slogans we had, to keep up morale and unity, to stay safe from fear, to cheer up in the face of the menacing, impassioned mass in front of us.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:29 AM on July 16


HRW suggests the airstrikes are illegal...
posted by faux ami at 11:29 AM on July 16 [1 favorite]


Despite the cease-fire being some kind of Israeli-Egyptian conspiracy (/s),

Do you have a specific objection or counter-evidence to the claims in the Haaretz piece I linked? There's really no need for snark here; Egypt's new leader is very much opposed to Hamas and vice versa (he destroyed the Muslim Brotherhood, for one reason), and it's hardly a "conspiracy" to read an Israeli newspaper's description of a process that kept Hamas almost completely in the dark (along with the far-right Israeli foreign minister, it should be noted), and think it's odd that folks are ignoring that when they talk about the cease-fire being violated.

Again, the article notes past Egyptian peace brokerings have always included input from Hamas; this one didn't. The political calculus of the anti-Islamist-extremist Egyptian leader is hardly something that should be dismissed offhand with kneejerk "ooh! conspiracy!" garbage. If you have input that Hamas was actually involved in the discussions, please feel free to share it.

Note: I'm making no claim aside from pointing out reporting from Israel that says Hamas was kept almost entirely out of the discussions about the terms of the cease-fire. I think that's relevant information in any discussion about it being violated.

(Joe, I assume your last comment was addressed to someone other than me, since it makes no sense otherwise, even though it appears right after mine.)
posted by mediareport at 3:52 PM on July 16


Israel shelling kills four kids on a beach in front of a hotel full of journalists.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:03 PM on July 16


For those who can handle a challenging perspective on the cease-fire, via Jewish Voice for Peace comes this Q&A with three "experts": FAQ on Failed Effort to Arrange Ceasefire Between Israel and Hamas

Here are their answers to the first question, "Why do you think Hamas didn't accept the terms of the ceasefire?"

RK - "Hamas has insisted that there be a lasting resolution of the basic problem of Israel's siege of Gaza, as was promised as part of the 2012 cease-fire, but never implemented in spite of Israel's recognition that Hamas scrupulously maintained the cease-fire until quite recently. The Egyptian proposal makes lifting of the siege conditional on Israel's approval, which means never."

MR - "Hamas, and with it other Palestinian organizations such as Islamic Jihad and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, have indicated that they were not consulted on the Egyptian cease-fire proposal, and that it has not been formally presented to them but rather released to the media after its terms were agreed with Israel.

"In terms of the proposal's contents, what these organizations and many Palestinians object to is that it simply restores a 2012 ceasefire agreement that Israel has systematically violated and does not provide any guarantees such violations would cease. These violations consist not only of periodic armed Israeli attacks on the Gaza Strip, but also Israel's refusal to respect clauses on the rights of fishermen in Gaza's territorial waters and farmers in land close to the Gaza/Israel boundary. Hamas has additionally stated that it would not accept an agreement that does not provide for the immediate re-release of Palestinian prisoners who were released by Israel in 2011 as part of a prisoner exchange with Israel, but re-arrested by Israel in the last month.

"More broadly, Hamas and other Palestinian organizations are averse to returning to an untenable status quo, which lasts only until Israel once again decides to launch a major assault on the Gaza Strip, and which does not include concrete steps towards lifting the ongoing and prolonged blockade of the Gaza Strip.

"There is widespread Palestinian suspicion that Egypt, which has shown nothing but unremitting hostility towards Hamas since the current regime seized power in July 2013, released a proposal it ensured would be acceptable to Israel but rejected by the Palestinians, in order to help Israel legitimize an escalation of attacks against the Gaza Strip. It is likely to have done so in close cooperation with its new best friend, Tony Blair, and other advocates of Israeli power in the Arab world and internationally."

NE - “Within two days of Israel’s aerial assault on the population of the Gaza Strip, Hamas announced five conditions for a ceasefire: 1) stop the airstrikes; 2) observe terms of 2012 ceasefire; 3) release the Palestinians released during the Shalit prisoner exchange who were recently re-arrested; 4) lift the siege; and 5) don’t interfere with Palestinian unity government. What little is known about the proposed ceasefire agreement is that it demands a cessation of violence with no conditions thus reverting to conditions that are even worse than the status quo ante.

“This clearly weakens Hamas politically, exacerbates the humanitarian conditions under which Palestinians struggle, and emboldens Israel to strike again with zero accountability. That said, it is not in the Palestinians’ best interest for Hamas to continue launching rockets regardless of the circumstances, as it provides a justification for Israel to continue its brutal attacks on a defenseless and besieged population.”

posted by mediareport at 4:15 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]


How do you know it was an Israeli shell, and not a Hamas misfire? Reports from non-Israeli sources say that about a third of Hamas rocket attacks are misfires or fall short, and that these failures frequently cause Palestinian casualties. For instance, the HRW report faux ami linked ascribed ten Palestinian deaths to these attacks. The true figure is probably much higher, because Palestinian groups have every incentive to disguise these cases of friendly fire. It takes months or years for the truth to come out, if it ever does, as in the case of the child of a BBC editor whose death was originally blamed on an Israeli attack.

Practically all the data coming out of Gaza at present originates with Hamas. I'm sure Israel is responsible for some civilian casualties, but despite Hamas' claims, it is vanishingly unlikely that it's responsible for all of them.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:24 PM on July 16


Well, as Joe caught, Noisy Pink Bubbles had said it was Israel's cease-fire proposal, which wasn't true. My larger point though was that the ceasefire was broached Monday night, 12 hours before the 9:00AM start. Israel's cabinet met at midnight to discuss (and approve) the plan, and this Ma'an article quotes a Hamas member as being aware of and discussing plan. And then (again, before the deadline) the Arab League passes a resolution in favor of the ceasefire.

So Hamas could certainly have accepted the proposal should they have wanted to.

As to Hamas' demands not being part of the cease-fire and that being the reason for them not accepting it... well, sure. Hamas would of course prefer additional conditions of the cease-fire that benefit them. But so would Israel. The fact that the terms of the cease-fire were acceptable to the Arab League is, to me, indicative that it was at least a reasonable proposal. And Hamas' rejection of the ceasefire meant that more people would die.
posted by rosswald at 4:28 PM on July 16 [2 favorites]


It is highly likely the Gazan children were killed by Israeli fire. The most details I could clean are from this BBC article:
We heard loud thuds by the coast and saw smoke rise behind a beachside hotel used by journalists. The boys who were killed were from a family of fishermen who work in the nearby port. It's understood that they were playing by a shipping container. Witnesses said the site was hit twice.

Hamas described the attack as a war crime, and called for the United Nations to condemn it. Israel's military says it's investigating what happened. It often targets open areas by the sea which are used by militants to launch rockets into its territory.
Certainly a tragedy.

Speaking of cease-fires, the BBC article also talks about a unilateral "humanitarian truce" in Gaza that was initiated by Israel, and it seems Hamas will abide as well. Hopefully it can be built upon...
posted by rosswald at 4:35 PM on July 16 [2 favorites]


glean
posted by rosswald at 4:44 PM on July 16


To the comment above re what was the cause of the beach deaths, the ratio of deaths caused by enemy versus "friendly" fire, per the HRW press release, is approximately 50:1. These figures do not account for injuries, which if included would considerably increase the ratio. Even were the friendly fire incidents underreported fivefold, the preponderance of injuries and deaths would still be caused by enemy and not friendly fire. That, plus the fact that the firing appeared to come from offshore per reporters on scene weigh heavily in favor of an assessment that this was not friendly fire. Also, HRW has its own people on the ground in these emergency situations, so the numbers are not sourced solely from partisans.
posted by faux ami at 5:23 PM on July 16 [2 favorites]


HRW suggests the airstrikes are illegal...

Well, no, they're suggesting that some of the airstrikes are illegal. They're probably right although its impossible to say for certain without access to Israeli or American intelligence which is not going to be forthcoming. But I'm reasonably convinced they're correct.

That's not the same as saying that airstrikes in Gaza are illegal, it's saying that Israel appears to be sometimes hitting illegal targets. Which isn't quite the same thing.

Virtually all of Hamas' attacks are illegal, of course.
posted by Justinian at 6:12 PM on July 16 [1 favorite]




NSFW
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:37 PM on July 16


To the comment above re what was the cause of the beach deaths, the ratio of deaths caused by enemy versus "friendly" fire, per the HRW press release, is approximately 50:1.

Those two figures don't have any relationship to each other, because sometimes you have more Palestinian rockets (in absolute terms) and sometimes you have more air strikes. Also, the mixture of IDF targets isn't necessarily the same at all times: rockets aimed at civilian areas, like now, will cause more deaths than rockets aimed at (e.g.) mortars or tunnels out in the Gaza countryside. I think a better way to assess it is by looking at the number of deaths (or injuries) caused by Palestinian rocket launches versus the number of launches. Call that the Palestinian friendly fire rate, and multiply it by the total number of launches during the present operation.

As I said above, GANSO is based in Gaza and doesn't seem to have an axe to grind. They issue bi-weekly reports that identify IDF attacks, Palestinian rockets and mortars, and other internal or external conflicts affecting Gaza. I downloaded the last four months of GANSO biweekly reports (here) and found the following:
Period          Rockets1    Failures2   Injuries3   Deaths4
 6 Mar  - 19 Mar     64           23           4         1
20 Mar -  2 Apr       4            3          10         1
 3 Apr - 16 Apr      17            5           6         3
17 Apr - 30 Apr      23            6           1         0
 1 May - 15 May       8            1           0         0
16 May - 28 May       1            0           0         0
29 May - 11 Jun       8            4           0         0
12 Jun - 25 Jun      41           24           7         1

Total               166           66          28         6
Rocket failure rate: 40% (approx)
Friendly fire injury rate: 17 per hundred rockets (approx)
Friendly fire death rate: 3.6 per hundred rockets (approx)

Note: I have included injuries and deaths that are due to "unexploded ordnance". Some of this unexploded ordnance may be Israeli, but I presume that (a) the high Palestinian rocket failure rate means that most unexploded ordnance is Palestinian; (b) deaths due to Israeli ordnance would be blamed on Israel; (c) deaths due to unexploded ordnance are most likely to occur when the ordnance is collected for re-use, and is therefore ascribable to rocket manufacture.
1 As reported by GANSO.
2 I have not counted rockets as failures if GANSO describes them as "tests".
3 These include injuries or fatalities that are described as being due to rockets that exploded prematurely, rockets that fell short, and unexploded ordnance.
4 See note (3).
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:17 PM on July 16


Based on the figures in my last comment, I suspect there have been approximately 62 Palestinian deaths due to failed rocket launches.

The IDF presently reports 1,350 rocket launches, of which 1,027 hit Israel. This would represent a launch failure rate of only 31.5%, but presumably does not include rockets that failed to launch altogether. I have therefore grossed the total number of launches up to represent the same failure rate as shown earlier, which implies 1,712 attempted launches. This in turn implies approximately 291 Palestinian injuries due to friendly fire, and approximately 62 deaths.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:18 PM on July 16


An eyewitness account of the attack that killed four children on Gaza beach
The IDF Spokesperson unit had difficulty coming up with an explanation for the explosions which killed the four children and wounded others and it took a few hours for them to begin to respond. Toward 8 P.M they began briefing reporters that the first explosion was most likely caused by an attack on a "legitimate" Hamas target and the second the result of misidentification of the fleeing children as Hamas fighters. The incident is still under investigation, said IDF Spokesperson Brigadier General Moti Almoz. He said on Channel One that "we understand there was a target which was hit after suspects were identified.
posted by Golden Eternity at 1:26 AM on July 17


So Israel agree not once but twice to an unconditional ceasefire and Hamas do nothing but keep attacking? I do not understand what moral framework they are working within. Even if they fully guilt the Israeli government for the Gazan deaths so far, to forgo the chance to stop that killing by simply saying, "for now", seems little more than spite. Spite is neither moral nor politic, and runs against the best interests of the people Hamas seek to represent.
posted by Thing at 3:07 AM on July 17


Can anyone explain Hamas' rationale here? Are they simply trying to get Israel to inflict civilian casualties? Bad food, bad smells at refugee shelter
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:35 AM on July 17


Can anyone explain Hamas' rationale here?

I encourage you to look at the very good FAQ that mediareport posted. Hamas doesn't want to return to a status quo that continues Israel's domination over the Gaza strip. And they are holding out for an actual cease fire agreement that takes into account their preferences.

Speaking of which, here are some alleged conditions that Hamas has put forward:
First – Opening all the crossing with the Gaza Strip.

Second – Opening Rafah crossing, the link between Gaza and Egypt, on a permanent basis, 24 hours per day with international guarantees it will not be closed.

Third – A maritime corridor to Gaza.

Fourth – Allowing residents of the Gaza Strip to pray in the al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Fifth – Israel will release the prisoners who were freed as part of the “Shalit” deal, and Israel will abide by the previous agreement reached by prisoners and the Israel Prison Service with Egyptian mediation in 2012.
Max Blumenthal linked to a similar, but different list of conditions on his Twitter feed:
1) The first demand, is the withdrawal of Israeli military tanks from the border fence area to a distance that enables Gaza farmers to access their fields and tend them freely.
2) Israel must free all Palestinian prisoners detained after the abduction and killing of three Israeli teenagers in the southern West Bank including those who were freed as part of Gilad Shalit prisoner swap. This precondition also includes softening procedures against all prisoners in Israeli custody.
3) A third demand stipulates that Israel ends the crippling siege on the coastal enclave, which means reopening all border crossings and allowing the entry of construction materials and all requirements needed to run the Gaza Strip’s power station.
4) The fourth demand stipulates the opening of an international seaport and international airport in the Gaza Strip to be run and monitored by the United Nations.
5) Hamas and Islamic Jihad also demanded that Israel increases the Gaza fishing zone to 10 nautical miles and allows Gaza fishermen to use large fishing ships.
6) Rafah crossing between Egypt and the Gaza Strip should be monitored by international crews from friendly and Arab countries.
7) Israel must commit to a ceasefire for 10 years which includes closing Gaza airspace to Israeli aircraft, it added.
8) Moreover, Israel must give Gaza residents permission to visit Jerusalem and pray in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
9) Another stipulation demands that Israel abstain from any intervention in Palestinian internal affairs including political arrangements and the reconciliation agreement and all its consequences.
10) Finally, the Gaza industrial zone must be re-established.
(Maan News)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:58 AM on July 17 [6 favorites]


I meant, what rationale would justify firing rockets from a site next to a UN food distribution center in the middle of a cease fire?
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:02 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


The fact that the terms of the cease-fire were acceptable to the Arab League is, to me, indicative that it was at least a reasonable proposal.

How's that? The Arab states surrounding Israel/Palestine do not represent the Palestinians, and have used them as props and negotiating chips for decades. Just because their co-religionists accept something doesn't mean it's actually a good deal for them.

Obviously Hamas is to be faulted for not taking the deal, but this really gets the heart of the problem. Israel (and the Americans) want to choose who they negotiate with, and so they talk to people are do not have skin in the game, like the Arab League. But Hamas actually exists, and aren't going any where- in fact, the longer Israel makes Gaza an open-air prison, the more entrenched they will be. Nothing will change as long as Israel refuses to deal with a government that includes Hamas, all these "deals" with Egypt or the A.L. will continue to be meaningless.

I meant, what rationale would justify firing rockets from a site next to a UN food distribution center in the middle of a cease fire?

It's obvious what the rationale is. Are you actually asking, or hoping we'll forget what asymmetrical warfare is in our rush to condem? No reasonable person thinks Hamas should do that, and no one likes it. I imagine a lot of Palestine considers such tactics necessary evils given the current situation, just the same way advanced, traditional warfighting nations would consider collateral damage.
posted by spaltavian at 6:25 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


I have no idea what the possible point could be.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:17 AM on July 17


That's because you're obviously a partisan.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 7:39 AM on July 17 [14 favorites]


"Hamas offers Israel 10 conditions for a 10 year truce:

According to Ma’ariv (Hebrew) these are the conditions:

Withdrawal of Israeli tanks from the Gaza border.

Freeing all the prisoners that were arrested after the killing of the three youths.

Lifting the siege and opening the border crossings to commerce and people.

Establishing an international seaport and airport which would be under U.N. supervision.

Increasing the permitted fishing zone to 10 kilometers.

Internationalizing the Rafah Crossing and placing it under the supervision of the U.N. and some Arab nations.

International forces on the borders.

Easing conditions for permits to pray at the Al Aqsa Mosque.

Prohibition on Israeli interference in the reconciliation agreement.

Reestablishing an industrial zone and improvements in further economic development in the Gaza Strip."

Seems totally reasonable to me.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:49 AM on July 17


Seems totally reasonable to me.


Except they're demanding it at gunpoint, from someone who has a much bigger gun. So not only are they not going to get what they want, they're going to remove the political impetus for Israel to elect people who would be inclined to give it to them. Also, they're going to get a crapload of their own people killed. The demands are a stunt - if they work, Hamas is in a much better position politically, and can show that armed conflict gets them results. If they don't, they can go to the international press "See? Our demands are so reasonable!", and use that to drum up support for an economic sanctions on Israel, or at least fill the coffers with foreign donations.

TL;DR - the demands are reasonable, but they're likely not the goal of the current round of violence and acceding to them probably won't stop the rockets.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:59 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Those aren't demands. They are conditions for a truce.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:01 AM on July 17


Internationalizing the Rafah Crossing and placing it under the supervision of the U.N. and some Arab nations.

International forces on the borders.


I am not really sure what countries there are that would amenable to both sides and would be willing to put their troops in Gaza. Having a neutral party in there to prevent Hamas from just using the lessening of a blockade to re-arm would be tricky. Would Swedish or Chinese troops arrest militants firing rockets? What about Hamas members?
posted by rosswald at 9:04 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


The UN.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:11 AM on July 17


I suspect there have been approximately 62 Palestinian deaths due to failed rocket launches.

So, of 300-some rockets fired from Gaza that did not reach Israel, there was an almost 90% injury rate and 20% death rate? That seems quite high. (It looked like the reports you pulled showed a death rate, using a very small sample, of only ~2%.) Meanwhile, injury and death rates from aircraft bombs are exceedingly higher. The 50:1 ratio is an overall ratio and could certainly be lower were a bunch of rockets fired off in a given area at a given time, absent aerial bombings at that time. But to get a nearly 1:1 or greater than 1 odds of these particular deaths being from friendly as opposed to friendly fire would take considerably more than a 2% friendly fire death rate. Also, are rocket failures this precise in terms of targeting?

It's saying that Israel appears to be sometimes hitting illegal targets

The press release documented four instances of what HRW claimed were illegal airstrikes. I believe HRW doesn't make claims without gathering their own evidence, which is difficult in emergency situations like this. One could imagine that the concerns raised in these four instances are present in some of the other bombings.
posted by faux ami at 9:12 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Maybe someone knows more, but there is no standing UN army. They pull troops from member nations to act as peacekeepers.
posted by rosswald at 9:23 AM on July 17


Yes. And the UN can pull troops to act as peacekeepers from many nations like they have done many times in the past.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:25 AM on July 17


Yes, but I believe that member nations can accept or reject missions as they please. My point is that it may be hard to find member nations willing to put their troops in Gaza as peackeepers.
posted by rosswald at 9:28 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Israel is never going to trust the UN to do it though. It would have to be American troops in a US operation, and that's going to go over like a lead balloon.
posted by spaltavian at 9:54 AM on July 17 [2 favorites]


I seem to recall a plan floated a while back that would have used the Swiss Guards as peacekeepers.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:18 AM on July 17


I seem to recall a plan floated a while back that would have used the Swiss Guards as peacekeepers.

That was Tom Clancy.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:25 AM on July 17 [7 favorites]


Would there be a 'law enforcement' element to their mission? Would the peacekeepers be responsible for keeping weapons out and arresting militants who fire at Israel?

I don't think it is impossible, but I am sure the Swiss or whoever will be reluctant to have an 'active' role which draws them further into the conflict. Just stationing troops at the borders and crossings doesn't seem like a effective option either...
posted by rosswald at 10:29 AM on July 17


UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) STRONGLY CONDEMNS PLACEMENT OF ROCKETS IN SCHOOL
Yesterday, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA discovered approximately 20 rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA strongly condemns the group or groups responsible for placing the weapons in one of its installations. This is a flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law.
posted by rosswald at 10:39 AM on July 17 [3 favorites]


That was Tom Clancy.

One of the few not-crackpotty ideas in his latter writing, imnsho...
posted by mikelieman at 11:26 AM on July 17 [1 favorite]




CNN is reporting that as well. But it's probably true anyway.
posted by Justinian at 12:51 PM on July 17 [2 favorites]






ABC News as well
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 1:16 PM on July 17




NBC News Pulls Reporter Who Witnessed Gaza Attack

Ayman Mohyeldin, the NBC News correspondent who personally witnessed yesterday’s killing by Israel of four Palestinian boys on a Gazan beach and who has received widespread praise for his brave and innovative coverage of the conflict, has been told by NBC executives to leave Gaza immediately. According to an NBC source upset at his treatment, the executives claimed the decision was motivated by “security concerns” as Israel prepares a ground invasion, a claim repeated to me by an NBC executive. But late yesterday, NBC sent another correspondent, Richard Engel, along with an American producer who has never been to Gaza and speaks no Arabic, into Gaza to cover the ongoing Israeli assault (both Mohyeldin and Engel speak Arabic).
posted by cell divide at 1:26 PM on July 17 [4 favorites]


Some live tweeting pics from Gaza.

Gaza beachfront hotels (I presume this means the journalists that are staying there, too?) have been told to evacuate.

Guardian live updates.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 1:32 PM on July 17


Great time after a plane crash.

Well, this was the AP's headline: ISRAEL INVADES GAZA AFTER HAMAS REJECTS TRUCE

I prefer their rationale.
posted by rosswald at 3:31 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


If there were a news cycle reason for the timing of the invasion, I would think it would be to change the headlines away from coverage of the beach killing of the Palestinian children.

But anyways, that's not terribly convincing, since it seems like Israel made the decision to invade on Tuesday.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:34 PM on July 17


Good.. Now they can restore civil order and arrest the criminal terrorists.
posted by mikelieman at 5:01 PM on July 17




I just read about the "Israeli Crowd Cheers" nest story, and can only think that it's happened hundreds of times in the past...the difference being that the crowd then was Palestinian. Are we holding Palestinians to lower moral standards than Israelis?
posted by Thing at 6:06 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


Sadly, it's common everywhere. There were certainly Americans cheering when the US started launching attacks in Iraq both times.
posted by Justinian at 6:14 PM on July 17 [6 favorites]


Well exactly, but I feel that there is a double standard here. My opinions at the beginning of this conflict were that both sides need to show restraint. But I don't think both sides have been treated fairly in the presentation of the conflict.
posted by Thing at 6:42 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


I'm guessing very few people think both sides have been treated fairly but will be unable to agree on which side has been treated unfairly.
posted by Justinian at 6:45 PM on July 17


Those two figures don't have any relationship to each other, because sometimes you have more Palestinian rockets (in absolute terms) and sometimes you have more air strikes.

That is a perplexing statement to me... If there were 510 deaths from lung cancer and 500 were from smoking and 10 from environmental pollution and then there were 5 incident lung cancer cases brought to my attention, it would be reasonable for me to say that the 500 smoking and 10 environmental deaths (a 50:1 ratio) were related pieces of information. It would mean that the overwhelming likelihood is that the 5 deaths were caused by smoking and not environmental pollution. It is true that the prevalence of smoking and environmental pollution would be important factors (since if nobody smoked and everyone was exposed to environmental pollution then it would be easier to surmise that the deaths were caused by pollution, or in the I/P situation, by rockets rather than aerial bombardment) and it would also matter to an extent how much folks smoked or were exposed to pollution (i.e., where and when the bombs/rockets were dropped/launched). But, in the I/P situation, the prevalence of Israeli bombs dropped is as high as that of rockets being launched, it appears and there's no reason to think that the intensity of failed rockets in that seaside area in Gaza City is any greater in absolute terms than the bombs being dropped there by Israel. So, the numbers have a great deal to do with one another in helping assess responsibility for that incident...
posted by faux ami at 8:45 PM on July 17


Just caught the land invasion news (and the shot down plane in Ukraine, and a little girl being killed by a car and basically it was just a shitshow of horror on the news tonight) with my neighbour. Almost simultaneously we put our faces in our hands and said "Oh, fuck."

There is no way that this is going to end well for anyone. Maybe, as pyramid termite said above, maybe this is the Franz Ferdinand moment for the Middle East. Maybe not.

But either way, more senseless deaths. All because fully grown adults won't sit down at one table and have a fucking discussion. Instead it's bombs and bullets and missiles and dead children (on both sides; I am taking no sides here) and dead civilians and more hate and more fuel for the fire and it's never, ever going to stop.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:53 PM on July 17


Why I'm on the brink of burning my Israeli passport
On Monday she (Ayelet Shaked of the far-right Jewish Home party in the Knesset) quoted this on her Facebook page:  “Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised
there.”
...

“This is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. The reality is that this is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started it.”
...
And, as the bombs rain on Gaza, Israeli teens have taken to tweeting scantily-clad selfies alongside their political sentiments.  In two now deleted tweets, one wrote “Death to all of you Arabs you transfag”, while another proclaimed “Arabs may you be paralyzed & die with great suffering!”  Another teen simply tweeted “Death to these f****** Arabs”, and attached a photo of themselves pouting alongside it.
Seeing these angelic faces of evil spouting such genocidal rhetoric, I pick up my Israeli passport and a box of matches. “Not in my name, people. Not in my name!”
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:57 PM on July 17 [3 favorites]


Oh, god. That's just... I don't even have the words.

I'm getting more and more scared as to what the world will look like by Monday morning.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:08 PM on July 17


Faux ami: When I say that the two figures don't have any bearing on each other, I mean that the HRW figures are "from 2005 to the end of 2012". You can't presume that the sort of airstrikes that take place during times of low-intensity conflict are the same as those that take place during wartime; I understand that during most of that period Israel's responses were largely pro-forma, to the extent that Hamas was surprised when Israel started targetting Hamas operatives rather than just launcher locations.

In the case of the beach deaths, the whole exercise is a bit redundant because we're talking about something that's subject to investigation. The Israeli navy was firing in the area so it's very likely that the deaths actually were caused by Israel. In general, though, you can't say "Israel is responsible for most deaths, therefore it is probably responsible for any particular death, so we can take them one by one and say that Israel is responsible for all deaths." Statistics doesn't work that way.

What we're seeing from Hamas is a long list of casualties, with the explicit or implicit implication that Israel is responsible for them. As I showed above, past reports of friendly-fire deaths imply that many of these deaths must be due to rockets that fall short, launchpad explosions, and unexploded Palestinian ordnance. It is certainly not probable that all of them are due to Israeli attacks, and we know from past experience that Hamas, as a matter of policy, blames some deaths on Israel even when this is not the case.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:37 PM on July 17


If Mira bar Hillel wants to renounce her Israeli citizenship there's a form she has to fill out. I think everyone would be happier if she did. I don't know why the Independent uses this Property and Planning reporter to comment on Jews (she is "prejudiced against" them), anti-Semitism ("used to gag free speech"), and Israel (which she compares to Nazi Germany), but it reflects poorly on that publication.

Some of her earlier thoughts on these subjects are linked here.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:49 PM on July 17 [1 favorite]


imply that many of these deaths must be due to rockets that fall short,

Does that even matter when the end-result is dead innocent children? Or is that an attempt to pivot away from the most important point which is that innocent children are being killed.

"One Nation, With Liberty and Justice FOR ALL." When the Israeli Government meets that simple standard, I'll consider supporting them. Until then, they're not worthy.

No-one is shooting rockets at us Jews in New York. It's not a coincidence, but rather evidence of the superiority of the separation of church and state, where "American-Jew" and "American-Palestinian" are Equal Under The Law.
posted by mikelieman at 1:07 AM on July 18 [5 favorites]


No-one is shooting rockets at us Jews in New York

No, but they are shooting jews in Kansas City, in the land of Liberty and Justice for All. I don't think you've thought this particular argument through as well as you might have liked.
posted by Slap*Happy at 4:40 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


@petersbeaumont:
Seeing a lot of death this morning too many children #gaza

20 Palestinians killed over night
posted by Golden Eternity at 4:47 AM on July 18


No, but they are shooting jews in Kansas City, in the land of Liberty and Justice for All.

where the government is doing everything it can to prosecute and convict the suspect responsible
posted by pyramid termite at 5:08 AM on July 18 [5 favorites]


o, but they are shooting jews in Kansas City,

The guy murdered people who weren't even Jewish, to be clear, and will spend the rest of his life in jail.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:41 AM on July 18


"One Nation, With Liberty and Justice FOR ALL." "separation of church and state"
posted by mikelieman


Very noble and worthy ideals, but I am not sure if the goal should be to turn every country in the ME and Africa (Asia?) into replicas of the American-democratic-model. Especially since it isn't even clear if that is what the people in these countries want.
posted by rosswald at 6:17 AM on July 18


If Mira bar Hillel wants to renounce her Israeli citizenship there's a form she has to fill out. I think everyone would be happier if she did. I don't know why the Independent uses this Property and Planning reporter to comment on Jews (she is "prejudiced against" them), anti-Semitism ("used to gag free speech"), and Israel (which she compares to Nazi Germany), but it reflects poorly on that publication.

Are any Jews or Israeli citizens citizens permitted to disagree with you? Or are they all not true Scotsmen?
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:23 AM on July 18 [5 favorites]


The guy murdered people who weren't even Jewish, to be clear, and will spend the rest of his life in jail.

Yeah, but the incident kind of undermines the notion that the United States is a utopic promised land for the Jewish People, a safe-haven from violent anti-semitism.

Are any Jews or Israeli citizens citizens permitted to disagree with you?

This is a baloney argument - he laid out some pretty distinct criticism of her opinions and associations, not her jewishness or Israeli citizenship. (The author was the one who had brought up renouncing her citizenship.) More, you're saying he's not allowed to disagree with her because that means he doesn't allow her to disagree with him. Or is that a little too roundabout?
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:37 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


More, you're saying he's not allowed to disagree with her because that means he doesn't allow her to disagree with him.

He can disagree with her all he likes, but dismissing her as "a Property and Planning reporter" when she is a Jewish Israeli citizen, as if only political scientists can be permitted to express an opinion on their own countries' policies, is just ridiculous.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:14 AM on July 18


I can't believe I'm saying this but could we maybe stop talking about the actions of a single asshat in Kansas and go back to talking about the dead children?

All this "Yeah but they.." "Okay but then they.." is exactly the problem and is why innocent children are being killed.

If you--that is the general you--think that dead children are acceptable collateral damage, you are a monster, pure and simple. You are who children around the world should be having nightmares about.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:18 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


The continued justification for an Jewish state is that the world is awash in antisemitism and that the only way to combat this is to have state privileging Jews and having Jews take control over their own security.

Since these arguments aren't nearly as convincing as they have been in the past, and since many Jews, especially the younger generation, have had their Jewish identity eroded, Its no surprise that the festering pockets of antisemitism in the US and the violent crimes that they commit are quickly pointed to as evidence of the dangerous world that Jews live in.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:25 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Merely hinting at a democratic solution for Israel gets you branded an antisemite. Unfortunately that bias is encouraged.
posted by Invisible Green Time-Lapse Peloton at 7:35 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Yeah, but the incident kind of undermines the notion that the United States is a utopic promised land for the Jewish People, a safe-haven from violent anti-semitism

No it doesn't. No one has ever said the US doesn't have crazy people. Dude's going to jail for the rest of his life.
posted by spaltavian at 7:45 AM on July 18 [3 favorites]


Some coverage from Democracy Now today:

"A Terrifying Night in Gaza": Sharif Abdel Kouddous Reports on Israeli Ground Invasion

Israel Bombs Gaza’s Only Rehab Hospital: Staff Forced to Evacuate Paralyzed Patients After Shelling

Glenn Greenwald: Why Did NBC Pull Veteran Reporter After He Witnessed Israeli Killing of Gaza Kids?

Also:

The aforementioned journalist who was threatened by the Israelis cheering the Gaza bombing has been reassigned. The reassigned journalist count is up to 2.

Elizabeth Warren runs away when asked about the situation in Gaza.

Short interview with Electronic Intifada's Ali Abunimah about the ground invasion.

Nation piece by Sharif Abdel Kouddous about the ground invasion.

Anthony Bourdain, who previously did a show about Gaza: "Maybe it’s the fact that I walked on that beach—and have a small child that makes this photo so devastating. #Gaza"
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 9:00 AM on July 18 [4 favorites]






Statistics doesn't work that way.

I literally walked through a statistics example with a somewhat though imperfectly analogous example (of incident cases of an outcome of unknown cause and two known relative risks of that outcome) to discuss how one could with (near) certainty say that the cause of the beach killings was aerial bombardment. The relative risks for conflict death in the I/P situation are similarly disproportionate (much greater risk from aerial bombardment than rocket strike) to lung cancer from smoking versus environmental exposure. In statistics/epidemiology, one uses priors (in this case, the priors are empirical and largely in favor of the treatment with the hugely greater relative risk) in estimating probabilities of outcomes (or in this case the probable cause of an outcome).

And, ignoring the historical ratios of bombing for a moment, in the current conflict aerial bombardment has been frequent and deadly and rocket attacks have been frequent and considerably less deadly--so, the conclusion should be the same regardless of whether 2005-12 or more recent data are used.

As some have said, to an extent, this is a derail from more important considerations--it's pretty clear who is responsible for these deaths and there are more important themes and worries with the current conflict. I've pushed back on this particular point though because it demonstrates the lengths one can go to support a point of view where evidence are not in that given instance supportive of that view. This began with the statement "How do you know it was an Israeli shell, and not a Hamas misfire?" written by the same person who earlier wrote to someone, "you've made a bunch of statements above here that would make any informed reader roll their eyes." I mean no disrespect, as I greatly enjoy conversations here with folks in the community, but I read the first question as a perfect illustration of the second comment.
posted by faux ami at 10:12 AM on July 18 [8 favorites]


Really good op-ed in the NYT on the diplomatic history leading up to the current conflict: How the West Chose War in Gaza
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 10:21 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]




US Senate passes a bill by unanimous consent supporting Israel and condemning Hamas
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 11:34 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


US Senate: "This aggression will not stand, man."
posted by mikelieman at 11:39 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


US Senate passes a bill by unanimous consent supporting Israel and condemning Hamas

What? Why?
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:44 AM on July 18


I think it's because they support Israel and condemn Hamas.
posted by Justinian at 11:45 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Because they're nothing if not obedient.
posted by Grangousier at 11:51 AM on July 18 [2 favorites]


Its quite simple really. They have a lot to loose and nothing to gain by supporting Hamas and condemning Israel. The Israel Lobbies have a lot of power over US foreign policy toward Israel/Palestine.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:57 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I just meant that they don't normally do anything. They could have just done that again.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 11:59 AM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Not only did they pass it unanimously but there were 78 cosponsors. Christ what assholes.
posted by crayz at 12:00 PM on July 18 [3 favorites]


Oh. Nah, they pass meaningless resolutions all the time. It's about all they do accomplish these days.
posted by Justinian at 12:00 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


I think it is right for the US to support Israel and condemn Hamas, but they should also condemn the needless massacre of innocent people including children and destruction of homes in Gaza. Contrary to what has been commented on earlier in this thread, this is actually not the most humane military exercise in the history of the universe. Almost no Hamas leaders have been killed, but hundreds of innocent people have been killed and homes destroyed, and probably thousands more injured. If they wanted to go after Hamas militants directly while minimizing civilian casualties the IDF would be using precision air strikes on the tunnels Hamas is hiding in using bunker-buster bombs.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:07 PM on July 18 [2 favorites]


BBC World News America was just interviewing Israel's ambassador to the US.

He compared the threat Hamas poses to Israel with the Battle of Britain.

Which, I guess there's a comparison to be made. It doesn't reflect well on Israel though.
posted by tivalasvegas at 2:28 PM on July 18 [1 favorite]


Turkey PM slams Egypt's 'illegitimate tyrant' Sisi
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Friday slammed Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as an illegitimate tyrant, saying Cairo could not be relied upon to negotiate a truce with Israel.

"Is Sisi a party (to a ceasefire)? Sisi is a tyrant himself," Erdogan told reporters.

"He is not different from the others," he said, adding that it was Egypt's current rulers who were blocking humanitarian aid channels to the Gaza Strip ruled by the Islamist Hamas movement.

Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukri said Erdogan's comments were "unacceptable
posted by rosswald at 8:21 PM on July 18


Ayman Mohyeldin is going back to Gaza after NBC backed down.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:40 AM on July 19 [2 favorites]


Very nice find, Noisy Pink Bubbles.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:03 AM on July 19


Celebrities show their support for Palestine (and sometimes quickly retract it): Selena Gomez, Dwight Howard, Rihanna

Sharif Abdel Kouddous in Foreign Policy: Nowhere to Run: Gaza's residents, under a constant barrage of Israeli bombs, are being told to evacuate to stay safe. If they could escape, they would.

Juan Cole: Gaza meets the New Politics of the Middle East: “Islamic State,” Egypt, Turkey
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:09 AM on July 19 [1 favorite]


Reddit AMA by an Israeli soldier near Gaza
Who should actually be on guard duty
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:19 AM on July 19 [4 favorites]






Oooooh! Trying to spiiiin thiiiings! So eeeeevil! So not what everyone else is dooooing!!!
posted by Trochanter at 7:52 PM on July 19 [1 favorite]


You know, I'm sure everyone is trying to "spin" things. On the other hand, it's worth knowing what Hamas wants people to believe. For instance, this document says
anyone killed or martyred is to be called a civilian from Gaza or Palestine, before we talk about his status in jihad or his military rank.
So that's interesting. It also says
In your coverage, be sure that you say: 'The locally manufactured shells fired by the resistance are a natural response to the Israeli occupation that deliberately fires rockets against civilians in the West Bank and Gaza'..."
The "locally manufactured" claim is deliberately misleading, of course; the longer-range rockets are imported. As for the claim of the attacks being a "natural response", I suppose it's an arguable point, but when you see that it's actually a talking point issued by Hamas it makes you wonder whether people are coming up with the idea themselves, or simply repeating it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:21 PM on July 19 [2 favorites]


BBCWatch points out: About those Gaza Health Ministry casualty figures cited by the BBC…
Despite the plethora of BBC reporters currently on the ground in the Gaza Strip, BBC audiences have not been informed that at least four summary executions of ‘collaborators’ by Hamas have apparently taken place since the beginning of Operation Protective Edge and at least thirteen other people have been arrested.
Here's a link to the original story, and here it is via Google Translate.

It's funny, and a bit sad, that Hamas assumes that the IDF is trying to avoid civilian casualties, and therefore reasons that they must be using collaborators to dial in target coordinates. Hamas has a far, far higher opinion of Israel than many people right here.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:18 AM on July 20 [1 favorite]


On the other hand, BBC audiences regularly get to see and hear the Australian born and educated, silver-tongued but whiney passive-aggressive Israeli spokesperson and spin doctor Mark Regev!
posted by Mister Bijou at 1:08 AM on July 20


Isn't our love of spin on both sides why we care more about Israel v Palestine than Siria or Sudan? It's like MWWS but with twice the entertainment value.

Just being gay makes you a collaborator in Hamas eye's, Joe, no need for assumptions about Israeli intelligence.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:38 AM on July 20


This Land Is Mine by Nina Paley
posted by jeffburdges at 4:47 AM on July 20 [7 favorites]


Sitting on a beach near Tel Aviv, sipping a Stella and watching John Kerry talk about Israel "under siege". It's so absurd. I have zero respect for Obama and his administration.
posted by cell divide at 9:15 AM on July 20 [2 favorites]


Hamas has a far, far higher opinion of Israel than many people right here.

That's a shitty thing to say. I have a very high opinion of Israel. I also believe that shelling civilian areas and targeting homes, hospitals, and people running on the beach is not minimizing civilian casualties. Based on the high number of civilians casualties so far, it doesn't seem loss of civilian life has been minimized by the IDF.

Netanyahu: Hamas wants ‘telegenically dead Palestinians’ - Prime minister says Hamas seeks as many casualties as possible to be displayed by the world media

Both in Tel Aviv & Haifa racists set up "leftist checkpoints" and beat/threatened those found guilty of being a leftist.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:18 AM on July 20


No better way to avoid civilian casualties than using flechette shells in villages.

Israel using flechette shells in Gaza

Of 50 bodies recovered from Shujaiya after the Israeli assault 17 are children and 14 are women.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:31 AM on July 20


Letter from Gaza by a Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert
Mr. Obama - do you have a heart?

I invite you - spend one night - just one night - with us in Shifa. Disguised as a cleaner, maybe.

I am convinced, 100%, it would change history.

Nobody with a heart AND power could ever walk away from a night in Shifa without being determined to end the slaughter of the Palestinian people.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:02 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]


As soon as I saw the words "Norwegian doctor" I thought to myself "Mads Gilbert?" Yep, Mads Gilbert. He has form for this dating back years; he is literally an advocate for terrorism; and he is a bald-faced liar. In the last Gaza war he claimed that 90% of the casualties were civilians; it later turned out out that Hamas itself identified around half of them as its fighters.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:46 PM on July 20 [2 favorites]


Isn't our love of spin on both sides why we care more about Israel v Palestine than Siria or Sudan?

Interested parties in those conflicts are spinning events, too. Same with every other conflict. Israel/Palestine is not unique in that regard.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:32 PM on July 20


I suppose a lot of people are happy now that Hamas is attacking uniformed IDF soldiers. Maybe they read the discussion upthread and understood the importance of the Geneva Convention.
posted by klue at 2:45 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]




Al Jazeera: gaza blog live
posted by Mister Bijou at 3:03 PM on July 20


Hamas has always been perfectly happy to attack IDF soldiers, klue, they're just equally happy to attack civilians. It's also safer and easier.
posted by Justinian at 3:14 PM on July 20


Hamas has always been perfectly happy to attack IDF soldiers, klue, they're just equally happy to attack civilians. It's also safer and easier.

IDF has always been perfectly happy to attack Hamas soldiers, klue, they're just equally happy to attack civilians. It's also safer and easier.
posted by Mister Bijou at 3:23 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]


That may or may not be true but klue wasn't talking about the IDF so I'm not sure it's responsive.
posted by Justinian at 3:32 PM on July 20


Mads Gilbert is getting much more shit than he deserves, and there's a huge smear campaign going on. 'literary [being] an advocate for terrorism' doesn't really mean much, as 'terrorism' could be constructed to mean just about anything, say 'state terrorism' enacted through the foreign adventures of the US or the domestic policies of China, or whatever.

He's a doctor specializing in emergency medicine and treatment of victims of lands mines. I guess his real sin is being an opinionated leftist.
posted by klue at 3:34 PM on July 20 [5 favorites]


The Pro Israel side outside of Israel (and the commenters here) seem completely unable to admit what is really happening. I can tell you that here in Israel, the people understand that this mission isn't to destroy Hamas, it's to kill civilians in order to punish Hamas and hopefully turn people against them. There are many calling for more wholesale slaughter, no one believes for a second that this will hurt Hamas in any major way. they'll regroup again at a later date. In fact Haaretz published a story last week saying the goal specifically isn't to kill Hamas top leadership, because they fear chaos. The goal is an eye for an eye, even if this case the eye was more the appearance of an eye because the Hamas rockets don't do much damage.

So my question to those defending this use of collective punishment and state terror, can you just admit that you support those tactics rather than hiding behind the idea of taking out terrorist "infrastructure" and leaders? No one in Israel believes that.
posted by cell divide at 3:35 PM on July 20 [14 favorites]


If the goal was simply to kill Gazans, then why would Israel launch a ground-offensive? The only reason to expose their troops like that would be to target key infrastructure or leadership.

Your whole line of reasoning is nonsense.
posted by rosswald at 3:50 PM on July 20 [4 favorites]


I'd love seeing a solid comparison between Israeli operations in Palestine vs U.S. operations in Iraq.

Do you imagine Israel or the U.S. do a better job avoiding civilian casualties? Israel or the U.S.? IBC says the U.S. killed 1000-3000 Iraqi's per month for like 5 years, but of course some total estimates says a million dead or so. Ya know, an AC-130 might look more targeted than flechette shells, but that's not entirely true when your fire control computer kills every heat signature leaving a building before leveling said building.

Which commits more torture? At least Israel's courts take it seriously. Anecdotally Israel does a much better job preventing their soldiers from committing rape.

Also, do you imagine an Israeli or American officer or political leader is more likely to face a war crimes trial?

We should not defend unending military occupations, not even when the occupied population contains an influential group who wants to kill the occupying nations entire population. We should however acknowledge that the American government has likely committed far worse war crimes recently and will definitely do more to prevent the perpetrators coming to justice.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:12 PM on July 20 [4 favorites]


My guess is that people don't think the US government (or many other governments) are any better than Israel's in this respect, they just feel like maybe something can be done about Israel's government while the US government is way too powerful to do anything about. But I could be wrong.
posted by Justinian at 4:21 PM on July 20


Klue wrote: 'literary [being] an advocate for terrorism' doesn't really mean much, as 'terrorism' could be constructed to mean just about anything, say 'state terrorism' enacted through the foreign adventures of the US or the domestic policies of China, or whatever.

I supplied a link. If you follow it, you'll find a further link to an interview dated 30th September, 2001 [Google Translate], where he is asked "Do you support a terrorist attack on the United States?". His response is "Terror is a bad weapon, but the answer is yes, within the context I have mentioned".

So when I said "literally", I literally meant "literally". Gilbert is an advocate for Hamas, not for peace; he endorses the death of civilians and the only reason he's denouncing the death of these civilians is that he thinks it's tactically appropriate. If it had been Hamas who had killed them he would have been all in favor of it, just as he was in favor of the murder of US and Israeli civilians on earlier occasions.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:42 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]


Looting in Paris as Europeans protest against Gaza conflict

Excerpt:
"We're not anti-Semites, we're here for the people. We call on Europeans and Americans to finally do something," organisers of the 11,000-strong march in Vienna said.

But in the Paris suburb of Sarcelles -- sometimes nicknamed "little Jerusalem" for its large community of Sephardic Jews -- a banned but orderly demonstration of several hundred descended into chaos when dozens of youth -- some of them masked -- set fire to bins and lit firecrackers and smoke bombs.

Looters then began raiding shops, wrecking a funeral home and destroying its front window as several protesters shouted: "Fuck Israel!".
This follows an earlier demonstration that attacked Jews and blockaded them inside a synagogue, two earlier firebombings of synagogues, and numerous assaults on Jews. This is literally what things were like for Jews in Europe before WW2. And by "literally", I once again mean "literally": attacks on Jews qua Jews that are excused as being due to justified resentment that has - wrongly! become identified with Jews. Every sort of official sympathy is extended; no action is taken; and the forces of anti-Semitism grow stronger.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:27 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]


The only reason to expose their troops like that would be to target key infrastructure or leadership.

The reasons are complex and have as much to do with internal politics as they do with strategy. If you're well read on the subject, you'll know that the IDF recommended against any ground invasion, but two things changed-- internal politics of Netanyahu being outflanked and portrayed as weak, and the fact that rockets were still being launched in larger numbers than expected after 10 days of bombardment from land, sea, and air. The goal is to punish Gaza; Israel has always used collective punishment against the Palestinians. It specifically isn't to take out the senior Hamas leadership, who are living underground in a large bunker or system of bunkers. The thinking is that once Gaza is battered enough, Hamas will be forced to negotiate a new ceasefire like they did the last time this happened just a couple of years ago, hopefully with the Gaza population even more against Hamas. Just like last time, Israel knows lots of people will whine and complain on the internet and in some parts of the media about all the dead babies, but nothing will actually happen.
posted by cell divide at 5:47 PM on July 20 [5 favorites]


Gilbert is an advocate for Hamas, not for peace; he endorses the death of civilians and the only reason he's denouncing the death of these civilians is that he thinks it's tactically appropriate. If it had been Hamas who had killed them he would have been all in favor of it, just as he was in favor of the murder of US and Israeli civilians on earlier occasions.
- The attack on New York was not surprising, after the policy has led the West in recent decades. I am outraged by the terrorist attack, but I'm just as upset about the suffering that the U.S. has created. It is in this context 5000 dead people must be seen. If the U.S. government has a legitimate right to bomb and kill civilians in Iraq, the suppressed also has a moral right to attack the U.S. with the weapons they manage to create. Dead civilians are the same whether there are Americans, Palestinians or Iraqis, says physician and professor Mads Gilbert.

- Do you support a terrorist attack on the United States?

- Terror is a bad weapon, but the answer is yes, within the context I have mentioned, says Gilbert.

He does not endorse the death of civilians. On the contrary, he is outraged by the killing of civilians on both 'sides'. It's right there in the quote. It seems a bit silly, as I'm not quite sure what side bin Laden et al are supposed to represent, but this is not a general endorsement of murdering civilians. It is, however, controversially stating that the ones he perceives to be victims of a 25 year long attack have a right to fight back. So he's saying a) all killing of civilians is outrageous, but b) if the stronger part has the legitimate right to kill civilians, that right should also be extended to the weaker part.

Does that make him an 'advocate for terrorism'? Yes. But only 'within the context' where a proponent of the US invasion of Iraq, or, to link it with the topic of this thread, a supporter of IDF's bombardment of Gaza, is also an advocate for terrorism. Which was the point of my comment to begin with. For both sides, the supporters of the other side are advocates of terrorism, and that renders the accusation meaningless.

While he makes controversial statements to shitty tabloids like Dagbladet, he is actually on the ground doing medical work, which is more than what most people are doing.
posted by klue at 6:53 PM on July 20 [3 favorites]


they just feel like maybe something can be done about Israel's government while the US government is way too powerful to do anything about.

Do yoy not remember the Iraq war protests? You may have heard of the Vietnam protests which probably did have an impact on ending that war. Where are the protests in Israel? There are some and that is admirable considering the rockets and the fascist crack-down, but they are smaller than I would hope for. When they do exist, protestors are quickly beaten down by fascists, which goes largely unreported, and seems to be mostly not cared about.

Right-wingers beat Haifa deputy mayor during anti-war protest

Racists assaulted 3 Palestinian-Israelis who were headed to the anti-war protest w/ bats last night in Haifa.Police called them an ambulance. Right-wingers barged into the ambulance and screamed: "Jews or Arabs?" The paramedic shut the door, preventing another attack.

Gilbert's comments on 9/11 and other terrorist acts are atrocious. It is clear he adores the people in Gaza and was speaking out of anger at the injustice of seeing them killed. Note that his logic that Muslims have a right to strike back at civilians in retribution for the injustice they have endured and to enforce consequences on the US for killing innocent people are quite similar to many of the arguments we hear justifying the extensive killing of civilians in Gaza: they should know it's comming when they fire rockets at Israel; there must be consequences for the rocket fire; etc.

What is Bibi's goal with these attacks I wonder? I don't think he actually has one. This seemed like a good analysis to me from twitter:
Bibi and Bogie Yaalon keep talking about tunnels because the original goal of the operation - stopping rocket fire - cannot be achieved

Only way to stop rocket fire by military means is to reoccupy Gaza and maintain large contingents of soldiers there forever.

Not even Bennet wants to reoccupy Gaza because he wants to annex the West Bank & maintain a Jewish majority under Israeli control.

Between the sea and the river, Jews are now almost 50% but slightly less.

You take out Gaza's millions and there's a clearer Jewish majority
Not that the actual intent is ethnic cleansing, but Gaza is not seen as a part of future Israel even in most one-state solutions (which seem most realistic to me). Honestly, I think the bravest solution would be a one-state solution encompassing Gaza and all of the occupied territories with a goal of progressively moving from apartheid to full equality under the law and more equal opportunity. I think there are some on the far right in Israel (Moshe Aron possibly) who talk about the possibility. If this were recognized as the ultimate goal up front by the leadership in Israel, I think Palestinians would see better treatment.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:02 PM on July 20 [2 favorites]


What is Bibi's goal with these attacks I wonder? I don't think he actually has one.

There's definitely a tactical goal, if not a strategic one: weaken Hamas' ability to wage war on Israel. Hamas is using up years' worth of munitions, firing them all at once rather than a few each week. That's a bit easier to deal with. Israel is also taking the opportunity of destroying those terror tunnels that took years to build. They were a huge threat to isolated Israeli communities, and were what forced Israel to create a buffer zone within Gaza. Israel may now be in a position to retreat from that zone as a "show of good faith".

As for Israel's strategic goal, to the extent there is one, I think Israel knows it will never have a partner for peace in Gaza as long as Hamas is in power. Weakening Hamas militarily will help, as will splitting Hamas from its supporters. I think the reason Netanyahu has agreed so readily to cease fires is that he believes Hamas will break them. So far, he's been correct, and that has probably shown people that Hamas is just impossible to deal with. Even the Arab league has been surprisingly quiet about this attack.

Finally and at the very least, there's the Politician's Syllogism:
  • Something must be done.
  • This is something.
  • Therefore, it must be done.
You can't argue with that.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:08 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]


Weakening Hamas militarily will help, as will splitting Hamas from its supporters.

By destroying homes and killing civilians? I'm surprised that is thought to be a good way to separate people in Gaza from Hamas.

Moshe Aron Arens possibly

Actually it must have been Reuven Rivlin, the new President of Israel, I was thinking of regarding a one-state solution.

Reuven Rivlin: The land is not divisible
“As a rule, whenever I hear about a demographic threat, it comes first of all from a type of thinking that says the Arabs are a threat. And this leads to thinking of transfer, or that they should be killed. I am appalled by this kind of talk. I go into schools, and when they hold mock elections, Lieberman gets 40 percent of the vote and I hear kids saying that Arabs should be killed. It seems to me that many of the belligerent Jewish movements that were built upon hatred of Arabs − and I’m not only talking about Lieberman, but within the Likud as well − grew out of the patronizing-socialist attitude that said ‘They’ll be there and we’ll be here.’ "
...
“My friends on the left, like Beilin and Jumas [Haim Oron] are true Zionists and Israeli patriots, but this talk about separation, this attitude of patronage, is what gives rise to the hatred that is keeping us from reaching a solution.”
 
Otherwise occupied / Reaping what 
we have sown in Gaza - those who turned Gaza into an internment camp for 1.8 million people should not be surprised when they tunnel underneath the earth.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:40 PM on July 20 [1 favorite]


By destroying homes and killing civilians? I'm surprised that is thought to be a good way to separate people in Gaza from Hamas.

You can be angry with more than one person at the same time. Hamas has secret police and public executions pour encourager les autres. If Hamas were popular they'd allow people to vote. Unfortunately, we're in the ninth year of a four-year Palestinian Parliament and there's no obvious prospect of any future elections. I'm not suggesting that these tactics will make people love Israel, but there's a chance that one of Hamas' rivals will seize command.

Reaping what 
we have sown in Gaza - those who turned Gaza into an internment camp for 1.8 million people should not be surprised when they tunnel underneath the earth.

Amira Hass' analyses have never impressed me very much. Her solution, "Open up the Gaza Strip, let the people return to the world, the West Bank, and to their families and families in Israel" fails to acknowledge that the governments of the West Bank and Gaza are very nearly at war themselves; one of the reasons Hamas rejected the first ceasefire was that its terms included the idea that the Palestine Authority would be in charge of the crossings from Gaza. So fine, great, let Gazans travel - but who gets to issue passports and staff the border crossings? Because if it isn't the PA then you've just screwed the government recognised by the UN; the only Palestinian group that is willing to talk about a peace deal; and the ones who may possibly be persuaded to discourage the kidnapping and murder of Israelis.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:38 PM on July 20


As I understand it, there are major protest against the occupation by Israelis pretty regularly, Golden Eternity, including during the current crisis. And the article you linked makes it clear enough anti-war protestors showed up that some police were injured by them, as well as the pro-war protestors.

I'd never heard about violence against protestors by right-wing thugs until recent, no clue if that impacts turnout much. Israel's government has taken measures to ban large protests recently, which might impacts turnout more.

America has 40 times the population of Israel, so a these 1000, 500, etc. person protest stack up well against most Iraq war protests. And Israelis likely protest more frequently.

Also, Iraq was an extreme case because many people realized Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. And the Vietnam protests were against the draft more than against killing foreigners.

Afghanistan War protests are actually the best analogy : American protests against the Afghanistan War were mostly only a couple thousand, not sure any exceeded 15k, so proportionally the Israelis already beat us by miles.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:01 AM on July 21




think the bravest solution would be a one-state solution encompassing Gaza and all of the occupied territories with a goal of progressively moving from apartheid to full equality under the law and more equal opportunity.

"One Nation, With Liberty And Justice For All" has worked for me my whole life.
posted by mikelieman at 2:07 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]


A race- and religion-neutral solution would be nice, but most Israeli Jews are either refugees from Arab countries, or their descendants. The elimination of Middle Eastern Jewry was on an unimaginable scale: communities that were literally thousands of years old were eliminated practically overnight; cities that had hundreds of thousands of Jews now have less than a dozen. Many (most?) Palestinian groups explicitly say that they seek Israel's elimination. If that happened, where would Israel's Jews go? Into the sea, as Hamas boasts?

Israel accounts for less than a third of one percent of the Middle East's area. It is literally the only place in the Middle East where Jews can live in reasonable security; in fact it is practically the only place they can live at all. I think it would be reasonable to ask some other countries in the Middle East to change the way they treat Jews before you demand that Israel risk becoming like one of its neighbours; a place that used to have a Jewish community.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:24 AM on July 21 [2 favorites]


If only Palestinians could live with the same 'reasonable security', and I don't see any logical reason why one group's 'security' should come at the expense of any others'. Seriously, is there any doubt that with a good-faith reformation, that the Israeli Government couldn't 'promote the general welfare and ensure domestic tranquillity', along the successful US model where there are inalienable rights, due process of law, and equal protection of the law?

In bugzilla issue resolution, "WORKSFORME"
posted by mikelieman at 3:43 AM on July 21 [4 favorites]


I suppose non-Israeli Palestinians can live with security in their own state, and join in the fight to make the Middle East a place that allows multicultural democracies. There are lots of minorities that would like this: Druse, Kurds, Alawites, Yezidi and so forth. Christians too, nowadays.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:17 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]


Dr Mads Gilbert has issued a press release:
RENOUNCED NORWEGIAN DOCTOR ACCUSES ISRAELI ARMY OF USING INTERNATIONALLY BANNED WEAPONS
Renounced Norwegian doctor Mads Gilbert on Sunday accused the Israeli army of using internationally banned weapons in its ongoing offensive against the Gaza Strip.

Gilbert told a press conference in Shifa Hospital in Gaza City that examinations of the bodies of the Palestinian victims showed that they had been subjected to internationally banned weapons.

He added that these weapons cause major damage to the bodies, especially the limbs.

Gilbert did not, however, elaborate on the banned weapons allegedly used by Israel.

Israeli authorities were not immediately available to comment on the accusation.

"Israel's use of internationally banned weapons is a blatant violation of human rights and international agreements," said Youssef Abo al-Rish, Palestinian Health Ministry Undersecretary.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:26 AM on July 21


CNN reports the death toll is now over 500 Palestinians and 20 Israelis (including 18 soldiers). Two of the soldiers killed yesterday were Americans.

Al-Monitor: Interview with Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal

YNet Military analysis: Hamas, not Israel, is running the conflict

Electronic Intifada: Israel’s Iron Dome doesn’t cover Bedouins

Glenn Greenwald: Netanyahu’s “telegenically dead” comment is grotesque but not original
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:03 AM on July 21 [2 favorites]


Forward: Tel Aviv Is Under Red Alert — In Many Ways: "In 15 years of political activism, and about eight as a journalist, I cannot remember a time when people around me were so afraid to speak their minds. Not Jews, anyway, and definitely not in Tel Aviv."
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:15 AM on July 21 [2 favorites]


Report: Alleged Israeli strike on Sudanese weapons arsenal

---

How Hamas uses its tunnels to kill and capture Israeli soldiers
Not only was the burrow remarkable in depth, width and length – 1.5 miles long and 66 feet underground – it was equipped with electricity and contained enough cookies, yogurt and other provisions to last its occupants several months. Israeli forces estimated Hamas had dumped $10 million and 800 tons of concrete into the two-year project.

Such “terror tunnels,” the Israeli military said in a statement on Friday, are “complex and advanced.” And their use, Israel said, is “to carry out attacks such as abductions of Israeli civilians and soldiers alike; infiltrations into Israeli communities, mass murders and hostage-taking scenarios.”

Describing the emerging “tunnel war,” a Palestinian militia document obtained by Al-Monitor said the objective of the underground network was “to surprise the enemy and strike it a deadly blow that doesn’t allow a chance for survival or escape or allow him a chance to confront and defend itself.”
posted by rosswald at 6:20 AM on July 21 [2 favorites]




Many (most?) Palestinian groups explicitly say that they seek Israel's elimination. If that happened, where would Israel's Jews go? Into the sea, as Hamas boasts?

This is nothing more than hate speech. Israel is state fundamentally based on a racial hiearchy, when people, including Palestinians, say that they want the state to end, they do not mean that they want all the Jewish Israelis to leave, anymore than the end of apartheid meant the removal of all white people from South Africa. Do left wing Jewish Israelis want all the Jews in the Middle East to leave when they support a one-state solution? absolutely not.

Also if you have some evidence to the claim that Hamas wants Israel into the sea, I would love, absolutely love to see it.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:43 AM on July 21 [4 favorites]


Do left wing Jewish Israelis want all the Jews in the Middle East to leave when they support a one-state solution?

Jews in the ME pretty much are Israel since they were forced out of the rest of the Arab World.
posted by rosswald at 7:04 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]


Apparently Jacobin had a number of pieces on Palestine a year ago:

Palestine and the Left

Against the Law: By organizing based on international law, the struggle for Palestinian liberation has been transformed into a question of rights.

The Oslo Illusion: The Oslo Accords weren’t a failure for Israel — they served as a fig leaf to consolidate and deepen its control over Palestinian life.

A Dishonest Umpire: Two-state proponents argue that comprehensive peace is only possible with deeper US involvement in the process. They couldn’t be more wrong.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 7:59 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]


The New Republic article about how the recent peace deal died (from this deleted thread) is a really impressive piece, and the story is not what you would expect. It was much closer to a deal then what I would have expected. Netanyau secretly agreed that “[t]he new secure and recognized border between Israel and Palestine will be negotiated based on the 1967 lines with mutual agreed swaps.”

Kerry really seems like he just couldn't make this work due to failure of his own abilities and mistrust among the parties. On the misunderstandings between him and Netanyahu at the start: “Both of them like to talk for long periods of time,” said someone who has dealt with both leaders. “And I’m not sure that when one of them is lecturing the other at length, the other guy is really listening very carefully.”

The description of when it fell apart:
The next day at the White House, Obama tried his luck with the Palestinian leader. He reviewed the latest American proposals, some of which had been tilted in Abbas’s direction. (The document would now state categorically that there would be a Palestinian capital in Jerusalem.) “Don’t quibble with this detail or that detail,” Obama said. “The occupation will end. You will get a Palestinian state. You will never have an administration as committed to that as this one.” Abbas and Erekat were not impressed.

After the meeting, the Palestinian negotiator saw Susan Rice—Abbas’s favorite member of the Obama administration—in the hall. “Susan,” he said, “I see we’ve yet to succeed in making it clear to you that we Palestinians aren’t stupid.” Rice couldn’t believe it. “You Palestinians,” she told him, “can never see the fucking big picture.”
posted by blahblahblah at 10:40 AM on July 21 [4 favorites]


This is nothing more than hate speech. Israel is state fundamentally based on a racial hiearchy, when people, including Palestinians, say that they want the state to end, they do not mean that they want all the Jewish Israelis to leave, anymore than the end of apartheid meant the removal of all white people from South Africa. Do left wing Jewish Israelis want all the Jews in the Middle East to leave when they support a one-state solution? absolutely not.

Wasn't the Arab League's original opposition to the foundation of Israel based on the belief that Jews should leave Palestine?

(Also, though I know I shouldn't take what I read on the internet to be wholly representative, but the amount of anti-semitism among Muslims is staggering. So many seem to regard every Jew as a Zionist, and regularly promise their future destruction.)
posted by Thing at 11:08 AM on July 21 [1 favorite]


Many (most?) Palestinian groups explicitly say that they seek Israel's elimination. If that happened, where would Israel's Jews go? Into the sea, as Hamas boasts?

This is nothing more than hate speech. Israel is state fundamentally based on a racial hiearchy, when people, including Palestinians, say that they want the state to end, they do not mean that they want all the Jewish Israelis to leave,


I don't think it matters too much what people say. Like I've said above, only Israel can make peace and hence the failure of a viable solution so far is mostly the fault of the Israeli government, but I think it's naive to claim the elimination of the Israeli state wouldn't be a disaster for Israeli Jews. The apartheid analogy is pretty bad all the way around, and I don't think it's useful, but it's especially bad when talking about what a one-state solution would look like: South Africa didn't have the same sort of religious conflict and land reform isn't the same thing as bona fide population displacement.

I suspect we agree that futher settlement in the West Bank is essentially stealing land, but how exactly do you think that land would be taken back after an end to the Israeli state?

The one state solution you are ascribing to left wing Israeli Jews is not at all the same thing, though a few decades of current demographic trends means such a state wouldn't be Israel for long, either. Perhaps a period of justice would keep reprisals down, but I think it's a mistake to underestimate Palestinian anger, however justified one may think it is.
posted by spaltavian at 11:40 AM on July 21


Noisy Pink Bubbles: “Kerry Expresses Exasperation With Civilian Toll in Gaza”
“No One Really Believes John Kerry’s Hot Mic Moment Was Unintentional,” Evan McMurry, Mediaite, 21 July 2014
posted by ob1quixote at 11:49 AM on July 21


Sorry for the long quote, but I found this passage from the New Republic article well worth reading (the whole thing is, but this part struck me):

The prime minister opened the meeting by playing Kerry a video on one of his favorite topics: Palestinian incitement. It showed Palestinian children in Gaza being taught to glorify martyrdom and seek Israel’s destruction. “This is the true obstacle to peace,” Netanyahu told Kerry.

“It’s a major issue,” Kerry replied. “And nothing justifies incitement. I hate it. I’ve read Abbas the riot act about it. You know I have. But it is worthwhile to try to understand what life looks like from the Palestinian point of view.”

“This has nothing to do with the occupation and the settlements,” Netanyahu said.

Kerry pressed on: “When I fought in Vietnam, I used to look at the faces of the local population and the looks they gave us. I’ll never forget it. It gave me clarity that we saw the situation in completely different ways.”

“This isn’t Vietnam!” Netanyahu shouted. “No one understands Israel but Israel.”

Kerry tried explaining himself again: “No one is saying it’s Vietnam. But I’ve been coming here for thirty years, and I’m telling you, what’s building up in the Palestinians has only gotten worse. I’ve seen it. It doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong; it just is. It can’t be solved if you can’t see it how they see it.”


Interesting to read about all the different personalities behind the negotiations; depressing to know how close we were to an agreement, closer than we'll likely be for a long time.
posted by sonmi at 12:00 PM on July 21 [8 favorites]


548 palestinians dead as of monday morning, including shelling a hospital.
posted by lalochezia at 12:01 PM on July 21


No One Really Believes John Kerry’s Hot Mic Moment Was Unintentional

This is really interesting, especially thinking about that supposed Biden gaffe about gay marriage which people also widely believe to have been a deliberate PR move.
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:06 PM on July 21


Wasn't the Arab League's original opposition to the foundation of Israel based on the belief that Jews should leave Palestine?

That was, what, over 65 years ago?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:07 PM on July 21


That New Republic article is a must-read, and I'm sorry it couldn't keep its own thread (though looking at how this one has gone in the last week, I'm not at all surprised). Netanyahu was ready to make some staggering concessions, at least as starting points for discussion. It gives me a lot more hope for the future than I've had in recent memory, despite what's actually happening now.
posted by Mchelly at 12:17 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]


What is happening now certainly isn't helping.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:27 PM on July 21




Some new truce chatter, about a long-term humanitarian cease fire.
posted by blahblahblah at 1:22 PM on July 21


I expect Hamas will declare a humanitarian ceasefire as soon as they feel like Israel is about to deal Hamas very serious damage (if that happens). Whether or not Israel will accept that ceasefire is an interesting question. Not accepting it would look really, really bad.
posted by Justinian at 2:31 PM on July 21


12% of people in the latest CNN poll think Israel is not using enough force in Gaza. I love these people. They probably can't find Israel on a map (much less Gaza). They probably couldn't tell you what a Palestinian is. But goddamit they know Israel should be pounding the crap out of these people with everything they've got.
posted by Justinian at 2:33 PM on July 21 [6 favorites]




Massacre in Shejaiya:
Two small bodies lie on the metal table inside the morgue at Gaza’s Shifa hospital. Omama is 9 years old. Her right forearm is mangled and charred and the top half of her skull has been smashed in. Beside her lies her 7-year-old brother. His name is not certain. It might be Hamza or it might be Khalil. Relatives are having trouble identifying him because his head has been shorn off. Their parents will not mourn them—because they are dead too.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
While I was on route to Doha, dozens more civilians have been killed in the Israeli military strikes in Gaza ... I condemn the atrocious action
posted by crayz at 4:27 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]


MisantropicPainforest wrote: This is nothing more than hate speech. Israel is state fundamentally based on a racial hiearchy, when people, including Palestinians, say that they want the state to end, they do not mean that they want all the Jewish Israelis to leave [...]

This is like one of those Feminism 101 threads where someone is confronted with evidence of sexual discrimination, but they demand ever more exacting proof that each instance is due to misogyny and not bad luck, or circumstance, or the abrasive nature of the complainant. In this case you have the entire Middle East emptied of Jews, and the foundational documents of the major Palestinian groups explicitly denying a place for Jews except under restricted and artificial circumstances. It would be a waste of time proceeding until you've absorbed the fundamental facts of the situation, and I don't think you have.

A flawed but popular treatment of the history of the Jews in the modern Middle East is Martin Gilbert's In Ishmael's House. There are a lot of one-volume histories of Israel; you might try Gilbert's Israel: A History or Anita Shapira's Israel: A History (they are not the same book!). These would give you at least some background to the situation, rather than relying on cherry-picked quotes.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:44 PM on July 21 [3 favorites]


Wave of anti-Semitic rallies hits cities across Germany
[...] On Friday, the Iranian-sponsored Al Quds Day March is likely to be the most extreme of the demonstrations. Even hardened anti-Israel activists like Svenja, 20, from Workers’ Power, a self-described Trotskyist organization, are hesitant about attending the Al Quds Day March. Al Quds is the Arabic term for Jersualem.

“We oppose the Israeli state, and anti-Zionism is important to us, but we have not decided yet if we will attend the Al Quds Day March because of certain extreme elements,” said Svenja. [...]
Windows smashed at Belfast synagogue on Somerton Road

Followup on the recent anti-Semitic incidents in France:
French minister decries ‘anti-Semitic’ Gaza protests
and
French prime minister: Behind hatred of Israel lies hatred of Jews
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:36 PM on July 21 [1 favorite]






Good links.

Fallows is absolutely right. If you think your only choice is to kill a bunch of kids you've got to change your entire paradigm.
posted by Justinian at 8:29 PM on July 21 [2 favorites]


.
posted by jb at 8:46 PM on July 21


Your whole line of reasoning is nonsense.

So... the word of a person actually living on the ground in Israel is somehow less than... your overseas opinion?

Please.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:24 PM on July 21


Not exactly a reassigned journalist, but Rula Jebreal claims that her future TV appearances were cancelled after standing up for Palestinians on MSNBC.

Here's a piece she wrote a couple of days ago:

Bombing and Invading Gaza Is Israel’s Peace Plan: Signing a peace agreement with moderates like Abbas has never been Netanyahu’s goal—instead, by bombarding Gaza, the Israeli prime minister can dismiss all Palestinian claims.
posted by homunculus at 9:34 PM on July 21


548 palestinians dead as of monday morning, including shelling a hospital.

Who needs all the circus and lawyering of the criminal courts when you've got a 60% civilian kill rate?
posted by hal_c_on at 10:06 PM on July 21


If UNRWA handed rockets over to Hamas, is that a war crime? Did it have a choice?

Background:
Last week UNRWA (the UN body charged with supporting "Palestine Refugees", which runs many schools and welfare centers) found twenty missiles in one of its schools in Gaza. Chris Gunness, its director, described this as "a flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law". So what happened to the missiles? UNRWA denied giving them to Hamas, instead claiming that it gave them to the so-called unity government, which (it says) Hamas has left.

The Palestinian National Authority Ministry of the Interior in Gaza, which may or may not be part of that unity government, condemned UNRWA for issuing the statement and says that it was "nothing but a fabrication to justify the targeting of civilians and to find a cover in advance for the crimes that are being committed by the Israeli occupation in the Gaza Strip." It also says, somewhat disingenuously, "All UNRWA schools are guarded by UNRWA security guards round the clock. Thus, we wonder how persons could have entered into the school and stored such weapons without being detected?"
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:46 PM on July 21


The surprising duo behind the Hamas missile map
A Belgian-Israeli Jew and a Dutch Muslim developed Israel Under Attack, a new computer tool for mapping rocket trajectories from Gaza.
Their website, which looks really cool, currently says that there have been no missiles from Gaza for over six hours. I wish there was a way to go back and replay earlier events, but I can't see any way to do it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:05 PM on July 21


Israeli military shells the Al Jazeera media centre on 11th floor of a building in central Gaza. No one injured, damage not known. Office evacuated. Presumably, that was one of the aims of the shelling, being on the 11th floor, the office has a very good view of the city as a whole.
posted by Mister Bijou at 12:20 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]




Deputy Editor AJ David Poort says IDF confirms it has fired "warning shots" at AJ's office.
posted by BinGregory at 12:27 AM on July 22


So... the word of a person actually living on the ground in Israel is somehow less than... your overseas opinion?

Please.


I, too, live in Israel. I would thoroughly disagree with the assertion that "the people understand that this mission isn't to destroy Hamas, it's to kill civilians in order to punish Hamas" -- even if that is truly the IDF's goal, I would strenuously disagree that regular Israelis look at it that way or would want that at all.

I work long hours at a hospital in Ashkelon, about 7 miles north of Gaza. We are in the zone that has about 30 seconds until rockets impact, and the rockets fall pretty much constantly. To be honest, I am not even completely sure how to express what it's like to work in Ashkelon these days. I don't describe my life as "under siege" and I sure as hell would rather be in even a heavily-targeted part of Israel than Gaza, but it's not all beers on the beach for some of us.
posted by lullaby at 1:49 AM on July 22 [5 favorites]


Their website, which looks really cool, currently says that there have been no missiles from Gaza for over six hours.

MeFi shows you wrote that comment at 9:05am IDT and a cursory glance at my rocket alert app (which will never not sound ridiculous, but "RED - התרועה צבע אדום" is the one I use) suggests that's not true, since there were sirens around 6am in Be'er Sheva, and then a few minutes later in Otef Aza/"Gaza envelope" near the border. This is a glib and not-detailed clock of how long Israel has been rocket free that's been making the rounds on Facebook recently.
posted by lullaby at 2:01 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


Yes, now I notice that the far left of the screen actually says that there have been no rockets for 16273 days ... plus about nine hours. So it may not be entirely accurate.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:13 AM on July 22


I have to admit that I read cell divide's initial comment in which he said "I can tell you that here in Israel, the people understand that this mission isn't to destroy Hamas, it's to kill civilians in order to punish Hamas and hopefully turn people against them." as hyperbole in the same tradition as the (not actually true) anecdote of Pauline Kael expressing shock that Reagan could have won the election in a landslide since no-one she knew voted for him. I have no doubt that lots of people in Israel agree with cell divide but all the polling and such I've seen is clear that it definitely isn't everyone. As apparently lullaby can attest.

In fact I'm pretty sure that any statement about an entire nation consisting of millions of people and concerning a complicated issue which begins with "the people understand..." is probably somewhat, ah, exaggerated.
posted by Justinian at 2:31 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]


Honestly, I don't give a shit what "The Mission" is. Reality is that the IDF is irresponsible in trying to resolve an issue with criminal terrorists by dropping bombs on civilians. The whole paradigm is so fucked up, people within it can't get past dealing with the instant effects to examine the root cause.

But here's a hint. You don't arrest criminals with soldiers or fighter planes. Unfortunately, the Israeli Government doesn't seem to give a damn about 'promoting the general welfare and ensuring domestic tranquillity by ensuring inalienable civil rights, due process of law and equal protection of the law...

Then the goal of 'EVERYONE BEING ABLE TO SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT WITHOUT WORRYING ABOUT THEIR KIDS GETTING KILLED' can move forward.
posted by mikelieman at 3:23 AM on July 22


Israeli military now transform Gazan fishing boats into charcoal.
posted by Mister Bijou at 3:48 AM on July 22


Also if anyone is going to make the claim that regular Israelis want civilian casualties, you should remind yourself that 2 million of those 7 million Israelis are Arab Israelis, and of those 5 million Jewish Israelis, many of them (esp in places like Tel Aviv) are left-wing Israelis who support peace.

And of the pro-war Israeli right-wing, I don't think you can say that all of them want civilian casualties. If you are an American, remind yourself that our pro-war, pro-Israeli right-wing is MORE right-wing than actual Israelis. And while a good portion of them never met a dead Arab they didn't like, its certainly not all.)

That said there is a not-insignificant contingent of US political commentators that openly espouse the idea that Palestinian civilians are culpable for electing Hamas and thus are responsible for their own destruction. This is, not coincidentally, a logic shared by Usama bin Ladin.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:03 AM on July 22


It's been about 20 minutes since I watched Vice's cellphone video of Gaza civilian killed by sniper and I feel like it gave me PTSD. Just awful. The IDF are war criminals.
posted by crayz at 6:13 AM on July 22 [1 favorite]




The IDF solider says in that video that they found rocket launchers next to an agricultural school, so they are going to destroy the school and then the rocket launchers. How is that not a criminal destruction of civilian infrastructure? Are Israeli schools and other civic structures with connections to the Israeli military understood to be legitimate targets, as well as homes or apartment buildings where any IDF active/reservists live?
posted by crayz at 7:55 AM on July 22 [2 favorites]


A warning shot is a shot that gets attention, right? If you shoot into a building where people are living/working, you're just trying to kill them.

Washington Post has a very illuminating illustration
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:57 AM on July 22




Are Israeli schools and other civic structures with connections to the Israeli military understood to be legitimate targets, as well as homes or apartment buildings where any IDF active/reservists live?

Yes to the first, no to the second. Using civilians or civilian infrastructure as a shield is against the Geneva Convention, and the legal and ethical responsibility for their death and destruction falls on the combatants using them as a shield.

If Hamas had limited their attacks to Israeli Military and Governmental targets, Israel's hands would be tied - they'd be forced to do ground patrols to weed out the militants and rockets (exposing themselves to heavy losses) and be incredibly careful to avoid civilian casualties, or risk alienating their international allies and causing a domestic political crisis.

Hamas decided they liked indiscriminate terror-attacks better ("Morale Bombing" as they called it in the second world war), so here we are. Israel's allies won't abandon it, regional powers won't ride to Gaza's rescue, innocents by the hundreds are killed in the crossfire and, after it's all over, the screws will be put to ordinary Palestinians even harder than before - probably including a re-settlement of Gaza. It was a pointless and stupid war to start.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:31 AM on July 22


Médecins Sans Frontières:
“An entire population is trapped in what is essentially an open-air prison,” Mr Whittall writes. “They can’t leave and only the most limited supplies – essential for basic survival – are allowed to enter. The population of the prison have elected representatives and organised social services.

“Some of the prisoners have organised into armed groups and resist their indefinite detention by firing rockets over the prison wall. However, the prison guards are the ones who have the capacity to launch large-scale and highly destructive attacks on the open-air prison.”

In a comparison which is also certain to infuriate Israel, Mr Whittall, who is based in Beirut, says that the limitations of humanitarian groups in Gaza are not unique. “In 2012,” he writes, “MSF closed its projects in the prisons of Misrata, Libya. Our doctors were outraged to be in a position where we were providing treatment to patients who were being tortured by state authorities. At the time, MSF spoke out strongly: ‘Our role is to provide medical care to war casualties and sick detainees, not repeatedly to treat the same patients between torture sessions’.”
posted by crayz at 8:36 AM on July 22 [4 favorites]


I can't speak for all Israelis and I apologize if it seemed like I was trying to. I'm an American who has been lucky enough to spend summers here for the past 15 years due to family members who live here. I have numerous Israeli friends, including Arab friends. So far the Arab friends are the only ones who have made sympathetic comments regarding the suffering in Gaza. That's not something I've heard expressed by Jewish friends/family or on television or in the Newspaper outside of the usual Ha'aretz columns. My Arab friends tell me the mood here is the darkest it's ever been, they are afraid to speak Arabic in public when on the bus or in shops. Counterweight to that though is I observed many Arab/Jewish coworkers having a great time together in a mall in Kfar Saba. Again, these are all my personal observations as an outsider. My friends/family here tend to be well educated, well-off people, a mix of left and right. If there is a problem with all the civilan casualties, they say, it's Hamas' problem not ours.

When it comes to polls the head of the IDF enjoys overwhelming support in polls despite the very high civilian casualty rate. This suggest to me that people are by and large comfortable with that toll. Also, the polls are very clear that Israelis do not want a ceasefire (last one I saw showed 65% opposed). It's clear to me from watching TV and talking to people that the majority want to inflict pain on Gaza in order to stop the rockets and scare them into thinking about trying it again. This article offers a bit more detail, especially towards the end.
posted by cell divide at 8:36 AM on July 22 [4 favorites]


If Hamas had limited their attacks to Israeli Military and Governmental targets, Israel's hands would be tied - they'd be forced to do ground patrols to weed out the militants and rockets (exposing themselves to heavy losses) and be incredibly careful to avoid civilian casualties, or risk alienating their international allies and causing a domestic political crisis.

Hamas decided they liked indiscriminate terror-attacks better ("Morale Bombing" as they called it in the second world war), so here we are. Israel's allies won't abandon it, regional powers won't ride to Gaza's rescue, innocents by the hundreds are killed in the crossfire and, after it's all over, the screws will be put to ordinary Palestinians even harder than before - probably including a re-settlement of Gaza. It was a pointless and stupid war to start.


Israel has always conducted violent acts that violate the Geneva Conventions. Its absurd to place the blame entirely on Hamas when Israel has done many of those same acts against places where Hamas doesn't rule and in times before Hamas existed.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:40 AM on July 22 [3 favorites]


Israel has always conducted violent acts that violate the Geneva Conventions.

And the armed Palestinian factions have always made it very easy for the Israelis to get away with it. It's always seen internationally as the Palestinians being repaid with their own coin.

You'd think they'd clue in already that violent uprisings are a fantasy pushing them further away from an end to occupation.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:03 AM on July 22


Which is a consequence of those armed faction's non-state status and the Israeli's very effective international PR campaign.

You'd think they'd clue in already that violent uprisings are a fantasy pushing them further away from an end to occupation.

Are you seriously ignoring the absolutely insane amount of nonviolent protest that Palestinians have conducted over the past half century? FFS
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:10 AM on July 22 [4 favorites]


United as well has suspended flights indefinitely. I assume everyone will follow suit.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:13 AM on July 22


Osama bin Laden in the Wall Street Journal

Israel's latest self-inflicted wound
When the dust settles, (hamas) will have to explain to the Palestinian and Arab public why they preferred to keep fighting when the cost was so extraordinary.

But that will not exempt Israel from having to explain how, if their forces follow even the elementary rules of warfare, let alone the elevated ones it claims, so many of the dead are civilians, women and children. Israel's international reputation, already badly battered, has now suffered another grievous, self-inflicted wound. Even its friends around the world are deeply disturbed by what distinctly appears to be a wanton disregard for innocent life, a willingness to engage in indiscriminate attacks, and a lack of accountability when its forces deliberately target noncombatants. Israel, too, will have difficult questions to answer.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:01 AM on July 22 [4 favorites]




I wonder if the banning of flights doesn't give Israel more cover to do whatever they want. Because if the rocket fire shuts down Israel's international airport they have a 100% actual real claim that they are seriously threatening the well being and existence of Israel as a state.
posted by Justinian at 1:22 PM on July 22




The Hamas guy on CNN is comparing Israel to Hitler and Nazi Germany. So that'll probably go over well.
posted by Justinian at 2:22 PM on July 22


Well, a ghetto is a ghetto and there are parallels between warsaw and gaza.
posted by mikelieman at 2:43 PM on July 22


The Hamas guy on CNN is comparing Israel to Hitler and Nazi Germany. So that'll probably go over well.

Who gives a fuck? People are saying crazy stuff all over. How about we ignore what people say and focus on their actions.
posted by klue at 2:55 PM on July 22


If you are dumb, sure

The United Nations special rapporteur on human rights in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip has made the same comparison.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:05 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


[Couple of comments deleted. Folks, please let's not get into the debate over the Warsaw ghetto analogy? Plenty to talk about in this situation on its own without going into the merits/demerits of that very charged, guaranteed-derail comparison.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 3:07 PM on July 22




Richard Falk is a nutter and an embarrassment to the UN. He's a 9/11 Truther and he blames everything on "Israel" and the "Israel Lobby", by which he means Jews. He's been caught out posting frankly antisemitic material more than once. He later apologised for "strongly anti-semitic symbolism that I had not detected" - an attack dog with a yarmulke urinating on the Statue of Liberty while chewing bloody bones. He said "My intention has never been to demean in any way Jews as a people despite my strong criticisms of Israeli policies [...] we must also make peace with nature, and treat animals with as much respect as possible."

A real class act in every way.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:58 PM on July 22


This doesn't look good for UNRWA: For second time, rockets found at UN school in Gaza

UNRWA is understandably not happy about this, particularly at a time when it's seeking additional funding from the USA. On the other hand, this is exactly the sort of thing it's been accused of for years; even the Palestinian Authority (Gaza Strip) mocks the idea that UNRWA doesn't know about it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:07 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, for those thinking the IDF are killing too many civilians, they could in fact have killed much more and should be given a Nobel Peace Prize for showing restraint.
posted by klue at 4:16 PM on July 22


If the US President can have one then sure, why not.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:27 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


Please do not conflate criticism of the Israel Lobby with antisemitism. Please.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:31 PM on July 22 [5 favorites]


Yes, Falk is an outrageous character and the entire Warsaw comparison is more propaganda than accurate.
posted by rosswald at 4:33 PM on July 22


MisantropicPainforest wrote: Please do not conflate criticism of the Israel Lobby with antisemitism. Please.

Falk, and his fellow travellers, believes that there is some unified "Lobby" that can make the USA and other states do its bidding. It is nothing more than the Protocols of the Elders of Zion dressed up in modern clothes.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:41 PM on July 22


If the US President can have one then sure, why not.

I agree completely. What I further like about Dermer's talk is him introducing the term moral idiots to denote those critical of Israel's Gaza policies. I think we should adopt the term, and then create an antonym for the other camp. I just can't decide which one's better, moral geniuses for its irony, or immoral geniuses for its accuracy.
posted by klue at 4:45 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


Beseeching Israel: No more killings in my name

This was published in the Raleigh News and Observer (in North Carolina). I'm fairly surprised that they published it, since NC is still more red than purple.
posted by showbiz_liz at 4:53 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


Falk, and his fellow travellers, believes that there is some unified "Lobby" that can make the USA and other states do its bidding.

Without getting into discussing disgusting anti-Hebrew (Semitic refers to peoples from an area, which includes Arabs) conspiracy bullshit, you may want to look up AIPAC and how much power they wield.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 4:58 PM on July 22


anti-Hebrew (Semitic refers to peoples from an area, which includes Arabs)

This is absolutely silly. If we are going to be needlessly pedantic, Semitic is a linguistic term that refers to a language family based on the triple root system (interestingly, maltese is the only one written in the latin script). Antisemitism and/or anti-semitism refer to actual things, specifically anti-Jewish bigotry.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:01 PM on July 22 [5 favorites]


Exactly. Words have meanings and that's what antisemitism means in much the same way that homophobia means something different than "fear of gay people" despite the literal meaning of the root words.
posted by Justinian at 5:14 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


I do agree that AIPAC wields more power than I would like. But so does AARP. Or the telecom lobby. Or the pharmaceutical lobby. Or the NRA.

Lobbying in general is a problem.
posted by Justinian at 5:15 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Falk, and his fellow travellers, believes that there is some unified "Lobby" that can make the USA and other states do its bidding.

You mean those hugely respected and influential IR scholars like Mearshimer and Walt? They're anti-semites? I urge you to actually read the arguments and familiarize yourself with the actual IR scholarship on this issue. Because proponents of the Israel Lobby thesis never EVER say that it is a unified lobby that makes the US do its bidding. They say that the Israel Lobby is a catchall term for a conglomeration of various groups that aren't centrally organized but seek to achieve similar goals. Kind of like Big Pharma and Big Oil and the Cuban Lobby.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:25 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Also if anyone wants my really boring but what I think to be actually quite clever peer-reviewed research on the origins of the Israel Lobby's power in the US, memail me.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:30 PM on July 22 [3 favorites]


If the US President can have one then sure, why not.

Bibi will have to wait. This is Putin's year.
posted by Golden Eternity at 6:23 PM on July 22 [2 favorites]


Infographic: the names and ages of the 132 Palestinian children killed in Gaza thus far.
posted by BinGregory at 7:50 PM on July 22


BinGregory, how many of those were killed by Hamas and its allies? And how many would be alive if Hamas didn't refuse to end its war?
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:11 PM on July 22


Joe, how many of those were killed by Hamas and its allies?
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:13 PM on July 22


BinGregory, how many of those were killed by Hamas and its allies? And how many would be alive if Hamas didn't refuse to end its war?

In other words... "stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself!"
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:16 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


BinGregory, how many of those were killed by Hamas and its allies?

Considering they died in Gaza, probably none?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:28 PM on July 22


There could be some friendly fire incidents (maybe 10%-20%), but before it seemed like Joe was saying most of them have to have been hit by Hamas rockets that fell short or something because the IDF is the "most moral army in the world."
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:31 PM on July 22




Ray Walston, children in Gaza were being killed by premature explosions, short-falling rockets, and unexploded ordnance before the start of the current war. It is simply not possible that the vastly-larger number of rockets Hamas has fired since then has caused no casualties.

I don't think Hamas believes that the death of children in war is a bad thing. If they die, they die as martyrs, which is their religious duty. That would explain why Hamas hasn't built bomb shelters, despite having used thousands of tons of cement and other materials to build terror tunnels into Israel. Hamas refuses ceasefires; it continues to fire rockets at Israel; it is deliberately placing children in harm's way; what is Israel to do?

Answers on a postcard, please.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:38 PM on July 22


"They totally goaded us into killing children! What were we supposed to do- NOT kill them??"
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:44 PM on July 22


Showbiz_liz, you know that Israel is firing at missile sites, not children. Hamas is still rejecting offers of ceasefires, and - quite apart from the direct harm caused by its rockets - has succeeded in disrupting air travel to Israel. What is Israel to do? Surely you have some suggestion?
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:13 PM on July 22


NYT: Darkness falls on Gaza
The terms outlined by Hamas for a cease-fire are the same as those the United Nations has called for repeatedly: open the border crossings; let people work, study and build the economy.
posted by BinGregory at 9:49 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


From that OpEd:
Cement is especially severely rationed because Israel suspects it is diverted by Hamas to build tunnels for fighters.
Suspects? Hamas boasts about it! They give conducted tours to reporters, and videos showing the tunnels are broadcast on Al-Jazeera! Literally nobody doubts that Hamas diverts a big chunk of everything it can use, and taxes anything it doesn't want. I have heard that the payoffs-in-kind take place in broad daylight, right outside the crossing.

What Hamas is actually demanding are things that neither Israel, nor Egypt, nor the UN, and not even the Palestinian Authority want them to have: things that would make it easier for Hamas to import weapons so they can continue killing people. That's just for a ceasefire, not an actual peace treaty, because it is theologically impossible for Hamas to conclude a peace treaty with Jews.

The main reason Israel would accept a ceasefire is that it's sick of killing people; a state of active war with Hamas isn't all that much better than Hamas' other state of perpetual low-level attacks and terrorist outrage. From Israel's perspective, it's probably better to have Hamas firing lots of rockets at once than to have them arrive irregularly over the course of a year. And who knows? Perhaps Hamas will ultimately be replaced by someone in Gaza is in a position to conclude a genuine peace treaty, or at least a substantial ceasefire.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:32 PM on July 22


Showbiz_liz, you know that Israel is firing at missile sites, not children.

Evidence says that Israel *is* firing at children sometimes.

Israeli Shelling Kills 4 Children on Gaza Beach

By Alice Speri
July 16, 2014

posted by mikelieman at 10:39 PM on July 22


The Israeli Government should invade and occupy Gaza. WITH CIVILIAN POLICE. Restore Civil Order. Arrest and Charge Terrorists with their alleged crimes. Put them on trial, and if guilty -- damned well execute them.

Your average Gaza-resident, who fears the criminal terrorists of Hamas in ways Israelis can't ever understand, would greet the people "Promoting the General Welfare", "Restoring Domestic Tranquillity"and bringing them both "Due Process of Law" and "Equal Protection of the Law" -- would greet them as the liberators they are.
posted by mikelieman at 11:13 PM on July 22


Showbiz_liz, you know that Israel is firing at missile sites, not children.

Joe right after I posted that video of the young civilian getting killed, you responded with a now deleted comment that you wanted to bet me the video was staged. Now we hear otherwise, but don't let that stop you from the endless refrain of how much Israel respects civilian life and how Hamas, whose current body count is over 90% IDF, while Israel has a body count twenty times as high and with a rate of 70-80% civilians according to the UN. In a conflict supposedly based on Israel's self-defense, over 99.99% of everyone who has died has died in Gaza.

Would any facts whatsoever change your mind regarding the situational ethics of the respective parties in this conflict?
posted by crayz at 11:21 PM on July 22 [19 favorites]


Ray Walston, children in Gaza were being killed by premature explosions, short-falling rockets, and unexploded ordnance before the start of the current war. It is simply not possible that the vastly-larger number of rockets Hamas has fired since then has caused no casualties.

I don't think Hamas believes that the death of children in war is a bad thing. If they die, they die as martyrs, which is their religious duty. That would explain why Hamas hasn't built bomb shelters, despite having used thousands of tons of cement and other materials to build terror tunnels into Israel. Hamas refuses ceasefires; it continues to fire rockets at Israel; it is deliberately placing children in harm's way; what is Israel to do?


I'll grant that shoddy rockets could easily kill Palestinians as well as Israelis. That, to me, does not excuse the children killed by the IDF.

As for what Israel could do, something that doesn't kill hundreds of civilians, many of them women and children. But I understand shelling and aerial bombardment are safer for IDF personnel than actual police work.

I'm beginning to wonder if the current Gazan excursion for the IDF is even related to the kidnapped teenagers at all. The IDF seems a lot more interested in degrading Gazan infrastructure than arresting anyone.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:30 PM on July 22


The Israeli Government should invade and occupy Gaza. WITH CIVILIAN POLICE.

That wouldn't work because in the absence of the IDF Hamas would easily kill all the civilian police. Or, if the civilian police were present in sufficient force to make that impossible they would be in most important ways indistinguishable from a military force.
posted by Justinian at 11:42 PM on July 22 [1 favorite]


I don't think when the Hamas gang is on the run from the Law, they're going to have a lot of resources to kill the local-lads hired to ensure domestic tranquillity and due process of law.

Of course, I never gave a gang of criminal terrorists the credit of being a sovereign entity in the first place, and can't personally understand what motives rational people have for elevating them above what they are. Criminals whose gang has terrorized the citizens they're exploiting because there's no civil authority who cares about them.

Create that civil authority. Problem solved.

Or do people really think that dropping bombs on children is preferable? Because whether or not they're human shields, the guy who drops the bomb is responsible for their deaths. Period. And if some actually PREFER that to "One Nation, With Liberty and Justice for All", then I pity them and weep for the dead children and destroyed families that will happen today.
posted by mikelieman at 12:03 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]




Of course, I never gave a gang of criminal terrorists the credit of being a sovereign entity in the first place [...]

I don't suppose they care much about your opinion. There's a very real argument that Hamas is actually the legitimate government of both Gaza and the West Bank, but in any event it is unarguably the actual government of the Gaza Strip. In case you're interested, here's a potted history of Palestinian government in the West Bank and Gaza:

The Palestinian National Authority (PA) was established in 1994 (I think), pursuant to the Oslo Accords. Its legislative body was to be the Palestinian Legislative Council, for which an election was held in 2006. Hamas started a distant second to Fatah, but rose in popularity during the campaign. None the less, everyone seemed to be surprised when they won a convincing majority of seats.

Electoral success did not moderate Hamas; there were a number of cross-border raids, including the one in which Gilad Shalit was captured. As a consequence of this, Israel and the Quartet (the UN, EU, USA and Russia; four bodies then mediating the "peace proces") imposed sanctions against the PA , demanding that it renounce violence, recognise Israel, and accept agreements made by the PA before the 2006 elections. The Hamas-led PA did not accept these terms. Israel and the Quartet kept pressure on the PA, which meant (among other things) that it couldn't pay government salaries. Simultaneously, Fatah was jockeying for position with Hamas and apparently began plotting a coup. This was probably encouraged by Israel and the Quartet, but whatever. Hamas preempted or forestalled the coup (or possibly was just itching for a fight) and war broke out between Hamas and Fatah in 2007. At its conclusion, Hamas controlled Gaza and Fatah controlled the West Bank. The government in Gaza was directed by the Palestinian prime Minister, Ismail Haniyeh, and the government in the West Bank was theoretically directed by a new Prime Minister appointed by Abbas: Salam Fayyad (now replaced by Rami Hamdallah).

So that's where we are now. I think Hamas would still have a plurality of the Legislative Council, but it doesn't sit (obviously). If it did, though, it would presumably follow Hamas' dictates.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:41 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


Ray Walston, Luck Dragon wrote: I'll grant that shoddy rockets could easily kill Palestinians as well as Israelis. That, to me, does not excuse the children killed by the IDF.

No. Nothing excuses it. There's the defense of necessity, but that defense needs to be questioned all the time. Nobody here has been able to suggest any better solution to the problem of Hamas' attacks, though.

I understand shelling and aerial bombardment are safer for IDF personnel than actual police work.

Absolutely. Israel does not govern the Gaza Strip; it is not capable of doing so. I can't imagine any circumstance in which it could. Perhaps there's no way anyone could, without using the sort of methods that Hamas does.

I'm beginning to wonder if the current Gazan excursion for the IDF is even related to the kidnapped teenagers at all.

I don't think it ever was, although I'm pretty sure the kidnapping and murders helped sway Israeli public opinion in favor of the war. The legal basis of the war is Hamas' attacks against Israel, and there's no doubt that Hamas was doing that.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:55 AM on July 23


I don't think when the Hamas gang is on the run from the Law, they're going to have a lot of resources to kill the local-lads hired to ensure domestic tranquillity and due process of law.

I think you're pretty obviously grossly underestimating Hamas. This isn't a couple punks with a switchblade who would be intimidated by Officer Moustache and his pals. It's an organized paramilitary organization with heavy weaponry and training in small unit tactics. They have assault rifles, machine guns, RPGs, assorted other anti-tank weaponry, bunkers, mortars, (inaccurate) rockets, and all kinds of other thigs which are quite capable of killing soldiers much less civilian cops.

I don't really understand how you can think they'd be cowed by a standard civilian police force. Besides which that would require a full re-occupation of Gaza which most people would decry anyway.
posted by Justinian at 1:11 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


I suppose "organized" is implied by the term "organization" but you know what I mean.
posted by Justinian at 1:12 AM on July 23


Why do we have Governments, Campers?

To promote the self-evident truths that "All men are created equal, with inalienable rights including Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness".

Hamas fails that test, so I don't consider them a legitimate government, with the consent of the governed. NOW, who is going to step up and free these people, bringing them the OPPORTUNITY to replace it with one which does promote their own self interests?

I would suggest that given the precedent in Iraq, the United States should invade, go block by block, town by town removing the criminal terrorists -- and UNLIKE Iraq -- leaving behind a local police force and courts with actual authority. ( Fuck you "L. Paul Bremer"... )
posted by mikelieman at 4:01 AM on July 23


"Besides which that would require a full re-occupation of Gaza which most people would decry anyway."

Man, if ONLY the Israeli Government was formed around a policy with ONE NATION, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL. Then they would have the duty to their own people to take care of the criminal gangs terrorizing them daily.

It's better than dropping bombs on children, isn't it?
posted by mikelieman at 4:03 AM on July 23




Yes, I see the children.
posted by Mchelly at 4:24 AM on July 23


Guardian: In a hospital. At the beach. Hamas, Israel tells us, is hiding among civilians

USA Today: John Kerry arrives in Tel Aviv to broker cease-fire

Mondoweiss: Arab reporters come under attack from Israelis (includes video of Israeli attacking BBC Arabic reporter on air)

Mediaite: MSNBC Guest Who Called Out Israel Coverage Returns for Heated Talk with Chris Hayes (features Rula Jebreal, mentioned upthread)

Video of Shujaiya shelling from Palestinian perspective (via Max Blumenthal)

Banners with names of Gaza dead hung on Pigeon Rock in Lebanon
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:16 AM on July 23 [2 favorites]


Nobody here has been able to suggest any better solution to the problem of Hamas' attacks, though.

Uh, stop placing Gaza under seige? Open the borders? Stop occupying Palestinian territory? Stop checkpoints? Stop bulldozing people's homes? Stop the settlements? Stop bombing civilians?

And you haven't be able to suggest any better solution to the much bigger problem of Israel's attacks, though.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:04 AM on July 23 [4 favorites]


Those might be things that you are concerned about, but they're not the things that Hamas is converned about. Hamas believes that it is impossible - blasphemous - to tolerate the existence of any non-Islamic state. I keep linking to Hamas' charter; have you read it? Did you read my brief history of the Palestinian Authority? The sanctions were originally imposed - with international support - because Hamas would not negotiate with Israel or even recognise it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:37 AM on July 23




I keep linking to Hamas' charter; have you read it?

I didn't have to read the Unibomber's Manifesto to know he was a criminal using terror tactics. Hamas is a criminal organization using terror tactics against civilian populations.

They are NOT a sovereign nation. I really wish people would stop treating them like it.
posted by mikelieman at 6:59 AM on July 23


Hamas' charter was drafted 25 years ago back when it was literally just a handful of people. I don't see how that's relevant to the organizations current goals.

Hamas believes that it is impossible - blasphemous - to tolerate the existence of any non-Islamic state.

This is not true. M'shal has said that Hamas accepts the two-state solution.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:00 AM on July 23


Joe in Australia: Those might be things that you are concerned about, but they're not the things that Hamas is converned about.

This is a really two-dimensional, short-sighted way of looking at it. Hamas is empowered because of Israeli actions. If Israel did the things MisantropicPainforest mentioned, Hamas starts losing support. They have nothing to blame their failure of governance in Gaza on. They either wither or moderate.

Think that's impossible? Then you evidently never heard of Fatah, or apparently can't see the difference between Arafat and Abbas. Even Hamas can moderate, and if they don't they'll become a fringe group. Unless Israel keeps handing them fresh atrocities and martyrs.

Will that happen instantly? Of course not. The Israeli government keeps playing this game throughout the years where they make some small or poisoned concession and when violence doesn't go to zero in some trivial amount of time, they declare peace can't be had. This is what I meant in this comment. Israel will have to react to violence with restraint during a transition phase. Is that fair? Probably not. Is that the way to peace, which is ultimately the only way Israel can survive? Yes.

Your error is thinking that this is up to Hamas. In reality, it's more like the prisoner's dilemma, where moves towards peace will hurt each side with their more extreme factions. The difference is, Palestine already did it, and paid the price with seven years of split government and nothing to show for it, while Israel is far more powerful with robust insitutions to handle internal resistance to peace.
posted by spaltavian at 7:02 AM on July 23 [9 favorites]


And even if we accept that Hamas is the devil and just wants to kill every Jew in the world, none of that justifies what Israel is doing to the poor innocent Palestinian children. None of it.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:03 AM on July 23 [2 favorites]


And nothing Israel does justifies launching rockets or killing Israelis or anything.

The difference seems to be here, that no one here trying to justify the killing of Israelis.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:10 AM on July 23 [3 favorites]


NYT: Questions About Tactics and Targets as Civilian Toll Climbs in Israeli Strikes
The Palestinian deaths — 75 percent of them civilians, according to a United Nations count — have prompted a wave of international outrage, and are raising questions about Israel’s stated dedication to protecting civilians.
...

But while Israel has in the past killed Hamas members with attacks so precise that others riding in their cars have survived, in this conflict, there have been numerous instances of family homes being struck with residents inside. More and more Palestinians are accusing Israel of trying to inflict maximum suffering to demoralize Palestinians and weaken support for Hamas.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:18 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]






Uh, stop placing Gaza under seige? Open the borders? Stop occupying Palestinian territory? Stop checkpoints? Stop bulldozing people's homes? Stop the settlements? Stop bombing civilians?

Opening the borders without changing the Gazan leadership would be bad for all sides, but especially the Gazan civilians. Hamas' tunnels and rocket stockpiles clearly demonstrate that they have prioritized building-up their offensive capabilities (at the expense of civilian infrastructure) - if the blockade ends with Hamas still in power you can be sure the next war will be far more deadly than this one.
posted by rosswald at 9:57 AM on July 23 [2 favorites]


The Israeli government keeps playing this game throughout the years where they make some small or poisoned concession and when violence doesn't go to zero in some trivial amount of time, they declare peace can't be had.[...] Israel will have to react to violence with restraint during a transition phase.

I am sure the idea that a Palestinian democracy's teething-process must be paid for with Israeli blood would be a popular one, but don't be surprised that the Israelis won't think that is acceptable.
posted by rosswald at 10:08 AM on July 23


Ah yes, the old "hey starving kid, these bombs and this blockade are good for you!" argument. which is always on the right side of history.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:15 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


rosswald : I am sure the idea that a Palestinian democracy's teething-process must be paid for with Israeli blood would be a popular one, but don't be surprised that the Israelis won't think that is acceptable.

Well, that was certainly an honest and thoughtful response! You're clearly worth talking and listening to. Massive assualts that kill lots of civilians is of course the only way to respond to people purposely trying to derail the peace process. Israel should certainly keep playing Hamas' game.
posted by spaltavian at 10:21 AM on July 23 [3 favorites]


Ah yes, the old "hey starving kid, these bombs and this blockade are good for you!" argument. which is always on the right side of history.
posted by MisantropicPainforest


Do you have an actual argument about the points I made? Besides, Hamas has already diverted hundreds of millions of dollars into building reinforced tunnels and rocket workshops - what makes you think that the lifting of a blockade would even help feed those starving children?
posted by rosswald at 10:24 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


[Comment removed, pages-long copy pastes aren't really great for Mefi threads; better to just link to something that long.]
posted by cortex at 10:26 AM on July 23


Do you have an actual argument about the points I made? Besides, Hamas has already diverted hundreds of millions of dollars into building reinforced tunnels and rocket workshops - what makes you think that the lifting of a blockade would even help feed those starving children?

If there wasn't a blockade, Gaza could have that thing that feeds people. I think it's called... an economy.

How exactly do you think Hamas gets displaced by continuing to make them the warden of an open air prison? Have you thought more than one step out on this?
posted by spaltavian at 10:29 AM on July 23 [2 favorites]


Here's an argument: civilians in Gaza do not want to be blockaded. They know what is in their interest and they know what is good for them. Sorry but you don't.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:30 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


Massive assaults that kill lots of civilians is of course the only way to respond to people purposely trying to derail the peace process

That is not what I said. I just don't imagine that in a democracy, where people can choose their own leadership, anyone would ever be elected on a platform of not responding to terrorist attacks.
posted by rosswald at 10:31 AM on July 23


Except for Spain and England.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:33 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]


How exactly do you think Hamas gets displaced by continuing to make them the warden of an open air prison? Have you thought more than one step out on this?
posted by spaltavian


How does Hamas get displaced if the blockade is lifted, and in addition to the additional revenue they pull in they use the opportunity to re-arm and re-secure their positions?
posted by rosswald at 10:35 AM on July 23


Massive assaults that kill lots of civilians is of course the only way to respond to people purposely trying to derail the peace process

That is not what I said.


It's what you said just like how I said "Palestinian democracy's teething-process must be paid for with Israeli blood".

anyone would ever be elected on a platform of not responding to terrorist attacks.

Who said "not respond"? I said restraint. Bust down doors. Knock some heads. Make arrests. But restraint means not bombing, not invading, not leveling houses. Not putting civilians in harm's way.
posted by spaltavian at 10:36 AM on July 23


Bust down doors. Knock some heads. Make arrests.

In Gaza? Who exactly will be doing this arresting?
posted by rosswald at 10:38 AM on July 23


I just don't imagine that in a democracy, where people can choose their own leadership, anyone would ever be elected on a platform of not responding to terrorist attacks.

Israel can respond to terrorist attacks without massacring civilians and destroying civilian infrastructure. I would hope this would be part of a winning platform.

This video gives a terrifying glimpse into life in Gaza this week
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:38 AM on July 23 [3 favorites]


rosswald, what would make you think it is ok to lift the blockade?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:39 AM on July 23


How exactly do you think Hamas gets displaced by continuing to make them the warden of an open air prison? Have you thought more than one step out on this?

How does Hamas get displaced if the blockade is lifted, and in addition to the additional revenue they pull in they use the opportunity to re-arm and re-secure their positions?


Because Palestinians aren't monsters and will eventually reject an armed gang once they can get jobs and stuff? Are you serious with this?

Extra revenue is not what keeps Hamas around. They operate just fine now. It's the support of Gazans who seem Hamas as at least protecting them.

In Gaza? Who exactly will be doing this arresting?

So, you really do think massive assaults that kill lots of civilians the only way to respond to people purposely trying to derail the peace process?

I will never understand people are so pro-Israel they think Israel should keep doing exactly what Hamas wants them do.
posted by spaltavian at 10:47 AM on July 23


First, I should say that I was completely serious when I said lifting the blockade with Hamas in power will end up harming Gazan civilians in the long run. Things may be okay for a few months, or years - but it would just end with another war with yet even heavier weapons being deployed.

To end the blockade, IMO, either some variant of the unity govt. or the PA itself would need to be in power in Gaza with the same kind of security cooperation seen in the WB, and/or UN inspections at the crossings. Jail-time for militants or groups who fire across the border.
posted by rosswald at 10:48 AM on July 23


Things may be okay for a few months, or years - but it would just end with another war with yet even heavier weapons being deployed

This seems like an entirely speculative justification for waging war on civilians.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:50 AM on July 23 [3 favorites]




Fired MSNBC Contributor Speaks Out on Suppression of Israel-Palestine Debate

I actually met the reporter once in NYC, back when she was married to the artist Julian Schnable. Super-intelligent person, her life story (which she turned into a book) is pretty crazy.
posted by cell divide at 11:01 AM on July 23 [1 favorite]




Yeah, DN has been giving the Gaza issue a lot of coverage, including a debate today between Ali Abunimah and JJ Goldberg.

HuffPo: America's Israeli Jihadists (about Americans fighting in the Israeli army)

FDL: Pro-Israel Real Estate Broker... Arrested at Chicago Rally for Carrying Gun

Haaretz: Right-wing rabbi’s ruling: Israel may totally destroy Gaza if necessary
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:15 PM on July 23




I don't know about British Jews, but this Canadian is dreading people talking about the war at synagogue this Saturday. We've been on summer hiatus since it began, but it's a topic I just don't talk about with other synagogue members. No one publically criticizes Israeli policy, though quietly people do make dissent known (like mentioning putting Palestinian olive oil on a "modern Seder plate", as a symbol of oppression).

I've wanted to start what I call the Mercutio Movement - a plague on both their houses. A kinder person than me suggested instead a Romeo & Juliet Movement, to try to unite the sensible on both sides. But I don't know if that will happen before far too many people - primarily Palestinian - for there to be peace.
posted by jb at 5:58 PM on July 23


I realise that it's Shakespeare, but it would be nice if you could pick someone who survives the end of the play.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:10 PM on July 23 [2 favorites]


Wrong play.
posted by Trochanter at 7:20 PM on July 23


Not sure where on the political spectrum the WaPo editorial board sits but they're putting a lot of the blame on Hamas for building tunnels into Israel for the sole purpose of carrying out attacks in this editorial: The U.S. should push for the disarming of Hamas in Gaza-Israel cease-fire.
posted by PenDevil at 12:01 AM on July 24


A remarkably frank TV interview with a person identified as Musheer Al-Masri, the Speaker of the defunct-ish Palestinian Legislative Council, and spokesman for Hamas: Mushir Al Masri, member of Hamas parliament
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:12 AM on July 24


When's the next Israeli settlement opening on land taken away from Palestinians in the illegally occupied West Bank?
posted by Mister Bijou at 12:45 AM on July 24


I think things are quite heated enough here without anyone trying to start a fight.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:06 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


The Lancet: An open letter for the people in Gaza "We ask our colleagues, old and young professionals, to denounce this Israeli aggression."

AJE: Kerry, Peres meet family of American killed in Gaza fighting for Israel

Buzzfeed: [Rula Jebreal] Labeled “Palestinian Journalist” During Her Next Appearance (instead of "MSNBC Contributor")
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:52 AM on July 24


It's difficult to argue that the constant ongoing theft of Palestinian land, a process that's continued for decades throughout all of Israel's "peace" negotiations, is not directly relevant in this thread, but ok, Joe, if that's your point, let's see the argument.

Anyway, that 2006 Tony Judt op-ed published in Haaretz that BinGregory linked above has some provocative things to say about anti-Semitism and the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land:

And so, shorn of all other justifications for its behavior, Israel and its supporters today fall back with increasing shrillness upon the oldest claim of all: Israel is a Jewish state and that is why people criticize it. This - the charge that criticism of Israel is implicitly anti-Semitic - is regarded in Israel and the United States as Israel's trump card. If it has been played more insistently and aggressively in recent years, that is because it is now the only card left.

The habit of tarring any foreign criticism with the brush of anti-Semitism is deeply engrained in Israeli political instincts: Ariel Sharon used it with characteristic excess but he was only the latest in a long line of Israeli leaders to exploit the claim. David Ben-Gurion and Golda Meir did no different. But Jews outside of Israel pay a high price for this tactic. Not only does it inhibit their own criticisms of Israel for fear of appearing to associate with bad company, but it encourages others to look upon Jews everywhere as de facto collaborators in Israel's misbehavior. When Israel breaks international law in the occupied territories, when Israel publicly humiliates the subject populations whose land it has seized - but then responds to its critics with loud cries of "anti-Semitism" - it is in effect saying that these acts are not Israeli acts, they are Jewish acts: The occupation is not an Israeli occupation, it is a Jewish occupation, and if you don't like these things it is because you don't like Jews.

In many parts of the world this is in danger of becoming a self-fulfilling assertion: Israel's reckless behavior and insistent identification of all criticism with anti-Semitism is now the leading source of anti-Jewish sentiment in Western Europe and much of Asia. But the traditional corollary - if anti-Jewish feeling is linked to dislike of Israel then right-thinking people should rush to Israel's defense - no longer applies. Instead, the ironies of the Zionist dream have come full circle: For tens of millions of people in the world today, Israel is indeed the state of all the Jews. And thus, reasonably enough, many observers believe that one way to take the sting out of rising anti-Semitism in the suburbs of Paris or the streets of Jakarta would be for Israel to give the Palestinians back their land.

posted by mediareport at 4:55 AM on July 24 [8 favorites]


I really don't think we need this conversation at this time, or that you need me in it.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:35 AM on July 24


I disagree with the former. There have been some pretty vile accusations of anti-semitism right in this thread.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:36 AM on July 24


This land is mine.
posted by jbickers at 5:37 AM on July 24


And so, shorn of all other justifications for its behavior,

Apart from the rocket and mortar attacks, completely denuded, sure.

Israel and its supporters today fall back with increasing shrillness upon the oldest claim of all: Israel is a Jewish state and that is why people criticize it. This - the charge that criticism of Israel is implicitly anti-Semitic - is regarded in Israel and the United States as Israel's trump card. If it has been played more insistently and aggressively in recent years, that is because it is now the only card left.

It's pretty terrible when the right wing goes on and on about the Race Card and people using it - it's usually a pretty clear indicator that the commentator is out of sorts that they can't say something racist without being called a racist. It's pretty terrible when the "left" (note scarequotes) does the same thing.

Israel's reckless behavior and insistent identification of all criticism with anti-Semitism is now the leading source of anti-Jewish sentiment in Western Europe and much of Asia.

Aaaaand there it is. Israel, and not irrational ethnic hatred, is responsible for antisemitism. It's the jew's own fault everyone hates them. What an odious argument.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:39 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


You're doing exactly what Judt points out is the problem, Slap*Happy: equating the far-right fundamentalist theft of Palestinian land with "the jews." There it is, indeed.
posted by mediareport at 6:11 AM on July 24 [5 favorites]


You're doing exactly what Judt points out is the problem, Slap*Happy: equating the far-right fundamentalist theft of Palestinian land with "the jews."

No, I didn't. How on earth did you read that into it?
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:20 AM on July 24




Some people seem to be under the impression that Israel was just sitting around minding its own business when Hamas rolled up and started rocketing them for no reason at all.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:34 AM on July 24 [13 favorites]


According to aljazeera arabic, 13 more people killed and over a hundred wounded after Israel bombed a school in bayt hanoon
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:44 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


No reason could justify Hamas' attacks on civilians. Even the PA agrees that it's a war crime.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:48 AM on July 24


The Times of Israel ran an interesting opinion piece last week about the constant pressure Netanyahu (and any Israeli politician with hopes of national office) is facing from the far-right, in this case his own foreign minister, Avigdor Liberman, who actually went on a self-promoting tour of the country to undermine Netanyahu's approach to the conflict:

[T]he foreign minister called in the media to set out his own, alternative approach to the resolution of Israel’s wars with Hamas. That this was a nakedly self-serving political gambit goes without saying. Liberman meanders all over the center-right of the political spectrum as he deems expedient; at the end of the previous round of conflict, Operation Pillar of Defense in November 2012, Liberman had hailed Israel’s conduct of a limited, eight-day campaign in which it did not use ground forces, declaring that “Strength is not only to strike, but also to exercise restraint,” and even praising then-Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi for his “responsible role” in resolving the crisis.

Untenably, on Tuesday, Liberman sought to score points at the expense of Israelis’ faith in their leadership. Whether his prescription for Gaza is right or wrong — does Israel really want to reconquer Gaza and retake responsibility for 1.6 million Palestinians there? How many Israelis might die in the process? How will Israel’s international legitimacy be affected? Are there better ways to de-fang Hamas, including via the quietly flourishing Israeli-Egyptian axis? — the fact is that he was not elected to run this country. If he thinks the man who was is doing a lousy job, he should quit the government, not undermine it from within. Least of all from his position at the helm of Israel’s entire diplomatic hierarchy.


Netanyahu fired a deputy defense minister for doing the same, but if he tried to fire Liberman his governing coalitiion would almost certainly fall apart.
posted by mediareport at 6:48 AM on July 24


According to aljazeera arabic, 13 more people killed and over a hundred wounded after Israel bombed a school in bayt hanoon

Here are reports from Ma'an and AJE.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 6:50 AM on July 24


No reason could justify Hamas' attacks on civilians. Even the PA agrees that it's a war crime.

These jerks keep attacking civilians! Let's get them back by literally attacking civilians
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:50 AM on July 24 [3 favorites]


No reason could justify Hamas' attacks on civilians.

I agree. Do you agree that no reason could justify Israel's attacks on civilians?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 6:50 AM on July 24 [7 favorites]




I don't accept that Israel is deliberately targeting civilians, but if it were to do so then sure: that would be a war crime.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:58 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


This won't end well: Hamas Al Qassam offices are next to the emergency room at Shifa Hospital

You know who has the power to make it NOT not end well? The people who get to decide whether to blow up that hospital.
posted by showbiz_liz at 6:59 AM on July 24


I don't accept that Israel is deliberately targeting civilians

Then they have shit aim. What with all the dead civilians.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:00 AM on July 24 [9 favorites]


Joe in Australia, via NBC: Over the course of the day UNRWA tried to coordinate with the Israeli Army a window for civilians to leave. It was never granted.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:04 AM on July 24


I'll be sure to tell the families of the 300+ dead kids that hey, the IDF didn't mean to kill your kid so its totes cool.

Intentions don't matter.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:05 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


International Humanist and Ethical Union Statement on Israel-Palestine Conflict
We are alarmed by reports of airstrikes on some egregious targets and reports of the resumption of punitive property demolitions.

We note that, in addition to the real tragedy for each individual affected by the current conflict, the ideological and regional context also inflates the risks of prolonging the violence.

We urge the United Nations and all regional players to recognise this complexity and to intervene only with a sense of balance and compassion.
posted by audi alteram partem at 7:05 AM on July 24




Haaretz: The full text is available for subscribers & registered users.
posted by Mister Bijou at 7:23 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Sorry, I guess it's one of those annoying cases where the site only shows non-subscribers the full article if they get to it through a search engine. Here's a link that should work.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 7:29 AM on July 24


I don't accept that Israel is deliberately targeting civilians

We can play around with the meaning of the word "deliberate" I guess. One could argue that if you have a very small densely populated area, where the people are captive and have no place to go and you deliberately drop bombs on that area, and you know that civilians will die, then perhaps those deaths are deliberate. Said another way, if your technology is not good enough to avoid civilian deaths by targeting such an area, and you know that to be the case, then one could argue that you are deliberately targeting civilians.

In the USA, we love to call the many many 1000's of civilians killed by our bombs and guns "collateral damage". Collateral damage is civilian death that you believe to be acceptable to accomplish the stated goals of a mission and it is often calculated ahead of time--meaning you know it will happen. Calling these dead people collateral damage makes it less personal but it doesn't make it accidental.
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 7:40 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]


Intentions don't matter.
posted by MisantropicPainforest


According to which legal framework?
posted by rosswald at 7:40 AM on July 24


I'm not seeking to apply a legal framework.

I'm for exposing the moral depravity and the hypocrisy of the useful idiots who have limitless justifications for why it is ok for Israel to kill innocent Palestinian civilians.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:49 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


According to all the friends and family of those who are now dead or injured, as well as those of us with consciences. The fact that Israel claims to not target civilians when they know damn well that pounding the fuck out of an area like Gaza is going to hurt mostly innocent people, is well, murder. As I mentioned up-thread, watching "my people" once again slaughter all these innocent children and women is a fuckin' embarrassment, to say the least. Would a blood transfusion rid me of my feeling of guilt by association?
posted by gman at 7:51 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


'There are no safe places' for children in Gaza, UNICEF officer says. "I can say that 70 percent of the population is now without access to safe water."
posted by jbickers at 7:59 AM on July 24


More on the school from Haaretz:
4:52 P.M. Palestinian sources in Gaza say 15 people were killed and some 100 wounded by IDF artillery fire directed at an UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun.

According to eyewitness accounts, the "Kaa-Albir'' school was hit by four shells fired by IDF forces. According to one testimony, one of the shells struck the school's court, which at the time was crowdeed with refugee families, who relocated there after fleeing their homes in the northern Gaza Strip. Reports say the majority of the dead are women and children. Survivors say no early warning was given. (Jack Khouri)
My God. How could this not be targetting civilians?

"I can say that 70 percent of the population is now without access to safe water."

Holy Shit
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:07 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Chris Gunness, spokesman for the main U.N. agency in Gaza UNRWA, confirmed the strike and criticised Israel:

"Precise co-ordinates of the UNRWA shelter in Beit Hanoun had been formally given to the Israeli army ... Over the course of the day UNRWA tried to coordinate with the Israeli Army a window for civilians to leave and it was never granted," Gunness said on his Twitter page.

Source: Guardian's Live Updates
posted by Mister Bijou at 8:19 AM on July 24


If you target public infrastructure - the power plant, the hospitals and schools, plumbing and sewerage - you're targeting civilians. If a 10 to 1 ratio of civilians killed to hamas militants is acceptable, you're targeting civilians. It's collective punishment. Which is illegal.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 8:37 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]




That's not actually the case. A 10:1 ratio seems to be not uncommon in urban warfare (e.g., NATO's intervention in the former Yugoslavia) but in any event the ratio of civilians killed by Israel in the last Gaza war was a lot closer to 1:1, and I think that will be true this time too. The Gazan casualty figures are coming via Hamas, and they are not to be relied upon.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:50 AM on July 24


So those civilians killed are justified?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:57 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Joe in Australia: The Gazan casualty figures are coming via Hamas, and they are not to be relied upon.

Obviously the same goes for the numbers the Israelis put out. Now, I believe on the other side, there's currently a 10:1 kill rate of IDF to Israeli civilians...
posted by gman at 9:07 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]




Gman wrote: I believe on the other side, there's currently a 10:1 kill rate of IDF to Israeli civilians...

Yes; and while the IDF would like to make their ratio better, Hamas is doing everything it can to make both ratios worse.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:13 AM on July 24


At what point do actions speak louder than words?
posted by ODiV at 9:22 AM on July 24


Firing tank shells into designated shelters is a strange way to make the ratio better.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:23 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


My saddest photo yet. From #ISS we can actually see explosions and rockets flying over #Gaza & #Israel - Alexander Gerst
posted by ODiV at 9:24 AM on July 24 [2 favorites]


If the IDF doesn't mean to kill civilians then they are the most incompetent organization ever.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:27 AM on July 24 [4 favorites]




From #ISS we can actually see explosions and rockets flying over #Gaza & #Israel

That really puts your head in a big picture place. Puts me in my teenaged Scifi fan's brain.
posted by Trochanter at 9:49 AM on July 24


there's currently a 10:1 kill rate of IDF to Israeli civilians...

The reason for that is primarily bomb shelters + Iron Dome. The ratio is that low despite the murderous intent of the attacks.
posted by rosswald at 9:50 AM on July 24


You can't prove intent.

Intent doesn't matter.

What matters is dead people.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:53 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


'The reason for that is primarily bomb shelters + Iron Dome. The ratio is that low despite the murderous intent of the attacks'

Since you bring up 'intent', my understanding is that the rockets are due to the failure of the Israeli Government to follow through on their agreements in the November 2012 cease-fire.

Therefore, if the Israeli Government didn't want rockets from Gaza, they could have simply followed through -- in good faith -- in their commitments from then instead of, as I understand, violating it less than two weeks later?

What was, do you think, the Israeli Government's intent in not negotiating in good-faith, and given that, why should they be expected to do any differently going forwards?
posted by mikelieman at 9:57 AM on July 24 [1 favorite]


I don't mean to sound cavalier, but I kinda wish that had been a video from the ISS. Space!
posted by lullaby at 10:02 AM on July 24


LEO is overrated. GEO is where all the fun is...
posted by mikelieman at 10:05 AM on July 24


the rockets are due to the failure of the Israeli Government to follow through on their agreements in the November 2012 cease-fire

Violations of the truce
posted by rosswald at 10:09 AM on July 24


Puts me in my teenaged Scifi fan's brain.

By that I meant that in those days -- the way Scifi was -- was that we were going to move beyond all this shit. Like, excelsior.
posted by Trochanter at 10:10 AM on July 24


Gaza, Ukraine and antisocial media

(Google the title to unblock the article)
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:26 AM on July 24


According to which legal framework?

as if there's anything like a legal framework operating in that part of the world now
posted by pyramid termite at 10:41 AM on July 24


The wikipedia article linked by rosswald is interesting but somewhat misleading as the graph they show only shows Palestinian violations of the ceasefire. Luckily it's Wikipedia, so checking the sources of the data leads to much clearer information and provides context.

This page (used as a source from the wikipedia article) contains this chart, which shows what amounts to a timeline of both sides violations of the ceasefire from November 2012 that occurred because of those violations. Interestingly, at the end of the linked page they discuss the media dynamics behind the violations. It's not surprising rosswald and others have the impression that Israel is always responding to Palestinian violations, because that's how it's been covered in the media even though it's usually not the case.

They also link to some interesting reports from a Geneva-based NGO called Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre. One of them really does help explain why Gaza is often referred to as an open air prison by outlining the "arbitrary" Access Restricted Areas imposed by the IDF on Gaza since 2006. Some key quotes:
Between 2006 and May 2013, 539 Israeli military incursions into ARA on land were documented, resulting in the detention of 150 Palestinians. During the same time period, 544 shooting incidents were recorded, resulting in at least 179 civilian deaths and 751 injuries. In the past two years, there have been an average of around seven incursions each month...

Around 85 per cent of the maritime areas authorised under the Oslo Accords are off-limits to the Palestinian fishing fleet, resulting in an estimated loss of 75 per cent in monthly catch during sardine season and a 65 per cent rise in unemployment among fishermen since 2000.


In Beit Hanoun, a community where 85 per cent of residents are farmers, 93 per cent of participants said they had been unable to access their land in 2012 because of the Israeli military’s use of live ammunition. Between 1997 and 30 November 2013, there were also 522 documented shooting incidents targeting fishermen at sea, resulting in nine civilian deaths, 47 injuries and 422 detentions...

The report found Israel’s use of lethal force before ex- hausting other non-lethal means of engagement to be in violation of international human rights law and standards. This is particularly alarming in light of Israel’s capacity to implement non-lethal measures of law enforcement in Gaza, as highlighted by its frequent incursions into ARA on land. On the basis of a legal precedent set by the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the manner in which the Israeli military has used live ammunition in ARA could constitute grounds for investigation under international law. Reckless disregard for the protection of civilian life that results in the wilful killing or serious injury of non-combatants, particularly during periods of relative calm outside military operations, can amount to a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
posted by cell divide at 10:49 AM on July 24 [11 favorites]










Golden Eternity: that's been cropping up on my word-related Twitter feed. Also apparently #Qalandia. So far I can't find any news articles about it though.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:49 PM on July 24





Israel's attack on Gaza is revenge for the Palestinians' refusal to accept occupation: Say what you will about Hamas' rocket fire, at least they managed to scratch the surface of Israel's faith in the normalcy of its domination of another people.

There is method in madness, and the Israeli insanity, which refuses to grasp the extent of its revenge in Gaza, has very good reasons for being the way it is. The entire nation is the army, the army is the nation, and both are represented by a Jewish-democratic government and a loyal press, and the four of them work together to stave off the great betrayal: the Palestinians’ refusal to recognize the normalcy of the situation.

The Palestinians are disobedient. They refuse to adapt. This is after we thought it was working for us, with VIP treatment for a few of them and an opportunity for swollen bank accounts for some, and with enormous donations from the United States and Europe that nurture the pockets of imaginary Palestinian rule.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 1:51 PM on July 24


UNRWA officials now report that the school in Beit Hanoun was actually hit by a Hamas rocket, although the IDF says that one of its mortar shells went off course and may have hit the school; the initial reports did say that the school was hit multiple times, so who knows.

This is very different from the last war, when a highly-publicised tragedy (the death of a BBC reporter's child due to another Hamas misfire) was also initially blamed on Israel, and the truth was not confirmed until the report of a UN inquiry, held a year later.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:53 PM on July 24


Link? I'm still finding mostly articles that say the opposite.
posted by showbiz_liz at 1:56 PM on July 24


‏@RichardEngel
School hit was a designated shelter. UNRWA says it formally conveyed its location to Israeli forces 12 times, including at 10:56AM tdy.

(emphasis mine)
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:10 PM on July 24




UN shelter in Gaza 'struck by Israeli shells': Gaza health ministry says bombardment killed at least 15 people and injured 200 in a UN-run school in Beit Hanoun.

An Israeli military source however told Al Jazeera that Palestinian rocket fire had been detected in the area and that it might have fallen short and hit the shelter.

Al Jazeera's correspondent Stefanie Dekker said that she was unable to reach the school after the attack due to heavy Israeli shelling. No one she had spoken to in Gaza believed the deaths were caused by a Palestinian rocket.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Chris Gunness, the spokesman for UNRWA, the UN's humanitarian organisation in Gaza, said his organisation had been in contact with Israeli forces as fighting closed in on the shelter.
"We gave the Israelis the precise GPS coordinates of the Beit Hanoun shelter. We were trying to coordinate a window [for evacuation] and that was never granted," he said.

He said he could neither confirm nor deny that Hamas fighters were near the building, but said Israel and Hamas "must respect the inviolability of UN premises, and humanitarian law".

He called the attack "tragic and appalling".

Robert Turner, the director for UNRWA told Al Jazeera there was no warning from the Israelis before the shells landed.

"This is a designated emergency shelter. The location was conveyed to the Israelis," he said. "This was an installation we were managing, that was monitored [to ensure] that our neutrality was maintained."

"We always call on all parties to ensure that civilians are not harmed."

Israel has attacked UN schools before, saying that they were being used as safe havens for the armed Palestinians.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 2:12 PM on July 24


Also from Richard Engel: "UNRWA says it has "no evidence to suggest that" school was used by militants as human shields"
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:14 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]




Gaza crisis: UN claims Israel did not allow evacuation from shelter before strikes - live



"The Guardian's Harriet Sherwood (@harrietsherwood) in Jerusalem writes about the assertion of the Israeli army that Hamas uses civilians as human shields. "The picture is more complicated than either side claims," Harriet writes:

Deliberately placing non-combatants in and around targets to deter enemy attack – the definition of human shields – is illegal under international law.

The Geneva conventions state: "The presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations, in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations. The parties to the conflict shall not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield military operations."

International law also bans the use of medical units or prisoners of war to deter enemy attack.

However, even if Hamas were violating the law on this matter, it would not legally justify Israel's bombing of areas where civilians are known to be."

Read the full piece here.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 2:15 PM on July 24


I'm waiting for the justifications: its ok Israel killed those kids because they didn't mean it, but if Hamas did it they meant to kill the kids so then its not ok.

Either way its dead kids.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:16 PM on July 24 [5 favorites]


it would not legally justify Israel's bombing of areas where civilians are known to be.

As in the entirety of Gaza. They have been doing this for weeks now.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 2:16 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


This is just so fucking sad.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:19 PM on July 24




According to this guy, the Israelis are firing live ammo and have killed two people at the big Qalandya demonstration.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:21 PM on July 24


I've been more sympathetic to Israel than a lot of people here (though obviously less so than certain hardcore apologists) but I gotta say Israel appears to be doing its best to alienate basically everybody with even the smallest willingness to consider that Israel might not always be 100% in the right in every way. I mean, jesus, there are ways to handle Hamas hiding rockets near UN shelters without blowing the fuck out of the shelter.
posted by Justinian at 2:21 PM on July 24


There's the Times of Israel live blog, but I can't seem to link to the section so you have to scroll. Chris Gunness' Twitter feed reports that Hamas rockets were falling in Beit Hanoun, although he doesn't say they hit the school. The Elder of Ziyon blog has a round-up.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:21 PM on July 24




Yeah, and the Russians say Ukraine shot down the passenger jet.
posted by Justinian at 2:24 PM on July 24 [6 favorites]


We could just wait until some actual information (e.g., photos of the shrapnel or ordnance) is available, but I suppose a rocket misfire nearby is as likely to affect a whole bank as a single rocket. The IDF says that one of its shells went off course, not five of them. Alternatively, it's even possible that it was a deliberate strike by Hamas: there's not much of a jump from the use of suicide bombers and human shields to the use of manufactured tragedies.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:31 PM on July 24


And what if it isn't Hamas' responsibility? Would it be justified? Would it be unintentional killing of civilians? Just want to know where the goalposts are.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:34 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


UNRWA chief: this is 4th time in 4 days one of our schools has been hit. The other 3 times we r virtually certain it was Israeli fire
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:35 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Dimi Reider ‏@dimireider 43m
Breaking - two protesters shot dead at mass protest against war in #Gaza at Qalandia checkpoint, up to 30k strong.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 2:36 PM on July 24


It could have been a meteor too, Joe in Australia. Or maybe swamp gas.
posted by Justinian at 2:36 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Apparently #48kmarch is the hashtag for the West Bank demonstration. The plan, apparently, seems to be to march from Qalandya (where the IDF seems to be shooting Palestinians) to Jerusalem (where there are also clashes).

(This is all insta-reporting from what I can gather from Twitter, so take it with a grain of salt.)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:39 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


MisantropicPainforest: Morality is about decisions you make or should make. I don't think it makes sense to discuss justifiability for unintentional acts, although you can certainly ask whether the act was careless or reckless.

Justinian: everybody agrees that Hamas was firing rockets nearby, and earlier reports indicate that about a third of their rockets are misfires. There were no reports of swamp gas in the vicinity.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:44 PM on July 24


I'm not saying there's a 0% it was Hamas; I think they're perfectly willing to do something like that. But under the circumstances I don't think this is a case of "hey, who can say what happened? Coulda been anything."
posted by Justinian at 2:47 PM on July 24


I was in Ramallah earlier today (about 6 hours ago) after visiting Rawabi. Everything was very calm, tons of people out in the streets after work shopping for the upcoming Eid (end of Ramadan). A decent number of foreigners (American and Euro) milling around, checking out the scene in downtown. We all remarked on how calm the West Bank has been through all of this and how we hoped it would stay that way.
posted by cell divide at 2:50 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


The only live stream I can find covering the breaking news is this channel. Does anyone know of any English-language broadcasts that can be livestreamed covering this? (AJE isn't available in America and AJA doesn't live stream, so far as I know.)
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:53 PM on July 24


from the Permanent Observer Mission of the State of Palestine to the United Nations
24 July 2014 – Israeli Attack on UNRWA School in Beit Hanoun

Today, Israel, the occupying Power, proved yet again its absolute disregard for human life and the rules of international humanitarian law intended to prevent such military assaults against civilians. Once again, the Israeli occupying forces have targeted an UNRWA school, causing more death and injury among already-traumatized civilians, displaced from their homes and sheltering in the school, including many who were demanded by the occupying Power in earlier days to leave their residential areas. Here, it is imperative to recall that during Israel’s 2008-9 war on Gaza, Israeli tanks shelled an area outside an UNRWA school in Jabaliya refugee camp, killing 42 people and injuring dozens, a crime in which the occupying Power deliberately targeted areas and buildings housing the largest number of civilians, but for which Israel has never been held accountable.

Witnesses have reported that Israeli artillery shelling hit the school in Beit Hanoun in broad daylight. This attack on a clearly marked UN installation, for which the occupying Power had the exact coordinates and information that the school was sheltering civilians, resulted in the killing of at least 17 Palestinians and the injury of more than 200 people who were among the displaced persons sheltering there. This is the fourth time in two days that Israeli occupying forces have bombed schools serving as shelters in the besieged Gaza Strip, including the firing on a girl’s school in the Maghazi refugee camp, where hundreds of displaced Palestinians had been sheltering. In this regard, at the writing of this letter, more than 148,000 Palestinians are sheltering in UNRWA schools in Gaza, seeking safety from Israel’s military onslaught and suffering dire humanitarian circumstances.

We strongly condemn Israel’s attack on the UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun and the killing of innocent civilians, who believed that they and their children would be safe under the UN flag. We demand an immediate, impartial and thorough investigation into this grave incident in order to establish accountability and bring the perpetrators of this crime to justice. Such grave breaches of international humanitarian law and such gross violations of the inviolability of UN premises must not remain unpunished.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 2:53 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Report on the protest from Ma'an
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:58 PM on July 24


Oh, right, looks like we ought to wait to hear what the IDF says or what enlightening remarks the anonymous commentator behind "Elder of Zion" has to add.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 2:59 PM on July 24


Shame the Hamas rockets don't have the "pinpoint precision" that the IDF missiles do.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 3:00 PM on July 24


Gallup poll of Americans' opinion of Israel's actions during the current conflict.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:09 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Gallup poll of Americans' opinion of Israel's actions during the current conflict.

So the people who think Israel's actions are justified are old white men, and the people opposed are the young, non-whites, and women. Gee - such a strange and common type of division in American politics, I wonder what comments one might make regarding it.
posted by crayz at 3:17 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


My name is Elizabeth, I am from Israel and #IStandForGaza. All humans deserve freedom and dignity.
posted by crayz at 3:23 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Justinian, given that UNRWA itself says that Hamas rockets were falling in the area; that Hamas has actually been storing rockets inside UNRWA schools; that these rockets very frequently misfire; and that the IDF says only that a single Israeli shell went off course; why would you not presume that Hamas was responsible? If the IDF wanted to bomb schools it could do so on all occasions, and it seems an odd coincidence that it would choose to attack refugees in a UNRWA compound specifically when Hamas' rockets are falling nearby.

Here's a theory that explains all the evidence: Hamas has a rocket site near the school - which is an acknowledged fact. An IDF mortar hits it, deliberately or accidentally. The rockets go off, as they often do when this happens, and some hit the adjacent school. No weird coincidences necessary.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:32 PM on July 24


RULE #1 OF FIREARM SAFETY: Treat Every Gun As If It's Loaded.

When you drop a bomb on people, you are responsible for the deaths. Period. Don't want to kill innocent civilians? Don't drop bombs on them. Easy peasy. Since the Government of Israel is not following this one simple rule, 'accident' doesn't cover it.
posted by mikelieman at 3:33 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


Are you working off of this list, joe?

1. We haven't heard reports of deaths, we will check into it
2. The people were killed, but by a faulty Palestinian rocket/bomb
3. Ok we killed them, but they were terrorists
4. Ok they were civilians, but they were being used as human shields
5. Ok there were no fighters in the area, so it was our mistake. But we kill civilians by accident, they do it on purpose
6. Ok we kill far more civilians than they do, but look at how terrible other countries are!
7. Why are you still talking about Israel? Are you some kind of anti-semite?
posted by klue at 3:35 PM on July 24 [23 favorites]


"Justinian, given that UNRWA itself says that Hamas rockets were falling in the area; that Hamas has actually been storing rockets inside UNRWA schools; that these rockets very frequently misfire; and that the IDF says only that a single Israeli shell went off course; why would you not presume that Hamas was responsible? If the IDF wanted to bomb schools it could do so on all occasions, and it seems an odd coincidence that it would choose to attack refugees in a UNRWA compound specifically when Hamas' rockets are falling nearby.

Here's a theory that explains all the evidence: Hamas has a rocket site near the school - which is an acknowledged fact. An IDF mortar hits it, deliberately or accidentally. The rockets go off, as they often do when this happens, and some hit the adjacent school. No weird coincidences necessary."

Beggars belief. Utterly shameful and speculative. We'll see, Joe. Shame I'm not a betting man. The next few days will show that the IDF bombed the site and will say whatever they can to try and wrangle out of it.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 3:46 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]




"Identifying Israel with Jewry obscures the existence of the small but important post-Zionist movement in Israel, including the philosophers Adi Ophir and Anat Biletzki, the sociologist Uri Ram, the professor of theatre Avraham Oz and the poet Yitzhak Laor. Are we to say that Israelis who are critical of Israeli policy are self-hating Jews, or insensitive to the ways in which criticism may fan the flames of anti-semitism? What of the new Brit Tzedek organisation in the US, numbering close to 20,000 members at the last count, which seeks to offer a critical alternative to the American Israel Political Action Committee, opposing the current occupation and working for a two-state solution? What of Jewish Voices for Peace, Jews against the Occupation, Jews for Peace in the Middle East, the Faculty for Israeli-Palestinian Peace, Tikkun, Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, Women in Black or, indeed, Neve Shalom-Wahat al-Salam, the only village collectively governed by both Jews and Arabs in the state of Israel? What do we make of B’Tselem, the Israeli organisation that monitors human rights abuses in the West Bank and Gaza, or Gush Shalom, an Israeli organisation opposing the occupation, or Yesh Gvul, which represents the Israeli soldiers who refuse to serve in the Occupied Territories? And what of Ta’ayush, a Jewish-Arab coalition against policies that lead to isolation, poor medical care, house arrest, the destruction of educational institutions, and lack of water and food for Palestinians?

It will not do to equate Jews with Zionists or Jewishness with Zionism. There were debates among Jews throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries as to whether Zionism ought to become the basis of a state, whether the Jews had any right to lay claim to land inhabited by Palestinians for centuries, and as to the future for a Jewish political project based on a violent expropriation of land. There were those who sought to make Zionism compatible with peaceful co-existence with Arabs, and those who used it as an excuse for military aggression, and continue to do so. There were those who thought, and still think, that Zionism is not a legitimate basis for a democratic state in a situation where a diverse population must be assumed to practise different religions, and that no group ought to be excluded from any right accorded to citizens in general on the basis of their ethnic or religious views. And there are those who maintain that the violent appropriation of Palestinian land, and the dislocation of 700,000 Palestinians, was an unsuitable foundation on which to build a state. Yet Israel is now repeating its founding gesture in the containment and dehumanisation of Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Indeed, the wall now being built threatens to leave 95,000 Palestinians homeless. These are questions about Zionism that should and must be asked in a public domain, and universities are surely one place where we might expect critical reflections on Zionism to take place. Instead, we are being asked, by Summers and others, to treat any critical approach to Zionism as effective anti-semitism and, hence, to rule it out as a topic for legitimate disagreement.

Many important distinctions are elided by the mainstream press when it assumes that there are only two possible positions on the Middle East, the ‘pro-Israel’ and the ‘pro-Palestinian’. The assumption is that these are discrete views, internally homogeneous, non-overlapping, that if one is ‘pro-Israel’ then anything Israel does is all right, or if ‘pro-Palestinian’ then anything Palestinians do is all right. But few people’s political views occupy such extremes. One can, for instance, be in favour of Palestinian self-determination, but condemn suicide bombings, and find others who share both those views but differ on the form self-determination ought to take. One can be in favour of Israel’s right to exist, but still ask what is the most legitimate and democratic form that existence ought to take. If one questions the present form, is one anti-Israel? If one holds out for a truly democratic Israel-Palestine, is one anti-Israel? Or is one trying to find a better form for this polity, one that may well involve any number of possibilities: a revised version of Zionism, a post-Zionist Israel, a self-determining Palestine, or an amalgamation of Israel into a greater Israel-Palestine where all racially and religiously based qualifications on rights and entitlements would be eliminated?"

Judith Butler, No, it’s not anti-semitic
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 4:06 PM on July 24 [5 favorites]


"The Israeli military on Wednesday completely bombed the al-Wafa rehabilitation and geriatric hospital in the eastern Gaza City neighborhood of Shujaiya, after weeks of missile strikes, threats and forced evacuation of the patients, caregivers and hospital staff.

Israeli daily Haaretz reported that the Israeli military claimed the hospital buildings were “being used as a Hamas command center and rocket-launching site.” However, the hospital director, Dr. Basman Alashi, says that Israel has targeted the hospital based on false and misleading claims.

Activists with the International Solidarity Movement, who have been working closely with al-Wafa hospital staff and who attempted to prevent Israel from shelling the hospital two weeks ago, stated in a press release on Wednesday (including the photo below) that:

On the 21 July at 2:17 PM, the IDF spokesperson released an image on twitter showing an aerial picture of a building marked as “Al-Wafa” hospital. In the image there is a red circle, which they designated as the location from which an M75 rocket was launched.

The building in the picture marked “Al-Wafa” hospital is in fact not the el-Wafa hospital but the Right to Life Society.​"

Israel used fabricated images to justify bombing al-Wafa hospital
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 4:11 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


800 people killed, over 5000 injured. That's the latest death toll
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:18 PM on July 24


"800 people killed, over 5000 injured. That's the latest death toll"

Indeed, and mostly civilians.

In advance of the "those are Hamas numbers", which we've heard before:Palestinian Civilians Make Up Three-Quarters Of The Dead In Gaza

"The truth, however, is more complex than how the Times of Israel lays it out. The numbers the United Nations provides do come at least partially from the Gaza Health Ministry. But UNOCHA is composed of several humanitarian agencies working together in what are called “clusters” — groupings according to the function each organization serves. According to a footnote on the death toll in OCHA’s report, data “on fatalities and destruction of property is consolidated by the Protection and Shelter clusters based on preliminary information, and is subject to change based on further verifications.” Those clusters in Gaza include the Norwegian Refugee Council and UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

As for the Gaza Health Ministry itself, it is incorrect to say that is “Hamas-run.” Earlier this year, Hamas and the more moderate Fatah party reconciled after years of outright civil war, forming a “unity government” composed of technocrats instead of politicians. While for years Hamas did run the Health Ministry in the Gaza Strip, with the formation of the new government the West Bank’s Health Minister Jawad Awad took over for both portions of Palestinian territory. Unfortunately, Gazans aren’t exactly fans of their Health Minister. Last week, Awad entered Gaza through the border crossing with Egypt, where he was met with protesters throwing eggs and shoes at his car, according to the Maan newservice. "
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 4:34 PM on July 24


I guess I understand why people try to deny that most of the dead are innocent civilians. But no-one should be surprised; the vast majority of the dead in armed combat are almost always civilians. What fraction of the dead in Iraq were civilians? 90%? More?

That's why you don't fight unless it's necessary. Because the innocent dead will virtually always outnumber the guilty. It's always been that way. Whether or not it is necessary for Israel to be doing this despite that fact is left as an exercise for the reader.
posted by Justinian at 4:41 PM on July 24 [2 favorites]


From the Jerusalem Post, far-right fundamentalist rabbi Dov Lior (who has a long history of spewing racist garbage but nonetheless has a significant following in Israel), is at it again:

Rabbi Dov Lior, a national- religious leader and the chief rabbi of Kiryat Arba and Hebron, published a letter on Monday saying that Jewish law permits destroying the entire Gaza Strip to bring peace to the south of the country...

He first cited the opinion of the Maharal of Prague, a renowned 16th-century rabbi, who wrote that a nation under attack can wage a fierce war against the assaulting nation, and that it is not obligated regarding the safety of people who are personally involved in hostilities.

“At a time of war, the nation under attack is allowed to punish the enemy population with measures it finds suitable, such as blocking supplies or electricity, as well as shelling the entire area according to the army minister’s judgment, and not to needlessly endanger soldiers but rather to take crushing deterring steps to exterminate the enemy,” Lior wrote.

Addressing the hostilities with Hamas, the rabbi continued to say that “in the case of Gaza, it would be permitted for the defense minister to even order the destruction of all of Gaza so that the South will no longer suffer...


Be sure to scroll down for the response from the secular Meretz party chair; she pulls no punches.
posted by mediareport at 4:49 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Because the innocent dead will virtually always outnumber the guilty. It's always been that way.

That's actually a pretty recent development, historically speaking. Back in the day when there were actually militaries fighting each other, the majority of casualties occurred on the battlefield (and not GWB's global battlefield but an actual place where people were fighting outside of a populated area). But ever since, say, the Vietnam War, wars have increasingly taken a more counterinsurgency style of combat, which results in a higher proportion of civilian casualties -- both because it is difficult to distinguish between combatant and civilian and because the fighting occurs in populated areas.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:52 PM on July 24


NPB: It depends on what you count as civilian deaths due to warfare. Sieges, for example, would often result in large numbers of civilians either starving to death or being killed by razing the city if it refused to surrender. Large swaths of the populace would often starve to death or die of sickness during wartime. And so on. But, yeah, not by direct but unintended fire like today. The discussion about what counts as a civilian death due to armed combat is kinda off topic so I'm happy to say "in modern times" instead of "always" to avoid the issue. Certainly further back than Vietnam, though, look at WWI and WWII for instance.
posted by Justinian at 4:58 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


The point being that when a modern military attacks a densely populated area like Gaza there are going to be tons of civilians deaths even if they do everything they can to limit those civilian deaths (which Israel may or may not be attempting to limit). So arguing over whether its 70% or 80% civilians is pointless. It's a LOT and it shouldn't be surprising.
posted by Justinian at 5:01 PM on July 24 [1 favorite]


Military deaths actually did outnumber civilian deaths in WW1 (according to Wikipedia at least) but, yes, I take your point that I was making a very general statement and the specifics certainly could be argued.

/derail
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:04 PM on July 24


Not to mention that the victor would probably put non-combatant males to the sword and enslave the rest. War always and forever sucks.
posted by Trochanter at 5:06 PM on July 24


(barely manages to stifle arguing with NPB)

Be good justinian... be good...
posted by Justinian at 5:37 PM on July 24


My saddest photo yet. From #ISS we can actually see explosions and rockets flying over #Gaza & #Israel - Alexander Gerst

I'm pretty sure he can't. I suppose there may have been a visible explosion at the moment he was watching, but a ballistic rocket's flare is pretty small and isn't directed upwards. The Times of Israel actually overlaid the photo with place markers, and you can see that Gaza isn't really lit up.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:01 PM on July 24


From the Lancet, arguably the most well-respected medical journal:

An open letter for the people in Gaza:

"According to Gaza Ministry of Health and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA),1 as of July 21, 149 of the 558 killed in Gaza and 1100 of the 3504 wounded are children. Those buried under the rubble are not counted yet. As we write, the BBC reports of the bombing of another hospital, hitting the intensive care unit and operating theatres, with deaths of patients and staff. There are now fears for the main hospital Al Shifa. Moreover, most people are psychologically traumatised in Gaza. Anyone older than 6 years has already lived through their third military assault by Israel.

The massacre in Gaza spares no one, and includes the disabled and sick in hospitals, children playing on the beach or on the roof top, with a large majority of non-combatants. Hospitals, clinics, ambulances, mosques, schools, and press buildings have all been attacked, with thousands of private homes bombed, clearly directing fire to target whole families killing them within their homes, depriving families of their homes by chasing them out a few minutes before destruction. An entire area was destroyed on July 20, leaving thousands of displaced people homeless, beside wounding hundreds and killing at least 70—this is way beyond the purpose of finding tunnels. None of these are military objectives. These attacks aim to terrorise, wound the soul and the body of the people, and make their life impossible in the future, as well as also demolishing their homes and prohibiting the means to rebuild.

Weaponry known to cause long-term damages on health of the whole population are used; particularly non fragmentation weaponry and hard-head bombs.4, 5 We witnessed targeted weaponry used indiscriminately and on children and we constantly see that so-called intelligent weapons fail to be precise, unless they are deliberately used to destroy innocent lives.

We denounce the myth propagated by Israel that the aggression is done caring about saving civilian lives and children's wellbeing.

Israel's behaviour has insulted our humanity, intelligence, and dignity as well as our professional ethics and efforts. Even those of us who want to go and help are unable to reach Gaza due to the blockade.

This “defensive aggression” of unlimited duration, extent, and intensity must be stopped."
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 6:30 PM on July 24 [6 favorites]


The IDF says that one of its shells went off course, not five of them.
"We only meant to shell the school four times."
posted by Flunkie at 7:14 PM on July 24


How Raw Data Can Explain A Big Part Of The Current Gaza Conflict

Data from the last Gaza war implied approximately a 1:1 ratio of civilian to military deaths. The figures in the article above actually imply that fewer civilians than fighters have been killed, but they come from an earlier stage of the war and I suppose things may have changed.

There are three problems with the data I have seen so far: 1) Lots of "unidentified" casualties, which are conservatively counted as civilian deaths; 2) lots of double counting, where the same person appears to be listed two or three times; 3) all the data comes from Hamas. Even the figures that have been described as being "UN" really do come from Hamas, they have just passed through the UN's hands. But in any event, the ratio is way, way lower than the 75% - civilian that keeps getting reported.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:40 PM on July 24


MAX HASTINGS: I've always loved Israel but this brutality breaks my heart
Israel’s tragedy is that the only democracy in the Middle East has fallen prey to a succession of Right-wing governments, which derive much of their electoral strength from Russian emigres and extremist religious parties.

A historian friend, himself a Jew and an uncommonly astute observer of the world, said to me a while back: ‘Consciously or unconsciously, Israel has decided that it prefers a state of permanent war to making the concessions to the Palestinians that would be indispensable to any chance of peace.’

... since the assassination of prime minister Yitzhak Rabin by a Jewish fanatic back in 1995, no Jerusalem government has pursued a serious political strategy for peace.

The security forces have simply been left to impose varying degrees of repression, while Jewish settlers grab ever-larger areas of the West Bank and Jerusalem. In a remarkable moment of frankness, one former Shin Bet chief said: ‘Occupation has made us a cruel people.’ 

... ‘I have sometimes wondered over the past few years whether this irresistible military mesmerism hasn’t clouded for us some of the political falsities.’ (Cameron)

Some 40 years on, I have become sure that Jimmy Cameron was right. Too many of us allowed ourselves to become blinded by military success to the huge injustice done to the Palestinians.
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:24 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]




Data from the last Gaza war implied approximately a 1:1 ratio of civilian to military deaths. The figures in the article above actually imply that fewer civilians than fighters have been killed, but they come from an earlier stage of the war and I suppose things may have changed.

There are three problems with the data I have seen so far: 1) Lots of "unidentified" casualties, which are conservatively counted as civilian deaths; 2) lots of double counting, where the same person appears to be listed two or three times; 3) all the data comes from Hamas. Even the figures that have been described as being "UN" really do come from Hamas, they have just passed through the UN's hands. But in any event, the ratio is way, way lower than the 75% - civilian that keeps getting reported


All this caviling helps obscure the fact that even if you assume that the Palestinian' civilian casualty count overestimates the death toll by a factor of ten, only two Israeli civilians have been killed. What's that ratio Joe?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:31 AM on July 25


Joe in Australia: The figures in the article above actually imply that fewer civilians than fighters have been killed, but they come from an earlier stage of the war and I suppose things may have changed.

"Which means that of those killed, the number of males of military age is much higher than expected if Israel was killing indiscriminately, and it certainly throws the UN figure of a 75% civilian death rate into question. If 75% of those killed were civilians, a more even demographic figure among the dead would be expected."

That article isn't worth the pixels it's printed on. Assuming that all or even most of the dead with masculine names between 17 and 45 are fighters is ridiculous. And for Israel's part, they would consider someone standing outside their recently destroyed house throwing stones at tanks to be a terrorist not worthy of life.
posted by gman at 5:38 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


What's that ratio Joe?

So you're upset the rockets haven't killed more people? That Israel hasn't invited Palestinian fighters into their towns and cities to shoot the place up as a gesture of fair play? This is war, not a game. The rockets stop, the tanks and planes stop, not before, and Israel will continue to ramp up their military activity until that goal has been reached.

Maybe if Hamas can't protect their citizens and inflict comparable casualties on their enemies, they shouldn't start wars, and perhaps bring this one to a swift close?

Actually, it's too late for that. The only way Israel calls off the dogs is if Gaza is completely demilitarized, with heavy repercussions for violations of disarmament all but inevitable. What a shit position Hamas has put Gaza in..
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:51 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


What a brutal little thug that continually headbutts those nice policemen's fists!
posted by Grangousier at 5:54 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Associated Press - Hamas Tunnel Threat At Center of War with Israel
posted by rosswald at 5:56 AM on July 25


So you're upset the rockets haven't killed more people? That Israel hasn't invited Palestinian fighters into their towns and cities to shoot the place up as a gesture of fair play?

This is absolutely a disgusting thing to say. Please don't do that.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:59 AM on July 25 [10 favorites]


War is hell but I'm glad the Geneva conventions exist. Not that they are followed much but because they provide a clear and reasonable framework when discussing any parties actions in war. Also the people who want to ignore them are 99% of the time horrible people, just partisans really, who shouldn't be taken seriously in a debate.

I wonder what the conventions have to say about proportionality?
posted by chaz at 6:07 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Proportionality, as defined in the Fourth Geneva Convention and the has nothing to do with casualty ratios, as even a casual perusal of the topic reveals. More, we have nearby examples in Syria and Iraq/IS of "clearly excessive" disproportional military actions primarily affecting civilians. Israel's level of engagement is not anywhere near there, nor is it likely to escalate to that level. It's pretty rough in Gaza right now, absolutely, and it needs to stop, but it's not like Belgium in WWI.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:28 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


"Three Palestinians were killed in the occupied West Bank on Friday in shootings involving both Israeli forces and a civilian who appeared to be a Jewish settler, medics and witnesses said.
Witnesses said the person believed to be a settler shot dead one man and wounded three others near the city of Nablus as a protest against the ongoing conflict in Gaza. The victims were walking along a main street used by both Palestinian and settlers."

Source: Reuters
posted by Mister Bijou at 6:47 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]




Assuming that all or even most of the dead with masculine names between 17 and 45 are fighters is ridiculous.

Can Palestinian Men be Victims? Gendering Israel's War on Gaza
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:53 AM on July 25


What British Jews really think about the Gaza conflict
It suits a variety of agendas to claim that British Jews are largely united in support for Israel during this current round of conflict. Israelis and those who approve of Israel’s actions find succour in this supposed homogeneity. Conversely, Palestinians and those who support them outside the region point to what they regard as the heroic minority of Jews who share their views and in doing so hope to forestall accusations of antisemitism.
...
It certainly frustrates some Jews who are critical of Israel when the diversity that has emerged in quieter times seems to collapse back into solidarity for Israel during times of conflict. But there are good reasons why even those Jews who have no love for the current Israeli government are finding it hard to oppose at the moment. One factor is that while the Hamas-Israel conflict is still asymmetric, it is less asymmetric than previous rounds: Hamas has more and better missiles. These missiles are causing deep fear and suffering in Israel – not of course on the same level of suffering that is happening in Gaza, but still very real – and in a community where over 90% have visited Israel it’s easy to empathise with Israelis under fire.

Another factor is the upsurge of violent antisemitism in France and elsewhere in Europe, linked to Gaza-related protests. Although the situation in the UK is less severe, the perceived lack of seriousness with which the Palestinian solidarity movement has responded to these outbreaks hardly helps to create a situation conducive to Jewish empathy with the Palestinians.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:36 AM on July 25


Given the demonstrated bad-faith of the Israeli government, I consider pretty much everything negative I hear about the Palestinian solidarity movement to simply the crazy tail-end of any normal graph, but run through the lens of PsyOps and propaganda, and consequently best disregarded -- but of course, I'm a cynical New York Jew.
posted by mikelieman at 9:39 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


WaPo: Israel must be permitted to crush Hamas (by a former Israeli ambassador to the US)

Mondoweiss: Photo: Message on Israeli shell headed to Gaza, ‘Thats for canceling the Backstreet Boys, you scum!’

Haaretz: Tel Aviv’s young internationals struggle to keep the party going ("It’s difficult to go out and party after you hear that soldiers have died")

PBS: debate on tactics and ethics of the current crisis between Jadaliyya Co-Editor Noura Erakat of George Mason University and Amos Guiora of the University of Utah

Haaretz: Kerry's "cease fire" proposal allows Israel to continue operations in Gaza (Max's headline)

A video of a Hamas projectile striking Israeli soil (via Angry Arab News Service)

Democracy Now today:

Sharif Abdel Kouddous: In Gaza, Unrelenting Israeli Assault Causes "Grave Humanitarian Crisis"

"No Safe Place": After Deadly Attack on Gaza School, U.N. Warns 150,000 Seeking Shelter are at Risk

Turning Point? Largest West Bank Protest in Decades Raises Spectre of a 3rd Intifada

Doctor: After "Losing Everything," Gazans Cling to Hope That Conflict Will End Crippling Siege
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 9:45 AM on July 25 [4 favorites]


"As the emergency department of the al-Shifa hospital becomes increasingly overcrowded, a steady stream of pregnant Palestinian women is arriving in a building tucked behind the main hospital. Receiving between 25 to 50 women per day they are now having to redirect medical supplies to the intensive care unit.

Among the women is 28-year-old Hanan al-Mahessn. On the second day of the air strikes, her neighbour's home was hit and destroyed. "I started to feel sick. Then the bleeding started," she told Al Jazeera. Hanan was rushed to the hospital and lost three pints of blood. After going into surgery, her baby was delivered, but had died in the womb. The doctors made the decision to tell her that her little girl was in a special care unit as they felt she was too ill to receive the news. A day later she learnt the truth.

"My children are used to this war. They have grown up with the sound of bombs," said Mariam Guneed, 39, a mother of eight. "We must have many children here, because we lose so many in the wars," Mariam reflects as she returns to her room to sit and await the birth of her ninth child.

Less than a few kilometres from Shifa is the al-Awda hospital in the Jabalaya refugee camp of Gaza, one of the poorest areas of the city. At just 30 minutes old Nisreen has been born into a country under siege. The sounds of Israeli drones and bombardments can be heard above and the all too familiar whoosh of a Hamas rocket breaks the silence of the city. In a few days time, she will leave the hospital with her mother into an area which has suffered a large number of Israeli air strikes.

"Sometimes the women just don't want to leave. They know they are safe here. We don't turn them away, we keep them as long as they want to stay," hospital director Dr Yousef Soueti said."
In Pictures: Childbirth under Israeli attack: The emergency department of Gaza's al-Shifa hospital takes in between 25-50 pregnant women per day.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 10:07 AM on July 25 [2 favorites]




"What has been happening in Gaza cannot usefully be described as "warfare". The daily reports of atrocities situate this latest Israeli assault on common humanity within the domain of what the great Catholic thinker and poet, Thomas Merton, caIled "the unspeakable". Its horror exceeds our capacity to render the events through language.

The events in Gaza are essentially a repetition of prior Israeli incursions with heavy sophisticated weaponry in which the people of Gaza are the helpless victims of Israeli firepower, with no place to hide, and increasingly without even such necessities of life as water and electricity, whose facilities have been targeted by Israel's precision weaponry.

By now we should all understand that one-sided violence whether in the form of torture or state terror is criminal behaviour. When it leads to many civilian deaths on one side and few civilian casualties on the other side, then such state terror is best characterised as a massacre, epitomised by the high civilian death toll on July 20 in the Gaza City neighbourhood of Shujayea where a crowded residential district was repeatedly shelled by heavy IDF artillery. The latest casualty figures on the Palestinian side are more than 600 killed, over 3,000 injured, 75 percent of whom are estimated to be civilians. On the Israeli side, 29 killed, all but two were soldiers. "
Massacre in Gaza: Can international law provide justice for Palestinians?
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 10:09 AM on July 25 [5 favorites]


Op-Ed: My Outline for a Solution in Gaza - Moshe Feiglin, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset
Attack – Attack the entire ‘target bank’ throughout Gaza with the IDF’s maximum force (and not a tiny fraction of it) with all the conventional means at its disposal. All the military and infrastructural targets will be attacked with no consideration for ‘human shields’ or ‘environmental damage’. It is enough that we are hitting exact targets and that we gave them advance warning.
...

Elimination - The GSS and IDF will thoroughly eliminate all armed enemies from Gaza. The enemy population that is innocent of wrong-doing and separated itself from the armed terrorists will be treated in accordance with international law and will be allowed to leave. Israel will generously aid those who wish to leave. (To cross into Sinai)

Sovereignty – Gaza is part of our Land and we will remain there forever. Liberation of parts of our land forever is the only thing that justifies endangering our soldiers in battle to capture land. Subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel. The coastal train line will be extended, as soon as possible, to reach the entire length of Gaza.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:21 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


Hezbollah, despite recent differences with Hamas over Syria, pledges full support:

"BEIRUT: Hezbollah chief Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah Friday vowed "all means of support" to the Palestinian resistance in its battle with Israel, saying the latter had failed miserably in the 18-day conflict in Gaza.

Nasrallah, in a rare public appearance in Al-Suhadaa Complex in Beirut’s southern suburbs, also spoke out against recent developments in Iraq and the establishment of the so-called Islamic caliphate by ISIS, saying: "Our duty as Muslims today is to condemn what Christians and Muslims are facing in Iraq."

Speaking on Jerusalem Day, Nasrallah warned Israel against expanding its offensive in Gaza, saying the resistance in the enclave had already won the fighting.

“We, in Hezbollah, stand beside the Palestinian people and the Palestinian resistance without an exception. We will not spare any means of support that we can and are able to provide,” Nasrallah said. “We feel that we are true partners with the Palestinian resistance. ... Your victory is our own.”"
Nasrallah vows 'all means of support' for Gaza
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 10:23 AM on July 25


The subtitle to that "My Outline for a Solution in Gaza" article is "Clear and concise, the steps towards achieving quiet in Gaza". "Achieving quiet" - what a chilling euphemism.
posted by Flunkie at 10:29 AM on July 25 [3 favorites]


Speaking of Hezbollah, Bulgaria just this past week released the name of the suicide bomber who killed five Israelis and a Bulgari on a bus two years ago - "Husseini's alleged accomplices had direct links to Hezbollah, Bulgarian investigators said [...]"

The attack was in large part responsible for Europe designating Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
posted by rosswald at 10:51 AM on July 25


Slap*Happy is right that the Geneva conventions say nothing about casulty rates when discussing proportionality. But they do seem to be applicable to both sides in this conflict:
Article 51(5)(b) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I prohibits
an attack which may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.

Under Article 85(3)(b) of the 1977 Additional Protocol I, “launching an indiscriminate attack affecting the civilian population or civilian objects in the knowledge that such attack will cause excessive loss of life, injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects, as defined in Article 57, paragraph 2 a) iii) is a grave breach.
The examples of Syria is well taken, I'm confidant that all arguing here that proportionality is an issue would also argue the same about Syria. The two seem to only be mutually exclusive in the minds of those looking to excuse one side or another's behavior.
posted by cell divide at 11:01 AM on July 25


Cell Divide, I don't believe Israel and the US have ratified Protocol I.

More from the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset Wikipedia:
Arabs are “a gang of bandits that never produced anything and never wanted to produce anything – a gang of bandits that for over one thousand years (since Islam was born) has lived on robbery and terror. . . . Since their establishment, the Arab states have produced nothing but poverty, suffering, wars – and fantastic wealth for their leaders.”[68]

The Arabs engage in typical Amalek[69] behaviour. I can't prove this genetically but this is the behaviour of Amalek.[70]

We shall offer them human rights without civil rights, so long as they prove their loyalty to their Jewish state host and accept Jewish sovereignty over their land. In such a situation they will be given legal-resident status and they can carry on their private affairs without anyone infringing on their human rights.[71]

Why should non-Jews have a say in the policy of a Jewish state?... For two thousand years, Jews dreamed of a Jewish state, not a democratic state. Democracy should serve the values of the state, not destroy them... You can’t teach a monkey to speak and you can’t teach an Arab to be democratic. You’re dealing with a culture of thieves and robbers.The Arab destroys everything he touches.[72]
posted by Golden Eternity at 11:09 AM on July 25


Golden Eternity, I think that is true, but I was responding to chaz/slap*happy upthread, the idea seemed to be using the proportionality ideas as a way to come to grips with how to judge the conflict. I don't expect to see any war crimes or anything else like that happening to either Israel or Hamas.

The views of the Deputy Speaker of the Knesset used to be "underground", but now are now depressingly out in the open in Israel. There are some unbelievable quotes going around on Facebook that you'd think came from neo-nazis but are from elected leaders.
posted by cell divide at 11:21 AM on July 25 [1 favorite]


In the Nation: Five Israeli Talking Points on Gaza—Debunked

All supported with credible sources.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 12:30 PM on July 25 [5 favorites]


Gaza is not just about them, it’s about us, too
I feel guilty in leaving, and for the first time in my reporting life, scarred, deeply scarred by what I have seen, some of it too terrible to put on the screen.

It is accentuated by suddenly being within sumptuously appointed Israel. Accentuated by the absolute absence of anything that indicates that this bloody war rages a few miles away.

... an hour from the steel crossing-point from Gaza, there were three half-hearted air raid warnings. Some people run, but most just get on with what they are doing.

They are relatively safe today because  Israel is the most heavily fortified country on earth. The brilliant Israeli-invented, American-financed shield is all but fool-proof; the border fortifications, the intelligence, beyond anything else anywhere.

This brilliant people is devoting itself to a permanent and ever-intensifying expenditure to secure a circumstance in which there will never be a deal with the Palestinians. That’s what it looks like, that is what you see. It may not be true.
posted by Golden Eternity at 3:02 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


They are relatively safe today because Israel is the most heavily fortified country on earth. The brilliant Israeli-invented, American-financed shield is all but fool-proof; the border fortifications, the intelligence, beyond anything else anywhere.

This brilliant people is devoting itself to a permanent and ever-intensifying expenditure to secure a circumstance in which there will never be a deal with the Palestinians. That’s what it looks like, that is what you see. It may not be true.


What happened was the Israelis built the West Bank separation barrier because Palestinians were killing people with bombs. Not soldiers but civilians. They built Iron Dome because Palestinians were launching an average of three rockets a day at Israel. If the Palestinians didn't want the Israelis to defend themselves with a big fucking wall and a state of the art rocket deterrant system then they shouldn't have spent years attacking Israel with rockets and suicide bombs. Both the wall and the Dome are a defense that stop Israelis from being killed.
posted by qi at 3:44 PM on July 25 [2 favorites]


Well...Original attribution of kidnapped Israeli teens to Hamas coming apart.
posted by Trochanter at 6:34 PM on July 25


Does Israel impeach?
posted by Trochanter at 6:43 PM on July 25


You seem to think that most Israelis are against the government's actions? That isn't the case although its not a huge majority or anything in favor.
posted by Justinian at 7:29 PM on July 25


Israel's New Generation of Racists
While most such attacks go unreported, some do receive media attention. At the end of February, a group of religious Jewish women attacked and tore off the head scarf of a Palestinian woman waiting for a city train. A day earlier, a mob of angry teenagers attacked a Palestinian street cleaner in Tel Aviv, yelling Arab at him. They beat him over the head with a bottle, causing severe damage to his eye.
...

UNIDENTIFIED (SUBTITLED TRANSL.): I saw him here, lying on the ground. Fifteen or 20 kids--I don't know, they were young--kicking, throwing, breaking, yelling at him. And he's on the ground, bleeding to death. It's a lynch.

TARACHANSKY: A month earlier, half a dozen attacks were recorded against the offices and leaders of the Beitar soccer team for recruiting two Muslim players. At one game, fans unraveled a banner reading, "Beitar must remain pure forever".
...

ABU-RASS: When it comes to budget distributions, or when it comes to introducing new laws to the country, it makes a difference whether you're Arab or Jewish. If we take the last parliament, the last Knesset session, for example, which was the 18th Knesset, which was considered to be one of the most racist and anti-democratic parliaments, there were many legislative bills that most of them did not go through out of fear of more Israeli isolation, but the fact that they were introduced scares many, you know.

TARACHANSKY: Such as what?

ABU-RASS: For example, MK Danny Danon from the Likud who wanted to introduce or who introduced a bill that would want to prevent sexual relations between Arab and Jewish citizens in the state of Israel. A lot of that reminds us of the Nuremberg laws.
...
The state's unwillingness to prosecute Jewish perpetrators of hate crimes was crystallized when a group of youth who recently beat Palestinian teenagers so severely one of the vicims' heart stopped were given exceptionally light sentences. The same day of the attack, settlers in the West Bank threw a Molotov cocktail at a Palestinian taxi, burning the six passengers inside, including a four-month-old baby. They were acquitted.

HAARETZ: The gangs of Jewish ruffians man-hunting for Arabs are a manifestation of the dangerous evil that will surely triumph if good men continue to do nothing.
... the gangs of Jewish ruffians man-hunting for Arabs are no aberration. Theirs was not a one-time outpouring of uncontrollable rage following the discovery of the bodies of the three kidnapped students. Their inflamed hatred does not exist in a vacuum: it is an ongoing presence, growing by the day, encompassing ever larger segments of Israeli society, nurtured in a public environment of resentment, insularity and victimhood, fostered and fed by politicians and pundits - some cynical, some sincere - who have grown weary of democracy and its foibles and who long for an Israel, not to put too fine a point on it, of one state, one nation and, somewhere down the line, one leader.

In the past 24 hours alone, a Facebook Page calling for “revenge” for the killings of the three kidnapped teens has received tens of thousands of “likes,” replete with hundreds of explicit calls to kill Arabs, wherever they are. The one demanding the execution of “extreme leftists” reached almost ten thousand likes within two days. These, and countless other articles on the web and on social media are inundated, today as in most other days, with readers comments spewing out the worst kind of racist bile and calling for death, destruction and genocide.

These calls have been echoed in recent days, albeit in slightly more veiled terms, by members of the Knesset, who cite Torah verses on the God of Revenge and his command on the fate of the Amalekites.
...

Edmund Burke’s maxim ‘The only thing necessary for the triumph [of evil] is for good men to do nothing’ was true in Berlin in the early 1930s and it will hold true in Israel as well. If nothing is done to reverse the tide, evil will surely triumph, and it won’t take too long.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:19 PM on July 25 [6 favorites]


In that DemocracyNow video the Israeli reporter at the West Bank protests says Israel was using snipers with live rounds to shoot protestors in the legs. My sympathy-o-meter is really running about dry for Israel. Can you imagine Fatah/Hamas snipers shooting up hundreds of Israeli protestors inside Israel in a situation in which no western democracy's police force would ever fire live rounds on their own citizens? Can you imagine Israel's response? And this is just one incident out of dozens over the past weeks.

I don't want any more civilian casualties, but I'm way, way beyond tears for however many IDF get taken out during Operation Massacre. Fuck them and the tank they rode into Gaza on.
posted by crayz at 10:39 PM on July 25 [8 favorites]


I think Israeli soldiers in Gaza deserve roughly the same amount of sympathy and concern as American soldiers in Iraq. As do the leaders who sent them there to kill and die. You might guess I have a lot of sympathy for one of those sets and none at all for the other.
posted by Justinian at 11:10 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]


Hmm, my second sentence doesn't make as much sense as I hoped but it's too much to fix with EDIT so I'll be explicit: Neither Bush nor his murderous henchmen get any sympathy from me, nor do the leaders of Israel who order soldiers to die. The soldiers themselves are often just kids whom don't deserve to die or be forced to kill.

I am, however, all for sending in Bush and Cheney and Netanyahu and co with a couple rifles and a big ATTABOY.
posted by Justinian at 11:14 PM on July 25 [1 favorite]




Arrgh, I didn't close the first blockquote in my last comment. Sorry for that.

Decrying "Brutal Operation Taking Place in Our Name," Israeli Military Reservists Refuse to Serve
But overall, overall, there is a disease in my country, and the disease is spreading very fast, and it’s called fascism and racism. Fascism and racism is now the biggest threat of the Jewish people in the Middle East. And I can just cry and shout and ask everyone that hear us now to join the BDS movement, to join the boycott, divestment and sanction movement, and to try to put enormous pressure on your leaders, wherever they are, that they, in turn, will help us here stop this massacre, stop this ongoing slaughter of innocent people.

-- Yonatan Shapira, former Israeli captain and Air Force pilot
posted by Golden Eternity at 12:33 AM on July 26 [2 favorites]


I'm glad that Israelis are free to criticise their government, and have it reported. I hope that one day Gazans can do this too.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:13 AM on July 26


I'lm glad that Israelis are free to come and go as they please. I hope that one day Gazans can do this too.
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:17 AM on July 26 [11 favorites]


"In the past week I’ve seen and heard the popular statement “let the I.D.F. win” more and more frequently... Twelve years, five operations against Hamas (four of them in Gaza), and still we have this same convoluted slogan." Israel’s Other War
posted by Mister Bijou at 3:43 AM on July 26 [1 favorite]


Gman wrote: Assuming that all or even most of the dead with masculine names between 17 and 45 are fighters is ridiculous.

It's an observable fact that most casualties are men of military age, when you would expect around 80% of random casualties to be to be women, children, and the aged. So there's an excess number of casualties of military age. That article explains the discrepancy by assuming that dead fighters accounts for the excess military-aged casualties.

Let's call the total number of deaths (at that time) d = 370, the number of military-aged casualties m = 223, and the number of fighters f. The article asserts that the expected number of deaths would be (d-m)/80% = about 184. So the number of excess casualties is about 370 - 184 = 186, implying a civilian:military casualty ratio of almost exactly 1:1.

Note that this calculation doesn't imply that all military-aged males were fighters; it just assumes that civilian males of that age would have died at the same proportion as other civilians. I don't know whether that's a safe assumption, but there are a bunch of conservative assumptions going the other way, so it probably all cancels out. And it's very similar to the ratio from the last Gaza war, in which there were also allegations of a high ratio of civilian casualties until people started actually identifying which casualties were Hamas fighters, based on Hamas' own publications.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:50 AM on July 26


"I'm glad that Israelis are free to criticise their government, and have it reported. I hope that one day Gazans can do this too."

They are. Who do you think is letting this criminal gang of criminal terrorists hold the innocent citizens in Gaza hostage? The Israeli Government.

The root cause of the conflict is the Israeli Government's refusal to act according to our proven, American principles of "ONE NATION, WITH LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL".

Once Israel restores civil order, institutes fair and impartial laws, courts, and police, and puts the criminal terrorists on trial for their alleged crimes, do you think the people living in Gaza would have any problems with that?
posted by mikelieman at 8:34 AM on July 26


But overall, overall, there is a disease in my country, and the disease is spreading very fast, and it’s called fascism and racism.
I'm glad that Israelis are free to criticise their government, and have it reported. I hope that one day Gazans can do this too.
Couldn't help but think of this.
posted by Flunkie at 8:53 AM on July 26


I'm glad that Israelis are free to criticise their government, and have it reported. I hope that one day Gazans can do this too.

Better shoot them until democracy happens I guess
posted by showbiz_liz at 8:55 AM on July 26 [1 favorite]




Glenn Greenwald: The Washington Post's @BoothWilliam is using the 12-hour cease fire to photograph the devastation in Gaza. Look at his time-line.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 10:03 AM on July 26 [2 favorites]


The Economist magazine weighs in: Stop the rockets, but lift the siege
posted by Mister Bijou at 10:14 AM on July 26




Hamas have already begun attacking Israel after the ceasefire, despite the offer of a lengthening. Either they've no interest in holding the moral high ground or they believe that they can win an even greater moral argument by goading Israel into killing more Gazans. Israel's response is lamentable even if justified, but Hamas's means are either inscrutable or cynical.
posted by Thing at 10:58 AM on July 26


I feel that the author of that "This is not my birthright" article is coming from the right place, but this struck me as weird:
I think no one can possibly be reading the Torah anymore because this is not what we were told to do, this is not how we were told to act, and if you believe Israel is yours because God says so, how can you ignore the rest of what he said?
Huh? "The rest of what he said" in the Torah includes outright explicit commands to kill a whole bunch of people who were living in the land he promised them. Including some commands to entirely wipe them out.
posted by Flunkie at 11:38 AM on July 26


Concrete has been banned from Gaza since 2008. Think about that.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:40 AM on July 26


jesus just look at this devastation

https://twitter.com/RichardEngel/status/493085960138010624
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 11:42 AM on July 26


Concrete has been banned from Gaza since 2008. Think about that.

It makes me think just how morally muddled this whole conflict is. For on the one hand:

"Israel was right to ban the import of concrete, just look at how many tunnels have been built in order to breach the border,"

and on the other:

"Israel was wrong to ban the import of concrete, just look at how many tunnels have been built regardless."
posted by Thing at 11:58 AM on July 26 [1 favorite]


I think the bigger issue is that Palestinians are trapped in Gaza and simply cannot leave.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:00 PM on July 26 [3 favorites]


In the NY Review of Books: Liberal Zionism After Gaza, Jonathan Freedland

"Never do liberal Zionists feel more torn than when Israel is at war. Days after I’d filed my essay for The New York Review on Ari Shavit and his fellow liberal Zionists, the perennial tension between Israel and the Palestinians had flared into violent confrontation and, eventually, a war in Gaza—the third such military clash in five years. For liberal Zionists these are times when the dual nature of their position is tested, some would say to destruction. What the Israel Defense Forces called Operation Protective Edge—a large-scale mobilization that by the time a twelve-hour “humanitarian truce” was agreed on July 26 had reached its nineteenth day—was no different.

Even during the grim chain of events that led to this episode, liberal Zionists found themselves facing both ways, switching direction day-by-day, even hour-by-hour. Of course, they, like everyone else, condemned the brutal June kidnapping of three Israeli teenagers on the West Bank, an act immediately blamed on the Hamas leadership (falsely so, it later turned out). But some felt queasy during the subsequent two-week Israeli operation to root out Hamas militants there, referred to as “mowing the lawn,” not least because several Palestinian civilians were killed in the process. Still, it was hard to criticize too loudly, because that effort was conducted under the cover of a search for the three missing teens and, by then, the three were the object of a campaign that encompassed the global Jewish diaspora: #BringBackOurBoys.

Few of these campaigners knew that the Israeli authorities had, in fact, established from the start that the boys were dead and apparently withheld that information from the public. Naturally, liberal Zionists condemned the Hamas response to the West Bank lawn mowing—the resumption of rocket fire from Gaza into southern Israel—but they hoped Benjamin Netanyahu’s government would react with restraint. And of course the eventual discovery of the teenagers’ corpses had liberal Zionists standing in solidarity with Israel during its hour of national grief. But when that led to the revenge kidnapping and murder by Jewish extremists of a Palestinian teenager from East Jerusalem, forced by his abductors to drink gasoline and then set alight, they were appalled at what furies had been unleashed. "
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 2:37 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


Did Israel go too Far? The Massacre at the UN School/ Refugee Center, Juan Cole

"Sharif Abdel Kouddous reports for The Nation from Gaza on the Israeli shelling of a UN school that killed 16 and wounded 200, even though the school’s coordinates had been given to the Israeli military. Despite Israeli water-muddying, there isn’t any doubt that the Israelis struck the school, nor is there any evidence that the school was an origin point for any Hamas rockets. Indeed, correspondents on the ground find no evidence for Hamas using civilians as human shields.

CBS explains that the Israeli military contacted the UN and told them that the compound would be attacked by Israel. The UN replied that they would need time to move the large number of refugees sheltering there. They tried to cooperate. They never heard back from the Israeli army, and then Israeli tanks opened fire. It is outrageous that Israeli media spokesmen attempted to assert or imply that the school was hit by Hamas rockets. They were lying pure and simple. Because the Israeli generals had already told the UN that they were going to shell the school!

I don’t think it is any accident that soon thereafter, Israel announced a unilateral ceasefire for Saturday (though it had already violated the ceasefire by Saturday morning). The images of dead children and of reckless and illegal shelling of civilian structures where there were no militants or munitions have piled up in the World’s consciousness, and even though the Israeli leadership likes to pose as macho, they are open to being pressured, and they are being heavily pressured, by the outside world."
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 2:41 PM on July 26 [3 favorites]


Night of Destiny in Palestine: A Third Uprising?, Juan Cole

"A new element entered the current Gaza war on Thursday, as Israel shelled a UN school full of displaced persons taking refuge there and large protests broke out in the Palestinian West Bank. The shelling of the UNRWA school, which killed 15 and injured 200, was a war crime. The UN had given the school’s coordinates to the Israelis, so they knew it was a school and was holding displaced persons. The UN, when informed it would be shelled, asked for more time to evacuate people but were denied it.

Some 10,000 Palestinian protesters marched from the Amaria refugee camp near Ramallah toward Jerusalem, stopping at the infamous Apartheid South Africa-style Qalandia checkpoint that often bars or makes difficult and time-consuming Palestinians access to the third holiest city in Islam. The crowds threw rocks and bottles at the Israeli troops, who replied by firing into the crowd, killing two young men and wounding others.

The march had been called for, in part in reaction to the shelling of the UN school, by “youth groups” and “popular organizations.”

The primary hospital in Ramallah said that they had admitted dozens of “live fire victims.”"
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 2:43 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


Genuine headline from The Guardian: Gaza truce in peril after Hamas attacks continue

Yes. That is one way to describe it. Or you might say that a truce in which one party continues attacking is not a truce.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:21 PM on July 26


I am very surprised that this is being studiously ignored.
Bombing for Oil: Gaza, Israel and the Levant Basin.
Be sure to scroll down for further links.
posted by adamvasco at 4:45 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


Joe: They must have changed it since it went up. Right now it reads: Gaza truce in peril after Hamas 'resumes its attacks on Israel'
posted by ODiV at 4:50 PM on July 26


Hamas wants Israel to end the siege and remove their troops from Gaza.

"The group convened, with a senior EU representative, at the request of US secretary of state John Kerry, who failed to win backing from Israel or Hamas for a week-long truce on Friday. There were no envoys from Israel, Egypt or the Palestinian Authority in attendance.

Condemnation of both Israel and Hamas has intensified. Former Labour foreign secretary Jack Straw described Israel's actions as amoral and deeply damaging to its own cause. "It is time for Israel to stop," he told the Observer. "Both because what it is doing is abjectly amoral but also in terms of its own self-preservation. Its actions are doing incremental damage to everything Israel is supposed to stand for."

Former Liberal Democrat leader Sir Menzies Campbell said the Israelis were using sophisticated weaponry against innocent civilians when they could have deployed them in a more targeted way to limit loss of life.

But another former foreign secretary, the Tory MP Sir Malcolm Rifkind, refused to single out Israel, saying both sides must agree an unconditional ceasefire. "I would like to see that, but it can't be observed by one side alone," he said.

Hamas says it will not halt its rocket fire without firm guarantees that Gaza's seven-year border blockade will be lifted."
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 5:09 PM on July 26


Seems to me that Israel should agree to lift the blockade in return for a permanent cease-fire. Then when Hamas starts attack Israel again they can honestly say that its clear Hamas will attack no matter what.
posted by Justinian at 5:12 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


Gaza ceasefire reveals full extent of Israeli destruction: Palestinians appear dazed by level of damage as they check homes, retrieve possessions and search for bodies of relatives

"Others were resigned. Zaki al-Masri noted quietly that both his house and that of his son had been destroyed. "The Israelis will withdraw, tomorrow or the day after, and we'll be left in this awful situation as usual."

At the nearby hospital, six patients and 33 medical staff had spent the night huddled in the X-ray department as the neighbourhood was shelled, said the director, Bassam Abu Warda. A tank shell had hit the second floor of the building, leaving a gaping hole, and the facade was peppered with holes from large-calibre bullets.

Two Red Crescent ambulances were hit in Beit Hanoun overnight, killing a medic and wounding three, one critically, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross. On Saturday, rescue workers pulled the scorched body of the medic from the wrecked vehicle, which had been hit about 200 metres from the hospital.

"Targeting ambulances, hospitals and medical workers is a serious violation of the law of war," said Jacques de Maio, head of the ICRC delegation for Israel and the occupied territories."
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 5:12 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


"Then when Hamas starts attack Israel again they can honestly say that its clear Hamas will attack no matter what."

Previously, from The Nation: Five Israeli Talking Points on Gaza—Debunked

"3) This Israeli operation, among others, was caused by rocket fire from Gaza.

Israel claims that its current and past wars against the Palestinian population in Gaza have been in response to rocket fire. Empirical evidence from 2008, 2012 and 2014 refute that claim. First, according to Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the greatest reduction of rocket fire came through diplomatic rather than military means. This chart demonstrates the correlation between Israel’s military attacks upon the Gaza Strip and Hamas militant activity. Hamas rocket fire increases in response to Israeli military attacks and decreases in direct correlation to them. Cease-fires have brought the greatest security to the region.

During the four months of the Egyptian-negotiated cease-fire in 2008, Palestinian militants reduced the number of rockets to zero or single digits from the Gaza Strip. Despite this relative security and calm, Israel broke the cease-fire to begin the notorious aerial and ground offensive that killed 1,400 Palestinians in twenty-two days. In November 2012, Israel’s extrajudicial assassination of Ahmad Jabari, the chief of Hamas’s military wing in Gaza, while he was reviewing terms for a diplomatic solution, again broke the cease-fire that precipitated the eight-day aerial offensive that killed 132 Palestinians.

Immediately preceding Israel’s most recent operation, Hamas rocket and mortar attacks did not threaten Israel. Israel deliberately provoked this war with Hamas. Without producing a shred of evidence, it accused the political faction of kidnapping and murdering three settlers near Hebron. Four weeks and almost 700 lives later, Israel has yet to produce any evidence demonstrating Hamas’s involvement. During ten days of Operation Brother’s Keeper in the West Bank, Israel arrested approximately 800 Palestinians without charge or trial, killed nine civilians and raided nearly 1,300 residential, commercial and public buildings. Its military operation targeted Hamas members released during the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011. It’s these Israeli provocations that precipitated the Hamas rocket fire to which Israel claims left it with no choice but a gruesome military operation."
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 5:16 PM on July 26 [6 favorites]


None of that involves Israel agreeing to lift the blockade?
posted by Justinian at 5:26 PM on July 26


(I mean, sure, if Israel agreed to lift the blockade but continued to pound the shit out of Gaza they couldn't claim Hamas would attack no matter what but that strikes me as obvious.)
posted by Justinian at 5:27 PM on July 26


Fair point; I read your post as implying Hamas broke the truce and started this disaster.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 5:30 PM on July 26


Seems to me that Israel should agree to lift the blockade in return for a permanent cease-fire. Then when Hamas starts attack Israel again they can honestly say that its clear Hamas will attack no matter what.

Justinian, Hamas has made any number of statements to that effect (I linked to one above). I don't think anyone believes that they will ever stop attacking Israel: it is their entire raison d'être, as laid out in their charter. Consequently, I don't think there is any prospect of Israel (and Egypt, which is also blockading Gaza) making it easier for Hamas to import weapons, particularly if the reason is just to be able to say "I told you so" yet again.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:30 PM on July 26


Joe, I don't think they'll ever stop either. But you can't just assume that, you have to show it to the world.
posted by Justinian at 6:11 PM on July 26


I don't think anyone believes that they will ever stop attacking Israel: it is their entire raison d'être, as laid out in their charter

That's sort of irrelevant. Israel hasn't been attacking Hamas. It has been attacking innocent people.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:25 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


Well, it's been attacking both, yeah.
posted by Justinian at 7:33 PM on July 26


I don't think anyone believes that they will ever stop attacking Israel: it is their entire raison d'être

Joe given the myriad documentation in this very thread of the fact that Hamas has stopped rocket launches and other offensive acts against Israel for prolonged periods of time, periods of peace that have been repeatedly interrupted by unprovoked Israeli violence against Palestinians. This is in fact what led to the current conflict, and so it strikes me as extremely disingenuous to single out Hamas as unfitting partners in peace when it is Israel that has not just time and time again, but in the very conflict we are discussing, been the one to break the peace.

Do you think anyone believes Israel will ever stop attacking Palestinians until the Palestinians are all dead or their land is all stolen? If so, why?
posted by crayz at 7:58 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]




oh for fucks sake, the only source are Israeli military commanders who believe that North Korea may have given advice to Hamas on how to build tunnels, four years ago. That is nonsense.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 9:49 PM on July 26 [4 favorites]


Hamas-North Korea love pact report... "according to Western security sources"... "Security officials say"... "explained a security official".. drip, drip, drip.
posted by Mister Bijou at 10:17 PM on July 26


Do you think anyone believes Israel will ever stop attacking Palestinians until the Palestinians are all dead or their land is all stolen? If so, why?

Your suggestion is delusional and does not correspond with reality. If Israel wanted to attack "until the Palestinians are all dead" it could have continued its air war without involving ground troops. More than forty Israeli soldiers have died because Israel wanted to minimise Palestinian casualties. As for wanting to steal "Palestinian land", this war is occurring because Israel did not wish to occupy Gaza. If it had wanted to "steal" the land it could have remained there.

Hamas has repeatedly stated and shown by its actions that it plans to keep attacking Israel until Israel is destroyed, and that any ceasefire is merely an opportunity to rearm. Your claim is a crazy-pants rant that deserves nothing but derision.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:10 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]




Facts on the ground... series of maps which succinctly illustrate Israel's expansion since 1948: Palestinian Loss-of-Land
posted by Mister Bijou at 11:20 PM on July 26


UNRWA supplies found in terror tunnel

This doesn't look good for UNRWA. Leaving that aside, here's one of Hamas' hidey-holes, stocked with food stolen from refugees. The labor and materials they used could have built homes or schools - or even bomb shelters, to protect Palestinians against the war Hamas started. Hamas is the Palestinian Mafia: a vast and poisonous organisation that battens and grows rich off the suffering of its people.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:22 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


Mister Bijou, Jews and Arabs were in the same position before 1948: many of them owned land privately; nobody owned state land. But your map pretends that Arabs owned everything that wasn't privately-owned Jewish land. So it's a lie; an accurate map would have shown that almost all land was State land, with a scattering of private land owned by Jews, Arabs, and other ethnic groups.

The map titled "1947 UN Plan" is similarly deceptive: it was a plan that was never finalised, because it was rejected by the Arabs themseves; you can't say that the plan they rejected reflected something they owned. In any event, where has the privately-owned Jewish land gone? Where is the corpus separatum that took up a big chunk of Judea?

The 1949-1967 map is another lie: Gaza was ruled by Egypt; Judea and Samaria (now called the West Bank) were claimed by Jordan. Why are they called "Palestinian", when Palestinians themselves rejected claims to them?

Finally, the Accords between Israel and the Palestinian Authority divide the West Bank into Areas A, B, and C. I don't think your map ("2013") even shows all of Area A, let alone Area C (which is under Palestinian civil control). And if land owned privately by Jews was recognised as "Jewish" land in the first map, why isn't land owned privately by Arabs recognised as "Palestinian" land in any of the other maps? I know the answer, of course: it's because your map is stupid propaganda.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:38 PM on July 26 [2 favorites]


Re: Palestinian Mafia

Politicos and elites growing fat on the lives of others seems to be endemic in the Middle East:

Israel among most corrupt of OECD countries

Former Israeli PM Olmert sentenced to six years for corruption
posted by Mister Bijou at 11:49 PM on July 26 [1 favorite]


Oh for goodness' sakes. Can we get away from the tu quoque stuff, especially when it doesn't have more than the vaguest relevance? Fine, sure, lots of corruption in Israel. But Hamas is creating concrete-lined caches instead of homes or shelters, and stocking them with goods literally stolen from refugees.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:02 AM on July 27




"Fine, sure, lots of corruption in Israel. But Hamas "

The point is that neither party acts in Good Faith, the difference being that the Government of Israel is a sovereign entity, while Hamas is a gang of terrorist criminals.

Why should anyone trust the Israeli Government at this point?
posted by mikelieman at 1:50 AM on July 27


Mikelieman, are you even reading people's comments any more?
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:23 AM on July 27


Israel: PR geniuses
posted by gman at 4:50 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]


Joe. If I was a Gazan- the non-terrorist kind, yeah?- I'm pretty sure I would want to keep my food in one of the 5% of places in Gaza that can't be reduced to rubble at a moment's notice. Calling these things "terror tunnels" implies that there would be no other reason to have a bunker in a war zone full of civilians.

I will readily grant you that Hamas is like a Mafia. Readily! But you know why the Mafia was able to proliferate? Because the people in their communities knew that they had no one else to turn to for protection.
posted by showbiz_liz at 5:02 AM on July 27 [2 favorites]


Calling these things "terror tunnels" implies that there would be no other reason to have a bunker in a war zone full of civilians.

Clicking through on Joe's link re: the UNRWA supplies in the tunnels, is this page (in Hebrew). I don't think your-average-civilian is allowed in these tunnels.
posted by rosswald at 5:27 AM on July 27


so, what is the end game here, joe in australia?

let's consider the rather unlikely scenario where hamas and unaffiliated radical organizations give up their violence and become peace loving people who are all kittens and butterflies - what happens then?

do they (and the west bank) get their own fully recognized state with borders under their control, free and open access to the sea, a functioning airport, the ability to import the goods they need to maintain a healthy country, to travel freely, to participate fully in the world economy? - do they have control over their land, all of it, right up to the border with israel? (or in the west bank, up to the border of jordan, which would be free and open according to what arrangements are made with jordan?)

any thing less than that would be a continuation of the blockade that has been going on for many years - and according to international law and convention, a blockade IS an act of war

so, just what is the end game?
posted by pyramid termite at 5:45 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Haaretz got a copy of Kerry's ceasefire proposal from Friday night, which a Haaretz reporter lambasted pretty spectacularly.
posted by lullaby at 5:47 AM on July 27


Showbiz_liz: As Rosswald pointed out, this is a Hamas bunker, with Hamas tools and weapons. Also, those are bulk food supplies - 25 kg (I think) bags of rice. It's not someone's private stash. I bet lots of Gazans would love to be able to build bunkers like that; the estimate I saw was that the tunnel construction used 800,000 tons of concrete, and I presume it would have all been stolen from NGO operations or "taxed" from concrete imported by Gazans for private use.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:08 AM on July 27


so, what is the end game here, joe in australia?

I'm buggered1 if I know.

There isn't real peace between the Catholics and Protestants in Northern Ireland, but at least neither side there thinks they have a religious duty to kill the others; and at least there isn't a semi-adjacent country funnelling arms to them. Hamas believes it has a fundamental religious duty to prevent any non-Moslem control of (what is now) Israel, and I don't think you can persuade a whole group of people that the fundamentals of their faith are wrong.

1 An Australian expression that I think means "astounded".
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:15 AM on July 27


It actually means to be the recipient of anal sex.
posted by Grangousier at 6:20 AM on July 27


Does it? Gosh.

Astounding.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:22 AM on July 27


Lullaby wrote: Haaretz got a copy of Kerry's ceasefire proposal from Friday night, which a Haaretz reporter lambasted pretty spectacularly.

Blog rumor has it that the FAA decision to prohibit US flights from Israel was the result of US pressure. The White House then extended the flight ban for a further 24 hours, and hinted that they would keep doing so until Israel reached a ceasefire. The Israelis said "Wow, we didn't realise the depth of your concern! We shall attack harder and faster until our airport is 100% safe!"

The flight ban was dropped two hours later.

OK, this is blog rumor and I have no idea whether it has a factual base, but it's a good story and it explains the FAA's unusual decision to impose a ban, when the airport is objectively safe (and iI think Kerry flew in there himself), and the unusual decision to drop the ban just after it had been extended.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:23 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Joe if you are trying to convince us that Hamas are bad and not good and kills people, everyone already knows that. Now, what we are trying to convince you is that Israel is bad and not good and kills people. And a couple hundred children were bombed to death by Israel over the past couple days, but you still defend it, apologize for it, and encourage its brutal violence.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:46 AM on July 27 [8 favorites]




so, just what is the end game?

Palestinian reservations
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 7:56 AM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm reading comments, and all I see is the same bullshit that enables the status quo. Until everyone agrees that NEITHER the legitimate government of Israel nor the criminal terrorists of Hamas give a shit about the essential point that Real Governments (1) promote inalienable rights (2) without regard of ethnicity or religion and (3) restore domestic tranquillity.

That's the recipe that has been proven to work. Everything else is just bullshit.

So, when the Israeli Government gets its shit together and can **deliver** "One Nation, With Liberty and Justice For All", then that's a birthright everyone can share.
posted by mikelieman at 8:03 AM on July 27


"reservations" is pretty much what the ghettos are now. I think the people who are invested in the status-quo, are pretty much just hoping in another 100 years that everyone on the reservations will have died of .... smallpox maybe?

For all the rhetoric about a "Two State Solution", what happened last time Palestine tried to get recognition from the UN?
posted by mikelieman at 8:05 AM on July 27


Until everyone agrees that NEITHER the legitimate government of Israel nor the criminal terrorists of Hamas give a shit about the essential point that Real Governments (1) promote inalienable rights (2) without regard of ethnicity or religion and (3) restore domestic tranquillity.


As I said upthread, many agree that Hamas doesn't give a shit about being a 'Real Government'. Much, much fewer people agree that Israel doesn't give a shit about being a 'Real Government'. Its not like these are equally shared responsibilities between parties with parity.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:17 AM on July 27


" many agree that Hamas doesn't give a shit about being a 'Real Government'. "

And that's something I can't wrap my head around. Why does anyone care what a gang of criminals thinks? Why does anyone consider them a legitimate sovereign entity, and if they're going to credit Hamas as one, then they have to accept all that goes with it -- among other aspects, that the Israeli siege is itself a war crime...
posted by mikelieman at 8:39 AM on July 27


and if they're going to credit Hamas as one, then they have to accept all that goes with it -- among other aspects, that the Israeli siege is itself a war crime

I believe most of the world DOES feel this way.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:44 AM on July 27


Powerful video from UK Channel 4's Jon Snow about the suffering of Gazan children.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 10:26 AM on July 27 [4 favorites]


Why does anyone consider them a legitimate sovereign entity

The de facto government of an area is whoever has the guns to enforce their claim to be the government. If Hamas has the guns then Hamas is the de facto government. I agree they shouldn't be seen as a legitimate de jure government but that doesn't change the fact that they have the power.
posted by Justinian at 3:13 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Israel seems to have released (drone?) footage of their mortar round hitting the school for whats it worth.
posted by Justinian at 3:14 PM on July 27




So what?
posted by Grangousier at 4:41 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


That Jon Snow video is worth watching. Hamas is winning the PR fight and there seems to be no way Israel can get on the right side of it.
posted by arcticseal at 4:42 PM on July 27


So the "telegenic dead" are winning the "PR fight?"
posted by Golden Eternity at 6:22 PM on July 27


INSIDE THE GAZA SCHOOLYARD MASSACRE
No one ever has to ask who will take care of the children of Palestine, or, at least, who will try. Where will they be educated? Where will they find refuge from the worst effects of poverty? Where will they seek shelter in times of war, like the fighting that has raged in Gaza for almost three weeks? They will always turn to the organization that goes by the name UNRWA ...

Last week, days before the incident at Beit Hanoun, Israeli officials practically accused UNRWA of collaborating with Hamas militarily. When UNRWA personnel discovered several Hamas rockets hidden in one of the agency’s empty buildings, they handed them over to the local authorities who, very probably, work for Hamas. But one business UNRWA is not in is bomb disposal, and it is not clear what else it could have done at that point. Some Israeli web sites, meanwhile, have picked up on what they claim is evidence in Palestinian social media that UNRWA school facilities have been used by Hamas to indoctrinate and train a future generation of terrorists.
...

The shelling of Beit Hanoun was not the first time an UNRWA building was hit in this conflict.  There were three attacks on other U.N. schools-turned-shelters before Thursday’s carnage, according to the agency’s spokesperson, Christopher Gunness, and 80 other UNRWA facilities have been damaged in this war.
...

“There have been two occasions when we found rockets [in UNRWA sites] and whenever we find them, we condemn them,” said Gunness. But he wants to be clear: “There was no evidence of rockets in the schools that were attacked or signs of militants,” he said.
Seems like the UN should have had a bomb disposal team to destroy rockets found on UNRWA premises.
posted by Golden Eternity at 7:51 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


From what I've read, the UN does have a bomb disposal team; they're just not local to Gaza. But you have to keep in mind that UNRWA employs a lot of Gazans, and the political realities mean that a lot of them belong to Hamas. In fact, I recall that Gunness gave a rather snotty response when people criticised him for employing them, something along the lines of not discriminating. Anyway, UNRWA staffers were almost certainly aware that the rockets were there before they were "discovered"; it's quite possible that UNRWA employees were the ones who put them there; and for Gunness to say that There was no evidence of rockets in the schools that were attacked or signs of militants simply means that he is unable or unwilling to actually investigate.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:42 PM on July 27


According to the Times of Israel live blog there's some good news:
1) There is presently a humanitarian truce, which the IDF regards as "open-ended".
2) The UN has called for a ceasefire based on the Egyptian initiative, not the mischievous Qatar one. (Sucks to be Kerry.)
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:31 PM on July 27


Oh, the reference to Kerry is from yesterday and not covered in the current page of the blog: PA slams Kerry for convening ‘friends of Hamas’ summit

It's wonderful that Kerry has been able to get the PA and Israel to agree on something: the idea is to strengthen the PA, which is the UN-recognised representative of the Palestinians and at least not officially anti-Semitic; not to give a victory to its rival, Hamas, along with landing rights for improved weaponry.

Kerry's preferred plan was conceived by Qatar, which is (a) the home of Hamas' leader-in-exile; (b) allegedly Hamas' primary source of funds; (c) coincidentally the very recent purchaser of US$11 billion of weaponry, the largest US arms sale this year.

Now, I have a prepared statement from Nelson Muntz somewhere ...
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:47 PM on July 27 [1 favorite]


Hamas is winning the PR fight and there seems to be no way Israel can get on the right side of it.

If this is true, this is amazing considering the lack of nearly any voices partial to the Palestinian cause in mainstream media outlets (certainly in America -- if Jon Snow did that on, say, CNN I'd imagine he'd get the Octavia Nasr / Ayman Mohyeldin / Diana Magnay / Rula Jebreal / AJE treatment). It's a measure of how grotesque the Israeli actions are that despite their near-monopoly on sympathetic establishment airtime and column space they can't keep public opinion from turning against them. And, I suppose, a testament to social media's influence.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:16 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]


The bigger picture.
The twists and turns of political animosities, sectarian rivalries and territorial disputes in the Middle East over many decades now include further unravellings of the regional order as new forces take hold. The enduring Israeli-Palestinian conflict must be now be seen within this context
posted by adamvasco at 4:20 AM on July 28


There is presently a humanitarian truce, which the IDF regards as "open-ended"

Nevertheless, Israel is still bombing and rockets are being fired out of Gaza.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:25 AM on July 28


It's a measure of how grotesque the Israeli actions are that despite their near-monopoly on sympathetic establishment airtime and column space they can't keep public opinion from turning against them.
I don't think public opinion is actually turning against Israel, but I agree that media coverage has been quite unsatisfactory. It's a shame the networks have gone along with Hamas' censorship, for instance. There has been remarkably little coverage of Hamas' use of human shields, apart from reporters' occasional references to rockets being fired nearby; and an article critical of Hamas' use of Shifa hospital as headquarters was actually deleted after the reporter was threatened.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:44 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]




I think there comes a point at whivh you have to call these anti-Jewish protests, if not pogroms: Toulouse Jewish center firebombed after anti-Israel protest in area
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:10 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


But you have to keep in mind that UNRWA employs a lot of Gazans, and the political realities mean that a lot of them belong to Hamas.

Here it is everyone. So hundreds of children were murdered by Israel over the past couple days. This is the argument that attempts to justify it: Someone in Gaza is most likely part of Hamas, so killing them isn't killing a civilian, its killing a soldier. While the entire population of Gaza isn't a part of Hamas, each one of them could be, and it not worth taking the chance that they're innocent civilians.

Since the grim realities are undeniable, this is the argument I assure you you will see more and more in the next couple days: "Ok now that it's clear that Israel bombed the UNRWA school and littered the group with the limbs of dozens of dead kids, Gazans are part of Hamas and Gazans are part of UNRWA, so it wasn't a war crime."
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:23 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


That's not what I said, and your mischaracterization of it is despicable.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:34 AM on July 28


I strongly suspect that six months living on the other side would change the minds of the individuals who intractably support Israel.
posted by Pudhoho at 5:38 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


That's pretty clearly the implication. And it is not like you have earned the benefit of the doubt on whether or not killing Palestinian civilians is justified or not.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:41 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


I strongly suspect that six months living on the other side would change the minds of the individuals who intractably support Israel.

More like five minutes.

The incapability of some people to empathize with Palestinians just blows my mind.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 5:59 AM on July 28 [6 favorites]




Ain't just Ayatollah Khamenei who wants to destroy Israel and kill Jews elsewhere, Grangousier, try much of France too. In fact, I've French friends who believe Israel should not exist, an absolutely insane position.

Israel is obviously the one party with the power to control the death toll here, ergo the political pressure on them to pull out is wholly appropriate. I won't participate in or publicize any sort of movement, protest, etc. that appears even lightly contaminated by ideas that all the Israelis need to move elsewhere, therefore I will not participate in the current political pressure to make Israel back down, especially not in France.

I'm not personally too bothered by not being involved against the Israeli occupation, since the world has so many much more important conflicts.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:16 AM on July 28


I've minimal knowledge about military strategy, but the IDF does not appear to be killing civilians indiscriminately. If Israel really wanted to maximize Palestinian casualties, they could've fully dropped the blockade for a few years, built up some positive public opinion by not responding to some rocket attacks, and finally respond to the rocket attacks with carpet bombing ala WWII. I think the fair critique is : the IDF is no longer be dissuaded by human shields. What do other countries do in similar situations? Does anyone have a comparison of civilian casualties by the U.S. during the Iraq war as opposed to by Israel now?
posted by jeffburdges at 7:29 AM on July 28


If your French friends believe that Israel qua state based on a racial hierarchy should not exist, then that is not insane and I agree with them (because all state's based on a racial hierarchy should not exist). But if your French friends believe that Jewish people in Israel should leave or not live there than that is insane.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:36 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


via Ayman Mohyeldin ‏
TWO (2) STRIKES in #Gaza in last 45 minutes: 1) at the outpatient clinic at Shifa Hospital AND 2) at Al Shati Refugee camp
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:43 AM on July 28


It is kind of frustrating how comments from Israeli right-wingers, insignificant or not, are breathlessly posted in this thread (sometimes even multiple times), but a comment from the head of a huge ME regional power, the spiritual leader of one of the largest Islamic sects, talking about holding a vote to expel the vast majority of Israeli Jews gets a "so what."
posted by rosswald at 7:51 AM on July 28


probably because this is a thread about Israel bombing Gaza.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 7:53 AM on July 28 [3 favorites]


Which is what the Ayatollah's tweet was addressing.
posted by rosswald at 7:59 AM on July 28


Yes, there are a surprising number of people outside the middle east who literally believe the Jews should leave Israel and not live there, MisantropicPainforest. Arabs have been espousing this position ever since Israel was formed. And still do today. You win at least some converts just by repeating yourself enough, especially while Israel generates so much ill will all by themselves.

There isn't likely to be any peace until Israel decides to actually drop their blockade, well a blockade is an act of war for good reason. At the same time, we know damn well that any other country would do exactly the same thing in Israel's situation. Can you honestly imagine the U.S. not blockading the shit out of Cuba if they'd even a whiff that Cuba wanted to carry out rocket attacks? Ditto France, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:15 AM on July 28


As an aside, I wish we heard more voices advocating a three state solution, obviously the West Bank and Gaza are quite different politically, no reason to force them into one state.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:15 AM on July 28


Can you honestly imagine the U.S. not blockading the shit out of Cuba if they'd even a whiff that Cuba wanted to carry out rocket attacks? Ditto France, etc.

In what way is the US' relationship to Cuba at all analogous to Israel's relationship to Gaza?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 10:30 AM on July 28 [2 favorites]


At the same time, we know damn well that any other country would do exactly the same thing in Israel's situation.

The siege, occupation, non-cease fire, etc. are entirely of Israel's own making. There clearly are alternatives. Like, not doing those things.

I wish we heard more voices advocating a three state solution, obviously the West Bank and Gaza are quite different politically, no reason to force them into one state.

Which is something that Palestinians would never, ever accept because they consider themselves a united people and culture (despite Israeli attempts to segment them). So why even bother with it?

(Btw, I have no idea what you mean when you say that the political differences between Gaza and the West Bank are grounds for their permanent separation.)

If we are talking totally impractical solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we can do better than that. How about a no-state solution? Let's get rid of these irrational imperialist constructions bequeathed to the Middle East by a legacy of violence and coercion. Not going to be achieved anytime soon, but at least perhaps worth getting behind. Or we could go with the Onion's recent bold proposal.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 10:33 AM on July 28 [1 favorite]


If we're going to discuss anti-semitism and other racist incidents inside and outside Israel, I think this article is worth a read.

An interesting excerpt:
According to the ADL, there were a total of 751 anti-Jewish racist incidents in the United States in 2013, including both violent and non-violent incidents. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), there were a total of 399 anti-Arab racist incidents in Israel during the same period — a figure that reflects only violent instances of racism.

At the end of 2013, the population of the United States was 317.3 million while the population of Israel was 8.1 million. This means that in 2013, one anti-Jewish racist incident was committed in the United States for every 422,500 people, while during the same period, one anti-Arab racist incident was committed in Israel for every 20,400 people.

This disparity points to a frightening fact:

anti-Arab racist incidents in Israel are a staggering 20 times more common than anti-Jewish racist incidents in the United States.

In terms of racist incidents perpetrated against Palestinians, Israeli soldiers commit far more of these acts than Israeli civilians, and these are not even included in the OCHA tally.
I wonder how the numbers for France, where we've seen the violent and often anti-semitic protests recently, compare.
posted by cell divide at 11:06 AM on July 28 [5 favorites]


Corey Robin: The Higher Sociopathy
The Gaza war, you see, is not a war over tunnels. It’s not even a war in defense of Israel. It’s a war about…war, a war in defense of just war. Once upon a time, crackpots thought they were fighting a war to end all wars. That was its justice. Now they’re fighting a war in order to make just war possible. That is its justice.
posted by tonycpsu at 11:24 AM on July 28 [5 favorites]


The leader of Hamas said on TV today that even if they get everything they are demanding they will still continue to attack Israel until it ceases to exist. Which is something I think a lot of people are ignoring. Yes, Israel needs to find a way to allow Gaza to exist without being under siege. But by the same token Israel needs to be allowed to find a way to exist without Hamas constantly trying to kill everyone.

Too many people are pretending that the former will accomplish the latter but it will not.
posted by Justinian at 12:10 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


But by the same token Israel needs to be allowed to find a way to exist without Hamas constantly trying to kill everyone.

Can the current Government of Israel, after all the bad-faith displayed, and which doesn't promote inalienable civil rights, or equal protection of the law ever have the "Consent of the Governed"?
posted by mikelieman at 12:21 PM on July 28


The leader of Hamas said on TV today that even if they get everything they are demanding they will still continue to attack Israel until it ceases to exist. Which is something I think a lot of people are ignoring. Yes, Israel needs to find a way to allow Gaza to exist without being under siege. But by the same token Israel needs to be allowed to find a way to exist without Hamas constantly trying to kill everyone.

Too many people are pretending that the former will accomplish the latter but it will not.


Hamas is not Gaza. Hamas exists because Gazans feel that their only alternative to continued marginalization and de facto imprisonment is violent resistance. So, maybe give them another alternative?
posted by showbiz_liz at 12:23 PM on July 28 [7 favorites]


The leader of Hamas said on TV today that even if they get everything they are demanding they will still continue to attack Israel until it ceases to exist.

That's an unexpected turn for M'shal. Any chance you have a link?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 12:32 PM on July 28


Turkey to send another Freedom Flotilla to Gaza

Also, in a little slice of Americana, there was a rally today in New York in support of Israel's actions. Some tweets from a journalist at that event:

Vast majority of "NY Stands With Israel" attendees appear not to be NYC residents -- people bussed in from central PA, upstate NY, all over

"Stand With Israel" rally-goers tell me Jewish summer camps located as far as 4 hours away bussed kids to NYC today to attend

"Stand With Israel" rally goers now appear to be having a massive dance party, complete with Hebrew acapella group and beatboxing

NYC comptroller Scott Stringer is literally screaming about the alleged endangerment of Jews around the world -- sounds like a total fanatic

Crowd at "NY Stand With Israel" chanting "Israel wants peace," while simultaneously calling for continued Israeli military aggression

Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY): "Brooklyn stands with Israel! ... The only message neighbors respect in a tough neighborhood is strength!"

Rep. Nydia Velazquez (D-NY) addressing "Stand With Israel" rally, says Israel has a right to remain in Gaza post-ceasefire -- re-occupation?

I've heard a **ton** of people badmouthing the NY Times at this "Stand With Israel" rally

Rep. Eliot Engel at "NY Stands With Israel" rally: "I bring you greetings from Congress...there's one issue on which we all agree" -- Israel

At jam-packed "NY Stand With Israel" rally Chuck Schumer proclaims, "no ceasefire!" More huge applause.

Huge applause at "Stand With Israel" rally for Rep. Steve Israel's (D-NY) pledge to pressure the UN not to investigate IDF war crimes

Just talked to 10 "Stand With Israel" rally goers at the UN -- literally every one of them told me only the info source they trust is IDF
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 12:42 PM on July 28 [5 favorites]


So, maybe give them another alternative?

As I said in the comment, Israel needs to allow Gaza to exist without being an open-air prison. But they need to do that because its the right thing to do not because I think it will stop Hamas from being Hamas.
posted by Justinian at 12:48 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


That's an unexpected turn for M'shal. Any chance you have a link?

I saw it on television rather than the internet. But you're right that I was imprecise when I said "the leader" of Hamas. It was probably just a spokesman for him.
posted by Justinian at 12:49 PM on July 28


Actually, I just googled Meshaal and it was him speaking. He was asked if Hamas would recognize Israel's right to exist once their demands are met and he said "No". Full stop.
posted by Justinian at 12:52 PM on July 28


It would be helpful if you provided a link to his remarks. Continuing to "attack Israel until it ceases to exist" is very different from not "recognizing Israel's right to exist."

The later is something that no Palestinian will ever do, nor should they. Both because it's degrading for Palestinians to concede that Zionists had the right to expel Palestinians from what was formerly their homeland and because it is useless -- there is no such provision in international law. Israel has negotiated and does negotiate with parties that do not recognize its right to exist (Hamas being one of them). It's simply a provision that Israelis insist on when they want to ensure a proposal is rejected by Palestinians.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 1:03 PM on July 28


That's, and your original characterization, aren't even close to what actually happened. Here is the link:

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.607621?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

Charlie Rose said, "Its one thing to say you will coexist with the Jews, but its another thing for you to say you will coexist with the state of Israel, do you want to coexist with the state of Israel? Do you want to recognize Israel as a Jewish state?"

M'shal: "No. I said I do not want to live with of occupiers. I do coexist with others"
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:08 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]


Unless I am wrong and it wasn't Charlie Rose and Meshal is talking to other Western journalists.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 1:10 PM on July 28




Protective Edge: The disengagement undone
The current war in Gaza demands we revisit the circumstances surrounding Israel’s “disengagement” from the Gaza Strip in 2005. Supporters of the war often claim that Israel left the territory and “got rockets in return.”
...

The object of the disengagement was to prevent the creation of the Palestinian state – relieving the pressure on an area that Israel had trouble maintaining in order to hold on more tightly to other parts. This was no secret; even Ariel Sharon’s top aid, Dov Weisglass, said as much on record in an interview with Haaretz.
Top PM aide: Gaza plan aims to freeze the peace process
"The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process," Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's senior adviser Dov Weisglass has told Haaretz.

"And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress."
Who Bears More Responsibility for the War in Gaza? - John Judis
Kerry has finally entered the negotiations. Whether he’ll succeed remains unclear. Some kind of ceasefire is likely, but the question is whether Hamas and the Israel government can agree to terms that will prevent future outbreaks. There is a fairly obvious deal to be made. It would consist of Hamas agreeing to the internationally-observed demilitarization of Gaza in exchange for Israel removing the blockade and freeing the prisoners arrested in June. Also included would be international aid to rebuild Gaza. But Hamas leaders are likely to balk at demilitarization, and the Israeli cabinet at removing the blockade and freeing the prisoners. The ceasefire terms will be fuzzy, as they were in 2012. And the occupation of the West Bank will continue.
Why John Judis’ ‘Genesis’ Matters
Judis’ central argument is that Harry Truman, while sympathetic to the plight of the Jews after the Holocaust and their need to find a homeland and place of refuge in Palestine, also thought that for reasons both of moral justice and strategic concerns over U.S. national interests in the Middle East, it was necessary to reach a solution that would be fair to the Palestinians. The best solution, Truman thought—and this is clearly Judis’ own preference—would have been the establishment not of the Jewish state of Israel but of some kind of binational Jewish-Palestinian state or federation.

Such a solution in 1948 would have meant that the Jews would have been the minority in the new state, and for that reason it was bitterly opposed by the Zionist movements in Palestine and the United States. Faced with this difficult decision, Judis argues—persuasively supported by the highly detailed evidence he has assembled—Truman backed down from his own moral and strategic preferences. Facing the presidential national election of 1948, in which he was the underdog, Truman and his political advisers overrode the strong objections of the State and Defense Departments and reluctantly bowed to political realities—foreshadowing the entire history of the U.S.-Israeli relationship and the central role played by what has come to be known as “the Israel lobby.”
posted by Golden Eternity at 2:11 PM on July 28 [3 favorites]




Unless I am wrong and it wasn't Charlie Rose and Meshal is talking to other Western journalists.

Like I said, I saw it on MSNBC or CNN. So I can't provide a link! But I do know that he said "no". It would not surprise me if it was video of the transcript you link and they cut immediately after the "no" without the full context.

That would be quite disappointing but not surprising

It would also mean I would have even less confidence in anything I see on CNN or MSNBC.
posted by Justinian at 2:58 PM on July 28


Ok I watched a clip of the Charlie Rose thing and that does look like what I saw. That's... not good. Since it gave a very contextless and un-nuanced picture of his answer.
posted by Justinian at 3:03 PM on July 28 [2 favorites]


The reporting of his answer I mean, not his answer.
posted by Justinian at 3:03 PM on July 28


It's par for the course, Justinian. A central aspect in maintaining the occupation is media influence/manipulation, and it's rampant and widespread in the US.
posted by cell divide at 4:07 PM on July 28


Cell Divide, that's a classic anti-Semitic claim dressed up as "anti-Zionism".
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:47 PM on July 28


as if there weren't plenty of american fundamentalist evangelicals and hard-line anti-islam hawks to influence the media and government, too
posted by pyramid termite at 5:12 PM on July 28


It's pretty obvious that both sides are using the media for propaganda purposes. It'd be a rather incompetent military or militant group which did not try to do that.
posted by Justinian at 5:21 PM on July 28


There's a difference between saying that "both sides are using the media for propaganda purposes" and saying that Israel's "media influence/manipulation [is] rampant and widespread in the US."

The former is a statement about the role of propaganda in wartime; the latter is a conspiracy theory that uses the classic anti-Semitic trope of secret control for a sinister purpose.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:36 PM on July 28


except, as i've already pointed out, there are other players in the u s who are interested in spreading pro-israel propaganda
posted by pyramid termite at 5:42 PM on July 28


You're not the one who made the comment; your interpretation doesn't make contextual sense; and in any event, the whole point of the "secret puppetmasters" trope is that control is exercised through other entities. As Hamas' charter puts it, "they formed secret societies, such as Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, the Lions and others in different parts of the world for the purpose of sabotaging societies and achieving Zionist interests."
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:54 PM on July 28


You're not the one who made the comment; your interpretation doesn't make contextual sense;

the context is american political, social, and religious culture and how it shapes perception of the I/P conflict

as an australian, you aren't expected to understand this - and you don't

judging from that quote from hamas' charter, they don't understand us either - (freemasons, rotary clubs, the lions?) - that's conservative smallcity society right there - they can't sabotage it, they ARE it

the problem here is that you're taking extreme and idiotic statements from them and using them to tar people who point out "media influence/manipulation" as the same kind of thought - it isn't

it's a rare damn day when we get a straight story about anything in the u s media - and one doesn't have to resort to some protocols of zion bullshit to explain it - and cell divide wasn't

you should apologize to him
posted by pyramid termite at 6:37 PM on July 28 [8 favorites]


As a Jew, I am sickened and angered by the way the State of Israel has tried to inextricably link its "brand" to international Jewry as a whole. Politically linked anti-semitism obviously upsets, threatens, and scares me, but when so much of the mainstream Jewish establishment has been beating a decades-long drum of Israel as the sine qua non of global Jewish identity, I think there are more people to blame than just impoverished Palestinians who are angry about their children being murdered and thus seek a target. When I think about who makes me the most unsafe in the world as a Jew, my finger points most immediately to Israel and its policies.
posted by threeants at 7:45 PM on July 28 [26 favorites]


Is the accusation that CNN modified the Charlie Rose Show clip to misrepresent M'shall in support of Israel? I don't think that is likely. I do think MSNBC's mistreatment of Rula Jebreal seemed like it may be rooted in anti-Palestinian, anti-Arab racism. I don't want to diminish anti-Semitism because I think it is a serious problem in society and comes from a variety of sources; but it seems odd to me that so much emphasis is put on anti-Semitism when anti-Arab mobs are roaming around Israel beating up Arabs with baseball bats and even burning a Palestinian teenager alive, and there is ongoing mass-killing of Palestinians in Gaza.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:01 PM on July 28


From the Jewish Daily Forward, J.J. Goldberg translates a column from Israeli journalist Nahum Barnea: Israel's Latest Fib: 'Gaza Tunnels Were Surprise':

Nahum Barnea, commonly described as Israel’s most respected political journalist, has spent much of the past two weeks with the troops in Gaza and talking to general command in Tel Aviv. His weekly column in today’s Yediot Ahronot weekend supplement, which I have translated below, happens to say some of the things I’ve been writing over the past few weeks, so a bit of what you’ll read might sound familiar. But his sources are better than mine, better than anyone’s in fact, and he brings you up to date.

But the third section of his column is something new: He says Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has known for a long time about the network of tunnels under Gaza and the threat they pose, but he punted because he had other things on his agenda. Now he’s shocked — shocked! — to find there are networks of tunnels under Gaza!


The "How We Descended" section is an interesting Israeli take on the "war" you won't see on mainstream television in the US:

Intelligence assessments on the eve of the operation said that Hamas was battered: It couldn’t pay salaries, it couldn’t supply the population’s basic needs, the Arab world other than Qatar was boycotting it, and the reconciliation with Fatah was stalled. The assessments were correct. And then came the kidnapping of the three boys and Operation Brother’s Keeper.

Israel rearrests the prisoners freed in the Shalit deal and comes down hard on Hamas’s infrastructure in the West Bank. Hamas in Gaza doesn’t fire a shot. Rocket fire begins, but not by Hamas. We fire back. We interdict two attempts to attack soldiers, and in the third interdiction a Hamas operative is killed.

This was the first step in the cycle. We try to calm things down. They start firing. When they get to 25 or 30 rockets per day, we feel the need to respond. And we and they fall into the second step and then the third, the ground campaign. This is the history of Operation Protective Edge: Not a Hamas plot, not an Israeli conspiracy. A stumbling from one step to the next, like a ball that got away from its owner, caught by gravity.

posted by mediareport at 8:03 PM on July 28 [6 favorites]


Is the accusation that CNN modified the Charlie Rose Show clip to misrepresent M'shall in support of Israel? I don't think that is likely.

I didn't say that! First, it was either CNN or MSNBC. Secondly I didn't say they modified it just that they didn't play the whole context.
posted by Justinian at 8:52 PM on July 28


Secondly I didn't say they modified it just that they didn't play the whole context.

That's what I meant; sorry I wasn't clear. The question is did they remove context intentionally to misrepresent what M'shal was actually saying and Hamas's stated position?
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:01 PM on July 28


Mediareport, did you know that you can post a link rather than an entire article? It can be hard to read great slabs of text on an iPhone, which I frequently find myself doing. Anyway:

Hamas Still Blamed for Kidnappings

I don't think the kidnappings are especially relevant to the war, but it's interesting to see that this whole "Israel lied" controversy seems to be based on what one guy says he was told by a police commander, which in any event was more nuanced than had been reported.

I don't see the point of Goldberg's editorial in The Forward. Of course Netanyahu knew about the tunnels; they've been in the news repeatedly. I think everybody (except Hamas) was surprised by the extent and sophistication of them, as well as by the number that led so far into Israel. I can't imagine that Israel would have tolerated the one which reportedly exited near an Israeli kindergarten, for instance, if they had known it was there. So it's basically Goldberg saying that Netanyahu knew the tunnels were a threat, but decided not to do anything about it at that time. Now that there's a war on, he's not going to tolerate them any more.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:27 PM on July 28


My impression is that it's pretty openly acknowledged that there was deliberate misinformation around the kidnapping. (link 4 has more information). The full tapes were eventually leaked to the public, and the evidence uncontroversial.

Summarized from a few threads floating around Reddit ---

---only Israeli sources---

Since the 2012 ceasefire Hamas has refrained from rocket attacks on Israel. I know what you're thinking - rockets were coming out of Gaza and landing in Israel between November 2012 and now, and that's definitely true. But these rockets didn't come from Hamas and more importantly, Hamas was trying to stop them.

Hamas deploys 600-strong force to prevent rocket fire at Israel

Hamas arrests terror cell responsible for rocket fire on Israel

An Israeli army general says Hamas is stopping attacks against Israel and even ‘keeps the peace’ when the IDF operates along the border.

Details of the ’100′ call (the local equivalent of 911) and what investigators discovered in the car used for the kidnapping of three Israeli teens earlier this month were well known by security service heads, top ministers — and even journalists — early on in the affair; but not by the public because it was all placed and kept under a tightly held gag order. As this all happened, Israel's government was blaming Hamas for the kidnapping of the teens - despite showing no evidence to support that claim.

But despite all of this, Hamas didn't react. They continued trying to stop the rocket attacks on Israel and were hoping that the unity government that was just set up would give them a diplomatic way to deal with the prisoners.

Keep in mind that while these attacks didn't come from Hamas (Hamas takes responsibility for their attacks, they denied involvement in the ones preceding the Israeli retaliation) Israel would always strike Hamas targets in retaliation.

Then came the straw that broke the camel's back, at least for Hamas:

Hamas has had no interest in a major escalation, and had not been directly attacking Israel until the last few days. But ever since one of its members, Mohammed Obeid, was killed in an Israeli border attack at the end of last month — an apparent error: the IDF thought it was firing at a rocket-launch cell, but actually struck Hamas members deployed to prevent rocket fire — it has changed its approach.

That was when the rocket firing started in earnest, with Hamas now claiming responsibility for them.
posted by xdvesper at 11:00 PM on July 28 [4 favorites]


The article on 972mag blames the Israeli government for lying, because
The blood found in the car, the sound of gun shots in the emergency call, evidence of live ammunition and the fact that there hasn’t been a single instance of two or more people being held hostage in the West Bank in decades – all that led to a single logical assumption: the teens were no longer alive.
That's certainly good reason for thinking that one or more of the kids might be dead, but I don't think the government should have presumed that to be the case. They certainly shouldn't have assumed that all three were dead. Would you want them making that assumption, if your child had been among the victims?
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:20 PM on July 28


They certainly shouldn't have assumed that all three were dead.

Can you take me step-by-step thorough how a policy of acting on this assumption would legitimately warrant the mass arrests and collective punishment of hundreds of people with no connection to the criminal incident?
posted by mikelieman at 11:27 PM on July 28 [1 favorite]


Can you tell me what you mean by "collective punishment"? What I saw was a criminal investigation under very trying circumstances. Many Palestinians, regrettably, tried to stymie the investigation, and I suspect that this may have justified some of the arrests.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:12 AM on July 29






Israeli media apprantly knew they were dead and kept mum because of a gag order (from a source).
posted by alona at 3:58 AM on July 29


Daily Beast: Israel Creates 'No Man's Land' in Gaza, Shrinking Strip by 40%
This narrow strip of land that used to be called “the Gaza Strip,” already one of the more densely populated places on earth, is growing dramatically smaller. The Israeli military, relentlessly and methodically, is driving people out of the three-kilometer (1.8 mile) buffer zone it says it needs to protect against Hamas rockets and tunnels. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the buffer zone eats up about 44 percent of Gaza’s territory.
UK Independent: Zayn Malik on Israel-Gaza: One Direction singer bombarded with Twitter death threats after posting #FreePalestine
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 4:03 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


The question is did they remove context intentionally to misrepresent what M'shal was actually saying and Hamas's stated position?

I have no reason to believe that Justinian misrepresented what he remembers he saw (apart from basic human error) so my guess is that whatever station he was watching ended the clip right after M'shal said 'No'.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:48 AM on July 29


Video of an Israeli mob singing in celebration of deaths of Palestinian children: "In Gaza there’s no studying, No children are left there, Olé, olé, olé-olé-olé!"
posted by raztaj at 4:49 AM on July 29


Video of an Israeli mob singing in celebration of deaths of Palestinian children: "In Gaza there’s no studying, No children are left there, Olé, olé, olé-olé-olé!"

I can't even.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 4:53 AM on July 29 [2 favorites]


If anyone is interested in some actual scholarship on bias in the US media's coverage of Israel and not interested in stupid accusations of Antisemitism, here is scholarship on the issue:

Eye on Israel: How America Came to View Israel as an Ally by Michelle Mart

Epic Encounters: Culture, Media, and U.S. Interests in the Middle East since 1945 by Melanie McAlister

Imagining the Middle East: The Building of an American Foreign Policy, 1918-1967 by Matthew Jacobs

Covering Islam: How the Media and the Experts Determine How We See the Rest of the World by Edward Said

Reel Bad Arabs: How Hollywood Vilifies a People by Jack Sheehan

The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy by John Mearshimer and Steve Walt.

Beyond Alliance: Israel and U.S. Foreign Policy by Camille Mansour
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:01 AM on July 29 [8 favorites]


Joyful Israeli youths sing: youtube
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:24 AM on July 29


via AP: Senior Palestinian official offers 24 hour truce in Gaza, says he's also speaking for Hamas.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 5:41 AM on July 29


[A few comments deleted. Completely drop the remarks/accusations directed toward others members; do not make this personal.]
posted by taz at 6:17 AM on July 29


so my guess is that whatever station he was watching ended the clip right after M'shal said 'No'.

Which misrepresents him terribly. I'm still not convinced CNN or MSNBC did it intentionally for that reason though, but maybe.
posted by Golden Eternity at 6:19 AM on July 29


Al Jazeera: Gaza's sole power plant shut down by shelling
posted by gman at 6:51 AM on July 29




Humanize Palestine
posted by threeants at 7:35 AM on July 29




I had posted Golden Eternity's Maya Mikdashi link as an FPP, but it was deleted. I understand the mods' reasoning, but I am pretty disappointed nonetheless, as I felt it was a really sharp piece of critical analysis with significant merit and was looking forward to reading the discussion of it here on MeFi.
posted by threeants at 7:38 AM on July 29


via AP: Senior Palestinian official offers 24 hour truce in Gaza, says he's also speaking for Hamas.
posted by roomthreeseventeen


Reports are coming in denying a unified PLO plan - PLO says factions offer 24-hour Gaza truce, but Hamas appears to deny deal:
A senior Palestinian Liberation Organization official said Tuesday that all Palestinian factions have offered a 24-hour cease-fire in Gaza, but minutes later Hamas appeared to reject the plan. The possible development came after a night of heavy Israeli shelling that shut down the territory’s only power plant.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, a PLO executive committee member, said that all Palestinian factions had agreed on the offer, and that a unified delegation had been sent to Cairo to talk about the next steps.

"The factions, including Hamas and [Islamic] Jihad, are prepared for a 24-hour truce and Israel will be held the responsible if it doesn't accept the truce as well," he said. "There is a proposal from the U.N. to extend the truce to 72 hours. And we look favorably upon that."

But Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri denied that the group had agreed to the truce, with Palestinian website Maan news citing him as saying that "Yasser Abed Rabbu's statement that Hamas agreed to a cease-fire for 24 hours is not true and has nothing to do with the resistance's stand."
posted by rosswald at 8:26 AM on July 29 [1 favorite]


Israeli Soldier Leaks Accounts of Revenge Attacks Against Civilians by Troops in Gaza
Source: Eran Efrati
In one of the videos uploaded to YouTube, a young Palestinian man Salem Shammaly calls the names of his family and looking for them between the ruins when he is suddenly shot at in his chest and falls down. A few seconds after that, there are two additional shots from snipers into his body, killing him instantly.

Since the video was released, there was no official response from the IDF spokesperson. Today I can report that the official command that was handed down to the soldiers in Shuja'eyya was to capture Palestinian homes as outposts. From these posts, the soldiers drew an imaginary red line, and amongst themselves decided to shoot to death anyone who crosses it. ...

I was told that the unofficial reason was to enable the soldiers to take out their frustrations and pain at losing their fellow soldiers (something that for years the IDF has not faced during its operations in Gaza and the West Bank), out on the Palestinian refugees in the neighborhood. Under the pretext of the so-called “security threat” soldiers were directed to carry out a pre-planned attack of revenge on Palestinian civilians.
When I served, the Israeli military was the most moral in the world. No more
I believed with all my heart that we were doing what needed to be done. If there were casualties, they were a necessary evil. If there were mistakes, they would be investigated.

Things have changed, and now I can no longer have that certainty. ...

What’s worse is that almost no one protests. Entire families are erased in a second, and the Israeli public remains indifferent. ...

I know how hard it is to ask questions during times of conflict as a soldier. The information that the officers get in real time is always partial. That’s why the responsibility for drawing the red lines, and alerting when we cross it, lies with the public. A clear, loud voice that says that bombing a house with civilians in it is immoral must be heard. These killings cannot be accepted without question. Public silence in the face of such actions – inside and outside of Israel – is consent by default, and acceptance of an unacceptable price.
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:58 AM on July 29 [4 favorites]














Reuters: Israel intensifies Gaza assault, Egyptians revise truce plan "A Tel Aviv University poll published on Tuesday found 95 percent of Israel's Jewish majority felt the offensive was justified"
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 2:40 PM on July 29


Jonathan Chait: Why I Have Become Less Pro-Israel
The story further reveals that Netanyahu appeared on several occasions to approach the brink of agreement, but pulled back in the face of right-wing pressure within his coalition. Numerous figures in the story attempt to plumb the Israeli Prime Minister’s psychology — does he truly have it in him to go over the brink and make peace, or is he merely bluffing? — but the exercise turns out to be ultimately futile. Either Israeli politics or Netanyahu’s own preferences kept Netanyahu from striking a deal. And since that failure, the most moderate leadership the Palestinians ever had, and probably ever will have, has been marginalized.

Viewed in this context, the campaign of Israeli air strikes in Gaza becomes a horrifying indictment. It is not just that the unintended deaths of Palestinians is so disproportionate to any corresponding increase in security for the Israeli targets of Hamas’s air strikes. It is not just that Netanyahu is able to identify Hamas’s strategy — to create “telegenically dead Palestinians” — yet still proceeds to give Hamas exactly what it is after. It is that Netanyahu and his coalition have no strategy of their own except endless counterinsurgency against the backdrop of a steadily deteriorating diplomatic position within the world and an inexorable demographic decline. The operation in Gaza is not Netanyahu’s strategy in excess; it is Netanyahu’s strategy in its entirety. The liberal Zionist, two-state vision with which I identify, which once commanded a mainstream position within Israeli political life, has been relegated to a left-wing rump within it.
posted by tonycpsu at 2:43 PM on July 29 [3 favorites]


Would most people in this thread support a UN peacekeeping force in Gaza? Although given the history of UN peacekeeping forces I'd be afraid they'd stand around and observe rather than actually do anything.
posted by Justinian at 3:14 PM on July 29


Iran is calling for Muslim nations to arm Hamas! This will end well.
posted by Justinian at 3:28 PM on July 29


Justinian:

Peacekeeping works. There is very convincing evidence at all levels: large-N studies, oral histories, game theoretical models. This is something that's studied pretty extensively in the IR literature. Obviously its not a panacea, but it works in that it reduces violence. The best resource for this is Page Fortna's brilliant work.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:00 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


I am glad at least one other person recognizes that Iran does play a role and is relevant in the Israel-Palestine conflict.
posted by rosswald at 4:07 PM on July 29


UN peacekeeping force in Gaza

As I mentioned earlier in this thread, I think finding nations willing to join a peace-keeping force will be equally as hard as getting Israelis and Palestinians themselves to accept one. The upside is I can't think of any other solution : /
posted by rosswald at 4:16 PM on July 29


I'd imagine most folks here would favor almost anyone besides Israel, or many Islamic states, in Gaza, so yeah send in the U.N. if they want it.
posted by jeffburdges at 4:17 PM on July 29


Would most people in this thread support a UN peacekeeping force in Gaza? Although given the history of UN peacekeeping forces I'd be afraid they'd stand around and observe rather than actually do anything.

It makes sense to me, as long as Israel foots the bill for the operation, Qatar has already offered $400M in humanitarian aid to Gaza as I understand it. Maybe it would be possible to use Egyptian, Jordanian, and Palestinian Authority troops for the most part?

I don't think the Israeli far-right (which is becoming the mainstream in Israel apparently) would support it, because to them UN = Hamas apparently; if they did they would require the complete disarmament of Hamas (which I agree with, but Hamas probably wouldn't accept). And Hamas wouldn't support it without concessions that Israel's current government would refuse to make - opening the borders, fishing rights, farming rights, humanitarian funding from Qatar, etc. I think the far-right's solution is to obliterate Gaza and starve it into submission until it accepts whatever Israel offers - probably less than half the land they possess now, and even less water and land rights. Israel is in complete control of the situation so it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. It is up to Israelis to decide to do the right thing, and it doesn't look like that's going to happen. I guess the real question is does the UN impose sanctions on Israel at some point for refusing a UN peacekeeping solution?
posted by Golden Eternity at 4:36 PM on July 29 [1 favorite]


There are currently UN peacekeepers in Lebanon. Their mandate includes
taking steps towards the establishment between the Blue Line and the Litani river of an area free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons other than those of the Government of Lebanon and of UNIFIL deployed in this area.
In other words, they were supposed to disarm Hezbollah after the 2006 Israel/Hezbollah war, and stop it rearming. They were wholly ineffective at this, partly because (as I understand it) their standing orders are to avoid confrontation. On at least one occasion a UNIFIL jeep with armed personnel in got out of their car and walked away because someone from Hezbollah told them to.

There is presently a "multinational force" in the Sinai peninsula, monitoring the peace there. They have been mostly successful, in that they aren't actually expected to do anything but monitor the peace. They haven't prevented non-Egyptian attacks from Sinai, or Hamas' weapons trade, but they're not expected to. They replaced the UN force that was peacekeeping along the Egypt/Israel border until 1967, when Egypt told them to leave so they wouldn't get in the way of the Egyptian army. They did.

There is also a UN "observer force" in the Golan Heights, between Israel and Syria. They've actually done a pretty good job in preventing and discouraging low-level conflict, and easing border issues, but the present conflict in Syria has made life dangerous for them and it's very likely that they will be pulled out.

Anyway, even if you could get the UN to agree to station troops in Gaza, and even if you could get member countries to supply those troops, I find it hard to believe that they'd be better at their job than UNIFIL, or less accommodating than UNEF, or less fearful than UNDOF.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:01 PM on July 29 [3 favorites]


New Yorker: Collective Punishment in Gaza

IMEMC: Israeli Soldier Leaks Accounts of Revenge Attacks Against Civilians by Troops in Gaza

UK Guardian: Israeli officer: I was right to shoot 13-year-old child "Captain R (after killing the girl) 'Anything moving in the zone, even a three-year-old, needs to be killed'"

Haaretz: Israeli university rebukes professor who expressed sympathy for both Israeli, Gazan victims "'The matter will be handled with appropriate seriousness,’ says 'shocked’ Bar-Ilan University dean after students, parents complain."

Politico: Harry Reid: Israel may need more aid

Hollywood Reporter: Why Young Hollywood Is More Willing to Question Israel's Policies
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 7:18 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


Wow
Prof. Hanoch Sheinman’s email was sent to reassure his second-year law students that because the security situation had disrupted many students’ routines, there would be an additional date scheduled for his course’s final exam. Sheinman opened the email, however, by saying that he hoped the message “finds you in a safe place, and that you, your families and those dear to you are not among the hundreds of people that were killed, the thousands wounded, or the tens of thousands whose homes were destroyed or were forced to leave their homes during, or as a direct result of, the violent confrontation in the Gaza Strip and its environs.”

Sheinman’s reference to the victims of the fighting with no reference to their national affiliation led many students to complain to the dean of the law faculty, Prof. Shahar Lifshitz, who issued an urgent message to the students yesterday. “I was shocked to learn of the email sent to you by Professor Sheinman,” Lifshitz wrote. “It was a hurtful letter ... Both the content and the style of the letter contravene the values of the university and the law faculty"
And "Bar-Ilan University is a public university in Ramat Gan of the Tel Aviv District, Israel. Established in 1955, Bar Ilan is now Israel's second-largest academic institution."

Israel is going off the deep end.
posted by crayz at 8:08 PM on July 29 [8 favorites]


Joe, something has to be tried at this point. If they could get a peacekeeping force into Gaza which is actually supposed to enforce peace militarily if necessary it can't be worse than what is currently happening. It's not like Israel can't always start blowing the shit out of Gaza again later.

Woops, CNN is reporting that more rockets have been found hidden in another UN school in Gaza. Good job, UN.
posted by Justinian at 8:09 PM on July 29


Apparently Bibi already has the solution: 'let IDF "win."'
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:33 PM on July 29


I'm all in favor of trying something new. I'm sceptical that you could get UN member countries to send troops, even if you could get the UN to agree to establish a peacekeeping force. Israel has lost more than fifty soldiers without even trying to police the area, just destroy rocket sites and search for tunnels. If Hamas opposed the UN intervention (and surely they would) I think the peacekeepers would all be killed in very short order.

Ultimately, Hamas needs to be rejected by Gazans. I presume it already is, as I said upthread, which is why Hamas bans elections and uses "secret police and public hangings". The problem is that Hamas is very well armed and very well motivated, so it's hard to see a non-violent resistance changing things. Don't take this to mean I think international intervention is a bad idea, though.

As for the rockets in the UN school, this is my surprised face.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:35 PM on July 29


Israel has lost more than fifty soldiers without even trying to police the area, just destroy rocket sites and search for tunnels.

I really can't take anything you say seriously when it's littered with this bullshit. Was this entire neighborhood a rocket site or a tunnel - I just can't tell. It's hard to believe the UN would have to lose as many soldiers as Israel has been unless the blue hats were going around trying to level Gaza to the ground the way the IDF is. Although they'd certainly suffer some casualties from the right-wing fanatics in Israel and the settlements.
posted by crayz at 8:42 PM on July 29


It is not hard to level a neighborhood with heavy artillery without taking losses. It is harder to find and defend against tunnels. It is sad to see IDF soldiers lose their lives defending their country from tunnel attacks. What shocked me about Joe's comment was the lack of any mention of the hundreds of children massacred by IDF artillery fire and airstrikes. I understand Palestinian casualties are not really talked about in most Israeli media. I guess this was true in the US during the Iraq and Afghan wars, but not to the same extent I don't think.
posted by Golden Eternity at 9:03 PM on July 29


Crayz, I watched that video in slow motion. There appear to be a lot of secondary explosions, where an IDF attack (I presume) sets off a chain of others. There also seem to be tunnel demolitions, which inevitably destroy buildings they run under. Beit Hanoun has been a notorious arms production site for years, and is about as close as you can get to Sderot - less than four kilometers away. It's right on the front lines, and is exactly where you would expect to find Hamas' missiles and the start of its tunnels. So you tell me - should Israel have left those rockets in place? Should they have tried going door-to-door, in a place that's definitely full of explosives, and probably booby trapped? There's a war on, and attacking the enemies munitions is the least bad thing they can do.

Golden Eternity, I support the prosecution of any Israeli soldiers who have committed war crimes, including but not limited to the unlawful killing of children. I suspect that the numbers killed may be somewhat less than your estimates, and I'm pretty sure that Hamas is directly responsible for a large proportion of Palestinian children's deaths. None the less, my statement stands.

As for lawful killings, I regret any and all deaths - Israelis, Palestinians, soldiers, civilians, children and adults. I might have difficulty grieving for the untimely death of Khaled Meshaal, but the same principle applies. Despite this, I think that Israel has a duty to protect its citizens with all lawful methods, even when it is statistically certain to cause deaths. Israel isn't Batman.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:35 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


There have been lots of stories about Hamas influence on local reporters, but this guy seems to have collated the major ones: Media cover-up of Hamas crimes starting to unravel. The Elder of Ziyon also asks what happened to approximately 2,000 Palestinian rockets that didn't make it out of Gaza: Rocket tally from IDF much lower than from Gaza groups. That percentage is higher than, but still consistent with the NGO figures for rocket misfires I listed above. Eye witnesses have reportedly seen Hamas members clearing away debris from rocket misfires, but inside Gaza there's a lot of pressure to keep quiet about things like this.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:53 PM on July 29 [2 favorites]


I think that Israel has a duty to protect its citizens with all lawful methods

Based on what laws? The Palestinian civilians didn't get much say in the laws being used to slaughter them. If Israel's laws allow for levelling entire neighborhoods, shelling shelters and schools, or too near to them to assure their safety, knocking out the only power station in Gaza, and the other atrocities we are seeing on a daily basis in response to the rockets fired at Israel, they are unjust and immoral laws and must be changed. The IDF doesn't have to be batman to avoid shelling hospitals and schools full of children which it is well documented they are doing. And the evidence strongly suggests the IDF is seeking retribution not protection.
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:20 PM on July 29


Based on what laws?

The Geneva Conventions, primarily.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:21 PM on July 29


Acually, if somehow the IDF comes up with some technical reason why targeting civilians unnecessarily, which in this situation in Gaza I think is always the case, or near enough to them that killing them is a high probability technically meets the Geneva Convention, I think it is still immoral. There seems to be a big problem with the IDF lacking respect for civilian lives in Gaza, especially children. The story about that thirteen year old girl, my God!
posted by Golden Eternity at 10:38 PM on July 29


Isn't the point here that the IDF doesn't worry about casualties amongst human shields? America doesn't worry about that either. Does anyone? Yeah, it's surely illegal to ignore human shields, just like it's illegal to use them, but good luck enforcing either.

We probably need some military commanders to do jail time based upon killing civilians who they deemed to be human shields, but who the courts decided were not human shields. At least that'd set a president for actually thinking about it, rather than simple declaring anyone who gets in the way a human shield.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:36 AM on July 30


All "the IDF is seeking retribution" stories referred to IDF ground forces seeking retribution for IDF soldiers killed on the ground in Gaza, Golden Eternity. IDF areal attacks aren't afaik influenced by "retribution". And remember U.S. forces did exactly the same thing in Fallujah, with similar a similar civilian death toll.

Any thoughts on sending in U.S. troops with the mandate to : Alleviate the humanitarian crisis, control Gaza's ports thus ending the Israeli blockade, shut down tunnels used to approach Israel or store weapons, and capture anyone firing rockets as Israel. At least Israel could not continue operations while U.S. forces were there.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:54 AM on July 30


Given all that Gaza civilian infrastructure now reduced to rubble, the IDF is either not very good at targeting targets or are we witnessing, once more, the implementation of the Dahiya doctrine
posted by Mister Bijou at 12:54 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


So Hamas is so incompetent many of their weapons explode, killing civilians that the IDF then gets blamed for, but so wily and devious as to construct and operate miles of catacombs through which it can run a vast paramilitary organization; Hamas is so callous and detached it forces the local population to serve as human shields, yet so integrated in Gazan society (i.e., they are Gazans) that not only is civilian infrastructure fair game, but local humanitarian workers cannot be trusted (they use UN schools to hide militants and weapons, they use hospitals and morgues to inflate the death toll, et cetera.)


Is that about right?
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 1:19 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


It's absolutely incontrovertible that many of Hamas' rockets explode. I don't know whether it's because they're incompetent; I think rockets are actually quite hard to build. In any event, I summarised NGO reports from Gaza before the recent war, and about a third of rockets apparently explode prematurely or land within Gaza.

As for the "miles of catacombs", it's funny you should say that, because this article says that 160 Palestinian children were killed building tunnels in Gaza: Hamas Killed 160 Palestinian Children to Build Tunnels. Now, the article's a bit misleading: its source is an article that refers to tunnels constructed between Gaza and Egypt before 2012, but I don't suppose Hamas' methods have changed much.

Finally, once again, it is absolutely incontrovertible that Hamas stores weapons in UN schools; we have had three reports from the UN about it during this war alone. It's also undeniable that many UN workers in Gaza work for Hamas; once again, this is what the UN (i.e., UNRWA) says. I suppose there are many genuine humanitarian workers unaffiliated with Hamas who might report what's going on, but Hamas are the ones with the guns.... Bits and pieces of the true state of affairs leak out anyway: reporters who leave Gaza (permanently) and file their stories from outside, or who conceal offhand references to "nearby militants" in a story set in a hospital.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:41 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Top Secret Hamas Command Bunker in Gaza Revealed
The Israelis are so sure about the location of the Hamas bunker, however, not because they are trying to score propaganda points, or because it has been repeatedly mentioned in passing by Western reporters—but because they built it. Back in 1983, when Israel still ruled Gaza, they built a secure underground operating room and tunnel network beneath Shifa hospital—which is one among several reasons why Israeli security sources are so sure that there is a main Hamas command bunker in or around the large cement basement beneath the area of Building 2 of the Hospital, which reporters are obviously prohibited from entering.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:46 AM on July 30


I have no idea how often Hamas rockets explode or how many people they kill when they do but its definitely true that you don't have to be incompetent for your rockets to explode. Hell, a rocket is in some ways just a vehicle riding on top of what you hope is a controlled explosion pointing downwards. It doesn't take much for that to turn into an uncontrolled explosion going everywhere.
posted by Justinian at 2:28 AM on July 30




AJE: Deadly Israeli shelling hits Gaza UN school (for some reason I'm able today to access AJE from America... get it while it's hot!)

AJE: Shujayea: Massacre at Dawn "A powerful film with exclusive footage from the day of the Israeli assault on the densely populated Shujayea district."

Haaretz: With Zoabi’s suspension, Knesset moves toward fascism

Juan Cole: Israel Bombs Gaza back to Stone Age: Razes only Power Plant & Plunges Strip into Darkness

UK Guardian: Israel is finding it harder to deny targeting Gaza infrastructure

UK Guardian: Susan Rice launches staunch defence of Israel despite 'alarming' Gaza death toll

Stanford University is doing a series on Palestine on its blog.
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 3:47 AM on July 30 [5 favorites]


I have no idea how often Hamas rockets explode or how many people they kill when they do

You can become an expert pretty quickly by watching videos in slow motion.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:48 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


So did the Israeli propagandists drop the line that it was really Hamas who bombed the UN school? Or is that still going on?
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 4:49 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


for some reason I'm able today to access AJE from America

You can always access AJE from America, but its a bit of a pain. When AJ-America loads, just scroll all the way down to the page's footer - there is a link there to AJE. Useful for when you need multiple articles and op-eds calling Israel evil.
posted by rosswald at 5:09 AM on July 30


Which UNWRA school? I am losing track of the number of UNWRA schools that have been hit. For the latest UNRWA school incident, the IDF says it shelled the place but blames Hamas for allegedly not firing from the school but from the vicinity.
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:11 AM on July 30


Op-ed in the NYT:

What I cannot accept, however, is the perversion of Zionism that has seen the inexorable growth of a Messianic Israeli nationalism claiming all the land between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River; that has, for almost a half-century now, produced the systematic oppression of another people in the West Bank; that has led to the steady expansion of Israeli settlements on the very West Bank land of any Palestinian state; that isolates moderate Palestinians like Salam Fayyad in the name of divide-and-rule; that pursues policies that will make it impossible to remain a Jewish and democratic state; that seeks tactical advantage rather than the strategic breakthrough of a two-state peace; that blockades Gaza with 1.8 million people locked in its prison and is then surprised by the periodic eruptions of the inmates; and that responds disproportionately to attack in a way that kills hundreds of children.

This, as a Zionist, I cannot accept...No argument, no Palestinian outrage or subterfuge, can gloss over what Jewish failure the killing of children in such numbers represents.

posted by mediareport at 5:13 AM on July 30 [6 favorites]


According to UNRWA, six of its schools have been struck. And it seems to be cautiously trying to distinguish between ones it believes were struck by Israel ("Our initial assessment is that it was Israeli artillery ...") and ones struck by Hamas ("struck by explosive projectiles ..."). Which is nice.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:20 AM on July 30


Politico: Harry Reid: Israel may need more aid

Fuck the UN troops. This is a job for the United States MARINES. We go in there, disarm everyone, and give them Real "One-Nation-With-Liberty-And-Justice-For-All" Democracy!
posted by mikelieman at 5:24 AM on July 30


So Israel bombed a UNRWA school. Definitively.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 5:28 AM on July 30


Time-lapse shows air strikes destroying entire neighbourhood in one hour: UK's Daily Telegraph
posted by Mister Bijou at 5:41 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]




I don't have the proper words to talk about this picture. Here is the translation, though:

This [is] Amy Ibrahim Masri, who is 4. Lives with her ​​family in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip. Yesterday we met her at the hospital Muqassad East Jerusalem. On Wednesday (9/7) morning, the day after the start of the offensive on the Gaza Strip, she went with her mother, her sisters and brother to her aunt. On their way, when they were close to the aunt, they were attacked by a drone fired two missiles on them. Amy was holding a big sister all the time, and the fragments of the first missile flew on both. The family wanted a place to try to save the victims. Amy's mother, two brothers and cousin were killed by the second missile. Sister, was hit with her, suffered internal bleeding and died after a short time later. Amy was conscious the whole time and saw everything.

Amy's body from shrapnel penetrated the front of the body and out the back, and she developed internal bleeding. Aunt, who is her from injury, took her to the Shifa hospital in Beit Hanoun. Shifa tests she began to vomit blood, and was operated on twice. The bleeding has not stopped, so she was transferred to Makassed. Due to the lack of suitable equipment was transferred to the hospital after adjustments Muqassad East Jerusalem.

Gaza is under siege for seven years and occupied for forty-seven years. We know that there will not be a military solution to the ongoing violent repression. Israeli citizens understand security and freedom involves safety and freedom of the Palestinians. Iron Dome may be able to repel rockets, but you can not intercept the basic desire so and human freedom and dignity for the millions of Palestinians.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 6:56 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Stanford University Press Blog: Racism is the foundation of Israel's Operation Protective Edge by Joel Beinin, Donald J. McLachlan Professor of History at Stanford University and past president of the Middle East Studies Association of North America
Racism has become a legitimate, indeed an integral, component of Israeli public culture, making assertions like these seem “normal.” The public devaluation of Arab life enables a society that sees itself as “enlightened” and “democratic” to repeatedly send its army to slaughter the largely defenseless population of the Gaza Strip
posted by Noisy Pink Bubbles at 7:05 AM on July 30 [4 favorites]




Jonathan Chait: Why I Have Become Less Pro-Israel
posted by tonycpsu


A good article. Some further quotes:
A foundational basis for liberal Zionist support for Israel is the fact that, during the last major negotiations in 2000, the Israeli government offered a reasonable statehood plan to Palestinians, and Palestinians rejected it and launched the second Intifada. (Critics of Israel have challenged this historical interpretation, unpersuasively.)

[...]

I don’t mean to overdramatize the change within my own thinking. While less sympathetic to Israel than before, I still find myself far more sympathetic to Israel than to Hamas. I still believe a two-state partition will happen eventually, though the odds are increasing that a catastrophe will be required to bring it about first. I also bitterly attribute the shriveling of the Israeli left to the Palestinian rejectionists who deliberately engineered this very outcome.
posted by rosswald at 8:03 AM on July 30


The AP has chimed in with their view of how this all ends - ANALYSIS: Amid war, endgames in Gaza emerge:
  • ISRAEL DECLARES VICTORY AND LEAVES
  • THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY TAKES OVER THE BORDER WITH EGYPT
  • THE PALESTINIAN AUTHORITY TAKES OVER GAZA

posted by rosswald at 8:10 AM on July 30




AP & BBC reporting 15 dead, more than 150 wounded in strike on busy Shejaiya, Gaza market.

Gilad Shalit's father: I would fight Israel if I were Palestinian
posted by Golden Eternity at 8:33 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


I'm reading 22 dead, according to Palestinian sources on twitter.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:37 AM on July 30




Anonymous warns

Indeed, indeed. In November 2012.

(it says so on the web page)
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:47 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


The International Community Must End Israel’s Collective Punishment of the Civilian Population in the Gaza Strip

As international and criminal law scholars, human rights defenders, legal experts and individuals who firmly believe in the rule of law and in the necessity for its respect in times of peace and more so in times of war, we feel the intellectual and moral duty to denounce the grave violations, mystification and disrespect of the most basic principles of the laws of armed conflict and of the fundamental human rights of the entire Palestinian population committed during the ongoing Israeli offensive on the Gaza Strip. We also condemn the launch of rockets from the Gaza Strip, as every indiscriminate attack against civilians, regardless of the identity of the perpetrators, is not only illegal under international law but also morally intolerable. However, as also implicitly noted by the UN Human Rights Council in its Resolution of the 23th July 2014, the two parties to the conflict cannot be considered equal, and their actions – once again – appear to be of incomparable magnitude.

Once again it is the unarmed civilian population, the ‘protected persons’ under International humanitarian law (IHL), who is in the eye of the storm. Gaza’s civilian population has been victimized in the name of a falsely construed right to self-defence, in the midst of an escalation of violence provoked in the face of the entire international community. The so-called Operation Protective Edge erupted during an ongoing armed conflict, in the context of a prolonged belligerent occupation that commenced in 1967. In the course of this ongoing conflict thousands of Palestinians have been killed and injured in the Gaza Strip during recurrent and ostensible ‘ceasefire’ periods since 2005, after Israel’s unilateral ‘disengagement’ from the Gaza Strip. The deaths caused by Israel’s provocative actions in the Gaza Strip prior to the latest escalation of hostilities must not be ignored as well.

Contrary to Israel’s claims, mistakes resulting in civilian casualties cannot be justified: in case of doubt as to the nature of the target, the law clearly establishes that an object which is normally dedicated to civilian purposes (such as schools, houses, places of worship and medical facilities), are presumed as not being used for military purposes. During these past weeks, UN officials and representatives have repeatedly called on Israel to strictly abide by the principle of precaution in carrying out attacks in the Gaza Strip, where risks are greatly aggravated by the very high population density, and maximum restraint must be exercised to avoid civilian casualties. HRW has noted that these rules exist to minimize mistakes “when such mistakes are repeated, it raises the concern of whether the rules are being disregarded.”

Moreover, even when targeting clear military objectives, Israel consistently violates the principle of proportionality: this is particularly evident with regard to the hundreds of civilian houses destroyed by the Israeli army during the current military operation in Gaza. With the declared intention to target a single member of Hamas, Israeli forces have bombed and destroyed houses although occupied as residencies by dozens of civilians, including women, children, and entire families.

It is inherently illegal under customary international law to intentionally target civilian objects, and the violation of such a fundamental tenet of law can amount to a war crime. Issuing a ‘warning’ – such as Israel’s so-called roof knocking technique, or sending an SMS five minutes before the attack – does not mitigate this: it remains illegal to wilfully attack a civilian home without a demonstration of military necessity as it amounts to a violation of the principle of proportionality. Moreover, not only are these ‘warnings’ generally ineffective, and can even result in further fatalities, they appear to be a pre-fabricated excuse by Israel to portray people who remain in their homes as ‘human shields’.

The indiscriminate and disproportionate attacks, the targeting of objectives providing no effective military advantage, and the intentional targeting of civilians and civilian houses have been persistent features of Israel’s long-standing policy of punishing the entire population of the Gaza Strip, which, for over seven years, has been virtually imprisoned by Israeli imposed closure. Such a regime amounts to a form of collective punishment, which violates the unconditional prohibition set forth in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention and has been internationally condemned for its illegality. However, far from being effectively opposed international actors, Israel’s illegal policy of absolute closure imposed on the Gaza Strip has relentlessly continued, under the complicit gaze of the international community of States.
Joint Declaration by International Law Experts on Israel’s Gaza Offensive
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 10:03 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]




Humanize Palestine
Humanize Palestine attempts to restore the humanity that is often stripped away when Palestinians are reduced to calculative deaths, forgettable names, and burned and mutilated bodies, rather than people who shared loved ones, stories, dreams and aspirations.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 10:05 AM on July 30


Given his background, what American Jewish leader Rabbi Henry Siegman has to say about Israel’s founding in 1948 through the current assault on Gaza may surprise you. From 1978 to 1994, Siegman served as executive director of the American Jewish Congress, long described as one of the nation’s "big three" Jewish organizations along with the American Jewish Committee and the Anti-Defamation League. Born in Germany three years before the Nazis came to power in 1933, Siegman’s family eventually moved to the United States. His father was a leader of the European Zionist movement that pushed for the creation of a Jewish state. In New York, Siegman studied the religion and was ordained as an Orthodox rabbi by Yeshiva Torah Vodaas, later becoming head of the Synagogue Council of America. After his time at the American Jewish Congress, Siegman became a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He now serves as president of the U.S./Middle East Project. In the first of our two-part interview, Siegman discusses the assault on Gaza, the myths surrounding Israel’s founding in 1948, and his own background as a German-Jewish refugee who fled Nazi occupation to later become a leading American Jewish voice and now vocal critic of Israel’s policies in the Occupied Territories.

"When one thinks that this is what is necessary for Israel to survive, that the Zionist dream is based on the repeated slaughter of innocents on a scale that we’re watching these days on television, that is really a profound, profound crisis — and should be a profound crisis in the thinking of all of us who were committed to the establishment of the state and to its success," Siegman says. Responding to Israel’s U.S.-backed claim that its assault on Gaza is necessary because no country would tolerate the rocket fire from militants in Gaza, Siegman says: "What undermines this principle is that no country and no people would live the way that Gazans have been made to live. … The question of the morality of Israel’s action depends, in the first instance, on the question, couldn’t Israel be doing something [to prevent] this disaster that is playing out now, in terms of the destruction of human life? Couldn’t they have done something that did not require that cost? And the answer is, sure, they could have ended the occupation."
Rabbi Henry Siegman, Leading Voice of U.S. Jewry, on Gaza: "A Slaughter of Innocents"
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 10:07 AM on July 30 [2 favorites]


As a personal favor to me, could you try to consolidate your links into fewer comments, and refrain from blockquoting more than, say two paragraphs each?

I'm a fan of the related linkdump, but spread out over so many comments with big cuts like that is killing my "Recent Activity."
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:11 AM on July 30 [1 favorite]


Will do. Last one: Isolating Gaza: The restriction of Palestinian movement in Gaza and elsewhere has long been a central tactic of the Israeli occupation.

Palestinians living in Gaza’s “open air prison” are not only targeted for attack, but also victimized by enforced immobility. Through years of policies of increasing control, closure, and blockade, Israel has created this vulnerability and is now deploying immobility as a lethal weapon. There is frequent reference in the media to the blockade imposed on Gaza in 2006 after Hamas won parliamentary elections, but the process of isolating Gaza began long before that. Understanding how immobility was imposed and then weaponized requires looking at the history of borders, movements, and constraints on motion that have defined this place since 1948.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 10:13 AM on July 30







‘Children killed in their sleep’: Israeli artillery fire hits UN school, killing at least 20
Israeli military fire hit a United Nations-run school in Gaza today, killing at least 20 people and injuring an estimated 90 people. The school under attack, called the Abu Hussein girls’ elementary school, is located in the densely-populated Jabaliya refugee camp.

The United Nations Relief Works and Agency (UNRWA), the group that serves Palestinian refugees, issued a stern statement placing the blame for the attack on the Israeli army.
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 11:17 AM on July 30






This war in Gaza is not the first war I have covered, it isn't even the first war I've covered in Gaza. I've been to places like Syria and Libya, and seen some of the horrible things that are normal in armed conflict, and I've seen dead children before, but never like during this war in Gaza. Never so many, never so often.
Heartbreak: Reporting on Gaza’s child victims
posted by whyareyouatriangle at 12:25 PM on July 30


"Why does America continue its blind support of this one-sided exercise in ethnic cleansing? WHY? I just don't get it. I really hate to think its just the power of AIPAC… for if that's the case, then your government really is fundamentally corrupt." - Gaza and the loss of civilization
posted by jbickers at 1:16 PM on July 30 [6 favorites]