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Rights Group Accuses Israel Of Torturing Palestinians

April 6, 2002 11:51 AM   Subscribe

Rights Group Accuses Israel Of Torturing Palestinians
The Israeli human rights group B'Tselem charged today that Israel has tortured Palestinians who have been detained for interrogation during the current military offensive. The group said in a statement that the interrogation methods included breaking the toes of prisoners. The detainees have also been prohibited from meeting with lawyers, the group said...Israel has long used torture against Palestinian prisoners, but an Israeli Supreme Court ruling in September 1999 specifically outlawed most methods being used.

From torture to assassinations (that result in killing of innocent civilians); from attacking Red Cross vehicles and buildings to preventing wounded and ill from receiving medical attention; from firing in the direction of journalists to house-to-house searches that have resulted in looting - it is clear that Israel is not interested in peace at all, but rather is taking this opportunity to institute a complete clampdown on all Palestinians, to dismantle the Palestinian Authority, and to break the will of what is, at its core, a liberation movement. And to Powell's call for a withdraw "without delay," Israel gives the finger and ratchets up its onslaught. Utterly disgusting. And what's more, the repercussions from this brutal military action will be felt for months to come.
posted by mapalm (73 comments total)

 


Eric Olsen attempts a balanced commentary.
Red Rock Eater is linking to lots of articles.
State Dept. says: 4/5/02 - Middle East - America's Back in the Game

Can we post useful information / sources here, despite a rough beginning, and save this thread from becoming toast?
posted by sheauga at 12:12 PM on April 6, 2002


If this were all true, why would the President be supporting Israel?
posted by Settle at 12:21 PM on April 6, 2002


As explained on TV today, Bush said that Israel should withdraw immediately but in his written speech part he said should begin withdrawing as soon as possible. The TV host noted that Bush is not always clear on what he really has in mind.
The issues are very complex. To withdraw from all occupied land etc should requrire as all nations do: a peace agreement signed by both sides since no one has ever given land back in advance that was taken in war without a substantial reason (logistics) and/or Peace Treaty.
Why would a nation withdraw from land taken during war without having some accord in place?
posted by Postroad at 12:30 PM on April 6, 2002



Jeez, Settle, are you that naive, or do you just not read posts on
1) The Middle East;
2) Politicians (in general); or
3) GW Bush (specifically) usually?
posted by dash_slot- at 12:31 PM on April 6, 2002


If the accusations are true, then Israel does deserve to be condemned, just as harshly as the Palestinians deserve to be condemed for their suicide bombings of civilians.

But a jump to "Israel is not interested in peace at all." is ridiculous. Of course Israel is interested in peace. Almost everybody wants peace. It's always a question of what sacrifices people are willing to make to get that peace. Israel is fighting a "war" it did not start this time around. (As far who started it originally, let's just say there's a whole lot of blame to go around. No one involved is innocent). Sitting back was not an option. But torture and cold-blooded murder should not be options either.
posted by gspira at 12:37 PM on April 6, 2002


Gee, what an even-handed FPP.

Kudos to mapalm for not getting sucked into the propaganda storm and losing his head.

Those evil Israelis harshing on the peace-loving palestinians is just more than he can stand. Who can plame him?
posted by BentPenguin at 12:47 PM on April 6, 2002


Here's a hypothetical for you all:

If Al Qaida sneaks a nuke into the US, and we have someone in captivity who knows all about it, would you object to the use of torture to get the info out of him/her?
posted by BentPenguin at 12:50 PM on April 6, 2002


Here's a hypothetical for you all:

Is that a hijacking I see?
posted by BlueTrain at 12:59 PM on April 6, 2002


Settle: I'm just posting links to some of what's out there, you'll have to make up your own mind.

The NewsInsider has lots of Middle East coverage today.
Index on Censorship is running pros and cons, war and peace opinions.
Airstrip One asks, "Are we expecting too much of Israel?
The Kolkata Libertarian criticized the Nobel committe.
The WarLog "asked whether there were any pro-Palestinian blogs (since every blog I see has the good sense to be against terrorism). Here are a few from readers: Electronic Intifada, Common Dreams, and Jaksblog. That's all? Majority rules."
Rantburg opines, "All Bush can realistically do is run interference and try and give the IDF time to get the important part of the job done."
posted by sheauga at 1:07 PM on April 6, 2002


The original post's link on alleged Israeli use of torture is interesting, worrisome, thought-provoking, and relevant to US policy, but the accompanying commentary is highly inflammatory. It makes me mad anyway, and I'm still somewhat open-minded on the subject. What has the Palestinian Supreme Court ruled lately on Authority use of torture, summary executions, assassinations? Oh wait, no Supreme Court? Military tribunals instead?

I would have recommended removing this thread. Either way, mapalm, please avoid shoving your highly polemical opinions in my face quite so obviously next time.
posted by Turtle at 1:09 PM on April 6, 2002


Fine with me, let's delete this thread and start over. Neither the links and opinions here, nor the widespread use of torture in this world come as a surprise to anyone keeping up with the news.
posted by sheauga at 1:23 PM on April 6, 2002


I await mapalm's commentary on the justification of the killings and woundings of civilians in paramedic centers, restaurants, schools, hotels, cafes, buses, and supermarkets.
posted by darukaru at 1:25 PM on April 6, 2002


I was suprised when the use of torture became legal in Israel a while ago. But then, for them the question "Do you or do you not know if there's a bomb on a schoolbus today?" is not hypothetical. I'm not saying its right - I'm just facing the fact that its a complex situation that can't be thought about in black and white terms.

What do you do with an enemy that claims it will never negotiate? Who exists solely to destroy you?

I'm seriously not on a side on this one. It's too much of a damn shame all-around.

BTW, mapalm - you're obnoxious.
posted by xammerboy at 1:39 PM on April 6, 2002



darukaru posts
I await mapalm's commentary on the justification of the killings and woundings of civilians in .

Why would you wait for his commentary on that side of the issue. I don't see your commentary expressing the points he is trying to make. That is what a discussion is about , each side making a case for what they consider right or wrong or important or new. Perhaps you could point us to somewhere where you have after reading a more pro israeli view challenged the poster to present the palestinian view or taken them to task for leaving out the entire story.
posted by onegoodmove at 1:49 PM on April 6, 2002


If I posted a link to a politically-biased Web site, took the article as news instead of as editorial, and then gave a completely biased and one-sided point of view on the situation, I should expect some backlash from the rest of the group.

Mapalm should.
posted by Down10 at 1:59 PM on April 6, 2002


Mapalm seems to have the "my side is 100% innocent, the other is 100% guilty" mentality. Its obvious all governments and countries and people have blood on their hands.
As far as torturing goes, torture away! I don't care. Screw these geneva conventions and get serious about war!
posted by Keen at 2:02 PM on April 6, 2002


Mapalm, why do you hate America?

Ok, only kidding, I'm with you. The Israeli/Palestinian conflict as well as "America's New War", have made me realize that it is extremely difficult for people to hold a comlex idea in their minds. For example it can both be true that the terrorists who attack the WTC need to be found and captured and that the U.S. foreign policy in the middle east needs to be re-thought. Likewise, of course suicide bombing is a disgusting response to the occupation where a non-violent movement would be much more persuasive, and at the same time Israel is going completely over the deep end in response.
posted by chrismc at 2:12 PM on April 6, 2002


Same old story, who started it? Is your blood more valuable than mine? your innocents more innocent? your explosive more or less discriminating? your zealots crazier?
Sounds like Belfast....

Mr Bush and Mr Blair had better be very careful to speak more loudly and more unequivically about immediate peace or make our nations even more clearly drawn targets. I have a horrible feeling we ain't seen nothing yet...
posted by terrymiles at 2:17 PM on April 6, 2002


Just because Mapalm posted a link highly critical of Israel does not mean that they think the Palestinians are blameless, or in a better moral position. (They may, but I don't see the basis for the assumption.) Anyone who does not believe the end justifies the means is quite capable of being highly critical of both parties. And when a link is on the subject of Israel it is not necessary to air one's opinions of the Palestinians in order to provide some sort of irrelevant "balance."

I believe Israel has gone too far here. See how that's entirely different from saying that the Palestinians are better?
posted by Nothing at 2:23 PM on April 6, 2002


As for unbiased (?) newsinsider, I had an exchange of notes with them and suggested they were less than even-handed, to which they replied that they "merely" presented news items. I noted that having published a number of anthologies I knew that what you selected suggested your bias, interest, focus.
But my main question: name one nation in the middle east that does not use torture on ITS OWN Citizens, let alone a possible outside enemy...Iraq? Syria, Iran, Egypt?
Saudi Arabia etc (and Lebanon is a client state of Syriana, run by 30 thousand occupying troops)
Torture is used in many nations. We have the 5th amendment that states no one need testify against himself. That was put in because in Puritan days and earlier, (England) they got folks to testify against themselves through torture.
posted by Postroad at 2:36 PM on April 6, 2002


Nothing: oh, come on. The original post was utterly unreasonable. Regardless of opinion, here's an amusing example of its screaming irrationality:

And to Powell's call for a withdraw "without delay," Israel gives the finger and ratchets up its onslaught. Utterly disgusting.

Who on earth could seriously argue that a state's refusal to snap to attention at the US's call is "utterly disgusting"?
posted by Turtle at 2:39 PM on April 6, 2002


Perhaps the issues involved with mapalm's post and its wording can be better discussed on MetaTalk.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 2:46 PM on April 6, 2002


Sheuga: That's way too much information for one to digest during the lifecycle of this thread! Can you recommend an even handed story or two on the subject?

I believe that that Mossad is widely feared in the middle east. It has (I thought) always been assumed that their tactics have not always been aboveboard. There was this story of the Al Quaida operative who was caught in Philippines who refused to spill the beans. Apparently they tried pretty much everything. Finally they got fed up and told him - we are gonna turn you over to the Mossad. And the guy pored his heart out. It could be an apocriphal story for all I know. But it kind of sums up the the fear that Mossad instills in the minds of some.

The Palestinians have summarily killed - on more than one occasion- people suspected of collaborating with the Israelis. I find it very hard to believe that the law enforcement authorities were not in a position to intervene.

Between the two, I always assumed that Israelis are more respectful of human rights than the Palestinians are. But summary breaking of toenails of potentially innocent people is repulsive - to say the least.

So far as bringing down psychological pressure on detainees,not letting people go out during carfew hours etc are concerned - those are standard tactics of even law enforcement forces. There is virtually a war going on out there. And those things are bound to happen.

Torture of innocents is something worth bringing to the light of day. I do wish the poster didnt waste the FPP.
posted by justlooking at 2:46 PM on April 6, 2002


mapalm -- for what it's worth, your assessment of the situation appears entirely accurate to me. Thanks for the link.
posted by sudama at 3:08 PM on April 6, 2002


i was especially sickened yesterday when i heard about the 10 year old palestinian boy burnt very severely (2nd and 3rd degree burns over most of his body) when the IDF attempted (unsuccessfully) to assasinate one their targets

- our tax dollars are supporting targeted assasinations and their aforementioned collateral damage - if they are also supporting torture - all the greater the outrage. we should not be supporting violence or cruelty on either side.

it refreshing to see that thousands of israeli's agree.
posted by specialk420 at 3:15 PM on April 6, 2002


justlooking: My pick for today is Eric Olsen's commentary.

The State Dept. "Foreign Media Reaction" is a good way to get a few different viewpoints quickly. (You could also try reading the Israel Insider one day and Jerusalem Indymedia the next, or Rantburg, which features daily links and wisecracks about who's attacking who.)

There's something about direct e-mail from a person in a war zone that commentary doesn't match. Try as I may, it's far easier to come across opinions on "who's right and who's wrong" than material which contains options and informative input for decisionmaking. So much of what's written on Israel - Palestine is junk:

"You don't want my neighbor. Content advisory: This site is not for children. This siteis for pissed off adults with a need to vent."

If the objective of Israel's current military offensive is the "destruction of terrorist infrastructre," exactly what is this going to mean? At what point is the mission over? This question is so often treated as "vague and intelligence military stuff you're not supposed to know," even though it's one of the key factors in picking up the pieces after any war.
posted by sheauga at 3:21 PM on April 6, 2002


Who on earth could seriously argue that a state's refusal to snap to attention at the US's call is "utterly disgusting"?

I for one, the American taxpayer, who has funded this illegal occupation to the tune of $60 billion over the last two decades, and who has generously supplied all the tanks and bullets and missiles and warplanes now being used against civilians, reporters, ambulance drivers, the Red Cross.

It's all being done in my name, so, yeah, I think I have a right to be "utterly disgusted."
posted by ssdecontrol at 3:25 PM on April 6, 2002


there's some background on the treatment of prisoners in israel here. from my limited experience (one relation of mine was tortured, but not by israelis), the activities listed there are more than sufficient to leave severe, permanent, psychological damage.

you can't help thinking that every action israel takes is chosen to make the palestinians angrier, more determined, and less likely to compromise. whether or not you think israel is justified in its actions, from a realpolitik viewpoint they seem, well, a little misguided.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:29 PM on April 6, 2002


It's all being done in my name, so, yeah, I think I have a right to be "utterly disgusted."

Here, here!. In my opinion, Sharon is just out-of-control at this point.
posted by bkdelong at 3:43 PM on April 6, 2002


The post was made to inform those interested that there are egregious examples of Israeli brutality currently under-reported in the media.

My post was aimed at those who might be interested in alternative news sources, who might yearn for a refreshing perspective that doesn't vilify Arafat and tacitly condone Israel's rampage.

A FPP with an opinion? You betcha. And I apologize for nothing.

(As an aside, I challenge anyone to dispute any of the claims I referenced.)
posted by mapalm at 3:54 PM on April 6, 2002


It was pointed out in MetaTalk that we're off topic. Here are some Links to Centers for the Rehabilitation of Torture Survivors, offered with the hope that nobody here actually needs this information.
posted by sheauga at 3:55 PM on April 6, 2002


And if you don't take it to MetaTalk you just might need it after all. :)
posted by vbfg at 4:24 PM on April 6, 2002




And the European Union has given $3 billion to the Palestinian Authority since 1994, over half of all international assistance. I'm waiting for them to say anything about the possibility that any of that money was used to rig up a human bomb.
posted by dhartung at 5:06 PM on April 6, 2002


One more for the grist mill: The War that Arafat Called Forth, by Fouad Ajami (everybody's favorite self-hating Arab -- actually he's an Iranian-extraction Shi'a from Lebanon).
posted by dhartung at 5:26 PM on April 6, 2002


I thought Bush's "enough is enough" (on front page of LA Times) was freakin' hilarious. He thinks he's a parent talking to his children or something, rather than two arch-enemies that have been fighting for 45 years. The guy has NO CLUE about foreign policy. Yeah, just say enough is enough, that will make them stop.

Idiot.
posted by benh57 at 5:26 PM on April 6, 2002


Idiot.

Well, that post certainly made nobody think.
posted by aaron at 5:36 PM on April 6, 2002


The United States gives Egypt $2 billion/year.

So $2 billion in aid to a country where one Imam recently shifted his position on targeting civilians is somehow comparable to $3 billion in aid to Israel, of which 60% is military and the rest is given directly in cash, with no accounting of how the funds are used?

I fail to see the connection. Are you saying that the US is giving $2 billion/year in support of Palestinian suicide bombers, so it all somehow evens out? What then? I'm sure there are Imams in Canada or Turkey who share Sheikh Muhammad Sayyed Tantawi's views... what of it?

My unschooled American taxpayer view of the $2 billion/year given to Egypt is that it's largely for development and internal security issues (Egypt obviously has it's own fundamentalist 'terrorist' problems, and we have mutual interests in that fight) and basically to stay out of Israel's hair, which it has seemingly done since the 79 treaty. Perhaps that's started to change with the new Israeli incursions.
posted by ssdecontrol at 5:39 PM on April 6, 2002


sheauga wrote: The NewsInsider has lots of Middle East coverage today.

I guess I'm wondering why their url is at cjb.net? I mean are they hosting this from geocities or something? Can' they afford 40$ for a domain? Still, very informative although there's lots of bbc stuff which I surf anyway.

I sincerely appreciate all you've done to save the fpp.
posted by Why at 6:53 PM on April 6, 2002


Here's what this thread looks like over at Kuro5hin, which uses a multiple thread format. The Kuro5shin format has the advantage of providing a large number of participants the opportunity to argue all the fine points of this complicated situation in excruciating detail.

MeFi's is a different animal from Kuro5hin. Are you seeing ways to use the MeFi format to make our discussion do things that Kuro5hin can't?
posted by sheauga at 8:53 PM on April 6, 2002


dhartung: Fouad Ajami (everybody's favorite self-hating Arab -- actually he's an Iranian-extraction Shi'a from Lebanon).

It is a little disturbing to read (Nicholas Lemann, New Yorker, April 1) that:
The outside experts on the Middle East who have the most credibility with the Administration seem to be Bernard Lewis, of Princeton, and Fouad Ajami...
posted by Zurishaddai at 10:31 PM on April 6, 2002


I personally send a silent prayer for those who have died or are tonight in pain and suffering injustice on all levels of this pointless and futile war. Those who have lost their lives. Those who have lost loved ones and will forever have an empty place in their hearts. I mourn for the violence to come and pray we will learn from this as a species in a way we never have before when history repeated itself. I mourn for the lives over the thousands of years when men felt killing other men would somehow improve their own situation.

Beyond that, I have nothing of substance to contribute to this thread that will improve or change the world. Nor it appears did any of you who posted before me. Despite the complexities of this issue, arguing over it is as pointless as a trapped wild animal gnawing off its own limb to attempt escape, only to bleed to death later. If you honestly think reading these links will educate you enough to have an informed opinion without having felt that empty place in your heart or found yourself in a position away from your computer and your safe little lives, you need to re-evaluate your position.

Is it fair to torture someone who would seek to torture you? Was it the chicken or the egg which came first? Pull the other one.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:45 PM on April 6, 2002


(As an aside, I challenge anyone to dispute any of the claims I referenced.)

Hey maplam, put these events in context of history before you pass judgment on Isralei actions:

Fact: Israel is an island of democracy in an ocean of theocarcy/military dictatorship/absolute religious monarchy

Fact: Since it's creation, Israel has had to fight 2 wars with it's hostile neighbors who wanted to destroy it (Israel won both, and gained terretories to boot)

Fact: There are nations (Iran, Syria, Iraq) and groups (Hamas/Hezbollah/Fatah et al) who openly call for complete destruction/annihalation of Israel, with no negotiations whatsover

Fact: Israel has tried many times -- Camp David Accord, Oslo treaty, Rabin-Arafat agreements in 95, and Barak-Arafat negotiations which failed, to name a few -- where Israel extends a hand for peace, only to get bit, over and over again (except for the Camp David accord, for which Israel returned the Siani to Egypt for Egypt's full recognition of Israel -- and for that, Islamic fundamentalits assasinated Sadat, Egypt's President who negotiated the accord)

Fact: Israelies do not strap bombs to themselves and go into populated Palestinian areas and murder innocent civilians on a day-by-day basis, where as Palestinians do (and are cheered for it by the likes of Arafat and the rest of the Arab/Islamic world)

Finally, what would you do, if you were in Sharon's place, and your fellow citizens were being slaughtered on a daily basis by groups of people who:
1. have no intentions on any sort of civilized negotiations;
2. want nothing less than total distruction of your country; and
3. have no value for human (Jewish) life?

What would your options be? The US went half way around the world to (try and) wipe out al-Queda/Taliban for a one-time terroristic act on it's soil. Should we expect Israel to do less to safeguard their citizens? Are their lives worth less than ours?

I would ask you to consider all these arguments, and look the current conflict in it's true historical context before you rush to judgment on Israel's actions in Palestinian held terratories.
posted by Rastafari at 1:02 AM on April 7, 2002


israel was created after wwii because all the world was shocked by the extermination carried out by the german nazis over the jews. the palestinian people was kicked out of their own houses to give them to the survivors of the holocaust! many of those survivors never had been in those lands before.

great number of jews only lived in palestine before islam was created, in those times too, jews were a minority.
when islam is created all arab lands convert to islamism, including almost all israel. the few jews that kept true to their religion traveled to europe and russia. very few jews stayed in palestine (precisely because muslims wanted to kill them).

in conclusion: religion sucks. almost every war that has been fought had their source because of religious or ideological differences.
the jews only returned to holy land after 1,500 years because the world felt pitiful towards them… probably, in 1,500 years, the world will begin to feel guilty for the genocide against palestinians, and then, israelis will be the ones who will be kicked out of their own homes…
posted by trismegisto at 7:53 AM on April 7, 2002


Does anyone have an update on the death toll? Last I heard those cold-blooded, innocent-murdering Palestinians were losing 3 to 1 against the democratic, upstanding, justified-targets-only Israelis.
posted by niceness at 8:09 AM on April 7, 2002


The entire Arab world is undemocratic, corrupt, and just as doomed as were all those petty satrapies in eastern europe circa 1960-only their mothership is oil not the ussr-apparently they still don't see they are just economic plantations for the Western consumer-how sad really-Israel is not going away-it's just a simple fact. Too bad they just can't get on with tomorrow.
posted by quercus at 9:11 AM on April 7, 2002


probably, in 1,500 years, the world will begin to feel guilty for the genocide against palestinians

It's kinda hard to have sympathy for sympathy for suicide bombers, who continue to insist that there shall be no negotiations with Israel, under any circumstances, and only Israel's utter and complete distruction will cease the slaughter of innocent Israli blood...

Does anyone have an update on the death toll? Last I heard those cold-blooded, innocent-murdering Palestinians were losing 3 to 1 against the democratic, upstanding, justified-targets-only Israelis.

hey niceness, you forgot to add that the reason the Palestinians are losing is because of their own actions. Stop the suicide bombings of innocent Israelis, and Israel will have NO reason to defend itself...
posted by Rastafari at 9:12 AM on April 7, 2002


niceness: body count of fighters isn't the same as body count of civilians. Or is a gun-wielding Palestinian policeman the same as a grandmother at a Seder, in your book? I just want to know, in case you and I ever have a territorial dispute.

Zurishaddai: why would that be disturbing? Who would you rather have in their place?
posted by dhartung at 9:21 AM on April 7, 2002


has any one seen this weeks balanced, informative, calm coverage of this mess on at bill moyers | now (my pick for the very best tv news magazine by a mile)? the program is a must for any and all.

the israeli settlers interviewed are very scary - they suggest with smiles that the "resettlement" of all "arabs" is the best solution - and the settlements on the west bank are their god given land - "says so in the bible".

They reminded me of the reprehensible Rehavam Ze'evi and his comments that palesitinians are "lice" and "cancer" - there is such hatred in the name of religion on both sides.
posted by specialk420 at 9:51 AM on April 7, 2002


dhartung: was every single dead Palestinian a "gun-wielding policeman"? I think not. Were a great majority, in fact, as blameless as your Seder granny, the collateral damage of trigger-happy soldier-boys and 'targeted strikes' from F16s and helicopters? I believe they might just have been. And in spite of your spin, three times as many Palestinian civilians are dead. If you wish to show that they were all Evildoers(TM), go ahead. I suspect you can't: and so, to implicitly cast the death toll as evil gunmen against harmless grannies is nothing more than an atrocious distortion of the facts. But that, as others have noticed, has been your chief tactic as of late.
posted by riviera at 10:05 AM on April 7, 2002


MeFi's is a different animal from Kuro5hin. Are you seeing ways to use the MeFi format to make our discussion do things that Kuro5hin can't?

One advantage to the MeFi style is that the discussion flow is far more conversational. Except when someone does a clawback (like I've done here) to a message wayyyy too far back in the thread, we generally have each new post taking a riff off one of the posts just before it.

As a result, we end up with the same sort of discussion as we'd have were we all sitting around at the local coffee shop. There's a more natural flow to the conversation.

I far prefer this format. Deeply influenced by my old Citadel-86 days. :-)
posted by five fresh fish at 10:26 AM on April 7, 2002


And in spite of your spin, three times as many Palestinian civilians are dead.
And in spite of your spin, the truth remains that Israelis are forced to retaliate against Palestinians who want total and complete distruction of Israel. And as far as innocent Palestinians dying in this battle-of-their-own making, how about we just say innocent humans are being are killed, on both sides. Would that make you feel better, instead of keeping an ethnic count? (BTW, how many innocent Jews were killed during the holocaust? The reason I bring it up here is because of the holocaust Israel came into being, and therefore is relevent.)

Instaed of blaming the Israelis, why don't you tell us what you would do if you are Sharon, and your fellow citizens were being slaughtered on a daily basis by a group of people of have no intention of peacefully negotoating and want to wipe you off the face of the earth?
posted by Rastafari at 10:37 AM on April 7, 2002


It's nice to read that a guy named "Rastafari" has no sympathy for oppressed peoples. And no, I don't support suicide bombings. At all. Sheesh.
posted by raysmj at 11:15 AM on April 7, 2002


Or, rather, the ones without real power, the ones in mostly dire poverty, the ones who want real self-determination, etc. Terror is oppressive too, certainly. But Bob Marley, who inspired your nickname, was in favor of "life" as a right, which meant more than just living.
posted by raysmj at 11:19 AM on April 7, 2002


Rastafari: The idea that Sharon only retaliates against terrorism is disengenous, his actions have continuously poured petrol on the fire - when Sharon marched to the Temple Mount it was a blatant sign of intent. The idea that Arafat has single-handedly (for much of the time under house arrest) escalated things to this level is a joke, both are warmongers, only one is treated as such by Blair and Bush.

Incidentally, nobody in their right mind would support suicide bombing but then neither should they support collective punishment - both are punishing innocents and both only lead to even greater hatred.
posted by niceness at 1:46 PM on April 7, 2002


Rastafari: how about we just say innocent humans are being are killed, on both sides?

Raysmj: It's nice to know a guy named "Rastafari" has no sympathy for oppressed peoples.

Raysmj - getting personal with Rastafari's nickname is beneath you. It's not about Bob Marley, either - it's about hope and peace, Marcus Garvey, the Ethiopians as one of the tribes of Israel. Don't tell me you've never heard the word "Zion" in any of his songs.

Even that, though, could be put down to snarkiness and political disagreement. But to boldly assert he "has no sympathy for oppressed people" is not only beneath you - it's below the belt.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:53 PM on April 7, 2002


I don't understand why people think anyone's going to be convinced of anything on either side because of sheer numbers. Without context, they're meaningless stats. Coming into this chart blindly, one would have no clue if every single one of the dead cilivians on both sides was an intentional kill, if every single one was collateral damage, or somewhere in between. (And once most people discover the "three times" count's going back to 1987, not just since the current uprising began ~18 months ago, they're probably not going to trust the source anyway, but I suppose that's a side point.) To use an extreme, ad absurdum example: You start blowing up people on my side on a regular basis, picking off 20 to 30 civilians a week over the course of a number of months. The only weapon I have to retaliate with is a suitcase nuke, and eventually I'm going to feel forced to use that nuke against your leadership, which is conveniently holed up in a mostly-residential area. In one single instant, I'll solve a lot of my problem, but I'll probably also take out at least five times as many civilians on your side in that one moment as you've slowly taken out on mine over a long period. But then a group like the one cited above will make a web page saying nothing more than "He's killed five times as many civilians as we have since the fighting began!"

Of course, there's also the elephant-in-the-room question: If killing civilians is wrong, why isn't it simply wrong that both sides are doing it, regardless of who's more successful at it?
posted by aaron at 2:06 PM on April 7, 2002


I don't see how anyone can wholeheartedly support either the Palestinians or the Israelis. Both governments (as opposed to the actual people) seem to be blind to the possibility that there could be innocent noncombatants on the other side. I doubt there is land that is less "holy" on the whole planet than the Holy Land, as every square inch is drenched in the blood of innocents.

Arafat and Sharon are like two pit bulls with their jaws clamped on each others throats; they could care less what happens to their people as long as one of them is declared the winner. Meanwhile the rest of the world screams for the U.S. to do something.

Well, here's my modest proposal. Give everyone a deadline to evacuate, then nuke Jersusalem. Use something good and dirty with a halflife of a millenium or so. Maybe by then the resettlers will be ready to compromise.
posted by norm29 at 2:37 PM on April 7, 2002


MiguelCordoso, thanks. Appriciate it.

Niceness, why should Sharon have not been allowed to go to Temple Mount? Are you suggesting that the current cycle of violence (on the Palestinian part) is justified because they were extreamly offended at Sharon's presense there?

Furthermore, just because the Israelis may have known where Arafat was the whole time (or house arrest, as you call it) doesn't mean that Arafat and/or the Palentinian Authority weren't directly or indirectly involved with the suicide bombings and the violance perpetuated by the Palestinians. Remember Karrina A? And besides, the Israelis are finding more and more evidence in Arafat's office of how intimetly he was involved with the terrorism acts on Israelies.

My point remains: Isralies have always been willing to negotiate for peace. Indeed, it's in their national interest to have a peace agreement, especially with the Palestinians. They might have come pretty close when Clinton tried to broker a deal between Barak and Arafat, but that went nowhere. Whose fault do you think that is? I'm sure you've heard the stories that Barak was willing the sell almost the whole store to achive peace -- for which he was trounced in the next election.

Ask yourself: whose interest does it serve to terrorize the Israelies by daily suicide bombings? What do the Israelis have to gain by retaliating and forcefully occupying Palestinian-held terretories? If they were going to do that, why have the Oslo accords and give Palestinians self rule in Gaza, West Bank et al? Why?

And finally, I've asked this before, and no one has answered: What you would do if you are Sharon, and your fellow citizens were being slaughtered on a daily basis by a group of people of have no intention of peacefully negotoating and want to wipe you off the face of the earth? What choice would you have?
posted by Rastafari at 5:16 PM on April 7, 2002


MiguelCordoso, thanks. Appriciate it.

Niceness, why should Sharon have not been allowed to go to Temple Mount? Are you suggesting that the current cycle of violence (on the Palestinian part) is justified because they were extreamly offended at Sharon's presense there?

Furthermore, just because the Israelis may have known where Arafat was the whole time (or house arrest, as you call it) doesn't mean that Arafat and/or the Palentinian Authority weren't directly or indirectly involved with the suicide bombings and the violance perpetuated by the Palestinians. Remember Karrina A? And besides, the Israelis are finding more and more evidence in Arafat's office of how intimetly he was involved with the terrorism acts on Israelies.

My point remains: Isralies have always been willing to negotiate for peace. Indeed, it's in their national interest to have a peace agreement, especially with the Palestinians. They might have come pretty close when Clinton tried to broker a deal between Barak and Arafat, but that went nowhere. Whose fault do you think that is? I'm sure you've heard the stories that Barak was willing the sell almost the whole store to achive peace -- for which he was trounced in the next election.

Ask yourself: whose interest does it serve to terrorize the Israelies by daily suicide bombings? What do the Israelis have to gain by retaliating and forcefully occupying Palestinian-held terretories? If they were going to do that, why have the Oslo accords and give Palestinians self rule in Gaza, West Bank et al? Why?

And finally, I've asked this before, and no one has answered: What you would do if you are Sharon, and your fellow citizens were being slaughtered on a daily basis by a group of people of have no intention of peacefully negotoating and want to wipe you off the face of the earth? What choice would you have?
posted by Rastafari at 5:17 PM on April 7, 2002


sorry for the double post.
posted by Rastafari at 5:18 PM on April 7, 2002


Arafat: the Antigandhi.
posted by bunnyfire at 5:26 PM on April 7, 2002


rastafari -

robert fisk might have an answer for you, if you feel like spending a little time reading someone who has lived in and reported on the middle east for over 20 years.... and im guessing you won't like what you hear.

"I let no man drag me down so low as to make me hate him."
--- Booker T. Washington
posted by specialk420 at 6:14 PM on April 7, 2002


No offense, but Robert Fisk is useless. His columns on his own near beating to death confirm his inadeqacy as a rational counselor.
posted by quercus at 7:28 PM on April 7, 2002


robert fisk might have an answer for you...and im guessing you won't like what you hear.

Just read the article. He says both Sharon and Arafat are bad. Then he equates Israeli soilders with nazies (and doesn't provide any source). Then he goes on to admonish the US for letting the violance continue in the middle east.

What he doesn't do, is the same thing most of the pro-Palestinian crowd here hasn't been able to do: is to provide a solution for Sharon (or any Israeli leadership) of what their choices would be in the current conflict -- not of their making -- in which they are up against adversaries who will settle for nothing less than the total distruction of Israel, and do not want to negotiate.

So to address your point about me not liking the what he has to say, first, I have no idea who he is, and he doesn't say anything substantive for me to really care. I need something more than:both sides bad, US worse. What did you get out of the article?
posted by Rastafari at 8:22 PM on April 7, 2002


'Useless', quercus? Opinionated, certainly, but most people who've only read him since Sept 11th (Americans, in particular) have contrived an opinion of him that's quite different to his own position. For instance, he regards Arafat as a crook, having lived close by his corrupt govt-in-exile in Lebanon during the 80s. And when he gets off his hobby horse, more frequent than you'd probably credit him, he manages to come up with pieces like yesterday's, on the youngest survivor of Auschwitz, that manage to provide a sense of the region's intractability that I don't get from, say, the abstract judgements of Tom Friedman's op-eds.
posted by riviera at 8:28 PM on April 7, 2002


rastafari....

(your name does bug me as well.. by the way... having spent a good deal of time with a true blue mountains of jamaica rastafari... who i think i can assure you holds quite different views of the world and the conflict in the middle east than your own....)

i meant to suggest (and hoped that with your vocal opinions on the conflict in the middle east you would have known who robert fisk is...) that you read as many fisk articles (in addition to the one linked) as you can to get some perspective and perhaps answer the question you insist on an answer to...

in response i dare ask:

what would you do if your life was ruled by a "group of people of have no intention of peacefully negotiating (spelling corrected) and want to wipe you off the face of the earth? " (see post concerning bill moyers | now)
posted by specialk420 at 10:17 PM on April 7, 2002


rastafari....

(your name does bug me as well.. by the way... having spent a good deal of time with a true blue mountains of jamaica rastafari... who i think i can assure you holds quite different views of the world and the conflict in the middle east than your own....)

i meant to suggest (and hoped that with your vocal opinions on the conflict in the middle east you would have known who robert fisk is...) that you read as many fisk articles (in addition to the one linked) as you can to get some perspective and perhaps answer the question you insist on an answer to...

in response i dare ask:

what would you do if your life was ruled by a "group of people of have no intention of peacefully negotiating (spelling corrected) and want to wipe you off the face of the earth? " (see post concerning bill moyers | now)
posted by specialk420 at 10:22 PM on April 7, 2002


apologies for the bad link - at the bottom of the page you will find these i'm sure not altogether atypical statements by jewish settlers - and im quite sure supported by the founder of the jewish settlements - sharon

"There are 22 Arab states surrounding Israel and the solution can be found in the resettlement of the Arabs in their countries."

as mentioned by myself and others in this thread - i don't want my tax dollars supporting these kind of people and the use of torture or arafat and suicide bombers.
posted by specialk420 at 10:28 PM on April 7, 2002


Good to see you are completely tuned in to the political opinions of the Rastafarian community specialk-what are their thoughts on drilling in ANWR?
Thanks for the link Riviera-i did read the article-sorry, but in my opinion, the man remains clueless, the article in question merely retread of the old moral equivalence position, tired, irrelevant, and doomed
posted by quercus at 8:25 AM on April 8, 2002


Let us pray that as few innocent Palestinian Arabs are killed and injured which the Israelis carry out very necessary operations in the territories.

Arafat had his chance to do the same, but of course, he wanted to militarize the West Bank.

So, in a few weeks or sooner, lets hope the Palestinians finally realize their masochism.
posted by ParisParamus at 10:23 AM on April 8, 2002


believe me, if a young palestinian preferes to fight sacrificing his life, rather than live in an occupied territory, you can be certainly sure that something it's pretty wrong.

israelis, which are the only inconditional allies of washington in middle east, have the army and weapons (provided by usa) to fight, that's why they don't need to blow themselves off to kill some palestinians. the palestinians only have their own life to fight, and they sacrifice it… man, that's what i call balls
posted by trismegisto at 4:37 AM on April 11, 2002


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