Israel + humanitarian relief + reporters + politicians = Made for Television!
January 1, 2009 12:13 PM   Subscribe

Dear Israel: you picked wrong boat to mess with. Israeli patrol boats have rammed into and nearly capsized a relief vesssel sailing in international waters, bearing humanitarian medical aid to Gaza. Accompanying the international doctors and aid workers who comprised the heart of the mssion were several politicians, including former US congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, as well as several international journalists, such as Karl Penhaul of CNN and Othman Abu Battiri of Al Jazeera, who have used mobile video reporting to refute Israel's claims that the damage was somehow caused by those leading the relief mission. Shades of the USS Liberty... or Whale Wars?
posted by markkraft (375 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
No comparison to Whale Wars. That's direct action, not humanitarian relief. This boat wasn't trying to stop Israeli violence, merely mitigate the damage it causes to civilians. The Sea Shepherd tries to stop whaling.
posted by allen.spaulding at 12:18 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


The CNN anchor back home was all like "Are you sure you weren't rammed 4 times?". It's as if CNN only broadcasts things which subtly suggest that CNN sucks.
posted by parallax7d at 12:24 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't think it's a direct comparison either, particularly because these people were clearly doing something they were legally entitled to do, in international waters.

That said... the techniques of activists embedding journalists is certainly catching on, and the general effect is pretty informative and generally beneficial, I think.
posted by markkraft at 12:26 PM on January 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


It probably would've been sensible to call ahead. I can't imagine that blithely sailing into the middle of a military operation generally ends well.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:28 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


What happened to the USS Liberty was tragic. Same as Cynthia McKinney.
posted by timsteil at 12:31 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Which of these videos shows the ramming taking place?
posted by kuatto at 12:32 PM on January 1, 2009


whoops, it wasn't 4 times, sorry!
posted by parallax7d at 12:32 PM on January 1, 2009


It probably would've been sensible to call ahead.
weren't they running the blockade?
posted by eustatic at 12:32 PM on January 1, 2009


I have an online friend who used to work at CNN... and she used to swear up a storm about how half of the job of the people back in Atlanta seemed to be trying to persuade/force reporters that what they saw was somehow a lot more "grey" than it actually was.

After years of Bush administration castration, CNN Atlanta can't seem to acknowledge actual intentional wrongdoing by anyone, unless the current presidential administration has signed off on it first... at which point, their mission seems to be to draw every negative inference possible.
posted by markkraft at 12:33 PM on January 1, 2009 [11 favorites]


Because Cynthia McKinney is such a beloved figure...

But seriously, I don't think this will change anyone's opinion. I mean, who out there is saying to themselves "Oh I didn't really care about those Gazans, but oh noes, don't hurt Cynthia McKinney!"

McKinney was right when she said what happened to her and the boat paled in comparison to what was happening in Gaza, so why would people who were already concerned become more concerned? And people who don't care aren't going to start caring.
posted by delmoi at 12:34 PM on January 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


weren't they running the blockade?

That's my understanding. However, calling ahead and saying, "hey, this is a former U.S. representative and some reporters in a pleasure yacht--we're running the blockade" would seem to mitigate one's chances of being sunk without appreciably reducing the chances of success (which were probably pretty low to begin with).
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:36 PM on January 1, 2009


American taxpayers are partially responsible, by funding Israel's military to the tune of $3 billion per year.

If you believe military attacks on medical and humanitarian efforts to civilians is wrong and want to help, write your Representative or Senator and ask them to end military aid to Israel:

https://writerep.house.gov/writerep/welcome.shtml
http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:37 PM on January 1, 2009 [12 favorites]


Even speaking as someone who stepped up to the voting machine intending to vote for Cynthia McKinney - though changed my mind at the last minute for reasons that don't concern us here: I can guarantee you that no one in the Israeli government muttered imprecations in Hebrew upon learning that one of their patrol boats had angered Cynthia McKinney.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:37 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


"It probably would've been sensible to call ahead."

You act as if Israel didn't know they were coming already. You think they don't monitor -- and occasionally infiltrate -- groups they know who are trying to send a message about Israel's behavior?
posted by markkraft at 12:39 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Things happen in a war zone, just as Steve Elvis said. This was embarrassing for Israel and kind of silly that they're trying to cover it up but it's not exactly the worst scandal they had. It would be nice if they did more to ensure the peace process but the Palestinians sure aren't helping either.
posted by Pseudology at 12:41 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wonderful insight as always from YouTube commenters. Ugh. Somebody should throw the YouTube comments system overboard and ram it.

I really do wish the US would quit feeding the gigantic troll that is Israel. I also wish it wasn't political suicide to express that opinion.
posted by Foosnark at 12:43 PM on January 1, 2009 [18 favorites]


However, calling ahead and saying, "hey, this is a former U.S. representative and some reporters in a pleasure yacht--we're running the blockade"

What makes you think they didn't? I mean, a CNN reporter was onboard. Do you really think CNN wouldn't have taken steps to make sure Israel didn't think this was some terrorist missile smuggling op? The fact that there were a couple of reporters on board indicates this wasn't exactly a secret mission.

In fact, do you have any evidence they didn't "call ahead" or are you just talking out of your ass?
posted by delmoi at 12:43 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Actually it looks like this war has had some small benefits for Israel so far. They just nabbed the Hamas leader.
posted by Pseudology at 12:43 PM on January 1, 2009


From Reutres: "Halpin said he recognised two Israeli patrol boats when they flashed their searchlights at about 5 a.m. (3 a.m. British time). Israeli officers on board asked the captain to halt the boat's course to Gaza, but he refused, Halpin said.
posted by spork at 12:44 PM on January 1, 2009


I would say that Israel does not give a shit about CNN or a former US representative or humanitarian aid or... activists.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:45 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Actually it looks like this war has had some small benefits for Israel so far. They just nabbed the Hamas leader.

He's the a Hamas leader and they didn't nab him, they killed him. I'm not so sure this actually helps...
posted by gman at 12:47 PM on January 1, 2009


"Nabbed", of course, in its less common definition, meaning "blew into small chunks".

Making martyrs in a holy war... Now *that's* the way towards lasting peace!
posted by markkraft at 12:47 PM on January 1, 2009 [18 favorites]


You act as if Israel didn't know they were coming already. You think they don't monitor -- and occasionally infiltrate -- groups they know who are trying to send a message about Israel's behavior?

I don't think we know if Israel knew ahead of time. Speculating about Israel's intelligence activities doesn't change that.

Ramming the yacht 90 miles out was inappropriate, but I don't think Israel has any obligation to allow unfettered access to an area it's basically at war with. McKinney and company got off a lot easier than if they had been, say, shelled closer to shore.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:49 PM on January 1, 2009


Or to be more specific "blew into small chunks along with his family".
posted by Grangousier at 12:49 PM on January 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


"Nabbed", of course, in its less common definition, meaning "blew into small chunks".

Making martyrs in a holy war... Now *that's* the way towards lasting peace!


Yes and I'm very happy that it's not my problem. If it was possible to influence both leaderships then a solution would be a bit easier.
posted by Pseudology at 12:51 PM on January 1, 2009


we should kill two birds with one stone and send all of america's fundamentalists there
posted by pyramid termite at 12:51 PM on January 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


In fact, do you have any evidence they didn't "call ahead" or are you just talking out of your ass?

Now that it is established he has no evidence and is talking out of his ass, can we make a new year's resolution as a site, not to feed that troll?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:51 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


It probably would've been sensible to call ahead. I can't imagine that blithely sailing into the middle of a military operation generally ends well.

Excuse me, but what part of "international waters," don't you understand?
posted by jonp72 at 12:52 PM on January 1, 2009 [15 favorites]


I have insufficient info to make any sure fire judgements on this but:
1. there is a blockade and the small boat, carrying supplies, gets rammed. How does the Israeli boat know what is on the ship ? Why ram a boat rather than fire a few shots across the bow? What would happen if I decided to run a blockade to deliver food while two peoples were at war? Should Israel simply allow me to pass without inteference because I am an American, or fly an American flag?

USS Liberty: not as clearcut as the video suggests. Why? What reason did the Israelis have to shoot at a US ship? The answer, given by those who think it was done purposely, is that the Israelis were committing an atrocity against the Egyptian enemies during their war. So the Israelis commit an atrocity against an ally so that they will not know that an atrocity is taking place? (the Liberty was a highly rigged tech spy boat).

I am as I say not sure but neither am I convinced one way or the other. The whale thing though is clear.
posted by Postroad at 12:53 PM on January 1, 2009


Or to be more specific "blew into small chunks along with his family".

oh and not to be a troll or anything but here's an excerpt from the BBC.

Nizar Rayyan, the most senior Hamas figure to be killed since 2004, had urged suicide attacks against Israel.

You give a little you get a little.
posted by Pseudology at 12:53 PM on January 1, 2009


I must have drunk too much last night, and I've dropped my moral compass in the snow somewhere.

Could someone please tell me again why a navy assault on an unarmed vessel, carrying humanitarian aid, in INTERNATIONAL waters, is somehow not bad? or that bringing said humanitarian aid to a blockaded region is somehow bad? Is the blockade good or bad? It's good that 380 Palestinians have been killed, right? I mean some of them might have grown up to throw stones or something. Shit, I'm so confused...

Memo to military contractors: the first company to produce a device that can remotely detect and disable cameras and video recording devices will make a killing. We cannot let truth stand in the way of "right", can we?
posted by Artful Codger at 12:54 PM on January 1, 2009 [35 favorites]


Hope.
posted by gman at 12:55 PM on January 1, 2009


In fact, do you have any evidence they didn't "call ahead" or are you just talking out of your ass?

Maybe they did. However, that doesn't seem to be the narrative put forward by anyone so far, so I don't think I'm "talking out of my ass" to assume for the time being that they didn't call ahead.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:55 PM on January 1, 2009


Excuse me, but what part of "international waters," don't you understand?

I understand it just fine. What part of "sensible" do you not understand?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 12:57 PM on January 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


"I would say that Israel does not give a shit about CNN or a former US representative or humanitarian aid or... activists."

I would think that Israel might perhaps be wise enough to understand that the idea that the U.S. people will drop their pants and grab their ankles isn't one that will necessarily fly in perpetuity.

If Israel's current leadership seems dedicated to antagonizing the Islamic world, endangering Americans, and basically treating Palestine like the Warsaw ghetto, then they deserve to be rejected, until they get their act together.
posted by markkraft at 12:58 PM on January 1, 2009 [13 favorites]


Excuse me, but what part of "international waters," don't you understand?

I'm pretty sure that there are no international waters when it comes to a war. Do you think that all anti-submarine operations in the second world war were in territorial waters?

There are lots of reasons to object to what happened, but I don't think "it happened in international waters!" is one of them.
posted by Justinian at 12:59 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


They just nabbed the Hamas leader.
Yes they nabbed him and two of his wives and four of his children by dropping a one ton bomb on his house.
posted by Sailormom at 1:00 PM on January 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


Maybe they did. However, that doesn't seem to be the narrative put forward by anyone so far, so I don't think I'm "talking out of my ass" to assume for the time being that they didn't call ahead.

Well, your whole argument rests on an assumption that you acknowledge. Why are we condemning the humanitarian group for something we don't know they did or didn't do? How is their presence illegal, or is Israel's ramming them legal?
posted by krinklyfig at 1:01 PM on January 1, 2009


My money is on an accident. It's absurd to think that an Israeli officer decided to crash his ship into this vessel on the open sea.
posted by yath at 1:02 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


yath - My hope is on sarcasm.
posted by gman at 1:07 PM on January 1, 2009


I wouldn't go so far as to compare Gaza to the Warsaw Ghettos. I'm pretty sure that no Jews in the ghetto were flinging rockets and missiles at the Nazis.

I certainly don't condone *this* act, but invading Gaza, if they choose to do that, I'm okay with that. The Gaza attack/invasion is Israel acting to protect their citizenry from missile and rocket attacks. That seems reasonable to me. If someone was tossing rockets near my home, I'd want my government to take some action too, and fast. Did Hamas think the way toward a lasting peace was via tossing explosives into Israel? If so, I suspect they're seeing things differently now.
posted by jamstigator at 1:09 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, your whole argument rests on an assumption that you acknowledge. Why are we condemning the humanitarian group for something we don't know they did or didn't do?

You act like it's completely up in the air. If the aid workers had previously informed Israel of their intentions, and that they had a former U.S. representative on board, why wouldn't that make that known? It makes their story sound much better.

Look at it this way, do we have to evaluate the incident as though we don't know whether the Dignity's crew fired on the Israelis with a machine gun, simply because no one has specifically mentioned a machine gun one way or the other? No, that would be absurd.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:10 PM on January 1, 2009


I'm even more confused now. If the Israel-Palestine conflict is actually a war, the Palestinian suicide-bombers and Hamas bottle-rockets aren't terrorism then, they're just soldiers, right?
posted by Artful Codger at 1:11 PM on January 1, 2009 [24 favorites]


My money is on an accident. It's absurd to think that an Israeli officer decided to crash his ship into this vessel on the open sea.

Did you type that with a straight face?
posted by Thorzdad at 1:15 PM on January 1, 2009


> I wouldn't go so far as to compare Gaza to the Warsaw Ghettos. I'm pretty sure that no Jews in the ghetto were flinging rockets and missiles at the Nazis.

But if they did have rockets and missles in the Warsaw Ghettos, they would have used them... and we would have supported that, right? Or would the Nazis now be in the right 'cos the ghetto residents fired rockets and missiles at them? It's a puzzlement.
posted by Artful Codger at 1:16 PM on January 1, 2009 [27 favorites]


How do we not know that the crew on the Dignity were not wearing rubber chicken suits and playing disco music during the attack? It would be absurd to speculate otherwise.

Can we now stop feeding that troll? Jesus.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:18 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


They just nabbed the Hamas leader.
Yes they nabbed him and two of his wives and four of his children by dropping a one ton bomb on his house.


It's a war. These things happen when two countries go to war. We bombed civilians in WWII all the time. As a matter of fact, we started bombing civilians before Hitler did (citation needed but I'm fairly certain it's true). The point is. Both sides are responsible. Both sides are subject to crummy war-mongering leadership. Both sides feel that they've been screwed and they're going to keep fighting until one is eliminated. There's no point in making moral judgements unless you have a better plan.
posted by Pseudology at 1:20 PM on January 1, 2009


I wouldn't go so far as to compare Gaza to the Warsaw Ghettos. I'm pretty sure that no Jews in the ghetto were flinging rockets and missiles at the Nazis.

Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

The insurgents had little ammunition, and relied heavily on improvised explosive devices and incendiary bottles; some more weapons were supplied throughout the uprising or captured from the Germans.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:21 PM on January 1, 2009 [13 favorites]


"Did Hamas think the way toward a lasting peace was via tossing explosives into Israel? If so, I suspect they're seeing things differently now."

No, they saw it as a way to provoke Israel into a heavy-handed response, get a bunch of civilians killed and emerge with Hamas looking to Palestinians like the only alternative to submitting to the Israeli right. I suspect things are pretty much going to plan and bad PR for Israel like the above is just a bonus.
posted by Manjusri at 1:22 PM on January 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


"I'm pretty sure that there are no international waters when it comes to a war."

Oh, really?!

I'm pretty sure you don't know what you're talking about.
posted by markkraft at 1:23 PM on January 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


He's a Hamas leader and they didn't nab him, they killed him. I'm not so sure this actually helps...

He died a martyr and, according to his beliefs, will go to heaven. It's win-win!
posted by sour cream at 1:23 PM on January 1, 2009


I'm confused. In what Bible are you justified to kill children? A big FU to all who kill kids, for any reason. I never liked Cynthia McKinney, but now, and if she was helping to deliver aid, I'd say she's a better person than me. I'm just here reading about this crap. And do we really know how many perished from that 1 ton bomb? We all live inside a sphere of constant, unrelenting propaganda. It sucks.
posted by Flex1970 at 1:24 PM on January 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


Blazecock, you continuously surprise and amuse me with you inability to understand even the simplest point

I understand your assumptions perfectly fine. I just dispute them, as they exist — by your admission — entirely without basis in fact, despite that you attempt to continue to string people along with these wholly speculative and meaningless derails.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:26 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Please, no more Nazis in this thread.
posted by MarshallPoe at 1:28 PM on January 1, 2009


Practically every major political candidate in America keeps repeating, without much explanation, that No One Can Deny Israel's Right To Exist. OK, maybe Israel does have a right to exist, but to my eyes, that proposition is getting less and less "undeniable" by the day.

Will someone remind me again where that right comes from? I mean it's not like they carved the land out of Germany.
posted by Xezlec at 1:30 PM on January 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


This statement:

Things happen in a war zone, just as Steve Elvis said.

Is more defensible than this one:

I don't think Israel has any obligation to allow unfettered access to an area it's basically at war with.

I'm certainly not clear on what their treaty/international obligations might be 90 miles out. Someone who is may want to qualify. One could argue it is an ethical obligation to allow a certain amount of access to humanitarian operations, and one could argue more strongly there's an ethical obligation to make substantial efforts to discover the nature of a craft's voyage before choosing aggressive action. Or even a cold political obligation, given that eventually, it was likely something like this might happen (not that this is a mere political disaster for zionists and likudniks -- at least in the U.S., the conservative media machine can have a lot of fun with moonbat liberals attempting to sneak in to offer aid to terrorists).

But overall, I do think it's clear that there are very, very few purposes in this world that override all other obligations. Israel's right to defend itself is real, and that may even mean attempting to control access to regions of conflict. Does that really absolve them of any other obligation, including the one to assess the nature of approaching watercraft? And on a practical level, if they can't correctly assess the threat level of a vessel on a humanitarian mission, don't they really need to take a serious look at how effectively they're operating?

I think a lot of us aren't good at thinking about these questions of tension between competing principles and obligations. I think that's one of the reason why torture became a tool of policy in the U.S. -- enough people in the U.S. decided our moral obligations and even questions of effectiveness were mere restraints that were safely subordinated to our right to act as we please in defense and retribution, so the question of "should we torture?" is simply answered by "we have a right to defend ourselves" and a bit of our humanity is sacrificed on the altar of the primacy of that obligation. And you can see this in other places: if Friedman is to be believed, the obligations to return profit subordinates all other obligations for the modern corporation. The ends justifying the means, though the means be laying down paving stone after paving stone on some winding nether road...

Things happen in a war zone. That's true and an unfortunate problem, but it's only an explanation, not an excuse.
posted by weston at 1:30 PM on January 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


"There's no point in making moral judgements unless you have a better plan."

Well, you know, I'm sure that some Germans didn't like the Nazi's plan for the "Final Solution", but hey, who were they to quibble?!

Need a better plan? How about a cease fire, followed by international aid and monitoring?

Is it perfect? No. It is, however, almost certainly the least worst of all available choices.
posted by markkraft at 1:31 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


No, they saw it as a way to provoke Israel into a heavy-handed response, get a bunch of civilians killed and emerge with Hamas looking to Palestinians like the only alternative to submitting to the Israeli right.
Israeli elections are six weeks away and the current Israeli administration is a Labor/Kadima coalition... who are center-left (on the Israeli political spectrum that is). Kadima was formed by Sharon to implement disengagement from the territories when Likud wouldn't do it.

At this point in time the Israeli right may be a better alternative.
posted by PenDevil at 1:31 PM on January 1, 2009


what jamstigator said.
posted by ericbop at 1:31 PM on January 1, 2009


Please, no more Nazis in this thread.

What the hell does that mean?
posted by gman at 1:33 PM on January 1, 2009


Practically every major political candidate in America keeps repeating, without much explanation, that No One Can Deny Israel's Right To Exist. OK, maybe Israel does have a right to exist, but to my eyes, that proposition is getting less and less "undeniable" by the day.

Will someone remind me again where that right comes from? I mean it's not like they carved the land out of Germany.
posted by Xezlec at 1:30 PM on January 1 [1 favorite -] Favorite added! [!]


Well I read in my history textbook that it was a settlement to appease the west's guilty conscience for allowing the holocaust. I believe it was on a test.
posted by Pseudology at 1:35 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Not that Israel is beyond reproach, but Palestinians don't merely throw stones. Perpetuating the idea that this conflict consists of nothing but Israeli soldiers shooting stone-throwing children contributes very little to the discussion.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:35 PM on January 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


There's no point in making moral judgements unless you have a better plan.

How about cutting off all aid to Israel and peacefully dismantling it through the UN, providing right-of-return to the Palestinians and governing the area as a protectorate again?

The Israeli state is a 60 year failed experiment. Time to try something else.
posted by fleetmouse at 1:37 PM on January 1, 2009 [12 favorites]


It's a war. These things happen when two countries go to war.... There's no point in making moral judgements unless you have a better plan.

Yeah, I've got a better plan. How about have the USA stop funding Israel, stop supplying Israel, stop defending Israel, stop threatening all of Israel's enemies, stop trying to put pressure on Hamas (if they're just soldiers, not terrorists), and overall stop being involved in the fight. If it's a war, then we have no justification for our deep and increasingly problematic involvement. That's the point in making moral judgements.
posted by Xezlec at 1:37 PM on January 1, 2009 [24 favorites]


In what Bible are you justified to kill children?

Ever hear of That whole Abraham, Isaac ( and/or Ishmael ) thing?
posted by mikelieman at 1:38 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


My money is on an accident. It's absurd to think that an Israeli officer decided to crash his ship into this vessel on the open sea.

Did you type that with a straight face?


I'm not denying that the Israelis might have decided to use force to divert them. What puzzles me about the news reports linked above is the unquestioning acceptance of the idea that a military officer at sea would willingly risk his ship and crew by ramming them. It does not compute. No matter how evil and bloodthirsty you think the Israelis are, it's absurd to think that they would risk life and limb to turn back Cynthia McKinney and three tons of relief supplies.
posted by yath at 1:38 PM on January 1, 2009


I was actually wondering what will happen to Israel's aid once the U.S. is bankrupt.
posted by gman at 1:39 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I've got a better plan. How about have the USA stop funding Israel, stop supplying Israel, stop defending Israel, stop threatening all of Israel's enemies, stop trying to put pressure on Hamas (if they're just soldiers, not terrorists), and overall stop being involved in the fight. If it's a war, then we have no justification for our deep and increasingly problematic involvement. That's the point in making moral judgements.

It's too late. they already have nukes. If Israel feels threatened in conventional warfare then they can just use those and I'm pretty sure no one wants to see that.
posted by Pseudology at 1:39 PM on January 1, 2009


It is quite touching that McKinney found the time in her busy schedule of finding Tupac's killers and punching DC cops for yet another idiotic stunt. I would like to think that she invited that other expert on sailing into military zones, Michael Moore, but that he found her much too insane for comfort.
posted by Krrrlson at 1:41 PM on January 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Perhaps this is just Israel saying "Yes we can!"

Under different circumstances -- for example, if the ramming was done by Iran -- this would be a major flashpoint for US/'allied' military action. It's a fast-track to membership in the Axis of Evil. But not in this case.

I'm a bit seasick myself from hearing CNN try to minimize/negate their own correspondent's first-hand report.
posted by grounded at 1:42 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I understand your assumptions perfectly fine. I just dispute them, as they exist — by your admission — entirely without basis in fact, despite that you attempt to continue to string people along with these wholly speculative and meaningless derails.

I never admitted that what I said was without basis in fact, and I don't think you do understand. Try to think about this for a moment--I know that's going to be hard, because you hate thinking, but just try.

I suspect you do have an opinion regarding whether chicken suits and disco music figured in the Dignity incident, and I want you to reflect on why you have an opinion, and why you're justified having an opinion.
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 1:42 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well I read in my history textbook that it was a settlement to appease the west's guilty conscience for allowing the holocaust. I believe it was on a test.

But... Palestine isn't part of the West. Palestine "allowed the holocaust"?
posted by Xezlec at 1:44 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


If Israel feels threatened in conventional warfare

Fuck conventional warfare. Cut off aid and begin a trade embargo. Turn them into a pariah state. If they want anything they can't grow or build themselves, they can pray for it.

Or change.
posted by fleetmouse at 1:44 PM on January 1, 2009 [13 favorites]


How about cutting off all aid to Israel and peacefully dismantling it through the UN
How do you propose to "dismantle" Israel? Pass resolutions de-recognizing its democratically elected government? Close its embassies and consulates around the world? Regime change?
The Israeli state is a 60 year failed experiment.
A failed experiment at what?
posted by fatbird at 1:45 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's too late. they already have nukes. If Israel feels threatened in conventional warfare then they can just use those and I'm pretty sure no one wants to see that.

Ah. So we're defending Israel because they can defend themselves. Wait, what? No, I mean we're defending them because if we don't they'll nuke someone. Huh? Oops, that is, we're defending Israel in order to defuse tensions in the Middle East... wait, that makes the least sense of all. By that reasoning, should we also be defending Pakistan against its enemies?
posted by Xezlec at 1:48 PM on January 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


In what Bible are you justified to kill children?

1 Samuel 15:2-3 (New International Version)


2 This is what the LORD Almighty says: 'I will punish the Amalekites for what they did to Israel when they waylaid them as they came up from Egypt. 3 Now go, attack the Amalekites and totally destroy everything that belongs to them. Do not spare them; put to death men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys.'

Ezekiel 9:3-6 (New International Version)

3 Now the glory of the God of Israel went up from above the cherubim, where it had been, and moved to the threshold of the temple. Then the LORD called to the man clothed in linen who had the writing kit at his side 4 and said to him, "Go throughout the city of Jerusalem and put a mark on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the detestable things that are done in it."

5 As I listened, he said to the others, "Follow him through the city and kill, without showing pity or compassion. 6 Slaughter old men, young men and maidens, women and children, but do not touch anyone who has the mark. Begin at my sanctuary." So they began with the elders who were in front of the temple.
posted by overglow at 1:50 PM on January 1, 2009 [13 favorites]


Well I read in my history textbook that it was a settlement to appease the west's guilty conscience for allowing the holocaust. I believe it was on a test.

But... Palestine isn't part of the West. Palestine "allowed the holocaust"?


Now I remember. provincial exams for history 12 2004. The story went like this.

Palestine was a mandate of the League of Nations, and that meant it was basically a bitch state of Britain. After the war the Zionist movement took off and because most European Jews lost everything anyways it was easy for them to move away from their home countries. The establishment of Isreal-Palestine was okay with Britain who released Palestine from it's bitch-state status and created the two seperate countries we know today. In the first war in 1948, all the Palestinians left their land to fight against the Isrealis (along with their neighbors Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan), promising to get it back and more once they pushed the Jews into the sea and when this didn't happen they became refugees in Palestine. and that is how it all happened.
posted by Pseudology at 1:51 PM on January 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


How do you propose to "dismantle" Israel? Pass resolutions de-recognizing its democratically elected government? Close its embassies and consulates around the world? Regime change?

Regime change will have to come from within, but I like those other ideas. Also, the civilized world can cease to recognize Israeli passports and currency.

A failed experiment at what?

Bulldozerocracy.
posted by fleetmouse at 1:52 PM on January 1, 2009 [13 favorites]


> Not that Israel is beyond reproach, but Palestinians don't merely throw stones. Perpetuating the idea that this conflict consists of nothing but Israeli soldiers shooting stone-throwing children contributes very little to the discussion.

This is of course true. So, what IS the justification, on either side, for killing women and children? I guess the killing 8 = bad and killing 380 = not bad, but only if we agree on who was the chicken and who was the egg. Or if we happen to like chicken better than eggs, maybe.

(This is a new and improved post, now with 100% less Nazis!)
posted by Artful Codger at 1:53 PM on January 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


Also, the civilized world can cease to recognize Israeli passports and currency.

Who's going to define "civilized"?
posted by gman at 1:54 PM on January 1, 2009


A failed experiment at what?

At a new Jewish state in the Middle East, I assume.

Regime change will have to come from within, but I like those other ideas. Also, the civilized world can cease to recognize Israeli passports and currency.

You are freakishly naive if you think that will just make Israel magically evaporate in some peaceful puff of smoke. Israel is not going anywhere.
posted by Xezlec at 1:54 PM on January 1, 2009


As a matter of fact, we started bombing civilians before Hitler did (citation needed but I'm fairly certain it's true)

Terror bombing in WW2 was initiated with the Luftwaffe attack on Rotterdam in 1940, or, going back a year earlier to the Japanese bombing attacks on Shanghai and Chungking, and of course German attacks on cities during the Spanish Civil War earlier in the 1930s.
posted by troy at 1:55 PM on January 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Ah. So we're defending Israel because they can defend themselves. Wait, what? No, I mean we're defending them because if we don't they'll nuke someone. Huh? Oops, that is, we're defending Israel in order to defuse tensions in the Middle East... wait, that makes the least sense of all. By that reasoning, should we also be defending Pakistan against its enemies?
posted by Xezlec at 1:48 PM on January 1 [+] [!]

Zezlec, you're right. The stuff governments do just doesn't make sense. What I do know is that if they lose their capacity to defend themselves in conventional warfare they will sit on those nukes and they will use them if they get into a conflict they can't win.
posted by Pseudology at 1:56 PM on January 1, 2009


Regime change will have to come from within, but I like those other ideas. Also, the civilized world can cease to recognize Israeli passports and currency.
They can also stop buying Israeli designed products. Like Intel Pentium and Celeron processors.
posted by PenDevil at 1:57 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


>I was actually wondering what will happen to Israel's aid once the U.S. is bankrupt.

Sharia-based banking seems to be one of the safer (and growing) areas of finance. Perhaps the US could borrow from an Islamic source to lend to Israel?

Pseudology, I don't think using a nuke on a neighbouring country is a viable option. I'm also astounded at your WW2 moral equivalence arguments. Israel was a hasty, imperialist mistake which is exacting a blood cost of the same nature as the one that lead to its creation.
posted by davemee at 1:58 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Regime change will have to come from within, but I like those other ideas. Also, the civilized world can cease to recognize Israeli passports and currency.
Let me rephrase the question: How do you propose to dismantle Israel in a way that doesn't cause Israel to bunker itself? Say you could get the civilized world to go along with your scheme: Are you thinking that doing to Israel what Israel is doing to the Palestinians with fences and blockades and embargoes will somehow have a different result?
posted by fatbird at 2:00 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Before you start suggesting that Hamas triggered this current conflict, it might help to note a few major points...

1> Israel clearly violated that ceasefire on Nov. 5th, by launching airstrikes into Gaza that killed five people. They did this, coincidentally, at a time when the rest of the world was focused on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.
2> This Israeli strike is what has triggered the recent tit-for-tat strikes between Israel and Hamas, which continued until the outbreak of recent fullscale hostilities.
3> Israel continues to violate the ceasefire every day in their blockade of Gaza -- an act arguably more deadly and more under the control of the two parties to the treaty than the occasional errant, inaccurate rocket attack.
posted by markkraft at 2:02 PM on January 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


Are you thinking that doing to Israel what Israel is doing to the Palestinians with fences and blockades and embargoes will somehow have a different result?

It'd be a bit of a wake up call, yes? Having to dig tunnels to smuggle in common domestic products, and having those tunnels constantly blown up and their entrances bulldozed?

But no; unlike the Israelis, we can permit humanitarian aid and the import of food, medicine and other necessities. We don't have to be monsters.
posted by fleetmouse at 2:06 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I was actually wondering what will happen to Israel's aid once the U.S. is bankrupt.
I could be wrong, but I believe that significant U.S. aid to Israel didn't start until after the Yom Kippur war in the early 70s. Prior to that Israel was largely supported by Jewish fundraising. Losing U.S. aid would hurt Israel, but wouldn't cripple it, and thinking it would presumes that Israel is unwilling to look for aid elsewhere, something it's never been shy about before.
posted by fatbird at 2:07 PM on January 1, 2009


(Considering Israel's closest neighbors, those would have to be some pretty fucking long tunnels)
posted by fleetmouse at 2:08 PM on January 1, 2009


I think it's basically Israeli policy to bomb and/or shoot the crap out of folks responsible for lobbing rockets and missiles at them. I don't think they go, "Well, that enemy missile killed 8 of our civilians, so we're gonna go blow away ten times that amount of the enemy soldiers"...but that's probably not far from the truth when the dust settles. A kind of negative conditioning; if Hamas (et al) know that lobbing a few missiles can unleash the fury of modern armaments against them, maybe they'll reconsider launching those missiles and rockets in the first place, and then nobody needs to die.

Or, Hamas can keep up with the current plan, and keep lobbing missiles into Israel, but then they can hardly complain when Israel kicks their ass some. None of this leads to peace, of course. And so, on and on it goes: someone attacks Israel, Israel attacks back in response. I guess that's more understandable than just letting missiles rain down on the Israeli population with impunity, but this leaves little hope for any lasting solution.

I'm not Jewish (German-Irish actually), but I like this quote from Netanyahu, and I believe he encapsulated a lot of truth here: "If the enemies of Israel would lay down their arms, there would be peace. If Israel were to lay down its arms, there would be no Israel." I probably paraphrased. But that's Israel's situation, living surrounded by states that would love to see them permanently 'disappeared', eradicated from the face of the Earth.
posted by jamstigator at 2:10 PM on January 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


1> Israel clearly violated that ceasefire on Nov. 5th, by launching airstrikes into Gaza that killed five people. They did this, coincidentally, at a time when the rest of the world was focused on the outcome of the U.S. presidential election.

Which was in retaliation to a mortar attack from Gaza on the 4th. Which was in retaliation to the IDF shutting down some tunnels and fighting breaking out resulting in the death of one Palestinian.
posted by PenDevil at 2:11 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


They can also stop buying Israeli designed products. Like Intel Pentium and Celeron processors.

Oh, good point. Dear me, carry on with the ethnic cleansing then, chaps. What was I thinking!
posted by fleetmouse at 2:11 PM on January 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


It'd be a bit of a wake up call, yes? Having to dig tunnels to smuggle in common domestic products, and having those tunnels constantly blown up and their entrances bulldozed?
No, not really. Israel's existence as a reasonably prosperous country was much more difficult prior to the Yom Kippur war, and it never caused them to consider giving up or radically changing their ways. If anything, perseverance during the period 1948-1972 has paid off, insofar as they're now vastly stronger economically and diplomatically than they were before.

You really need to acquaint yourself with the history of Israel and Zionism in the 20th century to understand the emotional importance of the country to those invested in its survival.
posted by fatbird at 2:11 PM on January 1, 2009


Losing U.S. aid would hurt Israel, but wouldn't cripple it, and thinking it would presumes that Israel is unwilling to look for aid elsewhere, something it's never been shy about before.

Most probable contender: India.
posted by PenDevil at 2:13 PM on January 1, 2009


Should Israel simply allow me to pass without inteference because I am an American, or fly an American flag?
Actually, I think they were flying a Lebanese flag, which you can see in the video.

I wouldn't go so far as to compare Gaza to the Warsaw Ghettos. I'm pretty sure that no Jews in the ghetto were flinging rockets and missiles at the Nazis.

Actually residents in the Warsaw ghetto managed to do a lot more damage then Hamas has firing off their bottle rockets, which hadn't even killed a single person before the Israeli air strikes. Since then, I think they have killed one person, compared to 300 or so.
Look at it this way, do we have to evaluate the incident as though we don't know whether the Dignity's crew fired on the Israelis with a machine gun, simply because no one has specifically mentioned a machine gun one way or the other? No, that would be absurd. -- Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America
Of course not? Nor should we evaluate the situation as if we know they didn't call ahead, which is what you did in your first post in this thread. Thanks for refuting yourself though, now no one else will have to waste their time.

By the way, I understand people don't like being compared to the Nazis, but hectoring people about Goodwin's law isn't the best way to avoid that. The best way to avoid the comparison is not to act in a way that reminds people of the Nazis
It's too late. they already have nukes. If Israel feels threatened in conventional warfare then they can just use those and I'm pretty sure no one wants to see that.
And what are they going to do with them? Nuke Gaza or the west bank? Come on, they can't use them against enemies that are so close without spreading fallout allover themselves. Nukes are great when your enemies on the other side of the planet, but when they're 10 miles away?
posted by delmoi at 2:13 PM on January 1, 2009 [9 favorites]


Sometimes I think that someday, in the (hopefully) not-too-distant future, Americans will move away from their racism against Arabs. Right now, that doesn't look too terribly likely. But it has happened in the past with other racial groups - the fire of racism has died down a bit - it's just that right now we're kind of in this raging inferno.
To despise Arab people and culture and to rail against Islam is like a boilerplate for the right-wing. However, because the arc of history curves toward justice, someday this will change, and the general public will wake up to the fact that, oh, hey, Arabs are human beings, too. And when that happens, I think Israel will be completely fucked. Because right now, the only reason the West isn't freaking right out about this massacre (and it is a massacre, and will be remembered as such) is because the Israelis are killing Arabs. And right now, killing Arabs in general gets the tacit approval of many Americans and, I'm sure, Europeans.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:15 PM on January 1, 2009 [17 favorites]


Pseudology, I don't think using a nuke on a neighbouring country is a viable option. I'm also astounded at your WW2 moral equivalence arguments. Israel was a hasty, imperialist mistake which is exacting a blood cost of the same nature as the one that lead to its creation.
posted by davemee at 1:58 PM on January 1 [+] [!]

It's true. But tell that to someone who lives in that hasty, imperialist mistake.
posted by Pseudology at 2:16 PM on January 1, 2009


Because right now, the only reason the West isn't freaking right out about this massacre (and it is a massacre, and will be remembered as such) is because the Israelis are killing Arabs. And right now, killing Arabs in general gets the tacit approval of many Americans and, I'm sure, Europeans.
What a comfortably glib view of the situation you have. Saves wrestling with a lot of complexity, I'm sure.
posted by fatbird at 2:19 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


What was I thinking!
That in today's world where your dictation is probably transcribed by an office worker in Bangladesh, your webserver is administered by some geek in the Ukranaine and the US is losing it's grip as the dominant technological force, that the world would voluntarily shun probaby the 2nd largest venture capital market in the world and the country with the highest number of Ph.D's per capita?
posted by PenDevil at 2:33 PM on January 1, 2009


Why don't we dismantle Israel indeed. Of course, the only way to effectively to do that would be to kill Israelis, as they are not likely to get driven out of the state or let their country collapse without fighting to the death.

Hey, you know what also has been a pretty terrible experiment on governance? A country made up of immigrants who deposed and murdered the indigenous inhabitants? A country that has existed for just a handful of years, compared to other countries in the world? A country that has no trouble using force to get its way, who renders impoverished and then locks up its minority population, and who tortures prisoners?

Drive out the Americans, I say, and give the country back to the Indians.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:36 PM on January 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


It does not compute. No matter how evil and bloodthirsty you think the Israelis are, it's absurd to think that they would risk life and limb to turn back Cynthia McKinney and three tons of relief supplies.

This is an interesting point. Anybody know what the different crafts involved were and whether or not it's standard to ram?
posted by weston at 2:38 PM on January 1, 2009


Arabs turn against 'megalomaniac' Hamas
Responsibility for the war in Gaza, and for the Palestinian fatalities there, was placed squarely on Hamas by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

"We called the leaders of Hamas and told them, 'Please, do not end the truce'," he said. Hamas ended a six-month truce with Israel two weeks before the Israeli attack.
posted by PenDevil at 2:40 PM on January 1, 2009


Saves wrestling with a lot of complexity, I'm sure.

Not at all. I suppose I was trying to convey a sort of generalized anger that I get from some of my more pro-Israel friends... when asked to defend Zionism they'll oftentimes resort to insulting Islam.

I completely grasp how complicated the situation is. It's been the focus of the past couple of years of my graduate school work.

Nevertheless, the West made the Arabs pay for the crimes of anti-semitism and if the Israelis were pulling this kind of shit with other white people, you better believe there would be a different response from Westerners.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 2:40 PM on January 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


fatbird...

You really need to acquaint yourself with the history of Israel and Zionism in the 20th century to understand the emotional importance of the country to those invested in its survival.

I think many violent abusers would be surprised to learn how little anyone cares about their emotional investment.

What a comfortably glib view of the situation you have. Saves wrestling with a lot of complexity, I'm sure.

If you have a better explanation for why the west treats the deaths of hundreds of Arabs as a big yawn, lay it out for us.

That in today's world where your dictation is probably transcribed by an office worker in Bangladesh, your webserver is administered by some geek in the Ukranaine and the US is losing it's grip as the dominant technological force, that the world would voluntarily shun probaby the 2nd largest venture capital market in the world and the country with the highest number of Ph.D's per capita?

I'm sorry, are you making a simultaneous argument for the dispersion and concentration of intellectual capital? Do you think no one in the "Ukranaine" is capable of learning to design microprocessors? That a giant like the US is no longer dominant in technology should give you one hell of a clue about the fungibility of Israeli engineering.
posted by fleetmouse at 2:41 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Because right now, the only reason the West isn't freaking right out about this massacre (and it is a massacre, and will be remembered as such) is because the Israelis are killing Arabs.
Actually, the only reason the west is even paying attention is because it involves Israelis and Palestinians. If this was, say Russians vs. Chechnyans , Hutus vs. Tutsis, Sudanese vs. Darfurians, etc, etc no one would be paying any attention whatsoever.
Losing U.S. aid would hurt Israel, but wouldn't cripple it, and thinking it would presumes that Israel is unwilling to look for aid elsewhere, something it's never been shy about before.
Most probable contender: India.
A new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll of 18 countries finds that in 14 of them people mostly say their government should not take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Just three countries favor taking the Palestinian side (Egypt, Iran, and Turkey) and one is divided (India). No country favors taking Israel's side, including the United States, where 71 percent favor taking neither side.
here are the poll results. And anyway India does not have a U.N. security council veto.
posted by delmoi at 2:43 PM on January 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


Well I read in my history textbook that it was a settlement to appease the west's guilty conscience for allowing the holocaust.

So let me get this straight...

To appease their guilty conscience, they gave away land that in fact belonged to someone else? This is something like, "Sorry I forgot your anniversary, but I held up a jewelry store for you."
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:46 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yes they nabbed him and two of his wives and four of his children by dropping a one ton bomb on his house.

Correction: they killed one Hamas leader, and eighteen other people, including all four of Rayan's wives and nine of his 12 children.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 2:48 PM on January 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


Israel: showing us how air strikes are a viable and effective way to stop terrorism.

Mission Accomplished!
posted by yeloson at 2:48 PM on January 1, 2009


The Greenwald article is particularly interesting.

The American people have overwhelmingly wanted to be neutral in the Middle East for years - and yet it's impossible for a politician to even breathe the idea of "less support for Israel" without destroying their career.

I'm curious as to why this might be - and I suppose I'm really addressing my question to the supporters of Israel. Why should the US support this country unquestioningly when most Americans do not want to do so at all?
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 2:50 PM on January 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


I'm curious as to why this might be - and I suppose I'm really addressing my question to the supporters of Israel. Why should the US support this country unquestioningly when most Americans do not want to do so at all?

Because 50% of Americans don't vote.
posted by PenDevil at 2:53 PM on January 1, 2009


Why don't we dismantle Israel indeed. Of course, the only way to effectively to do that would be to kill Israelis, as they are not likely to get driven out of the state or let their country collapse without fighting to the death.

Who says anything about driving them out of their country? Rather, the current government should be abolished, and the U.N. should take over and establish a democratic government where everyone is treated equally.
posted by delmoi at 2:55 PM on January 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


Maybe if those idiots stopped lobbing rockets into Israel then the Israelis would not feel compelled to strike back. Over reaction? Perhaps, but what sort of idiotic move was it for Hamas to end the cease fire just weeks prior to Obama coming into office. You would think they were taking orders from John Bolton.
posted by caddis at 2:57 PM on January 1, 2009


Could someone please tell me again why a navy assault on an unarmed vessel, carrying humanitarian aid, in INTERNATIONAL waters, is somehow not bad? or that bringing said humanitarian aid to a blockaded region is somehow bad? Is the blockade good or bad? It's good that 380 Palestinians have been killed, right? I mean some of them might have grown up to throw stones or something. Shit, I'm so confused...

This is a really stupid thing to say for a number of reasons, but for now I'll stick to responding to your point about why "bringing said humanitarian aid to a blockaded region is somehow bad?"

Here is some context about why Israel might not want a ship allegedly containing humanitarian aid and journalists to enter Gaza:

** "On January 17, 2002, the Israeli teenager Ofir Rahum was kidnapped and murdered with the help of Amna'a Mouna, a journalist and Fatah activist from Ramallah. On August 9, 2001 a suicide attack took place in the Sbarro restaurant in the heart of Jerusalem. The suicide terrorist was brought there by Ahlam Tamimi, also a journalist, originally from Jordan and living in Ramallah. "

** "Abuse of Israel's Humanitarian Policy for the Purpose of Terrorist Activity: Smuggling terrorists into Israeli territory using medical documentation" (Much more at the link.)

** " In December 2003, Rashed Tarek al-Nimr, who worked as a chemist in hospitals in Nablus and Bethlehem, supplied chemicals from the hospitals to Hamas for use in making bombs and admitted he used ambulances to transport the chemicals. He also said the Hamas commanders would hide in hospitals to avoid arrest."

** "Bomb-Making Chemicals Disguised as Humanitarian Aid to PA, Again"

** "Hamas confiscates humanitarian aid trucks sent to Gaza from Jordan "

So how should Israel respond to the need for humanitarian aid in Gaza?
By doing more of this:
"Israel increases humanitarian effort to the Gaza Strip: A total of 179 shipments of humanitarian supplies were transferred to Gaza from December 28-30."

That doesn't mean they should let anyone who wants deliver whatever they want to Gaza.
posted by davidstandaford at 2:59 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


To appease their guilty conscience, they gave away land that in fact belonged to someone else?

To whom did it belong? This is a tricky enough subject without behaving as though complex historical issues can be reduced to simple aphorism.

The discussion of who can claim the actual ownership of the land of Canaan is an enormously complicated one. There has never been a time there were not Jewish residents of the land, and the area has been ruled by dozens of different empires prior to the establishment of the State of Israel. Most Jews who live in Israel now were born there. It never has been a simple issue of "Oh, it belongs to the Palestinians, and Israelis are an invading foreign army." It certainly can't be described that way now.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:00 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Rather, the current government should be abolished, and the U.N. should take over and establish a democratic government where everyone is treated equally.
Which would probably require forceful removal (or extermination) from Israel of 95% of the Israeli Jewish population who would never agree to such. Would you like to try again?
posted by PenDevil at 3:01 PM on January 1, 2009


Nevertheless, the West made the Arabs pay for the crimes of anti-semitism and if the Israelis were pulling this kind of shit with other white people, you better believe there would be a different response from Westerners.
posted by humanfont at 3:02 PM on January 1, 2009


Nevertheless, the West made the Arabs pay for the crimes of anti-semitism and if the Israelis were pulling this kind of shit with other white people, you better believe there would be a different response from Westerners.

Arghh IE ate my post. Suffice to say that this is an astoundingly ignorant statement by some who is is pursuing a graduate degree in Middle Eastern History.
posted by humanfont at 3:05 PM on January 1, 2009


Astro Zombie: Drive out the Americans, I say, and give the country back to the Indians.

Why not? That's about as sensible as how Israel was created, and how it's defended.
posted by fleetmouse at 3:05 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Maybe if those idiots stopped lobbing rockets into Israel then the Israelis would not feel compelled to strike back. Over reaction? Perhaps, but what sort of idiotic move was it for Hamas to end the cease fire just weeks prior to Obama coming into office. You would think they were taking orders from John Bolton.

Caddis, how do you feel about the blockade that was preventing food and medicine from entering Gaza? What do you think an appropriate response would have been on Hamas's part? Note that since August, the ceasefire was supposed to include an easing of the blockade, which apparently hadn't happened.
posted by delmoi at 3:06 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think many violent abusers would be surprised to learn how little anyone cares about their emotional investment.
High marks for dudgeon and loaded metaphor; low marks for an accurate representation of the situation. My point was that you're making the same mistake as the Israelis make with respect to Hamas, namely that all one needs to do is apply sufficient pressure to bend them in the direction you want. Whether or not you agree with the Israeli perspective, there's a lot who do, not least of whom are a lot of Israelis and Jews who exist, with nuclear weapons and a very capable military, in a place that they want to stay.

Peace in Northern Ireland started with a recognition that both sides had to have their core concerns placated, not with clearing up the backlog of injustices.
If you have a better explanation for why the west treats the deaths of hundreds of Arabs as a big yawn, lay it out for us.
Because of the belief, correct or not, that Hamas started the latest round of violence, following six months of relative peace, by lobbing 300 mortar shells and rockets into Israel, and that years of "proportionate response" has achieved nothing but a stalemate that kills a bearable number of civilians per month. Because most of the deaths in Gaza aren't civilian deaths, according to neutral observers who place the civilian death toll at 25-30%. Because the Israelis have paper-bombed their targets with warnings to evacuate the immediate area and stay away from Hamas targets.

Because it's lazy, arrogant, and deeply mistaken to write off support for Israel (or at least a refusal to condemn) as simple anti-Arab racism.

Don't mistake me: I doubt that Israeli attacks on Hamas will be productive in the long run. They're just another step in the long, violent dance of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. But hysterical condemnations of Israel and talk of needing to dismantle the failed experiment are nothing more than the applause of the onlookers appreciating the waltz.

baby_balrog:
I suppose I was trying to convey a sort of generalized anger that I get from some of my more pro-Israel friends... when asked to defend Zionism they'll oftentimes resort to insulting Islam.
Fair enough. I apologize for my snark.
posted by fatbird at 3:12 PM on January 1, 2009 [9 favorites]


What do you think an appropriate response would have been on Hamas's part?

Calling up John Bolton and asking him, "what should we do to give Israel and excuse to pound the shit out of our country and have the rest of the world, especially the Bush administration, look the other way." That is essentially what they did. Pretty brilliant, no?
posted by caddis at 3:16 PM on January 1, 2009


Why not? That's about as sensible as how Israel was created, and how it's defended.

Your not interested in an actual discussion, are you?
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:16 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


delmoi
Rather, the current government should be abolished, and the U.N. should take over and establish a democratic government where everyone is treated equally.
Seriously, how do you propose to abolish the current government of Israel? Which country do you think should implement regime change in Israel over the objections of the population?
posted by fatbird at 3:16 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey militant Palestinians: Stop suicide bombing and launching rockets against Israel, and they'll stop oppressing you. It really is that simple, if peace is what you truly want. But that might get in the way of your genocidal desire to rid the planet of Israel, so you decide what's best.
posted by jsonic at 3:20 PM on January 1, 2009


Caddis:
That is essentially what they did. Pretty brilliant, no?
Perhaps not brilliant, but a tried and tested strategy. Palestinians launch rockets, Israel bombs Gaza, destroying buildings and killing civilians, and Hamas is there to provide emergency aid, hospitals, and a health dose of cursing the evil Israelis.

I can check, but I believe that at the end of the ceasefire, Hamas' popularity was pretty low. Since attacks began, they're back where they usually are in terms of popular support. Same as Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006. Demonizing and provoking Israel has a long and successful history in the area.
posted by fatbird at 3:21 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


These things happen when two countries go to war.

Country number two being...?
posted by Artw at 3:22 PM on January 1, 2009


> I wouldn't go so far as to compare Gaza to the Warsaw Ghettos.

I would. I wept when Hamas took over and the entire rest of the world simply abandoned Gaza. Cut them off from humanity. How is Gaza different from the Warsaw Ghetto? When you hold someone down and repeatedly kick them, they will still twitch. That is what these Hamas rockets are . The residual twitching of a person held down and kicked. And the fuckers are doing it again.
posted by fcummins at 3:23 PM on January 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


Your not interested in an actual discussion, are you?

You brought up the comparison, not me. Whose hereditary claim to the land trumps whose? Does the fact that the creation of Israel happened within living memory make a difference?
posted by fleetmouse at 3:23 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Not having aid from the U.S. might make expensive, high-tech operations like the one Israel is currently engaged in difficult — every one of those guided bombs is probably tens of thousands of dollars, and the planes that drop them are millions, to say nothing of the trained pilots that fly them (train costs are typically higher than equipment for modern systems) — but I'm not sure it would force them into a more conciliatory position.

My suspicion is that it would result in more low-tech warfare, possibly with even higher casualties. I'm sure Israel has the engineering capacity to produce heavy artillery; instead of destroying a building to kill someone inside, they might have to level an entire city block, but it would still be doable. And insofar as it's international pressure that keeps them from being more forceful (which is admittedly quite arguable), that might make the situation much more volatile.

The U.S. provides aid not only because there's a lot of political support (which is different than popular support) here for Israel, but also because it helps maintain the status quo. And as bad as the status quo is, its continuation — like the China/Taiwan standoff — is seen as better than most scenarios involving a major realignment.
posted by Kadin2048 at 3:23 PM on January 1, 2009


Has Israel Revived Hamas?
posted by homunculus at 3:24 PM on January 1, 2009


Whose hereditary claim to the land trumps whose? Does the fact that the creation of Israel happened within living memory make a difference?

Excellent question, and not answered by your glib demands for the dissolution of a political state.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:24 PM on January 1, 2009


It's all about facts on the ground!

in small chunks.
posted by Artw at 3:27 PM on January 1, 2009


Fighting in dense Gaza brings child casualties
posted by homunculus at 3:27 PM on January 1, 2009


> When you hold someone down and repeatedly kick them, they will still twitch. That is what these Hamas rockets are . The residual twitching of a person held down and kicked. And the fuckers are doing it again.
Why is it that we're expected to accept that the responses of Hamas and the Palestinians are just human nature, a natural response to what's happening to them, while simultaneously demanding that Israel not react to rockets and suicide bombs with comparable emotional imbalance. When Israel lashes out, it's supposed to be condemned, but when the Palestinians do it, it's all that can be expected of them?
posted by fatbird at 3:28 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Which would probably require forceful removal (or extermination) from Israel of 95% of the Israeli Jewish population who would never agree to such. Would you like to try again?

But even creating the country required massive displacement. If I had a family member living surrounded completely by hostile neighbors, my sympathy would gradually decline as they insisted on staying and doing things which made them despised by those same neighbors, right or wrong. There's a point where it's probably better to cut your losses. It's a constant bubbling cauldron that threatens to boil over and engulf the entire region in war, and it's not wise to continue to allow it to continue, if nothing but for our national interest in preventing war among our allies and avoiding getting caught up in it.

I realize dispersing the people of the nation probably won't happen, but Israel would be able to afford such a move financially, whereas most other displacements result in gigantic refugee populations (sort of where the Palestinians are now, and where plenty of Iraqis have been since the invasion). I'm not sure which is more unrealistic: expecting people to accept and welcome you when you practice disproportionate violence against helpless and impoverished people in your neighborhood, and when your cultural and religious groups have been clashing for decades, or expecting a whole nation which was created only 60 years ago to disperse. Obviously the current course of action doesn't work. Peace is difficult, but nobody is seriously pursuing it at the moment.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:29 PM on January 1, 2009


Because Israel is in the power position.
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


no more Nazis in this thread.

Oh, great! Anti Nazi Nazis.

Please, no more Nazis in this thread.

So if the Nazis said "please" it would have been OK?
posted by Balisong at 3:30 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why is it that we're expected to accept that the responses of Hamas and the Palestinians are just human nature, a natural response to what's happening to them, while simultaneously demanding that Israel not react to rockets and suicide bombs with comparable emotional imbalance.

If you're 6'6" and weigh 220 lbs., and some guy 5'4" weighing 120 lbs. tries to pick a fight and is obviously outmatched and just a bit hot, it's more honorable to walk away or simply try to stop the guy without breaking all his bones. Of course, unless the guy has some sort of fighting skills, you could stomp him into the ground after he lands a weak punch, but why? Do you expect the crowd of people around to sympathize with the giant, or the small hothead guy he destroys if he chooses that route?
posted by krinklyfig at 3:32 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


How is Gaza different from the Warsaw Ghetto?

The people in the Warsaw Ghetto were not given repeated opportunities to negotiate for a sovereign state; which they turned down in the name of driving all Poles into the sea. While some food and humanitarian shipments have been restricted the average Gazan has a diet well above the 300 calories per day that a resident of the Ghetto. Also no railroad cars to Auschwitz.
posted by humanfont at 3:35 PM on January 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


> But even creating the country required massive displacement.
baby_balrog can confirm or deny this, but the creation of Israel displaced no one. It was the war of extermination against Israel in 1948 that displaced the Palestinians, who generally fled to Jordan to avoid being in the middle of a battlefield.
posted by fatbird at 3:35 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


"if Hamas (et al) know that lobbing a few missiles can unleash the fury of modern armaments against them, maybe they'll reconsider launching those missiles and rockets in the first place..."

That's a pretty silly oversimplification of the issue, in part because there are active participants on both side of the conflict who want the fighting to continue, even when the Israeli government and Hamas might not.

Most of the rockets being fired are locally made. As such, it's quite possible for any Palestinian to break the ceasefire. Unfortunately, Israel's attempts to assasinate Hamas' leaders actually encourages the kind of factionalism that can make ceasefires unlikely.

This, btw, is one of the reasons that many serious analysts do not believe that Israel's government actually wants peace, followed by a permanent peace treaty. Rather, there's every reason to believe that a significant amount of Israel's political leadership favors a kind of low-grade, unresolved conflict, as that allows Israel to continue its settlements and expansion, while giving more time for "ethnic sorting"... moving Israelis out of Palestinian-majority areas while consolidating Israeli majorities into the defacto larger state of Israel-istine.

Basically, Israel wants to be able to settle parts of Palestine. What they *don't* want are the Palestinians themselves, as when borders are finally settled, they want the best territory, without a Palestinian demographic timebomb. Many Israel's most fervent Zionists are afraid of what could happen fifty or a hundred years down the road, as Arab Israelis expand demographically at rates faster than Jewish-Israelis, to the point that Israel as a Jewish state becomes an untenable notion.

"Everybody has to move; run and grab as many hilltops as they can to enlarge the settlements, because everything we take now will stay ours. Everything we don't grab will go to them."
- Former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon

This is one reason why Israelis have gone to such lengths in finding those who are "genetically Jewish", in the hope that they can get them to settle in Israel and maintain the charade of a Jewish state, even as they forbid Arab Israelis from marrying freely, even though they are, in many cases, more genetically Jewish than their Jewish neighbors, whose genetics are mixed with Roman slavemasters, Cypriots, Spanish, Eastern Europeans, etc.

Really, the phrenologists of the 1930s would've been impressed.

(And yes, that is another unfortunate parallel to the Germans, but unfortunately, it fits.)
posted by markkraft at 3:35 PM on January 1, 2009 [25 favorites]


Pseudology: In the first war in 1948, all the Palestinians left their land to fight against the Isrealis (along with their neighbors Egypt, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Jordan), promising to get it back and more once they pushed the Jews into the sea and when this didn't happen they became refugees in Palestine. and that is how it all happened.

Er, no, that view of things has been thoroughly discredited by, among other people, Benny Morris, Norman Finkelstein, Erskine Childers. I believe the current consensus is that Arab Palestinians left due to some combination of forcible expulsion or threats of violence. The Benny Morris piece is particularly interesting; despite finding quite a bit of evidence for the active and violent expulsion, he still seems to think it was a good idea.
posted by greatgefilte at 3:40 PM on January 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


Excellent question, and not answered by your glib demands for the dissolution of a political state.

So answer my excellent question, AZ.
posted by fleetmouse at 3:41 PM on January 1, 2009


> If you're 6'6" and weigh 220 lbs., and some guy 5'4" weighing 120 lbs. tries to pick a fight and is obviously outmatched and just a bit hot, it's more honorable to walk away or simply try to stop the guy without breaking all his bones.
Your analogy fails because, while the rockets and mortar rounds may be a weak blow to the body politic of Israel, to the residents of Sderot they're absolutely life threatening and they have a reasonable expectation that their nation will fight for them.

Give the 5'4" guy a knife and it doesn't matter if you're 6'6"--he can still seriously hurt you, and I don't think you'll care about the imbalance in the fight while you defend yourself, which will probably end with you knocking him unconscious, not patiently deflecting his swings.
posted by fatbird at 3:42 PM on January 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Also, the 6'6" guy is a wicked semiconductor engineer which grants him a license to kill.
posted by fleetmouse at 3:45 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


So answer my excellent question, AZ.

I don't have an answer. But obviously you don't either, since all you have had to offer this thread is hysterical demands that are not only impossible but, if attempted, would certain result in the death of millions, which makes me wonder why you are even bothering with this discussion.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:45 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why is it that we're expected to accept that the responses of Hamas and the Palestinians are just human nature, a natural response to what's happening to them, while simultaneously demanding that Israel not react to rockets and suicide bombs with comparable emotional imbalance. When Israel lashes out, it's supposed to be condemned, but when the Palestinians do it, it's all that can be expected of them?

100:1 That's all. I'm on the sidelines. Israel is a bully, and 100 palestinian lives measured against one israeli life negates the "how dare they" argument by Israel.
posted by fcummins at 3:46 PM on January 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


Give the 5'4" guy a knife and it doesn't matter if you're 6'6"--he can still seriously hurt you, and I don't think you'll care about the imbalance in the fight while you defend yourself, which will probably end with you knocking him unconscious, not patiently deflecting his swings.

Look, maybe this was a bad analogy. But in any event, to continue it might include the idea that the big guy is wearing kevlar and is armed heavily. The knife doesn't do much, but every time he fires his weapons he completely destroys a good portion of the little guy. I do think it's incumbent upon those with great power to exercise it carefully and judiciously, not out of a need to prove something on the political surface or in a more serious sense a long-term game of territorial gain (which is supposed to be illegal under international law), but history doesn't give me much confidence we'll see a lot of foreign policy built on that platform.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:53 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hamas' popularity was pretty low. Since attacks began, they're back where they usually are in terms of popular support.

Great for Hamas, sucks for the population of Gaza, and they voted these imbeciles into power? Well, GW won too. The idiots always come out to vote in the face of fear.
posted by caddis at 3:54 PM on January 1, 2009


I don't have an answer. But obviously you don't either, since all you have had to offer this thread is hysterical demands that are not only impossible but, if attempted, would certain result in the death of millions, which makes me wonder why you are even bothering with this discussion.

I don't see why political pressure is hysterical and change is impossible only in the case of Israel. And the deaths of millions - holy shit, are Israelis really so intransigent that they'd rather glass the region than change? That speaks volumes.
posted by fleetmouse at 3:55 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Metaphors are pretty easily weighted to one side or the other. It's why they tend not to be very useful when discussing something complicated.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:55 PM on January 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


This contributes nothing to the discussion but I found it interesting that during all this Barbra Streisand was a Kennedy Center honoree
posted by Restless Day at 3:55 PM on January 1, 2009


"the creation of Israel displaced no one. It was the war of extermination against Israel in 1948 that displaced the Palestinians, who generally fled to Jordan to avoid being in the middle of a battlefield."

Don't you mean the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, in which the Arab powers declared:
"the only solution of the Palestine problem is the establishment of a unitary Palestinian State, in accordance with democratic principles, whereby its inhabitants will enjoy complete equality before the law, [and whereby] minorities will be assured of all the guarantees recognised in democratic constitutional countries, ...."

Equal rights and full democratic guarantees for the Jewish residents of Palestine were apparently not enough for them.

And yes, most serious historians point out the fact that the Palestinians had few choices other than to flee or be killed by the Jews, who every major party acknowledged had the clear upper hand militarily.

Historical revisionism doesn't cut it, bucko...
posted by markkraft at 3:55 PM on January 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


Metaphors are pretty easily weighted to one side or the other. It's why they tend not to be very useful when discussing something complicated.

That's certainly a useful comment.
posted by krinklyfig at 3:56 PM on January 1, 2009


I don't see why political pressure is hysterical and change is impossible only in the case of Israel.

That's not what you were asking for. You were asking for the destruction of the state of Israel unilaterally forced on the country from outside. Now you've just become disingenuous.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:56 PM on January 1, 2009


That's not what you were asking for. You were asking for the destruction of the state of Israel unilaterally forced on the country from outside. Now you've just become disingenuous.

I think the rest of the world needs to tell Israel in no uncertain terms "change or we cease to recognize you as a legitimate state".

If Israel can change on its own then that's great! Otherwise, yes, the state will need to be dissolved and become a UN (or whatever) mandate as a transitional stage. I don't see anything changing without serious political browbeating and close UN involvement even in the former case. Do you think Israelis are capable of peacefully accepting momentous change on the order of reconstituting the state?
posted by fleetmouse at 4:07 PM on January 1, 2009


I dunno. Again, America is doing some pretty fucked up stuff. How do you think we would respond to the world saying "Start behaving the way we want or you're not a country any more!"

And Israel isn't unique in the world in misbehaving. How many countries do you want the world to stop recognizing to force change? What countries would be left?
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:12 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


No, AZ, you're spinning and misrepresenting what other people are saying.

I'm all for Israel becoming a democracy - go ahead and annex Gaza and the West Bank. But you'll lose your theocracy in the process.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 4:14 PM on January 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


change or we cease to recognize you as a legitimate state

Might want to say that to the Palestinians first. If they stopped suicide bombing and launching rockets, then Israel would stop using military force to defend itself. But I guess it's just not cool if you don't root for the underdog.
posted by jsonic at 4:15 PM on January 1, 2009


meh. The Israelis will just keep killing 100 arabs for every dead Israeli until there's no arabs left, I suppose. That's why it's called "ethnic cleansing."

Suffice to say that this is an astoundingly ignorant statement by some who is is pursuing a graduate degree in Middle Eastern History.

Yes, probably. But I'm not getting a graduate degree in Middle Eastern History. I'm getting an M.Div. in liberation theology. :D I don't like apartheid.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 4:18 PM on January 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


jsonic: If they stopped suicide bombing and launching rockets, then Israel would stop using military force to defend itself.

Have you actually read any of the news regarding this latest conflict? Israel planned these operations months in advance, and began bombarding Gaza before a single Israeli was killed or wounded by this latest round of rockets.

They began slaughtering Gazans because people in Sderot were annoyed by rockets landing in nearby fields.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 4:20 PM on January 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


That's why it's called "ethnic cleansing

LOL. Last I checked it was the militant Palestinian's who's official stated goal was to eradicate an entire people.

If the militant Palestinians stopped attacking, then Israel would stop using military force.
posted by jsonic at 4:22 PM on January 1, 2009


What do you think an appropriate response [to the blockade] would have been on Hamas's part?
Calling up John Bolton and asking him, "what should we do to give Israel and excuse to pound the shit out of our country and have the rest of the world, especially the Bush administration, look the other way." That is essentially what they did. Pretty brilliant, no? -- caddis
So rather then actually answering the question, you decided to snark about it instead, which would seem to indicate it's rather difficult.
Seriously, how do you propose to abolish the current government of Israel? Which country do you think should implement regime change in Israel over the objections of the population?
Let me put this comment into context here. A lot of times in these threads people respond to one comment that was a response to another one, without reading the initial comment. In this case fleetmouse wrote
How about cutting off all aid to Israel and peacefully dismantling it through the UN, providing right-of-return to the Palestinians and governing the area as a protectorate again?
Then Astro Zombie wrote:
Why don't we dismantle Israel indeed. Of course, the only way to effectively to do that would be to kill Israelis, as they are not likely to get driven out of the state or let their country collapse without fighting to the death.
My comment was an explanation of how Israel could be dismantled in a way that didn't involve killing every single Israeli. The "country" that would do the dismantling, as clear from the context, would be the U.N.
That's not my solution, it's just an explanation of why "dismantling" the state wouldn't involve genocide, which an entirely disingenuous argument.

Anyway, I frankly don't care what happens there, as long as the U.S. stops supporting one side. As far as I'm concerned, Israel can do whatever it wants but we (In the U.S.) shouldn't be paying for it and shielding them from the consequences. We should stop providing aide, and stop using our UN security council veto to let them avoid any international consequences for their actions. Moralizers can moralize all they want too, I'm tired of the U.S. taking responsibility for the actions of a bunch of madmen/madwomen.
posted by delmoi at 4:22 PM on January 1, 2009 [15 favorites]


Israel planned these operations months in advance

Imagine that. Israel had the forethought to realize that the Palestinians would probably attack them again after the ceasefire, thus they planned for it. And guess what, the Palestinians attacked. Again. Yet you somehow think this is Israel's fault.
posted by jsonic at 4:24 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


No, AZ, you're spinning and misrepresenting what other people are saying.

Hardly. I'm responding directly to fleetmouse, who has called for the dismantling of the state of Israel.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:24 PM on January 1, 2009


> I do think it's incumbent upon those with great power to exercise it carefully and judiciously, not out of a need to prove something on the political surface or in a more serious sense a long-term game of territorial gain (which is supposed to be illegal under international law), but history doesn't give me much confidence we'll see a lot of foreign policy built on that platform.
I don't disagree with this, but the other side of my point was that the Palestinians are infantilised by arguments that demand more restraint from Israel. If they'd stop launching rockets, Israel would stop bombing them. There's vastly more to the whole conflict, but I think that aspect of it is pretty simple.
posted by fatbird at 4:26 PM on January 1, 2009


Have you actually read any of the news regarding this latest conflict?

News, shmews. Who needs facts when you have carte blanche to annihilate innocent men, women and children by the hundreds and thousands because a few idiots lob rockets at you? They brought it on themselves, right? Israel has no obligation to dial it down below Severe Overkill levels.

It amazes me how easily some dismiss what Israel does as "oh well, that's war". Yes, that's war indeed. To hell with international law.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:27 PM on January 1, 2009 [9 favorites]


LOL. Last I checked it was the militant Palestinian's who's official stated goal was to eradicate an entire people.

You must not have checked very hard, because this isn't even remotely true. I'm sure hamas is a nasty group, but they got rid of the portion of their charter that called for overthrowing the Israeli government in 2006 I believe. Furthermore, they have never advocated the irradiation of an entire group of people.
posted by delmoi at 4:28 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


And Israel isn't unique in the world in misbehaving. How many countries do you want the world to stop recognizing to force change? What countries would be left?

My work is done here.
posted by fleetmouse at 4:28 PM on January 1, 2009


No, AZ, you're spinning and misrepresenting what other people are saying.
Hardly. I'm responding directly to fleetmouse, who has called for the dismantling of the state of Israel.-- Astro Zombie
No, it is true. See here where you basically say the only way to "dismantle" Israel would be to kill everyone there, when clearly the person you responded too called for a U.N. takeover. I don't think that's likely, but I doubt that if the U.N. security council was serious about replacing the Israeli government, they would have to kill every single person there to do it.

Claiming that anyone who wants regime change in Israeli is in favor of implied genocide is certainly a misrepresentation.
posted by delmoi at 4:32 PM on January 1, 2009


caddis: ...and they voted these imbeciles into power? Well, GW won too. The idiots always come out to vote in the face of fear.
jsonic: If they stopped suicide bombing and launching rockets, then Israel would stop using military force to defend itself.

You two don't get it. The Gazans presumably know that rocket campaigns will invite more attacks from Israel. And they presumably know that voting Hamas is a vote of support for more rocket campaigns. It is the will of the people. Gazans have nothing more to lose! Israel should pause and ask itself what they've done to motivate a people to choose death over "stability".

Try to imagine how shitty things would have to get for you to make the same choice.
posted by Popular Ethics at 4:34 PM on January 1, 2009 [6 favorites]



marcraft. You came through just in the nick of time. I was just about to call up and cancel our fishing trip out into the gulfstream. It was either that or try to contact the Israeli embassy and notify them we would be venturing out to international waters.
Thanks again buddy.
posted by notreally at 4:34 PM on January 1, 2009


They began slaughtering Gazans because people in Sderot were annoyed by rockets landing in nearby fields.

I don't know why you would expect anyone to take you seriously if you make a misleading comment like this...
posted by davidstandaford at 4:35 PM on January 1, 2009


It amazes me how easily some dismiss what Israel does

It amazes me that people with normally logical thought processes somehow think the Palestinians are the good guys here. All of Israel's military attacks would end if the Palestinians would cease suicide bombing and rocket attacks against Israel.
posted by jsonic at 4:35 PM on January 1, 2009


No, it is true. See here where you basically say the only way to "dismantle" Israel would be to kill everyone there, when clearly the person you responded too called for a U.N. takeover. I don't think that's likely, but I doubt that if the U.N. security council was serious about replacing the Israeli government, they would have to kill every single person there to do it.

Honestly, I don't expect that you're that naive. If the UN came to dismantle the government of the United States, you think most Americans would let it go without a fight? Israelis have spent a half century defending the State of Israel. You think they would capitulate because the U.N somehow waves its hands and says "You're dismantled?"

People tend to be pretty defensive about their democratically elected governments and about the countries that they have fought and died for.

But almost all of my responses have been specifically to Fleetmouse.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:35 PM on January 1, 2009


> Don't you mean the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, in which the Arab powers declared:
"the only solution of the Palestine problem is the establishment of a unitary Palestinian State, in accordance with democratic principles, whereby its inhabitants will enjoy complete equality before the law, [and whereby] minorities will be assured of all the guarantees recognised in democratic constitutional countries, ...."
Equal rights and full democratic guarantees for the Jewish residents of Palestine were apparently not enough for them.
After being given their own state, in a region in which they'd been oppressed and were already suffering guerrilla attacks, and just a few years after the holocaust ended in a country in which they had enjoyed a pretty safe existence until suddenly the country guaranteeing their rights decided not to do so any more... I'm not surprised that newly minted Israelis declined to dissolve their new nation-state in favour of that offer, by the very countries who were sending their armies to destroy them. Note that the statement you quote was made on the day that they launched a war against Israel.
And yes, most serious historians point out the fact that the Palestinians had few choices other than to flee or be killed by the Jews, who every major party acknowledged had the clear upper hand militarily.
Can you cite this? This isn't my impression of the 1948 war, where the Jews were seriously underequipped and always in danger of running out of supplies. I can certainly be wrong about that.
Historical revisionism doesn't cut it, bucko...
I agree, and that's what's so frustrating about these discussions.
posted by fatbird at 4:36 PM on January 1, 2009


Israel should pause and ask itself what they've done to motivate a people to choose death over "stability".

You're conveniently forgetting the part about driving Israel into the sea. The source of the Palestinian oppression is their own attacks against the population of Israel. Stop attacking Israel, and they'll stop responding with military force.
posted by jsonic at 4:38 PM on January 1, 2009


> No, it is true. See here where you basically say the only way to "dismantle" Israel would be to kill everyone there, when clearly the person you responded too called for a U.N. takeover. I don't think that's likely, but I doubt that if the U.N. security council was serious about replacing the Israeli government, they would have to kill every single person there to do it.

Claiming that anyone who wants regime change in Israeli is in favor of implied genocide is certainly a misrepresentation.
Implying that there's some way to dismantle the government of Israel short of invading and occupying it is also a misrepresentation.
posted by fatbird at 4:40 PM on January 1, 2009


> My work is done here.
What is it exactly that you think you've accomplished?
posted by fatbird at 4:42 PM on January 1, 2009


jsonic: You're conveniently forgetting the part about driving Israel into the sea. The source of the Palestinian oppression is their own attacks against the population of Israel. Stop attacking Israel, and they'll stop responding with military force.

Nice dodge. Stop holding Palestine hostage and they'll stop attacking their oppressors. (No, I don't believe that either).
posted by Popular Ethics at 4:44 PM on January 1, 2009


All of Israel's military attacks would end if the Palestinians would cease suicide bombing and rocket attacks against Israel.

And they could get back to the more dignified process of waiting for them to starve to death.
posted by Grangousier at 4:44 PM on January 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


Oh, god, I posted that one, didn't I....
posted by Grangousier at 4:45 PM on January 1, 2009


"Might want to say that to the Palestinians first. If they stopped suicide bombing and launching rockets, then Israel would stop using military force to defend itself."

One of the big obstacles to peace -- which I've already touched upon -- is that this argument is fundamentally flawed.

Israel is a fairly centralized state. Palestine, on the other hand, is far more factionalized. For this reason alone, it is hard to make any kind of peace "stick", when individuals or small factions can invariably find ways to sabotage peace negotiations, launch small attacks, etc.

Israel has a bit of this amongst its far right settler populations, who are hellbent on holding onto illegally settled lands, but by and large, they are far more controllable, and their societal structure is far more set and intact. That's not the case in Palestine, especially during times of conflict.

If you want peace with a country like Palestine, you have to view it realistically... a treaty won't guarantee 100% peace. What it *WILL* do is reduce conflict. Israel's political leadership oftentimes has no real incentive for being fully at peace, or being on the verge of a breakthrough, because that means ultimately having to deal with halting settlements, giving away territory, and uprooting people, which is a non-starter for a significant minority of the Israeli population.

Real peace in Israel will only be possible if the country is willing to accept either the extreme pain and violence of separation or the extreme pain and violence of unification... and frankly, the Israelis are so set on the notion of a Jewish state that most would -- if they really had to choose -- quite willingly cut off their nose to spite their face.

But the basic fact is that they want the advantages of a Jewish state, carved out on much of the best of the Palestinian's land. And they want Americans to support that hypocritical position, even if that means that Israel -- and, as allies, the United States -- is never really able to be at peace with the Arab world.
posted by markkraft at 4:45 PM on January 1, 2009 [9 favorites]


And they could get back to the more dignified process of waiting for them to starve to death.

And if they spent some of that explosives and rocket money on food?
posted by Megafly at 4:46 PM on January 1, 2009


It amazes me that people with normally logical thought processes somehow think the Palestinians are the good guys here. All of Israel's military attacks would end if the Palestinians would cease suicide bombing and rocket attacks against Israel.

You're leaping to conclusions here. One, that I normally have logical thought processes. But more importantly, you're ignoring my point - you keep parroting this line that if only "the Palestinians" (yes, as a whole, as you don't seem to make any distinction between those lobbing rockets and those just going about their daily lives) would cut the shit, then Israel wouldn't be obliged to bring down a hammer of death on entire towns.

You know, Israel allegedly has this incredible military machine going, and one of the best intelligence agencies in the world. Yet when a rocket attack is launched, do they send in a commando squad to neutralize the parties responsible? No, they just rain fire down upon every civilian they can throw down upon. Nothing about this seems out of proportion to you?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:46 PM on January 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


It's not a dodge at all. Regardless of how oppressed the Palestinians feel, they are ABSOLUTELY not justified in suicide bombing and launching rockets against the population of Israel. You can complain all you want about how Israel is the big bad meanie, but this still does not make the militant attacks of the Palestinians somehow justified.

It's as if people in this thread think "since I think Israel is responding badly here, that must make the Palestinians attacks right".
posted by jsonic at 4:48 PM on January 1, 2009


I do my best to remain amused when Jewish people I know, upon seeing some Israeli-Palestine bit in the news go by as we chat about something else, turn to me and brightly deny that there ever was a Palestine. It's something of a significant effort, but it is worth the payoff in that I don't hear the irreversible sound of my general lack of faith in humanity ratcheting up one more notch. Instead, I just smile and nod.

I know that there are those for whom Israel can do no wrong, just as there are for any country we care to name. This outgrowth in patriotism, the belief that the country you were lucky enough to be born in happens to be perfect, usually serves to derange potentially rational political discourse all over the world and probably always will.

What I find particularly fascinating, however, is that Israel has such patriots living in countries other than its own.

Until enough damaging documents, video footage like this, straight up lies, and otherwise nasty Abu Ghirab-style embarrassments collect such that Israel burns through its world political cred like a 1999 dot-com startup, the situation will not de-escalate even to the point of a "mere" religious/political war.
posted by adipocere at 4:51 PM on January 1, 2009 [11 favorites]


I realize this situation has many other complexities, but this core issue is so simple, I think any logical person needs to recognize: In the end, if the Palestinian's stop attacking, then Israel will stop responding with military force.

yes, as a whole, as you don't seem to make any distinction between those lobbing rockets and those just going about their daily lives

FAIL. I've used "militant Palestinians" multiple times in my comments.

No, they just rain fire down upon every civilian they can throw down upon. Nothing about this seems out of proportion to you?

Back up this claim or admit you're making it up. Also note that Hamas et al. seem to have no qualms of hiding amongst the general Palestinian population.
posted by jsonic at 4:52 PM on January 1, 2009


As a Jew who lived in Israel, I will say that biblical claims and 1800 years in 'exile' should never have been used as a reason for the occupation and dispossession of the indigenous population.
posted by gman at 4:52 PM on January 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


> then Israel wouldn't be obliged to bring down a hammer of death on entire towns.... they just rain fire down upon every civilian they can throw down upon.
I missed the headline "Israel Carpetbombs Gaza".

The Strip has a population density of 4,270 per square kilometer (total 1.5MM). Over six days of bombing, the death toll is just over 400, I believe. For their biggest offensive in years, I'd call it pretty tightly targeted, comparatively.
posted by fatbird at 4:52 PM on January 1, 2009


No one said anything about right. I think the whole Israel-Palestine affair is a big shitpile of wrong. I only asked you to consider what circumstances would motivate a people to attack (or elect attackers), knowing that they couldn't possibly win (and would likely die trying). When you grok that, you'll realize that your assertion that "this will all go away when they stop struggling" is naive.
posted by Popular Ethics at 4:53 PM on January 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


In the end, if the Palestinian's stop attacking, then Israel will stop responding with military force.

Homeless people should just get jobs, depressed people should just stop being so sad, and anorexics should just eat more, amirite?
posted by Pyry at 4:54 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's as if people in this thread think "since I think Israel is responding badly here, that must make the Palestinians attacks right".

I don't think anyone has called suicide bombing or missile attacks "right". The bone of contention - as I see it in this thread anyway - is proportion. And I'd add that for supposedly being really swift in the intelligence arena, destroying civilian centers can only mean a) Israel's intelligence capabilities are actually non-existent, or b) they will basically grab any excuse to launch attacks against Gaza, with absolutely no concern whatsoever given to who, how or what it targeted, nor how much and how often.

The Strip has a population density of 4,270 per square kilometer (total 1.5MM). Over six days of bombing, the death toll is just over 400, I believe.

See my response to jsonic with above, with regards to Israel's intelligence capabilities v. the proportion and form of Israel's military response.

Also, how many civilians would be too many?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 4:56 PM on January 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


> When you grok that, you'll realize that your assertion that "this will all go away when they stop struggling" is naive.
Right, because launching rockets and mortar bombs is the only way to struggle to achieve Palestinian independence. Those poor, benighted Palestinians are just struggling in the only way they know how.
posted by fatbird at 4:58 PM on January 1, 2009


Best of MeFi. Don't you think that all boys should be circumcised before they can object, all cats declawed and all fat people banished to the the North Slope where their blubber is an asset? ;) Perhaps we can talk about God and religion next.
posted by caddis at 4:59 PM on January 1, 2009


Also note that Hamas et al. seem to have no qualms of hiding amongst the general Palestinian population.

Oh fer craps sake.... Hamas is the government. They ARE the general Palestinian population.
posted by Popular Ethics at 4:59 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


I only asked you to consider what circumstances would motivate a people to attack (or elect attackers), knowing that they couldn't possibly win (and would likely die trying).

You seem to be ignoring the fanatical Islamic motivations of the militant Palestinians. You're attempting to claim that living in Gaza is so traumatic and oppressive, that the people there have no other choice but to violently attack Israel. This completely flies in the face of the fact that there are many Palestinians who are NOT violent militants.

Stop the suicide bombings and rockets, and Israel will stop responding militarily.
posted by jsonic at 5:01 PM on January 1, 2009


> See my response to jsonic with above, with regards to Israel's intelligence capabilities v. the proportion and form of Israel's military response.
I did. The fact that you think Tom Clancy novels and the movie Enemy of the State are accurate representations of intelligence and commando operations, doesn't make it so. The alternative to targeted bombing with collateral damage is a full-scale ground invasion. Which do you think would be worse for the civilians of Gaza?
posted by fatbird at 5:02 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Best of MeFi. Don't you think that all boys should be circumcised before they can object, all cats declawed and all fat people banished to the the North Slope where their blubber is an asset? ;) Perhaps we can talk about God and religion next.

On that note, I just hope this conflict reaches a swift and painless end within our lifetimes. I also hope things work out in the Israeli/Palestinian affair.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:02 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


> Best of MeFi. Don't you think that all boys should be circumcised before they can object, all cats declawed and all fat people banished to the the North Slope where their blubber is an asset? ;) Perhaps we can talk about God and religion next.
Emacs, you vi-using heathen!
posted by fatbird at 5:03 PM on January 1, 2009


fatbird: Right, because launching rockets and mortar bombs is the only way to struggle to achieve Palestinian independence. Those poor, benighted Palestinians are just struggling in the only way they know how.

Something like that, yeah. As I said, ask yourself what circumstance would make you lob bombs at strangers.
posted by Popular Ethics at 5:04 PM on January 1, 2009


I did. The fact that you think Tom Clancy novels and the movie Enemy of the State are accurate representations of intelligence and commando operations, doesn't make it so. The alternative to targeted bombing with collateral damage is a full-scale ground invasion. Which do you think would be worse for the civilians of Gaza?

Hang on. Can you all let me know where you buy your mind-reading drugs? Because you need a refund. Who the hell is talking about Tom Clancy? I'm talking about basic intelligence gathering. It exists! There are plenty of ways Israel could be responding to this, and they've chosen to reach for the Overkill Button.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:05 PM on January 1, 2009


The alternative to targeted bombing with collateral damage is a full-scale ground invasion. Which do you think would be worse for the civilians of Gaza?

We'll find out in couple of days when they launch the ground attack they've been preparing for all these months.

They've got all dressed up. They'll be pretty pissed off if they don't get to party.
posted by Grangousier at 5:06 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also, how many civilians would be too many?

Feel free to ask the Palestinians that question too. Especially seeing how it's their attacks which prompt Israel to defend itself. At some point the militant Palestinians need to take responsibility for their violent actions. These deaths on both sides would not occur if the militant Palestinians would realize that their violence attacks are not improving their situation.

In fact, this realization is so simple and obvious, you must ponder why the militant Palestinians have NOT stopped attacking Israel. Maybe they have absolutely no desire for peace. Maybe we should take them at their word when they blather on about pushing Israel into the sea.
posted by jsonic at 5:07 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


davidstandaford, thanks for your reply re "bringing said humanitarian aid to a blockaded region is somehow bad?"

First, I was posting a series of ironic questions as an attempt to say that even in complex situations we are still required to make moral judgments; "complexity" should not be an excuse to suspend judgment. In over-simple terms, two wrongs don't make a right.

Specifically on the above quote, you listed some occurrences where "journalists" or humanitarian aid apparently aided offensive or terrorist actions. I could of course counter by trying to tear into and disprove or qualify those, or I could trot out a list of deplorable Israeli actions as counter. Or I could say that if those reasons justify an act of piracy in international waters, than you could justify just about any atrocity. etc etc. And in this fashion we could agreeably discourse for several lifetimes, thereby avoiding any hard work towards finding a solution. Sorta like where this thread has headed.

Let's step back a pace or two. I've heard that one definition of insanity is performing the same actions repeatedly while expecting a different outcome. Isn't it apparent that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not be solved under the current alignment? Has anyone got anything NEW to suggest?

My 2 cents is that only a UN decision on the Israel-Palestine border, enforced by one kick-ass "peace-keeping" force will ever make a difference. I can also see a ton of reasons why this isn't likely to happen anytime soon.
posted by Artful Codger at 5:10 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Feel free to ask the Palestinians that question too. Especially seeing how it's their attacks which prompt Israel to defend itself.

Think on the word "proportion" for a while, eh? I know some of you have worked yourselves up into a righteous fury over this, and the conclusion-leaping must be making you tired. But seriously. Parroting the tired, played-out "defending itself" meme is wearing thin to most of the world. You might ask yourself why that is. That's all.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:11 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


jsonic, where do you stand on "settlements"? How are they to be construed as defensive, productive acts?
posted by Artful Codger at 5:12 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


(or elect attackers)

Wasn't corruption in Fatah the the main reason that Hamas won the election?
posted by Tenuki at 5:12 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


jsonic: we can keep lobbing shorter versions of our arguments at eachother, but I imagine at some point we'll just be saying "stop" to eachother, at which point, maybe my point will be made.

Sure there are radical islamist narratives playing in to the motivations of the Palistinian militants, just as there are radical zionist narratives playing in to the motivations of the Israeli government. My contention is that these stories have power because the extreme living conditions grant them legitimacy. Asking one side to stop their side of the cycle of violence exclusively is naive.
posted by Popular Ethics at 5:14 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


> Something like that, yeah. As I said, ask yourself what circumstance would make you lob bombs at strangers.
It's not hard to understand how their circumstances make the Palestinians want to lob ineffectual homemade rockets at the Israelis, knowing that the response will be very effective laser-guided JDAMs. It's also not hard to understand how the cycle of violence perpetuates itself, and how the Israelis can't tolerate rockets being lobbed on them.

It's also not hard to understand that, if they stopped launching rockets, they'd stop getting bombed, and the blockade would be eased. It's easy to forget that the second Intifada started in response, not to Israeli bombs, but to Ariel Sharon's visit to the Temple Mount and the subsequent Israeli police presence there. Portraying the Palestinians as little more than a people at the end of their rope is a dreadful oversimplification.
posted by fatbird at 5:17 PM on January 1, 2009


Think on the word "proportion" for a while, eh?

You've claimed numerous times now that Israel is effectively carpet bombing Gaza. Feel free to support your assertion that Israel is indiscriminately killing civilians. You know, like the Palestinians do.
posted by jsonic at 5:18 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Does anyone disagree that Palestinians should stop suicide bombings and lobbing mortars as populated civilian areas, and that Israel should stop responding to these attacks with out-of-proportion attacks that kill hundreds of civilians?
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:19 PM on January 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


> Wasn't corruption in Fatah the the main reason that Hamas won the election?
Fatah's corruption was a big part of it, but Hamas had/has a lot of very genuine support among the Palestinians for the civil services they provide--schools, hospitals, and emergency aid. They were arguably already the government of the Gaza Strip, since they were doing more of what governments do than Fatah was. The election was more recognition of the de facto head of Gaza than a change in government. This was why people argued so strongly against allowing elections there--those in the know foresaw Hamas' easy victory.
posted by fatbird at 5:20 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


You've claimed numerous times now that Israel is effectively carpet bombing Gaza.

As this is the second time now you've read something in my comments that I didn't actually say, I'll assume you're either trolling or can't read really well. In either case, I don't see the point in taking this any further with you.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:22 PM on January 1, 2009


Does anyone disagree that Palestinians should stop suicide bombings and lobbing mortars as populated civilian areas, and that Israel should stop responding to these attacks with out-of-proportion attacks that kill hundreds of civilians?

Nope.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:24 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Asking one side to stop their side of the cycle of violence exclusively is naive.

You are still failing to realize that the direct cause of the oppression of the Palestinians is their own violent attacks on Israel. If they simply cut out the attacks, then Israel would no longer respond with violence. If they stopped their attacks, they would stop being bombed. This part of the conflict really is that simple. All of the cultural and societal issues would take generations to resolve, but the issue of ending the violent attacks is directly in the hands of the Palestinians.
posted by jsonic at 5:24 PM on January 1, 2009


As this is the second time now you've read something in my comments that I didn't actually say

YES YOU DID: "b) they will basically grab any excuse to launch attacks against Gaza, with absolutely no concern whatsoever given to who, how or what it targeted, nor how much and how often."

Now support your claim or admit you're just making it up.
posted by jsonic at 5:26 PM on January 1, 2009


Scroll back up and read that entire sentence, won't you? Christ you're tiresome.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:27 PM on January 1, 2009


> Hang on. Can you all let me know where you buy your mind-reading drugs? Because you need a refund. Who the hell is talking about Tom Clancy? I'm talking about basic intelligence gathering. It exists! There are plenty of ways Israel could be responding to this, and they've chosen to reach for the Overkill Button.
You said:
You know, Israel allegedly has this incredible military machine going, and one of the best intelligence agencies in the world. Yet when a rocket attack is launched, do they send in a commando squad to neutralize the parties responsible?
As is obvious from the last six days, they know where Hamas figures are. They're not indiscriminately bombing hospitals because they heard that Hamas guys like to hide out in hospitals. That doesn't mean that Israel has ninjas who can flit through the night and silently poison the drink of those commanders. The Gaza Strip is a densely crowded settlement. I doubt it's that possible to sneak in, knife someone, and sneak back out.
posted by fatbird at 5:29 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yet when a rocket attack is launched, do they send in a commando squad to neutralize the parties responsible? No, they just rain fire down upon every civilian they can throw down upon.

Here's another one for ya. Let's see you try to wiggle out of that one.
posted by jsonic at 5:30 PM on January 1, 2009


Here's another one for ya. Let's see you try to wiggle out of that one.

400+ civilians in six days doesn't sound like a precision job to me, Inspector.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:31 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


jsonic: "You've claimed numerous times now that Israel is effectively carpet bombing Gaza."

Marisa SPT: "As this is the second time now you've read something in my comments that I didn't actually say"

Marisa SPT: " No, they just rain fire down upon every civilian they can throw down upon."

QED.
posted by jsonic at 5:34 PM on January 1, 2009


You are still failing to realize that the direct cause of the oppression of the Palestinians is their own violent attacks on Israel.

You see nothing at all out of proportion with Israel's response? Because that's my entire point. That's what I see as out of line here. I didn't say Israel was carpetbombing Gaza, as fun as it may be to play with hyperbole. But I do think their response is overkill.

There, now you don't need to second-guess and mind-read any further.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:34 PM on January 1, 2009


PS: I don't think suicide bombers are neato, either. Just in case there's a sentence somewhere up there that might make you think I believe this. After all, if "out of proportion" = "carpetbombing", who knows what other conclusions you'll draw, eh? Best spell it out in big letters.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:36 PM on January 1, 2009


Oh fer craps sake.... Hamas is the government. They ARE the general Palestinian population.

By that logic, given that Hamas's official position is the elimination of the state of Israel, Israel might as well eliminate Gaza. That logic is so wrong.

Does anyone disagree that Palestinians should stop suicide bombings and lobbing mortars as populated civilian areas, and that Israel should stop responding to these attacks with out-of-proportion attacks that kill hundreds of civilians?
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:19 PM on January 1 [+] [!]


No disagreement here.

Hamas had/has a lot of very genuine support among the Palestinians for the civil services they provide--schools, hospitals, and emergency aid.

This is how the Mafia builds local support.
posted by caddis at 5:37 PM on January 1, 2009


> 400+ civilians in six days doesn't sound like a precision job to me, Inspector.
Wrong. 400+ deaths total, of whom approx. 25-30% are innocent civilians, as determined by third parties who consider women and anyone under 18 to be a civilian.

Essentially what Israel has been doing is bombing any Hamas target they can find--be it a building, or a person. If that target is a high level commander sitting at home with his family, then they bomb the house (I'm uncertain how seriously to take reports that they've dropped leaflets warning the families to flee, since that would probably move the target as well). They're accepting civilian casualties in order to kill Hamas targets, but creating civilian casualties is demonstrably not their goal.
posted by fatbird at 5:38 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


You see nothing at all out of proportion with Israel's response?

Taken in a vacuum, then I would find Israel's response out of proportion. However, considering that militant Palestinians have been violently attacking Israel for DECADES, I think that Israel has the right to try and end the threat against them. Especially when their attackers are dedicated to wiping Israel off the face of the planet.

The oppression and inequality and cultural issues probably can't be solved very quickly. But the violence could be ended immediately if the militant Palestinians would halt their attacks.
posted by jsonic at 5:40 PM on January 1, 2009


They're accepting civilian casualties in order to kill Hamas targets, but creating civilian casualties is demonstrably not their goal.

A bit like taking a shotgun to hunt hummingbirds, though, isn't it? And why is it that Israel gets to "accept civilian casualties"?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:41 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Overglow:

I favorited your post on justification more or less for the fact that it was documented in the Bible and the Lord did say it...

However, I think it is very important throughout the conversation regarding the general conflict to keep in mind the Sermon on the Mount , in particular the Beatitudes.

It is from that perspective, along with keeping in mind the 10 commandments and the Golden Rule), that I and my soul personally SHUTTER to think that the verses you cite could be used as justification of any such acts. I would think those verses would just provide historical perspective if anything, IMHO.

In other words, I would pray to God that there would be no justification.

Now... I did read through some of your past posts on various other subjects, and from the looks of things, you posted those out of frank truth, which is quite alright (nothing against you by all means). I personally just want to make sure no one leaves here thinking that was the last or only word the Lord had on the killing of children (or anyone for that matter. If there is more other than what has been cited... please do post). That is all. Peace.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 5:41 PM on January 1, 2009


I knew I shouldn't have turned down that UN seat.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:42 PM on January 1, 2009


It's pretty fucking idiotic (at best) to compare the Isrealis to the Nazis, or the current campaign against the Hamas leadership in Gaza to the Nazi assault on Warsaw. The Nazis had, gas chambers and ovens working 24 hours a day to liquidate Jews from all over Europe.

In this case, the Hamas leadership in Gaza started firing rockets in Isreal following the end of the official ceasefire in order to provoke a response. However, like Hezbollah in Lebanon two years ago, the Isreali response was quite a bit more than Hamas was expecting.

The Isreali leadership is incompetent, and insane, for one thing, and they have to win elections in the spring. Hamas surely knows this, and is guilty of using its own citizens as pawns or hostages. What a criminal organization.
posted by KokuRyu at 5:44 PM on January 1, 2009


Sorry to bring this back on topic.

I think this may have been a message, not to palestinians, but to idiot activist boat owners. Or an actual accident, the captain wanting to become a greenpeace style hero and plow ahead in the middle of the night, a wave pushes his yacht into a heavy duty steel vessel and it get's crunched.

Why didn't they have a recording of the captain trying to talk to the patrol boats?

The story of the passengers? They had their heads down throwing up. Even after the bump they probably saw little in the dark in high seas out the window.

I suspect it was actually the stern of a patrol boat swinging in too close that rotated and taped as it tried to maneuver away. I suggest *tapped* as a heavy re-enforced military vessel that seriously rammed a light pleasure yacht would split it in two.

The laws of the seas are different from what we know, I would not be surprised if the yacht owner were to be sued in Admiralty Court and loose.
posted by sammyo at 5:45 PM on January 1, 2009


MStPT:

I haven't seen a single source that says 400 (must less "hundreds" of) civilians are being killed. Please provide one if you are going to make that claim.

And why is it that Israel gets to "accept civilian casualties"?

Because one of the rules of war is that you are allowed to kill civilians if you are targeting legitimate military targets. In fact, if your opponent places military targets in civilian areas (as Hamas does) it is their fault, not yours, if civilians are killed when you attack that military target. Their are limitations to this principle, and we can argue if Israel is using excessive force, but I haven't seen much evidence this is the case.

Intentionally targeting civilians, which Hamas does, is not allowed.
posted by davidstandaford at 5:47 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


> A bit like taking a shotgun to hunt hummingbirds, though, isn't it?
Yes, and that seems to be the point--they've had years of proportionate responses, and all it's gotten them is years of more responses. Tit for tat means that the weaker party can set the pace of the conflict at a level sustainable to them.
> And why is it that Israel gets to "accept civilian casualties"?
Why do the Palestinians get to accept some Israeli civilian casualties when they kill someone with a rocket, or a suicide bomber?

As someone said above, it's a big shitpile of wrong. That said, the Israelis could do a hell of a lot worse to the Palestinians, and they're not. I'd rather they didn't bomb Gaza. I'd rather that the Palestinians stopped firing rockets. I'd rather Israel bite the bullet, dismantle the settlements in the West Bank, go back to the 1967 borders, and accept a two-state solution. I'd rather a lot of things. I'm thankful that it's not a lot worse than it is.
posted by fatbird at 5:51 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Trollin' in my 5.0 with my rag-top down so my hair can blow.
posted by gman at 5:52 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


sammyo - Robert Mugabe's on line two; wants to know if you can help with his PR as well.
posted by Artful Codger at 5:53 PM on January 1, 2009


I haven't seen a single source that says 400 (must less "hundreds" of) civilians are being killed. Please provide one if you are going to make that claim.

How about the AP? There are other articles making this same figure. It's not my "claim".

Why do the Palestinians get to accept some Israeli civilian casualties when they kill someone with a rocket, or a suicide bomber?

I don't see that as right, either. I'm not taking an either/or position in this. As someone else said earlier, both sides continuously repeat the same mistakes expecting different results. A third party with serious clout is desperately needed to step in and try something new.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:55 PM on January 1, 2009


MStPT, 400+ is the number of total casualties. Neutral third parties have put the "innocent civilian" portion of that at 25-30%; the majority of those deaths are members of Hamas, either in uniform or organizationally significant.
posted by fatbird at 5:58 PM on January 1, 2009


"After being given their own state, in a region in which they'd been oppressed and were already suffering guerrilla attacks..."

Do you know the pre-history to Israel? Because frankly, the rightwing Zionists were a pretty nasty, violent bunch of terrorists. They're also the faction that, over time, became today's Likud Party.

In March '38, these people proclaimed an end of restraint and a policy of "active defense", which they defined as "defensiveness by way of offensiveness, in order to deprive the enemy the option of attacking".

Sounds familiar?! By the end of the war, these terrorists had killed hundreds of arab civilians, British soldiers, policemen, etc.

"Can you cite (the Israeli miliary advantage in the 1948 war)? This isn't my impression of the 1948 war, where the Jews were seriously underequipped and always in danger of running out of supplies."

You could've determined much of this, just from the link I gave you on the 1948 War.

Did they have some shortages... sure. But in comparison to what? They had been flying in arms for months, they produced their own arms and ammunition, and were far more prepared for combat than the Palestinians, and far more modern and functional than the Arab nations.

Summarizing the military assessments of the British, Jewish Agency and the Arabs, historian Benny Morris wrote, "all observers—Jewish, British, Palestinian Arab, and external Arab—agreed on the eve of the war that the Palestinians were incapable of beating the Zionists or of withstanding Zionist assault. The Palestinians were simply too weak."[

On the eve of the war the number of Arab troops likely to be committed to the war was about 23,000 (10,000 Egyptians, 4,500 Jordanians, 3,000 Iraqis, 3,000 Syrians, 2,000 ALA volunteers, 1,000 Lebanese and some Saudi Arabians), in addition to the irregular Palestinians already present.

In comparison, the Israelis had 35,000 troops of the Haganah, 3,000 of Stern and Irgun and a few thousand armed settlers, plus many, many volunteers from around the world. By the end of the year, their ranks ballooned to over 108,000.

With that kind of massive scale up, is it really surprising that they had some shortages?!

Benny Morris points out that their military's aims evolved during the war:

Initially, the aim was "simple and modest": to survive the assaults of the Palestinian Arabs and the Arab states. "The Zionist leaders deeply, genuinely, feared a Middle Eastern reenactment of the Holocaust, which had just ended; the Arabs' public rhetoric reinforced these fears". As the war progressed, the aim of expanding the Jewish state beyond the UN partition borders appeared: first to incorporate clusters of isolated Jewish settlements and later to add more territories to the state and give it defensible borders. A third and further aim that emerged among the political and military leaders after four or five months was to "reduce the size of Israel's prospective large and hostile Arab minority, seen as a potential powerful fifth column, by belligerency and expulsion."

This landgrab happened, even though the initial partition gave the Israelis 56% of the territory for just 32% of the total population.

"You're conveniently forgetting the part about driving Israel into the sea."

Some Arabs have suggested that... and some Zionists have suggested exterminating all the Arabs. In any event, it makes no logical sense to judge a people by what one person says, especially if that person isn't the one in charge, and if they completely lack the ability to make good on their threats.

Last I heard, bluster wasn't a capital offense... nor was it one that justified killing hundreds of civilians.
posted by markkraft at 5:58 PM on January 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


You're conveniently forgetting the part about driving Israel into the sea.

Perhaps some people are forgetting that. But you may want to consider that a number of the posters exhibiting some historical knowledge and in-depth analysis here may not only be aware of the various threats and incursions against Israel but also have acquaintance with events and background that you may not be familiar with.

The source of the Palestinian oppression is their own attacks against the population of Israel. ... If they simply cut out the attacks, then Israel would no longer respond with violence.

I agree that it's likely that a Palestinian ceasefire would contribute to their safety, and that their attacks will certainly beget counterattacks. I also agree that firing rockets might not have been their wisest course of action over the last 1-2 months. But it's highly dubious to state that Palestinian oppression would cease if they forsake violence completely. Even in the event that Israel was able to overcome the inertia this kind of cultural conflict has (violent action has been woven into its activities from before the 1948 declaration) and lay down violence entirely themselves -- there are other forms of oppression involved.

None of this is to say the Palestinians, the Arab states, and others don't carry responsibility and couldn't make better choices. But an analysis that relieves Israel of responsibility is a shallow one.
posted by weston at 5:58 PM on January 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


It amazes me that people with normally logical thought processes somehow think the Palestinians are the good guys here. All of Israel's military attacks would end if the Palestinians would cease suicide bombing and rocket attacks against Israel.
Sure, but what's happened in the past was once the violence stopped, settlement expansion began, and Palestinians were harassed and removed from their homes, etc. In this case, there was a pretty severe blockade going on, which was starving people, etc.

I don't think anyone is claiming that Hamas are the "good guys" here, but are you claiming that every single Palestinian civilian, including children are 'bad guys'?
Honestly, I don't expect that you're that naive. If the UN came to dismantle the government of the United States, you think most Americans would let it go without a fight?
Well, the U.N. has a Security Council veto, so that seems unlikely. The U.S. is also a superpower, which means we can be pretty secure in knowing people wouldn't take us on. But the Israeli situation would be more like what happened in Georga, where a democratically elected government had a ton of it's land ceased and basically didn't do anything except complain about it. You didn't see Georgians fighting to the death.

But you do understand the difference between "fight" and "fight until every single one is dead." The Japanese had always maintained that they would never surrender until everyone was dead, but in the end they did. I'm not saying that Israel would need to be Nuked either.

Again, I don't think it's practical. I never said it was. But I do not think it would require killing every single Israeli. And I think anyone claiming that would is being totally disingenuous.

In the real world what would happen would be that the U.N. would make some put some requirements for Israel to abandon Gaza and west bank, and put Neutral U.N. peacekeeping forces in those areas rather then policing them themselves, it would have to abandon it's west bank settlements as well. The U.N. would be responsible for preventing rocket attacks, and the Gazans could vote for whoever they want and be able to send supplies back and forth freely, as well as travel between Gaza and the west bank.

The U.N. could make those demands, and I do think the Israeli government would acquiesce if those demands were made and backed up with the threat of an embargo and travel ban or something.
And if they spent some of that explosives and rocket money on food?
Have you been paying attention, it's not a question of being able to pay for stuff, it's a question of being prevented from bringing food into the territory. It's a lot easier to smuggle in rocket parts then it is to smuggle in food for a million people.

Also, jsonic is boring. His arguments aren't very well thought out beyond "Israel good, Palestinians bad!" obviously if you start there, everything is fairly straightforward.
You are still failing to realize that the direct cause of the oppression of the Palestinians is their own violent attacks on Israel. If they simply cut out the attacks, then Israel would no longer respond with violence.
"If she would just stop struggling and let me rape her, I wouldn't need to smack her around so much!"

But seriously, how is starvation not a form of violence. Navel blockades have always been considered and act of war. When Egypt blockaded Israel they didn't have any qualms about using violence to stop it.
posted by delmoi at 5:58 PM on January 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


I'd rather that the Palestinians stopped firing rockets. I'd rather Israel bite the bullet, dismantle the settlements in the West Bank, go back to the 1967 borders, and accept a two-state solution.

I hope you get your rathers.
posted by caddis at 5:59 PM on January 1, 2009


> Do you know the pre-history to Israel? Because frankly, the rightwing Zionists were a pretty nasty, violent bunch of terrorists. They're also the faction that, over time, became today's Likud Party.
Yes, the early Zionist activists were also, in part, terrorists in every sense of the word leading up to their declaration of independence in 1948.
posted by fatbird at 6:03 PM on January 1, 2009


you must ponder why the militant Palestinians have NOT stopped attacking Israel

The blocade? The Israeli monopoly on fuel supplies?
posted by mikelieman at 6:04 PM on January 1, 2009


MStPT, 400+ is the number of total casualties. Neutral third parties have put the "innocent civilian" portion of that at 25-30%; the majority of those deaths are members of Hamas, either in uniform or organizationally significant.

Not to split hairs, but the UN humanitarian chief is saying that 25-30% of the 400 killed are women and children. Of course, I'm not being entirely fair in counting "just" the deaths. There's also the approximately 1,900 injured, the hospitals that are stretched to the breaking point, and the infrastructure that's being blown apart.

But again, this entire conflict resembles, to me, two bloodied weasels caught in a death grip, trampling their children underfoot. Neither one can be relied upon to resolve this.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:07 PM on January 1, 2009


The oppression and inequality and cultural issues probably can't be solved very quickly. But the violence could be ended immediately if the militant Palestinians would halt their attacks.

and no violence was used to create the oppression, inequality and cultural issues? - checkpoints aren't a form of violence? - settlements in violation of international law haven't been created through violence? - refugees weren't herded into camps with violence? - a blockade isn't a form of violence? - creating a fatally weakened state that looks like swiss cheese and has no control over its borders isn't an act of violence?

and then there's the canard that there would be peace if the palestinians would just quit shooting off their rockets

no, there would be an absence of war - BUT THAT IS NOT THE SAME THING AS PEACE!! - it is not peace if the parties concerned continue to live in armed camps and continue to use the tools and threats of violence to continue oppression, inequality and cultural issues

the israelis do not want peace - you CANNOT HAVE PEACE while continuing to oppress others, even if those others were to act with total non-violence

the truth is that neither side wants peace - they want an absence of gunfire in circumstances that will enable them to dictate terms to the enemy

they do not negotiate - they do not listen to one another - and it's no surprise that the people here mirror that lack of listening - or that they continue the LIE that PEACE is merely the absence of dead bodies

both sides are murderous liars - and this will eventually end up with one of two results

true peace - or a regional nuclear war within 20 years that will eliminate everyone

right now, both sides are choosing the road to extermination
posted by pyramid termite at 6:10 PM on January 1, 2009 [9 favorites]


I haven't seen a single source that says 400 (must less "hundreds" of) civilians are being killed. Please provide one if you are going to make that claim.

How about the AP? There are other articles making this same figure. It's not my "claim".


It is your claim, and it's now what the article says. This is what the article says:
U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said the death toll was estimated at 320-390 and the number of injured at 1,500-1,900. Between 20 percent and 25 percent of the dead are either women or children, said Karen Abu Zayd, U.N. Relief and Works Agency commissioner.

Hamas says some 200 uniformed members of its security forces have been killed, and the U.N. says at least 60 Palestinian civilians have died.
Even if you take the upper estimate of the death toll (390) and the upper estimate of the number of women and children who are included (25%) that doesn't equal a hundred people. Where are you getting 400 dead civilians, or even "hundreds" from?

Even if we may have differing opinions over the right course of action here, I would hope we are all striving to be as factually accurate as possible in our claims, and I don't get the sense you are trying to do that.
posted by davidstandaford at 6:13 PM on January 1, 2009


400+ civilians in six days doesn't sound like a precision job to me, Inspector.

Sure it is. They could have used nukes.

Yes. I am being a smart ass.

I really love this claim of "self defense." An appologia to whole sale slaughter. Is it "war" or are these terrorists and this intrusion into Gaza a police action? Or does it occupy the Post-Bush Doctrine netherworld of both? Where anything and everything can be justified.

If this latest aggression (after the systematic decimation of Lebanon) is "self defense" in response to unprovoked rocket attacks and Hamas are terrorists then bombing the fuck out of CIVILIAN populations and disproportionally killing a 100 innocent people for every one person killed on your side is unconscionable. It meets NO criteria for "self defense" in any legal sense I know of.

I don't care if Hamas is hiding in civilian neighborhoods or is getting civilian support. So fucking what? That is what criminals DO. They camouflage themselves in innocent surroundings. The Israeli airforce is dropping bombs for fuck sake. This is completely immoral. Would the city of Los Angeles be justified in shelling East LA to stop drive-by's? And don't give me this shit about Hamas being a political entity. Because if is okay to kill Palestinian civilians because they support the political goals of Hamas then the 9/11 attacks on US civilians, who may have supported US foreign policy, was perfectly justifiable also.

You can't have it both ways.


The Israelis (and the Palestinians for that matter) keep attempting the same horrific violent tactics over and over that yield nothing but sorrow and death. It is the very fact that Hamas is operating criminally and that Israel IS a greater nation state with a larger military (and nukes, for fuck sake) that burdens them with the greater obligation to act, legally, rationally, and humanely. This latest atrocity is just another example of Israel all to willing to murder innocent people for domestic political gain.
posted by tkchrist at 6:19 PM on January 1, 2009 [16 favorites]


Even if you take the upper estimate of the death toll (390) and the upper estimate of the number of women and children who are included (25%) that doesn't equal a hundred people. Where are you getting 400 dead civilians, or even "hundreds" from?

Was every Iraqi killed in Iraq an "insurgent?"

You know what the answer is?

"They are now."

I guarantee you if the method of killing is dropping bombs and missiles into neighborhoods then majority of people killed are going be innocent people. Period. Dress it up any way you want. Justify it any way you want. Parse the numbers any way you want.

But it's still murder.
posted by tkchrist at 6:25 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


the israelis do not want peace

Bullshit. Both sides desire peace before all else.
posted by caddis at 6:26 PM on January 1, 2009


Bullshit. Both sides desire peace before all else.

No. Bullshit. Because there is more than just two sides.

As always the BULK of people want peace. It the myriad of agendas, interests, and ideaologies applied to achieve this peace that is the problem.

Polpot wanted peace, too.
posted by tkchrist at 6:32 PM on January 1, 2009


Bullshit. Both sides desire peace before all else.

bullshit yourself - why don't they have it then? - look at what they DO, not what they SAY
posted by pyramid termite at 6:34 PM on January 1, 2009


Where are you getting 400 dead civilians, or even "hundreds" from?

When I came into this, here and here, it was to point out a dynamic that seems to repeat itself with these two with regards to Israeli/Palestinian relations, and not solely this conflict. The death toll on both sides is easily in the thousands. The "400+ civilians" dead refered to later on refers to the current campaign and that, apparently, I got my good guy to bad guy percentages in that figure wrong. I'd be delighted (in a way ) if that's as bad as it gets.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:35 PM on January 1, 2009


> Both sides desire peace before all else.

My turn to call bullshit.
posted by Artful Codger at 6:36 PM on January 1, 2009


Both sides desire to shore up popular support and to win elections above all else. Confusingly the side thats taking the most hits militarily is the one that is winning there.
posted by Artw at 6:41 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


tkchrist: "I guarantee you if the method of killing is dropping bombs and missiles into neighborhoods then majority of people killed are going be innocent people. Period. Dress it up any way you want. Justify it any way you want. Parse the numbers any way you want."

Allow me to quote the exact same two paragraphs from above once again:
U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes said the death toll was estimated at 320-390 and the number of injured at 1,500-1,900. Between 20 percent and 25 percent of the dead are either women or children, said Karen Abu Zayd, U.N. Relief and Works Agency commissioner.

Hamas says some 200 uniformed members of its security forces have been killed, and the U.N. says at least 60 Palestinian civilians have died.
Hamas themselves says that around 200 uniformed members have been killed out of an estimated 400 casualties! Is our disagreement because you think these people are civilians?

I find myself constantly shocked to hear how few civilians deaths Israel manages to cause in military conflict. They are dropping massive bombs out of airplanes in one of the most densely populated areas of the world and they seem to be killing at least 50% combatants, if not well more than that. And like I said, Hamas is actively and purposefully hiding among civilian populations.

We can discuss Israeli's misbehavior during the "lull" (of which there was plenty) and whether or not it was a mistake to launch this latest military effort (it might have been, hard to know at this point) but I'm baffled that people think the current targeted and precise air strikes are some kind of massacre or widespread bombing of civilian areas leading to mass civilian casualties. Israel is operating with remarkable restraint and precision in order to limit civilian casualties and doing a quite good job of it.
posted by davidstandaford at 6:42 PM on January 1, 2009


50% combatants - that's one hell of a glass half full.
posted by Artw at 6:44 PM on January 1, 2009


The Israeli people may want to not be attacked or threatened, but that's not peace. They want security far more.

If tomorrow, the people of Israel were given the option of living in a single country as equals alongside their Palestinian brothers, with equal rights, equal political representation, and equal status under the law for each of their religions, the vast majority would reject such a thing offhand.

Even if individual Israelis do want peace, most of their leaders lack the desire or the political will to achieve it, and many do not want to pay the price of real peace.

Sometimes, the price for even attempting to do so is quite high, and, more often than not, it is extracted at the hands of one's own people.

True peace under such circumstances is either a painful and gutwrenching separation, where each side gives away something they cherish in a manner approaching religious dogma... or a painful and gutwrenching unification, where one group's feel's their place and rights diminished by the act of granting equal rights and stature to those they feel are fundamentally inferior.
posted by markkraft at 6:45 PM on January 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


shocked to hear how few civilians deaths

Really. Think about that for five minutes before you post again.

Just think about it.
posted by tkchrist at 6:46 PM on January 1, 2009


If both sides really wanted peace they would have it.
posted by delmoi at 6:47 PM on January 1, 2009


If both sides really wanted peace they would have it.

If there were only two sides.
posted by tkchrist at 6:50 PM on January 1, 2009


50% combatants - that's one hell of a glass half full.

That would be if you assume that every single person who isn't one of those 200 uniformed members (of the 400 estimated killed in that article) isn't potentially a "terrorist" or member of Hamas. I don't, and I can't image that you would either. Granted, running around the Gaza Strip in a Hamas uniform is probably the easiest way to imagine getting yourself killed, so I don't exactly blame the Hamas folks for not doing this. My guess is that the number of civilians killed is probably around the 25% number.

If Hamas stores weapons and rockets in a civilian house in a residential neighborhood is that a legitimate military target? Is a legitimate target even if bombing that house kills the 5 people who live there and another 10 people who live nearby? Is it Israel or Hamas's fault if those civilians are killed?
posted by davidstandaford at 6:51 PM on January 1, 2009


That's a hell of an assumption and a hell of a number to pull out of your ass.

Is it Israel or Hamas's fault if those civilians are killed?

Somewhere between both, Hamas, the IDF and neither, with anyone who is using any of those positions to justify this shit being assholes.
posted by Artw at 6:57 PM on January 1, 2009


Right now I feel the thing to get me over the thread I've just witnessed is if I imagine tea-bagging a Zionist troll while he furiously taps away at a keyboard on the call-centre graveyard shift. Sweet Jesus.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 7:19 PM on January 1, 2009


A one-year graph of Palestinians and Israelis killed by each other, and Hamas's mortar and rocket fire.

The blog entry that came from is here. The author feels the data exonerates Hamas / the Gazans and damns Israel. The data supposedly comes from Israeli sources ("info on rocket/mortar fire from The Intelligence & Terrorism Information Center, and from the left info on Israeli and Palestinian casualties from B’Tselem").
posted by NortonDC at 7:22 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Restless Day:
This contributes nothing to the discussion but I found it interesting that during all this Barbra Streisand was a Kennedy Center honoree.


Sure it does, it's a refreshing break in the thread. Like drinking a nice cold chocolate milk during a commercial in the middle of The Sopranos.
posted by txvtchick at 7:26 PM on January 1, 2009


Particularly vexing is the claim that if the Palestinians stop doing violent things, the Israelis will stop their violence against them, which, as I believe Delmoi points out, cannot be considered solely as blowing up civilians.

Is there an official Israeli position, as stated by their government, that says "stop this shit and the camps go away, the attacks go away, the checkpoints go away, the blockade goes away, etc., etc."?
posted by maxwelton at 7:30 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Disinformation"? Call it what it is ... LIES.
posted by chance at 7:36 PM on January 1, 2009


Love the Warzaw ghetto comparisons.
Jews declared multiple wars at Germans and attacked them throughout; were blowing up German buses and celebrating whether they shoot a German infant or mow down a hall full of German retirees; kicked out Germans out of their Jewish countries just like Germans kicked them out; were far more multiple than Germans; had Germans deliver food and medicines to the Warzaw ghetto, WHILE firing rockets at the Germans; cried about genocide and terrible massacres after having 300 people killed, of them majority militants; had repeatedly killed / lynched Germans in the most vile manner possible.
My relatives actually were in Warzaw ghetto; I've heard their stories. Metafilter used to be thoughtful and intelligent; at some point it was overtaken by a bunch with no knowledge of history and a whole lot of pretense, repeating the same mantras with not a critical thought in sight. This is war; two sides fight it differently; one side (IDF) answers to the people; the other (Hamas) answers to its leadership (small part of the people). Both sides commit crimes. Just like every single country of yours has done. Show me one that hasn't. In the Middle East, next to Hama, Black September, and many others, this doesn't begin to register.
Just curious, of the ones feeling the desire to side with an underdog, regardless of context: how many of the Americans among you side with Al Qaeda? They are the ultimate underdog after all...
posted by bokononito at 7:56 PM on January 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


how many of the Americans among you side with Al Qaeda?

i stopped beating my wife in warsaw
posted by pyramid termite at 8:09 PM on January 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


If Hamas stores weapons and rockets in a civilian house in a residential neighborhood is that a legitimate military target? Is a legitimate target even if bombing that house kills the 5 people who live there and another 10 people who live nearby? Is it Israel or Hamas's fault if those civilians are killed?

Yes -- storing weapons in a building renders it a military target. If people are stupid enough to let Hamas store them there, they are bringing it on themselves. If Hamas forced them to do it..well that's a different matter entirely. Take that up with Hamas.

Yes -- see above.

And it is Hamas's fault for using civilians as human shields.

I guess you should pick your friends more wisely.
posted by bondgirl53001 at 8:18 PM on January 1, 2009


Right now I feel the thing to get me over the thread I've just witnessed is if I imagine tea-bagging a Zionist troll while he furiously taps away at a keyboard on the call-centre graveyard shift. Sweet Jesus.

I'm not one to judge sexual fetishes here, but whatever turns you on there, sport..
posted by bondgirl53001 at 8:23 PM on January 1, 2009


Why is the idea of Gaza being like a ghetto so intimidating to some, anyway? Quite obviously, the Palestinians aren't being shipped off to concentration camps, but it's still a kind of non-place place for a people who had to flee their actual homes decades ago. A ghetto is an accurate term, but if you would prefer the term reservation or refugee camp, all of them are pretty accurate, and adequately describe the half-lives these places afford their residents.

Much of the hopelessness of Gaza can end, you know... all Israel has to do is let these people have the right of resettlement. Last I heard, many of them have actual documents indicating which houses they once owned, and don't need to trace their claims back to, say, 80 A.D., when the Romans did to the Judeans something akin to what the Zionists did to the Palestinians.

I find it tragically clueless that so many Israelis are a party to lawsuits to recover wealth lost, in part, to a company that came to own another company in Europe from seventy years ago who may have had some assets from a family when they had to flee... and yet Israelis refuse to honor far more obvious and legitimate claims to land, houses, and lives improperly seized.

If its clearly, legally theirs, and Israel claims that it wasn't taken from them, then why not give it back?!
posted by markkraft at 8:36 PM on January 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


"Right now I feel the thing to get me over the thread I've just witnessed is if I imagine tea-bagging a Zionist troll while he furiously taps away at a keyboard on the call-centre graveyard shift. Sweet Jesus."

bondgirl53001: I'm not one to judge sexual fetishes here, but whatever turns you on there, sport..

It's not about sex, it's about power.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 8:44 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


It sure is, Gamien!

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by bondgirl53001 at 8:45 PM on January 1, 2009


I just came here to say that this thread piqued my curiosity and I started reading as much as I could find online about the history (and pre-history) of Israel. Thanks for the motivation.

Does anyone know if any Lehi Ribbon recipients are still alive? It would be very interesting to see their take on car bombs, assassinations and terrorist tactics.
posted by dirty lies at 8:48 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Americans among you side with Al Qaeda?

I'm guessing roughly the same number of people here side with Al Qaeda as side with Hamas - 0.
posted by Artw at 9:15 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yet when a rocket attack is launched, do they send in a commando squad to neutralize the parties responsible? No, they just rain fire down upon every civilian they can throw down upon.

This is worth looking at:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Qassam_rocket_attacks_in_Israel_in_2008

as is this:
Inside Gaza: Malnutrition and shortages (BBC News, 5 December 2008)

posted by sebastienbailard at 9:19 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


markkraft, in an ideal world they would. In this world, Jews have one state, living in a region of ethnic states, majority of them Arab. Jews are entitled to have one of their own. Somehow the same people who question the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state never question the legitimacy of every other state in the region, similarly created via the colonial powers.

Reimbursing the Palestinian Arabs on their property is theoretically possible but it would mean doing the same for the (approximately equal amount of) Jews that were thrown out of all the Arab countries during the same time. Have you, before judging Israel, promoted this cause in the Arab countries? Make no mistake - this is not a Jewish vs Palestinian Arab conflict; it's Jewish vs. Arab.

The difference is, Israel has (imperfectly but) resettled Jewish refugees from the Arab countries. No such attempt has been made by any Arab country - in fact the opposite is true - the Palestinian Arabs have been kept as bargaining chips or personas non grata in every territory / country they have lived. Yet once again, I see no Western protests against the way Palestinians are treated in Lebanon for example.

Speaking of which, Gaza used to have a thriving Jewish community that owned a significant portion of the city. Would you mind supporting Israelis when they start blowing up random Arab targets while demanding it back?
posted by bokononito at 9:23 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


They can also stop buying Israeli designed products. Like Intel Pentium and Celeron processors.

Well, it's a liitle bit more complex. The older chips definitely, after the Netburst architecture of 4 years ago. But the Core 2 Duo chips are not israeli designed.

Furthermore, intel is a huge, huge place and you'd be surprised to hear that almost all those processors are made in Hillsboro, Oregon and Dublin, Ireland.
posted by Dean Keaton at 9:41 PM on January 1, 2009


Meanwhile, Israel's illegal settlers are proving themselves to often be violent, racist thugs, as seen in recent videos released by the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem.

Just last month, Israeli settlers threatened Palestinians in Hebron, and then one of them proceeded to shoot several Palestinians.

It's worth noting that B'Tselem has only released about 100 of these video cameras to Palestinians, and yet has recieved numerous such videos documenting Israeli attacks.

Given the fact that we are only seeing a very limited sampling of this kind of behavior, it seems fairly reasonable to suspect that Israeli settlers are -- and have routinely been -- arguably more violent, brutal, and lethal to Palestinians than the Palestinian attacks we've seen against Israelis... and that the IDF and many, many Israelis are knowing accomplices to this kind of behavior.
posted by markkraft at 9:48 PM on January 1, 2009 [7 favorites]


In this world, Jews have one state, living in a region of ethnic states, majority of them Arab.

except that they're actually a hodgepodge of sunni and shiite, christian, druze, kurd, turk, what have you - the middle east is much more complicated than that

Jews are entitled to have one of their own.

not at someone else's expense, they're not

Somehow the same people who question the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state never question the legitimacy of every other state in the region, similarly created via the colonial powers.

somehow you've missed all the people saying that iraq, for example, isn't that viable a country due to sectarian and ethnic divisions

Reimbursing the Palestinian Arabs on their property is theoretically possible but it would mean doing the same for the (approximately equal amount of) Jews that were thrown out of all the Arab countries during the same time.

sure, why not?

Have you, before judging Israel, promoted this cause in the Arab countries? Make no mistake - this is not a Jewish vs Palestinian Arab conflict; it's Jewish vs. Arab.

it's jewish vs muslim

The difference is, Israel has (imperfectly but) resettled Jewish refugees from the Arab countries. No such attempt has been made by any Arab country

very true - but that hardly argues for the innocence of those who displaced the arabs in the first place

Yet once again, I see no Western protests against the way Palestinians are treated in Lebanon for example.

would you rather we just forcibly intervene and impose what we think would be justice on everyone? - it's not impossible that the west could be pushed to that point

Speaking of which, Gaza used to have a thriving Jewish community that owned a significant portion of the city. Would you mind supporting Israelis when they start blowing up random Arab targets while demanding it back?

well, they've got the blowing up random arab targets part down, anyway
posted by pyramid termite at 9:51 PM on January 1, 2009


not at someone else's expense, they're not
What he said.
Israel hasn't paid a dime to any of the Palestinian families it expelled in 1948, [pdf] which is itself a violation of international law. via Juan Cole
posted by acro at 10:00 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


It makes no difference what metafilter thinks of war. War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.
posted by magic curl at 10:11 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


"In this world, Jews have one state, living in a region of ethnic states, majority of them Arab. Jews are entitled to have one of their own."

Actually, no, they aren't. Certainly not if it means taking away someone else's rightful property, or kicking someone off of their land. Certainly not if it means imposing a Jewish state and a Jewish-only political establishment upon the people who live there.

"Somehow the same people who question the legitimacy of Israel as a Jewish state never question the legitimacy of every other state in the region, similarly created via the colonial powers."

There's a difference between self-rule and colonialism. That's ultimately all Israel is... Zionist colonialism / ethnic cleansing. It may be a kinder, friendlier version of ethnic cleansing than some, but the results are still the same.

"Reimbursing the Palestinian Arabs on their property is theoretically possible but it would mean doing the same for the (approximately equal amount of) Jews that were thrown out of all the Arab countries..."

Except, of course, that most of those Jews were not thrown out at all, but chose to move. In Iraq, for example, there were 150,000 jews, most of whom left in the fifties when Iraq gave them the option to immigrate, so long as they renounced their citizenship.

Admittedly, they faced greater antisemitism in the Arab world after the formation of Israel, but in what sense was this not to be expected?

The notion that Israel has "resettled Jewish refugees in their country", but Arab have somehow failed by not resettling Palestinians in their countries avoids the point -- the Palestinians should be living in Palestine, most of which comprises of the State of Israel.

"Speaking of which, Gaza used to have a thriving Jewish community that owned a significant portion of the city. Would you mind supporting Israelis when they start blowing up random Arab targets while demanding it back?"

I would absolutely support Israel if they took back all of Gaza... including all of the Palestinians on it, who, in any other reasonable Western country, would be able to apply for full Israeli citizenship. I would also support Israelis moving back to Gaza to become Palestinian citizens, with full and equal rights under the law... not that they ever would accept that choice.

The thing is, you and I both know that Israel left Gaza because they viewed it as a demographic timebomb... one of the fundamentally racist underpinnings of Israeli society, which dicatates that the religion will always be Jewish, led by Jewish leaders.
posted by markkraft at 10:19 PM on January 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


It makes no difference what metafilter thinks of war. War endures. As well ask men what they think of stone. War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. The ultimate trade awaiting its ultimate practitioner.

Sure, just look at western Europe. They used to have wars all the time and now they totally still do!
posted by delmoi at 10:21 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah... everyone knows that the English will always fight the French and the French will always fight the English. They've been at each other's throats for centuries!

And don't even get me started on the Greeks and the Turks!
posted by markkraft at 10:32 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Also note that Hamas et al. seem to have no qualms of hiding amongst the general Palestinian population.

This keeps popping up, but it's a bit of a BS criticism. Of course they're mixed in with the population. Where else are they supposed to hide? I'm sure they'd love to have giant bases with tanks and jets and all sorts of other goodies, but I suspect Israel might have something to say about that. Surely all the "hey, war is war" folks would laugh at the idea of Israeli troops doffing their helmets so that the Palestinians can conduct a no-casualty sniper campaign against them. Why are the Palestinians expected to wear a target and go stand in an empty market, waiting for "smart" bombs to kill them and only them?

Jews are entitled to have one of their own.

I say this with all due seriousness: why? And allow me to preempt one possible response: divine fiat has no place in a rational argument about this.

Are you also a big supporter of Basque separatists? The Tamil Tigers? Uighur independence? Giving a chunk of Iraq to the Kurds?
posted by Amanojaku at 10:45 PM on January 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Sure, just look at western Europe. They used to have wars all the time and now they totally still do!

Yeah... everyone knows that the English will always fight the French and the French will always fight the English. They've been at each other's throats for centuries!


Go easy -- it's a lighthearted quote.
posted by Amanojaku at 10:46 PM on January 1, 2009


I take back the "lighthearted" -- I confused my Cormac McCarthy with my Fallout.
posted by Amanojaku at 10:49 PM on January 1, 2009


The problem is that neither side is a rational actor, i.e., neither side wants peace. Both the Hamas and the Israeli government hard-liners want the violence, since it makes Hamas look tough and benevolent at the same time (staging disasters so that they can hand out food and medical aid), and it gives Israeli hard-liners the continued coverage of being a "picked on little guy" in a big, bad Middle East.

Hundreds of Palestinian civilians die, buried in the rubble of their homes. And a few Israeli civilians die in rocket attacks, which is also horrible but illustrative of the moral dissonance of the Israeli government/IDF.

I wish I had a better answer beyond "both sides need to get rid of the maniacs who are in charge," but until then it's unconscionable for the US to continue to prop up Israel with billions in annual aid (and Egypt, for that matter).

Think of it this way -- the US money to Israel has been framed as kind of an investment. By gosh lordy, if we don't prop up the state of Israel, the Middle East will descend into madness! Madness, I tell you!

Well, here's your madness. Pull the plug on aid money to Israel. The US has better things to spend it on right now.

On a smaller point, I'm always amused by the argument that Israel provides such mega-awesome technology, to the point that the world would suffer economically without it. If this is so, why does the domestic Israeli economy continue to suck balls? If they're such a tech power-house, why do they need to keep leaching off of the US?
posted by bardic at 11:35 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Both the Hamas and the Israeli government hard-liners want the violence, since it makes Hamas look tough and benevolent at the same time (staging disasters so that they can hand out food and medical aid), and it gives Israeli hard-liners the continued coverage of being a "picked on little guy" in a big, bad Middle East.

You do realise the Israeli hardliners (Likud) are not in power? The current government is a Kadima/Labor coalition.
posted by PenDevil at 11:38 PM on January 1, 2009


I really would appreciate a show of hands as to how many people here publicly supported the right of return and reimbursement for Jews who were driven out of Muslim nations, prior to voicing their demands for Palestinian right of return in this thread.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:39 PM on January 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


And the "radicals" of Hamas were fairly and democratically elected after the US demanded such elections be held. Turns out, they elected assholes.

I think my point stands. If anything it shows just how far down the rabbit-hole both sides have gone.
posted by bardic at 11:46 PM on January 1, 2009


"it's jewish vs arab" --> "no, it's jewish vs muslim"

No. It's Jewish vs. Arab. This is an ethnic, not a religious conflict.

> Jews are entitled to have one of their own.
Actually, no, they aren't.
-markkraft

Thanks for questioning the very legitimacy of having a Jewish state.
Actually, markkraft, this is the gist of it all. And that's why, after many many generations of not having a state, Jews are not going to give it away. Whether you like it or not. Eventually you'll accept it. As much as it pains you. A Jewish state. Founded and dominated by Jews - just like states around are dominated by Arabs. A state that won wars and got territory just like any other state. Like yours, markkraft. And until people with opinions like you disappear from the world, Israel will defend herself because of all the states in the world only her existence is continually questioned by the likes of you. And Hamas. Pardon the repetition.

Amanojaku - I completely support Kurdistan as an independent state. A far larger group than the Palestinians (and far more distinct) that never had a state. Basque - majority of the Basques today don't want independence. I do not know enough about the Tamil to know how many of them desire independence.. I remember even their leader doubted their desire for complete independence. To the crux of your question - Israel deserves to be a nation because (1) it is a nation of people who desire independence and practice customs and languages entirely separate from its neighbors for longer than most other cultures in the world, (2) without it Jews have been oppressed on a scale rivaled by few other people, and (3) such state exists and its people desire to continue having it in its present form. You don't doubt that Arabs deserve their 20+ states, some of which Jews are prohibited from visiting let alone having full rights; I think it's fair and wise to extend the same courtesy to the Jews.
posted by bokononito at 11:58 PM on January 1, 2009


A "Jewish State" where Jews are demographically the religious/ethnic minority.

There's the rub.
posted by bardic at 12:13 AM on January 2, 2009


Pull the plug on aid money to Israel.

I can't see any American administration doing this for purely pragmatic reasons:

1. Jews are a group that has a lot of sway in battleground states.

2. The last person to demand such a cut was, if I'm not mistaken.. Benjamin Netanyahu (the leader of the right-wing Likud party). The rationale goes like this: when the US cuts the aid to Israel, it also cuts the aid to Egypt (the aid is provided as a result of the peace agreement). Cutting the aid to Egypt destabilizes the dictator and Muslim Brotherhood comes to power. Israel, no longer reliant on the American money is far more afraid and far less inclined to listen to the American opinion. The result - first time there is an aggressive action from the Egyptian side, Israel responds by bombing Egypt and there is war. A war that the US has to enter, on both fronts. That is far more expensive, $-wise and American lives-wise than paying $4.5B a year to keep things quiet.

3. Israel doesn't keep the money - most of it goes right back to the US to pay for the American weaponry - production of which ensures work to 10s of thousands if not more of American workers.

Far more complex than "pulling the plug".
posted by bokononito at 12:14 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I couldn't agree more. Thus the morally reprehensible pas-de-deux continues forever and ever. The Palestinians labor under the illusion that someday they'll have their own state. The Israeli government labors under the illusion that they're being tough on terrorism, when in fact they're being played like a fiddle and doing exactly what Hamas wants them to, simultaneously growing in pariah status throughout the non-Arabic world (shades of Lebanon in 2006).
posted by bardic at 12:23 AM on January 2, 2009


"it's jewish vs muslim"

Point of information: there is a significant Palestinian Christian minority. It used to be bigger, but over the last few decades disproportionately many Christians have emigrated.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:16 AM on January 2, 2009


The problem is that neither side is a rational actor, i.e., neither side wants peace.

Not wanting piece doesn't make you an irrational actor, if having peace means giving away what you already have (which is something Israel would need to do in terms of their settlements)

You do realise the Israeli hardliners (Likud) are not in power? The current government is a Kadima/Labor coalition.

I did know this. Supposedly Kadima is more interested in negotiation, and this is mostly just a show before the elections (in February) to ensure that they don't lose the hard-line vote. Which is all kinds of fucked up.

I really would appreciate a show of hands as to how many people here publicly supported the right of return and reimbursement for Jews who were driven out of Muslim nations, prior to voicing their demands for Palestinian right of return in this thread.

Why do you think anyone would be opposed to that? Although I would wonder why they would want to move back to those places, it should certainly be legal.
posted by delmoi at 2:58 AM on January 2, 2009


It's too late for all this "the Israel 'experiment' has failed" and "let's dismantle it" bollocks. You can't put the genie back in the bottle.

Someone needs to think about how we can get some sort of a decent Palestinian state going; something that isn't a joke or an open insult to the Arab world. That seems to be the only solution, but people seem to be so invested in every arid inch of the land in that region that the WHERE becomes an all-consuming problem. Meanwhile, people keep killing each other, making a solution less and less likely. No one wants to help someone who just tried to kill them.

Yes, the whole thing is a massive clusterfuck, and most of the terrorism against the West is a direct result of the situation and the West's tacit acceptance of everything Israel does / stands for... but we can't just wish it all away like it's a bad dream. I don't know who can fix it, but it's all going to be in Hillary's lap soon... I hope she's up for it.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:31 AM on January 2, 2009


if having peace means giving away what you already have (which is something Israel would need to do in terms of their settlements)

I think that a definition of 'have' is crucial here. Some people don't think Israel legally 'has' any land. That's the whole problem. If Israel can't start 'giving' some of the land they 'have' back to Palestiniants PERMANENTLY, this shit is going to be going on in much the same way as it is today when everyone reading this is dead.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:35 AM on January 2, 2009


first time there is an aggressive action from the Egyptian side, Israel responds by bombing Egypt and there is war. A war that the US has to enter, on both fronts. That is far more expensive, $-wise and American lives-wise than paying $4.5B a year to keep things quiet.

So we all slide down the helter skelter together, trying to delay the inevitable messy war. No one really budges. No one ever really flinches. Just two sides with their fingers eternally poised near a trigger... like the cheesy end to some Korean action flick.

Some days it seems that everyone on the ground just wants to get on with it, and the American money doesn't provide enough incentive to stop them.

Israel doesn't keep the money - most of it goes right back to the US to pay for the American weaponry - production of which ensures work to 10s of thousands if not more of American workers.

And that (very succinct) point might just be the most disgusting reality of all.
posted by chuckdarwin at 3:40 AM on January 2, 2009


I really would appreciate a show of hands as to how many people here publicly supported the right of return and reimbursement for Jews who were driven out of Muslim nations, prior to voicing their demands for Palestinian right of return in this thread.

To the degree that it's appropriate: of course. The Jewish and Palestinian refugee issues are both valid, but only superficially similar. The fact is, the Jewish refugees left under a far wider set of circumstances than the Palestinians, and over a much broader time frame. The Iraqi Jews were pretty much tossed out in the '50s, so of course they have a right of return. Algerian Jews, however, overwhelmingly decided to emigrate to France after independence in 1962. Not really the same thing. So that's a separate issue and should be treated as such.

As has been discussed up-thread, the world has rightly supported and recognized the claims of Israeli Jews against Poland, France, Switzerland, Lithuania etc. for the return of confiscated money, artwork, and land. What definition of justice lets Israel ignore identical claims on them?
posted by Amanojaku at 4:41 AM on January 2, 2009


(1) it is a nation of people who desire independence and practice customs and languages entirely separate from its neighbors for longer than most other cultures in the world, (2) without it Jews have been oppressed on a scale rivaled by few other people, and (3) such state exists and its people desire to continue having it in its present form. You don't doubt that Arabs deserve their 20+ states, some of which Jews are prohibited from visiting let alone having full rights; I think it's fair and wise to extend the same courtesy to the Jews..

I had a snarky answer prepared, but your sincere response (and the increasingly off-topic turn of the thread) made me think better of it. I will say this, regarding point 3: other states existed there prior to Israel, and the people who desired to have that continue are the people you're justifying cleansing from the area.
posted by Amanojaku at 5:20 AM on January 2, 2009


3: other states existed there prior to Israel
Really? Which ones? It's my understanding since the original Kingdom of Israel fell in 70AD Israel/Palestine has been owned by various empires (Romans, Byzantines, Crusaders, Ottomans and finally the British to name a few and I'm sure I'm leaving out some as well) and has never been independent.
posted by PenDevil at 5:34 AM on January 2, 2009


In fact let me ask another question: When Jordan annexed the West Bank for nearly 20 after the 1948 war, why was the Palestinian struggle for self determination against them almost non-existent?
posted by PenDevil at 5:59 AM on January 2, 2009


because the Jordanians weren't Jewish.
posted by caddis at 6:09 AM on January 2, 2009


I don't like this whole idea of 'proportional response'. I'm a former military man. If five guys attack you with machine guns, do you hold back your division, keep your helicopters grounded, and instead send out a small platoon, simply because that would be more proportional? No. You overwhelm your attackers with all forces at your disposal, and you obliterate them ruthlessly. You want the next enemy soldier who is given the opportunity to fire a first shot in a battle against you to be quaking in fear at the response he is about to provoke. You *want* them to know that should they choose to engage in combat with you, you will be merciless and deadly and respond with overwhelming force. Maybe this isn't how a diplomat thinks, but I assure you, this is how military people think, and for good reason: it saves lives in your own ranks.
posted by jamstigator at 6:14 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Really? Which ones? It's my understanding since the original Kingdom of Israel fell in 70AD Israel/Palestine has been owned by various empires...

That's really disgusting. Just because people didn't live in a country with the same borders doesn't mean they didn't exist. If someone lived in the Ottoman empire, or Jordan, or whatever getting kicked out of your home and then having your family live in refugee camps for 60 years wouldn't suck any less because of it.
posted by delmoi at 7:26 AM on January 2, 2009


Jews are entitled to have one of their own.

Speaking as a black american male, I agree and I'm thinking blacks Massachusetts, New York and Pennsylvania. You don't mind, do you?

You *want* them to know that should they choose to engage in combat with you, you will be merciless and deadly and respond with overwhelming force.

And yet, attacks Israel still happen. Funny old world, eh?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:28 AM on January 2, 2009


In fact let me ask another question: When Jordan annexed the West Bank for nearly 20 after the 1948 war, why was the Palestinian struggle for self determination against them almost non-existent?

Did the Jordanians setup settlements full of people who continually harassed them and illegally took over their land without any consequences, and put their army in place to protect those settlements and restrict their movement in the west bank?
posted by delmoi at 7:28 AM on January 2, 2009


No. You overwhelm your attackers with all forces at your disposal, and you obliterate them ruthlessly. You want the next enemy soldier who is given the opportunity to fire a first shot in a battle against you to be quaking in fear at the response he is about to provoke.

What a bunch of nonsense. Would you want your neighborhood police to respond to a teen throwing a rock at a cop car by leveling his neighborhood? According to your logic, that's what they should do. After all, a rock could injure someone!

But more seriously, that same argument could be used by the Palestinians to justify any violence against Israelis. So I suppose you support the status quo? Lets just have never-ending violence for the next 100 years. If each side wants the other "quaking in fear" then maybe someday these disproportionate responses will do something other then just piss the other side off.
posted by delmoi at 7:33 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


"Thanks for questioning the very legitimacy of having a Jewish state."

By saying that a group of people -- in this case, Zionist Jews -- do not have any kind of fixed, established right to settle a territory lived on by others, and force them off the land?

Of course, this is the way it's been in so many other places. Israel's "right" to that land is no more valid under this argument than numerous historical examples of conquest and ethnic cleansing.

Legally, their right to be a state there hinges on a decision made primarily by Britain and the U.S., but even the terms of that very generous treaty have been breached by the Israelis.

Am I saying that Israel must cease to exist? No.

What I am saying, however, is that Israel's desire to be a Jewish nation, led only by Jews is about as unrealistic and racist as the idea of the U.S. being a Christian nation, led only by Christians.

"Eventually you'll accept it."

Actually, no. I won't, because I don't tolerate injustice lightly.

More to the point though, neither will the Arabs. Not until Israel establishes a just peace, based on fairness, not force.

"A Jewish state. Founded and dominated by Jews"

As you admit, domination by Jews is a key tenet to your racist ideology. Never mind that Jews could be an minority in the future... in the event that happens, you're more than willing to ignore any semblance of democracy, in order to maintain your domination.

But how is that different in character than being, for instance, a white supremacist Christian evangelist in the heart of America's South? Don't you want practically the same things?

Let's just say that there's no way in hell I'd support a government by them, and I find the underpinnings of Israel just as odious, to the point that it would never be something I would accept.

I have absolutely no problem with anyone who is Jewish. My wife is part-Jewish. But I don't tolerate fundamentally racist, antidemocratic Zionists lightly. And sadly, that's what you ultimately are willing to lower yourself to, when push comes to shove.

"until people with opinions like you disappear from the world, Israel will defend herself"

Preemptively. Through ethnic cleansing, espionage, murder, torture... whatever it takes to preserve a Jewish Israel.

Gee mister... Guess what that makes you?!

Rather than trying to disappear me, or disappear Palestinians, why don't you disappear Israel's injustice, because as it stands, you can be a good Zionist, or a faithful follower of God... but not both at once!
posted by markkraft at 7:53 AM on January 2, 2009


Perhaps this is just Israel saying "Yes we can!"

I think you mean "While we can!"
posted by fullerine at 7:57 AM on January 2, 2009


More from Greenwald on U.S. Polls
Not only does Rasmussen find that Americans generally "are closely divided over whether the Jewish state should be taking military action against militants in the Gaza Strip" (44-41%, with 15% undecided), but Democratic voters overwhelmingly oppose the Israeli offensive -- by a 24-point margin (31-55%). By stark constrast, Republicans, as one would expect (in light of their history of supporting virtually any proposed attack on Arabs and Muslims), overwhelmingly support the Israeli bombing campaign (62-27%).
posted by delmoi at 8:18 AM on January 2, 2009


Did the Jordanians setup settlements full of people who continually harassed them and illegally took over their land without any consequences, and put their army in place to protect those settlements and restrict their movement in the west bank?

No, Jordanians merely slaughtered several thousand of them when they got uppity (without so much as a peep from the oh-so-righteous international community to dismantle the "failed Jordanian experiment" and prevent genuine ethnic cleansing, if I recall correctly).
posted by Krrrlson at 8:28 AM on January 2, 2009


No, Jordanians merely slaughtered several thousand of them when they got uppity (without so much as a peep from the oh-so-righteous international community to dismantle the "failed Jordanian experiment" and prevent genuine ethnic cleansing, if I recall correctly).

Okay, so then the answer to the origional question:
In fact let me ask another question: When Jordan annexed the West Bank for nearly 20 after the 1948 war, why was the Palestinian struggle for self determination against them almost non-existent?
Is "it wasn't"
posted by delmoi at 8:42 AM on January 2, 2009


"Jordanians merely slaughtered several thousand of them when they got uppity (without so much as a peep from the oh-so-righteous international community..."

Except, of course, that both the U.S. and Israel were involved in helping prop up King Hussein's dictatorship, and that the Palestinian refugee problem wouldn't have been problematic if Israel hadn't created the problem in the first place.

It should be noted that it was U.S. Patton tanks that attacked the Palestinians, and that when the PLA sent troops to intervene, the Israeli Air Force intercepted them, and made it abundantly clear that if they got involved, they'd be the next victims.

So, how was this slaughter really that different than Sabra and Shatila?

Israel has a distinct love of using proxies to fight their wars for them.
posted by markkraft at 8:59 AM on January 2, 2009


Ah, so our military should first assess the competence, numbers and armament of the enemy, and only respond with like numbers and armament, so the enemy has a better chance of achieving their own victory? Nonsense. The goal of any military action is to accomplish the objectives with the smallest amount of casualties from your own side. If that means ruthlessly pummeling enemy combatants (and that's usually the case), then that's the way it is. And I'm talking military action here, not policemen responding to a rock thrown through a window by a teenager. If you pick up a rocket launcher and start lobbing rockets at U.S. forces, those U.S. forces aren't going to take the time to gauge your strength or lack of it and respond with 'proportionality'; they're going to throw everything at you until you're either gone or dead. Any commander who wastes time trying to figure out how 'proportional' to make his response to an attack won't remain a commander for very long.

If you steal five bucks from your mom's purse, and she gives you a stern talking to, you might very well do it again. If she gets a switch and whips your ass until you can't sit down, odds are you're going to think a lot harder before doing the same thing. 'Proportionality' seems like a self-defeating theory to me when it comes to military conflict. Isn't the goal supposed to be to *not* give your enemy a chance at victory, to increase your own odds of achieving victory to as close to 100% as possible? If you're not fighting to win, you might as well just roll over and surrender.
posted by jamstigator at 9:26 AM on January 2, 2009


'Proportionality' seems like a self-defeating theory to me when it comes to military conflict.

except that this is a political conflict, too - and the political costs of winning the military conflict are going to be far, far too great
posted by pyramid termite at 10:11 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


the political costs of winning the military conflict are going to be far, far too great

What difference has this made to Israel? Arab countries already hate them, and the US just keeps giving them money. There's really no political incentive for Israel to stop throwing their military might at the Palestinians.
posted by desjardins at 10:46 AM on January 2, 2009


What I am saying, however, is that Israel's desire to be a Jewish nation, led only by Jews is about as unrealistic and racist as the idea of the U.S. being a Christian nation, led only by Christians.
posted by markkraft at 10:53 AM on January 2 [+] [!]

I think the US is a bad example one of the only countries founded on sort of multi-religious grounds.

I think almost every other country has a national religion of some sort. Though, Im curious to know which other countries don't have this.
posted by rosswald at 11:00 AM on January 2, 2009


Countries with no state religion

Israel is on the list, though with a caveat.

The weirdest is Lebanon though!
"Lebanon (although president must always remain a Maronite Catholic, and prime minister a Sunni Muslim)"

How weird is that
posted by rosswald at 11:21 AM on January 2, 2009


What difference has this made to Israel?

the difference between peace and war - between security and insecurity - as long as they continue to do what they've been doing, they will continue to have people hate them

at some distant day they will not just be outnumbered, but outgunned - you'd think they'd realize that and go for peace while it's still a possibility, even a remote one
posted by pyramid termite at 11:39 AM on January 2, 2009


I just had a thought here. It's probably nothing but it's still something to think about. Maybe the US government is trying to keep Israel alive because it's conquest is foretold in the book of Revelations. Maybe their logic is: Israel conquered = rapture. I doubt it but if it was, man wouldn't that be a trip.
posted by Pseudology at 11:42 AM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Gaza facing 'critical emergency'
posted by Artw at 11:53 AM on January 2, 2009


Protestors target Egypt over Gaza conflict
posted by Artw at 12:13 PM on January 2, 2009


Artw, thanks for posting that link, because I was seriously scratching my head over this-- why does Egypt not open its own border with Gaza? To provoke the crisis ever farther? Because they don't want to take in refugees?
posted by jokeefe at 2:07 PM on January 2, 2009


Ah, so our military should first assess the competence, numbers and armament of the enemy, and only respond with like numbers and armament, so the enemy has a better chance of achieving their own victory? Nonsense. The goal of any military action is to accomplish the objectives with the smallest amount of casualties from your own side. If that means ruthlessly pummeling enemy combatants (and that's usually the case), then that's the way it is. And I'm talking military action here, not policemen responding to a rock thrown through a window by a teenager. If you pick up a rocket launcher and start lobbing rockets at U.S. forces, those U.S. forces aren't going to take the time to gauge your strength or lack of it and respond with 'proportionality'; they're going to throw everything at you until you're either gone or dead.

Look if we are talking open warfare I would agree in open warfare between states— where the very existence of your society is at stake — you then slaughter the enemy as disproportionally as you can. You create a situation where war-making is so intolerable that all parties MUST seek another solution.

However THIS is not all-out open warfare. Nor can it be. We have an insurrection inside a state against a impoverished and militarily feeble indigenous population. We have an occupying force in a mostly civilian non-combatant population. And in this case we have a state completely surrounded by states utterly hostile to it's existence. Plus. We have fucking NUKES in this equation.

This is the problem in modern times. And. We have these things called human rights.

This is WHY insurgent groups use Asymmetrical warfare. If Israel responds with overwhelming force to every rocket lobbed by a bunch of criminals and desperate fanatics they not only obliterate huge portions of their own state (homes, businesses, schools) but risk touching off a much wider conflict and living in perpetual war that their economy and society can no longer absorb.

Any commander who wastes time trying to figure out how 'proportional' to make his response to an attack won't remain a commander for very long.

Oh. Nonsense. No matter how Israel responds it will never be strictly proportional, okay. Israel has 1000X the GDP of Hamas. It can send in better trained better armed soldiers into Gaza for the next ten years if it wanted to. And that's what is called for.

The Israeli political establishment knows that sending troops into Gaza is going to lead to high IDF casualties. Well. Duh. And they know that their own electorates are only gonna take so much of that. (More than US electorates would take. But not much more.) And above ALL else the Israeli politicians want to stay in power. So they bomb the fuck out of these towns knowing full well it is actually long-term working against them.

Look what happened in Fallujah? Operation Phantom Fury. After the failed previous attempt to use "over-whelming force" where we tried to stay out and use air power and shelling with "Operation Vigilant Resolve". Bombing the fuck out of the place was not doing shit but destroying the infrastructure we were just trying to rebuild (50,000 homes were destroyed, along with 60 schools and 65 mosques and shrines) and forcing the civilian population to seek protection WITH the insurgents. So. We went in ON FOOT. House to house.

This macho idea about killing people as a way to "win" these kinds of conflicts is not borne out in reality. The reality in Israel and Iraq is that force is only a small part of the equation and must be meted out carefully and prudently. Bombs are not prudent.

And if you sanction overwhelming force as a doctrine then you should do it right and kill every mother fucker in Gaza and actually SOLVE your problem once and for all, right?
posted by tkchrist at 2:35 PM on January 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


Civilians take brunt of 7th day of Gaza offensive

One missile killed three Palestinian children aged between eight and 12 as they played on a street near the town of Khan Yunis in the south of the strip. One was decapitated.

See these people? See them cheering and laughing? They're Israeli's watching the bombs fall on Palestinians.

See this dead little girl? This is what the Israeli's are cheering about.
posted by dejah420 at 3:02 PM on January 2, 2009 [5 favorites]


This is an excellent article that breaks it down very efficiently.
posted by bondgirl53001 at 4:15 PM on January 2, 2009


Artw, thanks for posting that link, because I was seriously scratching my head over this-- why does Egypt not open its own border with Gaza? To provoke the crisis ever farther? Because they don't want to take in refugees?

The later, I'd think.
posted by Artw at 5:36 PM on January 2, 2009


Bush picking a side - not that there was much doubt.
posted by Artw at 5:40 PM on January 2, 2009


The USA will be long forgotten, crumbled into dust, millenia will pass, the sun will burn out, the galaxy will spin down and collapse, the Universe will grow old and frail....and Israelis and Palestinians will still be at each others throats.
posted by telstar at 6:26 PM on January 2, 2009


This is an excellent article that breaks it down very efficiently.

Yes. Very efficient propaganda horseshit.

I know. I know. I'm feeding the troll. But bare with me.

This idea that the Palestinians being bombed in Gaza are "friends" or are "colluding" with Hamas is mostly garbage. It's just not that simple.

Look. Let me put it to you this way.

Let's say you live, through no fault of your own, in a defacto war zone. By an accident of birth, let's say. Every four or five years forces out of your control mount and literally destroy all the economic and social machinery you need to have an secure existence. It is an ethnic conflict that marks you from birth. By the fact of who you are.

Sounds like living in Israel. For both sides.

Except one side, the Palestinian side, is utterly impoverished. The political community that manages the order for your society is under siege AND run by what the world considers to be a criminal organization. And in many ways this is literally true. Your government is a crime syndicate that is hemmed in by the world at large and the state that surrounds it. From the legislatures on down local mayors, police, and city councils your public servants are corrupt. And where it isn't criminal it is devoutly and extremely rigidly religious. And everywhere is economic ruin. Few jobs. Little working infrastructure. No chance for class advancement.

And here is the problem.

You have NOWHERE to turn.

One night you get a knock on your door and three guys with Kalashnikovs and green headscarves show up. For better or worse these guys have been the only ones keeping social order and keeping the larger criminal class off your back. When it isn't them that is shaking you down, that is. You cousins. Maybe your brother, though you may disagree, has joined this group. Many people you know have in one capacity or another been involved simply becuase they are the only show in town. To secure loans. To provide medical care. To settle legal disputes (with lower bribes).

So these guys show up at your door. With guns. And they ask you if they can cache some stuff at your house. They ask nice at first.

You say no? And risk what? Being ostracized by your community as a snitch? Shunned from the only thing that offers you any sort of relif from the unending misery that is your life. Shunned from your Mosque. Or maybe you risk a bunch more. Like: Getting your head cut off on a YouTube video? What?

There is NO SUCH THING AS NEUTRALITY. In place like Gaza you don't get to choose who your friends are. Get that through your head.

When you got NOTHING — and these people in Gaza have nothing — they are utterly choked off from any kind of economic machinery (other than working as a low wage servile class for people they view as oppressors), when you got nothing and no legal authority to protect you and gunmen come to your house and ask you for a favor... you say yes. Or you die.

These are your terrorists. They are everyday people with nothing. So nothing to lose. They are people desperate to survive just one more fucking day. And they are caught in the middle.

The Israelis DO have a choice on how they deal with it. Dropping bombs on innocent women and children is not the choice a moral society makes - no matter who their "friends" are.
posted by tkchrist at 6:42 PM on January 2, 2009 [11 favorites]


This video is tough to watch. Immediate aftermath of bombing in Gaza. How do you justify killing children? Totally NSFW.
posted by zerobyproxy at 7:43 PM on January 2, 2009 [3 favorites]


Do not watch zerobyproxy's video before having dinner.
posted by telstar at 7:55 PM on January 2, 2009


"Ah, so our military should first assess the competence, numbers and armament of the enemy, and only respond with like numbers and armament, so the enemy has a better chance of achieving their own victory? Nonsense. The goal of any military action is to accomplish the objectives with the smallest amount of casualties from your own side."

Then tell us... what objectives has this attack truely accomplished?

I can think of plenty of objectives it hasn't accomplished at all, and several unforeseen objectives it's accomplished which, frankly, are incredibly counterproductive.

The idea that military attacks against Hamas as a centralized institution will prevent increasingly decentralized, personal acts of revenge against Israelis is ludicrous... especially in an extremely high-density urban environment where there is no distinguishing between civilians and combattants.

It's counterproductive collective punishment, no more and no less.
posted by markkraft at 8:57 PM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


This video is tough to watch. Immediate aftermath of bombing in Gaza. How do you justify killing children?

War criminals don't need justification for targeting children.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:09 PM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Israel's losing this conflict in every way that matters. A week of attacks have been totally unable to achieve their objective of stopping the rocket attacks. Indeed, by killing and maiming civilians and refusing ceasefires, Israel is polarizing Palestinian and world opinion against them, and strengthening Hamas, at the expense of Fatah and other more moderate factions.

In the West Bank, where Hamas supporters were pretty much beaten after numerous political arrests by Fatah, huge crowds of thousands of Palestinians have taken to the street to show their support, and stone throwing has become widespread again.

In response to this anger, Hamas promises to resist Israeli aggression... and Fatah displays political impotence. Many Palestinians in the West Bank are protesting not only against Israel, but also against Fatah and Arab inaction, which is seen as a kind of complicity in Israel's actions.

In places like Egypt, thousands of police are arresting protesters, angering the public and increasing the risk of destabilizing the regime... and this is being seen elsewhere in the Arab world as well.

Basically, this attack is helping to further radicalize Islam, and attempts to target radical leaders both in and outside of Palestine lead to more decentralized, radicalized cells of resistance, with considerable autonomy to launch attacks at will. As such, they cannot be reliably trusted to abide by cease fires, peace treaties, or the like.

In short, Israel is doing a good job putting peace out of their grasp.
posted by markkraft at 9:45 PM on January 2, 2009 [2 favorites]


Gaza leader at war with Israel – and his own rivals

posted by Artw at 10:01 PM on January 2, 2009


Immediate aftermath of bombing in Gaza. How do you justify killing children?

How do soldiers justify hiding themselves and their missiles in civilian areas, among the children? Really, there is much blame to spread around here. Both the Israeli military and Hamas have blood on their hands. I wish the Palestinians could get a dynamic and intelligent leader like Obama - someone who could rally the people to negotiate a peace with Israel and someone who could hammer out a good bargain with Israel. These people have been rudderless since the inception of Israel. Arafat got something started, but he lacked the goods to close the deal.
posted by caddis at 10:07 PM on January 2, 2009


How do soldiers justify hiding themselves and their missiles in civilian areas, among the children?

Well, where else are they supposed to put them? I'm not defending Hamas here, but it seems as though a lot of the criticism of them is for things that they require to exist. If they had military bases they'd be bombed immediately.

I wish the Palestinians could get a dynamic and intelligent leader like Obama...

The same Obama who says we're going to redouble our efforts in Afghanistan? Obama has never said he wouldn't use violence against people who would harm America, so why would you expect a hypothetical Palestinian Obama to eschew violence against people who would harm Palestinians? And if they didn't do that, they would have to store their weapons in civilian places etc.

Also, how could this "Palestinian Obama" rally his people to negotiate with Israel when it's Israel who refuses to negotiate? I mean, how can you blame Hamas for the fact that Israel won't negotiate with them?
posted by delmoi at 11:11 PM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm not defending Hamas here, but it seems as though a lot of the criticism of them is for things that they require to exist. If they had military bases they'd be bombed immediately.

Note also restrictions on protections under the Geneva Conventions to those in regular, identifiable units, bearing insignia, etc. All very fine and well when you have an even or superior force. If the Palestinians had the tanks, jets, and training, and the Israelies were improvising weapons, of course they'd do the honorable thing and put their soldiers in uniforms, regular units, and march them to certain and immediate doom.

Terrorism is the last act of the truly hopeless. It isn't a choice between climbing into a tank and blowing yourself up. Nobody makes that choice.

Given the behaviour of the U.S. when it has the upper hand (rendition, torture, pre-emptive war), I don't for a moment doubt what its citizenry would find palatable if pushed to those kinds of limits. Nor the people of all but the most pacifist of countries, to which very few of us belong.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:54 PM on January 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, where else are they supposed to put them? I'm not defending Hamas here, but it seems as though a lot of the criticism of them is for things that they require to exist. If they had military bases they'd be bombed immediately.


Yeah, they not only hide themselves within the civilian population, but the missiles too. They use the surrounding people as a moral shield, and then when Israel shoots at them anyway they cry out about how inhumane that is. Who caused civilian deaths? Well, Hamas is not blameless here. If your next door neighbor is building missiles in the basement, this week might be a nice week to go visit your aging mother. Hamas are nothing more than terrorists. There really is no excuse for them. They are Al Qaeda, more focused. If you live with one of these vermin in your midst you should be very afraid for your own safety.
posted by caddis at 12:27 AM on January 3, 2009


caddis: But, you haven't answered the question on where Hamas should put their missiles. Or do you think that it's incumbent on Hamas to give up on all use of "force" before Israel does?
posted by delmoi at 12:33 AM on January 3, 2009


I'm not saying that Hamas isn't a terrorist group, but it's difficult to see what Israel is doing here as anything other then Terrorism either.
posted by delmoi at 12:34 AM on January 3, 2009


This: "Israel's losing this conflict in every way that matters. A week of attacks have been totally unable to achieve their objective of stopping the rocket attacks. Indeed, by killing and maiming civilians and refusing ceasefires, Israel is polarizing Palestinian and world opinion against them, and strengthening Hamas, at the expense of Fatah and other more moderate factions."

How did anyone in the IDF or Israeli government think this would end any better than the wholesale bombing of Lebanese civilians in 2006?

Israel is a rogue nation and should be treated as such by the world community.
posted by bardic at 12:34 AM on January 3, 2009


Hide them, just don't hide them downtown. That's a coward's move. A terrorist targets civilians. Israel targets Hamas and tries to avoid civilians as best they can. Israel is not a terrorist. That said, as much as I have decried the stupidity of Hamas, Israel gets similar criticism. Why all out war now? Clearly it is expedient to do this during the Bush administration.

Everybody is ready for a negotiated settlement, Israel, Palestinians (although perhaps not Hamas) and the rest of the world. We have lacked the personalities of leadership in the various parties to effect this settlement. The broad details are already done, Palestinians will get Gaza and the West Bank, the crazy settlers will have to leave, Jerusalem is more difficult but will likely end up divided. Is it perfect? Far from it, but if it brings some measure of peace then it is good.
posted by caddis at 12:46 AM on January 3, 2009


"Hide them, just don't hide them downtown."

Just how big do you think the Gaza Strip is?

"Israel targets Hamas and tries to avoid civilians as best they can."

By dropping bombs on apartment buildings in population-dense areas?

Look, this is a feature, not a bug, of terrorism. Try and get this through your head: Hamas wanted Israel to respond just as they have. They wanted the footage of dead babies to be broadcast to the world community. And this in itself is abhorrent, and Hamas is pretty much the definition of a terrorist organization, but why does Israel allow itself to be played like a fiddle, again and again, by these terrorists?

When the smoke clears, a) the rockets will continue to sporadically fly, b) Hamas will claim a major victory against the IDF aggressors and the citizens of Egypt, Iraq, and Iran will agree, c) heads will proverbially roll among the IDF for another botched military operation that achieved nothing just like in Lebanon in 2006, d) and finally, more people, not just in the Arabic world, will condemn Israel as being a violent bully.
posted by bardic at 12:55 AM on January 3, 2009


Hamas wanted Israel to respond just as they have.

Great, let Israel hunt down each known Hamas member and kill them. If there family or neighbors get taken out in the process, so be it. What do you think our response would be if some semi state sponsored group in Cuba started launching missiles into Florida. There would be no measured response, it would be overwhelming. Hamas are the bad guys here and they have caused immeasurable suffering of their own people even by your own admission.
posted by caddis at 1:04 AM on January 3, 2009


People are talking about having an international force there now, which would be the first time ever, I think (since the British left) If that happens, how could it not be a defeat for Israel? They would have lost control over Gaza, and presumably the blockade would have to end, which we can assume is what Hamas and the Gazans wanted.

I think that would be a positive step towards peace, as well as Gazan independence from Israel.
posted by delmoi at 1:12 AM on January 3, 2009


"If there family or neighbors get taken out in the process, so be it."

You honestly don't see a problem with this statement?

"What do you think our response would be if some semi state sponsored group in Cuba started launching missiles into Florida."

The answer wouldn't be collective punishment of every person in Cuba by either killing them or destroying things they need like their homes, access to drinking water, shipping routes for food, etc. We could hopefully muster our intelligence services to pinpoint the enemy, not "kill 'em all, let God sort 'em out."

You're sick.
posted by bardic at 1:19 AM on January 3, 2009


We could hopefully muster our intelligence services to pinpoint the enemy

No, we would attack the state, which allowed such nonsense. You're naive.
posted by caddis at 1:28 AM on January 3, 2009


The Gaza Strip is a state? I think you need to look up "naive" champ, just as soon as your boner for the slaughter of perfectly innocent people dies down a little.
posted by bardic at 1:34 AM on January 3, 2009


Caddis: Since you're so intent on analogizing this to the Caribbean, what do you think the U.S. would do if Cuba started a navel blockade of Puerto Rico?
posted by delmoi at 2:31 AM on January 3, 2009




Did I say it was? I think it should be though. What do you think? Or are you one of those people who think that Israel should be disbanded and a new state of Palestine be made out of that area? I hope not. Those people rate just about even with holocaust deniers and KKK members.

posted by caddis at 5:50 AM on January 3, 2009


hmm, this part went missing:The Gaza Strip is a state?
posted by caddis at 5:51 AM on January 3, 2009


How do soldiers justify hiding themselves and their missiles in civilian areas, among the children?

most israeli men are reservists in the army and "hide" in civilian areas, too - technically, unless they're taking out a convent, it could be argued that any target hamas has fired on is not purely a civilian target because of that

still, i think the rockets are asinine and wrong - the palestinian leadership has constantly found the worst way to lead their people for decades
posted by pyramid termite at 6:32 AM on January 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


The Israeli government recently apprehended Richard Falk, the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, detaining him for twenty hours, before expelling him from Israel.

Falk is a Jewish-American citizen who has every legal right to be in Israel. The UN's top Human Rights official condemned Falk's expulsion from Israel, calling it "unprecedented" and "deeply regrettable".

Professor Falk, has condemned the collective punishment of the Palestinians in Gaza as “a flagrant and massive violation of international humanitarian law as laid down in Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” He has asked for “the International Criminal Court to investigate the situation, and determine whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law.”

It is macabre … I don’t know of anything that exactly fits this situation. People have been referring to the Warsaw ghetto as the nearest analog in modern times.” . . . The magnitude, the deliberateness, the violations of international humanitarian law … warrant the characterisation of a crime against humanity.”

Falk, while condemning the rocket attacks by the militant group Hamas, which he points out are also criminal violations of international law, goes on to say that “such Palestinian behavior does not legalize Israel’s imposition of a collective punishment of a life- and health-threatening character on the people of Gaza, and should not distract the U.N. or international society from discharging their fundamental moral and legal duty to render protection to the Palestinian people.”

“It is an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe that each day poses the entire 1.5 million Gazans to an unspeakable ordeal, to a struggle to survive in terms of their health. . . This is an increasingly precarious condition. A recent study reports that 46 percent of all Gazan children suffer from acute anemia. There are reports that the sonic booms associated with Israeli overflights have caused widespread deafness, especially among children. Gazan children need thousands of hearing aids. Malnutrition is extremely high in a number of different dimensions and affects 75 percent of Gazans. There are widespread mental disorders, especially among young people without the will to live. Over 50 percent of Gazan children under the age of 12 have been found to have no will to live.”

"The people of Gaza are victims of geopolitics at its inhumane worst: producing what Israel itself calls a 'total war' against an essentially defenseless society that lacks any defensive military capability whatsoever and is completely vulnerable to Israeli attacks mounted by F-16 bombers and Apache helicopters. What this also means is that the flagrant violation of international humanitarian law, as set forth in the Geneva Conventions, is quietly set aside while the carnage continues and the bodies pile up. It additionally means that the UN is once more revealed to be impotent when its main members deprive it of the political will to protect a people subject to unlawful uses of force on a large scale. Finally, this means that the public can shriek and march all over the world, but that the killing will go on as if nothing is happening. The picture being painted day by day in Gaza is one that begs for renewed commitment to international law and the authority of the UN Charter, starting here in the United States, especially with a new leadership that promised its citizens change, including a less militarist approach to diplomatic leadership."
posted by markkraft at 7:05 AM on January 3, 2009 [9 favorites]


bardic, caddis, you know what would be great? Civil discourse. You know, just breathe while you type. Thank you.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 7:08 AM on January 3, 2009


Even as Israel attempts to keep the world's reporters out of Gaza, they are engaging in major propaganda efforts in the United States and throughout the world.

"The IDF has spent the past six months learning to fight a different kind of media war, developing a capacity to take its message to the 'new media,' a general term for a wide variety of on-line social networking, user-generated news and personalized content sites.

"In terms of communicating our message, new media is the future," Brig.-Gen. Avi Benayahu, the IDF's spokesman, told The Jerusalem Post. . .

A YouTube channel established by the IDF a day after the fighting began has become the second-most popular channel on the popular global video-sharing site, drawing over 386,000 page views in the first half of Thursday alone.

Meanwhile, the IDF has been in regular contact with over 50 major American blogs covering the fighting.

(Gee... as an American, it sure would be nice to know which American blogs and media sources are rubberstamping IDF propaganda, wouldn't it?!)
posted by markkraft at 9:45 AM on January 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


From an account on Hebrew-language Israel radio (Kol Yisrael), as relayed Oct. 3, 2001 by IAP News, of an “acrimonious argument” between Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and his foreign minister, Shimon Peres, at the previous Wednesday’s weekly cabinet meeting.

According to the report, Peres warned Sharon against refusing to heed continued American requests for a cease-fire, saying Sharon’s rejections would endanger Israeli interests and “Turn the U.S. Against us.”

Lashing back at Peres, a furious Sharon then reportedly shouted,

“Every time we do something you tell me Americans will do this and do that. I want to tell you something very clear: don’t worry about American pressure on Israel, [because] we, the Jewish people, control America, and the Americans know It.”
posted by markkraft at 10:13 AM on January 3, 2009


Tanks and helicopters are apparently rolling in to help liberate Gazan minds from Gazan bodies. Updates via Al Jazeera Gaza.

I imagine everyone is out, right now, picking flowers to welcome the Israelis with. Anyone got a rope to help topple a sculpture of... Arafat?!? Bueller?
posted by davemee at 11:32 AM on January 3, 2009


Great, let Israel hunt down each known Hamas member and kill them. If there family or neighbors get taken out in the process, so be it.

Come on, think what you wrote.
posted by ersatz at 11:36 AM on January 3, 2009


Could someone please tell me again why a navy assault on an unarmed vessel, carrying humanitarian aid, in INTERNATIONAL waters, is somehow not bad?

Not that this excuses or even mitigates anything, but... Theres no such thing as an unarmed vessel anymore. Ask USS COLE.
posted by ctmf at 7:11 PM on January 3, 2009


Theres no such thing as an unarmed vessel anymore. Ask USS COLE.

Yah, I bet thats in the instruction manual.

Potential suicide bombing boat, I know, lets RAM IT to get it to move away...

Well, judging by the success in Iraq and Afghanistan maybe that is the USA/Israeli guidebook.
posted by Iax at 12:18 AM on January 4, 2009


the difference between peace and war - between security and insecurity - as long as they continue to do what they've been doing, they will continue to have people hate them

Jews know that as long as we continue to do what we've been doing, people continue to hate us. It doesn't seem to make much difference exactly what it is we've been doing.

at some distant day they will not just be outnumbered, but outgunned - you'd think they'd realize that and go for peace while it's still a possibility, even a remote one

So better to risk their necks for a remote chance now than to (surely) live to fight again another day? Is that as much value as you'd like to be seen placed on the lives of Palestinians?
posted by Salamandrous at 2:25 PM on January 4, 2009


I was a bit confused by zerobyproxy's video link - it actually points to an old video from 2005 showing a parade in Gaza where a pickup truck carrying Hamas members blew up, allegedly from their own explosives. On the left, there are links to Gaza IDF attacks on 1/1/09 - but no videos.

From ZBP's description, I thought it would be a current video, did I read that wrong?
posted by HopperFan at 4:56 PM on January 4, 2009


"Jews know that as long as we continue to do what we've been doing, people continue to hate us."

Don't you mean "Zionists"?

Two of my best friends are Jewish, and my wife is half-Jewish, and all of them are opposed to Israel's actions.

That said, I think most Zionists who support the current status quo for Israel are essentially serving evil.
posted by markkraft at 7:48 AM on January 5, 2009


Don't you mean "Zionists"?

Two of my best friends are Jewish, and my wife is half-Jewish, and all of them are opposed to Israel's actions.

That said, I think most Zionists who support the current status quo for Israel are essentially serving evil.


I didn't say anything about my feelings about Israel's current actions. Rather, I was pointing out the stupidity of threatening Jews (including Jewish Zionists) with the spectre of other people's hatred.

I'm happy for you that you have Jewish friends and a half Jewish wife. If I doubted for a moment that there were Jews on all parts of the political spectrum, your anecdotal evidence would have helped put that doubt to rest. I'm not sure what else to make of that point.
posted by Salamandrous at 10:11 AM on January 5, 2009


wow, some of your best friends are ....
posted by caddis at 1:44 AM on January 7, 2009


Yes. They are. I know its a bit of a standard reply, but there you go. The fact is, a LOT of Americans do not have close friends who are Jewish, have never been to a Seder or a Jewish wedding, and do not dig the hell out of klezmer bands.

Why do you mention this? Are you trying to draw any inferences, perhaps?
posted by markkraft at 1:54 PM on January 7, 2009


« Older The Polar Bear Club of Milwaukee has been going st...  |  Time to turn off the lights.... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments