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Land of my Fathers
January 3, 2009 9:38 AM   Subscribe

I am a Palestinian refugee; my parents are refugees too, as well as my grandparents. I have been raised in a place called a refugee camp. With Israel still banning foreign Journalists from Gaza; read some of the Blogs from people inside or with friends and relatives inside the war zone. Then there is The electronic Intifada.
posted by adamvasco (223 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
If I may, Joe Sacco's graphic novel Palestine is an excellent introduction to the subject.
posted by stinkycheese at 10:28 AM on January 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


Through early morning fog I see visions of the things to be
The pains that are withheld for me I realize and I can see . . .
That genocide is painless it brings on many changes
And I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make all our little joys relate
Without that ever-present hate but now I know that it’s too late,
posted by five fresh fish at 10:41 AM on January 3, 2009


I am truly sorry for the civilian losses....sad part is Hamas had the option of not escaling the terriost attacks agains Israel. Hamas has chosen war for the civilian population and that was a bad choice for its people.

Israel will do whatever it needs to do to protect themselves. It is what they do. If you poke the bear long enough you will get the expect reaction.

Yes...feel sorrow and outrage that innocents are dying....on both sides. You want to focus anger....focus it on Hamas not Israel.
posted by malter51 at 10:52 AM on January 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


[few comments removed - "Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site." Please do not turn this into a generalized I/P grargrar thread if at all possible, thank you]
posted by jessamyn at 10:55 AM on January 3, 2009


Israel's demise may be more subtle
Within their own borders Arab families have an average of four to five children
Israel's one or two
posted by robbyrobs at 10:58 AM on January 3, 2009


Mmmm, ground offensive.
posted by fixedgear at 11:04 AM on January 3, 2009


jessamyn writes "[few comments removed - 'Help maintain a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand—not at other members of the site.' Please do not turn this into a generalized I/P grargrar thread if at all possible, thank you]"

Jessamyn, I quoted without any comment or editorializing the lead story in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, which reports that the shelling of Gaza has commenced; how is that not related to this post on life in the Gaza war zone, or in any way focused at any members of the site?
posted by orthogonality at 11:07 AM on January 3, 2009


ortho, how about a link instead of a giant copy/paste?
posted by mathowie at 11:12 AM on January 3, 2009


For those of you following along in your West Wing playbook, this would be season five, episodes 21 and 22.
posted by timsteil at 11:19 AM on January 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, it was three paragraphs, and frankly, given the sensitive nature of previous discussions involving Gaza here, I felt that it woul be least contentious to quote without elisions or comment. Given that my immediate previous comment, in ask, was 12 paragraphs and 837 words, it didn't seem that long either. But if length was a concern, I suppose Jessamyn could just have disemvoweled it.
posted by orthogonality at 11:20 AM on January 3, 2009


I think there's enough blame to go around on both side of this issue that you you don't have to "focus on Hamas." Israel has a better PT engine, better international support, a bit more cash, and a more sophisticated military, but they haven't had the moral high ground for some time.

I'm not a Hamas supporter, but I really think Israel has lost this fight already as well.

We all love Democracy until the wrong guys win the elections.

I'm pretty sick of this story. I am 38 and it's been in the news every since I can remember. Literally. I'd say there is no hope for peace, but then Ireland had managed to figure out a way to stop bombings and killing (they we also in the news from the time I was a kid). Seems to me that if both side can't figure out it's in their best interests to get along, share resources, respect each other, and that neither side is going anywhere, then let the killing continue. Maybe in another 38 years someone will come up with a plan that works.

But again, as far as Israel being on the side of the righteous on this one, sorry. The death of 400 in retaliation for 4 doesn't strike me as a reasoned response.

When one side gets to control the other side's finances, their resources, and even their movements, it's not difficult to understand how there can be resentment.

Yeah, so forgive me if I can see how a side stripped of nearly all real power has decided to go "bear hunting." It's almost biblical. A David and Goliath thing. It's almost impossible to not root for the underdog. And a ground war is exactly what Hamas wants. It's a bit difficult to fight against a superior force that refuses to engage you. But grandmother's with butcher knives win either way. Either they get the body count to be a bit more equitable, or they get video of the Israelis killing grandma.

It's a mess. Both sides are to blame. Even if this is not the case, this is my perception, and I know more and more people believe the shine is off Israel, so in the war of public perception they are for sure not winning.

Whole thing makes me ill.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:22 AM on January 3, 2009 [26 favorites]


A better PR engine. Sorry, stupid typo.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:23 AM on January 3, 2009


'I expected an ambulance, but a donkey cart carried the injured'
Ewa Jasiewicz is a journalist and activist. She is currently the project co-ordinator for the Free Gaza Movement, and one of the only international journalists on the ground in Gaza. Here is her account of a week spent trying to document the attacks.


Mods - thank you for trying to keep this post on the level. I understand that this is a very touchy subject and I for one appreciate your keeping a really heavy hand on the delete button for the trolls and partisans. (ortho is not a troll) What is happening here is unprecedented in modern times and the repercusians may affect us all.
posted by adamvasco at 11:26 AM on January 3, 2009


IMO, the most informative information about I/P are in the historical maps of the Israeli borders. It's pretty vulgar.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:41 AM on January 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Israeli ground troops have started to enter the Gaza Strip, Israeli military officials have confirmed, a week after the offensive against Hamas began.
posted by homunculus at 11:42 AM on January 3, 2009


Anther ground attack article.
posted by cjorgensen at 11:44 AM on January 3, 2009


NYT News Analysis: At what human cost? Who will be in charge when it is all over?
posted by lalochezia at 11:51 AM on January 3, 2009


Israel okays call-up of tens of thousands of reservists as Gaza ground op gets underway

Israeli Ground Forces Push Into Gaza
posted by nevercalm at 11:54 AM on January 3, 2009


From adamvasco's link:
I expected to see an ambulance hurtling round the corner and saw instead a donkey-drawn cart pulling three children and two male relatives.

Twelve-year-old Haya was dead, her singed body quickly covered by a white sheet. Four-year-old Lamma died in front of us. Ismaeel, nine, came in breathing. "We think he'll be ok, we need to x-ray his legs," doctors said. [He died on Thursday morning.] The children died of internal injuries consistent with having been thrown in the air and bounced some 10 metres off the ground. They had gone to throw the rubbish out.
Jesus. There's no excuse for this. None.
posted by homunculus at 11:55 AM on January 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


I agree with cjorgensen 100%. I think the only thing that can end this sort of violence is better economic prospects for Palestine. This is possibly the most difficult problem of all, but it worked for Ireland. It is hard to get the motivation to shoot missiles at your neighbor when you have The Wire saved up on your Tivo, and I say that without sarcasm.

Though can someone run refresh me on this, why is there a Gaza Strip in the first place? Does it sort of exist as a quasi-ghetto? I have this image of a crowded Middle Eastern city surrounded by concrete walls and Children of Men type checkpoints. Do you have to be Jewish to be a citizen of Israel? It seems to me, from my completely naive point of view, that there would be progress if they made Israel secular and took all the religious language out of everything. I'm sure the Palestinians would still exist as a poor ethnic minority, but the situation would be better for everyone. Haven't they seen the movie Munich?

Of course I also don't understand why the Palestinians don't just pull a Gandhi. Having a couple hundred Palestinians lay down in front of an Israeli tank and you just won the world's support.
posted by geoff. at 12:01 PM on January 3, 2009


We need international peace keepers in Gaza. In most other places in the world, you would end up with the U.N. coming and keeping the two sides apart (Either that, or it would just be ignored entirely, look at what happened in Darfur, Rawanda, etc).

I think Israel has illustrated that it simply cannot manage this situation at all. An international force, working in Gaza with the citizens there would probably be able to stop rocket attacks from happening, but treating them as a criminal matter. The rockets don't really do that much damage anyway.

But also, it seems like it would be impossible for Israel to do this kind of thing if Gaza was loaded up U.N. Peacekeepers. It would also make a blockade impossible.
posted by delmoi at 12:01 PM on January 3, 2009


I've also found Juan Cole and 3quarksdaily to provide good analysis, both by people who speak Arabic and tend to pull from a pretty wide variety of sources.

Oh, and also:
Thousands of Afghans demonstrate against Israel, US

This will no doubt do little but help the Taliban, who are seeing much more success lately.
posted by nevercalm at 12:01 PM on January 3, 2009


Having a couple hundred Palestinians lay down in front of an Israeli tank and you just won the world's support.

Not if Israel is as tight-fisted and threatening to international media as they generally are, it wouldn't be seen.
posted by nevercalm at 12:04 PM on January 3, 2009


Of course I also don't understand why the Palestinians don't just pull a Gandhi. Having a couple hundred Palestinians lay down in front of an Israeli tank and you just won the world's support.

Well, how can you lay down in front of a tank if all they're doing is air strikes? Israel had been doing this blockade, remember, for months. People were starving, no medicine, and no one seemed to care much.

Also, getting run over by a tank has been tried, even by a blond American girl. Didn't seem to change much.
posted by delmoi at 12:04 PM on January 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


I saw Condoleezza Rice on Deutche Welle last night, saying that of course the civilian
casualties were tragic, but that any cease fire should be durable and effective. Which
is the same thing she said during the offensive on Lebanon. There was also a stream
of Israeli politicians, talking about protection and safety.

The negating conjunction but told the whole story, for me, and what I heard
her saying was "We wouldn't want to end this thing until Israel has achieved its objective."

I doubt that things will change that much on January 20, but I will cheer the departure of
Dr. Rice from the evening news.
posted by the Real Dan at 12:16 PM on January 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


After a few years of studying Middle East issues in school and editing I don't know how many stories about it for longer than that, it seems to me that perspective of who is right and has the better claim to the land is shaped at least in part by what your starting point is--if you think of Israel dating back to 1948, you get one picture. If you reach back to earlier Ottoman times, you have another. Does the West Bank belong to Israel? Palestinians? Jordan? Someone else? I don't know.

I used to think of myself as unabashedly pro-Israel (I'm not Jewish) in the early to mid-1960s; then shifted slightly as we all learned more about the miseries of the refugee camps. Now I go back and forth. You can't have much sympathy for Hamas firing 10,000 rockets into Israel or sending suicide bombers into Israel, any more than you can have much--and actually far less--for Israel cutting off food and fuel supplies or stopping ambulances trying to leave Gaza for emergency medical care. First bombing such a dense area as Gaza and now, apparently, marching in on foot, seems a particularly unwise move, one clearly designed not to resolve issues but rather, repress. At best, it works a short term measure but how many orphans or younger siblings of Gazans killed in the last week will someday turn to hijacking a plane or exploding himself in a mall or bus?

And damn the Arab countries who choose to let the Palestinians suffer and die. And don't think they aren't doing it deliberately. Palestinians matter to them only when it's convenient to their internal politics.
posted by etaoin at 12:16 PM on January 3, 2009


My advice to the residents of Gaza is to capitulate. Militancy hasn't worked. Total capitulation is the only strategy that hasn't been tried. Everything else from building the army of liberation in Lebanon, to talks and general strikes has been a total failure. What has resistance to the Israelis ever gotten any Palestinian, nothing, that's what. The individuals who are the best off are the ones who simply said screw it, and left for America or Canada; just like all those Jews who faced pogroms in Russia the 1800s; or Irish potato farmers. 3 generations forward you may be living in a trailer in Arkansas, but this will be a massive step up from a refugee camp in Gaza. Leave the life of suffering behind for something new. As Tom Petty said, You don't have to live like a refugee.
posted by humanfont at 12:26 PM on January 3, 2009


Can anyone who has actual knowledge write about a situation where hard military force has worked to actually stop terrorism, rather than ramp it up?
posted by nevercalm at 12:27 PM on January 3, 2009


Humanfront, I think in most situations in Gaza, it's more like Don Henley: You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.
posted by nevercalm at 12:28 PM on January 3, 2009


humanfont: How are people supposed to leave when the borders are sealed?
posted by delmoi at 12:38 PM on January 3, 2009


A Gaza Diary: Scenes from the Palestinian Uprising. From Harpers Oct. 2001. (pdf)
posted by timsteil at 12:39 PM on January 3, 2009


The Chris Hedges story at Harpers appears to be behind a paywall. Text versions here and here (Same text, different sites).
posted by Grangousier at 12:49 PM on January 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


After one week of bombings, the ground offensive was inevitable: I see this mess as the last glorious success of the hardline policy that, these last eight years, has given America the Iraq war and has given Israel the failed Lebanon attack, and now this Gaza thing. The main neocon targets -- Iran, Syria and Hizbullah in Lebanon -- have all increased their power and influence, these last eight years. Iraq is a festering sore, Arab nationalism is on the rise everywhere. Given the neocons record, the current Bush's strategy -- that this is all Obama's problem now -- might be the only rational thing Bush has done these last eight years.

But is it really Obama's problem? A slightly more realist approach by his administration -- possible, but I'm not holding my breath -- won't change the fact that the only actual, possible -- but unlikely -- definitive solution to the Gaza mess is the organized forceful removal of about one and a half million Palestinians from the premises, to be deported elsewhere to allow the Israelis to finally have their Gaza in an Arab-free, bomb-free condition. But Israel doesn't seem to have the stomach for it yet -- the balls for it they certainly do have already. The stomach, not really.

Interestingly, despite unanimous approval by both US political parties (the conservative one and the reactionary one), American popular support for American neutrality in the Israel-Palestine conflict -- ie, a 180 degrees change from the last 40 years of policy -- is on the rise. And all this despite a unanimously pro-Israel coverage in the US media -- yesterday's hilarious concurrence of two Washington Post editorials about the war on the same day -- from the right Charles Krauthammer (Reagan hagiographer, Iraq war cheerleader and -- quite disturbing for a M.D. such as Krauthammer -- torture supporter) and from the right Michael Gerson (former Bush speechwriter) are a splendid example. Even the allegedly liberal Huffington Post eventually published one single Palestinian voice, but with a disclaimer -- "the writer's opinions are his own and not the Huffington Post's".

Now that a two-state solution is impossible -- the reality is the 1948 borders are gone forever, and anyway Palestinians cannot take a "state" shot full of holes like Swiss cheese by hundreds of Israeli settlements linked by Israeli-only roads -- President Obama will not be able to do much about the whole mess (we all see how well Oslo ended).

Reducing military aid is impossible unless one is interested in political suicide, and anyway America are giving away a lot of weapons to Israel, thus making their own military-industrial complex busy and happy. But no matter how much the US media -- the same people who brought you the "mushroom cloud" lies before the Iraq attack -- beats the drum for Israel, a majority of Americans seem to be blissfully uninterested. But no matter how much carte blanche Washington gives Israel, the problem here is that support for Israeli wars remains soft in the actual United States -- as opposed to what happens in Washington and in the media. Thus seriously limiting Israel's only effective option -- the forceful removal and expulsion of all Palestinians. Not because of the world's reaction -- understandably, they couldn't care less -- but because the USA won't be able to fund the very expensive expulsion, relocation and the obviously expensive military entrechment of Greater Israel after that, ie their waiting for a quite inevitable rerun of 1967, on a larger scale.

Earlier today I overheard someone say that history shows the only way to have Jews and Arabs in Palestine without slaughter is a third-party protectorate that relieves both of actual power to wage war.

This is not Ulster -- I'm under 40, and I don't think I'll see an end to this conflict in my lifetime. Unless Israel gets a Pearl Harbor, or a 9/11 -- maybe a chemical attack? Then the deportation of Palestinians can happen, not just from Gaza but from much of the West Bank (the good parts, the ones with water). And the eventual "Greater Israel vs the Arab world" war after that will probably settle the conflict forever -- Armageddon, anyone? US evangelicals will certainly be thrilled. I hope I'm not there to watch it.
posted by matteo at 12:52 PM on January 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


The Chris Hedges story at Harpers appears to be behind a paywall.

Sorry about that...comes up just fine here. Cortex/Matt/Jess feel free to zap away
posted by timsteil at 12:55 PM on January 3, 2009


humanfont, why not give that same advice to Israel? I mean this aggression thing hasn't worked out so well. Why not capitulate and let the other side have a go? In the history of the world has a country ever gained it's objectives through capitulation?

CNN is carrying the border incursion live. Used to be loose lips sank ships, now it cover it live or it's not news.
posted by cjorgensen at 12:59 PM on January 3, 2009


Might have been my mistake - when I clicked on pages it told me I had to subscribe. I remember when it was first published. There were voices on Metafilter that were adamant that Hedges was a well-known anti-semite.

It's an interesting read. A favourite passage is:
Barefoot boys, clutching kites made out of scraps of paper and ragged soccer balls, squat a few feet away under scrub trees. Men in flowing white or gray galabias—homespun robes—smoke cigarettes in the shade of slim eaves. Two emaciated donkeys, their ribs protruding, are tethered to wooden carts with b rubber wheels.

It is still. The camp waits, as if holding its breath. And then, out of the dry furnace air, a disembodied voice crackles over a loudspeaker.

"Come on, dogs," the voice booms in Arabic. "Where are all the dogs of Khan Younis? Come! Come!"

I stand up. I walk outside the hut. The invective continues to spew: "Son of a bitch!" "Son of a whore!" "Your mother's cunt!"

The boys dart in small packs up the sloping dunes to the electric fence that separates the camp from the Jewish settlement. They lob rocks toward two armored jeeps parked on top of the dune and mounted with loudspeakers. Three ambulances line the road below the dunes in anticipation of what is to come.

A percussion grenade explodes. The boys, most no more than ten or eleven years old, scatter, running clumsily across the heavy sand. They descend out of sight behind a sandbank in front of me. There are no sounds of gunfire. The soldiers shoot with silencers. The bullets from the M-16 rifles tumble end over end through the children's slight bodies. Later, in the hospital, I will see the destruction: the stomachs ripped out, the gaping holes in limbs and torsos.
posted by Grangousier at 1:00 PM on January 3, 2009


Is anyone going to comment on the content of the blogs themselves or is this just a continuation of the other I/P thread? WTF?
posted by spicynuts at 1:02 PM on January 3, 2009


Thanks for the contribution, spicynuts. Hypocrite much? And if you read the links you're criticizing others for not commenting on, I think you will see the commentary in this thread seems pretty spot on. Or are you just wanting direct quotes?
posted by cjorgensen at 1:07 PM on January 3, 2009


Do you have to be Jewish to be a citizen of Israel? It seems to me, from my completely naive point of view, that there would be progress if they made Israel secular and took all the religious language out of everything.

No, you don't have to be Jewish to be a citizen of Israel. But there is the Law of Return which "gives Jews, those of Jewish ancestry, and their spouses the right to migrate to and settle in Israel and gain citizenship." This is understandably very angering to those Palestinian refugees who were displaced from their homes and have not been allowed to return by the Israeli government.

Most Israelis don't want to give up the Jewish character of the Israeli state but there is some support for a one-state solution.

Nelson Mandela wrote about these issues in a letter to Thomas Friedman, in which he famously compared the situation in Israel/Palestine to apartheid South Africa:

...there are still problems of 1948 to be solved, the most important component of which is the right to return of Palestinian refugees....

Israel was not thinking of a "state" but of "separation". The value of separation is measured in terms of the ability of Israel to keep the Jewish state Jewish, and not to have a Palestinian minority that could have the opportunity to become a majority at some time in the future. If this takes place, it would force Israel to either become a secular democratic or bi-national state, or to turn into a state of apartheid not only de facto, but also de jure...

If you also follow the judicial system in Israel you will see there is discrimination against Palestinians, and if you further consider the 1967 occupied territories you will find there are already two judicial systems in operation that represent two different approaches to human life: one for Palestinian life and the other for Jewish life. Additionally there are two different approaches to property and to land. Palestinian property is not recognised as private property because it can be confiscated.

posted by overglow at 1:12 PM on January 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


In other words, yes, you have to be jewish to be a Full Citizen of Israel.
posted by mr.marx at 1:23 PM on January 3, 2009


AJ Gaza on Twitter.
posted by Substrata at 1:32 PM on January 3, 2009


humanfont, why not give that same advice to Israel? I mean this aggression thing hasn't worked out so well. Why not capitulate and let the other side have a go? In the history of the world has a country ever gained it's objectives through capitulation?

A country's first objective is being organized to further the prosperity and freedom of its citizens. Palestine has failed to deliver and shows no prospect of being able to deliver on these goals. I'm uninterested in the reasons why it has failed, I'm simply stating the objective fact that it has failed. A country is just a human organization like a corporation or a religion. Organizations fail all the time. Given the misery of the population perhaps it is time to consider if there are alternatives that would provide for better potential for prosperity and freedom for the individual members. The question of the long term viability of Israel is still open. Currently it seems capable of providing a degree of prosperity and freedom to its citizenry that is inline with peer nations. Capitulation will not achieve the goal of a palestinian homeland in the middle east. It will result in the end of Palestine and the end of a unique global culture. It is a terrible thing, but perhaps it is time to consider if it is the least bad alternative given available options.
posted by humanfont at 1:34 PM on January 3, 2009


B'Tselem seems to be a source of media from Palestinians' point of view. They were responsible (IIRC) for distributing video cameras to try and capture everyday settler-palestinian clashes. Now the BBC has given them another shoutout for documenting a more plausible explanation of an Israeli "swift, accurate military target destruction". Welding cylinders, not rockets.
posted by anthill at 1:46 PM on January 3, 2009


humanfont, maybe I had a different 2008 from you, but failed organisations are benfitting from a near trillion dollar bail out. I guess it's important to safeguard artificial persons such as corporations much more than them old-testamentless heathens, eh?If we want to talk about 'fail' and 'religions', looks like Judaism failed when Christianity took off. Christianity is failing right now as Islam is rising.
posted by davemee at 1:50 PM on January 3, 2009


Propaganda war: trusting what we see?
posted by adamvasco at 1:51 PM on January 3, 2009


I will not enter into a discussion of the rights and wrongs, the contentious issues that are behind the strife that has been going on for so many years, but I would like to note that for all those who say Israel directs American policy, clearly from earlier reports this morning on various sites (news) Israel waited for an ok from Washington before going ahead with its ground offensive. Thus: America does not take orders from israel but rather it is the other way around...Now continue with your arguments.
posted by Postroad at 2:09 PM on January 3, 2009


so fwiw i was reading the plastic post on IP and was kinda struck by the media aspect* (esp the israeli YT PR), the back and forth thread on 'disproportionate response' and letter comparing the situation with apartheid s.africa (rebuttal)

i've also been peripherally following obsidianwings' coverage and it does seem to keep coming back to 'land for peace',** like either jewish settlement is ratcheted back or (i guess the 'logic' goes) palestinians will eventually either be wiped out or develop (or obtain access to) a 'suitable' deterrent -- perhaps global condemnation or, say, (eventually) iranian nukes...

---
*watching the newshour IP and ME coverage (e.g. 1, 2) it feels like -- i don't wanna say 'infecting' (maybe more like catalysing?) -- opposition is hardening not just on either side (if it didn't awhile ago) but even for nominally (dis)interested parties re: world opinion; it seems as if the conflict has a life of its own and is trying to draw in more players, regionally and internationally, however much they would like to relegate it to the (dismissive) 'scale' of, i dunno, the kalenjin vs. the kisii

**depending on how 'divisble' the stakes are

posted by kliuless at 2:10 PM on January 3, 2009


"In Paris, more than 20,000 demonstrators, many wearing Arab keffiyeh headscarves, chanted slogans like "Israel murderer!."

In London, 10,000 protesters led by singer Annie Lennox carried Palestinian flags and placards with slogans such as "End the siege on Gaza" and "Stop the massacre."

From the Reuter's link.

Israel fails yet again.
posted by bardic at 2:21 PM on January 3, 2009


Israel waited for an ok from Washington before going ahead with its ground offensive.

Anybody else think they needed to do this while Bush was still in office?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 2:42 PM on January 3, 2009 [7 favorites]


Heh. Plastic is what Metafilter would be like if it's members were as dumb as youtube commenters and as pedantic and snotty as wikipedia editors.
posted by Artw at 2:46 PM on January 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


failed organisations are benfitting from a near trillion dollar bail out. I guess it's important to safeguard artificial persons such as corporations much more than them old-testamentless heathens, eh?If we want to talk about 'fail' and 'religions', looks like Judaism failed when Christianity took off. Christianity is failing right now as Islam is rising.

I'm not talking about a religion, I'm talking about a country; and actually more the idea of a country, since the actual instruments of state have not been granted to the Palestinians in a meaningful way. As a proto-state the Palestinian movement has failed to become organized in an effective way. This leads me to suggest as a matter of argument that the individuals involved should seek out an alternative in the interests of their own welfare. As soon as the bombs stop dropping, I advocate leaving. It isn't a great option, frankly it sucks. However walking away from a bad hand is often the best option. Havn't we learned in the past year that materialism leads only to death and suffering? Isn't nationalism just another kind of materialism. Since options exist other than living generation after generation in the refugee camp; I say take the option.

On the religious failure question. One could argue that all religions fail, since they promise peace, love and understanding but generally deliver strife, infighting and buggering of the acolytes. I'm not sure how you get from the demographic trend lines for a religion to its success or failure. After all the book of revelation proclaims that only 144K will be saved. Which would suggest that believers number 144,001 and higher should drop out and look for another way to the kingdom of heaven.
posted by humanfont at 2:51 PM on January 3, 2009


Speaking of the media issue, this was an intresting bit from Juan Cole's blog
At 2:06 pm on Saturday 1/3 EST, I was watching CNN, the US feed, which had temporarily switched to the London desk of CNN International. CNN International began an interview with PLO spokesman Saeb Erakat, the first time I have seen a Palestinian commenter on US television during the past week with the exception of the PA envoy to the UN.
posted by delmoi at 2:53 PM on January 3, 2009


Actually, Plastic is the Metafilter it's not okay to like.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 3:50 PM on January 3, 2009


malter51: you've got it wrong. Israel broke the cease-fire with Hamas first ... Israel attacked Gaza and Hamas responded with rockets.

From the 3quarksdaily blog:

[t]he rockets into Israeli territory after nearly six months of cease-fire followed – rather than preceded – the Israeli invasion into, and the killings of Palestinians inside, the occupied Gaza Strip. On November 14, the paper’s Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Ethan Bronner, re-stated the same facts reported by Kershner; he additionally voiced them in his accompanying interview on NYT radio – both can be read/heard here.

More crucially, Israeli and international sources from the first week of November 2008 – sources that are scholarly and (otherwise) more reliable than the NYT – shed further light on the misleading claim by the NYT editors. They include, but are by no means limited to:

The Israeli Haaretz, November 5, 2008: “Israel Defense Forces troops yesterday killed a Hamas gunman and wounded two others in the first armed clash in the Gaza Strip since a cease-fire was declared there in June. […] An Israeli army spokeswoman said troops had entered the territory.”

The Israeli Yediot Ahronot, November 5, 2008: “For the first time since the ceasefire took effect in June, IDF forces operated deep in the Gaza Strip Tuesday night.”

(Note: had the NYT editors bothered to consult Hebrew sources they would have easily found that the Hebrew version of the news item cited above is even clearer.)

The Times (UK), November 5, 2008: “A five-month truce between Israel and the Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip was foundering yesterday after Israeli special forces entered the besieged territory and fought.”

The Guardian, November 5, 2008: “Hamas militants fired more than 35 rockets into Israel today, hours after the Israeli army killed six people inside the Gaza Strip in the first major exchange of fire since a truce took effect in June.”
posted by Azaadistani at 4:01 PM on January 3, 2009 [8 favorites]


the only...definitive solution to the Gaza mess is the organized forceful removal of about one and a half million Palestinians from the premises, to be deported elsewhere to allow the Israelis to finally have their Gaza in an Arab-free, bomb-free condition

...if one changes the preceding quote (by matteo) to read as follows...

the only...definitive solution to the Gaza mess is the organized forceful removal of about 5.4 million Jews from the premises, to be deported elsewhere to allow the Arabs to finally have their Gaza in an Israeli-free, bomb-free condition

...then one sees how dubious such "final solution" (unfortunate phrase) claims are.

Furthermore, to call the situation a mess (matteo uses the word three times) tends to obscure Israel's ulterior motive in its latest incursion. The evidence suggests it is a premeditated and long-planned attempt to overthrow Hamas. Thus, whatever mess Israel it is doing so on purpose: i.e. to deliberately obscure its ultimate intention. That Israel will fail yet again to force its will through military means is a given: I agree with matteo on that.

In my opinion the apparent long-term intractability of the I/P conflict is not a given--despite the fact that Israel's current position is both so morally bankrupt and counter-productive (Israel has done more for Hamas recruitment this week than anything Hamas could ever have done).
posted by ornate insect at 4:15 PM on January 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Daily Life in Gaza, December 3rd, 2008. (youtube)

Auschwitz or the Warsaw Ghetto, you tell me?
posted by davidstandaford at 4:20 PM on January 3, 2009


In my opinion the apparent long-term intractability of the I/P conflict is not a given--despite the fact that Israel's current position is both so morally bankrupt and counter-productive (Israel has done more for Hamas recruitment this week than anything Hamas could ever have done).

"Morally bankrupt" is totally meaningless, but what do you think would be most productive to Israel's interests?
posted by Mr. President Dr. Steve Elvis America at 4:38 PM on January 3, 2009


For those asking for a Gandhi for Palestine, please read the history of India and Pakistan's independence and the history of European colonization. Your wish is, while well-meaning, is inapposite.

First, the Anglo and Euro colonies consisted of two kinds: Anglo-Euro settler colonies that became the 'New World' (e.g., the US, Canada, Australia, NZ, South Africa) to where an overpopulated Old World transferred much of its population, which were granted 'dominion status'; and the non-settler colonies (e.g., India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Egypt). As an imperial outpost, what is today Israel became the 20th century equivalent of a 'settler' or 'dominion' Anglo-Euro colony. In the settler colonies, the native population was either decimated (in the US, Canada, Australia) or is today in control (South Africa, Zimbabwe). Non-violent resistance Gandhi-style worked in neither case. Gandhian principles could only work, and only to a limited extent, where the Anglo-Euro occupiers did not seek to settle and become the only property owners in the colony, and therefore are entirely unsuitable for the Palestinians, unless they want to go the way of the Native Americans, Aborigines or the First Peoples' of Canada. Your well-meaning but naive wishes would condemn them to sign up to their own genocide at worst, or at best, living in reservations or bantustans, which is akin to what the Occupied Territories of Gaza and the West Bank are today.

Secondly, Gandhi was by no means the lynchpin behind the decline of the British Empire and its retreat from its non-settler colonies. While Gandhi was an inspirational leader and a very influential figure in the movement for independence, the British left South Asia because they could not sustain all of their Empire in the aftermath of the bankrupting and debilitating Second World War. Consequently, and I daresay, rightly so, a Palestinian Gandhi would gain little traction in Palestine, if he or she has not already been killed by the IDF or is not sitting today in an Israeli prison.

Lastly, a Palestinian Gandhi would only be effective against a state that wants peace with the Palestinian people. I do not believe that the Israeli establishment wants peace with the Palestinian people (even if surveys say the majority of Israelis claim they want it). If Israel wanted peace with the Palestinian people why would it have allowed hundreds of illegal settlements with impunity? Why would it not allow the right of return to the Christian and Muslim Palestinian refugees living in neighboring countries, while at the same time allowing anyone who has a Jewish mother anywhere in the world instant citizenship?
posted by Azaadistani at 5:06 PM on January 3, 2009 [9 favorites]


Seems like deja vu to me.
I say send them to Thunderdome. 2 in and 1 out. Done.
posted by a3matrix at 5:17 PM on January 3, 2009


I do not believe that the Israeli establishment wants peace with the Palestinian people (even if surveys say the majority of Israelis claim they want it).

Do you believe the Palestinian establishment wants peace with Israel? The majority of Palestinians?
posted by davidstandaford at 5:18 PM on January 3, 2009


Gaza: Life under bombardment. Hatem al-Shurrab, an aid worker for the Gaza-based Islamic Relief organisation, has kept a video diary of the last few days to show what conditions have been like since Israeli air strikes began
posted by homunculus at 5:47 PM on January 3, 2009


>I say send them to Thunderdome. 2 in and 1 out. Done.

They've been in there for years.
posted by darth_tedious at 5:57 PM on January 3, 2009


Well, on the bright side-----okay "bright" is too strong an adjective-----but to put a tiny little speck of glitter on the bloody brow of occupation and genocide:

I had the privilege of marching through Manhattan with 15,000+ people protesting the Gaza Massacres today, and it was great to see that so much well-meaning passion could exist in one place.

Through the course of the march, there was only one pro-Israel faction, who lowered a flag from the 10th story of a building on 2nd Avenue and proceeded to throw eggs at us.

Keep it classy, Israel.
posted by odasaku at 6:49 PM on January 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Thread on Reddit discussing a gruesome video of the aftermath of an IDF attack on a Gaza market. The video linked from the thread is NSFW.
posted by carter at 7:07 PM on January 3, 2009


I'm assuming that the video is genuine ...
posted by carter at 7:09 PM on January 3, 2009


As it unfolds...
posted by odasaku at 8:02 PM on January 3, 2009


If Israel has Woodward's secret weapon...
posted by acro at 8:08 PM on January 3, 2009


Israel just can't win with you people.

No, im not saying we should always agree with what they do, or greenlight them whenever they respond to attacks, or approve of the apparent humanitarian violations that are taking place now.

But goddamn it, this is a tiny country in a land where they know everyone hates them and will do anything to kill them, and their enemies have made this abundantly clear. Forget who "owns" the land and one/two state solutions: What the fuck else are they supposed to do?

Israel is the high school nerd everyone else makes fun of and picks on and when he finally fights back, all the bullies act like pussies and whine to the adminstrators (UN/general idiotic antisemitic worldwide views). Fuck the jocks, they continue to bring this on, and act smug when their actions are disproportionally responded to. Can you blame then nerd for having his back up against a wall and doing what he must to protect himself and his well-being?

That being said, I'm very sorry so many innocent people are paying for this, and Israel shouldn't be blockading supplies like they are; but they're trying to cut off Hamas in the only way they know how. But to clarify, would the OTHER SIDE be handing out water bottles/food/supplies to their enemies if the situation was reversed, or even allow the supplies to go through? Goddamn you Hamas, you fucking cowards. Terrorists hiding behind their citizens as shields. THEY'RE HAPPY PEOPLE ARE DYING TO SUIT THEIR AGENDA. Why is the finger pointed as Israel first and Hamas second?

Sorry if this post was a little too angry, its just sickening seeing all the Warsaw ghetto and Gaza strip comparisons. Don't even being to compare what Gaza's like to the Nazi ideology and what Jews have had to go through in the 20th century. History shows us the Jews can never win or gain public sentiment for their actions, and everyones taking the same approach right now.
posted by andruwjones26 at 8:37 PM on January 3, 2009 [4 favorites]


Forget who "owns" the land

Why should we? David Ben Gurion thought it was relevant:
If I was an Arab leader I would never make terms with Israel. That is natural: we have taken their country. Sure God promised it to us, but what does that matter to them? Our God is not theirs. We come from Israel, but two thousand years ago, and what is that to them?
posted by fleetmouse at 9:02 PM on January 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


Israel is the high school nerd everyone else makes fun of

Israel is the cocky jock that starves people for a whole month before rocket-bombing 500 of them dead, and then pretends to be the victim because the teachers are all in love with them anyway.

The death toll tells the story, mate.
posted by odasaku at 9:37 PM on January 3, 2009 [10 favorites]


andruwjones26 once said: "WHEN CIVILIANS ARE CURRENTLY BEING HELD HOSTAGE AND DYING, THERE IS NO TIME TO UNDERSTAND THEM

TAKING INNOCENT LIFE = BAD, AND THESE PEOPLE MUST BE DEALT WITH FIRMLY AND JUSTLY"

and then said: "Fuck the jocks, they continue to bring this on, and act smug when their actions are disproportionally responded to. Can you blame then nerd for having his back up against a wall and doing what he must to protect himself and his well-being?"

Either it is ok to kill innocent people, and completely ruin uninvolved people's lives, or it isn't. Why does Isreal inspire such hypocrisy? Is it because it is a country defined by a people that worship an imaginary sky-monster?

Of course they picked a fight with another group of people that worship an imaginary sky-monster, but I am on the side of the civilians living in shit hole ghettos who are having their children blown up by smart bombs. I won't be comparing the Israeli actions to Nazi actions because I think it is inaccurate. Israel is like apartheid South African but worse. In the future, I think we may curse people on the internet and crash thread discussion by calling people Israelis.
posted by fuq at 9:40 PM on January 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Thread on Reddit discussing a gruesome video of the aftermath of an IDF attack on a Gaza market. The video linked from the thread is NSFW.

Actually, there are some questions about this video - some are claiming...

"...it was not taken in a civilian market, and it was not the result of an IDF air strike.
This video is from September 23rd 2005, and was taken in the Jabalya refugee camp in north Gaza. A Hamas pick-up truck carrying Qassam rockets as part of a Hamas rally exploded during a march, leaving at least 19 killed and 80 injured."


but who knows what the "truth" is at this point.
posted by bitteroldman at 10:04 PM on January 3, 2009


What is Israel to do?

I truly believe Israel stole their country. What Western country hasn't? Oh, except that also, we walked in and killed every last person who objected. All the big boys did it 100 years ago and Israel was just 50 years late to the party, but there's a reason.

They were held back by being persecuted unto death in almost every country in the world, since practically the beginning of time. Not to mention, a good deal of their number were occupied being wiped out by a country they were helping to rebuild after a horrendous and idiotic war they didn't start. And it is this reason alone that makes me think, "you know what? I'm going to cut them a little slack."

I think this is the key part most people miss. In human memory Jews were almost eradicated from the planet. In history, since the beginning, they have been hounded, hated and hunted. What does that do to a people? I know that just the crap deal native Americans have gotten has led to some serious psychosocial issues. Imagine how the Jews must feel.

The Jews don't just feel like people don't like them, they know people don't like them. Ghettos have been built to house them. Pogroms have been waged to kill them. There are more derogatory names for Jews than any minority on the planet, and people expect a nation composed of such folks to say, "Hey, maybe peace will work this time. Let's give it a shot." Hell, no. Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. If it seems like maybe Israel is a bit callous, a bit extreme, a bit much, maybe, that's because they are literally fighting for their lives.

Every compromise for Israel is bad. Even in the smiley-happy world of a peaceful integration, as many have pointed out, in a few generations, the Jews would be a minority again. Then what would happen? That's right, more pogroms, more hatred and more dead Jews. I'm not blaming the Palestinians, it seems to happen with everyone. I'm surprised we haven't somehow managed to boot the Jews out of America. I'm sure there are plans somewhere and who knows, if the economy keeps tanking we'll have to blame someone...

So, yeah Israel stole a country. Yeah they're killing a bunch of people who don't deserve it (but also some who do) and yeah it might not help in the long run, but does anyone have a better solution? One that doesn't end with more dead Jews?
posted by BeReasonable at 10:32 PM on January 3, 2009


andruwjones26, in 1948, Israel took more land the the UN plan allowed. The dream of Greater Israel has been strong ever since. Here are a two more quotes about who chose to seize land in '67:

‘In June 1967, we again had a choice. The Egyptian Army concentrations in the Sinai approaches do not prove that Nasser was really about to attack us. We must be honest with ourselves. We decided to attack him.’ —Menahem Begin

“I do not think Nasser wanted war. The two divisions he sent to The Sinai would not have been sufficient to launch an offensive war. He knew it and we knew it.” —Yitzhak Rabin

Israel has a simple but hard choice: It can give up the land it conquered in '67, or it can give Palestinians equal citizenship. There's no third moral option.
posted by shetterly at 10:51 PM on January 3, 2009 [5 favorites]


Israel screwed up for many years by not fostering economic development in the West Bank and Gaza; if they had it would have been a tremendous rebuke to radical Islam and the Palestinians, who are very practical, might have a true economic stake in where they live. Also, Israel's insane settlers should not have been allowed to inflame the situation. Having said that, it is also obvious that few here have ever been under any sort of attack. Let me ask some of you: if your homes were under rocket attack, what would you consider a "proportionate response"? The obvious answer is that you would do what it takes to make the other side stop, and until they do the blood is entirely on their hands. 500? 1000? It would have been easy to have prevented this. Don't fire rockets. Period. But if I were an Israeli living near Gaza, I would say, hell no, I'm not going to die in the name of proportionality. You keep firing rockets, we will continue to attack until either 1) you stop, 2) you have decided the price is too high, or 3) there are no more of you. I am not normally a supporter of Israel, but I absolutely do not blame them in this case. And don't give me BS about "closed borders." After the history of suicide bombings, no country in the world would do otherwise. Much as I dislike Israel, I dislike the hypocrisy of some of you even more, who would ask others to refrain from defending themselves in ways you would never even consider for yourself.
posted by ottlite at 11:01 PM on January 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


BeReasonable, who is trying to kill Jews? Ahmadinejad accepts Israel's right to exist. Four years ago, Sheik Hassan Yousef said, "Hamas has announced that it accepts a Palestinian independent state within the 1967 borders with a long-term truce."

That offer stood as recently as the day before Christmas: Hamas says it could consider new long-term truce with Israel.

But Israel does not want to return to its old borders. Israel talks about other countries recognizing its right to exist, but it never defines the borders that it wants recognized.
posted by shetterly at 11:03 PM on January 3, 2009 [2 favorites]


ottlite, Gaza was being blockaded, which is an act of war by international standards. If Israel truly wants peace, all it has to do is return to the '67 borders or give Palestinians full citizenship. Which do you think is right?
posted by shetterly at 11:06 PM on January 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


Count my vote for it's a big mess I don't have an answer to, but it's funny to see people from the US complaining about Israel's disproportionate responses to terrorism. The US gets hit by one terrorist attack that kills 2000 people. The US reacts by invading two sovereign nations, killing by some estimates 600,000 people. If the US was the target of the number of attacks Israel receives we would be taking our attackers apart. And not counting the civilian costs.

There is a fair amount of criticism of Israel, but what would you have them do? If they don't fight, Israel will be wiped out. (they have fought several wars in recent memory that if they had lost would have resulted in no more Israel) If they fight, their superior forces and the guerrilla nature of their opposition will ensure significantly more civilian causalities on the other side. (Another parallel to the US in Iraq could be made here...)

People from the US don't get to judge this conflict from the moral high ground. The Israeli's don't get the high ground either, and Hamas certainly doesn't get the high ground. The only people who have a claim to it are the people on both sides working towards some kind of accommodation. Good luck to them.
posted by pseudonick at 11:11 PM on January 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


Shetterly, Ahmadinejad has stated many times he wants to wipe Israel off the map, and I'm glad that you feel comfortable volunteering Israelis to accept the risk of whether he means it. After all, if you're wrong, it's not you who dies. You are right, though, that Israel must inevitably return to 1967 borders because they have become corrupted by occupying these territories for so long. Their policies have been atrocious. But do keep in mind that were they to have given back all of the 1967 land immediately after the war, it would not have assuaged the Arabs, and I feel confident that most of the posters here would have done the same damn thing had been the ones in charge.
posted by ottlite at 11:18 PM on January 3, 2009


Shetterly, i didn't see your Gaza comment. Blockade? Do you mean to prevent suicide bombers from entering the country?
posted by ottlite at 11:20 PM on January 3, 2009


Has Hamas changed its charter? No? Well that's bit of problem then.

Also, as I tried to make belaboringly obvious, just because no one is trying to kill them now, although rockets being shot at them would seem to qualify as trying to kill them, it doesn't mean Israel should relax. History has shown that the hatred and killing will start up anytime now. Except, let's be honest, in the Middle East it has never stopped.
posted by BeReasonable at 11:37 PM on January 3, 2009


I find it strange that Israel is targeting missile launch sites- I expect that the missile launchers can be easily moved, and therefore it seems like an act of revenge more than anything else.

This is probably the most absurd thing I've read about in connection to this attack: An Israeli air strike flattened one of Gaza's best private educational institutions, the American International School which had been targeted by Islamic militants in the past.
posted by niccolo at 12:20 AM on January 4, 2009


I don't know if this is off-topic, but I just wanted to say that, despite not knowing what a grargrar is, I still think it's a fine word, its unpronounceable expressive qualities only complimented by the fact that jessamyn generated two of the top hits for the word on Google.
posted by the cydonian at 1:19 AM on January 4, 2009


I used to think "an eye for an eye" was barbaric, but it would be an improvement over these hundreds of eyes for a dozen eyes.
posted by surlycat at 2:44 AM on January 4, 2009


Has Hamas changed its charter? No? Well that's bit of problem then.

What makes you think it hasn't? I think it has, actually.
posted by delmoi at 3:21 AM on January 4, 2009


Shetterly, i didn't see your Gaza comment. Blockade? Do you mean to prevent suicide bombers from entering the country?

How does preventing food from going in stop suicide bombers from getting out?
posted by delmoi at 3:22 AM on January 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


As related here this Israeli attack was incredibly well planned with a very slick PR campaign mounted.
Israel first broke the truce on November 4th - the day of American elections, thus getting minimal coverage in the world's press.
As shown by this interactive timeline the air assault started on Saturday 27 December when the western world's leaders and their operations managers were all on holiday, shopping or hung over. The ground invasion commenced on a Saturday night. Nothing on a diplomatic level is going to be decided before the middle of the coming week.
The outgoing US administration will smile happily as in their last days in power their neocon agenda (as pointed out by matteo) is pushed forward. The incoming government states that there can be only one President at a time. A political vacuum exists in the west; Europe gives Israel the green light, whilest both France and UK demand a cease fire. The Arab states notably Egypt do as little as possible. Egypt as one of the largest beneficiaries of US aid knows that if they go to the Palestinians help they will forfeit that aid and their already rickety economy will collapse. The corrupt Arab governments are terrified of Hammas anyway. Meanwhile the shills for Israel are crying that this is a defensive operation and carefully ignore what has gone before.
posted by adamvasco at 4:29 AM on January 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Though can someone run refresh me on this, why is there a Gaza Strip in the first place?

Short answer: The British controlled the area from after WW1 until the UN voted in 1947 to partition then-Palestine between the Arabs and the Jews. It was supposed to be part of a Palestinian state, but Egypt conquered it and held it until 1967 when it lost both the strip and (the much larger) Sinai Peninsula to Israel. Israel returned the Sinai Peninsula to Egypt as part of the peace treaty which followed the Camp David accords, but Egypt refused to accept the return of the Gaza Strip.

Does it sort of exist as a quasi-ghetto?

Yes and no. It's considerably larger than any real ghetto and there's no external constraint on the lives of its inhabitants, other than the pressure of Israel's blockade. On the other hand, it is a relatively small space which is hard to leave.

I have this image of a crowded Middle Eastern city surrounded by concrete walls and Children of Men type checkpoints.

Oh no. It's much larger than that. According to Wikipedia it's 360 square kilometers or 139 square miles in area. That's a lot larger than many real, independent countries. It's not huge, though.

Do you have to be Jewish to be a citizen of Israel?

No. About a quarter of Israel's citizens aren't Jewish. It's much easier to become a citizen if you're Jewish or have a Jewish spouse: Israel has a special provision in its laws called the Law of Return that says that you can't be denied citizenship in such cases. But people can and do apply for citizenship under the normal process all the time.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:09 AM on January 4, 2009


Israel first broke the truce on November 4th - the day of American elections, thus getting minimal coverage in the world's press.
posted by adamvasco at 7:29 AM on January 4 [1 favorite +] [!]

What happened on the 3rd precipitating their response? Didn't Hamas choose not to renew the ceasefire?
posted by rosswald at 7:37 AM on January 4, 2009


Do you believe the Palestinian establishment wants peace with Israel? The majority of Palestinians?

Yes, and Yes with a caveat. The Palestinian Authority under the leadership of Fatah does. Hamas does provided that Israel is not an exclusively Jewish state. Remember, also, that Israel funded and helped groom Hamas to undermine the secular PLO, which was considered to be anathema to Israel.

However, it is Israel that dictates the response by the Palestinian leadership, because Israel is more powerful today. Not the other way around, as the very pro-Israel media in the US and Europe would like you to believe (and this is not to defend the Arab media, which has its own sets of problems). See Adamvasco's at 7.29 AM.

All of you who believe that Israel must be a Jewish state, for whatever reasons, whether you are Jewish or not, and particularly those of you who live in Europe or the US: do you believe that the US should be a Christian state? Or the UK, France, etc.? Do you believe India should be a Hindu state? Do you believe that Turkey should be an Islamic state? Do you believe that only Christians should serve in your respective armed forces, where previous employment in your armed forces is mandatory for most jobs in the private and public sector, as is the case in Israel with respect to the IDF? If not, why then do you believe that there must be a Jewish state in a country where the quarter of the population is not Jewish? Please provide me an intellectually consistent rationale. I've never heard of one except the tiresome canard: the Jews have been persecuted always and have no state. Well, nor do a lot of other religious and ethnic groups.

All those who are pro-Israel as an exclusively Jewish state are sowing the seeds for the violent destruction of Israel as a Jewish state in what is likely to be under a century. The demographics of the state of Israel will so dictate. Pluralism, rather than exclusivity, is the answer. A truncated, moth-eaten Palestinian state will not provide the solution, for within Israel the number of non-Jews will exceed the number of Jews in about 50 years or less. That is why, I believe, Israel attacks the Palestinians, in many cases unprovoked, to radicalize them and make them seem like blood-thirsty fanatics, while blatantly planting settlers in the West Bank, so that when the Israeli government makes its next peace overture, it will argue for 'transfer' or swapping majority Palestinian land in Israel (where the Israeli Palestinians or Israeli Arabs as they are known today) for West Bank land now occupied by Israeli settlers, to try and maintain itself as demographically majority-Jewish. Because the world will believe that the Palestinians, ever-more led by Hamas (given what's going on today in Gaza), are bloodthirsty and evil and 'terrorist' , the world will say: aah yes, the transfer or swapping of land makes sense so that the Muslim and Christian Palestinians can live together and separately from the Jews and underwrite the ethnic cleansing of Israel of non-Jews. The state of Israel is willing to sacrifice the lives of the few poor Jews who live along Gaza and at whom rockets are fired, for that greater unstated purpose ... else, why would not it help those Jews out of poverty and enable them to move away? Israel certainly has the money. However, I don't believe that Israel will be able to pull off its transfer policy.
posted by Azaadistani at 7:53 AM on January 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


ottlite, Israel is a country, and Jews are people. Even if Ahmadinejad had not said he would respect the Palestinian people's decision about one state or two, he would still not be saying that he wanted to kill Jews, and he has clearly said that this is not so. See Myth of Iran wiping Israel off the map dispelled (interview with Ahmadinejad).

And another useful article for dispelling myths: On Israel's "Right to Exist".
posted by shetterly at 8:33 AM on January 4, 2009


Pseudonick, you make an excellent point that often creeps into my subconscious but I never really think about; the irony of some Americans seeing typical Israeli retaliation in these situations as disproportionate. The US has been attacked once in the last 60+ years, and as horrific an attack it was we clearly fucked up in our response. I can't even begin to imagine what the U.S. would do if it was subject to the same threats and daily rocket attacks that all borders of Israel deal with. I am an American, and although I am ashamed of our governments foreign policy decisions since 9/11 I recognize the basic right of our country to defend itself from outside predators. Israel also has this right, and it can't be stripped of it because of popular opinion.

Now, the question here is not that Israel doesn't have the right to defend itself, but to what degree it must defend. This is bullshit because why should outside governing bodies like the (yes I'll say it) anti-semitic UN choose how they can respond? In the long run this undermines the autonomy of Israel, as right or wrong as what they are doing now. To be honest, I think the Israeli government is acting a little assholish right now, but it needs to be tough in making a statement to Hamas that we are not going to deal with your bullshit anymore and we will invade and cause mayhem when you rise up. Isn't that what the US is trying to do in the war on terror, be a bunch of dicks but in the process say don't fuck with us?

Fuq, I'm not going to begin explaining my comment about the Mumbai siege to this incident, out of context it looks hypocritical but I see differences between suicide militants bent on mayhem and the Israeli military. Maybe some people don't, they'll argue both are cold killers with no regard for life, but I do.

How does preventing food from going in stop suicide bombers from getting out?

They don't; they starve. Israel is making things desperate for this people in hopes they'll stop and agree to a cease fire. Once again it is extremely unfortunate so many civilians are affected, but its not like this isn't already happening everyday in many parts of the globe. Why are people outraged at Israel instead of caring about Darfur and other oppressive regimes? Just cause CNN doesn't broadcast there?
posted by andruwjones26 at 8:53 AM on January 4, 2009


How does preventing food going in prevent suicide bombers coming out? Can you elaborate? Before Hamas broke the cease fire, did Israel prevent food from going in? I don't think this was the case. They did prevent Gazans from coming into Israel, which certainly seems understandable.

If I'm wrong, I'll admit it. After the cease fire is another story. Once you launch attacks, you put your people at risk of the depravations of war.

If I were Hamas, I would have spent the recent years trying to build up Gaza, and I would appealed for help from the Gulf States which have more money than anyone in the world and are building the most beautiful cities on the face of the earth. I cannot understand why Hamas decided to break the cease fire and attack Israel. It made no sense.
posted by ottlite at 9:09 AM on January 4, 2009


andruwjones26, Israel is not responding to Palestinian violence. The Palestinians were there first. Do you blame the Sioux and the Irish for what the US and the English did?

Antisemitism and antizionism are not the same thing. Some Zionists are Christians. Some Jews oppose Zionism. Surely you would agree that it's possible to oppose fascism and not be anticatholic?

Last, in the current situation, Israel broke the ceasefire with military raids on the US's election day. Talking about Israel's "retaliation" is extremely inaccurate.
posted by shetterly at 9:17 AM on January 4, 2009


ottlite, try googling "gaza blockade." Here's one result that might help you: Carter calls Gaza blockade a 'crime and atrocity'
posted by shetterly at 9:20 AM on January 4, 2009


Gaza 2008: Micro-Wars and Macro-Wars
posted by homunculus at 9:37 AM on January 4, 2009


Also Ottlite, Hamas did not break the ceasefire.
posted by nevercalm at 9:39 AM on January 4, 2009


shetterly, thanks, I did google "Gaza blockade," but so far as I can tell the blockade is tightened or loosened in response to rocket attacks. When there are no attacks for a long time it seems we do not hear about the blockade. Is this true? And, I mght add, if I were an Israeli, I might ask you why I should not be allowed to institute a blockade on an entity that calls for my destruction and is trying to arm itself from the outside to further its aims in this direction. Again, it pains me to see the double standard applied. From the safety of where you live, you keep telling the Israelis to do things that you would never consider for yourself. If Hamas had entirely peaceful motives, I would agree that any blockade by Israel would be criminal and they should be subject to the strongest censure possible. But are Israel's critics being totally honest with themselves? If you lived 2 km from Gaza and there were open borders, would you let your family go to a movie or visit a market in your village? Why does the world insist that Israel accept suicide bombers and rockets? I do not think these things are "proportionate" to Israel's crimes, which consist of of atrociously managing the West Bank and Gaza when under their control and allowing their settlers to run amok.
posted by ottlite at 9:40 AM on January 4, 2009


"Hamas did not break the ceasefire?" What, does language no longer have any meaning?
posted by ottlite at 9:41 AM on January 4, 2009


Delmoi, you expect me to believe an election promise, when among other things in their charter, it specifically says "Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions - Islam, Christianity and Judaism - to coexist in peace and quiet with each other. Peace and quiet would not be possible except under the wing of Islam. " And that's not even the most inflammatory part.

Read the document. Here's another fine part "Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement."

I could go on, but it all sums up to one thing, they want Palestine as a country under Islamic religious rule (that's why they respectfully reject the authority of the PLO, it is secular). Talk about compromise all you want, as long as these are the long term goals, Hamas and Israel will never be able to co-exist. Moreover as I've pointed out, there is absolutely no reason for Israel to even try. Every overture has eventually been met with rockets or suicide bombs. And these are the people the folks of Palestine elected into office. I think Israel is justified in taking some action.

What if Canada elected a prime minister and several cabinet members who were all part of a group who believed that North America was promised to them by Divine Right and it was their sacred duty to reclaim it?
posted by BeReasonable at 9:48 AM on January 4, 2009


Are Cluster Bombs Falling on Gaza Today?
posted by homunculus at 9:53 AM on January 4, 2009


ottlite, we may be reaching the breaking point for Godwin's Law. What other military occupations do you approve of? How many Palestinians do you think should be killed for the sake of a Pax Israeli?
posted by shetterly at 10:05 AM on January 4, 2009


shetterly, I would like to ask you something. If you were in charge of Israel, what exactly would you do? Or, putting it another way, is there anything that Israel can do that would appease you that does not involve risking the lives of its citizens? Do you believe that if they don't respond and freely open the borders peace will break out? That's certainly a possibility, but it would have helped if Israel had allowed for more economic development in the territories over the long term. People with an economic stake are less inclined to go to war. Bottom line: is there any scenario you can accept that involves a sovereign state of Israel living securely within its own internationally recognized borders at the same time accepted by its neighbors? Or is the total end of the Israeli state your non-negotiable demand?
posted by ottlite at 10:09 AM on January 4, 2009


<>> I'm not an Israeli, so I can't answer that. I will tell you that if someone were firing rockets at my house, the number of people who "need to be killed" would depend on what was necessary to stop the rockets. As I said, I would not sacrifice my family in the name of "proportionality."
posted by ottlite at 10:12 AM on January 4, 2009


The Palestinians were there first.
yeah, except that time when their ancestors conquered and then kicked the jews out of israel.
posted by ArgentCorvid at 10:13 AM on January 4, 2009


OK then ArgentCorvid, so when the Lakotas, Cherokees etal decide to come into your neighborhood, take your house, and herd you and your family into crowded, disgusting refugee camps for generations, you'll go willingly then? Or do you think you might be persuaded to hurl a few rockets into your old neighborhood?
posted by nevercalm at 10:21 AM on January 4, 2009


This is all so complicated and painful that it's hard for me to even know what to say about it. But I found a lot of insight and wisdom and hope in this essay by Starhawk (who's an American Jew and long-time activist who's been to Israel/Palestine multiple times).
posted by overglow at 10:29 AM on January 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


"OK then ArgentCorvid, so when the Lakotas, Cherokees etal decide to come into your neighborhood, take your house, and herd you and your family into crowded, disgusting refugee camps for generations, you'll go willingly then? Or do you think you might be persuaded to hurl a few rockets into your old neighborhood?" That's not exactly how it happened in Israel, so I don't think this type of silly invective contributes much. The events of 1948 were born of a war in which there were hundreds of thousands of refugees on both sides, a war that was not wholly of Israel's doing, and a war in which any notions Israel had of a population "transfer" did not happen until late in the conflagration. I find early accounts of the Israelis-Arab struggle to be completely irrelevant to today's situation and counter productive. Israel exists. The Palestinians exist. A way must be found for them to live in peace. Appealing to this type of history is useless.
posted by ottlite at 10:58 AM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


ottlite, that's easy, and it's been pointed out many, many times: give the Palestinians full citizenship, or return to the '67 borders. Either would be fine.

ArgentCorvid, you should read some history. The Romans kicked the Jews out of Jerusalem after two failed rebellions in Judea. The native people who weren't Jews stayed there. Israel was never an empty land. The current Palestinians are a mix of the ancient inhabitants and Arabs who came after the Romans, but before the Zionists.

overglow, I'll second that recommendation.

ottlite, regarding your later post, you seem to have forgotten about the bombing of the King David Hotel and the massacre at Deir Yassin. Zionists have been trying to drive out the Palestinians for longer than there has been a nation of Israel.

We agree that Israel exists, and Palestinians exist. So do Hamas and Iran, who have said they would accept peace with Israel within its '67 borders.
posted by shetterly at 11:16 AM on January 4, 2009


Ottlite: I will tell you that if someone were firing rockets at my house, the number of people who "need to be killed" would depend on what was necessary to stop the rockets. As I said, I would not sacrifice my family in the name of "proportionality"

Or, restated, you consider their lives less worthy than yours and your family's. This is why there will always be war between Humans. God damn we suck.
posted by Popular Ethics at 11:38 AM on January 4, 2009


Forgive me if I'm being overly tenacious in clinging to this discussion, but something I would like to note, from here:

That is why Gaza exists: because the Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon and the fields around it – Askalaan in Arabic – were dispossessed from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on the beaches of Gaza. They – or their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren – are among the one and a half million Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 per cent of whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically, is the real story: most of the people of Gaza don’t come from Gaza.
posted by shetterly at 12:00 PM on January 4, 2009


you seem to have forgotten about the bombing of the King David Hotel and the massacre at Deir Yassin. Zionists have been trying to drive out the Palestinians for longer than there has been a nation of Israel.

The bombing of the King David Hotel was directed at Palestinians? Interesting revisionism there. As for Deir Yassin, would you like to also mention the 1928 Hebron and Safed massacres? The 1936 Arab revolt? The 1938 Tiberias massacre? Who was trying to drive out whom, exactly?

So do Hamas and Iran, who have said they would accept peace with Israel within its '67 borders.

That would be nice if there was even a tiniest reason to believe that Hamas would keep its word. However, as the disengagement from Gaza showed, any concession by Israel is interpreted as weakness and gives rise to more attacks. As for Iran, what business is it of theirs, exactly, other than to use Israel as a convenient boogeyman for the Iranian people to distract them from their corrupt and violent rulers?
posted by Krrrlson at 12:33 PM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


"We walked outside, Ben-Gurion accompanying us. Allon repeated his question, What is to be done with the Palestinian population?' Ben-Gurion waved his hand in a gesture which said 'Drive them out!"
-- Yitzhak Rabin, leaked censored version of Rabin memoirs, published in the New York Times, 23 October 1979

"[The Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs."
-- Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin, speech to the Knesset, quoted in Amnon Kapeliouk, "Begin and the 'Beasts,"' New Statesman, June 25, 1982.

"(The Palestinians) would be crushed like grasshoppers ... heads smashed against the boulders and walls."
-- Isreali Prime Minister (at the time) Yitzhak Shamir in a speech to Jewish settlers New York Times April 1, 1988

"Israel should have exploited the repression of the demonstrations in China, when world attention focused on that country, to carry out mass expulsions among the Arabs of the territories."
-- Benyamin Netanyahu, then Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister, former Prime Minister of Israel, speaking to students at Bar Ilan University, from the Israeli journal Hotam, November 24, 1989.

"Everybody has to move, run and grab as many (Palestinian) hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours...Everything we don't grab will go to them."
-- Ariel Sharon, Israeli Foreign Minister, addressing a meeting of the Tsomet Party, Agence France Presse, Nov. 15, 1998.
Zionists are scum.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:04 PM on January 4, 2009


<>> Not true at all. I would never consider launching a rocket at my neighbors in the first place. If they don't try to kill me they have nothing to worry about from me. But are you saying that you are some morally superior being who is more than willing to sacrifice himself to avoid making someone else's life less worthy than his own? I find that hard to believe, and this discussion is truly becoming less worthwhile. Still, though, it's great to have your thinking challenged now and then
posted by ottlite at 1:06 PM on January 4, 2009


Krrrlson, the King David Hotel bombing was directed at the English, who controlled Palestine at the time. No one said otherwise. To control Palestine, the Zionists first had to drive out the English. History is complicated sometimes.

I mentioned Iran because Zionist bigots often bring it up, as though Israel must keep the people of the Occupied Territories as second-class citizens in order to have a buffer with their neighbors. Or something--I can't sum up the argument well, because it seems insane to me.
posted by shetterly at 1:08 PM on January 4, 2009


"So do Hamas and Iran, who have said they would accept peace with Israel within its '67 borders." That's great to hear (truly!), and if you could post a link I'd certainly appreciate it. Thanks!
posted by ottlite at 1:08 PM on January 4, 2009


"Zionists are scum." Another pretty worthless post, designed for impact rather than truth. Do you think you could not gather a number of quotes from the Arab press to make a similar claim? Of have you been selective? This type of argument only works if you're speaking to those who already agree with you. The sign of a successful argument is when you make people who don't agree with you think harder about what they "know" to be true.
posted by ottlite at 1:12 PM on January 4, 2009


ottlite, let's start over with two questions:

1. Do you think the Zionists were right to take more than the UN allowed in '48?

2. Do you think anyone besides the Palestinians should have their land taken from them?
posted by shetterly at 1:13 PM on January 4, 2009


ottlite, I already posted those links in this thread. They're here.
posted by shetterly at 1:17 PM on January 4, 2009


ottlite: Not true at all. I would never consider launching a rocket at my neighbors in the first place. If they don't try to kill me they have nothing to worry about from me.

Fair enough, but surely you realize that at some point in this conflict everyone has tried to kill everyone's neighbors. Your bluster only serves to perpetuate the cycle of violence

But are you saying that you are some morally superior being who is more than willing to sacrifice himself to avoid making someone else's life less worthy than his own?

I've never been tested but I dearly hope so. You cannot be a just person otherwise. In the not-fucked-up world, we don't pardon someone for killing out of revenge, and we don't punish the child for the sins of the father.
posted by Popular Ethics at 1:25 PM on January 4, 2009


Zionists have shown no interest in achieving a realistic, equitable settlement with the people who have been displaced by Israeli expansion. A lot of Israel's growth has come at the expense of entirely displacing original inhabitants, with no real concern for the displaced people's welfare.

Kind of like kicking out the bums in a run-down neighbourhood, because you're gonna turn it into loft condos. As a developer, it's not your problem to deal with the people you kicked out; that's left to the city.

As a nation, that is not an acceptable action. The bums you're kicking out? They're your citizens, and you should be helping them, not bombing them. You can't just annex land without taking the citizens. Hell, even cities can't do that.
posted by five fresh fish at 1:53 PM on January 4, 2009


Zionists are scum.
"The Jews seek to conquer the world...We must expose the Zionist-Colonialist plot and its goals, which destroy not only our people but the entire world."
-- PA Minister of Agriculture, Abdel Jawad Saleh

"Global Zionism has tried to forge the Holy Koran, and has printed many copies of this forgery. It
has been discovered that many extremist movements were backed by [global Zionism]."
-- Ret. Lebanese General, Hisham Jaber

"If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew."
-- Hassam Nasrallah

"We will not bend or fail until the blood of every last Jew from the youngest child to the oldest elder is spilt to redeem our land!"
-- Yasser Arafat
Arabs are scum.

Hey, that was easy! Let's keep doing this and maybe it'll lead to something productive.
posted by lullaby at 2:02 PM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ya, I have been reading a lot of these discussions on I/P, been keeping on open mind, listening to both sides. There is no easy answer, but:

Five Fresh Fish is scum.
posted by rosswald at 2:19 PM on January 4, 2009


Current I/P thread is loaded to the gills with people saying trollish things, FWIW. Some of them (gasp!) who signed up just for that thread.
posted by Artw at 2:22 PM on January 4, 2009


Heh. And that would be the wrong thread...
posted by Artw at 2:23 PM on January 4, 2009


lullaby, let's compare the two sets of quotes.

In the first list, Ben-Gurion says to drive out the people who have lived on that land for centuries. Shamir advocates smashing their heads. Netanyahu calls for more expulsions. Sharon calls for stealing the land.

In your list, Saleh talks about exposing plots. Jaber says Zionists (not Jews) have backed extremist groups. Nasarallah shows he's a bigot, but he doesn't advocate theft or violence. Arafat talks after fighting men, women, and children until his land is redeemed--which he says at a time when Israel's killing of men, women, and children is much greater than the Palestinians'.

I think you need to try again if you're looking for something equivalent.

I agree that "scum" is not at all productive. But looking at who is responsible for the violence, and more importantly, looking at who has the power to end it, is very important. Currently, the Palestinians only have the power to keep seeking independence or surrender. Which do you think they should do?
posted by shetterly at 2:27 PM on January 4, 2009


Obama should speak up now in support of Israel

(Fat fucking chance he'll actually speak against them)
posted by Artw at 2:30 PM on January 4, 2009


"Arabs are scum" is to "Zionists are scum"

as

"blacks are scum" is to "Republicans are scum".

You are comparing ethnicity on the one hand to a political ideology on the other. Do you understand why the comparison is unsound or do you require diagrams?
posted by fleetmouse at 2:34 PM on January 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


rosswald, I agree that "Zionists are scum" is excessive, but Five Fresh Fish has made some good points, especially here: "The bums you're kicking out? They're your citizens, and you should be helping them, not bombing them. You can't just annex land without taking the citizens. Hell, even cities can't do that."

Keep in mind that Five Fresh Fish did not say Jews or Israelis are scum. Many Jews and Israelis oppose Zionism. Christian Zionists would be included in Five Fresh Fish's statement. It's a bit like saying "Nazis are scum"--it doesn't mean Germans or Christians are scum, and it includes Nazis in the US and elsewhere.
posted by shetterly at 2:37 PM on January 4, 2009


"Arabs are scum" was refreshingly honest, I thought. Cuts right to the heart of the matter.
posted by Artw at 2:45 PM on January 4, 2009


People from the US don't get to judge this conflict from the moral high ground.

There are a lot of people in the US who did not want the US disproportionate response and who can see that Israel commits the same mistake. Additionally, it's our tax dollars which are supporting the military equipment, and our political leaders are actively pursuing the current course of action. I think we have a stake in this. There is no clear solution which involves the world ignoring the situation. The only thing that will help create enduring peace is international participation in the outcome, because there are a lot of parties which are involved economically and politically and who will exacerbate the problems otherwise.
posted by krinklyfig at 2:49 PM on January 4, 2009


I think he;s using Dershowitz logic to argue that you, as by being a US Citizen, actually did support those wars (and ignore Darfur, and all other things that ), that you bear responsibility for them, to the point that really you should be considered a member of the US military, and that really it's only right your house should be levelled. I expect he'll be popping round to your house with his bulldozer shortly after doing his own.
posted by Artw at 2:53 PM on January 4, 2009


lullaby, let's compare the two sets of quotes.

If you want. I probably could've taken more than a minute or two to find better quotes that are more "equivalent" but I didn't put that much effort into it -- and I think we all understood my general point in response to five fresh fish.

As for "who is responsible for the violence" -- I would lay that at pretty much everyone's feet there. What should the Palestinians do? I don't know. Is the pursuit for independence only through violence? I suppose I'm an advocate of a two-state solution at the '67 borders, although I suppose the tiny idealist part of me is uncomfortable with the idea that peace is only possible with separate uni-ethnic states.


On preview, I can't believe I actually have to say this, but no -- I don't actually believe that "Arabs are scum" -- I was attempting to make a point about what five fresh fish wrote. Perhaps I failed at that attempt.
posted by lullaby at 2:57 PM on January 4, 2009


Oh, and: You are comparing ethnicity on the one hand to a political ideology on the other. Do you understand why the comparison is unsound or do you require diagrams?

Considering five fresh fish only quoted Israeli leaders, I thought it was appropriate enough to refer to Arabs rather than an ideology.

But if you just can't resist, feel free to provide diagrams.
posted by lullaby at 3:01 PM on January 4, 2009


lullaby, the tiny idealist part of you could go with the single state solution, too. Zionists claim that's not acceptable, because then Muslims would be able to outvote Jews if they wished, but historically, Muslim countries have been pretty good at the multi-ethnic thing--better than Christian countries, anyway. I think it's significant that states like Iran still have large Jewish populations.
posted by shetterly at 3:06 PM on January 4, 2009


Israel is not responding to Palestinian violence. The Palestinians were there first.

Which Palestinians were there before which Jews? Or is "being there first" a hereditary thing?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:14 PM on January 4, 2009


Joe, if you're pointing out that the Samarians never left, you're right. If you're saying everyone left and a whole new bunch of people came in, you're wrong--that's another Zionist myth.

"Being there first" is irrelevant if you believe in conquering people, but many of us think that taking people's homes is wrong. There are still Palestinians who have keys and deeds to homes in land that Israel seized after the Irgun's campaign of terror.
posted by shetterly at 3:27 PM on January 4, 2009


is "being there first" a hereditary thing?

I think generally speaking, what's meant is that at one point the land now designated as Israel was home to a number of people, including a large number of Arabs (who, because the land was previously designated as Palestine, are referred to as Palestinian Arabs), whose families had lived in the same place in many cases for a number of generations.

Their descendants are living in various refugee camps and places like Gaza, due to what I've never seen described as voluntary emigration.

It's difficult to see the actions of the state of Israel over the last 60 years as anything other than an ongoing methodical strategy to clear these inconvenient people out of the way.

Thing is, the given rationale for the Israelis' actions - the construction and maintainance of a demographically exclusive Jewish State - which might have been an ideal thing by 1880s standards, a practical diplomatic solution in 1918 and the happy culmination of a lot of regrettable European history in 1945, just seems like weird paranoid racism by the standards of an increasingly pluralistic modern Western culture.
posted by Grangousier at 3:42 PM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I mentioned Iran because Zionist bigots ... I can't sum up the argument well, because it seems insane to me.

And yet you have no problem setting up straw men around it and then backpedaling when called on it.

I agree that "scum" is not at all productive. But looking at who is responsible for the violence, and more importantly, looking at who has the power to end it, is very important. Currently, the Palestinians only have the power to keep seeking independence or surrender. Which do you think they should do?

You're so right, "keep seeking independence" sounds so much better than "trying to murder civilians with rockets in response to Israeli concessions." Clearly, there is no other choice. Or maybe you're just being dishonest again.

Zionists claim that's not acceptable, because then Muslims would be able to outvote Jews if they wished, but historically, Muslim countries have been pretty good at the multi-ethnic thing--better than Christian countries, anyway.
Like other religious minorities in Iran, Jews suffer from discrimination, particularly in the areas of employment, education, and housing. According to the U.S. Department of State, Jews may not occupy senior positions in the government or the military and are prevented from serving in the judiciary and security services and from becoming public school heads.

The anti‑Israeli policies of the Iranian government create a hostile atmosphere for the Jewish community. In 2004, many Iranian newspapers celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of the publishing of the anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Jews are often the target of degrading caricatures in the Iranian press. Jewish leaders reportedly are reluctant to draw attention to official mistreatment of their community due to fear of government reprisal.
Yeah, it's a pretty sweet life, you're right. I don't even need to mention all the Jews expelled from Muslim nations following the creation of Israel in a stunning display of cultural acceptance. I'm sure the inhabitants of one of the most liberal and advanced nations in the Middle East will jump at the chance to be dhimmis. And I'm sure Hamas and other Palestinian factions will treat Jews even better in a one-state arrangement after trying to kill them for decades.

I've said it before, and I will say it again -- anyone who argues for a one-state solution is, at best, mind-numbingly naive, and at worst simply desires more Jewish blood to be spilled. And yes, that's not acceptable. Cry me a river of crocodile tears.
posted by Krrrlson at 3:43 PM on January 4, 2009


Krrrlson, you have a curious idea of what a "straw man" is--you might want to look it up. You may think Iran is irrelevant in this discussion, but I assure you, if you were to research the Iran-Palestine conflict, you would discover that Iran is mentioned as a concern. In fact, if you were reading this thread attentively, you would've noticed that it came up here: kliuless mentioned "Iranian nukes."

As for the charge of dishonesty, are you arguing that Hamas only wants to kill people and doesn't care about independence? The same could've been said about the Irgun, but I think it would've been just as wrong.

And, as for Iranian Jews, if they're unhappy, why don't they go to Israel? Has Israel refused to accept them? (Yes, that's technically a rhetorical question, but I would be happy to hear your explanation.)
posted by shetterly at 4:02 PM on January 4, 2009


Krrlson, a PS. Do you think Israel should return to its '67 borders?
posted by shetterly at 4:03 PM on January 4, 2009


Oops, a typo above: that should be "Israel-Palestine" conflict.
posted by shetterly at 4:20 PM on January 4, 2009


Israel's fait accompli in Gaza
posted by homunculus at 4:55 PM on January 4, 2009


humunculus, because some people criticize the messenger when they can't refute the message: al jazeera's awards are here.
posted by shetterly at 5:25 PM on January 4, 2009


The saddest bit, perhaps, from homunculus's link:

Israel's Gaza offensive is also likely to torpedo the current Saudi-sponsored peace plan, which had been backed by all members of the Arab League.

The plan, now likely defunct, had called for Israel to withdraw to its 1967 borders and share Jerusalem in exchange for full recognition and normalised relations with the Muslim world.

posted by shetterly at 5:27 PM on January 4, 2009


How does preventing food going in prevent suicide bombers coming out? Can you elaborate? Before Hamas broke the cease fire, did Israel prevent food from going in? I don't think this was the case.
Israel absolutely was preventing food from getting in. Try to pay attention.
What if Canada elected a prime minister and several cabinet members who were all part of a group who believed that North America was promised to them by Divine Right and it was their sacred duty to reclaim it?
What if the Mexicans gained superpowers and threatened to invade us with their unicorn brigades!? What the hell is this nonsense.
yeah, except that time when their ancestors conquered and then kicked the jews out of israel.
Israelis and Palestinians have the same ancestors. In fact, if you back a few hundred years everyone's family tree converges. Not that it really matters anyway.
Not true at all. I would never consider launching a rocket at my neighbors in the first place. If they don't try to kill me they have nothing to worry about from me.
So you wouldn't mind if they walled off your neighborhood and didn't allow any food to enter, or at least not enough food for everyone, you wouldn't have a problem with that?
Considering five fresh fish only quoted Israeli leaders, I thought it was appropriate enough to refer to Arabs rather than an ideology.
Because you're a racist.
posted by delmoi at 5:46 PM on January 4, 2009


Arabs are not a race. They are a linguistic and cultural group.
posted by Astro Zombie at 5:51 PM on January 4, 2009


So I can hate Arabs without being a racist? Wow! It's like a huge weight was just lifted from my shoulders!
posted by fleetmouse at 6:09 PM on January 4, 2009


fleetmouse, it's true; you can just be a bigot.

But Astro Zombie's definition is a bit old school--"race" seems to be returning to its more generalized, pre-1770s meaning. So you can be a racist if you want to be.
posted by shetterly at 6:47 PM on January 4, 2009


On the subject of sharing Jerusalem, the Jerusalem Initiative at the University of Windsor looks at three aspects of the conflict: security, governance, and the holy sites. *I went to Windsor.
posted by acro at 7:36 PM on January 4, 2009


Keep in mind that Five Fresh Fish did not say Jews or Israelis are scum. Many Jews and Israelis oppose Zionism. Christian Zionists would be included in Five Fresh Fish's statement. It's a bit like saying "Nazis are scum"--it doesn't mean Germans or Christians are scum, and it includes Nazis in the US and elsewhere.
posted by shetterly at 5:37 PM on January 4 [+] [!]

Considering five fresh fish only quoted Israeli leaders, I thought it was appropriate enough to refer to Arabs rather than an ideology. [sic]
posted by lullaby at 6:01 PM on January 4 [+] [!]

See, I agree with lulaby here. I get that Zionists are a political/ideological group or party. However. I felt like the quotes that FFF used were very.... unfair I guess. I think when those things were being said, you could (as I think lullaby was trying to point out) get equally as hawkish and scary quotes from the other side (whether you label them as Arabs, the warring parties, etc.) By giving the quotes from one side of a bitter war (when LOTS of terrible things were said) to paint one side as "evil" seemed downright dishonest. .02
posted by rosswald at 7:52 PM on January 4, 2009


shetterly, your links only showed that there were conditions under which Hamas would agree to a truce. They said nothing about Hamas recognizing an Israel in pre-1967 borders. On another point I agree with you: the Palestinians got a raw deal in 1948, but this was a different time and place and we cannot judge actions then by what we consider acceptable now. If this were the case no country on earth would have clean hands. There is also the sense that Palestinian nationalism arose in conjunction with Zionism; the two were intertwined. There was not a self-identified entity of "Arab Palestine" when the UN partitioned the land (in fact, only the Jews referred to themselves as Palestinians then, whereas the Arabs living in the area did not have an idea of national identity at the time, but rather tribal and familial). That's one reason their rights were so easily overlooked at the time. But look, on the whole Arab nationalism has been wildly successful in the modern era with 20+ sovereign states. The best way forward would have been to address the resulting problems in a climate of non-hatred and to have moved forward rather than holding an eternal grudge. No one asked for or could have predicted the situation--everything we know today is hindsight. History happened and neither side has a higher moral claim, except to those who hate either Arabs or Jews.

If you truly believe that an Israel secure in pre-1967 borders is a condition for peace, your views are identical with 75% (if not more) of the Israeli Jewish population. Congratulations. Let you friends know that the only way this can happen is if Israel feels secure enough to go to sleep without fear of suicide attacks or rockets (they'd only have to worry about a nuclear Iran). Yes, the Israelis can behave in an ugly fashion, but the bottom line is they obviously glean no benefit from heavy-handed tactics and the Palestinians are going to have to step up and for once take the high ground to say to Israel "enough--you live and we live, just give us a fair share of land and we'll all get back to our business with no more violence." But there's a sort of reverse racism here, where the Arabs are patronized insofar as none of the leftist critics would ever lecture them to do this--they are just not held to a high standard. The left complains about their land being taken. Sure, it happened here and its bad, and it happened to the Jews too, and it has happened all over the world, and we should vow that we see no more of it--ever. But elsewhere other peoples have been held to a standard that 50, 60 years after these events we have to accept the new reality and get on. The Palestinians far right is not challenged to do this but is instead coddled and goaded and encouraged to be as intransigent as possible as if their suffering years ago was the worst outrage the world has ever known--and this helps keep the parties at war. You are guilty of this yourself in a minor way. Why does the left do this? Why do they help keep Palestinian hatred alive by encouraging them to view themselves as victims? God knows the Jews do this enough. All I ask is that we agree there is no moral superiority anywhere here, stuff happened in the past, and let's stop encouraging the partiies to keep fighting over it but to accept the reality of today.
posted by ottlite at 8:05 PM on January 4, 2009


ottnet, I forgot that I didn't provide a link for one quote. If you had googled it, you would've gotten a number of hits. For example, from Dec. 4, 2004: Hamas says OK to truce with Israel.

As for 1948, letting people have their homes back is not an especially 21st century idea. It could've been done then. I fear that the only conclusion to draw from Israel's repeated actions is that it does not want to return to the '67 borders. The timing of the current attack, scuttling the Saudi peace deal, suggests that very strongly. Israel seems to want land more than peace.

I didn't think it was especially "left" to believe that Israel should respect property rights. That strikes me as extremely conservative.
posted by shetterly at 8:24 PM on January 4, 2009


ottlite, I didn't mean anything by typoing your name. Sometimes the fingers just go for a gallop.
posted by shetterly at 8:26 PM on January 4, 2009


The quotes I posted were from Israeli Prime Ministers, IIRC, of the Reagan/Clinton level of power.

The quotes lullaby posts are from Arab dumbasses of the Rick Santorum variety, save Yassir Arafat, who is more of the Dick Cheney style of asshole.

The quotes I posted were from Zionists: Ben-Gurion, Begin, Shamir, Netanyahu, Sharon.
The 28th Zionist Congress, meeting in Jerusalem 1968, adopted the five points of the "Jerusalem Program" as the aims of Zionism today. They are:
The unity of the Jewish People and the centrality of Israel in Jewish life;
The ingathering of the Jewish People in its historic homeland, Eretz Israel, through Aliyah from all countries;
The strengthening of the State of Israel which is based on the prophetic vision of justice and peace:
The preservation of the identity of the Jewish People through the fostering of Jewish and Hebrew education and of Jewish spiritual and cultural values;
The protection of Jewish rights everywhere. wiki
They are, specifically, Nationalist Zionists: they believe force should be used against Arabs and that Palestine should be eroded. How that is accomplished is made perfectly plain in historical maps.

That Zionist expansionist efforts have created suffering is inarguable. Land, homes, occupations: all have been taken away from people who have been there a long time and nothing was given in turn. It's been a wholesale rip-off that is awfully similar to how the Europe took North America.

I think Canada fucked-over the aboriginals badly, and created a lot of problems that we're only now beginning to address. I don't think Israel should be making the same evil decisions that were made here. It's the year 2009, forfuckssakes, we can do better.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:41 PM on January 4, 2009


On another point I agree with you: the Palestinians got a raw deal in 1948, but this was a different time and place and we cannot judge actions then by what we consider acceptable now.

I can't think of a single atrocity that wouldn't be covered by that excuse. Can you?

There is also the sense that Palestinian nationalism arose in conjunction with Zionism; the two were intertwined. There was not a self-identified entity of "Arab Palestine" when the UN partitioned the land (in fact, only the Jews referred to themselves as Palestinians then, whereas the Arabs living in the area did not have an idea of national identity at the time, but rather tribal and familial). That's one reason their rights were so easily overlooked at the time.

This is true. The Jews who were immigrating were educated, resourceful Europeans who had a long term goal of establishing a Jewish state. The indigenous Arabs, who lived a rural existence, had no parallel to the Jewish Agency and the Haganah.

Why do they help keep Palestinian hatred alive by encouraging them to view themselves as victims?

*monocle pops out and flies across room*
posted by fleetmouse at 8:48 PM on January 4, 2009


My biggest issue with the I/P situation is that Israel's Zionist government is clearly expropriating Palestinian land without compensation.

I mean, sure, clearly "The World" has decided that a particular religious group is synonymous with a particular human genotype, such that we have a "Jewish People" who must have "their own" land. As an areligious human being, I think that's a pretty fucked-up concept, but what the hell, let's go for it.

So we need to establish an "Israel" for this particular genotype/religious group. No problem, there's a part of the world from which they seem to have originated, and it's only occupied by a bunch of farmers who haven't really grokked the idea of "nationality." Let's give them that land.

But those farmers should be compensated for the loss of their homes, their farmlands, their productivity.

And that is where it seems to me Israel has completely and utterly failed. Stealing land from the aboriginals was all hip and happening in eighteen fucking twelve, but for chrissakes, surely in the 20th Century we can do better than that.

Scratch that: it's the 21st Century now. Instead of building a fractal wall on Arab-owned territory — they're building a freakin' Berlin wall, folks, in 2008! — and setting up fake-ass "settlements" to lay claim to yet more land from the refugees, howzabout sharing some of that hundreds of billions of dollars paid by the USA over the years to finally pay out the original inhabitants, integrate them into a democratic society, and finally get-the-fuck-over-it already.

Bombing the everliving shit out of refugees is getting old.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:25 PM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


--we cannot judge actions then by what we consider acceptable now--
"I can't think of a single atrocity that wouldn't be covered by that excuse. Can you?"

It's not an excuse, it's a historical fact Listen to fresh fish, for example: "Land, homes, occupations: all have been taken away from people who have been there a long time and nothing was given in turn." He keeps trying to appeal to some version of history to establish moral supremacy. It just ain't going to happen. My point was that the history was murky, happened during wars, there were misjudgments on all sides, a clash of modern Europeans arriving in the midst of a still-medieval people (due in large part to European antisemitism), and yet this kind of rhetoric only serves to say to the Palestinians "You are the most abject victims of history. You were wronged more so than any other people. Whereas we expect the Israelis to hold still for your entirely justified rockets, we would never dream of telling you to put down your arms and try to embrace the Jews." Well, why not? Just for once, try lecturing the Arabs rather than the Israelis. The Israelis are simply not going to listen to anyone who shows up accusing them, and them alone, of historical atrocities that simply cannot be adjudicated in hindsight. So why not say to the Arabs, "yes you were wronged, but so were the Jews, and the past is the past, and to be fair we cannot assign blame because history does not work like that--so therefore, you are a practical and strong people, you know the Israelis sometimes behave like pigs, why not do whatever it takes to give them a comfort level that it is not your intent to wipe them off the map if you get the chance." No instead, guys like fish keep encouraging the idea that "your injustice was so bad and you're so poor--oil money notwithstanding--we won't ask you to take exceptionally heroic measures for peace. We will only ask the Israelis to understand that your rockets and suicide bombers are entirely justified based on the fact that they took your land and therefore they have no right to stop you with whatever force it takes as we would allow other countries to do." Understand that you will get nowhere with the argument that Jews are bad and Arabs were poor victims. It is an insult to history and to the Arabs. And to keep it up helps force the Israelis to take more drastic measures to fight an implacable foe. You guys who think it is such a simple equation: Jews came and as money-grubbing pigs unabashedly took land from Arab victims have allowed your antisemitism and unwillingness to confront the true ambiguities and uncertainties of history to help perpetuate a battle that leaves blood on everyone's hands, your own included.
posted by ottlite at 9:28 PM on January 4, 2009


From Electronic Intifada (obviously partisan):
[Israel] has dropped millions of flyers on the occupied, besieged Gaza Strip.

One such flyer [...] invites Palestinians to call or email the Israeli army "to inform us about the location of rocket launching sites and the terrorist gangs that made you hostages of their actions."

[...]

EI I want to give you names of the biggest terrorist organizations, not just in Gaza, but in all Palestine. [...] The first one, his name is Ehud Barak [[Israeli minister of defense]].

[...]

Israeli officer: Maybe we'll see each other under better circumstances.

EI: Yes, I hope it will be at the International Court in The Hague.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 9:45 PM on January 4, 2009


One more thing: here's what I mean when I say that history is murky. While there was a large indigenous Arab population in Palestine before the arrival of the Jews, the population grew even faster after cities like Tel Aviv were established and became economic powerhouses of the area. Such growth encouraged large migrations for economic opportunity and the final result is that it is impossible to say that one group definitively displaced another who had lived there forever. The European Jews no doubt harbored racist notions about the "primitive" locals with lesser rights, but in this respect they were largely mirroring the European environment they came from--look at how the British treated the Indians, for example. This is what I mean when I say that times and perceptions change. Anti-Semites would like to think the situation was a much more straightforward robbery than it truly was. Should we blame European chauvinism as well? The best we can do is be thankful that we live in more enlightened times and work for justice here and now. That's why I am so down on the Israeli settlers, but I think that the idea of wiping the country off the map (per Iran) is disproportionate. Obviously, many here don't, which is why I have to question their motives.
posted by ottlite at 9:47 PM on January 4, 2009


"Zionists and ottlite are scum." Good one--strong argument there.
posted by ottlite at 9:49 PM on January 4, 2009


ottlite, you seem to want someone to say they're sorry the Jews had to steal land from the Palestinians, but I'm afraid we can't do that, no more than we can say we're sorry the US had to steal the land of the Native Americans. Your dream of Greater Israel is no different than the dream of Manifest Destiny; you're content to let "primitive" people suffer and die to take land for those you consider your own, and if the land's original owners fight for what they had, you're content to kill them. Someday, you may realize that all people are equal. If that day comes, you will remember Israel's treatment of the Palestinians with shame.
posted by shetterly at 9:51 PM on January 4, 2009


ottlite, if you were really paying attention, you would stop claiming Iran wanted to wipe Israel off the map. That's already been refuted in this thread. I think you and I are done now. You're welcome to the last word.
posted by shetterly at 9:58 PM on January 4, 2009


shetterly, you make a huge mistake to bring up Native Americans. Must we then recount all the land the Arabs stole over the years? Or all the land taken from the Jews through history? Of course not--it would make for a truly ridiculous argument. You could say that the Jews were just rightfully taking back their land that had been taken thousands of years earlier. Why is the Dome of the Rock built on top of the Jews' temple mount? No, I do not hold anyone responsible for this--that's history. The Palestinians had nothing to do with this.

But the fact that you are making a similar argument on behalf of the Gazans is somewhat unseemly considering that your loaded word "robbery" certainly does not do justice to the historical circumstances--it is simply an antisemitic canard to say the Jews "stole" land from the Palestinians and leave it at that, as if the Jews were morally bankrupt and the poor hapless Arabs were minding their own business under olive trees. Both sides got screwed, by each other and by outsiders. This has NO bearing on today, and should not be used to adjudicate today's fighting in any way whatsover. To do so is to condemn the region to a thousand more years of war. To lend support to a Hamas militant shooting a rocket because Jews "stole" his ancestors' land is atrociously misguided--I'd much sooner buy into your argument that the Hamas guy is pissed off at the Israeli blockade.

Finally, why do you ask Israelis to place so much trust in an Iranian retraction of previous threats?
posted by ottlite at 10:29 PM on January 4, 2009


Orwell, blinding tribalism, selective Terrorism, and Israel/Gaza
posted by homunculus at 10:59 PM on January 4, 2009


Gaza Hospital Fills Up, Mainly With Civilians

“I don’t know what kind of weapons Israel is using,” said a nurse, Ziad Abd al Jawwad, 41, who had been working 24 hours without a break. “There is so much amputation.”

“It’s so hard when you do it to women,” he said, adding grimly that even the devastating 1967 war here was over in six days.

posted by Artw at 11:06 PM on January 4, 2009


Israel is the high school nerd everyone else makes fun of and picks on and when he finally fights back, all the bullies act like pussies and whine to the adminstrators (UN/general idiotic antisemitic worldwide views)

yes i remember the nerds in high school having nuclear weapons and current generation fighter jets while the mean jocks had stones and no clean water or medicine

also in high school 24 jocks died for every nerd that was killed
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:12 PM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Optimus Chyme, last I heard, Israel's eye-for-eye ratio was holding around 100 to 1. The nerds are killing girlfriends and little kids too.
posted by shetterly at 11:18 PM on January 4, 2009


shetterly - well it's not like we weren't warned.
posted by Artw at 11:24 PM on January 4, 2009


You may think Iran is irrelevant in this discussion, but I assure you, if you were to research the Iran-Palestine conflict, you would discover that Iran is mentioned as a concern.

No shit, what with the "death to Israel" rhetoric and the nuclear ambitions. I also love how you latch on to the "refuted" claim that Ahmadinejarjar wanted to wipe Israel off the map (a single alleged mistranslation which is still the subject of much controversy) and ignore the numerous state-sponsored "death to Israel" rallies.

As for the charge of dishonesty, are you arguing that Hamas only wants to kill people and doesn't care about independence? The same could've been said about the Irgun, but I think it would've been just as wrong.

No, it wants to kill people so that it can eventually reoccupy the entire region and achieve and independent terror state there. The Irgun, in case you didn't get the memo, is long gone. If the Irgun were permitted to operate today as it did in the past, Hamas would not be an issue.

And, as for Iranian Jews, if they're unhappy, why don't they go to Israel? Has Israel refused to accept them?

The Iranian Jews were just one of the many examples to refute your dishonest and idiotic claim that Jews would prosper under benevolent Muslim rule. Don't try to change the topic.

Krrlson, a PS. Do you think Israel should return to its '67 borders?

If peace were guaranteed by more than the honest word of a murderous gang of extremist thugs and nations that routinely hold state-sponsored anti-Semitic orgies, then yes. Until such time as that happens, no way.

This is a good time for you to pull the ol' take-my-ball-and-go-home with me as well. You must be running out of room to backpedal.
posted by Krrrlson at 11:37 PM on January 4, 2009


Artw, ahem!

ottlite, I strongly recommend you follow homunculus's link. But in case you don't, here's the great bit that's quoted there:

"All nationalists have the power of not seeing resemblances between similar sets of facts. A British Tory will defend self-determination in Europe and oppose it in India with no feeling of inconsistency. Actions are held to be good or bad, not on their own merits, but according to who does them, and there is almost no kind of outrage — torture, the use of hostages, forced labour, mass deportations, imprisonment without trial, forgery, assassination, the bombing of civilians — which does not change its moral colour when it is committed by ‘our’ side ... The nationalist not only does not disapprove of atrocities committed by his own side, but he has a remarkable capacity for not even hearing about them." - George Orwell, Notes on Nationalism
posted by shetterly at 11:40 PM on January 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Krrrlson, to his credit, ottlite makes some attempt to understand the other side's position, even though our failure to excuse slaughter baffles him. You seem to think that insults substitute for reason, which means there's no point in discussing anything with you, but I'll answer you this time, and then you may have the last word also.

As you keep ignoring, "Death to Israel" is not "Death to Jews." A people and a government are very different things.

A memo you must not have gotten: The policies of Irgun, assassination, land theft, and the slaughter of women and children, are thriving in Gaza now.

As for changing the subject, Zionists have said that Iran hates Jews. If this is so, why have so many Iranian Jews chosen to stay within its borders? Bluster does not hide your failure to answer.

You may bluster all you wish now.
posted by shetterly at 11:57 PM on January 4, 2009


Arguing about what happened in 1949 or 1967 is really a waste of time. The problem is what's happening right now.

Also I think a big part of the reason why Palestinians "see themselves as victims" is that they are continually revictimized. with settler misbehavior and now this blockade.

What we need is a U.N. security force in Gaza to enforce a ceasefire using modern counterinsurgency techniques and providing a stable governing presence.
posted by delmoi at 1:02 AM on January 5, 2009


What we need is a U.N. security force in Gaza to enforce a ceasefire using modern counterinsurgency techniques and providing a stable governing presence.

There are UN troops posted on the Israeli/Lebanon border. That didn't stop Hezbollah raiding Israel dressed as UN peacekeepers, kidnapping 3 soldiers and kicking off the 2006 Hezbollah/Israel war.
posted by PenDevil at 1:44 AM on January 5, 2009


Joe, if you're pointing out that the Samarians never left, you're right. If you're saying everyone left and a whole new bunch of people came in, you're wrong--that's another Zionist myth.

I was just trying to figure out what you meant. Here's your statement again:

You said: "Israel is not responding to Palestinian violence. The Palestinians were there first."

I replied: "Which Palestinians were there before which Jews? Or is "being there first" a hereditary thing?"

Can you explain what you meant when you said "The Palestinians were there first"?
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:06 AM on January 5, 2009


Gaza conflict: Who is a civilian?
posted by adamvasco at 5:25 AM on January 5, 2009


Harm to civilians during the fighting in Gaza and Southern Israel; Reports from Israeli human rights groups.
posted by adamvasco at 5:29 AM on January 5, 2009


delmoi, you can't solve problems in the present if you don't understand the past. Or do you mean we need an immediate ceasefire in order to address the problems that have been created? Then I agree entirely.

Joe in Australia, uh, all of the Palestinians were there first? Really, the Palestinians did not come to that land in the 19th and 20th century, then use European and North American wealth to drive out the current inhabitants. Yes, some Jews always lived in that land, too, as witnessed by the fact that Hebrew is essentially a Canaanite dialect.

But if you want to understand the conflict, you need to know who was driven from their homes and not allowed to return.
posted by shetterly at 7:46 AM on January 5, 2009


Sorry if I offend.

The United States needs to get out of the conflict completely. It has helped Israel with money and arms...
These people need to "fight it out for themselves". Both sides of this conflict have been fighting this war for hundreds thousands of years. This conflict will not be over and there will be no peace until one side is a victor and takes the spoils of war.

You know what? It doesn't matter about the homes or the land or the it-was-mine mentality... just keep fighting until you kill each other... then those of us who are not part of the conflict will get some peace and quiet.
posted by Drasher at 8:26 AM on January 5, 2009


Drasher, you need to read some history. Jews and Muslims have not been fighting for thousands of years. That's a recent development, the result of the Zionist dream of a state of their own. You're confusing Christians with Jews, which I had thought was harder to do than it must be.
posted by shetterly at 9:04 AM on January 5, 2009


yes you were wronged, but so were the Jews, and the past is the past

The wronging is still going on. The slow motion genocide of the original inhabitants of Palestine has been happening since the 1940s and is happening right now. It's one thing to want to be forgiven for rape. It's another thing to want forgiveness while you're still in the act.
posted by fleetmouse at 9:11 AM on January 5, 2009


Drasher, a few things to study up on:

The Crusades: Christians attacking Muslims.

The Holocaust: Christians attacking Jews (and Communists, Gypsies, other Christians...)

The Pogroms: Christians attacking Jews.

But Muslims versus Jews? Nothing major until Zionists began seizing land. Yes, the relationship with the Jews of Medina was complex--there's a very good account at here. But in general, Jews and Muslims lived in peace until the 20th century.
posted by shetterly at 9:25 AM on January 5, 2009


More news:

From the New York Times, Ethan Bronner's take on the ultimate goal of the operation, which he concludes is a full occupation.

Money quote:
Vice Premier Haim Ramon went even further Friday night in an interview on Israeli television, saying Israel must not end this operation with Hamas in charge of Gaza.
I wonder if Israel has reached the point where its actions are increasingly indefensible outside of its borders (and hopefully, within). It wasn't long ago that Israel could do no wrong in the public eye in the US. (note: "Nearly half (47%) of Israelis expressed the belief that the U.S. favors Israel too much"!) In Great Britain public opinion has already turned in favor of Palestinians, while other European countries show higher levels of support relative to the US. Of course, in 2003, Pew found "44% of Americans expressed their belief that God gave the land that is now Israel to the Jewish people."
Old Glen Greenwald has more on public opinion and the current situation here, where it is noted that a majority of Democrats oppose the recent military action by Israel.

Examples of cracks in the facade include Rabbi Michael Lerner at Tikkun (an American Jewish magazine). He's espouses the old "if Mexico had a group of anti-imperialist South Americans bombing Texas, imagine how long it would take for the US to mobilize a counter-attack" argument, but goes on to outline a 4 part peace plan that isn't unreasonable.

Another excellent source is the self described "Liberal Jew" Richard Silverstein and his well written and thoughtful blog Tikun Olam

Finally, from WAPO an opinion piece from a college professor in Negev (where the missiles have been falling that ostensibly started this particular episode).
This war is wrong because it is not heading toward a viable solution of the conflict but is instead creating more hatred and greater determination on the part of both peoples to harm one another.
and, what should be repeated every time there is the call for war:
It is difficult to find public forums that welcome a call for a new cease-fire and for alternative solutions to the conflict -- ones that do not rely on military strength or a siege of Gaza. When people are in the midst of war, they are not open to voices of peace; they speak (and scream) out of fear and demand retribution for the harms they have suffered. When people are in the midst of war, they forget that they can harness higher cognitive abilities, their reason and logic.
posted by zenon at 9:34 AM on January 5, 2009


Joe in Australia, uh, all of the Palestinians were there first?

I thought that was what you were saying, but it is at odds with both reason and decency and I hoped I had misunderstood you. It's factually wrong because of course not all Palestinians were born there. People travel: it's a fact of life. The most prominent example was Yasser Arafat who was actually born in Cairo, but there must be many other Palestinians with similar life histories. Neither you nor I have any way of telling what proportion of Palestinians have relatives in Syria, Lebanon or Cairo. It wouldn't be relevant, but you seem to think that this sort of extended history trumps an individual's decision to migrate or even their actual place of birth.

Really, the Palestinians did not come to that land in the 19th and 20th century, then use European and North American wealth to drive out the current inhabitants.

As I said before, you know nothing of any particular Palestinian's family history: you don't know where their family was two hundred years ago. None the less, you think two hundred years of family history would be insufficient to establish Jewish residency. I should make it clear that I don't think "family history" has much if anything to do with personal rights: I am merely addressing your double standard.

Yes, some Jews always lived in that land, too, as witnessed by the fact that Hebrew is essentially a Canaanite dialect.

You keep dropping these weird factoids (like the one about Samaritans) into your posts. Please don't take my failure to pursue your March hares as support for your confabulations.

But if you want to understand the conflict, you need to know who was driven from their homes and not allowed to return.

Surely you mean who was driven from their homes two hundred years ago. But in fact you don't require that: you don't even try to show that any particular Palestinian was driven out or that his ancestors were driven out, or that any particular Jew or his ancestors did any driving out. It's sufficient that one person is a Jew and another a Palestinian. This is why I said that your position is at odds with decency: it treats human rights as being secondary to ethnic ones and it implicitly rests on the old racist idea of the rootless, cosmopolitan Jew.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:02 AM on January 5, 2009


Have Bush and the Neocons Ruined it for the Israelis?
posted by homunculus at 10:14 AM on January 5, 2009


Joe, I've read a lot about Israel and Palestine, Rome and Parthia, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.... It fascinates me. I have many little facts that I love to share. If you're not interested in history, that's cool.

Your digression about the histories of a few families is very odd. Of course people travel. When I said "all," I thought we were talking about populations. I didn't realize you wanted the phone books for each community and an account of each person's history.

Palestinians were not driven from their homes two hundred years ago. Incidents like the massacre at Deir Yassin were less than a century ago.

And this is just silly: "it implicitly rests on the old racist idea of the rootless, cosmopolitan Jew." Uh, no. It rests on the idea that Zionists moved to Palestine with the intention of creating a state of their own. You can look that up, honest.
posted by shetterly at 10:34 AM on January 5, 2009


Joe, a bit more: If you want to learn about Palestinians driven from their homes, google "United Nations Security Council Resolution 194" or "Palestinian Right of Return." I'm afraid I can't give you all of their names. The UN estimate, I believe, is around 711,000. I found one for you here: Hussein Saleh al-Me'ari.
posted by shetterly at 10:42 AM on January 5, 2009


Israel rains fire on Gaza with phosphorus shells
posted by fleetmouse at 11:33 AM on January 5, 2009


That would be a Geneva conventions violation right there, not that they give a shit.
posted by Artw at 11:36 AM on January 5, 2009


Artw, the article suggests it's okay to shoot them up in the air. It's only a violation if they come down.

Thank you; I'll be here all week.

It is odd though. You can use them as long as you don't hit anyone with them. In a place as crowded as Gaza, I don't see how you can argue you didn't think you would hit anyone.
posted by shetterly at 11:51 AM on January 5, 2009


But Muslims versus Jews? Nothing major until Zionists began seizing land..
Yeah nothing major. The Jewish massacres in Granada (1066), the expulsion of Jews from Muslim Iberia (approx 1170), the forcing of Jews into mellahs (ghettoes) in Morocco, the Jewish massacres in Fez (1465), the expulsion of Jews from Isfahan (1656), the Jewish massacre in Baghdad (1829), the forced conversions to Islam in Mashad(1839) and the Jewish massacre in Marrakesh (1845) were just friendly arguments.
posted by PenDevil at 11:59 AM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Gaza estimated fatalities at 540+, casualties over 2300; United Nations observers say that more than 40% of the deaths and casualties have been children and women. “We have a catastrophe unfolding in Gaza for the civilian population,” John Ging, the head of the UN refugee agency in the Gaza Strip, said. “They’re in their houses, they’re not safe, they’re being killed and injured in very large numbers, and they have no end in sight.”

The Quakers have started a letter drive to Congress.

Here is a list of demonstrations against the massacre.
posted by dejah420 at 12:14 PM on January 5, 2009


It rests on the idea that Zionists moved to Palestine with the intention of creating a state of their own. You can look that up, honest.
So did the Americans, the Candians, and pretty much everyone else. Like when the Lakotas took the Black Hills from the Cheyene who took it from the Kiowas.
posted by humanfont at 12:26 PM on January 5, 2009


The Jewish massacres in Granada (1066), the expulsion of Jews from Muslim Iberia (approx 1170), the forcing of Jews into mellahs (ghettoes) in Morocco, the Jewish massacres in Fez (1465), the expulsion of Jews from Isfahan (1656), the Jewish massacre in Baghdad (1829), the forced conversions to Islam in Mashad(1839) and the Jewish massacre in Marrakesh (1845) were just friendly arguments.

I honestly cannot understand why Israel sympathizers think that what has been happening to Arabs from 60 years ago until this very second is no longer relevant and ought to be forgiven and forgotten, while what happened to Jews 150 to 1000 years ago is burningly important.

This is not to say that we shouldn't soberly remember and learn from even the oldest atrocities, but that we ought to apply equal standards of judgement to all of them.
posted by fleetmouse at 12:34 PM on January 5, 2009 [1 favorite]


Never said it had anything to do with what's happening today. Just trying to show that it wasn't all puppies and sunshine for Jews under Muslim rule prior to 1948.
posted by PenDevil at 12:41 PM on January 5, 2009


So did the Americans, the Candians, and pretty much everyone else.

When was the last time Americans and Canadians detonated white phosphorus over a native community, or prevented access to food and medical supplies? Are indigenous communities in the US or Canada being bulldozed, bombed and shot even as we type?

Furthermore, if you think the history of human violence grants a license and not a lesson, yikes.
posted by fleetmouse at 12:42 PM on January 5, 2009


PenDevil, I'm sorry; I meant "major" compared to what Christians have done. Any violence is horrible. I never meant to imply that atrocities of a smaller scale were somehow minor or unimportant.

Some links for people who want to learn more about this: History of the Jews under Muslim rule, History of the Jews in Iran, Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain, and Pogroms against Jews.
posted by shetterly at 1:02 PM on January 5, 2009


Granada: Spain - 1066...you might want to check on your history a bit there. The Islamic Moors revolted against Samuel after he mistreated them. Not really a lot of "turn the other cheek" in either religion, truth be told. For the record, the Jews were tossed out of Granada by the Catholic monarchs Isabelle and Ferdinand.

Iberia: Southern Europe - Not a religious thing, so much as it was a wealth and power thing. Also...again, the Expulsion Acts were in the 15th century and were promulgated by the Roman Catholic church.

Morocco - One of the earliest forced segregation of Jews was in Muslim Morocco when, in 1280, they were transferred to segregated quarters called millahs. Forced segregation of Jews spread throughout Europe during the 14th and 15th centuries. The ghettos of Frankfurt am Main and the Prague Judenstadt (German: “Jew town”) were renowned. The name ghetto, probably derived from an iron foundry in the neighbourhood, was first used in Venice in 1516. In that year an area for Jewish settlement was set aside, shut off from the rest of the city, and provided with Christian watchmen. It became a model for ghettos in Italy.

Again...not just Islam there.

Fez: Note that the Sultan and most of his people were assassinated at the same time, and that the massacre occurred because an Islamic Sultan named a Jew as Prime Minister and the radical elements that weren't having it.

And so on and so on and so on. I mean seriously, do you really want to argue Medieval history here? 'Cause I'm willing to bet money that the Inquisition killed a whole lot more Jews than the Moors did.

But the Palestinians...they had naught to do with any of it. And the vast majority of Palestinians were Christians. Orthodox Christians, most of them. That's probably not true any more. 60 years of occupation has given radical islamists a damn fine recruiting tool.
posted by dejah420 at 1:06 PM on January 5, 2009


delmoi, you can't solve problems in the present if you don't understand the past. Or do you mean we need an immediate ceasefire in order to address the problems that have been created? Then I agree entirely.

Obviously we should "understand" what happened if we are going to try to figure out a way out of this mess, but arguing about stuff that happen 40 and 60 years ago is irrelevant for the more pressing issue of stopping people from getting killed today. The morality of who should get what land is entirely secondary to who should be getting killed (which is no one).

It's more important to stop the ongoing wrongs against the Palestinians then correct the old ones.
posted by delmoi at 1:23 PM on January 5, 2009


delmoi, having had your home stolen is an ongoing wrong. Do you accept the right of return?
posted by shetterly at 1:29 PM on January 5, 2009


Your digression about the histories of a few families is very odd. Of course people travel. When I said "all," I thought we were talking about populations.

So what you mean when you say all of the Palestinians were there first is "there was a Palestinian population in what is now Israel before there was a Jewish population there." Is that right?

I didn't realize you wanted the phone books for each community and an account of each person's history.

How very witty.

I'm just trying to make sense of what you're saying. In an earlier post you said Really, the Palestinians did not come to that land in the 19th and 20th century, then use European and North American wealth to drive out the current inhabitants, but in a followup message you wrote Palestinians were not driven from their homes two hundred years ago. Incidents like the massacre at Deir Yassin were less than a century ago.

In fact that battle took place just over sixty years ago, in 1948. You surely accept that there was then a Jewish population in what is now Israel, but you don't seem to think that it gives their descendants a right to live there. Sixty years is well within living memory but it does mean that there are probably babies whose great-grandparents were born within the modern state of Israel. If we are to ignore things that happened two hundred years ago (please!) or even one hundred years ago (what a good idea) then why should the Palestinian population be privileged over the Jewish one?
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:35 PM on January 5, 2009


Here's my take Joe, if I've got pictures of my grandmother and mother sitting the steps of house built by my grandfather, on land that his father and fathers going back to the time since Jesus walked the streets of that very same neighborhood...and that house was never sold, but was indeed illegally seized by the Israeli government so as to put an Israeli citizen in it....then yeah, the property was stolen. It was just stolen by a state.
posted by dejah420 at 3:14 PM on January 5, 2009


Here's my take Joe, if [...] that house was never sold, but was indeed illegally seized by the Israeli government so as to put an Israeli citizen in it....then yeah, the property was stolen.

OK, let's stipulate that this is the case. What the heck does it have to do with Gaza, from which Israel withdrew in 2005? (*) And how could there ever be a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine issue without dispossessing yet more Jews and yet more Palestinians from their homes?

(*) Incidentally, in preparation for the Israel withdrawal from Gaza the inhabitants of over twenty Jewish settlements were evicted from their homes, many at gunpoint. I just thought I would mention it in case it cheered you up.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:42 PM on January 5, 2009


CBS News broadcasts an interview with a Norwegian physician on the scene in Gaza.
posted by homunculus at 4:13 PM on January 5, 2009


Joe, the earliest people I know of in those lands were Canaanites, as shown by Jerusalem being named for Salem or Shalem, god of the dusk. Some Canaanites became Hebrews, and there were also Phoenicians and Greeks.... Then the Romans got pissed at the Jewish revolts and kicked them out of Jerusalem. Some Jewish sects, like the Samarians, stayed in the area. I'm not doing the history justice, but here's the relevant part: The Zionists chose Palestine to build a Jewish state, so they came and began work. It was a beautiful dream, for its day, and had it stayed a peaceful dream, we would all applaud it today.

Maybe I should clarify something for you: I do not want any Jew to leave that land. I want Isreal to give full citizenship to everyone within its borders. Those borders can be the '67 borders or the current ones. Israel has the military might, so the choice is in their hands.

Sorry about the phrasing of the "two hundred years" sentence. That was based on your comment, "Surely you mean who was driven from their homes two hundred years ago." I should've simply asked then who you thought was driven from their homes 200 years ago.
posted by shetterly at 4:14 PM on January 5, 2009


Joe, you seem to think that Israel's "withdrawal" meant Israel packed up and went home. They did not. They always kept some control over Gaza, and when Hamas was elected, they began a blockade. In case you have a rightwing preference, here's Fox News on the subject: Arabs Sail to Gaza, Defying Israel Blockade.
posted by shetterly at 4:23 PM on January 5, 2009


Some Jewish sects, like the Samarians, stayed in the area.

I thought this was a typo, but it's the second time you've used it. The word is "Samaritan". As in, "the Good".
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:42 PM on January 5, 2009


Joe, 'Samaritans' is more popular, probably because of the King James Version, but 'Samarians' is legit when referring to the people of Shomron/Samaria. Since there's no "Samarita", I prefer Samarian. It's a quirk from reading too much, I admit.
posted by shetterly at 6:11 PM on January 5, 2009


Having a couple hundred Palestinians lay down in front of an Israeli tank and you just won the world's support.

This is essentially what is happening now (minus the world's support).
posted by Neiltupper at 7:55 PM on January 5, 2009


Joe, 'Samaritans' is more popular, probably because of the King James Version, but 'Samarians' is legit when referring to the people of Shomron/Samaria. Since there's no "Samarita", I prefer Samarian.

Are you sure you're not thinking of these people?

It's a quirk from reading too much, I admit.

Where did you come across the term? I really do think you're using it in error.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:31 PM on January 5, 2009


Joe, I can't remember where I ran into "Samarian" initially--most of my research was a few years ago. The first hit I get when I google it now that uses it in the same way is here. If I remember correctly, "Shomron" or "Shomeron" comes from the Hebrew, and "Samaria" comes from the Aramaic that replaced Hebrew in that land, so "Shomronans" or "Samarians" both make more sense than "Samaritans." But people use what they're used to. It's kind of like Beijing versus Peking, or Mumbai versus Bombay. It would take a major effort to change the name. That "t" is old--Wycliffe used it.

Still, if you google "Samarian", you'll get a good number of hits that aren't misspellings.
posted by shetterly at 6:56 AM on January 6, 2009


Following a day of sometimes fierce fighting outside Gaza City, Israeli military officials reported their first significant casualties of the 12-day offensive when three soldiers were killed by an errant Israeli tank shell. The friendly fire incident on Monday evening also injured two dozen others.
Craig Whitlock, "Israel Pushes into Southern Gaza," Washington Post, 6 Jan 09
posted by woodway at 7:03 AM on January 6, 2009


The story of the good Samaritan.

/joking

Good to see a high level of knowledge on the subject at hand being displayed, rather than the usual Zionist talking points.
Chris McGreal, January 4, 2009:
Dan Gillerman, Israel's ambassador to the UN until a few months ago, was brought in by the Foreign Ministry to help lead the diplomatic and PR campaign. He said that the diplomatic and political groundwork has been under way for months.

"This was something that was planned long ahead," he said. "I was recruited by the foreign minister to coordinate Israel's efforts and I have never seen all parts of a very complex machinery - whether it is the Foreign Ministry, the Defence Ministry, the prime minister's office, the police or the army - work in such co-ordination, being effective in sending out the message."
posted by asok at 7:18 AM on January 6, 2009


40 Palestinians killed in IDF strike on UN school
posted by homunculus at 9:01 AM on January 6, 2009


Medical officials said all the dead were either people sheltering in the school or local residents.

Phew! They must have been terrorists! Close call.
posted by Artw at 9:04 AM on January 6, 2009


Obama is losing a battle he doesn't know he's in: The president-elect's silence on the Gaza crisis is undermining his reputation in the Middle East
posted by homunculus at 9:22 AM on January 6, 2009


Imagine what it will be like when he basically does nothing! (which he will, seeing as he wants re-elected and being anything other than 100% nutty for Israel is political death in America)
posted by Artw at 9:23 AM on January 6, 2009


Joe, I can't remember where I ran into "Samarian" initially [...]
The first hit I get when I google it now that uses it in the same way is here.


If you read that article you'll notice that the author differentiates between Samarians (people from Samaria) and Samaritans. The giveaway is where he says: This incident is the origin of the Samaritan religious community.

If I remember correctly, "Shomron" or "Shomeron" comes from the Hebrew, and "Samaria" comes from the Aramaic that replaced Hebrew in that land, so "Shomronans" or "Samarians" both make more sense than "Samaritans. But people use what they're used to. It's kind of like Beijing versus Peking, or Mumbai versus Bombay. It would take a major effort to change the name.

Now you're just blustering. Nobody says "a Samarian" when they mean "a member of the religious group with a temple on Mt Gerizim." Why not admit that you made a mistake?

That "t" is old--Wycliffe used it.

Of course he did. Wycliffe's translation was based on the Vulgate, which took its spelling ("Samaritanus") from the Greek form: "σαμαριτης" (sigma alpha mu alpha rho iota tau eta sigma).

Still, if you google "Samarian", you'll get a good number of hits that aren't misspellings.

Really? I betcha not.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:42 PM on January 6, 2009


Joe, you're right--it's even less common than I thought.

Is the "t" sound in the Greek? My understanding is that it's not in the Aramaic.
posted by shetterly at 6:01 PM on January 6, 2009


Is the "t" sound in the Greek? My understanding is that it's not in the Aramaic.

Yes, the Greek word for someone of the Samaritan religion is Samarites (Sa-mar-i-tes, I think). With the caveat that I don't know Greek and that even if I'm right, there were probably Greek-speakers who used Aramaic terms and vice versa. Here are the other relevant languages.

English: A follower of the Samaritan religion is a Samaritan. A person from Samaria is a Samaritan or possibly a Samarian, but in practice hardly anyone seems to need such a word.

Classical Hebrew: A follower of the Samaritan religion is a Kouti (pronounce it with a soft "T" if you can). I suspect that this term was derogatory but I don't know for sure. A person from Samaria is a Shomroni.

Aramaic: A follower of the Samaritan religion is a Koutai or a Koutaia. I suspect that these terms were derogatory but I don't know for sure. A person from Samaria is a Shamrai or a Shomronaa.

Modern Hebrew: The followers of the Samaritan religion refer to themselves as Shomerim, which would make an individual a Shomer. A person from Samaria is a Shomroni but many people (including Samaritans) seem to use this word to mean a follower of the Samaritan religion. I don't know how they distinguish between the cases.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:37 AM on January 7, 2009


Joes, thanks. I would bet that the distinction between the region and the religion is only made in languages that took the names from the Bible in Greek, and I wouldn't be surprised if the distinction is only made in English. Now I'm curious about Kouti, Koutai, and Koutaia.
posted by shetterly at 10:39 AM on January 7, 2009


Rockets hit Israel from Lebanon
posted by homunculus at 12:21 AM on January 8, 2009


Israel Hits Another UN School before Ceasing Fire;
On Ethnic and Civic Nationalisms

posted by homunculus at 9:10 AM on January 18, 2009


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