a moment of great courage
January 6, 2009 11:13 AM   Subscribe

Palestinian girl, Israeli soldier. It made me remember 1989 Tiananmen Square Protests.
posted by shetterly (451 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
No context, no nothing. What am I supposed to learn from this?
posted by MarshallPoe at 11:19 AM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Her name is Huwaida Arraf, a Detroiter married to Adam Shapiro, a University of Michigan Poli Sci graduate, and a founder of International Solidarity Movement, a nonviolent activist organization.
posted by dejah420 at 11:20 AM on January 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


This girl is everyone's hero. That takes some serious balls.
posted by jimmythefish at 11:20 AM on January 6, 2009 [10 favorites]


Damn. The only reason she got away with it was because there was a camera there (and I suspect her U.S. accent also played a big role), but that still took -massive- guts.
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:24 AM on January 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


My god.

.
posted by ageispolis at 11:24 AM on January 6, 2009


Any idea what year this is from? It's depressing saying it out loud, but this conflict has raged on for so long that it really applies to all of it.
posted by cavalier at 11:26 AM on January 6, 2009


The context is that there was (initially) a peaceful protest in the West Bank about the Gaza incursion. The protesters were primarily school age kids. The IDF opened fire on them. Ms. Arraf got between the bullets and the protesters.

There was a significantly longer video, but Google has already pulled it. They'll pull this one as soon as it gets reported, I'm sure. Google has been pulling all footage not published by the Israeli ministries of information.

Footage of the UN school bombing that killed dozens today, pulled. Footage of the bombs hitting other UN schools...pulled. Footage of IDF standing on armored vehicles and picking off targets in the street...pulled.

All footage released by the IDF...still there. They have their own channel. Propaganda comes in the places you least expect.
posted by dejah420 at 11:27 AM on January 6, 2009 [58 favorites]


No context, no nothing. What am I supposed to learn from this?

Really?
posted by ageispolis at 11:29 AM on January 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


The current incursion? The date is 1/28/2008 (not that that diminishes the power of this clip or Arraf's bravery).
posted by longdaysjourney at 11:31 AM on January 6, 2009


Google has been pulling all footage not published by the Israeli ministries of information. ... All footage released by the IDF...still there. They have their own channel. Propaganda comes in the places you least expect.

The Protocols of the Elders of Google?
posted by billysumday at 11:31 AM on January 6, 2009


The Protocols of the Elders of Google?

Sort of, except it's real.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:35 AM on January 6, 2009


dejah: do you have a reference for that? Is it possible the Korean news company filed a DMCA notice?

This has been on youtube for almost a year, and has had about 100k views.
posted by delmoi at 11:36 AM on January 6, 2009


No context, no nothing. What am I supposed to learn from this?

Really?

Yes, really. I'm not going to draw any lessons from it until I have some context--when, where, who shot it, who are the people in it, what's going on. Providing that information might make it a nice, informative news-filter post. Without that information, it looks a lot like propaganda.
posted by MarshallPoe at 11:39 AM on January 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


No context, no nothing. What am I supposed to learn from this?
posted by MarshallPoe at 1:19 PM on January 6


Apparently you are supposed to learn that this was "a moment of great courage." That's what the title says. And the tag.

And you are also supposed to learn that the proper analogy is:
Palenstinian protestors : Israeli troops :: "Unknown Rebel" : People's Liberation Army.

Or at least that is apparently what the poster wants you to learn.

Personally, I would have found more context interesting. Than maybe I would understand whether she bothered suggesting to the children to stop throwing stones and peacefully protest.
posted by dios at 11:39 AM on January 6, 2009


If only she was there to stand in front of the rockets flying to Israel, look at all that could have been avoided!
posted by CautionToTheWind at 11:43 AM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


dios, i'm not sure the proper response to children throwing stones is to shoot the children. For starters, they are children.

It's interesting Israel even bothers trying to spin this sort of thing. Do they really care what the world opinion is when they blow up Lebanon or Gaza or whatever else? It doesn't seem to have any adverse effect for them if people think they are being too heavy handed.
posted by chunking express at 11:44 AM on January 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


How courageous of that girl to stand down the evil Zionist warmongers! Thanks to her, those Palestinian kids were able to keep throwing their candy to the other children.

Look, I hate the abuses of the IDF in the territories as much as anyone, but his is bullshit propaganda. Myself, I also feel for those 17-18 year old Israeli kids who are ordered to stand down other kids throwing rocks. No more and no less. They are all human beings, making imperfect moral choices in an environment that offers few rewards for ethical purity. The lack of context and harsh dichotomy of this film does no credit to anyone, least of all you, shetterly.

Today, in particular, I'm thinking about a good friend's son, who I've known since he was a little kid and who is now a unit commander in the IDF and very likely on operations at the moment in Gaza. Sweet kid. It sucks that he's put in harm's way. Peace and two states would be wonderful. In the meantime, it's heartwrenching that Hamas has launched 34 Qassams into Israel today and that he has to be put in danger to try to make that stop.

You can abhor the choice to go to war and still recognize that the Israeli kids in Gaza today are just as courageously putting themselves in danger to try to stop the killing. It's not as photogenic as a pretty girl facing down a gun, but it's no less real. Probably moreso, frankly, since there are no cameras there and Hamas respects no rules of engagement.
posted by felix betachat at 11:46 AM on January 6, 2009 [22 favorites]


"Than maybe I would understand whether she bothered suggesting to the children to stop throwing stones and peacefully protest."

Because, you know, otherwise they totally deserve to be riddled with bullets. I read you.
posted by kbanas at 11:48 AM on January 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


This woman's actions are extraordinarily brave, no question. I can't agree with the comparison to Tiananmen, though. The contexts of the two conflicts are too different for such an easy comparison.

Incredible video, nonetheless.
posted by DWRoelands at 11:48 AM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Brave woman.
posted by joelf at 11:49 AM on January 6, 2009


felix betachat, yes they are heroically there stopping the killing of precisely ZERO people with those rockets by slaughtering hundreds. Bravo.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:49 AM on January 6, 2009 [9 favorites]


No. That is nothing like Tiananmen Square. Whole 'nother ball of wax.
posted by dawson at 11:49 AM on January 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


I hope to God I would have the courage to pick up a rock and make a sling.
posted by penduluum at 11:49 AM on January 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


You know what it takes to sell real estate? It takes brass balls to sell real estate.
posted by tracert at 11:51 AM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Google has been pulling all footage not published by the Israeli ministries of information

You're implying that Google, as a matter of policy, is suppressing all views of the current conflict in Gaza except the official Israel one. That is a very strong charge, do you have any evidence to support it? Because the very video we're discussing here, having been online more than a year, is evidence against your claim. Or are you just being irresponsibly inflammatory?
posted by Nelson at 11:52 AM on January 6, 2009 [16 favorites]



felix betachat, yes they are heroically there stopping the killing of precisely ZERO people with those rockets by slaughtering hundreds. Bravo.


Bullshit. I have another friend who's brother has been in a coma for decades as the result of a rock that hit his head during the first intifadah. He used to be a cop. Now he's a vegetable. Pat yourself on the back all you want. You're still making a choice to demonize people in a part of the world where that's all too easy.

Why can't you hate the violence and still feel for the young people who are made to carry out the unjust edicts of a frightened state? What is so broken in you that you need to live in a world where children can be simply bad because of the uniform they wear?
posted by felix betachat at 11:52 AM on January 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Probably moreso, frankly, since there are no cameras there and Hamas respects no rules of engagement.

Israel is blowing the fuck out of a lot of stuff, not just dudes working for Hamas. So there is a lack of respect for this dirty business of war from both sides. However, unlike Hamas, who are apparently big fuck-ups when it comes to Terrorism, Israel has that shit down. Hamas are good at getting Palestinians killed, they just do it by proxy.
posted by chunking express at 11:54 AM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


If the Palestinians can get enough cameras, and people brave enough to embrace embrace Gandhian non-violence, they may be able to confound Israeli imperialism.

Cynic that I am, I suspect Israel knows this, and will do its utmost provoke Palestinian violence. Or provide it, under false flags.

But the tide is turning. Americans, including American Jews, are finally beginning to see -- and reject -- Israeli imperialism. As I've said before, I used to reflexively support Israel's policy and conduct against the Palestinians. My support wavered the more I saw the connections between PNAC and imperialism, imperialism by the US and by Israel. Any remaining prejudice I had toward the Israeli "side" has been extinguished by its latest attack on Gaza. I don't think I'm unique in this.

I hold no brief for Palestinian terrorists, but I can't call the children and families indiscriminately shot, blown up, burnt to death in Israel's attack on Gaza, terrorists. In Gaza, it's clear who is the bully and who is the oppressed.
posted by orthogonality at 11:58 AM on January 6, 2009 [27 favorites]


Hamas are good at getting Palestinians killed, they just do it by proxy.

True that. This is a huge double fuckup. The Israeli government has to throw around big balls because the elections are coming up. And Hamas decided unilaterally to break the cease fire and start launching huge numbers of Qassams back into Israel. The whole situation is a tragedy in the making. Spitting on soldiers or on stupid kids with slingshots is hardly going to add a dose of moral clarity here.

As I've said countless times when the issue comes up: this truly is a situation where westerners' needs to feel a kick of self-righteousness are actively counterproductive to the work of peace making. Sorry, folks, but it's true. No heroes, no villains, but no end of victims and victimizers.
posted by felix betachat at 11:58 AM on January 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


In Gaza, it's clear who is the bully and who is the oppressed.

Gaza, sure. How about Sderot?
posted by felix betachat at 11:59 AM on January 6, 2009


MarshallPoe, if you learn about courage and protecting others, that'll be plenty. That's what this video said to me. In its way, it's braver than the Tienanman Square incident: shots were being fired. But circumstances are always different, so it's not fair to compare. When unarmed people face armed ones, it's easy to know who is courageous.
posted by shetterly at 12:00 PM on January 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


Jeez. During the part where she's trying to block his view while he's aiming, I cringed. I thought at any moment she was going to have fingers blown off.
posted by wastelands at 12:01 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Found this article linked to Arraf's Wikipedia entry.

The ISM was founded with the aim of strengthening peaceful protests against the Israeli occupation. The feeling, back in 2001, was that the presence of foreigners would deter the Israeli army from using lethal force and give ordinary Palestinians the confidence to take part in protests, a confidence that had been lost since the early days of the first intifada. A year later, as we reflect on that Easter, Huwaida says, "We had planned all kinds of direct action. We were going to be proactive, highlighting closures and planning on marches and dismantling roadblocks. And then the invasion happened. Even the international agencies were stopped cold." The ISM's work became chiefly humanitarian. "That's when we started putting people into ambulances and calling up the army directly to say, listen, there are foreign volunteers inside those ambulances," she says.

Looks like she puts her life where her mouth is. True guts.
posted by longdaysjourney at 12:05 PM on January 6, 2009 [10 favorites]


Oppressed by pretty much all regional neighbors, and only in their land by the force and grit of their ancestors, Israelites cling to the whole offense as defense thing. "As soon as people stop threatening us/throwing/shooting bombs into our cities, we can all live in peace." It's a bit circular, but you have to appreciate its logical simplicity. We're here, we're not going away, you want to change that, you're going to meet our DF. And they've been threatened for so long, and only managed to make their land by force, that, well, they're rather forceful when they want to be.

Hamas? We're here to eliminate the state of Israel. Not, we're here to provide leadership for the former state of Palestine. No, it's, we're here to see the destruction of Israel.

And the rest of the countries for the most part turn their heads and wash their hands in order to ratchet the pressure up faster/farther. Because they don't want Israel to exist either.

Oh, and oh yes, people's family members get killed. Which turns the remaining members even more adamant about the side they're on.

So, it's just a snapshot, but that's the giant shell game that's being played in between these killings and bombings and revenge killings and revenge bombings.
posted by cavalier at 12:05 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


felix betachat, yes, conquerors are often brave. That does not excuse their actions. The brave Israelis that I respect are these: Israeli Teenagers Jailed for Refusal to Enlist in the Army.
posted by shetterly at 12:06 PM on January 6, 2009 [9 favorites]


My strong ethnic identification makes me very angry when group X do things to my group, Y, with whom I share similar chromosomes.
posted by norabarnacl3 at 12:10 PM on January 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


If the Palestinians can get enough cameras, and people brave enough to embrace embrace Gandhian non-violence, they may be able to confound Israeli imperialism.

Indeed, this is the huge failing of the Palestinian leadership. They keep appealing to an Arab audience, who can't really do squat to help them. They *should* be appealing to a western audience, who *are* in a position to help them.

A few MLK-style marches, and they'll have the sympathy of the western world. Blowing themselves up/firing rockets/etc. is just counterproductive.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 12:12 PM on January 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


Sweet kid. It sucks that he's put in harm's way.

I think you're wanted in the "cop shoots defenceless man in the back" thread.

After all, we're all just out there, human beings making imperfect choices.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:15 PM on January 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Shetterly, I see what you mean. But you present the video as if it somehow "speaks for itself," that there is some natural and obvious conclusion to be drawn from it. Some videos are "telegraphic" in this way, but this one's not. With just the information in your post, we have no real idea what's going on (sorry, I don't know Korean). The reader/viewer is asked to interpret the video without any of the relevant information (who, what, when, where, why, etc.). How are we supposed to say anything about it?
posted by MarshallPoe at 12:15 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Like most people, I believe, I have mixed emotions about the whole conflict. There is blame to spread around between everyone.

The woman stands before the soldiers asking why are they shooting. The soldiers don't respond. They aim at the people, they aim at her - they seem confused. It is confusing. Gaza has been the location of terrorist attacks against Israel, and factions within Gaza want nothing more than to destroy all of Israel's people. Israel has oppressed Gaza and its people, bringing more hatred to the region. Woman, like this woman, have approached soldiers and blown themselves up. Soldiers have blown up women like this in their homes with their children. It's madness.

I look at that footage and I see bravery, love, hatred, and the illogical nature of all that is happening on the faces of not only the woman, but of the soldiers as well.

There are no good guys there, no bad guys - no heroes or valiant warriors - and if things do not change, no winners. Just terrible loss.
posted by Muddler at 12:16 PM on January 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


felix betachat writes "Why can't you hate the violence and still feel for the young people who are made to carry out the unjust edicts of a frightened state?"

You know, I talked to a survivor of the Shoah one time. He'd been born a Polish Jew, and as a teen, had been imprisoned by the Nazis in a slave labor camp. Funny old guy, he'd explained he had no animosity for the German camp guards. He explained that, well, they were all young kids, in the Army and far from home, and just following orders.

I thought, what a saint this old man was! How amazingly forgiving he was of the "young kids" who had imprisoned him and killed his family.

Then he went on, that while he held nothing against the guards, he really really hated -- the Poles. He explained, "those Poles, they're taught to throw stomes at Jews beforee they're taught how to walk!"

Well, I wasn't about to try to inform him of any contradiction in his feelings -- after all, he'd lived through the camps and the DP centers after the war, had lost his whole family and been washed after liberation, homeless, penniless, dispossessed. I hadn't been through that, I hadn't suffered that, I wasn't about to contradict this old man.


And I certainly don't hate the kids in the IDF -- except maybe those who have been documented, by their fellow conscripts, of humiliating and shooting Palestinians for sport. Just as, though it took me a number of years, I don't blame all Germans for the crimes of the Shoah.

But in not blaming the kids, I think you have to blame the politicians who give them orders. Israel holds elections in six weeks, and it's hard not to see this invasion of Gaza as Kadima and Labour's cynical attempt to shore up its position not against Hamas, but against Netanyahu and the Likud.
posted by orthogonality at 12:18 PM on January 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


MarshallPoe, are the pieces really that hard to put together?

1. Soldiers shooting at children.

2. Unarmed woman putting herself between armed soldiers and children.

In the greatest sense, the nationalities are irrelevant. But you seem to be arguing as a nationalist, that you have to know which side to take. Here's a bit of Orwell that's being quoted lately for (I hope) obvious reasons:

"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 12:19 PM on January 6, 2009 [38 favorites]


i'm not sure the proper response to children throwing stones is to shoot the children. For starters, they are children.

Perhaps you've never been hit in the head with a rock.

Furthermore, some aren't throwing them, some are using slings. I recommend this story if you doubt a sling's efficacy for slaying opponents with superior weapons. Irony awaits.

Perhaps they are children, but it doesn't mean they aren't deadly. If a so-called child (and that is questionable here) were trying to kill or harm somebody I cared about, and I had the means to stop it, then I would. I'm sorry, but telling an armed youth (and a rock is a deadly object, just ask any antelope-slaying caveman) to take a time-out isn't going to work when they are throwing half-pound projectiles at you and would prefer you dead.

Yes, it is brave to stand in the path of someone with a gun. The girl has guts. It would be equally brave to stand in front of the youths throwing rocks. Blame is shared here. It's just that the Israelis just have superior weapons.
posted by tempestuoso at 12:19 PM on January 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


Clearly not the attack upon Gaza, and bullets? I suspect rubber bullets. I don't want to exonerate the Israelis, but yesterday a guy plosted a video that showed many many dead Palestinians in a market place. The problem: it was not this war and the bomb that had gone off was a Hamas bomb that killed Arabs. The poster apologized.

True, Israel is careful about what it does allow to be shown at this stage. Doesn't the US? We don;t even see our own dead returned to our country. As for Youtube: I have no knowledge of what they do. But for photos of both sides during the present war,
http://cryptome.org/
posted by Postroad at 12:20 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't think Israelis should shoot Palestinian children for throwing rocks, but there is a real reason the Palestinian children are out there throwing rocks -- it is so that the whole debate can be framed as Israelis with guns shoot children with rocks. That's not the Intifada. That's a press release.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:25 PM on January 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


Debate was the wrong word choice. "Conflict" would be better.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:26 PM on January 6, 2009


Postroad, are you suggesting that a mis-attributed video means no one is dying in Gaza now?

Tempestuoso, when soldiers shoot children who throw rocks, there's a bigger problem than children throwing rocks.

A reality check from here: "According to UN humanitarian chief John Holmes, at least 500 people have been killed in the fighting and as many as 25 per cent are believed to be civilians....Nine Israelis have been reported dead since the offensive began. Four Israeli soldiers also reportedly died in friendly-fire incidents on Monday."

And an update on who broke the ceasefire. From an excellent piece in Haaretz: "Six months ago Israel asked and received a cease-fire from Hamas. It unilaterally violated it when it blew up a tunnel..."
posted by shetterly at 12:29 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I love how the people criticizing the Israelis say that the kids are throwing "stones" but the people criticizing the Palestinians say the kids are throwing "rocks".
posted by straight at 12:29 PM on January 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


MarshallPoe: No context, no nothing. What am I supposed to learn from this?

It made me cry.

It made me think about the Israelis I've known who've served in the IDF in a new way. It made me think of the people I've known, Jew, gentile and Palestinian who've gone to Israel and Palestine to do their bit to make better a horrible, awful situation.

You have two kids with guns who were destined to be soldiers the minute they were born healthy facing another kid without a gun who's putting herself in harms way even though she's scared shitless (witness her jumps when she hears fire) for what she believes in. The kids with guns don't want to be there and the kid without guns doesn't want to have to be there but she clearly feels like she has to.

For crying out loud, aren't you human? Must you make everything fit into some sort of larger context? This is a situation between three people stuck in the middle of a gigantic clusterfuck of an epic goddamn tragedy. These are human beings reacting to conditions more extreme than I hope any single one of us will ever face. I learned new things about what being human is.
posted by Kattullus at 12:32 PM on January 6, 2009 [49 favorites]


And an update on who broke the ceasefire. From an excellent piece in Haaretz: "Six months ago Israel asked and received a cease-fire from Hamas. It unilaterally violated it when it blew up a tunnel..."

So the appropriate response was randomly shelling civilian areas?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:32 PM on January 6, 2009


Not that the Israeli response was any better.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:33 PM on January 6, 2009


felix betachat writes "Gaza, sure. How about Sderot?"

Felix, as you know, most of the inhabitants of Sderot are non-Western-European-derived immigrants who are too poor to leave.

Israel, which has millions to wage war, refuses to give the remianing inhabitants the money to move somewhere safer than half a mile from Gaza. Those with money to leave have already left. Hamas's rockets have killed 13 in Sderot; why has Israel not established a DMZ, rather than spending the money on rocket warning systems and temporary evacuations?

It's pretty clear, after a minute's reflexion on this, that the people of Sderot are pawns in this game, their suffering a convenient causus belli for those in Israel who want a justification for war.
posted by orthogonality at 12:34 PM on January 6, 2009 [17 favorites]


Somehow I doubt that the only reason children are out their throwing rocks is because it looks good on paper. For starters, you need only look at any thread on this topic to see that there are many ways to frame the 'kids with rocks' story.

And tempestuoso, yes I am aware rocks thrown with slings can seriously hurt people. I know what a rock is. That said, they still aren't in the same league as assault rifles -- by any stretch of the imagination. And the IDF are a well trained military unit, not a bunch of angry kids. I'm not sure what the advantage in shooting children in this situation is. Is the IDF defending some position? Are the kids going to overrun Israeli territory?
posted by chunking express at 12:36 PM on January 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


shetterly: you are a ship passing in the night with MarshallPoe. He is asking a very legitimate question the way a reporter would. For you, you have a preconceived framework in your head, and this fit into the narrative you accept. Thus you see this as something that is self-evident. The result is that it speaks to your prejudices (and I use that term with no negative connotation). That's probably why your post is so editorialized.

You basically present the narrative that if she was not there, these soldiers would have certainly shot every child dead that crossed their paths. How do we know that? Certainly evil, inhumane shock troops would not give up their death-squad mission because of one woman. Perhaps they are not holding fire because of the women in their way; perhaps they are holding fire because the woman in the way has stopped the stones from being hurled at them. Maybe that is the heroic act. Or maybe they are just waiting for approval on their radio to arrest her and air strike the entire horizon. We do not know.

There are questions that can be asked. How do we know these are just innocent children? How do we know why the soldiers are there? Why did the soldiers hold fire? What happened here the hour before? The hour after? Who is this person and why did she feel that the most effective thing to do was walk up there?

An alternative way for this story would go would be the peaceful protest route; young woman comes in and convinces her allies to stop throwing stones because that will just require return fire. So she convinces them to all hold hands and sing Kumbaya in front of the soldiers and peace rules the day.

We don't know. There is no context here as to why the troops were there, why this woman was there, and who is off-screen. There is no context as to what has been occurring at this place. There is no context as to why the soldiers are doing what they are doing. We are just to accept that her presence alone shut them down.

In short, other than fitting into preconceived narratives, this does not tell us a whole lot.
posted by dios at 12:38 PM on January 6, 2009 [22 favorites]


Elsewhere, the battle rages on(line), with websites being defaced and DDoS attacks being carried out on either side.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:39 PM on January 6, 2009


Look, I hate the abuses of the IDF in the territories as much as anyone

I doubt that.
posted by fullerine at 12:40 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, but these children are not simply spontaneously deciding to pick up stones. They are being cynically used by Palestinians radicals, and are groomed, almost from birth, to glorify death and an eternal war against Israel.

There is monsterousness on both sides, of various degrees.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:41 PM on January 6, 2009


People on both sides know that the violence is understandable, like of course a state can't just take rockets firing into their state. And of course the Palestinians will hate Israelis for the lopsided death tolls and the oppression and their lack of self determination. It makes sense that they hate each other. And they can't do nothing right? The thing is that's what it's going to take for things to work out, one side is going to have to take it, and keep taking for a while. They will have to sit back and people will die. They will have to keep sitting back. Doesn't matter much who it is, and it only get's you to maybe.
posted by I Foody at 12:44 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie, "appropriate responses" don't exist in these situations. Isreal has had a choice between two "best" responses for years: Return to the '67 borders, or give full citizenship to everyone in the land that it claims.

Lest anyone claim Hamas and Iran would not accept that, Hamas said it could accept a truce with Israel, and Ahmadinejad accepts Israel's right to exist.

That may be irrelevant now: "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 12:48 PM on January 6, 2009 [12 favorites]


Astro Zombie, "appropriate responses" don't exist in these situations.

Claiming that Israel broke the cease fire is absurd. You neglected to mention that the tunnel was destroyed based on intelligence that Hamas was planning to abduct IDF soldiers through that tunnel.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:51 PM on January 6, 2009


Tempestuoso, when soldiers shoot children who throw rocks, there's a bigger problem than children throwing rocks.

The problem then is what? That the children don't have guns, or that the Israelis aren't throwing rocks? If you are referring to the conflict in general, then yes: war is bad. We agree.

As for the implied bias of the word "rock" vs. the word "stone," how about "damage-causing, hard clump of earth?" If they are like anyone who has ever thrown a rock at anything, they are picking up the roundest, biggest stone they can find with a hope of hitting whatever they are aiming at, and then hurling it as hard as they can. It might be a rock, might be a stone. If there were an assault rifle handy, I bet one of the "children" would pick it up and use it.

And why are people calling these young people children? Is it because of their apparent chronological age, or because their innocence? If you are old enough and mature enough to decide to take on an army and attempt to kill soldiers with superior weapons, then you are no longer innocent enough to be called a child in my book.
posted by tempestuoso at 12:53 PM on January 6, 2009


And why are people calling these young people children?

Because they look to be under the age of 18?
posted by chunking express at 12:56 PM on January 6, 2009


dios, I think you are drawing upon you own "preconceived framework" if you have trouble understanding what it means for a woman to step between soldiers shooting at children.

For people who wonder about the complex history of Israel and Palestine, I recommend Keys to Palestinian home cherished.
posted by shetterly at 12:58 PM on January 6, 2009


And the IDF are a well trained military unit, not a bunch of angry kids.

Yes, the Israelis have learned a lot since Biblical times. They know better than to show up at a battle with sticks and stones. If David had had an assault rifle, things would have gone very differently.

That said, they still aren't in the same league as assault rifles -- by any stretch of the imagination.

So you are saying what, then, that the Israelis should start arming their well-trained military units with rocks, just to make it an even fight?
posted by tempestuoso at 1:03 PM on January 6, 2009


dios, I think you are drawing upon you own "preconceived framework" if you have trouble understanding what it means for a woman to step between soldiers shooting at children.

Well, I would submit that I have no narrative in my mind. Which is why I am a loss for how you are certain you just saw "a woman stepping between soldiers shooting at children."

The video I watched had a bunch of scenes in different locations. Then a cut to this location which has two soldiers who never fired a single shot on the camera with a woman on screen, and no indication is behind her whatsoever other than her own words about children. The soldiers stand there looking past her at something and talking on a radio. At some point, there is either an explosion or shots that do fire in the background and people skirmish. These soldiers do not fire any shots that direction or even react to same, which suggests to me that perhaps this is not a terribly hostile place. If it were, I would have expected them to react to what was occurring in the background.

If you would like to explain the video better for me, I'd appreciate it.

But again, other than the narrative in your mind, I do not see any context for what is occurring on the screen.
posted by dios at 1:06 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I would make the case that Israelis need to come up with a different solution to kids with rocks then shooting them. For many, many reasons, including the fact that shooting children is generally wrong. More than that, it gives Israel a black eye. Israel has a long history of disproportionare responses to attacks, and it has never played out well in the world arena, and certainly does nothing to make the road to peace any easier.

Might I also suggest that Palestinians not encourage their children to throw rocks at soldiers, particularly knowing there is a risk that the soldiers will shoot back? Or can someone explain to me why making your children a target for violence isn't just an abominable act?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:07 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Shutterly wrote: MarshallPoe, are the pieces really that hard to put together? 1. Soldiers shooting at children. 2. Unarmed woman putting herself between armed soldiers and children.

This illustrates my point perfectly. From what's in the post, or in the video for that matter, we can't tell whether 1 or 2 are true at all. Seems reasonable, but is it? The video shows some shots of someone throwing stones. Who? When? Why? Then it cuts to the woman and the two soldiers. There are some people in the background. Are they children? I don't know. Have they been shot at? I don't know. Some explosions are heard. What are they? I don't know. Who's responsible for them? I don't know.

Given the evidence presented, there is no way to tell what's going on.
posted by MarshallPoe at 1:08 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


If David had had an assault rifle, things would have gone very differently.


Yeah, he would have been Goliath.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:08 PM on January 6, 2009 [31 favorites]


Astro Zombie writes "Claiming that Israel broke the cease fire is absurd. You neglected to mention that the tunnel was destroyed based on intelligence that Hamas was planning to abduct IDF soldiers through that tunnel."

How many more years, how many more decades, are we going to play "Who shot John?"

How many more times will we trump tunnel with rocket with cluster bomb with suicide bomber, '08 with 92 with '72 with '68 with '48 with Balfour, Irgun with PLO, Stern Gang with Hamas?

The heart of the matter is that Israel as a nation was imposed on an indigenous people by means of the West's guilt over, not Arab, but Western antisemitism. The heart of the matter is that among many good Israelis, there are fundamentalist settlers and war-mongers and Imperialists who quite frankly consider Palestinians sub-human. And because of the way the Knesset works, the fundamentalist, war-mongers, and racists have disproportionate political power.

And the heart of the matter is that it's Israel, not the Palestinians who have been living in camps for four generations, it's Israel, with its modern military and its H-bombs and its stronger position, that has the power to break this cycle of blame, killing, and death. And if Israel can't, or won't, take the necessarily painful steps to do so, we who have supported Israel because they're "more like us", we have to drop our support for Israel and treat it like the pariah state it unfortunately has become.
posted by orthogonality at 1:09 PM on January 6, 2009 [29 favorites]


Because they look to be under the age of 18?

So if they were 19, it would somehow be more okay to shoot them?

"Child" is a subjective word used to stir up emotion, and 18 an arbitrary number that may, or may not, have any bearing on the maturity, emotional or thinking capacity of an individual.
posted by tempestuoso at 1:10 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie, Israel has a long history of doing things "based on intelligence". In '48, they sent fighters to take more land than the UN had allowed because they knew their land would be taken from them. In '67, they attacked because they knew they were going to be attacked. Every aggressive act has had a rationalization.

To their credit, some Israelis admit the rationalizations were only that:

‘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

Whether there will be comparable statements after this assault on Gaza, I do not know. It may depend on whether the current leaders of Israel have the courage of Begin and Rabin.
posted by shetterly at 1:12 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Yeah, he would have been Goliath.

:)

Then I don't see what anyone is complaining about, since the stone-slingers will obviously win.
posted by tempestuoso at 1:12 PM on January 6, 2009


If David had had an assault rifle, things would have gone very differently.

Uh, did you not [Biblical SPOILERS]finish that chapter?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:13 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


They are being cynically used by Palestinians radicals, and are groomed, almost from birth, to glorify death and an eternal war against Israel.

And every 18-year old male and female in Israel are required by law to do three or two years of full time arab killing training, so what else is new?
posted by mr.marx at 1:13 PM on January 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


How many more years, how many more decades, are we going to play "Who shot John?"

I only mention the destruction of the bridge because someone insisted Israel broke the ceasefire. But feel free to use that as a pretext for launching into your next jeremiad against the founding of the state in the first place.

I have never once defended misbehavior by the Israelis. I am not a zionist, I am suspicious of nationalism altogether, and I think Israel has repeatedly behaved monsterously toward the Palestinians. But there cannot be peace unless we can discuss both the misbehavior of the Israelis AND the misbehavior of the Palestinians, who, after all, launch indescriminate attacks against Israeli civilians and coach their children to be suicide bombers. Peace is a hard enough road without simply devolving into partisanship.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:14 PM on January 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


And every 18-year old male and female in Israel are required by law to do three or two years of full time arab killing training, so what else is new?

Jesus. That is a hideous misrepresentation of the Israeli military. So you have anything to actually contribute to this discussion?
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:16 PM on January 6, 2009


So you are saying what, then, that the Israelis should start arming their well-trained military units with rocks, just to make it an even fight?

Yes, that's exactly what i'm saying. Are you obtuse on purpose?

So if they were 19, it would somehow be more okay to shoot them?

Again, are you obtuse on purpose? The IDF shouldn't shoot protesters. Even angry protesters with rocks. At the end of the day, the protesters throwing rocks aren't going to change a thing. The IDF definitely shouldn't be shooting children. And you can pretend the people throwing rocks at these soldiers aren't children, but by any reasonable definition of the word, that's what these people are.

Obviously Israel has to do something when Hamas shoots rockets into their country. That doesn't mean people have to defend anything and everything Israel does. This video is an example of something stupid/horrible Israel does. One shouldn't feel compelled to defend Israel here, just because.
posted by chunking express at 1:20 PM on January 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Google has been pulling all footage not published by the Israeli ministries of information.

Not accurate -- go to YouTube and search for Gaza --- you'll see footage from Al-Jazeera, the Associated Press, etc. Are you sure many of the clips you refer to weren't illegally posted news clips? You can't just upload some random news broadcast without their permission.

I see plenty of videos from other news sources than Israel -- AlJazeeraEnglish for example.

I don't know where you got that rumor from (I've seen several news stories pointing out how Israel is using YouTube to get its side out, but none that YouTube is removing "all footage not published by Israel"), but it's obviously false.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:20 PM on January 6, 2009


You neglected to mention that the tunnel was destroyed based on intelligence that Hamas was planning to abduct IDF soldiers through that tunnel.

Also, intelligence was recieved that Iraq had nuclear weapons, which have been smuggled to Syria.
posted by rodgerd at 1:21 PM on January 6, 2009


Claiming that Israel broke the cease fire is absurd. You neglected to mention that the tunnel was destroyed based on intelligence that Hamas was planning to abduct IDF soldiers through that tunnel.

The only way that sentance makes sense would be if we were in some bizzaro world where you could break a ceasefire without actually doing anything. It's been reported everywhere that Israel had been planning this attack for months and months. So by your definition (which no one else is using) Israel would have 'broken' the ceasefire as soon as they started planning? Is that what you're saying?
posted by delmoi at 1:21 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I don't have a problem with the disproportionate response. You want Israel to stop, STOP FIRING ROCKETS. Oh, and YES the OP is being inflammatory, and what dios said.

Plus shetterly, isn't it sort of bad form to editorialize in your own posts?
posted by sfts2 at 1:22 PM on January 6, 2009


Jesus. That is a hideous misrepresentation of the Israeli military.

Also, Astro Zombie, you imply all these Palestinian children are being raised to be Zionist fearing war machines. There is all sorts of misrepresentation to go around.
posted by chunking express at 1:22 PM on January 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


Astro Zombie, you certainly have identified a key problem: the devolution into partisanship of this issue. People support one side and blame the other almost exclusively.

I submit the following: if this was a civil case that I took to a jury who had never heard of Israel or Palenstine, then in a proportionate responsibility state, I think a jury would return a verdict that there is something close to 50%-50% responsibility on the two sides. But for some reason, most discussion here acts as if there is a sole proximate cause by one side and a 100%-0% breakdown.
posted by dios at 1:23 PM on January 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


Apparently I'm in the bizarro world where destroying a tunnel -- and the tunnel system demonstratably is used for smuggling weapons -- is a justification for indiscriminately bombing civilians.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:23 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]



And every 18-year old male and female in Israel are required by law to do three or two years of full time arab killing training, so what else is new?

As opposed to the muslim side, where it is a lifetime of killing the Jews.

This is so yawn it is pathetic. Deja vu again and again. This will never end until one side or the other gets down to the business of winning. Total war until the other side is gone. Otherwise, we will just revisit this time and time again.
Hell, I don't even care which side wins. I just wish one side would win so we could move on already.
posted by a3matrix at 1:25 PM on January 6, 2009


Uh, did you not [Biblical SPOILERS]finish that chapter?

Ha! Thanks. :)

The end would have been the same, but the means different, and the tale wouldn't stir up such emotion because it wasn't the little guy beating the big guy, and people have a soft spot for the underdog. It wouldn't have been codified in religious texts to give hope to oppressed peoples, etc.
posted by tempestuoso at 1:25 PM on January 6, 2009


Also, Astro Zombie, you imply all these Palestinian children are being raised to be Zionist fearing war machines.

Really? You're desputing my link? I expect there are Palestinian parents who do not raise their children that way, but there certainly is a dedicated program of cultivating violence against Palestinian children.

But apparenly my "implication" that all Palestinian children are participants in this is justification for outright claiming that the exclusive function of the Israeli military is the muder of Arabs.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:27 PM on January 6, 2009


Violence against Israel in Palestinian children, rather.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:28 PM on January 6, 2009


Simple question: has Hamas as yet deleted in its written mandate of runing that they aim to destroy the state of Israel? yes or no?

as for the teens tossing rocks, If I had a gun in my town and boys tossing big rocks at me, i would friggin shoot. But the soldiers here are armed with rubber bullets.

Now the Arabs and the Israelis are two different peoples, etc so there is no comparison with the Chinese, who were clamping down on fellow Chinese.
posted by Postroad at 1:28 PM on January 6, 2009


As opposed to the muslim side, where it is a lifetime of killing the Jews.

Do you know someone who went to jew-killing-school in the west bank, or are you talking out of your ass?
posted by chunking express at 1:29 PM on January 6, 2009


Hamas has, essentially, accepted the right of Israel to exist, within the context of a two state solution.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:30 PM on January 6, 2009


But apparenly my "implication" that all Palestinian children are participants in this is justification for outright claiming that the exclusive function of the Israeli military is the muder of Arabs.

Did I say that?

Fuck these threads are such a big waste of time.
posted by chunking express at 1:30 PM on January 6, 2009


I didn't say you said that. These threads are a waste of time if you refuse to read them before you comment. Mr. Marx said it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:32 PM on January 6, 2009


Astro Zombie, has anyone made a zionist bingo game? I'm pretty sure "I am not a zionist, but" would be a square. And I think it's automatic bingo when you say "...the Palestinians, who, after all, launch indescriminate attacks against Israeli civilians and coach their children to be suicide bombers."

And all dead male Palestinians are counted as combatants.
posted by shetterly at 1:32 PM on January 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


mr.marx writes "And every 18-year old male and female in Israel are required by law to do three or two years of full time arab killing training, so what else is new?"

Not every one: the ultra-Orthodox yeshiva students are exempt, on the theory that they can't be distracted from studying Torah. Fortunately, they're not too busy to beat up girls and women for riding buses, or to torch video stores, or to patronize Russian Jewish immigrants forced into prostitution, or burn those same sex slaves to death in arson attacks. Or, with government persuasion and financing, to set up settlements in the disputed territories.
posted by orthogonality at 1:33 PM on January 6, 2009 [7 favorites]


Yes. It would be interesting to see the other squares as well, which would be equally easy to construct, and equally do nothing but heap scorn on a discussion.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:33 PM on January 6, 2009


Fucking delightful how you spend two minutes of your time trying to point out that there have been abuses on both sides and your automatically a zionist.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:35 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who immediately began to try to put this to INXS' "Original Sin"? "Dream on, Palestinian girl ... dream on, Israeli soldier" just doesn't fit.

Just me, then? Okay.
posted by adipocere at 1:37 PM on January 6, 2009


If that was a US cop instead of an Israeli soldier, imagine what this thread would look like.
posted by smackfu at 1:37 PM on January 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


Apparently I'm in the bizarro world where destroying a tunnel -- and the tunnel system demonstratably is used for smuggling weapons -- is a justification for indiscriminately bombing civilians.

As opposed to firing rockets into empty fields? Between the time that the ceasefire started, and Israel started bombing, not a single Hamas rocket killed anyone.

Look, a ceasefire means no shooting. If you shoot, that means you break the ceasefire. It doesn’t seem very complicated, unless you want to twist everything around to make your side look good, which most people seem to want to do.

I'm more concerned about who started killing large numbers people first, and clearly (since the ceasefire) that was Israel. In fact (since the ceasefire) Israel bombed first (by blowing up the tunnel) started killing people first (when they first started bombing) and started killing large numbers of people first (which Hamas has not done, probably because they are incapable of it)

At every stage, Israel has escalated. That much is clear.
posted by delmoi at 1:40 PM on January 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


>If you are old enough and mature enough to decide to take on an army and attempt to kill soldiers with superior weapons, then you are no longer innocent enough to be called a child in my book.

Expressing anger through violence does not necessarily make a person mature enough to be blameworthy.

I don't mean to compare the Palestinians to the kid in that link; I just want to argue against the idea that anyone who fights has made a rational, clearheaded decision to do so. Watching your friends and family die around you, plus exhortations to fight from politically interested outside parties does not inspire calm debate. Palestinian kids who throw [hard clumps of earth] have lost their innocence only because they have known so much war, not because they chose some evil path.

Say two hypothetical towns had a dispute, but had so far tried to resolve it peacefully. If the children of one town got frustrated, say with the lack of progress or a number of concessions granted to the other town, and turned to violence, that would be blameworthy. This is a bit different from when military force is already involved, violence is commonly used by both sides, and there is little opportunity for education, meaningful employment, or escape.

The Palestinian kids throwing [hard clumps of earth] and Israeli kids in the IDF involved here are pawns at most, perhaps with the exception of those who abuse and kill people for sport. Let's turn our attention to the leaders who let these things happen.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 1:41 PM on January 6, 2009


As opposed to firing rockets into empty fields? Between the time that the ceasefire started, and Israel started bombing, not a single Hamas rocket killed anyone.

You think that was deliberate?

Look, perhaps Israel did break the cease fire. Whatever. If we're going to discuss disproportional responses, it's entirely fair to say, yes, Israel responded with far too much force to the shellings. AND the Palestines responded with too much force to destroying the tunnel. The Israelis shouldn't have killed civilians. The Palestinians shouldn't have tried to kill civilians.

Yes, Israelis response was a magnitude of order larger, and that makes it a magnitude of order more wrong. But the Palestinians don't walk away with clean hands either.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:43 PM on January 6, 2009


What's the problem here? Did the previous rabid, frothing, one-sided circle-jerk of Israel hating scroll off the front page already?

Whenever Metafilter seethes, I know Israel is doing something right. Here's hoping they keep you seething for a long, long time.
posted by Krrrlson at 1:45 PM on January 6, 2009


[y]ou certainly have identified a key problem: the devolution into partisanship of this issue. People support one side and blame the other almost exclusively.
I hold no brief for Hamas whatsoever; they espouse a retrograde politics which is poisonous on any number of levels. However, I have a fair understanding of how they came to power given the particular history of the Gaza Strip, just as by the same token, I can follow the historical development the state of Israel and comprehend how its security issues are seen by the various factions there, not least the present administration and the IDF.
Yet none of that prevents me watching this clip and seeing it primarily as shetterly framed it - a moment of human courage, or on a wider level watching the assault unfold with all the attendant human misery, death and suffering and condemning it as utterly repugnant and criminal.
posted by Abiezer at 1:47 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Are you obtuse on purpose?

Yes. I am. Your obtusity, however, I suspect to be accidental.

I wonder how you would respond if we gave you an assault rifle and stuck you in the middle of a stoning. You would probably respond less rationally than your average Israeli soldier does. Your aim would probably be worse, but I suspect the result would be much bloodier.

I don't defend Israel on the basis of them being Israel, nor would I defend Palestine on the basis of them being the little guy, like so many do. I think political entities with religion, and not reason, as their basis are inherently dangerous. This includes Israel and Palestine both. I think, though, that the Israeli military has rationality more on their side than the stone-throwers do. For me, that gives them the moral high ground.
posted by tempestuoso at 1:49 PM on January 6, 2009


tempestuoso: If you are old enough and mature enough to decide to take on an army and attempt to kill soldiers with superior weapons, then you are no longer innocent enough to be called a child in my book.

I think that throwing rocks at people with guns is as close one gets to pure, unadulterated immaturity and innocence. Only innocents think they can take on an army by themselves.
posted by Kattullus at 1:50 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


>As opposed to firing rockets into empty fields? Between the time that the ceasefire started, and Israel started bombing, not a single Hamas rocket killed anyone.

That's irrelevant and you know it. It doesn't matter if they miss, they are still attacking and still putting people and property in harm's way. Even if they choose to miss, they still run this risk, especially because Qassam rockets are known to be inaccurate. At the very least, such attacks have a psychological effect on Israelis.

The fact that they don't aim for Tel Aviv (their ability to do so aside) is small comfort; it is only a question of escalation.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 1:51 PM on January 6, 2009


shetterly, isn't it sort of bad form to editorialize in your own posts?

Is it? If so, well, the very first comment to the post was MarshallPoe's bafflement, which he and dios and others still share, so I hope I'll be forgiven for a bit of explanation. I hadn't thought the image of a woman putting herself between soldiers and children would be so difficult to decipher.

AstroZombie, I agree that most of those "bingo" claims are smug and simplistic and irritating, but you're the one who made the blanket comment about Palestinians right after claiming you weren't a Zionist.

Still, you're right. It wasn't helpful. I'm sorry.
posted by shetterly at 1:51 PM on January 6, 2009


Astro Zombie writes "Yes, Israelis response was a magnitude of order larger, and that makes it a magnitude of order more wrong. But the Palestinians don't walk away with clean hands either."

I don't think anyone here is arguing that Hamas has clean hands. I certainly am not.

But then, my tax dollars aren't funding Hamas's attacks. Just as we on Metafilter are more likely to be outraged when an American cop murders someone, or an American soldier participates in torture at Abu Ghraib, we're more likely to be outraged by Israel's atrocities, because Israel is our ally and financial dependent, is the "only Middle eastern democracy" and (supposedly) shares our ideals.

(In a comment above, I try to point out that the ultra-Orthodox, at least, don't share our modern Western ideals at all.)

If we as Americans didn't have the responsibility of paying for the cluster bombs and airplanes blowing up and maiming and killing Gaza's children, we'd be a whole lot less outraged, I think.
posted by orthogonality at 1:53 PM on January 6, 2009 [12 favorites]


It was not my intention to sound as though I feel all Palestinians are one way or the other. I know there is a peace movement among Palestinians, just as there is among Israelis, and both are dedicated to what is an extraordinarily difficult process.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:54 PM on January 6, 2009


I understand what you're saying, orthogonality, and I agree with you. But there are some who would like to make the case that Israel is unilaterally wrong and Palestine is justified in whatever they do, and I honestly think the peace process begins with both sides recognizing how they are contributing to war. Or with one side simply so completely destroying the other side, at which time they can impose whatever conditions for peace they like. I would prefer to see the former, although it is historically pretty rare.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:57 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


When you see so many shrill apologists pop up to defend Israeli soldiers shooting children, you know the number and degree of war crimes have gone from bad to worse.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:57 PM on January 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


Anyone this willing to actively work for peace deserves to be applauded, whether it's this Palestinian girl standing in front of an Israeli soldier's gun, or if it were an Israeli kid standing in the way of Hammas rockets. Screw the haters - this took bravery and sets a great example for others.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 1:57 PM on January 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


It makes sense. I mean the US government throws matches at this powder-keg by supplying weapons to this area, someone from the US should stand up and attempt to prevent the violent actions that come from our disastrous policy.
posted by peppito at 1:58 PM on January 6, 2009


Kattullus: I think that throwing rocks at people with guns is as close one gets to pure, unadulterated immaturity and innocence.

Don't confuse innocence with ignorance. Innocence is "the state of being free from sin or moral wrong." Ignorance is "willful neglect or refusal to acquire knowledge." The stone throwers are in the latter category, not the former.

If this were a group of 30-year-olds throwing the rocks instead of 18-year-olds, would doing so somehow become less immature? Would Israel then be more justified in its response?

Yes, these questions are obtuse and rhetorical intentionally.
posted by tempestuoso at 2:00 PM on January 6, 2009


But there cannot be peace unless we can discuss both the misbehavior of the Israelis AND the misbehavior of the Palestinians

This is the heart of the matter and a point at where we will have to agree to disagree. There is a crucial difference between the Palestinians and the Israelis, a single democractic state. The Palestinians are heavily fragmented by region, some of them are within Israeli borders but without any citizenship, some of them did elect Hamas, some of them didn't vote for Hamas, some of them are merely in Hamas-controlled territory and never got to vote, etc etc. In this situation, assigning blame to the entire nation for the actions of insurgents, even politically-sponsored insurgents, is folly.

Of course, I would go so far as to say that assigning blame to all Israelis for the conduct of their state is also folly. But I have no illusions that Israel is acting for security purposes, and don't believe for a second their military actually thinks this current invasion will reduce (hah!) future attacks against Israel.
posted by mek at 2:02 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I hate these threads, because mefites I otherwise have respect for look batshit when discussing this.
posted by maxwelton at 2:02 PM on January 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


If the Palestinians can get enough cameras, and people brave enough to embrace embrace Gandhian non-violence, they may be able to confound Israeli imperialism.

Indeed, this is the huge failing of the Palestinian leadership. They keep appealing to an Arab audience, who can't really do squat to help them. They *should* be appealing to a western audience, who *are* in a position to help them.


You're assuming that the Palestinian leadership (ie, Hamas) desire peace and a prosperity for Palestinians.

Hamas does not desire peace. Hamas desires power, and will do whatever it takes to remain in power.
posted by KokuRyu at 2:04 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Given the evidence presented, there is no way to tell what's going on.

Is this a knee-jerk thing because of the locale or what? Like, what sort of scenario can you spin where a person raises a weapon in a feel-good manner? What context does standing before a soldier with a raised weapon not take courage? I found the video moving and probably would have done so if it had been even more abstract.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 2:06 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


tempestuoso: Yes, these questions are obtuse and rhetorical intentionally.

Then, sir, you are a troll, and I apologize to the thread for having replied to your provocations.
posted by Kattullus at 2:08 PM on January 6, 2009


If that was a US cop instead of an Israeli soldier, imagine what this thread would look like.

Oh yeah? What if the Palestinean girl was on a bicycle, but the cop was an obese atheist, yet the kids in the background were flat-earthers, and the other Israeli soldier was actually a Young Earth creationist, but actually also cop, but they were firing vegetarian bullets, but they were GM soy bullets, yet the girl was one of MeFi's own, yet this FPP was her own self-link, yet the cop kept calling her a "USian" c-something, except some MeFite knew that guy when he was a kid, and building they were shooting at was a bar where there'd been a meetup, except it was a bad meetup, but the sign outside had an odd font, and horrifically if you looked hard enough you could see Steve Wozniak committing suicide in the background, but it might be a hoax, and this FPP was a double, and the img tag worked, and lolcats never existed, imagine it now fucker.
posted by fleacircus at 2:09 PM on January 6, 2009 [36 favorites]


I can't see how it would be different.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:11 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Astro Zombie writes "I honestly think the peace process begins with both sides recognizing how they are contributing to war."

I agree. I'd add that we need to recognize the US contribution too. As long as Israel (and Israeli politicians) can rely on Uncle Sam's backup, in the UN, in military aid, and to retaliate if Israel is attacked, they have little incentive not to play the bully.

Understanding US complicity includes the sensitive, politically fraught task of asking why, if the majority of Americans are against the attack on Gaza, so few American politicians have expressed anything but unequivocal support for Israel's actions. We have to ask why all the major TV networks televised all major party presidential candidates going hat-in-hand to AIPAC for the approval of the Israel Lobby.

And most politically sensitive of all, we have to ask Jewish Americans -- the majority of whom are much more progressive and pro-peace than Israel -- to help Israel, not by uncritical support of anything it does, but instead by working toward a just peace that safeguards Israel's existence not just until the next war, but in perpetuity in peace with her neighbors.
posted by orthogonality at 2:12 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Whenever Metafilter seethes, I know Israel is doing something right. Here's hoping they keep you seething for a long, long time.
posted by Krrrlson at 1:45 PM on January 6 [+] [!]


I suppose that makes you an avid supporter of death?
posted by mek at 2:12 PM on January 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


The thing that gets me about the video, and about the folks here calling for context, is that the soldier must have felt he was doing wrong to fire, or he would have shot the girl first to get her out of the way, then continued firing at the mob. Or, at least, his buddy, standing right there next to him, could have easily pushed the girl out of the way, detained her, whatever. I cannot imagine that soldiers would be so easily swayed by the entreaties of the girl if they really, truly thought they were justified in firing at the crowd.

In this way, it's very similar to Tiananmen Square--I mean, it's not like a tank couldn't just have run the guy over. The effectiveness of his stand required ambivalence on the part of his enemy.
posted by MrMoonPie at 2:13 PM on January 6, 2009 [16 favorites]


Good questions. I wish there were good answers.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:13 PM on January 6, 2009


I suppose that makes you an avid supporter of death?

Don't feed the troll, mek. Not worth it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:15 PM on January 6, 2009


mek, I don't know how Krrrlson usually behaves, but when Israel comes up, he offers opinions and insults without references or links to back assertions. I think "Don't feed the troll" applies in this case.
posted by shetterly at 2:22 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Yes, Israelis response was a magnitude of order larger, and that makes it a magnitude of order more wrong. But the Palestinians don't walk away with clean hands either.

Actually, it was two orders of magnitude larger, in terms of the number of people killed. Obviously these numbers change every day but at one point it was 500 dead in Gaza, 5 dead in Israel.

Oh, by the way. If you were following this you might remember hearing about people heading to a "U.N. School" hoping to avoid getting bombed. Well it didn't get bombed did get shelled, killing 40 Palestinians.

The Daily Show did a bit on this last night.
posted by delmoi at 2:25 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Then, sir, you are a troll, and I apologize to the thread for having replied to your provocations.

Wow. Asking rhetorical questions evidently makes one a troll, but name-calling doesn't. Interesting. I'd say "sticks and stones may break my bones," but that seems to be a controversial statement in this thread.
posted by tempestuoso at 2:25 PM on January 6, 2009


I think one real connection between this video and Tiananmen Square is that if Tiananmen Square had happened this year, someone on Metafilter would have snarked about the guy standing in front of the tank too.

After all, she's only an unarmed civilian blocking the line of sight of two edgy young soldiers and with her back to some slingshot-wielding hotheads. What a loser! Rioters have got it coming. We need more context!

Does it matter how dangerous slings are compared to guns, or which group of angry men did what first, or why, or when? A scared young woman bravely stood between two dangerous armed groups and tried to stop the situation escalating.
posted by BinaryApe at 2:31 PM on January 6, 2009 [14 favorites]


Whenever Metafilter seethes, I know Israel is doing something right. Here's hoping they keep you seething for a long, long time.

I bet I can guess where you'd stand in a circumcision thread.
posted by I Foody at 2:32 PM on January 6, 2009


I bet I can guess where you'd stand in a circumcision thread.

Why?
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:34 PM on January 6, 2009


Come on! Shelling a UN school full of people fleeing bombing is a perfectly justifiable action. Firstly they were fleeing bombing, which since Israel only bombs terrorists means they must have been terrorists. Secondly that building quite clearly had walls and a ceiling, meaning it could have been concealing anything, most likely rockets. As for the UN - they've made vague noises of disapproval against Israel in the past, and so are clearly intent on aiding the Palestinians genocidal cause. Thirdly, this is Israel we are talking about, and Israel is never, ever, ever in the wrong. And if they were they had a good excuse.
posted by Artw at 2:36 PM on January 6, 2009 [23 favorites]


Astro Zombie, I'm with you on this one: Muslims and Jews share a fondness for circumcision. People talk about the children of Abraham, but in this case, it should be the sons of Pharaoh.
posted by shetterly at 2:38 PM on January 6, 2009


Does it matter how dangerous slings are compared to guns, or which group of angry men did what first, or why, or when? A scared young woman bravely stood between two dangerous armed groups and tried to stop the situation escalating.

You make a good point, and I don't think anybody would question her courage. To do so would be stupid. I think what is worth talking about is why more people aren't standing up to perceived oppression in the same way, instead of throwing stones or launching rockets.
posted by tempestuoso at 2:41 PM on January 6, 2009


It was more about how metafilter's discussions of circumcision have tended to go and less a joke about Jewish people being circumcised (though that was clearly a part of it).
posted by I Foody at 2:46 PM on January 6, 2009


I think part of the problem here is that we're used to emotionally charged video being used as part of a propoganda effort. When we see shots of American troops handing out candy to Iraqi children, we know perfectly well what's going on. The Pentagon has staged a photo opportunity to make the American occupation look benign. We know that we're supposed to make the leap from thinking that the American military has done one good thing in one particular place to thinking that most of the things it does in Iraq are good things. We're supposed to ally ourselves with - and never seriously question the policies of - whichever pixelized faces make us feel the warmest and fuzziest.

So when we see the above video, we assume (quite possibly correctly) that someone has released it with the intention of getting us to feel warm and fuzzy towards the Palestinian protestors. Indeed, this person may have even orchestrated the encounter with the intention of taping it.

Now, I'm all for awareness of propaganda techniques, but unfettered cynicism leaves us with a problem; we can't simply dismiss what we see in the tape. There's got to be a way to get information and feeling out of it without being a pawn in someone's media campaign. That's a real person protecting other real people by standing in front of a real machine gun. Clearly there is something important going on here. And, if you're an American, you should be aware that your tax dollars paid for that weapon and the bullet that comes out of it. So you have a special obligation to figure out whether the soldier is using it for good or for evil.
posted by Clay201 at 2:48 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Astro Zombie writes "Good questions. I wish there were good answers."

With all due respect, that's a cop-out. IRA terorrists blew up the uncle of the Queen's husband (and a war hero) in '79, they came within seconds of blowing up the British Prime Minister in '84, and conducted a campaign of bombing innocent civilians for twenty-eight years.

Despite this, Britain never sent aircraft, artillery, or cluster bombs against either the Counties or the Irish Republic. The UK killed terrorists, but didn't indiscriminately bomb civiliand and children. (How much this restraint has to do with the power of the Irish Americans in US politics, and resulting US cautions to its British ally, is worth considering.)

Today, Northern Ireland is, except for a few dead-enders, largely at peace. Former terrorists are now elected leaders. The IRA bombings have stopped.

South Africa, where we all expected ethnic cleansing by one side or the other, is mostly at peace. The white minority lives peaceably under a black majority government. The Berlin Wall, which I never expected to see come down in my lifetime, has been dust and souvenirs for sixteen years. Poland is finally free of both the Russian and German occupiers, and has an open customs border with the latter former oppressor.

And yet, we're still re-enacting, in fresh blood and freshly indoctrinated children, in new generations of child-killers and child-victims, the ethnic cleansings (perpetrated by both sides) of 1948, in Palestine/Israel.

It's time for Israel, while it still has the population and military and US support upper hand, to find some answers. Some answers other than, "we have the upper hand, so let's bomb children."
posted by orthogonality at 2:49 PM on January 6, 2009 [49 favorites]


Britain never sent aircraft, artillery, or cluster bombs against either the Counties or the Irish Republic

Or, indeed, Boston.
posted by Grangousier at 2:52 PM on January 6, 2009 [6 favorites]


I didn't say there weren't answers, Ortho; I just meant I am not happy with the ones that exist. I think the peace process won't move forward unless American politicians demand it, and threaten to cut off funding. Unfortunately, to do so would be used politically the way "cutting off funding for the troops" has been used as a bully point in the Iraq war. Also, it's likely Israel would go elsewhere for funding.

As to why the American Jewish community doesn't speak out more, well, I think they do, but cautiously. Most Jews nowadays have very ambivalent feelings about Israel, if recent polls are right, but we don't want to contribute to or accidentally support a generalized partisanship against Israel that seems to have become popular in the West, and that's a problem for us. But there are, in fact, plenty of Jewish protests against Israel, just as there are plenty of Muslim protests against terrorism.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:59 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


I think it's terrible that the media doesn't give more coverage to walls and checkpoints that the Spanish have set up around the Basque region, the terrible economic hardship that has resulted from this enforced isolation, and the repeated punitive destruction of basque villages by Spanish forces.
posted by Artw at 2:59 PM on January 6, 2009


Postroad: Simple question: has Hamas as yet deleted in its written mandate of runing that they aim to destroy the state of Israel? yes or no?
Yes, since 2006.
I don't know why i bother to answer that, since it has been said repeatedly in the previous threads about Israel/Gaza, and yet you managed to "miss" (not read? not remember?) it, so it'll probably be the same this time, but here you go.
posted by vivelame at 2:59 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Norwegian doctor in Gaza: "This is an all-out war against Civilians"
posted by homunculus at 3:03 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


And to clarify, I only mention Muslim protests against terrorism because that's so often a complaint: Why dont; we see Muslim's pretesting terrorists? I always felt it was an unfair question, as it suggests there is some sort of mass collective responsibility on the part of the Muslim world for the behavior of a few lunatic radicals. But the answer is nonetheless that plenty of Muslims have spoke out against terrorism.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:04 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


Should the time ever come when there is peace between Arabs and Israelis, Metafilter will have under 20 comments for every item posted...clearly this issue gets the juices running.

Grangousier: It is time for Arabs etc...no. Not Israel and not the Arab nations but some group, nation, will have to mediate and help establish terms. After all, Hamas still says it wants to destroy Israel. Israel, selfish nation, finds this not the solution it has in mind. Let's bomb children? How about the training of suicide bombers in Palestine--seen the documentaries?--that is ok?
posted by Postroad at 3:05 PM on January 6, 2009


I hate to say it, Postroad, but you really do seem fixated on the idea that Hamas is out to destroy Israel. That has not been part of their plank for almost three years. You might doubt that, and that's your perogative, but I don't think repeatedly stating that Hamas's stated purpose is to destroy Israel makes any point other than you're three years behind in your dialogue.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:08 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Postroad: What?
posted by Grangousier at 3:12 PM on January 6, 2009


>And most politically sensitive of all, we have to ask Jewish Americans -- the majority of whom are much more progressive and pro-peace than Israel -- to help Israel, not by uncritical support of anything it does, but instead by working toward a just peace that safeguards Israel's existence not just until the next war, but in perpetuity in peace with her neighbors.

When I talk to members of my own family, I see the cognitive dissonance involved in how many American Jews look at Israel. I find myself trying to get them to understand the fact that it is possible for the Israeli government to be wrong, that Jews are human beings capable of making mistakes and doing things for the wrong reasons.

But the underlying motivation is fear. Those conversations usually end with them mentioning the Holocaust and leaders' statements like "we shall drive [Israel] into the sea." They say that Jews need a homeland and clam up. This is fed by emails similar to those that were used to smear Obama. They dismiss people like Zbigniew Brzezinski as antisemites (I think that one was an email from Townhall.com ...I could be wrong). All they have to do is put in the two main ingredients, "antisemite" and "holocaust," and then OMG VOTE MCCAIN, BOMB IRAN, ISRAEL CAN SHOOT ANYTHING IT WANTS.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 3:32 PM on January 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


Grimp0teuthis writes "When I talk to members of my own family,"

Keep talking. You are the change you've been looking for. And the change Israel needs to escape the escalating cycles of violence.
posted by orthogonality at 3:35 PM on January 6, 2009


vivelame: The next page from the playbook is "But you can't trust their word because they are terrorists." Get ready for it.
posted by absalom at 3:42 PM on January 6, 2009


All I can say is that, as an English teacher abroad, it's pretty fucking crazy to see what I teach people every day be used to possibly stop someone being killed. Jesus.
posted by mdonley at 3:48 PM on January 6, 2009


I hate to say it, Postroad, but you really do seem fixated on the idea that Hamas is out to destroy Israel. That has not been part of their plank for almost three years.

That's right. And yet here in the U.S. if you watch the news that gets repeated and repeated. Rather then have any Hamas or even generally palestinian supporters on T.V. you get Israel supporters who claim to tell you what Hamas wants and claims to want, and of course they claim Hamas wants all kinds of crazy things (To destroy Israel, to demand Israel become an Islamic nation, etc)
posted by delmoi at 3:50 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


660 Palestinians killed and 2950 injured
Of those killed, there are 214 Children and 89 women.
(latest count)
posted by Auden at 3:58 PM on January 6, 2009


Postroad may fall under "Don't feed the troll" also. This isn't the first thread he or she has been in where it's been noted that Hamas will accept Israel's existence.
posted by shetterly at 4:04 PM on January 6, 2009


MarshallPoe

I'm not going to draw any lessons from it until I have some context

Have you figured it out yet? Or are you still pretending like there is no way to figure out what happened here?

The reader/viewer is asked to interpret the video without any of the relevant information

And so what?
This is a great post precisely because it confronts us and puts us in a situation where we have to gather the facts on our own. I think many have managed pretty well.
I have never considered Mefi to be a sole source of information. It's a starting point.
Ready. Set. Go.
posted by Rashomon at 4:09 PM on January 6, 2009


Oppressed by pretty much all regional neighbors, and only in their land by the force and grit of their ancestors,

Could you expound on the highlighted words without resorting to any religious texts?
posted by odinsdream at 4:10 PM on January 6, 2009


Postroad: Are you going to acknowledge the answer to your question?
posted by delmoi at 4:12 PM on January 6, 2009


Israelites cling to the whole offense as defense thing. "As soon as people stop threatening us/throwing/shooting bombs into our cities, we can all live in peace."

Which, of course, explains why the Zionists killed British and blew up a British hotel during the mandate, killed hundreds of Palestinians for years before Israel even existed, and then forced the largely unarmed Palestinians out of the country... and then proceeded to settle in areas outside the official boundries of Israel.

Maybe it's me, but I'd find that pretty offensive... but when you tell a Zionist that, they get pretty defensive about it.
posted by markkraft at 4:14 PM on January 6, 2009 [7 favorites]


This is a great post precisely because it confronts us and puts us in a situation where we have to gather the facts on our own. I think many have managed pretty well.

This is not the definition of a great post on Metafilter. And we haven't really learned that much new about the video itself; instead, the video has been used as an excuse for the same sort of ax-grinding that has happened in every other Israel/Palestine thread over the past few years.
posted by Astro Zombie at 4:16 PM on January 6, 2009


Astro Zombie

I should clarify it is not a great MeFi post but as a post in general it is good because it doesn't have complete context. Although it actually does have some context. Comparing it with Tianamen means it is sort of a David & Goliath thing. And the broadcast gives context too. But many don't know the language here.
But on a viceral level it doesn't give you all answers. All too often we want complete context and want to be told what to think, what to feel, how to react. I sort of like being shown something without context.
And, anyway, reading the comments eventually gives it context - even if the context is just people griding an ax. Because, afterall, it is pretty tough not to have an opinion in the various Middle East conflicts.
posted by Rashomon at 4:28 PM on January 6, 2009


True, Israel is careful about what it does allow to be shown at this stage.

Also known as "Censoring".

Maybe there was a motherload of rockets in that UN school. Maybe there was just innocent children. We don't know for sure, because Israel won't allow any reporters into Gaza. How can the side that claims to be "the good guys" defend this?
posted by ymgve at 4:29 PM on January 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


Astro Zombie, don't you like the Tiananman Square video either? I'm not trying to defend my post here--it'd take a much cleverer person than me to make a great post with two links--but 12 people have marked it as favorites so far, so I don't think it sucks too much.

And I've learned a bit. I didn't know Huwaida Arraf's name when I posted this; she could've been as anonymous as the fellow at Tiananman. Since then, I've learned about her organization, encountered some funny things (the David pics, the Daily Show, etc.), had useful updates on the situation in Gaza...

If ax-grinding is a reason to disqualify a MeFi post, what'll we have to read when we're avoiding work?
posted by shetterly at 4:30 PM on January 6, 2009


You're assuming that the Palestinian leadership (ie, Hamas) desire peace and a prosperity for Palestinians.

Well of course they do, if only to increase their own stature/power/prosperity. They're just going about it all wrong.

Yes, Israelis response was a magnitude of order larger, and that makes it a magnitude of order more wrong. But the Palestinians don't walk away with clean hands either.

Of course not. If a drunk takes an ineffectual swing at me in a bar for stealing his house, and then I kill him, and his wife, and his children, and stake their hearts, and bury them all at a crossroads, we're going to have to consider *his* part in all this. (The bastard.)

I should clarify it is not a great MeFi post but as a post in general it is good because it doesn't have complete context. Although it actually does have some context. Comparing it with Tianamen means it is sort of a David & Goliath thing. And the broadcast gives context too. But many don't know the language here.

Yes, the unarmed girl may actually have the upper hand over the soldiers there. We have to be careful about making assumptions.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:42 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I hate to say it, Postroad, but you really do seem fixated on the idea that Hamas is out to destroy Israel. That has not been part of their plank for almost three years. You might doubt that, and that's your perogative, but I don't think repeatedly stating that Hamas's stated purpose is to destroy Israel makes any point other than you're three years behind in your dialogue.

It's more complicated than that. In it's Charter, Hamas still calls for the destruction of Israel.
Wikipedia [second paragraph]: "Hamas' charter calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian Islamic state in the area that is now Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip."

What Hamas did do was remove their call for the destruction of Israel from it's election manifesto in the 2005 elections.

Wikipedia again: Hamas omitted its call for the destruction of Israel from its election manifesto, calling instead for "the establishment of an independent state whose capital is Jerusalem."

Since their Charter still calls for the destruction of Israel I think it is perfectly accurate to say it is their stated purpose.
posted by davidstandaford at 4:43 PM on January 6, 2009


I think Israel might be better off with a 'good cop bad cop' approach (for lack of a better analogy). While they work to achieve their goal of eliminating the threat posed by Hamas (however illusive that goal may be), they should pour as much food, water, & medicine into the Gaza Strip as possible. It would cost very little, but it might swing the international PR war (presupposing that it is a battle that they are interested in fighting).
posted by sswiller at 4:44 PM on January 6, 2009


Poor Postroad! thinks Hamas has changed! well, search their charter and this is what you find:

http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm
clearly: obliterate Israel
posted by Postroad at 4:44 PM on January 6, 2009


I'm not trying to defend my post here--it'd take a much cleverer person than me to make a great post with two links--but 12 people have marked it as favorites so far, so I don't think it sucks too much.

Please don't assume my favoriting held any sort of commentary on the suckness (or not) of the post
posted by davidstandaford at 4:46 PM on January 6, 2009


This isn't the first thread he or she has been in where it's been noted that Hamas will accept Israel's existence.

On April 21, 2008 exhiled Hamas leader Khaleed Massal said, "We agree on the [Palestinian] state with the borders of June 4, 1967, Jerusalem as its capital, fully sovereign without settlements, the right of return, but without the recognition of Israel."

The concept of a long term truce also called hudna is not the same as acceptance of existence and should not be stated as such. If Khaleed Massal wants to say clearly as Arafat did that terrorism is wrong, we accept Israel's right to exist; then we might say that Hamas accepted Israel's existence.
posted by humanfont at 4:50 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Postroad> Poor Postroad! thinks Hamas has changed! well, search their charter and this is what you find: http://www.mideastweb.org/hamas.htm
clearly: obliterate Israel


Okay, someone on some website has a quote without any mention of the date, source reference, or link to the entire charter. I have no idea what you expect us to take away from that.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 5:01 PM on January 6, 2009


Her name is Huwaida Arraf, a Detroiter married to Adam Shapiro, a University of Michigan Poli Sci graduate, and a founder of International Solidarity Movement, a nonviolent activist organization.

Wikipedia:
The website [of ISM] also says "As enshrined in international law and UN resolutions, we recognise the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle. However, we believe that nonviolence can be a powerful weapon in fighting oppression and we are committed to the principles of nonviolent resistance." This has led some to question the organisation's commitment to non-violence. For example an article in the UK's Telegraph newspaper asserts that ISM is "the 'peace' group that embraces violence".[7] ISM disputes the accusations (see ISM links below).
Emphasis mine.
posted by davidstandaford at 5:03 PM on January 6, 2009


Well gee this stuff has been on the front page of my newspaper for 35 years now, and I fully expect to be reading about it till the day I die.

It's a bit tiresome, isn't it?

If either side were fighting for a pluralist, democratic, secular state, it would be tempting to cheer for one over the other. But neither of them are. So a pox on both of their houses I'm afraid.
posted by dydecker at 5:04 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


UrineSoakedRube: Here are the cites on the Hamas Charter calling for the destruction of Israel. Good enough for you?
posted by davidstandaford at 5:05 PM on January 6, 2009


Yes, it was awful the way that unarmed girl violently stood in the way of that soldier's rifle. Clearly a violent person.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:06 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


davidstanford> UrineSoakedRube: Here are the cites on the Hamas Charter calling for the destruction of Israel. Good enough for you?

Well, no, because that link seems to be pointing to my user profile. And my point is not that Hamas has recognized Israel's right to exist, but that the quote that Postroad pointed to is meaningless without context.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 5:08 PM on January 6, 2009


Oops -- I take that back. I assumed it pointed to my profile, as it had my name in it. Instead, it links to the top of this thread. Which is also not good enough for me.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 5:09 PM on January 6, 2009


dydecker: vote Meretz!
It emphasises the following principles (not necessarily in order of importance):
* Peace between Israel and the Palestinians based on a two-state solution as laid out in the Geneva Accord.
* Dismantling most of the Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
* Human rights issues:
* Struggle for the protection of human rights in the Israeli-occupied territories.
* Rights of minorities in Israel (such as Israeli Arabs and foreign workers), fight against discrimination, and support for affirmative action.
* Women's rights and feminism.
* LGBT rights.
* Struggle for social justice:
* Making Israel a social democratic welfare state.
* Protecting workers' rights and fighting against their exploitation (especially, though not exclusively, in the case of foreign workers and immigrants).
* Separation of religion and state, and religious freedom.
* Liberal secular education.
* Israel's security.
* Environmentalism.
Seems like a pretty good group of Israelis to me and hopefully their ideas are put into practice. Not sure if there is an equivalent Palestinian party, but I would guess not.
posted by davidstandaford at 5:10 PM on January 6, 2009


I have no idea what you expect us to take away from that.

Does that mean we've come full circle with thickheadedness and can pack it in now?
posted by Ogre Lawless at 5:11 PM on January 6, 2009


UrineSoakedRube: Sorry, messed up the link somehow. Here is the correct link for the citations about the Hamas Charter.
posted by davidstandaford at 5:12 PM on January 6, 2009


Yes, it was awful the way that unarmed girl violently stood in the way of that soldier's rifle. Clearly a violent person.

Well, if she was part of an organization that "recognise[s] the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggle" then would you say it is accurate to say that she support violence, even if she doesn't engage in it herself?

Furthermore, if a group of people are throwing stones with slingshots, which are potentially lethal, and she uses her body as a human shield to protect those people so they can continue to engage in that violence, would you say she is engaging in an act of non-violence?
posted by davidstandaford at 5:17 PM on January 6, 2009


Not sure if there is an equivalent Palestinian party, but I would guess not.

Oh, certainly not. You know how those people are.

Furthermore, if a group of people are throwing stones with slingshots, which are potentially lethal, and she uses her body as a human shield to protect those people so they can continue to engage in that violence, would you say she is engaging in an act of non-violence?

You're absolutely right. She's the aggressor here. How dare she use herself as a human shielf against a gun? What a violent little harpie.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:20 PM on January 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


davidstandaford: Wikipedia says Meretz-Yachad are Zionists, which by definition means they are a party which supports half of the land's population fenced off into refugee camps in perpetuity. That's no plan for peace.

As I said, I suspect this war won't end in my lifetime. The only way I can see it ending is if both sides accept that they have to live in the same state together, and that'll only happen when people's core ideologies change (ie when the present generation dies off).
posted by dydecker at 5:21 PM on January 6, 2009


davidstandaford writes "Since their Charter still calls for the destruction of Israel I think it is perfectly accurate to say it is their stated purpose."

And yet, we all know of plenty of organizations that, while publicly taking an inflexible position, are willing to negotiate in private.

And conversely, we know of people so resistant to negotiation that, no matter what rhetorical concessions an opponent make, they'll find a reason not to negotiate in good faith.

It's like two political candidates arguing over the number, structure, and format of debates: the guy who is ahead doesn't ever want to debate, because it just gives him a opportunity to gaffe and his opponent free publicity; the candidate who is behind wants as many debates as he can get, as he has less to lose. Every election we hear volumes of spin claiming all sorts of high-minded reasons for or against debating, and yet we all know that these "reasons of principle" conceal entirely cynical calculation.

If Israel's leaders thought that they'd benefit from negotiations, they'd find a way to read Hamas's platfrm and not its Charter. But since Israel's -- by any measure -- got the upper hand, and has the chance to kill a couple hundred "future terrorists" (you and I call them by the more prosaic name, "innocent children"), we're going to hear a bunch of spin about "the Hamas Charter" and, to goose up septuagenarian American Jews, "drive Israel into the sea!"

My only question is whether Postroad and davdstandaford are spinners or among the spun.
posted by orthogonality at 5:22 PM on January 6, 2009


Ogre Lawless> Does that mean we've come full circle with thickheadedness and can pack it in now?

And I didn't even have to invoke Hitler.

Seriously, my only point, believe it or not, was that if you point me to a single page on mideastweb.com which provides a blockquote without any footnote or citation, you cannot expect me to take that as proof of anything.

Actually, after I posted that, I went ahead and Googled "Khaleed Massal", which led me to the Wikipedia page of Khaled Mashal (which listed Khaled Meshaal, Khaled Mashal, Khaled Mashaal and Khalid Mish'al as variant spellings). And it's clear from the following
In a Reuters interview in January 2007, Mashal said: "As a Palestinian today I speak of a Palestinian and Arab demand for a state on 1967 borders. It is true that in reality there will be an entity or state called Israel on the rest of Palestinian land. This is a reality, but I won't deal with it in terms of recognising or admitting it." In the same interview, he declined to accept the Western demand for Hamas to recognise Israel, renounce violence against it and honour previous peace agreements.[24]
that, absent some strong evidence to the contrary, the leader of Hamas does not accept Israel's right to exist as of early 2007.

All of this is to ask how many of you are actually tailoring your arguments (which means, among other things, providing links/cites/etc.) towards lurkers who might possibly be amenable to coming around to one point or another? Just something to keep in mind. I know these I/P threads tend to degenerate into heated arguments, but there are people out here who are actually looking out for information in the comments.
posted by UrineSoakedRube at 5:30 PM on January 6, 2009


"Poor Postroad! thinks Hamas has changed! well, search their charter and this is what you find ..."

Poor Postroad! So radically Zionist! Never noticed that Hamas dropped its call for the destruction of Israel from its most recent party charter, calling instead for "the establishment of an independent state whose capital is Jerusalem."

Fortunately, I know that Postroad is an honorable, ethical person who would never again try to mislead people about this fact in the future, right?!
posted by markkraft at 5:30 PM on January 6, 2009


>And yet, we all know of plenty of organizations that, while publicly taking an inflexible position, are willing to negotiate in private.

Such a thing is possible, but until there is some evidence of it, we can only go by their stated purpose, rhetoric, and actions.
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 5:33 PM on January 6, 2009


davidstandaford, you cherry picked a bit there. If you read further, you'll see the following text:

Responding to Paula Zahn's question on CNN,[10] "...some people could lead to the conclusion that you were promoting suicide bombing. Would they be wrong?", Shapiro and Arraf replied:

The article that we wrote was actually in response to another article written by a Palestinian, who said the Palestinians could not be nonviolent. And so we were addressing within the context of the debate over whether the Palestinians could use violence or could not use nonviolence or could use nonviolence. So it was, first of all, within that context...

There already is violence. We’re not advocating it. It’s already there. It’s on the ground. We’re working with people and with Palestinians who want to promote nonviolence, and that was the context of the whole article.



That said, you could have just gone to the webpage of the International Solidarity Movement.

You'll see here a bunch of reports from people who are riding with ambulances in Gaza, who are taking care of victims in Gaza, and who are doing their damnedest to get the word out about what is happening in Gaza. The ISM is a non-violent observer, working to create modalities under which non-violent protests can gain some traction.

However, in a refugee camp where Israel has stopped goods and services from getting to the population, it's pretty damn difficult to convice people to be all Gandi about the place.

When starvation isn't a choice, then protest fasts are hardly effective.

When non-violence is met with beatings, murders, and horrific personal crimes...it's a little hard to convince people to put down their weapons.

In other news, Venezuela has just expelled the Israeli ambassador and embassy staff.
posted by dejah420 at 5:34 PM on January 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


orthogonality: Ironically, last week I was arguing with a friend that Israel shouldn't necessarily take Hamas at their word and that a peace deal would be possible with them. He was claiming that because their Charter calls for the destruction of Israel they could never be a partner in a peace deal. While I disagreed with him, I don't see any reasons to pretend that Hamas' Charter doesn't call for the destruction of Israel.

While I might seem stridently pro-Israel in these Metafilter debates, I think it's mostly because I find some of the comments here so blatantly anti-Israel in tone and content it compels me to take the other side.


MStPT: Thanks for the correction. The Palestine Democratic Union look like good people.
posted by davidstandaford at 5:36 PM on January 6, 2009


Hey! Why don't we make it one big secular state, and let them vote over their differences! Who's with me?!

Um, guys..?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:39 PM on January 6, 2009


If anyone would like a link to a very reputable charity that is able to get food and emergency medical supplies into Palestine, please MefiMail me.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:40 PM on January 6, 2009


markkraft: The Hamas Charter and 2005 election Manifesto are two different things.

If it is so important that they took the language out of the election manifesto, is it just as important that it is still in their charter?
posted by davidstandaford at 5:40 PM on January 6, 2009


(And into Gaza, specifically.)
posted by Burhanistan at 5:40 PM on January 6, 2009


If Israel's leaders thought that they'd benefit from negotiations, they'd find a way to read Hamas's platfrm and not its Charter.

The Hamas platform does not recognize Israel's right to exist. It offers a temporary truce while retaining the long term goal of destroying Israel. This is a simple fact, easily checked on the web through multiple sources. Subsequent to the publication of the platform leaders of Hamas have stated repeatedly that they can never recognize Israel. This fact can also be easily verified.

Arafat negotiated seriously with a number of Israeli leaders. Progress was made, concessions were granted by both sides but ultimately an agreement could not be reached on final status. Hamas has not shown that it is seriously interested in negotiating for peace. They are willing to say minimal things necessary to try to win some international sympathy.
posted by humanfont at 5:42 PM on January 6, 2009


There was a significantly longer video, but Google has already pulled it. They'll pull this one as soon as it gets reported, I'm sure. Google has been pulling all footage not published by the Israeli ministries of information.

Luckily there's an easy way to save Youtube videos.
posted by regicide is good for you at 5:50 PM on January 6, 2009


orthogonality wrote:

Israel, which has millions to wage war, refuses to give the remianing inhabitants the money to move somewhere safer than half a mile from Gaza. Those with money to leave have already left. Hamas's rockets have killed 13 in Sderot; why has Israel not established a DMZ, rather than spending the money on rocket warning systems and temporary evacuations?

Because Hamas's rockets reach a lot further than half a mile (even the home-made ones reach eight miles); and given time they will reach the whole of Israel.

Here's a suggestion: why doesn't Hamas establish a demilitarized zone and stop firing rockets?
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:51 PM on January 6, 2009


I don't understand the context of this. Where does this take place and what are the "kids" (rock-throwing kids) protesting?

I'll just say this:

She is not brave. She is just dumb. She is helping no one. She's just a bored little kid who's trying to distract the soldiers from covering their comrades. They tell her to get out of the way -- for her own safety. I very much doubt a Palestinian terrorist would do that to a pro-Israeli protester.
posted by bondgirl53001 at 5:52 PM on January 6, 2009


Great, now we have the Objectivist perspective.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:54 PM on January 6, 2009 [7 favorites]


ChurchHatesTucker at 4:42 PM
Yes, the unarmed girl may actually have the upper hand over the soldiers there. We have to be careful about making assumptions.

Well, if you view the video with no context [heh], yes, she has the upper hand in this instance. But once you realize she is a civilian fighting for peace against a dominant army that has all the weapons at their disposal then she really is the underdog.
posted by Rashomon at 6:01 PM on January 6, 2009


bondgirl53001 at 5:52 PM

I believe this 'bored little kid' is actually a 32 year old woman named Huwaida Arraf who [a Google search will reveal] is a human rights advocate from Roseville, Michigan, a lecturer at Al-Quds University School of Law in Jerusalem and co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement.
So she has more than a passing interest and her actions may only be symbolic but they are not nothing. She has a goal and a plan that she is working towards.
The military may not like her doing this but so what? Some people don't like when the military shoots kids that throw rocks. [Not to say the military isn't to be respected, just noting how some feel].
posted by Rashomon at 6:15 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Regarding Hamas's charter, many organizations have official documents that're no longer relevant. Look, for example, at how long it took to get miscegenation laws off the books in every US state.

The best I've found on the issue is this, from 2006: On Israel's "Right to Exist".
posted by shetterly at 6:22 PM on January 6, 2009




shooting children is generally wrong

thanks for that, astro zombie.

anyway, the people throwing snowballs at the guy with the flamethrower must sit down and after a great period of introspection, realise that they too share the blame.
posted by sgt.serenity at 6:25 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


The Hamas platform does not recognize Israel's right to exist. It offers a temporary truce while retaining the long term goal of destroying Israel.


As opposed to Israel's longstanding respect of Palestine, arab land owners, etc.?

She is not brave. She is just dumb. She is helping no one. She's just a bored little kid who's trying to distract the soldiers from covering their comrades. They tell her to get out of the way -- for her own safety.

Fascinating. What's your take on Ghandi? MLK? I'm serious here. I would love to hear this.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:30 PM on January 6, 2009


It was interesting to note that the lady spoke to the IDF folks in English. I somehow thought that there'll be a common pidgin developed between Israelis and Palestinians in fifty years (don't ask me why),but that there is no such thing is, perhaps, even scarier; where do you find common ground if you don't even have an evolving composite culture?
posted by the cydonian at 6:30 PM on January 6, 2009


And another good article: The Real Estate War in Gaza. I'd forgotten that Einstein saw this coming. That sent me looking for a few more of the things he said:

"My awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power, no matter how modest. I am afraid of the inner damage Judaism will sustain - especially from the development of a narrow nationalism within our own ranks, against which we have already had to fight strongly, even without a Jewish state."

That's from Was Einstein Right? which also makes good points. Israel built Jabotinsky's Iron Wall.
posted by shetterly at 6:34 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I think it's legit to add bondgirl53001 to the troll list: she asked a question that was answered in the second comment, so clearly, she's here to spew, not read.
posted by shetterly at 6:36 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Another good one for Einstein and history fans: Einstein's other theory.
posted by shetterly at 6:44 PM on January 6, 2009


It's time for Israel, while it still has the population and military and US support upper hand, to find some answers.

The answer is victory, total and complete. No more limited conflict. No more partial actions. Total war until victory. No one seems to do that anymore, which is why everything is so fucked up.
There is no appeasement or compromise that will make either side happy.

Its Thunderdome time!

But, I am sure in the coming days Israel will be "persuaded" to relax their posture and the diplomats will work on a peace solution, which may or may not last very long before the next round of stupidity.

If either side is serious about their position, they will go for the win. Anything else is just crying wolf.

As far as the "girl" in the video. Pretty convenient to have a camera on her. Is she a self fancied film or documentary maker per chance?
posted by a3matrix at 6:46 PM on January 6, 2009


Some of you definitely could use a good ass kicking.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:48 PM on January 6, 2009 [4 favorites]


anyway, the people throwing snowballs at the guy with the flamethrower must sit down and after a great period of introspection, realise that they too share the blame.

Especially when those snowball throwers also happen to be suicide bombers. You have followed the news a little, haven't you?
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:01 PM on January 6, 2009


a3matrix writes "The answer is victory, total and complete. No more limited conflict. No more partial actions. Total war until victory. No one seems to do that anymore, which is why everything is so fucked up."

So, a final solution to the "Palestinian problem"? Nice.

This, class, is why "never again" never means anything.
posted by orthogonality at 7:02 PM on January 6, 2009 [8 favorites]


As far as the "girl" in the video. Pretty convenient to have a camera on her.

Yeah, just like that napalmed camera-whore in Viet-Nam. They're like danger-zone Paris Hiltons.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 7:03 PM on January 6, 2009 [5 favorites]


Teach your children well... the response for all those who drag out the inevitable pictures of young, armed kids from somewhere in the arab world.

Really, why is the media so concerned with inaccurate rocket attacks, many of which aren't even fired by Hamas, when Israelis kill Palestinians pretty much every single day?!

2,800 Palestinian children die every year from largely preventable diseases; 10 percent now suffer from chronic or acute malnutrition and about one in five is anemic... and even under normal conditions, it's difficult getting fresh water -- from wells in Palestinian lands -- because Israel takes most of the water themselves, using an average of three times more per person, oftentimes selling Palestinian water back to them for a profit.

And if you think the usage for personal use is slanted, you should see what's used for agriculture... Israel uses eight times as much, including 80% of the water in Palestine.
posted by markkraft at 7:04 PM on January 6, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'll come out and link to a charity that is already getting aid into Gaza. Put your money where your mouth is if you don't like what's going on there.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:19 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Serious question, Burhanistan: what's to prevent people being charged under the Patriotic Act with material support of a terrorist organization, if they give money to that charity? I mean, I think it's a terrible misuse of the law, and I know it would never be applied to giving to terrorists "we like" (Irish, Israeli, etc.), but frankly given what the US has become, I'm not sure I'd feel safe giving.
posted by orthogonality at 7:31 PM on January 6, 2009


This whole situation makes me sad.

It's easy to make judgements one way or the other, who's right and who's wrong... So easy when it's not your own family killed by a Hamas rocket attack or Israeli missile.

Let's just hope both sides can make peace some day.
posted by autobahn at 7:31 PM on January 6, 2009


HAN SHOT FIRST
posted by eritain at 7:35 PM on January 6, 2009


The Hamas platform does not recognize Israel's right to exist. It offers a temporary truce while retaining the long term goal of destroying Israel. This is a simple fact, easily checked on the web through multiple sources. Subsequent to the publication of the platform leaders of Hamas have stated repeatedly that they can never recognize Israel. This fact can also be easily verified.

I should point this out, because everybody is using them interchangeably and it bears repeating: "refusing to recognize a nation" and "trying to violently destroy a nation" are not the same thing. Hamas is perfectly justified in not recognizing Israel and refusing to ever do so. Countries do it all the time; Pakistan was the only country on the planet that recognized Taliban-run Afghanistan, for example. The means by which a country will (or will not) endeavor to do anything about an unrecognized entity is another matter entirely. But that said, the "Their goal is to destroy Israel, so we can never negotiate with them" talking point is simplistic and disingenuous.
posted by Amanojaku at 7:35 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


orthogonality: Firstly, IRW is not linked in any way shape or form with terrorist organizations and is recognized top tier charity. Secondly, and I say this with respect, please don't let irrational fears like that rule your actions--it only helps to actualize the dystopia.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:38 PM on January 6, 2009


Especially when those snowball throwers also happen to be suicide bombers. You have followed the news a little, haven't you?

I understand you're trying to poke holes in the metaphor, but that's a bit sloppy, unless you have some reason to believe that any of the youths in the video are actually suicide bombers.
posted by Amanojaku at 7:43 PM on January 6, 2009


I’m in my sixties and I grew up in an American Jewish suburb and, when I was a kid, I had foreign language teachers who had the “Auschwitz tattoo” on there wrists. They were some of the best people I ever knew, and they still come back to amaze me now and then. Mostly its about me being a stupid smart kid, but sometimes its about Israel being a smart stupid country.
posted by Huplescat at 7:47 PM on January 6, 2009


I was not talking about the youths in the videos when I was talking about peace beginning with both sides recognizing how they contribute to the conflict. sgt.serenity seems to have conflated the two points.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:48 PM on January 6, 2009


Amanojaku,

Denying the fact that there is an element in Hamas, if not the majority of Hamas, who desire Israel to be wiped off the map, is disingenuous as well.
posted by autobahn at 7:48 PM on January 6, 2009


UrineSoakedRube: Sorry, messed up the link somehow. Here is the correct link for the citations about the Hamas Charter.

All of those citations are from 2006. If you want to prove that Hamas' charter did not change in 2006, then, obviously, that's not going to do it.
posted by delmoi at 7:52 PM on January 6, 2009


By which I mean that there is a nerd article of faith implicit in our discussion here: We are totally ready to debate motives and psychology and relative strength of weaponry and narratives and everything else, for as long as it takes, because we are right and someone on the Internet is wrong. At the risk of nerd heresy, Inquisition, and a nerdo-da-fe, I confess my doubts about the utility of most of the words in this thread. The clip does something that all the talking (even the genuinely useful shifts in perspective) do not: Reminds us that war is terrifying and terrible. I believe each person who pauses, reflects on this clip, and absorbs it, prepares ten times the change in the world that is wrought by whoever has the last word. Now excuse me, I promise I will note the editing with skepticism, but I'm going to go watch it again.
posted by eritain at 7:56 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was not talking about the youths in the videos when I was talking about peace beginning with both sides recognizing how they contribute to the conflict. sgt.serenity seems to have conflated the two points.

Fair enough. It can be tough to tell what part of a far ranging discussion a comment pertains to.

Denying the fact that there is an element in Hamas, if not the majority of Hamas, who desire Israel to be wiped off the map, is disingenuous as well.

That may be true, but since I didn't do that (surely you read the bit I wrote about "The means by which a country will (or will not) endeavor to do anything about an unrecognized entity is another matter entirely," yes?), I'll take your post as a graceful admission of my point.
posted by Amanojaku at 8:13 PM on January 6, 2009


autobahn, forgive me if this hasn't already been covered, but that's getting awfully old: According to legend, Iran's president has threatened to destroy Israel, or, to quote the misquote, "Israel must be wiped off the map." Contrary to popular belief, this statement was never made. Can we move on to the next stock response?
posted by shetterly at 8:15 PM on January 6, 2009


good ole mefi. full of sound, and fury. signifying nothing.
posted by jcworth at 8:37 PM on January 6, 2009


@shetterly ...

Um, yeah. The Iranian president who can't even bring himself to utter the word "Israel" due to rabid and inbred hatred. Gotcha.

Next?
posted by RavinDave at 8:52 PM on January 6, 2009


I thought by now you guys would have had this all figured out.
posted by chunking express at 9:10 PM on January 6, 2009


autobahn, forgive me if this hasn't already been covered, but that's getting awfully old: According to legend, Iran's president has threatened to destroy Israel, or, to quote the misquote, "Israel must be wiped off the map." Contrary to popular belief, this statement was never made. Can we move on to the next stock response?

Shetterly, the evidence you present doesn't support your conclusion. In fact your evidence is ambiguous. The official news agency of Iran translated their president's words as "Wiped off the map.", and in other cases "wiped off the surface of the earth." Then after widespread international condemnation a spokesman indicated that it was a mistranslation and he meant to say eliminated from the pages of history (which I fail to see as materially different since we are translating a metaphor). When asked directly about the topic, Ahmadinejad makes vague statements and doesn't directly answer the question. A more balanced discussion of the translation was presented in the NY Times.
posted by humanfont at 9:11 PM on January 6, 2009


Astro Zombie, you're wrong. This has been a kick ass thread. This is one of the most conherent threads I've seen so far about the attacks --you should see the rabid zionists on twitter spreading misinformation about what is basically Israel's biggest military mistake yet.

props to orthogonality who has really articulated all the things I've come to know about the situation with Israel but couldn't piece together.

So please, carry on.
posted by liza at 9:11 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


humanfront, all evidence is ambiguous, and the job of the New York Times is to spin the news to the right--to make it "fit to print."

Here's the situation: Leaders of Hamas and Iran have said they will accept a two-party state in the '67 borders. Israel has refused to consider that. Instead, people talk about the "right to exist" as though the phrase meant something meaningful. What matters is living side by side in peace. That's what's on the table. That's what Israel should want. But that, it appears, is what Israel has attacked Gaza to prevent.

If Israel does not want the '67 borders, and Israel does not want to grant citizenship to all the people within the lands it controls, what does it want? No one will not say. No one will even define the borders of the state they say they want Hamas to recognize. So, what do you think Israel should do?
posted by shetterly at 9:59 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


Uh, third-to-last sentence: "No one *will* say." I wonder if anyone's gone to war because of a typo?
posted by shetterly at 10:02 PM on January 6, 2009


Liza, regardless of how kick-ass the discussion may have been about Israel (and we're going to have to disagree on that), it has not really been a discussion about the video in the original post. And my complaint about the post in general is that the one-link YouTube video might have made for a good element in a larger post about the subject, but, on its own, isn't enough to justify a post.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:09 PM on January 6, 2009 [1 favorite]


"If it is so important that they took the language out of the election manifesto, is it just as important that it is still in their charter?"

Dunno... do you still beat your wife?

Is your beating of your wife necesarily relevant to massive civilian deaths during Israel's attack into Gaza?

It's constantly bantered about that Hamas' Charter "calls for the downfall of Israel", but that's invective, and not particularly accurate. Rather, it says that Israel will fall -- like all past nations on the land have fallen - and be replaced by the people and by Islam. That's a significant difference.

I noticed that there's nothing in the manifesto which says that Hamas will destroy Israel militarily, or even be responsible for Israel's fall. Rather, I suspect it is an acknowledgement of both patience and of their faith -- that the Mahdi and Jesus will return to rid the world of error, injustice, and tyranny.

The offending passages are used by Israel as justifications for conflict, not to negotiate, etc. Never mind that Hamas has modified their rhetoric appropriately, and have said in the past that they are willing to negotiate. For Israel, that's not enough. They want Hamas to effectively drop a key tenet of their faith from Hamas' charter.

Never mind that Israel will never renounce any of the tenets that they use to justify their "God-given", prophetic right to the land... even though as recently as early last century, some of their leading scholars considered Israel a fool's dream, or even considered Zionism as a kind of godless "golden calf"... idolatry and impertenence to think that they could/should bring about that which the messiah was supposed to bring.

"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up."

If I were to say that America is God's country and always will be, that no man should squander or despoil the land, and that no man has the right to give it away -- which is essentially what the full text of the Hamas charter implies -- in what way is this something improper to say?

Indeed, the American Indian culture commonly holds these values and has expressed similar sentiments. For that matter, there are certainly similar statements that Israelis use to base their claims to the land upon.

Why should Hamas be required to relinquish all their claims to contested lands -- or parts thereof -- as a precondition to negotiations? Is Israel willing to relinquish similar claims to land that, according to all legal international standards, is not theirs, before entering into negotiations?

Ultimately, Israel is trying to dictate terms before terms are negotiated... which is another way of saying they don't want to be forced to negotiate terms at all.
posted by markkraft at 10:11 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


There is so much bullshit around phrases like "recognize Israel's right to exist" — Andrew Jackson, for all his chronic assholism, never demanded that the interned Cherokee "recognize America's right to exist" on the land that was once theirs.

Any language calling for a truly democratic one-state solution will be willfuly construed as "death to Israel", since after all such a state wouldn't be anything like the present one (no apartheid, not 'for jews') and would probably need to have a different name.
posted by blasdelf at 10:34 PM on January 6, 2009


Israeli Army Now Less Careful About Civilian Deaths?
posted by Artw at 10:50 PM on January 6, 2009


Artw, your link appears to be off by one: Israeli Army Now Less Careful About Civilian Deaths?
posted by shetterly at 10:56 PM on January 6, 2009


That's what I get for doing too many things at once.
posted by Artw at 10:59 PM on January 6, 2009


Astro Zombie, my poor little post is now up to fourteen favorites, which doesn't mean it is not full of suck, but does mean 14 people liked it or despised it enough to note it. So, for the sake of my delicate ego, please stop quibbling about the post. I will try to do much better next time, just for you. Instead, I would be grateful if you address things that this post covers, like heroism, protecting others, Israel and Palestine.... Please, offer links, cite sources, keep the substance coming!
posted by shetterly at 11:00 PM on January 6, 2009


Recently, on another forum, I heard from one Israeli who said that two of his friends had died over the years, due to Palestinian attacks -- one of them was in the IDF -- and that Israelis had the right to live in peace and the justification to attack Gaza.

I said that I was sorry to hear of his loss, but if he was given the choice of either bringing his friends back and living in peace, in a democratic, united greater Israel/Palestine, with equal rights and equal legal and religious protections, alongside the Palestinians... or if he could instead choose to live in a Jewish state, which would he choose?

He chose two dead friends and a Jewish Israel at war with its neighbors... and, in doing so, turned his back on real democracy, equal rights, equal representation, freedom of religion, and all the key underpinnings of society that Americans view as essential elements of our country.

The U.S. might not be perfect, but what are we to think of those who willingly choose war and systemic injustice over the alternative? What's in this for U.S.? Why should we want to assist others in pursuing folly?
posted by markkraft at 11:05 PM on January 6, 2009 [2 favorites]


The U.S. might not be perfect, but what are we to think of those who willingly choose war and systemic injustice over the alternative?

That they are little different than the U.S. or the rest of the world? Is there any possible rationale by which Iraq can be seen as more justifiable than the Gaza incursion? And the death toll has been far higher. Even "enlightened" Europe only became so because they essentially bled whole generations to death in the first half of the twentieth century. It was either learn a different way or cease to exist.

This is not to excuse any Israeli behavior, only to point out that they are not somehow behaving in an unprecedented or even surprising fashion. Almost every country has done the same or worse, and many of them very recently.
posted by Justinian at 11:33 PM on January 6, 2009


Don't make a fuss over what I think of your post, shetterly. But favorites sometimes mean people are just earmarking posts so they can reference them in the future.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:42 PM on January 6, 2009


Leaders of Hamas and Iran have said they will accept a two-party state in the '67 borders. Israel has refused to consider that

You are misstating their positions. Iran and Hamas have stated that if Israel withdraws to its pre-1967 borders they will offer a long term (10 year) truce subject to a referendum. They will leave final status and recognition issues to future generations. Which really isn't the same as accepting a two state solution. Israel has stated that they are willing to trade land for a long term peace treaty that includes recognition. Which isn't the same as stating that they will return to the 1967 borders.

If Israel does not want the '67 borders, and Israel does not want to grant citizenship to all the people within the lands it controls, what does it want? No one will say. No one will even define the borders of the state they say they want Hamas to recognize. So, what do you think Israel should do?

The PNA and the state of Israel have mutually agreed in the many proposed peace talk frameworks that there will be a two state solution. The borders of which will be determined during final status negotiations. '67 is just an armistice line from first war which may not have created an optimal border for either entity. While it is a useful starting point, it is by no means the best border for either country. As an example Palestinians may want to trade land for a dedicated highway through Israel between Gaza and the West Bank. In any case the border is best determined by the two parties in direct talks.
posted by humanfont at 11:51 PM on January 6, 2009


I said that I was sorry to hear of his loss, but if he was given the choice of either bringing his friends back and living in peace, in a democratic, united greater Israel/Palestine, with equal rights and equal legal and religious protections, alongside the Palestinians... or if he could instead choose to live in a Jewish state, which would he choose?

As someone living in Israel (who has never spent time in Palestinian cities in the West Bank or Gaza) I don't have any interest in making the West Bank or Gaza part of Israel.

Is there something inherently wrong with a two state solution or just with the way Israel is currently set up?
posted by davidstandaford at 12:25 AM on January 7, 2009


Don't make a fuss over what I think of your post, shetterly. But favorites sometimes mean people are just earmarking posts so they can reference them in the future.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:42 PM on January 6 [+] [!]

Frankly, this is rude at best.
posted by mek at 1:29 AM on January 7, 2009



Especially when those snowball throwers also happen to be suicide bombers. You have followed the news a little, haven't you?



No i hadnt actually but now that i'm up to speed with events in the levant i can see these bloodthirsty palestinian children for what they really are, thanks for educating me on behalf of a people that can't even walk into a backpackers hostel without trying to take it over.
posted by sgt.serenity at 1:30 AM on January 7, 2009


davidstandaford writes "Is there something inherently wrong with a two state solution or just with the way Israel is currently set up?"

The major problem with a two state solution is that it would cause a sudden and massive shortage of conflict, which would lead to the current warmongers on both sides of the fight without a mechanism for exploiting racial hatred and xenophobia. It could result in the unthinkable: power shifting to people who would actually build up the region rather than ransack it for personal gain. This would also do serious harm to the weapons manufacturers who serve the parties involved, and could potentially lead to a devastating economic blow to those who depend on nationalism and hubris to make a living in the region. Finally, the two state solution is not mentioned in the Bible, and could be an obstacle to Armageddon and the second coming of Christ.
posted by mullingitover at 1:41 AM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Plus it'd be ridiculously easy for a two-state solution to devolve right back into the current situation if hardliners on either side stirred up some shit.
posted by blasdelf at 1:49 AM on January 7, 2009


blasdelf writes "Plus it'd be ridiculously easy for a two-state solution to devolve right back into the current situation if hardliners on either side stirred up some shit."

You're right, there is an upside to the two-state solution.

lolsrsly though, let's not ignore the blessing we get from the middle east: we have a peek at the rotten heart of racism, oppression, radicalism, greed, corruption, and we see what happens when people can't grow their monkeysphere beyond their own little group. It's a shining example of a group of people who can't, or don't want to, see their adversaries for the human beings that they are and are forever damned to loathe each other and struggle for a small patch of barren real estate.

I'm frankly in favor of the zero-state solution: kick every inhabitant out of the region with the exception of archaeologists. They're the only ones who have a rational claim to the place.
posted by mullingitover at 2:20 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


delmoi: All of those citations are from 2006. If you want to prove that Hamas' charter did not change in 2006, then, obviously, that's not going to do it.

The Charter and Election Manifesto are two different things.

I don't know how many times I can say this or explain it to you. There are plenty of articles from 2006 that talk about the change in the Election Manifesto but none that I have seen that talk about any change in the Charter. Example:
Hamas has dropped its call for the destruction of Israel from its manifesto for the Palestinian parliamentary election in a fortnight, a move that brings the group closer to the mainstream Palestinian position of building a state within the boundaries of the occupied territories.

The Islamist faction, responsible for a long campaign of suicide bombings and other attacks on Israelis, still calls for the maintenance of the armed struggle against occupation. But it steps back from Hamas's 1988 charter demanding Israel's eradication and the establishment of a Palestinian state in its place.

The manifesto makes no mention of the destruction of the Jewish state and instead takes a more ambiguous position by saying that Hamas had decided to compete in the elections because it would contribute to "the establishment of an independent state whose capital is Jerusalem".
If you have seen an article that refers to a change in their Charter, please share it with me.

Here is another article that distinguishes between the Charter and Election Manifesto.

I think it's great that Hamas took out a call for the destruction of Israel from their Election Manifesto in 2006, and it would be even better if they took it out of their Charter too.
posted by davidstandaford at 4:02 AM on January 7, 2009


davidstandaford writes "I think it's great that Hamas took out a call for the destruction of Israel from their Election Manifesto in 2006, and it would be even better if they took it out of their Charter too."

It doesn't make a lot of sense to try to make Hamas appear rational. They're clearly unhinged, but their ascent to power is more of a symptom of just how insanely desperate the voting population really is. People don't vote for radical parties like Hamas when they're thinking about their future, they do it when they've completely given up on the future and just want to exact all the damage they possibly can because they know they're going to get the shaft no matter what they do.

I wonder, if the rockets had completely stopped and everything was hunky-dory, would Israel suddenly abandon all those illegal land grabs they call settlements in the West Bank?
posted by mullingitover at 4:39 AM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I wonder, if the rockets had completely stopped and everything was hunky-dory, would Israel suddenly abandon all those illegal land grabs they call settlements in the West Bank?

That's mostly what was offered to the late Palestinian President for Life, Yasser Arafat in a meeting between Yasser Arafat, Bill Clinton and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Yasser Arafat walked away from it, but I suspect a similar offer would be the basis for a new agreement. On the other hand, Israel actually did abandon all its settlements in Gaza, and look what happened.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:52 AM on January 7, 2009


There is a huge diff between laws on the books that are outdated and then get changed and the Hamas Charter: Hamas has never changed its charter and has ever made a statement that what it has said is now obsolete. Show me where Hamas has "changed" from its intent! site one statement, one place.We have laws that replace earlier laws. Hamas has never, not ever, altered its claim as to its intentions.
posted by Postroad at 5:11 AM on January 7, 2009


Brave woman.

I'd love to drop kick that motherfucking IDF guy who keeps raising his gun and pointing it sort of right at her. What the fuck is wrong with these Rambo idiots?

Wonder how he'd do *without* the M16 and body armor. Pussy.
posted by fourcheesemac at 5:55 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Israel and Gaza - Boston Globe's bigger picture.

Literally, bigger pictures of the conflict. Stunning and harrowing. I'd FPP it if there wasn't a curfew on the issue.
posted by nthdegx at 6:20 AM on January 7, 2009


"Wonder how he'd do *without* the M16 and body armor. Pussy."

Yeah. He could probably kick the shit out of you.
posted by nthdegx at 6:22 AM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Postroad,

It's no use arguing with people who have made their mind up about blindly supporting one position or the other.

This is kinda like the AIDS denial discussion. People will change around facts at will to support their ideas and their position.

Thinking Hamas suddenly changed from an anti-semitic, anti-israel terrorist organization to one that supports a peaceful, workable solution to get the Palestinians their own country is just silly.

The major problem, at least from my view, is that the Palestinians have a pattern of self defeat; they consistently choose to have militants and terrorists represent their cause out of anger and for a desire of revenge rather than to choose a government that will represent them in the ONLY way that they can "win", which is via a political solution. This political solution will only come with peaceful discussions at the negotiation table, and if both sides stop their attacks completely. Gaza will never be free if Hamas keeps lobbing rockets into Israel. It's that simple.

Whether you like it or not, whether you think it's injust, or morally reprehensible, Israel holds almost all the cards here. Whining about "Zionism" and such may make you feel better, but it's not going to gain freedom for the Palestinians.
posted by autobahn at 6:31 AM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


So, a final solution to the "Palestinian problem"? Nice.

That's not what I said. I said it is time for final resolution in the form of total victory. I personally don't care which side wins. But one side needs to "win" overall. Anything else is a hand job that will end in failed cease fires and fake peace's in the future.
That doesn't mean that one side has to wipe the other out, but, at some point they are all going to have to realize that the current plan(s) just aren't working. Maybe it is time to relocate en masse, one side or the other? To where? Who knows. But it is pretty clear that they can't coexist. At least not all of them.

Nice play on words with that final solution phrase, made me laugh out loud.
posted by a3matrix at 7:05 AM on January 7, 2009


The speculation among Israeli commentators is that an international demand for a ceasefire is pretty much the only exit strategy Israel has up its sleeve, even suggesting that Israel may intentionally exacerbate a humanitarian crisis in order to force the international community to act (that was the expert analysis on Israeli channel 10 TV last night). [emphasis added]
In other words: Kadima Party leader and de facto PM Tzipi Livni (Olmert already plans to step down) knows she can't win the upcoming election if she tries for peace. So her fellow Israelis expect that she'll make sure more Palestinians die, so the West forces on her a cease-fire she can pretend to accept only reluctantly.

Smell the cynicism people: Gazan civilians and kids conscripted into the IDF are going to die to give Livni better prospects at the polls, and her only "exit strategy" is hoping that Western powers (and American Jews) save face for her by demanding she stop.

And the alternative to Livni? The Likud and war-monger Benjamin Netanyahu.

This, not orange trees blooming in the desert, is the reality of Israel.
posted by orthogonality at 7:31 AM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Frankly, this is rude at best.

No it isn't. And a similar point was made above.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:07 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey dejah420, you jumped in early on and accused Google of helping enforce Israeli propaganda by censoring pro-Palestinian video. But you've never answered my question. Do you have some evidence that "Google has been pulling all footage not published by the Israeli ministries of information"? It's a pretty strong charge and awfully irresponsible without evidence. It's a shame your claim is right there at the top of the thread with 40+ people deciding it's a favourite comment.
posted by Nelson at 8:11 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Joe from Australia - That's mostly what was offered to the late Palestinian President for Life, Yasser Arafat in a meeting between Yasser Arafat, Bill Clinton and former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Yasser Arafat walked away from it, but I suspect a similar offer would be the basis for a new agreement.

That is the view of the talks promoted by the US and Israeli Governments. Unsurprisingly, that is not the whole story.
While Barak made more concessions in the deal than any prior Israeli leader, he did not offer to give 96 percent of the West Bank to the Palestinians, as has been suggested by the Israelis -- and reported as such in the U.S. and
international press. With Clinton's full knowledge, he offered what can only be described as a dysfunctional state to Arafat. In the waning years of a tarnished presidency, Clinton was so eager to push Camp David that he forgot the ABCs of political science.

The Palestinian state, according to diplomats and academics familiar with the details, would have consisted of five cantons, four of which would be located in the West Bank and one in the Gaza strip.

The two million Palestinians living in 200 scattered areas around the West Bank would have been consolidated into three cantons. The Israeli army would have control of the eastern border of the state, the Jordan Valley, for an indefinite period of time. A fourth canton would have been created around East Jerusalem. Much of the water infrastructure would have remained under Israeli control. Most importantly, the al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest shrine in Islam, would have remained under Israeli control.
Israel wants its control of the water, amongst other things, to continue. As ever it's the Palestinians who are robbed of their rights by what (the) Israel(i Government) wants.

Also, the US seems to demand the role of peace negotiator on the conflict, despite openly supporting one side of the conflict against the other. Any attempts by any other actor are stymied by Israel and the US.

I don't think there is any doubt that all the people of the region want peace. The problem is that such peace would not be to the advantage of certain powerful members of Israeli society and their very limited ideas about what should happen in their region.
posted by asok at 8:18 AM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


On further reading, it seems there was no deal that Arafat walked away from, just some 'parameters of negotiation' defined by the US Government.
Had there been, in hindsight, a generous Israeli offer? Ask a member of the American team, and an honest answer might be that there was a moving target of ideas, fluctuating impressions of the deal the US could sell to the two sides, a work in progress that reacted (and therefore was vulnerable) to the pressures and persuasion of both. Ask Barak, and he might volunteer that there was no Israeli offer and, besides, Arafat rejected it. Ask Arafat, and the response you might hear is that there was no offer; besides, it was unacceptable; that said, it had better remain on the table.
posted by asok at 8:35 AM on January 7, 2009


Frankly, this is rude at best.

No it isn't. And a similar point was made above.

Astro, yes. When I mentioned "full of suck," I was alluding to davidstandaford's "the suckness (or not) of the post." My apologies for aiming at amusing when I should've gone for simple.

mek, no worries. I doubt any MeFite is going to post anything about anyone who might be Israeli or Palestinian without expecting a partisan to complain about whether the post is worthy. I think the rule is: If you can't attack the message, attack the messenger; if you can't attack the messenger, attack the wrapping paper.

posted by shetterly at 9:10 AM on January 7, 2009


I am not a partisan. I just think this is weak sauce. As I said, it would have been a good link in a larger post about the subject, but, as you yourself said, single link YouTube posts tend away from excellence. But as I alluded to, whether or not I like the post doesn't really matter than much, so don't sweat it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:57 AM on January 7, 2009


I doubt any MeFite is going to post anything about anyone who might be Israeli or Palestinian without expecting a partisan to complain about whether the post is worthy. I think the rule is: If you can't attack the message, attack the messenger
osted by shetterly at 11:10 AM on January 7


You are clearly missing the entire point of the objection.

The entire problem is that there is no message here. Therefore there is no message to attack. There is no context in the video so we have no clue what was going on, despite your repeated claim that it is obvious.

Again, describe for me what you are seeing. Describe for me what occurred in the video. Explain to me who these troops are, what there mission is, and why there are only two of them. Explain to me who is behind this girl. Explain for me what is going on off in the distance and why these soldiers did not respond to it or act like it is a big deal.

All that is here is the narrative you are imputing to the video.
posted by dios at 10:05 AM on January 7, 2009


Astro, you keep saying things like "I am not a partisan" and "I am not a Zionist," but your posts favor one side, so I suggest you accept the label or ignore it. Rejecting it is just, uh, chunky gravy?

Okay, silly food analogies amuse me.

And also, no worries about knocking the post. I'm amazed it's done what it has; I thought ten or twenty people might say, "Wow! She's brave!" and that would be it.

I confess, I don't grasp your standards for a post, though: I just checked to see what you've posted, and your most recent, the Electrocution thing, consisted of one link, without a comment about whether you're for or against it. So, what do you recommend for a model for my next effort?
posted by shetterly at 10:11 AM on January 7, 2009


Nelson, as an example, here's what used to be a youtube link to a video called "Gaza Massacre", here's the link itself, rather than hyperlinking it, just to show that I'm not doing anything tricky with the html: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wzwcfxq46GI

When you go to that address, there's not even a "removed due to X", it's just disappeared. It's really hard to prove that which has been disappeared. They're not even leaving a trace that something was there, except for dead links around the web.

For instance, the footage of various protest marches, for example; the Dallas protest march, for some unknown reason, was pulled. Just disappeared, no explanation...it wasn't graphic, it was a bunch of Texans marching past the grassy knoll.

If you go to: http://www.youtube.com/results?uploaded=m&search_query=palestine, which should be sorted by upload date, you'll notice that there is nothing there from the last few days, despite the fact that doctors with Doctors without Borders, the ISM, and various other organizations have uploaded video recently. And the top 10 or so videos are not actually footage from Gaza.

Do a search for Gaza, and sort by "uploaded this week", note that the majority of footage isn't of the current gaza conflict, but is instead talking heads talking about Gaza. Raw footage is disappearing. http://www.youtube.com/results?uploaded=w&search_query=gaza

Again, when videos are disappeared, it's hard to prove anything....because no trace of the videos is being left on the site.
posted by dejah420 at 10:14 AM on January 7, 2009


... your most recent, the Electrocution thing, consisted of one link, without a comment about whether you're for or against it. So, what do you recommend for a model for my next effort?

Don't post your opinions with your post. No one cares whether you think something is good or bad. In this case, you certainly could have left the tank guy video out, as it adds nothing to the post. Really, the thread would have been much better if you titled the video link the title of the post, and left it at that.
posted by chunking express at 10:34 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Astro, you keep saying things like "I am not a partisan" and "I am not a Zionist," but your posts favor one side, so I suggest you accept the label or ignore it. Rejecting it is just, uh, chunky gravy?

My posts do not favor one side. Simply attempting to inject an additional perspective into a discussion does not equal being a Zionist, and you would do well not to force labels onto someone else.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:41 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


dejah420, I followed your first link, and I got "This video has been removed due to terms of use violation." So there's been some sort of update, or your internet provider is playing games.

chunking express, a number of people in this thread, like dios, have been wanting to know what they were supposed to think of these images. See, for example, the very first comment here. Are they wrong?

I included Tienanman because I thought people might bring up other examples of great courage in the face of force. But current events did shape the discussion.
posted by shetterly at 10:46 AM on January 7, 2009


TBH I get the impression that you really, really want to support Israel, but there are some serious issues there you can't ignore.
posted by Artw at 10:46 AM on January 7, 2009


Shetterly, policing or defending your own thread is also not considered especially good form on Metafilter.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:47 AM on January 7, 2009


Hmm... "Shetterly, tell me this, this and this about your terrible post, but don't respond, that would make you a modder!"
posted by Artw at 10:52 AM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


I don't intend to keep Shetterly from responding to Dios. It's the "My post is fine, 24 people have favorited it" stuff that seems misplaced.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:54 AM on January 7, 2009


Exactly: people can figure shit out for themselves. Dios isn't a dumbass. I think he's just being obnoxious because that's what he does. The video is of a girl trying to stop soldiers from shooting people protesting. There isn't anything extra to explain. It's a brave act irrespective of the people involved. I suspect one reason people are bitching in this thread is probably because you've been policing it so much, and trying to explain to people how you see things.
posted by chunking express at 10:54 AM on January 7, 2009


And my "exactly" refers to this: "Shetterly, policing or defending your own thread is also not considered especially good form on Metafilter."
posted by chunking express at 10:55 AM on January 7, 2009


Astro, your "additional perspective" has invariably favored Israel. I mention this in case your posts defending the Palestinians were lost.
posted by shetterly at 10:56 AM on January 7, 2009


Yes. Finidng both sides wrong equals partisan support of Israel. You're a wonder of reductive reasoning.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:57 AM on January 7, 2009


Okay, too much answering people. Got it. I'll stay out of the thread now.
posted by shetterly at 11:01 AM on January 7, 2009


Yes. Finidng both sides wrong equals partisan support of Israel. You're a wonder of reductive reasoning.

Now, I know you're not some dumb repeater of neocon talking points, but you may wish to check the degree to which your public persona actually matches that statement, because your rage is strictly directed one way, and it isn't towards the guys with the jets and the tanks.
posted by Artw at 11:07 AM on January 7, 2009


Horseshit. Reread my posts. I have repeatedly condemned Israel's actions in this thread. Don't paint me as something I am not, art. I don't deserve it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:11 AM on January 7, 2009


Thanks for the reply about Google videos, dejah420. You're right, it's really hard to understand what's going on with these missing videos once they go missing.

Your "Gaza Massacre" example at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wzwcfxq46GI has the notation "This video has been removed due to terms of use violation." That doesn't tell us much, but at least we know it's not a copyright concern. The guy who posted the video has a comment, but it seems he doesn't know why Google pulled it either. His belief is that Youtube is "Zionist Occupied Territory".

Without a link to the pulled Dallas protest video or its originator there's no way to tell what's going on. There's a lot of other Dallas protest video on Youtube, though.

The default search for Palestine is relevance ranked, not date ranked. A date ranked search shows 16 videos in the past hour matching "Palestine". You're right the relevance ranking might not be highlighting the most recent or important video, but that's unlikely to be specific to the particular content.

It doesn't surprise me that most of the videos that turn up for a search for "Gaza" are boring talking head crap. A search for gaza raw is a bit more interesting for finding on-the-scene footage.

FWIW, I care about this issue not because of my opinions on Palestine but because I used to work at Google and still feel strongly about its responsibility in the world. I had a lot of discussions with people who set content policy (albeit, no Youtube people) and have some understanding about how good, neutral policy choices have results that seem unfair. Setting policy is hard, but I think Google and its employees are truly committed to the free exchange of information. And from what I know, there's no way Google or its employees would be acting as censors for the Israeli government.

My guess is that some video is being taken down because of DMCA complaints. And some because of "acceptable use" policies. I'd guess Google is likely to err on the side of removing graphically violent video, particularly video that shows dead children and particularly if they get a lot of user submitted complaints. Personally I think that's not a smart policy if your goal is to show abuses in war zones, but at least I understand the policy to be unfair in general, not unfair specifically in favor of Israel. (It'd also favour the US over Iraqi fighters, and would favour what passes for a government in Sudan over the victims there.)

Unfortunately Youtube's documentation doesn't give us a lot of insight into what's allowed and what's not. The Terms of Use are typical uninformative lawyerly text. They refer to the community guidelines which are a bit more helpful. The guidelines "Don't post gross-out videos of accidents, dead bodies or similar things intended to shock or disgust." and "If your video shows someone being physically hurt, attacked, or humiliated, don't post it." might well lead to important war documentary footage being pulled. Also "we don't permit hate speech" is awfully broad and leaves a lot up to individual discretion.

I've seen how Google and other companies handle policy decisions. There's a lot of grey area, a lot of internal guidelines the public doesn't see, and end of the day a lot of well meaning overworked people making decisions quickly. I think well meaning people could easily remove some video that shouldn't be without being part of some larger Zionist agenda.
posted by Nelson at 11:16 AM on January 7, 2009


If several people think you're an apologist for Israel then it must be a problem with them, and not with the fair and balanced things you've posted in this thread.

Anyway, does it really matter what strangers on a random Internet forum think of your posts here. You know where you stand, even if (I think) you have articulated your apparent position poorly.
posted by chunking express at 11:17 AM on January 7, 2009


Or people hear what they want to hear.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:19 AM on January 7, 2009


Astro Zombie: You appear to deeply support the continued existence of an explicitly Jewish state whose capital is Jerusalem in the region formerly governed by the British Mandate (and you haven't voiced any opinion as to the future of the Occupied Territories).

I deeply despise the idea of an explicitly racial state, and can only support a secular one-state solution that enfranchises all present residents with no racial/ethnic/religious basis for 'right of return'.

You support the idea of Israel, I call for its downfall. We are both partisans on the subject.
posted by blasdelf at 11:21 AM on January 7, 2009


As to does it matter, yes it does. Mischaracterizing someone to paint them as a partisan is a very convenient way to simply dismiss what they are saying, and frankly I think that's poison to a conversation, has been part of what has made American politics stink so bad for at least eight years, and is part of the reason these I/P threads go so badly.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:22 AM on January 7, 2009


You support the idea of Israel, I call for its downfall. We are both partisans on the subject.

My point exactly. Where have I said this?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:22 AM on January 7, 2009


I'm out. Fuck this.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:23 AM on January 7, 2009


Oh, to add to Burnistans charity link, people who want to donate to assist Gazans may also consider ANERA. And ISM needs funds, but I haven't done any research on their charity status. But, to back up what Burn said, the Islamic Relief fund is well known, certified, and well respected.
posted by dejah420 at 11:26 AM on January 7, 2009


The video is of a girl trying to stop soldiers from shooting people protesting. There isn't anything extra to explain. It's a brave act irrespective of the people involved.
posted by chunking express at 12:54 PM on January 7


You don't know that is what is going on. For all we know these two soldiers have not fired a shot all day. For all we know these are just guarding the bunker thing behind them and have no intention of shooting anyone... just keeping people back a good distance by looking menacing.

Seriously, if these guys were down with shooting protesters, is anyone going to say for a second that this girl standing there would have stopped them? These are not people on a mission, or else you expect certainly more than two of them standing there. Moreover, you expect them to do something. They are just standing around. If they for a second had the intention of being aggressive, they would have put her down when she grabbed the soldier's gun at the 1:00 mark. Instead, he just backed up. At the 2:08 mark, there is either gun fire or explosions in the distance, and these guys do nothing. Again, if they were on a mission, they would have reacted. But they remain just standing there.

For her to be brave, there would have be some indication that there was a possibility these soldiers would fire their gun. The video provides no indication that is the case. An equally likely interpretation is that this girl is just harassing some soldiers who are there for other purposes and have no intention of being aggressive.

I'm not trying to be obnoxious. I'm just trying to point out that shetterly has taken a video without any context and tried to force into the narrative he wants to make, editorializing in the post, and then following it up with moderation of his thread in order to make it perfectly clear what he thinks we should be thinking about the video and the entire conflict. Heck, he even admits he did not go any further to figure out who the person was.

That is not a good post. It is something with no context forced into a narrative... on a touchy subject to boot.
posted by dios at 11:42 AM on January 7, 2009


Nelson, I see your point, and I certainly didn't mean to paint Google with the Elders of Zion brush. My point, when I posted the message above, was that many graphic videos *had* been removed, but the IDF propaganda channel, which had videos removed, had their videos returned, but the footage from people in Gaza had *not* been returned.

Unfortunately, I didn't learn until later in the thread that there was an easy tool for extracting video from YT page, and thus now I know to save out video that I think may be removed, but at the time, there had been a bunch of videos that had been linked on various blogs, news sites, commentaries, etc., that had been removed and has not been returned.

The IDF videos were removed, but were replaced. I've read that the replacement occured after pressure from the Israeli government. There is no government pressure to replace the video of the absolute devastation in Gaza, because frankly...the world seems to be ok with bombing the Palestinians into the stone age, as long as they don't have to see the aftermath. Just like we don't show the caskets of our servicemen anymore. If the average US TV watcher doesn't see it on Fox or whereever, it didn't happen.

Google, rightly or wrongly, chose to remove video from both sides, but then selected to only return the video from one side.
posted by dejah420 at 11:46 AM on January 7, 2009


That is not a good post. It is something with no context forced into a narrative... on a touchy subject to boot.

Well, at least I can agree with this.

I still think you're being obtuse. Maybe you stand in front of soldiers pointing assault rifles towards you all the time? I don't, I live in Toronto.
posted by chunking express at 11:46 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


She says something at 1:11 that I think sums it up nicely: "Just fall back!"

The actions of the soldiers seems punitive to me and not in defence of anything or anyone. They aren't in any danger and they seem to be just trying to get back at the kids throwing rocks. They obviously aren't afraid, they look they just want to bust some heads.

Good for her.
posted by alejo at 11:50 AM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


dejah420, I take your point now. I don't have any problem with the statement that Youtube is more effectively representing the Israeli viewpoint than the Palestinian viewpoint. I was just concerned you were suggesting that was the result of a deliberate pro-Israel policy on the part of the company itself or its employees.

Google, rightly or wrongly, chose to remove video from both sides, but then selected to only return the video from one side.

I think to people working at Google, they probably don't see "sides" at all.

There is no government pressure to replace the video of the absolute devastation in Gaza, because frankly...the world seems to be ok with bombing the Palestinians into the stone age

I'd say it's more likely there's no government pressure to replace the pro-Palestinian video because there's not much effective Palestinian government. And both Palestinian governments are probably too underfunded and busy fighting for survival to dedicate someone to writing emails to Youtube's support address. It's not hard to understand why pro-Israel supporters would be better at working online communication channels than pro-Palestine supporters.
posted by Nelson at 12:53 PM on January 7, 2009


The best reporter in Gaza
posted by Artw at 12:55 PM on January 7, 2009


.... and the winner is.
posted by chunking express at 1:13 PM on January 7, 2009


dejah420, I know in the past I've read that YouTube has been notoriously easy to game with DMCA or takedown notices. I don't know if that is still the case, but perhaps a Zionist has taken up the cause of getting them all removed.
posted by graventy at 2:14 PM on January 7, 2009


Okay, I'm back, but I'll try to keep this to the post itself:

There is a context: courage. It's in the title. Whatever you think of their issues, the woman in Palestine and the student in China stood up to armed people.

dios, I've been avoiding answering you because of this sentence early on: ...other than the narrative in your mind, I do not see any context for what is occurring on the screen.

I may misunderstand, but this is what I get from your sentence: you know the narrative in my mind, but you cannot grasp meaning from the images you see.

To me, that suggests you have a strange super power that grants you telepathy, but prevents you from drawing conclusions about what you see unless someone tells you what you are supposed to think. I'm sure that's not what you meant, but your repeated protests of an inability to comprehend the significance of the videos make me believe one thing: you do not understand.

I'm answering you now because of this: ...editorializing in the post, and then following it up with moderation of his thread in order to make it perfectly clear what he thinks we should be thinking about the video and the entire conflict.

So, two questions:

1. Where did I editorialize in the post?

2. Was I not asked about this post, and if I was asked, should I have stayed silent?
posted by shetterly at 2:14 PM on January 7, 2009


There is a context: courage.

That's not context. Context is who? what? when? where? why? What was occurring right before this? What occurred after it?

Courage is an adjective your have assigned to this video.

you have a strange super power that grants you telepathy

And I do not need telepathy. You've made it abundantly clear in this post what the narrative in your mind is. And I can tell how this video fits into your narrative.

but prevents you from drawing conclusions about what you see unless someone tells you what you are supposed to think.

No, I just do not draw conclusions until I know the facts. I have repeatedly pointed out things that need to be known before the conclusion your drew (or some other conclusion that can be drawn) is reasonable.

1. Where did I editorialize in the post?

Your comparison to Tienanmen Square is an editorial comment on the video that obvious is the primary point of your post. You then assigned the tag "courage" which is an editorial comment. And you titled it all "a moment of great courage." These are all values you are assigned to the video to color the impression people have to what they are seeing.

You could have posted "Palestinian woman harasses soldiers" and linked to that video, and there would be a different reaction. Or "This chick is asking for it" would draw another. Or, you could have said "Korean television films interaction between Israeli soldiers in Palestine and a Palestinian aide worker" which would have been lacking editorial comment.


And you still have failed to address any of the questions I previously presented asking you to explain how the actual things in the video support the conclusion that you claim the video shows.

You've made it abundantly clear throughout this thread what your assumptions are about the respective sides of the greater issues and how that colors what you see on this video. But if you showed this video to someone who never heard of Israel or Palestine or the dispute, and you took out the unrelated earlier scenes, showing only the interaction between the woman and the soldiers, such a person would be very confused about what they are seeing. Or at least it is not clear they would have arrived at the conclusion you suggest. And that's because the context is not there other than that what you--the poster--is bringing to the enterprise.
posted by dios at 2:30 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Dios, are metafilter posts supposed to be confined to a single, explicit, unambiguous, nonmetaphorical topic?

And what conclusion have I said this brings? For your sake, I will now tell you what I got from the video:

This woman is awesomely brave. The man in Tienanman Square is awesomely brave. Standing up to violent people is awesome, and should be celebrated, no matter who does it.

The rest of what you infer? That's what you infer.
posted by shetterly at 2:52 PM on January 7, 2009


Dios, are metafilter posts supposed to be confined to a single, explicit, unambiguous, nonmetaphorical topic?

They are not supposed to contained editorializing, especially on hot topics.

Standing up to violent people


Ok... now we are getting somewhere. Please tell me where in this video you got any indication these two guys are violent or aggressive or anything of the sort. Or are all soldiers in your mind automatically deemed "violent"? Had this been two soldiers at an airport terminal guarding gates, would your conclusion have changed?
posted by dios at 2:56 PM on January 7, 2009


Dios, where you want to go is no place I'm interested in. I'll stay where soldiers shooting at children are thought violent. You may have the last word on that subject now.

Since this thread seems is petering out, I'll use it as homunculus does, maybe offering a link or two that could be pertinent, like:

How Israel brought Gaza to the brink of humanitarian catastrophe: Oxford professor of international relations Avi Shlaim served in the Israeli army and has never questioned the state's legitimacy. But its merciless assault on Gaza has led him to devastating conclusions
posted by shetterly at 3:34 PM on January 7, 2009


Oh, how my power to see typos after I post them amazes me.

Will, that's what preview is for.

Ah! Thank you, Will!
posted by shetterly at 3:36 PM on January 7, 2009


"Yeah. He could probably kick the shit out of you."

Oh dear, I feel the need to qualify that statement. It was meant purely matter of factly. He's a soldier. He's meant to hold a gun. What's more, he's probably under orders. But even without the gun, he's probably twice as hard as you or me.
posted by nthdegx at 3:50 PM on January 7, 2009


A different kind of heroism: BBC interviews a former captain in the Israeli army.
posted by shetterly at 5:05 PM on January 7, 2009


blasdelf wrote:
I deeply despise the idea of an explicitly racial state, and can only support a secular one-state solution that enfranchises all present residents with no racial/ethnic/religious basis for 'right of return'.

I think Israel and Lebanon may be the only two Middle Eastern states that are not explicitly religious. Hamas' explicit goal is the establishment of an Islamic state (1) in which Christians and Jews would have a secondary status. I suspect that Hindus and other non-monotheists would have no rights at all. (2) The PLO has similar provisions in its own platform that restrict rights to Palestinian Arabs and their descendants in the male line. (3)

As for Israel's Law of Return, there are many states that have similar laws. I think I have the right to citizenship of four countries other than Australia, solely because of where I and my spouse were born. Why is your venom aimed at Israel, whose law is less selective than most of these and is at least aimed at a virtuous end: providing a place of refuge for a persecuted minority?

You support the idea of Israel, I call for its downfall.

Well, that's obvious. I think you should reconsider the bases of your opinion.

Footnotes:

(1) Palestine is an Islamic Waqf land consecrated for Moslem generations until Judgement Day.
(2) 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.
(3) Article 3: The Palestinian Arab people possess the legal right to their homeland and to self-determination after the completion of the liberation of their country in accordance with their wishes and entirely of their own accord and will.
[...]
Article 5: The Palestinians are those Arab nationals who, until 1947, normally resided in Palestine regardless of whether they were evicted from it or stayed there. Anyone born, after that date, of a Palestinian father- whether in Palestine or outside it- is also a Palestinian.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:12 PM on January 7, 2009


Joe, do you believe Israel should give the right of return to Palestinians who were driven from their homes in '48?
posted by shetterly at 5:25 PM on January 7, 2009


Joe in Australia writes "I think Israel and Lebanon may be the only two Middle Eastern states that are not explicitly religious."

Wow, I had no idea Israel wasn't a Jewish state. Spread the word, man! This will certainly clear up a lot of confusion.
posted by mullingitover at 5:44 PM on January 7, 2009


Joe in Australia writes "As for Israel's Law of Return, there are many states that have similar laws."

Joe, whatcha smokin' in Oz?

Those other countries offer preferential immigration to people whose immediate (two-generations ago at most) ancestors lived in those countries.

Israel offers preferential immigration to people who have no ancestral ties to Israel, but who belong to a particular religion or ethnicity. Or who have converted to that faith. That is, to any Jew, not to the descendants of Israelis.

(Though I note that there was major tsuris over whether only Orthodox conversion/marriages count, or whether Conservative or (G-d forbid!) Reform rabbis can confer Israeli citizenship, a debate that reached the Israeli Supreme Court.)

And not to descendants of Israeli Arabs. To any Jew, but not to any Israeli Arab, no matter now recently his ancestors lived in Israel.

Arguing that other, secular, states' policies are similar is pure disingenuous sophistry, Joe. And you know it. And people reading it here know it. Why are you so invested in this that you're trying to put over a tall tail that's so obviously a tall tail?
posted by orthogonality at 5:58 PM on January 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


From Avi Shlaim's article that I linked to a little way back:

Israel likes to portray itself as an island of democracy in a sea of authoritarianism. ... Despite all the handicaps, the Palestinian people succeeded in building the only genuine democracy in the Arab world with the possible exception of Lebanon. In January 2006, free and fair elections for the Legislative Council of the Palestinian Authority brought to power a Hamas-led government. Israel, however, refused to recognise the democratically elected government, claiming that Hamas is purely and simply a terrorist organisation.

posted by shetterly at 6:08 PM on January 7, 2009


That's tall tale; you're thinking of the Long Tail.

Resume: FIGHT!
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 6:08 PM on January 7, 2009


Joe, this might apply to the "right of return" issue. From Palestinian people: DNA and genetic studies:

Results of a DNA study by geneticist Ariella Oppenheim in 2000 matched historical accounts that Arab Israelis and Palestinians, together as the one same population, represent modern "descendants of a core population that lived in the area since prehistoric times".

posted by shetterly at 6:15 PM on January 7, 2009


Marisa Stole the Precious Thing writes "That's tall tale; you're thinking of the Long Tail."

See here.
posted by orthogonality at 6:21 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


orthogonality, one of my favorite quotes: "I don't give a damn for a man that can only spell a word one way." --Mark Twain
posted by shetterly at 8:16 PM on January 7, 2009


Joe, do you believe Israel should give the right of return to Palestinians who were driven from their homes in '48?

You can't turn the clock back and wishing won't make it so. You've got plenty of Jews who were driven from their homes in various places now occupied by Palestinian Arabs. Should they have the right of return? Well, no, because they're not going to get that without armed Israeli army units protecting them, and that would be incompatible with any long-term solution.

I think the thing to do is to rule a line under the events of the past and say, OK, let's establish a Palestinian state with secure borders under the same terms that Israel did: all Palestinians will have the right of return to this state. Any rights that they presently have in Israel will not be prejudiced (so if they have citizenship or can show title to land they get to keep it) but their right of return is to New Palestine, just as the Jewish right of return is to Israel.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:14 PM on January 7, 2009


You've got plenty of Jews who were driven from their homes in various places now occupied by Palestinian Arabs.

Are you making your argument based on illegal settlements torn down or removed by the Israeli government? Sure seems like it. That's kind of obtuse.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:22 PM on January 7, 2009


Joe, it sounds like you want the '67 borders deal. Yes?
posted by shetterly at 9:36 PM on January 7, 2009


orthogonality wrote:
Israel offers preferential immigration to people who have no ancestral ties to Israel, but who belong to a particular religion or ethnicity. Or who have converted to that faith. That is, to any Jew, not to the descendants of Israelis.

You have misstated the law. It actually provides preferential immigration to Jews; to the children of Jews; to the grandchildren of Jews; and to the spouses of these. So you might in theory have the Hindu wife of a Buddhist son of a Moslem daughter of a Jew (who herself is married to, say, a Shinto priest) that can claim a "right of return". The reason is, of course, that such people have historically faced persecution as Jews and one of the raison d'etre's of Israel is to provide a refuge for such people.

And if you had read the link I provided you would have noticed that, e.g., Germany has a similar law for similar reasons: because that state feels that it has a particular duty to people persecuted because they were identified as being ethnic Germans.

Arguing that other, secular, states' policies are similar is pure disingenuous sophistry, Joe. And you know it. And people reading it here know it. Why are you so invested in this that you're trying to put over a tall tail that's so obviously a tall tail?

Obviously because I am a bad person and I want to deceive them.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:41 PM on January 7, 2009


The context is that there was (initially) a peaceful protest in the West Bank about the Gaza incursion. The protesters were primarily school age kids. The IDF opened fire on them. Ms. Arraf got between the bullets and the protesters.

Impossible. The video was posted on January 28, 2008.

So the context of this video is still unclear. We don't know the date, the time or the place.

But thank you for clarifying who the woman was. I actually do recognize the name of her husband, also an ISM activist. They both frequently organize protests in the West Bank against a security barrier Israel is building -- parts of its on land Palestinians want for a future state -- in a bid to keep out Palestinian terrorists from entering its territory. But that's a whole other topic.

Trolling? No. Raising questions? Absolutely.
posted by bondgirl53001 at 10:49 PM on January 7, 2009


Great, now we have the Objectivist perspective.

Always glad to provide a voice of logic. Any time.
posted by bondgirl53001 at 10:51 PM on January 7, 2009


Poo!
posted by Burhanistan at 11:07 PM on January 7, 2009


My apologies for making sequential posts. I'll try to amalgamate the other questions I was asked.

Burhanistan asked:
Are you making your argument based on illegal settlements torn down or removed by the Israeli government?

No: I was thinking about the Jews who lost their homes in Hebron after the Hebron Massacre of 1929 and the ones who lived in other places like Nablus. There were Jews living all over then-Palestine, just as there were Arabs living all over the place. The idea of partitioning was to separate mostly-Jewish places from mostly-Arab ones, but nobody ever thought that you could do this without disenfranchising a lot of people.

shetterley wrote:
Joe, it sounds like you want the '67 borders deal

What I want is Switzerland-on-the Mediterranean. But I don't think you can get there from here. I think the best achievable deal for all parties is the two-state one. I don't know enough about borders to say what they ought to be, but I'm aware of one inevitable obstacle: you can have a contiguous Israel or a contiguous Palestine, not both - unless you do something clever with overpasses and tunnels where the two states would necessarily intersect.
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:08 PM on January 7, 2009


Is this the place to say there are now rockets coming from Lebanon? Israel must have known the shelling would provoke this . . . Do they really want an all-out war?
posted by schroedinger at 11:11 PM on January 7, 2009


What else would their actions accomplish?
posted by mek at 1:49 AM on January 8, 2009


... but nobody ever thought that you could do this without disenfranchising a lot of people.

Understatement much?

Damn. That region is so fucked. And I want to go to Lebanon so much.
posted by chunking express at 6:51 AM on January 8, 2009


schroedinger writes "Do they really want an all-out war?"

Well, the only exit strategy they have is the west telling them to cease fire. Unless we in the West save Israel's face by "forcing" Israel's hand, they'll be fighting at least until the upcoming Israeli elections.
posted by orthogonality at 8:08 AM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Haaretz: Red Cross: Israel breaking int'l law, letting children starve in Gaza

The International Committee of the Red Cross on Thursday accused Israel of delaying ambulance access to the Gaza Strip and demanded it grant safe access for Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances to return to evacuate more wounded.

Relief workers said they found four starving children sitting next to their dead mothers and other corpses in a house in a part of Gaza City bombed by Israeli forces, the Red Cross said on Thursday.

posted by cell divide at 9:20 AM on January 8, 2009


The UN has stopped delivering aid to Gaza as well because Israel is shooting their vehicles and staff. And they had coordinated what they were doing with the army! What the bloodclot?
posted by chunking express at 9:30 AM on January 8, 2009


Well, as established earlier, UNRWA are clearly terrorists working towards the destruction of israel.
posted by Artw at 10:01 AM on January 8, 2009


Short youtube piece: UNRWA spokesman reports Israeli retraction of mortar claims.
posted by shetterly at 10:12 AM on January 8, 2009


Exactly what a terrorist would say!
posted by Artw at 10:17 AM on January 8, 2009


The UN has stopped delivering aid to Gaza as well because Israel is shooting their vehicles and staff.

Wait a minute. Isn't firing upon UN vehicles and staff supposed to bring down the hammer of God? What if Hamas was firing on UN vehicles and staff on their way to Israel?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 12:47 PM on January 8, 2009


I fully expect that to be the story next time we hear about it.
posted by Artw at 12:51 PM on January 8, 2009


Perfect Godwin
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 2:34 PM on January 8, 2009


Wow.
posted by Artw at 2:52 PM on January 8, 2009


That guy makes Marvin Heir look like a total pussy.
posted by Artw at 2:54 PM on January 8, 2009


And I love his arithmatic - when what Israel does to Palestine equals what Europe did to the Jews, then you can start condemning what the IDF does. I wonder if he has a scorecard.
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 3:06 PM on January 8, 2009


Neoconservatism dies in Gaza: The recent Israeli offensive has put the final nail in the coffin of the Bush administration's Middle East fantasy.
posted by homunculus at 3:51 PM on January 8, 2009


United Nations attacked by Israel: The driver of the U.N. truck died immediately; another worker in the truck died later of his wounds. The truck, which came under fire in northern Gaza, was marked with the U.N. flag and insignia.

Should the UN retaliate?
posted by shetterly at 3:57 PM on January 8, 2009


Yeah, it's not like Hamas ever used UN vehicles for their own puposes or anything.
posted by RavinDave at 5:09 PM on January 8, 2009


Tell me how, exactly, some rubber-and-glue counter erases Israel attacking UN staff and vehicles?
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 5:28 PM on January 8, 2009


RavinDave, excellent point. Israel should bomb 760 United Nations Plaza now to be on the safe side.
posted by shetterly at 6:08 PM on January 8, 2009


What's great about that particular attack is that the UN actually coordinated with the army beforehand. It's not like they didn't know what the deal was.
posted by chunking express at 6:45 PM on January 8, 2009


Actually, we don't know the specifics because the IDF hasn't commented yet. We're only getting one side of the story -- and piecemeal at that. But that hasn't stopped the usual gang of apologists from waving it as iron-clad evidence of Israel's bloodthirsty nature; an intentional provocation. They obviously targeted a UN worker because they they couldn't find any Arab babies to kill in the immediate vicinity, right? Makes perfect sense.

If Israel REALLY wanted to lay down the hurt, it would not establishing medical corridors, sending in relief and announcing their moves in advance.
posted by RavinDave at 7:11 PM on January 8, 2009


RavinDave, either Israel targeted it or they're incompetent. Either is a good reason for a ceasefire.
posted by shetterly at 7:21 PM on January 8, 2009


Obama camp 'prepared to talk to Hamas': Incoming administration will abandon Bush's isolation of Islamist group to initiate low-level diplomacy, say transition sources
posted by homunculus at 9:33 PM on January 8, 2009


Emergency workers said they rescued 100 more trapped survivors Thursday and found between 40 and 50 corpses in a devastated residential block south of Gaza City that the Israeli military had kept off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross for four days.

posted by Artw at 10:06 PM on January 8, 2009


Actually, we don't know the specifics because the IDF hasn't commented yet.

I'm sure that will clear things up.
posted by Artw at 10:07 PM on January 8, 2009 [1 favorite]


Both parties cheerlead still more loudly for Israel's war
posted by homunculus at 10:10 PM on January 8, 2009


Israel will never turn armed might into strategic security. If need be, it could win a war against all its enemies combined. But if it wants peace it must face the decision it has avoided for 40 years: withdrawal from the occupied Palestinian territories. Military victories and land grabs are futile. Security will come only with political resolution.

As it happens, these are not my sentiments, though I certainly share them. They were among some valedictory reflections offered by Ehud Olmert, Israel’s outgoing prime minister, when he announced his resignation last September.
Philip Stephens comments in the FT.
posted by Abiezer at 10:34 PM on January 8, 2009


from an excellent letter to the NY Times: ...to openly admit that they responded reflexively to the Hamas fire without consideration for the inevitable civilian casualties is beyond the pale. The Israelis blame Hamas for firing from the school (although UN personnel on the ground dispute this), but choosing to fire directly at civilians is far worse; it is tantamount to murder. US servicemen do not behave that way in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we face much deadlier adversaries (Hamas mortar crews are apparently not very effective: I believe that all but one of the total Israeli combat fatalities have been from friendly fire). In the rare and unfortunate cases where US personnel have willingly targeted civilians, they have been court-martialed and punished.
posted by shetterly at 8:28 AM on January 9, 2009


Why on earth would anyone accuse Hamas of firing terrorist missles from a school?
posted by RavinDave at 9:08 AM on January 9, 2009


Hamas shoots terrorist missiles. I see. Does Israel fire back Jewish Missiles of Divine Justice?
posted by chunking express at 10:11 AM on January 9, 2009


All the dead bodies magically turn into terrorists!
posted by Artw at 10:27 AM on January 9, 2009


Did CNN get gulled into airing staged Hamas propaganda? They seem to think so.
posted by RavinDave at 11:24 AM on January 9, 2009


Kucinich: Israeli Violation of Congressional Arms Restrictions
posted by homunculus at 12:12 PM on January 9, 2009


Well that's any hopes he has of going further with his political career dead then. Oh wait...
posted by Artw at 12:14 PM on January 9, 2009


Few speak out for Palestinians in U.S. Congress
posted by Artw at 12:20 PM on January 9, 2009


RavinDave, just because CNN isn't Fox doesn't mean they're objective. Look at the Dems who signed onto a resolution blaming the Palestinians for choosing to be slaughtered. CNN discontinued using one video because there are questions about it. That leaves nearly a thousand dead and far more wounded in Gaza still to be discredited.
posted by shetterly at 1:22 PM on January 9, 2009


RavinDave, as for your school video, it's dated over a year ago. That's no excuse for killing civilians there now. Should I blow up your house tonight while you're sleeping because someone fired shots from your yard last summer?
posted by shetterly at 1:29 PM on January 9, 2009


The point that you're pretending not to notice is that they have a pattern of doing that.
posted by RavinDave at 1:34 PM on January 9, 2009


I think we're noticing a lot of people in that area with patterns of doing things.
posted by Artw at 1:48 PM on January 9, 2009


UN levels war crimes warning at Israel

(Not that anybody should be holding their breath or anything)
posted by Artw at 2:18 PM on January 9, 2009


Did CNN get gulled into airing staged Hamas propaganda? They seem to think so.
posted by RavinDave at 11:24 AM on January 9 [+] [!]


If you want to be taken seriously you probably shouldn't post blog entries that are via Little Green Footballs. I'm not saying whether I believe or not that "Norwegian doctors are partisan propagandists," but this link isn't helping... well, I suppose now I know with some certainty that you are a partisan propagandist.
posted by mek at 2:19 PM on January 9, 2009


I'd assumed those links all came by forwarded email.
posted by Artw at 2:22 PM on January 9, 2009


@mek ... the argument stands on its own legs. Attacking the messenger does not affect it in the least and it's a rank logical fallacy to contend otherwise. Nor does wishful thinking nor unsupported snarkage make it go away either. And I never presented myself as a neutral party on this issue. I stand with Israel, whom I have criticized plenty over the years, btw.
posted by RavinDave at 2:31 PM on January 9, 2009


"Yeah, it's not like Hamas ever used UN vehicles for their own puposes or anything."

... he says, linking us to a video, dated Jan. 5, 2009, saying "Hamas use UN ambulance to smuggle terrorists in Gaza".

Except, of course, what he *DIDN"T* tell us was...

1> This video apparently isn't even of Hamas, but of Fatah.
2> It appears to date back to 2004, recorded by Reuters, and first broadcast on Channel 10 in Israel.

Gee Dave... Your sources kinda suck today, don't they?!
posted by markkraft at 2:35 PM on January 9, 2009


I'm suprised no one has mentioned that UNRWA is going back in to Gaza.

Oh, and according to Condoleezza Rice said it was hard for Israel to safeguard civilians because Gaza was very densely populated. So that's all okay then.
posted by Artw at 2:43 PM on January 9, 2009


"the argument stands on its own legs."

Well, to be precise, the argument *WAS* able to stand on its own legs, until a Zionist shot it in the foot.

Hopefully, the last bit of linkage I did will make you happy, in that the snarkage about your doofosity is pretty well-supported at this point.

"I stand with Israel..."

*BANG!* *THUD!*

Ow, my m#th$rf%ck@ng foot!
posted by markkraft at 2:47 PM on January 9, 2009


My sources are just fine, thanks. I never presented it as current footage (it's clearly labeled -- I assumed you could read). I presented it as evidence of the type of tactics employed by the terrorists and why an earlier comment hinting that Israel attacked a UN vehicle out of sheer belligerence might not be the entire story.
posted by RavinDave at 2:53 PM on January 9, 2009


I would have thought utter recklessness and simply not giving a shit was the more plausible explanation that belligerence, TBH.
posted by Artw at 3:00 PM on January 9, 2009 [1 favorite]


RavinDave, the point that you're "pretending not to notice" (a phrase which assumes an astonishing number of things we'll ignore just now) is the nature of the internet: Things get passed around. Attribution gets lost. People assume something means something other than it did. That's annoying, but it's innocent. Whether or not one or more videos are accurately credited has nothing to do with whether civilians are being massacred in Gaza.

markkraft, thanks. The most dishonest thing about RavinDave's link may have been the poster turning off comments so no one could give it a context.

RavinDave, your comment clearly implied that Hamas had done this. I'll assume that was sloppiness, not malice, but attacking others for pointing out what you'd done, inadvertently or not, does you no credit. Israel's rationalization for attacking Gaza is that Hamas is responsible for the missile attacks during the last ceasefire. If anything, by citing a Fatah incident, you've strengthened the argument that Israel has no grounds at all for what they're doing.
posted by shetterly at 3:20 PM on January 9, 2009


The dudes Gaza "factsheet" contained random Iranian nuclear capacity "facts" with the implication that Hamas might be firing nuclear bombs into Israel on it;s fertiliser powered rockets... I don't think anything productive is going to come from arguing this stuff with him.
posted by Artw at 3:29 PM on January 9, 2009


"I never presented it as current footage (it's clearly labeled -- I assumed you could read)."

You presented it... and the source clearly indicated that it was something it clearly wasn't.

And now, you're walking back on everything you've presented, citing it as "evidence of the type of tactics employed by the terrorists".

Not necessarily *RELEVANT* evidence, but hey, why pay attention to what Israel has actually done in Gaza as far as killing UN personnel, attacking schools, leaving wounded civilians to die without medical aid, etc.

Why not pay attention to things that have happened in the past, done by completely other parties?

How... um... inventive of you!
posted by markkraft at 3:44 PM on January 9, 2009


Not entirely sure that that's an informative link likely to further the conversation either.
posted by Artw at 4:15 PM on January 9, 2009


True. Probably not. Though I would argue it was more relevant.

So... how 'bout dem (insert sports team here)?!
posted by markkraft at 4:22 PM on January 9, 2009


markkraft, definitely funnier!

It would be nice to ignore the talking points, but without knowing whether RavinDave doesn't know or doesn't care, it's better to hope that facts matter. If not to him, to someone who might read this far.
posted by shetterly at 4:41 PM on January 9, 2009


definitely funnier!

That I'd give you - and from SNL even!
posted by Artw at 4:45 PM on January 9, 2009


Less funny:

More than 260 children killed

Anger Over Gaza Grows in Arab Street
posted by Artw at 4:50 PM on January 9, 2009


I suppose they justify killing the children, because they can prove that some Palestinian children grow up to fire rockets into Israel and they're just getting their defense in first.
posted by Grangousier at 4:53 PM on January 9, 2009


Jewish Alliance for Justice and Peace: Brit Tzedek Resource Page on the Israel-Gaza Crisis.

I like their talking points. Maybe the best one: "Israel has the right and the duty to defend itself, but after more than 60 years of self-defense, it has become clear that the country has not been made safe by military action. Only negotiations can achieve real peace and real security."
posted by shetterly at 6:19 PM on January 9, 2009


"after more than 60 years of self-defense..."

... of the "attack first", "bulldoze your house", "settle on your land", and "shoot at your children" variety, of course.
posted by markkraft at 7:26 PM on January 9, 2009


markkraft, their prose is aimed at rightwingers. I probably should've warned folks of that. But their conclusions are sound. I fully agree that the problem today goes back to the nationalists and fascists who shaped Zionism to their goals, and if you look at who was wrong, things get pretty clear at the point that Israel first grabbed more land than the UN allowed, and then created a "right of return" that applies to any Jew, but no Muslim or Christian.
posted by shetterly at 8:08 PM on January 9, 2009


if you look at who was wrong, things get pretty clear at the point that Israel first grabbed more land than the UN allowed,

Israel hardly "grabbed it". The Jews accepted the UN resolution; the Arab league didn't. The Arab League attacked the nascent state and, when the dust settled, Israel was mostly on the territory that had been allocated. The rest was occupied by Egypt and Jordan, who were sitting on the bits that were supposed to be the Palestinian Arab state. Plus Jerusalem, occupied by Jordan, which had been designated as a separate entity. Are you suggesting that the morally virtuous thing for Israel to do would have been to increase the areas illegally occupied by Egypt and Jordan? Who had just attacked them? And whose reaction to news of UN's decision was to engage in ethnic cleansing of Jerusalem's Jewish residents?

and then created a "right of return" that applies to any Jew, but no Muslim or Christian.

Was Israel wrong to accept the Jewish refugees that came pouring in from Arab lands, or the Jews still interned in European DP camps? The founders of the state wanted to provide a refuge to their persecuted brethren. Why do you criticise the ones who gave the refugees a home and not the ones who expelled them in the first place?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:21 AM on January 10, 2009


Joe, I'm referring to Israel's decision to hold more land than the UN allowed; they were only entitled to the land that the UN permitted them. You can't say the Jews accepted the UN resolution when they did not.

You can see the UN map here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1948_Arab%E2%80%93Israeli_War#UN_Partition_Plan

Sadly, Life does not have photos of the ethnic cleansing of Deir Yassin or dispossessing 711,000 people in the Nakba to balance the ones you linked to.

Now, no one is saying the Jews should go back to the UN '48 borders. The land grab was successful, and the practical solution that every major party is willing to accept except Israel is a return to the '67 borders.

"Ethnic cleaning" was proposed from the beginning by the rightwingers among the Zionists. As Lord Curzon noted in 1918:

You have only to read, as probably most of us do, their periodical 'Palestine', and, indeed, their pronouncements in the papers, to see that their programme is expanding from day to day. They now talk about a Jewish State. The Arab portion of the population is well-nigh forgotten and is to be ignored. They not only claim the boundaries of the old Palestine, but they claim to spread across the Jordan into the rich countries lying to the east, and, indeed, there seems to be very small limit to the aspirations which they now form. The Zionist programme, and the energy with which it is being carried out, have not unnaturally had the consequence of arousing the keen suspicions of the Arabs.


Of course Israel was not wrong to accept Jewish refugees. They were wrong not to let people return to the land they had lived in for thousands of years.

If you want to start a thread criticizings Europeans who persecuted Jews, I'll happily support you. Or pointing out the countries, including the US, who did not accept Jewish refugees in the '30s and early '40s. But now it's decades later, and we're talking about Israelis persecuting Palestinians.
posted by shetterly at 7:34 AM on January 10, 2009


Lind: If Israel Bombed Iran US Army in Iraq Could be Lost
posted by homunculus at 9:17 AM on January 10, 2009


Israel Tells Gazans: Prepare For Escalation Of Military Offensive
posted by homunculus at 9:27 AM on January 10, 2009


Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas predicted a "waterfall of blood" unless all parties adhere to the U.N.'s call for a durable cease-fire.

God, these people really can't help themselves can they? Note to Palestinians: Avoid all statements that could be taken as weird or threatening.
posted by Artw at 9:41 AM on January 10, 2009


Or accurate.
posted by shetterly at 10:44 AM on January 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Joe, I'm referring to Israel's decision to hold more land than the UN allowed; they were only entitled to the land that the UN permitted them. You can't say the Jews accepted the UN resolution when they did not.

You seem to have become confused in your mind between the UN resolution supporting partition and the outcome of the war after the Arab League attacked Israel. The Jews accepted the resolution. The Arab league did not. The Arab League then attacked. The armistice lines at the end of the battle were not and could not have been defined by the UN resolution except insofar as both the resolution and the armistice lines reflected facts on the ground.

Of course Israel was not wrong to accept Jewish refugees. They were wrong not to let people return to the land they had lived in for thousands of years.

You keep coming back to this assertion. Why would you ever imagine that Palestinians, alone among the peoples of the earth, remained huddled in their tiny villages without moving? It's as if you thnk they're extras from Brigadoon. It would be quite sufficient for any normal person to say "Fred lived here and he was thrown out." If you want to talk about mystical bonds with the soil then once again, any normal person would acknowledge that Jews had a far longer history there than the Palestinians. Yes, I know that you start waving your hands and talking about Canaanites and all that. And we both know that your knowledge of Middle Eastern history is as superficial as Paris Hilton's carpet burns.

If you want to start a thread criticizings Europeans who persecuted Jews, I'll happily support you. Or pointing out the countries, including the US, who did not accept Jewish refugees in the '30s and early '40s.

You have missed my point. Israel's decision to become a place of refuge for Jews was a good thing. It was morally virtuous. You are complaining that this act of moral virtue ought to have been extended to everyone. Surely your criticism must be secondary to a condemnation of the people who made this act of compassion necessary. You simply can't separate them. And your eyes have unaccountably skipped over the clause where I pointed out that Jewish refugees ... came pouring in from Arab lands.

But now it's decades later, and we're talking about Israelis persecuting Palestinians.

I'd be quite happy to talk about that, but in fact you have talked about the 19th century, the 20th century, Canaanites, "thousands of years" and any other historical period that came to your mind. I am simply glad that you haven't started a thread entitled: The Battle of Gettysburg and its Consequences for Palestinian Refugees.


Sadly, Life does not have photos of the ethnic cleansing of Deir Yassin ...

That's a tu quoque argument and is beneath contempt. The blockade of Jerusalem was intended to make the area Judenrein - and in fact it succeeded: Jews could not return to Jerusalem until Israel conquered it in 1967. You didn't answer my question as to whom Israel was supposed to relinquish territory captured in the 1948 war - surely not Jordan, ethnic cleanser of Jews and itself in illegal occupation of Palestinian land? And when you're talking about 1948, why not criticise all three states that were occupying the contemplated Palestinian land? Why is it always and inevitably Israel? It seems to me that you don't actually care about the plight of the Palestinians at all, except to the extent that they are a stick with which to beat Israel.
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:21 PM on January 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


For those still reading -

I generally read the 'Right of Return' issue as concerning the Geneva conventions. Specifically, Israel has set up a policy allowing Jews to come and live in Israel, while denying the Palestinians the right of return guaranteed by the fourth Geneva convention. As such, the Gazan settlement is a long-term, large scale breakage of an international treaty. Just like the collective punishment stuff that both sides are guilty of. (Though I would argue that not all guilt is equal.) Additionally, it is notable that the Convention allows that people under occupation have a right to resist; thus the tunnels and weapons stockpiles that Hamas keeps are fine under international law.

If Israel wants to feel safe, they need to be open to negotiation and not take dipshit military actions that send the Palestinian body politic further into disarray and radicalism.

It is also notable that targeted killing - ie, political assassination - is illegal under international law, and, arguably, under the Geneva Conventions as well. (There's a bit about 'murder,' which could include targeted killing.) It's also been Israel's main stated goal in the bombing portion of the campaign.

One of the major problems with assassination as a policy is that it weakens the political dialog in the targeted area. If you pick off all the most effective political thinkers, then at the end of the day you'll be left dealing exclusively with thugs. This was exactly the problem with ditching Arafat - a political leader and thinker was replaced with lower order people. Some argue that removing Hamas would result in cool groups like al Quaeda or close relatives thereof attempting to take control of Palestine.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:41 PM on January 10, 2009


Joe, you're having difficulty with "defend" and "take." In '48, Israel had a right to defend the borders that the UN chose. It did not have a right to seize additional land and dispossess over 700,000 people. By doing so, they did exactly what the Arab League and every critic of Zionism at the time had said they would do.

You also seem to have trouble understanding what it means to have your wealth taken from you and being expected to survive in poverty. Generational poverty is generational for a reason. Had Israel reimbursed the dispossessed, you might have grounds for what you claim.

As for the claim to the land, re-read my post about genetics. Arab Palestinians go back as far as the Israeli Palestinians do. To spare you the trouble, I'll repeat the pertinent bit:

Results of a DNA study by geneticist Ariella Oppenheim in 2000 matched historical accounts that Arab Israelis and Palestinians, together as the one same population, represent modern "descendants of a core population that lived in the area since prehistoric times".

I'll try to explain this again: selectively helping people based on ethnicity is wrong. Israel was right to help Jews. They were wrong to dispossess Palestinians.

Israel wasn't morally obliged to give conquered land to anyone in '48 or '67. It was only obliged to leave the land it had seized, or give full citizenship to everyone within that land. They've done neither, so we are where we are today.
posted by shetterly at 3:56 PM on January 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


In any event, by his own admission, the land is not legally part of Israel, and, as such, should be returned to the Palestinians.

BTW... I notice that Joe didn't point out the fact that Egypt and Jordan didn't permanently seize and build settlements on the Palestinian land, nor did they deprive the Palestinians from the right to return to / live on that land.
posted by markkraft at 5:12 PM on January 10, 2009


kaibatsu wrote:
I generally read the 'Right of Return' issue as concerning the Geneva conventions. Specifically, Israel has set up a policy allowing Jews to come and live in Israel, while denying the Palestinians the right of return guaranteed by the fourth Geneva convention. As such, the Gazan settlement is a long-term, large scale breakage of an international treaty. Just like the collective punishment stuff that both sides are guilty of.

You may have missed this, but Israel voluntarily and unilaterally left the Gaza Strip a bit over five years ago.

markkraft wrote:
Egypt and Jordan didn't permanently seize and build settlements on the Palestinian land,

Of course they did. The only reason you're not aware of it is that Israel evicted Egypt and Jordan from the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and Jerusalem in 1967. Egypt and Jordan annexed it to have and to hold, from this day forwards, forever and ever Amen. I believe that King Abdullah II still claims the title "Guardian of the Holy Places" - that is, of the Temple Mount and perhaps other places.

nor did they deprive the Palestinians from the right to return to / live on that land.

They didn't expel the present inhabitants - but no more did Israel. I don't believe they provided anything like a "right of return", and seeing as they had annexed the areas to their own it is hard to see how such a right would have been meaningful.

shetterly wrote:
In '48, Israel had a right to defend the borders that the UN chose. It did not have a right to seize additional land

The borders of 1948 were the armistice lines - talking to you is like addressing a post - of a war between Israel and the Arab League. The rest of the territory - you know I said all this a couple of hours ago - was occupied by Jordan and Egypt. Retreating from those lines - is the voice of reason just a faint buzzing in your ears? - would have simply meant giving Jordan and Egypt (Israel's enemies, with whom they were still at war) a closer vantage point from which to shoot at them. They could not have given their excess territory to the Palestinians - try to pay attention - because there was no Palestinian entity to accept the land, and in any event - this bit is quite important - the bulk of it had been incorporated into Egypt and Jordan.

As for the claim to the land, re-read my post about genetics.

I ignored it, as I do most of your factoids. I did so for three reasons. The first is that I think your claim is distressingly racist. The second is that it doesn't mean what you think it means: try reading the article instead of a reference to it in Wikipedia. The third is that it's yet another red herring and I decline to mount a chase for it.

selectively helping people based on ethnicity is wrong.

That's a morally vacuous statement. Of course you help those closest to you first. In any event the very rationale of Israel's creation was that it would be a Jewish homeland. You can't get all teary-eyed about the 1948 borders (based on a UN resolution) and then castigate the fact that those borders were supposed to be of a Jewish homeland. Furthermore, you seem to insist that the Palestinians have an ethnic right to the land. Why is it always and forevermore the Jews who are to be treated badly?
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:05 PM on January 10, 2009 [1 favorite]


Joe, Israel has kept Gaza under a blockade. That's hardly leaving.

And, really, your tone does not help you. If you have substance, offer it. If you don't even know what the UN-approved borders were, I'm tempted to ignore anything you claim to know.

I am curious about one thing, though. How can you say "any normal person would acknowledge that Jews had a far longer history there than the Palestinians" when Palestinians have been there for just as long? That is what the article you linked to suggests. Here's the final paragraph:

According to historical records part, or perhaps the ma-
jority, of the Moslem Arabs in this country descended
from local inhabitants, mainly Christians and Jews, who
had converted after the Islamic conquest in the seventh
century AD(Shaban 1971; Mc Graw Donner 1981).
These local inhabitants, in turn, were descendants of the
core population that had lived in the area for several cen-
turies, some even since prehistorical times (Gil 1992). On
the other hand, the ancestors of the great majority of pre-
sent-day Jews lived outside this region for almost two
millennia. Thus, our findings are in good agreement with
historical evidence and suggest genetic continuity in both
populations despite their long separation and the wide ge-
ographic dispersal of Jews.


Note that: Core population since prehistorical times. If you're going to argue that the land belongs to anyone, it belongs to all Palestinians, whether they're Jewish, Christian, or Muslim now.

Now, if you're only arguing that the Zionists get to keep what they took because they had more money and better weapons, well, that's what conquerors always say.

As for "Of course you help those closest to you first," that's said by all people who discriminate against others. Anyone who understands Tikkun Olam would say you are as wrong as you can possibly be.

I think you and I are done with this discussion--though I would like to hit 400 comments, just because.
posted by shetterly at 7:55 PM on January 10, 2009


On the Uselessness of Street Protest;
And the Usefulness of Web 2.0 Lobbying


From a comment there:

The situation is being framed by the question: "Does Israel have the right to protect itself?" To which the answer is a resounding "Yes."

The question SHOULD BE: "Does Israel have the right to own two concentration camps, Gaza and the West Bank? To which the answer is a resounding "No."

posted by shetterly at 8:56 PM on January 10, 2009


U.S. seeks ship to move arms to Israel
posted by homunculus at 9:50 PM on January 10, 2009


Winning the media war: Twitter, YouTube, blogs – Israel has proved a master of networking. Shame it's being used to promote a bloody conflict.
posted by shetterly at 10:30 PM on January 10, 2009


How can you say "any normal person would acknowledge that Jews had a far longer history there than the Palestinians" when Palestinians have been there for just as long? That is what the article you linked to suggests.

No it doesn't. I'll translate the final paragraph for you:

Historical records say that Jews originated in this area, but had mostly left it two thousand years ago. (*) The remaining population was boosted by other arrivals over the next few centuries. At the time of the Moslem conquest in the seventh century some of this core population converted to Islam, and part, or perhaps the majority of the Moslem Arabs living in the area today are descended from these converts. The key point they make is that their findings are in good agreement with historical evidence.

As for me, I don't really care if someone's great-great-grandfather lived in Alaska or Ethiopia. But since you seem to worry about such things, let me explain what their findings were. The authors present a statement about the dispersal of Jews from Israel/Palestine and the origins of Moslem Arabs in the same area. They then present their DNA analysis, and conclude that the story and the DNA analysis are consistent. This doesn't mean that the DNA analysis especially supports the story; what it does do is disprove some conflicting stories, particularly Arthur Koestler's one about the Khazars.

In any event this isn't important, because you want to say that there is a particularly Palestinian right of return based on the fact that the Palestinians were there as long as the Jews. If you base that argument on the probable fact that many Palestinians are descended from Jews then it must be a Jewish right of return and not a Palestinian right of return (because the right would derive from a period when all these putative ancestors were Jews). But these Palestinians dismiss any Jewish right of return, so there cannot be a Palestinian right of return based on this DNA evidence.

As for Of course you help those closest to you first, that's said by all people who discriminate against others.

No: it's said by all those who genuinely want to help others. It has been expressed as "charity begins at home".

Anyone who understands Tikkun Olam would say you are as wrong as you can possibly be.

Oh, good. Let's have a lecture on Reform Jewish ideology, to accompany the one on Middle Eastern Genetics and The Proper Way to Spell Samaritan. Is there any field in which you do not consider yourself an expert?

(*) Less than 1900 years since the Second Jewish Revolt against Rome, but who's counting?
posted by Joe in Australia at 2:22 AM on January 11, 2009


Joe, this may be why there's little point debating with you: There are no "probable facts." The are probabilities, and there are facts. Here are two facts:

1. Palestinians of all religions come from pre-historical Palestine.

2. The Palestinians have said for years that they would accept a "hudna" that was renewable.

To me, those facts imply two things:

1. All Palestinians of all religions have an equal claim to that land.

2. Palestinians accept Israel's existence.

Your suggestion that the trump card is with people who follow the ruling ideology of the land two thousand years ago is tricky; that would give the land to the Samaritans and the Christians, since there are no Perushim or Tsodiki today.
posted by shetterly at 7:18 AM on January 11, 2009


2. The Palestinians have said for years that they would accept a "hudna" that was renewable.

As a counterpoint the Israelis have stated that they will accept a Hamas government and end the blockade of Gaza in exchange for recognition of Israel's right to exist, stopping the importation of missiles and weapons, disarming of militias, and denunciation of terrorism. These seem completely reasonable demands and would result in a elimination of the blockade and a marked improvement in the lives of ordinary non-combatants. If Hamas is serious about peace why wouldn't they accept these. For that matter why only offer a long term truce, or Hunda? Isn't is preferable for all parties that there be a formal peace treaty that provides for mutual recognition, trade, and development? I mean peace is your goal right, not just stopping violence until we have another war in 10 years time when the truce expires?
posted by humanfont at 8:33 AM on January 11, 2009


Israeli Soldier in Gaza: "Purification . . .It's Dirty Here;
Massive Protests in London, Barcelona

posted by homunculus at 9:21 AM on January 11, 2009


Israel Rejected Hamas Ceasefire Offer in December
posted by homunculus at 10:22 AM on January 11, 2009


U.S. Rejected Aid for Israeli Raid on Iranian Nuclear Site

NYT’s Sanger Sure Gets It Wrong - US Did Sell Israel Bombs for Iran Attack
posted by homunculus at 10:39 AM on January 11, 2009


You may have missed this, but Israel voluntarily and unilaterally left the Gaza Strip a bit over five years ago.

You may have missed this, but Israel voluntarily and unilaterally invaded Gaza a bit over two weeks ago.

More seriously, your response was a non sequitur. The point is that in the last sixty years (nevermind this whose ancestors left first business) the Israelis have displaced many, many Palestinians from their former lands and into refugee camps in Gaza and the West Bank. The right of return in the Geneva convention is there exactly to prevent the kind of large scale permanent refugee camps that the Palestinians live in. Denying displaced Palestinians and their families to return to their original lands breaks the Geneva conventions.

end the blockade of Gaza in exchange for recognition of Israel's right to exist, stopping the importation of missiles and weapons, disarming of militias, and denunciation of terrorism. These seem completely reasonable demands

Asking the opposing force in a violent conflict to completely disarm is not reasonable; I'm sure you can figure out why. A state has a right to accumulate and keep weapons, and Hamas is presently the government in Gaza. Ceding the right to control the security of Gaza essentially means ceding power.

Furthermore, would you expect Israel to comply with a similar condition from Hamas? "Sure, we can have peace, but you have to stop all military transactions with foreign powers."
posted by kaibutsu at 11:25 AM on January 11, 2009


Everyone should be reading Juan Cole. Two videos he posted that are especially powerful:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJaPZLNLBu8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dlfhoU66s4Y
posted by shetterly at 12:55 PM on January 11, 2009


Asking the opposing force in a violent conflict to completely disarm is not reasonable

In Northern Ireland the IRA put its weapons away and ultimately disarmed that actually ended the conflict. In any case complete disarmament is not required, merely removal of certain weapons such as rockets. Smuggling of these weapons through secret tunnels is also demanded.

A state has a right to accumulate and keep weapons, and Hamas is presently the government in Gaza.

The UN Charter does not define any such right, only a vague right of self defense. In fact the UN has repeatedly imposed arms embargoes on states during times of conflict. Furthermore, the international community does not recognize Hamas as the legitimate government of Gaza. The internationally recognized sovereign is the PNA, which Hamas deposed in a coup. In order to achieve recognition the international community imposed several demands on Hamas, which it has failed to fulfill. Those demands are to recognize the right of Israel to exist, stop smuggling weapons, disarm militias, and denounce terrorism.
posted by humanfont at 1:32 PM on January 11, 2009


humanfront, did the IRA sign anything formally recognizing anyone's right to exist? It's an extremely uncommon requirement in resolving conflicts...but it's a constantly talking point of Israel's right wing.

Also, Hamas was democratically elected. The decision not to recognize them is only more nonsense by Israel and the US. Here's Netanyahu acknowedging and rejecting the point on Fox News, a channel rightwingers like:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMim8e2lusA

Also, it's kind of amusing to see Netanyahu violating Godwin's Law.
posted by shetterly at 6:06 PM on January 11, 2009


did the IRA sign anything formally recognizing anyone's right to exist? It's an extremely uncommon requirement in resolving conflicts...but it's a constantly talking point of Israel's right wing.

The Belfast Agreement aka the Good Friday Agreement which the IRA signed provided for recognition of the constitutional status of Northern Ireland and stated that it could only be changed by majority vote of the population. The Irish state (another party to the accord) also dropped its claims to Northern Ireland and agreed to refer to the Government of the UK as the "Government of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland". Thus the answer to your question is yes. Mutual recognition and the establishment of diplomatic relations is seen as a "permanent" peace agreement. There are a few places such as along the border of North and South Korea where a long term armistice has been put in place; but we don't consider those places to be at peace. Recognition of the right to exist isn't just a right wing Israeli talking point. It is a UN and internationally stated requirement that both sides adhere to this principle as part of a negotiated end to hostilities.
posted by humanfont at 6:46 PM on January 11, 2009


humanfront, I was pretty much with you up to the last sentence. When you bring the UN back into the discussion, Israel has problems.

It would be nice if someone was to research the history of "right to exist" documents.
posted by shetterly at 8:15 PM on January 11, 2009


Human shields are bad when Palestinians do it. But good when Israelis do it?
posted by shetterly at 9:18 PM on January 11, 2009


I think you and I are done with this discussion--though I would like to hit 400 comments, just because.

Congratulations! Four hundred and thirteen comments! Of which you have posted sixty!
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:07 AM on January 12, 2009


Israel seeks airwave supremacy
posted by Artw at 9:18 AM on January 12, 2009


Though a Newsnight correspondent did comment last week that this meant all the words on the conflict were coming out of Israel and all the images of it were coming out of Gaza and that the images (at least at that time) were winning.
posted by Grangousier at 9:41 AM on January 12, 2009


Joe, don't belittle your effort here. I couldn't have done it without you.

Though human shields are bad when Palestinians use them, they don't hinder Israelis: Gaza women killed in mosque siege.
posted by shetterly at 11:10 AM on January 12, 2009


1 dead, dozens injured in Gaza by suspected white phosphorus munitions

posted by Artw at 11:27 AM on January 12, 2009


Meanwhile, in Israel-proper:

Election authorities ban two of the three main Arab political parties from running in next month's general elections.
posted by Artw at 12:06 PM on January 12, 2009


After Receiving Phone Call From Olmert, Bush Ordered Rice To Abstain On Gaza Ceasefire Resolution
posted by homunculus at 2:26 PM on January 12, 2009


Good points, humanfont, though I would argue that putting weapons away would be dangerous for anyone attempting to lead the Palestinians; given the level of violent infighting, I would bet that if the leading group jettisoned their weapons, they would be quickly ousted by a rival organization (like, say, Fatah).
posted by kaibutsu at 3:06 PM on January 12, 2009


Demands grow for Gaza war crimes investigation
posted by homunculus at 11:41 PM on January 12, 2009


We believe in resistance, not revenge: Hamas is demonised to justify Palestinian suffering in Gaza. But we have no quarrel with Jewish people, only the actions of Israel
posted by shetterly at 12:18 PM on January 13, 2009


An inside story of how the US magnified Palestinian suffering: The covert push to empower Fatah failed. And isolating Hamas just made things worse. But it's not too late to change course.
posted by homunculus at 7:00 PM on January 13, 2009


The AP's vanishing demonstrators and Israel's propaganda war
posted by homunculus at 7:03 PM on January 13, 2009


Okay, I have to say this somewhere, and maybe at the bottom of an old thread is the place: Why won't Boing Boing touch the story of Israeli propaganda and censorship? They're all over things like the possibly mythical Chinese 50-centers. But when Israel plays games with the internet and free speech, all of sudden, Boing Boing isn't a political blog.
posted by shetterly at 9:46 PM on January 13, 2009


Never underestimate the power of Metafilter! Boing Boing just posted Al Jazeera Releases Gaza Video Archive Under Creative Commons License and quoted, In a conflict where the Western news media have been largely prevented from reporting from Gaza because of restrictions imposed by the Israeli military...

What should I complain about next so the MeFi magic will change reality?
posted by shetterly at 10:40 PM on January 13, 2009


Tell me when you get a non-batshit US politician to say anything meaningful.

Oh, and congratulations Israel, over 1000 dead! (619 men, 315 children, 76 women, 4700 injured).
posted by Artw at 9:46 AM on January 14, 2009


Israel pushes deep into Gaza City. Palestinians say residents waving white flags shot dead as they flee their homes
posted by homunculus at 11:48 AM on January 14, 2009


I'm trying to figure out what to do to change things. Juan Cole's cry for a Peace PAC to support peace candidates and oppose hawks is good, but it calls for megabucks and a great deal of time. It has to be part of a bigger picture. Right now, I'm just trying to gather a few good people to try to figure out what that might be. Anyone who's interested, please pop by Pax Pac. Maybe, with enough people thinking about new ways in a new time, we can help make things better.
posted by shetterly at 1:19 PM on January 14, 2009


Hamas talks on Gaza truce, Israel to meet mediators
posted by Artw at 4:59 PM on January 14, 2009


Damn, you guys still talking to yourselves? I just dropped by to see what had happened.

Artw, there's something that really stands out about your figures. First, bear in mind that they come from Hamas and even the BBC carefully points out that it is impossible to independently confirm them. But let's assume that they're accurate.

If Israel were attacking people randomly then you'd expect the number of men and women killed to be the same. But it isn't: it's supposedly 619 vs 76. You'd also expect the number of children killed to be greater than the number of adults: in fact it's 695 vs 315. Let's give Hamas every benefit of the doubt here and assume that every woman and every "child" killed is a non-combatant. I put "child" in quotation marks because I don't know whether Hamas considers, say, a 17-year old to be a child or an adult for reporting purposes. Let's further assume that as many adult male noncombatants were killed as adult female noncombatants. Everybody else is presumably a combatant.

So, the figure then becomes:
543 combatants vs:
76 adult male noncombatants; plus
76 adult female noncombatants;plus
315 children; equals
467 noncombatants.

In other words, Israel is attacking a guerrilla force in an urban environment and even according to its enemy is mostly killing combatants. And these figures are conservative, if anything, as I've given Hamas the benefit of every doubt. Hamas would be perfectly capable of releasing true figures if it chose to, just as it would be capable of telling its fighters to wear uniforms and avoid civilian areas.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:09 PM on January 14, 2009


Well thanks for the math lesson. I should give Israel props for mostly killing the people they want to kill. Sucks to live in a war zone, AMIRITE?
posted by chunking express at 7:19 PM on January 14, 2009


TBH I'm pretty certain there isn't actually any atrocity you wouldn't argue in favour of Joe. 50 or a 100 or 200 dead children, what's it to you?
posted by Artw at 7:40 PM on January 14, 2009


Well thanks for the math lesson. I should give Israel props for mostly killing the people they want to kill. Sucks to live in a war zone, AMIRITE?

Well, yes, I guess that's what it comes down to. This is why the Geneva Convention forbids hiding within a civilian population.

I'm pretty certain there isn't actually any atrocity you wouldn't argue in favour of Joe. 50 or a 100 or 200 dead children, what's it to you?

Ad hominem much?
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:51 PM on January 14, 2009


Oh, I'm sorry, you have an upper limit for the acceptable number of murdered children?
posted by Artw at 8:18 PM on January 14, 2009


Joe, if two armies were on a field fighting, and one side killed 13 and the other killed a thousand, I would call it a massacre. Celebrating the possibility that over half of the people Israel kills might be combatants is hard for me to grasp.
posted by shetterly at 8:40 PM on January 14, 2009


Joe in Australia: Ad hominem much?
Artw: Oh, I'm sorry, you have an upper limit for the acceptable number of murdered children?

Surely no murders are ever acceptable. How can you ask such a thing?

shetterly: Joe, if two armies were on a field fighting, and one side killed 13 and the other killed a thousand, I would call it a massacre.

But of course Hamas is not on a field fighting; it's deliberately drawing attacks into civilian areas. In any event you're confusing the firefighters with the fire. Of course fewer Israelis are dying than Palestinians: Hamas is randomly firing rockets into cities, but Israel is deliberately aiming at Hamas's fighters and their infrastructure. The difference is that the former is an act of terror aimed at civilians and is a war crime, while the latter is a licit act of war in defense of a civilian population.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:21 PM on January 14, 2009


Joe, here's a Pro-Israel Rally you would probably have enjoyed:


posted by shetterly at 10:24 PM on January 14, 2009


Oops, embed doesn't work. The image flickered in preview, so I thought I would try it. Here's the link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FABqq_jjRRo
posted by shetterly at 10:25 PM on January 14, 2009


Why children are the first casualties of war in Gaza
posted by homunculus at 12:11 AM on January 15, 2009


Turns out when you bomb accountants in a society that hasn't seen a feminist revolution, you get mostly men.

Who knew?
posted by kaibutsu at 12:53 AM on January 15, 2009


The slogan 'Palestine Aid' will be emblazoned on [football club] Kettering Town's shirts for their FA Cup tie with Eastwood Town
posted by Abiezer at 4:04 AM on January 15, 2009


Israel's war on the United Nations escalates: U.N. Building in Gaza Strip Is Hit by Strike From Israel
posted by shetterly at 9:15 AM on January 15, 2009


Well, the walls of that building were clearly made of mortar tubes.
posted by Artw at 9:22 AM on January 15, 2009


Pro-Israel Rally Attended by Big-Time NY Dems Descends into Calls for 'Wiping Out' Palestinians
posted by homunculus at 1:11 PM on January 15, 2009


Gaza civilian toll near 700, says rights group
posted by Artw at 1:18 PM on January 15, 2009


Israel's media strategy shows it is learning from its mistakes
posted by Artw at 1:30 PM on January 15, 2009


Check out this clip from an interview with Yuval Stenitz of the Israeli Knesset, in which he admits Israel has been planning an attack on the people of Gaza for at least eight or nine months.
posted by markkraft at 4:24 PM on January 15, 2009


Israel acknowledges... there were no Hamas rocket attacks during the ceasefire, prior to their violating the ceasefire on Nov. 5th.
posted by markkraft at 5:48 PM on January 15, 2009


Exchange Between Bill Moyers and Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League
posted by homunculus at 3:22 PM on January 18, 2009


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