Liveblogging the bombing of Gaza.

mmghosh's picture

I know we all want to live in alternate worlds but this is JPost's official liveblog of the Gaza bombardment.  Some illuminating comments, and some curious parallels which seem to have bypassed OpEds in the JPost.

 

http://www.jpost.com/Defense/LIVE-BLOG-Israels-Operation-Protective-Edge...

1:35 p.m. IDF update: Since midnight, Hamas has fired 44 rockets at Israel, the Iron Dome intercepted 11. The IDF has targeted 159 terror sites in the Gaza Strip.

---

keithsinjinfoster (signed in using yahoo)

Knowing that the NIMAs (non-Israeli muslim arabs) are going to hold a meeting on Wednesday to discuss Israel's "aggression," the IDF should target the meeting place and take all these rats out at one time.

 

Bruce Josloff ·  Top Commenter
A live cam of the fires burning over Gaza would be enthralling.

 

Cindy Novak Migden · Follow ·  Top Commenter · Director Business Development Americas for FIRST at Conduit
Gotta love the emergency meeting by Abbas to deal with the Israeli aggression. He represents everything wrong with the Arabs---two faced, lying, immoral thugs

Over 100 Palestinians dead, and many women and children.

However, the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, said his government would not be deflected by criticism from abroad, refusing to rule out a ground offensive and vowing there would be more air strikes. So far more than 100 Palestinians have been killed, mostly civilians, including at least 23 children. More than 670 have been injured.

Why the invasion now?  The Israelis probably think that al-Sisi's campaign against the MB ties in with an attempt to "finish off" Hamas.

 

A commenter in the NYT puts it nicely.

Though a daily reader of the Times and most of its columnists, I, unfortunately, find it perpetuating the view that the war between Israel and Palestine is a battle between equals, using the standard language of "both sides" implying that what is happening is a battle between approximately equal parties - equal in resources, equal in munitions, equal in world support. As informed readers clearly know, this is not a battle between equals, a battle between "law abiding" Israelis" and a lawless population of vengeful Arabs.

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A Note to Manish...Re Gaza

(#321961)

...as maybe the most aggressive defender of Israel being in Gaza, even I must come now to ask...What have we wrought? 

 

That the Hamas leaders sit in air conditioned comfort in Qatar...is bothersome to me. I would assassinate him, but that has already been tried as you know with startlingly unsuccessful results.

 

Still, I see no solution for the security of Israel from Gaza...nor do I see any in your solution either; only the importation of better and more destructive rockets to harm Israel and these tunnels are a revelation also.

 

My only solace is, that like Lebanon, Gaza taking this kind of destruction will cause a multi-year lull and re-thinking.

 

God only knows how much longer this will go on.

 

I hope all is well with you and yours.

 

Traveller

I go to Jordan on Monday.

(#322006)
mmghosh's picture

So hopefully I can get some more insight.  At least into what the level of annoyance with Israel is with its treaty partners.

I don't know about a lull. Remember that Gazans are

(#321962)

living through a period of total war. The entire population is now radicalized, not by Islamism, but by war itself. Everybody has lost something, everybody has sacrificed something, nobody can remain "neutral" or rational because those are now nonsensical positions. No living Gazan will be able to simply put this conflict out of their mind once the shelling stops. There is a new generation that has lived through war, in their own homes no less, and they will remain bent on war. That seems to be the problem with war in general, and if you fight without any realistic hope of bringing the other side to the table at some point in the future, then you are inviting chaos.  

 

Let's say that Israel's only goal is to exterminate its enemies once and for all. Not a noble goal, but perhaps an understandable one. Here's the problem: Israel cannot ever hope to exterminate its enemies through military force alone. It isn't physically possible, especially not when the more brutal their tactics become, the more potential enemies they radicalize. It follows that the only way they can exterminate their enemies is through politics. They must find a powerful majority of Palestinians willing to both support Israel's aims and thwart those of Hamas-like groups, then forge a political alliance with that majority by giving it (or convincing it to change) what it wants. Which might mean changing Israel's aims as well. Does it sound impossible? It's the only way. The only way. Making the rubble bounce isn't a drastic solution; it isn't a solution at all. 

 

That isn't to say military action couldn't be a component of reaching a political solution. But this action does not have that goal, and in fact it moves decisively away from that goal. The current situation is stalemate, and the assault on Gaza can only make that stalemate more violent and intractable.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Gaza's misery and rage reached suicidally potent level

(#321965)

years ago.  Israel really did run thousands of people off their lands.  There will never be a political solution, ever.  For centuries, Jews have told their children the fate of Uppity Jews.  Centuries of persecution have been replaced with their own forms of abuse.  Israelis are no more amenable to a political or cultural solution than the Palestinians.  I'd say even less.

 

In 1668, Pope Clement IX graciously and humanely abolished the hilarious custom, instituted by his predecessor Pope Paul II in 1464, of forcing Jewish men to race naked through the streets of Rome during the Paglio festival.  There was a catch:  the Jews had to pay a yearly tax of 200 ducats.  That tax was collected for two centuries.

 

Don't do that to a tribe of people.  They remember that sort of thing.  Expecting the modern Jew to tolerate a scolding from some upstart nations which for centuries forbid the Jews from owning land or enjoying the company of their fellow citizens in these Christian Nations, well it's just amusing.  Political schmittickal.  Power grows out of the barrel of a gun.

 

 

"Power grows out of the barrel of a gun."

(#321967)

No, it doesn't. Power grows out of the ability to unify and lead. Even in the midst of total war, it's the ability to unify and lead an army, a nation, that prevails over everyone else with a gun and a death wish. It's only when the barrels are cool and smoke-free that power has any meaning. Only when the guns help unify and lead do they have a meaningful role to play in the game of power.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Please. That's just silly. Unify what? Lead what?

(#321970)

Do you really think, like Pink Floyd's Sheep,

 

When cometh the day we lowly ones
Through quiet reflection and great dedication
Master the art of karate
Lo, we shall rise up
And then we'll make the bugger's eyes water.

 

I just find all this talk about leadership terribly precious and naive.  Wars are not won by great leaders.  Were that the case, Robert E. Lee would have won his war.  No, folks, wars are won by pallets of ammunition and tons of food and socks and all the myriad materiel of war delivered where they're needed, on time.  Power is meaningless beyond the context of your ability to exercise that power in ways which demand respect, not merely request it. 

Abraham Lincoln's administration won the civil war.

(#321974)

They made sure the pallets of ammunition and tons of food and socks all got where they were going, made sure the Union trains were running and the Southern trains weren't, made sure the people building pinewood pallets and drop forging musket balls and growing food and stitching uniforms were all working towards a common purpose. Without that common purpose, Lee's tremendous strategic skills would have made a difference. But with a unifying purpose, he goes down as one of the greatest wastes of talent in US history.

 

To modify Omar Bradley's famous quip: "amateurs talk strategy, professionals talk logistics, but leaders talk politics."

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Omar Bradley? Commander in the Korean War?

(#321976)

That Omar Bradley?  Whose pitifully inadequate plans and lack of foresight led to a meatgrinder war in those wintery mountains?  Surely we are not talking about the same man.  Omar Bradley's politics were to first advocate for - then undercut - MacArthur's push north to the Yalu.   

 

From what I've seen, from my viewpoint as a toad at the bottom of a very deep well, with about five arc-seconds of view straight up, with the occasional pogue seagull flying over and crapping on my head, leaders do talk politics.  Much assbiting back at headquarters, very little out in the field.

I'm not talking about political assbiting

(#321986)

at headquarters or at the Pentagon, I'm talking about political leadership that is able to forge unity of purpose in a nation of millions.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

While We Are On the Subject of National Purpose...Israel etc

(#321992)

A poll released this week showed 86.5% of Jewish Israelis surveyed say Israel cannot accept a cease-fire because "Hamas continues firing missiles on Israel, not all the tunnels have been found, and Hamas has not surrendered," according to the Jerusalem Post.

It's unclear how many in Gaza want militants to stop rocket attacks.

Last month, a poll by the Washington Institute for Near East policy found most Palestinians in Gaza oppose a two-state solution and want to work toward a five-year goal of abolishing Israel. But the majority said they support nonviolent methods of "popular resistance."

 

Abolishing Israel?

 

The deaths in the conflicts mentioned in this thread were all sizable proportions of a population being killed...which does not bode well for our current conflicts in the Middle East...Gaza/Syria/Iraq.

 

Traveller

"Five Year Goal"

(#321994)
M Scott Eiland's picture

More like "five year plan."

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Abraham Lincoln's commanders were just awful.

(#321975)

Took him how many tries at it - Fuss 'n Feathers Hancock , that cowering cretin McClellan, Banks, that misbegotten battle-losing peckerwood, Pope, that non-hard-fighting loser of Bull Run, Burnside, that waste of space Joe Hooker, the list of useless generals on the side of the Union is very long.  Took forever to find Grant and Sherman.  Lincoln would joke about his own lack of military experience - and it translated into tens of thousands of casualties and a prolonged war, probably two more years, just through incompetence.

 

Lincoln's administration was composed of men who hated him, mostly.  The Union won the war despite its leaders, not because of them.

 

Stalin, another bad commander who won his war - absolutely the worst military commander, ever.  Micromanaged the Red Army into a horrible butcher's bill.  Winston Churchill, how anyone would ever call him a great commander after Gallipoli.  Do you know Winston Churchill was nearly killed in Afghanistan?  Everything that man touched of a military nature turned to doo-doo before his eyes.  Completely screwed up the Phony War.  A completely useless commander - a menace, mostly to himself, though his idiocy in matters martial would lead to tens of thousands of casualties.

 

Power grows out of the barrel of a gun.  Politicians with any sense delegate their wars to men who understand that fact.

You focus on the generals, you miss what won the war.

(#321977)

Lincoln's administration was composed of men who hated him, mostly. 

Leaders don't have to be beloved, especially not by their immediate underlings. By focusing on the capabilities of generals, you are ignoring the capabilities of the leaders and/or governments that were able to provide those generals with a motivated population from which to draw men and materiel. 

 

Stalin wasn't a "bad" commander, he just prioritized political control over battlefield capability until relatively late in the war. You're free to criticize his priorities, but you're crazy if you don't think mutiny from the old army officers' corps was a greater threat to Stalin and his government than the Germans were. Not to mention political control in the hinterlands. It's easy enough for us to say "good riddance," but still a little unreasonable to expect Stalin to put men who hated him in command of a military machine capable of taking on the Wehrmacht. A lot of Red Army recruiting and indoctrination occurred at the barrel of a gun... but not all of it. The willingness to fight as a whole, as a nation, had to come from somewhere.

 

Churchill motivated England to fight. Makes no difference whatsoever that his grasp of military doctrine was substandard, he made it possible for there to continue to be a military after Dunkirk.  

 

All of these criticisms of wartime leaders strike me as examples of hindsight fallacy. Before and during a war, nobody knows with certainty what the right strategy will be, who the best commanders will be, etc.  

 

In any case, "the barrel of a gun" is only as good as the hand -- or the nation -- that is holding it. Not to mention designing it, building it, mass producing it, shipping it, etc.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I have no idea what this is about, anymore.

(#321980)

So power doesn't grow from the barrel of a gun.  Lincoln was a highly capable commander in chief, his choices of commanders uniformly superb, the Civil War was solved, not by the power of the gun but through some mysterious political effect - perhaps you can lay this out for us, I've never heard of it.

 

Stalin's acumen as a military and political commander is well-understood, his paranoia overstated, his many massive defeats all part of a cunning plan to use up German bullets, his idiotic stand at Stalingrad is taught in every ROTC strategy course, his conquest and destruction of Berlin, despite the massive Red Army casualties and the systematic rape of the German women, Stalin wasn't a Bad Commander.  He just had weak priorities.  Right.  This curious and trenchant analysis is set forth to demonstrate how power does not grow from the barrel of a gun.  

 

I see.

 

Churchill is so terribly misunderstood.  Gallipoli was a triumph, Dunkirk and Dieppe also.  All were cunning exercises in disguising victories as defeats.   He waved his cigar about like a magic wand, sprinkling ash like so much pixie dust and hey-presto, those pesky Germans were sent packing.

 

Jordan, strategy always looks back.  It learns from defeats and seeks to avoid repetition.  I do not indulge in hindsight.  You brought in Omar Bradley, let me tell you plainly, soldiers don't talk politics.  That sort of barracks bollox is punished.  Soldiers keep their political opinions to themselves.   As for who holds the gun, Jordan, there are no good soldiers or bad soldiers.  There are live soldiers and dead soldiers.  There are soldiers in the right place and soldiers in the wrong place.  The hand that holds the gun is completely irrelevant.   

Hey, I'm being lectured about politics and war

(#321985)

in the form of Pink Floyd lyrics. At least we're all having fun.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Yes, you are being lectured from Pink Floyd Animals.

(#322005)

You want to make some point about how power doesn't grow from the barrel of a gun, something fuzzy and numinous about great leadership and who holds the gun.  I can't think of anything in Clausewitz or Sun Tzu to counter this cart-before-horse proposition of yours.  I say war is what happens when the politicians stop doing their jobs and war stops when they start doing those jobs again.  In the mean time, it's up to the soldiers to defend their nations and there Sun Tzu and Clausewitz take over and the political theory guys can take a coffee break.

That's silly. Politics never stops.

(#322008)

It barely stops on the front lines, certainly doesn't stop in command HQ as you've pointed out, and it absolutely, positively doesn't stop back on the various home fronts. I'm not sure why you think it does. Sun Tzu has plenty to say about national leadership and the home front, plenty to say about politics, morale and motivation. In fact I think Sun Tzu would wholeheartedly disagree with Mao on this entire topic.  

 

If war really could really bring politics to a stop, if only for a while, it might almost be worth the trouble. It might actually be kind of a relief! But it can't, and doesn't.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Stalin Purging The Army Helped Win The War?

(#321978)
M Scott Eiland's picture

*stand up, claps hands, shows palms*

I'm out.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

No, Stalin purging the army

(#321984)

helped make sure Stalin was still around when the war was won. Is my writing really that unclear? [Edit: I went back and reread what I wrote. It isn't.]

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

So. . .

(#321987)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .Stalin basically screwed the country he was running to protect his own hide (which needed protecting partially because of the large number of officers he had murdered earlier)? Is that what we're using as an example of how great leadership works?

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Yes indeed.

(#321988)

Stalin put solidification of his own personal control of the Soviet state ahead of all other considerations, including paltry things like human rights, honesty & integrity, leadership quality in the Red Army, confronting the obvious & growing German threat, etc. It was more important to Stalin that he crush his internal enemies beyond all possibility of revolt than to defeat his external enemy. This was accomplished at great cost and loss to the country as a whole, and he obviously crippled the Red Army at the moment of its greatest peril. 

 

But then there's also the small detail that he then went on to rebuild a war machine that crushed the Wehrmacht and won the war, with some assistance from the other Allies. Blaise's focus on Stalin's military blunders would be more convincing if defeat and prodigious errors had added up to Russia becoming a German vassal state. But that ain't how it went down.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Except That There's No Convincing Evidence. . .

(#321989)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .that the Soviet Union would have been worse off if Stalin had been replaced in, say, 1935 with some random Communist @$$#ole who decided *not* to murder every officer in his military with an ounce of independent thinking ability and who *didn't* leave the Soviet Union open to attack by ignoring signs of impending German betrayal in 1941. "Managed to dig nation out of the mess he overwhelmingly caused in the first place" is not a terribly persuasive endorsement of the value of great leadership.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

What were the signs of impending Germany betrayal in 1941?

(#321997)
mmghosh's picture

As far as matters went for rational thinking, the Axis should have been cleaning up the Mediterranean theatre, blockading Britain, getting access to Middle Eastern petroleum etc. Especially after Greece fell, the Med theatre was the logical place to continue. Rommel lost because of poor backup as the war provisioning shifted to Russia.

Of course Stain knew Hitler would attack Russia. He needed more time to manufacture more tanks and aircraft and other stuff for his war machine. We can't forget that the Russians crushed the German war machine comprehensively in just 2 years.

Six Letters

(#322002)
M Scott Eiland's picture

BBC. CIA.

 

 

Edit: Oh, and as a bonus? Pravda, via the LA Times.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

From your own links.

(#322004)
mmghosh's picture

Martirosyan argues that Stalin held back because of a lack of reliable evidence of the coming attack, and had legitimate concerns about deliberate misinformation by German intelligence.

20-20 hindsight is a great thing.

 

Technically, Pearl Harbour shouldn't have come as a surprise, either.

The Fact That He's Making That Argument. . .

(#322007)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .is evidence that the signs were there--the argument is over how they should have been interpreted and how unreasonable it was for Stalin to be caught *completely* unprepared.

And there are certainly people who will argue that FDR was at least negligent in preparation given indications that the attack on Pearl Harbor was coming.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Signs of betrayal?

(#322001)
Jay C's picture

IANAMH, of course, but most of the accounts of the launch of Operation Barbarossa in mid-1941 would answer your question with "damn few". The conventional accounts have Stalin fairly clueless as to German plans - and of course, no one in the Soviet leadership would dare try to inform him otherwise. IIRC, the Soviets were still shipping large consignments of commodities  to Germany (in accord with the terms of the 1939 Hitler-Stalin Pact which the Germans managed to mostly renege on) practically right up until the invasion commenced. And right afterwards, Stalin supposedly retreated into a funk for days until reality (and the magnitude of said reality) finally sunk in.

 

 

 

alternative history is fun!

(#321996)

and useless.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

That's completely true, but then again

(#321991)

it has little to do with my point. I'm not saying Stalin was a great leader, or that he was the best leader to fight the Germans, or that all his decisions ultimately proved right (they didn't). What I'm saying is that it was his leadership, for better or for worse, that ultimately won the war. It was political unity that drove Red Army & Soviet economic mobilization, doctrine and ultimate victory, not "the barrel of a gun." The Germans had guns too, and even knew how to use them a lot better. 

"Managed to dig nation out of the mess he overwhelmingly caused in the first place" is not a terribly persuasive endorsement of the value of great leadership.

That's a bridge too far. I believe Hitler overwhelmingly caused the mess the Soviets found themselves in. And if we're going to indulge in counterfactuals, we could say that Hitler never would have considered invading a Russia with stronger leadership in the 1930s. For that matter, if a certain lance corporal had breathed just a little deeper when the mustard shells were falling back in 1918, we might be having a whole different conversation.

 

In any case, Stalin blundered, Churchill blundered, FDR blundered, Tojo blundered, Mussolini blundered, Hitler (eventually) blundered... pointing out blunders while ignoring results is itself a blunder.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I Can Agree With You and Still Not See an Answer...

(#321964)

"They must find a powerful majority of Palestinians willing to both support Israel's aims and thwart those of Hamas-like groups, then forge a political alliance with that majority by giving it (or convincing it to change) what it wants."

 

Do you mean the West Bank Palestinians, where this might still be possible...but how within Gaza?

 

We must remember that war's end when enough people die...in Vietnam, it wasn't 2M killed Vietnamese that moved things toward resolution, but rather 58,000 Americans. Israel is maybe beginning to face this terrible calculus, the only redeeming point for Israel, is that they have nowhere to go....they can't go home like the Americans.

 

I still say Lebanon forms the outline for a peace:

 

On 11 August 2006, the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved United Nations Security Council Resolution 1701 (UNSCR 1701) in an effort to end the hostilities. The resolution, which was approved by both the Lebanese and Israeli governments the following days, called for disarmament of Hezbollah, for withdrawal of Israel from Lebanon, and for the deployment of Lebanese soldiers and an enlarged United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) in the south. UNIFIL was given an expanded mandate, including the ability to use force to ensure that their area of operations was not used for hostile activities, and to resist attempts by force to prevent them from discharging their duties

 

This also was a terrible war, terrible enough that neither side wants any more of it....at the moment. Contra my position, Lebanon is quiet only because it is preoccupied with its Eastern Border with Syria.

 

I suspect we will get something like Lebanon, a slight lifting of the Blockade, 6 mile fishing amid boat inspections, some export restriction easing, but open boarders...like Right of Return, it is a non-starter with Hamas in control.

 

Traveller

 

PS Israel did not want the Palestinian Unity Government because of the very real risk of exporting Hamas into the West Bank.

 

 

I don't think it's about killing enough people,

(#321968)

it's about killing the other side's willingness to fight. Is Israel doing that? I would say quite the opposite.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

We Don't Know Yet Re Willingness on Either Side...

(#321969)

....easy to my analysis the idea that Israel had little choice when someone is making war on you.

 

Sometimes I think Israel could have sat back on its heels, and laugh at the Missile threat....though before this war, noone could know how effective Iron Dome would be...but the Tunnels were out there as an issue.

 

tough decisions.

 

Both sides are taking the long view, like a hundred years from now...it is hard at this point to know who the victor will be.

Traveller

 

 

Rather than Lebanon, the subcontinent is a better model

(#322003)
mmghosh's picture

our neighbours have been making war on us for several decades - three official hot wars, the Kargil invasion of 1999, numerous terrorist "non-state actors" assaults, including Mumbai 2009 and the attack on the Parliament in 2001.

 

Yet our political leaders (and this is bipartisan) have in the main resisted calls for "hot pursuit" of terrorist camps in our neighbours country, or even bombing to rubble (and there is a strong and vocal lobby seeking a "final solution").   And this is not out of ideological belief but simply pragmatism and a realisation that at the end of the day you have to live with neighbours elements of who may hate you.

 

We live with the aftermath of Partition and the mass expropriation of whole populations (my parents were both expropriated refugees).  I do not think we have come to terms yet with the mass uprootings of our cultural moorings - and I know the same is true of those living in those over there as well.  But we have reached a stalemate, and perhaps, an unhappy truce.  Yet this is far better than what is happening today in Gaza.

 

http://972mag.com/watch-civilians-have-no-safe-place-to-go-in-gaza/94518/

 

 

Great blog about the Gaza bombing.

(#321510)
mmghosh's picture

http://972mag.com/finish-the-job/94114/

 

And why its different this time round.

Then this morning I picked up a copy of Yedioth Ahronoth, the “newspaper of the nation,” what I consider to be the clearest window there is into Israeli society. The front-page commentary is by Yuval Diskin, the former Shin Bet chief and conscience-ridden star of “The Gatekeepers,” the incessant critic of Netanyahu’s hardline policies – and the title of his commentary is “Don’t Stop Yet.”

---

I wasn’t here in 1982, but it is said that 400,000 Israelis protested in Tel Aviv’s Malchei Israel (now Rabin) Square against the Lebanon War. What happened? I know what happened, but the contrast between then and the way things are now is still uncanny.

At the beginning of this war, when it was impossible to call it a war, when the “kill ratio” was 200 to 0, I was filled with loathing at this country, at the complacency in the face of what the air force was doing to people in Gaza. But now that Israeli soldiers are dying – mainly young soldiers, of course – I don’t think I have any anger left in me.

---

Sunday morning, after a day in which 13 soldiers were killed and 100 Palestinians were killed in Gaza, mainly in Shujaiyeh, I thought, That’s it. Israelis are not going to tolerate so many soldiers being killed, and the world is not going to tolerate so many Palestinian children getting killed. Putting aside the world reaction, I thought Israelis, as deadened as they are toward the evil we do to the Palestinians, would save the situation with their finest quality: their inability to withstand the deaths of their own, especially their young.

I was wrong. Evidently, if they believe that the war is serving a purpose, in this case to bring long-term security to Israel, at least from Gaza, then they will put up with the deaths of their soldiers.

They’re not callous – far, far from it. Israelis really do have good hearts, and they love their own, especially their young, as much as any people on earth. The problem is their minds, or rather their collective mind, the mind of this society – it is geared like a sports car engine to war.

The Correct Lesson from Lebanon is that the Northern Border is..

(#321543)

...quiet.

 

Is this not the proper inference to be drawn from the pounding inflicted on Lebanon, and especially South Beirut?

 

If you see a different message from the North, let me know.

 

And, BTW, Lebanon being at peace is a positive good, n'est-ce pas?

 

Best Wishes, Traveller

The message from Lebanon

(#321635)

Yes,  there was the pounding,  and it likely had something to do with it.  

 

However,  there is also the fact that Lebanon is not being blockaded,  and 200 Lebanese were not arrested for one murder case.  If those things happened,  very likely there would be rockets coming from Lebanon.

It's Open Season on Hamas' Human Shields

(#321573)
brutusettu's picture

because it's all Hamas' fault they're hiding their leaders and weapons in bunkers with the Human Shields available to get hit?

 

What's next, all Israelis are valid military targets because nearly all of them are in the reserves or potentially able to be called up with the stroke of a pen?

Can the word "valid" ever be applied to military targets?

(#321583)

Just asking.  Inter arma silent leges, in time of war the laws are silent.  I think everyone should just treat this as yet another episode of what humans do to each other when they feel they must.  It's un-Islamic, that much I can say for a fact:  Islam's laws of warfare were once terribly scrupulous about attacks on civilians and the destruction of homes, besieging armies couldn't even cut down the trees.

 

It's not war according to any laws of land warfare I've ever read, Israel is a signatory to Fourth Geneva Convention and these attacks on civilians are more than merely regrettable.  Israel is waging truly nasty psychological warfare on these people, now reviving its old policy of dynamiting homes of terrorists, which once it had abandoned as only creating more enemies.  Israel is governed by brutes, the Gaza also.

 

But in answer to your question, it doesn't matter what we think about who's a valid military target.  That's up to Hamas and Israel.  Considering that Hamas has used suicide bombers against Israeli civilians and murdered Palestinians who questioned its authority, their answer is obviously Yes, for them.  Israel seems to be a bit squeamish.  Jordan and Syria weren't as squeamish about killing revolting Palestinians.  Lebanon and Hizb'allah aren't at all squeamish.  Egypt has a gut made of iron, their military is only concerned about staying in power, they have no compunction about shooting mobs - and nobody questions America's ties to the funding of Egypt's military.

 

I repeat myself:  taking sides in this disgusting war is for chumps.  Weeping over the dead and wounded, well, welcome to the real world.

 

The Shield of Achilles
W. H. Auden, 1907 - 1973

     She looked over his shoulder
       For vines and olive trees,
     Marble well-governed cities
       And ships upon untamed seas,
     But there on the shining metal
       His hands had put instead
     An artificial wilderness
       And a sky like lead.

 

A plain without a feature, bare and brown,
   No blade of grass, no sign of neighborhood,
Nothing to eat and nowhere to sit down,
   Yet, congregated on its blankness, stood
   An unintelligible multitude,
A million eyes, a million boots in line,
Without expression, waiting for a sign.

 

Out of the air a voice without a face
   Proved by statistics that some cause was just
In tones as dry and level as the place:
   No one was cheered and nothing was discussed;
   Column by column in a cloud of dust
They marched away enduring a belief
Whose logic brought them, somewhere else, to grief.

 

     She looked over his shoulder
       For ritual pieties,
     White flower-garlanded heifers,
       Libation and sacrifice,
     But there on the shining metal
       Where the altar should have been,
     She saw by his flickering forge-light

       Quite another scene.

 

Barbed wire enclosed an arbitrary spot
   Where bored officials lounged (one cracked a joke)
And sentries sweated for the day was hot:
   A crowd of ordinary decent folk
   Watched from without and neither moved nor spoke
As three pale figures were led forth and bound
To three posts driven upright in the ground.

 

The mass and majesty of this world, all
   That carries weight and always weighs the same
Lay in the hands of others; they were small
   And could not hope for help and no help came:
   What their foes like to do was done, their shame
Was all the worst could wish; they lost their pride
And died as men before their bodies died.

 

     She looked over his shoulder
       For athletes at their games,
     Men and women in a dance
       Moving their sweet limbs
     Quick, quick, to music,
       But there on the shining shield
     His hands had set no dancing-floor
       But a weed-choked field.

 

A ragged urchin, aimless and alone,
   Loitered about that vacancy; a bird
Flew up to safety from his well-aimed stone:
   That girls are raped, that two boys knife a third,
   Were axioms to him, who’d never heard
Of any world where promises were kept,
Or one could weep because another wept.

 

     The thin-lipped armorer,
       Hephaestos, hobbled away,
     Thetis of the shining breasts
       Cried out in dismay
     At what the god had wrought
       To please her son, the strong
     Iron-hearted man-slaying Achilles
       Who would not live long.

When the dead are wrapped in the Hamas Flag

(#321542)

the symbolism is trenchant, indeed.

And Every Body Wrapped in a Hamas Flag...War Dead, No?

(#321541)

....you are correct, the proof is in the image. Hamas is at war with Israel, so some Hamas dead. What is hard to understand?

 

Traveller

That's exactly my point. And, no, they are not Hamas

(#321567)
mmghosh's picture

soldiers all. The point is that the continued assault by Israel makes it impossible for Gazans to even think of rejecting Hamas, which they have considered in recent times. Remember Hamas' unpopularity just before this event meant they gave up sovereignty to the PA in the West Bank.

But this Israeli assault has allowed them to regain support, especially with such imagery.

And Ben-Gurion Airport was Forced to Close Today....

(#321568)

...so Israel is just supposed to sit around while it is strangled by crazies on its borders?

 

I am glad that you are here to argue the Hamas side...but the truth is that the Freest and safest Arab or Palestinian People anywhere in the Middle East are now within Israel or the West Bank...maybe also Jordan, SA and the Emirates.

 

If you are Palestinian and want to be safe & alive, Israel is the place to be.

 

You can't deny this...or that were there NO Israel, all my Christian sites would be gone, destroyed, blown up.

 

No thank you very much.

 

So let us proceed some more in Gaza, Okay?

 

Traveller

 

On why Palestinains continue to support Hamas.

(#321574)
mmghosh's picture

http://972mag.com/why-do-palestinians-continue-to-support-hamas-despite-...

The demand that the people of Gaza protest against Hamas, often heard in Israel today, is absurd. Even if we disregard the fact that Israelis themselves hate protests in times of war, they still expect the Palestinians to conduct a civil uprising under fire. The people of Gaza support Hamas in its war against Israel because they perceive it to be part of their war of independence. A Hamas warrior who swears by the Quran is no different from a Vietcong reciting The Internationale before leaving for battle. These kind of rituals leave a strong impression, but they are not the real story.

 

Israelis, both left and right, are wrong to assume that Hamas is a dictatorship fighting Israel against its people’s will. Hamas is indeed a dictatorship, and there are many Palestinians who would gladly see it fall, but not at this moment in time. Right now I have no doubt that most Palestinians support the attacks on IDF soldiers entering Gaza; they support kidnapping as means to release their prisoners (whom they see as prisoners of war) and the unpleasant fact is that most of them, I believe, support firing rockets at Israel.

 

“If we had planes and tanks to fight the IDF, we wouldn’t need to fire rockets,” is a sentence I have heard more than once. As an Israeli, it is unpleasant for me to hear, but one needs to at least try and understand what lies behind such a position. What is certain is that bombing Gaza will not change their minds. On the contrary.

On a side note I was planning to fly into TA from Amman on the 7th - I've just cancelled.  I'm not even sure I should be going in to Amman on the 4th.  This was all so completely unnecessary.

I Agree ThatGazans Support Hamas and Rocket Fire...

(#321605)

...as a means of liberation.

 

The question is what does this mean?

 

Since I believe, and Hamas says, this entails the destruction of Israel...

 

I see most Gazans are legitimate targets of war.

 

I don't understand what is so hard for you to understand about this.

 

You say this was unnecessary....why?

 

What was unnecessary?

 

Gazan rocket fire or Israeli response?

 

I am puzzled by your positions in this.

 

It is you that says a colonizing people need to exterminate those colonized. 

 

Let's get with it.

 

Traveller

"a colonizing people need to exterminate those colonized"

(#321625)
mmghosh's picture

Hmm.

 

First, this wasn't me saying this, I was quoting Jabotinsky (and not in a appreciative way, either).

 

Secondly, the ME states bordering Israel have each made their separate peace with Israel, so to continue the "Arabs want to exterminate Israel!" rhetoric is simply warmongering.  Those Arab states, and indeed Hamas had made such statements in the past, but these statements were effectively repudiated by the Oslo accords and the ongoing peace process.

 

Part of peace agreements at every point, however, was that Israel was to stop the extension of settlements into Palestinian areas, which was simply creating more refugees both inside the West Bank, and in those border states, something which has been reiterated by both the UN and successive bipartisan US Administrations, all of which have been ignored by Israel.

 

Hence unnecessary.  The building of settlements in the West Bank are unnecessary.  They are opposed by a majority of Israelis in Israel too - during peacetime.  But, in wartime, just as the Gazans must support Hamas today, Israelis have to support the settlers. 

 

As for what liberation for Gaza means - it is pretty straightforward.  

 

http://www.jpost.com/Operation-Protective-Edge/Hamas-publishes-cease-fir...

The initiative, which was backed by Qatar, calls for an immediate and comprehensive cease-fire, the lifting of the blockade imposed on the Gaza Strip eight years ago and the release of Palestinians who were arrested by Israel in recent weeks in the West Bank.

---

The initiative calls for activating the port in the Gaza Strip to allow goods and fuel to enter the area. It also calls for an end to the “economic and financial sanctions” imposed on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

---

The initiative calls for activating the port in the Gaza Strip to allow goods and fuel to enter the area. It also calls for an end to the “economic and financial sanctions” imposed on the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas Will Use The Port and Any Lifting of the Blockade for War

(#321628)

....materials and purposes.

 

So, like the Right of Return, and the status of Jerusalem, the lifting of the Blockade is a non-starter for me without some very strict disarming of Hamas and creating a demilitarized Gaza.

 

Give me this and we have something to talk about.

 

Unfortunately, I have seen numerous interviews of Gazans that want the war to continue until the is an unfettered lifting of the blockade.

 

This is what makes war...we have two irreconcilable positions....that even you seem unable to recognize.

 

I say let the war rock on, make the rubble bounce.

 

Unless you have an answer to my unsolvable problem.

 

Traveller

All those points can be part of negotiations.

(#321629)
mmghosh's picture

I mean, that is what negotiations between armed parties is all about.

 

This war should not "rock on". Both parties should come to a negotiated settlement.  Which is ultimately what will happen in any case.  And when the Gazans run out of rockets, which they will do in due time, the bitterness will make positions even more irreconcilable.

The problem is that Hamas is demanding that...

(#321641)
Bird Dog's picture

...Israel accept their conditions to lift the blockade and return convicted felons (among other things), and only then will they agree to a ceasefire. It's a complete non-starter while Hamas runs Gaza. Since Israel has begun this ground offensive, they might as well wipe out Hamas and find someone else with whom to negotiate. Either that or Hamas backs off it position. Link.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Rhetoric such as "wipe out", "bomb to rubble" is a mirror image

(#321644)
mmghosh's picture

of Hamas' rhetoric, in case you haven't noticed.  

 

The difference is that Israel has the wherewithal to carry out their (and their supporters) threats whereas Hamas does not - which makes the Israeli threat much more real.

 

Eliminationist rhetoric should be abandoned by all sides.  A peace process should focus on stopping violence, and a negotiated settlement.

 

False equivalence

(#321647)
Bird Dog's picture

I'm not saying that Israel should wipe out the Palestinian people, just a terrorist organization, in particular a terrorist organization that currently holds a wholly untenable position. Is it so heinous to say that I'm in favor of the U.S. wiping out al Qaeda? But to be clear, I would be just fine if Hamas and al Qaeda were degraded to the point of insignificance. 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

But every Gazan is a terrorist, or a terrorist enabler

(#321656)
mmghosh's picture

which is the logic behind indiscriminate bombing of an urban area with 700+ killed so far.

 

The syllogism is frankly bizarre - since almost all Gazans want the blockade lifted, they must want to import missiles.

Every Gazan is not a member of Hamas,

(#321674)
Bird Dog's picture

far from it, so therefore your line that "every Gazan is a terrorist" is a flawed statement. Also, the Israelis are not indiscriminately bombing Gazans. If they were, the casualty count would be an order of magnitude or two higher.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Don't forget the "or a terrorist enabler"

(#321680)
brutusettu's picture

How careful can someone be and yet still kill hundreds of civilians in a few days and launch explosives and shells into densely populated urban areas?

 

They don't seem to be making too sure to not kill human shields.  Maybe careful enough to keep support, but not much more, but then again they don't need to be too careful, they can pretty much just blame any civilian deaths on Hamas with impunity.

Of course The Want to Import Missiles and War Materials...

(#321658)

....anyone could say in any of these interviews, from normal people or high ranking Hamas officials, that they will oppose importation of Missiles. No one says this and they don't say this because Missiles are the means of their liberation...and the Right of Return.

 

Even you up thread indicate that the Right of Return is primary....if so, and if you support this, you need to admit that even for you...war is on.

 

This is clear.

 

There is no surprise here....you can write and write and but you have a secret undisclosed agenda that...means war.

 

You need to face up to this position inside yourself.

 

It is good that we have this out in the open though.

 

Traveller

Heh. What exactly is the problem

(#321659)
mmghosh's picture

with negotiations on right of return, or compensation, or the various other issues?  Why does it mean war, necessarily?  In any case most of the expropriated Palestinians have little in the way of proof.

 

I'm not clear why the mere existence of Palestinians is such a threat to modern Israel.  There are plenty of Israeli Arabs - 20% of the population, I believe.  And until Mr Avigdor Lieberman immigrated into Israel and now wishes to expel them all they seemed to get on reasonably well with representation in the Knesset.

 

Most countries have minorities, and manage to get along with them.

This is Pretty Simple, Jews Would Soon Cease to be a Minority...

(#321660)

....and quite frankly, looking around the world, I do not trust Muslims, since their religion is also politically based, to be fair in any regards long term.

 

Give me a hundred years of peace with Muslims and maybe I'll change my mind.

 

And Palestinians are particularly untrustworthy in regards to Jews, as well as Christians.

 

When they run Gaza peacefully for a while then get back to me.

 

I've told you already...reprerations sure, Right of Return, no....Palestinians cannot be trusted.

 

Can I make this any clearer?

 

Israel need not get into bed with a Psychotic and Abusive Murderer....a husband like this, no wife needs.

 

Traveller

The facts are that the right to return rhetoric

(#321672)
mmghosh's picture

is propaganda and justification for continued aggression.

The Oslo Accords and the peace process quite rightly puts those issues as matters to be discussed at a later date. The primary business is stopping the violence and a moratorium on continued Palestinian expropriation and lifting of blockades.

There is no way today that there will be a minority Jewish population in a normal non-apartheid Israel. In any case, no one is talking about that particular red herring. The international consensus is about the 2 State solution.

Gazans Cried About Lack of Cement, a Humanitarian Crisis...Liars

(#321661)

...they lied then, they lie now. Restrictions on the importation of construction material will even be tighter, the blockade stricter. (a good and glorious and fine thing)

 

From Bloomberg:

 

Troops of the Israel Defense Forces have been surprised by the number and sophistication of tunnels discovered during their ground incursion, considering that Israel and (sometimes) Egypt have gone to great lengths to prevent Hamas engineers from getting their hands on material for building tunnels. What’s clear now is that those efforts to keep cement strictly for civilian purposes failed miserably. As of July 21, the IDF had found 23 tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border with 66 access points. The soil in the area is soft, which means tunnels are easy to dig but frequently require concrete for reinforcement. The Israeli military estimates that 600,000 tons of concrete—made by mixing cement with sand, gravel, and water—may have gone into the tunnels.

The tunnels can be surprisingly sophisticated. Last October, for instance, Israel discovered an attack tunnel under the border that was 1.6 miles long and 66 feet below ground, equipped with electricity, a communications network, and “stockpiles of cookies, yoghurt and other foods to allow for stays of several months,” the website Al-Monitor reported.

 

The construction of attack tunnels and underground lairs came at a time when Gaza was appealing to the world to be relieved of limitations on the importation of cement on humanitarian grounds. The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem reported last year that “contractors and construction laborers in the Gaza Strip depicted a harsh reality in which projects are put on hold due to lack of materials. They related that contractors were forced to dismiss employees, so that thousands of people, most of whom support large families, lost their livelihood.”

 

A journalist for Al-Monitor, Rasha Abou Jalal, told the poignant story of a 22-year-old man who needed bags of cement last year to complete the construction of his marital home. The man had to buy them in secret, meeting his connection precisely at 10:30 p.m. at an arranged location. The article attributed the need for secrecy to the Hamas government’s “going after merchants monopolizing the cement market.” What seems clear now, however, is that the government’s real concern wasn’t fighting monopolistic merchants but keeping the cement for itself.

This history will further immiserate Gaza in coming years. International organizations willing to give Hamas the benefit of the doubt before are less likely to do so now. Hamas militants have demonstrated that when they get their hands on cement, they use it for attack tunnels. The victims, of course, will be the ordinary residents of Gaza who are caught in the middle.

Israel lies about the settlements. Both have uses for cement

(#321664)

which maybe they've told people they wouldn't.  Getting sick of anyone taking any side in this mess.  One burrows underground, the other just bulldozes and blasts his way into the other side's land.  Sick of all these people.  They're all liars.  Mostly, they lie to themselves. 

Listen, I am a Liberal-Lefty-Quasi-Marxist...It Pains Me...

(#321665)

...to so strongly take the Israeli side in this matter.

 

But there is craziness abroad in the Muslim portion of the Middle East....we have to pick our friends, as ever we must in every battle, I have taken sides.

 

I won't lie about it or shilly-shally....I'm coming straight on...I just tell you where I am.

 

When in Jerusalem I was deeply shocked by the history of the Jewish Quarter and its destruction by Jordan in 1948.

 

The Jordanian commander is reported to have told his superiors: "For the first time in 1,000 years not a single Jew remains in the Jewish Quarter. Not a single building remains intact. This makes the Jews' return here impossible."[11][12] The Hurva Synagogue, originally built in 1701, was blown up by the Jordanian Arab Legion. During the nineteen years of Jordanian rule, a third of the Jewish Quarter's buildings were demolished.[13] According to a complaint Israel made to the United Nations, all but one of the thirty-five Jewish houses of worship in the Old City were destroyed. The synagogues were razed or pillaged and stripped and their interiors used as hen-houses or stables.[10]

 

Even as a nominal Christian, I say Never Again.

 

Traveller

Palestinians have a large Christian population, on the West Bank

(#321666)

and they've been there since the dawn of Christianity. They aren't being oppressed over there.  They are in Gaza.  A building can be rebuilt.  The survivors of a disaster can have children.  Ovid said "omnia mutantur, nihil interit", everything changes, nothing perishes.

 

I live in that spirit.  It's the only viewpoint which keeps me sane, keeps me grounded.  Whatever disaster befell us once will befall us again, as long as we repeat the same experiment.  We're all just stupid enough to believe we'll get different results, this time. I'm a Christian but I know better than to believe it's the only route to holiness. It's just a framework for righteousness, a series of constructs to reinforce a common-sense principle most of us learn as children, that loving others is hard work yet we must, that we are all fallible, that we are all not-perfect, that for every reason we have for hating our enemies, we must love them nonetheless.  For we are loved by God, who first loved us.

 

The Litany of Grievance is very long.  The graveyards are full to bursting yet the earth is ever hungry for more blood, gaping wide for the bodies of the children, the innocents. The earth does not care. It engulfs the innocent and guilty alike.  We have not evolved sufficiently to transcend our warlike natures. We need what the Hindus call Moksha, deliverance.  Deliverance, not from each other, but from ourselves.

That's a Very Great Last Paragraph...nt

(#321667)

Traveller

I Can't Edit Above, Jew Would Soon Cease to be a Majority..nt

(#321662)

Traveller

There you go with the Normative Nagging again.

(#321645)

Should and Ought do not apply.  Hamas insists on the establishment of an Islamic state, Israel insists upon a Jewish state.  These threats are existential in nature, they are as real as a stone in your shoe. They are ever-present and whinging about who presents the greater threat to the other is to miss the point entirely.  While Hamas insists upon the destruction of the State of Israel and Israel goes on stealing land, why do you bother assigning blame or sorting out who is more threatening?

 

As Stalin is supposed to have said, a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is merely a statistic.  What an absurd technique for sorting out whose cause is just and whose is not, piling up corpses on the scales of justice.  It is the logical inverse of war itself, as if by killing more of the enemy, one side just might win the argument.  Blaming one side for killing more of the other is just propaganda, believed only by stupid persons and soft-headed rubes who might also answer emails from Nigerian Princes, assisting with funds transfer.  War is not about winning or losing.  The only way to figure out Wins and Losses in war is to observe who stays and who leaves.  Israel will not be able to completely dislodge Hamas nor Hamas dislodge Israel.  

Since the concept of a religious state is ridiculous

(#321657)
mmghosh's picture

both Hamas and Israel's premise of statehood are equivalently silly.  

 

The Quranic notion of Allah's plan of the final Judgment Day war with Jews and the idea that Palestine has been granted by Yahweh to the descendants of Abraham and Isaac in perpetuity are both equally lunatic.

 

That being the case, I agree it makes sense for us not to take sides in this extremely stupid conflict.  At the same time, a genocide of one side on the other makes for a greater confrontation, not less, in a situation where a win for any one side is both mythical and impossible.

 

And armed truce/stalemate between warring parties is not a bad outcome.

Israel is a secular democracy,

(#321673)
Bird Dog's picture

with some exceptions, where its million or so Palestinian Arab citizens have a full slate of rights. Hamas doesn't respect civil liberties or political rights. Or Jews.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Genocide? You are taking sides. You were doing so well

(#321663)

right up to that point.  This is no genocide.   I wish you would just quit talking that way.  I've seen genocide in Nigeria, as the Ibos were murdered in the thousands by the Hausas and Yorubas. I've seen genocide in Guatemala, as Rios-Montt went after the Mayan people.   This isn't genocide.  One could, with equal justification, say Hamas is trying to kill every Jew, for they certainly will kill any Jew. 

 

Killing two million people took Pol Pot a few years.  Burying them, well, that was a biggish chore.  How dare you come around here, wringing your hands and babbling about genocide.  Use that word with people who haven't seen it.  I have. 

Let's can the personally directed dudgeon. -nt-

(#321678)

.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Right. Let's also can the cheap agitprop of words like Genocide

(#321681)

while we're at it, eh?   Is that a bit much to ask, given how much of it one specific regular has been putting up around here, of late?  There is such a thing as genocide and I have seen it.  It's bad enough, what's going on in Gaza and Israel, without this sort of bilious cant.   Reads like some recruiting poster.  Robert Frost's poem, from 1956

 

From Iron

Tools and Weapons

To Ahmed S. Bokhari

 

Nature within her inmost self divides

To trouble men with having to take sides.

Babbling about genocide is what the Israeli rightwing is doing

(#321670)
mmghosh's picture

at the moment, you simply need to read the Jerusalem Post. It's all about "doing the job", "completing the task", "bombing to rubble" ad infinitum et nauseum.

Somehow the climate had changed in Israel. Such sentiments have become widespread even in the leftwing moderate press. Ariel Sharont would be a moderate today.

This includes supporters of Israel in the international media. Even supposed moderates turn a blind eye to the killing of children and patients in hospitals and the widespread demonising of every Palestinian as a potential murderer.

Actually, I can make a stab at the reasons for this. With Morsi gone, and Iran focused on Iraq and Syria, the new Israeli right of Lieberman and Co have figured that this assault on Gaza cannot be withstood by Hamas for too much longer - when the rockets run out. Of course when the rockets do run out the excuse for the full scale invasion run out too.

Substitute Palestinian for Israeli in each sentence

(#321683)

you have just written, they're equally true. 

Let's try this from the top, see how it goes

(#321731)

Babbling about genocide is what Hamas is doing

But even if the links have become distant from each other, and even if the obstacles erected by those who revolve in the Zionist orbit, aiming at obstructing the road before the Jihad fighters, have rendered the pursuance of Jihad impossible; nevertheless, the Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him! This will not apply to the Gharqad, which is a Jewish tree (cited by Bukhari and Muslim).

I read Arabic.  I see plenty of sympathy in the press for Hamas and its goal of Implementing Allah's Promise, as they see it.  Let's have none of this business about Capacity, Hamas has plenty of capacity and they praised the murder of the three Israeli kids and started firing rockets.  To say Hamas does not have the capability is simply untrue.  Just stop it.

 

I read Hebrew, not as well as Arabic. The Israeli left wing has a substantial following.  You won't find it in Haaretz or Channel One, they're just propaganda.  But the Israeli Left is out there, where it counts.  As for Ariel Sharon, he was never a moderate and would not be one now.  That's just nonsense.

 

Nobody is turning a blind eye to these killings. The world is pruriently transfixed on them.  The body count is worldwide news.  The Hamas is being demonised, quite properly so. So is Israel, that too is big news.  But then, I read a lot of news in four or five languages every day, what do I know.  I say that, too, is just agitprop.

 

Morsi is not exactly gone and if the Muslim Brotherhood chased back underground, they aren't gone either.  Al-Sisi is just another manifestation of Egypt's parasitic military caste. His story will not end well, any more than Mubarak's.

 

Hamas now files a case in the International Court of Justice, charging Israel with war crimes.  This was predictable.  Hamas' erstwhile backers have withdrawn their support.  Everyone's sick of them and their jihaad is widely seen as haram.  That being the case, now they come a-whinging to anyone who will listen, hoping against hope the world has forgotten their summary executions of Fatah policemen and anyone who dared to oppose them.  They will find little satisfaction in that venue, not while that odious Charter of theirs is still in place.

I agree the Israeli Left isn't dead, but

(#321745)
mmghosh's picture

and there's always a but, their influence is definitely a lot less than it used to be. I pretty much supported the Israeli leftwing policies, but there has definitely been a sharp right turn in Israeli politics. And eliminations is a large part of that.

But not just that. I do not think this kind of racism would happen in the time of BenGurion, or Meier, or even Begin, not to speak of Rabin. But in Avigdor Lieberman's time, anything goes, it would seem.

http://m.irinnews.org/Report/97352/Furore-in-Israel-over-birth-control-d...

"The directive, issued last week, comes after around 30 Ethiopian Jews who had emigrated to Israel said they had been told that they would not be allowed into the country without receiving the contraceptive drug.

Within Israel, Ethiopian Jews make up the majority of those given the drug, according to a report published in 2010 by Isha le'Isha, a women’s rights organization; 57 percent of women who had received the drug in Israel are Ethiopian Jews, although they account for less than 2 percent of the overall population.

“We believe it is a method of reducing the number of births in a community that is black and mostly poor,” Hedva Eyal, the author of the report, told IRIN."

The Israeli left wing emerges when the rockets aren't flying.

(#321755)

It's as perennial as mangoes.   The niceties of Israeli politics resolve not to issues, but to people.  Israel's government is parliamentary, it forms factions around people, never about issues.  Often, people contradict themselves.  Everyone says they want peace.   I suppose they believe it.  But unless you have some special insight into this issue, I don't see the rightward shift you do.  Israel always strikes back harder than it was hit.  That's been their policy time out of mind.  They know the rules of the game.  Nobody respects ideals in that landscape.  It's power that earns respect and respect is the currency of peace.  Your version of respect does not operate on their terms.  You don't respect the State of Israel because they violate your ethical constructs.  

 

Your constructs are irrelevant.  The State of Israel is reconciled to a permanent state of warfare, as are their enemies.  Those are their rules.

 

When it's Muslims killing Muslims, how many dead has the war in Syria produced?  Somewhere between 100K and some estimates are as high as 180K.   What was the ratio of combatants to civilians?   Nobody knows. It's appalling.  I didn't see you taking sides in that fight, pointing to the distressingly awful tactics of that war, the barrel bomb, the beheadings, the refugees flooding into Jordan.   ISIS goes into Iraq, behaves atrociously - where's the outrage, Manish?   Iraq behaves atrociously, Iran behaves atrociously.   Why does the issue of Israeli atrocities bother you so deeply?   You just can't seem to help yourself - with you, there's always a but, by your own admission.   I'm not trying to accuse you of hypocrisy or dragging the old red herring around.   By my lights, there are no Good Guys in any of these fights, certainly not the Israelis.  But then, I don't expect them to operate by my rules.  

 

I think you've taken sides in this fight.  I think it's a mistake to take sides.  War isn't conducted according to Marquis of Queensberry Rules, especially not this war.  What is so uniquely awful about Israel that isn't equally true of every nation?  They all justify their use of force along the same lines. 

 

You cited some Arab who just gave up on the State of Israel, realised he was never going to get anywhere as an Arab, no matter how good his Hebrew had become.  Now put yourself in the shoes of an Israeli, who has reached the same conclusion, these young Israelis are leaving Israel in droves.  They know Israel is in a state of perpetual war.  They know Israel has given up on any satisfactory solution.  Why do you think the Arabs and the Jews are reaching the same conclusions?  The Israelis understand their Jewish state will never be accepted as a homeland for the Jews.  You made that point yourself. 

 

I used to pound out visa applications by the dozens for Palestinian refugees.  They all wanted to go to the USA.  Sometimes other nations accepted them, but that's not where they wanted to go.  Ponder that.  Why here?  Why are both Jews and Arabs wanting to come to the USA?

Plenty of outrage about ISIS about

(#321757)
mmghosh's picture

in my posts as outrage about militant Islamism generally, and more specifically about such Islamism in our neighbours.  And militant religious groups generally - I'm not a shrinking violet while condemning religious extremism.

 

And as for why Israel vs Palestine, I really do wish they would sort themselves out.  Not necessarily because I have family in the ME caught up in these issues - my sister is involved directly in Arab-Israeli peace initiatives.  But more widely than that, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has repercussions for Islamic militancy here.  ISIS vs Allawi doesn't have the same resonance, or not for me.  Also, al Aqsa is way more significant than, say, Jonah's tomb.

 

I'm concerned what is going to happen when Hamas runs out of rockets - or the Egyptians really turn on the screws, and it ends up being Gazans caught between Egypt and Israel.  What happens when Egyptians execute Palestinians or vice versa?

Well, that's true. In those fights, you don't take sides.

(#321759)

They're all equally abominable, that's what I say.   But none of that explains the Parade of Horribles you've been running about Israel's beastly treatment of the Palestinians.  Too many "Buts".  You've fallen prey to the entirely-understandable fallacy of Counting the Bodies.  I maintain it's fallacious for the same reasons you don't take sides in any of these other conflicts.  

 

Israel has all that power, Israel has all those weapons - that being the case, firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians is only provoking these overwhelming responses.  Would it make you happier if the Body Counts were closer to each other?   Of course you wouldn't and I feel horrible even asking the question, but it's necessary for my point.  60/40 I believe was your fraction of guilt.  Well, don't buy into that line of thinking.  Start taking sides in anyone else's wars and you only become part of the problem.  Take my word on that, I've seen more of this than most people and it took me a long time to amputate that sort of thinking from my own ethical constructs.  I saw the dead kids, I saw the genocide, I saw the refugees, it damned near wrecked my life.  The only rational approach is not to assign blame at all, to look at war as the complete absence of reasoned thinking, mankind's natural state.  Only when you've evicted Pity, that most contemptible of emotions, from the analysis will anyone come to view war correctly.

 

Screw Islamic militancy and all its rhetoric.  Parading the dead of Gaza about like trophies, whipping up Pity for those poor dead children.  Yes, it is horrible to see the broken bodies of innocent children.  But don't allow yourself the idiotic passions of Anger or Pity.  They drive out reasoned thinking.  You're a doctor, I presume you've seen a good deal of blood and suffering.  I suppose you've felt absolutely horrible about it, how could you not, you're an ethical, caring person.  Helping people is your mission in life, saving people, it's a noble profession, yours.  But if you allow emotion to interfere with your thinking, well, I don't have to tell you what comes of that.

 

Same with soldiering.  Dispassion is how you stay sane as a soldier.  It's terribly difficult avoiding Anger and Pity.  But that's what it takes.  If a soldier doesn't exercise great caution, he gets in trouble.  Of course you try not to shoot at civilians, but I've ordered up artillery fire, called in air strikes, laid down suppressive fire.  Civilians got killed.  Did I kill those people?  Not on purpose I didn't.  You seem to want a sanitary war, where only the guilty get whacked.  Well, that's not the way it works, any more than doctors can save every patient.

 

As for the significance of religious sites, if you're going to assign priorities to these locations, I am put in mind of the petty squabbles at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre as the quintessential inductive case study for the Israel/Palestine debate.  The various Christian monastic orders fight over their various areas of the church.  The wretched Ethiopian Orthodox have a little room on the roof.  It's incredibly silly, but it's an ancient fight.  Every night, the monks lock themselves in - and give the key to one of two Muslim families, the famous Nuseibeh clan.  Quite a story.  Solves that problem.  There's also the curious Immovable Ladder, propped up against a window.  Nobody can do anything unless everyone agrees - and nobody agrees on anything - so nothing is done.  And the Muslims go on holding the keys, as they have since the time of Saladin.  Meanwhile, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre is falling down around their ears.  It's a wreck in there.  Badly needs restoration.  But these quarrelsome monks hate each other more than they love their Church.

 

Manish, blaming anyone in this situation is like getting angry with a mentally-ill person.  It just won't do.  They're in a prison, locked from within.  From the outside, we can do nothing.  Egypt won't tolerate Hamas as it won't tolerate the Ikhwan, the Muslim Brotherhood, for the same reasons Israel won't tolerate Hamas, either.  Egypt has come to a cold peace with Israel, understanding nothing good can come of yet another war.  Every time the Arabs start whooping and ululating and yelling for war, it's been the Egyptians who had to do the fighting and dying.  Egypt and Israel got sick of it all.  They and the Israelis understand Hamas perfectly.  That's why they've both shut down their borders into Gaza.   

You, Manish, Are Willing to Negotiate These Items, However...

(#321632)

...the majority of Gazans are not....their demands are pre-conditions.

 

Listen, I understand that the life of Gazans is hell on Earth....I will not argue this with you...but the keys to their prison is already in their possession.

 

Renounce violence. Accept the Right of Israel to exist, give up the Right of Return, understand that Jerusalem is far from Gaza, and if they tend to their own house....the blockade will be gone.

 

Seriously.

 

This is easy.

 

Let a thousand flowers bloom.

 

Traveller

Why should Palestinians give up the right to return?

(#321642)
mmghosh's picture

Their recent predecessors came from what is now Israel.  No consent was discussed with the vast majority.  At least negotiate some form of compensation.

 

If Moldovan Jews can immigrate to Israel to become Foreign Ministers, or ex-headhunters with a pretty tenuous connection to Israel can, you will have to explain why a Palestinian with a much stronger claim cannot live in the land of their (literal) fathers.

The Bnei Menashe are made up of the Mizo, Kuki and Chin peoples, who all speak Tibeto-Burman languages, and whose ancestors migrated into North-East India from Burma beginning 6,000 years ago.[8] They are called Chin in Burma. Prior to their conversion to Christianity by Baptist missionaries in the 19th century, the Chin, Kuki, and Mizo followed animism and practiced ritual headhunting.

---

They have come to believe that the legendary Kuki-Mizo ancestor Manmasi[10] was the Hebrew Menasseh, son of Joseph. The Judaic group was named Bnei Menashe by Rabbi Eliyahu Avichail, founder of Amishav, dedicated to finding the Lost Tribes and facilitating aliyah, who investigated their claims in the 1980s.

As for the right of Israel to exist, this is already a part of every agreement since the Oslo Accords.

 

The violence issue is a bilateral one.

 

Allow the Palestinians to live in peace in what remains of their homeland, and live there in peace, without forced evictions, settlements and blockades.  This is simple, too.

Is this just your position

(#321634)

Renounce violence. Accept the Right of Israel to exist, give up the Right of Return, understand that Jerusalem is far from Gaza, and if they tend to their own house....the blockade will be gone.

 

or do you really believe it is also the Israeli position?   My reading of the current Israeli position is that even if all those conditions are met, there will not be open borders, Israel would control air space and sea access, collect taxes on goods going in and out (possibly handing the revenue over based on their unilateral judgment),  and controlling the types and amounts of goods that can enter.  That is a blockade.

 

If the controls were purely inspections for weapons access,  and taxes were not collected, it might be bearable, but the evidence is against that happening.  Cutoff of ordinary commercial goods and suppression of economic activity has been routinely used to collectively punish the civilian population for things like trying to join UNESCO or not voting for who they are supposed to. 

 

I agree with every bad thing you say about Hamas.  Where I think you are wrong is in believing that there is any intention on the part of the current Israeli ruling parties to allow a full-up sovereign state if things become peaceful.  

"ruling" is the operative adjective in that sentence.

(#321639)

Israeli Labour Party and its sorta-successor, Kadima, have no qualms about a sovereign state for the Palestinians.  They just want an enforceable agreement.

 

Here's the problem:  the Palestinians are by no means a united people.  Nor, for that matter, are Israelis.  It's important to realise the old European paradigm of Judaism, Ashkenaz, the one we know, is not the only one.   About half of Jewish Israelis come from Arabic-speaking locales.  Talk to an American Jew, he's no different than anyone else, he considers himself an American.  Well, lots of these Sephardi Jews were just as firmly allied to the causes of their own nations of origin.  Listen to spoken Hebrew:  it's strongly influenced by Arabic, Hebrew ע׳ is Arabic , غين‎ , ghayn, nothing like it in Europe.  Maybe you could get close with the French gr, as in grasseyer or grenouille. 

 

They're not so different, now, the Jews of Israel and the Palestinians.  Here's how it will work out, in perhaps fifty years.  Take it from a linguist.  Hebrew is already taking on lots of Arabic loanwords.  But Islam is absolutely indebted to Hebrew.  The Qu'ran is absolutely loaded with Hebrew loanwords.  A new Aramaic will appear, a trade language.  English won't do.  None of the European languages will do.  Hamas-like hardliners will still be around but they'll be set in concrete and they will make as much trouble for the Arabs as the hard-line Likud / Shas and other bellicose madmen are making for the State of Israel.  Ordinary people will learn to get along. 

It is My Position, But It Wouldn't Matter, Israel Would Have to

(#321636)

...acceed.

 

The international pressure would be too great to resist...no tax collection, maybe international inspection of inbound cargos for 5 years.

 

Were Hamas to make such a proposal, even I would swing in their favor...in serious ways...like let us tear down the Israeli Consulate in Los Angeles.

 

This only applies to Gaza...I would have to think through the West Bank. (though most, but not all, settlements would have to be surrendered were than under discussion; water rights is the unspoken terrible stumbling block).

 

A Palestinian Gandhi could make Gaza free!

 

Traveller

Negotiations are only from a position of power.

(#321630)

"Should" is not in the lexicon of negotiation.  Should assumes some ethical imperative.  No such normative imperative exists between sovereign entities.  Everyone will be reconciled to the realities, once this dreamworld of Should and Ought and all related nonsense is dismissed as such.   There's nothing inevitable about any of this:  the Jews and the Arabs have been fighting with each other since the time of the Prophet Muhammad, who had some rather nasty things to say about the Jews and fought them at the Battle of the Trench.

LOL....You Always Make Me Google Stuff...damn...lol...nt

(#321631)

Traveller

Dead Hostages Of Hamas, That Is

(#321544)
M Scott Eiland's picture

The death of hostages rests on the hostage takers.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

The contention that Gazan civilians are terrorists or hostages

(#321626)
mmghosh's picture

is propaganda, neither more nor less.

 

The fact is that no one can force civilians to stay within their homes while said homes are being bombed.  Patients admitted to hospitals similarly.  While Hamas undeniably executes Palestinian oppositionists, the same is true of all armies who punish desertion by execution (not that I endorse this, I might add), under army regulations.    

 

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/20/israelis-die-defend...

On a day when a hospital is rocketed

(#321482)
mmghosh's picture

and the mortality crosses 500, we learn

Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz, visited Ashkelon, as well.

"The fighting will continue for a long time and could include more expansions," Steinitz said. "If we need to, we will take over the whole [Gaza] Strip."

---

The IDF struck over 2,700, including rocket launchers, tunnels and terrorists' homes, he added.

"These efforts are bearing fruit while the Iron Dome almost completely neutralizes attempts to harm Israel's cities," he explained. "It seems that we have found a reasonable response to this threat."

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/21/hospital-hamas-isre...

More fake equivalence.

(#321444)
mmghosh's picture

Complaints about disproportionate responses.

We are now reconciled to the fact that in any conflict – even when we are exercising our right of self-defense – we will either be condemned or, at best, accused of acting disproportionately. However, the latest round of hypocrisy by Western leaders, including US President Barack Obama, beats all records.

The record, for the record, stands at 350-7.  That seems pretty disproportionate.  Robert Fisk on collective memory loss.

The Israelis of Sederot are coming under rocket fire from the Palestinians of Gaza and now the Palestinians are getting their comeuppance. Sure. But wait, how come all those Palestinians – all 1.5 million – are crammed into Gaza in the first place? Well, their families once lived, didn’t they, in what is now called Israel? And got chucked out – or fled for their lives – when the Israeli state was created.

And – a drawing in of breath is now perhaps required – the people who lived in Sederot in early 1948 were not Israelis, but Palestinian Arabs. Their village was called Huj. Nor were they enemies of Israel. Two years earlier, these same Arabs had actually hidden Jewish Haganah fighters from the British Army. But when the Israeli army turned up at Huj on 31 May 1948, they expelled all the Arab villagers – to the Gaza Strip! Refugees, they became. David Ben Gurion (Israel’s first Prime Minister) called it an “unjust and unjustified action”. Too bad. The  Palestinians of Huj were never allowed back.

And today, well over 6,000 descendants of the Palestinians from Huj – now Sederot – live in the squalor of Gaza, among the “terrorists” Israel is claiming to destroy and who are shooting at what was Huj. Interesting story.

Finally, the solution will have to come via a negotiated settlement.  So why not sit down now?

That Was a Very, Very Fascinating Read...Thanks, Brutu...nt

(#321465)

Traveller

Hamas Can Stop Shooting Whenever It Wants To

(#321449)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Given that the exchange it started is going so badly, it might be well advised to do so--since the logic of your argument suggests that continuing to shoot is just resulting in them suffering disproportionate casualties. Even if our favorite gang of terrorist enablers insist on handing weapons to them.

Edit: This is actually an accusation I hadn't heard before, and further reduces my inclination to blame Israel. If Hamas is indeed preventing evacuation of civilians from areas it is firing from, then every single death that results from that blockage is on their heads and their heads alone (and it goes without saying that Dershowitz's description of the media passively acting as conduits of Hamas propaganda is correct).

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Artillery shells don't zig-zag around the sky

(#321446)
brutusettu's picture

and land outside populated areas.

IDF is more than willing to take out Hamas' human shields.

 

For every 100 rockets Hamas fires, Israel should fire 99 rounds into the desert and one toward where they really want the shells to land.  That would be more proportionate. 

zig-zagging shells? That's not how it works.

(#321468)

The way it works is 107mm rockets are placed on makeshift devices for directing the rocket flight, sandbags will do. Then a time fuse is lit and the rocketeer leaves. Tactically the result is low-trajectory, inaccurate fire; doesn't hit much but defeats iron dome and the shooter is long gone if counter fire is employed.
So there you are, Brut in A$$crack, Ohio and some dude is lighting off ordnance in your street for a cause you might give a crap about. How do you react ?. Now, how do you feel about when 5 minutes after those rockets fly a battery of howitzers will counterfire on the point of origin of those rockets? Add to that that the guy firing the rockets sees a big advantage to counterfire killing your kids.
Hate is good, just make sure it's informed hate.

In the medical community, death is known as Chuck Norris Syndrome. 

Artillery shells almost always fly true

(#321473)
brutusettu's picture

rockets w/o guidance have some that meander around w/o setting themselves straight.

 

----the zig-zagging rockets I saw must have been the Iron Dome Anti-Missile System.  I didn't see the missile battery in an earlier video.  Another video shows one of those things whizzing around before going at it's target.

 

 

No one has taken over Ohio, made its population stateless, limited Ohioans movements,  etc.   So it would be kinda of weird for someone to set off rockets toward parts of Ohio that weren't reclaimed.   I wouldn't expect any conscript to fire anti-personnel weapons my way if that Ohioan could shoot off a rocket and get to safety before a shell came down.

 

Anyway, if Hamas can set-up and fire those rockets and be far enough away before the IDF returns fire.  It would seem to weird to fire at empty space or humans shields.   Waste of ammo at the least, it would seem.

Morality Doesn't Require A Mirror Image

(#321452)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Particularly since Hamas is trying to randomly murder Israeli citizens, and Israel is shooting back trying to hit Hamas (who intentionally hides among civilians). Not Israel's problem if this leads to more casualties on the Palestinian side.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

The suicide donkey was a delicate touch.

(#321447)

I was going to call it a suicide donkey, too,

(#321450)
Bird Dog's picture

but that would imply that the donkey was so immersed in militant Islamism that it chose to carry the pack of explosives. There may be humans with the intelligence of a donkey who would strap on a suicide belt, but I don't think that a donkey would choose to be an adherent to any variations of Islam. I do think that Hamas needs to be reported to the SPCA.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Now They'll Have PETA On Their @$$

(#321451)
M Scott Eiland's picture

Which would be one time to root for MAD.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Palestinians Exploding Terrified Asses.

(#321469)

-ba-ching

Now they're using Animal Shields!

(#321448)
brutusettu's picture

Still not as creative as the Bat Bomb.

 

 

 

"They used this donkey as a human shield, or an animal shield, if you like," said Major Arye Shalicar, an army spokesman. "Anything, an animal or an international building, that can help make use of innocent people or international [citizens], they will use it. We see it time and again."

Hamas' Human Shields are having trouble finding safe houses to avoid getting blown up.

 

 

(wearily) Why not just fight it out? Get it over with, endlich

(#321445)

und immer.  Anyone who believes this will be settled by Sitting Down has not been paying attention for the last four or five decades.

The brave ambulance workers of Gaza.

(#321328)
mmghosh's picture

Link

Abuelkas does not know what exactly to expect when he steps out of the van. The moment he arrives, people run towards him, screaming, "Ambulance, come here, come here!" The people here expect another Israeli air strike to hit at any minute, and they are frantically trying to evacuate the women and children.

Maybe they Sould Beg Hamas instead of Ambulance Drivers...

(#321330)

...they reason they don't is because Hamas would murder them as disenters and not standing up for the cause.

 

Can you deny this?

 

Gaza is a prison but constructed entirely by Hamas.

 

Traveller

Sure, Putting the Blame Where it Belongs...Easy...

(#321333)

....Gazan's have to take an active part in their own lives...your comparison was inapt...it is Hamas that are Nazi's, the Gazan's are like the German people shutting their eyes to where they are being led.

 

Traveller

The blame lies about 60:40::Israel:Hamas

(#321343)
mmghosh's picture

in my reckoning, maybe more. 

The most immediate cause of this latest war has been ignored: Israel and much of the international community placed a prohibitive set of obstacles in the way of the Palestinian “national consensus” government that was formed in early June.

 

That government was created largely because of Hamas’s desperation and isolation. The group’s alliance with Syria and Iran was in shambles. Its affiliation with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt became a liability after a July 2013 coup replaced an ally, President Mohamed Morsi, with a bitter adversary, Gen. Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Hamas’s coffers dried up as General Sisi closed the tunnels that had brought to Gaza the goods and tax revenues on which it depended.

 

Seeing a region swept by popular protests against leaders who couldn’t provide for their citizens’ basic needs, Hamas opted to give up official control of Gaza rather than risk being overthrown. Despite having won the last elections, in 2006, Hamas decided to transfer formal authority to the Palestinian leadership in Ramallah. That decision led to a reconciliation agreement between Hamas and the Palestine Liberation Organization, on terms set almost entirely by the P.L.O. chairman and Palestinian Authority president, Mahmoud Abbas.

 

Israel immediately sought to undermine the reconciliation agreement by preventing Hamas leaders and Gaza residents from obtaining the two most essential benefits of the deal: the payment of salaries to 43,000 civil servants who worked for the Hamas government and continue to administer Gaza under the new one, and the easing of the suffocating border closures imposed by Israel and Egypt that bar most Gazans’ passage to the outside world.

Yet, in many ways, the reconciliation government could have served Israel’s interests. It offered Hamas’s political adversaries a foothold in Gaza; it was formed without a single Hamas member; it retained the same Ramallah-based prime minister, deputy prime ministers, finance minister and foreign minister; and, most important, it pledged to comply with the three conditions for Western aid long demanded by America and its European allies: nonviolence, adherence to past agreements and recognition of Israel.

---

Instead, after Hamas transferred authority to a government of pro-Western technocrats, life in Gaza became worse.

 

Qatar had offered to pay Gaza’s 43,000 civil servants, and America and Europe could have helped facilitate that. But Washington warned that American law prohibited any entity delivering payment to even one of those employees — many thousands of whom are not members of Hamas but all of whom are considered by American law to have received material support from a terrorist organization.

When a United Nations envoy offered to resolve this crisis by delivering the salaries through the United Nations, so as to exclude all parties from legal liability, the Obama administration did not assist. Instead, it stood by as Israel’s foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, called for the envoy’s expulsion on the grounds that he was “trying to funnel money” to Hamas.

The excellent Cole on why Hamas rockets and IDF assault are not

(#321327)
mmghosh's picture

equivalent.

The supposedly deadly little rockets fired from the Gaza Strip have killed or injured no Israelis, though they have done some property damage. In fact, those rockets have no guidance systems and very seldom hit anything, mostly landing in the desert.

Nevertheless, Reuters and other agencies (or their headline writers) routinely equate deadly Israeli airstrikes with sophisticated American fighter jets with small dumb rockets, some of them the sort of thing that could be made with an 8th grade chemistry set. And, of course, Palestinian lives are cheap and their 53 dead and (150) wounded don’t count. That no Israelis have been killed is not mentioned because it would interfere with the narrative of violent Palestinians and victimized Israelis (it is mostly the other way around).

In general, since 2010 Palestinians have killed 28 Israelis, while Israelis have killed 575 Palestinians. In general, it is the Israelis who have poor little Gaza blockaded and “on a diet” and not the other way around.

Gaza numbers over 200 dead.

Don't Start A Gunfight With A Knife -nt-

(#321362)
M Scott Eiland's picture

.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

James Coburn

(#321375)

begs to differ.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Indeed

(#321376)
M Scott Eiland's picture

But no one would have had much sympathy for him if he had been shot full of holes in the attempt and started whining about how unfair it was. Perhaps the sentence should read, "If you start a gunfight with a knife, the consequences are on your head."

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

And who started what?

(#321382)

That's not quite as clear cut as some people proclaim. It's educational in a way though. The need amongst Israels supporters to come up with a moral justification for it's actions provides a fascinating look into human nature. 

Indeed

(#321380)

but the same can be said for anyone who goes to a gunfight with a gun as well. Outside of Hollywood, simply putting a hole in a person does not guarantee that they won't go ahead and empty their magazine in your direction anyway.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

I believe the cliche you're looking for is

(#321377)

"Don't let your ass outrun your mouth."  Israel talks most tough 'n badass-like about whacking Hamas.  Let's see those IDF pogues get into Gaza City into some close-quarters battle.  They won't go into Gaza City.  Hamas knows Israel can whack them from the air all day long and with every bomb Israel drops, it's that much cred they're losing.   Hamas has already proven its point:  it can fire a missile anywhere it wants into Israel and everyone scuttles into the bomb shelter.   Israel cannot buy protection from the way the Palestinian people feel.   And the harder the Israelis whack them, the worse it gets for Israel.

I loathe that expression. It's dumb all over.

(#321371)

A knife doesn't need to be reloaded.   

Throwing Knives Do

(#321378)
M Scott Eiland's picture

And Hamas ain't Britt.* Their shots aren't one shot kills.

* Hat tip to my fellow troika member Jordan.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

Erm, that little pen knife would not penetrate a sternum.

(#321381)

This, however, will.  And they are not thrown.  And they worked just fine against people with guns.  

He Couldn't Have Picked Off A Bandit On A Horse. . .

(#321385)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .at full gallop over a hundred yards away, either, even accidentally:

[Britt has just shot a fleeing bandit off his horse]

Chico: Ah, that was the greatest shot I've ever seen.

Britt: The worst! I was aiming at the horse.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

It's all in the wrist. -nt-

(#321384)

.

"Hell is truth seen too late." --Thomas Hobbes

Hollywood was always a bit pansy-ass about killing.

(#321386)

When actual people are shot or stuck, they take a good long while to die.  Unless you're incredibly lucky and knock the brains out of their skulls, they'll stick around.  And they shoot back.  Hollywood pantywaists would like you to believe the dying just stand there with their eyes bugging out, sagging slowly to the ground and out of the frame.  Well they don't.  They do a lot of screaming, mostly.  You'd think Hollywood would find that dramatic tension quite useful to the story line.  Sadly, we don't get much of that.  Be kinda instructive, to show how little actual bravery and how much luck there is in warfare.  Military recruitment might fall a bit, but then, we'd have fewer billy badass morons in uniform and that would be a good thing.

Strawman

(#321348)
Bird Dog's picture

Since this equivalency that Cole claims to see is in his own mind. That Hamas is isn't very good at killing Jews does not mean that every rocket they launch is not a terrorist attack.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

No, the equivalence is promoted by the media

(#321350)
mmghosh's picture

by enablers.

By singling out the rocket strikes out of context, without reference to either the recent history of negotiation sabotage and violation of international agreements by the Israeli side.

Here's some equivalence

(#321359)
Bird Dog's picture

From the NYT report on the four Palestinian kids who were killed by Israeli rockets:

At the Bakr family house on Wednesday afternoon, women wept and wailed. One cursed both Israel and Hamas. Another, Nasreen al-Bakr, noted quietly that Hamas had killed 10 of her family members in factional fighting.

That sounds about right. Hamas has killed 2.5 times more Palestinians than Israelis have.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Really?

(#321356)
Bird Dog's picture

Here's a typical news report.

Since midnight, 24 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire across Gaza, including three teenagers and a five-month-old baby, raising to 265 the number of Gazans killed since Israel launched its attacks on July 8.

An Israeli soldier was also among the dead, the army said.

It seems to me that the media is trying to draw distinctions, not equivalency, between the lethalities of the respective groups. Oh, and how can one side engage in good-faith negotiations when the other side does not have the good faith to acknowledge the other's right to exist? If you're so interested in negotiations and diplomacy, then you should be in the corner of those who desire the immediate destruction of Hamas and its removal from power in the Palestinian territories.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Good faith. Sorry, I find that phrase hilarious.

(#321358)

Where did that expression ever gain credence?  It's the dumbest of all political expressions.  Here's why:

 

Now, I believe you're a good guy, often said so.  I strongly suspect you feel the same way about me, not to get too buddy-buddy about it, for we are always opposed on this issue and that and have quarrelled for years.   Good faith means I have faith in you, for you have earned it over time.  Good faith does not mean I'm a great guy or that you are, either.  Nor does it mean I think you're a great guy, nor vice-versa.  "Good faith" means I believe you say what you mean and can be relied upon to back your statements with some evidence - which you reliably do.

 

Israel does not operate in Good Faith, with the USA or with anyone else.  It routinely breaks its word.  I do not trust Israel.  It's said one thing and done another for far too long for me to take them on Good Faith terms.  They haven't earned my faith, as you have.

 

But nobody can operate on Good Faith terms with Hamas, they're monstrous liars and murderers, all sorts of crimes can be laid to them.  Therein lies the great equivalence here, that neither Israel nor Hamas can be trusted.

And yet,

(#321360)
Bird Dog's picture

Israel has abided by the accords it has made with neighboring nations. The difference since 2006 is that a terrorist organization controls Gaza. Any negotiations while Hamas is in charge is a farce.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Israel did not abide by its commitments to the USA.

(#321361)

How many lies of convenience must Israel tell us, how many more settlements will they build, against our advice or consent - before you come to distrust the State of Israel - as I do?

The Oslo accords have been dead since the 2nd intifada

(#321373)
Bird Dog's picture

I don't see where Israel is violating a commitment. I do see where they are acting against U.S. wishes. FTR, I don't agree with how Netanyahu is doing it, but I'm not going to have kittens about it while Hamas holds political and military power. I also don't see Obama U.S. having kittens about it, either. If he did have a litter, he'd be withholding some or all of the billions we send them in aid.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Please. Aid to Israel is the Third Rail of American politics.

(#321374)

If anyone dared to cut aid to Israel, we know who would be Having the Proverbial Cow.  All these ignorant-ass Republicans and their spittle-flecked Millenialist mad prophets.  Say it ain't so.

Of course, any aid cut won't happen through 2016

(#321391)
Bird Dog's picture

Because doing so would take political courage. Even so, the issue is being raised, as it should.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Cole is an Apologist, Never Said Equlivant, But Murderous Intent

(#321329)

....Hamas would rather smuggle in ineffective rockets than care for their own people. This is the true narrative that Cole refuses to acknowledge.

 

The Palestinians of Gaza are violent and intent on murdering Israelis if possible.

 

Regardless of antecedent causes, can you deny the above. Can Cole? If the Israeli blockade were lifted, is there any doubt that the Palestinians would import even more effect murder weapons.

 

You can't get around this truth can you?

 

Travelller

Argument unimpressive. All combatants get weaponry.

(#321332)
mmghosh's picture

And always have, all over the world.  Military regimes, theocratic dictatorships, single party "democracies" such as Hamas-ruled Gaza, tyrannies and so forth do this, and very often when their own people are uncared for.  

 

Even in some advanced and civilised nations not under actual military attack, military expenditure far outspends welfare spending.

 

So what?  You decide you want to colonise an area populated by murderous enemies.  That they are your murderous enemies is well known to you before you start the colonisation process, but you go through with it anyway, because you think your God has given you a right to the land.  All well and good, but it makes sense (or should make sense) that you negotiate some form of a settlement with said murderous population when you do so.  And allow peace to be maintained in the region, and indirectly the world.

 

A negotiated settlement means weapons stay unused. 

Then Stop Complaining...They are Combatants, People Die...War On

(#321334)

Traveller

Not at All, (Re Lord) People of Good Faith Need to Move Forward

(#321340)

...Hamas has not, (imo).

 

Abbas seems a world statesman by comparison...and maybe is.

 

You act as though people can't distinguish between Palestinian groups...we can and do. It is our duty as smart people.

 

Traveller

Yet world stateman Abbas has not been able to slow down

(#321342)
mmghosh's picture

the West Bank settlements.  Settlement building is continued, direct and deliberate provocation, which has gone on in spite of near universal condemnation.

 

Technically, yes, the Palestinians cannot win until they get strong backing - Egypt, or Saudia or elsewhere, and in all probability are condemned to genocide and total expropriation, as Israel has nuclear weapons.  

 

Yet there are demographics to consider.  And the Islamic world around Israel may yet discover a charismatic, energetic and effective leader - of which there have been several in the past.  A negotiated settlement is the prudent step to take.

 

 

It is Egypt that Refused to Take Gaza Back

(#321344)

the Egyptians wanted nothing to do with Palestinians...as to the settlements...I support those that surround East Jerusalem...as you know distances are very close, you can see Bethlehem from the Old City....I want and expect Israel to keep all of East Jerusalem...it cannot be entrusted to Palestinians...we have seen across the Middle East Christian Patrimony being destroyed by Islamists.

 

So there has to be some basic understanding before peace can be approached...No Right of Return, No East Jerusalem...no near Western edge of the Jordan River.

 

Someone has to be honest about this....I'm just telling your the truth.

 

And your position is?

 

Spell it out...as I have been honest enough to do.

 

Traveller

The Palestinians are not Egyptians

(#321345)
mmghosh's picture

so why would Egypt want to take on Gaza, and especially now?

 

What do I want?  There are several UN-based agreements, starting with the Rabin-Arafat accords, up and until the most recent accords brokered by the UN.

 

What is the problem with adhering to conventional international agreements?

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli-Palestinian_peace_process

Blockade Could be Eased, War Over, If Hama Stopped Importing...

(#321294)

...offensive weapons and allowed verification of this.

 

Children die in war, why are you surprised? Why are the weeping parents and relatives surprised? This is to be expected, if not their children, then others certainly.

 

And why does no news source when doing an interview, and I've seen a dozen of them, ask about the smuggling in of these rockets into Gaza?

 

Is this a good use of the time and resources of Hamas?

 

Do they actually think Israel will lift the blockade, or that the world the world will impose an outside will, when Hamas will simply import more and more deadly rockets?

 

Tel Aviv is a nice place...Gaza not so much, missiles falling on the beauty of Tel Aviv...bad thing, something to be avoided.

Dead children, bad thing, take it up with Hamas and the 10,000 missiles they have smuggled into Gaza.

 

Maybe these kids should have talked to their dads about this before venturing out in a war zone.

 

Traveller

 

Children die in war, and I'm not surprised - merely observing.

(#321300)
mmghosh's picture

As for importing offensive weapons, the Syrian "freedom fighters" have being doing so in spades, as have the Contras, UNITA and indeed the Haganah and Irgun Zvai Leumi and so forth in the past. 

 

We seem to have conveniently forgotten the supplying of offensive weapons to the Afghan mujahideen, as Islamic and fundamentalist as any present-day terror group.  What is so uniquely different about Hamas?

 

The rocket attacks are negotiating strategies.  Of course, israel is fully within its rights to disregard them and invade Gaza - even to incorporate the state of Gaza into Israel.

Doesn't every nation justify its use of force by tautology?

(#321302)

The rocket strategies are what we call Suicide by Cop here in the USA.  That is unique.

Every rocket fired from Gaza is a terrorist attack because...

(#321152)
Bird Dog's picture

...their aim is so bad that they don't know who or what they're going to hit. Not that it matters because, according to Hamas, every single Israeli is a legitimate target. Are you suggesting that Israel do nothing when hundreds of rockets are fired onto its sovereign territory?

Yes, Hamas is unequal compared to the Israeli military, but is that supposed to mean something? If the Israeli government were serious about killing Palestinians in general, which they're not, it would be an unmitigated slaughter.

If or when the day comes that the Palestinian leadership grows up and decides that coexistence with Israel is better than this limbo, there will be peace. So far, the Palestinian leadership has made its choice to not grow up.

As for what Palestinian say on the comment sites of their periodicals, who can tell, but I think it's reasonable to speculate that they're no less violent.

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Of course Israel should do something.

(#321169)
mmghosh's picture

I'm suggesting that killing over 100 Palestinian men, women and children, bombing mosques and disability centres isn't the way.

 

Also, international criticism of Israel is pretty muted.

Do what, exactly?

(#321174)
Bird Dog's picture

How do you stop hundreds of rockets from landing on your soil, by a group that has a charter that calls for your destruction?

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Simplistic

(#321249)
Bird Dog's picture

How do you negotiate with a group when that group denies your right to exist?

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

This is false

(#321296)
Bird Dog's picture

Surrender or conquest is a form of resolution if the antagonist continues to deny the other's right to exist. That, or the antagonist changes its position, which Hamas is unlikely to do.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Nonsense. The onus is on the coloniser to ensure that the

(#321299)
mmghosh's picture

existing people living on the land are not expropriated or disenfranchised.

 

They may choose not to consider it an onus but simply go on expropriating anyway.  Under those circumstances all bets are off, more or less.  As with Mangas Coloradas, for example, or Birsa Munda.

 

The only reason Israel vacated the Gaza settlements was because of the opposition of the Palestinians.

 

 

While there's a note of truth in that, consider this:

(#321301)

Ordinary Israelis are at wits' end.  It's a maddening situation.  Their nation was established as a homeland for Jews.  If I were to extract "Jews" from that sentence, making it into a variable, that allows for any String value to appended at runtime.  Such a rationale doesn't create a Nation so much as it creates a Reservation.

 

Reservations for Jews.  Reservations for Palestinians.  Reservations for tribes in the Amazon, reservations for the Andamanese.  No end to this sort of thing:  reservations are not really nations at all.  They always exist in the shadow of some Real Nation.  Reservations impose segregation by fiat.  All these nationalistic types, some of them vicious racists, others just mild-mannered Do-Gooders (the curse of the world)  - all of them saying "We need a reservation for Our People.  

 

String sRationale = "We need a homeland for the " + someRacistConvention.ourPeople();

 

Israel just didn't leave Gaza because they were opposed by the Palestinians.  The Jewish settlers in Gaza and the Palestinian people they employed are still angry about that forcible resettlement.  Israel withdrew because it was wanted a clear delineation point, so Israel wouldn't have to defend their hapless settlers.  Hamas wants the Gaza to be a Palestinian Reservation, with themselves in charge.  Hamas murdered everyone who dared to oppose them:  Christians, the PA officials, anyone, they'd drag them out in the street and shoot them.

 

Reservation thinking.  Concentration camp thinking.  A prisoner's worst enemy is another prisoner, that's what Solzhenitsyn said.  

 

The State of Israel and the State of Palestine aren't states.  They're reservations.

Blaise Got it Right Up Thread...Wars...

(#321209)

....are Settled by Exhaustion.

..neither side has reached that point of extremis yet....and neither side has anywhere to go.

So dance they will, as dance they must.

 

Eventually, one side will concede the essential points of Right of Return, control of East Jerusalem, and the far end of the edge of the River Jordan as it flows South (water rights and control of the source of the water). These are the issues...everything else is posturing, even most of the Settlements.

 

These questions give meaning and weight to people's lives...the tragedy is not such a tragedy if it makes you alive, (then it is a thing sought).

 

We will see.

 

Best Wishes, Traveller

 

Edit: I will parenthetically add, I have visited both sides, I was treated well, I enjoyed the West Bank and the Golan, (the Syrian village of Madjam al Shams), as I did Israel proper...everyone I met wanted peace...but nada.

Manish There is an Elegant Solution to Be Had in this I/P War

(#321233)

...I say "this," thinking of it as one of many.

Here is the Deal to be Made....

...international inspection of an agreement brokered by Egypt to dismantle Hamas Rockets, and once this offensive capability is achieved much as was the destruction of Chemical Weapons in Syria, then there would be a substantial lifting of the blockade of Gaza.

 

A good deal for everyone; even Egypt which gains in stature and legitimacy of the current Military Government.

 

Just call me a lawyer.

 

Best Wishes, Traveller

Hey, Hey! Egypt and Everyone is STEALING My Idea...

(#321238)

 

...no, I have no copyright protection on my earlier post...But Geeze, these guys could not have been in a more indecent hurry to commit theft from me...!

 

Well, I guess if it saves lives it's Okay...(Palestinian lives? {I joke, I joke})

 

Abbas, in a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, on Monday asked that an urgent meeting of the Security Council be convened to respond to his request for international protection under U.N. auspices of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Former Israeli Ambassador to the United State Michael Oren, current chair of international diplomacy at IDC Herzliya, said during a conference call with reporters that “Israel has taken a brave and prudent step by creating diplomatic context to the military operation.”

The next steps toward ensuring a lasting cease-fire are not inevitable, but are likely to include a demand for some demilitarization of the Gaza Strip similar to the way Syria gave up its chemical weapons arsenal, Oren said.

"Hamas can go the way of [Syrian President] Bashar [Assad] and become more a part of the solution than the problem," he said. "If Hamas demilitarizes, lets inspectors take out the long-range rockets... Hamas could still be a player. Not an armed player but still there.”

 

Best Wishes, Traveller

Nice idea. It'll never be accepted. Here's why:

(#321239)

Hamas is in serious trouble, politically and financially. Politically, because Hamas hasn't been able to improve the lot of the ordinary Gazan, financially, because Iran has withdrawn its funding.  Hamas needs this war to stimulate its donor base in the Gulf States and KSA.

 

Iran once found Hamas a useful enough proxy against Israel.  The Eye of Iran's Sauron has turned elsewhere.  Iran's opinion has radically changed in light of the ISIS caliphate now appearing in Iraq and Syria.  Iran has pulled Hizb'allah's trigger, Iran's only military threat in the region, backing the Syrian state.  Problem is, Hizb'allah has not been able to change the outcome of that situation.  Every day new installments of the Syrian Soap Opera arrive on the set and everyone's trying to master the script.  Hamas has largely been written out.

 

Hamas will go on firing rockets until it runs out.  It has no choice.

 

In the absence of external support for Hamas, Israel has now seized its chance to give Hamas a beatdown in 4/4 time.  If Israel succeed in disarming Hamas, as they disarmed and shamed the PLO in Beirut, it would be the end of Gaza as we know it.  It would become another West Bank, actually, come to think of it, Gaza might become another Jordan, a junior partner in the Israeli economic engine.  You do realise Israel has special economic zones in Jordan and Egypt.  It's as old Drill Instructor McFarlane informed us all those years ago, in his trembling, amphetamine-enhanced, rage-filled voice, "Men, you play ball with me, I'll play ball with you.  Don't want to play ball with me?  I'll shove the bat up your ass."

 

Israel is shoving that bat up Hamas' fundament and won't stop until it's just the knob sticking out.

Everyone is sick and tired of this I/P fight.

(#321172)

As for criticism of Israel, we must look to its current criticisers and defenders for why nobody intelligent has much to say.  Everyone with a clue understands such criticism or defence is pointless.  Israel has long since given up believing anyone will ever take a position against Israel's enemies.  It's all so tiresome and one-sided.  Poor, poor Palestinians.  Well, yes, they are poor and they are trodden-down by Israel's violence.   The dog who didn't bark in this situation is the one which says Hamas is also persecuting the Palestinians.  Of that violence, Israel's criticisers are strangely mute.

Israel is screwing this situation up, big time.

(#321156)

Allow me to stipulate to a few things first.  The guys who murdered those three Jewish kids are still on the loose and they need to be cornered and taken out.  Those Jewish kids who burned that Palestinian kid to death, same story.  Israel can't tolerate any of that sort of evil:  it's only grist for the Mill of Madness.

 

All this happened on the West Bank.  None of it happened in Gaza.  Israel is enraged, blames Hamas, probably with good reason.  But whacking anyone in the Gaza is only reinforcing Hamas' mandate.  Every time Israel strikes Gaza, Hamas earns much cred - and that is exactly the last thing anyone should want - more cred for Hamas, that death cult.  What's more, it creates shuhada martyrs, the greatest compliment anyone can pay to these nihilistic cretins.  Big funerals, everyone weepin' and shoutin' - Israel in its anger has lost its good sense and been played for chumps.  That conclusion is a stone cold fact.

The rockets flying into Israel are coming from where, exactly?

(#321173)
Bird Dog's picture

I agree completely with your first paragraph. The problem is that, although the triple murder occurred in the West Bank, the prime suspects are Hamas members. What's more, Hamas and Fatah are now a unity government and have been so for months.

I've heard a lot about what Israel shouldn't do, but I haven't heard any better alternatives. They have a right to stop rockets from exploding onto their territory. They warned Hamas to stop doing it, and Hamas & Co. kept doing it, so I don't have a problem with a proportionate response to deter future rocket attacks. This time around, there are too many other militant Islamists in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, all behaving badly, and nobody has patience with Hamas. They should just give up and sue for peace because, as militants, they suck at it. They should try something else, like governing, building a state and living peaceably with its neighbors.

Another thing. We're seeing how Hamas and the Palestinians are doing it wrong and how another group in the Middle East is doing it right, namely the Kurds.

What if, nine years ago, when Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza, the Palestinians had made a different choice. What if they chose to build the nucleus of a state, rather than a series of subterranean rocket factories?

This thought is prompted by something a pair of Iraqi Kurdish leaders once told me. Iraqi Kurdistan is today on the cusp of independence. Like the Palestinians, the Kurds deserve a state. Unlike most of the Palestinian leadership, the Kurds have played a long and clever game to bring them to freedom.

This is what Barham Salih, the former prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, told me years ago: “Compare us to other liberation movements around the world. We are very mature. We don’t engage in terror. We don’t condone extremist nationalist notions that can only burden our people. Please compare what we have achieved in the Kurdistan national-authority areas to the Palestinian national authority. … We have spent the last 10 years building a secular, democratic society, a civil society.” What, he asked, have the Palestinians built?

It takes maturity to sit across the table, acknowledge that the other side has a right to exist, and make compromises. The Israelis have done it with Egypt and Jordan. Hamas and the Palestinians don't have that maturity. Politically, they're a bunch of children having a decades long temper tantrum. As long as the Israelis aren't too brutal in trying to stop the rocket attacks, no one of import is going to care about Hamas and the people who stupidly gave them power.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Goldberg's Kurdistan comparison is stupid

(#321177)

The Kurds got what they have through:  (a) long term armed resistance to the Iraqi government prior to 1991 including three full up wars:  1  2  3.   (b) a no-fly zone maintained by the US,  starting with the 1991 war and maintained by Clinton through periodic bombings of Iraq throughout his presidency,  (c) a US invasion in 2003 which allowed them to solidify their gains,  and (d) continuing to maintain a large military.  

 

"We don't engage in terror".  Sort of true. They have a large organized military that has been given the equipment required to do any necessary killing and destroying according to accepted standards,  and more importantly, we consider them allies,  and therefore by definition engaged in self-defense rather than terror.  However, if you google "Kurdish terrorism" you will plenty, just like you will for any other armed independence movement.

 

Making nice had almost nothing to do with it.

 

While we're at it, let's consider this sentence:

What if, nine years ago, when Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza, the Palestinians had made a different choice. What if they chose to build the nucleus of a state, rather than a series of subterranean rocket factories?

This statement is dishonest.  First,  it ignores why "Israel withdrew its soldiers and settlers from Gaza" in the first place - precisely because Hamas acquired anti-tank rockets and was using them,  making the occupation too costly to maintain.  If they had not acquired rockets,  (a) Gaza would still be occupied, and (b) the settlements in Gaza would have greatly increased in size.  We know that for a certainty because that's what happened in the West Bank. 

 

Second,  we know what Israel's response is when the rocket fire stops, because that's been tried also.  A blockade that includes limits on things like building materials and the quantity and quality of food (e.g., no pasta).

 

Goldberg is doing his part to make people believe that the withdrawal from Gaza was some kind of unrequited peace gesture by Israel, and that if the other side would "sue for peace", as you put it, they would be treated fairly.  That's nonsense.  Israel has only withdrawn from land when faced with serious armed resistance (Sinai-Eqypt,   South Lebanon-Hizbollah,  Gaza-Hamas).

 

 

 

If Palestinians weren't overrun by Hamas and other...

(#321247)
Bird Dog's picture

...terrorist organization, perhaps the US would side with the Palestinians. See the problem?

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Can the USA could tell Israel to stop building settlements?

(#321250)

It has tried.  Has Israel done anything to stop it?  No. 

Does this bother you?  You've said it doesn't.

Has the USA put money into the PA?  Yes it has, lots of money.  The PA is not a terrorist organisation.

 

While Israel goes on expanding the settlements, the situation will only get worse.  Do you see this as a problem?  Maybe you can clarify what you mean, here.  You can't have it both ways: either the settlements are a problem, I say they are, a great many Israelis say they are, the rest of the world says they are, all the Palestinians say they are.  But it doesn't bother you.  

To the extent that Hamas has a leadership role in the PA,

(#321260)
Bird Dog's picture

then the PA is a terrorist organization. And if Hamas--which is now part of the PA through its recent reconciliation--does not have the good faith to negotiate a lasting peace agreement with Israel, then price for this lack of good faith is the loss of territory via settlements. Hamas & Co. should really rethink its failed policy, spend more time building a nation and less time with its childish, immature antics.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Gosh. Abbas tells Hamas "Accept the Egyptian deal!"

(#321263)

Egypt and the Arab League says "Accept the deal!"  Does Hamas pay any mind?  Of course not.  So much for all that talk from Haaretz about recent reconciliation.  

 

I'm growing increasingly amused by all this talk about Islamic Terrorists.  So many silly children, sitting around a campfire, trying to give each other a scare, ginning up tales of bogeymen in the shadows.  These are real people. Hamas' violence is a direct reflection of the absolute nihilism arising from sixty-odd years of do-nothing politics from the Usual Suspects, sitting uneasily upon their gilded thrones, with whom half the world has whored and connived at one time or another to keep the Palestinians in a state of abjectest misery.  So, for that matter, is Al Qaeda and ISIS and all the rest of them.  They would be political non-entities if these idiotic nation-states would ever support something like a First Amendment.

 

The only way the Palestinians will ever be noticed is to shoot people.  Peaceful protest hasn't worked to stop the settlements.  Violence hasn't worked, either, but again, three generations of people, four, really, have been living in those camps.   You think they're supposed to be reasonable people.  Four generations of those camps will destroy anyone's patience.  Every man has his limits.  Nobody's unbreakable.  "Good faith", don't make me laugh - the only people who ever demonstrated any Good Faith with the Palestinians were Jimmy Carter and Saddam Hussein.  Everyone else craps on them.  

 

 

Having Hamas At A Table To Negotiate. . .

(#321261)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .peaceful coexistence between Israel and the Palestinians is like having the Taliban and Boko Haram co-host a conference on women's rights and educational opportunities.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

That's why they killed Rabin right?

(#321264)

Oh wait that was Israeli extremists who did that.

 

There are groups on both sides who for their own reasons want to sabotage any chance at peace. Trying to pin all the blame on Hamas is a nice way of trying to dodge around that. And make no mistake. Continued land confiscation and settlement construction is sabotaging the peace process.

The land thefts will continue until morale improves.

(#321266)

If a platoon of messianic jackasses moved into their back yards and took over, wonder how they'd react if some Third Party told 'em they really ought to Negotiate - or face complete eviction?   Probably get all Second Amendment on yez.  But Palestinians can't talk that way, oh no.  If they do, well, they're Turrists.

I don't agree. The Kurds are on the Americans' side.

(#321204)

Not the other way round.  The USA doesn't uniformly support the Kurds:  that's a huge simplification.  The Kurds are just a linguistic group.  They fight internally and many of them are Islamists, some serious troublemakers among them, not allied to the US or its causes.  Politically, the Kurds are composed of two major factions (Barzani and Talabani, neither of whom are entirely in the American camp) and several minor factions, including the PKK, intent upon raising hell in Turkey.

 

The difference between the Kurds and the Palestinians is fairly obvious.  The Kurds aren't Arabs.  By definition they aren't part of anyone's larger nation.  Turkey has crapped on them, forcing them into Turkish - Iran and Iraq, we know about their oppression of the Kurds, large numbers of Kurds in Syria, no shortage of them in Lebanon.  The Kurds have a large diaspora, too.

 

What is it with all this rhetoric about "If America" this and "If America" that?  I don't get it.  Do you really think the USA has any power to force people into a negotiated settlement?  It's crazy talk.  Did the USA fix the Kurdish problem in Iraq?  No, it bloody well didn't.  The Kurds are now operating on their own, breaking away from Iraq as fast as they can manage it.

 

The difference between the Kurds and the Palestinians is this:  the Palestinian leadership is stupid enough to think they're going to get their own nation.  They aren't.  Nobody will let them, any more than the Kurds will get one.  The Kurds are smart enough to know this and have achieved autonomy without going to the trouble of getting a name plate at the UN.  Not the Palestinians, those idiots.  They could have everything they wanted if they'd just play ball with anyone in the area.  Jordan hates them.  Egypt hates them.  Syria hates them.  Lebanon hates them.  They used to be Saddam Hussein's pets and enjoyed his hospitality.  The Shiites drove them out of their Soviet-style apartments on Route Irish.  Why do all these nations hate the Palestinians?  Because they aren't smart and strong enough put together a competent cabinet of anyone but bug-eyed jihaadis and ultra-corrupt effendis like Arafat.  The USA has no control over anyone over there.  Lay off the "If America" rhetoric.  It makes no sense.

Come on, Blaise. The USA has the big guns and the big money

(#321214)
mmghosh's picture

the blue water navies and satellites, more arms than almost the rest of the world put together and a history of intervening on every continent since well before we were born.  Remember the SEATO, CENTO et al pacts, where there were a few dressed up "allies"?  Well, now we have CENTCOM and AFRICOM and so forth, where allies do not even exist.

 

Are you suggesting that this fantastic and unprecedented concentration of wealth, power and military capacity is just sitting idly by and letting events roll over it?  I suggest that neither you nor I, nor anyone here has a real grip or understanding of the powers that control these titanic energies.  Well, maybe you understand your leaders a lot better than I do, but the vast majority of us in the ROW have almost no conception.   I am in awe simply of the firepower of the academics, a lowly lot in the USA.

 

So yes, "if America", then things happen, or can be made to happen.

I'm convinced you don't understand how this works.

(#321216)

Power may grow from the barrel of a gun but statecraft does not.  I am not merely suggesting, I am stating as a matter of absolute fact:  the USA cannot make quarrelling nations come to mutually amicable terms.  Yes, events roll over us, for all our power in the world at large.  Furthermore there's nothing the USA can do to stop any of it.  I am afraid your faith in American power is misguided.  We stand like Canute in the waves, ordering the incoming tide to retreat.

 

America grows increasingly weary and angry with all this madness in the world at large.  USA spent the last century being the superpower, not because it sought that role but because everyone else was busily destroying themselves.  From the wreckage of the world, it emerged as the last man standing.  Anyone else could have done what we did.  There was no magic to any of it.

 

I believe I do understand the powers which control these titanic energies.  It's simple physics.  Power varies as the inverse square of distance.  The USA can project power into every time zone, but only to the extent that it can whack something.  The USA become rather good at that part, whacking people.  America put all those GPS and telecommunications satellites in orbit, perfected the drone, tried to do the right thing, as Lincoln said "With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

 

But Lincoln was talking about his own nation, binding up his own nation's wounds.  What hubris, what lunacy could lead America to believe it could bind up another nation's wounds?  I grow older, I grow bitter and deeply alienated.  The world has leaned on America too long.  We have become an excuse for these other nations and peoples to do nothing.  Weak, silly, contemptible people, Sofa Sophists - the "If America" crowd makes me want to strike them with my open palm and get within two inches of their little faces and tell them to Grow the Hell Up and Quit Whining.

Given The Known History Of US Foreign Policy. . .

(#321215)
M Scott Eiland's picture

. . .I'd say that the US would have made sure that their "ally" wasn't being politically represented by a group whose long-stated ambitions involve wiping out a nuclear power in the Middle East (and whose practices included firing rockets at the civilian population centers of said nuclear power), even if it meant giving the leadership of said organization ballistic lobotomies until they got the message that their approach needed changing.

The universe may well have been created without a point--that doesn't imply that we can't give it one.

The Kurds had a choice after Saddam was taken out,

(#321190)
Bird Dog's picture

and they chose wisely. They didn't launch strikes against Shiites or Sunnis, they negotiated with the Iraqi government, and they made compromises. They didn't fight above their weight by threatening or attacking Turkey or Iran for the Kurdish areas within those respective countries. Now that the Iraqi government is collapsing because of al Maliki's misrule, the Kurds might as well strike out on their own . Hamas doesn't even have the good faith to acknowledge that the people on the side of the table have a right to exist.

As for the blockade, there wasn't one prior to 2007, and there's a reason why Israel implemented one. Hamas can only blame themselves for the imposition of that blockade.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Actually, the Kurds did launch attacks on the Sunni.

(#321211)

You see, Saddam had moved loads of his own tribal buddies into prime Iraqi farmland, evicting the Kurds who just happened to be living on that land.  With the fall of Saddam, the Kurds ruthlessly evicted all those Sunni Arabs.

Yes, there was

(#321195)

Israel blocked both sea and air access,  despite an agreement not to do so.    That's a blockade.   Singapore and Japan would not do very well if one blocked sea and air access. 

Israel started the blockade in 2007, after Hamas won an...

(#321246)
Bird Dog's picture

...election and proceeded to violently seize control of Gaza. Prior to that, Israel imposed trade and other restrictions after the 2000 intifada, then loosened them in 2005 after they withdrew from the territory. The point is that Gaza has the potential to be economically successful if it weren't shackled by Hamas and its distorted priorities.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

And one more stupid comparison

(#321181)
Jay C's picture

Goldberg's notion of the economic viability of Gaza:

 

Gaza is centrally located between two large economies, those of Israel and Egypt. Europe is just across the Mediterranean. Gaza could have easily attracted untold billions in economic aid.

is, to be charitable, an exercise in wishful thinking. Unlike a putative "Kurdistan", neither Gaza nor the West Bank have any oil, or for that matter, any other natural resources worth anything. Of those "large economies" he mentions, Egypt's is chronically (and structurally) shaky itself, and, except (perhaps) as a source of cheaply exploitable labor, it's hard to see where Israel can get much, economically speaking, out of Gaza in any instance. "Europe" has its own issues, and it's easy to see why those "billions" in aid are "untold" - outside (maybe) of, say, a permanent Saudi/Gulf welfare program, what would be the return?

Hong Kong has no natural resources,

(#321191)
Bird Dog's picture

nor Singapore, nor Japan. How ever did they become prosperous?

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Japan, back in the day

(#321193)
Jay C's picture

tended to go out and conquer their needed resources: and/or traded for them til they developed a modern economy which could generate prosperity on its own. Hong Kong and Singapore both got their start as British trade emporia - back in an era when being regional centers for British trade was a much bigger deal than it is nowadays. I don't think Gaza has quite the same opportunities....

True about Japan,

(#321242)
Bird Dog's picture

but you're ignoring 70 years of recent history.

There are plenty of other examples of successful economies that lack natural resources. Gaza has a nice piece of the Mediterranean coast, if they'll take advantage of it.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Gaza is a crowded, stinking pit.

(#321243)

When the border crossings shut down, it becomes a concentration camp for all intents and purposes.  The airport is dead.  There's no seaport.  Who's going to invest in Gaza?  

It is...now

(#321251)
Bird Dog's picture

Gaza has a seaport and plans for a bigger one had Hamas not went belligerent. Historically, it had a busy port various times. With a stable government that doesn't fire rockets at its neighbor and allows a measure of freedom and rule of law for its inhabitants, I suggest that investors and such will show up.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Really? Let's take a look.

(#321254)

Port of Gaza

 

Pitiful little thing.  No working cranes.  No warehouses, no RoRo capabilities.  It's a crappy little enclosure built on the bones of Pompey's breakwater.

 

Now let's take a look at a real port.  Port of Haifa.  'Nuff said.  A picture is worth a thousand words, in this case, two pictures gives this argument the heave-ho.  

Not the point

(#321258)
Bird Dog's picture

The point is that Gaza has the potential for economic success. Stipulated that it sucks now. Everybody knows that.

Gaza Fishery harbor can be easily developed in order to facilitate the transport of goods and humans out and back to Gaza through a maritime corridor between Gaza and Cyprus, Israel's fears and objections over who would control the port and inspect the cargo could be handled by international monitors deployed at the port.

They can have a seaport with a semi-functional government that isn't run by terrorists, if they chose, and there were two nations willing to financially back new construction.

The French and Dutch government had committed themselves to the construction of a seaport in Gaza and to training port personnel. The contract for the project had been agreed between the Palestinian Authority and the European Gaza Development group, a consortium comprising a Dutch company, Ballast Nedam, and a French company, Spie Batignolles. France has also put in a grant element of US $20 million.

But who's going to do business in an area with terrorists in charge?

What did Haifa look like 50 years ago? Did Israel rely on its abundance of natural resources for its economy to prosper? It was only recently that they found natural gas.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

I'm afraid it is the point, BD.

(#321265)

All this talk of building a port in Gaza is just so much feel-good empty talk to assuage a few consciences.  Between Israel and Egypt, they're running a concentration camp.  You don't like Hamas?  I don't like Hamas.  They're a death cult.  You might, at some point, contemplate what might drive people to turn into such monsters.  You can go on hollering about Wicked Old Turrists until you're blue in the face.  These people have reasons for the way they think.  You might not like those reasons.  Lock two million people up in 360 km sq and see what happens.  It's like rats in a cage.  

Still not the point

(#321295)
Bird Dog's picture

You're still on what is. We all know that the is of Gaza is awful. I'm talking about what could be, under a rational government. Somehow the five other countries with higher population densities than Gaza are doing just fine, as are the four below it (link). 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

We also know the Is of Israel is awful. I speak of what Is

(#321297)

- not what might be if men were good and wise.  That sort of Might Be talk is for people who cannot bear to contemplate the facts as they are, that the fates of the Palestinians and Israelis are in their hands, not ours.

While Israel goes on building settlements

(#321176)

Let us have none of this fine talk about Acknowledging the Right of the Other Side to Exist and Making Compromises and Maturity.  A cult of intransigent maniacs leads Israel about by the nose, stealing land.  The USA has a very large part of the blame to bear in this situation:  its uncritical acceptance of Israel's monstrous land thefts and what can only be described as apartheid policies towards its Arabs has met with no substantive pushback from America over time.  Two American Secretaries of State in a row have decried Israel's policies and nothing has come of it.

 

I have no sympathy for either side.  Membership in Hamas is a direct result of America's cynical backing of that old bank robber Yasser Arafat, propping him up on the other side of the negotiating table, knowing he had no mandate, twisting Israel's arm to do deals with him.  The real enemy was always Hamas and everyone with a clue knew it, both then and now.  Hamas is a death cult, that I've said already.  What none of Israel's fans have ever accepted, not then, not now, is Israel's persistent intransigence on the settlements.  

All the more reason to negotiate, sooner than later

(#321178)
Bird Dog's picture

It is just a fact that Israel has a track record of reaching agreements with its neighbors. Hamas does not. I don't agree with Israel settlement policy, but if the Palestinians were more interested in building their own state instead of fighting Jews, then the PA would have had its own state and the Israeli settlements wouldn't have become settlements. The settlements are the price of ongoing Palestinian intransigence. Do I agree with it? No. Does it bother me that the Israelis are doing this? No, not really.

 

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

Heh. Really? How about an agreement with Lebanon?

(#321189)

There's no working agreement with Jordan.  There's only the tacit agreement screwing the Palestinians in both Jordan and Israel.  Jordan beat the living hell out of the PLO, they had no more use for it than Israel - and less reticence about beating them to a pulp.  Black September.  It should surprise nobody that Israel and Jordan should get along so well: Jordan hates the Palestinians even more than Israel.  King Abdullah is no fan of democracy.  He runs a poor little country and does business with Israel where he can but he's very much in the back seat of the Israel/Jordan relationship.  Abdullah is an interesting guy, terribly pragmatic.  But let's not confuse any current treaties as anything other than the usual Allies of Convenience rubbish we've seen before.  Jordan is an absurd, made-up country run by the old Hashemite kings.  

 

Egypt?  The USA pays both sides for that peace.  How about Syria, any peace on that front?  

 

Please don't make such assertions, they would be sad if they weren't so ridiculous.  Israel has long since given up on any substantive peace with its neighbours.  You don't like the settlements and you're not bothered by their existence?  Very well then, don't take sides for or against Palestinian violence:  the one follows from the other.  

What utter nonsense

(#321183)

As has been pointed out here and in many other places (including Amy Ayalon one of the heads of Shin Bet during the period in question) there was very little Palestinian initiated violence between the signing of the Oslo accords and the second intifada. The Palestinians kept their side of the bargain. What they got in return was continued land confiscation and a doubling of the settler population. 

Israel was prepared to negotiate in 2000 on the issue of...

(#321192)
Bird Dog's picture

...Israeli settlements in detail, and Arafat refused, with nary a counter-offer.

"Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency."

--Barack Obama, January 2009

The only negotiation was between Israel and Jordan.

(#321194)

Israel wanted to give Jordan the West Bank in 1987.  The Palestinians weren't part of that little agreement.  So Israel kept the West Bank, for all practical purposes.  Everything else is so much chicken feathers.

$3 billion in aid to Israel

(#321142)

haha

(#321144)

maybe if teh dearborn muslim community makes a few bold statements we could get the US to shower detroit with aid.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” -George Bernard Shaw

Via missiles or drones?? nt

(#321148)
Jay C's picture

The signpost reads "Gaza"

(#321138)