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What Does "Proportionality" Mean In Gaza?

My colleague Amos Guiora has an interesting op-ed on the situation in Gaza, focusing on the question of how the concept of proportionality should apply in a situation where the combatants (Hamas and Israel) have disproportionate power. Here is the core of the argument:

Israel and Hamas have disproportionate weapons available to them. The IDF has planes, helicopters, tanks, artillery and patrol boats. Hamas has Kassam and Grade missiles. What needs to be asked as a matter of international law is whether the available, disproportionate weapons are used proportionally. With regard to the current situation in Gaza, proportionality must be viewed from two perspectives: the threat posed and how is that threat posed.

The threat posed is to a million innocent Israeli civilians - Jews and Arabs - living within a 40 km (25 mile) radius of the Gaza Strip. The threat is actual and has been realized. There have been fatalities, injuries, damage to property and general disruption of daily life within Israel. How this has occurred is critical in understanding Operation Cast Lead in the context of collateral damage. It has occurred because of a broadly-based Hamas infrastructure.

In declaring war on Hamas, Israel has deliberately left undefined the degree to which an individual must be affiliated with Hamas in order to be categorized as a legitimate target. The consistent and constant bombing of southern Israel over a number of years required a broadly based and highly developed infrastructure. Such an infrastructure enabled the digging of many tunnels, the building of weapons and their storage and the firing of thousands of missiles. In contrast to the traditional model associated with the suicide bombing infrastructure predicated on the individual bomber, the planner, the driver and the financier, the Hamas rocket firing infrastructure is inherently broader.

By expanding the definition of "legitimate target," the IDF has narrowed the definition of "collateral damage."

This new paradigm presents enormous risk, for it invariably leads to the photographs that have caused Israel significant damage in the court of international opinion. The visual images from Gaza during the last two weeks are far more powerful than any spokesman's words.

However, Israel declared war on an organization, and by extension on all those involved in that organization — active and passive alike. That is precisely how Operation Cast Lead is different from all previous Israeli operations.

While self-defense (in the classic model) is the legal basis for Cast Lead, the IDF's re-articulation of proportionality and collateral damage is a new development in international law. How this new paradigm is implemented in the Gaza Strip is the essence of the issue. It means that the IDF is conducting an aggressive policy directed at Hamas. It suggests expanding the number of legitimate targets and broadening the definition of "military necessity".

It does not — and must not — mean that all Gazans are legitimate targets. Israel's Defense Minister declared war on Hamas, not on Gaza. The IDF must minimize collateral damage; to do otherwise is a violation of international law.

Further, Israel must not ignore its international humanitarian law obligations. To do otherwise is a violation of international law. The three-hour respites from aerial attacks to facilitate attending to humanitarian needs represent an attempt to balance between humanitarian obligations and operational necessities. However, the essence of the Israeli policy — the rightness or wrongness of which must be debated — is that declaring war on an organization that has fired more than 6,000 rockets into Israel since 2005 justifies enlarging the definition of legitimate targets and therefore narrowing the definition of what is considered collateral damage.

You can read the whole piece here.

Hoosier:
Western Rules of Just War have a heritage that can be traced back to Augustine's times, but which begin to take their current form in the Middle Ages.

What increasingly concerns me is the frequency with which one traditional provision of Just War thinking flatly contradicts another in contemporary warfare. In this case, minimizing civilian casualties would suggest one course of action. But probability of success dictates another.

It is intellectually feasable to decide in favor of the first, claiming no jus ad bellum if there can be no jus in bello. But this gives further incentive to launch attacks from civilian areas, to deliver arms in ambulances, and so forth. No meaningful code of war can expect a nation to refain forever from responding to attacks from such an enemy.

The solution is easy: This war needs to be fought in the Middle Ages.
1.15.2009 12:22pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
I think the author raises a number of good points. In particular, proportionality is between target value and collateral damage prevention measures, not between damage between sides. The air strikes by and large followed this calculus very well. Unfortunately the ground assault used IMO artillery and mortars where air strikes would have resulted in less damage. However, mistakes happen, but when waters get very muddy as they have over the UNRWA school incident (UNRWA and AP stating that IDF personnel have told them that the IDF investigation showed the incident was unintentional, the IDF's PR department stating that it was intentional), there is cause for concern. Assuming that the AP can be trusted to portray conversations accurately (which seems fair) the IDF should have just admitted the error early rather than providing a strong impression that they are entirely not to be trusted.....

Anyway, I think there are two legitimate complaints about Israel's conduct:

1) There seems to be a deliberate campaign to interfere with ICRC-affiliated organizations except the MDA (i.e. as a way of denying needed medical care and aid to Gaza). This is not limited to PRCS ambulance delays but does include cases where ambulances were delayed for several days. It also includes delays on ICRC medical teams as well.

2) (Not a legal objection by any means.) the Israeli offensive uses a level of force which will exacerbate rather than reduce the problem. I am not saying less force should be used. Rather the level of force used here demands a follow-through on the part of Israel in terms of occupation and rebuilding Gaza that will almost certainly not happen. Contrast with Powell's comments about the "China-shop rules" on the run-up to war in Iraq. Israel should have either pursued a full-out invasion and rebuilding of the territory or should have conducted a far more limited campaign. My prediction is that Hamas reorganizes from the West Bank and wins both a solid majority in the next election but also puts their guy as President of the PA.....
1.15.2009 12:26pm
Nemo Ignotus (mail):

The threat posed is to a million innocent Israeli civilians - Jews and Arabs - living within a 40 km (25 mile) radius of the Gaza Strip. The threat is actual and has been realized. There have been fatalities, injuries, damage to property and general disruption of daily life within Israel.


I think this is rather overstating the threat that Hamas' rockets pose.

The odds of actually being killed or injured by one of those rockets is pretty slim. That should figure in any discussion of proportionality.
1.15.2009 12:36pm
donaldk2 (mail):
To permit rocket fire without retaliation is to condone it.

Defence of its citizens is the state's first obligation.

Necessity knows no law - particularly "international law", and I do intend the scare quotes.
1.15.2009 12:37pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
In other wars, many of the Hamas participants in the broad infrastructure would have either been wearing uniforms or working in war plants or driving trains which frequently carried munitions. Other examples will no doubt occur to you.
Thus, in other wars, most of the Hamas participants would have been considered either legitimate targets or acceptable collateral damage (French engineer on a train in France hauling various items many of which supported the German army).
Hamas' structure does not require the participants to be in uniform, not least because it increases the number of dead civilians (always "innocent") as fodder in the information war.

I understand the UN has admitted they employed Hamas and Hizbollah at the school, used vicious anti-Semitic texts for the kids, and had no way of knowing--didn't give a turd--whether any of the staff were terrorists. Your tax dollars at work.
1.15.2009 12:38pm
Abdul Abulbul Amir (mail):


In this case, minimizing civilian casualties would suggest one course of action. But probability of success dictates another.


In reality there is no conflict. Legitimate military targets are legitimate no matter where they are located. Period. It is incumbent on the attacker to attack in a manner that minimizes damage to civilians while destroying the target. To attack with less risks letting the target survive and therefore putting future colocated civilians at risk. At the same time it is incumbent on the defender to avoid colocating with civilians, just as it is on the attacker not to directly attack civilians. Hamas firing from a school with children present is committing a war crime.
1.15.2009 12:47pm
soldier of fortune:
Israel's response has been pretty weak-kneed up to now--they have showed surprising restraint. The attack today on the UN compound is a good sign that they will not allow international agencies to continue their support of the Hamas regime. Israel may say it was an "accident," but in their hearts they know they were right. Israel's Holocaust Syndrome has prevented it from taking the steps necessary to eliminate Hamas. There are no innocent people in Gaza--they installed and support the Hamas regime, so they are collaborators in its terrorism, making them legitimate targets.

IDF attacks should be unrelenting. The Palestinian death toll is extremely low; it should be much higher to impress upon them the consequences of their continued attacks upon Israel. For every Israeli death there should be 10,000 Palestinian deaths.
1.15.2009 12:53pm
guy in the veal calf office (mail) (www):
That doesn't really answer the question of whether Israel is entitled under international law to bomb up buildings where Hamas has arms and fighters but has also collected civilian hostages/voluteers for photo-corpse purposes. Yes or no?

Keep in mind that many children are simply being yanked off the streets and kidnapped by Hamas to be collected in these weapons depots or to be used as shields in firefights. Does Israel have to treat that as a histage situation or can it blow up the whole lot?

(In Black Hawk Down, the book and movie, Somalis used the same tactics and US soldiers reacted differently.)
1.15.2009 12:53pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):

This new paradigm presents enormous risk, for it invariably leads to the photographs that have caused Israel significant damage in the court of international opinion. The visual images from Gaza during the last two weeks are far more powerful than any spokesman's words.


The worldwide verbal attacks on Israel started on Day 1 before any pictures came out. The "court of international opinion" always delivers the same verdict.

US opinion may need to be respected but not the "court of international opinion".
1.15.2009 12:54pm
Abdul Abulbul Amir (mail):


The odds of actually being killed or injured by one of those rockets is pretty slim. That should figure in any discussion of proportionality.



That has nothing to do with proportionality. Isreal would be using disproportional force if the force used was disproportional to that required to achieve the military objective. There is no indication whatsoever that the force being used is disproportional. It may even be insufficient.
1.15.2009 12:56pm
soldier of fortune:
Veal:

That doesn't really answer the question of whether Israel is entitled under international law to bomb up buildings where Hamas has arms and fighters but has also collected civilian hostages/voluteers for photo-corpse purposes. Yes or no?

Yes, they are legitimate targets. If you want to enforce "international law,"--call a cop.
1.15.2009 12:57pm
cirby (mail):
The odds of actually being killed or injured by one of those rockets is pretty slim.


...because the Israelis have a comprehensive system of alarms, and go into bunkers and shelters every time one of these things is fired. If the Palestinians were doing the same (or, at least, running the hell away from the people who were firing rockets), there would be a lot less carnage.

Instead, you have Hamas soldiers deliberately firing from schools and hospitals. Which, under the actual rules of war (the Geneva and Hague conventions) means that the entire leadership of Hamas is responsible (along with the guys doing the shooting), and should be on trial RIGHT NOW for years of war crimes.
1.15.2009 12:57pm
Houston Lawyer:
Maybe the answer is a disproportionate response. Make the response so bad that the people will rise up and ensure that it won't happen again.
1.15.2009 12:57pm
Howard Gilbert (mail):
"Israel declared war on an organization". The control of the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, and North Vietnam by the Communist Party does not mean that war with these countries is war with "an organization". The control of Germany by the Nazi Party did not change the status of WWII. Hamas is a political party, a charity, a terrorist organization, and the government in control of Gaza with an army (designated as the "police" or Executive Force to avoid unnecessary conflict with the authority of Abbas over anything really called an army).

In WWII the US fought the German armed forces and not the Nazi party. During occupation we may have forbidden Nazi and Japanese nationalist parties and ideology, but we never confused civilian association with an ideology with combatant status. I see no reason to doubt Israel's ability to make the same distinction in the current conflict.
1.15.2009 12:58pm
soldlier of fortune:
Isreal would be using disproportional force if the force used was disproportional to that required to achieve the military objective.

There is no such thing as disproportional force.
1.15.2009 12:58pm
LTEC (mail) (www):
"What needs to be asked as a matter of international law is whether the available, disproportionate weapons are used proportionally."

Why does this question need to be asked, and who needs to ask it?

To answer my second question first, it needs to be asked by those people who want Israel to win and want Hamas to be destroyed. It's absurd for those of us who are on Israel's side to discuss this "proportionality" matter with those who are on the other side -- whether openly or (more dishonestly) as apologists. The other side consists of genocidal madmen; why should we be trying to justify anything to them?

To answer my first question, now that I've narrowed the discussion group to unambiguous supporters of Israel: because we are decent people, and because there are a few borderline-decent people we don't want to antagonize, if we can practically avoid it.

Note that NONE of these issues are in the least relevant to deciding what side one should be on. The two sides are so far apart morally that virtually nothing that either side could do at this point would make me change sides.
1.15.2009 1:03pm
Harry Eagar (mail):
Oh, screw international law. When did it ever protect Jews?
1.15.2009 1:04pm
Sarcastro (www):
The nationwide verbal attacks on OJ Simpson started on Day 1 before any pictures came out. The "court of public opinion" always delivers the same verdict.

My opinion may need to be respected but not the "court of public opinion".
1.15.2009 1:04pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Soldier of Fortune

Disproportional force needs to be defined. Here is my sense of the term:

An act in armed hostilities characterized by wilful, intentional, or negligent harm caused on non-combatants in a population. In other words either a failure to even attempt to minimize noncombattant casualties, or an attempt to incur them directly.



We can argue all day whether use of artillery against Gaza targets in lieu of air strikes is negligent. I think reasonable people can disagree here, but it really is the only area where reasonable people can disagree re: disproportional force in this conflict. However, nobody is saying that the odds of death have to be the same on both sides for civilians. The idea is that force must be proportional to targetting legitimate targets, and "The Gaza People" is not a legitimate target.
1.15.2009 1:09pm
wfjag:

(In Black Hawk Down, the book and movie, Somalis used the same tactics and US soldiers reacted differently.)

True, and in a strategic sense we lost because Clinton Administration couldn't stand the political heat of a few dead Americans being shown on CNN, and withdrew from Somalia. That made A-Q's message that the US lacked the will to resist credible, leading eventually to attacks on the US Embassies in Africa, the USS Cole and 9/11.

Perhaps Israel has realized that it doesn't have the luxury sacrificing its Soldiers for PC theatre on US TV or allowing its enemies to become strong enough to mount large scale attacks on its homeland.

Further, groups like Hamas have shown that they change their tactics when they do not work. If using human shields against the IDF fails, they will likely abandon the tactic.
1.15.2009 1:09pm
Steve:
Maybe the answer is a disproportionate response. Make the response so bad that the people will rise up and ensure that it won't happen again.

Is there a historical precedent for this sort of result?
1.15.2009 1:10pm
Yankev (mail):

...because the Israelis have a comprehensive system of alarms, and go into bunkers and shelters every time one of these things is fired.
Often with 30 seconds notice or less. Schools have been shut down for weeks and so have businesses. The world's do-gooders are strangely silent when it is Jewish or Israeli kids huddled in shelters.

Homes have been destroyed. Businesses have been shut down. Missiles recently fell on a kindergarten in Israel shortly after the school day started; if not for the last-minute cancellation of claseses the night before, dozens of young children would have been under the rubble.

Hamas continues to acquire rockets with greater and greater range. About 1/3 of Israel is already in range of rockets from Gaza. How long do Israel's critics expect Israel to wait? Until the Gazans shut down air traffic to Israel's only airport? Until they blow up Israel's nuclear facility?
1.15.2009 1:13pm
sg:
Veal,
If the US acted differently in Somalia, maybe it was because for us the stakes were not so great.

Sarcastro,
Why have you stopped being funny?
1.15.2009 1:13pm
erics (mail):
Did you just get back from a three-week holiday vacation and felt the need to blog about prior weeks' topics du jour?
1.15.2009 1:17pm
Yankev (mail):
LTEC, excellent post, and here are some more thoughts by and fore decent minded people, from Proportionality and hypocrisy by Martin Sherman at http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3656420,00.html

"There is always a cost to defeat an evil. It never comes free, unfortunately. But the cost of failure to defeat a great evil is far higher." - -Jamie Shea, NATO spokesman, BBC News, May 31, 1999


It was in these words that the official NATO representative chose to respond to criticism regarding the numerous civilian casualties incurred by the alliance's frequent air attacks during the war in Kosovo between March and June of 1999. He insisted NATO planes bombed only "legitimate designated military targets" and if civilians had died it was because NATO had been forced into military action. Adamant that "we try to do our utmost to ensure that if there are civilians around we do not attack," ***


However, hundreds of civilians were killed by a NATO air campaign, code named "Operation Allied Force" - which hit residential neighborhoods, old-aged sanatoriums, hospitals, open markets, columns of fleeing refugees, civilian buses and trains on bridges, and even a foreign embassy.


** the undisputed minimum is almost 500 civilians deaths (with some estimates putting the toll as high as 1500) - including women, children and the elderly, killed about in 90 documented attacks by an alliance that included the air forces of Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Holland, Italy, Turkey, Spain, the UK, and the US. Up to 150 civilians deaths were reportedly caused by the use of cluster-bombs dropped on, or adjacent to, known civilian areas.



By contrast, the military losses inflicted by NATO on the Serbian forces during almost 80 days of aerial bombardment, unchallenged by any opposing air power, were remarkably low - with most estimates putting the figure at less than 170 killed.


*****NATO forces suffered… no combat fatalities! This was mainly due to the decision to conduct high altitude aerial attacks which greatly reduced the danger to NATO military personnel in the air, but dramatically increased it for the Serbian (and Kosovar) civilians on the ground. Moreover, the civilian populations of the countries participating on Operation Allied Force were never attacked or - even threatened - in any way by Serbian forces.


The significance of all this for Israel, beset as it is by a maelstrom criticism and censure regarding its military campaign in Gaza, should be starkly apparent.





All of this serves to underscore vividly the crass hypocrisy of Israel's critics. Indeed, in stark contrast to NATO's willful disregard for enemy civilians, the IDF has often placed Israeli soldiers in mortal peril to prevent Palestinian civilians from being harmed. Furthermore, Israel's use of military might has invariably been in response a tangible threat -- or actual assault -- on its citizens.



[T]he documented data on the conduct of the war in Kosovo by the world's leading democracies should provide ample material with which to resolutely rebuff much of the pompous tirade of condemnation being hurled at Israel today.



For Israel to prevail in the crucial battle for public opinion it must go on the offensive. It must convey confidence and conviction in the fundamental moral validity of the nation's actions. It must not shy away from resolutely repelling unjustified slander and from reprimanding malicious slanderers.

Nemo, Veal, SteveH (when you show up), Gary Greenwald, Juan Cole and others -- consider yourselves reprimanded.
1.15.2009 1:28pm
sg:
Yankev,

Great posts.
1.15.2009 1:30pm
Skeptic911:

This new paradigm presents enormous risk, for it invariably leads to the photographs that have caused Israel significant damage in the court of international opinion. The visual images from Gaza during the last two weeks are far more powerful than any spokesman's words.



This article is a discussion of the challenges in composing and disseminating Israeli propaganda. It has nothing to do with proportionality. A serious discussion of proportionality and the Gaza conflict can be found here.


There are no innocent people in Gaza—they installed and support the Hamas regime, so they are collaborators in its terrorism, making them legitimate targets.


The problem with this thinking is not so much that it's factually inaccurate (although it is) but rather that it is hypocritical, as in justifying strikes against terrorists, you are advocating terrorism: terrorism is no more and no less than the doctrine that the civilian population upon which the government you don't like relies are a legitimate target because the government relies on them.

This is a bald statement of the idea, but the author's logic suffers from the same fallacy, believing that Israel's attacks on civilians can be justified by Hamas' broad reliance on them. But every government, including the United States and Israel, relies on civilians to raise, equip, and supply its war machine. The people in the towers contributed millions of dollars in taxes that went to the Pentagon. None of which makes their murder legitimate.
1.15.2009 1:35pm
David Drake:
Steve--

U.S. firebombing of Japanese cities in WWII followed by two atomic bombs comes to my mind as historic precedent. The fact it took all three to get Japan's Emperor to stop the war demonstrates the difficulty of this method.

It's tempting to me to say that Israel needs to club Gaza until the Palestinians string all the Hamas "fighters" up like the Italians strung Mussolini up. But I don't think anyone on the Israeli side is prepared to inflict the kind of treatment meted out to civilians by both sides in WWII or to accept the consequences of that treatment. Now the other side. . .
1.15.2009 1:39pm
FantasiaWHT:
This is such bullshit.

For two countries whose civilian populations were directly attacked with massive force, whose infrastructure was decimated, and whose productive capabilities were minimalized, Germany and Japan are doing incredibly well, with some of the strongest economies in the world, very free people, and strong alliances with other strong countries (their former allies), 60 years later.

And what countries have we tried to treat "humanely"? Vietnam. Iraq. Afghanistan. Those have all worked out SO well.

There is very VERY little to be said in favor of conducting a war in such a timid manner. When it needs to be done, it needs to be done with as much force as can be brought to bear.
1.15.2009 1:42pm
Skeptic911:

Homes have been destroyed. Businesses have been shut down. Missiles recently fell on a kindergarten in Israel shortly after the school day started; if not for the last-minute cancellation of claseses the night before, dozens of young children would have been under the rubble.

Hamas continues to acquire rockets with greater and greater range. About 1/3 of Israel is already in range of rockets from Gaza. How long do Israel's critics expect Israel to wait? Until the Gazans shut down air traffic to Israel's only airport? Until they blow up Israel's nuclear facility?


All they had to do to stop the rocket fire was open the crossings, as they promised to do. The siege of Gaza is a clear casus belli as Israelis know very well (having used the excuse of a limited blockage of a minor southern port by Egypt to justify unleashing the massive air attack that started the Six-Day War.) In wars, towns are often shelled. It's a violation of the laws of war, but so is Israel's blockade. It is in no way a particularly evil thing for Hamas to do, and at no time has either the disruption or the damage of the rocket strikes approached the death and mayhem inflicted by the IAF on Palestinians.

The rocket strikes serve the purpose of sharing a (very) small taste of the violence and harassment the Palestinians suffer at the hands of Israeli soliders and settlers with the residents of the south. The hyperventilatory response of Zionist dittoheads reflects the expectation that Israel be permitted to kill and imprison Palestinians just as it pleases -- burn olive groves, beat children with iron bars, fire missiles into crowded streets -- without thereby risking the hair of a Jewish head. It's a cowardly, hypocritical, borderline racist attitude.
1.15.2009 1:47pm
Blue:
Nonsense, skeptic. Israel as a soverign state has the absolute right to close its borders to Gaza should it so choose.
1.15.2009 1:59pm
Mike 'Ralph' Smith:

For every Israeli death there should be 10,000 Palestinian deaths.


Do "friendly fire" Israeli deaths count?
1.15.2009 2:03pm
Michael B (mail):
Great post, Yankev, great and true - which means it will be ignored by a sizeable contingent of ideologues and partisans.

Also, directly related to the proportionality discussion, Joel Mowbray reporting on the UNRWA, a U.N. agency that reflects one of the tactical fronts in the overall ideological and military conflict, U.N. Agency That Runs School Hit in Gaza Employed Hamas and Islamic Jihad Members, extended excerpt, emphases added:

"There is evidence that students educated in UNRWA schools are much more likely to become homicide bombers, said Jonathan Halevi, a former Israeli Defense Forces intelligence officer who specializes in Palestinian terrorist organizations. Halevi has spent several years building an extensive database for the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs of terrorist attacks by Hamas and other Islamic extremist groups.

"Though he cautioned that estimates are tricky because the identity of an attacker is not always made public, Halevi estimated that over 60 percent of homicide bombers were educated in UNRWA schools. By comparison, roughly 25-30 percent of Palestinian students in the West Bank, the origin of almost all homicide bombers since the start of the intifada in 2000, attend UNRWA schools, according to the agency's figures."

[...]

"UNRWA sent an eight-page brochure to FOXNews.com that speaks about the group's tolerance, human rights and peaceful conflict resolution curriculum. But it makes no mention of tolerance toward Jews or Christians or of peaceful coexistence with Israel. Rather, it is geared toward student interaction, the rights students should expect in society, and learning to express emotions through acting, painting, and storytelling."

Via Power Line, but worth some emphasis. In the same vein,

"Palestinians": UNRWA Headquarters on Fire; UPDATED: "Palestinians" fired anti-tank missiles from UNRWA HQ
1.15.2009 2:04pm
Ryan Waxx (mail):
All they had to do to stop the rocket fire was open the crossings, as they promised to do.


Bullshit.
1.15.2009 2:15pm
Nathan_M (mail):

This new paradigm presents enormous risk, for it invariably leads to the photographs that have caused Israel significant damage in the court of international opinion. The visual images from Gaza during the last two weeks are far more powerful than any spokesman's words.

No doubt it compares favourably to many of the views expressed here and elsewhere, but there is something very disturbing about the implicit suggestion that the main problem with killing children and other civilians is that it creates PR difficulties when the photos get out.
1.15.2009 2:18pm
Skeptic911:

Nonsense, skeptic. Israel as a soverign state has the absolute right to close its borders to Gaza should it so choose.


If it were only on their own borders, you'd be right. Not in combination with an air and sea blockade. That's an act of war.

I mention the crossings because they promised, as a condition of the cease-fire agreement, to open them. It would be even better if they allowed Gaza's seaport and airports to operate, but that's not even up for discussion.
1.15.2009 2:18pm
Yankev (mail):
Nemo,

The odds of actually being killed or injured by one of those rockets is pretty slim.
Adding to what has been posted about the shelters, the alarms, and the devastating impact of these missiles notwithstanding:

Six people were injured Thursday afternoon as a Grad rocket landed in a residential area in the southern city of Beersheba. A child sustained serious wounds to his head, a woman was severely injured, one person was moderately wounded and the rest were lightly hurt.


Vehicles and houses sustained damage, and main roads were blocked. Simultaneously, a rocket exploded in an open area in the city,


Beersheba Mayor Rubik Danilovich also arrived at the scene of the attack. "We keep on telling the residents that as long as the fighting continues they must remain near the fortified areas," he stressed.

Beersheba resident Elinor returned from a vacation in Eilat with her two small children only a couple of days ago. The missile landed next to her house. When she heard the air raid siren, she and her children entered a fortified room.


* **, she said in shaky voice, "We have been used to this routine of not leaving the house for several weeks now. My children don't go to school, ***


Angela and her seven-year-old son Orel were going shopping when they heard the air raid siren. Obeying the Home Front Command's instructions, the mother got out of the car and protected her son, but a Grad missile exploded next to them and shrapnel infiltrated Orel's skull.


The child is now hospitalized in serious condition at the hospital where his mother works as a nurse. His father and eight-month-old sister were at home at the time of the attack.



see http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3656914,00.html

Beersheva is about 25 miles from Gaza. Happier now, Nemo?
1.15.2009 2:20pm
soldier of fortune:
einhverfr:

I don't believe any use of force is disproportional. If the Israelis used fuel-air explosives, chemical weapons, cluster munitions, or even nuclear weapons (though fallout crossing international boundaries might be a problem), they would be justified. In fighting an enemy whose avoid goal is to destroy your nation, it doesn't matter how many "civilians" are killed.
1.15.2009 2:20pm
Brian Mac:
Is soldier of fortune actually John Yoo on steroids?
1.15.2009 2:22pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
Skep thinks we don't know the dance.

Israel lets things go both ways through the crossings.
Hamas sends suicide bombers and assassins through the crossings.
Israel starts checking people at the crossings.
Hamas shoots at the soldiers checking people at the crossings.
Israel closes the crossings.
Hamas and Skep claim the Israelis are oppressing the Palestinians.
Yep. Seen it, Skep. Got the tee shirt. Don't need to hear that crap no more.
Adios, my friend.
1.15.2009 2:22pm
soldier of fortune:
Mike Smith:

Do "friendly fire" Israeli deaths count?

Yes, because they wouldn't have died without being involved the military operation.

Brain Mac:

Is soldier of fortune actually John Yoo on steroids?

No, but I am in favor of ending the problem of Gaza once and for all.
1.15.2009 2:25pm
Skeptic911:
Bullshit.

People like you are a puzzle to me, Ryan. You want to participate in a discussion of this issue, but you can't gain anything from it, because you "know" every answer by deduction from your first principle; Israel good, Palestinians bad.

People like you end always end up arguing the same tautology; Israel is right because Israel is good; Israel is good because they are right, which they must be because they're good.

At least you don't gum up the works with a lot of psuedorationality -- you just come right out and preach your prejudice. A lot of people could do to emulate you in this respect -- DB, I'm looking in your direction.
1.15.2009 2:25pm
Jeff R.:
Stopping the rocket attacks at the cost of a resumption of suicide bombings is, of course, not an actual option.

And the ineffectiveness of the rocket attacks has nothing to do with the self-defense argument whatsoever. If I were to take a revolver, empty out all the chambers but one, spin it russian-roulette-style, and then aim it at you with intent to fire you would be 100% justified in shooting me dead in self defense. That would still be the case even if the hypothetical revolver didn't have 6 chambers but 100, or 10000.
1.15.2009 2:26pm
Yankev (mail):

All they had to do to stop the rocket fire was open the crossings, as they promised to do.
Really? And the thousands of rocket attacks, not to mention the shooting attacks and the human bombs and attempted human bombs that preceded the border closures?

Tell me another. As for the Economist,did they take a similar stand on civilian casualties during Kosovo? If they did, not, they are both wrong and hypocritical when it comes to Gaza. (That would be a shock given the Economist's track record on Israel.) If they did, then they are just wrong.

Numerous prior threads at VC have made it clear why your definition of terrorism is nonsense, as is your misconception of the laws governing civilian casualties during war time. Unless you have doubts about the emergency telephone system, forgive us for being skeptical of anyone who takes his screen name from the wackos who subscribe to any of the crackpot theories about 9/11.
1.15.2009 2:27pm
Skeptic911:

Adios, my friend.


Where are you going, Richard? Is there a conference for dittoheads to practice repeating Israeli lies?
1.15.2009 2:28pm
Yankev (mail):
SG, thanks; the Martin Sherman column in particular is well worth reading in full, if you haven't already. What Skeptic911 thinks of as propaganda, I think of as historical context.
1.15.2009 2:29pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
WFJag:

I agree that Hamas would abandon the practice of using human shields if the practice were shown to "not work." However, the problem is that such a demonstration does not come easily.

Bomb the human shields and Hamas wins key propaganda victories. Don't bomb the human shields and Hamas wins other victories. Unfortunately, I am not at all sure what will show to Hamas that the tactic doesn't "work." In fact it "works" quite well because it offers Israel a set of bad choices.

The Hamas leader who was killed with his family in Gaza near the beginning of the conflict is a great example of this. He offered the Israelis two bad choices: "Pictures of dead kids" or "let me continue my militant work." A lot of people say he miscalculated, but given the imagery, I am not so sure. Certainly, I think the outcome was deliberate-- he wanted to be killed along with his children for propaganda purposes and he was. Whether it was worth it to Hamas remains to be seen.
1.15.2009 2:32pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Also, the rocket attacks "work" in the sense that they don't kill Israelis, so Israel looks bad when the IDF invades.
1.15.2009 2:33pm
Nemo Ignotus:
Yankev-

Considering that I was against the NATO intervention in Kosovo, I don't feel very reprimanded.

While we are talking about tangents, though, can we talk about how many Serbs don't get why they ended up bombed by a US led NATO coalition, but Israel is treated as a close ally by the US?

I never saw much in the US press about how the Serbs felt that Kosovo was analagous to the territories Israel holds onto, but that might be an interesting discussion to have.

For what it's worth, I think what Hamas was and is doing is criminal (as well as ineffective-Israel is not going to be toppled by a bunch of yobs shooting homemade, inaccurate, and not terribly deadly rockets), but that doesn't mean Israel is incapable of acting criminally.
1.15.2009 2:35pm
Skeptic911:

Really? And the thousands of rocket attacks, not to mention the shooting attacks and the human bombs and attempted human bombs that preceded the border closures?


Actually, the border closures preceeded the suicide bombs and the rocket attacks. The first ones date from 1991. This is just one of many facts about the conflict that VC'rs who "know" the Israelis are the good guys tend to overlook.


Tell me another. As for the Economist,did they take a similar stand on civilian casualties during Kosovo? If they did, not, they are both wrong and hypocritical when it comes to Gaza. (That would be a shock given the Economist's track record on Israel.) If they did, then they are just wrong.


Huh? You're making less sense than usual here. You disagree with what the Economist is saying ("they are just wrong.") Why are they wrong? You don't say. You have no argument. To pad your paragraph, you attack them for possibly having not not said the same thing about Kosovo which would make them hypocrites because it's the same.

It's not the same, actually, but the whole thing is silly and beneath notice, because you didn't bother to find out what they said about Kosovo.


Numerous prior threads at VC have made it clear why your definition of terrorism is nonsense, as is your misconception of the laws governing civilian casualties during war time.


Again, no argument. Just one unsupported claim after another. Perhaps it's better that way. I may be right, I may be wrong, but I can argue circles around you, and you know it. So you claim that I have clearly been proven wrong before. Not by you, for sure.


Unless you have doubts about the emergency telephone system, forgive us for being skeptical of anyone who takes his screen name from the wackos who subscribe to any of the crackpot theories about 9/11.


Yeah, you don't get the screen name. Doesn't have anything to do with 9/11 (an unfortunate choice on my part). But nice ad hominem. Anything that keeps you away from having to argue the facts on the actual issue, right?
1.15.2009 2:37pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Nemo Ignotus:

I was opposed to the intervention in Kosovo too. However, from a strict question of proportionality....

However, the analogy to Kosovo is important in another clear area-- Milosevic was convicted of war crimes in his campaign in Kosovo despite the fact that Kosovo was no more a "state" than is Gaza. People who hold that war crimes allegations are irrelevant because Gaza is not part of a state should well heed that warning. (My complaints about war crimes are limited to the issue of interference of medical aid to the civilian population, however.)
1.15.2009 2:39pm
Yankev (mail):
Nemo, on the subject of whether the Serbs got the short end in Kosovo, I remain agnostic. I have seen quite a bit of blogging that the Serbs were in many cases defending themselves. It may be the case.

But the point is that NATO was agnostic, and its actions in Kosovo make Israel's conduct of the war in Gaza look like Mother Theresa. For any NATO country -- or any nation that did not feel NATO's conduct needed to be condemned -- to condemn Israel for "disproportionate civilian casualties" is worse than absurd.
1.15.2009 2:41pm
Yankev (mail):

I may be right, I may be wrong, but I can argue circles around you, and you know it.
Circles is the right word.
1.15.2009 2:43pm
sg:
Skeptic,

Assuming that you have read the anti-Semitic sentiments in the Hamas charter and are aware that Hamas opposes negotiations over a 2-state solution and favor the total elimination of Israel, I wonder why you think that if Israel opened the border crossings there would an end to the rocket attacks against Israel which, as I'm sure you know, are, being directed against civilians, war crimes.
1.15.2009 2:43pm
Skeptic911:

The Hamas leader who was killed with his family in Gaza near the beginning of the conflict is a great example of this. He offered the Israelis two bad choices: "Pictures of dead kids" or "let me continue my militant work." A lot of people say he miscalculated, but given the imagery, I am not so sure. Certainly, I think the outcome was deliberate-- he wanted to be killed along with his children for propaganda purposes and he was. Whether it was worth it to Hamas remains to be seen.


I wonder -- if an Israeli minister was killed by a Hamas-planted bomb along with his wife and his nine kids, would you accuse him of using them as "human shields"? After all, he knew Hamas was targeting Israeli government officials. He should of kept himself away from his family if he didn't want them hurt, right?

If you fire mortars from the roof of a school with kids inside, that is using human shield. When you go home to your family at the end of the day, that's called living your life. The idea that anyone in the political or military leadership of Hamas should be staying alone in a tent in the middle of an empty field, or is otherwise guilty of using "human shields," seems to me to be a fallacy and a double standard. If you are carrying out military actions using civilians as cover, fine. You're using human shields. If you just happen to be one of the people Israel might want to assassinate, you are not obligated to avoid (other) civilians.
1.15.2009 2:48pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
skep.
It's sort of a code. You know, like the company that used to make bowling equipment.
AMF.
1.15.2009 2:54pm
Skeptic911:

Assuming that you have read the anti-Semitic sentiments in the Hamas charter and are aware that Hamas opposes negotiations over a 2-state solution and favor the total elimination of Israel, I wonder why you think that if Israel opened the border crossings there would an end to the rocket attacks against Israel which, as I'm sure you know, are, being directed against civilians, war crimes.


I have a high degree of confidence the rocket attacks from Hamas would stop, because during the six-month ceasefire with Hamas, there were something like 20 rockets in six months, none of them fired by Hamas (bear in mind that Israel, when it ruled Gaza, was not able to stop the firing of rockets completely.) Hamas has demonstrated both a willingness and the capability to stop firing rockets.

Neither the charter of Hamas, nor their position on the two-state solution, have anything to do with whether they can conclude and enforce a cease-fire. Nor does their non-recognition of Israel. China and Taiwan do not recognize each other, and each denies the other's "right to exist" -- i.e., they both think there should be one state, with them in charge. Yet they manage to keep the peace. And what are the major incentives for maintaining this uneasy mutual accommodation? Investment and trade.
1.15.2009 2:56pm
sg:
Skeptic,

"Should have" not "should of."

Sheesh.
1.15.2009 2:56pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
Weak, Sarcasto.

There were two vedicts in the "court of public opinion" for OJ. A mainly white vedict and a mainly black vedict. Neither verdict took shape until well into the process. The video (moving pictures) of the Bronco helped form public opinion.

Israel is always blamed by most of the world. They were blamed for occupying Gaza and they were blamed for withdrawing from Gaza. Blamed for not trading with Gaza and blamed for attacking Gaza.

See the pattern.
1.15.2009 2:58pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
SG:

Some parties still in Israeli politics (particularly YB and NUP) favor expelling Israeli Arabs. Even the current FM of Israel has suggested that if Israeli Arabs don't want to be second-class citizens, they should emigrate. So unfortunately, the racism goes both directions.

I think that the YB party's place in Israeli politics would be the equivalent of making the Aryan Nations a respectable political party in American politics. They have repeatedly (and now successfully) sought official measures to prevent parties representing Israeli Arabs from running in elections, though this will probably be overturned by the Israeli high court.

The sad fact is that both sides want to marginalize the other as a long-term strategy. This endless war will only be over when the stronger party defeats both the weaker party AND their own racist tendencies, and whichever side does this first will win a great amount of prestige in the world.
1.15.2009 3:01pm
Bob from Ohio (mail):
People are arguing with a person who uses "Skeptic911" as a handle?

Unless that means something other than what I think it does, when have you been able to reason with a 9/11 Troother?
1.15.2009 3:01pm
sg:
Skeptic,

I wish I could believe in your China-Taiwan analogy, but Hamas is a bunch of fundamentalist fanatics who cannot be moderated. They may temporarily agree to a ceasefire for tactical reasons, but only if they think they can re-arm during that period. This is unacceptable.
1.15.2009 3:01pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Besides, why don't we consider hatred of Arabs to be Anti-Semitism too?
1.15.2009 3:02pm
sg:
Einhverfr (what does that mean?),

I don't accept your analogy either. A few extremist nuts in Israel, some in minor parties, want to expel Arabs. What does that have to do with the fact that the ruling party in Gaza wants to exterminate Jews?
1.15.2009 3:03pm
greyarcher315 (mail):
Skeptic911, what about Egypt? They have closed their border with Gaza as well. They have closed it, but are not having rockets thrown their way. So what is it about Egypt that is different from Israel? I would like your logic on this.
1.15.2009 3:04pm
Skeptic911:

Also, the rocket attacks "work" in the sense that they don't kill Israelis, so Israel looks bad when the IDF invades.


"Every operation, even if unsuccessful, represents a blow to the imperial power, which lives by the myth of its omnipotence."

-- Menachem Begin, "The Revolt"
1.15.2009 3:06pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"If it were only on their own borders, you'd be right. Not in combination with an air and sea blockade. That's an act of war."

Correct. They've been at war for sixty years.
1.15.2009 3:12pm
sg:
Elliot123,

Precisely. People like skeptic and einvhverfr always forget that the Arabs started the wars in 1948, 1967, and 1973, as well as the Intifadas. If Hamas truly wanted peace, all it had to do was show Israel over a period of time that it would not launch rockets and not smuggle in arms. There is no reason Israel should open all the borders unilaterally. In fact, it might be suicidal.
1.15.2009 3:17pm
Skeptic911:

Skeptic911, what about Egypt? They have closed their border with Gaza as well. They have closed it, but are not having rockets thrown their way. So what is it about Egypt that is different from Israel? I would like your logic on this.


Egypt is not maintaining the blockade at sea and in the air. If they were, they would be committing an act of war, as well. So that is the legal distinction between them.

Now, there's a difference between saying Israel could stop the rockets by ending the siege, and saying that the siege is the only reason for the rockets. Part of the reason Hamas fires rockets at Israel is because they are at war with Israel, which chose, when they withdrew their soldiers and settlers from Gaza, not to conclude a peace treaty. So their continues to be a wider war of Palestinian independence, of which Gaza is a part. (This does not justify shelling towns which, whether it's done with rockets or planes or artillery, is morally wrong and a war crime.)

I wish someone would explain to me why they think an unconditional withdrawal from a small part of the contested territory obliges the inhabitants of that territory to stop participating in the war. Isn't withdrawing without a peace agreement the same thing as what is more commonly known as "retreating"? And if your enemy retreats, isn't the conventional thing to do redouble the pressure that produced the retreat in the first place? Should the Russians have felt so grateful that Napoleon fled Moscow that they withdrew the capital and its environs from the war effort?
1.15.2009 3:18pm
Blue:
Skeptic, you are simply wrong. Israel has a basic sovereign right to close its borders and a separate right to interdict the passage of arms into Gaza through a blockade as long as Gazan territory is used as a base for attacks on it.
1.15.2009 3:20pm
Jimmy S.:
. . . during the six-month ceasefire with Hamas, there were something like 20 rockets in six months, none of them fired by Hamas


Who fired them? Hezbollah? Links appreciated. Thanks.
1.15.2009 3:23pm
Nemo Ignotus:

But the point is that NATO was agnostic, and its actions in Kosovo make Israel's conduct of the war in Gaza look like Mother Theresa. For any NATO country -- or any nation that did not feel NATO's conduct needed to be condemned -- to condemn Israel for "disproportionate civilian casualties" is worse than absurd.


That strikes me as being dangerously close to Tu quoque.
1.15.2009 3:24pm
sg:
Skeptic,

What was this peace treaty Israel chose not to conclude? I must have missed it.
Your even-handedness is touching.
1.15.2009 3:28pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
sg:

Unfortunately, YB and NUP are the more extreme. Contrast with Livny's comments about the idea that Israel is a home for the Jews and if the Israeli Arabs want to live in their national homeland they should emigrate to the Palestinian territories once a Palestinian state is established. She is selling the development of the Palestinian state as a way to get rid of the Israeli Arab "problem."

Furthermore, the election committee voted overwhelmingly to ban Israeli Arab parties from the next election. So this goes well beyond a few nuts on the far right.
1.15.2009 3:29pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
sg; you asked what my name means in Old Norse:

ein (the one) +
hverf (stem meaning "To turn something"-- infinitive "hverfa")
+ -r (nominative ending)

"The one who turns things around" is a fair translation.
1.15.2009 3:31pm
Skeptic911:

People like skeptic and einvhverfr always forget that the Arabs started the wars in 1948, 1967, and 1973, as well as the Intifadas.


We don't "forget" your version of history; but we know the facts. We know that Zionists and Palestinians went to war with one another in 1947, and the late, belated entry of small, disorganized forces from Egypt and Syria did not "start" anything. (Jordan, in fact, colluded with Israel to divide the Mandate between them but that's another story.)

We know in 1967 that Israel launched a massive surprise attack on Egypt and Syria, who did not want war, were not prepared or positioned for war, and (in Egypt's case) had agreed to binding arbitration over the dispute with Israel (over the blockade of military supplies to Eilat.)

We know that in 1973 the Arab nations embarked on an intentionally limited offensive to try and regain the land that Israel grabbed in 1967.

We know that it was ten years after the first Intifada that an Israel leader brought themselves to pronounce the words "Palestinian state." We know that followed eighty years in which the position of the Zionist movement was that the Palestinians had no right to political independence or equal rights in the Israeli commonwealth, which claimed all of their homeland as the collective property of the Jews of the world. And we believe, funnily enough, in the right of a people under the tyrannical rule of an outside force is to revolt against that ruler -- a principle that applies to black and brown people as well as white.

And we remember the other wars, too; the invasion of Egypt in 1956, the invasions of Lebanon in 1979, 1982, and 2006; the 13 year occupation of southern Lebanon. We remember the punitive raids into Jordan in which a young Ariel Sharon made his name slaughtering hundreds of defenseless civilians in revenge attacks.

In short, we remember the history. Would that you did too.
1.15.2009 3:32pm
Skeptic911:

Who fired them? Hezbollah? Links appreciated. Thanks.


Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, etc. There are a number of smaller Palestinian resistance organizations besides Fatah and Hamas. You can google them for links.
1.15.2009 3:35pm
sg:
Ein,

You can't remember things that aren't true. The fundamental fact is that the Arabs rejected while the Israelis accepted the UN partition. The Arabs then started a war. Nearly every historian agrees that Egypt committed an act of war against Israel in 1967 before Israel attacked. I could go on and on...
1.15.2009 3:37pm
PersonFromPorlock:
A Modest Mideast Peace Plan:

1: A cease fire, followed by the UN guaranteeing Israeli security from rocket attacks from within Gaza.

2: The US allows an Israeli Navy gunboat free access to New York Harbor.

3: Whenever a rocket is fired from Gaza into Israel, the Israeli gunboat gets to fire one .50 caliber machine gun round into the UN Headquarters building. This is a proportionate response (the UN now being the responsible party) because while UN Headquarters is much smaller than Israel, a .50 caliber bullet is also much smaller than a rocket.

4: The UN suddenly becomes diligent, resourceful and effective in carrying out its peacekeeping functions, or at least this one.

...and for the terminally humorless, no, I'm not serious. Steps one thru three are each eminently reasonable but step four strains all credulity.
1.15.2009 3:39pm
Skeptic911:

Skeptic, you are simply wrong.

So many people on VC these days seem to struggle with the distinction between an assertion and an argument. Look into it.



Israel has a basic sovereign right to close its borders and a separate right to interdict the passage of arms into Gaza through a blockade as long as Gazan territory is used as a base for attacks on it.


Several problems with this. One, they are not just stopping the passage of arms, and letting civilian goods pass. They are stopping all ships and planes from moving in or out. That's an illegal blockade.

Second, absent active hostilities, as in the recent cease-fire, a state does not have the right to interdict the passage of arms to an enemy state on the grounds that they may be used against them someday. This is a common mistake in the media, which speaks of the "smuggling" of arms into Gaza. If Israel is really not occupying Gaza any more, then Gaza is not Israel. If it's not Israel, it's its own sovereign entity, with sovereign rights of its own, including the right to arms itself against the possibility of war.
1.15.2009 3:43pm
Hoosier:
einhverfr

Cool. I was never sure about the handle.

Looking it up, it seems etymologically connected to the English "warp."
1.15.2009 3:46pm
Hoosier:
Just a sugegstion to my fellow VCers:

If a guy calls himself Skeptic911, don't feed him.
1.15.2009 3:47pm
Hoosier:
"suggestion"
1.15.2009 3:47pm
sg:
"Second, absent active hostilities, as in the recent cease-fire, a state does not have the right to interdict the passage of arms to an enemy state on the grounds that they may be used against them someday. This is a common mistake in the media, which speaks of the "smuggling" of arms into Gaza. If Israel is really not occupying Gaza any more, then Gaza is not Israel. If it's not Israel, it's its own sovereign entity, with sovereign rights of its own, including the right to arms itself against the possibility of war."

This would be fine if Gaza were really a state and if it were willing to live in peace with Israel. Hamas's charter, among other things, belies this.
1.15.2009 3:48pm
Skeptic911:

You can't remember things that aren't true. The fundamental fact is that the Arabs rejected while the Israelis accepted the UN partition. The Arabs then started a war. Nearly every historian agrees that Egypt committed an act of war against Israel in 1967 before Israel attacked. I could go on and on...


You could. You can go on as long as you like, but it's not going to make the nonsense you're spouting have a lick of truth. The "fundamental fact" of the 1947-1949 war is that the UN tried to give away something that didn't belong to them, and the real owners fought back, and lost. If a UN General Assembly decided to give away 55% of America's land area to a group of illegal immigrants, would you accept that? You wouldn't. That's the fundamental fact.

Egypt blockaded the port of Eilat, through which 5% of Israel's trade flowed (they claimed it was a domestic Egyptian waterway, and offered to submit the dispute to third-party arbitration). Israel claimed a causus belli because -- take note of this fact, please -- blockading a sea port is an act of war. This was Israel's excuse for starting the war; it was not their reason, and it was certainly not a war they were forced into by the Egyptians or anyone else.
1.15.2009 3:52pm
skeptic911 = jukeboxgrad? (mail):
same bs
1.15.2009 3:56pm
NowMDJD (mail):

I mention the crossings because they promised, as a condition of the cease-fire agreement, to open them.

They were closed in the first place because of the bombing. Stop the bombing and say you'll work toward a two state solution and Israel will open its borders and even aid your economy.
1.15.2009 4:03pm
Skeptic911:

This would be fine if Gaza were really a state


Israel can't have it all ways. Israel left Gaza because they didn't want to fulfill their obligations as the occupying power. They demand Hamas control the territory and prevent other groups from using it as a base for attacks. In other words, they are by denying their rule over Gaza and demanding Hamas carry out the responsibilities of a sovereign power, implicitly recognizing Gaza as a sovereign entity.

In other ways, of course, as in making the claim of "smuggling," the Israelis treat Gaza as if it is still occupied by them. It's fish or cut bait. Israel is in violation of its obligations as an occupying power and is violating any sovereign rights Gazans may have. They need to decide which way they want to play it and play it straight.

and if it were willing to live in peace with Israel. Hamas's charter, among other things, belies this.


Because a power -- the Soviet Union, for example, or Iran -- calls you illegitimate or claims a part of your territory does not give you the right to make war on it (as Israel has been doing with the blockade). Neither the Israeli government nor the Hamas government are recognized by the other as legitimate. This no more gives Israel the right to blockade Gaza than it gives Gaza the right to blockade Israel.

The demand to amend Hamas' charter shows how futile it is to try and appease Israel. Even when there are no rockets and no suicide bombers, they will find a side issue to use to justify making war on the Palestinians and refusing the two-state solution. Now it's the charter. If Hamas amended the charter, as the PLO discovered when they amended theirs, Israel will make some other excuse for its belligerent behavior.

Hamas held to the ceasefire for five and a half months. It was Israel that broke it. That demonstrates that Israel can effectively end the rocket fire in exchange for ending the blockade. But you've alluded to the real reason for the offensive; not to stop the rockets, but to try and force Hamas to concede to Israel's central demands for a final peace agreement -- recognition and disarmament -- whilst giving nothing on the Palestinians' central demands -- land and freedom.
1.15.2009 4:08pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
sg:

You can't remember things that aren't true. The fundamental fact is that the Arabs rejected while the Israelis accepted the UN partition. The Arabs then started a war. Nearly every historian agrees that Egypt committed an act of war against Israel in 1967 before Israel attacked. I could go on and on...


What does any of this have to do with the fact that Arab parties are banned (until this is reversed by the courts) from the upcoming Knesset election because, in part, they argue that Israeli Arabs should have EQUAL STATUS and full equal rights in Israel (so Israel should be a Jewish and Arab state rather than just a Jewish state)?

You are arguing the inception of the state. I would argue that this is all the fault of the British (end of WWI). We look back to different points. The question is what we do now that all this crap has happened. To me this means making Israel the homeland for Israelis rather than the homeland for Jews, and then separately addressing the question of the Palestinian territories.
1.15.2009 4:11pm
Zaggs (mail):
I think one thing missing here is that someone who is a member of Hamas only has 1 job. That a driver is only a driver. But what if the driver is only a driver until he gets to the rocket launcher and then becomes a loader? Any such measure of international law would recognize a loader as a legit target.
Also the article discusses the technology gap as a bad thing. But what if they had the same weapons technology. Then would a launch of 20 unguided rockets towards civilian area by Hamas be answered by 40 unguided rockets fired by Israel towards civilian areas? Contrary to what many may think Israel does plan their strikes with the idea of avoiding civilian casualties (the difference between a terrorist dead body and a civilian dead body may only be the removal of a rifle), some have said even to the path the missile will take through the building is planned out. Just go back 40 years and to hit an mortar position in a building might require bombing half a block. Now they may be able to take out only a quarter of the building. Using a guided weapon to take out a quarter of a building or 40 unguided rockets, which will cause more civilian casualties?
1.15.2009 4:14pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Zaggs:

Contrary to what many may think Israel does plan their strikes with the idea of avoiding civilian casualties (the difference between a terrorist dead body and a civilian dead body may only be the removal of a rifle), some have said even to the path the missile will take through the building is planned out.


As far as air strikes go, I think that is without question, and something people don't give Israel nearly enough credit for doing.
1.15.2009 4:18pm
NowMDJD (mail):

I never saw much in the US press about how the Serbs felt that Kosovo was analagous to the territories Israel holds onto, but that might be an interesting discussion to have.

Then someone should tell the Serbs that the US supports the formation of an independent Arab state in those territories, and that Israel has been involved for years in negotiations directed toward this goal.
1.15.2009 4:23pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Skeptic911:

What you are missing is that this has been a constant war since the Israeli War of Independence started. Since they are at war, they have a right to engage in acts of war which might otherwise be a problem.

However, what is missing is a way out. Since the only ones who have a victory condition are the Arabs, this war will continue until Israel is wiped off the map. Of course it is theoretically possible to change this and provide a victory condition, but this is unlikely to happen AFAICS.
1.15.2009 4:31pm
Elliot123 (mail):
"I wish someone would explain to me why they think an unconditional withdrawal from a small part of the contested territory obliges the inhabitants of that territory to stop participating in the war."

It doesn't. Nor does it oblgate the Israeilis to stop participating in the war. Hence the blockade, air strikes, and tanks.
1.15.2009 4:33pm
Bob Goodman (mail) (www):
I would target only persons, because it's humans, not inanimate objects, that are threatening.
1.15.2009 4:35pm
Yankev (mail):

Besides, why don't we consider hatred of Arabs to be Anti-Semitism too?
Einvef, you cannot possibly consider that question to be a positive contribution to this discussion. Surely you know that "Anti-Semitism" was coined by a 19th century hater of Jews as a "scientific" replacement for the term German term Judenhasse - hatred toward Jews. If you don't know it, spend 30 seconds on google and look it up.

The "Arabs are semites too" is a mainstay of every apologist for terrorism and genocide, and every moral equivalence idiot who trolls the internet. Please don't use it if you want a substantive response to anything else you post.
1.15.2009 4:36pm
NowMDJD (mail):

Furthermore, the election committee voted overwhelmingly to ban Israeli Arab parties from the next election. So this goes well beyond a few nuts on the far right.

They banned two parties that oppose the existence ofthe state of Israel and whose members were collaborators with the enemy. Other Arab parties are allowed to participate.

Israel has also banned extreme Jewish parties, like Kach.
1.15.2009 4:38pm
Yankev (mail):

Part of the reason Hamas fires rockets at Israel is because they are at war with Israel, which chose, when they withdrew their soldiers and settlers from Gaza, not to conclude a peace treaty.
I was not aware that one was offered to them. As I recall, the last offer of a peace treaty was Ehud Barak to Arafat, y'sh, and the offer was met with an increase in terrorist attacks.

As I said, circles is the right word.
1.15.2009 4:40pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
NowMDJD:

Which Arab parties were allowed to participate?

Hadash is not an Arab party.....
1.15.2009 4:45pm
JFred (mail):
So-called "International Law" is really a series of treaties between sovereign nations. Gaza is isn't part of any nation and Hamas has signed none of these treaties. International Law there has no meaning other than as a series of propaganda gimmicks.

And Law for just one side, is not Law.
1.15.2009 4:47pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

Israel has also banned extreme Jewish parties, like Kach.


So to be banned as a Jewish political party in Israel you have to be a terrorist organization, rather than just vocally supportive of one (the standard for Arab parties)?
1.15.2009 4:47pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
JFred:

Right, because the charges against Milosevic were dropped because Kosovo, Bosnia, and others were not signatories to the treaty and in fact not sovereign countries. Or am I wrong here?
1.15.2009 4:49pm
Yankev (mail):

Who fired them? Hezbollah? Links appreciated. Thanks.
Obviosuly Zionist Likudmiks looking for more excuses to slaughter the innocent.

And Elliot123, how can you say the Arabs started the intifidas? Everyone knows that Sharon started the Al Aksa intifada by visiting Haram Al-Sharif. True, he cleared his visit in advance with the PA and with the Muslim religious authorities, who granted permission. And never mind the evidence that turned up later that the Intifada had been planned months before Sharon even thought of the visit, and that the visit just furnished a convenient excuse. Those things only prove just how sneaky those Zionists really are.
1.15.2009 5:01pm
Yankev (mail):

If a guy calls himself Skeptic911, don't feed him.
The more I read (especially the alternate history fiction) the better advice this seems.
1.15.2009 5:07pm
luagha:

"the UN tried to give away something that didn't belong to them, and the real owners fought back, and lost."

Also incorrect. The territory was owned and operated by the British Empire at the time, and they are the ones who chose to give it away. The UN merely brokered and acknowledged the deal. Eminent domain flows from the British.
1.15.2009 5:10pm
Yankev (mail):

Which Arab parties were allowed to participate?
From what I read a few moments ago, all three Arab parties were banned. There is no law to prevent formation of another Arab party. If the Arab party denies that Israel is a Jewish state, or meets with groups that are conducting a war against Israel, they will also be subject to being banned.
1.15.2009 5:12pm
c.gray (mail):

Hamas held to the ceasefire for five and a half months. It was Israel that broke it.


Technically, the cease fire expired on December 19.

Hamas never managed to stop the rocket and mortar attacks on Israel, despite its commitment to doing so as a condition of Israel ending the "blockade".

Hamas, despite pleading from the Egyptian government, refused to enter into a new cease fire agreement after the old one expired on Dec 19, on Dec 20 announced it was terminating the cease fire, and then escalated the attacks on Israel by launching Grad rockets, apparently imported from Iran.

/shrug

Whatever one thinks about about the relative merits of each side's compliance efforts with the cease fire, the timing of the current conflict was determined entirely by decisions made by Hamas' leadership.
1.15.2009 5:16pm
Yankev (mail):
luagha,

You might add that the British Empire aquired it from the prior governing power, the Ottoman Empire, who foolishly entered WWI on the side of the Central Powers and lost. The League of Nations then divvied up the former Ottoman Empire among various members of the victorious Allies. During that period, Iran, Iraq, Transjordan, Syria, and Saudi Arabia among other states, were established in other parts of the former Ottoman Empire.

Many of those states restrict legal rights, citizenship or even residency to certain ethnicities or religions, but none of them grant rights (let alone self-government) to Jews, so no one questions their establishment or legitimacy.
1.15.2009 5:17pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Yankev:

How would that have been different from South Africa banning parties that didn't support apartheid? I.e. Arab Israels are supposed to be full citizens, correct? Why shouldn't they be first-class citizens too?

Is Mohammed Barakeh the "Mandela" of Israeli politics?
1.15.2009 5:23pm
wfjag:

I agree that Hamas would abandon the practice of using human shields if the practice were shown to "not work." However, the problem is that such a demonstration does not come easily.

Dear einhverfr:
You're showing progress in your understanding. Whether something does or does not work depends on the point of view of the side considering the question.

In Somalia, the US forces killed upwards of 2000 of the warlord's fighters and supporters and the US lost 19 Soldiers. However, the pictures broadcast on CNN completely gutted the will of the Clinton Administration. The interventions of the Clinton Administration in both Bosnia and Kosovo, without Congressional approval, followed graphic pictures of atrocities against "civilians" by Serb militia and paramilitaries. However, the military operations were conducted to prevent US Soldiers being wounded or killed, whatever the adverse impact that had on operations, to prevent pictures of dead or wounded American Soldiers from appearing on CNN. Although the Bush 43 Administration took some steps to limit pictures of wounded/dead Americans from Iraq and Afghanistan, it did not curtailed operations as the Clinton Administration did. Still, the differences between the Clinton and Bush 43 Administrations on this are mainly ones of degree. For both of them, what appeared on TV had significant impact on policy (and, in something of a feed-back situation, the information that came out of Iraq after the surge that much of the US news media was not reporting the "success" was able to bolster the position of the Bush 43 Administration by discrediting the US news media and thereby discreding any negative reports). Foreign and military policy is much more TV driven in the US than elsewhere in the world, and there's also an obvious feedback that impacts the US news media.

As to "international opinion", it's not clear that Israel especially cares, since it appears more concerned with reducing an increasingly lethal threat on its border, and sending a strong message to Iran and Iran's proxies. It is a strong message of Israel's willpower that it is willing to risk the condemnation that follows the killing of women and children that Hamas co-ops to use a human shields. The question becomes, if Israel is willing to kill women and children to kill Hamas fighters and destroy its weapons and facilities, what else is Israel willing to do? Since everyone believes Israel has nukes, and its Jericho III missiles and F-16I fighter/bombers will reach Iran, that is a strong message to send.

There are certainly those in Hamas who regard their own and their children's deaths as martyrdom. But, it is likely that those are a minority. And, there is little reason to believe that most people living in Gaza believe that. Accordingly, gathering up people to act as human shields should undercut Hamas' support. However, as Hamas is dependent upon Iran for its existence, any action by Israel that causes Iran to reduce or withdraw support for Hamas can have powerful effects, whatever tactics Hamas decides it is willing to use.

I believe that the "audience" that Israel is focused on and whose behavior it is trying to change is more likely Iran than Hamas. The opinions of US and European pundits probably are given little weight.
1.15.2009 5:32pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
wfjag:

I believe that the "audience" that Israel is focused on and whose behavior it is trying to change is more likely Iran than Hamas. The opinions of US and European pundits probably are given little weight.


That is the problem with the human shields issue. Killing Gazans to make Israel look bad is in the interests of Iran.

The real issue is how well the tactics work at discouraging trade with Israel. Israel is almost totally dependant on their exports reaching (mostly) European markets. A lot of this has to do with how Israel is seen in Europe, and if MP Kaufman's points in the UK are any indication, the support is not as solid as some in Israel would like.

I credit a strong drop in European trade during Operation Defensive Shield as a key element in the disengagement from Gaza under Sharon.

What do you think Israel needs to do to win peace? I have some ideas, but I would be interested in yours.
1.15.2009 6:00pm
Yankev (mail):

Why shouldn't they be first-class citizens too?
In what sense are they not, other than the fact that holidays and culture are Jewish? Am I a second class citizen of the US because the country celebrates holidays that are not mine (e.g. Dec. 25, Easter, Jan. 1) among those that I share with all its citizens (e.g. July 4, Thanksgiving, Memorial Day)?

The comparison to apartheid is odious and inaccurate, and is a standard meme of people that I'm not sure you want to be associated with or mistaken for.
1.15.2009 6:01pm
Alexia:

I understand the UN has admitted they employed Hamas and Hizbollah at the school, used vicious anti-Semitic texts for the kids, and had no way of knowing--didn't give a turd--whether any of the staff were terrorists. Your tax dollars at work.


Well, we pretty much paid for everything that Israel is dropping on Gaza, too.

I just wish the US was out of all of it.
1.15.2009 6:11pm
Steve H:

The comparison to apartheid is odious and inaccurate, and is a standard meme of people that I'm not sure you want to be associated with or mistaken for.


For what it's worth, usually when I see Israel's actions being compared with apartheid, people are usually referring to Israel's treatment of Arabs in the occupied territories, not Arabs who are citizens of Israel.

Based on the tenor and contents of your comments here, I would not be surprised if you would still find that comparison odious. But for those of us who can take an objective, critical look at Israel and its actions, the comparison to apartheid is somewhat valid.
1.15.2009 6:27pm
Yankev (mail):

Well, we pretty much paid for everything that Israel is dropping on Gaza, too.
Yeah, fighting to prevent terrorist attacks by those who are sworn to destroy your nation, even in preference to having a nation of their own, is pretty much the same as training your children that an entire nation should be wiped off the map and an entire people are the source of all evil in the world and should be exterminated, and carrying out a 60+ campaign of terror to carry out that goal. And trying to maximize civilian casualties by using schools, hospitals and homes as launching pads, booby trapping private homes, and rounding up kids to act as human shields for your military sites, (not to mention sending shrapnel laced human bombs onto buses or into restuarants and grocery stores, or launching shrapnel tipped rockets into kindergartens) is pretty much the same as using some of the world's most sophisticated technology, ordinance and intelligence, sending food and medical supplies to the other side's civilians or treating them in your own hospitals, and putting your own troops at increased risk, all as part of efforts far beyond those of any other country at war to keep unavoidable civilian casualties to a minimum.

I can see where you'd get confused.
1.15.2009 6:29pm
Yankev (mail):

But for those of us who can take an objective, critical look at Israel and its actions, the comparison to apartheid is somewhat valid.
The second part of your statement contradicts the first. An objective observer would notice that the vazrious security measures that Israel instituted were in response to and came after terrorist attacks emanating from the West Bank, and not out of any desire to achieve racial separation. South Africa outlawed teaching Blacks to read, treating them in White hospitals, and giving them decent jobs ; under the "occupation", schools and literacy rates increased substantially from what they were under Jordanian rule, as did per capita income and life expectancy, while infant mortality dropped sharply. There were no hospitals or univeristies in the West Bank under Jordanian rule; there are under the "occupation." Patients from the
West Bank are routinely treated -- often without charge -- alongside Israeli patients (including last year my grandaugther) at Israeli hospitals, in the same rooms and the same wards. Any attempt to fit the complex security and national issues into the framework of apartheid belies any attempt to be objective or critical. Save it for those who don't know any better. Any time someone trots out the apartheid nonesense, he immediately discredits himself.
1.15.2009 6:42pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

In what sense are they not, other than the fact that holidays and culture are Jewish?


See tis report. Also see the findings of the Or Commission.

The ICG report (from 2004) states:

Inequality is seldom enshrined in law but often stems from de facto discriminatory policies or is an indirect consequence of non-discriminatory, generally-applicable policies.


The Or Commission found:

"The police must learn to realise that the Arab sector in Israel is not the enemy and must not be treated as such."


I would ask you if the Israeli government treats Arab citizen with equal dignity and respect to Jewish ones.

MK Tibi wrote:

Israel is democratic for its Jewish citizens and Jewish for its Arab citizens.


Tibi's quote seems to represent a broad consensus view among Israeli Arabs.

From the ICG report:

Eyal Benvenisti, a professor of law at Hebrew University, observed: "The Arab minority suffers discrimination across numerous fronts. The Jewish religious and especially ultra-religious communities are discriminated favourably across many fronts. To any Israeli these two statements need little proof".


Also they observe:

The Court has issued groundbreaking rulings
concerning land discrimination, budgetary inequity
and lack of representation. However, these have
only partially been translated into practice.


I would also note that Jews can bring family members into Israel with a minimum of scrutiny, while Arabs are largely banned from doing so. Even spouses of Arabs are not allowed in. Israel wants to make Arabs move OUT and Jews move IN.

The ICG report also cites government delegated roles to groups like the Jewish National Fund with no comparable grants to institutions serving the Arab community.

Another example would be ultra-orthodox Jews exempt from military services being given some benefits not awarded to Arabs who are exempt from military service.

Additionally, the government spends less per capita on social programs aimed at Arab areas than Jewish areas.

Adalah's report in October of 2000 points out that Arabs have been barred from purchasing or renting land in mostly Jewish areas, despite Israeli high court rulings to the contrary. In theory Arabs have equal access to land, but in practice they don't. I would further point out that the Kaadan/Katzir judgement was never implemented and Arabs were excluded from purchase of houses in violation of the law. Land apportionment has also been disproportionately denied to Arab communities, which have not been able to obtain new land for town expansion, etc. Arabs once more are routinely denied housing expansions by the State. As the ICG observes:

There also are no plans to build or allocate land for new Arab settlements, whether rural or urban.


However, I suggest you fully read both reports before you tell me confidently that Arabs have full equal rights before the state.
1.15.2009 6:42pm
Yankev (mail):

carrying out a 60+ campaign
Sorry, my eyes are getting tired. Time to knock off for a while. Meant to type

carrying out a 60+ years campaign
1.15.2009 6:43pm
wfjag:

That is the problem with the human shields issue. Killing Gazans to make Israel look bad is in the interests of Iran.

Until, of course, Israel tires of killing Gazans and decides to go directly after the Mullahs in Iran.


What do you think Israel needs to do to win peace?

I'm not sure we define "peace" the same way. The US and Canada enjoy peace, but I'm not sure that the US and Mexico do. I do not define the absence of war as peace.

IF Israel can stop the constant attacks, that is likely the best it can hope for. That possibly can be done in small steps -- a deal with Syria under which Israel gets a de-militarized Golan with a credible trip-wire military force there, and Syria gets the economic benefits of Golan and the IDF 25+ miles further away from Damascus and a credible trip-wire force in between, and in return, Syria will forgo any WMD development, cut off Hezbolah and at least cut its ties with at least the Qods Force (probably in return for giving Syria a freer hand in Lebanon, along with economic benefits that can flow to Syria from a revitalized Lebanon); next step, some sort of deal with the PA on the West Bank, in which ther the PA agrees to the wall, recognizes Jerusalem as Israel's capital, and Fatah recognizes Israel's right to exist, in return for removing settlements beyond the wall and trade and economic concessions, eventually but fairly quickly leading to the recognition of a Palistinian state. The PA, however, may decide that the Egyptians were right about Gaza and decide they want nothing to do with it; and as another small step, some version of MAD in dealing with Iran.

Any deal, however, assumes that both sides understand than any compromise involves giving up some "demands." On the Muslim side, too often those in charge have an all or nothing mentality, or do not seem either willing or able to enforce any peace agreement on their side.

Further, Sadat reached a deal and paid with his life. You have to wonder whether he would have reached a deal with Israel knowing that would result. All others know that any deal with Israel puts their life at risk.

On the Israeli side, they have several times traded land for "peace" and the only result was that they gave up land which allowed those who attack them to move closer. That's not a record that promotes either trust or confidence.
1.15.2009 6:44pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Yankev:

Would you prefer that I compare the Kaaden family with Rosa Parks?
1.15.2009 6:44pm
Steve H:

The second part of your statement contradicts the first. An objective observer would notice that the vazrious security measures that Israel instituted were in response to and came after terrorist attacks emanating from the West Bank, and not out of any desire to achieve racial separation. South Africa outlawed teaching Blacks to read, treating them in White hospitals, and giving them decent jobs ; under the "occupation", schools and literacy rates increased substantially from what they were under Jordanian rule, as did per capita income and life expectancy, while infant mortality dropped sharply. There were no hospitals or univeristies in the West Bank under Jordanian rule; there are under the "occupation." Patients from the
West Bank are routinely treated -- often without charge -- alongside Israeli patients (including last year my grandaugther) at Israeli hospitals, in the same rooms and the same wards. Any attempt to fit the complex security and national issues into the framework of apartheid belies any attempt to be objective or critical. Save it for those who don't know any better. Any time someone trots out the apartheid nonesense, he immediately discredits himself.



Yawn.

The second you put "occupation" in quotes, you are showing that your interest is advocating for Israel, not discussing facts in any sort of credible manner. So please spare me the suggestion that by merely stating that a comparison top apartheid is "somewhat valid," I am the one failing to be objective or critical.

For what it's worth, my belief that the apartheid comparison is somewhat valid does not come so much from any specific set of security measures, but rather from (i) Israel's longstanding refusal to grant the Palestinians either the right to participate in self-government as citizens of Israel, or the right to form an independent sovereign country of their own, and (ii) Israel's claim that they can keep these people in limbo forever.

Then again, by even suggesting that there's a possible comparison, I have shown that I actually hate Israel, so what do I know.
1.15.2009 6:52pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
wfjag:

I think a deal with Syria would be a good first step. But you have another problem which I don't see a good answer to:

The resistance to Israel has become so institutionalized in Gaza and the West Bank that even if a peace accord is reached which provides real sovereignty for these areas, the political parties are all likely to turn into mafias, as happened with the PIRA in Northern Ireland (sometimes called the "Rafia"). I don't think that Hamas will simply go away if there is a peace deal which cuts of Iranian support for them. They will just continue to fight over who controls black markets, etc. and this will continue to lead to terrorism which may make it hard for real peace to develop.

In short, I don't see a good way to ensure there is a rule of law in the Palestinian territories absent a foreign invasion and occupation of some kind. Without the rule of law, I don't see how the terrorism can stop. Paradoxically, this means that for peace to develop, the PA needs both a credible government and a strong army, but this can't develop under the current set of circumstances.

The only way I can see forward is a full invasion of the Palestinian Territories along with an occupation, and an Iraq-style nation-building effort. I can't see how the institutional inertia of Hamas will allow the organization to give up lucrative businesses around terrorism, for example, even if one makes a rational case to the leadership that this is in the Palestinian's best interest.
1.15.2009 6:58pm
rarango (mail):
indeed an interesting problem--but we have an historical precident: Simply do what Rome did to Carthage, and the problem goes away.
1.15.2009 7:50pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):

indeed an interesting problem--but we have an historical precident: Simply do what Rome did to Carthage, and the problem goes away.


Which side should play the role of Carthage? Besides, genocide is a bit old-fashioned.
1.15.2009 8:01pm
Yankev (mail):
"Occupation" was in quotes because under international law, the disputed territories are not, technically occupied.

Israel's longstanding refusal to grant the Palestinians either the right to participate in self-government as citizens of Israel, or the right to form an independent sovereign country of their own,
Where have you been since Oslo? Israel has been trying for 15 years to create a Palestinian state, with appropriate guaranties. Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton practically handed one to Arafat on a platter. The officially recognized Palestinian leadership is much more intersted in destroying the Jewish state than having a state of their own -- as Arafat frequently observed when speaking to Arab audiences in Arabic, and as Abbas has frequently done after him. And those are the so-called moderates. Hamas by contrast does not bother to disguise its goals even when speaking English.

Not to mention that if that's your definition of apartheid, you have distorted the term beyond any real meaning. If that's your definition, there were paralells between apartheit and the UK in Ireland and later in Ulster; the US and Puerto Rico; India and the Kashmir; and numerous others.

Then again, by even suggesting that there's a possible comparison, I have shown that I actually hate Israel, so what do I know.

When you get that careless with very loaded words, don't be so surprised that people make adverse assumptions about your antipathies and your knowledge.
1.15.2009 8:04pm
Ariel:
einhverfr,

Why is it that Israeli Arabs were horrified at the possibility that Israel might trade some land in Judea and Samaria where there are Jews for some land in the Negev with Arab communities? If there lot is so horrible under Israeli rule, why do the Arabs prefer it to the gentle hand of the Palestinian Authority?
1.15.2009 8:35pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Ariel:

Why is it that Israeli Arabs were horrified at the possibility that Israel might trade some land in Judea and Samaria where there are Jews for some land in the Negev with Arab communities? If there lot is so horrible under Israeli rule, why do the Arabs prefer it to the gentle hand of the Palestinian Authority?


Should we take a lack of immigration of African-Americans to Liberia to be an indication that they were particularly well off here in the US between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement?
1.15.2009 8:51pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Yankev:

Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton practically handed one to Arafat on a platter.


Only if you ignore the distinction between Area A and Area B.
1.15.2009 8:52pm
Brian K (mail):
When you get that careless with very loaded words, don't be so surprised that people make adverse assumptions about your antipathies and your knowledge.

this quote is equally applicable to the use of "anti-semitic" on these boards and elsewhere.
1.15.2009 9:02pm
cognitis:
Rarango is right: as both Russia and China now stand vigil in the Persian Gulf with warships, either could give Hezbollah an atom bomb; Hezbollah has demonstrated itself to be disciplined and efficacious, so it could insinuate a bomber unit into Tel Aviv.

Peoples with superior weapons technology have known for decades both Israelis and Palestinians to be intractable in their claims over Palestine; also, no one wants enraged purge survivors ("survivors" only literally, since no one really survives 3000 years of continuous degradation and depopulation) to decide the world's fate (the fate of saner healthier peoples); Tel Aviv's annihilation is necessary.

The US clearly is reducing its imperial police force, most clearly in South America (Hugo Chavez knows this best) and in Persian Gulf. The destruction of US banking system makes financing Israel's occupations and defense dependent on Japanese and Chinese capital. Without US financing, Israel ceases as country: no diesel or jet fuel, no copper for shells, no composite materials for missiles or armor, etc. Just as WTC collapse seemed like divine retribution, so soon will a mushroom cloud over Tel Aviv.
1.15.2009 9:35pm
Michael B (mail):
Twinkle, twinkle, little star, the education and enculturation process in Gaza and the West Bank.
1.15.2009 9:59pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
cognitis:

Don't forget your scenario would involve dismantling, stone by stone, the Wailing Wall.....
1.15.2009 10:05pm
Ariel:
einhverfr,

That's a little different. There was no (significant) black movement to overthrow the US government and create an all-black state. Liberia was not on the border and was not used as a base to attack the US. Liberians did not attempt to destroy the US, and blacks did not identify more with Liberia while complaining of discrimination.

Still, despite all that, many more would have considered doing so if they had the possibility, I would venture. In the post-Civil War era, it wasn't like they had a lot of money to give going to Liberia a try. That's also a difference - it doesn't take a lot of money to move to Palestine.
1.15.2009 10:22pm
Jimmy S.:
Should we take a lack of immigration of African-Americans to Liberia to be an indication that they were particularly well off here in the US between the Civil War and the Civil Rights Movement?


Since we've apparently determined that the treatment of blacks in America is analogous to the treatment of Arabs in Israel, does that mean that you believe American blacks would have been perfectly justified in using Hamas-type tactics against their white oppressors?
1.15.2009 11:13pm
cognitis:
Palestinians have nothing in common with African Americans: slave traders exported Africans to US colonies as chattel sold at auction; Palestinians are Palestine's aborigines who were forced off land by Jews. African Americans then are similar to the Scotch-Irish who were also exported to US colonies as slaves sold at auction; Palestinians are similar to Irish Catholics dispossessed by Normans or American aborigines (Indians) forced off land into reservations.
1.15.2009 11:21pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Jimmy S:

Since we've apparently determined that the treatment of blacks in America is analogous to the treatment of Arabs in Israel, does that mean that you believe American blacks would have been perfectly justified in using Hamas-type tactics against their white oppressors?


Ummm... Apples and oranges. The quote you took from me was about the question of why Arabs who are Israeli citizens don't want to emigrate and whether that says anything about whether they have equal rights. To my knowledge very few Arab Israelis have been involved in groups like Hamas. They have, however, had the occasional race riot which has been met with lethal force by the Israeli police forces.

They are in an entirely different boat than the Palestinians.

So by your logic, the Tamils of Southern India are guilty of using terrorist tactics in Sri Lanka?
1.15.2009 11:34pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Ariel:

Since when are the Israeli Arabs as a community trying to create an all-Arab state?

Also your initial question seemed to be asking why Israeli Arabs would be happier as second-class Israeli citizens than first-class Palestinian citizens. I was merely pointing out that this particular parallel is very close to the US/Liberia history.

The fact is, the fact that they are better off as second-class citizens in Israel only says that in the Palestinian Territories that things are even worse. It says nothing about the equal rights situation at all.
1.15.2009 11:38pm
PlugInMonster:
Note - all the liberals who blast Israel for disproportionate response have no advice on how to stop rockets and suicide bombers. In fact, they just don't give a fuck about Israeli lives period. Israeli Jews are not human beings to them.
1.16.2009 2:58am
PlugInMonster:
Ariel:

einhverfr,

Why is it that Israeli Arabs were horrified at the possibility that Israel might trade some land in Judea and Samaria where there are Jews for some land in the Negev with Arab communities? If there lot is so horrible under Israeli rule, why do the Arabs prefer it to the gentle hand of the Palestinian Authority?
1.15.2009 8:35pm


Of course they prefer the PA. If you understand the Arab mind, you know that pride/manhood is the #1 thing for them. Logic, reason, peaceful-living is to be damned if it gets in the way of their pride. Their pride can't allow them to make peace with the infidel, especially the Yid.
1.16.2009 3:01am
LM (mail):
Hoosier:

It is intellectually feasable to decide in favor of the first, claiming no jus ad bellum if there can be no jus in bello. But this gives further incentive to launch attacks from civilian areas, to deliver arms in ambulances, and so forth. No meaningful code of war can expect a nation to refain forever from responding to attacks from such an enemy.

Likewise, prohibiting acquisition of territory by force creates perverse incentives when applied to a defender. Leaders bent on conquest and destruction are effectively allowed to fail repeatedly with impunity. So long as they can stoke enough hatred to make the suffering they inflict on their own people seem noble, why would they ever stop?
1.16.2009 3:49am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
LM.
Are you referring to what is known as "no fault" aggression?
1.16.2009 6:57am
Ariel:
einhverfr,

You're right that it doesn't say anything about their equal rights situation. The other reason why the Liberia example isn't any good is that the reason Israeli Arabs refuse to join the PA has to do with their desire to live under a bunch of corrupt, murderous, kleptocratic dictatorship (Fatah, aka Conquest) or a bunch of murderous, corrupt, kleptocratic absolute dictatorship (Hamas, aka the Islamic Resistance Movement). Liberia was in better shape, at least during most of the period you referred to - which tells you something about how badly Fatah and Hamas treat their subjects.
1.16.2009 9:48am
wfjag:
Dear einhverfr:
It depends on what you are willing to do. Don't be dismissive of rarango. Sometimes obliterating your enemy is the only way to end the attacks. Hamas certainly has that objectve. A nation as geographically small as Israel, surrounded by much larger nations that have much, much larger populations that contain significant numbers of people who are dedicated to expunging Israel and every living thing in it from both the face of the earth and history, cannot afford any real mistakes -- also meaning that it cannot take any real risks. Brutality, properly employed, is an effective deterrent. And, however brutal we may now think the Romans were, the Darcians aren't complaining about all being killed off about 2 thousand years ago. It's called "Romania" because Romans re-settled the area after they depopulated it of the Darcians.

Hamas will turn to organized crime if cut off by Iran? It already has. So has Fatah, although even more so than Hamas. Power, especially linked with armed force, quickly corrupts unless there is a sufficiently strong police force that is willing to prevent that and which is supported by a sufficiently resolute government that will employ the police force. France, Spain and Italy all have solved this problem by creation of paramilitary police forces that are quasi-independent from the civil government and dedicated to eliminating organized crime by any means that works. There is nothing comparable in Gaza, and not even the basic institutions from which something comparable could be built.

However, cutting off Hamas from Iranian support so that Hamas would depend more on crime for its resources will improve the situation. A criminal organization has an underlying profit motive, or it quickly ceases to exist.. The ideological motive of Hamas, as a political/ terrorist/ religious organization is the elimination of Israel and every living thing in it. Cut off from Iran, Hamas will still try to harm Israel and its citizens, and a lot of other people, too. It just won't be devoting all its resources to those ends.

As I said, I don't think we define "peace" the same way. I see no realistic hope of Israel achieving peace. It can lessen the attacks and threats. If it unwilling to use all necessary means -- and convince its enemies that it has the will power to do so and so achieve deterrence -- Israel will go the way of Darcia.
1.16.2009 9:54am
Odysseus Rex (mail):
The Arab-Israeli conflict has been going on for my entire lifetime. It startd with the "Holocost", the Nazis' systematic extermination of the Jews of Europe, and Stalin's opression of Jews in the USSR and eastern European countries that became communist in the post-war period.

The Jewish refugee settlers took a backwater of Arab laziness and colonial neglect, and made it bloom and prosper. It became the Homeland, the "refuge", and not suprisingly, their universal sentiment about the hostile surrounding Arab countries was "never again!" Since the nation of Isreal was created, it has been at some state of war continuously. Everyone serves in the security forces and takes their weapons home. Israeli forces will attack pre-emptively at any threat. Over the years, the major Arab nations learned the lesson: "Don't grab ahold of the porcupine!"

So why haven't the neighboring Arab nations assimilated the Palestinian refugees? Because they are a threat to the backward, repressive and lazy societies that surround them: Syria, Egypt, even Jordan...Lebanon, Libya, and slightly farther away, Iraq, Iran, Yemen, Sudan and Saudi Arabia. Palestinians, with a better work ethic, often better educated, and more modern family values were perceived as economic and cultural threats.

Now, the western media wrings its collective hands over Isreal's response to unprovoked rocket attacks on its civilian population. I've been through Katusha rocket attacks...IT IS THE SCARIEST THING I'VE EVER ENCOUNTERED in my 60+ years on the planet and 30 years in the United States Armed Forces. So I have NO sympathy for those who launch them, as terror weapons, at civilians. "Kill them all, let Allah sort it out!"
1.16.2009 11:11am
Odysseus Rex (mail):
Ah, someone brings up the NATO attacks in Bosnia and Kosovo as "disproportionate", killing "hundreds" of civilians. The same NATO "disproportionate" airstrikes that probably SAVED THOUSANDS of Kosovars and Bosnian Muslims (men, women, children) from the unbridled GENOCIDAL BARBARITY of ethnic-Serbian forces!

NATO DOES deserves criticism: for not bombing Serbs SOONER!
1.16.2009 11:36am
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Odysseus Rex:

The conflict did not begin with the Holocaust. It began with groups like Irgun and LEHI seeking a Jewish State in land populated by Arabs. They were fighting DURING WWII and a bit after. LEHI actually asked the Nazis to forcibly deport all Jews in the Third Reich to Israel to help with the fight against the British!

We need to understand this loud and clear. The Holocaust has absolutely NOTHING to do with the formation of the state of Israel. The Zionist independence movement really got going between WWI and WWII and Israel became independent about the same time as Iraq.

However, the victim mentality DOES survive from the widespread hatred of Jews and mistreatment in Europe prior to the Holocaust. One of the underappreciated tragedies of the Holocaust is that people have forgotten how bad the Jews had it in Europe otherwise.
1.16.2009 12:17pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
Ariel:

You are right about the PA. Which is one reason why things will not be resolved until there is a real clean start.

One option would be to withdraw the settlements back to the 67 borders, and start lobbying HARD for support for and help with wiping the slate clean. Putting long-time terrorists in charge of a state has failed. The Palestinian State needs to start over. I can't see this happening without a real occupation.
1.16.2009 12:25pm
einhverfr (mail) (www):
wfjag:

Hamas will turn to organized crime if cut off by Iran? It already has. So has Fatah, although even more so than Hamas. Power, especially linked with armed force, quickly corrupts unless there is a sufficiently strong police force that is willing to prevent that and which is supported by a sufficiently resolute government that will employ the police force.


Yep. Hamas and Fatah, like the PIRA, finance themselves through organized crime. This means they are not as dependant on Iran as many think.

My big thing is I think we are going to see this get worse until someone (Israel, the EU, or maybe even the Arab League acting in concert with Israel as unthinkable as that sounds today) decide to occupy the Palestinian Territories and build real civil institutions themselves.
1.16.2009 12:31pm
Yankev (mail):

The conflict did not begin with the Holocaust.
Correct.

It began with groups like Irgun and LEHI seeking a Jewish State in land populated by Arabs.
Wrong. The Zionist movement began in the 19th century, with the secularization of the religious belief of the ingathering of the Jews. Before that, there had been a continous Jewish presence in the area for over a thousand years, particularly after about 1200 or so. Jews who lived elsewhere felt a religious tie to the area and moved there if they could, but there was no thought of a Jewish state there until the assimilated ans thoruoguhly secular Theodore Herzl conceived of one in reaction to the anti-Semitism engended by the Dreyfus affair. Secularlized (and some religious) Jews from Europe then began buying unwanted land at inflated prices from the Ottoman and Arab owners, moving to Palestine and finding ways to make the land arable.

Arabs from elsewhere in the Ottoman empire migrated there for the jobs and economy as a result, bolstering the local Arab population. The role of Britain has already been discussed, but what has not is the deliberate role of some of the British in fomenting Arab opposition to Jews living there, which culminated in the massacres of Jews by Arabs in 1929 and 1936, particularly the 1929 riots in Hebron, while the British turned a blind eye except to the extent the actively interfered with Jewish efforts at self-defense.

LEHI and Irgun arose from the Revisionist Zionist movement and their growth was in part in reaction to these massacres and in part in reaction to the British closing Jewish immigration to Palestine while the Nazi persecutions and exterminations were in full force. The growth in support for the Zionist movement was definitely one result of the Holocaust.

Do you have a source for your statement that LEHI asked the Nazis to forcibly deport all Jews in the Third Reich to Israel to help with the fight against the British? I have seen such statements before but have never seen a reliable source.
1.16.2009 12:50pm
LM (mail):
RA, I'm not familiar with that term, and Google isn't helping much.
1.16.2009 1:12pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
LM
Google hasn't consulted me. I made it up. Play on words. "No fault" insurance.
Like when the Arabs attacked Israel in 48 and the Israelis were chasing them out of town and the world insisted on letting them go. So the Arab powers expend their interest, not their principle, fighting Israel. They can do it forever, since their principle remains intact, courtesy of the rest of the world.
So, "no fault" aggression. Lose, fall back, start over.
Liddell Hart had a book on strategy which has, as a suffix, a letter or after action report from an Israeli general explaining the 48 skedaddle.
1.17.2009 1:06pm
LM (mail):
Yeah, that's pretty much what I had in mind.
1.17.2009 11:47pm

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