OPINION

Israel's Gaza Offensive

January 06, 2009
Vinod Joseph

I believe that the air attacks being carried out by Israel on various targets in the Gaza Strip and the incursion by the Israeli army into the Gaza Strip are justified. I also believe that these air attacks and land offensive will serve no purpose at all, other than help Ehud Barak and the Labour Party in the forthcoming Israeli elections.

Ever since the cease fire between Hamas and Israel came to an end on 19 December 2008, Israel has been targeted by Hamas which started to fire around 80 rockets per day into Israel. Most of the rockets did not cause much damage and so far, only a handful of Israelis have died as a result. However, the number of people killed in Gaza has exceeded five hundred. Clearly the Israeli response to the rocket attacks is not proportionate. Why then do I say that Israeli is justified in its actions?

Imagine for a moment that you own a fertile piece of land in a desolate part of the world. You land adjoins a barren piece of land. A tall barbed wire fence separates your land and the barren land. The people who own the barren land don’t like your presence in the neighbourhood. They have a nasty habit of throwing stones into your land, a few stones every day. Mostly they don’t do any damage, but once a month or so, a worker in your land gets hit by a stone. Once in a while, your neighbours cut through the barbed wire fence and creep into your land at night and uproot a few fruit trees before returning to their barren land, all this in order to make you abandon your fertile property. How should you respond? If your response has to be strictly proportionate, you can only throw stones into your neighbour’s barren land, something which will distress your neighbour a lot less than you are distressed by the stones thrown into your land. You can also creep into your neighbour’s land at night and uproot his fruit trees, except that your neighbour does not have any fruit trees! So, you post guards on the periphery of your land, mount powerful search lights at certain vantage points and instruct your guards to shoot dead anyone caught in the act of throwing stones into your land. Intruders who enter your fertile land are also to be locked up for a year before they are released. Once this new policy comes into effect, your guards do manage to kill a few stone throwers and catch a few intruders, but the stone throwing and intrusions don’t cease. This is mainly because there is a total difference in values between you and your neighbour and your neighbour is willing to sacrifice the lives of his people in order to cause trouble for you. He just does not want you in the neighbourhood, though you have every right to be there. Soon the number of fruit trees you lose to your neighbour’s men goes up. Your workers start to quit. You start making a loss. Unless you manage to stop the stone throwing and the uprooting of fruit trees, you will have to vacate the neighbourhood. What do you do then? There is no police force worth the name in your part of the world. You have no choice but to send a team of armed men into your neighbour’s land and capture or kill everyone who has thrown stones or intruded into your land and teach your neighbour such a lesson that he does not try to harm your property ever again.

Now imagine for a moment that you acquired your fertile piece of land after a prolonged litigation. You won the legal dispute and the loser was your neighbour who owns the adjacent barren piece of land. They are many in your town who say that the court ruling was unfair, though the bulk of the local residents support the judicial ruling and are happy for you to occupy your piece of land. Does this additional piece of information make you change your mind? Do you now think that the neighbour has the right to throw stones into your land or intrude into your land and uproot your fruit trees? The answer is a clear No. Instead, what your neighbour ought to do if unhappy with the court ruling is appeal to a higher court. If further appeal is not possible, your neighbour ought to get public opinion on his side and in the meantime, try and make his barren piece of land as fertile as possible.

Israel is in the position of the owner of the fertile land. Its neighbour is Hamas, an organisation whose charter calls for the destruction of the State of Israel and its replacement with a Palestinian Islamic State. I have always believed that the creation of Israel through an UN resolution was absolutely fair. If you believe that the creation of Israel by the UN in 1948 was correct, it naturally follows that Israel has the right to defend its territory and pre-empt any possible attack that may pose an existential threat to Israel. I have many good friends who ardently believe that the creation of Israel was unfair. All those friends tell me that Israel’s Gaza offensive is totally unjustified.

It must be admitted, most of what followed after the fair and legal creation of Israel was neither fair nor legal. Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and its Arab minority has almost always been very, very unjust. In particular, I don’t think that Israel was justified in placing an economic blockade on the Gaza Strip in reaction to Hamas’s election victory. Though no one likes the idea of fundamentalists of the Hamas variety on their door step, Israel had no right to make life unbearable for the people in the Gaza Strip. Also, it must not be forgotten that Hamas is largely a creation of Israel. If Israel were not so desperate to undermine the secular Palestine Liberation Organisation and the Fatah, fundamentalist Hamas would not have come into existence.

The Gaza Strip is not a sovereign state, but Hamas runs it as if it is. As per the UN resolution which created Israel, the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem ought to form an independent Palestinian state. However, East Jerusalem is illegally occupied by Israel and the West Bank is under the control of the Fatah. Hamas won the Palestinian Parliamentary Elections in January 2006 and came to power. After infighting broke out between Hamas and Fatah, Hamas was evicted from the West Bank in mid 2007. For good measure, the Palestinian President Mahmud Abbas declared Hamas to be an illegal force. I don’t think Mahmud Abbas was right in doing so and I do think that Hamas got a raw deal in being evicted from the West Bank, considering the fact that they won 74 seats to the ruling-Fatah's 45 in the Parliamentary elections in January 2006. Most probably Israel played a key behind-the-scenes role in all this.

However, despite all these drawbacks on the part of Israel, the random launching of rockets into Israel with the intention of killing civilians cannot be justified. Hamas’s attacks on Israel are not just a reaction to the economic blockade. Instead, it arises out of Hamas’s determination that Israel should not exist as a state. The range of Hamas’s rockets has been increasing in range and accuracy by the month and soon there may be a day when Hamas is able to target any part of Israel at its will. When faced with such a situation, Israel is perfectly entitled to defend itself against such attacks and do all that is necessary to prevent such attacks in future.

The forthcoming elections in Israel and the need for the ruling Labour Party to show itself to be as tough on Hamas as the Likud Party, has definitely influenced Israel’s decision to attack the Hamas in Gaza. Nevertheless, Israel’s right to defend itself is so fundamental that it is entitled to do so even on election’s eve.

All of what I have stated above begs the question whether India is entitled to respond against Pakistan in a similar fashion in response to the Mumbai attacks. The answer is yes, though, considering the fact that Pakistan is not the Gaza Strip and it possesses nuclear weapons, India would be foolhardy to do so.

Israeli air strikes have led to heavy civilian casualties. It is not easy to watch visuals of civilians, including young children being killed, and say with a straight face the Israel’s actions are justified. However, Israel’s actions are indeed justified. Hamas has intentionally mixed up its military infrastructure with civilian infrastructure in Gaza. Hamas seems to enjoy a high degree of civilian support in Gaza. If a near-sovereign state supported by its population launches attacks on another sovereign state using equipment and men who are mixed up with civilians, the ensuing retribution will cause civilian causalities. Hamas is as much to blame for the civilians killed in the air strikes as are the people of Gaza who voted for an organisation whole sole objective is to remove Israel from the face of this earth.

Will Israel succeed in its objective? In 2006, Israel launched an offensive against the Hezbollah in Lebanon and was fought to a standstill. Hezbollah’s survival made it a lot more popular and Israel’s aura of invincibility was badly dented. Hamas is no Hezbollah. It is not as tough or as capable as Hassan Nazarallah’s organisation. Also, unlike in 2006, this time Israel seems to be successfully avoiding battles in dense population centres where die-hard Hamas fighters could take a heavy toll of its fighters. If Israel’s only objective is to stop the rocket attacks altogether, it will not succeed. If its aim is to only make Hamas pay a price for the rocket attacks, it may succeed. However, Hamas will continue to exist as an organisation even after this offensive is over. It will also retain its ability to launch attacks on Israel, as before. Its popularity in Gaza Strip and the rest of the Arab world may even go up. In short, the Israeli offensive will most probably do nothing other than help the Labour Party and Ehud Barak win the next elections.

Vinod Joseph is a professional who works long hours. When Vinod gets some free time, which is not very often, he likes to write. When he is not in the "write" frame of mind, he reads. Vinodís first novel Hitchhiker was published by Books for Change in December 2005. Vinod blogs at www.winnowed.blogspot.com. The usual "employer caveat" applies and Vinod's employer has nothing to do with Vinodís writings. All views expressed by Vinod are his personal views.
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#1
samramada
URL
January 6, 2009
12:43 PM

People please read the following as see if you agree with this Post of "Justified"

Let's assume you live inside your own small house along with your own "family", and you are the head of the household in your family (oh and by the way by their own choosing and free will); "I" first demand that your family kicks you out of the house so that "I" bring them another head of household who "I" know will submit to my will to take care of them with accordance to my own rules of continuous impoverishments and poor economic conditions so that in time "I" can kick them out and claim Gaza as "My" property.

Now your "family" refuses to kick you out and you stand your ground as the Righteous Household Caregiver. So "I" get angry with you and it becomes "my" right to surround your house, cut-off your ability to get food, disallow you to get electricity or medical attention, or even go to work and earn an honest living, and "I" feel righteous to continue to do so until you decide to submit fully to my will against your free will.

But no, "you" are too free-loving to submit and so in a desperate move "you" start throwing the dishes and the kitchen sink at "me", and all that you have, at "me" in hopes that "I" stop this "Just" blockade of mine. Now "I" feel more justified and "I" start to bomb your house and kill your wife and children, again, oh by the way NOW "I" AM DEFENDING MYSELF... and "You" are to be considered unjust if "you" try to retaliate, just because now "I" began to kill your children and wife and hey "YOU" are responsible for that, you have become a Terrorist (the new word for Justified Resistance), not "I". "I" warned you that you should just submit and leave your children and family for "me" to torture slowly, you should forget living honorably and free, but "you" and your family decided not too... it is your fault that your family died, did "you" not know that you should not have basic human rights!!! and only "I" on earth should be afforded those rights as all other subjects are just meant to be our servants and they do not have any rights.

Now "YOU" are Hamas - the democratically voted Head of Household by and for the Palestinian people in Gaza - your "Family" is the Palestinian People, and "I" is short for Israel. Do you think it's Hamas' fault???

#2
samramada
URL
January 6, 2009
12:44 PM

check this post

http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-175827?ref=email

#3
samramada
URL
January 6, 2009
12:47 PM

Play this game http://www.shoeisrael.com

#4
Vinod Joseph
January 6, 2009
01:08 PM

Samramada #1-4, You (Hamas) started to throw the kitchen sink etc. at me (Israel) not only because of the economic blockade, but also because You (Hamas) think that I (Israel) have no right to exist. You (Hamas) want to replace me (Israel) with your extended family (an Islamic State of Palestine). Even if there was no economic blockade, you (Hamas) would be throwing things at me. Of late, your (Hamas's) accurancy and strength has increased and one day you (Hamas) will be able to devastate me (Israel). It is a different matter that I (Israel) helped make you (Hamas) what you are.

#5
Gordon Plumber
January 6, 2009
01:14 PM

Your "analogy" is ridiculous. Why is your neighbour living on "barren land"? Because *you* terrorized him until he fled! He is forced by *you* to starve while you enjoy *his* land. Not to mention that *you* routinely move the barbed wire fence further into his land for "settlements".

The baseless sense of entitlement you are plagued with looks *psychotic* to the rest of the world.

#6
Vinod Joseph
January 6, 2009
01:43 PM

Gordon Plumber #9, Hamas has 'barren land' mainly because unlike the Israelis, the Palestinians have been expending their energies solely on getting rid of Israel. Just as Israel got American aid, the Palestinians have received a fair amount of aid from Arab countries, most of which has been misused or used in destructive ways.

#7
Anamika
January 6, 2009
01:51 PM

Vinod: "Hamas has 'barren land' mainly because unlike the Israelis, the Palestinians have been expending their energies solely on getting rid of Israel."

Vinod, the Palestinians have very LITTLE land. Here goes a blog over on redroom. Just check the map for exactly how the Palestinians have been systematically robbed of their land by Israel while simultaneously being accused of terrorism and aggression.

http://www.redroom.com/blog/sunny-singh/never-again-lets-not-kid-ourselves

Btw, I think you can find the map from PASSIA, Israeli NGOs, UN, and various other international organisations.

#8
commonsense
January 6, 2009
01:58 PM

samramamada,

can you try defending yourself once at a time please? thanks.

#9
Vinod Joseph
January 6, 2009
02:37 PM

Anamika, you are right in saying Israel has systematically taken away Palestinian land. Also, after having undermined the PLO for many years and having allowed Hamas to flourish for a while, Israel now wants to eradicate Hamas. I'd be the last person to call the Israelis 'saints'. Nevertheless, notwithstanding all the lapses on Israel's past, in my eyes, the fact that Hamas is dedicated to wiping Israel off the face of this earth and is slowly building up the capacity to do so, justifies the Israeli offensive.

#10
commonsense
January 6, 2009
02:48 PM

samramada,

please restrain yourself and hit the "send" button only once. unless you intend to follow the Israeli government model of killing a few hundred palestinians for each israeli. in that case, please hit the "send" button a few hundred times.

#11
John K
January 6, 2009
02:50 PM

This is a great article. It appears to the balanced and offers a perspective different from those who whip themselves into a frenzy when discussing Hamas/the Palestinians.

Keep up the great work!

#12
Moonie
January 7, 2009
03:21 AM

I really like the way you have presented the scenario in a simplistic manner. I for one surely support Israelis just for the fact that Hamas has been supporting 'terror' activities and their sole objective looks to be to harm Israelis and not accepting Israel's right to exist. They have squandered away their resources in unproductive terror activities where as they should have been focusing on working for betterment of their people by mobilizing international support for meaningful resolution to the problem.

#13
Anamika
January 7, 2009
04:19 AM

"Nevertheless, notwithstanding all the lapses on Israel's past, in my eyes, the fact that Hamas is dedicated to wiping Israel off the face of this earth and is slowly building up the capacity to do so, justifies the Israeli offensive."

Vinod, I understand why this is so emotive. However lets put this in a politico-historical context (especially since you are one of the few pro-Israeli interlocuters on this page who is willing to reason).

If UK had started negotiating with the IRA by demanding that they give up the demand for the 6 counties BEFORE getting to the negotiating table, would the IRA have agreed? So why hold Hamas to a different standard?

Two: why is Israel again being held to a different (easier) standard on this one from Hamas? Israeli leaders dating back to Herzl have advocated ethnic cleansing of Palestinians as the basis of Israel. The only difference is that given their European backgrounds and upbringing, as well as far greater might, they have been far more subtle in their language about it. And their propaganda machinery is mighty enough to bury these utterings with their perpetual victim/heroic David narratives

(Aside: I shall never forget the Israeli ambassador in Delhi declaring to the Indian press: "We will crush the Lebanese like the cockroaches they are" - note NOT Hizbollah, just ALL Lebanese! He backtracked quickly when he realised it was unacceptable despite the vocal pro-Israeli Indian stance)

So Israel's leaders dont call for the "destruction of the Palestinian people" but simply assert that "there are no Palestinian people" (Golda Meir): declaring terra nullius is a time-honoured European colonial strategy because once a land is declared "empty" then those living on the land are declared non-existent. It worked really well in Australia 200 years ago. Trouble is Israel just came late into the colonial game.

Or its leaders write about how the local population must be "removed, by incitement or otherwise" (Ben Gurion). Go through the last few years of official statements, and more of the same is repeated including how withdrawal from Gaza was meant to make it a "sewer that can be drained when we decide."

Even after 60 years, Israel does not have an official map of its territory simply because it has dreams of a "greater Israel" regardless of the people who live on that land.

This has been going on for over a hundred years. Why has no one called for a similar PRE-condition from Israel?

After all Hamas has been around only since the 1980s, and were formed out of acute oppression and killings (remember Sabra and Shatila? That was the emotional birthplace for the Hamas). Or are you suggesting that we should all remember and thus write blank moral cheques for the Holocaust but forget the Naqba and all else that has happened to the Palestinians?

Finally, I have a slightly different question: IF Hamas is SOOOOOOO evil that Israel cannot negotiate with it today and stop killling civilians, WHY did Israel secretly arm it and fund it in the 1990s. The Hamas charter has not changed since its inception. Was Israel suicidal then? Or did the idea of "destruction of Israel" did not matter as much?

I dont agree with killing of civilians by any party, but it seems to me that Israel's apologists have run out of all logical reasons and their basic arguments are simple: Israel is right and Hamas is wrong simply because the latter is Muslim.

That may make for nice propaganda but does not hold much intellectual water.

In that sense, at least Ruvy is honest in his fanaticism: only Jewish (and that too of those he deems Jews) suffering matters and the rest don't count. I wish more of Israel's supporters would be honest (with themselves) and realise that they are proposing the exact same thing.


#14
Vinod Joseph
January 7, 2009
06:21 AM

Anamika, as I have mentioned earlier, I have always believed that the UN resolution 181 which created Israel was absolutely fair. I don't think Jewish migration to Palestine can be compared to 'White' occupation of 'coloured' lands in the Americas or Australia. When the creation of a Jewish state was put to vote at the UN, 33 countries had voted in favour, including the USA and the non-imperialist USSR. 10 countries including India opposed it. 10 including the imperialist UK and China abstained. The Jews have a claim on Palestine. Not an exclusive claim, but a claim nevertheless. The Arabs and Jews could not live together and so splitting Palestine into two was the only option available. I do agree that a few Jewish leaders have talked of removing all Arab Palestinians from the lands given to them and many would like to expand Israeli borders to the whole of Palestine. I do not support such claims or actions and neither do the majority of non--Jewish Israel supporters. I believe that when faced with a threat that can grow into an existential threat, Israel is entitled to take pre-emptive action, various Israeli shortcomings notwithstanding. Even though almost 600 Palestinians have been killed, I believe the Israelis have done all that's possible to minimise the loss of lives, considering the amount of ordinance being dropped on the Gaza Strip. Like any other good terrorist group, Hamas has made sure that civilian casualties are unavoidable by mixing up its military infrastructure with civilian stuff.

The IRA never wanted to wipe the UK off the face of the map. They only wanted Ireland to be unified.

Israel is being held to a different standard from Hamas because there Hamas is entirely fundamentalist, whilst Israel is a democracy with a spectrum of opinions and ideologies contained within. Also, there are Palestinians who oppose Hamas. If the Fatah (very corrupt though it is now) didn't exist and Hamas could be said to be the sole representative of Arab Palestinians, and Hamas were lobbing rockets into Israel solely to stop the economic blockade, I would argue that Israel's right to retaliate has to be strictly proportionate. I would also argue that, to begin with, Israel has no absolutely right to blockade the Gaza Strip. Right now, because Hamas is Hamas, I find it difficult to say that the economic blockade of Gaza is totally wrong, though it is not right either.

Yes, Israel did create Hamas, or rather, to quote Uri Avnery, it did not prevent its creation. Even without the benefit of hindsight, it was a very stupid thing to have done, similar to India arming and training the LTTE. However, just as India was right in fighting the LTTE in the late 1980s, the fact that Israel created a monster does not take away its right to destroy the monster, especially when the monster threatens its existence.

Finally, having visited Israel and having many Israeli and Jewish friends, I do know that fundamentalist Jews are a small minority. Most Israeli Jews only want to live in peace with the Palestinians.

#15
Moonie
January 7, 2009
09:04 AM

" Israel is right and Hamas is wrong simply because the latter is Muslim." !!! Oh well, this is THE problem, in some ways all over the world! Jumping conclusions and paste religion ALL over so that passions start to run high and become uncontrollable!!!
Hamas is WRONG because it is a militant organization using violence and terror to meet its objectives. And it still remains in wrong even if it was 'funded' or supported by Israel itself last decade. Logically speaking Israel has all the right to defend itself from this terror in whatever it can do;
Also isn't something so obvious to people in Gaza, they are not only having less power, military or otherwise, they also have lesser support internationally; [ whatever support they have is only 'humanitarian'] so I think they should abandon their dreams of ruling over Israel and instead try negotiate to best what they get!

#16
kaffir
January 7, 2009
10:05 AM

I dont agree with killing of civilians by any party, but it seems to me that Israel's apologists have run out of all logical reasons and their basic arguments are simple: Israel is right and Hamas is wrong simply because the latter is Muslim.

-

Pish posh. Are we back to the "Islamophobe" angle now? Here's a simple litmus test to find out if your thesis is correct: Where do Israeli "apologists" stand vis-a-vis USA actions in Iraq. If your thesis is correct, then all such "apologists" will be gung-ho for American war in Iraq without any care or concern for Iraqis since majority of Iraqis are Muslims. I personally hold US responsible, at fault and accountable for the Iraq war. So, at least n=1, your thesis doesn't apply.

#17
smallsquirrel
January 7, 2009
10:33 AM

erm, even is Hamas is wrong, must all the people of Palestine pay for their ignorance? We must learn to separate the government from the people. Although in this case it is a bit more tricky since Hamas was a movement before it was a political entity, I do think. it all comes down to the fact that NO CIVILIANS should be murdered due to the actions of a government.

#18
Guido
January 7, 2009
10:46 AM


Here's a WSJ opinion piece from Benjamin Netanyahu. Thus far it's the most rational synopsized response to the whole affair. The article doesn't address religion, or try to trace ethnic origins back 100 million years, to see which microorganism first slimed its way onto the holy shores to claim ownership. The author also directly answers the absurd notions of proportionality in war. Finally, and most important, he correctly points out that there will never be any lasting peace, while the international community fails to condemn Hamas the way it does Israel.

Where was the media (and DC writers) cry for a halt to the violence prior to Israel's response?

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123128827234659279.html?mod=googlenews_wsj

Ciao, Guido

#19
Vinod Joseph
January 7, 2009
10:48 AM

Small Squirrel (#17), Hamas enjoys popular support in Gaza, if not in the West Bank. The population which voted for Hamas is at least partly responsible for its actions.

In the Gaza strip, Hamas's military gear is mixed up with civilian infrastructure. Rockets are launched from fields under cultivation, close to where people live. Arms are stored in school houses. All this is done with the intention of making it difficult for Israel to retaliate. When Israel launched air attacks, it was bound to hurt/damage civilians and their properties.

#20
smallsquirrel
January 7, 2009
10:53 AM

yes, they do because Palestinians are fed up with how they are living. But in the end the people do not make decisions for the government.

#21
Anamika
January 7, 2009
11:29 AM

Vinod: I take back what I said earlier as your entire response is based on "I believe...." which is on the same lines as Ruvy "believing" that god is a real estate agent. There is not point debating a point of faith, and since you have based your argument on your "beliefs", its best we disengage now.

And if having friends is a "credential" - well having travelled to Israel and the OTs over the past two decades and having friends on both sides of the conflict, I think I have an insight into BOTH sides of the border. I also happen to have enough diaspora friends from both sides to realise how they think and feel about it.

So based on reading, travelling and interviews with the various parties involved in Gaza, here is just one a piece of information you won't here from the Israeli/US press:

You talk of Israel being careful about minimizing civilian casualties. Well imagine an area like Karol Bagh in Delhi - wall it off completely, then bring in F-16s and Apaches and artillery stationed 5 km away to bomb it. Gaza is TINY and one of the most densely populated places in the world. THERE IS NO WAY YOU CAN BOMB IT AND NOT KILL CIVILIANS. The Israelis know it too which is why they constantly use the propaganda about Hamas using "human shields." There is NO place for the Palestinians to hide or run to!

But by all means, you keep "believing" that its morally and ethically correct to bomb such a ghetto.

#18: An opinion piece in the WSJ by Netanyahu is the best you can find? Its a bit like having Hitler comment on the Holocaust, or OBL on 9/11 or Mao on the Cultural Revolution. Hardly a credible source of objectivity there.

#22
Vinod Joseph
January 7, 2009
11:58 AM

Anamika #21, let's debate facts instead. You say that the Gaza strip can be compared to a walled off Karol Bagh. You couldn't be more wrong. In case you didn't know, the Gaza Strip has an area of 140 square miles or 363 square kilometres. It has a population of 1.5 million or 15 lakh people. Mumbai, by contrast, has an area of 168 square miles / 435 square kilometres, not much more than the Gaza Strip. However, Mumbai has a population of 12 million or 1.2 crores, almost eight times that of Gaza! Gaza has population centres that are densely populated. But it also has vast empty spaces. Empty of everything, cause it's after all a desert. Hamas could very well find some space where there are no civilians around. Of course, considering the military technology available to Israel, such tactics would result in speedy annihilation! Understandably, Hamas is forced to use 'human shields'. All the players in that wretched place understand what's happening. The people of Gaza know what Hamas is up to when it bases its rockets close to civilian centres. They still support Hamas and will support Hamas even more as a result of Israel's offensive. Fatah, poor, innocent, secular, corrupt Fatah, will go down in standing in the eyes of Palestinians even more. Hamas will easily get more recruits to replace the fighters killed in this offensive, which is destined to achieve little.

#23
Guido
January 7, 2009
12:06 PM

Anamika,

"An opinion piece in the WSJ by Netanyahu is the best you can find? Its a bit like having Hitler comment on the Holocaust, or OBL on 9/11 or Mao on the Cultural Revolution. Hardly a credible source of objectivity there."

Lovely dismissal. Did you READ the article or just label it propaganda based on the author? Here's a novel idea...argue the points of the essay.

Ciao, Guido

#24
kerty
January 7, 2009
12:06 PM

Anamika

Here is a video on how crowded is Gaza.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I2HQpzCGf0A&NR=1

Oh how Jehadis are always short on land.

#25
Kerty
January 7, 2009
12:23 PM

Mr. Netanyahu: "We fight to defend ourselves, but in so doing we are also fighting a fanatical ideology that seeks to reverse the course of history and throw the civilized world back into a new dark age. The struggle between militant Islam and modernity -- whether fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, India or Gaza -- will decide our common future. It is a battle we cannot afford to lose."

While it is easy to get caught up in parochial and emotional and petty perspectives, lets not lose sight of larger stakes.

#26
temporal
URL
January 7, 2009
12:27 PM

vinod 22:

since you mention facts, please check THIS

and then tell me what how would you fight a goliath like israeli army

this comparison is more realistic than pop. density per sq.kms

#27
Guido
January 7, 2009
12:47 PM

Vinod Joseph #22

"Understandably, Hamas is forced to use 'human shields'."

So you understand why Hamas is "forced" to use human shields. I don't. There is no conceivable way I can understand this. At the threat of certain death, I could not intentionally put a child's life in danger, much less to guard against my own. I could not live a day with myself having committed something so despicable.

And BTW, it's a conscious choice. No one is forcing this action. And anyone who accepts that notion is justifying the behavior.

Ciao, Guido

#28
Vinod Joseph
January 7, 2009
12:48 PM

Temporal #26, if we take your argument to its logical conclusion, in view of the tremendous disparity between Israel and Hamas in military strength, Israel should not retaliate against Hamas even if Hamas fires rockets into Israel. Pakistan should not be fighting Islamic fundamentalists in the NWFP or Baluchistan since on paper the Pakistani army is many times stronger than the militants. Neither should India fight any of the insurgents trying to break up India. When I was a kid, I was forbidden from retaliating against my younger brother even if he hit more for no reason solely on the ground that he was 'a small boy'. Unfortunately, that argument doesn't work once you grow up. If Hamas were only trying to lift the economic blockade on Gaza, it would get a lot more sympathy. Unfortunately, it has Israel's destruction as its ultimate goal.

#29
Guido
January 7, 2009
12:50 PM


The double-standard.

http://www.ocregister.com/articles/gaza-israel-think-2272631-hamas-president#slComments

#30
commonsense
January 7, 2009
12:51 PM

Guido:

""Here's a WSJ opinion piece from Benjamin Netanyahu. Thus far it's the most rational synopsized response to the whole affair."'


Ha Ha Ha! Netanyahu giving "the most rational" response!!! Ha Ha Ha1 Thanks for the laughs. Even most Israelis will laugh!

yes, generally it is a good idea not to focus on WHO is saying what, but on WHAT is being said. But there are always exceptions to any rule, and Netanyahu, is one of them. Like Mao, Pol Pot etc. etc. Netanyahu is about as rational as Ruvy here, and Ruvy too is an exception to the rule of hearing someone out before commenting. Did I read the piece by Netanyahu? Naaah, I have better things to do: such as seriously argue with Ruvy and Kerty, which for sure enriches my fund of knowledge and critical thinking!

Commonsense in a burst of smug self-righteousness, laughs again! Netanyahu as the "most rational....". Indeed, commonsense is almost hysterical with laughter...

#31
kaffir
January 7, 2009
01:19 PM

An opinion piece in the WSJ by Netanyahu is the best you can find? Its a bit like having Hitler comment on the Holocaust, or OBL on 9/11 or Mao on the Cultural Revolution. Hardly a credible source of objectivity there.

Anamika, you've also mentioned idea by an amazing jazz musician, as well as the comment by Israeli ambassador re: cockroaches. Are you sure that you can claim objectivity for your position?

And how does one go about achieving objectivity in a conflict like this? It's always a personal and subjective stake. I wouldn't be surprised if the decision to fire rockets by Hamas stemmed from some commander's relative among the six or seven killed by Israel when they bombed the tunnel being built by Hamas.

#32
Anamika
January 7, 2009
02:03 PM

Guido - Yes, I read Netanyahu's piece. It presents the Israeli rightist position well. However, it is hardly the "most rational synopsized response to the whole affair" (its the classification I dismissed NOT the article in the same way that you are welcome to counter Atzmon's piece for its content/context).

It is also a very useful insight into the way Israeli government thinks.

I do find it ironic and telling that the same WSJ and NYTs and other mainstream US media have managed to not run a single commentary from the other side OR even by anyone who can even vaguely counter the Israeli/AIPAC propagandist view. So ok, you can't have an article by Khaled Meshal because you call him a terrorist. Fine! You cant find a single American ME scholar to speak for the other side, especially when non-trad media like HuffPo is full of those? Thats just pathetic even in attempting an illusion of objectivity.

Mediawatch as well as Glenn Greenwald at Salon have been writing about it for the past ten days - that how despite the Obama-change and obvious discrepancy between the voters and US political establishment, nobody has broken the lockstep with Israel. And of course how US MSM is following the AIPAC/Israel line without fail.

In any case, re Netanyahu's article: nothing surprising there, but then little Benjamin has always lived in the shadow of big brother hero/martyr of Entebbe, trying to be macho-er than macho. It blighted his term in office and is the millstone of his political career. Poor guy - he is capable for far greater things, even eventually of a Rabin-like stature.


#33
Guido
January 7, 2009
02:56 PM

Anamika,

Nice commentary about your personal interpretation of propaganda, the MSM's failings, and the clinical analysis of Netanyahu. Excuse my redundancy but you may have missed this: "...argue the points of the essay."

Let me assist by consolidating subject matter and posting it here:

1) Three years ago Israel withdrew from every square inch of Gaza. And since that withdrawal, our civilians have been targeted by more than 6,000 rockets and mortars fired from Gaza. In the face of this relentless bombardment, Israel has acted with a restraint that other countries, faced with a similar threat, would find hard to fathom. Israel's government has finally decided to respond.

2) There is no moral equivalence between Israel, a democracy which seeks peace and targets the terrorists, and Hamas, an Iranian-backed terror organization that seeks Israel's destruction and targets the innocent.

3) In launching precision strikes against Hamas rocket launchers, headquarters, weapons depots, smuggling tunnels and training camps, Israel is trying to minimize civilian casualties. But Hamas deliberately attacks Israeli civilians and deliberately hides behind Palestinian civilians -- a double war crime. Responsible governments do their utmost to minimize civilian casualties, but they do not grant immunity to terrorists who use civilians as human shields.

4) The international community may occasionally condemn Hamas for putting Palestinian civilians in harm's way, but if it ultimately holds Israel responsible for the casualties that ensue, then Hamas and other terror organizations will employ this abominable tactic again and again.

5) The charge that Israel is using disproportionate force is equally baseless. Does proportionality demand that Israel fire 6,000 rockets indiscriminately back at Gaza? Does it demand an equal number of casualties on both sides? Using that logic, one would conclude that the United States employed disproportionate force against the Germans because 20 times as many Germans as Americans died in World War II.

6) To further root out Hamas terrorists in a way that minimizes Palestinian civilian casualties, Israel's army is now engaged in a ground operation that places its soldiers in great peril. Carpet-bombing of Palestinian cities is not an option that any Israeli leader will entertain.

7) The goal of this mission should be clear: To end the current round of missile attacks and to remove the threat of such attacks in the future. The only cease-fire or diplomatic initiative that should be accepted is one that achieves this dual objective.

8) We stand united against Hamas because we know that only by defeating Hamas can we provide security for our people and hope for a future peace.

9) We fight to defend ourselves, but in so doing we are also fighting a fanatical ideology that seeks to reverse the course of history and throw the civilized world back into a new dark age. The struggle between militant Islam and modernity -- whether fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, India or Gaza -- will decide our common future.

Ciao, Guido

#34
Anamika
January 7, 2009
03:29 PM

Guido:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/07/gaza-israel-palestine

But then Shlaim would not be an acceptable source for your either, so I dont expect you to read it.

#35
commonsense
January 7, 2009
03:31 PM

Ruvy,

What happened to the lawsuit you were threatening others with?

I bet you would love to subpoena me and others!

Oops that sounds a bit too vulgar, even for me. ugh! sorry, it didn't come out the way i intended it to, but too late since I already hit the "send" button. Next time I must "preview" before I hit the send button. Too late!

#36
commonsense
January 7, 2009
03:36 PM

Good one Anamika; the piece from the ex-Israeli army officer Avi Shlaim.

Among other things, I like the way he puts it in perspective:

""The Biblical injunction of an eye for an eye is savage enough. But Israel's insane offensive against Gaza seems to follow the logic of an eye for an eyelash.""

(No, obviously he is not good enough for Guido, Kaffir etc. and certainly not for Ruvy or Kerty who dwell in a parallel universe)

#37
kaffir
January 7, 2009
05:00 PM

CS # 36, tsk..tsk. I didn't think you'd espouse the Bush world-view of "if you're not with us, you're against us", which you most likely criticized Bush when he said that.

My stance is quite simple: when both parties get tired of fighting and want to make peace, it will happen. I don't think either side is blame-free in this issue, and I personally think that clinging to past and citing historical grievances is fruitless, as anyone can pick any starting point to support any position. The best solution is to have two states, and let parties from both sides that are serious about peace work towards it. Everything else is propaganda (by both sides), playing ideological games (by both sides) and proving the other "wrong" and validating one's position, which I don't care for.

As Anamika said, injustice never pays and Israel is on its way to a Nuremberg-like trial, so why fret over it? I mean karma happens in spite of us humans bickering or taking positions one way or the other, right? Chane khao aur mast raho.

#38
commonsense
January 7, 2009
05:12 PM

Kaffir,

Sincere (no bs!) apologies for inadvertently including you on the list...

"The best solution is to have two states, and let parties from both sides that are serious about peace work towards it."

I think very few except for the really deluded would agree with this. However, then comes the dreaded, who will bell the cat question.

#39
Anamika
January 7, 2009
05:26 PM

ahem, CS, DISAGREE. Of such typos are wars made...

#40
kaffir
January 7, 2009
05:57 PM

However, then comes the dreaded, who will bell the cat question.

CS, are you saying that my (or your) peace of mind is/ought to be contingent on peace in the Middle East and who will bell the cat?

Here' my question: How will a proxy comment war on DC, by Indians and NRIs who have no stake in Israel-Palestine and likely no influence on proceedings there and limited knowledge of history, a comment war that's based on cherry-picking, ideology and "only I am right" approach, achieve peace, if indeed that is the aim?

Whatever is happening here on DC is a microcosm of what's going on among Israelis and Palestinians, except that they experience first-hand what we discuss intellectually.

#41
Guido
January 7, 2009
05:58 PM

Anamika,

Thanks for the 2,400 word essay decrying the ills of Israel with barely a mention of the rocket attacks ("pinpricks" according to the author), followed by justification for said attacks. The photo of the wounded Palestinians was a nice touch. I suppose since the gentlemen was an IDF member, and now "distinguished" professor (and his opinions happen to coincide with yours) all is well...end of debate. By that logic, Ruvy would be the expert, providing you shared his views.

I'm especially impressed by this gem:

"The only way for Israel to achieve security is not through shooting but through talks with Hamas, which has repeatedly declared its readiness to negotiate a long-term ceasefire with the Jewish state within its pre-1967 borders for 20, 30, or even 50 years."

You mean when Hamas declared it's willingness to negotiate by its peaceful actions and declarations. Let's see...here's the deal...you don't get to exist and I do. Don't agree...have another rocket. And here's a suicide bomber for good will.

The fact is, at some point following the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas began a sustained assault on Israel. That assault prompted the response. Now either your in the Hamas camp and believe the rocket attacks and subsequent terrorists tactics are justified, or you don't and accept Israel's right to defend itself.

Since you seem unwilling to address the posted points on your own without referring to the "expert", I'll assume from your offer of the link and previous rhetoric that you support Hamas and their tactics.

It's an easy choice for me. I clearly remember the celebration by the Palestinians following the 9/11 attacks. While most countries mourned with us, the likes of Hamas danced in the streets. The same streets they dress up their children and march in "martyr" parades. It's an easy choice because I know who teaches their young to hate before they can talk. I know who intentionally targets civilians. I know who literally hides behind their women and children for safety. I know who promotes "honor killings" and treat women like property. I know who is intolerant of any criticism of their faith to the point of murder. I know who helps fill the ranks of Al Qaeda. I know who does and doesn't celebrate and support terrorist attacks worldwide. Finally, I know who provides Hamas with military, financial, and "moral" support.

Let's see, am I going to believe the likes of Anamika and Professor Shlaim, or my lying eyes and ears.

Ciao, Guido

#42
Guido
January 7, 2009
06:10 PM

It seems that Hamas is losing support in the Arab world:

"For each of these Arab states, Hamas represents a force that could stir the social pot at home -- either by creating a backlash against the regimes for their ties to Israel and their perceived failure to aid the Palestinians, or by emboldening democratic Islamist movements in the region that could threaten the stability of both republican regimes and monarchies. With somewhat limited options to contain Iranian expansion in the region, the Arab states ironically are looking to Israel to ensure that Hamas remains boxed in. So, while on the surface it may seem that the entire Arab world is convulsing with anger at Israel's offensive against Hamas, a closer look reveals that the view from the Arab palace is quite different from the view on the Arab street."

Here's the entire analysis:
http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/20090107_hamas_and_arab_states

Ciao, Guido

#43
commonsense
January 7, 2009
07:28 PM

guido,

are you related to antonio gaudi?

c'mon marine mate, this is a yes and no question, not a trick question!

#44
commonsense
January 7, 2009
07:35 PM

Kaffir # 40,

I was sincerely bullshitting when i claimed that I was sincerely sorry about including it on the list. just testing your vanity, since nobody is immune to flattery. and also trying to trick you to relax your guard. you are firmly in the same group such as kerty, ruvy, sanjay. just pretending otherwise, but that veneer does not fool anyone.

you might be better off if you actually practised what you preach: ie. chana khao, mast raho.

#45
kaffir
January 7, 2009
08:08 PM

CS, your comments haven't failed to amuse me so far. You are quite a schizo joker, but then, I'm stating the obvious and something which you're already aware of. You also forgot to mention Ledzius, Morris and Chandra - my fellow langotia yaars.

As I said before, right/left ideologues - both cut from the same cloth, mirror images of each other in how they behave yet criticizing each other, criticizing just for the sake of criticizing, criticizing Bush for "you're with us or against us" yet themselves indulging in the same game.

Bhai tumko mubaarak yeh ideological egotistical games and intellectual armchair wars, ham chale chane khane. Jitna dekha-padha, bahut hai. You're correct, and thanks for the reminder, my friend - my time is better spent reading Kabir than the silly, self-aggrandizing games being played here.

#46
bob
January 7, 2009
08:34 PM

"israel's Gaza offensive"?

more like "israel's Gaza killing field"

#47
commonsense
January 7, 2009
08:37 PM

Kaffir:

""You also forgot to mention Ledzius, Morris and Chandra - my fellow langotia yaars.""

right you are (to some extent, see below for details) not just schizoid, ADD, but blessed with a weak memory too.

Morris and Chandra are the archetypical fence-sitters, like you. (Caution: if you sit on the fence too long, it becomes a royal pain in the butt. if the fence is too sharp, the butt becomes schizoid, literally, not metaphorically, and all the world's horses and all the world's men, can never put it together again. it ALMOST happened to me once)

Ledzius: well, he's for sure not a fence sitter. Depending on whether he produced a hinny or a mule with Kerty, he might be a mare or ass sitter.

True, chane khao and mast raho. why get involved in discusions, that according to you, lead nowhere?? as if khaoing too much chane leads anywhere else except to the sandaas ghar. i suppose that's your idea of masti?? sitting in the toilet and reading kabir. poor kabir das, turning in his (was be cremated or buried??).


#48
sarah islam
URL
January 8, 2009
12:55 AM


Commonsense:

"poor kabir das, turning in his (was be cremated or buried??)."

Kabir was cremated. two disciples divided the flowers and two sheets between them. Raj Bir Sinha took his partion to Benares where he cremated it and buried the ashes at a spot what is now known as the Kabir Chaurg and the Nawab buried his portion of Maghar where a shrine
was built in his memory. :-)

Guido:

"Let's see, am I going to believe the likes of Anamika and Professor Shlaim, or my lying eyes and ears."

The far right like you better not believe anything but the but the voices whispering in your ear:-)

ciao




#49
mkw
January 8, 2009
03:17 AM


"The only way for Israel to achieve security is not through shooting but through talks with Hamas, which has repeatedly declared its readiness to negotiate a long-term ceasefire with the Jewish state within its pre-1967 borders for 20, 30, or even 50 years."

Really? Article 13 of the Hamas charter makes it very explicit that its jihadism is incompatible with any peaceful settlement or negotiations:

Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement. Abusing any part of Palestine is abuse against part of religion. Nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its religion. Its members have been fed on that...There is no solution to the Palestinian question except by Jihad. All initiatives, proposals, and International Conferences are a waste of time and vain endeavors.

For Hamas, the *only* solution is the annihilation of Israel.

#50
Guido
January 8, 2009
04:50 AM

sarah islam,

"The far right like you better not believe anything but the but the voices whispering in your ear"

Excellent reply. Rational, clear, and full of commonsense. Well done!

Ciao, Guido

#51
Anamika
January 8, 2009
05:51 AM

"There is another lesson here that the Israelis would have done well to learn before their onslaught on Lebanon in 2006 and certainly before their onslaught on Gaza in 2008-9. The lesson is that savage air attack by a foreign enemy does not break the nerve of a civilian population, but instead only stiffens its resolve not to give in."

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article5469051.ece

I guess we could extend the Vietnam argument to pretty much all resistance movements to occupying armies - hasn't worked in Chechnya either.

#52
Guido
January 8, 2009
07:40 AM

Anamika #51,

The lessons were learned long before Vietnam.

Many of the proponents of early airpower, Billy Mitchell and Giulio Douht among them, advocated the use of strategic bombing alone to win wars. Of course that is not usually the case, and one of the unintended consequences was to strengthen the resolve of the civilian populous...if (and a big IF) the population still supported the regime in power. Otherwise, airpower is suffused with a major ground attack both strategically and tactically. The bombing of Serbia during the Kosovo conflict is the only standing example of a country capitulating to air strikes alone. But only after Milosevic lost public support.

There is another very important component at play here. For the regime to maintain public support during the duress of bombing, it must gain sustained moral support...both from within and outside its borders. Inside the country, support can be coerced through force and/or early indoctrination. Outside its borders, it must rely on their allies in the press and those sympathetic to the cause. Both provide immeasurable support to bolster their activities and prove to their own people that the cause is just and worth fighting and dying for. Vietnam is the classic example.

Here is an excerpt from Mr. Bui Tin, a former colonel in the North Vietnamese army who served on the general staff of North Vietnam's Army:

"It was essential to our strategy. Support of the war from our rear was completely secure while the American rear was vulnerable. Every day our leadership would listen to world news over the radio at 9 a.m. to follow the growth of the American antiwar movement. Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda, and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses. We were elated when Jane Fonda, wearing a red Vietnamese dress, said at a press conference that she was ashamed of American actions in the war and that she would struggle along with us."

That's one of many reasons I don't support Hamas on DC threads or in any other venue. To lend support, morally or otherwise is to aid and condone their efforts and tactics and ultimately the continuation of the conflict. Hence people claiming to abhor violence, while tacitly or overtly condemning Israel and not Hamas, are insidiously (like or not) contributing to the suffering of those caught in the middle.

Ciao, Guido

#53
Anamika
January 8, 2009
08:10 AM

Guido: So by that logic, you endorsed the mass murder of the Vietnam people? Just as you endorse the murder of the Palestinian people now?

The Vietnamese won at the end - despite the massive costs - because they held out against the forces of occupation. All they had to do was to survive in the face of all brutality. Same with the Palestinians - all they have to do is continue to survive.

That was the addendum comment to the link. Obviously you missed it.

#54
Guido
January 8, 2009
08:35 AM

Anamika #51,

Apologies. I wrongly assumed you could engage in thoughtful debate. My mistake!

Please pardon me while I go commit some mass murder and brutalize innocent Palestinians.

Ciao, Guido

#55
Guido
January 8, 2009
08:40 AM

Correction. My last post should read: Anamika #53

Ciao, Guido

#56
Anamika
January 8, 2009
09:08 AM

"Both provide immeasurable support to bolster their activities and prove to their own people that the cause is just and worth fighting and dying for."

followed by:
"That's one of many reasons I don't support Hamas on DC threads or in any other venue. To lend support, morally or otherwise is to aid and condone their efforts and tactics and ultimately the continuation of the conflict."

Your logic, your words. The lesson from Vietnam was not - according to YOUR words - that people will resist occupation even unto death but that they should not be allowed to think that their cause is "just and worth fighting and dying for."

By that same "lesson" of Vietnam, you cannot critique Israel's actions because - heaven forbid - it might actually let Palestinians think that their cause is "just and worth fighting and dying for."

And for the record, NOBODY on DC has SUPPORTED Hamas. Critiqueing Israel is NOT tantamount to support for the Hamas. Nor is understanding why a population that is brutalised will back the only champions they have condoning the actions of Hamas. But that may be too complex for people who cant think past binaries.

#57
kerty
January 8, 2009
09:23 AM

Anamika

"All they had to do was to survive in the face of all brutality. Same with the Palestinians - all they have to do is continue to survive."

That presumes that Israeli end game is the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians which Israel has not professed as its goal. It is the other way around - Palestinian backers have openly professed that they will fight till the last Palestinian to wipe off Israel. So the argument is disingenious as it seeks to transpose its own motives upon Israel. The argument creates a strawman.

#58
Ruvy
URL
January 8, 2009
10:33 AM



Since Anamika has decided to resurrect Yoni Netanyahu, let's here from a real Israeli hero, instead of some schmechel who ruins off to London to blow his horn because he can't stand being a traitor in his own homeland.

In the book Self Portrait Of A Hero: The Letters of Jonathan Netanyahu (1963-1976), Jonathan Netanyahu, the fallen hero of Entebbe and brother of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, wrote (without realizing he was doing so) of such schmecklech like Gil'ad Atzmon:

"I see with sorrow and great anger how a part of the people still clings to hopes of reaching a peaceful settlement with the Arabs. Common sense tells them, too, that the Arabs haven't abandoned their basic aim of destroying the State; but the self-delusion and self-deception that have always plagued the Jews are at work again. It's our great misfortune. They want to believe, so they believe. They want not to see, so they shut their eyes. They want not to learn from thousands of years of history, so they distort it. They want to bring about a sacrifice, and they do indeed. It would be comic, it it wasn't so tragic. What a saddening and irritating lot this Jewish people is!"

#59
Guido
January 8, 2009
10:37 AM

Anamika #56,

"'Both [moral assistance from within and without] provide immeasurable support to bolster their activities and prove to their own people that the cause is just and worth fighting and dying for.'"

Any combatant must have this support to sustain the war effort.

"'That's one of many reasons I don't support Hamas on DC threads or in any other venue. To lend support, morally or otherwise is to aid and condone their efforts and tactics and ultimately the continuation of the conflict.'"

Yes. Assuming the accepted premise, I understand any support I lend tacitly or otherwise will aid their cause and thus continue the conflict.

"Your logic, your words. The lesson from Vietnam was not - according to YOUR words - that people will resist occupation even unto death but that they should not be allowed to think that their cause is "just and worth fighting and dying for.""

The last seven words are mine, the context is your. My quote:

"Both [again, moral assistance from within and without] provide immeasurable support to bolster their activities and prove to their own people that the cause is just and worth fighting and dying for. Vietnam is the classic example."

Which is another example of the accepted premise: Any combatant must have this support to sustain the effort...hence the reference and example.

"By that same "lesson" of Vietnam, you cannot critique Israel's actions because - heaven forbid - it might actually let Palestinians think that their cause is "just and worth fighting and dying for."

Sorry, but your missing the point.

I have considered both warring parties and support Israel's right to self defense and openly condemn the tactics of Hamas as stated in a post #41. That's not the point I'm trying to make here.

The point is you cannot claim passivity if you are condemning Israel and not Hamas. Just as Jane Fonda can't honestly claim she's anti-war, when she is contributing to one side's vital ingredient for success in the form of moral support. The same concept applies on these boards. Portraying Hamas as the perpetual victim while ignoring their moral outrages emboldens them, which as mentioned, Hamas require to continue the effort. Without this support, they cannot sustain the war.

"And for the record, NOBODY on DC has SUPPORTED Hamas. Critiqueing Israel is NOT tantamount to support for the Hamas." "...But that may be too complex for people who cant think past binaries."

You may not like it, but my point is valid and denial and petty insults won't make it otherwise.

Ciao, Guido

#60
Anamika
January 8, 2009
11:07 AM

Guido, I have NOT portrayed Hamas as the victim, but the PALESTINIAN PEOPLE as victims of Israeli expansionist, ethnic cleansing policies. Hamas is a symptom of 60 years of brutalisation, not an immutable condition or the cause.

You can dismiss it with a facile "they are all terrorists" but the Hamas would not have come up had Israel adhered to the mandate provided by the UN and not kept expanding. But that just wont fit your good vs evil paradigm so why bother, right?

#61
Slime_id
January 8, 2009
11:23 AM

Afganistan would be a good tourist stop once all this stupid nonsense ends. My message to the risk banker is to promote
a) Taliban tourism
b) Pakistan wild border sight seeing
c) Opium fields tour

Ever since Najibullah was executed by The Talibans, Afganistan has seens flips and flops. The strategic position of Afganistan has been exploited by powers near and far.

Why can't wild tourism be part of this. How wonderful when the Talibs show us how to fire rockets into Pakistan for some dollars.

#62
Guido
January 8, 2009
11:30 AM

Anamika #60,

Lovely post, but what does it have to do with our previous discussion?

"You can dismiss it with a facile "they are all terrorists"..."

I would really appreciate you not putting words in my mouth, or using my quotes out of context.

How about we end the discussion here. I concede all your points...whatever they are.

Ciao, Guido

#63
kerty
January 8, 2009
11:38 AM

Anamika

"I have NOT portrayed Hamas as the victim, but the PALESTINIAN PEOPLE as victims of Israeli expansionist, ethnic cleansing policies. Hamas is a symptom of 60 years of brutalisation, not an immutable condition or the cause. You can dismiss it with a facile "they are all terrorists" but the Hamas would not have come up had Israel adhered to the mandate provided by the UN and not kept expanding. But that just wont fit your good vs evil paradigm"

As you make careful distinction between Hamas and Palestinian people, you deny the same when Israel aims its counter response which to deal with organizations and people connected with Hamas.

If the other side uses its territory to wage wars on a sovereign state, than land they lose in a war is a fair game. It is not called expansionism. The wars revised the dated UN's mandate and Israeli map. Thanks you.

"Hamas is a symptom of 60 years of brutalisation"
"Hamas would not have come up had Israel adhered to the mandate provided by the UN"

That sounds like portraying Hamas as victim to me. The very premise used by Hamas is same as your apologetics.

"But that just wont fit your good vs evil paradigm so why bother, right?"

As if you are following any different paradigm here? As if you have chosen no sides on this issue?



#64
Ruvy
URL
January 8, 2009
11:43 AM

Those pesky Americans can't seem to understand Anamika's simple to comprehend concepts. If, 60 years ago, the Jews had simply allowed the Arabs to murder them off, there would be no need for a Hamas, now. All the Jews would be dead, and Arab children could play happily in the sunshine of Jaffa, Gaza and Safad without those evil Jews to kill them!

The problem is that attacked on all sides in 1948, the Jews survived, won, and created a viable nation.

THAT WAS THEIR BIG SIN! THEY SURVIVED! Because they did, now good academics from India England have to explain to pesky Americans about Israeli survival aggression.

A sad sight indeed....

#65
commonsense
January 8, 2009
12:48 PM

Akiva Eldar, chief political columnist for the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, is co-author, with Idith Zertal, of _Lords of the Land: The War Over Israel's Settlements in the Occupied Territories, 1967-2007_

Excerpt:

Translation from the Hebrew by Jessica Cohen

"The mantra repeated ad nauseam these days by Israeli officials, from Prime Minister Ehud Olmert down to the last spokesperson, is "Show us a state that would practice restraint while rockets are continuously fired at civilian populations in its sovereign territory." For the benefit of provincial spectators like our American friends, the Israeli hasbara (Hebrew for "explanation" or "information"--a more euphemistic term than "propaganda") has produced a film that compares Israel's southern border to that of the United States. The question posed by the narrator: "Would the United States ignore rockets fired from Mexico into San Diego?"

The requisite yet simplistic answer is, of course, absolutely not.But the correct answer, albeit the more complex one, is that the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip (and between Israel and the West Bank and the Golan Heights) is unlike any border in the world, including the Israel-Egypt and Israel-Jordan ones. The fact that Israel pulled its army out of Gaza and even removed 8,000 settlers in 2005 does not alter the fact that Gaza is still, practically and according to international law, occupied territory. Israel controls the entrances and exits, as well as access to necessities such as power and water. Mexico has not spent the last three or more years under an American aerial and sea blockade.

These arguments are not intended to justify Hamas's conduct or to defend its interests. Hamas is an enemy that refuses to recognize my national right, as a Jew, to live in my country. No one would be happier than I would to see it gone from the seat of power."

Full article here:

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090112/eldar?rel=hp_currently



#66
soomro
January 9, 2009
08:13 AM

the Palestinians should be angry at their Arab neighbors for not taming the Israelians decades ago.

its sad that the only ones who are willing to give any tangible strategic support to Palestinian interests are Iran and Hezbollah. both of which are of course axis of evil.

i think Iran should develop nukes soon and use it to create a balance of power in the ME that has been severely distorted because of the land-grabbing-ones.

one threat of a nuclear strike can go a long way up their kosher asses.

#67
commonsense
January 9, 2009
08:57 AM

Guido:

""Hence people claiming to abhor violence, while tacitly or overtly condemning Israel and not Hamas, are insidiously (like or not) contributing to the suffering of those caught in the middle.""

interesting, not even twisted "logic"!! a bit like those who condemn Hitler are indidiously (like it or not) contributing to the suffering of the Jews, the gypsies and the gays. [that is why I refuse to condemn Hitler? QED?]

#68
commonsense
January 9, 2009
09:10 AM

Guido:

""Visits to Hanoi by people like Jane Fonda, and former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and ministers gave us confidence that we should hold on in the face of battlefield reverses.""

Excellent!! Two individuals, Clark and Fonda, tilted the balance!!!

The vietnamese counter-part also told robert mcnamara, when they finally met: we were literally willing to fight and die until the last person. This in response to mcnamara's incredulous question:(paraphrase)"we assumed, that if we inflict enough casualities, the general popoulation would turn against the leadership and that would be the end of the war" (the same wrong assumption Israel is making now.

The Vietnamese were fighting for their land and on their land. The american soldiers were no nationalists but career soldiers, were fighting thousands of miles away, and had no idea "why are we in Vietnam?", after the initial flush of testesterone had subsided. Alcoholism, drugs, post-traumatic disorder, confusion as to waht the fish they were doing in, as they saw it "gook land". Yes, the vietnam war also gave rise to "operations research" where mcnamara and others were busy showing charts and graphs of the numbers of vietnamese casualities to shwo they were "winning the war" and there was light at the end of the tunnel.

Despite the initial casualities superior fire power can inflict initially, at the end of the day, wars are not fought only by superior arms. Limits to rational calculations. human factors, do kick in after a while. The thing about superior power and how is that it works best if it is used as a threat and never has to be actually used. Once you actually have to use it, it is a matter of "use it and lose it". Not always, but more often than not. Yes, there are exceptions. But Vietnam was the classic, tragic demonstration of this. For the million plus Vietnamese slaughtered, and the 54,000 hapless American soldiers slaughtered, plus the more than 54,000 veterans who died AFTER the war was over, due to post-traumatic stress disorder.

But I digress, albeit not too much. Lebanon 2006. The limits to brute power alone are obvious to anyone who reflects on the social psychology of war. Hardware can go only that far, and yes it is efffective, but the limits are obvious, once hard calculations and computer simulations give way to real human beings either wielding the hardware or bearing the brunt of it.

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