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Gaza explodes, Israel helps blow things up


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praktik said:
Did the TV show make them hate or did 60% unemployment, abysmal medical care, settler-only roads, thousands of checkpoints, limited access to food, water and consumer goods, targeted assassinations and an obscene civilian body-count make them hate?

Seems to me the children's TV show is the least of the irritants there....

The checkpoints, walls and assassinations were in response to the daily suicide and other terrorist attacks that plagued Israeli citizens. Remember, the walls were not always there.
How crowded is Gaza?

Gaza Dec 3, 08:
Alex D. from TRIBE on Utility Room


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originalVIBE said:
If the problem is occupation, then why has Israel been under attack since they left?

But they didnt really leave if they retained control over the borders of Gaza and effectively strangled it economically for years in hopes of exchanging a government they didnt like for one they liked better (fatah) - did they?

The threat of IDF action was ever present, Hamas had no control over the borders, the IDF could essentially go back in any time it wanted and thats what its doing now - so how did they really "leave"?

They just dismantled some illegally-built settlements and left the military infrastructure largely in place.


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originalVIBE said:
The checkpoints, walls and assassinations were in response to the daily suicide and other terrorist attacks that plagued Israeli citizens. Remember, the walls were not always there.

The walls WERE always there as long as there were settlers! The checkpoints were ALWAYS there as long as there were settlers!

The checkpoints and settlers only roads and the military infrastructure to protect them were there not because of Palestinian attacks, but because the government was backing an illegal settlement program. I figured you'd know the purpose and history of the checkpoints...

Sure, now there are NEW walls but most settlements had walls surrounding them right when they were built...


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praktik said:
But they didnt really leave if they retained control over the borders of Gaza and effectively strangled it economically for years in hopes of exchanging a government they didnt like for one they liked better (fatah) - did they?

The threat of IDF action was ever present, Hamas had no control over the borders, the IDF could essentially go back in any time it wanted and thats what its doing now - so how did they really "leave"?

They just dismantled some illegally-built settlements and left the military infrastructure largely in place.

Every country has control over its own borders. NO?

Again, what about Egypt? They have a border that can be opened but who would open a border to a land being run by terrorists?

As you know, Gaza is originally part of Egypt. Israel even tried to give it back along with the Sinai but Egypt refused.


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originalVIBE said:
Every country has control over its own borders. NO?

Again, what about Egypt? They have a border that can be opened but who would open a border to a land being run by terrorists?

As you know, Gaza is originally part of Egypt. Israel even tried to give it back along with the Sinai but Egypt refused.

Completely disengenuous. Egypt does plenty of trade with the world and has control over its own borders. It has chosen to participate with the world blockade against Gaza because it currently has a self-interest to do so. Main thing being, they CHOSE to block that border it wasn't FORCED upon them.

My main point was that Israel didn't really "leave" if they retained effective control of the borders, the airspace, the waterfront and the ability to continue targeted attacks and ground invasions at their whim - and pursue a program of "regime change" which represents a dramatic and meaningful influence in Palestinian political affairs.
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originalVIBE said:
I think Israel try's its hardest to avoid civilian casulties but Hamas does not make it easy for them.

40 Palestinians killed in IDF strike on UN school

Two tank shells exploded outside the Gaza school, spraying shrapnel on people inside and outside the building, where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge from fighting between Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants. In addition to the dead, several dozen people were wounded, the officials said.

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


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praktik said:
40 Palestinians killed in IDF strike on UN school

Two tank shells exploded outside the Gaza school, spraying shrapnel on people inside and outside the building, where hundreds of Palestinians had sought refuge from fighting between Israeli soldiers and Hamas militants. In addition to the dead, several dozen people were wounded, the officials said.

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

Mortar Bombs Shot from UN School in Gaza 29 Oct. 2007

From Jpost.com
The Israeli military said it was looking into the reports and was probing to find out the source of the explosion. The United Nations said hundreds of people from a Gaza City refugee camp had gone to seek shelter in the school from Israel's 11-day offensive against the Hamas terror group.

The Associated Press, however, carried a report saying that an IDF missile landed in the school's courtyard late Monday, also damaging the building.

As much as we could play a back and forth all day, i have to hit the road.

to be clear on my stance:
- I am against war but feel after 60 years of terror attacks and 8 consecutive years of rocket attacks, Israel has been backed into a wall with no choice but to fight an enemy that seeks death over life.
- Im willing bet or at least hope that most people in Gaza would like to live in peace side by side with Israel but are being held hostage by the Hamas thugs that continue to wage war and use as well as kill their own people.
- I hope this conflict is at the very least temporarily resolved with a cease fire for both sides.
- Civilian casualties would be limited if Hamas did not use human sheilds or hide weapons in public crowded places (how many people die by the secondary explosion?)
- Rockets are going further and further each year. Its a matter of time until large cities like TA are in rage. Israel must protect its citizens while most are safe as oppse to allowing everyone to be put in harms way.

Moral Clarity in Gaza

By Charles Krauthammer
Friday, January 2, 2009; A15

Late Saturday, thousands of Gazans received Arabic-language cell-phone messages from the Israeli military, urging them to leave homes where militants might have stashed weapons.

-- Associated Press, Dec. 27

Some geopolitical conflicts are morally complicated. The Israel-Gaza war is not. It possesses a moral clarity not only rare but excruciating.

Israel is so scrupulous about civilian life that, risking the element of surprise, it contacts enemy noncombatants in advance to warn them of approaching danger. Hamas, which started this conflict with unrelenting rocket and mortar attacks on unarmed Israelis -- 6,464 launched from Gaza in the past three years -- deliberately places its weapons in and near the homes of its own people.

This has two purposes. First, counting on the moral scrupulousness of Israel, Hamas figures civilian proximity might help protect at least part of its arsenal. Second, knowing that Israelis have new precision weapons that may allow them to attack nonetheless, Hamas hopes that inevitable collateral damage -- or, if it is really fortunate, an errant Israeli bomb -- will kill large numbers of its own people for which, of course, the world will blame Israel.

For Hamas, the only thing more prized than dead Jews are dead Palestinians. The religion of Jew-murder and self-martyrdom is ubiquitous. And deeply perverse, such as the Hamas TV children's program in which an adorable live-action Palestinian Mickey Mouse is beaten to death by an Israeli (then replaced by his more militant cousin, Nahoul the Bee, who vows to continue on Mickey's path to martyrdom).

At war today in Gaza, one combatant is committed to causing the most civilian pain and suffering on both sides. The other combatant is committed to saving as many lives as possible -- also on both sides. It's a recurring theme. Israel gave similar warnings to Southern Lebanese villagers before attacking Hezbollah in the Lebanon war of 2006. The Israelis did this knowing it would lose for them the element of surprise and cost the lives of their own soldiers.

That is the asymmetry of means between Hamas and Israel. But there is equal clarity regarding the asymmetry of ends. Israel has but a single objective in Gaza -- peace: the calm, open, normal relations it offered Gaza when it withdrew in 2005. Doing something never done by the Turkish, British, Egyptian and Jordanian rulers of Palestine, the Israelis gave the Palestinians their first sovereign territory ever in Gaza.

What ensued? This is not ancient history. Did the Palestinians begin building the state that is supposedly their great national aim? No. No roads, no industry, no courts, no civil society at all. The flourishing greenhouses that Israel left behind for the Palestinians were destroyed and abandoned. Instead, Gaza's Iranian-sponsored rulers have devoted all their resources to turning it into a terror base -- importing weapons, training terrorists, building tunnels with which to kidnap Israelis on the other side. And of course firing rockets unceasingly.

The grievance? It cannot be occupation, military control or settlers. They were all removed in September 2005. There's only one grievance and Hamas is open about it. Israel's very existence.

Nor does Hamas conceal its strategy. Provoke conflict. Wait for the inevitable civilian casualties. Bring down the world's opprobrium on Israel. Force it into an untenable cease-fire -- exactly as happened in Lebanon. Then, as in Lebanon, rearm, rebuild and mobilize for the next round. Perpetual war. Since its raison d'etre is the eradication of Israel, there are only two possible outcomes: the defeat of Hamas or the extinction of Israel.

Israel's only response is to try to do what it failed to do after the Gaza withdrawal. The unpardonable strategic error of its architect, Ariel Sharon, was not the withdrawal itself but the failure to immediately establish a deterrence regime under which no violence would be tolerated after the removal of any and all Israeli presence -- the ostensible justification for previous Palestinian attacks. Instead, Israel allowed unceasing rocket fire, implicitly acquiescing to a state of active war and indiscriminate terror.

Hamas's rejection of an extension of its often-violated six-month cease-fire (during which the rockets never stopped, just were less frequent) gave Israel a rare opportunity to establish the norm it should have insisted upon three years ago: no rockets, no mortar fire, no kidnapping, no acts of war. As the U.S. government has officially stated: a sustainable and enduring cease-fire. If this fighting ends with anything less than that, Israel will have lost yet another war. The question is whether Israel still retains the nerve -- and the moral self-assurance -- to win.



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I don't trust that guy to talk about the American political scene, so why would I trust him on Israel/Palestine??

why not

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originalVIBE said:

what exactly is your point?

that hamas are evil, therefore the civilian population of gaza deserves to be bombed further into the stone age, because it's their fault for not overthrowing their deranged government?

atrocities on one side never justify atrocities on the other.

yes, Israel is in a tight spot in terms of how they can respond, but this is not the only option, and this option is extremely likely to have the opposite effect and lead to more bloodshed on both sides.

things we can both probably agree on:

- hamas, despite their bluster, have no real capability of "destroying israel".
- israel, despite their bluster, have no real capability of disarming hamas by force.

given these two facts, how are israel's actions anything but collective punishment aimed at trying to provoke internal dissent in gaza (which has not worked so well in the past of course)?

and since you're so interested in showing examples of hamas being brutal as justification for israel's massive military campaign, why should the stunning imbalance of casualties (both military and civilian) be off the table?

from what i understand, hamas has been signaling since the beginning of the campaign that they'd be willing to negotiate a ceasefire, and israel's response has been "sorry, we're not done bombing the shit out of you yet. you and your people haven't been hurt badly enough yet."
how can you defend that kind of barbaric strategy, if you're so offended by hamas' barbaric strategies?
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wayne kenoff

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not sure if anybody has commented on the this as I haven't read through the thread, but my opinion is that the timing of the latest offensive is related to the current US political environment. They are catching the US during a time of transition between administrations such that the US is powerless to apply any kind of political pressure on Israel to ease up. Obviously we know that mainstream US political sentiment is pro-Israel but there are a good many US politicians, I suspect, that see this kind of Israeli aggression as putting the US in a disadvantageous position with respect to its Middle East interests. Obama, while publically supporting Israel as it seems every president must, is probably really fucking pissed off because this won't help him gather international support for a troop surge in Afghanistan, nor build any kind of credibility with Pakistan which it vital to any successful troop surge in Afghanistan.

why not

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UN chief demands Gaza ceasefire

Ban Ki-Moon: 'Civilians in Gaza are being subjected to massive trauma'

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has called for an immediate end to fighting in the Gaza Strip during a meeting of the UN Security Council in New York.

The US and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas have backed a French-Egyptian ceasefire proposal.

Israel says it has agreed to set up a humanitarian corridor to allow aid into the Gaza Strip.

On the ground in Gaza, explosions were heard through the night. Israel says it carried out more than 30 air strikes.

Mr Ban criticised both Israel for its bombardment of Gaza and Hamas for firing rockets into Israel and urged Security Council members to act "swiftly and decisively to put this crisis to an end".

"We need urgently to achieve Palestinian unity and the reunification of Gaza with the West Bank within the framework of the legitimate Palestinian Authority," he added.

More than 600 Palestinians are now believed to have been killed since Israel began its offensive 11 days ago. Palestinian health ministry officials say at least 195 children are among those killed.

An Israeli attack on Tuesday on a school building, which Israel says was sheltering militants, left at least 30 people dead and 55 injured, UN officials say.

Israel, which has vowed to reduce rocket attacks from Gaza on its territory, has lost seven soldiers on the ground. Four people within Israel have been killed by rockets.

In another development, Venezuela ordered the expulsion of Israel's ambassador in protest at the Gaza offensive and its "flagrant violations of international law".

The ceasefire plan proposed jointly in New York by Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and French President Nicolas Sarkozy would bring together all the main parties and take all measures to end the conflict in Gaza.

The plan envisages the resumption of the delivery of aid to Gaza and talks with Israel on border security, a key issue for Israel as it says Hamas smuggles its rockets into Gaza via the Egyptian border.

Welcoming the proposal, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for a "ceasefire that can endure and that can bring real security".

The contours of a possible diplomatic agreement are in place, the BBC's Laura Trevelyan reports from the UN.

However, if Israel continues to control the flow of humanitarian aid into Gaza and can choose to stop it at any time this seems unlikely to command the support of Hamas, she notes.

Thus frenetic diplomacy in New York and in the Middle East is likely to continue.

Israel's ambassador to the UN, Gabriela Shalev, did not say whether Israel would accept the proposal but said it would take it "very, very seriously".

Israel has proposed suspending attacks in specified parts of Gaza to allow people to stock up on essential goods.

The military will open up "areas for limited periods of time, during which the population will be able to receive the aid", the office of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said.

Andrew Whitley of the UN relief agency told the BBC that any relief in the conditions of the people of Gaza could only be a good thing:

"People have been weakened by 18 months of blockade and siege. They've been getting very little food, electricity or heat for a long time, and so they are in a very weakened condition."

UN officials have said that the al-Fakhura school in the Jabaliya refugee camp was being used as a refuge for hundreds of people when it was hit by Israeli shell-fire.

The Israeli military said its soldiers had come under mortar fire from Hamas militants inside the school. A spokesman for Hamas denied there had been any hostile fire coming from the school.

In all, at least 70 Palestinians and five Israeli soldiers were killed on Tuesday.

Israel says its offensive is stopping militants firing rockets but at least five hit southern Israel on Tuesday, injuring a baby.

Casualty claims in Gaza cannot be independently verified. Israel is refusing to let international journalists into Gaza, despite a supreme court ruling to allow a limited number of reporters to enter the territory.


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Fallujah by the Sea: Aping America, Israel Unleashes Chemical Weapons in Gaza

Written by Chris Floyd

The Israeli military is reportedly using napalm-like white phosphorus shells in its all-out attack on Gaza, according to the conservative Times of London. The phosphorus in the smoke-emitting shells causes agonizing, unquenchable burns, sometimes searing flesh right down to the bone.

These savage tools of terror are "legal" when used as smokescreens to mask military operations, although their use as an offensive weapon is war crime. This is a rather ludicrous distinction when the shells are fired into heavily populated civilian areas, exploding and spraying phosphorus in all directions. Anyone who orders their use on cities and refugee camps knows with iron certainty that civilians will be burned, maimed and killed by this chemical weapon. That is to say, they know they will be murdering and mutilating innocent people in the most gruesome manner -- and they give the order anyway.

America's leaders also ordered the murder and mutilation of innocent civilians with chemical weapons in the brutal razing of Fallujah in late 2004 (among many other places). There, in addition to the wide use of "Willy Pete" in the city -- where tens of thousands of people had been sealed off after more than 300,000 had been driven from their homes -- American forces also poured in massive amounts of depleted uranium munitions, thermobaric explosives and jellied gasoline. The Pentagon also declared the entire city a free-fire zone, giving soldiers carte blanche to shoot and kill anyone they saw.

Fallujah was a new Guernica for the 21st century, an abominable crime that should have shamed the country for generations -- yet it passed virtually unnoticed by the American press and public, except for a couple of weeks of stories about the great military victory, and the occasional follow-up from embedded parrots of the powerful telling us how swell life is in the city these days, as America helps it rise from the ashes of its destruction by, er, America. (You can read similar reports in the slavish Russian press about the "new flowering" of Grozny. Apparently, the bones of slaughtered civilians make excellent fertilizer.)

Now it's Gaza's turn for the chemical weapon treatment, as the Times reports:

Israel is believed to be using controversial white phosphorus shells to screen its assault on the heavily populated Gaza Strip yesterday. The weapon, used by British and US forces in Iraq, can cause horrific burns but is not illegal if used as a smokescreen.

As the Israeli army stormed to the edges of Gaza City and the Palestinian death toll topped 500, the tell-tale shells could be seen spreading tentacles of thick white smoke to cover the troops’ advance. “These explosions are fantastic looking, and produce a great deal of smoke that blinds the enemy so that our forces can move in,” said one Israeli security expert. Burning blobs of phosphorus would cause severe injuries to anyone caught beneath them and force would-be snipers or operators of remote-controlled booby traps to take cover. Israel admitted using white phosphorus during its 2006 war with Lebanon.

The use of the weapon in the Gaza Strip, one of the world’s mostly densely populated areas, is likely to ignite yet more controversy over Israel’s offensive, in which more than 2,300 Palestinians have been wounded.​
Meanwhile, on the ground, behind the smokescreens of chemical weapons and media lockouts, the killing grind goes on. From the Guardian:

Palestinian medical officials said that at least 12 civilians have been killed this morning. Some of the heaviest fighting was reported to be east of Gaza City, in the Zeitoun district, where three Palestinian children were killed by an Israeli tank shell. Israeli forces also killed seven members of a Palestinian family in a strike on their home in Beach refugee camp...

Palestinians flooded into the heart of Gaza City in the hope of finding shelter, but they faced a mounting humanitarian crisis. The UN said all hospitals in the city, straining to deal with hundreds of wounded Palestinians over the past few days, had been without mains electricity for 48 hours and were depending on back-up generators, which were close to failing....

As Israeli forces pushed into the towns of Beit Hanoun, Beit Lahiya and Jabalya in northern Gaza, the civilian toll among Palestinians rose rapidly. Five died on Sunday when an Israeli artillery shell landed in Palestinian Square, a shopping centre in central Gaza City; five more were killed outside a mosque in northern Gaza. The dead also included a Palestinian paramedic working for an Oxfam-funded organisation after an ambulance was hit by an Israeli shell in Beit Lahiya. The paramedic was working for the Union of Health Work Committees. Another paramedic lost his foot and the ambulance driver was injured in the same incident. The paramedics were trying to help evacuate an injured person in the Beit Lahiya area, when the shell struck the ambulance, Oxfam said.

John Prideaux-Brune, Oxfam's country director for Israel and Palestine, speaking from Jerusalem, said: "The incident shows yet again that trying to fight a military campaign in the densely populated streets and alleys of the Gaza Strip will inevitably lead to civilian casualties."

The charity said the ground offensive was preventing urgently needed supplies of medicine, food, water and fuel from reaching 1.5 million Palestinians. Prideaux-Brune said: "Hospitals in Gaza are overflowing with dead and wounded while facing severe shortages of essential medical supplies and spare parts."​
The story notes that the population of Gaza is more than 1.5 million -- more than half of them children -- packed into an area a little more than twice the size of Washington D.C. Here, one the world's most powerful militaries is attacking from land, sea and air, with bombers, missiles, artillery and chemical weapons. The result is inevitable: a "pipeline of blood," as Gideon Levy notes in Haaretz (via the Angry Arab):

The legend, lest it be a true story, tells of how the late mathematician, Professor Haim Hanani, asked his students at the Technion to draw up a plan for constructing a pipe to transport blood from Haifa to Eilat. The obedient students did as they were told. Using logarithmic rulers, they sketched the design for a sophisticated pipeline. They meticulously planned its route, taking into account the landscape's topography, the possibility of corrosion, the pipe's diameter and the flow calibration. When they presented their final product, the professor rendered his judgment: You failed. None of you asked why we need such a pipe, whose blood will fill it, and why it is flowing in the first place.

Regardless of whether this story is legend or true, Israel is now failing its own blood pipeline test. As Israel has been preoccupied with Gaza throughout the entire week, nobody has asked whose blood is being spilled and why. Everything is permitted, legitimate and just. The moral voice of restraint, if it ever existed, has been left behind. Even if Israel wiped Gaza off the face of the earth, killing tens of thousands in the process, as a Chechnyan laborer working in Sderot proposed to me, one can assume that there would be no protest.

They liquidated Nizar Ghayan? Nobody counts the 20 women and children who lost their lives in the same attack. There was a massacre of dozens of officers during their graduation ceremony from the police academy? Acceptable. Five little sisters? Allowed. Palestinians are dying in hospitals that lack medical equipment? Peanuts. Whatever happened to the not-so-good old days of Salah Shahadeh? When we liquidated him in July 2002, we also killed 15 women and children. At least back then, moral qualms were raised for a moment.

Here lie their bodies, row upon row, some of them tiny. Our hearts have turned hard and our eyes have become dull. All of Israel has worn military fatigues, uniforms that are opaque and stained with blood and which enable us to carry out any crime. Even our leading intellectuals fail to speak out on what havoc we have wreaked. Amos Oz urges: "Cease-fire now." David Grossman writes: "Hold your fire. Stop." Meir Shalev wants "a punitive operation." And not one word about our moral image, which has been horribly distorted.

The suffering in the south renders everything kosher, as if the horrible suffering in Gaza pales in comparison. Everyone is hungry for revenge, and that hunger is excused by the need for "deterrence," after it was already proved that the killing and the destruction in Lebanon did not achieve it....

It is doubtful whether Hamas will be cut down to size as a result of this wretched war. Yet, the face of the state has been cut down to size, as have civilian elites who are apathetic and scared. The "peace camp," if it ever existed, has been cut down to size. Attorney General Menachem Mazuz authorized the Ghayan killing, regardless of the cost. Haim Oron, the leader of the "new left-wing movement," supported the launch of this foolish war.

Nobody is coming to the rescue - of Gaza or even of the remnants of humanity and Israeli democracy. The statesmen, the jurists, the poets, the authors, academe, and the news media - pitch black over the abyss. When the time comes for reckoning, we will need to remember the damage this war did to Israel: The blood pipeline it laid has been completed.​
You will never read anything remotely like this in the pages of the New York Times -- or anywhere else in the "respectable" mainstream American media. But you can read it in Israel. Levy is right: no one is coming to rescue Gaza: not the UN, not the kowtowing Arab tyrannies (read the "Angry Arab" for the most scathing revelations of the cowardice and betrayal of these regimes), and certainly not the Suddenly Silent One who will be the president of the United States in a few days. [For more on this silence and its implications, see another excellent piece from Arthur Silber here.]


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^ thanks for posting that.

In watching the coverage, early on in the shelling of Gaza, I thought they were using these WP shells. Nobody on TV had mentioned them.

Nasty stuff.


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Further to discussion on proportionality (for wopner, mondo etc)

Read this just now and found it worthwhile (Sullivan):

Law blogger Kevin Heller considers proportionality as defined by the UN charter:

Proportionality is not measured by comparing the number of Israeli civilians killed by Hamas attacks to the number of Hamas “terrorists” killed by Israeli attacks; it is determined by comparing the number of Palestinian civilians killed by a specific Israeli attack relative to the military advantage gained by that attack. As Article 51(5) of the First Additional Protocol says, an attack is indiscriminate — and thus prohibited by IHL — if it “may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof, which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated.” Article 8(2)(b)(iv) of the Rome Statute is worded similarly, although it requires the incidental damage be “clearly excessive,” not just “excessive.”

Whether an Israeli attack is disproportionate, therefore, is completely independent of the lethality of Hamas’s attacks. The proportionality analysis is the same if Hamas’s attacks kill one Israeli civilian or 1,000. In either case, IHL obligates Israel to respond only with attacks that, on their own merits, are proportionate.​
Noah Pollak takes this to the following conclusion:
This is where Andrew’s critique conspicuously runs aground, and for a very simple reason: Hamas is still firing rockets; ipso facto, Israel is not using excessive force.​
Heller helps and makes an important point about the core relationship between means and ends. Noah, I think, goes too far in suggesting that a single Hamas rocket in what would now be self-defense justifies anything further the Israelis want to do. I agree with Ross that seeing no just war distinction between unintended but still unavoidable civilian casualties and the wanton terrorism of Hamas makes just war theory untenable in the modern world.

The just war question here might therefore be better honed in the following way: does the massively one-sided violence of the past 11 days offer a chance for a real peace that could justify the death and trauma we are watching? As Ross and others have pointed out, this is, at this present moment, unknowable. But from a moral perspective, I think I should adjust my take a little and concede that you could make a weak but real case for the morality of the Israeli attack if it really changed the situation into one that made peace possible.

I guess that's my problem. I don't see, frankly, how another ever-more brutal crushing will achieve the goal Israel seeks. The familiar points about who would inherit Gaza from Hamas still operate. But the deeper point, made very well by Bob Kaplan, is that Hamas' real advantage is not military; it's ideological. Sometimes, in these asymmetric cases, clearly excessive military action can strengthen the ideological power of the enemy and actually make peace more, rather than less, distant.

To put it bluntly: dead Palestinian children, we can all agree, do not help Israel, even if you were to ascribe moral responsibility for every single one to Hamas.

And in the regional context, the way in which these deaths are understood and portrayed can ultimately outweigh any short-term advantage Israel may get. That's why, I suspect, the Israelis and the Egyptians are taking this to new heights of violence every day. As the toll grows, the more necessary it is to achieve a more complete military victory in order to compensate for what is shaping up to be a defeat in the global war of ideology. So more violence from Israel and Egypt (all funded in large part by American tax-payers) directed at Hamas is to be expected to make the attack more morally justified. This can become a game of one-upmanship over a pile of corpses if you are not very careful.

So objectively, I think a case for the morality of this assault can be made, and not without reason. It's a stretch, though, and only possible by allowing for the unique circumstances of an apocalyptic, tribal and religious conflict in an era long after just war theory emerged. Subjectively, of course, we cannot know the deepest motives of the Israeli leaders (and we can safely dismiss the subjective moral consciences of Hamas leaders). If the Israeli pols are doing this to win an election, or to demonstrate a "don't fuck with the Jews" bravado, it's clearly unjust. If they're doing it because they honestly think it is the best way to advance peace, their consciences, while troubled, may be clear.

I hope and suspect the latter is paramount (although these are politicians in muddy, bloody terrain). And I pray that peace will be advanced by this horror. But that's a prayer, not a prediction.
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Hispeeddub said:

wow - im not sure where to begin when I come across so much "misinformation". Did you go to school in Palestine because those maps are similar to the story they teach their children there. Then again, this does come from a site that blames 9/11 and the recent attacks in Mumbai on jews.

perhaps "whatreallyhappened" should watch

Lets just start with your first map:
The above map is Israel as it was first created by UN declaration in 1947. The blue portion is Israel, the rest is all Arab lands. Note that Jerusalem was completely within Arab lands and Israel was much smaller than it is today. Note also that there is NO Israeli presence inside the area surrounding Jerusalem. No settlements, certainly no IDF.

The actual parition plan looked like this:

1947 - A United Nations resolution on two States
The U.N. votes on the creation of two States: one for the Jewish inhabitants of the Palestine Mandate, and a second one for the Arab inhabitants. The Jewish residents accept, but the Arabs and Palestinians refuse the two State solution and the 1948 war is under way.

Note that Jerusalem and surrounding area was never part of the partition plan but to then go as far as to say that there were no jews there:

1000? BCE Jewish conquest of Jerusalem
1844 First census in Jerusalem shows 7120 Jews, 5760 Muslims, 3390 Christians.

Your site then goes to show maps of historical Palestine ignoring that Palestine was made up of Israel, Egpyt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon. By that logic, Jews are the first Palestinians and Palestine still needs to be liberated from Egypt, Jordan, Syria, ect.

The site also ignores that historical Palestine was designated as land for the jews, again and again:

1799 Napoleon conquers Jaffa but retreats before Acco (Acre, Akka); Napoleon's Proclamation of a Jewish State was stillborn, and his declaration of equal rights for Jews was repealed in part in 1806.

Nov 2, 1917 British issued the Balfour Declaration, viewed by Jews and Arabs as promising a “National Home” for the Jews in Palestine.

and so on and so forth. For a complete comprehensive time line factual of events follow this link: http://www.mideastweb.org/timeline.htm
the site is created by Arabs, Christians and Jews without a taking a stance one way or the other.

Lastly, your site also ignores that land gained was always from a result of a war that Israel did not start. Furthermore, Palestinians have been offered 97% of land they are supposedly fighting for and have turned that down with no counter over except for a call to go to war until Israel is no more.

Ill leave you with an open letter for an Israeli (created during last war in 2006)



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Hamas says no to permanent ceasefire
Jan. 7, 2009
Jpost staff and AP , THE JERUSALEM POST

Despite mounting international pressure for an end to hostilities between Israel and Palestinian factions in the Gaza Strip, Hamas declared on Wednesday that it would not accept any permanent cease-fire with Israel.

According to the deputy head of Hamas's political bureau, Moussa Abu Marzouk, the group would not talk about a permanent cease-fire so long as Israel continued its "occupation," and would instead continue the "resistance." He said that Hamas stood by its demand for Israel to immediately halt its offensive, to withdraw from the Gaza Strip and to open all of the border crossings.

The borders between Israel and Gaza were closed when Hamas took control of the area in a violent coup against Palestinian Authority forces in June 2007.

In July 2008, a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel was signed which permitted the borders to be opened permanently so long as Palestinian rocket fire into Israeli territory ceased. As rocket fire persisted, Israel periodically closed the borders. In December 2008, Hamas declared it would not renew the cease-fire due to Israeli "violations."

Marzouk said, however, that Hamas was studying the various initiatives coming from France, Turkey, Syria and Egypt to bring about a cease-fire.


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Who Broke the Ceasefire? CNN's "Fact Check" Falls Short
From www.camera.org

In recent days CNN has been playing an interview with Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti in which he claims that Israel broke the ceasefire with Hamas by launching an attack in November, and that the current fighting is therefore the fault of Israel rather than the Palestinians. Barghouti also charged that Israel’s supposed blockade of Gaza was a further violation of the ceasefire agreement with Hamas.

Barghouti’s charges are nonsense and easily disproved – but apparently not easy enough for CNN to disprove.

On Dec. 31, perhaps in response to complaints about the Barghouti interview, anchor Rick Sanchez made a great show of supposedly “fact checking” the charges “fairly [and] honestly.” Here’s the clip:

CNN’s intrepid fact-checkers find a few online articles confirming that there was an Israeli attack in November, and are satisfied and look no further? Does CNN really believe such articles prove that Israel broke the ceasefire? If so, how does CNN deal with articles like this one from the Associated Press published on June 25, just after the truce started, and headlined Palestinian rockets threaten truce? The AP article in its lead paragraphs reported that:

Palestinian militants fired three homemade rockets into southern Israel yesterday, threatening to unravel a cease-fire days after it began, and Israel responded by closing vital border crossings into Gaza.

Despite what it called a "gross violation" of the truce, Israel refrained from military action and said it would send an envoy soon to Egypt to work on the next stage of a broader cease-fire agreement: a prisoner swap that would bring home an Israeli soldier held by Hamas for more than two years.

The answer is CNN deals with such articles and facts by ignoring them.

And Rick Sanchez, his co-anchor Jim Clancy, and the CNN fact-checkers ignored much more – there were many such violations, including dozens of rockets and mortars fired into Israel during the so-called ceasefire. And there was also sniper fire against Israeli farmers, anti-tank rockets and rifle shots fired at soldiers in Israel, and not one but two attempts to abduct Israeli soldiers and bring them into Gaza. Here are some of the details:

(Most of this data is from The Six Months of the Lull Arrangement, a detailed report by the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, an Israeli NGO, which CNN also apparently ignored.)

From the start of the ceasefire at 6 AM on June 19 till the incident on November 4th cited by CNN, the following attacks were launched against Israel from Gaza in direct violation of the agreement:

* 18 mortars were fired at Israel in this period, beginning on the night of June 23.
* 20 rockets were fired, beginning on June 24, when 3 rockets hit the Israeli town of Sderot.
* On July 6 farmers working in the fields of Nahal Oz were attacked by light arms fire from Gaza.
* On the night of August 15 Palestinians fired across the border at Israeli soldiers near the Karni crossing.
* On October 31 an IDF patrol spotted Palestinians planting an explosive device near the security fence in the area of the Sufa crossing. As the patrol approached the fence the Palestinians fired two anti-tank missiles.

There were two Palestinian attempts to infiltrate from Gaza into Israel apparently to abduct Israelis. Both were major violations of the ceasefire.

• The first came to light on Sept. 28, when Israeli personnel arrested Jamal Atallah Sabah Abu Duabe. The 21-year-old Rafah resident had used a tunnel to enter Egypt and from there planned to slip across the border into Israel. Investigation revealed that Abu Duabe was a member of Hamas’s Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, and that he planned to lure Israeli soldiers near the border by pretending to be a drug smuggler, capture them, and then sedate them with sleeping pills in order to abduct them directly into Gaza through a preexisting tunnel. For more details click here and here.

• The second abduction plan was aborted on the night of Nov 4, thanks to a warning from Israeli Intelligence. Hamas had dug another tunnel into Israel and was apparently about to execute an abduction plan when IDF soldiers penetrated about 250 meters into Gaza to the entrance of the tunnel, hidden under a house. Inside the house were a number of armed Hamas members, who opened fire. The Israelis fired back and the house exploded – in total 6 or 7 Hamas operatives were killed and several were wounded. Among those killed were Mazen Sa’adeh, a Hamas brigade commander, and Mazen Nazimi Abbas, a commander in the Hamas special forces unit. For more details click here.

It was when Israel aborted this imminent Hamas attack that the group and other Palestinian groups in Gaza escalated their violations of the ceasefire by beginning to once again barrage Israel with rockets and mortars.

In light of these systematic and serious violations of the ceasefire by Hamas and other Palestinian groups in Gaza, it is absurd to claim that Israel broke the ceasefire in November or at any other time.

That CNN took Barghouti’s charges seriously and repeatedly aired them calls into serious question CNN’s competence as a news organization. It is also notable that while Sanchez said that Israelis denied Barghouti’s charges, he apparently did not see the need to have an actual Israeli appear to deny the charges in detail.

The Border Crossings – Open or Closed?

Barghouti also claimed that Israel violated the ceasefire agreement by allegedly refusing to open border crossings to allow food, fuel and other goods into Gaza. This charge is also false – Israel did open the crossings and allowed truckload after truckload of supplies to enter Gaza. Closures until November were short, and in direct response to Palestinian violations, some of which were detailed above.

To quote from the ITIC report on the "Lull Agreement" linked above:

On June 22, after four days of calm, Israel reopened the Karni and Sufa crossings to enable regular deliveries of consumer goods and fuel to the Gaza Strip. They were closed shortly thereafter, following the first violation of the arrangement, when rockets were fired at Sderot on June 24. However, when calm was restored, the crossings remained open for long periods of time. On August 17 the Kerem Shalom crossing was also opened for the delivery of goods, to a certain degree replacing the Sufa crossing, after repairs had been completed (the Kerem Shalom crossing was closed on April 19 when the IDF prevented a combined mass casualty attack in the region, as a result of which the crossing was almost completely demolished).

Before November 4, large quantities of food, fuel, construction material and other necessities for renewing the Gaza Strip’s economic activity were delivered through the Karni and Sufa crossings. A daily average of 80-90 trucks passed through the crossings, similar to the situation before they were closed following the April 19 attack on the Kerem Shalom crossing. Changes were made in the types of good which could be delivered, permitting the entry of iron, cement and other vital raw materials into the Gaza Strip.

... Israel, before November 4, refrained from initiating action in the Gaza Strip but responded to rocket and mortar shell attacks by closing the crossings for short periods of time (hours to days). After November 4 the crossings were closed for long periods in response to the continued attacks against Israel. (Rearranged from p 11- 12)

Day to day details of the supplies delivered to Gaza and the numbers of trucks involved have been published by the Israeli Foreign Ministry and are available here. The figures confirm that the passages were indeed open and busy.

CNN conveyed uncritically – multiple times – Mustafa Barghouti’s charge that Israel violated the cease fire by not opening the crossings. Unfortunately this charge, like his charge that it was Israel that violated the ceasefire, is entirely bogus.

Too bad CNN anchors Rick Sanchez and Jim Clancy, along with the network’s fact checkers, didn’t bother to really fact check anything. Too bad CNN didn’t bother to actually interview an Israeli official or expert who could debunk Barghouti’s charges with the facts.

Judging by Rick Sanchez and Jim Clancy, viewers who want accurate, factual news from the Middle East should avoid CNN like the plague.


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praktik said:

I don't trust that guy to talk about the American political scene, so why would I trust him on Israel/Palestine??

It's like asking me to read Juan Cole. who has a track record of leaving out lots of facts or adjusting a few dates.

I think i have made my point and will leave you be with the Israel bashing.

I hope that one day people can also stand up to Hamas and march on the streets for the harm that they are doing to the Palestinians through use of human shields, torture, murder and oppression. The same way they march against Israel who's stance now and has always been to live in peace with its neighbors and hope that one day its neighbors have the same freedoms that people have in Israel.


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originalVIBE said:
I think i have made my point and will leave you be with the Israel bashing.

Please OV, if you have to construe my words as "Israel bashing" please keep it to yourself.

Maybe underneath it all I really think I'm being "pro-israel" in that I believe the currenty strategy and overall strategic posture of Israel is one that runs counter to its self-interest as a nation.

So really, who's pro-israel here? Maybe we both are, just from different perspectives.

Is Gideon Levy an anti-Israel "Israel basher"?? He lives there dont he?

I haven't called you a heartless arab-hater - and I really don't think you are underneath - but still, I've refrained from that kind of garbage so I'd appreciate it if you stay out of the gutter with me as well.

EDIT: may I also refer you to the "quote of the day" i posted today...
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Vincent Vega

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originalVIBE said:
I think i have made my point and will leave you be with the Israel bashing.

You really are a piece of work. The one guy who so far has entertained and indulged your incessant barrage of bullshit links and amateur theorizing....and you push him away by throwing down the "Israel bashing" nonsense? The only potential benefit here is that praktik will finally abandon his endless and inexplicable quest to engage even the most absurd, sophomoric posters on this increasingly vacant board.

Despite the fact that no one in this thread (or the other) has defended Hamas and its tactics which led to this brutal crisis, you have consistently suggested otherwise. It got old fast, to most of us at least.

I now look forward to another breathless deluge of YouTube links, emails from fabricated Israeli citizens expressing agony over the four dead civilians and 7000 word treatises on the benevolence of the peace-loving state of Israel.

why not

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if two children are fighting, and screaming "he started it!" "no, he started it", do we pay any attention to who's at fault?

both sides here have legitimate grievances, but in neither case do these grievances justify the violence, particularly violence that is directed at civilians (which both sides are guilty of, even though only one is explicit about it).


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This conflict has been going on for about 60 years now. Diplomacy has not worked and bloodshed has not worked either. Looking at the maps its obvious that this conflict has no solution.

Calling for a ceasefire is useless. Terrorist don't follow rules and regulations they will regroup and start fighting in 6 moths again. whats the point of a ceasfire then if they will fight over this issue again. They will have to fight it out to the bitter end there is no other way. the Israelis will not give up Israel and neither will the Palestinians.

This is the grim reality of the world. Wars and conflicts have been fought over land and resources since the beginning of man and they will be with us till the end.

Look back trough out history , there has never been a time of peace. Borders are ever changing. New countries get created others get destroyed some lose territory others gain. Its never ending.


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originalVIBE said:
Did you tune in via satellite when they celebrated the birth of this child killer, Samir Kuntar, who forced a four year old girl to watch as he shot her father in the head and then bashed her brains out with a rifle butt.

Nope, I don't know when that was, and I am only getting aljazeera because I am in south africa at the moment - all religi-politics aside; killing children with rifle butts or bombs amounts to about the same thing IMO.
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