Monday, January 05, 2009

Israel and Gaza

Supporters of Israel's actions in Gaza have attempted to frame the argument on the questions of whether Israel has the right to defend itself (of course) and whether Israel is in general morally superior to Hamas (who cares?) I assume they frame the argument that way because it makes them feel like their side is obviously correct and anyone who disagrees is just an antisemite or a liberal, and probably both.

Here are the questions which should be asked about any military operation:

1) Is the strategic objective a good one?
2) Will the operation likely bring about the objective?
3) Does the objective justify the means used in the operation?

Israel has a good strategic objective -- to stop the arbitrary bombing of Israeli civilians by Hamas. More broadly, it aims to reduce the number of Israeli casualties as well as to reduce the terror caused by the rocket attacks. These are understandable and perfectly commendable goals.

But will the attacks on Gaza bring about that objective? I'm quite skeptical, and the recent failure in Lebanon only brings more skepticism. The truth is, it's just not that hard to fire missiles into Israel from right next door. Killing a bunch of Hamas policemen isn't going to stop it. Qassam rockets don't need uranium or centrifuges or radar or aircraft or special fuel or even a big launcher. Anybody can make one in his basement with a few common tools and components.

Not only will the attacks probably fail to bring about the objective, but there is a good chance that they will bring about the anti-objective. By killing so many Palestinians and terrorizing and inconveniencing and making the lives miserable of so many more, they mobilize anti-Israel and anti-semitic sentiments among the Palestinians. The inevitable reprisals will no doubt kill more Israelis than all the Qassam rockets in the history of the conflict. And that's not even counting Israeli soldiers who die during the operation.

The biggest problem with the operation, though, is the answer to the third question. Does the objective of stopping the rockets justify the means Israel is using, even if it did acheive that objective? I guess that depends on the ratio of Palestinian to Israeli casualties you deem acceptable. Is it acceptable to kill a hundred Palestinian civilians and destroy the homes and livelihoods of thousands of them and the infrastructure that supports millions of them to save a dozen Israeli lives?

I'll leave you with two paragraphs from Matthew Yglesias:
One way to reply to [the idea that intentions are what matter] is à la Ezra Klein who observes that at some point you need to judge based on what’s actually happening. And what’s been happening is that whatever Hamas’ ambitions may or may not have been, they were scattering short-range inaccurate rocket fire on Israel that was causing little damage. Israel struck back with actions that have killed hundreds of Palestinians and pushed over a million more closer to the brink of starvation. And in general this is an important aspect of the conflict — irrespective of intentions, over the years you have many more dead Palestinian civilians than Israeli civilians.

But another piece of the puzzle is that though American Jewish liberals tend to take a lot of comfort in the idea of Israel’s good intentions and good faith throughout this whole process, there’s a reason approximately no Arabs anywhere in the world see it that way. All throughout the “peace process” years — through the good ones and through the bad ones — Israel continued expanding both the geographical footprint of its settlements and the population living upon them. For most of this time, Israel has often appeared unwilling to enforce domestic Israeli law on the settler population, to say nothing of abiding by international law or agreements made. And while Israel has stated a desire to leave the Gaza Palestinians alone in their tiny, overcrowded, economically unviable enclave, the “disengagement” from Gaza has never entailed letting Palestinians control their borders or exercise meaningful sovereignty over the area. The proposal has basically been that if Palestinians cease violence against Israel, then the Gaza Strip will be treated like an Indian reservation. Israel’s policy objectives in the West Bank appear to be first seizing the choice bits of it, and then withdrawing behind a wall with the residual West Bank treating like post-”disengagement” Gaza.

You can argue until the cows come home about who has the moral high ground, but at the end of the day Israel has killed far more Palestinian civilians than vice versa, not only in this military action, but throughout the history of the conflict. Israel has continued to build "settlements," often aimed specifically at expanding Israel's territory and strategic holdings and to make a self-contained Palestinian state impossible. In doing so, it's not only been morally wrong, but breaking its own laws.

There is no excuse for Hamas to fire rockets at Israeli civilians. But just because Hamas is a terrorist organization doesn't mean that anything Israel does in response is justified. Israel must make sure its military operations are both effective and moral. The framing of the argument away from those relevant questions to a place where Israel gets to play the wholly innocent victim ("We aren't allowed to defend ourselves??" "We're worse than Hamas??") and much of the western world gets painted as antisemitic is just disingenuous.

Please don't respond by asking for alternatives, or by saying Israel has to do something, as if the lack of alternatives makes any counterproductive and immoral operation a good choice. And don't whine about media bias or antisemitism or any other change of topic. You have to demonstrate that this specific military action is moral and likely to succeed in order to win this argument.

274 comments:

1 – 200 of 274   Newer›   Newest»
jewish philosopher said...

I would just like to point that first of all, the rabbis 100 years ago were right - Zionism is a bad idea. I think just about everyone now agrees on that.

As far as the future, Israel will probably end up like Lebanon.

Scott said...

"Zionism is a bad idea. I think just about everyone now agrees on that."

Well I dare say this is a staggering claim. Maybe someone should clue the Christian Zionists in on this fact...

Holy Hyrax said...

>but at the end of the day Israel has killed far more Palestinian civilians than vice versa,

Doesn't matter. Body count is never a factor in these sorts of conflicts.

>Israel has continued to build "settlements," often aimed specifically at expanding Israel's territory and strategic holdings and to make a self-contained Palestinian state impossible. In doing so, it's not only been morally wrong, but breaking its own laws.

Nothing to do with topic. Nothing. I think you are bringing this up simply to show Israel is immoral and does bad stuff too. Maybe it is, maybe it isen't. But totally irrelevant.

Holy Hyrax said...

>You have to demonstrate that this specific military action is moral and likely to succeed in order to win this argument.

No, actually, nobody does. It's pretty self evident that it is moral. If ones values are ultimately (not saying yours) is that killing is killing, than nothing in this world will win over this type of person.

Holy Hyrax said...

And as much as Israel did not achieve its ultimate goal in Lebanon, the north has been quiet ever since.

>By killing so many Palestinians and terrorizing and inconveniencing and making the lives miserable of so many more, they mobilize anti-Israel and anti-semitic sentiments among the Palestinians.

No nation, while being attacked can afford to think of what MIGHT the population think about them. No country does this. It's a ridiculous expectation from any nation being attacked.

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

Doesn't matter. Body count is never a factor in these sorts of conflicts.

It matters to the families of those civilians and to anybody who cares about the lives of innocent people.

Nothing to do with topic. Nothing. I think you are bringing this up simply to show Israel is immoral and does bad stuff too. Maybe it is, maybe it isen't. But totally irrelevant.

WTF? If you think that's irrelevant to Hamas's support and popularity, you're nuts.

No, actually, nobody does. It's pretty self evident that it is moral. If ones values are ultimately (not saying yours) is that killing is killing, than nothing in this world will win over this type of person.

Don't be ridiculous. It's not self-evident to me or hundreds of millions of other people, and we're not all total pacifists. You can't just say your position is "pretty self-evident" and congratulate yourself for winning the argument.

And as much as Israel did not achieve its ultimate goal in Lebanon, the north has been quiet ever since.

At least 150 Israelis died during that war. If the North is "quiet" for another 50-100 years it might have been worth it.

No nation, while being attacked can afford to think of what MIGHT the population think about them. No country does this. It's a ridiculous expectation from any nation being attacked.

EVERY country that invades another thinks about what the population would think of them. That's why they airdrop leaflets, etc. To do otherwise is insane.

The Candy Man said...

Unfortunately, I think this military action is going to set off a bunch of suicide bombings by Hamas in the heart of Israel.

Holy Hyrax said...

>It matters to the families of those civilians and to anybody who cares about the lives of innocent people.

Just like in every war families care. Nobody is denying that. But to the overall question of necessaty for a country to defend itself, its not a factor.

>WTF? If you think that's irrelevant to Hamas's support and popularity, you're nuts.

Of course its irrelevant. You think if Israel never put a settlement up Hamas and their supporters would be just fine and dandy about Israel existing? And even so, ok, Israel made so wrongs. Great. So now what? Israel should just say "well, we had this coming?"

>Don't be ridiculous.

Nothing ridiculous. Every country responds to attacks. It has no moral obligation to worry about the civilians of that attacking nation any more than it wishes. Israel does a good job at it. Aggression is always going to be responded to, as it should. You don't let a nation that wants you destroyed continue attacking you even though what might transpire is not going to hold up for the next 1000 years.

>At least 150 Israelis died during that war. If the North is "quiet" for another 50-100 years it might have been worth it.

Now THAT's ridiculous. Why do you get to set the mark at 50-100 years? Why not 2 years? How do you get to decide that 2 years and counting is not not worth it. I am sure those that live there, like my family damn well feel that something came out of it.

>EVERY country that invades another thinks about what the population would think of them. That's why they airdrop leaflets, etc. To do otherwise is insane.

And Israel does drop leaflets. But there is a limit. Should Israel not attack over worry that population will be angry at themApparently, the Japanese did not become suicide bombers after being defeated on their soil. So worrying so much to YOUR detriment is what is going to be insane.

As Bankman said on my blog:

Feelings of frustration, anger, fear and rage do not make you into a terrorist. A culture of death and an education of hate does. Israel doesn't need to do anything to create terrorists - Islamic extremism does that - but Israel must act to destroy those who threaten its people.

Bruce said...

JA - I think you raise a reasonable challenge. I responded with three possible justifications on my blog here:

http://www.threejews.net/2009/01/possible-reasons-for-gaza-invastion.html

Jewish Atheist said...

Every country responds to attacks. It has no moral obligation to worry about the civilians of that attacking nation any more than it wishes.

So if the U.S. sends covert troops into Iran and they kill some Iranians, Iran is justified in carpet bombing Washington, D.C.? (Assuming they had that ability, which they don't.) As long as it "wishes" to?

Aggression is always going to be responded to, as it should.

Again, you have to justify this particular response, not the idea that a response is needed.

Now THAT's ridiculous. Why do you get to set the mark at 50-100 years? Why not 2 years?

I was comparing deaths. I was estimating it would take 50-100 years for Hizbollah to have killed as many Israelis if Israel did not invade as Israel lost during the war.

Should Israel not attack over worry that population will be angry at them

Israel should be reducing the number of people who want to become terrorists. They shouldn't be doing Hamas's recruitment work for them.

Apparently, the Japanese did not become suicide bombers after being defeated on their soil.

They were suicide bombers (kamikaze) long before the defeat. It's true that they didn't attack Americans after the defeat, but then again, the U.S. didn't occupy them and treat them like garbage for decades, either. We left in 7 years.

Feelings of frustration, anger, fear and rage do not make you into a terrorist. A culture of death and an education of hate does. Israel doesn't need to do anything to create terrorists - Islamic extremism does that - but Israel must act to destroy those who threaten its people.

False dichotomy much? We're talking about two possible futures -- one with a "culture of death and an education of hate" AND hundreds of dead brothers, sisters, fathers, and mothers at the hands of the Israelis --or one with a "culture of death and an education of hate" in which those people weren't killed and their land and houses and infrastructure destroyed. You'd have to be an idiot to think the second scenario would breed more terrorists than the first.

Bruce said...

Here's a better link.

Holy Hyrax said...

>So if the U.S. sends covert troops into Iran and they kill some Iranians, Iran is justified in carpet bombing Washington, D.C.? (Assuming they had that ability, which they don't.) As long as it "wishes" to?


Do consider some "covert" troops that kill "some" iranians an act of war?

Israel has never "carpet bombed" gaza for a suicide bomber or two.


>Again, you have to justify this particular response, not the idea that a response is needed.

ummmm...they sent thousands of rockets into israeli territory. This is an act of war. It's irrelevant how many of your citizens died just like it was irrelevant how many US soldiers died at Pearl Harbor. It's not the death count, but the aggression that counts.

>Israel should be reducing the number of people who want to become terrorists. They shouldn't be doing Hamas's recruitment work for them.

So putting aside the fact that Hamas still wants to destroy all of Israel....israel should just do nothing...because it will lead to more terrorists. How is this moral?

>It's true that they didn't attack Americans after the defeat, but then again, the U.S. didn't occupy them and treat them like garbage for decades, either. We left in 7 years.

WTF? Israel left Gaza. The ball is in their court. Are you defending a palestinian mentality of "we get all or nothing RIGHT NOW or we blow you the hell away?" What was the excuses before any occupation?



>False dichotomy much?

And you're thinking that this matters. Israel CANNOT afford to start worrying about what the Arabs might feel against them. You said armies thrown leaflets before invasion, but this sort of arguments of yours was launched days ago before any invasion started. So again, its basically comes down to "since we might anger arabs, we should do nothing"

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

We won't gain any more from this conversation as long as you keep confusing "this particular action is immoral and/or counterproductive" with "Israel should do nothing." I am not arguing that Israel should do nothing, nor that Israel should take any other action specifically. I'm merely criticizing the action they ARE taking as possibly immoral and counterproductive.

Holy Hyrax said...

>I'm merely criticizing the action they ARE taking as possibly immoral and counterproductive.

I totally understand that, AND, i also wish there were other ways to achieve something in this region. But the fact is:

1) Hamas understands only violence and death. Hence with them, you gotta show that you mean business.
2) A nation that is always living under threat of attacks (specifically in this case with thousands of rockets) the only moral thing to do is to finally respond with full force. The loss of civilian life is not the moral responsibility of Israel, but that of Hamas. It is Hamas that has failed to protect them by constantly putting them in harms way. You can't tease the tiger and complain when the tiger decides to bite back.

It seems when push comes to shove, there are only two options. Do what they are doing now or do nothing.

Jewish Atheist said...

Hamas understands only violence and death. Hence with them, you gotta show that you mean business.

Hamas responds to violence and death with more violence and death. They also respond to softer, political factors. For example, they did a lot of charitable work in Gaza before the elections. So either they're humanitarians (I doubt it) or they respond to things other than violence and death.

A nation that is always living under threat of attacks (specifically in this case with thousands of rockets) the only moral thing to do is to finally respond with full force.

You can keep repeating yourself ad infinitum and talking in abstractions, but it doesn't make it rational. If responding with full force is counterproductive, it's just stupid to do it.

Second, what is this "full force" nonsense? Israel isn't going in with "full force." They're going in with moderate force and a specific set of tactics and strategies. It's that amount of force and those specific tactics and strategies that are at issue here.

Sometimes I get the impression that hawks just love the tough talk and anything that sounds less tough to them EVEN IF IT WOULD HAVE BETTER RESULTS makes them feel like girly-men. You don't talk and act tough if it works against your own interests. That's just stupid.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Hamas responds to violence and death with more violence and death. They also respond to softer, political factors. For example, they did a lot of charitable work in Gaza before the elections. So either they're humanitarians (I doubt it) or they respond to things other than violence and death.

huh?

Obviously they respond to their own kind with love. I'm talking about Israel here.


>You can keep repeating yourself ad infinitum and talking in abstractions, but it doesn't make it rational. If responding with full force is counterproductive, it's just stupid to do it.

It is the only way to deal with these arabs. Full force didn't get hezbollah out of Lebanon, but it has kept the north quiet for 2 years now. Peace eventually comes, but only after bringing them down to their knees.

>They're going in with moderate force and a specific set of tactics and strategies. It's that amount of force and those specific tactics and strategies that are at issue here.

How much more caution do you expect them to take? They have been doing great in a dense area. Maybe they should just go door to door and personally deliver a bomb to Hamas member.

>Sometimes I get the impression that hawks just love the tough talk and anything that sounds less tough to them EVEN IF IT WOULD HAVE BETTER RESULTS makes them feel like girly-men. You don't talk and act tough if it works against your own interests. That's just stupid.

And sometimes I get the impression that doves in their quest for peace "no matter" what will end up causing further destruction when dealing with groups that simply want to obliterate you. NOBODY is saying don't bring in other option. Problem is, none of you have brought anything other than doing nothing.

Are you already assuming its going to be counterproductive? Why?

CyberKitten said...

I think the whole thing can be summed up by the fact that Israel is firing *artillery* into the heart of one of the most densely populated areas on Earth.

A moral action? I think not!

Will it achieve its strategic aim? Absolutely not!

Holy Hyrax said...

>I think the whole thing can be summed up by the fact that Israel is firing *artillery* into the heart of one of the most densely populated areas on Earth.

So in other words...BECAUSE it is so densely populated...NO weapon may be fired in there. Right?

jewish philosopher said...

"Will it achieve its strategic aim? Absolutely not!"

Israel's aim, which is to be a quiet, prosperous country like for example Belgium, has never been attainable, because it's located in middle of an Islamic part of the world. Too bad no one at the Zionist conference thought of that a hundred years ago.

Jewish Atheist said...

Obviously they respond to their own kind with love. I'm talking about Israel here.

See I was assuming they did it out of political self-interest. Which means that they understand things other than violence and death.

It is the only way to deal with these arabs.

Ah. The truth comes out. The only way to deal with Arabs is with maximum violence. I thought you were supposed to at least try not to sound racist.

How much more caution do you expect them to take? They have been doing great in a dense area. Maybe they should just go door to door and personally deliver a bomb to Hamas member.

Targeted assassinations have worked pretty well for them in the past, actually. The point is the current operation will not remove Hamas's ability to fire rockets at Israel.

And sometimes I get the impression that doves in their quest for peace "no matter" what will end up causing further destruction when dealing with groups that simply want to obliterate you.

I'm like Obama. I don't oppose all wars, just stupid ones. (And immoral ones.)

NOBODY is saying don't bring in other option. Problem is, none of you have brought anything other than doing nothing.

First of all, nothing is probably better than this particular action. Second, there are plenty of other options, including targeted assassinations, etc.

Are you already assuming its going to be counterproductive? Why?

Read my post. These rockets can be made by normal people with common tools and components. No way a temporary reoccupation can solve that problem, any more than sending police into the inner city and temporarily occupying blocks and killing drug pins would solve the murder problem. It's just the wrong tool for the job.

CyberKitten said...

H H said: So in other words...BECAUSE it is so densely populated...NO weapon may be fired in there. Right?

No.... But maybe artillery is a rather *indiscriminate* weapon to be used in such an environment? Unless, of course, that's the whole point of using it?

Anonymous said...

Numbers are just a game, if hamas had the means, there is no cutoff to the amount of innocent civilians they would ruthlessly murder with their rocketing. That is in fact their hope in launching their rockets and in all the terrorist activities that they fund, to kill as many innocent israeli civilians as possible - if it will be 1 person, thats great, if it can be 100, even better! So what exactly convinces you that the israeli response is inappropriate just because they happen to kill more civilians, when they're clearly trying their hardest to not have to do that? Maybe hamas is sending their leaflets on the nose of their rockets, but I don't know of anyone who has located that yet.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Which means that they understand things other than violence and death.

If you can show me an ounce toward Israel, go for it.

>Ah. The truth comes out. The only way to deal with Arabs is with maximum violence. I thought you were supposed to at least try not to sound racist.

oooooooooh, the dreaded "R" word. I choose to deal with reality. You choose to live in this perfect make believe world where these particular arabs give a rats ass if someone calls them a racist. If Hamas seeks Israel's destruction, the only moral thing is to get at them before they can accomplish it.


>Targeted assassinations have worked pretty well for them in the past, actually

oh, but but but but...Israel was chastised for that as well. Now how would you, defend this act of targeted assassination to those that are upset that targeted assassinations have killed innocents in the past. And how do you measure "pretty well?" From my recollection, every time there was a targeted killing, they would respond in like against Israel. I guess all those targeted killings really helped create more terrorists.

>The point is the current operation will not remove Hamas's ability to fire rockets at Israel.

You have no way of knowing this.

>I'm like Obama. I don't oppose all wars, just stupid ones. (And immoral ones.)

So then you admit what Israel is doing is immoral and stupid. I mean, you can't have two things. Either, Israel will stop the rockets which at the same time will kill scores of more people, or they won't. Seems to me, you are not hoping for them being productive since it requires lots of loss of life and by DEFINITION in your book will always be immoral.

>First of all, nothing is probably better than this particular action. Second, there are plenty of other options, including targeted assassinations, etc.

See my previous comment.

>It's just the wrong tool for the job.

And the right too is.......

Holy Hyrax said...

>No.... But maybe artillery is a rather *indiscriminate* weapon to be used in such an environment? Unless, of course, that's the whole point of using it?

dozens were killed in the first few days of the bombing BEFORE Israel started using artillery. They were using planes and helicopters to send precise bombs and Israel was STILL being called immoral.

Hence, my comment, that NO weapon should EVER be fired.

CyberKitten said...

H H said: They were using planes and helicopters to send precise bombs and Israel was STILL being called immoral.

Yes... The idea of 'precision' bombs and missiles always makes me laugh - as does the euphemism 'collateral damage'.

Personally I think that any country that kills civilians indiscriminately is acting in an immoral fashion. Don't you? Or is it just Israel that gets a free pass on this sort of thing?

Holy Hyrax said...

>Yes... The idea of 'precision' bombs and missiles always makes me laugh - as does the euphemism 'collateral damage'.

nu, so did you consider Israel immoral then...or only during artillery?


It's all about perspective and understanding the physical limitations and needs of war. If you believe a war is legit, then you understand civilians will die just like in every other war.

CyberKitten said...

H H said: so did you consider Israel immoral then

The Israeli actions in Gaza are stupid, counter-production and, yes, immoral.

H H said: If you believe a war is legit, then you understand civilians will die just like in every other war.

As far as I know war can only exist between states. Last I heard Gaza wasn't a state - in fact is *Palestine* a state? So technical Isreal cannot be 'at war' in Gaza.

Civilans do indeed regretably die in wars - but there's a *huge* difference in killing them accidentially and knowing that your strikes will inevitably kill them. It's just one (small) step away from actually targetting them which is about as immoral as you can get in military actions.

Ezzie said...

It's easier to just disprove this then waste time arguing the rest.

You have to demonstrate that this specific military action is moral and likely to succeed in order to win this argument.

Untrue. You merely have to demonstrate that any other option is less moral and/or more likely to lead to greater problems in the future.

As doing nothing would be immoral (as per Israel's responsibilities to its people), and nuking Gaza would be immoral (to the people in Gaza), the balance lies somewhere in between.

The most reasonable conclusion would be to attempt to wipe out the terrorist threat *completely* while minimizing civilian casualties as much as possible, as opposed to eliminating all civilian casualties while maximizing the destruction of terrorists as much as possible within that framework. The reason for this is that a terror framework cannot be allowed to exist whatsoever. Allowing for any terror framework to remain in existence becomes equivalent to promoting terror, as terrorists' lack of regard for human life allows them to use civilians as human shields to continue carrying out attacks, knowing that the other side will stop at some line.

Holy Hyrax said...

>The Israeli actions in Gaza are stupid, counter-production and, yes, immoral.

NU, then my first statement to you was correct. Why are you arguing? From your standpoint, Israel can't fire anything into Gaza

>As far as I know war can only exist between states. Last I heard Gaza wasn't a state - in fact is *Palestine* a state? So technical Isreal cannot be 'at war' in Gaza.

Lovely, thats like saying the US was not at *war* with North vietnam because technically, congress did not declare a state of war.

>Civilans do indeed regretably die in wars - but there's a *huge* difference in killing them accidentially and knowing that your strikes will inevitably kill them.

Every attack will inevitably have a great chance of killing civilians. By your logic, every gun should be muzzled and no battle ever fought. In this case, what do you do when Hamas hides their rockets in densely populated areas? Do nothing?

Off the Derech said...

Great post, JA. It's nice to know at least someone in the J-blogosphere is balanced.

Holy Hyrax said...

balanced?

He is against it.

I am for it.

How is he balanced?

Maybe balancing out the jblogs, but thats about it.

Off the Derech said...

I don't think I was talking to you.

Holy Hyrax said...

Fair enough

Though I am curious as to what you mean

Anonymous said...

"This is an act of war. It's irrelevant how many of your citizens died just like it was irrelevant how many US soldiers died at Pearl Harbor. It's not the death count, but the aggression that counts."

Until they have their own state, it's not an act of war.

Anonymous said...

"Are you defending a palestinian mentality of "we get all or nothing RIGHT NOW or we blow you the hell away?" What was the excuses before any occupation?"

Right. First, they should say "pretty please." Then they should wait a hundred years. Then, if they haven't yet received their land back, they should say, "Okay, enough guys, we really want it back now."

Off the Derech said...

Curiosity killed the cat.

Anonymous said...

"Full force didn't get hezbollah out of Lebanon, but it has kept the north quiet for 2 years now."

Now, I'm no historian, but I believe Israel's full force had a lot to do with getting Hezbollah INTO Lebanon.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Until they have their own state, it's not an act of war.

Right. That makes a lot of sense.

>Right. First, they should say "pretty please." Then they should wait a hundred years. Then, if they haven't yet received their land back, they should say, "Okay, enough guys, we really want it back now."

Nobody said pretty please. But their own action makes it harder for any solution to be put forward.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Now, I'm no historian, but I believe Israel's full force had a lot to do with getting Hezbollah INTO Lebanon.

Fine. So then by that logic, driving the PLO out of the southern Lebanese border was a mistake then.

JDHURF said...

I commend you, JA, for taking a principled, insightful and balanced position on the current Israel-Palestine conflagration.
What is truly sad about the situation in my view is that most people, civilian people, on either side support the two-state solution, yet their political representatives on both sides at every moment behave in ways that actively negate any peaceful resolution.
It is also very true as JA pointed out and as I pointed out last January that collective punishment and excessive, disproportionate military actions that harm and kill many civilians and terrorize them, displace them and so on only further denigrate the stated objectives of the state of Israel (the eradication of Hamas, the revulsion of Hamas by the Palestinians). Such actions only ever strengthen support for groups such as Hamas, just as Israel’s devastation of Lebanon served beyond the wildest dreams of the Hezbollah to shore up support (even among Christians, Druze and so on).
The United Nations and especially the United States (Israel’s enabler) must insist upon an immediate ceasefire and a serious reengagement of the two-state settlement peace negotiations (as serious as it was at Tabba with negotiators like Shlomo Ben-Ami and others).

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

oooooooooh, the dreaded "R" word. I choose to deal with reality. You choose to live in this perfect make believe world where these particular arabs give a rats ass if someone calls them a racist.

Oh please. You wrote "It is the only way to deal with these arabs." I guess that sentence could literally mean "these arabs" just as "It is the only way to deal with these Jews" could be literally about just "these Jews," but if someone said the latter, you'd be screaming anti-semitism.


Ezzie:

As doing nothing would be immoral (as per Israel's responsibilities to its people), and nuking Gaza would be immoral (to the people in Gaza), the balance lies somewhere in between.

Are you arguing that even if doing nothing is the best (least-bad) option, Israel is morally obligated to do something which will by definition hurt them? What a strange idea.

And if the balance lies somewhere in between, you still have to show that the "somewhere" Israel picked is a good choice.

The most reasonable conclusion would be to attempt to wipe out the terrorist threat *completely* while minimizing civilian casualties as much as possible, as opposed to eliminating all civilian casualties while maximizing the destruction of terrorists as much as possible within that framework.

That would be reasonable if it were possible. It's not. Terrorism is an ideology, not a concrete object. You can't wipe it out completely unless you wipe out the people completely.

Allowing for any terror framework to remain in existence becomes equivalent to promoting terror, as terrorists' lack of regard for human life allows them to use civilians as human shields to continue carrying out attacks, knowing that the other side will stop at some line.

So the answer is to not stop at lines?

Orthoprax said...

A basic facet of Israel's larger self-defense strategy and method of deterrence is that it cannot allow states or groups to attack her without answer. If an attack on Israel is met with a much larger response then it makes those who would consider attacking Israel think twice before trying it.

An persistently unanswered challenge to Israel's position of military strength (like rockets from Gaza) might make some powerful states in the region think that Israel is weak enough that they're willing to try something. Clearly this is something Israel would like to avoid.

Holy Hyrax said...

>I guess that sentence could literally mean "these arabs" just as "It is the only way to deal with these Jews" could be literally about just "these Jews," but if someone said the latter, you'd be screaming anti-semitism.

Lets just say this. Had Jews in the middle ages been causes untold misery to Spain, for example, I would totally understand (though I guess a sense of kingship sort of forces me to feel bad) them needing to kick the Jews out. (and no I am not advocating mass deportation here, just using that as an example) So yes, I was talking about THESE particular Arabs. But in the broader sense, I feel that holds true to the other arabs that feel an itch to fight Israel.

Anonymous said...

"Lets just say this. Had Jews in the middle ages been causes untold misery to Spain, for example, I would totally understand (though I guess a sense of kingship sort of forces me to feel bad) them needing to kick the Jews out. (and no I am not advocating mass deportation here, just using that as an example) So yes, I was talking about THESE particular Arabs. But in the broader sense, I feel that holds true to the other arabs that feel an itch to fight Israel."

Oh, ok. I guess you probably had a really hard time relating to Chanukkah then.

Anonymous said...

"Nobody said pretty please. But their own action makes it harder for any solution to be put forward."

You honestly think that the Palis would have anything without violence? I bet all those Green Line settlers would have got up and left on their own if only the palis had organized a sit in and sang kumbaya.

JDHURF said...

Orthoprax:

To attempt to defend the injustices committed by the state of Israel - blockading which denies Palestinians the necessities of life, such as food, medicine and so on, disproportionate killing of civilians, etcetera - with the shallow concept of deterrence not on does not avoid the fact that it is egregiously unethical and in breech of international human rights law - as the human rights organizations have been observing, Amnesty, B'Tselem and so on - but is even counterproductive to the stated end; as JA correctly observed in his post and as I repeated in the comments section and have written about repeatedly.

Holy Hyrax:

You appear to be spewing forth overt and unapologetic anti-Arab racism and nothing more. Your premise that the less than human Arabs only understand violent force is the sort of blood-thirsty and crazed racism that has propelled the majority of human tragedies all throughout history.

The suffering of Israelis is certainly a variable, but it's transparent the way in which you dismiss out of hand the far more severe suffering of the Palestinians (which has been going on for fifty years).

Anonymous said...

">Now, I'm no historian, but I believe Israel's full force had a lot to do with getting Hezbollah INTO Lebanon.

Fine. So then by that logic, driving the PLO out of the southern Lebanese border was a mistake then."

What do you think it accomplished? You got the PLO to deal with in other places and Hezbollah and other Lebansese factions pissed off at Israel in Lebanon. Again, I am no historian, but I'm not at all sure that campaign was helpful to Israel.

Orthoprax said...

JD,

"To attempt to defend the injustices committed by the state of Israel - blockading which denies Palestinians the necessities of life, such as food, medicine and so on, disproportionate killing of civilians, etcetera - with the shallow concept of deterrence..."

I don't defend the blockade in terms of deterrence, I so defend the current military actions. The blockade and so on are necessary in order to give as little credibility to a Hamas-run government as possible and also, btw, existed hand in hand with basic humanitarian aid that Israel did permit through the borders. There's a reason why hundreds of thousands of Palestinians are NOT dying of hunger or thirst even after 18 months of blockade.

"not on does not avoid the fact that it is egregiously unethical and in breech of international human rights law - as the human rights organizations have been observing, Amnesty, B'Tselem and so on"

Oh, I did not realize that the mere declaration of something to be unethical (egregiously so or otherwise) magically makes it so. You make a compelling argument.

"but is even counterproductive to the stated end; as JA correctly observed in his post and as I repeated in the comments section and have written about repeatedly."

Clearly that is something which remains to be seen, but I guess you know the future too. Cool.

Holy Hyrax said...

>You appear to be spewing forth overt and unapologetic anti-Arab racism and nothing more. Your premise that the less than human Arabs only understand violent force is the sort of blood-thirsty and crazed racism that has propelled the majority of human tragedies all throughout history.

And you seem to be spewing the same ol leftists ideals of world harmony and utopia built on the premise that everyone respects your notion of western ethics, morals and manners. Nothing that I have said has led to "tragedies" all throughout history. When a nation is attacked over and over and over again, it MUST respond. Innocents will suffer. You try to minimilize it the best you can. Such is the dilema of the physical constraints of warfare. Bombs destroy. You really want to sit there are tell me that the Arab world has not be prone to only violence when dealing with Israel?

>The suffering of Israelis is certainly a variable, but it's transparent the way in which you dismiss out of hand the far more severe suffering of the Palestinians (which has been going on for fifty years).

Yes, Ok, fine. Palestinians suffer. Now what? Don't respond to thousands of rocket attacks? I mean, you can repeat this mantra over and over again and in the end, you are not facing reality.

Holy Hyrax said...

>What do you think it accomplished? You got the PLO to deal with in other places and Hezbollah and other Lebansese factions pissed off at Israel in Lebanon. Again, I am no historian, but I'm not at all sure that campaign was helpful to Israel.

Well, it got the PLO out of the southern border for one thing :)

Obviously, to everything there ARE consequences. That I do not disagree with. The question that has been plaguing this conversation is whether this is a legitimate worry, that there might be more anger at Israel from parties concerned, and therefore Israel should just do nothing. I say, a country cannot think of what perhaps might happen WHILE it is being attacked. It MUST respond, especially given this has been going on for two years now.

Ezzie said...

Are you arguing that even if doing nothing is the best (least-bad) option, Israel is morally obligated to do something which will by definition hurt them? What a strange idea.

Huh?

And if the balance lies somewhere in between, you still have to show that the "somewhere" Israel picked is a good choice.

No, just the least bad. But I happen to think it's a good one, anyway.

That would be reasonable if it were possible. It's not. Terrorism is an ideology, not a concrete object. You can't wipe it out completely unless you wipe out the people completely.

That's simply untrue. Every war is won not when the other side is convinced they are wrong, but when they are convinced that continued fighting will hurt them more than help them. The objective of any war, and in particular a war such as this one, is to create enough of a disincentive to the other side that they would rather give up than continue to fight.

So the answer is to not stop at lines?

Huh?

JDHURF said...

Orthoprax said:
I don't defend the blockade in terms of deterrence

That’s right, you defend the blockade in terms of collective punishment, a euphemism for terrorism.

I so defend the current military actions.

Within international law there is a principle known as proportionality. Israel’s current actions are so grossly disproportionate that they are in severe breech of international human rights law. The actions are also breeding new generations of radicalized people who would otherwise not be radical, it is counterproductive. Israel’s destruction of Lebanon didn’t deter anything and Israel’s current destruction of Gaza is clearly not going to deter anything, quite the opposite rather.
Israel’s disproportionate military actions have been going on like this for decades and all that has happened has been a further and deeper radicalization of the Palestinians and you think that this case is going to be any different? Why?
If you really cared about deterrence, you wouldn’t support actions that are breeding radicals bent on revenge by the minute.
The blockade and so on are necessary in order to give as little credibility to a Hamas-run government as possible and also, btw, existed hand in hand with basic humanitarian aid that Israel did permit through the borders.

This is collective punishment.
The policy of collective punishment and the consequences which it necessarily entails demonstrates that the term “collective punishment” is simply a transparent euphemism for terrorism. To violently punish an entire population for political ends, to, say, completely seal the Gaza border, to cut off entry of fuel and medical supplies, to then invade Gaza and indiscriminately murder innocent men, women and children noncombatants in the stated desire to elicit from them revulsion of Hamas and a desire to accept any unjust solution to the conflict so long as the destruction and murder ends, is the elementary, textbook definition of terrorism.
http://secularhumanism.blogspot.com/2008/03/collective-punishment-and-terrorism.html


Oh, I did not realize that the mere declaration of something to be unethical (egregiously so or otherwise) magically makes it so. You make a compelling argument.

I didn’t anticipate that you would be so ignorant of human rights that I would have to spoon feed it to you.

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE15/021/2008/en

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/israelopt-immediate-access-humanitarian-workers-and-observers-essential-20081231


Clearly that is something which remains to be seen, but I guess you know the future too. Cool.

I don’t know the future, I simply know that in every similar case throughout history that the consequences have been identical. That you really cling to this fantasy that the people of Gaza are going to respond to Israel’s destruction of their cities, homes and families by welcoming Israel’s tanks as liberators from Hamas, the political party a majority of them voted for, is beyond delusional. What makes the Gazans so different from the Lebanese in your mind goes unexplained.

JDHURF said...

Holy Hyrax said:
And you seem to be spewing the same ol leftists ideals of world harmony and utopia built on the premise that everyone respects your notion of western ethics, morals and manners.

All I am spewing forth is an immediate ceasefire and a serious reengagement of the two-state settlement. If in your mind these are “ol leftist ideals of world harmony and utopia” that gives quite the insight into your infantile understanding of such issues and concepts.

Nothing that I have said has led to "tragedies" all throughout history.

Your anti-Arab racism that you cannot even conceal has absolutely led to tragedies all throughout history, including these current events.

When a nation is attacked over and over and over again, it MUST respond.

Absolutely, but the response must be proportionate and it must be a response, not a provocation (let’s not forget the devastating blockade that the Palestinian civilians have been forced to suffer, and that not only did Israel end the ceasefire on the fourth of Novemeber, but as Ha’aretz reported, Israel had planned this attack for six months, even as the ceasefire was being negotiated).


Yes, Ok, fine. Palestinians suffer. Now what? Don't respond to thousands of rocket attacks? I mean, you can repeat this mantra over and over again and in the end, you are not facing reality.

Those “thousands of rocket attacks” have killed how many people? How many people has Israel killed? It is you who refuses to face reality.

Jewish Atheist said...

Orthoprax:

An persistently unanswered challenge to Israel's position of military strength (like rockets from Gaza) might make some powerful states in the region think that Israel is weak enough that they're willing to try something.

That's ridiculous. Israel is unmistakably strong because of its superior army, air force, and weaponry, not because it responds to rocket attacks by invading Gaza.

This action weakens Israel by demonstrating that it will overreact to terrorist attacks, thereby doing the terrorists' work for them.

jewish philosopher said...

"In doing so, it's not only been morally wrong, but breaking its own laws."

What does "moral" mean to an atheist? Aren't we all merely soulless meat machines?

Does it mean "John Stuart Mill would approve"? Who knows? And why should we care?

Scott said...

There is, of course, ZERO incentive for the Israelis to participate in any type of "peace" talks. Peace talks, btw, which would be a peace in name only as they have shown they more than willing to participate in soft, yet just as deadly, acts of war like blockades. Why would there be? They have the backing of the US Empire and most of Western Europe not only currently, but for the past 50 years. Why would they concede anything? "These arabs" will only get table scraps for the foreseeable future. The President elect made sure of that when he spoke before AIPAC soon after his nomination and guaranteed them BILLIONS more in military aid.

Why? I haven't the slightest idea.

Why do honestly smart people think this man represents "change" might be a better question.

At any rate, this is the result of neo-colonialism and the adherence (by both the left and the right) to an actively interventionist foreign policy. The power imbalances that are created are so great that only violence can resolve them. See Rwanda for just one instance.

Holy Hyrax said...

>All I am spewing forth is an immediate ceasefire and a serious reengagement of the two-state settlement. If in your mind these are “ol leftist ideals of world harmony and utopia” that gives quite the insight into your infantile understanding of such issues and concepts.

Um, I'm actually of the opinion that a two state solution is probably the ONLY way to deal with this. BUT, it's not going to come from Israel being brought down to its knees. Just like Egypt and Jordan, Israel showed them they they will not win over us. An immediate cease-fire does WHAT exactly? I meeeeeaaaaaan, did it help this last cease fire? Considering Hamas does not WANT Israel to exist, what would a cease fire at this very moment acheive OTHER than giving Hamas the impression that they have won?

>Your anti-Arab racism that you cannot even conceal has absolutely led to tragedies all throughout history, including these current events.

I live in the real world. Its not about being anti Arab its about being anti those wanting to destroy you. For all I care, it could have been Danes living next door to Israel firing rockets. You can repeat this abstract comment all you want. All I know is, Israel, though not perfect, is by far the moral party in this conflict, and the other wanting Israel out of the way. Is this ALL the Arabs? No, but since our history in this region, violence, is ALL that has settled conflicts. You wish to think of the Middle East as having the same values as the United States? That is obviously your choice.

>Absolutely, but the response must be proportionate and it must be a response, not a provocation

Ummmmmmmm, not it doesn't. This new idea of "proportional" does not make sense. Who made this up? Do you expect Israel to simply fire one rocket for every rocket Hamas sends? No nation "proportionaly" defends itself. It makes no sense. And realize this. To people that see Israel as the dangerous Goliath, ANYTHING it does will be seen as a provocation. JA mentioned targeted assassinations and that is a better solution. If you recall, the world said this is wrong and it provokes more anger. Anything Israel will do, will be seen as provoking more violence.

>let’s not forget the devastating blockade that the Palestinian civilians have been forced to suffer,

Devasting? As OP mentioned, have million of Arabs dropped dead yet? Humanitarian aide comes in. Would I like to see a blockade end? Sure, but only AFTER I can see that weapons are not being smuggled in.


>and that not only did Israel end the ceasefire on the fourth of Novemeber, but as Ha’aretz reported, Israel had planned this attack for six months, even as the ceasefire was being negotiated.

Israel end the ceasefire? Ummmmmm.....Hamas has been sending rockets for months. I have friends living in a kibbutz in the south and have been getting hit way before November.

>This action weakens Israel by demonstrating that it will overreact to terrorist attacks, thereby doing the terrorists' work for them.

LOL

jewish philosopher said...

"Why? I haven't the slightest idea."

Because the Ottoman Empire lost the First World War and when it was divided up, a little piece was given to the Zionists by the UN and the Arabs can't have it back and if they try to take it, they get killed.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Those “thousands of rocket attacks” have killed how many people? How many people has Israel killed? It is you who refuses to face reality.

It doesn't MATTER how many Israels are killed. Their POINT is to kill thousands and therefore as ANY responsible and moral country knows, it has an obligation to fight back. I mean, your basic premise is simply to do nothing UNTIL hundreds are killed. By any stretch of the imagination that makes no sense. What country on earth would allow for this?

I mean, how dare the US kill over 500,000 Japanese when all they lost were 2,300 sailors. Quite disproportional.

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

Considering Hamas does not WANT Israel to exist, what would a cease fire at this very moment acheive OTHER than giving Hamas the impression that they have won?

What are you, a sociopath? It's like hundreds of deaths and maimings matter absolutely nothing to you. An immediate ceasefire would probably save hundreds of lives. And you couldn't care less.

It's one thing to believe that, while tragic, the civilian losses are necessary to prevent greater losses in the future. It's quite another to not even take hundreds of deaths under consideration.

Holy Hyrax said...

>What are you, a sociopath? It's like hundreds of deaths and maimings matter absolutely nothing to you.

Ummm...ya, I'm a sociopath JA. Stick to actual arguments instead of pulling out knee-jerk comments like that.

>An immediate ceasefire would probably save hundreds of lives.

Ya, it would...only to have them shooting rockets once again into Israel.

>It's one thing to believe that, while tragic, the civilian losses are necessary to prevent greater losses in the future. It's quite another to not even take hundreds of deaths under consideration.

Your fallacy here is that you consider the only legitimate reason to fight back, is due to greater loss. I don't ONLY care for greater loss of Israelis, but also the very fact that Hamas thinks that they have a right to shoot thousands of rockets into Israel without being challenged. No nation, should have to deal with that. Period.

Do I care for even thousands of civilians deaths? Of course. It hurts me to see little children crying like that. But a cease fire....now? I would at the very least like to know what you think it would accomplish....in the political realm of things?

Jewish Atheist said...

I would at the very least like to know what you think it would accomplish....in the political realm of things?

Better to stop making a mistake earlier than later, is all.

Ezzie said...

LOL. And then when Hamas starts shooting again, what then? Obviously striking back serves no purpose in your view, so what stops Hamas?

Anyway, you never responded to my last comment.

Jewish Atheist said...

Ezzie:

LOL. And then when Hamas starts shooting again, what then? Obviously striking back serves no purpose in your view, so what stops Hamas?

I'm not sure what the best course of action would be, if any. All I'm saying is that THIS PARTICULAR course of action appears to be counterproductive and verging on immoral.

Anyway, you never responded to my last comment.

Okay:

Every war is won not when the other side is convinced they are wrong, but when they are convinced that continued fighting will hurt them more than help them. The objective of any war, and in particular a war such as this one, is to create enough of a disincentive to the other side that they would rather give up than continue to fight.

Wait, I thought Hamas was composed entirely of irrational fanatics? Creating disincentives only works on rational people.

Do you really see Hamas saying, "Gee, this is too hard and they're killing too many of us. We should just give up?" Not a chance. The more Israel attacks them, the more they fight back. (And vice-versa, apparently.)

Shalmo said...

TOP 5 LIES ABOUT ISRAEL'S ASSAULT ON GAZA:

>>>Lie #1: "Israel is only targeting legitimate military sites and is seeking to protect innocent lives. Israel never targets civilians."

The Gaza Strip is one of the most densely populated pieces of property in the world. The presence of militants within a civilian population does not, under international law, deprive that population of their protected status, and hence any assault upon that population under the guise of targeting militants is, in fact, a war crime.

Moreover, the people Israel claims are legitimate targets are members of Hamas, which Israel says is a terrorist organization. Hamas has been responsible for firing rockets into Israel. These rockets are extremely inaccurate and thus, even if Hamas intended to hit military targets within Israel, are indiscriminate by nature. When rockets from Gaza kill Israeli civilians, it is a war crime.

Hamas has a military wing. However, it is not entirely a military organization, but a political one. Members of Hamas are the democratically elected representatives of the Palestinian people. Dozens of these elected leaders have been kidnapped and held in Israeli prisons without charge. Others have been targeted for assassination, such as Nizar Rayan, a top Hamas official. To kill Rayan, Israel targeted a residential apartment building. The strike not only killed Rayan but two of his wives and four of his children, along with six others. There is no justification for such an attack under international law. This was a war crime.

Other of Israel’s bombardment with protected status under international law have included a mosque, a prison, police stations, and a university, in addition to residential buildings.

Moreover, Israel has long held Gaza under siege, allowing only the most minimal amounts of humanitarian supplies to enter. Israel is bombing and killing Palestinian civilians. Countless more have been wounded, and cannot receive medical attention. Hospitals running on generators have little or no fuel. Doctors have no proper equipment or medical supplies to treat the injured. These people, too, are the victims of Israeli policies targeted not at Hamas or legitimate military targets, but directly designed to punish the civilian population.

>>>Lie #2) "Hamas violated the cease-fire. The Israeli bombardment is a response to Palestinian rocket fire and is designed to end such rocket attacks."

Israel never observed the cease-fire to begin with. From the beginning, it announced a “special security zone” within the Gaza Strip and announced that Palestinians who enter this zone will be fired upon. In other words, Israel announced its intention that Israeli soldiers would shoot at farmers and other individuals attempting to reach their own land in direct violation of not only the cease-fire but international law.

Despite shooting incidents, including ones resulting in Palestinians getting injured, Hamas still held to the cease-fire from the time it went into effect on June 19 until Israel effectively ended the truce on November 4 by launching an airstrike into Gaza that killed five and injured several others.

Israel’s violation of the cease-fire predictably resulted in retaliation from militants in Gaza who fired rockets into Israel in response. The increased barrage of rocket fire at the end of December is being used as justification for the continued Israeli bombardment, but is a direct response to the Israeli attacks.

Israel's actions, including its violation of the cease-fire, predictably resulted in an escalation of rocket attacks against its own population.

>>>Lie #3) "Hamas is using human shields, a war crime."

There has been no evidence that Hamas has used human shields. The fact is, as previously noted, Gaza is a small piece of property that is densely populated. Israel engages in indiscriminate warfare such as the assassination of Nizar Rayan, in which members of his family were also murdered. It is victims like his dead children that Israel defines as “human shields” in its propaganda. There is no legitimacy for this interpretation under international law. In circumstances such as these, Hamas is not using human shields, Israel is committing war crimes in violation of the Geneva Conventions and other applicable international law.

>>>Lie #4) "Arab nations have not condemned Israel’s actions because they understand Israel’s justification for its assault."

The populations of those Arab countries are outraged at Israel’s actions and at their own governments for not condemning Israel’s assault and acting to end the violence. Simply stated, the Arab governments do not represent their respective Arab populations. The populations of the Arab nations have staged mass protests in opposition to not only Israel's actions but also the inaction of their own governments and what they view as either complacency or complicity in Israel's crimes.

Moreover, the refusal of Arab nations to take action to come to the aid of the Palestinians is not because they agree with Israel’s actions, but because they are submissive to the will of the US, which fully supports Israel. Egypt, for instance, which refused to open the border to allow Palestinians wounded in the attacks to get medical treatment in Egyptian hospitals, is heavily dependent upon US aid, and is being widely criticized within the population of the Arab countries for what is viewed as an absolute betrayal of the Gaza Palestinians.

Even Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has been regarded as a traitor to his own people for blaming Hamas for the suffering of the people of Gaza. Palestinians are also well aware of Abbas' past perceived betrayals in conniving with Israel and the US to sideline the democratically elected Hamas government, culminating in a counter-coup by Hamas in which it expelled Fatah (the military wing of Abbas' Palestine Authority) from the Gaza Strip. While his apparent goal was to weaken Hamas and strengthen his own position, the Palestinians and other Arabs in the Middle East are so outraged at Abbas that it is unlikely he will be able to govern effectively.

>>>Lie #5) "Israel is not responsible for civilian deaths because it warned the Palestinians of Gaza to flee areas that might be targeted."

Israel claims it sent radio and telephone text messages to residents of Gaza warning them to flee from the coming bombardment. But the people of Gaza have nowhere to flee to. They are trapped within the Gaza Strip. It is by Israeli design that they cannot escape across the border. It is by Israeli design that they have no food, water, or fuel by which to survive. It is by Israeli design that hospitals in Gaza have no electricity and few medical supplies with which to treat the injured and save lives. And Israel has bombed vast areas of Gaza, targeting civilian infrastructure and other sites with protected status under international law. No place is safe within the Gaza Strip.

http://palestinechronicle.com/view_article_details.php?id=14595

Ezzie said...

I thought Hamas was composed entirely of irrational fanatics? Creating disincentives only works on rational people.

Huh? Firstly, irrational is always viewed in terms of what the rest of us deem rational. Everyone has either a breaking point or a point at which they'll just die. It's likely that while many among Hamas will be happy to die for the cause, there are even more who would rather stop before that point. If I were wrong, Israel would not have captured a couple hundred terrorists so far; why didn't they shoot until they died?! Obviously, when they realized death was imminent, they were willing to give up.

More importantly, as you would be quick to point out, not everyone in Gaza is a terrorist. Most are supporters of terror to varying degrees, probably, but they are certainly not interested in dying for the cause themselves. At some point, you will hit a disincentive great enough for them to stop supporting terror as well.

If it is true that they are all irrational, then sadly, they'd probably all die before they gave up. I don't think that's the case, however, and I don't think you believe it is, either.

Do you really see Hamas saying, "Gee, this is too hard and they're killing too many of us. We should just give up?" Not a chance. The more Israel attacks them, the more they fight back. (And vice-versa, apparently.)

Actually, we see that all the time, hence the calls for ceasefires. Certainly not attacking them garners the same response (the Zionists are scared of our might! we must press on!). And the more they fight back, the more they die, which means the less they can fight back.

You don't stop a war - you finish it. From Hamas' point of view, they have two choices - fight and die, or surrender and live. It's pretty simple, when you actually think about it. There's only no end when someone stops there from being one.

Ezzie said...

I have a question, JA - would you allow that comment by "Shalmo" to remain on your blog, knowing it's full of falsehood and misinformation?

Holy Hyrax said...

Question for JA

You seem to have a problem with a lot of casualties. Let's say, that you knew it was going to stop the rocket fire (hence, the mission being productive), would you believe it was all justified?

Ezzie said...

I'm not sure what the best course of action would be, if any. All I'm saying is that THIS PARTICULAR course of action appears to be counterproductive and verging on immoral.

And I'm responding simply that while I disagree, until you can show me an alternative that is LESS immoral and MORE productive you'd be wrong (and in fact, immoral) anyway in saying it should stop.

I've laid out the options for you:

Israel does nothing (immoral - Israeli citizens have right to live without terror attacks)
Israel avoids every single civilian casualty while maximizing terrorist obliteration within that framework (immoral - encourages use of human shields, makes stopping terror impossible)
Israel obliterates all terrorists while avoiding civilian casualties as much as possible within that framework (moral - added benefit of discouraging human shields [as the terrorist would die anyway, and does not want to lose whatever support the civilian might typically afford them], discouraging greater terror [civilians less likely to support terror as they are impacted by consequences])
Israel nukes Gaza (immoral - not all Gazans deserve to die)

Pick one.

Shalmo said...

Nice job Ezzie!

You weren't able to provide any adequate refutations to the facts presented so instead you resort to a blatant attack of "it's full of falsehood and misinformation"

in a word....BULL!

Let's wait and see how open the other jews on this blog are to information that contradicts their established paradigms

Scott said...

Do you really see Hamas saying, "Gee, this is too hard and they're killing too many of us. We should just give up?" Not a chance. The more Israel attacks them, the more they fight back. (And vice-versa, apparently.)

Not only that, but I wonder what these John Wayne tough guys who talk about Israel can't just "do nothing" (as if that's EVER happened) think the Palestinians should "do"? Just stop fighting, I presume. Exactly what they claim Israel cannot do. Just stop fighting and take whatever the Israeli government gives them. And like it. Just like America would do if suddenly the UN and Great Britain decided parts of California belong to Mexico again.

Anonymous said...

"I have a question, JA - would you allow that comment by "Shalmo" to remain on your blog, knowing it's full of falsehood and misinformation?"

You're on a blog. Correct the "innacuracies;" don't whine.

Anonymous said...

"until you can show me an alternative that is LESS immoral and MORE productive you'd be wrong (and in fact, immoral) anyway in saying it should stop."

It's COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. Do you know what that means? It makes things WORSE.

Anonymous said...

"Israel avoids every single civilian casualty while maximizing terrorist obliteration within that framework (immoral - encourages use of human shields, makes stopping terror impossible)"

Got it. We have a moral obligation to kill the civilians so as to stop the use of human shields. Makes perfect sense.

Ezzie said...

LOL Shalmo and Anon - I have better things to do then waste my time fighting propaganda.

Not only that, but I wonder what these John Wayne tough guys who talk about Israel can't just "do nothing" (as if that's EVER happened) think the Palestinians should "do"? Just stop fighting, I presume. Exactly what they claim Israel cannot do. Just stop fighting and take whatever the Israeli government gives them. And like it. Just like America would do if suddenly the UN and Great Britain decided parts of California belong to Mexico again.

LOL - Seriously? Israel is expected to roll over and die when Hamas attacks it, but Hamas is expected to do... what? Are they seriously "unable" to avoid fighting? They were completely compelled to fire rockets when Israel pulled out of Gaza, right? I mean, after all, Israel had invad - no, wait. Israel had sent in suic - no, wait. What?

Holy Hyrax said...

Shalmo

Am I to understand from the PalestineChronicle (which I am sure has no slant toward showing Israel being barbaric). That in between june 19 and Nov 4, NO attack came from Gaza whats so ever?

Holy Hyrax said...

>It's COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. Do you know what that means? It makes things WORSE.

And in your opinion....if it was to stop the rockets, would hundreds of civilians been worth it?

Ezzie said...

It's COUNTERPRODUCTIVE. Do you know what that means? It makes things WORSE.

How? Let Israel actually finish the job, and we'll see if it makes it worse or not. Stopping Israel has always made it worse for everyone involved. Not stopping Israel has allowed them to end wars.

Got it. We have a moral obligation to kill the civilians so as to stop the use of human shields. Makes perfect sense.

Clearly, you can't read.

Holy Hyrax said...

There has been no evidence that Hamas has used human shields. The fact is, as previously noted, >Gaza is a small piece of property that is densely populated. Israel engages in indiscriminate warfare such as the assassination of Nizar Rayan, in which members of his family were also murdered. It is victims like his dead children that Israel defines as “human shields” in its propaganda. There is no legitimacy for this interpretation under international law. In circumstances such as these, Hamas is not using human shields, Israel is committing war crimes in violation of the Geneva Conventions and other applicable international law.

Well, this comment alone shows how objective and truthful the PalestineChronicle is. LOL

Shalmo said...

Ezzie its seems to me anything that contradicts your world-view is propaganda. Which is a pathetic counter-argument to the facts presented. Were you born to a family of Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka, you would say the same. Step out of the box please.

And Holy Hyrax you are more than welcome to go to the PalestineChronicle, who's main contributers are Jews themselves, and raise all sorts of issues you wish to discuss. Who knows, you may come out more "enlightened" than our friend Ezzie.

Peace

Holy Hyrax said...

Are you going to answer the question Shalmo?

Jewish Atheist said...

Shalmo:

Please don't copy-paste long blocks of text. Links with summaries are fine.


Ezzie:

If it is true that they are all irrational, then sadly, they'd probably all die before they gave up. I don't think that's the case, however, and I don't think you believe it is, either.

No, *I* don't think that's the case. I just keep hearing that's the case from hawks.

You don't stop a war - you finish it.

But this war is unfinishable, unless you're going to do ethnic cleansing, which Israel is not going to do. So don't keep talking about "finishing" when there's no possibility of that happening.

I have a question, JA - would you allow that comment by "Shalmo" to remain on your blog, knowing it's full of falsehood and misinformation?

I don't censor comments, period. (Spam and giving out personal information excepted.) If you feel that it's full of falsehood and misinformation, you're welcome to argue your case in a comment.


HH:

You seem to have a problem with a lot of casualties. Let's say, that you knew it was going to stop the rocket fire (hence, the mission being productive), would you believe it was all justified?

I'd feel a LOT better if I thought it was going to stop the rocket fire (and not just shift the violence to other means.) I'm not sure I'd say it was completely justified just because of the wildly disproportionate number of civilian casualties, but it would at least be for something other than the desire to look tough.

And I'm responding simply that while I disagree, until you can show me an alternative that is LESS immoral and MORE productive you'd be wrong (and in fact, immoral) anyway in saying it should stop.

I'm saying that DOING NOTHING is less immoral and more productive. I'm also saying that there are other options which may be less immoral and more productive.

I've laid out the options for you

You've laid out three options, all of which are caricatures designed to look ridiculous. Here are other options: continue to fire back at launching points, preventing Hamas from aiming their missiles. Continue counterterrorism intelligence operations. Continue targeted assassinations. Do everything you can to win over the hearts and minds of ordinary Gazans (admittedly an extraordinarily hard task, given the history.) Stop immediately building new illegal settlements. Open talks with Hamas. Etc. etc. etc.

LOL - Seriously? Israel is expected to roll over and die when Hamas attacks it, but Hamas is expected to do... what? Are they seriously "unable" to avoid fighting? They were completely compelled to fire rockets when Israel pulled out of Gaza, right? I mean, after all, Israel had invad - no, wait. Israel had sent in suic - no, wait. What?

I think his point is that it's the exactly same mindset on that side that cares above all about looking and acting tough, even against their own self-interest, as it is among people like you and HH.

Jewish Atheist said...

Ezzie:

That's always the dodge. Brilliantly unfalsifiable. Let us keep going until we win!! If you stop us, ever, even because we're making no progress, it's you who is at fault and not us! If only we'd had more time!

The right in America is still spooning that garbage about Vietnam.

Shalmo said...

"Well, this comment alone shows how objective and truthful the PalestineChronicle is. LOL"

A lol comment says nothing. Your counter-argument is just as fallacious as the "it's full of falsehood and misinformation" your fellow just pouted.

Seriously if this is the best israeli apologists have to offer, and it usually is, then I am content to say ya all are just clueless. When moshiach comes, don't think he'll be siding with any of you.

Holy Hyrax said...

>continue to fire back at launching points,

The ones that are placed inbetween all those densly populated buildings?


>preventing Hamas from aiming their missiles.

Maybe if we ask them politely. Or, maybe we can stop them from getting missles in the first place by putting up blockades to things going into Gaza, but that would also be immoral. But wait, what difference would any of that make. You just admitted that anyone can make them in their basement.

>Continue counterterrorism intelligence operations.

Aaaaaand do what with the intelligence then?


>Do everything you can to win over the hearts and minds of ordinary Gazans

Maybe we can remove all our citizens from Gaza. That might make them believe we want peace.

>Continue targeted assassinations.

But what do you do when the world considered that immoral as well?

>Stop immediately building new illegal settlements.

As if this is that one thing that is so driving Hamas crazy.

>Open talks with Hamas. Etc. etc. etc.

For a ceasefire?

Holy Hyrax said...

Shalom, you still haven't answered the question.

I simply don't see a need to respond to BS claiming that Hamas doesn't intentionally fire from populated areas as well as store their weapons there.

Scott said...

LOL - Seriously?

Seriously. And I seriously notice that you can't even seriously answer the question. The people of Palestine have wants just as the people of Israel do, yet they have no means of obtaining them. Israel pulled out of Gaza.... and set of a blockade that is recognized as an act of war by every convention of history and reason. Yet you think they should just accept their position of perpetual poverty. Is that what you would do? Is that what you would do if those children in your avatar picture were locked in that position?

As a father of 3 myself, I should hope not.

Shalmo said...

"Holy Hyrax" if you are willing to entertain a real debate on this matter than there is a much better place for us to have one:

http://www.aimislam.com/forums/index.php?s=7697b05f4e37d30a873148931a4e33ca&showforum=10

^^There are lots of discussions between Israelis and their opponents on that forum. So if you are interested then by all means sign up and let the debate begin.

Holy Hyrax said...

>"Holy Hyrax" if you are willing to entertain a real debate on this matter than there is a much better place for us to have one:

Don't give me this crap. You are the one that came on to this thread with a link about Israel. When I challenge you ONE specific question, you can't even take up one second to respond? You have taken up more time writing that last comment than it would have done to respond to my question to you

I am still waiting for an answer.

Shalmo said...

Holy Hyrax whether you like it or not Hamas is a democratically elected government.

Of course they are going to fire rockets at Israel. Israel is biulding illegal settlements, engaging in civilian bullying, bulldozing homes and so forth.

You cannot push and push a people and expect them not to react. Hamas is a reaction against Israeli aggression. Just as Hezbollah was a reaction against Israel's unethical invasion of Lebanon in the 80's.

When you attack people are going to defend themselves.

Ezzie said...

JA - You didn't address almost any of the points made.

But this war is unfinishable, unless you're going to do ethnic cleansing, which Israel is not going to do. So don't keep talking about "finishing" when there's no possibility of that happening.

Simply untrue. When Israel has rooted out every weapon, blown up every tunnel, and killed every terrorist who is unwilling to surrender, it ends. According to people such as yourself there are only about 10,000 members of Hamas. It might take a while, but it's doable.

Re: Censoring, fair enough.

I'm saying that DOING NOTHING is less immoral and more productive. I'm also saying that there are other options which may be less immoral and more productive.

How is it less immoral? What stops Hamas from walking around with a few civilians around them, firing rockets? You have yet to show me a better option, which is what my first point was above.

You've laid out three options, all of which are caricatures designed to look ridiculous.

Not at all.

Here are other options:

Finally, "options"!

continue to fire back at launching points, preventing Hamas from aiming their missiles.

Laughable. And again - when those are placed on top of hospitals, next to UN schools, etc. - what do you suggest?

Continue counterterrorism intelligence operations. Continue targeted assassinations.

From where? How? Will this really solve anything? And when those targets live in large apartment buildings, then what?

Do everything you can to win over the hearts and minds of ordinary Gazans (admittedly an extraordinarily hard task, given the history.)

Impossible, under current conditions, therefore, not an option.

Stop immediately building new illegal settlements.

LOL - where? In Gaza? Nothing like that applies to Gaza. You're just parroting rhetoric.

Open talks with Hamas.

LOL again - show me it accomplishes anything. Very seriously - what is there to negotiate? They had all of Gaza, then fired rockets into Israel. What are we negotiating?

All of your "options" are completely blind to reality and morality. Try again.

Holy Hyrax said...

I'm waiting for a response to my question. Are you going to respond or not?



I am also sure everything the Arabs do is only because of Israel's aggresion toward them, just as the PLO was a reaction to the occupation

Ezzie said...

Seriously. And I seriously notice that you can't even seriously answer the question. The people of Palestine have wants just as the people of Israel do, yet they have no means of obtaining them. Israel pulled out of Gaza.... and set of a blockade that is recognized as an act of war by every convention of history and reason. Yet you think they should just accept their position of perpetual poverty. Is that what you would do? Is that what you would do if those children in your avatar picture were locked in that position?

The people of Gaza have no means of obtaining what, exactly? They were given all the resources of the people of Gush Katif, who built on the very same land an incredible infrastructure - and they burned it to the ground. Egypt blockaded their entry on the other side, and I don't see them shooting rockets there. They've had thousands of tons of aid delivered through their borders. Considering that they don't even claim it has anything to do with the border (which Israel consistently allows people through anyway, and lets them earn a living, etc.), Israel actually supplies Gaza its electricity and power, and Hamas is open about wanting to drive Israel into the sea and kill Jews anywhere, what the hell are you talking about?!

The Palestinians have every opportunity to build up their land, and pass up every single one of them to strike at Israel instead. They're well aware that people such as yourself will buy their propaganda and allow them to continue their mission. Go read up on some facts, please.

Shalmo said...

"That in between june 19 and Nov 4, NO attack came from Gaza whats so ever?"

Re-read the info under Lie#2. Israel never observed the cease-fire to begin with

And the occupation is the very reason that Hamas and Hezbollah exist. Which came first; Israel or Hamas and Hezbollah?

End the Israeli occupation and you end this entire fiasco, other wise your blood-thirsty lot will keep killing from now till forever.

Remember your own religion states you got kicked out of the holy land both times because of Jewish barbarism. And I feel Yahweh will be sending ya all on a third exile in due time (the sooner the better), since clearly the exile has not taught any of you humility. Pitiful!

Holy Hyrax said...

Ahhhh, but the link also says this:

Despite shooting incidents, including ones resulting in Palestinians getting injured, Hamas still held to the cease-fire from the time it went into effect on June 19 until Israel effectively ended the truce on November 4 by launching an airstrike into Gaza that killed five and injured several others.

Sooo, my question still stands. Are you going to answer it?

>End the Israeli occupation and you end this entire fiasco, other wise your blood-thirsty lot will keep killing from now till forever.

You're right. We should kick out all the Jews from Gaza immediately.

>Remember your own religion states you got kicked out of the holy land both times because of Jewish barbarism.

Really? Barbaric to who?

Holy Hyrax said...

Shalmo

I'm curiuos, was the occupation also the reason for the PLO?

Jewish Atheist said...

Ezzie:

JA - You didn't address almost any of the points made.

I assumed that things like "huh?" were not "points made." If you'd like to ask again about something I missed, go ahead.

Simply untrue. When Israel has rooted out every weapon, blown up every tunnel, and killed every terrorist who is unwilling to surrender, it ends.

Because they can't just make new weapons, tunnels, and terrorists the second Israel leaves?

According to people such as yourself there are only about 10,000 members of Hamas. It might take a while, but it's doable.

"Such as myself?" WTF does that mean?

How many civilians will Israel have to kill in order to kill all 10,000 members of Hamas? How will it ensure that the families of those civilians don't themselves become new members of Hamas?

Re: Censoring, fair enough.

Thanks. :-)

How is it less immoral? What stops Hamas from walking around with a few civilians around them, firing rockets? You have yet to show me a better option, which is what my first point was above.

Nothing is a better option. Killing rocket launchers even with civilian shields is a better option. Practically ANYTHING is a better option.

Laughable. And again - when those are placed on top of hospitals, next to UN schools, etc. - what do you suggest?

I don't have a good solution to that. But neither do you.

Impossible, under current conditions, therefore, not an option.

It's not all-or-nothing.

LOL - where? In Gaza? Nothing like that applies to Gaza. You're just parroting rhetoric.

It applies to the whole thing. World opinion, Palestinian opinion, the peace process, everything.

LOL again - show me it accomplishes anything. Very seriously - what is there to negotiate? They had all of Gaza, then fired rockets into Israel. What are we negotiating?

I find your constant LOLing to be inappropriate and jarring, given the subject manner.

As for negotiations, Hamas is not only a terrorist group but also the democratically-elected government of Gaza. Refusing to talk to them is just stupid.

Holy Hyrax said...

Look

If you don't want to answer the question, just say so, and i will stop asking.

Scott said...

Ah, people like me, eh? Brilliant. At any rate the reasons for Palestinian aggression toward Israel number as great as the Palestinians, I am sure. After all, there's is a much more decentralized enclave than the group that makes of the Israeli government and their attacks against the Palestinians. "People like me" generally find the greater reason for terrorism to be occupation, in this case the occupation of the Israeli people in land that Palestinians think, rightly or wrongly, to be theirs.

However, I did think we were discussing the current conflict rather than the Israel vs. Palestine conflict at large, and thus brought up the issue of the blockade and being stuck in poverty. Though you correctly stated that aid has been allowed through the blockade so I guess "these arabs" should just take their aid and be grateful for it since people like you think it's good enough for them anyway.

Holy Hyrax said...

>"these arabs" should just take their aid and be grateful for it since people like you think it's good enough for them anyway.

Nobody said this at all. It's just more rhetoric.

Scott said...

No, but you didn't answer my question as to what you think the Palestinians *SHOULD* do. (since doing nothing is not an option, according to you)

jewish philosopher said...

How is it possible to decide what's moral if everyone commenting has his own definition of morality?

A Mennonite, an ultra-Orthodox Jew, a Reform Jew, a Muslim, a Baptist and a Buddhist would all have different answers. And as far as secular humanism goes - you can probably claim anything here is moral or immoral.

Holy Hyrax said...

It's actually a great question. Just sticking to the people of Gaza, I think for one thing, they shouldn't elect a group, that they know VERY well seeks Israel's destruction. Nothing good should have come out of that. The Palestinians should show the world that they mean business. Israel uprooted hundreds (or thousands) of its citizens to give them all of Gaza. This was their opportunity to shine and use it for good.

Anonymous said...

"As if this is that one thing that is so driving Hamas crazy."

Well, it's certainly the thing that's been driving Palestinians as a whole crazy for decades.

Holy Hyrax said...

That and the right of return no less I'm sure.

Ezzie said...

Because they can't just make new weapons, tunnels, and terrorists the second Israel leaves?

That's just it - why would anyone wish to be a terrorist after seeing what continues to happen to terrorist after terrorist? Currently, they see the ones on top living well, in control, with pretty decent living conditions. When they DO die they are martyred. But if wave after wave is killed, who is going to keep joining? Would you? At the same time, as each wave is taken out, the voices of reason that (supposedly) exist can step up and start building something positive. Currently, that is not possible.

"Such as myself?" WTF does that mean?

On the left. Just giving a number we can agree on.

How many civilians will Israel have to kill in order to kill all 10,000 members of Hamas?

Hopefully zero. Realistically, a lot at first will die. After civilians see that Israel will strike targets even if civilians are around, those civilians will start running away faster. And it's not as if they don't have warning - Israel has started to even auto-dial entire buildings to warn of attacks.

How will it ensure that the families of those civilians don't themselves become new members of Hamas?

See above. Would you join an entity that is getting wiped out on a consistent basis? For someone who argues all the time that religious fervor only goes so far, it's pretty funny that you don't say that here.

Nothing is a better option. Killing rocket launchers even with civilian shields is a better option. Practically ANYTHING is a better option.

Huh? Nothing is a better option, but killing launchers including the civilians is, too? Lost you there. Typo? Anyway - show me how any option you suggest is actually better.

I don't have a good solution to that. But neither do you.

Not a good one, but a necessary one - destroy them.

It's not all-or-nothing.

Every option is either viable or not. So yes, it is "all or nothing". Yours so far are not viable. Mine is not comfortable, but it is viable.

It applies to the whole thing. World opinion, Palestinian opinion, the peace process, everything.

Rhetoric. What does that mean? Anything that can be construed negatively that happens in Israel permits the firing of rockets? You know that's idiocy.

I find your constant LOLing to be inappropriate and jarring, given the subject manner.

So give serious answers. Trust me, it's not a laugh of joy.

As for negotiations, Hamas is not only a terrorist group but also the democratically-elected government of Gaza. Refusing to talk to them is just stupid.

What refusing? What should there be talks about? "Hey, can you stop firing rockets?" "No!" "Um, okay... please?" "No!" Again - they were given Gaza. There's nothing to talk about.

Ezzie said...

Scott - At any rate the reasons for Palestinian aggression toward Israel number as great as the Palestinians, I am sure.

Problem #1. Name me some reasons.

After all, there's is a much more decentralized enclave than the group that makes of the Israeli government and their attacks against the Palestinians. "People like me" generally find the greater reason for terrorism to be occupation, in this case the occupation of the Israeli people in land that Palestinians think, rightly or wrongly, to be theirs.

Ah, so basically, no matter what, the Palestinian attacks on Israel are justified, because they think it's theirs. Whether it's true or not. Brilliant.

However, I did think we were discussing the current conflict rather than the Israel vs. Palestine conflict at large,

...though the two go hand in hand, sure.

and thus brought up the issue of the blockade and being stuck in poverty.

What does poverty have to do with Israel? The blockade is Israel's right to keep a threatening nation next to them from acquiring weapons, which they show every intent on doing. And as noted, they have a border with Egypt for any trade they need.

Though you correctly stated that aid has been allowed through the blockade so I guess "these arabs" should just take their aid and be grateful for it since people like you think it's good enough for them anyway.

Huh? Israel is allowing them to get aid through its own borders for no reason other than humanitarian gestures. That much of this aid then goes to support terror is ignored by Israel out of the kindness of its heart. The people in Gaza would do well to start producing rather than complaining.

Jewish Atheist said...

Ezzie:

That's just it - why would anyone wish to be a terrorist after seeing what continues to happen to terrorist after terrorist?

Seriously? People don't just give up when you slaughter wave after wave of their countrymen and family members. They redouble their efforts.

Huh? Nothing is a better option, but killing launchers including the civilians is, too? Lost you there.

Yes, both "doing nothing" and "killing launchers" are better choices than "major ground incursion killing hundreds."

Not a good one, but a necessary one - destroy them.

But that is not going to happen. It's politically impossible, even if it were practically possible. Which it's not, without ethnic cleansing.

Every option is either viable or not. So yes, it is "all or nothing". Yours so far are not viable. Mine is not comfortable, but it is viable.

Define viable. Your option leads to hundreds and perhaps thousands of dead on both sides. Doing nothing leads to maybe dozens of deaths on the Israeli side. Targetted killings leads to a few deaths on the Israeli side and dozens on the Palestinian side.

Rhetoric. What does that mean? Anything that can be construed negatively that happens in Israel permits the firing of rockets? You know that's idiocy.

I was explaining why the fact that Israel has been doing everything it can to weaken any future Palestinian state as well as sinking any potential peace process before it starts is relevant to the whole situation.

So give serious answers. Trust me, it's not a laugh of joy.

I am giving serious answers. You're just not taking them seriously, because you assume that the most aggressive solution is always the correct one.

Ezzie said...

Seriously? People don't just give up when you slaughter wave after wave of their countrymen and family members. They redouble their efforts.

Not true - if there is a clear alternative, they'll take it. This is not some kind of total war where there's a choice of fighting for freedom or life under tyranny. This is a choice of being a terrorist or living peacefully with neighbors.

Yes, both "doing nothing" and "killing launchers" are better choices than "major ground incursion killing hundreds."

No, they aren't. It's immoral to allow one's citizens to live under terror.

But that is not going to happen. It's politically impossible, even if it were practically possible. Which it's not, without ethnic cleansing.

It's certainly practically possible. Politically possible depends on people such as yourself. The more pressure is placed the right way - on terror - the better the chances of actually defeating it.

Define viable. Your option leads to hundreds and perhaps thousands of dead on both sides. Doing nothing leads to maybe dozens of deaths on the Israeli side. Targetted killings leads to a few deaths on the Israeli side and dozens on the Palestinian side.

And mine is more moral. How about that?

I was explaining why the fact that Israel has been doing everything it can to weaken any future Palestinian state as well as sinking any potential peace process before it starts is relevant to the whole situation.

It's not relevant in Gaza.

I am giving serious answers. You're just not taking them seriously, because you assume that the most aggressive solution is always the correct one.

No - you assume the least aggressive is. I assume the one that best achieves a lasting moral solution for both Israel and the Palestinians is the proper solution.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Targetted killings leads to a few deaths on the Israeli side and dozens on the Palestinian side.

Did the targeting killings (other than being called immoral by the world and causing more suicide bombers) achieve anything?

Anonymous said...

Jaded - Israeli Ground Troops Enter Gaza:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hfAKo1AAgu0

Israelis are savages. The Holocaust was nothing compared to this.

Jewish Atheist said...

Ezzie:

Not true - if there is a clear alternative, they'll take it. This is not some kind of total war where there's a choice of fighting for freedom or life under tyranny. This is a choice of being a terrorist or living peacefully with neighbors.

Neighbors who killed their brothers and sisters and parents and children? I doubt it. They're not going to think that is an option.

No, they aren't. It's immoral to allow one's citizens to live under terror.

Not when all other options are worse.

And mine is more moral. How about that?

Causing more deaths for both sides is moral. Right.

It's not relevant in Gaza.

No, they're just completely irrational psychos who hate Israel for no reason whatsoever, right?

No - you assume the least aggressive is. I assume the one that best achieves a lasting moral solution for both Israel and the Palestinians is the proper solution.

I do too. I just don't think this is it. Or even in the same timezone.


HH:

Did the targeting killings (other than being called immoral by the world and causing more suicide bombers) achieve anything?

Sure. Killing "The Engineer" reduced suicide bombings significantly.


Anonymous:

Israelis are savages. The Holocaust was nothing compared to this.

Go troll somewhere else.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Sure. Killing "The Engineer" reduced suicide bombings significantly.

When? My recolection is

a) The world was forcing Israel to stop since civilians were getting killed as well and therefore immoral.
b) suicide bombings always continued while Israel was doing this.

Orthoprax said...

JD,

"That’s right, you defend the blockade in terms of collective punishment, a euphemism for terrorism."

That's pretty funny since I didn't say anything about collective punishment or even imply it.

"Within international law there is a principle known as proportionality. Israel’s current actions are so grossly disproportionate that they are in severe breech of international human rights law."

Yes - proportionality, a term for which you seem to not have a clear understanding. Proportionality is the idea that a given military goal shouldn't be met with inappropriate force. Ergo, the criticism in Lebanon was that Israel's goal of destroying Hezbollah was not in proportion to Israel's actions of attacking government installations and airports, and doing damage to the state's infrastructure generally, etc. It's a debatable argument, but that's where the criticism comes from - not from merely counting casualties.

Differently for Gaza however, Israel's goals of stopping the rocket attacks and her subsequent attacks specifically on Hamas militants, launch sites, weapon depots and so on is in fact fully within the bounds of proportionality. Israel is not aiming at civilians.

"Israel’s destruction of Lebanon didn’t deter anything"

Sure it did. There's an obvious reason why Hezbollah isn't joining in right now.

"If you really cared about deterrence, you wouldn’t support actions that are breeding radicals bent on revenge by the minute."

I agree with you in concept, but the fact is that they are firing on Israel TODAY. They must be stopped before we start trying to rehabilitate the hearts and minds of Hamas supporters.

"This is collective punishment."

No it's not. It's a blockade. Same as what the US does to Cuba and UN Security Council did to Iraq. Same as what Egypt is doing to Gaza on their side of the border. The idea is to not lend support to an enemy entity.

"to then invade Gaza and indiscriminately murder innocent men, women and children noncombatants in the stated desire to elicit from them revulsion of Hamas"

In what fantasy world did you live in? Israel has actually tried very much to hurt as few civilians as possible. If the IDF was truly indiscriminate then there would be a lot more civilian deaths, no?

"I didn’t anticipate that you would be so ignorant of human rights that I would have to spoon feed it to you. http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE15/021/2008/en"

LOL! Oh, so you believe that if Amnesty International (a commonly known anti-Israel biased organization) says something is unethical only then does it magically become so? Now I understand.

"I don’t know the future, I simply know that in every similar case throughout history that the consequences have been identical."

Do tell.

"That you really cling to this fantasy that the people of Gaza are going to respond to Israel’s destruction of their cities, homes and families by welcoming Israel’s tanks as liberators from Hamas, the political party a majority of them voted for, is beyond delusional."

True. So why are you accusing me of believing it? I guess that's the way you try to win arguments.

"What makes the Gazans so different from the Lebanese in your mind goes unexplained."

Not much, but then again the Lebanese aren't the people who attack Israel - that would be Hezbollah. And if Israel had fought that war correctly with a decent strategy and until completion then Hezbollah could very well have ceased to exist.



JA,

"That's ridiculous. Israel is unmistakably strong because of its superior army, air force, and weaponry, not because it responds to rocket attacks by invading Gaza."

Uh huh. Tell it to Iran.

"This action weakens Israel by demonstrating that it will overreact to terrorist attacks, thereby doing the terrorists' work for them."

You mess with Israel then you'll pay a steep price. That's the message Israel wants to send to its friendly neighboring regimes. This has been the basic Israeli foreign policy for years. Deterrence.

JDHURF said...

Holy Hyrax said:
”Um, I'm actually of the opinion that a two state solution is probably the ONLY way to deal with this. BUT, it's not going to come from Israel being brought down to its knees. If you really think that Hamas can bring the state of Israel to its knees by firing some rickety qassam rockets your just not thinking clearly. Just as the two-state solution will not be brought about by Israel being brought to its knees, so too will the two-state solution not be brought about by keeping Palestinians on their knees.

Just like Egypt and Jordan, Israel showed them they they will not win over us. An immediate cease-fire does WHAT exactly? I meeeeeaaaaaan, did it help this last cease fire? Considering Hamas does not WANT Israel to exist, what would a cease fire at this very moment acheive OTHER than giving Hamas the impression that they have won?”


Hamas should be neutralized, this we would agree on, but you can’t neutralize Hamas by punishing all of Gaza. Israel’s current actions are simply emboldening Hamas and the terrorist elements in Gaza. What Israel should do is isolate Hamas. The way to isolate Hamas is to take seriously the real grievances of the Palestinians, to allow them the necessities of life, to pursue the two-state settlement, to allow Palestinians self-determination and statehood and so on.
The ceasefire isn’t enough on its own when the whole of Gaza is being blockaded, people are starving and dying due to lack of medical resources and so on, that’s not a legitimate ceasefire. If, as you say, Hamas “does not WANT Israel to exit,” how would a MUTUAL ceasefire enforced by the United Nations, observed by international observers who need to be on the ground, but who are refused entry to the region by Israel, be a Hamas win?

”I live in the real world. Its not about being anti Arab its about being anti those wanting to destroy you. For all I care, it could have been Danes living next door to Israel firing rockets. You can repeat this abstract comment all you want. All I know is, Israel, though not perfect, is by far the moral party in this conflict, and the other wanting Israel out of the way. Is this ALL the Arabs? No, but since our history in this region, violence, is ALL that has settled conflicts. You wish to think of the Middle East as having the same values as the United States? That is obviously your choice.”

You apparently don’t live on the planet Earth. Violence has not solved the conflict. This conflict has been raging for over fifty years and violence has never solved anything yet in your blood-thirsty, vengeful world all of a sudden violence is now, as opposed to its consequences all throughout the history of this conflict, going to solve the conflict? That’s pure ignorance and ignorance that is leading to the deaths of hundreds of innocent people.
Israel is not “by far the moral party,” not when it kidnaps and detains “administrative detainees” without charge or trial and elicits confessions under the duress of torture, not when it engages in war crimes and breaks international law through collective punishment and indiscriminate killing of civilians, not when it bulldozes people’s homes and so on. There’s no real moral difference between getting on a bus loaded with civilians and blowing yourself and everyone on the bus up and dropping one ton bombs on densely populated civilian sectors known to be loaded with innocent men, women and children. Both parties are in the moral wrong and very gravely so. Your implication that the Arabs don’t share any of the values of the Western world is simply an extension of your archaic and vulgar anti-Arab racism. Mustafa Barghouti shares such values as does a majority of Palestinian civilians, that you don’t know this is suggestive of your ignorance, ignorance being the foundation of racism and hatred. In any case, they don’t have to share such values 100%, they simply have to share a desire to implement the two-state solution as a peaceful resolution to the conflict and a majority of them do, or at least did before this latest invasion.

”Ummmmmmmm, not it doesn't. This new idea of "proportional" does not make sense. Who made this up? Do you expect Israel to simply fire one rocket for every rocket Hamas sends? No nation "proportionaly" defends itself. It makes no sense. And realize this. To people that see Israel as the dangerous Goliath, ANYTHING it does will be seen as a provocation. JA mentioned targeted assassinations and that is a better solution. If you recall, the world said this is wrong and it provokes more anger. Anything Israel will do, will be seen as provoking more violence.”

Shocking that you are so ignorant of international law.

“Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute…A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) (Article 8(2)(b)(i)) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality) (Article 8(2)(b)(iv). Article 8(2)(b)(iv) criminalizes:
Intentionally launching an attack in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians or damage to civilian objects or widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment which would be clearly excessive in relation to the concrete and direct overall military advantage anticipated”

”Devasting? As OP mentioned, have million of Arabs dropped dead yet? Humanitarian aide comes in. Would I like to see a blockade end? Sure, but only AFTER I can see that weapons are not being smuggled in.”

It’s only devastating if a million people die? You have lost your mind.

”Israel end the ceasefire? Ummmmmm.....Hamas has been sending rockets for months. I have friends living in a kibbutz in the south and have been getting hit way before November.”

Provide the evidence because I am aware of none. Hamas fired rockets early in the ceasefire in July, but these were in response to Israeli actions in the West Bank. Israel ended the ceasefire on the fourth of November, Hamas had respected the ceasefire up to that point, your hearsay being neither here nor there without evidence.

“The Israeli blockade meant that the recent five-and-a-half-month ceasefire between Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, Gaza residents experienced little or no improvement to their lives. The ceasefire effectively ended after six Palestinian militants were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza on 4 November and a barrage of Palestinians rockets were launched on nearby towns and villages in the south of Israel.”

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/civilians-must-be-prot ected-gaza-and-israel-20081228

JDHURF said...

Orthoprax said:
”That's pretty funny since I didn't say anything about collective punishment or even imply it.”

The blockade is collective punishment. You claimed the defend the blockade, which punishes the whole of Gaza, hence you claimed to defend collective punishment, a euphemism for terrorism. I don’t find anything funny about it.

”Yes - proportionality, a term for which you seem to not have a clear understanding. Proportionality is the idea that a given military goal shouldn't be met with inappropriate force. Ergo, the criticism in Lebanon was that Israel's goal of destroying Hezbollah was not in proportion to Israel's actions of attacking government installations and airports, and doing damage to the state's infrastructure generally, etc. It's a debatable argument, but that's where the criticism comes from - not from merely counting casualties.”

Proportionality also has to do with civilian deaths, that you don’t already know this and feel the need to falsely chastise me for not having “a clear understanding” simply advertises your arrogance and disregard for the facts. I already cited the relevant material on proportionality in my response to Holy Hyrax, I direct you to it now.


”Differently for Gaza however, Israel's goals of stopping the rocket attacks and her subsequent attacks specifically on Hamas militants, launch sites, weapon depots and so on is in fact fully within the bounds of proportionality. Israel is not aiming at civilians.”

Israel’s bombing of Gaza, one of the most densely populate regions on the globe, of course killed a disproportionate amount of civilians, as was to be anticipated.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090105/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians

” I agree with you in concept, but the fact is that they are firing on Israel TODAY. They must be stopped before we start trying to rehabilitate the hearts and minds of Hamas supporters.”

The response must be proportionate however and civilians cannot be so wantonly massacred. Furthermore, Hamas is firing at Israel TODAY because of Israel’s deadly and provocative blockade and Israel’s actions that ended the ceasefire in November. Israel had planned this attack for six months, even as the ceasefire was being negotiated, as Ha’aretz reported.

”No it's not. It's a blockade. Same as what the US does to Cuba and UN Security Council did to Iraq. Same as what Egypt is doing to Gaza on their side of the border. The idea is to not lend support to an enemy entity.”

http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE15/021/2008/en

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/gaza-reduced-bare-survival-20081205

http://www.btselem.org/english/Press_Releases/20080124.asp

”Oh, so you believe that if Amnesty International (a commonly known anti-Israel biased organization) says something is unethical only then does it magically become so? Now I understand.”

The most vulgar and absolutely shameless propaganda claim, pure reactionary politics. Prove that Amnesty International, an NGO, is biased. I consider the individual making such hysteric claims, ad hominem attacks, not only a bold-faced liar, but someone who has conceded the debate. Scurrilous and baseless ad hominem attacks, “I guess that's the way you try to win arguments.”

”True. So why are you accusing me of believing it? I guess that's the way you try to win arguments.”

So now you are saying that Israel’s invasion and destruction of Gaza isn’t going to force Gazans to reject Hamas?

”Not much, but then again the Lebanese aren't the people who attack Israel - that would be Hezbollah. And if Israel had fought that war correctly with a decent strategy and until completion then Hezbollah could very well have ceased to exist.”

The Gazans aren’t the people who attack Israel either.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Hamas should be neutralized, this we would agree on, but you can’t neutralize Hamas by punishing all of Gaza

The responsiblity of punishing Gaza falls on the face of Hamas, not on Israel. You don't seem to understand is that Israel is not AIMING for its civilians.


>The way to isolate Hamas is to take seriously the real grievances of the Palestinians, to allow them the necessities of life, to pursue the two-state settlement, to allow Palestinians self-determination and statehood and so on.
The ceasefire isn’t enough on its own when the whole of Gaza is being blockaded, people are starving and dying due to lack of medical resources and so on, that’s not a legitimate ceasefire. If, as you say, Hamas “does not WANT Israel to exit,” how would a MUTUAL ceasefire enforced by the United Nations, observed by international observers who need to be on the ground, but who are refused entry to the region by Israel, be a Hamas win?

Take their grievances seriously?????Israel left Gaza for Gods sake. This was the Palestinian moment to shine. They didn't. Blockades by any reasonable person are needed when your elected officials are smuggling in weapons.

ou apparently don’t live on the planet Earth. Violence has not solved the conflict. This conflict has been raging for over fifty years and violence has never solved anything yet in your blood-thirsty, vengeful world all of a sudden violence is now, as opposed to its consequences all throughout the history of this conflict, going to solve the conflict?

It solved it with Egypt. It solved it with Jordan.

>That’s pure ignorance and ignorance that is leading to the deaths of hundreds of innocent people.

Ignorance??? Who, is ignorant of what?

>Israel is not “by far the moral party,” not when it kidnaps and detains “administrative detainees” without charge or trial and elicits confessions under the duress of torture, not when it engages in war crimes and breaks international law through collective punishment and indiscriminate killing of civilians, not when it bulldozes people’s homes and so on. There’s no real moral difference between getting on a bus loaded with civilians and blowing yourself and everyone on the bus up and dropping one ton bombs on densely populated civilian sectors known to be loaded with innocent men, women and children. Both parties are in the moral wrong and very gravely so. Your implication that the Arabs don’t share any of the values of the Western world is simply an extension of your archaic and vulgar anti-Arab racism. Mustafa Barghouti shares such values as does a majority of Palestinian civilians, that you don’t know this is suggestive of your ignorance, ignorance being the foundation of racism and hatred. In any case, they don’t have to share such values 100%, they simply have to share a desire to implement the two-state solution as a peaceful resolution to the conflict and a majority of them do, or at least did before this latest invasion.

If you think they are moral equaivalent, then there is nothing to talk about. You are once again expecting Western brand morality of habeous corpus in a region that can't sustain that. It kidnaps people for the good of Israels to find terrorists. You apparently can't distinguish between AIMING at civilians and NOT aiming at civilians. International law, seems to be enforced on Israel a little disproportionally don't you think. Where were you for two years when thousands of rockets were shot into Israel? Where were the protests. International law has not been a steady friend of Israel. It has only attempted to tie its hand behind its back when needing to defend itself, yet does nothing when Israel is terrorized.

>Your implication that the Arabs don’t share any of the values of the Western world is simply an extension of your archaic and vulgar anti-Arab racism.

I never said ANY. But you are going to deny that the middle east operates on a different value level than the western world? How is that they wish for Israel's extermination (that is, until they are defeated) if they hold principles of equality and fairness?

>Shocking that you are so ignorant of international law.

But then WHAT? Allow Hamas to use schools and apartments to fire their weapons? It is ABSURD that one party can do anything it wants, and other has to oblige by it and get attacked?

>It’s only devastating if a million people die? You have lost your mind.

And what do YOU want? Start being REALISTIC or else your comments are worthless in the real world. Does Israel let weapon smuggling in?

>Provide the evidence because I am aware of none. Hamas fired rockets early in the ceasefire in July, but these were in response to Israeli actions in the West Bank. Israel ended the ceasefire on the fourth of November, Hamas had respected the ceasefire up to that point, your hearsay being neither here nor there without evidence.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/128897

>response to Israeli actions in the West Bank.

And what do you think Israel was doing in there? And its funny that you don't give slack to Hamas for breaking the cease fire in July, but instead giving them your "approval" because they were MERELY responding to Israel. Do you ever give that sort of understanding to Israel when it has to respond to what Hamas is doing?

Holy Hyrax said...

JDHURF

You obviously have no answer to this dilema. Everything Israel does is a "war crime." It basically comes down to Israel doing nothing. The world grabbed a hold of subjective concept of "war crimes" and it subjectively employs it on Israel as it sees fit knowing very well that Israel fights for its survival and it if lets up, the enemy WILL get the upper hand.

If anything, it looks like Hamas has made a patsy of the whole world. It cleverly uses its civilians and infrastructure to attack Israel, then turns around to cry about what they have done. The world then falls for it blaming Israel for the deaths of so many when all it is doing is defending itself. You can attack it for being disproportional, but I am curious to how Israel SHOULD be proportional. After all, the law doesn't seem to forbide fighting back. So how SHOULD israel keep to a "proportional" attack?

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

The attacks in the months after the assassination were fewer and much less effective.


Ortho:

Uh huh. Tell it to Iran.

Um, Iran knows. Just because they talk about wiping Israel off the map doesn't mean they're stupid enough to try. They know Israel has second-strike capability.

You mess with Israel then you'll pay a steep price. That's the message Israel wants to send to its friendly neighboring regimes. This has been the basic Israeli foreign policy for years. Deterrence.

How's that working out? Nobody wants to be a terrorist anymore?

Holy Hyrax said...

>The attacks in the months after the assassination were fewer and much less effective.

Fewer than what? And how do you measure effectiveness? It's irrelevant if people died, but that there WERE attacks.

And what would you say to the international community when they called it immoral, since, obviously, civilians would die as well.

Ezzie said...

Neighbors who killed their brothers and sisters and parents and children? I doubt it. They're not going to think that is an option.

So let's just give up now and jump in the sea. You say it's impossible, so what's the point?

Odds are you're wrong - otherwise, they'd all be terrorists already, rather than just supporters. I think that the more the terrorists are not in control, the more they'll see that life is better in this new way. Will it take time? Sure. But similar to Iraq (!), once the terror threat is diminished, the majority of people will come out from under that line of thinking.

If you disagree, give me a viable alternative that doesn't include Israel having to just take terror attacks.

Not when all other options are worse.

Are you serious? Firstly, I've shown why it isn't worse - your argument is that you don't think it will work, which remains to be seen. Second, even if it were actually "worse" (which I fail to see how it is), what would you suggest? Israel has to live under the constant bombardment of terror since to strike back is immoral according to your definitions? That's insane. You've just allowed every terrorist group to utilize civilians as human shields to carry out terror. Brilliant.

Causing more deaths for both sides is moral. Right.

Yes, because it's a short-term sacrifice for the sake of the long-term. That's what war is, typically.

No, they're just completely irrational psychos who hate Israel for no reason whatsoever, right?

Huh? No - but the idea that Israel's "illegal" settlements in the West Bank (of which none have been "created" since Israel left Gaza regardless) somehow "forced" Hamas to send rockets from Gaza is laughable.

I do too. I just don't think this is it. Or even in the same timezone.

I've shown you how it is. Show me a better, more viable alternative. The few options you finally put out there are not even close.

Do you think that anyone *wants* to invade Gaza? Really? I have friends and cousins who are serving or in reserve there. I don't want them to die; I don't even want them to fight. But it's sometimes the right thing to do.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Hamas had respected the ceasefire up to that point, your hearsay being neither here nor there without evidence.

It's not called respecting a ceasefire, when you are digging tunnels to use against Israel.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Your implication that the Arabs don’t share any of the values of the Western world is simply an extension of your archaic and vulgar anti-Arab racism. Mustafa Barghouti shares such values as does a majority of Palestinian civilians, that you don’t know this is suggestive of your ignorance, ignorance being the foundation of racism and hatred. In any case, they don’t have to share such values 100%, they simply have to share a desire to implement the two-state solution as a peaceful resolution to the conflict and a majority of them do, or at least did before this latest invasion.

I'm sure many share such values. Yet it was a funny way of showing by voting in a group that they knew wants to destroy Israel. You can use the race card all you want. It doesn't work. Reality has proven what skeptics of disengagement said way before, yet they were called haters and racists.

Jewish Atheist said...

HH:

Fewer than what? And how do you measure effectiveness? It's irrelevant if people died, but that there WERE attacks.

My bad. I was assuming that you cared if people died. What happened is that the bombs after that assassination were so badly made that they ended up killing far more Palestinians than Israelis.

And what would you say to the international community when they called it immoral, since, obviously, civilians would die as well.

I'd say you're strawmanning them. Nobody (well, practically nobody) says civilian casualties are never acceptable. The issue here is the wildly disproportionate number of civilian deaths (compared to deaths by Qassam.)

So let's just give up now and jump in the sea. You say it's impossible, so what's the point?

That's a little dramatic. I just said it's impossible to completely wipe out terrorism, as you suggested Israel do. 15 deaths over a couple of years isn't exactly an existential threat.

Huh? No - but the idea that Israel's "illegal" settlements in the West Bank (of which none have been "created" since Israel left Gaza regardless) somehow "forced" Hamas to send rockets from Gaza is laughable.

WTF? Do you have to strawman EVERYTHING I say? Where did I say Hamas was forced to do anything? I've said repeatedly that Hamas is 100% wrong to fire those rockets.

Do you think that anyone *wants* to invade Gaza? Really? I have friends and cousins who are serving or in reserve there. I don't want them to die; I don't even want them to fight. But it's sometimes the right thing to do.

No, I think people are angry and scared and they want to lash out. Just like after 9/11, Americans wanted to "do something." Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, it wouldn't have mattered. It wasn't important that the action make us safer, just that we DO SOMETHING.

That's no way to make military decisions.

Holy Hyrax said...

>My bad. I was assuming that you cared if people died. What happened is that the bombs after that assassination were so badly made that they ended up killing far more Palestinians than Israelis.

So there were no bus bombings? No shootings? In essence, you are agreeing that targeted killings did not work so much, since (whether Israelis got killed) Palestinians were still appalled by it and only made them want to be shaheedim even more

>I'd say you're strawmanning them. Nobody (well, practically nobody) says civilian casualties are never acceptable. The issue here is the wildly disproportionate number of civilian deaths (compared to deaths by Qassam.)

So its only acceptable if dozens of Israels are also dying right? But then their arguments still hold. Afterall, what did the Gazans do to deserve punishments? Why is Israel holding on to the blockade tighter? In the end, its all subjective. You simply choose to be on Israel's side when you see it fit. The international world would still consider you immoral.

jewish philosopher said...

First of all, I happen to be anti-Zionist. I lived in Israel from the age of 17 to 26 and I am proud that I did not serve in the Israeli army.

However, having said that, has anyone thought that this world might be much nicer is all Muslims were to suddenly disappear? In fact, wouldn’t that almost entirely achieve world peace? It’s just a thought.

Holy Hyrax said...

>No, I think people are angry and scared and they want to lash out. Just like after 9/11, Americans wanted to "do something." Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, it wouldn't have mattered. It wasn't important that the action make us safer, just that we DO SOMETHING.

That's no way to make military decisions.

One does not contradict the other. Of course they are angry and want to do something. But it doesn't mean what they are doing is just some emotional outburt and not something that they have a moral obligation. Was FDR declaration of war against Japan JUST a feeling of the nation lashing out?

Ezzie said...

That's a little dramatic. I just said it's impossible to completely wipe out terrorism, as you suggested Israel do. 15 deaths over a couple of years isn't exactly an existential threat.

So 15 deaths is an acceptable amount of deaths by terror attack? What about 30? 100? 1000? Where do you draw your line?

I think 0 is an acceptable number. At 1, I think a country is obligated to do whatever it needs to to protect its citizens.

I think you'd have a hard time making a case to any country that they should be willing to accept any deaths by terror attack.

WTF? Do you have to strawman EVERYTHING I say? Where did I say Hamas was forced to do anything? I've said repeatedly that Hamas is 100% wrong to fire those rockets.

You said that it was one of the ways to stop terror attacks. I'm trying to understand how Israel's building of supposed "illegal" settlements somehow causes terror that stopping it would somehow reduce them, particularly as any such building is not being done anywhere close to Gaza, let alone within it.

No, I think people are angry and scared and they want to lash out. Just like after 9/11, Americans wanted to "do something." Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, it wouldn't have mattered. It wasn't important that the action make us safer, just that we DO SOMETHING.

That's no way to make military decisions.


Oh, I know what you think. The problem is you always think so - you never seem to recognize that when people call for action, it's not to make themselves feel good: It's to actually bring about results. Only in a world of "proportional" attacks does that stupidity exist, where people take turns deciding what to do to make themselves feel better. Everyone now is calling for action because they think it's necessary to stop these attacks.

Before the disengagement, the entire argument for it was that this would end all fighting with the Palestinians in Gaza. Any attacks from Gaza following the pullout would be met with overwhelming force. Unfortunately, this idea was forgotten in the aftermath because Israel did not actually do this then and that was followed by Sharon's stroke, and Olmert certainly wasn't going to do a thing.

JDHURF said...

Holy Hyrax said:
”The responsiblity of punishing Gaza falls on the face of Hamas, not on Israel. You don't seem to understand is that Israel is not AIMING for its civilians.”

Unless you believe in voodoo, one is responsible for one’s own actions, not others. Israel’s bombing of Gaza was known to lead to the deaths of many civilians, just as dropping one ton bombs on densely populated civilian sectors is known to kill many civilians.

”Take their grievances seriously?????Israel left Gaza for Gods sake. This was the Palestinian moment to shine. They didn't. Blockades by any reasonable person are needed when your elected officials are smuggling in weapons.”

Your hysterics and shrieking isn’t an argument. Israel may have left Gaza, but they continued to strangle the people of Gaza through a brutal blockade. Blockades are not reasonable when they are radicalizing the desperate people who are starving and dying in hospitals that are bereft of medical supplies. Israel has also, ever since Sharon was elected, aborted the peace process and rejected the two-state settlement, that is not taking the grievances seriously, that is not allowing for the possibility of Palestinian self-determination and statehood.


”If you think they are moral equaivalent, then there is nothing to talk about. You are once again expecting Western brand morality of habeous corpus in a region that can't sustain that. It kidnaps people for the good of Israels to find terrorists. You apparently can't distinguish between AIMING at civilians and NOT aiming at civilians. International law, seems to be enforced on Israel a little disproportionally don't you think. Where were you for two years when thousands of rockets were shot into Israel? Where were the protests. International law has not been a steady friend of Israel. It has only attempted to tie its hand behind its back when needing to defend itself, yet does nothing when Israel is terrorized.”

Again, how many people have those rockets killed? How many people have Israel killed? Come back down to Earth please. It’s a very sad state of affairs when you claim that “international law has not been a steady friend of Israel.” International law isn’t an entity, it is a legal body that protects human rights, that Israel, as you know very well, openly and repeatedly breaks international law proves that it is not the morally right actor you deceive yourself in to believing it is. There is no excuse and never is an excuse for the wonton disregard and gross violation of international law and human rights. That you would defend such violations provides a great and damning insight into your positions.
Furthermore, when Israel aims to drop one ton bombs on densely populated civilians sectors, with the foreknowledge that it will kill civilians, that is aiming at civilians. Not to mention that the blockade is directly and overtly aimed at punishing civilians.

”I never said ANY. But you are going to deny that the middle east operates on a different value level than the western world? How is that they wish for Israel's extermination (that is, until they are defeated) if they hold principles of equality and fairness?”

You are wrong to conflate the desire for Israel’s extermination unto the entire Palestinian people. A majority of Palestinians support the two-state solution (hence Israel’s existence), or at least they did before Israel’s latest actions. Hamas, even though its political theories are riddled with anti-Semitism, has even stated that it will follow the will of the Palestinians and, due to the fact that a majority favors the two-state settlement, was open to negotiations, but Israel rejected the possibility.

”But then WHAT? Allow Hamas to use schools and apartments to fire their weapons? It is ABSURD that one party can do anything it wants, and other has to oblige by it and get attacked?”

That’s not what I’m arguing and you know that. I believe Hamas should be neutralized, along with any terrorist elements in Palestine, but this must be done proportionately and without the indiscriminate killing of civilians. As I said previously, to neutralize you isolate Hamas and you aren’t going to ever isolate Hamas by radicalizing the population by engaging in collective punishment and disproportionate and indiscriminate killing of civilians.

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/128897

As your own source attests, the rocket attacks were in response to Israeli incursions into the West Bank and Gaza as well as the rampage the extremist settlers went on in response to their own state enforcing their departure. Not to mention that according to Ha’aretz, a far more objective Israeli source than the right-leaning Arutz Sheva, reported that Israel had planned the attack for six months, even as the ceasefire was being negotiated, illustrating that Israel viewed the ceasefire as irrelevant and planned to attack regardless.

”And what do you think Israel was doing in there? And its funny that you don't give slack to Hamas for breaking the cease fire in July, but instead giving them your "approval" because they were MERELY responding to Israel. Do you ever give that sort of understanding to Israel when it has to respond to what Hamas is doing?”

I give neither slack nor approval for Hamas, never have and never will. It’s a shame you have to lie in order to try to make a point. I am in favor of the complete dissolution of Hamas, they are a barrier to peace in my view and are a grave disservice to the Palestinians and shouldn’t exist.

”You obviously have no answer to this dilema.”
If you honestly believe that then you aren’t reading my posts. I direct you to my previous posts where I discuss the neutralization of Hamas, an end to the brutal blockade of Gaza and a serious reengagement of the two-state settlement.

”Everything Israel does is a "war crime." It basically comes down to Israel doing nothing. The world grabbed a hold of subjective concept of "war crimes" and it subjectively employs it on Israel as it sees fit knowing very well that Israel fights for its survival and it if lets up, the enemy WILL get the upper hand.”
Not everything Israel does is a war crime, only the crimes I listed that are objectively defined as war crimes: kidnapping “administrative detainees,” eliciting confessions under the duress of torture, house demolitions, collective punishment and disproportionate and indiscriminate killing of civilians.
I also argue, on other forums where I’m not only arguing with unwavering pro-Israeli extremists, apologists of international law and human rights violations, that every qassam rocket fired by Hamas is a war crime as well.

”You can attack it for being disproportional, but I am curious to how Israel SHOULD be proportional. After all, the law doesn't seem to forbide fighting back. So how SHOULD israel keep to a "proportional" attack?”

Well, as I have argued, an immediate ceasefire enforced by international observers should be tried first, before violent force is used. However, Israel will not allow reporters into the area, let alone international observes, no one who knows anything wonders why this is. A ceasefire and a serious reengagement of the peace process should first be tried. If this were to fail, if Hamas were to shatter this process with rocket attacks, I would fully support the killing of those Hamas militants firing rockets, but not by dropping bombs on densely populated civilian sectors or by blockade. I know of many cases where IDF special forces went into hostile areas to rescue Israeli hostages, such as the Entebbe hostages, and with incredible success did so without killing a slew of civilians in the process. Such actions could be taken to kill Hamas militants firing rockets, it’s not impossible by any stretch. Send in some highly trained IDF commandos and take out the militants without destroying entire neighborhoods in Gaza and killing scores of civilians.
The problem is that Israel's main goal is not an end to the rocket attacks, as Uri Avnery reported:

“[s]everal months ago, Hamas proposed a ceasefire. It repeated the offer this week [late January]. A ceasefire means, in the view of Hamas: the Palestinians will stop shooting Qassams and mortar shells, the Israelis will stop the incursions into Gaza, the ‘targeted’ assassinations and the blockade…Why doesn’t our government jump at this proposal? Simple: in order to make such a deal, we must speak with Hamas, directly or indirectly. And this is precisely what the government refuses to do…The real purpose of the whole exercise is to overthrow the Hamas regime in Gaza and to prevent a Hamas takeover in the West Bank…In simple and blunt words: the government sacrifices the fate of the Sderot population on the altar of a hopeless principle. It is more important for the government to boycott Hamas – because it is now the spearhead of Palestinian resistance – than to put an end to the suffering of Sderot. All the media cooperate with this pretence.”

Holy Hyrax said...

>Unless you believe in voodoo, one is responsible for one’s own actions, not others. Israel’s bombing of Gaza was known to lead to the deaths of many civilians, just as dropping one ton bombs on densely populated civilian sectors is known to kill many civilians.

Just like it was known by Hamas that firing rockets from populated areas into Israel would lead Israel to fight back.

>Your hysterics and shrieking isn’t an argument. Israel may have left Gaza, but they continued to strangle the people of Gaza through a brutal blockade. Blockades are not reasonable when they are radicalizing the desperate people who are starving and dying in hospitals that are bereft of medical supplies. Israel has also, ever since Sharon was elected, aborted the peace process and rejected the two-state settlement, that is not taking the grievances seriously, that is not allowing for the possibility of Palestinian self-determination and statehood.

Typical bullshit. World blames Israel for everything. Israel takes a HUGE UNILATERAL move yet those like you still find things to point at Israel which is what is causing Palestinians to revolt.

You ignore the part where weapons are smuggled hence the blockade is needed.

This is what SHOULD have been done. The Palestinians should have said thank you and not destroyed the infrastructure Israel left behind. It should have promised Israel NOT to attack anymore and not to smuggle in weapons anymore. But they never made that promise. Instead they voted in mad men. You don't seem to reply to this.

>Again, how many people have those rockets killed? How many people have Israel killed? Come back down to Earth please.

Irrelveant. The thousands of rockets that pour in are meant to kill thousands of people. What is relevant is the attacks. You don't WAIT for them to kill scours of your own people. That makes no sense for any country to do. Japan only killed 2,300 sailors, yet America killed 500,000 civilians. You basically are imploring Israel to do nothing. And you ignore the intent here. Intent on Hamas is to killed thousands of Israelis. Israels intent is to kill Hamas. If there intention was no different than Hamas and no more moral, Israel would not let it humanitarian aide right now to help the civilians. It would simply say "screw them all"


>It’s a very sad state of affairs when you claim that “international law has not been a steady friend of Israel.” International law isn’t an entity, it is a legal body that protects human rights, that Israel, as you know very well, openly and repeatedly breaks international law proves that it is not the morally right actor you deceive yourself in to believing it is. There is no excuse and never is an excuse for the wonton disregard and gross violation of international law and human rights.

Not when those laws are antithesis to your own survival. If one party is taking advantage of the other country being held by it, there is nothing moral about it. You keep side stepping that Israel is being attacked continuously from a populated area (on purpose) yet cry fowl when the only thing to do is fight back. The human rights watch was against the targeted killings as well, since they claimed innocent lives. JA seems to think they are moral. They didn't. So who is right?

>That you would defend such violations provides a great and damning insight into your positions.

There is nothing objectively moral about International law when it comes to the real world situations when one country is the target of constant onslaught.


>Furthermore, when Israel aims to drop one ton bombs on densely populated civilians sectors, with the foreknowledge that it will kill civilians, that is aiming at civilians.

Nothing I can say will change your mind. That is your opinion. Great.

>Not to mention that the blockade is directly and overtly aimed at punishing civilians.

Its aim is to punish government. Just like ALL blockades throughout the world have done. If the blockade is hurting the civilians, that is the fault of government of that people, or do they have NO responsibliy for their actions?

>That’s not what I’m arguing and you know that. I believe Hamas should be neutralized, along with any terrorist elements in Palestine, but this must be done proportionately and without the indiscriminate killing of civilians. As I said previously, to neutralize you isolate Hamas and you aren’t going to ever isolate Hamas by radicalizing the population by engaging in collective punishment and disproportionate and indiscriminate killing of civilians.

Really?...how do you isolate Hamas? Since clearly the people wanted them in power.

>As your own source attests, the rocket attacks were in response to Israeli incursions into the West Bank and Gaza as well as the rampage the extremist settlers went on in response to their own state enforcing their departure.

So basically Hamas is a bunch of pitbulls? Why would they meddle into the affairs of the westbank? The ceasefire was between Israel and Hamas, not israel and westbank. You really think that Israel just decides on some mission into the westbank for the hell of it, JUST to piss someone off? Regarding Extrmists, I don't see how its relevant. a) Israel is trying to deal with (whether successfully or not is irrelevant, they are gaining steps by taking some people out) b) Why should that immediatly warrent new attacks by Hamas? Why are you always defending Hamas and understanding their anger?

>Not to mention that according to Ha’aretz, a far more objective Israeli source than the right-leaning Arutz Sheva, reported that Israel had planned the attack for six months, even as the ceasefire was being negotiated, illustrating that Israel viewed the ceasefire as irrelevant and planned to attack regardless.

As they should be planning something. Experience from Hamas is that they don't keep to their words, and by YOUR own admission, Hamas was already up to no good during the cease fire which required Israel to go in, in November.

>You are wrong to conflate the desire for Israel’s extermination unto the entire Palestinian people. A majority of Palestinians support the two-state solution (hence Israel’s existence), or at least they did before Israel’s latest actions. Hamas, even though its political theories are riddled with anti-Semitism, has even stated that it will follow the will of the Palestinians and, due to the fact that a majority favors the two-state settlement, was open to negotiations, but Israel rejected the possibility.

You don't hand over the entire stretch of land of Gaza if you are against the two state solution. And it is irrelevant to me what Palestinians THINK of the two state solution. What matters is action. Israel left Gaza to the palestinians. They put Hamas in power knowing full well their track record before and their continuing attacks during their administration. You, typically, brush off any responsiblity of the Palestinian. You instead give them a warm shoulder and give any apologetic answer to their action

Anonymous said...

"What refusing? What should there be talks about? "Hey, can you stop firing rockets?" "No!" "Um, okay... please?" "No!" Again - they were given Gaza. There's nothing to talk about."

Amazing how you can make a point seriously and the very same point sarcastically depending about which side you're talking. If you really can't see anything that the Palestinians want then you're mind is so closed it's not worth having a discussion with you.

Holy Hyrax said...

>I give neither slack nor approval for Hamas, never have and never will. It’s a shame you have to lie in order to try to make a point. I am in favor of the complete dissolution of Hamas, they are a barrier to peace in my view and are a grave disservice to the Palestinians and shouldn’t exist.

Good to know. because so far, you're comments have included all sorts of apologetics on their behalf.

> but not by dropping bombs on densely populated civilian sectors or by blockade. I know of many cases where IDF special forces went into hostile areas to rescue Israeli hostages, such as the Entebbe hostages, and with incredible success did so without killing a slew of civilians in the process.

You are comparing an Airport to Gaza? Entebee was a surprise. Hamas has the whole Gaza rigged. Weapons are stashed everywhere. You can't compare Entebbe to Gaza at all. And once again you ignore the part where Hamas (and even before hamas) weapons were smuggled into Gaza. Hence a blockade is needed. You never respond to that. Is it tough for the Palestinians? Yes it is? But another option? Till the Pelestinians decide that they want to control their own destinies peacefully, this is what they get. They were given a golden opportunity and they blew it. Why are you ignoring that part?


>The problem is that Israel's main goal is not an end to the rocket attacks, as Uri Avnery reported:

He has a right to his opinion and I totally disagree. Israel infact rejected their cease fire proposal, because they understand this is all bullshit. Israel has no reason to believe them. The government of Israel and the Israelis know what they have to do. They need to get rid of these guys or at the least, make them understand that to their action, there will grave consequences. It is the only way to deal with them. Hamas has no reason to stop their attacks if they think every time Israel retaliates, it will only last for a couple of days and they will stop. It just doesn't work that way.

Ezzie said...

JA - Ironic that even your best bud Sullivan would reluctantly agree with me on this one: Click.

Amazing how you can make a point seriously and the very same point sarcastically depending about which side you're talking. If you really can't see anything that the Palestinians want then you're mind is so closed it's not worth having a discussion with you.

Anon - What DO the people in Gaza want? They were given the entire piece of land, incredible amount of infrastructure, and Israel even supplied them with electricity and allowed in an astounding amount of aid. And yet, all they talk about is pushing Israel into the sea.

If you can't see that, you're right, it's just not worth discussing it.

Orthoprax said...

JD,

"The blockade is collective punishment. You claimed the defend the blockade, which punishes the whole of Gaza, hence you claimed to defend collective punishment, a euphemism for terrorism. I don’t find anything funny about it."

That must be the most stumbling stepwise logic that I've seen today. War itself "punishes" the whole of any country, but that doesn't mean the intent or the act is a collective punishment. Did America practice collective punishment on Afghanistan in its war against the Taliban? Your syllogism is infantile.

"Proportionality also has to do with civilian deaths,"

Yes - but only in concert with the description I've already said. It has nothing to do with just counting casualties. You have a propaganda-like comprehension of the idea.

"Israel’s bombing of Gaza, one of the most densely populate regions on the globe, of course killed a disproportionate amount of civilians, as was to be anticipated."

Ah, but are you using the term in the slippery lay meaning of being comparable to Israeli losses or the meaning in international law where civilian losses are outside the bounds of legitimate targets? In the lay sense you are clearly correct, in the legal sense you are making claims based on nothing at all but your subjective ignorance of legitimate military targets.

"The response must be proportionate however and civilians cannot be so wantonly massacred."

Prove that a massacre is happening. Prove that the response is not proportionate. Your subjective blahblahs mean nothing to me. Yes, Palestinian civilians are being killed but not in "wanton massacres" - not in the IDF targeting civilians - and not in anything else but legitimate attacks on targets of military interest.

"Furthermore, Hamas is firing at Israel TODAY because of Israel’s deadly and provocative blockade and Israel’s actions that ended the ceasefire in November."

Um, utter BS? Even Mubarak, y'know the great Egyptian dictator and friend of Israel, publicly blamed Hamas for starting this latest round.

"Israel had planned this attack for six months, even as the ceasefire was being negotiated, as Ha’aretz reported."

And? The US planned nuclear war with the USSR for 50 years. Militaries plan all sorts of different scenarios all the time.

"http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/MDE15/021/2008/en"

I have no clue why you think showing me people who think like you would make me think you are right. Make an argument, don't just present a conclusion from a make-believe authority.

"Prove that Amnesty International, an NGO, is biased."

Sure, this old news: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3402530,00.html

The director in Israel, Amnon Vidan, stated right out that he holds Israel to a higher standard than any of Israel's enemies.

Boo hoo.

"So now you are saying that Israel’s invasion and destruction of Gaza isn’t going to force Gazans to reject Hamas?"

I haven't said anything about that here one way or the other. I do believe though that the attacks will weaken Hamas, which could give Fatah supporters an opportunity to take control of Gaza.

"The Gazans aren’t the people who attack Israel either."

Sure, which is why Israel is attacking Hamas specifically.



JA,

"Um, Iran knows. Just because they talk about wiping Israel off the map doesn't mean they're stupid enough to try. They know Israel has second-strike capability."

They're certainly doing what they can by funneling supplies and weapons to the likes of Hamas and Hezbollah. Seems to me like they're itching for a real chance to do what the combined armies of Arabia couldn't do in 60 years.

"How's that working out? Nobody wants to be a terrorist anymore?"

No state has massed a full scale invasion on Israel since 1973. Working alright. Even suicide bombing attacks have been way down, which is why rockets have suddenly become the new method. After Israel's responses perhaps they'll think twice or three times before starting again.


Frankly, I'm just amazed at the lot of you for what ends up being a systematic denudation of any method that Israel could perform to defend her citizens while giving the cake away to terrorists who fire on civilians from amongst their own civilians. If you wanted to promote terrorism and give Hamas free reign to do what it wishes then your positions would only succeed in doing just that.

Baconeater said...

Read this. Is a plausible reason with an actual game plan.

JDHURF said...

Orthoprax said:
”That must be the most stumbling stepwise logic that I've seen today. War itself "punishes" the whole of any country, but that doesn't mean the intent or the act is a collective punishment. Did America practice collective punishment on Afghanistan in its war against the Taliban? Your syllogism is infantile.”

It’s not a syllogism and it’s a plain fact. The blockade, as you yourself state, is supposed to make the Palestinians reject Hamas, therefore the intention is to punish the civilian population and elicit from them revulsion of Hamas. As I have already said, to violently punish an entire population for political ends, to, say, completely seal the Gaza border, to cut off entry of fuel and medical supplies, to then invade Gaza and indiscriminately murder innocent men, women and children noncombatants in the stated desire to elicit from them revulsion of Hamas and a desire to accept any unjust solution to the conflict so long as the destruction and murder ends, is the elementary, textbook definition of terrorism. That you now want to pretend you never said that, that Israel’s intentions were never stated, and slander me is evidence that you have no personal integrity and are consciously dishonest.

”Yes - but only in concert with the description I've already said. It has nothing to do with just counting casualties. You have a propaganda-like comprehension of the idea.”

Proportionality has everything to do with civilian deaths, as I already proved. You don’t have any understanding of the concept whatsoever, as you prove with your every post. I will simply again quote the most relevant excerpt:
“Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute…A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians (principle of distinction) (Article 8(2)(b)(i)) or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality) (Article 8(2)(b)(iv).

”Ah, but are you using the term in the slippery lay meaning of being comparable to Israeli losses or the meaning in international law where civilian losses are outside the bounds of legitimate targets? In the lay sense you are clearly correct, in the legal sense you are making claims based on nothing at all but your subjective ignorance of legitimate military targets.”

Pure falsification of international law. Again, “A crime occurs if…an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage (principle of proportionality) (Aricle 8(2)(b)(iv).

Criticism of Amnesty International of bias is old hat and always comes, as does your link, from the political right. Israel isn’t the only nation accusing AI so. Also accusing AI is China, Congo, Russia, South Korea, Vietnam and the United States, something of a rouges gallery, not exactly the best of company and the reasons are transparent. Critics of Israel, legitimate critics of Israel, are always slandered by apologists for Israel of being anti-Israel – a term straight out of the lexicon of totalitarianism, AI isn’t anti-Israel, they are anti-human rights abuses, as you quote the Israeli AI member as saying, they so love Israel that they want to see it behave better with regards to human rights, that’s not anti-Israel, only in a totalitarian, criminal state could such a person be described as anti-Israel (do recall where the concept comes from: anti-Soviet and anti-German were the first formulations) – anti-Semitic and Holocaust deniers; it’s nauseating reactionary politics of the most base sort, the sort that relies upon fraud, slander and the ideology that sustains totalitarianism. Shame to see you embrace totalitarian ideology so, very shameful.
You must have noticed, in any case, that even your link didn't purport to dispute any of the human rights violations AI has documented, only their counting of civilian casualties - for which they offered no evidence, only assertion - and that was the only possibly valid claim made, the others were so false as to constitute real howlers.

Chaim said...

Your strongest argument is that "the bottom line is that Israel has killed more Palestinians than Hamas has killed Israelis." However, what if it were the opposite? Would it be moral for Israel to retaliate on civilians at all? For example: Is it moral for Israel to murder 6,000,000 Germans? I don't understand why your focus on the "number" of civilian deaths has any importance in the argument about the moral right to such an operation. I don't think it would be moral to kill an innocent civilian Palestinian even if Hamas had killed millions of Israelis. I don't think numbers have any impact on the situation one way or another.

Orthoprax said...

JD,

"It’s not a syllogism and it’s a plain fact."

Woah. Your argument is unimpeachable. Is your method to just keep declaring something to be as you say and that way maybe I might be fooled into agreeing with you?

"The blockade, as you yourself state, is supposed to make the Palestinians reject Hamas, therefore the intention is to punish the civilian population and elicit from them revulsion of Hamas."

Quote please. I know what I said, but I guess you don't. I bet it's easier to argue with phantoms than real people.

"That you now want to pretend you never said that, that Israel’s intentions were never stated, and slander me is evidence that you have no personal integrity and are consciously dishonest."

What pretend? I haven't said that, much less the false descriptions you've attributed to Israel's actions! If I have then quote me!

"Proportionality has everything to do with civilian deaths, as I already proved."

Yes - civilian deaths in proportion with military goals, as I said. Not civilian deaths of one side compared to the civilian deaths of the other.

"I will simply again quote the most relevant excerpt:
“Under international humanitarian law and the Rome Statute…A crime occurs if there is an intentional attack directed against civilians.."

Check, Israel is not doing this. (Though Hamas is!)

"or an attack is launched on a military objective in the knowledge that the incidental civilian injuries would be clearly excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage"

Check, the ratio of deaths in Gaza is far in favor of combatants than of civilians. Ergo, the civilian deaths are regrettable but easily within the bounds of reasonable military goals - as I said. Thanks for proving my point.

"Pure falsification of international law."

Actually my statement is a good paraphrase of the same idea just quoted. I don't see your issue.

"Critics of Israel, legitimate critics of Israel, are always slandered by apologists for Israel of being anti-Israel – a term straight out of the lexicon of totalitarianism..."

Please. In an unbiased NGO there wouldn't be more papers written against Israel in a single year than for all of Israel's neighbors combined. AI is particularly focused on Israel and rarely accounts for Israel's security concerns or the reality of Hamas and Hezbollah tactics which is to operate in densely populated areas and use public facilities like schools, mosques and hospitals for launch sites, bases and weapon depots.

The reason criticism of AI comes from the right is because the organization is infused with ideologies of the left.

Orthoprax said...

http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/amnesty_international_report_for_

JDHURF said...

Orthoprax said:
”Woah. Your argument is unimpeachable. Is your method to just keep declaring something to be as you say and that way maybe I might be fooled into agreeing with you?”

You never explained how the blockade of Gaza, which starves innocent civilians and puts the lives of many in direct danger due to lack of medical supplies, all in the state desire to elicit a revulsion of Hamas by the Palestinians (an act of aggression for political ends) is not collective punishment and that is because you cannot. The blockade was and is collective punishment and constitutes a textbook, elementary example of terrorism.

”Quote please. I know what I said, but I guess you don't. I bet it's easier to argue with phantoms than real people.”

You don’t recall posting the following?:

”The blockade and so on are necessary in order to give as little credibility to a Hamas-run government as possible and also, btw, existed hand in hand with basic humanitarian aid that Israel did permit through the borders”

Whose view of Hamas is supposed to become discredited through the blockade if not the Palestinians? You are all over the place. Not to mention that this was precisely the stated aims of Israel: to so punish the population of Gaza that they would overthrow Hamas (again, a textbook example of terrorism). Not to mention that your claim that Israel permitted “basic humanitarian aid” into Gaza all throughout the blockade is simply a fabrication.

”Check, Israel is not doing this. (Though Hamas is!)”

I have already stated that every rocket fired by Hamas militants is a war crime, but for you to pretend that when Israel engages in aerial bombing of densely populated civilian sectors with the foreknowledge that it is going to kill scores of civilians Israel is not targeting civilians you are simply, again, conjuring up fabrications. Are you really trying to argue that when Israel bombs one of the most densely populated civilian sectors on the globe they have no idea that civilians are going to be killed? You are severely blinded by your bias.

”Check, the ratio of deaths in Gaza is far in favor of combatants than of civilians. Ergo, the civilian deaths are regrettable but easily within the bounds of reasonable military goals - as I said. Thanks for proving my point.”

More fabrications. According to Gaza health ministry sources, many, many deaths and especially the wounded – the very seriously wounded at that – are civilians. The many deaths of civilians are not just regrettable they are far outside “the bounds of reasonable military goals.” The only sources you are going to find stating otherwise are sources from the extreme right.

“But no militant casualties were seen Monday by an Associated Press reporter at Shifa Hospital, the Gaza Strip's largest. Instead, the hospital was overwhelmed with civilians. Bodies were two to a morgue drawer, and the wounded were being treated in hallways because beds were full.”
“Gaza health officials reported that since the campaign began on Dec. 27 more than 550 Palestinians have been killed and 2,500 wounded, including 200 civilians. U.N. humanitarian chief John Holmes told reporters in New York on Monday that U.N. officials believe at least 500 people have been killed in the fighting and that as many as 25 percent are civilians.
At least 20 Palestinian children were killed during the day, said Dr. Moaiya Hassanain, a health official. Most confirmed deaths have been civilians.”

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090105/ap_on_re_mi_ea/ml_israel_palestinians

That’s from a link I have already provided which you clearly dismissed and did so for transparently obvious reasons. An entire quarter of the deaths being civilian deaths is abhorrent and unacceptable.
Virtually the entire world is opposed to Israel’s horrific destruction of Gaza and Gazans, even the U.S. State Department is pressuring for a ceasefire, as is Sarkozy and the EU and as the UN has voted in favor of (although the U.S. vetoed the resolution).

Please. In an unbiased NGO there wouldn't be more papers written against Israel in a single year than for all of Israel's neighbors combined. AI is particularly focused on Israel and rarely accounts for Israel's security concerns or the reality of Hamas and Hezbollah tactics which is to operate in densely populated areas and use public facilities like schools, mosques and hospitals for launch sites, bases and weapon depots.


”The reason criticism of AI comes from the right is because the organization is infused with ideologies of the left.”

That is simply a bold-faced lie that you wouldn’t be able to prove to save your life. You are parroting Holy Hyrax here and it’s almost laughable that such things as the two-state settlement, international law and human rights, elementary concepts, have become in your crazed world “ideologies of the left.”
Though I will give you credit for discarding your totalitarian anti-Israel charge.

JDHURF said...

http://www.forward.com/articles/monitoring-the-monitor/

http://www.publiceye.org/magazine/v18n1/hardisty_ngo.html

JDHURF said...

The stated objective of the NGO Monitor you cited is, as was your ridiculous charge of AI being anti-Israel, proving organizations are anti-Israel. That's not objective, that's not serious and it is derived,again, straight from the logic of totalitarianism.
Your sources are preposterous.

Holy Hyrax said...

>That is simply a bold-faced lie that you wouldn’t be able to prove to save your life. You are parroting Holy Hyrax here and it’s almost laughable that such things as the two-state settlement, international law and human rights, elementary concepts, have become in your crazed world “ideologies of the left.”

Please. I have said above that a two state solution is the only answer. But its not going to happen with Israel being pushed against a corner.

These things ARE great things that you mention but they become leftists agendas when they become its own goal in of itself while ignoring all semblance of the reality on the ground. You might think that detaining Palestinians being wrong is some sort of elementary concept. But its not. Its all subjective depending on your POV and how you look at (or ignore) the ugly reality that is on the ground.

Orthoprax said...

JD,

"You never explained how the blockade of Gaza, which starves innocent civilians and puts the lives of many in direct danger due to lack of medical supplies, all in the state desire to elicit a revulsion of Hamas by the Palestinians (an act of aggression for political ends) is not collective punishment and that is because you cannot."

And also because I didn't in the first place! The point of the blockade is to weaken Hamas, not torture the Gazans. The Gazans are in fact not starving and have medical supplies, since Israel maintained basic humanitarian supplies. But it will not open the borders for weapons to get in and terrorists to get out. Why should Israel allow Hamas free trade? Egypt maintains a blockade on their end for the same reasons.

"Whose view of Hamas is supposed to become discredited through the blockade if not the Palestinians? You are all over the place. Not to mention that this was precisely the stated aims of Israel: to so punish the population of Gaza that they would overthrow Hamas"

Discredit them as a viable military force and government, not through torturing the Gazans but through weakening their infrastructure. They represent an enemy "state" that Israel has every interest in weakening. This is a legitimate strategy which was employed by the UNSC against Iraq.

"Not to mention that your claim that Israel permitted “basic humanitarian aid” into Gaza all throughout the blockade is simply a fabrication."

It's funny how you add in the "all" when that wasn't the issue at hand. Israel has been letting in aid regularly to the point that Gazans were not dying of hunger or thirst.

"for you to pretend that when Israel engages in aerial bombing of densely populated civilian sectors with the foreknowledge that it is going to kill scores of civilians Israel is not targeting civilians you are simply, again, conjuring up fabrications. Are you really trying to argue that when Israel bombs one of the most densely populated civilian sectors on the globe they have no idea that civilians are going to be killed"

"Targeting civilians" and bombing legitimate military targets with the foreknowledge that some civilians are likely to be killed is NOT THE SAME THING. It is YOUR bias which comes shining through with your attempted equivocation.

"More fabrications. According to Gaza health ministry sources, many, many deaths and especially the wounded – the very seriously wounded at that – are civilians."

Ok, so "many" is what you call a ratio? It's not even a number! Early in the war the ratio was something like 6:1 militants to civilians killed. From your own source: "500 people have been killed in the fighting and that as many as 25 percent are civilians." That's a decent ratio!

"That’s from a link I have already provided which you clearly dismissed and did so for transparently obvious reasons."

You mean other than you sending me a bunch of links without any explanation so I didn't bother opening them? Obviously.

You think the numbers are horrendous and inexcusable, I think those same numbers are decent for this kind of combat and demonstrative of Israel's clear targeting of combatants. It's not Israel fault that Hamas decides to put their own people in danger by fighting from within these populated centers. The moral onus lies on Hamas for perpetuating those war crimes.

"That is simply a bold-faced lie that you wouldn’t be able to prove to save your life."

It's not a lie at all. When an NGO takes sides in a conflict, like for example saying that Israel still occupies Gaza (and thus is responsible as an occupier for the denizens' welfare) when that's a matter of debate, then that's a sign of bias and an acceptance of the Palestinian version of the conflict rather than remaining neutral. In this way does it accord with the political left vis a vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

"You are parroting Holy Hyrax here"

I am? I haven't been reading anything on this post except for who's been responding to me.

"and it’s almost laughable that such things as the two-state settlement, international law and human rights, elementary concepts, have become in your crazed world “ideologies of the left."

Um, ok. NGOs sympathetic to Palestinian interests, accept their narrative of history, and who poo poo the double crimes of the likes of you know who attacking civilians and hiding among their own civilians are groups who favor the "left" of this conflict. Consciously or otherwise, these NGOs are hypercritical of state actions without understanding mitigating circumstances and are lax on criticizing the actions of terrorist guerillas.

"Though I will give you credit for discarding your totalitarian anti-Israel charge."

If the term bothers you then whatever. They are still biased.

"The stated objective of the NGO Monitor you cited is..."

Blah Blah. Is their data inaccurate? Are their conclusions flawed? The numbers speak for themselves.

JDHURF said...

Holy Hyrax:

The reason I have stopped responding to you is because you are clearly an extremist. That you have the audacity to claim that I ignore the reality on the ground is too much to take.

Hamas, as criminal as it is, is not a serious threat to the state of Israel. Israel has the fourth largest and one of the most sophisticated militaries on the face of the Earth. Hamas has rickety qassam rockets that many times fail to even reach their destination. Israel is not pushed against a corner by the rag tag militants in Palestine, however, the Palestinians are beyond pushed against a corner. They are sealed into their own territory, they have been blockaded (without fuel, food, water and medical supplies), bombed and terrorized for years.
These things you appear to be physically incapable of acknowledging and is therefore evidence of your blind extremism.
People such as yourself are part of the problem. Israeli extremism, militant settlers and so on are a huge part of the problem.

Indefinitely detaining people without charge or trial (or if charged many times the charges stem from confessions elicited while under the duress of torture) is immoral, illegal and unjust, no matter the circumstances. The United States was wrong to do so, as the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled and which President-Elect Obama has confirmed. Israel too is wrong to do so, as the United Nations, the World Court and just about every rational and ethical person has acknowledged. That you have the gall to argue that Israel should be able to suspend international law, human rights and the most minimal of standards, kidnapping people, detaining them indefinitely without charge or trial and then possibly even torturing them is further evidence of your wild extremism.

There is no dispute that I am a leftist, but when I discuss the Israel-Palestine conflict I leave my fundamental sociopolitical views behind and I find that the majority of the time I can reach a consensus with rational people on both sides of the debate and it is simply fraudulent to argue, like the worst of reactionaries, that Amnesty International is some revolutionary leftist organization (it's so preposterous to not really merit a serious response) or that such things as the two-state settlement, international law and human rights are as well (it would be absolutely laughable were it not so insane). It is only the extremists on both sides who refuse to budge and hold rigidly to their discredited and violent extremist positions; it's a real shame.

JDHURF said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JDHURF said...

Orthoprax said:

"The point of the blockade is to weaken Hamas, not torture the Gazans. The Gazans are in fact not starving and have medical supplies, since Israel maintained basic humanitarian supplies. But it will not open the borders for weapons to get in and terrorists to get out. Why should Israel allow Hamas free trade? Egypt maintains a blockade on their end for the same reasons."

To weaken Hamas politically, which means to elicit from the people of Gaza a rejection of Hamas. You are simply running around in circles. To elicit such a reaction from the people of Gaza, in order to weaken Hamas, is to engage in collective punishment, i.e. terrorism.

That you not only distort the reality of the blockade - pretending that the people of Gaza are just fine, that it has no effect upon them - and even defend the blockade is evidence that you are just as Holy Hyrax an extremist.

“Chronic malnutrition in Gaza blamed on Israel: Donald Macintyre reveals the contents of an explosive report by the Red Cross on a humanitarian tragedy.”

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/chronic-malnutrition-in-gaza-blamed-on-israel-1019521.html

“The European Union has expressed its "deep concern" at the humanitarian crisis in Gaza, as a six-month truce between Israel and Hamas came to an end.
Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip has stretched the humanitarian situation to breaking point, Issam Younis, a prominent Gaza human rights campaigner trusted by Hamas and Fatah, tells swissinfo.
This "collective punishment" of Gaza civilians must end, says Younis, the director of the Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, while en route through Geneva.”

http://www.swissinfo.org/eng/politics/foreign_affairs/Concern_mounts_over_Gaza_crisis_as_truce_ends.html?siteSect=1521&sid=10117061&cKey=1230720777000&ty=st

“The humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip is significant and cannot be understated. It follows what the UN had described as an 18 month long “human dignity crisis” in the Gaza Strip, entailing a massive destruction of livelihoods and a significant deterioration of infrastructure and basic services.
Elements of the current humanitarian crisis include:
Seven days of uninterrupted bombardment on the entire Gaza Strip. Registered fatalities amount to • 327 and injuries to over 1,100, however there are estimates of additional unregistered casualties up to 421 people killed and 2,100 injured. People are living in a state of fear and panic.
80% of the population cannot support themselves and are dependant on humanitarian assistance. • This figure is increasing.
According to WFP, the population is facing a food crisis. There are food shortages of flour, rice, • sugar, dairy products, milk, canned foods and fresh meats.
The imports entering are insufficient to support the population or to service infrastructure • maintenance and repair needs.
The health system is overwhelmed, having already been weakened by the 18- month blockade. •
The utilities are barely functioning: the only electric power plant has shut down. Some 250,000 • people in central and northern Gaza do not have electricity at all due to the damage to fifteen electricity transformers during the air strikes. The water system provides running water once every 5-7 days and the sanitation system cannot treat the sewage and is dumping 40 million litres of raw sewage into the sea daily. Fuel for heating, needed due to the cold weather, and cooking gas, are no longer available in the market.
There has been significant destruction in the Gaza Strip, over 600 targets hit, including roads, • infrastructure, the Islamic university, government buildings, mosques and civil police stations.”

http://www.webcitation.org/5dYZRlFLB

You can play dumb, deaf and blind if you want to, it’s only definitive evidence of your outrageous extremism.

"Targeting civilians" and bombing legitimate military targets with the foreknowledge that some civilians are likely to be killed is NOT THE SAME THING. It is YOUR bias which comes shining through with your attempted equivocation.”

A quarter of all deaths being civilians is not “some civilians,” that you would use such a euphemistic phrase is evidence of your violent extremism. That you have this fantasy that Israel only strikes at legitimate military targets is further evidence of your bias, that you don’t recognize the horror in dropping one ton bombs on one of the most densely populated civilian sectors in the world – knowing that civilian deaths are going to be high, but disregarding them – is not only biased and evidence of extremism, it is positively evil.

“Ok, so "many" is what you call a ratio? It's not even a number! Early in the war the ratio was something like 6:1 militants to civilians killed. From your own source: "500 people have been killed in the fighting and that as many as 25 percent are civilians." That's a decent ratio!"

A quarter of all killed being civilians is not a “decent ratio,” you disgust me.

"The moral onus lies on Hamas for perpetuating those war crimes."

No, as I told Holy Hyrax, unless you believe in voodoo one is responsible for one’s own actions, not others. Even further, as has already been observed, Hamas began firing rockets in response to Israel’s provocative and aggressive actions. It was Israel who effectively ended the ceasefire, as I have already pointed out, and the aggression now being committed had been planned six months in advance, even as the ceasefire was being negotiated, Israel had no intentions to not attack and was going to use any pretext to do so.

“Long-term preparation, careful gathering of information, secret discussions, operational deception and the misleading of the public - all these stood behind the Israel Defense Forces "Cast Lead" operation against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip, which began Saturday morning.

The disinformation effort, according to defense officials, took Hamas by surprise and served to significantly increase the number of its casualties in the strike.

Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.”

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1050426.html

”When an NGO takes sides in a conflict, like for example saying that Israel still occupies Gaza (and thus is responsible as an occupier for the denizens' welfare) when that's a matter of debate, then that's a sign of bias and an acceptance of the Palestinian version of the conflict rather than remaining neutral. In this way does it accord with the political left vis a vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

It’s not a matter of debate. “Even if Israel 's control in the Gaza Strip does not amount to "effective control" and the territory is not considered occupied, Israel still bears certain responsibilities under international humanitarian law. IHL is not limited to protecting civilians living under occupation, but includes provisions intended to protect civilians during an armed conflict, regardless of the status of the territory in which they live. Given that Israel contends that an armed conflict exists between it and the Palestinian organizations fighting against it, which has continued even after the disengagement, such provisions apply. These provisions are found, for example, in the Fourth Geneva Convention, pursuant to which Israel must protect the wounded, sick, children under age fifteen, and pregnant women, enable the free passage of medicines and essential foodstuffs, enable medical teams to provide assistance, and refrain from imposing collective punishment.”

http://www.btselem.org/english/Gaza_Strip/Israels_obligations.asp

”Um, ok. NGOs sympathetic to Palestinian interests, accept their narrative of history, and who poo poo the double crimes of the likes of you know who attacking civilians and hiding among their own civilians are groups who favor the "left" of this conflict. Consciously or otherwise, these NGOs are hypercritical of state actions without understanding mitigating circumstances and are lax on criticizing the actions of terrorist guerillas.”

More fabrications. Amnesty International and similar NGO’s (Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem and others) do not simply accept carte blanch, you are now spreading bold-faced lies, they send eye-witnesses to document the events as they happen and to then take witness testimony and apply international law and human rights to these investigations. It has nothing to do with just accepting the Palestinian “narrative of history,” which is many times quite different from what AI and other NGO’s report. Your posting fraudulent, extremist propaganda.

”Blah Blah. Is their data inaccurate? Are their conclusions flawed? The numbers speak for themselves.”

Jesus Christ, do you not read any of my links and sources? A sure sign of an ideologically driven extremist, to dismiss sources without even reviewing them like that. Yes, their data is inaccurate:
“On April 18, NGO Monitor issued a “draft report on Human Rights Watch” which claims that an “objective quantitative analysis” shows that Human Rights Watch places an “extreme emphasis on critical assessments of Israel.” I have reviewed the draft document and checked its central claim against the actual documents Human Rights Watch has produced regarding Israel since the year 2000. The discrepancy between NGO Monitor’s claims and Human Rights Watch’s record is massive.
Human Rights Watch has in fact devoted more attention to each of five other nations in the region — Iraq, Sudan, Egypt, Turkey and Iran — than to Israel. I called this to Steinberg’s attention on May 3, and he responded that NGO Monitor would “examine and respond” to the discrepancies. Since then, I have received 27 emails from Steinberg; not one has in any way responded to this matter. Yet the draft report remains online, unamended.”
http://www.forward.com/articles/monitoring-the-monitor/

That’s just one example among many.

Jewish Atheist said...

Ezzie:

So 15 deaths is an acceptable amount of deaths by terror attack?

Holy straw man, Batman! I said it didn't resent an existential threat, not that it's "acceptable."

I think 0 is an acceptable number. At 1, I think a country is obligated to do whatever it needs to to protect its citizens.

"Whatever it needs to" is a pretty broad category. Is everything on the table? Terrorism, torture, nuclear weapons, etc.?

I'm trying to understand how Israel's building of supposed "illegal" settlements somehow causes terror that stopping it would somehow reduce them, particularly as any such building is not being done anywhere close to Gaza, let alone within it.

Well, how about just stopping because it's wrong, then? And to get rid of any legitimate grievances the Palestinians have? You think they'll hate Israel anyway? Fine, so do I. But that doesn't mean Israel should give them a good reason to hate them.

Oh, I know what you think. The problem is you always think so - you never seem to recognize that when people call for action, it's not to make themselves feel good: It's to actually bring about results.

Yeah, right. People are SO rational about these sorts of things. *eyeroll* It's funny how you assume Palestinians are 100% irrational and Jews are 100% rational.


Chaim:

I don't think numbers have any impact on the situation one way or another.

Weighing numbers of dead is just standard utilitarianism. Even Israel does it. They had a magic number for how many civilian deaths was acceptable in a targeted assassination, for example.

Random said...

I tried to respond to this, but posts are being added faster than I can read them – 154 already! Is that a record? Apologies if anything I say has been addressed already (I have limited patience for JDHurf’s screeds in particular…) but some thoughts, for what they’re worth.

BTW on editing after completion I see this post has grown into something of a monster. To avoid testing the patience of any readers I’ll try to break it up into more digestible chunks. This is part 1.

“Indiscriminate” attacks on civilians – this is a straight lie. The only reason civilian casualties are as high as they are is because Hamas quite deliberately sites it’s facilities in heavily populated areas in order to ensure that either Israel doesn’t strike back for fear of casualties or if Israel does strike back then as many civilians as possible are killed in order for Hamas to use their deaths as propaganda (knowing full well as they do that useful idiots like JD will not see the context and will only blame the Israelis). Despite this, the Israelis have been doing everything possible to minimise civilian casualties – for example in the current operation some 90,000 phone calls and text messages to Gazans living near Hamas facilities have been sent in order to warn them that a strike was on the way and they should leave ASAP. It shouldn’t be necessary to say this but it probably is unfortunately given the state of knowledge around here but this behaviour by Hamas is flagrantly a violation of international law on the obligation to minimise risk to civilians in time of war.

Who broke the ceasefire – a six month ceasefire was agreed following Egyptian mediation to commence from the 19th of June last year. The first mortar shell to be fired from Gaza into Israel landed on the 23rd, and a volley of three Qassam rockets hit the town of Sderot on the following day – even by the standards of the Middle-East this was fast going. According to this 329 rockets and mortars were fired into Israel during the so-called ceasefire. Oh, and it was Hamas, not Israel, which formally ended the ceasefire after the six months was up.

TBC

Random said...

Part 2

The blockade – pace JDHurf this isn’t being done to punish the Gazans, it’s being done to keep suicide bombers out. If there was no blockade then suicide bombers would be exploding twice daily and with bonuses on the Sabbath. I do not understand why this is not a legitimate reason for the blockade, unless you place no value on Israeli lives, anyway.

Homemade rockets – I understand why the anti-Israel types keep banging on about these, creating as it does an image of gallant and courageous amateurs heroically resisting a brutal military regime, but in so far as it was ever true it no longer is. Hamas is now using Grad missiles supplied by Iran which are allowing them to strike further into Israel than ever before. Incidentally to be being used now these must have been smuggled in to Gaza during the ceasefire, what this says about the sincerity of Hamas’ commitment to peace I will leave as an exercise for the reader.

“Disproportionate” casualties – I’m detecting a distinct note of outrage from some of those opposed to Israel’s actions that so few people have been killed in the rocket fire that is the excuse for all this. Presumably this is because it’s only Israelis who are dying and therefore not anybody we should be concerned about. This is certainly not for want of trying – about 8,000 rockets have been fired into Israel since 2001 (the majority of which since Israel withdrew from Gaza BTW) – but is due partly to the lousy accuracy of the weapons used (even Grads are area effect weapons, not precision missiles) and mainly due to the extraordinary measures Israel has gone to to protect it’s civilian population. For example, Barzilai hospital in Ashkelon has been moved underground and every bus shelter in the town of Sderot has been armoured so it can serve as an emergency bomb shelter. Doubtless there are people around here who view this sort of thing as somehow unfair. Nevertheless it should be borne in mind that Hamas are only one moderate slice of luck away from scoring a truly major atrocity, and I fail to see why Israel should wait until forex a school or hospital goes up in flames before acting to stop it.

TBC

Random said...

Final part -

Peace talks – a constant refrain is that Israel should be negotiating rather than shooting. Even setting aside the fact that Hamas is dedicated not just to the destruction of the state of Israel but apparently to the death of all Jews anywhere (yes JA, this includes you. And don’t think being an atheist will save you – they’re not wildly keen on unbelievers either) there is a small problem with this –

“[Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement.” (Hamas Charter, article thirteen)

How do you negotiate with somebody who believes it is against his religion to negotiate with you? Yes, Hamas will occasionally discuss short term ceasefires – but a permanent settlement? Forget it.

So, to answers JA’s original question – I think it is self-evident that Israel needed to do something. And that despite everything what is currently under way is probably the least worst option at their disposal.

Oh and one final point. Some people may feel that at some points these comments have been rather testy towards those opposed to Israel’s actions. To which I can only say – look at the company you’re keeping (and this isn’t an isolated incident) and tell me why I should respect your feelings.

jewish philosopher said...

The original post says:

"You have to demonstrate that this specific military action is moral and likely to succeed in order to win this argument."

I want to win this argument. But can JA please first define "moral"? Conforming to the Talmud, the Golden Rule, the Geneva Conventions, the United Nations Charter, the Magna Carta? What?

Jewish Atheist said...

Random:

Presumably this is because it’s only Israelis who are dying and therefore not anybody we should be concerned about.

Yes, because everybody who disagrees with an action cannot care about Israeli deaths. Screw you.

Some people may feel that at some points these comments have been rather testy towards those opposed to Israel’s actions. To which I can only say – look at the company you’re keeping (and this isn’t an isolated incident) and tell me why I should respect your feelings.

What kind of idiotic logic is that? Grow up.

Random said...

"Yes, because everybody who disagrees with an action cannot care about Israeli deaths. Screw you."

Fair enough JA, and it really wasn't aimed at you, I know you've got nothing in common with Fort Lauderdale lady. Her sort however clearly only care about Israeli deaths insofar as there have not been anything like enough of them - and as has been pointed out on a variety of blogs the significant fact is not so much the lady herself as the fact that none of her fellow protestors saw any reason to condemn her for her turn of phrase. And I do feel it is reasonable and appropriate to feel nothing but contempt both for her sort and for those who stand alongside her and say nothing.

By the way, I hope that's not the only thing I said that engaged you - I spent most of a lunch break researching all that, I'd hate to think it was wasted!

Jewish Atheist said...

Random:

Fair enough JA, and it really wasn't aimed at you

It really isn't aimed at anybody, then. Some people who oppose this action are anti-semites, but that's not relevant to the discussion. It's big of you to say it's not aimed at me, but you probably smear millions of other people you don't know as well with the same brush.

By the way, I hope that's not the only thing I said that engaged you

Sorry, when someone basically calls me an anti-semite and compares me to pro-Hamas protesters who tell Jews to "Go back to the ovens," it's kind of hard to notice all the other stuff.

So to your points:

“Indiscriminate” attacks on civilians – this is a straight lie.

I agree that Israel is going out of its way to minimize civilian casualties caused by their actions... but they are still choosing those actions knowing they will kill hundreds of civilian casualties. You're right to blame Hamas for committing the war crime of using human shields, but that doesn't mean Israel shouldn't factor the civilian dead into their calculus.

Who broke the ceasefire

Pretty much agree with you there, too.

The blockade – pace JDHurf this isn’t being done to punish the Gazans, it’s being done to keep suicide bombers out.

That's doubtful. Israel specifically let stuff through to reward a 24-hour period with no missiles and specifically stopped after the next attack. link. That might be a reasonable thing to do, but it clearly is at least in part being used to punish the Gazans.

Homemade rockets – I understand why the anti-Israel types keep banging on about these, creating as it does an image of gallant and courageous amateurs heroically resisting a brutal military regime

My response to this was the same as my response to saying we don't care about Israeli civilians or that pro-Hamas activists represent us: go to hell. I am not anti-Israel. I just brought up the fact of the homemade rockets to show that no blockade could stop them. In fact, I explained that explicitly.

Hamas is now using Grad missiles supplied by Iran which are allowing them to strike further into Israel than ever before.

Good point.

Incidentally to be being used now these must have been smuggled in to Gaza during the ceasefire, what this says about the sincerity of Hamas’ commitment to peace I will leave as an exercise for the reader.

Straw man. Nobody thinks Hamas is committed to peace.

Even setting aside the fact that Hamas is dedicated not just to the destruction of the state of Israel but apparently to the death of all Jews anywhere (yes JA, this includes you. And don’t think being an atheist will save you – they’re not wildly keen on unbelievers either)

Yeah, because I thought Hamas were my friends. *eyeroll*

How do you negotiate with somebody who believes it is against his religion to negotiate with you?

Because when push comes to shove, they don't really believe that. And negotiation doesn't mean saying "pretty please."

random said...

"It really isn't aimed at anybody, then."

To be precise, it was aimed mainly at JDHurf who has explicitly said on more than one occasion in this thread that the low number of Israeli casualties ("Again, how many people have those rockets killed? How many people have Israel killed?") does not justify the scale of the Israeli response. I thought - and still think, not least for the reasons I gave above - that this is a disgusting attitude which really did remind me of Fort Lauderdale lady and her friends. But I was angry and as result I failed to be specific in my response, thereby causing offence in turn. For that, you have my apologies.

"but that doesn't mean Israel shouldn't factor the civilian dead into their calculus."

I agree. A point you should consider though is that, for obvious reasons, we have not heard of any operations that did not go ahead because the IDF thought the risk of civilian casualties was excessive. I'm sure there are plenty - for a possible example, while following this story over the last few days I have seen persistent rumours to the effect that Hamas' main arms dump is believed to be located in the basements of Gaza's Al Shifa hospital. Presumably the IDF has refrained from taking out the arms dump because there is no way of doing it without destroying the hospital.

"My response to this was the same as my response to saying we don't care about Israeli civilians or that pro-Hamas activists represent us: go to hell. I am not anti-Israel."

JA, be fair. You really can't deny that there is an awful lot of commentary around to the effect that the home made rockets are basically harmless and don't merit a response like this one - some of it is even on this thread (JDHurf again). "David and Goliath" is a phrase I have come across plenty of times, with little or no indication that this time round it's David who's in the wrong. Just because this doesn't apply to you doesn't change the fact that there are far too many people around to whom it does apply.

I agree with your point about the difficulty of stopping the Qassams, but I think you're overestimating how easy it is to make these things - you would need at minimum skilled engineers to manufacture certain key components, of whom there can't be that many in the Gaza strip. The rocket fuel and explosives are not the sort of thing you can easily knock up in kitchen either.

"Nobody thinks Hamas is committed to peace."

Then what exactly will negotiating with them achieve?

"Because when push comes to shove, they don't really believe that."

Evidence, please? Because all their public statements as well as their private actions show they believe exactly that.

"And negotiation doesn't mean saying "pretty please.""

Frankly that's pretty much all that's left if you're ruling out blockades, military action and whatnot.

Ezzie said...

Holy straw man, Batman! I said it didn't resent an existential threat, not that it's "acceptable."

So what number to you makes it one? Again, I think 1 does.

"Whatever it needs to" is a pretty broad category. Is everything on the table? Terrorism, torture, nuclear weapons, etc.?

The minimum amount that would stop the threat. As noted above.

Well, how about just stopping because it's wrong, then? And to get rid of any legitimate grievances the Palestinians have? You think they'll hate Israel anyway? Fine, so do I. But that doesn't mean Israel should give them a good reason to hate them.

So we're back to that it has nothing to do with Gaza? Fine. But I'm sick of the argument that anything Israel does is an "excuse" for Hamas. The idea that they're incapable of controlling themselves when Israel does something they perceive as wrong is moronic.

Yeah, right. People are SO rational about these sorts of things. *eyeroll* It's funny how you assume Palestinians are 100% irrational and Jews are 100% rational.

Huh? I've never said anything of the sort, and to claim I have is stupidity. But it's amazing how you have *always* assumed - and I've never yet seen an exception to this - that anyone who calls for military action is doing so without reason other than just for the sake of it.

It's one thing to say that such a thing can happen; surely there are instances where it does. But if you seriously think that Israel or others willingly throw people's lives away to feel good about having done something you should really do an analysis of yourself. Maybe - just maybe! - people call for military action because they actually think it's *necessary*.

Holy Hyrax said...

JDHURF

Unless you show me where I am an extremist, your points are worthless. A few times people have mentioned the point of the blockades yet you ignore the need for it. You ignore WHY Israel needed to attack Gaza (which you claim Israel broke the cease fire). So far, you have been a broken record.

>Hamas, as criminal as it is, is not a serious threat to the state of Israel. Israel has the fourth largest and one of the most sophisticated militaries on the face of the Earth. Hamas has rickety qassam rockets that many times fail to even reach their destination.

Please, please go tell this to peole living in Sderot, or Ashkelon, or now even people living in Beer Sheva. I am sure they would appreciate to know that Hamas is not a "serious" threat. Though i guess you are conceding they are a regular threat.


>Israel is not pushed against a corner by the rag tag militants in Palestine, however, the Palestinians are beyond pushed against a corner. They are sealed into their own territory, they have been blockaded (without fuel, food, water and medical supplies), bombed and terrorized for years.

See and then you get upset when I say you ignore the facts on the ground. I mean, do you even remember the Karine-A?

>These things you appear to be physically incapable of acknowledging and is therefore evidence of your blind extremism.

No, there is your evidence of a lack of reading comprehension. I have said a few times I am for a two state solution and that the Palestinians have it hard. But a blockade is needed (yet you will ignore this again, watch). They need to show the world they mean business and want peace. They had this opportunity (watch, you will ignore this as well)

>People such as yourself are part of the problem. Israeli extremism, militant settlers and so on are a huge part of the problem.

blah blah blah

Holy Hyrax said...

>Even further, as has already been observed, Hamas began firing rockets in response to Israel’s provocative and aggressive actions. It was Israel who effectively ended the ceasefire, as I have already pointed out, and the aggression now being committed had been planned six months in advance, even as the ceasefire was being negotiated, Israel had no intentions to not attack and was going to use any pretext to do so.

No, all you are basically saying here, is that Hamas and the Palestinians are a bunch of pitbulls that can't control themselves. Shame on you. Lets as you this: Did Hamas need to fire in Israel, for what Israel was DOING IN THE WESTBANK????????
The agreement was between HAMAS and ISRAEL NOT the westbank.

WHY, did they HAVE to fire???

Also, why on earth do you THINK Israel was in GAZA? For their own amusement? Effectively, it was Hamas that broke the ceasefire by continuing opererations (OTHER than firing missles).

And its a good thing they were planning on something six months ago. This is called being responsible since they know Hamas has broken other cease fires. Every nation plans ahead when they know the intentions and face of their enemy. You are conflating this by meaning that Israel hence never meant to oblige by the ceasefire with Hamas.

Jewish Atheist said...

Random:

To be precise, it was aimed mainly at JDHurf who has explicitly said on more than one occasion in this thread that the low number of Israeli casualties ("Again, how many people have those rockets killed? How many people have Israel killed?") does not justify the scale of the Israeli response.

But I think that's a legitimate concern, and I care about Israeli lives. Does that shatter your worldview? Don't you think that there is some number of enemy civilians that is too large to kill (collaterally) in order to save 10-15 lives? Maybe you put the number higher than 200, maybe it's 2000 or 20,000, but surely you have a number, right? Or does anything go when you're defending even a single one of your people?

For that, you have my apologies.

Apologies accepted, if they're still extended. :-)

I agree. A point you should consider though is that, for obvious reasons, we have not heard of any operations that did not go ahead because the IDF thought the risk of civilian casualties was excessive.

I'm sure that's true. No question. Israel has been admirable in avoiding civilian casualties, given the operations they have chosen to embark on.

JA, be fair. You really can't deny that there is an awful lot of commentary around to the effect that the home made rockets are basically harmless and don't merit a response like this one - some of it is even on this thread (JDHurf again).

That's not what you said, though. You said people talk about them "creating as it does an image of gallant and courageous amateurs heroically resisting a brutal military regime." I'm sure some people (pro-Hamas people) think that way, but that's not why JDHURF and I have mentioned it.

Just because this doesn't apply to you doesn't change the fact that there are far too many people around to whom it does apply.

Who cares? That has no bearing on whether Israel's actions are correct or not.

Then what exactly will negotiating with them achieve?

You convince them it's in their best interest. You know, exactly what you and Ezzie say Israel's trying to do with this operation.

Evidence, please? Because all their public statements as well as their private actions show they believe exactly that.

They said that about Arafat as well.

Frankly that's pretty much all that's left if you're ruling out blockades, military action and whatnot.

I did not rule out military action or blockades. And CERTAINLY not "whatnot." ;-)


Ezzie:

So what number to you makes it one? Again, I think 1 does.

You think 1 makes it an existential threat? Then you're speaking a different language than I am. In my English, "existential threat" means a threat to a nation's existence.

The minimum amount that would stop the threat. As noted above.

So if the minimum amount that would stop the threat was ethnic cleansing or genocide, you'd support that?

But I'm sick of the argument that anything Israel does is an "excuse" for Hamas. The idea that they're incapable of controlling themselves when Israel does something they perceive as wrong is moronic.

You're still fighting straw men. Nobody here excused Hamas. What we said was that part of the reason Hamas gets such support is the illegal settlements, especially as part of the broader picture of Israeli expansionism, etc. Remember how the Gazans got to be Gazans. Again, not an excuse, but something you have to understand in order to move forward in that area.

But it's amazing how you have *always* assumed - and I've never yet seen an exception to this - that anyone who calls for military action is doing so without reason other than just for the sake of it.

That's obviously untrue, because I personally support some military actions.

But if you seriously think that Israel or others willingly throw people's lives away to feel good about having done something you should really do an analysis of yourself. Maybe - just maybe! - people call for military action because they actually think it's *necessary*.

I'm not saying people consciously throw people's lives away to feel good about having done something, but I do think they do it unconsciously. It's right here in this thread a dozen times... "Israel has to do SOMETHING." What the SOMETHING is is almost irrelevant, although the fiercer the better, apparently.

Shalmo said...

CNN CONFIRMS ISRAEL BROKE THE CEASEFIRE FIRST:

http://www.facebook.com/ext/share.php?sid=43506206818&h=iYX2e&u=2oGv5

someone needs to stop the zionazis. If not Iran then somebody else.

If history has taught us anything, its that the only time there has ever been peace between all three abrahamic faiths is when muslims ruled that land.

Shalmo said...

"All of the Palestinians must be killed; men, women, infants & even their beasts."
-Rabbi Yisrael Rosen, dir Tsomet Institute
Israeli Haaretz, 3/26/2008

"We must use Terror, Assassination, land confiscation, & the cutting of all social services to rid the Galilee of its Arab population" -Israel Koenig, The Koenig Memorandum

'Let us Hope for a new war with the Arab countries, so that we may finally get Rid of our troubles & acquire our space"
-Moshe Dayan, Israel's Sacred Terrorism

^^^Need I say more.

Holy Hyrax said...

Well, Shalmo's true colors are out. I think its settled with him

Ezzie said...

You think 1 makes it an existential threat? Then you're speaking a different language than I am. In my English, "existential threat" means a threat to a nation's existence.

I'm sorry - you think that allowing terror attacks to happen is not an existential threat? I asked you earlier at what point you draw the line. You still haven't answered.

So if the minimum amount that would stop the threat was ethnic cleansing or genocide, you'd support that?

In all seriousness - if the only way to stop a terror threat was to wipe out a large population, that would not be "ethnic cleansing" or "genocide". Thankfully, such a situation is impossible, unless an entire ethnic group were solely dedicated to carrying out terror attacks. Even in Gaza, that's not the case, so the very idea you're imparting is simply meant to create a trap to point to and say "oooh, you're in favor of genocide".

You're still fighting straw men. Nobody here excused Hamas. What we said was that part of the reason Hamas gets such support is the illegal settlements, especially as part of the broader picture of Israeli expansionism, etc.

Snort. You're backing off from what you actually said, which was a response to what options would stop terror attacks. You said "stopping to build illegal settlements". It had nothing to do with support - you're simply trying to cover what was a really poor argument. Just admit that it was a bad option to throw out there that has no applicability to Gaza.

Remember how the Gazans got to be Gazans. Again, not an excuse, but something you have to understand in order to move forward in that area.

Sure - go back and read history. When you actually understand what happened, come back to me.

That's obviously untrue, because I personally support some military actions.

Um, where?! I don't mean in theory - I mean in practice. When have you ever shown an understanding or respect for a military operation? And I'm not even asking for approval of one - I'm asking for one where you actually acknowledge a sound reasoning behind one, even if you disagree with it.

I'm not saying people consciously throw people's lives away to feel good about having done something, but I do think they do it unconsciously. It's right here in this thread a dozen times... "Israel has to do SOMETHING." What the SOMETHING is is almost irrelevant, although the fiercer the better, apparently.

Then you're completely misunderstanding what people mean by "SOMETHING". It's not just a stupid "omg, we have to do something!" If you ask people to explain WHY "SOMETHING" must be done, it's because they feel to do nothing is wrong. It's because standing by idly while your citizens are attacked is immoral. It's because carrying out operations will reduce those attacks, certainly in the short term, and hopefully if not probably in the long term. And yes - the reason people vote for stronger rather than weaker is because they actually have an understanding that doing so would in the long-term reduce if not eliminate terror.

It's mind-boggling that you aren't able to understand that when someone says something must be done, it's a sum up of so much more. Not everything needs to be spelled out like one would to a child to be understood - it's an implied understanding.

Do you really think that a military hears of an attack and goes "oh man, we need to do something" "why?" "well, we just do!"? Do you think people want to strike back just to strike back? Even in the most simplistic terms, people will say it's to send a message that terror will not be tolerated. Really, JA, you disappoint me - you accuse others of some kind of simplistic understanding or of creating strawmen because you yourself have a simplistic understanding of other people's views.

Ezzie said...

^^^Need I say more.

Nope.

Jewish Atheist said...

Shalmo:

someone needs to stop the zionazis. If not Iran then somebody else.

Yeah, that's a bit psycho. "Zionazis?"

If history has taught us anything, its that the only time there has ever been peace between all three abrahamic faiths is when muslims ruled that land.

If history has taught us anything, it's that both Christians and Muslims are capable of extraordinary violence and persecution. Jews have mostly been a minority, and often a victimized minority (although it's true they were treated relatively well FOR THE TIMES under Islamic rule in the past) and I don't anything Jews have done comes even close to the evils done in the names of Jesus and Allah.

^^^Need I say more.

There are crazies on both sides. Unfortunately for you, you've just become a crazy to people on the Israeli side by using an idiotic term like "Zionazi."

I'm sorry - you think that allowing terror attacks to happen is not an existential threat?

WTF? This is basic English. Allowing Qassam rockets to hit Israel is not an existential threat. That's just a fact, not a value call. It's got nothing to do with whether it's "acceptable" or whether it should be responded to, but it just ain't an existential threat.

I asked you earlier at what point you draw the line. You still haven't answered.

Draw the line for what?

In all seriousness - if the only way to stop a terror threat was to wipe out a large population, that would not be "ethnic cleansing" or "genocide".

Redefining those words as well?

Thankfully, such a situation is impossible, unless an entire ethnic group were solely dedicated to carrying out terror attacks.

What if you can't tell necessarily tell the difference between a civilian and a combatant... for example in Gaza. Or in Vietnam, during that war.

Even in Gaza, that's not the case, so the very idea you're imparting is simply meant to create a trap to point to and say "oooh, you're in favor of genocide".

I'm not creating a trap, I'm just trying to understand your position -- specifically whether you think that it's worth this particular incursion in order to stop the threat (assuming that works, which I don't think it will) or whether it's worth practically ANYTHING to stop the threat, which is what you actually said.


Snort. You're backing off from what you actually said, which was a response to what options would stop terror attacks. You said "stopping to build illegal settlements". It had nothing to do with support - you're simply trying to cover what was a really poor argument. Just admit that it was a bad option to throw out there that has no applicability to Gaza.


How is that a poor argument? The people of Gaza are Palestinians. Israel is actively and illegally making the future Palestinian state weaker, as well as purposely expanding into land that they think is theirs. If that's not relevant, I don't know what is.

Sure - go back and read history. When you actually understand what happened, come back to me.

Patronizing much?

Um, where?! I don't mean in theory - I mean in practice. When have you ever shown an understanding or respect for a military operation?

First Gulf War, the war in Afghanistan (admittedly I'm having second thoughts about that one), Israel's taking out the Iraqi reactor and possibly an Iranian one, going after bin Laden in Pakistan, targeted assassinations of terrorists, etc. That enough?

And yes - the reason people vote for stronger rather than weaker is because they actually have an understanding that doing so would in the long-term reduce if not eliminate terror.

That's the same freakin' reason the Gazans voted in Hamas. Everybody's biased towards more violent options against the enemy. Don't you see that?

Do you really think that a military hears of an attack and goes "oh man, we need to do something" "why?" "well, we just do!"?

Were you not in America after 9/11? I'm not saying people are complete morons, just that there's a bias towards action even when inaction or less action is the better option.

Really, JA, you disappoint me - you accuse others of some kind of simplistic understanding or of creating strawmen because you yourself have a simplistic understanding of other people's views.

Oh, right. As opposed to your deep and careful consideration of my perspectives. Just in this comment, you expressed disbelief that I'd ever support any military operation WHEN YOU'VE READ ON THIS VERY BLOG various examples of me supporting military operations.

Jewish Atheist said...

Sorry, after the first few paragraphs, that comment was addressed to you, Ezzie.

jewish philosopher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jewish philosopher said...

Jewish Atheist, was the establishment of Israel moral? If not, then of course the Gaza invasion is immoral.

Holy Hyrax said...

Interesting little article:

http://jeffreygoldberg.theatlantic.com/archives/2009/01/the_worlds_pornographic_intere.php

Ezzie said...

WTF? This is basic English. Allowing Qassam rockets to hit Israel is not an existential threat. That's just a fact, not a value call. It's got nothing to do with whether it's "acceptable" or whether it should be responded to, but it just ain't an existential threat.

I asked you earlier at what point you draw the line. You still haven't answered.

Draw the line for what?


Until what point do you consider terror attacks something that should be ignored/accepted.

Redefining those words as well?

No, showing that your hypothetical is stupid.

What if you can't tell necessarily tell the difference between a civilian and a combatant... for example in Gaza. Or in Vietnam, during that war.

Right! You do the best you can, erring on the side of stopping terror attacks. What would YOU do?

I'm not creating a trap, I'm just trying to understand your position -- specifically whether you think that it's worth this particular incursion in order to stop the threat (assuming that works, which I don't think it will) or whether it's worth practically ANYTHING to stop the threat, which is what you actually said.

I've been quite clear about what options are available, and therefore which must be carried out. I've asked you to give an alternative option that is viable. I'm still waiting.

How is that a poor argument? The people of Gaza are Palestinians. Israel is actively and illegally making the future Palestinian state weaker, as well as purposely expanding into land that they think is theirs. If that's not relevant, I don't know what is.

?!?! Are you serious? You're claiming that Israel's building of settlements (and again, I dare you to find me an example since the disengagement) is relevant to a point that it keeps Hamas from stopping to carry out terror attacks?! That it is part of what Israel must do to approach this situation? Are you serious?

Patronizing much?

Yup. It's the same dumb rhetoric: "We need to understand the Palestinians so we can approach this problem." Idiocy - we *know* the history quite well. Do you?

First Gulf War, the war in Afghanistan (admittedly I'm having second thoughts about that one), Israel's taking out the Iraqi reactor and possibly an Iranian one, going after bin Laden in Pakistan, targeted assassinations of terrorists, etc. That enough?

First Gulf War? Why? What did it accomplish?

Afghanistan you're admittedly unsure of.

Vague specific targets that may or may not be possible.

And ironically, a strike on a reactor from 27 years ago that had you been alive at the time you'd have certainly decried as unprovoked.

That's the same freakin' reason the Gazans voted in Hamas. Everybody's biased towards more violent options against the enemy. Don't you see that?

LOL. Except there's a marked difference in voting in a government who is going to take an appropriate mode of self-defense and one which is promising to push all the Jews into the sea. Not to mention the inherent abilities of each and what costs it would have on its population. The people in Gaza voted in a government dedicated to Israel's destruction and one which they knew would result in war; people in democracies vote for governments which will protect them from terror. I hope you're not equating the two.

Were you not in America after 9/11? I'm not saying people are complete morons, just that there's a bias towards action even when inaction or less action is the better option.

And I'm saying that there's a reverse bias which is larger.

Oh, right. As opposed to your deep and careful consideration of my perspectives. Just in this comment, you expressed disbelief that I'd ever support any military operation WHEN YOU'VE READ ON THIS VERY BLOG various examples of me supporting military operations.

No, I don't recall ever seeing that. You support theoretical targeting of known terrorists, which is not even baseline morality. Those should be givens. Any situation which requires anything more than a clear cut shot at terrorists and only terrorists you call for inaction in search for a "better way".

Jewish Atheist said...

Ezzie:

We're all over the place and making no progress. I can't see the point in continuing.

Here's what matters:

I'm very skeptical the offensive will succeed in stopping the rocket attacks. I'm troubled that Israel is killing hundreds of Palestinian civilians during a response to actions which killed less than 20 Israelis.

You're saying the offensive will probably stop the rocket attacks. You're not troubled by the fact that Israel is killing hundreds of civilians as long as they're protecting even one of their own.

Fine, we disagree. We're not going to get anywhere by accusing each other of being always hawkish or always dovish or of being ignorant of history or military strategy, etc.

I think my position is a reasonable one, and unfortunately, I think your prediction about the effectiveness of the operation will turn out to be false. I hope I'm wrong about that.

As for the morality of killing disproportionate numbers of enemy civilians, I can't see how either of us could prove the other wrong. JP is right in one respect -- it all depends on your version of morality.

Jewish Atheist said...

JP:

Jewish Atheist, was the establishment of Israel moral?

Good question.

If not, then of course the Gaza invasion is immoral.

Does not necessarily follow.

Ezzie said...

I'll merely finish back where we began: The idea that morality is numbers-based is simply ridiculous. It all comes back to what is an appropriate response to a terrorist group that carries out attacks against civilians from among civilians. What the numbers end up being do not matter - what matters is the approach and the actions taken. I'm saddened that you are unable to recognize this point.

Jewish Atheist said...

And I'm saddened by the fact that you put abstractions ("appropriate responses") ahead of people ("numbers.") I care a hell of a lot more about how many innocent people die than I do about what "approach" is taken or how "appropriate" it is.

JDHURF said...

Holy Hyrax said:
”Unless you show me where I am an extremist, your points are worthless. A few times people have mentioned the point of the blockades yet you ignore the need for it. You ignore WHY Israel needed to attack Gaza (which you claim Israel broke the cease fire). So far, you have been a broken record.”

On all of these points and more I have shown that you are an unwavering extremist who believes that the only course of action for Israel is a strangling blockade which punishes the whole of Gaza and brutal massacre. These are the positions of an extremist. You outright reject a ceasefire and a reengagement of the peace process and argue that the only way to respond is to bomb and invade Gaza.

”Please, please go tell this to peole living in Sderot, or Ashkelon, or now even people living in Beer Sheva. I am sure they would appreciate to know that Hamas is not a "serious" threat. Though i guess you are conceding they are a regular threat.”

This is a distortion of my plain words. You said that Hamas was a serious threat to the state of Israel and its not. Hamas simply is incapable of destroying the state of Israel. They can fire some rickety qassam rockets and place the lives of Israelis who live on the border in danger, but that is not a threat to the existence of the state of Israel and you know that.

”See and then you get upset when I say you ignore the facts on the ground. I mean, do you even remember the Karine-A?”

Clearly freighters can be checked, you don’t have to punish the whole of Gaza in order to keep conspicuous 4,000-ton freighters from carrying in weapons, they’re not exactly hard to miss. What frustrates me about this is that you habitually refuse to acknowledge the facts on the ground or you simply don’t care (which is highly immoral).

“The humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip is significant and cannot be understated. It follows what the UN had described as an 18 month long “human dignity crisis” in the Gaza Strip, entailing a massive destruction of livelihoods and a significant deterioration of infrastructure and basic services.
Elements of the current humanitarian crisis include:
Seven days of uninterrupted bombardment on the entire Gaza Strip. Registered fatalities amount to 327 and injuries to over 1,100, however there are estimates of additional unregistered casualties up to 421 people killed and 2,100 injured. People are living in a state of fear and panic.
80% of the population cannot support themselves and are dependant on humanitarian assistance. • This figure is increasing.
According to WFP, the population is facing a food crisis. There are food shortages of flour, rice, sugar, dairy products, milk, canned foods and fresh meats.
The imports entering are insufficient to support the population or to service infrastructure maintenance and repair needs.
The health system is overwhelmed, having already been weakened by the 18- month blockade.
The utilities are barely functioning: the only electric power plant has shut down. Some 250,000 people in central and northern Gaza do not have electricity at all due to the damage to fifteen electricity transformers during the air strikes. The water system provides running water once every 5-7 days and the sanitation system cannot treat the sewage and is dumping 40 million litres of raw sewage into the sea daily. Fuel for heating, needed due to the cold weather, and cooking gas, are no longer available in the market.
There has been significant destruction in the Gaza Strip, over 600 targets hit, including roads, infrastructure, the Islamic university, government buildings, mosques and civil police stations.”

http://www.webcitation.org/5dYZRlFLB


”But a blockade is needed (yet you will ignore this again, watch).”


No it is not. Not to mention that collective punishment is a war crime. Yet you will ignore this again, watch.


”No, all you are basically saying here, is that Hamas and the Palestinians are a bunch of pitbulls that can't control themselves. Shame on you.”


I said no such thing, shame on you for lying in order to try to make a point.


”Lets as you this: Did Hamas need to fire in Israel, for what Israel was DOING IN THE WESTBANK????????
The agreement was between HAMAS and ISRAEL NOT the westbank.”



And as everyone knows Hamas presents itself as a representative of the Palestinians, not just those in Gaza. Israel knows that if they go into the West Bank and kill Palestinians that is going to provoke Hamas.

Orthoprax said...

JD,

"To weaken Hamas politically, which means to elicit from the people of Gaza a rejection of Hamas."

It's amusing to me how everything with you needs to be a strawman or distortion of what I said. I said to weaken Hamas, not specifically in a political sense. But in a regular we won't supply you with goods so that you can spend your time making rockets. And in the we won't empower Hamas by handing goods over to them to use as they please. That the Gazans will also realize that Hamas is not acting in their better interests would be great bonus.

"To elicit such a reaction from the people of Gaza, in order to weaken Hamas, is to engage in collective punishment, i.e. terrorism."

In general though this is a gross syllogism, as we discussed above. Withholding goods (which they could get from other places, like Egypt) from a people who is overwhelmingly either actively engaged in attempting your destruction or playing supporting roles or being sympathetic to those goals is not remotely in the same category as destroying a village if one member of the village fired on troops.

"That you not only distort the reality of the blockade - pretending that the people of Gaza are just fine, that it has no effect upon them"

Again, it is you who distort my position. Did I say they were not effected? They are deeply effected but they're also not dying in the streets. They have food, they have water and they have medicines. They are still given fuel and electricity and the whole nine yards. The point is put economic pressure on the whole war machine that is the Hamas government, not to torture civilians.

Even your UN source described the last 18 months as just a "human dignity crisis" - not something which is leaving the masses dropping dead in the streets. And I agree - it sucks to do this to the Gazan people, but if giving supplies leads to Hamas' reigning glory then it cannot be done.

"A quarter of all deaths being civilians is not “some civilians,” that you would use such a euphemistic phrase is evidence of your violent extremism."

Is it now? Do you believe the war in Afghanistan was justified? If you do, did you know that the ratio of enemy combatants vs civilian deaths was much lower than 4:1? Since when is taking a strong arm against terrorism violent extremism? If nothing else it is your policies which promote and protect terrorists!

"That you have this fantasy that Israel only strikes at legitimate military targets is further evidence of your bias"

Ok, prove otherwise. I believe that Israel definitely aims only at targets it believes are legitimate.

"that you don’t recognize the horror in dropping one ton bombs on one of the most densely populated civilian sectors in the world – knowing that civilian deaths are going to be high, but disregarding them – is not only biased and evidence of extremism, it is positively evil."

It wasn't done indiscriminately. In that strike Israel took out a big name on the Hamas deck of cards. It would be real nice if those thugs just lined up away from civilians but it is they who choose to use others as meat shields so that terrorist sympathizers like yourself will poop on Israel.

"A quarter of all killed being civilians is not a “decent ratio,” you disgust me."

Boo hoo. You support terrorism and so the feeling is mutual.

"No, as I told Holy Hyrax, unless you believe in voodoo one is responsible for one’s own actions, not others."

It troubles me to no end when the likes of Hamas use our morality as a weapon against us. It is intolerable and they must be stopped.

"Even further, as has already been observed, Hamas began firing rockets in response to Israel’s provocative and aggressive actions."

What are you smoking?

"It was Israel who effectively ended the ceasefire, as I have already pointed out"

Do tell.

"and the aggression now being committed had been planned six months in advance, even as the ceasefire was being negotiated, Israel had no intentions to not attack and was going to use any pretext to do so."

Prove it. Like I already said - the US had been planning nuclear war with the USSR for 50 years. If Hamas had come around then Israel would not have struck.

"It’s not a matter of debate. “Even if Israel 's control in the Gaza Strip does not amount to "effective control" and the territory is not considered occupied, Israel still bears certain responsibilities under international humanitarian law."

Sure, but groups like AI don't stop at just those. Ergo - bias.

Did you know that in one paper from AI written in the last year or two, AI actually blamed Israel for Palestinian men who beat their wives. No kidding. It's biased as hell.

"More fabrications. Amnesty International and similar NGO’s (Human Rights Watch, B’Tselem and others) do not simply accept carte blanch"

I was actually referring to the general Palestinian narratives, not of specific incidents. Like for example simply assuming that Israel is an occupying power. But thanks for the wild jumping to conclusions. I appreciate it.

"Yes, their data is inaccurate:
“On April 18, NGO Monitor issued a “draft report on Human Rights Watch”"

Oh, is HRW the new name for AI? Try to stay relevant, ok?

JDHURF said...

Holy Hyrax:

After reading random's posts I am forced to acknowledge that you are not quite that extreme, you are simply militant.

Yankel said...

"I have already stated that every rocket fired by Hamas militants is a war crime, but for you to pretend that when Israel engages in aerial bombing of densely populated civilian sectors with the foreknowledge that it is going to kill scores of civilians Israel is not targeting civilians you are simply, again, conjuring up fabrications. Are you really trying to argue that when Israel bombs one of the most densely populated civilian sectors on the globe they have no idea that civilians are going to be killed? You are severely blinded by your bias."

I'm the anonymous who's been arguing along side you here (but not the nazi guy abve), and I have to say that he makes a fair point here. The question isn't whether they know civilians will die, it's whether they will disproportionately die versus legitimate targets.

Ezzie said...

And I'm saddened by the fact that you put abstractions ("appropriate responses") ahead of people ("numbers.") I care a hell of a lot more about how many innocent people die than I do about what "approach" is taken or how "appropriate" it is.

...and that's what terrorists count on. Because you are unable to differentiate between one strike and another, only between the total number of dead bodies, they stay in densely populated areas knowing that any strikes at them will result in condemnation and halting of their opponent.

It's not abstraction - it's the approach Israel takes and the actions it carries out as part of that approach. Your backer just above says it well:

The question isn't whether they know civilians will die, it's whether they will disproportionately die versus legitimate targets.

As Israel is targeting only legitimate targets and trying its best to minimize civilian casualties, the number of casualties is tragic but does not detract from their responsibilities.

It is not about the number of dead, but the actions taken. Until people such as yourself realize this, terrorists will continue to sacrifice the lives of countless civilians to achieve their goals.

Holy Hyrax said...

I may be militant, and by your standards, I am sure most people would be militant, but at least I look at the entire broader picture here. You look ONLY on suffering of one side and hence clouds your judgement. Had someone like you been around in the 40s, America would never have been able to fight WWII

Holy Hyrax said...

>On all of these points and more I have shown that you are an unwavering extremist who believes that the only course of action for Israel is a strangling blockade which punishes the whole of Gaza and brutal massacre. These are the positions of an extremist. You outright reject a ceasefire and a reengagement of the peace process and argue that the only way to respond is to bomb and invade Gaza.

Blockades=extremist?

I guess in your vision of what morality means. But OK.

I never said I reject a ceasefire and I never said I don't support the peace process. You are obviously reading what you WANT to read since I have said over and over that I support a two state solution.

>This is a distortion of my plain words. You said that Hamas was a serious threat to the state of Israel and its not. Hamas simply is incapable of destroying the state of Israel. They can fire some rickety qassam rockets and place the lives of Israelis who live on the border in danger, but that is not a threat to the existence of the state of Israel and you know that.

Look at the key words you choose to use to try to apologize for their actions and therefore, make it out to be no big deal. You call them "rickety" (go tell this to the people that have 15 seconds to take cover). You say only the "border" towns are in danger. The missles have already reached Beer Sheva. And yes, these sorts of weaponry COMBINED with their attitude will always be a threat no JUST to the physical SOIL of Israel but to how Israelis EVERYWHERE live their lives. NO nation. Let me repeat this again. NO nation, no matter what kind of missles whether "rikety" in your book or not CANNOT tolerate it. This is SIMPLE logic to the well being of ANY state.

>Clearly freighters can be checked, you don’t have to punish the whole of Gaza in order to keep conspicuous 4,000-ton freighters from carrying in weapons, they’re not exactly hard to miss. What frustrates me about this is that you habitually refuse to acknowledge the facts on the ground or you simply don’t care (which is highly immoral).

THE POINT is that they have YET to demonstrate any trust. And blockades HELP in finding these weapons even on a frieghter. What happens when their smuggling becomes more subtle? And once again, you choose to read what you want to read, because I have already said the Palestinians have it hard there, but what you have yet to respond to is the fact that they smuggle weapons into GAZA.

>No it is not. Not to mention that collective punishment is a war crime. Yet you will ignore this again, watch.

Who are you to say its not needed? If they want blockade open, let them demonstrate that they won't smuggle in weapons. It's pretty simple. Apparently, you don't think much of the Palestinians if you can't give them simple expectations.

>I said no such thing, shame on you for lying in order to try to make a point.

You seem to always apologize give them an open ear to anything they do. Do you think for once they just WON'T fire missles when its none of their business?

>And as everyone knows Hamas presents itself as a representative of the Palestinians, not just those in Gaza. Israel knows that if they go into the West Bank and kill Palestinians that is going to provoke Hamas.

Irrelevant what they present themselves as. They are the governing body of Gaza not the Westbank. Ceasefire was only regarding Gaza, not Westbank. If they really cared, they would do something about their itchy trigger finger. And obviously, once again, you apologize for them that you understand them being "provoked" (whatever that means). All that is clear is that you never give the benefit of the doubt to Israel the way you give to Hamas when Israel feels they have to take action against threats, even when it has NOTHING to do with Hamas.

JDHURF said...

Orthoprax said:
”It's amusing to me how everything with you needs to be a strawman or distortion of what I said. I said to weaken Hamas, not specifically in a political sense. But in a regular we won't supply you with goods so that you can spend your time making rockets. And in the we won't empower Hamas by handing goods over to them to use as they please. That the Gazans will also realize that Hamas is not acting in their better interests would be great bonus.”


Well, in my defense, it’s difficult to keep up with your ever changing positions on this. Do recall that you first claimed that “the blockade and so on are necessary in order to give as little credibility to a Hamas-run government as possible.” In whose eyes is Hamas supposed to be discredited? Obviously the Palestinians. Why would they (in this absolute fantasy scenario) view Hamas as discredited? Because they are starving, don’t have electricity, running water, medical supplies and so on. That is collective punishment, i.e. terrorism.
I sure would like to know how people are making rockets with food and medical supplies.


”In general though this is a gross syllogism, as we discussed above. Withholding goods (which they could get from other places, like Egypt) from a people who is overwhelmingly either actively engaged in attempting your destruction or playing supporting roles or being sympathetic to those goals is not remotely in the same category as destroying a village if one member of the village fired on troops.”


They cannot get the necessities of life from Egypt because of the corrupt Mubarak, this isn’t news to anyone who knows anything about the situation.
Please provide evidence that suggests that the whole of Gaza “is overwhelmingly either actively engaged in attempting to” destroy Israel “or play8ing supporting roles.” That’s going to be rather difficult considering that the only data that exists shows that a majority of Palestinians support the two-state solution, hence Israel’s existence.
Again, nothing you have said here negates the fact that the blockade punishes the whole of Gaza, which is collective punishment – what Israel’s stated intentions are, to punish all of Gaza – illegal as defined under international law and human rights, an example of terrorism.


”They are deeply effected but they're also not dying in the streets. They have food, they have water and they have medicines. They are still given fuel and electricity and the whole nine yards. The point is put economic pressure on the whole war machine that is the Hamas government, not to torture civilians.”


Here are the actual effects once again that you continue to ignore:


“The humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip is significant and cannot be understated. It follows what the UN had described as an 18 month long “human dignity crisis” in the Gaza Strip, entailing a massive destruction of livelihoods and a significant deterioration of infrastructure and basic services.
Elements of the current humanitarian crisis include:
Seven days of uninterrupted bombardment on the entire Gaza Strip. Registered fatalities amount to 327 and injuries to over 1,100, however there are estimates of additional unregistered casualties up to 421 people killed and 2,100 injured. People are living in a state of fear and panic.
80% of the population cannot support themselves and are dependant on humanitarian assistance. • This figure is increasing.
According to WFP, the population is facing a food crisis. There are food shortages of flour, rice, sugar, dairy products, milk, canned foods and fresh meats.
The imports entering are insufficient to support the population or to service infrastructure maintenance and repair needs.
The health system is overwhelmed, having already been weakened by the 18- month blockade.
The utilities are barely functioning: the only electric power plant has shut down. Some 250,000 people in central and northern Gaza do not have electricity at all due to the damage to fifteen electricity transformers during the air strikes. The water system provides running water once every 5-7 days and the sanitation system cannot treat the sewage and is dumping 40 million litres of raw sewage into the sea daily. Fuel for heating, needed due to the cold weather, and cooking gas, are no longer available in the market.
There has been significant destruction in the Gaza Strip, over 600 targets hit, including roads, infrastructure, the Islamic university, government buildings, mosques and civil police stations.”

http://www.webcitation.org/5dYZRlFLB


”Even your UN source described the last 18 months as just a "human dignity crisis" - not something which is leaving the masses dropping dead in the streets. And I agree - it sucks to do this to the Gazan people, but if giving supplies leads to Hamas' reigning glory then it cannot be done.”


Read the whole link and read the others I posted as well. When children are digging through dumpsters for food, it’s a bit beyond an inconvenience or an affront to dignity only. I will again repeat that the blockade is collective punishment and is illegal under international law and human rights, a war crime, an example of terrorism. People who support terrorism are extremists.


”Is it now? Do you believe the war in Afghanistan was justified? If you do, did you know that the ratio of enemy combatants vs civilian deaths was much lower than 4:1? Since when is taking a strong arm against terrorism violent extremism? If nothing else it is your policies which promote and protect terrorists!”


The aerial bombing of Afghanistan followed by its invasion was not justified. Even President-Elect Obama has remarked upon who grotesque the killing of civilians in Afghanistan has been. Weddings being bombed and so on. Let’s leave that to the side for now.


”It wasn't done indiscriminately. In that strike Israel took out a big name on the Hamas deck of cards. It would be real nice if those thugs just lined up away from civilians but it is they who choose to use others as meat shields so that terrorist sympathizers like yourself will poop on Israel.”


Calling me a terrorist sympathizer after I have stated outright that Hamas should be neutralized (possibly even by IDF special force commandos) as well as all terrorist elements in Palestine shows that you have no personal integrity at all.


”Do tell.”

I already have, but you clearly either don’t have a memory or are being disingenuous.

“The Israeli blockade meant that the recent five-and-a-half-month ceasefire between Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian armed groups in Gaza, Gaza residents experienced little or no improvement to their lives. The ceasefire effectively ended after six Palestinian militants were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza on 4 November and a barrage of Palestinians rockets were launched on nearby towns and villages in the south of Israel.”

http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/civilians-must-be-prot ected-gaza-and-israel-20081228


”Prove it. Like I already said - the US had been planning nuclear war with the USSR for 50 years. If Hamas had come around then Israel would not have struck.”


Citing the criminal policies of the United States isn’t an argument in your favor. Hamas did agree to negotiations long ago, but Israel rejected them outright, as I have already observed:

Uri Avnery reported:

“[s]everal months ago, Hamas proposed a ceasefire. It repeated the offer this week [late January]. A ceasefire means, in the view of Hamas: the Palestinians will stop shooting Qassams and mortar shells, the Israelis will stop the incursions into Gaza, the ‘targeted’ assassinations and the blockade…Why doesn’t our government jump at this proposal? Simple: in order to make such a deal, we must speak with Hamas, directly or indirectly. And this is precisely what the government refuses to do…The real purpose of the whole exercise is to overthrow the Hamas regime in Gaza and to prevent a Hamas takeover in the West Bank…In simple and blunt words: the government sacrifices the fate of the Sderot population on the altar of a hopeless principle. It is more important for the government to boycott Hamas – because it is now the spearhead of Palestinian resistance – than to put an end to the suffering of Sderot. All the media cooperate with this pretence.”


”Sure, but groups like AI don't stop at just those. Ergo - bias.”


That’s laughable. In response to an objective analysis offered by the Israeli center for human rights in the occupied territories, B’Tselem, you outright ignore the analysis and claim, well, “there’s bias,” that’s simply juvenile. It’s tantamount to putting your hands over your ears and chanting, “nah, nah, nah.” If you are arguing that Amnesty International goes beyond applying international human rights law, you are obviously going to have to prove it.


”Like for example simply assuming that Israel is an occupying power. But thanks for the wild jumping to conclusions. I appreciate it.”

Your dishonestly is absolutely breathtaking. No one “simply assumes that Israel is an occupying power.” Israel controls the land, the air and the sea with the complicity of Egypt, but, as I already showed and as you ignored, “One source of the obligations imposed on Israel toward residents of the Gaza Strip is the laws of occupation, which are incorporated in the Hague Convention (1907) and in the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949). These laws impose general responsibility on the occupying state for the safety and welfare of civilians living in the occupied territory. The laws of occupation apply if a state has "effective control" over the territory in question. The High Court has held contrary to Israel 's claim, stating that the creation and continuation of an occupation does not depend on the existence of an institution administering the lives of the local population, but only on the extent of its military control in the area. Furthermore, a certain area may be deemed occupied even if the army does not have a fixed presence throughout the whole area. Leading experts in humanitarian law maintain that effective control may also exist when the army controls key points in a particular area, reflecting its power over the entire area and preventing an alternative central government from formulating and carrying out its powers. The broad scope of Israeli control in the Gaza Strip, which exists despite the lack of a physical presence of IDF soldiers in the territory, creates a reasonable basis for the assumption that this control amounts to "effective control," such that the laws of occupation continue to apply.

Even if Israel 's control in the Gaza Strip does not amount to "effective control" and the territory is not considered occupied, Israel still bears certain responsibilities under international humanitarian law. IHL is not limited to protecting civilians living under occupation, but includes provisions intended to protect civilians during an armed conflict, regardless of the status of the territory in which they live. Given that Israel contends that an armed conflict exists between it and the Palestinian organizations fighting against it, which has continued even after the disengagement, such provisions apply. These provisions are found, for example, in the Fourth Geneva Convention, pursuant to which Israel must protect the wounded, sick, children under age fifteen, and pregnant women, enable the free passage of medicines and essential foodstuffs, enable medical teams to provide assistance, and refrain from imposing collective punishment.”

http://www.btselem.org/english/Gaza_Strip/Israels_obligations.asp


”Oh, is HRW the new name for AI? Try to stay relevant, ok?”

Read the links, I was just giving one obvious example of how the NGO Monitor conjures fabrications and lies. What’s really revealing about the sort of claims you are making is that every single human rights organization in existence is biased by your lack of standards, every single one of them. It’s quite a stretch to claim that, rather than Israel violating international law and human rights, every single human rights organization is biased. It’s the worst of reactionary, conspiracy theories. You sound awfully similar to David Horowitz right now.

JDHURF said...

Holy Hyrax:

You support the blockades, which the Palestinians will not accept and will hinder a ceasefire, which is precisely what Israel wants. Blockades=collective punishment. Collective punishment=terrorism. Terrorism and support for terrorism=extremism.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Blockades=collective punishment. Collective punishment=terrorism. Terrorism and support for terrorism=extremism

Blockades=milkshakes. Milkshakes=cows. Cows, and a support for cows=farmer.

Look, I can make up anything myself to fit my ideology as well. It's not a stretch. If you understand that Israel needed the blockades and if you put enough energy into demanding some self restraint on the part of the Palestinians as you do criticising Israel for everything, Israel might find that they can trust the Palestinian people and lift the blockade. Till they show self control and not launch thousands of rockets and show the world that they can take a gift they received and build from there, then Israel should life a blockade.

Holy Hyrax said...

>In response to an objective analysis offered by the Israeli center for human rights in the occupied territories,

How do you know its objective?

Jewish Atheist said...

Ezzie:

...and that's what terrorists count on. Because you are unable to differentiate between one strike and another, only between the total number of dead bodies, they stay in densely populated areas knowing that any strikes at them will result in condemnation and halting of their opponent.

Of course. Terrorists always exploit the fact that they're willing to sink lower than the "good guys." That's what makes them terrorists. The answer isn't to sink to their level, but to lawfully and morally root them out.

As Israel is targeting only legitimate targets and trying its best to minimize civilian casualties, the number of casualties is tragic but does not detract from their responsibilities.

I agree with you that Israel is doing everything right IF you assume that the operation itself is justified. The problem is that the operation is disproportionate.

It is not about the number of dead, but the actions taken. Until people such as yourself realize this, terrorists will continue to sacrifice the lives of countless civilians to achieve their goals.

I think they're perfectly happy to do that either way. It's just good PR if nothing else. The answer cannot be to just shoot through the human shields. We're not monsters.

Holy Hyrax said...

>Citing the criminal policies of the United States isn’t an argument in your favor. Hamas did agree to negotiations long ago,

Wow. You can't make a subjective claim of calling US policies criminal and using IT in YOUR favor while arguing against OP on this case. There is nothing objective here, hence OP's example of what nations do stands.

then you continue by saying this:

>but Israel rejected them outright, as I have already observed:

“[s]everal months ago, Hamas proposed a ceasefire. It repeated the offer this week [late January]. A ceasefire means, in the view of Hamas: the Palestinians will stop shooting Qassams and mortar shells, the Israelis will stop the incursions into Gaza, the ‘targeted’ assassinations and the blockade…Why doesn’t our government jump at this proposal? Simple: in order to make such a deal, we must speak with Hamas, directly or indirectly. And this is precisely what the government refuses to do…The real purpose of the whole exercise is to overthrow the Hamas regime in Gaza and to prevent a Hamas takeover in the West Bank…In simple and blunt words: the government sacrifices the fate of the Sderot population on the altar of a hopeless principle. It is more important for the government to boycott Hamas – because it is now the spearhead of Palestinian resistance – than to put an end to the suffering of Sderot. All the media cooperate with this pretence.”

This is clearly someone's take on the matter. Truth is, as I mentioned before and you ignored, Israel has no interest in launching an attack for a few hours then signing a ceasefire. I am sure you will agree with me, that you either wage a war, or you don't. You are only giving Hamas the knowledge that Israel will NEVER go all the way, and that Hamas can do anythign it wants without fear of reprisal. And if there is a reprisal, it will only last a few days or hours. That is not how one wages battles. Also, the Israeli public has grown sick of the attacks and they feel as well as the government that something needs to be done.

Yankel said...

"Please provide evidence that suggests that the whole of Gaza “is overwhelmingly either actively engaged in attempting to” destroy Israel “or play8ing supporting roles.” That’s going to be rather difficult considering that the only data that exists shows that a majority of Palestinians support the two-state solution, hence Israel’s existence."

Again, to be fair, some previous studies have found a majority of Palestinians to view suicide bombings killing Israeli citizens favorably. I don't know what the latest statistics are. Unlike many, I can understand why Palestinians are angry. And more than likely the majority are not actively involved in terror, but they aren't against it either.

Orthoprax said...

JD,

"Well, in my defense, it’s difficult to keep up with your ever changing positions on this. Do recall that you first claimed that “the blockade and so on are necessary in order to give as little credibility to a Hamas-run government as possible.” In whose eyes is Hamas supposed to be discredited?"

I'm not changing positions. There are different reasons for different aspects of the blockade. The general goal of the blockade (which was initially supported by the US, the UN, the EU and Russia) was to not necessarily 'discredit' Hamas - but to not give credibility to Hamas in the first place by dealing with it as a legitimate government. It is a terrorist organization and must be understood as such by the entire world.

"Because they are starving, don’t have electricity, running water, medical supplies and so on. That is collective punishment, i.e. terrorism. I sure would like to know how people are making rockets with food and medical supplies."

Hello, this is the point - they are NOT starving. They HAVE water. They HAVE medical supplies. Basic humanitarian needs have not been cut off and it is only your fabrications pretending that they are. Naturally it is during this latest period of active battle when these deliveries have been way reduced but for the last 18 months people in Gaza have NOT been dying from hunger or thirst or lack of medicine.

The blockade is mainly about reducing the import of things like electricity, fuel, building supplies and the like which can and were being used by terrorist groups to dig tunnels, build bombs and rockets and generally be a more effective military force.

"They cannot get the necessities of life from Egypt because of the corrupt Mubarak, this isn’t news to anyone who knows anything about the situation."

Uh huh. So why is the onus on Israel to support its enemies when Gaza's theoretical brothers in Egypt refuse to not break the blockade? Double standard, hmm?

"Again, nothing you have said here negates the fact that the blockade punishes the whole of Gaza, which is collective punishment"

I think you must be seriously thick in the head. Israel is in a state of war with the Gazan "government." It is a typical and basic course of action to not supply your enemy with tools that it will use against you. Can you name one other conflict in history where one state at war with another was still obligated to maintain anything more than basic humanitarian needs to the civilians of that enemy state?

War itself is a "collective punishment" on civilians - but it's not what the Geneva conventions were talking about.

"Here are the actual effects once again that you continue to ignore:"

I'm not ignoring it - you are misleading by EQUIVOCATING about the last 18 months of blockade and the most recent consequences with the start of active battle. The way things are NOW is not the way things have been for 18 months. Ata mayvin?

"The aerial bombing of Afghanistan followed by its invasion was not justified...Let’s leave that to the side for now."

Oh, wow! Why should I leave it on the side? This is a clear indication that it's not I who is the extremist but ye. You are clearly and consistently supporting the idea that terrorists and terror-harboring states can act with impunity. You shamelessly support terrorism by denouncing any effort to stop it.

"Calling me a terrorist sympathizer after I have stated outright that Hamas should be neutralized (possibly even by IDF special force commandos) as well as all terrorist elements in Palestine shows that you have no personal integrity at all."

Ha! You're a real master tactician! Maybe the IDF should use their time machine instead and break up that first Muslim brotherhood meeting in Cairo! Ok, maybe you're not a sympathizer, but you are obviously completely clueless about how wars are fought.

"I already have, but you clearly either don’t have a memory or are being disingenuous."

Haven't told me. As I said, I haven't been reading the other posts.

“The ceasefire effectively ended after six Palestinian militants were killed by Israeli forces in Gaza on 4 November and a barrage of Palestinians rockets were launched on nearby towns and villages in the south of Israel.”

Funny again how your heroes at AI fail to give a reason explaining why the IDF attacked those militants. "This was
preceded by an ISA-IDF operation on the evening between November 4th and 5th, which
exposed a tunnel ready for use, which was intended for the purpose of a large terror attack
within Israel. This Israeli activity was undertaken in order to deal with an impending and
urgent threat, and thus was not a rupture of the “Lull.”"

http://www.shabak.gov.il/SiteCollectionImages/english/TerrorInfo/weekly-update-06-11-08-En.pdf

"Citing the criminal policies of the United States isn’t an argument in your favor."

The point is that states plan for many wars that need not occur. The mere advance planning does not mean there was full intent without taking into account current events.

"Hamas did agree to negotiations long ago, but Israel rejected them outright, as I have already observed:"

If Hamas stopped firing rockets then Israel would not have gone in. But it isn't in Israel's interests to negotiate with a terrorist group that exists for the intended goal of destroying Israel. Hamas cannot be allowed to be recognized as a legitimate government.

”Sure, but groups like AI don't stop at just those. Ergo - bias.”

"That’s laughable. In response to an objective analysis offered by the Israeli center for human rights in the occupied territories, B’Tselem, you outright ignore the analysis and claim, well, “there’s bias,” that’s simply juvenile. It’s tantamount to putting your hands over your ears and chanting, “nah, nah, nah.” If you are arguing that Amnesty International goes beyond applying international human rights law, you are obviously going to have to prove it."

What are you talking about? You confirmed the kind of bias I was talking about. AI states that Israel has obligations as an occupying power and frequently critiques Israel's actions in those terms.

"Your dishonestly is absolutely breathtaking. No one “simply assumes that Israel is an occupying power.”..."

And then the rest of your quote goes on to explain how they take a politically biased stance on a contested issue. It's incredible how you call me a liar and then confirm exactly what I said.

"Read the links, I was just giving one obvious example of how the NGO Monitor conjures fabrications and lies."

Perhaps they do, but it was an irrelevant argument because your point was that they lie about HRW. We were talking about AI.

"What’s really revealing about the sort of claims you are making is that every single human rights organization in existence is biased by your lack of standards, every single one of them."

Where do you come up with these leaps into the unsubstantiated? I was talking about AI, not every single group in existence. Geez.

Ezzie said...

The answer isn't to sink to their level

Duh.

but to lawfully and morally root them out.

Also duh. And how do you propose doing that? Dangling carrots away from the civilians?

I agree with you that Israel is doing everything right IF you assume that the operation itself is justified. The problem is that the operation is disproportionate.

Don't you realize that's a circular argument? If it's justified, it's not disproportionate. You're saying it would only be proportionate if it were justified, and it would only be justified if it were proportionate. As they used to say on an old show... :::GONG:::

I think they're perfectly happy to do that either way. It's just good PR if nothing else.

Circular again. It wouldn't be good PR if the blame was continually heaped on them instead of Israel. And the more it becomes clear that Israel will strike anyway, the less the civilians there will put up with it.

The answer cannot be to just shoot through the human shields. We're not monsters.

We also can't let terrorists use human shields. Until you figure out a way around this problem, you can't just say do nothing. It's more immoral to do nothing than to try and take out the terrorists regardless of the shields they place around themselves.

Holy Hyrax said...

NU

JA,

WHen you are getting married? :P

Shalmo said...

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28435441/displaymode/1107/s/2/

^^^looks like people all over the world are waking up to side with the Palestinians

There is hope for humanity yet.

Shalmo said...

I suppose now is a good a time as any to cover some important theological issues related to this conflict.

Most Jewish claimants to Israel come from the belief that this land was given by Yahweh to the Jews. But sadly so few of you know that in fact archaeological evidence has shown that in fact Jews have never had access to all of the so-called biblical land of Canaan. Not to mention most of the Torah's theology was created to suit the political interests (including expanding of borders) of Judea's kings. One need not look further than the works of Israel Fikelstein for proof of that. So to use Torah, and in the case of Jews (the masoretic version aka the most fake of the 4 versions available today, cooked up in the post christian era of 9th century), as any sort of proof of ownership of this land is ludicrous. Arabs have been on this land for more than 1300 years which is as much, if not more, than the time Jews have had it.

R. Yom Tov Lippman Milhausen, in his work Tikkun Sefer Torah:
Because of our many sins, the Torah has been forgotten and we can not find a kosher Torah scroll; the scribes are ignoramuses and the scholars pay no attention in this matter. Therefore I have toiled to find a Torah scroll with the proper letters, open and closed passages, but I have found none, not to mention a scroll which is accurate as to the plene and defective spellings, a subject completely lost to our entire generation. In all these matters we have no choice [i.e. we are halakhically considered anusim]; but how to write the correct forms of the letters we do know and their laws are like that of tefillin. Thus if we allow the ignorant scribes to continue to follow their usual practices [in shaping the letters], here we sin on purpose [mezidin].

If ever a religion was limited, that would be Judaism where half of the mitzvohs demand the existence of a temple and a Torah based government. A substantial part of the core religious rites cannot be carried out now. The worship in the Pentateuch seems largely sacrificial in its nature, but where's the Jewish sacrifices today (except for the Samaritans who continue to do so, but on Mt. Gerazim instead of in Jerusalem, which their "version" of the Torah says to do so on). But here is the juicy part.....

Even if religious Jews had their dreams come true and they were able to destroy the Aqsa masjid and rebuild another Temple, how would they know where the Holy of Holies is (or even the Ark itself)? Only the high priest was allowed to enter it on Yom Kippur, so by them not knowing where it is, that's a pretty big problem for them.

They don't even know for sure how to properly pronounce the Hebrew name of God anymore (relying on a Greek transliteration to guess what it might have been).

Random said...

"But I think that's a legitimate concern, and I care about Israeli lives. Does that shatter your worldview?"

Hardly. I just think you're missing the point I'm trying to make slightly. Hamas has fired over 8,000 rockets into Israel, if they'd achieved only a very moderate kill rate of say one victim per rocket then they would have inflicted more fatalities than Israel has suffered in every war fought since the War of Independence (you'd have to go up to two per rocket if you want to include the WoI casualties). The fact that Hamas has not achieved this kill rate is down to (a) the inaccuracy of the rockets used so far, and (b) the extraordinary efforts the Israeli government has gone to to protect their people. Neither of these factors (especially the first) can be relied upon to endure indefinitely. As I've already said, Hamas are only one moderate-sized piece of luck away from scoring a truly major atrocity. Everybody knows this, and that Hamas are working very hard indeed to this end. Should the Israeli government really be forced to wait until a school or marketplace goes up in flames with dozens if not hundreds dead before taking decisive action to reign in Hamas? Intentions count, and Hamas' intentions are to kill or drive out every single Israeli - and they have shown that they are prepared to work to achieve this goal. Why should Israel wait until they are in a position to achieve this goal before striking back?


"Don't you think that there is some number of enemy civilians that is too large to kill (collaterally) in order to save 10-15 lives? Maybe you put the number higher than 200, maybe it's 2000 or 20,000, but surely you have a number, right?"

Morality is not a branch of mathematics of course. What is necessary and what is excessive is highly context dependent.

"Or does anything go when you're defending even a single one of your people?"

In theory. A government's first (indeed, arguably it's only) duty is to protect it's own people. In an ideal world they would go about this role in such a way as to minimise casualties amongst innocent bystanders, but that should never be their top priority - merely one factor amongst many and not the most important. (I wouldn't have bombed Al Shifa hospital either, but I confess I probably wouldn't have thought to set up the phone banks the IDF must have used to send out those 90,000 phone calls. Kudos to the Israelis for that one.) Governments that think this way tend to lose fewer people overall than those who agonise about the safety of the people attacking them. As an example, do you know why when during the Lebanese hostage crisis of the 1980's when many British, American and other hostages were being taken no Soviet citizens were even taken hostage? (There were plenty available at the time.) It's because the one time the hostages takers did try it the KGB grabbed the brother of the leader of the group involved, castrated him, forced him to swallow the severed organs and then cut his head off and sent it to his brother the hostage taker. Less than 24 hours later the four soviet citizens involved were released and on a plane back to Moscow, and no others were ever taken hostage again. Protecting your people, or an atrocity against innocent bystanders?

"Apologies accepted, if they're still extended."

:-)

"That's not what you said, though. You said people talk about them "creating as it does an image of gallant and courageous amateurs heroically resisting a brutal military regime." I'm sure some people (pro-Hamas people) think that way, but that's not why JDHURF and I have mentioned it."

I know it's not the way you're thinking (JDHurf I'm not so sure about), but it is a common mindset around the blogosphere. I should have taken more care not to tar you with it though. My bad.

"Then what exactly will negotiating with them achieve?

You convince them it's in their best interest. You know, exactly what you and Ezzie say Israel's trying to do with this operation."

I don't know about Ezzie, but i don't think that's particularly a goal for Israel. They know that negotiating with Hamas is probably futile, so they're attempting to shut down the capability to harm Israel and ideally try to drive a wedge between Hamas and the people they claim to be defending. It has gone unnoticed amongst all the turmoil, but the Palestinian Authority is supposed to be holding elections later this year. It is not too unreasonable to hope that the Palestinian people will vote for somebody who can bring the suffering to an end rather than somebody who only promises more of the same out to eternity.

"They said that about Arafat as well."

The difference is that Arafat was a corrupt thug, and that was known at the time. These are not nice qualities, but they did make it possible to negotiate with him. All the evidence is that the Hamas guys are nothing less than totally sincere when they talk about the destruction of the state of Israel and the expulsion of all jews from the Holy land. Seriously, how do you negotiate with people like that?

"You think 1 makes it an existential threat? Then you're speaking a different language than I am. In my English, "existential threat" means a threat to a nation's existence."

Hamas *are* an existential threat - read their Charter sometime. They are a threat that Israel is currently fully able to contain, but they are trying to do better and only a fool would assert that they are never going to succeed. Remember, Israel has to succeed all the time, Hamas and their ilk only need to succeed once.

"Nobody here excused Hamas. What we said was that part of the reason Hamas gets such support is the illegal settlements, especially as part of the broader picture of Israeli expansionism, etc. Remember how the Gazans got to be Gazans."

I agree with you on the settlements - they are a policy that is both stupid and illegal. However it should be borne in mind that Hamas is strongest in Gaza, and that their attacks on Israel *increased* after all the settlements in Gaza were demolished. Hamas isn't fighting to stop the settlements - Hamas is fighting to destroy Israel and drive out the Jews.

[From another comment]

"That's the same freakin' reason the Gazans voted in Hamas. Everybody's biased towards more violent options against the enemy. Don't you see that?"

This has been mentioned a few times now, so I thought I'd address it. I remember this coming up at the time of the last Palestinian election, and I remember it being the case that people for the most part voted for Hamas because they were seen as being less corrupt than Fatah (a low bar to clear, admittedly) and better at delivering public services - both points were apparently true as far as they went, BTW. The talk of waging war to the death was taken pretty much as posturing and stuff they'd have to moderate when in government - that Hamas was serious seems to have surprised the Palestinians as much as anyone (opinion polls over the years have consistently shown that a clear majority of Palestinians favour a two state solution based on the 1967 borders).

Jewish Atheist said...

Random:

Good point about the possibility of more effective attacks by Hamas in the future. Maybe that does make it worth it.

jewish philosopher said...

The most logical solution for Israel would be an orderly, peaceful dismantlement of the Zionist state, probably including the relocation of most Israelis to other parts of the world.

In reality of course that won't happen and Israel will continue to be a gold mine for news agencies for the rest of our lives.

Yankel said...

Shalmo,

Stick to the Palestinian issue and away from textual criticism. You're obviously not well informed as differences are only minor going back a couple thousand years.

Shalmo said...

Yankel I have about 200 pages of personal notes on textual criticism saved on my computer.

Your comment about the differences in texts being show you, similar to many Jews who remain religious, have not bothered to do your homework.

Here is a challenge. Go back to Jewish Atheist's page and scroll down to the entry on December 17, 2008, titled "The Single Greatest Problem in Orthodox Communities" and read the last 5 comments I left on the page. When you are done, you will see that the Torah you have today has MANY discrepancies with other versions, and I even quoted many of your classical rabbis who have admitted that because of the sins of the Jews, the true Torah was lost to them, hence there are discrepancies between all Torah scrolls Jews use today. And that is just the masoretic editions, I haven't even gotten to the humongous differences with the Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint.

But we can discuss that somewhere else.

Shalmo said...

"The most logical solution for Israel would be an orderly, peaceful dismantlement of the Zionist state, probably including the relocation of most Israelis to other parts of the world."

Jewish Philosopher, while I clearly disagree with you many of your views, what you have said here is quite beautiful. Sadly if Jews didn't behave like the Nazis that persecuted them, we may had other options.

A quick dismantlement of Israel, and due restoration of Palestine is the only solution to this conflict. Jews are thriving in the US and in Canada, and most live upper class lives. In Iran Jews are prospering as well. They have candidates in the Parliament. The government biult them a new center in Tehran. And do to the conservative environment, we don't see the massive attrition rates we see in the US. Hence the usual excuse of "we have no where else to go" is faulty. Even Germany has great programs encouraging Jewish immigration.

But they don't have to move out of Palestine either. If they can live peacefully with the gentiles, then they are more than welcome to remain in the one-state Palestine (or call it Judea if you like).

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 274   Newer› Newest»