Commentaries on Gaza attack in the Independent

The Israeli ground assault puts to rest any claims about the humanitarian Israeli military minimizing civilian casualties as they continue to attack Gaza.  The pictures I’ve been seeing of little dead babies with their tiny mouths open are heartbreaking.

The Independent is featuring commentary by five authors. Links and headlines below. After that are some more links to worthwhile coverage of the ongoing massacre.

Mark Steel: So what have the Palestinians got to complain about? The Independent
John McCarthy: If it was your home, what hope ‘restraint’? The Independent
Johann Hari: The true story behind this war is not the one Israel is telling, The Independent
Mohammed Dawwas: Life in Gaza: ‘Hungry, freezing, and terrifying’, The Independent
Sami Abdel-Shafi: Israel puts security before peace, The Independent

Other coverage of the Gaza assault:

Gideon Levy: And there lie the bodies, Haaretz
Chris Hedges: Party to Murder, TruthDig
Akiva Eldar: White Flag, Black Flag, Haaretz
Guardian editorial: When victory is a hollow word

The Huffington Post reports that Israel is using chemical weapons in Gaza.

And see this plea from Human Rights Watch for Israel to allow media and human rights monitors into Gaza, which they are currently refusing.  If their war was so humane, as some commentators on this site have alleged, then why are they refusing human rights monitors access to the battlefield?

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30 Responses to Commentaries on Gaza attack in the Independent

  1. Raffe says:

    Yes they are heartbreaking and anyone that disagrees with you doesn’t have a heart.

    However the ultimate responsibility for this bloodshed lies on the hands of Hamas, the terrorist organisation that provoked Israel through a barrage of rockets over an eight year period. This terrorist group that purposely targets innocent women and children in cafes, kindergartens and nightclubs. Hamas gunmen hide behind innocent Palestinian civilians in hopes that Israel fires at them because every time an Israeli dies Hamas wins and every time a Palestinian dies Hamas wins.

    Hamas’s actions in the Gaza strip are evidence that they don’t care about the Palestinian people. They could have ended the siege within hours and opened relations with the State of Israel. All they had to do was renounce violence and recognise the existence of the State of Israel. THAT’S IT!

    Rather they’re intent on making the lives of Palestinians as miserable as possible through suppression of the media, religious freedom and freedom of sexuality.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1227702364190&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

    The Hamas dictatorship hides their weapons in mosques and schools. When Israel seeks these out and destroys them in self-defence then they are condemned.

    Israel is not perfect and even one innocent death is far too much. But to paint Israel as a war-mongering murderer of innocents is erroneous and insulting. The true blame behind this bloodshed lies with the group that broke the truce, refused to renew it and refused to make peace with their enemy. That group is Hamas.

    P.S.

    The ‘chemical weapon’ I believe you’re referring to is white phosphorus which is perfectly legal when being used as a smokescreen. Anything else you want to condemn Israel for doing legally?

  2. llwynn says:

    Hamas dictatorship, Raffe? Allow me remind you of something that rarely is reported on in the news coverage of late: Hamas was democratically elected in the last elections in Gaza. That doesn’t necessarily make Hamas good; it does mean, however, that they do not constitute a dictatorship any more than the current oppressive Israeli government is a dictatorship. See http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6583080 for a debate about what it means when an organization designated “terrorist” is democratically elected.

    I fail to see why you persist in absolving Israel of its crimes against Palestinians on the grounds that some simplistic notion that “Hamas is bad.” I have had the impression in other comments you make that you consider Israel to be an exemplar of human rights in the region. But you don’t seem to be willing to hold it to a higher standard when comparing it to Hamas. Frankly I find your logic inscrutable. Simply put, there is no comparison between the terror inflicted by Israel on Palestinians and the terror inflicted by Hamas on Israeli citizens. A simple review of the death and injury counts confirms this. So why is this inequality of suffering acceptable? Can you answer this question? Why is it unacceptable for Israelis to live in terror but it is acceptable for Palestinians to live in terror?

    Let me turn your logic on its head. “Israel’s actions in the Gaza strip are evidence that they don’t care about the Palestinian people. They could have ended the siege within hours and opened relations with Hamas. All they had to do was renounce violence and recognise the existence of the State of Palestine. THAT’S IT!

    Rather they’re intent on making the lives of both Palestinians and Israelis as miserable as possible through perpetuating a political stalemate that does nothing to ensure the security of Israeli citizens.”

    I’ve simply modified your own phrasing above.

    Justifying continued bloodshed, siege, and terror on the grounds that “They won’t surrender” is not acceptable for either side.

    I don’t know how you define “war-mongering” but if by “war-mongering” you mean “starts wars to serve its own internal political purposes,” then the current Israeli government is certainly war-mongering. It started a war. All reasonable analysis points to the fact that the current government did so to shore up electoral support in upcoming elections. Nothing else had changed. As you yourself point out, militants have been firing their rockets into Israel, mostly ineffectually, for years.

    The Israeli government has also undoubtedly killed innocents, as when children were recently killed when the Israeli military bombed a mosque while people were praying. So how is saying so erroneous and insulting? Do you deny any of the above? Is it just that you don’t like bad-sounding words like “war-mongering” and “murder” attached to the actions of starting a war and killing and maiming hundreds of children? What should we call it then? “Nice war-makers” who “accidentally kill and maim hundreds of children”? What an awful moral position to have to work so hard to defend a government that kills children. I thought better of you. I’d like to think better of you. If Hamas’s actions are indefensible, then why are Israel’s actions defensible?

    I feel the same way when I hear “my people,” Americans, talk about the war in Iraq as a “war on terror” instead of a “war of terror.” Do Americans live in terror? I can tell you that Americans live lives of extraordinary luxury compared to the vast majority of Iraqis and Afghanis. The last time I was in the U.S., I heard people complaining about the added wait that screening procedures at airports. I didn’t hear anyone voicing concern about terror attacks. Americans don’t live in terror. But the American government is busy inflicting terror on Iraqis and Afghanis. So to go about calling it a “war on terror” is, again, inscrutable logic, in my opinion.

    As for chemical weapons: yes, white phosphorus is legal when used as a smokescreen, but illegal when used as an offensive weapon. It is an incendiary weapon that melts flesh to the bone. There is no reliable independent source that can tell us how Israel is using it, because Israel refuses to let any independent observers monitor their compliance or noncompliance with international weapons or human rights conventions in Gaza. However, some sources have reported that Israel is using it in offensive shelling. What is not in doubt is that it is doing so in the most densely populated civilian area in the world, which it has turned into its battlefield.

  3. llwynn says:

    See the SMH: http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/twenty-children-killed-in-gaza-fighting-official/2009/01/06/1231003983982.html

    Here’s a grisly excerpt:

    Twenty children killed in Gaza fighting: official

    Salah Samouni banged his head in grief against a wall inside the hospital morgue where the bodies of his three little nephews lay on the floor.

    His relatives screamed at exhausted doctors, begging them to find people still buried under rubble.

    After 10 days of a relentless Israeli assault, Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s largest, is overwhelmed. Bodies are now crowded two to a morgue drawer, and some – like those of the Samouni children – are on the floor.

    Many of the wounded are treated in hallways because rooms are full. Harried doctors and nurses run on little sleep, and the hospital is powered by emergency generators after shelling damaged power cables.

    “Who ever comes with a head, we check his pulse. If there’s no pulse, he’s straight to the morgue. If there’s no head, well, goodbye,” said hospital official Raid Arini on Monday.

    The hospital scenes have only worsened since Israel began a ground offensive on Saturday.

    Most of the dead and wounded now arriving at Shifa are civilians, as Israel’s offensive shifts from airstrikes to artillery shelling and ground fighting close to densely populated areas.

    Israel says it is targeting only the Hamas militants who control Gaza in an attempt to halt seven years of rocket fire at Israeli communities.

    But the 555 Palestinians who have been killed include some 200 civilians, according to Dr Moaiya Hassanein of the Gaza Health Ministry.

  4. llwynn says:

    And on the matter of the cease fire and who violated it, see this report by Augustus Richard Norton and Sara Roy (http://icga.blogspot.com/2009/01/end-game-in-gaza-war.html) who point out that

    “Lost in most of the coverage is the fact that the Israel-Hamas truce was working—a fact fully acknowledged in a recent intelligence report released by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). According to that report, “Hamas was careful to maintain the ceasefire.” Furthermore, “the lull was sporadically violated by rocket and mortar shell fire carried out by rogue terrorist organizations in some instances in defiance of Hamas.” Yet on November 4, when the world was focused on the U.S. presidential election, Israel effectively ended the “period of relative quiet” to which the MFA report refers by attacking Gaza, killing at least six Palestinian militiamen. Hamas responded to the killings with salvos of rockets. ”

    One of the important things about this report (and about the MFA) is that they have a nuanced political understanding of Hamas and other opposition groups

  5. jbayeh says:

    Thank you Lisa for your excellent post and various replies to what I can only call the spurious claims made in Raffe’s posting.

    I’ll address one thing here. Raffe you say that “They [Hamas] could have ended the siege within hours and opened relations with the State of Israel. All they had to do was renounce violence and recognise the existence of the State of Israel. THAT’S IT!”

    According to Yuval Diskin (the current head of the Israeli security service Shin Bet) Hamas did request a a renewal of the truce. The Israeli press reported that Diskin told his cabinet on Dec. 23 that “Hamas is interested in continuing the truce, but wants to improve its terms.” He explained that Hamas was requesting an end to the blockade, and an Israeli ceasefire on the West Bank. The cabinet – high with election fever and eager to appear tough – rejected these terms. (pls see http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-the-true-story-behind-this-war-is-not-the-one-israel-is-telling-1214981.html for more details).

    Furthermore it was Israel who violated the terms of truce as early as November in 2008 not Hamas. As the information from the article by Roy and Norton illustrates “on November 4, when the world was focused on the U.S. presidential election, Israel effectively ended the “period of relative quiet” to which the MFA report refers by attacking Gaza, killing at least six Palestinian militiamen. Hamas responded to the killings with salvos of rockets . . . The extensive report released by the MFA acknowledges that most of the rockets and mortar shells fired at Israel during the six-month lull fell after November 4.” Clearly it is not really Hamas’ decision when this siege ends. As the Israeli writer Larry Derfner says: “Israel’s war with Gaza has to be the most one-sided on earth… If the point is to end it, or at least begin to end it, the ball is not in Hamas’s court – it is in ours.”

    As for Hamas regonising Israel – I think its acceptance of a two state solution based on the 1967 borders is an implicit acceptance of the state’s existance. But even if Hamas did vocally and loudly declare Isreal’s existance, alter its charter and rhetoric, what good would that do? Correct me if I am wrong but is that not what Yassar Arafat exactly did – renounce violence and recognise the Isreali state by supporting a two state solution? and where did that get him and the Palestinian people? No where further than the sorry and debunked Oslo Accords of 1993.

  6. Raffe says:

    Lisa,
    I am well aware that Hamas was democratically elected in 2006. However, once they overthrew their political opponents (literally…as in off the roofs) in a military coup and cracked down on many political and social freedoms then they ceased to be a democratically elected party and became a dictatorship (the Hamas government itself was dissolved by Mahmoud Abbas in the civil war).

    You asked why Israel doesn’t simply put down its weapons for peace. Well let’s take a look at the Hamas charter:
    “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it”
    “…the current Zionist invasion had been preceded by a Crusader invasion from the West; and another one, the Tatars, from the East. And exactly as the Muslims had faced those invasions and planned their removal and defeat, they are able to face the Zionist invasion and defeat it… “
    “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (the Cedar tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.”
    “Today it is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.

    Wow that’s a real peace loving organisation right there! Israel has continually said that the Palestinian people are not the enemy but when a terrorist group that is sworn to your destruction hides behind women and children then those casualties are on their hands.
    I would not call a country that has signed three peace agreements with their enemies war-mongering. Nor would I call a country that offered Arafat the deal of their lives 8 years war-mongering. The planning for this operation began six months ago, the intelligence began to be collected a year ago. This was long before there were any domestic political struggles.
    You say that a bloodthirsty government is one ignores missiles for years and then authorises an operation to halt them does that mean that you believe a police officer that shoots dead a madman who is randomly shooting into a crowd but missing is also bloodthirsty?
    Also the Israeli government did not sit idly by while rockets were being fired at civilian areas. You’ll remember that the siege of Gaza was implemented because Hamas was still firing rockets into the south of Israel.
    When Israel fired on that mosque, tragically killing those innocent people, it did not intend to kill innocents. If this is the mosque you are referring to

    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=jwP_LusgPAw&feature=channel_page

    then it is evident by the secondary explosion that munitions were present in the mosque. Therefore those deaths are on the hands of Hamas who have defiled holy buildings and used them as weapons caches. As soon as Hamas hijacks these schools, mosques and homes they cease to become civilian buildings and become military targets. Hamas knows this and constantly places weaponry where it will cause the most damage to civilians. No decent government would do this.
    Israel’s actions are defensible because of intent. Theirs is no malicious intent when Israel targets mosques that have been used as weapons depots by Hamas. They do not mean to kill innocent civilians, rather they phone them up and tell them to leave, and every time innocents are killed there is an investigation and if need be a trial. When Hamas purposfully kills innocent civilians they hand out sweets.
    In regards to your piece from the SMH regarding the state of the hospitals. I do believe that if Hamas would stop pilfering medical supplies and aid meant for the Palestinian people then we would see far fewer innocent deaths.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1231167266926&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

  7. llwynn says:

    Raffe, your rhetoric is so illogical and inscrutable that I can’t bring myself to take the hours out of my day to rebut it. Just one point:

    “There is no malicious intent when Israeli forces target mosques that have been used as weapons depots by Hamas.” What if there are people praying in the mosques at the time they strike, Raffe? What would you call that, a benevolent act?

    See the SMH for coverage of the latest Israeli attacks on 3 UN-run schools that left at some 40 school children dead.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/deadly-israeli-school-raids-up-gaza-toll/2009/01/07/1231004052531.html

    A total of 660 now dead, including 200 children. 2950 wounded, many in critical state with no medical attention. Medics can’t reach many of the wounded because Israelis are shooting at them. I think this puts to rest any claims that “collateral damage” is being kept low or that this is somehow a “humane” operation.

  8. Raffe says:

    If the building was being used by Hamas to launch mortars at Israeli troops they have the right to respond.

    There is no act of benevolence in this operation and as i’ve said on a number of occasions every innocent death is a tragedy. However in the case of this school, the mosque and countless other examples the blame lies with the Hamas terrorist organisation that fires from behind cowering refugees.

  9. jbayeh says:

    “There is no malicious intent when Israeli forces target mosques that have been used as weapons depots by Hamas.”

    Very convenient argument Raffe but I don’t think what Israel’s intentions are matters for much. As Professor Mirko Bagaric, of Deakin University explains the “first [truth of war] is that ultimately the only moral currency that matters is consequences. Trendy notions such as rights and intentions are distractions and obfuscate the search for moral truths”.

    Your logic, and the logic of various military actors world wide, reflects what Bagaric calls the “doctrine of double effect” which entails “the view that it is morally permissible to perform an act having two effects, one good and one evil, where the good consequence is intended and the bad merely foreseen and those consequences occur simultaneously”.

    It is this mode of thinking which permits the offensive use of phrases like “collateral damage” to explain the inhumane and unlawful killing hundreds of civilians. No matter how much you hide behind the screen of euphemistic language there is no doubt, given the mounting consequences, that this war, and any support for it, is morally bankrupt.

    For the second truth, which relates to international law, please follow the link to the article in the SMH by Mirko Bagaric.

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/opinion/throw-away-the-moral-blinkers/2009/01/01/1230681658486.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1
    Throw away the moral blinkers
    Mirko Bagaric
    January 2, 2009

  10. noahbassil says:

    I have just finished watching the coverage of the murder of Palestinian children in Gaza and the appalling efforts by the Australian media to absolve the Israeli military and government of the crimes it is committing. Tonight’s 7:30 Report may have been one of the most disingenuous pieces of journalism that I have seen recently- I am glad I was unavailable to take an interview from them last week- and it might be coincidence and nothing more but A Current Affair hamming up the threat of Middle East Crime Gangs seemed to me to be suspicious to say the least. I wonder what atrocity against the Palestinians would have to be committed before there is any media outrage here in Australia (my God I hope i never find out).

    If my comments here seem to those of someone enraged, incensed, emotive, impassioned, desperate and disheartened then i have effectively conveyed how I feel at this moment.

    Hamas using civilians as shields. Absolute rubbish (reminds me of the children overboard accusations that Howard sold so successfully to the Australian people) remember Israeli claims about mortar attacks prior to the artillery strikes that destroyed the UNIFIL camp at Qana in 1996 (106 civilians killed, almost half children, by IDF artillery shells) in southern Lebanon. A subsequent inquiry by the UN concluded the Israeli’s knew that it was a shelter for refugees and that there was no evidence of hezbollah rocket attacks from the area. Israel continues to maintain its innocence over the Qana massacre and blames Hezbollah for employing civilians as human shields. These recent claims about Hamas are the same Israeli government propaganda and lies.

    Israel continually targets civilians and has little regard for UN personnel (Count Folke Bernadotte assassinated by members of the Stern Gang in 1948), human rights activists (Rachel Corrie the 23 year old member of International Solidarity Movement crushed by an IDF bulldozer in 2003 and Tom Hundall shot by the IDF in 2006 ), journalists (Fadel Shana killed by an IDF sniper, Nazeh Darwazeh shot by an IDF solider, Raffaele Ciriello who was shot six times by IDF soldiers). The litany of crimes committed by the IDF and covered up by the Israeli government is evidence of the lack of Israeli government and military regard for civilians. Just as the uncritical pro-Zionist voices around the world attack anyone who demonstrates any sympathy for the plight of the Palestinians the IDF has shown it will show no mercy towards those who question their impunity to act in the Middle East.

    The IDF does operate with impunity in the Middle East, it operates in the full knowledge that the US will block any UN resolution against it. Since the end of the Cold War, Israel has had nothing to fear from complicit Arab governments and an international system dominated by the US. It is time as Mirko Bagaric argues to ‘throw away the moral blinkers’ and demand that Israel cease its destruction of the Gaza Ghetto.

    I have never compared the Israeli actions against the Palestinians to the horror of the Holocaust, but I will say that the actions of the Israeli government and military in Gaza come very close to emulating the terrible events of the Warsaw Ghetto. The Nazi’s realized that the only way to destroy the resistance was to destroy the Ghetto and either murder or remove all the inhabitants. The reality in Gaza is the same as in Warsaw sixty years ago- the only way to destroy Hamas will be to murder or remove all the inhabitants of the Gaza strip- we must demand that Israel stop this madness before Gaza is reduced to a charred reminder of the Warsaw Ghetto.

  11. Raffe says:

    Noah,

    I have a tremendous amount of respect for you both as an academic and as a person. When I took your terrorism class last year I was amazed by your insight and knowledge of the subject and I can only hope that one day I will be able to have a similar breadth of understanding on this complex subject. However your last post was not only grossly incorrect it was insulting to me both as a Jew and as a human being. To compare the two situations, Gaza and the Warsaw Ghetto, and to say that Hamas does not use human shields is wrong. I intend to prove to you that Hamas has an extensive network of terror and has routinely used the innocent Palestinian men, women and children as human shields over both the current conflict and the last eight years.

    Since the beginning of Operation Cast Lead in December 2008 Hamas has used a number of civilian buildings such as Mosques, schools or apartment buildings, as areas to fire mortars, rockets or as weapons caches. The Israeli army has released a number of videos from the battlefield which prove the evidence of weapons within civilian buildings.

    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=bHNk6eBw3ME
    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=LCVr7MBhgj0
    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=n2m4HbiIKKA
    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=zmXXUOs27lI

    Whilst this is only a selection of videos they prove that Israeli forces came under fire from Hamas operatives that had hijacked civilian buildings.
    A report, released by the IDC, prove that through its terror infrastructure Hamas has held the Palestinian people hostage and has used them as human shields.

    ‘The calculated, cynical use of the civilian population as human shields is intended to decrease the vulnerability of Hamas and the other Palestinian terrorist organizations by affording them a kind of immunity from the IDF’s counterterrorism activities, since they are aware that Israel avoids harming the civilian population insofar as is possible.’

    The report goes on to explain its findings which include:

    Military and security personnel, facilities and installations are situated within dense population concentrations (including residential dwellings and public institutions, such as schools, mosques and hospitals)
    Rockets and mortar shells are fired at Israeli population centers from inside or close to private Palestinian residences and sometimes from educational institutions or mosques.
    The terrorists fight against the IDF from within residences and public institutions, and use ambulances to evacuate terrorist operatives from the battlefield
    Civilians, including women and children, are deliberately used as human shields to protect terrorist operatives whose houses the organizations fear may be attacked by the IDF
    Women and children are used as human shields : The terrorist organizations sent 200 women to rescue dozens of operatives from the Nasser mosque in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip during an IDF action in November 2006.

    http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/hamas_e028.htm

    The full report is 81 pages and gives a number of detailed examples of Hamas using human shields both in the current conflict and the past.

    The use of civilian buildings as military outposts is banned by the Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.

    Article 3 states:

    1. Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.

    To this end, the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:

    (a) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;

    (b) Taking of hostages;

    Outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;

    http://www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/92.htm

    However the use of human shields is not a new phenomena for this terrorist group. Over the last several years they have employed this illegal and immoral tactic in order to protect their leadership. As seen in one of these videos they urge people to surround a house that they know will be bombed by the Israeli Air Force in hopes that this will halt the bombing.
    Not only this but the Hamas leadership has constantly touted the fact that they use human shields against the Israeli soldiers. Here a member of the legislative council admits as such:

    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=RTu-AUE9ycs
    http://au.youtube.com/watch?v=kBYtij4Q7sE&feature=related

    In relation to your last statement, comparing Israel’s actions to that of the partisan fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto I believe that you were erroneous in making such as parallel. The fighters in the Warsaw Ghetto were fighting against their extermination in the death camps that had already been operating for the better part of 2 years (the uprising was in 1943 and several death camps had been opened in 1941 and were routinely gassing thousands of Jews a day). The Hamas terrorists are fighting no such genocide; if they were then Israel would simply use high-explosive weaponry rather than the low-yield weaponry that they have been using. Hamas is fighting for an extremist goal, the elimination of the State of Israel and the creation of yet another Islamic state. Through this they preach hatred and violence to the Palestinian people; brainwashing yet another generation of children and pulling peace further from the world’s grasp. Furthermore there have been no death camps of any kind set up to process and murder human beings and most importantly aid corridors are being opened daily in order to bring food and medical supplies to the innocent people of Gaza which the Nazi’s never did in Warsaw. Yet Hamas allows their people to suffer horrific wounds and refuses them treatment

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1231167266926&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    The military operation has heralded far too many civilian casualties, of that there is no doubt, and Israel bears some responsibility for that. However to say that there has been no evidence of human shields is just plain wrong. Hamas has been using the innocent men, women and children for their own nefarious needs rather than building a stable, functioning society that was economically viable which would have ultimately led to a peaceful Middle East.

  12. Belinda says:

    The mindless propaganda/rhetoric jumping off the page when i read Raffe’s posts compelled me to weigh in on this one. References, quotes, and rubbish aside: There is a bottom line here, and any half thinking indivudual can understand it. The establishment of the Israeli state was indeed not an illegal act, if you call ignoring the fact that someone else inhabits the land that you colonise and give over to a religion of people, not even a race…a legal act. It was immoral and colonial, but not illegal. However, the subsequent terrorist activity of the Jewish settlers towards not only Arabs themselves, but the colonisising British at the time..speaks for itself. Zionism gave the region it’s first acts of terror…and graduated to that wonderful brand of terrorism that both Israel and the USA both now subscribe to…state stanctioned terror. However, i digress…I’m loathe to recite history for you now…but the illegal occupation of both Gaza and West Bank, and the increasingly oppressive conditions that Arabs (both Muslim and Christian) are forced to live under…IN THEIR OWN LAND…simply must not be ignored! And endless rhetoric about Hamas, their rockets, their tactics blah blah…simply detracts from the reality of the situation, and quite frankly Raffe, leads me to believe you have a memory that only goes back 2 weeks ago. So if you feel better vaildating your argument with quotes from lying politicians and statistics…go find the statistics on these issues…illegal Israeli settlements, stolen land, bulldozed homes, Arab lives, Arabs languishing in Israeli prisons without trial, women forced to give birth at checkpoints, deaths at checkpoints, waiting times at checkpoints, children shot dead with stones in their hands…need i go on? 50 odd years of terrorism, coercion, brutality, fear, hate, occupation, and bloodthirsty slaughter. And you have the nerve to ask us to think bout the handful of Israeli dead…in comparison to the numbers of Arab dead? The nerve to form your argument around Hamas’ deeds? And frankly…your quotes from the Hamas charter don’t do you any favours here…if you refuse to look at the bigger picture and allow Western World propaganda to poison you into the belief that this is a clash of religious ideologies, rather that than Israel and the USA’s determination to control resources and land in the region…well i can’t help you. Every political or social movement that requires the support of the masses manipulates religious rhetoric to lure them in. It’s an age old practise, and im very disappointed that you choose to dwell on such rubbish. However, im not surprised, because if it wasn’t for religious Zionist rhetoric…Israel wouldn’t even exist! ha! The irony in that…and you chose to highlight it? Tut tut. Your argument ignores the fact that there are thousands of Palestinian Christians who feel just as strongly for their cause and Hamas. in fact, every single post i’ve read from you has a glaring fallicy every two lines or so, but i just simply cannot address them all! As for your insinuation that Hamas are cowards, or use their people as human shields…um, i don’t know where to start! How can a state systematically terrorise a RACE of people who they STOLE land off…for 50 years…pillage, rape, invasion, occupation, genocide…with no regard for the risk they put their own people at…then cry foul when the oppressed dare to rise up and resist their systematic slaughter? Do you think all Palestinians should just lie down and let Israel obliterate them? You think Israel ignore misslies? You’re a fool! Every single wish of harm upon Israel that runs through an Arab mind, let alone any sort of physical resistance…has been paid back one hundred fold! And paid for in Arab blood! tfffhhh alaykoun!

  13. mustafa ramadan says:

    9-1-09
    Belinda,
    Well-said !You have rightly summed up the causes of the Palestinian tragedy and the inhuman horrible results of creating the state of Israel by America and the West. The Gazans’ blood is a part of the price of freedom that the Palestinians have been paying for sixty years.
    It’s time for the Western governments and peoples to do justice to the oppressed slaughtered Palestinians.

  14. Rosalyn says:

    Belinda I think your post is an outstanding response to the what the Zionist line ignores about the Palestinians. Rage on my love.

    Normally, in such circumstances, I’d suggest you marry mustafa but yu know what – I think you shd marry me!

  15. mustafa ramadan says:

    10-1-09

    The Logic of Tyrants

    If we take your home, don’t object.
    If we want to kill you, don’t resist.
    I you resist, while hiding, you are using innocent civilians as human shields.
    So, you must stand in the open so that we can locate you and kill you easily.

    But
    We have the right to bombard you, kill you, and burn you with our invulnerable American aircraft and helicopters. You can see us high in the air, but we allow you to down our planes with your stones, cries and agony.

    Allah’s wrath will soon fall on bloody heartless tyrants.

    Mustafa

  16. Belinda says:

    I’d rather marry Nasrallah…but you’ll do!

  17. llwynn says:

    On Israel’s use of white phosphorus in Gaza, see
    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gop8fpFpn70050VWD4GK3gZXLmiQD95L8GPG0

    Rights group: Israel uses incendiary bombs in Gaza

    By JASON KEYSER
    JERUSALEM (AP) — Human Rights Watch said Sunday that Israel’s military has fired artillery shells with the incendiary agent white phosphorus into Gaza and a doctor there said the chemical was suspected in the case of 10 burn victims who had skin peeling off their faces and bodies.

    Researchers in Israel from the rights group witnessed hours of artillery bombardments that sent trails of burning smoke indicating white phosphorus over the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. But they could not confirm injuries on the ground because they have been barred from entering the territory.

    The chief doctor at Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza said he treated several victims there with serious burns that might have been caused by phosphorus. He said, however, that he did not have the resources or expertise to say with certainty what caused the injuries.

    The substance can cause serious burns if it touches the skin and can spark fires on the ground, the rights group said in a written statement calling on Israel not to use it in crowded areas of Gaza.

  18. Raffe says:

    I have seen nothing but criticism of Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip on this board. It’s very easy to criticize but i’d just like some suggestions from commentators about how they would have halted the constant rocket fire?

  19. llwynn says:

    Glad you asked, Raffe! Here’s a link that describes a petition from Sderot residents about what THEY think must happen for the rocket fire to stop:
    http://jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com/2008/12/more-on-sderot.html

    Basically, what they suggest is negotiation and the possibility of a decent life for Palestinians, rather than escalation and brutality. An excerpt:

    “The period of clam change the lives of the people of Sderot, Ashkelon and the region beyond recognition, allowing all of us to experience again a life that is more normal and sane. The continuation of this calm is essential and criticial to the residents of the region from every possible aspect: physical, mental, spiritual and economic.

    “Another round of escalation may break our already brittle spirit, and take us all to another round of self-destruction and pointless bloodshed. It is not certain that we will survive. And you must be aware of that, if you indeed care about the residents of this area. We’ve been through this movie too many years–and results speak for themselves: feeling trapped, abandonment, and hopelessness for us and our children!

    “On the other side of the border live a million and a half Palestinians under unbearable conditions, and most of them want, like we do, calm and the opportunity of a future for themselves and their families.

    “We live in the feeling that you have wasted that period of calm, instead of using it to advance understandings and begin negotiations, as well as for fortifying the houses of residents as promised.

    “We call on the Prime Minister and the Defense minister not to listen to the voices of incitement and do everything they can to avoid another round of escalation, to secure the continuation of the calm and to work…towards direct or indirect negotiations with the Palestinian leadership in Gaza in order to reach long term understandings.

    “We prefer a cold war without a single rocket to a hot war with dozens of victims and innocent fatalities on both sides.

    “We ask you to offer us the possibility of political arrangement and hope and not an endless cycle of blood.”

  20. Belinda says:

    Again Raffe..does your memory not stretch beyond 2 weeks ago? Is the rocket fire…which is sure as hell not as constant as Israeli bombardment…the real issue here? Or is it a case of what happened, and is happening…to the Palestinians being the REASON for this resistance? How can any individual address a conflict that is 60 years old…and simplify it to the point where Hamas rockets are the issue? I’m simply shaking my head in disbelief…i can’t believe anyone who considers themselves well informed, or dare i say it.. educated …can jump on here and suggest that we are only criticising Israel because it’s easy! It’s not easy, it’s not easy to be aware of the corruption and injustice in this world, its not easy to keep screaming and not be heard, its not easy to watch a race of people massacred and be powerless to help. In fact, it would be much easy to be a smug, morally corrupt, Zionist, with a victim complex the size of a rock on their shoulder.

  21. Belinda says:

    And so, i have a few questions for you Raffe…about the mighty IDF and their humane strategies.

    Would they ever go into a ground battle without days and weeks of bombardment first?

    Would they have the guts to fight without the privilege of the billions of dollars of aid and equipment they get from the US?

    Try it…at least once…

    Even when they went into villages in 1948 with the direct intention to commit masscares they had air cover.

    And…they can even bring their merkava with them and their air conditoned uniforms!

    Again, you have the nerve to grace this page with pleas for Israel? And Hamas is the terrorist???? HA!

  22. Raffe says:

    Well first of all it’s not a memory stretching back 2 weeks. It’s actually 8 years of constant rocket fire. I would hope someone that is educated on the situation would have realised that.

    Secondly, about the mighty IDF. Would they ever go without days and weeks of bombardment?

    Can I ask you to please give me an army, in all of modern warfare, that has not first ordered air missions before a major ground operation?

  23. Rosalyn says:

    “I have seen nothing but criticism of Israel’s actions in the Gaza Strip on this board. It’s very easy to criticize but i’d just like some suggestions from commentators about how they would have halted the constant rocket fire?”

    Despite the fact that this blog has listed NUMEROUS alternatives to what Israel’s leadership chose to start in late December, under the guise of halting the rocket attacks from Hamas, you, Raffe, persist in asking what has already been answered. To my thinking that means that you are either not reading the posts or being selective in what you wish to take on board. For other readers please forgive me if I am repeating what has already been posted on this discussion page.

    Perhaps, Raffe, you do not like the work of Sara Roy or Augustus Richard Norton (http://icga.blogspot.com/2009/01/end-game-in-gaza-war-part-iii.html) but their joint article indicates that a renewal of the successful truce would have continued to halt rocket fire. If you don’t want to believe them then please look at what Israeli government sources have said:
    ‘Lost in most of the coverage is the fact that the Israel-Hamas truce was working—a fact fully acknowledged in a recent intelligence report released by Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA). According to that report, “Hamas was careful to maintain the ceasefire.” Furthermore, “the lull was sporadically violated by rocket and mortar shell fire carried out by rogue terrorist organizations in some instances in defiance of Hamas.” ‘

    And the report goes on to say:
    ‘Yet on November 4, when the world was focused on the U.S. presidential election, Israel effectively ended the “period of relative quiet” to which the MFA report refers by attacking Gaza, killing at least six Palestinian militiamen. Hamas responded to the killings with salvos of rockets. Israel believed that the group was planning to abduct Israeli soldiers through a tunnel it was digging near a border security fence, but whether Hamas wished to risk a successful truce and the possibility of political progress in order to abduct Israeli soldiers is debatable. The extensive report released by the MFA acknowledges that most of the rockets and mortar shells fired at Israel during the six-month lull fell after November 4.’

    Beyond the immediate things Israel could have done there are other things such as ending the blockade that has just about starved Gazans and crippled the economy since it began. What right does Isreal have to impose such a barbaric, inhumane policy against Gazans? Just because the state of Israel does not like the leadership that the Palestinians democratically elected to power does not give them carte blanche to punish the population. A report prepared by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affair on 2 January details the level of human suffering in the Strip:
    ‘According to the World Food Programme, the population is facing a food crisis [with] food shortages of flour, rice, sugar, dairy products, milk, canned foods and fresh meats . . . The health system is overwhelmed having been weakened by an 18-month blockade, utilities are barely functioning . . . The water system provides running water once every 5-7 days and the sanitation system cannot treat the sewage and is dumping 40 million liters of raw sewage into the sea daily. Fuel for heating . . . and cooking gas are no longer available in the market.’

    And just so I can make clear the connection between the blockade and the rocket fire you talk about I’ll turn to the words of Diskin, (http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/johann-hari/johann-hari-the-true-story-behind-this-war-is-not-the-one-israel-is-telling-1214981.html) the head of Shin Bet, who told the Israeli cabinet on 232 December, (and this was reported in the Israeli press) that Hamas wanted to continue the truce. It’s requests were two fold: an end to the blockade, and an Israeli ceasefire on the West Bank. Given the sheer human suffering this blockade has inflicted on Gazans I don’t think it was too much to ask for. If Israel was really interested in maintaining the truce, halting rocket fire etc, it would have negotiated with Hamas.

    You might say that Israel cannot bring itself to deal with ‘terrorists’ like Hamas – being a democratic freedom loving state and all. But I wonder why, in the early days of Hamas in the 1980s, it was okay for Mossad agents to deal with, prop-up and in strange ways support the rise of this militant group? Israel creates its own security concerns by supporting (at one stage of history) what it deems to be a militant group, imposing harsh conditions on a population of people, creating an open-air prison in Gaza which in recent days has been likened to a concentration camp by the Vatican Justice Minister, and maintain an illegal occupation and then turns around and says we need to act to maintain our security. This is the outrage that people who are informed of the facts, not the distorted lies of the Israeli and Zionist propaganda machine, must face daily.

    Finally, Raffe you claim that it is easy to criticize Israel. I’m not sure what planet you live on but I can safely say, and I repeat what Belinda has already said, there is nothing harder than being critical of Israel. We can talk about homosexuality, blacks even about Islam in the most disrespectful of ways that no other faith would be expected to tolerate and we can talk about Iran’s woeful leadership but what we cannot talk about is what Edward Said called the ‘last taboo’ – the despicable, inhumane, illegal actions of Israel which, no matter what it does , is all the while supported by the USA. Every time one dares to speak they risk getting called an anti-Semite. Criticism of Israel does not equate to anti-Semitism but all the defenders of Israel have succeeded in using this card to silence dissent. At what point does the mandate on suffering end for world Jewry? I’m not Jewish but I feel insulted that the legacy of the 6 million dead Jews from the 1940s has been reduced to this. It is outrageous that the Holocaust is being used to justify the occupation and deaths of Palestinians for the last 60 years.

    Rather than stubbornly, and ignorantly, persist in this mode of thinking Raffe perhaps you should try to query what Zionism entails (there is an interesting post called the “Committee for Dismantling Zionism” which I doubt you have engaged with) and why Palestinians have managed to maintain a resistance for so long?

  24. Belinda says:

    Someone who is educated Raffe, would know, like i have pointed out 3 times, and like you still refuse to either read or acknowledge…that this conflict is SIXTY!!! (maybe you’ll see that) years old, and is a direct result of Israel’s aggression, ruthless pursuit of power, illegal activity, and occupation of land which the UN and the rest of the world, not to mention the Palestinians, consider STOLEN!

    Take a minute to read that and process it, please.

    So…um, let’s try again…can you understand why this conflict can also not be simplified to 8 years of Hamas’ rocket fire? Although at least your memory is extending itself post by post, which is an improvement.

    So, let’s go back to the basics…how is a resistance born? A resistance is born when there is an oppressive power that requires resistance! How can one ignore the social, political, and historical repercussions of occupying, terrorising, and oppressing a people? It astounds me that you’re even still replying, it really does…or at least still carrying that victim complex so heavily on your shoulder!

    As for armies…i don’t support powerful Western nations who use brute force, coercion, manipulation or state sanctioned terror. That being said, i’m well aware of their military strategies, and your justification that if other armies do it (generally when fighting an army of equal might, mind you) falls on deaf ears in this case. Because when you’re fighting a milita, who is by NO stretch of the imagination as well equipped, wealthy, large, or corrupt as yours…and you bombard an area that has 1.5 million civilians imprisoned inside it…then um…i’m sorry, but your “air missions” and “major ground operations” start to look and smell like genocide to the rest of the world.

    Fuuny how you chose to address that question…because you thought you had a justifiable answer, and ignored my reference to the BILLIONS of dollars in aid and weaponry that Israel get. Maybe if Hamas and Hizbollah for that matter, had access to those sorts of resources we may have a fair fight on our hands. Until that day however, little word of advice…i wouldn’t exactly go around broadcasting that Israel play fair…know what i mean? :)))

  25. Raffe says:

    Rosalyn,

    In referring to that report you validated my point. The attacks on Nov. 4 was one that fell under the auspice of self-defence through pre-emptive strikes. It was Hamas, through their smuggling of weapons into the Gaza Strip, that provoked such a response.

    The blockade that Israel imposed was done so after it was deemed necessary for security reasons. Also, you may not realise it but Egypt has also maintained a full blockade of the Gaza Strip. Whilst Israel has allowed humanitarian aid to avoid disaster Egypt has totally shut the people of Gaza off. Where’s your outrage at the Egyptian government?

    Your point about it being easy to criticise Islam….I think the staff of the Jyllands-Posten would disagree with you.

  26. Raffe says:

    Belinda,

    How was the land considered stolen by the UN if they themselves created the State of Israel?

  27. Rosalyn says:

    No Raffe quiet frankly my point about the November 4 attack does not validate your point. If you think that self-defence through pre-emptive strike justifies Israel’s attack then you again display your ignorant and spurious claims to all readers on this board. Self-defence against what? Against Hamas, the legitimately and democratically elected leadership of Gaza, smuggling, because of the inhumane blockade, weapons into Gaza. Israel, with its massive army, air force and US backing, superior weapons and lets not forget nuclear capabilities felt the need to respond in self-defence against a weaker leadership and an impoverished, starving population? So now the smuggling of a few weapons (and lets be honest about two things – no matter how many weapons it bought in Hamas could never have half as much as Israel has and Hamas is the ruling power in Gaza so why shouldn’t it collect weapons as all states do) warrants this kind of barbarism? What a laughable and down-right stupid argument you make. Who in the world, apart from Israel’s unquestioning allies, would buy this load of garbage?

    The one part that you forgot from your formula of self-defence and pre-emption is what Israel is really trying to do with this Operation Cast Lead and that is to effect REGIME CHANGE. So now, perhaps taking a page out of the Bush/Cheney doctrine, Israel has decided to overthrow, by force (because so far the blockade has not worked in either forcing Hamas to surrender nor driven the Gazan population to rise up against it) the elected government in Gaza. All this from the Middle East’s only democratic and freedom loving state!

    As for Egypt being complicit in the blockade and refusing to open the Raffa border – yes I am outraged. But to date I have not seen anyone on this blog defend Egypt’s actions and if I had trust me I would have said something. The fact is that the Egyptian population, like the majority of the Arab street, does not agree with Mubarak’s wilful infliction of suffering on the Palestinians. Mubarak complies because he lacks legitimacy and faces a dissenting population. Without the rule of force and the oppression of those who oppose him and without the support of the US Mubarak’s leadership would be thrown into disarray. His leadership is morally bankrupt and quiet frankly he represents one of many politicians in the Arab world that are shamefully exacerbating the dismal conditions Palestinians face. Have I expressed enough outrage for you yet? Just because Egypt and Israel are in this together, as you insinuate in your post, does not mean that the blockade is a permissible act.

    And finally I did not say it is easy to criticise Islam. I said Islam is criticised more so than any other faith is expected to tolerate in the press, in popular TV and film, in TV and print media. If they resist, protest or express their anger about it then they get labelled backward, repressive of free speech and undemocratic. But nobody in the mainstream press can question Israel’s raison d’être as a Jewish-only state without fear of being blasted as an anti-Semite. Jyllands-Posten wanted to contribute to the discussion that is critical of Islam but what it really did was insult a global community of people. There are other ways of contributing to critical discussion which don’t necessarily include insulting another people’s religious beliefs.

  28. Belinda says:

    Raffe,

    i’m sure even you must be well aware that the land that the Zionists now occupy, and carry out gross human rights violations against Arabs on…is vastly different to the original UN partition plan! So, i’m not sure what you call building illegal settlements and bulldozing people’s homes…..development?

    But then again, you do use words like “air missions” and “ground operations” to sanitise concepts such as genocide and massacre, so i shouldn’t really be surprised!

    Again, that you chose to dwell on the single, most insignificant part of my post (if any part of my posts could be called insignificant), and be wrong in the process…and then refuse to address any of my other points….well, it says alot about the character of not only the people who support the Zionist regime, but the regime itself.

  29. mustafa ramadan says:

    15-1-09

    Belinda,

    If you want to survive and stay alive and “intact”, you need to be very patient with the Zionist way of thinking and debating. It is irrelevant, distracting and annoying.

    I have been sending comments to this board for the past six months, and I still read almost the same Zionist silly replies and defences.

    Mustafa

  30. Raffe says:

    Well Belinda i’m against the settlements and the settlers and have said so on this board.

    I also believe that land has been captured in defensive wars (War of Independence, Six Day War, Yom Kippur War etc) which makes it legally Israel’s.

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