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What else is Israel supposed to do?

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Wind In My Hair
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What else is Israel supposed to do?

Postby Wind In My Hair » Mon, 05 Jan 2009 5:14 pm

I try not to talk about things I don't understand, and Middle East tensions is one of them. However, I just have to ask this. My understanding is:

- Israel has already pulled out of Gaza
- Hamas still keeps firing little rockets into southern Israel
- Israel issues warnings but does nothing
- Hamas fires even bigger rockets into Israel
- Israel decides to invade to disable the rocket launching facilities
- everybody condemns Israel

Am I the only one who doesn't get it? Of course it's terrible to go to war, of course it's terrible that civilians get killed, of couse peaceful negotiations are preferable. But when negotiations fail (because you can't negotiate with some people, like terrorists who want blood, and women on their period) then what next?

I'm sorry, but if my country were under siege and I were Prime Minister, I would also make the difficult decision to attack rather than watch my people die everyday and do nothing about it. I guess I would try covert operations first, sending elite troops in to damage selected targets with as little collateral damage as possible (is James Bond up for hire?) but if that didn't work, I don't see what other options I have.

So what am I missing here? Why doesn't somebody stand up and say "Yeah Israel, good on you for protecting your people, as is the duty of every sovereign government"?

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Postby sillingw » Tue, 06 Jan 2009 12:08 pm

I'll say it:

"Yeah Israel, good on you for protecting your people, as is the duty of every sovereign government"

Having travelled a few time in the region, I have to admit, my sympathies lie totally with Israel. Having carved out a first world country and economy in a very unfriendly region, against all odds and aginst many bitter enemies who are ill-educated and full of hatred, I have nothing but admiration for them.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Tue, 06 Jan 2009 12:47 pm

Sillingw, glad to know you feel the same way!

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Postby DimWit Kid » Tue, 06 Jan 2009 3:49 pm

Send in Zohan to kill all the rocket launcher operators...

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Postby jpatokal » Tue, 06 Jan 2009 7:27 pm

sillingw wrote:Having travelled a few time in the region, I have to admit, my sympathies lie totally with Israel. Having carved out a first world country and economy in a very unfriendly region, against all odds and aginst many bitter enemies who are ill-educated and full of hatred, I have nothing but admiration for them.


I used to think the same way. Then I visited Israel ~10 times, also visiting the Palestinian areas (even Gaza), and now my sympathies lie with the Palestinians. The people there have been royally screwed over by everybody: first the Brits go there and hand half their land over to the Jews, then their land-grubbing Arab neighbors get their asses handed to them in a war and they lose the rest, then these same neighbors refuse to give them citizenship and instead coop them up for decades in refugee camps, and then they get screwed over by their own leaders and Israel's leaders alike.

Consider the equation this way:

There are a million things Israel could do to ease the life of Palestinians. Open the airport, open the seaport, relax border controls, allow exports, allow imports, allow aid, dismantle checkpoints inside the West Bank (not the ones for entry to Israel proper, mind you, just the ones between Palestinian cantonments), create the corridor between West Bank and Gaza that they've promised, stop expanding the settlements in the West Bank, stop tolerating the outrages of the ultra-nationalist settlers on Palestinians etc etc.

And there's one thing that the Palestinians could do to ease the life of Israelis: they could stop firing rockets. But if they did that, where's their leverage for ever getting Israel to do anything?

Like it or not, Hamas, itself largely a creation of Israel as a counterforce to the PLO (in the same way that US funding of the muhajideen in Afghanistan spawned Osama bin Laden), was democratically elected by the Palestinians. Israel should negotiate with them in good faith and do something to improve the miserable lot of the Gazans, and once Gazans realize that things are on the upswing and it's in their own best interest to cooperate with Israel, the rocket attacks will eventually stop.

Unfortunately, this is not going to happen. The fundamental problem is that Israel doesn't give a shit about the Palestinians, who are disenfranchised and have no say in the politics of their colonial master, and the current war is for most part just a cynical pre-election plot by Kadima to shore up its floundering base and out-hawk Likud.
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Postby terrie35 » Tue, 06 Jan 2009 7:53 pm

One thing I don't understand - the other surrounding countries are not that heavily populated so why don't they open up their lands to the Palestians since they are of the same religion, instead of Palestians fighting for land with tiny Israel ?

The media is always portraying casualties on the Palestian side - don't Israelis die too from the rocket attacks?

The Palestian rocket attacks on Israel have been going on for years - which country would want to tolerate such attacks on their citizens?

The Palestians have themselves to blame - Israel left them to self-rule but they let Hamas take over, and put the blame on Israel - how unfair is that ? To them Hamas is right, Israel is wrong - Hamas can throw rockets but Israel cannot - where is the logic ?

Why is Israel blamed for everything that goes wrong ? This I don't understand....

In history, there was never a Palestinian state, no Palestian army etc. so why force tiny Israel to give them land ?

Normally when a country conquers other lands, it doesn't give back the conquered lands - Israel was attacked by a few countries in the 6-Day war but she was able to conquer some lands, yet she gave them up for peace but peace she didn't get.

Israel gave up 70% of her produce by giving up Gaza for peace but she was not given peace.

Millions of dollars have been given to the Palestians from western countries yet the ordinary Palestian is left as poor as ever....you cannot blame Israel for the sorry state of the Palestians if they prefer to buy arms with the millions of dollars....

So what is wrong about what Israel is doing now? She is only defending her rights and protecting her citizens as any normal country would do. Imagine sirens going on daily a few times to warn citizens to take cover because of rockets coming in from Gaza...who would like to live like that everyday ? Why should other countries stop Israel from protecting itself ? To me, it is just a case of a bully making the most noise so poor Israel will have to give up land again to get the promised peace that will never come.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Wed, 07 Jan 2009 12:25 am

jpatokal wrote:There are a million things Israel could do to ease the life of Palestinians. Open the airport, open the seaport, relax border controls, allow exports, allow imports, allow aid, dismantle checkpoints inside the West Bank (not the ones for entry to Israel proper, mind you, just the ones between Palestinian cantonments), create the corridor between West Bank and Gaza that they've promised, stop expanding the settlements in the West Bank, stop tolerating the outrages of the ultra-nationalist settlers on Palestinians etc etc.

Pardon my ignorance (and I've learnt a lot from your post already) but why would Israel want to do all that? A government is not a charity - since when is it a country's responsibility to take care of all its neighbours?

terrie35 wrote:So what is wrong about what Israel is doing now? She is only defending her rights and protecting her citizens as any normal country would do. Imagine sirens going on daily a few times to warn citizens to take cover because of rockets coming in from Gaza...who would like to live like that everyday ? Why should other countries stop Israel from protecting itself ?

My sentiments exactly. I can understand that other countries cannot condone violence for diplomatic reasons, but they could at least show support by keeping quiet. Yet they are singling Israel out for rebuke, and nobody dares to point a finger in the Palestinian direction. I don't understand either. Probably something to do with not daring to anger the Muslims?

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Postby BodyBlitz » Wed, 07 Jan 2009 1:10 am

I wonder why Hillary is not doing anything, all the hype of her being hawkish doesn't count for anything...

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Postby sundaymorningstaple » Wed, 07 Jan 2009 1:33 pm

BodyBlitz wrote:I wonder why Hillary is not doing anything, all the hype of her being hawkish doesn't count for anything...


:???:

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Postby sierra2469alpha » Wed, 07 Jan 2009 2:34 pm

I'm not sure if anyone else is getting SQL errors here this afternoon, but after writing and researching for quite a while I got well and truly cloberred, so here goes again.

Some suggested reading for those of you interested:

A good backgrounder:Fateful Traingle, Noam Chomsky (get the latest edition)

A further detailed read:
The Clash of Fundamentalism, Tariq Ali

Political Science, and perhaps the most concise:
Turmoil in the Middle East, Berch Berberoglu

Finally:
The Koran (even if you are areligious).

@terrie35, while I will always support and uphold the rights for anyone to say what they feel, I often add that it should be backed up with facts. I am not going to draw into a debate, but one of your comments was not only factually incorrect, it was offensive. Enough said.

In terms of casulaties, you'll find this interesting reading:

http://preview.tinyurl.com/yof2bu[url][/url]

If anyone would like to borrow these books, please let me know. I also have a number of others on the region and the conflicts therein.

Cheers all, Mr. P

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Postby TennoHekka » Wed, 07 Jan 2009 3:11 pm

Grrrrr! My previous reply got lost, got a blank page after hitting "submit"!
Anyway, this current campaign won't solve anything. Its pretty obvious hamas couldn't care less about the civillians, thus the unabted katyusha attacks, while Livni is just TRYING to show the Israeli public she's doing SOMETHING prior to the upcoming feb. elections. Its the Lebanon Campaign all over again, hamas will still be around, and the hand wringing will continue. Its kinda cynical the Israelis are initiating this just prior to dubya getting evicted back to crawford, and Israel will earn itself another PR black eye as the civillian casualties mount. My sympathies are with neither in this case since the palestinians are tacitly supporting hamas and hizbollah, while zahal excesses in dealing with kids and civillians are getting on my nerves each time I read the news. If only the US administration would tell AIPAC to can the jingoism for eretz yisrael from afar while sabras are doing the real dying, I suspect US influence in the mideast would soar overnight in spite of Iraq and all. I wonder if Obama is going to inject some sobriety into this mess after he takes office and all...

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Postby jpatokal » Wed, 07 Jan 2009 3:31 pm

Wind In My Hair wrote:Pardon my ignorance (and I've learnt a lot from your post already) but why would Israel want to do all that? A government is not a charity - since when is it a country's responsibility to take care of all its neighbours?

"Neighbours"? :o Israel conquered the West Bank and Gaza through warfare, and Jordan and Egypt dropped their claims to both as a part of their peace agreements with Israel. By any practical measure, both territories are fully and in legal terms "belligerently" (by war, read, unwillingly) under Israeli control and have been so for the past half century. However, Israel a) refuses to grant citizenship to the people living in there, b) refuses to let them create an independent state in those lands, and c) by and large refuses to let them leave and go somewhere else.

To put that in terms you can understand, let's pretend that Singapore had been forcefully conquered by Malaysia in 1965 after its attempt to declare independence and stripped Singaporeans of their citizenship, leaving them stateless. HDBs are constructed for Malaysian citizens commuting from Johor, while ex-Singaporeans, ruled over by the Sultan of Johor, have been prohibited from trading with the outside world and confined to fetid refugee camps for 40+ years. But this would be fine, right, since the Malaysian government is not a charity and has no responsibility to take care of its "neighbours"?

The media is always portraying casualties on the Palestian side - don't Israelis die too from the rocket attacks?

Since the latest Gaza conflict started, 10 Israelis have died, 3 of them civilians. At the same time, an estimated 640 Palestinians have died. Should 1 Israeli death get the same airtime as 64 dead Palestinians?

To make myself perfectly clear here, I think both sides of the conflict are full of murderous lunatics fully responsible for their own actions, and the Palestinians have, in Golda Meir's words, "never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity". However, I'm not going to buy Israel's "victim" shtick -- their own treatment of Gaza is the root cause of those rockets.
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Postby Wind In My Hair » Wed, 07 Jan 2009 8:29 pm

jpatokal wrote:Since the latest Gaza conflict started, 10 Israelis have died, 3 of them civilians. At the same time, an estimated 640 Palestinians have died. Should 1 Israeli death get the same airtime as 64 dead Palestinians?

Fine, let's talk numbers. I want to understand the situation better as well. According to UN statistics, between 2000 and 2007:

- Total deaths included 1024 Israelis and 4228 Palestinians, a ratio of 1:4 on average, though it was lower in earlier years and higher later on. In 2007 the ratio was 1:25. Still appalling but 1:64 is atypical due to the very narrow timeframe.

- 69% of Israelis killed were civilians. On the Palestinian side, 59% were civilians and 41% were engaged in hostilities so they weren't exactly civilians in the true sense of the word.

- 67% of Israeli civilians died inside Israel, mostly from Palestinian suicide bombs (402 deaths). In 2007, internal violence accounted for 65% of Palestinian deaths. More than twice as many Palestinians were killed by other Palestinians (415) than by Israelis (185), mainly for alleged collaboration or from factional fighting.

Based on these figures, blaming Israel for the total death toll of Palestinians is overly simplistic, isn't it? I'm sure the Israelis are not saints, but the Palestinians seem quite happy to kill their own and account for a large number of their deaths.

Morever, Israel's attack is targeted, unlike the Palestinians who simply lob rockets over not caring who they hit. And to blame Israel for the high Palestinian death toll when it's the Palestinians themselves who use civilians as shields is also a bit thick.

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Postby Shavit » Thu, 08 Jan 2009 10:21 am

Israel is doing the right thing.

For about the last 8 years the Hamas was firing on civilian targets in the south of Israel.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) since ever were only firing towards the sources of fire or places that the Hamas was using to store/transfer ammunition.

They were firing from schools and from within crowd as well, and stored ammunition in Mosqueד and in houses where families lived.

Did you know the IDF called the people of Gaza to their houses and warned them not to carry
weaponry, or go near those who do for they are risking their lives?
During the recent war in south Lebanon, and well as the recent fights in Raffia near Gaza, the IDF pleaded persistently all civilians to leave their houses until the fights with the terrorists are
over.
What other army in the world does that?

And the world defends those who don't have second thoughts about firing on cities or exploding in buses.

I think that countries officially condemn Israel because they don't want to make the Muslims living there restless, after whatever they hear from their preachers about what's going on in the Middle East.

I read every day about false reports arriving from the Palestinian authorities regarding the number of killed people (they don't even say if they were armed) and faked tapes or images.

Channel 2 in France broadcasted a tape with what was supposed to be the result of the IDF attack in
Gaza. It showed injured/dead civilians and Hamas people and a destroyed house.
It turned out it was an old record from an explosion caused by a suicide bomber who accidentally set
out the bomb in his house instead of within Israeli crowd.

It's better not to rely on the media regarding the truth in these matters, but do the research yourself.

When Hamas intended to stop firing on Israeli cities? when they didn't exist anymore.
When the IDF intends to end the operation ? When the Hamas stop firing on Israeli cities.
I don't have any doubt who are the moral people, and who are the bad guys.

I must say I'm impressed with the President of France that while all the other world leaders condemned
Israel, he came to the region, visited Israeli officials in Israeli and the Hamas representatives in Egypt to reach a cease fire.

The world leaders have the cheek to protest against the accidental killing of civilians in Gaza,
but for the last 8 years they were silent despite the intentional firing towards Israeli civilians.

jpatokal,
That area never belonged to the Palestinians, so writing that Israel took half of their land is a lie.
Arabs came from Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Saudi-Arabia to the land of Israel and settled there. Now they call themselves Palestinians.

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Postby Wind In My Hair » Thu, 08 Jan 2009 12:57 pm

Wow, Shavit, I think you win the prize for best first post ever! Talk about hitting the ground running... Great job, and welcome to the forum!


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