Leaked UN report echoes Goldstone and says Israeli blockade is leading to the ‘de-development’ of Gaza

Israel/Palestine
on 205 Comments

Susan Rice may want to discount the Goldstone report because she believes "the focus should be the future," but unfortunately many of issues that Justice Goldstone highlighted as "a crisis of human dignity" continue today.

The Guardian is reporting on a leaked UN report which says the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza is leading to "a gradual process of de-development across all sectors, devastating livelihoods, increasing unemployment and resulting in increased aid dependency amongst the population." Here are some of the statistics from the report:

The UN report, obtained by the Guardian, reveals the delays facing the delivery of even the most basic aid. On average, it takes 85 days to get shelter kits into Gaza, 68 days to deliver health and paediatric hygiene kits, and 39 days for household items such as bedding and kitchen utensils.

Among the many items delayed are notebooks and textbooks for children returning to school. As many as 120 truckloads of stationery were "stranded" in the West Bank and Israel due to "ongoing delays in approval".

There were "continued difficulties" in importing English textbooks for grades four to nine – affecting 130,000 children – and material used to print textbooks for several subjects in grades one to nine.

Government schools were reported to lack paper and chalk, while the UN Relief and Works Agency, which supports Palestinian refugees and runs many schools in Gaza, was still waiting to import 4,000 desks and 5,000 chairs.

The UN says the current situation "contravenes" a UN security council resolution passed during the war in January, which called for "unimpeded provision and distribution" of humanitarian aid for Gaza.

Additionally the Guardian reports, "According to UN statistics, around 70% of Gazans live on less than a dollar a day, 75% rely on food aid and 60% have no daily access to water. As many as 20,000 Palestinians are still displaced after the war, most living with relatives or renting apartments."

The Goldstone report took a look at the conditions that led to the fighting in Gaza last winter and specifically the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza. The report finds that the blockade is in violation of the Fourth Geneva convention; is in violation of international law; constitutes a form of collective punishment and could be found to be a crime against humanity. From the report (pps. 369-370):

The cumulative effect of the blockade policies, with the consequent hardship and deprivation among the whole population, and of the military operations coupled with statements by Israel made to the effect that the whole of the Gaza Strip was a “hostile territory” strongly suggest that there was an intent to subject the Gaza population to conditions such that they would be induced into withdrawing their support from Hamas. . . The facts ascertained by the Mission, the conditions resulting from the deliberate actions of the Israeli armed forces and the declared policies of the Israeli Government – as they were presented by its authorized representatives – with regard to the Gaza Strip before, during and after the military operation, cumulatively indicate the intention to inflict collective punishment on the people of the Gaza Strip.

Clearly many of these same conditions remain today. Even if the Obama administration is not interested in holding Israel accountable for the past, it would seem to be in their self interest to stop this inhumane and illegal ongoing policy if they really intend to restart meaningful negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. They should view the Goldstone report as a gift to pressure Israel to end the occupation and push negotiations forward, not an unfortunate reminder of the past to be forgotten.

About Adam Horowitz

Adam Horowitz is Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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205 Responses

  1. Oscar
    September 18, 2009, 12:54 pm

    Stunning. The greatest humanitarian crisis of our time, and we sit on our hands, even as we see it unfolding before our eyes.

  2. potsherd
    September 18, 2009, 1:02 pm

    The water supply to Gaza is in danger of permanent degradation. Some Europeans tried to send an advanced water treatment plant to Gaza, but Israel turned it back.

    Now, with Israel so concerned about its reputation as a war criminal state, would be an excellent time to organize a sealift that would bring real relief to Gaza. With an armed escort.

  3. hnorr
    September 18, 2009, 1:21 pm

    The gravity of the current situation certainly needs to be highlighted, but Israel’s “de-development” of hardly something new. Sara Roy’s magnificent book about Gaza, published in *1995*, was titled “The Gaza Strip: The Political Economy of De-Development.” As she wrote in the introduction, “The central argument of the book is that the relationship between Israel and Gaza is unusual and lies outside existing development paradigms. Instead, this relationship is characterized by an economic process specific to Israeli rule, a process that could be characterized as de-development. De-development, it is here asserted, is the deliberate, systematic deconstruction of an indigenous economy by a dominant power.”

    This year’s intensified siege is just a new phase in a process the Israelis have been engaged in for many decades.

    • wondering jew
      September 18, 2009, 8:34 pm

      I assumed that the Israeli de-development of Gaza began with the first intifadeh in 87. Could you supply some information regarding de-development that occurred beforehand or is my assumption correct?

      • hnorr
        September 19, 2009, 2:33 am

        Sara Roy (incidentally the daughter of survivors of the Nazi holocasut) is really my only source on this, but she argues that from 1967 on, though Israeli policy went through various stages, it was always aimed at de-development, basically in order to prevent the Palestinians from laying the basis for a state of their own.

        On pp.136-137, for example, she writes “To preclude the establishment of a Palestinian state, the government had to eliminate any foundation on which it could be built. Economic policy in the occupied territories [NB: not just Gaza] became a critical component of this policy. It was characterized by the deliberate rejection of development as a legitimate and rational goal. Since 1967, there has never been an explicit commitment on the part of any Israeli government to advancing the economic interests of the Palestinian population through planned development….Development was equated with building the economic infrastructure for a state. In this way, Israel has always seen Palestinian economic development as a zero-sum game. …Israeli rejection of Palestinian economic development was rooted, not in the feat of economic competition or of a strengthened Palestinian economy per se… but in the emergence of socio-psychological factors, notably personal and community empowerment, social cohesion, and popular control. … Having excised “development” from its conceptual and strategic core, Israel’s economic policy in the occupied territories was fashioned to achieve two seemingly contradictory ends: improving the standard of living by increasing social and economic services …. and progressively weakening the indigenous economic base. Whereas a better living standard was meant to diminish nationalist aspirations and contain violence and popular resentment …., the weakening of the economic base was meant to create ties of dependence…..”

        This is rather abstract, but she spells the concrete mechanisms out in great detail in the book.

        It’s probably fair to say that beginning with the first intifada, or certainly after Oslo, Israel abandoned the part about improving living standards. As I recall, Neve Gordon also talks about that in his history of the occupation.

      • Mooser
        September 19, 2009, 11:38 am

        For God’s sake, did the Zionists ever deal directly with the people of the area, and not with the colonial masters of the area? That’s a real good start on de-devolopement!
        The British (and to some extent, the French) established a colonial mandate over Palestine and other areas after the final defeat of the Ottoman Empire. It was to the British that the Zionists directed their appeals for land in the area.
        What greater de-developement could there be than completely refusing to recognise the people in the area?

      • Chaos4700
        September 19, 2009, 10:15 pm

        I think Golda Meir saying, “There’s no one for us to return land to,” pretty well sums up Israel’s attitude toward allowing the Palestinians to engage in development.

    • Shirin
      September 19, 2009, 2:22 am

      You are so right, and let us not overlook the decades of de-development in the West Bank as well, which has taken the form of “the Palestinians build, Israel destroys”. It is part of a systematic policy of preventing any sort of self-government, self-help, or even normalcy. Israel’s deliberate destruction of two children’s zoos, and slaughtering of the animals in their cages, are cases in point. The Palestinians are not allowed to create anything for themselves that allows them to ever feel normal, let alone joyful or happy.

  4. Citizen
    September 18, 2009, 1:46 pm

    Rice and Witty say we should focus on the future, what can we do now? Yet they ignore the context of doing anything positive–how can they say ignore the past, when Israel and Witty et al point to a biblical past 3 thousand years old to justify the present status quo?

    • James
      September 18, 2009, 2:12 pm

      if these folks wanted to look to the future they wouldn’t be reminding us of the holocaust at every step would they??? either that or you are an anti-semite before you say anything, just in case you say something that doesn’t serves israels narrow racist interests….

  5. seafoid
    September 18, 2009, 2:40 pm

    Israel’s strategy in Gaza is also doing great damage to Israeli society. Israel is in no way ready for peace. The future as a result becomes so much more uncertain for Israel.

    • Shirin
      September 19, 2009, 2:32 am

      Who cares what happens to Israel? I do not wish any harm to any of the people of Israel, but the best thing that could happen for them would be for Israel to become a real democracy and a peaceful country and stop being an aggressive ethnocracy. That would change the entire dynamic of the Middle East for the better.

  6. BluePearl
    September 18, 2009, 2:57 pm

    Citizen: Rice and Witty say we should focus on the future

    don’t you get it citizen? only likud jews can invoke the holocaust past to sanctify their victim status and extort political concessions.

  7. Susie Kneedler
    September 18, 2009, 3:17 pm

    Yet the Israeli government insists that Palestinian people ought to teach their children better–especially in terms of peaceful values. Where’s the Likud linkage of peace and education when its military bombs the children and the schools, and then deprives them of paper, books, chalk–not to mention pens and crayons?

    Meanwhile, Susan Rice and our government need to remember that a blockade is an act of war.
    From the end of “The Guardian” article:

    “A spokesman for Israel’s co-ordinator of government activities in the territories did not respond to calls for comment yesterday. The Israeli military sends journalists near-daily text messages noting the number of delivery trucks scheduled to enter Gaza.

    On most working days, between 70 and 100 trucks are due to cross – a number which aid agencies say is still well short of that required. The average flow of 9,500 trucks a month entering Gaza in late 2005 was also considered insufficient.

    In July this year, only 2,231 trucks crossed the blockade.”

  8. Rehmat
    September 18, 2009, 3:46 pm

    Iranian president Ahmadinejad has renewed his support for the Palestinians against the ZIONIST REGIME – without mentioning the Zionists’ favourite word “Jewish State of Israel”. He was addressing millions of Muslims, Christians and Jews commemorating the 28th International Al-Quds Day.

    link to rehmat1.wordpress.com

    • potsherd
      September 18, 2009, 4:57 pm

      Yes, an adding a refrain of Holocaust-denial to his song.

      Mahmoud is not really helpful.

      • Koshiro
        September 18, 2009, 5:01 pm

        Talk about understatement. To call him a disgrace for his own alleged cause would be more accurate, but still an understatement.

      • Rehmat
        September 18, 2009, 7:11 pm

        Montrael University’s Jewish professor Yakov Rabkin says that Dr. ahmadinejad is not a Holocaust-denier. The title bestowed upon him – is by those who pose a threat to not only the Jewish community – but the entire world community.

        “A Tale of Two Claims: Ahmadinejad and the Jews”

        link to acjna.org

      • potsherd
        September 18, 2009, 7:55 pm

        Ahmadinejad blows on and off on the Holocaust. I believe he does it purely for effect, like poking the Jews with sharp sticks to watch their predictable reaction.

        For those of us who are working to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran, his behavior is frustrating.

      • Chaos4700
        September 19, 2009, 6:57 am

        Not that I approve of Ahmedinejad, but guys, do yourselves a favor and take a look at what he really said. Here’s what Reuters reports:

        “The pretext (Holocaust) for the creation of the Zionist regime (Israel) is false … It is a lie based on an unprovable and mythical claim,”

        Now let’s take out the faulty MEMRI-style spin references and read it again.

        “The pretext for the creation of the Zionist regime is false … It is a lie based on an unprovable and mythical claim,”

        He’s not talking about the Holocaust, kids.

      • DG
        September 19, 2009, 2:20 pm

        Chaos4700 makes a very important point. All these cries of Ahmadinejad’s “Holocaust denial” always turn out to be about his critique of the USES of the Holocaust to justify the Zionist project. Now everybody, I think, recognizes that the Holocaust narrative is being exploited to legitimize Israel. Unfortunately we in the Western world don’t feel comfortable saying this (partly through sensitivity to Jewish feelings, partly through fear of the prison sentences awaiting those who might say the wrong thing).

        We’ve gone through this subject before here at Mondoweiss, when Ahmadinejad made his speech at the Geneva anti-racism conference.

    • Citizen
      September 18, 2009, 5:00 pm

      One glance at the sequence of maps showing sequential Israeli take over of Palestinian land
      on Rehamt’s web page speaks volmes. Also Rehmat has an interesting article
      regarding the set up for war with Iran going on beneath our MSM’s noses, in this instance the USA’s role for Turkey:
      link to rehmat1.wordpress.com

      • Dan Kelly
        September 18, 2009, 6:14 pm

        From the article:

        M.K. Bhadrakumar, former Indian Ambassador to Turkey – writing in Indian daily Th Hindu (February 6, 2009) had this advice for the Israeli Zionist Jews:

        “Turkey has many friends in the region, whereas Israel hardly has any. Turkey is an irreplaceable ally for Israel in the Middle East. With the expected US-Iranian engagement and the ensuing realignment in the region, Israel (and the pro-West Arab states) needs Turkey as a “balancer” more than ever before. Iraq can no longer play that role. The effusive Iranian salute to Mr. Erdogan shows Tehran is conscious of the new imperatives too.

        Beyond all that, however, an ageless spectre may come to haunt Israel. For the first time in the rolling Anatolian heartlands, a surge of anti-Semitism is visible. If the Ottoman era’s fabulous record of providing asylum to the wandering Jews is indeed becoming a relic of history, do not ask who is responsible. Israel’s leaders must take the blame for it.”

        And an interesting article from Rehmat’s site, posted back in April:

        link to rehmat1.wordpress.com

      • wondering jew
        September 18, 2009, 8:56 pm

        A common complaint from both the writers of Mondoweiss and many of the commenters on this site is that pro Israel people paint all criticism of Israel as antisemitism. I accept this complaint as valid.

        But then people quote rehmat’s web site when he is obviously an antisemite and the page quoted by Dan Kelly included this “Rabbi Caspers Funnye’s brother-in-law Barack Obama while talking tough on Afghanistan, his Jewish administration is…” If you want people to stop painting with a wide brush, you must treat obvious antisemites with at least a modicum of disdain.

      • Donald
        September 18, 2009, 10:27 pm

        “f you want people to stop painting with a wide brush, you must treat obvious antisemites with at least a modicum of disdain.”

        That’s entirely valid and it’s unfortunate that it even has to be said, but it does. Things used to be worse around here, but there’s still some anti-semitism that crops up–the blogowners deleted at least one comment today that was offensive.

        It is something that I wonder about–I think that criticism of Israel has been suppressed for decades by false charges of anti-semitism, but I wonder how much real anti-semitism would surface if it became acceptable to criticize Israel as harshly as its actions deserve. Judging from what pops up here, there’d probably be a fair amount.

        Similarly with anti-black racism. I think Jimmy Carter overstated things a bit the other day, but probably not by as much as some would like to think.

        But anti-Arab and anti-Muslim racism is, in my opinion, the one form of racism that is endorsed by much of mainstream society. The “liberal” NYT has had a lot of articles and book reviews that have been very sympathetic to people who have talked about Muslims with the sort of condescension, fear, and hatred that reminds me of what “respectable” people used to say quite openly about Jews a few generations back.

      • Oscar
        September 19, 2009, 8:39 am

        WJ – you’re truly an asset to the Mondoweiss discussion. Appreciate your perspective.

      • Dan Kelly
        September 19, 2009, 12:22 pm

        Thanks for your thoughts WJ.

        I don’t know what the definition of an “antisemite” is anymore, and I’m not sure I care. If Rehmat doesn’t like any Jews simply because they are Jewish, then that would qualify, but I doubt that’s the case. I imagine his thoughts and feelings are a response to what’s around him, what he has grown up with, etc.

        There are many Jewish people who to this day have a profound dislike of German people and everything German, due to the actions of a minority of Germans.

        I’m interested in the veracity and worthiness of the content. Some of the most despicable people in the world (and I’m not calling Rehmat despicable) are nevertheless capable of seeing how things unfold, and it is in that light that I posted the article “Zionist Agenda: From Kabul to Islamabad.”

        The article may be true, it may not be. It may contain some truths, and be completely erroneous in other respects. I do not know. But I found it interesting, and I wanted to share it.

        Interestingly, the sentence that you posted didn’t stand out to me as I was reading. (“Rabbi Caspers Funnye’s brother-in-law Barack Obama while talking tough on Afghanistan, his Jewish administration is…”). I’m not even sure now what’s particularly offensive about it. I guess “his Jewish administration?”

        I wouldn’t find someone describing the Obama administration as “heavily Zionist-influenced” as being offensive (or incorrect). If Rehmat grew up in America, he might not call it a “Jewish administration,” but having witnessed and/or been taught about the rise of Israel as a Jewish state and the subsequent horrors inflicted on his culture, it’s not surprising that he sees things in a very “Jewish-non/Jewish” way. I’m not making a value judgment here, rather just talking out loud.

        I think Rabbi Caspers Funnye is a cousin-in-law, incidentally, not a brother-in-law.

      • Call Me Ishmael
        September 20, 2009, 12:51 am

        From WJ: “A common complaint from both the writers of Mondoweiss and many of the commenters on this site is that pro Israel people paint all criticism of Israel as antisemitism. I accept this complaint as valid.”

        This question, whether all criticism of Israel’s behavior is anti-semitic, is outrageous and ridiculous in the extreme. Who gives a f***? The plain fact is that Israeli Jews are, and have been for decades, relentlessly and mercilessly persecuting millions of Palestinians in a successful effort to deprive them of their lands and all that belongs to them, including their pride, dignity, and in many cases their lives. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

        I said it elsewhere, and I’ll say it again, anti-Zionism (including opposition to the Israeli government) is not equivalent to anti-semitism. You make it so, or seem so, at your own risk.

      • wondering jew
        September 20, 2009, 1:34 am

        There is a value in keeping rehmat in the mix for the web sites that he cites. I think if one wishes to be vigilant against all forms of hatred, one must also keep in mind the hatred that he spews.

        If anyone has any questions about Ahmadinejad’s latest statements I think Juan Cole’s site, informed consent, easily accessed from this site, will clear up the vileness of the “president” of Iran’s statements of a few days ago. If you think his statements do not constitute holocaust denial, then might I suggest a course in reading comprehension.

        The idea that I must use the term Racism rather than antisemitism to describe someone’s hatred of Jews is new to me and frankly rather disturbing. As if I am responsible for labeling the reason why someone hates me rather than just stating that they do. There are disturbing words in the Hebrew Bible, in the Talmud, in the New Testament, in the fathers of the Church, in Martin Luther, but also in the Koran and in the Hadiths and being spouted by some current Islamic leaders. To assert that the only possible source for hatred of Jews is Christian or race is frankly unhistorical. And silly.

      • Call Me Ishmael
        September 20, 2009, 1:42 am

        From Donald: “I think that criticism of Israel has been suppressed for decades by false charges of anti-semitism, but I wonder how much real anti-semitism would surface if it became acceptable to criticize Israel as harshly as its actions deserve.”

        Perhaps without realizing it, you have posed a moral question here. Let us assume that allowing Israel to be criticized “as harshly as its actions deserved” would bring to the surface some of the anti-semitism undoubtedly latent in our society. Should we as a country therefore continue to suppress legitimate elucidation and criticism of Israel’s behavior toward the Palestinians?

        If you are Jewish, your answer might well be different from mine. You might argue, say, that any conceivable harm done to the Palestinians, no matter how extreme and egregious, could not possibly be a valid reason for allowing such freedom of expression that (as a side-effect) comments judged to be anti-semitic might be seen and heard in public venues, that the spectre of anti-semitism might stalk the land less stealthily.

        I, on the other hand, being non-Jewish and neither anti- nor pro-semitic, might take an opposing view. From a moral standpoint, I think that what is happening to the Palestinians is far more IMMEDIATELY evil than hearing some anti-semitic tripe from some pathetic bigots somewhere. From a practical standpoint, I think
        that the threat of anti-semitism in this country, though real, is far less than it has ever been in Western societies in 2000 years, and probably is a lot less than you imagine.

        The real danger of anti-semitism in America arises mainly from the presence of radical Zionism. Conflating anti-Zionism with anti-semitism, especially when done for political purposes, only serves to strengthen the latter unnecessarily.

    • Colin Murray
      September 19, 2009, 1:28 pm

      @ potsherd September 18, 2009 at 7:55 pm

      That is my view exactly. The man is a clown. I don’t know if he truly is a holocaust denier. There has been too much brazen lying by pro-Zionist media figures and ‘think tank’ hacks for any reasonable person to either take the word at face value of or assume the veracity of translation from any of them. They have too many irons in the fire, especially the keen desire among many for war with Iran. The fable ‘The Boy who cried Wolf’ come to mind.

      Others have suggested that his antics probably play well with the fundamentalist portion of his supporters. I hypothesize that some portion may also be cultural: maybe it is hard for non-Western peoples that have not experienced genocide in recent memory to truly believe it in their gut.

      BEGIN iterative loop:
      . ['moseying along without a care in the world' background music]
      . M.Ahmadinejad:
      . [end music]
      . [pregnant pause accompanied by a silly grin]
      . (exclamation: “Holocaust denial!!”)
      . Jews who pay any too much attention to this clown:
      . (enraged response: “rarrarararar … you damn antisemite!”)
      . M.Ahmadinejad:
      . [ gleeful giggling morphing into a forced-sounding deep
      . guffaw as he realizes his giggle sounds girlish]
      END iterative loop

      • potsherd
        September 19, 2009, 2:48 pm

        I think Chaos makes the valuable point that Ahmadinejad’s comments are always taken out of context and spun to display the most anti-Semitic possible slant.

        otoh, Juan Cole today did claim that the speech was “vile crackpot anti-Semitism” and quoted the speech: “My dear ones, the pretext used to establish the Zionist regime was a lie and a corrupt act. It was a lie based on a fabricated claim that cannot be proven. The occupation of the Palestinian land had no connection with the issue of holocaust. The claim, the pretext, and the masterminds are all fraudulent and corrupt.

        While this may not be explicit Holocaust denial, the anti-Semitic tone is certainly going to be connected with the Goldstone report and end up discrediting it just as the General Assembly is meeting. It’s very frustrating.

      • Chaos4700
        September 19, 2009, 2:55 pm

        It doesn’t matter, potsherd. It honestly doesn’t. Ahmedinejad could probably apologize for the Holocaust — which would be nonsensical since neither himself nor Iran (or Persia) had anything to do with it and he would still be painted as an anti-Semite.

        Just like how Israel completely derailed the UN conference on racism. The labelled the whole lot anti-Semitic, complained even after all language refering to Israel was removed completely, and then Israelis still showed up to spit on Muslims.

      • Dan Kelly
        September 19, 2009, 4:10 pm

        Great points by all on Ahmadinejad (funny stuff Colin!)

        I also think it’s important to define “Holocaust denial.”

      • wondering jew
        September 19, 2009, 4:41 pm

        “It was a lie based on a fabricated claim that cannot be proven.” If this is not explicit Holocaust denial, what is it? If this is not explicit Holocaust denial, what would be?

        If you do not care about accuracy, then this is an adolescent chat room rather than a real political discussion.

        to Dan Kelly,
        when rehmat thought my resource was biased he wrote, “you just blew up your skull-cap, boy”

        if i wrote “you just blew up your keffiya, boy” would that be anti arab?

        if i called a black man “boy” would that be racist?

        How is this not antisemitism?

        Explain to me where i am wrong.

      • Dan Kelly
        September 19, 2009, 5:20 pm

        WJ, I didn’t mean to be confusing. My comment was a general one, not specific to Ahmadinejad. As you can see, I am in agreement with the posters above me. I never know what the hell Ahmadinejad is getting at most of the time, and I think that’s the point, as articulated so well by potsherd:

        “Ahmadinejad blows on and off on the Holocaust. I believe he does it purely for effect, like poking the Jews with sharp sticks to watch their predictable reaction.

        For those of us who are working to prevent an Israeli attack on Iran, his behavior is frustrating. ”

        The above statements describe my feelings to a T.

        As for the general comment on denial, it stands. Often (practically always, in fact), anything that doesn’t agree with the standard narrative we’ve grown up with here in America is dismissed as “Holocaust denial.” This includes all the scholarly work coming out of Israel itself. This work isn’t being done by card-carrying KKK members (although, despite their hatreds, if the work itself was factual, then it’s important). Nevertheless, it’s being done by Israeli academics.

        As for the skull-cap comment, that wasn’t included in your original post. It’s certainly not anything I would say, and I understand it’s hurtful. I don’t know that it helps to label it “antisemitism” or “racist” or anything. That sort of gives it its power. You could just laugh at it. I know, easy for me to say, but I have that Irish self-deprecating quality that has probably helped to sustain me amidst so much depression in my family. Anyway, I’m reminded of how the black community took the word “nigger” and started calling each other that, in an attempt to take some power away from it. I don’t think it worked, because to this day not too many people are laughing if a white guy calls a black guy “nigger,” but I understand what they were trying to do.

        I’ve gone off on a tangent. I understand your frustration with Rehmat, and I understand if you don’t want anything to do with him. But there’s a lot more going on on this site than Rehmat and Ed_Frias.

      • potsherd
        September 19, 2009, 5:40 pm

        WJ – I think the reference is not to the Holocaust but the Biblical claim to the territory as given by God.

        Chaos – I think you’re quite right. When people are determined to demonize an enemy they don’t let mere facts deter them.

      • DG
        September 19, 2009, 6:16 pm

        Wondering Jew writes, ““It was a lie based on a fabricated claim that cannot be proven.” If this is not explicit Holocaust denial, what is it? If this is not explicit Holocaust denial, what would be?”

        Holocaust denial? The “it” in the above sentence refers to “the pretext used to establish the Zionist regime.” He is talking, in other words, about the bogus claim, made implicitly and explicitly every day, that what happened during WWII somehow justifies the Zionist take over of Palestine.

        Why did you ignore the sentence that came just before the one you quoted? Perhaps you WANT to detect “antisemitism.” (It’s also worth remembering that these allegedly “antisemitic” comments are made in a language only remotely related to English, and so there’s lots of room for subtle distortions in the translations.)

      • Dan Kelly
        September 19, 2009, 6:20 pm

        WJ, if I had just gone along with the “antisemitic” label attached to him and subsequently ignored everything of his because, well, he’s an antisemite and I shouldn’t go near him, then I wouldn’t have come across this article by an Iraqi Jewish man:

        link to inminds.co.uk

        It’s “The Jews of Iraq” by Naeim Giladi, and it’s utterly fascinating. It was linked to from Rehmat’s site.

        The larger point is that I try not to shut off anyone, even the most vile (and again, I’m not labeling anyone here, just making a general point). I never know what I may miss if I close a window on someone because they’ve been labeled as something.

      • edwin
        September 19, 2009, 6:28 pm

        Explain to me where i am wrong.

        It all depends on what anti-semitism means.

        If it means “I don’t like you because you do not believe in Jewish supremacy” – as it is used often by Zionists then who cares.

        If it means racism against Jews, then perhaps you have a point – though why bother singling out Jews as unique and different – it is a self-defeating definition that seeks to prove what it opposes. The term Racism works just fine and dandy for the rest of the world.

        If it is a special type of racism related to the religion of Christianity and more particularly – Jews as the killer of christ – and that sin is passed down generation by generation – then Muslims do not fit the bill, and it is a form of racism to include them. Instead one should use the term racism.

      • Dan Kelly
        September 19, 2009, 6:31 pm

        Thank you Edwin. Your post articulates my thoughts on this better than I’ve been able to to this point.

  9. Hag Sameach | Jewbonics linked to this.
  10. Richard Witty
    September 18, 2009, 6:09 pm

    What does branding IDF actions as war crimes accomplish?

    If they reform their behavior during war, then that would be a great outcome.

    If they are forced to accept shelling on civilians for the fear that the world will condemn ANY military response to a military attack, that is a horrible outcome.

    In my opinion, the opening of Gazan ports to free traffic is a disaster. Absent a dependable bona-fide state or international mechanism to control (beyond monitor) the import and export from the ports, it should not be allowed.

    No amount of agitation will change the observation that Hamas arms itself, and not for defensive purposes.

    • Margaret
      September 18, 2009, 6:52 pm

      What does branding IDF actions as war crimes accomplish?

      2.. It would be a refutation of the stated intention of Israeli officials to change international law to favor unequal standards of behavior, as now prevail in Israel.

      3. It would define actions which are understood as unacceptable on an international basis.

      4.. It would create a precedent regarding the use of warfare for perceived ‘national interests’.

      5. It would eliminate the stated reason for various acts of ‘insurgency’.

      6. It would stabilize the international situation beyond what it is currently.

      7. It would enable the inhabitants of Palestine to live with the same expectations enjoyed by you, your fellow citizens and the Israelis, as well as large numbers of others in the world.

      What is it that you have against recognizing the equality of others, Richard?

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 1:39 am

        It would serve those ends if it were applied consistently, otherwise the opposite of enhancing the human rights accountability would occur, as “justice” would then be selective, rather than consistent.

        That is exactly what Rice is seeking, consistent justice rather than selective resulting from volume rather than reasoning.

        The way that Palestinians will receive the same expectations of justice as me, would be if it proceeded to develop the institutions that enable it to be a state, and both negotiate and/or assert statehood (apply for ratification in the UN).

      • Citizen
        September 19, 2009, 7:49 am

        Witty says, “…The way that Palestinians will receive the same expectations of justice as me, would be if it proceeded to develop the institutions that enable it to be a state…”

        Does this statement suggest to anyone here that Mister Witty read and understood
        Phil’s above post detailing de-development and its very negative impact on the
        ability of Palestininans to develop institutions enabling it to be a state?

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 8:33 am

        The way that would happen would be for Hamas to endeavor to join the PA as participating in the constitution fully, not conditionally on the basis of their then dictatorial power (renouncing obligation to enforce laws in effect).

        It is a multiple step process, that IS within their power.

        They have options, and present themselves as having the responsible will (sometimes) to pursue them.

        Are they responsible in fact, or just in talk?

      • Citizen
        September 19, 2009, 9:30 am

        Would Israel give up all the settlements since 1967 in exchange for the Palestinians
        giving up their right of return to their former homes in pre-’67 Israel [getting compensation/right to live in new Pal State instead]? Seems to
        me any united Palestinian peace negotiation agency (PA-HAMAS) would require
        this at minimum. Israel would get security that it would never be abolished from
        within by demography, hence recognition of Israel as a Jewish State would occur
        de facto, no? Is anybody up to date on the results of the Egyptian-sponsored
        peace negotiations regarding these key issues?

    • potsherd
      September 18, 2009, 8:00 pm

      If Israeli war crimes are branded as such it would have the desirable effect of making Israel think twice or three times before committing more of them, and starting new wars. Israel is very concerned at the prospect of its officials in the dock at the Hague.

      It might even force (yes, force) Israel to accept a cease-fire with its enemies.

      I will also make the observation that Israel arms itself, and definitely not for defensive purposes, although it always claims “self-defense” for its aggression.

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 1:41 am

        Thats what I stated, if you read. That if the result is reform, sincere reform, then the report will have yeilded optimal fruit. The significance of Obama’s approach is to avoid the punitive, unless reform does not occur.

        The test is the “next time”, hopefully there is none.

    • robin
      September 18, 2009, 10:45 pm

      “What does branding IDF actions as war crimes accomplish?”

      That’s like asking, in a murder trial, what does branding this man’s actions as homicide accomplish? It makes accountability and justice possible. It can encourage policy or personnel changes which would help protect Palestinian civilians from being victimized in the future.

      “If they are forced to accept shelling on civilians for the fear that the world will condemn ANY military response to a military attack, that is a horrible outcome.”

      How can you say this, given what happened? Objectively, there would have been a LOT fewer deaths, casualties, less destruction and misery if Israel simply had done nothing about the rockets. In any case, you know the UN could never prevent them from using force when they consider necessary. But if international condemnation forces them to think twice about it next time, and rely more heavily on diplomacy (Hamas was always open to negotiating cease-fires before the invasion), that would be nothing short of a FANTASTIC development.

      You show no appreciation that what happened (and continues to happen) in Gaza was a tragedy that befell human beings, on an almost unprecedented scale in this conflict. It IS what we should be seeking to prevent above all else. You talk like Hamas smuggling in marginally more weapons is worse than the destruction of an economy serving 1.5 million people, or only-occasionally deadly rocket fire is worse than the murder of 800 civilians in a month. I don’t know how else to explain an attitude like that than racism–the idea that Jews’ lives have greater worth than Palestinian lives.

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 1:45 am

        Robin,
        The exact description of my sentiments re: Gaza, is that it was a horrible tragedy that befell civilians.

        You ignore what happened there to conclude that Hamas is innocent, or not a fundamental PARTICIPANT in the original war status. It does amount to a functional apology for the Hamas shelling of civilians, incrementally over a 10-day period, before Israeli military response. Again and again, if it wanted to indicate a deterrent, it should have stopped after the first shelling that was targeted into the desert. It didn’t do that.

        In questions of war, its really important to not be naive.

      • Shirin
        September 19, 2009, 2:52 am

        The exact description of my sentiments re: Gaza, is that it was a horrible tragedy that befell civilians.

        Yes, sure, in the same way that the Anfal against the Kurds was a “horrible tragedy that befell civilians”, and the Turkish genocide of the Armenians was a “horrible tragedy that befell civilians”, and the Holocaust was a “horrible tragedy that befell civilians”. None of these things was a crime deliberately perpetrated against a population, it was just a tragedy that befell them.

      • Citizen
        September 19, 2009, 7:57 am

        a terrible tradedy that befell

        Yeah, Witty, as in your favorite bumper sticker I guess: “S**T HAPPENS”

      • Mooser
        September 19, 2009, 11:45 am

        I agree! It’s like all those nasty people who say that Hitler’s actions were anti-Jew, so they can accuse Hitler of anti-Semetism. It’s just like that. What good does it do to call Hitler an anti-Semite when we can call him, more correctly, pro-German!

        Witty, you are hysterical. Your sense of entitlement is nearly, hell, it is sociopathic!

      • robin
        September 19, 2009, 3:32 pm

        Richard, why do you feel the need to change the subject to talk about Hamas? I was talking solely about what Israel did, and what it should have or could have done. Hamas is not a saintly group, but they are responsible for what they did and Israel is responsible for what it did–which was objectively far worse.

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 9:10 pm

        Israel is responsible to accomplish defense of its civilians, which it partially accomplished, mostly actually given that there has been very limited shelling since.

        Hamas is responsible similarly, which it failed at miserably in shifting a state of tension to a state of war, and then hiding.

        That even 2/3 of the casualties were combatants exceeds the vast majority of wars in the world.

      • Chaos4700
        September 19, 2009, 10:03 pm

        Gee, by your logic, Germany invading Poland was justified because Germany claimed it was defending its citizens in doing so. Fancy that.

      • Shingo
        September 20, 2009, 4:46 am

        Richard’s problem with identifying these actions as war crimes is that it delegitimizes and debunks the claims by Israel that everything it does is justifyied and in th ename of self defense.

        It also debunks any notion that Isrlae have some inherent moral superiority over Hamas. No one could argue that the November 4th attack was aimes at defending its civilians, which is why he so desperately insists that the war started after that date.

        What Ricahrd tries to desperatly to ignore is that the same thing that was “partially accomplished” after the attack on Gaza already existed to a greater extent before the Novemerb 4th Gaza raid.

        Ricahrd then accuses Hamas of “shifting a state of tension to a state of war, and then hiding”, but didn’t the IDF do the same? Didn’t troops wait until after teh air raid before entering Gaza? What Ricahrd demands in Hamas would amount to IDF troops walking into Gaza with a big X on their chests.

        ” That even 2/3 of the casualties were combatants exceeds the vast majority of wars in the world. ”

        But they weren’t were they Richard? 2/3 were women and children.

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 5:54 am

        You again exagerate the role of the November 4 events.

        If “all bets were off”, why would Hamas continue to honor the cease-fire until the end of it, and Israel in kind?

      • Shingo
        September 20, 2009, 6:20 am

        You are just desprate to spin the November 4 events, where Isrle killed as many people in a few hours as Hamas killed with their rockets attacks over the space of 7 years, attaks hich you describe as an outrage.

        There is no dispiting that once Israel attacked, all bets were off, and no Richard, contrary to your repetaed propaganda, Hamas did NOT continue to honor the cease-fire until the end of it, which is why after countless requests for you to produce a report to back this claim, you have either refused or failed to find one.

        Are you going to give up this lie Richard, or am I simply going to have to contoinue to correct you every time?

      • potsherd
        September 20, 2009, 7:00 am

        R Witty: Israel is responsible to accomplish defense of its civilians, which it partially accomplished,

        Actually, no. There were more Israelis killed during Operation Cast Lead than in all the “thousands of rocket attacks” preceding it. What Israel accomplished was to endanger its citizens.

        If Israel were really concerned about the citizens of Sderot, which serves Israel primarily as a holy shine and a pilgrimage destination to which all foreign visitors must pay reverence and witness the iniquities of Hamas, it would have accepted the ceasefire offered by Hamas. The fact is, that Israel cares more about expropriating Palestinians lands than the safety of its own citizens.

    • Shirin
      September 19, 2009, 2:43 am

      What does branding IDF actions as war crimes accomplish?

      What does “branding” the actions of any criminal as a crime accomplish?

      Really, Richard Witty, sometimes you do sound genuinely witless, and yet I do not believe you are a stupid man.

      • potsherd
        September 19, 2009, 3:27 am

        It is for one thing the first step in punishing such crimes, a prospect that fills Richard Witty with horror. Israel must never be punished, it would hurt their widdle feelings.

      • Mooser
        September 19, 2009, 11:48 am

        Unfortunately, Witty was not brought up to be Jewish, if he was, he would have a proper appreciation of these things. Instead of getting a Jewish religious education, he must have slipped into an ethnic-supremacist cult called Zionism.

    • Chaos4700
      September 19, 2009, 6:58 am

      I don’t know, Richard. What did branding Nazi Germany’s actions as war crimes accomplish?

      • Citizen
        September 19, 2009, 7:59 am

        The Shoah was a terrible tragedy that befell Jewish civilians?

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 8:37 am

        The Shoah was a terrible tragedy and it was an intended mass genocide.

        You can find individuals (and possibly unlawful groups of individuals) within Israeli state that hold genocidal views, but the state itself does not hold or apply that view.

        Its a speculative and exagerated intepretation on your part.

        The question is whether you seek retribution, or you seek reform.

        If you seek reform, then the future is the focus. If you seek retribution, then the past is. But a retribution orientation is the definition of fascistic approach, whether adopted by left or right, Israeli or Palestinian.

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 8:49 am

        On the term “tragedy”.

        There are three possible approaches that I can see.

        1. Gleeful genocide of Palestinians (Although I certainly did see some people expressing that even publicly during the WAR, and suspect that there are some int the military hate and desire to punish Arabs, Palestinians, Gazans, I don’t buy that that joy at others’ suffering is held by any but a small minority.)

        2. Reluctant use of force that inevitably (and in this case carelessly and excessively) causes harm to civilians. The definition of what befalls civilians during a war that is primarily defensive in intent is “tragedy”. The term “deterrent” war, whether used by Hamas or by Israel is on the border of defensive, vs intentionally offensive for territory or for hate.

        The Powell doctrine of overwhelming force includes overwhelming force in accomplishing the military ends, resulting in less violence net than if the loser were capable of extending the conflict. MORE civilians get caught up in those conflicts. And, it includes some deterrant effect, but more as a side effect of successful operation.

        3. Prohibition from use of force at all, no response accepted against aggression. That is the thesis of the left in this regard (not everyone). That is that any civilian suffering is not the result of bad judgement in initiating a state of war by Hamas, but only a result of Israel not accepting that Hamas has the “right” as “resistance” to shell Israeli civilians as far as 30 miles away.

        Some Israelis state that “they had it coming”. Some attribute that sentiment to me, oddly.

        Tragedy is the right word, the most accurate word for what occurred to Gazan civilians, with the largest institutional responsibility for the initiation of warfare falling on Hamas, and the largest institutional responsibility for the extension of warfare beyond what was necessary and effective at defined specific military objectives was Israel.

        A tragedy.

      • Citizen
        September 19, 2009, 9:53 am

        Re Witty: “The Shoah was a terrible tragedy and it was an intended mass genocide.”
        Arguably, The Occupation is an intended slow mass genocide:

        link to baltimorechronicle.com

      • LeaNder
        September 19, 2009, 9:56 am

        If you seek reform, then the future is the focus. If you seek retribution, then the past is.

        Richard, a very classical worldview. Never look back. It disregards the psychological factor. #

        I watched a gambler in casinos when younger. When he started loosing he increased his risk, which in turn made him loose all he had amassed over weeks in a couple of hours. That was the psychological factor: he essentially couldn’t stand loosing. Instead of simply stopping he upped the ante to get back what he just lost.

        It seems what irritates me about your view, as with many more or less partisan perspectives, you keep defining the context from a Israeli view.

        IDF a legal and recognized army
        Hamas illegal – militia – terrorists

        Is that why it is necessary to “never look back”? Since at one point Israelis forces weren’t legal as they are now? But what do you think this suggests to the other side, can there be ever a lasting solution without looking back?

      • Citizen
        September 19, 2009, 10:02 am

        Let the readers here decide. Great tragic plays, e.g., Shakespeare’s King Lear, display a disproportion in scale between the protagonist’s initial error and the overwhelming destruction with which it is punished. Gaza, anyone? Note I’m not even talking about
        the Nakba.

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 2:30 pm

        Israel IS a recognized state.

        Hamas is either a militia or a political party (which one I don’t know), but definitely not a state.

        If they wish to be a peer to Israel, commonly a state, they have two options:

        1. Declare themselves a state in Gaza
        2. Unify with the PA and proceed towards forming a state

        The situation for Gazan civilians is difficult currently, but made more difficult by Hamas not moving forward itself on reconciliation, instead asking the international left to serve as some agents for its arguments (no compromise).

      • Chaos4700
        September 19, 2009, 2:58 pm

        Gosh, if only Hamas would actually participate in elections and become a legitimate part of the Palestinian government, form a unity government and…

        Oh wait, they did do that.
        link to vanityfair.com

      • Shingo
        September 20, 2009, 4:48 am

        “1. Declare themselves a state in Gaza”

        Wouldn’t that mean the West Bank belongs entirely to Israel? Very sneaky Richard, but not bery smart.

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 2:25 pm

        In Gaza, if they wanted to do that unilaterally. Otherwise, they’d have to unify with the PA to have any prospect of unification between Gaza and West Bank.

        Don’t be obtuse, Shingo.

      • Shingo
        September 20, 2009, 3:54 pm

        Dont be so dissengnous Richard,

        You know very well that Tel Aviv’s goal is to isolate Fatah and drive a permanent wedge between Fatah and Hamas. This weakens Fatah, thereby ensureing tghe best deal for Israel when and if they decide to negotiate.

        Declaring Gaza’s independence would seal the deal.

    • edwin
      September 19, 2009, 3:29 pm

      UPDATE: In other breaking news, Erik Prince announces that he believes criminal prosecutions of Blackwater are unwarranted; Wall Street CEOs — past and present — conclude that an investigation of fraud and abuse among investment banks would serve no real purpose; Alberto Gonzales reveals his opposition to any proceedings against DOJ lawyers who acted in bad faith; police unions announce that the problem of brutality is overstated and there’s no need for added oversight; medical doctors agree that malpractice lawsuits need to be limited; and a poll of felons currently in prison reveal that 99% of them believe that the country would have been better off if it had just let bygones be bygones and decided not to proceed with prosecutions in their particular case.

      link to salon.com

  11. Oscar
    September 18, 2009, 6:51 pm

    Man, you gots to love our country, Mom, Apple Pie, and Israel-First.

    Anyone remember Hillary Clinton’s April 3, 2009 tepid criticism of Israel demolishing Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem with modified Caterpillar bulldozers? “Um, this kind of, uh, activity is unhelpful and not in keeping with the obligations entered into under the ‘road map’,” Clinton said, referring to the long-stalled peace plan.

    Unhelpful.

    Now, compare that to the fist-shaking rage of U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, in referring to the Goldstone Report: “The United States is reviewing very carefully what is a very lengthy document. We have long expressed our very serious concern with the mandate that was given by the Human Rights Council prior to our joining the council, which we viewed as unbalanced, one-sided, and basically unacceptable. We have very serious concerns about many of the recommendations in the report.”

    So let’s do what MTV calls a “mash-up” of Clinton and Rice. An imaginary Reuters story:

    Immediately following the news of the home demolitions in East Jerusalem, Hillary Clinton told reporters: “The United States is reviewing very carefully what occurred in East Jerusalem. We have long expressed our very serious concern with the activities of home demolitions in East Jerusalem and the Israelis’ policies in this matter, which we viewed as unbalanced, one-sided, and basically unacceptable. We have very serious concerns about the ongoing blockade and deprivation of basic human rights in Palestine.”

    Instead, we get a mumbled “unhelpful” from HRC over human rights abuses. So what is our foreign policy here? We’re enablers when it comes to human rights violatons in Palestine, but outraged when it comes to the UN calling Israel out on human rights violations? What a bizzaro world.

  12. DG
    September 18, 2009, 7:08 pm

    Off topic, on the subject of our media:

    The Atlantice has an interesting list of “The 50 Most Influential Commentators in the Nation.” An admittedly un-nuanced counting shows that well more than 50% come from a minority representing less than 2% of our population.

    “Antisemitism” doesn’t seem to be what it used to be.

    • Call Me Ishmael
      September 20, 2009, 7:10 pm

      D.. – By way of confirmation, in The Atlantic’s list of 50 most influential commentators in the nation, I counted 28 plus or minus 1 to be members of that minority representing 2% of our population. I agree that this implies that anti-semitism is not what it used to be, but I wouldn’t take that as evidence that it doesn’t exist. Rather, I would take it as yet another datum indicating a profound absence of true democracy in American society. Some groups are better positioned than others to take advantage of that absence of equality opportunity.

  13. eljay
    September 18, 2009, 8:54 pm

    What does branding IDF actions as war crimes accomplish?

    If they reform their behavior during war, then that would be a great outcome.

    If they are forced to accept shelling on civilians for the fear that the world will condemn ANY military response to a military attack, that is a horrible outcome.

    In my opinion, the opening of Gazan ports to free traffic is a disaster. Absent a dependable bona-fide state or international mechanism to control (beyond monitor) the import and export from the ports, it should not be allowed.

    No amount of agitation will change the observation that Hamas arms itself, and not for defensive purposes.

    What does branding Hamas actions as “terrorism” accomplish?

    If they reform their behaviour during occupation, then that would be a great outcome.

    If they are forced to accept shelling on civilians for the fear that the world will condemn ANY armed response to a military attack, that is a horrible outcome.

    In my opinion, the continued support of Israeli colonialism and miltarization is a disaster. Absent a dependable bona-fide state or international mechanism to control (beyond monitor) military-colonial activities, it should not be allowed.

    No amount of agitation will change the observation that Israel arms itself, and not for defensive purposes.

    • Richard Witty
      September 19, 2009, 1:51 am

      If Hamas changed its behavior, I’d be very happy, a truly great outcome.

      The left functionally apologizes for Hamas, is played by Hamas, in this exchange. Its a repetition of the past. It is a mode of “resistance”, again based on a contortion of the Gandhi invocation “The purpose of civil disobedience is to evoke response”.

      Part of the tragedy, is the gullibility of the left to Hamas’ and supporters’ strategies. They are skillful at street cred.

      But, skeptics are not motivated by street cred, as there is too much at risk to be played by propaganda.

      The intellectual approach to politics is skepticism, not belief, not adoption. If an argument stands real and significant sincere inquiry, then it is usually more reliable.

      I’m actually saddened that Phil is not more skeptical. Adam I’ve lost hope for.

      There are valid bases of criticism of UN process, as a number of posters have referred over the years. And, in this case, the US is adding its voice to that questioning.

      • Chaos4700
        September 19, 2009, 6:59 am

        Oh the left is gullible huh? Were we the ones who took the US into two disastrous wars, one of which was predicated whole on a lie?

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 8:50 am

        Not by my vote or voice.

      • Chaos4700
        September 19, 2009, 2:59 pm

        Really? So who did you vote for?

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 3:11 pm

        In 2000 I voted for Nader for president.

        In 2004, I voted for Kerry.

        In Congress, I’ve voted consistently liberal democratic. John Olver for House, Kerry and Kennedy for Senate.

        Who did you vote for?

      • Chaos4700
        September 19, 2009, 3:22 pm

        Nader, Nader and (to my later regret) Obama in the last three presidential elections.

        I have to ask. You are aware of where Nader stands on the whole Israel deal? Particular considering he’s a Lebanese American?

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 5:31 pm

        Israel is secondary in my voting criteria.

        If anything, how a person speaks about Israel though is indicative of how they propose to address real problems. My voting for Nader was more in support of getting the green party on the ballot in Massachusetts in subsequent elections. I came to understand that the greens that I was active in had been distracted from their green approach towards a more red (anarchist) approach.

        I watched it occur over time, with the divide most apparent at a green convention at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA in 1986. Murray Bookchin somehow leading the anarcho-feminists, opposed the more spiritual and environmental greens. I loved Murray’s “Post-Scarcity Anarchism”, but in person he was abusive, including to a close friend who had the misfortune of presenting in a panel that he was on.

        The greens shifted colors over a little more than a decade. I hoped that in the 2000 election they would shift back to green. Nader didn’t serve the greens well at all. He made himself the center of the effort, rather than party development. The green movement was by nature a decentral movement, and even focusing on presidential candidates was a distraction. And, the presidential campaign took ALL of the wind out of the local, that was most relevant to the green approach, least confrontational with allies (who cares whether a green or a democrat candidate for mayor articulated progressive views, but in the presidential campaign it mattered).

        I wanted Gore to win the election, and the greens to win 15 or 20 mayoral, in 2004 say.

        It didn’t happen. They got distracted.

        The gamut of litmus testing was one of the symptoms. “We won’t support you if you support x. We won’t support you if you support y. If you don’t support z, we won’t support you.” Each one eliminating 10% of candidates, and 10% of voters.

        Israel/Palestine became one of those litmus tests, so that brilliant mayoral candidates for example were rejected because they favored a peace process, rather than a resistance process.

        Brilliant.

      • Chaos4700
        September 19, 2009, 10:10 pm

        Well actually, if we go strictly by ballots, yes indeed Gore won the election. But it just goes to show that democracy really isn’t at America’s core anymore.

        I recently saw the footage (having not seen it at the time; it was the first presidential election for which I was eligible to vote and at the time I relied primarily on MSM sources for news) of Gore as part of the official process of declaring Bush the President (Gore being Vice President and therefore presiding over the Senate). After watching him have to shoot down pretty much the entire African American caucus from the House of Representatives who tried to protest the election — do you really know just how many black voters were disenfranchised in Florida alone? — because the Senate, being pretty much just white at the time, couldn’t be bothered to care about voting fraud for a minority? I can see why Gore left American politics for good. I don’t know if it broke his heart, but it just about broke mine.

      • Shingo
        September 20, 2009, 4:53 am

        “If Hamas changed its behavior, I’d be very happy, a truly great outcome.”

        History proves otherwise. Arafat tried it and he was rewarded by being killed.

        The right functionally apologizes for Israel, is played by Israel, in this exchange. Its a repetition of the past, ever since 1948. It is a mode of “fighting terror”, again based on a contortion of the Nazi invocation “We are the chosen and they are lesser beings”.

        Part of the tragedy, is the gullibility of the right to Israels’ and supporters’ strategies. They are skillful at street cred, and have bought all of Congress to maintain it.

        But, corrupt idoologues are not motivated by street cred, as there is too much at risk to be played by caing to honesty, justice and international law.

        The common approach to politics is graf, corruption and cynicism. If an argument stands real and significant sincere inquiry, then it can always be denied.

  14. DICKERSON3870
    September 18, 2009, 10:18 pm

    RE: …unfortunately many of the issues that Justice Goldstone highlighted as “a crisis of human dignity” continue today. – Adam Horowitz

    SEE: ” Gaza’s Water Supply Near Collapse” – by Mel Frykberg, IPS 09/17/09

    (excerpt)RAMALLAH – The International Committee of the Red Cross has warned that Gaza’s access to safe supply of drinking water could cease at any time. The World Health Organisation (WHO) says outbreaks of disease could be triggered as a consequence. The warnings follow a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report Monday that “Gaza’s underground water system is in danger of collapse after recent conflict compounded by years of overuse and contamination.” …
    …Gaza’s underground aquifer is the sole water source for its 1.5 million people. Only 5-10 percent of the water now is fit for human consumption. The average per capita daily consumption of water for personal and domestic use in Gaza is 91 litres. WHO recommends 100-150 litres daily. Israelis consume 280 litres per day.
    The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reported last week that at least 10,000 Gazans remain without access to the water network. Furthermore, access to water is limited on average to six to eight hours from one to four days a week for the entire population.
    “Approximately 150-160 million cubic metres (mcm) are extracted from Gaza’s underground aquifer annually. Due to a regional drought over the last few years only about 65 mcm has flown back into the aquifer annually. This leaves a shortfall of 100 mcm,” says Shoblak. Sewage-contaminated seawater and agricultural overflow contaminated with toxins have been flowing into the aquifer’s deficit. The CMWU is only able to partially treat some of the 80 million litres of sewage pumped out to sea on a daily basis due to a shortage of spare parts, fuel, and electricity cuts.

    During Israel’s bombardment of Gaza during the December-January war, the strip’s already degraded infrastructure was heavily targeted. CMWU estimates that about six million dollars worth damage was caused to major water and sanitation infrastructure during Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s codename for its war.
    Over 30 kilometres of water networks were damaged or destroyed by the Israeli military in addition to 11 wells operated by the water authorities in Gaza. More than 6,000 roof tanks and 840 household connections were damaged.
    There is an urgent need for cement, pipes, pumps, transformers and electrical spare parts to implement numerous projects in the water and wastewater sector. Some 1,250 tonnes of cement are currently needed for the repair of water storage tanks alone. But Israel’s blockade prevents cement from being brought into Gaza…
    …UNEP estimates that more than 1.5 billion dollars may be needed over 20 years to restore the aquifer back to health, including the establishment of desalination plants to take pressure off the underground water supplies.
    “The international community also has to fulfil its obligations in regard to economic pledges and promises it made to establish desalination and wastewater projects,” Shoblak told IPS. “Political pressure needs to be applied to Israel to allow for reconstruction and repairs.” The UNEP report warns: “Unless the degradation trend is reversed now, damage could take centuries to reverse.”

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – link to commondreams.org

    • jimby
      September 19, 2009, 4:35 am

      That article comes for IPS. I seems that Israel is poisoning the inhabitants by doing nothing. It is not forgivable to poison children. My contempt for the treatment of the Palestinians is large. Israel is a war criminal. I know Witty will blame it on Hamas. What a jerk.

      • jimby
        September 19, 2009, 4:39 am

        If Israel manages to kill off Hamas they had better beware of the consequences. It might cause the rise of jihadist state. I bet they wish they had Arafat back.

  15. Richard Witty
    September 19, 2009, 2:02 am

    Another real tragedy of this whole exchange is relative to the topic heading.

    The topic heading is of the de-development of Gaza. I think Gaza is horribly stressed, and nearly certainly is de-developing if it cannot import critical materials.

    But, the next question to be asked, is how does that change?

    If the concern is for the Gazan people, why would you advocate repeating an approach that has incrementally made things worse for the Gazans. I know this sounds like “advocating for the vice-gripper”, but that is not in fact the case with me.

    I believe that the concerns about Hamas and others’ prospective importing of materiel for weapons is real and VALID. Hamas is in a state of war with Israel, declared in fundamental documents (the significance of the fundamental documents remains). During an active state of war, control of supply chain into and out of ports, is a valid military action. It happens in every war, and by every party to war.

    There is an option to agitate FOR, if you actually want improvement. That is to insist, to urge in dissent, for the application of a reliable international control of the port. Rather than functional Israeli, or functional Hamas.

    Even if Israel objects, which it certainly will, and on rational grounds, an international solution could be found.

    It would be costly, and prospectively require a fee. If the Arab states are sincere about supporting Palestinian improvement, and not solely seeking to stick it to Israel, then they would pay those fees.

    The significance of such an approach would be a test for Hamas. If they objected, then THEY would be nakely supporting their own continued blockade. If they accepted, then they would receive a vote of credibility, and could proceed to the next test, reunification with the PA each submitting to the Palestinian constitution, and could then proceed to the next step of assertive negotiation with Israel (but eliminating the Israeli argument that there is noone to negotiate with).

    A path. Only not a path to those that value vain pride over real improvement.

    • syvanen
      September 19, 2009, 6:13 am

      I know this sounds like “advocating for the vice-gripper”, but that is not in fact the case with me.

      Actually it is the case with you. You have repeatedly mentioned that if the Gazans do not shape up then the Israelis will do something terribly bad to them and if that happens then it is Hamas’s fault. You earlier threatened the Palestinians with retribution if the BDS movement began to hurt Israel. Of course, you deny that that is what you would do, but are just predicting what the Israelis will do. And then plead to capitulate for Israel’s demands before they go and commit some other new atrocity.

      During the Vietnam war the north was repeatedly warned that if they didn’t capitulate the US would do terrible things. Well they didn’t and we killed about 3 million of their people. So I guess you would blame the North for that slaughter.

      You probably have no idea how morally corrupt you appear to many of us.

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 7:25 am

        You mistake a prediction for a threat. Not the first time.

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 7:28 am

        Hamas does need to shape up. (It has to an extent in not reverting to shelling of civilians as dissent.)

        I NEVER said that it was Gazans’ fault for the excessive military stuff last year. I said it was due to Hamas’ immaturity, poor judgement and opportunism.

        There was dissent within Hamas about the strategy, but the “leadership” yeilded to anger over concern for those they were responsible for and over effectiveness.

      • Chaos4700
        September 19, 2009, 7:45 am

        Still placing all of the blame on Hamas and none of it on Israel, I see.

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 8:51 am

        Still looking for blame, rather than change I see.

      • Donald
        September 19, 2009, 1:15 pm

        “Still looking for blame, rather than change I see.”

        Witty, your lack of self-awareness is beyond belief. Your point here is that Hamas is to blame–your proposal about how to end the blockade is even designed so that if Hamas objects (as Israel would object to a proposal to put their ports under international control), then Israel’s blockade is Hamas’s fault.

        Someone points out your double standard and your reply is “still looking for blame”. This is 90 percent of everything you do–you blame Phil, you write off Adam (Adam should feel proud), you blame Hamas, you blame American lefties and yes, you do blame the extremists among the Israeli settlers, but never put even the slightest blame on mainstream Israeli society or apologists for its violence like yourself. (Interestingly, you also never criticize the PA for its crimes against Hamas, only the reverse.) When someone criticizes people you identify with, you suddenly become opposed to the concept of “blame”. This goes beyond hypocrisy.

        So it does come down to this with you–Israelis are held to the standards of toddlers or emotionally unstable children, while Palestinians are expected to be moral adults. You don’t admit it, but those are the standards. It taints everything you write.

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 2:35 pm

        And, I consider you to be horribly gullible and enabling in the addictive sense, in not expecting maturity from Hamas.

        The PA is acting in ways that will lead to a Palestinian state, institution building, assertive but mature negotiation with Israel, renunciation of terror on civilians as means of dissent.

        And, Israel functions mostly responsibly as a state. There are very much needed reforms, but you are not pursuing the path of reform or solution.

      • Chaos4700
        September 19, 2009, 3:00 pm

        Yeah, the name calling is really getting you places, Rich.

        Keep it up, don’t worry. Pointing out the blatant hypocrisy and misinformation in your posts never gets boring.

      • Donald
        September 20, 2009, 11:53 am

        Here Richard decides to distort my position–

        “And, I consider you to be horribly gullible and enabling in the addictive sense, in not expecting maturity from Hamas.”

        Trouble is, Richard, I do expect Hamas to cease terrorist assaults on Israeli civilians, think they are war crimes, don’t think that two wrongs make a right, and have said so to you and yet you lie about it. Furthermore, I don’t support war crimes trials for Israel alone–that would be double standards. Judge Goldstone had exactly the right attitude on this. I don’t even care that much about war crimes trials at all, if instead the two sides decided to go for a Truth commission and really acknowledge the wrongs each side has committed, rather than tell pleasing lies of the sort you prefer to spare your own feelings. Reconciliation is more important than war crimes trials, but there will be no true reconciliation if both sides continue to lie to themselves about their own responsibility for their crimes. As it happens, I think the Israelis have far more to apologize for, but the PA and Hamas and other groups also have crimes to confess.

        You distort my position because it’s all you can do–if someone points out the moral self-contradictions in your position, you can either acknowledge your deep-seated prejudices or else attack the messenger and you do the latter. I don’t disagree with some of what you say–what I find objectionable is your double standards and hypocrisy. You have a narcissist’s attitude towards truth–the truth is what makes you feel good about the side you support, and people who point out facts that make you uncomfortable must be bad in some way.

        Unfortunately, your attitude is the common one among many so-called liberals in the West. Which is why the liberals in this country seem to be acutely uncomfortable with the direct unflinching honesty of the Goldstone Report.

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 12:40 pm

        Donald,
        If you agree with much of what I say, why not build on that.

        “You have a narcisists attitude” is self-talk, an effort at thought-policing. A judgement of anothers’ thinking, which you can’t and don’t have a clue about.

        If you believe that Hamas should be held accountable for its actions, wonderful. This is the first that you’ve stated about it. I don’t personally wish that they be murdered or punished, but that they change.

        I would hope that would be the limit of your desire and your focus for Israel.

        Again, persuasion much much more than condemnation.

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 4:25 pm

        On Israel, I think the left is in left field.

        My opinion of left-leaning perspective in general has declined over the years, largely over the question of the absence of proposal, instead choosing criticism and condemnation.

        The real left has a positive agenda, a goal, a program. There are multiple real “left’s”, each with proposal and reasoning.

        The faux left or the lazy left (and there are many brilliant people in that group), stay on condemnation, even when they have enough information and credibility to proceed to proposal or even leadership.

        While many state that Fatah (with US help) forced Hamas from participation in leadership, there was a considerable portion of Hamas that determined that it was better for them to not be responsible, as then they could be blamed for failure.

        That is a child’s approach. It is also the approach of the intelligent left that does not proceed to proposal and/or leadership.

        Many of my heroes (and former heroes) have dissented relative to Israel/Palestine and in ways that are condemnatory only. Again, it was very upsetting to me to see Howard Zinn’s name on a published petititon in support of Lebanese resistance (Hezbollah). I assume he relied on Noam Chomsky’s and Norman Finkelstein’s recommendation, but he didn’t recant. I thought that was hypocritical of him as he had stated that even in WW2, he thought that civil disobedience could have stopped Germany, and not war. I get his guilt at likely causing civilians’ harm. I don’t get his conclusion.

        A People’s History is heroic and not simplistic. His statements in this regard have not been as heroic.

      • Shingo
        September 20, 2009, 4:39 pm

        The left don’t need to come up wioth a new proposal Ricahrd. The colution is clear and umabiguous. Israeli propagandists like yout self want to pretend that there this is complicated and murky, when in fact, it’s because you don’t wnt to accept the obivious.

        So given the stonewalling and doshonesty from Israel, along with the obsequious endorsement Israel receives fromWashington, it’s understandable that the left has opted for criticism and condemnation. After all, Isrel’s policies have been propped upo by the neneer of justice and rightousness. These myths need to be taken apart, much as you would prefer otherwise.

        Youy want to protect Isrel at all costs. It’s not clear if you are sicenere in your statement about a 2 state solution, but assuming that you are, your goal is to make it as painelss and conveient for Israel as possible, which is itself childish and naiive. It will require some pain, mainly because Israeli policy has become so right wing, ideological and militant.

        Treating Hitler with kidness would not have changed his aims or agenda and neither will wrapping Israel in cotton wool.

      • Donald
        September 20, 2009, 7:29 pm

        I’ve tried meeting you halfway Richard, but it doesn’t work. You have double standards and you are blind to it. I don’t toss the word narcissist at you lightly–you have no problem with me condemning Hamas (and I’ve done that before, in posts to you), but you react with kneejerk horror when someone holds Israel to the same standards. It’s tiresome how you bend and twist and do everything you can to put the blame for Israel’s crimes on Hamas.

        If you were critical of Hamas and of the PA and of mainstream Israeli politicians and held everyone to the same human rights standards, then we’d be allies. I don’t like some of the romanticizing of violent “resistance” that some lefties can’t seem to outgrow, but I also don’t like the complacent rationalizing of state violence that you Israel-defenders commonly employ. It’s the same thing. I don’t like your horror at BDS when you defend Israel’s right to impose the blockade. Unfortunately I don’t think you’re going to change, at least not in the near term. Maybe in several years–that can happen. For now, though, you’re a perfect example of the sort of “peace advocate” that justifies at least some of the injustice and violence of his own side. And your viewpoint is the American mainstream, at least in politics and the media.

        BTW, I have one unfair advantage over you. I have no emotional attachment to either Zionism or Palestinian nationalism or to the notion that the US government can be trusted to be an honest broker. So I can see this as a typical sordid conflict where one side grabs another’s land, both sides commit atrocities, and the more powerful side sees itself as “civilized”. It’s a very old story. You can’t see it since your partisan attachment partly blinds you to the crimes of your side.

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 7:39 pm

        Shingo,
        So what is that clear proposal?

        One-state, two-state per Geneva Accords, two-state at green line?

        Which?

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 7:48 pm

        Donald,
        It is true that I feel a familial affinity with Israel. And, that puts me in a status that I will not accept the risk of Jewish Israeli civilians for an ideal.

        And, at the same time I sincerely DESIRE and SEEK good for Palestinians, defined as a healthy and viable community life and state.

        The intersection of those two is peace. It is not retributive justice, but it is assertive justice.

        If you are sincere in seeking human rights, you would be able to find an intersection between my principles and yours, not requiring that I subscribe to you principles or ethical boundaries as I am not you.

        I don’t know if you seek human rights relative only to the past (an oxymoron to seek in the past) or in the present – future. Perhaps you can elaborate on what seeking means to you.

        Please restrain yourself from accusation. I don’t see myself as judge, so the question of “double standard” is not particularly relevant.

        Again, you can assume that there are MANY, probably most, western Jews, that are liberal and hold the same intersection of sympathies that I do, familial AND universal.

        I think that is the most honest and most ideal.

    • potsherd
      September 19, 2009, 8:42 am

      The significance of such an approach would be a test for Israel, which would certainly do everything possible to block it. And then Witty would … do what to overcome their blockade?

      A better approach would be a sealift by nations that Israel doesn’t dare fire upon, escorted by armed warships for protection against Israeli gunboats, just in case they do dare. It is a better approach because it would actually accomplish getting supplies into Gaza, as opposed to empty promises of support.

      Real improvement.

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 8:53 am

        I thought I made my recommendation quite clearly, for the left.

        That is to urge for the establishment of a reliable international body to govern the import of material to the Gaza strip through ports.

        The borders are Israel’s and Egypt’s business how they wish to handle that.

      • Shingo
        September 20, 2009, 4:55 am

        “I thought I made my recommendation quite clearly, for the left.”

        Is that an admission that you are right wing, seeing as you speak of the left in the 3rd person?

        “The borders are Israel’s and Egypt’s business how they wish to handle that. ”

        In other words, you are opposed to impartial peace keepers, in case they get in Israel’s way?

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 12:44 pm

        Pretty lame Shingo.

        You want me to wear a star, a different color one for communist, liberal, conservative, fascist?

        On borders, that is one definition of sovereignty, the right to control their borders. If they want to cut off transit from Israel to Gaza that is their right. It was the status until 1967, but initiated by Arabs.

        I doubt that you would object to those closed borders, retroactively, Egypt’s, Jordan’s, Syria’s, Lebanon’s right to control their borders.

      • Shingo
        September 20, 2009, 3:43 pm

        It’s not lame at all Richard,

        You are cowering from being labelled, but it’s probably accurate in this case. If you considered yourself a progrssive, you wouldn’t speak of the left in the 3rd person.

        If your argument about sovereignty and border control had any validity, then Israel’s control would not extend to the coast, which is not shared with Israel. For the record, the 1967 was initiated by Israel.

        A lame attmept at conflation, even by your standards.

        Egypt’s, Jordan’s, Syria’s, Lebanon’s right to control their borders does not extend to cointrolling the air space and water ways of their neighbors. You hypocrisy comes through loud and clear. BDS is only acceptable when Israel enforces it.

    • Koshiro
      September 19, 2009, 12:13 pm

      During an active state of war, control of supply chain into and out of ports, is a valid military action. It happens in every war, and by every party to war.
      The “shit happens” argument – the focal point of right-wing moral bankruptcy. (Not to mention that, from a legal perspective, this is of course wrong: What we are dealing with is an insurgency in an occupied territory – which does definitely not absolve Israel of its obligation to see to the needs of said occupied territory’s population.)

      It would be costly, and prospectively require a fee. If the Arab states are sincere about supporting Palestinian improvement, and not solely seeking to stick it to Israel, then they would pay those fees.
      Let me propose an alternative: If Israel is sincere about “making humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza one of its top priorities”, it should pay for what it smashed itself.
      Let me also propose that your idea of internationally controlled border crossings has one, and only one, real obstacle to pass: Israeli objections.

    • Cliff
      September 20, 2009, 12:00 pm

      Hamas did not break the cease-fire. Israel broke it by bombing Gazan tunnels and killing Palestinian militants.

      Furthermore, if we apply the same standard to both sides, Israel did not live up to it’s end of the bargain sufficiently. Hamas was praised for it’s “careful” attention to maintaining the calm. Yet, some sporadic rocket fire still occurred, but not by Hamas.

      And who breaks these cease-fires more often? We have one such analysis:

      link to huffingtonpost.com

      The Gaza massacre was pre-planned and is indicative of a pattern of tactics. The aim was to punish the Gazan civilian population. Hence, the mostly large civilian death toll and destruction to civilian infrastructure.

      The PA is a police force. It is not a legitimate government and is not recognized by the majority of the Palestinian people. They are viewed as collaborators because – that’s what they are.

      The Palestinians are living under Occupation. The Israelis are not.

      The Occupation is an act of criminality and thus, Israel is not a ‘responsibile State’ as you claim.

      We cannot go further until we deal with each others’ premises. That is why so many other posters engage you. Not so much your argument, but rather your false premise.

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 2:28 pm

        Hamas initiated a state of war by shelling civilians after the formal cease-fire ended, then escalating that shelling for 10 days, UNTIL Israel responded militarily.

      • Cliff
        September 20, 2009, 2:35 pm

        The blockade is an act of war, Witty.

        However, you said in another post that the blockade was an act of war, during war.

        And a cease-fire can be broken and also end formally.

        Israel A) did not sufficiently meet it’s requirements, while B) Hamas was acknowledged to having been ‘careful’ to maintain the calm by the Israeli MFA report.

        The approach is to look at both sides. The context for the behavior of the Israelis and the Palestinians. Compare the numbers. Compare the reasons.

        Israel attacked the Gazan tunnels. No proof was provided for the justification of the attack. Palestinian militants were killed in the process. Hamas then retaliated. This retaliation was then characterized by apologists as the breaking of the cease-fire but of course that is illogical.

        So, after the instigation by Israel, Hamas reacts. Then the cease-fire “formally” ended. Hamas is still in the process of retaliation. So now, the politicization of the seige-ceasefire-resumed violence is characterized as Hamas illogically shelling Israeli civilians with the intent to simply kill for sake of killing.

        Israel goaded Hamas.

        Now, you are weasel-wording a lot of different terms.

        And you are ignoring context, not just on the Palestinian side, but also the Israeli side.

        Cease-fires are broken. Cease-fires end formally. However, the time-line of the Gaza massacre is that the cease-fire was broken – by Israel. Then it ended ‘formally’ (which is meaningless legal spittle).

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 4:30 pm

        The blockade was an act during war. Hamas is at war with Israel for decades now.

        The occupation is a legal term for a temporary condition in which an occupying state has the temporary responsibility for the governance of a jurisdiction until formal sovereignty is established.

        An occupation is not illegal, but legal. Behavior during occupation may be legal or illegal.

    • Donald
      September 20, 2009, 8:02 pm

      Richard, when you speak in generalities about your long term desires for peace and express concern for the lives of Israelis I don’t have a problem. The problem I have is with, yes, your double standards regarding the specifics of who gets blamed for atrocities and who doesn’t. You have them and don’t know it. You are immediately able to spot an atrocity when Hamas is guilty–you hem and haw and express great caution and use euphemisms when Israel kills innocent people and you are quick to defend their extremely harsh version of BDS against Gaza while saying that the much milder form people propose to use against Israel is unacceptable. Double standards. You even employ them between Hamas and the PA, when both are guilty of human rights violations against the other.

      You ought to be more worried about your moral consistency than you are–you obviously dismiss all of the criticism we aim your way, but you ought to take time out (maybe a few years, given how hard it is to change one’s mind on fundamental issues) and reflect on it, rather than being so quick to assume that you’re the only one around here interested in real peace. You’re being jumped on because you have said some outrageous things.

      People with your sentimental idealized views of Israel and with a tendency to blame Palestinians for the conflict have been running US foreign policy for decades and look where we are.

  16. Citizen
    September 19, 2009, 8:11 am

    Gaza–What water supply?
    link to haaretz.com
    Gives new meaning to Witty’s demand that the Palestinians commence building
    up institutions preconditional to their future state.

    • Richard Witty
      September 19, 2009, 8:54 am

      So you think tangible problems magically get solved, or by agitation (in pendulum swings)?

      • Citizen
        September 19, 2009, 10:20 am

        No, tangible problems such as the water supply lack I referenced will not be solved
        by magic, rather by relentlessly puncturing the thick MSM’s blanket over what we’ve enabled Israel
        to do to the Palestininians. An informed American citizenry will eventually see
        the light.

      • Donald
        September 19, 2009, 1:21 pm

        “An informed American citizenry will eventually see
        the light.”

        That, unfortunately, may still be far off in the future. The Goldstone report was a one or two day story–there’s no mention of it in the weekend summaries of the news that I saw on PBS (“The Lehrer Newshour” and “Washington Week in Review”). Objectively speaking, if one didn’t know how things work, that would be astounding. A close American ally is accused of possible crimes against humanity by a commission led by a South African Jewish judge with impeccable credentials. He produces a report which is obviously fairminded (he insisted on a broader mandate than one which only focused on Israel). And a few days later it’s down the memory hole.

        I’ll be interested to see if the NYT ever writes an editorial on the subject, and even more interested in what they write if they do. Maybe they’ll say something about it Sunday, in the Week in Review section.

      • Citizen
        September 19, 2009, 2:47 pm

        I agree with you Donald. That’s why I said “eventually.”

        In Mein Kampf, Hitler explained the believability of the Big Lie as compared to the small lie: “In the simplicity of their minds, people more readily fall victims to the big lie than the small lie, since they themselves often tell small lies in little matters but would be ashamed to resort to large-scale falsehoods. It would never come into their heads to fabricate colossal untruths, and they would not believe that others could have such impudence. Even though the facts which prove this to be so may be brought clearly to their minds, they will still doubt and continue to think that there may be some other explanation.”

        What the sociologists and Hitler are telling us is that by the time facts become clear, people are emotionally wedded to the beliefs planted by the propaganda and find it a wrenching experience to free themselves. It is more comfortable, instead, to denounce the truth-tellers than the liars whom the truth-tellers expose.

        In other words, the USA people will have to eat a lot more fecal matter before
        they finally rise up in any meaningful way to stop their own choking–

      • Dan Kelly
        September 19, 2009, 3:57 pm

        By the time facts become clear, people are emotionally wedded to the beliefs planted by the propaganda and find it a wrenching experience to free themselves. It is more comfortable, instead, to denounce the truth-tellers than the liars whom the truth-tellers expose.

        That’s so important, I wanted to highlight it. Sorry if the bold is obnoxious.

        Our entire media and much of our educational system is based on this premise. It’s very hard to convince people otherwise. Interestingly, it’s especially hard to convince the “educated classes” in this country.

      • Citizen
        September 19, 2009, 4:36 pm

        In each tier of education from Kindergarten to the most advanced degree curriculums, ever finer weaving of propaganda proceeds in all subjects with
        critical political ramifications. Governmental education systems and religious org systems
        both demand this; salaries and perks of teaching staff & the indirect leverage of taxpayer funding or tax exemptions on education entities assure it. The sciences
        are not exempt. The vital discovery of the most internalized propaganda in all areas of education is nearly always pursued independently–after formal education
        and unattached from an income-producing job–in a very real and practical sense
        “it doesn’t pay” in dollar security and asset investments to be a persistent truth-seeker with no sacred cows.
        viable via

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 5:35 pm

        Dan,
        Your point is insightful. It applies to the left as well. Its the nature of prejudice and conformity, each play.

        Please consider how difficult it would be for Phil to change his approach. He will never forget what he saw and shouldn’t, but he might be persuaded to consider that an approach that emphasizes persuasion over agitation is more effective, with less negative side effects.

        What will his friends think then?

      • Dan Kelly
        September 19, 2009, 5:47 pm

        Yeah, and it’s nearly impossible to relate to people socially who haven’t also immersed themselves in the independent pursuit of which you speak.

        I’m reminded of Yeats: “Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people.”

        It’s like I live two lives, one when I’m immersed in this stuff, and then one when I go out and live in the world. I’ve found it almost impossible to talk to my friends or family about these issues. It nearly always leaves the plane of logic and descends into rhetoric, and I get caught up in it too, and then I get mad at myself. It’s a vicious cycle, and to avoid it, I try not to even bring these issues up, but then I feel like I’m not spreading information which is very important for people to know. It’s frustrating…

        “If I had learned education, I would not have had time to learn anything else” -Cornelius Vanderbilt

      • Dan Kelly
        September 19, 2009, 6:06 pm

        Thanks Richard.

        I understand your point, and I think we’re back to where what you see as agitation as opposed to persuasion, others see as solidarity in the face of repression.

        As to what Phil’s friends think (or anyone’s friends):

        “Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” -Dr. Seuss

        Of course, that is easier to see on a page and agree with intellectually than it is to practice in real social situations.

      • Richard Witty
        September 19, 2009, 9:31 pm

        It is possible to persuade if your goal is mutual decency.

        It requires patience.

        One meaning of ignorance, is not knowing yet. Ignorance that is the hateful meaning of the term, occurs only on imprinting a reaction, usually to some emotional trauma.

        In emotional trauma, in this case BOTH the emotional trauma of Gaza War, and the preceeding Hamas shelling and prior intimate terror, the trauma itself imprints deeper than logic.

        Traumas can be imprinted indirectly as well. My wife internalized her father’s post-holocaust trauma by imagination of his experience. (Her actual experience was of his waking to nearly nightly nightmares, which were traumatic enough for her in itself, but imprinted in other forms.)

        Most on the left that I’ve noted, rage from frustration. “How come you don’t conclude the same as me. This is so horrible.” And, in doing so (raging), themselves imprint trauma and present threat.

        Unless you are in the coercion business, persuasion is a much more just approach.

        Most of the same facts that you seek to convey, if unsuccessfully described in negative condemnatory terms, can be stated in positive terms, or relative to positive values.

        One example that I see, is the oft-repeated condemnation of the blockade of Gazan ports. The Free Gaza boats pointed out the existence of the blockade.

        But, absent proposal, the significance of the Free Gaza boats was just complaint. And, when the world didn’t respond magically in mass protest from the boats being turned back, they stopped doing it.

        IF, the Free Gaza boats hihglighted the positive proposal of a consented international body to regulate the port prophylactically (consented by Israel, US and Europe, not even Hamas necessarily), it might have resulted in that.

        For Hamas to be sovereign over the ports, it would have to be an internationally recognized sovereign state, which it is not, not even close.

      • Chaos4700
        September 19, 2009, 10:18 pm

        Palestine is, however. You seem to be ignoring the fact that if we put it up to a vote, in the UN, right now, the only thing that might prevent Palestine from having a seat on the UN is the US veto.

      • Dan Kelly
        September 19, 2009, 11:17 pm

        Richard, I don’t know if your wife still struggles with her trauma, but I wish her the best.

        I think constructive ideas come when people such as your wife, who has experienced such trauma due to past horrors inflicted on her family, due largely to being the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time, can communicate and bond with, say, a Palestinian woman, who is experiencing the same thing as we speak.

      • Chaos4700
        September 20, 2009, 1:47 am

        That’s all well and good but there’s a fundamental difference in that the Palestinian woman is far more likely to die from violence than Richard’s wife. Or the average Israeli, for that matter.

        Not to trivial psychological wounds and all, but I think actual immediate physical safety trumps those concerns. Psychotherapy doesn’t really help you much once you’ve been burned to a crisp by white phosphorous.

      • Shingo
        September 20, 2009, 4:59 am

        “So you think tangible problems magically get solved, or by agitation (in pendulum swings)?”

        Theft and muder are tangible problems that get solved, not even magically, my law enforcement. Why not the problems of Israel’s blockade?

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 6:03 am

        Dan,
        My wife, who experienced the indirect trauma (direct for her), and my mother-in-law who did experience trauma are sympathetic to the experience and needs of Palestinians, but utterly unsympathetic to the raging agitation against Israel by the left.

        It demonstrates the manner by which the left alienates so many potential sympathizers by its own methods and absence of self-restraint.

        My wife and I have attended pro-peace rallies that included criticism of Israel, but watched as more far left dissenters accused us pro-peace advocates of complicity by not being as verbally abusive to their fellow American citizens as they were.

        It was odd, traumatic, and imprinted a distrust of the left.

      • Cliff
        September 20, 2009, 12:08 pm

        Witty, you do not own the trademark on ‘pro-peace rallies’.

        This is condescending and you are acting as a self-appointed gate-keeper.

        I see you’re still equating the trauma on both sides.

        That is not the case, Witty.

        This conflict is not symmetrical. One side is logistically suffering far worse. In every sense.

        Until you recognize this, you will merely continue on with your cyclical arguments.

        This is the foundation of your POV.

        As I think Citizen has said, you view this conflict as a dispute rather than a war and Occupation. You view the Palestinians as equally matched. You view Israel as acting out of fear rather than acting w/ power and confidence and defiance of the humanity of the Palestinians.

      • Donald
        September 20, 2009, 8:33 pm

        “The blockade of ports is a different story. The basis of that blockade is Hamas’ state of permanent war with Israel. It has historically and continues to import materials for weapons to be used offensively against Israeli civilians.”

        So it’s okay for Israel to do this, while BDS in any form is bad. There are, after all, no imports of weapons into Israel which Palestinians might be concerned about.

        Richard is a nice guy whose moral reasoning faculty has been reduced to jello by his ideology. It happens a lot and there’s nothing to be done about it except study it as a pathology. Maybe he’ll change, maybe he won’t.

        What’s interesting here is that he could make a case for shipping non-military goods into Gaza with or without Israel’s consent, but he won’t do it that way and he won’t make his argument for international control of Gazan ports (but not Israeli) without carefully explaining why Hamas is to blame and without essentially tying the success of the whole thing to Israel’s consent. Yet he objects to us blaming Israel because it is “condemnatory” though he can’t even talk about his proposal without blaming Hamas for the blockade.

        So I’d support Witty’s proposal, but I don’t think Israel’s consent should be determine its success–they’re the cause of the problem and not the ones who should have veto power, and I also think the same sort of blockade of military imports should be applied to Israel. This won’t compute with Richard–what, treat Israel’s military with the same suspicion one applies to a group of terrorists? His mind boggles.

    • Richard Witty
      September 20, 2009, 2:36 pm

      Cliff,
      I don’t think you understand the significance of the term trauma. There is an element that is proportional to scale, but there is another element that is entirely independent to scale once the trauma has reached a certain level.

      I assume that the Gazans that were close to the bombing of Gaza were traumatized by that.

      Its hard to know how much, or how qualitatively traumas compare. Is a light trauma that occurs 100 times more invasive or less invasive than a single very violent trauma? I don’t know.

      Again, I ask that you reference how to improve the situation as your guiding question, more than who is to blame.

      And, to that question, Hamas has the power to act in ways that lessen the effects on Gazans. They are doing that now, by voluntarily not shelling Israeli civilians.

      Their next step to open the Gazan ports are to either declare Gaza an independent state (with likely difficult consequences) or to reconcile with the PA (also with some difficult consequences).

      Or, to actively invite an international third party to govern (more than monitor) the Gaza ports, and at least temporarily give up the pretense of sovereignty.

      If you oppose that, then that puts you in the partisan position of advocating for Hamas, rather than advocating for Gazans.

      • Cliff
        September 20, 2009, 2:52 pm

        You are answering the questions you are asking me, for me, Witty.

        While at the same time, you are constructing the premise of the question associated with your conceptualization of the term ‘trauma’ within the context of the Gaza massacre.

        First let’s move away from abstractions. This is insulting to both sides.

        It is true, that both sides are suffering. However, in the case of ‘trauma’ and ‘fear’ – this is subjective.

        I can watch videos of Israeli citizens crying as they look for cover, when the rocket siren is sounded.

        I can see them as human beings and sympathize with their suffering.

        However, then I can look at the Palestinians who are suffering from horrific wounds as well as the trauma that the Israelis are suffering.

        We do not need to treat the suffering of either side as a painting from which we derive our own opinion. This is not a matter of subjectivity.

        Surely, if we ask the Israelis whether they would rather suffer like a Gazan or suffer like they are suffering, they would chose their own suffering. That is a simple yet effective way of determining on a whole, who is suffering more.

        We can analyze the many many studies on life in Gaza. We can look at the statistics of people killed. We can look at how daily life is in both societies.

        Etc.

        All of this is very easy to do.

        My original point still stands: you are hiding behind abstractions and obfuscation to equate the suffering of the Gazans to that of the residents of Souther Israel.

        It is not comparable. That does not mean the Israelis ARENT suffering – it simply means that A) their suffering pales in comparison and is of a different intensity and nature.

        Furthermore, the Palestinians are the ones under Occupation.

        Gaza has no autonomy. Israel controls Gaza.

        Whereas, the residents of Israel have the freedom to leave if they wish (and return). They have the freedom to get care. They have the freedom to get protection. They have an outlet. They are sheltered.

        So, before we begin talking about solutions and pro-active thinking on this conflict, we must first compare both of our premises. Yours is a false premise. It reveals your ideology. You are first a Zionist and then that identity colors your argument.

        If you were honest – you would use critical thinking and compare. You would not try to equate a 100 to 1 death ratio and what has been called a humanitarian disaster to a state of distress and fear of the Southern Israelis.

        The fundamental theme of your commentary Witty is intellectual dishonesty.

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 8:03 pm

        How is that condemnation relevant to changing the situation?

        So long as Hamas continues shelling Israeli civilians, it remains the responsibility of the Israeli state and the IDF to prevent it and by military means. The scale is irrelevant.

        You use the term occupation in two different meanings. One reasonable meaning is the legal term “occupation” which refers to the responsibility of a state that is temporarily occupying another or disputed land, to provide social services, and administer law and policing. That is the meaning that international law refers.

        The second use of the term is more rhetorical. That is that the occupier is an expropriator, a bad guy. That is the case in Israel’s incremental expansion into the West Bank, but is not the case with regard to Gaza.

        The land borders between Israel and Gaza, are entirely Israel’s right to manage. There is no international law right for free passage of goods across a foreign frontier. It entirely rests on the relations between the two entities.

        Historically, until 1967, there was NO commerce or any transit between Gaza and Israel, on the authority of the legally occupying Egyptian jurisdiction, and that was legal. A pain, but legal.

        The blockade of ports is a different story. The basis of that blockade is Hamas’ state of permanent war with Israel. It has historically and continues to import materials for weapons to be used offensively against Israeli civilians.

        If Hamas even temporarily relinquished claims to sovereignty over the ports and requested an international entity to confidently govern the ports, then Israel might be persuaded to honor that, and the balance could shift to more free commerce in/from Gaza, and better relations between Gazans and Israel.

        Its a path. Why not work for it?

  17. harveystein
    September 19, 2009, 2:30 pm

    Typical of this site that you guys spend so much ink fleshing out all the facets of Israeli evil, and miss stories that have any forward-looking constructive import. The same day Goldstone was released, the Geneva Initiative group released its updated plan outlining practical structure for peace. Read a good article about the 2 reports here: link to truthout.org

    • Richard Witty
      September 19, 2009, 2:47 pm

      Harvey,
      Don’t even appear to support my views, or you will get sucked into unnecessary rancorous discussion and likely alienate some people that might support your work otherwise.

      Its a commitment to me to argue for the mutually humane.

      Its an addiction of mine (even on Rosh Hashanah) to argue against the anti-approach, in favor of proposal and goal.

    • potsherd
      September 19, 2009, 2:54 pm

      The Israeli government has been denouncing the Geneva Initiative as irrelevant for half a decade, and revising their proposal isn’t likely to change this. As long as they insist that the plan is irrelevant, it is irrelevant.

      The people here on this site could sit down and outline a plan for peace, and it would have just as little impact as long as Israel elects the Governments of No.

      • harveystein
        September 19, 2009, 3:24 pm

        The people here on this site should buy a ticket to Tel Aviv (or Amman or Cairo, if you want to leave your airport taxes outside Israel), and actually get some face time with “reality” as it’s lived here in the UnHoly land. Speak to 7 Palestinians, 7 Israelis, and a White Christian or two….Then MAYBE after that, get to a peace outline……barring that, nudge Obama to get off his ass and come here with big carrot and bigger stick….

      • Citizen
        September 19, 2009, 3:40 pm

        harveystein,

        What big carrot and what big stick do you suggest we nudge Obama to pack on his trip
        to Israel? Many people here realize that the USA has given Israel lots of big carrots
        over the years, enough to feed a galaxy of rabbits for eternity as compared to what
        the USA has given any other foreign state. So what’s the additional big carrot
        Obama should carry to Israel? And more acute, what terribly lonely big stick will the USA finally
        bring to Israel too?

      • Dan Kelly
        September 19, 2009, 3:46 pm

        I want to do just that, harveystein. I’d like to visit Gaza and the West Bank, and Israel. We’ll see how things unfold in the next year financially, and perhaps I’ll be able to get there…

      • Citizen
        September 19, 2009, 3:59 pm

        Now, as to nudging Obama to also pack a big carrot and a big stick for the Palestinians, since all those big carrots the USA has given Israel (with congressionally ironclad promises of more to come) all always magically morph into
        big sticks with which to beat baby Pal heinies with, shouldn’t Obama just pack
        a small stick and maybe a dozen big real carrots for the Palestinians “for a change?”

      • Call Me Ishmael
        September 20, 2009, 2:15 am

        Writing apparently from Israel, Mr. Harvey Stein says above,

        “The people here on this site should buy a ticket to Tel Aviv … and actually get some face time with “reality” as it’s lived here in the UnHoly land.”

        Sir, thank you for the invitation. I’ve never been to Israel but, as it happens, my closest friend is an ex-Israeli Jew, and I have been acquainted with a number of other ex-Israelis. I have learned much about Israel from them and from many books and alternative journalistic sources in this country. To me it seems most unlikely that a trip to Israel would make me any less pro-Palestinian.

      • Shingo
        September 20, 2009, 5:05 am

        “The people here on this site should buy a ticket to Tel Aviv (or Amman or Cairo, if you want to leave your airport taxes outside Israel), and actually get some face time with “reality” as it’s lived here in the UnHoly land. ”

        Hey Harvey, most of us havn’t beat to Auschwitz, and we don’t need to speak to Germans or Jews to knwo the “reality” of what took place. Israeli aplogists often pull this stunt, as though it were any kind of argument. What they are hoping to do, is sway opinion with sentiment and emotion.

        This issue is already controversial and emotional as it is. It does not need more passion or semtiment.

    • Koshiro
      September 19, 2009, 4:24 pm

      I didn’t miss it. But it contained very little new information. My criticism of the Geneva initiative remains the same: What they propose is not a 2-state-solution, but a one-state-plus-semi-autonomous-protectorate solution. As a vision for permanent status, it’s out of the question IMNSHO. (And even in this form, it’s evidently going too far for the Israeli government.)

  18. Mooser
    September 19, 2009, 3:40 pm

    “barring that, nudge Obama to get off his ass and come here with big carrot and bigger stick….”

    Yup, I’ve been sensing this more and more since I began learning about Zionism. The Zionists thought that the creation of Israel, or any kind of Jewish National State in Palestine, would take place in the context of unceasing European colonial control of the area. Why on earth would France and England give up the fruits of their victory over the Ottoman empire? But they did, didn’t they, eventually (subject to the exigencies of WW2 and its aftermath) leaving the Israelis all by their lonesome.
    Are you sorry you blew up the King David Hotel now, you machers?
    And they are going to want us to rescue their pathetic ass sooner or later.

    Anyway, that is so prevalent in Zionist supporters and Zionists, the idea that we owe them some sort of solution to the problems they made for themselves, way over and above any intrinsic problems to establishing a refuge for dispossessed Jews.
    But that’s what it is, I’ll bet on it: They never thought it would come to every Western power pulling out and leaving them to face the “Arabs”.

  19. Mooser
    September 19, 2009, 3:53 pm

    “Its a commitment to me to argue for the mutually humane.”

    Yeah, cause if there is anything Israeli is known for, it’s a weakness for the “mutually humane”! Yeah, that’s the ticket.

    • Citizen
      September 19, 2009, 4:15 pm

      Being mutually humane would require one to walk in both the shoes of the Israelis and the shoes of the Palestinians. Since Truman the (now only superpower) USA has only walked in the shoes
      of the Jews-cum-Israelis. Why isn’t it obvious to the USA as it is to the rest of the world that’s it’s time for a bit of catch up? Witty reminds me on the purely domestic
      scene of an inheirated trust fund man demanding righteously that everyone pick themselves up by
      their own bootstraps. How about you run barefoot and I will run in my Nikes?

    • Richard Witty
      September 20, 2009, 4:32 pm

      It does require walking in both shoes.

      That is the signifcance of actually practically thinking towards improvement of Palestinians lives, actually making some change in their condition, rather than the vanity of condemnation only.

  20. jimby
    September 19, 2009, 5:01 pm

    It is so difficult to ignore Witty sometimes. Maybe he doesn’t know we read a lot from many different sources. If a person were to form an opinion of the current situation he would most likely agree with Mr W. I think most on this site are aware that Israel provokes the Palestinians daily. Mainstream “get your news from the TV” doesn’t have a clue of any of this. In the West Bank the settlers destroy crops, steal land and harass the arabs, but it doesn’t make the “NEWS”. The IDF could make a difference and they do. They support the dismantlement of Palestinian culture. They shoot and generally provoke opposition but mainstream America hasn’t a clue. This is why having so many zionists in the news orgs is unhealthy. They keep America in the dark while they brutalize in secret. Lately some of this is creeping into the light. People I talk to are no longer “afraid” to criticize Israel. The times they are a changing and people like Witty must get used to it. Israel wants to be a normal nation. Let me suggest something. In the German concentration camp there were a lot of homosexuals. Wouldn’t it be fair if the gave them part of the Middle east and they could have a gay only country?

    Curious thought. Is Witty a masochist?

    • Richard Witty
      September 19, 2009, 5:41 pm

      A masochist for posting here?

      I come to my conclusions about Hamas FROM reading widely, not from reading only the mass media. I don’t have a television for example.

      With my dissenting instincts, if I did, I might agree with you more. But, here and most of the more left-leaning environs I live in, condemnation (not informed generally) is the conformity.

      • jimby
        September 19, 2009, 8:00 pm

        Dear Richard, I expected that you read widely. It’s the average American who watches the news that I was referring to. Hey when I read Begin’s biography I learned that Sharon’s grandmother was his midwife. They come from the same village in Poland although Arik Sharon was born in Palestine. Just a tidbit.

      • Shingo
        September 20, 2009, 5:11 am

        Ricahrd,

        You claim to read widely, yet your stereotypical representation on Hamas could have been garnered from watchign Fox News.

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 6:06 am

        Thats your projection.

        I watch Fox News only on the four times/year that I visit my mother. I sincerely don’t have a TV.

        You are not all that savvy to the politics of media if you can’t distinguish a liberal from a conservative. They really are different, including on issues around Israel and Palestine.

      • Shingo
        September 20, 2009, 6:23 am

        “You are not all that savvy to the politics of media if you can’t distinguish a liberal from a conservative.”

        It’s a distinction without a difference, at last when it comes to Capitol Hill.

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 11:39 am

        That is a ludicrous statement.

        The difference between Obama and Bush is stark. To state differently is really to advocate for ignorance.

        If you want to encourage Obama to go further, to consider that Israel/Palestine deserves more of his attention than he is giving it (not a small amount), go ahead.

    • Richard Witty
      September 19, 2009, 9:44 pm

      Dissent alone in this case is insufficient.

      Proposal based on mutual respect is needed for change to occur.

      In South Africa, dissent alone was not sufficient to make change. It required the simultaneous CLEAR articulation of what was wrong, with the leadership and demonstration that there was a viable practical alternative.

      In Israel/Palestine, as much as you or other find Zionism contradictory, or contradictory to primary values and world social progress in respects, for the majority of Zionists that live there, THAT is their social progress compared to what was and their impression of what would be.

      They will not compromise to that.

      They can be persuaded, which I am endeavoring in my small way, to acknowledge that enough land is sufficient, that they needn’t make it impossible for a viable Palestine to exist in the fear that any Palestine would harm them (say via rockets) or threaten their existence.

      I hope to persuade that the green line is a more defensible boundary than the settlement maze and wall/fence. And, that a healthy and viable Palestine that Israel helps develop, is a better neighbor than a desparate one.

      Its sadly widely considered a utopian faith that a good neighbor to good neighbor relationship is possible.

      The only means that I see that can happen is by intentional efforts to accept the other, as persons, even if policies and actions are criticized, that that acceptance of the other has to be the most prominent communication.

      But, that is NOT acceptance of likud dominance or of Hamas dominance. Its acceptance of the persons, the communities, and the communities’ needs (not necessarily their demands).

      • Chaos4700
        September 19, 2009, 10:21 pm

        Wow. You cite South Africa — where, incidentally, both violence and international BDS played a huge role in overcoming apartheid — and then condemn the Palestinians and everyone else for the same thing.

        Hypocrisy much?

      • Dan Kelly
        September 19, 2009, 11:32 pm

        I remember Chomsky saying that one of the main reasons South Africa gave in to the demands to end apartheid was that they were evolving from a mining/manufacturing economy to a more modern, technologically-based economy. Thus, they needed more highly-skilled, or at least semi-skilled, labor, and the apartheid system didn’t allow for that. Essentially, it wasn’t needed anymore.

        Chomsky has said a lot of things over the years, some true, some not true, but that seemed to make sense to me at the time.

        I think the situation in Israel/Palestine is different. Israel doesn’t need Palestinian labor at all, as far as I know, and the conflict is much more ideologically-based than was the situation in South Africa.

        Conflicts based in ideology are much bloodier than conflicts rooted in human emotions such as greed.

        “Since opposed principles, or ideologies, are irreconcilable, wars fought over principle will be wars of mutual annihilation. But wars fought for simple greed will be far less destructive, because the aggressor will be careful not to destroy what he is fighting to capture.” (Alan Watts)

      • Chaos4700
        September 20, 2009, 1:42 am

        The conflict in Israel/Palestine is not about ideology. It’s about a bunch of white people coming in and taking land from natives.

        And if you think Israel’s not going to be suffering a labor/population crisis of its own, think again. Israel only survives at all because of massive subsidies from the US and favored trading with us and Europe.

        The latter is eroding bit by bit, and sooner or later the former will dry up — if only because the US economy is in a death spiral and no one seems particularly interested in fixing it before it collapses.

  21. Dan Kelly
    September 20, 2009, 2:31 am

    The conflict in Israel/Palestine is not about ideology. It’s about a bunch of white people coming in and taking land from natives.

    You don’t think those “white people” are steeped in ideology? Have you ever listened to the newly-arrived settlers, the rationalizations they make for living on land they know damn well was just taken from someone? They’re “chosen,” it’s their land, no matter who was there before.

    Have you ever read Richard Witty’s comments, his references to the Talmud, rabbinical interpretations and what have you? That’s deeply ideological.

    I am obviously aware of American subsidies to Israel – that’s one of the reasons I’m here. That’s a separate issue from a labor shortage, and I have read nothing indicating that there is a shortage of labor in Israel. And, if there is, that would lend even more credence to the ideological argument I made, as again, there is plenty of Palestinian labor to be had. Why not use it? Because the Palestinians must be completely eliminated from Eretz Israel. Again, ideology.

    • potsherd
      September 20, 2009, 7:28 am

      There is a definite labor shortage in Israel, along with high unemployment, mainly because the “white” Israelis consider themselves above doing many kinds of jobs. (What am I? An Arab?) They import foreign workers from Asia, which they they harass and threaten with deportation if they act like they might remain.

      And without Palestinian construction workers, the big settlements could never be built.

  22. LeaNder
    September 20, 2009, 6:07 am

    Richard, let me respond here. Finding the correct respond interface is troubling sometimes.

    I – persuasion versus coercion

    IF, the Free Gaza boats highlighted the positive proposal of a consented international body to regulate the port prophylactically (consented by Israel, US and Europe, not even Hamas necessarily), it might have resulted in that.

    Richard, you talk about coercion versus persuasion, but then write the above. Hamas representing a high factor of Palestinian people doesn’t need to be heard? How can this ever be a perspective to lasting peace. Palestinians have to give up voting Hamas or else? Wasn’t that essentially the Gaza war meta-narrative?

    Do you essentially agree with the neocon concerning terrorism and the West. Or do you consider it, no doubt based on partial truth, as these things always work, as a new mental pan-something threat construct?

    A terrorist can’t be talked with? Rage is always irrational, under no circumstance can it be connected with injustice?

    Thus ultimately, correct me if I am wrong, persuasion is first an interior Israeli/Jewish affair and second a Western one? The West must act, must ultimately simply do Israels job? Based on Israel’s expertise with the “Arab mind”

  23. LeaNder
    September 20, 2009, 6:47 am

    II – rage and annoyance

    I appreciate your attempts to modify your view of the left “collective”. So there may in fact be a tiny group of righteous ones among this largely dangerous “angry” mindset?

    Most on the left that I’ve noted, rage from frustration. “How come you don’t conclude the same as me. This is so horrible.” And, in doing so (raging), themselves imprint trauma and present threat.

    You don’t seem to be equally annoyed at the attempts on the right, e.g. in the larger neocon mindset, to feed the rage? Couldn’t the rage you object to be partly a reaction to these reality creation exercises, based on much more power and Machiavellian means in that political faction than the “angry warriors” on the left will ever possess? Can anger never be based on a partially legitimate point of view?

    What do you answer that part of the left (righteous or angry) that are worried about the mental concord of pro-Israel voices and racist voices in the West? The high level of racist thought among the pro-Israel hawks?

    I am still struggling with the fact that antisemites and self-hating Jews historically were leaning towards the right (as a general rule) over here (…), while now together with a longer mainstream theoretical movement now the Socialist part of the Nazis is stressed in an attempt to invalidate the left’s perspective on matters?

    Let’s keep out Russian history for a while, but why do you think the Nazis first step was the suppression the left– the first group introduced in the new build camp system–if their political outlooks were essentially the same?

    • LeaNder
      September 20, 2009, 6:54 am

      Your comment is a bit too short, try again. Yes dear software, I will:

      the newly built …

      Server unavailable. Hmm? Second attempt.

    • Richard Witty
      September 20, 2009, 9:05 am

      It depends on what your goal is.

      If your goal is the improvement of the Palestinians lives, and the presence of Hamas on an international council to govern the port is a deal-breaking obstacle (which it certainly would be for Israel), then the improvement just won’t happen.

      Better that it happen.

      • Citizen
        September 20, 2009, 10:18 am

        The absence of Hamas on any international council set up to establish peace is a recipe for a sham. Here’s why: link to guardian.co.uk

      • LeaNder
        September 20, 2009, 12:39 pm

        Why do keep answering questions with rhetorical questions? Is that the result of having a goal? Partisanship? Does this give you a feeling of superiority, of being in control?

        and [IF] the presence of Hamas on an international council to govern the port is a deal-breaking obstacle

        And this is a law chiseled in stone? Hamas now is just the ground-breaking obstacle Arafat once was? And if Hamas is gone another actor will fill the vacuum? The only solution: ostracize the force till the next rises? All these forces are unconnected to the essentials of the conflict?

        I am not as enamored with goals as you are, all I want is to understand as good as possible what is going on. And yes, partly studying and trying to understand you.

        Your “goal” seem to aim at splitting us neatly into congenial minds, like Harvey, and hostile forces. Hostile forces being basically the rest of the Mondoweiss crowd witha few more rare pro-Israel exceptions, of which the righteous, like Harvey, have to be warned. Ethical being what is best for Israel since it is also the best for the rest of the world including Palestinians?

        In the question above, you essentially demand that I ostracize Hamas, since Israel demands it. And since Israel wants Hamas ostracized the world must agree. Thus future war potential is created, from my point of view.

        There must be some kind of way out of here, said the joker to the thief …

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 12:51 pm

        My goal is to suggest to dissent to pose its arguments in positive terms rather than condemnatory, to actually improve the situation for Israelis and for Palestinians.

        If your goal is the improvement of the physical state of Gazans, then a slightly compromised relationship is a good thing to advocate for.

        The magical jump across a chasm, (Hamas not a state and not subscribing to any accountability to any western dominated international institution, but insisting on the rights of a state) is a suicidal approach, a fantasy. A based jump without a parachute.

        Better to take the road, even if it takes a couple hours to get the 200 feet that a crow flies.

      • LeaNder
        September 20, 2009, 12:57 pm

        I shouldn’t have squeezed in the “more rare pro-Israel exceptions” below. I agree with Margret (or variation of the name?) , that the more prominent group lately was the “pro-American” [American first?] right.

        Your “goal” seem to aim at splitting us neatly into congenial minds, like Harvey, and hostile forces. Hostile forces being basically the rest of the Mondoweiss crowd [with a few more rare pro-Israel exceptions], of which the righteous, like Harvey, have to be warned. Ethical being what is best for Israel since it is also the best for the rest of the world including Palestinians?

        In the question above, you essentially demand that I ostracize Hamas, since Israel demands it. And since Israel wants Hamas ostracized the world must agree. Thus future war potential is created, from my point of view.

        There must be some kind of way out of here, said the joker to the thief …

      • LeaNder
        September 20, 2009, 1:07 pm

        Richard, concerning the Hamas Fatah split you keep ignoring the important David Rose article in Vanity Fair: The Gaza Bombshell. And since you ignore this part of the larger story you force me to fight straw men.

        Hamas is not a non-state entity but was voted as representative of the Palestinian people just as Israelis elected their leaders. The problem was created by neither the Israelis nor the Americans wanting them as representatives there and instead training Fatah strongmen to fight Hamas, thus creating an internal war.

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 2:44 pm

        Your story of the conflict of Hamas and Fatah is partially true but also incomplete.

        Hamas immediately announced upon election that it would regard all prior PA law and treaty as not binding on their administration, not that they would operate through constitutional channels to change laws and renegotiate treaties, but to just renounce them.

        It was a statement of coup by election. Mussolini won an election and immediately instituted a coup. Hitler took a year. Further, European investors and aid contributors immediately insisted on divesting in Palestine upon Hamas’ election. I guess that was a form of BDS.

      • Donald
        September 20, 2009, 3:04 pm

        “Further, European investors and aid contributors immediately insisted on divesting in Palestine upon Hamas’ election. I guess that was a form of BDS.”

        A much more severe form. Did you object to it? Let me guess that you didn’t.

        As for Hamas, they wanted to form a unity government with Fatah, but it was the US and Israel that wished to avoid that at all costs. Something which is always forgotten by those who insist on describing what happened solely as a coup by Hamas.

      • Shingo
        September 20, 2009, 3:50 pm

        “My goal is to suggest to dissent to pose its arguments in positive terms rather than condemnatory, to actually improve the situation for Israelis and for Palestinians.”

        What you really mean is that your goal is to shield Israel from criticism and scruitiny isn’t it Richard?

        Sugar coating reality isn’t going to improve the physical state of Gazans, it just serves to legimize Israel’s brutality.

        Your prescription as always is to treat Isreal with kid gloves, while holding the Palestinians feet to the fire, to determine if they are serious about wanting peace.

        As a famous and brilliant Jewish man once said, insanity is repeating he same behavior, while expecting a different outcome. You would have us believe the opposite to be true.

      • Shingo
        September 20, 2009, 4:07 pm

        So having insisted all along that Hamas were to blame for the creation of a unity government, confronted with evidence to the contrary, you accept the opposite to be true but incomplete. Fascinating.

        So your next argument is that Hamas immediately announced upon election that it would regard all prior PA law and treaty as not binding on their administration. When Netenyahu’s government was elected, Lieberman made the same declaration, so was that also a statement of coup by election?

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 4:34 pm

        My goal is to shift the discussion from condemnation to practical means to improve the lot of Palestinians.

        To form effective dissenting strategy, rather than only frustrating.

      • Donald
        September 20, 2009, 8:45 pm

        “My goal is to shift the discussion from condemnation to practical means to improve the lot of Palestinians.

        To form effective dissenting strategy, rather than only frustrating.”

        If that was your main goal you wouldn’t spend so much time condemning Hamas and excusing the Israelis. You’d accept the facts of the matter–all the armed factions, the Israeli govt., the PA, and Hamas stink to varying degrees, but Israel is by far the biggest oppressor and killer–and then you’d make your practical sales pitch. You don’t do this. You waste time with idiotic apologetics (though I admit that I’ve found them perversely fascinating, in a watching a train wreck sort of way.) It would be good to discuss/ argue about practical things we could be doing–I’m thinking of writing letters to congresscritters advocating a more balanced approach at this crucial juncture, but suspect this is a worthless activity.

  24. LeaNder
    September 20, 2009, 7:01 am

    Would you please give me your source? That even 2/3 of the casualties were combatants exceeds the vast majority of wars in the world.

    • Richard Witty
      September 20, 2009, 9:08 am

      I don’t have a source. It was mistake to state it as fact, when the reality is that it is a suspicion.

      The left has raged that some not tiny percentage of those killed were non-combatants, when that might be a small percentage compared to other conflicts.

      If that is the case, then instead of condemnation, Israel might desire credit, at least some.

      • Cliff
        September 20, 2009, 1:32 pm

        A suspicion? Define whether it is a credible suspicion or propaganda or self-delusion.

        Those are the three pertinent phases of ‘suspicion’ within the context of this conflict.

        Do you have any data to support that Hamas hid amongst civilians (sub-question: If so, was this the cause of the civilian deaths? Did they force civilians to do things they did not want to do? Did they use civilian infrastructure for cover? Did they do any of these things to a relevant extent – meaning, worth mentioning?)

        Furthermore, Witty, roughly 700-900 civilians died. upwards of 300 children died. Many more injured. There was lots of destruction to the civilian infrastructure. Before all of this, the siege was already devastating the civilian population of Gaza. It continues to do so. Etc. etc.

        You first white-wash, by stating Hamas hid amongst civilians (the only logical implication, being that this is the reason for civilian deaths and not indiscriminate or purposeful fire on the part of Israel) and then try to minimize the suffering of the Palestinians by stating that in comparison to other conflicts, more civilians have died.

        I won’t go into how grotesque your apologetics are becoming, but do you think 300 dead children and 700-900 dead civilians is somehow acceptable within the parameters of you’re setting up? Using this imaginary standard of yours.

        You are simply whitewashing.

        You should try forming arguments that use facts, rather than rhetoric and abstractions. Deal in reality Richard. Not your imaginary world.

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 2:49 pm

        My suspicion referred to the published proportion of civilians to combatants.

        Do you have conflicting sources of data, say conflicting with the Goldstone report, or other international studies?

        What are they? What numbers do you regard as legitimate, why?

        And, how do they compare to other wars?

        Read back in the press. Hamas militants hid. They were being chased, and they hid. Did they stand and fight in your mind?

      • Donald
        September 20, 2009, 2:57 pm

        Fascinating self-contradictions as usual from Richard. If Hamas militants had stood and fought, the civilian death toll would have been even higher. We already know Israel is willing to use that excuse “they fired at us while hiding in the civilian population” when it isn’t true. There’s no telling how many would have died if it had been true. Of course, for Richard, rather than admitting Hamas was right not to turn Gaza into Stalingrad, he instead criticizes them as cowards.

        Alternatively, he thinks Hamas militant should have stood out in an open field and been bombed into red mist.

      • Cliff
        September 20, 2009, 3:00 pm

        The burden of proof is on you Witty, not me.

        AI, B’Tselem, PCHR, UN, HRW, etc. have all put out reports and numbers.

        What is the only other source? Israel.

        Which report and figures are you referring to?

        Please answer the questions I asked you first:

        Do you have any data to support that Hamas hid amongst civilians?

        If so, was this the cause of the civilian deaths?

        Did they force civilians to do things they did not want to do?

        Did they use civilian infrastructure for cover?

        Did they do any of these things to a relevant extent – meaning, worth mentioning?

        For example, it is simply not enough to say Hamas hid. If they hid, that’s sad and deplorable. However, if hiding did not cause the killing of civilians – then I see no purpose of this talking-point other than to demean Hamas as representation of ‘the resistance’.

        The only pertinent question w/ relation to the notion of ‘human shields’ is whether these tactics caused the inordinate and disproportionate civilian deaths.

        The givens concerning human shields:
        It’s sad and deplorable as a tactic. It is horrible, it can and has caused civilian death. It is a crime.

        But within the context of this debate, the issue is why the argument of ‘hiding’ is brought up. Hence, the only conclusion is how it relates to civilian death.

        So answer those above questions. Provide data to back up your assertions.

        Then I will cite, AI, HRW, B’Tselem, the UN, and for a bit of context, the US Army War College report on Lebanon 2006.

        The bottom-line is that Hamas did not hide – either at all, or to any meaningful extent.

        It is possible they hid. It is not possible based on data, that they hid to any meaningful extent.

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 4:41 pm

        cliff,
        I don’t have the citations at hand. But, it was widely reported that Hamas militia went underground. They were overwhelmed. It would have been suicide for them to remain exposed.

        The sin was in the original judgements to return to shelling civilians, and then to escalate to longer range and larger rockets, indicating the intention of Hamas to enter a state of active war. Israel did warn Hamas that if it continued, a state of war would be adopted, but Hamas didn’t take that seriously.

        The subsequent hiding was secondary.

        But, the reality of the whole sequence was that Hamas sought to gain street cred by sticking it to Israel with the rockets, then sought to hide so as not to die (a reasonable urge), but in the process exposed Gazan civilians and infrastructure to the result of their horrible initial judgement.

        That is the significance of the term “human shields”. The literal holding bodies in front of a criminal is not what is referred to. I think some Israelis were identified doing that.

        Hamas did a civilizational human shield. Maybe it was the wisest and most effective action it could take. Maybe it was the most socially negligent and opportunist.

      • Shingo
        September 20, 2009, 5:08 pm

        This is becomming a familr them in your posts Richard,

        “I don’t have the citations at hand.”
        “I don’t have a source.”

        Yet, you contiue to present propaganda regardless.

        Of course Hamas were overwhelmed. How are the most promitive hand held weapons supposed to stand up to bombing by F-16s?

        The sin was the original judgements by Israel to break a ceasefire that was working Richard. By that action, Israel made it cler to the world that they wanted the ceasfire to end and to incite Hasm to return to shelling civilians. As Tzipi Livni said, a long ceasefire was not in Israel’s strategic interests, meaning that Israle’s streteic interests were best served by returning to a state of war.

        It was pure theatre and an act of humiliation that Israel woudl then “warn Hamas that if it continued, a state of war would be adopted”. A state of war had already been created.

        The subsequent hiding was planned long in advance and Isrle were determined to make it happen one way or another.

        Gazan civilians and infrastructure were always going to be exposed. As we saw in Lebanon and as Ze’ev Shiff (Israeli journalist and military correspondent for Ha’aretz) told us, “The Israeli army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously. The army has never distinguished civilian from military targets, but has purposely attacked civilian targets.”

        The argument about “human shields” is a joke. After all, it was the IDF, not Hamas that were observed holding bodies in front of them. And if by retuning fire, Hamas inadevertently created human shields, then by Livni’s remakrs, the same must be said about Israel.

      • Richard Witty
        September 20, 2009, 8:11 pm

        I don’t know if the November 4 actions were a violation by Israel or a response to a violation by Hamas. Both are asserted publicly, and just asserted, not proven.

        In any case, when that happened I worried that things would spin out, which they did for two weeks, then both Hamas and Israel issued public statements that continuing the cease-fire was in their interests (but Hamas stated that it would no longer hold the other factions accountable). The subsequent few skirmishes were between Israel and the other factions. I don’t remember hearing of one between Israel and Hamas, until the end of the cease-fire.

        Shingo, read my prior post. Your comment about human shields, I acknowledged and explained my meaning.

      • LeaNder
        September 21, 2009, 5:21 am

        (but Hamas stated that it would no longer hold the other factions accountable).

        Could that be related to the attack on the police men? Revenge? Isn’t it understandable from a basic human point of view that if you control activities against Israel, it doesn’t feel right that you are paid for it with six dead man that partly did exactly that? Just a thought.

        The main point I’d like to know more about, but I am assuming it is censored, are the exact circumstances on 4th of November. Did any witness survive or are they all dead? What does Hamas know about the event, what does it hide, what does Israel know or hide. Are Gazans not-affiliated with Hamas living nearby? What did they observe on that day, the days and weeks before? Wouldn’t they know about building activities of a tunnel? Perhaps know some of the people doing it? Who exactly were the people killed?

        And Richard what do you think about citizen’s (?) argument. If the bunker was the problem in connection with intelligence about another kidnapping action, why didn’t Israel simply destroy the bunker on it’s side or on both sides at a time the people busy there were asleep? Remember there was a ceasefire, and consider the above. I think this is a very valid question. Goal? Goals?

      • Tuyzentfloot
        September 21, 2009, 5:43 am

        Leander, I think the nov4 incident is telling but doesn’t stand alone. It fits in an overall aim to raise the tension in the run up to a war (or a non-war) so that you can appear as much as possible to only react to events. By itself november 4th isn’t crucial. All Israel/IDF had to do was demonstrate their intent to tighten the blockade no matter how much restraint Hamas showed. November 4th added a bit of emphasis and tried to suggest a date for starting hostillities.

  25. potsherd
    September 20, 2009, 7:30 am

    Israel counted all the murdered policemen in Gaza as combatants.

  26. Eva Smagacz
    September 20, 2009, 8:52 am

    There is no shortage of labour in Israel, instead, there is unwillingness to employ Arab Israelis:

    Yonatan Preminger writes in the August edition of Middle East Online:

    “There are about 250,000 migrant laborers in Israel, mostly from the Philippines and Thailand, working mainly in agriculture, nursing and construction. For a country of just under 7.4 million citizens, this is an enormous number. More than half are considered illegal – some have outstayed their allotted time, some are victims of fraud, and some have violated the terms of their employment, often through no fault of their own. With unemployment rising again, it seems logical to employ Israel’s citizens before turning to outside labor, but, as usual, the picture is more complicated.

    The truth is, Israel is confused. Since the 1980s, when the country began a process of deregulation with the aim of hitching its markets to the global economy, Israel has been torn between the myth of Jewish solidarity and the Zionist enterprise on the one hand, and the demands of the growing economic elite on the other. Bluntly put, it wants to keep the country open to Jews only but have access to workers willing to do the dirty work for peanuts.

    In the past, Israel employed Arabs as cheap labor – both Palestinian citizens of Israel and Palestinians from the Occupied Territories (who have no Israeli citizenship). Then, in the 1990s, as Israelis opened their eyes to the Oslo Accords, watched their economy grow, and enjoyed the “quiet” that the promise of peace granted them, Palestinians from the Occupied Territories found themselves stuck, cut off from their source of livelihood in Israel by renewed policies of military closures around the Territories. Meanwhile, Palestinian Israelis watched their jobs disappear as factories were moved abroad and as they competed with a million newly arrived Russian olim (Jewish immigrants) for the remaining labor-intensive work.”

    • Dan Kelly
      September 20, 2009, 12:24 pm

      Thank you potsherd and Eva.

    • Richard Witty
      September 20, 2009, 12:54 pm

      Netanyahu was the primary promoter of the free-trade model, and it remains a goal of his.

      It is an irony that he promotes a Levant version of European Union, while there is no sovereign Palestine, no diplomatic relations with Syria and Lebanon, and is extremely protective of Israeli borders.

      He’s shifted to a Mediterranean orientation of free trade zone. Lebanon (not yet obviously), Egypt, North Africa, Turkey, Greece, Italy, France, Spain.

  27. LeaNder
    September 20, 2009, 7:24 pm

    Look Richard, you may be in the emotional need to compare Hamas with the fascist and Hitler/ or the Nazis but what specific event are you alluding to here: “Hitler took a year?” to finish his coup? Hardly. [Power of persuasion, eye on the goal?]

    Only if you do not recognize the Machtergreifung for what it was and the many immediate activities and developments that followed including really early laws like e.g. the The Reichstag’s Fire Decree but instead focus on the Gleichschaltung of the whole institutional German structure, which obviously was a much bigger administrative job and needed time. They didn’t start to build camps one year later, they started immediately.

  28. LeaNder
    September 20, 2009, 7:27 pm

    Unfortunately many links register as spams, below the rest and Richards statement I am alluding to:

    see also: The Nazis use of article 48

    But today I learned you can form a judgment about a report without having read it, or ever intending to do so. Thus one obviously can use history freely according to ones own “goals” without knowing too much about it.

    It was a statement of coup by election. Mussolini won an election and immediately instituted a coup. Hitler took a year. Further, European investors and aid contributors immediately insisted on divesting in Palestine upon Hamas’ election. I guess that was a form of BDS.

  29. Richard Witty
    September 20, 2009, 8:15 pm

    There is no parallel between Hamas and Mussolini as Hamas didn’t get to complete its administration. There is no parallel after the fact.

    The common thread that I referred to between Hamas and fascist approaches was of the renunciation of prior law and treaty, in a revolutionary manner.

    Some want revolution. Some want other characteristics.

    I distrust revolutionary approaches, as they must maintain a state of confusion and animosity to retain their street cred. I prefer more stable and responsible approaches.

    • LeaNder
      September 21, 2009, 4:52 am

      There is no common thread between Hamas and the Nazis. There was no renunciation of prior laws by the Nazis. How should they have done that? They simply exploited existing law and added new ones and modified older ones. But apart from their ideology that dictated additions and changes, this is the normal legal process. The German democracy was young, so big parts of German law was still or again helpfully authoritarian.

      There is no connection, no matter how much you want to twist it into this connection. At one point I looked at these specific volumes, especially at media laws.

      I am not a fan of Hamas, but neither do I trust your expertise on what exactly happened. I do not know what laws or legal structures they wanted to abolish.

      Facts please. What do you know about law in the occupied territories?

      Don’t you think that legal treaties between an occupying power and a dependand occupied people must necessarily cause corruption at a certain level? It seems so obvious that some in the Palestinian authority profited from that? Perhaps as a reward for signing certain treaties? And corruption obviously was a big issue in the elections.

      Am I assuming correctly that you don’t know anything about the occupation laws in the territories? E.g. that it is forbid to dig a well. Economic laws, taxes, application? Is the delivery for water at 9 times the price it sells in Israel based on such a treaty? How many treaties restricting Palestinian activities–note: beyond creating bombs–exist? What exactly do you know about it? Beyond the single line you can use as an allusion to the Nazis, even if there is no similarity at all.

      *******************************************************************
      AGAIN:
      you write: The common thread that I referred to between Hamas and fascist approaches was of the renunciation of prior law and treaty, in a revolutionary manner.

      What are the exact parallels. Facts please, sources, not propaganda.
      *************************************************************************

      What I don’t like about the neocon approach are the clairvoyant pretensions. It might be clever, since at one point it is hard to differentiate between what would have happened and what is brought about by the preventive action.

      How can one of us ever disprove something that supposedly will be done in the future with supposedly dire consequences, when in fact the mirroring of Hamas intention and the decided preventive actions may just as well have brought it about? Dissimulation, projection, suspicion: goals based on it.

      For you there is only one perspective on matters: Israel knows the “Arab mind” better than any of us in the West. There may be a core of truth to it, but what about Israel’s interest in play?

      Have you ever looked at the occupation laws and treaties from the point of view of Israeli advantages and Palestinian disadvantages? How could this scenario beyond the change to buy helpful cooperators in a democracy ever work in the long run?

      Extremists seem to develop moderate views once they have to work in the administrative, legislative process, how do you know this wouldn’t happen in Hamas case? Are you a clairvoyant like the neocons? Palestinians are voting. Would they vote Hamas again if they didn’t do the best they can for the people they represent? Even if only slowly. If you were a Fatah and Hamas member didn’t you want to have control of e.g. the process to allow people building houses on their land? Wouldn’t you want to abolish legal structures that result in constant demolitions. On your own land, mind you.

      Occupation, laws and treaties under occupation corrupt, what is your thought on that. Fine? As long as it benefits Israelis? Than I am afraid you have to harvest what you sow.

      • LeaNder
        September 21, 2009, 4:58 am

        Obviously I meant under democratic conditions: Extremists seem to develop more moderate views once they have to work in the administrative, legislative process in a democratic system,

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