Gaza a year ago: My father says the Israelis are doing this to win an election

Israel/Palestine
on 63 Comments
gazaroof
A Palestinian boy looks up from inside a damaged house after an Israeli air strike in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip, December 30, 2008. (Photo: Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters)

Khulood Ghanem, 27, kept a Gaza diary a year ago. Its full text (as adapted by Edward Mast in the U.S.) is here. What follows is Ghanem’s entry from the the fourth day of the onslaught, Dec. 30, 2008. (Thanks to Linda Frank.)

A new day has come, the 30th of December. Two days before the beginning of the new year, all the world was preparing to celebrate 2009 but we were distinguished, we have a different celebration. In the early morning I opened my eyes and stared for a long time at the ceiling. I drew a picture in my mind, a bad picture. The situation was so calm, I had many doubts and asked myself, have they finished or not yet? Why didn’t I hear the F-16 and the apaches? And where is the zanana? I left my bed and covered my head by a scarf. I opened the door and climbed the stairs to the roof. It was the first time in four days to see the light directly. I could hardly open my eyes. I felt that I spent one year in my room.

I looked to the sky and started to search for the army planes but there were no planes. I walked for a while and stayed for half hour on the roof. Suddenly I heard the voice of my father, he was shouting "leave the roof and come quickly." I answered him and ran toward him asking him about his anger and shouting. He blamed me for being on the roof and told me that yesterday they targeted a family that was sitting on their roof. The rocket fell in the middle of them, killed the father, the mother, two girls and a little kid.

I thought for a while, is it revenge?? Really is it a revenge? But revenge for what? What did they want to achieve? More killing, more destruction, or more what? My father replied me that they are passing through a critical period "the elections" and they should achieve the victory to gain and win more numbers in their elections. I told him that this means that they will continue till they reach the required number, he said "who knows? God only can know, so take care and don’t go to outside, stay in the home."
 

…I spent three hours washing the clothes. When I began to finish, my sister came telling me that she saw her friend in the news. She was dead, her sisters and her mom also. All have been killed by a rocket. She started to wail and cry. I asked her Are you sure that this girl is your friend? She said yes of course I’m sure, her face was so clear on the TV screen.

I asked her to make sure from her death, so we phoned one of the families that live beside them. They told us the whole story of their death. They told us that the father received a call from the Israeli army ordering him to leave the house within five minutes because they will attack the house. He insisted to stay himself and pushed his wife and his daughters to leave the house, they wore heavy clothes, took some money and ran away from the house. The Apache was waiting for this moment as they changed their mind and targeted the mother and her daughters leaving the house, they fired a rocket, exploded their bodies and made them parts, each part in a place.

I waited for the afternoon news to see them. I insisted to see them. I wanted to fill my memory with their bodies, I wanted to live their death moment and to share them, I wanted to tell them that you will stay here, in memories, in minds, and in souls, all of you are alive, we will miss all of you, but you can sleep safely now, you are the strongest. I was so proud of my self that I had the courage to see these people in their ugly death. I was tough, shocked.

I was thinking of the mentality of their soldiers. I thought a lot but didn’t reach a conclusion. I talked a lot to myself, wondering about the aim of ordering people to leave their houses and instead of targeting the house, they targeted the people. And at the same time, they announced that they didn’t target civilians. So what is this kind of strategy? Are they making fun of us, are we that cheap?

63 Responses

  1. aparisian
    December 30, 2009, 11:15 am

    Thanks Khulood Ghanem, Nazisrael will fall down!! Down Nazisrael! down Nazisrael!!

    • zamaaz
      December 30, 2009, 4:48 pm

      Yes, Khulood Ghanem, the sorrow of losing families, friends, classmates, or just someone who happens you see everyday is beyond compensation…Your heart and your ‘soul’ weakens, wanting to sleep…’Shall we meet again in afterlife?’, ‘When would be my appointed time?’, These are some sorrowful comforting questions of those men of faith…
      My condolences and sympathies.., I too hope dearly that this war will soon end…

    • Psychopathic god
      December 30, 2009, 6:06 pm

      Khulood Ghanem, Palestinian Anne Frank.

      May Mary, Mother of Jesus, enfold you in the mantle of her love.

  2. Citizen
    December 30, 2009, 11:26 am

    Yes, they are that cheap to those who gunned them down on orders. There’s another kind of cheapness in the enabler nation, the USA; it goes beyond its jobs program, the USA grunts, and extends to the USA masses, of which I am one. We have nowhere to go politically if we object to our government’s foreign policy. We can’t go to any of the three branches of government, nor to the de facto fourth branch, the MSM. Nader, a real patriot and humanist, spells out
    how this is:
    link to youtube.com

    After 8 yrs of Shrub Inc, and 4 yrs of Obamaland, it seems a third party candidate will
    gain much next time around; the time has come again for renewal of what use to be
    called “the third way.”

    • pineywoodslim
      December 30, 2009, 1:08 pm

      “The Third Way”?

      Wasn’t that the Clinton/DLC slogan? Obama seems particularly adept at carrying on that tradition.

      • Citizen
        December 30, 2009, 3:28 pm

        Well, actually, it was a term used mostly in old Europe when some peeps were looking for a way outside of the then clashing red and fascist movements.

  3. Chaos4700
    December 30, 2009, 11:45 am

    So how does one say, “Wollt ihr den totalen Krieg?” in Modern Hebrew? Perhaps we have our answer.

    • Shafiq
      December 30, 2009, 3:49 pm

      I had to search that phrase on Google – This is what I found at the end of the introductory bit on Wikipedia:

      It is considered the most famous of Joseph Goebbels’ speeches.[1] The speech was an early admission by the Nazi leadership that Germany faced serious dangers. Goebbels exhorted the German people to continue the war even though it would be long and difficult because he asserted Germany’s survival and the survival of Western Civilization was at stake.

  4. sammy
    December 30, 2009, 11:57 am

    How does one survive such dehumanisation? Its so hard for me to read these stories. So hard to respond without feeling a surge of hatred for those who inflict such pain on others.

  5. Richard Witty
    December 30, 2009, 12:21 pm

    The election was definitely a backdrop, but Hamas played right into it.

    They KNEW that Israel was in an election and if assaulted that militarism would be a preeiminent dividing characteristic. If they had stayed patient a month, Kadima would be leading the government, and the Olmert offer would be elaborated on and reach the knesset and Palestinian parliament.

    I assume that that was brought up in Hamas discussions about whether to resume shelling, and was rejected.

    Its not the first time that Hamas has interceded to affect an Israeli election, or negotiation process.

    Again, the theme of militarism to posture for elections, is a Hamas stock in trade.

    Both cynical, cruel, militant, supported by solidarity as “brave”.

    • Chaos4700
      December 30, 2009, 12:33 pm

      So let me get this straight — Hamas agreeing to and actively enforcing the cease fire was all an elaborate ploy to force Israel to kill six Palestinians in an air raid on November 4th, TOTALLY coincidentally on Election Day in the US (the excuse given later by the IDF being “They were digging in the dirt.”)

      Hamas then further feinted Israel by reacting like any sane country does when attacked during a cease fire, and resumed hostilities. And then, in spite of being the injured party in the broken agreement, Hamas again outmaneuvered Israel by yet again stopping the rocket attacks.

      And then on top of all of that, Hamas tried to negotiate a continuance of the cease fire, but of course by now Israel was wise to Hamas, and instead decided to open up send a few extra trucks of foreign aid through as bait, and then opened up with literally hundreds of air strikes that killed around 300 people on the first day alone, and extended for three weeks — conveniently, from Christmas right on through to just before Obama’s inauguration.

      So Operation Cast Lead, the whole thing, the bombing of hospitals and mosques and water treatment plants and UN buildings by Israeli warplanes, that was all actually planned by Hamas.

      Right.

      • Richard Witty
        December 30, 2009, 12:35 pm

        Very comic Chaos.

      • Chaos4700
        December 30, 2009, 12:39 pm

        Not as comic as you are, Witty. The only difference is, I’m not pathetic.

      • Citizen
        December 30, 2009, 1:01 pm

        Yeah, it’s a comic book for you Witty–you are protected by goy police and troops afar–that’s why you never recognize being an American as part of your potpourri
        of loyalties.

      • yonira
        December 30, 2009, 7:44 pm

        OK for the sake of argument, lets say that Israel broke the cease fire. Why did Hamas continue to fire rockets into Israel know full well that they were going to force Israel into war? Doesn’t Hamas, as the elected body, have an obligation to shields its populous from such an onslaught?

      • Shingo
        December 30, 2009, 8:01 pm

        “Why did Hamas continue to fire rockets into Israel know full well that they were going to force Israel into war?”

        They didn’t. Because for the sake of reality, Hamas actually proposed a return to the ceasrfire, which Israel rejected.

        “Doesn’t Hamas, as the elected body, have an obligation to shields its populous from such an onslaught? ”

        They only have that obligation if they have the means, which they don’t. Israel on the other hand, does.

    • annie
      December 30, 2009, 12:36 pm

      sometimes i wonder if we reside on the same planet. cast lead was planned months beofre , coordinated w/the election. nothing hamas could have done was going to prevent it, sans some jim jones scenario. hamas did not ‘interceded to affect an Israeli election’, the people of gaza got slaughtered. cast lead was a gift to the people of israel, just like the hanukkah song suggests.

      • yonira
        December 30, 2009, 7:47 pm

        Annie, this is what armies do, they have plans for upcoming wars. Why is Hamas currently re-stocking its arms, digging trenches, getting instruction from Iran on how to use their new weapons?

        its no secret that Israel is planning for their next incursion into Gaza.

        Can you say with a clear conscience that the rockets being fired by Hamas wasn’t a tad bit instigatory(probably not a word, but you get my drift)?

      • Shingo
        December 30, 2009, 8:09 pm

        “Annie, this is what armies do, they have plans for upcoming wars. ”

        The same excuse was used for Israel’s attack on Southern Lebaon, even though it was revealed that Olmert planned the attack and had already informed Bush and Blair about his plans. Israel’s defense minister even threatened a Shoah for Gaza a year earlier,

        No, armies have contingencies in place for outcomes, which are not to be confused with plans to attack in and invade weaker countries.

        Saddam planned the invasion of Kuwait, he didn’t respond to an act of aggression. Similarly Hitler panned the attack on Poland and Israel planned the siege on Gaza.

        “Why is Hamas currently re-stocking its arms, digging trenches, getting instruction from Iran on how to use their new weapons?”

        Because Israel has made its intentions clear repeatedly. There is currently a ceasefire in place, but Tzpi Livni has told the world that a long ceasefire is not in Isrels strategic interests, so we know that sooner or later, Israel will attack Gaza.

        Now, why is Israel currently re-stocking its arms and carrying out training excercises and bombing runs?

        “Can you say with a clear conscience that the rockets being fired by Hamas wasn’t a tad bit instigatory”

        “Instigatory” (if it is a word) implies the rocket attacks were unprovoked, so no, the rockets being fired by Hamas were not at all “instigatory”

    • sammy
      December 30, 2009, 12:36 pm

      Witty: “Blah blah blah”

      Do you have ANYTHING to say about the murder of that family?

      • Chaos4700
        December 30, 2009, 12:40 pm

        What murder? Witty doesn’t consider the Palestinians to be human and thus, not worthy of his attention.

      • Citizen
        December 30, 2009, 3:34 pm

        Well, you are supposed to recognize Witty’s empathy for the Pals in the yada-yada-yada overtones of his stand-up comic speech.

      • yonira
        December 30, 2009, 7:48 pm

        How is it productive at all to keep repeating that Chaos?

      • Chaos4700
        December 31, 2009, 2:10 am

        How is it productive to keep repeating that yonira?

      • Donald
        December 30, 2009, 12:59 pm

        Yeah, that is interesting. Witty blames Hamas and even the solidarity activists (whose power to cause Israeli war crimes was hitherto greatly underestimated), all in order to distract attention from the people who actually did the killing. But then Israelis are never responsible for their own war crimes. Hamas is responsible for its terrorism and its rockets and also for Israeli war crimes, though Witty has me wondering if ultimately they in turn are not taking orders directly from the solidarity activists (Witty’s nemesis). Yes, the solidarity activists. They are the Napolean of crime.

    • potsherd
      December 30, 2009, 1:08 pm

      WITTYLIE #18

      .

    • Shingo
      December 30, 2009, 7:37 pm

      “The election was definitely a backdrop, but Hamas played right into it.”

      Yes, Hamas happened to be standing where the bombs were landing.

      “They KNEW that Israel was in an election and if assaulted that militarism would be a preeiminent dividing characteristic”

      That’s is assuming that Israel was assaulted, which is clearly false. Israel broke the ceasefire, so it 2asn’t assaulted.

      “If they had stayed patient a month, Kadima would be leading the government, and the Olmert offer would be elaborated on and reach the knesset and Palestinian parliament.”

      Thatr so called offer from Olmert was simply a resignation speech. Tzipi Livni had made it clear that a Kadima win would have yielded the same outcome when she told the world that a long ceasefire was not in Israel’s strategic interests.

      “Its not the first time that Hamas has interceded to affect an Israeli election, or negotiation process.”

      When was the last time?

      “Again, the theme of militarism to posture for elections, is a Hamas stock in trade.”

      Rubbish. Israel broke the ceasfire, having already imposed a declaration of war on Gaza 2 years earlier, but according to Zionfascists like yourself, it is Hamas that uses military theme’s to posture for elections.

      For the 1000th time Witty, Israel broke the ceasefire and killed 6 Palestinians. It was the Isreali government, having planed the siege 6 months earlier, that adopted the theme of militarism to posture for elections, not Hamas.

      And yes, it was cynical, cruel, militant, and supported by all of Israel.

      • Citizen
        December 31, 2009, 1:52 pm

        No matter how many times you tell Witty this it does not register, not even if you quote the likes of Finklestein or Chomsky.

  6. Richard Witty
    December 30, 2009, 1:10 pm

    The rocket firing was a gift to Likud. When it occurred, I feared the spin out, and I feared the affect on the Israeli election.

    Likud postured. Kadima was then forced to posture (during war). No Zionist Israeli party (liberal, centrist, right, fascist) had the scope to support peace oriented policies while Israeli civilians were being shelled.

    You can call that a distraction, but it is a too damn large component of Hamas’ either negligence or intent.

    I’ve stated that like the majority of Israeli peace proponents, there was no way for Israel to accept the escalation of shelling of civilian cities. It required a military response from Israel. The only relevant question is the extent.

    The claim that the operation was planned is true. It was one of multiple scenarios that the IDF chose to enact. (It was not planned in the “conspiratorial” opportunist sense. It was a mapped out elected strategy among a few. There were certainly military officers that wanted to “teach them a lesson”, which is collective punishment.)

    How does a military respond to collective punishment undertaken on its civilians? (Thats what shelling civilians in response to a government’s policy is.)

    What do you recommend?

    • Donald
      December 30, 2009, 2:00 pm

      Here’s a thought–don’t act like only Palestinian violence against Israelis counts as a violation of the cease fire. And don’t treat Palestinians as second class human beings who have to earn the right to have trade with the outside world.

      You concentrate on the Palestinian rocket fire because that’s how the conflict is always treated in the US by Israel apologists. Israeli actions (both actual killing and day-to-day oppression) are treated as normal background. When a Palestinian reacts, that’s violence that needs a response. That way the blame is always put on the Palestinians. Here we have a post on the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians and you manage, as you ALWAYS do (capitalization for your benefit), to blame both Hamas and Western sympathizers with the Palestinians.

      Richard, if you want to bring nuance to this blog and not simply try to blame Hamas for Israel’s war crimes, you could and should fully acknowledge Israel’s sadistic actions both before and after and during the Gaza War. You could also say that Hamas behaved foolishly and immorally in shooting back and also in their own internal violence against Palestinians. But you never do this. The most you do is criticize the settlements, (though it’s not clear what you’d ever do to stop them) and admit that the violence of the war was excessive, though you are quick to praise the ridiculous and hypocritical “investigations” that Israel supposedly has had into the conduct of its troops. On Israel’s war crimes you are exactly like the slightly more sophisticated Bush supporters, who admitted Abu Ghraib was wrong, but said it was just a few bad apples.

      Yes, discussion of the I/P conflict needs nuance, but your constant excuse-making for Israel is the worst possible way to try to bring that to this blog. It poisons the atmosphere–if anything, you’ve probably predisposed people to think that any criticism of Hamas is just excuse-making for Israel. People shouldn’t think that and it’s silly if they do, but if you’re going to blame solidarity activists for Israeli war crimes, then I’m going to blame you for Hamas suicide bombing. It makes about as much sense.

      • potsherd
        December 30, 2009, 2:24 pm

        Damn good post, Donald.

      • Richard Witty
        December 30, 2009, 10:33 pm

        But, when rockets are being fired, that is ALL that the Israeli government can pay attention to.

        It cannot incrementally or grandly make concessions based on international law or morality. It has to address the active military actions being taken against them.

        Its currently a state of war. The militant advocacy here is stated as support for the humanity of Gazan civilians, but is accompanied by unintended support for Hamas victory. Thats a dilemma.

        Similarly on the other side. I am painfully aware that any success in my arguing indirectly periodically aids recalcitrant likud agenda.

        But, I advocate for the green line as border, and oppose expansion, which is not loved by likud.

        I seek to reduce hostilities, by urging that each side respect the perspective of the other. Even if the radical analysis of what occurred in Gaza is more true than the Israeli PR (both of which I consider incomplete), to choose a partisan approach is to keep the war escalating rather than deescalating.

        The significance of an analysis that focuses on civilians’ experiences, is that it is in civilians’ interests for peace and/or stability occur, not for escalation of aggressions. That conflicts with partisan advocacy.

        “I’m a peace activist” vs “I’m a justice for Israel activist” vs “I’m a justice for Palestine activist”.

      • lyn117
        December 31, 2009, 1:56 am

        “to choose a partisan approach is to keep the war escalating rather than deescalating.”

        So why do you choose a partisan approach?

      • lyn117
        December 31, 2009, 2:17 am

        “The significance of an analysis that focuses on civilians’ experiences, is that it is in civilians’ interests for peace and/or stability occur, not for escalation of aggressions.”

        Lets take a slightly more radical situation, that of slavery. Certainly, a fairly stable situation, as long as sufficient force is applied to the slaves to keep them in line.

        How does your assertion apply?
        a) slaves are not civilians, or
        b) it is in the slaves’ interests for peace and/or stability occur (note that they risk death or great bodily harm by refusing to obey their masters)?

        The situation of the Palestinians isn’t exactly slavery in the ownership of human beings sense, but certainly they risk death by refusing to obey the dictates of the Israeli state, e.g. by asserting their right to live in or own property in areas claimed by Israel, by refusing to recognize the “right” of Israel to have expelled them from what’s now Israel. Thousands have been killed for asserting their right to form their own nation independent of Israel.

        Let me see if I understand you. You’re asserting it would reduce hostilities and make for more stability if all Palestinians agreed leave the vast majority of historic Palestine for Jewish immigrants? You claim this “peace” is in the interest of civilians, because Israel will kill basically helpless civilians, or inflict great bodily harm (as it has many times in the past) if they don’t agree to Israel’s terms?

      • Shingo
        December 30, 2009, 10:48 pm

        “But, when rockets are being fired, that is ALL that the Israeli government can pay attention to.”

        Yes, very convenient isn’t it Witty. The Israeli government deliberately starts a fire and then argues that there is no time to question who started it, because the fire must be put out.

        There is no time for international law or morality. The horse has bolted and it’s time to defend against what it started.

        “”I’m a peace activist” vs “I’m a justice for Israel activist” vs “I’m a justice for Palestine activist”.”

        No you’re an Israeli apologist who likes to pretend he’s a peace activist, because you are not the least bit interested in a just peace.

      • Richard Witty
        December 30, 2009, 10:53 pm

        Its not so convenient as the layout of the reality.

        Application of international law as suggested by dissent is dismissed, and by all parties. The institutions of international law are currently too weak to enforce, and are urged to selectively, politically, enforce the law.

        The question of what kind of activist, was not of me, but a list of options for you and others to consider.

        Do you think there are other options?

    • Citizen
      December 30, 2009, 3:37 pm

      What do I recommend? Well, don’t take a page from the USA–

    • Shingo
      December 30, 2009, 7:47 pm

      “The rocket firing was a gift to Likud. ”

      Wrong. Kadima were further behind in the election and actual closed the gap once Israel began incinerating Gaza.

      Ehud Barak, who was lagging badly in the polls, gained one parliamentary seat for every 40 Arabs killed in the early days of the slaughter, Israeli commentator Ran HaCohen calculated.

      “No Zionist Israeli party (liberal, centrist, right, fascist) had the scope to support peace oriented policies while Israeli civilians were being shelled.”

      Correction. No Zionist Israeli party (liberal, centrist, right, fascist) had the scope to support peace oriented policies, period. Tzipi Livni told us that long ceasefire was not in Israel’s strategic interests.

      “I’ve stated that like the majority of Israeli peace proponents, there was no way for Israel to accept the escalation of shelling of civilian cities.”

      You can stat it all you like, but it’s a lie. Israel would not have had to accept the escalation of shelling of civilian cities if they had not incited and created the escalation. It’s military actions were not a response. It’s not a response when you start a war.

      “It was one of multiple scenarios that the IDF chose to enact.”

      Wrong. It was the only scnario the IDF considered, because the ceasefire was becoming a long ceasefire and as Tzipi Linvi told us, a long ceasefire was a threat to Israel’s strategic interests.

      “How does a military respond to collective punishment undertaken on its civilians? (Thats what shelling civilians in response to a government’s policy is.)”

      Is it not also what a blockage is or the deliberate violation of a ceasefire that leads to a siege on a population?

      “What do you recommend?”

      To whom? The person standing in front of a firing squad?

    • lyn117
      December 30, 2009, 11:09 pm

      How to prevent violent responses to government policies is obvious – instead of controlling elections by sending rockets, incorporate Hamas into the democratic process by allowing all the residents of Gaza (and the West Bank) to vote in the country that rules them (Israel). There’s no need for violent response to collective punishment of former residents of Israel (which is what the residents of Gaza mostly are, exiled because they aren’t Jewish) if they have an effective non-violent method of accountability, like democracy should be.

  7. Richard Witty
    December 30, 2009, 2:13 pm

    That was not one of your better posts Donald.

    • Donald
      December 30, 2009, 2:27 pm

      I laughed out loud on that one. Yes, Richard, you’re certainly the one I would come to for an objective analysis of my posts, especially one aimed at your stance. I can’t imagine I’ve posted much of anything that you liked , except maybe when I summarized your views with only a few little notes where I disagreed.

      More to the point, and something that should really cheer you up, the one-sided view that never misses an opportunity to blame Palestinians for Israeli crimes is one that dominates mainstream discussion of this issue in the US. It may be changing, but that’s still the view of “respectable” opinion. This should make you delirious with joy, tinged, perhaps, with a little uneasiness now that at least some criticism of Israeli war crimes breaks into the MSM here and there. What you do in this blog is your small attempt at keeping blame for Israeli war crimes focused on Hamas. Perhaps that lurker fan club you’ve mentioned you have appreciates your whitewashing efforts.

      • Citizen
        December 30, 2009, 3:57 pm

        Witty never concedes that his one-sided view of I-P cause and effect is THE MAINSTREAM USA diagnosis, and the one from which Israel has literally lived off of for many decades now. His POV is the standard USA political POV, the only one that
        the USA MSM ever spreads to the USA masses, who are supposed to be actually informed citizens else the democracy fails. At least the Germans had an excuse for not being fully informed under Goebbels (vicariously mentored by the Jewish American guy who convinced the USA masses to smoke cigarettes back in the day by parading
        long-legged shiksas smoking Lucky Strikes down 5th Avenue).

      • Citizen
        December 30, 2009, 4:03 pm

        Bernays–now there’s a guy you should know about; what’s left after him in terms
        of democratic propaganda? Keep in mind that most of the money any wannabe or incumbent USA politician needs–is to pay for TV commercials designed to win votes. Also keep in mind that 60% of such Democratic funds are from a handful of Jewish American millionaires and billionaires, and the Republican source funds are swiftly catching up. Both parties are to the right on Israel; otherwise, that is, domestically, they differ. Does anyone dispute that?

    • Donald
      December 30, 2009, 2:49 pm

      Also, Richard, more seriously, I’ve never completely given up hope that you could change, though most of the time I’m too disgusted by what you write to feel that. Set aside your hurt feelings and try to examine your position.

      Suppose you weren’t wedded to the notion that Israel can’t be guilty of terrorism and sadism and war crimes. Imagine that you were just reading about Sri Lanka. Would you still be making the excuses you make for Israel all the time? You’re right about Palestinian terrorism–it’s been awful, with massacres of civilians. There’s no defending it. Yet you defended Wiesel’s words dismissing the Nakba, and that involved at least 20 massacres according to Morris, based solely on Israeli records. You oppose sanctions on Israel, but defend the blockade on Gaza as just–if the Palestinians had the power to do this to Israel, would you say the same? Here, faced with a post about Israel’s slaughter, you blame Hamas and even the solidarity activists. You just don’t face up to the brutality of your side and to the extent that you do, you try to pin all the blame on the right or Hamas or even, God help us, solidarity activists. And with all these rationalizations and apologetics and excuse-making you try and claim you are the one who wants peace. You want respect–I’m giving you respect by pointing this out.

  8. Richard Witty
    December 30, 2009, 3:12 pm

    The times where you summarized my points and bothered to ask, “Is this what you mean?” were helpful. And, when you’ve disagreed, where you respectfully described the points of disagreement (without name-calling), that has also been helpful.

    You haven’t maintained that discipline very consistently though, and then I dismiss your points.

    “Suppose you weren’t wedded to the notion that Israel can’t be guilty of terrorism and sadism and war crimes. ”

    This is an example of a low-blow misrepresentation. You’ve read my posts here and elsewhere sufficiently to know that I don’t hold the view that Israel never conducts terror or that policies aren’t cruel or illegal. But, I limit my criticism to policies and practices.

    I apply the same logic to Hamas actions. I criticize actions and policies, and note where I am aware that Hamas actions are not entirely consented by their leadership.

    It allows for change. In contrast, calling people names “Evil Hamas” for example, stops discussion, and stops any prospect of actual learning both ways.

    I use this space to learn of current events from dissenting perspective. I don’t consider that as important in self-education as reading. I read almost entirely from the center-left to the further left. I find the more right-wing analyses to be too uninformative and propagandistic for my tastes. Occassionally, I’ll read a biography by a more conservative author.

    I’m very frequently amazed at the interpretations that people present of events here, to what extent reports are ignored or dismissed if it conflicts with the image of Israel as only evil.

    The degree that people bear prejudices on the critical of Israel approach, seems similar to the propensity of the Israeli and American right to hold and present prejudice.

    • Citizen
      December 30, 2009, 4:12 pm

      Witty, how does your expressed POV differ from the official Israeli POV or the official USA POV? Both as delivered for public consumption. If your POV differs at all from what comes out of the mouths of
      Israeli leaders and USA leaders, how so? We’d really like to know.

    • Mooser
      December 30, 2009, 4:19 pm

      Phil must have really harbored a grudge against you Witty, not to warn you away from the comments section. I’m au fond a real softie, deep down, and I can’t stand seeing an old man disgrace himself like this.

    • Mooser
      December 30, 2009, 4:22 pm

      Nobody has any objections to whatever prejudices Israelis hold. Go ahead, be yourselves. Just don’t ask me to pay for it, or take the blowback from it.

      You know, of course, that Obama has just signed a 30$billion (over ten years) pledge to maintain Israeli military superiority(!)
      Is that your idea of the prejudice against Israel in the US?

      • Citizen
        December 31, 2009, 1:56 pm

        Mooser, Witty does not discuss Uncle Sam’s blank check to Israel. He never has over the years he’s been a regular commenter on Mondoweiss.

    • Donald
      December 30, 2009, 4:49 pm

      “You haven’t maintained that discipline very consistently though, and then I dismiss your points.”

      That’s a bad habit. You should stop that. You can learn things from people even when you find them unpleasant. I don’t think it’s really quite that simple anyway–one reason I blow up at you is because I’ve had long experience seeing you not seriously engage points. There’s a chieken and egg thing going on here.

      “This is an example of a low-blow misrepresentation. You’ve read my posts here and elsewhere sufficiently to know that I don’t hold the view that Israel never conducts terror or that policies aren’t cruel or illegal. But, I limit my criticism to policies and practices.”

      Your stance is pretty similar to the mainstream liberal stance in the US. I’m going to descend really low while remaining accurate and say you don’t seem much different from Tom Friedman. You criticize the settlements and the rightwing settlers. But you generally frame the violence between the two sides the way the MSM does–Palestinian terror, followed by Israeli responses, which are sometimes too harsh. This is dishonest. And you trivialize the Israeli responsibility for that violence by saying that it is due to carelessness, as opposed to Hamas violence which you have characterized as not to be compared to Israeli violence because Hamas meant to murder civilians.

      Also , you and the MSM carve out the violence from the daily oppression. Even if it were true that Hamas clearly violated the ceasefire (which it is not), the ongoing blockade would be considered sufficient provocation if it had been Israel under siege.

      “I’m very frequently amazed at the interpretations that people present of events here, to what extent reports are ignored or dismissed if it conflicts with the image of Israel as only evil.”

      This blog isn’t about every aspect of Israeli society. No doubt much of it is admirable. A white southerner in the 1950’s (William Faulkner, for instance) might have said something similar about people talking about Jim Crow. Southerners in the 1800’s were far worse. There were admirable aspects of Southern culture, but if there had been blogs in those days (either the 1950’s or the 1850’s) a blog about the plight of Southern blacks would have seemed very anti-Southern to a white Southerner.

      It’s nice, for instance, that the Israeli court ruled that Palestinians should be able to use that road (I forgot its number). It was nice that they outlawed torture (supposedly) in 1999. How much difference has that made?

  9. Shafiq
    December 30, 2009, 4:02 pm

    How much longer do we have to tolerate Witty’s patronistic bullshit? He’s constantly accusing others of being guilty of something or another, only to be caught doing that himself.

    Richard,
    If you’re going to dismiss out of hand every post you disagree with, then why the hell are you here? You make no attempt whatsoever to see things from our perspective, which is something that we’ve all done here – we’ve all made the attempt to objectively research the history of the conflict and have come to a conclusion.

    Not once have you ever managed to blame the deaths of these people on those who actually did the killing. Every time there’s a post similar to this, I’m guaranteed to read the word ‘Hamas’ in your post along with a weak attempt to place blame.

    Is Israel that weak that it has to resort to becoming a civilian killing monster each time rockets are fired? Have you ever attempted to actually tell us why Israel did what it did on Nov 4th? Or was it just an accident?

    • Shingo
      December 30, 2009, 7:58 pm

      “Have you ever attempted to actually tell us why Israel did what it did on Nov 4th? Or was it just an accident? ”

      Touche.

      When it comes to the November 4th raid, Witty uses the sleazy avoidance tactic of feigning ignorance and claiming that the jury is still out about Israel’s version of events. Notably however, the 6 murdered Palestinians (which would be considered a national tragedy had they been Israelis) never rates a mention.

  10. Mooser
    December 30, 2009, 4:28 pm

    “If you’re going to dismiss out of hand every post you disagree with, then why the hell are you here?”

    You can’t tell? It’s because he is perfectly secure in his sense of superiority, completely convinced of our inability to reason or weigh factors properly, and thinks that maybe, if he just makes enough of an effort with his golden words, we will see the light.
    I’m pretty convinced it’s just pure age and self-satisfaction talking. I could find you a hundred elderly American alrightnik bigots, who would do exactly the same thing on the civil rights struggle in America. God knows I have had to listen to enough in my time.

    • Mooser
      December 30, 2009, 4:32 pm

      Tell you the truth, it just makes me mad at Phil and Adam. They really should have talked turkey with him as soon as they saw where he was headed. You don’t watch an old man stagger over a cliff and not do anything. All it would have taken was a little tact and understanding.

      Good thing Witty is retired, and none of this will ever come up in the standard web search. Would you hire anyone who made these views public?

      • Mooser
        December 30, 2009, 4:36 pm

        Oh wait, now I remember, they did try to do something, Phil posted a special post with a request that we not be “viscious” to Witty.
        Witty thanked him by casting aspersions on his basic integrity when Phil posted from Gaza, just a little later. Oh well.

      • VR
        December 30, 2009, 8:58 pm

        Why should I read Witty when I can read what he says any time in the MSM?

        This post was about a deliberate brutal attack, bloodthirsty reprobate murderous filth does things like this. The only thing Israel is good for in a fight is killing innocent civilians – indigent and old men, women, children and infants (see Operation Cast Lead, and what they reverted too recently in Lebanon, totally predictable). They are a disgrace to humanity, and have given themselves a name among the scum of the earth. They represent shit, that is it – not me, not you. They deserve total disdain, and anyone who supports this type of activity is a piece of shit of the worst kind, period.

  11. VR
    December 30, 2009, 9:07 pm

    Here are some choice titles and descriptions –

    “Watch the Jewish Nazis. Watch the Jewish Nazis having fun. Watch them and then hope and pray they burn in hell.

    Israel denounces Obama administration envoy after she says “Sieg” but forgets “Heil!”

    And a HEIL HITLER! to you too. (Haaretz: “WATCH: Peres wishes world merry Christmas, year of peace “)

    In one of nature’s awe-inspiring miracles, the number of Holocaust survivors keeps doubling every half year. It is expected that by the year 2050 Germany will owe Holocaust survivors an additional 26.5 gazillion dollars. Prime Minister Merkel promised this week to auction off her husband’s boxers in order to pay Israel every last cent owed.

    Leading Mickey Mouse scholars to meet in Jerusalem; announce plans for global protest against proliferation of anti-Mickey Mouse-ism; Abe Foxman also warns against rising tide of anti-Donald Duck-ism — “Not since the 1930s have fans of Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck faced such a dire threat”; but Minnie Mouse publicly rebuked by Elie Wiesel after she alleges that threat against her husband worse than The Holocaust”

    Take a hint from Norman Finkelstein, this is all the descriptive attention needed for Zionist bullshit

  12. Richard Parker
    December 31, 2009, 12:04 am

    It’s a pity that this thread is taken up with ad hominem attacks against Richard Witty, but don’t give him the satisfaction of being a lone knight against a horde of pagans.

    Refer to his message number, not his name, so he won’t get that satisfaction

  13. Richard Parker
    December 31, 2009, 12:26 am

    I was also shocked that only a few posters referred directly to Khulood Ghanem’s diary extract. I can’t think that a diary written at the time is unreliable. And the incident she relates is just one example of the bloodthirsty cruelty shown by the IOF

    Her description is echoed by:
    link to ingaza.wordpress.com written by Eva Bartlett, who has been in Gaza throughout the war and its aftermath

    There is absolutely no doubt that Israel inflicted war crimes on Gaza, but also, a factor Goldstone didn’t mention is that Gazans have nowhere to flee to avoid the combat zone’ Shooting fish in a barrel.

    The sealing and siege of Gaza make one of the biggest war crimes of current times.

    • Chaos4700
      December 31, 2009, 2:15 am

      Witty disrupted the discussion and pulled it away from the actual facts.

      Because that’s what Witty does. That’s his function. He covers up crimes against humanity.

      Like I said earlier: “Wollt ihr den totalen Krieg?”

  14. Chaos4700
    December 31, 2009, 2:13 am

    Huh. And Witty still hasn’t said one word to the murdered people discussed in the actual content above.

    All he can do is spin fantastic conspiracy theories around Hamas and insist that Palestinians don’t think human thoughts — “It wasn’t a cease fire to Hamas! The think of it as hudna! They still have murder on their animal brains, even when they aren’t shooting.”

    Awful, nasty, horrid racist. To the point where Palestinian children die in front of him and he simply doesn’t care.

    And he’s the kindest example of Zionism on this board. That’s the apex of Zionism right there.

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