With sea confrontation looming, New Yorkers say ‘break the blockade’

Israel/Palestine
on 243 Comments

The following excerpt is of a report in the Indypendent, where you can read the full article and view photos of the New York action in support of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla.

Days before a probable showdown at sea between Palestine solidarity activists traveling with a nine-ship fleet and the Israeli Navy, demonstrations took place across the United States and the world today to demand that Israel allow the activists safe passage to Gaza to deliver 10,000 tons of humanitarian aid.

In New York, more than 100 people gathered outside the building of the New York Daily News to call attention to the lack of news coverage of the flotilla, walked past the Israeli Consulate and marched to Times Square chanting “Break the blockade, Gaza needs aid.” They passed out hundreds of fliers to pedestrians explaining how the “Freedom Flotilla” was attempting to break the blockade of Gaza and what the potential Israeli response could be. In Times Square, demonstrators gathered in the center and chanted “Free, free Palestine” while tourists looked on and snapped pictures.

The action was organized by a coalition of local groups, including Adalah-NY, Al-Awda NY, the Activist Response Team, Gaza Freedom March and Jews Say No.

The “Freedom Flotilla” is made up of nine ships now in the Mediterranean Sea sailing to Gaza. The ships are stocked with badly needed aid, like construction materials, medical equipment and school supplies, for Gazans; such aid has been blocked by a crippling Israeli naval, air and land blockade. Palestine solidarity activists from more than two dozen countries, including the United States, are also part of the flotilla.

The Israeli Navy has vowed to stop the ships from reaching Gaza, and has set up a makeshift detention camp at Ashdod, a port in southern Israel, for processing, detaining and deporting the activists who are part of the mission.

“Through their system of apartheid and occupation, they’re denying the Palestinians the right to live,” said Randa Wahbe, a Palestinian-American active with Students for Justice in Palestine at Columbia University and Adalah-NY: The New York Campaign for the Boycott of Israel.

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243 Responses

  1. Chaos4700
    May 27, 2010, 11:40 pm

    I hope the flotilla doesn’t lose heart. Somebody needs to stand up and demolish the Israeli blockade.

    And if that means the Israelis open fire on unarmed civilians in international waters? Well, they’ve been murdering Palestinian civilians with impunity. I guess we’ll see if the same happens when Israelis murder peaceful activists carrying relief supplies from other countries in international territory.

    • zamaaz
      May 28, 2010, 6:51 am

      [I guess we’ll see if the same happens when Israelis murder peaceful activists carrying relief supplies from other countries in international territory.]

      Definitely the Israelis will attempt to capture the activists… But personally I anticipate some violent struggle or resistance from the activist that would qualify them for temporary detention, which by process of law could extend to over a year by mere means of technicalities…

      [The “Freedom Flotilla” is made up of nine ships now in the Mediterranean Sea sailing to Gaza. The ships are stocked with badly needed aid, like construction materials, medical equipment and school supplies, for Gazans; such aid has been blocked by a crippling Israeli naval, air and land blockade.]

      This intent is definitely noble, but before the eyes of governments, laws are laws, and rules are rules… These are the principles that sustains world institutions…

      • Frances
        May 28, 2010, 6:55 am

        “…before the eyes of governments, laws are laws, and rules are rules… These are the principles that sustains world institutions…”

        Too bloody right. Now how about getting Israel to actually follow some of those rules?

      • zamaaz
        May 28, 2010, 7:16 am

        When the actions or responses of Israel fall within the bounds, provisions or privilege of law… That is the reason why no other sector, people, nation, nor country explicitly resist those … Just as the Islamic countries bloody cut the heads-off of convicts (which is considered ‘inhuman’ by other countries) as provided by their own laws…
        This rule of law and of sovereignty is a sad fact, but must be respected by all, as law is recognized rule by itself…

      • zamaaz
        May 28, 2010, 7:22 am

        Take note that independent states have class of rights according to recognized laws that govern among them, and this class of recognized laws is entirely distinct (and maybe opposite) to individual rights widely recognized within the law of the every state….

      • zamaaz
        May 28, 2010, 7:07 am

        The thing is that there is a portion of the sea that the Israeli jurisdiction meets with the Egyptian…where this planned breach by the flotilla could also compromise the Egyptian government into the crisis (in scandalous levels) that Egyptians has no other option but to assist or act the capture of the Flotilla crew as well. If the Flotilla goes into the hands of the Egyptians the scenario can be even worst as the issue can be of potential strategic complication against Egypt… Much more that this flotilla was primarily intended to embarrass Israel not Egypt. Feeding Egypt ‘to the wolves’ can make the Egyptians really angry…

      • Mooser
        May 28, 2010, 3:06 pm

        zamaaz, you just justified atrocity, every action of the,… Oh, never mind. Forget it.

  2. Miss Dee Mena
    May 28, 2010, 12:08 am

    Chaos the flotilla’s are growing in strength both numerically and with the presence of journalists and EU politicians on board. Even the Israelis are admitting that they will lose this publicity battle either way whether they stop the flotilla or let it through.

    I happen to know one of the main organisers fairly well. Believe me the woman is really strong and nothing is going to stop her or her cohorts.

    • Chaos4700
      May 28, 2010, 12:17 am

      I dearly hope so. If this flotilla makes Israel back down, then the blockade is effectively over, in spite of Israel (I’d like to think). And if Israel attacks the flotilla… well. It will put Israel and the United States on the spot, and against the entire rest of the world.

      • Miss Dee Mena
        May 28, 2010, 12:20 am

        Israel will not let the flotilla through and will use minimum force (due to the large media contingent presence on Israeli naval vessels and the presence of high-ranking Euro politicos) to bring the ships to the port of Ashdod.

        They’ve set up tents with food and beverages and air-conditioning at Ashdod and have even offered to pay for repatriation flights for those involved. However, they still lose the publicity battle.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 2:09 am

        Imagine the irony of Israrl not only arresting Heidi Epstein, but then either imprisoning her in a detention camp or deporting her. Somehow Idoubt they’ll be offering citizenship.

        Of course, Israel has always shown contempt for Holocaust survivors.

      • Oscar
        May 28, 2010, 12:08 pm

        [They've ... Even offered to pay for the repatriation flight for those involved.]

        Sure, but you can bet the freier taxpayers of the USA will reimburse our “only friend in the region” because after all, Israel is the only “democracy in the Middle East” and they “share our values.”

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 7:48 am

        MDM is right Chaos – this flotilla is a quantitative increase in size, participants and ambition. Past efforts to break the blockade have been largely symbolic, one or two ships (no flotillas), and less less than a hundred people.

        Overview of past efforts:

        link to gulfnews.com

  3. Miss Dee Mena
    May 28, 2010, 12:08 am

    flotillas not flotilla’s

  4. James Bradley
    May 28, 2010, 12:34 am

    Its time to organize the 100 ship flotilla.

    • sherbrsi
      May 28, 2010, 12:44 am

      If the Israelis don’t break the blockade, they are inevitably going to promote such efforts.

      It seems to me that the prospect of negative publicity for Israel is a huge incentive for Israelis to reform and act civilly. Even Gush Shalom, the Israeli peace group, began its call for ending the blockade with the very sentiments that the blockade is bad PR for Israel, and claimed that at the risk of empowering the Palestinian international solidarity movement, it should end its control over the Gaza Strip.

      If the call of morality is lost on Israelis, perhaps it is best that constant media coverage, such as the flotilla effort, be pursued to encourage them to act in accordance with int’l law and devise humane policies.

  5. Taxi
    May 28, 2010, 12:44 am

    The Million Mariner March?

    :-)

  6. southernobserver
    May 28, 2010, 2:40 am

    A brave and wonderful effort. I am sure that this is a stupid question, but if Israel attacks an unarmed flotilla in international waters, isn’t this simply piracy? Israeli law has no legitimacy outside its immediate litoral.

    • Shingo
      May 28, 2010, 2:49 am

      “A brave and wonderful effort. I am sure that this is a stupid question, but if Israel attacks an unarmed flotilla in international waters, isn’t this simply piracy?”

      Absolutely, but Israel has done this with impunity for decades and gotten away with it.

      If it can attack a US warship, killing 35 on board and get away with it, they are hardly going to think twice about piracy.

    • RoHa
      May 28, 2010, 5:12 am

      It can’t be!

      Israel has done this before,

      link to aljazeerah.info

      and no government sent a single gun boat.

      So it must be all right.

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 11:37 am

        It seems to have made the NYT this afternoon but the way it’s written, it makes you feel sorry for Israel that is being so nice about the whole thing in spite of having to deal with the terrorists of Hamas:

        “… Israel, which says it allows basic supplies into Gaza through points along the land border, denounced the flotilla as a political provocation and has vowed not to let the boats reach Gaza. It has invited the flotilla to land at an Israeli port, Ashdod, instead.

        Gaza has been under an Israeli- and Egyptian-imposed blockade since Hamas, the Islamic militant group that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, took over the territory by force in 2007. Israel, the United States and the European Union classify Hamas as a terrorist organization. The activists said the boats, which were expected to reach the coast sometime this weekend, were carrying 10,000 tons of cargo including cement, school supplies and medical equipment aimed at easing the hardship in Gaza.

        link to nytimes.com

    • Avi
      May 28, 2010, 11:51 am

      southernobserver,

      First off, there is no such thing as a stupid question. You raise an important issue that is actually often overlooked by many governments and human rights organizations alike.

      Second, Israel’s territorial waters extend just 12 miles into the Mediterranean. That is to say that when the Israeli navy rams or shoots Gaza bound ships, they are well out of their jurisdiction.

      Nonetheless, the reality is that the Israeli navy has the boats and the guns to do as it pleases. Its actions go unchallenged by the great powers of Europe and North America.

  7. Richard Witty
    May 28, 2010, 4:10 am

    link to haaretz.com

    For the first time, the IDF has produced a document defining rules of engagement for the military during combat in areas of civilian population. It incorporates lessons gleaned from Operation Cast Lead, the Goldstone report and reports by human rights groups on IDF activities in Gaza.

    • Richard Parker
      May 28, 2010, 5:12 am

      Judge a snake by its actions, not what it says.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 5:41 am

        Do you feel that you have the means to tell if Israel improves or not?

        I don’t. Perfection is impossible, so relative improvement is the only standard possible, perhaps to some “objective” threshold.

        This is what Goldstone recommended, that Israel incorporate its findings into its norm of procedure.

        I find it damaging to Israel that they didn’t have an integrated description of rules of engagement prior. I found it gravely disappointing. But, I am very grateful that they publicly committed to improvement.

        In EVERY situation of reform, whether in a workplace, legally, international affairs, there is a great reluctance to admit a failing. It opens lawsuits, and then rather than have the room to actually improve, the environment of complaint hinders improvement.

        I’ve seen it a thousand times in workplace environments. Discipline and accountability applied in a form that prohibits discussion and improvement.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 6:54 am

        “‘Do you feel that you have the means to tell if Israel improves or not?”‘

        Yes we do Witty. We have a track record of at least 63 years to go by. You keep inssiting that things wil change any day now, but liek I said, that is simply the personification of insanity.

        ”Perfection is impossible, so relative improvement is the only standard possible, perhaps to some “objective” threshold.”

        No one has demanded anything like perfection, and there has only been relative and absolute degardation, not improvement in any way.

        “‘I find it damaging to Israel that they didn’t have an integrated description of rules of engagement prior.”‘

        It had them and it ignored them. Israel will ginore them again.

        “‘But, I am very grateful that they publicly committed to improvement.”‘

        You mean like publicly commiting to peace, to ending settlements, to freezing settlements, to honor ceasfires?

        You are easily gratified.

        “It opens lawsuits, and then rather than have the room to actually improve, the environment of complaint hinders improvement.”

        Yes if only Nazi Germany was gioven more words of encouragement rather than condemnation, I’m sure they too would have turned out alright in the end.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:03 am

        I guess you don’t know the meaning of relative improvement.

        Its not a rationalization for trivial effort.

        But, it is measured, and in the present. 63 years is irrelevant.

        I track my mothers’ stock portfolio. In the last year, it has increased in value by 30%. That is relative improvement. And, now that growth is not confident, we are undertaking a more conservative investment approach.

        Over the past 10 years, it has declined by about 6%.

        If I looked only at the 10 years, I would say “only invest in bonds”, they pay a yield at least.

        If I looked at relative improvement, I would say, “stay flexible”, to actually realize improvement.

      • Richard Parker
        May 28, 2010, 7:22 am

        Israel has always had ‘rules of engagement’, some even incorporated in constitutional (sorry, error, Israel has no constitution) or legal documents. It has always honoured these in the breach.

      • jimby
        May 28, 2010, 7:43 am

        Witty, According to Jimmy Carter, Menachem Begin agreed to UN resolution 242 which calls for the return to pre “67 borders. The Knesset signed off on it and of course implemented nothing. I don’t believe a word that the Israeli says, only their actions. Their actions show the lies.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 7:52 am

        “This is what Goldstone recommended, that Israel incorporate its findings into its norm of procedure.”:

        WRONG. Goldstone recommended Israel conduct an independent investigation. Israel has done no such thing.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 7:55 am

        ““‘I find it damaging to Israel that they didn’t have an integrated description of rules of engagement prior.”‘

        It had them and it ignored them. Israel will ginore them again.”

        Shingo ~ the IDF didn’t ignore it’s rules of conduct, it followed them, that’s the problem. The Gaza Massacre wasn’t the result of rogue elements here and there. It’s the Dahiya Doctrine that’s the problem, and associated rules of engagement that made it staggeringly easy to classify practically anybody as a combatant.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 7:58 am

        Sumud,

        ”Shingo ~ the IDF didn’t ignore it’s rules of conduct, it followed them, that’s the problem.”

        Really? What was the whole fuss about that Haaretz reporter being wanted for reporting infomratibno from Shin Bet that the IDF had instructed it’s troops to kill prisoners rather than arrest them?

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 10:20 am

        Shingo ~ do you mean the Anat Kam / Uri Blau incident? That was over West Bank assassinations.

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        link to guardian.co.uk

        You might be talking about another incident though. I should have said perhaps that the following of orders (ie bad rules of engagement) were *also* a problem in Gaza.

      • Mooser
        May 28, 2010, 3:11 pm

        “Over the past 10 years, it has declined by about 6%.

        Shoulda bought stocks the days after 9-11. That worked well.

  8. Richard Parker
    May 28, 2010, 5:10 am

    What a truly limp and useless protest:
    In New York, more than 100 people gathered outside the building of the New York Daily News to call attention to the lack of news coverage of the flotilla, walked past the Israeli Consulate and marched to Times Square chanting “Break the blockade, Gaza needs aid.” They passed out hundreds of fliers to pedestrians explaining how the “Freedom Flotilla” was attempting to break the blockade of Gaza and what the potential Israeli response could be. In Times Square, demonstrators gathered in the center and chanted “Free, free Palestine” while tourists looked on and snapped pictures.
    If this is the very best New York can do , with just 1/7th of the number of people actually on board the Flotilla boats, what use can it be?

    I know; they’ve been reading WaPo and NYT and entirely missed the whole event.

    • Julian
      May 28, 2010, 8:28 am

      About 50 of those protesters can usually be found in Union Square. They set up a table there daily. That means you got about 50 fresh faces. Not bad.

    • Oscar
      May 28, 2010, 12:16 pm

      Actually, RP, I think it was quickly organized and ther wnt time to get a full turnout — though I agree with you that 1000 would have been the right amount. That said, did you see some of the photographs of the protesters in Times Square? They looked like an impressive contingent with their FREE GAZA signs, and being crowded into the middle of the busiest section of NYC.

  9. Richard Parker
    May 28, 2010, 5:29 am

    I regret invoking terrorism, but the best that could happen to this Flotilla would be a piratical attack by masked Israeli goons on the open seas, and the subsequent deaths of more than a few Americans, not all of them women.

    Had Rachel been Richard Corry, something more might have been said.

    • RoHa
      May 28, 2010, 5:32 am

      If the Israelis could manage to kill some Turks and/or sink a Turkish ship, that might shake things up a bit.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 5:42 am

        I’m sure that there are some on the flotilla and many “supporting” the flotilla that are praying for an altercation, praying for gunfire, for someone to die.

      • RoHa
        May 28, 2010, 5:47 am

        I wouldn’t like anyone to die, but if someone does, I’d prefer it to be someone whose country is prepared to get tough with Israel.

        Israel can kill Americans with impunity. America will do nothing. I don’t think that Turkey would be quite so accomodating if Turks got killed.

      • Shafiq
        May 28, 2010, 6:45 am

        I’m sure that all of the people on the flotilla are praying for Israel to let them pass and effectively end the siege. At least then, the Palestinians in Gaza can live in some semblance of normalcy.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 6:52 am

        The only way the “siege” will end is if Gaza either declares itself independant, or reconciles with the PA.

        Absent a sovereign entity, the prospect of an international airport and international sea port, are remote.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 6:55 am

        “I’m sure that there are some on the flotilla and many “supporting” the flotilla that are praying for an altercation, praying for gunfire, for someone to die.”

        I”m sure you are prepared to blame the flotilla should an altercation take place.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 6:56 am

        “The only way the “siege” will end is if Gaza either declares itself independant, or reconciles with the PA.”

        Based on what statement from the Israeli government? You’re just making shit up again Witty you patholgical liar.

        “Absent a sovereign entity, the prospect of an international airport and international sea port, are remote.”

        Gaza already has an international airport you idiot.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 6:59 am

        I don’t think Israel would respond positively to Hamas/Gaza declaring itself sovereign.

        There is however, no way for the Gaza port or airport to open without confident security and accountability to international law.

        As a militia, not subscribing to international law in word, writing, or action, it will remain in a state of constant near-war.

        Unless you are really fanatic, off your rocker, stability is a far far more desirable condition for Gazans, than “justice”.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 7:14 am

        ”I don’t think Israel would respond positively to Hamas/Gaza declaring itself sovereign.”

        The world would be overhwlemingly supportive of Palestine declaring independence. No one wants Hamas/Gaza declaring itself sovereign becvasue that woudl short shange the Palestinians.

        ”There is however, no way for the Gaza port or airport to open without confident security and accountability to international law.”

        False. there is no basis in fgact for this ibnevtned assertion. Still making shit up.

        ”As a militia, not subscribing to international law in word, writing, or action, it will remain in a state of constant near-war.”

        Nor does the IDF.

        ”Unless you are really fanatic, off your rocker, stability is a far far more desirable condition for Gazans, than “justice”

        Justice scares the living daylights out of you dosn’t it Witty? What greatr admission of Israel’s undeniable guilt and your complicity?

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:16 am

        Retributive and biased interpretation of what is “justice” definitely scares me.

        It is the word that fanatics use to justify their hatreds.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:17 am

        It doesn’t make the word itself invalid, but I and most can’t just passively digest the opportunistic use of the word.

        Using the word opportunistically does diminish its importance.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 7:26 am

        ”Retributive and biased interpretation of what is “justice” definitely scares me.”

        All justice scares you because your tibe is undeniably guilty and you know it.

        ”It is the word that fanatics use to justify their hatreds.”

        Israel are fnatacis and use tems liek ”self denfese” and ”persecutino’ ‘to justify their hatreds.

        ”Using the word opportunistically does diminish its importance.”

        So does using words like reconciliation and peace without justice and peace.

      • zamaaz
        May 28, 2010, 7:40 am

        [“I’m sure that there are some on the flotilla and many “supporting” the flotilla that are praying for an altercation, praying for gunfire, for someone to die.”]

        If someone dies, the moral questions could be; a) Did the parties in conflict observed rules of engagement?; b) Did the party of primordial interest appropriately warned the other party in conflicts? c) Was there provocations to violence?, d) Were the acts and responses of the conflicting parties conducted in appropriate, conventional, and legally justifiable manner?

        If Israelis violated these moral and legal grounds, the whole world will convict them, if not, the whole world will absolve them…

      • zamaaz
        May 28, 2010, 7:47 am

        [If Israelis violated these moral and legal grounds, the whole world will convict them, if not, the whole world will absolve them…]
        On the other hand if the activists were found to have acted in gross violation of legal processes of an independent state, the world will accept or recognized any adverse action of Israel and make accountable of any death incurred to the activists…
        In sum, the life of a ‘martyr’ is well( stupidly?) spent… His or her name will be ‘glorified among nations’(I hope) but the real fact is – he’s or she’s cold dead! While the rest of the members are living and would be enjoying the comforts of the beds….

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 8:04 am

        “It doesn’t make the word itself invalid”

        LOL a quick backtrack after you realise you’ve just stated you’re opposed to justice.

        No need to hide it Richard, you’re outed yourself as a faux-liberal crypto-nazi quite nicely a day ago with your selective application of international law and appeals for a jew-only Israel.

        Shingo has got your number – you’re a sick unit, opposed to the very concept of justice because it is at odds with the vicious strain of nationalism that turns you on.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 8:05 am

        “I’m sure that there are some on the flotilla and many “supporting” the flotilla that are praying for an altercation, praying for gunfire, for someone to die.”

        Projection.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 8:07 am

        Witty’s more concerned abtou the negative publicity for Israel than loss fo life Sumud.

      • Shafiq
        May 28, 2010, 8:28 am

        I see you ignored my other post on this page. Here’s a link to it.

        With the absence of a sovereign entity, a de facto port is perfectly legitimate.

        The PA hasn’t really been in existence since 2007 and seeing as the terms of Mahmoud Abbas and all the parliamentarians has ended, it has even less legitimacy.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 10:28 am

        “I see you ignored my other post on this page.”

        RW’s on the run. Eljay and myself are still waiting for him to articulate some concrete actions to bring about a peaceful settlement since he claims to be a liberal (yet spouts jewish supremacy and exceptionalism) and opposes every action proposed by liberal peace movements, including the flotilla. When the going gets tough he starts with the word salad then goes AWOL.

      • Oscar
        May 28, 2010, 1:28 pm

        Every once in a while, I pop up to decry Witty’s intellectual dishonesty on this site, while leaving the heavy lifting on all other posts to the most articulate guys on the site — like Mooser, Shmuel and Chaos.

        This time, I’m stunned by Richard’s shocking lack of compassion in this situation. These guys want to get shot? They want to deliver desperately needed nutrition to Gazan children. The IDF has set a maximum calorie count of 600 per day for each citizen. Why is the flotilla bringing 10,000 tons of supplies to Gaza? Because they’re anti-Semites? Israel haters? or is it because the UN’s John Ging is desperately seeking the assistance of private citizens since the rest of the world is failing in its responsibilities?

      • Miss Dee Mena
        May 28, 2010, 1:37 pm

        Compassion, integrity and sincerity have nothing to do with Rick Twitty’s modus operandi. I’m certain that he is either working for Hasbara or something similar. He plays the good cop role: trying to sound reasonable, rational, pro-reform and never being abusive.

        His aim is to support Israel at any cost; chip away at criticism of the country, engage critics in meandering, distracting, non-sequiturs so that they have less time to focus on the real issues; and provide doubters and those with less knowledge of the situation reason to question Israeli critics.

        Insults don’t get to him because honesty and integrity are not part of his game. Baiting and distraction and eliciting responses to his long-winded game-playing for “Erez Israel” is what it is all about for him. I don’t bother with him.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 1:41 pm

        Oscar,
        Perhaps you didn’t read that I support the Free Gaza flotilla, but urge that it not extend its arguments beyond the mission of the specific civil disobedience.

        And, that its proponents here acknowledge that there are institutional problems with the solution proposed of just opening a port to Gaza, with Gaza not a sovereign state, and still in a deferred (or active) state of war with Israel.

        It is a horrible condition for Palestinians to continue to be citizens of no country. There is then no possible inter-community trade, and as Gaza does not possess the resources to sustain long-term (like Cuba), it needs imports.

        To the extent that the population desires to continue in a state of deferred (or active) state of war with Israel (on their part), the dynamics of the situation remain.

      • Mooser
        May 28, 2010, 3:16 pm

        “are praying for an altercation,”

        We need a Goldsrone report on prayer. Prayer as an illegal weapon.

        “I’m sure”

        Richard, you are one shitty piece of work! “I’m sure”! Wow, too bad those criminal prayers aren’t directed to you, the omniscient! I bet you would get results.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 8:48 pm

        “To the extent that the population desires to continue in a state of deferred (or active) state of war with Israel (on their part), the dynamics of the situation remain.”

        The lies are comming thick and fast from Witty. He’s p
        on fire.

        Of course, the state of war is being maintained exclusively by Israel via the illegal and inhimane blockade, but that’s OK by Witty. The real offense as far as he’sconcerned is that the people of GaA won’t allow theIstaelis to kill them without making a fuss and a nuisance of themselves.

      • Richard Parker
        May 28, 2010, 6:00 am

        Yes, it would. I forgot about Erdogan giving his full support to the enterprise. I would be surprised if the flotilla doesn’t have some quiet (and well-hidden) support, and that should make for an interesting weekend.

        Erdogan is not a man (I think) who would be accomodating towards an attack by goons from a shitty little Levantine country that his own country used to own.

  10. Richard Witty
    May 28, 2010, 6:07 am

    There are sovereign “states” that are run by militias that do have open ports. Somalia is the one that comes to mind most prominently.

    I don’t know if their port management is legal or not. They are sovereign, even though in total chaos.

    I don’t know how the international community, any viable one, including Turkey’s, will support the precedent of a non-sovereign entity legally operating an international port.

    The path to Gazan political and economic health is becoming sovereign, either declaring itself to be a state, or joining with the PA in an exclusively electoral manner (not as a militia).

    With Gaza/West Bank as Palestine, Israel faces a two-front setting, that it will only accept existing if in the context of sincere and coherent peace agreement. As Hamas Gaza exercises only very limited discipline on its cadre and other factions as far as international relations go, it is very dangerous for Fatah to join a government with Hamas.

    If Gaza/West Bank Palestine undertakes war with Israel, then all of Palestine becomes in a state of war, if a hothead with some degree of permission from Hamas, undertakes a war-initiating activity with Israel. A very dangerous condition with a party that maintains and allows multiple militias.

    It is similar to the condition with Hezbollah in 2006, which ambiguously committed Lebanon to a state of war with Israel. Lebanon had the “out” to say, “it was Hezbollah that did it”. They no longer have that out.

    Now that Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government and extremely highly armed, and opportunist and willing to grossly lie in that opportunism, things can get way out of hand.

    Scary in fact, rather than orderly and civil. A militia is NOT a democratic organization. They don’t faciltitate democratic organizations.

    Their reason for existence is resistance, but when resistance is unnecessary, their reason for existence is opportunistic, more fascistic than anything else (unless they fundamentally change, not incidentally).

    • Shafiq
      May 28, 2010, 6:44 am

      The Palestinians did declare independence, only for Congress to pass a law never to recognise such a declaration. They also had elections (remember those) only for the US, Israel and the EU to decide they weren’t going to recognise the result (something about voting the wrong way).

      The absence of a sovereign nation does not render making an international port illegal. The decision about whether to allow the ships to dock, rests with the Palestinians in Gaza. I’ve got a feeling they have little issue with the flotilla.

    • Shingo
      May 28, 2010, 7:04 am

      “There are sovereign “states” that are run by militias that do have open ports. Somalia is the one that comes to mind most prominently.”

      Israel is another.

      “I don’t know how the international community, any viable one, including Turkey’s, will support the precedent of a non-sovereign entity legally operating an international port.”

      I don’t think anyone cares, bevasue quote frankly, it doesn’t matter.

      “‘As Hamas Gaza exercises only very limited discipline on its cadre and other factions as far as international relations go, it is very dangerous for Fatah to join a government with Hamas.”‘

      Rubbish. Fatah had a chance to form a unituy government, but buckled under pressure from Israel and Washington to instigate a coup agaisnt Hamas instead.

      “‘It is similar to the condition with Hezbollah in 2006, which ambiguously committed Lebanon to a state of war with Israel.

      False. As the Winigrad Commission concluded. the was was instigated by Israel.

      “Lebanon had the “out” to say, “it was Hezbollah that did it””‘

      They didn’t because Israel did it.

      Stop lying Witty.

      ”Now that Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government and extremely highly armed, and opportunist and willing to grossly lie in that opportunism, things can get way out of hand.”‘

      They only get out of hand when Isral attack or invade. The liars are the IDF after all, which is why they took the lessons from 2006 to keep the foreign media blind to what they were doing in Gaza 2008.

      ”A militia is NOT a democratic organization.”

      Neither is Israel’s military.

      “‘They don’t faciltitate democratic organizations.”

      Neither does the IDF.

      “‘Their reason for existence is resistance, but when resistance is unnecessary”

      Rubbish. Israel occupied Lebanon for 18 years, so resistance was entirely necessary. In 2008, the Lebanese military didn’t even try to resist the Israeli attack, so Hebollah’s role was entirely necessary.

      It’s no surprise that Israel is now mocing towards facism, not Lebanon.
      It is Israel that is denying entry to iontellectuals enterning their country, not Lebanon
      It is Israel that is clamping down on human rights organisations and NGO’s not Lebanon.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:10 am

        Try to derive information from posts that differ with your perspective.

        There is truth in it, even if you disagree on some conclusions.

        Your definition of my comments as “lies”, is itself a lie. My comments are accurate to my understanding, and I investigate skeptically and primarily conscientiously (or I don’t speak) so I have a fairly high level of confidence in the veracity.

        Also, my comments are intended to speak truth as to appropriate perspective. I don’t see that Israel is “all evil” by any stretch, but that it does wrongs (and goods). As such, my goal is reconciliation and normalcy, NOT fundamental political revolution, except to establish Palestine as a sovereign state (from its current status of not yet).

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 7:20 am

        ”Try to derive information from posts that differ with your perspective.”

        I wil do lniog as they are based on fact. Yours are based on false assertion that you invent and try to present as fact.

        ”There is truth in it, even if you disagree on some conclusions.”

        Sometime, but not in your case. They are all demonstrable lies.

        ”My comments are accurate to my understanding…”

        That too is a lie. You have been informed coultess times as to teh flaws in your understanding, so your choice to ignore that information and matain your flas position makes you a liar.

        ”I investigate skeptically and primarily conscientiously (or I don’t speak) so I have a fairly high level of confidence in the veracity.”

        Someone who refuses to read is not a conscientious investigator. Someone who ignores facts and pleads the case for avoiding condemnation is not concerned with conscientious investigation.

        That some is a liar.

        ”Also, my comments are intended to speak truth as to appropriate perspective.”

        In other words, you admit you are lying, but claim that you have the right to do so. That is true.

        ”I don’t see that Israel is “all evil” by any stretch…”

        We know Witty. You worship Israel. Yo are unable to see any evil in Israel.

        ”As such, my goal is reconciliation and normalcy…”

        No your goal is denfese of Isral right or wrogn, no matter what the cost. You are a Zionist extremist, unable to accept the truth.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:22 am

        “You have been informed coultess times as to teh flaws in your understanding, so your choice to ignore that information and matain your flas position makes you a liar.”

        To your standard of political interrogation maybe.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 8:34 am

        “You gotta step up, actually take the risk to state something in positive terms.”

        This is what you wrote Richard, while explaining how it was politically “liberal” to deny right of return for Palestinians because you don’t like the thought of co-exixtence with Palestinians. Eljay elsewhere made four suggestions which you said you agreed with:

        link to mondoweiss.net

        He and I have both asked you concrete actions that can be taken – that you approve of – since you are opposed to practically everything proposed and undertaken by authentic liberals.

        What the plan beyond the green yarn thingy Richard? You need to move from fluffy rhetoric which helps you deny you’re hot for fascism. I imagine few people believe you’re a liberal. So prove it..

    • Walid
      May 28, 2010, 7:06 am

      …It is similar to the condition with Hezbollah in 2006, which ambiguously committed Lebanon to a state of war with Israel. Lebanon had the “out” to say, “it was Hezbollah that did it”. They no longer have that out.

      Now that Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government and extremely highly armed, and opportunist and willing to grossly lie in that opportunism, things can get way out of hand.
      (Richard W.)

      The only ones that said “Hizbullah did it” were the paid collaborators of Israel that represent a very minute part of the population. 80% of the Lebanese stood solidly behind Hizbullah in 2006 and know that Israel wouldn’t dare attack Lebanon again. Most Lebanese feel safer with Hizbullah keeping Israel spooked. Hizbullah will not admit or deny to what special weapons it has in store for Israel if it attacked but it contrary to what you said, it does not lie.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:25 am

        Of course Hezbollah lies.

        It originally claimed that the abduction occurred in Lebanon, even though it was clearly initiated from the top and planned over an extended period.

        Shingo even continues to claim that the abduction occurred in Lebanon, even though other Lebanese posters here reported inspecting the site in Israel (from a distance).

        A stong deterrence might work. In 2006, the opportunism and the application of the “deterrance” forced a giant escalation.

        Shelling multi-cultural Haifa for example.

        What is your goal? A tense quiet, or a mutually accepting one, or war with justification?

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 7:33 am

        ”Of course Hezbollah lies.”

        So does Israel and the IDF. So what?

        ”It originally claimed that the abduction occurred in Lebanon”

        It did.

        ”Shingo even continues to claim that the abduction occurred in Lebanon, even though other Lebanese posters here reported inspecting the site in Israel (from a distance).”

        False. And you will not be able to produce any evidence as such.

        ”In 2006, the opportunism and the application of the “deterrance” forced a giant escalation.”

        No, it was a planned invasnio by Israel that led to the giant escalation.

        ”Shelling multi-cultural Haifa for example.”

        In response to Israel bombing all of Southern Lebanon.

        ”What is your goal? ”

        To expose your lies.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:37 am

        Have you read the UNIFIL report?

        You commented on the post that I was referring to here, by a Lebanese anti-Israeli activist, how described observing the site of the abduction (in Israel).

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 7:44 am

        ”Have you read the UNIFIL report?”

        I know you haven’t.

        ”’You commented on the post that I was referring to here, by a Lebanese anti-Israeli activist, how described observing the site of the abduction (in Israel).”

        Good, so a Lebanese anti-Israeli activist posting his opinion. You’re clutching at straws again Witty.

        You’re clearly losing it.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 8:37 am

        “You’re clearly losing it.”

        Hopefully undergoing an existential crisis as more and more people articulate the incompatibility between liberalism and zionism.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 8:41 am

        Or Zionism and humanity.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 9:16 am

        Will someone that Shingo believes, convey to him that he is wrong that the 2006 abduction occurred in Lebanon.

      • Mooser
        May 28, 2010, 3:19 pm

        Yeah Witty, is that something else you are “sure” about, or can you only tune in terrorist prayers?

  11. Richard Parker
    May 28, 2010, 6:12 am

    There are 375 Turks out of the 7-800 on board. That’s an awful lot of people for Israeli goons to attack and kidnap.

    • Sumud
      May 28, 2010, 8:44 am

      I’ve read that was one of the aims of using so many ships in the flotilla – to make enforcing the blockade a mammoth (impossible) task for the Israeli Navy. If they are successful at blocking it this time I’m sure the next attempt will be even bigger – each time getting greater press coverage.

      Despite the shitty coverage in many places TIME have now picked up the story of the flotilla, as i post this it’s the leading ‘World’ story at time.com – actual story:

      link to time.com

      If Israel does anything violent – on at least one occasion in the past they’ve rammed a ship attempting to break the blockade – it’ll be covered widely.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 8:49 am

        Israel already have a potential PR disster on their hands.

        Apparently the 85 years old Holocuast survivor, Heidi Epstein is on the flotilla. Just image the images of a Holocuast survivor being arrested and either incarcerated in an Israel detention camp or deported from Israel?

        Imagen the same scenario with the survivor of the USS Liverty?

        It’s like all of Israel’s sins comming back to haunt them at once.

      • potsherd
        May 28, 2010, 9:20 am

        This is why they’ll put out all the stops to keep the story from getting press – or press not controlled by themselves.

        Sinc e the US MSM essentially restricts its coverage to regurgiating Israeli press releases, this isn’t hard.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 10:56 am

        The TIME story isn’t so bad is it potsherd? Without actually using the word it’s all about hasbara. It’s not a highbrow publication but hey that’s good right?

      • Taxi
        May 28, 2010, 9:32 am

        I can see how this kind of confrontation can become very attractive to the danger-tourist/extreme-sports-tourist/war-gamer-tourist and the evil-knievel-aqua-thrill-seekers out there.

        Are we about to witness some kinda new and futuristic Mad Maxian/Waterworld trend in unwitting activism-tourism this summer?

        Heh, Activism-Tourism could really take off if the locations are summer-sweet and the local food is tasty :-)

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 10:53 am

        “Are we about to witness some kinda new and futuristic Mad Maxian/Waterworld trend in unwitting activism-tourism this summer?”

        As long as nobody gets hurt I can see it happening Taxi. I read somewhere a rumour (which I don’t believe) one of the ships has a helicopter on board, when the navy stop the flotilla the copter will launch and to make the final leg to Gaza. It’s almost entirely symbolic but would make great press, and be a fine day for the citizens of Gaza. This is the 9th attempt to reach Gaza by sea since the siege began, and by far the biggest. The 1oth, who knows what that will involve?

        It was the success of one of the earlier blockade busting boats – and subsequent press coverage – that caused Hamas to change their attitude to civil disobedience/n-v protest as an effective method of bringing about change. It’s crossed my mind more than once that interaction between internationals, and big events like this flotilla – which is actually generating substantial coverage, will have knock-on effects and help Palestinian militants see there are other, ways forward.

      • Taxi
        May 28, 2010, 11:50 am

        You’re right, Sumud, acts of kindness do actually influence people’s behavior in a positive way.

        Indeed, you can disarm with kindness. Indeed you can kill with kindness too :-)

      • Mooser
        May 28, 2010, 3:20 pm

        Whoa, sort of like those be-with-IDF tours they sell, only in reverse!
        Brilliant!

  12. Richard Parker
    May 28, 2010, 6:35 am

    Witty; I’m not prepared to debate you on anything very much, but this is so outrageously fucking silly, coming from a person who’s never been attacked by Israeli bombers, then it deserves a short answer:

    Their (Hizbollah’s) reason for existence is resistance, but when resistance is unnecessary, their reason for existence is opportunistic, more fascistic than anything else (unless they fundamentally change, not incidentally).

    – Who devastated who’s country in 2006?
    – Who occupied who’s country from 1978-2000?

  13. Richard Witty
    May 28, 2010, 6:50 am

    “- Who devastated who’s country in 2006?
    – Who occupied who’s country from 1978-2000?”

    Who devastated who’s country in 2006? Hezbollah initiated a cross-border raid (lied about by Nasrallah), at a week when Israel had stopped an abduction in the West Bank, and Shalit was abducted near Gaza. Israel was holding only three Lebanese prisoners including individuals that had conducted terror on children (intentionally, not just in any rationale of collateral damage).

    Prior to and during that campaign, Hezbollah was ostensibly part of the Lebanese government, but because it was an independant “party”/militia, had the opportunistic posturing of “we are not Lebanon”, but “we are defending Lebanon”.

    Was it 2004, that the UN declared that Israel had fully withdrawn from Lebanon, and that there were no material disputed territorial claims between Israel and Lebanon remaining?

    And, was it in 2004, that Nasrallah declared, “even if Israel turns over Shabaa Farms (currently claimed by Syria), that Hezbollah will continue to seek to removal of Israel”

    So, if Israel had withdrawn in conformance with international law, then was active resistance necessary. Was Hezbollah then a resistance movement, or an opportunist one?

    Have they fundamentally changed?

    • Richard Parker
      May 28, 2010, 7:09 am

      Witty, answer the questions; don’t throw up a cloud of crap:
      These are the questions; just answer them clearly:
      – Who devastated who’s country in 2006?
      – Who occupied who’s country from 1978-2000?”

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:14 am

        Multiple parties occupied Lebanon from 78-2000, including Palestinian factions controlling large portions of Beirut, Christian phalangists, Israel a portion of the country.

        But, you do acknowledge that the UN ruled that Israel had fully left Lebanon, and that there were no valid material territorial claims by Lebanon on Israel?

        And, you do acknowledge that the incident in Lebanon resulted originally from a Hezbollah abduction in which it alternated between claiming “we are Lebanon liberating our country” (consistent with Israel stating “Lebanon attacked sovereign Israel”), and “we are not Lebanon, but only an independant resistance party”.

        The point of your questions is what?

        A justification for Hezbollah to achieve dominance in Lebanon, and to permanently define Lebanon as enemy of Israel?

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 7:24 am

        ”Multiple parties occupied Lebanon from 78-2000,”

        Isael was one of them and killed 15-20 thousands people in the process.

        ”But, you do acknowledge that the UN ruled that Israel had fully left Lebanon..”

        False, they ruled that Israel did not comply with the agreement.

        ”And, you do acknowledge that the incident in Lebanon resulted originally from a Hezbollah abduction in which it alternated between claiming…”

        No becasue as Judge Winograd who ran the Israeli commission of inquiry after the war, stated:

        “Israel embarked on a prolonged war that it initiated………..Though it was a war of our own initiative and waged in a defined territory, Israel did not use its military power wisely or effectively,”

        Did you get that Witty? Israel initiated the war. Israel has already admitted it.

        You’re wasting your time arguing otherwise.

        ”A justification for Hezbollah to achieve dominance in Lebanon, and to permanently define Lebanon as enemy of Israel?”

        No, just a justification for Hezbollahs rightto defnd Isrle from Israeli atatcks and invasions, which only Hezbollah have proven capable of.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:27 am

        The UN ruled that Israel had left Lebanon. Hezbollah claimed that Israel was still occupying Lebanese Shabaa Farms. Israel claimed that it was still occuptying Syrian Shabaa Farms.

        What do you make up?

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:29 am

        The Winograd report did not state that Israel started the war.

        It stated that its strategy once in the war was intentional, rather than reactive. One of the main criticisms of the Winograd report was that the strategy was not coherent (rather than consistently and clearly orchestrated). They stated that it would have been more just and more effective if it had been more coordinated and planned.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:30 am

        That was criticism by the Winograd report.

      • Taxi
        May 28, 2010, 7:33 am

        STFU Richard Witty!

        Only ONE kunding country occupied Lebanon in the 80’s and that’s ISRAEL!

        Syrian troops were INVITED to help with the civil war and the Palestinians were in lebanon because the fucking israelis made them refugees since 48!

        The cancer, the devil, the motherfucking childkillers are the fucking ISRAELIS!!

        Fuck off Richard with your lies, lies and public shit-feeding!

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:35 am

        The Phalangists invited Israel.

        What a stupid sequence.

        I get that you want Hezbollah to be known as only heroes, but that is not the fact. They are also intentionally and fundamentally lying opportunists seeking power for their party.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 7:35 am

        ”The UN ruled that Israel had left Lebanon. ”

        They did not rule that Israel had complies with the withdrawl agreement as you suggested earlier.

        ”Hezbollah claimed that Israel was still occupying Lebanese Shabaa Farms. ”

        It does, by means of land mines, which it refuses to remove and becasue it refuses to provide maps of those mines to the UN as per their obligations.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:38 am

        Good change.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 7:39 am

        ”The Winograd report did not state that Israel started the war.”

        Let me repeat it again.

        Judge Winograd who ran the Israeli commission of inquiry after the war stated:
        “Israel embarked on a prolonged war that it initiated………..Though it was a war of our own initiative and waged in a defined territory, Israel did not use its military power wisely or effectively,”

        The definition of initiate: set in motion, start an event or prepare the way for.

        Hence the Winograd report did not state that Israel started the war.

        End of story.

        ”It stated that its strategy once in the war was intentional, rather than reactive. ”

        Please quote the passage that states this.

        ”One of the main criticisms of the Winograd report was that the strategy was not coherent ”

        That does not contradict the conlusion that israel started the war.

        ”They stated that it would have been more just and more effective if it had been more coordinated and planned.”

        Please quote the passage that states this an stop making stuff up. I know when you are lying Witty.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 7:40 am

        ”That was criticism by the Winograd report.”

        Even if that were true, it does not contradict the fundamentla conclusion that Israle started the war.

        End of story.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 7:43 am

        ”The Phalangists invited Israel.”

        The facists invited Israel?

        ”I get that you want Hezbollah to be known as only heroes, but that is not the fact.”

        Don’t use the words ”fact” Witty without producing facts.

        ”They are also intentionally and fundamentally lying opportunists seeking power for their party.”

        Just like any political party in existence. Would you suggest Likud or Kadima are not trying to seek power for their party?

        You’re desperate and incoherent

      • Taxi
        May 28, 2010, 7:45 am

        The phalangists ARE NOT THE FUCKING GOVERMENT to be making official invites you sly propagandist asshole!!

        And if you’d ever met a phalangist you’d know that they invite you over for tea to SLIT YOUR THROAT while they smile at you moron!!

        Like it or not, Hizbollah ARE heroes! Not because i say so, but because they kicked the shit out of the fat israeli childkillers who dress in camouflage shower-caps! TWICE!!

        The best thing about the Hizb is that EVERY ISRAEL pees in their pants to even say their name!!

        I’m glad israel gave birth to the hizb. They fucking deserve!!

      • Frances
        May 28, 2010, 7:46 am

        “You’re desperate and incoherent”

        Story of his life.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 7:48 am

        Nicely put Taxi.

        I wonder how Witty would feel about the Palestinians inviting Iran to invade Israel?

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 11:05 am

        “The best thing about the Hizb is that EVERY ISRAEL pees in their pants to even say their name!!”

        What RW doesn’t want to tell you is, he’s scared of HB also. It’s born of the secret guilt he nurses over zionist sins. Beyond the compulsive denial he knows the senseless cruelty that has been inflicted on generations of Palestinians and is worried that Palestinians will enact revenge. For all the phony liberalism, he actually can’t comprehend co-existence or forgiveness.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 11:15 am

        Of course I’m scared of Hezbollah. They are willing to be ruthless. Who wouldn’t be scared of them.

        And, I am scared of them acquiring dominant power in Lebanon. Their influence is not for democracy but to use democracy for power.

        I think Israel should not do things like overfly. Hezbollah has publicly stated that they will “never recognize Israel”, and “that it remains at war with Israel even if they withdraw from all contested territories”.

        Israel’s sins are of excess, not of existence.

        Hezbollah is currently in violation of international law in rearming, in contravention of UN resolution 1701, ratified by the security council, hence international law.

        It is not a state, but “political party” with the country’s largest militia.

      • Taxi
        May 28, 2010, 12:05 pm

        Forgiveness is something your heart convinces your mind to do.

      • Donald
        May 28, 2010, 12:14 pm

        “Of course I’m scared of Hezbollah. They are willing to be ruthless. Who wouldn’t be scared of them.”

        Change “Hezbollah” to “the IDF” and it’s even more true. Though with one caveat. Both organizations violate human rights, but Hezbollah violates the human rights of REAL PEOPLE, members of your tribe or community or whatever, so that’s really,really scary.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 12:19 pm

        You don’t give a flying fuck about international law or democracy, so please stop pretending you do Richard. You’re a pretend liberal. A fraud, a fake.

        I’m not scared of Hezbollah, I’ve no reason to be scared of Hezbollah. They have a much better track record than Israel when it comes to ruthlessness – even blind Freddy could see that.

        How many wars have Hezbollah started? How many have Israel? Uh, all of them except 1973 – which Egypt fought to reclaim Egyptian land, having given Israel two years notice it would do so. How many wars have Hezbollah started?

        “Israel’s sins are of excess, not of existence.”

        Spoken like a true fascist. Excess ethnic cleansing, excess belligerence, excess thieving of land & resources, excess torture… What are the acceptable levels of each of these for you? I’m a liberal, they’re all unacceptable behaviours to me.

      • Cliff
        May 28, 2010, 12:22 pm

        Dick Witty characterized international law as “political correctness”.

        OF COURSE he doesn’t care. He’s a Zionist ideologue. Durrr

      • Miss Dee Mena
        May 28, 2010, 12:27 pm

        Hezbollah formed primarily as a defensive movement following Israel’s bloody and brutal invasion of Lebanon in 1982 when over 20,000 Lebanese civilians had already been killed by Israel’s indiscriminate bombing in the south of the country. So Israel can take some of the credit for the organisation forming. Just as Israel supported Hamas initially as a bulwark against the PLO.

        Hezbollah was one of the major factors in forcing Israel to withdraw from most of Lebanon’s territory in 2000. They’ve also taught the Israelis a lesson or two about bullies not being able to get away with everything scott-free ad infinitum. I respect them for these facts alone even though as a western feminist I wouldn’t want to live under them.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 12:31 pm

        One bully pushing out another bully.

        They are no longer a “resistance” movement is the point. They are a political party, that retains a militia to threaten both Israelis (stated as deterrent) and other Lebanese (as in their very bloody street skirmishes last year).

        Israel does not have political parties with backing militias. That is why they describe themselves as democratic. They have peaceful transfer of power through an electoral process only.

      • Taxi
        May 28, 2010, 12:33 pm

        Erm, Richard, Witty, old boy, quit the shake’n’shiver song and dance about the Hizb, you know damn well they’re a RESISTANCE GROUP. And a very successful one to boot!

        Turns out that the Hizb are not only better fighters than the IDF, but smarter strategist than the self-appointedly-chosen-by-god zionist geniuses.

      • Miss Dee Mena
        May 28, 2010, 12:38 pm

        I forgot to add that I wish more countries in the region would show the same courage and fortitude that Hezbollah has shown in putting the Israeli bully in its place. Bullies need to be stood up to as it appears to be the only language they understand.

      • lareineblanche
        May 28, 2010, 12:41 pm

        Defining every action in terms of legality and sovereignty is misleading as well. There are states where slavery is legal, or tolerated – does this make it right? What about the stance that the Cheney administration had on torture, drawn up by John Woo and company?
        The rule of law is the best thing we have to go on, no doubt about it, but ever since “terrorism” has been used as a justification for just about everything, including an erosion of civil liberties, it seems like almost anything can be justified as being “legal”, so I think you have to be careful.
        There is an overriding principle here, and it’s humanitarian, regardless of any bogus “sovereignty” concepts Mr Witty wants to bring up in order to sound sophisticated.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 12:46 pm

        If the over-riding principle is humanitarian, delivering aid, then the option to deliver through Ashdod would be appropriate, if given a firm guarantee of delivery, which could be arranged.

        The goal of the free Gaza group is political. It is intended by some as a non-violent civil disobedience to inform the world of the existence of the issue, as the Jewish illegal refugee ships illustrated the existence of the issue as well as the direct goal of delivering the refugees.

        Its not a bad thing to do. Its just that the participants have to pick one thing that they are doing. If that is it, then they should emphasize that proudly.

        The issues of sovereignty and precedent for an unmoderated free port, remain. They are not accepted by any signficant power, not by Turkey certainly. They would not allow a port for Kurdish guerillas for example, even if they promised to only ship food and medicine.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 12:51 pm

        “Hezbollah was one of the major factors in forcing Israel to withdraw from most of Lebanon’s territory in 2000. They’ve also taught the Israelis a lesson or two about bullies not being able to get away with everything scott-free ad infinitum.”

        MDM – which is exactly why Israel went so beserk In Lebanon in 2006. It just doesn’t sit well, despite the hasbara (RW’s stock in trade) co-existence isn’t the game, Israel has a pathological need to be number 1 in the region and Hezbollah very efficiently denied them of that. When all else fails, blow shit up. Very courageous, the IDF.

      • Chu
        May 28, 2010, 12:53 pm

        Witty, so ‘live and let live’ only applies to Israel? Meaning hands off the citizens, but an iron fist for Palestinians.

        Do you really think that these activists are hiding
        weapons inside the shipments?

        And, Is it possible that Israeli forces could plant weapons during the inspections in Ashdod? Bolstering their case for security.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 12:56 pm

        ” then the option to deliver through Ashdod would be appropriate, if given a firm guarantee of delivery, which could be arranged.”

        And you say this on whose authority?

      • Miss Dee Mena
        May 28, 2010, 12:59 pm

        The Israelis have already qualified which aid they would personally deliver to Gaza from the flotilla. The aid they consider “suitable” which means that most of the aid which is specifically being brought to Gaza due to it being banned by the Israelis for the most part won’t get in.

        When I was in Gaza a few months back amongst the banned items were pasta, toilet paper, fruit juice, cigarettes, chocolate, seedlings to name but a few. And of course reconstruction material.

      • Donald
        May 28, 2010, 1:02 pm

        I didn’t catch that. Witty wants to divide the humanitarian from the political and if the emphasis is humanitarian, then he wants it to go through Israeli hands first. Un-freaking-believable.

      • lareineblanche
        May 28, 2010, 1:07 pm

        “The goal of the free Gaza group is political. It is intended by some as a non-violent civil disobedience to inform the world of the existence of the issue,”
        Agreed, partly, and to concentrate media attention to a situation already recognized by UN officials as “dire”, and by judge Goldstone, and to anyone who knows anything.

        “…as the Jewish illegal refugee ships illustrated the existence of the issue as well as the direct goal of delivering the refugees.”
        You can make that analogy, but the refugees coming largely through Italy were not all in dire circumstances, and were not under siege, as bad as their situation was, and as justified by what happened in WW2. A large number was funneled and organized by zionists in Europe, and were actively looking to leave the continent, and were largely manipulated from what I’ve read. No connection whatsoever, you can drop that spurious analogy.

        Again, the “sovereignty” argument is very vague, and as the US and Israel do not wish to recognize any Palestinian authority, there will never be any “sovereignty”. Just playing with words.

        “…the option to deliver through Ashdod would be appropriate, if given a firm guarantee of delivery, which could be arranged.
        A “firm guarantee” of delivery… You really are a piece of work. Give it up.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 1:25 pm

        Donald,
        My comment was not of advocacy. You illustrate what I said earlier that you often confuse observation for advocacy. It was a direct response to larineblanche’s statement that the flotilla’s goal was solely for aid, and not political.

        Lareineblanche,
        A large part of the propaganda value of the flotilla is to make the parallel between 1946-48 immigration of Jews from Europe to Israel (then British Palestine). The status of refugees always varies. The majority that sought transport to Israel were poor, not as desparate as the few months following their liberation from nazis, but harrassed and desparate nevertheless.

        It is not a direct parallel, but certainly a moving parallel image, both on the high seas.

        The question of jurisdiction and international port management remains. And, yes, it is possible that on the ships there are materials intended for weapons manufacture, and possibly individuals seeking to immigrate to Gaza to evade criminal charges.

        Both concerns are real, and compel a lawful approach to the changes insisted on, rather than just a “non-violent” forceful.

        The flotilla should attempt to accomplish what it is proposing, to inform the world of the actual status of Gazans, and the institutional structures that form that status (beyond the results of their own management).

        My hope is that it puts pressure on both Israel and Hamas to moderate their attitudes and behaviors so a normal relationship can emerge.

        Again, the issues of Hamas relationship with Fatah and now with more extreme Gazan factions, are critical to be resolved, and the only resolution possible will include a willingness to “live and let live” relative to Israel.

        There is no chasing them out. That long-repeated theme is irrelevant. (Iran states it as its theme. “Why should the Palestinians have suffered for a European/world conflict that they were not a direct party too?”, with the next sentence, “they should be forced to go back to Europe”.)

        Some solidarity that post here state similarly. Its war talk, ethnic cleansing, pretending to be “resistance”, or “dissent”.

      • Oscar
        May 28, 2010, 1:37 pm

        richard, this is the most despicable attempt at hasbara imaginable. The organizers of the Gaza flotilla are supposed to believe that the IDF will deliver 10,000 tons of desperately needed aid to the children of Gaza?

        How about you be a compassionate Zionist or a liberal Zionist . . . Whatever you call yourself … and call for Israel to just let the humanitarian aid in to Gaza? Otherwise, you’re an intellectual fraud.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 1:47 pm

        Yes,
        If supervised by an international agent organization, there are third parties then involved that can verify that the promises were kept.

        For the civil disobedience, the Flotilla should continue, but it is not as clear a civil disobedience as in India for example, or in opposition to Jim Crow.

        The prevailing opinion of those that are aware of both the condition of Gazans (isolated) and the institutional problems to realize a change in Gazans’ condition, put their efforts into pursuing sovereignty.

        There is no possibility of an open Gazan port as a permanent solution so long as Hamas is in a state of deferred or active war with Israel.

        That itself constructs a tragedy for Gazans.

      • Oscar
        May 28, 2010, 2:12 pm

        Again — intellectual honesty, Richard. What is a state of “deferred war?”. If Hamas doesn’t launch another rocket for the next 10 years, is that a “deferred war” unworthy of breaking the blockade?

        Is “deferred war” the opposite of “permanent war?”

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 2:13 pm

        Change “Hezbollah” to “the IDF” and it’s even more true. Though with one caveat. Both organizations violate human rights, but Hezbollah violates the human rights of REAL PEOPLE, members of your tribe or community or whatever, so that’s really,really scary.
        (Donald)

        Donald, which human rights does Hizbullah violate?

      • Donald
        May 28, 2010, 2:27 pm

        “Donald, which human rights does Hizbullah violate?”

        They fired rockets indiscriminately into Israel during the 2006 war.

        link to hrw.org

      • Donald
        May 28, 2010, 3:28 pm

        “My comment was not of advocacy. You illustrate what I said earlier that you often confuse observation for advocacy. It was a direct response to larineblanche’s statement that the flotilla’s goal was solely for aid, and not political.”

        No, Richard, I was criticizing your statement–you said that the flotilla should decide what it wants to emphasize and if it wants to emphasize humanitarian relief, it should go through Israeli checks. Well, no, it shouldn’t–even if one accepted the notion that they should emphasize one or the other, why go through the very people who are causing the problem in the first place?

        And later, when you talk of Israel and Hamas being in a state of war, you continue to evade the fact that the blockade is a war crime. When Hamas prevents rockets from reaching Israel, Israel continues its war on Hamas by striking at the civilian population.

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 3:58 pm

        Donald, while I don’t condone attacks on civilians, other reports stated that Hizbullah’s rocket attacks were not at all indiscriminate but had been aimed at military targets. The problem with Katyushas though is that you can properly aim them to hit the intended targets. There were also reports that came out of Israel from the northern Galilee from Arabs that complained that in addition to Israel not having provided Palestinian Israelis with shelters, the IDF posted its batteries more often than not in their communities and it was cross-referrenced between where most of the Katyushas were falling and the location of the IDF batteries in those villages. If you check among the 30 civilians killed, you’d find that half are Palestinian Israelis that got killed where the batteries had been positioned. Those that fell on Haifa were being aimed at military locations and of course, some went way off course.

        But that was in 2006 and Hizbullah now probably has missiles that can be guided so there should be less harm to civilians in the next round.

        On the subject of civilians, Israel killed over 1000 of them in its indiscriminate attacks on the cities and ambulances. It also attacked 2 army barracks where dozens of soldiers that had not been involved in the war were massacred. And what to say about the deliberate bombing of the seaside fuel reservoirs that leaked oil into the Med that almost surpassed the ecological damge caused by the Exxon Valdez? Who were the real terrorists in this war?

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 8:41 pm

        “Dick Witty characterized international law as “political correctness”.”

        In which case, so is the designation of sovereignty.  I think Witty decided from an early age that he purpose fo his mouth was to keep his feet warm.

    • Shingo
      May 28, 2010, 7:11 am

      “Hezbollah initiated a cross-border raid (lied about by Nasrallah), at a week when Israel had stopped an abduction in the West Bank, and Shalit was abducted near Gaza.”

      Judge Winograd who ran the Israeli commission of inquiry after the war stated:

      “Israel embarked on a prolonged war that it initiated………..Though it was a war of our own initiative and waged in a defined territory, Israel did not use its military power wisely or effectively,”

      This was in accord with Olmer’s admission that he had palnned the war all along.

      You lose Witty.

      “Israel was holding only three Lebanese prisoners including individuals that had conducted terror on children (intentionally, not just in any rationale of collateral damage).”

      False. Israel holds over 10,000 prisoners, 1000 of which are innocent.

      ”Prior to and during that campaign, Hezbollah was ostensibly part of the Lebanese government, but because it was an independant “party”/militia, had the opportunistic posturing of “we are not Lebanon”, but “we are defending Lebanon”.”

      False again. The government of Lebanon never reconized Hezbollah as a militia.

      ”Was it 2004, that the UN declared that Israel had fully withdrawn from Lebanon, and that there were no material disputed territorial claims between Israel and Lebanon remaining?”

      No they didn’t, becasue Israle violated the condition that it would provide maps of the land mines it had put in Shabba Farms.

      ”And, was it in 2004, that Nasrallah declared, “even if Israel turns over Shabaa Farms (currently claimed by Syria), that Hezbollah will continue to seek to removal of Israel””

      No, and you won’t find that quote either.

      ”So, if Israel had withdrawn in conformance with international law, then was active resistance necessary.”

      If they had, no, but Israel had not. Hezbollah onyl resisted once Israel corssed the border into Lebanon.

      ”Was Hezbollah then a resistance movement, or an opportunist one?”

      Clearly a resistance movement. Had Hezbollah nto resisted, Israel would be holding the terirtory South of the LItani today.

      ”Have they fundamentally changed?”

      No, Israel is still threatening to attack it’s neighbors.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:21 am

        I think you misunderstood the Winograd report.

        It was not an admission of “we planned to harm Lebanon all along, and was just looking for an excuse”.

        How many Lebanese prisoners were in Israeli jails at the time of the abduction? There are many Palestinian prisoners, but earlier you claimed that Hezbollah was not fighting Palestine’s war, but their own.

        I think Hezbollah was a resistance movement, but it is no longer. It is now a party seeking power/utter dominance.

      • Richard Parker
        May 28, 2010, 7:30 am

        Witty, you are an asshole; please crawl back into yourself.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 7:30 am

        ”I think you misunderstood the Winograd report.”

        No I understood it perfectly well, becasue unlike you, I read the report.

        ”It was not an admission of “we planned to harm Lebanon all along, and was just looking for an excuse”.”

        No, Olmert made that admission.

        ”How many Lebanese prisoners were in Israeli jails at the time of the abduction?”

        The same number that Lebanon captured. Your point?

        ”There are many Palestinian prisoners, but earlier you claimed that Hezbollah was not fighting Palestine’s war, but their own.”

        There was no war until ISrale attcked Lebanon.

        Judge Winograd who ran the Israeli commission of inquiry after the war stated:

        “Israel embarked on a prolonged war that it initiated………..Though it was a war of our own initiative and waged in a defined territory, Israel did not use its military power wisely or effectively,”

        You see Witty, you are never going to win this debate because Winograd’s words are beyond dispute.

        There was only one war and that war was INITIATED by Israel.

        End of story.

        ”I think Hezbollah was a resistance movement, but it is no longer.”

        True. It is now a legitimate military outift that defends Souhern LEbanon from invasino by Israel.

        ”It is now a party seeking power/utter dominance.”

        It already has power and now, complete legitimacy. It is Israel that wants utter dominance.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:31 am

        Intelligent response Parker.

      • zamaaz
        May 28, 2010, 9:04 am

        Richard, whose with or whom invited, protector, did or did not recognized Hezbollah as a militia at all… those are only vestiges of the Lebanon-Israel conflict. The crucial point here is that the rockets that rained over Israel was launched from Lebanon, thus being a responsible and accountable state, leveling its cities to the grounds are but Israel reactions consequential to the war… in a state of hostilities, there was no one but Lebanon itself is responsible to its damage it shared and received during that war…

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 9:20 am

        Hezbollah shot all the rockets, and preserved the ambiguity of whether it was Hezbollah or Lebanon that was entering and confirming a state of war.

        The UN voted on resolution 1701, affirmed by the security council, defining that Hezbollah should disarm (which it has done the oppossite, in violation of international law). The resolution did not define the UN role as to hold Hezbollah accountable for that, so it was mute.

        Hezbollah did shell Israeli towns immediately prior to the abduction, again in the context of general resistance escalation from the West Bank and Gaza and was likely originally perceived as “solidarity” for the Gazan abduction.

      • zamaaz
        May 28, 2010, 9:37 am

        ‘Renegade attack’ has been a classic strategy of Muslim armed groups whenever they pursue leverage against any established governments. There in Mindanao in late 90s, MNLF ‘renegade groups’ attacked government positions whenever they pursue leverage in their demands against the Philippine government. So former Pres. Estrada lost patience and declared all-out war against the MNLF positions and overrun their major camps… Eventually the MNLF lost their hard-earned territories encroached by many years, and also lost personality before the government peace negotiations. In early
        2000s the MILF did the same tactic.., some renegade commanders attacked the generally peaceful towns in Northern Lanao and other municipalities of Mindanao. Then, naturally the Philippine governments responded militarily pursuing whenever these ‘renegade’ ran. As usual, main group denied involvement with the renegades attacks. However, as usual the renegade groups would ‘take cover’ behind the ‘legitimate MNLF groups’ so the consequences was that many camps of legitimate MILF groups (allocated for them) were overrun and captured by the Phil. government forces.
        All by summary, the peace negotiation that has already underwent years of processed was suspended indefinitely…
        This Hezbollah militants are simply like a renegade groups for the Lebanon government that they can easily deny when things got hot… but in any case, it was Beirut that suffered the real destruction and great losses after the hostilities.
        Now who was the real loser?

      • zamaaz
        May 28, 2010, 9:41 am

        The Lebanese must first explain why Hezbollah continued existing before denying any connection to them.

      • Taxi
        May 28, 2010, 9:44 am

        Only a moral rapist like you asshole zamaaz would blame the rape victim!

      • Taxi
        May 28, 2010, 10:18 am

        And YOU YOU YOU ‘have vayz ov makink zem hizbolaz ezplanez’, right zamaaz you dotty fascist – you insignificant twitch on a dog’s behind!

      • Mooser
        May 28, 2010, 3:29 pm

        You tell ‘em, zanaaz! Take the hard line! You’ve got Witty’s back!

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 9:40 pm

        “Hezbollah shot all the rockets, and preserved the ambiguity of whether it was Hezbollah or Lebanon that was entering and confirming a state of war.”

        False witty.

        The Winograd Commission concluded that Israel instigated the war. It mentioned nothing about Hezbollah instigating it.

        “The UN voted on resolution 1701, affirmed by the security council, defining that Hezbollah should disarm (which it has done the oppossite, in violation of international law).”

        False.  1701 ordered that mitias should  disarmed but the Lebanese government does not regard Hezbollah as a militia, so 1701 is moot.
         
        “Hezbollah did shell Israeli towns immediately prior to the abduction”

        False.  Hzbollah shell Israeli towns immediately after Israel began bombing southern Lebanon.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:30 am

        “You lose, Witty”.

        What a silly game, Shingo.

        I’m not trying to “win”.

      • Frances
        May 28, 2010, 7:31 am

        You couldn’t if you tried because your position is fundamentally indefensible. Keep flailing, Witty.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:33 am

        What position are you speaking of Frances?

        The position to support equal rights for Arab Israelis, or the position to consider that Hamas critically exposed Gazan civilians to unnecessary suffering?

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 7:36 am

        ”I’m not trying to “win”.”

        Yes you are. You just happen to be losing.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 7:37 am

        I’m trying to discuss, openly.

        Are you?

      • Frances
        May 28, 2010, 7:41 am

        Hamas critically exposed Gazan civilians to unnecessary suffering? Is Hamas blockading Gaza? Did Hamas build the fence? Is Hamas limiting the Gazans to 600 calories a day? Does Hamas fire tear gas on protestors? Did Hamas use white phosphorus on Gazan children? Did Hamas bomb hospitals, schools and ambulances? Did Hamas kill over 1400 Gazans in 22 days? Who did these things, Witty?

        The mendacity is so thick, you could cut it with a knife. You really are a contemptible excuse for a human being, Witty. Your cowardice and dishonesty are truly boundless.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 7:45 am

        ”I’m trying to discuss, openly.”

        Im trying to debunk openly Witty. I don’t have disussion with liars.

      • wondering jew
        May 28, 2010, 9:33 am

        Israel is not limiting Gazans to 600 calories a day. If it is then Frances should provide sources.

        I too oppose the blockade of Gaza. Hamas sucks to high hell, but I do not believe that the blockade will succeed in dislodging Hamas from Gaza.

        Still I do not see why the lies of commentators go unanswered if they are voiced by anti Zionists. The cowardice on this website of the anti Zionists is quite apparent.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 11:22 am

        “Israel is not limiting Gazans to 600 calories a day. If it is then Frances should provide sources.”

        I haven’t seen any actual claims about the amount of calories but Gisha do report the existence of a document used to calculate the minimum food requirements required by the population of Gaza, called “Food Needs in Gaza – Red Lines”.

        link to gisha.org

        link to news.bbc.co.uk

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 11:28 am

        Hamas initiated and escalated shelling on Israeli civilian towns, compelling some military response.

        Israel chose a very strong, an overwhelming response, excessive.

        But, Hamas compelled a strong response, and by its rhetoric of its power, compelled the Israeli military to undertake a risk-averse military strategy (with extensive air attacks prior), rather than a limited one.

        They really screwed up.

      • Frances
        May 28, 2010, 11:30 am

        Nice to know that’s all you could find fault with. I admit I was either confused or flat-out wrong about the 600 figure. But it’s no secret that Israel IS trying, successfully, to limit the food intake of Palestinians. That’s sick and disgusting at any level.
        “Dov Weisglass “jokingly” said that Israel’s siege was intended to put Gazans on a diet: “It’s like a meeting with a dietitian. We need to make the Palestinians lose weight, but not to starve to death.””

        Charming. And Hamas was democratically elected, whether you like them or not. Israel has no business blockading Gaza, none at all. The moral cowardice of Israel uber-alles Zionists is quite apparent.

      • Donald
        May 28, 2010, 11:38 am

        I googled and couldn’t find a 600 calorie per day reference to Gaza–there was one for Zimbabwe.

        As for lies or misstatements by anti-Zionists, some are answered and some aren’t. I think the blog comment section here could use improvement though in this case Frances did the right thing and admitted his mistake and a couple of the rest of us went looking to see if we could find calorie estimates–I just came across this a few minutes ago.

      • Frances
        May 28, 2010, 11:41 am

        Again, apologies for the 600 calories remark, that was Zimbabwe, not Gaza. Serves me right for posting after trying to read Zamaaz’s comments. My mind was a snake-pit of confusion.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 12:25 pm

        “Hamas initiated and escalated shelling on Israeli civilian towns, compelling some military response.”

        You’re a liar Richard Witty. That’s not very liberal is it?

        link to en.wikipedia.org

        “They really screwed up.”

        Yes, support for Israel has never been higher *wink*. Goldstone was a glowing review of IDF’s comportment *wink*. You live in a parallel universe.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 12:28 pm

        Hamas had the option of not resuming shelling of civilians, but it chose to instead.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 12:29 pm

        “Again, apologies for the 600 calories remark,”

        Not to worry Frances, the concept stands – that Israel has calculated aid on the bare minimum for sustenance. It’s guarantees life (well not for those the IDF elects to kill) but only just.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 12:36 pm

        You’re being irrelevant.

        Israel broke the cease fire on Nov 4, 2008, an obviously pre-planned act on a day when global media was distracted by Obama’s election.

        Why don’t you do something useful like answering some of the questions that have been posed to you by myself and eljay (and others in the past) about concrete actions:

        link to mondoweiss.net

        You claim to be a liberal, yet oppose all liberal actions to bring change to I/P. So what’s the Witty Masterplan? Beyond knitting at the green line, I mean, and advocating jewish supremacy, and defiance of international law.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 9:43 pm

        “Hamas initiated and escalated shelling on Israeli civilian towns, compelling some military response.”

        No Witty. The war had already been initiated and escalated by Istael with their attack on November 4th.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 9:48 pm

        “Hamas initiated and escalated shelling on Israeli civilian towns, compelling some military response.”

        No Witty. The war had already been   initiated and escalated by Istael with their attack on November 4th.

        “Israel chose a very strong, an overwhelming response, excessive.”

        War crime is the word, and your lying when you state that Istael “responded” when it attacked first.

        “But, Hamas compelled a strong response, and by its rhetoric of its power, compelled the Israeli military to undertake a risk-averse military strategy (with extensive air attacks prior), rather than a limited one.”

        False again. Israel attacked knowing that it would be a turkey shoot.

        “They really screwed up.”

        Yes, Israel did itself irrepairble damage.

    • Walid
      May 28, 2010, 7:47 am

      Richard Witty, most of the quotes you are using to describe Hizbullah are false and so is your information on it. Israel still has some withdrawing to do from the northern half of Ghajjar Village, from the hills of Kfarshouba and from the hamlets of Chebaa Farms that Syria has confirmed as Lebanese. Until Israel takes its thieving hands off these areas, the Hizbullah resistance is very legitimate and very necessary.

      Israel withdrew unconditionally with its tail between its legs on May 25. 2000 and not in 2004 as you think.

      Your wires are crossed; what happened in 2004 was the swap of the Israeli spy/drug dealer Elhanan Tannenbaum that Hizbullah had captured and the bodies of 3 Israeli soldiers for 435 Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners held by Israel that included Mustapha Dirani and Sheik Obeid that had been kidnapped by Israel 10 years earlier to use in swap for info on the terrorist Ron Arad. Hizbullah had insisted that the swap include Kuntar but Israel refused and said it would release him only for fresh information on Arad that Hizbullah would try to get. The following year, Hizbullah provided the information to Israel that they could not locate Arad or what had happened to him but Israel, eventhough it admitted that Hizbullah had honestly tried to find Arad, renegged on its promise to release Kuntar. The following year, based on a known fact that Israel only releases prisoners in exchange for Israeli ones, Hizbullah crossed the border to get prisoners to swap for Kuntar and the few remaining prisoners in Israel. The day of the abduction, Nasrallah went on TV to announce what Hizbullah had done and that he was waiting for the negotiations to start for the exchange of prisoners. The next morning, Israel started bombing Lebanon. In the end, even with half of Lebanon’s infrastructures destroyed, it was still forced to make the Kuntar swap.

      Richard, your knowledge of ME history stinks.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 7:51 am

        An outstanding post Walid and filled with truly valuable information. Thank you and thanks for giving Witty a history and fact based lesson.

        Of coure, he’ll now complain that you are condeming, whch is not helpful.

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 8:48 am

        Shingo, I had left out the part about Nasrallah having publicly promised Kuntar’s family that he’d have him home before the end of 2006 and since Israel had renegged on the Arad info deal, the only way of keeping his promise was to abduct some soldiers for a swap. All prior as well as subsequent releases of Lebanese prisoners by Israel had come only during an exchange of prisoners. This is what motivated Nasrallah to do the abductions as even the tough Sharon was very open to swapping prisoners. Up until that point in time, July 2006, Nasrallah had never failed to deliver on any of the promises he made and with the end of 2006 only 6 months away, Nasrallah was on his way to his first failed promise. He had been confident that the info he had provided Israel on Arad would get him Kuntar. After the war in a TV interview, Nasrallah admitted that had he anticipated that the abduction would have led to war, he wouldn’t have done it. A war with Israel was not in Hizbullah’s plan but a war evidently was in Israel’s and it pounced on the opportunity to try to eliminate Hizbullah; the abducted soldiers were the last thing on Israel’s mind, especially with the carpet-bombing of the district most apt to be used to hold the captives. In his May 25th televised speech this week, Nasrallah revealed that while the war was raging, some Arab countries were telling Israel to not stop the war until Hizbullah was defeated. He also revealed that in 2000, the same Arab countries had pleaded with Israel to NOT withdraw from Lebanon and to especially not do it unconditionally. A lot of things go on behind the scenes that we are not aware of.

        As to the Lebanese prisoners swapped in 2004, Dirani and Obeid that both had been held for almost 10 years at Israel secret torture camp “Facilty 1391″ that the UN keeps asking Israel about and keeps getting no answers; The JPost said this about Dirani:

        “… An IDF doctor who had examined former Amal security chief Mustafa Dirani found physical evidence that supported his claim he had been raped while in an Israeli prison, Channel 1 reported Wednesday. The report identified a document that identified the doctor as Lt.-Col. Chen Kugel. According to the document, Kugel wrote: “On the basis of my examination of Mr. Dirani… the results can substantiate the essence of the complaint” that he was raped. The revelation came a day after a Tel Aviv District Court rejected the state’s request to cancel a lawsuit filed by Dirani for having allegedly been tortured while in jail. Dirani filed a NIS 6 million suit in 2000 charging that interrogators had raped him, sodomized him, kept him naked for weeks and humiliated him to extract information about IAF navigator Lt.-Col. Ron Arad, who ejected from his F-4 fighter jet over southern Lebanon in May 1986. Dirani was freed to Lebanon as part of a prisoner swap in January 2004, but his Israeli lawyer has continued with the case. Dirani’s lawyer Zvi Rish told The Jerusalem Post that he has known of the document for years. “I have that document and much more evidence including testimony of officers that prove, to my regret, that Dirani’s claims are true.”
        link to new.jpost.com

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 9:26 am

        Walid,
        I didn’t state the Israel withdrew in 2000, but that the UN (you know international law) confirmed that Israel had complied with its obligations to withdraw in full in I think 2004.

        “The following year, based on a known fact that Israel only releases prisoners in exchange for Israeli ones, Hizbullah crossed the border to get prisoners to swap for Kuntar and the few remaining prisoners in Israel.”

        A known fact? I thought you just said that Israel released many prisoners in exchange for information.

        I’m certain that Israel was interested in removing Hezbollah from any position of power, but the claim that Israel was not interested in the abducted soldiers is pretty silly.

        Your description of “objective” history, is only the history of Nasrallah’s promises to his cadre (screw honesty to the world).

        Do you think, as Shingo repeats, that the abduction occurred in Lebanon or in Israel?

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 10:01 am

        Sorry to contradict Shingo here, but the abductions happened on the Israeli side of the border. The initial information that said it happened in Lebanon did not come from Hizbullah as this organization very rarily admits or denies anything to keep the enemy guessing.

        You misunderstood the part about the swaps. The part about info on Arad for the release of Kuntar came as an exception to the general rule. Swapping was developed by Israel, especially on cadavers and body parts; this was an Israeli art that Hizbullah copied. Anyway, since Israel renegged on that deal, you can say that there has never been any release without any swapping.

        As to Israel’s interest in Regev and Goldwasser, it showed the same interest and eagerness to get them back as it has been showing in getting back Shalit that has been held prisoner since 2006. Israel does not want Shalit because getting him back would take away any excuse Israel has been using to continue stealing land from the Palestinians. Israel doesn’t want Shalit. Israel needs to keep those cheques coming and for that, it has to have Shalit kept in captivity and to have other bogeys around like Hizbullah, Hamas and Iran. Everything about Israel is phony.

      • zamaaz
        May 28, 2010, 11:03 am

        [Israel does not want Shalit because getting him back would take away any excuse Israel has been using to continue stealing land from the Palestinians.]
        Walid, if you were a Jew, this is only a matter of a very rational view; but if you were an Arab, why do not all the Arab leaders think like you? Have they not realized Shalit could be a like a live Trojan Horse? A wooden horse containing hundreds of moral basis for continuing attacking Hamaz?

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 9:32 pm

        “I’m certain that Israel was interested in removing Hezbollah from any position of power, but the claim that Israel was not interested in the abducted soldiers is pretty silly.”

        Israel made no attempt to rescue or received the captured soldiers, so it’s not silly at all.
         

      • wondering jew
        May 28, 2010, 9:36 am

        According to Walid, Hezbollah committed an act of war in 2006, capturing soldiers in Israeli territory, for an admirable purpose: extracting prisoners that had been promised by Israel in a previous agreement. But such are the vagaries of war that one might commit an act of war with one purpose (however admirable) in mind, whereas the one who is attacked might see war as not limited to the goals of the attacker.

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 10:19 am

        Wondering Jew, I’m sorry this discusion is drifting away from the subject of the Free Gaza boats, so I’ll keep this short to get back on topic. I don’t condone crossing the border to get hostages but what Hizbullah did was mild in comparison to what Israel had been doing in Lebanon. The 2 prisoners I discussed Dirani and Obeid were abducted by Israeli commandos flying deep into Lebanon by helicopter. Furthermore, these 2 had been held in the torture camp for almost 10 years with one of them having been raped by the Israeli jailers. Like Witty, you appear to believe that Israel has the most model of societies that abides by all humanitarian laws. Israel is a rogue state and Hizbullah has a hell of lot of catching up to be as roguish as Israel in its conduct. For those that did follow the development of the war, Hizbullah fired afew Katyushas as a diversionary tactic while the abduction was in progress and it was a few days after that that the barrage of Katyushas really began raining on Israel. If the intention would have been on war as you said in your opening statement, , the katyushas would have started immediately with the Israeli bombing of Lebanon.

      • wondering jew
        May 28, 2010, 10:33 am

        Walid- Israel’s rogue acts occurred before the withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. (I understand that they were not forgotten in 2006 just because of the withdrawal of 2000, but the withdrawal of 2000 established a new day in Israel’s mind.)

        I mentioned nothing regarding katyushas. Lebanon (Hezbollah) attacked Israel by capturing the soldiers. They were satisfied to leave it at that. But Israel decided that Lebanon (Hezbollah) could not start a war and decide when it was finished. Such are the vagaries of war. You can start a war and declare it over. But such a declaration means nothing to the one whom you attacked. That’s the way war works.

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 10:59 am

        Wondering Jew, it was meant as a border skirmish like so many others like it in the past and both Hizbullah and rest of Lebanon got a walloping surprise from the way Israel over-reacted. If you’re into Seymour Hersh, you’d have read his New Yorker article or his Democracy Now and CNN interviews describing how the war had been planned and coordinated with the Pentagon a year in advance and the likely date was set for around September or October after the Jewish vacationers would have returned home but an opportunity presented itself when Hizbullah abducted the soldiers and the timetable was moved up by Olmert. In short, Israel was about to launch a war on Hizbullah and all this talk about retaliation was BS. Conversely, there was also talk that Hizbullah was aware of the Israeli October plan and wanted to get them to commit to an immediate war and another that said that Hizbullah did it while Bush was holding a G8 meeting in St Petersburg and was about to get the group to back his plan of hitting Iran. Here’s a bit from the Hersh article:

        “… The Bush Administration, however, was closely involved in the planning of Israel’s retaliatory attacks. President Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney were convinced, current and former intelligence and diplomatic officials told me, that a successful Israeli Air Force bombing campaign against Hezbollah’s heavily fortified underground-missile and command-and-control complexes in Lebanon could ease Israel’s security concerns and also serve as a prelude to a potential American preëmptive attack to destroy Iran’s nuclear installations, some of which are also buried deep underground.

        Israeli military and intelligence experts I spoke to emphasized that the country’s immediate security issues were reason enough to confront Hezbollah, regardless of what the Bush Administration wanted. Shabtai Shavit, a national-security adviser to the Knesset who headed the Mossad, Israel’s foreign-intelligence service, from 1989 to 1996, told me, “We do what we think is best for us, and if it happens to meet America’s requirements, that’s just part of a relationship between two friends. Hezbollah is armed to the teeth and trained in the most advanced technology of guerrilla warfare. It was just a matter of time. We had to address it.”
        Read more: link to newyorker.com

      • wondering jew
        May 28, 2010, 11:03 am

        Walid- It was meant as a border skirmish. LOL. An act of war is an act of war. Israel had plans. Good for Israel or shame on Israel. Irrelevant. Again: an act of war is an act of war.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 11:34 am

        “Again: an act of war is an act of war.”

        Violations of Lebanese airspace.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 11:34 am

        It is odd that Walid describes Israel in violation of international law in objective terms. “It did x.”

        But, when confronted with Hezbollah actions, it is in terms solely of Nasrallah promised y. And Hezbollah leaders thought z.

        What one thinks is useful in conflict if communicated clearly, and to parties that respect the other. Thinking privately when the parties have radically different needs, goals and assumptions is talking to oneself only.

        Israel and Lebanon are neighbors. Both Israel and Lebanese parties are not acting like good neighbors. Its time to change that.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 11:35 am

        By the way, thank you for correcting Shingo on his repetition that the abduction occurred in Lebanon.

      • Cliff
        May 28, 2010, 11:59 am

        Wondering Jew, the point is that it would have been another skirmish. But Israel was intending on a WAR anyway. So this PARTICULAR skirmish was seen as an opportunity for that war.

        You’re such a goddamn nitwit. As if that was difficult to understand.

        It’s like the Gaza massacre. Israel broke the cease-fire, by killing Palestinian militants. All throughout the cease-fire, Israel was violating it anyway.

        So when the Palestinian militants and Hamas predictably retaliated w/ those shitty rockets, it capitalized on the opportunity (PR again) and went to ‘war’.

        Keep playing DUMB though, WJ. It suits you, snake.

      • Cliff
        May 28, 2010, 12:01 pm

        In both cases, to establish deterrence. Anything can be seen as an act of war w/ the Jewish State – because you begin history so that you’re simply REACTING to something the Palestinians did.

        That’s where the line: “[...]no other democracy would tolerate” blah blah.

        SERIOUSLY, why don’t you try that stupid hasbara shit w/ some other blog where people haven’t read the history of Israel-Palestine and don’t keep up-to-date w/ the daily land-grab and human rights violations.

        You’re fucking pathetic.

      • Donald
        May 28, 2010, 12:09 pm

        “an act of war is an act of war.”

        A fair point regarding the abductions, but I don’t think an Israel defender can take that position without admitting that Israel is making war on Arab civilians as a day-to-day matter. For instance, Israel is not just committing an act of war against Gazans with the blockade (which I recognize you oppose), it’s also committing a major war crime. And the ceasefire there is just an agreement to limit further war crimes by Israel along with any retaliatory war crimes by the Gazans. It was supposed to lead to the ending of the blockade, but Israel just took what it wanted from the ceasefire and continued to maintain the blockade.

      • wondering jew
        May 28, 2010, 12:15 pm

        Cliff, you have zero class.

      • Cliff
        May 28, 2010, 12:19 pm

        I’m vulgar and mean-spirited (towards scum like you) – but I’m not a liar. And I have a conscious.

      • Chu
        May 28, 2010, 12:23 pm

        WJ: He’s not high class, in the sense he does not find the Tanach a superior volume of writing, whereas as the Koran and the new Testament are just average pulpy fictional tales.

        In that sense, he’s a second class reader.
        Where you’re just first class material.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 12:25 pm

        I think the appropriate point of Cliff’s is that it is a cycle of violence.

        There is no starting point. There is no “he did that first”.

        But, there is the possibility of reducing the cycle of violence IF solidarity starts looking at the behavior of those that they claim to support, and at their own behavior.

        Some here appear to actively support Hamas and Hezbollah. Many more are sympathetic. Many more understand why they feel the way that they do.

        The danger is when solidarity rationalizes that Hamas, Hezbollah and other factions are only victims, rather than participants in a cycle.

        And, that is formed by non-acceptance of the other. When Hamas and Hezbollah state historically, and recently in Islamic venues, “we will never accept Israel as a state”, that does not leave possibility of reform on Israel’s part.

        If to exist, it can only defend, and if the only defense is an aggressive offense, then that is what it will do.

        If there is a genuine change of heart, communicated by leadership, risked, to conditionally ACCEPT Israel, then a large change will occur quickly if not immediately.

        The 2008 hudna was a hope, but rather than run the 27th mile of a mis-measured marathon, Hamas chose to war.

        While there is much objective experience to cause the world and American Jews to have distrust of Israel’s judgement, the assertion that Israel is to blame for all the ills in the region, is false, opportunistic.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 12:26 pm

        I still find it literally wierd for supporters of Hezbollah to say “we won the fight with Israel”.

        I don’t see how a few thousand civilians dying is successful defense or deterrence, and certainly not victory.

        They “succeeded” in retrieving Samir Kuntar. I guess that is victory.

      • wondering jew
        May 28, 2010, 12:41 pm

        Chu: Nice of you to recall comments I made weeks ago. But try to recall them accurately. I said that the Koran is roughly on the level of the book of Proverbs, Deuteronomy or Numbers. Its repetition of stories from the Tanach are weaker than the Cliff notes and its inspiration depends too much on calls of hellfire. But it is probably effective as a type of self hypnosis, which certainly is helpful when going to work against infidels, and is one of the things that religions look for to keep their adherents focused on obedience. Its monotheism is superior to the monotheism of the Tanach and as such cannot be dismissed.

        I don’t recall what I said about the New Testament, but it is certainly better than average pulpy fiction tale. (The New Testament apparently left sufficient room for confusion regarding monotheism and the “only” path to God. Jesus is an interesting character, or personage, but he is most interesting when he is ornery and cursing the fig tree which will not bear fruit in time for him to eat from it. The sermon on the mount is solid stuff that will last quite some time and many of the parables are great. But the confusion regarding the “son of God” and the virginity of Mary, plus certain lines like “his blood be on us and on our children” will remain obstacles for peace for almost as long as the Sermon on the Mount will remain an inspiration.) (By the way. Guess what was Jesus’s favorite book: The Tanach, particularly Isaiah.)

      • Donald
        May 28, 2010, 12:58 pm

        “The 2008 hudna was a hope, but rather than run the 27th mile of a mis-measured marathon, Hamas chose to war.”

        Israel never ceased its war on the civilian population of Gaza. That’s what the blockade is–a war on the Gazan civilians. Your sermons about recognizing the faults of Hamas and Hezbollah would go over better if you didn’t invariably accompany them with smarmy apologetics for your own favorite thugs.

      • Chu
        May 28, 2010, 12:59 pm

        Anytime WJ. It showed me you flippant attitude of others beliefs during that long post. I recall you were conversing were conversing mainly with TGIA . I was just intrigued by your attitude, since I never really read much of what you write, but many had said that you offer some interesting insights.

      • tree
        May 28, 2010, 1:44 pm

        Again: an act of war is an act of war.

        I find it instructive that when Israel apologists talk about “acts of war” they have two standards, a very lax one for Israel and a very harsh one for everyone else.

        For example, Egypt closing its territorial waters to Israeli shipping in the Straits of Tiran in 1967 was “an act of War” but Israel invading Jordanian territory and killing dozens of Jordanian civilians and soldiers and destroying a Jordanian village at Samu was not. The Egyptian blockade in 1967 was an “act of war” but the Israeli blockade of Gaza is not, according to the apologists.

        Here’s another example. In the six months prior to the 2006 War that started in July, both sides committed what WJ would call “acts of war” (as long as they weren’t committed by Israel, of course). And Israel’s breaches were more repeated and more deadly. From the UNIFIL report on the period from January 31 to July 31:

        16. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities across the Blue Line on 12 July, the
        situation in the UNIFIL area of operation during most of the reporting period was
        tense and volatile, although generally quiet. The ceasefire was breached and heavy
        exchanges across the Blue Line occurred at the beginning of February and at the end
        of May. One Lebanese civilian and one Hizbollah member were reportedly killed,
        and three Israeli soldiers, three Lebanese civilians and a number of Hizbollah
        members were wounded in the fighting. Tension along the Line was elevated, and
        IDF troops were on a high state of alert during the months of March, May, June and
        July. Israeli air violations decreased during the first half of the reporting period, but
        occurred again more frequently during the second half of May. Ground violations of
        the Line were attributable primarily to crossings by Lebanese shepherds and
        continued on an almost daily basis.
        17. On 1 February, IDF opened fire and killed a young Lebanese shepherd inside
        Lebanese territory in the general area of the Shab’a farms. IDF claimed that the
        shepherd had been armed and that he had crossed the Blue Line on two earlier
        occasions that day. A UNIFIL investigation found no evidence to suggest that the
        shepherd had had any hostile intentions or that his weapon had been used. The
        shooting incident underlined the need for IDF to act with maximum restraint and to
        respect fully the Blue Line. It also illustrated the necessity for the Government of
        Lebanon to make additional efforts to prevent ground violations of the Blue Line,
        including in the Shab’a farms area.
        18. On 3 February, Hizbollah launched rocket attacks on a number of IDF
        positions in the Shab’a farms area, wounding one soldier. The attack was reportedly
        in retaliation for the killing of the shepherd two days earlier. IDF responded with air
        strikes and artillery, mortar and tank fire against Hizboilah positions in the area
        from which Hizbollah fire had emanated. Hizbollah responded with rocket and
        mortar fire in the area. UNIFIL recorded one incident of IDF firing close to a
        UNIFIL position near Kafr Shuba. One Lebanese civilian was wounded in the air
        strike. After a one-and-a-half-hour exchange, UNIFIL succeeded in brokering a
        ceasefire through the liaison channels with the parties.
        19. In a serious breach of the ceasefire in the early morning of 28 May,
        unidentified armed elements launched at lcast eight rockets fiom the general area of
        Aynata across the Blue Line into Israel. Three rockets impacted inside an IDF
        position on Mount Meron, in Upper Galilee, some 8 kilometres south of the Line,
        causing material damage and lightly wounding one soldier. Hizbollah denied any
        involvement in the attack. Palestinian Islamic Jihad in Lebanon initially claimed
        responsibility in retaliation for the killing of a leading member in Lebanon and his
        brother on 26 May in a car bomb explosion in Saida. The claim was retracted later
        that day. The Lebanese authorities have taken an official position against attacks
        emanating from their territory. In a letter dated 1 June 2006, they informed me that
        the Lebanese Army Command, in conjunction with UNIFIL, would conduct the
        investigations necessary to ascertain the c i r c~~in~t anocfe sth e firing of missiles from
        Lebanese territory with a view to putting an end to them. The Lebanese Government
        subsequently alleged that Israel was involved in the attack in Saida; Israel denied it.

        20. Later in the morning of 28 May, IDF retaliated with air strikes against military
        installations of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General
        Command in Naameh, 15 kilometres south of Beirut, and in the Sultan Yacoub area
        in the Bekaa Valley. One nieinber was reportedly killed and eight were wounded in
        the air strikes.
        21. In the afternoon of the same day, unidcntified armed elements fired small arms
        from the general area of Hula on the Lebanese side, directed at Manara village on
        the Israeli side. One IDF soldier was reportedly seriously wounded. There was no
        claim of responsibility, and Hizbollah denied any involvement in the shooting. The
        incident triggered a major exchange of fire in different areas along the Blue Line,
        from the coast to the Shab’a farms in the east. IDF retaliated with a significant
        number of air strikes and artillery, mortar and tank fire, causing extensive damage to
        a number of Hizbollah positions. One Hizbollah nieiiiber was killed and several
        more were injured. Two Lebanese civilians were also wounded, and several houses
        of civilians were damaged. Hizbollah responded with rocket, mortar and small-arms
        fire. UNIFIL was in close contact with the parties during the exchange of fire with a
        view to arranging a ceasefire and preventing fLirtlier escalation. After approximately
        two hours of heavy exchanges, UNIFIL and my senior representatives in the area
        succeeded in brokering a cessation of hostilities.
        22. In the course of the exchange of fire, UNIFIL recorded a number of cases of
        IDF firing close to UNIFIL positions 8-32, 8-32A and 8-33 in the general area of
        Hula, position 1-31, in the vicinity of Alma ash Shab, and patrol base Hin of
        Observer Group Lebanon. Position 8-32 suffered significant material damage as a
        result of a bush fire ignited by the IDF fire. UNIFIL also recorded a number of
        incidents of Hizbollah small-arms fire from the vicinity of the same United Nations
        positions. These incidents are of serious concern because they endanger the lives of
        United Nations personnel and property. UNIFIL strongly protested the incidents to
        both sides.
        23. Persistent and provocative Israeli air incursions, occasionally reaching deep
        into Lebanese airspace and generating sonic booms over populated areas, remained
        a matter of serious concern. The pattern identified in my previous reports continued,
        whereby the aircraft would sometimes fly out to sea and enter Lebanese airspace
        north of the UNIFIL area of operation, thus avoiding direct observation and
        verification by UNIFIL. The air incursions violate Lebanon’s sovereignty and
        territorial integrity, elevate tension and disrupt the fragile calm along the Blue Line.
        A reduction in the number of air incursions in April contributed to an atmosphere of
        relative calm along the Blue Line, but this trend was reversed in May.
        24. There were no instances of Hizbollah anti-aircraft fire across the Blue Line
        during the reporting period.
        25. UNIFIL recorded a number of Lebanese ground violations of the Blue Line,
        primarily by shepherds. Such violations had become an almost daily routine, often
        involving the same local shepherds. On 1 February, IDF killed a Lebanese shepherd.
        UNIFIL had urged the Lebanese authorities to take concrete measures on the ground
        to prevent such violations, particularly by shepherds in the Shab’a farms area.
        Meanwhile, UNIFIL and Observer Group Lebanon patrols warned the local
        population about the danger of crossing the Blue Line.

        link to unifil.unmissions.org

        This period was not significantly different from earlier periods in the sense that there were continual border skirmishes and violations from both sides and there were continual violations of Lebanese airspace by Israel during earlier periods as well.

      • Mooser
        May 28, 2010, 3:33 pm

        178 wondering jew May 28, 2010 at 12:15 pm
        “Cliff, you have zero class.”

        In Scarsdale, those words get people killed, and are still legal grounds for a duel!
        But get it right, Wondering, it’s “cless“!

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 5:17 pm

        ” Your sermons about recognizing the faults of Hamas and Hezbollah would go over better if you didn’t invariably accompany them with smarmy apologetics for your own favorite thugs.”

        Especially given that he would have fully supported Israel’s violent and ferocious response had Hamas been the side that broke the ceasefire and killed 6 Israelis.

        Of course in ghat case, he would have argued that Israel was acting in self defense.

      • zamaaz
        May 28, 2010, 10:00 am

        There are many issues in this conflict: a) Why was Israel negotiating with Hizbollah, and not the Lebanese government? b) Why did the Lebanese government allow the Hizbollah a militant group to exist parallel to its military? e) Was the existence of Hizbollah legitimate before the Lebanese government? f) If not legitimate, why then the Lebanese government allowed the Israelis negotiate directly with the Hizbollah? Both yes, and no answers will make Lebanon accountable solely to their own demise…This is the responsibility of an established government of independent state…

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 10:35 am

        Zamass, Hizbullah came to life with the help of Iran in 1982 when it became obvious that Israel had no intention of leaving Lebanon after it had put the PLO fighters on the boats to Tunis and done its trick or treat at Sabra-Shatilla with the help of the Phalangists. It was also during the Lebanese civil war of 1975-1989 when there was no army in Lebanon so Hizbullah and other resistance fighters from other groups such as Amal and the Communists were the only forces to fight the Israeli occupier.

        As to why the negotiations were not with the Lebanese government, this is because the the deterrent to Israel in Lebanon is Hizbullah thanks to the Israeli and American governments that have been refusing to let the Lebanese army equip itself adequately and not have to rely on the resistance forces. The answer is always very loud and clear by the US that the Lebanese army must NEVER have arms that could be used against Israel. Love is blind.

      • zamaaz
        May 28, 2010, 10:52 am

        Thanks Walid, you have the point here… The Lebanese must be given the right to equip itself as a democratic government …to exercise its national integrity…and sovereignty. I hope these issues must have been considered prudently by both the Lebanese and Israeli government.

      • lareineblanche
        May 28, 2010, 11:15 am

        “Thanks Walid, you have the point here”
        Yes, but I think you missed it entirely.

        “The Lebanese must be given the right to equip itself as a democratic government …to exercise its national integrity…and sovereignty.”
        And the only way to do this at the time was through the Hizbollah. I don’t even think you know what “national integrity” and “sovereignty” mean, but Israel has continually rejected those ideas when it pertained to its neighbors. Words and phrases mean absolutely nothing in this case.
        And your notions of Israel “protecting” its territory and exercising its “rights” against the gaza flotilla are utter falsehood – Israel has no “rights” to defend on gazan territory – the siege is illegal, and an act of war, period. Your “logic” defines the flotilla essentially as an act of war, then. Is this what you think?
        You’re cluttering up this place with your muddled rhetoric, and you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about, it’s embarrassing.

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 11:17 am

        Zamaaz, if one day Israel finally leaves Lebanon and assurances are given that Israel would never again enter Lebanon or steal its water, I’d be the first asking for Hizbullah to disarm.

      • Donald
        May 28, 2010, 11:19 am

        The proper response to zamaaz is no response at all. He’s considerably worse than RW when it comes to illogic and word salad and much of what he says is based on dispensational theology, so there’s little or no point in trying to discuss things with him.

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 11:20 am

        The UN confirmed that Israel has left Lebanon.

        You trust international law when it supports you, but condemn it when it reasons differently?

        How are you different than what you condemn?

      • Richard Witty
        May 28, 2010, 11:21 am

        The UN voted that the region south of the Litani should be demilitarized, ratified by the security council, hence international law.

        How is that violation of international law upheld? How do you justify it?

      • lareineblanche
        May 28, 2010, 11:36 am

        Donald :
        “…so there’s little or no point in trying to discuss things with him.”

        Sorry, I caved…

      • zamaaz
        May 28, 2010, 11:38 am

        The Lebanon crisis reminds of the blunders made by the Arab leaders in 1948…. and the commonality were Miscalculations… Nasrallah has made two big errors; a) made supplementary abductions while prisoner swapping was till on progress…b) used Katyushas as diversionary tactics… One must never used a thing of ‘massive impact’ as ‘diversionary tactic’. This was indeed perceived an obvious act of ‘war’! Justifying massive response by the Israelis… All these created an impression of bad-faith and unwarranted aggression on behalf of the Hizbollahs, making it appeared the Israelis were simply doing a defensive stance.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 11:46 am

        “You trust international law when it supports you, but condemn it when it reasons differently?”

        Ha ha what a pathetic joke. Tell us the story again from yesterday Richard – how you now support Right of Return for Palestinian born refugees (ie senior citizens), but not their children because 1948 was so long ago ~ but if it were 1950 you wouldn’t support RoR at all.

        Talk about running hot and cold on international law. Very un-liberal, rather fascist. You’re too gutless to admit what you really are about.

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 11:51 am

        Richard Witty, Israel has been disregarding international law since it was created; you should be embarrassed bringing up the point of which party is respecting international laws or not. By the way, the 1701 had ordered Israel out of the northern part of the village of Ghajjar 4 years ago. What is Israel waiting for to get the hell out of there? I guess it doesn’t want to move away from the Wazzani Springs that it’s siphoning. Why does it continue harrassing the fishermen off Sour’s coast and why the redundant overflights that are contravening the 1701? Still want to talk about international law?

      • Donald
        May 28, 2010, 11:58 am

        I have no problem condemning Hezbollah for violations of international law. I don’t know enough to comment on the example RW gives, but he might be right. Hezbollah certainly violated the laws of war in firing rockets indiscriminately in 2006.

        But we all know what Witty’s song and dance is on the subject of war crimes–Arab violations are very clear to him, while Israeli war crimes are only alleged, something that Israel needs to investigate so it can make “confident” changes and cross its fingers and promise never to do it again, or if it does, to deny it strenuously and cover up the evidence as much as possible.

      • Miss Dee Mena
        May 28, 2010, 12:13 pm

        Israel is still occupying Lebanon’s Shebaa farms illegally. The UN has acknowledged this belatedly after this was pointed out to them following an agreement between Lebanon and Syria that the Shebaa farms are part of Lebanon.

        Originally the UN had ruled that the farms were Syrian territory and therefore part of a settlement between Israel and Syria. However, an agreement reached between Lebanon and Syria approved Lebanon’s ownership of the farms and the UN has subsequently taken this into consideration.

        Israel ergo continues to occupy Lebanese territory. And then there is the village of Ghaja which is divided by Israel into two with the southern part occupied by Israel. Lebanon wants this returned as well.

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 12:39 pm

        Zamaaz, prisoner swap talks had reached a dead end and Israel wasn’t talking anymore. In 1982 while in Lebanon, Israel opened a concentration camp at Ansar that had a prisoner population of 11,000 most of which were transferred to Israel when the pressure from international community forced the closing of this evil camp a couple of years later; Chomsky wrote about it. This is another deviation from international law by Israel. It’s amazing how you and Witty discuss international law all the time while Israel is practically breaking every law in the book.

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 12:47 pm

        Dee Mena, Israel’s squatting on the 30 sq km of Chebaa Farms has nothing to do with any ownership ambiguity between Syria and Lebanon but because it is located at the foot of Mount Hermon and the largest fresh water reserve in the area. Same problem with Ghajjar that is adjacent to the Wazzani Springs from which Israel is pumping water to villages in Israel. Israel would give you 101 reasons why it has to stay in possesion of these places as wellas the Golan Heights that together supply Israel with 25% of its water needs. It’s all about the water and nothing else. Same with the occupation of the West Bank from where the stolen water supplies 50% of Israel’s water needs.

      • Miss Dee Mena
        May 28, 2010, 12:52 pm

        There is no ambiguity between Lebanon and Syria over the Chebaa farms. They have already both agreed that they belong to Lebanon. So my point was to dispute Israel’s claim to have left all Lebanese territory. Same with Ghajjar. I wasn’t discussing Israel’s reasons for being there.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 1:27 pm

        I’d really like to see the water issue covered more in the press Walid – it’s boring but a critical issue.

        Israel would be much better off using the annual 3 billion dollars of US aid to invest it in research to bring down the cost of desalinated water. That could actually help end the occupations of Lebanese and Palestinian land, and they could licence the technology (post-peace) around the world, it’d be a huge hit, especially in the GCC nations. They talk the talk on Israel being the “start-up nation” but rely on stolen water, go figure.

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 2:48 pm

        Sumud, it has been my opinion for a long time that with Israel’s advanced technology and water management skills and Lebanon’s abundant water supply of which close to 30% goes out wastefully to sea, both could make beautiful music together but it seems that Israel is intent on continuing to do it the easy way by stealing until the sources all dry up and of course those sources are all those of other countries so there is no real loss to Israel. The aquifer on the WB that supplies close to 50% of Israel’s water is starting to dry up. Gaza that has no water was easily abandoned by Israel.

        Meanwhile, Israel opened it’s 3rd desalination plant a couple of weeks ago and it’s the world’s largest reverse osmosis plant. 4 years ago on the day the July war started, Israel signed a deal with Turkey for 5 underwater pipelines to run oil, natural gas, electricity and fresh Euphrates water from Ceyhan to Ashkalon but now with the deteriorating situation between Turkey and Israel, I don’t know where that stands. Here’s a blurb on the 3rd plant that opened recently:

        “… The world’s largest reverse osmosis desalination plant has been opened in the Israeli city of Hadera by H2ID consortium, a joint venture between IDE Technologies and Shikun & Binui.

        Financing for the plant, which cost $425m to build, was raised largely from European banks, according to Reuters.

        IDE Technologies, a jointly-owned operation by Israel Chemicals and the Delek Group, said the plant is being constructed on a build, own, operate/transfer business model.

        It is also constructing reverse osmosis plants in the Israeli region of Ashkelon and in Larnaca, Cyrpus.

        Israel has been plagued by water shortages and has for many years been running low from its traditional freshwater sources; the Sea of Galilee and underground aquifers.

        The Hadera plant will produce 33 billion gallons of fresh water each year, Reuters reports.

        link to newenergyworldnetwork.com

      • Mooser
        May 28, 2010, 3:35 pm

        “Both yes, and no answers will make Lebanon accountable solely to their own demise…”

        Gosh, I must be smart! How did I now zamaaz would come to that particular conclusion?

        Oh well, I’m glad I’m not the only one who knows what it’s like to go through life as a bad parody of a stereotype!

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 28, 2010, 8:17 pm

        “word salad ”
        Also called Schizophasia, a mental condition characterized by incoherent babbling (compulsive or intentional, but nonsensical)

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 28, 2010, 8:24 pm

        Actually I’m hesitating between Schizophasia and Logorrhea which is also a mental condition characterized by excessive talking (coherent or otherwise, but compulsive)..
        Poor zamass, I’m praying for him.

      • Shingo
        May 28, 2010, 9:30 pm

        “The UN confirmed that Israel has left Lebanon.”

        Repeat that garbage all you like Witty, but without citing sources (your pet hate) no one believes you.
         
        “You trust international law when it supports you, but condemn it when it reasons differently?”

        That’s a farcical comment from someone who describes international law as political correctness.

      • Taxi
        May 28, 2010, 9:33 pm

        Loquaciousness is definitely related to sexuality.

  14. Chu
    May 28, 2010, 7:04 am

    The flotilla should have a massive fireworks show on arrival.
    Only then will major news organizations have a need to send
    their cameras to record it.

    • Frances
      May 28, 2010, 7:22 am

      Please, all it needs is a lolcat or two and it’ll get more hits than any pro-Palestinian blog.

      Maybe that should be the strategy of the Free Gaza movement. LolPalestinians. I can haz basic necessities of life?

      The media blackout on this is really disgusting. All that freedom of the press guaranteed by the constitution and they can’t be bothered.

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 7:51 am

        Frances, stop hinting that the Zionists control the press; you’ll be called an antisemite.

      • Frances
        May 28, 2010, 7:54 am

        True, but fortunately I can’t hear the insults and catcalls through my Klansman hood.

      • thankgodimatheist
        May 28, 2010, 8:27 pm

        Frances..of the two, you and Mooser, I’m not sure anymore who’s funnier.

      • Chu
        May 28, 2010, 10:13 am

        “media blackout on this is really disgusting.”

        For real! If the US ever wishes to see it’s position of hypocrisy, they should start to investigate this story. But Zionism’s big fist of green is right there to block any news anchor from due diligence.

        It’s happened for so long, cowards like Charlie Gibson, Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Brian Williams, Matt Lauer(!), etc have learned to compartmentalize their ‘sense’ of courage, only to be discussed as an abstract notion when they read their children books about this idea. They’ve completely lost courage & fortitude , which is why the internet blogs are kicking their sorry asses.

  15. Chaos4700
    May 28, 2010, 8:34 am

    Witty hates Palestine, Witty hates Arabs, Witty hates peaceful protests, Witty hates UNWRA’s mission and Witty hates democracy for anyone who isn’t Jewish.

    I think that much is painfully clear. If words were bullets, Witty would have sunk at least one of the ships in the flotilla already.

    • Sumud
      May 28, 2010, 11:51 am

      The MV Rahcel Corrie no doubt. Her committment to *justice* was just so maximalist.

    • Mooser
      May 28, 2010, 3:42 pm

      Chaos, don’t forget, Witty is “sure” about the terrorist “prayers” on the boats.
      I’m sure analysis would have shown a ziocaine spike right about then. Maliciously fantasising about the prayers for violence and death by the flotilla participants, and then turning that into a fact (“I’m sure”) on which to base an argument.
      That, my friends, is your brain on… well, you’ve heard it before.

      Well, I wouldn’t want to be accused of anti-Semitism, of course, it’s always possible that malicious self-delusion was something he worked on in the Ashram. It’s just so Bhuddist.

  16. Chris S
    May 28, 2010, 11:18 am

    Israel could sink the flotilla and kill everyone on those boats and the house would pass a resolution 400+ to 4 supporting Israel’s right to do whatever.

    • Chu
      May 28, 2010, 11:35 am

      It only makes the state of Israel more illegitimate to the world, even if the Congress is bought and paid for. Ultimately, we pay for the inaction of Congress, since they are our cowardly representatives and reflect our values as a nation.

  17. Miss Dee Mena
    May 28, 2010, 11:26 am

    Seems the flotilla is being held up in Cyprus with the Cypriot police forcibly preventing peace activists from joining the boats. I wonder how the Israelis have leaned on the Cypriots to make them so “accommodatingl”. In the past the Cypriot authorities have been fairly sympathetic to the Free Gaza movement.

    • Sumud
      May 28, 2010, 12:01 pm

      MDM The Free Gaza twitter also just posted a link to this article at J Post:

      link to ynetnews.com

      ..which says they’ve had additional technical hitches causing them to delay by a day so as to not enter Gazan waters at night.

      The article claims the flotilla will be entering “Israel’s territorial waters”, duh. Also that another attempt to break the blockade in 2008 was intercepted ~150km (!!!) off shore. That really is piracy.

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 12:55 pm

        It’s a shame how the NYT article was written up today. I would have preferred that they’d write nothing at all. It was a pure propaganda piece for Israel with the good guys in Israel offering to fly the activists home for free or they go straight to jail nd await trial. A hell of a choice and I hope that all participants opt for the jail to embarrass the hell out of Israel. I regret not being on one of the ships.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 1:15 pm

        Do you mean the Kershner article?

        link to nytimes.com

        Really, I didn’t think it was too bad, not complimentary to Israel. I had a chuckle in the last paragraph roundup, the two Israel “ultranationalists” who were heckling Rahm Emanuel called him a “traitor”. I know he served in the IDF but is still a US not Israeli citizen. It’s gonna get mighty ugly in Israel when the US finally turns off the love.

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 1:25 pm

        Yes, Sumud, it’s the one. The ships will be “invited” to dock at Ashdod. What kind of crappy language is that? It’s full of those little subtle messages, especially about the big bad Hamas.

      • Sumud
        May 28, 2010, 1:42 pm

        I know, I agree the “invite” thing was lame, and I’d like to see the lame “right to exist” argument put to rest, also an honest assessment of the US role in the Hamas/Fatah coup. Reading it again Hamas comes off pretty bad. I guess I’m so used to reading & ignoring lies in the MSM I automatically discount them.

        Still, it does take a few jabs at Israel. The Free Gaza organisers call Israel’s actions “ridiculous and offensive”, the hasbara aspect is mentioned and mocked (“In a sarcastic e-mail message to reporters this week, Israel’s Government Press Office recommended”) which genuinely surprised me – Israel mocked in the NYT!, and the UN is quoted saying Israel is lying about the situation in Gaza.

    • Walid
      May 28, 2010, 1:09 pm

      Some of you may be familiar with the name of Dr Ben Alofs from Wales that did a lot of work in caring for the Palestinians. In August 2008 with the planned (I think) first ship to break the siege, Dr Alofs had some sound advice to the activitists based on his own Cyprus experience when he tried to make such an attempt 20 years earlier; he posted the following on Haaretz Talkback which considering Israel’s history of dirty tricks could still apply to the current activists on Cyprus:

      “… Title: Advice to the organizers: guard your ship around the
      clock!!!

      Name: ben alofs

      City: Bangor State: North Wales, UK

      In February 1988 Palestinian refugees from 1948 along with international journalists and sympathizers, of whom I was one, were due to board a ship, called al-Awda, the Return, in Limassol, Cyprus. The unarmed merchant vessel had been hired by the PLO.

      The aim was to sail to Haifa, drop anchor and face Israel with the choice: letting the Palestinian refugees land ashore and exercise their Right of Return, starve them aboard or sink the ship.

      Israel was in so much fear of this potentially great embarassment, that it sent a squad of Mossad agents to Cyprus. After killing 3 guards they then proceeded to blow up the hull of the ship in Limassol harbour, making it impossible for the ship to go to sea.

      There is a serious risk that this may happen again. I would urge the organizers and participants to be very vigilant around the clock. Israel will go to any length to prevent this ship from leaving port!!!

      • Walid
        May 28, 2010, 1:21 pm

        Does anyone know if Jeff Halper is on this trip?

  18. Mooser
    May 28, 2010, 3:44 pm

    Almost forgot to say; it’s always great to hear from Alex Kane on this.

  19. Mooser
    May 28, 2010, 4:38 pm

    Witty, when your need to protect and rationalise the actions of a cruelly intransigent regime is mixed up with paternal feelings, you are in a hell of a fix.
    Good job, Witty, it couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

  20. Richard Witty
    May 28, 2010, 4:58 pm

    Donald,
    When you claim that some action is a “war crime”, can you bother to site the specific law that you believe it is in violation of?

    It may be so, or may not be so.

    I’m not sure if the United States blockade of Japan towards the end of WW2 was a war crime, as the purpose of the blockade was to hinder Japan’s active war-pursuing activities.

    Are you certain? You often pose changing names to illustrate cases. Could you do so in this case, to determine if you are considering “international law” in a color-blind manner?

    And, coolly and respectfully describe your evaluation process.

    • Shafiq
      May 28, 2010, 5:12 pm

      To be honest Richard, what’s the point? The relevant law will be quoted and you’ll decide that the law is ambiguous and doesn’t ‘prove’ anything.

      The US blockade of Japan, if repeated today, would be a war-crime. The particular event isn’t considered one, because the Geneva Conventions had not been passed at the time.

    • Chaos4700
      May 28, 2010, 7:45 pm

      So now “international law” is in air quotes?

      At what point do you get so desperate, Witty, that you put “human rights” in air quotes because it runs at cross purposes with your precious Zionism?

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