Libya/Gaza

Israel/Palestine
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The top of this website says it’s about the war of ideas in the Middle East, which means that I as a co-editor am supposed to have a firm opinion about the intervention in Libya. I don’t. Truthfully, I’m thrilled, I think Qaddafi will be gone within days, just as I said, correctly, that Mubarak would be gone; and yet I reflect that I supported the Afghan war and I was wrong about that, and people who know more about the issues than I do are opposed. Here is Abdel al-Bari Atwan at the Guardian saying, this could hurt the Arab spring and solidify the madman’s stronghold in the west. Steve Walt says this should be Europe’s action. Phyllis Bennis says that the action exceeds the rebels’ requests and threatens to impose a global power politics frame on the Arab spring, thereby fostering the scourge of war. Robert Dreyfuss says that the U.S. is muscling an illegal action.

Honestly, my main response to the Libya intervention is, Why didn’t they stop the carnage in Gaza? It went on for 3 weeks, as long as Qaddafi has been rampaging, and for all that time Obama said nothing as president-elect and we wouldn’t impose a ceasefire let alone call off the murderous jets dropping white phosphorus. The Israelis killed 1300+, nearly 400 of them children. I wonder if Qaddafi has killed more– I’m sure he hasn’t killed that many children– and of course he can make the same claims as the Israelis did about militants.

One good thing about Libya is that it demonstrates that Netanyahu is as divorced from reality as Qaddafi, in his commitment to militant rule of the West Bank, and to preserving a Jewish democracy in a land where Jews are in the minority. Still American support never ends. In 2006 George W. Bush repeatedly held off ceasefire resolutions on Israel’s campaign of destruction in Lebanon, even as Red Crescent caravans were targeted and houses filled with civilians bombed.

And of course not two weeks ago Obama vetoed the Security Council resolution condemning Israeli colonization– Obama who in Cairo ’09 called for an end to settlements and for democracy in the Arab world.

They say that Libya exposes our hypocrisy for doing nothing in Yemen and Bahrain. The hopeful side of me says that the Arab spring is unstoppable, and our government’s hypocrisy will melt away soon enough; and that the democracy forces in Yemen and Bahrain will also win.

And that same side of me says that the international intervention in Libya will be short and effective and the Arab uprisings will continue to remake the world, and that the democracy movement will come at last to Israel/Palestine, and the whole world will say, Enough.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.

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  1. Richard Witty
    March 20, 2011, 10:21 am

    The origination of the war in Gaza was very different than in Libya, precipitated by a week of shelling civilians in Israel from Gaza, and officially sanctioned by Hamas.

    The rebels in Libya did not target civilians.

    I would expect that the death toll in Libya is much higher than Gaza, including more children. The Libyans are (or maybe were) conducting aerial bombing.

    There is no cookie-cutter to what is going on the middle east. The politics of each are different.

    The theme of anti-colonialism isn’t even a relevant divider. The Arab League (I guess an outsider to Libya) requested the UN sanctions and military action, as much as Qaddafi is playing the military missions against them as colonial (US, England, France). He believed that he had bought US alliance by willingly renouncing his anti-colonial revolutionary approach internationally.

    Even on the question of military intervention the prevailing theme of ‘we should just stay out’, is inconsistent with other ideological themes expressed here.

    Dissent (Phil), still thinks of US a world cop/enforcer/liberator, even as he condemns the identity.

    Community democracy is the most important scope. Intimate, neighborhoods. National and international politics intrude on the collective will that gets expressed, but so does ideological self-appointed vanguards.

    The most democratic process is the one that listens much much much more than tells.

    • Jim Holstun
      March 20, 2011, 11:53 am

      Mr. Witty, you are delusional. From late June 2008 to November 4th 2008, Hamas rigorously maintained a ceasefire, as Mark Regev himself admitted, despite numerous Israeli violations of the ceasefire agreement. The Gaza War began on the night of November 4-5, when a death squad of Israeli militants entered Gazan Palestine and killed six Hamas soldiers. Hamas responded with some rocket fire, and later, with pleas to continue the ceasefire, such as it was. Israel responded with industrial murder.

      The facts are easy to find. Check them out, and stop speaking falsely.

      • Donald
        March 20, 2011, 12:28 pm

        Richard’s position becomes clear when you realize he operates according to the following rules (most of which are also adopted by the American mainstream)–

        1. Israel has the right to reply with violence to any act of Palestinian violence directed at them. This is because there is a “peace process”.
        Until that process is concluded with an agreement satisfactory to Israelis, the Israelis continue to have the right to use violence against Palestinians to maintain order. The fact that the order the Israelis maintain is that of an apartheid state, with all the necessary repression and unjust violence that this entails changes nothing. Israel still has the right to use violence as it sees fit and to impose blockades and do whatever they feel they should–Palestinians may complain, but really, their only recourse is to sign a peace agreement that Israel will accept.
        2. Palestinians have no right to react to any act of Israeli violence with violence directed at Israelis.
        3. However, Palestinians should react with violence towards other Palestinians who use violence against Israel. This will show that they are serious about peace.
        4. Israelis have the right to move into Palestinian areas until such time as a peace agreement acceptable to Israel is reached. They may not be forcibly removed, as this would be ethnic cleansing.
        5. Palestinians have no right to move back into pre-67 Israeli, except for the elderly survivors of 1948. Ethnic cleansing was necessary then to remove a sufficient number of Palestinians to create a Jewish state.

        Keep those rules in mind and you will have no difficulty understanding Richard’s point of view.

      • eljay
        March 20, 2011, 12:59 pm

        >> 1. Israel has the right to reply with violence to any act of Palestinian violence directed at them.

        RW’s point of view is even more disturbingly twisted as a result of his Zio-supremacism. According to him, Israel is entitled to use Palestinian violence to justify “belligerent reprisals” even if Israel “started it” – that is, even if Israel provoked the Palestinian violence by means of military offensive actions.

        Just another example of how his brand of “humanism” is utterly fraudulent.

      • DBG
        March 20, 2011, 8:30 pm

        Donald, how does the latest barrage of rockets and mortars out of Gaza fit into your last statement?

        In my opinion, Hamas purposely fired them to try and unite Gazans against Israel instead of asking for freedom and unity. Nothing unites a nation like a foreign enemy killing their people.

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 10:33 pm

        Donald, how does the latest barrage of rockets and mortars out of Gaza fit into your last statement?

        How about half a dozen bombing capaigns against Gaza this year alone?

        In my opinion, Hamas purposely fired them to try and unite Gazans against Israel instead of asking for freedom and unit

        In my opinion, Kadima purposely intitated Cast Lead to try and unite Israelis against Gazans instead of asking for freedom and unity.

      • lysias
        March 20, 2011, 4:04 pm

        The Gaza War began on the night of November 4-5, when a death squad of Israeli militants entered Gazan Palestine and killed six Hamas soldiers.

        Nov. 4, 2008 just happens to have been Election Day in the U.S. Tell me that was not planned.

        Especially since the very name of “Operation Cast Lead” appears to indicate that the full-scale operation was planned to occur over Hanukkah, which just happens to have been that year in the interregnum between the U.S. election and the inauguration of the new president.

    • James North
      March 20, 2011, 12:20 pm

      Richard’s comment is ludicrous. I share Phil’s ambivalence about the Libyan intervention, and thanks to his links, and to other posts and comments to come on this site, I will be able to inform myself better.

      • MRW
        March 20, 2011, 12:56 pm

        110-120 US Tomahawk missiles dropped on the country? (You know the supply had to have come out of the stock we keep in Israel.) Is this to help justify Israel’s $20 billion demand last week for security-in-the-region money?

        I smell a rat in this.

        The Arab League is now saying they agreed to a No-Fly-Zone but not all this bombing. Why aren’t they bombing MG’s palace(s)? Why are they bombing places with civilians? Why did Susan Rice get something passed at the UN that absolved any country that hired mercenaries for MG? Call me cynical.

      • fuster
        March 20, 2011, 1:09 pm

        the missiles were dropped on Libyan air defense installations.

        kind of a necessity if you want to have UN planes flying overhead and keeping the Libyan military out of the skies.

      • Colin Murray
        March 20, 2011, 2:07 pm

        IIRC, this was something that Ron Paul warned about. A no-fly zone is an act of war because suppression of ground-based air defense is the the first thing that has to be done. This means dropping bombs on anti-aircraft weapons and sensors on the ground. Arab League leadership whining over this now is disingenuous repositioning for public opinion backlash. Did they not pay attention to how this has been done by the West before, especially in Iraq? I find it hard to believe they are that stupid, but then I think of some of our past leadership …

      • ToivoS
        March 20, 2011, 2:48 pm

        Fuster for once you state the obvious truth. They sold us a “no fly zone” without telling us explicitly that it would be an open war zone. Now it is too late, the dogs of air war have been unleashed and they are not going to be controlled by Western liberal sensibilities.

      • MRW
        March 20, 2011, 3:32 pm

        Gates warned Congress ten days ago that a No-Fly-Zone was tantamount to a declaration of war. Everybody knew going in what this meant.

      • Citizen
        March 20, 2011, 4:14 pm

        Each Tomahawk missile costs the US taxpayers 1 M dollars. So keep tabs on how many we shoot, and while you’re at it, keep tabs of how many England shoots too–I think right now they are on par with the US, and as you might have noticed, England’s economy is also in the dumpster with lots of unhappy citizens.

      • fuster
        March 20, 2011, 4:26 pm

        Many bad or dishonest calculations and time-wasting dithering from the Arab league left it too late for merely “no-fly” to stop the slaughter.

        At this point, it either had to be more active countermeasures or nothing.

      • RoHa
        March 20, 2011, 11:33 pm

        “keep tabs of how many England shoots too”

        Scotland and Wales are taking no part in it?

      • Citizen
        March 20, 2011, 4:07 pm

        Richard’s comment is not only ludicrous but a blatant lie; Jim Holstun’s comment above time-lining how Israel broke the ceasefire has been repeated and documented on this blog dozens of times, and Richard Witty has simply repeated his lie positing the Palestinian rocket fire as the cause of what lead to OP Cast Lead each time. The conclusion I see is that Witty feels its his job to just keep repeating lies here on this blog in the hope he will confuse new passer-bys dropping by here daily. He lives each day feeling he is on the hasbara front line, an IDF squad point man in his own mind. He knows the value of good PR.

      • Richard Witty
        March 20, 2011, 4:46 pm

        You use that term “lie” very frivolously.

        I read the assertions in Haaretz at the time, and supported by the ambassador (someone posted a link) and considered the assertions plausible, a component of truth.

        The authoritative “Israel started it” is a lie. In a cycle of conflict, in an environment in which Hamas was (or even could have) used the cease-fire to rearm and to dig networks of tunnels for kidnapping, that also could be construed as a violation of the cease-fire.

        “He started it”, is the language of four-year olds.

        Why has Hamas refused to allow red cross personnel to visit Shalit?

        Not a violation of international law? Of course it is.

      • James North
        March 20, 2011, 4:52 pm

        Richard gets ever more pathetic. He’s once again getting squashed about the Gaza/Cast Lead timeline, so he introduces Shalit! But he still can’t find the time to condemn Israel’s latest instance of collective punishment.
        This is a man who is at war with his own conscience. He’s not trying to persuade us; he’s trying to make so much noise that his own guilt will stay buried.

      • Richard Witty
        March 20, 2011, 4:54 pm

        “quashed by the gaza/cast lead timeline”.

        How?

        The story is what I described.

      • James North
        March 20, 2011, 5:02 pm

        “Squashed,” Richard. Not “quashed.”

      • Diane Mason
        March 20, 2011, 5:11 pm

        Why has Hamas refused to allow red cross personnel to visit Shalit?

        Not a violation of international law? Of course it is.

        Richard, saying “of course it is” doesn’t make it so.

        You are mistaken about what international law requires of Hamas. In general, captors are required to allow the Red Cross to visit military prisoners, but that is not an unconditional requirement. International law makes one caveat, and it is that Shalit’s captors are required to allow Red Cross visits, so long as a Red Cross visit would not threaten the security of the captors themselves.

        In a place like Gaza, which is under close and continuous surveillance by Israel, it is highly likely that the Israelis would detect the hiding place where Shalit is being held if a Red Cross delegation is permitted to go there.

        Regardless of your “Not a violation of international law? Of course it is”, it seems to me that Shalit’s situation is one that clearly meets the conditions under which a captor might refuse Red Cross visits to a prisoner without violating international law.

        Edited to add: As Hamas is not officially a state, I don’t think it is obliged at all to allow Red Cross visits in the first place. But if we give your point of view the benefit of the doubt, and attribute the responsibilities of a state to Hamas by virtue of it being the de facto government in Gaza, then you run into the argument I outlined above.

      • Richard Witty
        March 20, 2011, 5:12 pm

        You still didn’t answer the question.

        So many insults from your tongue/keyboard.

        Why?

      • fuster
        March 20, 2011, 5:24 pm

        Excellent point, Mason. Terrorist gangs are not obligated by international law to allow Red Cross visits.

        Not allowing the visit is therefore…..just business as usual.

      • radkelt
        March 20, 2011, 5:53 pm

        question: does Israel allow access to Palestinian prisoners by
        international medical organizations, Red Crescent, Red Cross,
        Medicins Sans Frontiers ?

      • Sumud
        March 20, 2011, 6:26 pm

        Interesting Diane, I wasn’t aware of that distinction.

        At any rate, Israel has a long history of holding Palestinian prisoners without charge or trial (as of Feb 2011 there are 214 Palestinian Shalits in Israeli custody – bothered RW? you’ve never mentioned them), denying Palestinians in custody access to a lawyer to force confessions, systematic use of torture, and most disturbingly operating black sites like Facility 1391 where prisoners are ‘disappeared’ and Israel denies they’re even in custody, and definitely denies Red Cross access:

        Facility 1391: Israel’s secret prison

        Israel says 1391 was closed in 2006 but they continue to deny Red Cross visits to the site, so no-one has been able to independently verify that the site isn’t still active.

        When I was researching 1391 I came across this 1997 Amnesty International report on the Khiam facility Walid has mentioned before, that Israel operated with the SLA in Southern Lebanon:

        Israel’s forgotten hostages: Lebanese detainees in Israel and Khiam Detention Centre

        Lots of prisoner testimony, worth even a quick glance. AI believes that many of the prisoners were simply being held as hostages.

        Personally I think if Hamas are unwilling to organise a Red Cross visit they should be issuing regular medical reports on his condition. The argument that Gaza isn’t a state doesn’t do it for me.

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 7:08 pm

        You use that term “lie” very frivolously.

        You lie all the time Witty. Stop lying and you won’t be frivolously accused of lying.

        The authoritative “Israel started it” is a lie.

        You use that term “lie” very frivolously.

        In a cycle of conflict, in an environment in which Hamas was (or even could have) used the cease-fire to rearm and to dig networks of tunnels for kidnapping, that also could be construed as a violation of the cease-fire.

        So let me get this straight Witty. You claimed that Cast Lead was a response to a ceasefire, yet you justify Israe;s November 4th attack as a continuation of the cycle of conflict.

        Could you be anymore pathetic and obvious?

        I never took you to be a 4 year old Witty.

        Why has Hamas refused to allow red cross personnel to visit Shalit?

        What does that have to do with Israel’s attacks on Gaza? it certainyl was not paart fo the June 2008 ceasefire agreement.

        Not a violation of international law? Of course it is.

        As is he blockade. End the blockade and Shalit will be released.

        “He started it”, is the language of four-year olds.

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 7:09 pm

        The story is what I described.

        With the deliberate omission of the November 4th ceasefire violation.

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 7:12 pm

        Terrorist gangs are not obligated by international law to allow Red Cross visits.

        Not to worry frog man. Israel blocked the red Cross from gettign to vicitms in Gaza, so I take it your point is that the IDF are a terrorist gang?

      • Chaos4700
        March 20, 2011, 7:52 pm

        There are THOUSANDS of Palestinians, present and past, under IDF custody who are not only refused access by international medical personnel, but who by many accounts are delibereately tortured. Many of these victims are children.

        You goddamn hypocrites sit here bitching and moaning about the fate of one Israeli POW when there is a mountain of abused Palestinian civilians that you had to trudge over and willfully ignore to get to that point.

      • DBG
        March 20, 2011, 9:06 pm

        The old you suck worse, is that considered #2 or #3 Chaos?

        link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

      • annie
        March 20, 2011, 9:18 pm

        it falls into neither category dbg.

      • Walid
        March 20, 2011, 9:28 pm

        Sumud, if you’re interested in reading more about Israel’s torture facilities like the ones at Facility 1391 and Khiam, look into the Israeli facility built in Lebanon in 1982 called Camp Ansar that bred Ansar II and Ansar III in the Palestinian occupied territories. Compared to Ansar I of Lebanon, Facility 1391 was like a Club Med and could easily be termed as a mini-Auschwitz.

        Details of torture at Ansar I by Israel; you’ll need a strong stomach for this one:
        link to jerusalemites.org

        and how Israel pissed all over the RC with its semantical games in its illegal transfer of prisoners from Ansar to Israel:
        link to time.com

      • Walid
        March 20, 2011, 9:36 pm

        You could also say that the continued claim by Israel that Shalit was “abducted” as if a civilian disqualifies him from any rights given to captured military people. Israel is so much into word games that it keeps tying itself in knots.

      • Sumud
        March 20, 2011, 9:58 pm

        Thanks Walid ~ I’ll look into those, I have the req’d stomach …well, I’ll let you know.

      • piotr
        March 20, 2011, 11:41 pm

        I would not believe ambassador’s statement too much.

        Components of truth?

        ” an environment in which Hamas was (or even could have) used the cease-fire to rearm and to dig networks of tunnels for kidnapping, that also could be construed as a violation of the cease-fire.”

        Witty, you quite nicely observed that while Israel complained about “rearming”, it was not possible to see any fruits of that “rearming”, so it was a propaganda. Hence. “an environment in which Hamas could have use the cease-fire to rearm”. “Construing it as a violation of the cease-fire” is possible, but ridiculous.

        This “network of tunnels for kidnapping”is not much better.

        “He started it” is the language of SoI. So some grownups use it.

        Finally, kidnapping may refer to civilians, especially children. Shalit was captured, and IDF kidnapped thousands of Palestinians. And some of them are kids. Recently they kidnapped a Palestinian engineer in Ukraine, and Red Cross did not see him either.

        And Israel is using assassins too, not just kidnappers. Should there be some limits on who is a legitimate assassination target? Like engineers who were never involved in any hostilities?

      • Mooser
        March 21, 2011, 12:23 pm

        “The old you suck worse…”

        Is usually held to come under #3 (You Suck) or #4 (The Whole World Sucks).
        But don’t take my word for it, the article at:
        link to jewssansfrontieres.blogspot.com

        will give you all the information to decide for yourself.

      • DBG
        March 20, 2011, 8:33 pm

        I just don’t understand you guys. How should Israel respond to the rockets being fired from Gaza? Or do you guys deny rockets were even fired. Some of the stuff on here is so mysterious, i’d really just like to get a grasp on what you guys think happened.

        It seems November 4th is important, am I right in saying you all believe that since Israel blew up the tunnels November 4th, Hamas can fire rockets indiscriminately into Israel forever without a response?

      • straightline
        March 20, 2011, 9:24 pm

        No – Israel didn’t just blow up tunnels – it killed several people.

        Can Israel go on killing Hamas members without response? If you read my first post you will know that Israel had had 4 months of no Hamas missiles. It chose to change to state of affairs. It broke the ceasefire. One might go on to argue that it never implemented its side of the deal – reduction in the blockade.

      • Sumud
        March 20, 2011, 9:26 pm

        DBG ~ If Israel had a sincere interest in stopping rockets it would have abided by it’s agreed terms of the June 2008 cease-fire ie. ending the siege on Gaza. Though it took a few months Hamas demonstrated that they could indeed curb rocket fire.

        The question is not “how should Israel respond to rockets?” it is “why did Israel respond to lack of rockets with deadly attacks, the banning of foreign journalists from Gaza, escalation and then a war that killed 1400+ Palestinians in Gaza including 320 children and more than 1000 civilians?”

        Even if the cease fire had never existed and the rocket fire had been continuous is killing 1400 Palestinians an appropriate response to rockets which have killed 28 people in 10 years? Israel has already killed ~1500 Palestinians in Gaza from 2005-2008. How many Gazans is Israel allowed to kill before they’re allowed to fight back?

        Israel claims to have ended the occupation of Gaza in 2005 – how about they actually do so: end the siege and give Gazans autonomy over their sea- and air-space and borders. And then, if rockets are fired they have a legitimate claim they are under attack from a foreign entity, rather than one they are holding under a siege designed to destroy the economy and harm civilians.

        I’m only speaking for myself but I think many of us at MW have great respect for Norman Finkelstein, if you haven’t read it yet I suggest you read his piece on the Gaza War:

        Foiling Another Palestinian “Peace Offensive”: Behind the bloodbath in Gaza

        Also this study of who is killing first after cease fires:

        Reigniting Violence: How Do Ceasefires End?

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 10:36 pm

        How should Israel respond to the rockets being fired from Gaza?

        By agreeing to a returning to a ceasefire. By rejectingt the propsal by Hamas, Israel actually subhjected it’s own people to 3 weeks of additional rocket fire that could have been avoided.

      • RoHa
        March 20, 2011, 11:36 pm

        “How should Israel respond to the rockets being fired from Gaza? ”

        By making peace.

      • thankgodimatheist
        March 21, 2011, 12:32 am

        “Richard’s comment is ludicrous.”

        Obviously, but why did you guys let it pass?!! I, for one, am sick to the bones hearing the same tirade over and over again..”Hamas shelled Israeli civilians bla blah”..How many times must this be argued until nausea hits? Is it not his usual way of hijacking the thread and you guys, willfully or not, play his game?!

    • MRW
      March 20, 2011, 12:44 pm

      Richard,

      The origination of the war in Gaza was very different than in Libya, precipitated by a week of shelling civilians in Israel from Gaza, and officially sanctioned by Hamas.

      YOU HAVE BEEN TOLD THE FACTS ABOUT WHO BROKE THE TRUCE AND STARTED THE WAR WITH LINKS TO ISRAELI/BRIT/US PAPERS & TV AT LEAST 100 TIMES ON THIS BOARD, YET YOU PERSIST IN REPEATING THESE LIES, then you race in like a four-year-old suffering from Tourettes to thread-jack once again with it.

      Jim Holstun is correct. Israel broke the truce Nov 4, 2008, and even after breaking it Israel refused Hamas’s offer to continue it. Look it the fuck up, einstein.

      • Chaos4700
        March 20, 2011, 12:58 pm

        Lord knows why we can’t have a moratorium on lying and libel in the comments section if they’re going to put the comments under the microscope.

        I get bounced whenever and wherever I use the four letter N-word nowadays and have to settle for sideways references to make my point about what monsters Israelis have become, and yet Witty gets to regurgitate these disproven lies ad naseum (emphasis on nauseum).

      • MRW
        March 20, 2011, 1:02 pm

        Furthermore, Haaretz and Ynet reported that Operation Cast Lead was planned in April 2008.

      • fuster
        March 20, 2011, 1:32 pm

        yup. Israel did not want to have another similar truce after the expiration of that one.

        they might have been willing to negotiate with Hamas for a different agreement or a different truce with more definite and different terms, but they were not willing to extend the expired truce.

      • annie
        March 20, 2011, 1:38 pm

        excuses excuses excuses

      • MRW
        March 20, 2011, 3:34 pm

        It was not an “expired truce.” It was a violated truce. Israel broke it.

      • fuster
        March 20, 2011, 3:52 pm

        6 months. expired in mid-Dec 2008.

      • Richard Witty
        March 20, 2011, 4:03 pm

        I believe that Israel was looking for some sense of permanence to the intention of cease-fire, and the November 4 incidents indicated that Hamas did not have the intention of permanent resolution of conflicts, but the opposite.

        The fighters fought (shooting at civilians) and as in every single conflict in the world, civilians get the short end. EVERY armed conflict.

      • Chaos4700
        March 20, 2011, 4:04 pm

        Why must Zionism be nothing more than a house of liars?

      • straightline
        March 20, 2011, 4:24 pm

        So now you agree that Israel broke the ceasefire – right Witty? Please retract your first comment.

      • MRW
        March 20, 2011, 4:35 pm

        Dec 19. They violated it Nov 4.

      • hophmi
        March 20, 2011, 5:13 pm

        This is more nonsense. There is no way to violate a unilateral truce.

      • hophmi
        March 20, 2011, 5:20 pm

        Phil’s question is silly. If he can’t tell the difference between a country under rocket fire and a dictator who’s massacring his own people, that’s his problem. It is a problem that afflicts men and women of the hard left.

      • seafoid
        March 20, 2011, 5:52 pm

        Has anyone in hasbara house done a cost benefit analysis on Cast Lead? Israel ended up with a truce very similar to the one Fuster says it didn’t want. CL was supposed to topple Hamas and last time I checked they were still in situ. Goldstone and Mavi Marmara were the 2 bullets that Israel used to shoot both of its feet. If they had just left Gaza alone Israel would be in a far better diplomatic place today.
        But jerking off over Gaza is just something no self repecting Zionist can stop.

      • lyn117
        March 20, 2011, 6:08 pm

        “I believe that Israel was looking for some sense of permanence to the intention of cease-fire,”

        The Israelis were looking for a permanence to the intention of cease-fire by breaking it?

      • Sumud
        March 20, 2011, 6:36 pm

        There is no way to violate a unilateral truce.

        ?? A unilateral truce ??

        The 6 months cease-fire in 2008 was Egyptian-brokered and the parties were Israel and Hamas. What’s unilateral about that?

        Recall Israel’s part of the truce was to end the siege of Gaza, all they could manage was lifting trucks from 70 to 90 a day instead of the 500 a day it had been at pre-siege levels. After a rocky start Hamas did an excellent job of limiting rocket & mortar fire out of Gaza which the IDF intel group acknowledged, see the graphs:

        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • fuster
        March 20, 2011, 6:41 pm

        hop,the truce wasn’t unilateral. Israel agreed to the truce and accepted it, though it’s terms were interpreted differently from Hamas understanding of those terms.
        but, for whatever it was worth, it was a bilateral agreement.

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 7:16 pm

        they might have been willing to negotiate with Hamas for a different agreement or a different truce with more definite and different terms, but they were not willing to extend the expired truce.

        False. They have rejected all subsequent offers to return to a ceasefire, with or without different agreements.

        but they were not willing to extend the expired truce.

        And what is the innievitable alternative froggy? Is war therefore not innvetiable?

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 7:22 pm

        I believe that Israel was looking for some sense of permanence to the intention of cease-fire, and the November 4 incidents indicated that Hamas did not have the intention of permanent resolution of conflicts, but the opposite.

        Wow, how do you like that folks? Witty “believes” Israel broke the ceasefire because they wanted a longer and more permanent one.

        Wittty believes stuff that he has no hope in hell of being able to support with evidendence. As it turns out, Witty’s belief is congtradicted by Tzipi Livni, when she said that “ca long ceasefire with Hamas was not in Israel’s strategic interests”.

        Yes, and get this folks, after 4 months of calm and Israel’s own MFA concluding that Hamas were very carefu l to observe the ceasefire, the fact that Hamas were attacked by Israel on November 4th proves that Hamas had no intention of of permanent resolution of conflicts.

        Bear in mnd folks that Isrel admits that had Hamas attcked Isral on November 4th, he would have expected and supported an overwhleming response from Israel. In that case, it would also have been Hamas’ fault.

        Could there be a mroe digusting and dishonest human being that Witty?

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 7:22 pm

        This is more nonsense. There is no way to violate a unilateral truce.

        Both sides agreed to it Hophmi, thus is was not unilateral.

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 7:23 pm

        The Israelis were looking for a permanence to the intention of cease-fire by breaking it?

        Yes, amazing hah?

      • fuster
        March 20, 2011, 7:39 pm

        Shingo, there are several alternatives to accepting indirect negotiations for a ceasefire without definite and published terms.

        A resumption of hostilities is only one alternative of at least three, so no to your inevitable.

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 9:00 pm

        Shingo, there are several alternatives to accepting indirect negotiations for a ceasefire without definite and published terms.

        None that you can think of though right Fuster? Di you need more time?

      • Richard Witty
        March 20, 2011, 9:09 pm

        forget it.

      • straightline
        March 20, 2011, 9:26 pm

        Seems that only Israelis believe it was unilateral and only when it suits them. See the squirming Mark Regev in my first post.

      • Mooser
        March 21, 2011, 12:27 pm

        “forget it.”

        Urging post-ziocaine amnesia on the commenters, Witty?

      • hophmi
        March 20, 2011, 5:12 pm

        As is well-known outside of the echo chamber of the pro-Palestinian community, Israel exercised its right to self-defense by foiling an attempted kidnapping of its soldiers on November 4, 2008. No one has ever proven otherwise, though many have tried. Unfortunately for them, capital letters and bold-faced print does not make them more right.

      • Sumud
        March 20, 2011, 6:38 pm

        No one has ever proven otherwise, though many have tried.

        It comes down to credibility hophmi. As the crazy hasbara that came out of Israel MFA and IDF Spokesperson after the raid on the Free Gaza Flotilla demonstrated, Israel has absolutely ZERO problem lying. Hey RW, perfect match! You need to make Aliyah.

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 7:28 pm

        As is well-known outside of the echo chamber of the pro-Palestinian community, Israel exercised its right to self-defense by foiling an attempted kidnapping of its soldiers on November 4, 2008.

        Correction: It is not well know, it was a very lame excuse that not even Israel maintained once they realized how abisrd and nonesensical it was.

        No one has ever proven otherwise

        Nor was it proven and the Israeli governemtn soon gave up trying to seel thsi absurd story.

        Apaprently, we were suposed to believe that asking IDF troops stations onm the border to move a few hundred feet away while the IDF set a trap was far more difficult than condutring a raid into Gaza.

        Of course Hophmi, we now have a Wikileaks document that puts a nail in teh ocofin of that lie. Israel were worrid that the ceasefire was reinforcing Hamas’ power and credibility and thus they attacked to end that ceasefire.

      • andrew r
        March 20, 2011, 8:03 pm

        “As is well-known outside of the echo chamber of the pro-Palestinian community”

        There’s no such thing as pro-Palestinian. You either think racial segregation is unsavory or you don’t. In fact, the idea of being pro- or anti- an ethnicity is a genocidal construct.

        Anyway, I wouldn’t lecture someone about their echo chamber if I was you.

      • tree
        March 20, 2011, 8:36 pm

        As is well-known …

        Said by the man who incorrectly thought the truce was unilateral when it wasn’t. Which is, by the way, a major point of ignorance. If you don’t know what you are talking about its probably better to keep quiet about what you think everyone else knows.

    • Theo
      March 20, 2011, 1:08 pm

      Richard Witty

      Is it important if the death toll in Libya higher or lower than in Gaza?
      When is one a mass murderer, with hundred kills, thousand or more?

      Ghadaffi is a murderer, a bloody dictator who killed his own people by the thousands during the past 42 years to stay in power.
      Supposedly Israel is a democracy with a high jewish moral, however do you see any difference between the two countries? I don´t!
      Israel killed hundreds of thousands of palestinians since 1947 first to establish an illegal entity, later to enlarge it and to keep its power.
      What goes up must come down, so look at what happened to Mubarak, ben Ali and now Ghadaffi and try to get a hint of events coming your way.

      • Richard Witty
        March 20, 2011, 4:05 pm

        It matters in the blame game.

        Substantively, murder should be stopped, simple.

      • MRW
        March 20, 2011, 4:36 pm

        Then do your homework, Richard before extrapolating from nothing. WaPo is reporting 50.

        To bolster Don’s point below:
        link to en.wikipedia.org
        LOOK AT IT

        We all hate Wikipedia, but it does cite some sources. READ THEM.
        link to en.wikipedia.org

        ^ McCarthy, Roy (5 November 2008). “Gaza truce broken as Israeli raid kills six Hamas gunmen”. The Guardian (London). Retrieved 6 June 2009.
        ^ “Gareth Porter, ‘Israel Rejected Hamas Ceasefire Offer In December’”. The Huffington Post. 9 Jan. 2009. Retrieved 6 Jun. 2009.

      • Richard Witty
        March 20, 2011, 5:00 pm

        link to globalvoicesonline.org

        And that was on March 4, two weeks ago.

        MRW,
        Is your estimate an intentional lie, or just an error.

      • James North
        March 20, 2011, 5:06 pm

        In other words, MRW, Richard is saying, ‘let me insult you so I don’t have to examine my own guilty conscience.’

      • Richard Witty
        March 20, 2011, 5:10 pm

        What guilty conscience.

        What do you imagine I should feel guilty about?

        Its a comment on the overuse and misuse of the term “lie”, used so cheaply here.

      • James North
        March 20, 2011, 5:19 pm

        Richard asks: “What do you imagine I should feel guilty about?”

        The Gaza Invasion. The Mavi Marmara. For starters.

      • Sumud
        March 20, 2011, 6:44 pm

        We all hate Wikipedia

        Not at all!

        It’s not necessarily a place for in-depth coverage (what encyclopaedia is?) but it is an excellent place to start and the idea that anyone can write anything there is misguided.

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 7:28 pm

        Substantively, murder should be stopped, simple.

        I agree Witty, the Israeli government shoudl indeed be toppled.

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 7:29 pm

        What do you imagine I should feel guilty about?

        Being an apologist for mass murder.

      • Richard Witty
        March 20, 2011, 8:36 pm

        “Being an apologist for mass murder.”

        How am I an apologist for mass murder?

      • Richard Witty
        March 20, 2011, 8:38 pm

        I didn’t do the Gaza invasion.

        I feel that Israel should have undertaken some military action to stop the Hamas rockets fired at civilians. And, I don’t know what scale would be the appropriate scale.

        The Mavi Marmara, I thought Israel botched, and I thought that the dissenters on the Mavi Marmara also botched.

      • andrew r
        March 20, 2011, 9:21 pm

        Witty’s last two posts in a row demonstrate why I don’t read more than three lines from him. I’m continually amazed when his longer messages get a response. How can anyone read this guy and not suffer brain damage?

      • straightline
        March 20, 2011, 9:29 pm

        Which words do you not understand? There were no Hamas rockets until Israel broke the ceasefire. Please repeat it 10 times.

      • Sumud
        March 20, 2011, 9:45 pm

        How am I an apologist for mass murder?

        Around 70 massacres occured during the Nakba, 2 (possibly 3) by arab forces and 68 by zionist forces. Which is fine by you:

        …I cannot consistently say that “ethnic cleansing is never necessary”

        If I was an adult in 1948, I probably would have supported whatever it took to create the state of Israel, and held my nose at actions that I could not possibly do myself.

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 10:34 pm

        How am I an apologist for mass murder?

        Only you can answer that Witty. The rest of us a simply disgusted.

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 10:39 pm

        I didn’t do the Gaza invasion.

        No Witt, as usual, you held your nose and then defended the invasion for thre greater good.

        I feel that Israel should have undertaken some military action to stop the Hamas rockets fired at civilians.

        Why militry actioan when negotaition could have achieved it much earlier?

      • MRW
        March 20, 2011, 10:50 pm

        “Video: Gaddafi’s regime claims that at least 50 civilians were killed in NATO’s bombings on Libya’s army as allied forces begin Operation Odyssey Dawn. (March 20)”

        link to washingtonpost.com

      • Theo
        March 21, 2011, 9:17 am

        andrew r

        An old saying goes like this: “keep your friends at arms length, your enemies close to your chest.”
        We constantly lose wars, because we do not know the enemies we are fighting, so we should listen to RW and learn what we are up against.

      • Mooser
        March 21, 2011, 12:29 pm

        “What do you imagine I should feel guilty about?”

        Not trying to equip my son with the intellectual and moral tools he needs to avoid being caught up into a cult would weigh extremely heavily on me, Witty. But of course YMMV.

    • Don
      March 20, 2011, 1:22 pm

      “precipitated by a week of shelling civilians in Israel from Gaza”
      Definitively Misleading Statement

      Reigniting Violence: How Do Ceasefires End?
      by Nancy Kanwisher
      “Thus, a systematic pattern does exist: it is overwhelmingly Israel, not Palestine, that kills first following a lull. Indeed, it is virtually always Israel that kills first after a lull lasting more than a week.”

      Links Provided For The Intellectually Curious

      link to huffingtonpost.com

      link to en.wikipedia.org

      Richard old buddy…for a guy who (seems) to feel like a “teacher”, lecturing the rest of us…you might want to knock yourself out and spend oh, I don’t know, maybe 90 seconds researching things before commenting. (why do I keep giving you this little lecture?)

      On the 3rd grade logic side of things…if you punch me in the face, and I respond by punching you in the arm…do you then have the right to kill me? Try it sometime…and see how quickly you are charged (correctly so) with murder.

      • Richard Witty
        March 20, 2011, 3:34 pm

        On Gaza,
        The question of “who started it?” is both unclear and frankly irrelevant.

        Once Hamas began shelling Israeli civilians, it was the IDF responsibility to stop them. There is no other way around the responsibility of a state to protect its civilians.

        It would have been wonderful if the conditions allowed Israel and Hamas to communicate directly to reconcile misunderstandings, but that was not afforded by either.

        November 4 remains ambiguous as does every other aspect of the skirmishing that occurred subsequently. November 4 is a literal violation of the cease-fire (that the two sides never met nor wrote anything down, but only negotiated between third parties, with MANY misunderstandings between them). It might have been poor judgement on Israel’s part to attack a tunnel under construction during the cease-fire. It was a recurring theme within the Israeli press that Hamas would use the cease-fire to rearm, which explains the continued blockade and November 4 reaction to the tunnel building (granted, no one knows if it occurred, if it was real, a mistaken intelligence, or a fabrication).

        My goal remains, and is consistently, to support the construction of an agreement between Israel and Palestinians that leave both self-governing, healthy communities and states.

        If that is not your goal of dissent, then you are not in fact seeking democracy or justice even, but something different.

        Democracy ends in self-determination, self-governance. It does not end in ‘greater Israel’, and it does not end in ‘no Israel’.

        In a cycle of violence, and this very much is a cycle of violence, there is no possible identification of “he shot first”. It just doesn’t exist.

        And, there is NEVER a valid excuse for shelling civilians. (DONALD). Don’t rationalize that away.

      • Chaos4700
        March 20, 2011, 4:01 pm

        So basically, it’s okay for Israelis to kill anyone in Gaza they like, EVEN DURING A DECLARED CEASEFIRE, and you will never blame them for terminating Israel’s only chance for peace, huh?

      • Chaos4700
        March 20, 2011, 4:02 pm

        And you still haven’t said a goddamn word about Jews waging pogroms in Awarta, you hypocritical bastard.

      • Citizen
        March 20, 2011, 4:22 pm

        Re: Witty: “The question of “who started it?” is both unclear and frankly irrelevant.”

        I don’t think this Witty principle was used at Nuremberg, nor in Geneva.
        Judge Judy thinks “who started it” is very relevant. But what does she know that Witty doesn’t know?

      • straightline
        March 20, 2011, 4:41 pm

        But you told us earlier – and every time this comes up you keep telling us – that Hamas started it – now it’s irrelevant! It is noted!

        November 4th is a “literal” violation. So let’s say that the Hamas rockets were also a “literal” version of the ceasefire – they killed no-one whereas the Israeli “literal violation did.

        There you go again – it’s apparently Hamas’ fault even though Israel was killing Hamas members.

        “It might have been poor judgement” – that’s pretty strong for you Witty.
        It might also have been “poor judgement” to visit wanton destruction on Gaza. It might a while earlier have been “poor judgement” to do the same to Lebanon. But when might this poor judgement stop?

        Yes there were many misunderstandings – Hamas misunderstood Israel when Israel said it would stop the blockade as part of the ceasefire and then tightened it. It is hard not to have a misunderstanding with the Israeli government since it reneges on almost every agreement it makes.

        Democracy ends in all of the people of Palestine – those who are still there and those who were driven out – belong to a state that protects them and that allows them to exercise their full democratic rights to choose the leaders they want.

        No Witty there is never a valid excuse for shelling civilians – and it is recorded for when your contorted logic tries to justify such actions by Israel.

        Please retract your unqualified statement in your first comment.

      • MRW
        March 20, 2011, 4:43 pm

        Every time you’ve been asked, and cornered for two years, you’ve responded with “On Gaza, The question of “who started it?” is both unclear and frankly irrelevant.”

        Then don’t declare it is.

        B’Tselem figures
        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Richard Witty
        March 20, 2011, 4:52 pm

        Actually, my consistent position has been that the IDF’s responsibility is to protect Israeli civilians (and Israeli military) from foreign attack.

        The shelling of Israeli civilians from Gaza fits that description.

        It doesn’t matter an iota how it got there. It is still the IDF responsibility once a foreign attack has occurred.

        The only decision involved at that point is the determination of what is the appropriate response.

        Given Hamas baiting and assertions at the time, the decision to undertake a militarily safe ground assault was not an irrational one.

        And, by militarily safe, that means clearing lines of vision, removing means of communication and military response on the part of Hamas.

        THAT is the big breakdown, the communication breakdown. “We don’t really mean to initiate a war”, by Hamas. Not true though. That they were warned, “if you continue shelling, there will be war.” Then continued shelling, is compelling.

        They certainly did not want the outcome. Noone did. But, it seems to me and many others that they did want conflict. And, they certainly wanted Israel to take heat for the extent of it, much of it deserved, but much of it just partisan opportunism while civilians got hurt badly.

      • lyn117
        March 20, 2011, 6:11 pm

        Legally speaking, Gaza is under occupation and Israel has as much a responsibility to protect the life, health and well-being of Palestinian civilians living there as it does to Israeli civilians.

      • radkelt
        March 20, 2011, 6:43 pm

        given that Israel surveils Gaza 24/7, has demonstrated ability to
        precisely launch missiles from drones, why should we not assume
        Israel collusion in Hamas rocket attacks as an ongoing justification
        to “defend itself”?

      • Sumud
        March 20, 2011, 7:11 pm

        November 4 remains ambiguous as does every other aspect of the skirmishing that occurred subsequently.

        It does? Why did Israel ban the entry of foreign journalists into Gaza on Nov 5 or 6? Coincidence, or part of the war plan they’d been developing for six months?

        Richard, because he has established credibility I’m going with Norman Finkelstein’s theory, that it was Hamas adherence to the cease fire which Israel found most threatening, an intolerable outcome for an entity which cannot conceive of itself as not in a state of perpetual war:

        Foiling Another Palestinian “Peace Offensive”: Behind the bloodbath in Gaza

        My goal remains, and is consistently, to support the construction of an agreement between Israel and Palestinians that leave both self-governing, healthy communities and states.

        What is healthy about your vision of an Israeli state where Israeli jews reserve the right to ethnically cleanse Palestinian Israelis at a time of their choosing?

        And, there is NEVER a valid excuse for shelling civilians. (DONALD). Don’t rationalize that away.

        So this is your new favourite phrase Richard “shelling civilians”. After your hyperactive use of it yesterday you didn’t respond to the AQB spokesman’s statement that their mortar targets had been military installations, nor the ambiguity of Haaretz reporting on the damage caused.

        I see though you linked to another Haaretz article, with a photo of a distressed Israeli woman “examining damage to her home yesterday morning” – a broken window. That’s it. Is this Drorit Darom of VOA fame:

        Drorit Darom had a close call. She told Israel Television that she left her house to check on an elderly neighbor after a mortar shell landed nearby, and while she was gone her own house was hit.

        Is she sure it wasn’t the kids playing ball? Or sonic boom from IAF jets?

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 7:42 pm

        The question of “who started it?” is both unclear and frankly irrelevant.

        Right, your lies are exposed and so having based your argument on claim that Hamas started the war, you’re now backing away from that and saying it no longer matters.

        What a weazel!!

        Once Hamas began shelling Israeli civilians, it was the IDF responsibility to stop them.

        Whcih they could have done by agregin to return to the ceasefire. Instead, Israel waited anothe few weeks, and then opted for militarism, which in trurn subjected Israelis to anoterh 22 days of shelling and rockets.

        So even fi we are to believe Witty’s lies, the IDF were still derelict in their duty to protect the population. They could have stuck to the ceasefire and maintained the calm, and then havign broken the ceasefire, they could have
        agreed to return to the cease, but they rejected that too.

        It would have been wonderful if the conditions allowed Israel and Hamas to communicate directly to reconcile misunderstandings, but that was not afforded by either.

        False. On december 17th, Hamas communicated a proposal to return to a ceaseire and Shit Bet received the communique. The conditions were there to reconcile misunderstandings, but Israel had no interest in doing so.

        November 4 remains ambiguous as does every other aspect of the skirmishing that occurred subsequently. November 4 is a literal violation of the cease-fire

        False. There was no ambiguity. Israel killed 6 Palestinians in a raid. That’s not literal Witty, that’s subtantial. If 6 Israelis have been killed in a Hamas raid, Israel would have responded far more severly, as you yourself aknowldged.

        It was a recurring theme within the Israeli press that Hamas would use the cease-fire to rearm, which explains the continued blockade and November 4 reaction to the tunnel building

        Lies, lies, lies. The ceasefire agreeement did not quire Hamas to disarm and the tunnels were the only means Gaza had of importing basic necessities.

        My goal remains, and is consistently, to support the construction of an agreement between Israel and Palestinians that leave both self-governing, healthy communities and states.

        lies lies lies. Your goal is to make excuses for anything Israel does, and to ignore the facts and spin the story to cover Israel’s crimes.

        And, there is NEVER a valid excuse for shelling civilians.

        Nor is there ever a alid excuse for shelling civilians with white phosphorous, 500lb bombs and dime bombs. Don’t rationalize that away.

      • eljay
        March 20, 2011, 7:42 pm

        >> The question of “who started it?” is both unclear and frankly irrelevant.

        Only to a hypocrite “Jewish state” supremacist would it be irrelevant.

        When Israel “starts it”, the Palestinians are not permitted to retaliate or to defend themselves. They are supposed to refrain from violence and make “better wheels”.

        When the Palestinians “start it” – or even if they don’t start it, even if they only respond to Israeli military aggression – Israel is permitted to engage in “belligerent reprisals”. It is not required to refrain from violence or make “better wheels”.

        You are a hypocrite, a fraudulent “humanist” and a Zio-supremacist.

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 7:51 pm

        Actually, my consistent position has been that the IDF’s responsibility is to protect Israeli civilians (and Israeli military) from foreign attack.

        So you would have to agree that the atatck on Gaza in November 4th, was an act of negligence on their part, seeing as it was highly likely that Hamas woudl respond with rocket attacks.

        It doesn’t matter an iota how it got there.

        On the contrary, it absolutely matters, because Israel had every opportunity to stop the rocket attacks on at least 2 occasions – by not attacking Gaza on November 4th, and then by accepting a proposal to return to the ceasefire.

        Instead, Israel waited over a month to stop the rocket atatcks and subjectted the civilasn in Israle to a further 22 days during which they unleashed Cast Lead.

        Given Hamas baiting and assertions at the time, the decision to undertake a militarily safe ground assault was not an irrational one.

        But the ground assault had nothing to do with ending rocket attacks, so it was indeed irrational if that was the goal.

        That they were warned, “if you continue shelling, there will be war.” Then continued shelling, is compelling.

        It’s not at all complelling, because they were also rejecting offers by Haasm to return to the ceawsefire. They could have ended all rocekt atatcks mod December if they agreed to this offer, but chose to continue the rocket attacks for 30 more days.

        They certainly did not want the outcome. Noone did.

        False again. The outcome was exposed in a Wikileaks document that rebvealed this was precidely the outcome they wanted.

      • Shingo
        March 20, 2011, 7:55 pm

        Richard, because he has established credibility I’m going with Norman Finkelstein’s theory, that it was Hamas adherence to the cease fire which Israel found most threatening, an intolerable outcome for an entity which cannot conceive of itself as not in a state of perpetual war:

        This has been suportd by the Wikileaks revelatino that the Israeli government were concerned that the ceasefire was solidifying Hamas’s power.

        Regarding the Tahdiya, Hacham said Barak stressed that while it was not permanent, for the time being it was holding. There have been a number of violations of the ceasefire on the Gaza side, but Palestinian factions other than Hamas were responsible. Hacham said the Israelis assess that Hamas is making a serious effort to convince the other factions not to launch rockets or mortars. Israel remains concerned by Hamas’ ongoing efforts to use the Tahdiya to increase their strength, and at some point, military action will have to be put back on the table. The Israelis reluctantly admit that the Tahdiya has served to further consolidate Hamas’ grip on Gaza, but it has brought a large measure of peace and quiet to Israeli communities near Gaza.

        link to lobelog.com

      • DBG
        March 20, 2011, 8:36 pm

        Israelis only chance for peace? are you joking?

      • Don
        March 20, 2011, 10:13 pm

        Tell me, please, how it is “irrelevant” that “it is overwhelmingly Israel that kills first…”

        It is most certainly relevant; that is why YOU raised the topic in the first place.

        As to my “goals”…how on earth would you know what they are (or are not)? (other than re-establishing Etruria; unless I am mistaken, that is the only goal I have mentioned on this list).

        When you, my dear Richard, express the same compassion and concern for Palestinians that you do for Israelis, I will find your comments at least minimally persuasive.

        And that includes the Palestinians’ right to defend themselves, and to strike back when provoked.

    • Shingo
      March 20, 2011, 6:59 pm

      The origination of the war in Gaza was very different than in Libya, precipitated by a week of shelling civilians in Israel from Gaza, and officially sanctioned by Hamas.

      Every time this subject is raised, Witty does a drive by post, and fires off these lies then runs away, knowing that he’ll be refuted.

      Tbe war on Gaza was not precipitated by a week of shelling civilians in Israel from Gaza Witty. A Wikileaks document has revealed what we alrady knew, that Israel’s government deliberetely broke the ceasefire because it was going too well and Hamas were benefitting from the ceasefire.

  2. fuster
    March 20, 2011, 10:45 am

    Atwan says that it would be reason to celebrate other Arab nations were doing the fighting in support of the rebels.
    That didn’t happen though. They did about nothing, then punted it to the UN, knowing that it would be the US and Europe taking the risks and taking the blame for anything that might be wrong.

    Salute them Philip, they are doing the right thing for the right reasons.

    • Chaos4700
      March 20, 2011, 1:01 pm

      To be fair, the United States has rather explicitly taken ownership of its rule as the largest, most interventionist military in the world today. One can’t blame anyone for opting to stay away from the American war machine. There’s no telling which Muslim nation it will lash out at next.

  3. straightline
    March 20, 2011, 11:41 am

    You’ve been told time and time and time again, Witty, how and why the ceasefire was broken and you still come back peddling your obfuscation. Please watch and read:

    link to youtube.com

    link to guardian.co.uk

    Some of us are doubters about the intervention in Libya and we do recognise the hypocrisy in the Western position. Life is not simply black and white unfortunately – thought it is difficult to see any white side of Israel’s behavior. Here is George Galloway telling us some home truths about why the West went into Libya.

  4. noland
    March 20, 2011, 11:48 am

    Yes , there are questions, and you make some great points.
    But it seems like Libyan are happy with the intervention, and I it is their lives and land, and I trust them.
    As for Atwan, what he says today may be different tomorrow. I read his article yesterday in arabic ( I am assuming it is the same one in your link in english), and he is just all over the place, making Qaddafi a genius and mastermind who tricked the rebels into taking over Benghazi and other cities so he can bomb them, and then tricked the international community to attack him so he can gain the support of the people…..come on, Qaddafi is a crazy killer, and that what makes him dangerous, do not give him that much credit, and give the people some credit!!!

    • Walid
      March 20, 2011, 12:17 pm

      Noland, don’t get Atwan wrong, he does not flip flop as you’re insinuating. The man is one angry Palestinian that has had enough of Arab nonsense especially as what concerns Palestinian issues and he always calls the shots as he sees them without the usual Arab frills.

      Phil, you’re perplexed as to why Libya now when you compare it to Cast Lead or maybe to Bahrain or Yemen that are making Libya look like a walk in the park by comparison. Libya’s got oil, lots of it and it’s another Iraq in the making.

      As to the redundant Arab League, its position today is contrary to the one it took at the time of the UNSC vote a day or so back. It’s now claiming that the League was for the vote at that time because it had been simply to enforce a no-fly zone to protect Libyan civilians but not for the UN forces to bomb other Libyan civilians as they’re now doing. I doubt anyone will be taking this lame excuse seriously.

      • noland
        March 20, 2011, 1:36 pm

        Walid, I am not doubting Atwan’s sincerity. I am just saying he is no expert!!
        and often he contradicts himself!! remember his confusing oponion about Bin ladin !!
        and here he makes it clear that this was Qaddafi’s plan all along, and yet it is the west’s plan(according to him)!!!

  5. Nevada Ned
    March 20, 2011, 11:52 am

    Libya is different from Egypt and Tunisia. Egypt and Tunisia were popular uprisings against US-backed dictatorships. Libya is more of a civil war. The leader of the Libyan rebels was, until a week or so ago, the Interior Minister for the Qaddafy regime.
    The rebellion against Qaddafy succeeded at first, due (in part) to defections from the Libyan army to the rebel side. “Experts” foretold the fall of the regime within days, or even hours.
    Then a few days ago, Qaddafy made a comeback, as the bulk of the military stayed loyal to him.

    The US, Britain and France are the colonial powers in Arab world. They’re the last people in the world who ought to be launching attacks on an Arab country.
    Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro are two of the few people in the world who recall the original mission of the UN, which is to avoid war.
    Our new “humanitarian interventionists” are using human rights to sell war, as Jean Bricmont wrote recently on CounterPunch.
    link to counterpunch.org

    • Antidote
      March 20, 2011, 12:56 pm

      “The US, Britain and France are the colonial powers in Arab world. They’re the last people in the world who ought to be launching attacks on an Arab country.”

      I agree, except for the focus on the Arab world. The Big Three have been colonial powers in the entire world for centuries. Rule of thumb: if they endorse a military intervention, it is NEVER about spreading democracy, but always about protecting their interests, and their democracies at home, which only work under conditions of continued prosperity, at the expense, economic and political, of other nations and continents.

      Why did they not stop the Gaza massacre? Very good question. Here is a “firm opinion” on the intervention in Libya:

      link to craigmurray.org.uk

      • Colin Murray
        March 20, 2011, 2:16 pm

        Thank you very much for the link. Craig is one of few voices I trust.

      • MRW
        March 20, 2011, 5:26 pm

        I’m a big Craig Murray fan as well.

      • lobewyper
        March 20, 2011, 5:12 pm

        Antidote, I too appreciated the Craig Murray link. As for Mr. Witty, I feel his presence on this site is on balance valuable, because his posts often give others the opportunity to present clarifications and historical context, and to dispel assertions that are not factully based.

      • MRW
        March 20, 2011, 5:35 pm

        Thanks, Antidote for that link. I have to bookmark Murray again. I lost it in a drive change. He makes complete sense. I hope the Egyptians are not diverted.

  6. IrishMark
    March 20, 2011, 12:09 pm

    I’ve a few observations.
    Firstly, the uprising came from the part of Libya (which is tribal) which has always disliked him and it wasn’t as peaceful as those in Bahrain or Egypt.
    That said, seeing an end to Gadaffi will be a good thing and is long overdue.
    Ironic that both Blair and Sarkozy rushed to his side for photo ops.
    No doubt the contracts to rebuild the airports, infrastructureand buy new arms will go to France, the UK and US instead of China and Russia. Someone has to pay for the hundreds of millions of weapons used.

    I hope those in Bahrain, Yemen, Saudi and Palestine will get their chance too but I’ll hold my breath.
    In Bil’in, peaceful protests is met with deadly force and more terror inflicted by land theft and violence perpetrated by religious extremists.

    • Walid
      March 20, 2011, 12:40 pm

      What I liked most in Phil’s piece was his drawing of a parallel between the fruitcake in Libya and the other one in Israel. They are both very very sick hombres.

  7. BradAllen
    March 20, 2011, 12:29 pm

    Obama jumped on the band wagon with Clinton and others in the neocon white house stressing that Americans like to see a tough president. Americans rally around a war time president it makes them feel powerful and this one is cheap and easy especially with so many European countries eager to test their own military and to divert attention from their own economic woes.
    Canada’s PM is thinking the same thing. With elections on the horizon, Harper is eager to look like a military leader and show off the military which will play on Canadians pride and attention and likely a more favorable vote if an election is called next week.
    This isn’t about Khaddafi or the rebels in Libya, this is about power politics in the West. Sarkozy who had already met with the rebels and committed France to their cause had to take the first shot knowing he would get the credit as the one who took the lead.
    Why are western powers so anxious to show off their miltary might and not their diplomatic prowess.
    If this had been Bahrain and the king along with the Saudis attacking the protesters as they have been, do you think ny of these western powers would be rushing to bomb the king…
    This show of force makes me sick and proves to me that no matter how far we go, western civilization still resorts to killing and destruction as the best means to solve problems.
    Khaddafi could have been forced out with the UN just like he gave in on his nuclear program, chad, terror camps. We just proved we’re no better than he is….

    • Linda J
      March 21, 2011, 12:52 am

      Thank you for saying this. Empowering the global war machine by supporting it when it picks and chooses between minions to save or destroy is never a good idea. Why did Saddam go to the gallows when Bush & Obama sleep soundly in their beds at night?

  8. fuster
    March 20, 2011, 12:39 pm

    ==No doubt the contracts to rebuild the airports, infrastructureand buy new arms will go to France, the UK and US instead of China and Russia. Someone has to pay for the hundreds of millions of weapons used.===IrishMark

    perhaps you could explain why it would not be appropriate for the Libyans to award rebuilding contracts that would, in some way, defray the cost of saving them from being massacred by their present government.

    Russia is grousing about opposing Gaddafi by force and China may well be hoping that Gaddafi remains in power. The Chinese had 30,000 or more people in Libya working on contracts let by Gaddafi and Co.

  9. crone
    March 20, 2011, 12:41 pm

    Odyssey Dawn of the Dead
    by James Wolcott March 19, 2011, 7:04 PM

    [clip] “..Unfortunately, Odyssey Dawn is the latest preposterous name for the latest ill-conceived, muscle-stretching military operation, this one intended to restrain Libya’s Gaddafi from massacring rebel forces–whoever they are (“The intelligence failure in Libya, and indeed across the Maghreb, has proved absolute. Western leaders know almost nothing either about the Libyan insurgents or about what is happening on the ground. It would be madness to commit US and allied forces to destroy Col Gaddafi, with no notion of what would follow” [Max Hastings, Financial Times])–but has already mission-creeped in the time it took to sneeze into dictator-disposing regime-change intervention.

    Reading around the blogosphere and the print punditry, I gauge that a lot of smart people are ambivalent about this coalition use of air strikes to take out Gaddafi or at least box him in.

    I’m not ambivalent. I think it’s another travesty in the use of American force whose consequences have been scarcely calculated and serves to distract us from the one key thing we’re unwilling to face (Hastings again):

    ” The most powerful single strand in opinion throughout the Muslim world is bitterness about America’s continuing support for Israeli oppression of the Palestinians. ”

    It is irrelevant whether this is just, or reflects a misplaced sense of priorities. It is a core political reality, depriving the west of moral authority throughout the region. If American troops displaced Col Gaddafi, within weeks they would either abandon the country to anarchy or find themselves the objects of popular hostility as they grappled with the hideously familiar problem of which factions to put in charge.

    link to vanityfair.com

    The abbreviation for Odyssey Dawn (“O.D.”) is bad enough, but the name itself shows even worse tone deafness. Odysseus’s Odyssey was a ten year slog of serial disasters: the original quagmire. And this designation — Odyssey *Dawn* — tells us it’s only the beginning. Who chose such a repugnant name for this mess?

    I learned today that the acronym D.A.W.N. stands for Democracy in the Arab World Now…

    yes, isn’t it wonderful how Empire can hijack the acronym of a group of people looking for democracy and use it as part of the name of an operation that bombs civilians seeking democracy? Didn’t George Bush claim he was bringing democracy to Iraq when he bombed Iraq? Iraq is now a ‘Client State’… and the Imperialists are ‘stabilizing’ Libya, to protect the interests of BP, Shell, etc. No way are they concerned about the people. Just look at Iraq, eight years later.

    and Bernard at Moon of Alabama reminds us (well, some of us don’t need reminding):

    Exactly Eight Years Later – No Change At All

    Good afternoon, everybody. Today I authorized the Armed Forces of the United States to begin a limited military action in Libya in support of an international effort to protect Libyan civilians. That action has now begun.

    In this effort, the United States is acting with a broad coalition that is committed to enforcing United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, which calls for the protection of the Libyan people. That coalition met in Paris today to send a unified message, and it brings together many of our European and Arab partners.

    Remarks by the President on Libya, March 19, 2011

    link to whitehouse.gov

    My fellow citizens, at this hour, American and coalition forces are in the early stages of military operations to disarm Iraq, to free its people and to defend the world from grave danger.

    On my orders, coalition forces have begun striking selected targets of military importance to undermine Saddam Hussein’s ability to wage war. These are opening stages of what will be a broad and concerted campaign. More than 35 countries are giving crucial support — from the use of naval and air bases, to help with intelligence and logistics, to the deployment of combat units. Every nation in this coalition has chosen to bear the duty and share the honor of serving in our common defense.

    ADDRESS ANNOUNCING OPERATIONS TO DISARM IRAQ, 19 March 2003

    link to johnstonsarchive.net

    Robert Fisk on Libya

    So we are going to take “all necessary measures” to protect the civilians of Libya, are we? Pity we didn’t think of that 42 years ago. Or 41 years ago. Or… well, you know the rest. And let’s not be fooled by what the UN resolution really means. Yet again, it’s going to be regime-change. And just as in Iraq – to use one of Tom Friedman’s only memorable phrases of the time – when the latest dictator goes, who knows what kind of bats will come flying out of the box?

    And after Tunisia, after Egypt, it’s got to be Libya, hasn’t it? The Arabs of North Africa are demanding freedom, democracy, liberation from oppression. Yes, that’s what they have in common. But what these nations also have in common is that it was us, the West, that nurtured their dictatorships decade after decade after decade. The French cuddled up to Ben Ali, the Americans stroked Mubarak, while the Italians groomed Gaddafi until our own glorious leader went to resurrect him from the political dead.

    Could this be, I wonder, why we have not heard from Lord Blair of Isfahan recently? Surely he should be up there, clapping his hands with glee at another humanitarian intervention. Perhaps he is just resting between parts. Or maybe, like the dragons in Spenser’s Faerie Queen, he is quietly vomiting forth Catholic tracts with all the enthusiasm of a Gaddafi in full flow.

    link to independent.co.uk

    worth clicking the link to see photo of Saddam juxtaposition Gaddafi

  10. Jeff Klein
    March 20, 2011, 12:49 pm

    It is hardly encouraging that the loudest demands to “do something” about Libya come from the Neocon Right, as for example a call to arms issued by a virtual who’s who of Israel-firsters and Iraq War cheer leaders: link to foreignpolicyi.org

    As for Gaza, not only is it true that Israel broke the truce that Hamas was abiding by, but that the Israeli attack was in planning even before the truce was signed, as has been reported in the Israeli press. The Bush administration even rushed shipments to Israel that fall of the latest generation of US bunker-busting bombs , which had not even yet been deployed to US troops in Iraq.

  11. tommy
    March 20, 2011, 12:50 pm

    After the shock and awe destroys the regime of Gadaffi, the shock doctrine will ruin the Libyan welfare state. It is doubtful that is what Libyans are fighting for.

  12. Walid
    March 20, 2011, 12:53 pm

    Brad, the US squeezed out France (and Russia) from the super lucrative contracts in Iraq and it’s now looking like it will let France get it all in Libya to make up for the dirty pool that was played.

    Is anyone seeing any news along with the gory pictures of what is happening in Yemen, Bahrain and since yesterday in Syria?

  13. ddi
    March 20, 2011, 12:59 pm

    I don’t see why anyone would be ambivalent about this, IMO it’s the most legitimate Western military intervention since the Korean War.

    1644: Reaction to events from Nobel Peace Prize Winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who says he supports the use of air strikes against Gaddafi as a last resort. The South African tells the BBC’s World Service the scenes of brutality meted out by the Libyan security forces against their own civilians made God weep and brought shame on Africa. He says the international community is required to act to protect the Libyan people.

    He must be a warmonger, right?

    • Chaos4700
      March 20, 2011, 1:10 pm

      Well, according to Zionists, Archbishop Tutu is an opportunistic demagogue who lacks the authority to recognize apartheid when he sees it, so it’s not like stapling “warmonger” to that libel would be altogether difficult.

      But only if it’s convenient. Since Qaddhafi pretends to be Arab (he himself is of Berber descent) and touts himself as an Arab regime, Zionists are happy that his people (who are an Arab majority) are under American bombs.

      To be fair, I’m not sure what to make of Western intervention, myself. Somebody needs to do something to stop the slaughter but I no longer trust the United States military when it comes to avoiding civilian deaths when expedience calls for it.

      • Sumud
        March 20, 2011, 7:58 pm

        To be fair, I’m not sure what to make of Western intervention, myself. Somebody needs to do something to stop the slaughter but I no longer trust the United States military when it comes to avoiding civilian deaths when expedience calls for it.

        I’m in the same boat Chaos – not quite sure what to make of it.

        The fact that there are interventions in Libya and not in Bahrain & Yemen is bad – in fact the arab forces operating in Libya against Qaddafi are from the GCC PS (Gulf Cooperative Council Peninsula Shield), the same forces now attacking the protestors in Bahrain. The crackdown in Libya against the rebels has seemed worse though, than in Bahrain and Yemen.

        Juan Cole is quite optimistic about the UN interventions in Libya and this paragraph by him a few days ago gave me pause for thought:

        Not since fall of 1990, when the UNSC authorized military action to push Saddam Hussein’s forces out of Kuwait, has it acted so decisively and exactly in the way its founders had aspired for it in 1945.

        I support the UN and the international law system which US, Britain, Israel, France etc. have all exploited and when it doesn’t suit their purposed undermined. I’d like to see a stronger UN that has no veto power on the UN SC. Possibly, even if the intervention in Libya is being undertaken for the wrong reasons (as Galloway has it, to protect oil infrastructure) it may yet have a good outcome for the rebels. One thing is for sure: Qaddafi is nuts and therefore unpredictable. What he’ll do to put down the uprising in Libya remains to be seen but it might not be so bad if his offensive capabilities are somewhat crippled.

        Cole column on the first attacks by French jets and his hope for the outcome, he’s confident the UN intervention will enable the rebels to fight back militarily and win:

        French Jets Defend Benghazi

      • fuster
        March 20, 2011, 9:05 pm

        Sumud,

        you should be reasonably hopeful about what we’re doing in Libya and not try to link it the the Gulf.

        different situations, different countries…….

      • andrew r
        March 20, 2011, 9:30 pm

        Well, thanks for that enlightening banality. Do you ever make arguments that try to contradict the original post?

      • Sumud
        March 20, 2011, 9:40 pm

        you should be reasonably hopeful about what we’re doing in Libya and not try to link it the the Gulf.

        different situations, different countries…….

        The linkage is the GCC forces fuster, over that I have no control.

    • MRW
      March 20, 2011, 1:11 pm

      Then use our satellites to figure out where he’s living, you know, the ones that see through walls and roofs, and bomb Gaddhafi himself.

      Amazing how this will stop demonstrations in other countries.

  14. jewishgoyim
    March 20, 2011, 1:15 pm

    Well Phil, let me tell you something: if you don’t have an opinion on such matter, it is the proof that you should be against it.

    Military intervention is not a “nice to have” kind of proposition. You either have an absolute conviction that the intervention is required or you have to be against it. This atmosphere in which no one is sure we should be there and at the same time everybody likes the idea is just messed up.

    This is the gravest of matter. There is no half assed support for this thing.

    I’m against it. I think it sends the worst possible message to the “Arab Spring” population. It will end up being seen as a fuel to the conflict of civilisation. Kadhafi must have more support than we think if he’s still in place.
    Why would we trust Western Powers of Iraq, Afghanistan and gaza fame to have the best interests of these people at heart?

    This is the worst response possible to the Arab Spring.

    • Mooser
      March 20, 2011, 4:10 pm

      Oh, don’t worry, JewishGoyim, think of it this way: Look, the US military loooved Bush and his wars, right? And look at the great job they did for him, from the intelligence before the wars, to the fighting of the wars, the treatment of vets, and using lots of contracters.
      They screwed it up royally, and shafted the US into the bargain.
      So what are they gonna do for Obama? Same thing they’ve been doing: lying to him 24/7 about what they can do and about what conditions are, and will leave him holding the bag. If Obama isn’t smart enough to see this, he’s in big trouble.
      So don’t worry, if todays US military, basically Bush and Rumsfeld’s Army are involved, it’ll be a bloody screw-up, and leave us worse off then before.

  15. jewishgoyim
    March 20, 2011, 1:20 pm

    Bush has messed up with our heads. The default position is non intervention. Overwhelming events, meeting the highest standards must happen before we choose to intervene. They have not happened.

    Sarkozy is facing a very tough reelection. Western powers want to get grip on North Africa that is obviously escaping their control. This stinks to high heaven.

  16. BradAllen
    March 20, 2011, 1:27 pm

    Hypocrits or world leaders;

    Jan 27, 2011

    “In his first on-camera reaction to the demonstrations sweeping Egypt, Obama said President Hosni Mubarak had been a very helpful ally to Washington on a host of issues, but said he had frequently pushed the Egyptian leader for political reform.

    “Violence is not the answer in solving these problems in Egypt,” Obama said in a YouTube question-and-answer session about his State of the Union address on Tuesday.”

    Maybe Khaddafi should have been more helpful?

  17. Sin Nombre
    March 20, 2011, 1:37 pm

    Phil Weiss wrote:

    “Honestly, my main response to the Libya intervention is, Why didn’t they stop the carnage in Gaza?”

    Oh, oh! I know that one, Mr. Weiss! Call on me! Please please *please* call on me! *Puleeeeeesssse call on me….

    In his remarks justifying this Libya business Obama front, center and specifically said that he was not going to stand by when a leader said he would show his own people “no mercy,” which is indeed what Gaddafi said about his rebels.

    So there. Was absolutely the crux of his whole statement.

    Now I understand that some might say … “but hey, didn’t the chief rabbi for the IDF tell his soldiers to show no mercy during Cast Lead?” And yes, children, the answer is he surely did so. No mercy even to children if I remember correctly.

    But, my little lambs, unlike Gaddafi notice that the rabbi wasn’t threatening his *own* people with no mercy. And so that’s why Obama not only didn’t intervene to stop Cast Lead but indeed has blocked any criticism of it even and slammed Mr. Goldstone.

    See? It’s like this:
    “No mercy” to one’s “own” people= bad.
    “No mercy” to somebody *else’s* people= good.

    Now if that’s not totally coherent I don’t know what is….

    So no no no, it has absolutely *nothing* to do with Mr. Gaddafi’s failure to fund the Democratic Party. Nothing whatsoever. It’s just that not everyone is entitled to mercy, that’s all.

    Next question?

    • Mooser
      March 20, 2011, 4:12 pm

      “Next question?”

      Why does Obama believe anything the intelligence and military leaders tell him, based on their past performance in this type of situation?

      • Citizen
        March 20, 2011, 8:08 pm

        Obama knows that Israel has no skin in the game in Libya; Netatanya said so on US tv a few days ago; he said Israel did’nt care about Libya one way or the other. And Obama knows that he has good cover with his international coalition for his very own war, the war of a strong two term US leader in behalf a strictly humanitarian cause. He doesn’t need to know more from what his IT & military leaders are saying. He won’t send in any US troops. Next question?

    • Theo
      March 21, 2011, 9:29 am

      Sin Nombre

      A fine irony, if I may say so!
      It was always my opinion that there are no honest politicians, they are only more or less crooked. Looking for an honest person among them is like seeking one in the Mafia, the CIA or the Mossad.
      You must be a real bad person just to qualify for the job.

  18. Avi
    March 20, 2011, 2:04 pm

    And that same side of me says that the international intervention in Libya will be short and effective and the Arab uprisings will continue to remake the world, and that the democracy movement will come at last to Israel/Palestine, and the whole world will say, Enough.

    NATO intervention in Libya also has the potential of setting a precedent wherein internal revolts in Syria and Iran will be used by the “international community” (In essence it is really just the UN Security Council) — and primarily by the US — to attack Syria or Iran under the guise of helping the rebels.

    • MRW
      March 20, 2011, 3:44 pm

      Hooray, Avi. Thank you. I’m smelling a grand design in all this. This is TAILOR-MADE for swinging the weapons crane from Libya to Syria and then Iran. And how else is Israel going to get its mitts on the $20 billion it asked for last week or the week before for its security?

      (There was an article earlier today — interviewing diplomats — about how the US pressed the NATO countries to twist the UN Security Council to declare a No-Fly-Zone so that the US would appear the reluctant follower.)

      To me, this is all as clear as day.

  19. Saleema
    March 20, 2011, 2:22 pm

    What a shame that Turkey and Egypt aren’t the ones helping the rebels. However, since they didn’t, I’m glad the rebels are getting help from the UN.

    I hope it doen’st turn into Iraq or Afghanistan. The military that didn’t defect and stayed by Gaddafi’s side should meet the same fate as him. I’m not going to bleed my heart over them.

    Libya rebels requested this, I’m on the side of the rebels becaues they took a moral position. Enoug of Gaddafi; that man was all over the globe spreading his dirty money and supporting terrorism, and his terrorism wasn’t aimed at the West or a particular country. He seems to thrive in the disgust people expressed towards him globally.

    He needs to be hanged. This bastard hung people in the 70s and 80s on LIVE TV. He’s a sick bastard and he needs to be gone. No one likes dictators, and Muslims and Arabs don’t like dictators for an additional reason, that they seem to think of themsevles as all powerful, an attribute that belongs to God.

    Qardawi came on Aljzeera and was asked if he agress with Gaddafi that this is a crusade. Qardawi said who is he to decide? He is not the protector of Islam.

    I think that people are just jittery, and the Arab League is espeically jittery that with so much of high-power wepaons being spent, it might make the people turn on them as they authorized the initiative, so they are covering themselves in advance. You can’t have your cake, and eat it, too.

    In Iraq and Afghanistan, the intention was to occupy and exploit the resources eventually as the foregin powers “stabilized” it enough to give out contracts to their favorite corporations. Whereas, in Libya the intention doesn’t seem to be this. However, when the rebels eventually form a government I think they will be more willing to have economic cooperations with those that helped their cause. Nothing wrong with that.

    And remember, without French help, America might not even exist. Let’s give that chance to Libya.

    • MRW
      March 20, 2011, 3:55 pm

      You make a great argument, Saleema. I just don’t happen to give the USA much truck in the helping out department; ulterior motives prevail, but I can only surmise what they might be. Where was the USA before all this happened, what was it doing for the past 40 years, or even since Bush anointed him as a good guy? I’m not glued to Al-Jazeera these days so I’m off the pulse.

      Gaddhafi has treated those oil revenues as his own private booty. He and Mubarak were Arab Madoffs.

      Achhh….the whole thing disgusts me.

      • straightline
        March 20, 2011, 5:21 pm

        I empathize with all of Saleema’s comments and hope that the rebels succeed but then – when I’m not angrily countering the hasbarists with their usual distortions (you’d think they could come up with some new ones) – I think about what George Galloway says. The Arab League consists of dictators. Yemenis are being killed in Yemen and Bahrainis in Bahrain for protesting (and of course Palestinians – but why do I say “of course”!) yet the West intervenes only in Libya. What’s the difference? Galloway says that it is oil – see the link in an earlier post.

        Here’s another view:

        link to bbc.co.uk

        There is no moral clarity here – it’s all political expediency. Of course the other dictators are friends of the US.

    • seafoid
      March 20, 2011, 4:17 pm

      I don’t think it’s going to turn into Iraq. Tripoli probably would have turned against Ghadafi anyway. The people are sick of him.

      It’s very hard to watch Sarko and Cameron talking about protecting civilians when you know the next time Israel does a Cast Lead they’ll be selling Israel the weapons.

    • Sumud
      March 20, 2011, 8:04 pm

      I can’t recall where I saw it Saleema but I read that Egypt is supplying arms to the rebels…

      • Saleema
        March 20, 2011, 10:51 pm

        They were small arms and not much. I want them to take a bigger role. They and Turkey could have done this alone if they wanted to.

      • Sumud
        March 21, 2011, 12:50 am

        OK thanks Saleema. I agree, regional players should be taking the lead and supporting the rebels when they ask for assistance.

        Let’s hope that when Qaddafi is ousted the demonstrations in Libya will continue as they have in Tunisia and Egypt to keep the interim governments honest and ensure they don’t slow down on dismantling the old regimes. And especially to see any and all foreign troops who end up there exit Libya ASAP.

  20. ToivoS
    March 20, 2011, 2:23 pm

    Now that the US led attack on Libya has begun the outcome is quite unpredictable. I strongly opposed this action for a variety of reasons but that is quite irrelevant now. The US cannot stop now until it achieves its goals and what those might be is unknown. Kill Khadhaffy? Impose a Western compliant puppet? Destroy Islamic political power?

    Perhaps we succeed in killing Khadhaffy quickly, the opposition wins, sets up free democratic elections, and an enlightened society emerges. I would support such an outcome and be happy to admit my initial reaction was overly cautious.

    There is also the possibility that the US invasion will rally his supporters (concentrated in the western half of the country) behind his regime. This would also silence the democracy supporting opposition.

    Then there is the possibility of a rural tribal group in alliance with Islamists become the dominant group within the opposition and are positioned to set up an interim government (Afghanistan anyone?). Now we would be committed to fighting the terrorists or Obama would be accused of supporting them.

    Too many ways this could go south. All we do now is sit back and watch what happens.

    • Mooser
      March 20, 2011, 4:14 pm

      “Perhaps we succeed in killing Khadhaffy quickly, the opposition wins, sets up free democratic elections, and an enlightened society emerges. “

      Oh fer sure! Isn’t that what usually happens? I mean if you think about it, how can it not happen in this best of all possible worlds.

    • RoHa
      March 20, 2011, 11:03 pm

      “Now that the US led attack on Libya ..”

      French led.

  21. ElSaltador
    March 20, 2011, 2:25 pm

    I just pray that this war ends real soon,I don’t want the sneaky French or any foreigner stealing Libyan wealth.

    On a completely different note,I am completely surprised why there is nothing in Mondoweiss covering Helen Thomas’ awesome interview with The Playboy magazine. She is one heck of a courageous lady.

    Some snippets from the interview:
    PLAYBOY: So is this how you pictured retirement?

    THOMAS: I’m not retired! I was fired. In fact, I’ll die with my boots on. I’m still writing and I’ll continue to write and ask hard questions. I will never bow out of journalism.

    PLAYBOY: Do you begrudge people like Steven Spielberg? He created the Shoah Foundation to chronicle the life stories of Holocaust survivors. What’s your feeling about him?

    THOMAS: There’s nothing wrong with remembering it, but why do we have to constantly remember? We’re not at fault. I mean, if they’re going to put a Holocaust museum in every city in Germany, that’s fine with me. But we didn’t do this to the Jews. Why do we have to keep paying the price and why do they keep oppressing the Palestinians? Do the Jews ever look at themselves? Why are they always right? Because they have been oppressed throughout history, I know. And they have this persecution. That’s true, but they shouldn’t use that to dominate.

    link to playboy.com

    • straightline
      March 20, 2011, 5:25 pm

      I glanced at it and was nauseated by the disgusting comments at the end! If the Zionist PR machine wants to win the war of ideas it needs to control these people.

      She’s a wonderful lady – and good to see she’s still coming out punching! Someday America will realise what it has lost in the White House Press Room.

    • straightline
      March 20, 2011, 5:33 pm

      I glanced at it and was nauseated by the disgusting comments at the end! If the Zionist PR machine wants to win the war of ideas it needs to control these people.

      She’s a wonderful lady – and good to see she’s still coming out punching! Someday America will realise what it has lost in the White House Press Room.

    • eljay
      March 20, 2011, 6:35 pm

      >> On a completely different note,I am completely surprised why there is nothing in Mondoweiss covering Helen Thomas’ awesome interview with The Playboy magazine.

      You mean nothing like this thread…

      Helen Thomas asks why Americans have no understanding of Palestinian conditions

      …created on March 18 and containing 50 comments? ;-)

  22. Potsherd2
    March 20, 2011, 2:47 pm

    While all the posters here are wasting space engaging with the official site troll the Arab League is protesting the extent of the harm caused by the military strikes.
    link to washingtonpost.com

    As many of us warned from the beginning.

    • straightline
      March 20, 2011, 6:03 pm

      You’re right Potsherd – but he’s so infuriating as you are well aware.

      To quote him: “The fighters fought (shooting at civilians) and as in every single conflict in the world, civilians get the short end. EVERY armed conflict.”

      Seems that the dictators of the Arab League are somewhat more concerned about civilian casualties than the IDF.

    • straightline
      March 20, 2011, 6:18 pm

      Whenever there is military action, “Cherchez l’election”

      link to guardian.co.uk

    • fuster
      March 20, 2011, 6:49 pm

      Pots, the stinking Arab League complaints could have been avoided if the weasels had done the job of protecting those people their own selves, instead of crapping around for a week and then punting it off.

      Screw them for cowards and liars and let them suck on their complaint.

    • Walid
      March 20, 2011, 7:50 pm

      Potsherd, don’t buy into the crocodile tears of the Arab League, it knew very well what the game was going to be about when it gave its consent to the UNSC resolution as without it, the resolution would not have been passed and now it’s just trying to save face in the Arab world especially in light of its Secretary-General, Amr Moussa running for president in Egypt in 8 months and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood mad as hell at the UN bombings. What has the Arab League declared about the ongoing massacres of civilians in Bahrain and Yemen? Moussa is just covering his tracks. Soldiers from Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Kuwait and Qatar under a Gulf mutual military pact were in Bahrain helping the king there to put down the civilians’ call for democracy and the Arab League has nothing to say about it. Now it seems that Qatar and Kuwait are getting off the Bahrain bus because of opposition to it at home but Qatar is getting on the Libyan one.

      • Sumud
        March 21, 2011, 12:55 am

        Walid ~ Qatar too!? I knew about KSA, UAE and had heard rumours about Kuwait, most disappointed Qatar has waded into that mess.

        I was shocked to see the clip of the monument in Pearl Roundabout being demolished on the orders of the King. I wouldn’t underestimate the power of symbols like that. I know the 6 swords supporting the pearl were supposed to represent the 6 countries of the GCC, so it’s kinda ironic as the GCC troops roll into town that monument is knocked over. It isn’t the monument that needed to be “cleansed”, it’s the royal family who think killing Bahraini civilians is acceptable behaviour.

  23. ElSaltador
    March 20, 2011, 2:53 pm

    Another awesome quote from Helen Thomas. I am stunned by her courage and clarity.

    THOMAS: Well, I don’t want to be treated that way. [pauses but continues to cry] I’m sorry. But what am I supposed to do, love every Jew because they want to take Palestine? It’s a real cause with me. They should have a conscience and they don’t if that’s what they’re going to do. Is there such a thing as a conscience? I think there is. Stop taking what doesn’t belong to you! Stop killing these people. These children throw stones at them, and they shoot them. Where is the Jewish conscience? I want to know. Have some feeling. They can’t just come in and say, “This is my home,” knock on the door at three in the morning and have the Israeli military take them out. That’s what happens. And that’s what happened to the Jews in Germany. Why do they inflict that same pain on people who did nothing to them? [takes another break to compose herself]I sure didn’t want to cry. But I do care about people. And I don’t care what they write about me. They’ve already written it. My family will be disappointed in me for crying.

    • fuster
      March 20, 2011, 7:08 pm

      yeah, if you take all the bigoted bullcrud out of her comments they don’t sound half bad.

      • Citizen
        March 20, 2011, 9:08 pm

        “They can’t just come in and say, “This is my home,” knock on the door at three in the morning and have the Israeli military take them out. That’s what happens. And that’s what happened to the Jews in Germany. Why do they inflict that same pain on people who did nothing to them?”

        Fuster, you call this “bigoted bullcrud”?

      • straightline
        March 20, 2011, 9:45 pm

        Unlike this: “Screw them for cowards and liars and let them suck on their complaint.”

      • Chaos4700
        March 21, 2011, 2:38 am

        I see the campaign of “All Arab journalists are anti-Semites” campaign by fuster remains in full swing.

  24. Leigh
    March 20, 2011, 2:57 pm

    Difficult issue. I despise Qaddafi and want him gone. But here is why I oppose military action:

    1. this is not a moral judgement, just a descriptive point. The Libyans miscalculated by breaking into military bases on day 2 (Feb. 18), killing soldiers on guard, stealing weapons, arming everyone, killing security forces, refusing to negotiate while they were winning, and killing probably hundreds of black people, including foreign workers, because they thought they were mirsenaries. Due to our intervention (this weekend in fact), Qaddafi has also now armed everyone. So this is an armed civil war. We don’t even know what percentage of Libyan people support him, but in Western Libya and Tripoli it can be substantial; remember that Libya is the highest African country on the human development index, and Western Libya is the most economically developed part. Our intervention will now stretch out a civil war that would have ended soon with Qaddafi taking Benghazi back. So, and please believe how much I hate saying this, the best case senario would have been to leave Qaddafi to take back Benghazi and appeal to friendly countries like Venezuela or Turkey to negotiate for Libyan civilians and place observation teams on the ground to report any sign of Qaddafi retaliation against them. Kosovo’s intervention was also meant to be humanitarian, but the vast majority of deaths and attrocities happened after NATO bombing. Qaddafi already seems to have stepped up operations in Misurata today, so I think, like in Kosovo, the situation on the ground is going to get a lot worse now that we’re involved.

    2. The UN resolution prohibits regime change; allows only for protection of civilians. But if we stick to that, then Qaddafi will stay in control of the rest of Libya, while Benghazi and Tabruk will become Western protectorates. Splitting Libya is in noone’s interest, it’s likely to create at least one failed state that we will have to fund, and Western propped up protectorates won’t have credibility for long anyway. So the only way forward is to put boots on the ground and fight with the revolutionaries to overthrow Qaddafi and remove those who are prepared to fight for him, and that, dears, is another Afghanistan. The UN resolution doesn’t allow for invasion or occupation, for some officials, like the British chancellor, has already said that they don’t think of small ground operations as an invasion/occupation. Point? Humanitarian intervention will split Libya, so mission creep to regime change is essential.

    3. Eventually we will be judge on the results, not on our intentions. And since chance is good that it won’t go well, placing US-EU citizens at risk of more hatred and potential attacks by whoever sticks by Qaddafi or doesn’t like the result is irresponsible. The Arab league, South America, African Union, China, Russia, Germany, India and the Taliban are already complaining, and it’s hardly started.

    4. The humanitarian case for intervention is much weaker than it would be in, for example, the DRC or Sudan, or for intervening in Wall Street food speculation that drives food prices up and starves millions in Africa-Asia, or rich countries like the US that refuses to provide services and allows 40,000 people to die anually of treatable illnesses. Even the Israel case, not because of the number of dead, but because it’s apparently permanent, makes a strong humanitarian case (especially to stop providing them with weapons!) Or the Bahrainis and Yemenis that have mostly stayed nonviolent and are being mown down by US weapons. So if we are humanitarians, we should do other things first.

    I have a lot more to say, but will shut-up for now. I seriously hope I’m wrong anyway, all my thoughts with the Libyan people.

  25. ElSaltador
    March 20, 2011, 3:06 pm

    OOPS,I am sorry Phil. Mondoweiss did cover this interview.My mistake. Delete this comments ,I think that would be better.

  26. JBL
    March 20, 2011, 3:33 pm

    Gaddafi is a minor irritant compared to this obscene sham of yet another “humanitarian intervention” designed to re-colonize another Arab country with lots of oil.

  27. Richard Witty
    March 20, 2011, 3:55 pm

    link to haaretz.com

    “Yea, resistance” (I differ).

    • straightline
      March 20, 2011, 5:34 pm

      From the article: “On Saturday, Israel Defense Forces killed two Palestinian terrorists near the Gaza border. The IDF spokesperson said that troops fired after identifying two terrorists near the border.”

      Yea resistance, Witty! Of course we know what “terrorist” means – anyone shot by a member of the IDF.

  28. BillR
    March 20, 2011, 3:55 pm

    “Truthfully, I’m thrilled, I think Qaddafi will be gone within days, just as I said, correctly, that Mubarak would be gone…”

    Err, I guess.

    February 7, 2011: “It helps to know something about Egypt if you’re writing about it. (I guess). Here’s a really smart piece by Joshua Stacher of Kent State at Foreign Affairs saying that the “democratic window has probably already closed,” that the regime has never broken down, its central institution, the military, remaining as powerful as ever. And now the gov’t is successfully playing the young demonstrators off against the ordinary citizens’ desire for normal times.
    –Philip Weiss

  29. Richard Witty
    March 20, 2011, 3:56 pm

    Libya is a very difficult issue.

    That dissenters here (except for Phil thankfully) have expressed no humility relative to complexities of the situation is very disappointing.

    Are we to conclude that because Phil for the past two weeks has applauded the Libyan resistance, and urged that the world do something (and now they did), that he is now functionally a neo-conservative interventionist.

    Or, should instead take the cruel and insensitive position of accepting the mass murder of Libyans?

    Ugly. Unclear.

    • Mooser
      March 20, 2011, 4:27 pm

      “Or, should instead take the cruel and insensitive position of accepting the mass murder of Libyans?”

      You can count on Richard! First he poops on the floor, and then sure enough, he forgets it’s there, and steps right in it, every time.

      • seafoid
        March 20, 2011, 5:20 pm

        I think if the people committing mass murder are people whose grandparents were victims of genocide then obviously it’s okay.

        This is interesting, from the ICRC. I think it blows Israel’s attempts to rewrite international law out of the water.

        “As the second night of airstrikes begin, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has said it is “deeply concerned about the intensification in recent days of the fighting in and around densely populated centres in Libya, with the consequent risk to civilian lives.”
        It called on “all parties”, including the international forces, the Libyan government forces, and rebels, “to abide strictly by the rules and principles of international humanitarian law.”
        “Attacks that directly target the civilian population are strictly prohibited by international humanitarian law,” said Yves Daccord, ICRC director-general.”

        I wonder if Israel will get a free pass the next time it starts bombing the sh#t out of Gaza.

      • Richard Witty
        March 20, 2011, 5:23 pm

        Somehow you ventured to gamble (lie) on what position I take.

        I am like Phil, unsure.

    • straightline
      March 20, 2011, 5:40 pm

      What! This guy is absolutely unbelievable! He criticises the rest of us for expressing “no humility relative to the compexities” but has total moral clarity about Israel!!!

      Several of us – whom Witty can never read because he fails to be corrected in his lies – have expressed some concern about the complexities of the situation. Indeed Mr Witty, in my response to your first piece of obfuscation, I pointed to the George Galloway link! There is, as I’ve already said, no right or wrong here, only political expediency – unfortunately for the people of Libya and Yemen and Bahrain.

      Could someone organize a reading course for Witty!

    • Sumud
      March 20, 2011, 8:15 pm

      That dissenters here (except for Phil thankfully) have expressed no humility relative to complexities of the situation is very disappointing.

      That a man in his 50s (and I don’t mean Phil) lacks the self awareness to understand, or courage to own, his own political positions – right wing jewish supremacist – is very disappointing.

  30. CK MacLeod
    March 20, 2011, 3:59 pm

    PW: It appears to me that, for the Obama Administration and its overall approach to U.S. grand strategy, the Libyan operation appears as a necessary – which also means inescapable – step in the evolution of the “international community” as an alternative on the one hand to U.S. military and economic hegemony, on the other to the weakening or even the breakdown of the international system. The so-called Arab Spring has also been articulated within, and in critical ways has been about, this evolving and uncertain international context.

  31. ish
    March 20, 2011, 5:52 pm

    While it is not for me to tell the Libyan revolutionaries they are wrong for wanting international assistance in their just struggle against a dictatorship, it is for me as an American to warn them of being careful what you ask for. It is for me as an American to say that when our country uses its military force for what it pretends and rationalizes as just causes, the result is always unjustifiable murder and destruction.

    This massive neocolonial attack on Libya is absolutely wrong. Ask yourselves why Libya? It’s not about the people. Why not Bahrain? Why not Yemen? Why not Palestine? This is about something else…it’s about oil for Europe, about preventing African immigration to Europe, and about seizing control of the wave of popular unrest to make sure that the rest of the pro-western stooges running the Arab world are safe in their palaces.

    I have felt like the last of the Obama defenders. No more. Here he becomes nothing more than a Bush rerun. Freedom never arrives under cover of American cruise missiles or neocolonialist French jets. Beware.

  32. Keith
    March 20, 2011, 10:10 pm

    I’m going to make this short and to the point. When the dust clears, I think it is highly likely that Libya’s infrastructure will have been destroyed, and the countryside littered with depleted uranium munitions. The Libyans, who have a relatively high standard of living and development for Africa, will be reduced to pauper-hood. The total number of people killed will greatly exceed the number which would have died with no intervention. Libya may be divided, with the oil-rich east under US/NATO/rebel control. Humanitarian intervention is the modern equivalent of “white man’s burden.”

  33. BillR
    March 20, 2011, 10:50 pm

    Whoa! Keith, an intelligent comment. On Mondoweiss. Stop the presses. This is damn near unprecedented. Thank you.

    • Mooser
      March 21, 2011, 12:39 pm

      “This is damn near unprecedented.”

      No it’s not. Keith comments at least once a week or more.

      “The total number of people killed will greatly exceed the number which would have died with no intervention.”

      A bet I would be more than willing to take.

  34. fuster
    March 20, 2011, 11:07 pm

    Keith,
    It’s also highly likely that the 50,000 Israeli-hired mercenaries that Avi was talking about will use their low-tech Israeli-rental slingshots to bring down all the US/NATO warplanes and Gaddafi will then invade and conquer all of the Mediterranean.

  35. RoHa
    March 21, 2011, 12:07 am

    Foreign interventions do not have – or, usually, deserve – a good reputation, but some are generally regarded as having been of benefit to the people on whose behalf the intervention was proclaimed.

    Vietnam in Cambodia.
    Britain in Sierra Leone.
    Britain in Malaysia, against Indonesia.
    India in Bangladesh.
    France in the American colonies.

    I desperately hope this one will be added to the list.

    • Saleema
      March 21, 2011, 1:43 am

      India in Bagladesh saved the slaughter of untold Bangladeshis. Pakistani army commited war crimes. India’s intention was to humiliate Pakistan but it served the Bengalis well. Bengalish mostly voted for a Bengali standing in presidential elections, he won, and that wasn’t acceptable to the snooty Pakistanis who thought Bengalis were beneath them.

      Sometimes, even if states don’t always have intentions for the ultimate good of humanity, the outcome serves the people.

  36. Richard Witty
    March 21, 2011, 6:07 am

    The support of “resistance” is a gamble.

    That is the common theme of Phil’s blog, support for the underdog.

    US non-intervention, because US intervention is murky.

    These are simplistic observations.

    Phil spoke earlier about the theme of the transition from powerless to powerful. (In practice, it is a transition from ‘any behavior is acceptable so long as it is resistance to a larger power’ to ‘being in power entails difficult responsibility’.

    But, he also appears to subscribe to the view ‘there is no way for Israel to fulfill responsibility as a power. It is only an interloper’.)

    But, we do grow up. We (personally and Israel) do change from being a guest, to an interloper on the planet, to living in our home, to responsibility to provide a setting/world in which others may live well, to no power to affect, to dependance ourselves requiring that others provide a setting/world in which we can live.

    • Mooser
      March 21, 2011, 12:42 pm

      Yup, he poops on the floor, steps in it and then dances around the house.

      • Mooser
        March 21, 2011, 12:43 pm

        And Witty, if I want to know what happens in the best of all possible worlds, I’ll read Candide.

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