Gaza vs. Israel: The legitimate and illegitimate use of violence in the Western discourse

Israel/PalestineUS Politics
on 59 Comments
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Gaza, November 16, 2012 (Photo: Anne Paq/Activestills)

We hear news that the Israeli state has called up 75,000 reserves and is planning for a ground invasion. I continue to hear loud explosions of air raids surround our home in Saftawi, Gaza. The constant buzzing of the Israeli drone has become part of the backdrop of this weapons battle. I hear news that Hamas shot down two Israeli F-16s. I hear news that an Israeli drone was shot down late last night. I hear the rockets continue to be launched from locations around Gaza and reach the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. The shape of these two forms of violence shows how a state is able to launch a war and how a non-state movement is able to resist it. As bombs continue to rain down on Gaza and rockets continue to break the Iron Dome and make it into Israel, a review of dominant mainstream media sites in the West and Western governments reveals a very skewed understanding on the (il)-legitimate use of violence.

Two days ago, on November 14th 2012, a potential ceasefire between the state of Israel and resistant factions on in the Gaza strip was broken when Israel launched the targeted assassination of Ahmed al-Jabari, the leader of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigade. All Gazans immediately knew what this meant: there would be a retaliation launched by Hamas, a war of bombs and rockets would soon escalate and it would most likely continue. Gazans knew they would be bombarded with shelling from the sea, the sky and potentially land as ground forces would approach Gaza’s eastern border. This is exactly what happened; and two days later this battle of weapons between Israel and Palestinian movements including Hamas is going strong.

However, through the eyes of Western government and mainstream media some of these killing apparatus are regarded as legitimate and others are not. The F-16, the Apache helicopter, the drone, the bomb are weapons that the US, the UK, the EU can understand and relate to. They should as they are large importers of Israeli military and intelligence technology. The rocket, homemade from donkey shit and sugar or fabricated using Iranian technology is a weapon that is foreign to Western discourses on legitimate forms of killing. While both apparatus have maimed and killed civilians and military targets over the last two days, the bomb dropped is a more comfortable thought in the minds of the BBC watcher in England than the rocket being launched from a Palestinian resistance fighter into Israel. These western narratives forget that the rocket is used by the lesser military power in this asymmetrical bomb competition between Israel and Gaza. It neglects that resistant fighters in Gaza don’t use high performance jets or helicopters, not because they elect for a more brute or savage weapon; no, they use the rocket because they don’t have drones who can target identified military leaders from hundreds of meters up. They don’t have the military technology, power or resources to send fighter jets to Tel Aviv or launch a naval battle from the Mediterranean. They do not enjoy the support of the largest military power around the globe to assist it in making its attacks more “surgical”.

Benjamin Netanyahu felt comfortable enough to call Israeli attacks on Gaza as “surgical” (quoted in Al-jazeera “Rockets aim at Tel Aviv as conflict escalates”). The doctors of war proceed with great precision, although I would urge to strongly disagree with Netanyahu’s comments, as the death toll of civilians grows to twenty-nine and over two hundred injured in Gaza. However, Israel feels that it is a waging a professional war on Gaza, which is somehow more legitimate than the Palestinian retaliation attacks. And Western media and government voices support this reasoning, not only through their unbraided political and economic support for Israel, but also through their continued narration of the bomb competition between Gaza and Israel: through Western media and government there are clearly good guys and bad guys. Foreign Secretary William Hague says, “Hamas bears principal responsibility for the current crisis. I utterly condemn rocket attacks from Gaza into southern Israel by Hamas and other armed groups.” In addition, to this western media and government narratives support a most controversial concept that the Israeli life is worth more than the Palestinian. As Israeli deaths make the headlines, the Palestinian death is always included as a secondary. The killing of civilians in war is wrong and must be avoided at all costs, but unfortunately it continues to happen. Gaza is a 12km by 40km territory populated by 1.5 million Palestinians lives, when an Israeli bomb lands here a civilian will lose its life; this is regarded as collateral damage and is excused on this regard of legitimate mistakes of war. When Hamas or other factions send rockets into Israel and approximate urban areas, civilians are also at risk; however, the Western discursive understanding of this damage to life is regarded as terroristic and the brutal intention of an illegitimate body waging an illegitimate form of war.

All Palestinian resistant movements are referred to as militants or terrorists. Western media sources feel comfortable awarding responsibility for all attacks on Israel as being launched by that “terrorist organisation”: Hamas. Hamas, who although has strongly avoided the topic of elections in recent years, it was once upon time the democratic elected body of Palestine. Hamas was also not responsible for the rockets launched prior reaching the ceasefire on November 14th, 2012 before the assassination of Ahmed al-Jabari; Hamas’s military wing leader. The blowing up of one of its leader was bound to bring Hamas into this violence, which at least initially, it was trying to avoid. Many Gazans critique Hamas for not maintaining its resistance stance against Israel. However, Hamas has now forcefully taken up the mode of retaliation following the assassination of its leader; I stress that Hamas’s armed response comes as no surprise. However, Western media sources and governments were too quick to label Hamas attacks as uncalled-for militarist action. The argument that Hamas was compelled to respond to the assassination of one of its leaders does not enter western political or media discussions.

I would like to ask a question of these dominant Western discourses. In their mind who is allowed to legitimately resist against Israel? According to Westerns news media all resistant fighters in Palestine are militants. Israel, as a western favored state, is allowed to target and assassinate Hamas government and military officials: March 2004, Gaza: Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, founder of Hamas, killed by missile strike, April 2004, Gaza: Abdel Aziz al-Rantissi, co-founder and leader of Hamas, killed in missile strike, January 2009, Gaza: Said Siyam, senior Hamas commander, killed in air strike and now, November 2012, Gaza City: Ahmed Said Khalil al-Jabari, commander of Hamas’ military wing, just to name a few. This precision killing is regarded as a legitimate form of violence. Hamas or other movements working from within Gaza are legitimate targets because they are regarded as militants or terrorists; their retaliation attacks, however, are regarded as illegitimate because they are from non-state militants or terrorists. So Palestinian military and political leaders can be legitimately targeted but they are not allowed to legitimately retaliate.

Palestinian factions represent a non-state (as we all know way to well Palestine does not have its state yet) and therefore, any form of violence Palestinian movements engage in will be, by de facto, that of a non-state actor. War or violence launched by a non-state actor, is so quickly coupled with militant or terrorist in the western discourse on legitimate uses of violence. Palestine continues to be forbidden its status and capability as a viable state; how then is Palestine meant to resist its occupation, when Israeli leaders wage their own war on Palestine and simultaneously work so energetically and aggressively to dissallow its status as a state? How are Gazan resistant movements, which do enjoy almost unanimous support from the entire Gaza population, meant to resist in a way which is legitimate to western governments? If these Western narratives were more dedicated to their own professed adherence to human rights then they would not be able to stand in defence of Israel. According to the Geneva Conventions a people under occupation have the legal right to resist their occupation; this Article 1 (4) of Protocol 1 stresses that force may be used to pursue the right of self-determination. States and actors who attempts to suppress the Palestinian right to resist violent occupation is in direct contradiction with the UN Charter, the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the Declaration on the Granting of Independence to Colonial Countries and Peoples, which all legally aim to provide support to those fighting colonial regimes. The Western discourse on the legitimate use of violence needs to sensitise and educate its view: Palestinians have the legal right to resist and that is exactly what they are doing.

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An Israeli man examines the damage caused to a house in Sderot by a Kassam rocket on Sunday (Photo: Edi Israel/Flash90)
About Catherine Charrett

Catherine Charrett is a PhD candidate at Aberystwyth University, UK in the department of International Politics and she hold a Masters degree from the London School of Economics. She has been a researcher in security studies and conflict resolution in Vancouver, Barcelona, London and she now finds herself in Gaza, where she was undergoing research into the European response of Hamas’s success in the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Elections. Catherine is a feminist, an attempted nihilist and supporter of Palestinian rights.

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59 Responses

  1. Talkback
    November 16, 2012, 3:35 pm

    I don’t think that the question is, if they have a right to resist or not. They are called terrorists, because they target Israeli civilians.

    The real question is, if Palestinians have to respect that Israel’s society differentiates between civilians (which Palestinians shouldn’t attack) and soldiers (which Palestinans are not able to attack) if Israel’s denial of Palestinian human right through violence primarily targets Palestinian civilians and the Palestinian people as a collective. If there wasn’t any Palestinian militant Israel still would use violence against Palestinian (civilians) to deny them their rights. Whether it’s their right to return and citizenship or their right to self determination.

    • Woody Tanaka
      November 16, 2012, 4:39 pm

      “I don’t think that the question is, if they have a right to resist or not. They are called terrorists, because they target Israeli civilians.”

      Nonsense. If that were so then every discussion of WWII would talk about the terrorist Leaders Churchill, Roosevelt and Truman, terrorist commanders like Arthur Harris, Curtis LeMay and the terrorist forces of the RAF and AAF. The US and UK clearly and unequivocally targeted civilians.

      They don’t because “terrorist” is a term reserved for non-white, non-westerners who dare fight back against white westerners. It has no other meaning. The civilian/non-civilian, targeted/collateral nonsense is nothing but a way to call westerners killing civilians “good” and non-westerners killing civilians “bad.”

      • Hostage
        November 18, 2012, 3:40 am

        Nonsense. If that were so then every discussion of WWII would talk about the terrorist Leaders Churchill, Roosevelt and Truman, terrorist commanders like Arthur Harris, Curtis LeMay and the terrorist forces of the RAF and AAF. The US and UK clearly and unequivocally targeted civilians

        The post WWII discussions did address the fact that all of the belligerents had waged war without regard to the consequences for its victims. That’s why all of the High Contracting Parties adopted the four Geneva Conventions which established the international law for the humanitarian treatment of the victims of war in 1949. Those practices have been outlawed ever since that time.

      • Woody Tanaka
        November 18, 2012, 10:45 am

        Yeah, how convenient. If it weren’t trivially easy to find examples of such practices being part of the “powerful” state’s acts since 1949, you might have a point. But it’s all smoke and mirrors designed to damn those fighting the western powers and powerful nations. Nothing more.

      • Hostage
        November 18, 2012, 1:29 pm

        Yeah, how convenient. If it weren’t trivially easy to find examples of such practices being part of the “powerful” state’s acts since 1949, you might have a point.

        There have never been any laws that prevented lawbreakers. The point is that the majority of states have agreed upon what is, and what isn’t illegal – and the majority of states have established a permanent international criminal tribunal with the aim of helping to end the impunity that you are bitching about. The answer is certainly not to advocate that Palestinians be granted impunity too.

      • sardelapasti
        November 18, 2012, 2:12 pm

        The 1945 principles and their clear, unmistakable message on the right to resist war and occupation by the same means have been obscured by colonial governments and their brown-tongued lawyers. All your bullshit (which is essentially a correct rendering of the way the SC bandits have prepared their impunity and that of their fellow criminals) cannot, however, cancel the Nuremberg principles and UN Charter rights, stark and clear in the absence of later colonial accretions. What all the later construction is aiming at is 1) creating a fiction of equivalence between aggressor and aggressed, 2) getting the warmaker off the hook for the injury it does to its own civilian population.
        Whoever starts a war of aggression is on the hook for all consequences of it, including civilian and military resistance by all means judged necessary. No matter your lawyer’s hocus-pocus.

      • Hostage
        November 18, 2012, 7:07 pm

        All your bullshit (which is essentially a correct rendering of the way the SC bandits have prepared their impunity and that of their fellow criminals) cannot, however, cancel the Nuremberg principles and UN Charter rights, stark and clear in the absence of later colonial accretions.

        The Nuremberg principles criminalized war crimes whenever they are committed against the civilian populations of any cities, towns, or villages; and inhuman acts committed against any civilian population.
        link to icrc.org

        The UN Charter prohibits the threat or use of force and Article 51 of the Charter does not provide any exception that permits crimes against civilian populations. The Geneva Conventions have been universally ratified by nearly 200 countries; declared to be customary law binding on non-signatories; and included in the offenses listed in Article 8 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. None of that has anything to do with the influence of the Security Council.

        The General Assembly and its subsidiary organs, including the International Law Commission, and the 4th and 6th Committees on Decolonization & Legal matters elaborated the Nuremberg Principles and the provisions of resolution ES-10/15 which called upon:

        the Palestinian Authority to undertake visible efforts on the ground to arrest, disrupt and restrain individuals and groups conducting and planning violent attacks, . . .

        Nearly every country in the world, except Palestine, is represented in the General Assembly. No state enjoys a veto. The General Assembly only convenes Emergency Special Sessions, like the one that adopted ES-10/15, when the Security Council fails to fulfill its function and purposes in maintaining international peace and security. The majority of states are countries that were former colonies or members of the non-aligned block. Your assertion that liberation movements can resort to whatever means they deem necessary is clearly not shared by most of those states, which voted to arrest individuals who resort to violence. link to unispal.un.org

      • Mooser
        November 19, 2012, 4:25 pm

        Like frickin’ gold, Hostage. And you just dash this stuff off with one hand while doing how many other things, and all the time retaining your sang-freud not to mention a heapin’ helpin’ of saviour fare, too?
        You must have one of those new “apps” which allows you to simply ‘think’ erudite, well informed and committed comments into the box, all corrected, linked, the whole schmear. Yup, that must be it. Either that or it’s magic, of course.

      • Annie Robbins
        November 19, 2012, 6:10 pm

        it’s magic.

      • RoHa
        November 19, 2012, 9:13 pm

        Magic. And no girlfriend. But mostly magic.

      • sardelapasti
        November 20, 2012, 1:50 pm

        “The Nuremberg principles criminalized war crimes whenever they are committed against the civilian populations of any cities, towns, or villages; and inhuman acts committed against any civilian population.”

        Wrong answer. It never defined as “civilian population” illegal settlers brought, as auxiliary or human shields or whatever, by the Nazi occupant. See your trial minutes and the French & Italian judgments re resistance terrorism against the occupant.

        As for the rest, it was stipulated that you would say just what you did: “Israel”, illegal racial supremacist aggressor entity, can wage endless war against the owners of all the land and also put all the responsibility of the danger it so created to its own “civilian”(??) population on the shoulders of the aggressed, who have no right to answer in kind, according to some shitty-tongued lawyers.

      • Hostage
        November 20, 2012, 2:47 pm

        Wrong answer. It never defined as “civilian population” illegal settlers

        The prohibition of crimes against humanity doesn’t admit any exceptions, since it explicitly states “any” civilian population.

        Furthermore, you can’t establish that the civilian populations of the targeted cities, like Tel Aviv, can all be categorized as “illegal settlers”.

      • Hostage
        November 20, 2012, 3:49 pm

        As for the rest, it was stipulated that you would say just what you did: “Israel”, illegal racial supremacist aggressor entity, can wage endless war against the owners of all the land and also put all the responsibility of the danger it so created to its own “civilian”(??) population on the shoulders of the aggressed, who have no right to answer in kind, according to some shitty-tongued lawyers.

        The only shitty-tongued person here is you. The attempt to sanctify targeting civilians is about as low as you can go. Both sides try to do it and it’s a propaganda fail every time.

      • sardelapasti
        November 21, 2012, 11:39 am

        “The attempt to sanctify targeting civilians is about as low as you can go”
        Talk about lawyer’s sneaky turns, when did I stop beating the wife? Where is the “sanctification”? Whoever wages war, like the Zionist entity against the local population since before 1948, without mentioning many other excursions, puts its own civilian population at risk by definition. The responsibility for all and sundry consequences, intended and unintended remains, as per Jackson, entirely on the shoulders of the aggressor, with no possibility of discounting.

      • Hostage
        November 21, 2012, 10:28 pm

        , when did I stop beating the wife? Where is the “sanctification”?

        Try reading your own comments in this thread which publicly condone targeting civilians with rockets on the basis of their Israeli nationality.

        John Dugard, Richard Goldstone, and Richard Faulk have all noted in reports to the UN Human Rights Council that the practice of firing rockets and missiles from Gaza at Israeli civilians or civilian objectives is a war crime or a crime against humanity.

        FYI, under the EU framework decision on racism and xenophobia, it can be considered a crime when someone publicly trivializes or condones war crimes and crimes against humanity that target individuals on the basis of their nationality, ancestry, or ethnicity.

        The responsibility for all and sundry consequences, intended and unintended remains, as per Jackson, entirely on the shoulders of the aggressor, with no possibility of discounting.

        If you’re talking about Supreme Court Justice Jackson, he was the Chief of Counsel for the U.S. during the Nuremberg trials, i.e. he was arguing cases, not handing down judgments or rulings on the law. Here are some much more relevant decisions on the subject from international tribunals:
        The accused cannot rely on the fact that allegedly there were also atrocities committed by the opposing force. In international law there is no justification for attacks on civilians carried out either by virtue of the tu quoque principle (i.e. the argument whereby the fact that the adversary is committing similar crimes offers a valid defence to a belligerent’s crimes) or on the strength of the principle of reprisals.
        *Judgment of the Trial Chamber in Case Kupreškić et al., (January 2000), para. 765;
        As the Defence was reminded many times during the trial, the fact that the Muslim side may have committed similar atrocities against Serb civilians, an argument brought up mutatis mutandis by almost every Serb accused and Defence counsel before the Tribunal, is irrelevant in the context of this case.
        *Judgment of the Trial Chamber in Case Kunarac et al., (February 2001), para. 580;
        As noted by the Trial Chamber, when establishing whether there was an attack upon a particular civilian population, it is not relevant that the other side also committed atrocities against its opponent’s civilian population. The existence of an attack from one side against the other side’s civilian population would neither justify the attack by that other side against the civilian population of its opponent nor displace the conclusion that the other side’s forces were in fact targeting a civilian population as such. Each attack against the other’s civilian population would be equally illegitimate and crimes committed as part of this attack could, all other conditions being met, amount to crimes against humanity.
        *Judgment of the Appeals Chamber in Case Kunarac et al., (January 2002), para. 87;
        Before turning to consider the KLA’s conduct, the Chamber would emphasise at the outset that the existence of an attack from one side involved in an armed conflict against the other side’s civilian population does not justify an attack by that other side against the civilian population of its opponent. The tu quoque principle has no application. Nevertheless, the Chamber is conscious of the operations of the Serbian forces in Kosovo, which deployed tactics that included the razing of villages and the expulsion of civilians from villages, and which caused considerable and widespread civilian suffering.

        *Judgment of the Trial Chamber in Case Limaj et al., (November 2005), para. 193.

      • sardelapasti
        November 24, 2012, 12:47 pm

        Exactly. Since 1945, it’s all been screwed up by crooked shysters.

      • Hostage
        November 24, 2012, 3:53 pm

        Exactly. Since 1945, it’s all been screwed up by crooked shysters.

        No, even the Nuremberg Tribunal rejected the tu quoque argument as a defense against international crimes and prosecution. It allowed the argument to be used as a mitigating factor during the sentencing phase of one of its cases. See Sienho Yee, The Tu Quoque Argument as a Defence to
        International Crimes, Prosecution or Punishment, link to chinesejil.oxfordjournals.org

      • sardelapasti
        November 24, 2012, 5:31 pm

        Not the ‘tu quoque’, which is worthless anytime. The fact that “civilian populations” when installed in support functions, including ‘spouse’, ‘reservist’, ‘replacement residents’ and any such are military targets.

      • Hostage
        November 25, 2012, 1:11 am

        Not the ‘tu quoque’, which is worthless anytime.

        Correction: The ICJ noted in the Wall case that the non-derogable rights in the ICCPR, the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, and customary international humanitarian law are not abrogated or waived on account of an armed conflict.

        Among other things, children born in the occupied territories are facts on the ground. They have the right to acquire a nationality, and a right to leave and return to their country of origin. They cannot be punished for the crimes of their parents or targeted as a valid military objectives. Neither can spouses. FYI a “protected person” includes all civilians who are hors de combat that find themselves in the hands of the enemy for any reason. Even the Israeli Supreme Court recognized that civilians can’t be targeted unless they are actively participating in hostilities:

        Opposite the combatants and military objectives stand the civilians and civilian objectives. Military attack directed at them is forbidden. Their lives and bodies are protected from the dangers of combat, provided that they themselves do not take a direct part in the combat. That customary principle is worded as follows:

        “Rule 1: The parties to the conflict must at all times distinguish between civilians and combatants. Attacks may only be directed against combatants. Attacks must not be directed against civilians.

        Rule 6: Civilians are protected against attack unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.

        Rule 7: The parties to the conflict must at all times distinguish between civilian objects and military objectives. Attacks may only be directed against military objectives. Attacks must not be directed against civilian objects” (J. I. HENCKAERTS & L. DOSWALD-BECK, CUSTOMARY INTERNATIONAL LAW pp. 3, 19, 25 (Vol. 1, 2005), hereinafter HENCKAERTS & DOSWALD-BECK).

        link to elyon1.court.gov.il

        The Court was citing a study on the rules of customary international law conducted at the behest of and published by the ICRC, e.g.
        *Table of Contents link to icrc.org
        *Rule 6 link to icrc.org

        Once again, if you don’t know what you are talking about, please stop making a fool of yourself.

    • Stephen Shenfield
      November 16, 2012, 4:57 pm

      The reason they are called terrorists is not that they target Israeli civilians. They are still called terrorists even when they target Israeli soldiers. When Shalit was captured, it was widely reported as a “kidnapping” by “terrorists.”

    • Shlomo
      November 16, 2012, 10:25 pm

      The leaders of jewish militias were sought as terrorists by the British Army because they (especially the Stern Gang) targeted civilians.

      First.

      That is, it was JEWS who started the terror by placing bombs on Arab buses and in marketplaces.

      First.

      Just like today when the IDF starts fights, then acts like a wounded innocent.

      link to en.wikipedia.org.jpg

      • Mooser
        November 19, 2012, 4:33 pm

        “The leaders of jewish militias were sought as terrorists by the British Army because they (especially the Stern Gang) targeted civilians.”

        A great article any time, but especially poignant at this time:

        link to lawrenceofcyberia.blogs.com

        Scroll down to the facsimile of the British Colonial Office reports, after all the excellent pictures and text.

    • Talkback
      November 17, 2012, 5:14 am

      I didn’t question that Israel would call them terrorists even if they would target the occupying force. (German occupant did the same). But the reason Israel gets away with it is, because in most cases Palestinian militants don’t target the occupying force.

      And still the question for me is, if Palestinans should respect the difference between combatants and civilians, if Israel’s occupation (and keeping Palestinians expelled, disenfranchized and disposessed) doesn’t and in fact cannot make this difference and it’s violence is primarily directed against civilians simply because they are not Jews. That’s the question I would like to discuss.

      • piotr
        November 17, 2012, 7:14 pm

        As late as in 1980s “terrorist” was a neutral term, and the good variety were “freedom fighters”. The bad guys in the forest were “bandits”.

        The reason that Israel gets away with equating attacks on soldiers with terrorism is partially that US also does it.

      • RoHa
        November 17, 2012, 11:39 pm

        “As late as in 1980s “terrorist” was a neutral term”

        Not round my way. In the 1950s, 60s, and 70s the Mau Mau, EOKA, the IRA, the Malayan Communist Party guerrillas, and the Viet Cong were all called “terrorists”, and it always meant bad guys.

  2. pabelmont
    November 16, 2012, 4:13 pm

    Good questions, good analysis. The Palestinians are of course “allowed” to resist Israel, but not to use any violence reasonably available to them to do so. It is not a matter of F-16s or drones or small home-made rockets. The matter is decided in the discourse, which labels Palestinians who use violence “terrorists” and does not (or at any rate not since the British left in 1948) call Israelis (Jews) who use violence “terrorists”. Instead, the Israelis w/u/v are called soldiers [but the settler zealots!] and all question of war-crimes prosecutions against those soldiers (or any of them) is prevented from surfacing.

    The language is not fair, it’s not symmetric, but it’s easy to understand. And it persuades the American and Israeli (and perhaps other) publics. Wonder if it will skew the vote on the PLO’s motion at the UN.

    • seafoid
      November 16, 2012, 6:22 pm

      The language is bullshit. Maybe Americans will buy it but Arabs won’t and it’s their neighbourhood. I remember being in Cairo when the Yanks invaded Iraq and talking to my bawaab (door man) about it and wondering how to translate “war on terror” into arabic and concluding that it was impossible. Because the framing doesn’t work.

      I think there’s a high probability that Bibi’s election bet will spiral out of Israeli control .

  3. Avi_G.
    November 16, 2012, 4:38 pm

    The 75,000 reservists are not going into Gaza. Israel cannot afford to re-occupy Gaza.

    The 75,000 are going somewhere else, most likely Syria or Lebanon.

    • seafoid
      November 16, 2012, 6:20 pm

      Avi- I think they are going to go into the Sinai and that next week the Israeli stock exchange is going to tank.

      It won’t be a Shabbat Shalom this weekend.

  4. seafoid
    November 16, 2012, 6:15 pm

    A super, super piece by Ahdaf Soueif in the Guardian

    link to guardian.co.uk

    “Israel has always sold itself to the west as a democracy in a sea of fanaticism. The Arab spring has undermined that narrative, possibly fatally. So Israeli politicians have been pushing hard for a war against Iran and, in the interim, they’ve gone on a killing spree in Gaza. If they had wanted to instigate violence against themselves they could not have done better than to assassinate Ahmed al-Jaabari, the Hamas commander who’s prevented attacks on Israelis for the past five years. With his killing they’ve raised the probability of these attacks resuming, as is happening now. They can then try to hijack the narrative of the Arab spring and wind the clock back to “Islamist terrorists v civilised Israelis”. Meanwhile, they take the heat off Bashar al-Assad’s murderous activities in Syria – and, of course, score hawkish points for Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Barak before the coming elections.

    But they have served to remind the world that Israel is a democracy where politicians may order the murder of children to score electoral points. Palestinian children, true. But the citizens of the world don’t make racist distinctions. On Thursday there were protests for Gaza across the world. They continued today. And there will be many more.

    In every Arab country where the people rise up to demand their rights, they demand action on Palestinian rights as well. Tunis has just announced that its foreign minister is heading for Gaza. In Jordan today, hundreds of thousands were on the streets and, as well as demanding the fall of their own regime, they’re also calling for justice for Palestine. Protesters are out in Libya. In Egypt, people are heading for Rafah. We are heading for true representation of the people’s will in the region and, in the coming years, governments will need to follow the road shown to them by their people.”

    The Zionist “Gaza is full of Untermenschen and we can degrade them at will” narrative is no longer accepted by the leaders of the Arab World. It was NEVER accepted by the Arab street.

    Ma sha Allah

    I have to say even if he was just a politician spouting PR that I was very impressed by what Morsi said today – “Cairo will not leave Gaza on its own”

    Ya Qahira .

    I feel like some Umm Kulthoum.

    • David Nelson
      November 16, 2012, 9:49 pm

      “In Egypt, people are heading for Rafah. “

      Thanks for the Guardian link seafoid. That there are young Egyptians who are heading to Gaza is both beautiful and frightening at the same time.

      In the context of escalation, what is Israel going to do, start bombing Egyptian citizens who make it to Gaza? What responsibility will an accountable-to-their-people President Morsi and the Egyptian military have if Egyptian civilians are murdered by the IDF?

      And all Obama can do is console the aggressor. Things can so quickly spiral out of control here. My heart and prayers to all those young Egyptians striving for peace and of course to all the Gazans and other innocents who must be terrified.

  5. douglasreed
    November 16, 2012, 6:45 pm

    The strategy of Netanyahu’s Likud government is sadly not generally understood. In accordance with its charter, Likud policy is to employ tactics that will abort the establishment of any Palestinian state by means of the illegal expropriation of Arab land in the occupied territories, which is in gross violation of international law.

    Violence and violation of the law are the twin tools of the Likud government. But it is adept at giving the impression that they are a partner for peace. In fact, it is the instigator of the illegal eviction of Arab families from their homes and their businesses and the theft of their land in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

    However, Netanyahu has miscalculated and his latest assassinations in Gaza can turn into a full blown war in which Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem become targets for reprisal missile attacks resulting in the heavy loss of his own citizens. If and when that happens then, as forecast so many times recently, Israel will deploy her weapons of mass destruction and all hell will be let loose upon the Middle East and the world.

  6. ToivoS
    November 16, 2012, 7:25 pm

    This asymmetry on the legitimacy of weapons used by civilized people against the primitive people goes way back. There was a story in the news in the late 50s or so where a German court issued extradition papers against a Serbian man. This guy was a real killer, his weapon was a knife and he killed German soldiers and their mistresses during WWII. This was in the middle of a war where the Germans eventually killed 15% of the Serbian population. But still, the man with a knife was a symbol of some deeper evil. Then there was the Belgium war against the Congolese (1890 – 1910) where by some estimates the native population was reduced by one third. The machine gun was the weapon the Belgiums used. But the symbol of horror was the black skinned many with a spear. I recall as a child that Hollywood was still propagating that image about the black savages. Finally there were the Mau Mau of Kenya that successfully threw out the British colonialist.

  7. foresomenteneikona
    November 16, 2012, 8:12 pm

    With all respect for Woody Tanaka’s point about how the Allies targeted German and Japanese civilians on a massive scale during World War II, there is a meaningful difference between organizations (state-run or otherwise) who target civilians and those who don’t. Intentionally killing civilians is a war crime, and it should be. There can be no question that Hamas does this…and brags about it. This is reprehensible.

    Where I think the author does make good points is in her description of how Israel is subjected to less than critical analysis in the West of what its intent actually is. I think that the West has settled for a definition of “intent” that is skewed towards too much leniency for the IDF and Israel and towards too much violation of basic Palestinian rights.

    There are very good reasons to suspect that the IDF kills Palestinians in the Gaza Strip with intent.

    1) Israel has been killing Palestinians in the Strip and claiming that it did not intend to for years now, but the methods it uses to attack “terrorist” targets in the Strip have not changed. At least since 2005, Israel has regularly killed civilians while claiming to be “rooting out terrorist infrastructure” or some such. Moreover, it has done this using the same methods (e.g., attacks from the air, land, and sea on “terrorists” or structures used by “terrorist networks”.)

    By this time, we know that Israel will kill civilians when it launches attacks on “terrorists” in Gaza. Far more civilians than the “terrorists” themselves kill. And Israel will continue to civilians as long as it uses the same methods.

    At some point, someone should point out that as long as the same methods are used in the same place on the same population, civilians will be killed. And, at some point, the continued use of the same methods must be thought to constitute intent.

    2) Israel has not hesitated to target civilians in their collective punishment of Gaza. link to mondoweiss.net is just one example, but Israel’s entire policy of seizure and closure has targeted Palestinians indiscriminately, and who knows how many innocent lives this has cost.

    3) The IDF has explicitly targeted civilians in the past. The use of white phosphorus was just one practice that constituted war crimes during Cast Lead. Without a wholesale investigation and housecleaning (a housecleaning that has not happened), there is no reason to think that the leadership of the IDF and of Israel value Gazan life any more than they did in 2008-9.

    Unless and until Israel fundamentally changes its policies towards Gaza, I think that any claims that it does not intend to kill civilians should be treated with extreme skepticism, at best.

    • Woody Tanaka
      November 17, 2012, 8:07 am

      I disagree with your approach because it assumes a equivalency between the parties which does not exist and assumes that the Israelis act in good faith; they don’t. Baseline: if the israelis won’t respect the prohibition on attacking civilians (and since they’ve done so every single day for 70 years, I see no reason to think they will) then I see no reason for their victims to be bound by that prohibition. When you evaluate the matter and conclude Hamas definitely does it, and Israeli maybe, probably, kinda, sorta does it, you’re holding down the rape victim’s arm for fear she might poke her rapist in the eyes.

      israelis have always targeted Palestinian civilians and until they stop, it is foolish to ask their victims to stop repaying the israelis acts in the same coin.

      We would all like all of the parties to leave civilians sacrosanct, but when the aggressor party like the israelis (1) never, not for a second, lift their siege from Palestinian civilians and (2) are acting at the direct behest of those same civilians voting in the voting booth, it is folly to expect the victim to refrain from a tactic which the aggressor uses with impunity

      • gamal
        November 17, 2012, 2:27 pm

        “it is folly to expect the victim to refrain from a tactic which the aggressor uses with impunity”

        its an old act, Mouin Rabbani below deals with it with Nyugen like thoroughness

        “In the years since 2000, HRW pursued a consistent – and consistently effective – formula: criticize Israel, but condemn the Palestinians. Challenge the legality of an Israeli aerial bombardment, preferably in polite, technical terms, and vociferously denounce the Palestinian suicide bomber in unambiguous language – especially when raising questions about the latest Israeli atrocity. In HRW publications, explicit condemnations and accusations of war crimes were almost exclusively directed against Palestinians. Israeli was considered to have the right to [defend the Zionist state], but Palestinians were for all intents and purposes denied the right to resist Israel.”

        Rabbani on HRW and Palestine

      • Talkback
        November 17, 2012, 8:40 pm

        Remarkable article. Thank you.

        I found this one:
        Palestinians Are Being Denied the Right of Non-Violent Resistance?
        link to counterpunch.org

      • gamal
        November 18, 2012, 1:14 am

        Misspelled Phan’s name damn sorry.

        Oddly in Foresome’s piece is the claim that Hamas brag about targeting civilians, would a link be forthcoming because of course they also deny it.

        The targeting of areas near Jerusalem: there were some comments here over the last few days which if not racist were just thoroughly Eurocentric, might i recommend “Eurocentrism” and “The Liberal Virus” by Samir Amin, francophone Egyptian scholar, there is a misconception in the west that this is a conflict between Israel and Palestine but from the Palestinian perspective it is far more complex, the Palestinians are not just confronting the Zionist state but virtually all the regional Arab states and the global would be Hegemon, the rockets aimed towards Jerusalem are targeted as much at Cairo, Riyadh, Dubai and Washington etc as they are at Jerusalem, the idea that Palestinians are served by cultivating the good opinion of the west is absurd, hence they have detached their struggle from the politics imposed on them by the west, having sued for peace on the most humiliating terms and been rebuffed, not by a recalcitrant Israel alone, but by the western powers they have a new political and military strategy, which places pressure on the Arab regimes through their populations, it may be shocking to outsiders but having exhausted all avenues to a solution, legal, political including virtual surrender, they are embarking on a new phase of struggle, the military threat to the vicinity of Jerusalem will send a clear message to the condominium of Arab0-Israeli political authorities in the region that some short term solution, ie the ending of the embargo and the withdrawal of Egypt from the coalition of the siege and strangulation is preferable to escalation, Israel can slaughter, sure but they will anyway, the west can condemn sure, but they will any way, the Arab regimes however having no military option against Hamas and fearful of their restless populations will exert diplomatic pressure on both the Israelis and Americans, if it is effective it may release Gaza for some time, the Palestinians having nothing to lose are playing what cards they have in a game whose rules are determined by their enemies, relying on outside forces to suddenly become impressed by Palestinian quiescence and passivity has already been tried it doesn’t work and is not sustainable by deeply pressurized population.

        Just to give a bit of context for those whose fake moralism about targeting civilians is their primary concern Info clearing has a slew of articles up Nat Hentoff’s is remarkable for giving an insight in to what life is like for the people in Waziristan right now, constant buzzing of killer drones above them, people unsafe any where doing anything, perhaps further undermining the basis of the moral and intellectual superiority that many westerners seem to enjoy when regarding the politics of Palestinian liberation, failing to grasp the inter-Arab dynamic is a key element in this, the Arab regimes, including Egypt, loathe the Palestinian resistance, fearful of its ramifications in their own spheres.

        link to informationclearinghouse.info

      • Hostage
        November 18, 2012, 4:18 am

        Palestinians Are Being Denied the Right of Non-Violent Resistance?

        Without any question. One of the constituent acts of the crime of apartheid is “Persecution of organizations and persons, by depriving them of fundamental rights and freedoms, because they oppose apartheid.”

        IIRC, the Goldstone Report outlined the fact that the Israeli authorities had killed 19 persons, including six children, for simply demonstrating against what they described as the apartheid wall of separation. Nothing is more fundamental than the right to life and the freedom to simply voice an opinion.

        It is admitted by all sides, including the ICJ, that the restrictions on movement, choice of residence, & etc. violate the fundamental rights of the inhabitants of the occupied territories, with the notable exception of the Jewish settlers.

      • Hostage
        November 18, 2012, 1:47 pm

        Oddly in Foresome’s piece is the claim that Hamas brag about targeting civilians, would a link be forthcoming because of course they also deny it.

        Hamas runs an English website where they issue statements about targeting Israeli cities as a reprisal without mentioning any military targets, i.e.:

        Military Communiqué

        Al Qassam Brigades Fire “Fajer-5″ missile at “Tel Aviv”

        Al Qassam Brigades is declaring its responsibility for the following operations as a response to Zionist aggression on the Palestinian civilians:
        Day: Saturday Date: November 17 th, 2012.
        Time: –:– – Al Qassam Brigades fire “Fajer-5″ missile at “Tel Aviv”.

        These operations are part of the repelling operations against the occupation assaults on Gaza Strip and West Bank, and as a response for the ongoing aggression against Palestinian people.

        Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades
        Information Office
        November 17th, 2012
        link to qassam.ps

        Military Communiqué

        Stones of Clay

        Al Qassam Brigades Fire “M75″ missile at North “Hirtseilia”

        Al Qassam Brigades is declaring its responsibility for the following operations as a response to Zionist aggression on the Palestinian civilians:
        Day: Sunday Date: November 18 th, 2012.
        Time: –:– – E.B.Q. fire “M75″ missile at north of “Hirtseilia”
        Total Response Operations: 1016 missiles.

        These operations are part of the repelling operations against the occupation assaults on Gaza Strip and West Bank, and as a response for the ongoing aggression against Palestinian people.

        Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades
        Information Office
        November 18th, 2012
        link to qassam.ps

        Military Communiqué

        Al Qassam Brigades fire 4 Grad missiles at Asqalan

        Al Qassam Brigades is declaring its responsibility for the following operations as a response to Zionist aggression on the Palestinian civilians:
        Day: Tuesday Date: November 15 th, 2012.
        Time: 22:30 – Al Qassam Brigades fire 4 Grad missiles at Asqalan.

        These operations are part of the repelling operations against the occupation assaults on Gaza Strip and West Bank, and as a response for the ongoing aggression against Palestinian people.

        Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades
        Information Office
        November 15th, 2012
        link to qassam.ps

        Military Communiqué

        Al Qassam Brigades fire 10 Grad missiles at Beer As-sabaa

        Al Qassam Brigades is declaring its responsibility for the following operations as a response to Zionist aggression on the Palestinian civilians:
        Day: Tuesday Date: November 15 th, 2012.
        Time: 00:15- Al Qassam Brigades fire 10 Grad missiles at Beer As-sabaa.

        These operations are part of the repelling operations against the occupation assaults on Gaza Strip and West Bank, and as a response for the ongoing aggression against Palestinian people.

        Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades
        Information Office
        November 15th, 2012
        link to qassam.ps

      • gamal
        November 18, 2012, 11:59 pm

        “These operations are part of the repelling operations against the occupation assaults on Gaza Strip and West Bank, and as a response for the ongoing aggression against Palestinian people.”

        This is not a “Military” and political objective? It may well not stand up in court, who knows, however leaving aside “brag” for the moment, where in your link do Hamas clearly state that they are targeting civilians as an objective in itself, albeit that no mention is made of specific military targets, which they do not necessarily have the wherewithal to target or information to identify, are you saying that all attacks against cities are illegal in and of themselves or is the rationale “repelling” aggression not a military objective.

        My problem is that each participant in a military confrontation is obviously constrained by both their circumstances and the materiel to which they have access, and while it is quite possible that Hamas attacks against Israeli cities are indictable I do not see an explicit claim in the links you supply that they are attacking civilians, bragging or not, for purpose of attacking civilians as in “Intentionally killing civilians is a war crime, and it should be. There can be no question that Hamas does this…and brags about it.”, do you have links that will substantiate this?

      • Hostage
        November 19, 2012, 10:45 am

        This is not a “Military” and political objective?

        International humanitarian law doesn’t exempt attacks on civilian populations on the grounds of “political necessity”, so political objectives aren’t really relevant. Sadly enough, in cases of “absolute military necessity”, attacks on military objectives located in cities, towns, and villages are permitted, although Israel abuses that pretext.

        In most cases the Hamas website statements do actually mention a specific military target. In the few that I cited they do not. But they do imply that the attacks are reprisals.

        The Nuremberg Tribunal did not accept tu quoque arguments as a valid defense and reprisals against civilians were subsequently outlawed. The Nuremberg Tribunal did accept enemy violations as a mitigating factor in determining punishment. The modern-day tribunals have uniformly rejected the validity of such arguments in any respect, although there have been calls to consider fairness or the civil doctrine of unclean hands by some scholars. See for example, Sienho Yee, The Tu Quoque Argument as a Defence to International Crimes, Prosecution or Punishment, 3 Chinese Journal of International Law (2004), 87-134. link to ssrn.com

      • gamal
        November 19, 2012, 2:36 pm

        Thanks I will look at those links i have looked at that opinio juris (sp) site briefly but am no lawyer.

        However there is another aspect to this, not really in the unclean hands sense, somewhat more far reaching, the problem is that Palestinians find themselves unable to enforce either legal rights, like those of citizenship, in a state constituted on their customary homes and properties, or their legal (its 6am here i have been up all night on other matters forgive me if ramble a little) rights as an occupied population, they are not a belligerent state in a war with another state but are an illegally expelled population under an illegal embargo who enjoying no legal protections they can surely argue that the applications of legal penalties to them are questionable, though they fullfil all the requirements of the usual defendants in such cases, non-white loathed by the great powers etc.

        the point is as they enjoy currently no legal protections it could be argued that the legal measures taken against them in respect of the actions they commit are ill-founded. ie the rights of citizenship, property, residence, freedom of movement, up to and including the right to life , they are in conflict with a state that has an absolute duty to ensure their welfare, so its not a question of mitigation, the question is, is it possible to prosecute someone whose legal rights are never enforced, they exist as something like medieval outlaws, is not the same legal authority seeking to prosecute them not itself remiss in ensuring their rights and in fact culpable, i should like to see the Palestinians take the ICC, ICJ, UN, UK and USA to court and sue them for failing to protect their rights as recognized in various declarations UNDHR, GAR 194 etc, what court would that be and what enforcing authority implements the decisions of international legal authorities?

      • Hostage
        November 19, 2012, 3:03 pm

        However there is another aspect to this, not really in the unclean hands sense, somewhat more far reaching, the problem is that Palestinians find themselves unable to enforce either legal rights, like those of citizenship, in a state constituted on their customary homes and properties, or their legal . . . rights as an occupied population, they are not a belligerent state in a war with another state but are an illegally expelled population under an illegal embargo who enjoying no legal protections they can surely argue that the applications of legal penalties to them are questionable, though they fullfil all the requirements of the usual defendants in such cases, non-white loathed by the great powers etc.

        You’ll get no argument from me about that. My comment archives here are full of material about the minority protection plan or minorities treaty contained in resolution 181(II) and the fact that Israel is under a continuing legal obligation to allow the refugees to return or to pay them compensation on that basis alone. It is also required to provide constitutional guarantees of equality and non-discrimination.

        Those minority rights were placed under UN guarantee and the agreement contains a compromissory clause that grants the ICJ mandatory jurisdiction to settle any dispute. The biggest hurdle has been the fact that only states are allowed to participate in contentious cases before the Court. Hopefully, there will be a series of ICJ cases after the upgrade in Palestine’s status to address Israel’s failure to comply with its obligations under that and many other agreements. There were several ICJ cases dealing with apartheid in occupied Namibia, but there was no international criminal tribunal in those days.

      • gamal
        November 19, 2012, 3:33 pm

        ok but what does this mean for ostensibly criminal acts by Palestinians in this situation, does it have as far as you are concerned any bearing? thanks in advance.

      • foresomenteneikona
        November 20, 2012, 12:04 am

        “Oddly in Foresome’s piece is the claim that Hamas brag about targeting civilians, would a link be forthcoming because of course they also deny it.”

        Nonsense. Remember all the suicide bombings (including buses, restaurants, etc.) during the Second Intifada? Most obviously targeted civilians. Hamas claimed responsibility for many of them.

        I’m not going to all your work for you. Google “Palestinian suicide attacks”, go to the Wikipedia page, and check the documentation of specific attacks for which Hamas claimed responsibility in the footnotes.

        I’ll find you another link, too. It will take a few minutes.

      • foresomenteneikona
        November 20, 2012, 12:22 am

        Just one example:

        link to en.wikipedia.org

      • Hostage
        November 20, 2012, 9:43 am

        ok but what does this mean for ostensibly criminal acts by Palestinians in this situation, does it have as far as you are concerned any bearing? thanks in advance.

        No, most war crimes and crimes against humanity give rise to criminal liability “regardless of the motive involved”. I doubt that will change, but there is considerable support for the idea of taking the enemy’s human rights violations into account as a mitigating factor during the sentencing phase of any criminal proceedings.

        In the past, the practice of conditioning cessions of territory and recognition of new regimes on acceptance of minority rights obligations has been limited interstate relations, i.e. shunning, and the adoption of political or economic sanctions. There is a trend toward establishing human rights courts like the ones in Europe, Africa, and Americas, to guarantee individuals rights. But there isn’t one yet which deals with Asia as a whole, or the Middle East. Israel’s conduct long ago reached the point where its violations of human rights are criminal, i.e. ethnic cleansing and apartheid. The first UN Convention which called for the establishment of an international criminal tribunal, was the Convention on the Suppression of the Crime of Apartheid. Jurisdiction for that offense and possible participation and compensation for the victims was included in the Rome Statute. So providing a judicial remedy remains an area of concern to the majority of the international community of states.

        There are always landmark or precedent setting cases, and Israel-Palestine could very well develop into one in the near future.

      • Hostage
        November 18, 2012, 4:10 am

        I disagree with your approach because it assumes a equivalency between the parties which does not exist and assumes that the Israelis act in good faith; they don’t.

        Woody when it comes to war crimes or crimes against humanity, equivalency is irrelevant. Most defendants, including the Nazis, have attempted to employ the tu toque defense. It’s human nature for people to claim that everyone else has committed the same crimes or crimes of a more severe nature when they are finally put on the spot and asked to defend their own actions. The modern criminal tribunals have uniformly refused to entertain the idea that those sort of arguments form the basis of a valid defense against prosecution and conviction.

        That means that neither side can use the wrongdoing of others to sanctify its own war crimes or crimes against humanity.

      • Woody Tanaka
        November 18, 2012, 11:00 am

        Hostage, I disagree with the morality of that principle, in practice. It is nothing more than a rhetorical shield for parties like the US and israel to protect their own actions while damning the acts of their victims.

        If you state that an immoral result (such as zionist domination over the Palestinian nation) can only be fought by certain means that are guaranteed to fail, you are imposing an immoral result on the oppressed party. (This is, of course, a planned result; the powerful states have set it up so that these rules will always work in their favor, because their tactics are never to be questioned, only those of their victims.) In imposing that immoral result, you are objectively pro-oppression.

        The evil of continued occupation and oppression of the Palestinians by the israelis is by far more evil and more immoral than firing rockets at israelis not in uniform. It would be preferable if neither were to occur, of course, but israel has chosen the path of the evil of its occupation and oppression, so I see no problem with the oppressed people attempting to defend themselves from this greater evil using a lesser evil like these rockets.

      • Hostage
        November 18, 2012, 1:16 pm

        Hostage, I disagree with the morality of that principle, in practice. It is nothing more than a rhetorical shield for parties like the US and israel to protect their own actions while damning the acts of their victims.

        The principle is that, in criminal law, two wrongs do not make a right. It has nothing to do with Israel or the US and actually works against their standard tactic of excusing their own wrongdoing by demonizing their adversaries.

  8. Les
    November 16, 2012, 10:33 pm

    The faithful New York Times turns to its reliable reporters.

    ” As Battlefield Changes, Israel Takes Tougher Approach
    By ETHAN BRONNER “

  9. piotr
    November 17, 2012, 12:52 am

    I wonder what is “the West” here. Clearly, there is a wide acceptance of Israeli official version in Israel itself and in a substantial part of North America.

    What is not widely recognized is that Israel is not particularly sane. It is a bit like having a cherished family member who has Altzheimer so everybody politely ignores his paranoid outbursts. Was it last weak that Foreign Minister of Israel proposed to overthrow Abbas and Palestinian Authority, almost immediately after his party made a unification agreement with Likud? And Lieberman is a relative moderate! Feiglin, Likud member of Knesset is devoted to the project of re-establishing the Temple. Netanyahu seems to crave the mantle of Alexander the Great (defeating Persians in a string of spectacular battles). Given that background, Ehud Barak seems passably sane, but that is not a high standard. What he will do with 70,000 reservists is hard to phatom. Nothing would make much sense, but that alone is an argument for sissies.

    I do not think that Israeli are particularly strange. Trauma, war and war propaganda do not change people for better. I could cite Azerbaijan and Georgia. Unfortunately, countries affected by this type of insanity do not have any internal moral compass and their behavior is restricted only by the feeling (and reality) what they can get away with. Israel can get away with anything, More precisely, it is not clear what would be “too much”.

  10. DICKERSON3870
    November 17, 2012, 3:16 am

    ● RE: “Gaza vs. Israel: The legitimate and illegitimate use of violence in the Western discourse”

    ● THE WORDS OF A FORMER ISRAELI BACK DURING ISRAEL’S ATTACK ON GAZA IN 2009 DURING “OPERATION CAST LEAD”: “The only thing that could unite people [in Israel] and temporarily brought out more kindness and a sense of cooperation was a feeling of being under collective threat, and in particular a ‘good wholesome war’ . . .” ~ Avigail Abarbanel

    ● SEE: “Israel’s Trauma Psychology and the Attack on Gaza”, By Avigail Abarbanel, Sunday 4th January 2009

    [EXCERPT] One of the things that is not being discussed much in the media is how much talk there is in Israel about attacking Iran. Word on the (Israeli) street is that an air attack on Iran’s nuclear reactors is imminent. Israel has been itching for a ‘good war’ for a while now. The botched attack on Lebanon in 2006 was a psychological disappointment that did not fulfil its purpose, and only led to a deepening chasm between the political and military arms in Israel. An Israeli friend told me in disgust the other day, that there is an atmosphere of ‘national orgasm’ in Israel about the prospect of attacking Iran. While people are being bombed in Gaza, all Israelis can talk about is the coming attack on Iran. But there is a link between the two.
    Israel’s social problems have grown exponentially over the past 15 years. It’s a very different Israel now than the one I grew up in. There is more violent and organised crime than ever before, and more domestic violence and abuse of children than ever. There are more drugs and drug use, and they have drink-driving, something I have never encountered while I was still living there. This is reflected in official reports as well as in the daily newspapers. My brother who lives in Israel described to me how soldiers who spend their military service in the Occupied Palestinian territories implementing Israel’s brutal occupation, come home on weekends only to get involved in drunken armed brawls and murders. This was unheard of in my time.
    Israelis have never been particularly kind to each other. It’s one of the reasons I left actually. In my late twenties I started to grow weary of the unkind, harsh and unforgiving atmosphere around me. It was a tough place to live in not because of our ‘enemies’ but because of how people treated one another. You would believe that we were all enemies rather than people who have some kind of a shared heritage. The only thing that could unite people and temporarily brought out more kindness and a sense of cooperation was a feeling of being under collective threat, and in particular a ‘good wholesome war’ . . .

    SOURCE – link to avigailabarbanel.me.uk

    AVIGAIL ABARBANEL’S SITE - link to avigailabarbanel.me.uk

  11. Talkback
    November 17, 2012, 10:24 pm

    After reading Gama’s link about Human Rights watch I analyzed their latest article:

    Israel/Gaza: Avoid Harm to Civilians
    link to hrw.org

    While HRW condems Palestinian attacks on civilians it only states that Israel “should ensure” it is only targeting military objects and that the high number of wounded (only) “raises concerns” that it was unlawfully disproportionate.

    It also says that individuals responsible for attacks that deliberately or recklessly target civilians, or that cannot distinguish between civilians and military objectives, are responsible for war crimes but only regarding Palestinian rockets.

    Also it only says that there is no “justification” for Palestinian armed groups unlawfully launching rockets at population centers, but doesn’t say anything about the legality of Israel’s rocket launches at population centers or its justifications.

    And there’s no word about the occupation or other Israeli ways of harming Palestinian civilians.

  12. talknic
    November 18, 2012, 2:06 am

    Only the person launching an unguided missile/rocket can determine who it is aimed at. The recipients cannot. It’s logic. Logic always seems to be missing from the Israeli narrative.

    IDF statistics of Israeli military losses (the memorial list) indicate the IDF is likely targeted more than Israeli civilians. Israel’s civilian losses could be put down to collateral, however comparing collateral would show Israel’s attacks on Palestinians yield a vastly disproportionate collateral damage

  13. Talkback
    November 18, 2012, 7:41 am

    Another interessting article about the BBC:

    As Israel assaults Gaza, BBC reporting assaults the truth
    link to electronicintifada.net

  14. Hostage
    November 18, 2012, 8:48 am

    With regard to the legitimacy of the use of violence: José Ayala Lasso, former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, correctly noted that “A person stands a better chance of being tried and judged for killing one human being than for killing 100,000.” link to untreaty.un.org

    The ICC Prosecutor determined that the situation in Iraq resulting from the US/UK invasion was NOT one of sufficient “gravity” to warrant an investigation. link to iccnow.org

    So, if you’re guilty of recruiting child soldiers in Africa, you are much more likely to end up in the dock at the Hague, than if you kill 352 or more children in Gaza or Iraq. See ICC jails DRC warlord over child soldiers link to aljazeera.com

  15. LanceThruster
    November 19, 2012, 6:15 pm

    Israel is the “Nelson Muntz” of the internatinal community.

    Stop hitting yourself.

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