The Walzer Problem

Israel/Palestine
on 96 Comments
Michael Walzer

Michael Walzer

For many years there have been a number of prominent American Jewish public figures, academicians, or organizational leaders who have essentially functioned as propagandists for Israeli policy in its conflict with the Palestinians: the names that immediately come to mind are Abe Foxman, Marty Peretz, and Alan Dershowitz.  However, sensible people who lack expertise in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict but who are increasingly uneasy about Israel’s policies and behavior are likely to discount those hasbarists and their like.

For two reasons, however, that is not the case when it comes to Michael Walzer. First, by almost universal acclaim, he is the preeminent just war moral philosopher of the last half-century, a scholar and teacher at Princeton, Harvard, and for over thirty years a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Studies, perhaps America’s most distinguished and prestigious academic institution, whose members have included such intellectual and moral giants as Albert Einstein and George Kennan. Secondly, Walzer’s extensive writings on the Arab-Israel conflict are by no means uncritical of Israeli policies, particularly, the settlements, the occupation, and the Israeli refusal to accept a two-state political settlement.

Consequently, Walzer has far more credibility than the propagandists–except, that is, for specialists on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict who have become increasingly alarmed by Walzer’s analytical and moral failings when it comes to that issue. The Walzer problem is extremely important, precisely because of his stature and apparent moderation.  Thus, among America’s elites and liberal Zionists (as Walzer himself is usually categorized), he almost certainly has done far more damage than the propagandists to public understanding of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Just to take one example, Walzer is on the Board of Directors of Americans for Peace Now, which could just as well be called the Liberal Zionists of America; it is unimaginable that APN would ask Dershowitz, Peretz, or Foxman to be on the Board, let alone to be regularly invited to comment on recent events, including about Israel’s most recent attack on Gaza (to be discussed below).

In the July 30th issue of New Republic, Walzer writes about the latest and most destructive Israeli attack on Gaza, in an article entitled “Israel Must Do More to Limit Civilian Deaths.” Characteristically, as the title suggests, Walzer is critical of some Israeli policies, for he argues that Israel should have been working with Mahmoud Abbas and the Palestinian Authority instead of deliberately weakening them.  In addition, Walzer continues, while he is “a little uneasy” about criticizing Israel’s bombing policies, he thinks that it should have done more to limit Palestinian civilian casualties. In a subsequent APN discussion, Walzer was even more cautious, saying that the attack did appear to create some ethical “dilemmas” but that he couldn’t “sit in Princeton New Jersey” and judge them.

Notwithstanding such mild and standard criticisms—practically by definition these days, all liberal Zionists are uneasy about those issues–the weight and clearly the intention of Walzer’s article is to defend Israel against the far more severe criticisms of its policies that are becoming increasingly common, particularly that it has repeatedly committed war crimes in Gaza, especially in the 2008-09 “Cast Lead” attacks and, probably even more so, in the recent “Operation Protective Edge” assault.

Walzer’s two main arguments are that the civilian casualties in Gaza are primarily the responsibility of Hamas’s policies rather than those of Israel, and that Israel is only exercising its right of self-defense against an organization with which it cannot negotiate because it is not interested in a compromise two-state settlement and “is religiously committed to the destruction of Israel.”

Walzer develops the first of these arguments in the context of what he describes as “asymmetric wars,” meaning wars against insurgents who can blend in with the civilian population. In such wars, he writes, “the attacking forces [must] make positive efforts, including asking their own soldiers to take risks, in order to minimize the risks they impose on enemy civilians.” After laying out this general argument, Walzer then asks: “Is Israel fighting that kind of war?” His concern is that Israel’s warnings to Palestinian civilians of imminently impending attacks on residential areas were insufficient to meet his criterion.  As he forthrightly puts it:

“People don’t leave, or not all of them leave; they are caring for elderly or sick parents; they can’t bear to abandon a home of 30 years….they don’t know where to go; or there isn’t any safe place to go.”

Nonetheless, the problem with Walzer’s answer to his own question–is Israel fighting a just asymmetric war?–is that his criticisms fall far short of facing up to the realities of Israel’s ways of warfare.  Even leaving aside the issue of whether Israel, in this war as well as in previous attacks on Gaza and southern Lebanon, actually intends or at least welcomes a certain level of “enemy” civilian casualties and general suffering—for the sake of “deterrence,” of course—there simply isn’t any doubt that it isn’t fighting the kind of war that Walzer considers to be appropriate.

It has been obvious for a number of years that the Israeli army, far from asking its soldiers to take risks, uses massive firepower in civilian areas precisely in order to protect its soldiers from the casualties that would occur if they had to directly engage Hamas fighters. The evidence that this is the case is decisive. For example, according to a number of analyses, since the Israeli attack on Lebanon in 2006, the IDF has adopted the “Dahiya Doctrine,” which specifically calls for the use of heavy and “disproportionate” firepower to be employed against civilian infrastructures, both in order to subdue the enemy and to deter future wars.

Walzer would probably reply that no such written doctrine can be found in the official IDF code of conduct or rules of agreement. In 2008, however, Gadi Eisenkot, a senior Israeli General in charge of Israel’s northern regions, publicly stated that in the event of a new conflict with Hezbollah: “We will wield disproportionate power against every village from which shots are fired on Israel, and cause immense damage and destruction. From our perspective, these are military bases….This isn’t a suggestion. This is a plan that has already been authorized.” (emphasis added)

The Dahiya Doctrine was not meant to apply only to Lebanon but also to Gaza. For example, in February 2009, following the end of the “Cast Lead” attacks on Gaza, prime minister Ehud Olmert told a cabinet meeting that “the government’s position….is that if there is shooting at the residents of the south, there will be a harsh Israeli response that will be disproportionate.” Of course that is precisely what has happened.

Shortly after the recent Israeli attack, Michael Sfard, perhaps Israel’s leading human rights lawyer, wrote that since the 2006 Lebanon War the IDF now officially holds that “when fighting in urban areas, we are entitled to treat the entire area as a legitimate target and bombard it via air strikes or artillery shelling—as long as we first warn all the residents of our intention to do so and give them time to leave. This is what Israel is doing, despite the evidence that warnings don’t work, there is no place for them to go, no safe corridors are provided. Israel is attacking the very places it tells them to flee—and these amount “to a declaration of war against the fundamental principles of the law of armed combat.”

In addition to the Dahiya Doctrine, the recent fighting has revealed that the Israeli army also has incorporated a “Hannibal Doctrine” or “Procedure,” which requires that whenever an Israeli soldier is “kidnapped,” the nearby Israeli forces must use massive force against surrounding areas, regardless of whether they are residential or not, in order to cut off the “escape routes” of the enemy forces–i.e. Hamas or Hezbollah–that have captured the soldier. During “Operation Protective Edge,” the Hannibal procedure was put into effect after the suspected capture of an IDF officer. A Haaretz editorial noted that it “resulted in massive firing” upon a residential area in Gaza, in which between 130 and 150 Palestinians, including many women and children, were killed.”

In other words, far from instructing its troops to take risks to minimize civilian casualties, the Israeli military essentially tells its forces not to take such risks. There is much more evidence of such policies than I have included here. Anyone writing or talking about the issue should acquaint himself with this evidence, which can even be done while “sitting in Princeton New Jersey.”

Hamas and the problem of “Asymmetric Warfare.”

“Asymmetric war” is the term which for obvious reasons counterinsurgency theorists prefer over the traditional and more neutral one, “guerrilla warfare.” Thus, Walzer’s use of the term is revealing, for its clear implication is that Hamas (like other insurgents rising up against large state armies) not only has an advantage but perhaps an unfair advantage over the otherwise far superior Israeli military forces: “it can’t be the case that the insurgents, by hiding among civilians, make it impossible for the other side to fight against them,” Walzer writes.

Like other insurgents in the past, Walzer continues, Hamas employs a “human shields” strategy against Israel, meaning it hides its fighters and their weapons in homes, hospitals and schools, thereby ensuring that attacks on them will cause civilian casualties. In fact, he seems to be arguing that as in the case of other insurgents, Hamas actually welcomes Palestinian civilian casualties because of their propaganda value: “Hamas isn’t so much hiding behind them [the Gazan “human shields”] as deliberately exposing them to harm, which is one way of ‘winning’ in asymmetric warfare,” Walzer writes. Later he adds: “The more civilians they [the militarily superior power] kill…the better it is for insurgents…. it is the insurgents who decide that the death of civilians will advance their cause.”

Judging from the news reports on the recent Israeli attack, it is true that Hamas did launch rockets against Israel and fought against the invading Israeli army from crowded residential neighborhoods, thereby supposedly leaving Israel no choice but to bomb and shell them, causing thousands of civilian casualties. It is instructive to note, however, that after the end of Cast Lead in 2009 extensive investigations by the Goldstone Commission and Human Rights Watch examined the “human shields” argument in great detail; both concluded that, despite some unavoidable mixing of combatants and civilians in Gaza’s densely populated cities, Hamas did not have a strategy of using civilians as human shields. Indeed, Human Rights Watch stated that Israel continued to bomb civilian targets even though the fighting had already ended and there were no longer Palestinian “human shields” at the sites. The conclusion of both organizations, as well as that of Amnesty International, was that the Israeli “wanton destruction” of civilian institutions amounted to war crimes.

To be sure, that doesn’t prove that Hamas did not deliberately employ a human shields strategy during the recent conflict; that remains to be examined in the investigations by human rights organizations that almost certainly will soon be undertaken. What is certain, however, is that it will continue to be the case that vastly outnumbered insurgents, rising up against far more powerful state armies, will try to avoid making themselves easy targets. In particular, Gaza is one of the most densely populated areas in the world, so Hamas fighters and their weapons will inevitably be intermingled with the civilian population. To be sure, there are some open or lightly populated areas, but should Hamas be required to mass its forces and weapons there, thereby ensuring that it would take Israel about twenty minutes to destroy them from the air?

Uri Avnery, the legendary Israeli peace activist and former fighter for the Irgun—the Zionist terrorist organization—has recently observed that during the British occupation, the Jewish resistance organizations, facing both the British army and Palestinian forces, also hid its arms in schools, hospitals, and other civilian institutions. Indeed, Avnery could have added that when Zionist terrorist groups bombed Palestinian buses, movie houses, and other civilian targets they surely knew that the Palestinians would respond in kind (and, of course, vice-versa) but did so anyway, in effect accepting those consequences as the unavoidable cost of gaining national liberation and independence.

There is no reason to think that Hamas doesn’t make the same calculations. That may certainly demonstrate that Hamas—like the Irgun before it—is a ruthless organization that is prepared to accept a certain level of death and suffering among its own civilian population as an unavoidable cost of its resistance, but it hardly demonstrates that it welcomes it, as Walzer clearly implies, let alone deliberately invites it.

The Proportionality Issue

Walzer writes that “it can’t be the case that the insurgents, by hiding among civilians, make it impossible for the other side to fight against them. There has to be a just, or justifiable way of responding to indiscriminate rocket attacks.” He then goes on to argue that the “rule of proportionality” must govern such a response: “If you are aiming at military targets (rocket launchers, for example, and know that your attack will also cause civilian casualties (collateral damage), you must make sure that the number of dead or injured civilians is ‘not disproportionate’ to the value of the military target.” He continues that such calculations are “highly subjective;” nonetheless, without quite saying so directly, he clearly considers that the Israeli attack is violating the proportionality rule, and that therefore must make greater efforts, even if it increases the risks to its own soldiers, to avoid inflicting a “disproportionate” number of civilian casualties.

Despite its apparent balance and implied criticism of Israel’s behavior, Walzer’s discussion of the proportionality issue is quite misleading. First, if a military attack is on behalf of an unjust cause the rule of proportionality does not apply, since you are prohibited from attacking any target, military or otherwise, even if there is no “collateral damage” at all. This, of course, goes to the issue of whether this and all previous Israeli attacks on Gaza are truly necessary for self-defense, or whether, as I and others have contended (see link below) their deeper purpose is to crush resistance to the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories.

Second, that issue aside, Israel is not just attacking military targets—proportionately or not—for as in almost all of its previous wars against the Palestinians (and other Arab states and peoples) it is striking undoubted civilian targets: the family homes of Hamas militants (with the families inside), power plants, civilian industries, water and sewage facilities, schools, hospitals, banks, mosques and office buildings.

Consequently, Israel—as in the past– has not only violated the principle of proportionality, it is in blatant violation—as in the past—of the even more fundamental and categorical just war and international legal principle, noncombatant immunity, which mandates that it is a war crime to deliberately attack civilian targets, even in a just cause, let alone an unjust one.

I’m not telling Walzer anything he doesn’t know—on the contrary, he wrote the book, or rather, the book on it.

 What Does Hamas Want?

Is the present-day goal of Hamas still that of Israel’s destruction of Israel, or rather of fighting against the occupation and establishing an independent Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza? Walzer has no doubts on the matter—he won’t even accord Hamas the dignity of calling it a resistance organization, only “resistance,” in quotes. Meaning what—that there is nothing Israel is doing to the Palestinians that would justify resistance, no quotation marks?

To be sure, even if Hamas is best seen as a true resistance movement, no quotation marks, the issue of its terrorism (attacks aimed at Israeli civilians) would still arise. However, a full moral analysis of the terrorism question would also have to deal with the fact that the Palestinians have no capacity to resist an illegal, unjust, and repressive occupation by other means, since they have zero chance of defeating the Israeli military forces, and Israel either ignores or crushes (sometimes with lethal force) all Palestinian nonviolent resistance.

According to Walzer, Hamas “is religiously committed to the destruction of Israel.” Interesting wording: most people sharing Walzer’s views say simply that Hamas “is committed to the destruction of Israel.” By adding the adjective “religiously,” perhaps Walzer intends to give himself plausible deniability that he is distorting the historical record, for it is true that the Hamas Charter is intensely religious and is committed to the destruction of Israel. The real issue, however, is whether in practice Hamas is still so committed, notwithstanding its religion and its original Charter. In any case, later on Walzer drops the qualification, if that’s what it is, for he flatly states that “Hamas has never deviated from its absolute opposition to the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East.”

To put the case mildly, that is a remarkable distortion of the historical record, which includes increasing evidence that Hamas has for some time been gradually moving—in fact, no longer very gradually—towards a pragmatic, if reluctant acceptance of the realities of Israeli power and its implications for Hamas’ operational goals. In chronological order, here is a brief summary of the record (except as otherwise indicated, the full citations for all the statements below can be found in a 2012 article I wrote for the political science journal International Security.

*According to ex-Mossad chief Ephraim Halevy, in 1997 King Hussein of Jordan conveyed to Israel an offer from Khalid Meshal, then the chief Hamas leader, to reach an understanding on a ceasefire to last 30 years. Israel not only ignored the offer, a few days later Israeli operatives tried to assassinate Meshal in Jordan.

*In the months before the January 2006 parliamentary elections in Gaza—free elections, which it won–Hamas downplayed its Charter and did not run on a platform calling for the destruction of Israel. Shortly after winning the January 2006 Gazan parliamentary elections, Hamas sent a message to president George Bush, offering Israel a truce for “many years,” in exchange for a compromise political settlement; neither the Bush administration nor Israel replied.

*In February 2006, Meshal said that Hamas would not oppose the unified Arab stance expressed in an Arab League summit conference, which offered Israel full recognition and normalized relations in exchange for full Israeli withdrawal from the occupied territories and a solution to the refugee problem.

*In May 2006, senior Hamas members imprisoned in Israel joined with Fatah prisoners and issued the “Prisoner’s Declaration,” which went further than the earlier Hamas overtures. It called for the establishment of a Palestinian state “in all the lands occupied in 1967” and reserved the use of armed resistance only in those territories.

*In August 2006 Gazan prime minister Ismail Hanieh in effect accepted and incorporated the Prisoner’s Declaration into the Hamas position, especially its crucial distinction between the occupied territories and Israel within its 1967 borders, telling an American scholar: “We have no problem with a sovereign Palestinian state over all of our lands within the 1967 borders, living in calm.” (emphasis added)

*In January 2007, Meshal stated that Hamas would consider recognizing Israel once a Palestinian state was established; aHaaretz story noted that “this is the first time that a Hamas official has raised the possibility of full and official recognition of Israel in the future.” According to the story, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert “shrugged off” Meshal’s statement.

*Throughout 2008, Hamas’s political positions continued to evolve. In particular, in April Meshal publicly reiterated that Hamas would end its resistance activities if Israel ended the occupation and accepted a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. Israel ignored the statement.

*In a May 2009 interview in the New York Times, Meshal said that Hamas should be judged on its current deeds and policies and that it was “not logical for the international community to get stuck on sentences written 20 years ago” in its Charter.

*In December 2010 Hamas announced that it would honor any Palestinian referendum that approved a peace plan with Israel: “We accept a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital, the release of Palestinian prisoners, and the resolution of the issue of refugees,” said Haniyeh. “Hamas will respect the results [of a referendum],” he added, “regardless of whether it differs with its ideology and principles.” Zvi Bar’el, a leading Haaretz political analyst, noted: “Not a return of refugees, not the destruction of the State of Israel, no preconditions.”

*In January 2012 Hamas announced that it was suspending all acts of terror in favor of “popular resistance” (i.e. nonviolent resistance); was joining in a unity government with the Palestinian Authority; would accept past deals between the PA or PLO and Israel, such as the Oslo agreements; would accept Mahmoud Abbas as the prime minister in that government, which would conduct negotiations with Israel; and would agree to a two-state solution if the Palestinian people approved it in a referendum.

*In May 2012 Haaretz and the New York Times reported that Hamas was taking direct action in Gaza to prevent the firing of rockets into Israel. Later that year top IDF officers said that Hamas had not participated in rocket attacks against Israel for over six months, and the military correspondents of Haaretzreported that since Cast Lead, Hamas “has almost completely refrained from firing rockets into Israel.”

*In November 2012, the ceasefire ended when Israel initiated an eight-day round of exchanges of fire with Hamas. However, before Israel once again broke the ceasefire (as had been repeatedly the case in past ceasefires), Hamas had apparently been on the verge of a radical change in its policies towards Israel. The story was covered in a series of articles in Haaretz. Gershon Baskin–a prominent Israeli peace activist who had ties both to Hamas and the Israeli government and who had helped negotiate the earlier deal in which an Israeli prisoner of Hamas was released in exchange for 1000 Palestinian prisoners of Israel– had negotiated a draft agreement with Hamas military chief Ahmed Jabari that provided for a permanent truce between Israel and Hamas: that is, no longer a ten year, or even a thirty year truce, as Hamas had proposed in the past, but a permanent one.

A few weeks later, Reuven Pedatzur, the military correspondent of Haaretz, confirmed Baskin’s account, writing that contacts between Baskin and Hamas had taken place “with the knowledge and consent of Defense Minister Ehud Barak,” and who was shown the draft agreement. Several hours later, though, Israel assassinated Jabari, “the man who had the power to make a deal with Israel,” wrote Pedatzur.

In an oped column in the New York Times and subsequent interviews in Haaretz, Baskin said that senior officials who knew about Jabari’s agreement to end all military attacks on Israel but decided to proceed with the attack anyway had “made a strategic mistake which will cost the lives of quite a number of innocent people on both sides.” Pedatzur, however, did not buy the “strategic mistake” explanation and did not shrink from reaching the obvious conclusion: “The decision to kill Jabari shows that our decision makers decided a cease-fire would be undesirable for Israel at this time, and that attacking Hamas would be preferable.”

*After eight days of intense Israeli air attacks on Gaza, Israel and Hamas agreed to a new ceasefire, the central terms of which were that as long as Israel was not attacked, it would significantly ease the economic blockade–widely termed, even in Israel, as the “siege” of Gaza. Throughout 2013, however, this agreement was violated by Israel, which not only continued most of the economic sanctions but repeatedly engaged in assassinations and armed attacks inside Gaza. By contrast, Hamas continued not only to observe the ceasefire but cracked down even harder on Islamic Jihad and other militants to prevent them from launching rocket or mortar attacks; as a result, in the first three months after the ceasefire was negotiated there was just one mortar attack from Gaza and throughout the rest of 2013 there were fewer attacks than in any year since 2003, the first year that such attacks had begun. Israeli intelligence was said to be satisfied with Hamas’s efforts to maintain the ceasefire.

*In January 2014 Hamas and the PA government in the West Bank signed a new reconciliation agreement (the previous agreement of 2012 had broken down). Under its terms an interim unity government would be formed until new elections in six months time, but until then none of the cabinet level positions would be filled by Hamas officials. Even more importantly, Hamas agreed to the PA’s conditions that the Palestinian goal was a two-state settlement generally based on the 1967 lines, and that only nonviolent methods would be employed to reach it.

A cautionary note: Despite the accumulating evidence, it cannot be denied that there have been inconsistencies in Hamas’s position and that on occasion—usually following a particularly destructive Israeli attack—its spokesmen have returned to their earlier militant and rejectionist rhetoric. Sometimes Hamas officials have said that they accept Israel as a “fact” but would “never recognize its legitimacy”—on other occasions, however, they have strongly implied that their formal position had no practical importance and could eventually change. One day a Hamas official makes a particularly conciliatory statement, but other officials then deny there had been any changes in its policies. Sometimes Hamas has continued to stress its commitment to the “right of return” of all Palestinian refugees to Israel, perhaps the most difficult obstacle to a permanent settlement—but at other times it downplays the problem and generally indicates, like Abbas, that in the context of an overall settlement it will accept a symbolic resolution of the issue. And so on.

Despite the occasional mixed signals and contradictory rhetoric, there simply is no doubting the ongoing evolution of Hamas thinking, if for no other reason that, as Paul Pillar (the former Deputy Director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center) has recently put it, “Hamas leaders are certainly smart enough to realize their group will never have anything close to a capability to destroy Israel, even if they wanted to do so.”[18] In any case, in the final analysis, the only way to resolve the remaining (and steadily declining) ambiguities in Hamas’s position and test its willingness to reach a settlement is for Israel to enter into serious political negotiations with it, as several former directors and other high officials of Mossad and Shin Bet have been urging for a number of years.

Far from doing so, not only does Israel continue to refuse political negotiations with Hamas, but it continues its assassinations that have killed—or unsuccessfully tried to kill–most of the founders and leaders of Hamas and its main activists, right up to the present day. Pillar succinctly sums up what the evidence demonstrates: “Rather than saying Hamas is dedicated to the destruction of Israel, it would be closer to the truth to say that Israel is dedicated to the destruction of Hamas.”

Conclusion

For many years, Michael Walzer has been a significant obstacle to the possibility that the liberal American Jewish community—increasingly uneasy about Israel, but unsure what to believe—will realize that Israel is sliding into a moral, political, and perhaps, sooner or later, an existential catastrophe, which can only be arrested if it is forced to change its course as a result of the loss of its political, economic, and military support from the United States.

Although Walzer is justly acclaimed for his moral thought and other philosophical contributions, specialists and others knowledgeable about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have long been aware of his intellectual and moral failures on that issue. These failures are typically described as Walzer’s “blind spot,” but in my view the matter is considerably worse than that. Because of his stature and articulateness, he has had great credibility among liberal Zionists who are increasingly worried about the course that Israel is on but are unsure what to believe. But his credibility is unmerited: many of his arguments are sophistical and some of them—as in the case of his discussions of Hamas—are downright deceitful. Indeed, even his discussions of important purely factual matters cannot be relied upon, both because he misstates important facts and ignores others.

As in the past, Walzer’s latest work is entirely unequal to the reality of Israel’s criminal and self-destructive behavior.

This post first appeared on Jerome Slater’s site on August 11. It can be read in its entirety there, including sources and footnotes. 

About Jerome Slater

Jerome Slater is a professor (emeritus) of political science and now a University Research Scholar at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has taught and written about U.S. foreign policy and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for nearly 50 years, both for professional journals (such as International Security, Security Studies, and Political Science Quarterly) and for many general periodicals. He writes foreign policy columns for the Sunday Viewpoints section of the Buffalo News. And his website it www.jeromeslater.com.

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96 Responses

  1. Philip Munger
    August 13, 2014, 3:13 pm

    Gershon Baskin’s NYT op-ed, “Israel’s Shortsighted Assassination,” was posted on November 16, 2012, not Nov. 14, 2014, as written in Prof. Slater’s end-notes.

    A very well-written article. I do hope Michael Walzer responds. Walzer’s simplification of what Hamas represents now and over time is a serious lapse in his credibility as a preeminent scholar of Just War Theory.

  2. Annie Robbins
    August 13, 2014, 3:24 pm

    i have not made it all the way through yet, but i just thought i would point out this is blatantly incorrect:

    Judging from the news reports on the recent Israeli attack, it is true that Hamas did launch rockets against Israel and fought against the invading Israeli army from crowded residential neighborhoods, thereby leaving Israel no choice but to bomb and shell them, causing thousands of civilian casualties.

    of course israel always has a choice whether to bomb gaza or not. i know you went on to say other things, but i think your choice of words wasn’t helpful there.

    to accept a certain level of death and suffering among its own civilian population as an unavoidable cost of its resistance, but it hardly demonstrates that it welcomes it, as Walzer clearly implies, let alone deliberately invites it.

    absolutely. and here is something walzer says which is incorrect:

    In asymmetric warfare, low-tech forces—call them terrorists, militants, or the more neutral “insurgents,” which I will use—aim at the most vulnerable targets, civilians, and they launch their attacks from the midst of the civilian population. The high-tech forces respond, in defense of their own or of allied civilians, and end up killing large numbers of enemy civilians. The more civilians they kill—this is the sad, but not morally puzzling truth—the better it is for the insurgents. If you kill civilians in places like Vietnam or Afghanistan, you lose the battle for “hearts and minds.” If you kill civilians in a place like Gaza, you lose the battle for global support.

    it is not always the case that The high-tech forces respond… and end up killing large numbers of enemy civilians in asymmetric warfare and doesn’t have to be. in fact, if you read the wiki definition of asymmetric warfare http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asymmetric_warfare it sets out 5 pts of tactical basis. and they do not say The high-tech forces respond… and end up killing large numbers of enemy civilians. here is what they say:

    If the inferior power is in an aggressive position, however, and/or turns to tactics prohibited by the laws of war (jus in bello), its success depends on the superior power’s refraining from like tactics. For example, the law of land warfare prohibits the use of a flag of truce or clearly marked medical vehicles as cover for an attack or ambush, but an asymmetric combatant using this prohibited tactic to its advantage depends on the superior power’s obedience to the corresponding law. Similarly, laws of warfare prohibit combatants from using civilian settlements, populations or facilities as military bases, but when an inferior power uses this tactic, it depends on the premise that the superior power will respect the law that the other is violating, and will not attack that civilian target, or if they do the propaganda advantage will outweigh the material loss. As seen in most conflicts of the 20th and 21st centuries, this is highly unlikely as the propaganda advantage has always outweighed adherence to international law, especially by dominating sides of any conflict.

    so one should not assume, as walzer does, that in asymmetric warfare,”The high-tech forces respond… killing large numbers of enemy civilians.”

    again, israel has a choice.

    and if walzer is going to use that definition he’d also have to claim that ” the Jewish resistance organizations, facing both the British army and Palestinian forces, also hid its arms in schools, hospitals, and other civilian institutions.” because they wanted, or depended on, jewish civilian death.

    and another thing, the situation at el wafa hospital that allison wrote about. the israeli military admitted they knew the hospital wasn’t storing weapons. and the alleged militant wasn’t inside the hospital, they were adjacent. israel took down the hospital anyway. that was completely unnecessary. and there was an open field near the hospital. it’s more likely hamas just needed, or sought out, an open field in which to launch rockets. and one assumes if israel’s ‘precision’ targeting can target a house, they can also target an open field.

    • Jerome Slater
      August 13, 2014, 4:51 pm

      Annie:
      I absolutely agree that of course Israel had a choice–in fact, as written it says the opposite of what I meant to say. In one of my drafts I said “SUPPOSEDLY leaving Israel no choice” Somehow that got lost–a terrible error.

      • Mooser
        August 13, 2014, 5:59 pm

        “Somehow that got lost–a terrible error”

        That’s not good. I hope they correct the published text. I think it’s quite possible to do.

      • Philip Weiss
        August 13, 2014, 8:27 pm

        Thanks Jerry, I fixed it.
        And thanks to Annie too!
        I see you have it fixed at your site, Jerry. Apologies if I got up the wrong version.
        Phil

      • Annie Robbins
        August 13, 2014, 8:45 pm

        oh great! well i assumed that’s what you meant and that it was a wording issue (that’s why i said “choice of words”/not helpful). glad we got that cleared up!

      • Mooser
        August 14, 2014, 4:20 pm

        Ah, good!

    • gracie fr
      August 14, 2014, 12:35 pm

      Michael Walzer seems to have adopted a much harder line than that voiced in the article co-authored with Avishai Margalit in their article, “Israel: Civilians&Combattants” (NYR May 14, 2009) concluding

      “This is the guideline we advocate: Conduct your war in the presence of noncombatants on the other side with the same care as if your citizens were the noncombatants”

      • MHughes976
        August 14, 2014, 1:43 pm

        Very interesting! So he’s moved from setting an almost impossibly high standard to setting an extremely permissive one, generously dependent on subjective assessment of military value of targets.
        The earlier standard would rule out the blockade, wouldn’t it?

      • gracie fr
        August 14, 2014, 1:58 pm

        MHughes976….The issue covered in the article is “the targeting of civilians” and “Just War” theory in the aftermath of “Operation Cast Lead”. It was a time when much of the civilized world war appalled at Israeli impunity , the numbers of dead Palestinians, the infrastructure damage done by missiles and bombs and the dubious claims of “the use of human shields”. Walzer and the world seem to have moved on since then, thanks to the ongoing and successful demonization of Arabs/Palestinians/ Muslims campaign…..

      • MHughes976
        August 14, 2014, 3:38 pm

        O mi God, is it that bad, gracie? Are we not only not gaining but actually losing ground?

  3. American
    August 13, 2014, 3:24 pm

    Short version….Walzer lies and obfuscates from his academic perch.
    Academica needs a good purging.
    There are so few in it these days worthy of respect.

  4. lysias
    August 13, 2014, 3:33 pm

    Does Walzer think that the resistance movements against Napoleonic rule throughout Europe waged “asymmetric warfare”? What about the partisans in Russia and the Resistance throughout Europe in World War Two?

    • MHughes976
      August 13, 2014, 5:04 pm

      The examples you mention would qualify as ‘asymmetric’ in my book – that is they were fighting with fewer soldiers and fewer weapons yet able to make at least a serious impact for various reasons. The term ‘asymmetric’, coming as it does from mathematics, would in most people’s usage be neutral on the level of morality, so we don’t know whether there was a just cause or acceptable methods simply because of the lack of ‘symmetry’. The most natural thought is that it’s the bigger army that is morally suspect, other things being around equal – more likely to be working on the ‘might is right’ principle.

      • lysias
        August 13, 2014, 5:10 pm

        I chose the examples I did because I believe there are few people who think that the resistance was not justified.

        As Jeff Klein points out below, the American revolutionary colonists refused to fight war the way the British thought it should be fought: they fired from behind walls and bushes, and they refused to fight in formations. And that is an example that I think even fewer Americans would disapprove of.

  5. MHughes976
    August 13, 2014, 3:40 pm

    You must inflict casualties, says Walzer, in proportion to the military value (eek, ugh) of the target. Surely this must mean in proportion to the ability of the people or objects to inflict damage on your side, so massive disproportion in casualties, which we have here, is massive disregard of the principle of proportionality even as Walzer states it. Everyone knows this, of course.

  6. justicewillprevail
    August 13, 2014, 3:49 pm

    Such intellect deployed for such base, unsupportable ideological propaganda. Really this is the same old tedious fiction and stale assertions dressed up to justify mass destruction and slaughter. Does he ever mention the occupation, the siege and blockade, human rights, the history of dispossession and displacement? He apparently knows nothing about the history of the conflict or of Hamas, despite there being ample material available online and in hundreds of books. As a corrective Sandy Tolan has penned a handy summary of the conflict, and its tragically unnecessary and avoidable deaths, mostly caused by Israel’s spurning of every opportunity for normalisation. All of it referenced, and should be a first stop for naive, or tendentious, apologists for slaughter, like Walzer.
    http://www.juancole.com/2014/08/blown-chances-israel.html
    I find it quite obscene that a ‘moral philosopher’ can agonise and contort his apparent intellect in the service of a clearly odious regime and its neo-fascist ideology of blood and soil, and ignore the horrific suffering of people who have, for the most part, done absolutely nothing to deserve such devastating punishment, other than, of course, have the misfortune to be born to the ‘wrong’ grandparents.
    As an addendum to Walzer’s homework, I would advise him to read Donald MacIntyre’s report from the ruins of Gaza and reflect on the incalculable cost that his deviously reasoned justification for mass killings of civilians results in.
    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/2014/08/life-among-ruins-ten-days-inside-gaza-strip

    • Boomer
      August 14, 2014, 12:47 am

      Well said; thanks for saying it. How ironic that Walzer uses the word “religious” to describe Hamas. As if no Israeli would cite such motivation to dispossess and oppress another people. Another example of Zionist inversion.

  7. Jeff Klein
    August 13, 2014, 4:02 pm

    And those dastardly “Minutemen” of 1775 hid among a civilian population and kept their arms in homes. Then they had the nerve to fire on British troops from behind walls and trees. . . TERRORISTS!

    On Walzer, I remember that he served as a kind or moral and physical bodyguard for Marty Peretz a few years back when students and community activists were protesting the awarding of an honorary award to Marty Peretz at Harvard. He escorted his racist pal across the campus to shield him and show his solidarity against the demonstrators.

  8. American
    August 13, 2014, 4:19 pm

    There have been Just War theories prescribed by everyone and their brothers since
    400 BCE
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_war_theory

    I think the one most people would go with is the one that says a war ‘fought’ to defend yourself or a war ‘launched’ to protect the innocent or a war ‘ in the name of justice” to right wrongs is the most just.

    Walzer’s theory doesnt seem much different from some of the rest thruout history but I am always looking for any contridictions and weaknesses in those who set themselves up as moral guides on war. I dont think Walzer can be totally honest because his emotional attachment to Israel will always throw a kink in his judgements:

    http://chronicle.com/article/Michael-Walzers-Politics-in/132041/
    ”Among the various communities that Walzer belongs to, perhaps his deepest personal connection is with the American Jewish community. He also travels regularly to Israel, and he defends its right to self-determination. In Just and Unjust Wars, he deems Israel’s role in the 1967 Six-Day War a fitting one and a good victory. Still, he is critical of the nation’s current policy. He commented that when he and his wife, the literary scholar and former provost of the New School, Judith Walzer, first visited Israel in 1957, “it was a much smaller country.” The 1967 victory, he said, “opened the way for Israeli right-wingers and religious Messianists to adopt an expansionist politics that I have been critical of since Day 1, since the first settlement.”
    In keeping with his view that “what most people need is a state of their own,” he believes that there should be a Palestinian state, although he remarks this is not disinterested: “There is a sense in which Israel needs a Palestinian state right now more than the Palestinians do, because Israel won’t be a Jewish state unless it is a smaller state.”

    ”One of Walzer’s first articles in Dissent was a criticism of the French in Algeria, and when I pressed him that a critic now might see Israel’s relation to the Palestinians similarly, he retorted, “Yes, but no one who criticized French policy in Algeria called the existence of France into question.” Too often, he added, the European left is hostile toward Israel”

    IMO, I would have called it a Just War or ‘intervention ” if the US had shot down the Israeli bombers to prevent the bombardment of Gaza civilians when it became undeniable that Isr was deliberately and randomly targeting civilians and civilian areas without any proof or evidence of Hamas in those areas.

    If you want to be a ‘numbers’ person even, and would consider the Israeli pilots somewhat innocent in that they were only following orders of their government then x number of dead Isr pilots vr 300 dead children alone would tip the scales for me on whether that would be considered a just act.

    I doubt Walzer would go along with that. But would be ineresting to see how he answer that if put to him point blank…just intervention?-yes or no.

    • RoHa
      August 14, 2014, 9:58 am

      Just war theory requires, first, a just cause. What counts as a just cause is the hard part. My own inclination is to go with David Luban, and say that a war in defence of human rights is a just war. (Though I can see some difficulties with this idea.)

      This means that a state which grossly violates human rights has no right of defence if the aim of the attacker is to improve the hr situation in that state.

      (So, of course, before we attack a state we will loudly claim that it violates the rights of its citizens and that we are going to correct that situation.)

      Mind you, under classical theory a state may have no right of defence if it is obvious that the defence would fail or the cost of the defence would be greater than the cost of being conquered. The cost to the attacker as well as the cost to the defender has to be taken into account. But we could also argue that the value of the defence includes the deterrence effect, in that it would discourage the attacker from attacking other states, and thus save more misery in the longer run.

  9. Annie Robbins
    August 13, 2014, 4:24 pm

    regarding what walzer says here:

    But I would strongly advise anyone contemplating the loss of life in Gaza to think carefully about who is responsible, or primarily responsible, for putting civilians at risk. The high-tech army, for all its claims to precision, is often callous and clumsy. But it is the insurgents who decide that the death of civilians will advance their cause.

    i suggest reading this from 7/19 http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/israel-in-pickle.html israel’s stated goal was to end the rocket fire. back then, before the goi came out w/little graphs explaining how tunnels were allegedly built under houses, nobody mentioned, and one hardly hears it today, that hamas’ weapons and rockets were/are almost certainly underground, and israel didn’t know where they were which was why they needed the ground invasion. because bombing civilian infrastructure doesn’t damage underground storage areas. storing rockets under ground, which hamas almost certainly does, can’t be solved by a bombing campaign and israel knows that.

    • ToivoS
      August 13, 2014, 5:25 pm

      I wonder if Waltzer would feel comfortable writing:

      But I would strongly advise anyone contemplating the loss of life in Gaza Lidice to think carefully about who is responsible, or primarily responsible, for putting civilians at risk. The high-tech army, for all its claims to precision, is often callous and clumsy. But it is the insurgents partisans who decide that the death of civilians will advance their cause.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 13, 2014, 9:37 pm

        creepy toivo. the depths of moral decay some people wallow thru to excuse war crimes.

    • MRW
      August 14, 2014, 5:05 am

      Annie Robbins says:
      August 13, 2014 at 4:24 pm
      [. . .] back then, before the goi came out w/little graphs explaining how tunnels were allegedly built under houses, nobody mentioned, and one hardly hears it today, that hamas’ weapons and rockets were/are almost certainly underground, and israel didn’t know where they were which was why they needed the ground invasion. because bombing civilian infrastructure doesn’t damage underground storage areas. storing rockets under ground, which hamas almost certainly does, can’t be solved by a bombing campaign and israel knows that.

      Bracing. And bears repeating again and again. One of those obvious facts that we hear, get affected by, have a moment of clarity about, then forget.

  10. W.Jones
    August 13, 2014, 4:27 pm

    Dear Jerry,

    You quoted Walzer as saying about Gaza:

    “People don’t leave, or not all of them leave; they are caring for elderly or sick parents; they can’t bear to abandon a home of 30 years

    I think that this is a good point, and I appreciate you writing this article, suggesting that Walzer and his audience reconsider their support for the idea of the Gaza attack without its failings. As that quote shows, people cannot realistically be expected to leave en masse. I would go further and suggest that people should not be expected to leave en masse their homes where they have lived for centuries to a place that is economically worse (eg. moving a population spread out across Gaza into Gaza’s even more crowded shores). Just as the idea of Jews returning to their ancestral homeland can be romantic, the idea of Palestinians living in their native homes and cities can be not only romantic, but essential to their identity, past and present.

    May I make a constructive suggestion for you as well, Jerry? It’s impressive how much reflection you have made, and I would like to ask if you might reconsider whether Palestinians would have needed to undergo a planned, compensated expulsion in order to create two states in 1947-1948? After all, the U.N. originally tried to draw the borders based on where each population was already living to create the respective majorities in each state. And even if the UN lines weren’t correct, the borders could be redrawn to create a natural majority in each. The creation of a natural majority in each state would be made more achievable with the successive generations of Israeli immigrants to their corresponding section.

    Previously you recommended that I read your blog on this question – and while you have many well thought out and scholarly articles on your blog, I was unfortunately unable to find one addressing the creation of the respective majorities in each state as it pertains to either the UN lines or to a creative, careful redrawing of the borders to accommodate the native homes and cities of each population in the first half of the 20th century.

    May I ask if you are open to reconsidering your position on compensated expulsion?

    • MHughes976
      August 13, 2014, 4:37 pm

      Yes, those are good words from Walzer and blow away, if read with any attention, a multitude of falsehoods.

  11. gracie fr
    August 13, 2014, 4:41 pm

    GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip — Doctors and human rights activists believe that they have conclusive evidence that Israel used internationally banned weapons against civilians during its military aggression on the Gaza Strip, as it did during the previous two wars against Gaza in 2008-2009 and 2012. Doctors in the Gaza Strip say they have evidence that shows the Israeli military used internationally prohibited Dense Inert Metal Explosives against civilians during Operation Protective Edge.

    Since the start of the Israeli military operation, more than 1,939 Palestinians have been killed and 9,800 others injured. Hundreds of the victims arrived at hospitals as charred corpses or in pieces, or with lost limbs and wounds that were difficult to treat, Ministry of Health spokesman Ashraf al-Qadra told Al-Monitor . Controversy erupted when Norwegian Dr. Erik Fosse, who recently visited Gaza to treat the wounded, accused Israel of using internationally prohibited weapons in its ongoing assault on the Gaza Strip. During a press conference on July 13 at Al-Shifa Hospital, attended by Al-Monitor, Dr. Fosse said, “Many of the casualties that have arrived at the hospital confirm Israel’s use of internationally banned weapons of the [Dense Inert Metal Explosive] DIME variety.”
    So much for “proportionality”….

    http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2014/08/israel-use-banned-weapons-dime-gaza-war.html?utm_content=buffer46497&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer#

  12. Nevada Ned
    August 13, 2014, 4:54 pm

    The problem with “just war” theory is that the theorist goes through a lot of philosophizing and then ends up deciding that his country’s war is a just war, which is an entirely predictable conclusion.

    In Walzer’s case, he has an emotional attachment to Israel, so his conclusion is exactly what you would expect. This was true even in 1982, when Israel invaded Lebanon and killed or wounded 50,000 Palestinians and Lebanese in 10 weeks. True, Walzer had some reservations about the most extreme acts of violence by Israel, but in the end he concluded that Israel’s war could be justified by just war theory. He said so explicitly in the pages of The New Republic in 1982.

    No, I don’t have a link. Check it out for yourself!

    • lysias
      August 13, 2014, 5:12 pm

      I was at the Institute for Advanced Study in 1982, and I remember Walzer writing that.

    • Mooser
      August 13, 2014, 6:09 pm

      “The problem with “just war” theory…”

      The problem with “just war” is that really, it’s just war. Who on earth, (who isn’t an Officer in some military or other) do they think they are fooling with that “just war” nonsense?

      • DaBakr
        August 13, 2014, 7:52 pm

        So your anti-military across the board? Anti-Officers specifically? Or are you saying your anti-war? Or are you just against officers in the IDF? Other then utopian ideals I am not aware of any nation that would be worth living in that doesn’t have some form of military. (though I can appreciate the sentiment of ‘no military=no war’ even if it is not a reality anywhere afaik. It is typical that military men are broadly misunderstood as pro-war )

      • Sycamores
        August 13, 2014, 10:32 pm

        DaBakr you should be more aware.

        Countries with absolutely no military forces

        Costa Rica

        Grenada

        Kiribati

        Liechtenstein

        Marshall Islands

        Federated States of Micronesia

        Nauru

        Palau

        Saint Lucia

        Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

        Samoa

        Solomon Islands

        Tuvalu

        Vatican City

        Costa Rica

        The constitution has forbidden a standing military since 1949. It does have a public security force, whose role includes law enforcement and internal security. For this reason Costa Rica is the headquarters for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and also the United Nations’ University for Peace.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_without_armed_forces

        DaBakr says:

        I am not aware of any nation that would be worth living in that doesn’t have some form of military

        Most Americans — even among the many who travel to Costa Rica for an eco-vacation — have no idea that this country is demilitarized, even as they enthusiastically partake of the many benefits this decision has helped generate: democratic institutions, the remarkably healthy and happy population, and, not least, the fact that Costa Rica has been able to invest not only in its people but also in preserving about 25% of its land area in either national parks or biological reserves.

        It has become fashionable of late to evaluate and rank the overall “happiness” of various countries. It’s easy to be skeptical of such surveys. The results vary with the questions asked, not to mention divergent national styles when it comes to self-assessment. Nonetheless, it is noteworthy that Costa Rica ranks No. 1 in the Happy Planet Index, No. 1 in the World Database of Happiness. It’s consistently right up there with its wealthier counterparts despite a per capita gross domestic product of $7,390, 68th in the world, according to the International Monetary Fund in 2010.

        http://articles.latimes.com/2013/dec/15/opinion/la-oe-barash-costa-rica-demilitarization-20131208

        isn’t happiness worth living for?

      • DaBakr
        August 13, 2014, 10:54 pm

        yes, i like costa rica. great surfing.

      • lysias
        August 14, 2014, 4:55 pm

        And, interestingly, Costa Rica is a very popular place for U.S. military retirees to retire to. Even they like it there.

      • just
        August 14, 2014, 4:59 pm

        Costa Rica is magical– beyond the amazing geography– you can see the happiness of the people, the hugging and holding the hands of children by parents as they cross the street. You note IMMEDIATELY the peaceful demeanor of folks, and the absence of guns and rifles.

      • Mooser
        August 14, 2014, 4:29 pm

        “I am not aware of any nation that would be worth living in that doesn’t have some form of military.”

        Oh really DaBakr, I’m sure you can find romance and erotic adventure wherever you are.

      • RoHa
        August 14, 2014, 9:35 am

        Just War theory does seem to be something we philosophers play around with in our scruffy offices but which has no connection to the brutal business of actual wars.

        However, it has had influence on the real world. Mostly, this has been in the Jus in bello aspect. The rules of war which officers are supposed to follow, and the concept of war crimes, are derived from classical Just War theory.

        Walter, of course, twists the facts in order to pretend that Israel’s wars are just.

  13. jon s
    August 13, 2014, 5:22 pm

    On “human shields”:it’s no use denying Hamas’ cynical use of civilians as shields, when Hamas spokesman talk about it openly, even boast about it.

    Using civilian facilities as depots and launching sites is a win-win situation for Hamas: if the Israelis refrain from attacking them , they get to launch their rockets with impunity; if the Israeli do attack those facilities the damage and the civilian casualties will further Hamas’ pr objectives.
    These are the numbers so far:
    Approximately 260 rockets were fired from schools.
    Approximately 160 rockets were fired from religious sites, including mosques.
    Approximately 127 rockets were fired from cemeteries.
    Approximately 50 rockets were fired from hospitals.

    • James North
      August 13, 2014, 5:26 pm

      jon s: Find us a link to where a Hamas spokesman ‘openly boasts’ about ‘using civilians as human shields.’

      • DaBakr
        August 13, 2014, 7:56 pm

        get real. even if he did post the links to the videos the moderators would take it down or immediately label it a ‘mossad’ fake. whats the point. google it and you’ll find it easily. the only thing you can argue about is what “openly boasts” means. “admits” would be a more neutral word.

      • Shingo
        August 13, 2014, 10:34 pm

        No you get real

        if you had any evidence you’d point to a report by the UN, HRW, Amnesty or a respectable news source rather than some YouTube video of dubious authenticity featuring some characature no name labeled as a Hamas member foaming at the mouth and spewing out garbage.

        Unless of course, you want to admit that calls for genocide by an unhinged Knesset member of the Home Party speaks for the entire Israeli government when they call for genocide and massacres of Palestinian women to
        Prevent them giving birth to snakes

      • DaBakr
        August 13, 2014, 10:56 pm

        ironic that I consider the UN, HRW and Amnesty as totally compromised and biased sources. I know that when MW has ‘dubious’ youtube videos of Israeli Police brutality it somehow isn’t considered ‘dubious’.

      • Shingo
        August 14, 2014, 5:10 pm

        ironic that I consider the UN, HRW and Amnesty as totally compromised and biased sources.

        And I consider you a lying propagandist, like your opinion, it’s not relevant.

        So unless you go something better, I’ll stick with UN, HRW and Amnesty over the IDF lie factory.

      • James North
        August 14, 2014, 8:32 am

        jon s: We are still waiting for your answer. Where is the link to the Hamas spokesman “openly boasting” about “using civilians as human shields”?

      • seanmcbride
        August 14, 2014, 9:13 am

        James North,

        jon s: We are still waiting for your answer. Where is the link to the Hamas spokesman “openly boasting” about “using civilians as human shields”?

        We are still waiting for links and sources for all of jon s’s claims.

      • Mooser
        August 14, 2014, 4:32 pm

        “We are still waiting for links and sources for all of jon s’s claims.”

        Including: “even if he did post the links to the videos the moderators would take it down or immediately label it a ‘mossad’ fake.”

        But I’m sure “jon s” (if that is even his real name!) will answer that question as thoroughly as he answers any other.

      • jon s
        August 14, 2014, 1:32 pm

        James North,
        Links? Sources? C’mon, I tried to post a link to to videos from Finnish TV and French TV, for God’s sake, and “moderation” censored them. And if those links , from foreign sources, were disallowed – what are the chances that official Israeli sources , or pro- Israeli, will be allowed? In any case , they won’t be considered reliable by many on this forum.

        On human shields:

        and this nice gentleman (from a few years ago):

        The figures I cited were from the IDF spokesperson website. There are a lot more statistics there. Of course, if anyone has more accurate figures I would like to see them.
        http://www.idfblog.com/blog/2014/08/05/operation-protective-edge-numbers/

      • James North
        August 14, 2014, 1:45 pm

        You used sources from French and Finnish TV to “prove” that Hamas leaders “openly boasted” they used civilians as human shields? OK: go ahead and supply those links again, so we can judge if they substantiate your claim.

      • Walid
        August 14, 2014, 2:16 pm

        MEMRI? The same MEMRI of “Farfur” fame? You have to be more serious, jon s. and you have to begin by putting into context what is being said in Arabic, which MEMRI never does. People, for lack of anything to defend themselves against F16s and Apaches, are being told to squat on their rooftops in the hope they’d be seen by pilots of good conscience that wouldn’t bomb them; it worked in the past and it was hoped it would work again. Sadly, it did not because this time around Israeli pilots have become more bloodthirsty and they made a bee-line to the roofs with people on them. In fact, this tactic proved counterproductive and caused the deaths of many people trying to stand in the way of their homes being destroyed.

        What would you have had these people do to avoid seeing their homes pulverized, jon?

      • talknic
        August 14, 2014, 2:50 pm

        “Of course, if anyone has more accurate figures I would like to see them”

        Me too…. because the IDF figures simply DO NOT ADD UP!!
        link to idfblog.com

        Terrorists in Gaza fired 3,360 rockets at Israel.
        2,303 rockets hit Israel.
        115 rockets hit populated areas in Israel.
        584 rockets were intercepted by Iron Dome.
        119 rocket launches failed.
        475 rockets landed within the Gaza Strip.

        I’m sure an experienced Hasbarrister can explain

        BTW. They only mention “terrorists”. Yet Israeli military were targeted and engaged. Few if any Israeli civilians were engaged (remembering that collateral happens in wars)

      • lysias
        August 14, 2014, 2:54 pm

        Your source is the IDF?!!! And you actually cite their figures without any disclaimer, or at least an explanation of the source of the figures. Need I say more?

      • ritzl
        August 14, 2014, 3:07 pm

        @jon s- That first MEMRI “human shields” video (the one Jake Tapper ambushed Noura Erakat with), even if you accept their translation at face value, was a no-other-option-to-save-their-homes lament/plea that tragically relied on a belief that there was some vestigial shred of humanity in the Israelis — that the Israelis would not simply kill helpless people standing on their roofs in plain sight.

        As it turns out there was/is not even a vestigial shred of humanity in the Israelis. I doubt if any Palestinian will make the same plea/mistake again.

      • jon s
        August 14, 2014, 3:54 pm

        James North,
        no, I was referring to the issue of the use of hospitals by the Hamas, for which I linked to those tv reports, and my comment didn’t make it past moderation. Sorry I wasn’t clear.
        The Finnish report:
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MmQpiUvS2PQ
        And the poor France 24 reporter (this is my favourite):

      • James North
        August 14, 2014, 4:09 pm

        OK: Where is your source for your assertion that Hamas spokesmen openly call for using civilians as human shields?

      • Shingo
        August 14, 2014, 5:06 pm

        no, I was referring to the issue of the use of hospitals by the Hamas, for which I linked to those tv reports, and my comment didn’t make it past moderation. Sorry I wasn’t clear.

        As I explained, the reports don’t make that claim at all. The French report claim that a rocket was fired in the vicinity of the hospital – not that any hospital was used.

        The second link doesn’t even mention where the rocket was fired from.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 14, 2014, 6:05 pm

        I was referring to the issue of the use of hospitals by the Hamas

        jon, your video link doesn’t support that statement. there was no claim they were using the hospital, but the area near the hospital. it says right on the top of the video “next to shifa hospital”. and this was the same excuse israel used to demolish el wafa hospital even tho israel knew militants were not operating from the hospital. there was no need to destroy the hospital.

        edit, i see shingo just made that pt. oh well.

        and jon, if you can’t find supporting evidence for your claim anywhere but memri, maybe it’s not worth posting.

        and one more thing, your first link, it has subtitles in english (push cc). what she says doesn’t match the headline. she said there was a rocket launched from the area in back of the hospital at 2 am. not from the hospital.

      • Annie Robbins
        August 14, 2014, 6:12 pm

        james , his source was that old video uploaded 6 yrs ago (who knows when it was recorded) of the unidentified person. labeled claiming the man was making ‘a confession’ and used the term ‘human shield’ in arabic.

        dumpster diving. and he rants his comments don’t get published. sheesh.

    • lysias
      August 13, 2014, 5:47 pm

      What is your source for those figures?

      • Mooser
        August 13, 2014, 6:03 pm

        “Approximately 127 rockets were fired from cemeteries.”

        I guess corpses make the best human shields? They never complain?

        His “sources”? “SOURCES?” Jon s don’t need no stinkin’ sources! Or are you implying that one of us chosen guys would ever deviate from the strictest veracity? There’s a name for that….

      • just
        August 13, 2014, 6:10 pm

        You are so very perspicacious, Mooser!

      • Mooser
        August 15, 2014, 12:23 pm

        “You are so very perspicacious, Mooser!”

        Does, ah, pers, pers, (oh, wait let me C&P it) “perspicacious” mean ‘shocked, enraged, and near losing control of his tongue’?

        And would have to say that “jon s” does typify ‘the anality of evil’, to paraphrase Ms. Arrent.

      • seanmcbride
        August 13, 2014, 6:24 pm

        lysias to jon s,

        What is your source for those figures?

        Jon s must have sources for those claims, otherwise he wouldn’t have been able to post that data — but he chose not to include the sources in his post.

        So, indeed, let’s see the sources and judge their credibility — jon?

    • Shingo
      August 13, 2014, 6:16 pm

      On “human shields”:it’s no use denying Hamas’ cynical use of civilians as shields, when Hamas spokesman talk about it openly, even boast about it.

      There’s no point denying it when you can’t produce one shred of evidence supporting the claim.

      Using civilian facilities as depots and launching sites is a win-win situation for Hamas

      Again you haven’t produce one shred of evidence supporting that claim that Hamas are using civilian facilities as depots and launching sites.

      if the Israelis refrain from attacking them , they get to launch their rockets with impunity

      False. Hamas had not fired a single rocket between November 2013 and June 30 2014 even as Israel continued attacking Gaza. The first rocket from Hamas was launched on June 30 when Israel launched an unprovoked bombing of Gaza and killed 2 Palestinians.

      Approximately 260 rockets were fired from schools.

      False. Zero rockets were fired from schools.

      Approximately 160 rockets were fired from religious sites, including mosques.

      False. Zero evidence rockets were fired from religious sites, including mosques.

      Approximately 127 rockets were fired from cemeteries.

      Fine, bomb away.

      Approximately 50 rockets were fired from hospitals.

      False. Zero evidence rockets were fired from hospitals. Not even your video links make that claim.

      Stop the lies JonS.

      • Jon66
        August 13, 2014, 9:33 pm

        The first rocket from Gaza was fired June 12. Many other rockets were then fired before Israel first bombed Gaza on June 30.

        http://www.jpost.com/Diplomacy-and-Politics/US-Palestinian-Authority-not-liable-for-Wednesdays-Gaza-rocket-strike-on-Israel-358072

      • Shingo
        August 13, 2014, 10:18 pm

        The first rocket from Gaza was fired June 12.

        Not from Hamas.
        Hamas fires rockets for first time since 2012
        The security sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, assessed that Hamas had probably launched the barrage in revenge for an Israeli airstrike several hours earlier which killed one person and injured three more.
        http://www.timesofisrael.com/hamas-fired-rockets-for-first-time-since-2012-israeli-officials-say/

        Netanyahu did not order the bombing of Gaza to respond to any rockets. He said he was going to punish Hamas for their role on the kidnapping of the 3 boys.

        Hamas had nothing to do with it and he knew it.

      • DaBakr
        August 13, 2014, 11:01 pm

        so we should take it you think the release of evidence by Israel tying the kidnappers in the Qwamseh family and one of its patriarchs to long time leadership in Hamas is a fabrication?

      • Shingo
        August 14, 2014, 5:12 pm

        so we should take it you think the release of evidence by Israel tying the kidnappers in the Qwamseh family and one of its patriarchs to long time leadership in Hamas is a fabrication?

        Probably seeing as it is sucha flimsy claim that the Israeli government were too gutless to declafre it in a press conference and only released this rumor via Twitter.

        And even if it were true, it is not evidence of Hamas complicity in the kidnapping.

      • Jon66
        August 13, 2014, 11:44 pm

        If Hamas didn’t fire the rockets, then did the group that fired them have them and fire them with the permission of Hamas? When Hamas wants to control a rival group, they are certainly capable of doing so as they did with Fatah. There would seem to be no point in negotiating any truce between Israel and Hamas if Hamas is unable to control rockets from its territory.

      • Shingo
        August 14, 2014, 5:22 pm

        If Hamas didn’t fire the rockets, then did the group that fired them have them and fire them with the permission of Hamas?

        No, not even Israel’s government has made that argument. In fact, Israel has consistently recognized that Hamas have gone to great lengths to prevent militant groups not under their control from doing so.

        When Hamas wants to control a rival group, they are certainly capable of doing so as they did with Fatah.

        Don’t be stupid. Having majority control of the territory is not the same as controlling the actions of every militant group. The Israeli security forces are infinitely better resourced, more powerful and not under blockade, yet they can’t control the half a million settlers in the West Bank, yet you expect Hamas to control 1.8 million people in Gaza?

        Does that mean that Israel has no right to negotiate with the Palestinians over the two state solution?

      • tree
        August 14, 2014, 5:40 pm

        Having majority control of the territory is not the same as controlling the actions of every militant group.

        As Israel well knows. The 3 Israeli teens were kidnapped and murdered in Area C, which is under full Israeli control, and yet the IDF and Israeli government could not prevent the murder. As Shingo pointed out, its a double standard to extend responsibility to Hamas for not preventing other militant groups from firing, and yet not extending the same responsibility to Israel for both the murder of the 3 Israeli teens in the West Bank AND the horrendous murder of Abu Khdeir in East Jerusalem, both occurring in areas under complete Israeli control.

      • Mooser
        August 15, 2014, 12:26 pm

        “If Hamas didn’t fire the rockets, then did the group that fired them have them and fire them with the permission of Hamas?”

        Maxwell Smart Hasbara! “Would you believe that they thought Hamas wanted them to do it? No? Then how about…”

      • ritzl
        August 14, 2014, 3:15 pm

        @Jon66- And there’s no crime in Manhattan is there? If the Mayor of NYC wanted to stop crime he could right? So crime in Manhattan must be by design. Got it.

        And Manhattan is not populated by angry, occupied, wronged people, ALL of whom have had family members killed by Israel over the last 6 years (re: HIGHLY motivated).

      • jon s
        August 14, 2014, 4:04 pm

        Of course if anyone has a better source, with more accurate figures on the number of launches from schools, mosques, hospitals , etc. – by all means, let’s see it.

      • tree
        August 14, 2014, 5:42 pm

        Jon, you didn’t provide ANY source, so why are you asking for a “better” one? Please provide a better source for exactly when you stopped beating your wife.

      • jon s
        August 15, 2014, 1:47 am

        Tree, As I said, my source was the IDF, which has the means , and is making the effort, to trace every launch.

        Annie, “Next to the hospital”, “in back of the hospital” – I don’t know whether you can imagine what happens in warfare .With all the talk of “precision bombing” and “surgical strikes” – the reality is a lot messier: errors, malfunctions, accidents, “friendly fire” , not to mention the nasty element called “the enemy”, trying his best to foil your best plans… Combat is the ultimate manifestation of Murphy’s Law. So firing from a hospital’s back yard or parking lot is not much different from “firing from the hospital”. Aside from that , there’s a video of what looks like machine-gun fire , coming from Wafa hospital, and secondary explosions there after it was destroyed. And , again, there’s the matter of the Hamas HQ in the basement of Shifa hospital. All consistent with Hamas tactics.

    • Sycamores
      August 13, 2014, 7:51 pm

      without providing sources

      using the excuse of ‘human sheilds’ for the murder of civilians by Israeli forces, in my eyes, is a racist concept.

      occupiers in the past use the same excuse.

      Some Palestinians don’t care about children being killed, then. Not even their own children. “Savages”, runs the subtext. Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu had made the same point in a CNN interview seven days earlier.

      “All civilian casualties are unintended by us but actually intended by Hamas. They want to pile up as many civilian dead as they can,” he said.

      “They use telegenically dead Palestinians for their cause. They want the more dead the better.’’

      There’s nothing original about this. The same was said by the French in Algeria and of the Kikuyu during Britain’s war against Keyna’s Land and Freedom Army. The US commander in Vietnam, Gen William Westmoreland, when asked how he could justify the killing of hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese, including many civilians, responded: “The oriental doesn’t put the same high price on life as does a westerner . . . We value life and human dignity. They don’t care about life and human dignity.”

      Arabs, Africans, orientals . . . All the same. Not as us.

      The idea of the Palestinians deliberately bringing death on themselves and their families for propaganda purposes had been suggested by US Republican Party pollster Frank Luntz in a 116-page booklet written five years ago following the second-last Israeli assault on Gaza.

      http://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/middle-east/palestinians-care-as-much-about-their-children-as-we-do-1.1883019

      • Bumblebye
        August 13, 2014, 11:03 pm

        jon s is doing the old projecting thing again with his ‘human shields’ rubbish. Everybody knows it is the IDF that uses human shields, every time, recidivists that they are – must be SOP for them!

        http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/rania-khalek/israeli-army-uses-gaza-children-human-shields

        “Since the assault on Gaza began, Israeli leaders and their supporters have repeatedly accused Hamas of using Palestinian civilians as human shields in an attempt to absolve Israel of responsibility for deliberately killing more than 1,600 Palestinian civilians in the besieged Gaza Strip.

        Despite there being no evidence to prove this libelous claim, it has been unquestioningly echoed in major media outlets and invoked by US officials to blame Palestinians for their own slaughter. It has even been used to justify genocide against Palestinians in a newspaper ad created by anti-Palestinian extremists Shmuley Boteach and Elie Wiesel.

        But the available evidence demonstrates that it is the Israeli army, not Hamas, that has been using Palestinians as human shields in Gaza.”

        The article goes on to detail instances of families and children being so used by the IDF, including that of one teenager who was held by them as such for FIVE days. Does jonny boy have anything to say about that?

      • Walid
        August 14, 2014, 2:27 pm

        Bumblebye, there are 2 types of human shields but jon s and the gang can’t make the distinction. There are those shields used by the IDF whereby they will send in a Palestinian kid into a home to see if someone starts firing back and there are those others in which the IDF straps a Palestinian kid on the hood of the Humvee to prevent Palestinians from throwing stones at them in fear of hitting their compatriot and so on,

        There’s the other kind where people voluntarily put themselves in the line of fire in the hope of stopping the shooting such as the ones discussed here that sat on their rooftops to prevent the Israelis from bombing them, or in other situations when foreign activists would stand with Palestinians to get the Israelis to soften the blows. Nothing dishonorable about these kinds of human shields. remember the Chinese youth that stood in the path of the oncoming tank and caused it to stop in Tiananmen Square? That was an honorable human shield.

      • jon s
        August 15, 2014, 3:55 am

        If the IDF issues a warning that a certain building, being used by Hamas terrorists, will be bombed, warning civilians to distance themselves, and then the Hamas urges them to remain, and even go up on the roof -that’s the very essence of the term “human shields”.
        Note that the Hamas spokesman says the tactic is “effective”. In other words, either the bombing is aborted and Hamas gain an “immune” facility , or the civilians are hit, and Hamas score anti-Israel pr points.

  14. Shingo
    August 13, 2014, 6:17 pm

    This is an outstanding post Jerome and an excellent resource. Thank you for compiling such excellent references and the timeline.

    I believe that the assassination of Sheikh Yassin was also carried out just as Yassin was proposing a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

    • lysias
      August 13, 2014, 6:43 pm

      Not just Yassin. The attempted killing of Khalid Meshal happened because he was offering a peace deal to the Israelis, something Netanyahu couldn’t handle, as recounted in Paul McGeough’s Kill Khalid: The Failed Mossad Assassination of Khalid Mishal and the Rise of Hamas.

      • ritzl
        August 14, 2014, 6:48 pm

        It sure seems to be a pattern. Unity government/acceptance of Israel right to exist in some fashion = time to kill 2000 people.

  15. piotr
    August 13, 2014, 8:20 pm

    Walzer is a magnificent exhibit of the concept of “liberal” that I am advancing: sound nice but not stand for much. After much erudite anguish, Walzer concludes nicely that we should support Israel, but he himself will do it with moderation.

    After the display of “careful considerations”, key conclusion come with usual slights of hand.

    “Hamas wants Greater Palestine; the Netanyahu government, though it doesn’t admit it, is moving steadily toward Greater Israel [read Likud charter and listen to the key member of Knesset and Cabinet, they admit a lot!] Hamas opposes Little Israel, and Netanyahu opposes Little Palestine. One might well want to say, a plague on both their houses! But now they are at war, and choices have to be made.”

    Apparently, “plague on both their houses” can be contemplated only when there is no war. But if so, why one would wish ANY plague? In actuality, the option of distance from both belligerent and somewhat symmetric attitude, like refraining from supplying either side with weapons and ammunition is a very standard one. And there is a lot of examples when this option was not followed with most deleterious consequences. In practice, symmetric attitude favors the stronger side, but it may also moderate the behavior of the winners because of the signals that “not everything goes”. Picking one side for arm supplies and other support and giving carte blanche, informing our favorites that no amount of atrocities will sway our position, nor we see any red lines, leads to most ugly cases of escalation (like when we picked “our bastards” in Syria). Supplying Israel with fresh ammunition in the middle of slaughter that would be “won” regardless is simply encouraging war madness. Anyway, I digress and Walzer has a conclusion to make.

    “We should choose Israel—because Israel is a democracy where it is possible to imagine the political defeat of the rightwing nationalists who are now in charge; it is possible to imagine a government that would work toward Palestinian statehood—Israel has had governments of that sort in the past, under the leadership of Yitzhak Rabin and Ehud Olmert. Inside Israel today, it is possible to criticize the government’s bombing policy—as I will do below, a little uneasily, from the outside. Public criticism of Hamas in Gaza, even in “peacetime,” is a risky business, and a victory for Hamas in this war—indeed, any strengthening of its hand vis-a-vis Fatah—would set the stage for future and more terrible wars, for Hamas has never deviated from its absolute opposition to the existence of a Jewish state in the Middle East. ”

    It is surprising that the case for “choosing Israel” rests so much on the Walzer’s ability to imagine future. Carte blanche for the current government is not fostering in Israel the kind of change that he imagines, to put it mildly. And what does it mean, “choosing”? Aha, any kind of relief to Gaza population that could be credited to Hamas is a no-no, as it would “strengthen Hamas vis-a-vis Fatah. Thank you, Professor!

    “But this choice, Israel over Hamas, is difficult for many people to make because of the rising tide of Palestinian casualties, dead and wounded, in the Gaza war. ” Sure, it is difficult, but we will overcome our momentary sadness and rise in enthusiastic support of Israel.

  16. Jim Holstun
    August 13, 2014, 8:20 pm

    Even though he continues to support the original ethnic cleansing of Palestine (though he wishes it had been in a gentler form), it is good to see Professor Slater reminding Michael Waltzer of the horror of the Dahiya Doctrine here, and the record of Hamas’s offers to negotiate.

  17. traintosiberia
    August 14, 2014, 12:11 am

    ” I could not judge Israel sitting in New Jersey” .
    Makes perfect sense for superficially attentive regular folks . But he is not superficially attentive regular folk . He has tremendous interest and emotional investment . He also has access to information and time to atomize those information,tease those facts apart,and look at them objectively . Above all he has contacts and resources to verify through these sources the contents of the news that coming out openly,covertly,and by leaks .

    This alleged inability to second guess Israel or question Israel or suspect Israel or trust Palestinian narratives or disbelieve the assertions of the media outside CNN,Fox,BBC,or Israeli military briefings have never become an issue while delivering judgement and making decision by the liberal Zionist and by some ardent Israeli supporters on the motives ,capabilities,and immediacy of the malevolent behaviors of Iraq,Syria,Libya,and Iran while sitting in New Jersey. In reality that sitting in Princeton or Harvard or Fox News room was enough to claim and capture the certainty,righteousness,and historic validity of any arguments and solutions that were offered to counter the foes of Israel,and to ignore the denial by those regimes .

  18. light2014
    August 14, 2014, 1:22 am

    Jews are not very talented at ethnic cleansing- 1,600,000 out of 8,200,000- that is 20% of Israel’s citizens are Arabs. One of the permanent justices on Israel’s supreme court is an Arab. Arabic is an official language of Israel found ,along with Hebrew,
    on road signs, food packages, stamps and currency. Arabs have won the highest Israeli awards in literature and film and head hospital departments- this is beginning to sound like a thorough plan to excise Arabs and their culture from the land.
    There can be no assumption that anyone seeking” hudna” ,temporary calm, has any intention of surrender or permanent cessation of hostilities;just a time to rest, regroup and return to murdering at a propitious time. The Hamas religionists ,an extension of the Muslim Brotherhood, can only speak and act from the doctrines of their belief. They understand their tradition as not permitting them to relinquish lands conquered by Jihad. (oh to have a communist atheist as an adversary ,one who believes that this world was the crucial arena to work out problems of existence and did not rely on G-d to make things all better in some hereafter)
    The Hamas charter brings support to its program of murdering Jews from “The Protocols “, a fabricated document purporting to be factual. It was originally produced in Russia between 1897 and 1903, possibly by Pyotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky, head of the Paris office of the Russian Secret Police.Elements of the Protocols were plagiarized from Joly’s fictional Dialogue in Hell and from Goedsche’s Biarritz1 868 novel Biarritz (To Sedan) which contains a chapter called “The Jewish Cemetery in Prague and the Council of Representatives of the Twelve Tribes of Israel.” Hamas uses this forgery to illustrate that Jews have a conspiracy to control the world for vile purposes.
    (Jews as colonialists ,what a joke,they choose Palestine (“Judea” but renamed by Rome) a land with no diamond containing rocks , no gold or silver or iron ore , no coal,little water ,poor soil, and friendly neighbors – just the kind of place that treasure seeking colonialists’ long for – Jews guided by this sinister megalomaniac principle-” may it ever be so humble there is no place like home.” ) But the Arabs are not satisfied with the Arabian peninsula alone so beginning in the 7th C. they conquer The Middle East ,North Africa. Central Asia , parts of East Asia and Europe.
    Every crime they have committed they project on the Jew. Every flaw they accuse the Jews of is the Arab’s own flaw. Yo! Arab your not going to treat Jews like you treat your women. Arabs its never to late to repent -Allah is generous and so are the Jewish people. Allah protects Israel – not Iron Dome!
    Moment for Robin Williams
    He was famously interviewed several years ago by a German television reporter who asked, “Why do you think there’s not so much comedy in Germany?”
    “Did you ever think,” Williams answered, “you killed all the funny people.”
    HAMAS is no joke.
    In Hebrew and Aramaic “Hamas” translates as violence- a fitting name.

  19. Peter in SF
    August 14, 2014, 1:34 am

    Thank you for posting this. I had seen Walzer’s TNR article and knew he had many of his facts wrong, because they contradicted other sources I’d read, so it is helpful to see it debunked in detail.

    About this part:

    Sometimes Hamas has continued to stress its commitment to the “right of return” of all Palestinian refugees to Israel, perhaps the most difficult obstacle to a permanent settlement—but at other times it downplays the problem and generally indicates, like Abbas, that in the context of an overall settlement it will accept a symbolic resolution of the issue.

    Is it a good thing or a bad thing if an organization that claims to fight for the rights of Palestinians is willing to concede what is considered to be one of their basic human rights by the likes of Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch?

  20. wes
    August 14, 2014, 5:57 am

    All this nonsense about theories of war are just that,theories.
    Why not see the conflict in gaza from a simpler point of view.

    Revenge for the suicide bombing campaign.

    Payback

    • Shingo
      August 14, 2014, 5:24 pm

      Revenge for the suicide bombing campaign.

      What about revenge for 3,500 Palestinians killed and the use of 1.3 million bullets in a few months against demonstrators?

    • ritzl
      August 14, 2014, 7:15 pm

      When there are 6M Jewish Israelis amid 200M+ Muslims, boastful, self-justifying talk of payback and revenge is terminal/suicidal, not to mention criminal for the pain it causes Jews worldwide.

      Latest from Gideon Levy (behind the paywall): http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.610481

      Gevalt, anti-Semitism!
      Since its establishment, more Jews were hurt in wars and terror attacks in Israel than anywhere else. The war in Gaza endangered world Jews as well, as no other war has before it.

      (I got the full text by going through a tweet: https://twitter.com/JalalAK_jojo/status/499906604796346368. Maybe that’s a workaround.)

      • just
        August 14, 2014, 7:37 pm

        Gideon ‘gets it’– that’s why he needs bodyguards, ritzl.

      • ritzl
        August 14, 2014, 8:04 pm

        Agree, just. I hope more people pay attention. He’s the proverbial canary in the coalmine. Societal “methane” is probably as odorless and colorless as methane gas.

  21. wes
    August 14, 2014, 6:21 am

    Jerome slater reluctantly says

    “To be sure, that doesn’t prove that Hamas did not deliberately employ a human shields strategy during the recent conflict; that remains to be examined in the investigations by human rights organizations that almost certainly will soon be undertaken. ”

    Come come mr slater

    grit your teeth,stop waffling and stick to the facts,none of this….. if,maybe,stuff

    they did use human shields,the video evidence captured by journalists is conclusive and will be used to defend israel,s actions in the war crimes investigation.

    just that small paragragh above shows your bias no matter how hard you try to hide it

    • Shingo
      August 14, 2014, 5:25 pm

      they did use human shields,the video evidence captured by journalists is conclusive and will be used to defend israel,s actions in the war crimes investigation.

      Come on Wes, put up or shut up. Provide evidence that they used human shields. The video evidence captured by journalists does not prove anything and is not even close to evidence.

      Hasbara fail!

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