Interview with a suicide bomber

Israel/Palestine
on 139 Comments

“The doctors asked me, ‘Why did you want to die?’”

“I told them, ‘Because I can’t do anything while I’m living in my country. I can’t learn. I can’t do business with my father and he is out of work. Every day there is siege and killing.’”

17-year-old Mohammed Zaidan had awoken in an Israeli hospital, recovering from serious injuries to his stomach, eye socket, head and arm. He had gone on a suicide bombing operation, but the explosives he brought failed to properly detonate. 15 years later, I interviewed Zaidan in his home in Gaza City.

“The doctor asked me, ‘What’s your view of the future? Is it death?’”

“I replied, ‘I didn’t want to end my life or yours.’”

“I didn’t see a place to live with dignity,” Zaidan told me.

I met Mohammed Zaidan riding in his taxi in Gaza City. After nearly a decade in Israeli prisons, he was released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner swap in 2011, and banished to the Gaza Strip.  Now, Zaidan earns a meager living as a driver.

“I’d blow myself up on the wall,” he joked with a wide grin.

Slenderly built, Zaidan walked with a light step and had a cheerful attitude. Now 32 years old, he is married with one child and his wife is pregnant.

“Are you happy,” I asked him as we drove through Gaza’s busy streets.

He took a long and contemplative pause, turned his head and looked me in the eyes. “Thank god,” he said with a sigh.

 Mohammed Zaidan displays two newspaper clippings of photos of the Israeli bomb disposal robot. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Mohammed Zaidan displays two newspaper clippings of photos of the Israeli bomb disposal robot. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Mohammed Zaidan was a teenager when the second intifada broke out. “I didn’t have anything to do with the factions,” he explained. “[The motivation] wasn’t religious. I just didn’t feel alright with the life I was living and I needed to do something about it.”

Zaidan recalled the suffocating restrictions and everyday violence of life under Israeli occupation. “If you wanted to leave Jenin, you couldn’t. You didn’t have the money to leave. It was either bombing night and day, or curfew in the morning and bombing in the night,” he said.

With no opportunity, Zaidan saw a grim future.

“I liked going to school and I wanted to finish to improve myself and to make my family proud,” he explained. “But I dropped out – not because of financial issues, but because it was pointless with the life I was living. The Israeli occupation depressed me and everyone else. You’re not living and you’re not dead. So I thought of suicide bombing.”

Mohammed Zaidan’s explanation is consistent with studies of suicide bombers. As Robert Pape described in his book Dying to Win – The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, “The bottom line, then, is that suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation… Modern suicide terrorism is best understood as an extreme strategy for national liberation against democracies with troops that pose an imminent threat to control the territory the terrorists view as their homeland.”

From my interactions with Zaidan, he fit the personality profile that Pape described. “In general, suicide attackers are rarely socially isolated, clinically insane, or economically destitute individuals, but are most often educated, socially integrated, and highly capable people who could be expected to have a good future.”

Situated in the slopes west of the city of Jenin in the north of the occupied West Bank, Jenin refugee camp was a stronghold of armed resistance – a status it would lose after the intifada. Near the green line and several Israeli cities, many suicide bombings originated from the camp.

On March 22, 2002, a suicide bombing killed 29 Israelis and injured 150 more in a hotel in Netanya. The ensuing international outrage provided the pretext Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government needed to carry out a pre-planned attack on the West Bank.

In Jenin refugee camp, fighters had prepared for the invasion, setting up booby-traps and fortifications. After a week of fighting, a booby-trap killed 13 Israeli soldiers. Unable to crush the resistance, Israeli weaponized D9 bulldozers began to demolish the camp, burying fighters and civilians beneath the rubble. By the end, 52 Palestinians were killed, more than half of them were civilians.

Then Israeli military Chief of Staff and current Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon described his approach to crushing the resistance, invoking language used to incite against Jews in Nazi Germany: “The Palestinian threat harbors cancer-like attributes that have to be severed. There are all kinds of solutions to cancer. Some say it’s necessary to amputate organs but at the moment I am applying chemotherapy.”

Living in the city of Jenin, Mohammed Zaidan watched the decimation of the besieged Jenin refugee camp, looking for any way to enter to provide any humanitarian relief.

“After the third day, I heard that the people were saying that they didn’t have money to eat and that the food storage was burned. I couldn’t stay calm,” he told me. “If I could have given my blood to bring food for the people, I would have done that.”

Zaidan found a way to enter the camp, avoiding Israeli military tanks, bulldozers, and jeeps. “I helped the Red Cross,” he recalled. “They said ‘we are not allowed to deliver food because there is no way to enter.’ I told them, ‘There is a way. Come with me.’ So we brought the food for the people that we could reach.”

Back at home in the city of Jenin, Zaidan was unable to stay still. Once again, he left his house searching for any way to slip past the military. “There was no way to enter, like the first time.” Day after day, he failed. Finally, the siege loosened, and he managed to enter Jenin refugee camp.

“All I wanted was to enter the refugee camp to help any way that I could, or to fight by suicide bombing because I didn’t have any weapon on me,” Zaidan said. “But I wasn’t prepared to fight at all. It was only in my heart – I didn’t have the tools to do it, and I wasn’t trained.”

Upon entering the camp, he witnessed the aftermath of Ya’alon’s “chemotherapy.”

“I found bulldozers all over the place with dead and burned bodies all around. I was traumatized by that scene,” he said adding “The bombing was everywhere. It wasn’t aimed at a specific target.”

“I saw a woman keeled over with her face in the dough,” he said as he bent at the waist to demonstrate the position he found her body in, killed as she was making bread. “She had a bullet in the middle of her face,” he added, pointing directly between his eyes. “After I saw this, I knew it was a war.”

Having seen the shocking scenes of the decimation of Jenin camp, Zaidan became intent on carrying out a suicide bombing.

Sitting in his home in Gaza City, Zaidan reflected on his decision. “I wrote in my will that I wanted to live a normal life like the rest of humanity – to travel and work and to live a dignified life, not to live poor, or to die and rest from this life. I didn’t want to die. Why would anyone want to die,” he asked me rhetorically. “Do you have more reason to live this life than I do? Live happily and go wherever you want. This life will fit me and you – it fits a trillion human beings. But why are you encroaching on me? Did I come to you holding a weapon? Did I kill you? Did I harm you? Because you are putting pressure on me!”

As much as Zaidan wanted to carry out a suicide bombing, he had no involvement with the resistance and didn’t know where to start.

“I saw a friend that I used to think was involved with the resistance. I was direct with him. ‘I want to do a suicide bombing,’” he said.

“My friend said, ‘Go home to your mother.’”

“‘I’m serious,’ I told him.”

“He replied, ‘Go home to your mother.’”

He beseeched his friend on a daily basis and always received the same response: Go home to your mother.

Finally, Zaidan’s friend accepted.

“That was on the sixth of May, 2002,” Zaidan recalled. “My friend told me, ‘Tomorrow be ready and I will take care of the rest.’”

Zaidan then realized that his friend had been preparing an operation since he first approached him, but wanted Zaidan to demonstrate his commitment.

Before sunrise the following morning, Zaidan and his friend went to record his will in an abandoned house near Jenin. Being uninvolved with any faction, Zaidan did not have anything prepared. The language of armed resistance was unfamiliar to him, but he spoke eloquently of oppression. Zaidan explained a profound philosophy on death, something he had much time to reflect on while he was incarcerated in Israeli prisons.

“I stood up to say my will but I was never in any faction or trained or anything. I never shot a bullet in my whole life,” he told me. “So, I did my will. He gave me a paper to read from and I added to it: It’s either the Israeli occupation or we live like the rest of the human beings. To have the full freedom of movement — to live a normal life or death would be the only choice. Because they will not take our freedom in choosing to die. Maybe you can take my freedom in life but you can’t take it on how I’m going to die. You either give me my freedom or you give me the freedom to choose how to die. That’s exactly how it is. Not because I want to die or buy death, and not because I’m not afraid of death. But because death is a departure from this system we are living under. When the human being dies, it’s not the end. If someone kills and steals, oppresses people and then dies, is this the end to this human being?”

His conception of the afterlife dispelled the common portrayals of suicide bombers in the western media. “I didn’t want to die because I wanted to go to heaven. This thing is between me and God only. I wouldn’t kill you to go to heaven and you wouldn’t kill me to go to heaven. This discussion is invalid in our religion or any other,” he said before quoting a Qu’ran verse.

Zaidan’s non-religious motivation is in line with Robert Pape’s findings: “There is strong evidence that Islamic fundamentalism has not been the driving force behind Palestinian suicide terrorism.” Indeed, as the second intifada began, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, both secular factions, adopted to tactic of suicide bombings.

After recording his will, Zaidan went to the mosque to pray. His friend instructed him on how to arm the bomb he was given, using a simple on/off switch. That evening, he went to his family’s house.

“I sat with my family and acted normal. They didn’t notice anything,” he recalled.

As he often did, Zaidan’s father encouraged his son to get married. “I used to think to myself, ‘How am I going to get married,” he asked. “Get married for two days and throw the woman away? Then she’d be left alone. Shame!’”

The following morning, Zaidan left home at 3:30 AM. He prayed in the mosque and then set off, walking 2.5 miles through Jenin carrying the bag containing the bomb on his back.

With no training, Zaidan made a number of mistakes on his way.  After reaching transportation, he put the backpack containing the bomb in the back of the vehicle, but became concerned that the heat of the vehicle could detonate the bomb.

“I didn’t have the military mentality you may think I had,” he said.

The vehicle started moving, with an Israeli tank next to it.

Instructed to call his friend 90 minutes before he arrived to his destination where he would explode the bomb, Zaidan called much earlier. The organizer of the operation then called the Israeli authorities, he told me, as a form of psychological warfare. At that point, the Israelis announced maximum alert.

Zaidan recalled the tank next to him and an Apache attack helicopter being directly above the vehicle as he traveled out of the West Bank. On his way to the Palestinian city of Um al Fahm inside Israel, he reached a checkpoint with Israeli soldiers but was able to avoid it by walking in the mountains above.

As he reached Um al Fahm, he encountered two Border Police vehicles, one of which almost hit him. Arriving at the central bus station, the Apache helicopter was still just overhead, Zaidan said. He boarded a bus, telling the driver that he was headed to the Meggido Junction.

“The driver said to me, ‘You seem like you are going to blow yourself up.’ I answered back, ‘Come on man. I hope neither of us will ever be close to such a thing.’”

Zaidan got off the bus at Meggido Intersection where there were two Israeli soldiers. He then called the organizer to inform them that he had reached his final destination where he would board a bus and detonate the bomb. “The soldier woman looked at me and wasn’t focused, but I was,” he said.

Standing at the intersection, another bus approached. “I saw kids in it and said, ‘No, I’m not going into this bus,” Zaidan recounted. “I couldn’t do it. I didn’t have the heart. Not because they were Israelis, but I had a message that was directed to the soldiers because they were the ones who did what I saw to the refugee camp. On the bus, they were just children. They might become soldiers, but who am I to judge them from this age? No mind can agree to kill a child because of what they are going to become. You can’t call my daughter a doctor because she hasn’t studied medicine.”

Another bus was approaching, and the two soldiers became agitated, Zaidan said. He heard them talking on the phone saying that he appeared suspicious, and that he may he holding a bomb. “I understood Hebrew because I worked in Israel,” Zaidan said proudly.

The two soldiers had closed the road and intersection but the bus was approaching Zaidan. “It was full soldiers,” he told me. “The driver didn’t notice the situation and the soldiers didn’t even bother to tell the driver. The two soldiers ran away from me.”

As Zaidan stood at the door of the bus, the door opened. By then, other soldiers from the nearby Meggido prison had pulled up in their jeep and pointed their guns at him without him noticing. “The soldiers next to me were very close,” he said pointing to the chair next to him in his apartment. “I looked at them and I noticed that they were aiming at me, so I switched the bomb on. I laid on the ground as the bus left.”

Laying on the ground with the backpack full of explosives next to him, the bomb malfunctioned. “If it was working properly, when I put it in the car [near Jenin] when I was with another ten people, it would have detonated then. What exploded? Only the trigger,” Zaidan said. “Then I woke up in the hospital.”

Scars cover Mohammed Zaidan's abdomen from the partially detonated bomb he carried. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

Scars cover Mohammed Zaidan’s abdomen from the partially detonated bomb he carried. (Photo: Dan Cohen)

The first two years of his incarceration were spent in administrative detention. Zaidan was given a life sentence in early 2004. In prison, he said, “60 minutes per hour and 24 hours a day, you are wishing to die in the prison. They used to starve us, take our clothes, not let us have breaks outside, and wouldn’t let us be in contact with our families. I felt the darkness of the prison and of my life sentence.”

Zaidan complained that the prison punished his family too when they would visit. “What does my family have to do with what I did? They didn’t tell me to go fight the Israelis, become a martyr or kill myself,” he said. “No one in my family has been involved with the resistance. Why were they oppressing my family when they would come and visit me, and trying to put pressure on them? Do you want them to explode in your face?”

In prison, Zaidan said he was put into solitary confinement for 90 days, unable to distinguish day from night. “Every 24 hours, they would bring three meals. But if you added them up, they wouldn’t be enough for a breastfeeding infant.” Zaidan described fending off large rats in order to keep his food. “The rats in solitary confinement used to eat the sheets because there weren’t any crumbs for them to eat,” he said. “They used to come out of the pipes and would even eat my clothes. I would hit them and they would come back. If I tried to save some bread crumbs, the rats would try to come and eat your pockets to get the bread,” he said, swiping his hand as if he were shooing away a rat.

After being released in the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011, Zaidan was banished to Gaza, unable to visit his family in his native Jenin. “I got out of prison, but the prison is still inside of me,” he said.

At 32 years old, Zaidan spent untold hours reflecting on his decision to carry out a suicide bombing.

“I wouldn’t do it again. I would help in delivering food and tending to sick people,” he said. “But for me to do a suicide bombing? I wouldn’t – not because I failed but because of my age now. I was 17 then. Now it’s a different situation, we’re in a bloody war in Gaza.”

“I think suicide bombings are still a way to defend ourselves,” he told me. “It’s still the same philosophy: You either live free or die free.”

While the prospect of a Israeli reoccupation of Gaza appears unlikely, Zaidan said that if the Israelis attempt to reoccupy Gaza, the suicide bombings will resume. “If you think it’s not there, it is. There are many people who would do it,” he said. “The situation now is more than one bullet here and there, or a suicide bombing there or a rock there. Now it’s a fierce war. There were scenes [in the last war] that were a million times uglier than the Jenin massacre,” he said, referring to the areas of Shujaiya, Beit Hanoun, Khuza’a Rafah, which were largely decimated in Israel’s 2014 war on Gaza.

The violence of Israeli occupation and siege continue to fuel the urge to resist, but Gaza now has a well-organized armed resistance that has pioneered new weapons and tactics to repel ground invasions, as well as to strike on Israeli military targets across the border. “There is a study of war and battle. It’s not like I was – just going out to do this operation,” Zaidan said.

Ultimately, the impetus to resist is the same, regardless of tactic, Zaidan explained. “My aim in that moment was to deliver a message with my own blood. To deliver a message that this guy who did a suicide bombing didn’t live equally and to [force people to] ask a question: why would a guy like me, who didn’t have any records, go and do such a thing? I only went to suicide bombing because I wasn’t living like the rest of the people. And you, the Israelis, are suffocating us, because of what? Who gave you the power to do that to us? Do you want us to ask for permission to breathe? We will never do that. The [Palestinians] will not ask you how to die and we will not ask how to take their freedom and dignity. All I wanted was to deliver my message and there was a way to do that back then.”

About Dan Cohen

Dan Cohen is an independent journalist and filmmaker based in Palestine. He tweets at @dancohen3000.

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139 Responses

  1. just
    June 25, 2015, 3:26 pm

    Wow~ a very rare and a very important interview.

    Thank you, Mohammed and Dan. All the best to Mohammed’s family.

  2. Mooser
    June 25, 2015, 5:54 pm

    “Wow~ a very rare and a very important interview.”

    Yes!

  3. JWalters
    June 25, 2015, 6:01 pm

    Thanks for this very insightful interview. The scenes Zaidan describes vividly explain the data from several studies, all finding the same motives he describes for the Palestinian resistence. Years ago a PBS Newshour segment reported on three such studies. All got buried, of course. Like the one brief appearance by Walt and Mearsheimer.

    A famous American patriot, before being hanged after a failed virtual suicide spy mission, said “I only regret that I have but one life to give for my country.”

  4. DaBakr
    June 25, 2015, 6:12 pm

    poignant. honest. and told from the intended bombers own point of view. in Israel, these kind of stories are eaten up as genuine h.i. pieces.

  5. hippocrasy
    June 25, 2015, 11:43 pm

    Excellent story Dan…
    I have always told people here in the states that we are asking the wrong question.
    The question we should be asking is: What is so miserable about the lives of 100 teenagers that they would rather blow themselves to bits than live another day? And this story shows exactly that…

    • DaBakr
      June 26, 2015, 8:58 am

      @hp

      while the question you pose as the most important is certainly relevant it should also be noted that there are many other places on earth where “teenagers” and other peoples lives are incredibly miserable, hopeless, empty, dangerous etc. but for whatever reason these other places do not have a history of using suicide bombings as a resistance tactic. The young man who ignited himself in Tunisia starting the so-called Arab Spring was not on the same kind of mission as the young man above yet their goals overlapped in som,e ways. So-wether you agree with the tactic of blowing oneself up in a crowd of civilians or not-the secondary question has to be asked as well if one is interested in an actual answer.

      • Mooser
        June 26, 2015, 10:19 am

        If only the Palestinians could figure out the real reasons for their problems, instead of blaming it on the Israelis. I mean, really, what did the Israelis do which effected the Palestinians?

      • CigarGod
        June 26, 2015, 10:19 am

        Give me a break!
        As Rumsfeld said: You use what you have.
        Whether using bomb or knife, suicide attacks have been with us forever…and cultures around the planet are using those tactics as we speak. You seem to imply something is wrong with Arabs for using these tactics. You want to deflect to other cultures? I’ll bring you right back to the terrorism used in founding Israel. Something must be wrong with those Jews, right?

      • DaBakr
        June 26, 2015, 6:23 pm

        @cg

        where did I “imply” that suicide tactics were anymore as ‘wrong’ or as brutal as other forms of mayhem that kills civilians? I just said that not all militants use the same tactics to fight and we can assume there are a myriad of reasons for that. But is is not a universal tactic of the disempowered and oppressed.

      • talknic
        June 27, 2015, 9:56 am

        @ DaBakr Start naming some of those places so we can compare circumstances.

        Meanwhile the the majority of Palestinians have lived their whole lives under occupation. In fact, generations of Palestinians have lived their whole lives under occupation or been dispossessed since at least May 22nd 1948 in territories the Israeli Government itself claimed were “outside the State of Israel” … “in Palestine”

        “So-wether you agree with the tactic of blowing oneself up in a crowd of civilians”

        The crowds of civilians might have been collateral due to the target being amongst them. Soldiers & collaborators go to pizza parlors, markets and catch buses too.

      • Mayhem
        June 29, 2015, 9:56 am

        @talknic, claims “the majority of Palestinians have lived their whole lives under occupation”
        He loves to perpetuate the myth of perennial Palestinian suffering at the hands of Israel.
        In fact about 1.7 million Palestinians live under Israeli control at present, with 3.24 million in Jordan, 0.63 million in Syria and 0.5 million in Chile with a further large smattering of the Palestinian diaspora to be found across the rest of the world.
        @talknic, so much for your long-suffering Palestinian oppressed majority that you keep exploiting as your anti-Israel battering ram.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 29, 2015, 10:11 am

        perennial Palestinian suffering at the hands of Israel is not a myth.

      • CigarGod
        June 29, 2015, 10:23 am

        Did you practice that vile lie in the mirror this morning?
        Those people ran for their lives…in front of the tanks and bulldozers who obliterated their country…and live as refugee’s, still.

      • michelle
        June 29, 2015, 3:59 pm

        .
        @ Mayhem
        Hello
        i hope you are having a good day
        m
        .
        why are the Palestine people living as refugees
        what/who is stopping them from returning to their homes
        their home land
        .
        if/when G-d holds ‘you’ up He expects your best
        .
        G-d Bless
        .

      • CigarGod
        June 29, 2015, 4:01 pm

        Way to dish the sugar;-)

      • talknic
        November 27, 2015, 12:56 am

        @ Dabakr “there are many other places on earth where “teenagers” and other peoples lives are incredibly miserable, hopeless, empty, dangerous …”

        Many of them under occupation their entire lives?

        “So-wether you agree with the tactic of blowing oneself up in a crowd of civilians…”

        Mohammed Zaidan refused. His target was military.

    • catalan
      June 27, 2015, 10:21 am

      “The crowds of civilians might have been collateral due to the target being amongst them. Soldiers & collaborators go to pizza parlors, markets and catch buses too. – ”
      I wonder how many talknic admirers like Mooser, Annie, etc agree that it is A-ok to blow up a pizza parlor because of a “collaborator”.

      • talknic
        June 27, 2015, 12:44 pm

        @ catalan

        “I wonder how many talknic admirers like Mooser, Annie, etc agree that it is A-ok to blow up a pizza parlor because of a “collaborator””

        A) Typical Zionnutter puke. I didn’t say it was OK you stupid person

        B) It’s OK though it seems for Israel to blow up entire neighbourhoods

      • michelle
        June 29, 2015, 4:24 pm

        .
        @ Catalan
        Hello
        i hope your day has been good
        m
        seems like you implying that Israeli ‘soldiers/terrorists’ are using
        Israeli civilians as human shields
        .
        every day all day and all night every night
        the whole of Israel terrorize every Palestine man woman and child
        .
        those who claim it is two sided might consider the fact that with very
        little exception the Israel people are free while the Palestine people
        are all locked up not just by the Israel people but by the world
        .
        ‘you’ call them snakes
        but snakes avoid conflict
        naturaly they only kill for food
        they only fight when they feel trapped
        and there is no other way to stay alive
        .
        G-d Bless
        .

      • Mooser
        July 2, 2015, 12:44 am

        “I wonder how many talknic admirers like Mooser, Annie, etc agree that it is A-ok to blow up a pizza parlor because of a “collaborator

        You are getting quite tiresome, “catalan”.

  6. Marnie
    June 26, 2015, 1:07 am

    “I liked going to school and I wanted to finish to improve myself and to make my family proud,” he explained. “But I dropped out – not because of financial issues, but because it was pointless with the life I was living. The Israeli occupation depressed me and everyone else. You’re not living and you’re not dead. So I thought of suicide bombing.”

    This is such an important interview, so informative and eye opening – thank you Mr. Zaiden and Mr. Cohen.

    The west has been brainwashed to believe suicide bombers are religious fanatics, aspiring to enter heaven and reap whatever rewards are awaiting them for their holy missions. That explanation is the type of pablum most westerners happily accept as the truth. Politicians debate it and comedians make their livings with it. The truth, as it was for Mohammed Zaiden, is much more sobering and logical. No jokes can be made about it. And no politician will attempt to discuss this because it is shameful, horribly shameful, that young people, who do have promise and have aspirations, choose to become suicide bombers because “you’re not living and you’re not dead”. What does this mean about the “special relationship” with the zionist state, who 24/7 makes life unbearable for millions of Palestinians, just on GP, then have the nerve to piss and moan about “terror attacks”? The US has the same lack of imagination – there weren’t suicide bombers in Iraq until the Americans delivered them from Saddam Hussein.

    The piece about Mr. Zaiden’s imprisonment should make headlines in the US – prisoners fighting with rats for their food. The next Birthright trip should be one month in administrative detention – like a fat camp for the extra-large zionists.

    I pray for Mr. Zaiden, his wife and his children a better future.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 26, 2015, 4:23 am

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kamikaze

      Kamikaze aircraft were essentially pilot-guided explosive missiles, purpose-built or converted from conventional aircraft. Pilots would attempt to crash their aircraft into enemy ships in what was called a “body attack” (体当たり; 体当り, taiatari) in planes laden with some combination of explosives, bombs, torpedoes and full fuel tanks; accuracy was much better than a conventional attack, the payload and explosion larger. A kamikaze could sustain damage which would disable a conventional attacker and still achieve its objective. The goal of crippling or destroying large numbers of Allied ships, particularly aircraft carriers, was considered to be a just reason for sacrificing pilots and aircraft.
      These attacks, which began in October 1944, followed several critical military defeats for the Japanese. They had long since lost aerial dominance due to outdated aircraft and the loss of experienced pilots. On a macroeconomic scale, Japan suffered from a diminishing capacity for war, and a rapidly declining industrial capacity relative to the United States. Despite these problems, the Japanese government expressed its reluctance to surrender. In combination, these factors led to the use of kamikaze tactics as Allied forces advanced towards the Japanese home islands.

      The tradition of death instead of defeat, capture, and perceived shame was deeply entrenched in Japanese military culture. It was one of the primary traditions in the samurai life and the Bushido code: loyalty and honour until death.

      ….

      The Japanese word kamikaze is usually translated as “divine wind” (kami is the word for “god”, “spirit”, or “divinity”, and kaze for “wind”). The word originated as the name of major typhoons in 1274 and 1281, which dispersed Mongolian invasion fleets under Kublai Khan.
      In Japanese, the formal term used for units carrying out suicide attacks during 1944–1945 is tokubetsu kōgeki tai (特別攻撃隊), which literally means “special attack unit”. This is usually abbreviated to tokkōtai (特攻隊). More specifically, air suicide attack units from the Imperial Japanese Navy were officially called shinpū tokubetsu kōgeki tai (神風特別攻撃隊, “divine wind special attack units”). Shinpū is the on-reading (on’yomi or Chinese-derived pronunciation) of the same characters that form the word kamikaze in Japanese. During World War II, the pronunciation kamikaze was used in Japan only informally in relation to suicide attacks, but after the war this usage gained acceptance worldwide and was re-imported into Japan. As a result, the special attack units are sometimes known in Japan as kamikaze tokubetsu kōgeki tai.

      • Citizen
        June 26, 2015, 7:55 am

        The Germans developed similar special air attack units after the war was essentially already lost.

    • DaBakr
      June 26, 2015, 9:27 am

      @an

      woah! where di that come from? a nice mini-Kamikaze tutorial. are you suggesting that Palestinians have adopted the sacred ritual of the Japanese pilots to sacrifice their lives for an Emperor/God? Its hard to see the Palestinian suicide missions in that light. The Kamikaze were not ‘desperate’ or feeling like their lives didn’t matter. But-I suppose its not too hard to understand the point your making. They were both dedicated to a cause.

      However-I feel like in terms of history-the Palestinians will get their own footnote in reference to the types of ‘suicide’ attacks that have now been copied and used regularly by Islamic fanatics as a tactical strategy to win at battle. Not saying they invented terror or suicide missions but they pioneered a certain style of singular remote/self detonated devices that has been adopted by many other fanatical groups.

      Unfortunately-marnie above is conflating the rash of suicide attacks committed in the name religious fanaticism -something the Palestinian suicide bombers did not promote until Hamas came round- with the I/P conflict. Is it “brainwashed” that so many in the west do not-in general-distinguish from an ISIL suicide bomber and a Palestinian? (and honestly- there has;t been a (sucessful-or otherwise)Palestinian tactical suicide bomber in a while). I wouldn’t say it brainwashing as much as the general condition of the western masses intellect. One suicide bombing is all the same as the others. It is more likely that most westerners are not that interested in the subject of the ME at all let alone parsing the difference between political and religious fanaticism

      • talknic
        June 27, 2015, 10:16 am

        @ DaBakr “I feel like in terms of history-the Palestinians will get their own footnote in reference to the types of ‘suicide’ attacks that have now been copied …. Not saying they invented terror or suicide missions but they pioneered a certain style of singular remote/self detonated devices that has been adopted by many other fanatical groups.”

        Bullshit. The Tamil Tigers used suicide bombing before the Palestinians and singular remote/self detonated devices have been employed by militaries long before the Palestinians fell into the despair brought about by lifetimes under brutal Israel occupation.

        “Unfortunately-marnie above is conflating the rash of suicide attacks committed in the name religious fanaticism -something the Palestinian suicide bombers did not promote until Hamas came round- with the I/P conflict”

        Keep repeating your drivel. Hamas, established in 1987, are a response to 90 years of Zionist colonization started in 1897 and 39 years of Israeli occupation beginning in 1948, the illegal acquisition by war by Israel of non-Israeli territory

        “Is it “brainwashed” that so many in the west do not-in general-distinguish from an ISIL suicide bomber and a Palestinian?”

        By the media and Israeli propaganda, yes.

        ” (and honestly- there has;t been a (sucessful-or otherwise)Palestinian tactical suicide bomber in a while)

        Despite thousands of Palestinians being able to illegally get into Israel weekly even with the separation wall built in non-Israeli territory

      • bryan
        June 27, 2015, 11:11 am

        DaBakr – “However-I feel like in terms of history – the Palestinians will get their own footnote in reference to the types of ‘suicide’ attacks that have now been copied and used regularly by Islamic fanatics as a tactical strategy to win at battle.”

        The Palestinians (Phillistines) surely already have the first foot-note in the history of suicide bombing as the victims of “suicide bombing” long before the invention of explosives. Did the mighty Samson not allegedly pray to his God to give him the strength to pull down the pillars of the temple: “Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.”

        Of course this may be as nonsensical as any other bible story (e.g. the notion that a man who has seven braids of hair cut off whilst he sleeps instantly becomes a weakling) but it seems the bible is far more than simply a manual on (and justification for) dispossession and ethnic cleansing – it is the original textbook in “religious fanaticism”, which was developed long before Hamas came along.

      • Mayhem
        June 29, 2015, 9:39 am

        So bryan reckons the Palestinians = Philistines. I might agree that the Palestinians are philistines but would strongly suggest that they bear no proven historical connection whatsoever to the Philistines of the biblical genus.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 29, 2015, 9:56 am

        would strongly suggest that they bear no proven historical connection whatsoever to the Philistines of the biblical genus.

        why not just strongly suggest that they bear no historical connection whatsoever to the Philistines of the biblical genus? because if were discussing “proven” i heard there’s no proof of david either, or jesus for that matter.

      • bryan
        June 29, 2015, 11:42 am

        I was not suggesting there was necessarily any lineal descendance from the Philistines to the Palestinians, but the later term derives from the former: if we go to an impeccable oracle (Jewish Virtual Library) we find the claim that “Though the definite origins of the word “Palestine” have been debated for years and are still not known for sure, the name is believed to be derived from the Egyptian and Hebrew word peleshet. Roughly translated to mean “rolling” or “migratory,” the term was used to describe the inhabitants of the land to the northeast of Egypt – the Philistines.” That was all I was alluding to. Less scrupulous sources will equate the Palestinians to the Amelekites, and similarly being worthy of slaughter, and “The term peleshet appears in the Jewish Tanakh no fewer than 250 times.” Or do you disagree?

      • Mooser
        June 29, 2015, 3:09 pm

        “the notion that a man who has seven braids of hair cut off whilst he sleeps instantly becomes a weakling)”

        At one time, that idea was very prominent Gotta let that freak flag fly!

      • Mayhem
        June 30, 2015, 9:39 am

        First of all Robert Pape’s pronouncements are nearly 10 years old. Referring to the Islamic juridpudential ruling from the Maliki School of Islamic Jurispudence:
        As for the means of attack, there are five basic possibilities, one of which is to ‘attack the enemy using oneself as an “intelligent” bomb’.
        The Tamil Tigers may have invented suicide bombings whilst fighting a secular nationalist cause. Since then it has been introduced among the Muslims through Hezbollah from where it spread to the Palestinians and then to Al-Qaeda.
        Who is to say that Zaidan does not subscribe to the 72 virgins hadith?

      • CigarGod
        June 30, 2015, 10:20 am

        In a rational mind, fear based Whatifery and Whataboutery, gives no value either way.

      • just
        June 30, 2015, 10:43 am

        @ Mayhem’s

        “Who is to say that Zaidan does not subscribe to the 72 virgins hadith?”

        Zaidan does:

        “[The motivation] wasn’t religious. I just didn’t feel alright with the life I was living and I needed to do something about it.”

    • RockyMissouri
      June 26, 2015, 6:22 pm

      Truth!!

  7. diasp0ra
    June 26, 2015, 3:09 am

    Actually contrary to popular opinion, suicide bombing campaigns (at least since the 80s) have had clear secular and political objectives, not religious ones: to compel a country to withdraw forces from a territory that a faction viewed as their homeland. People usually conflate political movements with some religious elements with religious movements with some political elements.

    If you’re interested to read more about the history of suicide bombings, there is a book by Robert Pape called “Dying to win” in which he analyzes 460 cases of suicide bombing since the 1980s and comes to these conclusions.

    • DaBakr
      June 26, 2015, 9:35 am

      @ds

      i would agree that most Palestinian suicide bombers were motivated by national aspirations and not religious. That they would call out to g-d was no more then an affirmation of their faith before death. But now-the world is more familiar with Islamic extremists using suicide attacks as a way to promote their extreme form of religion. It has little to do with the Palestinian cause but there are Palestinian groups that are religious extremists and help to conflate the two types of suicide attacks -religious and political.

      • Mooser
        June 26, 2015, 2:53 pm

        “i would agree that most Palestinian suicide bombers were motivated by….”

        I’ve got it! “Dabakr” is really Robert Pape!

  8. catalan
    June 26, 2015, 9:09 am

    The Palestinians must be unaware that the ICC and BDS are about to give them freedom and prosperity. How tragic that they contemplate suicide when they should be celebrating, at least according to the predominant view here. Why all the doom and gloom when foreign direct investment in Israel is falling?

    • just
      June 26, 2015, 9:35 am

      This happened to Zaidan 15 (fifteen) years ago~ he was 17. He’s telling his story now. He’s 32.

      Reading comprehension is apparently not your strong suit, catalan.

      “The Palestinians must be unaware that the ICC and BDS are about to give them freedom and prosperity. How tragic that they contemplate suicide when they should be celebrating, at least according to the predominant view here. ”

      You’re more than unkind and duplicitous. There’s real agony among Palestinians, but you ignore that. :

      “One story behind the suicides taking place in Gaza

      The Palestine News Network announced this week that the suicide rate in the Occupied Territories jumped 68.4 percent last year. In Gaza, Al-Shifa Hospital, which was destroyed during last summer’s assault by Israel, said that at least one person attempted suicide every day—in a culture where taking one’s own life carries a heavy moral penalty. …” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/behind-suicides-taking#sthash.dHlO7piR.dpuf

      I notice that you did not deign to comment on that article. You probably just gave it a shrug and a pass. ugh.

    • catalan
      June 26, 2015, 9:45 am

      Just,
      I understand that this was 15 years ago. Yet you provide information that the suicide rate is still very high. Is it your suggestion that things with BDS and the ICC are not on track? After all, happy and hopeful people do not commit suicide. Or, as I asked earlier, is it that Palestinians are not aware of how things are about to change due to outside pressure?

      • just
        June 26, 2015, 12:40 pm

        You refuse to ‘get it’, catalan.

        Being deliberately obtuse is your s.o.p. when you’re not trying to blind us with your C.V.

      • CigarGod
        June 26, 2015, 2:56 pm

        Just wait.
        He’ll soon be telling us how prosperous he is…due to the superiority of his zionist God.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 26, 2015, 2:00 pm

        she gets it just. she’s just playing a word game — it’s all she’s got.

      • just
        June 26, 2015, 2:24 pm

        @ catalan’s “After all, happy and hopeful people do not commit suicide.”

        “Families in Khuza’a forced to live in shipping containers as politics prevent Gaza reconstruction” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/05/containers-politics-reconstruction#sthash.9wm6hsMj.dpuf

        “The living martyr, a visit to the Bakr family in Gaza” – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/living-martyr-family#sthash.Bi5pzSNi.dpuf

        It’s amazing that Palestinians can withstand the brand of inhumanity and lack of any empathy and honesty that you embody. It’s amazing that I’ve tolerated it so far.

        Yet you come here moaning and groaning about how difficult your life has been, and how much you have had to overcome. Pathetic.

      • catalan
        June 26, 2015, 9:51 pm

        “just, catalan is not interested in compromise.”
        The question on what compromises are necessary and/or possible should be addressed to the Israelis and Palestinians on this forum. I know that talking is better than not talking though. We have to learn how to be friends, Jews and Arabs. Forget the past.

      • Kris
        June 26, 2015, 10:53 pm

        @catalan: “We have to learn how to be friends, Jews and Arabs. Forget the past.”

        Uh, huh. Did you mean “Jews and Palestinians”?

        I’m guessing that Jews and Palestinians will learn to be friends when the Jews acknowledge and apologize for all the suffering they have caused, return what they have stolen, and sincerely try to make amends to the Palestinians.

        This could happen right now, except that Israel wants to keep all the land and resources they have stolen from the Palestinians, and to continue to steal what’s left.

        “Forget the past!” Maybe not. Men in their 90’s are still being arrested and charged for their crimes during the Holocaust (1933-1945) against the Jews. It seems premature to “forget the past” before we arrest and try the Israelis who have been carrying out the more recent slow-motion holocaust against the Palestinians.

    • Kris
      June 26, 2015, 11:17 am
    • Kris
      June 26, 2015, 11:20 am

      There is such a nasty snarkiness to your comments, catalan. Not funny or amusing, just mean-spirited.

      Your comment reminds me of a scene in Disney’s “Snow White.” The wicked queen, in her crone guise, is in the underground cavern, on her way to poison Snow White. She sees a skeleton, chained just out of reach of a bottle of water. The skeleton is the remains of a prisoner who appears to have died reaching desperately for the water. The crone chuckles, kicks the bottle toward the skeleton, and says “Have a drink!”

      • Kris
        June 26, 2015, 11:37 am

        “Thirsty? Have a drink!”

      • just
        June 26, 2015, 12:36 pm

        Very apt, Kris.

        Reminds me of this:

        …” In Khuza’a the report investigated the case of Ghalia Abu Reda, a 70-year old Palestinian woman who was shot in the head. Before her killing, Israeli forces photographed the elderly Palestinian as a soldier gave her water. The image was then circulated on social media last January.

        The United Nations interviewed one of Abu Reda’s relatives and found:

        “When the witness returned to the family home a few days later, he found Ghalia Abu Reda’s dead body. She had a bullet mark in her head and blood on her face. The doctor who later examined the body told the witness that she had been shot from close range, from a distance of about two metres. Another member of the Abu Reda family confirmed the above allegations to the commission. That witness stated that the house was very close to the Green Line and that, some days or weeks later, an Israeli soldier posted on twitter a picture of another IDF soldier offering water to Ghalia Abu Reda:

        The soldiers did this to pretend that they were human. They did not know that Gaza is small, and that the picture would be recognized by the family. When the family returned to Khuza’a they found Ghalia dead!’”

        – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2015/06/executions-humanitarian-facilities#sthash.XhVPBpSp.dpuf

      • catalan
        June 26, 2015, 1:04 pm

        “There is such a nasty snarkiness to your comments, catalan. Not funny or amusing, just mean spirited” kris
        So you admit that BDS and ICC is not a cause of hope despite the volumes written here about this strategy. Personally, I think the only road to peace is compromise. With a few exceptions (France, Sweden) all European countries lost most of their historic territories. Hungary is a quarter of its size at one point. Albania in 1912 got less than half of Albanian territories. Serbia lost Bosnia. Greece- the Ionian territories. Germany, Bulgaria, the list goes on. People get over it, and move on.
        The Palestinians can make certain compromises but I know they won’t. Just like Ukraine, they have chosen a losing battle. Ukraine can choose to let Crimea go and move on. Instead, they will spend the next 50 years drowning in their stupidity. The Palestinians have chosen the road of international pressure. You say every day here that this is super successful, yet the situation is hopeless. This is a completely illogical stance. You can’t be winning and losing at the same time.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 26, 2015, 2:09 pm

        they will spend the next 50 years drowning in their stupidity.

        so you admit you are nasty, snarky, not funny or amusing, mean spirited, and international pressure (BDS) is working.

        see how easy that was?

      • Mooser
        June 26, 2015, 2:40 pm

        “The Palestinians can make certain compromises but I know they won’t.”

        I see. “Catalan” why don’t you tell everyone what those “certain compromises” are? You know, the ones which would make everything all right for the Palestinians, or even somewhat better. What are those “certain compromises”?

      • eljay
        June 26, 2015, 5:05 pm

        || catalan: … The Palestinians can make certain compromises but I know they won’t. Just like Ukraine, they have chosen a losing battle. Ukraine can choose to let Crimea go and move on. Instead, they will spend the next 50 years drowning in their stupidity. ||

        The rapist won’t set his victim free and he won’t stop raping her, but he will lengthen her chains a bit, buy her a nice TV and maybe beat her less often. The victim can make “certain compromises” but, stupidly, she refuses to lie back and enjoy the ride.

        The victim wants and should be entitled to justice and accountability. The rapist much prefers “peace”.

      • catalan
        June 26, 2015, 6:53 pm

        “The victim wants and should be entitled to justice and accountability. The rapist much prefers “peace”. – ” eljay
        Countries are not people. Analogies like that are useless and only serve to inflame.
        It’s just that the world belongs to those who can let go and move on. Bulgaria, my country, lost about 30 percent of its male population, close to one million out of four million in the two Balkan wars and the First World War. All to get Macedonia, and it didn’t happen. It was the end of a dream and cost an unimaginable number of pointless deaths. But they chose to move on and it has been very helpful.
        It’s important to play a smart game. Maybe the Palestinians are playing a smart game, it is just not evident to me that they are. Who can tell the future? The responsibility of leaders is to bring about the best possible outcome, not to lose in the most dramatic fashion. Look at what Bar Kochba did to the Jews. How much wiser would it have been to cooperate with the Romans instead of fighting them?

      • just
        June 26, 2015, 8:16 pm

        Mooser @ 240 pm wrote:

        “I see. “Catalan” why don’t you tell everyone what those “certain compromises” are? You know, the ones which would make everything all right for the Palestinians, or even somewhat better. What are those “certain compromises”? ”

        Why don’t you answer Mooser’s question, catalan?

      • Annie Robbins
        June 26, 2015, 8:49 pm

        just, catalan is not interested in compromise. those are just soothing words. she’s moved on to ‘why not just give up and surrender, it will be easy’ ‘move on’ or ‘be wiser, play a smart game’ other such garbage.

        meanwhile. i was reading over at der spiegle and thought of catalan’s so called fantasy “compromise”:

        Tapping German Guilt http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/critics-want-to-see-berlin-get-tougher-on-israel-a-1031964.html

        If need be, Netanyahu reminds German politicians of the guilt that weighs upon their nation’s shoulders. When German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier broached the settlements issue during a visit to Israel in 2009, Netanyahu reportedly quipped that the West Bank “cannot be judenrein,” a Nazi term meaning “clean of Jews” and used to designate areas that had been “cleansed” of Jewish presence during the Holocaust.

        President Rivlin has long campaigned for an Israeli state that extends from the Mediterranean to the Jordan River. If Israel intends to remain a democracy, though, the Palestinians in the currently occupied areas will have to receive full civil rights. But, in a recent opinion poll, one-third of the respondents said that they even favored revoking voting rights for Arab-Israelis.

        Jerusalem appears to be doing its best to make life difficult for Palestinians in the West Bank so as many of them as possible will leave the country. German aid organizations have also felt the brunt of this policy.

        Riad Othman is standing on a hillside in the Hebron Hills in the West Bank. A wind generator is turning nearby and a number of solar panels are reflecting sunlight in the distance. “It’s German technology,” says the development worker. The wind buffets the plastic tarps of the tents in which Palestinian families live. They have no access to the power grid, which supplies an Israeli settlement just a few hundred meters away.

        Othman, who heads the office of the Medico International aid organization, has been fighting for a permit for 20 energy plants — primarily funded with German taxpayer money — to supply some 180 Palestinian families with electricity. But the Israeli administrative agency for the occupied territories has been blocking his efforts. “In three years, we haven’t received a single permit,” says Othman.

        there is no compromise. the only compromise israel is interested in is palestinian surrender. won’t happen — ever. they will have to engage in a massive ethnic cleansing to get rid of all the palestinians. and still bds won’t stop. it will get worse. israel is in a catch 22 because israel won’t compromise, won’t end the occupation. they wouldn’t be able to survive without free land and resources from palestine. and the captive market with all that international aid for palestine flowing in. and the taxes collected. in so many ways israel needs to grow up and start paying their own way.

      • just
        June 26, 2015, 9:11 pm

        You’re correct, Annie. catalan dumps words, and never concrete ideas associated with those words.

        “there is no compromise. the only compromise israel is interested in is palestinian surrender. won’t happen — ever.”

        Also true. I was reading this Goldberg interview a few minutes ago:

        “‘Israel Cannot Absorb 3.5 Million Palestinians and Remain a Jewish and Democratic State’

        Israeli opposition leader Yair Lapid on a pro-Israel Obama and a recalcitrant Netanyahu

        … Lapid: Israel cannot try to absorb 3.5 million Palestinians and remain a Jewish and democratic state. What we need to do is separate from the Palestinians. There is a reason I’m not using the word peace. The majority of Israel says, “You know what? If it’s about peace, we don’t want what [former Israeli President] Shimon Peres used to call the ‘new Middle East.’” And you look at the new Middle East, the one we have, and I’m not very enthusiastic about it. But on the other hand, there are a lot of possibilities that weren’t there before. I’m advocating, among other things, a regional summit, and the fact that the Middle East has changed has also opened up some opportunities.

        We have to do something, because time is not on our side. We can’t absorb 3.5 million Palestinians. If we won’t do anything in the next two years or three years, they will come to us and say, “OK, we realize there’s not going to be a Palestinian state. Let’s vote!” If we say no, we’re not a democracy. If we say yes, we’re not a Jewish state. I want to live in a Jewish state. …

        Goldberg: How would you feel if you were the prime minister who had to evacuate Jews from [the West Bank city of] Hebron?

        Lapid: Horrible. Horrible. This is biblical. Abraham’s Hebron. But I also look at Hebron with 800 or 750 Israelis and 180,000 Palestinians, and I understand the difficulty. …

        Lapid: Here’s the simple version. BDS has three circles to it. The inner circle: Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Qatari money, horrible ideas by horrible people, anti-Semites who hate Jews, people who don’t want a Palestinian state alongside Israel, who want a Palestinian state instead of Israel. The second ring: 171 NGOs, mostly from Europe. They came out of the Durban conference in 2001. They’re, at the core, anti-Israel, but more careful in what they say. Surrounding them is a third circle, which is just some heart-bleeding intellectuals, some well-intended progressive people, some people who sign up for this because it, you know, as it always is with political activists, it tells them something nice about themselves … people who do not know that they are actually being the puppets in somebody’s theater. So when I talk about being more aggressive fighting BDS, it’s first and foremost making sure people understand that they’re being manipulated by forces. I mean, here in the States I’ve been telling people, “Do you understand that this is actually working in the service of the same people and ideas that brought this country 9/11?” This is the most horrible people on Earth. These are the gay-killers, women-bashers, Jew-haters. …”

        http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2015/06/Israel-Yair-Lapid-Palestinians-Iran/396803/

        And he’s supposed to be ‘centrist’!!!

        (I’m thinking that your reading of Der Spiegel and “Tapping German Guilt” isn’t only a coincidence ;)

      • Annie Robbins
        June 26, 2015, 9:22 pm

        no, not a coincidence. i was curious to read how it was covered in germany – the recent incident – and ran into that story.

        lapid is a hasbrat w/his “inner circle”. islamic jihad and qatar my arse! as if they’re the main movers and omar barghouti is just the talking head. oh please.

        gotta go — running late

      • just
        June 26, 2015, 9:28 pm

        “i was curious to read how it was covered in germany – the recent incident – and ran into that story.”

        That’s what I meant. I guess I was clumsy with it. Have fun!

      • Annie Robbins
        June 26, 2015, 9:37 pm

        my nephew is performing – ballet – in berkeley. so it’s exciting!

      • just
        June 26, 2015, 10:49 pm

        Very cool!

        (ballet and Berkeley~ lucky you!)

      • eljay
        June 26, 2015, 11:01 pm

        || catalan: Countries are not people. Analogies like that are useless and only serve to inflame. ||

        Laws exist for both countries and people to respect. The analogy of brutalizer and brutalized is relevant. What’s inflammatory is the (Zio-)supremacist notion that the brutalized should accommodate the brutalizer.

      • RoHa
        June 27, 2015, 12:33 am

        The Palestinians have tried compromise. Before Israel was established they offered a perfectly reasonable compromise. To wit: a single democratic state in Palestine, in which the invaders would be full, equal citizens with the natives, and in which Arabic and Hebrew would be the official languages. The main condition they set was an end to Jewish immigration.

        The Zionists rejected that.

        Since then Palestinians have bent over backwards in an attempt to compromise. They offer: Israel keeps 78% of the country, with full recognition and relations with all its neighbours, in return for (a) a fully sovereign and independent state in the remaining 22% (West Bank and Gaza) and (b) some sort of fudge so that they can pretend the Right of Return has been acknowledged.

        The Zionists ignore that one.

        So, while Israel keeps trying to drive them out of Palestine, what compromise should they make now?

      • RoHa
        June 27, 2015, 12:47 am

        Your analogies with European countries losing territory are not all that good, either.

        The Israeli invaders did not just lay down a temporary border and change the street names. They drove out three quarters of the native population and put the rest under martial law. They made it clear that they intended to take over the rest of Palestine, and carried out attacks against the neighbouring countries. Once they had got hold of the rest of Palestine, they put the Palestinians in those parts under occupation rule, and started stealing their land while trying to drive tham away as well.

        So it made no difference whether Palestinians were prepared to let it go, to forget the past, to move on. Israel would still come after them, and try to drive them out. The Nakba has not ended.

      • yonah fredman
        June 27, 2015, 5:22 am

        Roha- Please link to the Palestinian offer that you cite (previous to Israel’s establishment.)

      • bryan
        June 27, 2015, 7:32 am

        Catalan – “It’s important to play a smart game. Maybe the [Israelis] are playing a smart game, it is just not evident to me that they are. Who can tell the future? The responsibility of leaders is to bring about the best possible outcome, not to lose in the most dramatic fashion. Look at what [Netanyahu] [is doing] to the Jews. How much wiser would it have been to cooperate with the [world, the UN, President Obama, the Arab League, Iran, the PA, the various human rights organizations, the Jewish diaspora, and progressive Israeli academia] instead of fighting them?

      • just
        June 27, 2015, 8:21 am

        RoHa~ sincere thanks for both of your entirely accurate comments. They are very powerfully expressed.

        ;-(

      • bryan
        June 27, 2015, 10:07 am

        Catalan “With a few exceptions (France, Sweden) all European countries lost most of their historic territories”.

        Are you really as ignorant of European history as you appear to be? France and Sweden are two excellent examples of imperial powers which had enormous territories wrested away from them. In the seventeenth century Sweden dominated the Baltic region and north-east Europe. In the early nineteenth century France controlled huge swathes of Western Europe, and then built a second Empire in Africa, south-east Asia and elsewhere.

      • talknic
        June 27, 2015, 10:35 am

        @ catalan “So you admit that BDS and ICC is not a cause of hope despite the volumes written here about this strategy. Personally, I think the only road to peace is compromise. “

        How much more should the Palestinians compromise. already willing to cede to Israel some 78% of their rightful territories for peace, and when will Israel make a single compromise?

        Thus far Israel has only offered to swap non-Israeli territories it occupied for non-Israeli territories so Israel can keep non-Israeli territories. http://wp.me/pDB7k-Xk#googlemap

        “With a few exceptions (France, Sweden) all European countries lost most of their historic territories. Hungary is a quarter of its size at one point. Albania in 1912 got less than half of Albanian territories. Serbia lost Bosnia. Greece- the Ionian territories. Germany, Bulgaria, the list goes on.”

        Many since 1933 or 1945?

        “People get over it, and move on”

        Zionist colonizers haven’t. The Romans no longer exist, the Holocaust was over decades ago, a Jewish state exists. The Nakba however, continues

        “The Palestinians can make certain compromises but I know they won’t”

        They’re under no legal obligation to forgo any of their legal rights in any compromise so Israel can have what it has absolutely no legal claim

        BTW If BDS wasn’t starting to hurt and the ICC aren’t a problem why is Israel so outraged and taking desperate measures?

      • tree
        June 27, 2015, 11:11 am

        Roha- Please link to the Palestinian offer that you cite (previous to Israel’s establishment.)

        Ah yonah, such a short memory…. From Hostage’s reply to giladg from March 27, 2014:

        Roha, please give references where Palestinians displayed a serious and community willingness to share prior to 1948.

        On September 29, 1947, the representative of the Arab Higher Committee, Jamal Husseini, appeared before the General Assembly Ad Hoc Committee hearing on Palestine. He said:

        “The future constitutional organization of Palestine should be based on the following principles: first, establishment on democratic lines of an Arab State comprising all Palestine; secondly, observance by the said Arab State of Palestine of human rights, fundamental freedoms and equality of all persons before the law; thirdly, protection by the Arab State of the legitimate rights and interests of all minorities; fourthly, guarantee to all of freedom of worship and access to the Holy Places.”

        That proposal was rejected by the representatives of the Jewish people. link to digicoll.library.wisc.edu

        During the 2nd Special Session of the General Assembly on the Question of Palestine, Mr. Malik (Lebanon) introduced a proposal that the form of government in Palestine be based upon the model of the US Constitution:

        “Principle number five: The Constituent Assembly, in defining the powers of the federal state of Palestine, as well as the powers of the judicial and legislative organs, in defining the functions of the cantonal governments, and in defining the relationships between the cantonal governments and the federal state, will be guided by the provisions of the Constitution of the United States of America, as well as the constitutions of the individual states of the United States of America. — Yearbook of the United Nations for 1947-48

        The US representative confirmed the fact that similar proposals had previously been made in both the UNSCOP and Ad Hoc Committees and that they had not been deemed acceptable by the representatives of the Jewish Agency.

        – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/03/zionists-promoting-netanyahus#comment-652729

        Hostage’s links, if you don’t wish to go to his comment linked above, were these:

        http://digicoll.library.wisc.edu/cgi-bin/FRUS/FRUS-idx?type=goto&id=FRUS.FRUS1947v05&isize=M&submit=Go+to+page&page=1165

        http://unispal.un.org/UNISPAL.NSF/0/5CE900D2DE34AADF852562BD007002D2

  9. Kris
    June 26, 2015, 11:22 am

    This is a fascinating interview, Dan Cohen. Many thanks for your outstanding reporting; much appreciated!

    • jon s
      June 27, 2015, 4:52 pm

      Roha wrote:

      “The Palestinians have tried compromise. Before Israel was established they offered a perfectly reasonable compromise. To wit: a single democratic state in Palestine, in which the invaders would be full, equal citizens with the natives, and in which Arabic and Hebrew would be the official languages. The main condition they set was an end to Jewish immigration. ”
      Aside from the reference to the Jews as “invaders”, this looks like the bi-national state concept, with the addition of ending Jewish immigration.

      Tree, in support brings this quote from Jamal Husseini:

      “The future constitutional organization of Palestine should be based on the following principles: first, establishment on democratic lines of an Arab State comprising all Palestine; secondly, observance by the said Arab State of Palestine of human rights, fundamental freedoms and equality of all persons before the law; thirdly, protection by the Arab State of the legitimate rights and interests of all minorities; fourthly, guarantee to all of freedom of worship and access to the Holy Places.”
      There’s no mention of Hebrew and Arabic being official languages, because Jamal Husseini was not talking about a bi-national state. He says clearly : an Arab state.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 27, 2015, 6:43 pm

        Jamal Husseini was not talking about a bi-national state. He says clearly : an Arab state. –

        hmm, and you skipped tree (and hostage’s) references to the proposal that the form of government in Palestine be based upon the model of the US Constitution at 2nd Special Session of the General Assembly on the Question of Palestine, why?

        powers of the federal state of Palestine, as well as the powers of the judicial and legislative organs, in defining the functions of the cantonal governments, and in defining the relationships between the cantonal governments and the federal state, will be guided by the provisions of the Constitution of the United States of America, as well as the constitutions of the individual states of the United States of America. — Yearbook of the United Nations for 1947-48

        The US representative confirmed the fact that similar proposals had previously been made in both the UNSCOP and Ad Hoc Committees and that they had not been deemed acceptable by the representatives of the Jewish Agency.

        doesn’t that indicate an effort to rectify the issue? and it still had “not been deemed acceptable by the representatives of the Jewish Agency”?

      • yonah fredman
        June 27, 2015, 10:10 pm

        Let’s be clear: As of 1942 the Biltmore Program of Zionism was one whose explicit goal was statehood. This was new as of that conference and one can mark Hannah Arendt’s exception to Zionism with the statement of that goal. But the idea of unlimited Jewish immigration to the land was something that did not involve any novelty, that was the essence of Zionism moreso even (on a gut level and on a here-are-some-photographs level) than statehood. Any proposal that stopped immigration was a nonstarter. The goals of the Palestinians and the goals of the Zionists were at loggerheads. (By Zionists I mean the leadership in particular: Ben Gurion in particular. But I also mean the Zionist spirit of the times: as in unlimited immigration. That was a mainstream sentimental essential demand.)

      • yonah fredman
        June 27, 2015, 10:43 pm

        Also one should note that this proposal was publicized only after the release of the UNSCOP report, a report that was compiled without the collaboration of the Arab Higher Committee. The boycott of the committee by the AHC gives some context to the general atmosphere of noncooperation and to omit the fact of that boycott is to report what occurred incompletely.

      • RoHa
        June 28, 2015, 1:21 am

        “He says clearly : an Arab state.”

        And you automatically assume that meant an ethnic supremacy in which non-Arabs were, at best, second class citizens, in the manner of a certain Jewish state?

        Palestine was an Arab state under the Mandate. The majority of the population (including some of the Jews) were Arabs. Husseini was hardly saying anything new in referring to Palestine as an Arab state. And when all resident non-Arab Jews have full equal rights with Arabs, what does it matter whether or not he calls it an “Arab state”?

        “Jamal Husseini was not talking about a bi-national state”

        I don’t know what “bi-national state” is supposed to mean, so I don’t know why it matters. Jews in Australia have full, equal, rights with all other Australians. I’ve never heard anyone call Australia a “bi-national state”, and nor have I heard anyone complain that it isn’t one. But Hebrew isn’t an official language in Australia.

        “There’s no mention of Hebrew and Arabic being official languages,”

        I admit that I do not have a primary source for this. I get it from Edward Atiyah’s book The Arabs (Penguin Books, 1958). I will quote the relevant passage.

        “…the Arab states accepted an invitation from the British Government to send delegations for yet one more conference in London in the winter of 1946-7. But no result was achieved. The Arab delegates reiterated the now unshakable demand for an independent, democratic state in Palestine, offering equal rights to all citizens, freedom of education to the Jews, and the use of Hebrew as an official language. But they insisted on the immediate stoppage of all immigration and the enforcement of existing regulations against the sale of land to the Jews in certain parts of Palestine.” (Pp. 176-177.)

        Now I agree that the last item sounds like a restriction on rights of Jews. I am not sure whether that restriction was intended to hold until the end of the Mandate, or to continue afterwards. Perhaps one of our more erudite posters can help.

        (Yonah will note that the London conference preceded the UNSCOP report.)

        I note that you seem to take exception to me referring to the Zionists as “invaders”.

        The Zionist immigrants were not born in Palestine, and did not, before their migration, have Palestian citizenship. That makes them (in any normal use of the word) foreigners.

        They intended to take over the country from the native inhabitants.

        When a bunch of foreigners pour into a country with the intent of taking it over, “invaders” seems to be the right word to use.

  10. mariapalestina
    June 26, 2015, 1:19 pm

    It has always seemed strange to me that Palestinian suicide bombers, who were responsible for the deaths of a few hundred Israelis over several years, are so reviled, while Israeli homicide bombers have killed thousands of Palestinians during the same period.

    • jon s
      June 28, 2015, 1:48 am

      Annie, it certainly wasn’t acceptable by anyone on the Jewish side. The Arab side rejected partition, rejected the bi-national model, and demanded an end to futher Jewish immigration. At best the Jews could expect to be a persecuted minority , at the mercy of Palestinian leaders such as Jamal Husseini, a relative and associate of the Nazi-collaborator Mufti. I wouldn’t take the reference to the US constitution seriously.

      • Mooser
        June 28, 2015, 2:54 pm

        “I wouldn’t take the reference to the US constitution seriously.”

        As opposed to references to ancient myths and legends? That “hysterical heartburn” you’re always blathering about? We’re supposed to take that seriously?

      • Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 12:41 pm

        “Annie, it certainly wasn’t acceptable by anyone on the Jewish side.”

        The “jewish” side? Don’t you mean “the Zionist side”?
        don’t try to draft the rest of us for your sectarian power-play.

    • jon s
      June 29, 2015, 4:27 pm

      RoHa,
      The idea of a bi-national state was promoted at the time by people like Prof. Magnes, and groups like Brit Shalom and Hashomer Hatzair, who objected to partition for various reasons, and also didn’t want a state in which one nation dominated the other. The concept was that it wouldn’t be a Jewish State, and wouldn’t be an Arab State. It would be Jewish-Arab, Arab-Jewish. Think of Czechoslovakia.
      As to “invaders”: we all know the images that term brings to mind. But when I think of the Jewish immigrants, I think of the idealists of the Second and Third Aliyah, seeking to establish a socialist utopia, and the dazed survivors emerging from the Nazi camps, and the Jews from Yemen and from Ethiopia, crossing the desert on foot…Not the images of an invading horde.

      • RoHa
        June 30, 2015, 1:29 am

        So you mean a state inhabited by two nations (n-nations or c-nations).

        1. Citing Czechoslovakia as an example does not help a lot. That country was composed of a Czech area and a Slovak area. As I understand it, in Palestine, before the ethnic cleansing, even the areas with the most Jews had a preponderance of Arabs, although there were areas with very few Jews.

        2. So what would be the difference between a “bi-national” state in which there are no distinct national areas and a state in which all citizens have equal rights, etc.?

        “But when I think of the Jewish immigrants,…Not the images of an invading horde.”

        Not the usual image, but, as soon as they signed up to Zionism, they were invaders nonetheless

  11. a blah chick
    June 26, 2015, 1:36 pm

    Just, that story about Ghalia Abu Reda is horrible. I learned while following the story last year that she was born blind and was from the Jaffa area, and had been expelled along with her family in ’48. I saw the picture of her that the IDF put up and it sickened me. You might have thought they were giving water to an animal. And the thought that they killed her afterwards is awful. The IDF should find out what happened but they won’t.

  12. catalan
    June 26, 2015, 2:16 pm

    so you admit you’re nasty snarky, not funny or amusing, mean spirited, and international pressure is working. – Annie
    I will let others judge about snarky. As to whether international pressure is working, I have no idea. But many articles here emphasize how hopeless the Palestinians feel. So, why are they so hopeless, if the outcome of BDS is so inevitable. I think the Palestinians are very intelligent and informed people. So if they don’t see any cause for hope, I trust them. This is a case of some type of dissonance.

    • Mooser
      June 26, 2015, 2:46 pm

      So if they don’t see any cause for hope, I trust them.”

      Any coopers in the house today? We are going to need some new barrel-bottoms.

  13. CigarGod
    June 26, 2015, 5:38 pm

    You think all their eggs can fit into one basket?

  14. MHughes976
    June 26, 2015, 5:47 pm

    We’ve just had some more terrorist attacks with Euro (including British) victims in Tunisia and France. The accounts of both are so far worse than garbled. In the French incident the possibly suicidal bombing had limited effect. But the bomber, a delivery man, had killed his employer and cut his head off IS-style. I could be very wrong but I have an awful, awful feeling that the victim will turn out to be Jewish,

    • just
      June 27, 2015, 7:41 am

      MHughes976~ With all due respect to the victims and wrt the terrible crimes in Kuwait, France, and Tunisia, I think that if Jewish people had been targeted we would have known about it almost immediately. That’s just how it works.

      via Max Blumenthal, there was this:

      “Following alleged terror attack, Israel’s Minister of Immigrant Absorption calls on all French Jews to leave:”

      https://twitter.com/MaxBlumenthal/status/614387355785375744

      ~and~

      “Israel’s immigration minister urged French Jews to move to Israel Friday, hours after an Islamist attack on a gas factory near Lyon where the severed head of a local businessman was pinned to the gates.

      “I call on the Jews of France – come home! Anti-Semitism is rising, terror is increasing,” said Immigration and Absorption Minister Ze’ev Elkin, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party.

      “We are prepared to receive with open arms the Jews of France,” Elkin wrote in a post on Facebook.

      “This is a national mission of the highest priority,” he added.

      Netanyahu said the numerous terror attacks witnessed Friday in France and the Mideast demonstrated that the world was locked in a struggle against “dark forces.”…”

      http://www.timesofisrael.com/come-home-israeli-minister-urges-french-jews-amid-terror-wave/

      Never miss an opportunity, do they?

  15. jon s
    June 27, 2015, 5:17 pm

    Dan Cohen is once again portraying terrorists favourably. Even if we assume that Mohammad Zaidan is sincere in describing his qualms about blowing up innocent civilians, he certainly doesn’t represent all the suicide/homicide bombers who showed no such reluctance , blowing up civilian busses, restaurants, cafes and such, murdering men, women and children indiscriminately. In the hotel bombing in Natanya that he mentions the target was a Passover seder.
    Terrorists such as suicide/homicide bombers are not necessarily motivated by the occupation of their homeland: The 9/11 hijackers and the London Tube bombers were living relatively comfortable middle-class lives in the West, and were not from countries under occupation. The Jewish terrorist Baruch Goldstein , perpetrator of the Hebron massacre, wasn’t under occupation, he was part of the occupation.

    • CigarGod
      June 27, 2015, 6:33 pm

      Freedom Fighters, dude.
      The Terrorists are the ones who moved in and started shooting and bulldozing.

      • jon s
        June 28, 2015, 1:14 am

        CigarGod,
        People who blow up civilian busses, restaurants, pizzerias and a Passover seder, are not freedom fighters. If that’s not terrorism, what is?
        I suppose you regard the 9/11 hijackers, the Oklahoma City bomber, the London Tube bombers, the Boston Marathon bombers…as “freedom fighters”. Correct?

      • CigarGod
        June 28, 2015, 4:46 am

        I’ll let the worlds foremost experts speak to your racist, one-sided insistence:
        Only 33 of the worlds 196 countries designate the Hamas military wing as such. All these countries are white…and many have a long history of colonialism. Further, The UN specifically allows an occupied country to resist.
        It would certainly be more acurrate to label Israel a terrorist regime…The Terrorist State of Israel…as they are the occupier and the most vicious violator of law.

    • Kris
      June 27, 2015, 6:55 pm

      @jon s, who lives on stolen Palestinian land:

      “Even if we assume that Mohammad Zaidan is sincere in describing his qualms about blowing up innocent civilians, he certainly doesn’t represent all the suicide/homicide bombers who showed no such reluctance…”

      Even if we assume that jon s is sincere in describing his qualms about the many Palestinian victims of Israeli terrorism, he certainly doesn’t represent all the Zionist Jews who show no such–oh, wait, jon s is good with Israeli terrorism. Sorry.

      • jon s
        June 28, 2015, 1:20 am

        Kris,
        I don’t live on stolen Palestinian land, I’m at home in my homeland.
        You’re correct that I don’t represent all Zionist Jews, just myself.
        I never, ever , supported terrorism, from any side.

      • Mooser
        June 28, 2015, 3:02 pm

        “I never, ever , supported terrorism, from any side.”

        Didn’t you guys know “Jon s” is a famous Israeli IDF refusenik? Absolutely refused to serve! He’s not supporting no terrorism!

      • Kris
        June 28, 2015, 3:37 pm

        @jon s: I don’t live on stolen Palestinian land, I’m at home in my homeland.”

        Actually, you’re in someone else’s “homeland,” jon s. You have said that you live in Be’er Sheva. Since you’re a “history” teacher, I would have thought that you realized this:

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beersheba In 1947, the United Nations Special Committee on Palestine (UNSCOP) proposed that Beersheba be in the Jewish State in their partition plan for Palestine.[18] However, when the UN’s Ad Hoc Committee revised the plan, they moved Beersheva to the Arab State on account of it being primarily Arab.[18]

        During the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, when military intelligence intercepted a telegram from Egyptian officers about plans to redeploy along the Beersheba-Gaza line, Yigal Allon proposed the conquest of Beersheba,[19] which was approved by Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion.

        According to Israeli historian Benny Morris, he ordered the “conquest of Beersheba, occupation of outposts around it, [and] demolition of most of the town.”[20] The objective was to break the Egyptian blockade of Israeli convoys to the Negev.

        The Egyptian army did not expect an offensive and fled en masse.[19] On October 21 at 4:00 in the morning, the 8th Brigade’s 89th battalion and the Negev Brigade’s 7th and 9th battalions moved in, some troops advancing from Mishmar HaNegev junction, 20 kilometres (12 mi) north of Beersheba, others from the Turkish train station and Hatzerim.

        By 09:45, Beersheba was in Israeli hands. Around 120 Egyptian soldiers were taken prisoner. The remaining Arab civilians, 200 men and 150 women and children, were taken to the police fort.

        On October 25, the women, children, disabled and elderly were driven by truck to the Gaza border.

        The Egyptian soldiers were interned in POW camps. Some men lived in the local mosque and were put to work cleaning but when it was discovered that they were supplying information to the Egyptian army they were also deported.[20]

        Following Operation Yoav a 10-kilometer radius exclusion zone around Beersheba was enforced into which no Bedouin were allowed.[21] Beersheba was deemed strategically important due to its location with a reliable water supply and at a major crossroads, northwest to Hebron.

        Think about this part:

        “On October 25, the women, children, disabled and elderly were driven by truck to the Gaza border.”

        These Palestinians were ethnically cleansed from Be’er Sheva so that Jews like you could move in. Most of these families remain imprisoned in the Gaza Ghetto by Israel.

        jon s: “I never, ever , supported terrorism, from any side.”

        Uh, huh. That’s only because you define state-sponsored terrorism by Israel as legitimate “defense,” and all resistance by Palestinians as “terrorism.” Here’s one of your typical posts:

        The writer , Mr. Cohen, glorifies these terrorists by calling them the “resistance “. Actually they are cowardly terrorists, like Hamas, who hide behind their own civilians. We saw them last summer , employing a cynical strategy deliberately intended to increase civilian casualties among their own people – by using hospitals, mosques, schools and civilian residences as launching sites, arms depots and such. Now they’re rebuilding: rockets, tunnels, bunkers for themselves- not homes for their people. Hopefully, next time they hear a drone, it will be the last thing they hear. – See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/profile/jon-s#sthash.McRuSoXh.dpuf

      • just
        June 28, 2015, 3:47 pm

        Thanks, Kris.

        Well said and done. That was one of his most obnoxious and demonstrably false posts, too. Then to top it off, he called for the deaths of unknowns.

      • Kris
        June 28, 2015, 3:56 pm

        Thanks, just.

        I have a bad feeling about this, as I think about it some more:

        By 09:45, Beersheba was in Israeli hands. Around 120 Egyptian soldiers were taken prisoner. The remaining Arab civilians, 200 men and 150 women and children, were taken to the police fort.

        On October 25, the women, children, disabled and elderly were driven by truck to the Gaza border.

        The Egyptian soldiers were interned in POW camps. Some men lived in the local mosque and were put to work cleaning but when it was discovered that they were supplying information to the Egyptian army they were also deported.[20]

        The Israelis captured 200 civilian “Arab” (i.e. Palestinian) men, 150 women and children, and also 120 Egyptian soldiers. The Egyptian soldiers were in POW camps, the women and children were ethnically cleansed.

        What about the 200 male Palestinian civilians?

        They weren’t all “cleaning” and then “deported.” What happened to them? Another massacre of Palestinians by Israelis?

      • just
        June 28, 2015, 4:05 pm

        I can’t find anything definitive with a quick search, Kris.

        Probably yes, they were. Perhaps jon s can tell us what happened since he’s a history teacher…

      • Kris
        June 28, 2015, 4:23 pm

        jon s, as a history teacher, could you help us out here (please link to your sources, thanks)–

        What happened to the 200 civilian Palestinian men after Israel’s “conquest” of Be’er Shiva?

        Did the Israelis ethnically cleanse these men, maybe to Gaza, where the Israelis had dumped their families? Or did the Israelis just slaughter them?

      • Kris
        June 28, 2015, 8:02 pm

        jon s, I just can’t stop thinking about this:

        The remaining Arab civilians, 200 men and 150 women and children, were taken to the police fort.

        On October 25, the women, children, disabled and elderly were driven by truck to the Gaza border.

        Please, what happened to the 200 civilian men?

        I keep imagining how terrible it must have been for the women, children, disabled and elderly to be taken from their homes and dumped on the border of Gaza. No time to pack, and their sons/fathers/husbands/brothers…where?

        Imagine if they had been Jewish, and not Palestinian untermenschen, how they would have suffered! But it’s not the same at all, of course; the czar was merciful enough to let the families stay together and take what they could carry with them.

      • Mooser
        June 29, 2015, 3:24 pm

        “the czar was merciful enough to let the families stay together and take what they could carry with them.”

        Darn it, I knew I shouldn’t have clicked that video! Does anybody know how to get tears out of a keyboard?

    • eljay
      June 27, 2015, 8:24 pm

      || jon s: … Even if we assume that Mohammad Zaidan is sincere in describing his qualms about blowing up innocent civilians, he certainly doesn’t represent all the suicide/homicide bombers who showed no such reluctance , blowing up civilian busses, restaurants, cafes and such, murdering men, women and children indiscriminately. ||

      Correct. And even if we assume that “liberal Zionists” like R.W. are sincere when they say that ethnic cleansing is “currently not necessary”, he doesn’t represent all hateful and immoral Zio-supremacists who advocate, support, excuse and justify:
      – Jewish supremacism in/and a supremacist “Jewish State”; and
      – almost 70 years – and counting – of related (war) crimes, intransigence, colonialism and oppression.

      Zio-supremacists believe they are entitled to do unto others acts of injustice and immorality they would not have others do unto them. They have something in common with suicide/homicide bombers.

      • jon s
        June 28, 2015, 1:21 am

        Well, let’s allow R.W. to answer that…

      • eljay
        June 28, 2015, 8:45 am

        || jon s: Well, let’s allow R.W. to answer that… ||

        There’s no question there for him to have to answer.

      • Mooser
        June 29, 2015, 3:16 pm

        “Well, let’s allow R.W. to answer that…”

        Oh, isn’t this nice, the damned defer to the banned.

        AND HOW WOULD YOU ANSWER IT, “TEACH?”

      • jon s
        June 29, 2015, 4:00 pm

        Just, Kris,
        Let’s see: you have no facts, no evidence, no documents, no witnesses. Not even any allegations of a massacre from the Palestinian side. You’re just concocting an allegation, 67 years later, out of thin air.
        I’m not denying that horrible deeds were done in that war: massacres, executions of prisoners, expulsions and ethnic cleansing-on both sides. As a teacher, I try to have my students hear not only one side , not only one narrative, but the other side as well. As to those horrible deeds, I try to put them in the context of the time, without making excuses.
        To return to Beersheva, 1948: what was the Egyptian army doing here in the first place? They had invaded , to prevent the establishment and survival of Israel, and the IDF was there to repulse them.

      • just
        June 29, 2015, 4:16 pm

        “The Jewish Yishuv was already planning to capture Beersheba as part of Operation Barak in the final days of the 1947–48 Civil War in Mandatory Palestine, but was forced to abandon the plan due to battles in the Jerusalem corridor and Kfar Darom.[3] This only became plausible again in Operation Yoav, when large Israeli forces mounted a major offensive on Egyptian positions in several locations, including Beit Hanoun and the Separation Corridor.[4]

        Following the successes in these theaters, the IDF could make one final strike before the October 22 ceasefire would come into effect—in Gaza or in Beersheba. The assault would have to be successful within the framework of one day however, which was unlikely for Gaza as its defenses improved as the Egyptian expeditionary force’s headquarters moved there from Majdal on October 19, 1948.[4] Moreover, Beersheba now served as Egypt’s only connection to its army’s eastern wing, stationed between Hebron and Bethlehem.[3]

        Even before the opening of the land corridor to the Negev on October 20, the capture of Beersheba was the top priority of the Negev Brigade following its replenishment and resupply enabled by Operation Avak. On the night of October 19–20, the Israelis sent much of the 8th Brigade and Negev’s 7th Battalion to the enclave, as well as Negev Brigade infantry forces (from the 9th Battalion) engaged in raids in the Gaza–Rafah corridor (today the Gaza Strip).[3] On October 20, the commanders of the respective forces met in the Negev Brigade headquarters in Shoval for a final briefing.[5]

        According to an Egyptian telegram intercepted by the Israelis, the forces in what would become the Fallujah Pocket were ordered to move to Beersheba, not knowing of the Israeli plan to take the town.[3] Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion did not believe in the IDF’s ability to take Beersheba in such a short time,[6] but the telegram significantly increased the town’s importance in his eyes, and he worked to delay the United Nations-imposed ceasefire as much as possible so that it could be taken.[5]

        The Egyptian forces in Beersheba consisted of a reinforced 1st Battalion, totaling about 500 soldiers, aided by mortars and artillery.[6][7] The defenses of Beersheba consisted of 25 elevated fire positions, lacking trenches. Anti-tank ditches and barbed wire fences surrounded Beersheba in the south, east and northwest. The battalion headquarters were located in the old Ottoman railway station.[5]

        The Egyptian command in Beersheba was unaware of Israel’s success in the battles for the Separation Corridor, and was not expecting an attack. The command of the expeditionary force did know of these developments, but failed to send reinforcements in time.[8]

        Aftermath[edit]
        Although the majority of Beersheba’s civilian population had fled as a result of Israeli air strikes, about 350 still lived there at the time of the battle, and were expelled to Gaza in the aftermath. Some were allegedly shot by the Israelis. Some of the estimated 120 Egyptian soldiers taken prisoner were also allegedly killed. The rest were mostly put to work cleaning the streets following the battle.[6]

        Beersheba became a major Israeli city and an integral part of the early Israeli national plans to disperse its population.[10] Its abandoned homes were repopulated almost immediately by Jewish immigrants.”

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Beersheba_(1948)

        “I’m not denying that horrible deeds were done in that war: massacres, executions of prisoners, expulsions and ethnic cleansing-on both sides. As a teacher, I try to have my students hear not only one side , not only one narrative, but the other side as well.”

        There’s no “both sides” to the “horrible deeds” of the Nakba! You’re full of it, jon s, and I pity your students.

      • Kris
        June 29, 2015, 8:11 pm

        Thanks for the info, just.

        @jon s:

        Let’s see: you have no facts, no evidence, no documents, no witnesses. Not even any allegations of a massacre from the Palestinian side. You’re just concocting an allegation, 67 years later, out of thin air. I’m not denying that horrible deeds were done in that war: massacres, executions of prisoners, expulsions and ethnic cleansing-on both sides.

        jon s, it is odd that Just was able to come up with information about what happened in Beersheba and you couldn’t, even though you are a “history” teacher and actually live there. And could you provide links to your claim of “ethnic cleansing-on both sides.” Thanks.

        @jon s:

        To return to Beersheva, 1948: what was the Egyptian army doing here in the first place? They had invaded , to prevent the establishment and survival of Israel, and the IDF was there to repulse them.

        Um, the Egyptian army was in Beersheva, a PALESTINIAN town. Israel invaded the town, attacked the Egyptian soldiers, killed prisoners of war and civilians, and carried out Israel’s signature ethnic cleansing and land theft.

        BTW, if you decide to move back the the U.S., you might want to consider these states http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2014/01/creationism_in_public_schools_mapped_where_tax_money_supports_alternatives.html if you’re going to continue your “teaching” career.

    • Mooser
      June 28, 2015, 2:57 pm

      “Dan Cohen is once again portraying terrorists favourably.”

      Thank G-d no Zionist has ever, ever done that!!! No sir, no terrorist-praising among the Zionists! G-d Forbid any Zionist should praise violence!

      • CigarGod
        June 28, 2015, 5:53 pm

        Nope…never elected any of them to high office, either!

      • jon s
        June 29, 2015, 5:04 pm

        Just,
        It’s typical of fanatics not to be able to see two sides of an issue, to totally idealize one side and demonize the other.
        You’re free to pity my students. I do, too, sometimes.
        But seriously: I do my best not only to teach the program, but to educate , to the best of whatever ability I have, towards the democratic ideals I believe in.

        Also, Just, I never” called for the deaths of unknowns”. You know very well that I was referring to terrorists training for, or in the act of, launching rockets intended to kill my family and myself, my friends and neighbors.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 29, 2015, 5:15 pm

        jon s, i’ve read that in israel they teach the bible as history in state schools. is that true?

        ie, something like the parting of the red sea?

      • jon s
        June 30, 2015, 12:51 pm

        Kris, you want me to look up information on the massacre that you and just have just invented?

        And why in the world would you provide a link regarding the teaching of creationism? Have you confused me with someone else?

        As to ethnic cleansing on both sides during the 1948 war: of course there were differences between the two sides. One of the differences was that on the Arab side the ethnic cleansing was total: in the territories that remained under Arab rule at the end of the war not one single live Jew remained.

      • Kris
        June 30, 2015, 3:12 pm

        jon s, please read the wikipedia info provided by just:

        “Although the majority of Beersheba’s civilian population had fled as a result of Israeli air strikes, about 350 still lived there at the time of the battle, and were expelled to Gaza in the aftermath. Some were allegedly shot by the Israelis. Some of the estimated 120 Egyptian soldiers taken prisoner were also allegedly killed.”

        Please review also the info that I provided (up-thread) from wikipedia, which said that the Palestinian women, children, disabled and elderly were taken from their homes by Israeli soldiers and dumped at the border of Gaza. But what about the 200 civilian Palestinian men who were also taken from their homes by Israeli soldiers?

        @jon s:

        As to ethnic cleansing on both sides during the 1948 war: of course there were differences between the two sides. One of the differences was that on the Arab side the ethnic cleansing was total: in the territories that remained under Arab rule at the end of the war not one single live Jew remained.

        Could you please link to your sources for the ethnic cleansing of Jews that was done by Palestinians during the 1948 war? Thanks.

        Maybe you aren’t interested enough in the history of your own town to look into the fate of the Palestinian civilians who were ethnically cleansed from their homes so that Jews could steal them. Maybe you know what happened but are unwilling to share what you know. And you don’t cite your sources when you make claims. I gave you that link to states in the U.S. where the teaching of creationism is supported by state funds because if you decide to come back to the U.S. and want to continue “teaching,” it might be easier for you to get a job in that kind of schools.

      • Donald
        June 30, 2015, 3:56 pm

        What is so depressing about you jon s is that you sincerely see yourself as an honest liberal.

        And yes, both sides have committed atrocities–your side has committed many more, but it is fair to say both sides are guilty of crimes. But when you deny that you defend terrorism, you are lying to yourself. The IDF targeted homes in Gaza last summer and killed hundreds of civilians–they knew this was happening and they never stopped doing it. If it had happened once or twice one could imagine it was a mistake, quickly corrected, but it was clearly a policy.

      • Mooser
        July 2, 2015, 12:59 am

        “It’s typical of fanatics not to be able to see two sides of an issue, to totally idealize one side and demonize the other”

        So let me see, we’ve got a couple of guy refering to facts and drawing conclusions on the web. Possibly they engage in some political advocacy as well.

        And then we have a guy who actually lives in an illegal (as if there was another kind?) settlement and devotes his life to an indoctrination of children in the settlements precepts.

        Now, will it be very hard for me to figure out which of those people is closer to being a “fanatic”? Isn’t going over to Israel and freebooting, living in an illegal (A.I.T.W.A.O.K!) settlement a pretty extreme act?

  16. Mooser
    June 29, 2015, 9:37 pm

    “It’s typical of fanatics not to be able to see two sides of an issue, to totally idealize one side and demonize the other”

    Oh please. What is the “other side”, that Jews are more important than Palestinians?

    • Mooser
      June 30, 2015, 11:55 am

      And how on earth did the Palestinians “ethnically cleanse” Zionists?

      Can you even give me an example of any land or towns the Palestinians got back from the Zionists? (Watch, “Jon s” will say “Gaza”!)

      “But seriously: I do my best not only to teach the program”

      “The program?” Oh, that’s right, I’ve been meaning to ask you, “Jon s”, does your school have a website you could link us to?

      • CigarGod
        June 30, 2015, 1:55 pm

        “Teacher”?
        You know, I hate to pick on the Mormons again, but they send 19 year old teachers around the world to teach and convert. I guess in Mormonisn, by 19, you are an expert in religion.
        I can’t help wondering how old Jon S is….

      • Mooser
        June 30, 2015, 2:54 pm

        “but they send 19 year old teachers around the world to teach and convert. I guess in Mormonisn, by 19,”

        Well, CigarGod, I replaced the pink flamingo on my front lawn with a wrecked hand-cart with some skeletons by it. Stops ’em cold at the front gate!

      • CigarGod
        June 30, 2015, 4:26 pm

        Ha!
        Beats my: Get the %=#$! off my lawn!

    • jon s
      June 30, 2015, 4:08 pm

      Kris,
      I’ll reverse the challenge: show me one Jewish settlement, one Jewish family, even one individual who remained in territory under Arab rule (Jordan in the West Bank, Egypt in Gaza) at the end of the war, in 1949.
      Your comment connecting me- a person of the Left- to creationism is so silly, that I’d rather not pursue it.

      • Kris
        June 30, 2015, 4:35 pm

        Seriously, jon s? In response to my concern about Israel’s ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians from their homes in Beersheva in 1948, as well as the probable slaughter of 200 civilian Palestinian men by Israel, you replied:

        As to ethnic cleansing on both sides during the 1948 war: of course there were differences between the two sides. One of the differences was that on the Arab side the ethnic cleansing was total: in the territories that remained under Arab rule at the end of the war not one single live Jew remained.

        So I asked you to cite your sources for ethnic cleansing of Jews by Palestinians. If you are going to claim equivalency, then back it up. Apparently you can’t; thus your insulting non-answer.

      • Annie Robbins
        June 30, 2015, 4:37 pm

        is that a no jon? you can’t link to your sources for the “ethnic cleansing of Jews that was done by Palestinians during the 1948 war?”

        absence of jews in one area doesn’t mean they were necessarily ethnically cleansed. especially when the state of israel was scrambling to hold down the regions they’d stolen from the area designated for arab state. why do you think they imported jews from iraq, the zionist underground there and trying to work out a trade from iraq? you made an allegation and i think it’s fair to ask for a source. was it benny morris? just spill the beans.

      • just
        June 30, 2015, 5:30 pm

        Thanks Kris and Annie.

        Nobody has to “invent” massacres by Israelis, jon s ~ not even “fanatics”. You were asked a question and you can’t/won’t answer it.

        I see that you are sticking with “the program”.

  17. jon s
    June 30, 2015, 1:10 pm

    Annie,
    In the religious schools the Bible is regarded as the literal truth, much as church-affiliated schools regard the New Testament as such (virgin birth, resurrection…) and Muslim schools teach the Holy Quran as the literal truth.
    In the non-religious schools, like the one in which I work, it’s a bit different. The Bible is taught with modern critical methods. As a History teacher, I refer to the Bible as a source when teaching the Second Temple period , especially where events described in the Bible are consistent with extra-biblical sources and with the archaeological record.

    • Mooser
      June 30, 2015, 2:45 pm

      Yeah, you do your best to teach the program.

      Go to “Jon s” archive, and search “homeland” or “historical homeland”.

      Basically, Judaism adds up to a land deed and exemption from the Geneva Conventions.

      “Jon s” how can you not see it is degrading to religion to use it as a basis for self-interest? Do you think there is some special Jewish cloaking device which makes people unable to see this?
      You see, “Jon s” the difficult part is supposed to be explaining why our religion causes us to sacrifice (give up) certain things. Explaining why your religion entitles you to something is, well, not quite the same thing.

      • CigarGod
        June 30, 2015, 4:28 pm

        “Jewish Cloaking Device.”
        …and invented in Israel, too.

    • Mooser
      June 30, 2015, 2:46 pm

      “In the religious schools the Bible is regarded as the literal truth, much as church-affiliated schools regard the New Testament as such (virgin birth, resurrection…) and Muslim schools teach the Holy Quran as the literal truth.”

      Gosh, an expert on all religions, aren’t you? Gosh, never thought I would see us descending to religious ‘whataboutery’. That one smarts.

    • Annie Robbins
      June 30, 2015, 3:13 pm

      thanks for answering jon. not sure if your mention of church affiliated and muslim schools meant “in israel” but i absolutely know that there are many christian schools that don’t take the bible literally and teach w/ (your wording) “modern critical methods”. most christians don’t take the bible literally – word for word, as far as i know, i could be wrong. i don’t know much about the various muslim schools.

      I refer to the Bible as a source when teaching the Second Temple period , especially where events described in the Bible are consistent with extra-biblical sources and with the archaeological record.

      what about teaching the masada? do you teach that thus far there’s no evidence it happened or that there’s growing doubt by many scientists, or anything like that? any both sides teaching? and what about the period of the parting of the red sea? do you not teach about that time, teach it with the idea it’s true, or teach it with a caveat about science?

      i’m just asking because i was never taught about the parting of the red sea in school, nor any other biblical stories. i recall reading about greek gods and goddesses, the illad and odyssey maybe noah’s arc, but nothing about jesus that i can recall. and we were not instructed to believe the story of noah was based on any reality anymore than we were instructed to believe pinocchio got swallowed by a whale.

      i’m just wondering if something like the red sea parting is ever introduced as possibly having fable implications, or if it’s always taken literally in a state school or not referenced (as in my history classes).

      • Mooser
        July 1, 2015, 12:43 pm

        And Sir “Jon s” bravely runs away, as usual.

  18. jon s
    July 1, 2015, 4:06 pm

    Ok, I’ll try to deal with the various issues raised here, in separate comments
    When the war ended, and the 1949 armistice agreements were signed, Jordan remained in control of a significant part of what had been Mandatorial Palestine, the area that came to be known as the West Bank (including east Jerusalem), and Egyptian rule was established in the Gaza Strip. In those areas, especially in the WB, there had been a Jewish population in places such as the Etzion Bloc (four settlements), and the Jewish Quarter in the Old City of Jerusalem. Non were allowed to remain. Such was also the fate of Kfar Darom, in what became the Gaza Strip. See here, as one example:

    In 1948 during the Arab-Israeli War, its population of about 2,000 Jews was besieged, and forced to leave en masse. ColonelAbdullah el Tell, local commander of the Jordanian Arab Legion, with whom Mordechai Weingarten negotiated the surrender terms, described the destruction of the Jewish Quarter, in his Memoirs (Cairo, 1959):

    Weingarten negotiating the surrender with Arab Legion soldiers
    “… The operations of calculated destruction were set in motion…. I knew that the Jewish Quarter was densely populated with Jews who caused their fighters a good deal of interference and difficulty…. I embarked, therefore, on the shelling of the Quarter with mortars, creating harassment and destruction…. Only four days after our entry into Jerusalem the Jewish Quarter had become their graveyard. Death and destruction reigned over it…. As the dawn of Friday, May 28, 1948, was about to break, the Jewish Quarter emerged convulsed in a black cloud – a cloud of death and agony.”
    —Yosef Tekoah (Permanent Representative of Israel to the United Nations) quoting Abdullah el-Tal.[10]
    The Jordanian commander is reported to have told his superiors: “For the first time in 1,000 years not a single Jew remains in the Jewish Quarter. Not a single building remains intact. This makes the Jews’ return here impossible.”[11][12] The Hurva Synagogue, originally built in 1701, was blown up by the Jordanian Arab Legion. During the nineteen years of Jordanian rule, a third of the Jewish Quarter’s buildings were demolished.[13] According to a complaint Israel made to the United Nations, all but one of the thirty-five Jewish houses of worship in the Old City were destroyed. The synagogues were razed or pillaged and stripped and their interiors used as hen-houses or stables.[10]

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jewish_Quarter_(Jerusalem)

  19. jon s
    July 1, 2015, 4:41 pm

    Annie,
    I would be surprised to learn that church -affiliated schools don’t teach the Bible as literal truth.
    What about the Catholic schools? the Evangelicals?. I’m pretty sure about Muslim schools.
    Anyway if any MW commenters know more about this than I do (or Annie) – please share.

    No, I don’t teach the parting of the red sea as history. I mentioned that I teach the Second Temple period, so it wouldn’t be relevant in any case.

    I do teach about Massada. The sole source for the events that occured there is Josephus, so, basically, the question is whether Josephus is reliable. The archaeological excavation carried out on the site showed that Josephus’ physical descriptions were accurate, and signs of the Zealots presence, and of the Roman siege were found. So there’s a pretty strong case that the the account provided by Josephus is basically true. There is one significant question, still a mystery: what happened to the remains of the Zealots? Where are the skeletons? We don’t know.

    • Annie Robbins
      July 1, 2015, 5:13 pm

      I would be surprised to learn that church -affiliated schools don’t teach the Bible as literal truth.

      i’m not too well versed in this stuff. but i specifically mentioned “don’t take the bible literally – word for word,”. not sure if we’re understanding eachother. but i think primarily fundamentalists and some evangelicals are literalists, the rest are not.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_literalism

      Fundamentalists and evangelicals sometimes refer to themselves as literalists or biblical literalists. Sociologists also use the term in reference to conservative Christian beliefs which include not just literalism but also biblical inerrancy. The term “biblical literalism” is often used as a pejorative to describe or ridicule the interpretative approaches of fundamentalist or evangelical Christians.[6][7][8]

      A 2011 Gallup survey reports, “Three in 10 Americans interpret the Bible literally, saying it is the actual word of God. That is similar to what Gallup has measured over the last two decades, but down from the 1970s and 1980s. A 49% plurality of Americans say the Bible is the inspired word of God but that it should not be taken literally, consistently the most common view in Gallup’s nearly 40-year history of this question. Another 17% consider the Bible an ancient book of stories recorded by man.”[9]

      more at the link on Biblical literalism.

      • Mooser
        July 2, 2015, 1:02 am

        Look out, I think Yonah slipped “Jon s” a few out of the bottle.

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