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72 Hour Gaza Ceasefire Collapses In Less Than Two Hours

Gaza Attack 2

Late yesterday, there actually seemed to be some good news in the nearly month-long conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza that has resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 Gazans, the vast majority of them civilians, and dozens of Israeli soldiers. Seemingly out of nowhere, on a day when there had been comments from both sides that made it sound like the conflict was only going to get more intense, the United Nations and the United States announced a humanitarian ceasefire that seemed to have the promise of leading to wider talks:

NEW DELHI — A 72-hour humanitarian cease-fire in the Gaza conflict negotiated by the United States and the United Nations took effect Friday morning, a diplomatic bolt-from-the-blue that will suspend the bloody 24-day military campaign and set the stage for arduous negotiations between Israel and Hamas over a more lasting truce.

The announcement of the break in the fighting, made in the middle of the night in India with no warning by Secretary of State John Kerry, and also announced by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in New York, attested to the complexity of the negotiations.

But it appeared to be more significant than a shorter cease-fire that fell apart. This time, Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will head to Cairo for formal talks on how to end the conflict, which has resulted in the deaths of more than 1,400 Palestinians and 64 on the Israeli side.

“During this time, the forces on the ground will remain in place,” said the announcement, which means that Israeli troops can continue destroying the labyrinth of tunnels in Gaza that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said are the prime target of the operation.

“We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian cease-fire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the cease-fire,” Mr. Kerry and Mr. Ban said in the statement.

William J. Burns, the deputy secretary of state, is heading to Cairo to add more seniority and experience to the U.S. team and is expected to arrive on Saturday. Mr. Burns, a former U.S. ambassador to Jordan and Russia, is one of the State Department’s most experienced diplomats and also led the back channel discussions with Iran that preceded the talks in Vienna over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Jonathan Schwartz, a State Department legal expert who has worked on the Middle East peace talks, is also joining the American team in Cairo.

The Palestinians are expected to arrive in Cairo on Friday, and the Israelis will arrive on Saturday night after the Jewish Sabbath.

Given the time it may take to organize the Cairo talks, American officials have already begun to float the possibility of extending the 72-hour truce to give the negotiations time to bear fruit, a senior State Department official said. But that has not yet been agreed.

The announcement amounted to a striking reversal of fortune for Mr. Kerry, whose efforts to broker a seven-day cease-fire a week ago were rebuffed by the Israeli cabinet, though it did accept a 12-hour humanitarian pause last week and even renewed it for another day until Hamas balked. Mr. Kerry came under a hailstorm of criticism across the Israeli political spectrum and from supporters of Israel in the United States for pushing a deal which many Israelis said was tilted in favor of Hamas.

But Mr. Kerry kept at it, American and United Nations officials said, even as he was making the first visit of a senior American official to India since the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mr. Kerry made dozens of phone calls to the Israelis and Palestinians, as well as to Egypt, which has hosted envoys of both sides, and Qatar and Turkey, which have ties to Hamas.

The ceasefire was supposed to take effect at 8am local time, or 1am Eastern time in the United States and, at least for a few hours, it seemed to be holding. It didn’t last for long, though:

Fighting between Israel and Hamas broke out Friday, hours after a three-day cease-fire took effect that was intended as a first step toward a lasting peace.

Israel Radio reported a clash between Palestinian militants and Israeli forces. Gaza’s Health Ministry said Israeli tank fire killed four Palestinians in the southern city of Rafah, the Associated Press reported. The Israeli military had no immediate comment.

The sky over Gaza City, in the central part of the territory, was calm. Gazans ventured tentatively out of their homes as the truce took effect at 8 a.m. local time. Near the harbor, several children were swimming and a half dozen fishermen were on paddle boards casting nets. Horse carts and a few cars were seen on the streets.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the deal Thursday night, giving Palestinians the chance to stock up on essentials, tend to the wounded and bury their dead after more than three weeks of fighting.

The reprieve is the fifth since Israel began a barrage of artillery and airstrikes on July 8that has pounded the Gaza Strip, reducing whole neighborhoods to rubble. Several of the previous cease-fires haven’t held for their full duration.

Israel’s offensive, its third in Gaza in six years, aims to degrade Hamas’s arsenal of rockets. Almost 3,000 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel since the operation began, according to the Israeli military.

Israel’s offensive, its third in Gaza in six years, aims to degrade Hamas’s arsenal of rockets. Almost 3,000 rockets have been fired from the Gaza Strip at Israel since the operation began, according to the Israeli military.

Israel is also targeting tunnels that Hamas fighters use to infiltrate under the border.

Hamas, the Islamist group that governs Gaza, wants an end to an economic blockade by Israel and Egypt, while Israel wants to demilitarize and disarm the coastal enclave.

The Palestinian death toll from the fighting rose to 1,459 overnight, according to the local health ministry.

Israel has lost 61 soldiers and three civilians including one Thai agricultural worker since the conflict began. Five soldiers died in a mortar attack Thursday night, the Israeli military said.

Israel, Hamas and other Palestinian factions plan to meet for talks in Cairo to address unresolved differences and hammer out a longer-lasting peace deal, the U.N. and U.S. said in a statement Thursday. The Israelis aren’t expected in Cairo until after the Jewish Sabbath on Saturday, according to a senior U.S. State Department official, although the Palestinians are expected to arrive Friday.

More details on the breakdown in the ceasefire from CNN, including reports that the attacks this morning resulted in an Israeli soldier being kidnapped:

Gaza City (CNN) – A cease-fire in Gaza unraveled Friday only hours after it took effect, with both sides accusing each other of violating the fledgling truce and the Israeli military saying one of its soldiers possibly was kidnapped.

Gaza Health Ministry spokesman Ashraf al-Qudra said an Israeli attack on Rafah in southern Gaza killed at least 27 people and wounded more than 100.

The official Palestinian news agency WAFA said assault involved Israeli artillery shelling, calling it a “violation of the cease-fire.”

Hamas spokesman Osama Hamdan told CNN that the latest cease-fire attempt between Israel and Hamas made it clear that there was to be no military action whatsoever, and Israel violated it by attacking houses in Rafah. Hamas is still committed to the cease-fire, but will protect itself, he said.

Israeli forces were attacked in a “brutal incident” in the Rafah area that required them to defend themselves, Israeli spokesman Mark Regev told CNN. At the same time, rockets were launched into southern Israel from Gaza, he said.

“This clearly is Hamas violating this U.N.-sponsored cease-fire,” he said.

Hamas has been attacking Israeli forces inside Gaza on Friday morning, which an Israeli official described as “a grave violation” of the cease-fire.

In fact, Regev told CNN, he does not know if a cease-fire can be revived. “You cannot have a situation where (Hamas) are shooting at us, and we are taking a time-out,” he said.

The Israeli military says that one of its soldiers is missing after an attack by militants in Gaza. It is possible that the soldier has been kidnapped, according to a statement by Israel Defense Forces.

On some level, it doesn’t matter which side was responsible for breaking the ceasefire. If the Israeli version of events is to be believed, though, it started with an attack from a group of Hamas fighters out of one of the many tunnels that the Israeli Defense Forces are still working on trying to destroy. Whether that’s the case, or whether this is something that started by mistake as often happens when ceasefires are broken in war, hardly seems to matter. Absent some quick action in the coming hours, it would seem apparent that the effort to hold broader peace talks in Cairo while the two sides stopped fighting is not going to succeed. As a practical matter, though, the nature of the way in which the ceasefire was broken — a suicide attack by Hamas against Israeli soldiers clearing out one of Hamas’s tunnels (as permitted by the terms of the ceasefire) and, according to some reports, the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier — makes it highly unlikely that the Cairo talks, assuming that they even go forward at this point, would have any chance of succeeding. For better or worse, this is going to give Israel all the incentive it needs to press its offensive forward.

Perhaps ore important than that, though, is the fact that no ceasefire would mean no ability for Gazans and outside groups such as the Red Cross and the United Nations to address the humanitarian crisis that the ongoing war is creating in Gaza. For several days now, large sections of Gaza have been without power due to strikes that hit Gaza City’s main power plant. Lack of power means little relief from the heat in the area, and it is apparently also causing problems for water delivery. Aid workers are having difficulty getting to and treating the injured, and there are likely dead bodies hidden among the rubble of many collapsed buildings. Gaza is, in other words, on the verge of becoming a serious humanitarian disaster if it isn’t there already. The humanitarian ceasefire would have provided at least some opportunity to alleviate some of the problems that the civilian population is suffering through.

At this point, it seems unlikely that we’re going to see another ceasefire any time soon. Regardless of who is responsible for breaking it, this is the third announced or supported humanitarian ceasefire in a week that has been broken or refused, in each case by Hamas. Given that record, the level of trust between the parties is likely non-existent, which means that this war is going to continue for quite a bit longer.

Update:  As I noted in a comment below, the developing reports seem to indicate pretty strongly that the ceasefire broke when Hamas attacked an IDF platoon from a previously undiscovered tunnel. Additionally, an IDF spokesperson has confirmed that an Israeli officer has been captured by Hamas:

This likely takes the prospect of a ceasefire, and perhaps the Cairo talks themselves, off the table.

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About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May, 2010 and also writes at Below The Beltway. Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. humanoid.panda says:

    The Hammas operation was designed to provoke a paroxysm of Israeli violence, and Israel will oblige. No way can Israel finish this operation with another Shalit held by Hammas, so what we saw so far was only prelude to the terrible things that will happen now. Just terrible, terrible news.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Not near enough dead Palestinian children to satisfy either side.

    On some level, it doesn’t matter which side was responsible for breaking the ceasefire. If the Israeli version of events is to be believed,…. Whether that’s the case, or whether this is something that started by mistake as often happens when ceasefires are broken in war, hardly seems to matter.

    So… Just so I have this straight, either Hamas broke the cease fire, or it was a mistake. Not even a mention of the possibility that Israel, seeing an opportunity, took advantage of it? That maybe, just maybe, they broke it on purpose? I mean, it’s not like they have ever done anything like that before.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 7

  3. @OzarkHillbilly:

    The developing reports seem to indicate pretty strongly that the ceasefire broke when Hamas attacked an IDF platoon from a previously undiscovered tunnel

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  4. bill says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Not even a mention of the possibility that Israel, seeing an opportunity, took advantage of it?

    Israel has the advantage already, why would they need another excuse to kill a bunch of palis?
    hamas on the other hand has some rockets (really bad ones at that), ak’s, the un and the media on their side- they utilize each to the best of their ability, and they know that the more civilians that are killed/the more the west reacts to it. there are other news outlets than cnn, msnbc & bbc….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 7

  5. KM says:

    All it takes is one idiot, any idiot. All it takes is one person who’d rather fight then lay down arms for 3 measly days. All it takes is one trigger-happy moron, one scared soul, one Leeroy Jenkins in the ranks and peace is denied to all.

    One push and its all undone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  6. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: It would not surprise me in the least Doug.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  7. Modulo Myself says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The article is not really clear what happened. Not sure how you get ‘previously undiscovered’ from that link. The IDF was in the tunnel, trying to decommission it, whatever that means. Hamas was in a tunnel, and they fought. It could have been on either side. The IDF says that this occurred in Gaza, so maybe the Israelis had entered Hamas territory. Who knows?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  8. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @bill:

    the media on their side-

    BWAHAHAHAAHAAHAHAHAAHAHAHAA… What a card you are Bill. But you are absolutely right, it’s all anti-Israeli propaganda, especially when some people refer to these seemingly yearly exercises in killing Palestinian civilians as “mowing the lawn”, or the most recent version, “We Won’t “Mow the Lawn” in Gaza… “We Will Scorch It”

    Oooopps my bad, that was an Israeli Official saying that as reported by Conservative Tribune. Damm, can’t trust anybody anymore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  9. Rafer Janders says:

    and, according to some reports, the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier —

    What do you mean “kidnapping”? It’s a war. A uniformed soldier of a belligerent country captured by the enemy during that country’s offensive operations against that enemy is a POW, not a crime victim. For god’s sakes, stop accepting this ridiculous framing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  10. ernieyeball says:

    It has been at least 25 or 30 years since I saw Linda Ellerbee host a TV broadcast where she invited teenaged children from Israel and teenaged children from Palestine to talk about war and peace in the middle east.
    I do not remember who went first. I do not think it matters.

    “It says in our Holy Book that God gave this land to us thousands of years ago. It is our land and we have the right to fight to defend it!” said a girl child.

    A boy child spoke for the other side: “It says in our Holy Book that God gave this land to us thousands of years ago. It is our land and we have the right to fight to defend it!”

    I often wonder where those children are today.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  11. ernieyeball says:

    Oh yeah…Burn the Holy Books and bury the ashes in a pit dug to hell.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  12. Modulo Myself says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    As opposed to the terrible things that happened before? Honestly, Israel has given the Gazans absolutely no reason to do anything but fight. What kind of future is imagined for a peaceful Gaza strip? The West Bank’s? Where settlements continue to grab land and Palestinians are treated like third-class people?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5

  13. humanoid.panda says:

    @Modulo Myself: I agree with everything you say, but the fact is that at the current moment, breaking the cease-fire 2 hours after it was established is a calculated move to increase violence and suffering.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  14. Rafer Janders says:

    The best metaphor for this that I’ve seen is to consider Gaza as a prison, with Israel as its guard. Yes, Gaza controls its internal territory, but for all other intents and purposes Israel is its jailer, controlling the ports, borders, airspace, electricity, food and water supplies, etc.

    Well, if you build a prison, you can’t be surprised if the inmates occasionally attempt to tunnel out, or to throw stuff over the walls. It’s in the nature of prisoners to do. The only way to stop that is to dismantle the prison.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  15. humanoid.panda says:

    @humanoid.panda: The problem is that while there is no doubt that Israel is responsible for mass Palestinian suffering, there is also no doubt that Hamas seeks to maximize that suffering, as it fits its strategic goals.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2

  16. Moosebreath says:

    An interesting article from a liberal Jewish paper. From the conclusion:

    “War, as Clausewitz wrote, is the continuation of politics by other means. The point of winning a war is to weaken your enemies and achieve some advantage on the regional or global plane. But if the outcome of your military victories leaves you weaker on the global stage, then your victory is hardly a victory. Israel’s recent victories have produced economic boycotts, war crimes investigations and legal action against Israeli leaders. Israelis respond by complaining afterward, rather than factoring these dangers into their planning. That’s poor strategy.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  17. Modulo Myself says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    I’m sure Hamas has their own ideas how to manipulate the situation, but I reject the idea that it’s Hamas who is manipulating the Israelis into attacking them. To me, this idea has Hamas playing a role right out of the Elders of Zion–the Jews who are behind the pogrom that got them.

    The bottom line is that Israel has shown repeatedly that they are a hyper-aggressive state. Their hand is not being forced.

    I have no idea about what happened with the cease-fire. But I don’t buy that Hamas is behind everything bad that happens to them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 5

  18. Mikey says:

    Some relevant insight into Hamas’ position:

    Arab Leaders, Viewing Hamas as Worse Than Israel, Stay Silent

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  19. humanoid.panda says:

    @Modulo Myself: Was it a conspiracy theory that, for example, Al Qaeda attacked the US on 9/11 to provoke a stupid response from the Americans? Was it a conspiracy theory when the Serbian government funded and trained attacks on Austro-Hungarian officials in Bosnia hoping to provoke an Austrian clamdown on Slavs? Provoking more powerful actors to hyper-agressive moves is what nationalist terrorist organizations did the past, do now, and will keep doing in the future, because in the international arena, this is pretty much the best weapon they possess.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  20. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Doug, I have now had a chance to look at these developing reports, the ones you cited and the Guardian. All of them cite the IDF as the source for their reports of the version you seem to accept. Excuse me if I do not take the uncorroborated word of an interested party at face value. I find blindly accepting the IDF’s version of events as naive as blindly accepting Hamas’, who by the way, say they captured the Lt before the ceasefire, or the Al Qassam’s word who’s tunnel this was, that it was an incursion into a tunnel not previously discovered by Israel (which according to their reading of the truce, Israel had no right to be in)

    So far, everything I have read is just “He said, he said, he said…” ad nauseum. Nothing credible in any of it, except that once again Palestinian civilians are dying.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  21. @OzarkHillbilly:

    I understand the skepticism and I share it to some degree. Nonetheless, given Hamas’s previous history over the past month I tend to give some credibility to the notion that they were the ones who violated the ceasefire agreement.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  22. @OzarkHillbilly:

    Of course, as I say in the post, in the end it does not matter who violated the ceasefire. It was violated. And, thanks to the fact that an IDF soldier was apparently captured, I think it is highly unlikely that we’ll see another one anytime soon.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  23. Tillman says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Eh, it’s kinda like discussing the Gazan death toll. Some percentage of it is presumably composed of Hamas fighters, but the Gazan Health Ministry doesn’t disclose that. On the other hand, the IDF makes like any male between 18 and 50 years old counts as a Hamas fighter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  24. Eric Florack says:

    @Tillman: Lest we forget, that was also the same situation as the vietcong. similarly, it was the case for every ‘invader’ of the area… youre expected, as a member of the religion to be a fighter.

    I fear a choice is coming upon us, in the west, one none of us will like.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  25. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Tillman:

    On the other hand, the IDF makes like any male between 18 and 50 years old counts as a Hamas fighter.

    Well, if you count Islamic Jihad and the Al Qassam Brigades too, and consider the conditions these people live in, the IDF might well be 80-90% right. As to some percentage being Hams fighters, I recall reading about one Israeli strike on a Hamas leaders home. 13 people were killed. Him and 12 family members. Can’t remember if that was recent or some other Gazan conflict. They all bleed together.

    @Doug Mataconis: Doug, at one point in time I believed it when the US gov’t said they did not torture. Then enhanced interrogations came to light. I thought then that, “Well, our military would never engage in such behavior.” Then I saw pictures from Abu Ghraib.

    When it comes to Israel, I can not forget Sabra and Shatila. (there are other instances, but those 2 are the first). I doubt very much we will ever know what happened this time, I only know I do not believe any of them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  26. Eric Florack says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Which is to say nothing of the last 50 years. Doung, think on this… we have a movement, for lack of a better word, with the sworn goal of eliminating jews, and the jewish nation, after they have been humiliated.

    First, even absent the decades of history, there seems no points of negotation, here.
    Secondly, and perhaps more to the immediate point, why, during that decades long period, was it never understood that there is no negotioation with Hamas? Its been clear for decades that there is nothing that diplomacy brings to the table, to solve this.

    So, why is anyone even questioning if Hamas was the one who broke the ceasefire?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4

  27. Another Mike says:

    @Eric Florack:

    I fear a choice is coming upon us, in the west, one none of us will like.

    I think you are right. This is from Sam Harris.

    “What do groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda and even Hamas want? They want to impose their religious views on the rest of humanity. They want stifle every freedom that decent, educated, secular people care about. This is not a trivial difference. And yet judging from the level of condemnation that Israel now receives, you would think the difference ran the other way.

    “This kind of confusion puts all of us in danger. This is the great story of our time. For the rest of our lives, and the lives of our children, we are going to be confronted by people who don’t want to live peacefully in a secular, pluralistic world, because they are desperate to get to Paradise, and they are willing to destroy the very possibility of human happiness along the way. The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.”

    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/why-dont-i-criticize-israel

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 6

  28. Another Mike says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Excuse me if I do not take the uncorroborated word of an interested party at face value. I find blindly accepting the IDF’s version of events as naive as blindly accepting Hamas’

    That seems so reasonable, that is, until you consider the differences between the IDF and Hamas.

    http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2014/08/01/incredible-videos-reveal-how-journalists-are-being-used-as-human-shields-by-gaza-terror-groups/

    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/07/honest-journalist-tweets-with-good-reason-out-of-gaza-far-from-hamas-retaliation.php

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  29. mattbernius says:

    @Another Mike:

    This is from Sam Harris.

    You realize that generally speaking, Sam Harris feels the same way about Catholics right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  30. Moderate Mom says:

    Perhaps, at some point, the Palestinians will reconsider the wisdom of electing Hamas, which the United States government classifies as a terrorist organization, as the government of Gaza.

    Hamas stated goal is the destruction of Israel. It’s a shame they start these fights and put their citizens in so much danger.

    http://www.washingtoninstitute.org/html/pdf/PF53-Satloff.pdf

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  31. Another Mike says:

    @mattbernius:

    Sam Harris feels the same way about Catholics right?

    He is a somewhat noted atheist, which is another way of saying he is anti-Catholic and anti-Christian. Until recently atheists haven’t bothered with Islam, probably because they lacked the nerve.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 4

  32. humanoid.panda says:

    @Eric Florack:

    I fear a choice is coming upon us, in the west, one none of us will like.

    I am pretty sure you are salivating about the fantasy of being the one to make that choice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 3

  33. mattbernius says:

    @Another Mike:

    He is a somewhat noted atheist, which is another way of saying he is anti-Catholic and anti-Christian. Until recently atheists haven’t bothered with Islam, probably because they lacked the nerve.

    Your final sentence demonstrates how little you know of Mr Harris who has been as vocal in his condemnation of Islam as he has been with Christianity and Judism.

    I find it intellectually dishonest that you are citing someone who objects to your own religion almost as vociferously has he object to radicalized forms of Islam.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  34. anjin-san says:

    I fear a choice is coming upon us, in the west, one none of us will like.

    Ah, tiptoeing towards genocide. Do give us details of your “final solution”…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 3

  35. President Camacho says:

    Hamas just wants a chance to cure AIDS, stop world hunger, advance science, write beautiful poetry, and ensure equal rights to all no matter their race, religion, sexual orientation. Just give them the chance Israel. Look at all those advanced, prosperous countries in the ME they could be like

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 2

  36. Another Mike says:

    @mattbernius:

    I find it intellectually dishonest that you are citing someone who objects to your own religion almost as vociferously has he object to radicalized forms of Islam.

    It is intellectually dishonest to judge the message and not the messenger? If you have objections to what Harris says, then say so.

    It is true though that I do not know a whole lot about Harris, but I found that page through a link on another page, and that blogger definitely knows about Harris and even provided a disclaimer that Harris and he disagree on almost everything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  37. Andre Kenji says:

    1-) Gaza is ridiculously small. It´s a little larger than Staten Island. It´s not viable as a independent state, specially if it´s isolated from it´s larger neighbor. It´s easy to paint Hamas as a group of salvages, but Gaza can´t be a economically viable state. Maybe it can be something like a US Indian Reservation, but nothing more than that.

    2-) The Arabs are not going to accept Israel, unless they are forced to do so. United Kingdom can´t cede useless territories like Falklands and Gilbratar, why the Arabs would cede Jerusalem and large swaths of land?

    3-) A Muslim or a Christian State is a horrible idea, and it´s illiberal as it can get. The same thing applies to a Jewish State.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  38. mattbernius says:

    @Another Mike:
    Just out of curiosity, do you agree with these other sections from the same essay?

    Let me remind you that parts of Hebrew Bible—books like Leviticus and Exodus and Deuteronomy—are the most repellent, the most sickeningly unethical documents to be found in any religion. They’re worse than the Koran. They’re worse than any part of the New Testament. [mb: emphasis mine]

    Or

    I don’t think Israel should exist as a Jewish state. I think it is obscene, irrational and unjustifiable to have a state organized around a religion. So I don’t celebrate the idea that there’s a Jewish homeland in the Middle East. I certainly don’t support any Jewish claims to real estate based on the Bible. [mb: emphasis mine]

    Because if you don’t agree, I find it disingenuous that you cherry pick the article to find the sections that you like and ignore all the rest.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  39. Andre Kenji says:

    The problem of Harris is that he reduces EVERYTHING to Religion. The World is more complicated than that.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  40. Matt Bernius says:

    @Andre Kenji
    You are completely right about Harris btw. That’s always been a huge issue of his.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  41. mattbernius says:

    @Another Mike:

    I found that page through a link on another page, and that blogger definitely knows about Harris and even provided a disclaimer that Harris and he disagree on almost everything.

    That’s actually my point right there.

    At the risk of putting words in said bloggers mouth, I suspect he disagrees with many of Harris’s minor points in the article (for example see my previous quotes). And yet, he’s going to put forward the article as “Sam Harris says something I agree with on Islam (i.e. it’s bad).”

    UI’m sure if you look through enough of Hitler’s writings you can find something he agreed with — I’m told he liked dogs. I’m not sure that means you should quote Hitler on dogs to prove your point.

    The fact is the vast majority of Harris’s writings are totally antithetical to your beliefs (as far as I can tell from your postings here). I think your position on gay rights alone would make his head spin.

    So quoting him as some sort of authority because he sees radical Islam as a greater evil than the rest of religions to him (which are still a societal evil in his mind) strikes of intellectual dishonesty.

    Put a different way, once this branch of Islam is gone, it’s not like Mr Harris will not refocus his hostilities back to Christianity or Catholicism. Will you quote him them?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2

  42. Another Mike says:

    @mattbernius:

    Because if you don’t agree, I find it disingenuous that you cherry pick the article to find the sections that you like and ignore all the rest.

    Since I am a Catholic and Harris is a noted atheist, you could probably find it disingenuous that I agree with anything he says. Even within a single article Harris might say things that I disagree with and other things I can agree with.

    It would be so easy if I could just compartmentalize people. I would never read anyone whose writings were on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum, or whatever you are going by.

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  43. mattbernius says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Maybe it can be something like a US Indian Reservation, but nothing more than that.

    To be clear, Indian Reservations are in no way viable states either.

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  44. mantis says:

    @Another Mike:

    He is a somewhat noted atheist, which is another way of saying he is anti-Catholic and anti-Christian. Until recently atheists haven’t bothered with Islam, probably because they lacked the nerve.

    You haven’t a clue what you’re talking about, as usual. Us atheists have been critical of Islam as long as you have known it existed.

    FWIW, I agree with Harris about Hamas. That is not, however, an excuse to slaughter Palestinians.

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  45. mantis says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    The problem of Harris is that he reduces EVERYTHING to Religion. The World is more complicated than that

    The world is more complicated, but the thinking of many influential people is not.

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  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Another Mike:

    That seems so reasonable, that is, until you consider the differences between the IDF and Hamas.

    Here is the difference I see Mike:

    The Israel-Gaza conflict, since it began, has killed 1,170 people. Of those, a shocking 815 are thought to be Palestinian civilians, and 232 of those children. That means that about 7 out of 10 total deaths are innocent Palestinian civilians, and 2 out of 10 innocent Palestinian children, an appallingly high rate.

    Israeli civilian deaths? Last I saw earlier today: 3 (and one of those was not Israeli, if it makes a difference)

    Something tells me you aren’t looking at that difference. If I am wrong? I sincerely hope I am really wrong and that Jesus really is Christ: Matthew 25:40

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  47. Moosebreath says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    “Gaza is ridiculously small. It´s a little larger than Staten Island.”

    A better comparison — Gaza is almost exactly equal, in both size and population, to Philadelphia.

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  48. anjin-san says:

    @ OzarkHillbilly

    Silly boy. In the fever swamps of the right, Jesus is a bumper sticker, not a teacher.

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  49. anjin-san says:

    “The PDB does not say the United States is going to be attacked. It says Bin Laden would like to attack the United States.”

    Condoleezza Rice

    Except that’s not quite what it said – it said he was determined to attack the US. This is just one of several bald faced, self serving lies Rice has told.

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  50. anjin-san says:

    Hmm. Sorry, posted on the wrong thread.

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  51. Pinky says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: The difference is that Hamas hides behind children, and it makes Israel hesitate. Israel on the other hand doesn’t hide behind children, and if they did, Hamas would be happy that they had the opportunity to kill both children and adults.

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  52. bill says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: well it is kinda hard to find weeping Israeli’s – mainly due to the seemingly impossible ineptness of hamas at actually killing them! they kill more of their own by accident than they do Israeli’s. what is it now, 3,000 rocket launches and less than 50 dead?! whoever invested in those rockets must really feel had.

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  53. Andre Kenji says:

    @mattbernius:

    To be clear, Indian Reservations are in no way viable states either.

    ´

    That´s precisely the problem.

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  54. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    You seem to be pretty sure you know what is in the hearts and minds of the people waging this conflict. Have you spent a lot of time in Israel and the Gaza Strip?

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  55. Another Mike says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Something tells me you aren’t looking at that difference.

    You can quote the Gospel, but I don’t think Hamas cares about our infidel religion. I don’t believe that Israel is morally responsible for any deaths in Gaza. The responsibility is all on Hamas. In order to hold Israel responsible, you would have to show that Israel is intentionally targeting noncombatants and acting in reckless disregard for the safety of noncombatants. In fact, Israel is not targeting noncombatants and is operating with utmost regard for the safety of noncombatants.

    Casualty figures for Gaza originate with Hamas authorities in Gaza. The numbers cannot be verified and are suspect, especially in regard to fighter deaths reported as noncombatant deaths.
    http://www.powerlineblog.com/archives/2014/07/twelve-israel-gaza-notes.php

    I also provided two links above showing that reporters in Gaza are not able to report the truth on what is happening in Gaza. It could cost them their lives.

    I do not believe people are getting the true story on this war. The story you are getting just plays to and reinforces your already existing prejudices, and, of course, the prejudices of those reporting the story.

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  56. Pinky says:

    @anjin-san: Prior behavior is the best indicator of future behavior.

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  57. Eric Florack says:

    @Another Mike: Indeed so, and for the same reason thugs tend to rob women wrapped in furs and not motorcycle gangs wrapped in leather.

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  58. Eric Florack says:

    @anjin-san: and you seem to know what is in the hearts and minds of conservatives, or at least so say you.

    Based on what, I wonder, past your own obvious fantasies?

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  59. Eric Florack says:

    @humanoid.panda: @anjin-san:

    And perhaps the two of you have found some way of moving Islam off it’s goal? You have some means of getting them to coexist with the rest of the world, that as yet is undiscovered despite centuries of trying? Perhaps you think enough bowing and scraping would solve the problem?

    I’ll toss a link, here, which describes in some detail, how such coexistence could have eventually been accomplished.It was written in December of 2006, back before that path path utterly destroyed by the current administration.

    http://bitsblog.theconservativereader.com/2012/09/enlightening-islam-a-revisitation/

    Since that path has been destroyed, I begin to see some wisdom in Fran Perreto’s comments

    With regard to Islamic penetration of the West and the hazards to life and liberty that have accompanied it, your Curmudgeon isn’t completely alone in proclaiming the inevitability of quarantine or genocide, but he comes pretty damned close. The usual dissenter’s rejoinder is that “we can’t.” Can’t what? Can’t quarantine all Muslims in the existing Islamic states? Can’t kill them all? Can’t kill some and quarantine the rest? Answers are infrequent; the conversation usually trails off at that point.

    In point of fact, we — the United States of America — jolly well could do any of the three. We’re not incapable; we’re reluctant. But the time is drawing near when we must choose among them. Rest assured: choose we most certainly will, for the alternative is the extinction of the United States in particular and Western civilization in general. Whichever path we select, and by whatever process we select it, it will occasion great moral agony for its executors, for a good nine-tenths of Muslims worldwide are at worst passive enablers for their jihadist brethren.

    …Our current administration is the one pushing us closer to that point, folks.

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  60. Eric Florack says:

    @anjin-san: No, Anjin, give us yours. Letting Islam destroy Israel?
    So, its not genocide that bothers you, but who it is gets wiped out.

    If that’s not it give us another solution, and one not been tried yet, since none of it has worked.
    Start now.

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  61. Pinky says:

    There sort of is a solution. Look at the West Bank, under control of the Palestinian Authority and the Fatah party. They’re more or less at peace, more or less not firing missiles and launching terrorist attacks. Israel more or less can deal with them, and hasn’t felt the need to go in and eliminate threats. They’re not what you or I would call “sane”, but they’re practically Ned Flanders compared to the usual Middle East neighborino. The government of Egypt (the second-worst people in Egypt) can work with Israel, but not Hamas. The government of Turkey (the worst people in Turkey) can work with Hamas, not Israel. There’s room here for the moderates, the militarists, and the exhausted to work together and create something that’s not reallly good, not really peace, but is better than what’s happening in Gaza today.

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  62. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    Letting Islam destroy Israel?

    Please show where I said anything that resembled this in even the tiniest way.

    When you have to make things up to support your argument, you don’t really have an argument.

    Oh, and please explain how rocket attacks are an existential threat to Israel.

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  63. anjin-san says:

    A little context for those who may be new to OTB. Florack once called me an anti-Semite because I pointed out that Menachem Begin was once a wanted terrorist with a price on his head – a simple historic fact.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  64. anjin-san says:

    @ Pinky

    There’s room here for the moderates, the militarists, and the exhausted to work together and create something that’s not reallly good, not really peace, but is better than what’s happening in Gaza today.

    Bingo. A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

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  65. anjin-san says:

    @ Prior behavior is the best indicator of future behavior.

    Both parties have prior behavior that is nothing to write home about. And no, I am not equating Israel with Hamas, but I do hold Israel to a higher standard, keeping in mind that they are the player who holds the real power in this horrible train wreck. At some point, a way had to be found to end the cycle of killing and retribution.

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  66. Andre Kenji says:

    @Pinky:

    Look at the West Bank, under control of the Palestinian Authority and the Fatah party. They’re more or less at peace, more or less not firing missiles and launching terrorist attacks.

    The West Bank is a much larger territory than Gaza, and it´s much less dense. They also have friendlier neighbors. The issue is not Hamas´ Radicalism nor their islamism, the issue is Gaza, a tiny space where there is very little economic activity possible..

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  67. Eric Florack says:

    @anjin-san:
    Would you expect any other nation on earth to put up with such attacks?

    And, again, what specifically is your plan to deal with such? You constantly complain I’m encouraging genocide.which is amusing given that’s what the Islamics want. But you fail to give us all the benefit of your infinite good will and wisdom, explain to us mere mortals what you would have us do.

    Try.

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  68. anjin-san says:

    @ Andre Kenji

    the issue is Gaza, a tiny space where there is very little economic activity possible..

    How do we address this problem in a productive manner?

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  69. anjin-san says:

    @Eric Florack:

    You constantly complain I’m encouraging genocide.

    And where on earth would I get that idea?

    I begin to see some wisdom in Fran Perreto’s comments

    The usual dissenter’s rejoinder is that “we can’t.” Can’t what? Can’t quarantine all Muslims in the existing Islamic states?

    Can’t kill them all?

    the inevitability of quarantine or genocide

    You are basically the flip side of a jihadist. As another commenter once noted, you are nothing more than a brown shirt in search of a führer…

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  70. Eric Florack says:

    @anjin-san: Again, do give us an alternative…. and make it one that actually works, unlike what’s been tried since 1948.

    Don’t just pass this one by. Answer the question, Anjin…. what specifically is your plan to deal with such? Give us all the benefit of your infinite good will and wisdom, explain to us mere mortals what you would have us do.

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  71. Eric Florack says:

    @anjin-san: Your panicked silence makes my point for me, very nicely.

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  72. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    Well, I can either talk to a crazy person (you) or I can listen to “Dusty in Memphis” – I’m especially enjoying Tom Dowd’s killer horn arrangements tonight.

    It’s kind of an easy choice.

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  73. Eric Florack says:

    @anjin-san: You’re dodging the question, and its clear you don’t have an answer that doesn’t run afoul of your own mantra.

    Hint: That’s because there isn’t one.
    When you admit that truth, you’ll have made a huge step.

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  74. Eric Florack says:

    Let me make this easy for you, An jin, by showing you the relative worth of negotiation with terrorists thus…

    When in history has any terrorist group honored a ceasefire, much less a peace treaty?

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  75. ernieyeball says:

    @Eric Florack:..When in history has any terrorist group honored a ceasefire, much less a peace treaty?

    After Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown?
    (You know, those terrorists who crossed the Delaware on Christmas Day to attack the Hessians in Trenton.)

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  76. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    You don’t know who Tom Dowd is, do you?

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  77. Grewgills says:

    @Eric Florack:

    I fear a choice is coming upon us, in the west, one none of us will like.

    Nonsense, the choice you are hoping for (and you would like) is not coming. We will not be forced to choose between genocide against all Muslims or isolating and ghettoizing every predominantly Muslim country. You should be ashamed of yourself for promoting this, but I know you won’t be.

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  78. Grewgills says:

    @Pinky:

    The difference is that Hamas hides behind children, and it makes Israel hesitate.

    I haven’t seen much of this supposed hesitation.

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  79. Eric Florack says:

    @Grewgills: so… how IS that cave, anyway?
    @Grewgills: spare us your delusions of moral superiority. How many Israelis have to die, how many Hamas rockets must be launched toward Israel before you finally admit theyre the victims, here?

    @ernieyeball: and who called them terrorists?

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  80. Grewgills says:

    @Eric Florack:
    Apparently your golden number this time around is less than 100 to justify genocide.

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  81. ernieyeball says:

    @Eric Florack:..and who called them terrorists?

    I just did.

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  82. ernieyeball says:

    “The white men despise the Indians, and drive them from their homes. But the Indians are not deceitful. The white men speak bad of the Indian, and look at him spitefully. But the Indian does not tell lies; Indians do not steal. An Indian, who is as bad as the white men, could not live in our nation; he would be put to death, and eat up by the wolves.”
    -Black Hawk

    I guess the Sauk Tribe did not have one word for terrorist.

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