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As Gaza War Winds Down, What Happens Next?

Israel-Palestine-Flags

The primary target of the Israeli ground invasion, the tunnel network that Hamas had constructed over the past five years or more which seems to have clearly been designed primarily as a conduit for raids into Israeli territory, appears to have been destroyed:

 The IDF has destroyed Hamas’s flagship terrorism project: its network of tunnels that snuck into Israel.

Hamas spent five years preparing this strategic threat; the IDF wrecked 31 tunnels in two weeks.

By Sunday, all of the tunnels that the IDF discovered during the offensive, or knew about before the war, will be destroyed.It is assumed that there are a few tunnels that the army has yet to identify.

Many of the underground passages were designed to send heavily armed murder squads into Israeli communities and to attack army positions from the rear. They were filled with weapons, explosives and other equipment, enabling terrorists to enter a shaft in Gaza dressed in civilian clothing and emerge in Israel, disguised as IDF soldiers and equipped to inflict mass casualties.

In some of the tunnels, the army discovered motorcycles that Hamas had earmarked for speedy raids into Israel and subsequent retreats back into Gaza.

The army has gained good control of the areas of the Strip in which it is operating.

Despite very difficult fighting on the ground, which included Hamas cells using heavy rocket-propelled grenades, anti-tank missile and automatic rifle fire, and despite the painful price Israel has paid in lives lost, the army is very close to achieving this key goal of its offensive.

In the great majority of cases where the soldiers fought with Hamas, the battle has ended with terrorists killed, wounded or surrendering. No one in the army expected the fight to be easy. And no one expected every battle to end without painful losses on the Israeli side, when tens of thousands of soldiers fought with Hamas’s battalions of guerrillas.

This announcement coincides with the news that Israel is beginning to withdraw most of its ground troops from Gaza, even as air strikes continue. The withdrawal of troops is, of course, generally good news since it at least indicates that, contrary to the fears of some critics and the hopes of some of Israels has ost conservative defenders here in the United States, that Israel is not going to try to outright “destroy” Hamas, assuming such a thing were possible. It also seems to indicate that Israel is not going to engage in some kind of demilitarization of Gaza that would likely require the kind of long term occupation of the Gaza Strip that Israel abandoned years ago. What’s unclear is where we go from here. While it may be ending its ground operations, Israel is continuing with air and artillery strikes against Hamas targets, especially considering the fact that Hamas continues to fire rockets into Israel. Inevitably, of course, this is leading to the more civilian casualties in Gaza. More recently, this happened yesterday when an Israeli airstrike near a United Nations school housing refugees ended up killing ten people and injuring 35 others. This attack has been condemned by both the United Nations and the United States, although it seems unlikely that the criticism is unlikely to deter Israel going forward. Additionally, Israel has said that it will not participate in the proposed cease fire negotiations in Cairo due to the fact that Hamas has shown an unwillingness throughout this conflict to adhere to cease fires, something we saw most recently on Friday. 

None of this means that the war in Gaza is over, though. As noted, the air and artillery strikes to continue, especially if Hamas continues launching rockets at Israel, which they have no willingness to stop doing. If Hamas stops launching those rockets, then the Israelis have at least implied that they’re unlikely to continue with the strikes, but that would basically mean that we’re looking at a temporary lull in fighting rather than a cease fire of any kind, much less a long term peace. For the time being at least, it seems unlikely that Israel is going to be willing to talk to Hamas, and Hamas has said that it would not agree to any cease fire that didn’t include an end to the blockade of Gaza, which is actually maintained by both Egypt and Gaza. Since it’s obvious that last condition is not going to be met as a preliminary condition, then the prospect for talks would seem to be rather grim. Ideally, of course, there would be a way to push Hamas out of the way and put the Palestinian Authority back in control in Gaza, but that doesn’t seem likely to happen.

Ultimately, then it seems fairly clear that resolving the Gaza crisis means resolving the overall Israel/Palestinian issue. That means, in end, some form of a two-state solution, and that will require both the Israelis and the Palestinians to make compromises on issues including the final borders of the two nations, Israeli military presence in the West Bank, West Bank settlements, and Jerusalem. Andrew Sullivan seems to think that this is a pipe dream, and that the Israelis will never agree to the existence of a Palestinian state. Given the rhetoric that comes out of Jerusalem, it’s easy to see why that might be the case, and the additional rhetoric coming from Hamas makes it seem unlikely that the Palestinians would ever accept the idea of existing peacefully alongside Israel.  The alternative, though, is either a Greater Israel that becomes fully democratic and thus losses its Jewish identity through the inevitable force of demographics, or a permanent state of war that is interrupted by brief periods of  peace. Obviously, that second situation is the one that has defined the Middle East for much of Israel’s existence, but it seems clear that it is a less than ideal situation for either Israelis or Palestinians.  Just as happened with the Camp David Accords and the Oslo Accords, at some point one has to think that the parties will come to the realization that peace is the better alternative. If the past month is any indication, though, that day isn’t going to happen any time soon and, in any case, is unlikely to happen while the rest of the Arab world remains in upheaval.

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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. stonetools says:

    What happens next? Simple: nothing, followed by another Gaza “operation” in five years.
    Things won’t change because the players won’t change.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  2. JKB says:

    Well, given the Palestinian goal of the destruction of Israel, a defining, charter goal of Hamas, there is little room for negotiations. Or to think Hamas will end their provocations.

    Given Hamas has demonstrated their willingness to target civilian international aviation with the rocket attacks on Ben Gurion airport and the US and EU’s overt demonstration they consider this threat clear and present, one has to wonder why the rest of the international community isn’t joining in on the blockade of shipments directly into Gaza. Such an effort could not however, be under the auspices of the UN, which has been show to be giving material aid to Hamas’ terrorist activities.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 12 Thumb down 23

  3. CB says:

    Time to start working on the sequel. Christmas 2016 sounds about right.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  4. Eric Florack says:

    No fruitful negotation is possible.
    As such, the peace in the region is controlled by one factor alone… Islam and its ability to make war.
    Which means we will have a short respite while the denizens of the 14th century redig their tunnels and regroup.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 25

  5. PJ says:

    I’m going to repost this from a earlier thread:

    Perhaps you should read what Netanyahu says:

    He made explicitly clear that he could never, ever, countenance a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank. He indicated that he sees Israel standing almost alone on the frontlines against vicious Islamic radicalism, while the rest of the as-yet free world does its best not to notice the march of extremism. And he more than intimated that he considers the current American, John Kerry-led diplomatic team to be, let’s be polite, naive.

    Netanyahu has stressed often in the past that he doesn’t want Israel to become a binational state — implying that he favors some kind of accommodation with and separation from the Palestinians. But on Friday he made explicit that this could not extend to full Palestinian sovereignty. Why? Because, given the march of Islamic extremism across the Middle East, he said, Israel simply cannot afford to give up control over the territory immediately to its east, including the eastern border — that is, the border between Israel and Jordan, and the West Bank and Jordan.

    Not relinquishing security control west of the Jordan, it should be emphasized, means not giving a Palestinian entity full sovereignty there. It means not acceding to Mahmoud Abbas’s demands, to Barack Obama’s demands, to the international community’s demands. This is not merely demanding a demilitarized Palestine; it is insisting upon ongoing Israeli security oversight inside and at the borders of the West Bank. That sentence, quite simply, spells the end to the notion of Netanyahu consenting to the establishment of a Palestinian state. A less-than-sovereign entity? Maybe, though this will never satisfy the Palestinians or the international community. A fully sovereign Palestine? Out of the question.

    ——

    And then we have this from Moshe Feiglin, deputy speaker of the Knesset and member of the Likud party:

    Ultimatum – One warning from the Prime Minister of Israel to the enemy population, in which he announces that Israel is about to attack military targets in their area and urges those who are not involved and do not wish to be harmed to leave immediately. Sinai is not far from Gaza and they can leave. This will be the limit of Israel’s humanitarian efforts. Hamas may unconditionally surrender and prevent the attack.

    Attack – Attack the entire ‘target bank’ throughout Gaza with the IDF’s maximum force (and not a tiny fraction of it) with all the conventional means at its disposal. All the military and infrastructural targets will be attacked with no consideration for ‘human shields’ or ‘environmental damage’. It is enough that we are hitting exact targets and that we gave them advance warning.

    Siege – Parallel to the above, a total siege on Gaza. Nothing will enter the area. Israel, however, will allow exit from Gaza. (Civilians may go to Sinai, fighters may surrender to IDF forces).

    Defense – Any place from which Israel or Israel’s forces were attacked will be immediately attacked with full force and no consideration for ‘human shields’ or ‘environmental damage’.

    Conquer – After the IDF completes the “softening” of the targets with its fire-power, the IDF will conquer the entire Gaza, using all the means necessary to minimize any harm to our soldiers, with no other considerations.

    Elimination- The GSS and IDF will thoroughly eliminate all armed enemies from Gaza. The enemy population that is innocent of wrong-doing and separated itself from the armed terrorists will be treated in accordance with international law and will be allowed to leave. Israel will generously aid those who wish to leave.

    Sovereignty – Gaza is part of our Land and we will remain there forever. Liberation of parts of our land forever is the only thing that justifies endangering our soldiers in battle to capture land. Subsequent to the elimination of terror from Gaza, it will become part of sovereign Israel and will be populated by Jews. This will also serve to ease the housing crisis in Israel. The coastal train line will be extended, as soon as possible, to reach the entire length of Gaza.

    According to polls, most of the Arabs in Gaza wish to leave. Those who were not involved in anti-Israel activity will be offered a generous international emigration package. Those who choose to remain will receive permanent resident status. After a number of years of living in Israel and becoming accustomed to it, contingent on appropriate legislation in the Knesset and the authorization of the Minister of Interior, those who personally accept upon themselves Israel’s rule, substance and way of life of the Jewish State in its Land, will be offered Israeli citizenship.

    His “solution” for Gaza. Ethnic cleansing.

    We seem to have one leader who is willing to negotiate, Abbas. And what are the Palestinians on the West Bank getting for it? More settlements.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 2

  6. PJ says:

    @CB:

    Time to start working on the sequel. Christmas 2016 sounds about right.

    Nah, too early, the next legislative election isn’t until 7 November 2017. So, it’s going to be a spring or summer blockbuster in 2017. Unless they decide to hold elections early.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  7. michael reynolds says:

    What exactly was Hamas’ plan?

    1) Dig tunnels.
    2) Kill Israelis.
    3) ?

    It was a plan with only one possible outcome: massive retaliation against Gaza. End result, a bunch of their own people dead. Period.

    That said, the PA in the West Bank has gotten what, exactly, for its moderation? Screwed out of more land and more water.

    So the Israelis have successfully taught the Palestinians that no matter what they do, they’ll get nothing from Israel but contempt and bombs and slow-motion ethnic cleansing.

    Can someone please explain to me what the American interest is, here?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 6

  8. PJ says:

    @michael reynolds:

    What exactly was Hamas’ plan?

    1) Dig tunnels.
    2) Kill Israelis.
    3) ?

    It was a plan with only one possible outcome: massive retaliation against Gaza. End result, a bunch of their own people dead. Period.

    in Gaza, there are about 1,800 killed, including 400 children, and 9,000 wounded. Thousands of houses destroyed. Gaza’s only power plant destroyed. Most major water lines going into Gaza have been destroyed.

    And more and more in the rest of the world are turning against Israel.

    And that’s really what Hamas wanted. And Israel is giving it to them on a silver platter.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  9. stonetools says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Can someone please explain to me what the American interest is, here?

    Assauging the feelings of evangelical voters who feel that unstinting support for Israel will give America a better hearing with the LORD in the post Armageddon settlement a few years hence?
    Otherwise, I got nothing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 3

  10. mantis says:

    Not to worry, Israel will continue to bomb schools, hospitals, and refugee camps for a while, now that they’ve driven lots of civilians to shelter in those locations. The US should pull all support for this government, not reaffirm it. Ethnic cleansing is now quite clearly the goal of Bibi and crew.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 6

  11. President Camacho says:

    At least there is guaranteed to be something for the 24 hour news cycle to have to air. I mean its so weird that Jews and Muslim extremists can’t find a way to coexist. Hamas and the Palastinians should go the route of all those other advanced, peaceful, and forward thinking democratic nations in the Middle East and work with the Israelis. Look at all that they have achieved by doing this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  12. C. Clavin says:

    @michael reynolds:
    Well, yeah…given that Israel has no interest in peace…the Palestinians have no other choice. Unless you call full submission to an apartheid state, a choice.
    Essentially Israel was created by decree after WW2…today the International Community should dictate the terms of a settlement.
    If anyone but Israel were to do what they are doing today…people would be going absolutely bull$hit about it…but for some reason it is OK for Israel to pursue ethnic cleansing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 5

  13. SenyorDave says:

    @michael reynolds: That said, the PA in the West Bank has gotten what, exactly, for its moderation? Screwed out of more land and more water.

    If I was a 12 year old Palestinian living in the West Bank, I would hate Israel (and Israelis). Would I hate them anough to want to kill them? I don’t t know but it certainly seems like it would be a strong possibility. Isreal is now pretty open in their intentions in the West Bank.

    The West Bank will be a series of large, heavily fortified Israels settlements and a patchwork quilt of Palestinian villages on the remaining land Israel doesn’t want (poor land and/or limited water access) isolated by security fences.

    The end game for Israel is a South African-style apartheid state. And the US is helping to fund it.

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  14. wr says:

    @michael reynolds: “Can someone please explain to me what the American interest is, here?’

    Reading Florack and Jenos and a couple of the other “conservatives” around here, I think it’s the opportunity to paticipate vicariously in genocide.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 3

  15. anjin-san says:

    @ Florack

    denizens of the 14th century

    It’s noteworthy that you seem to live in abject terror of these “denizens of the 14th century “…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3

  16. President Camacho says:

    @SenyorDave: Well Senyor Dave momma said there would be days like this. Perhaps the strategy of “we will never recognize you as a nation” and “we will destroy you” is not such a good political strategy if countries in the ME want Israel to come to the bargaining table. They’ve got nukes, advanced tech, a really good arms industry, and money on their side (and they are the chosen peopel to boot). Let’s look at the progress and advances in each of the countries in the ME as compared to Israel from 1950 to the present and then decide where change is needed the most.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  17. ernieyeball says:

    Totally OT…James Brady is dead. RIP.
    http://www.cnn.com/2014/08/04/politics/james-brady-dies/index.html

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  18. michael reynolds says:

    @ernieyeball:

    I’m sure the NRA and the gun manufacturers will celebrate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  19. SKI says:

    @mantis: Bullshit.

    If Israel actually wanted to inflict massive civilian casualties, the death toll is missing a several zeros.

    We may all disagree with the Israeli Government on the efficacy or appropriateness of the air strikes but let’s keep a sense of reality. Only one side in this conflict wants ethnic cleansing and it is Hamas.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 11 Thumb down 10

  20. President Camacho says:

    @SKI: If Hamas got its hands on 10 nukes, how long until it used 1/2 of them? 5 minutes? 10?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  21. mantis says:

    @SKI:

    If Israel actually wanted to inflict massive civilian casualties

    They can’t go too far all at once. The consequences among their allies (namely, us) would be too severe. They will kill as many civilians as they can get away with, and try to make the rest wither away with no infrastructure.

    Only one side in this conflict wants ethnic cleansing and it is Hamas.

    No, only one side has nothing to lose, and that’s Hamas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2

  22. ernieyeball says:

    @michael reynolds:..I’m sure the NRA and the gun manufacturers will celebrate.

    Not to mention Glen Beck and his bevy of loons.
    http://www.glennbeck.com/publish/uploads/2013/05/GBC-TEACHER-JPG-640×360.jpg

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  23. Another Mike says:

    @SKI:

    If Israel actually wanted to inflict massive civilian casualties, the death toll is missing a several zeros.

    Here is a fellow who probably agrees.
    http://triblive.com/news/editorspicks/6550262-74/clinton-international-civilians

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  24. SKI says:

    @mantis: Now you are a mind reader? THat strikes me as based on prejudice, not facts. I judge actions, not either side’s propaganda.

    Hamas has repeatedly targeted civilians. They have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on infrastructure to enable terrorist attacks – not on economic or social benefits for their population. Israel hasn’t been on the ground in Gaza since 2005.
    In that 9 years, what did Hamas do that was aimed to benefit the population in gaza?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  25. PJ says:

    @President Camacho:

    Let’s look at the progress and advances in each of the countries in the ME as compared to Israel from 1950 to the present and then decide where change is needed the most.

    Depends on exactly what you’re going to measure. The advancement of some of the smaller oil states, for example Qatar and Kuwait, have been quite spectacular considering what they started from. Now, they treat a lot of foreign workers like slaves, so it all depends on weighing different measurements and how you would score how Israel is treating Gaza and the West Bank.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  26. michael reynolds says:

    Yeah, let’s not sentimentalize Hamas. They’re scum. They are terrorists, murderers, above all of their own people, who of they course they know perfectly well will take the brunt while they hide in five star hotels watching their handiwork on CNN. These are pathological killers addicted to slaughter because they have no other plan.

    The Israelis have nuclear weapons. If the object were genocide, they have the means at hand. Even on a conventional level, they are not deliberately targeting civilians.

    That does not excuse the IDF or the reckless bastards in Likud who are in the pockets of their own bunch of religious fanatics. But no good is served by exaggerating Israel’s bad deeds.

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  27. Senyordave says:

    @michael reynolds: The Israelis have nuclear weapons. If the object were genocide, they have the means at hand. Even on a conventional level, they are not deliberately targeting civilians.

    I don’t believe that Israel is intentionally targeting civilians with weapons as a policy. I do believe some soldiers do so, and have the benefit of knowing there is virtually no chance of any major reprecussions (after all, israel always “invesigates” incidents, but realistically what does the investigation consist of).

    What Israel does do, and I think its obvious, is engage in collective punishment. They target infrastuture and make life worse for civilians, and I believe they do it intentionally on an ongoing basis. Why? Because they can do so with no internal opposition since they have dehumanized Palestinians. They also have a lunatic cabinet that makes Netanyahu look like a liberal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  28. Senyordave says:

    @President Camacho: What is your explanation for the increased settlement policy in the West Bank? They have a partner for peace negotiations in Abbas, virtually no terrorist activity in years (in fact settler violence is more of an issue these days), and Israel has done everything they can to ensure there will be no meaningfule negotiations in the near future.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  29. mantis says:

    @SKI:

    Now you are a mind reader? THat strikes me as based on prejudice, not facts. I judge actions, not either side’s propaganda.

    No idea what you’re trying to say. Personally, I’m unfamiliar with Hamas’ propaganda. Israel’s I’m quite familiar with.

    Hamas has repeatedly targeted civilians.

    So has Israel. And they have many more, and much better, weapons. They are currently attempting to terrorize the civilian population in Gaza so they will stop supporting Hamas. For a variety of reasons, this effort will fail, and will likely have the opposite effect.

    They have spent hundreds of millions of dollars on infrastructure to enable terrorist attacks

    Citation needed.

    not on economic or social benefits for their population.

    For someone who claims to not listen to propaganda, you sure repeat it. Hamas provides a variety of social services to Gazans, to the extent that they can. Schools, clinics, food kitchens, etc. It’s a big part of why people there support them.

    Israel hasn’t been on the ground in Gaza since 2005.

    The invasion of Operation Cast Lead was in 2009. You really are unfamiliar with all of this, aren’t you?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  30. C. Clavin says:

    Here’s a map that explains a lot.

    http://silentcrownews.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/1946-2013-Map-of-Palestine-and-Israel.jpg

    What would you do if Canada started taking away most of the US?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  31. KM says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The Israelis have nuclear weapons. If the object were genocide, they have the means at hand.

    I’m not sure why people keep mentioning this like its a salient fact. Yeah, they have them – They also live right next door to where shit’s gonna go down if they use them. Tel Aviv is what, 50-60m from Gaza? Close enough for some seriously bad repercussions for it to be anything but the bitterest of Pyrrhic victories. There has to be some hardcore hate to burn down your own house and family to get the enemy inside.

    I agree that if there was an wholesale intention of genocide, they aren’t going to give a damn what the world says and go full throttle on it. But the whole WMD canard is almost a reductio ad absurdum of a serious situation. Israel outclasses Hamas in almost all weight categories without bring that to the table.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  32. mantis says:

    @Senyordave:

    What Israel does do, and I think its obvious, is engage in collective punishment. They target infrastuture and make life worse for civilians, and I believe they do it intentionally on an ongoing basis.

    It’s called terrorism. I have long supported Israel’s right to exist in peace and security, but it has become clear that its government is committed to ethnic cleansing. That doesn’t mean genocide, but rather a goal of ridding the Palestinian territories of Palestinians entirely.

    And by the way, when they have bombed all the infrastructure and driven helpless civilians into shelters and camps, they then bomb the shelters and camps. This cannot be denied.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  33. dazedandconfused says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Yeah, let’s not sentimentalize Hamas. They’re scum.

    So were the Israelis when they did a terrorist attack on the King David hotel. The guy that did it wound up being the PM of Israel. Demonizing them does little good. You mentioned the tunnels, and indeed they could be used as the Israelis would have us think, but they apparently weren’t. My strong hunch is that Hamas is simply copying Hezb’allah’s successful defense in the 06 Lebanese conflict. Their tunnel system allowed them not only maintain command and control throughout, but pop up behind the Izzies , which drove them nuts.

    Not that Bibi would have us believe the tunnels where they just lost three guys were for terrorizing Israeli’s but it’s on the border with Egypt, the most watched real estate on the planet. Our press corps have become simply stenographers where Israel is concerned.

    Assuming the goal of Hamas and the people of Gaza is to get the blockade lifted or significantly modified, until Hamas runs out of rockets they hold the initiative. The Izzies may have a big problem if they are hoping to “end hostilites” before international pressure forces them to do that. Their expansive and brilliantly successful PR campaign has earned them a mighty big dog to wag, but that dog comes with a mighty big spotlight.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  34. Tyrell says:

    Negotiating with terrorists is not an option. What needs to be done is take a look at some of the borders. The peope must disavow the terrorists and move them out.
    Read “The coming war with Iran” (alphanewsdaily.com) . This lays out possible future events involving Israel and other countries.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 7

  35. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:

    Read “The coming war with Iran” (alphanewsdaily.com)

    People actually read and believe this $hit??????

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  36. President Camacho says:

    @Senyordave: They need to stop that. Israel isn’t perfect – far from it. But I am not going to demonize them either when a good part of the region doesn’t recognize their right to exist and/or would prefer they be vaporized and would jump at the chance to make it happen.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  37. mantis says:

    An Israeli official has called for concentration camps in Gaza and ‘the conquest of the entire Gaza Strip, and annihilation of all fighting forces and their supporters’.

    Moshe Feiglin, Deputy Speaker of the Israeli Knesset and member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s ruling Likud Party, posted the inflammatory message on his Facebook page at the weekend.

    He lays out a detailed plan for the destruction of Gaza – which includes shipping its residents across the world – in a letter he addressed to the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  38. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @mantis: They can’t go too far all at once. The consequences among their allies (namely, us) would be too severe. They will kill as many civilians as they can get away with, and try to make the rest wither away with no infrastructure.

    Do you actually believe that?

    Most of the infrastructure Israel has destroyed has been tunnels that run under the border. Tunnels that Hamas managed to build — a truly remarkable feat of engineering — while “suffering” under those horrible embargos. Oh, and at the cost of at least 160 Palestinian child laborers.

    Israel targets legitimate military installations. Hamas places them in civilian areas, and urges civilians to act as human shields. So far, at least three UN-run schools have turned out to have weapons caches. Hamas’ main headquarters is under a hospital. One of those tunnels had its entrance through the basement of a UN health clinic.

    If Israel wanted to wipe out Gaza, they could do it in very short order. That they haven’t is very strong evidence that they don’t want to.

    In addition to the above war crimes, Hamas has also targeted countless civilian targets like hospitals, airports, and nuclear power plants. It uses children as both weapons and shields.

    And their goddamned charter explicitly calls for genocide against the Jews.

    And yet, you morally retarded imbecile, you seem to think them at least morally equal with Israel, if not superior. At least, that’s the impression you give when you harp endlessly on how bad Israel is, and militantly avoid ever talking about Hamas.

    Is it the fact that Republicans tend to be more supportive of Israel that makes you so knee-jerk against them? Is it because the Palestinians are so much weaker that your instinctive urge to support the underdog overwhelms any sense of reason you might possess, and doesn’t let you even consider that they might be in the wrong?

    Yes, the Palestinians are significantly weaker than the Israelis. And thank God, because they make no secret that if they had the power, they would exterminate every Jew they could.

    You occasionally come across as intelligent and reasonable. But in this case, you completely abandon any sign of intellect and throw yourself full-throated on to the wrong side.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 9

  39. anjin-san says:

    Republicans tend to be more supportive of Israel

    More like Republicans want to outsource American policy making to Tel Aviv, which is something I have a problem with.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  40. anjin-san says:

    the Palestinians are significantly weaker than the Israelis. And thank God, because they make no secret that if they had the power, they would exterminate every Jew they could.

    It’s a little difficult to take you seriously when you refer to an entire people as a monolithic hive mind with a unified goal. I suspect most Palestinians want the same things all of us want – a decent place to live, to live without fear and with a chance for a better life for their children.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  41. wr says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: “Is it the fact that Republicans tend to be more supportive of Israel that makes you so knee-jerk against them?”

    Ladies and gentlemen, I present you “Jenos Idanian,” King of Projection.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  42. C. Clavin says:

    This whole Hamas charter thing is mostly Israeli propaganda … the folks repeating it here show their inability to form independent thought.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  43. anjin-san says:

    while “suffering” under those horrible embargos. Oh, and at the cost of at least 160 Palestinian child laborers.

    Cites?

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  44. Another Mike says:

    @anjin-san:

    I suspect most Palestinians want the same things all of us want – a decent place to live, to live without fear and with a chance for a better life for their children.

    They will stand on you infidel grave, and spit, and shake their heads in wonderment that he never got it, right up till the very end when it didn’t even matter any more. Believe what you want, but at some point reality catches up with you. Whatever they want, they want it without you and me.

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  45. anjin-san says:

    @ Another Mike

    The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.

    Aldous Huxley (who had your number without ever meeting you)

    PS – if you live in fear of Palestinians, who are among the most powerless people on earth, standing on your grave, I can only pity you.

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  46. george says:

    @KM:

    I’m not sure why people keep mentioning this like its a salient fact. Yeah, they have them – They also live right next door to where shit’s gonna go down if they use them. Tel Aviv is what, 50-60m from Gaza? Close enough for some seriously bad repercussions for it to be anything but the bitterest of Pyrrhic victories. There has to be some hardcore hate to burn down your own house and family to get the enemy inside.

    I suppose they could settle for the kind of fire bombing that was a regular feature of WW2. The point being, they more than have the capability to commit genocide if they wanted to. Or to inflict much more damage than they are (again, study WW2 bombing if you don’t think they’re not restraining themselves somewhat).

    It’s a horrible situation, and I don’t pretend to know who’s right and who’s wrong (I suspect no side is in the right actually), or what solution might be out there. But clearly Israel isn’t attacking full out.

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  47. C. Clavin says:

    @george:

    But clearly Israel isn’t attacking full out.

    Yes…they are holding themselves back to a 30:1 kill rate. So sensitive. So benevolent.

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  48. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: This whole Hamas charter thing is mostly Israeli propaganda … the folks repeating it here show their inability to form independent thought.

    Just when I thought you had shown how stupid you were… you dig even deeper.

    I’ve given links to Hamas’ Charter on several occasions. Here it is again. Hamas leaders, whenever asked and often without being asked, reaffirm their commitment to that Charter.

    Are you so effing stupid that you don’t know this, or so effing racist that you think that they don’t really mean what they say, over and over and over?

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  49. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @C. Clavin: Yes…they are holding themselves back to a 30:1 kill rate. So sensitive. So benevolent.

    That’s not a commentary on Israel’s dedication, but on comparative competence.

    Israel puts a LOT of effort into defending its civilians. Mandatory bomb shelters, the iron Dome program, and a host of other programs. They really, really, really work on minimizing civilian casualties — on both sides.

    Hamas has just the opposite goal. They want to maximize civilian casualties on both sides. That’s why they have fired over 3,000 rockets into Israel. That’s why they lace their anti-civilian bombs with nails and screws and rat poison. That’s why they dig dozens of tunnels deep in the earth under Israel’s border. That’s why they use schools, hospitals, mosques, private homes, and other “protected” sites for military purposes.

    Hamas, if they could, would wipe out every single Jew. How do we know this? Because they keep saying so. Just what makes you think that they’re lying?

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  50. C. Clavin says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Thanks for proving my point.

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  51. george says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Yes…they are holding themselves back to a 30:1 kill rate. So sensitive. So benevolent.

    You do realize they could be at a 10,000:1 kill rate?

    Again, study the history of 20th century warfare, with particular attention to civilian casualty rates. That doesn’t mean that Israel is acting angelic, but its a long way from being among the worst in that category.

    I think its blockade of Gaza and the settlements is wrong (of course, I also think the European invasion of North America was wrong, so what do I know?). I think its strong stance against allowing a Palestinian state is wrong.

    But I its so obvious that they could be killing several orders of magnitude more civilians if they chose to do so that I find it hard to believe you (or anyone else) thinks otherwise, and your apparent belief that Israel is going all out in killing makes it hard to take other things you say on the situation seriously.

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  52. Moosebreath says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “Most of the infrastructure Israel has destroyed has been tunnels that run under the border.”

    Only if you ignore the only power plant in Gaza, numerous hospitals, police stations, etc. All of which are somehow not located in tunnels that run across the border.

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  53. anjin-san says:
  54. anjin-san says:

    @ Jenos

    You are making a lot of claims, how about supporting some of them?

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  55. C. Clavin says:

    @george:
    Clearly you have a reading comprehension problem.
    And the idea that only 1000 dead civilians is somehow benevolent speaks volumes about how f’ed up the Israeli idolatry is.

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  56. PJ says:

    a. “The Jordan river will be the permanent eastern border of the State of Israel.”

    b. “Jerusalem is the eternal, united capital of the State of Israel and only of Israel. The government will flatly reject Palestinian proposals to divide Jerusalem”

    c. “The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”

    d. “The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting.

    From the 1999 Likud party charter.

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  57. Eric Florack says:

    @wr: Do you really suppose that the Islamists, having defeated Israel… or having Israel handed them, will actually stop there? Does the lesson Neville Chamberlain learned the hard way need to be retaught?

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  58. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Moosebreath: Only if you ignore the only power plant in Gaza, numerous hospitals, police stations, etc. All of which are somehow not located in tunnels that run across the border.

    I should have put sarcastic quote marks around “infrastructure” — what I meant was the efforts and resources in creating those tunnels could have been for considerable actual, useful infrastructure.

    As far as your list of Israeli targets… I know that a Hamas rocket took out the power lines that supply Palestinians with electricity (that they don’t pay for), that at least one hospital in Gaza has Hamas’ main headquarters in its basement, one hospital was actually hit by a misaimed Hamas rocket, and Hamas has fired its rockets from right next to schools and other supposedly “protected” sites, so my first instinct is to suspect Hamas as having used them for cover.

    Under international law (and common sense), certain sites are supposed to be “protected” during war. This includes schools, hospitals, civilian homes, and the like, However, once they are used for military purposes, they lose that protection — and the blame falls on the side that militarized them.

    This means that when Hamas puts the entrance of a tunnel into Israel in the basement of a UN-run health clinic, they have militarized that clinic and made it a legitimate target. And if Israel blows up that clinic while trying to seal that tunnel, it’s Hamas’ fault.

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  59. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @PJ: From the 1999 Likud party charter.

    Likud was founded in the 1970s, as I recall. Charters are usually founding documents. Did they actually exist for a couple of decades as a major political force in Israel before bothering to put together a charter?

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  60. C. Clavin says:

    As the Israel worshipers say…
    BOOM BOOM BOOM

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  61. Another Mike says:

    @anjin-san:

    The propagandist’s purpose is to make one set of people forget that certain other sets of people are human.

    True enough, if you consider the vicious Hun posters from WWI, but teaching that Jews are bloodsuckers and the descendants of apes and pigs takes it to a much deeper level.

    So when you said that most Palestinians want the same things all of us want, you left out the part about being free of the descendants of apes and pigs, which goes to the heart of the conflict.

    Perhaps this article will give some insight into the passions involved.
    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/islam-and-the-misuses-of-ecstasy

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  62. Barry says:

    @PJ: “We seem to have one leader who is willing to negotiate, Abbas. And what are the Palestinians on the West Bank getting for it? More settlements. ”

    Since Israel’s definition of ‘peace’ is ‘surrender, and slow-motion ethnic cleansing and imiseration’, …

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  63. Barry says:

    @michael reynolds: Everybody here should read http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n15/mouin-rabbani/israel-mows-the-lawn
    and
    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v36/n16/nathan-thrall/hamass-chances

    Basically, Israel and Hamas struck a deal, and Hamas adhered to it (not perfectly, but far better than Israel has *ever* stuck to it’s deals). Israel broke their deal, big time. The end result was that Hamas was being quite deliberately squeezed.

    Quote from the second article:

    “During the three months that followed the ceasefire, Shin Bet recorded only a single attack: two mortar shells fired from Gaza in December 2012. Israeli officials were impressed. But they convinced themselves that the quiet on Gaza’s border was primarily the result of Israeli deterrence and Palestinian self-interest. Israel therefore saw little incentive in upholding its end of the deal. In the three months following the ceasefire, its forces made regular incursions into Gaza, strafed Palestinian farmers and those collecting scrap and rubble across the border, and fired at boats, preventing fishermen from accessing the majority of Gaza’s waters.

    The end of the closure never came. Crossings were repeatedly shut. So-called buffer zones – agricultural lands that Gazan farmers couldn’t enter without being fired on – were reinstated. Imports declined, exports were blocked, and fewer Gazans were given exit permits to Israel and the West Bank.”

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  64. PJ says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Likud was founded in the 1970s, as I recall. Charters are usually founding documents. Did they actually exist for a couple of decades as a major political force in Israel before bothering to put together a charter?

    You do understand that these change? I mean you can’t be unfamiliar with the demands that Hamas removes certain bits about Israel from their charter? (A charter that wasn’t affirmed until a year after Hamas was founded.)

    This, to my understanding, was Likud’s charter between 1999 and May 2014, it has now been replaced by something a lot more vague, but it doesn’t express any support for a Palestinian state.

    So, Hamas and Likud share a quite a similar view about the future of Israel, the West Bank, Gaza, etc. Obviously with one rather big difference… I’m certain that even you can spot the difference.

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  65. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Israel targets legitimate military installations

    Israel also targets children on beaches. Israel destroys neighborhoods, driving survivors to shelter in schools and hospitals. Then it bombs the schools and hospitals. Israel drives thousands to refugee camps. Then it bombs the camps.

    And yet, you morally retarded imbecile, you seem to think them at least morally equal with Israel, if not superior.

    Bullshit. I’ve never said anything of the kind. It just shows what a weak, pathetic argument you have that you must, yet again, as always, invent other people’s positions for them.

    I expect more of our ally Israel than being somewhat better than a despicable terrorist organization. You clearly think they should be worse than Hamas so you can sit around jerking off to the thought of dismbered children. You are scum.

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  66. wr says:

    @Eric Florack: That’s right, Eric, you go hide under your bed and continue to believe that everyone you don’t llike — which, now that I think of it, is everyone — is actually Nazi Germany and that you are the true heir to Winston Churchill.

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  67. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @PJ: Do you have a single link to what you’re saying, or do you insist that we all just trust you and take your word for things? I’ve linked repeatedly to Hamas’ charter; I know better than to expect anyone to “take my word for it.” You obviously cut and pasted that excerpt from somewhere; why don’t you show where it came from?

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  68. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @mantis: Israel also targets children on beaches. Israel destroys neighborhoods, driving survivors to shelter in schools and hospitals. Then it bombs the schools and hospitals. Israel drives thousands to refugee camps. Then it bombs the camps.

    “Schools and hospitals.” So what? Three schools have been found to be housing rockets. At least one hospital covers (literally) Hamas’ main headquarters.

    Israel goes after the weapons. Hamas tries to hide the weapons behind civilians. Hamas compels the civilians to protect the weapons. Here’s a Hamas training manual that explicitly says that Israel limits itself to avoid civilian casualties, and how to exploit that reluctance.

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  69. Matt Bernius says:

    @PJ:

    From the 1999 Likud party charter.

    That’s incorrect. The words were *not* from the charter but the Party Platform of 1999.

    Some references refer to it a the “Charter” or “Constitution” as periodically the party reconstitutes itself and/or reaffirms it’s core positions. However, in American political terms it’s much closer to a party platform than our Federal understanding of a Constitution or Charter.

    Said charter is no longer on the Likud or Knesset websites. But a copy can be found at the Internet Archive:
    http://web.archive.org/web/20090225003156/http://knesset.gov.il/elections/knesset15/elikud_m.htm

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  70. Matt Bernius says:

    @Barry:

    The end of the closure never came. Crossings were repeatedly shut. So-called buffer zones – agricultural lands that Gazan farmers couldn’t enter without being fired on – were reinstated. Imports declined, exports were blocked, and fewer Gazans were given exit permits to Israel and the West Bank.

    This is a critical point that needs to be understood. The result of the closures and heightened security has had a two fold negative effect on the situation:

    1. It gutted the West Bank economy. At one time there had been a high standard of living there, but I challenge anyone to find a source from the last few years that backs up this claim. The fact is that not only were these moves damaging to Palestinian businesses, they made it all but impossible for Palestinians to be hired as day laborers on many Isreali farms and in other locations. Not only was that an economic blow that destablilized lower income Palestinians, but it helped lead to the second issue:

    2. We have an entire generations of Isrealis and Palestinians who have grown up with little to no contact. In fact, for most Palestinians, the only Isrealis they encounter are Police and Military (who btw more or less look at Palestinians as potential terrorists – because, it’s their job to do so).

    Given the relatively benign actions by the US government that have led some of our citizens to talk about armed rebellion/resistance, you would think that there might be more empathy for the frustrations of the Palestinians.

    None of this should be taken as making excuses for Hamas. But pointing out that simplistic (this is all about Islam) accounts of the situation just don’t work.

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  71. Tyrell says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: The land was given to the Hebrew people thousands of years ago. Their nation was given the name Israel. It is their land now and will always be their land.

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  72. mantis says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    “Schools and hospitals.” So what?

    After bombing civilians out of their homes and driving them into those shelters, they bomb the shelters. Israel is intentionally pushing civilians into specific locations and then killing them there. Yeah, so what. As long as Jenos gets his jollies, it’s all good.

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  73. mantis says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Indeed. Folks who demonize the Palestinians should ask themselves, “what would I do?” What if I was trapped in an open air prison with no hope, no freedom of movement, no economic opportunity, surrounded by poverty and disease, where unemployment among the group most vulnerable to the influence of militancy is close to 50%, and where every few years a vastly superior military massively bombs neighborhoods and infrastructure, killing hundreds or thousands of women and children? It’s hard to imagine from the relative comfort and luxury of my life in the US, but my guess is I would fight my oppressors, and support anyone else who does too. What the hell else could one do? Lay down and die?

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  74. Matt Bernius says:

    @PJ

    I mean you can’t be unfamiliar with the demands that Hamas removes certain bits about Israel from their charter? (A charter that wasn’t affirmed until a year after Hamas was founded.)

    Again, not quite right. The portions about the destruction of Isreal remain in the Hamas charter. The position was changed in the party Manifesto in 2006:

    In March 2006, Hamas released its official legislative program. The document clearly signaled that Hamas could refer the issue of recognizing Israel to a national referendum. Under the heading “Recognition of Israel,” it stated simply (AFP, 3/11/06): “The question of recognizing Israel is not the jurisdiction of one faction, nor the government, but a decision for the Palestinian people.” This was a major shift away from their 1988 charter.[68]
    [source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas#Goals

    However, regardless of the Manifesto, the Charter still remains unchanged:

    Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal indicated to Robert Pastor, senior adviser to the Carter Center, that the Charter is “a piece of history and no longer relevant, but cannot be changed for internal reasons”.[85]
    [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas#Current_status_of_the_Charter]

    To this point, the charter is no longer available on their website (similar to the 1999 Likud Party Platform).

    Without a doubt it would be a significant symbolic move for Hamas to amend the charter. And probably a necessary move for a public peace process to move forward. It’s unlikely that this will happen any time soon. But that shouldn’t prevent outside pressure on the organization to make that change (not that outside pressure always helps).

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  75. C. Clavin says:

    @Tyrell:
    Native Americans will be excited to learn that you wish to give your house, and the land it sits on, back to them.

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  76. Rafer Janders says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Given the relatively benign actions by the US government that have led some of our citizens to talk about armed rebellion/resistance, you would think that there might be more empathy for the frustrations of the Palestinians.

    You know, I do wonder if all those on this site who believe that the best solution to government repression is an armed citizenry support the right of all Palestinians to arm themselves as protection against the Israeli military….

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  77. C. Clavin says:

    @Matt Bernius:
    What you didn’t mention is that the charter was never adopted after Republicans in America stupidly forced the election of 2006 and Hamas was elected as the Palestinian Government.

    Without a doubt it would be a significant symbolic move for Hamas to amend the charter. And probably a necessary move for a public peace process to move forward.

    Right. Because Israel isn’t going to stop killing Palestinians at a 30:1 rate unless Hamas makes what would be a largely symbolic move.
    The charter thing is simply Israeli propaganda used to justify it’s pursuit of an apartheid state.
    Neither of these two parties is in the right…they are both wrong; addressing that is where outside pressure should be applied.

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  78. wr says:

    @C. Clavin: “Native Americans will be excited to learn that you wish to give your house, and the land it sits on, back to them.”

    But Jeebus didn’t give America to the Native Americans — he gave it to us!

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  79. Matt Bernius says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Contra what some people have written here, there have been “successful” negotiations with the political arms of terrorists groups. One need look no further than the IRA (an impossible peace according to most op-ed pieces from the 70’s and 80’s). However, for that to take place, multiple symbolic concessions had to be made by both sides. And that included a very public renouncement of a lot of the Irish Independence movement’s founding ideas.

    The Hamas charter is, and will continue to be, a millstone around the organization’s neck. Any pragmatist will admit that. It shouldn’t stop private negotiations to happen (if *both* sides want them to happen). But pretending that it isn’t hampering public negotiations is the sloppiest sort of “reasoning.”

    BTW, the symbolic concessions need to publicly occur on both sides of the aisle. This isn’t just about Hamas changing — everyone involved needs to change and conceed. It’s clear that the current Israeli leadership is just as unwilling to change its position on this issue.

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  80. C. Clavin says:

    @Matt Bernius:
    But your comment above is clear…Hamas has walked away from the rhetoric, if not the written words…and to what end? 1000 dead civilians in the last few weeks.
    Again…neither side is without fault here…but Israel has not responded in kind to movement by Hamas.
    As I said above…Israel was created by decree…settling this issue will probably take the same thing.

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  81. mantis says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    The Hamas charter is, and will continue to be, a millstone around the organization’s neck. Any pragmatist will admit that. It shouldn’t stop private negotiations to happen (if *both* sides want them to happen). But pretending that it isn’t hampering public negotiations is the sloppiest sort of “reasoning.”

    And Israel has had a golden opportunity to work with the West Bank to ease the occupation and allow economic growth as a counterpoint to relations with Gaza under Hamas. They have decided to keep strangling the West Bank instead, which will never lead to peace. Apparently, the current Israeli government has zero interest in peace.

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  82. Another Mike says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    You know, I do wonder if all those on this site who believe that the best solution to government repression is an armed citizenry support the right of all Palestinians to arm themselves as protection against the Israeli military….

    It would be nice, if the Palestinians — especially the ones in Gaza — were armed at the level we Americans are. What a dream.

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  83. Another Mike says:

    @C. Clavin:

    The charter thing is simply Israeli propaganda used to justify it’s pursuit of an apartheid state.

    You show great disrespect to Hamas. You apparently didn’t follow and read the link I posted above. Here it is again:
    http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/islam-and-the-misuses-of-ecstasy

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  84. Matt Bernius says:

    @mantis:
    Did you miss the next paragraph where I wrote:

    This isn’t just about Hamas changing — everyone involved needs to change and conceed. It’s clear that the current Israeli leadership is just as unwilling to change its position on this issue.

    I guess I wasn’t clear enough – so here goes: the current Israeli government has no interest in changing the status quo and as such is continuing to play a critical part in bolstering the political power of Hamas.

    @C. Clavin

    Hamas has walked away from the rhetoric, if not the written words.

    And those written words will continue to be a millstone around the organizations neck and a further political justification for the radical action taken by Israel. If Hamas wanted to work to rhetorically disarm Israel, amending the charter would be a great first step.

    Do words justify the overall actions here? No. But pretending that the charter has not been an important rhetorical issue in the peace process is foolish. Period.

    One need only look to see *how much cover* that document has continued to give Israel.

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  85. mantis says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Did you miss the next paragraph where I wrote:

    No, I wasn’t disagreeing with you. I was just adding on. It’s a damned tragedy that Israel has not taken advantage of the opportunity in the West Bank.

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  86. Matt Bernius says:

    @Another Mike:
    Again, I am always impressed how people who think that Harris is completely wrong and predjudiced against Christianity simultaneously think his reasoning is so right about Islam.

    I hope you will join Mr. Harris in calling for an end of diplomatic immunity for the Vatican and “bringing the pope to justice” over the child sex abuse issues:

    Fom Sam Harris’s website:
    Excerpt from “Bringing the Vatican to Justice”
    http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/brin/
    The evidence suggests that the misery of these children was facilitated and concealed by the hierarchy of the Catholic Church at every level, up to and including the prefrontal cortex of the current Pope. In his former capacity as Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict personally oversaw the Vatican’s response to reports of sexual abuse in the Church. What did this wise and compassionate man do upon learning that his employees were raping children by the thousands? Did he immediately alert the police and ensure that the victims would be protected from further torments? One still dares to imagine such an effulgence of basic human sanity might have been possible, even within the Church. On the contrary, repeated and increasingly desperate complaints of abuse were set aside, witnesses were pressured into silence, bishops were praised for their defiance of secular authority, and offending priests were relocated only to destroy fresh lives in unsuspecting parishes. It is no exaggeration to say that for decades (if not centuries) the Vatican has met the formal definition of a criminal organization, devoted not to gambling, prostitution, drugs, or any other venial sin, but to the sexual enslavement of children.
    [...]
    This is [account of child abuse is the kind] that the Church has practiced and concealed since time out of memory.
    [...]
    I would like to announce that Project Reason, the foundation that my wife and I started to spread scientific thinking and secular values, has joined Hitchens and Dawkins (both of whom sit on our advisory board) in an effort to end the “diplomatic immunity” which the Vatican claims protects the Pope from any responsibility.

    Likewise, I’m sure you agree with all of his other recent writings on Christianty:
    http://www.samharris.org/blog/category/christianity

    Or wait, let me guess. He’s wrong on Christianity — generalizing, taking things out of context, completely off base, faulty reasoning. Just like he is when he writes in defense of Abortion, or in favor of Gay Marriage.

    BTW here’s Sam Harris on Abortion:

    Mr. Harris mocks conservative Christians for opposing abortion, writing: ”20 percent of all recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. There is an obvious truth here that cries out for acknowledgment: if God exists, He is the most prolific abortionist of all.”

    And on Gay Marriage:

    Consequently, religious people will devote immense energy to so-called moral problems—such as gay marriage—where no real suffering is at issue, and they will happily contribute to the surplus of human misery if it serves their religious beliefs.

    Totally wrong on both points… But man, when he attacks those Muslims, then he gets *everything* right.

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  87. Another Mike says:

    @mantis:

    And Israel has had a golden opportunity to work with the West Bank to ease the occupation and allow economic growth as a counterpoint to relations with Gaza under Hamas. They have decided to keep strangling the West Bank instead, which will never lead to peace. Apparently, the current Israeli government has zero interest in peace.

    Here is an article about economic conditions in the West Bank. It is written mostly from the Palestinian perspective, but it is clear to me that being “under Israel” is a heck of a good deal for the West Bank.

    There is sort of an implication in the article that the Palestinians would have done better by themselves without the Israelis. Believe that if you will, but we know what happened to everything the Israelis left behind when they withdrew from Gaza.

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  88. Matt Bernius says:

    Believe that if you will, but we know what happened to everything the Israelis left behind when they withdrew from Gaza.

    You mean everything the Israelis left standing right? As the settlers demolished roughly half of their existing greenhouses prior to leaving (in hopes of getting payment for them or to avoid seeing them fall into Palestinian hands):
    Source: http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/15/international/middleeast/15mideast.html?_r=1&

    About half the greenhouses in the Israeli settlements in Gaza have already been dismantled by their owners, who have given up waiting to see if the government was going to come up with extra payment as an inducement to leave them behind, say senior officials working on the coordination of this summer’s Israeli pullout from Gaza.

    That’s kinda an important footnote to the “the Palestinians destroyed everything they were given story.”

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  89. C. Clavin says:

    @Matt Bernius:
    Yes…what you are describing is called propaganda.
    I too would advise Hamas to strike it from the un-adopted charter.
    I would wager that it wouldn’t change the actions of Israel one little bit, though.
    They would simply find another justification for their latent form of apartheid.

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  90. PJ says:

    @Matt Bernius:
    You’re correct :) It’s from Likud’s party platform.

    @Matt Bernius:
    Never said that Hamas has changed their charter.

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Do you have a single link to what you’re saying, or do you insist that we all just trust you and take your word for things?

    I see that I forgot to post a link (I usually do), but Matter Bernius has.
    But I posted a link to what the deputy speaker of the Knesset wrote earlier. I wonder what your reaction would be if someone from the terrorist organisation Hamas had said the same about the Jews in Israel? (Which they have, so it’s clearly not a theoretical question.)

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  91. mantis says:

    @Another Mike:

    Here is an article about economic conditions in the West Bank.

    No link.

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  92. Robin Cohen says:

    Dare I hope for peace for both sides? Time for both sides to grow up and behave like mature countries.

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  93. Another Mike says:
  94. Another Mike says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Again, I am always impressed how people who think that Harris is completely wrong and predjudiced against Christianity simultaneously think his reasoning is so right about Islam.

    At least you are consistent in attacking Harris for his positions on topics not related to the topic at hand.

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  95. Matt Bernius says:

    @Another Mike:

    At least you are consistent in attacking Harris for his positions on topics not related to the topic at hand.

    As consistent as you are in not addressing a fundamental question:

    Why is Harris’s line of thought and use of evidence so convincing when it’s directed as a religion *you don’t like* and so wrong when it’s directed at a religion that you are a part of? (Hint – it might have much more to do with your personal biases than any critical examination of Harris’s writings or his reasoning.)

    Or if Harris’ critique of Islam is correct, what do you think about his critique of Christianity and other religions? Do you think Harris is equally right when he writes in support of gay marriage or abortion or the prosecution of the Catholic Church over Child Sex issues? Or the “genocidal stupidity of Catholic ban on condoms” (his words, not mine)?

    Again, I’m not the one — who in the past has demonstrated deeply held Catholic views — who keeps presenting Harris as someone “who should be listened to” on the topic of Islam (while conveniently ignoring everything that Harris writes about my own and other religions). If so shouldn’t he be listened to when he discusses other religions?

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  96. mantis says:

    @Another Mike:

    Here is an article about economic conditions in the West Bank. It is written mostly from the Palestinian perspective, but it is clear to me that being “under Israel” is a heck of a good deal for the West Bank.

    So when Israel prevents the Palestinians from building their own economy, takes the best land, employs Palestinians while often exploiting and abusing them with little to no oversight, you see that as a “heck of a good deal?” This arrangement will only keep the West Bank economically strangled.

    There is sort of an implication in the article that the Palestinians would have done better by themselves without the Israelis.

    No, there is an indication that Palestinians want self-determination and freedom to build their own economy rather than being exploited by an occupying force that can kill them at any time. Are you an American? Given the history of our nation, can you not understand this desire?

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  97. Grewgills says:

    @michael reynolds:

    The Israelis have nuclear weapons. If the object were genocide, they have the means at hand.

    That’s a bit silly. There are a bevvy of reasons for them to not use nukes entirely unrelated to they’re efficacy in killing Palestinians, not the least of which is the damage to their own population from using them even if they didn’t care about the political fallout.

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  98. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    And their goddamned charter explicitly calls for genocide against the Jews.

    You have been shown repeatedly in multiple threads that this has not been true for years. Why do you keep repeating it?

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  99. Grewgills says:

    @Grewgills:
    Rather, you have been shown that the charter has not been adopted and the document they did actually adopt does not have this language in it.

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  100. Another Mike says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    If so shouldn’t he be listened to when he discusses other religions?

    Because his opinions on some topics have been examined and have been found to be wrong. You may presume that he is wrong on Islam, but one can not be sure without examining what he says on the topic. If Harris is taboo for you, then so be it. I would say that you made your point, and I get it.

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  101. Another Mike says:

    @mantis:

    Given the history of our nation, can you not understand this desire?

    Yes, I can, but we fought our war and won, while the Palestinians and their allies fought their wars and lost. History shows that the consequence of losing wars is often the loss of land. It seems though that we have a different set of rules for Israel, and that has given the Palestinians some measure of hope..

    I personally don’t think the West Bank will ever be independent. It could very easily become an existential threat to Israel as an independent state. I think Caroline Glick’s One State Solution has a better chance of happening than a Palestinian state.

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  102. PJ says:

    @Another Mike:

    History shows that the consequence of losing wars is often the loss of land.

    Then Israel should just claim the land and allow the people living there citizenship or force them away from that land.

    But that’s not what Israel has done. Instead it has been occupying both Gaza and the West Bank, controlling exactly what people living in these areas can import, export, and so on. And then Israel has built settlements in both areas (even if those in Gaza are now gone), forcing the Palestinians into smaller and smaller areas.

    So yeah, there’s a reason why people judge Israel differently.

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  103. Barry says:

    @SenyorDave: “The end game for Israel is a South African-style apartheid state. And the US is helping to fund it. ”

    The current state of the game is just that.

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  104. Barry says:

    @Barry: Adding on and emphasizing – Hamas kept their end of the bargain by ~99%; Israel didn’t at all.

    Israel does not want peace.

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  105. Barry says:

    @Matt Bernius: “Do words justify the overall actions here? No. But pretending that the charter has not been an important rhetorical issue in the peace process is foolish. Period.”

    Bull. Israel’s actions speak louder than words, and Israel has made it perfectly clear that they don’t want peace.

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  106. Barry says:

    @mantis: “So when Israel prevents the Palestinians from building their own economy, takes the best land, employs Palestinians while often exploiting and abusing them with little to no oversight, you see that as a “heck of a good deal?” This arrangement will only keep the West Bank economically strangled.”

    Seconded.

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