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Israel Rejects Temporary Cease Fire Plan As Gaza Conflict Continues To Rage

Gaza Attack 2

Secretary State John Kerry has been in the Middle East for the past several days attempting to broker a cease fire in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas which has now been raging in Gaza for eighteen days. Earlier today, there were reports that Kerry, along with the Egyptians and officials in Qatar that apparently have a good relationship with Hamas, was backing a plan that would have put in place a humanitarian cease fire that would have lasted for a week, with the idea that the parties would use that time to try to negotiate a wider agreement. Earlier this afternoon, though, word came down that Israel had rejected the plan in its current form:

JERUSALEM — Israeli media say the country’s Security Cabinet has unanimously rejected a U.S. proposal for a temporary pause in Israel-Hamas fighting.

The proposal by Secretary of State John Kerry calls for a temporary truce during which Israel and Hamas would hold indirect talks about easing the border closure of the blockaded Gaza Strip. Hamas has demanded that Gaza’s crossings be opened.

Israel TV reports that on Friday evening, Israel’s Security Cabinet — which groups top ministers on security issues — rejected the proposal in its current form Friday, mainly because it would mean Israel has to cut short an ongoing effort to destroy Hamas military tunnels under the Gaza-Israel border.

There was no immediate Israeli government comment.

Israeli airstrikes hit more than 80 sites in Gaza, while militants in the tiny Mediterranean strip fired 50 rockets at Israel, the army said.
Among the sites hit in Gaza were 30 homes, including that of a leader of the Islamic Jihad group who was killed along with his sons, Palestinian officials said.

Israel says it wants to diminish Hamas’ ability fire rockets and to destroy tunnels Hamas has dug under Gaza’s border with Israel for military purposes. Hamas, meanwhile, wants to force Israel and Egypt to end their seven-year-old blockade of Gaza’s borders.

The worst round of cross-border fighting in more than five years has killed 828 Palestinians and wounded more than 5,200, according to Palestinian health officials. The U.N. has civilians make up three-fourths of the dead and a majority of the wounded.

In Israel, 38 people have been killed since July 8, including 35 soldiers, two Israeli civilians and a Thai worker.

This latest news came a day after a United Nations school in Gaza that was being used as a shelter for civilians who had been forced out of other parts of the region due to fighting was hit by fire, killing sixteen people and wounding more than one hundred. Both sides in the conflict pointed fingers after the incident, with Hamas saying that an Israeli strike had hit the school, and Israel saying that it was a stray Hamas rocket that was responsible for the tragedy. Given that the site is in the middle of a war zone, it will be impossible to figure out what the truth is at this point, of course, and on some level it wouldn’t even matter if it did. Each side will interpret the event however they see fit. On the Palestinian side, for example, the attack was followed by large anti-Israel protests in the West Bank, which has been relatively quiet for most of the nearly three weeks that the conflict between Israel and Hamas has been going on. Whether that’s a sign that the conflict is likely to spread, such as the calls by some in Hamas for a so-called “third Intifada” in the West Bank in recent weeks, is unclear. At the very least, though, it is yet another sign that this latest war is unlikely to do anything to dispel the mutual hatred and distrust that fuels the Israel-Palestinian conflict, even if Israel does manage to seriously undermine the ability of Hamas to attack Israel in the future.

As I’ve said in my previous posts, I continue to believe that Israel is largely in the right here. Hamas is a terrorist organization that has dedicated itself to Israel’s destruction, refuses to recognizes the right of Israel to exist, and has used its time in power to turn Gaza into the launching pad for terror attacks while ignoring the welfare of the people of Gaza. Between the unprovoked rocket attacks, the tunnels that have been discovered which are clearly designed to both smuggle weapons into Gaza outside of the border checkpoints and to sneak terrorists into Israel, and Hamas’s past actions of killing innocent Israelis via suicide bombers before Israel cracked down and imposed the current blockade that restricts entry and egress from Gaza to select areas, it is hard to blame Israel for what it is doing. Yes, the civilian deaths are tragic and regrettable, but it seems absurd to me to place the primary blame for those deaths on Israel when it is obvious that Hamas is deliberately placing civilians at risk by placing weapons in civilian areas, hiding weapons in schools, and telling people to ignore the warnings that Israel sends to civilians before it attempts a military strike. They obviously care as little for the lives of Gazans as they do for the lives of Israelis, and the best thing for all concerned would be if they were swept out of power.

The problem, of course, is that things are not seen in those black and white terms in the context of the larger Israeli-Palestinian issue. Even though it is largely in the right, Israel is obviously taking public relations hits for these civilian deaths. Israel’s attacks on Gaza may well generate trouble in the West Bank regardless of the fact that its clear that Hamas doesn’t care about West Bank Palestinians any more than it cares about anyone else. Even the respite that destroying most of Hamas’s military  ability is likely to bring Israel could be short-lived. However, as always seems to be the case with situations like this, there really doesn’t seem to be a better alternative. This won’t end until both sides want it to end and, right now, there is a very powerful force in Gaza that benefits from continued conflict.

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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. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Given that the site is in the middle of a war zone, it will be impossible to figure out what the truth is at this point, of course, and on some level it wouldn’t even matter if it did.

    Eye witnesses reported 4 explosions Doug, as in multiple shells. Also, Israel had told them they had to evacuate as they were going to shell that area, but was apparently unwilling to give them a time frame and safe route to do so.

    Source: The Guardian: UN condemns shelling of UNRWA school, saying it asked IDF for time to evacuate civilians, which was not given.

    Also, it does matter, it matters very much. If you weren’t so busy repeating the latest releases from the IDF and looked around you might notice who is actually killing civilians in this conflict.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    As I’ve said in my previous posts, I continue to believe that Israel is largely in the right here. Hamas is a terrorist organization that has dedicated itself to Israel’s destruction, refuses to recognizes the right of Israel to exist, and has used its time in power to turn Gaza into the launching pad for terror attacks while ignoring the welfare of the people of Gaza.

    Hamas Israel is a terrorist organization that has dedicated itself to Israel’s Hamas’ destruction, refuses to recognizes the right of Israel to exist Palestinian self determination, and has used its time in power to turn Gaza into the launching pad for terror attacks a ghetto, while ignoring the welfare of the people of Gaza.

    Doug, how is it you never ask who has the power here? The real power? Who has blockaded the people living there for 7 years because they chose someone the Israeli’s don’t like for their gov’t? How would you feel if Canada said, “Nope, you can’t pick Libertarians or Republicans, we only approve of Democrats. So you have to vote for them or we are going to make your life a living hell.”

    Yeah, Hamas has done some despicable things. They have targeted civilians. And yes, they have called for the destruction of Israel. Guess what? Israel has done some truly despicable things. Israel has killed a hell of a lot more civilians than Hamas ever dreamed of. And guess who has called for the destruction of Hamas?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 8

  3. @OzarkHillbilly:

    The assertion that Israel does not recognize Palestinian self-determination is simply untrue, and belied most notably by the fact that Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which controls, the West Bank, are able to negotiate with each other. Hamas refuses to negotiate at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  4. @OzarkHillbilly:

    And the blockade is in effect because Hamas was sending suicide bombers from Gaza into Israel proper and killing innocent people.

    You will notice that this has not happened in the years since the blockade was imposed and all traffic between Gaza and Israel was limited to designated, and manned, check points.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  5. Tran says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Hamas had renounced suicide bombings: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/apr/09/israel

    You will notice that this article is from 2006 and Israel began blockading Gaza in 2007. Their first suicide attack after they renounced it was in 2008, already 1 year after Israel began blockading Gaza. And they only harmed Israeli soldiers, not civilians.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 5

  6. Tran says:

    Also, Hamas isn’t dedicated to Israel’s destruction anymore. Please look it up. And you continuously fail to mention that Hamas offered Israel a 10 year truce, under these conditions:

    1. Return of IDF tank positions so that farmers can work their lands
    2. Freeing of all prisoners arrested since June 23 (when 3 Israeli teens were killed by Hamas operatives), and improving the conditions of those currently in prison.
    3. Lifting of Israel’s naval blockade around Gaza along with the complete opening of the land border crossings.
    4. Establishment of an international airport and seaport in Gaza.
    5. Expansion of Gaza fishing zone by six miles.
    6. Open the Israel-Gaza Rafah border crossing permanently under UN supervision, instead of under Israel’s watch.
    7. 10 year truce with Israel along with the deployment of an international observer force on the border.
    8. Israel must never enter Gaza under any circumstances and protect Palestinian Muslim worshippers at Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
    9. Israel must refrain from interfering with the newly created unity Palestinian government between Fatah and Hamas.
    10. Rehabilitation of Gaza Industrial Zones and allowance for Gaza to create a border protection force.

    These are reasonable demands, why can Israel just ignore it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 5

  7. Mu says:

    We should just give the whole place back to the Canaanites, and be done with.
    Hamas won’t stop shooting rockets without an end to the blockade that’s killing them politically and militarily, and Israel won’t stop shooting back.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  8. Another Mike says:

    @Tran:

    These are reasonable demands, why can Israel just ignore it?

    If Hamas and Israel had a relationship comparable to Canada and the US, these would be reasonable demands. Hamas is at war with Israel with the goal of eradicating Israel from the map. Israel now has the best opportunity in years to destroy the Hamas beast. If not now, when?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

  9. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: Settlements Doug. REALITY Doug. Have you looked at a map of the West Bank of late? What have negotiations gotten Fatah? Gotten the Palestinians? By the time Israel and Fatah get done negotiating Palestinians will have the right to move to Jordan.

    I picked an article from a publication you might like, the Economist: Squeeze them out

    Or if you would prefer, you can just go to the google page: West bank settlements map

    @Doug Mataconis: As I said, Hamas has done some despicable things. Apparently, according to your thinking, it is terrible, just terrible for Hamas to send in smart bombs targeting innocent people, however when the Israelis do the same thing, send not so smart bombs that WILL kill untold numbers of civilians that is self defense.

    As to,

    You will notice that this has not happened in the years since the blockade was imposed and all traffic between Gaza and Israel was limited to designated, and manned, check points.

    So why is Israel again invading Gaza? Especially considering how ineffective Hamas’ rockets are?
    Every time we have one of these… conflicts, the death toll is always wearily the same: Reuters says 850 dead Palestinians at least half of which are civilians, last I heard, 35 dead Israeli soldiers. Mind you, I happen to think every one of those dead Israeli soldiers is a loss beyond words too. But this is the road to peace? Really?

    Ain’t worked yet. Just more killing and more killing and more killing. And all the same people dying. You blame Hamas. OK, But do you really think Israel is innocent? Totally, completely innocent? Are you really that naive? I await your first word of acknowledgement that Israel shares responsibility for this mess. It would be a start.

    PS: we also need to remember that this all began with the deaths of 3 innocent Israeli teenagers which was blamed on Hamas by Bibi and crew (Hamas says no, but I have seen no evidence for or against this) and the revenge death of one Palestinian teenager who was no doubt killed by Israeli right wing extremists. Tit for tat. More more more of the same.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  10. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Apparently, according to your thinking,

    Let me apologize, that was out of line. I don’t know what you are thinking.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  11. the Q says:

    ……Wait, his face is black on the right side. Can’t you see the difference?….

    So Doug, in your mind, a Palestinian suicide bomber who blows himself up in a bar killing two innocents but also killing the leader of Mossad is a terrorist, while an Israeli bomb lobbed into a house killing two innocents and a leader of Hamas is somehow justified?

    This war is like the Russians and Germans before Pearl Harbor….hard to pick a side to cheer for.

    Hamas are morons, but the IDF is using a disproportionate response which in the end will cost Israel far more in adding to its current pariah status among many nations.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 4

  12. Tillman says:

    Even though it is largely in the right, Israel is obviously taking public relations hits for these civilian deaths.

    People have poor opinions of mass slaughter no matter how justified, it seems. Probably because they recognize, no matter how reprehensible the tactics of the opposition, it is a conscious choice to push the button that drops bombs on innocents and not a reflex.

    Hamas uses human shields. This is terrible. Israel chooses to shoot them anyway. That is also terrible. I have a hard time morally weighing the two, but you don’t seem to. I wish I had your moral clarity.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  13. @OzarkHillbilly:

    The settlements issue is irrelevant to Hamas using rockets to target innocent israelis.

    Until they stop doing that, surrender all of those weapons, and agree to completely demilitarize the Gaza Strip, I don’t think Israel should take them seriously at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  14. Matt Bernius says:

    @Another Mike:

    Israel now has the best opportunity in years to destroy the Hamas beast.

    The problem is it cannot destroy Hamas. Israel could possibly temporarily crippled Hamas. But destroy will not happen. It frankly cannot happen.

    This is the lesson that every colonial power has learned. Home grown terror/resistance groups will continue until such time as conditions on the ground improve to the point that people no longer believe armed rebellion/attack is their best course of action.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  15. JKB says:

    The US and the EU raised the stakes making it impossible for Israel to agree to a ceasefire when they decided to react to the single rocket that landed within mile of the civilian airport by shutting down flights. Air transport is the life blood of Israel. No amount of bad press is going to cause them to agree to a ceasefire that permits Hamas to continue the threat to international air travel or to rearm by easing the blockade.

    And no one in the region care what Kerry or Obama want or think. They are irrelevant. Qatar who funds Hamas matters. Saudi Arabia, with Egypt, matter due to their quiet support of Israel. The fact that Kerry was trying to arrange conditions that would permit Hamas to rearm and improve their targeting of international aviation demonstrates his irrelevancy. And the UN has been found to be giving direct aid to Hamas so are the enemy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 4

  16. Hal_10000 says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Someone put it well the other night: the reason Hamas does not wipe out Israel is because they can’t; the reason Israel doesn’t wipe out Gaza is because they don’t want to. By the same token, Hamas has no interest in finding out who killed those three teenagers. Israel has already arrested the people who brutally murdered a Palestinian in retaliation.

    I don’t agree with everything Israel is doing here. But they are not the moral equivalent of Hamas.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  17. Grewgills says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The settlements issue is irrelevant to Hamas using rockets to target innocent israelis.

    Seriously? The settlements are one of the issues at the heart of the continuing conflict, you cannot separate that out and pretend the issues are not intertwined.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 3

  18. Another Mike says:

    @Matt Bernius:

    Home grown terror/resistance groups will continue until such time as conditions on the ground improve to the point that people no longer believe armed rebellion/attack is their best course of action.

    I believe that Gaza has one of the highest standards of living in the Arab world. Life in Gaza is good by the standards of the region. Hamas is a organization with a charter. The charter calls for the destruction of Israel. It has been pursuing that objective with all its effort. It is Hamas’s Manhattan Project. Hamas has made Gaza into a fortress. It’s missiles number about 9,000. These are offensive weapons and their purpose if to kill Israelis indiscriminately be they man, woman or child. Hamas makes no effort to keep the citizens of Gaza from harm. Hamas will sacrifice any number of their own people to the greater good of destroying Israel. There is no “improvement” that will cause Hamas to give up its objective of destroying Israel and killing the Jews. Hamas is evil. It must be eradicated from Gaza.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  19. Tillman says:

    I think Daniel Larison best sums up my feelings on this argument about Israel’s being in the right.

    And I think this sentence is the most succinct way to put it:

    Hamas may want war and civilian casualties, and it is fully responsible for everything that it does, but that doesn’t justify Israel in giving them what they want.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  20. Tillman says:

    @Hal_10000:

    Someone put it well the other night: the reason Hamas does not wipe out Israel is because they can’t; the reason Israel doesn’t wipe out Gaza is because they don’t want to.

    I’d alter that to “the reason Israel doesn’t wipe out Gaza is because it can’t risk becoming an international pariah.” There are people who already call Gaza and its blockade a “slow genocide,” and they are radicals and unserious people for the most part. If Israel actually carpet-bombed Gaza, the ranks of people crying genocide would swell exponentially.

    I read somewhere once (sometime after Operation Cast Lead, after Israel used white phosphorus) that Israel only brushes up against committing a crime against humanity without going over.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  21. James says:

    @Another Mike:

    Highest standard of living in the Arab world? Apparently that’s a low bar: http://www.politifact.com/punditfact/statements/2014/jul/24/rula-jebreal/rula-jebreal-90-people-gaza-dont-have-access-even-/

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  22. Andre Kenji says:

    @Another Mike:

    If Hamas and Israel had a relationship comparable to Canada and the US,

    They can´t. Both the West Bank and Gaza are not viable as independent states, they are too small to have economic activity. The best solution for either would be something similar to the US Indian Reservations.

    Besides that, we don´t need Christian nor Muslim States, we don´t need a Jewish one.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  23. SKI says:

    @Andre Kenji: the Jews who are fleeing antisemitic attacks in France disagree with you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  24. Tran says:

    @Another Mike: You are wrong. Hamas DID have the destruction of Israel in their charter, but they changed that part some time ago. Or do you think the Guardian is an anti-Israel propaganda rag? http://www.theguardian.com/world/2006/jan/12/israel

    Hamas drops call for destruction of Israel from manifesto
    · Shift comes in lead-up to Palestinian election
    · Commitment to armed struggle remains

    That was 8 years ago!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  25. Another Mike says:

    @Tillman:

    but that doesn’t justify Israel in giving them what they want.

    What a shallow nothing thought. Let’s improve it, “but that doesn’t justify Israel defending itself.”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  26. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The settlements issue is irrelevant to Hamas using rockets to target innocent israelis.

    Doug, now you are just being myopic to the point of stupidity. Everything has to do with EVERYTHING. Don’t you get it? It is ALL related and it is ALL relevant. Why do you think people turn to Hamas to begin with? Because Fatah has gotten them nothing but embarrassment in negotiation. Abbas has had his nuts cut off by Likud and if the Palestinians want anything it is to at least be treated like men, and if they can not get respect, they will settle for fear.

    You would fit right into Bibi’s cabinet. I would ask you to imagine being a Palestinian born in Gaza and how you would feel, but that is beyond your meager imagination. You know what you know and facts won’t change your mind at all. Your intellect is in doubt.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2

  27. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Hal_10000:

    By the same token, Hamas has no interest in finding out who killed those three teenagers. Israel has already arrested the people who brutally murdered a Palestinian in retaliation.

    Did you not notice that the 3 Israeli teenagers were killed in the West Bank where Fatah is the governing authority***?

    *** to the extent allowed by Israel, which ain’t much.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    The thing that gets me about this subject is most people are having a chicken and egg argument while I am saying, “Who cares??? Look at what is happening!”

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  29. Another Mike says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    I would ask you to imagine being a Palestinian born in Gaza and how you would feel

    If I were born into a caldron of hate, I suppose I would be a hater too like everyone else. If I were born into a peaceful and productive place, I would probably be peaceful too.

    Look, I’m a victim. You did this to me. I hate you. Now just perpetuate this sick culture of victimhood and hate for generations, and you have Gaza and Hamas. And let’s not forget to add a multitude of compassionate countries stroking the victim and giving them money while telling them how awful those bad Israelis are to them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  30. Another Mike says:

    @Tran:

    but they changed that part some time ago.

    Of course they did. Just like if you like your insurance you can keep your insurance. Tell people what they want to hear. It’s just politics. It’s a game and even Hamas knows how to play it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  31. Tillman says:

    @Another Mike:

    What a shallow nothing thought. Let’s improve it, “but that doesn’t justify Israel defending itself.”

    Probably should’ve continued reading that linked post, presuming you bothered to at all.

    Periodically bombing and/or invading a blockaded population is a guaranteed way of ensuring that Israel will face continued hostility from increasingly radical enemies, who thrive on the outrages that any government will inevitably inflict when it uses modern weapons in a densely populated area. These operations not only generate propaganda coups for the people that Israel is supposed to be punishing, but they ensure that the better part of entire generations of Palestinians will opt for violence for years and decades to come.

    I said in a thread a week or so ago that Israel really doesn’t know how to protect its long-term interests, and this is why. It just constantly generates new enemies, ensuring that we’ll see another war, or another need to “mow the lawn” every few years or so.

    But no, anything justified for self-defense, right?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  32. Tillman says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: That’s because we have to assign blame. You can’t have this much carnage without someone being culpable, it’s simply unthinkable in the modern age.

    “But Hamas uses human shields!” “But Israel bombed them!” “But Hamas fired rockets!” “But Israel blockaded them!” “But Hamas suicide bombed them! “But Israel defeated them in a war!” and so on ad infinitum.

    I’m harsher on Israel for a number of reasons, but the main one is what I said above: they just create more enemies and more bloodshed the longer they keep this up. I actually want Israel to exist and not slaughter a bunch of people every few years. This sentiment apparently cuts against their right to self-defense.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  33. Another Mike says:

    @Tillman:

    But no, anything justified for self-defense, right?

    So it is the old blame the victim defense. We try to kill you. You fight back, so you force us to try even harder to kill you. You want peace? Then stop fighting back and let us kill you.

    Israel had better put a stop to this now, or it will be much worse next time.
    http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2014/0725/Why-Hamas-is-a-more-formidable-foe-in-Gaza-this-time

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2

  34. Andre Kenji says:

    @SKI:

    the Jews who are fleeing antisemitic attacks in France

    We need freedom of religion, not state religion to protect people of religion. That´s illiberal as we can get.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  35. bill says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “a time frame and a safe route…” seriously? they were given something that hamas doesn’t give anyone- “warning”. but then again they had years of warning as hamas built tunnels and housed rockets in their homes/schools/churches,etc….. yet apparently turned a blind eye to it.
    so cry me a freakin river because Israel actually cares for it’s citizens to the point that they invest in defense of said vs. whatever hamas has done for it’s citizens.
    i like how the msm can always be relied on to bring us pictures of dead kids with some weepy report on how savage Israel is- meanwhile the arabs have killed over 100K of their own in the past year and actually crucified some christians in iraq.

    i guess they’re actually being complimentary of Israel for having some standards of humanity vs. the arabs, who aren’t expected to- ever.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3

  36. PJ says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    The assertion that Israel does not recognize Palestinian self-determination is simply untrue, and belied most notably by the fact that Israel and the Palestinian Authority, which controls, the West Bank, are able to negotiate with each other. Hamas refuses to negotiate at all.

    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.

    So, exactly what is the PA negotiating with Israel? Which areas of the West Bank that Israel will settle next?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  37. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Israel’s goal is simple: destroy Hamas rockets and tunnels, as well as other tools of war.

    Hamas keeps surrounding them with civilians — usually willing ones.

    BTW, in at least one of those tunnels Israel found Hamas had obtained IDF uniforms. For those keeping count, that is yet another recognized war crime — it’s called “perfidy.”

    For those not keeping count of Hamas’ war crimes so far, we’ve got the deliberate targeting of civilians, the recruitment of human shields, attacking a civilian airport, using schools for military purposes, using hospitals for military purposes, attacking a nuclear power plant, and now this.

    And has anyone else noted that for all the cries of poverty in the Gaza Strip, they can still afford thousands of rockets and build very elaborate tunnels to infiltrate Israel?

    Hamas has found a truly novel solution to the classic “guns vs. butter” dilemma — they buy all the guns they can, then demand that the rest of the world give them butter.

    The only solution I’m seeing is a completely demilitarized Gaza Strip.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 3

  38. Tillman says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Do you actually have any criticism of Israel’s conduct in this iteration of the ongoing war? Or are you so focused on the universally-acknowledged horror that is Hamas tactics that you miss out on how Israel’s killed something like a thousand people despite the war crimes Hamas has engaged in to make Israel look bad?

    Just curious. Also, you failed to clarify your definition of cowardice in this thread (still on the front page, but for how long?) and never got back to me in this thread over your semantic issues with what I said about your arguments. I mean, we could, using your own definition, start accusing you of cowardice, but I suspect you were just busy.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  39. Grewgills says:

    This isn’t directly related, but may help the political situation pushing the current Israeli response to the Palestinian situation.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  40. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Tillman: Do you actually have any criticism of Israel’s conduct in this iteration of the ongoing war?

    So far, no. They’ve shown restraint thus far, and have focused on the threat.

    As far as a “semantic quibble…” I said I don’t think that the difference between “goes to great lengths” and “does everything it can” are merely “semantic.” One represents effort; the other represents an absolute commitment.

    The difference is between giving advance warning about strikes on valid military targets so innocents can get out of the way, and refusing to strike valid targets if there is the slightest chance a civilian might be injured.

    Which is a surefire way of ensuring even more use of human shields and hostages.

    So Israel’s choice is to strike those targets, preventing attacks on Israeli citizens, or not strike those targets, and leave those weapons intact to use against Israel. So their choice is possibly killing or injuring civilians who refuse to get out of the way of a valid strike, or place Israeli innocents at risk.

    And since we’re talking about the Israeli Defense Forces, their first obligation is to protect Israeli civilians.

    So, there are your answers. Do you have anything to say about the numerous, undeniable war crimes of Hamas? I could document every single one of those I listed above, but I won’t just yet. For one, more than two links in a comment here tends to trigger the Moderation Monster. For another, Hamas openly brags about doing each and every one. If you like, I can show you links for each, but they’re all self-evident.

    Charles Krauthammer nailed it last week.

    The rockets can’t even inflict serious damage, being almost uniformly intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. Even West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas has asked: “What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?”

    It makes no sense. Unless you understand, as Tuesday’s Post editorial explained, that the whole point is to draw Israeli counterfire.

    This produces dead Palestinians for international television. Which is why Hamas perversely urges its own people not to seek safety when Israel drops leaflets warning of an imminent attack.

    To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity. But it rests on a very rational premise: Given the Orwellian state of the world’s treatment of Israel (see: the U.N.’s grotesque Human Rights Council), fueled by a mix of classic anti-Semitism, near-total historical ignorance and reflexive sympathy for the ostensible Third World underdog, these eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-defense.

    It’s almost as if people expect a certain level of morality in a given conflict. And when one side fiercely and proudly refuses to demonstrate any kind of morality, they seem to demand that the other side make up for it by being hyper-moral, beyond any rational limit.

    And I simply don’t understand that.

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  41. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The difference is between giving advance warning about strikes on valid military targets so innocents can get out of the way

    And if those civilians are in an area where they could get away that might matter. As it stands, their warning serves only as facade with no real substance when it comes to reducing civilian casualties. Then the useful idiots that support Bibi’s actions have something to hide behind.

    The rockets can’t even inflict serious damage, being almost uniformly intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. Even West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas has asked: “What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?”

    It makes no sense. Unless you understand, as Tuesday’s Post editorial explained, that the whole point is to draw Israeli counterfire.

    To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity.

    Here by saying Krauthammer nailed it, you should recognize that Israel is playing into Hamas’ hand. If their response had been measured, then no ”telegenically killed people”. Hamas loses, Israel looks good, and no hundreds of dead civilians. Isn’t that a much better outcome?

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  42. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: If you set out to prove my point, you did it admirably.

    You acknowledge that Israel does make efforts to reduce civilian casualties, but fault them because their efforts don’t meet your standards of perfection. And you choose to not mention Hamas at all, who go to great lengths to maximize innocent casualties.

    And let me add another fun factoid: when the missiles concealed in UN schools were discovered, they turned the missiles over to Hamas.

    Finally, since you brought it up, what would you counsel Israel to do instead of attacking Hamas’ weapons of war? What would you consider “measured?”

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  43. Tillman says:

    @Grewgills: Ah, there’s no point arguing it. Dude brought up the same “Israel makes an effort to minimize casualties while Hamas goes to great lengths to maximize casualties” point* when the Gazan death toll was a fifth what it is now. I mean, he took your point about “Israel warning civilians is a facade in terms of results” as “you agree with me, they make an effort, and stop crucifying them on perfect standards.”

    I mean, damn it, the choice Jenos wants us to perceive with open eyes is either we kill Gazans now, innocent or no, or Israelis risk dying from haphazard unguided rocket attacks! Rocket attacks that during which there are plenty of fortified bomb shelters the average Israeli can seek shelter in, and a smartphone app that warns you if a rocket is headed towards your city! This choice is an obvious and easy one to make!

    * Interestingly, if we’re to take Idanian semantics seriously, he went from “Israel goes to great lengths to minimize casualties” to “makes an effort,” and “[Hamas] does everything it can to maximize casualties” to “goes to great lengths” in the span of two weeks. So as the death toll rises we have to relax the standards we go by instead of turning around and criticizing what’s actually going on, as long as on our idiom ladder Hamas is a rung or two beneath Israel so as to preserve the position we’ve taken.

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  44. Tillman says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Do you have anything to say about the numerous, undeniable war crimes of Hamas?

    Did you miss that part where I called them “universally-acknowledged horror”? Like I said a thread or two back, Hamas commits a war crime by using human shields. Israel then decides to shoot through those shields anyway. I’m sorry if I have a hard time seeing that as justified. I mean, condemn the one who uses the human shield all you want as scum (and I do), but I can’t have sympathy with the guy who shoots the human shield. That to me exhibits the same callous disregard for life as the one who used the human shield in the first place.

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  45. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    If you set out to prove my point, you did it admirably.

    I think you need to read my comment again. You obviously missed a point or three.

    You acknowledge that Israel does make efforts to reduce civilian casualties, but fault them because their efforts don’t meet your standards of perfection.

    Ummm, no. Their ”efforts” are a facade to hide behind. The Gazans have no where to evacuate too. You conveniently ignore this fact every time it is brought up. My so called standard of perfection is that their efforts should actually minimize civilian casualties rather then simply act as a PR shield for the Israelis,convincing useful idiots that they are doing all they can to prevent civilian casualties while the death toll rises.

    And you choose to not mention Hamas at all, who go to great lengths to maximize innocent casualties.

    And you choose to ignore the meat of the article YOU cited that points out that whatever Hamas’ intentions might be they kill very few civilians (approaching 2 orders of magnitude less than Israel now).
    Again, from the article YOU cited

    The rockets can’t even inflict serious damage, being almost uniformly intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome anti-missile system. Even West Bank leader Mahmoud Abbas has asked: “What are you trying to achieve by sending rockets?”

    It makes no sense. Unless you understand, as Tuesday’s Post editorial explained, that the whole point is to draw Israeli counterfire.

    To deliberately wage war so that your own people can be telegenically killed is indeed moral and tactical insanity… these eruptions featuring Palestinian casualties ultimately undermine support for Israel’s legitimacy and right to self-defense.

    Israel by its own ham handed we have to do something or risk looking weak strategy is actually hurting themselves more than Hamas and hurting civilians caught in the crossfire even more. At what point in your world to actual results matter?
    Let’s say a terrible person kills someone with malice aforethought. That terrible person, if left unchecked, could kill 5 or 6 more people. Now we have you, with nobler intentions, do you think it’s acceptable to kill a busload of school children in an attempt to stop that terrible man from killing again? Keep in mind that in killing that busload of school children you are creating more terrible men who will be willing to kill.

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  46. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: Your analogies stink. The “busload of school children” are, quite often, placed between me and the killer quite deliberately to protect the killer. And the children are taught to put themselves there.

    Earlier, I sarcastically suggested that a “proportionate” response for Israel would be to send a bill to Hamas for every Iron Dome missile fired and all damages caused by Palestinian rockets, only striking back when an Israeli is injured and killed. Oh, and a bill for the economic disruption by people having to run for bomb shelters. I’m starting to wonder if my sarcasm was misplaced.

    Oh, and those casualty figures? Those are being put out by Hamas, who have been busted repeatedly for lying and faking reports. I’ll take them with a grain of salt. And remember: by Hamas’ definition, all Israelis are legitimate targets; all Palestinians are civilians.

    And once again, Hamas was concealing missiles in two UN-run schools. What would be an “appropriate” response to such a tactic?

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  47. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Your analogies stink. The “busload of school children” are, quite often, placed between me and the killer quite deliberately to protect the killer. And the children are taught to put themselves there.

    Add that in and the analogy stands. That is much like any hostage situation. My question remains, would you choose kill the school children to get to the man? Would it matter if killing those children helped to guarantee that some of those children would grow up to be just like him?

    And remember: by Hamas’ definition, all Israelis are legitimate targets; all Palestinians are civilians.

    I don’t give a damn for Hamas’ definitions.
    You are trying to justify the killing of innocents, but you have admitted that these actions by Israel aren’t necessary for their defense and don’t serve their long term interests. Despite this you continue to say they haven’t done anything wrong. Your position is a bit inconsistent.

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  48. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    Israel has a choice between blowing up the rockets before they’re fired, or waiting until they’re fired and hoping they either miss anything important or get shot down and land nowhere important. Israel has a moral obligation to its own citizens, residents, and guests to protect them from threats. It’s a hell of a lot safer for those whom Israel has that obligation if those rockets are destroyed before launch.

    Hamas has decided that the best way to protect those rockets is to hide them in schools and other normally-protected sites. Under the accepted rules of war, the use of such protected sites for war means they forfeit their protected status, and the blame falls on those who used them for military purposes. That is not only the law, it is common sense.

    Israel has no legal obligation to warn where they will strike. Hell, common sense and experience dictates that they will strike at weapons sites when they find them. And in many cases, Israel gives plenty of warning that the weapons sites will be attacked — phone calls, leaflets, and the now-infamous “knock bombs.” That is an incredibly humane and responsible policy, balancing their rights, obligations, and duties.

    Likewise, Hamas has dug literally dozens of tunnels into Israel, with the intent of invading Israel for the purposes of killing and kidnapping Israelis. They start these tunnels under civilian structures. They also use child labor to dig those tunnels, and Hamas has admitted that at least 160 children have died digging those tunnels. If they’re admitting to 160, I’m wagering that the actual total is more.

    Think about that for a moment. Gaza is supposed to be one of the most poverty-stricken regions in the world, suffering under crippling blockades and restrictions. Yet they have the resources to get literally thousands of rockets and a seemingly endless complex of tunnels under the borders into Israel and Egypt. That says — in indisputable language — that their poverty is, at least in part, the fault of mismanagement of their resources. They have plenty of resources to expend on war with Israel, but very little for peaceful infrastructure.

    How much food would have been bought with the cost of those rockets? How many roads could have been built for the price of those tunnels?

    The Palestinians have invested so much into destroying Israel, and so little into their own future. As they have proclaimed on so many occasions, they love death more than others love life.

    Or, if you would like another aphorism, Israel uses weapons to protect civilians. Hamas uses civilians to protect weapons.

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  49. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Or, if you would like another aphorism, Israel uses weapons to protect civilians. Hamas uses civilians to protect weapons.

    I don’t want another aphorism, I want an answer to the questions posed to you. That clearly is not coming so I am done running around in circles with you.

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  50. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: Your questions are based on pointless analogies. But if you like, think back to when the Democrats were calling the Republicans in the House “hostage-takers.” The followup was that “you don’t negotiate with hostage-takers.” Funny how that belief gets pushed aside when it’s more than a (very tasteless and dishonest) metaphor.

    Israeli casualties have been prevented because Israel has invested very heavily in protecting its civilians. Bomb shelters, the very first effective anti-missile system, and remarkable civil defense programs means that Israelis aren’t killed by Hamas. They aren’t being spared because of any benevolence on behalf of Hamas.

    Palestinian casualties are so high because Hamas has invested very heavily in putting Palestinians literally in harm’s way.

    The ethical question before Israel is this: is it more moral to strike at weapons protected by civilians, even after several warnings that such tactics will not discourage attacks and several warnings about specific attacks, or to risk death or injury to innocents in Israel should Hamas get lucky with those rockets?

    I see the moral decision to strike at the weapons.

    Here’s a more moral decision: Hamas disarms. Or, at least, stops using schools and hospitals and other civilian sites to hide their weapons of war.

    Israel isn’t targeting civilians. They are targeting legitimate military targets that Hamas is trying to protect with civilians.

    Hamas is targeting civilians.

    Equating the two on a moral basis is below contempt. And rationalizing Hamas’ tactics by saying “the Israelis have done bad things” or “they have no choice” is also contemptible.

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  51. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    You seem to think you are arguing with people that think Hamas is good or that Israel is morally inferior to Hamas. That is not the case so you repeatedly trotting out the well Hamas is worse argument is mostly irrelevant.
    The article that YOU said nailed this specifically notes that the danger to Israelis is minimal. That the only way that this tactic works for Hamas is if Israel ham handedly and disproportionately strikes back in such a way that we all see dead and dismembered Palestinian women and children (the ”telegenic victims”). That is exactly what Israel has done. Israel has chosen the one course of action that gives Hamas a win, them a loss, and the people of Palestine an even more miserable existence. Meanwhile you try to dismiss all Israeli culpability in this, not just assign them less blame. Can you not follow the logic of the article that YOU said nailed this situation. Because it certainly seems that you cannot.

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  52. Grewgills says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Israel isn’t targeting civilians. They are targeting legitimate military targets that Hamas is trying to protect with civilians.

    Hamas is targeting civilians.

    Equating the two on a moral basis is below contempt.

    Results matter.

    And rationalizing Hamas’ tactics by saying “the Israelis have done bad things” or “they have no choice” is also contemptible.

    Funny, because that is the structure of your argument, not mine.

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  53. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Grewgills: All right, then. I’ll repeat my earlier question: just what would you counsel israel to do with Hamas and Gaza? They’re firing rockets by the thousands. They’re using those tunnels to attempt to infiltrate into Israel proper. They were planning to put on Israeli uniforms to carry out their attacks and kidnappings.

    I’ll repeat my sarcastic suggestion once again: how about Israel sends Hamas a bill for the cost of Iron Dome missiles expended and damages from any rockets, along with the economic harm caused by the alerts? They only shoot back when the rockets kill or injure people.

    How’s that for a “measured” response? Is that what you have in mind?

    I’m gonna guess yes, because you haven’t actually put forth anything of substance. But I’d welcome a correction.

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  54. Tillman says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: They could cease firing at them and negotiate. But that would involve giving up settlements and would infuriate the far-right of Netanyahu’s coalition, so it’s unlikely to happen.

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Israel isn’t targeting civilians. They are targeting legitimate military targets that Hamas is trying to protect with civilians.

    Hamas is targeting civilians.

    Equating the two on a moral basis is below contempt. And rationalizing Hamas’ tactics by saying “the Israelis have done bad things” or “they have no choice” is also contemptible.

    On an intentional moral basis, yes. On a consequential one, no, Israel comes out worse. You are comparing a psychopath to a mass murderer again. As it turns out, there are multiple valid ways of evaluating a moral circumstance.

    And I love your use of “the accepted rules of war” and repeated citations of legitimacy, all of which subject to the times and not to any inviolable principle. All of which can be discarded at any time, like Israel’s use of white phosphorus in Operation Cast Lead. (They needed an instant smoke screen, so they set the UNRWA HQ on fire.) But I suppose as long as they find unfired weapons, they can fire their own.

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  55. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Tillman: The use of white phosphorus is accepted as legitimate in war. It serves a perfectly valid purpose — the creation of concealing cover. Did you even read that link you posted? Here is a hunk of it.

    The Goldstone report accepted that white phosphorus is not illegal under international law but did find that the Israelis were “systematically reckless in determining its use in built-up areas”. It also called for serious consideration to be given to the banning of its use as an obscurant.

    After watching footage of Israeli troop deployments on television, a British soldier who completed numerous combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Intelligence Corps defended the Israeli Army’s use of white phosphorus. The soldier noted, “White phosphorus is used because it provides an instant smokescreen, other munitions can provide a smokescreen but the effect is not instant. Faced with overwhelming enemy fire and wounded comrades, every commander would choose to screen his men instantly, to do otherwise would be negligent.”

    Colonel Lane, a military expert testifying in front of the fact-finding mission in July 2009, told that white phosphorus is used for smoke generation to hide from the enemy. He stated, “The quality of smoke produced by white phosphorus is superb; if you want real smoke for real coverage, white phosphorus will give it to you.”

    Professor Newton, expert in laws of armed conflict testifying in front of the committee, said that in an urban area, where potential perils are snipers, explosive devices and trip wires, one effective way to mask forces’ movement is by white phosphorus. In certain cases, he added, such choice of means would be less harmful for civilian population than other munitions, provided that the use of white phosphorus withstands the proportionality test. In discussing the principle of proportionality he said that the legality of using white phosphorus in an urban setting could only be decided on a case by case basis taking into account “the precise circumstances of its use, not in general, generically, but based on that target, at that time”. He stressed that the humanitarian implications were vital in this assessment giving the example that using white phosphorus on a school yard would have different implications to its use on another area. He also said that in his view white phosphorus munition is neither chemical nor incendiary weapon and is not intended to cause damage. He said its use was not prohibited by the Chemical Weapons Convention.

    Here is what annoys me about your arguments. There are accepted standards of conduct during wartime that the world has endorsed. The actions by Israel you object to do not violate those standards. You are holding them to a far higher standard. And that is the literal definition of a “double standard” — denouncing them for not living up to the ideals that you, and you alone, have defined. Further, you do so while giving only passing mention to the conduct of their enemy, which proudly and defiantly violates not only the standards you want to impose on Israel, but even the lesser standards as defined by international agreements.

    The origins of these agreements, by the way, were not idealistic or principled. They were pragmatic. The crafters of these agreements were operating on a pure quid pro quo basis — they were looking to protect themselves, and bought that protection by accepting limits on their own conduct. For example, the prohibitions on poison gas weren’t because the governments were horrified by gas per se; they didn’t want to worry about being attacked by poison gases. Note that during World War II, both sides had plenty of stockpiles of poison gas. Neither used them out of morality, but because they knew that the other side would retaliate in kind.

    And let me try and get ahead of you: if you are thinking of saying that use of white phosphorus is inhumane, what sorts of weapons do you consider “humane?”

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  56. Tillman says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Here is what annoys me about your arguments. There are accepted standards of conduct during wartime that the world has endorsed. The actions by Israel you object to do not violate those standards.

    Did you keep reading the entry down to where they mention the article by Mark Cantora over how its use was technically legal, exposing a need to “fill this substantial gap in international humanitarian law”? I suppose you left that out because it would have colored the testimonies before it you helpfully blockquoted.

    The actions of Israel concerning the Gaza Strip over the last decade have not violated the standards so much as they have exploited gray areas in them. We don’t usually clap the backs of people who exploit loopholes, at least not where I’m from. White phosphorus was just one example from that entry.

    You are holding them to a far higher standard. And that is the literal definition of a “double standard” — denouncing them for not living up to the ideals that you, and you alone, have defined.

    So, you don’t think I should hold Israel — a functioning democratic state with a high-tech military — to a higher standard than Hamas, a terrorist group? This is unfair for some reason?

    Also, repeating ad nauseam that you’re the one insisting Israel’s standards for avoiding civilian casualties are what should keep it free from scrutiny.

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  57. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Tillman: Did you keep reading the entry down to where they mention the article by Mark Cantora over how its use was technically legal, exposing a need to “fill this substantial gap in international humanitarian law”? I suppose you left that out because it would have colored the testimonies before it you helpfully blockquoted.

    Nope, I just thought you’d been cudgeled enough. But if you wanna show more arguments that Israel is acting legally, I’ll go along with that. And that guy’s statement smacks of “if Israel’s doing it, it must be bad and should be banned” rationalizing.

    But WP is a really crappy anti-personnel weapon. It’s good for a LOT of light, quickly, and a LOT of smoke, quickly, but if you want something that’s far more effective against people, try thermite or napalm, or several other options. Both of which I suspect Israel has in abundance. And the experts in your article spelled that out: WP just isn’t a very good weapon in and of itself.

    And again I mention: just where are those rockets coming from? Where are the resources to dig those tunnels coming from? Hamas — which is the closest there is to a legitimate, duly-elected government in Gaza — has proven that Gaza’s poverty isn’t a matter of the blockades, but of misapplication of resources. They are “starving” (for various metaphorical uses of the term) not because they can’t afford food, but because they have chosen to put warfare on a higher priority.

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  58. Tillman says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: You didn’t answer my question. Do you think I shouldn’t hold Israel — a functioning democratic state with a high-tech military — to a higher standard than Hamas, a terrorist group? Is it unfair to do so?

    But if you wanna show more arguments that Israel is acting legally, I’ll go along with that.

    Hence the point about loopholes and exploiting gray areas, and the observation that doing so isn’t considered a virtue.

    But WP is a really crappy anti-personnel weapon. It’s good for a LOT of light, quickly, and a LOT of smoke, quickly, but if you want something that’s far more effective against people, try thermite or napalm, or several other options.

    Yes, it burns. The incident concerning the UNRWA compound bursting aflame came about because they used it near fuel trucks. Their usage of WP in a dense urban area already had some controversy to it, but the misuse there (I doubt they intended to set the fuel trucks off) made it clear to everyone something was up.

    And again I mention: just where are those rockets coming from?

    Is anyone talking to you about this issue? I mean, is there a discussion going on about how Hamas armed itself? I don’t see one.

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  59. Grewgills says:

    @Tillman:
    It is interesting how some people seem to think that when an industrialized democracy with a modern military faces a band of terrorists from the developing world, that the functioning democracy should be able to abandon the standards of first world democracies or even descend to the level of the terrorists without criticism.

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  60. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Tillman: Hamas claims to be the legitimate government of Gaza, they won a free and fair election, and are the closest to a legitimate government that Gaza has. They are the de facto government of Gaza.

    I’m saying they, as a putative government, should be held to the same standard as Israel.

    I don’t disagree that they are a terrorist group. Hell, I’m usually first in line to call them that. But they are that AND a body that won a free and fair election to head up the Palestinian people, an election they won handily — indicating that they have significant support from the people of Gaza.

    Israel puts forth a lot of effort into abiding by international laws of warfare. Hamas uses those lists of forbidden acts as checklists.

    I read an interesting argument recently. Imagine — what would Israel do if it had total power over the Palestinians in Gaza? There’s no need to imagine, because they effectively do. What they are doing now IS what they would do.

    On the other hand, what would Hamas do if it had total power over Israel? Again, no imagination is needed — they’ve spelled it out in their charter. Genocide. Not a single Jew left. Killed or driven out of the region.

    I don’t understand how a group that openly promises genocide could win any sympathy whatsoever. And by “sympathy,” I mean making excuses for their behavior, or ignoring their behavior, or protesting that the targets of their would-be genocide are being too mean to those who are aspiring to genocide.

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  61. Tillman says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: I could quibble over whether Hamas amounts to a legitimate government (I’ve done so before) or the extent to which Israel gives effort to abiding war laws (ditto) but I’ll just focus on this bit and leave at that:

    I don’t understand how a group that openly promises genocide could win any sympathy whatsoever. And by “sympathy,” I mean making excuses for their behavior, or ignoring their behavior, or protesting that the targets of their would-be genocide are being too mean to those who are aspiring to genocide.

    It goes back to the psychopath vs. mass murderer analogy I’m fond of (intentions vs. results). The whole situation is a cluster****. I hold Israel more accountable overall (and even then, by a slight margin) because in my reckoning Israel is creating its own problems. Your example of “What would Israel do with total power vs. what would Hamas do with total power” is the point: Israel does have [near-]total power over the situation, it is doing what it wants, and what it’s doing doesn’t work. Hamas has had control of Gaza since ’07, and Israel has done this bombard-and-invade “lawnmowing” at least three times now (Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense, and now Protective Edge). But instead of realizing the high human cost of what it’s doing and how this isn’t solving any problems, Israel relegates Gazan war as a chore to do once every couple of years. The entirety of Israel’s actions could be legitimate and still wrong. (The aphorism “being legal doesn’t make it ethical” applies here.)

    I agree with you Hamas should demilitarize completely, but as part of negotiations that involve Israel meeting it halfway, not as a precondition. There’s too much bad blood for preconditions at this point.

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