Israel Presses On Amid Calls for Ceasefire

Hamas continues to cynically manipulate the world's humanitarian impulses.

Flags of Israel and Palestine painted on the concrete wall with soldier shadow. Gaza and Israel conflict

AP (“Hamas leader’s home is hit in airstrike as Israel presses its attacks and U.S. envoy seeks aid route“):

Israel’s military hit the family home of the exiled leader of Hamas on the outskirts of Gaza City with an airstrike Saturday and pressed ahead with attacks across in the besieged enclave where a humanitarian crisis is rapidly worsening.

With food, water and the fuel needed for generators that power hospitals and other facilities running out, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged an immediate cease-fire to allow aid in.

“The humanitarian situation in Gaza is horrific,” Guterres said late Friday in an unusually blunt statement. “An entire population is traumatized, nowhere is safe.”

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken has been in the region since Friday trying to find ways to ease the plight of the civilians caught in the fighting and was meeting with Arab foreign ministers on Saturday. His mission is complicated by Israel’s insistence there can be no temporary cease-fire until all hostages held by Hamas are released.

Guterres said he had not forgotten the slaughter of civilians at the hands of Hamas militants when they launched their attack on Israel almost a month ago, but said civilians and civilian infrastructure must be protected. He also said civilians must not be used as human shields, and called upon Hamas to release all of the roughly 240 hostages it has.

The family home of Hamas’ exiled leader Ismail Haniyeh, in the Shati refugee camp on the northern edge of Gaza City, was hit Saturday morning by an airstrike, according to the Hamas-run media office in Gaza. It had no immediate details on damage or casualties and there was no immediate comment.

Senior Hamas official Ghazi Hamad told The Associated Press that the house was being used by Haniyeh’s two sons.

The home is located in a narrow alley in the refugee camp, which has become a crowded neighborhood of Gaza City over the generations. Haniyeh, a former aide to Hamas’ founder, Ahmed Yassin, who was killed in an Israeli airstrike in 2004, has been in exile since 2019.

NYT live blog (“Blinken Works Toward Containing the War While in Jordan“):

As international pressure mounts to relieve dire conditions in Gaza, the U.S. secretary of state, Antony J. Blinken, was meeting with regional officials in Jordan on Saturday to discuss efforts to get more aid into the battered enclave and to contain the war.

Mr. Blinken was expected to hold talks in Amman with his counterparts from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt, as well as Palestinian representatives, Jordan’s foreign ministry said. Those countries have been among the most forceful in their condemnation of Israel’s bombardment of the Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas and is home to 2.3 million Palestinians.

Mr. Blinken visited Israel on Friday and appealed for “humanitarian pauses” in the fighting to allow more aid into the territory.

But soon after meeting with Mr. Blinken, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel appeared to rebuff the American request, saying that any cease-fire would be contingent on the release of more than 200 hostages abducted in the Oct. 7 attacks by Hamas that killed at least 1,400.

The situation continues to be horrific and frustrating. It remains quite unclear what Israel’s immediate war aims, much less its overall strategy, are in this operation. As such, it’s impossible to assess whether the destruction it’s wreaking on the civilian population and infrastructure is proportionate to the military objectives.

At the same time, even beyond the atrocities that Hamas committed against Israeli civilians to instigate this latest round of fighting, it is routinely engaging in perfidy, arguably the worst war crime of all. The use of human shields and hiding among the civilian population to make it impossible to target them without heavy noncombatant casualties is the most cynical manipulation of the laws of armed conflict. Indeed, it very much undermines them.

Calls for a cease-fire under these conditions are frankly risible. While well-intentioned, it benefits only one side in the conflict. A side that is trying to manipulate humanitarian efforts to achieve its own war aims:

A Biden administration official said on Friday that efforts to get Americans and other foreign nationals out of Gaza, a process that began on Wednesday, had been held up by a Hamas attempt to get its own wounded fighters included among those to be escorted into Egypt through the Rafah gate.

The explanation offered the first window into the kinds of details that were being negotiated with the leadership of Hamas, even as Israel began a campaign of airstrikes in response to the slaughter of 1,400 people and the taking of more than 200 hostages by Hamas terrorists in attacks on Israel on Oct. 7 launched from Gaza. Hamas rules Gaza politically and also has an armed wing whose fighters are embedded within the enclave’s civilian population.


The official said that Hamas had repeatedly provided to Israel, the United States and Egypt lists of Palestinians who were wounded and should be allowed to depart with the Americans and others. But vetting showed that many of them, the official said, were Hamas fighters.

The official said that about a third of the wounded Palestinians on the first list were Hamas fighters and that allowing them to exit Gaza was unacceptable to officials in Egypt, the United States and Israel. The delays continued for some time, the official said, because Hamas kept offering lists that turned out to include its members.

It is Israel’s duty as a member in good standing of the international community to take reasonable measures to distinguish combatants and noncombatants. Hamas is doing its best to ensure that this is impossible.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. drj says:

    Calls for a cease-fire under these conditions are frankly risible.

    Blinken has been calling for a “humanitarian pause,” though.

    In fact, it appears that the Biden administration is losing its patience with Israel’s targeting decisions (as well as overall lack of strategy, apart from “let’s kill a bunch of people”).

  2. Lounsbury says:

    While not particularly blaming Israel for its approach this is quite silly

    take reasonable measures to distinguish combatants and noncombatants. Hamas is doing its best to ensure that this is impossible.

    Really, do you piously expect Hamas would be lining up in parade ground brigades to be dispatched by Israel? There’s no version of guerilla warfare, Hamas practiced or not, where such is an expected result of an actor like Hamas (be it Chinese communist or Viet-Minh, or Afghan or.. ad nauseum examples). Frankly such observations are on equal uselessness as the Lefty attacks on Israel starting immediately on response.

    (of course the How rather would escape as well given the actual physical geography of Gaza)

  3. Scott says:

    Personally (and somewhat surprisingly), I find that my perspective WRT to this conflict is hardening. Hamas is the de facto government in Gaza. They started this war. Israel should be clearer and state that the unconditional surrender of Hamas is the goal and the only acceptable outcome. End of conversation. Hamas is responsible for the deaths of thousands by its actions. They surrender, the war will stop.

  4. drj says:


    They started this war.

    The UN classifies the Gaza Strip not as (part of) an independent state, but as an occupied territory. The war didn’t start in 2023.

    They surrender, the war will stop.

    And then the Gaza Strip will continue to be an occupied territory. Which means that the war hasn’t stopped.

  5. SenyorDave says:

    @Scott: They surrender, the war will stop.
    Surrender? What would surrender involve? Why would anyone surrender to Israel, which has laws that allow for 6 month periods of detention, renewable indefinitely? By their own admission they have detainees who have been in custody for years without charges. They surrender, get tortured (“shaken” for a few hours seems to be a favorite tactic), and then become detainees for decades.

  6. just nutha says:

    It sure is complicated. It’s almost as if LOAC can’t be applied in this situation. Like warfare is sometimes simply atrocious and genocidal. Hmmm…

  7. Scott says:

    @SenyorDave: This makes the decision tree to be in Hamas hands: surrender or die. Stop the endless attempts to make Israel responsible for what happened. Stop the endless conversations designed to push results into a moral, ethical, and legal morass.

    Like I said, my position has hardened because we can all see where this is heading.

  8. drj says:


    Actually, I think this deserves a more extensive answer.

    It is Israeli framing to see Gaza as independent from the Palestinian territories as a whole, the West Bank in particular.

    It is a ploy to be able to ignore Gaza and gradually annex the more valuable West Bank.

    While Israel evacuated its illegal settlements in the Gaza Strip, withdrew its immediate military presence, and built up Hamas as a counterweight to the PA, it followed the exact opposite course in the occupied West Bank: illegal settlements were expanded, it strengthened its grip on local affairs, and deliberately weakened the PA.

    Again, with the aim of driving as many Palestinians as possible from their land and annexing as much of the West Bank as it can get away with – in clear, direct, and indisputable violation of international law.

    How can there be peace and an end to a war, if the occupying power continues to take away the more valuable parts of your land?

    Let’s imagine someone would say: “We put a fence around Nevada and you can have it, but California will be ours. And all Californians will continue to be gradually dispossessed.”

    Does that mean that Nevadans should accept that there should be peace, no further questions asked?

  9. SenyorDave says:

    @Scott: If they surrender they will have a good chance of dying anyway. Its not like Israel would allow any oversight. They don’t bother with oversight in the West Bank, where settlers can now kill with impunity. The current Israeli government has “hardened” to the point where any Palestinian deaths are justified no matter what the situation.

  10. drj says:

    @just nutha:

    It’s almost as if LOAC can’t be applied in this situation.

    The LOAC is designed to strike a more than reasonable balance between military necessity and humanity. It is also designed to not include anything that a professional soldier could not apply in battle.

    With that in mind, it would be extremely surprising if it could not be properly applied in this situation.

    At the very least, that claim would require some actual and specific evidence.

  11. Scott says:

    @drj: @SenyorDave: This is just the gradual rationalization and justification of the Hamas attack that I object to. And to where we are heading.

  12. SenyorDave says:

    @Scott: Understanding and justifying are two different things.

  13. Gustopher says:

    The last working generators at Kamal Adwan Hospital in the Northern Gaza Strip have run out of fuel and shut down around 1 p.m. local time creating a “catastrophic” situation, Hussam Abu Safiya, the head of the hospital’s pediatrics department told The Washington Post. The generators were being used in a combined maternity ward and intensive care unit.

    I suppose the generators are cynically manipulating humanitarian impulses.

  14. JKB says:

    There was a ceasefire between Israel and the governing body of Gaza in place on October 6, 2023. Such as the Hamas government would honor with their persistent rocket fire into Israel.

    But on the October 7th, Hamas willfully and with careful longterm planning by all levels of government broke the ceasefire murdering 1500 people in Israel, the overwhelmingly majority specifically targeted civilians, women and infants. The Gazan military then took 200+, again mostly civilians, children, elderly, girls, back into Gaza as hostages. Where the government of Gaza still holds them as shields against Israeli response to the breaking of the ceasefire.

    And here is the Hamas official position on why they want a one-sided ceasefire. The UN is revealing its true nature and why everyone should work for it to be moved off US soil.

  15. JKB says:

    @Gustopher: I suppose the generators are cynically manipulating humanitarian impulses.

    Hamas, the elected government of Gaza, has documented fuel stores that they have refused to release for use by hospitals or other non-military parts of Gaza.

  16. DK says:


    They surrender, the war will stop.

    Yeah right. Anybody who believes any declarations from an Israeli government led by Benjamin Netanyahu is gullible. Israel’s goverment does not have the credibility to set conditions, hence why the Biden administration is wising up to the folly of putting America’s global reputation in the hands of far right Likudist lunatics.

    Israel wasn’t attacked from the West Bank. Hamas doesn’t govern the West Bank. Yet in the West Bank, Israel is waging war on Palestinians, with Israeli “settlers” (i.e. terrorists) killing Palestinians with impunity, with active help from the IDF — and hardly any condemnation from the ‘Israel is blameless, faultless, and innocent’ crowd.

    Even Israeli police officers who have tried to stop settler terrorism have been attacked.

    As with Hamas, there’s no reason to trust any condition set by the Israeli government, because its leader Netanyahu is an enemy of democracy, a corrupt liar, a violent extremist, and a terrorist-enabling thug who can never be an honest broker.

    Rather than hugging Netanyahu (gigantic error) the Biden administration should focus on helping Ukraine, an actual democracy with actual commitment to human rights. And let these religious-extremist psychos in the Middle East fight themselves to the death, as they are wont to do.

  17. Gustopher says:

    @Scott: Israeli policies have been to keep Palestinians weak and impoverished and in a state of light war for decades, kicking the prospect of a workable peace or greater confrontation down the road while chiseling away the possibility of a two state solution. The October 7th attacks, or something very much like them, were inevitable.

    To say that the Hamas attack was “unjustified” is to say that the Israeli policies over the past few decades has been “justified.”

    I don’t think “justified” and “unjustified” are particularly useful terms here. They’re moral terms in a situation where no one is acting in a particularly morally acceptable manner.

  18. drj says:


    Well, if you think that immediate revenge is more important than identifying and addressing the roots of the conflict, that’s certainly possible.

    But Israel doesn’t exactly have clean hands either.

    If Israel can rightfully take revenge for the October 7 attacks, shouldn’t the Palestinians have been permitted to take revenge for the Al Khisas massacre on December, 18, 1947 (which was committed by Jewish forces in response to a shooting that was mistakenly believed to have been political)?

    And shouldn’t the Hadassah medical convoy massacre, committed by Arab forces on April 13, 1948, be excused on the grounds that it was a retaliation for the Deir Yassin massacre that was committed a few days earlier by Jewish paramilitaries?

    Well, you can see that ends…

    The only way to break the circle of violence is to come up with a reasonable political settlement.

    And you can’t do that if your position is “Hamas bad, therefore Israel good.”

  19. SenyorDave says:

    One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. Menachim Begin is an Israeli national hero. He was also an unrepentant terrorist as one of the leaders of the Irgun. And the idea that the Irgun were “good terrorists” who only went after military targets and warned civilians is an insult to anyone’s intelligence. Just go to Wikipedia and type in list of Irgun attacks, and one can see that is bullshit. Israel’s creation was partially built on terrorism.

  20. just nutha says:

    @JKB: Those supplies are all expended.
    See? Anyone can make up undocumented pseudo facts. Even a cracker.

  21. charontwo says:


    How Hamas aims to trap Israel in Gaza quagmire

    Nov 4 (Reuters) – Hamas has prepared for a long, drawn-out war in the Gaza Strip and believes it can hold up Israel’s advance long enough to force its arch enemy to agree to a ceasefire, two sources close to the organization’s leadership said.

    Hamas, which rules Gaza, has stockpiled weapons, missiles, food and medical supplies, according to the people, who declined to be named due to the sensitivity of the situation. The group is confident its thousands of fighters can survive for months in a city of tunnels carved deep beneath the Palestinian enclave and frustrate Israeli forces with urban guerrilla tactics, the people told Reuters.

    Ultimately, Hamas believes international pressure for Israel to end the siege, as civilian casualties mount, could force a ceasefire and a negotiated settlement that would see the militant group emerge with a tangible concession such as the release of thousands of Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Israeli hostages, the sources said.

    The group has made it clear to the U.S. and Israel at indirect, Qatar-mediated hostage negotiations that it wants to force such a prisoner release in exchange for hostages, according to four Hamas officials, a regional official and a person familiar with the White House’s thinking.


    Israel has deployed overwhelming aerial firepower since the Oct. 7 attack, which saw Hamas gunmen burst out of the Gaza Strip, killing 1,400 Israelis and taking 239 hostages.

    The Gazan death toll has surpassed 9,000, with every day of violence fuelling protests around the world over for the plight of more than 2 million Gazans trapped in the tiny enclave, many without water, food or power. Israeli airstrikes hit a crowded refugee camp in the Gaza on Tuesday, killing at least 50 Palestinians and a Hamas commander.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vows to wipe out Hamas and has rejected calls for a ceasefire. Israeli officials say they’re under no illusions about what may lie ahead and accuse the militants of hiding behind civilians.

    The country has braced itself for a “long and painful war”, said Danny Danon, a former Israeli ambassador to the U.N. and ex-member of the Knesset foreign affairs and defense committee.

    “We know at the end that we will prevail and that we will defeat Hamas,” he told Reuters. “The question will be the price, and we have to be very cautious and very careful and understand that it’s a very complex urban area to maneuver.”

    The United States has said now is not the time for a general ceasefire, though says pauses in hostilities are needed to deliver humanitarian aid.


    Washington expects Hamas to try to bog Israeli forces down in street-by-street combat in Gaza and inflict heavy enough military casualties to weaken Israeli public support for a drawn-out conflict, said the source familiar with the White House’s thinking, who asked to remain anonymous to speak freely.

    Israeli officials have nonetheless stressed to their American counterparts that they’re prepared to confront Hamas’ guerrilla tactics as well as withstand international criticism of their offensive, according to the person. Whether the country has the capability to eliminate Hamas or merely severely degrade the organization remains an open question, the source added.

    Hamas has about 40,000 fighters, according to the sources at the group. They can move around the enclave using a vast web of fortified tunnels, hundreds of kilometers long and up to 80 meters deep, built over many years.

  22. Michael Reynolds says:

    @SenyorDave: @drj:
    Useful Idiots.

    A useful idiot is a person perceived as propagandizing for a cause—particularly a bad cause originating from a devious, ruthless source—without fully comprehending the cause’s goals, and who is cynically being used by the cause’s leaders.[1][2] Erroneously attributed to Vladimir Lenin, the term was often used during the Cold War to describe non-communists regarded as susceptible to communist propaganda and psychological manipulation.[1] Similar terms exist in English and other languages.

    Useful Idiots 2023: a dimwit arguing in support of a group which, if they achieved power, would happily murder the very people acting as their mouthpieces. The only place in the Middle East where an Arab can vote, where a gay man can walk the streets safely, where a woman is treated as a full human being: Israel. And who is blamed for the deliberate massacre of women and children by Hamas? Israel.

    Useful Idiots. Emphasis on ‘idiots.’

  23. EddieInCA says:


    The IDF shouldn’t leave until there are no tunnels left. Zero. As long as it takes.

  24. DK says:

    Per Benjamin Netanyahu in 2019, four short years ago:

    “Anyone who wants to thwart the establishment of a Palestinian state has to support bolstering Hamas and transferring money to Hamas.

    “This is part of our strategy — to isolate the Palestinians in Gaza from the Palestinians in the West Bank.”

    No one here has made an alleged statement in support of empowering Hamas stronger than this one, from the guy Israelis chose to make their longest-serving prime minister.

    Facts are a stubborn thing. And often inconvenient.

  25. DK says:


    The only way to break the circle of violence is to come up with a reasonable political settlement.

    Ah, but there’s the rub. This requires power in the hands of reasonable negotiators on all sides.

    In the absence of such negotiators where instead there are terrorists, extremists, and their enablers — you will simply get endless cycles of recrimination, and in this case violence.

  26. drj says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Useful Idiots. Emphasis on ‘idiots.’

    Says the guy who deliberately doesn’t distinguish between Hamas and Fatah, and who crows about how great the human rights situation is in Israel, while completely ignoring the human rights situation in the occupied territories.

    The same guy who says “I was right from the beginning,” but argued almost simultaneously that Israel was acting in accordance with the LOAC and that there shouldn’t even be such a thing as the LOAC (because “ain’t war hell” or some similar tired cliché).

    Also the same guy who, instead of citing authoritative sources or reliable testimonies, quoted from his own children’s book in an inane attempt to show how right and smart he was.

    Man, you’ve really lost the plot this time. Name-calling is all you have left.

  27. charontwo says:

    @just nutha:

    It is actually widely recognized that the militant wing of Hamas is well supplied with stores of fuel, food, pharmaceuticals etc. Without a mechanism to ensure where they go, humanitarian stuff sent in will just be diverted to where Hamas wants it, hospitals, civilians etc. not being a Hamas priority.

  28. Stormy Dragon says:

    Israel expels Gazan workers back to war-torn enclave

    Prior to the October 7 attacks, about 18,000 Gazans had permits to cross into Israel and work, where they could earn significantly more than in Gaza.

    “Israel is severing all contact with Gaza. There will be no more Palestinian workers from Gaza. Those workers from Gaza who were in Israel on the day of the outbreak of the war will be returned to Gaza,” the government press office said Thursday.

    There’s is literally no legitimate reason to take civilians who have already been identified and vetted and who are already outside the war zone and force them back into it. Indeed, if one of your supposed complaints is that the militants are using the civilians as human shields, giving them more human shields would be counter productive.

  29. SenyorDave says:

    @drj: There are two comments that if I see them used, makes me discount the person who uses them. They are useful idiot and self-hating xxx. I automatically assume that person making these comments have no real arguments. Is Hamas horrible? Of course. Is Israel as bad? No. That doesn’t give Israel a free pass.
    The other argument that I see people use is that “the Palestinians would be just as bad off in country x”. The fact is they live in the Gaza and the West Bank, and it doesn’t matter that Syria is worse. They compare their lives to the lives of Israelis. The argument is no different than the old 1950’s argument that blacks in the American south would be worse off in Africa.

  30. Scott says:


    Rather than hugging Netanyahu (gigantic error) the Biden administration should focus on helping Ukraine, an actual democracy with actual commitment to human rights. And let these religious-extremist psychos in the Middle East fight themselves to the death, as they are wont to do.

    This I actually do agree with. We don’t have the capacity to understand all the tribes and grievances in the Middle East whether it be Israel, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Iraq, etc. And quite frankly, we are manipulated/bribed by all sides. Including the Christian nationalists in our own country. A pox on all their houses. Ukraine is more important to us (from a self-centered US perspective) than Israel.

  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    Your argument is great. . . as long as you make things up. This is gibberish:

    Says the guy who deliberately doesn’t distinguish between Hamas and Fatah, and who crows about how great the human rights situation is in Israel, while completely ignoring the human rights situation in the occupied territories.

    This bullshit. I’m quite aware of the human rights situation in Gaza where Hamas runs a thug state that allows very few freedoms. One election. . . almost twenty years ago. And I’ve long been brutally critical of Netanyahu and Likud, probably years before you noticed there was a Middle East.

    The same guy who says “I was right from the beginning,” but argued almost simultaneously that Israel was acting in accordance with the LOAC and that there shouldn’t even be such a thing as the LOAC (because “ain’t war hell” or some similar tired cliché).

    It doesn’t make any logical sense internally. Try again.

    Also the same guy who, instead of citing authoritative sources or reliable testimonies, quoted from his own children’s book in an inane attempt to show how right and smart he was.

    No, I quoted it to show consistency in my approach and understanding of war.

    There were two types of communists: those idealists who believed in the cause but rejected it in horror when they saw what Stalin was actually doing. And those who went on trying to justify Stalin. That’s you. Useful Idiot. Hamas (the safe ones in Qatar) laugh their asses off at people like you.

  32. Michael Reynolds says:


    Ukraine is more important to us (from a self-centered US perspective) than Israel.

    True, but #1 in line does not somehow invalidate #2 in line.

    1) Had Biden not quickly embraced Israel they’d now be doing all the things you pretend they’re doing because friendless people get desperate, whereas people who think they have a superpower buddy can, for example, delay a ground invasion for three weeks, or not preemptively hit Hezbollah.

    2) The ME remains vital to the world. I wish it wasn’t the case, and in hopefully few years it won’t be. But right now it is. The ME keeps the Japanese, Taiwanese and South Korean economies going. Cut off ME oil and gas and our Asian (and European, BTW) allies go plop.

    3) China, duh. China is also reliant on ME oil which means that thanks to the US Navy, we have China by the balls should we ever need to squeeze them. China knows this and is beavering away trying to build bases in the Red Sea and Gulf.

    4) Iran. It is superficial and naive to imagine that this is just between Israel and Hamas. There’s also Iran, which is determined to undermine peace between Israel and the Arab states. Should actual treaties of peace arise between Israel and the KSA, and economic trade normalized, it may have the effect of reassuring Israelis who might then shift Left. It would also cut military expenditures in the region, lower tensions, allow businesses to thrive, which of course helps people who like to eat.

  33. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    The only place in the Middle East…where a gay man can walk the streets safely

    Tell me you don’t have any intimate relationships with Israeli or Arab gays without telling me you don’t have any intimate relationships with Israeli or Arab gays.

    Gay men cannot necessarily walk the streets safely in the US, where the rise of Trumpism is correlated with increase in gay bashing and terroristic antigay threats.

    It’s worse in Israel where same-sex marriage is still not legal, government is less secular, and where Netanyahu’s rightwing coalition includes officials who have pledged to abolish Pride. Gays are not safe on Israel’s streets, where violent antigay attacks are sharply increasing.

    An ultra-Orthodox Jew’s fatal stabbing attack on a pride event less than ten years ago means the biggest Pride parties in Tel Aviv now have to be heavily guarded with metal detectors and armed military — jarring and scary for those of us who have experienced this in person.


    Pinkwashing, also known as rainbow-washing, [1] is the strategy of promoting LGBT rights protections as evidence of liberalism and democracy, especially to distract from or legitimize violence against other countries or communities.

    Pinkwashing refers to processes whereby states or corporations congratulate and promote themselves on the global stage as champions of human rights because they have granted select rights to LGBT people, while continuing to engage in various kinds of systemic violence and dispossession. Moreover, some states deliberately use their promotion of select LGBT rights as alibis for such violence.”[2]

    Pinkwashing is “a strategy frequently used to reframe debate and shift attention away from acts of overt discrimination, exclusion or violence under the veneer of a putatively inclusive, modernist rhetoric”.[4]

    Gays travel to and gather in Tel Aviv — as, point of fact, they do in Beirut, Istanbul, Dubai, and Ammam. That’s fine, it’s good these enclaves exist. But no country in the Middle East is “safe” for gays while eschewing equality and empowering antigay extremists. (And the United States is not either.)

  34. Michael Reynolds says:

    Try it on a scale of 1-10. Let’s say no one is a 10, or maybe San Francisco is a 10. The KSA or Iran are, what, 1s or 2s? And Israel is, what would you say? A six? Seven? And would you agree that a six or seven is better than a 1 or 2?

    Your comment is deliberately, knowingly dishonest.

  35. DK says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Your comment is deliberately, knowingly dishonest.

    Your comment is predicated on your ignorance of gay life and your total inexperience with Israeli and Arab gays.

    You are just too irrational, cranky, narrow-minded, egomaniacal, and immature to engage with information adding complexity and nuance to your preferred simplistic narratives that insist you know everything about everything.

    I have a) done the research and b) personally know far, faaaaaaar more Israeli and Arab gays than you do, and I know more about them and their lives than you ever will. And your insistence that gays are safe on the streets of Israel and nowhere else in the Middle East will remain an ignorant, oversimplistic falsehood no matter how much you tantrum. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  36. James Joyner says:

    @Lounsbury: That guerrillas often commit war crimes is certainly true. That doesn’t mean Hamas’ actions aren’t war crimes. LOAC is dependent on opposing forces wearing distinguishing uniforms and otherwise not hiding behind noncombatants.

  37. Gustopher says:

    @Michael Reynolds: LGBTQ+ rights would be pretty far up Maslov’s Hierarchy of Needs, and only affects a pretty small minority.

    When the State of Israel is keeping a chokehold on food, water and fuel, and crippling the economic opportunities for a third of its total population*, a discussion of LGBT+ rights is basically “how many queers can dance on the head of a pin?”. And that was the status quo before the October 7th attacks.

    50-70% unemployment in Gaza. To put that in perspective, the US got to 25% in the Great Depression.

    Being shoved into the closet sucks. Starving is immeasurably worse. And for the other 95-98% of the population that isn’t particularly queer**… it isn’t even a question.

    *: until there is a two state solution, the Palestinians are at the very least Israeli residents, if not Israelis.

    **: As a bi/pan/whateversexual, I would have a much easier time in the closet than a gay man.

  38. DK says:

    @Gustopher: Gay and queer Palestinians exist. Gay Palestinians and gay Israelis are dying in this conflict. They are not unaffected by Islamist or Jewish religious extremism, Hamas terror, Israeli bombs, or Israeli settler terrorism.

    It’s odd, some people’s idea that gay rights exist separately from the right to food, safety, shelter and the right not to die in terror attacks and/or endless wars. Gay rights are human rights. Do countries that are supposedly so great for gays think their mass human and/or civil rights violations only affect straight people?

  39. Lounsbury says:

    @James Joyner: You may profitably examine my comment for the mention of the phrase “war crimes” or equally “laws of war”, but then you will be hard pressed to find such mention as I am not so befuddled as to think that this has any real relevance to this kind of conflict, not any more than it has in any other colonial or neo-colonial war since the 1950s.

    What Israel has to worry about has really fuck all to do with any theoretical laws of war, and rather more to do with the laws of Public Relations and Propaganda, and controlling their narrative. And that narrative, not laws of war, is their binding constraint – maintaining the pretence for their Western audiences while engaging in what must be a dirty war.

    This quite leaving aside the incoherence of the practical mechanics even if Hamas decided to, against really all lessons of guerilla warfare from Mao on, decided to do such.

    @SenyorDave: Yes – that’s really the foundational question, surrender for what? Given the Netanyahu faction has rather successfully targetted and destroyed moderate factions (and one really should consult the map, Drum helpful reproduces it, of the West Bank to gain a sense of the Palestinian despair, which certainly should make clear the rebound of appeal of millenarian nihilism.

    @Michael Reynolds:

    the only place in the Middle East where an Arab can vote, where a gay man can walk the streets safely, where a woman is treated as a full human being

    Aside from displaying your own bigotry, none of the above is true. Not re gay, not re women, not re voting with some modicum of actual effect. But of course I merely actually know the languages and live largely in the region… Not to make out the region as adorable nor ideal on any of these points, however it does not resolve down to the Ibn Saud and the Iranians, and engaging in grotesque generally ignorant stereotypes, well, makes you really something of a mirror image of the anti-semites.

  40. dazedandconfused says:

    I can’t view calls for temporary cease fires to give time for the civis to find a way to separate themselves from Hamas and to get them food and water as risible. Phrasing it that way implies that is BS created by people who are rooting for Hamas in this. The assumption that there is no choice but to start ignoring the civis being used as human shields is ill-founded.

    Bibi has said they will be there a long time, and his defense minister ordered his guys not to go into the tunnels, and that the plan is to gas and starve them out, a project of months. Maximum speed seems unessential.

    Michael, your claim that Israel is the only place in the ME where Arabs can vote is not accurate. Where did you get that notion?

  41. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Reynolds: I have no specific knowledge to work from about Israel or the ME, but because I would grade the US as about a 5 (yes, I am a tough grader, my students used to complain about it), so it’s hard for me to buy that Israel is going to be more than a 3. Sorry. 🙁

  42. Just nutha ignint cracker says:


    When the State of Israel is keeping a chokehold on food, water and fuel, and crippling the economic opportunities for a third of its total population*, a discussion of LGBT+ rights is basically “how many queers can dance on the head of a pin?”. And that was the status quo before the October 7th attacks.

    “From back in his own defense zone, he scores on a blistering slap shot!”

  43. Ken_L says:

    The American response to the Gaza conflict has finally convinced me that the USA is in an irreversible descent into societal collapse. On all sides there has been extraordinary almost hysterical fury in support of absolutist positions that have little to do with the American national interest. It’s as if frustrated culture warriors have at last got hold of an issue with lots of real bodies and blood and they’re in a frenzy to use them to launch the most vicious personal attacks on those who disagree with them. Whether it be progressives accusing the president of genocide, or Republicans proposing to deport all the Palestinians in America, or to start a war with Iran, the bellowing rage has closed off anything resembling a rational, evidence-based discussion. Too much histrionics is never enough.

    This kind of unhinged fanaticism has always been a feature of extremist movements in democracies, but in the US, it’s gradually overtaken the mainstream. And unfortunately, I can’t see any way back.

  44. The Q says:

    The indiscriminate butchering of innocents by both sides is reprehensible.

    If there is only a slight moral difference that separates the two sides is the enormous criticism that Jews will level against their own leadership. See this thread as proof.

    On the Palestinian side, not so much condemnation of Hamas who has been doing this “annihilate Jews” bullschite for decades.

    And that makes all the difference.

  45. Kevin says:

    @The Q: The Onion strikes again. I have heard plenty of Palestinians condemn Hamas, in interviews. Plenty who are horrified by what happened on 10/7. And the Israeli government seems to be cracking down on protestors.

    Hamas is a horrible group that needs to be destroyed. Almost no one argues otherwise. They’re absolutely making things worse. But Israel is doing exactly what they want. And Israel is supposed to be the good guys. So, yeah, I have higher expectations for them.

  46. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Scott: Generally you have excellent takes, but this frankly is naive.

    The ‘war’ started in 1948 when a group of people were forced out of their land for another group of people. I’ve said before that at the nation-state level there are no ‘property rights’. Either you can defend your land and vanquish attempted conquerors….or you cannot. The peoples occupying Palestine could not. They lose.

    What I don’t expect…but what the Western mindset seem too… is that these people are simply going to take that L and move along like nothing happened.

    They aren’t doing anything another people in a similar situation wouldn’t do. Don’t believe me? Go displace the occupants of any region of any State. Then, try to go forward with business as usual. Those displaced people are going to want to kill you and your family to get their land back. And so are their kids and grandchildren.

    Let’s be honest, no one gives 2 shits about the Palestinians. They are poor and brown. The only time they get any attention is when they kill Israelis. Other than that, they are a displaced, humiliated people that are trapped.

    When a group of people’s land is conquered, they must be displaced or *eliminated. It probably is the most humane option over the long haul. Why subject generation after generation of these people to humiliation and suffering?

    The only thing people are really discussing is the exchange rate of Israeli to Palestinian suffering. The rest is just tribal justification.