"How to Screw Up A War Story: The New York Times At Work"

Speaking of proximity-fused munitions, precision strikes, and such like:

IMAGE(http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1181/3166492926_ed4f9d853a.jpg?v=0)

A shell fired by Israeli forces explodes over the northern Gaza Strip January 4, 2009.

By the way, I absolutely recommend you adding Theatrum Belli to your Flick contacts. This a photographer photographers collective that continually posts outstanding pieces shot at the planet's hottest warzones. Top notch professional photography which frequently turns up in the media.

shihonage wrote:

One simple truth remains - if Palestinians stop fighting, there will be no Palestine. If Israel stops fighting, there will be no Israel.

Fixed that. Both groups are fighting for self determination. To expect the weaker one to give up strikes me as somewhat unfair.

I do agree that Israel needs to defend itself, it won't work in the long run, but they have little choice.

The Israelis are full of crap about Hamas breaking the ceasefire. When Hamas kept the ceasefire, Israeli kept up a blockade that more or less starved the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

75% of the population suffer from Malnutrition, 46% of the children are suffering from acute anemia, and I read from somewhere else 10% have stunted growth. ( I can't find my original source for the stunted growth claim, I will try and find it again. The sources for other claims are below).

Medicine has also been subject to the blockade. (What military purpose this serves is anybodies guess). Sure they let in a trickle of trucks (as a sudden catastrophe would be bad PR) but not enough for 1.4 million people.

I have never heard of a ceasefire where it's okay for one side literally starve the other sides women and children. Israel provoked rocket fire and now the governing party has the excuse to kill a crap load of Palestinians conveniently before an election.

Richard Falk, UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on
the occupied territories is the source of the malnutrition claim. http://www.16beavergroup.org/mtarchive/archives/002757.php

That's more or less accepted as the reason for Hamas to resume the bombardments -- over the period of ceasefire, Israel continued with the asinine checkpoint and a de-facto blockade. Few viable businesses that held on were driven out of existence -- e.g. the only plant that bottled sodas, including Pepsi. Apparently Israel wants to make sure that Palestinians in Gaza would continue to pay the price for electing Hamas into power.

I'm still noting the deafening silence regarding reasons for supporting either side of the conflict that align with American interests. The current orthodoxy seems to be that we "owe" Israel some sort of support just because we have supported them in the past. This is a bit like the public "owing" Paris Hilton celebrity because she is famous.

The overwhelming avalanche of evidence seems, at least to me, to indicate that there really is absolutely no reason for the support of either Palestine or Israel save rank sentimentality, liberal/neocon guilt, and/or retarded apocalyptic religiosity. None of which are particularly good ways to run an American foreign policy.

Can someone please offer something that justifies both the principle and scale of our Israeli involvement that doesn't make us look like complete morons?

edit: oh, and calling me an antisemite for suggesting that we rethink our foreign policy does not qualify as an argument.

Paleocon wrote:

I'm still noting the deafening silence regarding reasons for supporting either side of the conflict that align with American interests.

I think the silence is due to the fact that no-one has an answer.

My hypothesis in this thread:

If Israel was wiped off the map, therefore no common enemy, then the region would probably degenerate into factionalism and anarchy. On the plus side that ends the demonisation of the US, on the minus side it would be very bad for the oil price.

I don't know if it's a good reason, but it's all I can think of.

I'm lifting this post verbatim from Metafilter, to combat the people who insist (like, natch, Israel) that Hamas broke the cease-fire. Interestingly, the NY Times is implicated as screwing up again:

malter51: you've got it wrong. Israel broke the cease-fire with Hamas first ... Israel attacked Gaza and Hamas responded with rockets.

From the 3quarksdaily blog:

[t]he rockets into Israeli territory after nearly six months of cease-fire followed – rather than preceded – the Israeli invasion into, and the killings of Palestinians inside, the occupied Gaza Strip. On November 14, the paper’s Jerusalem Bureau Chief, Ethan Bronner, re-stated the same facts reported by Kershner; he additionally voiced them in his accompanying interview on NYT radio – both can be read/heard here.

More crucially, Israeli and international sources from the first week of November 2008 – sources that are scholarly and (otherwise) more reliable than the NYT – shed further light on the misleading claim by the NYT editors. They include, but are by no means limited to:

The Israeli Haaretz, November 5, 2008: “Israel Defense Forces troops yesterday killed a Hamas gunman and wounded two others in the first armed clash in the Gaza Strip since a cease-fire was declared there in June. […] An Israeli army spokeswoman said troops had entered the territory.”

The Israeli Yediot Ahronot, November 5, 2008: “For the first time since the ceasefire took effect in June, IDF forces operated deep in the Gaza Strip Tuesday night.”

(Note: had the NYT editors bothered to consult Hebrew sources they would have easily found that the Hebrew version of the news item cited above is even clearer.)

The Times (UK), November 5, 2008: “A five-month truce between Israel and the Islamist rulers of the Gaza Strip was foundering yesterday after Israeli special forces entered the besieged territory and fought.”

The Guardian, November 5, 2008: “Hamas militants fired more than 35 rockets into Israel today, hours after the Israeli army killed six people inside the Gaza Strip in the first major exchange of fire since a truce took effect in June.”

Paleocon wrote:

The overwhelming avalanche of evidence seems, at least to me, to indicate that there really is absolutely no reason for the support of either Palestine or Israel save rank sentimentality, liberal/neocon guilt, and/or retarded apocalyptic religiosity. None of which are particularly good ways to run an American foreign policy.

My vote is for a combination of guilt about the Holocaust, fear of being branded an anti-Semite, and large donations of money.

At last we'll know the truth. Joe the Plumber is on the way.

TOLEDO, Ohio – Joe The Plumber is putting down his wrenches and picking up a reporter's notebook. The Ohio man who became a household name during the presidential campaign says he is heading to Israel as a war correspondent for the conservative Web site pjtv.com.

Samuel J. Wurzelbacher (WUR'-zuhl-bah-kur) says he'll spend 10 days covering the fighting.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090107/ap_on_re_us/joe_the_plumber.

Well, I guess that at least lets us evaluate the quality and credentials of PJTV as a news source.

My friend (a Jew) says that Israel's most likely tactical goal is to, open quotes, f*ck up Hamas Gaza as much as they can, while they can -- Obama, with all his pro-Israel assurances, will in no way allow them to have so much fun.

Paleocon wrote:

I'm still noting the deafening silence regarding reasons for supporting either side of the conflict that align with American interests. The current orthodoxy seems to be that we "owe" Israel some sort of support just because we have supported them in the past. This is a bit like the public "owing" Paris Hilton celebrity because she is famous.

The overwhelming avalanche of evidence seems, at least to me, to indicate that there really is absolutely no reason for the support of either Palestine or Israel save rank sentimentality, liberal/neocon guilt, and/or retarded apocalyptic religiosity. None of which are particularly good ways to run an American foreign policy.

Can someone please offer something that justifies both the principle and scale of our Israeli involvement that doesn't make us look like complete morons?

Israel is a relatively democratic, modern nation 1/19 size of California. It is surrounded by 22 hostile Arab nations 640 times its size, 60 times its population, and containing all the oil in the region.

These nations follow antiquated laws including complete lack of women's rights. According to the UN, "utilization of Arab women's capabilities through political and economic participation remains the lowest in the world in quantitative terms….In some countries with elected national assemblies, women are still denied the right to vote or hold office. And one in ever two Arab women can neither read nor write." (Arab Human Development Report 2002, NY: UN, 2002)

===

Palestinian Authority security forces arbitrarily arrest and detain persons, and prolonged detention and lack of due process are prevalent. The courts do not ensure fair and expeditious trials. Palestinian Authority executive and security services frequently ignore or fail to enforce court decisions.

International human rights monitoring groups have documented widespread arbitrary and abusive conduct by the Palestinian Authority. These organizations state that use of torture is widespread and not restricted to those persons detained on security charges. At least five Palestinians died in PA custody during 2001.

Palestinian women endure various forms of social prejudice and repression within their society. Because of early marriage, girls frequently do not finish the mandatory level of schooling. Cultural restrictions sometimes prevent women from attending colleges and universities.

Spousal abuse, sexual abuse, and honor killings occur.

Women who marry outside of their faith, particularly Christian women who marry Muslim men, often are disowned by their families and sometimes are harassed and threatened with death.

“It is hard to know what is more alarming -- a toxic statement of hatred of Jews by the Malaysian prime minister at an Islamic summit meeting this week or the unanimous applause it engendered from the kings, presidents and emirs in the audience. The words uttered by the prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, in a speech to the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference on Thursday were sadly familiar: Jews, he asserted, may be few in number, but they seek to run the world....Sympathy for the Muslims' plight must not be confused with the acceptance of racism. Most Muslims have indeed be shoddily treated — by their own leaders who gather at feckless summit meetings instead of offering their people what they most need: human rights, education and democracy.”

— New York Times editorial (October 18, 2003).

===

Saudi Arabia is a dynastic monarchy without freedom of speech. Severe torture of prisoners and beatings are the normal protocol there.

The Saudi government beheaded 52 people in 2003, for crimes including murder, robbery, drug smuggling, and homosexuality.

Other executions during the year 2000 were for crimes ranging from “deviant sexual behavior” to sorcery, and were carried out by stoning, beheading, or firing squad; additionally, some prisoners were punished by amputations or the loss of an eye. Prisoners are sometimes held for long periods of time without charge or trial.

There are no labor laws, unions or collective bargaining. There's no freedom of religion. All citizens must be Muslims, and only the Sunni branch of Islam can be practiced publicly.

===

Jordan is a constitutional monarchy. Virtually all power is concentrated in the king, who can dismiss any representative or disband the parliament altogether, as he did in June 2001. Thus, citizens of Jordan cannot change their government.

Freedom of assembly, association, the press and speech are all restricted by the government; authors of articles critical or satirical of the government are often arrested and imprisoned. In August 2002, the Al-Jazeera television network's license was revoked for airing views critical of the government.

Marital rape is legal, wife-beating is rampant, and often allowed by law, and honor crimes (domestic violence against women committed by men who feel the women have undermined their honor by their "immoral behavior") receive minimal sentences. Such honor crimes have become so common that they comprise 25% of the total murders committed in Jordan in 2000, according to one study.

===

In Lebanon, the use of torture is reportedly widespread. In the areas of the country controlled by the Syrian-backed militia Hizballah, only Islamic law is applied; in the independent Palestinian refugee camps in the south, no specific law system is endorsed. In both locations, human rights violations abound.

In August 2001, mostly Christian students staged a non-violent protest against Syria's role in Lebanon and were beat up by security forces. Days earlier, other anti-Syrian activists were arrested.

Domestic violence and rape are significant social problems, and affect a large segment of the population. Honor Crimes are illegal, but reduced sentences are applied in such cases.

While technically women can enter any profession they wish, there is strong societal pressure that prevents most women from doing so. Many other laws in Lebanon are based on Islamic law, and are discriminatory against women and children.

===

In Syria, President Bashar Assad is practically a monarch. When his father Hafez Assad died on June 10, 2000, after a 30-year reign, Bashar ran unopposed for the post, and soon thereafter, the minimum age required for a president was lowered from 40 to 34 - his age.

Publication of any “false information” published that opposes “the goals of the revolution” is punishable by lengthy jail sentences. All press industries are owned and operated by the government. In 2001, ten pro-democracy activists were arrested and convicted of inciting rebellion, disseminating lies and trying to change the constitution by force

Freedom of association is severely restricted by the government, and freedom of assembly does not exist at all.

Spousal rape is not illegal, and honor crimes occur. Legally, many financial laws, such as inheritance and social security, discriminate against women, and the punishment for adultery for women is twice that of men. Women cannot travel outside the country without their husbands’ permission.

===

In Egypt, there has been an "emergency law" active since 1981, allowing the government to arbitrarily detain people without charge, and to regularly deny legal rights to Egyptian citizens.

The government owns and controls the three largest newspapers and holds a monopoly on printing and distribution. Thus, newspapers rarely criticize the government, and the output of oppositions parties’ newspapers is limited. Scholars and officials who criticize the government are often charged with the crimes of libel, slander, or “disseminating false information about Egypt,” and are imprisoned.

Egypt, like the others, encourages anti-Jew rhetoric. Many Osama Bin Laden's recruits are Egyptian.

Domestic violence is a serious social problem in Egypt; one report concluded that one in three married women has been beaten by her husband. Additionally, marital rape is legal. Female Genital Mutilation still occurs, and a majority of women undergo the procedure.

===

Now, out of all those nations, which one should the United States support ? I vote Saudi Arabia, because it is the cuddliest.

But why is it in the United States interest to support *any* of those, rather than remain neutral? What strategic advantage is there? Doubtlessly Israel is a nicer regime for its citizens than any of the others are for theirs, and yes there are more social problems in the Arab countries, but when has this ever factored into the equation?

Shiho, I vote for Afghanistan! Can we add it to the list? It's just as fabulous a place like those you're listing, and we have no problem with "supporting" it

Israel is the most similar country to America in the region, by an astronomical factor. Similar, friendly countries share information and resources - that's how it always has been.

===

Gorilla, I really don't care for either Afghanistan or Iraq. A person cannot change from the outside, they need to arrive to that themselves. Something has to happen on the inside, and I believe the same to be true for countries.

For instance, Soviet Union wasn't dismounted from the outside pressure, it fell apart mostly from the inside. The Chernobyl disaster actually played a large role in opening up to the West, and it was an inside event.

So I don't have a lot of faith in trying to "enlighten" and "evolve" the nations that are stuck in a certain medieval regime, unless they initiate a major regime change themselves. Once they do so, I'd be all for supporting them.

shihonage wrote:

Israel is the most similar country to America in the region, by an astronomical factor. Similar, friendly countries share information and resources - that's how it always has been.

Since when is being similar to a country the basis for a slavish relationship? We're very similar to France when it comes to the ideals of democracy and individuality as well as their support for our own War for Independence. By that tune, we should be best-est buds. But we're not...

There's many more debits than credits in the accounting book when it comes to our relationship with Israel. They make us a larger target for terrorism. They make us lose international credibility because we never censor them for their actions. They dramatically complicate our other relationships and policies in the region.

And what do we get for that blind support? Nothing.

We don't even get access to military bases, something we have gotten from countries we don't share much in common with, like Turkey. I won't even go into Israel's long history of spying on us and stealing our secrets. Similar, friendly country my ass.

Sihonage, all that mudslinging just shows just how weak your argument is. Basically, you seem to be claiming that Israel, which possesses nuclear weapons and the best army in the Middle East, has the right to imprison, starve, and now torture an entire population. Why?

Because they're the good guys. And gee, look at all those terrible other countries in the area. Surely, Israel's unbelievable mistreatment of an entire population is justified.

Bullsh*t. Whatever their stated principles are, they're not living up to them. Just as Guantanamo is a war crime, so is the 18-month siege of Gaza, regardless of how fabulous the perpetrators may otherwise be.

Mudslinging, huh. That's an interesting name for truth.

Malor wrote:

you seem to be claiming that Israel, which possesses nuclear weapons and the best army in the Middle East, has the right to imprison, starve, and now torture an entire population.

Your one-sided perspective, combined with judicious use of misused adjectives did give me a chuckle. Thanks.

I said much of what I had to say, and continuing a parrying match with several people has taken much of my time. See ya around.

What I don't see in any of these discussions are suggestions of how the Israelis and the IDF should respond to the tactics of Hamas.

I'm a weathervane on the Israel / Palestine issue. I can be (and often am) convinced by the arguments of either side.

What do you do when a guerilla organization's tactics are designed to provoke you into killing civilians? What do you do when the leaders of the war against you put their headquarters in a hospital? What do you do when the enemy sets up mortars in a school playground?

I have a hard time faulting Israel in the big picture until folks start offering reasonable suggestions of how they could respond to Hammas differently. I believe they could do better and that there are many individual details and decisions that can and should be faulted, but they are faced with an enemy who is bound and determined to create martyrs. The IDF doesn't have any good choices. If they defend themselves, they are criminals. If they turn the other cheek, they are victims. At the end of the day, I guess I can't fault those who fall back on "never again" and defend their people. I wish things were different, but until we see options for dealing with hammas that offer real peace and security, at least *some* of the blame for civilian casualties has to lie on the heads of the fighters who choose to operate in schools and hospitals.

Shiho, during this intifada season (heh), those "1 million sitting ducks" in Israel have suffered a total of two casualties from the rocket bombardment, if I remember right. I think it's worth mentioning, to keep some sense of perspective.

And that Palestinian orator would make an awesome Sharikov.

Gorilla wrote:

Shiho, during this intifada season (heh), those "1 million sitting ducks" in Israel have suffered a total of two casualties from the rocket bombardment, if I remember right. I think it's worth mentioning, to keep some sense of perspective.

and back on page 1...

Shiho wrote:

Israel's low casualties in this particular scenario are result of a missile tracking system that alerts the targeted areas in advance. Given how many bombings they had to endure, this system comes in pretty handy.

Shiho wrote:

As for the "ratio", it is due to Israel's technically sophisticated missile alert system. It is ridiculous to fault them for having low casualties, as they're the one side that isn't actively involved in maximizing their own casualties.

Are we even reading the posts of the people we disagree with, or is this just an example of circular arguing?

Nomad: or, we can go back to page #2 where the aspects of asymmetrical warfare is being discussed.

I am not faulting Israel for managing to protect those residents of Sderot. Good for them.

Speaking of sophisticated systems -- these rockets leave such massive contrails of smoke in their wake... A pair of binoculars would be sophisticated enough, I thought.

Again, sihonage, you're avoiding the issue because your actual case has no merit. Doing what the Israelis are doing to a civilian population is indefensible, so of course you won't talk about that. You'd much rather point at the 'loaded words' than the loaded guns.

shihonage wrote:

Mudslinging, huh. That's an interesting name for truth.

Awesome, do we get to start selectively taking segments that may read differently when out of context out of Israeli speeches now? Can I reference truths about Israel's own disregard of innocent lives in this whole big mess? Can we show how Isreal treats peace workers who choose to help Palestinian civilians?

shihonage wrote:

Your one-sided perspective, combined with judicious use of misused adjectives did give me a chuckle. Thanks.

Your one-sided perspective doesn't make me chuckle. It makes me sad.

Oso wrote:

What I don't see in any of these discussions are suggestions of how the Israelis and the IDF should respond to the tactics of Hamas.

I don't like cross-posting too often, but there's a discussion going on about this at Gamingtrend, and what I wrote there fits in right here:

What would really help matters here is for Israel to stop the shelling, offer a ceasefire, and life the blockade of Gaza. And not stop there.

Bring in work crews, medical crews, ship in supplies; fix up Gaza, provide care and necessities for the Palestinians, and genuinely help them rebuild a functioning society. Yes, Hamas will have suicide bombers sabotage efforts. The response? Step up the humanitarian efforts.

When the people have more to lose from supporting Hamas than more to gain, Hamas will lose support for its militant wing. Then the organization will either let go of the violence and become a legitimate government, or the Palestinians will welcome outside help in ridding themselves of a terrorist organization.

Right now, both sides are committing atrocities. But only one of them is in a position to help the other, and promote peace through a genuine, large-scale humanitarian effort.

It won't be easy, nor will it work in the short term. But it WILL work if everyone involved makes a full, sincere, and meaningful effort to fix things through peaceful efforts. Make the Palestinians and Israelis truly invested in resolving the Gaza issue peacefully and productively, and terrorists will find themselves marginalized when that process reaches fruition.

The real question is this: does Israel want peace, or do they want revenge? Both choices carry a price, but one is the choice to evolve, while the other is the choice to simply wallow in our barbaric and tribalistic nature.

Avi Shlaim in The Guardian:

I write as someone who served loyally in the Israeli army in the mid-1960s and who has never questioned the legitimacy of the state of Israel within its pre-1967 borders. What I utterly reject is the Zionist colonial project beyond the Green Line. The Israeli occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the June 1967 war had very little to do with security and everything to do with territorial expansionism. The aim was to establish Greater Israel through permanent political, economic and military control over the Palestinian territories. And the result has been one of the most prolonged and brutal military occupations of modern times.

Four decades of Israeli control did incalculable damage to the economy of the Gaza Strip. With a large population of 1948 refugees crammed into a tiny strip of land, with no infrastructure or natural resources, Gaza's prospects were never bright. Gaza, however, is not simply a case of economic under-development but a uniquely cruel case of deliberate de-development. To use the Biblical phrase, Israel turned the people of Gaza into the hewers of wood and the drawers of water, into a source of cheap labour and a captive market for Israeli goods. The development of local industry was actively impeded so as to make it impossible for the Palestinians to end their subordination to Israel and to establish the economic underpinnings essential for real political independence.

Gaza is a classic case of colonial exploitation in the post-colonial era. Jewish settlements in occupied territories are immoral, illegal and an insurmountable obstacle to peace. They are at once the instrument of exploitation and the symbol of the hated occupation. In Gaza, the Jewish settlers numbered only 8,000 in 2005 compared with 1.4 million local residents. Yet the settlers controlled 25% of the territory, 40% of the arable land and the lion's share of the scarce water resources.

Later in the same article:

Israel likes to portray itself as an island of democracy in a sea of authoritarianism. Yet Israel has never in its entire history done anything to promote democracy on the Arab side and has done a great deal to undermine it. Israel has a long history of secret collaboration with reactionary Arab regimes to suppress Palestinian nationalism. Despite all the handicaps, the Palestinian people succeeded in building the only genuine democracy in the Arab world with the possible exception of Lebanon. In January 2006, free and fair elections for the Legislative Council of the Palestinian Authority brought to power a Hamas-led government. Israel, however, refused to recognise the democratically elected government, claiming that Hamas is purely and simply a terrorist organisation.

America and the EU shamelessly joined Israel in ostracising and demonising the Hamas government and in trying to bring it down by withholding tax revenues and foreign aid. A surreal situation thus developed with a significant part of the international community imposing economic sanctions not against the occupier but against the occupied, not against the oppressor but against the oppressed.

The burner of American flag. Whether death is a suitable punishment for traitors is not the subject

Wow, calling someone who burns flags a traitor is just a leeetle over the top, don't you think? You're indirectly implying that it's okay to receive the death penalty for burning a flag. That's an.... let's just call that an extreme viewpoint, ok?

There's no definite word on the reason for her death, unless of course you listen only to Palestinian Authority.

"Run over by bulldozer destroying Palestinian house" is fairly difficult to fake, since it's not like the Palestinians have bulldozers.

You ignore the FACT of Hamas human shields, the advance Israeli warnings, and point at the "loaded guns" that are supposedly to blame for these casualties. And you're accusing ME of "avoiding the issue" ?

If you don't pull the trigger, then people don't die. It's pretty goddamn simple.

And, re:human shields... how else are the Palestinians supposed to fight? Their country is being destroyed. All the good land has been taken by settlers; did you even read that article I linked? 8000 people have 40% of the arable land, while 1.5 MILLION people can only look on in envy, while they starve. They've been invaded, they're being systematically driven into smaller and smaller bits of land. They have few weapons to fight with; what other tactic can they employ? I would sure as f*ck do what the Palestinians do, if I were trying to fight back against an overwhelmingly powerful occupier. And so would you. And you would cheer the people doing so as heroes.

If the shoe were on the other foot, if Hamas really did have Israel by the throat and were wrecking their cities, somehow, I don't think you'd have quite such facile excuses.

Farscry wrote:

Your one-sided perspective doesn't make me chuckle. It makes me sad.

Oso wrote:

What I don't see in any of these discussions are suggestions of how the Israelis and the IDF should respond to the tactics of Hamas.

I don't like cross-posting too often, but there's a discussion going on about this at Gamingtrend, and what I wrote there fits in right here:

What would really help matters here is for Israel to stop the shelling, offer a ceasefire, and life the blockade of Gaza. And not stop there.

Bring in work crews, medical crews, ship in supplies; fix up Gaza, provide care and necessities for the Palestinians, and genuinely help them rebuild a functioning society. Yes, Hamas will have suicide bombers sabotage efforts. The response? Step up the humanitarian efforts.

When the people have more to lose from supporting Hamas than more to gain, Hamas will lose support for its militant wing. Then the organization will either let go of the violence and become a legitimate government, or the Palestinians will welcome outside help in ridding themselves of a terrorist organization.

Right now, both sides are committing atrocities. But only one of them is in a position to help the other, and promote peace through a genuine, large-scale humanitarian effort.

It won't be easy, nor will it work in the short term. But it WILL work if everyone involved makes a full, sincere, and meaningful effort to fix things through peaceful efforts. Make the Palestinians and Israelis truly invested in resolving the Gaza issue peacefully and productively, and terrorists will find themselves marginalized when that process reaches fruition.

The real question is this: does Israel want peace, or do they want revenge? Both choices carry a price, but one is the choice to evolve, while the other is the choice to simply wallow in our barbaric and tribalistic nature.

The reason Hamas has the support base in Gaza that it does is due to the fact that it operates hospitals, schools and food programs in the territory. They won the election because they were seen to be working for the people, unlike Fatah who were 'appeasing' Israel and known to be corrupt.

I agree with you totally, Israel needs to outdo Hamas at its own game. It will take time, commitment and backbone but it will work.

I'm well aware of the perils of drawing parallels to our own situation in South Africa, but Apartheid ended because the Apartheid government allowed it to. FW De Clerk broke the cycle of retribution by unbanning the ANC and releasing Mandela. The Isreali situation is more complex, but not completely dissimilar.

In a conflict between two unequal side the more powerful needs to make the peace. Our government could have persisted with repressing the townships, destroying the Bantu education system and going to war in neighbouring countries to keep the 'terrorists' out. Despite being outnumbered 10 to 1 the whites had the money, technology and ability to maintain the equilibrium, but the internal strife would never have ended.

I mean, look at this picture:

IMAGE(http://img100.imageshack.us/img100/6761/palastinianlandloss8tz.gif)

And ask yourself, what people wouldn't be fighting?

Malor wrote:

Again, shihonage, you're avoiding the issue because your actual case has no merit. Doing what the Israelis are doing to a civilian population is indefensible, so of course you won't talk about that. You'd much rather point at the 'loaded words' than the loaded guns.

Oh allright.

What does that even mean ? Yeah, I showed you the words. The evidence of Hamas maximizing their casualties on purpose is overwhelming and undeniable. Israel doesn't do that to their own citizens. It is also well-documented that Israel calls the affected areas in advance. Hamas never showed that courtesy to Israel. They just kept lobbing rockets.

You ignore the FACT of Hamas human shields, the advance Israeli warnings, and point at the "loaded guns" that are supposedly to blame for these casualties. And you're accusing ME of "avoiding the issue" ?

Protip: next time you feel like regurgitating this again... GOTO 10.

===

Farscry, that second article about how "Israel treats peace workers" is taken from a website named "If America Knew". The people behind that site were responsible for the "unbiased" video documentary about Israel-Palestine relations, called "Occupation 101". That documentary was about as neutral as a Jeremiah Wright's sermon. Just FYI.

The first site you reference refers to Rachel Corrie. The burner of American flag. Whether death is a suitable punishment for traitors is not the subject, so I won't go into it here. The fact is, alleged details of her death are highly suspect, and the photos that were at first sold as sequential were later "corrected" not to have been. There's no definite word on the reason for her death, unless of course you listen only to Palestinian Authority.

Note that several references I made were taken from the U.N., NY Times, BBC, and common sources (such as geography). References to Hamas hate machine, size of Israel, and levels of education in Arabic countries.

I do find it amusing that you claim Hamas' claims toward being an industry of death and human shields to be out of context. It's a FACT. But whatever makes you feel better. I'm done with this thread now, and won't be baited by Malor throwing any more pebbles into my back.

P.S. Bush sums up my position well.

P.P.S. The so-called "loss of land" map circulating around is highly zoomed in and biased. It doesn't account for how much land Israel lost during that period, and it certainly doesn't account how much of it it gained through defensive wars.

Malor wrote:

I mean, look at this picture:

IMAGE(http://img100.imageshack.us/img100/6761/palastinianlandloss8tz.gif)

And ask yourself, what people wouldn't be fighting?

That's sobering, I knew about it but have never seen it shown that clearly.