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Israel: the Permanent-War State

It’s no accident that as soon as Bibi Netanyahu returned from Washington DC, where he apparently was rebuffed yet again in his attempts to wage war on Iran, Israel decided to wage war on Gaza instead. Gaza serves as a punching bag for Israeli leaders when they need some two-bit country to beat the crap out of (to use Michael Ledeen’s memorable phrase).

gaza attacks

Gaza youth wounded during Israel's attacks (Mohammed Abed AFP/Getty)

Despite a successful Gaza ceasefire, Israel assassinated several Islamic Jihad and Popular Resistance Committee leaders to violate it. This, in turn begat the latest round of Palestinian rocket fire against Israel. Now 25 Gazans have been killed, many civilians, including a 14 year-old boy walking to school with four friends and a 65 year-old man and his daughter tending their farm. The IDF lied once again claiming they were used as “human shields” by militants:

The Israeli military said it had aimed at a squad preparing to launch rockets from within a residential area of northern Gaza. It blamed the Palestinian groups for operating from urban areas and using civilians as “human shields.”

In fact, there is no evidence in this or any other case of militants using anyone as a human shield. In fact, the IDF has done this numerous times which are documented on video (and reported here). It does this despite the fact that the practice was supposedly banned by the Supreme Court. The NY Times dutifully published the assertion without challenging its accuracy. Also, note that the overall death toll is not reported in the article till two-thirds of way toward the end of the article (burying the lede?).  The photo accompanying the article shows Israeli schoolgirls cowering in fear.  No Israelis have been killed or wounded.  25 Palestinians killed.  Where’s the proportionality?

Bibi said in today’s Haaretz that he’s prepared to escalate this latest round of mayhem.  In fact, I’d imagine he’s eager to do so.  If he’s made a deal with Obama that in return for Israel not attacking now the U.S. might or will join in an attack later, Bibi will feel he has to inoculate himself among his far-right voters for whom Arab blood is like red meat.  If you can’t give ‘em Iranian blood, Gazan blood is a good substitute.

All this denotes a clear choice among Israeli leaders for a state of permanent war against their neighbors. When Ehud Olmert faced the possibility of negotiating a peace deal with a willing Syria, he chose war instead (Operation Castlead). When Egyptian Islamists attacked Eilat last summer, Bibi falsely accused the Gaza-based PRC of orchestrating the attacks, assassinated their five top leaders, and murdered 30 Gazans in a massive air attack. When Bibi couldn’t have the (Iran) war he wanted when he wanted it, he chose to assault Gaza instead. This is a piece of red meat he throws to his far-right constituents in order to divert them from pointing to his failure to advance his plans against Iran.

Israel has become one of the first nations in many decades to survive using a strategy of permanent war footing. One of the first such states was Sparta, followed by Napoleon’s France, after which Nazi Germany followed suit (1938-1945) in the modern era.  Israel’s supporters and Israelis themselves should ask whether their Zionist vision embraces Israel as a latter-day Sparta. How long can such footing be sustained? Do Israelis wish their children and their enemies’ children to be cannon fodder for this permanent war machine?

The U.S. media takes it’s share of lumps in according Israel far too much leeway.  It portrays its actions as purely defensive in nature and Palestinian actions as purely offensive. The NY Times, for example, embraced the Israeli narrative here that the so-called success of the Iron Dome anti missile defense allowed Israeli leaders the luxury of not launching an invasion of Gaza. Isabel Kershner conveniently downplayed the fact that Iron Dome only intercepted 50 of the 150 rockets launched against Israel (“the missile batteries have managed to intercept 54 of the nearly 70 Palestinian rockets”). She also implied that past Gaza rocket barrages have caused massive casualties and damage inside Israel (“the prevention of mass casualties and damage has reduced pressure on the country’s leaders”), which is also false.  No Gaza rocket has ever caused “mass casualties” (though several Israeli civilians have been killed or wounded in discrete attacks over ten years) and only a handful have caused any material damage.

Finally, she reports without comment Israeli leaders claiming they plan to forcefully topple the Hamas regime in Gaza (Yuval Steinitz charmingly call it “root canal”) without noting the abject failure of the last attempt to do so during Cast Lead. No one questions the utility of regime change as a strategy in the Israel-Palestinian context.

If we properly excoriate Judy Miller for her over credulous reporting on Iraqi WMD, why should we allow NYT reporters to do the same regarding Israeli claims? The incomplete portrait that Ethan Bronner and Kershner offer of this conflict do a great disservice to their readers, preventing them from being able to understand the overall situation.

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Comments on this entry are closed.

  • overlook March 13, 2012, 12:12 AM

    So you’re saying that Bibi was upset about America, and instructed his generals to pound innocent civilians in Gaza as he sat in the HQ and enjoyed himself?

    Does that sound in any way serious to you?

    • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 1:22 AM

      Not sure what you meant by “enjoying himself” but the phrase sounds highly suggestive.

      As for trusting your paraphrase of anything I say, I wouldn’t trust you as far as I can throw you.

      • yarony March 13, 2012, 4:49 AM

        “Bibi will feel he has to inoculate himself among his far-right voters for whom Arab blood is like red meat. If you can’t give ‘em Iranian blood, Gazan blood is a good substitute”

        WTF ???

        • overlook March 13, 2012, 11:46 AM

          I think that’s what you call a “blood libel”.

          • David March 13, 2012, 10:09 PM

            No — it’s a fair theory of why the attack on Gaza at this point in time. What other event precipitated the attack? Anything new? No.

          • overlook March 13, 2012, 11:09 PM

            It’s a theory that plays on the notion that Jews are hunting Palestinians for sport. It’s sickening, and tells us more of whoever contrived it than on Israel.

          • Carl March 14, 2012, 3:25 AM

            funny how politicians will stroke up conflict to relieve political embarrassment; Ronald Reagan invaded Granada shortly after the terrible embarrassment of the bombing of the Marines in Lebanon

          • Deïr Yassin March 14, 2012, 5:20 AM

            Well, as far as “blood libel” is concerned: here’s an article from Haaretz with the headline “Escalation is good for Israel”
            http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/escalation-is-good-for-israel-1.417848

          • Oded Rozen March 14, 2012, 9:09 AM

            David, seems you are a good christian.
            Based on your logic Israel should accept the fact the rockets and mortars are fired daily from Gaza into Israel, and should just turn the other chick.

            The war on terror is a long process based a lot of times on opportunities. Israel was after the guy for some time, and the opportunity finally presented itself.

            Just FYI since the new “cease fire agreement” was reached, we experienced daily firing of Rockets and Mortars from Gaza, Should we turn the other chick ?

  • jo March 13, 2012, 2:43 AM

    Your observations are spot on. There is an undeniable pattern and it is real and very very discouraging to me.

    The politics of Israel presented by the mainstream media would have anyone reading your assertions and asking the very same question ….”does that sound serious to you?”
    However, readers who ingest daily the antics of the Israeli government from sites such as Tikam Olam as well as numerous other writings from Max Blumenthal, Glenn Greenwald, Joseph Dana, Juan R.I. Cole, 925 magazine, Democracy Now…the list could go on and on….those readers know only too well, that as unreal as it seems, that your observations are correct.

    The automatic and unthinking actions by the Israeli leadership are completely predictable, especially if you have been following the charade for even a short time. My husband and I sat at the breakfast table and basically said to each other after the Bibi/Barack meeting—well, Gaza is going to get pounded now and no one will care—because of course it will all be justified by the MSM.
    The Dome Security protects Israel from rockets but can fail to protect, too …..right on cue.

    Israel is shrouded in propaganda and its’ actions are utterly interconnected with America. The truth and the facts on the ground are suppressed by a barrage of factors which include INTENSE emotional ties, love and pride for their people, power, money and influence blinding media/Congress, huge profits by weapons manufacturers, Zionist philosophy and Apocalyptic Christian support. Those who are objective still want the best for Israel, they see the need for critical analysis and real discussion—yet continue to witness bullying behavior time after time.

    (On a side note, it has crossed my mind that Bibi is just crazed enough to be acting out on the world stage a familial wound…..wasn’t his brother killed in battle?? Is this perpetual waring state a short sided reaction to avenge the death of his brother? Similar to GWB wanting to rid the world of Saadam for his father?)
    At this point in time, Israel is an endless display of prideful emotional trauma paired with an over abundance of military weapons and the need to use them.

    • David March 13, 2012, 10:17 PM

      Israel needs permanent war just like “Oceania” needed it in “1984″. The evolving military dictatorship of the state requires a permanent battle to remain empowered by the people. There is a theory that Hitler also needed permanent war to maintain authority.

      “Those who are objective still want the best for Israel, they see the need for critical analysis and real discussion—yet continue to witness bullying behavior time after time.”
      Yes, that is what is so galling, that time and again Israel just beats up this one or that one and now wants more land and destroys houses and wants war with Iran having already devastated Iraq….But, don’t get me started. I wanted Israel to be profoundly good and democratic and decent and it just hasn’t worked out at all.

      And the NYT is just an accomplice, not a short-sighted journal, but an accomplice, aiding and abetting this surreal mean-spirited, ugly Israel.

  • Dhimmi Hoffa March 13, 2012, 3:32 AM

    When you say
    “Now 25 Gazans have been killed, many civilians, including a 14 year-old boy walking … ” you’re not lying like that low-life IDF spokesman, right?
    Haaretz (a very *small* supporter of the Israeli gov’t) reports 4 civilians out 26 dead altogether…

    I am afraid that what is really depressing you is, as you say: “No Israelis have been killed or wounded. 25 Palestinians killed”

    • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 8:37 AM

      No, actually the number is FIVE civilians killed. You don’t think five civilians is “many?”. Could be because those five dead have no significance for you. I wonder why that is?

      Your nickname is both provocative & offensive. If you wish to comment here again adopt a less Islamophobic one or you will lose yr privileges.

      • overlook March 13, 2012, 11:48 AM

        ‘You don’t think five civilians is “many?’
        Compared to the total number of militants dead and considering the fact that Gaza city is the most populated city in the world – I would say that’s a very good ratio.

        Still, every death is a tragedy.

        • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 12:21 PM

          Gaza is the most populated city in the world?? I’m sure Paris, London, Tokyo, NYC and scores of other larger cities will be surprised to hear that. Besides, Gaza isn’t a city at all.

          Every death is a tragedy indeed, you fatuous disingenuous hypocrite. You don’t give a crap about Palestinian dead. Spare us your insincere claptrap.

          • overlook March 13, 2012, 1:44 PM

            I’ve omitted “most densely populated”.
            And yes, Gaza is indeed is a city.
            Make the distinction between Gaza city and Gaza strip, which has several other cities, such as Jabalia, Khan Yunis and more.

          • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 11:24 PM

            You only omitted the phrase that turned the statement from being partially true to false. Gaza isn’t the most densely populated city in the world either. It’s very densely populated, but not “most” densely populated. Gaza City is a city–more or less. Gaza, as you called it, is NOT a city.

          • Deïr Yassin March 13, 2012, 2:48 PM

            When someone says Gaza without any further definition it’s always referring to the strip, and NOT the city. Play it smart, will you !
            And 12-years-old Ayoub As-Salleya, killed on Sunday morning was not living in Gaza-City but in the Jabaliyya refugee camp, No combattants were around.
            52-years-old farmer Adel al-Issi was killed while working in his fields. I guess the IDF mistook his eggplants for a qassam-rocket.

            “Good ratio”: that what you have to say. Well, as most Israelis do military service and thus are as much combattants as a Hamas or Islamic Jihad-fighter “off duty”, we’ll remember your “good ratio” for next time Israelis are killed.

          • herenot March 14, 2012, 1:56 AM

            “you fatuous disingenuous hypocrite”

            look in the mirror.

          • Richard Silverstein March 14, 2012, 2:56 PM

            Except for a few extra pounds, I’m happy with what I see in the mirror. You, not so much.

      • Illan Pepper March 13, 2012, 9:11 PM

        [I find anyone who calls me "dickie" to be offensive. If you want to act like you're 12 yrs old you won't publish another comment here.]

        • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 11:36 PM

          Dozens of militants were NOT killed. 20 militants were killed & 5 civilians. The overall ratio of Palestinians civilians to militants killed by the IDF is even worse. And 5 Palestinian civilian dead is five more than the zero Israeli civilian dead in this round of mayhem.

          • overlook March 14, 2012, 3:10 AM

            “And 5 Palestinian civilian dead is five more than the zero Israeli civilian dead in this round of mayhem.”

            Richard, are you displeased with the fact that no Israeli was killed?
            We used to be easier to kill, I know, but times have changed.

          • Richard Silverstein March 14, 2012, 2:54 PM

            Mazel tov. After repeated warnings to avoid comment rule violations including willful, snarky lies about my views, you’ve earned yrself oblivion. You see, I’m touchy about morons like you accusing me of supporting the murder of Israelis.

            It’s been swell.

          • Nimrod March 14, 2012, 5:52 AM

            [This is off topic, a comment rule violation. This is not a soccer game or point scoring hasbara exercise. Stay on topic]

        • Illan Pepper March 14, 2012, 12:13 AM

          Dear Mr. Silverstein,
          [You're quite sensitive for someone he keep referring to Israel's PM with the childish "bibi", however I will respect your request]
          So, no Israelis civillians were killed. Partly because Iron Dome *is* so succesful.
          Would you be happier if Israelis were killed, Does the IDF have to wait untill Israelis are killed toi resume preemtive attacks?

          • Richard Silverstein March 15, 2012, 12:05 AM

            Oh, you mean the childish “Bibi” which virtually every newspaper and citizen inside Israel uses to refer to him??

            An avg. of less than 3 Israelis have been killed by Palestinian missiles in 10 yrs time & that was BEFORE Iron Dome. These are not just “pre-emptive” attacks, they targeted extrajudicial murder. Save your euphemisms for those more gullible.

    • Aonee March 14, 2012, 9:19 PM

      C’mon man, just 16 out of nearly 70 rockets could finally make it past the iron dome. But still not do much damage has been done as desired by the palestinians. So RS has all the right to be pissed off.

      • Richard Silverstein March 14, 2012, 11:53 PM

        Gaza rockets have historically not done much damage to Israel with or without Iron Dome. Especially not considering the damage the IDF has caused to Gaza over the years.

  • Joel March 13, 2012, 4:01 AM

    Islamic Jihad cynically fires rockets in order to make Hamas look bad and in order to gain political prestige. The rocket fire also puts Gazan civilians in Harm’s way.

    • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 11:49 PM

      Bibi cynically assassinates the PRC leader in order to gin up a war in Gaza that distracts his followers fr the fact that he can’t or won’t invade Iran now. Bibi is worse than Islamic Jihad by many orders of magnitude.

  • Cory Kern March 13, 2012, 8:25 AM

    You blame Israel for igniting the latest round of Palestinian rocket fire against Israel “despite a successful Gaza ceasefire.”

    In 2011, 680 rockets, mortars and Grad missiles were fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel. In January 2012, 9 rockets and 7 mortar shells pounded Israel; in February 2012 36 rockets and 1 mortar shell. In the week leading up to the Israel action, there were six missile attacks. (Wikipedia stats).

    I have a bit of trouble viewing this as “a successful Gaza ceasefire.”

    • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 8:34 AM

      Lions & tigers & rockets, oh my. How many of those “lethal” rockets killed or injured anyone or caused any damage?

      Not to mention for every single Israeli civilian killed six Palestinians are killed. Don’t spare a tear for them do ya? Wonder why? Well no, we don’t wonder why with people like you.

      • herenot March 13, 2012, 10:01 AM

        “How many of those “lethal” rockets killed or injured anyone or caused any damage?”

        each one of them causes damage. the fact that you disregard the fact that people have to deal with frequent disruption to their daily lives, as if israel civilians living in the areas around Gaza are somehow exempt from the right to live without shells being fired around them, and as if the the me sure of disruption is only valid in liters of blood, is telling us something about your brand of “human rights” and what “tikun olam” really means for you.

        you said “a successful Gaza ceasefire” it WASN’T. your pitiful excuse to reconcile your own cognitive dissonance is a telling sign of your own lack of integrity.

        • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 12:27 PM

          Pardon me but while I have sympathy for someone inconvenienced by rocket fire, I feel righteous indignation at a nation killing Palestinians with ruthless efficiency over many decades, and doing so in my name & the name of the Jewish people. Yes, that offends me as do you.

          • herenot March 13, 2012, 11:38 PM

            I have no problem with your view. it’s not relevant to the facts that I and others on this thread have disputed.

            I’d just like to remind you, that you said “despite a successful Gaza ceasefire.”

            it wasn’t.

            you lied. end of story.

          • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 11:42 PM

            The ceasefire certainly was successful until Israel violated it by assassinating the PRC’s leader. It was Israel that violated the ceasefire. Israel murdered a Palestinian. No Palestinian militant has killed an Israeli from Gaza in almost a year. In that period, many Gazans have been killed.

            Call me a liar again & it’s be your last word here & THAT will be the end of story for you.

          • herenot March 13, 2012, 11:54 PM

            “The ceasefire certainly was successful until Israel violated it by assassinating the PRC’s leader.”

            it was most definetly NOT successfull. the word CEASEFIRE has a very clear meaning, and the systematic shelling of civilian population most definetly is not within the scope of what constitues a successfull one.

          • Richard Silverstein March 14, 2012, 11:58 PM

            You’re leaving out the Israeli tanks & soldiers who fire on Gaza farmers during this reputed ceasefire if they dare to farm their land in a buffer zone Israel has declared. And Israeli navy boats which fire on Gaza fishing boats during this reputed ceasefire. And if you want to argue that Israel assassinated the PRC chief (which was how THIS ceasefire was once again broken by Israel) because of Gaza rockets which fell on Israel in the past year you’re really pitching a bridge no one will buy in a million yrs. But nice job for trying.

          • Nimrod March 14, 2012, 6:02 AM

            [comment deleted as off topic & hasbara]

          • Nimrod March 14, 2012, 6:21 AM

            [comment deleted]

          • David March 14, 2012, 7:08 AM

            It must be annoying and inconvenient to be bothered by rockets that land mostly in the desert and that injured two dogs, as I understand it. It certainly seems reason enough to bomb Gaza’s population centers, call out the tanks and ready army. And then of course, Gaza calls out the Palestinian Air Force and its tanks and ready army and then we have what Israelis like to call “war” but it is really just slaughter as in Lebanon twice over.

            No — Israelis do not have the right to live normal lives unaffected by political circumstances. They have chosen the path of aggression without limits, theft of property and murder of innocents in large numbers. They elected this war over peace several times over and several historic points. They do not have the right to normal lives. And — get this — they never will have normal lives until they come to terms with Palestinians and neighborhood. And that’s not likely on Bibi’s watch, is it?

          • Elisabeth March 14, 2012, 11:43 PM

            David, more on injured dogs. I am sure you will appreciate this article:
            http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3651173,00.html

  • Cory Kern March 13, 2012, 9:05 AM

    Would you accept a similar number and type of missiles fired every year at Florida by Cubans who feel that a part of their island is occupied by the US? Would you also call that a successful ceasefire?

    To answer your question, an article in Haaretz today notes that a total of 28 Israelis have been killed by rockets from Gaza — and many more wounded and traumatized. Extensive property damage had been inflicted.

    The number of Israelis killed would be much greater if not for defensive measures they take, such as the thousands of people in bomb shelters, suspending studies on days that schools have been bombarded, etc. Moreover, Iron Dome now targets and intercepts many of the missiles headed towards the most populated areas.

    Does blaming Israel only, being sarcastic about Israeli suffering, and falsely accusing people who write to you of not caring about humans on both sides really promote peace?

    • chet380 March 13, 2012, 10:40 AM

      “…an article in Haaretz today notes that a total of 28 Israelis have been killed by rockets from Gaza ”

      It appears that the article referred to is a piece by Bradley Burston where he makes reference to a “leftist” apparently sneering at “only 28 deaths” having been caused by Qassams – there is no link to the comment made by this so-called “leftist”. Nor is there any link to any data base to substantiate the 28 Israeli deaths attributable to Qassams.

      There is a link in the article to a HRW study that confirms 14 Israeli fatalities from Qassams.

      While it may seem to be a “quibble” to attempt to pin down the actual number of Israeli fatalities from Qassam strikes, in my opinion it is important to do so in order to clearly set out the disproportionality of the immense number of Palestinian deaths as compared to Israeli fatalities from these glorified fireworks.

      As well, the relentless hasbara concerning “Palestinian rockets raining down on Israel” has to be put into context.

      • Cory Kern March 13, 2012, 11:55 AM

        I understand your drive to minimize Israeli casualties, but for the sake of accuracy, according to the B’Tselem site, a total of 33 persons have been killed by rocket and mortar fire (oops — sorry — “glorified fireworks”), and two additional persons (including a young boy in a school bus) have been killed by anti-tank missiles.

        • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 12:19 PM

          Nope sorry wrong again. The number your fellow hasbarists have come up with here is 28. I wish you guys would get together beforehand & agree on the numbers so you didn’t appear to be ginning them.

        • chet380 March 13, 2012, 3:20 PM

          Again a “quibble” – B’Tselem: 33 killed by rocket AND MORTAR fire, some of them killed in Gaza while Gaza was still occupied. Mortars are short-range weapons and if anyone was killed by a mortar strike that person would have to have been in close proximity to the Gazan border.

          I may be wrong, but I don’t believe I’ve ever read that anyone in Sredot or any Israeli town was killed by a mortar round.

          • Nimrod March 14, 2012, 6:18 AM

            chet380, you are wrong.

            Amnon Rosenberg
            51 year-old resident of Kibbutz Nirim, killed on 05.06.2008 in Kibutz Nir Oaz, by mortar fire. Additional information: Killed when working at a factory.

            Jimmy Kadoshim
            48 year-old resident of Kfar Aza, killed on 09.05.2008 in Kfar Aza, by mortar fire. Additional information: Killed while working in the garden of his house.

          • Richard Silverstein March 14, 2012, 3:11 PM

            We’re done with this subject. We’ve noted Israelis have been killed by Palestinian weapons. I note none of the hasbarists ever provide lists of the hundreds of Palestinian dead but are only too willing to offer every personal detail of the 33 Israeli dead. This is hasbara & I find it objectionable. Cross me again on this & you’re toast.

          • Nimrod March 15, 2012, 3:12 AM

            Dear Richard,
            the names and dates which I have provided did not come from any Hasbara source, but from Ba’Tselem website, which contains both Israeli and Palestinian civilians which were killed since early 2000.
            my response was for chet380′s replay saying he does not believe he have heard of anyone from any Israeli town that was killed by a mortar shell, and I fell the obligation to mention of those casualties of what can only be described as terror.
            If I said that I dont believe I’ve ever heard of any Palestinian civilian that was killed by an Israeli tank shell, I’m sure that you or someone else would have corrected me.

            I felt that I was added to this topic since some people seem to be a bit uninformed regarding the number of Israeli casualties by attacks from Gaza.

            But if you say that this kind of “corrections” from my side is not acceptable, I will stop doing so.

            Best regards.

          • Richard Silverstein March 15, 2012, 1:01 PM

            At least 4 commenters yesterday were doing precisely what you were doing. It was too much. I don’t like 4 people saying the same thing when each of you is publishing multiple comments on the same subject. Once one of you tells us about Israeli dead that’s sufficient & others don’t need to pile on. It gets to be a bit much.

    • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 12:14 PM

      I don’t accept any such inane analogies. If the U.S. Occupied Cuba I’d expect Cubans to resist tooth& nail, which is what the Palestinians are doing.

      28 Israelis have been killed in 10 yrs which averages to 3 per year. In an avg yr Israel kills several hundred Palestinian civilians, whom you somehow can’t be bothered to shed a tear for. I’ll make you a deal, when you care as much about the Palestinian dead as the Israeli then I’ll stop being sarcastic about the much vaunted lethality of Palestinian rockets. I’ll be waiting.

      • Cory Kern March 13, 2012, 8:45 PM

        The analogy has more validity than you acknowledge.

        The United States assumed territorial control over the southern portion of Guantánamo Bay in 1903. The Cuban government and many Cubans strongly object to the ongoing U.S. occupation of that part of Cuba as illegal.

        If it is okay for Arabs who feel that part of their homeland is occupied to fire hundreds of rockets into Israel annually killing three people a year and wounding many others, then by your admission there is also some justification for Cubans who feel that some part of their homeland is occupied to do “what the Palestinians are doing.”

        Yet I know you do not support Cubans rocketing population centers in Florida. What I don’t understand is why you support and defend rocketing population centers anywhere.

        • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 11:34 PM

          I oppose U.S. occupation of Cuba just as I oppose Israel’s occupation of Palestine. They’re both WRONG. I don’t support the U.S. killing Cubans to maintain our occupation of Cuba nor do I support Israelis murdering Palestinian civilians to maintain their illegal occupation of Palestine.

          • herenot March 13, 2012, 11:41 PM

            but you would support cubans shelling florida?

          • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 11:46 PM

            Stop asking stupid questions. I don’t support anyone shelling anyone. But if the U.S. killed multiple Cubans for every shell that landed in FL & no Cuban shells killed any Americans you’re damn straight I’d be pissed. You’re done with the stupid questions. Go on to another thread. You may not post again in this one.

          • herenot March 14, 2012, 12:03 AM

            [tiresome, repetitive, overly argumentative questions which seek to score points rather than elucidate any substantive argument will be deleted--when I close a line of discussion & you deliberately revisit it you will earn such censure]

          • Cory Kern March 14, 2012, 12:19 AM

            [tiresome, repetitive questions will not only not be answered, they will be deleted]

      • David March 14, 2012, 7:15 AM

        Richard — these commentators have no concept of proportions, no idea of how tilted the game is. The truth is that Israel does not want peace, never did want peace and never will have peace. Oh, yes — they want peace on their terms only, terms that were deliberately unacceptable time and time again (as any historian knows.) Israel is war and aggression and an outcast, think what you like. Israel just takes. It gives nothing.

        • David March 14, 2012, 7:52 AM

          for “Overlook” — Germans revenged “terrorist” murders of German soldiers in proportion of 100 civilians executed for each one German. These are the kind of proportions we see in Israel’s “wars” and “occupations” — to continue another discussion.

          400 Palestinian children were killed in Castlead and, after that, a not-nearly-so-innocent death in a garden or driving a car in Israel is not so heart rending. The Israelis who tacitly or actively support aggression, seizure of property and the devastation of Palestinian life and culture are not innocents, not like children. They are responsible for Israeli deeds.

          • overlook March 14, 2012, 9:00 AM

            “These are the kind of proportions we see in Israel’s “wars” and “occupations”

            Well, that’s a lie.

            Let’s take for example Cast Lead.
            By Hamas’ own admission 700 militants were killed and about 650 civilians were killed. That’s a 1:1 ratio.
            Even if you dispute these figures, the ratio doesn’t come anywhere near 100:1.

            Why do you lie?

          • Richard Silverstein March 14, 2012, 3:24 PM

            We’ve been over this endless times. 1,100 civilians died in Cast Lead acc. To numbers carefully compiled by human rights groups from death records & other documented sources. Any other numbers offered by you are pure hasbara motivated. They are false. You will earn banning if you repeat false information already proven false. This is not an invitation to enter into yet another tedious disputation, this is a warning. Heed it.

            The numbers for this round are 26 to none. General numbers are 6 to 8 Palestinian civilians killed. For every Israeli.

          • David March 14, 2012, 10:37 AM

            I am estimating, using ball park notions of proportions but you don’t seem to understand that. In order for the proportions to be 1:1, 1400 or so Israelis died in operation Cast Lead and you and I know that is ridiculous. So why do you lie?

            As for the Cuba analogy it is wrong in one important detail — the parties have arrived at peace, an understanding that Cuba will not fire rockets and the US will not punish Cuba for so doing. Israel has made no settlement, cold or hot, with the people it has displaced without mercy. That’s the important difference; indeed, it’s the whole point.

          • David March 14, 2012, 10:40 AM

            I think cumlatively, covering all Israel’s wars, occupations, incursions, anti-”terrorist” activities etc, the proportion is somewhere close to 100:1.

  • gellert eva March 13, 2012, 9:22 AM

    Any conflict, or war welcome for israeli leaders. They need it like oxigen.The peace is red cloth for them.

  • ex-Israeli March 13, 2012, 10:22 AM

    Keep doing the work of God, Richard. As a Jew, I long time ago dissociated myself from Zionism. Indeed the vision of Israel of a state in permanent state of war with its neighbors has not changed since its founding. It will not change without a fundamental change in Israeli society and in the nature of Israel – something which is unlikely to happen.

    Much like a White Nationalist exclusivist supremacist colonial State in S. Africa could not be in peace with the region, so can’t a Jewish State in Eretz Israel. Long time ago I was a brainwashed hard core Zionist. Now my views match those of Neturei Karta, for pragmatic reasons.

    Not only NYT reporters sin in their one-side distorted reporting, they completely ignore the context of occupation and ghettoization of Gaza which is the source of violence. Gaza and the West Bank are still occupied territories, recognized as such by all international bodies and states. Gaza is not a country although Israel has been painting such a picture to its citizens, who as usual buy state propaganda lock stock and barrel and spread it abroad.

    NYT reporters get their talking points directly from Israel, from a society that has completely banished the occupation and oppression from the national consciousness. It’s a society in denial and just like all militaristic indoctrinated societies, they will wake up when it’s going to be too later.

    The crime against Gaza can only be seen in its real magnitude when we are reminded (something most Israelis are not aware of) that Gaza is in essence an open air prison surrounded by walls and barbed wire and a “death zone” within the fence, where people are shot at for approaching the fence. Most of Gaza’s population are refugees whose houses and land are in what is now Israel and who have been expelled from their land and barred from returning to their homes.

    That’s called haratzachta vegam yarashta (hast though murdered and also inherited), except in this case it is hayarashta vegam ratzachta, repeated many many times.
    No human being, Jewish or not, should ever support this evil.

    • yarony March 13, 2012, 2:03 PM

      How exactly is Gaza occupied by Israeli forces?

      • ex-Israeli March 13, 2012, 3:53 PM

        You’re not serious are you? If there are no German troops inside Warsaw Ghetto, does it mean it’s not occupied by Germany? Israel controls the land air and sea and imposes a permanent blockade.

        • Deïr Yassin March 13, 2012, 5:51 PM

          @ Ex-Israeli
          I’ve never noticed before that you had a link embedded to a personal website. I took a look, I’ll definitely come back and encourage others to do so too.
          I love the name of your site: “Dancing With Palestinians” and your pen name is beautiful: Ahad Haadam, which means something like ‘one of men’ or ‘one man/a human being’, I guess with my very limited Hebrew.
          “Random Facts About Israel You May Have Not Known” should be obligatory reading by the Hasbara-posters here ;-D
          I’m always courious to know what made people like you “see the light”. I’ll have to look for that…. the personal story, you know.

          • ex-Israeli March 14, 2012, 11:22 AM

            Feel free to link to my blog. My personal story is immaterial and I certainly don’t want to create the impression that Israel can change from within as some people hope – it can’t.

            Your Hebrew is quite good actually, you got it right. It’s a paraphrase on Zionism’s original critic Ahad Haam (“one of the nation”), whereas I use Ahad Haadam (“one of humanity/ human being”) meaning I take the view of humanity rather than the narrow view of the “Jewish Nation”.

      • yarony asks a question March 13, 2012, 4:22 PM

        Yarony: “How exactly is Gaza occupied by Israeli forces?”

        An analogy may help:
        Here is a prison.
        Here are the prisoners.
        Here are the prison guards.
        Here is the prison warden.

        The warden orders his guards to cease patrolling the prison grounds. Instead they are to monitor everything from the watchtowers, there to shoot dead anyone inside who approaches the prison walls.

        There are two possible ways to describe that situation:
        1) This is still a prison, albeit one in which it warden is guilty of a dereliction of duty.
        2) This is now the Hilton Hotel, and the people inside are now hotel guests.

        Which do *you* think most properly describes that situation?

        And if you choose (1) then how, exactly, does that fundamentally differ from what the IDF is doing to Gaza?

        • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 11:28 PM

          Dontcha know Gaza IS a Hilton? The hasbara crowd tout all the water parks, luxury restaurants to picture Gaza as Beirut by the (southern) Med.

          • Yarony asks a question March 14, 2012, 1:25 AM

            No doubt they do.

            But, then again, they tend to be the same people who argue that:
            Israel can be both Jewish and Democratic,
            Netanyahu is a statesman,
            Barak is a genius,
            the NYTimes is pro-Palestinian, and
            Obama is a Muslim.

            Gaza has been under belligerent occupation since 1948, first by Egypt (1948-1967) and then by Israel (1967-now).

            And while I’m sure it’s possible for a city to thrive under a belligerent occupation I’d have to say it is most unlikely.

            And when that occupying power is the IDF then I’d have to say it’s impossible, for the simple reason that
            IF the people of Gaza had some creature-comforts,
            THEN the IDF would find some excuse to raze it.

            After all, it’s what the IDF seems to be best at…..

      • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 11:22 PM

        According to international law it is occupied, as it is under siege & Israeli forces control all access to it. That is “occupation” under international law. If you have a problem take it up in the Hague.

        • Err, not quite, Richard March 13, 2012, 11:58 PM

          Gaza *is* still occupied, but the reasons that you give should be better explained, precisely because hasbarists are certain to argue that
          “a siege is not an occupation!”
          and, therefore,
          “this can’t be an occupation!”.

          But that is a strawman, because it requires us to ignore that Israel *did* become the occupying power in Gaza in 1967.

          The question w.r.t. Gaza is therefore this:
          Q1: Can you *end* an occupation by replacing it with a siege?
          and not:
          Q2: Do you *begin* an occupation when you put a territory under siege?

          The answer is “no” in both cases, but the situation in Gaza is covered by Q1, not by Q2.

          As in: you can’t end an occupation by replacing it with a siege, ergo, the very fact that there is a siege proves that Gaza is still “occupied territory”.

        • Nimrod March 14, 2012, 8:46 AM

          could you please note by which international it is still occupied?
          I was under the impression that if there isnt a single Israeli soldier or security personal over Gaza, Gaza has it’s own elected goverment and an option to leave and enter freely via Egypt – freedoms which they did not have prior to the conquering of the Gaza strip by Israel in 1967, that would mean that the occupation has ended.

          • ex-Israeli March 14, 2012, 11:41 AM

            Perhaps Hitler should have hired the help of some Jewish lawyers who would advise him how to address his critics who claim that Warsaw Ghetto is under German occupation: “There are no German soldiers inside the Ghetto, therefore it is not under German occupation. The Jews even have an elected government there, the Judenrat… ”

            By your definition Ramallah is also not occupied territory if there are no Israeli troops inside it, right?

            The question is simple: is Gaza a sovereign state UN member? No. That means it is still occupied territory just like it was before Israel’s sham “disengagement”.

            The Hasbara tendency to resort to obfuscation and make-believe manoeuvres in order to deny the obvious (aside from the brainwashed Israelis of course) is nothing short of crass propaganda and an insult to intelligence and common sense.

          • Oded Rozen March 14, 2012, 12:21 PM

            Ex Israeli
            Your analogy falls short.
            While the Warsaw ghetto was surrounded by German forces who controlled all the exits and entry points to the ghetto, such is not the situation in Gaza. Gaza has a border with Egypt which isn’t controlled by Israel. They are free to come and go in accordance to the Hamas agreement with Egypt.

            Your tendency to resort to obfuscation and make-believe manoeuvres in order to deny the obvious is nothing short of crass propaganda and an insult to intelligence and common sense.

          • David March 14, 2012, 2:05 PM

            What “freedom” these people have is at the behest of the occupiers. Nobody views Gaza as an independent region. Nobody. It is occupied by Israel which threatens to turn off the water from time to time and controls all border transactions just like a European Ghetto circa 1943. Another point that “overlook” overlooks.

          • Oded Rozen March 14, 2012, 2:24 PM

            David, You are aware of the fact that Gaza isn’t been supplied crude oil for it’s power station by Israel for quite some time, do you ? You are aware of the fact the Egypt stopped supplying the above to Gaza ?
            In Feb 25th Egypt agreed to supply Gaza with electricity from it’s power station in Sinai.

            Gaza as a border crossing with egypt which for the record was reopened in violation of few international agreements. Israel has no control over who crosses, hoe many cross etc.

            If you can please explain how does Israel controls any of the above ? Do you want to argue that Israel has that much influence in Post-Mubraq era Egypt ?

          • Richard Silverstein March 14, 2012, 3:17 PM

            I’m not responsible for your “impressions,” which have as much resemblance to international law as I have to Clark Gable.

          • David March 14, 2012, 4:32 PM

            For Oded Rozen

            1. Rockets fall because of how Israel displaced and mistreated indigenous people. Until Israel faces this squarely and offers justice and restitution, there will be rockets. It is the matter of proportionality. A few relatively harmless, but inconvenient, rockets against an onslaught of a modern army at “war” with a civilian population. Some heroes. Cast Lead was I guess 1100 dead Palestinians. The rockets will continue until Israel gives back at least some part of what has been stolen or otherwise compensates the people dispossessed. Why would Israelis leave the character of the state to be decided by war and not accomodation with indigenous peoples? Others are simply determining your destiny and reputation, a rep which could hardly be worse at this point.

            2. Warsaw Ghetto is still a fit analogy: There were ways and means to get in and out of the ghetto and there were daily transactions there as well. Some freedom, huh? Israel ties up much commerce with Gaza and blockades the land for no apparent reason as it recently boarded an entirely peaceful vessel with peaceful passengers in international waters and took them into Israeli port (this is piracy!). Actually, Israeli policy is to make life unbearable for Gaza and the West Bank and that is what the blockade is about — it is a demonstration of power over their lives. Germans also demonstrated their power over the lives of the ghetto inhabitants in some very dramatic ways.

            3. You are unpersuasive and, btw, I’m a good Jew, not a Christian.

  • dickerson3870 March 13, 2012, 3:48 PM

    RE: “The NY Times, for example, embraced the Israeli narrative here that the so-called success of the Iron Dome anti missile defense allowed Israeli leaders the luxury of not launching an invasion of Gaza.” ~ R.S.

    MY COMMENT: Perhaps it’s all just part of a well orchestrated sales campaign.

    SEE: Rafael hopes Iron Dome success will up int’l sales, by Yaakov Katz, Jerusalem Post, 3/12/12

    (excerpt) Rafael Advanced Defense Systems is hoping that the Iron Dome’s high interception success rate over the past few days will lead to an increase in international sales. Since Friday, when the hostilities began, the three Iron Dome batteries deployed outside Beersheba, Ashdod and Ashkelon have successfully intercepted around 60 rockets and Air Force officers said that the success rate was close to 90%…

    ENTIRE ARTICLE – http://www.jpost.com/Defense/Article.aspx?id=261608

  • Oded Rozen March 13, 2012, 5:58 PM

    For the record in the month of Feb 36 rockets have been fired onto southern Israel. I do not think that falls under the definition of “successful ceasefire”.

    Yesterday despite the ceasefire agreement, 6 Mortars were fired at one of the Kibutzim around Gaza, 1 Rocket Exploded in Ashkelon, and one Rocket Exploded in the city of Netivot wounding 20.

    As a retaliation toady at 3:47 the IAF attacked targets in Gaza.

    Some cease fire, Israel was very clear, quite will be answered by quiet. War will be answered by war.

    • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 11:30 PM

      “Successful ceasefire” means no Israeli killed or wounded. Were there any? No. That’s successful. If you want no rockets at all & real peace, you’ll have to retreat to 1967 borders & share Jerusalem & recognize a Palestinian state. Let us know when you’re ready.

      • herenot March 13, 2012, 11:46 PM

        ““Successful ceasefire” means no Israeli killed or wounded. ”

        no it does not.

        successful ceasefire means that there is no attacks. hense the word “cease” attached to the word “fire”.

        • Richard Silverstein March 13, 2012, 11:53 PM

          Successful ceasefire means Israel doesn’t violate it by murdering Palestinians. Your last comment on this in this thread. Move on to another thread.

          You have just repeated yourself. Do NOT repeat yrself by saying the same thing in two or more comments. Respect and READ the rules.

          • Nimrod March 14, 2012, 6:04 AM

            wouldnt a Successful ceasefire mean the stop of violance from both sides?

          • Richard Silverstein March 14, 2012, 3:15 PM

            A successful ceasefire would mean Israel ending it’s siege, not firing on Gaza fishing boats seeking to earn a living & not firing on Gaza farmers seeking to farm land in Israeli designated “buffer zones.” It would mean Israel not assassinating Gaza militants virtually at will despite ceasefires.

            We are done here. Challenge me on this or repeat other hasbarists’ arguments again & you are toast.

      • Oded Rozen March 14, 2012, 4:28 AM

        Let me try and understand.
        Based on the logic you presented…You wouldn’t mind someone firing rockets into your neighborhood, causing peripheral damage, preventing you from going to work, inflicting stress and emotional damage on your kids, as long as non of you wounded or killed ? you would consider that successful cease fire ?

        • Richard Silverstein March 14, 2012, 2:50 PM

          The reason I never made aliya is that I refused to place myself in a situation in which I’d be fighting another people to prevent them from attaining their legitimate patrimony & occupying, stealing their land to do it.

          So let’s cut the shit about rockets falling on Seattle, Florida, etc. Another comment in the same vein by anyone will earn them commenter Siberia. Try me.

          • overlook March 14, 2012, 3:40 PM

            Silencing people is the hallmark of dictators.

          • Richard Silverstein March 14, 2012, 4:47 PM

            Silencing hasbarists who accuse me of favoring killing of Israelis is preserving truth, fairness & accuracy. I’m proud of that. You were warned multiple times to observe the comment rules & chose not to. Now, pay the price.

    • Oded says..... March 14, 2012, 1:29 AM

      Oded: “Some cease fire, Israel was very clear, quite will be answered by quiet”

      So explain to me again why this entire episode was started by the IDF assassinating two Palestinians who were doing nothing more than riding along on a motorcycle?

      Because that does seem to imply that it was Israel that “broke” the quiet, making it the Palestinians who “answered” that challenge.

  • delia ruhe March 13, 2012, 6:07 PM

    To be an Israeli is to be at war. I wonder what Israelis would become if they ever try peace?

    I’ve been thinking a lot about AIPAC since the conference and reading a lot of statements by AIPACers, and it has occurred to me that they are very much in touch with Israel’s arrogant, devious, and manipulative politicians but completely out of touch with Israelis — at least, the Israelis I met when I was there, none of whom were arrogant, devious, or manipulative.

    What is it that rank-and-file AIPACers think they are actually doing?

  • That has a simple answer March 14, 2012, 1:31 AM

    delia: “What is it that rank-and-file AIPACers think they are actually doing?”

    Answer: They are doing as they are told.

  • aiman March 14, 2012, 2:35 AM

    The excuse of “human shield” is absolutely sickening. This term does not belong in human language, it should be thoroughly deconstructed. Fania Oz-Salzberger poorly attempted to justify this back in 2009 in these words:

    “Of course, civilians have always been in the line of fire and conquest, from Troy to Berlin. But no regime has ever used its citizens so deliberately as tools to arouse world sympathy, as hostages to modern sensitivities. While theories of just war instruct us not to hurt noncombatants, Hamas and its military arm have made a conscious decision, banking on global humanitarian concerns, to ensure that Israel hits as many civilians as possible.’

    Yes, right. That this sort of defense of terrorism appears in national papers is disturbing to say the least.

    • Fania makes an odd argument March 14, 2012, 4:20 AM

      If the argument of Fania Oz-Sazberger was to have any weight then it should be obvious that Hamas are doing this all wrong.

      As in: rather than fire rockets from behind the skirts of civilians Hamas should simply tell its militia units to down weapons, put on their civilian clothes, and then rush the barbed-wire fence that rings Gaza.

      Result: masses of dead civilians killed by the IDF, and not a one of them can be called a “terrorist”, because not a one of those dead carries so much as a tooth-pick.

      I simply can’t imagine why they don’t do that.
      Maybe Fania Oz-Salzberger can come up with a reason..

    • David March 14, 2012, 2:24 PM

      It is amazing how many civilian casualities result from Israel’s touted policy of not engaging civilians. Maybe the “human shield” proposition is just to counter the more obvious alternative that Israel disregards any such humanitarian policy in the first place. Which do you think is more credible — that freedom fighters in occupied areas line up their extended families in front of themselves to “shield” themselves (apparently unsuccessfully, btw) from Israeli combatants OR Israel draws no meaningful distinction between civilians and combatants and counts the deaths of either or both as successful terrorism? Given Israel’s penchant for deception and doubletalk, I know what seems the likely alternative to me.

  • weindeb March 14, 2012, 3:22 PM

    Since it seems relevant to the latest Gazan outrage and Richard’s “Israel: the Permanent-War State”, I’m pasting as follows the response I made a little while ago to a piece posted on the +972 site and addressed to Israel:

    “Stop controlling, imprisoning and periodically attacking Gazans, obey international law, reverse your land-grabbing, end your apartheid, and in brief become a law-abiding, non-occupying, non-militarized, non-thuggish and ethical democracy, and then you might justly complain about rockets hurled at you by your victims.”

  • Rain March 14, 2012, 9:32 PM

    All this arguing about numbers/proportion killed and the inconvenience of rockets v the loss of life is Aza is senseless.

    It is important to understand that even if not many Israelis are actually injured or killed by rockets from Aza, a generation of Israeli children have grown up under traumatic conditions, and this feeds the atmosphere of fear that has allowed the right-wing to rise here.

    Of course life in Aza for Palestinian children is far more impossible and difficult than life on the other side of the fence, but fear is not an objective thing that is fixed by comparison with others. Dismissing rockets from Aza as small inconveniences completely misses the point.

    As long as Israelis are afraid we will continue to have a government that moves further to the right. And before someone shouts that Israelis are afraid because of the behavior of their government, I’m sure that’s true. But until the fear is addressed (whether you think it’s justified or not) the population will become less and less able to see that peace might be a solution.

    In addition to protesting against abuse against Palestinians, an understanding of the state of Israeli trauma will be required in order to move forward, even by those who don’t believe Israelis don’t deserve such consideration.

    • David March 14, 2012, 11:34 PM

      I do appreciate your sentiments here. You want the critics to understand that our harsh condemnations are not properly sensitive to the Israeli trauma of rockets and the Israeli experience, the”subjectivity” of its fear. I agree that fear is at the heart of the problem and stands in the way of a solution. But, really, how else can we critics make any impact on Israelis in general if we banish these comparisons of fear and atrocities? Without us, Israelis may have little or no knowledge of the infamy of Israeli policies and practices regarding the Palestinians. What assurance do I have that Israelis are conscious and aware of the sheer magnitude of the Palestinian trauma? I don’t see much Israeli compassion and understanding anywhere, not anywhere, do you understand?

      I cannot still my anger and outrage in some dim hope that such sympathetic behavior will dethrone the right wing in Israel. That is just wild and outlandish: Israelis have chosen their course and their government, for whatever “subjective” reasons, and they must bear the consequences which will include assaults with rockets and the outrage of civilized, thinking people the world over. Peace was within Israel’s grasp several times over and they let it slide by opting for more war and more land and controlling the destiny of Palestinians. Israel cannot win in the end. The US will not always be there and Israel has less friends now than ever and that isolation grows with every mean bullying of other people, with every bulldozed house, every piece of land confiscated “for security reasons.”

    • Richard Silverstein March 15, 2012, 12:07 AM

      Gimme a break. The oppressors & occupiers want us to understand their “fear.” Sorry, that doesn’t go very far here.

      • Rain March 15, 2012, 3:26 AM

        Obviously you are not obliged to understand the fear of those you view as oppressors and occupiers, and by the same vein you can view the majority of the Israeli public and their government as one and the same entity.

        But in doing so you become part of the problem and not the solution and the name of the game becomes outrage and blame which I guess can work at the blog level. But at a political level, there will never be a solution if we do not take into account the real fear of the Israeli people when trying to find a solution. And we see it in action. Center Israel is not driven to avoid peace because of plans to take over the world (as many on this blog seem to think). Center Israeli is afraid and paranoid, has no concept of what peace might look like and certainly don’t see that peace was within their grasp multiple times in the past.

        • David March 15, 2012, 11:10 AM

          Rain — you do not answer me. I want some idea of the consciousness among Israelis of the magnitude of the crimes and oppression to which they are party. My reading of your “Center Israel” gives no such indication. None. They have their present fears and, I gather, little historical awareness of the suffering they impose on others (and for reasons that are, in my opinion, utterly wrong, even otiose!)

          It is the work of this blog I think to examine the realities of I/P and I do my part by reading and learning and, yes, pushing back. I am not going to stop pushing back because I am seemingly insensitive to the fears of Israeli children, rather because I am sensitive to the deaths of nearly 400 children in Gaza, a product of recent Israeli terrorism.
          You need to sensitize yourself to these realities and help other Israelis understand the many injustices they condone and underwrite.
          Israel had several opportunities to make peace with the PLO without wholesale “right of return” but compensation and chose expansion and war instead.

          • David March 15, 2012, 11:16 AM

            Israel elected war in Lebanon rather than peace with a partner that had controlled all incursions for a year in good faith, the PLO. This was a crisis for Israel because it could no longer avoid peace by saying there is no “partner.” Hence, they invade Lebanon and cause many deaths and devastation. Israel’s intent to avoid actual peace was never so clearly set forth, but it was always there behind every offer made that was intended to be unacceptable, etc. Do Israelis — “Center Israelis” — understand this?

        • Richard Silverstein March 15, 2012, 12:58 PM

          Yes, I’m sorry but I do have a problem giving Israelis a pass when they elect government after government, whether center or right, which continues the Occupation, continues stealing Palestinian land, continues robbing Israeli Palestinian citizens of rights, refuses to recognize a Palestinian state, withdraw to 1967 borders & share Jerusalem. So yes, the majority of Israelis who vote for such governments are indeed responsible for their nasty policies.

          I didn’t like George Bush’s policies, but I never said to the world that as an American I had no responsibility for them. I owned up to it & expressed my outrage continually & repeatedly. And I never asked for the world to “understand” the trauma that caused Bush’s policies to be so popular among Americans. C’mon, stop with the self-pity. The sooner you own up to the crimes of your government & accept responsibility for them & stop whining about how the world should understand why you are this way, the sooner things can change.

          • Jericho Siemens March 15, 2012, 3:03 PM

            I got to tell you that things will “change sooner” if TRUST is established between both sides.

            Clearly, your blog and comments are not contributing to this. At least in my mind, you are just engraining within me the need of Israelis to take care of themselves, no matter what outsiders like you might think. This should be troublesome for you, as perhaps you may have very valid points – but your rhetoric does not enable me to take them seriously.

            I also point to the fact that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been given you for 8 years what seems to be self definition. I ask myself, and please correct me if I’m wrong, if YOU actually have an interest of the conflict ending?
            So – here I’ll take responsibility for the current and past Israeli government actions. I would very much like to come to a solution where the Palestinians have their own, sovereign identity. I am willing to talk to anyone on the Palestinian side in effort to reach a solution to this conflict.

            Now – what have you done or are willing to do in this context?

          • Richard Silverstein March 15, 2012, 6:37 PM

            What you think isn’t important to me as no solution will come from the likes of you, who is entirely deluded about what will ne necessary to make peace. Talking with Palestinians, which you boast you’re willing to do, is useless unless you’re prepared to return to 67 borders, share Jerusalem & recognize a Palestinian state right now. If not, don’t waste yr breath or our time.

            There seems a notion among Israelis that the world owes them something when Israel’s horrid actions say just the opposite.

            I’m always amused by Israelis like you who support the worst depredations of their government & military, & turn around and wring their hands about the “lack of trust” on both sides, as if this was something that Palestinians owed YOU & not the other way round.

          • David March 15, 2012, 11:57 PM

            I agree with Richard: The “peace process” was/is a sham from the start. Israel aimed at avoiding peace, but keeping the “process” going. I don’t hear anything at all different from Siemens. Since he takes responsibility for this strategy, I don’t think he can advance “trust.”

            And he is wrong also that this blog doesn’t advance trust and understanding. It does just that in painful little increments. The site allows discussion (ok recitations) on the issue without dirt and name-calling and that is it’s strength. Richard advances understanding at least by exposing whatever charade is being played out by Zionists to justify and keep other peoples property. These exposes help guys like me, American Jews, understand what is going on and what we ought to support and what we should oppose as decent people and as Jews.

          • Richard Silverstein March 16, 2012, 2:35 AM

            Thank you.

  • David March 15, 2012, 1:31 PM

    for Elizabeth: Thanks — I wonder how far the policy will go? Will they cover say pet gerbils, parakeets, an ant farm?