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IDF Creates New Artillery Unit to Shell Civilian Targets

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  • Woody April 3, 2012, 4:33 AM

    April fools, right?

  • Levi April 3, 2012, 5:15 AM

    I’m an Israeli officer, and I have fought in Gazza, and I can judge a lot better than you probably ever will. Every implication that you wrote about Israeli crimes is a lie.
    And yes, the Israeli Army evacuates buildings before it bombs them (depending on the mission, obviously) and as I’ve heard directly from an F-15 navigator who’s a relative of mine, will go for another round before dropping a bomb if it sees any trace of human beings.
    I agree, with you. It is so absurd that it’s hard to believe. I’ve had friends wounded because of precautions we’ve taken to prevent harm to innocents, or rather “uninvolved” as they’re described.
    You’re not seeking the truth though.

    • Richard Silverstein April 3, 2012, 9:21 PM

      Only an IDF officer would have the chutzpah & denseness to argue that because he served in Gaza that means he is an especially good position to tell us how good, moral & pure were the decisions he & his fellow officers made in the process of killing 1400 Gazans including 1100 civilians & 300 children.

      As for evacuating buildings before shelling them during Cast Lead, would you tell that to the 30 worshippers killed in a mosque during prayers, and Dr Izzeldin Abulaish’s daughters killed by an IDF tank shell, or those at the UN school who were all shelled without warning or the 20 members of the Samouni clan killed by shelling their home.

      I am so deeply touched that your relative under orders to commit a war crime actually takes the trouble to attempt not to murder targets who are even less guilty than his putative target, for whom he is judge, jury & executioner. I’d much rather give him a knife & make him slit his victim’s throat at close range so that he may see the human being he’s killed & have the images play out in his head for the rest of his life & ruin his sleep forever.

      • David April 3, 2012, 10:37 PM

        I am so dense, I don’t get it! Apparently, the IDF will target a building, radio ahead that they are rocketing this place, thereby “evacuating civilians” and any Hamas fighters at the target, and then — and only then — will they shoot the rocket. Is this it? They don’t care about missing the Hamas fighters? It’s just the structure they are targeting?

        Indisputably — the IDF are expert in destroying property, including homes, as they have been at it for decades. Israel can market its demolition savvy worldwide. Probably does.

        And, yes, if Israel is so good at polite warfare, how do they manage to kill so many including Hamas fighters and civilians? It is beyond belief that anyone would believe the IDF, this Israel, and that administration.

      • Levi April 3, 2012, 10:46 PM

        No, it is not I with the Chutspah. We make mistakes (don’t you?), but I can tell you that a lot more of our recources (time, money, our own lives) is put into uninvolving the uninvolved. The point is this- terror uses the uninvolved as protection, decievement and camouflage. Obviously, the facts are of no interest to you.
        And I know this may seem astounding, but being in Gazza and thinking that I know what went on there is a lot more likely than amnesty inquiring and bringing the story based completely on Palestinian Paliwood stories. It is not nice to be losing a war, but we are not the ones continuing it- even though we don’t put up with the Paslistinian hope for a yudenrein.
        I’ll tell you what is Chutspah, though. You telling us what to do. Go live in Sderot. Hear the true story. Yet again, the true story is not of any interest to you.

        • annie April 3, 2012, 11:33 PM

          hey levi, those little children slaughtered in france? do you call that jewiwood? you should watch yourself before denigrating slaughtered children. they are not just stories, they are dead people. show some respect, if you know how.

          • Richard Silverstein April 4, 2012, 12:58 AM

            I detest “Pallywood” and even reading the term “Jewiwood” in jest makes my skin crawl.

          • David April 4, 2012, 9:58 AM

            Levi just wants to be left in peace. It’s the Pals who “continue the war.” He just wants peace but on his terms. He says leave us alone with our conquests, our deceit, our racist policies and practices. Leave him alone so he can goniff the West Bank as well. He doesn’t want these Pals pushing back as best they can, but he won’t make a true peace with anyone because he doesn’t have to. If he wants peace, he should change his government and its policies and start making peace.

        • aiman April 4, 2012, 12:21 AM

          “We make mistakes (don’t you?), but I can tell you that a lot more of our recources (time, money, our own lives) is put into uninvolving the uninvolved. The point is this- terror uses the uninvolved as protection, decievement and camouflage. Obviously, the facts are of no interest to you.”

          There are are no “mistakes” only innocent casualties. Also a common man’s mistakes cannot be compared to that of soldier who spreads fire and not butter. Your argument is aimed at externalising evil while purging oneself off any moral responsibility. There have been books written deconstructing these myths which partly date back to Second World War and owe to unresolved arguments about “just war”. In the context of Israel, trenchant liberal supporters like Michael Walzer have provided a justification for these myths.

        • Richard Silverstein April 4, 2012, 1:05 AM

          By “uninvolving the uninvolved” (what a weird but typically Israeli locution!) you mean that Israel does it best to avoid killing civilians you’re living in a dream world, poor nebuch.

          Enough with the stupid “human shield” claim. It’s old borsht buddy. Spoiled old borsht that persuades no one. The IDF actually uses real Palestinian children as human shields. Palestinian militants–nope.

          You’ve just breached a major comment rule, bud. There is no “Pallywood” allowed here. Read the comment rules. Next time you break ‘em you’re out on your tush.

          Amazing how hasbara propaganda becomes a “true story” for the true (blue-&-white) believers.

          • Levi April 4, 2012, 5:36 AM

            Why would you censore me?
            Just google the term. I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
            I was in a post once, defending Israeli settlers from casual Friday Palistinian “peace” rallies, which include throwing stones and molotov bottles at civilians driving back home, and have seen the staging myself. I saw the Adults pushing the 10 year old childres to throw rocks at us. Our orderes, whilst under threat (do stones not kill?) were not to do anything, unless they came close to the road.
            I’ve punished my soldiers for searching houses in a constructive way (we were not searching for candy, as you may realise). I’ve run, under fire, to evacuate Palistinian children from the street while being shelled upon by “freedom fighters” (have you ever heard the terrifying shriek of a mortar, and then left cover to help children of the nation (are they a nation?) attacking you?).
            I really am having trouble understanding- who are you protecting? What were to happen to Jews living under Palistinian government? I’ll tell you what happens to Palistinians who dare sell land to a jew- they’re executed.
            I’ve seen kneeless men (they dares support Fatah) begging us no to leave Gazza to the Hamas regime.
            Now I’m afraid to say something out of place, but if I get permission (what a democracy you’re running here, Richard), I could bring you scores of false stories brought to the world by Palistinian propaganda.
            I’m not saying that I don’t feel sorry for Palistinians. I am saying that Palistinians are not killed for being Palistinian (Jews are), Israel doesn’t give out orders to kill civilians (Palistinians do).
            It may be confusing from so far away, Richard, but although being the powerful ones, we’re the ones constantly seeking peace (whilst the Palistinians have lied and deceived the world time and time again), we’re the ones defending our people, and we’re the ones giving over and over again.
            Dearest Richard, I’m afraid thousands of years in the galoot, diasporah, have scarred you, and your such, terribly.
            I appreciate your striving for a more just and moral Israeli state, but from here it seems like you’ve lost track.

          • Richard Silverstein April 4, 2012, 1:43 PM

            You personally and deeply offend me. If you want to talk to someone or participate in the comment threads here you will do so with respect. I don’t care if you don’t understand why I’m so offended by your cavalierness. But I am. You will either shape up & learn to express yrself with more sensitivity & less racism & denseness or you will ship out.

          • Richard Silverstein April 5, 2012, 3:01 AM

            I know how to smell liars & trolls a mile away and you are definitely one. As Deir Yassin said, send us a picture of the Palestinian child whose life you saved. Or better yet send us an audio file of you in the midst of that mortar barrage. It should be most convincing. You are a base propagandist. Even if I conceded that your hasbara was sincere, it’s so ignorant, so misguided as to be offensive, deeply so. If your goal is to campaign against Palestinians here you’re in the wrong place. I won’t hesitate to moderate or ban you if you’re part of the hasbara brigade. Consider yrself warned.

            Actually, thousands of years in the Diaspora have allowed Jews to survive, even flourish. 100 years of Israel has brought 6 million Israeli Jews to despair, hopelessness & endless war. I know which I’d choose.

          • Deïr Yassin April 4, 2012, 7:01 AM

            @ Levi
            “I’ve run, under fire, to evacuate Palestinian children from the street while being shelled upon by “freedom fighters”.
            You’re my new hero, Levy, you really are. If I could get your photo I’ll hang it on my wall. That’s not Pallywood, that’s Hollywood ! Rambo, John Wayne etc Are you sure you didn’t see too many films last night ?

            “…Palestinians are not killed for being Palestinians (Jews are). Israelis doesn’t give out orders to kill civilians (Palestinians do)”
            That’s one of the most used lines by the Hasbaristas, in spite of all facts, all proofs of the contrary such as the Goldstone report which is still valuable though Goldstone made what has become known as ‘doing a Goldstone’, i.e. retracting because of pressure from within his community.

          • mary April 4, 2012, 9:27 AM

            “Defending Israeli settlers” – who steal Palestinian land and regularly assault and sometimes kill Palestinians – and go unpunished.

            Oh! they were throwing stones! Bassem Abu Rahmah, formerly of the village of Bilin, and who led peaceful, non-stone throwing demonstrations against the wall in his village, would laugh at that one, I’m sure – that is, if he could laugh. He was killed 3 years ago when an Israeli soldier fired a tear gas canister at his chest, pulverizing his heart.

            Have you ever heard the terrifying shriek of a child whose leg has been blown off by an Israeli bomb?

            And above all else, has it not ever occurred to you that none of the above would have happened were it not for a belligerent, illegal occupation, and that the Palestinians you seem to belittle and patronize so much have the right to armed resistance against their occupier?

            You will never, ever convince me that your intent is not to kill civilians. I’ve seen way too much evidence to the contrary. And I also know far too many Palestinians to take your self-serving little narrative seriously.

          • Levi April 5, 2012, 3:27 AM

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZjC1UT6O-PE

            From 20 seconds and on. That’s the best I can do, and obviously you can’t tell it’s me (Actually you see my sgt., I was on the other side of the hill).

            I’m backing off, no point in having a discussion with so little respect and trust.

          • Richard Silverstein April 5, 2012, 1:23 PM

            No one’s doubting you were in Gaza. What we’re doubting is that you sacrificed your life to save Palestinian children under a hail of mortar fire.

          • Deïr Yassin April 6, 2012, 3:50 AM

            @ Levi April 5 3:27AM
            So you post a footage from Al-Jazeera to ‘prove’ that you’ve “run, under fire, to evacuate Palestinian children from the street while being shelled upon by freedom fighters”.
            And you try to convince us by saying you were on the other side of the hill, but that we can see your sgt. That’s a proof that we simply can’t refute.

            How come these images have nothing to do with children being rescued ?
            You’re right in backing off: nobody is buying your hasbara here.

          • Richard Silverstein April 6, 2012, 4:27 PM

            He said it was the best he could offer when I asked him for proof of his claims. So I think he recognized it didn’t fully satisfy either his claim or our request for proof. But it is a little thin despite all of that.

        • Deïr Yassin April 4, 2012, 6:47 AM

          @ Levi
          Are you one of the IDF-officers that do part-time hasbara ?

          And isn’t Sderot the Israeli town built on top of Najd, the Palestinian village whose inhabitants were driven into Gaza in May 1948 by the Haganah as part of the D-Plan ?
          Why don’t you read this:
          http://www.ifamericansknew.org/history/sderot.html

          • Levi April 4, 2012, 7:11 AM

            I’ve been out of the army for a year, and am now studying enigineering.

            True, people of Najd became refugees, among 40 million other refugees of the 40’s, including millions of Jews. The few who made it, at least. If you want to open history books- who do you think lived here while Palestine was named that? The Pleshites, which happened to originate from Greece. They weren’t even Semites… And they lived here during the period of the Israeli kingdom.
            How about you look that up?
            Do me a favor…

          • Richard Silverstein April 5, 2012, 2:50 AM

            This is so far off topic it’s practically in another galaxy. Comments must be on-topic, that is directly related to the post. Comment that stray off topic are not permitted.

          • David April 4, 2012, 10:08 AM

            The people of Nadj became refugees as a result of Zionist war to take their land from them and kick them out. And now, could it be?, some their chidren and children’s children throw stones and want some justice. But Israel offers no justice. It offers only F-16’s, tanks and bulldozers. Israel wants everything and on its own terms.

          • Deïr Yassin April 4, 2012, 12:25 PM

            @ Levi
            I’m pretty sure I’ve read far more history books than you, and mine weren’t edited by ethnic supremacists or religious fanatics.
            I just LOVE the Zionist “putting into context”, mixing-up the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians with what happened primarily in Europe in the aftermath of WWII. You forgot to mention the 12 million Germans expelled from Eastern Europe, a frequent Hasbara-spin.
            So if the at least 800.000 Palestinians exiled (expelled or who fled and prevented from returning home) are to be seen in the context of the ’40 million other refugees of the forties’, does that mean that the six million Jews who were killed in the Holocaust shold be seen as part of the 50-70 millions who were killed during the WWII and not as a sui generis case of genocide ?
            French fascist Jean-Marie Le Pen claimed so, that the Holocaust was “only a detail in WWII”, you apparently agree, or does your “putting into context” only concern Palestinians expelled from their land ?
            Talking about history books: have you ever heard of Ilan Pappe, Tom Segev, Avi Shlaim, Meron Benvinisti, Zeev Sternhell, all Israelis ?

          • David April 4, 2012, 3:38 PM

            Levi in Sderot can think about the 600 Palestinian families expelled at gunpoint from the predecessor village of Najd when rockets whistle overhead. He may want to think about these people.

      • mary April 4, 2012, 5:28 AM

        I’d love for Levy to explain what their “precautions” did to the al-Samouni family. I’m waiting. I’d like to also hear about how wonderfully cautious it was to use civilians as human shields (while accusing Hamas of doing the same thing), especially children. And I second you, Richard – instead of the official, sanitized murders Levy committed, at least let him look his victims in the eye and then tell us how moral and righteous it all was.

        • Levi April 4, 2012, 5:47 AM

          What are these stories of using army shields? Can you please mention some? (seriously)

          “at least let him look his victims in the eye and then tell us how moral and righteous it all was.”

          I don’t get it, do you think I enjoy being at war? Do you think I wouldn’t have preffered to spend the 5 years I was in the IDF in studying instead? Spending more time with my family and friends?
          Excuse me for the phrase, but- someone’s got to put his hand in the gutter to get it unclogged, and his hand’s not going to come out smelling like roses…
          I think what you don’t realise is that we are at war.
          This war has been going on for over 100 years, long before the were any green or purple lines, and it will stop when my people can live safely, or at least not under constant threat to their lives.

          • mary April 4, 2012, 9:35 AM

            Plenty of narratives regarding human shields are set forth in the Goldstone Report and in reports prepared by Human Rights Watch, B’tselem, Amnesty International, the ICRC, and other watchdogs. All concur in saying that the IOF used Palestinians, including children, as human shields during Operation Cast Lead. Israeli soldiers themselves have supplied this information, as well as testimony given by Palestinians.

            Richard, I find this guy so offensive and his hasbara so cloyingly self-pitying that I just don’t know how I’m going to respond to him without losing my composure.

            You DO have the choice of going to war or not. You DO NOT have to support an illegal occupation. Your “war” was a rampage, a slaughter. You had nine effing lousy goddamned casualties, in comparison to over 1,300 Gazans you murdered and maimed, after you violated the ceasefire.

            Get the hell back behind the green line where you belong, stop killing Palestinians and stealing their land, and you will live safely. It’s a no-brainer.

            But spare us the bullshit, please.

          • Richard Silverstein April 4, 2012, 1:41 PM

            Do the research yrself. There are a number of such posts here along with pictures of the children tied to the hoods of IDF jeeps.

            Palestine & Palestinians are not the gutter. The only gutter I read in that passage is the person one into which you have sunk.

            The war will never stop with the attitudes of brutes like you. Good luck to you & have fun in the air raid shelters in which you are likely to spend more & more of your lives.

      • Joel April 6, 2012, 6:00 AM

        1100 civilians and 300!!

        So now there were zero combatants in Gaza?

        • Richard Silverstein April 6, 2012, 4:22 PM

          Don’t be an idiot. Clearly 300 children are civilians and included within the 1,100. Or is your reading comprehension challenged? Also, I’ve specifically written here that 300 militants were killed because that’s the number reported by human rights groups. YOu couldn’t have done a search here before exposing yr ignorance?

  • bran April 3, 2012, 6:46 AM

    The article actually says the opposite of what you claim.
    If Israel wanted to create maximum mayhem on the other side it can easily do it using its current armament. In fact Israel NEVER used ground launched rocket fire in any conflict involving populated areas because of there relatively low accuracy (MLRS was never used in urban setting warfare and is reserved for classic war scenarios facing regular army formations).
    Instead Israel used air teams to deliver accurate rocket fire, risking the lives of air force pilots involved. The whole point of the article is to explain that Israel has finally developed a rocket accurate enough to be fired from a distance of 40 KM with a precision of 10 M. technologically that is a very impressive feat. it means that in future urban setting conflicts (such as hizballah in Lebanon or hamas) israel would have at its disposal an effective accurate ground launched weapon with no risk to air teams. It also indicates that Israel assumes that in future conflicts terrorist organization will have AA missiles

    • Scott MacEachern April 3, 2012, 7:40 AM

      “In fact Israel NEVER used ground launched rocket fire in any conflict involving populated areas because of there relatively low accuracy…”

      From Haaretz, 12/09/06: “”What we did was insane and monstrous, we covered entire towns in cluster bombs,” the head of an IDF rocket unit in Lebanon said regarding the use of cluster bombs and phosphorous shells during the war….” (http://tinyurl.com/3a8qnlb)

      In fact, there’s abundant evidence of Israeli use of MLRS cluster munitions in town and village areas across South Lebanon during the 2006 war.

    • RichHutton April 3, 2012, 12:43 PM

      “Instead Israel used air teams to deliver accurate rocket fire, risking the lives of air force pilots involved”

      The Guardian made a documentary which demonstrated the use of drones to attack residential areas in Gaza:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2009/mar/23/israel-gaza-drones

      They also used white phosphorous missiles:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2009/jan/19/gaza-phosphorus-victim

      It looks as if the Javelin missile system will result in similarly high loss of life.

      • bran April 3, 2012, 2:00 PM

        rich-

        Drones are indeed an option but they have other limitations. Getting a drone into place takes a lot of time. Drones are also limited in their carrying capacity and tine they can spend in the air.

        As for phosphors – contrary to other armies (the USA army, for instance) the IDF does not use phosphor as an offensive weapon only as a means for cloaking army movements. Phosphors are not fired on enemy combatants only on open areas to produce a smoke screen. This is a perfectly legal use of phosphor.

        • lifelong April 3, 2012, 4:57 PM
          • bran April 3, 2012, 11:28 PM

            Don’t you read your own sources? Israel “admits” using phosphor “based on INTERNATIONAL NORMS”. That’s what I said.

            If you think using phosphor is a terrible thing Why don’t you attack you own government that dose the same?

          • Richard Silverstein April 4, 2012, 1:00 AM

            If “international norms” means engaging in war crimes (which I very much doubt) then Israel has met international norms in burning Gaza civilians to death with WP.

            Stop getting off topic. THe U.S. use of WP & U.S. military strategy is not the topic of the post or this blog. I certainly oppose any nation’s use of WP for any purpose.

        • Richard Silverstein April 3, 2012, 9:50 PM

          That’s an abject lie. The IDF used white phosphorous to burn down the UNWRA food warehouse, one of the only sources of food for Gaza during the war. This weapon whose use violates the Geneva Convention was used in densely populated areas & killed civilians through it’s deliberate (not accidental) use.

          Do not lie here. Do not play the fool with us. If you do, you will not last long here. If you’re merely ignorant that’s still no excuse.

          • bran April 4, 2012, 12:07 AM

            The use of WP is not necessarily against Geneva convention. It depends on the kind of use. AMNESTY claims that IDF used WP in forbidden manner. Israel gave a detailed response claiming otherwise.
            The case of the UN storage is a good example. Amnesty claims it was deliberately targeted. IDF says WP was fired to extract troops being attacked by hamas AT squads operating in the area. You can read the whol thing in the link.

            Being that you where not their to see I see no reason to give the amnesty version more credibility then the Israeli version

            http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Terrorism+and+Islamic+Fundamentalism-/Operation_in_Gaza-Factual_and_Legal_Aspects.htm

          • Richard Silverstein April 4, 2012, 12:54 AM

            The use of white phosphorus in an enclosed urban environment is point blank a Geneva convention violation & this is precisely how Israel used it. I’m simply uninterested in reopening this hasbarist can of worms. If you want to defend the use of a horrific weapon against civilians you’ll have to go elsewhere to do it.

            I don’t care what the IDF claims about what or how it attacked the UN storage facility and school. 99% of what the IDF said publicly about Cast Lead was lies. And please don’t link to the hasbara lies here. It makes me feel dirty just having the link. I don’t mind hearing a credible pt of view that disagrees with my own. But the IDF view is simply beyond credibility & a tissue of lies.

          • Levi April 4, 2012, 5:50 AM

            I’ve had white phosphorous land on me, to cover my team’s evacuation. It can’t kill directly, it’s a burning sponge letting out a lot of smoke.

          • Richard Silverstein April 4, 2012, 1:40 PM

            It can’t kill? There are credible press reports that it did kill and there are pictures of the burns on the victims & the agony in which they died, including children. It set their clothes on fire & burned them. Parents couldn’t put the fire out.

            You’re a fraud. If what you claim happened to you did happen to you it didn’t happen in the same way or under the same conditions it happened to the Gazans. And don’t offend me with your cavalier attitude on this very serious, very troubling issue.

          • Fred Plester April 4, 2012, 12:47 PM

            Levi is confusing two different types of munition here, and given his claimed military experience, possibly not entirely by accident either.

            Some smoke rounds contain white phosphorous, but these ALWAYS have a potential incendiary effect, and the ones which can land on friendly troops without harm almost certainly are not white phosphorous.

            WP grenades were used, legally, to clear numerous Argentinian bunkers and trenches thirty years ago, but the (invariably lethal) results were sufficiently worrying for the British army to review its policy on the matter shortly thereafter.

            In Iraq, the US Army and particularly the USMC resorted to what they called “shake and bake”: a mixed barrage of HE and WP; British commanders made it explicitly clear that it wasn’t their policy to do this and they weren’t taking part in any operation where this tactic was used.

            Even those who threw the WP grenades into bunkers on the way to Port Stanley, would be disgusted at the pretence that WP is somehow a harmless smoke generator.

            Smoke from White phosphorous is usually hot enough to inflict burns even if the burning phosphorous itself does not touch the skin. RED phosphorous was used at one stage in smoke shells, and this material does not burn so fiercely and might be what Levi describes as landing harmlessly on his own troops. However, there are several much more modern smoke shell chemicals, which are more genuinely harmless than Red phosphorous. White phosphorous will tend to set anything on fire, including peaty soil common to many British army training grounds, which is why not all Falklands Veterans had actually used WP grenades in training before using them on real soldiers, with effects they found to be disturbing.

    • lifelong April 3, 2012, 12:47 PM

      Very brave of Israel to ‘risk air force pilots lives’ when attacking Lebanon and Gaza. Crazy considering the high-tech air defense systems both those territories own and operate……..

      • bran April 3, 2012, 2:14 PM

        Do you really think that hamas/hizballah wouldn’t use AA missiles if they had them? And do you really think that they are making every effort to get them?

        Developing the javelin system is a profoundly MORAL act. It saves the life of both Israeli soldiers and enemy non-combatants.

        • lifelong April 3, 2012, 3:31 PM

          Because they’re going to handout pamphlets before they shell a target, right?

          • bran April 3, 2012, 5:01 PM

            By limiting peripheral damage to innocent.

            And yes. As a rule the IDF does warn inhabitants around buildings it is about to bomb not only by dropping lephlets but by actually calling the telephone numbers of the neighbors. That was routinely done during cast lead. I know it sounds a bit strange but that’s actually how it was done.

          • Richard Silverstein April 3, 2012, 9:43 PM

            It doesn’t sound “strange” it sounds idiotic. Since when does every potential victim have a working cellphone the IDF can call? Since when are potential victims afraid for their lives going to wait outside for those warning flyers to drop from the sky? And since when can these poor victims come out of their homes when they’ve seen their neighbors shot bin cold blood because IDF commanders have designated the neighborhood a free fire zone in which everything alive including animals are deemed hostile?

            The hasbara gets old fast and others have tried this same argument scores of times. Stop wasting our time and come up with original hasbara please

        • Richard Silverstein April 3, 2012, 9:47 PM

          Morality is more than self preservation. Preserving human life while violating every decent moral standard isn’t “moral.” It’s Darwinian.

          • David April 3, 2012, 10:43 PM

            Bran should answer about the counter-evidence provided by you, Richard, and other respondents. I’m interested to hear the denial.

          • mary April 4, 2012, 5:33 AM

            There is no set of hasbara “talking points” to address what has been put to Bran for response. That is why the silence.

    • Joe April 3, 2012, 4:03 PM

      What Silverstein failed to mention is that Truthout, a bunch of Jew-hating SOBS, merely reprinted Silverstein’s own lies.

      • Richard Silverstein April 3, 2012, 9:04 PM

        No, actually the lies are all yours, I’m afraid. Truthout publishes many Jewish authors & in fact my editor is shomeret Shabbat. It is progressive, & only in far right circles like your does progressive=Jew-hating. The article just published is not a reprint, but original. But why trouble yrself w actually reading it to find out?

    • Mary Hughes Thompson April 3, 2012, 8:59 PM

      “…..risking the lives of air force pilots involved.”

      Are you actually trying to generate sympathy for people who fire deliberately into areas where there are known to be innocent women and children, with clear expectation there will be civilian deaths?

      • bran April 4, 2012, 12:21 AM

        I’m not trying to get any sympathy from you. You are a Palestinian patriot and you naturally support your side.
        What I am trying to do is to explain the rational for Israel developing this weapon from an Israeli POV. I im an Israeli and the life of our pilots is precious for me. I hate the idea they they are risking ther life daily and am happy to find a way to limit the risk without further endangering enemy non combatants.

        • Mary Hughes Thompson April 4, 2012, 12:34 AM

          When did one of your precious pilots ever lose his life while blasting Palestinian babies with white phosphorous or half-ton bombs? The best way for your precious pilots to limit their risk would be for them to just stay home and stop taking Palestinian lives.

          • bran April 4, 2012, 4:47 AM

            of course I would prefer the pilots to stay home. As they say in Hebrew – halevay!

            Trouble is I don’t see how a responsible government can can keep the pilots home while half the country (including me BTW) are being peppered with rocket fire.

            I consider myself a liberal Israeli. During the 90’s I voted labor and was a staunch supporter of the oslo process. I have absolutely no problem with territorial compromise. The green line is not sacroscent in my eyes. Yet nothing that I see from the direction of gaza gives me reassurance that a Palestinian state will sooner or later not become a launching point for attacking Israel. It is this perception that is the single most powerful show stopper for the peace process.

            Unfortunetly I don’t think you even realize the problem. But then again you are an armchair Palestinian. You can afford giving the Palestinians foolish advice and egging them on to a never ending struggle since non of this realy effects you personally. When you get bored with the computer there are always shopping in London. It is us and the Palestinians that have to find a way out of this mess/

          • Richard Silverstein April 5, 2012, 3:15 AM

            Ah yes, you’re a “liberal Israeli” who voted for the Labor Party over 20 yrs ago (and no longer do of course). WHich is supposed to mean that you’re a nice, civilized Israeli as opposed to all those far right buffons like Lieberman.

            I deeply resent your condescending, insulting attitude toward Mary. She deserves an apology for your boorishness. If it’s not forthcoming you may be moderated.

          • mary April 4, 2012, 5:36 AM

            Bran, allow me to step in here. Mary Hughes Thompson is one of the founders of Free Gaza and has spent an extensive amount of time both in Gaza and in the West Bank. She is hardly what you call an “armchair Palestinian.” Her questions are to the point, and instead of the ad hominems, how about answering her questions?

          • David April 5, 2012, 12:58 PM

            Bran either doesn’t understand or is hiding true Israeli policy. Israel has not really wanted or sought a “partner” for peace at all. (Rabin may have been the only one to take Oslo seriously enough to talk more, however unsavory he found the contact! But he faced the headwinds of growing Israeli military arrogance!) Given such a partner, such as the PLO, which kept from border attacks for a year or more, Israel faced a “crisis” said Ehud Barack: It looked like Israel would have to recognize a partner and negotiate, for once, in good faith! The crisis was resolved by invading Lebanon and making war anew on the PLO. Now Bran either understands the Israeli lies about peace all along and is just repeating the crap he is told or this is a fresh insight for him. Israel, alas, cannot find a good neighbor so it will just takeover the whole neighborhood and decide who has rights and who doesn’t, who can stay and who must go.

          • bran April 5, 2012, 8:49 PM

            Richard, mary –
            Why do you regard Palestinian hasbara to be inherently better then Israeli hasbara?

            As I pointed out their are 2 sides to the WP debate. Just because you elect to support one side doesn’t turn the other side into liars etc. I see no convincing reason to regard the Palestinian version as better then the explanation provided by the IDF.

            Of course you don’t have to convince me. I’m a nobody. But nobody’s like me constute the majority of Israelis. And if your arguments don’t carry traction among people like me you won’t be making any progress in foreseeable future.
            Of course you can tell me “f*** off! We don’t need to convince you of anything. Will force you to comply to our demands thru BDS”.

            However I don’t see that method being terribly effective.

          • Richard Silverstein April 6, 2012, 1:18 AM

            I don’t support “one side” as you claim & that statement offends me.

            My arguments aren’t designed to persuade those Israelis like you who are unpersuadable. History & the inexorable flow of international events will force you to do what needs to be done either against yr will or w. yr reluctant acquiescence.

          • mary April 6, 2012, 1:21 AM

            Bran, the “difference” is that many of us are intimately acquainted with the occupation in all its respects, by virtue of having been to the OPT and learning the history, international laws, and personally knowing many Palestinians and their families. We bear witness to what this belligerent and unlawful occupation is doing to an occupied people.

            You, on the other hand, have never spent any time learning what you call “the other side.” How many Palestinians do you know and talk to daily? I’ve talked to “both sides,” including once enjoying friendships with a few officers in the IOF. I came to my conclusions over time, and as the result of my own observations and analyses.

            You cannot negate what is truth by closing your ears or your mind, Bran.

          • bran April 7, 2012, 1:05 PM

            Mary-

            One of the things that keep on amazing me with “progressives” like you is the absolute certainty in which you state things you have no way of knowing. We have never met yet you somehow know “that I never learned the other side”. I must compliment you on your amazing power of clairvoyance.

            I lived in Israel all my life. I am an intelligent and educated person. I love the land of Israel and am fascinated by its complex history. I have studied arab culture and religion together with some of the finest orientlists my country produced. I speak and read Arabic reasonably well. I am an avid fan of studies of Israel including archeology, geography, history. I have several Arab acquaintances (no, I don’t speak with them “every day”. I assume that neither do you speak with your IDF acquaintances “every day”. And BTW, mary, how good IS your Arabic?). I can modestly say that I read at least a couple of hundred books on these topics.

            I don’t know what your qualifications are, mary. Yet I doubt they are much greater than mine. Accusing me of closing my eyes is slightly ridiculous.

            Why is it so difficult for you to accept that reasonable, intelligent and moral people can reach conclusions that differ from you own?

          • Richard Silverstein April 7, 2012, 11:23 PM

            You haven’t studied “Arab” culture enough to know that the word “Arab” is capitalized, and not capitalizing it is an insult. Not to mention that these “Arabs” are actually Palestinians and wish to be called that and not “Arab,” especially in the context of their national identity, to which you were referring. I really didn’t know Israel has produced “orientalists.” You’re so smart that you don’t even realize that calling a “scholar” an orientalist is yet another bit of cultural condescension on yr part. People aren’t called “orientalists” any more, unless you want to say they’re hacks.

            Wow, you even have “several Arab acquaintances.” I’m impressed. I suppose this means that you understand the “oriental” mind, does it?

            If you indeed real “a couple of hundred books on these topics,” it only goes to show that either you read the wrong books or you read the right ones but didn’t elicit a single useful idea from doing so.

            If I wanted to find a “reasonable, intelligent, moral person” I’d probably look elsewhere than you.

          • bran April 7, 2012, 1:12 PM

            Richard-
            So you believe in the power inexorable forces of history? I know very little about inexorable forces of any count. Let me just point out that during the last century the inexorable forces of history did very little to help the Palestinian cause.

          • Richard Silverstein April 7, 2012, 11:17 PM

            Nor did those inexorable forces of history do much to help the Jews during the Holocaust. But eventually justice, to the extent possible, was done.

          • David April 7, 2012, 2:51 PM

            Bran can explain all he likes about the new weapon from an Israeli point of view. It will get the job done in a less costly way w/ respect to Israeli lives. However, “getting the job done” is the assault on civilians by a modern army equipped to the gills by the US to slaughter these civilians. This “job” is repellant to civilized people (and many Israelis, as I understand).

            Frankly — Israelis do not pay up enough for the terror they foster. If they did, more of them might wish to get off other people’s land altogether. This might be a point for US policymakers to consider: Arming Israel just encourages more military adventures (like Iran). Unarm Israel (relative to now) and watch how fast Israel reaches accord with Palestinians.

            Bran can disagree but the fact is that Israel has all but destroyed the Palestinians at this point and that is, and has always been, unnecessary for the mere existence of a Jewish state on part of mandate Palestine. But that wasn’t enough for the Israelis and now they have continued expansion at the cost of the Palestinians and earned the rancor of civilized people everywhere. Israel will never feel safe until it has destroyed the entire ME of its Arab culture and owns everything. Israel is a intelligent beast that cannot dare look at itself in a mirror. That’s where progressives come in — to hold up the mirror and force the beast to open its eyes.

          • bran April 8, 2012, 12:22 AM

            Mary-
            Thank you for your response. You are a thoughtful person and deserve a serious response.

            You believe in a democratic, secular state with equality and justice to all. That is a very noble goal. Yet as a potential citizen in your putative state I cannot avoid asking myself some troubling questions. For instance, how democratic, secular, tolerant, and liberal is the current Palestinian state in Gaza? In fact, how secular, democratic and liberal are any of the arab countries in the area – Egypt, Libya. Lebanon, Syria?

            In my modest assessment – not very much.

            So what reason do I have to assume that your putative “free palastine” will be better then the current ” little Palestine” or other Arab countries? I am currently a fairly well to do Israeli living in a prosperous and liberal (albeit not perfect) society. Why should I risk my future and my children’s future to live under a hamas-like regime just to satisfy your amorphous notions of justice?

            Instead of attacking Israel, focus your creative energy in turning gaza into a model of progressive democratic values and economic success. I am convinced that once you succeed, Israeli such as me will gladly join such an enlightened state.

          • bran April 8, 2012, 12:26 AM

            David-
            Thank you for holding up the mirror to me. I do it every morning and am very impressed by how charming and good looking I am (my wife’s words, not mine).

            If the purpose of Israel is to take over the ME and destroy arab culture then it has a very strange way of doing it. Israeli governments had repeatedly given up territory for the sake of peace and security. Israel withdraw from the entire Sinai peninsula in 1982, from large parts of the west bank in 1993-1995, from s. Lebanon in 2000, from all of gaza strip in 2004.

            The worrying thing for reasonable people like me is that in almost all these cases the withdrawn territory turned in to a launching point for anti Israel attacks. S. Lebanon was taken over by hizballah, gaza by hamas, and Sinai become during the last couple years a lawless wild area. This fact, more then any other, weakened the position of territorial concession advocates such as me.

            Palestinians today (both in Israel and the WB) enjoy a higher standard of living then in most arab countries. Most of them have complete political freedom (gaza) or a very high level of autonomy (WB). It is far from perfect but much better then the situation 30-40 years ago.
            The only solution I see is to return to negotiate and reach a pragmatic deal.

          • bran April 8, 2012, 12:52 AM

            Richard-

            I think your focusing on trifles. The scholars I studied from are imanuel sivan. Yitzchak reiter and eli avider (among others). In Hebrew they are known as mizrachanim. The most reasonable translation is orientalists.

            It seems that the only people you consider reasonable are those who agree with your political opinions. That is not very conductive for dialog. However it seems you are not interested in dialogue since you prefer instead to rely on inexorable historical forces (or brute force).

          • Richard Silverstein April 9, 2012, 2:09 AM

            No the most “reasonable” translation is not “orientalist” since this term went out of style decades ago in this country. You appear not to know as much as much as you claim about the “Arab mentality” or English usage.

        • aiman April 4, 2012, 12:39 AM

          You didn’t answer the question posed by Mary.

        • Richard Silverstein April 4, 2012, 12:50 AM

          You’ve reduced risks to the pilots while increasingly endangering “enemy civilians” not by “reducing” the danger to them.

          • David April 4, 2012, 10:21 AM

            Bran doesn’t answer the questions.

            But he would like the Palestinians to give up and accept the injustice of Zionist theft and deceit. He would like that. Lots of Israelis would like that. That’s why it will continue regardless of the horrendous weaponry brought to bear against it. Without justice, it will continue and opposition will, in fact, grow worldwide. I have seen this just in my short time involved in these matters. Even if the IDF manages to kill or dispossess every Palestinian out of the West Bank etc., it will continue. Abolitionism in Great Britain and the US eventually succeeded and Israel’s racism and militarism will be undone as well.

  • Ahad Haadam April 3, 2012, 7:22 AM

    It’s all about the cost, Richard. The tactics and mode of operation have not changed one iota. They just decided that the life of a Palestinian is not worth the jet fuel and an expensive smart bomb so now they have a cheaper alternative.

    It would also be interesting if Hamas and Islamic Jihad adopt the same tactics to whitewash their crimes and “warn” Israeli citizens to leave their houses before barraging them with rockets. But of course, they do not have anywhere near the same firepower as they still live in a closed concentration camp.

  • Patriot April 3, 2012, 7:38 AM

    “Since they are striking terror into the hearts of Israeli civilians, the IDF intends to return the favor at the earliest opportunity.”

    ============================================
    Haha, you’ve got to admire the audacity of such a statement.

    It’s almost as if a certain Middle East military didn’t already do this to civilian areas in 2006 with cluster bombs, white phosphorus, Hellfire or Harpoon missiles.

    Oh, how I love revisionist history.

    • Fred Plester April 4, 2012, 12:59 PM

      Harpoon? really, when?
      This is a long-range anti-ship missile, which seeks its own targets within a pre-defined area.

      Are you sure you don’t mean something else, such as Maverick?

      There’s a land-attack missile, based on the Harpoon airframe, but with man-in-the-loop guidance, but I’m not sure if Harpoons as such have ever been used in anger.

  • Joel April 3, 2012, 9:31 AM

    What of the dubiousness of firing rockets from civilian areas?

    • Richard Silverstein April 3, 2012, 6:52 PM

      So you’re arguing Hamas & Hezbollah’s crime justifies Israel’s, who has weapons 10,000 times more lethal & accurate?

      • Jericho Siemens April 3, 2012, 9:20 PM

        Richard

        Whilst innocent civilians are killed on both sides, I think you should make the distinction between the firing of rockets by Hizbullah and Hamas – which is done with the intent to kill civilian bystanders, and those poor civilians killed by Israel – which is due to firing at Hizbullah and Hamas warriors operating out of areas where civilians are abundant (school yards, mosques, etc).

        I would like to emphasize to you that there are NO ORDERS in the IDF to target Palestinian civilians. Clearly, you may find incidences where Israeli soldiers fired deliberately at Palestinian civilian to kill. These soldiers should be hung. However, I emphasize to you that there is no systematic, upper or lower echelon order or intent to kill Palestinian civilians during fighting. You fail to recognize that the majority of Israeli soldiers (and especially reserve soldiers, which constitute the majority in terms of man power) – will not follow such orders.

        I am also unappreciative of your comments regarding warning of civilians. This was routinely done in Cast Lead by way of telephone, flyers, and other methods. The messages were sent even though it was clear the Hamas fighters would be warned of incoming attacks and would disappear. IDF most moral in the world? I don’t know – but the warning of civilians is routinely done.

        Regards

        • Jericho Siemens April 3, 2012, 9:23 PM

          Oh and just another small point – the continuous striving for more accurate weapons by the IDF is exactly meant at killing those who fight against it, and leaving alone those who do not.
          It would have been much easier and cheaper to drop ‘regular’ bombs than to fire guided weaponry.

          • Richard Silverstein April 3, 2012, 9:37 PM

            The continuous striving for more accurate weapons has nothing to do with moral qualms about killing civilians & everything to do with ensuring weapons’ accuracy so they will be sure to hit their precise human target & not miss. Weapons that aren’t accurate don’t kill their target & that is the sole reason for striving for accuracy: better killing technique.

  • The Owl Of Minerva April 3, 2012, 9:46 AM

    I am wondering why the English Version and the Hebrew Version are so different.
    For example the hebrew version states in the headline that it is a very accurate weapon – הרקטה החדשה, שהשיגה בניסויים רמת דיוק של עד עשרה מטרים מהמטרה, תשמש בעיקר לתקיפת מפקדות טרור בשטח בנוי ברצועת עזה.

    The IDF warns these who reside around the targets by calling them and asking them to leave the area prior to the attack (leaflets are being distributed as well) the Hebrew version mentions it “כדי למנוע פגיעה בחפים מפשע, בצבא מתכוונים לפעול באופן דומה לדרך שבה מתבצעות כיום מרבית תקיפות חיל האוויר: תחילה יקבלו האזרחים שגרים סמוך ליעד התקיפה הודעה טלפונית שעליהם להתפנות מהשטח, ולאחר מכן תזוהה מחדש המטרה”

    The English version doesn’t.

    I wounder why the English papers bring it’s readers only half the story

    • HopefullyAwaken April 3, 2012, 12:07 PM

      hardly any of AIPAC’s constituents can read Hebrew beyond the verses they neglected during their Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. Other writing is for Christian Zionist consumption. It is a miracle they can even read.

    • Richard Silverstein April 3, 2012, 6:50 PM

      I don’t agree. The English condenses the original but doesn’t do it a disservice. A deviation of 30 feet in densely populated areas is huge & this fault in the weapon is noted in both versions. Plus warning civilians to evacuate a building before it’s destroyed is a wholly unacceptable tactic since many civilians cannot withdraw in safety from such conditions or they don’t have working phones or they’re not outside to receive a warning leaflet dropped upon them.

  • Eliyahu April 3, 2012, 11:07 AM

    I don’t know how the original Hebrew phrased this

    Sums up your work quite nicely. Maybe make it the blog’s tagline…

    • Richard Silverstein April 3, 2012, 6:44 PM

      What a moron. Now I’ve read the Hebrew & it’s precisely as awkward & imprecise as the English. I didn’t say I couldn’t read the Hebrew, but that I hadn’t, jackass. Now I have. And if you’re a native Hebrew speaker I expect you to read every source originally in English in that language & not in Hebrew translation. Just because & for no other reason. Then I’d be as much a jackass as you. Till that happens it leaves only you with the crown.

  • RichHutton April 3, 2012, 12:37 PM

    Would it not be easier and more effective to negotiate a lasting ceasefire; and withdraw the blockade/occupation? Surely that would be the best way to end violence from Hamas, instead of continually encouraging these cycles of violence.

    • Levi April 3, 2012, 2:47 PM

      Are you serious? Can you show me anyone in history doing so voluntarily? (seriously, I’m curious, no teasing).
      Been there, done that. In response thousands of rockets and mortars have been launched and fired, making more than a million Israelis under constant life threat. How would you react?

      • Richard Silverstein April 3, 2012, 9:46 PM

        I’d sit down at a negotiating table, give back the Territories , share Jerusalem, recognize a Palestinian state & demand the Arab states recognize Israel, cease violent resistance, and normalize relations.

        • Rafrafuk April 7, 2012, 12:35 AM

          Mr Silverstein is absolutely right: let’s give back The west bank to The Kingdom of Jordan and the Gaza strip to Egypt.

    • Nimrod April 3, 2012, 3:49 PM

      Being naive generally means not to think enough. Naive persons often show a certain ignorance or simplicity when thinking about a problem. This could be due to lack of experience, information or ability to make judgments.

  • Michael April 3, 2012, 1:27 PM

    AT LAST! THIS IS THE ARTICLE WE’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR!

    it finally and conclusively proved Richard will do everything possible to discredit Israel, no matter what the truth is.

    according to Richard, there are two options: 1. ” the IDF truly is the most moral army…”. 2. The purpose of this new unit is to attack civilians for the sake of it, AKA brutal terrorism. this is Richard’s thesis.

    but let’s think for a minute if option 2 makes sense: every one of these new very light rockets costs a fortune, while the IDF has today several battalions of M-109 self propelled gun, which shoots much deadlier rounds than these extra light 30-40 kg missiles, at an extremely cheap price.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M109_howitzer

    So if the purpose is to shoot civilians at random, why not use the old and cheap howitzer?
    Or… the IDF really wants to accurately attack terrorist targets! but Richard won’t think of this simple possibility, that the duck is actually a duck.

    Regarding semantics: “with the exception ” refers to “The IDF has refrained…” and not to “imprecision”. That means the IDF used MLRS despite the fact that it’s inaccurate, as also written in Hebrew. But it’s so natural for Richard to misunderstand this simple grammar and portray the IDF as liars and fools.

    • Richard Silverstein April 3, 2012, 9:12 PM

      I do solve it when the right wing morons tell me what I wrote & what I think. I might just as well stop the blog & let them write it for me . They do “me” so well.

      I never said the entire purpose of the weapon is terrorism. But if you believe the entire purpose of Qassams is terror then I suppose it’s fair to say that this weapon serves a similar purpose.

      You also didn’t bother to read the articles to which I linked which make clear that in fact this weapon is viewed as a cheap substitute for air power, and not as a more expensive version of a more primitive artillery round.

      Israelis who I queried about the Hebrew version ( & I read it too) agree that my interpretation is valid & the passage is awkward. Thanks for the Hebrew lesson Mr. Ben Yehuda.

    • David April 3, 2012, 10:58 PM

      .The new weapon makes war more efficient for Israel. Anyone expecting Hamas and others to rejoice at this new discriminating weapon are fools. Israel fields F-16’s, tanks and advanced munitions (most courtesy of the US) against civilian street fighters all the time. This sort of modus operandus is hardly “moral” or protective of innocents. It is just big time Terror with a capital T.

      As for discrediting Israel, let’s not overlook the important role that Facts play in this process: Israel discredits itself before the whole world again and again by its policies and practices and its obvious plan to steal even more land from indigenous people, old school imperialism. Again and again. Richard hardly has to do anything at all. l

  • Charlie April 4, 2012, 12:05 AM

    Richard – You wrote “I’d sit down at a negotiating table, give back the Territories , share Jerusalem, recognize a Palestinian state & demand the Arab states recognize Israel, cease violent resistance, and normalize relations.”

    Well, from Rabin through Olmert Israel did negotiate, did return territories to the PA including all of Gaza, and announced that it supports a 2 state solution. Israel is waiting for more Arab states to recognize it, cease violence and normalize relations.

    Barak offered a large percentage (92 – 97%) of the territories. What was the answer?

    BTW, you called 2 people “morons”. It doesn’t help your arguments.

    • Richard Silverstein April 4, 2012, 12:57 AM

      No it didn’t. Rabin was progressing on the right trajectory before a settler bullet put an end to that. Olmert never returned anything to Palestinians. Israel isn’t waiting for the Arabs to recognize it. It’s petrified of this possibility which is why no Israeli leader has agreed to the Saudi peace initiative which offered precisely what you claim Israel is waiting for.

      Barak didn’t offer enough & your claim about the percentage he offered is wrong.

      • Charlie April 4, 2012, 2:14 AM

        You know that Rabin’s assassin was not a settler. Get your fact straight. You seem to be creating a delusional view of reality.
        Olmert never returned anything, but his offer was quite generous according to reports – 100% return with land swaps.
        Concerning the percentages of Barak’s offer, I believe that they are true based on numerous reports. When you say “Barak didn’t offer enough” that is very subjective. It was not enough for you, but enough for many others.

        • Richard Silverstein April 4, 2012, 3:03 AM

          Olmert’s offer was “generous?” He’d keep all the major settlements blocs & give Palestine a few tracts of Negev desert?

          Amir is beloved and defended by the radical settler extremists. His philosophy such as it is derives directly from this movement.

          Yr percentages for the Barak offer not only aren’t precise, they aren’t correct. What “reports” are you basing it on? It was not enough to seal a deal & that’s all that’s important. Barak wasn’t negotiating with himself or you. He was negotiating with Arafat & he failed because he wasn’t forthcoming enough just as Israel has failed every time since because it’s refused to offer a meaningful compromise.

          • Levi April 4, 2012, 5:57 AM

            “Barak offered to form a Palestinian State initially on 73% of the West Bank (that is, 27% less than the Green Line borders) and 100% of the Gaza Strip. In 10–25 years, the Palestinian state would expand to a maximum of 90–91% of the West Bank (94% excluding greater Jerusalem).[2][3][4] As a result, Israel would have withdrawn from 63 settlements.[5] Israel would only keep the settlements with large populations. All others would be dismantled”

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2000_Camp_David_Summit

            But I’m just a moron reading from Wikipedia, what do I know.

          • Richard Silverstein April 5, 2012, 2:57 AM

            You’re claiming that a Barak offer of 73% expanding over 10-25 yrs to 90-91% should’ve been acceptable to Arafat? Really? Waiting 25 yrs for a full Palestinian state should’ve been acceptable? What are you smokin’?

          • Charlie April 4, 2012, 6:26 AM

            Her’s a reference, see this link: http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2001/aug/09/camp-david-the-tragedy-of-errors/?pagination=false

            for a review of the book Camp David: The Tragedy of Errors by Robert Malley and Hussein Agha.
            They state:

            ‘According to those “bases,” Palestine would have sovereignty over 91 percent of the West Bank; Israel would annex 9 percent of the West Bank and, in exchange, Palestine would have sovereignty over parts of pre-1967 Israel equivalent to 1 percent of the West Bank, but with no indication of where either would be.’

          • Richard Silverstein April 5, 2012, 2:55 AM

            So you’re conceding you were wrong when you claimed he offered 92-95%. Not to mention that this 9% would probably have included Maaleh Adumim, thus cutting off E. Jerusalem from the rest of the West Bank. And you’re saying that an Israeli “offer” which didn’t specify what land it would give Palestine in return for the massive settlements blocs it would be getting should’ve been acceptable to Arafat?

          • Deïr Yassin April 4, 2012, 7:39 AM

            @ Charlie & Levy
            The “generous offer” either by Barak or by Olmert has been debunked dozens of times ! Why don’t you guys tell us what these offers contain concerning Jerusalem ?
            Shlomo Ben-Ami, key negotiator at Camp David, in a 2006 radio-interview:
            “Camp David was not the missed opportunity for the Palestinians, and if I were a Palestinian I would have rejected Camp David, as well”.

            Best book ever written on the Camp David negociations including the “generous offer”-spin is by French-Israeli Charles Enderlin: “Shattered Dreams, the Failure of the Peace Process in the Middle East, 1995-2002.
            http://books.google.fr/books?id=a3XfsUSR0yUC&redir_esc=y

            The Olmert-“generous offer” was presented here by a hasbara-collegue of yours a couple of weeks ago. Maybe he could pass his notes on to you. He manipulated a Saeb Erekat-interview in the discussion, don’t do the same mistake….

  • David April 4, 2012, 10:39 AM

    It is Israeli policy to either not negotiate or to do so in bad faith. It’s that simple. The very act of negotiating (the “peace process”) has been transformed, in fact, into a slick form of not-negotiating! And offers themselves are always designed to appear generous but be unacceptable. Israel has tried negotiation and offers of peace, not.

    It is just the usual deceitful practices of a state built by gangsters, hypocrites and latter day imperialists for themselves. I wouldn’t live in Israel, be a physical part of the obscenity, the orgy, of its national life on the wreckage of another people..not for nothing. This state have proven repeatedly that it has no rights, no legitimacy, and no decency by its racism and by its incredible violence toward a disarmed and nearly destroyed people. It is beyond comprehension how some Israelis could actually believe that its state has behaved decently and honorably toward the people it has reduced and displaced. How could anyone familiar with history believe such a sham?

    • Ron April 5, 2012, 9:35 AM

      [comment deleted--off topic If you want to publish here read the comment rules BEFORE commenting. Follow them and your comments will be published. This is not a site meant for hasbara or rehashing ancient historical battles with slanted "facts" and data. For that, there are a thousand other sites more hospitable to you & your views]

      • Ron April 5, 2012, 9:43 PM

        And the above by David is not off topic? Not slanted?

        Worse, it’s just a collection of superficial sound-bites and slogans: “gangsters”, “orgy”, etc.

        What you really appear to be saying is that anything anti-Israel goes, but that you’ll censor counter-arguments.

      • Ron April 5, 2012, 10:16 PM

        And so I understand that you share the view that all the Jews that built the State of Israel, from Gordon to Borochov to Ben-Gurion are described by “a state built by gangsters, hypocrites and latter day imperialists”, and that that statement was germain to the topic of discussion, the new, more precise artillery of the IDF.

        • David April 5, 2012, 11:11 PM

          It was an answer to an issue raised by another discussant. But, yes, it is “off topic” but only in an effort to respond to another “off-topic” comment.

          (I don’t expect Richard to share my views in detail. But we do agree, I think, that the present form of Zionism “on the ground” is unacceptable and that much of the history of Israel has been cloaked in mythology and distortions, particularly the history involving the indigenous Palestinians from the very earliest points in time to the present. I think Richard would accept this.)

  • Ron April 6, 2012, 12:16 AM

    Is that back-pedalling from your “off topic” sweeping demonization of all those who built the state of Israel?

    And is it “of topic” in reply to mention the real history of the first leader of Palestinian nationalism, Al-Husseini, from 1929 to 1945? No “hasbara” is needed, just go to Encyclopedia Brittanica or any other trustworthy source.

    • Richard Silverstein April 6, 2012, 1:22 AM

      Yes al-Husseini is off topic. He’s been discussed here & the topic raised by hasbarists just like you in the past on a fishing expedition. Once we discuss such an issue it’s closed because if it weren’t there’d be another hasbarist coming along in a week who’d raise the same exact issue again. I don’t like being bored silly by this blog. So I get to say when we’re done with a subject. If you don’t like it go discuss Husseini at Elders of Tziyon or wherever else you like.

      • Ron April 6, 2012, 6:59 AM

        But I guess that “a state built by gangsters, hypocrites and latter day imperialists”, i.e. Israeli demonization by Palestinian Hasbara, is never “of-topic”, has never appeared on this blog before, and is never boring.

        Happy Passover!

        • Richard Silverstein April 6, 2012, 4:21 PM

          If you dispute this specific claim bring evidence to do so. That is an on topic comment. Don’t wander off the reservation by trotting al-Husseini into the mix.

          And at times, it’s useful for commenters on the left to remember the off-topic rule as well.

          • Ron April 6, 2012, 9:08 PM

            You mean guilty until evidence proves them innocent? Because David provided no evidence, just a laundry list of kangaroo court accusations. Heavy on adjectives, sound-bites and slogans, but devoid of evidence.

            It’s not just the anti-Israel commenters (not necessarily those “on the left”) who need to remember the off-topic rule, but the moderator who applies it selectively.

        • David April 8, 2012, 12:01 PM

          So much of America buys the media presentation of Israel as the poor little state just fighting “terrorists” that I feel, as do others, the need to use inflammatory language, as a wake up call. The genralizations are unfair from a factual point of view. Nevertheless, there was and is gangsterism in the founding and consolidation of the state, the hypocrisy of Israeli spokesmen, from Ben Gurion on, is well-documented, and the imperialist nature of Zionist conquest is similarly indisputable. So, the statement has plenty of referents.

          Furthermore, the tirade got your attention, so much so that you have repeated the word choices several times now. I consider that a positive development.

          This aside — I am off topic and should drop it now.

    • mary April 6, 2012, 1:24 AM

      Oooh, it’s time to dust off Husseini! I’ve been waiting for this one!

      • Ron April 6, 2012, 7:18 AM

        And it is time to dust off the anti-hasbara comments. But no need to wait long for that

      • Richard Silverstein April 6, 2012, 4:24 PM

        Poor guy, they can’t let him rest in his grave!

    • Deïr Yassin April 6, 2012, 4:09 AM

      @ Ron
      You know s*** about Palestinian nationalism ! And know what ? Palestinian nationalism started prior to Zionism, in fact already in the 1830’s against the Ottoman circonscription.
      We know that al-Husseini and his role has been exagerated by the hasbara in order to paint him as a major figure in Palestinian nationalism. It’s not the case.
      It’s just like Frence right-wingers who describe the Battle of Poitiers against the Muslims as a huge victory saving Europe from the Islamic hordes, whereas Muslim sources hardly mention the battle, totally insignificant from their point of view.
      Read al-Kayyali and come back.

      • Ron April 6, 2012, 7:07 AM

        [comment deleted. I've already pointed out that this is off topic. If you don't follow the comment rules you will be moderated]

        • mary April 6, 2012, 10:01 AM

          How come you just can’t stop making useless points?

          • Ron April 6, 2012, 9:14 PM

            DY said: “al-Husseini and his role has been exagerated”

            The fact of the matter is that Husseini was one of if not the major figure of Palestinian nationalism from the 1920s to the 1940s. If you disagree, explain who was more important.

            Even into the 1960s, Yasser Arafat – to overcome his Egyptian accent – claimed to be related to the Husseini family to gain credibility (he was not).

            Perhaps in a few more years the Arab “hasbarists” will tell us that Arafat’s role was likewise exaggerated.

          • Richard Silverstein April 6, 2012, 10:37 PM

            You’ve been moderated. When you can show that you can stay on topic & not wander off the reservation into the swamp of Israel-Palestine history in order to score propaganda pts then I’ll reinstate yr full comment privileges. If you violate the rules again, you may lose them.

    • David April 6, 2012, 10:11 AM

      Maybe — I am certainly one disenchanted guy. I think it is fair game however to point out that Israel has been built on the wreckage of another people and that national life there is, for me, an “orgy” of domineering.

  • Bob Mann April 6, 2012, 10:35 AM

    It’s a shame there is so much nastiness, name-calling, and poor deportment across the various responses and counter-responses on this thread. How can there be a productive dialogue under such circumstances?

    • mary April 6, 2012, 11:18 AM

      Productive dialogue needs to be free of hasbara first.

    • Richard Silverstein April 6, 2012, 4:16 PM

      This comment is off topic. Please make a substantive contribution to the thread or don’t comment.

  • Mary Hughes Thompson April 7, 2012, 1:59 PM

    @ Bran (sorry, no reply option)
    “Let me just point out that during the last century the inexorable forces of history did very little to help the Palestinian cause.”

    During the last century the inexorable forces history did very little to help the cause of Jews and many others. That doesn’t mean their causes were not just. Or that the cause of the Palestinian people isn’t just.

    In the case of the Palestinians, there have long been dark forces at work to prevent them from obtaining justice, aided and enabled by the U.S. with its biased support and billions of dollars.

    I believe the tide has begun to turn. Few American Jews are interested in what happens in Israel; fewer Jews are moving to Israel, and more Jews are moving out, to Germany and other countries. And the world increasingly sees just who is the victim in the Israel-Palestine conflict. Hasbara is costing more and becoming less effective. BDS has been embraced worldwide as millions compare apartheid in Israel to apartheid as it existed in South Africa.

    Empires never last. Americans are already growing tired of being Israel’s cash cow and of sending their young people to fight wars for Israel. Once our leaders grow some cajones and learn to stand up to AIPAC it’s just a matter of time before Israel will stand alone. I hope Israel survives, though never as a Jewish state. I would prefer it be a democracy, and eventually I believe it will, as the bi-national secular state it promises to be, with equality and justice for all its citizens, Muslims, Jews, Christians and others. Palestine will be free.

    • bran April 8, 2012, 1:00 PM

      Mary-
      Thank you for your response. You are a thoughtful person and deserve a serious response.

      You believe in a democratic, secular state with equality and justice to all. That is a very noble goal. Yet as a potential citizen in your putative state I cannot avoid asking myself some troubling questions. For instance, how democratic, secular, tolerant, and liberal is the current Palestinian state in Gaza? In fact, how secular, democratic and liberal are any of the arab countries in the area – Egypt, Libya. Lebanon, Syria?

      In my modest assessment – not very much.

      So what reason do I have to assume that your putative “free palastine” will be better then the current ” little Palestine” or other Arab countries? I am currently a fairly well to do Israeli living in a prosperous and liberal (albeit not perfect) society. Why should I risk my future and my children’s future to live under a hamas-like regime just to satisfy your amorphous notions of justice?

      Instead of attacking Israel, focus your creative energy in turning gaza into a model of progressive democratic values and economic success. I am convinced that once you succeed, Israeli such as me will gladly join such an enlightened state.

      • mary April 10, 2012, 3:22 AM

        Instead “of turning Gaza into a model of progressive democratic values” (read: colonialism) how about letting the Palestinian people determine their own future? Who are you or anyone else to decide what kind of society they should be, you incredibly smug, zionist supremacist?

        • David April 10, 2012, 1:12 PM

          Yes

        • bran April 10, 2012, 6:00 PM

          Mary-
          I honestly don’t understand your position.

          At the one hand you’re advocating turning Palestine/Israel into a ‘bi-national, secular, democratic country’. Then, when I point out that the current ‘small’ Palestine is not a ‘bi-national, secular, democratic’ and that based on the track record of Arab countries in general there seems to be slim prospects that it will become one in the future, you call me a ‘incredibly smug, zionist supremacist’.

          If you aren’t able to respond coherently to my simple question how do you expect to convince most Israelis that your idea is feasible?

          • Richard Silverstein April 10, 2012, 10:47 PM

            Stop telling other commenters they aren’t coherent. Mary is a whale of a lot more coherent than you are. As for Palestine not being democratic, if your leaders had allowed a democratically elected government to function in Palestine the nation could indeed develop into a fully democratic state. Israel nominally believes in democracy in its own country, but has no use for it in Palestine. Don’t you dare blame flaws in Palestinian society on Palestinians when they are far more due to the invasions, plots & military assaults of your own forces.

            BTW, when are you going to allow Palestine to have the seaport & airport it needs to be a functioning country? When are you going to end the Gaza siege so it can have a functioning economy? When are you going to allow free access between the W Bank & Gaza so there is free commerce? Don’t tell me about the failures of Palestinians or Arabs when you should be looking in the mirror at your own.

          • Deïr Yassin April 11, 2012, 4:35 AM

            @ Bran
            Mary Hughes Thompson and Mary are NOT the same person ! Are you that blinded ? You don’t see two different names and two different symbols next to their names ?
            Your reply to Mary Hughes Thompson is plain hasbara, by the way. Of course you would never join a state with the Palestinians, you’re living on their land !
            And when you go on trips “with the kid” to Masada and elsewhere: do you tell him about the more than 400 destroyed Palestinian villages, and the ethnic cleansing in order for you to live on your “ancestral land” ???

            PS. By the way I have the impression that there are two “David” with nearly the same symbol/color but diametrically opposed views on the conflict.

  • Ron April 7, 2012, 9:46 PM

    [comment deleted--this is pure hasbara and totally off-topic]

  • David April 8, 2012, 1:07 AM

    For Bran:

    The success of Israel commercially has been made possible by American money and Jewish support worldwide. America has been, and continues to be, a treasure chest for Israelis, virtually thousands of dollars for every Israeli citizen. Palestinians haven’t had this support. Instead, they have been bombed and butchered by Israel. So, before you get too smug about Israel, bear in mind that none of it could have happened in the absence of American Jews and American taxpayers.

    The rotten part is that, after shelling out all this geld, Israel has turned steadily into a mean little ethnic country that makes war on its neighbors forever just to feel “safe”, a very subjective state. Israel alone has an unexamined, uninspected nuclear arsenal in the ME and it alone is the most dangerous state by far, dangerous to peace, dangerous to any identity that is not Jewish. I don’t think the Mullahs are anywhere as crazy as the Israelis who have such a hard time joining the civilized family of nations.

    As for territory: Unilateral abandonment of occupied lands is not negotiation. Israel has not, will not, negotiate in good faith. As for the future of Israel that you think you are protecting, I assure you that you are doing the opposite. The more accomodation refused by Israel, the more likely that it will ultimately be forced into more strigent accomodations. I want Israel to survive, but not Greater Israel, the great thief, but a small Israel with a modest Jewish population among other identities as well. Virtually no civilized state thinks in terms of “blood” any longer — it is so beyond the pale! Yet, Israel stills wants to be a walled off ghetto and so it builds a wall. A narrow ghetto, hostile to outsiders, to others, regardless what they say they are. Sure, you enjoy your life in your ghetto, but only at the cost of some many others being humiliated and stepped on day after day. Hell, American Southern Plantation whites enjoyed their lives immensely, as well, before the Civil War and did not want change. They did not enjoy it so much after that war. Israel is a ghetto rebuilt by Jews who would have otherwise assimilated and found new ways of staying Jewish.

  • Charlie April 8, 2012, 2:41 PM

    Hey David – oops you made a mistake by not checking facts. You wrote:
    “America has been, and continues to be, a treasure chest for Israelis, virtually thousands of dollars for every Israeli citizen. Palestinians haven’t had this support.”

    Well, according to “The Economist” magazines book “Pocket World in Figures”, the largest recipient of bilateral and multi-lateral aid is the West Bank and Gaza. In 2009 they received $749 per head. Oops. It is followed by Kosovo with $35 per head. See page 44 of the book.
    Oops.

    • David April 8, 2012, 3:30 PM

      That’s nonsense. You know very well that israel was historically funded by world Jews and American Jews in particular and, since Johnson at least, by the US. This historical funding helped very much create the modern Israel that a handful of Israelis take credit for. Histoircally, this kind of continuing support for purposes of building, not just surviving, has not been provided to dispossessed Palestinians. I figure the economist was not focused on military aid perhaps. I don’t know. It is common knowledge that Israel is the largest recepient of US foreign aid, year after year. This largesse is so well documented that I don’t have to truck out anything in “evidence.”

    • Richard Silverstein April 9, 2012, 2:02 AM

      C’mon. Palestinians are receiving that level of support from the ENTIRE world, not just the U.S. You know as well as I that David was talking about U.S. support for Israel. So you’re either ignorant or deliberately distorting things.

    • mary April 9, 2012, 10:01 AM

      You should also know that most of that money ends up back in Israeli coffers because most of the West Bank’s businesses are Israeli-owned.

      http://therealnews.com/t2/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=31&Itemid=74&jumival=8145

  • bran April 8, 2012, 4:13 PM

    David

    You write “Unilateral abandonment of occupied lands is not negotiation”. However, two of the Israeli territorial withdrawals I pointed out to you WHERE in fact based on negotiation. The Israeli withdrawal from Sinai in 1982 followed extensive negotiations with Egypt. the Israeli withdrawal from most of the WB in 1992-1995 followed negotiations with the Palestinians. Obviously there is much about the history of the region that you have yet to learn.

    It is true that America is generous to Israel, however I would think twice before asserting that American support is the main reason for Israel’s prosperity. After all even a cursory glance will show that Egypt is a recipient of very generous American support as is Jordan and even the PA. in fact the PA is beneficiary to tremendous amounts of aid donated by the EC, the world bank, and arab country’s. The fact that all these countries remain financly backward despite generous foreign assistance indicates that obviously Israel has something more than mere American support. In fact Israel lacks the natural wealth enjoyed by many arab countries yet developed a first class economy. Obviously something is very wrong in the economic policy of arab countries.

    Your description of Israel “constantly” at war with its neighbors is plain wrong. Israel had no war with Syria, Jordan, Egypt or Lebanon in the last 30-40 years. As I said there is much you need to learn about the region.

    • David April 8, 2012, 7:31 PM

      There is much that is impressive about Israel but one should not lose sight of the impressive funding these 5.8 million receive from the world, mostly America. Israel is losing many professionals, I think, because it cannot provide opportunity. That’s not a great economic plan either. I know this is so because many of these families attended the Jewish school from which my son graduated and live in the neighborhood.

      As for war — you know you are being slippery. Low-intensity conflict has been constant — more or less — for decades. Lebanon was in fact assaulted twice over, Beruit bombed into wreckage. I count the Iraqi war as an Israeli proxy war, etc. etc.

      Hundreds of millions of people live in Egypt compared to the handful in Israel and yet Israel receives more aid than Egypt (which is second best, I know). I see a multiplier here that impacts you, your expenses and your life style, so don’t tell me about all the money going elsewhere. On a per capita basis, Israel is incredibly supported by Jews worldwide and American military aid. It is a charity from the American Jewish point of view, no matter how successful in the field, commerce or the arts. It remains a charitable organization.

      Israel has made meaningful negotiations impossible, never offering anything that really matters to Palestinians. Now they are posed to offer a bantustan sort of country, a “cantonized” slice of the WB. Shame. Shame.

      As for bad economics in Arab states, no question about the disaster that imperialism left behind in these areas. I don’t think they are doing things right either, but I do understand that development takes capital and that has not been forthcoming, just as it was restricted to Israel for a long time, and still is, to some extent.

      Frankly, I don’t think the 5.8 million have a future in a Jewish state OF THE KIND now in play. This aggressive state is increasingly unwilling to risk Israeli lives further in wars and so seeks to automat the process. Ultimately, this will fail and the people willing to risk their lives will succeed to some extent in restoring their hegemony in their own land. Israelis will leave rather risk their lives in conflict. I don’t recognize any legitimate Jewish claim to the bare land they left abandoned for thousands of years. I think that is hogwash, I think that many Zionists know it is hogwash.

      I tried learning the history from certain popular books (like the one by Michael Oren on the Six Day War) but they left so many questions unanswered or badly answered that I had to find other writers, and this turned out to be the revisionists in Israel and, of course, Chomsky and Finkelstein. The Oren book is pure hasbara, unacceptable as a work of historical writing. It’s shortfalls actually steered me into anti-Zionism. But that’s another story.

  • bran April 9, 2012, 1:26 AM

    David-
    Question: since your knowledge about the ME is admittedly limited how can you tell that Chomsky is more reliable then oren? How do you know that finkelstein isn’t feeding you “pure Palestinian hasbara”? what tools do you have to discern between the arguments of pape and those of karsh?

    You repeatedly make claims that have no factual basis. You accuse me of being ‘slippery’ and claim that ‘low intensity warfare’ is going on constantly. Yet that is not true. I know of no low intensity warfare with Jordan, Egypt, Syria or Lebanon. Yes, even Lebanon. The 2006 war was aimed against hizballah and effected only those limited areas (some towns in s. Lebanon and the dahya quarter in Beirut) controlled by hizballah. Beirut was not ‘destroyed’ since it was not attacked. Take it or leave it – those are the facts.

    Jewish connection to Israel is not hogwash. The other day I took the kid for a trip to the beautiful desert oasis of ein gedi. Along the way we visited the ancient Jewish synagogue of ein gedi, the famous caves of Qumran and Masada .are you seriously claiming that all this is ‘pure hogwash’?

    Most Jewish Israelis where born in israel. They have no reason and no intention of ‘leaving’ Israel any more then Italians have intention of leaving Italy or Jordanians of leaving Jordan.

    • David April 9, 2012, 10:27 AM

      Oh, I think you get the point. My “bias” isn’t offset by hair splitting about the record: However you look at it, Israel’s record is dismal and the vanity of Israelis about the state does tend to forget the role played by others in making this little state mighty both commercially and militarily as well as its intellectual resources. The record of human rights abuses, non-cooperation with world-endorsed sanctions and resolutions, military adventures, deceptions and outright lies is dismal and correcting my gaffs in history does not clear that record and is not persuasive.

    • David April 9, 2012, 10:37 AM

      Real things, real ideas are not symmetrical. You cannot simply say to someone who says “This is a tree”, “How do you know it isn’t a rock?” The reason Oren fails to make the grade is that his rendition doesn’t make sense, it leaves unexplained certain matters that are better and more simply explained by an alternative view. There are ways of knowing, it is not that everyone (including you?) are the victims of propaganda. Our impressions may be formed by such writing, but our sense of things, the rectitude of the point of view, is not dependent on another’s writing unless it rings true and explains events.

      Lebanon was war, no matter what you say. Beirut was attacked, mainstream reporters reported it. It was attacked and IDF laid siege for a long time. And I said that the Jewish “claim” to Israel was hogwash, not the Jewish connection. I grew up with Masada and Kochba and the others. While the actual history is suspect, the connection is not. The connection does not, did not, strip Palestinians of their rights and justify their continued dispossession or the expansion into the WB. Does not. And that is great matter that should be settled with justice or low intensity conflict will continue for Israel forever, as long as Palestinians survive.

      Who are the five ex-patriate Israeli families living in my neighborhood? What are they doing here, settling down, buying houses?

      • bran April 10, 2012, 5:16 PM

        David-

        I was talking about the SECOND Lebanon war of 2006. You are talking about the FIRST Lebanon war when Israel indeed occupied large areas of Lebanon. That was way back in 1982. As I wrote previously Israel was not involved in any ‘low intensity warfare’ with its neighbors since the mid-seventies (or in the case of Lebanon since the early eighties).

        The matter of American aid to Israel should be taken in proportion. The annual budget of Israeli government is something like 80 BILLION dollars. So 3 billion dollars, while not being insignificant, cannot be the sole explanation for Israelis relative economic prosperity. American aid is reciprocal. Israel gains from it but so does America.
        Opinions should be based on fact and context. Basing your position on ‘feeling’ and ‘sense of justice’ doesn’t make any sense. You wouldn’t do it in financial or medical matters. No reason to do it when dealing with a complex region off which you know little.

        The Jewish people have a claim to the land of Israel based on continuous national CONNECTION going back millennia. Of course that is no reason to harm the Palestinian population. That’s why both sides have to negotiate and reach a pragmatic sensible solution. In my opinion that will involve complex territorial exchange including Israel, Palestine AND Jordan. The Palestinian state while be demilitarized with its nominal capital in e. jlm. Temple mount will be under joint control with equal rights to Jews and Muslims.

        Israeli society is not perfect but neither is it bad as some Israel bashers want to make seem. It is vibrant, young, and lively. As for the 5 Israeli expatriate families you know, well I know some 50 American expatriate families living in Israel. What does THAT mean?

        • Mary Hughes Thompson April 10, 2012, 5:24 PM

          @Bran “The Jewish people have a claim to the land of Israel based on continuous national CONNECTION going back millennia…” While you might have a CONNECTION to Israel, that doesn’t give you a right to go back after those millennia and claim it as yours. I too have continuous national CONNECTION going back millennia. As a Christian my savior was born in Bethlehem, raised in Nazareth and died in Jerusalem. I learned in Catholic school that Jerusalem was the holiest place on earth for Christians. So why do you get to decide that it belongs to you and not to me? Rather than showing gratitude for being allowed to share the land of Palestine with those people who had lived there for millennia and still lived there, zionists immediately waged a campaign to rid the land of its indigenous population, you now demand that you are the supreme owners of the land. Talk about chutzpah!

          • bran April 10, 2012, 6:16 PM

            Mary-
            We can start a historical/religious/cultural slugfest that might be quit interesting.

            However I would much appreciate if you can address a serious question that rises in the mind of many Israelis hearing about your position. I am reposting the question here:

            o You believe in a democratic, secular state with equality and justice to all. That is a very noble goal. Yet as a potential citizen in your putative state I cannot avoid asking myself some troubling questions. For instance, how democratic, secular, tolerant, and liberal is the current Palestinian state in Gaza? In fact, how secular, democratic and liberal are any of the Arab countries in the area – Egypt, Libya. Lebanon, Syria?

            In my modest assessment – not very much.

            So what reason do I have to assume that you’re putative “free Palestine” will be better than the current” little Palestine” or other Arab countries? I am currently a fairly well to do Israeli living in a prosperous and liberal (albeit not perfect) society. Why should I risk my future and my children’s future to live under a hamas-like regime just to satisfy your amorphous notions of justice?

            Instead of attacking Israel, focus your creative energy in turning Gaza into a model of progressive democratic values and economic success. I am convinced that once you succeed, Israeli such as me will gladly join such an enlightened state.

          • Richard Silverstein April 10, 2012, 10:54 PM

            No slugfest with you in it would be interesting in the least & don’t even think of going there.

            Gaza is not a “state.” It cannot be since you have it under siege & it cannot have normal relations with the West Bank. If those regions were together then of course there could be a functioning Palestinian state, though you & BIbi would never accept or recognize it.

            As for supposedly non-secular, non-democratic, non-liberal Arab states, you omit Lebanon & Turkey and also incipient states like Tunisia and Egypt which are groping their way toward democracy. You also neglect the grievous damage done to Israeli democracy (which in fact isn’t a real democracy at all).

            You should rather persuade the Palestinians that YOU can be trusted to live alongside a democratic Palestine since there will come a time when it may outshine you in those political categories if you ever give it half a chance (unlikely I know).

            And don’t tell Mary or anyone else where to focus their energies. It’s none of yr damn business where anyone focuses their energies. If Mary needed your advice on that score she’d ask. As she hasn’t don’t bother.

            As for Israel ever doing anything, gladly or otherwise to cooperate with Palestine, you are absolutely and utterly full of crap.

            I’m rapidly losing patience with the hasbara. I don’t mind someone disagreeing who at least has a small amount of contact with reality. You have almost none.

          • David April 10, 2012, 6:56 PM

            Bran — and why should Palestinians trust that Israel will cooperate with this democratic Arab state? And, if they should trust that, then Israel should trust Arab states as well, regardless of whether they meet Israeli “standards”. The quote on “standards” shuld be self-explanatory. There are things to like about Israel but the ethnocratic, fear-mongering democracy part is not one of them. Israeli “standards” are not so high after all.

        • Richard Silverstein April 10, 2012, 10:44 PM

          There have been constant hostilities & high level tension on the Egyptian border, terror attacks, on the Lebanese border as well, & the IDF killed many Syrians last yr on the border. So much for “no low intensity conflict.”

          The U.S. gains from aid to Israel? How? By having you test out some of our most lethal weapons & partnering in developing them? Please, that’s a “benefit” most Americans would gladly do without.

          You have no claim to Israel going back anywhere. You have to accomodate yrself somehow to those who live in this land with you. Historical fantasies of King David & other Biblical meysehs persuade you and no one else in the world. Forget nostalgia & mirages & focus on the real live human beings from whom you’ve stolen a good part of your land. You can live in a dream and die in one or you can face reality & live.

          Territorial exchange including Jordan? It will have nothing to do with anything except perhaps with the Temple Mount. Ridiculous.

    • Richard Silverstein April 10, 2012, 10:38 PM

      You’re full of baloney. Of course there is low intensity conflict going on between Lebanon, Syria, Egypt & Israel. There is even periodic tension on the Jordanian border. You’re fantasy about the Lebanon war is also a load of bull. That war affected the country from the south all the way through Beirut & levelled large parts of some neighborhoods there as well. The port and airport were attacked as well. Do us a favor & stop bullshitting. If you don’t know something don’t make it up. If you do I’m gonna call you on it & you won’t be happy when I do.

      Jews historically have a connection to Biblical Israel. But does that mean you have the right to displace another nation in order to manifest that connection? No you don’t. And if you do you will have to figure out some way to accomodate to the indigenous residents.

      A lot of Israelis are eventually going to evacuate some of that “Israel” (the Territories) you claim in yours if there is ever to be a peace agreement. If not, then welcome to endless war. Don’t come running to us for help when your back is up against the wall & things look grim. We’re very likely to tell you: “we told you so.”

  • Charlie April 9, 2012, 4:20 AM

    Hey David —
    You are so consistently wrong with the facts it is shocking. I guess not though as your excessive bias prevents you from accepting basic facts.
    You wrote:
    “So, before you get too smug about Israel, bear in mind that none of it could have happened in the absence of American Jews and American taxpayers.”
    “None of it could have done” – wow that is ridiculous and self-serving for smug, condescending types.

    • mary April 9, 2012, 10:03 AM

      Who else would have given Israel $3 billion a year and blocked all attempts to enforce UN sanctions against Israel? Explain how David’s statement is “ridiculous.”

    • Richard Silverstein April 10, 2012, 1:24 AM

      I don’t hear an argument there. If you want to insult David w/o offering any substantive argument, you’ll have to do that elsewhere. If you want to disagree offer an argument.

      • Charlie April 10, 2012, 3:11 PM

        Richard –

        The substantive argument is clear and didn’t need to be stated. But I will say if for you and Mary:

        Israel’s annual GDP is $200 billion, its exports are $41 billion. Its life expectancy for both men and women is higher than the US. So, what David wrote below is simply ridiculous.

        “So, before you get too smug about Israel, bear in mind that none of it could have happened in the absence of American Jews and American taxpayers. “

        • David April 10, 2012, 4:03 PM

          Israel has and had access to capital no available to other states, even if these other states were capitalist-oriented. My point is simple: The Zionist enterprise owes much to external support from a superpower and from people individually who have no intention of living in Israel. I never hear any of the right wing braggarts mention this dependence which is excessive by any measure, even yours. Furthermore, we are talking hear in terms of capitalist success not necessarily social success. The distribution of wealth between rich and poor is among the worst, I believe I read somewhere or other.

          If you are countering that some of the success is independent of such support, I won’t argue. Certainly, that is true and my statement using “none” is hyperbole. Even so, it has served its purpose by focusing you and others of your ilk on the matter of economic (military, or is there a difference in Israel any more?) support. I can’t ask for more.

  • David April 10, 2012, 5:55 PM

    I don’t care what war you were talking about: Israel makes war on civilians left and right. As for “feelings,” ultimately positions and activism are based on feelings.

    Let’s try some different facts. There is no question that Palestinians have been treated unjustly, that no reparations have ever been forthcoming from the Zionist invaders. There is no question that Israel is probably the leading homocidal state on the planet on a per capita basis. There is no question that Israel receives more US foreign aid on a per capital basis than any other state by a very large margin not to mention the deep pockets of American Jews. There is no question that the $3 billion is sizable even in an $80 billion economy. These statements are factual. There are all sorts of organizations testifying to criminality of Israel aggression, the injustice still being meted out to Palestinians in their own country, a region that is categorically not “disputed.” etc. etc. So, my “feelings” are based on these facts, after all. What a surprise.

    Land for peace worked with Egypt, why not the West Bank? You and I both know that this did not and will not happen with Israel’s cooperation because, like you, Israel will hairsplit the fine points in order to conceal or distract from the big point, namely that settlements will not move and Israeli control will never go away.

    Israel has this security disease such that, whenever it FEELS insecure, many people have to die and more homes have to be demolished (1.2 million bomblets on Lebanon!) This, like the little bit of blowback against Israel, will never go away, even with Iraq declawed and Iran next on the Israel/AIPAC agenda. People have to die because Israelis FEEL unsafe. Nothing else really explains the size and extent of Cast Lead. That’s pretty much it.

    You have a right to be proud of your state and its accomplishments but justice and peace and integrity are simply not among these and you can’t take credit for these noble achievements. It is not an accident that Israel is shunned the world over: This is not a result of Palestinian “hasbara”. People know right from wrong.

    • David April 10, 2012, 6:59 PM

      The statements I provide above are factual. My “feelings” are based on these facts. Bran and Charlie can chew on this for awhile.

  • bran April 10, 2012, 7:05 PM

    David

    I realy don’t get your approach to facts. You claimed that Israel is a country that ‘makes war on its neighbors forever’ (your words). Then, when I show you that Israel made no war against any neighboring country in the last 30 years, you simply shift the goalpost.

    Then you go ahead and keep on spreading baseless assertions. For instance you make the incredible claim that that ‘Israel is probably the leading homicidal state on the planet on a per capita basis’. What a load of hogwash. In terms of causalities the isreal-palestine conflict is actually quit modest. Total number of casualties from both sides probably doesn’t exceed 15,000-20,000 people during the last 60 years. In terms of regional conflicts that’s quite low. For an example of truly bloody mindness check up what the Syrian regime is doing the last couple of months. Or the Turkish-Kurdish relationship.

    Similarly you falsely claim that the Palestinians have been treated unjustly by Israel. A combination of lack of democracy, political extremism and myopic statesmanship caused the Palestinian leadership to commit almost every possible mistake leading to their current predicament.

    You further claim that land for peace can’t work in WB because of settlements. Yet you ignore the fact that Israel destroyed settlements. Not once but Thrice. In Sinai in Gaza AND in north Samaria.

    Never has anybody died because Israel ‘felt insecure’. That’s baseless nonsense. Cast lead didn’t break out because any feelings. It broke out because of hundreds of rockets fired by the Palestinian Gaza army on Israeli towns.
    Your feelings are obviously not based on facts. You have been drinking deeply from the anti Israeli koolaid.

    • Richard Silverstein April 10, 2012, 11:02 PM

      I have patiently debated hasbarists like you many, many times about the issue of Israel’s wars of aggression. You WILL NOT make false claims concerning this. If you don’t know or understand the history of your own nation’s wars & know that YOU started almost all of them, I’m not educating you here. But I will put you on notice that the next egregious faux historical claim you make about Israeli history you’ll be moderated. I don’t suffer fools attempting to manipulate Israeli history gladly.

      I don’t care how many people have died in Israel’s wars since 1948, whether it’s 10,000 or 100,000. You will not minimize the tragedy of this needless loss of life by claiming it the numbers are “low.” Every one of those deaths is a tragedy for Jews and Arabs.

      You stay on topic in your comments. That means writing about the subject of the post on which you’re commenting. The threads here are not a casual walk down memory lane of Israeli history allowing you do discourse & digress upon subjects of your own choosing. Stay focussed on the post & its subject. Read the comment rules too.

      Similarly you falsely claim that the Palestinians have been treated unjustly by Israel.

      That does it. You’re moderated. If you can’t understand or accept the minimal statement that Israel has treated Palestinians unjustly then you’re either a fantasist, a hasbarist or both. I don’t have further patience for it. That means, once you’re moderated you better make statements you can prove are true using credible historical sources. If you throw out insulting trash like this again, you’ll be gone. You’re insulting history and us with such nonsense.

  • David April 10, 2012, 8:01 PM

    Cast Lead is war and punishment. Bulldozers destroying homes is war. Checkpoints are war. Hundreds of children die because of the rockets that really haven’t done much damage in Israel except create FEAR, exactly what I am talking about.

    Palestinians are not responsible for their predicament no matter how many “mistakes” they have made. Zionists are responsible. The perpetrator is Zionism and its hogwash claim on other people’s property. It is outrageous that you would even posit such a thought. Zionists perpetrated this conflict and are responsible for the results.

    My objection to your comments is that you obfuscate with detail that changes nothing. I do not know everything, but I know that Israel has stolen property and intends to keep on stealing property. I know that a modern army is launched against civilians such that 400 children died in Cast Lead (but Israel doesn’t target civilians, does it? Imagine if it did!). I know that Palestinians continue to be oppressed on their own land by settlers who seem to me to be sociopaths altogether.
    I know these things are true and I bet you do as well. But, lets prevaricate and obfuscate with your insider knowledge that really doesn’t change the text at all. Again — Israel gets fearful thinking of Hitler in Teheran and so now many more people will die because of Israeli fear. Israelis living on top of other peoples property and the wreckage of their homes are annoyed by rockets now, so voila! 400 children dead. (I’d still like to look at per capita killing!)

    Israel is the aggressor, threatening world peace. Israel has the uninspected unaccountable nuclear arsenal, Israel is so far gone that it now says it doesn’t matter if Iran has a bomb, wants to build one, is building one, or not. None of this matters because Israel feels unsafe and therefore more war for Israel and more for the US and more dead people to make Israel feel safe. It is so unacceptable it is hard to see how a grown adult, whether Israeli or American, could accept such demented thinking.

    When you get thirsty enough, my wife has just made another quart of our special Kool-Aid.

    • David April 10, 2012, 10:14 PM

      and, if Israel is so productive, why American aid in the first place? And the indirect subsidy to American weapon suppliers is not a “benefit” to America in any case — it a subsidy to an industry that has dubious social value. The funds could be used for teachers who are being terminated by the hundreds here.

      $3 billion divided by 5.8 million, why that’s over $500 a head for Israelis! That’s $5,000 over 10 years without compounded return) Given that you, Bran, are so proud of Israel’s productivity, I recommend you give your $500 back. I am accepting refunds of charity on behalf of citizens of the US.

  • mary April 11, 2012, 6:29 AM

    “Approaching the subject from another perspective, Israel gains a lot from its trade with the United States. This trade allows it to gain huge income revenues, and to compensate for the deficit in its trade balance. The United States is Israel’s first trade partner, and the Israeli exports to the United States constitute usually more than one third of the total Israeli exports. For example, the Israeli exports to the United States reached 18 billion dollars in 2006 (38.4% of total exports), and around 16.7 billion dollars in 2009 (35% of total exports).

    Similarly for imports, the United States is Israel’s first trade partner. In 2009, the Israeli imports from the United States were estimated at 5.848 billion dollars, constituting around 12.3% from the Israeli total imports value estimated by 47.367 billion dollars for the same year.

    “The above points out a trade surplus of 11 billion dollars in the Israeli trade balance with the United States. This has actually been the average surplus for the past four years. It is by this surplus that Israel substitutes for the largest part of its trade balance deficit with other countries. Actually if it wasn’t for this surplus, the Israeli trade balance would have suffered an annual increase in trade balance deficit ranging between 19.5% and 25.7% in the period 2006-2009.”

    http://www.uruknet.info/?p=72034