21 thoughts on “Meretz USA Calls for Lifting Gaza Siege – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. From my latest post on the Magnes Zionist blog:

    Israel should not make the cessation of weapons smuggling a condition for a cease fire, or for indirect relations with Hamas. I am sorry to see that Meretz USA, which came out with a fine statement otherwise, has called for “the verifiable termination of weapons smuggling into the Gaza Strip” as a condition for a cease-fire. I have no problem with that, provides that it calls for an arms embargo on Israel as well. Jews smuggled weapons to Palestine before there was a Jewish state, and the idea that Gaza and the West Bank should be left at the mercy of Israel, or NATO, or whatever, is immoral as well as stupid – immoral, because it says that one side has a right to self-defence and the other does not, stupid because it reinforces the Israeli narrative that the Palestinians are the aggressors, which plays into feelings of Palestinian resentment, and which encourages the extremists.

  2. Notice, Richard, that Meretz USA did not call for an end to the siege in Gaza UNTIL the current war, and the current war would not have occurred WITHOUT weapons smuggling by the Gazans.

    It is sad to say this, but it appears that Meretz would not have made such a statement had Hamas been without weapons. That is the way the world goes. Empowering the Palestinians — and that includes a Palestinian military — must be a sine qua non of any two-state settlement.

    Unfortunately, Meretz USA and its Israeli counterpart, still believe that the Palestinians will — or should — be satisfied with a state without military capacities that can seriously harm Israel. This is a serious error for those who believe in a two-state solution.

  3. The Benny Morris article is essential to understanding the mindset. I would not dismiss it so.

    Also I agree Palestinians who are demonstrably willing to live in peace with Israel in their own state which would a monopoly of power over radical elements aiming to destroy Israel, should have some weapons- but we are not there yet.

    Refer back to the mindset that Morris describes ( not necessarily his own as I read it.)

  4. Suzanne, you wrote:

    “Also I agree Palestinians who are demonstrably willing to live in peace with Israel in their own state which would a monopoly of power over radical elements aiming to destroy Israel, should have some weapons- but we are not there yet.”

    This sounds like typical Zionist paternalism: the Jews had a right to smuggle weapons into Palestine, unilaterally arm itself, and wrest the country from the Palestinians *by force* — but the Palestinians first have to prove to the Jews that they are willing to live in peace, and only then will they be given a mini-state with “some arms”.

    When did anybody say that the Jews cannot have a state unless they keep their violent extremists in check — and actually enforce that as a condition of Israel’s independence? (Given the level of settler violence against Palestinians, maybe we should rethink Jewish statehood — the Israelis are doing a lousy job of keeping their extremists in check.)

    By the way, Morris’s piece in the New York Times repeated the outrageous lie that several hundred Hamas fighters were killed in the Saturday attack. Channel Two is reporting that 250 of the 390 Gaza fatalities were members of Hamas (Channel 2). Since over fifty of these were Hamas policemen, and not fighters against Israel, it appears that –even according to Israel’s media — less than half of the people killed are Hamas fighters — and on Saturday, that would have been considerably less than “several hundreds.”

    More hasbarah lies.

  5. Your comment about Israel supposedly breaking the cease fire because of the Gaza Tunnels is misleading. The tunnels were NOT the ones between Gaza and the Sinai. This was a tunnel meant to go under the border between Israel and Gaza. Such a tunnel was used in the past to carry out the attack where Gilad Shalit was captured and two others soldiers (who have been otherwise forgotten) killed. I can not imagine any justification for digging such a tunnel and Israel has every right to kill those involved. This was NOT a violation of the Tahadiya.

  6. “Remember, it was Israel which refused to lift the siege, though that was part of the earlier ceasefire to which it agreed.”
    Would you mind backing this up. I don’t remember this being part of the deal and couldn’t find any reference to this through googling.
    ” It was Israel which broke the last ceasefire. ”
    No it wasn’t. Over fifty rockets had been fired at Israel from Gaza before the single incursion (not a massive attack on Gaza) on a single tunnel which was leading towards ISRAEL, not Egypt. Israel never relinquished the right to protect itself.

  7. It’s even questionable how many of the remaining <200 dead were militants, as these and cops combined don’t comprise 100% of Hamas members. There’s also the entire civil administration and the charities, which according to Jonathan Cook may be the next target:
    http://www.jkcook.net/Articles2/0357.htm

    Latest reports suggest Israel is now planning to expand its air strikes to Hamas’s welfare organisations, the charities that are the base of its popularity.

    But when people start to believe their own propaganda that Hamas is no more than a terrorist organisation, then lies like Morris’ are inevitable, without even any malicious intent on part of the author.

  8. @amir:

    I don’t remember this being part of the deal

    Under normal circumstances I would do this research for you. But under the circumstances, I have bigger fish to fry with writing blog posts and other activities to oppose the Gaza incursion. You’ll have to either believe me or not as you choose.

    Over fifty rockets had been fired at Israel from Gaza

    As usual, you provide no source to back up this claim. I just looked at a foreign ministry graph showing monthly missile fire and the months preceding the Nov. 5th Israeli attack which massively broke the ceasefire show very few rockets fired. I wish I could remember where I saw this graph. But I doubt yr claim of 50 rockets. And at any rate, it wasn’t Hamas firing those rockets as it is now. It was Islamic Jihad or the PRC most likely.

    Israel never provided ANY evidence that the tunnel it attacked was being prepared for an attack against Israel or that it was even a danger to Israel. Even Israeli journalists noted this skeptically at the time. Many believed even then that Israel was provoking just such a situation as what turned out to be w. Hamas retaliating, giving Barak the opportunity to mount this offensive, etc.

  9. @bar_kochba132: Do pls. provide any credible media source which documents in any way, shape or form that this tunnel was being prepared for an attack against Israel. Israeli journalists at the time were deeply skeptical of the IDF’s claims that hitting the tunnel was a necessary operation considering it was a massive ceasefire violation.

  10. There were 38 missile attackas against Israel between June 19 and November 4 (start of Tahadiya until attack on tunnel). That’s 38 massive violations. That’s 38 times frightened children ran to shelters. Since Hamas didn’t take any legal action against those who took responsibility for the attack (and I remind you Islamic Jihad was part of the Tahadiyah) these are violations by Hamas and their allies. Hamas neber condemned these attacks let alone try to prevent them.
    After the attack on the tunnel, which I agree was a violation of the tahadiyah (a legitimate one, but the first one after 38 violations by Hama et al) there as a period of three days of increased attacks. Neither side claimed the Tahadiyah was over, so that should have been the end of that. Then in mid-November there was another barage of missiles fired at Israel, I don’t remeber what was the pretext. From mid November to mid-December the firing of missiles was sporadic. In late December the missile attacks became intense again AND Hamas declared the Tahadiyah was over – six months were over. The end of the Tahadiyah was Hamas’s doing and it had nothing to do with the tunnel Israel destroyed and had everything to do with them trying to use terrorism to bully Israel into giving in to their new demands.

  11. Richard, lifting the siege was never part of the tahadiyah. Opening the crossings was and the crossings were open most of the time from June 22 to Nov 4 with an average of 80-90 truckloads of goods crossing them every day. The crossings were closed after every violation by Hamas et al for a few hours to a few days. After Nov 4 the intensity of Hamas violations increased (this time balatantly by Hamas) and the crossings were closed most of the time.

  12. “merely” !
    That’s a lot of Hutzpa.
    There was merely one incursion by IDF troops into Gaza duringt the whole time. And while the missiles coming in from Gaza were aimed at civilians, the IDF incursion was a clear act of self defense and was against armed men.

  13. @amir: “Merely” one bombing by Israel which had more of less been honoring the ceasefire. When there is calm and you drop a bomb on a tunnel & it kills 5 Hamas people that isn’t a “mere” anything. BTW, Hamas had controlled the rockets and things were relatively quiet until the Israeli bombing.

    The IDF incursion is not at all “self-defense.” If Israel really wanted to ensure the security of the south it would negotiate a real ceasefire with Hamas in which rockets would stop AND Israel would completely lift the siege. That is the ultimate act of “self-defense.”

    I repeat once again, even Israeli journalists & security analysts questioned the idea that the Nov. 5th bombing had any serious security objective or served any meaningful purpose.

  14. @amir: “Massive violations?” Howso? Those missiles, while heinous, didn’t kill or injure anyone. You bleed for Israeli children running to air raid shelters but seem to lack basic human empathy for over 100 women & children murdered by Israeli missiles. I wonder why that is?

    The reason there were only a few missiles attacks during the ceasefire was precisely because Hamas was intensively policing such attacks & preventing them. If it had not been there would have been many more. And Hamas did not violate the ceasefire as you state. Hamas observed the ceasefire. There are other elements in Gaza who did not observe it & they were responsible for the rockets.

    You don’t seem to remember that the barrage of attacks was a direct response to the Israeli tunnel attack. Perhaps that’s a bit of “tunnel” vision on yr part??

    Hamas made perfectly clearly what it would take to renew the ceasefire: end the siege and end the rockets. Those were the terms which Israel refused. Israel acquiesced in the end of the ceasefire by neither negotiating the new terms or accepting them.

    YOu claim that Hamas’ demand that Israel end its strangulation of Gaza is “bullying??!!” Bullying to demand that a foreign power stop starving your children and allowing your sick & elderly to die without proper medical care. Bullying??? You’ve truly shown yr colors.

  15. @amir:

    the crossings were open most of the time

    When 80 truckloads cross the border you claim that constitutes the border being “open???” 80 truckloads to feed 1.5 million people? And that’s open?

    “Open” is when truckloads of food, medicine and emergency goods can arrive & cross freely.

    Not to mention the fact that terminally ill patients could not cross nor could anyone wishing to leave or enter unless the stars were alinged properly in the firmament, which they almost never were.

    The Israeli siege is a great shande. One that you’re perfectly content with.

  16. The terms of the Hudna were that the Hamas would not fire rockets nor would they allow the other groups to. They violated the tahadiya 38 times. The reason there was relative quiet was that the Israelis did not respond to these provocations. The one time Israel violated the tahadiya led to increased violations by the Hamas. So it is Hamas that chose when and to what extent the fire would rise. The reason few Israelis have been killed is not only because some of the rockets are inacurate but also because of he many precautions Israel and Israelis have taken to safeguard themselves. The first rocket violation of the tahadiya hit a home right in their living room. Fortunately, nobody was in the room.
    Don’t forget that wheb the crossings were open the Hamas and their aallies would target them with their mortars. In any case, it was the Hamas who declared an end to the tahadiya and they did not use the tunnel attack as the pretext. Israel sent a representative to Egypt to renew the tahadya but Hamas refused.
    Of course Israel is not going to agree to an end of “the siege” and allow the Hamas to bring in even deadlier weapons. Until their is a peace agreement, Israel will want full control or supervision of what goes in or out of Gaza.
    Also, Gazans weren’t starving. Write malnutrution in google images and you will see what starving people look like. Then look at the people gathering around in Gaza and you will see well fed, well nourished people and well dressed people. The so called humanitarian crisis (before the present war) is a propaganda hoax. Look at the pictures on your blog. There’s a picture of a guy wearing a nike hat holding a baby with colorful socks with flowers on them. Now look at pictures of people in Africa in famine and war ravaged regions, and you will see the difference.

  17. @amir:

    They violated the tahadiya 38 times

    That’s boloney. THEY didn’t violate the ceasefire. Other parties did. Hamas cannot possibly prevent every person who wants to fire a rocket from doing so. It can certainly prevent most of them and has done so. But those 38 rockets caused precisely NO Israeli casualties. While Israel’s single military (I use that word to distinguish from its ongoing economic violations via the siege) violation of the ceasefire caused the death of 5 Hamas members.

    Israel is not going to agree to an end of “the siege” and allow…Hamas to bring in even deadlier weapons

    Ridiculous. Israel was monitoring all the crossings when they were open. No weapons could be smuggled in via the crossings. Maintaining the siege has NOTHING whatsoever to do with protecting Israel from weapons. If you don’t know this then you should.

    Gazans weren’t starving.

    To make such a statement shows that either you are willfully ignorant or a liar. Every major humanitarian agency serving Gaza says that Gazans are starving. Yet you, in yr infinite wisdom, choose to believe otherwise. They are there. You are not. Yet you sit blissfully unaware of suffering happening almost right under your nose. It’s shameful really for someone to be so callous. But this is what being an Israeli must mean these days for far too many Israelis. Cut yrself off fr. the suffering of everyone but yr own kind–Israeli Jews, that is.

  18. A point could be made that the siege even contributed to Gazan militants acquiring more weapons in that it created a compelling incentive to dig that many tunnels for bringing in food, fuel, medicine, and other vital items. If the flow of civilian goods had not been wilfully impeded, most, if not all of the tunnels had never been dug.

  19. For example, Hamas could have had Awad al-Qiq arrested. He “was a respected science teacher and headmaster at a United Nations school in the Gaza Strip. By night, Palestinian militants say, he built rockets for Islamic Jihad.”
    “In interviews with Reuters, students and colleagues, as well as U.N. officials, denied any knowledge of Qiq’s work with explosives. And his family denied he had any militant links at all, despite a profusion of Islamic Jihad posters at his home.

    But militant leaders allied to the enclave’s ruling Hamas group hailed him as a martyr who led Islamic Jihad’s “engineering unit” — its bomb makers.”
    From Reuters.

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