38 thoughts on “Siegman Documents ‘Israel’s Lies’ Defending Gaza Assault – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Richard Silverstein I’m not bothering to reply to your effusive libel of Israel. I would just like to point out how cowardly you are for not printing my responses. You know it and now I know it too.

    1. Take it up with Henry Siegman, Ephraim Halevy & Anthony Cordesman. I think your problem is with them. I’ve only showcased their wisdom & Israel’s folly. Having an advocate like you is yet another aspect of their folly & yours.

      To the extent that your comments are recycled pro-Israel hasbara arguments which have been made by commenters here before & rebutted by me, they may not be published. Even if you support Israel, saying something new (or uniquely personal) as opposed to hackneyed will make it more likely I will publish you.

      I’m under no obligation to publish specific pro Israel arguments advanced 10 or 20 times before in these threads. It bores me no end to have to approve such a comment & then reply to it when I’ve done so at least once & sometimes 5 or 10 times before. This isn’t hasbara central. This is a place for hopefully interesting discussion & debate about the issues. You can argue against my views here. But you can’t do so if you merely recycle arguments that were already tired when they were aired her for the 5th or 10th time by someone preceding you.

  2. To remind everybody — Henry Siegman grew up in an orthodox home and managed to overcome, through education and clear thinking, the propaganda of his youth. He is one of the clearest thinkers on the Israel-Palestinian conflict.

    Thank you, Richard, for circulating this timely piece.

  3. Yeah, Henry Siegman is brilliant and very to the point. He’s written for the London Review of Books before. I checked out this article on the LRB website the other day. The unapologetically high-brow London Review of Books is an excellent publication, by the way, both in its literary reviews and articles and in its less frequent but very thoughtful political articles & commentary (admittedly coming from a leftish progressive sort of orientation). On their web-site this past week and a half or so, they’ve had a section at the top containing maybe a dozen or so short commentaries by distinguished intellectuals and cultural figures writing about the then-unfolding Gaza massacre (John Mearsheimer, Jacqueline Rose, Eliot Weinberger, Michael Wood and several others). It’s worth taking a gander.

  4. When my comment corrected your correspondent’s misattribution of ‘men are free but everywhere in chains’ to ‘some German Jew’ and I put him/her straight saying that it was Jean-Jacques Rousseau it was neither ‘hasbara’ (explanation) nor was it hackneyed. It was merely good scholarship. What was your objection to that?

    1. I had no idea what or who you were referring to. Next time, if you quote the comment to which you’re referring it will help me & all other readers understand the context of your comment.

      I refused to publish yr comment because of this:

      Let’s start with your favourite literature: which is Mein Kampf

      If you review my comment rules it prohibits this type of gratuitous ad hominem attack. Just as I prohibit you from doing it I’d prohibit anyone fr. saying anything equally odious about you.

      If you want to comment don’t accuse others of being Nazis.

  5. Both Israel and Hamas made very bad judgements in this and MANY other potential and experienced escalations.

    I am proud that Israel does review its behavior through strategic, tactical and ethical windows. (The limits to that review are sometimes upsetting.)

    I’ve not heard that Hamas is undertaking that review. It is not exposing itself to its self-inquiry, which one would hope for in a prospective democratic transparent society. I understand that there is much discussion on the street, but also much and brutal suppression on the street.

    Both Hamas and Israel feel cornered and attacked, and rationalize their actions of suppression by their condition.

    Many critics of Israel have sited that “Israel is in control. Therefore Israel is responsible.”

    I think that is partially true. I observe that Hamas GREATLY influences the chain of events that occur. There is MUCH that is within its control. To imply otherwise, if frankly insulting to Hamas, particularly to the more mature individuals that are associated with the movement.

    It also functionally argues that Hamas is NOT ready to make the transition from militia to governance.

    I truly don’t know if Hamas EVER concluded to reconcile with Israel, in any medium to long-term sense, even conditionally on any basis that Israel could conceivably respond.

    My criticism with Israel is of degree. I believe that they should have responded to the successful cease-fire by letting more trucks cross the checkpoints, NOT to normalize the border yet (they were still in a state of functional war).

    Its military response to shelling of civilians was necessary, and frankly INSISTED on by Hamas. The degree and selection of targets was subject to severe criticism, but to expect Israel to accept civilians being shelled is ludicrous.

    The equations of what Hamas regarded as the cease-fire terms are similarly ludicrous and vague.

  6. Richard Witty, Hamas has previously undertaken a fundamental review. When they decided to enter the political process they stopped using terrorist means. This was the reason suicide attacks inside Israel ceased almost completely then (not the yet incomplete wall which was passed by thousands of undocumented workers monthly).
    After they were elected, they were further ostracised for their efforts, shunned internationally, Israel arrested many of their MPs and together with the US prepared Fatah for their attempted coup in 2007, which Hamas preempted. The cycle of Israel taking the Gazan population hostage and Hamas reverting to attacking civilians started anew. And so it goes.

  7. jim s, I have to confess I’m not personally against America-baiting per se. I kind of think we need to be baited more often, woken up, something. Too many Americans have thin skins, IMO. We take as a given our assumed right to look out and judge the world, but if any piece of the world presumes to look back and judge us, Oh my God!

    I didn’t know the LRB had one monolithic attitude towards Barack Obama. I do know that Eliot Weinberger has been an eloquent exponent and defender of Obama in its pages. My overall impression is that the London Review has been cautiously supportive (Wow, it just now fully sunk in for me. He’s actually our current sitting President!!)

    Richard Witty, your comments are so basically empty, equivocating and sophistic, I don’t see the point in responding. One New Year’s resolution is to waste less mental energy.

  8. Saudi Prince Says U.S. Ties at Risk Over Mideast

    By Reuters

    January 23, 2009 — LONDON (Reuters) – A member of Saudi Arabia’s royal family warned U.S. President Barack Obama Friday the Middle East peace process and U.S.-Saudi ties were at risk unless Washington changed tack on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Israel had come close to “killing the prospect of peace” with its offensive in Gaza, Prince Turki al-Faisal wrote in an article published on the Financial Times’s website.

    “Unless the new U.S. administration takes forceful steps to prevent any further suffering and slaughter of Palestinians, the peace process, the U.S.-Saudi relationship and the stability of the region are at risk,” said Turki, a former Saudi intelligence chief and former ambassador to the United States and Britain.

    About 1,300 Palestinians, many of them civilians, were killed and 5,000 wounded during the 22-day offensive, which ended with a ceasefire Sunday.

    Israel said the campaign was designed to root out Hamas militants who fired rockets into the Jewish state. Ten Israeli soldiers and three civilians, hit by cross-border rocket fire, were killed.

    Obama, sworn in as president Tuesday, named former Senator George Mitchell Thursday as an envoy with the brief to try and jump-start moribund Arab-Israeli peace talks.

    Former U.S. President George W. Bush’s administration had left a “sickening legacy” in the Middle East, Turki wrote, singling out the Iraq war.

    The Bush administration had also contributed to the “slaughter of innocents” in Gaza, said Turki, who currently holds no official government position in the world’s top crude oil exporter.

    “If the U.S. wants to continue playing a leadership role in the Middle East and keep its strategic alliances intact — especially its ‘special relationship’ with Saudi Arabia — it will have to drastically revise its policies vis-a-vis Israel and Palestine,” Turki wrote. He said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had written to Saudi King Abdullah last week urging Saudi Arabia to lead a “jihad,” or holy war, against Israel.

    This call for jihad would, if pursued, create “unprecedented chaos and bloodshed” in the region, said Turki.

    “So far, the kingdom has resisted these calls, but every day this restraint becomes more difficult to maintain,” he said.

    Turki urged Obama to condemn what he called “Israel’s atrocities” against the Palestinians.

    Human rights group Amnesty International accused Israel of war crimes Monday over its alleged use of white phosphorus munitions in densely populated areas of Gaza. Israel has said all weapons used in Gaza complied with international law.

    Turki said Obama should condemn Israeli settlement building in the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza and should call for an immediate withdrawal of Israeli forces from the disputed Shebaa Farms area claimed by Lebanon.

    He urged Obama to strongly promote a 2002 Saudi peace initiative, which calls for full recognition of Israel if it gives up lands occupied in a 1967 war and accepts a solution for Palestinian refugees.

    Reporting by Adrian Croft; Editing by Ralph Gowling

  9. I don’t see any US baiting in the LRB, just a different persepctive… which is, surely, the point in reading it.

    If Obama can’t move to justice in the Middle East, which means negotiating with, not bombing, Hamas, then he will become the next LBJ… giving up on the goals of a great society to pursue the unjust war.

  10. =

    Let’s start with your favourite literature: which is Mein Kampf
    I was correcting the poster’s error again – this poster is in the habit of making attributions without checking them or offering sources – a bad habit when debating, I believe he called it Der Kampf or something similar. It was no ad hominem attack gratuitous or otherwise.

    1. No, it’s you who are both confused & ignorant, I’m afraid.

      Here’s what the commenter wrote:

      Or, as some German Jew once said, the Palestinians have nothing to lose but their chains. They ought to adopt “in Kamf” as their national anthem.

      In Kamf (“In struggle”) has nothing to do with Hitler’s Mein Kampf. In Kamf is a Yiddish revolutionary song written by Dovid Edelstadt. All you had to do was Google “In Kamf” as I did to learn that. I’d recommend you try that next time you want to correct someone here. And if you still try to correct them, I’d suggest you do so a bit less truculently in case you’re as wrong as you were in this case.

      So your snark about Fiddler’s favorite literature being Mein Kampf was not only ad hominem and gratuitous, it would also ignorant since he wasn’t remotely talking about that book.

  11. Fiddler,
    Hamas never renounced terror as a means. And they never fully voluntarily consented to the civil political process as their means of participation (or they would have rejected civil war with Fatah).

    Each of these policy decisions, is information to Israeli analysts, that are trying to discern if there is possibility of reconciliation with Hamas, or if its all a fraud designed for their party’s advantage internally within Palestine.

    The implication of MANY Palestinian solidarity is to accept the self-definition (propaganda) of Hamas as “not corrupt”, “democratic”, “legitimate”. Neither of those definitions, assumptions, are knowable.

    What is knowable is what Hamas publishes, does, officially prohibits and/or permits. The interpretation of what that “means” is subject to discussion.

    1. Hamas never renounced terror as a means.

      You’re playing a semantic game. Did Israel renounce terror against Hamas? Then why should Hamas in any absolute sense? But the truth is that Hamas has abided by extended truces & enforced compliance (at least by its own forces). It has largely been Israel that historically has broken ceasefires when it felt it was in its interest to do so.

      they never fully voluntarily consented to the civil political process

      This is totally disingenuous & you should know better. Elliot Abrams & David Welch coached Fatah in engineering a coup against Hamas. Having heard about the plan, Hamas preempted Fatah and took over Gaza. It was the U.S. & Fatah who did not “voluntarily consent to the civil political process” by attempting an armed coup. Why should Hamas be privy to its own downfall when its enemies conspire to violently overthrow it? I don’t like what Hamas did in Gaza any more than you. But unlike you I’m not prepared to blame Hamas for something it felt forced to do.

      As for what Israeli analysts are attempting to discern regarding Hamas: if they had eyes in their head they’d do a better job of that than what they’re currently doing. Also, I think Hamas is attempting to discern whether Israel can be trusted or “if it’s all a fraud” designed for its political advantage. Why do you always place the onus on Hamas & never acknowledge there are 2 partners here & that the behavior of one is no better or worse than the other?

      You think that Hamas’ reputation as being honest is not “knowable?” I’m sorry but independent analysts, not necessarily Palestinian have documented that Hamas is incorruptible. As for “legitimate,” it is far more so than Fatah and anyone traveling through Gaza & talking to people there will find this is so. “Democratic?” It ran in an election and won. I believe that if it had been allowed to govern & then run in another election & lost that it would have voluntarily relinquished control. But we’ll never know because it was its enemies, Hamas, the U.S. & Israel who showed their disdain for democracy.

  12. Where violence, especially the prospect of violence directed at civilians, makes the game a very high-stakes poker game.

    If the welfare of civilians is important, then good judgement is necessary on the part of leaders to reduce their community’s civilians’ exposure to prospective harms.

    Arms don’t usually accomplish that. It doesn’t accomplish it for Hamas “representation” of Palestinian civilians needs and aspirations. And they don’t accomplish Israeli civilians needs for quiet and protection from “irritating” rocket fire.

    Hamas does not have the means (remaining as a non-state) to develop a military capability for deterrence. Its military capability is limited (and likely to get more limited) to irritation.

    Its strategy of employing “irritation” has been nearly unanimously criticized by the range of even very harsh critics of Israel, as a form of suicidal urge (though with Palestinian civilians bearing the brunt).

    It becomes a bad strategy, even to achieve its ends (which aren’t clear or unanimous).

    “If everyone was armed” is NOT my idea of a progressive world. Even looking at power relationships there is no setting in which entities are equally armed.

    There is the problem of scale. A super-power is by definition more highly armed than small state. A state is by definition more highly armed than a militia (with horrid obvious exceptions). A MILITIA IS MORE HIGHLY ARMED than civilians.

    Each are an abuse of power. My feeling is that a self-defined militia relative to civilians is the most intrusive form of power abuse. It is gangs that terrorize neighborhoods, terrorize people.

    My sense of democracy is one in which CIVILIANS rule, not one in which parties rule.

  13. Perhaps Hamas should hold their post-massacre debriefing on a pile of rubble.

    I just love it when people hold Palestinians accountable to the every functions of statehood that Israel works so hard to render impossible.

  14. “and managed to overcome,”

    “Mr. Haber” you say on your website that you bring an “Orthodox Jewish” perspective. Yet, you praise Siegman for having overcome his education. Contradiction? This seems sly in a Tikkun kind of way. This article is absurd-it CAN be said that Israel was protecting it’s citizens, just as USA would do if it were in this situation-and did. If Mexico were to fire missiles into Texas-what would USA do? And none of you on this blog would be as condemnatory of USA as you are of Israel.

  15. NILI, since you apparently couldn’t be bothered to read the comment you paraphrase, here’s again what Jerry wrote:

    Henry Siegman grew up in an orthodox home and managed to overcome, through education and clear thinking, the propaganda of his youth.

    While “education” and “propaganda” may well be synonyms on your planet, I don’t think that’s the case down here.
    I confess I know nothing about Mr. Siegman’s bio, but if you’re so curious about the alleged contradiction, why don’t you try and find out?

    “If Mexico were to fire missiles into Texas” – that non-argument has been so often and comprehensively debunked that you certainly can find pertinent articles in no time. I’m too tired now. At least one put it as “Tijuana” vs. “San Diego”, if that helps.

  16. Nili,

    I also said on my website that I meant that Siegman overcame the Zionist indoctrination given to modern orthodox Jews — more today than when he was a kid.

    And while I am here on this web — Richard is right on with respect to Hamas. Sure Hamas is not my cup of tea — but the point is that Israel has to engage whoever is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Hamas was elected in fair and supervised elections. Israel’s response — close Gaza, and arrest Hamas members of Parliament on the West Bank.

    Wouldn’t it be great if the Palestinians could do that to Bibi and Lieberman? Well, my yetzer ha-ra says “sure,” but any decent liberal democrat will say no. That is called interference in the affairs of another state.

  17. Or in the case of a non-state like the PA, “interference in the affairs of another people.”

    I can only infer from Israel’s actions that it wants Hamas to take over the West Bank so that it can continue the settlement enterprise.

  18. Witty will soon get more competition and we will be treated to more lies and distortions:

    From Haaretz 1/19/09

    “Israel recruits ‘army of bloggers’ to combat anti-Zionist Web sites

    By Cnaan Liphshiz

    The Immigrant Absorption Ministry announced on Sunday it was setting up an “army of bloggers,” to be made up of Israelis who speak a second language, to represent Israel in “anti-Zionist blogs” in English, French, Spanish and German.

    The program’s first volunteer was Sandrine Pitousi, 31, from Kfar Maimon, situated five kilometers from Gaza. “I heard about the project over the radio and decided to join because I’m living in the middle of the conflict,” she said.

    Before hanging up the phone prematurely following a Color Red rocket alert, Pitousi, who immigrated to Israel from France in 1993, said she had some experience with public relations from managing a production company.

    “During the war, we looked for a way to contribute to the effort,” the ministry’s director general, Erez Halfon, told Haaretz. “We turned to this enormous reservoir of more than a million people with a second mother tongue.” Other languages in which bloggers are sought include Russian and Portuguese.

    Halfon said volunteers who send the Absorption Ministry their contact details by e-mail, at media@moia.gov.il, will be registered according to language, and then passed on to the Foreign Ministry’s media department, whose personnel will direct the volunteers to Web sites deemed “problematic.”

    Within 30 minutes of announcing the program, which was approved by the Foreign Ministry on Sunday, five volunteers were already in touch, Halfon said. ”

  19. @Jerry Haber
    “Hamas was elected in fair and supervised elections.”

    Hamas, Hitler, and Hezbollah were all elected “democratically.” Apparently justice and democracy don’t always go hand and hand.

    1. Yes, yes, we’ve heard that argument from your fellow right wing pro Israel folk here a score of times at least. Hitler did not rule Germany for 12 yrs as a democratically elected leader. Only the 1932 election brought him to power in a democratic election. His rule therarter was as a dictator.

      Hezbollah does not rule Lebanon. It ran in a democratic election and took a minority of the vote.

      Hamas won control of the PA in a democratic election. If Israel & the U.S. had allowed Palestinian democracy to continue unimpeded in the next election Hamas might’ve lost power & freely relinquished power & so have bought into a democratic process. But thanks to gross interference in Palestinian affairs, we’ll never know.

  20. Richard,
    On Hamas I think you’ve been sold a bridge.

    I agree with you that Israel has made a very long string of bad judgements and much less than confident commitment to what it takes to realize peace.

    I disagree with you entirely about Hamas’ character, needs, options, judgement.

    To describe Hamas as “incrorruptible” is to have an “after-the-fact” definition of what corruption means. Its one of those words, “one man’s freedom fighter is another’s terrorist”.

    Hamas maintains a growing theocratic suppressive proto-state in Gaza. If you dissent there in word or action, you risk murder and torture, and without trial. (A few steps past Guantanamo.) If you find that process to be an example of “free from corruption”, then we live on different planets.

    The resumption of shelling of civilians was not a necessity, whether “felt” as one or not. The maintenance of the cease-fire was noted among Israeli military and civilian leaders, against their best wishes. My read is that they hoped that Hamas would violate the cease-fire to earlier prove their point.

    My sense is that Hamas continuing the cease-fire would have been the ONE ACTION that would have compelled Israel to relax its grip, to acknowledge that Hamas was a prospective neighbor, even the prospective leadership of the Palestinian government.

    And, that returning to shelling civilians when they had a choice (beyond their external discipline of their word to Egypt and the Arab League), was the ONE ACTION that convinced Israel and sober states (European and Arab) that Hamas was essentially untrustworthy.

    What definitions of corrupt to you wish to test them against?

    1. They don’t lie. (Fail)
    2. They don’t set up their political opponents in PR ambushes, a form of deceit (false) 3. They don’t strategize to embellish their own stature opportunistically (false) 4. They allow free discussion of ideas and loyalties (false) 5. They facilitate free election (false) 6. They make their decisions on the basis of reason rather than emotion (false) 7. They don’t use torture as a means of “information” (false) 8. They don’t take money or weaponry from external sources, in exchange for compromise of their politics (false)

    The only criteria that I can see that they describe themselves as uncorrupted, is that they don’t take money from infidel.

    What other criteria do you want to expose their process to? To ACTUALLY review.

    1. To describe Hamas as “incrorruptible” is to have an “after-the-fact” definition of what corruption means

      This is a meaningless phrase. I have no idea what “after the fact” means. Hamas is not corrupt. Fatah is. It’s that simple. Hamas’ hands are not in the till. It’s officials do not embezzle public monies. Fatah does all those things are more. If you have any proof whatsoever of Hamas corruption pls. provide it. Otherwise, lay off this argument as you’re completely unconvincing.

      Hamas maintains a growing theocratic suppressive proto-state in Gaza. If you dissent there in word or action, you risk murder and torture

      Actually, you’ve never been to Gaza and present no evidence that this is true. But even if any of what you say is true (& I don’t concede yr characterization at all), you’ve conveniently (& consistent to yr past practice to ignore inconvenient truths that would contradict yr argument) forgotten that Fatah was on the scene LONG BEFORE Hamas & that it was Fatah which first perfected all the things you claim to detest about Hamas. If any underlings behave in the noxious way you claim, they learned this from Fatah which perfected the procedures on dissenting Hamas operatives. Torture? Check. Imprisonment w/o trial? Check. Payoffs? Check. Willingness to organize a putsch against its enemies? Check. All Fatah practices used on Hamas.

      In fact, foreigners and Palestinians who, unlike you, have visited &/or lived in Gaza say that Hamas brought order and safety to a chaotic, violent wild west environment in Gaza. That’s an achievement. I wonder why you refuse to acknowledge this? I wonder how you claim to be so familiar w. the situation there on the ground that you know the precise opposite is what is actually happening on the ground? Would you care to quote authorities who have lived or visited Gaza since 2007 who confirm your claims. And pls. don’t use any suspect slanted pro-Israel media sources like CAMERA, MEMRI, etc.

      The resumption of shelling of civilians was not a necessity

      Do pls give us one credible alternative Hamas could’ve adopted to get Israel to end the ceasefire. And don’t give us the Israeli/Bush line they could’ve recognized Israel & ended armed resistance. If you do give us that line my retort is that mutual recognition & mutual cessation of violence is the only way to engineer such a outcome. Since Israel has refused this option, it is illegitimate to raise this as something Hamas should do unilaterally. Since you’re claiming that from Hamas’ pt of view violence wasn’t necessary to achieve its aims, tell us what it could have done differently.

      Hamas continuing the cease-fire would have been the ONE ACTION that would have compelled Israel to relax its grip

      You’re confusing a guess with reality. The reality is that Israel showed ABSOLUTELY NO INTEREST in ending the siege. And you have ABSOLUTELY NO proof that Israel would’ve done so even if Hamas had donned blue & white & sung HaTikvah on top of Masada. Richard, you may convince yrself of these wild beliefs you have, but the rest of us require a bit more proof than that.

      returning to shelling civilians when they had a choice (beyond their external discipline of their word to Egypt and the Arab League), was the ONE ACTION that convinced Israel and sober states (European and Arab) that Hamas was essentially untrustworthy

      Actually, you’re quite wrong there. Israel’s merciless attack on Gaza is the one action that convinced the world that IT was essentially a lying brute guilty of war crimes. In fact Nicholas Sarkozy has said that if Hamas creates a unity government with Fatah that FRANCE will deal with it. Seems to me the Europeans are far less uniform in their judgment of Hamas than you are making out.

      And the truth is that this war has brought the day closer when the world WILL deal with Hamas. I’m not justifying either Hamas rockets or Israeli brutality. But unless Hamas had dramatized its predicament & grabbed the world’s attention, the siege could’ve gone on for years longer. As it is, I predict it will end within a year perhaps much sooner.

      1. They don’t lie. (Fail)

      My goodness, Hamas lies. How horrible. If that means they are corrupt then so is Israel, the U.S. and every other government in the world. If you’d care to run through Israel’s lies during this war alone we’d need a tome to cover them all.

      5. They facilitate free election (false)

      Whatever are you talking about? They ran in an election & won. They would’ve run in another election this year if Israel, the U.S. & Fatah hadn’t conspired to usurp the democratic will of the Palestinian people in an attempted coup which is documented in many media stories. Where do you get off making the ludicrous claim that Hamas doesn’t facilitate free elections??? Who has remained as president of the rump PA despite the fact that his term has eneded. Has Abbas made any effort to facilitate a free election to determine who should be the democratically elected president? No, of course not.

      6. They make their decisions on the basis of reason rather than emotion (false)

      Richard, I’m starting to feel embarrassed for you. You’re running a dying nag in this horse race. HAMAS makes its decision based on emotion??? And Israel does not? In fact, I could easily argue that Israel’s policies are far more driven by emotion than by reason since they never get them what they claim they want & they keep beating their heads against the wall till they are bloody. Actually, the way Hamas fought this war was quite reasonable. It melted back into the air rather than face Israel and be slaughtered. That was quite a good tactic I thought. They let Israel hammer Gaza’s civilians & look like a brutal monster.

      8. They don’t take money or weaponry from external sources, in exchange for compromise of their politics (false)

      I’ll make a deal with you, Richard. Since you may have Israel’s ear more than I–if you can get them to renounce the money & weaponry they receive from “outside sources” then I’ll do my best to convey to Hamas that it should do the same. Seems to me if we had a level playing field and they all used .22 rifles and slingshots to kill ea. other that there would be a lot less dead. So what do you say? Are you game?

  21. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1058514.html

    Hamas: No reconciliation with Fatah until it ends Israel peace talks
    By News Agencies
    Tags: hamas, israel news, IDF, gaza

    A senior Hamas official on Sunday said that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah movement must end peace negotiations with Israel before any reconciliation talks can take place.

    The remarks by Osama Hamdan were bound to complicate Arab efforts to reconcile Hamas, which controls Gaza, and the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

    1. Richard W.: Pls. tell us what benefit Fatah is gaining fr. these alleged talks bet. Israel & Abbas. If I were Hamas that’s what I’d say too. Abbas is a stooge with absolutely no credibility w. Palestinians. He gets NOTHING fr. these pleasant chats. He comes back empty handed. Do pls. tell us anything useful that Abbas has returned to Palestinian to show his people that resulted fr. these talks.

  22. Richard,
    My comments were about Hamas, not about a comparison between Israel and Hamas.

    You confuse my comments with “Hasbara”. They are my own entirely. I read widely including dissenting material, and retain a mutual sympathy.

    I REFUSE to adopt the blinders that the “opponent of my opponent is my friend.”

    You spoke of Hamas being corruptible, and I ran my list of factors that I consider to be elements of corruptibility.

    They include:

    1. Deception
    2. Political opportunism
    3. Suppression of free press and speech
    4. Suppression of freedom of association (Fatah members jailed or killed)
    5. Suppression of free elections (In Gaza it is illegal to be a member of Fatah or other moderate parties. Please don’t call that free elections or political process)
    6. Heightened emotion rather than reason
    7. Use of torture
    8. Acceptance of money from foreign sources (Iran) that influences their political decision-making

    These are real. You can be critical of Israel, AND critical of Fatah.

    You should also be critical of Hamas, whether you feel sympathy for their plight or not.

    There MUST be a better option than what they present.

    1. Richard W.: You know what “corruption” means. Yet you deliberately chose to broaden yr conception of corruption to include all sorts of issues not normally considered under the rubric of “corruption.” Hamas is not corrupt under the terms most people use for that term. Period.

      I’m not interested in getting into a pissing match with you about how bad Hamas is. There’s no other ballgame in town buddy. In spite of what you’d like us to believe, they’re not axe murderers & certainly not compared to the havoc wrought by the IDF. If retired IDF generals and Shin Bet directors can call Hamas pragmatic & a movement with which Israel could negotiate a politlcal deal, then I’m afraid you’re not going to trump their credibility no matter how many articles you can quote bad mouthing Hamas.

      You simply cannot talk about Hamas in a vacuum as you attempt to do. Any denunciation of Hamas has to take into account what Hamas is fighting against both within Palestinian society & with Israel and the U.S. I’m simply not prepared to view Hamas in isolation as you are. Political morality is not absolute and never in a vacuum.

      I am critical of Hamas. You should do some research here before you assume otherwise.

      Hamas is FAR WORSE than Fatah, not least because Fatah simply is discredited AMONG PALESTINIANS. Fatah is a losing hand. I’d recommend you not play it.

      There MUST be a better option than what they present.

      Once again with the wishful thinking. Stop trying to impose your own wishes on the Palestinians. You know what the options are. There is no other MLK or Ghandhi waiting in the wings.

      1. Richard,
        You are reading what others say about me, rather than what I say.

        Truth is NOT singular. Hamas is neither all good, nor all bad. Similarly for Israel.

        Its an oversimplification.

        Your statement “Hamas is incorruptible” is in fact unknowable by you for data, and for meaning.

        “I am critical of Hamas. You should do some research here before you assume otherwise.”

        If so, then you could/should respond with “I agree with you about this, and disagree about this” rather than you reactive condemnation of the whole.

        As I stated in earlier posts, BOTH Israel and Hamas “feel” cornered, and that motivates their policies and actions.

        And, that they corner each other (with external “help”).

        If peace is a goal of yours, which I hope, then inquiry into proposal, suggestion, is THE question.

        Joining the cadre strikes me as an abdication of my liberty and conscience, much more than skeptical criticism towards finding what is possible.

  23. If the claim that the two-state solution is now impossible for the extent and location of the settlers in the West Bank, what do you suggest?

    It is THE $100,000,000 question.

    Are you up for that practical effort?

  24. Richard Witty, what is your problem? Reading too much nonsense from Israel.

    Here is a tip mate. The land is Palestine and always was and will be for the simple reason that the UN partition was illegal.

    And Israel started ethnically cleansing Palestine before they “declared” themselves a state based only on the borders offered in that illegal vote.

    Richard S might disagree that it was illegal but I suspect that has never been another vote in the GA that disallows the owners of land from having a vote on the carve up of that land and had all their rights illegally extinguished at the same time.

    The CIA reports that the median age of all Gazans is 17.2 years.

    Got that Richard W? Israel is waging it’s massacres on a tiny place they do not own but have total responsibility for as they are illegal occupiers.

    That means by law israel has to protect all the civilians, not massacre them and in the words of Colin Powell about Iraq – if you break it you have to fix it.

  25. Marilyn,
    I saw a presentation by Norman Finkelstein last night, of a speech from Thursday at U of Edmonton.

    He acknowledged that Israel was legitimate, on the basis of its authorization and long-term member status in the UN. It is sovereign, and deserves to be.

    Better to move on from acceptance of the other, rather than interject verbal warring into the mix.

    I am a skeptic about pro-Israel statements AND about anti-Israel statements. There are elements of truth, and falsehood, in each.

    The term Tikun Olam, that Richard adopts as his slogan (or brand), has a very high standard and wonderful implication. It is both personal and political (more holistic than what is known as political). “Make the world a better place”.

  26. Gee Richard, the UN illegally gave Palestinian land to a bunch of jews from Europe and then when those jews had ethnically cleansed the place the UN said “oh yes” Israel is a state.

    Spare me the mindless nonsense. It was a mistake they acknowledged a year later and it is still a mistake today and it always will be while Israeli’s or what ever you want to call them occupy land they have no claim on or right to.

    Same in Australia where we are being slowly but surely forced to give millions of acres of land back to the aborigines, in Canda where they have had to give vast areas back to the Inuit, in the US where indians now have large chunks of their land, in New Zealand with the Maoris.

    That is the trend not the horror that Israel or what ever you call the place, (I say Palestine) keep stealing more and more and the settlers declare they will fight to the bitter end if anyone dares to threaten them or try and kick them off the land.

    The lies and spin and bullshit they spread around is worse even than that spun here in Australia where it is spread around like loathsome excrement covered in sugar as we pretend aborigines have no rights.

    I know that Israel or whatever will not make peace until they get all the land thanks to some delusion about a discredited old book.

    This is the 21st century, colonisation is dead. Except with these whack jobs.

  27. Marilyn,
    If you have a long-view, a really long view, there is some significance to the Australian aboriginal discussion.

    Over the long-term, there are only very places that any community can say “we were always there”. Aboriginal Australia is one such place. The only other place where that is true is in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Everyone else migrated from other places following the advance and then retreat of the last ice age (which will repeat). Those migrations involved MANY territorial fights.

    There probably were some peoples that found a corner that noone else wanted, fought for, annihilated for, but they are the minority.

    Palestine/Israel was NOT one of those corners. The people that reside in the region migrated there, dispossessed others, inter-married, settled, fought with others that migrated there and imposed new codes and ways, and so on and so on.

    “National” claims are by definition then, recent. Jews claim on the basis of book and historical residence are recent. Palestinians as Palestinians (some likely legally Jews by Jewish matrilineal descent) are recent.

    Jews as a people have been dispossessed of a land base for a very very long time. Compelled to be only assimilated, or a minority.

    Zionism was the establishment of that land base (a home) for the first time in 1900 years, and following a brutal century (that makes Palestinians experience real but relatively insignficant as far as the competition for the biggest victim goes).

    As the establishment of a home, it was a good.

    If accepted there, then ideas of community home rather than national home, could have been relevant, and no significant dispossession would have been necessary, dispossession by Jews, or of Jews.

    But, flavors of Zionism that were exclusive and expansionistic “danced” with flavors of exclusive Palestinian nationalism into a status of warring.

    They didn’t get to live and let live, neither of them.

    The skill of good law, good governance, is to structure the accommodation of MUTUAL human need, while limiting human greed.

    Its worth effort to make change (as despairing as that seems), not wholesale condemnation.

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