50 thoughts on “IDF Soldiers Admit ‘Shoot to Kill’ Orders Against Gaza Civilians – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Richard–thanks for the translation.

    does anyone know the politics of this yeshiva? it’s named after Rabin, doesn’t sound like a settler school

    1. If you look at this Haaretz piece also by Amos Harel, which accompanies his story of actual testimonies, you’ll see that the machon director, Danny Zamir, was actually a company commander in the 1990s who was imprisoned because he refused to guard a settler religious ceremony at Joseph’s Tomb. So if this is any indication, the machon is pretty dovish.

    2. This is not a Yeshiva. It is a pre-military academy and it is run under the secular head Danny Zamir, who’s also leftist in his views.

  2. Mohammed, the prophet of Islam, once said, “Support your brethren even if they are doing wrong”.
    One disciple asked, “O Mohammed, I can understand supporting my brother when he is right, but how can you support him when he is wrong?”
    Prophet Mohammed replied, “Stop him from doing wrong, that is how you help him”

    I am sure there is such a command in Judaism too.
    Richard, people like you are doing God’s work in helping to expose the dark side of what should be a great country for all; our job is to try and stop the defending of wrongs.

    1. Thank you for this post. I know a Palestinian Christian man who often says this. Given the conditions he was born in, he set out his turn at school and worked to allow his siblings to be educated. He often swears this saying comes from Christian tradition. I told him it was not in our tradition and he must have learned it elsewhere.

      It is very enlightening. Thank you for the post.

  3. Many thanks for the translation of the extra bits in Hebrew that add to the Haaretz English story I read this morning.

    In 1999, I met an Israeli ex-soldier on an overnight ferry from Cebu to Palawan, in the Philippines. He told me of being told to blow up an activist in South Lebanon. But his brother and family turned up instead. So he was told to blow them up, anyway.

    Later, he was a sniper in Hebron, and a small boy crossed an open square during curfew, carrying a bag. He was ordered to shoot him, and he protested, but was ordered again to shoot him, which he did.

    The boy was carrying a bag of oranges, for his grandmother.

    My acquaintance was assigned, the next day, to be a sniper guard over the boy’s funeral, to ‘give him backbone’.

    He was a toughie, this guy, but he wept on my shoulder as he described looking through his sniper-scope into the face of the boy’s mother.

    1. This is so heartbreaking. Unfortunately, I’ve read too many such stories. They’re not accidents. And the stories from Gaza point to an army & society degraded and debilitated by the evil that is the Occupation.

      I’m assuming that the man agreed to the order to blow up the activist’s brother and family even though the activist wasn’t among them?

  4. wow. thanks for that.

    A few years ago i saw a shministim t-shirt that said:”if you don’t shoot, you don’t cry.”

    1. For full effect remember that “crying and shooting” is an Israeli expression describing those who agonise over what they’ve done, but then carry on doing it anyway.

  5. Your language skills (and your perceptive analysis, of course) are a treasure for your readers, Richard. Thank you for the report.

  6. Thanks to the Internet, and to people such as yourself who help make the truth known, Israel’s stranglehold on US public opinion is finally beginning to loosen up a little.
    Keep up the good work—

  7. Thank you for the translation, I agree with Jafar, you are doing God’s work.

    Richard thank you for sharing the story about the Israeli soldier. It made me so sad that he went ahead and blew up those people, and shot the boy with the oranges. He could’ve refused, but failed to be human. He cries now for his crimes, yet I’m unable to sympathize with his tears.

    1. see? the difference that lets you all be so critical of Israel and uncritical over the Palestinians is that Israelis are remorseful and critical over themselves. Without justification to any of Israel’s unjust and evil actions, one cannot deny that the Israelis as well as the Palestinians have been in a bloody reality that could only partly be attributed to each of them. If you got to the high resolutions of any war, such as in the case of Israel, you would find horror stories like this.

  8. I am not shocked or dismayed….I have been saying this to my family and friends for years. That would make about a hundred new believers and then some. Let’s see how long this story stays in the publics eye.

    Thanks, Richard

  9. “The stories from Gaza point to an army & society degraded and debilitated by the evil that is the Occupation.”

    ~If the polls stating 85% supported the most recent massacre in Gaza – are to be believed – and…
    ~Given the institution of racialism and genocidalism in the person of Lieberman,
    among other indicators,
    the roots of the perversion and pathology of Israel have to be sought for way beyond the Occupation.

    perhaps in the right-wing Nationalism and racism of Zionism, perhaps in the psychology of victimization.

    There was a letter in a recent Tikkun from a guy in Santa Monica Ca who says, “100,000 Palestinian lives are not worth one Jewish life.”
    This is a belief of many Jews who support Israel, they just don’t often say it aloud. But this sick belief is implicit in statements that try to balance both sides in the conflict.

    This statement is emblematic of the sickness engulfing Israel and its supporters, and happily, the rest of the world is finally starting to shun Israel.

  10. Ellen, I cannot agree more with your sentiments. But if you think that you can just blindly embrace the opposite side and that that would be absolutely justifiable, then you are wrong. Such a view would simply fuel the cycle of hatred and violence.

  11. Thanks for translating what was hidden, Richard. I think translation is an important activist task and yesterday I translated the important Meshaal interview.. so people can’t put words in his mouth!
    but they will anyway.

    I’ve also posted this, about the delightfully sadistic t-shirts the troops wear for male (and probably) female bonding.

    what sickness goes on, in what can truly be called the banality of evil.

  12. Thank you for giving us the information. Israel so often says
    They (the Palestinians) want to destroy us. Reading this, it would seem that the Israeli state and army need no help in this regard. Truly the story of the Golem is becoming reality.

  13. Richard, you may be pleased to know that your efforts are bearing fruit. I have sent your article to the translations collective I’m part of, and one of our Palestinian members has circulated it to his vast mailing list, one of our Spanish-speaking members is now translating it into Spanish, and other languages may follow.

    I just wonder what the Israeli public really thinks about these “revelations”. How could they ever be surprised. This kind of criminal hatred of Palestinians has been the IDF lietmotif always, and blinded to the reality of what Israelis did in Lebanon and Gaza, now they are probably in a state of denial about this too… as if it’s normal to do to Gazans what Israel has done and is still doing.

    1. I’m very pleased to hear that my translation is being widely disseminated. The information in the story really deserves to be known & I thank you for that.

      Yes, Israelis are in a state of denial as the soldier in the story I posted tonight about racist IDF t shirt slogans reveals. They don’t even know Palestinians for Pete’s sake!

  14. Read the comments left by Witty/SoG/Suzanne/Chris Berel/Eurosabra/pretty much all other Zionists on Phil’s blog and this one as well.

    Ranging from subtle apologetics and denial to outright fanaticism.

    It’s in the vein of posts left on YNet/JPost/Haaretz commentary sections.

    This behavior is the norm amongst Israeli society. Not surprising. It’s no different from other highly militaristic nationalist societies. Fascist Germany is the best example.

    And personally, I don’t think anything will happen differently.

    I mean, the common claim that Zionists use against Hamas or Hezbollah (like the Richard Wittys or other trolls) or ANYONE who resists Israeli tyranny is that those resistance groups use human shields.

    They regurgitate superficial truths. No context. No compelling arguments. Just dogma that you see on television. It’s all a rhetorical game. Because if you present a counter-argument you can easily be pigeon-holed as a Nazi or Holocaust denier or antisemite or terrorist sympathizer.

    These people are not morally serious. They are radical nationalists and will do and say anything to whitewash their State’s crimes or demonize the opposition.

    So, by playing into their exchanges you are legitimizing THEIR dishonest narrative.

    You want real change? Then I suppose BDS is the best way to do so. Protest/boycott/etc. Don’t let up the pressure and make sure the facts are in their face. They don’t want peace. Why? They have the power and support of the world’s most powerful country and an equally tyrannical entity.

    Did we try to make ‘peace’ with the racist White South Africans? Or did we confront them?

    There is a difference.

    People like to equate this conflict. Like saying DISHONEST blubbery like “both sides have lost innocents” or “both sides have suffered.”

    REALLY SHERLOCK? But that’s not the point IS IT? It’s about DEGREE. One side is losing A LOT MORE. One side is GAINING A LOT MORE. One side HAS VIRTUALLY NO SUPPORT AND DEFINITELY NO RELEVANT SUPPORT. One side has ALL the support that matters.

    Making “peace” with the Zionists is like an American Indian signing a treaty with the Euro-American colonists.

    I think Malcom X once said something like this… and I’ll rephrase and update it:

    The Zionists plunge a dagger in your back, take it out half-way – and call that progress.

    That’s the spirit of their rhetoric and their point of view.

    Just think for a second. All this conflict over 20% of Historic Palestine.

    Even the support of the so-called Left-Liberal Jews who are saying farewell to Israel (yea, right) must be taken with a grain of salt.

    1. There is no justification whatsoever for the operation in Gaza, or to any life lost there. Have you however thought what would have happened if the situation was opposite? Have you thought of what Israelis (and stop using this “Zionist” tactics… there is a state and it is Israel and it is its actions for good and for bad… not some evil gang clumped together under some archaic notion) really feel under the eternal threat of nonrecognition of their statehood? As I said over and over again elsewhere, I am an atheist, anti-nationalist… I think there should be a confedration of the two nations here on this land… only as an instrument to achieve a full scale liberal democracy, inclusive of all. Many Israelis think like me.. However, in order for you guys to push to achieve the same and not to be completely soaked with racism of just the opposit subject, your dicourse should aim to deconstruct the victim-victimizer dichotomy and not simply flip it around

  15. I heard stories like these going back to the Sinai war of 1956. A friend of mine told me he was ordered to shoot a child, his commander saying : if you don’t shoot him now, he will shoot you later.
    At the time, I could hardly believe him, but with the new history of the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, I do now.
    That friend joined the yordim.
    In 1958, I personally heard an ex soldier boasting about the Palestinian women he had raped during Suez ; and he laughed “did they shout !”

    1. you would hear stories like this from any soldier, despite his national affiliation.. It is just that Israel is a society that exposes these stories on its own… can you imagine that there are some good things about this society?

      Is this some sort of an thought exchange program regarding war horror stories??

      1. Probably most of us here realize this, Ronit. But in the US, at least, Israel is treated with kid gloves by most politicians and much of the press. There’s no manufactured controversy about whether Arab groups commit atrocities or in some cases utter vicious anti-semitic remarks, but when Israelis do such things the facts themselves become matters of debate. For instance, when Israel bombs civilians, whether in Lebanon or in Gaza, American politicians always claim that it was because the Arab side (Hezbollah or Hamas) used civilians as human shields. Israelis are never held responsible for their own atrocities. What we need is the kind of fairminded balance you find in, say, Human Rights Watch reports or those of B’Tselem, where each side is held responsible for its own crimes.

        1. True. But these days the discourse here and elsewhere is just flipping around instead of becoming objective. Please keep in mind that you have the opportunity to criticise Israel because we let you know the facts about ourselves. B’Tselem is an Israeli organization and Ha’Aretz is a dominant Israeli newspaper. You would not readily get this kind of information, not even in liberal democracies, let alone Arab states or Hamas. BTW without using the concept “human Shields”, do you agree that Hamas has their bases in civilian areas? Or is this a fabricated fact? Of course, Gaza is a very populated area so anywhere would have civilians in it at least theoretically.

          Israel should have not entered Gaza. Stratigically and tactically this was wrong. But also, it was doomed to have moral implications. But if the only answer to the offenssive missle attack on Israel was to be military than of course it would have impact on civilians. Simple logic.

          Therefore the only viable position to hold in favour of this is not criticise Israeli soldiers for their wrong doings, because that they would do on their own and that is inevitable in a war like that. It would be viable to embrace a political solution and put pressure on both sides (yes both!!!!!!!!) to sit down recognize each other and find solutions!

          1. I don’t know where Hamas has its bases, but it probably would be hard not to have them in populated areas in Gaza. For that matter, every country probably has some legitimate military targets in areas where there are civilians. But anyway, the case for believing there were Israeli war crimes does not depend on thinking that Hamas was always free from responsibility when civilians died.

            I agree that both sides probably need pressure, but what has been happening has been pressure exerted on the Palestinians and none on Israel (except for rhetorical denunciations by various countries, many who are in no moral position to be denouncing anyone).

            As for B’Tselem and Ha’aretz, I agree that their existence is a credit to Israeli political culture. But right now it appears that the vast majority of Israeli citizens supported the Gaza War, so there’s obviously something wrong there as well. Though it’s not like I think Americans would be any better, in that situation. Basically I think people in all countries are more alike than different, and we all tend to be narcissistic and focus on, say, the atrocities and violence directed against us and not on the actions that we took that might have something to do with those atrocities.

          2. You would not readily get this kind of information, not even in liberal democracies

            Then you have little experience living in liberal democracies. I’ve lived in Israel, Ireland and the U.S. There are human rights groups in every liberal democracy who see it as their jobs to tell the Emperor he has no clothes. Israel, in that sense, is doing no better than other liberal democracies (though calling Israel such is really stretching the meaning of the term since it is really an ethnocracy).

            do you agree that Hamas has their bases in civilian areas?

            What does that have to do w. anything? Hamas has its bases wherever it’s convenient for it to do so. I don’t know where it has its bases nor do you I presume. But if they are in civilian areas it is because there are few other areas where it can house them.

            the only viable position to hold in favour of this is not criticise Israeli soldiers for their wrong doings, because that they would do on their own

            No, the only viable position is to hold Israel itself and its army accountable for its actions in Gaza. Neither Israel nor the IDF has shown itself capable of criticizing its own crimes there, contrary to what you claim.

            Hamas has said time & time again that once Israel is ready to relinquish post 67 territory it will live in peace with it. The onus is not so much on Hamas, but rather on you Israelis to decide when you’re ready to withdraw to 67 boundaries & recognize a Palestinian state (possibly governed by Hamas if Palestinians should choose in democratic elections).

  16. Israelis were generally for the war not because they are narcissistic but because they truly feel threatened and that military power is the only defence they may have. Israelis however, are generally for peace and for a two state solution, but they firstly psychologically need to be recognized in order to be able to sit and talk…. and I should also say that many Israelis (including myself) have been against this war.

    1. military power is the only defence they may have

      That is what Israelis BELIEVE. But that is not the case. Military power is neither a defense nor a solution. It simply doesn’t work. The rockets are relatively silent not so much because of the IDF, but because Hamas believes it is in its interests for them to be silent. When it isn’t they will return. So the IDF did essentially nothing to guarantee Israeli security during the last war.

      Israel doesn’t recognize Hamas nor a Palestinian state. So Israel will be recognized when it is prepared to recognize its enemy. Not before.

    2. As I said before, I think many or most people tend to be narcissistic when it comes to atrocities. After 9/11 for some months even some liberals and lefties seemed totally unwilling to listen to any criticism of US foreign policy or any hint that it might have had something to do with why there’s hatred of the US in other countries and they reacted venomously to anyone who said it might and would accuse such a person of saying that the victims deserved it. It’s normal, unfortunately, for people to be somewhat oblivious to the bad things we might be doing to others. I’ve never been to Israel, but from all I’ve ever read many Israelis sound like Americans in their attitudes. They are horrified by the rockets, but not by the blockade imposed on Gaza or Israel’s violence. If it makes you more willing to accept this, I think it’s true of Palestinians as well. I once heard a Palestinian woman at an Amnesty International meeting speak about Israeli brutalities to her people for an hour or so. Then someone in the audience asked in an agitated manner “What about PLO atrocities?” (This was 20 years ago). She said “Oh, nobody wants to listen to those old stories again.”

      As for recognition, I don’t think you should expect Palestinians to “recognize” Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state–they’re not going to endorse their own expulsion. What you can hope for is that they will resign themselves to it and settle for boundaries very close to the 67 borders, with mutually agreed upon changes.

      1. I agree with your comment above.. Just would like to point out (matbe unnecessarily, that things are much more complex than that. I will post later my personal experience of expulsion. Look it up later in the comments.

  17. I don’t know of anyone who is not for peace, the promlems arise when to parties compare their visions for what “peace” means. I do not believe successive governments in israel ever really wanted peace because, to have peace, Israel would have to back away from some territories…in 1949, in 1967 and in 1973.. Then again, why settle for peace when there is an endless supply of weapons and blank checks?
    Today, I don’t think there is any room for a two-state solution, the three faiths are far too deeply inter-twined for a real seperation and any seperation based on an unjust treaty will only delay violence for a short time.
    One possiblity is if Jews kill off every Arab in the land or, vice-versa…but this too is not feasible…we Hope!
    The only other possibility for a lasting peace between the Arabs (Christians and Muslim) and the Jews, is a ONE -STATE solution where people can live equitably and together in peace…the harmony and brotherhood is sure to begin the moment such a solution is effected.
    Don’t get bogged down in the rhetoric the “Hamas is committed to destroying Israel” because similar rhetoric is also to be heard about Israel from Arabs. These are fleeting political posturings that disappear as soon as the political climate changes, I know, because I have exeperienced just such hate and intractible positions that vanish as soon as the political leadership abandons them.
    The “Psychological recognition” will become apparant as soon as Arabs sit across the table of peace and friendship with Jews, but if preconditions are demanded or, ifmeetings are held to arrive at pre-determined goals, then there isn’t going to be any peace.
    Forget about false and misguided “treaties” like Oslo I & II, or any others. Clean the table of all rubbish and start with agreement as a goal.
    It is far easier than many would believe.

    1. Jafar, Here’s my logic. In general I think that a one state solution is the ultimate goal. However, I don’t think that any side is ready for it yet. So there:
      The 40 points logic of “why co-existence?”

      This has been written as a summary of my response to hundreds and thousands of posts in multi-participant conversations about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict taking place on Face Book among Arabs, Israelis and other nationals, from all over the political spectrum:

      1. “Zionism” is nothing but a national movement of the Jewish people seeking self determination in what is perceived by them as the historical land of the people of Israel.

      2. “Zionism” is not a regime.

      3. The regime in Israel is a democratic state, whose original justification had been drawn by the nationalist rationale born at the wake of the empires and by which most other states in this region (and others) have been created.

      4. The same rationale goes for the Palestinian state, which was originally sought at the same time as Israel by the UN, constructing another political entity besides Israel in the region, establishing the right of the other inhabitants of this area who would have been left otherwise stateless.

      5. The nationalist rationale is: A perceived “homogeneous” community that claims the right of self determination and that can also “prove” a claim for a land should get sovereignty over that land. As such, many communities have been “imagined” as homogenous essential entities and hence, reinstated and re-established or just “invented” at that time and that’s acceptable according to this rationale, which is innately blind to the real historical and cultural circumstances of those entities.

      6. All national communities are “invented” as essential, eternal, and homogenous, as no national community is in fact essential, i.e. natural — although all of them would claim to be essential, i.e. natural.

      7. Therefore, all national movements, including the Zionist (Jewish) and the Palestinian movements, base their conceptions, attitudes and actions on perpetuating the imaginary communities for which they claim territory and sovereignty.

      8. All imaginary communities must invent and re-invent themselves constantly because their homogeneity – which is represented by their collective identity, is actually “fake”. They are in reality heterogeneous and diverse.

      9. They are also all codependents (“I am because you are”). Therefore, their justifications are always conditioned on the “other”.

      10. “Zionism” and “Palestinianism” are therefore both “legitimate” national movements because they follow this reigning nationalist rationale that entitles them to execute their nation-state aspirations in a particular territory.

      11. This rationale is vicious though because as mentioned, none of these communities are actually internally homogeneous and therefore they must create the unified collective identity by “oppressing” diversity. That’s why in Israel for example, you would still find heated debates over the question “Who’s a Jew”, which is intended on homogenizing the collective under the same “Jewish essence”. However, not only does the Jewish body politic contain in reality multiple identities and hues due to secularization, ethnic and racial diversity, paradoxically, many non-Jews actually belong already to the sought Jewish national collective by the proxy of their family and other ties for example.

      12. Of course despite the Palestinian romantic imagination of the exact congruence between their national identity and its territorial allocation, they would meet this exact problem as any other nation-state: Not only does the national identity need to be less and less substantive in order to be more inclusive, whole groups of people who live on the territory cannot be included in the collective national identity altogether.

      13. This is of course the biggest problem in any nation-state that defines itself by “essential” characteristics such as “Jewish”, “Arab”, “Muslim”, “Christian”, and “Japanese”. It is less of a problem in Liberal Democracies where the “nation” is basically an inclusive notion that is less substantive in character and therefore can contain all fellow citizens of that state (the US for instance)… and of course I don’t wish to get into the particular problems of this type of states.

      14. The above is a problem in Israel particularly since the Arab community, which is an integral and equal part of the citizen democratic body, is not formally and substantially participant in the “national” body which is innately “Jewish”. Thus the existence of such minorities in nation-states actually severs the state from the nation and undermines the very notion of the nation-state — the perceived congruence of the triangle nation-state-territory — by which it had been “invented” in the first place. Paradoxically then, instead of the sought homogeneity, multiplicity is actually the governing aspect of the “nation-state” and not of the “Liberal democracy”, where “featured difference” is kept in the private realm and not discussed in politics as is in a nation-state that must “imagine” its unified identity in order to justify itself.

      15. IF the “nation-state option” is to be perpetuated in the Middle East, besides their equal democratic and civil rights within Israel, the Arab citizens in Israel should have a national identity to which they relate and connect. That is, they should be recognized and instituted as a Palestinian and not as an Arab minority. Of course this could theoretically present irredentist Palestinian claims. However, I trust there won’t be a particular geographically “pure” area with Israel that may be subjected to a potential claim.

      16. Besides Israel, there should be of course also Palestine according to this option (the other option, which I think is much less plausible at this point in history, is to have a big territorial Liberal-Democracy or a federal state, composed of communities and regions that is not substantive in character insofar as its national body, and therefore inclusive of all citizens of the region).

      17. This option also calls for the organization of these two states, at some point into a confederation such as Switzerland or Canada, or a community, such as the EU. I am sure that that will eventually inevitably evolve in this area for the interest of all.

      18. Israel has committed many mistakes — most of which are merely unwise strategic ones but some of which have had deep moral and ethical implications.

      19. There are no justifications for this kind of behavior with state power but there are many explanations to it, including the cycle of violence that had been fueled by too many factors in this region, such as the constant threat over its existence.

      20. The Palestinians have been living under impossible conditions.

      21. Palestine had been “made up” amongst the rest, by extreme Pan-Arabist ideology as a tactic to create an Arab consistency and continuity in the ME, to which Israel has been a hindrance. Otherwise, its land would have been claimed back by the Arab countries from which it had been occupied in the first place.

      22. Palestine is nonetheless a fact of the matter here and among other justifications for its creation are the refugees who live in Gaza and some parts of the West bank under siege created by the circumstances for which Israel is partly responsible.

      23. Israel is a democratic state, which despite its nationalist original justification that as mentioned entails the creation of perceived homogeneity, is a diverse community of individuals, communities, and parties who influence the collective identity as well as express their opinions.

      24. Most Israelis – even the right political center — favor the ideas of the Palestinian state and peace.

      25. Most Israelis feel threatened by the Arabs and fear the idea of Pan-Arabism, which maintains that Israel should not exist.

      26. The idea that Israel should not exist (even if Jews would be still welcome in the region as subjects) is Euphemism covering the idea that Israelis should be conquered by force and thus it insinuates that Israelis would and should die instead of Arabs. Therefore, instead of deconstructing the “victim-victimizer” dichotomy, it reverses it, still keeping the violent and mutually exclusive notions of extreme nationalism, which is actually fascism.

      27. It is useless and self defeating to draw on historic and religious justifications to prove the essence of these two distinct nations and their alleged “taboos” on this land.

      28. Any such attempt on either side is doomed for failure because there are no agreed upon axioms in this kind of discourse, as justifications brought about are usually spiritual, particularistic and relativist and therefore conflicting.

      29. The only debate that should take place now is a realistic practical debate that attempts to divide the land and establish the two “existing” entities sided with each other.

      30. The only way anything can be achieved here is by a dialog.

      31. Peace is done between enemies. No party can “choose” the other’s representatives, and therefore, the dialog should be amongst all representative parties involved.

      32. Each party that comes to the table should firstly recognize the other’s right to exist.

      33. Tactically this is possible only by refraining from pseudo-historical “exclusive rights” justifications, which are futile in this dialog.

      34. …and this one is definitely out of the box: No military power is objectively justified. The notion of “terrorism” is many times used as Euphemism, justifying militaristic, “securitist” conceptions of justice through an essentialist dichotomy of “good and bad” just like the former East-West dichotomy etc., where in reality all violent acts which bear consequences on civilian populations are wrong and there are grades and levels of the consequences of violence and these grades and levels – not the false dichotomies between military and terrorism – are the scales of (non) justice. That is, state militarist actions are not necessarily more justified merely because they are taken by a state.

      35. By the same token, the so-called “resistance” on the Palestinian side is Euphemism for violence, despite its “freedom seeking” rhetoric. I think this is the key to the endless cycle and the aporia, which we face in these debates.

      36. In short, the only viable solution is verbal and political and not through force and there are many explanations for the use of force for the two sides —- but there are no justifications whatsoever for anyone using “death” as a method, and all military power and use of any explosives cause death and destruction.

      36. What the “non-recognizers” of Palestine and the “eliminators” of Israel are actually doing is simply dismantling the only hope to solve the conflict, by “killing” the buds of change and peace on the other side.

      37. Regardless of the original justifications and the source of legitimacy that each entity is drawing upon for its existence, the fact of the matter is they both exist and they should just learn to co-exist.

      39. If Israel’s policies and actions have been wrong and if Palestinian actions have been wrong — that doesn’t delegitimize the whole entity that they represent.

      40. Hopefully both entities would be democratic and inclusive and as such their legitimacy would be perpetuated by the very democratic idea – not by the constant attempt to particularize and protect their political body in order to justify its right to exist.

      1. I probably agree with most of that–I admit I haven’t spent a whole lot of time thinking about your 40 points.

        I’ll repeat though, what I said earlier–the reason you see people at blogs like this concentrating our attention on Israel’s sins, with less attention paid to the sins of Palestinians is not just that Israel’s sins seem greater to us (though they do) but also because in mainstream US political circles there is an overwhelming pro-Israel bias. It’s not like people are arguing about whether Israel should get 40 percent or 60 percent or 80 percent of the blame–it’s more like whether Israel should get 0 percent or maybe as much as 5 percent. Politicians and pundits are forever making excuses for Israel–they condemn unreservedly Palestinian terror and rocket fire, but Israel’s settlements (or rather, the increase in settlements) is at worst “not helpful” and when Israel bombs civilians it’s always the fault of Arabs. And when, because of the internet I suspect, the NYT is forced to pay attention to the stories in Ha’aretz about IDF atrocities, it’s undoubtedly going to be treated as some aberration, as some new development because Israel normally has such great concern for innocent human life. In short, Israel always has to be treated as having the moral high ground–they may do some “not helpful” things and individuals may be guilty of atrocities, but in the end, they are the good civilized Westerners and even Israel’s sins prove its virtues, because they are so anguished about it. (Though I value the existence of B’Tselem, too much can be made of this. There were many good-hearted European-Americans who took the side of the Native Americans in the 19th century, but it didn’t stop the ethnic cleansing and occasional acts of genocide.)

        If we had a press and a political culture in the US which treated the conflict with the kind of balance you see in Human Rights Watch or Amnesty International or B’Tselem, a blog like this would be unnecessary. We’re a long ways away from that and so you’re likely to see a lot of angry Americans at blogs like this pointing out Israel’s sins.

      2. I am sorely tempted to delete this comment as a gross violation of my comment rule insisting that comments be “on-topic.” Pls. keep in mind that the threads are NOT a place to discourse on your personal philosophy of Zionism or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Do that at yr own blog. If you don’t have one, consider geting one.

        Keep comments brief and on topic. As much as you think we all want to hear you expound on your full views on all these issues, trust me we don’t. Participate in the discussion. But don’t abuse the privilege.

        Comments are meant to specifically apply to the post on which you’re commenting. Don’t regale us with long discourses you’ve written before or posted elsewhere.

        Also, once you post more than three comments a day (many of them very long) & do it consistently you are also beginning to abuse your comment privileges.

  18. Richard, You are quite wrong about me having experience living in liberal democracies. I am an American citizen who has lived in the the US for 17 years, 8 of which under the auspises of a leftist university, in a political theory department. I still contend that Israel is doing a very good job in criticising itself, despite any adjectives you may add to its democratic regime.

    While it is the bon ton to call it an ethnocracy, it is still a democracy for all related purposes. A million Arabs do fully belong to the democratic body although they are banned from the particularist identity of the state. Ethnocracy would be a good be a good terms if there was a constitution in Israel which bans Arabs from the demos. Otherwise it is just a rethorical concept in relation to Israel. Don’t get me wrong. I do think that Israel should recognize the Arabs as Palestinians and that this identity problem should be treated by expanding Israel’s national idenitity and constituting a Palestinian state. But I also think that it is time to deconstruct concepts that are merely paralizing the “Tikun”, rather than inducing it.

    “Hamas has its bases wherever it’s convenient for it to do so. I don’t know where it has its bases nor do you I presume. But if they are in civilian areas it is because there are few other areas where it can house them.”

    I think this is a very weak assertion, since my argument was conditional. I asked if Gaza is a dense area than is it logical to think that the bases would be around civilians? Therefore I think it was wrong to go there in the first place and that looking for “legitimate targets” is not plausible. I am blaming the government, the policy and the culture of militarism, not the moralisty of the tactic chosen.

    “Hamas has said time & time again that once Israel is ready to relinquish post 67 territory it will live in peace with it.”

    Strange. I have not even heard or read a recognition of Hamas of the right of existence for the state of Israel…

    “(possibly governed by Hamas if Palestinians should choose in democratic elections)”

    I happen to agree with you on this in general. But just give me this, why is it that demoicracy is suddenly glorified when it comes to Hamas being elected and you are so hasty in claiming that Israel is not a democracy but an ethnocracy?? Will I have a chance to be included as an equal citizen in the Palestinian state???

    ” military power is the only defence they may have

    That is what Israelis BELIEVE. But that is not the case. Military power is neither a defense nor a solution.”

    I agree with you.. I was trying to reflect the general public feelings.

    “Israel doesn’t recognize Hamas nor a Palestinian state. So Israel will be recognized when it is prepared to recognize its enemy. Not before.”

    True. Israel doesn’t recognize Hamas. Nor does the international community. Israel however, does recognize a Palestinian state. Why BTW do you think that recognition has to come from Israel first? … and you had just claimed before that “Hamas has said time & time again that once Israel is ready to relinquish post 67 territory it will live in peace with it”.. So is there, or isn’t there a recognition from Hamas?????

    1. This is for you Richard, Donald and Jafar, just to express some of the further complexity of the matter.

      “Double-Robbery”–the ‘Nakba’ of the Arab-Jews

      Yesterday, I burst out into tears suddenly realizing that my lifelong quest for peace was really an endeavour to make peace for my father within himself. My parents, Mara, have suffered a double robbery, once by the Jewish state and once by the Arabs. Coming here to Israel they had to settle for a flat and shallow identity — “cheap” consciousness — afraid all their life to reveal the ‘fraud’, but embracing and cultivating it like an expensive jewel, because that’s the only identity they would ever have.

      On the other hand, they had left behind in Iraq intellectual, cultural, and real assets — a whole world — which was “confiscated” and appropriated by Iraq and the Arabs who expelled them from their country and culture, or dissolved and was gone forever after they left.

      This ‘Nakba’ that they suffered has never been told anywhere because it is wasn’t in the interest of either side. But I — one of its victims — have vouched now to erect it as my spear and shield fighting for the only goal I think is still viable in this place — co-existence.

      I am a repressed refugee, Mara, and as I could never restore my ‘justice’ as a collective because I would never be recognized a ‘collective’, I would use this ‘victim’ in me till the end of my life to ‘even out’ the imbalance, bringing about the only instrument of ‘justice’ I actually came to acknowledge… that ‘past’ — even if it is a past of a whole group — is first and foremost the past of the individuals who had experienced it…

      Only with this understanding and thus the treatment of injustice on the state-individual level, not through inter-state relationships, one can be pragmatic, achieving an essentially symmetrical springboard recognition for one another and acting in a world where the only choice of existence is co-existence, even within one’s self.

      Besos (-:,


  19. Ronit,

    I am sorry, I do not have the time or the capacity to wade through FORTY points, I also believe anything worth saying should be able to be said briefly and simply.
    I will address a few of the points you raised…

    So many people are hung up over the recognition of Israel by Hamas as a precondition to talks that I suspect it is a delay-tactic. Israel does NOT recognize a Palestinian state, it recognizes a “Palestinian Authority” which is not allowed the sovereignty of a full-state…I guess by those standards, Hamas DOES “recognize” Israel when it refers to it as an “entity”.

    Israel is the stronger party, Israel is the one that commands whether Arabs can breathe, how and when, Israel controls every single aspect of what Arabs are permitted to do and even whetyher they are permitted to live. From this position of super-strength, it has to be Israel that must stretch out the first hand of reconciliation and the first peace move…without preconditions on either side.

    As for the “confiscated” Jewish assets, I rather doubt if that occured in as many instances as one would like to imagine, in Arab lands (in Europe, yes). I recall a radio (NPR) sho just after the fall of Iraq in which the American reporter was describing an Muslim Arab family that continued to pay rent to the Jewish landlord even though the Jews had left Iraq for over ten years.

    There can be no “lifelong quest for peace” as long as the person leaves one land, to go and settle on another land and property that does not belong to them. The writer you quoted is indulging in self-delusion.

    I don’t really care what Zionism is, but it is unacceptable as long as the presence of Zionism requires the destruction of non-Jews in Israel.

    I have to agree with Richard that Israel is NOT a democracy, but a race-based (racist?) state. This is because Jews are widely regarded as a people and mot a multiplicty of people which is why Israel grants Jews special status, special choices in jobs, careers social benefits and just about everything else. Israeli Arabs are doomed because they are refused military service (for “security” reasons) and are not given non-military options that are available to many Orthodox Jews. Being a dual citizen of Israel, you must know that all benefits are tied to military service and that fact, cleanly severs Arabs from the cvhosen people (pardon the pun).

    If you have traveled through Israel, I am sure you have seen Arab villages in dilapidated state with little or no social infrastructure; no libraries, no good schools , no hospitals, terrible bus service…the lot. Simulataneously, almost across the street, Jewish settlements and townships have all modern benefits availbe to them.
    Israel also refuses to permit its own Arab citizens from returning to their villages while they live in “unrecognized habitations”, just a couple or four Km away…for “security” reasons, of course. Simulataneously, Jewish settlements have been allowed to grow all around the old Arab villages.

    Your question of whether you would be allowed to live as an equal citizen in a Palestinian state is purely rhetorical and academic since there is no way of rpoving it ahead of time or, without giving it a chance. Right now, the fact is that Arabs do not have to right or the privilege to live in Israel as equal citizens. In fact recently the Arab politicians lost their right to participate in elections even though the government admitted that it might get rejected by the supreme court…but, they allowed, it would not occur before the elections would be over.

    Hamas may not YET have had the chance to turn into demons as far as democracy is concerned (given the chance, most societies have this capability), but they do live well among Christians..in fact, one of the schools bombed by Israel was a Christian school and no, it did not have fighters “hiding among the children”.

    By the way, have you read up on the DIME bombs Israel has been using in this latest invasion of Gaza?
    Check out: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/tungsten-bombs-leave-israels-victims-with-mystery-wounds-1418910.html
    These bombs, along with Phosphor bombs and cluster bombs, while tragically, legal, should be banned and their use treated as a crime against humanity.

    Don’t get all hung up over insignificant details like pre-recognition while ignoring the goal; that of peace and coexistence.

  20. so simple to get rid of the argument that Arab Jews were expelled too. There were 900,000 Jews in Arab lands. There is almost none now. Fact.

    Another fact that isdistorted: Arabs can serve in the military or an equivalent, if they choose to.

    So what is your “simple” solution my friend? What is your three-word remedy?

    If you did have time to resd through my points, you would have understood that simplicity is not simply imposing the “victim-vctimizer” epistemology. That this dichotomy is just as harmful and that in order to get to a solution you have to deconstruct the common notions and not just flip them around!

    …. and nowhere did I say that Israel’s actions in Gaza were not atrocious…

  21. “no hospitals”, such rethoric is killing me.. Do you know how small the place is? Everybody uses the hospitals everywhere… and my very good friends are Arabs… what is tied to military service??? My son wasn’t in the military…

    Listen, I am not denying there shouldbe change… but to call Israel racist.. you are kidding me.. really… I should copy paste here conversations with Israeli Arabs, who brag to our Egyptian friends about the liberal place they live in…

    Come on! Really. There are many wrong things.. Stick to them.. no need to cover everything with empty rethorics to prove your point

  22. Until Israel recognizes the right of return of the evicted Palestinians or the payment of damages, it does not stand a chance. And don’t equate the cleansing of Palestinians with the departure (true under a feeling of fear) of Jewish Arabs from Morocco or Iraq. Without zionism they would not have felt like leaving.
    I also believe that the one state solution is the only solution with muslims and christians and jews sharing the land and the power. See Ali Abuminah.

  23. “And don’t equate the cleansing of Palestinians with the departure (true under a feeling of fear) of Jewish Arabs from Morocco or Iraq. Without zionism they would not have felt like leaving.”

    Do you know? Sticking “zionism” everywhere does not automatically justify your assertions…

  24. Ronit or anyone else who extolls Israel’s virtues and “Democratic” attitudes towards Arabs. I am not going to engage further on this blog for the time being because this topic is rather exhausted and we are beginning to catch the tails of our own arguments. I have one question for you all:

    Would Israel’s Jews like to live in a Palestinian state and be treated like Israeli Arabs (let alone Palestinians in OC) are being treated in Israel?

  25. Jafar, Democracy is not necessarily a remedy to all evils that may be inflicted on mankind. I do think that Arabs in Israel live under a democratic regime and that paradoxically their citizenship is even more “liberal” than mine (for good and for bad).

    However, they are miserable because their identity does not correlate with the state they are citizens of, nor do they have another fully existing national statehood they could identify with at the moment.

    Specifically to your question the answer would be “no”, not because I wouldn’t be able to fully practice my democratic rights, nor because I wouldn’t be individually “free”, but because my statehood would be filled with national contents that I would not relate to, and that would have caused me constant alienation.

    Therefore, the solution would be to either empy out the particular contents from the state altogether, or create a statehood with my own contents.

  26. This is old, obviously, but I just came back to it, and have the following comments, because all of this is still pertinent:

    Ronit –
    Because what one sees in the printed news is the good, or at the worst -usually- the marginally good is, I think, part of the reason that statements on-line sometimes grow heated. Such a relief comes from finding a forum within which to express one’s repugnance.

    There are many comments on line from military personnel past and present decrying the activity of the IDF and denying the legitimacy of such actions.

    There is a lot on-line by US military personnel, a fair amount of it critical. You ignore, also, the trials for actions by US personnel deemed criminal. Some of them end in no judgment against the personnel but criticism of the military is rife in court testimony.

    I consider your argument about Israel being unique in allowing criticism of its actions to be specious; in addition to invalid, as the criticism doesn’t seem to result in consequences, and won’t as long as the military controls State policy.

    Israel has been on the offensive since the 1920’s, pre-state, days. It’s such a false premise to posit that Israel is always responding to attack. False: fail.

    Do not criticize the state: Obey!

    The only viable position is to hold Israel itself and its army accountable for its actions in Gaza. RS

    Speak truth to power.

    It is understandable, Ronit, that the Israeli are fearful. Yet, that fear is something that the SA’s overcame.

    Israel has been recognized as a nation/state in the UN; they have a most-favored nation status with the US, they receive unholy amounts of money from the US in military aide. What more is wanted?

    I’ve seen little evidence of a desire for a two-state solution, at the highest level one sees it not in any but oblique terms. What there is comes from highly reputable sources, but they claim themselves to be a minority, and question their ability to receive representation within the Israeli Knesset.

    Israel does NOT recognize a Palestinian state, it recognizes a “Palestinian Authority” which is not allowed the sovereignty of a full-state…I guess by those standards, Hamas DOES “recognize” Israel when it refers to it as an “entity”. Jafar

    Israel doesn’t recognize Hamas nor a Palestinian state. So Israel will be recognized when it is prepared to recognize its enemy. Not before.

    As for recognition, I don’t think you should expect Palestinians to “recognize” Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state–they’re not going to endorse their own expulsion.

    “What you can hope for is that they will resign themselves to it and settle for boundaries very close to the 67 borders, with mutually agreed upon changes.” Oh, Donald, I don’t want that if it ends with non-contiguous and scarce land for the Palestinians. I guess I need to go check the ’67 boundaries.

    IMO the rights of all faiths should be recognized equally, especially in Jerusalem.

    Those who don’t support a one-state solution because of a belief that enmity is natural among those different also, many of them, seem to be those who stand to gain from the segregation of the two-state solution, IMNSHO. There is recent history of peaceful cooperation. The trope that it’s been war, war, war for more than sixty years is laid out by those who want war, almost universally the Israeli (suddenly I’m just as happy to leave the s off the plural possessive form of the word.)

    Ronit: about racism. Read this, then go read the comments on Haaretz. http://academic.udayton.edu/race/01race/race02.htm The prosecution rests.

  27. it is a pity that you do not translate the whole article and that the story is twisted a bit.
    gaza is a scary violante place.
    the strories are just a reflection of a cruel reality that only a peace aggremante can chagne.
    emphasising half of the story is not goone bring a solution.
    supporting common goasl mabey wiil
    all i see is hate,mabey if you are a turly peace lover try and foucs on both side evenly and positively

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