Israeli Press Office Recommends Gaza Fine Dining as Response to Human Rights Flotilla Breaking Gaza Blockade
The Israeli government press office and its director, Daniel Seaman, get the award for most tasteless hasbara of the week with their spoof press release touting the fine dining experiences available to the foreign press in Gaza. You’d have to see this to believe that anyone in their right mind would think this was humorous.
Apparently, the goal was two-fold, first to support Israel’s claim that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza (hence the fine dining experience); 2nd, ridicule the foreign press’ efforts to cover the non-existent humanitarian crisis and the international human rights flotilla making its way to Gaza to break the siege.
I’ve never heard of a government press office deliberately sticking its finger in the eye of the journalists it’s supposed to be serving. It’s an interesting, and purely Israeli, form of customer relations philosophy.
Someone might want to explain to Seaman that just because there is a single luxury resort in Gaza does not mean there is no humanitarian crisis for those who don’t have the means to pay for the luxuries available at this resort.
Seaman added fuel to the fire with this interview with the Israeli press freedom-democracy NGO Seventh Eye, in which he showed more of his rapier wit:
Q: Is this serious or a joke?
A: That’s because you must be a journalist and have no sense of humor.
Q: So it must be a joke.
A: No, the restaurant exists. Journalists know the place.
Q: Is this to say that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza?
A: You surely must be a young journalist and so haven’t completely lost your sense of humor.
Q: Can you imagine the possibility that there is on the one hand fine restaurants and on the other a broad cross-section of the population that does not receive the required minimum?
A: Are you speaking of Tel Aviv? New York? London? Paris? I don’t see anyone racing to cover those places. No one will tell you Gaza is a normal place. All the reporting from Gaza is based on the premise that there is a horrible crisis there. Gaza is not like Ethiopia 30 years ago [Seaman refers to the mass starvation there]. Gaza is like other places. When journalists ignore the fact that there is normal life in Gaza, they have a political goal and we’re pointing out the hypocrisy inherent in this. I’m simply alluding to those journalists who will go out this week and give voice to the joke that is this flotilla [the human rights flotilla sailing to break the Gaza blockade], and the hypocrisy of all those pro-Palestinian activists–or as they like to call themselves “peace and human rights activists”–we’re pointing out what they’re really saying.
Q: You don’t believe that a sarcastic approach will provoke an antagonistic reaction:
A: And when we dealt with the same issue in a businesslike and serious way it brought a better result? We’re trying something different for a change. There will be those who love it and those who don’t. That doesn’t bother me.
Those journalists who understand the situation got the joke and laughed. Those who are exploiting their status as international journalists to serve as megaphones for Palestinian propaganda were disgusted and angered. All of the actors played their roles and I made my point.
So, if Seaman is to be believed Gaza is not a ‘normal place,’ but it is ‘like other places.’ Makes sense to me.
And if he wants to make the point that there are world capitals beset with social problems and hunger just like Gaza, we’ll remind him that none of those places are under siege from an enemy power who is preventing food and provisions from entering.
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216 thoughts on “Israeli Press Office Recommends Gaza Fine Dining as Response to Human Rights Flotilla Breaking Gaza Blockade – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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“we’ll remind him that none of those places are under siege from an enemy power who is preventing food and provisions from entering.”
No, and none of those places are serving as a base for terrorist rockets raining down on the civilian population of another country either!
What terrorist rockets? Rockets haven’t “rained down” on Gaza for quite a long time. Are you sure you’re even in Israel?
And even there were, are you saying that rockets from a few militants justify a collective siege on the entire Gaza population? That’s a violation of international law in case you care (I know you don’t, but I thought I’d mention it just for the hell of it).
Dear Mr Silverstein, please explain to me on what you base the snide remark that you know I don’t care if Israel violates international law.
I suspect that for you, anyone who has a word to say in Israel’s favour is automatically branded an enemy/ fascist/ war criminal (take your pick).
Secondly – let’s examine that “few militants” claim, shall we?
First – as Hamas loves to remind us, they were ELECTED by the people of Gaza. So we can say, they have a mandate from the people of Gaza to act as they do.
Secondly, this “siege’ of which you speak is a very odd one, considering the large amounts of food, medical and other essential supplies that have been sent in to Gaza under Israeli auspices, even since the beginning of this year.
Thirdly – while Israel refuses to allow the flotilla of Hamas supporters to sail into Gaza, she did offer to allow the supplies to be transferred to Gaza under Israeli auspices and after inspection, to ensure no military supplies are included. However, the Palestinians rejected the offer – because it’s not the supplies they are interested in, but a televised confrontation with the Israel Navy, thus enabling them to continue the myth of the poor, downtrodden Palestinians being brutalised by the wicked Israelis.
Shimona, why do you persist in prattling your silly propaganda here? Do you think there is any person here who is going to accept your nonsense as truth?
I have many friends living in Gaza and the West Bank, as well as a Palestinian son living in Norway. You are NOT going to come on this thread and spread lies about the unspeakable horror “Israel” has inflicted on the Gazans and get away with it, not as long as Richard still allows me to post comments on his blog.
In 17 months, the Gazans are still not allowed to rebuild. Many innocent people have died of the wounds suffered during that maniacal attack, and the psychological scars on the children are profound and will guarantee that most will grow up permanently affected.
Many medical sources have documented that Gazan children suffer from varying degrees of malnutrition, including the stunting of their growth. The unemployment rate, of over 80 percent, prevents most Gazans from enjoying the smuggled items you point to so smugly in your comment. Most families live on UN commodities which normally do not include such items as beef stroganoff.
As for Hamas, at this point they have offered a 50 year ceasefire and to recognize Israel, and have done extraordinarily well in preventing any further rocket fire into southern Israel. Regardless of this, under international law an occupied people have the right to both armed and unarmed resistance.
And you know it’s a done deal with the flotilla – Israel loses the propaganda war either way, because if it allows the ship to enter and the cargo to be delivered, it will be admitting that there is indeed a starvation siege; on the other hand, refusing entry of the ship will just show the world what a bunch of fascist creeps you really are.
First of all, dear Mary, you will not give me orders as to whether or not I can comment on this blog. As far as I understood the “rules of engagement” here, anyone can comment, as long they keep it polite – which I am endeavouring to do, despite the provocation and the ad hominem insults to which I see I am being subjected
Secondly (a propos the above) – such terms as “what a bunch of fascist creeps you really are” only confirm my deep-seated belief that Israel’s detractors are incapable of civilised argument. I have not used any such terms about you, now, have I?
Thirdly – there is a flaw in your logic. If Israel were to permit the flotilla to enter, and the cargo to be delivered, how would this be admitting that there is a starvation siege? A siege there certainly is – but it is a siege to prevent the smuggling of weapons. Israel permits food to be sent to Gaza and even offered to allow the cargo (minus weapons and such things) to be delivered, via Israel and after inspection. However, you are correct in stating that Israel loses the propaganda war either way – either we allow the flotilla to enter and then, henceforth, we will have no control whatever and weapons can be brought in freely (as they are by Hizbollah in South Lebanon), or we look bad in the world press. Frankly – I prefer the latter option. Thanks, BTW, for the admission that this flotilla is, in fact, merely a propaganda stunt.
Fourth – the people of Gaza are not living under occupation. You seem to forget that Israel withdrew unilaterally from Gaza 5 years ago. That gesture was rewarded by thousands of missiles being fired from Gaza against Israeli civilian targets. This is a violation of international law, which you are so fond of quoting.
Fifth – those “psychological scars on the children” – what about the psychological scars on the children of Sderot and other Israeli cities around the Gaza Strip, after years of living under the constant threat of Kassam missiles? And please don’t tell me that they rarely manage to hit their target. The psychological trauma of never knowing if they’re going to land in an open field or on your school, and having only 15 seconds in which to take cover, is also profound and long-lasting. Is Israel supposed to continue to put her trust in the poor aim of the Hamas terrorists? And for your information – since you are so fond of quoting “international law” – proportional response is measured, not by the actual damage caused by the other side (in this case, the Palestinians) but by the damage that could have been caused had the counter-action not been taken.
Sixth – “As for Hamas, at this point they have offered a 50 year ceasefire and to recognize Israel”
Really? They offered to recognize Israel? I must have missed that one. When and where? Recognize Israel as what precisely? Recognize the FACT that she exists (which can hardly be denied otherwise she couldn’t be imposing a “starvation siege” on Gaza)? Or recognize her RIGHT to exist AS THE HOMELAND OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE (there’s a vast difference between the two)?
Finally, I’m not quite sure what is your intention in enclosing the name
“Israel” in inverted commas. The name of a state is not, in general usage, preceded and followed by quotation marks. Or are you, too, denying Israel’s right to exist?
The siege does nothing of the sort. Hamas smuggles all the weapons it needs via the tunnels. The siege is a POLITICAL punishment against Hamas for winning an election. It is an attempt to destroy Hamas, not an attempt to end rocket fire or prevent weapons importation.
This is a nonsensical offer. First Israel permits a small amt. of food to be imported, about 1/4 of the pre-siege amt per Steffen’s stats. Israel’s offer to allow goods to be imported into Gaza after inspection in Israel is unacceptable. There is no reason Israel should need to inspect anything unless there are weapons in the shipment, which there is not.
I object to this terminology and I, unlike Mary, do determine whether you comment here. I find it unacceptable for you to refer to attempt to break the Gaza siege as a propaganda stunt. No one here has conceded this pt & for you to smarmily declare that anyone has is impermissible. Breaking the siege is a bold, courageous moral enterprise not a stunt. Be careful of how you address these issues as I’ve said to one of yr fellow hasbarists. If you’re here to do yr bit in the hasbara wars & to score pts for yr side you’re in the wrong place.
Look, we’re not going to fight for the 100th time arguments we’ve already settled here many times previously. What you say is flat out wrong & disagrees with international law. If you keep repeating hasbara pts w total disregard for arguments that fellow hasbarists have made here repeatedly & which have been rebutted, you won’t comment here much longer. Do NOT repeat Hasbara 101 arguments for the 100th time. We’re simply not going to go over things repeatedly.
With a very few exceptions almost no Israeli children have been killed by Palestinian fire in the south. While 300 children were killed by the IDF during the month of the Gaza war alone (and many since). So whose scars are deepest?
No, that’s not how any reasonable person measures proportionate response. It is measured by the actual damage caused, not by the potential damage caused.
You sure did. You were so busy reading yr hasbara manual you missed almost everything Hamas has done or said that is inconvenient to yr hasbarist world view. We’ve also argued endlessly about the stupidity of the Bibi demand that Hamas recognize Israel as a Jewish state. We’re not going there either as yr arguments have been rebutted scores of times previously.
Richard – I hate to be picky, but the scars are borne by the children that were NOT killed on both sides, scars caused by the sleepness nights, the panic, helplessness, etc. I suggest Psychology 101 instead of Hasbara 101
OK, I’ll make you a deal. We’ll compare the pictures of those live Israeli children supposedly scarred for life by their trauma with pictures of those dead Gaza children with their brains blown out & limbs lopped off by IDF shells and cannon fire. Then we’ll see whose scars are most troubling. OK?
I can dig out some numbers on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder among children in Gaza. I need to look for it but from the top of my head I seem to remember that some 200,000 children show signs of it, such as nightmares at night, bed wetting etc.
Steffen, the above link might help you. There are some good references within the article.
“those live Israeli children supposedly scarred for life by their trauma ”
Why don’t you go to Sderot and tell the parents that to their faces, you gutless coward .
Fuck you, Richard, you pompous racist.
It gives me the greatest pleasure to ban your ass.
Racist? Cute, but it doesn’t fly. Neither does “fuck you.” I’m gratified that words fail you, torsion.
Five Israeli children versus untold thousands, maybe millions of Palestinian children. I guess we can see here your own racism, that five Jewish kids count for more than all those Arab children.
I’m actually gratified to have gotten under your rather reptilian skin, Shimona. My objections to your endless propagandizing on this thread seem to make you uncomfortable.
I’m surprised at you really, were you so dense so as not to know the purpose of all the journeys to Gaza made by human rights activists all over the world; of course it is for publicity, it is to draw the world’s attention to the situation in Gaza and to the perpetual violations of international humanitarian laws being committed by “Israel.”
And yes, I put it in quotation marks because I do NOT recognize the right of a racist, fascist state which built itself on a program of genocide and ethnic cleansing, lies and subterfuge to exist. I refuse to use the name “Israel” to describe the land the Zionists have stolen; the name of that land is Palestine.
Clearly, unlike me, you have failed to read the comment rules on this blog.
Permit me to draw your attention to rule no. 1
“1. insults, baiting, vulgarity, harassment or abuse directed toward the blog owner or other commenters are not tolerated.”
I think most civilised people would agree that such terms as “your rather reptilian skin” come under the heading “insults, baiting, harassmant or abuse”.
Please note also rule no. 5:
“5. comments which deny the existence of the Israeli or Palestinian peoples are unacceptable. Comments justifying the annihilation of either people will not be tolerated. Comments advocating expulsion of Israelis and their resettlement outside Israel will not be permitted.”
IMHO, your remark that “I do NOT recognize the right of a racist, fascist state which built itself on a program of genocide and ethnic cleansing, lies and subterfuge to exist. I refuse to use the name “Israel” to describe the land the Zionists have stolen; the name of that land is Palestine.” violates that rule.
Third: “were you so dense so as not to know the purpose of all the journeys to Gaza made by human rights activists all over the world; of course it is for publicity”
No, I am not dense at all (see the above, re. insults directed at other commenters). I am perfectly well aware that this is a publicity stunt. I was merely thanking you for admitting it.
Finally, (going back to your denial of Israel’s right to exist), while I realize that any debate with you (with most of the participants in this thread, in fact) is like talking to a brick wall, permit me to point out that while there was a Jewish national entity and a Jewish people, in what I shall call (in order to avoid dissension), the Holy Land, 4000 years ago, and that that land was given the name of “Palestine” by the Romans after the suppression of the Bar Kochba rebellion in 135 A.D. (having been known, till then, as Judaea in the Roman sources) the Arabs considered this area part of “southern Syria”. (See “The Arab Awakening” by George Antonius, generally considered to be the father of modern Arab nationalist history.) If it is possible to talk about a Palestinian people with rights to this land, then it certainly possible to talk about a Jewish people with rights to this land. What a pity, then, that the Arabs refused to accept the Partition Plan in 1947, refused to declare a Palestinian State in the West Bank and Gaza at any time between 1948 and 1967, and refused the offers made by Ehud Barak and later (as it now turns out) by Ehud Olmert, to turn over all of Gaza (which we did, in fact, with no quid pro quo) and almost all of the West Bank, plus alternative Land within the Green Line, in order to establish a Palestinian State.
No, they were elected by the people of PALESTINE, not Gaza. But what does that have to do w. anything. Are you claiming that Hamas is showering Israel with those non-existent rockets? In fact, the few rockets that do fall are not launched by Hamas, which even Israel concedes is observing the ceasefire. Or did you not get that info in today’s MFA hasbara briefing?
You are totally ignorant. The amts. are so large in fact that international aid agencies have to feed approx 1 million of the 1.5 million Gazans. So large that said international agencies have complained numerous times of a humanitarian crisis there. But that info isn’t including in yr daily hasbara briefing is it?
On that note I just realised I failed to specify that the four home-made rockets and the two mortars I mention below were fired by operatives not belonging to Hamas. In fact, Hamas is increasingly coming under pressure from these other groups for hindering them from firing rockets.
Either Hamas is the legitimately elected government of Gaza, or it isn’t. How come it isn’t legit when it comes to negotiations, but when it comes to the human rights situation, the Gazans got what they paid for?
To be precise, during the first half of May four home-made rockets and two mortars were fired by militants towards Israel.
Some of these never made it across the border and the ones that did fortunately caused no injuries or death. True, for residents of the area around the Gaza strip this is terrorising but you simply cannot call it ‘raining down’.
And as Richard points out, to hold the entire population of 1.5 million under siege is against international law and plain wrong.
Now if you wanted me to list the number of people who were injured or died working in the tunnels during that same period, importing items the Israeli authorities won’t allow through the official crossings, I’d be happy to do so.
Those items the Israeli authorites won’t allow being weapons, and materials which can be used for building terrorist bunkers. Because food, medical supplies and other essential supplies enter Gaza daily in the 50 truck loads which enter the gaza Strip every day from Israel. Why are those supplies not reaching the ordinary people of Gaza? Perhaps Hamas can answer that question.
What nonsense you spout. By your (and Israel’s logic) just about anything can be used in building weapons. Scotch tape?
Crayons? Shampoo conditioner? Baby food? How about chocolate? Real scary stuff that.
I guess PVC pipe is particularly threatening. Cement? Let us count the ways it could hurt an innocent Israeli. Perhaps most dangerous of all: Clean water.. I mean you could drown an Israeli in clean water. Too horrible to imagine the devilish things Hamas could come up with to turn products we all take for granted, like vitamins, adult diapers, wheels (like those on wheelchairs) or crutches or the parts needed to repair the broken incubators I saw used in the neo-natal unit at Al Shifra hospital. I’d love to have Shimona’s list of items he would feel safe letting us deliver to Gaza.
Chocolate? I hardly think that falls under the category of “essential supplies” – unless, of course, you happen to be Harry Potter recovering from a Dementor attack 😉
Once again. Gaza must be a free place able to import whatever it wishes & not under the IDF boot. Israel is under its own policies supposed to withhold items which would pose a danger to Israel if allowed. Chocolate cannot harm any Israeli if imported into Gaza.
You’re being an ass in the face of massive human suffering & misery. If you wish to continue to be an ass, pls. do so. It only makes you & Israel’s siege look bad.
Ms. Hughes-Thompson, Have you checked the list of things you aren’t allowed to take in the passenger cabin of an aircraft because they could be used to make bombs? Lipstick, for example. If lipstick can be used for making bombs, wax crayons could certainly be used for that purpose.
Are you w. a straight face claiming that the IDF believes wax crayons are forbidden because of their potential for bombmaking? YOu know, I’m delighted with you nitwits continuing to make fools out of yrselves w. such nuttery. Be my guest. But I’d think you’d want to go back to the hasbara handbook and find some intelligent arguments to offer here to buttress your lost cause of supporting the degradation & impoverishment of 1.5 million human beings in violation of international law.
Dear Shimona: Your hasbara skills are quite limited I’m afraid & if you don’t do better you may be replaced as today’s minder. The IDF refuses to allow coriander, toys, certain types of pasta, the list goes on. Are these building materials for tunnels & bunkers? In fact, everything Israel forbids comes into Gaza via tunnels, so Israel is promoting a flourishing underground (literally) economy.
Why, 50 trucks entering Gaza daily! Why so many? I’m astonished the IDF is so generous. Can’t those 1.5 million Gazans make do w less??
You mean the Only Democracy in the Middle East™, don’t you?
Does the IDF also refuse to allow cigarettes into the Gaza Strip?
The reason I ask is because I saw a news report (here in the UK) about the tunnels being used to smuggle in the vitally needed supplies that the Israelis were preventing the residents of Gaza from obtaining and on top of the box that they showed being opened were various brands of cigarettes.
I suppose it could be that this was just BBC mischief (they tend to be accused of bias by both sides). But the tone of the report as a whole was sympathetic to the people of Gaza. It may be that this case was atypical, but the sight of those cigarettes on the top of the box when it was opened, tended to undermine the impact of what would otherwise have been a very effective report.
People smoke in the Middle East. CIgarettes are much more of a necessity there than elsewhere. Everything comes through the tunnels. Everything. That means basic foodstuffs, arms, cigarettes, building materials, animals, etc.
Besides, despite the yammering about arms, under international law the Palestinians have the right to armed resistance. This is an inconvenient fact which is always ignored.
That’s right Mary. For once I agree with you. And every time the IRA blew up a British pub I said “the Irish have the right to armed resistance” as I joyfully downed a Guinness. Think of all those Irish children suffered from post-traumatic stress-disorder because of the brutal British occupation. Or as Richard would likely say: “We’ll compare the pictures of those live British children supposedly scarred for life by their trauma with pictures of those dead Irish children”
Ah but at least Hamas adhere to their principles (unlike those nasty Israelis).
It seems that they respect property rights and won’t take what isn’t theirs – even in the face of starvation. How noble.
[Comment deleted–This is virtually the same comment you’ve already published here. Do not repeat yrself. This violates my comment rules.]
himona, by your logic, since Israel has rained rockets upon the civilian population of say, Lebanon, and arbitrarily bombed civilian infrastructure in Gaza, pretty much deliberately, as all facts establish, should the world enforce a siege on Israel?
Actually, at the rate Israel isss going, that may yet happen. Of course, since it’s likely to be a “soft” siege, consisting of up-ramped BDS, israel’s arsenal of nuclear weapons, currently aimed at every middle eastern country, including Turkey, plus a few European countries, may not be of all that much use. More like fuel for the fire.
Perhaps, Dana, you would like to cite the proofs for your claim that Israel has an arsenal of nuclear weapons “currently aimed at every Middle Eastern country, including Turkey, plus a few European countries”.
Have you any – other than an overwhelming hatred of Israel which pushes you to hurl just about any accusation at her? You are simply trying to demonize and deligitimize the only democracy in the Middle East.
How disingenuous, Shimona, or are you the only hasbarist left on the planet who will not accept the common knowledge that Israel has more than 400 nukes?
The above is from the Federation of American Scientists.
Additionally, both Israeli and American politicians have spoken openly of Israel’s nuclear weapons program.
And if that fails you, I’m sure you’ve heard of Mordecai Vanunu.
My dear Mary, Please read my post more carefully. I asked what is the basis of your claim that Israel has nuclear weapons “aimed at every Middle eastern country including Turkey, plus a few European countries”. (Which European countries, BTW?)
Oh, and I’m not sure what you mean by a “hasbarist”. I’m just an private Israeli citizen who is sick and tired of hearing her country abused and demonized and blamed for all the woprld’s problems.
Well, if you’re sick and tired of it, I suggest you do something to end the occupation and theft of the Palestinian people’s land. I also suggest you do something to end the blockade on Gaza. Israel’s poor reputation is richly deserved.
I’m sure your “peaceful” country has its nukes trained on Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, and the US. Yes, the US too – you’re no one’s friend in this world. The USS Liberty proved that.
“I’m sure your “peaceful” country has its nukes trained on Lebanon, Syria, Egypt, Turkey, Pakistan, and the US. Yes, the US too – you’re no one’s friend in this world. The USS Liberty proved that.”
I see. In short, the outrageous accusation that Israel “has nuclear weapons currently aimed at every Middle Eastern country, including Turkey, plus a few European countries” actually has no basis whatsoever, other than your (and Dana’s) imagination.
Richard, you might be interested in reading my rebuttal to the “normal life in Gaza” fantasy. I believe the point I make there, and the image I show, are valuable to fight this kind of Hasbara.
Hasbara Buster, I have posted it on my Facebook page and shared it with my friends. Thanks !
Once again, this kind of hasbara is of the mentality being that of Jews as perpetual victims. No one else has ever experienced suffering or hardship, and if it appears otherwise, the Zionists step in with the silly propaganda such as what Richard shares with us here.
Shall we look at a nice hotel or two in Gaza City and hence surmise that there are no people in Gaza living amid the rubble of Cast Lead?
Thanks for sharing that Richard. It is ludicrous and not funny at all.
Yes, there are a few nice restaurants in Gaza city which serve decent food and lovely fruit cocktails (obviously no alcoholic drinks). Some Gazans are employed by INGOs, the UN and the PA and thus still get a paycheck every month. It is their money that keeps these places open and yes, when one sits in one of these places one feels a sense of normalcy. As nothing is normal in the Gaza strip, some folks save up for that very special treat to go to a restaurant of this kind and for once experience for an hour or so that rare sense of normalcy.
However, we are talking of a small number of people who are able to dine at such locations. The VAST majority of the Gaza strip’s inhabitants are simply and plainly food insecure – which means they do not have enough money to go and buy the amount of staple food items they require.
Thanks for providing this on the scene perspective afforded you by your work as a human rights NGO in the territories. I’d venture to say that you know a helluva lot better than Danny Seaman what real conditions are like in Gaza.
I can think of no more an unpleasant person to run the GPO than Mr Seaman. Why on earth is he still in this position? It doesn’t matter how many fabulous spin doctors Israel hires to get its message out there; the fact that foreign journalists based in Israel have to rely on this man for their work visas, permits etc undoes in a split instant all the glossy hasbara efforts.
I mean, I’m pretty sure there was some fine dining for Jews who collaborated with the Nazis, no?
Would it be appropriate to downplay the seriousness of that period in history by pointing out the availability of fine dining to collaborators?
If you answering, no, then you see how cynical Israel has become.
It’s vicious and outrageous; for one thing, cocktails are not served in Gaza and I would love to see these “patrons” enjoying their beef stroganoff out of a can, because Gaza has no cattle herds and the last I knew, shipments of frozen sirloin tips aren’t on the list of approved commodities from the UN.
Danny Seaman hasn’t seen the inside of a Gaza restaurant menu, let alone Gaza restaurant. His press release is 100% solid gold bulls(&t.
He’d do himself & Israel a favor if he tried to spend a single day in Gaza, let alone the amt of time native Gazans do.
It comes through the tunnels. These have become so wide that entire cows fit through them and that way it is indeed possible to get some decent Stroganoff in Gaza.
See this pic for example: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/picturegalleries/worldnews/3236015/Smugglers-tunnels-beneath-the-Gaza-Egypt-border.html?image=4
Again, most people simply cannot afford beef however. It is imported for the few who are employed by INGOs, the UN or the PA.
In the past, Gaza was known for being a producer of high quality beef and mutton and was an exporter of meet and livestock but as you rightly point out, there is little of that industry now.
I was being facetious. I doubt you can get much beef stroganoff in Rafah on the Egyptian side. My point was that there isn’t enough going through the blockades legitimately to sustain very many Gaza businesses, and the crassness of this whole “Gaza Restaurant” issue is simply beyond the pale. I am very well acquainted with what goes through the tunnels, by the way.
At the moment I’m in Cyprus as we get ready to sail to Gaza. As soon as we land I will make every effort to locate this fine restaurant where the people of Gaza dine regally on a regular basis. I’ll be sure to report back to Mr Seaman so that when he visits Gaza he will be able to join 1.5 million people as they indulge in Gaza’s fine cuisine. If he can get a reservation.
Blessings on all of you, Mary, I pray for your journey to be safe and successful. Please stay in touch!
Although I am a religious person, I have a hard time praying (it just isn’t in my system) but in this case I will join you, Mary.
Beef Stroganoff isn’t made from sirloin; it’s made from the tenderloin or fillet – specifically the tapered end, i.e. NOT the wide end under the sirloin but the thinner end.
Since all the replies positively state that Gaza is “under siege from an enemy power who is preventing food and provisions from entering”, may I ask one of the better-informed readers of this list (Steffen for example) to provide some accurate data of what exactly is entering Gaza from Israel on a daily basis. Some of you (who are willing to consider hard facts) are bound to be surprised.
This is all entirely irrelevant. Israel has no right to place Gaza under siege. I’m simply not prepared to argue that Israel’s siege is something conducted decently or humanely or anything of the sort. END THE SIEGE NOW or face international courts down the line.
“Since Hamas took control of Gaza, its 1.5m people have been relying on less than a quarter of the volume of imported supplies they received in December 2005. Some weeks, significantly less than that has arrived.”
Is this the surprise you are referring to?
Gladly. I too appreciate hard facts.
So for example, during April, 2647 truck loads of goods entered Gaza from Israel. During the first and second week of May, it was 637 and 540 truck loads respectively. This compares to a monthly average prior to the beginning of the siege (i.e. prior to June 2007) of 10,00 to 12,000 truck loads per month. Hence the current level of imports through the crossings from Israel is only about a quarter of what it used to be before the siege.
Another example, last week a little over 600 tons of cooking gas were imported to Gaza from Israel. Prior to June 2007 the weekly average was about 1700 to 1800 tons.
Note also that the amounts of material required to re-build such as glass, cement and aluminium that are allowed to enter Gaza are very limited and far from what is required.
For example, last week the UN was allowed to ship a meagre two truck loads of cement into Gaza. Another example, in April, for the first time since June 2007, 15 truck loads of aluminum were allowed to enter.
Further, items that are not considered to be essential are not allowed by the authorities to enter Gaza at all. Even though the authorities admit to having a list of items approved for admission to Gaza, this list has not been made available. Based on experience, however, marmalade and dates are on that list.
Do you want export figures too?
And here’s some real hypocrisy: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3895077,00.html
Shai, can you explain me why is a reference to Gilad Shalit (4 years in Gazan prison without even a Red Cross visit) “some real hypocrisy”?
Usually there is a bigger time lag between what I read here and what gets reported in my newspaper (if at all) but the story was there indeed today. (No doubt because the email was directed at journalists.)
After the mention of the dripping sarcasm of the e-mail, there were several reactions of organizations that were not amused and the piece continued with an overview of the history of the blockade, the 1400 Gazan victims of the Gaza ‘war’ (and the 13 Israeli ones), the poverty, the traumatized children, the impossibility to rebuild because of lack of materials.
In short: The effect of the e-mail was that everyone who had forgotten was reminded afresh of what is going on in Gaza.
You could say it was just not a very clever move by the Israeli press agency, but the problem lies deeper: There is such a genuine lack of concern in Israel about what is being inflicted on the population of Gaza, that many people can no longer estimate the reactions of the outside world.
I am sure the effect is being compounded by the bombs being dropped on Gaza at this moment. That is, if the news of these IOF attacks are even showing up in US news media.
Thank you Steffen. This is the kind of accurate information we need for a sensible opinion and debate. In my vocabulary terms like “siege”, “starvation” or “disaster” are kept for other crisis situations, for which there is no shortage in past and recent history. In any case, I oppose even this partial boycott, which contributes nothing to nobody, and I condemn the idiotic release of the Israeli press office.
As for Mary’s response: when you mention the bombs being dropped on Gaza at this moment, I wish you would also mention that this came in response to the mortar shells dropped on Ashkelon yesterday.
Welcome. Certainly when it comes to starvation Gaza is not anywhere near places like Chad or Niger right now where an actual famine is taking place, but that is not the only thing that matters. It might be less bad than elsewhere but it is still bad – and it’s not because of a locust plague or a drought but because of political decisions taken by a powerful neighbouring state that is in control of the gates.
About 60 per cent of the population in Gaza does not have access to sufficient amounts of food and stunted growth among young children, for example, has been on the rise in the past three years as a result of the restrictions on imports and exports and the resulting de-development.
In the end for folks in Gaza it doesn’t matter if we call it siege or partial boycott. Mothers who wake up in the morning not knowing how they are going to feed their children before they go to school do not care about the semantics.
Fathers, traditionally the bread winners, who last time had an income when they were allowed to work in Tel aviv or Beer Sheva in 1998 or those who until 2007 worked in a garment factory producing items for the Israeli or international market, suffer because they cannot fulfill their roles as bread winners anymore, regardless of the terminology we agree on.
Youngsters, who dream of traveling to Jerusalem one day and of becoming doctors, teachers or pilots and who continue to be disappointed when they cannot leave Gaza to study in the US, Europe or even Bethlehem because they don’t get permits, don’t care if their nutritional intake is slightly higher than that of youngsters in Somalia, nor should they.
Imagine Gaza as a place full of people, actual individuals, ordinary folks, not ‘Palestinians’, ‘Hamas voters’, ‘Arabs’… but mothers who want nothing but the best for their children, young lads who enjoy a good nargile on the beach in the evening; ordinary people who want nothing but a job, a bit of money, get married one day, build a house, have kids and maybe travel abroad every so often – just like people everywhere. As recent as 15 years ago that was all possible and then it started to deteriorate. Today, four out of the above six items are denied to them for political reasons (and clearly in contravention of international law).
That’s why what is happening is wrong regardless of whether we call it a siege or a partial boycott.
Extremely well-argued and far more convincing than anything else I have heard from either side in this debate.
Thanks, much appreciated.
Mortar shells cannot be “dropped” on Ashkelon; they are homemade projectiles pathetically ineffective and which were not fired by Hamas. If you are so concerned about accuracy, let’s get it all out there, shall we?
In retaliation for homemade rocket fire, the IOF targets chicken farms, flour mills, and people’s homes, ostensibly in their efforts to erradicate weapons storage facilities which never seem to exist in reality.
I stand corrected. The mortars fell near the Gazan border and it was a Qassam rocket that “dropped” in Ashkelon.
“The Qassam launced at Israel Thursday exploded just south of Ashkelon, causing no casualties or damage. The rocket fire came at the heels of a barrage of mortar shells earlier in the day, with Gaza militants firing at least 10 shells into Israel, and an anti-tank missile being fired at Israel Defense Forces troops patrolling the border with Gaza. No one was hurt in any of the incidents.”
I’m sorry I didn’t check the name of sender on them, but I bet you’re terribly disappointed that no one was hurt.
BTW, this is the last time I bother to respond to you “Mary”. From your answers to Shimona it is obvious that you are so pathetically hatred-blinded that nothing we could write would even cross your brain-washed mind. And before you talk of “fascist creeps” have a good look in the mirror.
I am not “disappointed” that no one was hurt. I’m just not surprised, that’s all.
I don’t mind your lack of response to me, nor am I injured even slightly at your pathetic attempt to portray me as some ‘hatred-blinded” fanatic, which is just another form of hasbara. If speaking the truth for Palestinian rights is what you perceive as something hate-filled, so be it.
As for your insistence that I look in the mirror to find fascism, it’s not necessary. I’ve seen plenty of it in “Israel.” I have many, many Palestinian friends, as well as a Palestinian son, and I can guarantee you that I have more inside knowledge of the mistreatment and persecution of these people than you will ever know from behind your apartheid wall.
As you continue to dehumanize the Palestinian people and deny their suffering, perhaps it will become difficult for you yourself to look into a mirror. I personally have no problems with mirrors, or with sleeping at night. How about you?
You denounce the terms “siege”, “starvation” and “disaster”, and instead you promote the term “partial boycott”.
A boycott is a form of consumer activism involving the act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for political reasons (Wikipedia).
The state of Israel controls everything that goes into or out of Gaza. This has nothing to do with a form of consumer activism. A boycott would mean: individuals refusing to buy products after these products have left Gaza, leaving the possibility open for others to do so if they like.
But even more importantly; a boycott does not include shutting off an entire area from imports (not exports) at the whim of the strongest party.
Your use of the term “boycott” (and certainly the weakening to “partial boycott”) is a joke. Your smokescreen simply does not work.
It’s a pity you waste your time on dictionary definitions instead of dealing with more substantial questions I have raised. But if you insist, I also have a couple of dictionaries at home. Here is Webster’s:
Boycott: “A group’s refusal to have commercial dealings with some organization in protest against its policies.”
Siege: “The surrounding and blockading of a city, town, or fortress by an army attempting to capture it.”
I still think that boycott is more accurate since we just left Gaza and do not attempt to capture it. More importantly, how can we “shut off an entire area … at the whim of the strongest party” if Gaza has a border crossing to Egypt? Strangely, nobody on the list even mentions this negligible fact, nor does anyone count the number of supply trucks passing from there. Only Israel is obliged to feed Gaza, provide it with fuel, electricity, water, etc., eventhough we evacuated every inch of it 5 years ago.
Elisabeth, I’m not smokescreening anything. On the contrary, I criticize my government openly for any unjustified and stupid action (see my previous comments). Unfortunately, it is you and your like who are blinded by the smokescreen of Hamas, Hizballah, and similar innocent peace organizations and their supporters. I regret that so few of you on this list are able to unbiasly perceive all sides of a complex situation.
Boycott: “A group’s refusal to have commercial dealings with some organization in protest against its policies.”
So the “consumer activism” isn’t mentioned. Big deal: You think you can just replace “group” in your definition with “state” then? Don’t be silly. And anyway the blockade targets an entire population, not an organization.
I do not recall mentioning Hamas or Hizbollah, so do not presume to know that I supposedly think of them as “innocent peace organizations”. That is just a rhetorical trick.
I appreciate your criticism of the effectiveness of the blockade. How about criticizing the morality of it?
As to Egypt: You know as well as I, that Egypt would rather not participate in the blockade, as it diminishes the ‘popularity’ of this repressive regime among its own population. But Egypt is pressured into this by US and the EU, AS A FAVOR TO ISRAEL! If you want to blame the US and the EU, I agree!
So Israel shuts of Gaza, and gets the US and the EU to pressure Egypt into doing the same, and yet you pretend innocence: “Only Israel is obliged to feed Gaza, provide it with fuel, electricity, water, etc., even though we evacuated every inch of it 5 years ago.”
The smokescreen simply does not work.
OK. “Blockade” is the best definition and I hope you’ll stop waving your dictionaries now. Besides, English is not my mother tongue and it probably is yours.
Now I get the big picture, as you conceive it: so Egypt, the largest Arab country, is simply pressured by America and Europe into the blockade as a favor to Israel. (Is this the same America and Europe who spilled billions into UNRWA in order to feed Gaza? I wonder.) And who pressured America and Europe to make favors to Israel? I suppose the Jewish lobby acting according to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion. Now we understand how the world ticks and at this point I rest my case and my “smokescreen”.
Just for the record of other readers (if there are any) who do not share the Manichaean worldview of Mary, Elisabeth and Richard (bad guys=Israel and its accomplices; good guys=Palestinians and their supporters): I categorically condemn the blockade on Gaza (except for military equipment and materials), and I would let the “peace flotilla” enter the port of Gaza tomorrow. However, I refuse to ignore the circumstaces that brought about this tragic situation, for which the Palestinians of Gaza are at least as responsible as Israel.
And by-the-way “Mary”, stop bragging about how many Palestinians you know personally. I also know a few, and although I don’t have a Palestinian son like you, I did accompany some Gazan children to regular treatments in Israeli hospitals (no, not from injuries suffered during Cast Lead, but to heart and head operations). Normally, I wouldn’t mention this at all, but since you accuse me of “dehumanizing the Palestinian people and denying their suffering” I thought I’d make an exception this once. But, I guess, you and Elisabeth will denounce this as just another “rhetorical trick” of mine.
English is not my mother tongue either, so I completely understand your difficulties (no sarcasm here; I know what you are talking about).
Europe, where I come from, and America continue to support (or at least turn a blind eye to) Israeli policies that are not to the best interest of Israel in the long run.
I think you know very well why we do this: We (in Europe at least) are responsible for what happened to our Jewish neighbors during the Nazi occupation, and this responsibility is real and will always be there.
So the gut instinct is to support Israel (such as in pressuring Egypt) but at the same time there is a new feeling of guilt:
What are we allowing to happen to the Palestinian people because of our historical guilt? Are we not starting a whole new cycle of injustice, instead of making up for an old one?
Hence the billions ‘spilled’ (in your words) into feeding the people of Gaza.
Yes all of this happens at the same time. It really is complicated, isn’t it? So there you have your ‘big picture’.
(PS: You started about definitions, so don’t blame me for pulling a dictionary….)
Itamar, who is the one bragging here? Good colonialist behavior is something to be proud of, isn’t it?
If you are so concerned about your country you would worry about its horrific human rights record and the fact that the list of its violations of international law are longer than your arm.
If you are new to the comment section of a blog & feel the need to publish 10 comments in a single day you’re abusing your privilege. Restrain yrself to 3 comments in any single day. OTherwise you will be monopolizing the threads. Respect this request if you wish to continue.
Egypt is blockading Gaza because Israel insisted that it do so. Israel was the last physical occupying power of Gaza therefore it has the obligation to feed Gaza, not Egypt. Israel’s military keeps Gaza under siege & enters at will & engages in military operations at will. Therefore it is still the occupying power.
You mean you regret that readers of this blog are unable to perceive yr perspective on this ‘complex situation’ as being the correct one. Don’t you.
Now that Israel is no longer occupying Gaza, it is no longer obliged to feed Gaza and has every right to close its border with Gaza. (The naval blockade is another matter.)
Regarding Egypt, it is a sovereign state and in the absence of clear proof to the contrary, it must be assumed that they act in accordance with their wishes and policy.
Lord protect us fr. the idiot hasbara crowd. Israel attacks ships on the open seas attempting to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza & you have the unmitigated gall to claim Israel is not occupying Gaza.
“Idiot?” Once again the intemperate language that would not be tolerated from the other side?
I don’t see how blockading Gaza translates into occupying Gaza. The naval blockade began after the Gaza-based rocket attacks on Israel – which in turn began after Israel had left Gaza.
Neil, once again, I do not think that straight forward. See my comment above on why internationally it is recognised that Israel is still the occupying power of the Gaza strip.
We also need to look at what happened when Israel left Gaza. Immediately after the unilateral pull-out, the Israeli authorities began tightening the grip on the Gaza strip and as a result movements of goods, services and people into and out of the Gaza strip started to decrease already back then. The rockets didn’t start until later. In fact, this tightening was only the continuation of a trend that started some time in the first half of the 1990s.
Also, following the pull-out, the Israeli government continued to increase the settlement population in the West Bank. Many settlers who were evacuated from Gaza moved to the West Bank. A land swap of sorts went on. The government gave up the land in the Gaza strip but took land in the West Bank (by now probably many fold the amount that was given up). The protection of the settlements in Gaza was extremely costly and very difficult as it is such a populous place and strategically not very easy as there are no hilltops like in the West Bank. It is much easier and way more cost effective to protect the settlements in the West Bank. Israel gained at lot from the pull-out – the Palestinian people lost a lot.
The naval blockade was in place long, long before there were any rockets from Gaza. The Oslo agreements regulated how the sea can be used by Gazans and specified that a port would be built but the Israeli authorities never allowed that port to be built and kept reducing the fishing zone gradually and continuously (to an extent that today they have to smuggle fish through the tunnels).
Finally, once again, if the purpose of any kind of blockade is to reduce or prevent rockets from being fired, it would not, according to internal law, be legal for the government of Israel to enforce it as it does not only harm the militants but the civilian population as well. This is in contravention of the Geneva conventions and its additional statutes which were developed to learn from the terrible lessons of the many wars that were fought, including WWII (Stalingrad, Greece, Dresden…).
It is also not legal for the Israeli government to separate the Gaza strip from the West Bank and say Egypt can take care of it. And besides, that of course would be against the wish of millions of Palestinians – assuming the will of the people should somehow matter (which it does for example in Britian thanks to the likes of Simon DeMonfort).
Alas, there is only one Palestinian territory and Israel recognised it as one territorial unit. The gates need to be open for that unit to function as such, ie for services, people and goods to move freely back and forth, however inconvenient for Israel. Anything else is illegal and besides not exactly humane.
(Apologies Richard, I lost sight over whether I have said the same thing on this thread already).
Now there are a number of practical steps that have been suggested to facilitate this without compromising Israel’s security. As an example, the port could be built, all ships headed for Gaza would first have to dock in Cyprus where all cargo is inspected by multi-national teams and then escorted from there into Gaza. Does that not sound reasonable?
One day maybe we can also re-visit how Hamas came about and was given official permission (if not encouragement) by the Israeli authorities to set up shop in efforts to reduce the power and influence of the PLO and Araft (a la divide et impera) back a while ago. But maybe another time.
Hi Steffan, I meant to reply to your earlier response. First of all I accept that the West Bank and Gaza Strip are one unit in the sense that they are rightfully Palestinian territory and ought to be a Palestinian state.
However, I do not agree with your “pregnancy” analogy and its conclusion that a territory cannot be partly occupied. To take a purely hypothetical analogy, if Britain were to successfully invade northern France, they would be occupying NORTHERN France and would have certain responsibilities to the residents thereto. They would not however have any such obligations to the residents of unoccupied Southern France.
My position is NOT that Egypt has a duty to Gaza instead of Israel, but rather that both Israel and Egypt have the sovereignty to control their own borders. Israel’s incursions into Gaza no more make Gaza Israeli-occupied territory than rocket attacks on Israel (or cross-border kidnapping) from Gaza make Israel Gaza-occupied territory. They are simply armed engagements between mutually hostile forces in the context of what is effectively a state of war.
It was not the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza per se that hurt the Palestinians, but rather what it represented: i.e. a loss of Israeli INTEREST in the future of the region. This is unfortunate, but it has a certain tragic inevitability about it, inasmuch as the behaviour of the Palestinians contributed greatly to it.
It should not be forgotten that when the Israelis initially took possession of the Gaza Strip from Egypt in 1967, the Gaza residents benefited from access to Israeli hospitals and better medicine. There was an immediate drop in infant mortality when the Israeli occupation began. And as you pointed out earlier, Gaza residents were for a long time able to work in Israel.. The same was (and to some extent still is) true of the West Bank.
But then, after the Rabat summit conference of 1974, when the PLO was recognized as the “sole legitimate representative” of the Palestinian people, it became clear to Israel that there was no prospect of returning Gaza to its former Egyptian occupiers (although they tried at the Capt David talks with Sadat) and the West Bank to the Jordanians (who had annexed it with the consent of the Jericho Conference of December 1948).
It was in the wake of the Rabat Conference that Israel started building settlements – in response to a tail-wagging-the-dog campaign by Gush Emunim. (I am aware that Israel had built a few suburbs in the eastern part of Jerusalem, but Israel has always regarded Jerusalem as a special case for reasons that would constitute a discussion in its own right.)
This long-term digging-in process by the Israelis created an interdependence between Israel and the Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. However, Israel continued to come under pressure to recognize the PLO, whilst the PLO denied any recognition of Israel. In response to this heads-I-win-tails-you-lose approach of the Arab world (and much of the Communist and Third World), Israel encouraged the growth of Hamas in a short-sighted attempt to weaken the PLO.
However, the result of this interdependence with its open-borders, as well as the rise of Hamas, was a wave of terrorists attacks and suicide bombings. Thus, it was clear that neither side was happy with the status quo. So Israel eventually saw disengagement as the way out of the impasse. And disengagement inevitably deprives the Palestinians of the benefits of interdependence. Paradocially, the only thing that stands in way of further disengagement,is the Israeli hawks who believe in the “Greater Land of Israel.”
But realistically there is too much mutual hostility for a bi-national state solution to work and so a two-state solution is called for. The problem is that as soon as Israel withdraws, there are extremist Palestinians ready to step in and resume cross-border hostilities. That in turn provokes the hawks in Israel. However once the Israelis have decided on disengagement, the effect of this hardening of attitudes is not going to be re-occupation but rather wall-building and ultimately siege. That is where we stand now.
I agree with your practical steps involving the international community to resolve the immediate Gaza dispute, and think that such international involvement could also be useful in administering the interim steps towards full Palestinian independence.
That’s not what they are doing. They are controlling GAZA’s borders as well. They are not allowing anything of substance to enter Gaza. That is not controlling their own border it is a siege of Gaza.
I’m rapidly losing patience & interest in this nattering. International law disagrees with you. You can natter on all you like w. yr theories & wishes, but that won’t make them real or persuasive to anyone but you. Israel has placed troops physically on the ground in & around Gaza. This is a physical presence constituting occupation. Rockets are not troops on the ground & they do not control territory or determine who enters or exits it. Pls do not attempt once again to argue about the Gaza occupation. YOu’ve made yr pt. & most of us disagree. Now move on.
Israel began building settlements not in 1974, but immediately after the war. This is revisionist history.
“They are controlling GAZA’s borders as well”
Borders with WHOM? By definition a border is that which is between TWO countries.
“Israel has placed troops physically on the ground in & around Gaza.”
AROUND Gaza? You mean in Israel? Certainly, but that’s legal. In Egypt? Not as far as I know. In the Sea? Yes in response to the ongoing (albeit ineffective) Hamas aggression. (And if the latest rockets are the work of splinter groups that doesn’t negate Hamas’s responsibility.) The same applies to the Israeli incursions into Gaza – self defense in response to aggression or the threat thereof.
As far as settlements go, the only settlements prior to 1974 were in places where there were historic Jewish communities that had been driven out by the Arabs. These were few in number and small and weren’t really settlements, given that they were simply re-established Jewish communities.
Israel may control what enters and exits from its own border, but it may not control what enters and exist from Gaza.
I don’t care on what basis you claim Israeli troops operate in & around Gaza. It doesn’t matter whether they’re there to harvest vegetables or kill Gazans. The result is the same. They are there, therefore they control the place & occupy it.
Now you’re an apologist for the Greater Israel movement. Nice. Certainly for Israeli Jews to build settlements in the West Bank was “really a settlement” whether or not there had been a historic Jewish community there in 1500 BC or BCE. This is historical sophistry.
“Now you’re an apologist for the Greater Israel movement. Nice. Certainly for Israeli Jews to build settlements in the West Bank was “really a settlement” whether or not there had been a historic Jewish community there in 1500 BC or BCE. This is historical sophistry.”
First of all there were no Jewish communities there in 1500 BCE – unless you count the mythical figure of Abraham. Secondly I’m talking about places like Hebron, where Jews were living until 1929 when they were massacred by Arabs. Remember that not one Jew was permitted to remain alive in the areas of mandatory Palestine that were occupied by the Egyptians and Jordanians.
What is your point? Ever heard of Plan Dalet?
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An excellent article. Israel played badly into the hands of the terrorists and their mercenaries. But Israel must retain the tight border control (not “blockade”) which is keeping the rocket attacks to the minimum but is neither causing starvation or failing to comply with the alleged international obligation to allow essential supplies through.
This seems about the 800th time someone has said what you have & I’m getting goddamn sick & tired of it. Israel has no right to maintain any border control on what enters Gaza (except very specifically to prevent weapons from entering). It has an international obligation not to do so, period. Doing so is a violation of international law & will lend itself to the type of UN commissions currently being proposed by the secretary general.
The siege does NOT prevent rocket attacks. The ceasefire prevents rocket attacks. If Hamas felt it was not in its interests to maintain a ceasefire there would be rockets now flying into Sderot irrespective of any Israeli siege.
Richard, I beg to differ. Israel has NO right to prevent ANYTHING from entering Gaza, including weapons. The people of Gaza, and the West Bank, have the right to armed resistance to the occupation under international law. Controlling Gaza’s borders in any fashion is occupation.
After I wrote that I thought perhaps I should add an addendum: “…If Israeli also allows Hamas to prevent any weapons fr. entering Israel that could be used to kill Gazans.”
And I’m sick of having to point out that a border, by DEFINITION, is the meeting/crossing point between TWO countries. No country is obliged be a conduit for another country’s food, let alone its weapons – especially when those weapons are likely to be used against the country that is serving as the conduit.
Nor is it forbidden to conduct naval operations against an enemy entity. Hamas is an enemy entity of Israel and they are in a state of war with each other. A ceasefire is not an armistice, let alone a peace agreement.
The only reason Hamas agreed even to a ceasefire is because of the tight border control that allows in basic necessities (in accordance with international obligations) but no more than that. Yes Hamas COULD smuggle in rockets, or the means to make them, via the tunnels. But every piece of military hardware that they smuggle in would be at the expense of the other things they claim is vitally to their survival (cigarettes, swimming pool materials, fillet of beef, crayons, coriander, etc)
By the same token, Israel COULD make the border controls a lot tighter.
Which law forbids Israel to protect itself against the enemy in this way? What is the wording of that law and how does it give Israel an obligation to let non-essential items through into Gaza? The people of Gaza are getting enough food and other necessities to keep them alive.
That is the limit of Israel’s obligations to them until the state of enmity is ended by a peace agreement. Such an agreement would prevent not only Hamas firing rockets but also this proxy rocket strategy in which Hamas claims: “it’s not us; it’s a breakaway faction.” I doubt if Israel would be allowed to get away with an excuse like that!
Ah but you’re naturally leaving out a few imp. facts. Israel embargoes Gaza’s seacoast and also prevents it from building a harbor or airport, none of which has anything to do w. borders w. Israel. Care to explain what gives Israel any right to interfere with those matters having nothing to do w. a border w. Israel??
We’re going to call a quit to this tedious discussion, Neil. Hear me well. No more discussions about whether Israel can or cannot lay siege to Gaza & whether this is illegal or not. You & others here have droned on endlessly & bored us all half silly. You’ve made yr last comment justifying the unjustifiable. Go on in this vein & I’ll moderate yr comments until I see that you follow my editorial decisions. And don’t provoke me by violating this request.
Find another subject & another thread & publish comments about other issues.
“Care to explain what gives Israel any right to interfere with those matters having nothing to do w. a border w. Israel??”
I can hardly explain that or anything else on the subject when you have prohibited me from doing so on what is – after all – your blog.
Personally I have found the discussion quite stimulating, if somewhat tiring and I am sorry that you have found it boring. I took you at your word about wanting discussion and dialogue. Ditto with regard to the issue of politeness, although if you look back on some of the things you have said to me, I think you will see that you have not been entirely consistent in that regard.
Anyway I have a book being published tomorrow and I have to promote it, so I will not have the time to continue, so your prohibition is actually most timely.
What are we to think of the fact that you published a comment not five minutes after this supposedly fond farewell?
“What are we to think of the fact that you published a comment not five minutes after this supposedly fond farewell?”
I guess it shows that you can’t keep a good man down!
That presumes that you are a good man. I don’t see much evidence of that. I think it means you’re a fatuous fool.
Amazing. So the Mavi Marmara was a Hamas ship, an “enemy vessel”? What kind of alternate universe do you come from? Why don’t you just return to it?
I’m sorry Mary. How could I make such a terrible mistake? You’re absolutely right of course. Who could possibly think of mercenaries armed with steel pipes and knives as anything other than friends – and peace activists.
You’re obfuscating and being deliberately obtuse. But that’s your job, I suppose. Good luck with that.
Mercenaries? What are you talking about? Spouting more nonsense. I suppose it makes sense to you that the IOF boarded the ship supposedly to inspect the cargo, but thought they should be armed to the teeth? And that it was prudent to board at 4:00 AM, not at a reasonable hour? Such an act of aggression is supposed to be welcome?
The amazing chutzpah of the IOF, and cowardice, astounds me. This moral army excels in mass murder, doesn’t it?
Those armed-to-the-teeth Israeli commandos didn’t mean any harm to come to the passengers. They were just dropping in for tea.
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“Mercenaries? What are you talking about? ”
About 100 men with no identity documents but with $10,000 each in their pockets. Mercenaries Madam, Mercenaries.
“the IOF boarded the ship supposedly to inspect the cargo, but thought they should be armed to the teeth”
Armed to the teeth? What you mean paintball guns?
I asked for PROOF. Do you know what this means? Proof, not a claim. What is your proof? And I mean this very seriously. Credible proof.
Are those paintball guns with which they’re executing Furkan Dogan in the YouTube video featured in my most current post??
“What is your proof?”
The statements of the soldiers who arrested them and searched them. And don’t say that this doesn’t count because they’re Israeli. The people you cited as “proof” that Israel has nuclear weapons were also Israeli.
Show me a credible report by an Israeli soldier who claims passengers had $10,000 in cash on them. Better yet show me the video the IDF would’ve made of the cash to prove this is even in the realm of a credible claim.
This is an outright lie. Can you prove that the IHH activists were “mercenaries?” If not, for violating the comment rules, your further comments will be moderated until you show you have absorbed, understood and adhered to them. Comments adhering to the rules will be published.
“This is an outright lie. Can you prove that the IHH activists were “mercenaries?”
There own video showed that they were armed with steel pipes and knives. And as for the mercenary fact, the Israelis found the money on them when they arrested them.
If my eloquence is getting too much for you, feel free to ban me: it’s your blog at the end of the day. But don’t insult the intelligence of your readers with this “you broke the rules” pretext. You’ve made unproven statements about Israel having nuclear weapons based on one expert’s opinion and a bluff by an Israeli politician. You’ve also been gratuitously rude, in further breach of your own rules. Now your conjuring up reasons to ban me instead of just saying: “you’re too good for me.”
Don’t flatter yrself. Save your eloquence for perorations in the shower. You’re the only member of yr own audience who’d be impressed.
You are really a very stupid person. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert admitted Israel has nuclear weapons. Not just Mordechai Vanunu. OLMERT, you j(&ka*s.
Sorry, I don’t suffer stupidity or fools gladly.
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ME: “You’ve made unproven statements about Israel having nuclear weapons”
YOU: You are really a very stupid person. Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert admitted Israel has nuclear weapons. Not just Mordechai Vanunu. OLMERT, you j(&ka*s.
Ah but what did I actually write Richard:
“You’ve made unproven statements about Israel having nuclear weapons based on one expert’s opinion and a bluff by an Israeli politician.”
Firstly the expert I was referring to was in fact Martin Van Creveld, whom you cited. Secondly, do you see that word “politician” Richard? Politician. Ding Dong! Read it carefully Richard. Mordechai Vanunu is NOT a politician now is he? So who was I referring to when I said “politician”? YES Richard! That’s right. Olmert.
Now let’s look what the other word I used with it: “Bluff.” It is certainly to Israel’s advantage to let its enemies THINK it has nuclear weapons. To cite a vague statement of the kind Olmert made as “Proof” is to stretch the definition of proof beyond belief.
“Sorry, I don’t suffer stupidity or fools gladly.”
Looking at the way you’ve applied your own rules, I would say that it is supporters of Israel whom you don’t suffer gladly. (And I have no doubt that you will claim that this assertion is a rule violation too – but if I were to cite the evidence line by line, this message would run into many hundreds of words.)
This blog does not exist to promote the views of Bernard Henry Levy. So I’ve removed the link as I object deeply to everything that impostor stands for. If you need to promote such people do it elsewhere.
If you have anything of yr own to say you may do so as long as it is on-topic. I’m simply uninterested in blog comments that consist of only a link which points to what I consider pro Israel propaganda. I’d feel very similar to a comment that consisted only of a link to an anti-Israel article.
Under international law any power that controls access to territory & refuses to allow direct movement in or out is considered an occupying power. A siege is occupation. That’s international law. I didn’t invent it. If you don’t like the definition or agree w. it–too bad. But that is the rule & you can look it up.
You also cannot partially occupy a country, anymore than a woman can be partially pregnant. There is one Palestine – The West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem.
East Jerusalem is not part of Palestine it is part of Jerusalem as a whole. Jerusalem was united for all but a brief 19 years of its 3000 year history and that brief 19-year division did not alter its status as ONE city. The only country that recognized the Jordanian annexation was Pakistan. Even Britain (which recognized the Jordanian annexation of Judea and Samaria) did not recognize the Jordanian annexation of the eastern part of Jerusalem.
The eastern areas of Jerusalem were never allocated to the Palestinians. The city of Jerusalem has had an absolute Jewish majority since the late Ottoman period. There is no basis in international law on which it can be said to belong to the Palestinians.
E. Jerusalem has almost nothing to do w. W Jerusalem. The city is divided by Israeli design. And E. Jerusalem will certainly be the capital of Palestine.
There are similarly no countries that recognize Israel’s annexation of E. Jerusalem though 2 or 3 actually have embassies in Jerusalem.
Such a patently stupid statement. Neither the Palestinians nor the world need permission in order to consider E. Jerusalem capital of Palestine. That’s way history is. There’s a consensus around something & it happens. So will E. Jerusalem become Palestine’s capital whether you wish it or not.
“E. Jerusalem has almost nothing to do w. W Jerusalem. The city is divided by Israeli design.”
I lived there for 20 years and I go back and visit regularly. I can assure you that it is NOT divided. The brief 19 year division has been well and truly consigned to history and rightly so.
Whether the eastern areas of Jerusalem becomes the capital of Palestine or not is another matter. If moderation prevails on both sides then the Israelis might allow the Palestinian parliament to be based there as an act of goodwill – but not an act of duty. It is not something that the Palestinians can demand as a matter of “right”.
Furthermore Jerusalem will never again be divided and Israeli Jews, Christians and Moslems will never again be prevented from visiting their holy places there – as they were when eastern Jerusalem was under Arab occupation between 1949 and 1967.
“Neither the Palestinians nor the world need permission in order to consider E. Jerusalem capital of Palestine. That’s way history is.There’s a consensus around something & it happens.”
First of all that is NOT the way history is. Under the UN Partition Plan, Jerusalem was to be an international zone and to have a referendum on its final status after 10 years. The 1948 war divided Jerusalem between Israel and Jordan. The 1967 war united it under Israel. THAT’S the way history is.
Secondly, it seems strange that whereas in the past you have argued the formalities of international law, in this case you appear to be saying that regardless of international law, the mere fact that many countries have been misled into believing that east Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinians makes it so. In other words, your commitment to the strictures of international law (with regard to Israeli actions in Gaza) suddenly goes out the window in favour of a simple “head count” on the issue of Jerusalem.
I do not agree that one can legitimately use arithmetic as a substitute for either law or ethics. But if you want to look at the arithmetic consider the following:
-Jerusalem has been a holy city for Jews for 3000 years (1600 years before the birth of Mohamed).
– Jerusalem is the holiest city in Judaism but only the third holiest to Islam.
-Jerusalem is mentioned 670 times in the Hebrew Bible but not even once in the Quran.
-The Jews have been an absolute majority in the city of Jerusalem since 1896 at the latest (the 11th edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica put the date back as far as 1872)
-The majority of people in Jerusalem want the city to remain part of Israel.
With the exception of the last (which we call Democracy), I do not in fact base the Israeli claim to Jerusalem as a whole on these statistics. But those figures are no less valid than your ‘I must be right because the world already agrees with me’ argument. My starting point is the status quo. Israel is in possession of the whole of Jerusalem. If you contend that this is wrong, the onus probandi is on you give a reason. Just saying that a lot of other people agree with you proves nothing. What valid REASONS do they have for thinking that eastern Jerusalem belongs to the Palestinians?
The Israelis are not controlling movement in or out of Gaza from the Egyptian side: the Egyptians were doing that. And they opened the border today. If controlling access makes a country and occupier then it could be said that Egypt and Israel were joint occupiers. And now that the Egyptians have opened their border with Gaza, it is no longer occupied by the definition that you invoke.
BTW can you cite (and quote) the relevant international agreement or treaty and explain how it applies to a situation in which two DIFFERENT countries are combining to deny access?
More sophistry & not even clever at that. Israel conducts a siege through its own border with Gaza. Israeli occupies Gaza period. It can do whatever it wishes whenever it wishes there including the territory right up to the Egyptian border.
You bore me…Go consult Richard Falk or Judge Goldstone. They’ll know the answer. But you won’t like it because it will be authoritative, well researched & inconvenient to your cause.
Neil, I don’t think it’s that straight forward.
We have the Israeli army inside the Gaza strip pretty much every day (statistics upon request). The army keeps widening the so called buffer zone next to the wall inside Gaza which now reaches almost 1km into the territory. A farmer who happens to be farming there risks his life. I also seem to remember that the military was about to recruit a governor for Gaza in case of a re-occupation which it can do if that’s what the government decides.
Also, the West Bank and the Gaza strip are one territorial unit. Israel in the past recognized this fact. (The government last year declared Gaza ‘enemy territory’ or something like this to break with that tradition but that’s not how the world sees it). It is colloquially referred to as the territories or shetakhim by Israelis but officially it is called the occupied Palestinian territory – as in singular. Now you either occupy a territory or you don’t. there is no such thing as a partial occupation just as there is no such thing as a partial pregancy (sorry, couldn’t think of a better example). As long as you occupy, you are obliged by international law to provide services.
The ICRC determined that the 4th Geneva convention still applies even though Israel does not have military infrastructure permanently in the Gaza strip at present, thus Israel is required to keep the gates open.
Further, it is not only a question of humanitarian feeding. It is also a matter of that one territorial unit to be able to function as one unit, ie for people, services and goods to be able to move freely between its two parts. As inconvenient as it might be, Israel needs to allow that to happen as long as the people of that territory and the world see it as one territory.
Steffen, I accept everything you say but I deplore badly all the things you don’t say. You say nothing about the circumstances that brought about this tragic situation. You say nothing about the Gazan authorities who instead of using the territory evacuated by Israel to improve the living conditions of their population, invested every penny they’ve got from abroad in buying and improving their missiles etc. and to systematically launch them on Israeli towns and villages (BEYOND the 1967 borderline). You fail to mention that the same Gazan “freedom fighters” who now deplore the unemployment rates of their miserable compatriots where the ones who systematically bombarded the border-crossings where the bread-winners used to cross over to work in Israel. etc. etc. etc. I could go on and on and I could also supply documentation for everything I say, but I suppose a well-informed person like you are familiar with the hard historical facts of the last 10 years (though I’m not sure all others on this list are equally well-informed).
The problem is, Steffen, that once you lose perspective of the big picture it’s very easy to blame everything on one side only. A real humanist should avoid falling into the trap of denouncing one kind of propaganda and to buy in into another kind.
The underlying cause of the whole situation, my dear, is illegal occupation and siege. You cannot legitimately blame Hamas or anyone else. The onus is on Israel. This is the “big picture,” as you put it.
And could you please quit suggesting that everyone here (apart from Steffan) has no idea of what they are talking about? We know the same things that you do, we just think about them differently.
Elisabeth, I understand your European historical perspective very well and can even relate to it. It explains some behaviors, but not everything. (For instance, you should give a bit more credit to the Egyptians that their stance is not simply dictated by Europe but has more to do with their well-justified fears of the Iran-backed regime in Gaza.)
If so, there is only one fundamental question you should ask yourself first of all: do you support the right of Israel to exist, or do you deny it (as most non-Israelis on this list). If you deny it, there is not much we can say to each other and this open correspondence is a complete waste of time. If you support it, as I hope you do, you should examine carefully each act of Israel and decide whether it’s politically and morally justified or not. This is what I’m doing every morning and evening, and believe me it’s not easy. Gaza is a good case in point: how do you deal with an Iran-backed regime that invests all its energy and resources into trying on a daily basis to harm Israel, in the hope of eliminating it altogether in the long run? And how do you do it without causing too much suffering to a civil population (whose large majority elected this regime and supports its aims)? If these are your dilemmas, you can’t take the easy way out of either fully supporting or fully condemning everything Israel does. Unfortunately, less and less people are willing (and yes, sufficiently informed) to choose the difficult path of critical unbiased thinking.
This is either an ignorant statement on yr part or a lie. Either way I find it unacceptable. Do NOT characterize or generalize on behalf of others what their beliefs are. Very few readers here deny Israel’s right to exist. What they deny is Israel’s right to exist as an exclusivist supremacist JEWISH state, which is an entirely diff. statement.
This is so far fr. the actual reality of life in Gaza and what Hamas is and is doing there as to show you’re living in some alternate Hamas obsessed universe. But it isn’t contemporary reality that’s for sure.
Only poor Itamar is taking the hard way of critical unbiased thinking because he’s desperately trying to find ways to justify Israel’s behavior & finding it harder & harder to do so. That’s why he resents those outside Israel who’ve done a lot of this heavy lifting a lot earlier than he has. He resents the moral conclusions they’ve come to because they threaten his overprotective approach to Israel & the Occupation. Itamar can criticize Israel in the few instances when he’s willing to do. But he’ll be damned if any outsider will do so.
You can either take the information I provide as just that, information, or you can discredit it as another kind of propaganda. I am not sure what you have chosen here, Itamar, but let me say this. I don’t know what the authorities in Gaza say about unemployment rates, poverty, dependency on food aid, stunted growth among children, etc, and I don’t need to know either.
The information available to me and everyone else who is interested is not provided by the authorities in Gaza, but it is collected by humanitarian organisations – independently and scientifically. If you discredit this information as propaganda than everything is propaganda. The UN Human Development Index would be propaganda, the statistics of the World Health Organisation on HIV/AIDS and bird flu worldwide would be propaganda, the research carried out by various universities with a specialisation in climate change and its impact on desertification in Africa would be propaganda. If this is what you assume we are in trouble because we could go back in time and relativise everything. We couldn’t believe in any kind of research anymore and we would be totally lost. The choice is yours of course but I know the data on human development regarding Gaza is not propaganda but a solid representation of facts on the ground.
In the end, we can discuss forever to what extent the authorities in Gaza contributed to the developments of the last years, but it will not get us anywhere. I have done it time and again and it always starts with today, goes back decade by decade by decade, elaborating what this leader or that political party could have done differently, and eventually it peters out sometime around late 1800s but it never bears any meaningful results or tengible conclusions.
In the end, it is the Israeli government that is calling the shots when it comes to poverty in Gaza, as it has the power to close or open the gates as it pleases. It may have its very own reasons to keep the gates closed – whatever they might be – but that doesn’t mean it’s right to keep them closed. From a rights-based perspective, it is irrelevant why someone takes a particular action but what matters is the question if that someone has the right to take that action.
It is exactly in such situations where the only thing we can hold on to is the law, in this case international law in its various shapes and forms, and according to it Israel’s government is in the wrong with regards to its policy towards Gaza (as well as on a number of other accounts). Full stop – the buck stops there, as tough as it might be for the residents of Sderot to accept that.
For the time being, the government gets away with it but times might change one day and Israeli leaders could find themselves indicted by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, just like Omar al-Basheer, or the country could lose its privileged relationship with the club of Western states and become rather isolated, just like some of the other states in the Middle East.
Steffen, you couldn’t possibly have missed the first phrase of my message: “I accept everything you say…”, which refers to all the valuable information you provided. I must therefore conclude that you deliberately misinterpret my message (and next thing you put me on a par with global warming deniers…).
You are obviously interested only in the bottom line, the present humanitarian crisis in Gaza, whereas I am ALSO interested in circumstances, cause & effect, responsibilities, and what I call the big picture. For me it IS relevant why someone takes a particular action and not only its results, but obviously we disagree on this point. For me it is also very relevant why a government prefers to keep the dire situation of its population as is in order to gain more points in the war of propaganda. (I refer e.g. to Hamas’ refusal to cooperate with the PA in utilizing the huge amounts of money pledged by Arab states to improve the living conditions of Gaza.) In short, for me the buck doesn’t stop where it stops for you. Where you stand in all this is obvious from your prediction that Israeli leaders will be indicted in the International Criminal Court in Hague, but you say nothing about the crimes of the Hamas leaders.
N.B. As I already stated, repeatedly, I do think the blockade should be stopped, but this seems to have been ignored, repeatedly. Apparently it is somewhat difficult to deal with the views of someone who is neither 100% for us, nor 100% against us.
First, Fatah is not the PA. In fact, the last election caused Hamas to be the majority & thus run the PA. So you must be talking about the rump Fatah faction running the West Bank. You’ll recall that this rump faction planned a violent coup under U.S. sponsorship which Hamas preempted. There is no agreement to resume cooperation bet. the 2 groups. So whatever aid you’re talking about (& you provide no link to authenticate this claim I’ve never heard before) can’t be shared until there is an agreement to govern Gaza & the WB together as the situation was before the aborted coup.
As for countries allowing their populations to live in misery when there could be peace & an end to that misery–might I include Israel in that category as well?
Itamar, I did not miss your first line, I appreciated it (I’ll make sure I point that out next time, talking of which I also appreciate your support to end the blockade and what you did with these kids is also very noble). What confused me was your last line where you seemed to have suggested that I am replacing Israeli goverment propaganda with another kind of propaganda. That was my baseline for my response.
The buck may not stop for you there and you may continue to look at the bigger pricutre the way you see and interpret it. Either way, it remains irrelevant from a legal perspective. It happens that defendants disagree with the court’s ruling or even it’s legitimacy (see Karadzic for example) but the judge won’t mind.
Don’t get me wrong. I do not want to see these indictments materialising, I want an end to the siege. But as the suffering of so many people continues and worsens, the world’s tolerance of the Israeli government’s policies decreases.
Here is a good video and article on the subject of Richard’s blog:
I also do not recognize the legitimacy of Israel , a Jewish state. This doesn’t mean I want to drive Israel into the sea, or somehow achieve the disappearance of the Israeli people. I accept that Israel does exist, and I certainly hope it will continue to exist. But I would no more recognize its right to exist as a Jewish state than I recognized South Africa as a White Supremacist state. Israelis who support a racist state that discriminates against its non-Jewish citizens find it convenient to deliberately misunderstand what we mean when we say we don’t recognize the Jewish state. We merely mean we don’t recognize that a state can claim to be both a democracy and an apartheid state. We want Israel to survive and flourish as a state for all its people, especially now that the likelihood of there ever being a separate Palestinian state grows dimmer by the day and the probabality of a single state appears more and more likely.
Why cannot Israel be a Jewish state with equal rights to its Palestinian minority? Isn’t Finland a Finnish state with equal rights to its ethnic Swedish or Lapp citizens? (You can add here practically any example from around the world.) Why would you deny the right of a national state for the Jews, whereas you accord this right to all other nations in the world (including yours)? Provided of course that the Palestinians will also have a national state of their own, once they agree to share this land between the Jordan and the Mediterranean (which they have so far refused to do). Why do you automatically assume that a Jewish be HAS to be a “White Supremacist state” like South Africa?
I am glad to hear that you don’t want to drive Israel into the sea, but let me ask you a hypothetical question: suppose you were the ambassador of your country to the UN in 1947; would you have voted in favor of the establishment of a Jewish state alongside an Arab state in Palestine?
Had I known what Israel would do, and if I had been able to vote, I would in retrospect have voted no.
Having said that,
Finnish describes a nationaliy, while Jewish describes a religion. Israel has a right to exist as an Israeli state. Israeli is not the same as Jewish. The problem is that Israel insists on referring to itself as a Jewish state which by its own definition precludes it being a democracy.
That’s what I thought you’d say, but I appreciate your frankness.
So we’re back to the age-old debate of what is Jewishness, a religion or (also) a nationality. What about secular Jews in your country? They’re obviously not Israelis, so what is their nationality (not their citizenship)? Ask them!
Your denying my right to define my nationality as I find fit is on a par to those who a generation ago denied the right of the Palestinians to regard themselves as a nation. I don’t want to use harsh words to define this stance, but obviously we have nothing to say each other anymore.
I am a American Jew. My nationality is NOT Jewish. My nationality is American. My religion is Jewish. My nationality is not. I don’t understand the alleged pt you’re making.
Really Ms. Silverstein? So according to this logic African American, Chinese American, Irish American, etc. are all religions?! Would you at least concede that your ETHNIC origins are Jewish or not even that? How far are you ready to go to deny your origins in order to accomodate your political views?
Richard is a male name, not female in case you hadn’t noticed.
I have no idea what your pt is. All the ethnic groups you name have members of many religions. American Jews happen to belong to a single religion. It has nothing to do with our nationality, which is American.
If you come anywhere near close to claiming that I’m denying my origins you’ll lose yr comment privileges so fast yr head will spin—and read the comment rules so you know why calumnies I frown on.
Now who’s being disengenuous? You know perfectly well that such a “bi-national state” would, within one generation, have an Arab majority, Jews would no longer be able to settle there and the Jewish people would, once more, be deprived of a national homeland.
Israel’s non-Jewish citizens are NOT discriminated against. Since they can vote freely, be elected to the Knesset, set up their own Knesset parties, serve on the Supreme Court (and all the lower courts as well), have their own free press, and, in short, enjoy all the rights that Jewish citizens enjoy, I don’t know how you have the gall to compare Israel to South Africa. True, the citizens of the West Bank and Gaza don’t enjoy those rights – but that’s because Israel never annexed those territories, since it was always intended they would, some day, be handed over to the Arabs, whether as part of a Palestinian State or back to Egypt or Jordan who previously “occupied” them (and that didn’t bother you, did it, you hypocrite?)
Israel has had four decades to get serious about supporting a Palestinian state, during which time it’s become clear there was never any intention of allowing it to happen. Israel’s colonizatio of Palestine and subjugation of its people has proven once and for all that there can never be a Palestinian state, and that a bi-national state is inevitable. If Israel has a problem with that there is nobody else to blame. Greed has been Israel’s undoing, and it’s ironic that the end result is that Israel’s dream of a Jewish state is in serious doubt. From my point of view that’s a good thing for all concerned. As for comparing apartheid practices between those in South Africa until recently and those in effect in Israel today, I stand by my statement. This is not apartheid based on color but on religion (although clearly some Israeli Jews are considered less equal than other Israeli Jews based on shades of skin color and ethnic origin.) I understand it’s a word that Jewish Israelis are uncomfortable with, but if it looks like apartheid and walks like apartheid it’s most likely apartheid.
I would say that it is a kind of apartheid based on ethnicity (Jewish ethnicity and Arab ethnicity), but the point is the same. My Arab friends live in separate neighborhoods, ride separate buses, travel on separate roads and go through checkpoints. They’re routinely curfewed, sometimes prevented from traveling altogether. As Mary says, if it looks like apartheid and walks like apartheid…
The history clearly shows that the Israelis’ only serious intention was in annexing more and more land and pushing more and more Palestinians into either leaving or becoming residents of impoverished ghettos. There could have been a two-state solution long ago, but now there’s nothing left for it, and the “peace process” is nothing more than a charade, as most Palestinians know.
After all this, I find it bizarre that so many Israelis seem to wonder why the Palestinians don’t embrace them as the loving colonizers they perceive themselves to be. The degree of disconnect is phenomenal – the separation fence has effectively cut off the two groups, Israelis and Palestinians, from each other, to the extent that the Israelis have little idea of the effects their land theft has had. They do not see the daily suffering and indignity. They see Palestinians as animals needing to be caged. And when we speak out about it, we’re called “delusional,” “hate filled,” by Israelis hoping to keep their own delusions intact.
Mary, there are Arabs AND Jews living in my neighbourhood. As for Arabs travelling in separate buses – that’s nonsense! Anybody can travel in Egged buses. If the Arabs chose to set up their own bus company in addition, that’s their business, but there’s no law preventing them from travelling in the same buses as Jews, and they do so. As for the separate roads, there was only ONE road that Palestinians were barred from travelling on, Highway 433, and that was because of the many terrorist attacks including drive-by shootings carried out against Israeli vehicles on that road. Anyway, the Israeli Supreme Court has ruled that ban illegal, with the result that today, Palestinians can once more travel on that road. Road blocks, at which cars are checked and then allowed to proceed on their way, have nothing whatsoever to do with apartheid. If you claim Israel is practicing apartheid as it was practiced in South Africa, you are woefully ignorant and, in fact, are belittling what the Africans suffered under the apartheid regime.
Yes, you’re right, there could have been a 2-state solution decades ago – as early as 1948, to be precise. Unfortunately, the Arabs rejected the idea. As to Israel’s right to exist as a JEWISH state – I still cannot get any of you to explain why the Jewish people should be denied a right you are ready to grant any other people. Or are you, in fact, denying the existence of a Jewish People? Because, if you claim being Jewish is only a religion – that is exactly what you are doing. So tell me – how do you reconcile this with the “right of self-determination” which supporters of the Palestinians (whose “peoplehood” could be far more legitimately challenged) claim for them?
Sorry, Shimona, but there is a bus running from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and back that is exclusively for non-Arabs; it bypasses the checkpoint and is used by NGO workers and tourists traveling from Damascus Gate to Bethlehem.
There are also quite a few roads throughout the West Bank that are exclusively for settlers and which the Palestinians are barred from using.
Why should the Jews not have a homeland? I never said they shouldn’t. But the creation of the State of “Israel” was fraudulent and illegal, and upon its creation, 750,000 innocent Palestinians were killed or driven from their homes into refugee camps which still exist, and a few million are living in the diaspora. Under international law they have the right to return to their home. So what about the homeland of the Palestinians? Not “Israel,” but “Palestine.” The land is PALESTINE.
We always seem to go back to Hasbara 101 whenever the propagandists show up. I’ve debated these same topics again and again, and it’s gone far enough this time. Shimona or anyone else on this thread who wish to continue to try to sell pro-Zionist nonsense, well, I’ll leave you for Richard to deal with.
I don’t need your instructions on the comment rules; if I violate them, Richard tells me. I think you’re more shaken up by my words than how I say them. I’ve obviously made you uncomfortable, which I consider a compliment. You see, I don’t take kindly to liars, and your coming here and claiming there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and that you are benign and friendly occupiers of Palestine, makes you, Shimona and Itamar, a pair of liars.
Dear Mary, there is certainly a humanitarian crisis – but it was created by the Hamas. As for liars – try watching any of the Pallywood productions put out by the Hamas propaganda machine.
Sure, it was created by Hamas, that is the standard Hasbara response. It was created by the Israeli government and you know it. There has been a humanitarian crisis since 2003, before Hamas took power in the Gaza strip. The entire occupation of Palestine is a humanitarian crisis, in fact. It even persisted throughout 2008 even though Hamas complied with the cease fire and rockets no longer were being fired into southern “Israel.” Your Hamas excuse is boilerplate hasbara rubbish.
as a signatory of JCall (“a Jewish call to reason”), I’m quite critical of Israël’s governement policy towards the Palestinians. But I must say I admire Shimona and Itamar for keeping their temper in the face of such unconditional hostility, expressed, moreover, in sometimes abusive terms.
I’d like to know whether a single Jewish state is more or less unacceptable than 57 Muslim states, by the count of the Islamic Conference Organization. In many of the latter, building a church (not to mention a synagogue…) is simply impossible, and converting to another religion may even be a crime.
If international law is of any importance, there’s no reason to use quotes around the name of a country that such law has created. Israël certainly has some responsibility in the present conflict, but this does not erase the other side’s responsibility. Insisting only on Israël’s, and denying its right to exist as the Jewish state created by the United Nations in 1947 (alongside a Palestinian state that could have existed for the same length of time, Egypt and Jordan willing) will not solve the conflict, but only exacerbate it.
Wow, so you signed a faux liberal statement by European Jews and you want a medal for doing so. You claim you’re “quite critical” of Israel yet say nothing critical of Israel at all to validate this claim. Instead, you support comments by blatant hasbarists in these threads. What do we make of this? Perhaps disingenuousness? Perhaps mendacity? Who knows?
Your arguments, so to speak are puerile & unworthy of being responded to. Come up w. some original arguments that require a bit more heavy lifting on our part & perhaps we’ll address you. But do do some work yrself and go beyond the Hasbara 101 playbook for any future arguments you wish to offer.
Arab states have absolutely no obligation to recognize Israel as a Jewish state since I know of almost no other such states in the world except perhaps the Vatican. Since you live in France can you tell me the last time France insisted that its enemies or former enemies recognize it as a Christian nation? Has it insisted that its former Arab colonies recognize it as a Christian nation? When it does that then you can get back to me & we’ll talk about Israel as a Jewish supremacist state.
Finally, you’re an eminent biologist. Your comments here prove that otherwise intelligent people go far outside their depth of knowledge when they venture into the minefield that is the IP conflict. They accept statements & arguments so shoddy that they would never accept them in their own academic field. But Israel makes something inside their brains go limp. PEI (progressive except Israel). Stick to biology. It’s your strong suit.
Thanks Andre, and welcome to the thread. But you may soon find out that it’s a total waste of time, as I did. Most of these people (with the notable exception of Steffen) are not interested in a real dialogue and learning about each other’s views and way of thinking, but only in a good, vicious Israel-bashing. They’re not even interested in convincing you, even if you share just 50% of their views, but merely insulting, ridiculing, and condemning you. If you’re not 100% anti-Zionist like them, you’re either a liar or an idiot.
I for one can find better ways of spending my time, so adieu Richard and your kind! This is not the way to do TIKUN OLAM! You’d better change your blog’s name to KILKUL OLAM!
Using that word is outright propaganda & a violation of my comment rules. Read the rules if you want to continue commenting here. This is not a site for grandstanding or scoring propaganda pts. If that is yr goal or need you’ll have to do so somewhere else.
Dear Mr Silverstein,
As it happens, I have read your comment rules very carefully. I’ve even printed them out for future reference. I think you must surely agree that I have made every effort to comply with them. I found no prohibition of the word Pallywood.
I have, however, been obliged to point out, on several occasions, that certain of your commentators (those who are in agreement with you) are in clear violation of many of your rules, and in particular, those concerned with personal abuse of contributors. This does not appear to bother you in the least. (Why would I expect otherwise? You, yourself, have proved unable – or, more likely, unwilling, to reply with even a modicum of civility to those who dare to express even the mildest support for Israel.)
Clearly, your comment rules are only intended for those who disagree with your opinions. Your supporters are permitted to violate them at will, without any restraint from you. Fair enough, it is, as you say, your blog. But, in that case, why do you make a pretence of there being room for disagreement and criticism?
Richard, whilst it is admirable to enforce rules of politeness and propriety, a modicum of consistency would go a long way.
Several contributors (and you also) have sought to imply that those who posted comments favourable to Israel are paid propagandists for Israel rather than individuals who happen to harbour pro-Israeli views. (e.g. “Your hasbara skills are quite limited I’m afraid & if you don’t do better you may be replaced as today’s minder.”)
Whilst you might strongly disapprove of such persons, I am sure that you realize that some people agree with Israel without themselves being paid or official propagandists. Therefore to imply that such people are working for Israel (as distinct from simply being pro-Israel) is an unsubtantiated allegation. You said in your rules that allegations should be backed by evidence.
In the absence of specific evidence to support such allegation and innuendo, this is simply ad hominem argument of a kind that debases the debate and detracts from your more serious points about the blockade and its effect on Gazan residents.
I note that one of your contributors described another as having “reptilian skin” (reminiscent of David Icke’s conspiracy theories about the British royal family) without incurring your wrath, let alone a ban. Debate is good, and your rules requiring politeness and decorum are admirable, but they should be observed on both sides.
If you don’t like liars, how do you justify your mendacious claim that Israel has nuclear weapons aimed at every Middle Eastern country, as well as some European ones and also the USA?
Oh, excuse me, Shimona. I’m sure Israel has those nukes aimed at the moon.
Your sarcasm fails to prove your claim. Even if one were to accept your claim that Israel has nuclear weapons (based on the beliefs of some scientists and the claims of Vanunu), where is your evidence that Israel has missiles with nuclear warheads aimed at the United States or Europe? Similarly, even allowing for Israel’s rocket launching capability, there is no evidence that this technology has been used for any purpose other than to launch satellites.
Oh please. Ehud Olmert even fessed up when he was P.M. Who do you think you’re fooling w. such narischkeit. The entire world knows Israel has up to 400 nuclear weapons. Martin van Creveld, an Israel military historian has actually noted that Israel’s weapons are pointed in every direction fr. which a threat might come including Europe, Russia, etc. Besides pointing weapons is no big deal. You can aim them at diff. targets anywhere almost at will.
Has anyone mentioned the Olympic swimming pool that recently opened in Gaza ?
“Gaza government ministers, members of the Palestinian Legislative Council, leaders of Islamic and national governing bodies, as well as club members and athletes were among those at the opening ceremony, where Secretary-General of the Islamic Society Nasim Yaseen thanked the donors who helped realize the project. ”
I wonder who the donors were?
Your point being?
Steffen: You are the one who wrote “About 60 per cent of the population in Gaza does not have access to sufficient amounts of food and stunted growth among young children, for example, has been on the rise in the past three years…”, and yet we see (and this is according to the Palestinian news agency Ma’an) that the Gaza gov’t is allowing donor’s money to be used to build Olympic-sized swimming pools ! There are two choices here: One, you are correct in your assessment of the situation and the Gaza gov’t is indifferent to the malnutrition of the children. Two, there is no malnutrition and the Gaza gov’t can allow resources to be used to build much-needed recreation facilities for the children (and I won’t go into the question of priorities for construction materials.)
So your opinion is that children in Gaza shouldn’t have access to chocolate or a swimming pool?
Haaretz frequently reports that many children and elderly (including holocaust survivors) in Israel are undernourished and subsisting below the poverty level, while donors (such as super-zionist Sheldon Abelson who runs casinos in California) send millions annually to support illegal Jewish settlements in Palestine. Personally I think it would be great idea for the government of Israel to expropriate donations meant to support illegal Jewish settlements and give the money instead to those who are struggling to survive inside Israel.
Wow. Are you sure you are ok with what you are saying here?
If I understand correctly, you appear to be saying that for as long as poverty is an issue, Gazans are not allowed to practice their right to physical exercise in order to improve their bodily and mental health, are not allowed to participate in international sporting competitions such as the olympics games which among other things aim to foster peace through sports and encourage a universal humanistic spirit, are not allowed to exercise their rights to education by having swimming included in their curricula, and are not allowed to participate in meaningful spare time activities such as going for a dip during the hot summer months?
Really? Is this what you are saying?
No, I am not saying that. And neither did you, because you specifically spoke about malnutrition, not poverty: “stunted growth among young children has been on the rise ….”. There is a big difference and I specifically referred to malnutrition in my comment: “One, you are correct in your assessment of the situation and the Gaza gov’t is indifferent to the malnutrition of the children. Two, there is no malnutrition …”
In any case this is a legitimate topic for discussion – for example, the current criticism of South Africa for spending so much on stadiums for the World Cup.
So you’re saying that Hamas has no right to build facilities for recreation for its children who have absolutely no other means of recreation in Gaza since they cannot swim in the polluted Mediterranean as they once did. The only thing Hamas has a right to do is feed its malnourished children with the insufficient amt of food allowed into the place by the IDF. That’s really twisted logic. And since when did you gain the professional expertise to second guess Hamas’ policies in governing Gaza? Talk about backseat drivers!
Talk about hair splitting – malnutrition and poverty? I suggest, torsion, that you quit while you’re ahead. Your argument is bordering on the absurd.
I don’t mean to sound flippant, but after spending the past hour reading through this thread from top to bottom, I’m beginning to show signs of Present Traumatic Stress Disorder. I hope I don’t wet my bed tonight.
Kudos to Mary, Mary Hughs-Thomson, Elizabeth, Richard, et al., for defending your (our) positions so well. I don’t know where that guy from J Call came from, but he makes me feel good for not having answered their call for my signature.
Let’s hope for a successful embarkation of the Free Gaza Flotilla tomorrow. A nice contrast to the Exodus.
Ok torsion, even though you ain’t leaving comments here no more I would still like to reply to your last comment.
So you agree Gazans have a right to physical exercise? If that’s the case I am glad.
Though I am still trying to figure out what then it is you are trying to say.
Are you suggesting the data I presented on stunted growth is incorrect and that in fact there is no such thing in Gaza? If that’s the case, fine. We did research and this is what we found out. If you think the results of our research is incorrect for some reason you would have to go and do your own research to prove we are wrong. So, why don’t you get a bunch of students together, develop a sound methodology, get a reputable university with expertise and experience on the subject and carry out a random sampling household survey with a representative sample size. When you are done, let us know what you found out. If your results differ from ours, we would have a problem but I doubt they would. Meanwhile you may want to study the existing data reaised by the likes of WHO, Unicef and other organizations so as to be an informed researcher.
Or are you actually agreeing with the research that’s been conducted and the results and admit there is malnutrition and stunted growth? Great, I am glad we agree on that one too. If so, then you seem to be suggesting that the authorities in Gaza let their children starve on purpose by blowing all the aid money on fancy projects. Really? Is this what you are suggesting? If so, I might begin to understand where you are coming from.
Well, let me tell you that the pool makes no difference to stunted growth or any of the other indicators such as poverty, unemployment rates etc. We don’t know what donor paid for the pool but it might have been a charity based in the Gulf region for example that spent millions already on food and non-food aid in the last three years and in the end devoted a small percentage of their budget to doing something for the development of sports. I don’t know exactly how much the pool cost but I doubt it would be more than half a million US dollars. That is a little over 30 US cents per inhabitant of the Gaza strip – the value of a cookie.
Also, the authorities in Gaza have little influence over what donors and organizations do with their money – believe it or not. If you disagree, go and do a survey among the thousand or so employees of international organizations who work there. If, for the sake of an example, an organization thinks clowns are a good idea they can go and bring in a clown from abroad. The authorities in Gaza won’t interfere. (The Israeli authorities might not let the clown in to bring some fun to the traumatized children, as it recently happened, but that’s a different story.)
Of course, folks come home after a hard day’s work, put up their legs, maybe pop a cold bottle of Goldstar and watch the latest episode of Dr. Phil on YES or HOT and the thought that their government is causing children to suffer is rather troubling and makes that Goldstar taste less good. To address the bitter aftertaste, folks tell themselves that there simply is no problem or if there is one, it couldn’t be their government’s responsibility – it must be someone else’s fault. Ok then, switch that channel to the latest soap and pop another Goldstar.
The problem though is that it doesn’t work in the long run. As the suffering continues and even increases, the world’s willingness to tolerate the policies of the Israeli government decreases. I am sure Milosevic never imagined justice would catch up with him one day, nor Charles Taylor, but they did end up in The Hague.
Please let it be known that your comments are some of the most level-headed, thoughtful comments I’ve read today on any blog I’ve checked. Thank you for that.
If you have your own blog somewhere, I’d love to read it as well. I’m all about using facts to combat the untruths that my many pro-Israeli friends consistently lobby at me. If you have a good source, I’d appreciate that also.
Adeel, I very much appreciate your comment!
I do not have my own blog but in consideration of your words I should perhaps open one up. I will make sure it gets known when I do.
In the end, what are we to do if we are to be truly human? In my opinion, we need respect for human rights that apply universally to everyone regardless of background that are manifested in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we need adherence to international law such as the ones manifested in the Geneva conventions and its protocols that came about in response to the disastrous events of the first half of the 20th century to prevent them from happening again, we need to further international justice systems that began in Nuremberg and evolved to the courts in The Hague. This is what I believe we need to strive for if we are to advance our common humanity.
Interestingly enough, there are human rights organisations in Israel, staffed by some of the smartest, bravest and principled people I have ever come across, that are a great resource for information and a stimulus for thought. Obviously they are having a hard time these days and it’s not getting easier for them but they do exist and they do great work.
I don’t mean to pimp here and hope Richard let’s me get away with it but to name just a few, Gisha, B’tselem and ACRI are among them. Another resource is the United Nation’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the oPt which makes available detailed reports on all matters pertaining to the life of civilians in the oPt in English, Arabic and Hebrew: http://www.ochaopt.org/.
Palestinian civil society is also very strong, including in Gaza despite what Mark Regev keeps telling us about the place, and organisations such as the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights are equally principled and a great resource.
Some of the UN organisations such as WHO, Unicef, WFP, FAO, Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights do a lot of scientific research within their fields of expertise and make it available to everyone who is interested through their websites.
Most stunningly, despite all the information available out there, too many people seem not to be interested, prefer to look the other way, are happy to buy into what the government says without venturing to seek verification. On the contrary, you will find many who could talk for hours and hours discrediting every single one of the above organisations. (I hope not here on this thread.)
Once again, thank you for your comments and all the best!
MARY: “I’m gratified that words fail you torsion.”
MARY: “I’m actually gratified to have gotten under your rather reptilian skin, Shimona.”
I like your sense of irony Mary.
And to Neil Douglas:
I really don’t give a damn if you don’t like me. I’m not liking any of you hasbarists too much these days, especially today. Your murderous precious Israel shot and killed 16 of my friends in cold blood during the night, and I’m in absolutely no mood for you. People like you don’t deserve even basic common courtesy. You’re beyond the pale in defending such a vile, evil country. I don’t care if Richard bans me for saying that, either. I’m beside myself with grief and anger, and if you think you can push my buttons with your petty taunts, well go ahead. I have nothing but contempt for people who would see the slow starvation of 1.5 million people as politically advantageous to themselves. You’re a sick society.
I’m not sure what you mean by “hasbarists.” What I have said in this thread is less “hasbara” than anything you have said. I have not offered unqualified support of Israel. But Israel does not have a monopoly on violence and murder. I remember well the murderous attacks by the PLO (many of them outside the MIddle East) and Hamas. I too have lost friends.
Also your arguments that I have objected to, pre-date the events of last night. Furthermore, I don’t think some one who accuses another of having “reptilian skin” is any position to get on her high horse about “petty taunts.”
Ask yourself one question: are you here to get your anger off your chest – or to make a difference?
“You bore me…Go consult Richard Falk or Judge Goldstone. They’ll know the answer. But you won’t like it because it will be authoritative, well researched & inconvenient to your cause.”
I actually have read Goldstone. Here are a couple of examples that illustrate his methods of reasoning:
“While reports reviewed by the Mission credibly indicate that members of the Palestinian armed groups were not always dressed in a way that distinguished them from the civilians, the Mission found no evidence that Palestinian combatants mingled with the civilian population with the intention of shielding themselves from the attack.”
In other words just because they DID something that enabled them to mingle with civilians and hide themselves doesn’t mean that this was their intention!
Or how about this:
“On the basis of the information it gathered, the Mission finds that there are indications that Palestinian armed groups launched rockets from urban areas. The Mission has not been able to obtain any direct evidence that this was done with the specific intent of shielding the rocket launchers from counterstrikes by the Israeli armed forces.”
So why WERE they doing it then?
In either case, would Goldstone make a similar distinction between the deed and the obvious motive if it were the ISRAELI SOLDIERS he was talking about?
Could I take this opportunity to refer you to the excellent work of Barry Feinstein and Justus Weiner. You won’t like them for the same reasons that you think I won’t like Goldstone and Falk: “because it will be authoritative, well researched & inconvenient to your cause.”
Off topic. Follow the comment rules. Stay on topic. READ THE RULES. I’m serious.
I’m surprised you didn’t say that east Jerusalem was off-topic. Or Israel’s alleged nuclear weapons. Then again, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.
Re Goldstone, you cited him instead of answering my question (also you told me earlier to “move on”). I simply pointed out that Goldstone’s “authoritative” approach is marred by a failure of consistency in connecting premise to conclusion. I gave examples to illustrate. If I’d criticized him without giving examples, you’d have challenged me over my credentials for questioning his scholarship.
OK, move on.
“Martin van Creveld, an Israel military historian has actually noted that Israel’s weapons are pointed in every direction fr. which a threat might come including Europe, Russia, etc. ”
Oh wow! Martin van Creveld said so! And of course because he’s Israeli everything he says must be true! No? Oh sorry, because he’s Israeli, anything that he says that can be held against Israel must be true!
One academic’s opinion is just that: an OPINION.
Martin Van Creveld is one of the most distinguished military historians in the world. What are your credentials to smear him?
He may be very respected indeed. His opinion however is just that. It is not an absolute test of truth.
It is not an opinion. He is a military historian and as such has deep contacts within the IDF. He knows whereof he speaks as opposed to you, who doesn’t.
Does that make him privy to information which – if it existed at all – would be classified Top Secret?
That while we often hear about the expulsion of Arabs from the areas that the Israelis captured in the 1948 war, we don’t hear about the expulsion of Jews from the areas captured by the Jordanians. Not a single Jew was permitted to remain in those territories.
Hard to conjure up any sympathy here, Neil. At least they had somewhere to go; they had their “Israel.” Where could the Palestinians go when in 1948 750,000 of them were killed and dispossessed?
My apologies to Richard for going off-topic.
“Hard to conjure up any sympathy here, Neil. At least they had somewhere to go”
This is the recurring theme of the Israel-Arab dispute. When the Israelis do wrong, they’re wicked Israelis and their victims deserve sympathy. When the Arabs do wrong to the Jews (or each other for that matter) there’s a bottomless bag of excuses (“they had somewhere to go” – Duh? So did the Palestinians) and so the Jewish victims deserve no sympathy.
This is why your criticism of Israel regarding the Gaza blockade fails to sway the minds of the one group of people whom you really need to win over: the Israelis. If you tell the Israelis that their suffering is of no consequence and that the wrongs the Arabs do them is not equally deserving of condemnation then they are hardly going to take you seriously on those points where your criticism actually does have some merit.
And if you say that your aim is not to win over the Israelis themselves but to mobilize international support for pressure on Israel, the same flaw in your method applies. By effectively asking the world to accept that Israel deserves blame for its wrongs but the Arabs should be spared any blame for theirs, you undermine your own arguments and render them less effective.
So now I’m confused, Neil.
Is Gaza a separate state or not?
If they are treating them as an enemy combatant, then they are recognizing Gaza as a separate state? That’s what I gathered from your last post.
This would mean that the Geneva Convention would apply, and that the occupation is illegal, wouldn’t it?
“Is Gaza a separate state or not?”
Not yet, but it will probably become the “Bangla Desh” of the Middle East. In addition to its geophysical separation, there also appears to be an ideology gulf that differentiates them from the people of the West Bank. Whether this has to do with their differing origins or their different circumstances is a matter of opinion.
“If they are treating them as an enemy combatant, then they are recognizing Gaza as a separate state? That’s what I gathered from your last post.”
I hope you’re not going to come back with that old chestnut that “a country cannot be partially occupied any more than a woman can be partially pregnant” that I’ve heard from other quarters in this thread. The analogy is of course false. A country CAN be partially occupied, as anyone who knows about the German occupation of the (British) Channel Islands can attest.
“This would mean that the Geneva Convention would apply, and that the occupation is illegal, wouldn’t it?”
What occupation? The Israelis withdrew! And an occupation is not necessarily illegal. It depends on whether it is offensive or defensive. Israel occupied both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (until the pullout) in self-defence. That is legal.
What never ceases to amaze me is how the Israeli apologist shamefacedly betray both their ignorance and racism in testifying to facts or judgments about which they have no authority or knowledge. Take this as one example. You have absoulutely no way of knowing what would happen in Gaza if Israel & Egypt gave it half a chance to function on its own–let alone join in w. the W. Bank in some form of political-economic union. The Palestinian people are, like the Israelis, infinitely nimble & capable of improvising economic solutions to their problems if given half a chance to do so.
So quit mouthing stupidity & do what you can to force Israel to allow Gaza to be free to develop under its own power.
More ignonrance. Israel’s Occupation of Gaza is illegal, period. There is no distinction bet. offensive or defensive. You’ve made it up. Besides, no one outside you & Israel concedes that this Occupation is “defensive.”
“ignorance and racism”
More unwarranted insults. But perhaps I should have explained the Bangla Desh analogy rather than assuming that it would be understood. I was not trying to be insulting either to Bangla Desh or to the people of Gaza. What I meant that there is an inherent practical difficulty in holding together a country consisting of two physically separated areas (like East and West Pakistan before the creation of Bangla Desh).
To this it must be added that there is no a priori reason to assume that the people of Gaza and the West Bank are identical in their outlook. They have different histories, different problems and even – yes let’s face it – different origins. (The invasion of parts of Ottoman Palestine/Syria by the Egyptian Mohamed Ali, between 1831 and 1840, left a demographic legacy in Gaza and similarly, inter-war immigration from Transjordan left a lasting demographic imprint on the West Bank and its surroundings.)
No doubt some of your supporters might seize upon this aspect to argue the case against having Israel in between the West Bank and Gaza. But we must be realistic. The cohesion between Gaza and the West Bank is liable to weaken over time in the same way that Pakistan eventually fragmented, and for substantially the same reasons.
As to the distinction between offensive and defensive occupation, remember what happened at the end of the second world war? Germany was occupied by the allies. Was this illegal? No. Because it was defensive.
As to whether or not the INITIAL Israeli occupation (in 1967) was offensive, bear in mind that Israel’s original seizure of Gaza and Sinai from Egypt in 1967 was in direct response to the illegal Egyptian blockade of the Straits of Tiran, cutting off Israel’s southern import route – a blockade no less!
They are only currently separated because Israel has thus decreed it. Under normal circumstances there are close ties between Gaza and the West Bank. And contrary to what you claim, the two areas have very similar outlooks about many things. While it is true that Hamas preponderated in Gaza and Fatah in the W. Bank, before the coup induced originally by the U.S. there were Fatah supporters in Gaza and Hamas supporters in the W. Bank. YOu of course know nothing about that because you know almost nothing about real Palestinians or the W. Bank or Gaza.
No, it won’t. They’re only an hr. car ride away from each other ferchrissakes. This isn’t East & West Pakistan, which were separated by huge distances.
Hogwash. Show me a single provision of international law that distinguishes between offensive & defensive occupations. YOu’re simply makin’ it up as you go along. No one disputed the German occupation after WWII including the Germans themselves. Palestinians and entire world oppose Israel’s occupation.
I did mean to get back to you on this chestnut. True, your example of Britain occupying parts of France and the example of the Channel Islands and Germany are proof that indeed a state can be partially occupied. Hence in theory Israel could still occupy the West Bank but not the Gaza strip and the pregnancy analogy does not work in that very specific context situation.
However, the fact remains, at present Israel is still seen as the occupying power by international bodies of all of the Palestinian territory including Gaza even though there are no permanent forces on the ground in Gaza.
The ICRC, which upholds the Geneva convention and its addenda such as the Hague regulations, and the UN, in particular the Security Council and the General Assembly, have not changed their views on the status of Gaza after the withdrawal, hence still recognize Israel as the occupying force.
The International Court of Justice too still views Israel as the occupying power of all of the Palestinian territory, which includes East Jerusalem by the way.
Further, the Convention on the Territorial Sea and the Contiguous Zone of 1958, to which Israel is a party, demands that ships are allowed to dock in Gaza. According to the convention, Israel as the occupying force (see above) is not allowed to block ships from docking at the Gaza port but it does have the right to search the cargo to ensure the contents are humanitarian. If there is no port that would be equipped well enough to handle all the ships, Israel is obliged to route the cargo through its territory.
So in a nutshell, even though Israel is not occupying Gaza anymore, everyone is still saying it is, and this is why Israel is not allowed to block ships from docking at the Gaza port?
It is not people that say that but the law.
What part of Steffen’s discourse on international law as it applies to Gaza didn’t you understand? Israel occupies Gaza under every convention of such law. Just because you say the moon is green doesn’t mean anyone else has to believe you. And trust me, we don’t.
Hi Steffan , can you give me the reference so that I can check out that International Court ruling. I’d like to take a look at their legal reasoning and not just the bottom line – especially with regard to the eastern parts of the City of Jerusalem.
BTW, your response to Shai was oversimplified. Presumably the rulings you cited are based on the purported APPLICATION of the law to the facts and not merely the law in isolation. So it is meaningless to say “It is not people that say that but the law,” because in order to apply the law to the facts, they would first have to make a finding as to what those fact are.
Shai’s point was that the finding of fact in the instant case is hard to reconcile with reality. You may wish to dispute this, but you should not dismiss it glibly with an answer that obscures the distinction between the application of law and the finding of fact.
This is technically not correct. Once a law becomes effective, for example when it passed the hurdles through a parliament or as in this case when respective treaties are sgined, it applies automatically. Nothing else is required at this point for the law to apply but the mere existence of the law itself.
It is only when there is a dispute or uncertainty that an authorised and competent body, typically a court though exclusively, is consulted to rule on the matter. Once the ruling is pronounced and confirms that a particular law applies, then it applies, regardless of the opinion of those affected by the law.
The Israeli government may not agree with these rulings but to my knowledge it is the only government in the world to do so.
There is no one single reference document that sums up all these rulings but I am confident you will be able to track down the various manifestations of these rulings by the respective bodies for your research yourself and perhaps make it the subject of your next book.
Steffan, you’re confusing the EXISTENCE of a law with a legal RULING. The law may say that countries have certain obligations towards territories that they occupy. But it is a LEGAL RULING that says “Country X IS IN FACT occupying territory Y and is in breach of its obligations thereto.”
There IS a dispute and uncertainty in the instant case and it has already been mentioned here. You cited rulings by various bodies, only one of which is competent to rule on legal matters (the International Court). That was why I requested the rulings of that body in particular
I have in fact read extensively on these matters as my brother-in-law is an international lawyer in Israel. But I cannot give my reasons for disagreeing with you without risking the ire of Mr Silverstein, who has already expressed his indignation towards me in no uncertain terms.
No, there is no dispute & no uncertainty in the international community. None whatsoever. Only you & the rest of the hasbarists attempt to gin up doubt uncertainty about the status of Gaza as occupied by Israel. Once again. GET OFF THE TOPIC. I’m not interested in maundering on again about this.
Does that mean that Son of Sam’s brother in law is an expert in serial killing because he’s read extensively on that subject? I assure you that whatever expertise yr brother in law may have hasn’t worn off on you.
“Does that mean that Son of Sam’s brother in law is an expert in serial killing because he’s read extensively on that subject?”
I’m not sure what you’re trying to imply with that spurious analogy: that a man with a doctorate in law is the same as a mass murderer? Or only when the Doctor of Law has expressed views favourable to Israel?
“I assure you that whatever expertise yr brother in law may have hasn’t worn off on you.”
On the contrary. When I argue the facts and the law you tell me to drop the subject. The very fact that you have told me to “Once again. GET OFF THE TOPIC” means that your only refutation to my arguments is to silence them. What better confession can you give of my intellectual superiority and wisdom?
“No, there is no dispute & no uncertainty in the international community. None whatsoever.”
What exactly do you think a dispute is? If the accused disputes the accusation then BY DEFINITION there is a dispute. And if there is a ruling against Israel by the ICJ then why do you not cite it?
There is a dispute only because one party, one nation in the entire world disputes the illegality of the siege & that party is Israel. Israel is a minority of one. Hence no dispute & Israel hasn’t a leg to stand on. Or if it has a leg it is a peg leg.
The ruling by the ICJ will come in due course. I expect Turkey or some similar party may refer this incident to the ICJ.
I am not confusing the existence of a law with a ruling. I will say it just one more time: for a law to apply, it DOES NOT require a judge to say so, laws apply automatically.
The ICJ and the other competent bodies, such as the UN Security Council and the General Assembly, and the ICRC, have on various occasions by various vehicles (UN SS and GA resolutions, ICJ Advisory Opinions, ICRC Advisory Opinions) confirmed that the Palestinian territory is occupied by Israel, including East Jerusalem and including Gaza post-disengagement. There are no ‘buts’, ‘ifs’ or ‘maybes’ here.
If the government of a state that is affected by the law disputes that the law actually applies, it can of course call upon the ICJ to rule on the matter. However, so far the government of Israel has not called upon the ICJ to do that and so nothing changes.
The law still applies.
“I will say it just one more time: for a law to apply, it DOES NOT require a judge to say so, laws apply automatically. ”
Steffan you are absolutely right: the law applies to all relevant situations. Thus, for example, the LAW against murder applies to ALL murders. But only a COURT can say if a particular accused individual actually committed a particular alleged murder. That is why I asked if you could give me the reference: so that I can check it out.
And the last time I checked, the onus probandi fell on the shoulders of the accuser, not the accused.
Whilst I can understand your inability to find a relevant ruling (from a legal body such as the ICJ not a political body such as the Security Council or General Assembly) it doesn’t really give me much to go on, when all you can say is “look it up.”
“They are only currently separated because Israel has thus decreed it.”
They are separated physically because Israel is in between them – just as India was physically between East and West Pakistan.
“While it is true that Hamas preponderated in Gaza and Fatah in the W. Bank, before the coup induced originally by the U.S. there were Fatah supporters in Gaza and Hamas supporters in the W. Bank.”
And remind me what happened to the Fatah/PLO supporters in Gaza?
And do you have PROOF that the Americans induced the coup?
“YOu of course know nothing about that because you know almost nothing about real Palestinians or the W. Bank or Gaza.”
Actually I lived in Israel for 20 years and worked with Arabs. I even went through an anti-Israel phase, talking and thought just as you do now. It all changed when I had a discussion with Akram and Mohamed (two of my Arab friends) about Salman Rushdie. I won’t go into it here, because it is off-topic, but suffice it to say that it changed my outlook again and made me realize that while I was criticizing Israel from a standpoint of western liberalism, my Arab friends were seeing matters through the eyes of embryonic theocracy to such an extent that they were baying for the blood of a man who supported the Palestinian cause.
“Hogwash. Show me a single provision of international law that distinguishes between offensive & defensive occupations.”
You acknowledged it yourself when you accepted that ” No one disputed the German occupation after WWII” The occupation of Japan was also legal. Some would argue the same of the Anglo-American occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Trust me, I am not making it up. Whilst there are some standards that apply equally to offensive and defensive occupations, they are not treated identically in international law. An offensive occupation is illegal per se. A defensive one is not.
Don’t be a dolt. Israel prohibits any intercourse bet. the two areas. That’s what I mean & anyone w half a brain would’ve realized that.
No, I’d rather remind you of the coup that Bush’s ME staffers instigated supported by a video I feature here in which Abbas is heard to tell his security chief to “massacre them” or words to that effect. Not to mention the tremendous love with which Mohammed Dahlan is feted in Gaza thanks to the flowers he’d strewn over his Hamas friends there. There was plenty of hatred & violence to go around on both sides, thank you. But why would you leave out Fatah’s violence I wonder?
Bwana love native peoples. Bwana great white wonder. That’s wonderful! You even worked w. an Arab!
I’m not in an anti-Israel phase. ANother comment rule violation. Read them. I’ve explained my views on this about 100 times & yet you continue to mischaracterize them. Second, you never talked, thought or wrote just as I do. Never. So don’t even go there. YOu & I have nothing in common. Nothing.
Bwana even talks to Arabs. How kind of you!
I’d rather not. ONce again, provide credible proof that there is any such thing in international law as a defensive & offensive occupation. This is my 2nd request.
“Don’t be a dolt. Israel prohibits any intercourse bet. the two areas. That’s what I mean & anyone w half a brain would’ve realized that.”
No YOU don’t be a dolt. In this era of modern communications, there is no way Israel could prevent contact between the Judea/Samaria and Gaza. Anyone with half a brain would realize that. (Language justified by precedent.)
“No, I’d rather remind you of the coup that Bush’s ME staffers instigated supported by a video I feature here in which Abbas is heard to tell his security chief to “massacre them” or words to that effect.”
In other words you’d rather talk about what Bush’s ME staffers SAID than what Hamas fighters DID.
“There was plenty of hatred & violence to go around on both sides, thank you.”
Finally an admission of that fact!
“But why would you leave out Fatah’s violence I wonder?”
Why have you taken so long to acknowledge Hamas violence?
“Bwana love native peoples. Bwana great white wonder. That’s wonderful! You even worked w. an Arab!”
If that’s the best you can do then I think I’ll gracefully except your surrender from the serious debating ground. You falsely claimed that I knew nothing of Arabs. I cited factual evidence to the contrary and you – showing your inability to argue the facts – revert to type.
“I’m not in an anti-Israel phase. ANother comment rule violation. Read them. I’ve explained my views on this about 100 times & yet you continue to mischaracterize them.”
You are desperately seeking pretexts to find comment rule violations. Firstly I did not say that you are going through an anti-Israel phase. I said that I did and that at the time my comments then were similar to yours now. Secondly I didn’t say that you (or I) was against Israel’s existence. “Anti-Israel” includes those who are highly critical of Israel, just like if one says some one is “anti-American” that doesn’t mean they are against America’s existence, but that they are highly critical of America. I don’t see how you can deny that you are anti-Israel in the generally understood sense of the word – i.e. highly critical of Israel.
“Second, you never talked, thought or wrote just as I do. Never. So don’t even go there. YOu & I have nothing in common. Nothing.”
Take a deep breath and calm down. I wouldn’t want you to get over-excited. You do not know what I have said or written in the past. I d know what you have said and written in the present, so I am better qualified than you to note the similarities. It may hurt your feelings that I once thought as you do but have since grown up, but it is a fact.
“Bwana even talks to Arabs. How kind of you!”
Once again, the stand-up routine instead of serious argument. Are you just unwinding with a bit of humour or did you really manage to miss the point that I learned about Arabs by talking to them and listening to them (as equals) not second hand?
“ONce again, provide credible proof that there is any such thing in international law as a defensive & offensive occupation. This is my 2nd request.”
International law takes two forms: formal treaties and established precedent (also known as “Custom and Practice”). We know from the WW2 examples that defensive occupations are legal. Ditto for the US in North Korea. Ditto for the US in Afghanistan. Secondly, we know from the precedent of the Nuremberg trials that a distinction is made between waging an offensive and a defensive WAR (see http://www.historynet.com/nuremberg-trial.htm). Therefore it follows that the consequences of such wars (i.e. offensive or defensive occupations) are also to be treated differently.
If you can cite any International Treaty that says that ALL occupations are inherently illegal, then feel free to present it.
First, do NOT use those terms in this blog. They are unacceptable. Second, can you name me the last time Israel allowed anyone to travel from Gaza to the West Bank for any purpose? They haven’t. There is an effective blockade bet the 2 entities maintained by Israel. They can’t permit internet communication or perhaps phone calls, but they can and do prevent everything else.
The violence was planned & instigated by David Welch & Eliot Abrams who persuaded Abbas to lauch a coup. SO yes, I’m more interested in who began the violence than in who responded to it by defending themselves & in the process committe violence of their own.
You don’t read my blog. You have no idea what I’ve written on this subject though you could easily do a minimal amt. of research & find out before revealing yr abject ignorance. I have spoken about Hamas violence on numerous occasions. The next time you come close to saying anything like this I will consider it a lie since you now know the truth.
That’s not what I claimed. You know nothing about Palestinians, which is not the same. And yr “evidence” that you are learned in the subject comes from having an Arab friend. Well, what a wonder!
I assure nothing you have ever said in yr life past or present about anything related to Israel resembles my views & I would ask that you not make such a claim as it insults me.
NO. I am highly critical of Israeli policies but not of Israel’s existence. I hate the term anti-Israel as people like you use it w. such imprecision that you throw practically anyone who’s ever said an unkind word about Israel or its policies together.
I don’t give a flying fig whether you understand or accept this important distinction. You won’t make this claim again about my views here as it is a lie. I reject it emphatically.
Don’t tell me what to do, what to feel, & don’t you dare be condescending to me. Everything you write here will now be moderated.
I repeat. My views and yours past & present have nothing in common. You know nothing of my views going back earlier than 2 wks ago when you discovered this blog. You NEVER thought the same way as I about Israel, NEVER.
I very seriously doubt it. You don’t listen to or learn anything fr. anyone here, why would you ever have behaved differently in the past?
You still have presented absolutely no evidence whatsoever that there is a concept of defensive or offensive occupations. Case dismissed.
“First, do NOT use those terms [Judea and Samaria] in this blog. They are unacceptable.”
They are the historic names. The name “West Bank” derives from the contradistinction between the “East Bank” of Jordan. And before you say that this meant the Jordan RIVER, let me remind you (a) that if so the term would apply either just to the bank itself or the entire central area of Israel as well (b) that the term came to be used at the same time as the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan changed its name to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
In other words, the West Bank is the term that came about when Transjordan annexed the West Bank after the Jericho Conference. I do not know what your position is on the legality of that annexation at the time. But I assume, based on your writings here, that your current position is that the territory in question should form part of a Palestinian State. So why, I wonder, do you insist on using a term specifically associated with the Jordanian annexation instead of the historic names?
In any case, if I had been trying to use propaganda, I would have said “Yehuda and Shomron.” The fact that I used the English forms of the historic names is proof of my intellectual integrity.
“Second, can you name me the last time Israel allowed anyone to travel from Gaza to the West Bank for any purpose? They haven’t. There is an effective blockade bet the 2 entities maintained by Israel.”
And you think if they lifted the blockade it would all be peace and love and brotherhood? How touching! How naive.
“They can’t permit internet communication or perhaps phone calls, but they can and do prevent everything else.”
I presume you mean “can’t prevent”
“The violence was planned & instigated by David Welch & Eliot Abrams who persuaded Abbas to lauch a coup. SO yes, I’m more interested in who began the violence than in who responded to it by defending themselves & in the process committe violence of their own.”
I saw videos on Youtube of what Hamas did to people suspected of PLO allegiance. I can imagine the outcry if the Israelis had “defended themselves” like that.
“You don’t read my blog. You have no idea what I’ve written on this subject though you could easily do a minimal amt. of research & find out before revealing yr abject ignorance. I have spoken about Hamas violence on numerous occasions. The next time you come close to saying anything like this I will consider it a lie since you now know the truth.”
Yet you had no problem making claims from a position of ignorance of what I do and do not know and who I do and do not understand – and even what I did and didn’t think in the past.
ME “You falsely claimed that I knew nothing of Arabs. I cited factual evidence to the contrary”
YOU “That’s not what I claimed. You know nothing about Palestinians, which is not the same.”
Petty quibbling. Akram was from Nablus and Mohamed was from Tsur Bachar. That makes both of them Palestinian Arabs.
“And yr “evidence” that you are learned in the subject comes from having an Arab friend. Well, what a wonder!”
I don’t have to prove to you that I understand Palestinians and more than you have to prove it to me or to anyone else. And I noticed how you censored a significant sample of what I had learned from my contact with them.
“I assure nothing you have ever said in yr life past or present about anything related to Israel resembles my views”
As you do not have any KNOWLEDGE of what I have said in the PAST, you are not qualified to give such an assurance.
“& I would ask that you not make such a claim as it insults me.”
If you think that claiming such a similarity insults you, spare a thought for the shame I feel in having to admit it!
“NO. I am highly critical of Israeli policies but not of Israel’s existence.”
Which I duly acknowledged. Please re-read what I wrote.
“I hate the term anti-Israel as people like you use it w. such imprecision that you throw practically anyone who’s ever said an unkind word about Israel or its policies together.”
On the contrary, I used it in the generally understood sense. But if you prefer me to refrain, so be it.
“I don’t give a flying fig whether you understand or accept this important distinction. You won’t make this claim again about my views here as it is a lie. I reject it emphatically.”
I used it with reference to myself in the past; the only reference to you was that I had expressed similar views in the past to the views you express now. I even did so on a broadcast on the BBC World Service. I will try to obtain an official transcript so that I can send it to you, but it was nearly 20 years ago so I don’t know how easy it will be to obtain.
“Don’t tell me what to do, what to feel, & don’t you dare be condescending to me. Everything you write here will now be moderated.”
This from the man who has called me “stupid” a “dolt” a “fool” and various other insults (including one that you felt you had to use symbols for). Your response to my earlier FACTUAL statement about my own past views bordered on hysteria. (Go back and read it, if you doubt me!) You do not know what views I have held in the past, but it seems to bother you deeply that some one could have held views similar to yours and then moved away from them. Well I’ve got news for you: I am not alone in that regard. I know many people in Israel who held such views and then became so thoroughly disillusioned with the Palestinians that they moved away from that position.
“I repeat. My views and yours past & present have nothing in common. You know nothing of my views going back earlier than 2 wks ago when you discovered this blog. You NEVER thought the same way as I about Israel, NEVER.”
I never said anything about YOUR past views. I compared your PRESENT views to MY past views. You do not know what MY views were in the past! But I have read your CURRENT views in this blog. And I do not just mean your views on specific technical issues. My analogy is a FACT – and I am not going to recant just because the fact bothers you. If you wish to ban me or censor me because of it, so be it. But you can’t have a dialogue with only one side.
“I very seriously doubt it. You don’t listen to or learn anything fr. anyone here, why would you ever have behaved differently in the past?”
Again, I have always sought to engage with your arguments – and the eloquent arguments of Steffan. Listening does not necessarily mean agreeing. I even responded to Mary, despite her own very interesting style of debate.
“You still have presented absolutely no evidence whatsoever that there is a concept of defensive or offensive occupations.”
I did, but you chose to ignore it. Post-war Germany and Japan, the Nuremberg rulings on prosecuting an offensive war, Anglo-American Afghanistan, America’s incursions into North Korea in the fifties… all good precedents demonstrating the distinction.
No, they are not genuinely historic terms as used in a contemporary context. THey are terms used by the Israeli right & pro Occupation political forces to justify a faux historical connection to the Occupied Territories. No one outside Israel recognizes these terms. Most Israelis do not even use them. Anyone who uses them is a supporter of the Occupation. Hence you will neither use nor justify these terms here. Period. I’m simply not going to enter into discussion about the matter. As far as this blog is concerned this is a matter of settled law & I neither accept nor allow the terms, justification or ideas of the Israeli far right in the political debate. YOu may refer to them by the commonly accepted terms used within Israel & the rest of the world.
When it comes to Israel you have NO intellectual integrity.
Changing the terms of the argument. YOu claimed that Gaza & the W. Bank were naturally disparate culturally, policitically & otherwise, which is patently untrue as any Palestinian can tell you. I countered by saying the only division between the 2 entities has been artificially imposed by Israel. Now that you can”t counter that you claim that the separation enforced by Israel is somehow benign. As long as Israel imposes artificial barriers of ANY sort in the Territories, there can never be peace. It’s up to neither you nor me to know what will happen when things return to normal there. That’s for the Palestinians to work out among themselves & they will w/o yr help or judgment.
Still haven’t bothered to watch the video I feature here of Abbas telling one of his security chiefs to “slaughter them.” So you think Hamas should’ve just laid down & let Fatah slaughter them? And you think that Fatah didn’t engage in acts of savagery & thuggery against Hamas followers bother before & during the coup?
I have absolutely no problem KNOWING (not just claiming) that you & I neither share nor ever have shared any similar views about Israel. Of course, there’s one way you can disprove this & that is by presenting something you wrote that is similar to my views. Though if you did we would have no way of knowing whether what you presented was something you wrote in days when you were anti Israel. But I’d still be curious whether you can do so.
You CAN’T prove you understand Palestinians because you don’t. Everything you say here reveals yr utter ignorance of them. Even the way in which you claim that you know or understand them reveals yr cultural condesenscion.
Frankly, I’d rather not. I have a lot more important things to do w. my time than to spare a thought for you.
Not only do I “prefer” you to refrain, I insist upon it.
Which means you’re in the same boat w. folks like Benny Morris. Welcome to him. I hope you’re a very happy couple. Anyone who turned their back on peace lacked the courage of their convictions & the vision to see the way to peace. And the moral-political consistency to see Israel’s role & blame in the souring of the peace process.
I said “evidence,” which means a legal document or even credible source on international law which adopt those terms. Yr characterization of various situations around the world as offensive or defensive occupations is not a source or evidence. It’s yr opinion.
Oh Lord, it’s right fr. the mouths of both Israeli & U.S. officials who said explicitly that the siege was meant to sour Gazans on Hamas so they would overthrow it. THAT is embodiment of collective punishment. Make someone’s life a living hell & so force them to accede to your will. Only problem, it didn’t work.
I just ran across the McClatchy article re: the siege as collective punishment, not security:
Where can I see a copy of this document that McClatchy claims to have seen.
“I think it means you’re a fatuous fool.”
Once again you show your inability to comply with your own standards and your double standards in not being able to take what you dish out.
I will be quoting you on my blog and exposing the gulf between your standards and your rudeness – as well as your inability to answer my arguments.
Please do. But quote me fully & in context and most importantly provide a link so the few readers you have can enjoy what they find here. I enjoy people like you trying to kick me around. It’s bracing.
“But quote me fully & in context”
I will follow the precedent that you have set herein.
Neil is just illustrating the extent of the hasbara nonsense Israel is shoveling into the public by the truckload. It’s about the only thing I can find about him that is interesting or useful.
“Does that mean that Son of Sam’s brother in law is an expert in serial killing because he’s read extensively on that subject? I assure you that whatever expertise yr brother in law may have hasn’t worn off on you.”
Richard, what exactly makes YOU a specilaist in the israeli – arab conflict?
The list of 20 books you recommend here about the conflict?
The few years (or less? i dunno) you spent in Hebrew Uni?
As far as i know, you werent a member of any negotiation team, not in Oslo or Camp David or in any other case.
You didnt serve in idf, or took a part in hamas/fatah activity.
All of your “knwoledge” is based on stuff you’ve read / been told by people u’ve chosen to believe to.
This comment is way off topic. Stay on topic. Another comment rule…
His questions are simply argumentative, which is the pattern he has shown in his previous so-called comments. Argumentative questions don’t contribute anything useful but are merely meant as antagonism.
I would suggest to UgandaFriend that if he finds fault with this blog and its writer then perhaps he would prefer to exercise his right not to visit this site.
I’m seeing everything here from meaningless pedantry to adolescent attempts at provocation. It is ridiculous to argue about the existence of a law versus an interpretation of that law. It’s pedantry, utterly fatuous, and tedious. The existence of a law is sufficient to render something legal or illegal. A legal opinion is meant to determine whether the law, as it was written, is applicable to a specific set of circumstances. That is why there are judiciaries.
There has also been an interesting development since Richard wrote this piece, the discovery of documentation confirming what we always knew to be true – that the siege on Gaza has nothing to do with security, and everything to do with collective punishment.
“The existence of a law is sufficient to render something legal or illegal. A legal opinion is meant to determine whether the law, as it was written, is applicable to a specific set of circumstances. That is why there are judiciaries. ”
That’s exactly right Mary. The law says such-and-such in XYZ circumstances is illegal. A court says, so-and-so did such and-such in XYZ circumstances therefore so-and-so is guilty. That was why I kept asking for the reference for the legal ruling.
“There has also been an interesting development since Richard wrote this piece, the discovery of documentation confirming what we always knew to be true – that the siege on Gaza has nothing to do with security, and everything to do with collective punishment.”
Here is substantiation that Israel’s siege on Gaza is not for security, but for economic blackmail:
” Lieberman’s words are prima facie evidence of the crime and its motivation. But more corroborating evidence has emerged. McClatchy Newspapers reported today:
“As Israel ordered a slight easing of its blockade of the Gaza Strip Wednesday, McClatchy obtained an Israeli government document that describes the blockade not as a security measure but as “economic warfare” against the Islamist group Hamas, which rules the Palestinian territory.”