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  • How far does Palestinian right to resistance go?


    by Sunny
    22nd January, 2009 at 8:03 pm    

    So I asked below whether Palestinians had the right to struggle for independence. More specifically, I asked if Israel had a right to defend itself, why don’t Palestinians? What right of self-defence are they allowed? And if yes, to what extent would their actions in self-defence be proportional?

    Unsurprisingly, there was complete silence on these questions from many of the usual pro-Israeli commenters. So I put the question again to David T of Harry’s Place on this thread and he accepts that, “Palestinians do have the right to defend themselves.”

    Well, we’re getting somewhere. To what extent do they have that right? What is ‘proportional’? David T responds:

    A variety of things, including military action aimed at Israeli soldiers, that is proportionate and likely to achieve the aims of an independent Palestine. So far, Hamas hasn’t tried any of this. But then Hamas is mostly interested in keeping the crisis going, while executing members of Fatah, in the hope that they’ll be able to realise their goals, as set out in the Hamas Covenant.

    So David T admits kidnapping or killing Israeli soldiers (“military action”) is justifiable. That’s a start. He also says Hamas hasn’t done any of this but they have, remember Gilad Shalit? In other words David T must think his kidnapping is justified as resistance to Israeli occupation?

    This also raises a question of what action, in defence, is proportionate. Fellow writer from Harry’s Place Gene already dismissed criticism that the Israeli strike was disproportionate. So why is Israel allowed to do whatever it takes to ensure its security, and Palestinians are not allowed to do whatever it takes to secure an independent homeland?

    It’s worth clarifying my position. I actually agree with the proportionate doctrine… I’ve already written that I think Hamas don’t really represent the true spirit of freedom fighting since they’re happy to kill their own in order to achieve their aims. But Fatah didn’t do this, did it? And yet Fatah was sidelined for decades, to the point Hamas has become the dominant organisation in Palestinian territories. My issue is that many commentators say Israel should be allowed to do whatever it takes to defend itself, but don’t afford the same right to Palestinians.


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    Filed in: Current affairs,Middle East,Terrorism






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    1. Ms_Xtreme — on 22nd January, 2009 at 8:22 pm  

      Good post Sunny. Military action is always strategic. And for the Palestinians, first Fatah, and now Hamas is their military action. They’re not big enough to form their own “formal” military for the purposes of fighting Israel.

      Albeit, electing Hamas as their forerunners may not have been the brightest idea - but seeing as both sides have been at it for a while - it was bound to happen.

      My issue is that many commentators say Israel should be allowed to do whatever it takes to defend itself, but don’t afford the same right to Palestinians.

      Yep. And then you have idiots falling out of the woodwork disputing Israel’s right to exist to counter such behaviour.

    2. Shamit — on 22nd January, 2009 at 8:35 pm  

      Sunny

      I did give you a very different answer and you did not respond.

    3. David T — on 22nd January, 2009 at 8:35 pm  

      It is worth noting that the treatment of Gilad Shalit itself is likely to breach Article 3 of the Third Geneva Convention.

      If you would like to read an analysis of the legal arguments that apply I would recommend this article which sets it out clearly.

      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article5561997.ece

      There is also a good article on legality by one of our contributors, Adam Le Bor, here:

      http://www.jewcy.com/post/war_crimes

      All of this talk of legality and rights is quite a different question from the following issues:

      - was it wise for Hamas to refuse to renew the ceasefire

      - was it wise for Israel to seek to respond militarily to Hamas

      - in addition to the security barrier, are there other non military steps, or less damaging military steps that can be taken to ensure the safety of Israeli civilians

      and of course the two big ones:

      - after the experience of the Gaza withdrawal, how can Israeli voters be persuaded to back a plan for military withdrawal from the West Bank

      - when, if ever, will Hamas pursue a strategy that designed to produce a secure and prosperous Palestinian state alongside Israel; instead of gunning for the ‘jam tomorrow’ promise of ‘the river to the sea’.

      Incidentally, you should correct your last post. The Mail on Sunday hasn’t withdrawn the article on Azad Ali. It is still on the website:

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1120831/Muslim-civil-servant-suspended-killing-British-troops-justified-blog.html

    4. David T — on 22nd January, 2009 at 8:38 pm  

      “In other words David T must think his kidnapping is justified as resistance to Israeli occupation?”

      Well, it doesn’t appear to have paid dividends for Hamas, does it.

      But perhaps it will.

    5. tim — on 22nd January, 2009 at 9:08 pm  

      “It’s worth clarifying my position. I actually agree with the proportionate doctrine”

      Saddam killed hundreds of thouands.Yet you have always argued that civilian deaths are a part of your objection to the removal of Saddam.

      What was a proporionate response?
      By the Kurds and their supporters for instance.

    6. Mezba — on 22nd January, 2009 at 9:09 pm  

      What both Palestine and Israel need at the moment is a LONG term peace treaty so they both have peace and stability. I am thinking 20 years and UN soldiers to make sure no one breaks the terms of the treaty.

    7. El Cid — on 22nd January, 2009 at 9:10 pm  

      Good stuff Sunny

    8. Anas — on 22nd January, 2009 at 9:33 pm  

      lol @ David T. An israel supporter invoking international law, i think we’ve reached a new depth of absurdity. Excellent article Sunny.

    9. comrade — on 22nd January, 2009 at 9:34 pm  

      What both Palestine and Israel need at the moment is a LONG term peace treaty so they both have peace and stability. I am thinking 20 years and UN soldiers to make sure no one breaks the terms of the treaty.

      I totally agree with you, but only after the creation of a Palestinian State

    10. The Dude — on 22nd January, 2009 at 9:47 pm  

      What both Palestine and Israel need at the moment is for people like David T to shut the fuck up or start speaking common sense. Sunny, you’re letting this “man” (and I use the term loosely) lead us all down the garden path and the road to nowhere. So let’s get back to the original point of this thread. Does HAMAS have the same right as ISRAEL in defending their national interest? Any answer which deviates from “YES”, isn’t a answer and flies in the face of EVERYTHING I know to be right and just. Now I already know people who will tell me different. They will use all kind of jiggery pokery, halls and mirrors to convince me that I’m wrong. These spin doctors are expert at turning black-white and white-black and given half the chance will lead us all to hell. Saddam was a bad man, in a long list of other equally bad men but this should not blind us to the truth that the way he was removed was just as bad, especially for the people left behind to pick up the pieces, the people of Iraq. In the final analysis it was their responsibility to have done that job in the first place. Yesterday the 43rd president of the United States of America was still trying to justify his war against terror in Iraq. And given time and a few books on quantum mechanics I reckon he’ll be able to make a reasonable case, it’s just that I won’t be no longer listening. I suggest others do the same.

    11. Imran Khan — on 22nd January, 2009 at 9:48 pm  

      Surely it would be more beneficial for bothsides to not go to war as that prolongs the inevitable suffering but to negotiate peace.

      What Dave T doesn’t mention in his silly statements is the fact that a prolonged military struggle on either side hardens attitudes and makes peace harder to achieve.

      So the military means is less preferable to the negotiation means.

      The international community need to make the stay in a room until they start making progress on peace then let them out for a short break.

      With Bush out of the way the UN needs to be sent in to patrol the lines to ensure aggression is stopped and the conditions for peace can emerge. This applies to Gaza and the West Bank. If either side don’t like it screw them because this killing by both sides has to stop. The UN can keep them apart, for the time being let the Israelis guard the settlements.

      Once the UN is in open up the Gaza land and sea routes to civilian trade thereby easing the lives of the normal people. At a later date do the same for the West Bank.

      The EU to give a preferential trade treaty to only goods produced in joint business parks to give an incentive to work together.

      Airspace to be controlled by Israel for 5 years but Israel to pay a fee to the Palestinians on a yearly basis and the money to be used for non-military civilian projects to improve the lives of ordinary Palestinians.

      In 5 years the UN and jointly Israe/Palestine begin patrols.

      This creates the conditions for peace.

      In 12 months time Israel establishes low-level consular missions in Muslim countries if they progress peace. Trade routes opened up.

      In 24 months time medium level relations and civilian areas to be given preferential trade agreement.

      After that full relations and trade at conclusion of peace.

      If either side breaks the agreement it is subject to binding worldwide sanctions and aid restrictions.

      That surely is better than defining what level of military action is acceptable. War is a last option not a first.

    12. Ms_Xtreme — on 22nd January, 2009 at 9:57 pm  

      What both Palestine and Israel need at the moment is a LONG term peace treaty so they both have peace and stability. I am thinking 20 years and UN soldiers to make sure no one breaks the terms of the treaty.

      That won’t happen unless territory is decided and agreed upon. Which isn’t happening anytime soon.

      If either side breaks the agreement it is subject to binding worldwide sanctions and aid restrictions.

      Sorry for being cynical - but that will never happen either. See: US vs Iraq.

    13. comrade — on 22nd January, 2009 at 10:13 pm  

      This also raises a question of what action, in defence, is proportionate.

      From 2001 up to now aprox 16 Israelis have been killed by rocket attacks. In the same period 7,000 Palestinian have been killed. 16,000 artillery shells have been fired into Gaza in the last two years.

      If there was no Palestinian Resistants, then, there would be no talk of a Palestinian State. We need to look at the IRA, It was their long protected armed struggle that brought the British to the negotiating table. Any form of resistants is justied if your Land is occupied and occupation is only sustained by brute force.

      Why can’t the Palestinians have weapons to fight the occupation?

      Why is the US suppling weapons to Israel to sustain the occupation? [3 billion dollers}

    14. cjcjc — on 22nd January, 2009 at 10:34 pm  

      Against what exactly are the Hamas rockets meant to be “defending”?

      Do you believe that despite the unilateral withdrawal that Gaza was until recently still “occupied”?

      And does that justify random rocket attacks?

      You seem to be taking a purely rhetorical position.

      comrade - I believe that it was essentially the military *defeat* of the IRA which brought/forced them to the table

    15. Boyo — on 22nd January, 2009 at 10:36 pm  

      There was “silence” from me Sunny because I am not on PP 100 per cent of my time. But now I’m home…

      You named me specifically and asked - in your inimitable fashion - why we “defenders of Israel” would not justify the Palestinian right to defend themselves. Earlier on in the thread I had remarked that my sympathy for both sides was often interpreted as siding with Israel. Feel free to dig up any examples of my actually doing so, but I think my post of 28 Dec, if long-winded, was pretty typical:
      ____________________________________________

      “if there is any war it is plainly between Israel and Hamas, not the Palestinians, many of whom do not live in Gaza.

      As to the rights and wrongs…

      Israel and Hamas are in their own ways bedfellows: both born of the crucible of oppression and their responses are consequently shaped by it. It is therefore difficult for outsiders to conceive why they respond the way they do.

      A friend working for an NGO over there was very anti-Israeli, muttering “Nazis” every time we got stopped at a check-point until I said: who do you think the Nazis were?

      - What do you mean?
      - The Nazis were US, cultural Christians: they just industrialised what we had been doing for centuries and helped make the Israelis what they are - taught them that only might was right because it was a lesson WE had been teaching them for 2000 years while of course preaching love, peace, and understanding.

      Before we (as cultural Christians) condemn the Israelis, we should condemn ourselves.

      Sadly this is a point lost on many of the posters here.

      I suspect that if the Islamic world did not have a Palestine, it would need to invent one. It has become their totem of grievance yet anyone with half a grasp of the history (has anyone who comments here actually read any further than their sophomore year I sometimes wonder) would know that the Palestinian people have continually been betrayed by other Arab nations as well as their own leadership.

      Hamas was a cry for help by a desperate people, but like an ailing person reaching for a cyanide cure. As utopian ideologues they have every interest to sustain conflict - it is the only condition under which their organisation can survive, collapsing as it would under the weight of its own contradictions if it had to fight the far harder battle of peace.

      Those truly responsible for this tragedy - the Christians and powerful Muslim states - are like the parents of a pair of disturbed infants battling it out at their feet who shake their heads and say “I don’t know where they get it from”.

      ___________________________________

      Ok, it was a bit tortuous and naturally attracted some snide remarks, but at least I try to see the protagonists for what they are - people - rather than playing angels and demons. I’m only a “defender of Israel” in so much as that means resisting its demonisation as I would resist that of any other people. It’s ironic many of the posters here who have gloried in hate are so sensitive to their own ethnic and cultural status,

    16. Boyo — on 22nd January, 2009 at 10:50 pm  

      Oh and as for defence - the Palestinians CAN do what they like, as can the Israelis. I wasn’t taking sides, BUT I felt it was a tragedy because Hamas had no hope of achieving their aims and were clearly driven for ideological reasons to continue the fighting. I’ve said before - Israel is fighting a classic war for territory and security, while Hamas for ideology. The Israelis can negotiate over territory, but not their right to exist.

      But there I go again - “defending Israel” by refusing to demonise them.

    17. comrade — on 22nd January, 2009 at 10:56 pm  

      I believe that it was essentially the military *defeat* of the IRA which brought/forced them to the table

      cjcjc, I believe it was the millitary stalemate that brought the two sides to the table. The British had admitted they counld not defeat the IRA, that’s a known fact. The republican movement still refuses to reconize the sovereign of the UK over Irland as a whole.

    18. blah — on 22nd January, 2009 at 11:36 pm  

      “So David T admits kidnapping or killing Israeli soldiers (”military action”) is justifiable. That’s a start. He also says Hamas hasn’t done any of this but they have, remember Gilad Shalit? In other words David T must think his kidnapping is justified as resistance to Israeli occupation?”

      And David T’s website Harrys Place for ages had a banner of Shalit on it saying “Gilad Shalit human being J E W” (apparently this is suppose to entitle him to special treatment; perhaps fighting back against a Jewish soldier who has invaded your land is anti-semitic)

      while here he piously tells us that Shalit is legitame because he was a soldier

      What a hypocritical piece of trash he is!!!

    19. blah — on 22nd January, 2009 at 11:39 pm  

      “Against what exactly are the Hamas rockets meant to be “defending”?”

      1)The West Bank and East Jerusalem are still occupied
      2) Hamas rockets were retaliation for Israels killing of Palestinians in Gaza which it continued during the ceasefire

      “Do you believe that despite the unilateral withdrawal that Gaza was until recently still “occupied”?”

      What else would you call a terrirtory sealed off and controlled by Israel from land sea and air?

    20. blah — on 22nd January, 2009 at 11:42 pm  

      Mezba

      “What both Palestine and Israel need at the moment is a LONG term peace treaty so they both have peace and stability. I am thinking 20 years and UN soldiers to make sure no one breaks the terms of the treaty.”

      Too true. The Israelis being a decent country rather than a band of international outlaws really respect the UN- except when they are ignoring 60+ of their resolutions or bombing their schools, building and staff

    21. douglas clark — on 22nd January, 2009 at 11:46 pm  

      blah @ 19,

      The most difficult part of any defence of Gaza, or Hamas come to that, is the rockets. In fact, I’d go as far as to say they are indefensible and incredibly stupid to boot.

      Hamas are a shower of idiots. The citizens of Gaza are patsies. Dead patsies, even. It is a disgusting way to treat your electorate, no matter how just your cause.

    22. blah — on 22nd January, 2009 at 11:48 pm  

      Boyo

      “I suspect that if the Islamic world did not have a Palestine, it would need to invent one”.

      And if Israel didnt have a holocaust it would need to do likewise.

      ” It has become their totem of grievance yet anyone with half a grasp of the history (has anyone who comments here actually read any further than their sophomore year I sometimes wonder) would know that the Palestinian people have continually been betrayed by other Arab nations as well as their own leadership.”

      Quite. But it is not other Arab nations who are occupying its land. Its Israel.

      So the Palestinians have had bad leadership - but when they get rid of that leadership as in Gaza they should be starved - Israeli democracy in action!!!

      “Hamas was a cry for help by a desperate people, but like an ailing person reaching for a cyanide cure. As utopian ideologues they have every interest to sustain conflict - it is the only condition under which their organisation can survive, collapsing as it would under the weight of its own contradictions if it had to fight the far harder battle of peace.”

      Hamas was elected in Gaza because Fatah had been in charge of Palestinian affairs for 40 years and were venal and corrupt. Hamas meanwhile operated numerous social servies for the people

      “Those truly responsible for this tragedy - the Christians and powerful Muslim states”

      hahhha - powerful Muslim states? What planet are you on ? If they were that powerful why would there be a grievance over Palestine.They would have defeated Israel a long time ago.

    23. Ann Frank — on 22nd January, 2009 at 11:59 pm  

      nice piece sunny

    24. douglas clark — on 22nd January, 2009 at 11:59 pm  

      Boyo @ 16,

      It is pretty plain that Israel is not fighting to gain territory. Else, why have they withdrawn from Sinai, else why have they, now, withdrawn from Gaza?

      Could we at least attempt to stick to a few facts around here?

      Security, yes. Territory, no.

    25. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:05 am  

      A few points in response to everyone:

      What was a proporionate response?
      By the Kurds and their supporters for instance.

      Tim - I’d be perfectly happy for Kurds and their supporters, and the Shia groups rising up against Saddam. I was opposed to the war because:
      1) bush was lying about the threat he posed to the west
      2) He lied about everything related to the war, incl the Al-Qaeda / Saddam link
      3) He had no interest in nation building after invasion
      4) He was surrounded by fuckwits
      5) It wasn’t a humanitarian war otherwise you’d be calling for an invasion of North Korea right now.

      David T:
      It is worth noting that the treatment of Gilad Shalit itself is likely to breach Article 3 of the Third Geneva Convention.

      If your concern is Geneva Conventions, why don’t you raise that point when Israeli govt breaches the Geneva conventions?
      For example, using White Phosphorous?

      cjcjc
      Do you believe that despite the unilateral withdrawal that Gaza was until recently still “occupied”?

      And does that justify random rocket attacks?

      I know you read newspapers a lot so I know you’re not THAT ignorant. Or would you like me to remind you about the illegal settlements, the wall (that breaches Palestinian territory and the blockade?

      What would be the proportionate response to some other country blockading the United Kingdom? Please let me know.

      Boyo:
      I suspect that if the Islamic world did not have a Palestine, it would need to invent one.

      I’m afraid that isn’t an argument, that’s prejudice.

      Israel and Hamas are in their own ways bedfellows: both born of the crucible of oppression and their responses are consequently shaped by it. It is therefore difficult for outsiders to conceive why they respond the way they do

      Agreed.

      Hamas was a cry for help by a desperate people, but like an ailing person reaching for a cyanide cure

      You say desperate people, but then anyone who pipes up to point out their desperate is accused of anti-semitism by you. Doesn’t make you very impartial.

    26. douglas clark — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:05 am  

      blah,

      No-one is denying that Hamas had a grass roots organisation. But what they also have is a completely stupid and unachievable objective. The two are mutually incompatible.

    27. blah — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:05 am  

      douglas clark

      “It is pretty plain that Israel is not fighting to gain territory. Else, why have they withdrawn from Sinai, else why have they, now, withdrawn from Gaza?”

      The fact that Israel isnt interested in land grabs in a vast desertor in a swamp like Gaza seems to have blinded you to the fact they are stealing most of occupied East Jerusalem and the best land in the West Bank and have been since 1967 , even during “peace” negotiations

    28. Katy Newton — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:15 am  

      I think I’ve asked you this before, Sunny, but you’ve probably missed it, so I’ll raise it again. It’s clear that you have come to the conclusion that the Israeli blockade of Gaza justifies Hamas rocket attacks on Israeli citizens, or at least that’s how I read what you say here. If that’s right, what do you say about the fact that for the several months in 2005 after Israel had withdrawn from Gaza and before the blockade was put in place, Hamas moved fighters into the land vacated by Israeli settlers and fired rockets from those position into Israel?

      I’m interested to know whether you think that that action by Hamas, at a time when no blockade was in place, constituted self-defence or aggression.

      If it did constitute aggression, do you consider that Israel’s blockade was, at that time, a disproportionate response?

      If so, what do you think Israel should have done at that time about the missiles that were being directed at its civilians?

      (edit): by which I mean, really: what proportionate action could Israel take that would be effective to stop Hamas, the government of Gaza, from attacking its civilians?

    29. blah — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:22 am  

      Douglas Clark

      “blah,

      No-one is denying that Hamas had a grass roots organisation. But what they also have is a completely stupid and unachievable objective. The two are mutually incompatible.”

      Quite. We both agree Hamas’ (or some of them) objective of getting back all the land stolen by Israel is unacheivable . Which is why Israel slaughtering Gazans , just before an election and in the change over period of a US president, because Hamas has these aims is so cynical not to say evil.

      Its rather like a heavyweight boxer putting the 5 year old kid, he had previously beaten up in a coma because the boy threatened to kill him.

      But hey we need to understand why the heavy weight beats up the 5 year old. He had an extremely traumatic childhood and is clearly mentally imbalanced.

    30. douglas clark — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:27 am  

      blah @ 27,

      No. It hasn’t blinded me to that at all. Of course Israel has absolutely no right whatsoever to claim land on the West Bank, and I totally abhor that. I am not, frankly, up to speed on the East Jerusalem situation, but my answer for Jerusalem has always been to make it a UN governed entity. It has too many religious connotations to be held by any one state.

      Neither am I blind to the fact that settlers are something Israel should control, and doesn’t.

    31. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:30 am  

      If that’s right, what do you say about the fact that for the several months in 2005 after Israel had withdrawn from Gaza and before the blockade was put in place, Hamas moved fighters into the land vacated by Israeli settlers and fired rockets from those position into Israel?

      Supporters of Hamas, which I’m not, would simply point to the fact that there are still a lot of Palestinian territories occupied by Israel; there are still loads of illegal settler settlements that still have to be dismantled (except the Israeli govt has expanded on them) and that Palestine is nowhere nearer to being established as an independent state.

      It’s a bit like India being occupied by the British Raj, and then you say - well, we’re allowing you do more things on your land now, why are you hating on us?

      This conflict won’t be resolved until Palestine is an independent state on the 1967 agreed borders. It won’t be resolved until Hamas accept the right for Israel to exist.

      But you can’t use that incident as an example to say that Israel is committed to peace while Palestinians are not… especially since Israel still occupied portions of Palestine. No?

    32. douglas clark — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:39 am  

      Blah @ 29,

      I think I have consistently said that I consider the Israeli action over Gaza was and is a humanitarian disaster.

      Quite how you defend Hamas, who were after all firing missiles into Israel, before the attack, is up to you. I can’t rationalise it, myself. It does, as you say, seem to be the actions of a five year old.

      Remember when you were five? Not much wisdom but a hell of a lot of courage.

    33. Charlie Coyle — on 23rd January, 2009 at 2:56 am  

      As someone with no particular axe to grind I find this whole argument regarding proportionality in the Palestinian v Israel conflict to be ridiculous. Of course Israel has the right to defend its self and should use all the force necessary to do so. The number of enemy killed whether military or civilian in doing so is totally immaterial. When Germany started to bomb British cities in WWII Britain defended its self by carpet-bombing German cities. In the process 20 times more German civilians were killed than British civilians. To end the war in the Pacific, America dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The civilian death toll was horrendous and the effect is still being felt today. But, on most conservative reckonings, it saved approximately 1.5 million unnecessary casualties if the Pacific war had continued.

      Furthermore, whilst Israel claims to do its best to target only military objectives, Hamas appears not to. On Hamas’s own account it has publicly stated that it aims its rockets at Israeli towns solely to kill and terrorise civilians. In fact, there seems to be sufficient evidence that Hamas uses its own civilians as shields not only in this recent conflict but also for their past and current indiscriminate rocket attacks on Israeli towns.

      It must also be pointed out that the main reason why the Israeli civilian death toll has been ‘proportinally’ lower is only because A) Hamas rockets are impossible to aim with any accuracy and fall mainly in open space and B) The Israeli government have built sufficient bomb shelters and an adequate warning system to safe-guard as many Israeli civilians from these attacks as possible. Something that Hamas has not bothered to do for its own civilian population.

    34. douglas clark — on 23rd January, 2009 at 3:32 am  

      Charlie Coyle,

      Could I just comment that your web site appears to be down?

      On the substantive points you make, it is perhaps worth pointing out that British and American bombing of Germany was not contemporaneous with German bombing of the UK. It was indeed a foul reaction to German fatuity. It was they, I think you’ll find, that dropped bombs and missiles on London. V1′s perhaps, V2′s even? Try searching Google, or something.

      Oh, you are an apologist for the atomic bomb are you?:

      To end the war in the Pacific, America dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The civilian death toll was horrendous and the effect is still being felt today. But, on most conservative reckonings, it saved approximately 1.5 million unnecessary casualties if the Pacific war had continued.

      You do not know that. You think it, but you do not know it.

      Oliver Kamm thinks he knows it too. So you are in good company.

    35. Imran Khan — on 23rd January, 2009 at 3:44 am  

      Katy - “If that’s right, what do you say about the fact that for the several months in 2005 after Israel had withdrawn from Gaza and before the blockade was put in place, Hamas moved fighters into the land vacated by Israeli settlers and fired rockets from those position into Israel?”

      Israel never truely withdraw from the border of Gaza and has always controlled the sea and land borders and therein lies the problem. They withdrew from the land but continued control of the border.

      That is self-defeating as it provides the fuel for resentment.

      http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/08/10/AR2005081000713.html
      “What will happen after the evacuation?

      The Palestinian National Authority (PNA) will administer Gaza while Israel will continue to control its borders, coastline and airspace. The biggest change for Palestinians will be that the tight travel restrictions that Israel has imposed within the territory will be lifted. The Palestinians hope to build apartment buildings on the site of the demolished Israeli homes.”

      In addition Katy this is what Sharon said and then never delivered:

      http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Guide+to+the+Peace+Process/Israeli+Disengagement+Plan+20-Jan-2005.htm#doc1

      “In order to enable the Palestinians to develop their economic and trade sectors, and to ensure that they will not be exclusively dependent on Israel, we will consider, in the framework of the Disengagement Plan, enabling - in coordination with Jordan and Egypt - the freer passage of people and goods through international border crossings, while taking the necessary security precautions.”

      So they never actually delivered the promised openings in order to reduce the frictions. They kept control of the crossings and effectively caged people in.

      This couled with the Fatah corruption brought people to despair and Hamas to power as they promised to fight to lift this.

      The same situation applies in the West Bank with road blocks, control of movement, borders and air space restrcting the ability of the Palestinians to establish any kind of independant trade.

      Even now in Gaza Israel want to control the reconstruction which is going to cause more tension. Tension that wouldn’t have existed if the borders were opened up even if under Israeli supervision.

      Imagine now the year is 2078, with a growing influence of Muslim voters in Europe and America Israel is now encircled by Palestinian control, land and sea borders as well as airspace is controlled from a Palestinian Administration. Nothing can come in or out and the people whose livelyhood depends on selling to Europe and America can’t earn a livelyhood to feed their families.

      If produce from Israel is to leave it must clear Palestinian Customs.

      The World’s Superpower - Russia provides the Palestinians with 20 billion in aid and UN Security Vetos.

      The Palestinian population is starting to build settlements in Israel using Israeli labour.

      In frustration the Israeli population is becoming frustrated.

      Would you find that situation acceptable and would you expect Muslims to speak out against the Palestinians for their treatment of Israelis?

      Would the Israelis be entitled to fight for their freedom?

      I would expect people to speak out and though you may consider the scenario laughable I think within a generation or two it make become plausible.

      Thus it is in the interest of Israel to make peace now or have a worse situation imposed on it.

      The reality is that most American Jews voted for peace with over 80% voting for Obama. Most Israelis want peace. Most Palestinians want peace.

      So rather than arguing over right and wrong lets accept they are both wrong and bang their heads together to make them come to peace.

      As I said to Bananabrain recent events have left increasing numbers of Jews questioning zionism and Israel and that if Israel continues is likely to cost it more support. So the only option is peace and security for both.

      Everything else is just prolonging the suffering on both sides.

      Today I was watching the BBC News and even the Rand Corporation which is the bastion of neocon thinking said that Obama had done good things to try and bring peace in the ME and applauded his appintment of a ME Envoy. Many Israelis now view Bush not as a friend but as someone who lost them 8 years of peacemaking.

      Sharon manupilated Bush and Israel paid the price for his folly because it brought Hamas to power and sidelined peace negotiations.

    36. Imran Khan — on 23rd January, 2009 at 3:48 am  

      Also Katy it is worth remembering that Israel had no need to settle the land if it wanted peace it merely had to administer it and could within that control the borders. But by settling people it makes it harder to make peace and from the Palestinian point of view to see a chance for peace.

      Why did Israel settle land it supposedly wanted to give up for peace?

      Every Israeli military commander of note has said that a military solution won’t work and this needs to be negotiated.

      Everyone can keep arguing but if you step back and look then they are both to blame to the point that each excuse you can reuse on either side which shows how silly they both are.

    37. Boyo — on 23rd January, 2009 at 7:59 am  

      “I suspect that if the Islamic world did not have a Palestine, it would need to invent one.

      I’m afraid that isn’t an argument, that’s prejudice.”

      I don’t agree. It’s an observation based on the facts - the Arabs have been shafted by history and each other. Palestine provides a focus.

      “You say desperate people, but then anyone who pipes up to point out their desperate is accused of anti-semitism by you. Doesn’t make you very impartial.”

      I think there are two kinds of anti-semitism on this site. One represented by the seemingly a priori assumption by sections of the left that Israel is in the wrong, along with a disproportionate demonisation of Israel - disproportionate when compared to the “wrongs” perpetrated by other countries or cultures.

      Which isn’t to say Israel can’t do wrong - of course it can and does! I’ve seen the settlements sprawled over Palestinian land, and worked with dispossessed people - but I reject the characterisation of the Israelis as some kind special evil. Indeed, no people have suffered as much, frankly, so i find the almost carnal enthusiasm with which their transgressions are leapt upon unsettling.

      The other is plain Jew-hate. There has been lots of talk of blood-soaked Jews, or “juice”. But this more refined and sinister comment was for me the final straw:

      “Jewish brits are sometimes very famillialy connected to israel, a commitment they may not have made on their own, but one that has been engineered into them by Project Zion. They should not imagine themselves to be children of that soil, the affinity is unnecessary. Netanyahu or Lipvi cannot protect them.”

    38. Boyo — on 23rd January, 2009 at 8:11 am  

      “there are still loads of illegal settler settlements that still have to be dismantled…this conflict won’t be resolved until Palestine is an independent state on the 1967 agreed borders. It won’t be resolved until Hamas accept the right for Israel to exist.

      But you can’t use that incident as an example to say that Israel is committed to peace while Palestinians are not… especially since Israel still occupied portions of Palestine. No?”

      You are obviously not an Islamist Sunny, but your logic suggests that you do support the Hamas line. On the surface it makes sense, but in practice its continual offensive against Israeli occupation is unlikely to result in anything but further Palestinian woe. So when you focus on the results of the Israeli response, its in response to an approach you support.

      It is also worth remembering that Israel didn’t just wake up one day and decide to occupy those territories, it was as a result of repeated attacks by the Arab states - all borders are ultimately shaped by war. The Indians for example have no more right to hold on to Kashmir.

      In any case, I’m also for a return to 67 borders, and a Pakistani Kashmir!

      However I also appreciate in the real world it isn’t that simple.

    39. Boyo — on 23rd January, 2009 at 8:17 am  

      - “Those truly responsible for this tragedy - the Christians and powerful Muslim states”

      hahhha - powerful Muslim states? What planet are you on ? If they were that powerful why would there be a grievance over Palestine.They would have defeated Israel a long time ago. -

      America lost in Vietnam and Iraq, the USSR in Afghanistan.

      Time for you to grow up, blah

    40. Katy Newton — on 23rd January, 2009 at 10:47 am  

      Supporters of Hamas, which I’m not, would simply point to the fact that there are still a lot of Palestinian territories occupied by Israel; there are still loads of illegal settler settlements that still have to be dismantled (except the Israeli govt has expanded on them) and that Palestine is nowhere nearer to being established as an independent state.

      But you don’t support Hamas. So what do you think? Of course the withdrawal wasn’t anything near to what anyone sensible wants, but it was a start, wasn’t it? And more importantly, it was an opportunity for Hamas to build on what had been left behind to create a civil infrastructure for its people. So in your opinion, as a non-supporter of Hamas and neutral observer, was the firing of the rockets at that time (sans blockade) proportionate self-defence? Whose interests was it in?

      And if we agree that Israel was entitled to exercise proportionate self-defence to protect its civilians, what would do you think would have been a proportionate response to those attacks? Or do you feel that Israel should have allowed the rocket attacks on its civilians to continue, rather than risk harming any civilian in Gaza?

    41. douglas clark — on 23rd January, 2009 at 11:00 am  

      Katy,

      Or do you feel that Israel should have allowed the rocket attacks on its civilians to continue, rather than risk harming any civilian in Gaza?

      Therein lies the rub. There is no easy answer to that question. It seems obvious to me that, were I living in Sderot, I would be screaming for my government to stop the rocket attacks.

      Quite why Hamas thought they could do it without counter-measures is something I cannot completely understand. Perhaps this really was a media war? Is that where we have ended up, dead civilians rather than dead soldiers? For the sake of an international headline.

    42. Leon — on 23rd January, 2009 at 11:15 am  

      You know a fully functioning UN with proper policing powers could do wonders here…

    43. chairwoman — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:21 pm  

      You know a fully functioning UN with proper policing powers could do wonders here…

      If only such a thing existed in anything but our collective imagination!

    44. bananabrain — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:25 pm  

      sunny:

      i think that sonia has it right:

      I would say, its time to distinguish between what Palestinians might do in ’self-defence’ and what Hamas does.

      exactly. the question is whether palestinians should be punished for what hamas does and to that you would obviously say no and i would do my best to support that. but then, how to get to hamas without harming the people? that’s the bit i don’t have an answer for and i’d like to know what your suggestion would be.

      ‘undiluted glory’ - that’s quite different to ’self-defence’. Self-defence is an ambiguous term, anyway. Are we talking immediate self-defence, are we talking ’self-defence in terms of a long-term strategy’ etc. Clearly lobbing rockets at a much more powerful enemy is an odd way to understand ’self-defence’.

      indeed - unless, of course you understand them to be engaging in “self-defence” against what israel is doing in the west bank and on that i suspect we would have a difference of opinion. i would say that it is more productive for hamas to try and make a go of things in their own little enclave rather than try to use it as a stepping-stone to try and use similar tactics *remotely* to engineer an israeli withdrawal from the west bank. right or wrong, i don’t think this has a hope in hell.

      But keeping Gazans locked up in Gaza, with just Hamas ’showing strength’ isn’t going to help anyone. Fatah, or someone else, and Israel - needs to see this.

      but not *just* israel! and, of course the big question, then what?

      arming ordinary Palestinians so that they can take on Israelis if they need to, or Hamas, if they need to. (e.g. when Hamas turns up and says you can’t pray outside the mosque)

      unfortunately i don’t think this would work, for the same reason that organised mafia gangs have nabbed much of the aid handed out “to the people” in iraq. they are starting from a position where they can frustrate this tactic with much ease. i think less arms are needed rather than more.

      if people think they should have an army to deter Israel in the same way another nation does, well perhaps someone should provide them the manpower and the munitions. All these muslims who claim they are brothers with the Palestinian cause - can go off and be this army.

      well, that is *precisely* what the iranians are doing and what saddam was doing. but this of course would constitute a reason for israel to get tough with the iranians.

      But Hamas haven’t become popular and powerful in a vaccuum - they have been greatly helped by Israeli policy of previously trying to sideline Fatah and the Palestinian Authority.

      i actually agree with this. my information from palestinian friends (closer to albeit not affiliated with fatah) would indicate that the best candidate for becoming an eventual “palestinian mandela” (poacher turned gamekeeper) is likely to be marwan barghouti, currently in an israeli prison for instigating terror attacks during the recent intifada. he’s a credible figure, could never be called a sell-out, grew up in the west bank, is articulate, intelligent, has personal courage and, most importantly of all, knows and understands israel and israelis - he speaks fluent hebrew. all that is required is for him to be released at the right time and he could provide an anti-corruption, non-hamas figure that all palestinians could get behind. of course that would make him a target for hamas, so his determination would be crucial.

      Last year we had a window of opportunity where Israel could have made a breakthrough deal with PA while Hamas was still not doing much. Mahmoud Abbas was the leader at the time. And yet they completely failed to make any progress, kept building more illegal settlements and tightened the blockade.

      you could be right about that, you’re certainly right about the settlements.

      One would think you would want to stop the blockade because it helps Palestinians live with basic amenities, but you’re still using it as a bargaining chip to control Hamas. In effect, you’re happy to penalise all Gazans because of Hamas.

      i’m not “happy” about it as i have made abundantly clear. but like i say above, i don’t really understand the alternatives available. and let us remember that israel is not the only border with gaza - the egyptians are also part of this equation. the blockade is also aimed at preventing the iranians pouring more guns, rockets and explosives into gaza, how do you propose preventing this?

      Well, I’m assuming their thinking is that it forces Israel to constantly confront the fact that its own security will never be complete unless it allows Palestinians an independent state. In the same way - do Israeli incursions, blockades, checkpoints, illegal settlements serve any purpose?

      this to me now suggests you’re taking on the narrative that events in the west bank justify hamas taking action from gaza - it doesn’t rule the west bank, does it? remember, israel removed its settlements and checkpoints from gaza and, until now, did not make incursions. are you suggesting hamas are justified in taking action on behalf of “all” of palestinians, even the west bank? you don’t think this is even slightly about them playing power games with fatah?

      And why do we keep seeing Jewish orgs in the UK support those actions?

      i could be wrong, but this seems to suggest you are holding me (someone who does not support these actions) responsible for, say, the opinions of likud-herut UK or the betar youth movement. i thought you didn’t hold with that sort of thing.

      I find it rather amusing Hamas is being blamed for denying Palestinians a state… as if its nothing to do with the illegal settler settlements, the bloackades, the checkpoints and the fact Palestinians aren’t allowed easy travel in this own land.

      apart from the blockade (and you can hardly say that israel isn’t entitled to police its side of its own border) those things aren’t going on in gaza, are they? you seem to think they’re the government of the whole of palestine.

      What about the wall? I find it rather sad that you’re willing to blame everything on Hamas while not accepting Israel, as the far stronger player here, hasn’t made any moves towards securing a Palestinian state.

      Does HAMAS have the same right as ISRAEL in defending their national interest? Any answer which deviates from “YES”, isn’t a answer and flies in the face of EVERYTHING I know to be right and just.

      1)The West Bank and East Jerusalem are still occupied
      2) Hamas rockets were retaliation for Israels killing of Palestinians in Gaza which it continued during the ceasefire

      i think we’ve identified the issue here. is it the case that sunny and, say, the dude and blah, think that hamas, the rulers of gaza, are entitled to be “state actors” on behalf of “a palestinian state”, regardless of the fact that they don’t run the west bank? is it the case that you think that action by them from *gaza* can be characterised as “self-defence” on behalf of the palestinians in the west bank? because i, obviously do not.

      What does this even mean? What self-defence are they allowed? After all, Israel just killed over 1,300 Palestinians in self-defence. Are Palestinians allowed the same?

      they are entitled (i’m not going to say “allowed”, because they’ll do what they like) to defend themselves against aggression against gaza, but NOT to take action on behalf of the west bank. in the same way, hizbollah are not entitled to call what they are doing in the north “self-defence” on behalf of gaza. you’ll notice the west bank palestinians are *not* taking aggressive action and calling it “self-defence”, because they know very well they’re not being attacked. where there *is* an issue of self-defence, such as the way those bloody maniac settlers are behaving in hebron, *that* i would call self-defence.

      so, basically my position is “self-defence”, but not “whatever it takes” - and in that, i think i apply it to israel as well.

      now, i’m not an international lawyer, but there seems to be a rush to talk about legality as if anyone here had the slightest idea about international law. as far as i know most of us don’t. contrary to what some people may think, international law is not simply something designed to prosecute war crimes and human rights violations; if you start going down that road, you must be prepared for the fact that hamas’s actions will undoubtedly be considered in violation of international law just as much as you expect israel’s to be, but that doesn’t seem to be something that the left is prepared to understand.

      a prolonged military struggle on either side hardens attitudes and makes peace harder to achieve.

      i agree with imran here. in fact, astonishingly, i think i agree with the whole of his post #11.

      cjcjc, I believe it was the millitary stalemate that brought the two sides to the table. The British had admitted they counld not defeat the IRA, that’s a known fact. The republican movement still refuses to reconize the sovereign of the UK over Irland as a whole.

      getting to a similar situation in I/P would constitute a massive step forward in my opinion, although the victory narratives
      of both sides would no doubt continue for domestic consumption. we had got there with oslo, but sadly that was not to be.

      Tim - I’d be perfectly happy for Kurds and their supporters, and the Shia groups rising up against Saddam. I was opposed to the war because:
      1) bush was lying about the threat he posed to the west
      2) He lied about everything related to the war, incl the Al-Qaeda / Saddam link
      3) He had no interest in nation building after invasion
      4) He was surrounded by fuckwits
      5) It wasn’t a humanitarian war otherwise you’d be calling for an invasion of North Korea right now.

      1. i wanted saddam removed in ’90. the reason we didn’t was because of this stupid idea of keeping the syrians and turks on board, so the kurds got screwed. i’m still angry about that. either way he needed to go.
      2. i may yet concede this, nonetheless he was perfectly happy to supply guns, money and explosives to other militant groups, notably hamas - it would have been strategically sensible for him to subcontract to al-qaeda as well.
      3. strongly agree
      4. strongly agree
      5. strongly agree - albeit n. korea has a nuclear deterrent which made this impossible and if we don’t act now the same thing will be the case in iran. in any case, i also support international intervention in burma, sudan, zimbabwe and many other places.

      If your concern is Geneva Conventions, why don’t you raise that point when Israeli govt breaches the Geneva conventions? For example, using White Phosphorous?

      if israel has breached the geneva conventions, then i have no doubt the people responsible will end up being answerable. as far as white phosphorous goes, an enquiry is already under way, they’ve tracked it down to one artillery brigade i think.

      Israel isnt interested in land grabs in a vast desert or in a swamp like Gaza

      as a matter of fact there is oil in the sinai. this, israel gave up in return for peace.

      @leon, #42: quite right, provided of course that its human rights apparatus was not monopolised by iran, syria, libya and sudan.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    45. Leon — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:37 pm  

      If only such a thing existed in anything but our collective imagination!

      Aint that the truth!

      @leon, #42: quite right, provided of course that its human rights apparatus was not monopolised by iran, syria, libya and sudan.

      Or Israel and the US didn’t vote against or veto everything that’d make a difference…or if Britain didn’t say one thing then slyly do another via their diplomats, we could go round and round this forever…

    46. Boyo — on 23rd January, 2009 at 12:56 pm  

      Douglas - “Quite why Hamas thought they could do it without counter-measures is something I cannot completely understand.”

      Really?! How about this - they KNEW there would be counter-measures.

      I can’t believe you’re that naive Douglas.

    47. sonia — on 23rd January, 2009 at 1:04 pm  

      why should David T “shut the fuck up” Dude? i think his comment at no. 3 makes sense to me.

      good comment from Mezba

      and yes imran khan - “Surely it would be more beneficial for both sides to not go to war as that prolongs the inevitable suffering but to negotiate peace.” that’s absolutely right

    48. sonia — on 23rd January, 2009 at 1:12 pm  

      “would know that the Palestinian people have continually been betrayed by other Arab nations as well as their own leadership.

      Hamas was a cry for help by a desperate people, but like an ailing person reaching for a cyanide cure. As utopian ideologues they have every interest to sustain conflict - it is the only condition under which their organisation can survive, collapsing as it would under the weight of its own contradictions if it had to fight the far harder battle of peace.

      Those truly responsible for this tragedy - the Christians and powerful Muslim states - are like the parents of a pair of disturbed infants battling it out at their feet who shake their heads and say “I don’t know where they get it from”.

      boyo -interesting. much truth in what you say there.

    49. bananabrain — on 23rd January, 2009 at 1:17 pm  

      Or Israel and the US didn’t vote against or veto everything that’d make a difference…or if Britain didn’t say one thing then slyly do another via their diplomats, we could go round and round this forever…

      i take your point about the US, but israel isn’t allowed to sit on any UN bodies, because the rest of the countries in its “bloc” (like, er, iran) won’t allow it, so israel’s vote don’t mean diddly, i fear. however, the UN is, unfortunately, a bloated, impotent, near-total disaster, which is one of the reasons stuff gets vetoed not only by the US, but by everyone else on the security council. the UN is hamstrung by its need to represent nation-states, which makes it of course a political minefield; not for nothing is the UN general assembly sometimes referred to as the “accepted forum for the expression of international hatred”.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    50. chairwoman — on 23rd January, 2009 at 2:18 pm  

      “i agree with imran here. in fact, astonishingly, i think i agree with the whole of his post #11.”

      Me too!

    51. douglas clark — on 23rd January, 2009 at 2:59 pm  

      Boyo @ 46,

      Well, what are you saying? That it was the deliberate policy of Hamas to get their electorate killed?

      Is that it? You might be right. But I’d prefer to remain naive rather than buy that.

      Spit it out, so we can see whether your right or not.

    52. douglas clark — on 23rd January, 2009 at 3:09 pm  

      There have been a lot of good, sensible posts on here about Gaza. Can I just say I agree with the person who said that the next time we have a peace demonstration that both sides should be invited?

      The Saturday Sunday split suggests, to me at least, that the prospects for peace, even here, are diminished by having two contrary rallies?

      If we matter, and given that I think you all do, we should be calling for that. A collective no to death on either side.

    53. Boyo — on 23rd January, 2009 at 4:19 pm  

      Yes Douglas, that’s it. Of course it is. I envy your untarnished heart ;-)

    54. douglas clark — on 23rd January, 2009 at 4:30 pm  

      Boyo,

      So you should.

    55. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2009 at 4:47 pm  

      So in your opinion, as a non-supporter of Hamas and neutral observer, was the firing of the rockets at that time (sans blockade) proportionate self-defence? Whose interests was it in?

      I didn’t say Hamas worked in the interests of Palestinians… but (and please read my next point)…

      bananabrain:
      the question is whether palestinians should be punished for what hamas does and to that you would obviously say no and i would do my best to support that. but then, how to get to hamas without harming the people? that’s the bit i don’t have an answer for and i’d like to know what your suggestion would be.

      And this catches the crux of my problem with the Gaza offensive. The Palestinians were shelled for something Hamas did - in effect lumping the two. Whether the IDF’s rhetoric was different or not, it was punishing Palestinians for Hamas and in effect lumping them together.

      That only increases support for Hamas, not decreases it.

      My answer? Israel should do what Hamas does to help Palestinians, but much better. It should invest heavily in those areas, it should provide them with medical facilities, jobs and healthcare. And it should set out a unilateral path to peace, with or without Hamas.

      The only way to isolate Hamas would be for Israel to treat Palestinians better than it does. Right now it isn’t. Right now its chucking chemical weapons on them.

      How that is supposed to win hearts and minds is anyone’s guess.

    56. Katy Newton — on 23rd January, 2009 at 5:03 pm  

      It should invest heavily in those areas, it should provide them with medical facilities, jobs and healthcare.

      I agree with that 100%, but I wonder if that wouldn’t be seen equally as a form of invasion. I say that because I remember that one of the terms of the withdrawal from Gaza was that the Israelis should pull down what they’d built. I assumed that it was symbolic, which I understood, but at the same time I thought that made sense because obviously you could start to create an economy by giving Gazans jobs rebuilding infrastructure according to their own tastes.

      But I do absolutely think that Israel should be seen to be contributing to rebuilding the civil infrastructure in the Gaza Strip if that is acceptable to the people who are there.

    57. SE — on 23rd January, 2009 at 5:05 pm  

      [[ He returned yesterday to find the houses ransacked and scarcely habitable, with furnishing and electrical appliances tossed out of the window, gaping holes in the wall made for firing positions, furniture smashed, clothes piled on the floor, pages of family Korans torn out and remains of soldiers' rations littered in many rooms.

      Stars of David and graffiti in Hebrew and English proclaiming "Arabs need 2 die", "no Arabs in the State of Israel" and "One down and 999,999 to go" had been scrawled on walls. A drawing of a gravestone bore the inscription "Arabs 1948 to 2009". ]]

      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/gazans-return-to-mourn-their-dead-and-salvage-their-lives-1451409.html

      Bloodthirsty savages and their inbred kids still hold a grudge, i see.

    58. soru — on 23rd January, 2009 at 5:14 pm  

      ‘Right to resistance’ is kind of a strange phrase. All the other rights you might talk about work very differently.

      If you tried to exercise your right to free speech, and someone with a uniform shoots you, then you kind of didn’t really have that right in the first place.

      What do people think they mean when they say ‘right to resistance’? Are they really calling for the right to shoot, but not be shot back at? Something like the rights Samurai are supposed to have had in feudal Japan:

      It even came to the point when a samurai’s privileges allowed him to behead a commoner if he felt offended by them

      Or is it just the right to the possibility of peace once the mutual violence is resolved? The right to later say ‘you did that, and we did that, but that was then; this is now, and things are different?’

      Military veterans will sometime meet up and share a drink only a decade after they were trying to kill killing. Quasi-military, irregular conflicts rarely end so cleanly - I doubt there has ever been a joint IRA-Paras drinking session, and I certainly can’t see a IDF-Hamas coffee morning any time soon. The more rules of war you break, or abuse, the harder peace is to make.

      But maybe you don’t need to actually go so far as to be temporary beer buddies in order to get to a situation in which past ‘acts of self-defence’ are not seen as sufficient justification for future ones.

    59. Sunny — on 23rd January, 2009 at 5:24 pm  

      I agree with that 100%, but I wonder if that wouldn’t be seen equally as a form of invasion.

      Better an economic invasion than one with tanks hey?

    60. Ms_Xtreme — on 23rd January, 2009 at 5:28 pm  

      Charlie (yes I know I’m behind):

      Furthermore, whilst Israel claims to do its best to target only military objectives, Hamas appears not to.

      What do you expect? Israel has a well-organized military that goes into action with its massive weapons, whereas Hamas is a piece-meal put together guerrilla force that is not governed by anyone, nor are they structured in a way to fight fair.

      How many different groups have risen up in the past to fight Israel in different ways - Hezbollah, Fatah, and now the most extreme one Hamas. Can you pick out the differences in how each of them attacked? Why are they becoming more extreme? Could it be that conditions for the Palestinians have gotten worse and worse to trigger such a response from them?

      Regardless - we can all yap on here, but nobody truly knows the conditions in Palestine (although Dispatches painted a very gruesome picture for us last night), so its pretty much impossible to judge whether their cause is justified or not.

    61. Leon — on 23rd January, 2009 at 5:32 pm  

      I do absolutely think that Israel should be seen to be contributing to rebuilding the civil infrastructure in the Gaza Strip if that is acceptable to the people who are there.

      Agreed. I can’t see why they’d turn down the assistance, and the offer would be a big boon to any peace effort.

    62. Refresh — on 23rd January, 2009 at 5:41 pm  

      I am not so sure Leon, I would see it as a terrible insult.

      If on the other hand if it was reparations then I would support it.

      Having heard Chris Patten speaking on the matter, it should be the EU demanding payment for damage to their investment; and Palestinians for reparations.

      And if for reparations a legal body needs to be involved, then what are we waiting for.

    63. chairwoman — on 23rd January, 2009 at 7:41 pm  

      Stars of David and graffiti in Hebrew and English proclaiming “Arabs need 2 die”, “no Arabs in the State of Israel” and “One down and 999,999 to go” had been scrawled on walls. A drawing of a gravestone bore the inscription “Arabs 1948 to 2009″. ]]

      How extremely convenient that the perpetrators not only wrote in Hebrew, but also in English so that it could read by English speaking journalists.

      And of course a fine upstanding civilised person like yourself can swear on whatever book you hold holy that these words were definitely written by members of the IDF, because you were there and saw them with your own eyes.

      Well, you’ve convinced me.

    64. George — on 23rd January, 2009 at 8:55 pm  

      The solution to this intractable MidEast problem that has turned Palestine into a killing field is clear. These East Euros with their strange names (Barak, Livni, Olmert) calling themselves Israelis are misfits in the Arab lands they have grabbed. Time for them to return to Eastern Europe & Russia where they belong. Surely Russia won’t grudge some territory in Siberia or Georgia for them to settle in peace.
      Why terrosie the indigenous Arabs?

    65. MaidMarian — on 23rd January, 2009 at 9:04 pm  

      Sunny - With all respect, you miss the question at the logical end point of this.

      What is the value of a ‘proportional response?’

      I would suggest that you are rather at crossed purposes in your final paragraph. Hamas’ rocket campaigns have been aimed overtly at civilians, not military targets. Proportionality is rather blurred. Indeed, go a step further an by placing military installations in civilian areas, Hamas has blurred the distinction further.

      It goes back to the point that in what used to be called international relations, Hamas is not an actor that follows the globally accepted norms of statecraft.

      So what is the benefit of a proportional response? All it seems to have done in I/P is produce 40 years of tit-for-tat violence. A disproportionate response doesn’t seem to have worked. No response doesn’t seem like a reasonable way forward.

      The idea of a proportional response is a facet of conventional international relations - Hamas is not a conventional actor.

      The answer lies in religion - this is about religious relations, not international ones. And religion really doesn’t care for proportionality.

    66. Anas — on 23rd January, 2009 at 9:19 pm  

      How extremely convenient that the perpetrators not only wrote in Hebrew, but also in English so that it could read by English speaking journalists.

      Err…and non-Hebrew speaking Palestinians.

    67. chairwoman — on 23rd January, 2009 at 9:24 pm  

      Er - All Palestinians read English then?

    68. Ms_Xtreme — on 23rd January, 2009 at 9:45 pm  

      Don’t be daft ladies. If someone wrote something in Chinese on your outside gate, you’ll be getting your mate/acquaintance to translate it asap.

    69. Boyo — on 23rd January, 2009 at 10:15 pm  

      Having laid into “the defenders of Israel” for their apparent failure to respond, still awaiting a response from you Sunny.

    70. MaidMarian — on 23rd January, 2009 at 10:33 pm  

      Sunny (55) - ‘How that is supposed to win hearts and minds is anyone’s guess.’

      This is a point you have made in a couple of articles recently. What exactly is it about the recent campaign that makes you think that there is any attempt to win hearts and minds? I don’t think anyone is pretending this is a heart/mind effort.

      It’s a pretty faux line.

    71. Anas — on 23rd January, 2009 at 11:25 pm  

      “Er - All Palestinians read English then?”

      no, but theyre more likely to than hebrew.

    72. chairwoman — on 23rd January, 2009 at 11:41 pm  

      Anas - In all seriousness, and not being picky, or winding you up, I think that, considering they’re next door to each other, and quite a lot of both nationalities are bi-lingual (Arabic/Hebrew), I don’t think there’d be the need for the English translation.

    73. The Dude — on 23rd January, 2009 at 11:43 pm  

      I think that the Palestinians (every man, woman and child) should be wiped off the face of the earth BUT nicely and always within the confines of international law. Wouldn’t that be the true meaning of a ‘proportional response?’

    74. Anas — on 24th January, 2009 at 12:26 am  

      Anas - In all seriousness, and not being picky, or winding you up, I think that, considering they’re next door to each other, and quite a lot of both nationalities are bi-lingual (Arabic/Hebrew), I don’t think there’d be the need for the English translation.

      In all seriousness Chairwoman I doubt Hebrew is a language commonly taught in Gazan schools (or will be again if they are ever rebuilt) or one which most Gazans are eager to learn.

    75. chairwoman — on 24th January, 2009 at 12:31 am  

      I agree with what you’ve said, and I also doubt that Arabic is taught in Israeli schools, perhaps they pick up each others language by osmosis, because there seem to be a lot of people in the region that are bi-lingual.

      I’m off to be now. Night night.

    76. Sunny — on 24th January, 2009 at 1:39 am  

      Boyo: On the surface it makes sense, but in practice its continual offensive against Israeli occupation is unlikely to result in anything but further Palestinian woe.

      Only if the Israelis think the only way to respond is by further usage of force. Unforunately they, and their supporters, have become accustomed to thinking only in military terms.

      The other way to look at this from a Palestinian viewpoint is this. Its been over 50 years since they’ve had their state. If they remain quiet, then there’s no incentive for Israel to give them their land and go through the painful process of uprooting its illegal settlements. Hamas’s view is that unless the cost of those settlements is made greater than the cost of occupation, Israel won’t budge (as it hasn’t done). So their aim is to constantly needle Israel, goad it into spending more money on the military and keep reminding it that its future is never secure until it gives back that land.

      The only way out of this would be for international pressure to replace Hamas’s rockets.

      MaidMarian - this also answers your point above.

      You also say:
      The idea of a proportional response is a facet of conventional international relations - Hamas is not a conventional actor.

      Possibly, but all I’m saying is if Israel is allowed a disproportional response in order to achieve its aims, why aren’t Palestinian resistance groups allowed disproportionate methods of response to get achieve freedom? I can’t sit by and say Israel is allowed to do whatever the fuck it wants, including chuck chemical weapons into civilian areas, while Palestinians should sit and be quiet and not do anything in response. Goes against my very beliefs.

      The right to resistance against an occupying force is part of my cultural and religious history. The only question is that of ethics when resisting occupation. There is where I part ways with Hamas. But I want to have a discussion about the extent to which others, who say Israel should be allowed to suspend normal rules, think they are being fair.

    77. Steve M — on 24th January, 2009 at 2:16 am  

      I absolutely disagree with your basic premise that:

      If they remain quiet, then there’s no incentive for Israel to give them their land and go through the painful process of uprooting its illegal settlements.

      Israel will give them their land via a negotiated settlement and dismantle settlements. But until Hamas says that this is enough, ie. accept the State of Israel and change their Charter, it won’t happen. Yes, International pressure will help - in fact it’s essential - and it will be Obama/Clinton pressure that makes the difference, but it will be pressure on both sides and right that it should be.

    78. Sunny — on 24th January, 2009 at 3:14 am  

      Israel will give them their land via a negotiated settlement and dismantle settlements. But until Hamas says that…

      And what about before Hamas became powerful? Why didn’t Israel do it then?

    79. Boyo — on 24th January, 2009 at 8:06 am  

      “Hamas’s view is that unless the cost of those settlements is made greater than the cost of occupation, Israel won’t budge”

      I may have missed something (and I’m not being entirely sarcastic) but I can’t recall the illegal settlements (and a return to 67 borders) being chief Hamas’s war aim - if it was so, then there might be logic in your argument. It may have been one of their stated aims, but that wasn’t the source of the conflict. You’d make a good spin doctor though!

    80. Anas — on 24th January, 2009 at 10:02 am  

      The idea of a proportional response is a facet of conventional international relations - Hamas is not a conventional actor.

      This kind of reasoning reminds me of the apologists for Palestinian suicide bombing of civilian areas who argue that civilians aren’t really civilians because adult Israelis have compulsory national service. And the Palestinians have a better reason than Israel to call for a “disproportionate” response, their country’s been under occupation for over 40 years under a brutal Israeli regime leading to thousands of Palestinian deaths.

      The fact is disproportionate response is really a nice way of saying that civilians, especially children, will die in their droves, and that children, women, and the elderly will be starved and denied medicine, i.e., collective punishment. It chills me to the bone to read how Israel’s defenders coldly rationalise its bloodthirsty savagery. I guess when you grow up in a “culture of terrorism” it becomes hard to see your own.

    81. Steve M — on 24th January, 2009 at 11:24 am  

      And what about before Hamas became powerful? Why didn’t Israel do it then?

      Because, in the end, Arafat wouldn’t sign the agreement, fearing the response of his own extremists. In a negotiation of this importance my view is that both parties stay negotiating until they get a deal they can live with and sell to their own. If the terms aren’t good enough they stay and talk more. Arafat decided to throw his toys out of the pram and instead of signing an agreement, started an Intifada.

    82. Boyo — on 24th January, 2009 at 1:57 pm  

      “It chills me to the bone to read how Israel’s defenders coldly rationalise its bloodthirsty savagery.”

      Sunny presumably chills your bones too Anas, for coldly rationalising Hamas’s approach to victory, regardless of the cost.

    83. MaidMarian — on 24th January, 2009 at 2:18 pm  

      Anas (80) - I’d like to reply to that, but to be clear, are you saying that Hamas is a conventional international actor (as opposed to my view that it is first and foremost a religious actor) or are you saying that I/P is not a matter for international relations.

      If it is the latter than that is a really interesting point.

    84. cjcjc — on 24th January, 2009 at 2:49 pm  

      Sunny @ 25
      “I know you read newspapers a lot so I know you’re not THAT ignorant. Or would you like me to remind you about the illegal settlements, the wall (that breaches Palestinian territory and the blockade?

      What would be the proportionate response to some other country blockading the United Kingdom? Please let me know.”

      Sunny @ 31
      “Supporters of Hamas, which I’m not, would simply point to the fact that there are still a lot of Palestinian territories occupied by Israel; there are still loads of illegal settler settlements that still have to be dismantled (except the Israeli govt has expanded on them) and that Palestine is nowhere nearer to being established as an independent state.”

      Erm, so why did you point to those facts yourself @ 25?

    85. Anas — on 24th January, 2009 at 2:56 pm  

      Sunny presumably chills your bones too Anas, for coldly rationalising Hamas’s approach to victory, regardless of the cost.

      I’m sorry but Sunny is not a defender of Hamas, the opposite. He’s always been critical of the group, and his current stance seems to derive from humanitarian concerns for the civilian population of Gaza, all of whom are legitimate targets for the IDF. Anyway Hamas’s responsibility for the bloodshed pales beside that of Israel’s. Israel actively decided on a course of action that would murder hundreds of civilians. If you knew a criminal lived in a block of flats filled with people, and you decided to blow up the whole block to get the criminal. Then even if the criminal was aware you would take this action before you committed the crime the responsibility clearly lies squarely with whoever actually set about blowing the flats up.

      Anas (80) - I’d like to reply to that, but to be clear, are you saying that Hamas is a conventional international actor (as opposed to my view that it is first and foremost a religious actor) or are you saying that I/P is not a matter for international relations.

      If it is the latter than that is a really interesting point.

      Neither is that relevant to moral & legal considerations over what you term “disproportionate” action.

    86. Boyo — on 24th January, 2009 at 5:23 pm  

      Anas, Sunny wrote - “Its been over 50 years since they’ve had their state. If they remain quiet, then there’s no incentive for Israel to give them their land and go through the painful process of uprooting its illegal settlements. Hamas’s view is that unless the cost of those settlements is made greater than the cost of occupation, Israel won’t budge (as it hasn’t done). So their aim is to constantly needle Israel, goad it into spending more money on the military and keep reminding it that its future is never secure until it gives back that land.”

      That’s pretty cold logic, and nothing necessarily wrong with that. I’m getting a bit sick though of the name-calling. Those of us who try to discuss this objectively, or indeed do wish to defend Israel, are demonised, while the rest of you are angels I suppose, which is ironic as all the racism seems to be coming from your direction (though I hasten to add, not from you Anas).

    87. Anas — on 24th January, 2009 at 6:12 pm  

      Yes, there is nothing wrong with using cold logic — it’s invaluable actually — unless you’re using it to defend someone by glossing over the toll of their actions. Sunny, an antagonist of Hamas, manifestly wasn’t doing that.

      As for the racism, yes I agree there is a lot. Most of it is manifested in the disregard for Palestinian lives as if they were utterly expendable, whereas the few people who have died as a result of Hamas rocketings are accorded a momentous significance justifying the killing of hundreds.

    88. Boyo — on 24th January, 2009 at 6:30 pm  

      Ha! So there’s nothing wrong with using cold logic, as long as Anas agrees with you. And the “defenders of Israel” are racists, indeed more racist, than those who call for the extermination of the Jews, or “Juice”, simply for arguing that Israel may have a point.

      My, how I miss that undergraduate clarity.

    89. Boyo — on 24th January, 2009 at 6:33 pm  

      Incidentally, despite not supporting the ideology of Hamas, Sunny manifestly does sympathise with their tactics, as my post illustrates.

    90. comrade — on 24th January, 2009 at 7:19 pm  

      81.

      Arafat decided to throw his toys out of the pram and instead of signing an agreement, started an Intifada.

      The events of 16th september 1993, the day after Arafat announced a uniteral ceasefire, the Israeili army destroyed 17 houses in the Gaza, summarily executed 2 Hamas activists. Throughout the 1990s Jewish settlements inside the occupied territories continue to grow. Between 1992 and 2000 the period of the Oslo peace process, the settler population doubled in size. The Israilis began to close off the crossings preventing free movement of labour, further punishing the Palestians. The anger was spilling on to the Streets.
      The trigger for the new Intifada came when Areil Sharon visited the Al-Aqasa Mosque. This infuriated the Palestinians. Areil Sharon, 18 years earlier bore a central responsibility for the Sabra and Shatilla masscre. This was dileberate provocation. By September 2003, 2,166 Palestinians were killed be Israeli fire.
      The problem with the Pro-Israelis is they present a distorted the view of the events, the recent being the breaking up of the ceasefire.
      Anyway the question I want to ask the Pro-Israelis is, why can’t there be a One State Solution to the I/F conflict, why can’t Jews, Muslim, christians and Arabs live togather in peace?

    91. Steve M — on 24th January, 2009 at 7:42 pm  

      “Anyway the question I want to ask the Pro-Israelis is, why can’t there be a One State Solution to the I/F conflict, why can’t Jews, Muslim, christians and Arabs live togather in peace?” - comrade

      Because where Muslim Arabs have been in the majority they have shown a strong tendency to either expel the Jews or, at the very least, give them a 2nd class ‘dhimmi’ status.

      Following complaints about its inaccuracy, even the BBC have amended this statement:

      He says one undisputed fact is that Jews were part of Arab societies for centuries, where they were fully integrated in their societies, until Israel was established.

      to this:

      He says one undisputed fact is that many Jews were part of Arab societies for centuries, although not with equal rights, until Israel was established.

      Sorry but no thanks. A one-state solution is not and will not be on the table.

    92. chairwoman — on 24th January, 2009 at 8:24 pm  

      Because there are several Islamic Republics, not to mention Kingdoms, Principalities, Sheikdoms.

      There are also several nominally Christian countries, the UK being one of them, not to mention Italy, Spain, Eire, etc.

      Why shouldn’t there be one extremely small Jewish country?

    93. comrade — on 24th January, 2009 at 9:35 pm  

      There are also several nominally Christian countries, the UK being one of them, not to mention Italy, Spain, Eire

      These are nor Christian Countries, but were one time.

      Why shouldn’t there be one extremely small Jewish
      country

      Not at the expence of the Palestians.

      Steve
      Because where Muslim Arabs have been in the majority they have shown a strong tendency to either expel the Jews or, at the very least, give them a 2nd class ‘dhimmi’ status.

      Did the Palestinian expel the Jews from Palestain?

    94. Steve M — on 24th January, 2009 at 9:54 pm  

      No and I sincerely hope that they will never get the opportunity.

      I’m sure comrade, that you will have read Qaddafi, leader of Libya’s piece entitled ‘The One-State Solution’ which he contributed to The New York Times. If not no matter, the link is below.

      No doubt you would have found this paragraph of interest:

      ‘It is a fact that Palestinians inhabited the land and owned farms and homes there until recently, fleeing in fear of violence at the hands of Jews after 1948 — violence that did not occur, but rumors of which led to a mass exodus. It is important to note that the Jews did not forcibly expel Palestinians. They were never “un-welcomed.”’

      http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/22/opinion/22qaddafi.html?_r=1&ref=opinion

    95. Steve M — on 24th January, 2009 at 11:27 pm  

      What a pleasant chap you are SE. Not too bright but pleasant nonetheless. XX

    96. comrade — on 24th January, 2009 at 11:35 pm  

      It is a fact that Palestinians inhabited the land and owned farms and homes there until recently, fleeing in fear of violence at the hands of Jews after 1948 —

      Steve, this articleis from our journal Proletarian issue 21 (December 2007)
      Book review: The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine
      Author: Ilan Pappe
      It is a testament to the quick-footedness of Israeli academia that, after nearly 60 years, the details of what actually happened in Palestine in 1948-49 (what the zionists call the War of Independence and the Palestinians call the Nakba – the catastrophe) are only now being properly synthesised into a coherent and comprehensive study.

      Providing a tremendous wealth of detail – clearly based on an extensive examination of primary evidence, both written and spoken – Ilan Pappe is able to incontrovertibly prove that the war of 1948-49 was not, as it has always been painted in the official zionist history books, a valiant feat of self-defence in the face of the combined armies of the Arab world; it was in fact a premeditated, and largely successful, attempt by the zionists to increase their territory and to ethnically cleanse that territory of its Arab population.

      Indeed, the forced transfer of Palestinians out of their homeland had long been planned by the zionists. Theodore Herzl, the founder of modern zionism, wrote in 1895: “We shall endeavour to expel the poor population across the border unnoticed, procuring employment for it in the transit countries, but denying it any employment in our own country.” (Cited on p250)

      Leo Motzkin, described by Pappe as “one of the zionist movement’s most liberal thinkers” , wrote in 1917: “Our thought is that the colonisation of Palestine has to go in two directions: Jewish settlement in Eretz Israel and the resettlement of the Arabs of Eretz Israel in areas outside the country. The transfer of so many Arabs may seem at first unacceptable economically, but is nonetheless practical. It does not take too much money to resettle a Palestinian village on another land.” (Cited on p7)

      Of course, these revered fathers of zionism didn’t consider, or at least didn’t publicly discuss, exactly how the population would be ‘resettled’. Certainly, the Israelis forgot about their promise to “procure employment” for the Palestinians who had been moved to the “transit countries” . Such romantic notions of gently pushing the Palestinian population in the direction of Lebanon and Jordan (where they would of course be given terrific jobs and be treated to gourmet falafel) were replaced by a vicious and relentless campaign of murder, torture, rape, sabotage and plunder.

      “Like a ferocious storm gathering force, the Israeli troops no longer spared anyone in their destructive zeal. All means became legitimate, including burning down houses where dynamite had become scarce and torching the fields and remains of a Palestinian village they had attacked.” (p147)

      In hundreds of villages attacked by the zionists, men of ‘military age’, that is between ten(!) and fifty, were rounded up and either imprisoned or executed on the spot. Several massacres, such as those at Deir Yassin and Tantura, took place. Pappe even points to evidence that the Hagana (a terrorist jewish group, and one of the pillars of the Israeli war effort) was involved in injecting typhoid into the water near certain Palestinian villages. Muslim holy sites – including buildings of great historical importance – were defaced or demolished. By the end of the war, “more than half of Palestine’s native population, close to 800,000 people, had been uprooted, 531 villages had been destroyed, and eleven urban neighbourhoods emptied of their inhabitants”. (pxiii)

      David and Goliath

      Zionist revisionist historians have always perpetrated the idea that the jewish forces were badly outnumbered and that they had to fight heroically to fend off the combined armies of all the Arab countries. Pappe points out that, at the beginning of the war, the combined Jewish fighting forces comprised of around 50,000 highly-armed and well-trained troops, while their opposition was around 7,000 Palestinian troops in irregular paramilitary outfits with very poor armaments. The Arab Liberation Army that entered the country from the beginning of 1948 was composed of no more than 3,000 fighters, almost all with very limited military training.

      In public, the Israel leadership was making noises about the possibility of a ‘second holocaust’, but in reality they knew they held the upper hand. Ben Gurion wrote in February 1948: “If we will receive in time the arms we have already purchased, and maybe even receive some of that promised to us by the UN, we will be able not only to defend [ourselves] but also to inflict death blows on the Syrians in their own country – and take over Palestine as a whole. This is not a mystical belief but a cold and rational calculation based on practical examination.” Hardly the words of someone who is worried about impending loss in battle!

      Refusal to negotiate

      It is fairly natural that the Palestinian people would not immediately agree to the partition plan imposed upon them by the UN, since it allocated half their land – and the best land at that – to what was at the time a foreign group (by the end of the British Mandate in 1948, jewish land ownership in Palestine was only 5.8 percent).

      The Palestinians protested that they needed more time to discuss the plan. “Palestinian leadership boycotted the UN proceedings, on the basis of their being illegal and unjust. They proposed instead that the unitary state be maintained and that the issue be solved through a much longer period of negotiation. Indeed, the US drafted a proposal suggesting an international trusteeship over Palestine for five years, during which the two sides would negotiate an agreed solution.” (p123)

      However, the zionists had no interest in discussion or negotiation. The Palestinian refusal to immediately go along with the partition plan was just the pretext zionism needed to go to war for more territory and to effect its programme of ethnic cleansing. Indeed, had the Palestinians decided to go along with the partition plan, the jewish leadership would almost certainly have rejected it. (See p35)

      David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister and ostensibly a ‘socialist’, put it concisely: “The Arabs will have to go, but one needs an opportune moment for making it happen, such as a war.” (p23)

      The zionists were so opposed to negotiation and further mediation that they had Count Folke Bernadotte, the UN Mediator for Palestine, assassinated by the notorious Stern Gang, another prominent paramilitary terrorist group. Incidentally, former Prime Minister of Israel, Yitzhak Shamir, was one of the main organisers of the assassination.

      Complicity of the British

      Pappe notes that the British government (which at the time was dominated by Labour) could quite easily have put a stop to the ethnic cleansing operation. However, in some cases the British provided active assistance to the zionists:

      “In December [1947] , [the British] still had 75,000 troops in Palestine, but these were dedicated solely to safeguard the eviction of the Mandatory soldiers, officers and officials.

      “The British sometimes assisted in other, more direct, ways in the ethnic cleansing, by providing the Jewish leadership with ownership deeds and other vital data, which they had photocopied before destroying them, as was common in their decolonization process. This inventory added to the village files the final details the Zionists needed for the massive depopulation.” (p125)

    97. Steve M — on 24th January, 2009 at 11:54 pm  

      comrade,

      Well, if Ilan Pappe writes it it must be true.

      You know if you’re prepared to do a little work you will find actual archive articles from journals and newspapers of the time. Of course it’s much easier just to find something that supports your own viewpoint and print that.

    98. comrade — on 25th January, 2009 at 12:24 am  

      You know if you’re prepared to do a little work you will find actual archive articles

      Steve, I have been doing my work, but if you have any links you want to in introduce, please do so, I do have my strong views, but I am not unreasonal person

    99. Steve M — on 25th January, 2009 at 12:53 am  

      comrade,

      I could point you towards English newspapers of the time or ‘The Palestine Post’, a Jewish newspaper from Palestine (as was). Regrettably, accessing any information from the Arab side is more difficult as I don’t speak the language.

      I can only say from my own research that the situation wasn’t black or white. Nations and communities comprise individuals and neither opinions nor experiences are uniform. Still, I prefer ‘not-black-not-white’ to much of the pre-digested information that is usually forthcoming from advocates for either side.

      Anyway, I’m not sure if there’s much to be gained from going back pre-1948. Should we factor in the WW2 position of the Palestinian leader at that time?

      We’re where we are now and ultimately only a negotiated settlement can lead to a lasting peace. It’s how to get there that is at issue. I remain optimistic or, as we say right now, “Yes we can”.

    100. Boyo — on 25th January, 2009 at 8:24 am  

      “fuck off back to Israel, where you can be brave IDFer and murder brown kids (too bad you can’t do that here, eh? you fucking bloodthirsty “BNPisraeli)”

      Thanks SE. I do “fuck off” to Israel from time to time, to assist some friends working with “brown kids”, but what would you know? Sitting there bursting full of impotent hate?

      As much as I would like to share the blood of the race that gave us Freud, Breuer, Einstein, Joseph Heller, Jesus, Anne Frank and Dr Spock, I’m afraid I don’t, though the excremental outbursts of fascists like you have increasingly underlined to me why one must stand by the Jews in this country.

      Is that “racist” enough for you Anas?

    101. chairwoman — on 25th January, 2009 at 10:23 am  

      “fuck off back to Israel, where you can be brave IDFer and murder brown kids (too bad you can’t do that here, eh? you fucking bloodthirsty “BNPisraeli)”

      Thank you SE for giving the perfect example as to why I will always support the existence of Israel.

      Because it’s the one country in the world where nobody is going to call me names purely for being a Jew.

      I still don’t get where the idea that Jews hate brown people comes from. In North London we get on pretty well.

    102. chairwoman — on 25th January, 2009 at 10:25 am  

      As much as I would like to share the blood of the race that gave us Freud, Breuer, Einstein, Joseph Heller, Jesus, Anne Frank and Dr Spock,

      Boyo - Don’t forget Mr Spock, and Captain Kirk too!

    103. Anas — on 25th January, 2009 at 12:56 pm  

      Ha! So there’s nothing wrong with using cold logic, as long as Anas agrees with you. And the “defenders of Israel” are racists, indeed more racist, than those who call for the extermination of the Jews, or “Juice”, simply for arguing that Israel may have a point.

      A dispassionate analysis of a situation is neither moral or immoral in itself. It’s the context which determines this. When the defenders of Israel resort to the discussion of military tactics in the face of outrage at the human cost of its actions it’s usually in order to objectify the situation, and gloss over the human dimension while correspondingly emphasising the suffering of Israelis or the new waves of Antisemitism sweeping the world — both of which are awful but do not in any way compare to the horror of what’s happening in Gaza as a result of actions by a state YOU are openly defending.

      There is no other way you could defend the barbarity of what Israel is doing given its scale, so you have to resort to diversion: if you appoint yourself as a spokesman for the terrorist actions of a terrorist state its understandable you would want to stick to cold logic and ignore human suffering.

    104. Rumbold — on 25th January, 2009 at 1:36 pm  

      Chairwoman:

      “Boyo - Don’t forget Mr Spock, and Captain Kirk too!”

      Vulcans are Jewish? You learn something new everyday. Or was the human side Jewish?

    105. Steve M — on 25th January, 2009 at 1:39 pm  

      “There is no other way you could defend the barbarity of what Israel is doing given its scale” - Anas

      But the ‘scale’ is a matter of debate.

    106. Anas — on 25th January, 2009 at 2:31 pm  

      How many children do you think were killed then Steve M?

    107. Boyo — on 25th January, 2009 at 2:55 pm  

      I’m sorry Anas, I have tried to be fair to you. I’ve read your blog and its full of long words, but they’re just window-dressing I’m afraid. Your comments display only the most cursory insight and, for that matter, observation.

      You really are clueless.

    108. chairwoman — on 25th January, 2009 at 3:05 pm  

      Boyo - Anas deeply feels everything he says. He feels like this all the time and is not a ‘foul weather friend’ to the Palestinians as so many opportunists are.

      He also is no antisemite, and believes in a two state solution.

    109. Steve M — on 25th January, 2009 at 3:08 pm  

      I don’t know Anas, and any dead child is a tragedy, but since you’ve mentioned ‘scale’ it’s right to say that:

      a) the figures for civilian and child casualties bear little relation to those released under the control of Hamas. Just as their report that ‘Hamas lost only 48 soldiers, while it killed 80 Israelis, including 49 soldiers’ is also nonsense. Is there a reason that we should believe one is exaggerated and not the other?

      b) Hamas’ reported figures from casualties put the blame for these 100% on the IDF.

      However, where Israeli bombs ignite Hamas munitions dumps which explode killing Palestinians, where Hamas militants force their wives and children to stay with him to be martyred despite being warned by Israel to leave the property, where Hamas fire mortars at IDF troops using innocent civilians as shields to try and protect themselves, where Fatah members are executed by Hamas members calling them spies, where innocents get caught in Hamas cross-fire…..

      Is every one of those deaths also to be counted amongst civilians killed by the Israelis? Because there have been very many such events.

      That there has been devastating suffering in Gaza is beyond doubt. But the issue of perpetrators is not clear-cut and needs far more knowledge and reasoned consideration than is generally given it.

    110. Boyo — on 25th January, 2009 at 3:18 pm  

      CW: That wasn’t what I was referring to, it was this:

      “…actions by a state YOU are openly defending.

      There is no other way you could defend the barbarity of what Israel is doing given its scale, so you have to resort to diversion: if you appoint yourself as a spokesman for the terrorist actions of a terrorist state its understandable you would want to stick to cold logic and ignore human suffering.”

      I don’t “appoint myself as a spokesman for a terrorist state” and I’m sick of people interpreting any kind of balanced analysis as such. It’s lazy, irritating and immature.

      Frankly I think what Israel has done in Gaza is stupid and shortsighted, so I’m no defender, but at the same time I find the demonisation of Israel and knee-jerk defence of Hamas as equally ill-informed. The whole thing is a tragedy, but fueling the flames of hate and prejudice is not going to achieve a thing.

      Once upon a time there was a Left that was underpinned by socialist principals of equality and humanity. Now it has forgotten class and fragmented into race-led reductionism which leads to one side evolving into semi-racism and the other forgetting its common humanism. That’s also a tragedy. Or maybe it was always just a fantasy all along.

    111. Anas — on 25th January, 2009 at 4:02 pm  

      However, where Israeli bombs ignite Hamas munitions dumps which explode killing Palestinians, where Hamas militants force their wives and children to stay with him to be martyred despite being warned by Israel to leave the property, where Hamas fire mortars at IDF troops using innocent civilians as shields to try and protect themselves, where Fatah members are executed by Hamas members calling them spies, where innocents get caught in Hamas cross-fire…..

      And all those recorded cases of Israeli soldiers cold bloodedly killing civilians who were holding white flags, the bombing of UN schools where civilians were sheltering, and the numerous other reports of open savagery committed by the IDF, including the dropping of white phosphorous are just to be dismissed? even if Human rights organisations have exhaustively documented this kind of behaviour from the IDF in the past, e.g., 2006 in Lebanon? Even if Israeli officials themselves admit they aren’t too concerned about casualties among the Palestinians? Bombing a starved sick population indescriminately is bound to cause massive casualties regardless of the nefarious activities of Hamas and given Israel’s past record of utter disregard for human life (the blockade of Gaza for example was indescriminate in who it targeted), I wouldnt be surprised if when the death toll is verified it turns out to be close to the current estimates.

      Frankly I think what Israel has done in Gaza is stupid and shortsighted, so I’m no defender, but at the same time I find the demonisation of Israel and knee-jerk defence of Hamas as equally ill-informed. The whole thing is a tragedy, but fueling the flames of hate and prejudice is not going to achieve a thing.

      That’s the strongest criticism you can think of for the Gazan slaughter? “stupid and shortsighted”? And you criticise me for my use of words on my blog? What you interpret as support for Hamas is in most cases a deep despair at a humanitarian tragedy brought about by a terrorist state (there is no other way to put it). I for one am no fan of Hamas. Neither are Sid and Sunny and many of the other writers and commenters on PP who are voicing their anger at what has happened.

    112. sonia — on 25th January, 2009 at 4:13 pm  

      SE wake up and smell the coffee. all land was stolen at some point or other, usually by the strong and ruthless and those who didn’t care about slaughter.

      You think that “Muslims” didn’t do any “land stealing”?

      Heh.

    113. sonia — on 25th January, 2009 at 4:15 pm  

      If everyone of us is happy to give up our respective citizenships and start all over again, this exhibition of bile over Israel and Palestine might make sense.

      otherwise, keep a bit of perspective.

    114. Steve M — on 25th January, 2009 at 4:17 pm  

      And all those recorded cases of Israeli soldiers cold bloodedly killing civilians who were holding white flags, the bombing of UN schools where civilians were sheltering, and the numerous other reports of open savagery committed by the IDF, including the dropping of white phosphorous are just to be dismissed?

      Certainly not. They should be investigated to determine the truth and prosecuted if found appropriate.

    115. chairwoman — on 25th January, 2009 at 4:19 pm  

      Anas - There I was, stating what you have always given me to believe were your view, and you come out with that ‘terrorist state’ stuff.

      In that case, every state that has killed members of another state is a terrorist state.

      Let’s make a list, I’ll start with Pakistan, because I felt for the the Bangladeshis what you feel for the Palestinians. We were on our honeymoon when that happened in April 1971, saw it on the television in Cornwall, and went home the next day as we felt it was unsuitable to be on holiday whilst people were being massacred on the other side of world. Can anybody fill me in on the numbers of dead please, were they all soldiers, no women, children or old people killed?

      And the next - Iraq into Kuwait and with the Kurds. How many there? Was it disproportionate and are these terrorist states?

      Does anybody else want to play? Or is it Israel, Israel all the way?

    116. sonia — on 25th January, 2009 at 4:20 pm  

      Yes voicing anger is all very well. What are we going to do about it? i suggest people think about that, instead of going on around and around the Houses.

      I say, we do a swap. give your passport to a palestinian - type of thing.

    117. sonia — on 25th January, 2009 at 4:29 pm  

      117. good one Chairwoman. Platinum 786 gave it away on the other thread (which i thought was very amusing.) even though some other people couldn’t see the irony. (oh there are some very earnest people around on this blog seeing as some people didn’t get the comparison of Pakistan Bangladesh, again, perhaps people aren’t very good at analogies)

      the reality is you can take most of these people who are saying what they are saying about Israel, and how terrible it all is, and find some situation, where they think it is all ‘justified’ even if they think because its Israel, its not justified.

      that’s obviously why i brought up the Pakistan example, but again, people are blind, (or dumb) they don’t like to see analogies.

      but i do think it was great how platinum kept bleating ” but it was a homeland for the muslims, a homeland for the muslims! we have to defend our homeland”

      chortle chortle.

      perhaps the Kashmiris should start lobbing rockets into India, in addition to other activity. i reckon they should take a leaf out of Hamas’s book.

    118. douglas clark — on 25th January, 2009 at 4:29 pm  

      I can’t remember who it was - which is quite bad of me really, it might have been Halima - who suggested that there should only have been the one peace march that weekend, and that that was what it should have been, a peace march. Arm in arm against the violence, that sort of thing. Most commentators on here seemed to think that that was a good idea, including your good self, IIRC. And me.

      The appropriation of the whole issue by cheerleaders is a kind of a disgrace, it seems to me.

    119. sonia — on 25th January, 2009 at 4:32 pm  

      well said Douglas.

      but people will be petty won’t they.

    120. sonia — on 25th January, 2009 at 4:34 pm  

      Anyway, let everyone put their money where their mouth is. Seeing as we can’t get a UN peacekeeping mission, let people like Anas, SE, platinum etc. go and defend the cause for themselves. if you really believe in something, you ought to go and fight for it yourself. Be a strong man - why don’t you?

    121. douglas clark — on 25th January, 2009 at 4:36 pm  

      Sonia,

      Shh.. I’m trying to make up for that. ;-)

    122. chairwoman — on 25th January, 2009 at 4:37 pm  

      Good man Douglas!

      Sonia, Shall we start a ‘Send the PP Boys to Gaza’ fund?

    123. Anas — on 25th January, 2009 at 4:44 pm  

      Let’s make a list, I’ll start with Pakistan, because I felt for the the Bangladeshis what you feel for the Palestinians. We were on our honeymoon when that happened in April 1971, saw it on the television in Cornwall, and went home the next day as we felt it was unsuitable to be on holiday whilst people were being massacred on the other side of world. Can anybody fill me in on the numbers of dead please, were they all soldiers, no women, children or old people killed?

      And the next - Iraq into Kuwait and with the Kurds. How many there? Was it disproportionate and are these terrorist states?

      Yes, I agree with you Chairwoman, Iraq and Pakistan were terrorist states. There are obviously other terrorist states in the world. What is your point?

    124. Ravi Naik — on 25th January, 2009 at 4:57 pm  

      i reckon they should take a leaf out of Hamas’s book.

      Let’s just hope they are not fans of Hamas as our good friend Anas.

    125. Katy Newton — on 25th January, 2009 at 5:16 pm  

      Anas isn’t a fan of Hamas. I don’t have a problem with his depth of sympathy for the Palestinians, I think it is heartfelt and genuine. The fact is that this is the issue that gets him. I am mystified as to why so many people concentrate on this issue to the exclusion of all else whilst so many more people are dying in so many other parts of the world. But I do think that anas is genuinely distressed, which goes a long way with me. I would not put him into the camp of people who don’t feel any actual sympathy for the Paleestinians and use their situation as an excuse for general ranting and racism - like for example SE - or cynically as a vehicle for attention and/or power, like the George Galloways of this world.

      That doesn’t mean I’m not going to argue with Anas - it’s sort of a tradition :-) - but I do not doubt his sincerity. I just think that it has led him to black and white thinking, and that isn’t productive when you’re trying to work out how to build a lasting peace. You have to accept that there are two sides to it and refrain from demonising either side in order to find a way through. Otherwise you’re just joining a side.

    126. chairwoman — on 25th January, 2009 at 5:18 pm  

      Thank you Anas, that was actually all I wanted someone to say, I’m glad it was you :-) .

      If you read back through all the I/P threads here over the past few weeks, you are one of the few people who have said this, and most of those who have, have been pro-Israeli (but in most cases not by any means supporters of the recent action).

      Now before anybody gives me a hard time for not using a tougher word than ‘action’, I try extremely hard not to be emotive, for emotive speech tends to encourage the true antisemites, and we all know who they are, to start throwing around phrases about ‘ugly, inbred Jews’ and similar, and then everything goes off the rails.

    127. chairwoman — on 25th January, 2009 at 5:19 pm  

      Katy - How did you get into town so quickly?

    128. bananabrain — on 26th January, 2009 at 1:50 pm  

      it the case that sunny and, say, the dude and blah, think that hamas, the rulers of gaza, are entitled to be “state actors” on behalf of “a palestinian state”, regardless of the fact that they don’t run the west bank? is it the case that you think that action by them from *gaza* can be characterised as “self-defence” on behalf of the palestinians in the west bank? because i, obviously do not.

      nobody’s answered this one yet, i notice, which i think is at the bottom of many of the disagreements here about whether something is a “right to resistance”, or “self-defence”, or “mutton-headed, suicidal provocation”.

      b’shalom

      bananabrain

    129. sonia — on 26th January, 2009 at 5:04 pm  

      123. chairwoman - aye! sounds like a plan..we could set it up on pledgebank to get them going :-)

      yes bananabrain, its interesting. i know i don’t know shit about what’s going on in the west bank, what palestinians think there. but a lot of people seem to have narrowed “Palestine” or Palestinians down to those in Gaza. obviously they’re the unfortunate ones! and prob. everyone in the west bank is thinking thank fuck they escaped from Hamas. so that was my point about not equating the Palestinian right to resistance with Hamas.

      i mean look how many people are so annoyed with Galloway and SWP for making socialists look bad. imagine if they had weapons and locked us into one bit of london! fuck.

      well said Katy - no. 25.

    130. neo — on 13th March, 2009 at 8:11 am  

      This is for
      Blah.

      You dont have a faintest idea how Muslim states had captured Israiel long time in 70s, then suddenly out of nowhere the americans appeared, with there powerful arms,to support the jews..
      The Jews were driven out from Germany & Europe, the Palastenian welcomed them with there open hands & gave land to them, after some time same jews kicked out palastenians out of their land, now the the palastenians, want their land back, so all the so called International communites call them as terrorists, if the jews want their land back they should go back to Germany or Europe..why kill poor palastenians…Thats the reason,one all Jews will be exterminated from this planet, just wait & watch.

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