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Horror again in Gaza and Israel

Uri Avnery decribes in detail the harrowing sequence of events that have happened in Israel recently, starting with the murder of three Israeli youth, an atrocity that ignited a fire that was fanned by Israeli politicians to create massive anti-Arab anger that then led to the horrific burning alive of a Palestinian teenager and the vicious beating of his American cousin by Israeli security forces (video), the launching of missiles at Israel by Hamas, and then the massive assault by Israel on Gaza, the latest in a long series, resulting in over one hundred deaths of Palestinians and the numbers still increasing, with even a hospital and a home for the disabled being bombed.

Jeremy Bowen of the BBC has a video report of what is happening in Gaza and a Twitter feed where he says that according to the UN, 77% of the Palestinian deaths are of civilians.

Max Blumenthal links to a video of a father beseeching his dead two-year old child to wake up. It is harrowing.

There have been no deaths among Israelis because of their ‘Iron Dome’ missile interceptor system that was partly funded by US taxpayers. This dramatic asymmetry in deaths has made the US media’s task of trying to create their favored symmetric narrative difficult, though Atrios provides a headline that reveals they are still trying.

On NPR, an Israeli spokesperson made the extraordinary claim that Palestinians should be grateful that Israel has this shield because if any Israelis had died, the assault on Gaza would have been even harsher. However massive the assault, the fact that it could have been even worse because of Israel’s overwhelming military superiority is supposed to be taken as a sign of restraint. I expect some people to next claim that Israel is to be commended for not dropping nuclear bombs on Gaza, the way the some US supporters of the war in Vietnam used to say in defense of the US’s massive bombing campaigns on that hapless country.

Comments

  1. Reginald Selkirk says

    the launching of missiles at Israel by Hamas

    Due to the perversity of the human mind, this seems to strengthen support for Hamas in Gaza. A similar thing happened in Iraq with Al Maliki using every offense by Sunnis to strengthen his hold on the Shia, whereas an outside observer might see that he has been an ineffective leader who cannot unite disparate factions.

  2. frankb says

    Doublereed #1. Your link is to “Frontpage Mag.–Inside Every Liberal Is A Totalitarian Screaming To Get Out.” I think we can discount anything you or they have to say.

  3. doublereed says

    This is from the CNN article:

    Among the dead in Gaza was Mohammad Sha’aban, a leader of Hamas’ militant wing, Palestinian sources said. Israel confirmed that Sha’aban, “a senior Hamas terrorist,” was killed. Another militant was killed in an Israeli airstrike on an open field in Gaza.

    Several Palestinians were killed in an airstrike on a Gaza rooftop. Palestinian medical sources told CNN the death toll was 10, but then lowered it to seven. Official Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that six were killed. Those killed were forming a “human shield” on the roof of a home belonging to members of Hamas’ militant wing, Palestinian sources said. Two were children, WAFA and Palestinian medical sources said.

    The human shields thing is pretty serious.

  4. Holms says

    On NPR, an Israeli spokesperson made the extraordinary claim that Palestinians should be grateful that Israel has this shield because if any Israelis had died, the assault on Gaza would have been even harsher.

    So Israel is taking the role of a wife-beater, blaming Palestinians for their busted lip and demanding gratitude that at least he didn’t punch her this time.

    Countdown to colnago80 in 3…2…1…

  5. mnb0 says

    “their favored symmetric narrative”
    Oh, in this case that’s easy and probably justified too. The three Israeli kids probably have been murdered with the specific purpose to provoke this escalation.

  6. Rob Grigjanis says

    The usual Israeli response, with scores or hundreds of ‘collateral’ dead, guarantees a continuing source of recruits for militant groups. The utter irrationality boggles the mind.

  7. says

    resulting in over one hundred deaths of Palestinians and the numbers still increasing, with even a hospital and a home for the disabled being bombed.

    These are not random targetings, they’re deliberate. The goal is to mentally break the Palestinian people into giving up and turning against Hamas, but as usual it will fail. As with Vietnam, Afghanistan and many other places, people much more willing to endure when fighting for their homeland than when fighting for someone else’s (e.g. US reticence when invading other countries).

    Holms (#8):

    Countdown to colnago80 in 3…2…1…

    I suspect that he already has swapped pseudonyms again, knowing that no one listens to him.

  8. says

    The human shields thing is pretty serious.

    Use of human shields is an affirmative defense in a war crime. I.e.: the people who killed a bunch of civilians (in violation of international humanitarian law) argue that, sure, they did it, but they had to because a critical military target was hidden behind human shields. The next question is: how critical a military target? And then: was there any other way to secure that target?

  9. Lassi Hippeläinen says

    “starting with the murder of three Israeli youth”

    That’s not where it started. The violence has been going on under the radar for years. The triple murder just elevated it enough to get into international news.

    @Rob Grigjanis #10: for some people, war is good business. They don’t want it to stop. The extremists (at both ends of the political spectrum) want to raise more money and patriotic warriors, and the weapons industry that serves them wants profits. They need enemies, not peace.

  10. doublereed says

    I guess I wasn’t clear enough: saying Israel killed civilians because of human shields is saying Israel committed a war crime.

    I was more condemning Hamas rather than excusing Israel.

    You can’t just ignore the fact that Hamas uses human shields. That’s horrible in of itself.

    The next question is: how critical a military target? And then: was there any other way to secure that target?

    I’m very confused, because it sounds like you’re the one trying to excuse Israel. So Israel says that it is a critical target and there was no other way to secure the target without risking even more lives. Is that okay?

  11. Anton Mates says

    By the way, the use of civilians as human shields is also a war crime.

    OK, let’s clarify. (Thanks to Marcus for doing half the work already). It is a war crime for the military to use civilians as human shields–that is, for the military to actively move civilians to targeted locations in order to discourage attack. It is not a war crime for civilians to voluntarily shield a military target with their bodies. The military is forbidden to exploit civilians, but if civilian volunteers choose to assist the war effort in personally hazardous ways, the military is not obliged to drop everything in order to stop them.

    So if the IDF attacks a target in Gaza and a bunch of people show up of their own accord to serve as human shields–then no, Hamas* has not committed a war crime. Hamas hasn’t really done anything, in that case. Palestinian civilians have chosen to oppose Israeli military actions in a particularly risky way, and have paid the price.

    Obviously there is a massive grey area here, because civilians can be pressured or tricked into “volunteering” as human shields, without their free and informed consent. Obviously a fuckton of Hamas activities occur in this sort of grey area. Obviously we can’t be sure what motivated these particular people to shield this particular target (or, as laypeople call it, “someone’s house.”) But claims that Hamas uses human shields aren’t new, and in the recent past Amnesty International has investigated and rejected such claims. Mind you, Hamas is absolutely morally culpable for placing civilians at risk by stockpiling weapons and ammo in populated areas in the first place. But the civilians who shield known targets appear to be doing so of their own volition.

    By contrast, guess who does unambiguously use human shields? As in, moving otherwise-unwilling non-combatants around at gunpoint? Israel. For instance, in the article linked above, Amnesty International finds that the IDF used Palestinian civilians–children included–as human shields in the 2008-2009 Gaza conflict. And the IDF has explicitly opposed an Israeli High Court ruling against the use of human shields.

    Hamas does all kinds of shitty stuff, but Israel does not have the moral high ground over it on the human shields issue. Or war crimes in general, really.

    *Bear in mind that “Hamas” is not the most tightly unified organization. In particular, the recent kidnapping was conducted by a rogue element within Hamas, with a long history of trying to escalate the Palestine/Israel conflict through unsanctioned violence whenever it thinks Hamas leadership is wussing out. So when the IDF attacks those particular guys, and their friends and relatives show up to shield them, that tells you pretty much nothing about Hamas’ general policy on human shields.

  12. John Morales says

    I note that not all civilians who have died during this eruption have been human shields.

  13. doublereed says

    I’m not sure where people think I argued that Israel has the moral high ground. I think people are confusing me with colnago.

    If we’re talking about Palestinian lives, I think it should be pointed out that Hamas has little regard for them. That’s going to contribute to civilian deaths.

  14. Reginald Selkirk says

    If we’re talking about Palestinian lives, I think it should be pointed out that Hamas has little regard for them. That’s going to contribute to civilian deaths.

    This is true. hamas encourages a martyr mentality.

    They are also trying to kill Israelis. I suspect their failure to do so in large numbers is more a reflection of the limited range and accuracy of their weaponry than a success of Iron Dome.

  15. readysf says

    Israel is mad, and provoked to greater madness by US permissiveness. I wouldn’t be surprised if the next country to use a nuclear weapon is Israel. Some kind of silly Masada complex.

    Tribal ties are frightening. When Goldstone concluded that Israel had committed war crimes in the last Gaza attack, he was bullied into reversing himself…without explanation or any additional information. Israel is clearly committing war crimes today, and the coverup by US politicians is profoundly anti-American.

    Israel’s moral self-destruction continues.

  16. Anton Mates says

    doublereed,

    I’m not sure where people think I argued that Israel has the moral high ground.

    It’s just that you responded to a criticism of Israeli overkill with “well, Hamas uses human shields.” That implied to me that Hamas was somehow exceptionally prone to using human shields, and that this explains the high Palestinian body count, which isn’t the case.

    But if you were simply making the point that Hamas sucks and the Israeli government also sucks, relative amounts of suckiness to be determined at a later time, well, yeah, definitely. Sorry if I misread you.

    Reginald Selkirk,

    This is true. hamas encourages a martyr mentality.
    They are also trying to kill Israelis. I suspect their failure to do so in large numbers is more a reflection of the limited range and accuracy of their weaponry than a success of Iron Dome.

    I don’t think that’s the case. These paramilitary groups (again, most rockets are launched by groups other than Hamas) obviously have no problem killing Israelis, but mass murder is not their primary goal. They know how to kill people; if they wanted to maximize the death rate, they would focus on suicide attacks against civilians, which Hamas has foregone since 2005 or so. One guy with an automatic weapon or an explosive vest can kill more Israelis than several years’ worth of rockets.

    Moreover, popular support in Gaza for use of rockets has actually increased considerably in the last couple of years, even as the rockets have become steadily less lethal due to Israeli improvements in air defense. Again, it’s not about the body count.

    There are a few reasons why rockets are so popular. First, rockets are perceived to be a very effective form of psychological warfare, the only thing that has successfully convinced Israel to make recent concessions on things like water and electricity allowances. Non-violent methods of persuasion do nothing–or so the average Palestinian believes, anyway–and suicide attacks simply enrage Israelis and lead to massive retaliation. But the rockets provide a constant, low-level pressure to engage with Palestinian interests.

    Second, the rockets are also useful in economic warfare because the Iron Dome system is so expensive. Palestinians launch a $500 homemade rocket, Israel knocks it down with a $50,000 interceptor missile. That cost ratio, coupled with the impact of shelling on Israeli shopping habits, is very attractive to paramilitary groups fighting a wealthy and technologically advanced foe.

    Third, the rockets work like a charm for inflaming both international and Palestinian popular opinion against Israel, precisely because they almost never kill anybody, and Israel invariably retaliates in spectacular and bloody ways.

  17. John Morales says

    readysf @23, what about the other mob?

    (You’ve made your opinion about Israel abundantly clear)

  18. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    Latest news :

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-15/israel-approves-egyptian-ceasefire-proposal-for-gaza/5598960

    Once again, Israel accepts a peace offer and the Palestinian / Arab side rejects it.

    How many times I wonder does this have to happen before the Israel-bashers realise that the Jewish state is NOT the bad guy here but rather the good one?

    Mano Singham, what does this and all the other Israeli offers and acceptances of peace at high cost to itself tell you – and what does it tell you that the Palestinians yet again live up their famous description of never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace?

    Why are Hamas firing rockets at innocent civilians knowing what they are doing and what the consequences will be?

    I think democratically elected PM Bibi Netanyahu summed this whole long episode of ongoing conflict all up perfectly when he stated that :

    “Israel uses its missiles to protect its civilians whilst Hamas uses its civilians to protect its missiles!”

    Source : Memory, last night’s news, may not be exact words but close enough.

    What does Israel need to do?

    What do you expect Israel to do?

    What does it take?

    How many rockets need to be fired at you and your family in an attempt to murder you for just being who and what you are before you think that your side needs to strike back and do whatever is necessary to stop that happening anymore?

    Hamas started this conflict, Hamas is responsible for this conflict and it owns the consequences of this conflict. Every last casualty is their fault. To stop this, they need to stop firing these rockets and start giving up their hatred and accepting reality and the human rights and existence of Israelis.

    (And if Hamas really believed in their Allah moon-god supporting their cause divinely and if they truly wanted a clean “martyrdom” they’d have the guts to face them in open battle, outside of their cities and as a group with their leaders fully exposed to the enemy fire and die happy knowing their all headed to their 72 raisins in paradise rather than use their own people as human shields – how disgusting is that?

    The Gazans have been given plenty of international aid and funding – their priorities that they funded – no shelter for their supposed loved ones but instead rockets to try to kill the others -people living in Tel Aviv and other Israeli civilian cities who they don’t even know who done no harm to them – tell you all you really need to know about them.)

    Anyone that really disagrees with this I just ask you why?

    What the blazes is wrong with any of that logically, ethically or any other way?

    Seriously.

  19. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @23. readysf : “Israel is mad, and provoked to greater madness by US permissiveness.”

    I guess you think Hamas are entirely sane and fine and dandy then?

    Fire rockets and use rhetoric suggesting you want to exterminate your neighbour.

    Attempt to kill them, again and again. (Failures at that but not by want of trying.)

    Reject peace constantly even on the most generous of terms possible especially when your side is totally in the wrong.

    Then you are surprised when they defend themselves?

    Then you call out to the rest of the world to stop the fight you started and are now losing.

    Blaming the person you attacked for fighting back and defending themselves.

    Then repeating this every few years and showing no signs, absolutely none, that you’ve learnt anything or are willing to just let them be.

    That is what Hamas is and keeps doing.

    You think that’s sane?

    You think they deserve your rhetorical (or who knows) any other type of support?

    How do you not get this?

    What part of this reality do you – and your fellow Israel-bashers fail to grasp?

  20. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    PS. No I don’t want war or genocide or nukings of anyone or suffering or deaths.

    I want Hamas to stop firing rockets and accept Israel’s right to live in peace.

    Is that so much to ask?

    Ask yourselves, ask Hamas, think about it.

  21. readysf says

    There is an adversarial situation between Israel and the Palestinians, but Israel is clearly in charge. It is far more powerful. The Palestinians have the absolute right to resist. They are the victims, not the Israelis!

    Gaza is under Israeli siege by Israel. Why should they not resist? It is quite insane to compare planes dropping bombs, to homemade rockets. The numbers tell the story: hundreds of Palestinian civilians dead, 0 Israelis.

    I can understand Israeli insanity…their politicians have whipped up hysteria and fear. But for “supporters of Israel” outside Israel to support Israels moral self- destruction is truly amazing. The Palestinians have an absolute and EQUAL right to their country, and to peace.

    Congress just passed a resolution written by AIPAC that “supports” Israel but says nothing of the Palestinians. Why? Don’t Palestinians have the same rights? I forgot….they don’t have the lobbies!

    This kind of nonsense used to pass as being “pro Israel”. It is anything but.

  22. Anton Mates says

    StevoR,

    Mano Singham, what does this and all the other Israeli offers and acceptances of peace at high cost to itself tell you – and what does it tell you that the Palestinians yet again live up their famous description of never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace?

    Don’t be silly. Hamas gave its own conditions for a cease-fire; lift the blockade, release recently-arrested prisoners, and end military incursions into the West Bank and Gaza. If you think Israel can’t reasonably meet any of those conditions, fine, but they still exist.

    The Egyptian proposal includes none of them. It simply tells both sides to stop shooting, and then afterwards they “negotiate.” Netanyahu stated that the goal of negotiation would be for Hamas to give up its weapons and fill in its tunnels. In return, Israel will maybe lighten the blockade, in some ways, if it feels like it, until it changes its mind again. Or maybe Egypt will, except that the current administration is not friendly to Hamas. The cost to Israel of this offer is not “high,” it’s zero.

    So why would Hamas agree to a truce that offers them none of the things they’re fighting for in the first place? That’s not peace, that’s surrender.

    Furthermore, although I doubt Hamas would admit it, it doesn’t have the power to meet Israel’s demands here. It’s been losing money and influence recently, it’s not responsible for many of the rockets that have been launched, and the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens wasn’t sanctioned by Hamas leadership. Hamas is not powerful or unified enough to suppress anti-Israeli violence in Gaza to a level so low that Israel won’t retaliate in the near future.

    If Israel was serious about peace, it would have to offer actual concessions (besides “we’ll stop bombing you right now”), and it would have to either bargain with the other Gazan resistance groups besides Hamas, or strengthen Hamas to the point where it’s genuinely in control of Gaza. Currently, that’s not happening.

  23. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @29. readysf : “The Palestinians have the absolute right to resist.”

    Do you think they have the right to fire rockets aimed at murdering random Israelis?

    Because, no, I don’t think so.

    They are the victims, not the Israelis!

    They are? That’s debatable. Hamas are the ones firing rockets and the side that has started this latest round of violence.

    I suppose you could be meaning the Palestinians are victims of Hamas and the brain-washing into a toxic culture of hatred,anti-Semitism and violence?* Or they could aptly be described as victims of their own follies and poor judgements in rejecting so many generous peace offers over the years – is that what you meant? Or you mean the Palestinians are victims of the various Arab regimes who have cynically exploited and abused the issue for domestic political ends and as a distraction from their many other failures and kept the Palestinians refugees rather than allowing them citizenship ever since Israel’s 1948 War of Independence? (Before that too really.)

    Why should they not resist?

    Because they cannot win or achieve anything but bringing carnage upon themselves by firing rockets at Israel? Resistance can take different forms. Trying to kill innocent people ain’t a good or productive form and does nothing but bring them death torment and grief. What Hamas are doing is just criminally stupid.

    It is quite insane to compare planes dropping bombs, to homemade rockets.

    It is? Really? What makes you think that in this context? What’s your reasoning behind that statement?

    The numbers tell the story: hundreds of Palestinian civilians dead, 0 Israelis.

    It is now one Israeli civilian dead. But, of course, that’s its not many more is not for lack of Hamas efforts with over a thousand rockets fired into Israel. Thing is, unlike the palestinians, the Israelis build bunkers for their people to shelter in, have warning sirens and an anti-missile defence system, the Iron Dome. That these methods work well and have spared innocent lives is cause for happiness and shows its respect for life not cause for condemnation of Israel. Hamas in contrast uses its own people as human shields and the blame is thus on them – twice over in fact since they are responsible for this whole conflict in the first place.

    The story the numbers tell in short is the usual one that Israel cares about its people’s lives whereas Hamas is death cult that views “martyring” and abusing its people as perfectly okay.

    I can understand Israeli insanity…their politicians have whipped up hysteria and fear.

    I guess you think the Hamas rockets being fired are just figments of the imagination then? If only.

    Its hardly “insanity” to shoot back when your enemy is trying to kill you.

    But for “supporters of Israel” outside Israel to support Israels moral self- destruction is truly amazing.

    Your cliam that Israel’s supporters liek me whosay ithas therighttodefend itspeopel fromHamas rocketfireand Islamist threats are calling for its “moral self-destruction” is absurd. It may be your misinformed opinion but its certainly not the case. Israel is ethically in the right here.

    The Palestinians have an absolute and EQUAL right to their country, and to peace.

    The Palestinians have their country already – it is called Jordan but it is essentially the designated Arab state chopped out of and taking up two thirds of the old mandate and they have already repeated turned down a second new Palestine state in successive peace talks and plans ever since. How many times do we need to hear a “no”before we take their word for it?

    Same applies to peace. The Palestinians keep being offered peace and keep turning it down and resorting to violence instead. They can have peace anytime – they just need to agree to it and stop firing rockets, using terrorism and denying Israel’s right to exist in peace too!

    Don’t Palestinians have the same rights?

    Ask Hamas. They seem a bit less than keen to accept the usual western idea of human rights for all and prefer Sharia law instead.

    I forgot….they don’t have the lobbies!

    Sure they do. Remember a small thing called the Oil Shocks, happened in about the 1970’s when the Arab side used their supply of fossil fuels as an economic weapon? Never heard of OPEC?
    CAIR? The Arab league? Or read Mano Singham’s lobbying and arguing for the Palestinian side on this very blog and the FTB’s own little pro-Palestine, Israel-bashing mob? Yikes, Noam Chomsky has been a one man Palestine lobby since I forget when and has had plenty of revisionist left-wing academic company such as Finkelstein and Pappe.

    This kind of nonsense used to pass as being “pro Israel”. It is anything but.

    Well, you are entitled to your opinion.

    What and who would you consider pro-Israel then?

    * See this excellent youtube clip on the issue :

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc8EjQEpZ3s#t=14

    Especially the 53 minute mark.

  24. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @30. Anton Mates :

    Hamas gave its own conditions for a cease-fire; lift the blockade, release recently-arrested prisoners, and end military incursions into the West Bank and Gaza. If you think Israel can’t reasonably meet any of those conditions, fine, but they still exist.

    Yes. That doesn’t alter the fact that Hamas rejected the ceasefire on offer that Egypt proposed and Israel accepted. Or any of the implications that get drawn from that.

    So why would Hamas agree to a truce that offers them none of the things they’re fighting for in the first place? That’s not peace, that’s surrender.

    You say that like you think Hamas being forced to surrender is a bad thing. Is that what you think and, if so, why?

    Hamas are the problem here – their defeat would be good news for pretty much everyone except themselves.

    Furthermore, although I doubt Hamas would admit it, it doesn’t have the power to meet Israel’s demands here. It’s been losing money and influence recently, it’s not responsible for many of the rockets that have been launched, and the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens wasn’t sanctioned by Hamas leadership.

    Really? You know this how?

    Oh & it wasn’t just kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers – it was also their cold-blooded brutal murder as well.

    Hamas is not powerful or unified enough to suppress anti-Israeli violence in Gaza to a level so low that Israel won’t retaliate in the near future.

    Sheesh. Ya reckon that’s the case do you? Not so sure of that. If so, my heart bleeds for them – not!

    I hope this latest round of conflict is the end of Hamas. I’d expect any decent human being feels the same way given, y’know who and what Hamas are and have done and wish to do.

    If Israel was serious about peace, it would have to offer actual concessions (besides “we’ll stop bombing you right now”), and it would have to either bargain with the other Gazan resistance groups besides Hamas, or strengthen Hamas to the point where it’s genuinely in control of Gaza. Currently, that’s not happening.

    Y’know Israel has tried making concessions before. Why do you think Gaza is currently in Hamas hands to begin with? Or the Sinai Peninsula in Egypts? Or Southern Lebanon in Hezbollah’s hands? In case you forgot Israel pulled out of all those areas and handed them back to those groups – thus disproving the whole “out to create a Greater Israel” conspiracy theory.

    You think Hamas is offering to deliver peace if it gets enough appeasement, sorry, concessions made to it when Hamas has stated many times (& still has in its charter) that it won’t be happy until all Israel is destroyed and replaced with an extremist Islamist Hams run state? For real?

  25. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ Mano Singham : I note you have failed to answer the question I put to you in my comment #26 the other day :

    Mano Singham, what does this and all the other Israeli offers and acceptances of peace at high cost to itself tell you – and what does it tell you that the Palestinians yet again live up their famous description of “..never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity for peace?”

  26. StevoR : Free West Papua, free Tibet, let the Chagossians return! says

    @ ^ John Morales : You would argue otherwise why exactly?

    BTW. It seems the ceasefire may become a permanent one :

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-07-17/gaza-ceasefire-as-palestinian-fighters-tunnel-under-border/5605542

    No rockets fired at israel, no palestinian casualties, win, win – if it lasts.

    Believe it or not, I do want peace not war,

    And remember there are a lot of israeli politicians who are much further to the right and want Netanyahu to go a lot further than he has so far.

    But for now, peace. Good. Hope it continues.

  27. Anton Mates says

    StevoR,

    Yes. That doesn’t alter the fact that Hamas rejected the ceasefire on offer that Egypt proposed and Israel accepted. Or any of the implications that get drawn from that.

    Apparently it doesn’t alter the implications for you. For me, it changes the main implication to, “if you want to mediate a ceasefire between two warring groups, you need to actually talk to both groups, find out what they want and give them a chance to respond.” This is how grownups conduct diplomacy.
    s for pretty much everyone except themselves.

    Furthermore, although I doubt Hamas would admit it, it doesn’t have the power to meet Israel’s demands here. It’s been losing money and influence recently, it’s not responsible for many of the rockets that have been launched, and the kidnapping of the three Israeli teens wasn’t sanctioned by Hamas leadership.

    Really? You know this how?

    Know which? Well, here’s evidence for all three claims.

    Hamas has been losing money and influence because Syria and Egypt are no longer backing it, and Israel charges much higher prices for fuel than Egypt did. The Islamic Jihad Movement, on the other hand, is growing richer and stronger thanks to support from Iran.

    In 2007, Israel attributed only 22% of the rockets fired from Gaza to Hamas. Twice as many were fired by the Islamic Jihad Movement, Fatah and the Popular Resistance Committees. I see no reason to think that Hamas has acquired a monopoly on rocket-firing since then.

    The three teens were kidnapped and murdered by a “rogue branch” of Hamas, which is why Hamas did not take credit for it. You can absolutely condemn Hamas’ leadership for not doing more to repudiate or shut down the Qawasmeh clan–although that would be a fairly costly act for them, given the clan’s power–but the clan does not answer to the rest of Hamas and would not be neutralized by a Hamas surrender.

    Gazans are not perpetrating violence against Israel because Hamas is forcing them to. They’re doing it because they are desperate and angry, for a variety of reasons, some very good, some kind of crappy. If Hamas shut down tomorrow, other groups would simply fill the vacuum. That’s not going to change until Gazans have less reason to be desperate and angry….or until they’re all killed, of course.

    I would be delighted if Hamas collapsed simply because Palestinians didn’t think it was worth supporting anymore. That’s unlikely to happen while they’re getting blockaded, bulldozed and bombed, though.

    Oh & it wasn’t just kidnapping of the three Israeli teenagers – it was also their cold-blooded brutal murder as well.

    Yep, just like the cold-blooded brutal murder of a teenage Palestinian construction worker by Israeli troops in January, and the murder of two teenage Palestinian protesters in May, and the murder of a bunch of Palestinian kids playing soccer this month. Lotta cold-blooded brutal murder going on at the moment, and there’s no way you can run the numbers and conclude that the Palestinians aren’t getting the worst of it.

    Y’know Israel has tried making concessions before. Why do you think Gaza is currently in Hamas hands to begin with? Or the Sinai Peninsula in Egypts? Or Southern Lebanon in Hezbollah’s hands?

    Gaza is currently in Hamas’ hands because the Palestinians voted them in, and then the US and Israel tried to force Hamas out of power in favor of Fatah, which backfired and led to Hamas taking complete control of the strip. I have no idea which part of this you think constitutes a “concession” on Israel’s part.

    Egypt and Israel have been at peace since Israel pulled out of the Sinai, so I’m not sure why you’re mentioning that–it’s evidence that concessions work. Sometimes, anyway.

    Nor am I sure what Lebanon has to do with anything. Did Israel want Southern Lebanon? Was it inclined to grant citizenship to southern Lebanon’s residents? Should Hamas be grateful for favors done to Hezbollah?

    You think Hamas is offering to deliver peace if it gets enough appeasement, sorry, concessions made to it when Hamas has stated many times (& still has in its charter) that it won’t be happy until all Israel is destroyed and replaced with an extremist Islamist Hams run state? For real?

    I don’t know what’ll make Hamas “happy,” but I do know that Hamas’ own leader has called that 25-year-old charter obsolete and irrelevant, and Hamas has not moved to implement the charter since it took over Gaza. Nor has it been demanding the destruction of Israel in its actual statements made in the last ten years or so. So, yeah, I think if you’re going to negotiate with a group, it would help to work with the conditions it’s actually proposing at the moment.

    Besides, if Hamas suddenly goes “Surprise! We actually aim to destroy all Israel after all,” I kinda think Israel and the United States will be able to prevent them from accomplishing that goal. Call it a hunch.

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