Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Gaza: Point and Counterpoint

with 6 comments


One last post about Gaza and the situation in Palestine, I promise. Unless some new horrors emerge over the weekend I suppose. Jesus wept. In any event I was pleased that a few pro-Israeli militarists left comments about my previous two posts. They raised several points that I would like to address. I am always happy to hear from people who disagree with me, it’s either an opportunity to further refine my arguments…or a chance to learn something new and change my thinking. As long time readers know, I have been known to change my opinions when presented with logical arguments. If  a person can’t be swayed by logical argument, basically they are insane.

First off I have a question for the people who claim that Israel’s military action in Gaza is justified: If a dozen dead and a few dozen injured in Hamas rocket attacks over a seven year period justifies Israel killing hundreds of innocent Palestinian women and children in a week…how many Israel civilians is Hamas now justified killing in their response to this killing? By the pro-Israeli-attack-on-Gaza people’s own logic, Hamas now has a green light to kill thousands of Israeli innocents in response? A hundred eyes for an eye is going to fix this mess? Hmm.

In any event commenter ofer raised several points, I don’t have space to refute them all. To start with he ends his comment with:

“Arabs hate Israel and America (and Europeans for that matter…”

Actually, there are something like 100 million or more Arabs, and while I am sure some are racists who hate Israel and America, I never met one. Just ascribing this kind of blanket statement to a 100 million people demonstrates a rather limited  point of view in  my book.

He raises the point that there historically never was a Palestinian state. This is true, all truly effective propaganda contains a germ of truth. Um, so what? So there was never a Palestinian state, that means it was OK for Israel to expel the Palestinians from the lands they had lived in for generations? Of course not, ethnic cleansing is ethnic cleansing no matter what the citizenship of the people being ethnically cleansed.

He raised the point that Jordan and Egypt refused to take back the West Bank and the Gaza strip. So? Maybe Israel should have considered that possibility when they invaded and occupied them in 1967? Would you want to take back land that would put you in the IDF’s cross-hairs forever? Israel is the occupying power in Gaza and the West Bank, they created this situation, it’s irrelevant that Jordan and Egypt said “you wanted it so badly, it’s yours now.”

As for the claim regarding the failed peace talks with Arafat:

“The failure to come to an agreement was widely attributed to Yasser Arafat…”

Actually, it’s only widely attributed among Israeli hawks, in point of fact blaming the Palestinians for their plight is a strong central theme in all pro-war Israeli propaganda. It’s almost always nonsense, in this case it’s simply well crafted nonsense. The offer Israel made to Arafat was a joke designed to be rejected. If Britain had offered the USA independence with the contingency that the USA could be independent but that New York and Boston would remain in British control with a British controlled corridor to Canada from each of them and that Britain would control the “independent” USA’s borders…George Washington would have laughed in their faces. Arafat was no George Washington, but he was smart enough to walk away from a bad deal.

As for the idea that the Palestinians have never made any better peace offers or haven’t recognized Israel, it doesn’t pass the laugh test. Most people in the west don’t know that since the western media virtually always simply parrots this long standing Israeli propaganda. Numerous Palestinian leaders through the years have recognized Israel and made peace offers. Apparently the commenter didn’t even read the post he was commenting on, since he seems to be unaware of the Arab Peace Initiative just for starters. It’s Israel that routinely refuses to negotiate, not the Palestinians.

Someone also claimed that:

“I’m not sure where you’re getting schematics on the “home made rockets,” but it rather sounds like saying that the IEDs we’re seeing in Iraq are “home made” explosively-formed penetrators.”

No, I wouldn’t compare a home-made rocket that has a ten pound warhead made of fertilizer to IEDs made from hundreds or thousands of pounds of modern high explosive. As I have repeatedly stated, Israel has about a million times as much firepower as the Palestinians, it’s no contest if we are talking about a fight.

And lastly, no, I do not condone Hamas’s rocket attacks. Nor do I condone suicide bombings and any attacks on civilians. Killing civilians is reprehensible no matter who does it or why. I know far more Jews and Israelis than Arabs, and I share their grief and horror at the suffering terrorist attacks have caused them. I just can’t ignore that far more innocent Palestinains have died than innocent Israelis.

My point, distracting details aside, is that the war mongers who have been running Israel for decades have consistently claimed they had “no choice” but to use disproportionate violence against the Palestinians while simultaneously doing everything in their power to perpetuate the current situation as they slowly take more and more land from the Palestinians.  I’m sorry, but when the side holding all the power and all the cards claim they have “no choice”…prima facie they are lying. Israel has infinite choices compared to the extremely limited options the Palestinians have. “He gave me no choice” never excuses any crime, from one of the world’s most powerful nations that has kept millions of people in what are effectively open air concentration camps for decades…it’s a disgusting, reprehensible, and cowardly claim.

People by the millions believe it though, propaganda is an amazing thing. Maybe I’ll post on that more at some point, but I’ve got some other more diverting topics planned for next week. And as a last note for the pro-Gaza-attack crowd, a rabbi makes my arguments far better than me: Rabbi Lerner on Isreal in Gaza.

Have a great weekend everyone.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law, it is not being used for profit and its use here in no may interferes with the copyright holder’s commercial use of the image. Credit/copyright: Pavel Wolberg /EPA. I just thought it was a striking image that encompasses so much of the current situation in Palestine, I wonder what those guys are thinking?)


Written by unitedcats

January 9, 2009 at 11:32 am

6 Responses

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  1. I think the example of the midget kicking Arnold in your previous is a little ridiculous. Any midget dumb enough to do that deserves the beating. This strategy of Hamas is equally stupid. Firing rockets to provoke Israel to attack and then hiding behind women and children to get world sympathy? Seems like you are the one buying into their propaganda.


    January 9, 2009 at 3:28 pm

  2. I like what Rabbi Lerner has to say, and also J Street has been making some good arguments.

    Mahakal / מהכאל

    January 9, 2009 at 5:07 pm

  3. Two of my friends were in Israel in December when Hamas attacked. They stayed in Sderot, just next to the Gaza strip’s border. They say that the only reason why only a few people were injured there is that before every attack warning sirens were fired and everyone took cover in bomb shelters. If it wasn’t for good organization, much more people would have been wounded or killed.

    So I was wondering… maybe it wasn’t that smart of Israel to warn their people about the threat. Because if they didn’t, death toll of Hamas’ attacks would be higher and maybe people like yourself would understand how difficult the situation is? What if there were 100 Israelis killed from mortar and rocket attacks, would that change anything for you?

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this whole mess is Palestinians’ fault. There is too much I don’t know for me to judge this. But back in December, Israel too was in an impossible situation and this war was inevitable.


    January 11, 2009 at 8:37 am

  4. The cease fire worked, the rocket attacks STOPPED for four months. In return Israel promised to relieved the crippling (and illegal) blockade of Gaza. Not only did they continue their blockade of Gaza, they started launching strikes inside Gaza in defiance of the cease fire. If the Israeli government wanted to stop the rocket attacks, why didn’t they continue the clearly successful diplomacy and negotiations that had halted the attacks for four months? This is a war of choice on Israel’s part, period.


    January 11, 2009 at 9:07 am

  5. The whole “there never was a Palestine” argument is the most specious. I am glad that you have the same opinion as myself – “so what?”

    Those who offer this argument never take a step back and consider the underlying principle they are promoting:
    populations who live in an area but do not belong to an officially recognised state entity have no rights to remain there

    Well not long before 1948, when this argument was put into practice in “Palestine”, I can think of a stateless population in Europe to whom the same logic was applied.

    And a question to all posters who claim Israel is only after peace. Why do the settlements keep growing? Why have none of the illegal outposts been removed? If they are illegal, why are thousands of IDF troops defending them? Why are thousands of Palestinians uprooted to ensure security for these illegal outposts?

    There are > 700,000 Israeli settlers inside the Green Line. Look at the map here and tell me if there is any way to resolve this.

    Because the reality is that the last time a few tiny West Bank settlements were pulled down, Rabin was assassinated and Likud voted into power by Israelis. Israel has created a situation where it is a choice between ongoing conflict with the Palestinians or a possible civil war if they take the necessary steps towards peace.


    January 15, 2009 at 10:00 pm

  6. Further to my point about Israelis wanting peace, how about the results of this survey?

    What the majority of Israelis appear to desire is complete security while they enjoy the fruits of oppression.


    January 16, 2009 at 4:20 am

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