Enough Stupid Arguments About Israel

Often simply naming something makes it easier to see and understand the next time. Take the argument that pressing crisis X demands some sort of immediate response is sufficient by itself to endorse reaction Y. This is plainly ridiculous. The ways that a stupid or thoughtless person can make a given crisis worse almost defy counting, at least compared with the relatively few honestly good ideas. Further, people never have every possible tool in their hands all the time. I see this all the time, yet I only understood why the tactic irritates me so much when I gave it a name. I find it useful to call the flawed construct we have to do something, ergo we should do X the kinetic fallacy.

Iraq and the 2001 terrorist attacks make a useful contrast. When terrorists attacked America it was fairly clear that both that the status quo was untenable. It was also clear that we had the tools to do something useful. Conversely Saddam’s Iraq failed both tests. Compared to where we are today the status quo seems perfectly tenable for any number of reasons. (1) We shake hands every day with regimes bloodier than Saddam. (2) Sanctions kept Iraq’s army in a crippled state that threatened almost nobody. (3) Iran predictably became the dominant mideast power when a Shiite government replaced Saddam. (4) Inspectors who concluded that Iraq had nothing like a WMD program proved accurate and Judith Miller hystericism proved fucking wrong. (5) Save for planted stories about a meeting in Prague nobody would think to link Iraq with al Qaeda.

Iraq failed the imminent threat test, but it also failed the means test. Even if Saddam constituted a crisis we had little in the way of useful tools to improve the situation. Some people thought that we did, but those people were incredibly stupid. Neocons thought that Iraqis would welcome Ahmad Chalabi as some sort of pro-America/pro-Israel Saddam 2.0. Donald Rumsfeld thought he could win the occupation with a special forces skeleton crew. Iraq might be the ultimate example of the kinetic fallacy at work since we neither had to act nor had the tools to act usefully.

Almost nothing brings out kinetic arguments today like fights involving Israel. Jeffrey Goldberg at the Atlantic, for example, wrote a post today that distilled the flawed argument almost perfectly. He states the pressing need to act (emphasis mine).

No country in the world could afford to ignore such attacks. And no country would. An elected government, such as Israel’s, has a basic, overriding responsibility — to protect its citizens from the organized violence of their enemies. Of course, it can do this in part by negotiating with its enemies (assuming its enemies recognize Israel’s right to life) but its immediate mission must be to stop the violence, which is what Israel is now trying to do.

He makes the second point so clearly that Goldberg’s post might as well be the kinetic fallacy index case.

Whether it succeeds or not is an open question (It is Hamas’ indifference to Palestinian life, not Jewish life, that makes it a formidable foe, in the manner of Hezbollah) , but Israel must try to use all of the tools of national power to stop attacks on its citizens. Otherwise it is simply not a serious nation, one that does not deserve sovereignty.

Notice Goldberg’s vague reference to “all the tools of national power.” Israel has a military designed to handle the regular armies of the rest of the region, plus the unconditional support of America, so the country has a lot of tools. Israel has nuclear weapons. It could commit genocide. Goldberg’s ambiguous statement commits him to supporting essentially any response that Israel makes, no matter how extreme or counterproductive. Like many Americans Goldberg apparently thinks a friend of Israel must support every decision by Israel’s government (to be fair, Goldberg’s blanket support may only cover violence). In my home country of Pittsburgh we call people like that enablers. If Israel’s decisions come from short term political need rather than the country’s own long-term best interests, as Ezra Klein suggests is happening today, then supporters of Israel would best serve her interests best by pushing policy in a more productive direction.

In another post Ezra makes one of the more effective counters to kinetic arguments about Israel. The idea that Israel should always answer violence with violence is a pernicious mistake because it effectively puts any small group of radicals in charge of Israel’s foreign policy. The problem is even worse than that. Israeli counterattacks mostly hit civilians, and the more civilians that Israel kills the more support the violent radicals will enjoy among the Palestinian population. Israeli violence and draconian sanctions do little for Israel, nor do they benefit Palestinians general. However, such ugliness is oxygen and water for radical groups that attack Israel. Goldbergian kineticism puts Israel’s policy in charge of groups that have the perverse incentive of keeping Israel as violent as possible.

Do these particular attacks demand a reaction? Compared with the relentless barrages from Hezbollah the answer here is much less clear. Hamas sent relatively few rockets, several misfired and nobody was killed. Unlike Hezbollah, Hamas has almost no ability to aim. A proportional response would have used something more like a catapult. So no, there was no absolute need to react here.

Regarding whether Israel had to respond with violence, the answer again is no. Israel would save far more lives if it closed down the remaining settlements. Unfortunately that is not an option, and the reason is telling. The political pain for taking on thousands of Israel’s most violent extremists at once would strain any Israeli government, especially a weak leader like Ehud Olmert. As Israel’s most important friend it is America’s job to provide political cover, via unbearable pressure, for Israel to do things that it cannot do under its own power. It is a convenient bonus that doing so would not only serve Israel but also help restore America’s reputation as an honest international broker.






191 replies
  1. 1

    […] I still gave a fuck about the situation in Israel, I’d write something like this*.  Thanks […]

  2. 2
    SGEW says:

    Open the floodgates!

    I have yet to see a meaningful dialogue about the Palestinian/Israeli situation that doesn’t descend into hysterics, name-calling, and preposterous suppositions. And that’s amongst Americans (never mind the "dialogue" between Israel and the Palestinians, natch).

    So go ahead. Prove me wrong, thread. Discuss the current situation with reason, candor, and an open mind.

    . . .

    [not holding breath]

    [Afterthought: “Goldbergian Kineticism” is a simply lovely phrase, and should be brought to Mr. Goldberg’s attention. Alas, his blog (probably wisely) has no comments, and I have a suspicion that he isn’t really reading most of his email from strangers these days.]

  3. 3
    b-psycho says:

    On point for the most part. One question though…

    As Israel’s most important friend it is America’s job […]

    What reason is there to maintain this role? Seriously, what do we (and by "we", I mean you & me, not weapons manufacturers, zionist fear-mongerers, & the Jeebus Freaks who think helping Israel will hasten the Rapture) gain from any strategic relationship with Israel at all?

  4. 4
    TenguPhule says:

    Compared with the relentless barrages from Hezbollah the answer here is much less clear. Hamas sent relatively few rockets, several misfired and nobody was killed.

    Point of Order!

    4 dead, 19 wounded from the Hamas barrage so far.

    So yeah, not quite cut and dried as that.

  5. 5
    wingnuts to iraq says:

    i think we should give as many tanks, planes, guns, and bombs to Hamas as we do to Israel.

    That’d be WAAAAY more fun.

    Fuck Israel.

  6. 6
    wingnuts to iraq says:

    @TenguPhule: Yeah, compared to the 600+ dead Palestinians!

    So we know how the ratio works in your world.

    Fuck Israel.

  7. 7
    TenguPhule says:

    So go ahead. Prove me wrong, thread. Discuss the current situation with reason, candor, and an open mind.

    Dude, this is Balloon Juice. We love to prove you wrong.

    The current situation sucks. Israel’s current leaders are a bunch of fucking idiots on par with the neural capacity of Hamas.

    Unfortunately Israel has pretty good evidence for arguing it needs to reduce Gaza to rubble, the new rockets hitting them are getting closer to the bigger cities. Their reasoning is that it’s all fine and good to argue about unnecessary civilian casualties on the other side, but their civilian side is getting hit and clearly being targeted in defiance of international law. Also, nobody is brave enough or dumb enough to serve as UN peacekeeper shields in Israel to deter Hamas from striking. Equally, nobody is lining up to police Gaza to keep the Israelis out.

    Now on the Palestinian side, they’re basically fucked. They can’t get out, their leaders will fucking shoot them to make examples of them if they try to talk peace and the Israelis aren’t playing nice any more. All the crazy people have the guns and are better organized then anyone else.

    Personally, I’d love to see the Israeli settlers either A: Deported back into Israel’s borders or B: nationalized as citizens of a Palestinian state. One thing I’ve noticed is that there is no talk of Jewish citizens in "New Palistine", which kinda begs the question of "Isn’t this then just a mirror image of Israel with less guns and less democracy?"

    So yeah, it’s a mess and barring some third party managing to piss both sides off at a common enemy, it’s never gonna end until half the region is dead.

  8. 8
    TenguPhule says:

    So we know how the ratio works in your world.

    Suck Donkey Balls, Elephant Turd.

    There is no fucking ratio. It’s a fucking fact and Tim needs to correct his post to account for it.

  9. 9
    TenguPhule says:

    wingnuts to iraq

    Wingnut, why aren’t you in Iraq yet?

  10. 10
    TenguPhule says:

    What reason is there to maintain this role?

    1. Social ties, people have family there and they have family here.

    2. Like it or not, they’re a regional player and it doesn’t pay to be on their bad side.

    3. They’re very good in certain technical areas, they’ve taught us a thing or two.

    4. Better us then Russia or China.

  11. 11
    Comrade Kevin says:

    "reduce Gaza to rubble", and presumably all the people there too? Perhaps, with an exclusion zone, they could accomplish it with one bomb

  12. 12
    SGEW says:

    Ahem. Not the greatest start.

    Fuck Israel.

    . . .

    Suck Donkey Balls, Elephant Turd.

    I’d chalk this up to good ol’ B-J belligerence, but every single thread in the entire internets about Israel basically boils down to this exchange.

    Wow, it’s strange to miss the animosity over Rev. Warren. Who’d have thought I’d pine for that?

  13. 13
    Jemerson48 says:

    I think the plan is to push us towards Armageddon before the inauguration. It’s possibly Bush’s only chance of finding himself a legacy that he can be proud of, albeit one accompanied by a fair amount of spittle and hard utterances when remembered by the denizens huddled within the recesses of a rather damp cave…

  14. 14
    TenguPhule says:

    "reduce Gaza to rubble", and presumably all the people there too? Perhaps, with an exclusion zone, they could accomplish it with one bomb

    I look at it this way.

    We are fine and dandy arguing back and forth because we’re not getting bombed.

    But if I had to live through 8 years of daily rocket/bombing runs, I’d say fuck it, wipe out the other side to the last man. Anything to make it stop. People just can’t live like that.

    So yeah, I can see it from both sides.

    I just can’t sympathize with the official Palestinian governments because they fucking shoot anyone who looks like a serious peace activist on their side.

  15. 15
    TenguPhule says:

    Ahem. Not the greatest start.

    It was a Wilred troll. Doesn’t count.

  16. 16
    scats says:

    Well, there is a small group of radicals in charge of Israel’s foreign policy, it’s just not Hamas.

    According to Ha’aretz, the attacks on Gaza were planned well before the ceasefire ended and Hamas’ rockets started flying. That the Gaza bombing is merely a defensive response is an ad hoc (or is it post facto?) justification.

    You are however correct to point out that it is the US’s job to force Israel to make peace, although not for the reasons you list.

    The kinetic fallacy is a keeper. Would have done wonders applied to the bailout.

  17. 17
    Reverend Dennis says:

    Israel began blockading Gaza when Hamas candidates were elected in June, 2007. The blockade resulted in Gaza’s only power plant being shut down for lack of fuel. Food, medicine and cash were interdicted as well. The UN was forced to cut off food distribution to 750,000 Gaza residents. The blockade was maintained during the six months of the cease fire. The justification for maintaining the blockade was that rockets were still occasionally fired into Israel. In other words: the entire population of Gaza was being punished because Hamas couldn’t control the actions of each and every person there. By that same logic, it would be legitimate to blockade Israel because it seems unable to control the actions of its illegal settlers.
    Israel has so far killed 300 people (Including 22 children) in Gaza and has wounded a further 1300 in reprisal for the deaths of fewer Israelis than are killed in traffic accidents in one month. It’s safe to anticipate that the residents of Gaza will continue to be killed until they show sufficient gratitude.

  18. 18
    TenguPhule says:

    In other words: the entire population of Gaza was being punished because Hamas couldn’t control the actions of each and every person there. By that same logic, it would be legitimate to blockade Israel because it seems unable to control the actions of its illegal settlers.

    Extrapolating further into this logic, if Israel opens the blockade but a random F16 bombs a building every day in Gaza, the Palestinians would be overreacting to it and should be willing to make peace instead.

    Because yeah, those rockets are in every man on the street’s pocket.

  19. 19
    Andrew says:

    But if I had to live through 8 years of daily rocket/bombing runs, I’d say fuck it, wipe out the other side to the last man. Anything to make it stop. People just can’t live like that.

    The only question is, at what point does "Anything to make it stop" make you amenable to a solution other than "bomb them more"? At what point do you start soberly accepting the fact that you’re making the problem worse, and as the player with all the power, you have the ability to make it stop?

  20. 20
    TenguPhule says:

    @scats

    Nice try.

    The plan of action that was implemented in Operation Cast Lead remained only a blueprint until a month ago, when tensions soared after the IDF carried out an incursion into Gaza during the ceasefire to take out a tunnel which the army said was intended to facilitate an attack by Palestinian militants on IDF troops.

    On November 19, following dozens of Qassam rockets and mortar rounds which exploded on Israeli soil, the plan was brought for Barak’s final approval.

    Contingency plans are normal.

    When the shit is flying, they can be put into action.

    So yeah.

  21. 21
    Lupin says:

    My mother was a child during World War II and still remembers to this day when the Germans came and drew a cross on the wall of their house, indicating that they would return to seize it. They had something like two hours to vacate the premises.

    The notion that you can grab land, displace the locals and resettle it with your own farmers, in perpetuity, based on dubious legal or religious reasons — as opposed to building military bases to enforce your security — is insane.

    Last year, Israel announced they would build 300 new settlements near Bethlehem, and earlier this year, they said they would expand the West Bank settlements.

    Even Condoleezza Rice (hardly an anti-Israel advocate), stated that such expansion should stop and was inconsistent with Israel’s obligations.

    This is wrong, wrong, wrong.

    Don’t tell me the settlements are there to stay: In 1978, when Jimmy Carter insisted, Israel forcibly evacuated its citizens from the Sinai and demolished their homes when the area was returned to Egypt pursuant to the Camp David Accords. They could do it, if they wanted to.

    We did not seize huge tracts of German or Japanese farmland after WWII and gave it to Midwestern farmers. The British didn’t go to settle the Argentinian mainland after the Falklands. No one would get away with this, except Israel.

    Until Israel removes its settlements, they deserve all the rockets fired at them. If they took my land, I’d be firing rockets at them too.

  22. 22
    TenguPhule says:

    We did not seize huge tracts of German or Japanese farmland after WWII and gave it to Midwestern farmers.

    Point of order. The US did EXACTLY this in WWII. To its own Japanese-American citizens.

    No one would get away with this, except Israel.

    Point of Order. China.

    Until Israel removes its settlements, they deserve all the rockets fired at them. If they took my land, I’d be firing rockets at them too.

    If you were firing rockets at me, I’d clap on the planes dropping tons of exploding death on you.

    Yeah, the settlers are assholes. Still doesn’t justify shooting at the civilians (many of them trying to stop those assholes) in cities.

    They could do it, if they wanted to.

    Yeah, and look how that last offer of land for peace turned out.

    Israel tries to uproot settlements. It’s not fun work or easy. Their troops get a shitload of flack for it at home.

    Frankly, I say just make them Palestinian citizens and solve two problems with one pen stroke.

  23. 23
    John says:

    One thing I’ve noticed is that there is no talk of Jewish citizens in "New Palistine" [sic], which kinda begs the question of "Isn’t this then just a mirror image of Israel with less guns and less democracy?"

    Err, given that there are numerous Arab citizens of Israel, I don’t see how this would make it a mirror image of Israel. Beyond that, for years the official Palestinian position was for a single binational state called "Palestine." The key issue is that no Jews would want to live in a Palestinian state.

    We did not seize huge tracts of German or Japanese farmland after WWII and gave it to Midwestern farmers.

    I’m fairly certain that, while we did not do this, we did acquiesce in Stalin seizing huge tracts of German farmland after WWI and giving it to Polish and Russian farmers. Google "East Prussia," "Pomerania," and "Silesia." We also acquiesced in the Czechs seizing huge tracts of Sudeten German farmland in Bohemia and giving it to Czech farmers.

    Which is not to say that the Israeli settlements are not outrageous – they are. Just that the historical example here ought to be refined, I think.

  24. 24
    TenguPhule says:

    The key issue is that no Jews would want to live in a Palestinian state.

    Wouldn’t want to? Or wouldn’t be allowed to live?

  25. 25
    Napoleon says:

    Goldberg is a complete moron and is a perfect example of the intellectual wasteland that is the Washington media and political class.

  26. 26
    [delurk]...[/delurk] says:

    So what is the statute of limitations on this? Palestine was occupied 60 years ago. When were the Palestinians supposed to roll over and say: "Oh well, it’s been too long now, we must now acquiesce in the occupation of our country by a foreign army, leave or else live in the few slivers of territory the Occupation Forces allow us. Time limits are sacrosanct!"

    Exactly what year was this transformation supposed to have taken place? Until very recently, the IRA was murdering women and children, fighting a war that they won 85 years ago. Let’s try the Irish model: give 3/4 of Palestine back to the Palestinians, limit the Jews to the West Bank and Gaza, and if the Palestinians are still fighting the same war in 2093, then they will be revealed for all to see as totally unreasonable.

    Before anyone accuses me of being anti-Jewish, I’m not. That’s what makes this whole situation so infuriating. The Jews are part of our culture, and have made innumerable contributions to it. We would all be immeasurably the poorer without them; the Palestinians, not so much. Personally, if they had never existed, I wouldn’t know the difference.

    When the International Community decided that the Jewish people were to be indemnified for their sufferings in the Holocaust, that was the right thing to do. If the Zionists were correct (and I’m afraid they were) that the only protection anyone has against such genocidal atrocities is the possession of a territorial state recognized by all the other governments of the world to take an interest in your welfare, and that the indemnification should take the form of the Jews being given such a territorial state, that’s perfectly reasonable and appropriate.

    What I have never understood, do not understand, and will never understand the longest day I live is: WHY in the name of all that’s holy, would this indemnification NOT be at the expense of GERMANY? Why should some innocent third party have their country invaded and occupied? This whole situation is quite literally insane!

  27. 27
    NonWonderDog says:

    Apparently the uptick in rocket attacks was triggered by an Israeli attack on a smuggling tunnel, so it’s not as cut and dried as "they’re responding to rockets."

    Israel says that they blew up the tunnel because Hamas was smuggling weapons and men (and presumably food and medical supplies) into Gaza, and that this was somehow in violation of the cease-fire. This is, of course, nonsense: a cease-fire doesn’t mean that you lay down your arms and tell the enemy to take them. It means you stop shooting. It specifically means that you stop shooting at military targets (like supply lines), since you shouldn’t be shooting at civilian targets to begin with.

    Of course, the tunnel attack was apparently triggered by two Qassam rockets fired a while ago (with no casualties), so it’s not as cut and dried as "the rockets are in response to the tunnel closing."

    And, of course, those two rockets were apparently in response to an Israeli settler who shot the Palestinian man he "bought" his land from, so it’s not as cut and dried as "the tunnel attack was in response to rockets."

    And on… and on… and on…

  28. 28
    Ash Can says:

    Or wouldn’t be allowed to live?

    Considering that Israel has done just about everything in its power to thoroughly ingratiate itself with the Palestinians as a whole (and yes, that is snark, for the sarcasm-challenged), this is probably a valid point. But maybe Israel is backed/has backed itself so far into the corner that this gamble is the price it would have to pay for long-term peace. After all, establishing a Palestinian state, with clearly defined borders, defuses the basic argument of the Palestinian nationalists. And I’m talking about on a grass-roots level — it may take a while for the extremists to get flushed out of the system, but it would set in motion the transfer of political power to Palestinians who had grown up as Palestinians, period, who would not have been subject to harassment by an overtly unfriendly governmental authority.

    As a Gentile American, I don’t feel that, on a personal level, I have any dogs in this fight. From a political viewpoint, however, I acknowledge that it’s good to have a powerful ally in the Middle East who’s as reliable as Israel, let alone one that has the close ties it does to so many of my fellow Americans. And, from a sheerly humanitarian viewpoint, I just want this madness to end.

    I’m afraid, though, that there are just too many people on either side who genuinely do not want peace; they just want to beat the shit out of the other side. If they honestly wanted peace, they’d stop using their civilians as pawns (on the Palestinian side) and swatting flies with wrecking balls (on the Israeli side). Fuck them. Just take the levers of power away from them, by whatever and however many different means it takes, and let future generations redefine the area’s dynamics from either side of an established national border.

    Both Palestinian apologists and Israeli apologists just keep saying the same damned things, over and over. And they’re both making the same damned arguments — he started it, no, he did, the other side doesn’t respect anything but force, blah blah blah. Wilfred and TenguPhule are saying the same things; only the names are different. Yes, both sides have serious grievances. Yes, both sides are suffering atrocities. No shit. TL;DR. The only question is of who really, truly, sincerely wants it to stop and whether he/she/they have the stones to do what it would take, for however long it would take, to get it to stop.

  29. 29
    wilfred the shoe thrower says:

    The fact that the Israelis exercise their complete political, economic and military power with impunity is nothing new; the bloodshed here is just more concentrated than usual.

    The solution has always been in America. Yet there has never been a time when opposition to American policy in the Middle East has been so strangled, so fearful. Asking for a debate on a blog is pretty senseless when the one place where such debate should and must take place has been effectively silenced.

    No academic in search of tenure will dare challenge American policy. But you can see people on the Arab channels; Iranian press TV regularly features academics who actually speak a language other than English. Watch al Jazeera English for alternatives to corporate media.

    If you feel for Palestinians as human beings then do something about it – donate money to Palestinian charities and help the blockade runners trying to get supplies into Gaza.

  30. 30
    rachel says:

    @TenguPhule: And you can’t see the difference between rockets that can’t be aimed and only fall in a small area, and suicide bombers who aim themselves and go anywhere in Israel that their feet can carry them?

    It’s the difference between four dead + nineteen wounded over the border from Gaza; and God knows how many, God knows where. If Israel were your best buddy about to drive his semi rig after slamming half a bottle of tequila, you’d hand him his keys with a grin, wouldn’t you. Some friend you are.

  31. 31
    wilfred the shoe thrower says:

    As a Gentile American, I don’t feel that, on a personal level, I have any dogs in this fight

    But you do. It is the United States’ unquestioning support for Israel that has more than anything else to contribute to this problem. your statement would make sense if you were from Zambia, or Iceland, or any other goddamned place that doesn’t bankroll one or the other side. But you happen to pay taxes that funds one of the combatants – so you’re involved up to your ass.

    Wilfred and TenguPhule are saying the same things; only the names are different.

    No, we’re not. One side, his, has f-16s and cluster bombs, and the absolute support of the most vile, corrupt administration our country has ever suffered under. The Palestnians have nothing, not even the weapons to fight. perhaps you’ve wondered why they’re not using all the weapons they supposedly smuggled in. Draw your own decisions.

  32. 32
    Lupin says:

    @ TenguPhule

    Regarding the Jewish settlements, I mean the ones on the West Bank that started in the 1980s, I do not find your historical analogies (confiscation of the assets of Japanese-American) comparable at all.

    The Chinese occupation of Tibet is a much better analogy; I should have thought of it first. And yes, China is grudgingly allowed to continue its occupation, as is Israel, but in one case the U.S. is simpatico to the plight of the Tibetans, in the other hostile to that of the Palestinians.

    Your response to the genuine resistance of people who seek to reclaim their land is, in your own words, to " drop tons of exploding death" on them. Need I say more?

  33. 33
    liberal says:

    @TenguPhule:

    I just can’t sympathize with the official Palestinian governments …

    Those are not "governments": they do not exercise sovereignty over a piece of land.

  34. 34
    liberal says:

    @TenguPhule:

    1. Social ties, people have family there and they have family here.

    So? People here have family all over the world. Doesn’t mean it should trump national interest.

    2. Like it or not, they’re a regional player and it doesn’t pay to be on their bad side.

    They don’t have any oil, and they’re not close to taking over any state in the region that has oil.

    3. They’re very good in certain technical areas, they’ve taught us a thing or two.

    (yawn) We could get that stuff through trade or industrial espionage, the same as anyone else.

    4. Better us then Russia or China.

    You could trot that out for any state-to-state relationship.

  35. 35
    liberal says:

    @TenguPhule:

    So yeah, it’s a mess and barring some third party managing to piss both sides off at a common enemy, it’s never gonna end until half the region is dead.

    Such brave cynicism!

    Just one thing—why should I as an American taxpayer subsidize one side of the conflict?

  36. 36
  37. 37
    liberal says:

    @Ash Can:

    From a political viewpoint, however, I acknowledge that it’s good to have a powerful ally in the Middle East who’s as reliable as Israel,

    That’s just garbage. It’s clear that, in terms of national interest, our only concern in the middle east is that oil flows out of there relatively unimpeded, and the history of middle east conflict strongly suggests that our "alliance" with Israel doesn’t help with that goal.

  38. 38
    liberal says:

    @Ash Can:

    Both Palestinian apologists and Israeli apologists just keep saying the same damned things, over and over. And they’re both making the same damned arguments—he started it, no, he did, the other side doesn’t respect anything but force, blah blah blah.

    As Wilfred pointed out, that’s just nonsense. There’s a fundamental asymetry here (assuming you’re an American): your taxpayer dollars and government are supporting the Israeli side.

  39. 39
    kay says:

    I don’t know why the onus is on the US to solve this. I think that’s a fundamental mistake, and leads directly to a dishonest and deeply political US-centered debate. I understand we provide material support to Israel. We provide support to plenty of places.

    Clinton didn’t solve the "troubles" in Ireland. A grassroots movement of Irish women did. Clinton came in on the heels of a 20 year movement, and (admittedly and admirably) offered official US support for a governmental process that FOLLOWED and CAME through a citizen movement. He didn’t start it, and he didn’t invent it.

    Israeli politics are complicated enough, and they are one of the three main drivers to the current bloodshed. Adding US politics to the mix is just the kiss of death to progress.

  40. 40
    Duke of Earl says:

    @SGEW:

    I have yet to see a meaningful dialogue about the Palestinian/Israeli situation that doesn’t descend into hysterics, name-calling, and preposterous suppositions.

    At least partially that is due to cogent, thoughtful and relatively even-handed posts being roundly ignored in favor of replying to the sort of posts you describe.

    But then that is the nature of online discussion (as well as a lot of discussion in the media as well), heat brings far more replies than light.

  41. 41
    Observer says:

    Gazans elected Hamas to first oust Fatah, then provoke war with Israel. Hamas delivered on the first almost immediately, and now working with Hizbollah is delivering on the second.

    Everything seems to be going as intended.

  42. 42
    jon says:

    Our taxpayer dollars are supporting the Palestinians, too. Through Israel, no less. Since Israel won’t allow the Gaza ports to be used, most of the humanitarian aid to Gaza goes through Israel. And since we fund Israel, we fund the aid. I doubt Israeli politics would allow it to happen otherwise.

    Here’s where I can support the Palestinians: if they attacked the illegal settlements, and only those. But they won’t, since those aren’t easy targets (and there’s that thing about not recognizing any part of Israel as valid.) Instead, they go after pre-1967 Israel itself, which will almost always get such reactions. If the Palestinians went after the settlements, the Israeli government could say "We told those guys to leave" and slowplay the reaction (there’d still be a reaction, but it would be a military removal of the bodies of the settlers, with much additional collateral damage, naturally.)

    Israel is winning the PR war in the US because saying they have a right to exist while the other side says they don’t tends to elicit sympathy. Unless and until the Palestinians accept the existence of Israel and actually vote for a government that agrees (good luck finding candidates who survive the election,) they are always going to look like the bad guys even if they’re edging out the rather-wretched guys next door in Tel Aviv.

  43. 43
    kay says:

    @jon: @jon:

    Israel "winning the PR war" in the US has little or nothing to do with "Israel winning" in any real sense.

    Israelis don’t live in the US.

  44. 44
    srv says:

    I understand we provide material support to Israel. We provide support to plenty of places.

    You paid for the plane dropping the bomb and the bomb itself. You probably paid for the gas.

    This relationship has gone on long enough that there really isn’t any ethical difference between you dropping the bomb or an IDF pilot doing it.

  45. 45
    kay says:

    @srv:

    I can’t get the US Congress to reinstate the rule of law in the US, and I am, reluctantly, and for lack of a better word "an activist".

    I read about the political situation in Israel yesterday. Part of the driver behind this is a show of force because Israelis (or the people they elected) feel, rightly or wrongly, that the 2006 incursion into Lebanon weakened the perception of Israel’s military might, as a deterrent.

    I can’t drive the US Congress, on something as simple and basic as the right to a probable cause hearing in my own country. You really think I can have some profound effect on internal Israeli political wrangling?

  46. 46
    4tehlulz says:

    >>Everything seems to be going as intended.

    Observer is Bibi.

  47. 47
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @liberal:

    Just one thing—-why should I as an American taxpayer subsidize one side of the conflict?

    You don’t have to. Move to fucking Iran.

  48. 48
    Brendan says:

    @kay:
    Re: 2006 Lebanon incursion

    As well it should have.

    I lost all respect for Israel when they bombed the bridges out of the target area – then told those in the target area they had only a short time to leave before they bombed the cities.

  49. 49
    Quagmire says:

    Well said. Pretty much agree.

  50. 50
    Duke of Earl says:

    @Comrade Stuck:

    You don’t have to. Move to fucking Iran.

    Israel, love it or leave America..

    Wow, you outdid the Reichtards in rhetorical over-the-topness.

    Personally I’d rather go where the entire political environment isn’t poisoned by toxic religiosity, which pretty much leaves out Iran, Israel, "Palestine" or one hell of a lot of the US (see: Warren, Rick).

  51. 51
    Punchy says:

    TL;DR. Isreal has to use nukes. Nothing else demonstrates sufficent strength.

  52. 52
    kay says:

    @Brendan:

    I don’t know enough about it to comment on it. I do know enough about "winning the PR war", however, because I live that.

    US conservatives won the PR war on holding people without a hearing. They won the PR war on torture. They won the PR war on "socialized medicine", back in the nineties.

    They also violated the basic premise that this country is founded on, and left Americans worse off, in practical and real ways. But they "won". Won what? For whom?

    PR isn’t a measure of anything real, except the skill of the salesman.

  53. 53
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Duke of Earl:

    Israel, love it or leave America.

    No, but these threads are becoming more and more just about Israel bashing. If the debate is about this situation and how to resolve it OK! I don’t agree with the level of force Israel is using right now, but I think to many (too many) it’s just an excuse to rag on Israel and paint Palestinians as the eternal victim of the bully Israel. Over the top, maybe. But so are many of the statements condemning Israel in a blanket fashion. And I don’t claim to be a member of any ideological group. If sometimes that means agreeing with the "Reichtards" then so be it.

  54. 54
    The Moar You Know says:

    Israel must try to use all of the tools of national power to stop attacks on its citizens. Otherwise it is simply not a serious nation, one that does not deserve sovereignty.

    Hey, I heard this exact phrase in junior high school, except it was worded "if you don’t kick his ass you’re a faggot".

    Ahhh, memories.

  55. 55
    elmo says:

    Regarding whether Israel had to respond with violence, the answer again is no. Israel would save far more lives if it closed down the remaining settlements.

    Is that true, though? As I understand it, the settlements are in the West Bank, where Hamas does not rule. The rockets are coming from Gaza, where Israel has already removed all of the settlements.

    Do you really think that Hamas is firing rockets from Gaza into Israel proper because of settlements in the West Bank?

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the West Bank settlements are illegal and provocative as hell, and Israel should certainly remove them — but I really, really don’t think that removing them would appease Hamas in Gaza. Which then leads back to the question, and it’s an honest one, asked in a tone of agonized helplessness — what should Israel do about the rockets coming from Gaza?

  56. 56
    wilfred the shoe thrower says:

    Palestinians as the eternal victim of the bully Israel

    Priceless. As the Palestinians have no weapons to defend themselves while being attacked, live under a perpetual state of siege, suffered eid al fitr without money as Israel prevented the delivery of any currency and have been under blockade for months that would them make them what? Aggressors?

    In the Israeli mindset only the Jew is victim, no one else.

    In any case, the correct issue to discuss is the position of Americans, and whether they want to continue to subsidize settlements, blockades, and the Israeli war machine. I’m sure all Israel supporters would like to see a fair debate about that, no?

  57. 57
    Zifnab says:

    @Comrade Stuck:

    Just one thing—-why should I as an American taxpayer subsidize one side of the conflict?

    You don’t have to. Move to fucking Iran.

    Haha, because then you can subsidize the OTHER side of the conflict, brilliant!

    @elmo:

    Do you really think that Hamas is firing rockets from Gaza into Israel proper because of settlements in the West Bank?

    I’m with some of the guys upthread. This looks a lot like a Palestinian rally cry. They want to have Israel attack them, because the cease-fire has deadlocked and Hamas needs to keep both sides radicalized to maintain political power in the absence of political progress.

    Hamas hit the same impasse that Israel is hitting after the rocket strikes. After negotiations broke down, they couldn’t do nothing without looking weak. So they lashed out with these feeble rocket attacks. Israel couldn’t do nothing in response, so they started firebombing downtown Gaza in retribution. Now that both sides have done something they can return to their constituencies and crow about how they are serving their people. And the people will support them because it looks like the only alternative is to submit to the opposition.

  58. 58
    wilfred the shoe thrower says:

    They want to have Israel attack them, because the cease-fire has deadlocked and Hamas needs to keep both sides radicalized to maintain political power in the absence of political progress

    Stunning. The bitch was asking for it, eh?

    Americans , some at least, don’t like to see defenseless people shoved around, thus the official Aipac line begins to emerge.

    Pat Lang has a decidedly better take for any American willing to think for himself.

  59. 59
    Duke of Earl says:

    @Comrade Stuck:

    I don’t agree with the level of force Israel is using right now, but I think to many (too many) it’s just an excuse to rag on Israel and paint Palestinians as the eternal victim of the bully Israel.

    I’m not sure if it got pointed out here or on some other forum I read but the Jews repatriation should have been at the expense of Germany (specifically the Nazis) rather than the Palestinians.

    Now the intent may not have been to harm the Palestinians but let’s face it, that has been the effect of the establishment of a modern state of Israel in the ME.

    I started out as a very strong supporter of Israel but the older I get and the more I learn of the history of this entire sad episode the more I come to feel for the Palestinians, they have gotten the shaft from everyone in the ME it sometimes seems.

    We actually have a name for those who deny or minimize the suffering of the Jewish people, when will a name be coined for those who deny or minimize the suffering of the Palestinians?

  60. 60
    Zifnab says:

    @wilfred the shoe thrower:

    Stunning. The bitch was asking for it, eh?

    Hamas benefits from conflict, even if they don’t "win" the conflict in the conventional sense. They are a military outfit first and a political party second. Imagine, hypothetically, that a political party were to want to bolster its image in future elections and was seen as the "pro-military" party right after a terrorist attack in a certain major city. Would such a party want to launch a largely unprovoked assault against a geopolitical "enemy" in order to build political support back home?

    All I’m saying is that the "pick a fight with Israel" strategy has a very Rovian ring to it. So long as Hamas can drum up enough publicity and declare "victory in six months" to an accepting public, they can stay on top of the next year’s political cycle.

  61. 61
    magisterludi says:

    Following biblical prophecy, Israel may be making the predicted land grab (these are the End Times, you know, and Satan is in charge).

    Ehud is playing along with the prophecy line, too, with his "all-out war" declaration. An expanded Arab-Israeli war is also part of God’s Plan before The Final Judgement. Israeli army calling for volunteers (again, prophesied) and the protests in Arab streets could be precursors.

    And dismantling settlements is strictly taboo according to the Big Picture,too,btw.

    Seems there’s a sub-text here.

  62. 62
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @wilfred the shoe thrower:

    glad to see your back, Wilfred. And as obnoxious as ever. We at BJ are all made whole again with your return.

    @Duke of Earl:

    Ok! so you don’t agree with the existence of Israel. At least that is an honest position. And I do care for the well being of the Palestinian people, excepting Hamas et al and it’s supporters. It looks like there are basically two Palestinian authorities now. One Hamas and the Israeli eliminationists, and the rest, mostly now in the WB, who can be negotiated with to make a two state peace. And Hamas is making it’s choice to resist and will rightly or wrongly be experiencing the consequences. I support the former faction that wants peace.

  63. 63
    Duke of Earl says:

    @Zifnab:

    All I’m saying is that the "pick a fight with Israel" strategy has a very Rovian ring to it.

    Strangely enough so does "pick a fight with the Palestinians".

  64. 64
    kay says:

    @Duke of Earl:

    That part is easy. It can’t be Germany, because both sides lay a religious claim to this particular piece of ground. Like an actual deed. It’s the premise of the whole thing, originally, this ground wasn’t chosen at random.

    I would have chosen somewhere with water, but then I never wrapped my head around ancestral ground. My ancestors appear to have mostly followed work, randomly and with no guiding document.

  65. 65
    Duke of Earl says:

    @Comrade Stuck:

    Ok! so you don’t agree with the existence of Israel.

    Strawman much?

    You quite obviously have a side, I really don’t, I’m of pure northern European extraction and have no particular dog in this fight. Aside of course from the fact that my tax dollars go to help one side far more than the other.

    I’m actually trying to be evenhanded but people like you make that effort more difficult.

  66. 66
    wilfred the shoe thrower says:

    both sides lay a religious claim to this particular piece of ground

    Nonsense. To the Muslims, Jerusalem is not Mecca, as ulema have said for centuries. To the Jews it is ‘sacred’, which begs the question of why so many otherwise secularized, if not atheist, commenters are willing to give the Jews Palestine based on the words of a God they don’t even believe in.

    I’m a Muslim in a Gulf Arab country, Believe me, nothing would make me happier than to see Palestine become a genuinely Muslim issue – I certainly work hard at that idea – but there is no geographical justification for it.

  67. 67

    Americans , some at least, don’t like to see defenseless people shoved around, thus the official Aipac line begins to emerge.

    The fact that AIPAC says "Hamas should stop rocket attacks on civilians" does not negate the fact that Hamas should stop rocket attacks on civilians. The fact that I say "Hamas should stop rocket attacks on civilians", by the way, does not mean I think Israel should be attacking Palestinian civilians either.

  68. 68
    Duke of Earl says:

    @kay:

    That part is easy. It can’t be Germany, because both sides lay a religious claim to this particular piece of ground. Like an actual deed. It’s the premise of the whole thing, originally, this ground wasn’t chosen at random.

    Religious wars are the nastiest and the hardest to bring to a peaceful settlement.

    As I pointed out a few days ago I think, the general outline of the I/P conflict was quite predictable before 1947. The extremist Zionists just *had* to move onto a plot of land that was already occupied to some extent by a group every bit as theologically crazed and every bit as stubborn and intractable as they were.

    Both groups nurse slights for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, a recipe for disaster.

  69. 69
    Robin G. says:

    You’re talking in Policy Debate Speak. It’s making me all squidgy inside. Throw in the words "solvency does not inherently overcome the disadvantages" and ask that we add that to the negative flow, and I’m yours forever.

  70. 70
    Cyrus says:

    @Comrade Stuck:

    Ok! so you don’t agree with the existence of Israel. At least that is an honest position.

    It seemed obvious to me that he doesn’t object to the existence of Israel, just the location.

    I think we should have given them a piece of Utah. Considering the place of Israel in the Mormon myths, that would have led to much more humorous conflicts than the tragedies we’re watching now.

  71. 71
    Duke of Earl says:

    @wilfred the shoe thrower:

    To the Jews it is ‘sacred’, which begs the question of why so many otherwise secularized, if not atheist, commenters are willing to give the Jews Palestine based on the words of a God they don’t even believe in.

    Two words, Holocaust guilt.

    Or at least that is the primary explanation, there is also the question of overwhelmingly pro Zionist propaganda in the US and a lot of other factors.

  72. 72
    The Moar You Know says:

    @Comrade Stuck: If you say Wilfred’s name three times he comes to life and will slit your throat in your own bathroom when you’re least expecting it.

  73. 73
    Xanthippas says:

    Well….

    So yeah, I can see it from both sides.

    And then…

    If you were firing rockets at me, I’d clap on the planes dropping tons of exploding death on you.

    But no similarly strong statement about how if I were strangling your people’s ability to feed or provide for themselves, you’d totally lob some rockets at me. Setting your already hostile tone aside, it’s understandably difficult to imagine that you really "see it from both sides."

    No, but these threads are becoming more and more just about Israel bashing.

    Or, people legitimately criticizing Israel’s foreign policy. Which btw seems to be, don’t antagonize right-wing settlers too much, and every now and then bomb the Palestinians to demonstrate strength and resolve.

    Ok! so you don’t agree with the existence of Israel.

    And now, wondering in hindsight whether it was a good idea to drop a new nation on top of Arabs who already lived on the land is disagreeing with the "existence of Israel." Perhaps you can see why some of us on the left have troubling taking you Israel hawks very seriously.

  74. 74
    4tehlulz says:

    @The Moar You Know: No he won’t; he’ll just wish someone else would do it for him on the Internet.

  75. 75

    I think we should have given them a piece of Utah. Considering the place of Israel in the Mormon myths, that would have led to much more humorous conflicts than the tragedies we’re watching now.

    I think Michael Chabon had it right. We should have given them Alaska.

  76. 76
    SGEW says:

    More fuel for the fire, anyone?

    The Moderate Voice has a rather nice (and, unsurprisingly, moderate) take on th’ whole shit-storm. Cuts down some straw men. Tries to find a middle ground. You know, that whole reasonable thingie.

    The Evil and the Foolish

    It’s not bad, imho. I have some quibbles with it, but it’s a pretty good starting point.

  77. 77
    kay says:

    @wilfred the shoe thrower:

    Well, thank you for the correction. I’m well out of my depth on religion. I don’t even pretend to know what Muslim or Jewish religious texts say on property rights, but I have read a little on Israel archeological focus on (literally) unearthing the premise for the property right, and I was under the impression that there was a commensurate (and conflicting) Muslim claim.

    I focus on that because deeds and property are something I have some understanding on, and I have actually solved those disputes.

  78. 78
    4tehlulz says:

    Theodore Herzl had everyone beat:

    Uganda

  79. 79
    SGEW says:

    I think Michael Chabon had it right. We should have given them Alaska.

    You know, this was one of the first things to pop into my head when the latest Gaza cluster fuck exploded. It might have saved us from Gov. Palin too.

    Berko, FTW!

  80. 80
    The Moar You Know says:

    @4tehlulz: And then crab on endlessly about the brutal oppression that his people suffer since no one will do it for him.

  81. 81

    Re: Stupid Arguments

    Tim F says:

    "Israel would save far more lives if it closed down the remaining settlements."

    Tim, do you really believe that if Israel closed down the remaining settlements, then the Palestinians would seek peace?

  82. 82
    kay says:

    @Cyrus:

    I still can’t fathom the whole "existence of Israel" argument. Can I DENY the existence of Israel? I can, I guess, but I can also deny the existence of Utah, and it won’t get me far.

    That would seem to be a settled issue. Israel exists. I can be happy or sad or indifferent, and it doesn’t matter a bit. There it is.

  83. 83
    SGEW says:

    I categorically deny the existence of Utah.

  84. 84
    4tehlulz says:

    @SGEW: I DENY YOUR DENIAL OF UTAH; UTAH IS BACK BABY

  85. 85
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Cyrus:

    It seemed obvious to me that he doesn’t object to the existence of Israel, just the location

    LOL, that makes all the difference, of course.

    @Duke of Earl:

    Strawman much?

    Maybe half a strawman.

    You quite obviously have a side, I really don’t, I’m of pure northern European extraction and have no particular dog in this fight. Aside of course from the fact that my tax dollars go to help one side far more than the other.

    My side is with those who want to make peace. Most of Israel is on that side, and probably a majority of Palestinian’s are as well. There is a large faction of Palestinian’s who don’t and a small faction of Israeli’s who also don’t want peace. Hamas, and it’s prime backer and ally Iran are making sure that the majorities in both Israel and Palestine who want peace, don’t get it, and in the process empower the minority of Israeli’s who also don’t, and marginalize the Palestinians who want peace. And they are doing it With violence and rockets and whatever else they can muster to force Israel to respond in kind.

    I’m actually trying to be evenhanded but people like you make that effort more difficult.

    LOL, not quite there you’re Dukeness.

  86. 86
    kay says:

    @SGEW:

    Unlike you, I recognize Utah’s right to exist, not only that, I can go stand on it.

  87. 87
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Xanthippas:

    Or, people legitimately criticizing Israel’s foreign policy. Which btw seems to be, don’t antagonize right-wing settlers too much, and every now and then bomb the Palestinians to demonstrate strength and resolve.

    yea, that’s it. Israeli leaders just woke up one morning and thought of what they could do to please the RW settlers. And naturally it was to bomb poor little meek Hamas. Never mind they were lobbing rockets into family rooms of Israeli citizens, because they’ve been treated so bad. Idiot.

    @Xanthippas:

    And now, wondering in hindsight whether it was a good idea to drop a new nation on top of Arabs who already lived on the land is disagreeing with the "existence of Israel." Perhaps you can see why some of us on the left have troubling taking you Israel hawks very seriously.

    Israel has just as much historical right to live on that land as do the Palestinians. And they have been, and are willing to share it in peace.

  88. 88
    johnosahon says:

    israel lost me YEARS AGO, and any hope to get me back died when they obliterated beautiful lebanon. your excuses israel are getting old, find new ones, so that your supporters can actually make sense when trying to defend your killings.

    i am sorry you cannot play the victim and be the oppressor it does not work that way, they can NEVER convience me that a group of people trapped in a corner are making them afraid, PLEASE.

    i don’t blame them though, they learnt their brutality from the best AMERICA, come to think of it israel and U.S. are the ONLY countries that can do this destruction and get away with it, any other country would be shut out.

  89. 89
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    If you say Wilfred’s name three times he comes to life and will slit your throat in your own bathroom when you’re least expecting it.

    I’ve been half expecting to see some guy on CNN over in Iraq talking and wagging his finger in the camera saying Death to America. And then the reporter asking his name and getting Wilfred the Beezlebub.

  90. 90
    johnosahon says:

    Comrade Stuck said

    "Israel has just as much historical right to live on that land as do the Palestinians. And they have been, and are willing to share it in peace."

    LOL, is that a joke? how can you be willing to share the land and them put the people in a camp and control their water, food, their entire lives,? PLEASE, look for a new talking points these ones are getting boring.

  91. 91
    4tehlulz says:

    >>over in Iraq
    >>Wilfred

    BWAAAAHAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

  92. 92
    SGEW says:

    Israel and U.S. are the ONLY countries that can do this destruction and get away with it, any other country would be shut out.

    I disagree. See, .e.g., China and Tibet, or Somalia and Ethiopia.

  93. 93
    kay says:

    @Comrade Stuck:

    I’ll accept the dual historical right, easily. I completely buy ancestral religious rights because there’s no arguing them.

    Why the blockade? If we’re going to talk about rockets into Israel, and we can and should, we have to talk about the blockade.

    I’m trying. It’s circular. The condition necessary for the cessation of hostilities is….the cessation of hostility?

    Where to begin with that?

  94. 94
    Xanthippas says:

    Israeli leaders just woke up one morning and thought of what they could do to please the RW settlers. And naturally it was to bomb poor little meek Hamas. Never mind they were lobbing rockets into family rooms of Israeli citizens, because they’ve been treated so bad. Idiot.

    You do your argument no favors by not understanding what I wrote. To be more specific, the Israeli government makes half-hearted attempts to move the most egregious settlers out, while permitting the rest to remain, thus tacitly supporting new settlements. Also, the only response they seem capable of mounting against Hamas’ provocations is blockade or bombing, which does nothing to produce long-term security but makes every Israeli hawk wet his pants in glee. Because the most important plank in Israel’s foreign policy program is to make sure that everybody knows you don’t "fuck with the Jews."

    Israel has just as much historical right to live on that land as do the Palestinians. And they have been, and are willing to share it in peace.

    For the record, I don’t give a shit about anybody’s "historical right" to any land in the Middle East. The Jews are there, the Arabs are there, and both of them are going to have to find a way to deal with it, even if it means that one, or both, trod upon land first walked upon their glorious ancestors in the respective golden ages of their peoples.

  95. 95

    "…they learnt their brutality from the best AMERICA, come to think of it israel and U.S. are the ONLY countries that can do this destruction and get away with it…"

    Johnosahon is a xenophobe who refuses to consider the viewpoints of people from cultures other than his own.

    Most of the civilian population has fled, as trying to use civilians as human shields does not work against the Pakistani army.

    If we abandon our cultural arrogance, perhaps we can finally achieve peace.

  96. 96
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @johnosahon:

    LOL, is that a joke? how can you be willing to share the land and them put the people in a camp and control their water, food, their entire lives,? PLEASE, look for a new talking points these ones are getting boring.

    Israel has made many excesses that can’t be excused, but so has the other side. I’m done talking with you fuckers looking at only one side, and every opportunity for bashing Israel and rallying the cry for the poor Palestinians. There are two sides to this sad story and the wrongs they’ve done to one another. My only point is on taking any side, is 1. Israel’s right to exist and 2. The underlying caused of the conflict being Palestinian refusal to accept the above.

  97. 97
    Duke of Earl says:

    @Comrade Stuck:

    And they have been, and are willing to share it in peace.

    I wish I could believe that but I really don’t.

    There is only a small amount of land there and the actions of the GOI indicate to me at least that they really aren’t all that interested in sharing.

    I also find it interesting that Israel’s demographic time bomb is being roundly ignored by practically everyone.

    What are Jewish Israelis going to do when they become a minority within their own nation? Barring some totally unforeseen calamity that is going to be a fait accompli eventually.

  98. 98
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Xanthippas:

    I didn’t misunderstand what you wrote one bit. But now your trying to backtrack out of it. I have no time for chickenshit fuckers like you, and your hatred.

  99. 99
    Zifnab says:

    Israel has made many excesses that can’t be excused, but so has the other side. I’m done talking with you fuckers looking at only one side, and every opportunity for bashing Israel and rallying the cry for the poor Palestinians. There are two sides to this sad story and the wrongs they’ve done to one another. My only point is on taking any side, is 1. Israel’s right to exist and 2. The underlying caused of the conflict being Palestinian refusal to accept the above.

    Ah, it’s the right of "Israel" to exist and it is "Palestine" that refuses. Well, Mr. Israel and Mr. Palestine, why can’t you just sit down and negotiate? What’s that you say? Israel and Palestine aren’t people, but are nationalities consisting of millions of people! Why, goodness gracious, that makes things much more complicated and more difficult to issue blanket generalizations against!

    Just out of curiosity, if we concede these two points – Israel should exist, Palestine won’t let it – but we substitute Israeli settlements for Mexican migrants and we substitute Palestine with the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service, are we all still in agreement? Because, the way I see it, large swaths of Texas, Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico are historically Mexican territory. So it only makes sense that, should Mexicans be arrested and displaced, Mexico should call in air strikes on Houston. Right?

  100. 100
    Duke of Earl says:

    @Comrade Stuck: I’m done talking with you fuckers looking at only one side,

    LOL… You are about as one sided on this issue as anyone I’ve seen posting here.

  101. 101
    Tim F. says:

    Tim, do you really believe that if Israel closed down the remaining settlements, then the Palestinians would seek peace?

    Binary thinking is the hobgoblin of limited minds. Do you think that if you shower before going to work then Gennifer in marketing will sleep with you? Maybe she will, maybe she won’t. The world is chaotic. You do know three things for sure. (1) If you do not shower before work then Gennifer will not sleep with you. (2) If you do an especially good job grooming yourself then your chances will improve. Finally, (3) your chances go down if you punch Gennifer in the head. Ergo your goal is better served by grooming yourself and not punching Gennifer in the head. That remains true even if you can’t be sure that she will put out on the first date.

    Again, Palestine is not attacking Israel. A small number of Palestinian extremists is attacking Israel. The success of that group depends entirely on its popularity within the Palestinian community. If we randomly bomb Palestinian families then we radicalize Palestinians as a whole. That make more radicals, not less. If we bomb the living shit out of Gaza then we radicalize practically every Palestinian on Earth. The violent groups gain a hundred thousand new members at the cost of a few hundred civilians who mostly were not members anyway. Anybody who thinks that math favors Israel needs a new head.

  102. 102
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Duke of Earl:

    They’ve been fighting over this land for millennia. Some group or tribe or sect or something. And if Israel wasn’t there, someone else would be fighting over it. We can only make the best out of what the current reality is, and not what might happen down the road. Israel is there, and there to stay. What we see as their leadership of Likudite neocons is a direct product and accomplishment of what Hamas wants, IMO. I firmly believe that the vast majority of Israeli’s are genuine peaceniks who are afraid of being killed off by the likes of Hamas, so they elect war Hawks who only often makes things worse. I don;t think we’ll see peace there in our lifetime, but hope I’m wrong.

  103. 103
    Xanthippas says:

    I didn’t misunderstand what you wrote one bit. But now your trying to backtrack out of it. I have no time for chickenshit fuckers like you, and your hatred.

    Don’t project. You clearly didn’t understand what I wrote (hardly anyone here is stupid enough to think that Israel bombs Hamas solely to make right-wing settlers happy) and you’re trying not to admit it, which makes your assessment of me a more apt description of yourself.

  104. 104
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Duke of Earl:

    You are about as one sided on this issue as anyone I’ve seen posting here.

    Didn’t you already say that. You aren’t a Parrot are you. It only seems one sided because I’m the only one that is saying Israel isn’t the Devil in Prada. Not perfect, but not evil also. And besides, I don’t believe I was talking to you with that statement.

  105. 105
    demimondian says:

    @Observer: Fooey. Gaza (and the territories in general) elected Hamas because *they’re a better government*. They’re less foreign-dominated now than Fatah ever was, they’re better at delivering essential government services, and they’re more responsive to the needs of the people.

    Jeebus, at least stick to facts about the people in Gaza, would you? I’m no fan of Hamas’ policy towards Israel, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t a legitimate and reasonably effective governing party.

  106. 106
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Zifnab:

    Your speaking in tongues Zifnab. Not my language.

  107. 107
    Xanthippas says:

    1. Israel’s right to exist and 2. The underlying caused of the conflict being Palestinian refusal to accept the above.

    The fact that most Palestinians live in abject poverty as a consequence of Israel’s actions, or that Israelis routinely build settlements on what Israel supposedly concedes is Palestinian land, have nothing to do with the situation of course. And my pointing out those facts, or the fact that what Israel is doing now won’t actually guarantee their long-term security, makes me an Israel "basher" of the highest order.

    I don’t know why this has to be routinely pointed out, but the fact that I don’t support Israel bombing the fuck out of the Palestinians, or building settlements in their territory, or blockading them and reducing them to abject poverty, doesn’t mean that I think Israel deserves or should be wiped off the map.

    There’d be some irony in the fact that one stupid argument after another gets trotted out in a post titled "Enough stupid arguments about Israel" if it weren’t for the fact that responses like those from Comrade Stuck weren’t completely predictable.

  108. 108

    Re: Gennifer from Marketing

    Actually Tim, you may have an analogy there. And if you want to get Gennifer in bed, it is best to be strong and arrogant. Standoffish even. You put too much emphasis on grooming. Gennifer really doesn’t care about grooming, despite what you may have seen on Dr. Phil.

    Reference the Pakistani army link previously provided.

  109. 109
    Sister Machine Gun of Mild Harmony says:

    I’m with several other posters here. Why is Israel our ally? What have they ever done for us, other than take our money and embroil us in conflict? What kind of ‘friend’ is that? Neither the settler nor the Palestinian problems should be our problems. We need to have allies that offer more than giant headaches.

  110. 110
    demimondian says:

    @Tim F.:

    Again, Palestine is not attacking Israel. A small number of Palestinian extremists is attacking Israel. The success of that group depends entirely on its popularity within the Palestinian community.

    Not true. Although the number of people *actually launching rockets* is small, they are doing so with the direct support — and under the direct control of — the government of the region. If you argue that isn’t an attack on behalf of the government of Gaza, then you need to argue that the attacks on Gaza aren’t being launched by "Israel".

    To the extent that there’s any legitimate government of Palestine — and if there is, it’s called "Hamas in Gaza" — then, yes, *Palestine* is, indeed, attacking Israel.

  111. 111
    Gay Veteran says:

    The first thing we as Americans need to do is to stop our kneejerk support of everything the Israeli government does. And no, that does NOT make you an anti-semite.

    Ask yourself if the opposite had happened: Israel shot missles at Palestine and killed no one, then Palestinian F-16s bomb Israeli cities and killed over 300 civilians.

  112. 112

    Mexico should call in air strikes on Houston. Right?

    They might, but their airplane would have an engine failure before they got it out of the tiedown.

    Then they’d fix it and three guys would steal it and fly it to El Paso and try to get work with a paving company.

    The Mexican government might be the most inept and dysfunctional institution in the history of human civilization. If they bombed anything, it would be their own shrimp boats.

  113. 113
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @kay:

    Sorry kay for not responding. Seems like it’s about 6 to 1 at the moment.

    Why the blockade? If we’re going to talk about rockets into Israel, and we can and should, we have to talk about the blockade.

    Because the situation has long since being rational. It is deeply pathological on both sides. This is the result of 8 years of non engagement by Bush, and actual cheerleading for Israel to go to any length. American presnits have always taken the role of reigning in Israel and thereby giving Israel political cover to back off when they go over board. So they won’t look weak to their enemies by backing off on their own accord. enemies who are always looking for weakness.

  114. 114
    Duke of Earl says:

    @Comrade Stuck:

    And besides, I don’t believe I was talking to you with that statement.

    You’ve already accused me of thinking Israel shouldn’t exist, what would lead me to think that you weren’t referring to me with that statement?

    Now perhaps you could discuss the looming demographic problem that is sooner or later going to engulf Israel?

  115. 115
    4tehlulz says:

    >>Israel shot missles at Palestine and killed no one, then Palestinian F-16s bomb Israeli cities and killed over 300 civilians.

    Obviously, since the missiles missed and killed no one, the intent behind them is irrelevant. Israel should be allowed to keep firing until they reach a mystery threshold of casualties (which will never be revealed), then Palestine can retaliate.

    Or not.

  116. 116
    Duke of Earl says:

    @TheHatOnMyCat:

    The Mexican government might be the most inept and dysfunctional institution in the history of human civilization.

    Damn, I had no idea it was the GOM who invaded Iraq..

    It’s amazing what you can learn on teh intertubez..

  117. 117

    Oh, and TimF, your top post is a great piece. Congrats.

  118. 118
    SGEW says:

    Brick Oven Bill says:

    You put too much emphasis on grooming.

    Ah. Another piece of the puzzle falls into place.

  119. 119
    Duke of Earl says:

    @Sister Machine Gun of Mild Harmony:

    What have they ever done for us, other than take our money and embroil us in conflict?

    They helped train the crewmen of the USS Liberty.

    I wonder how the US would react if the Palestinians were to help with our military training in a similar manner?

  120. 120

    I had no idea it was the GOM who invaded Iraq..

    It appears to me that Mexico has declared permanent war on its own citizens, based on the rate at which they keep trying to flee their country.

    When you see Mexico building a fence to keep Americans out, then your remark will make sense.

  121. 121
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Xanthippas:

    I don’t know why this has to be routinely pointed out, but the fact that I don’t support Israel bombing the fuck out of the Palestinians, or building settlements in their territory, or blockading them and reducing them to abject poverty, doesn’t mean that I think Israel deserves or should be wiped off the map.

    Neither do I. But folks like you focus in on that being the problem of why Hamas and others resist with terror. It’s not. Israel could wipe out all the settlements tomorrow and stop blockading, and Hamas and it’s ilk would still be doing what they are doing. That’s what you don’t accept or understand. They won’t be sated until Israel exists no more. Period!

  122. 122
    4tehlulz says:

    >>I wonder how the US would react if the Palestinians were to help with our military training in a similar manner?

    Dunno lol

  123. 123
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Duke of Earl:

    , what would lead me to think that you weren’t referring to me with that statement?

    Could it be that it wasn’t addressed to you. I’m sure that’s it. Duh

  124. 124
    rachel says:

    @Comrade Stuck: Yeah, yeah. You keep saying that. I just wonder why Israel is doing their damnedest to whip up more support for them.

  125. 125
    TenguPhule says:

    The Palestnians have nothing, not even the weapons to fight.

    And that is why you can’t have a debate with wilfred. He lies. Boldly, repeatedly and without a smudge of shame.

    The Palestinians have their weapons, they just aim them at civilians. Note that they do not distingish between their own or Israelis.

    It’s a real pain finding anyone who can argue the Palestinian side rationally. The wilfreds of the world insist on trolling the waters until they smell of shit.

  126. 126
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @demimondian:

    Correct

  127. 127
    TenguPhule says:

    Ask yourself if the opposite had happened: Israel shot missles at Palestine and killed no one, then Palestinian F-16s bomb Israeli cities and killed over 300 civilians.

    Wilfred would be having a happy moment with his palm and her five sisters.

  128. 128
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @rachel:

    Yeah, yeah. You keep saying that. I just wonder why Israel is doing their damnedest to whip up more support for them.

    Have I said that I don’t know WTF your talking about. There, I just said it.

  129. 129
    TenguPhule says:

    I do not find your historical analogies (confiscation of the assets of Japanese-American) comparable at all.

    Assets were taken and given to other people. They were never given back. 50 years later there was an apology.

    So yeah, the only difference is the apology.

    Your response to the genuine resistance of people who seek to reclaim their land is, in your own words, to " drop tons of exploding death" on them. Need I say more?

    Genuine resistance? Rockets at civilian cities? Try again.

    And yeah, you fire at civilians which would hypothetically include me and I will root for the tons of exploding death to wipe you off the map. Common sense.

  130. 130
    TenguPhule says:

    Those are not "governments": they do not exercise sovereignty over a piece of land.

    Look, you can call up down as much as you want, there are two governments running the Palestinians. One is corrupt and the other is run by homocidal idiots.

  131. 131
    demimondian says:

    @Xanthippas: Red herring alert!

    The question raised was whether the ultimate cause of this war is whether Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state, and whether the Palestinian refusal to grant the right was the cause of this war. Impoverishment of people in Gaza is a total red herring.

  132. 132
    SGEW says:

    Re: Confiscation of the assets of Japanese-American

    They were never given back. 50 years later there was an apology.

    There was also cash money involved. I got about $300 when I was 15 (from my family in CA). I spent it on drugs. Thanks, Ronnie!

  133. 133
    TenguPhule says:

    They don’t have any oil, and they’re not close to taking over any state in the region that has oil.

    There is more to strategy then oil. But obviously you’re not interested in thinking about it.

  134. 134
    TenguPhule says:

    Wilfred and TenguPhule are saying the same things; only the names are different.

    No need to insult me like that.

  135. 135
    TenguPhule says:

    Just one thing—-why should I as an American taxpayer subsidize one side of the conflict?

    You subsidize both sides. Next question.

  136. 136
    McDuff says:

    I wonder if this comment will get lost in the pit here,

    When terrorists attacked America it was fairly clear that both that the status quo was untenable. It was also clear that we had the tools to do something useful.

    Do you actually think this? Really? Was that "something useful" the invasion of Afghanistan, and if so why is that such a wasted effort six years later? If it wasn’t invading Afghanistan, what was it?

    Further, why is the something in doing something always and invariably a military act?

  137. 137
    TenguPhule says:

    It’s the difference between four dead + nineteen wounded over the border from Gaza; and God knows how many, God knows where.

    So Israel is supposed to be grateful that it’s up to luck of the draw?

    What you don’t seem to realize is that rockets are not stoppable once they’re launched.

    Israel at least has a chance to stop the suicide bombers outside the cities.

    Either way, Hamas is trying to kill civilians deliberately.

    So yeah.

  138. 138
    TenguPhule says:

    As Wilfred pointed out, that’s just nonsense.

    The unofficial rule in BJ is that citing Wilfred as an honest source automatically demotes you to a sucker.

  139. 139
    TenguPhule says:

    they can NEVER convience me that a group of people trapped in a corner are making them afraid, PLEASE.

    Spend some time in outer Israel.

    Laugh at the rockets red glare.

  140. 140
    Duke of Earl says:

    @TheHatOnMyCat:

    When you see Mexico building a fence to keep Americans out, then your remark will make sense.

    Interesting that it was illegal Mexican labor that was helping to build the fence..

    I guess Mexicans are smarter than Americans, at least the Mexicans know their government is at war with them.

  141. 141
    wilfred the shoe thrower says:

    Wilfred would be having a happy moment with his palm and her five sisters.

    Oh dear, is what this site has become? Ad hominem attacks against me? My, my.

    So much for intelligent debate.

    Poor Cole and Tim – dishrags for junior high school students.

    No worth the effort, boys.

  142. 142
    Duke of Earl says:

    @Duke of Earl:

    I’m done talking with you fuckers looking at only one side,

    Umm… "Fuckers" is plural, which led me to believe you were talking to more than one person.

  143. 143
    r€nato says:

    What I have never understood, do not understand, and will never understand the longest day I live is: WHY in the name of all that’s holy, would this indemnification NOT be at the expense of GERMANY? Why should some innocent third party have their country invaded and occupied? This whole situation is quite literally insane!

    Great point but the Jews did not want to return to Germany. They wanted their own homeland, they wanted the state of Israel resurrected.

    At the time the Biblical justifications for it carried much, much more weight than they would today. Plus nobody had the heart to tell the Jews, in the aftermath of the Holocaust, that they would have to accept a compromise and get a ‘homeland’ in Europe plus perhaps some sort of restitution.

    Oh and also? Europe was in ruins.

    In the long-term, yes we all would have been a lot better off if the jews had not been plopped in the middle of a bunch of arabs.

    In the political climate of the day, it was a total non-starter to put the Jews back in Germany/Eastern Europe.

    As for the current situation, a pox on both sides. I can understand why the Palestinians do what they do. They are desperate and furious with how they have been treated. Desperate people will do desperate things, like suicide bombings and launching rockets. Oh and Palestinian leadership – whether Fatah or Hamas – doesn’t inspire much confidence that these are people you would want to lead an actual nation-state.

    On the other hand, Israel has helped create the current situation especially with the fucking settlements which have only continued to expand over the years, no matter who the PM is.

    It’s a cycle of violence with both sides hostage to the extremists on each side.

  144. 144
    4tehlulz says:

    @wilfred the shoe thrower: So you’re not denying it then. Noted.

  145. 145
    TenguPhule says:

    But no similarly strong statement about how if I were strangling your people’s ability to feed or provide for themselves, you’d totally lob some rockets at me.

    Because I wouldn’t. You don’t deliberately target civilian cities.

    You target the damn blockade.

  146. 146
    TenguPhule says:

    So much for intelligent debate.

    The Irony of the Day.

  147. 147
    Tim F. says:

    Do you actually think this?

    Yes.

    Really?

    Yes.

    Was that “something useful” the invasion of Afghanistan

    Not necessarily, although it worked relatively well until the Iraq distraction.

    if so why is that such a wasted effort six years later?

    Iraq stole attention and resources. Neocons never finish what they start.

    If it wasn’t invading Afghanistan, what was it?

    The 2000 Democratic party platform described a fairly comprehensive non-military approach to terrorism. Richard Clarke has also written extensively on the topic.

  148. 148
    Duke of Earl says:

    @demimondian:

    The question raised was whether the ultimate cause of this war is whether Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state, and whether the Palestinian refusal to grant the right was the cause of this war.

    Palestinians have no ability to "grant" anything.

    Grant and recognize are two different things.

    I’m not entirely sure whether I think any state at all has a "right" to exist, individuals may have "rights" but I think the idea of artificial political entities having rights is as silly as the idea that corporations have rights.

  149. 149
    Svensker says:

    Israel could wipe out all the settlements tomorrow and stop blockading, and Hamas and it’s ilk would still be doing what they are doing. That’s what you don’t accept or understand. They won’t be sated until Israel exists no more. Period!

    And you know this how?

    And, if what you say is true, it seems the only solution would be genocide, wouldn’t you say? Since these people — Hamas and their ilk — are just crazy folk who hate Jews for inexplicable reasons. If they cannot be reasoned with — and you say they cannot — then extermination seems the logical conclusion. After all, you don’t negotiate with germs or vermin, you simply must stamp them out.

  150. 150
    johnosahon says:

    Comrade Stuck

    "Israel has made many excesses that can’t be excused, but so has the other side. I’m done talking with you fuckers looking at only one side, and every opportunity for bashing Israel and rallying the cry for the poor Palestinians.

    "

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, i am looking at the palestian’s side because NO ONE order than them look at it from their side at least in the western world, when the "POWERS THAT BE" side with ONLY israel i cannot see how the conflict will be resolved, again STOP playing the victim, israel have the nuclear weapon, the resources, U.S., EVERY OTHER SUPER POWER in their side, they CANNOT play the victim card does NOT work that way.

  151. 151
    Duke of Earl says:

    @TenguPhule:

    You don’t deliberately target civilian cities.

    Hiroshima, Nagasaki..

    Not to mention the firebombing of Tokyo which caused more civilian casualties than both of the above put together. I could go on in this vein for some time but I’m sure you get the point.

    Terrorism is simply a tactic of the weak used against the strong, the extremist Zionists did much the same thing when they didn’t have the upper hand.

  152. 152
    kay says:

    @Duke of Earl:

    The "right to exist" and the "grant of the right to exist" is a complete non-starter as far as I’m concerned.

    I’ve never heard it explained, which is why I asked, and I think I now know why it’s one of those things people say, over and over, that is completely accepted but is gibberish.

    SOMEONE may know what it means, or its import or relevance. No one posting here, so far, has any idea how to define it, let alone explain why it’s a condition of negotiations.

  153. 153

    I guess Mexicans are smarter than Americans, at least the Mexicans know their government is at war with them.

    I live in a neighborhood that is about 50% Hispanic. I will pass your kind thoughts along to them.

    And oh yeah, eat your hearts out. I haz all the good mexican food I can enjoy right here, on this piece of ground that used to be Mexico.

    And by good, I mean with handmade tortillas, baby.

    Mr. Gorbachev, tear down that wall along the Mexican border. Please.

    ¡Si se puede!

  154. 154

    Interesting that it was illegal Mexican labor

    Not really, actually. Not much gets built in these parts without undocumented labor at some point in the process.

    Always has been so, probably always will be so.

  155. 155
    Gay Veteran says:

    Interesting that some people hate the neo-cons here but love the neo-cons in Israel.

  156. 156
    Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    I’m wondering if the best course of action isn’t to provide arms to the Palestinians to put them on an equal military footing with Israel. Make it so that both sides can inflict real, lasting harm on each other, enough to where maybe some version of a MAD doctrine would come to the fore, then they can stop shooting at each other long enough for cooler heads to prevail.

    Or, alternately, they’d blow each other off the map and not be a problem anymore.

  157. 157
    b-psycho says:

    For the record, I don’t think highly of the actions of the Palestinians either. I’d be questioning the involvement of the US the exact same way if the balance of aid between sides were reversed. As it is, the only thing our involvement accomplishes is creating receptive audiences for nutjobs.

    I suspect if religion weren’t included as a factor this crap would’ve been settled already. Whoever wanted to live in Israel could do so, just draw a line for the rest & say "that side is Palestine", problem solved. But Gawd doesn’t like compromises, so we get "push the Jews into the sea" vs "this land is for Jews only" holding everyone else hostage.

  158. 158
    pharniel says:

    not to goodwin (germany already got mentinoed) but i seem to recall acts of Jewish terrorists after they started realizing that the nazi’s were going to put them in ghettos, turn off the gas and water and food and starve them to death and the Nazi government just used it as further Proof that you cannot reason with these people.

    After reading about the story of the jewish settlers burning down random palistinian houses, often with people inside (pro tip – if you’re commiting war crimes stolen from Bosnea circa 1990’s don’t do it in front of multiple news crews) i wonder why the Isrealies keep stealing from the German/Polish playbook on dealing with ‘unwanted’ ethnicities.

  159. 159
    Gay Veteran says:

    we should have listened to George Washington:

    "…a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification…."

  160. 160
    TenguPhule says:

    Hiroshima, Nagasaki..

    It was asking what I would do, not what people before my time did.

    Again, deliberately targeting civilians is a no-no.

  161. 161
    TenguPhule says:

    i am looking at the palestian’s side because NO ONE order than them look at it from their side at least in the western world, when the "POWERS THAT BE" side with ONLY israel

    Yeah, nobody sides with…oh wait, you’re just making shit up.

    But at least they only side with…no, still making shit up.

    Next!

  162. 162
    johnosahon says:

    TenguPhule

    Yeah, nobody sides with…oh wait, you’re just making shit up.

    But at least they only side with…no, still making shit up.

    Next!

    before you write crap, Please give me one western country that sides with the palestians. the last time i checked, the bush administration has already started licking israel’s ass in this mess while the rest have said nothing.

  163. 163

    The neo-cons in Israel won’t be happy until the US has spent its last dime killing the Palestinians.

    Then they’ll say we’re anti-semites.

  164. 164
    Xanthippas says:

    @demimondian:

    The question raised was whether the ultimate cause of this war is whether Israel has a right to exist as a Jewish state, and whether the Palestinian refusal to grant the right was the cause of this war. Impoverishment of people in Gaza is a total red herring.

    Well, I thought the answer I implied to that question was "no." And, that things that have happened since 1948 also matter in the resolution of the conflict. But if someone can persuade me that merely convincing all Palestinians to agree that Israel has a right to exist while they themselves are being starved and bombed into submission will bring peace, I might agree with the premise of the question.

  165. 165
    TenguPhule says:

    Please give me one western country that sides with the palestians.

    Pick an EU country. Any of them.

    You’re welcome.

  166. 166
    TenguPhule says:

    while they themselves are being starved and bombed into submission

    So why aren’t you pissed at the Palistinian goverment that keeps doing this to them?

    The money intended for supplies keeps getting stolen, the supplies intended for the civilians keeps getting diverted to the fighters.

    So yeah.

  167. 167
    Xanthippas says:

    So why aren’t you pissed at the Palistinian goverment that keeps doing this to them?

    Thank you for magically sidestepping the point and contributing nothing to the conversation.

  168. 168
    eponymous says:

    @kay:

    Kay, I’ll try to explain the term "right to exist" as I understand it in this context (or any context as it relates to international relations).

    I think the refusal of many Palestinians (as well as many other people in the Middle East) to recoginze Israel’s right to exist is more to do with its legitimacy as a nation-state. In other words, by refusing to "recognize" Israel as legitimate nation-state, it’s also refusing to recognize that what Israel does (or, rather, what the government does as the representative body for the country) is not legitimate, either.

    Here’s an analogy that may shed some light on what is meant by legitimacy:

    Say you own a parce of land that has a home on it. You’ve taken care of it by paying the yearly taxes and doing routine maintenance on it. But you don’t live there and you don’t rent it out.

    Now, after a period of time, you become busy with other things and you haven’t been able to visit and maintain the property as well as you had in the past. You’ve also been lax on paying your taxes, but you’ve made assurances to the local government that they will be paid soon.

    A short time later, you decide to visit the property. You are shocked to discover that the property and home have been improved. The yard is well manicured, there’s a new coat of paint on the home as well as a new roof.

    Suddenly, a man appears and informs you that you are trespassing on his property. You become angry and tell him that this is your property – you have the deed to the property and tell him that you pay taxes on it as further proof of ownership.

    The man then states "show me the deed". You don’t have it with you, obviously, but you become irate at the thought of this individual challenging you over your ownership of your property.

    "It’s my property and you don’t have the right to be here!" you shout at him. "Really?" he replies. "Then why was I able to make improvements on the land and home?" It was in such disrepair before I came. And why was I able to pay taxes on the home if I don’t have a right to be here?" You find out later that one of the reasons the government hadn’t been hounding you for taxes is that someone had been paying them over the ensuring period.
    —–

    So, in this instance, which individual has the legitimate claim to the property? You, who owns it via a deed, or the man who maintained and improved the property and even paid it’s taxes?

    Denying the man’s claim to the property is also, in this sense, denying the man’s "right to exist" in the sense of his being able to live on that property and do things to it. Conversely, recognizing the man’s claim as legitimate means that you recognize his right to live on that property and do things to it.

  169. 169

    You’ve got 2 racist theocratic asshole governments at war, toss in the theocratic racist US assholes and the Arab theocratic assholes and expect an intelligent solution?

    Targeting civilians, shit they’re always collateral damage and will take it in the neck every damn time bullets and bombs fly. It’s lip service to something that doesn’t exist.

    If you bombed the shit out of Baker City you’d have targeted civilians because the isn’t a damn thing here, most places of consequence that’s not true. I suppose the Qwest telephone building could be considered command and control…

    A lot of people are having a lot of fun tossing the blame game around. You will get exactly nowhere with that one, each has its justifications going back too far to sort it out to anyone’s satisfaction. You cannot make the case that either government is in control of the NGOs or that they make real attempts to be so. What you have got is Israel and "Palestine" and that’s where you start and as long as the international community has its own dogs in the fight it will go on. If you think that’s horseshit, look at this place.

    If a community is subjected to unreasonable conditions violence will occur, whether it is blockades or rockets or bombs or… Tit for tat guarantees that will be the outcome. Of course I don’t have a solution at hand, I do know that the policies in place will result in what we have today.

  170. 170
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Svensker:

    Newman, Newman, NEWMAN

  171. 171
    kay says:

    @eponymous:

    Thanks. US law has two terms for the participants in the dispute you describe: adverse possessor v title owner.

    The two can battle it out without either side ever admitting the other’s right to "exist", or lay claim to the property. It’s nice if the man in possession admits the property was once deeded to the title owner, but it’s not a condition of a possible agreement. It’s also nice if the title owner admits the man in possession has one or another legal theory that might or might not buttress his squatter’s claim, but it doesn’t matter a bit as far as working toward a compromise settlement. If they don’t reach agreement, they’ll go to hearing, and the property is going to one or the other. They accept the forum. They don’t accept the other’s claim.

    If you’re saying that Palestinians will not accept any international procedure for settling cross-border land disputes, then that’s absolutely a problem. If they won’t accept Israel’s legitimacy in ANY chosen forum, or the legitimacy of the forum itself, then we’re screwed.

    But if it’s a matter of "they don’t respect our claim" on some intangible level, well, ok, very bad of them, but how is that relevant to hammering something out, or, barring that, accepting an impartial judgment on a land dispute? Both sides can leave mad, but one is leaving with title to the property.

  172. 172
    TenguPhule says:

    If you’re saying that Palestinians will not accept any international procedure for settling cross-border land disputes, then that’s absolutely a problem.

    The last couple of peace conferences failed on this point.

    The ‘right to return’ is something Israel won’t accept and Palestinians won’t give up.

  173. 173
    TenguPhule says:

    Thank you for magically sidestepping the point and contributing nothing to the conversation.

    Yeah, obviously the actions of the parties in power over the Palestinians had nothing whatsoever to do with the things that are happening.

  174. 174
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Duke of Earl:

    "Fuckers" is plural, which led me to believe you were talking to more than one person.

    Interesting you would assume the worst about yourself, from a comment clearly addressed to someone else.

  175. 175
    Publicola says:

    @Chuck Butcher:

    A lot of people are having a lot of fun tossing the blame game around. You will get exactly nowhere with that one, each has its justifications going back too far to sort it out to anyone’s satisfaction.

    You’re dead-on with that one, Chuck. The Israeli/Palestinian blame game is a distraction with respect to constructively addressing the present day conflict.

    If a community is subjected to unreasonable conditions violence will occur, whether it is blockades or rockets or bombs or… Tit for tat guarantees that will be the outcome.

    Right on the money again.

    Of course I don’t have a solution at hand, I do know that the policies in place will result in what we have today.

    It took a long time to get into this mess, and it’s going to take a long time get out of it.

    That said the United States can stop contributing as much as we do to inflaming the conflict by making our "aid" to Israel conditional to their stopping their relentless settlement expansion in the West Bank. Most Americans are not aware that our "aid" to Israel enables them to continue their settlement expansion – which means that we are in significant part responsible for said settlement expansion, which much of the rest of the world is very aware of even if we aren’t.

    Israel’s settlement expansion is nothing short of a total-nutcase enterprise that only serves to inflame the conflict and undermine the peace process, as well inflame hatred of the U.S. It makes a great recruiting tool for Islam-fundi wingnuts like Hamas and Al Qaeda, too.

    Stopping Israel’s settlement expansion by making US "aid" conditional to its stop isn’t a solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but it’s a start.

  176. 176
    TenguPhule says:

    Stopping Israel’s settlement expansion by making US "aid" conditional to its stop isn’t a solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but it’s a start.

    Now we just need to find 60 senators and a majority in the hourse willing to commit political suicide to get it done.

  177. 177
    rachel says:

    @Comrade Stuck: Do you think that Israel’s pure, awesome might is going to cow the Palestinians and everywhere else in the region for good?

    It. Doesn’t. Work. Like. That.

    Israel can use whatever justification it wants to justify showing off their pure and mighty might, but all this does in the long run is bring in more motivated recruits for Hamas and all the rest of the anti-Israel terrorists out there.

    Or, in other words: to do what you have the power to do, even if you think are justified in doing that, is not always wise. And these "Friends of Israel that encourage and cheerlead this brawn-over-brains stance are bad
    friends.

    @TenguPhule:

    So Israel is supposed to be grateful that it’s up to luck of the draw?

    They’re going to be considering this the good old days before to much longer.

    What you don’t seem to realize is that rockets are not stoppable once they’re launched.

    What you don’t seem to realize is that they can at least detect the rockets coming and duck into one of the many bomb shelters around there. Or–a here’s a thought–the Israelis were free to move away to a safer area of the country. Soon all areas are likely to be more or less equally dangerous.

    Israel at least has a chance to stop the suicide bombers outside the cities.

    And Hamas and their new supporters have lots of chances to keep trying. Israel won’t get all of them.

    Either way, Hamas is trying to kill civilians deliberately.

    And Israel is killing civilians accidentally, but that doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to the enemies of Israel. No, Israel has just turned up the heat under this pot that was at a slow boil. It’ll be boiling over and scalding them before 2009 is out. The sad thing is that when the next suicide bomber takes out twenty people at a Tel Aviv shopping mall or some such, you’ll be screaming at me that I wanted it to happen. I don’t want it to happen any more than I want an egg to fall to the floor when I can’t stop it from rolling off my counter in time; but like gravity, revenge is a law of nature.

  178. 178
    TenguPhule says:

    but like gravity, revenge is a law of nature.

    Which many don’t blame the Palestinians for but insist is what Israel is doing. I still don’t understand why they get a pass for it.

    Or—a here’s a thought—the Israelis were free to move away to a safer area of the country.

    Here’s a thought, check the news. Those rockets ARE hitting into safer parts of the country. The law of averages says its only a matter of time until one of those rockets does damage on par with any suicide bomber. So yeah.

    Israel won’t get all of them

    It could. But that would mean bodies piled 6 feet high. Not an ideal situation by anyone’s standard.

    And Israel is killing civilians accidentally, but that doesn’t make a blind bit of difference to the enemies of Israel.

    Yes. Unfortunately nobody else can lecture Israel on this since all the other big nations have even more fresh blood on their hands.

    So yeah.

    They need to talk. But they won’t until the shooting stops. And the shooting won’t stop because Hamas finds things to constantly get upset about both real and petty ( I think my all time favorite excuse was Ariel Sharon visiting someplace, requiring revenge attacks).

    So yeah, I’ve seen this movie before. Israel will probably be pressured down, the shooting won’t stop, next mission starts. Lather rinse repeat.

  179. 179
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @rachel:

    Do you think that Israel’s pure, awesome might is going to cow the Palestinians and everywhere else in the region for good?

    I’ve said nor implied any such thing. Jesus, you are dumb.

  180. 180
    Shiva says:

    When Obama visited Sderot last Summer, he said very clearly that if his daughters lived in a town that experienced regular rocket fire, he would do everything he could to protect them. I’m not sure I see what is controversial here. Does anyone think that Hamas continuing to launch rockets is a situation that is acceptable, or stable? Gaza has borders with Egypt and Israel, and could easily live in peace with both countries.

  181. 181
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Shiva:

    you state the obvious, Shiva, and I for one agree with your assessment. And Obama’s. Others seem not to.

  182. 182
    Andrew says:

    When Obama visited Sderot last Summer, he said very clearly that if his daughters lived in a town that experienced regular rocket fire, he would do everything he could to protect them. I’m not sure I see what is controversial here. Does anyone think that Hamas continuing to launch rockets is a situation that is acceptable, or stable? Gaza has borders with Egypt and Israel, and could easily live in peace with both countries.

    But then, what would he do if his daughters lived in a town under blockade, unable to leave, unable to get enough food or medicine, and under constant bombardment from an untouchable air force?

    Does Israel think that continuing to bomb places into dust is acceptable, or stable?

    As for your bit about Egypt… perhaps you haven’t heard that the Egyptians are shooting Palestinians who try to leave?

    Israel has all the power in this situation. They are the ones who have the ability to stop the cycle. It is entirely true that they are also victims, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are the ones with all the power. It might not be "fair", but it’s the only way out. Israel has to make the first move and make it stick by refusing to automatically meet each new insult with crushing and seemingly indiscriminate bombing runs.

    Yes, that does mean that an Israeli’s death will go "unpunished". Or at least, not responded to. But it’s clear that responding with more bombs may be "punishment", but it will never end the attacks.

  183. 183
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Andrew:

    I bet he would knock the Hamas Rocketeers up side the head, like any decent father would. And then, if Israel didn’t stop the blockade, we would all knock them up side the head. But they would, so that wouldn’t be necessary.

  184. 184
    TenguPhule says:

    Israel has to make the first move and make it stick by refusing to automatically meet each new insult with crushing and seemingly indiscriminate bombing runs.

    Israel already tried this several years ago.

    It didn’t work.

    Hamas simply declared victory and increased attacks until Israel started launching counter strikes.

  185. 185
    Andrew says:

    I bet he would knock the Hamas Rocketeers up side the head, like any decent father would. And then, if Israel didn’t stop the blockade, we would all knock them up side the head. But they would, so that wouldn’t be necessary.

    Yeah, that sounds likely. Go knock the violent, gun-toting Hamas dude upside the head and tell him to quit it. It’s not even as though he’s a representative of a government that’s beholden to you. He’s essentially a merc out for his group that happens to share the same land with you. And you don’t even have food, let alone a gun.

    Yeah, this makes a lot of sense.

    I mean, how naive do you have to be to think that this is a reasonable course of action? The starving, desitute Palestinian father brokers peace by knocking terrorists and, if necessary, the IDF, upside the head? What is this, peace process by Disney? The Palestinian civilians have even less power than Hamas in this situation, and the power Hamas has is limited, essentially, to the ability to fire rockets and subjugate Palestinians.

    Israel already tried this several years ago.

    It didn’t work.

    Hamas simply declared victory and increased attacks until Israel started launching counter strikes.

    No one ever said it would be magical or easy or instant. IRA splinter groups were bombing for a very long time after they "won" too. But the British government stuck to the peace process, and guess what we have now?

    It’s not easy. It’s not bloodless. It’s not viscerally satisfying. But it works. You have to stick with it, and you can’t break it off as soon as the going gets tough. You can’t agree to stop killing with bombs only to start killing with blockades.

  186. 186
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Andrew:

    Yeah, that sounds likely. Go knock the violent, gun-toting Hamas dude upside the head

    I know it might be a lot to expect from idiots like you. But could you put down the Bong long enough to learn what speaking metaphorically means? If it’s not to much to ask.

  187. 187
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @Andrew:

    No one ever said it would be magical or easy or instant. IRA splinter groups were bombing for a very long time after they "won" too. But the British government stuck to the peace process, and guess what we have now?

    The ME is not Northern Ireland. It is ancient rivalries that began before Christ was born, and to show any weakness whatsoever by turning the other cheek, at least for very long, invites more attacks and more attackers. Basically, thems the rules and the irony for the birthplace of baby Jeevus.

  188. 188
    griefer says:

    Jeebus, knockin Hizb’ upside the head in the Summer War worked so well didn’t it?
    Here’s the base problem with Israelis and ‘Merican "conservatives" both– profoundly slow learners.
    Does anyone else remember Sinioria pleading with that useless evangelical bumbler GW to get the Israelis to stop carpet bombing lebanese civilians?
    Guess what?
    Hizb’ is now much stronger in the Lebanese cabinet by election, and the Iraelis nevah got their soljahs back……alive at least.
    And Hizb’ still got Kumar in the end.
    Stupid stupid stupid.

  189. 189
    Comrade Stuck says:

    @griefer:

    Jeebus, knockin Hizb’ upside the head in the Summer War worked so well didn’t it?

    Duh. The question wasn’t about whether it works or not, but a metaphorical one about what Obama as a father would do. Stupid stupid stupid

  190. 190
    TenguPhule says:

    You have to stick with it, and you can’t break it off as soon as the going gets tough. You can’t agree to stop killing with bombs only to start killing with blockades.

    True. But that also means you need the majority of the population to stick with and accept the casualties in the process.

    After the first 100 or so casualties from suicide bombers, the Israelis weren’t. They ousted the moderates and installed the hard right because the Likud was promising security over peace.

    So yeah. It makes sense from the outside, but good luck convincing the Israelis that they must die for a better cause.

  191. 191

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