In defence of Israel

I think my credentials for being anti-war are fairly solid. I was always against the Iraq war. I had problems with the Afghan war and the Kosovo-related Serbian war. I would have opposed the Vietnam war (like Ayn Rand) and I even have issues with the first and second world wars.

But I support the Israeli offensive against Hamas.

Unlike the American invasion of Iraq, the actions of Israel are clearly defensive. While Hamas (mostly) stuck with the truce, Israel also stuck with the truce. When Hamas ended the truce and began bombing Israel, then Israel responded. This approach is absolutely necessary to create the right incentives.

Some in the world (EU, UN) are calling for a ceasefire. But this call is hollow. These same talking heads are not concerned that Hamas started hostilities, and nor do they mind if Hamas continues their attacks. In effect, by their selective outrage and silence, they are endorsing a situation where Hamas can attack Israel but Israel should never respond.

I believe the anti-Israel attitude is based in part on a soft-hearted and soft-headed approach to war, where modern commentators judge the combatants by how many people they kill. If you kill more, then you are bad. And Israel is killing more, therefore Israel is bad and they should stop. But this makes no sense as it offers the simplistic (and obviously wrong) conclusion that the side with the best technology must be in the wrong.

The combatants in a war should be judged by (1) whether they started the war; and (2) whether they are offering a reasonable way out of the war.

This war was started by Hamas. And only Israel is offering a reasonable way out of the war. The peace terms offered by Israel is “stop trying to kill us”. The peace terms being offered by Hamas is “stop existing”. Clearly the international community should be encouraging (and pressuring) Hamas to accept the Israeli terms.

I want to be clear that I do not think Israel is always the “good guy”. There are many flaws in Israel and they deserve to be criticised about many things… including their unwillingness to discuss giving up East Jerusalem, their poor treatment of Arab-Israelis, the radical settlers of Hebron, the over-reactions of the past and their increasingly socialist government. But none of this justifies the actions of Hamas, and all countires (and people) need to defend themselves from direct attack.

177 thoughts on “In defence of Israel

  1. A decent analysis, John. I’d only quibble with “This approach is absolutely necessary to create the right incentives.” In the short term, some response is necessary. But the long-term goal for Israel of living in peace has to be uppermost in their strategic thinking. It’s quite clear they can’t bomb their way there.

    It always has to return to the slow and boring and frustrating and messy and difficult ‘root causes’ path, because nothing else is going to work.

    Hamas is dangerous to Israel, but they can’t be eliminated. Currently Israel employs a strategy of weakening and containing, but that’s really only a stop-gap measure. Hamas have to be neutralised and diminished to the point where they are no longer any real threat. That’s only going to happen in a grand bargain between Palestinians and Israel. Hamas would survive as a small terrorist group of hardcore members, but when they can’t command the resources of a statelet, and have lost popular support, they can be dealt with more easily.

  2. Jarrah, I agree that the bombing isn’t going to bring immediate peace. But it is needed to ensure the right incentives are in place

    If the Palestinians perceive an incentive set of “do whatever you like and there will never be any consequences” then they are unlikely to pursue prudent behaviour.

    I hope that Israel will stop soon and wait for a week to see what happens. I expect Hamas will continue throwing bombs and Israel can spend a week saying “please stop that, we don’t want to fight” while the world watches.

  3. I’m curious, Mr. Warmonger, how far would Israel have to go to lose your support? And why don’t you think Hamas has a similar right to correctly align Israeli incentives?

  4. It’s hard to understand why so many people are anti-Israel and anti-US. So quick to blame Israel and the US for acts of terrorism. I’m even astonished to hear of some commentators blaming Hindus for terrorism in Mumbai by Islamic Pakistanis! See http://www.carolineglick.com/e/2008/12/the_jihadistmulticultural_alli.asp

    Anyway, Despite the fact that Israel no longer occupies Gaza, Israel continues to supply the region with basic energy, water, azand humanitarian supplies in coordination with the UN and other agencies.
    Yet every day Hamas supporters are getting away with firing rocket launchers into Israel. Imagine if I went up to the Victorian border and started shooting rocket launchers at the Vics. I reckon just maybe I might get arrested.

    Just shows you, never appease an aggressor. It justifies their aggression and they will only try it on more next time.

    I’m definitely on the side of Israel (a much more free and prosperous country) and think they should crush unacceptable religiously motivated, totalitarian violence.

    Perhaps JC’s post should have been called “Israel, are they getting tough enough?”

  5. joseph – whatever ‘rights’ Hamas once had, it has relinquished by its continual bombing of Israel. it is perfectly understandable that Israel wanted to underline to the people of Gaza that there will be consequences if their government continues to bombard Israel with Katyusha rockets.

    if New Zealand kept throwing rockets at NSW, the govt in power would come under enormous pressure to respond.

    the right to defend sometimes involves a pre-emptive and disproportionate response.

  6. pommy,
    That’s cool, but surely there’s a limit. How about if they started poisoning Gaza’s water supply? Would that be too much for you?

  7. There cannot be peace in the middle East, until we convert the muslims away from islam. The muslims believe that their book has superceded the Old testament; therefore, the existence of Israel, which does not see to have been prophecied in the koran, must be an aberration. Otherwise, their religion is wrong. After all, the jews believe that their return to Israel is in conformity with God’s will.
    This is really a religious dispute, as well as a land dispute. However, muslims are smart enough not to mention this to christians, but to talk about dispossession.

  8. Joseph

    Let me ask you. How far should Israel go?

    A stern warning to Hamas from the UN perhaps? A letter shwoing displeasure .

    Here’s my suggestion… Whatever it fucking takes to stop those barbarians firing off missiles into Israel… even if it means the last arab male adult…. until it stops.

    What do you think Joseph?

    ADMIN: JC… your comments are getting caught in the filter because of the word “fuck”. If you make your posts a bit more family-friendly then they won’t get caught.

  9. Interesting question Joseph.

    I think the first thing to note is that Israel has (correctly) targetted Hamas as the enemy, not Gaza or Palestine. If they decided that all Palestinians or Arabs were the enemy and started attacking them, then they would lose my support.

    Another consideration is their options. Against a more reasonable enemy (for example, Fatah in the West Bank) I think it would be in everybody’s interest for Israel to show restraint… even if a few bombs were thrown in. But against Hamas I agree with the Israeli government that it is necessary to change the parameters of the engagement, and build up a clear cause-and-effect pattern for all people to see.

    As for Hamas’s “right” to re-align incentives… I’m not sure where the talk of “rights” has come from. Of course Hamas has choices to make about how they behave, and one factor would be the incentives they are providing Israel.

    But there is a more fundamental issue with regards to Hamas. Irrespective of their tactics, I fundamentally disagree with their goal of destroying Israel.

    TimR — which post was JC’s post? Your suggestion that you should “never appease an aggressor”, while put in war-monger terms to make it sound good, it obviously bullshit. There is a place for a soft approach and a place for retaliation. If everybody always demanded vengence for any perceived act of aggression from their enemies we would be in a world of perpetual war. Perhaps you are comfortable with that outcome, but I (and anybody who believes in freedom) am not.

  10. JC,
    I don’t have any answers. I was genuinely curious to know how far the pro Israel people here would go. Also it’s fun to call Humphreys a warmonger.

  11. Israel’s leaders should be condemned for their retaliatory airstrikes in Gaza — for being so timid.

    Hamas’ aggression toward Israel is merely part of totalitarian Islam’s broader war against the West, which has its base in theocratic Iran. Israel’s military may stop Hamas’ attacks today, just as it did Hezbollah’s in Lebanon in 2006, but her Muslim enemies will continue to seek her utter destruction and will use their Iranian-supplied weapons again and again until that nihilistic goal is met.

    Israel must assert the moral confidence to take truly massive military action against Iran, wiping out the ruling mullahs and ayatollahs, their mosques and schools that preach “Death to Israel,” and their military and nuclear sites. Until Israel cuts off the main head of the terrorist hydra that is Iran, it will continue wage pin-prick campaigns against the likes of Hamas, Hezbollah and other Iranian-inspired proxies.

  12. First they take their land. Then they humiliate them at border check points. Then they shoot their children and throw the men in prison. Then they displace 5 million Palestinians from their homes. Then they use blockades. Starve them. STop flow of medicine. And then they bomb them.
    Is this what everyone is supporting????

    If it was your country being occupied what would you do?
    If it was your children suffering what would you do?
    If you were being avoided from making a living and having access to your olive groves what would you do?
    If the occupiers sucked the water out of your land what would you do?
    If your sister or wife had to give birth at check points what would you do?

    Gaza is 360 square miles. A small strip of land and the most populated place on the planet (1,4 million people).

    Israel took first 50% and now has taken over 80% of Palestinian land. They know no peace. They do not know what human rights is and they havent learnt from the holocaust.

    Israel gets 6.3 million dollars a day from the USA alone. That is 2299500000 dollars a year! They also get several millions in funding from they Friends of Israel.

    What happened to human rights? What happened to defending the oppressed? Israel is the worlds 4th largest nuclear military might.

    Gaza: 320 people killed in 2 days. 1400 injuired in 3 days by the Israeli air strikes.

    Israel: 2 dead. 1 dozen injuired in one week

    Who has the upperhand?

    no2wars.wordpress.com

  13. no2wars

    ‘Israel has 80% of Palestinian land’

    here’s another way of looking at it – people of the Jewish faith have approx 0.5% of the Middle East to practice their faith undisturbed. the other 99.5% of land is muslim. seems pretty reasonable to me.

    though your point about the population of Gaza is scary – the average age in Gaza is something crazy like 13. it’s a community entirely reliant on Israeli and EU aid. no muslim country will touch them.

  14. What are u talking about 0,5% of the Middle East???? If thats the case we might as well start blowing up the whole of the ME because Jews only have 0.5%! For God sake. Never heard numbers perverted in such a way to promote and defend the massacre and brutal slaughter of a people before.
    So let me see “pommygranate”… You are saying that the Palestinians can go off and practice their faith in the other 99,5% of the ME? Eh…so lets see you would be willing to leave your home? Your land? Your roots?

    Can you forget that the suppressed are Palestinians?
    I can understand that Europe feels guilty over allowing the slaughter of 6 million innocent Jews. But come on this is’nt WWII. We’ve moved on from there havn’t we? Israel is no longer the victim. It is the oppressor. If you are downing your dillusional pills with Sky News and CNN I suggest Truthdig.com, DemocracyNow, Aljazeera english, 101occupation, http://www.btselem.org/English/

    Wake up….

    THIS IS ABOUT HUMAN RIGHTS!!!!

  15. I have a different opinion on this — I don’t see what the effect of the invasion will be (it reminds me of Lebanon in 2006), so all that is going to happen is Israel will spend a lot of money and some of their own people will die having a pointless fight (presumably one of the goals of Hamas — to bankrupt Israel). I just don’t see the point of an-eye-for-an-eye unless there is some chance Hamas will be damaged in some sort of way such that its general ability to function is reduced (and I can’t see how that will happen). In fact, it may well have the opposite effect if civilians get killed — Hamas will gain support, and more crazies will to fight for them.

  16. no2wars

    Yep. the toll count is pretty one sided. I guess Hamas ought to be looking at that each morning before it lobs 80 rockets into Israeli areas every day.

    Also borders have changed for countless people. My great grand parents came from Nice which is now part of France but was once Italian. Do you see Italians lobbing rockets over the swiss alps to avenge the loss of land? Orr the Scots into England?

    this is how I see it. Well fed western types like you find it fashionable to see the Palis as the permanent victims when the opposite is true.

    However if the black man in Oz or the Indian in the Americas decided to start bombing coffee shops in the inner city areas of the big cities because they wanted their land back you’d begin to see Israelis in a new light and perhaps sympathize with them.,

  17. no2wars… your name is ironic as you seem to support a Hamas war on Israel. You need to decide whether you’re against war, or just against wars that you lose. There is a big difference.

    Your response to Pommy seems quite strange. It’s not Pommy’s fault that Israel only takes up 0.5% of the middle east. And it’s also funny as you ask a recent immigrant in Australia if he would be willing to leave his land. The answer is clearly yes. I wonder if you would ask the Israeli Jews to leave their homes?

    You are correct that Israel gets lots of aid from the US. But you failed to mention that America gives more aid to Muslim countries. I agree that all aid should be stopped… to both sides.

    You are also right to note that Israel has been more successful in their attacks than Hamas. I directly addressed this in my post, and you totally missed the point. First, if Hamas could kill thousands of Jews (including civilians) then they would. They are trying to. The only reason they look nice is because they don’t have the technology. Trying to kill thousands of civilians and failing is NOT a virtue.

    In contrast, Israel has repeatedly said (and shown) that they will not attack unless they are attacked. But when attacked they respond with their technology. It is absolutely irrational for you to blame Israel for the “crime” of having technology.

    Finally, I agree that Israel has done lots of bad things in the past, and I don’t think that Israel should have been set up in the first place. But it has been, and there is no going back. If you want to now wipe out Israel, then it is you who is the war-monger. If you support the Hamas attacks on Israel, then it is you who is the war-monger.

    And if you do support the Hamas war on Israel, then it is totally dishonest for you to pretend you’re against war. If you want to declare war on somebody, then you can’t cry when they fight back. If you don’t want the war, then don’t throw the first punch.

  18. I find myself in curious agreement with John Humphreys. Curious, because we have disagreed on the subject of war more than any other topic.

    John’s view (if I understand it correctly) is that war is only legitimate when in pursuit of national self-defence. In this instance, as he identifies, Hamas has been attacking the citizens of Israel from within Gaza. That, he says, legitimises Israel’s response. I completely agree.

    But I think there are other legitimate grounds for war, which can also be applied to the Gaza situation.

    One is to free people from overt oppression. I am not a Christian and don’t support taxpayer-funded foreign aid, but in Christian terms I don’t believe the Good Samaritan would have stopped at a national border. He would have freed slaves wherever they were found.

    While there are grounds for questioning how the aftermath was handled, the invasion of Iraq gave Iraqis the right to throw shoes at the US president. Similarly, intervening in Korea saved South Koreans from oppressive Stalinism; the Second World War saved the world from Nazism and Japanese feudalism; intervening in Kosovo prevented Serbian genocide such as occurred in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

    By the same logic, military intervention in Rwanda and Cambodia would have been legitimate. In current terms, Zimbabwe would not be a massive human tragedy if it was invaded.

    Another reason is to promote the cultural values of liberty and democracy. I’m not into moral equivalence, so I think these values are superior to the alternatives espoused by radical Islamists, Hindus or even Christian fundamentalists. Once in a while, but rarely, war is necessary to defeat them.

    So aside from self-defence, Israel’s war on Hamas is legitimate because the Hamas government has scant respect for human rights. Hamas’ political opponents have been rounded up, tortured and jailed.

    And consider what the impact would be of a Palestinian state founded on the principles of liberty and democracy. The tinpot dictators and military authorities that rule the Arab world would have nowhere to hide.

  19. Have to laugh at this propaganda bullshit you guys have been fed. “Do you see Italians lobbing rockets over the swiss alps to avenge the loss of land? Orr the Scots into England?” Eh I think that would happen IF the Scots or the Italians human rights were being abused. If they were being abused and little by little their land being ripped out from under their feet, then YES there would be attacks.
    Look at Northern Ireland.
    I grew up in UK. I saw the coverage of the bombings in Northern Ireland and in London. What happened when the English stopped occupying their country and suppressing them? The terrorism stopped.

    As for Hamas bankrupting Israel I think you need to look at the figures again. Israel will not go bankrupt. Not now. Not ever.

    Suggested reading:
    Robert Pape “Dying to Win”
    Ghost Wars
    Terror in the Name of God: Jessica Stern
    http://ifamericansknew.com/
    http://www.no2wars.wordpress.com

  20. “While there are grounds for questioning how the aftermath was handled, the invasion of Iraq gave Iraqis the right to throw shoes at the US president”.
    David LeyonHjelm it was ONE Iraqi. Not IraqiS!!!!
    So lets bomb the UK and get rid of the yobs, the drug addicts, the prostitites, the child abusers, pedofiles, sex crazed politicians………….. Yes wonderful.

    Want a war? YES LETS START ON OUR OWN HOME GROUND INSTEAD OF SUPPORTING IT ABROAD. LETS START A WAR WITH FRANCE BECAUSE OF THEIR ROTTEN WINE AND SMELLY CHEESES. LETS BLOW UP SPAIN CAUSE OF ETA. LETS ATTACK ITALY BECAUSE OF THE MAFIA.

    Yes its a different story isnt it when the bombs fall on your own doorstep. If it was your mothers brains splattered all over the livingroom wall then war isn’t so much fan anymore now then is it? But of course we have to put aside our emotions – we cannot allow any form of parallels, comparisons because it would shatter our little world of perfect categories.

  21. So I guess that means you disagree with me, no2wars? Care to explain your view in less hysterical terms?

    Probably not. You find being irrational natural, don’t you? A bit like the fundamentalists really.

  22. Conrad – i understand your point. but what, in your opinion, should the correct response be to the daily firing of rockets into Israel’s borders?

    no2wars is not a good advert for the legalisation of drugs.

  23. conrad — I agree this has the potential to be like Lebannon. I think they made a mistake in that campaign by going after Beruit, which gave the impression of Israel attacking Lebannon instead of Hezbollah.

    It’s a difficult game, but neither extreme is viable. Israel cannot simply do nothing for ever, except saying “please stop trying to kill me” and they also shouldn’t run in all guns-a-blazing. So far I think they have walked that fine line as well as could be expected. I hope they pull back soon.

  24. no2wars — I sympathise with your point about having war in your backyard. There are a lot of chicken-hawks out there who promote wars in far away lands, but who may think twice if it was their son or neighbour. However, in this instance it seems clear that YOU are the person promoting a war. You support the Hamas war on Israel.

    I don’t want there to be a war. I hope that Hamas will immediately accept the Israeli peace terms (ie “stop trying to kill Israelis) and then both sides should continue to hate each other peacefully.

    You position seems to be that:

    1) Hamas should attack Israel; and

    2) Israel should just sit there and be attacked.

    That position might be a nice day-dream if you want the destruction of Israel, but it’s neither consistent nor sensible to argue for such rules of engagement. Either both sides should stop fighting, or both sides should fight.

    Israel, America and most of the world (including me) want both sides to stop fighting. The only thing stopping that is Hamas.

  25. “Conrad – i understand your point. but what, in your opinion, should the correct response be to the daily firing of rockets into Israel’s borders”

    Good question — there’s obviously no short term answer. I basically agree with JH that it’s a fine line, which they appear to have stepped across this time (hence pulling back now would be a good idea), especially because it’s not clear that Hamas is really even trying to kill lots of people with the rockets they are using (which are extremely poor quality and not exactly hitting big targets — they surely must have access to much better technology than that which they are using). Rather, it appears more like constant intimidation, and I presume they in fact have a vested interest in getting Israel to stir up the population as has happened now, and will start firing the rockets again as soon as they stop. Personally, in the short term, I wouldn’t blame Israel for killing the guys firing the rockets when they can, using walls to keep them out etc., but blasting civilian areas seems counter productive.

  26. In “less hysterical terms” then David:
    You wrote: “While there are grounds for questioning how the aftermath was handled, the invasion of Iraq gave Iraqis the right to throw shoes at the US president”.

    I guess it was the only rights Iraqi’s were given then? They were not given the right to control their own country or oil.
    We hear in spurts about how fotunate the Iraqi’s are. They can throw shoes at the President (lets not forget that afterwards the journalist had his ribs broken, tortured and now faces 15 years imprisonment… yes they are free aren’t they). We hear that the Iraqis are free they have education, electricity and can now express themselves. Depending on the sources you use for your information the fact is that Iraqis are not free.

    Iraqis in Baghdad do not have clean running water or electricity (except for a few hours a day). Food prices have risen and schools and colleges have been destroyed. There is chaos, sewage in the streets and malnutrition.
    My closest friends in Iraq tell me how much they hate Saddam Hussein, but during his heavey handed reign Iraqis had “free schooling, free medical treatment, stable economy, woman rights stronger – less extremism, fuel and some sense of security. A law was passed which demanded that all women under the age of 50 must learn to read and write”.
    According to those voices on the inside of Iraq “women are selling their bodies to buy food for their families, homeless children are walking the streets and their is fear of abuse and murders, more and more women are using hijabs or veils, there is soaring unemployment, frustration, anger and depression (…) then we have the occupying forces pointing their weapons at us… parading in our streets”.

    For many of my friends the images of Abu Ghraib, Blackwater attacks, Fallujah, rape of Iraqi women prisoners by US military are not forgotten. The pillage of their historical heritage is fresh in their memory.

    So David, we cannot say that war is good. Those who want war in the name of democracy and freedom are just as fanatical as the religious fanatics who want the blood of infidels. War is not the solution as we can see in Iraq.

  27. no2wars,

    Real peace is not just an absence of violence but the presence of justice. – Quoted from some Harrison Ford movie.

    You talk about the problems of the Iraqis with not having an up and running infrastructure. – But the largest part of that problem are the insurgents who blow up what the coalition is trying to rebuild on a daily basis. I have mates over in Iraq who are part of the rebuilding project and it pretty much runs like this,

    1. We rebuild say…. a sewage waste treatment plant.
    2. It is up and running and there is much rejoice!
    3. It gets blown up by the extremist insurgents.
    4. We rebuild said sewage waste treatment plant.
    5. There is once again much rejoice!
    6. Said sewage plant gets blown up by insurgents again! Hurray!
    7. rebuild….. etc etc etc

    Basically this process will continue as long as it takes until the people actually realise that if the project is allowed to be completed they will be in a far superior position than what they currently are.

  28. Perry I know of two British soldiers who have don etheir term in Iraq ans Afghanistan. The rebuilding of the infrastructure is not going as planned as you rightly underline because of insurgents. But remember in the heart of every insurgent is a distrust of anything the occypying forces bring. These people have seen the death of families and neighbors and conflicts between neighbors. BUT most importantly people are furious because foreign contractors and employees are being flown in to rebuild Iraq instead of using the Iraqi contractors and work force.
    Far superior position?
    Iraqi has some of the largest oil reserves in the world (depending on how much oil has been sucked out of the country). Left in peace it could florish to be one of the richest countries in the world – and one of the best countries with a function infrastructure in the ME. I guess thats what terrified the foreign policy makers.

  29. No2wars, I too would love to see Iraq left alone to flourish.

    But do you honestly think the situation would get any better if all the coalition forces were to pull out?

    The fighting between the Sunni’s and the Shi’ites would flair up worse than ever, The Iraqi security forces would be overwhelmed and the country would go even further down the drain until somebody won and more than likely installed a pro- Iranian government or dictator.

  30. Perry I do not think that we should doubt the Iraqis capibilities in self-governance. They need the chance. History shows time and time again that occupation leads to violence. The IRA used to strap people to the inside of cars filled with explosives and blow it up once it reached its goal but we havent seen any attacks since the end of occupation. Iraq had never seen a suicide attack before Coalition of the Willing invaded in 2003.

    New report regarding rebuilding of Iraq:

    Here is something new from RealNews Network in the issue:

  31. Sorry but I am not really interested in watching your youtube videos, There is too much crazy stuff on there and I dont really have time for it.

    But I am sorry I dont really agree with you, As much as I think they might put their heart into it… And really want to govern well….. I think the fact is that it is simply a manpower / training problem and the Iraqi security forces just aren’t properly equipped to handle the job at the present point in time. I don’t believe that America pulling out would be the solution to all of Iraq’s problems and in some aspects I think it would create more problems than it would solve, Part of the reason the first gulf way was such a miserable disaster was that we went in, blew the crap out of the place and left without doing anything. Unless we want Iraq to spring up as another trouble-spot in years to come is to stay the long yards at the moment and get the rebuilding job done, Get the infrastructure up to a point where it is feasible for the Iraqi government to govern and secure without foreign aid and leave them to it.

  32. Eh Perry they are not my videos – it is information which is important to listen to – just as important as Jerusalem Post, CNN, Sky News and anything else.
    I challenge you to watch the report from democracy now on the rebuilding of Iraq. It is not heresay. It is facts about the billions of dollars wasted on trying to rebuild Iraq. Since you defended the efforts of our brave forces over there I would have thought it would have been of interest.

    But then again many enjoy living in ignorance because it would shatter their little safe haven of lies… Over out.

  33. The IRA used to strap people to the inside of cars filled with explosives and blow it up

    wtf?

    Iraq had never seen a suicide attack before Coalition of the Willing invaded in 2003.

    no, but it had seen the ethnic genocide of 200,000 Kurds. not a problem for you, no2wars?

  34. Ok. But why forget Israel’s cruel Occupation of the Palestinian land?
    Why is Israel there in the first place? It is the occupation that has been creating all these miseries for the people of Palestine.
    Israel is launching a genocide war in Gaza in the true sense of this word. And had there been justice in this world, Israeli war criminals would have been brought to the Hague for their sadistic crimes. In fact they are no different than Slobodan Milošević and Radovan Karadžić.
    What they are doing to the Palestinian civilians would even put Hitler himself to shame!

  35. And did you ever think WHY Palestinians would be firing rockets into Israel? How about the blockade that cuts of food in a country where 75% of children are malnourished and on the verge of starvation? But that isn’t a “terrorist act” hell that isn’t even news. That is a “humanitarian indifference,” I suppose, nothing more huh?
    Israel will live with the shame of this aggression for a long, long time.
    And every image of dead and injured children, every image of women crying, every video of a funeral procession will fuel the resistance. The warmakers will get exactly what they want and their own children will suffer the consequences and their grandchildren, too.

  36. How are their rights violated, Yes2blowuphamas?

    Israel wouldn’t attack anyone unless those barbarians you’re supporting stopped lobbing over rockets.

    John is right. The only war you support is war against the Israelis. What you don’t support is Israel defending itself.

    If you were honest about Arabs lands being taken, in other words if you weren’t hypocritical about it you would leave Australia with only the clothes on your back and return to the land of your parents or ancestors.

    What happened to the Palis was pretty bad shit having their land taken away in 1948. However it happened 60 years ago and it’s a done deal now.

    If you think that the Jews have illegitimate ownership to the land then you are also trespassing on Aboriginal land and therefore shouldn’t here. Every minute you remain strengthens the argument that you’re views are dishonest and mendacious.

    ———

    Yea rami, Hamas is firing rockets into Israel because they’re short of food… But hey if they were able to access 1 case extra of red tomatoes they would immediately stop.

    Do you practics self sex, Rami?

    The only shame Israel will live wiht is not defending its own people or its territorial integrity. Blowing up barbarians is actually a good thing. let’s just hope they rout out every member of Hamas asap.

  37. Israel can’t just violate Palestinian rights with impunity and then act like they have the moral high ground to act as fiercely as they like in response to the slightest Palestinian whimper. Both sides are in the wrong, but Israel, being the preponderant country, should be the ones to make peace with, rather than to continually harass and subjugate, the Palestinians. The Israelis will then have the benefit of productive and cooperative neighbors.

    People may have the right to defend their freedom, but is Israel a free state? Last I checked, it is a theocracy. Why can’t the Zionists live in a free state where each person is free to choose his own religion? It’s true that Australia was founded on land that was already inhabited, but the difference is that the Aboriginals are citizens with the full rights of citizens. Palestine and Israel should be combined into one state, a secular state, with every citizen having equal right before the law. I thought libertarians opposed government coercion, how can you then support Israel who attempt to coerce Palestinians into giving up their human rights?

  38. Ok, So if Israel gave back the west bank and sent the food, water and electricity over the boarder then all the problems would be gone?

    Dream on matey, If the current situation today were solved tomorrow then the day after it would be something else.

    All of this stuff is the pot calling the kettle back, As was said at the start of the page –
    “You are also right to note that Israel has been more successful in their attacks than Hamas. I directly addressed this in my post, and you totally missed the point. First, if Hamas could kill thousands of Jews (including civilians) then they would. They are trying to. The only reason they look nice is because they don’t have the technology. Trying to kill thousands of civilians and failing is NOT a virtue.” By John Humphreys.

    By the sounds of it you are condeming the genocidal war being committed by Israel whereas if Palestine had any better technology they would have wiped Israel off the map ages ago. Remembering Hamas is merely an extension of the Iranian government which has pledged to wipe Israel off of the map.

    As much as people might like to say this is about genocide and human rights, it is about religion, And until Israel is either wiped off of the map or the more extreme ME states are gone there wont be an end to the problem.

  39. People who are saying “but the occupation is naughty” are effectively saying that they support the war against Israel. This needs to be made clear and these people need to face up to the fact that THEY are the war-mongers. For Alex & rami & no2war & friends, please be explicit… do you support the Hamas war against Israel?

    I don’t think Israel should have been created and I think that the Jewish Israelis did lots of bad things around the time of the countries birth (and afterwards). But the country now exists and today we need to deal with today.

    The suggestion that food shortages has caused Hamas to dislike Israel is obviously untrue. Hamas have always been opposed to the existence of Israel. They were given a chance to govern the Palestinian territories with US & EU support as long as they accepted the existence of Israel, and they chose war.

    Hamas chose war.

    If you’re against war (and I am as against war as any person, much to the dismay of my pro-war friends) then you must be opposed to the position of Hamas. They are the group primarily promoting this war.

    Alex — Israelis are free to choose their own religion. There are a million Arab Israelis (including a friend of mine) and many other non-Jewish Israelis. Most of my Israeli friends are non-religious, and I even ran into a “Jew-for-Jesus” while I was there.

    Rami — I agree that the war may lead to more Palestinian anger. But you should apply the same logic to both parties. If Palestinians really want peace, then they should stop throwing bombs into Israel. By your exact same logic, surely you realise that the Hamas attacks on Israel will only increase the Israeli anger. And worse — Hamas initiate the conflicts. Clearly, Hamas is not after peace. They should be condemned by all anti-war people.

    The problem is that many of these Palestinian supporters aren’t against the war. They support the war. They just are opposed to the fact that they’re losing.

  40. To put on my other hat… I don’t think Iran is really interested in wiping Israel off the map. They are playing politics, and trying to get support among Arabs by playing the “palestinian” card.

    And I don’t think this is fundamentally about religion. Any religion can be peaceful and can be blood-thirsty. The Muslim religion needs a good “reformation” (which is well under way in places such as Turkey) but the existence of Islam is not a problem.

    And Pommy — it’s interesting to see you’re suddenly so upset about the Iraqi-Kurdish war. I wasn’t aware that you had been such a strong supporter of Kurdish independence, and it’s strange to see you now using the “many people died, so the other guys must be bad” argument. Do you still support Kurdish independence?

    Anyway — I hope this discussion can avoid side-tracking into the Iraq war, which is clearly an entirely different type of war.

  41. Hamas has openly genocidal aims when it comes to Israel, and has also in the past declared that truces exist for them only as opportunities to re-arm and re-organise.

    Also ‘no2wars’ might want to do some research into exactly how Gaza came to be ‘occupied’ in the first place before he spouts off with more idiotic Islamist slogans.

  42. “Both sides are in the wrong, but Israel, being the preponderant country, should be the ones to make peace with, rather than to continually harass and subjugate, the Palestinians. ”
    ———

    So please enlighten us:
    – how exactly do they “make peace” with an organisation which openly declares its intention to exterminate Israel?

    – what should Israel offer for a permanent peaceful solution that it has not already offered?

    – why have the “palestinians” repeatedly rejected offers of statehood?

    – if the cause of all the ant-Jewish violence is the existence of Israel, how do you account for the ‘palestinians’ allying themselves with Adolf Hitler in WW2? How to you explain the brutal anti-Jewish pogroms in the region long before Israel came into existence

    Also, like “no2wars”, you might want to do some research into how some of these occupied territories came to be occupied in the first place (I’ll give you a hint: it wasn’t because their neighbours were ‘productive and cooperative’…)

  43. POMMEGRANIT:
    “The IRA used to strap people to the inside of cars filled with explosives and blow it up. wtf?
    Iraq had never seen a suicide attack before Coalition of the Willing invaded in 2003.
    No, but it had seen the ethnic genocide of 200,000 Kurds. not a problem for you, no2wars?”

    1)Regarding the IRA. p.55 in Morgan Spurlock’s book “Where in The World is Osama Bin Laden?”.PROXY BOMBS Clarke & Johnston, Martin McGuinness p.186.

    2) The ethnic genocide of 200 000 Kurds…. Eh 200 000???? What are you talking about? lets get the facts right first. Halabja was attacked with chemical weapons on 16th March 1988. Number killed: 5000. Wounded = 7000 to 10000. And many more died because of complications in the years after the attack.

    Now the question arises why was the 1988 attack not an issue for the Western media or politicians when it happened? Who supplied Saddam with these weapons?
    a) Saddam was fighting Iran for the West. So he was a close allie for Thatcher and Reagan.
    “When Saddam did in fact “use chemical weapons against his own people”, he did so on the afternoon of 17 March 1988, against the Kurdish city of Halabja. The United States provided diplomatic cover by initially blaming Iran for the attack. The Reagan Administration tried to prevent criticism of the atrocity”.
    Source: http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/51/040.html , University of Melbourne

  44. @Tex

    The people of Israel need to make peace with the people of Palestine. Hamas may be hellbent on destroying Israel, but why do they have support in Palestine? That is a question Israel seriously needs to think about. If the people of Palestine were friendly with the Israelis then there would be no support for Hamas.

    It would be pointless for me to come up with what ‘Israel should give Palestine’. It is not enough for one side to unilaterally decide what it will give or take from the other. An agreement needs to be reached that is satisfactory to both parties. That means both parties must go into discussions with the intention that they will reach an agreement that is satisfactory to both themselves and their counterparty. Speaking hypothetically, if Hamas are saying “Israel must not exist”, Israel must ask “what is it about Israel that makes you wish for it not to exist?” and they must go back and forth all the while maintaining the intention that the outcome will be satisfactory to both parties.

    You say Palestinians rejected statehood, but what was the nature of the offer of statehood and what was it about the offer that they didn’t like? These are the questions that need to be asked. It is not enough for Israel to put some arbitrary offer on the table and haughtily demand that the Palestinians be satisfied with it or else.

    I do not support war and I don’t say Hamas are justified to fire rockets; both sides should be working for peace. What I’m saying is that Israel should try to understand why the Palestinians are unhappy with them and figure out how to change that.

    The Israeli’s can’t just ignore the complaints of their neighbours. They ignore, ignore, ignore and then when the unheeded complaints boil over in the form of violence, Israel reacts without thinking of the root cause. If they can’t become friends with their neighbours then they’ll never have peace. “Everyone around us hates us, but if they try anything we’ll shoot them to pieces” — how can anything good come of that attitude?

  45. John Humpherys you asked an important question: Do I support Hamas war on Israel? I do not support war.
    Now let me ask you John Humphreys: Do you support the occupation and ethnic cleansing of a people? Do you support the imprisoning and humiliation of a people behind barracades and blockades?

  46. Good points Alex.
    1) GIVE PALESTINIANS 50% OF THE LAND WHATS RIGHTFULLY THERES.
    2) RIGHT OF RETURN FOR ALL PALESTINIANS WHO LIVE IN HORRENDOUS CONDITIONS IN REFUGEE CAMPS
    3) BOYCOTT ISRAEL UNTIL THEY STOP OPPRESSING AND OCCUPYING A PEOPLE (it worked when we used it against South Africa why not now?)

  47. The Kurdish deaths caused at Halabaja in 1988 were collateral damage. The town was occupied by Iranian forces at the time and the Iraqi attack, probably with mustard gas, was targeting the Iranians military forces not the Kurdish civilians. It is an extremely long stretch of the bow to infere genocidal intent from the events at Halabaja in 1988. As a criticism of Saddams regime it is extremely weak. If Halabaja is the basis for Pommies comment then it shows the extent to which people naively swallow recent US war propaganda.

    Immediately after the event at Halabaja the US Defense Intelligence Agency produced a report that pinned the deaths on the Iranians. The deaths were not considered consistent with the mustard gas that the Iraqis were known to be using at the time, but they were consistent with cyanide-based gas which the Iranians were using. It was only much, much later when the US position convieniently changed to concoct a Kurdish genocide story. Stephen C. Pelletiere who was the CIAs senior political analyst on Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war has been very public about the facts. Here is one example of him writing on the topic:-

    http://www.commondreams.org/views03/0131-08.htm

  48. TERJEP that is a cover up story which later showed itself to be false. It was the IRANIANS who uncovered the story and printed the photos FIRST in Irani! Yes sireee. Imagina those crazy Iranians having a little ounce of humanity….

  49. it’s interesting to see you’re suddenly so upset about the Iraqi-Kurdish war. I wasn’t aware that you had been such a strong supporter of Kurdish independence

    is it a personal challenge for you to twist the words of everyone who writes here? is it a personal challenge for you to alienate as many similar minded thinkers as possible? could this be why so many commenters and posters have simply given up on the ALS? this constant sniping, criticising and twisting of every word written has gone too far for me. good luck for the future.

  50. Who is twisting and turning…. I am interested in the truth. Not the whiff of whatever is farted out of the Whitehouse or Downing Street.
    Why dont your pull out that dossier about the WMD by our wonderful “intelligence forces”. Bunch a dumbasses that only wanted war war war.

  51. Pingback: Israel vs Hamas at catallaxyfiles

  52. Remember the 1970s and groups like Baader-Meinhof and the Red Army Faction? Suddenly they stopped operating. This coincided with the fall of communist Russia.

    A similar New World Order may have to happen, a fundamental change for the situation to improve.

    I suspect the change will have to include Iran as it seems to have taken over Russia and Libyas’ role of state sponsored terrorism.

  53. “What I’m saying is that Israel should try to understand why the Palestinians are unhappy with them and figure out how to change that.”

    I will save you, and Israel a lot of trouble. The reason is education. Palestinians are brought up on Jew-hatred. From cradle to grave all they ever hear is that every problem they have is the Jews fault, and if only the Jews would roll over and die, everything would be good.

    “An agreement needs to be reached that is satisfactory to both parties.”

    Load of cobblers. Israel has spent almost twenty years trying to find an agreement. The Arabs will not accept anything short of a second Holocaust.

    “Speaking hypothetically, if Hamas are saying “Israel must not exist”, Israel must ask “what is it about Israel that makes you wish for it not to exist?” and they must go back and forth all the while maintaining the intention that the outcome will be satisfactory to both parties.”

    Once again, I will save you, and Israel a lot of trouble. What it is about Israel that makes Hamas wish it didn’t exist is the presence of live Jews. Get rid of those, and Hamas will be as peaceful as a Swiss pacifist.

    “You say Palestinians rejected statehood, but what was the nature of the offer of statehood and what was it about the offer that they didn’t like?”

    Between the Israeli War of Independence, and the Six-day War, the proposed territory of a Palestinian state specifically excluded the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. It was to include ONLY the territory that was part of Israel at that time.

    In other words what the Palestinians objected to was that the two-state solution included the existence of Israel.

    “The Israeli’s can’t just ignore the complaints of their neighbours. They ignore, ignore, ignore and then when the unheeded complaints boil over in the form of violence, Israel reacts without thinking of the root cause.”

    You are kidding, right? The Israelis have bent over backwards to accommodate the most rabid Jew-haters on the terrestrial crust. They give them territory, money, food, medicine, energy, and make only one condition: that the Palestinians leave Israel in peace.

    “John Humpherys you asked an important question: Do I support Hamas war on Israel? I do not support war.”

    That is a lie. Everything else you have said demonstrates that you support the genocidal war of Hamas against Israel.

    “Do you support the imprisoning and humiliation of a people behind barricades and blockades?”

    Since that people has shown itself incapable of living as civilised people, then fences and blockades are necessary.

    THE PALESTINIANS CAN HAVE PEACE TOMORROW. ALL THEY NEED TO DO IS LEAVE ISRAEL IN PEACE.

  54. now2wars — you say that you don’t support war, but you have only condemned the actions of the responding side and you haven’t condemned the actions of the aggressor. Also, you have clearly implied that you support the Hamas war. You do this by saying “what would you do if you were oppressed”, which seems like justification for war.

    If you don’t support the Hamas-started war against Israel then you need to be clear about that.

    Now to your questions.

    I don’t support ethnic cleansing, but that’s not happening now. One million Arab-Israelis are not being driven out of Israel now. The inhabitants of Gaza & West Bank are not being exterminated.

    The occupation question is impossible to answer because it doesn’t make sense. But if you’re asking whether I think Israel should control Gaza & the West Bank, then no. I think those places should form a Palestinian state, or perhaps even two different Palestinian states.

    As for imprisoning people & blockades, that unfortunately happens during a war. I would prefer for there to be no war. For that to happen, the aggressor needs to accept the peace terms of “stop trying to kill innocent people”.

    It’s a reasonable request. And Hamas should comply.

    This is a simple situation. Hamas started a war. The war can end anytime that Hamas says they want the war to end. If you are against war — then you should be angry at Hamas and you should be lobbying them to end the war.

  55. No2wars comments: Res ipsa loquitur.

    Personally, I think Israel and the US should attack Iran. While they are not perfect countries themselves, they are well within their rights to defend their citizens from the acts of terrorists bred in countries with barbaric, primitive and clearly destructive Islamic ideology. These angry citizens openly declare in the streets that they wish to kill western citizens, shooting off bullets into the air like a kid having a tantrum. They are obviously willing to initiate force and Islamic terrorists have repeatedly demonstrated (by acts of mass murder for over 50 years) that they have no respect for the right to life of westerners.

    Like the Taliban members (motivated by Islam) throwing acid on school girls because women aren’t allowed to go to school. like gangs of emotional idiots eg/ Calling for the death of people like Danish cartoonists or Salman Rushdie. How did these school girls ever affect the right of Islamic people to live their lives as they see fit?
    And, where’s all the stuff about human rights in the Quaran? Because there’s plenty of hate speech and war mongering.

    I suppose these acts didn’t happen? Maybe I’ve been brainwashed by the news media.

    It may be politically incorrect to point out the backward, dangerous and pathetic nature of Islamic totalitarian countries and the cultures in these countries, but it needs to be done. eg/ Atrocities against women and homosexuals, appalling standards of science and technology, extreme censorship.
    And I have a right to my opinion (the human right to my life) without having some crazed animal trying to cut my head off so he can go live in fantasy land with a whole lot of virgins.

    Governments must be held accountable for any violent acts committed by their citizens. Otherwise, what’s the point of having the government at all.
    If murder is commited, or plots for murder, a government is employed to stop this and protect the lives and rights of the innocent. Islamic country governments are not doing this and therefore foreign militarys must step in.

  56. How hungry you are for the bombs to come raining down. It’s sickening. Repulsive. And to think we refer to ourselves as the enlightened ones.

    Palestine was occupied in 1947 – ever since then the Palestinians (Christian and Muslims by the way) have been slaughtered by the Israelis (the aggressors).Israel has taken over PALESTINIAN land NOT the other way around as many may like to believe. It is Israels aggressive and inhumane policies which has led to the 5million Palestinians fleeing their homeland. And they other 5 million being punished within Gaza and WestBank.

    THESE ARE FACTS. Not FICTION.

    Q: Number UN resolutions against Israel?
    A: 429 resolutions against Israel were passed, and Israel was condemned 321 times.

    Q: Number UN resolutions against Palestinians?
    A: NONE – nada.

    Q: Aggressor is?
    A: Israel

    Q: Do the Palestinians have the right to defend themselves?
    A: YES YES YES YES according to Article 42 of the 1907 Hague Regulations (HR) states that a “territory is considered occupied when it is actually placed under the authority of the hostile army”.

    Q: What do I think of the PLO? Hamas? IRA? Insurgents in Iraq, Freedom fighters in WWII?
    A: Where ever a peoples basic human-rights are abused, their land is ripped out from under their feet, and they are slowly being suffocated and imprisoned by a foreign occupiers then those people have the right to defend themselves. This is also in accordans with The Hague and the UN.

    Tim I agree: “Governments must be held accountable for any violent acts committed by their citizens. Otherwise, what’s the point of having the government at all”. Lets send Bush and Blair to the gallows or better still fling our shoes at them.

  57. And Tim I just saw that you mentioned Islam and little school girls….
    So now its about Islam is it? Give us a break will you—
    Have u read your history? Do you know about all the wars, bloodshed etc our imperial and colonial powers were and still are responsible for?

    You guys enjoy huddling over your war games and sinking your teeth into another bloody corpse from the wars and supported wars our governments are responsible for. You should all be ashamed of yourselves for talking about people like as though they are just pawns in some little game.

  58. Nothing is more useless than a proportional response. Only a vastly disproportionate response, and the expectation that there are a helluva lot more disproportionate responses in reserve, can convince the surviving leadership to keep procrastinating on their plans to kill Jews.

    So this proportionate business is a red herring. What they have to try and do is kill more leadership and less civilians.

    Ultimately the problem cannot be solved without leaving half the male members of the Saud family in the short pants jobs and the other half in a place closer to Allah near chop chop square.

    But failing that Israel can only get some sort of half-peace from a series of disproportionate responses. From making their wars big and short. Short but big.

    And big and short means highly dissproportionate.

    When most of Hamas leaders are dead and the others are crying and you ask the surviving leaders if they would break the truce all over and they say no well thats a successful action.

    I cannot say if Israel is being callous or not in its strategy. This is not for me to ascertain from my position. Obviously one wishes them well. And urges them to look after their civilians, their soldiers, and the opponents civilians in that order. And to slaughter Hamas leadership without mercy. One does not know if they are being careful enough of civilians. Nor does one know if they are being ruthless enough with opposition leadership who must be slaughtered since this is the only way to make the surviving leadership live in paralysing fear.

    Partly the ability to be careful of their civilians and surgical in the slaughter of Hamas leadership…. partly this goes back to ruthlessly slashing non-defense spending years prior to military action being taken.

  59. lol — I think you two (TimR & no2wars) deserve each other. You’re both so sure that your side should kill the “bad guys”, as if like is like a Rambo movie.

    One noticable part of both your arguments is the generalisations.

    TimR, most Iranians are decent, polite, caring, educated and modern people. I have Iranian friends and they don’t want to kill you. But you talk as if you want to kill them. I’m sure you’ll respond with “oh no, just kill the bad ones” but I think your above tirade used mistaken semantics because it was based on mistaken thinking. And the core of that mistaken thinking is your belief that wars can solve problems, and that killing a few million people will make the world more peaceful, tolerant and free.

    Your comment about holding government responsible for the acts of their citizens is also strange. Surely each person should be held responsible for their own actions.

    You seem to comdemn Islamic countries. However, the complaints you make are common to many poor countries, and relatively less true for richer Islamic countries (eg Turkey). Perhaps it would be better if we simply condemned bad government practice and avoided the demonising of any particular version of sky-fairy worship.

    The other versions of sky-fairy worship also have lots of blood-thirsty passages. They key to mysticism is interpretation… and sky-fairies can be interpreted to be good or bad, depending on the person doing the interpreting.

    You say that you want to live life without being killed. Fair enough. So do many peaceful Arabs and Muslims. You seem eager to kill these people and then claim yourself a defender of civilisation. And some Islamic extremists are eager to kill people and consider themselves the defenders of truth and justice. Neither approach will bring a good outcome.

    Israel is right to respond to Hamas because Hamas first attacked Israel and self-defence is important.

    But that is entirely different to America going half way around the world to invade a country that is NOT attacking America. Attack is NOT the same as self-defence. Not to mention the fact that it would be hugely expensive to American tax-payers and would justify the further growth of the welfare-warfare state. And for little (if any) likely benefit.

  60. And no2wars — I think it is clear that you support the Hamas war, and yet continue to use your (presumably ironic) anti-war name. If you really do value life, then you should be disgusted that Hamas continues on with this war when peace would be so easy to achieve.

    The only concession that Hamas needs to make to achieve peace (and avoid all the horrible consequences of war) is to agree to stop trying to kill people.

    Your facts are simply not true. Which kinda stops them from being facts. 🙂

    The Jewish-Arab “civil war” of 1947 included atrocities by both sides. That is very unfortunate, but we should not use historical conflicts to justify future conflicts… or the world will be in perpetual war.

    Hamas clearly started this latest “mini-war”. And you seem to say that you support them. If I interpet you correctly, you think that Hamas has the right to attack Israel. So it is YOU who wants this war.

    Your only complaint about this war, as far as I can see, is that Hamas is not winning. Your pro-war, blood-thirsty attitude is, to quote you, “sickening” and “repulsive”.

  61. For our own defense, since the onward rush of technology will soon put us in a similar position to Israel, it must be understood that mass-sackings of non-defense public servants and slashing of non-defense spending is every bit as important for our long-term survival as what we actually spend our defense money on.

    We want, and we can have, an economy so large as to make our warmaking power so good as to render us unassailable. This sounds roundabout but there you are.

    The Americans will soon be unwilling or unable to help us out or at least we cannot plan with them in mind. Slashing non-defense spending NOW is the best way then to be able to spend what we need in defense later.

    Ultimately we too must be willing and able to make our actions BIG AND SHORT. And our problems are by no means insurmountable. Since countries who may attack or intimidate us have other aspects of their own defense to worry about, all we have to do is be strong enough such that they dare not encourage us into the fighting, and can be forced into a fast truce by our ability to switch an enourmous amount of kickass on, from a standing start.

    We need for that a huge civilian economy and a massive reservist fighting force. I think we can get by on a fairly small full-time fighting force so long as they have the best training and weaponry that there is, no exceptions.

    We want to be internally focused. Focused on getting our own country free and properous. We don’t want to be thinking about the problems of foreigners or having to cut deals with them. And for this we need to be so strong as to be able to launch against anyone who distracts us from our blinkered domestic concerns, so heavily that we can quickly get back to a situation of peace and never again be involved in these long wars.

    Who wants to opt out of long wars for all time? Can we vote on it? I’m casting my vote right now and early and the first step is to go ahead with the mass-sackings in the public sector and the dissolving of government departments by the bakers dozen.

  62. As is clear from No2Wars’ list of demands, he demands the destruction of Israel as a condition of “peace”. How do we know this? Because item 2 says you support the “Right of Return” for Palestinians who live in refugee camps, which includes millions of people who have never actually set foot in Israel.

    Clearly, a Palestinian flood of this kind into Israeli territory would spell the end of Israel – the total destruction of Israel – which peculiarly you seem to believe is a precondition of peace!

  63. I am not eager to kill Muslims. Of course I dislike them though, I dislike all religions, particularly Islam. I think all religious ideology is a serious threat to humanity. Islam is the worst of the worst at the moment even though Christianity had it’s day 1000 years ago.

    Islamic ideology is the motivator for much modern day terrorism. That is obvious.

    I think it’s justified to risk the lives of innocent people in war time. eg/ I think Hiroshoma was justified. A government must defend it’s citizens. If the best means available is military action, this action should be quick and devastating. This will cost innocent lives but it’s the best way in the long run because the opposition will be soundly defeated and overall less lives are lost.
    eg/ Germany doesn’t tolerate Nazis anymore.

    I think if a government doesn’t prosecute a murderer, the government should be held accountable. eg/ I fly to US, murder someone, then fly home. The Australian government does nothing. The US government would be entitled to try to forcefully extradite me. (This wouldn’t invovle a war – but if the Australian culture was hostile and there were many like me (albeit a minority) openly trying to murder US citizens, then it probably should invovle military action).

    And unlike your assertions in other posts, morality is the primary motivator for humans on political issues especially today when people are confused and do not have a logical system of morality. They seek morality but think it’s impossible or harmful to them. This human need is not getting met.
    Recent examples of effectiveness: look how much Obama talks like a preacher – and how popular he is. Another example, Labour’s opposition to WorkChoices where those opposing the issue talked about “rights” even while they porbably knew it would cost jobs overall. See bumper stickers. Another example, environmentalism makes people feel good because they feel righteous about it.

    This is why I concentrate on principles and more abstract discussion and don’t waste my time arguing about tiny details and statistics even though these can be interesting. Details are for professionals in those areas and I never claim or desire to be an expert at that level in all political issues.

    FYI In Objectivist theory the moral is the practical.

  64. “As is clear from No2Wars’ list of demands, he demands the destruction of Israel as a condition of “peace”. How do we know this? Because item 2 says you support the “Right of Return” for Palestinians who live in refugee camps, which includes millions of people who have never actually set foot in Israel.Clearly, a Palestinian flood of this kind into Israeli territory would spell the end of Israel – the total destruction of Israel – which peculiarly you seem to believe is a precondition of peace!”

    Ok so it was ok for millions of Jewish European tortured and persecuted escaping Europe – NEVER born in Palestine to make up a home there, but it is not OK for 2 generations of Palestinians to return to the land which is there rightly by inheritance?

    I don’t understand that one……

    Maybe these photos will put things into perspective:
    http://no2wars.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/recent-photos-from-gaza-and-israel/

    Wipe Israel off the Map?
    http://no2wars.wordpress.com/2008/12/31/wipe-israel-of-the-map/

  65. no2wars

    Palestinians to return to the land which is there rightly by inheritance?

    the ‘we woz here first’ argument is infantile and racist. however, if you must use it, then the Jews were actually in Israel long before any Palestinians showed up.

    some white supremacists in the UK use your logic to demand the forced removal of Pakistanis and Bangladeshis (or anyone else not of the paler skin). other racists here in Australia argue that those who can claim Aboriginal descent have more right to be in Australia than those of European, Chinese or Arabian origin.

    the fact is that Israel (whether you like it or not) exists. it is a liberal democracy with Judaism as the main faith. it has a right to defend itself from attack.

    by the way, your name implies you are against all war. is that right? all wars? Hitler’s invasion of Europe in 1939? the bombing of Serbia by the Americans in the late 90s? the bombing of Israel by Hamas?

  66. Seeing as “No2Wars” likes setting pre-conditions on other peoples’ right to self-defence, I might propose a couple of my own.

    First of all, nobody who accepts the moral foundations of No2Wars’ position can fail to acknowledge its universal applicability. To do otherwise is to suggest that some races have more rights than others, which is strictly a no-no.

    Another obvious example of colonialism and genocide in the Middle East, under No2War’s terms, is of course the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks, the confiscation of Greek lands and property, the descecration of Greek churches (including the largest cathedral in Greek Orthodoxy), culminating in the wholesale expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Greeks from Constantinople in the 20th Century.

    I don’t think there is any case for worrying about the plight of the Palestinians UNTIL all earlier grievances in the region, principally the rightful Greek claim over Constantinople and much of Asia Minor, are addressed first. And if this means that Ankara must be banned from defending itself under Greek rocket fire against its civilians, and must in fact dissolve itself as a precondition of peace, then sobeit.

  67. TimR — you say you dislike 1 billion people because you don’t like their sky fairy. That’s a lot of disliking, and for a pretty soft reason.

    If it’s a matter of principle you want — then how about “don’t take my money to bomb other people”, or how about “don’t invade foreign countries without a bloody good reason”. Your principle of “forcibly taking money to invade countries without good reason” doesn’t seem like a useful principle.

    Indeed — it is exactly what Hamas is doing.

    I wasn’t complaining that innocent people die in a war… but the death of innocent people is a very big cost and it should make people think very slow and hard about going to war. You look forward to war far too eagerly, which indicates a low respect for human life. If you want to sacrifice a few thousand innocent lives for some “greater good” (not very objectivist of you) then you need to have a bloogy good “greater good” with plenty of evidence to back it up.

    There is no evidence that the hugely statist invasion of Iran would provide any benefit, let alone a benefit in excess of the costs.

  68. no2wars… you position (which you have made clear) is that you support the Hamas war against Israel because there was injustice done about 60 years ago.

    Like TimR you are far too eager to justify war, which indicates that you place too low of a value on life. Your pro-war attitude shows that you don’t really care about the Palestinian or Israeli casualties, because those dead people are less important that your complaint with history.

    I have the exact same complaint with history as you do (I don’t think Israel should have been formed) but that is now history. We need to look forward to a peaceful solution.

    Israel exists. If you want to destroy Israel, then you are a war mongerer and it is exactly you (and likeminded people) who are responsible for the death and destruction that is going on. Please change your name to something more appropirate like “I-want-to-kill”.

  69. Judging by the coverage of this conflict so far, it looks like the Jews have been pretty tardy in exercising their usual vice-like grip over the media. 🙂

  70. John I never said that Israel should never have been formed. What I am saying is that since it exists it has to be accepted and acknowledged. Then you have the people who have to be humiliated daily and cornered in to strip of land no bigger than 360 square miles with no access to their land and who at this moment are burying scores of their people because of Israeli air attacks.But remember the Palestinians have been bullied, massacred for 60 years. No one can denie that. Jews for Peace, Israeli peace campaigners and organisers all criticise their own government for the attrocities.

    To all:
    Gaza: 390 dead in 4 days. 1600 injured in 4 days

    10-40km into Israel: 4 dead. 12 innjuired in 4 days.

    Do the maths and then start talking about whose bullying who and the might of this “war”.

  71. Didnt finish my point from above. The people in Gaza who are burying their dead probably want Israelis dead……. or maybe they are too exhausted, too starved, too traumatised to want anything right now.

  72. @Wayne If someone from Pakistan moves to Britain and contributes positively to society then there would no reason to ask him to leave ahead of any other ordinary Briton and only a prejudiced person would do so. So are the Palestinians simply prejudiced against Israel or do they have a reason to dislike them? But to put it another way, what reason have the Israeli’s given the Palestinians to like them? I don’t see Israel contributing to Palestinian society, in fact they specifically cut themselves off from it and live separately. Israel wants peace for Israel, but they don’t care about peace for Palestine.

    @JH It’s easy to say “Israel exists” but any nation is only a social construct and an ephemeral thing. And even as it exists it changes and adapts constantly; is Australia the same country today as it was 100 years ago? Seeing as current existence of Israel is one of perpetual war, perhaps the “greater good” would be served if Israel stopped existing or if its existence were modified significantly. Perhaps not, but it would not require the people of Israel to stop existing, or for them to move from where they are. The objective here is for the people of the middle east to live in peace, whether or not there is a state of Israel or a state of Palestine is immaterial.

  73. Nice and level headed. Though war and conflict is a ghastly reality, I think you’ve got it bang on the head.

  74. This isn’t a discussion about “prejudice”, Alex (indeed nobody said anything about prejudice until you brought it up) because I completely reject the liberal assumptions behind your point.

    My original argument was about the moral reality that, under a consistent application of “anti-war” leftism, if Greeks were to start firebombing Turkish targets in Constantinople, tomorrow, murdering hundreds of Turkish citizens, it would be morally imperative on Ankara to negotiate the “right of return” for all Greeks as a precondition for peace. These are precisely the terms that are demanded of Israel, and the Greek claim over Constantinople (and indeed a sizeable chunk of mainland Turkey) is no less compelling than that of the Palestinians over all of Israel. And no, by destroying Byzantium and ultimately expelling all Greeks from Greek territory (even up to the 20th Century), the Turks weren’t “contributing” anything.

    My point was essentially to give “No2War” an opportunity to apply his/her moral principles in a universal fashion. For some reason, he/she has thus far declined to do so.

  75. no2wars–is the state of the Palestinians entirely the fault of Israel? What about the corrupt leaders that sapped millions of dollars from them, then rejected statehood at the Oslo Accords? The last thing that Hams wants is a populace that isn’t a “victim”. It would remove the need to bomb the jews.

  76. Wayne are you deciding the rules of the debate? Sorry not on your terms. Universal values, fashion? Whose universal fashion? Yours? Sorry mate not here – not now…

    I agree with ALEX – Well put. Well said. Let me buy you a beer one day.

    Hamas…. yes I think I write about them in my blog…..

  77. “Universal values, fashion? Whose universal fashion?”

    No2Wars, as I made it clear, these are YOUR values that I am investigating here. YOU are the one who believes that any country that is “occupying” “stolen” land should dismantle itself before it can negotiate “peace” with its antagonists. I pointed out that the same is true of Turkey vis-a-vis Greece, but you didn’t take the bait. The whole idea is to determine whether or not you actually take your own moral position seriously and intend to do it justice by applying it universally (a basic “truism” that Professor Chomsky, for example, often invokes), or whether you only apply that particular template to Israel, for some reason. Apparently, only Jews are supposed to forfeit their national sovereignty in return for peace…but you are free to prove me wrong.

  78. >> the invasion of Iraq gave Iraqis the right to throw shoes
    >> at the US president

    Hmm .. I don’t think that Saddam would have ever stopped
    people throwing shoes at the US president 🙂

  79. In defending human rights under Saddam, no2wars writes:

    >> A law was passed which demanded that all women under the
    >> age of 50 must learn to read and write.

    Has anyone thought about what this actually means?

    Does it mean that the Saddam government would fine or imprison a woman who was unable to learn to read or write. Or who refused to try? Or who refused to attend literacy classes?

    Did it ever occur to The Left that a grown woman has the RIGHT to NOT learn to read or write?

    The Left has very odd views on freedom and basic human rights.

  80. no2wars — this is going in circles. You keep repeating that Israel have killed more than Hamas. True. I mentioned that in my original post. And I made the follow-up point that you can’t judge the morality of a war by simply assuming that the more successful side is always wrong.

    Hamas started the war.

    Hamas is the side that doesn’t want to end the war.

    These facts are beyond doubt, and you simply ignore them. If you’re against war, then you should be against the side that wants to continue the war. It’s as simple as that.

    Alex — if you want to consier any option of Israel not existing, then you are explicitly calling for war. I am against war. You need to decide whether you are for or against war.

    As for prejudice… it’s easy for people to find an excuse to demonise and hate a group if that’s what you want. All that does is makes war easier because you have partially “de-humanised” your enemy, which makes you less worried about killing them.

    And of course Israel wants a peaceful Palestine. The only country Palestine is going to be at war with is Israel… so it is very much is Israel’s interest for Palestine to embrace peace. Unfortunately, at the moment Hamas is choosing war (and you & yes2war seem to agree).

    I’ve repeated this several times, but it needs to be said. Hamas is the side that wants war. If you are against the war then you MUST be against the side that wants war. Simple decisions — are you for or against this war?

  81. Oh I see the light now. Hamas with their homemade bombs and stones want a war against the worlds 4 largest military might!! Of course they are all war hungry Arabs who want blood for the hell of it right? This is what you are all implying right?
    Dumbest thing I have EVER heard.

    Remember IRA, Sinn Fein and the conflicts with the British and how the years of blood-shed came to an end.

  82. “Hamas with their homemade bombs and stones want a war against the worlds 4 largest military might!!”

    It’s self-evident. Hamas paradoxically gains strength by losing to the IDF time and again. They improve their greatest asset, the support of Palestinians; they gain sympathy-by-proxy from the international community, with obvious exceptions; they gain new members as fast or faster than old ones are killed.

    “Of course they are all war hungry Arabs who want blood for the hell of it right? This is what you are all implying right?”

    Try not to be hysterical. Your passion for your cause is noted, but is being wasted here. Best to channel it into something that will make a difference, like donating money or time to B’Tselem.

    “Remember IRA, Sinn Fein and the conflicts with the British and how the years of blood-shed came to an end.”

    This is a good point, though not strictly applicable to the Middle East. I agree, a political solution has to be found, because military ones don’t work. It’s just unlikely, because the outside forces that could pressure Israel and Hamas (the US and Iran respectively, though some others do have a bit of influence) to come to a political agreement don’t have the right incentives to do so.

    Anyone have any suggestions for creating the right incentives for Iran and America?

  83. a political solution has to be found

    Such a solution has been found and known for over sixty years. It’s just that no-one’ll stop killing each other long enough to give it a go.

    no2wars — this is going in circles.

    That’s right!

  84. “Unlike the American invasion of Iraq, the actions of Israel are clearly defensive. While Hamas (mostly) stuck with the truce, Israel also stuck with the truce. When Hamas ended the truce and began bombing Israel, then Israel responded… These same talking heads are not concerned that Hamas started hostilities, and nor do they mind if Hamas continues their attacks. In effect, by their selective outrage and silence, they are endorsing a situation where Hamas can attack Israel but Israel should never respond… This war was started by Hamas.”

    No. That is, it is not clearly defensive, it is not established that Israel stuck with the truce while Hamas did, it is not established that this is endorsing a situation where Hamas can attack Israel but Israel should never respond, and it is not established that this war was started by Hamas (at any rate, this current round).

    Nor, of course, has the opposite been shown. But the whole thing is definitely unclear, since there are also reports the other way. Here is one of the latest. (And before anyone mocks me by claiming I am believing Hamas, I’m not – I’m just reluctant to trust the perceived pro-Zionist wisdom either, so I’m saying we don’t know.)

    Joseph Clark asks “How about if they started poisoning Gaza’s water supply? Would that be too much for you?”

    Well, according to that link, the water supply has been that way for years. It’s certainly ironic that so many Jewish athletes suffered health problems after falling through a bridge into a polluted creek a few years ago; that creek was the only water source allowed the local Arabs in Israel, although somehow that never got much publicity.

    Pommygranate thinks “here’s another way of looking at it – people of the Jewish faith have approx 0.5% of the Middle East to practice their faith undisturbed. the other 99.5% of land is muslim. seems pretty reasonable to me.” That’s rather like saying that the Zionists had a perfectly good homeland in Birobidzhan under Stalin so they should have forgotten about Jerusalem, or that all Sydneysiders should be deported because there are lots of countries in Europe.

    JC wrote “My great grand parents came from Nice which is now part of France but was once Italian. Do you see Italians lobbing rockets over the swiss alps to avenge the loss of land?”

    Actually, that was one of Mussolini’s main justifications for declaring war and sending troops into that area in 1940.

    No2wars is mistaken about what is happening in Northern Ireland. Peaceful conditions only endure there because Tony Blair and the like set up a course that leads to nationalist victory through demographic change. As, when and if that prize is cashed in, troubles will restart if there are enough Unionists left to draw a line in the sand the way they did a century ago. “Gladstone spent his declining years trying to guess the answer to the Irish question; unfortunately, whenever he was getting warm, the Irish secretly changed the question” – 1066 And All That, Sellars and Yeatman.

    John Humphreys wrote “Hamas… were given a chance to govern the Palestinian territories with US & EU support as long as they accepted the existence of Israel, and they chose war”.

    Actually, they were given the option of slow but quiet whittling away (that also answers CMarshall). By implication, Wayne at no. 66 recognises this sort of thing as destruction.

    No2wars is mistaken about ‘When Saddam did in fact “use chemical weapons against his own people”, he did so on the afternoon of 17 March 1988, against the Kurdish city of Halabja’.

    Saddam Hussein never used chemical weapons against his own people; his own people were the Tikritis.

    Pommygranate is mistaken about “the ‘we woz here first’ argument is infantile and racist. however, if you must use it, then the Jews were actually in Israel long before any Palestinians showed up”.

    It is one of history’s ironies that the Palestinians are mostly descended from… Jews who stayed behind and converted, either directly to Islam or via Christianity (with some remaining Christian). Ottoman tax records show entire villages converting as late as the 17th century, and genetic studies show the closeness of Palestinians and Sephardic Jews, as compared with other Arabs and Ashkenazic Jews (though there are still connections there too). But that reasoning is unsound; the Jews’ own traditions (which guide some of them today) claim that they were only there before because of an earlier thorough round of genocide (though genetic studies and archaeology suggest that it wasn’t that thorough).


  85. Such a solution has been found and known for over sixty years. It’s just that no-one’ll stop killing each other long enough to give it a go.”

    No thats not right Adrien. There is no need to lie about these things.

  86. “It’s just that no-one’ll stop killing each other long enough to give it a go.”

    Then it’s not much of a solution, then is it? 😉

    I bet the Palestinians are wishing they’d had a chance to accept the 1947 plan.

    This line from Wiki is interesting:
    “Both the United States and the United Kingdom refused to implement the plan by force, arguing it was unacceptable to both sides.”

    Sounds like the definition of a compromise to me. And what exactly would have been acceptable to both sides? LOL

  87. Want a solution to the Iran-USA issue or even ME? Change the foreign policies. Stop our Western governments from playing judge, jury and henchmen and allow people to govern themselves. The slicing and dicing of the ME by the colonial powers is the reason behind the conflicts in the world since the begining of the 1900s.

  88. no2war. I finally agree with something you said. The division of lands in the middle east by colonial powers is a big reason for the problems there. But not the only reason.

    I agree too, that we should let them govern themselves, as long as they can keep their martyrs to themselves–which they can’t. And, they’ll tear each other to pieces if we never intervene. Again, no easy answers.

  89. Halleluja 🙂 Glad to hear that.
    The intervention issue is another problem. What about supporting groups on the inside instead of waging wars and occupying. I read something about Saddam Hussein being almost toppled by the opposition …. will dig out the article and post it to you

  90. many have problems with the US supporting opposition groups too. CIA and all that jazz. Email it to me if you find the article.

    Cheers and Happy New Years

  91. “where modern commentators judge the combatants by how many people they kill. If you kill more, then you are bad. And Israel is killing more, therefore Israel is bad and they should stop.”
    Worn out right wing debating tactic number 10 – set out your opponents for them. I don’t use your stupid hermeneutic, I look at the disproportionate use of force. Do you actually think Hamass will destroy Israel, as per it’s charter? What do you think life is like in a ghetto created and maintained by Israel? Why not try to find a real solution instead of practicing your Clint Eastwood pose.
    Bring on the UN administered single state and hold elections across the entire West Bank, Gaza and Israel.

  92. You know, In my opinion. Israel should give back the the West Bank and Golan heights area to the people they got them from in the first place.

    Egypt and Jordan! So that Palestine can take up their grievances with them and they can deal with their arab brothers for a change.

  93. “Bring on the UN administered single state and hold elections across the entire West Bank, Gaza and Israel.”

    My guesstimate is you’d need 80,000-150,000 UN troops to make that possible. Possibly for decades. And they’d need workable rules of engagement that didn’t render them useless.

  94. Perry — the Golan heights came from Syria. Perhaps you were thinking of Gaza, which came from Egypt.

    Patrick B — there are certainly people who are making their judgement based on the number of deaths. You seem to say that intent doesn’t matter as long as you fail. So it’s OK to try to kill somebody as long as you’re incompetent. I don’t accept that. To get peace, both sides need to agree to stop killing each other. Hamas is currently not willing to do that.

    If you support peace (as do I) then you should be opposed to the war-promoting side: Hamas.

    If you support the destruction of Israel (as you seem to imply) then you are supporting war.

    no2war — I agree with you at #91. I believe in a non-interventionist foreign policy.

  95. Jarrah – does your estimate account for the scenerio in which Israel tells the UN to get lost. That scenerio seems like the most probable one in my book. Look at the opposition to the removal of certain Jewish settlements and then consider what would happen if you asked the Israeli people to accept the disappearance of their entire nation. Survival is the first instinct of every organism, institution and animate entity.

  96. You’re probably right, Terje, that Israelis would consider it the ‘disappearance’ of their nation, rather than the expansion of it (though obviously reactions would vary).

    So to answer your question – that number assumes the UN acts as peacekeepers, not an occupying force.

  97. Israel gives all it’s citizens the right to practice their chosen religion, of all the Arab Muslim countries how many allow the same right to Jews … and yet the world says nothing (except to criticise Israel for being an apartheid state or theology or whatever terms comes tomorrow).
    Israel has left holy sites of Christianity and Islam within Israel untouched and preserved and yet seen several of it’s sacred sites destroyed … and the world says nothing.
    Israel warns the UN that weapons are being stockpiled in Southern Lebanon repeatedly for years before the recent war … and the world said and did nothing.
    Israel offered Arafat all he apparently wanted for all those years – peace and a viable 2 state solution – which was rejected … and the world said nothing.
    Hamas bombs southern Israel CIVILIANS on a daily basis … and the world says nothing.
    Israel decides it is enough and chooses to respond … now the world can start talking!!!
    Such a clear pattern when you think about it really. Israel, damned if you do, dead if you don’t. Only one choice then really.

  98. Bloody hell Margaret, the video still plays but the commentators are complaining that it has been deleted already and those zionist bastards in the west are to blame.

    Perhaps when they grow enough brains to be able to press the start button, they will be more successful at delivering their conspiracy theories.

  99. Parhaps the best solution to live in peace is for Israel to occupy and intigrate the GAZA stip into Israel as one country. Israel to give fair and same rights to GAZA residance like any other Israeli citizen. Israel not disriminate Pelestinians and give them Israeli Citizenship.

    I may be wrong. (Just a wild thought).

  100. John, if you are anti-war, it’s a very strange kind of anti-war.

    Who is right or wrong in this conflict is of no relevance. It is not the libertarian’s job to take sides in every conflict around the world. What is relevant is Australia’s (or America’s) national security interests, narrowly defined.

    For the libertarian position on the recent Israel attacks, see:

    http://independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=2400

    http://campaignforliberty.com/blog.php?view=7287

  101. Gees you are up yourself Sukrit.

    Isnt it you who is doing the Un-Libertarian thing by saying that there is a central authority for Libertarian policy and that it isnt kosher for Libertarians to take sides in conflicts?

  102. Wow, too bad there are so few thoughtful libertarians in Australia. The huge disparity in the quality of comments between here and American libertarian sites is disappointing.

    I don’t expect you guys would actually take the time to read what libertarians with expertise in foreign policy think. Hey, after all, they’re just arrogant fools.

    In any case, my comments are addressed to John, who is one of the few Australian libertarians that one can engage in intelligent discussion with. Everyone else please ignore me.

    To clarify, my point is that whether Israel is right or wrong is irrelevant because the real question is how the conflict in the Middle East affects Australian national security (i.e. territorial integrity). Since John believes in non-interventionism, I find it strange that he wants to take sides in a conflict where both parties are doing bad things. Instead, he should have focused on whether a conflict thousands of miles away has any direct security implications for us as Australians. I don’t think it does. So while we should keep abreast of developments, and avoid doing anything that favours one side over the other, it is not necessary to express an opinion on the relative morality of either Israel or Hamas.

  103. Sukrit, that is a very strange argument. You now appear to be advocating not just isolationism, but also intellectual isolationism. Is it un-libertarian for a 21st century Australian to have a view on anything that doesn’t directly concern them? Should we be able to form opinions on the constitutionality of the US income tax? On the value of the French revolution? On the causes of the fall of Rome?

  104. You’re not a non-interventionist Chris. So there is nothing inconsistent with you taking sides in any conflict, no matter how remote it is from Australia’s national security.

    But John claims to be a non-interventionist. So I hold him to different standards. It is odd that John wants to actively intervene by saying that Hamas is at fault. What he should be evaluating, as a consistent non-interventionist, is whether there is potential for the Israel-Hamas war to affect the territorial integrity of Australia. After all, limiting national defence to defense of borders is a fundamental tenet of non-interventionism, as John should know.

    P.S. Your usage of the term “isolationism” to describe my views is wrong in fact. Yes, there are superficial similarities between non-interventionism and isolationism, but they are not the same.

  105. Sukrit – John Humphreys is not the government of Australia and he hasn’t said that the government of Australia should offer support to Israel. All he offered Israel was moral support. There is no contradiction in his non-interventionist position and his moral support for Israel.

    And out of interest why do you come onto an aussie libertarian website and dismiss most aussie libertarians of being unintellectual. Other than suggesting that you have a superiority complex what purpose does it possibly serve? Why not treat each of us as individuals rather than insulting most of us with gross generalisations. In other words where are your manners.

  106. While Israel is entitled to act against the Hamas bombers, I can’t help but think that, by acting in such a heavy handed manner, they are merely playing into the hands of Hamas-

    1. The hundreds (maybe eventually thousands) of civilian casualties will ensure that a whole new generation of Palestinians will grow up to hate Israel (nothing like a new generation of recruits to gladen the hearts of the fanatics!).

    2. The huge amount of Gaza casualties, as has already been noted, will do nothing to engender sympathy for Israel.

    3. Hamas are an intrenched, partisan army, who will inflict significant casualties on the Israeli army, and will be quite capable to fighting them to a stalemate.

    Moreover, you write as if Israel is completely blameless in all this. Who blockaded Gaza, creating the appalling conditions that allowed Hamas to win popular support in the first place?

    The only way peace can prevail is for Israel to send in food, medicine and building supplies – instead of tanks. That way they can (in time) win over the people of Gaza. Once this happens, the people of Gaza will turn on Hamas, and destroy them once and for all.

    Then, perhaps, both sides can move forward toward a lasting peace.

  107. I wasn’t suggesting that Australia should get involved in the Israel-Hamas war.

    When America attacked Iraq I said “naughty naughty America, you shouldn’t start a war”. When Hamas attacked Israel I said “naughty naughty Hamas, you shouldn’t start a war”. I think that’s fairly consistent.

    I am a non-interventionist and I am anti-war. But I am not a pacifist. I believe in the principle of self-defence. Even then I am slow to use it. If I was hit in a pub I would first look for a way to de-escalate the situation. But at the end of the day, there is a point at which it makes sense to defend yourself.

    ChrisJ — while a blockade isn’t friendly, it is not the same as throwing bombs. My family lived in sanctioned Rhodesia and they somehow managed not to bomb the UK. I have never said that Israel is blameless (and indeed have often said the exact opposite). Even now I’m worried that Israel may be getting themselves into trouble with the ground invasion. I would like them to now look for small achievable goals and then work to de-escalate the situation. But the general point remains that an act of self defence was appropriate in the current situation.

  108. I would have thought that a non-interventionist would be reluctant to take sides in any conflict. One doesn’t have to be the government of Australia to remain neutral. The whole point of non-interventionism is to exercise restraint, and refrain from speaking in a way that could lead to interventionist policies.

    In his post, John specifically calls for the international community to pressure Hamas to accept Israeli terms. This is not non-interventionism. John is calling for concrete policy action by the countries of the world (including Australia). If he were a foreign policy analyst, his views would gain much prominence, and might eventually be adopted by the minister.

    If there were many people who thought like John, Australia could end up siding with Israel. This could lead to adverse consequences for Australia, and such talk is completely unnecessary because our national security is not affected.

  109. To take John’s America vs. Iraq example, an Australian non-interventionist would have carefully analyzed the potential impact of that war on our national security, but would have refrained from condemning either America or Iraq.

    The whole point is to only go to war when national security is affected, and to otherwise remain on friendly terms with all nations. If your biggest ally wants to fight a third-world country, it’s irrelevant whether they were right or wrong to do so. What’s relevant is whether Australia should join America, i.e. did Iraq pose a threat to us?

    I admit I’ve not been this consistent in the past – it’s very tempting to offer an opinion on whether Iraq was justified or not, from an American point of view – however that’s the general theory behind non-interventionism.

  110. If being a non-interventionist meant not speaking your mind on foreign conflicts then I’d have to avoid calling myself a non-interventionist. What is this notion that you can only speak about the behaviour of the government that rules your home nation? It seems like some very strange nationalistic vow of silence?

  111. Sukrit is trying to be intellectually rigorous, that’s all. Hardcore libertarianism says that ANY government action not concerned with prevention of coercion requires thieving from taxpayers, and thus should be opposed.

    Of course, merely speaking your mind about what you thought was the right thing to do is not ‘interventionism’, unless it leads to action. We must remember the important differences between thought and deed.

    “it’s irrelevant whether they were right or wrong to do so.”

    For government (in your scenario), yes. For individuals, no. And of course there are those who don’t even go that far. DavidL, for one, has repeatedly laid out his reasons for intervention.

    Presumably you would be OK with a government raising money from voluntary donors for the express purpose of funding a pressure campaign. But what pressure could be applied is hard to imagine – sanctions would be a restraint of trade, for example.

  112. But Jarrah, John’s words could potentially lead to action. How else does action occur in a democracy, if not through millions of John Humphrey’s running about saying Hamas bad and Israel good?

    If you go around taking sides in other people’s wars, how can that be non-intervention? By publicly taking sides, you are helping build up opinion in favour of intervening. What if Australia decided to send more taxpayer money (foreign or military aid) to Israel because the PM accepted John Humphrey’s argument?

    The whole problem is that public opinion is usually in favour of one side or the other, and so politicians go and invade the side least favoured. That is a problem of people not being consistent non-interventionists.

  113. If being a non-interventionist meant not speaking your mind on foreign conflicts then I’d have to avoid calling myself a non-interventionist.

    Terje, no offence, but your previous comments clearly indicate that you were never a non-interventionist to begin with. The only person – probably one of a handful in Australia – who comes close is John Humphreys.

    Naturally, the Americans understand this point better, because they have a very libertarian history and more intellectually gifted thinkers, whereas we don’t. You will find my opinion (about not taking sides) shared by most libertarian organizations in America. Of course, pointing out this fact means that I will immediately be accused of arrogance and appealing to a central authority.

  114. I look forward to seeing you practice what you preach and deleting all your posts about the US and shutting the fuck
    up about anything other than Australian foreign and domestic policy in that case, Sukrit.

  115. Sukrit — I have opinions about lots of things, but that doesn’t mean I want the government to do anything about them. I think everybody should try LSD, but I certainly wouldn’t make it compulsory. I don’t like the look of fat people, but I wouldn’t tax them for eating. I find soccer annoying because too many people fall over and cry like schoolgirls, but I don’t think it should be banned.

    When I talk about people “pressuring” Hamas, I mean through words. I believe in free speech and I believe that people should use this freedom to promote good ideas… and among those good ideas is “peace”. I don’t think there is anything wrong with saying we should try to influence Hamas to reject war.

    I’m fairly sure I remember lots of anti-war people arguing that America was doing the wrong thing by invading Iraq. I think that is a perfectly legitimate point to make and does not imply that I think Australian troops should fight with Iraq.

    I have not argued for any Australian intervention, so if the government took my advise there would be no fear of intervention. I don’t think I should self-censor my opinions for fear that the government will suddenly be interested in what I have to say, and then misinterpret me.

    I’ll ask you Sukrit — do you believe that Hamas did the wrong thing by attacking Israel?

    (btw, it’s Humphreys’, not Humphrey’s).

  116. “How else does action occur in a democracy, if not through millions of John Humphrey’s running about saying Hamas bad and Israel good?”

    ??

    Pretty universally, governments don’t listen to popular opinion when it comes to foreign policy. The public don’t convince political leaders, it typically happens the other way around. Look at the massive popular opposition to the 2003 Iraq invasion in Australia. What happened? The Australian government helped the US invade, regardless.

  117. “(btw, it’s Humphreys’, not Humphrey’s)”

    Neither is correct.

    Devoid of context, Sukrit’s formulation means “belonging to Humphrey” or a shortening of “Humphrey is”. Yours means “belonging to Humphreys”.

    The plural of Jones is Joneses. Based on that, the plural of Humphreys is Humphreyses. But that looks weird. So let’s pretend Sukrit said “millions of Johns ran abount…”. 🙂

  118. Sukrit – I don’t know what previous comment you are refering to. When have I been an advocate for wars of aggression?

    As for the bit about John swaying public opinion that is just silly. John saying that Hamas is the bad guy does not make him responsible for what the Australian government subsequently does. You seem to have a strange notion of what personal responsibility means. John can explain himself but my interpretation of “international pressure” was that our government should tell Hamma and other governments that it has no sympathy for the stance taken by Hamma. Not that it should send aussie troops to Gaza or donate guns to Israel. It seems entirely appropriate to me that when somebody is behaving like a boofhead then they get told by their peers that they are behaving like a boofhead. So if Hamas is behaving like a bunch of boofheads then why shouldn’t Kevin pick up the phone and tell them so?

    Clearly your not in Ron Pauls camp on this. He is quite big on the notion that you should talk to people. In fact when charged with being an isolationist he routinely advocates trade and talk as activity he supports.

  119. Sukrit; I as you probably realize am not a JH fan. I find him to be about the most irritating bastard I have ever had to deal with, however on this occasion I agree with him. (He will probably find a reason to argue with me about it.)

    You are showing bias to the point where you are arguing that even though he has expressed an entirely non interventionist approach, he is wrong because he has had the temerity to state an opinion on the cause of the conflict and has accepted that Israel has responded to Hamas attacks. He is entitled to an opinion other than yours.

    The whole point is to only go to war when national security is affected, and to otherwise remain on friendly terms with all nations. If your biggest ally wants to fight a third-world country, it’s irrelevant whether they were right or wrong to do so. What’s relevant is whether Australia should join America, i.e. did Iraq pose a threat to us?

    What relevance is this to a thread where ‘going to war’ is not being discussed.

    Hopefully someone may be able to start negotiations for a resolution to the conflict, although I don’t see how when the only thing that will placate Hamas is the destruction of Israel. Any effort would probably have to come from a country with the goodwill of both sides. The UN is out of the question as N2W has pointed out Israel has been condemned by them 321 times to nil for Hamas. Israel has a great deal of justification for refusing UN forces on their soil, given the prejudice that has been displayed so far.

    Sukrit; If some radical group in Taiwan started lobbing missiles on cities on the mainland, and the Taiwanese government refused to stop them, would you argue that China had no right to take action?

  120. Hot sure how I managed to type Hamma instead of Hamas several times above. Hopefully you all figured out what I meant.

  121. Sorry John, I didn’t know you were so touchy, just as well I didn’t actually criticize you. LOL

    Seriously mate I agree with you 100% on this one.

  122. Sukrit; If some radical group in Taiwan started lobbing missiles on cities on the mainland, and the Taiwanese government refused to stop them, would you argue that China had no right to take action?

    Jim, you are just a war-monger for even discussing that. It has nothing to do with Australia’s sovereignty. Every sukritarian must understand the virtues of silence and self control.

    By the way, have you noticed certain similarities between your comment and mine at #18?

  123. I haven’t spent a lot of time on this post out of concern that I would end up in a shitfight over some nuance related to some aspect of my agreement with the opinions expressed.

    Actually it would be interesting to see the attitude of anti war libertarians as to the intervention in Kosovo in particular as the intervention was only carried out after the public became so outraged that they demanded action. Compare this with the outrage often expressed about the allies in WW2 not acting quickly enough against the German death camps.

  124. Jim — I never mind when somebody criticizes my ideas. That’s why I get involved in debates.

    I opposed the NATO bombing of Serbia at the time of the Kosovo troubles. I disagreed with the over-reactions of the Serbians against the terrorist KLA, but I didn’t think it was “genocide” and I didn’t think it warranted NATO intervention. And I also disagreed with the KLA initiating the war with Serbia. They started the war, and I don’t think the KLA deserved NATO backing.

    But Israel can learn from the lessons of Serbia. Even if you are only responding to a terrorist organisation (as both Serbia & Israel have done), if the world thinks you’re responding “too hard” then they might turn against you and actually start bombing you. And it’s important to note that it’s not what you do that matters, but what people think you’re doing.

    I’m not saying that Israel has acted the same as Serbia.

  125. Not sure how I managed to type Hamma instead of Hamas several times above. Hopefully you all figured out what I meant.

    Stop! Hamma time.

  126. At the time of the Kosovan intervention I knew too little to have an informed opinion. What I have read since suggests to me that the intervention was probably not a good thing. I think Milosovic was painted by the media to be an evil monster when the reality was more complex.

  127. Dear Sukrit, the flaw in your argument is that John Humphreys has not said what he thinks the Australian Government should do- therefore, you cannot claim that he thinks Australia should intervene. If John ever says that the Australian Government should send troops to support one side or the other, then you’d be right to claim he’s an interventionist.
    However, that would still allow non-interventionists, who oppose Government offensives, to take part as individuals. And noninterventionists can still make comments from the sidelines. So I think you’ve over-reacted.

  128. It seems that Sukrit looks to the Rwandan genocide as a great success in international foreign policy by all the countries involved. However if they want to pass with A++’s then they shouldn’t even have sent in peacekeepers that were useless anyway. Pretending to be interventionist is nearly as bad as actually being interventionist!!!

  129. Although I agree with your article, I don’t believe you have addressed the problem with the media, particularly the American news media. In an article I wrote for my blog on December 15, 2008 I said:

    Carnage in the Mid-East
    Copyright by fritz owens

    What kind of news reporting do we have in the United States? It seems to be on the side of terrorism and against people who just want to be left alone. It seems fairly apparent that this religious war being conducted by Hamas from the Gaza Strip is aimed at killing Jewish citizens. Randomly aimed rockets at the countryside are certainly not militarily oriented. They are designed to terrorize people and get publicity. And contrary to all the ethics of good news reporting, we are getting a heavy dose of public “outcry” about the wicked Israel and the deaths and injuries from the aerial attacks.

    Why don’t we get a look at the Israeli people huddling in bomb shelters because of the fanatical religious beliefs of an organization that says this sector of the world does not have a right to exist? When’s the last time you saw any pictures of Jewish people injured or killed in the rocket attacks from Hamas? Why are NBC, ABC and CBS devoting so much time to the cries of outrage about Israel and nothing about Hamas? There are two sides to this story!

    I know what it is like to huddle in between your parents in the middle of the night with the air raid sirens going off and sixteen-inch anti-aircraft guns going off repeatedly less than three blocks from our house in Honolulu. That went on for almost four years from 1941 to 1945. Have you experienced this type of terror? How would you react if, while this was going on, you constantly heard about people around the world who said you were wrong to protect yourself?

    It’s a grim day when we cannot depend on the “news” to at least attempt to make a fair and equitable report of what is actually going on. How are we as citizens supposed to deal with the world community when we cannot even get a true picture of what is happening on a daily basis? Don’t you think there should be some kind of control of these kinds of things? There is – it’s called “ethics” and it appears as though it has disappeared down the toilet along with a lot of other important human issues. Seems like these news vultures will do anything to sell more ads.

    The fanatical propaganda being promoted by the Arabic television Al-Jazeera should be aggressively countered with the truth promulgated by United States television stations. Anything less is a failure to live up to our obligations as a free country. NBC, CBS and ABC are failing the people of the United States as well as providing more propaganda for the crazies. There must be something we can do to stop it. Do YOU have any ideas that have any hope of working?

    For many years I have been saying that a single low yield nuclear device dropped on Tehran and another on Pyongyang would go a long ways towards settling the entire world down. Imagine the thinking of these crazy dictators like Chavez when they find out we mean business. Don’t you think they’d shut up and slink away into their hole, trembling with fear? How long would Mugabe last if his people knew we were after him? As the Japanese admiral said in 1941 “I fear we have awakened a sleeping giant”. What is it going to take this time? Wasn’t 9/11 enough?

    ====================================
    It’s too bad that more people don’t get that message about body count – you ar absolutely right, if you kill more people you ARE the bad guy. Very strange!

  130. Fritz — if you’ve written it elsewhere it’s generally better simply to provide the link.

    You lost me with the idea of starting a war with Iran & Nth Korea. By defence of Israel is based on the fact that they’re acting in self-defence. Dropping a nuclear weapon on the citizens of Tehran & Pyongyang when those countries are not attacking us is, in my opinion, beyond barbaric and totally unacceptable.

    I also strongly doubt that it would work. There is some chance it would spark a series of wars. You suggest that it could perhaps make the world so scared of the American State that they would be too frightened to challenge their ultimate authority, and that may be true for some. But (1) I don’t aspire to ruling the world through fear; and (2) I don’t think that subduing the world through fear will work as a long term strategy.

    Ultimately, the fight I want to win in a battle of ideas. There are many Persians with western sympathies, and I see the people of Nth Korea mostly as innocent victims. I want the west to set an example of liberty & prosperity for these people to see and aspire towards.

    Not to mention the fact that if we attacked Nth Korea then they would immediately retaliate against Seoul, which is within artillary range and has about 20 million people. Even if you think the people of Nth Korea “had it coming”, surely the citizens of Seoul deserve some consideration.

  131. You allege that “While Hamas (mostly) stuck with the truce, Israel also stuck with the truce. When Hamas ended the truce and began bombing Israel, then Israel responded. While Hamas (mostly) stuck with the truce, Israel also stuck with the truce. When Hamas ended the truce and began bombing Israel, then Israel responded.”

    Can you provide evidence by way of links that this is the case? My understanding is that Israel didn’t at all stick with the truce and that the agreement was that the eighteen-month siege would be eased, if not, lifted by Israel at the conclusion of the ceasefire, which it wasn’t. When the blockade and checkpoints weren’t opened, Hamas saw no reason to renew or extend the ceasefire.

    See, for example, in Ha’aretz, here quotingUNRWA chief Karan Abu Zayd:

    “What we understood here (was) that there was a 48-hour lull to be called, and this was called by the Israelis,” Abu Zayd said. “They said they would wait 48 hours. That was on Friday morning, I believe, until Sunday morning, and that they were going to evaluate.”

    “There was only one rocket that went out on Friday, so it was obvious that Hamas was trying, again, to observe that truce to get this back under control,” she said.

    “Then, everything got loose on Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m. We were all at work and very much surprised by this,” Abu Zayd said.

    […]”I don’t think they think the truce was violated first by Hamas,” she said.

    “I think they saw that Hamas had observed the truce quite strictly for almost six months, certainly for four of the six months, and that they got nothing in turn – because there was to be kind of a deal,” Abu Zayd said.

    “If there were no rockets, the crossings would be opened,” she said. “The crossings were not opened at all.”

  132. “where modern commentators judge the combatants by how many people they kill. If you kill more, then you are bad.”

    I disagree. The “disproportionate response” school is only one of the Israeli state’s crimes, and the number of those killed is certainly not the main basis by which we judge its actions. I don’t believe this war was started by Hamas, Israel might have held talks with them after they were elected and mutual acceptance, if not full diplomatic recognition, might have resulted. Certainly in recent times Hamas has made quite reasonable noises about accepting 1967 borders (as have all Arab states in the 2002 Saudi Peace Plan) and have ditched their ideologically mid-80s Charter,which partisan ideologies batting for Israel never fail to parrot whenever given the chance.

    The preconditions about “accepting Israel’s right to exist” are largely furphies, Israel already exists, the American Indians weren’t required to recognise the reality of the White settlement. And nor was this ridiculous precondition asked of either Egypt or Jordan before they signed their treaties with Israel.

    It’s Israel that needs to finally declare its borders and stop stealing Palestinian land and infringing upon their liberty. When is Israel going to finally recognise Palestine’s right to exist, on 22% of historic Palestine?

    Lest we forget that many Gazans are refugees from ethnically cleansed villages in southern Israel, and that Ashkelon was Askaalan in 1948. I wonder what you would do if you were dispossed, forcibly, from your farm that had been in your family since antiquity, to a people who claimed exclusivity to the land and refused to allow return, in contravention of international law?

    I don’t condone violence but I certainly do not lay blame at Hamas’s door. It is Israel that helped build Hamas up in the 1980s in order to weaken the secular PLO. Israel’s designs are that it uses Hamas’s homemade ineffectual rockets as a pretext to wage war, destroy Gaza and inch ever closer to its nightmare vision of a Greater Israel emptied of Palestinians.

  133. It is part of the constitution of Hamas to eradicate the state of Israel. Rockets were falling on Israel all through the ‘truce’. The only way Hamas can maintain ‘street cred’ is by continuing to attack Israel. So how does anyone imagine that peace will occur?

  134. peoplesgeography (PG), here is the list of Hamas attacks on Israel during and after the truce.

    I don’t consider the Israeli restrictions on trade to be an act of war. They aren’t nice. But they aren’t the same as killing people. I don’t think they are a sufficient excuse for starting a war (with all the horrible consequences). Also remember that those sanctions started because Hamas would not recognise the right of Israel to exist and denounce violence.

    If Australia or Israel or Singapore or Estonia was suffering from an enforced trade block, do you think those countries should start a war? If not, then the same logic applies to Hamas. If you do, then I suggest that you are too eager for war.

    I think you are holding Hamas and Israel to very different standards. All of this could have been easily avoided (with no trade restrictions) if Hamas simply said “yes, Israel has a right to exist”.

    You say this doesn’t matter because Israel currently exists. This is a non-sequitor. If your neighbour doesn’t believe you should exist, you live in fear. Egypt & Jordon & Fatah have accepted Israel. Clearly it would be a good thing if Hamas accepted Israel’s right to exist. Instant end to war. Why aren’t you pushing this angle?

    If you endorse the Hamas position, you are endorsing war.

    To suggest that Israel wants to create a “greater Israel” on Gaza is wrong. There is no evidence for this precisely because it is not true. I challenge you to go to Israel and talk to people. You will find a range of views across the political spectrum, but an overwhelming preference for a peaceful two-state solution.

    In contrast, Hamas believes in a “greater Palestine”, and I heard several Arabs in my travels suggesting it was good to kill a jew. I’m don’t think it is correct to say that Hamas believes in peace.

  135. Hamas does believe in peace- once the whole world is muslim, they’ll be at peace! According to an article in today’s Australian, the founding charter of Hamas calls for the destruction of Israel. I think that means that Hamas can never accept peace. If it did, Hamas would have to dissolve.

  136. I think economic sanctions are in general counter productive. Whilst I don’t think Hamas should kill Israelis due to an economic blockade I also do not think that Israel is doing itself much good in imposing the blockade.

  137. Mark Hill, when you haven’t got evidence to proffer …

    Nicholas Gray, it has already been established that Hamas has ditched its mid 80s Charter (link provided in previous comment) and has recognised the reality of Israel, providing it stick to 1967 borders and accepts international law. So why do you keep parroting it? Last time I checked, there were Christians in Gaza as well. I could easily have substituted Israel in your statement. Israel can never accept peace: if it did, it would have to dissolve, at least on the basic of Judeo-exclusivity.

    When will Israel finally accept Hamas’s and Palestine’s right to exist, engage with it diplomatically, and stop rendering the 2 state solution impossible with continued theft of Palestinian land to build more illegal settlements?

    John Humphreys, thank you for your response. You neglect Israel’s acts which are quite definitely acts of war by any measure, and I’m not even considering the criminal blockade and siege of Gaza. Targeted assassinations, extrajudicial kidnappings, sonic booms, destruction of electricity generators, shooting at fishermen in Gazan waters, deprivation of aid and closure of borders (so much for Israel’s vaunted “withdrawal”, another piece of propaganda). Israel has created a concentration camp and should know better.

    I reject your assertion that Israeli recognition would mean an instant to war. Nothing could be further from the truth. An end to the brutal occupation, siege and mutual recognition will bring peace and an end to war. If peace is to mean more than simply a cessation of conflict, it must include meaningful justice. No justice, no peace. Know justice, know peace.

    That is the position I endorse, not Hamas not Israel. But I do recognise Israel as the primary perpetrator, and am dismayed at the persistent dis- and mis-information about Hamas here and elsewhere. On the contrary, I believe that you are endorsing war if you are endorsing Israel’s position, which has spurned overtures at almost every turn.

    I have been in the Middle East, and spoken with several emigre Israelis disgusted at their government’s actions. It is not the bulk of populace who wants a Greater Israel (I exempt the farright settlers and others here), but the Israeli regime.

    The furphy of a “right to exist” was not demanded of either Jordan or Egypt before they signed their peace agreements with Isrtael, as brokered by Carter (who also oversaw the Hamas elections and called them one of the most perfect he’d seen: audio to be posted at my blog shortly). I recognise Hamas’s right to reject “peace” on Israel’s terms as akin to recognising the “right” of a rapist to legitimise its rape, and for others to condemn you because you scratched your rapist’s face.

    As for your hearsay claim about meeting Arabs who say it is good to kill a Jew (the opposite claim is in abundance, and that’s just from Israeli leaders! I can provide several links), I can tell you that I’ve not met one. And that’s both in the Middle East and in Australia. I should claim considerable exposure to both sets of communities: I am an Arab-Australian.

  138. Excuse the typos: “basis of Judeo-exclusivity” and “instant end to war” (missing word).

    Last year a short and succinct letter in the Sydney Morning Herald by Zaid Khan, sums it up well,

    A short and succinct letter to the editor in today’s Sydney Morning Herald from Zaid Khan puts things into perspective:

    Nearly 70 years ago, in a small eastern European city, an oppressed and occupied people were under siege, living under atrocious and brutal conditions, lacking food, medicine, electricity, water, and slowly being strangled in the hope they would just disappear.
    Warsaw Ghetto 1941 – Gaza 2008. Israel, you are a disgrace.

  139. PG — thanks for your response. If you “recognise Hamas’s right to reject peace on Israel’s terms” then it seems that you are happy for the war to continue. That is unfortunate. The current peace terms (stop bombing Israel) are reasonable and should be accepted so that the war can end.

    The Israeli government (as with all governments) have undoubtably done bad things. But there was not an Israeli-Hamas war until the truce broke down. The truce broke down because Hamas started a war with Israel.

    Hamas defend their actions by saying that they needed to fight to stop the blockade. I understand that position, but as bad as a blockade is I don’t think it justifies them starting this war.

    Regarding the blockade, it is a continuation of the 2006 sanctions against Hamas-lead Palestine. After the 2007 Fatah-Hamas conflict the sanctions on Hamas-lead Gaza were increased and the restrictions on the Fatah-lead West Bank were decreased (and many Fatah-supporters released from jail). If Hamas wants to end the blockade there is an open offer. All they need to do is:

    * recognise Israel’s right to exist
    * denounce violence
    * accept previous Palestine-Israel agreements

    That all seems very reasonable to me. Hamas (and their supporters) find lots of excuses for not agreeing to peace, but surely peace is too important for such political point-scoring.

    I’m not sure why you call my account of anti-jewish sentiment “hearsay”. That implies I heard it second hand. It was said directly to me. In one instance the exact sentence was “if there was a jew here now, I would kill them”. The other Arabs listening thought that the speaker was being reasonable, though they suggested against violence because it would decrease tourism. I heard nothing anywhere like this in Israel, even while talking with Lukid supporters (ie right-wingers).

    Of course, I met many other Arabs who were peaceful. Not many in Egypt, but plenty in Morocco & Jordan. My point wasn’t to portray Arabs as angry violent people, but to offer a contrast to the “Israel wants to eat Arab babies, while the Palestinians only want to sing kumbaya” view.

    The “right to exist” is not a furphy. It is very important to Israel. And if it’s not an important issue to Hamas, then they should simply agree so that we can have peace!

    I also note that if you will only accept peace when you have perfect justice, then you will never have peace (unless one side is entirely destroyed). This attitude is a very pro-war attitude and not one that I can accept. Using that guide, the entire world would be at constant war. Instead of perpetuating hate & death we need an approach that promotes tolerance, forgiveness and humility. And a willingness to not get everything you want.

  140. Thanks for your rejoinder, John, though your logic doesn’t quite follow. The peace terms are ones that must be framed by both parties, not simply Israel. The homemade rockets virtually stopped during the ceasefire, yet Israeli attacks and the siege did not.

    Your statement that the truce broke down because Hamas started a war with Israel is demonstrably untrue. The truce broke down because Israel violated it INSERT TEXTby killing a family and because they did not keep up their end of the ceasefire terms of opening checkpoints. Palestinians, Israeli journalists and Israeli peace activists trace the truce breakdown to an IDF military tunnel raid between Gaza and Egypt that led to the deaths of six Palestinians as the tipping point that precipitated the subsequent escalation of rocket fire from Gaza. Only in the aftermath of the tunnel raid that resulted in these deaths did Hamas escalate rocket fire, ultimately resulting in the death of one Israeli prior to the launch of Operation Cast Lead.

    During the ceasefire, the International Middle East Media Center reported that the Israeli army killed 23 Palestinians, wounded 62, and kidnapped 38 residents in the Gaza Strip.

    Moreover, there is credible evidence that Israel broke not just the ceasefire but a lull it had called in its aftermath.
    The testimony of UNRWA chief Karen Abu Zayd as cited in Ha’aretz:

    “What we understood here (was) that there was a 48-hour lull to be called, and this was called by the Israelis,” Abu Zayd said. “They said they would wait 48 hours. That was on Friday morning, I believe, until Sunday morning, and that they were going to evaluate.”

    “There was only one rocket that went out on Friday, so it was obvious that Hamas was trying, again, to observe that truce to get this back under control,” she said.

    “Then, everything got loose on Saturday morning at 11:30 a.m. We were all at work and very much surprised by this,” Abu Zayd said.

    […]”I don’t think they think the truce was violated first by Hamas,” she said.

    “I think they saw that Hamas had observed the truce quite strictly for almost six months, certainly for four of the six months, and that they got nothing in turn – because there was to be kind of a deal,” Abu Zayd said.

    “If there were no rockets, the crossings would be opened,” she said. “The crossings were not opened at all.”

    Long-standing and established peace terms, posited by the whole international community and endorsed formally by the Arab League, are quite reasonable. End the military occupation of the OPT, declare 1967 borders, withdraw from the occupied West Bank and occupied East Jerusalem and stop targeting Gazans and West Bank residents through kidnappings, assassinations, unlawful detentions, and theft of land, as well as theft of tax credits, destruction of property and institionalised racism, humiliation and discrimination.

    Hamas did not start this war, Israel did. The sanctions were also criminal. There is no obligation on Hamas to denounce violence unless Israel does the same. Otherwise it is meaningless. Israel is after Palestinian subjugation, not peace. Both parties need to recognise each other and cease using violence. I’m not sure to which previous agreements you refer, but they must be made with Hamas, not simply Fatah.

    It is hearsay when I am receiving the information. While you claim it was said directly to you, which I am not questioning, it can not be counted as credible objective evidence. I am glad however that you are not suggesting that Arabs are somehow congenitally predisposed towards violence. I don’t think anyone s portraying the conflict in

    Which leads me into your fascinating and unviable leap of logic. “Israel wants to eat Arab babies, while the Palestinians only want to sing kumbaya” terms. Both are using violence, but the degree of lethality is extremely lopsided with one side almost entirely being the perpetrator. Palestinians support resistance, both armed and non-violent, I’m not suggesting they are kumbaya types.

    The precondition Israel demands is deployed as a furphy: it is used as an obstruction to meaningful diplomacy and peace-talks. As previously mentioned, it was not demanded of other states. It is mutual recognition that is the only meaningful precondition. If Israel were serious about it, it would extend the same treatment it expects of others and recognise the democratically elected Hamas. Anything else is obstructing peace and instrumentalising Hamas to spurn the achievement of peace.

    I’m sorry, you are putting words in my mouth in your fascinating leap of logic in your last point. I didn’t say anything about perfect justice, which by definition is unattainable. I’ve already spelled out what justice involves earlier in this comment: direct talks (which Israel refused), mutual recognition and mutual commitment to cease violence, an end to the occupation and illegal settlements, and 1967 borders. Very reasonable and supported by all Arab states and the international community through a number of UN resolutions. Compromise is indeed required, and the onus is on the larger and more powerful partner to start the ball rolling. Otherwise, it is destined to continue as a perpetually belligerent rogue regime and international pariah continuing to commit ethnic cleansing and genocide.

  141. Going through the evidence is tedious and painful. There are plenty of decent, peace loving Israelis and Palestinians…like the evidence, any sane person knows this. Now let’s go through the evidence…

    Palestine is being used as a pawn by Syria and Iran through Hamas and Hezbollah (with bases outside Palestine) to attack Israel.

    Hamas routinely broke the ceasefire (with Iranian supplied artillery and rocketry) and Israel retaliated. Of course a lot of Palestinians and Israelis got hurt, but the Iranian and Syrian backers don’t give a damn. (Palestine cops the collateral and Israel cops the blowback).

    John has pointed out that you think belligerence by Hamas (a group that really doesn’t represent Palestine, but Iranian foreign policy) is “just”. Clearly you are a war mongerer.

    You [beep] believe that Hamas recognises Israel’s right to exist. Please explain the propaganda to the contrary by themselves, their leaders, their backers (paticulalry the Iranian President) and the usual status of not launching rockets at States you “recognise a right to exist”. (Since when has the US lobbed mortar shells into Toronto?) The idea that Hamas enforces international law, whilst being an international terrorist group backed by terrorist States using a small autonomous State as a pawn to provoke a larger established State into attacking both and invoking asymmetric warfare is sick and twisted.

    But you say Hamas “didn’t start THIS war!”

    You really need meds.

    ADMIN: Mark, please play the (wo)man, not the ball.

  142. PG — you mention the lob-sided lethality. As I make clear in my original post, I don’t think this is relevant in determine responsibility or working out a way forward.

    You seem to say that one side should not stop violence until the other side does. That is exactly what the Israelis are arguing. It is a recipe for continued war.

    But if you do want an equal exchange of vows, then I suggest that Hamas takes up Israel’s offer of only going after military targets and not using human shields. I think Hamas harms their long-term interests by ignoring these decent rules of engagement.

    You say that the “right to exist” is a furphy. If it’s not important, then Hamas should hurry up and agree so that innocent people can stop dying. Surely peace is more important than Hamas pride.

    You want Israel to recognise Hamas. Israel said they would if Hamas complied with three reasonable requests (which were also backed by the US, EU & UN). Perhaps those requests aren’t perfect, but surely peace is more important than pride.

    You suggest a State (or defacto State with Palestine) shouldn’t have to live up to previous obligations if they change government. That is not how most States operate. The Australian-US FTA did not disolve when Rudd & Obama were elected. But even if you do want to ignore previous obligations, surely peace is more important than pride.

    You say that peace terms must be framed by both sides. That isn’t true. They must be agreed by both sides, but it matters not who frames them. I believe that Israel is offering fair terms for a current ceasefire and so the responsibility now rests with Hamas to accept.

    Israel is not asking for recognition as a pre-condition to end the current war. They are asking for Hamas to stop attacking Israel. It is a reasonable request and for the sake of peace, Hamas should accept.

    I accept that this isn’t the end of the process. There are still issues to be dealth with including illegal settlements, East Jerusalem, the claimed right of return, recognition of Israel, trade restrictions etc. I imagine I agree with you on many (though probably not all) of these points. But if we are waiting until these are fixed before we end the war, then the war will go on too long. First we should stop the war.

    I accept that you don’t want “perfect” justice, but please be aware that the call for “justice” is very often an excuse to prelong war. It has been used like this throughout history, and I would much prefer that people looked for an excuse to make peace, rather than an excuse (eg persuing “justice”) to extend war.

    Side note: While I agreed with Israel’s right to respond to the renewed Hamas attacks, I think it would be in everybody’s interest for Israel to now find a way to de-escalate this war. This is despite the fact that they may not receive the “justice” they think they deserve. But then… as I say… peace is more important than pride.

  143. John,

    You are too tolerant of stupidity, war mongering and naivety.

    Hamas (and Hezbollah)simply do not give a fig about the unresolved issues that actually matter to the majority of decent, peace loving Israelis and Palestinians.

    They care about a small number of Israeli violations of international law, which they provoke by their hundreds of violations of international law, human rights, murders of Israelis, use of human and civilian shields of military targets and violations of Lebanese, Palestinian and Israeli sovereignty.

  144. PG — you mention the lob-sided lethality. As I make clear in my original post, I don’t think this is relevant in determine responsibility or working out a way forward.

    At some point it must become relevant. If you punch me in the head and I then kill you and your extended family and six of your neighbours do I have no responsibility for the end result? If Israel dropped nuclear weapons on Gaza (not withstanding the fact that it has a strong self interest in not dropping such bombs so close to home) in response to mostly ineffective home made missile attacks would it not be somewhat responsible for the result?

    And on the flip side if Osama plotted 911 in response to the the death of two friends of his at American hands would that obsolve him of responsibility for 911?

    Proportionality may not be the only factor. And we may not demand equal response for equal injury (an eye for an eye as it were) however it isn’t entirely irrelevant to the discussion.

    If there was a simple equation for measuring culpability in such matters I suspect that the resolution of such conflicts would be a lot easier. The reality is that no simple equation exists.

    If there is to be a de-escalation of hostilities somebody is going to have to offer less hostility than their opponent. I’m not sure what game theory tells us about who should go first.

  145. John,

    I welcome reasoned debate and engagement with the facts, and conduct civil discussions at my own blog with a number of Israelis. I find it interesting that some reflexively pro-Israel supporters can not manage these standards, and ignore them accordingly.

    Now, I imagine we’ve both grasped that our positions are not simply markedly different, but probably diametrically opposed on most issues. I accept that, as well as the possibility that some of our positions may have some common ground. My objective is neither to convince you nopr to seek to be swayed. My aim is to address the arguments and facts in a rational manner.

    Our major points of differences include the issue of causality and responsibility of this horrific outbreak, the legitimacy of Hamas, and possible ways forward out of this conflict. It also extends deeper to our perspectival positions on the larger questions, I suspect.

    To the points. First, on proportionality. I am inclined to agree with the previous commenter Terje that proportionality is indeed relevant. It is interesting that you, John, in the next sentence appeal to “decent rules of engagement”, which Israeli forces have disregarded at every turn, both in this current operation and in the 2006 war ostensibly against Hezbollah but which destroyed much of Lebanon’s civilian infrastructure.

    Hamas and Hezbollah are incidentally their own autonomous entities, it makes as little sense to keep prefacing that they are allied with Syria and Iran (just as it is absurd to call them “terrorist states”, Iran hasn’t invaded a another country in over 200 years) as it is to mechanically preface mention of Israel with the fact it receives $3 billion of US money with the mostly unwitting largesse of the US taxpayer to subsidise its state terror.

    Second, on causality. Many astute commenters have grasped that ineffectual Hamas rockets are not at all the cause of this current outbreak of Israeli attacks. Veteran Israeli peace activist and former MK Uri Avnery noted in ‘Help! A Ceasefire! that:

    If the Qassams were really bothering our political and military leaders, they would have jumped at the cease-fire offer. But the leaders don’t really care about what’s happening to the Sderot population, out on the geographical and political “periphery”, far from the center of the country. It carries no political or economic weight. In the eyes of the leadership, its suffering is, all in all, tolerable. It also has an important positive side: it provides an ideal pretext for the actions of the army. The Israeli strategic aim in Gaza is not to put an end to the Qassams. It would still be the same if not a single Qassam fell on Israel.

    This current escalation has far more to do with Israeli electoral politics and I suspect you know that. It also has and must be situated in its larger framework, unlike uncontextualised press and superficial analysts for whom the lineage of a conflict extends to last month.

    This operation was planned since at least the start of the ceasefire, with glimpses even beforehand of murderous and belligerent official Israeli intentions with Deputy Israeli Defense Minister Matan Vilnai threatening a shoah or holocaust against Gazans, among a number of other racist and unconscionable statements made by other Israeli “leaders”: These include:

    * Interior Minister Meir Sheetrit: “We must take a neighborhood in Gaza and wipe it off the map”

    * “We need to topple the Hamas regime,” Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of the Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. “We need to assassinate its leaders without any artificial differentiation between those who wear explosive vests and those who wear diplomatic vests.“

    * Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni: “There is no hope for the Palestinian people with Hamas. There is no hope for any kind of peace or the vision of a Palestinian state which includes the Gaza Strip without a real change on the ground.” (read: usual ‘never a partner for peace’ and attempting to dictate who governs and the shape of a future Palestinian state, which is to say, actively preventing one)

    More here.

    As Jennifer Loewenstein also argues compellingly (among others, such as Israeli Ilan Pappe), if there were no Hamas (whom the Israelis supported covertly during the 1980s to fragment support for the PLO), murderous Israeli policies would still continue and that Hamas are not the cause but merely a pretext for the continued Israeli project of ethnic cleansing and slow motion genocide (as well as possible transfer) of Palestinians, because Israel has no intention of allowing a Palestinian state. This credible analysis is firmly supported by Israel’s current actions and by the fact it coninues to build illegal settlements on stolen private Palestinian land.

    I disagree with your stated opinion that it matters not who frames the terms, I believe it is very important. Exclusion of a party may not lead to viable peace terms and thus unnecessary prolonging of this heinous war and Israel’s continued warcrimes. Moreover, peace terms were already there and offered, as previously mentioned. Israel simply ignore them on repeated occasions.

    I do agree with you on your assertion that peace is more important than pride. I daresay this operation also has more than something to do with Israel’s own version of the Vietnam syndrome in the aftermath of its failed operation in Lebanon. I’m not suggesting that either party “won”, either, simply that Israel failed. I oppose Israel’s actions in that case as I do in this one.

    I accept that Israel is not asking for recognition as a pre-condition to end its current attack. Nor have I suggested that fixing Palestinian legitimate grievances should be a priority before Israel’s assault is ended. The ball is in Israel’s court to act. The bulk of the international community is asking it to stop its wholesale destruction and murder of civilians in their hundreds now. Hamas too should stop lobbing the rockets on Israeli towns that were once (ethnically cleansed) mostly Arab villages. Israel has to stop collectively punishing the whole civilian population of Gaza on the actions of a few. We’ve already seen that the ineffective nuisances of rockets virtually stopped during the ceasefire, as with other ceasefires. It is far past time, in Tony Judt’s words for the bellicose Israeli bully-state to grow up.

  146. In response to Tim R., here is an excellent article from a professional with direct experience of the ‘mind infection’ that afflicts Israelis with institutionalised racist beliefs in both their socialisation and education, which I would think is far more credible than a write-up from an Islamaphobic blog. The former is responsible for exponentially more destruction than the overblown brouhaha over a dress-up mouse, who is in any case, not even accurately represented in the haste to vilify Hamas.

  147. i agree with both jc and Mark – JH, you have been extremely eloquent on this issue and i may even rethink some of my ideas about war.

    but dont waste your time on idiots and war-mongers like no2wars and peoplesgeography.

  148. Let us shed some light on the deranged behaviour of “people’sgeography” quoting the Hamas charter as a defence of Hamas:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hamas#Hamas_founding_charter

    “Hamas founding charter

    * Article 7 of the Hamas Covenant states the following: “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (the Cedar tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslem).

    * Article 22 claims that the French revolution, the Russian revolution, colonialism and both world wars were created by the Zionists. It also claims the Freemasons and Rotary clubs are Zionist fronts.

    “You may speak as much as you want about regional and world wars. They were behind World War I, when they were able to destroy the Islamic Caliphate, making financial gains and controlling resources. They obtained the Balfour Declaration, formed the League of Nations through which they could rule the world. They were behind World War II, through which they made huge financial gains by trading in armaments, and paved the way for the establishment of their state. It was they who instigated the replacement of the League of Nations with the United Nations and the Security Council to enable them to rule the world through them. There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it.”[106]

    * Furthermore, Article 32 of the Covenant makes reference to The Protocols of the Elders of Zion:

    “Today it is Palestine, tomorrow it will be one country or another. The Zionist plan is limitless. After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.””

    That is, what a steaming load of bullshit. No one can justify violence on this lunatic reasoning.

  149. Mark, one interesting thing about this, which I agree is a ‘steaming load of bullshit’ is that the conspiracy stuff is pretty much identical to what the League of Rights used to push.

  150. Actually, Mark you may be using the wrong terminology when you say “lunatic”. The cycles of the moon are a far more natural and less tax orientated way of measuring time than the Gregorian calendar.
    The Gregorian has its roots in the taxation calendar of the Roman Empire. Therefore using, worshiping or being affected by the moon and its cycles is far more libertarian and natural.
    So please check your facts and terminology before trying to present a libertarian viewpoint, that would be a first for the ALS and you could win the prize of a night out with GMB’s mother.

  151. Article seven seems to be a direct quote from the koran, which talks about the last battle before the day of judgement- its’ version of such events. As such, they are claiming religious justification for their murders and war, and peace will not be on their minds.

  152. Terje & PG — you are right. At some point the nature of the response does become relevant and I don’t mean to imply otherwise.

    However, my point is also right… measuring the number of casualties does not necessarily determine who is the more guilty party, nor does it help to end the conflict.

    PG — it is not only the pro-Israel side that lose their civility. On a forum I was reading last night there were several comments of “destroy Israel” and a few of “kill the Jews”. Such pro-war attitudes and comments are all too common, and they’re not pretty.

    I’m not sure why you think our positions are diametrically opposed. I want a peaceful two-state solution where both sides have access to the old city in Jerusalem, and the Palestinians who want right of return instead receive compensation. Neither side gets everything they want, but it would bring peace.

    I also want the current war to end. The easiest way out is for both sides to accept a minimalist ceasefire. Israel delays their demand for formal recognition and Hamas delays their demand for full trading rights… and people stop dying.

    If Hamas had accepted these anti-war terms then there would not currently be a war. Surely we agree that avoiding the war would have been a good thing.

    I have never argued that Israel is always good. I’ve said they make mistakes in pretty much every comment. I just said that if we’re going to set rules of engagement, at a minimum both sides should agree not to use human shields. Surely we agree that using human shields is barbaric.

    You say that the rockets aren’t the cause of the conflict. I disagree, but let’s put that aside. If what you say is true that Hamas can show this to the world by stopping their attacks. Why not try it? Why not trial “not trying to kill civilians” as a strategy, just in case it works. Surely we agree that peace is important enough to pursue.

    The important thing about a truce is that it’s mutually agreed and brings peace. The fact that a Jew (or a gay chinese midgit, or whoever) might have thought of the terms doesn’t invalidate the peace.

    I’m glad that you we agree that both sides should stop. That is all I have been asking for.

    P.S. I don’t think I mentioned Iran or Syria. While those countries aren’t helping, I believe that the people doing the actions (ie Hamas) should be held responsible for their own actions.

    P.P.S. Posts with more than two links are automatically moderated, so that is why some of your posts do not immediately appear. I approve them as soon as I see them.

  153. John – in making my point I was not rejecting you’re point. I think you understood that but if not then it should now be clear.

    I agree with the comment made by JC and others earlier that you have communicated the issues very eloquently. I also appreciate the calm manner in which PG has challenged your position.

  154. John,

    I appreciate your rejoinder. On the specific issue on which we are diametrically opposed, it is only–as far as I can gather–the issue of who started the war and possibly also on the viability (though not the desirability, with which I agree), of the two state solution to the larger conflict.

    On separating proportionality from culpability and causality, I do agree with you that in and of itself, “measuring the number of casualties does not necessarily determine who is the more guilty party”; my point pertains to proportionality as a keystone in the decent rules of engagement in war, to which you previously alluded. The legal doctrine of “proportionality” is enshrined in the Hague Conventions (1907), for example, where a state is legally allowed to unilaterally defend itself provided the response is proportional to the injury suffered and refrain from targeting civilians”.

    Complete military disproportionality and intentional targeting of civilians by Israeli forces are not the only war-crimes I contend Israel is guilty of; collective punishment is another and both Hamas and the IDF have violated international law (as well as moral rules of conduct). Specifically, Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Conventions states “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.” Israel has violated this many, many times and in many of its attacks on multiple fronts, but Hamas is also guilty of violating it with its ineffective rockets.

    Politically, I happen to be an anti-war libertarian, but I also think international law is very important and has a crucial role to play in regulating the behaviour of states, notwithstanding (and especially because of) realpolitik.

    You mentioned you were on an online forum purporting to have anti-Judaic comments; may I ask which one it was and perhaps for a link? There are many troll tactics of commenters leaving clearly incendiary anonymous comments to discredit the “other side”. I certainly do not condone racism of any sort, be it against Arabs or Jews, or any discrimination on the basis of ethnicity or religion. I do agree that both sides may sometimes lose their civility and that is a shame for reasoned debate can not take place without this bedrock, and I commend you for maintaining these standards in your responses. You will find the same at my site.

    On the issue of the right of return and a two state solution, I’ll leave those aside for now, as they merit far greater comment than is appropriate right now. Suffice to say, I have had an in principle agreement with the two state solution but can not at all see that it will succeed due to Israel’s rendering it unviable. On the other issue of the right of return, you will see I left a link for you at a thread in which you commented at my blog regarding an extensive discussion on the RoR.

    Whatever Hamas has been guilty of, they haven’t been killing civilians, so your proposal that “Why not trial “not trying to kill civilians” as a strategy” eminently applies to Israel’s killing sprees. Yes, Hamas have been responsible for a small number of casualties in the past number of years, but if you wish to focus specifically upon this outbreak, it is Israel that has been the perpetrator of both targeting and killing civilians, including 40 in a UN school that was clearly marked as such, just as has occurred in similar Israeli atrocities.

    You didn’t mention Iran or Syria, that’s true: it was in reference to another commenter whom you asked to play the ball, not the woman. This also leads me to the ongoing canard of the initial ideological Hamas Charter which has been repudiated. I included a linkand will repeat the evidence for the benefit of those who choose to deploy hasbara talking points rather than facts: that Hamas,
    as witnessed by former US President Jimmy Carter and senior French Diplomat Yves Aubin de La Messuzière, and reported elsewhere but buried in the western press, no longer adhered to its 1987 charter, which called for the destruction of Israel, but would support the creation of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. I am happy to provide references. One reason I haven’t provided even more than I already have is because I too have the “hold messages with more than 2 links” moderation activated as you do, John, but always endeavour to include links as I have done.

  155. John, you previously mentioned that you didn’t “consider the Israeli restrictions on trade to be an act of war.” I’d agree: if it were simply a trade restriction. It is far, far more than that and to mischaracterise a total siege and blockade that is tantamount to economic strangulation (not letting goods in or out, including flowers and fish and children’s schoolbooks and paper, not to mention gas and water purifiers) does violence to the facts.

    In my brief skim through comments I also caught Ron Paul’s name, one (US) libertarian my own position is probably closest to.

  156. Whether Hamas has been successful or not, they are clearly trying to kill civilians by aiming rockets at cities. They may as well try a strategy of “not aiming rockets into Israel” and see how that goes. What have they got to lose?

    The anti-Israel & anti-Jew comments were from a discussion somewhere in facebook. I’m afraid it would take me too long to hunt it down… though if you look around on similar forums I’m sure you will find similar sentiments. It’s not the first time I’ve seen/heard it.

    As an aside, on the same forum there was a Kuwaiti who was arguing against Hamas and insisting that they were the opposite of a “good Muslim”. And some of the comments by one Serbian chap were needlessly anti-Muslim. I’m not trying to generalise about anyone, except to say that the anger exists on both sides.

  157. Pingback: Facts are unclear, thus practice non-intervention « Libertarians Against War

  158. Peoplesgeography, You say that Israel is intentionally targeting civilians, Do you have any evidence that the civilian casualties were deliberately ordered? Perhaps a copy of an order from the IDF that says, Engage civilians, Or something of similar proof?

    Civilians will always be caught up in war, But to say that Israel is intentionally targeting them is a very long stretch of the imagination. I would imagine, The Hutu massacre of the Tutsi’s to be deliberate targeting of civilians, Or a suicide bomber blowing themselves up in a crowded market.

    I have seen no such evidence of Israeli attacks of this nature to date.

  159. “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Matt. 24:6-7).

  160. Sh*t, BJ’s cracked it! it’s all clear now, this is the beginning of Armageddon! I was so foolishly concentrating on Revelations I totally forgot to brush up on the Gospels! It’s clearly all there. Thanks BJ – I’ll try to thank you in person after the Rapture. Hamas are truly f%cked now when the Big J get’s back, seein’ as they follow false prophets and stuff.

  161. A powerful piece which relates perfectly to the situation at hand and the world’s response:

    Dear World,

    I understand that you are upset by us, here in Israel.

    Indeed, it appears that you are quite upset, even angry. (Outraged?)

    Indeed, every few years you seem to become upset by us. Today, it is the “brutal repression of the Palestinians”; yesterday it was Lebanon; before that it was the bombing of the nuclear reactor in Baghdad and the Yom Kippur War and the Sinai campaign. It appears that Jews who triumph and who, therefore, live, upset you most extraordinarily.

    Of course, dear world, long before there was an Israel, we – the Jewish people – upset you.

    We upset a German people who elected Hitler and upset an Austrian people who cheered his entry into Vienna and we upset a whole slew of Slavic nations – Poles, Slovaks, Lithuanians, Ukrainians, Russians, Hungarians and Romanians. And we go back a long, long way in the history of world upset.

    We upset the Cossacks of Chmielnicki who massacred tens of thousands of us in 1648-49; we upset the Crusaders who, on their way to liberate the Holy Land, were so upset at Jews that they slaughtered untold numbers of us.

    For centuries, we upset a Roman Catholic Church that did its best to define our relationship through inquisitions, and we upset the arch-enemy of the church, Martin Luther, who, in his call to burn the synagogues and the Jews within them, showed an admirable Christian ecumenical spirit.

    And it is because we became so upset over upsetting you, dear world, that we decided to leave you – in a manner of speaking – and establish a Jewish state. The reasoning was that living in close contact with you, as resident-strangers in the various countries that comprise you, we upset you, irritate you and disturb you. What better notion, then, than to leave you (and thus love you)- and have you love us and so, we decided to come home – home to the same land we were driven out 1,900 years earlier by a Roman world that, apparently, we also upset.

    Alas, dear world, it appears that you are hard to please.

    Having left you and your pogroms and inquisitions and crusades and holocausts, having taken our leave of the general world to live alone in our own little state, we continue to upset you. You are upset that we repress the poor Palestinians. You are deeply angered over the fact that we do not give up the lands of 1967, which are clearly the obstacle to peace in the Middle East

    Moscow is upset and Washington is upset. The “radical” Arabs are upset and the gentle Egyptian moderates are upset.

    Well, dear world, consider the reaction of a normal Jew from Israel.

    In 1920 and 1921 and 1929, there were no territories of 1967 to impede peace between Jews and Arabs. Indeed, there was no Jewish State to upset anybody Nevertheless, the same oppressed and repressed Palestinians slaughtered tens of Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa, Safed and Hebron. Indeed, 67 Jews were slaughtered one day in Hebron in 1929.

    Dear world, why did the Arabs – the Palestinians – massacre 67 Jews in one day in 1929? Could it have been their anger over Israeli aggression in 1967? And why were 510 Jewish men, women and children slaughtered in Arab riots between 1936-39? Was it because Arabs were upset over 1967?

    And when you, dear world, proposed a UN Partition Plan in 1947 that would have created a “Palestinian State” alongside a tiny Israel and the Arabs cried “no” and went to war and killed 6,000 Jews – was that “upset” caused by the aggression of 1967? And, by the way, dear world, why did we not hear your cry of “upset” then?

    The poor Palestinians who today kill Jews with explosives and firebombs and stones are part of the same people who ? when they had all the territories they now demand be given to them for their state -attempted to drive the Jewish state into the sea. The same twisted faces, the same hate, the same cry of “itbach-al-yahud” (Massacre the Jews!) that we hear and see today, were seen and heard then. The same people, the same dream – destroy Israel. What they failed to do yesterday, they dream of today, but we should not “repress” them.

    Dear world, you stood by during the holocaust and you stood by in 1948 as seven states launched a war that the Arab League proudly compared to the Mongol massacres.

    You stood by in 1967 as Nasser, wildly cheered by wild mobs in every Arab capital in the world, vowed to drive the Jews into the sea. And you would stand by tomorrow if Israel were facing extinction.

    And since we know that the Arabs – the Palestinians – dream daily of that extinction, we will do everything possible to remain alive in our own land. And if that bothers you, dear world, well, think of how many times in the past you bothered us.

    In any event, dear world, if you are bothered by us, here is one Jew in Israel who could not care less.

    *************************************************************

    Tragically, the author of his letter – Rav Meir ben Yehezkel hy”D – was himself killed by an Islamic terrorist two years after writing this letter.

  162. I can only sit here and watch what is being shown on the news,but I believe Israel is showing great restraint in
    fighting Hamas. War is never going to be a final solution,
    but it is one solution and the cause of this war is Hamas.
    These terrorists will blatantly launch attacks on Israels
    troops and then run for safety and leave their people exposed to defensive fire. I dont understand the Palestinian people anymore. I do believe their underlaying
    reason is to destroy Israel. I believe the Hate in the
    Palestinian People comes and is generated by previous generations and beliefs. They must change or peace is not
    in their future. They must adapt and live in peace with Israel. Terrorist around the world take notice, your cause
    is unjust and you will be delt with in time…

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