Israel is Losing the Media War …. Again

Disclaimer – the ALS is not a pro-Jewish website and none of its writers are Jewish. It is firmly secular believing in the values of liberty and democracy. It is also in the main an anti-war blog.   

In a carbon copy of the 2006 conflict with Hizbollah, Israel is once again losing the media war.  The Hamas cheer squad of CNN, the BBC (funded by all British taxpayers), the New York Times and the Guardian is raining propoganda bombs on Israel as surely as the 6,000 Qassam rockets that have hit its southern borders from Gaza.

Despite a clear cut case of self-defence that even the Muslim countries of Egypt  (‘Hamas are more interested in having the injured serve as pawns in their propaganda war on Western TV networks‘),  Saudi Arabia  (‘Arab states should call a spade a spade…let Hamas accept responsibility for once..‘) and the Palestinian Authority (‘we talked to them and we told them ‘please, we ask you, do not end the truce. Let the truce continue and not stop’  so that we could have avoided what happened”) accept is of Hamas’ own making, the Western media continue to hold Israel to impossibly high standards. 

There are no street protests over the ongoing civilian deaths in Sri Lanka, no marches against Russia as it threatens to cut off gas supplies to Central Europe in the midst of a freezing winter, no petitions demanding ceasefires in the war-torn corners of Africa, no hysterical over-the-hill pop stars crying over the children of Afghanistan. But whenever Israel sheds blood, the world demands its pound of flesh.   

‘Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands,
organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions; fed with the same
food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases,
heal’d by the same means, warm’d and cool’d by the same winter
and summer, as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If
you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us, do we not die?
And if you wrong us, do we not revenge? If we are like you in the
rest, we will resemble you in that.’

In the media’s eyes, the Jew quite clearly does not resemble ‘us‘.

Israel stands accused of the following charges; 

i) ‘Israel is using disproportionate force’

According to the media, if your enemy kills 10 of your people you have the right to kill 10 of theirs. This is utter drivel. During World War II Britain killed far more Germans than vice versa.  Does this make Churchill guilty of ‘disproportionate force’?   

Apart from the utter absurdity of the argument, the reasons that Israel has killed more than Hamas are as follows;

– Israel builds bomb shelters for its citizens on its southern borders. Hamas stockpiles its weapons in hospitals and mosques, hoping for casualties to show its ‘useful idiots’ in the media. ‘We desire death as you desire life’.

– The majority of the dead in Palestine are terrorists not civilians (UN sources)

–  Israel tries to avoid civilian deaths whereas Hamas seeks to maximise them, even now legitimising the deliberate (as opposed to tragic but accidental) killing of children.

ii) ‘Yes, but the Hamas rockets are ineffective and have only killed a small number of Israelis.’

Only thanks to the bomb shelters. And does anyone doubt for a minute that if Hamas could smuggle more effective weapons across its Eqyptian border, it would refrain from using them?

iii) ‘Hamas is only responding to the blockade of Gaza by Israel.’

Factually incorrect.  Israel tightened the flow of goods into Gaza precisely to try and limit the flow of rockets that were already flying into Sderot.

iv) ‘Israel doesn’t want a ceasefire but the extermination of Hamas.’

Wrong. Israel clearly laid out the terms (no more rockets and no more rocket smuggling) for a ceasefire last night in response to a France-Eqgypt initiative. These are not unreasonable terms. Unsurprisingly Hamas have failed to respond.  Why does every Western leader demand an Israeli ceasefire?    Why not a ceasefire too with the Taliban or with Al Qaeda?  After all civilians are dying here too.

v) ‘Israel won’t negotiate with Hamas.’

a) see above

b) from the Hamas Charter,

‘The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).’

Where do you even begin those negotiations?

vi) ‘Yes, but this will just provoke Muslims living in the West.’

Translation – i’m a coward and i won’t stand up to bullying.

and last but most certainly not least,

vii) ‘Israel forcibly evicted the Palestinians from their homeland. Hamas is just trying to take back what is rightfully theirs.’

Now there is probably no more complex issue than the creation of the Isreali state. David Finkelstein wrote an excellent piece in The Times yesterday on this subject. Whether you believe it was the right thing to do or not, it has happened. A two-state solution needs to be found – not a one-state solution for either side.   

31 thoughts on “Israel is Losing the Media War …. Again

  1. Apart from misspelling Israel’s name, this is a very good summary Pommy.

    But losing the media war is not a big deal by itself. As you said, it has happened regularly before. It only matters if it leads to more practical consequences. For example:

    1. Financial assistance to Hamas. That’s already happening (including $5 million by the Rudd government this week), so it’s not likely to change things.

    2. Military assistance to Hamas. I can’t see the French, British, or other medium military power coming in on the side of an Islamic terrorist organisation. The Syrians and Iranians provide support, but that’s not new. Egypt and Jordan hate Hamas more than Israel.

    4. Diplomatic isolation of Israel. That was the reality for a long time. A fair number of the countries that condemn the country have no diplomatic ties with it even now. There have been far more UN resolutions condemning Israel than any other country. Israel has never been elected to the UN Security Council.

    3. Withdrawal of US support for Israel. That’s the big risk and the main reason Israel goes through the various “negotiation” and “compromise” rituals, but there’s not much sign of it so far. Even Obama seems to understand what a vote loser it would be.

    Perhaps my optimism is misplaced, but I think Israel will ultimately come to a peaceful and satisfactory accommodation with the Palestinians. While I’m critical of Israel on several grounds (including its treatment of Arab Israelis and petty harassment of individual Palestinians), it is fundamentally a liberal democracy and subject to rule of law. We should all hope it triumphs over the primitive, lawless fundamentalism represented by Hamas and Hezbollah.

  2. A good summary of the discussion points.

    Israel is spelt incorrectly in your article heading.

  3. amended

    David – i think the media war is more important than the ground war. as you say, if a new Obama-led US goes soft on Israel becuase of the constant media bombardment by CNN and the BBC, Israel will have few options left.

  4. Good summary. I think Israel (not ‘Isreal’ as your blog post says) is showing good faith in even trying to negotiate with an entity that is sworn to its destruction.

    See my point on the other blog about ‘disproportionate force’ – Israel is outnumbered 50:1 in the region. Does that mean they are allowed to kill 50 Islamists for every Israeli soldier? I think not. But they are entitled to take reasonable actions to defend their territory.

    Is a ground invasion of Palestinian territory ‘reasonable’? It seems excessive, but when you consider that Hamas were clearly warned, told to stop the rocket attacks, and refused to comply, then I would argue it is reasonable to take whatever action required to stop the rocket attacks.

    It’s a tragedy that some innocent Palestinians are killed as a result of this, but Hamas could easily do a lot more to prevent and minimise this. Israel is taking far more precautions to minimise civilian casualties than Hamas, who seem to encourage it. Ultimately the Western left-leaning media are the best weapon that Hamas have for their radical cause.

  5. Absolutely agree with the title of this post.

    But I think the media are simply representing the views of the masses. So why are there always so many westerners so biased towards Israel’s enemies?

    It’s wrong and dangerous that westerners blame themselves for acts of violent, aggressive terrorism towards freer countries. And this attitude could cause a hell of a lot of pain to the western world, and a continuation and escalation of the problem. (as has been seen for over 50 years now).

    Recently on TV I even saw protestors inside Israel who are against Israel’s attack on Hamas. This is very worrying. How can they believe Hamas supporters will stop firing rockets at them if they do nothing? Do they really think Hamas want to live peacefully next to Jews when their religious leaders call for extremination of Israel?
    eg/
    Thirteen-year-old Gaza resident, Yousef Nakhala, is one of the few that gets it. He said: “I blame Hamas. It doesn’t want to recognize Israel. If they did so, there could be peace. Egypt made a peace treaty with Israel, and nothing is happening to them.” See last paragraph of http://www.denverpost.com/extras/ci_11340515

    The ideology and culture of Islamic totalitarian countries needs to change and can only do so when the citizens realise how weak and pathetic their way of life has made them. This is why I currently think quick devastating force can work as in WWII – A crushing of Nazi and Japanese Imperialist ideology – and a much more powerful enemy than the backward Isalmic totalitarian countries. It’s pretty hard to deny your weakness in the face of a crushing defeat.

    Our cultures’ belief (originating in Judeo-Christian ethics) that you should just be nice to the bad guy doesn’t work. And it encourages and sanctions more of the same.

    In addition, our culture has a massive tall poppy syndrome and expects and forces the ‘haves’ to sacrifice to the ‘have nots’. (Again blame Judeo-Christian ethics). Therefore emotionally, people don’t like Israel because they are more powerful militarily.

  6. Radical Islam has pretty well mastered the use of race and religion, (other than Christianity) as hot button issues to inspire liberal guilt, and benefit from that. (Perhaps we should look at ways to evoke the same feelings among liberals towards those who want liberty and lower taxes.)

    Looking through the NYT this morning I noticed odd elements of actual even handed reporting in their coverage which had not been edited out, which seems a little promising: –

    Al Fakhura, set in the northern part of the densely packed Jabaliya refugee camp north of Gaza City, is in a crowded neighborhood full of Hamas fighters.

    Residents of the neighborhood said two brothers who are Hamas fighters were in the area at the time of the attack. The military identified them as Imad Abu Asker and Hassan Abu Asker, and said they had been killed.

    Hamas official, Mushir al-Masri, emerged from hiding to congratulate those he called martyrs. Some parents shook his hand; some stared at him coldly.

    Asked later about the presence of Hamas fighters in the streets around the school, Ms. Deed avoided a direct answer, but implied that her heart was not with Hamas. “We want to live like everyone else in the world,” she said.

    (Atif Suboh, who lost three of his cousins who went back to Beit Lahiya on Wednesday morning to get blankets.) “If he had known that fighters would be around the school, he said, “I would never be there.”

    Hamas has no wish for peace with Israel, something they have made quite obvious. This thing is about power only on their side, peace would significantly reduce their influence which they currently maintain through armed force.

    Both Israel and the Palestinians have a great deal to gain from a genuine and lasting peace. There is the reduction in the proportion of GDP required for armies and equipment, thus allowing investment into productive areas of the economy. People are more productive when they spend less time in shelters and are not fearful. Hell if there were real goodwill then the Israelis could even help Palestinians by teaching some of their expertise in agricultural production. Free trade could flourish.

    Generally Israel has been pretty good at targeting the combatants in among non militant civilians with even the UN admitting that around a quarter of the casualties are civilians.

    As for cease fire negotiations I found this Gem: “There is an agreement on general principles, that Hamas should stop rocket fire and mustn’t rearm,” a senior Israeli official said Wednesday evening. “But that’s like agreeing that motherhood is a good thing

  7. It is true that our culture has an attitude that the rich should help the poor, but all societies have had such an attitude! What else was atheistic Communism, but an attempt to force people to all be the same!? You can blame atheistic ethics for that!
    Actually, this is the last ethos of tribalism. In a really primitive culture, such as enjoyed by our aborigines, it made sense to share, since what you had gained probably was purely by luck, not merit.
    In more advanced societies, the Protestant work ethic gave you an incentive to be a capitalist, since your wealth was not considered to be purely luck- which is why Europe surged ahead of other countries, like China (Classics more important than commerce), or the Indian peninsula (merchants only exist to be taxed so the king can look good). Neither of these places can blame Judeo-Christian ethics for their histories.

  8. I don’t think point (iii) about the blockade is true. Israel (with US, EU & UN backing) put sanctions on Gaza & the West Bank in 2006 after the Hamas election victory.

    After the 2007 Fatah-Hamas battles, the restrictions were loosened in the Fatah-contolled West Bank and tightened in the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip.

    At the time the conditions for lifting the restrictions were (1) recognise Israel’s right to exist; (2) give up violence; and (3) stick with previous Israel-Palestine agreements. Reasonable requests in my opinion.

    And I think point (vi) about provoking Muslims is correct if you adjust the wording. I am indeed concerned about the consequences that any action has on the preferences and incentives of other people, because that dictates their actions which is relevant to the outcome. But this doesn’t imply pacifism. Never responding to aggression also gives the wrong incentives.

    And the issue of adjusting your “enemies” preferences and incentives applies to both sides. Just as parts of the west sometimes stupidly antagonises the Muslim world (and prolongs conflicts), so too do parts of the Muslim world (like Hamas) stupidly antagonise the western world.

    I’m not sure the ground invasion was a good idea. The most important thing now is not the outcome of the war, but the perceived outcome of the war. Israel needs to find a way of de-escalating this conflict without running away. They need an easy short-term goal which they can complete and then declare victory.

  9. The real trouble comes from taking the quotes out of context. Christian ethics are meant for individuals to apply to their own lives. Jesus never said that his followers should take over states, and turn mores into laws! Charity should never be compulsory! It would be good for people to be generous, if they so choose, but it should never be a matter of enforcement! The joining of religion to the state is always a bad idea- it should be a personal choice.

  10. “The majority of the dead in Palestine are terrorists not civilians”

    Pommy do you have a link for this one?

  11. David –

    do you have a link to that claim about Rudd giving $5m to Hamas? I’m not a fan of the Kevv-ster but that would surprise me.

  12. Thanks David.

    I’m assuming not even the ALP would be silly enough to just hand the money to Hamas. What steps are they taking to ensure this money doesn’t get spent on ‘hand made rockets’?

  13. Your preambular disclaimer reads curiously. It matters not, I should think, whether the blog is pro-Jewish or doesn’t have Jewish writers, there are plenty of Jews of great conscience who oppose Israel’s actions and would disagree with your assessment in this post, as I do.

    You appear to repeat Israeli state claims uncritically in each of your points. The BBC, Guardian, even the NYT a “Hamas cheer squad?”? Goodness, that’s a tall charge indeed and many of us would beg to differ. See here for just one, detailed and extensive, breakdown of the BBC’s bias toward Israel, not Hamas.

    i. Disproportionality. Yes, this most definitely applies and is not at all absurd. It is codified as a recognised legal and military doctrine, an international and long-standing principle of the rules of engagement. If someone spits at you, are you entitled to beat them up, kill them, their family, destroy their livelihood, all after you’ve expelled them from their homeland in the first place?

    Wither diplomacy? Israel spurned offer after offer from Hamas, including their (Israel) not accepting an offer from all Arab states in the 2002 Saudi Peace Plan. I’m sorry, Moubarak’s regime, which receives some of the largest US aid (hush money) after Israel, does not reflect the overwhelming view in the Middle East and elsewhere that Israel is most definitely not acting in self-defence but as a belligerent in this long planned war, as it did in Lebanon in 2006 and as it did in
    1967, in fact. The same goes for the quisling Abbas as Moubarak.

    ii and iii. You, in fact, are factually incorrect. What have flowers and schoolnote books and household goods got to do with military weapons? Do water sterilisers have a dual use I’m not aware of? Israel has blocked most everything coming in, even UN aid, and have demonstrably lied about UN warehouses being full. Hamas rockets virtually stopped during the ceasefire, which Israel broke: twice. Why are Israel entitled to wield military force but not Hamas, and Israel does so offensively? I don’t think either of them should, but I don’t endorse double standards, either. In any case, there will be no military solution to this terrible conflict. It will only come when Israel ends the killing, ends the siege and occupation and talks to Hamas, and with mutual recognition.

    iv. and v. The terms were always there, it is Israel that refused to meet the very reasonable terms offered it and that broke the ceasefire that directly led to this planned conflagration, and which the international community rightly places the onus on Israel to stop killing civilians. Israel can not suddenly and disingenuously claim the right to be offering terms (entirely of its own making) simply because it is a bully writ large.

    Oh, there’s the canard of the Hamas Charter again. How convenient for you when it is already known — and twice mentioned — that it is no longer their Charter. Don’t let the facts get in the way.

    vi. and vii. Are you suggesting the world is cowering because of a possible Muslim backlash? It is actually the UN and world leaders who have been letting Israel act with impunity for too long. It is time Israel joined the rest of humanity, declared its (1967) borders as any state does (it claims it is singled out but refuses to act like any other state), abide by the numerous long-standing and fair UN resolutions in place which would end this disaster and de-escalate this once and for all, end its massacres and occupation of Palestine and accept living peacefully in the Middle East.

    The grievances against Israel’s unacceptable actions are real, legitimate, long-standing, tend more than not to be uncontextualised in mainstream media, and are entirely within its power to address.

  14. PG – you have responded politely and without the usual venom normally associated with people who strongly disagree with a post so i’ll return the favour.

    i) you’re right – it shdnt matter that there are no Jewish writers here – i pointed this out merely so that visitors to this site understand that there is no pro-Israel bias here

    ii) BBC bias towards Israel? i’ve never heard this one before. one of the senior news editors at the BBC is one of my closest friends. he’s a fully paid up member of the left-of-centre democrats – and even he admits there is way too much anti-Israel bias at the BBC.

    iii) just because disproportionality is a codified legal doctrine doesnt exclude it from being absurd.

    iv) Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia and Jordan all blame Hamas for this war. only Iran has comeout with its usual anti-Jew poison

    v) Israel spurned an offer from Hamas? really? which one?

    vi) ‘Israel has blocked everything coming in’ – where do you get your sources from? i notice on your blog you have a full post on the now discredited scientist Dr. Mads. the same guy who is a communist and thought that 9/11 was a good thing. mmm

    vii) ‘Israel broke the ceasefire’? – what? again, check your sources

    viii) what is their new Charter then? who me a link

    ix) on the other thread on this topic you mention that Israel is ‘deliberately targeting civilians’. this is nonsense and you know it.

  15. Israel did break the ceasfire their is confirmed media sorces sugesting they have,
    and stopping aid coming through the borders on top of that,
    look im not that intelligent but i really wonder why some 1 would fire puny little rockets at an enemy with soo much fire power for no reason,i mean im a westerner but if my family got blown up by airstrikes,
    id consider avenging their deaths with suicide strikes
    this conflict is a last ditch atempt by the Bush govt.
    why else would they fund a replica gaza town in the desert and train Israeli troops for over a yr
    and why would some 1 fire lil fireworks at some 1 with a fairly comprehensive airforce i mean isnt Israel palistine in the first place????

  16. Israel’s occupation of Palestine is Illegal.
    Security Council Resolution 242, Nov. 22, 1967

    Israel’s settlements in Palestine are Illegal.
    Security Council Resolution 446, March 22, 1979

    Palestinian have the right to Self-Determination.
    General Assembly Resolution 3236, November 22, 1974

    A few more…..

    Resolution 106: condemns Israel for Gaza raid.
    Resolution 111: condemns Israel for raid on Syria that killed fifty-six people.

    Resolution 127: recommends Israel suspend its no-man’s zone’ in Jerusalem.

    Resolution 162: urges Israel to comply with UN decisions.

    Resolution 171: determines flagrant violations by Israel in its attack on Syria.

    … [edit: and many more examples]

    [ADMIN: If you want to post a really long comment, consider doing it at a separate page and then providing a link, otherwise you disrupt the flow of discussion. Thanks.]

  17. Pommygranate, I appreciate your response in kind. Civil discussion is the best soil for reason and rational debate.

    To your points:

    i. you contend that there is no pro-Israeli bias; I and many others in my political circles would certainly disagree and certainly think otherwise. It’s interesting that such a disjunction exists between your self-(blog) perception and how others might see it.

    ii. Yes, BBC bias. Have you not yet seen the widely known and meticulously researched Glasgow Univ Media report? Your claim about a reported (by you) admission of anti-Israel bias from an unnamed friend who is a social-democratically inclined senior editor at the BBC is inadmissible as credible objective evidence. The “I have a friend” assertions can’t really be accepted at face value, whether they come from me or you.

    iii. True, in principle, the fact that something is legally enshrined doesn’t preclude possible absurdity, but not in this case. This is neither a bad nor absurd law or principle but one based on sound moral principles and civilised norms of justice.

    iv. You claim that “Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Saudi Arabia and Jordan all blame Hamas for this war. only Iran has comeout with its usual anti-Jew poison”. You are incorrect on both counts. A number of Arab leaders in aforementioned states may have castigated Hamas, but still others in their administrations blame Israel. As for Iran, who has a 40,000 strong Persian Jew population and a Jewish representative in their parliament equivalent, they’ve not at all come out with “anti-Jew poison”, neither now nor previously. I challenge you to point to any official pronouncements that at all target Jews in a discriminatory fashion rather than target Israel’s actions legitimately. The “wipe off the map” is a canard, President Ahmadinejad never said the phrase and it doesn’t exist in the Persian idiom, by the way, so please save your energies from invoking that one, that’s been soundly refuted by experts.

    v. Israel spurned an offer from Hamas: yes, really, and more than just one. Here’s one just from this current Israeli assault (J-Post)

    vi. – viii. Yes, Israel broke the ceasefire, on Nov 4 US election day when Israeli forces launched major air and ground attacks killing at least four Palestinians and injuring others.
    Sources. I bookmark many of my sources publicly: http://del.icio.us/ppgg These are from a wide variety of sources, both mainstream press and New Media.

    You attempt to discredit Dr Mads Gilbert, about whom your claims appear to come from right-wing hasbara and Islamaphobic blogs. Ho-hum. Understanding 9/11 as blowback (which even Ron Paul does) in no way constitutes endorsement of it. As for being a communist, is this a crime? Is it supposed to be a self-evidential undesirable? There are many decent people who are and who identified their political positions as communists. Its an ideological stance, not a criminal pathology.

    Whether Hamas has a new Charter or not is irrelevant here. What is directly relevant is that persistent references to the old Charter, now no longer applicable, are gratuitous in the service of propaganda.

    ix. I stand by that assertion 100%: Israel is deliberately targeting civilians. It has admitted that it knew there were no Hamas fighters firing from within that school. Three clearly-marked UN schools were attacked by the IDF, as well as hospitals, schools, residential buildings and universities in Israel’s bloodbath. To use Amira Hass’s words, Can you really not see?

  18. Andy
    I counld’t give a toss what the collection of corrupt tin-pot dictators at the UN think of ….. well anything really

  19. Andy

    you’re omitting at least another 250 Resolutions against Israel. in fact there are more UN resolutions against Israel than any other country – yup, that includes Zimbabwe, Burma and N Korea.

    i think it says more about the UN than Israel

  20. Appealing to the UN or international law pre-supposes that those are correct. I don’t share in that assumption.

    PG — you say that Isael admits to going after a non-military target with the recent attack on schools. The first link on a google search shows that isn’t true. It also defies common sense. I don’t believe that Israelis are either stupid or evil, let alone both, so the suggestion that they just want to run around shooting children is absurd.

    I think it is fairly clear that Israelis do not want to kill innocent people. Indeed, they want the war to end. But even if they did enjoy shooting children, they are still smart enough to know that it is very much in their interests not to do so.

    It seems to me that it requires a herculian effort of imagination and bias to say that the Israelis are intentionally trying to kill innocent people.

    The doctrine of proportionality means that you can take any steps that are required to stop the attack. Given that Israel is targetting the organisation responsible for the attacks, and Hamas attacks on Israel haven’t stopped yet… clearly Israel haven’t passed that line.

    But irrespective… if you don’t want the war, then tell Hamas to stop firing rockets at Israel.

    The response on “arab street” has been mixed, which is the most pro-Israel response that there has been in a long time. The moderate response by various Arab states has been refreshing… and if those states offer to broker a reasonable ceasefire I hope that Israel will respect their efforts.

    This war started when Hamas started sending 80 rockets a day into Israel after the truce lapsed. Yes, there were breaches of the truce before by both sides… but they did not constitute an outright attack and they did not end the truce. The Arab world was asking Hamas to renew the truce in mid-December, so clearly they did not see the truce as over in early November.

    Your J-Post link didn’t work. I guess that it said something about a continued truce if Israel relaxed its restrictions. So to paraphrase, Hamas was saying to Israel “relax trade restrictions or we want war”. That’s not a very peaceful approach. Hamas already has a clear way of getting the restrictions lifted… but they are refusing to do it.

  21. I note that Israel is going to stop their military actions for three hours every day to improve the flow of humanitarian aid. I think this could serve a double purpose.

    Israel could offer the following… if Hamas stops their rocket attacks into Israel during those three hours, then Israel will not re-open their military actions. Israel should make this bargain clear to everybody in Gaza.

    The same “offer” could be made to apply every day during the three-hour pause.

    This would do two things. First, it opens up the possibility of quickly ending hositilities. Second, if Hamas does continue to attack during those three hours, it makes it clear which side is pro-war and which side is anti-war.

  22. I believe Hamas attacked Israel 15 minutes in to the three-hour ceasefire. It’s pretty clear which side is more ‘pro-war’.

  23. v. Israel spurned an offer from Hamas: yes, really, and more than just one. Here’s one just from this current Israeli assault (J-Post)

    That isnt really a valid source of evidence as it doesnt really talk about the conditions of the cease-fire with Israel. And considering earlier in the article it mentions that he is urging Gaza residents to rise up against Israel in a renewed “intifada”, I think the conditions would have been much of the same old rhetoric.

    And the fact that Hamas doesn’t have a new charter is definitely relevant. If they are not supporting their old charter then what rules are they playing by? What are the aims and laws of the organisation?

    In my book I would have to consider they still abide by the old charter if they don’t have a new one. Regardless of whatever you say about the fact that they don’t support it anymore.

  24. Nicholas Gray wrote “China (Classics more important than commerce), or the Indian peninsula (merchants only exist to be taxed so the king can look good)”.

    Actually, Chinese classics embedded insights into things like commerce, so the idea was that by putting those into practice you were doing more useful stuff than merely by practising commerce – which was broadly accurate in an agrarian system where commerce didn’t do much to increase the size of the pie. And in India, taxes mostly fell directly or indirectly on the peasants, for much the same reasons (rulers who impoverished merchants didn’t do as well as those who used them as middlemen).

  25. So you mean the mandarins were all successful business leaders who were incorporated into the state? I was merely pointing out to TimR the error of his assumptions, where he was blaming Judeo-Christian ethics, without admitting that it was the Protestant work ethic that got us to a better level.

  26. The facts tell the world a reality that Israeli state propaganda can never refute: Israel is targeting civilians. Are we to believe that surgical strikes result in over 700 dead, at least half now civilians, if not more? Are we to believe that Israel expressly told families and children to go to a school, only to bomb them? Or how about the millions of cluster bomb munitions it carpeted southern Lebanon with in 2006 in the last 72 hours of that assault with, when a ceasefire was imminent?

    The examples, the history, the established systematic attempts at slow-motion genocide as Ilan Pappe calls it, is on the record. I’m not going to break it down for you if you still can’t see the obvious in Israel’s cynical blanket bombing and targeting of schools, mosques and residential apartment houses. I have taught geopolitics for 12 hours and I can tell you that I and others can solidly (and sadly) conclude that Israel is, as has so often be en the case before) been actively targeting civilians as well as obstructing aid and medical crews that just earned it the rarely expressed ire of the ICRC.

    All astute observers know the internal logic of Israeli militarism from Plan Dagan’s express aims from 2000 to the present for just such an operation as is happening today. It is not at all absurd, that is the cynicism we’ve come to know from Israel’s state terror. I’ve provided you with a link that is a gateway of links, so do your research and remove your blinkers. That’s patently untrue about the Arab street, particularly if you watch Arabic media. I’m here to tell you that I and others like me are not taken in by Israeli state lies and I’m sorry to see that you are.

  27. yes, I’m sure someone will smirk at the hours which should be years, though as I teach in a summer program, the hours applies today, too (teach geopolitics for 12 years)

  28. PG — the deaths of civilians does not prove that somebody is targetting civilians. Nobody has denied that civilians have died. The fact of civilians deaths is (unfortunately) a common part of war and is one of the many reasons we should try to avoid war whenever possible. It is even more common when one side uses human shields and intentionally mixes with civilian populations.

    You provide no evidence for the suggestion that Israel is targetting civilians or attempting slow-motion genocide. If they are — then they are being spectacularly unsuccessful. Given their technology I would have assumed that Israel could easily kill thousands of civilians every day if they so wanted.

    As I showed you with the link above, the school attack came after Israeli forces received fire from that school.

    The far more obvious conclusion is that Israel is willing to tolerate civilian casualties while it goes after Hamas. And that in war some mistakes are made.

    You suggest that I’ve swallowed propaganda. I don’t read Israeli journalism. I have seen both sides of the debate, and I do not have a track record for simply believing western media. I’m making an assessment of the most likely course of events without assuming that either side is inherently evil or stupid.

    I don’t accept arguments from authority.

    But ultimately, arguments about whether the Israelis are just a bunch of blood-thirsty heatless child-killers or not doesn’t help us to end the war. A mutual agreement to stop fighting without other conditions would end the war.

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