The Best on Gaza

Robert Fisk: Why bombing Ashkelon is the most tragic irony
December 30, 2008, THE INDEPENDENT

How easy it is to snap off the history of the Palestinians, to delete the narrative of their tragedy, to avoid a grotesque irony about Gaza which – in any other conflict – journalists would be writing about in their first reports: that the original, legal owners of the Israeli land on which Hamas rockets are detonating live in Gaza.

That is why Gaza exists: because the Palestinians who lived in Ashkelon and the fields around it – Askalaan in Arabic – were dispossessed from their lands in 1948 when Israel was created and ended up on the beaches of Gaza. They – or their children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren – are among the one and a half million Palestinian refugees crammed into the cesspool of Gaza, 80 per cent of whose families once lived in what is now Israel. This, historically, is the real story: most of the people of Gaza don’t come from Gaza.

But watching the news shows, you’d think that history began yesterday, that a bunch of bearded anti-Semitic Islamist lunatics suddenly popped up in the slums of Gaza – a rubbish dump of destitute people of no origin – and began firing missiles into peace-loving, democratic Israel, only to meet with the righteous vengeance of the Israeli air force. The fact that the five sisters killed in Jabalya camp had grandparents who came from the very land whose more recent owners have now bombed them to death simply does not appear in the story.

Both Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres said back in the 1990s that they wished Gaza would just go away, drop into the sea, and you can see why. The existence of Gaza is a permanent reminder of those hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who lost their homes to Israel, who fled or were driven out through fear or Israeli ethnic cleansing 60 years ago, when tidal waves of refugees had washed over Europe in the aftermath of the Second World War and when a bunch of Arabs kicked out of their property didn’t worry the world.

Well, the world should worry now. Crammed into the most overpopulated few square miles in the whole world are a dispossessed people who have been living in refuse and sewage and, for the past six months, in hunger and darkness, and who have been sanctioned by us, the West. Gaza was always an insurrectionary place. It took two years for Ariel Sharon’s bloody “pacification”, starting in 1971, to be completed, and Gaza is not going to be tamed now. …

Johann Hari: The true story behind this war is not the one Israel is telling. Independent, Monday, 29 December 2008

…There will now be a war over the story of this war. The Israeli government says, “We withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and in return we got Hamas and Qassam rockets being rained on our cities. Sixteen civilians have been murdered. How many more are we supposed to sacrifice?” It is a plausible narrative, and there are shards of truth in it, but it is also filled with holes. If we want to understand the reality and really stop the rockets, we need to rewind a few years and view the run-up to this war dispassionately.

The Israeli government did indeed withdraw from the Gaza Strip in 2005 – in order to be able to intensify control of the West Bank. Ariel Sharon’s senior adviser, Dov Weisglass, was unequivocal about this, explaining: “The disengagement [from Gaza] is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians… this whole package that is called the Palestinian state has been removed from our agenda indefinitely.”

Ordinary Palestinians were horrified by this, and by the fetid corruption of their own Fatah leaders, so they voted for Hamas. It certainly wouldn’t have been my choice – an Islamist party is antithetical to all my convictions – but we have to be honest. It was a free and democratic election, and it was not a rejection of a two-state solution. The most detailed polling of Palestinians, by the University of Maryland, found that 72 per cent want a two-state solution on the 1967 borders, while fewer than 20 per cent want to reclaim the whole of historic Palestine. So, partly in response to this pressure, Hamas offered Israel a long, long ceasefire and a de facto acceptance of two states, if only Israel would return to its legal borders.

Rather than seize this opportunity and test Hamas’s sincerity, the Israeli government reacted by punishing the entire civilian population. It announced that it was blockading the Gaza Strip in order to “pressure” its people to reverse the democratic process. The Israelis surrounded the Strip and refused to let anyone or anything out. They let in a small trickle of food, fuel and medicine – but not enough for survival. Weisglass quipped that the Gazans were being “put on a diet”. According to Oxfam, only 137 trucks of food were allowed into Gaza last month to feed 1.5 million people….

The dire cost of domestic rivalries
Neve Gordon
guardian, 29 December 2008

Israel seems more concerned with electoral politics and restoring its military reputation than stopping the Qassam rockets…

Although Olmert did not say as much, the “mission” includes four distinct objectives. The first is the destruction of Hamas, a totally unrealistic goal…. The second objective has to do with Israel’s coming elections…. The third objective involves the Israeli military. After its notable humiliation in Lebanon during the summer of 2006, the IDF has been looking for opportunities to re-establish its global standing…. Finally, Hamas and Fatah have not yet reached an agreement regarding how to proceed when Mahmoud Abbas ends his official term as president of the Palestinian National Authority on January 9. One of the outcomes of this assault is that Abbas will remain in power for a while longer since Hamas will be unable to mobilise its supporters in order to force him to resign.

What is clearly missing from this list of Israeli objectives is the attempt to halt the firing of Qassam rockets into Israel’s southern towns. Unlike the objectives I mentioned, which are not discussed by government officials, this one is presented by the government as the operation’s primary objective. Yet, the government is actively misleading the public…

Nir Rosen in the Guardian, here

“…The international community is directly guilty for this latest massacre. Will it remain immune from the wrath of a desperate people? …

Counterinsurgency, now popular again among in the Pentagon, is another way of saying the suppression of national liberation struggles. Terror and intimidation are as essential to it as is winning hearts and minds.

Normative rules are determined by power relations. Those with power determine what is legal and illegal. They besiege the weak in legal prohibitions to prevent the weak from resisting. For the weak to resist is illegal by definition. Concepts like terrorism are invented and used normatively as if a neutral court had produced them, instead of the oppressors. The danger in this excessive use of legality actually undermines legality, diminishing the credibility of international institutions such as the United Nations. It becomes apparent that the powerful, those who make the rules, insist on legality merely to preserve the power relations that serve them or to maintain their occupation and colonialism.

Attacking civilians is the last, most desperate and basic method of resistance when confronting overwhelming odds and imminent eradication. The Palestinians do not attack Israeli civilians with the expectation that they will destroy Israel. The land of Palestine is being stolen day after day; the Palestinian people is being eradicated day after day. As a result, they respond in whatever way they can to apply pressure on Israel. Colonial powers use civilians strategically, settling them to claim land and dispossess the native population, be they Indians in North America or Palestinians in what is now Israel and the Occupied Territories. When the native population sees that there is an irreversible dynamic that is taking away their land and identity with the support of an overwhelming power, then they are forced to resort to whatever methods of resistance they can.

…Yet the US has killed thousands of civilians in airstrikes on populated areas. When you drop bombs on populated areas knowing there will be some “collateral” civilian damage, but accepting it as worth it, then it is deliberate. When you impose sanctions, as the US did on Saddam era Iraq, that kill hundreds of thousands, and then say their deaths were worth it, as secretary of state Albright did, then you are deliberately killing people for a political goal. When you seek to “shock and awe”, as president Bush did, when he bombed Iraq, you are engaging in terrorism.

Just as the traditional American cowboy film presented white Americans under siege, with Indians as the aggressors, which was the opposite of reality, so, too, have Palestinians become the aggressors and not the victims. Beginning in 1948, 750,000 Palestinians were deliberately cleansed and expelled from their homes, and hundreds of their villages were destroyed, and their land was settled by colonists, who went on to deny their very existence and wage a 60-year war against the remaining natives and the national liberation movements the Palestinians established around the world. Every day, more of Palestine is stolen, more Palestinians are killed. To call oneself an Israeli Zionist is to engage in the dispossession of entire people. It is not that, qua Palestinians, they have the right to use any means necessary, it is because they are weak.

From the ashes of Gaza
Tarik Ali, THE GUARDIAN, Tuesday 30 December 2008

In the face of Israel’s latest onslaught, the only option for Palestinian nationalism is to embrace a one-state solution.

The assault on Gaza, planned over six months and executed with perfect timing, was designed largely, as Neve Gordon has rightly observed, to help the incumbent parties triumph in the forthcoming Israeli elections. The dead Palestinians are little more than election fodder in a cynical contest between the right and the far right in Israel. Washington and its EU allies, perfectly aware that Gaza was about to be assaulted, as in the case of Lebanon in 2006, sit back and watch.

Washington, as is its wont, blames the pro-Hamas Palestinians, with Obama and Bush singing from the same AIPAC hymn sheet. The EU politicians, having observed the build-up, the siege, the collective punishment inflicted on Gaza, the targeting of civilians etc (for all the gory detail, see Harvard scholar Sara Roy’s chilling essay in the London Review of Books) were convinced that it was the rocket attacks that had “provoked” Israel but called on both sides to end the violence, with nil effect. The moth-eaten Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt and Nato’s favourite Islamists in Ankara failed to register even a symbolic protest by recalling their ambassadors from Israel. China and Russia did not convene a meeting of the UN security council to discuss the crisis.

As result of official apathy, one outcome of this latest attack will be to inflame Muslim communities throughout the world and swell the ranks of those very organisations that the west claims it is combating in the “war against terror”.

The bloodshed in Gaza raises broader strategic questions for both sides, issues related to recent history. One fact that needs to be recognised is that there is no Palestinian Authority. There never was one. The Oslo Accords were an unmitigated disaster for the Palestinians, creating a set of disconnected and shrivelled Palestinian ghettoes under the permanent watch of a brutal enforcer. The PLO, once the repository of Palestinian hope, became little more than a supplicant for EU money.

Western enthusiasm for democracy stops when those opposed to its policies are elected to office. The west and Israel tried everything to secure a Fatah victory: Palestinian voters rebuffed the concerted threats and bribes of the “international community” in a campaign that saw Hamas members and other oppositionists routinely detained or assaulted by the IDF, their posters confiscated or destroyed, US and EU funds channelled into the Fatah campaign, and US congressmen announcing that Hamas should not be allowed to run.

Even the timing of the election was set by the determination to rig the outcome. Scheduled for the summer of 2005, it was delayed till January 2006 to give Abbas time to distribute assets in Gaza – in the words of an Egyptian intelligence officer, “the public will then support the Authority against Hamas.”

Popular desire for a clean broom after ten years of corruption, bullying and bluster under Fatah proved stronger than all of this. Hamas’s electoral triumph was treated as an ominous sign of rising fundamentalism, and a fearsome blow to the prospects of peace with Israel, by rulers and journalists across the Atlantic world. Immediate financial and diplomatic pressures were applied to force Hamas to adopt the same policies as those of the party it had defeated at the polls. Uncompromised by the Palestinian Authority’s combination of greed and dependency, the self-enrichment of its servile spokesmen and policemen, and their acquiescence in a “peace process” that has brought only further expropriation and misery to the population under them, Hamas offered the alternative of a simple example. Without any of the resources of its rival, it set up clinics, schools, hospitals, vocational training and welfare programmes for the poor. Its leaders and cadres lived frugally, within reach of ordinary people.

It is this response to everyday needs that has won Hamas the broad base of its support, not daily recitation of verses from the Koran. How far its conduct in the second Intifada has given it an additional degree of credibility is less clear. Its armed attacks on Israel, like those of Fatah’s Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade or Islamic Jihad, have been retaliations against an occupation far more deadly than any actions it has ever undertaken. Measured on the scale of IDF killings, Palestinian strikes have been few and far between. The asymmetry was starkly exposed during Hamas’s unilateral ceasefire, begun in June 2003, and maintained throughout the summer, despite the Israeli campaign of raids and mass arrests that followed, in which some 300 Hamas cadres were seized from the West Bank.

On August 19 2003, a self-proclaimed “Hamas” cell from Hebron, disowned and denounced by the official leadership, blew up a bus in west Jerusalem, upon which Israel promptly assassinated the Hamas ceasefire’s negotiator, Ismail Abu Shanab. Hamas, in turn, responded. In return, the Palestinian Authority and Arab states cut funding to its charities and, in September 2003, the EU declared the whole Hamas movement to be a terrorist organization – a longstanding demand of Tel Aviv.

What has actually distinguished Hamas in a hopelessly unequal combat is not dispatch of suicide bombers, to which a range of competing groups resorted, but its superior discipline – demonstrated by its ability to enforce a self-declared ceasefire against Israel over the past year. All civilian deaths are to be condemned, but since Israel is their principal practitioner, Euro-American cant serves only to expose those who utter it. Overwhelmingly, the boot of murder is on the other foot, ruthlessly stamped into Palestine by a modern army equipped with jets, tanks and missiles in the longest-armed oppression of modern history.

“Nobody can reject or condemn the revolt of a people that has been suffering under military occupation for 45 years against occupation force,” said General Shlomo Gazit, former chief of Israeli military intelligence, in 1993. The real grievance of the EU and US against Hamas is that it refused to accept the capitulation of the Oslo Accords, and has rejected every subsequent effort, from Taba to Geneva, to pass off their calamities on the Palestinians. ….

Israel Recussitates Hamas, By Daoud Kuttab in Washinton Post

Thanks to Israeli bombs, the Islamic movement has been saved from political death.

For two years, the Islamic Resistance Movement (known by its Arabic acronym, Hamas) has been losing support internally and externally. This wasn’t the case in the days after the party came to power democratically in early 2006; despite being unjustly ostracized by the international community for its anti-Israeli stance, Hamas enjoyed the backing of Palestinians and other Arabs. Having won a decisive parliamentary majority on an anti-corruption platform promising change and reform, Hamas worked hard to govern better than had Fatah, its rival and predecessor.

Things began to sour when Hamas violently seized control of Gaza, but even then, Hamas enjoyed considerable domestic support — and much goodwill externally. Then the movement turned down every legitimate offer from its nationalist PLO rivals and Egyptian mediators to pursue reconciliation, and support for it began to slip.

Things got worse in November when a carefully planned national unity effort from the Egyptians failed because, at the very last minute, Hamas’s leaders refused to show up in Cairo. Failure to accept this roundtable invitation greatly upset the Egyptians, and they and other Arab leaders scolded Hamas publicly. ….

The disproportionate and heavy-handed Israeli attacks on Gaza have been a bonanza for Hamas. The movement has renewed its standing in the Arab world, secured international favor further afield and succeeded in scuttling indirect Israeli-Syrian talks and direct Palestinian-Israeli negotiations. It has also greatly embarrassed Israel’s strongest Arab neighbors, Egypt and Jordan….

Why Israel Feels Threatened By BENNY MORRIS in NY Times

Iran’s nuclear threat, the rise of Hamas and Hezbollah and Israeli Arabs’ growing disaffection with the state offer challenges that Israel’s leaders and public find difficult to counter….

…. But the attack will not solve the basic problem posed by a Gaza Strip populated by 1.5 million impoverished, desperate Palestinians who are ruled by a fanatic regime and are tightly hemmed in by fences and by border crossings controlled by Israel and Egypt.

An enormous Israeli ground operation aimed at conquering the Gaza Strip and destroying Hamas would probably bog down in the alleyways of refugee camps before achieving its goal. (And even if these goals were somehow achieved, renewed and indefinite Israeli rule over Gaza would prove unpalatable to all concerned.)

More likely are small, limited armored incursions, intended to curtail missile launches and kill Hamas fighters. But these are also unlikely to bring the organization to heel — though they may exercise sufficient pressure eventually to achieve, with the mediation of Turkey or Egypt, a renewed temporary truce. That seems to be the most that can be hoped for, though a renewal of rocket attacks on southern Israel, once Hamas recovers, is as certain as day follows night.

The fourth immediate threat to Israel’s existence is internal. It is posed by the country’s Arab minority. Over the past two decades, Israel’s 1.3 million Arab citizens have been radicalized, with many openly avowing a Palestinian identity and embracing Palestinian national aims. Their spokesmen say that their loyalty lies with their people rather than with their state, Israel. Many of the community’s leaders, who benefit from Israeli democracy, more or less publicly supported Hezbollah in 2006 and continue to call for “autonomy” (of one sort or another) and for the dissolution of the Jewish state.

Demography, if not Arab victory in battle, offers the recipe for such a dissolution. The birth rates for Israeli Arabs are among the highest in the world, with 4 or 5 children per family (as opposed to the 2 or 3 children per family among Israeli Jews).

If present trends persist, Arabs could constitute the majority of Israel’s citizens by 2040 or 2050. Already, within five to 10 years, Palestinians (Israeli Arabs coupled with those who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip) will form the majority population of Palestine (the land lying between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean).

Friction between Israeli Arabs and Jews is already a cogent political factor. In 2000, at the start of the second intifada, thousands of Arab youngsters, in sympathy with their brethren in the territories, rioted along Israel’s major highways and in Israel’s ethnically mixed cities.

The past fortnight has seen a recurrence, albeit on a smaller scale, of such rioting. Down the road, Israel’s Jews fear more violence and terrorism by Israeli Arabs. Most Jews see the Arab minority as a potential fifth column.

What is common to these specific threats is their unconventionality. Between 1948 and 1982 Israel coped relatively well with the threat from conventional Arab armies. Indeed, it repeatedly trounced them. But Iran’s nuclear threat, the rise of organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah that operate from across international borders and from the midst of dense civilian populations, and Israeli Arabs’ growing disaffection with the state and their identification with its enemies, offer a completely different set of challenges. And they are challenges that Israel’s leaders and public, bound by Western democratic and liberal norms of behavior, appear to find particularly difficult to counter.

Israel’s sense of the walls closing in on it has this past week led to one violent reaction. Given the new realities, it would not be surprising if more powerful explosions were to follow.

Specter carries message from Israel to Syria, December 30, 2008

WASHINGTON (JTA) — U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter carried a message from Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

Specter (R-Pa.) met Sunday with Olmert in Israel, where he said he “got a review of the Syrian negotiations” from the Israeli prime minister, the Jerusalem Post reported. He left Israel Monday, and refused to discuss the details of the message he was carrying.
“I believe the efforts to isolate Syria have not been successful,” Specter told the paper. “We ought to try to change things. President [Bill] Clinton tried to do a good job in 1995 and 2000, and I think it ought to be pursued.”

Comments (214)

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201. Shai said:

Dear Simo,

Did I hit a nerve there? To remind you, it wasn’t me who suggested some people may have certain “dilemmas”, when ordered to do something immoral. You yourself said “Some of them (your family members) were forced to go to war like over 20 million other men in Nazi Germany were forced to go”. And the other day you tried to put me in the same shoes – not a Nazi party member, but a follower of orders, being “forced to go to war…”, right? I guess it was okay for you to hint at my dilemmas, but not for me to suggest the same? Which one of us is a hypocrite again?

You know, you occasionally slip, and let out a little more than perhaps you’d like us to know, about how you truly feel. I know how much you don’t “hate” Jews, but then why do you say “The Nazi like behaviour comparison is also valid because Jews blame constantly Nazis for ethnic cleansing, robbery of property, organized mass murder etc. For the same things Jews do for Palestinians.” You do mean “Israelis”, don’t you? Or do you?

“I also could say that you have some “dilemmas”” Yes, you did exactly that – you tried to put me in a position where you hoped I would face exactly those dilemmas. You didn’t take into account, that I may have already ended my Reserves duty years, and that therefore I had no dilemmas to face. You also didn’t take into account, that your own admission regarding your family’s “being forced” to go to war might be used against you, in your own argument.

To make you finally understand my point – it was never that YOU are responsible in any way for your family’s “dilemmas”. Of course you’re not. But when you, as a European member of a family that had to participate in the Nazi army’s activities some 65 years ago, try to put ME in the same shoes, try to paint me as a hypocrite, or show my “true colors”, then you should at least expect the same in return. True, you Simo didn’t have dilemmas, and are not responsible in any way for what the Nazi army did. But your family, by your own admission, did. I am as much a “Nazi” as they were…

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January 6th, 2009, 7:28 pm


202. why-discuss said:

Turkey sides with Hamas and accuses Israel of ‘barbaric ‘ behavior and not having respected the temporary cease fire by keeping Gaza under siege.

Erdogan Searches for Diplomatic Response to Israeli Invasion of Gaza
Publication: Eurasia Daily Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 1
January 5, 2009 11:00 AM Age: 1 days
By: Saban Kardas

Israel’s ongoing offensive against Gaza has generated waves of anger among the Turkish public and Turkish political elite. Paralleling mounting street demonstrations throughout Turkey are international attempts by the country’s leaders to find a diplomatic solution to the crisis. The attacks came amid Turkey’s growing involvement in the Middle East as a significant power seeking to exert influence through nonmilitary means, including economic and trade relations, cultural exchanges, and its new-found role as a regional peace broker. The governing Justice and Development Party (AKP), under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has successfully involved Turkey in attempts to resolve the region’s protracted problems, most importantly Israel’s entangled relations with its Arab neighbors.

When Israel launched air strikes on December 27, Turkey’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the high number of civilian deaths and emphasized Turkey’s concern that the developments might undermine regional stability (, December 27). Erdogan criticized the operation and labeled Israeli aggression as an act against Turkey’s peace initiatives, noting that through this action Israel had shut the door on diplomacy. He said that any diplomatic contact with Israel was meaningless at that point and called on the United Nations to intervene to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe. He also cancelled his plan to call Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to discuss Israel-Syria negotiations, because Israeli aggression was also “an act of disrespect toward Turkey” (Radikal, December 27).

Erdogan’s disillusionment with Israel can be better understood given Olmert’s visit to Ankara a few days earlier, during which they discussed the status of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process and Olmert asked Erdogan to revitalize the Israeli-Syria talks (, December 23). Erdogan was preparing to play a more assertive role as a peace-broker in 2009, but Israel’s unrestricted use of force and apparent “insincerity” toward Turkey might have shattered his optimism about finding a comprehensive solution to Middle Eastern conflicts through dialogue.

In response to Israel’s uncompromising position, the Erdogan government embarked on a diplomatic offensive to mobilize the international community. Since the outbreak of the crisis, Erdogan has spoken to world leaders such as the UN Secretary-General and European politicians (Anadolu Ajansi, January 4). He went on a “Middle East tour” to consult with regional leaders and explore a common position against Israel. On the first step of his shuttle-diplomacy, he met with the leaders of Syria, Jordan, and Egypt, as well as Palestinian politicians. The second step of his tour took him to Saudi Arabia. Following his meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Erdogan announced Turkey’s proposal for a two-stage plan to calm tension in Gaza. The first stage would be a ceasefire supervised by international peacekeepers, including Turkish forces. The second stage would seek to find a common ground between rival Palestinian groups in order to achieve a sustainable peace in the region (, January 2; Sabah, January 3).

In the midst of these initiatives, Turkey appears to be seeking ways to bridge the divisions among Arab countries as well. While some Arab countries tend to feel that Hamas has the main responsibility for the collapse of talks with Fatah and are seeking to isolate it because of its alleged connections to Iran, Turkey is arguing against its isolation (Referans, December 30). At a time when Hamas is also coming under international criticism for sparking Israeli aggression, Erdogan defended the organization by saying that “agitation does not come from Hamas; rather, Israel has created fertile ground for this agitation.” Referring to a June 2008 deal brokered by Egypt, he maintained that “Hamas complied with the six-month long ceasefire. Yet, Israel did not lift the embargo. The people of Gaza are living in an open prison.” Erdogan went on to add that “Turkey could sponsor Hamas’s conditions for a ceasefire at the UN Security Council [UNSC], because Hamas’s trust in the Palestinian authority and Egypt has been shaken” but it still had full confidence in Turkey (Yeni Safak, January 3;, January 4).

Here, Erdogan had in mind Turkey’s new role as a non-permanent member of the UNSC, which it assumed this month. However, the United States’ threat to veto any resolution to halt Israeli attacks, as reflected in the January 3 consultation meeting of the SC, will not make it easy for the Erdogan government to use this avenue for supporting Palestinian interests. It is also important to note that Erdogan has repeatedly emphasized Turkey’s willingness to work in tandem with Egypt as a defender of the Palestinian cause.

At the same time, Foreign Minister Ali Babacan met with his counterparts. He phoned the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) Secretary General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, himself a Turk, and arranged an emergency meeting of the OIC Foreign Ministers (, December 28). The final communiqué of the OIC meeting held on January 3 strongly condemned “the ongoing barbaric Israeli assault on the Palestinian people in Gaza” and proposed a number of measures to mobilize the international community to relieve the suffering of Palestinians and end Israel’s attacks (, January, 3). Similarly, Turkey also urged the Arab League’s foreign ministers to work toward a ceasefire and facilitate reconciliation between Fatah and Hamas.

The start of Israel’s ground offensive despite these efforts raises questions about the future of Turkish-Israeli relations. In response to a question, Erdogan had earlier said, “Inter-governmental relations cannot afford emotions. Yet, injustice cannot be permitted either. If there is oppression, we cannot support it. We seek to solve it through talks” (Zaman, January 2). Given Israel’s lack of interest in “talks,” on the one hand, and Turkey’s pro-Hamas position and exclusion of Israel from its diplomatic initiatives, on the other, it will be interesting to see how Erdogan will advocate Palestinian rights in international forums and whether Turkish-Israeli cooperation can survive the storm.

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January 6th, 2009, 9:01 pm


203. Shual said:

“When Russia destroyed Chechnya they acted like Nazis did.”

Now, its getting really silly. Russian tactics incl. progroms against Jews, minorities are well-known for several hundreds of years.

Hitler himself was very surprised to see the world stay silent against the Armenian Genozide. He was influenced by turkish tactics against civillians. “Wer redet heute noch von der Vernichtung der Armenier?” [Hitler, 22. August 1939] “Who is talking today about the annihilation of the Armenians?” […] He copied very much, Mr. Hitler.

“I have not claimed that Israel is exactly a Nazi state.”
You can not compare a single poop of a Nazi with today without referring to the NS-system. The NS-system includes always a special view at the state of the world, which is seen as an incomplete world as long not all others except of Arians are killed. The “stages” can be found in the mythology of the NS-system. Hitler himself hated his own people, cause they could not achieve the first stage. They only tried = 80 Million people died.

Today, 80% of the world seems to have enough time to think about similarities between everything on the planet and the NS-time. A cheap excuse for not working at the problems of the planet.

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January 6th, 2009, 9:19 pm


204. Alex said:

Shai, Shual, Simo … I hope we don’t recycle the Nazi discussion yet again.

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January 6th, 2009, 9:59 pm


205. Shami said:

Rumayal i disagree with what the noble king Faysal whe he spoke about the protocol of zion and the ritual killing ,he is a human and as human he is not infaillible.Such primary anti jewish racism should be avoided but it happens under the influence of anger and you should agree that the actions of Israel validate and give credibility to such literature ,imported from Europe.
King Faysal inspite of his religious conservatism was liberal in politic and had as advicers christians from Lebanon and Syria and Syrian muslims like Dr Maaruf Dawalibi former Syrian PM.
I dont believe that when the zionist regime will be defeated there will be acts of revenge against the Israeli citizens.
We protected your ancestors when they escaped massacres and persecution in Europe.And the next israeli generations should not held accountable for the mistakes of the israelis of today.

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January 6th, 2009, 10:39 pm


206. Shami said:

When i read the comments of our israeli brother Shai ,we say to ourselves that even if we had 20 millions Shai among us we would feel confortable.
But unfortunately the averrage arab has no other picture of Israel other than these draculas like Barak and the fox Peres.

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January 6th, 2009, 10:55 pm


207. Shual said:

you are rigth.

The latest developments show that the IDF still is a bunch of overarmed amateurs that want to get some credit back. Its a problem of democracy… it seems that nobody controls them, nobody takes responsibility. The state of Israel has a long way to go and has to install reforms. Especially European countries should demand that, if Israel wants to receive a “quasi”-EU-membership in April 2009. Historic fantasies are not on the table.

[Amateurs. They welcomed international journalists and let them take photos of the -widely seen as- illegal use of phosphor. After the media + the world that is not propagandistic israelizised cried: “Foul” they… “reformed”: Ban of all journalists = lack of transparency. Every country in the Western world needs informational help to solve specific problems. Israel today is on top of the list.]

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January 6th, 2009, 11:36 pm


208. Rumyal said:


I understand. As somebody who cares about the lives of people in Israel, and also in the entire region, I would hope that we can learn to live together (one state, two state, whatever) without you having to defeat and conquer Israel. I heard that Omar the great has been welcomed into Jerusalem by the Jews, but as you can imagine, this will not replay itself again. Having seen pictures from war zones in the Arab world (Algeria, Iraq), I’d prefer giving defeat a pass. On the other hand, if the situation in Israel played out like South Africa did, where no bloody war was necessary, that would be good. Somehow I don’t take your word for it that if we were defeated everything will just be great again. This would be at the end of a bloody war and after horrific atrocities would have been perpetrated already… perhaps even a nuke or two thrown… So… let’s not make this happen, let’s find ways to bring equality and justice to all without swords.

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January 7th, 2009, 1:01 am


209. Alex said:


I agree with you again … the vast majority of Arabs would not harm Jews .. simply because the vast majority of people anywhere are not criminal.

But there would be enough foolish angry people who would do the worst.

No one should be defeated.

But Israel has to stop generating hate … if we are to have peace one day … It would help if Israel would stop killing and destroying for a couple of years.

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January 7th, 2009, 1:24 am


210. Shai said:


The video clip you posted is very powerful. To me, this brave Palestinian girl caused those two soldiers to think, a hundred times better than Hamas rockets do. Perhaps Joe M. is right – there need to be both types of protests (violent and nonviolent). But personally I believe the latter has far better chances than the first. Perhaps those banners the PA posted on Israeli sites (their recent ad campaign) should have linked also to these videos, not only to promises of peace with 57 Islamic nations.

A mirror has to be placed in front of my people’s face, and this video is a powerful way of doing so.

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January 7th, 2009, 7:25 am


211. Mark Bernadiner said:

Palestinian muslims crime history

In 1920s-30s, Palestinian Muslims committed massacre of Jews in Jewish land of Palestine murdering thousands of children and civilians. The murder was organized by the founder and supreme leader of the Arab Higher Committee, Haj Amin al Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem, and supported by British Administration of Palestine. The massacre was, in reality, the Holocaust committed by Palestinian Arabs in compliance with Islamic Koran which demand killing Christians and Jews.

Haj Amin was close friend of Hitler. In 1941, Haj Amin came to Berlin and visited Hitler. He brought the Holocaust idea to Hitler. In 1943, Amin organized Bosnian Muslim battalions in Croatia comprising some twenty thousand men. The battalions were put in Waffen-SS units, fought Yugoslav partisans in Bosnia; thousands of Serbs, Roma (‘Gypsies’) and Jews hunted down by Haj Amin’s SS troops were killed by those same troops, or they were sent to the Islamic death camp Jasenovac. After the WWII, the International tribunal declared Haj Amin was crime criminal; however, he escaped prosecution, fled to Egypt and then Palestine where he organized Fatah. After his death in 1974, Arafat, who was Haj Amin lieutenant, became Fatah commander. He organized PLO. PLO and Fatah committed numerous murders around the world killing American and European Christian and Jews.
The 1960s
–December 26, 1968 –two Palestinian gunmen traveled from Beirut to Athens, and attacked an El Al jet and killed one. On December 28,1968, Israel troops landed in Beirut, Lebanon and destroyed 13 civilian aircraft at Beirut International Airport.
The assassination of Robert F. Kennedy, a United States Senator and brother of assassinated President John F. Kennedy, took place shortly after midnight on June 5, 1968. He was killed following celebrations of his successful campaign in the Californian primary elections while seeking the Democratic nomination for President of the United States. The perpetrator was a twenty-four year old Palestinian immigrant named Sirhan Sirhan.
The 1970s
–May 8, 1970: Three Palestinian gunmen crossed the Lebanese border into the agricultural community of Avivim and ambushed the local school bus, killing nine children and three adults, and wounding 19 other children.
–September 4, 1972: Munich Olympic’s Massacre–Members of “Black September,” a PLO offshoot, attacked the Israeli Olympic team in their dormitory at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games in Germany. As a result of the hostage-taking and the bungled attempt by the Germans to rescue the prisoners, eleven Israeli athletes and one German policman were killed. This attack prompted Israel to launch “Operation Wrath of God” and “Operation Spring of Youth.” See below for details.
–Beginning in the Fall of 1972: Israel’s launched “Operation Wrath of God” to track down and kill members of the PLO involved in the Munich attack. This operation continued for several years and resulted in the assassinations of several members of the PLO around the world.
–March 1, 1973: Eight members of Black September took over the Saudi Arabian embassy in Khartoum, Sudan. Among the hostages were two American diplomats, Ambassador Cleo Noel, and Deputy Ambassador George Curtis Moore. Both Americans and Belgian diplomat, Guy Eid were killed.
— April 11, 1974: three guerillas of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), infiltrated the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Shmona from Lebanon, killing eighteen residents of an apartment building, including nine children. The attackers died in battle with Israeli troops.
–May 15, 1974: Fighters of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) entered the Israeli border town of Ma’alot from Lebanon, killed five adults and seizing hostages in a school building. All of the attackers died in battle with Israeli forces, but not before they killed 21 of the school’s students.
–June 27-July 4, 1976: “Operation Entebbe”: On June 27, an Air France flight from Tel Aviv was hijacked by four terrorists, two from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — External Operations (PFLP-EO) and two from the German terrorst group, “Revolutionäre Zellen.” The plane eventually ended up at Entebbe Airport in Uganda, which was then ruled by dictator Idi Amin. Amin was friendly to the Palestinian cause, and aided the terrorists. Once on the ground, three more Palestininans joined the hijackers. Demands were made for the release of prisoners held by Israel.
Israel responded with a commando raid on the night of July3/July 4. Around 100 Israeli troops in four military transport planes landed at night and rescued the hostages. As a result of the rescue operation,100 of the 103 hostages were freed. Three hostages died. One Israeli soldier died, while 45 Ugandan soldiers were killed eleven Ugandan Army Air Force fighter planes were destroyed on the ground to prevent them from following the Israeli air planes carrying the rescued hostages and the troops.
–March 5,1975: A force of eight PLO fighters sailed from to Tel Aviv by sea from Lebanon. Once inside Israel, they entered the Savoy Hotel, and took dozens of hostages. In the ensuing battle for the hotel, seven of the eight Palestinians and three Israeli troops died, while eight civilians were killed and 19 wounded.
— March 11, 1978: Eight Fatah guerillas entered Israel from Lebanon. After killing an American tourist on the beach, the guerillas hijacked a bus on the coastal road near Haifa. In the ensuing bus chase and battle, six Palestinian guerillas and 35 of the passengers died. Seventy-One civilians were wounded. Israel’s response to this “Coastal Road Massacre” was to launch a full-scale invasion of South Lebanon in order to root out the PLO forces based there.
The 1980s
July 27, 1980: Attack on Jewish school in Antwerp, Belgium by terrorists associated with the Palestinian Abu Nidal.
July 27, 1980: Abu Nidal claimed responsibility for the murder of an Israeli commercial attachee in Brussels, Belgium.
May 1, 1981: Assassination of Heinz Nittel in Vienna, Austria by Abu Nidal’s forces. Nittel was President of the Austrian-Israeli Friendship Association.
June 3, 1982: Attempted assassination in London of Israeli Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Shlomo Argov. Israel accused the PLO of the attack, and the Argov attack was one of the incidents which provoked the Israeli invasion of Lebanon on June 6, 1982 called “Operation Peace in Galilee. Argov survived the attack, but was permanently disabled.
September 25, 1985: Three Israeli civilians were killed on their yacht off the coast of Larnaca, Cyprus by commandoes of al-Fatah’s elite “Force 17.”
-Oct. 7, 1985: The hijacking of the passenger cruise ship Achille Lauro. Members of the Palestine Liberation Front (PLF), led by Abu Abbas, killed Jewish American tourist Leon Klinghoffer. After several days, the hijackers agreed to a deal in which they would release the ship in return for a flight to Tunisia. The Egyptian airliner carrying the hijackers was intercepted by U.S. Navy fighter planes on Oct. 10 and forced it to land at a military base in Italy, where the terrorists were arrested by Italian authorities.
-December 27, 1985: Rome/Vienna Airport Attacks–Abu Nidal’s Fatah – the Revolutionary Council (FRC) staged two attacks in Europe which killed 18 civilians and wounded 140. The terrorists attacked passengers at airports in Rome and Vienna. The FRC claimed these attacks were in response to the October 1st Israeli air raid on Tunis.
September 6 1986 – Istanbul, Turkey
Abu Nidal organization attacks the Neveh Shalom synagogue, killing 22 people.
August 1988 – Haifa: 25 wounded in a grenade attack at the Haifa mall.
July 6 1989 – Tel Aviv: 14 killed when a terrorist steered a bus into a ravine off the Jerusalem-Tel Aviv highway.
The 2000s
In 2002, 5,301 terrorist attacks were perpetrated against Israeli targets, in which 451 Israeli were murdered.
In 2003, 3,838 terrorist attacks were perpetrated against Israeli targets, in which 213 Israelis were murdered.
In 2005, 2,990 terrorist attacks were perpetrated against Israeli targets.
From 2000 to 2004, Hamas was responsible for killing nearly 400 Israelis and wounding more than 2,000 in 425 attacks, according to the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
From 2001 through 2008, Hamas launched more than 5,000 Qassam rockets and 2,500 mortar attacks against Israeli targets.
According to CNN, Hamas uses civilian infrastructure, including schools, houses, kindergarten facilities, hospitals, for storing and launching rockets and other ammunition, placing training camps inside populated areas in violation of Geneva Convention and international law.
The above is only a minuscule part of Palestinian muslims criminal and murderous history; however, it is more than enough to conclude that:
Islamofascist organizations, PLO, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Popular Front of Liberation of Palestine, Fatah etc., must be totally exterminated to last member; other Palestinian muslims must be kicked out of Israel land of Palestine back to the countries of their origin.

Mark Bernadiner, PH.D.

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January 7th, 2009, 3:53 pm


212. pairadice said:

The Israeli – Gazan conflict has been going on for decades, since Yasser Arafat (whose father was a Gaza Palestinian) exhorted extermination of the Jews in Israel, tried to blow up water pipelines to Tel Aviv over 40 years ago, financed suicide bombers, engaged neighboring Arab states to invade Israel (and lost multiple times) and has left a legacy of constant attacks into Israel from Gaza.

This problem is two generations old, and is not about to disappear in the next 10 days, unless Israel, as well as Egypt and Iran and other Arab “brothers,” allow the Gazan Palestinians to emigrate en masse to Iran.

But that solution must come internationally, behind the scenes. Obama himself can not suggest that solution — it must be offered by the Arab “brotherhood.” So Obama must be diplomatic in the interim.

Only when the Gazans have been absorbed into other Arab countries (where they can presumably live a peaceful life), will there be peace in the middle east and a new Palestinian state in the West Bank be able to be created.

Make no mistake about it — trading land for peace means Gaza — the Gazans must trade their land in order to the Palestinians to have a state in the West Bank.

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January 10th, 2009, 4:05 pm


213. J Thomas said:

Mark Bernadiner, if you had started out with descriptions of jewish crimes during the middle ages, and gone on to explain about how jews were responsible for the Weimar republic which was disastrous for germany, and after listing a great number of other jewish crimes you decided that the right thing was to exterminate zionists to the last member while kicking out all other jews from germany to whatever nation would accept them —

in that case my opinion of you would not be very different from what I get by reading your actual comment.

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January 10th, 2009, 7:00 pm


214. J Thomas said:

“No one should be defeated.”

“But Israel has to stop generating hate … if we are to have peace one day … It would help if Israel would stop killing and destroying for a couple of years.”

It’s a hard thing. Sometimes people get into dead-ends where there is no future but it is very very hard to turn around and go back.

The more that israelis are hated, the more they are tempted to keep killing. “Because they hate us and would never agree to our survival.”

It’s absurd to apologise and ask the victims not to retaliate. If they get power, you must depend on them to be merciful when you had no mercy before. And yet the alternative is to try to keep them from getting any power, which means doing more things to get them to hate you….

It could happen to anybody. Maybe if the palestinians were mostly devout christians it might make a difference. Christians are supposed to forgive their enemies and love them. They’d have to be pretty devout for their persecutors to believe it, though.

It happens in biology too. Sometimes natural selection funnels a species into a dead end where it gets better and better at adapting to an ecological niche that dwindles away to nothing. No chance to get selected for something else, the species just has to get better and better at living on a (metaphorical) island that sinks into the sea, until there’s nothing left.

We can hope that human beings can make better choices, but it’s very hard. A single individual can walk away from a bad situation, but two reinforce each other’s opinions, fifty make a pact, a thousand make a creed, and a million carve out a way of life. It’s just hard. Nobody’s fault in particular. It’s just something that happens to people sometimes.

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January 10th, 2009, 7:31 pm


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