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Israel’s March of Folly

| July 20, 2014

The home of the Kware' family, after it was bombed by the military, while family members and neighbors were present inside the house and in its vicinity (© Muhammad Sabah/B'Tselem).

The home of the Kware’ family, after it was bombed by the military, while family members and neighbors were present inside the house and in its vicinity (© Muhammad Sabah/B’Tselem).

Whatever happens over the next few days as Israel carries out the latest of its innumerable massacres and collective punishment of its neighbors, a few things are certain. We know this because every few years Israel launches an invasion of some sort, always promising to end whatever threatens it once and for all, and every few years the only thing we end up with is a more paranoid Israel, more bloodletting, mostly of Arab civilians of course, and enemies only strengthened by Israel’s bellicose responses. There’s no reason to think it’ll be any different this time. The one thing Israel has been excellent at since around 1982, its first many wars of choice since, is to make matters much worse for itself. It’s the reward of that peculiar blend of arrogance and bigotry that has characterized Israeli policy toward Arabs since that invasion of Lebanon: the arrogance that Israel is infallible, and the bigotry that sees Arabs either as inferior creatures to be walled off or as terrorists to be killed.

pierre tristam column flaglerlive This latest war was not, as Israel likes to pretend and American media like to project uncritically, caused by the murder of three teen-age Yeshiva students in the West Bank. That was a pretext, the sort of minor “cause” Israel can always amplify into an outrage in order to launch its latest war-in-waiting. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu panicked in April when Hamas gave up authority in Gaza and joined a unity government led by the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank—a government whose 16 ministers, sworn in last month, include not one member of Hamas. Hamas agreed to terms set by the PA in hopes of ending the seven-year-old Israeli siege that’s turned Gaza into a poverty-ridden concentration camp.

Instead, Nathan Thrall of the International Crisis Group wrote in The Times this week, “Israel immediately sought to undermine the reconciliation agreement by preventing Hamas leaders and Gaza residents from obtaining the two most essential benefits of the deal: the payment of salaries to 43,000 civil servants who worked for the Hamas government and continue to administer Gaza under the new one, and the easing of the suffocating border closures imposed by Israel and Egypt that bar most Gazans’ passage to the outside world.” Conditions in Gaza got worse, if that’s possible. Tensions rose. Provocations flew, as did rockets. So did Israeli air raids over Gaza and incursions in the West bank, for weeks before the latest invasion.

The murder of the Yeshiva students was a crime, not a cause for war. And masked by the crime’s brutality is the fact—always snuffed out in American renditions of what happens to Israelis in the West Bank—that those three boys were where they were illegally: the 125 “settlements,” as Israel’s occupying colonies in the West Bank and East Jerusalem are euphemistically called, are illegal by every definition of international law, including the United Nations, the European Union and the International Court of Justice. Only the United States, where law and human rights take a holiday the moment Israel is the aggressor, are the colonies still gently called “settlements,” like mom and pop operations bravely taming a wild land all theirs to tame.

And the kidnapping, burning-alive, and murder of the young Palestinian boy, by “settlers,” in revenge for the murder of the yeshiva students, was itself a diversion from a graver reality—graver, because what happened to that Palestinian boy happens routinely to Palestinians in the West Bank, at the hands of colonists. The United Nations, which has maintained a depressing weekly report for years documenting aggression by both sides in the West Bank and Gaza, lists 400 incidents resulting in Palestinian casualties or property damage at the hands of colonists in 2013, and 172 so far this year. That compares to 50 cases of colonist casualties or property damage at the hands of Palestinians in 2013, and 40 so far this year. Palestinians are defending their own land as colonists, by definition, are stealing. Still, the numbers pale compared to Palestinian injuries at the hands of the Israeli military: the United Nations documents 3,736 such cases in 2013, and 1,292 so far this year. That was by June’s end, before Israel’s latest military assaults.

So here’s what we know will happen, now that the invasion is in full gear. As in 2009 or 2006 in Lebanon, Israel’s assault on Gaza will be merciless, massively disproportionate to anything Hamas could ever do, and indifferent to the hundreds or thousands of civilians who’ll be murdered along the way. As of today (July 20), and since July 9, 417 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, more than a quarter of them children, and 3,000 have been wounded. Overwhelmingly, the casualties are civilians. On Sunday alone, Israel lost 13 soldiers, bringing its total losses to 14. One Israeli civilian has been killed. Not a single Israeli child has been killed.

Palestinian casualties, of course, are all terrorists particularly those children, those patients in the two hospitals Israeli jets clobbered earlier this week, and those crippled fools in the rehab center also targeted. So killing them is perfectly splendid.

What we also know is that the killing is being done thanks to the American taxpayer. We shell out about $3 billion a year in military aid for Israel. We provide the F-16s, the Apache helicopters, the missiles, the gunboats and the M-16s that are raining all that American good will on Arab populations. We can also be certain that while the rest of the world, including the United Nations and the European Union, condemn this latest burst of Israeli barbarism, the American president, whoever he is—because it’s an expectation of the job—will sit back, wait until most of the killing is done, then suggest that maybe it’s time for a little mediation. He’ll be ignored, but it’s the gesture that counts, like the use of the word “regrettable” in those communiques from the State Department. (Obama’s version of shading the green light to Israel today was his expression of “serious concern” in a phone chat with the butcher of Gaza.)

Israel is claiming that it is launching this attack to eradicate Hamas’s ability to quote unquote, terrorize Israelis, which is to say, eliminate Hamas’s ability to fire those idiotic little rockets that are about as accurate as my dead grandmother’s aim in fog. It should be said: no matter how you slice it, targeting any firepower at any civilian area is a war crime. Hamas is certainly guilty. But it’s the amateur. Israel is the war crimes pro.

“Under international humanitarian law, a breach by one side does not allow the adversary to relate to the entire area from which the rocket and mortar fire is launched as a legitimate military target,” B’Tselem, the Israeli human rights organization, states plainly enough. “Although Israel has the right, and even the obligation, to protect its citizens from rocket and mortar attacks, it must do so by using means that comport with the requirements of international humanitarian law. The laws of war require the sides to direct their attacks only against specific military objects, to use means of warfare that cause harm proportionate to the purpose, location, and nature of the object, to take cautionary measures to prevent injury to civilians, and to refrain from acts that are likely to cause incidental loss of civilian lives, when the loss is excessive in relation to the military advantage anticipated.” Considering that the military advantage gained will be nil, the carnage is indistinguishable from mass murder.

Israel likes to absolve itself of that crime by saying that it gives its victims very considerate warnings before the bombing starts, either by calling the residents of a building, or by ordering people evacuated. As you know, Gaza being one of the absolute poorest places on earth, thanks to Israel’s endless embargo, everyone has a phone, and the fact that the electricity is on only a third of the time (and less since the invasion) in no way interferes with Israel’s version of room service.

The other day the Israeli attackers were so kind as to warn 100,000 people in Gaza to evacuate their homes. Now here’s something I’m sure you didn’t know. Geographically, Gaza is no larger than Palm Coast and Flagler Beach combined. Except that instead of 80,000 people living in that square mileage, there are 1.7 million people living in that space. I really should repeat that for effect: 1.7 million people living in a space no larger than Palm Coast and Flagler Beach, and doing so with one of the lowest standards of living in the world. Try picturing that for a moment. You remember what a mess it was when Flagler County was evacuated because of the wildfires of 1998, when there were far fewer people here, and there were good roads allowing people to go very far if they wanted to.

But those 100,000 people Israel ordered evacuated don’t have good roads to travel on, and they don’t even get to go beyond Gaza. Israel forbids it, as does Egypt, whose thuggish new little tyrant is a nastier version of the previous pharaoh (Hosni Mubarak). So where are Gaza’s people going to go? Imagine 100,000 people ordered in a matter of minutes to go from Palm Coast’s P Section to its B or C Section. On foot. It’s humanly impossible. People will die just trying.

But Israel knows very well that its mythology about warnings is brilliant propaganda that the American press eats up, never once actually analyzing what’s behind the propaganda. To Israel’s PR machine, the phone calls, the supposed warnings, the gestures, are everything. To Palestinians on the ground, the reality is different. Which is how we end up with a ratio of 30 Palestinians killed for every one Israeli.

As inevitable as Israeli disproportion in the field is the disproportionate response of American media, where the running absurdity comes down to this: if your town was being bombarded, would you not want it defended? Well, yes, but my town, my country, hasn’t imprisoned 1.7 million people in a concentration camp on its border, otherwise I could expect some ire from those 1.7 million. No need to speculate. “The last time this specious argument was used was in 2008, when Israel invaded Gaza and killed at least 1,100 Palestinians (exchange rate: 1,100 to 13),” Robert Fisk wrote in the UK Independent Wednesday. “What if Dublin was under rocket attack, the Israeli ambassador asked then? But the UK town of Crossmaglen in Northern Ireland was under rocket attack from the Irish Republic in the 1970s – yet the RAF didn’t bomb Dublin in retaliation, killing Irish women and children.”

But Israel has been dehumanizing Palestinians since 1967. The walls around Gaza and the West Bank have only made matters worse, cutting off what contacts Palestinians had with tens of thousands of Israelis daily, and replacing that contact with the only sort of interaction with anything Israeli that Palestinians know if: the incursions of Israeli soldiers, or the violence of Israeli colonists, whom Israeli law treats as gingerly as Southern law once treated whites who abused, raped and murdered blacks.

Most cynically, Israel continues to claim in one of its other recurring PR ploys that Palestinians want to deny it the right to exist, when for the past half century it’s Israel that’s denied Palestinians the right to exist, pushing that denial to the sort of literal extremes we are now witnessing in Gaza. In Israel’s perverted world, the Palestinians are the ones to blame for the suffering. They brought it on themselves. It’s exactly what Germans generals said of Belgians who resisted them in 1914, as Germans went about obliterating Belgian town after Belgian town.

But collective punishment doesn’t work. It only creates new enemies. Israel ought to know. It created Hamas in the 1970s as a hedge against the PLO, only to suffer Hamas’s blow-back when it didn’t prove pliant enough to Israeli manipulations. Israel thought it was eradicating the PLO when it invaded Lebanon in 1982. It only birthed Hezbollah. It thought it had eradicated Palestinian resistance through two intifadas, or uprisings, in the 1980s and 1990s, only to see Hamas become more lethal than the PLO ever was.

So now it’s going after Hamas’s tunnels and missile launchers, the way it went after them in 2009, the way it went after Hezbollah’s missiles in southern Lebanon in 2006. There’s a tragic “so what” to it all, because however crippling and atrocious their losses, Palestinians know they can wait this is out, and that no matter what, this isn’t the sort of war Israel can win. Neither side can win by war. But nothing short of a Palestinian state will prevent a continuing state of war. Until then, Israel will only be defeating itself by keeping Palestinians stateless, cornered, demeaned and dehumanized. Even in relative peace, Gaza’s state of siege in the last seven years is the perfect metaphor for Israel’s institutional brutality against Palestinians. Sooner or later, even a beast rebels, and has every right to.

Pierre Tristam is FlaglerLive’s editor. Reach him by email here. A version of this piece was broadcast on WNZF.

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44 Responses for “Israel’s March of Folly”

  1. Ken Dodge says:

    In a time of universal deceit, truth is the new hate speech.

  2. A.S.F. says:

    And now we witness the frenzied jubilation over the alleged capture of ONE Israeli (despite reports of Palestinian Militants popping out of their secret underground tunnels, equipped with syringes laden with tranquilizers so they can take hostages…they have now managed to take one, apparently.) And why do you suppose the report of that ONE capture is cause for such over-the-top celebration? Well, that MIGHT be because everybody knows that Israel WOULD probably sacrifice some of it security interests for the sake of saving the life of one of its own…As opposed to Palestinian militants like Hamas, who seem to have no problem sacrificing the Palestinian populace by using them as human shields and parading their corpses for PR purposes on the evening news. A Palestinian Militant who popped out of one of those underground tunnels appealed to Israeli forces for medical aid and, when the forces came closer, tried to pull out a bunch of grenades to lob at the soldiers. Donkeys and other beasts of burden have been laden with explosives and sent out towards Israeli troops and into civilian areas. Well, I suppose that is a change from their usual tactic of using humans in homes, schools and hospitals to hide their weapons of human destruction amongst and to launch them from. And, Gee, HOW DARE ISRAEL USE THEIR RESOURCES TO CONSTRUCT DEFENSIVE DOME SYSTEMS TO KEEP THEIR OWN CASUALTY COUNT LOW FROM THE ROCKETS RELENTLESSLY LOBBED INTO THEIR CIVILIAN AREAS! Have they no shame?? Why shouldn’t they be moral enough not to die in the same (or, hopefully, greater) numbers that Palestinians are willing to (or are willing to let their “protectors” convince them to, by when they order them to STAY IN PLACE, even after Israel makes unprecedented efforts to warn them of pending attacks.

    • Andrea Stowell says:

      Very well said A.S,F.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      So let me get this straight. The Israeli Defense Force attacks the fenced im people of Gaza with F15s, F16s, 155MM Long Tom howitzers from 30 miles away, Hellfire missiles from drones and radar guided Cannons and missiles from ships offshore. And they absolutely have to use this level of force because of what again?

      “Donkeys and other beasts of burden have been laden with explosives and sent out towards Israeli troops and into civilian areas.”

      That make sense now. All of that American supplied Hi-Tech firepower is urgently needed to counter the Donkey of Death! Loping along with a carrot held just off his nose with a stick as a secret Palestinian guidance device heading for Tel Aviv with a few sticks of dynamite and one very long fuse.

      Thank you for this Fair and Balanced picture of this epic Battle Royale. I couldn’t have summed it up any better myself.

  3. Jim R. says:

    I wonder how long this would last if they had parity in weapons. more war and weapons is not what anyone wants, but if the Palestinians were killing an equal number of Israel’s women and children this would probably be over tomorrow.

    • Steve Wolfe says:

      Well damn those crafty Israelis…how dare they develop tactics to defeat their enemies! How dare they cultivate a relationship with another democracy that will assist in their defense with superior weaponry. And how dare they choose to defeat their tormentors! Such devils they….

  4. No Problemo says:

    If my neighbor decides to shoot at my house, not caring who is inside, then I have NO problem shooting back at my neighbor with NO regard for whom is inside his house. And since my neighbor has a DEATH WISH caused by his 6000 year old religious BS, I again have NO PROBLEM helping him to fulfill that WISH……….. ….See how that works ?

    • NortonSmitty says:

      But your OK with the 6000 year old religious bullshit that said in 1949 that we’re going to kick you Palestinians off your farms and towns you have lived in for, well 6000 years, because the Jewish Invisible Sky God says it belongs to them? Your OK with that? You and your family would just get up and leave your house if it happened to you today? Without a fight?

      Think about the facts and witness the injustice, brutality and cynical “Peace Negotiations” both then and now instead of just rooting for the “Plucky little band of Holocaust Survivors” propaganda we have all been spoon fed since we were infants.

  5. Steve Wolfe says:

    Israel is the size of Vermont, if that, occupying 1/6th of 1% of the lands occupied by Muslim Arabs, most of which are sworn to the destruction of Israel. That means that no matter where the Israeli citizen lives, his back is against the wall. He is in a little box in the center of the Middle East, facing annihilation. Again. How many times must the Jews be faced with annihilation? But I won’t suggest that there’s anything like Hitler’s agenda at work in the world. Not me.

    Try this link to an explanation of the creation of Israel in 1948:

    Of course, Islam’s expectation and pursuit of the extinction of all Jews and other non-Muslims (that would mean you, Christians), has nothing to do with the persistent animus between the two cultures. But while Islam’s plans for the Jews are openly hostile and destructive, the Jews just want to live and make stuff. In seeking to acclimate wherever they have lived, Jews have proven to be very productive members of the international community, reaching very lofty goals indeed. Check this from Wikipedia: Nobel Prizes have been awarded worldwide to 850 individuals, 20% of whom are Jews or Jewish descent, even though Jews comprise just 0.2% of the world’s population. Muslims have earned 10 Nobel’s with 23% of the world’s population. I am suggesting that the Jews have been preoccupied with building a better life for mankind, and have been amazingly successful for such a tiny demographic, yet they have for 67 years held off their destruction in the tiny, precarious territory they occupy (legitimately, as established previously). That is also amazing, defining perhaps the most resourceful culture the world has known. Perhaps their enemies would be better served with a little self-examination and re-tooling of their priorities.

    Israel defends the rights of women, and hosts 15 different religions. They have built hospitals and colleges for Palestinians. Does that sound like hostility? Israel is the only democracy in the region. Their prosperity in just 67 years on such a tiny piece of property sounds pretty inspired and productive, and cannot have left them with a lot of time to devote to destroying their neighbors. And how counter-intuitive does it sound for Israel to provoke war with anyone, let alone their neighbors? The current Hamas offensive against Israel is backed by Iran, another proponent of Jew annihilation, which will soon have a nuclear weapon. The Iranian provocateurs of Hamas knew that Israel would smack the Palestinians around again, and they intend to gain PR profit at the expense of the Palestinians, while they remain untouched. Your article falls squarely into the “win” column for the Iranians.

    I submit to you that Israel does not constantly look for excuses to harm anyone, but they cannot survive if they do not discourage the rabidly devoted preoccupation with their destruction. And Israel does not openly seek the annihilation of anyone else except terrorists who seek Jewish annihilation.

    As for proportionality, I submit that neither restraint nor equal responses would end a conflict. The idea of a military response must be to create in the opponent a desire to never provoke another response. The desired goal should be for the opponent to choose peace instead. Palestinians have demonstrated that the don’t take the hint. Even though they could prosper by pursuing peace with Israel, and their energy could be better spent on education and economic gains, they robotically insist that all Jews must die, like some kind of Hollywood portrayal of space aliens bent on killing everyone (what a novel idea!).

    Folly, or survival?

  6. A.F. says:

    I think A.S.F. gets her/his “fair and balanced” information from that paragon of professional journalism, Fox News. Take some time to follow some other, more reliable sources of information, multiple sources, and see what is really happening in Gaza. I don’t dislike Israel, and have actually admired that country and her achievements for a long time. However, what they’re doing in Gaza is barbaric and goes contrary to what they say they represent. Pressure, particularly from our country, is necessary to get the Israelis to stop this massacre. The Jewish people in general are a great people, a kind people, an intellectual people, so this type of vicious behavior on Israel’s part is very disturbing. Great article as usual Pierre!

  7. w.ryan says:

    So many innocent Palestinian women and children being killed!

  8. Bill says:

    The only folly on Israel’s part is that they do try to work for peace with those that have NO real intentions of peace. Gaza and its people should either be given back to Egypt or the land only shouls be made permantaly Israel’s

  9. fbmrk says:

    I just do not get your logic. I am not pro Israel and think the US should stop holding Israels hand, but do you think Israel should just sit buy and and let the missiles being launched at them continue? Would you feel better if they did not try to shoot down the incoming missiles and more people on the Israel side died to make the “parity” closer? They have a right to defend themselves. If the Palestinians what to stand up against the people launching the rockets and performing other acts of terrorism against Israel, then maybe they should do that. Maybe that would show they really want to live in peace. The killing on both sides is wrong but they Israel has a right to defend itself.

  10. Outsider says:

    I thought giving the Palestnians autonomy in Gaza and the West Bank was a test run for statehood, with later concessions if the Palestinians could prove themselves good neighbors. They could not.

  11. Jack Howell says:

    No question that this is a heart felt opinion you have expressed. You know of my professional military background and as a warrior I fully understand the tactics that Israel is employing. On the other hand, as a professor of criminal justice (terrorism), I understand the position of the Palestinians/Hamas and the options they have. No question that Israel has the military advantage and Hamas is left to employ guerilla warfare as is their forte. The US policy has always been to support Israel…regardless! I don’t see this position changing. I would say that our nations entire foreign policies are severely lacking. Our congressional politicians are good at running their mouths with little to no substance…just a sound bite.

    Sorry to say, there is no immediate solution to this crisis between Israel and the Palestinians/Hamas. So I leave a quote by General William Tecumseh Sherman, that would sum this up.
    “War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.”

    • NortonSmitty says:

      Jack, the people of Gaza have no Air Force, no Army, no money and no allies willing to support them. It can no more be called a War that what happened in the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII. And the Jews there who finally stood up and fought when they saw their inevitable extermination are lionized today in movies, songs and lore as doomed Heroes who should be admired by all who value justice and freedom.

      So why are the Palestinians who are fighting against the same sort of enemy and odds today labeled Terrorists? The same term was used by the Nazis in Warsaw to defame and de-legitimize those brave Jewish fighters who had had enough. Enough that they were willing to die on their feet and not their knees. Giving their lives knowing their task was doomed from the start, while watching their enemy kill their wives and children in reprisal because they knew they would die anyway.

      Another similarity to Palestinians today is that the unfortunate Jews in Europe didn’t own any Newspapers, Radio stations or other media outlets back then. But they sure own quite a few today don’t they.

      • ⓖⓔⓔⓩⓔⓡ Palmetto Bug Crusher! says:

        It’s too darned bad that we can’t clone you Norton Smitty.
        Your insight in these matters tends to shine a bright light
        into the eyes of the blind.

        But blind as they are, the light goes unseen.

        • NortonSmitty says:

          They’re not all blind, some just need a little help seeing. But there are a lot of idiots out there who are downright proud of their lack of vision.

      • Steve Wolfe says:

        Norton, ever think that the slaughter of the Jews in WWII might have steeled their resolve to be able to defend themselves, to say, “Never again?” Is the only way you will appreciate them by teir being wiped out? You called them “heroes” for fighting to the death when the odds were against them. Today, though you refuse to acknowledge it, the deck is still stacked against them. The larger Islamic structure is aligned against them. The Palestinians are the dopey ne’er-do-well cousins of the Arab world, unwittingly being used by Iran via terrorist Hamas as their proxies to keep pressure on Israel while Iran uses the cover to finish their nuke ambitions. Iran knows that they have only armed Hamas enough to provoke Israel to defend its citizens, which will have the usual PR result of international condemnation of Israel for disproportionate military response. But you can’t blame Israel for using modern weaponry. Would you have them return fire with bow and arrow? Maybe throw stones?

        There is this policy of “peace through strength.” It is the only policy that works. JFK said it, most presidents have practiced it since Washington. Israel has noted it, too, and pursues peace with- not annihilation of- Palestine. Palestine wants to wipe out Israel. If the rest of the Arab world wanted to, they could help Palestine do it. Ever wonder why they don’t? Must have something to do with that policy, and they prefer their current status to war. Who among us, while escorting our family,
        just folds and takes a beating from a thug and does not protect his/her family? Did our president not also say, “If they bring a knife, we’ll bring a gun?” Maybe, just maybe, a disproportionate response is a universally recognized way to defeat your enemy.

        • NortonSmitty says:

          Better armed and willing to use disproportionate force are guidelines which also work well for slaughtering lambs I hear.

          • NortonSmitty says:

            And Steve, to any reasonable people who lived through anything remotely like that Holocaust, Never Again means Never Again. Not “Never Again will I be on the losing side of that equation , but Bubby the other side looks pretty good” once they gain the upper hand over the damn near powerless poor people of Gaza!

  12. John Smallberries says:

    What’s worse, the people that hide behind innocents or the people that are willing to kill innocents to get them?

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – it is truly, truly sad that a nation set out for a group of people who were almost exterminated during the holocaust by the nazis have effectively become the nazis themselves.

    • NortonSmitty says:


    • fbmrk says:

      So Israel should just sit there and let the rockets continue to be fired at them? That’s your solution? It is terrible that innocents are dying. It’s terrible. I know there are good people dieing. However when will the Palestinians take responsibility for themselves? When will they stand up against those launching the rockets from their neighborhoods? When will the world condemn Hamas for putting the civilians at risk?

      • John Smallberries says:

        Let’s put this in a perspective closer to home. Your son or daughter, age 5, throws a ball in a fit of childish rage and breaks a neighbor’s window. Your neighbors, in retaliation, build a wall around the neighborhood and then start burning houses, 10 at a time, in an effort to flush your kid out. Finally, they resort to storming what’s left of yours, shoot your dog, your significant other, your remaining kids, and then finally, the one that threw the ball. Their response: we are protecting ourselves, and then wage a propaganda campaign portraying everyone in the neighborhood as mindless animals so hey, it’s not like they actually killed anyone that didn’t deserve it, right? Clearly you were conspiring with your child and therefore any action is ok to protect the sovereignty and populance of their household.

        You need to seriously look into the whole conflict in that region, and by “look into” I don’t mean watch a FOX news talk show about it, I mean actually research it. Anita below has some good information in her post, and you should start there.

  13. James says:

    Israel has every right to defend themselves. The cowards hid among the population and the Palestinians know who they are. Israel did not start this war, this was started by Hamas and you could follow that back to all the Arabs.

  14. Anita says:

    James, before you comment on who started what, please look up the following: The Conference at Yalta, Menachem Begin, the Irgun, the Stern Gang and the bombing of the King David Hotel. Other than Yalta, those other search terms are seldom taught in U.S. schools, but should be so that students of history get a clearer picture of Israel’s history vs Palestine. Everyone has a right to defend themselves including the Palestinian people.

  15. A.S.F. says:

    @Anita says–Anita, YOU need to pound the books and do some further research yourself. Try researching the Balfour Declaration. If you had already done so, you would have realized that, when Britain took over the territories, four-fifths of the land that had already been pledged to the Jews in that region were unceremoniously stripped from them, when Transjordan was created. Despite that, there has always been a Jewish presence in that region and a majority Jewish presence in Jerusalem. Prior to the UN Declaration that made Israel a Jewish State, Palestinians did not rule themselves (the British did)–The oft-mourned idea of a magical lost “Free and Sovereign State” of Palestine is a myth. And it is a pipe-dream that is still being held out to the people of Palestine like the candy that Hamas distributes every time they successfully conclude a terrorist act that ends in the death of innocent Israeli civilians. And there have been plenty of instances of that (terrorist acts that a lot of people manage to conveniently forget). But Israel doesn’t. Which is why they keep tightening their security, launch offensives when the rocket attacks step up or, in this case, after three Israeli teenagers were killed and buried under some rocks in the desert–followed by more rocket attacks. It wasn’t too long ago, Anita, that Palestinians took to the streets, shouting, “EXPLODE THE HEADS OF THE ZIONISTS!” Easy for YOU to overlook, I guess. There isn’t anybody lobbing rockets into YOUR backyard. And if there was, you would expect your government to do something about it. MY guess is, you wouldn’t stand for ONE rocket to be aimed at you, let alone thousands. This is why Israel constructed the Iron Dome System. Perhaps the Palestinian people in Gaza would be better off if they demanded that their “representatives” and “leaders” in Hamas spent a little more time and energy working towards more peaceful resolution of conflicts with their powerful neighbor, Israel, and spent far less of Palestinian resources on rockets and tank missiles and other munitions that they hide inside, around and beneath Palestinian homes, apartment buildings, schools, hospitals and mosques. THAT might do the trick.

    • NortonSmitty says:

      ‘It wasn’t too long ago, Anita, that Palestinians took to the streets, shouting, “EXPLODE THE HEADS OF THE ZIONISTS!””

      Well, I guess their wishes were answered by some people,

  16. confidential says:

    Israel has Palestine totally blockaded, surrounded to the point as was mentioned by young reporter Engel on site in yesterday Gaza, that Palestinians can’t even use the water front or leave the Israel’s shelling by land or water. They have them trap to the point that even Secretary of State Kerry said it yesterday. How could one live on a total blockade/embargo?

  17. A.S.F. says:

    Well, it might be easier to think about loosening the blockade if experience with doing so in the past has not already shown that what that really results in is a freer flow of rockets and other military materials and arms into the hands of Hamas. Look at what happened to the concrete material that Israel gave to Palestinians to rebuild their infrastructure after past battles. It turns out that is has been used by Hamas to build the secret underground tunnels that we are hearing about in the news that allows them access into Israeli territory. If you were Israel, don’t you think that might have taught you a lesson? It’s so easy for the rest of the world to dismiss this–nobody’s been trying destroy YOU since your inception, now, have they? How do you think YOU would feel about neighbors who made it a practice of going up and down the street in streams and hordes, chanting for God (and their military and political leadership) to grant your utter destruction? Have any of you “Anti-Zionist” commenters ever READ the charter of Hamas? I beseech you to go to Wikipedia and look it up, under “HAMAS COVENENT.” That will give you the quick and dirty. Let me summarize it for you: The only acceptable solution is Jihad. Negotiation is not possible. Jews are the source of all evil in the world, past and present. They were even responsible for the French Revolution and they are the true Nazis They must be wiped out, not only in Israel but everywhere.. Only Islam is acceptable. Any trace of any other tenet is unacceptable. Israel must be totally destroyed. There IS no Israel. There is only ALLAH. ALLAH is Great…blahblahblah. Please pay close attention to articles 22 and 28 of the covenant. They are particularly anti-Semitic. Read them if you have a strong stomach. And realize that, once groups like Hamas (and their partners in the Muslim Brotherhood) and ISIS succeed in killing as many Jews as possible, destroying Israel utterly and murdering Christians in Iraq, their next target is likely to be YOU, you Western Infidel! The US does not just support Israel out of the kindness of its heart (although I like to think that the US would feel some moral kinship with Israel, considering how some Muslim countries treat anyone who disagrees with their extremist ideas like dung, and especially likes to target women for their acts of brutality and oppression.) If Israel did not exist, the whole region would be a pit of extremism run amok. I doubt the Palestinians would be magically happy, carerree and prosperous. If you really want the lot of Palestinians to improve, their leaders in Hamas have to be willing to consider a ceasefire and be willing to take a place at the mediating table. And, so far, they have adamantly refused to do so. It is only Israel who has agreed to try. If you had an enemy who refused to consider the slightest accommodation towards peace, and that enemy has made clear its intent is to destroy you (and is punctuating said intent with rocket fire whenever possible), what would YOU do?

  18. Concerned Citizen says:

    So let’s just ignore the 1,000’s of rockets and the constant verbal and implied demands to wipe Israel off the face off the earth. Those are real and you can’t make it simply go away in a paragraph of opinion. Of course the Israelites are freaked out and not thinking straight half the time. Many Arabs want them obliterated. They can never rest until the Arabs, as a whole, have a change of heart and respect their humanity, but all the religous ____ is in the way. (None of that said to condone or get even close to justifying all of the tragic deaths in Gaza!)

    What about a real compromise by letting go of all the religous zealotry and simply loving your neighbors as yourselves – and if you choose terrorism, you are brought to justice? The problem is no one can control every single human being’s behavior on either side, isn’t it? If Hamas really did back off, how did all the rockets materialize? That is years of planning and preperation like all the Russian tanks and military equipment found stored underground in Lebanon when they went in to see what was really going on. Both sides having it wrong – not one.

    What about Jerusalem, what many of them are really fighting for, become a neutral City for anyone to come and worship however they want until whichever God is the real God comes to earth and sets up shop as both sides claim He will? Until then, why keep up the hatred and murder and start to recognize they are both decendents of Abraham? They are brothers and sisters. Shoot, millions of us are decendents as well. I’m from the tribe of Asher but I am horrified by what is happening to little children as a result of these stupid adults on both sides right now! It’s not just television sound bites, it’s poor little children being mutilated or scarred for life – over what?!!! Where is the respect for human life on either side of what is going on over there right now? Hatred being sold as “religous ideals/legalism” has usurped everyone of those human beings right to live, love, and provide for themselves in grace.

    Didn’t know it at the time but now I see why God named our daughter: My God is Vow of Grace

    Mankind can have this really ugly side when we lose track of what really counts, ya know?

  19. Wishful Thinking says:

    I wish this anti-Israel editorial was not written….this is not a local Flagler County issue.
    Palestine was never a ‘country’ according to the Bible.. All of a sudden it is….
    Israelis do not encourage suicide bombers – they encourage sharing and living their lives. They do not enslave or prohibit women from being who they want, wearing what they want, going where they want.
    Reading this article and some of the replies makes me feel that anti -semitism is most unfortunately alive and doing fairly well today in Flagler County. Very sad for me and many others who, like the Israelis, pray for peace and want to live their lives the way they wish not what others dictate.

  20. NortonSmitty says:

    Oh my God! I’ve had my TV disconnected for about six months now. I just went to lunch and watched Fox news for an hour. I see where all the idiots come from! How is this organization allowed to broadcast on our publicly owned airwaves making thing up out of whole cloth to present Likud/Republican propaganda 24/7?

    I see why we have so many half educated angry idiots around.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Smitty, I can tell what’s being said on Fox just by reading the comments here. Can’t get away from the damned echo chamber. I wish you’d address the parrots claiming “anti-Semitism” the minute Israel is criticized–that old and tired tactic of the artful deflectors who can’t see the forest of horrors for their little rhetorical trees. (The other day I bitched about Obama’s foreign policy: must be I’m a white supremacist longing for the 1950s South. Me, a Semite by race and a Jew in every way but birth.)

      • NortonSmitty says:

        “Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes time and annoys the pig.”
        Samuel L. Clemens

      • John Smallberries says:

        Here’s how ridiculous it gets. The Simon Wiesenthal center has a yearly top-ten anti-semite/anti-israel list they release, and here’s number 3 on it:

        ‘Brazilian cartoonist Carlos Latuff was listed as No. 3 for “slandering Prime Minister [Binyamin] Netanyahu for doing what every world leader would do against the onslaught of rocket attacks targeting innocent civilians” from the Gaza Strip.’

        Here’s a page with the cartoons in question:

        And yeah, apparently calling Israel out on anything means that you’re an antisemite.

  21. w.ryan says:

    The cruelty to these people continue whilst Israel goes on unopposed. This is just wrong!!!

  22. A.S.F. says:

    Pierre– I am curious..since you say you consider yourself “a Semite by race and a Jew in every way but birth”…What do YOU think about Hamas Covenant? Have you read their Charter? If not, please do and tell us what you think about it–and, more to the point, how you think the people of Israel and Jews by race AND birth should react to it. And, before responding, you might want to pay particular attention to articles 22 and 28.

    • Pierre Tristam says:

      Dear ASF, I am not only familiar with the “Covenant” (odd word to apply to such a screed) but back when I was the Middle East editor for, when it was still owned by the New York Times (and before FlaglerLive made my maintaining both sites impossible), I was the one to first publish the “Covenant” unabridged to a broad American audience (here and here), not because I find it any more admirable than anything bin laden wrote, but because it was important to deal with those matters with open eyes. I also made very clear my disdain for anti-Zionist propaganda. But my point in the piece above is that I don’t give a damn about Hamas: it’s a band of regressive barbarians and Islamic fanatics who happen to get some backing from Palestinian masses because they appear to them (like the equally barbaric Hezbollah up north) as their last resort to a desperate situation. It’s that desperate situation I can’t abide, though it’s a bit nuts to term a “situation” the killing of 700 Palestinians in the last go-around, 75 percent of them civilian, with well over 100 children among them. Going “Hamas, Hamas, Hamas” constantly has its effect: no one is going to win points defending Hamas. But the concern is the disproportionate response by Israel, and the knowledge that, in the end, when the cease-fire comes, nothing will have changed, Palestinian resistance will continue, either as Hamas or as something else, and all that will have been accomplished is the massacre of another big batch of innocent people. Repeatedly bringing the argument back to Hamas is a diversion from the real crime in which Hamas obviously has a part, though by far and away the real butchery is on Israel’s–or rather, Likud’s–conscience. I also happen to be an American citizen, as you are. Does that mean we can never criticize our own leadership, as you so admirably do? What makes Israel’s shit be like Paco Rabanne perfume? (Yuk, by the way, on the Paco Rabanne, though it’s an odd hit in the Middle East.)

      • Jack Howell says:

        Love the comments. As we discussed the other night the entire Middle East needs to resolve the issues they have amongst themselves. No outside interference from the USA, Eucom and Russia. Our political failures in the Middle East continue year after year not to say anything about the billons of dollars thrown away. They have been fighting for centuries with each other. Sorry to say, it will be going long after we’re gone.

        As a professional warrior I’ll say this. If the govern wants to use military intervention card, don’t tie my hands with bullshit rules of engagement created by the politically correct and congress! Let me do my job save the lives of my troops and win the battles. War is ugly and savage. More importantly, there can only be one victor.

      • A.S.F. says:

        Pierre–Thank you for your response. Of course I support your right to criticize our government. In fact, I am quite vociferous in doing that myself (as you probably have noticed.) You and I usually agree on most issues. On this one, we do not. I do not think you can separate Hamas from the plight of Palestinians in the Gaza, as long as the Palestinians in the Gaza continue to elect Hamas to represent their interests .The Palestinians are not children. They are capable to doing something different to direct their own destinies. One thing they should be doing is rejecting Hamas. Unfortunately, many Palestinians SHARE the views of Hamas and want to believe in the magical mythical return to a free and sovereign state of Palestine, that will only happen if Israel is completely wiped out. They believe that aligning their interests with groups like Hamas, who promise them that they will someday blow Israel to kingdom come, will return them to a paradise they can only imagine since, in fact, it never really existed. You and I both know, Pierre, that the original partition of Israel included plans for two territorial states (imagine that–a two state solution!)–one, the Jewish state of Israel and the other, Palestine. On the first day of Israel’s existence, Palestine and its neighboring Arab nations, declared war on Israel. It was tHEY(ever the unwitting stooge of its more powerful Arab neighbors) who rejected the two state solution, not Israel. So, Palestine continues to choose to be led into the darkness of its present state by Hamas and all the darker powers that support it. This is their choice. Israel can only defend itself against this choice. If Palestinians want to improve their lot, I suggest that they, with the full support of the global community, work harder to live in peace and harmony with Israel (that is about the size of Rhode Island–but determined to stave off the threat of destruction leveled by all the bigger, more populated neighbors surrounding them–Talk about being an underdog!)

  23. nomad says:

    What Israel is doing to the Palestinians is exactly what the US did to the Native Americans. What Israel is doing to the Palestinian is worst than what the Nazis did to the Jews. Thus we now have, at the hands of Israel, the Palestinian Holocaust, Palestinian Genocide, Palestinian expulsion from their native land for Israel’s manifest destiny and might makes right mentality (sounds familiar?). Every time Israel concocts a false flag operation – the death of the three Israeli teenagers points to this – the Palestinians lose more and more of their land to Israel with the full support and complicity of America. Will America be just as supportive and complicit if the pro-Nazi faction they are currently supporting in the Ukraine turn their attention to defending the Palestinians against Israel?

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