Indefensible Hamas

Indefensible Hamas
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There are plenty of perfectly good criticisms to be leveled against the State of Israel. Personally, I’m quite troubled by the so-called “demographic time bomb” theory, which posits that Israel’s increasing Arab and Palestinian birthrates ultimately doom the Jewish nation to embrace some ugly form of minority-rule. And of course we’re all well-versed in the gross spectacle of settler expansion into the West Bank, a brazen effort at colonial growth at exactly the moment the Palestinian territories are supposed to be inching towards independence.

Yet the mere existence of Israeli sin should not blind anyone to the greater evils of its enemies.

This is the sort of blunt moral judgment that’s been traditionally uncouth among fashionable western progressives, who, often feel the need to affect great open-minded exasperation at the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, bemoaning that “fault exists on both sides.” Such is the default position of those ideologically inclined to regard assertive side-taking as a symptom of an unsophisticated mind, with “blind” support of Israel in particular a worrying proxy for some other form of close-minded ignorance  — Millennialist Christianity, perhaps.

Yet in the wake of the current war between the Israeli government and the Islamic Resistance Movement — better known as Hamas — that’s running the Gaza Strip, even the traditional progressive skepticism seems to be breaking down. As Israel’s Palestinian resisters become more nihilistic and radical at precisely the time the Israelis are getting more sensitive and cautious, the lopsided moral imbalance is becoming harder to ignore.

The traditional Israel-bashers are certainly looking more pathetic than usual. The buffoonish United Nations Human Rights Council drew up a monstrously biased report on the Gaza war the other day, which predictably sailed to approval on the votes of the various third world dictatorships who comprise the body’s largest bloc. Yet it was telling no nation resembling a first world democracy could be persuaded to support it. Of the 17 abstentions, almost all noted with concern that the Council’s chronology of the conflict was a bit one-sided, to put it lightly. The brusque four-page report does not include the word “Hamas” once, and instead speaks only of Israeli aggressors inflicting “widespread, systematic and gross violations of international human rights and fundamental freedoms” against the hapless peoples of “Occupied Palestine.”

Nowhere was it mentioned that the Gaza Strip actually ceased to be occupied back in 2005, as the late Ariel Sharon painfully extracted every remaining Jewish settler and soldier from the territory.

Nowhere was it mentioned that Hamas explicitly pledges to “obliterate” the state of Israel in their founding charter — “by Jihad,” in fact.

Nowhere was it mentioned that Hamas leaders have long spoken of “Jews” in the most generic as their enemy, and that their preferred military tactic in the current conflict — lobbing over 2,500 missiles into major population centres — have made urban Israelis the war’s true civilian targets.

Nowhere was it mentioned that Hamas has transported weapons in ambulances, housed missiles in schools, mosques, and hospitals, and disguised their fighters in Israeli uniforms — all clear violations of the codified laws of war.

Nowhere was it mentioned that the Israelis have so far discovered over 30 multi-million dollar “terror tunnels” spiraling out of Gaza (built in part with alleged child labor) that serve no purpose other than to turn western Palestine into a launchpad for guerrilla aggression against its neighbor.

Nowhere was it mentioned that just a few days prior, Hamas refused a comprehensive ceasefire backed by basically everyone who matters: the Egyptian government, the Arab League, the United Nations, the EU — even old man Obama, if anyone still cares about him.

Nor, for that matter, did the report mention the exceedingly cautious conduct of the Israeli forces in what they’re calling “Operation Protective Edge,” a reputation-conscious nervousness so thoroughly unprecedented in modern warfare it’s almost certainly harmed national security.

While Israeli civilians have been largely protected from Hamas rockets by the country’s awesome Iron Dome missile defense system, Palestinian civilians are protected by an Israeli shield of their own: an elaborate system of advanced warnings to residents of Gazan neighborhoods targeted for bombing. The system includes everything from text messages, personalized phone calls, noisemaking “dummy bombs” (so-called “roof knocking”), and even airdropped maps steering civilians to refugee centres. Such has been the IDF’s painstaking effort to mimimize causing casualties while attacking one of the most densely-packed places on earth, yet Hamas has ensured the Palestinian death toll has remained high anyway, glibly encouraging Gazans to dismiss Israeli warnings as “psychological warfare.”

Prime Minister Netanyahu took some flak for noticing that last bit, concluding on American television that Hamas seems to enjoy the existence of “telegenically dead Palestinians.” Yet it’s a indictment that’s difficult to avoid given how effective the conflict’s 570 Gazan victims have proven in forming a narrative of “disproportionate death” — the only argument Hamas can peddle for foreign sympathy. In any case, surely a group cynical enough to engage in talks with North Korea to replenish their depleted missile supply would hardly balk at the indignity of ratcheting up its own body count for propaganda purposes.

A dispassionate analysis of facts like these — facts which are not the result of clever cherry-picking on my end — but simple observation on the broad character of the Gaza conflict to date, cannot help but lead to a simple conclusion: Israel is better than Hamas.

To conclude this isn’t to posit that Israel, and the current Israeli government in particular, is without failing in other contexts, nor to even make a value judgment about the broader merits of Zionism, if you’re still a skeptic. It’s simply to note that what we have right now is a secular, liberal democracy fighting the aggressions of a lunatic death cult who seized power in a military coup and are actively loathed by the long-suffering captives it purports to rule. With tendentious conduct resulting.

Whether that’s an accurate summary of the Palestinian-Israel conflict in general, it’s certainly true of this one.

It demands an appropriate reception.




^ 67 Comments...

  1. JonasB

    The one thing I don't get about the current Gaza situation is /why/ Hamas amped up/restarted the missile attacks. Israel's response to such attacks is very predictable and the effectiveness of the attacks appears limited at best. I get Hamas wanting to attack Israel… just not why they're doing so in a way that produces so much loss for so little gain.

  2. Bruceski

    If I'm remembering the details right, three Israelis were killed near the border, Netanyahu blamed Hamas and did some action, so they fired rockets in response, and so on and so on. And now it looks like Hamas wasn't responsible for the murders.

  3. Rachel

    Yep. Israeli police admit Hamas didn't kill them. Oops! http://www.dailydot.com/politics/israel-gaza-kidn

  4. JonasB

    Anyone able to explain what the "some action" was?

  5. Monte

    Israel committed nightly raids and arrested several hundred Palestinians include a members of their government, and about a dozen were killed during the raids. They had no proof that any of them had anything to do with the kidnapping… in fact Israeli police now feel they have reason to believe the criminals acted alone, or part of a smaller separate terrorist cell and thus were not working under Hamas orders.

  6. Jake_Ackers

    Does it matter? Hamas are still terrorists. Hamas still have a backlog of things they need to answer. Should the US have waited for 9/11 to go after Bin Laden? Or should Obama/US have waited for another attack to go after bin Laden again?

  7. Monte

    Yes it does. You can't make hundreds of unwarranted arrests and not expect a violent response. Fact is, this latest flair up in the conflict was actually started by israel when they made that assault against the Palestinians. A month ago, the Gaza strip was quiet; today the gaza strip is in flames, thousands of rockets are flying into israeli cities, dozens of Israeli's are dead or injured and Palestinians in the west bank are rioting and their are calls to start a third intifada which would likely kill hundreds of Israelis. How exactly did Israel become "safer" by making this assault against the Palestinians? Cause it seems like israel was A LOT safer last month BEFORE they took action.

    If Israel did not take such blatant and excessive and unwarranted action against the palestinians, and instead just let the police search for the criminals who attacked those teens, Gaza would still be quiet this month and Israeli's would be safer.

  8. Jake_Ackers

    And what about the previous attacks? What about the terrorists still in Gaza? Do you think Palestinians are going to hand them over? No. Go in ONCE and take everyone out that you can take out (terrorists of course). And then get the UN to occupy Gaza.

    The problem with Israel is they keep dipping their toes in Gaza. Just go in and take out as many terrorists as possible. Leave and hand Gaza to the UN. The status quo is of no benefit to anyone.

  9. Monte

    And what about the thousands of dead Palestinians and the years of violations of international law? For every israeli killed by Hamas, Israel has already returned the favor a 100 fold. Who amongst the Israeli government and military will hand themselves over to pay for their crimes? Will Israel be handing over Bibi, their minister of defense, or any of the generals or commanders?

    Finding a truce to end a war means excepting your losses and moving on so that there will not be more losses. You want the cycle of violence to stop, then you need to be willing to put past grievances aside. Sometimes the two sides pay certain reparations for the wrongs committed during war, but that's about it. You can find this often in various wars throughout history.

    The grievances Israel has with Hamas could also have been found amongst Egypt and Jordon in the past, whom Israel has managed to establish peace treaties with. Heck you can even include Hezbollah; though they do not have an actual peace with Israel, the fighting between the two sides has been relatively quiet; much quieter than between Israel and Hamas. If Israel tried to attack Hezbollah for past grievances, they would spark a whole new era of active war between the two, which would lead to more dead israelis. Is that what's best of Israel? Never ending conflict?

  10. D.D

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/mehdi-hasan/gaza-

  11. Taylor

    "Nowhere was it mentioned that Hamas has transported weapons in ambulances, housed missiles in schools, mosques, and hospitals, and disguised their fighters in Israeli uniforms — all clear violations of the codified laws of war."

    This is disputed, and the only source for this is the IDF/Israel. NGOs don't back this up.

  12. Brett

    Except UNRWA… who has stated that they found missiles in schools at least twice since Protective Edge started

  13. Jake_Ackers

    Really? They are terrorists. You think they wouldn't? The UN gave back missiles they found in schools and the like.

  14. Trenacker

    Most observers who believe that creation of a Jewish state in Palestine resulted in the unfair dispossession of Palestinians tend to accept the proposition that Palestinians have the right to use violence in pursuit of a homeland. While these observers may not believe that HAMAS is an ideal or effective steward of Palestinian interests, they tend to take a dark view of Israeli security operations since, in their opinion, the most-legitimate option for Tel Aviv would be either to (A) eliminate settlements and retire to the Green Line, or (B) declare an end to the Jewish state and seek instead a unitary Israel. According to this point-of-view, the use of violence, including suicide bombing and attacks on Israeli population centers, are legitimate forms of resistance against colonial occupation by a people in duress. By that same logic, HAMAS can almost never be "at fault" for starting another round of hostilities because it is, in fact, a representative of the aggrieved party. Israel's steady march rightward and taste for settlement-building are merely a vindication that it is a settler state in the mold of apartheid-era South Africa and Rhodesia.

    Most observers who favor Israel regard the Palestinians as an unfortunate minority that lost rightful claim to their land during a war fought for utterly cynical reasons by faithless neighbors who have proven to be equally as guilty of neglect of the Palestinian plight as Israel itself. Israel's post-1948 conquest of territory is either valid on the face of it, or because it was fighting wars of self-defense. Britain, not Israel, was the original transgressor, but it is hardly productive to rehash such an old and difficult problem. We must accede to reality, and the reality is that Israel, like every other nation-state in the world today, has an ugly past in which some people were winners, and others losers. This perspective takes each skirmish and subsequent escalation on its own merits: here, HAMAS is to blame because immediate hostilities can be traced back to the murder of three Israeli teenagers. Israel's increasingly right-wing political tilt and settlement-building are rarely considered, let alone mentioned, and is, at best, regrettable. The Palestinians are merely reaping what they sowed in previous elections: punishment for backing an odious terror group.

  15. Kwyjor

    Hey, isn't there a big difference between "rockets" and "missiles" ? News reports rarely refer to the Palestinians as firing "missiles".

  16. Adduck

    There is no difference, really. A missile is any projectile, but commonly refers to self-propelled explosive projectiles. A rocket is a self propelled object that contains both the oxidant and fuel inside (as opposed to a jet which uses air as the oxidant). The only case in which they aren't used interchangeably is in space travel.

  17. Quey

    Missiles are usually guided, and rockets aren't.

    This the exception of space rockets which are.

  18. Rachel

    "that serve no purpose other than to turn western Palestine into a launchpad for guerrilla aggression against its neighbor"

    Or for smuggling civilian goods despite Israel's illegal and un-humanitarian blockade.

  19. Jake_Ackers

    The blockade would stop if Hamas stopped lopping missiles. Israel during this latest conflict has asked for humanitarian ceasefires.

  20. Rachel

    The blockade has existed continuously since Israel "withdrew" from Gaza (while restricting its fishing rights and continuing to control its airspace and borders.)

    "Revealingly, the question is rarely asked the other way: What would you
    do if your people had been under occupation for almost 50 years and your
    territory was blockaded by air, land, and sea? It’s rarely asked because
    we Americans can’t easily imagine ourselves as a stateless people."

  21. George Quail

    It's always difficult for me as a Scot to read a North American viewpoint on the Israeli/Palestinian shenanigans because our perspective on the topic seems so cosmically different. While JJ is often more right wing than me there's a small handful of topics where there's a real culture clash, and the MIddle East is a big one.

    "The traditional Israel-bashers are certainly looking more pathetic than usual" is a statement that seems pretty unreasonable from this side of the pond, where Operation: Protective Edge has been met with a fair bit of disdain. Channel 4 News' coverage with a lot of their big names on the ground has made a big impact, as has Facebook sharing of photos/videos, and while you could add this to the "Hamas plays a better propaganda game" point I think it's hard to accuse ITN of being mouthpieces of terrorists.

    Our Prime MInister, as we've come to expect, hasn't said anything too controversial and has mostly asked Israel to "exercise restraint" and as you note our UN presence hasn't done much against Israel…. but the Deputy PM wasn't so calm on the topic and said he put the failure of a peace process on Israel's shoulders. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-16585237

    Israel has even ended up being part of the Scottish independence debate here in Scotland. There's a lot of lefties on the Yes campaign who use British foreign policy as a voting topic – "Vote yes for no more illegal wars" being a common statement. Yes campaigners are holding the SNPs more negative stance on Israel (Backing economic sanctions, as I recall) compared to Britain's substantially more sympathetic tone. British Jewish commentators have used this the other way, claiming a No vote is the only way to keep an ally for Israel.

  22. Guest

    Good to hear that George. As an Aussie the general sentiment also seems a bit different and the portrayal in most MSM is also quite critical of Israel.
    While there is still quite a bit of support for Israel generally there is also a huge amount of criticism for their recent actions.
    I think a lot of it is because of the relative power imbalance – and the fact that we expect more of Israel as a 'western' democracy.
    Interestingly (and perhaps slightly ironically) this is a new David v Goliath battle but Israel is now Goliath.

  23. Devil Child

    Israel's a nation of less than ten million surrounded by over two hundred million who assign them collective guilt for attempting to kill Jesus and Mohammed. They have advantages, and they have disadvantages, depending on who they fight, but it's never as simple as David and Goliath.

  24. CAB

    Hamas is evil. Their goal is to destroy Israel. They want Israel to kill civilians to improve their position. I agree.
    But Israels propensity to kill Palestinians (1,000 and most of them are civilians, women and children) vs Hamas ability to kill Israelis (50 almost all soldiers) is an atrocity.
    Palestinians are not Hamas – Civilians are not targets during war time.
    There is no excuse.

  25. Monte

    If Hamas wants Israel to kill civilians to make israel look bad, then maybe israel should stop giving Hamas what they want. Really, what's so horrifying foolish about this whole conflict is that israel's efforts to protect their people is actually putting them more in danger.

    This started with the kidnapping of three israeli teens; a terrible crime to be sure, but the proper response would have been to launch an investigation and track down the INDIVIDUALS responsible. Instead, Israel started nightly raids, and making hundreds of unwarranted arrests that actually had no proven connection to the crime. Israel basically used the incident as an attempt to pressure Abbas to dissolve the new unity government. This is what lead to the latest rocket attacks against israel, which they respond with airstrikes with hundreds of palestinians dying, which has lead to protesting and riots in the west bank. Dozens of Israeli soldiers are dead, along with a few civilians, and if things keep spiraling out of control we could see more dangerous attacks on the israeli people.Before they were dealing with a dozen rockets a month, but now they have thousands. If a 3rd intifada is triggered the number of Israeli deaths could rise to the hundreds. Are Israeli's safer now or were they safer before Israel committed those raids? They could have simply searched for the criminals and brought them to justice, but their excessive methods have allowed this conflict to spread and only grow worst and now Israeli's are in MORE danger.

  26. Jake_Ackers

    At the end of the day in war the major difference if not only, is the intention. The good guys don't intended to kill innocent people. Hamas and other terrorists do. Outcomes might be the same, even the same methods. But intentions do matter. As do the rest but intentions in this conflict is really the overriding issue.

    Israel is going to get attacked anyway and be viewed as aggressors or w/e. Just go in and clear the darn place of the bad guys. Geez. I thought Netanyahu had bigger balls than this. This was the chance he has been waiting for. Go in and take out the terrorists and hand Gaza to the UN. Done.

  27. Monte

    And that kind of thinking is why this conflict has lasted FAR longer than it ever had to. Eliminating Hamas won't end terrorism, because terrorism goes beyond Hamas. Terrorism doesn't occur because of a select few guys at the top, it occurs because of the anger and hatred that courses through the veins of every terrorist. Heck even if they elminate hamas' rocket stocks, they will most likely just go back to using suicide bombings (which are even deadlier than rockets). Even if Israel eliminates hamas a new group will just take their place; and that's because israel is fighting a symptom not the cause.

    With every airstrike Israel creates a 100 new future terrorists to take the place of the ones that are killed. With every civilian killed, hamas's calls for the use of violence against Israel only grows more popular amongst palestinians. Heck you can even see it in the west bank; the protests and riots this time around are much worst than what happened during the last military attack. You really think that after Hamas is gone the palestinians are just gonna forget about all the brothers, sisters, mothers, and children that Israel killed? Those civilian casualties will become the call to arms tomorrow. The higher the civilian death toll, the more anger towards israel and thus the more violence. How is Israel becoming safer when their actions are making Palestinians MORE violent? The conflict will never be "Done" because Israel is creating terrorists faster than it can eliminate them.

    Fighting terrorism means more than just fighting those with guns. You need to strike at that which CAUSES people to become terrorists in the first place. You need to win the hearts and minds of the people; that's what will stop terrorists from refilling their ranks. If palestinians are not anger at Israel, then they won't join with the terrorists to attack israel. If Israel can win the hearts and minds of the non-violent Palestinians today, they can in turn prevent them become violent palestinians tomorrow. If Hamas can refill their ranks, then their power will start to dwindle. Mudering hundreds to thousands of civilians is only gonna make them FAR more angry. Basically, every time israel kills a civilian they play right into terrorist hands; they feed the recruitment drive and keep the conflict alive.

  28. Jake_Ackers

    My point is if Israel is going to go in, go in all at once. Everyone is going to get pissed off at them anyway. Do it once and that is it. Never have to go back into Gaza again. Go once to fix the situation.

  29. Monte

    Except they WILL have to go back because the problem can't be solved by just using more force. Terrorism has more in common with criminal activity than it does with fighting an opposing military. It is not driven by organized leadership, but by the will of individuals; trying to get rid of terrorism by force is nearly as futile as ending crime. As long as Palestinians hate israel terrorism will continue; If Israel goes in a "cleans out" gaza they will just create hundreds of terrorist that will replace every one they get rid of. Under the UN occupation the attacks on Israel will still happen; if the palestinians grow angry enough attacks will come from the west bank instead. In the end, Israel just makes the problem WORST.

  30. Jake_Ackers

    And the only way to do that is to get the UN to control Gaza. UN won't do it. So Israel has to run in their take out whomever they find is bad. And then let the UN finish capturing any bad guys that Israel didn't find.

  31. Monte

    Israel hasn't been able to stop terroism by force, neither has the US for that matter, what makes you think the UN would do any better? That's why i said that Israel WILL have to go back, because the job will NEVER be finished. Any bad guys israel or the UN get rid of will be replaced. Hamas is just a symptom of a larger problem which is the Palestinian hatred towards Israel; trying to fight the symptom will just make the problem deeper… As long as that problem exists more terrorists will emerge from the population to replace the one's lost. Israel needs to focus on making peace with the palestinians if they want to end terrorism.

  32. Rachel

    "Just go in and clear the darn place of the bad guys."

    Okay Jake, imagine you're the general in charge of the IDF. How do you do this? How do you identify who the bad guys are?

  33. Jake_Ackers

    The same way the US has been doing it in Iraq and Afghanistan. Except Israel will do ti in one wave and hand over authority to the UN. Let the UN finish capturing the rest.

  34. Rachel

    "The same way the US has been doing it in Iraq and Afghanistan."

    …so, really badly? So badly that the US left with its tail between its legs, Afghanistan will likely fall to the Taliban (again) and Iraq is being overrun by guys too extreme for Al-Qaeda?

    And that was *with* the US making *some* effort to build things up over years and get people working with us, i.e. providing intelligence.

  35. Devil Child

    I'm sorry enough Jews haven't died for your liking.

    What kind of crap is this? The deaths of any civilian is a tragedy, but similar body count lopsidedness is found in every asymmetrical war, and no one says the same things they do about it as they do about Israel's Mid East conflicts.

    What matters are the tactics and the goals. Hamas's goals are violence and genocide in the name of racism and tyranny. Israel's goals are to fight against such things.

    Only the most callous asshole would think the way to make the conflict more moral is with a more balanced death ratio.

  36. CAB

    I wouldn't be concerned by the lopsidedness if the casualties were actual Hamas terrorists and I don't want more Israelis to die, but how can one not be upset about the innocent people dying? If Israel is killing this many civilians are they even achieving their goal?

  37. Jake_Ackers

    Its cartoon logic. It's like when one kid is trying to punch another kid. But the second kid is dodging all the hits. Finally the second kid has enough and shoves the first kid. Teacher comes in then blames the second kid for not only starting it but being the violent one.

  38. CAB

    No, you are missing the point. There are a thousand innocent people who are dead.
    Its like if the police killed 10 innocent bystanders in a chase to arrest one murderer.

  39. CAB

    And then they failed.

  40. Rachel

    You forgot to mention that the second kid stole the first kid's lunch money every day for the past year.

  41. Monte

    Also the second kid is a 200 pound jock, while the first kid is an 80 pound handicapped weakling.

  42. Jake_Ackers

    Does it matter? Jocks cant defend themselves?

    After all didn't the Middle East invade Israel twice? They lost. According to Allah, Israel won the war. He choose Israel. So he choose to give the West Bank, Golan Heights, Gaza, and Sinai to Israel.

    And if won doesn't want to follow the terrorist holy logic. Just look at reality. Israel was invaded twice and won. That's it.

  43. Jake_Ackers

    Hamas is a terrorist group in control of Gaza. If Al Qaeda took over Quebec should the US tolerate it?

  44. Brandon

    War is not fair, nor should it be. If anything, wars have become excessively unfair for the stronger nations. In this particular situation, a vastly inferior nation, in every every metric you can imagine, can wage war, while safely knowing that losing won't come with the historical penalty of annexation and ethnic cleansing/deportation of populations the new owner doesn't want.

    Israel is fighting with both hands and feet behind their back, if anything the world should be commending Israel for this, and demanding Hamas surrender to their betters.

  45. Ann Apolis

    "Yet it’s a indictment that’s difficult to avoid given how effective the conflict’s 570 Gazan victims have proven in forming a narrative of “disproportionate death” — the only argument Hamas can peddle for foreign sympathy"

    Huh, you're right. Hamas have been exploiting the massive number of Gazan deaths (now over 1000) to form a narrative where massive numbers of Gazans (now over 1000) have died. How nefarious. How… ORWELLIAN.

  46. @JJ_McCullough

    My point was:

    a) this is the ONLY argument Hamas can make in their moral favor, and it's rarely one that most find convincing. The massive Axis civilian death tolls in WW2 have never gained much cultural influence as a great historic crime, mostly because we realize the overall war against the Axis powers was justified.

    b) Hamas' indifference to the death of the civilians under its rule makes them culpable in the war's death toll, and thus makes their complaints about it more than a little disingenuous.

  47. Ann Apolis

    a) I'd say the bombing of Dresden has its place in history as a famously unnecessary and disproportionate atrocity, not just through its cultural prominence through eg Slaughterhouse-Five but through subsequent governmental recognition.

    Of course I understand that the area bombing of a heavily populated area causing disproportionate civilian casualties nominally in order to damage the military infrastructure of a supremely unsavoury government is completely different to what we're talking about here and only a churl could possibly suggest there was any comparison.

  48. Devil Child

    The Axis countries suffered more for WWII than the democratic Allies in every respect, not just Dresden. They lost more people, more territory, and went through greater hardship in just about every instance. Hell, the Germans and the Japanese each lost a hundred times as many civilians as the US, and after the war, we stripped them of many of their rights.

    We were still in the right because the Germans and the Japanese were fighting in the name of evil and we were fighting in the name of good. You can argue individual incidents of the Allies faults, especially the Russians, but if you argue that the Allies weren't the good guys, you're wrong.

  49. Monte

    China, the soviet Union and Poland each had much higher civilian death tolls due to military action than germany or Japan. And if you add up the civilian deaths from the other allies, they too would outweigh the Axis civilian toll. The estimates i found break up the casualties as being Allied military 25%, Allied Civilian 58%, Axis Military 13%, Axis Civilian 4%. The US was indeed one of the countries that suffered the least, though that's because the US itself had two oceans separating itself from the rest of the war.

    However I would say that the atomic bomb attacks on japan were downright criminal. While I do think its true the attacks brought the war to a quick end, The second bomb was not needed to force the surrender and the first bomb could have been used on a military target

  50. Devil Child

    Hence my saying "democratic Allies." Poland, the USSR, and China were all dictatorships during the Second World War. It's still stupid to judge a country's morality based solely on kill ratios. If it wasn't, the USSR would be more morally in the right than the US and the UK, and that couldn't be further from the truth.

    "However I would say that the atomic bomb attacks on japan were downright criminal."

    Guess what? You're still wrong. Being a key port and the site of a major military headquarters, Hiroshima was a military target. The Japanese weren't preparing to surrender until the second bomb was dropped, and in fact had to stop a coup attempt which would've kept the war going even after the second bomb was dropped.

    Was it horrible that hundreds of thousands had to die to end the war in the Pacific? Absolutely, but I'll still take hundreds of thousands dead over millions dead, years more of war, and the extremely possible partitioning of Japan into North and South Japan à la North and South Korea.

  51. Jake_Ackers

    You realize the Japanese would of lost upwards of 20mil people in the first invasion of mainland Japan? The Western Allies would of lost about 1-2mil soldiers just getting into Japan. The nuke prevented a greater lost of life.

  52. Monte

    Yes, i acknolwedged that. My point was that we could have made much better strategic use of tthe nuke that would not have destroyed so many civilian lives. One nuke might have been enough to force a surrender and even then we could have limited our targets to japanese military bases with little to no civilian presence so that the causalities would be mostly military and not civilian. All we needed was to display the bomb's power and let them know we could target anything we wanted; the body count wasn't needed

  53. Haggy

    I was wondering where this phrase comes from:

    "Nowhere was it mentioned that the Israelis have so far discovered over 30 multi-million dollar “terror tunnels”

    The New York Times article that was linked said nothing of the cost of the tunnels, is their another link or are you extrapolating the costs?

    In any case it is always a pleasure to read your viewpoint, especially when it is not my own!

  54. Helen

    Thank you.

  55. Sven

    Hamas, in their full-time capacity as lowlife scum, continues to use civilians as human shields.
    Israel, in its own respective capacity, continues to indicate that they don't particularly care.

  56. Marginalia

    Look, a few years back, while confronting people who said that Palestinians brought children in places of warfare to have them killed on purpose (because, you know, Palestinians are probably not humans with feelings), I made that small math :
    The Gaza Strip is 60 km long and around 5 km wide. it's very tiny. According to the CIA factbook, it amounts to 360 square kilometers.
    1 816 379 people live here. Here again, source is CIA factbook). So we have a density of around 5000 persons living per square kilometer (that's a lot).
    43,2% of the Gaza Strip population is under 15. So on average, you have 2160 children in a square kilometer of land in Gaza.

    When bombs come from the sky, even if you're warned, where do you put them ?

    I'm not too fond of maths at all costs, but in this special case I find them quite telling.
    First, the density of population in Gaza is not that of a country, it is that of a city. The countries in the world which have an higher density than that are Monaco and Singapore, which you might recognize as :
    – City-states
    – Very rich.
    Gaza is not a city, and is immensely poor.
    Let's be clear : it just cannot sustain itself. It's not a possibly-country land, it's not a city, it's a big refugee camp. And as long as it can't sustain itself, you can't win against the resentment that builds.

    The second point is that it might give us some sense of reality about the possibility the people there have of avoiding warfare.
    Let's say you're a Palestinian father, you receive a text telling you that the area is going to be bombed. What do you do ? Everywhere it's crowded, and it's so tiny, and if you move your children a few blocks you might get stricken anyway, because even chirurgical bombs are not an exact science. It's hell.
    I'm pretty sure the IDF does mean to avoid casualties with this system, but let's face it, if you bomb Gaza, you're going to kill children. You're going to.

    I'm not especially anti-Israel, either. But Israel is not becoming more sensitive and cautious, it's becoming more disheartened and confused. People don't believe in peace anymore because didn't work in the 90s, so they just stick for themselves, but the moral difficulty of doing so, especially when it's the Palestinian people and the occupation, can't leave them unharmed.

    I sort of think that if at least those of us who aren't directly stricken by this horrible situation could try to look at things without putting ideology on it, and tried to see where to start to try to untangle this mess and start easing all the human suffering, perhaps we'd be able to at least start going toward the right direction.

  57. Rachel

    It gets better. Israel's told 44% of the Gaza strip to evacuate away from the borders.

    Refugee camp is one way of putting it. Open-air prison is another.

    Israel isn't confused at all. It continues to steal land and water in the West Bank. Extreme right-wing Israeli politicians are starting to talk about genocide. Netanyahu talks about how Israel is for one people only, the Jewish people, "and of no other people", despite 20% of the citizens being Arabs. It's a violently racist state, like South Africa or worse.

    Ideology? It's pretty simple: there were a couple of right ways to treat the Palestinians after 1967, and Israel has systematically avoided either of them. Annex the land and the people, or don't do either. Instead it's tried to annex more and more of the land, while pushing the people aside.

  58. Warhead77777

    I might be way off in this look at the situation, but I see two groups in this conflict.

    On one I see a group that has a long history of being stepped on and lots of troubling memories. This group is convinced that everyone wants to kill them, well; because there have been hundreds of attempts so far. As such they are far to aggressive and far to violence against any kind of threat that others pose. Because they are so few in number and so close to be being killed off, they are willing to do really terrible things at the first sign of a few deaths.

    Then there is another group, plagued by violence, poverty, and just as many bad memories. Because they are so poor, there is nothing to coax them from trying to wipe out any threat they face, they are basically out of love and running on hate at his point.

    So in my view, both sides are not nazis or anything like that. They are people that have been stressed to the breaking point and now they are just insanely aggressive. It could be a long time before ether one of them cools down.

    Our best bet, is that something else, a third faction perhaps; forces them to stop fighting each other and focus on itself.

    So basically IS or something along those lines, which would just bring more bloodshed and violence to the air.

    This sucks….So fucking bad. *Sighs

  59. Jake_Ackers

    A) Talk to Sissi. See if he wants the Gaza Strip. If he does ask him if he wants to take it himself or have Israel clear it out for him. Also note that clearing out could be getting rid of everybody as in move them or just the terrorists. As both Jordan and Egypt don't care much for Palestinians.

    Or

    B) If Sissi doesn't want Gaza. Give it to the UN by force.

    1) Announce the relocation of all women and children in the Gaza Strip to the West Bank. The process will take a week, a month or however long they want. And last the men. Anyone who stays well they know what they are about to face. Still take caution as some women and children and innocent men might not leave.

    2) Next actually go in and take out all the terrorists. The whole place doesn't have to be completely cleared out but make a considerable effort.

    3) Next hand it over to Egypt or the UN as mentioned. Egypt won't tolerate terrorists. Moreover, the UN can't tolerate terrorists. When handing Gaza over, Israel can keep it legally part of Israel but just under UN administration. As Israel would have taken it over by now.

    If the UN allows missile attacks, Israel then can simply state that the UN failed. And after enough pressure and time, Israel will have the legitimacy to takeover the Gaza Strip completely. Now the UN and its member would never want Israel to take Gaza back and make it part of Israel. So they will have considerable pressure to ensure Gaza maintains some level of peace.

  60. Monte

    First, the population of the Gaza strip is 1.8 million. Who is gonna build all the homes an infrastructure to house that many people in the west bank? Ya, this operation will not be popular amongst Palestinians; that should help the Hamas recruitment drive quite well.

    Second, the whole reason why Israel and egypt keep their borders closed is to keep Terrorists from leaving… you do a massive relocation effort and you are guaranteed to get hundreds to thousands of terrorists taking advantage of that opening to leave (Especially if they know Israel is gonna "clean the place out"). They will leave with the million other refugees so that they can set up a new operation in the west bank which is within striking distance of both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Israel "clears out" the gaza strip, and in exchange get terrorism from the west bank instead. Israel is in even MORE danger.

  61. Jake_Ackers

    They don't literally have to clear out everyone. Just make an effort. In politics its all about legitimacy.

  62. Monte

    You would still be opening the flood gates for terrorists to leave gaza and either set up shop in the west bank, or find another route into Israel. Funny you should mention "legitimacy", because when it comes down to it, every time israel takes actions that harm or anger the palesitnian civilians, they in turn give Hamas legitimacy. With every airstrike and every civilian life lose, Hamas grows more popular with Palestinians. And when Hamas grows more popular, Israel is in more danger. If israel wants victory over hamas they have to start treating Palestinian civilians as good as they do their own civilians… the flagrant disregard for their lives and well being is what fuels hamas

  63. Jake_Ackers

    Okay yes I agree Israel could handle the situation better. But I think Gazans should be given a chance to decide for themselves. Hamas was voted out. They lack legal authority and legitimacy. Many Gazans want to leave but can't. What about them?

  64. Monte

    Gazans would like to leave, but Israel won't let them… Israel doesn't want any members of Hamas leaving aswell, so they keep them all trapped in gaza.

    Hamas was never voted out; their hasn't been a vote since 2004. However, Hamas actually seems to be gowing in popularity amongst palestinians, not waning. If you look at opinion polls, Abbas has been slowly slipping while Hamas slowly rises. And the reason is because of Israel's heavy handed tactics. Israel Strikes Gaza with disproportionate heavy force killing hundreds of innocent people and its only gonna cause more hatred amongst the palestinians… in a sense, you could say that Israel's heavy attacks on palestinians is what helps Hamas their legitimacy in the eyes of Palesitnians; they see the hundreds of dead women and child and think "Hamas is right, we need to fight them". This is what collective punishment gets you; you harm innocent people who never did anything wrong and thus give them a reason to hate you.

    What also doesn't help is that the palestinians do not see a peaceful soluation to their problem. People say the palestinians should choose peace over violence, but what reason has Israel given them that peace actually works? This is where Abbas's slipping popularity comes in. Abbas is the palestinians leader on the diplomactic front; you might say he's not very good at it, but he's still their advocate for the peaceful way to solve the conflict. He's been approaching the conflict with diplomacy for years and what does he have to show for it? Nothing. He has achieved virtually nothing. Most he has done is get them some more UN recognition, but that hasn't done much for the palesitnians… Really despite sticking to diplomacy, Israel has actually backlashed against him; he gets some UN recognition and Israel takes away Palestinian tax money. The point is, Abbas tried to talk to Israel and he has FAILED; and when he fails so does the cause for Diplomacy; when abbas fails Palestinians loose faith in the diplomatic process as a whole which makes them desperate enough to support hamas violence (hence the polls)… in fact that last time Palestinians felt they had a big victory was the 1000 for 1 prisoner exchange; yes an act of TERRORISM is what brought them their last notable victory… All this does is send the message "Israel listens to terroism, not voices"

    This is attitude is what Israel needs to change. They need to show Palesitnians that talk and reason DOES work, while showing that terrorism does not. Best way they could to that is by softballing Abbas diplomatic victories. There are numerous things that Palestinians find offensive about Israel's occupation that ISrael can give up without jeopardizing their security. Allow abbas to negotiate the return of their tax money, easing up on building codes, granting them access to more land and control in the west bank, more water rights and so on. The big one would be allowing him to negotiate a Freeze on settlement contrsuction; THAT would score huge points amongst Palesitnians. At the same time with Hamas, Israel has to use heavy restriant, retaliate against hamas terrorism, but try to target hamas only and make sure the civilian population takes as little harm as possible; if Hamas alone are being punished for their acts of terrorism but not the other civilians, it will cause less anger amongst them. This will help show that diplomacy works, while terrorism does not… Israel can even threaten to take away Abbas's victories if Hamas acts out, thus making terrorism less popular since the palesitnians LIKE Abbas's victories. Hamas will either be forced to remain quiet or risk being marginalized by the Palestinians… This is how i feel Israel could work to curve terrorism and work towards a peaceful solution.

  65. Rachel

    Forced relocation of all the women and children? That's completely fucking inhumane. Forced movement of people, breaking up families… also a false assumption that women can't be "terrorists".

    'Israel will have the legitimacy to takeover the Gaza Strip completely'

    Israel already had Gaza. Then it pulled out. What do you think it does after "taking over"? Does it give Israeli citizenship to Gazans, or does it make the state of colonial apartheid permanent?

  66. Jake_Ackers

    Not saying forced. Gaza is a warzone, do you want to completely deny civilians the chance of a home in a nonviolent area? How many people want to leave Gaza but don't? Those who want to stay fine but the rest need some freedom.

    Gaza is a failed state. Should Israel let Hamas stay in power? Hamas is not the legitimate nor legal govt of Gaza anymore. Palestinians don't want them. Should Gaza be allowed to become a Somalia? Or more so than it already is. Gazans need to be given a chance to leave Gaza if they wish.

  67. JonasB

    Found this interesting blog post some folks here might be curious about: http://politicalviolenceataglance.org/2014/07/31/

    The basic thesis is that neither Israel nor Hamas have any coherent plan for long-term success in the area and for various reasons prefer focusing on the here-and-now tit-for-tat response rather than struggle with planning actions in the larger context.