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In support of UN sanctions to Israel January 15, 2009

Posted by dorigo in news, politics.
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As the war in the Gaza strip is approaching its fourth week, the number of casualties has surpassed a thousand, 300 of them children -needless to say, all from the defending side. 1500 more children have been wounded, and the situation configures itself as a humanitarian catastrophe, of which the guilt is entirely of the offenders, the leaders of the state of Israel.

The Israeli army continues the attacks, denies humanitarian aid, bombs hospitals, uses white phosporus to bomb densely populated areas. “Intelligent bombs“, somebody insists calling them. In order to minimize their army’s losses, the Israeli prefer to kill civilians blindly. Today they bombed a UN building, home of the UNRWA. Later Olmert commented that Hamas militians were shooting from its roof.

The IDF needs to be stopped, because it is clear that they cannot get back to reason by themselves. I believe the only way that the UN can put real pressure on Israel is to sanction it economically. Israel is a small state and its economy is more frail than its army. There needs to be a response to the barbarian acts they are committing in Gaza.

Yes, barbarian acts. How else can a civilized person call the indiscriminate bombing of civilians ? Israeli supporters will argue that the death of those 300 children is Hamas fault, because they allegedly use children as human shields. Israeli supporters will show videos of small palestinian children educated to fight, dressed in mimetic suits, carrying guns. They believe those admittedly disturbing images are enough to justify the deliberate killing of children. This, to me, is barbarous, period.

The hundreds of rockets randomly fired by Hamas into Israeli territory this year are a drop in the sea in comparison to the destruction, the deaths, and the steps farther from peace that this senseless war has brought. Terrorist is Hamas, and terrorist is Israel. And since the war is ultimately the result of the need of the present Israeli government to strengthen itself in view of the forthcoming elections, economic sanctions by the UN are the best way to respond.

I hope President Obama will be able to use his power to put an end to this horrible situation. A change from the unconditioned support that the US have given to Israel would be the strongest message. The US needs to support Israel in its attempts at creating the conditions for a durable peace with the Arab countries, and sanction it in case this bloody foreign politics is furthered.

I know these are likely to remain delusions: despite the strong condemnation by the French government, the shock declared by Merkel and Brown, the indignant reactions by UN officials, and the other reactions that have been proclaimed today, there is little hope that anything more concrete than spelling words will be done. But Israel, unfortunately, will pay for this senseless attack, because it has worsened the hatred that arabs feel for its citizens. This is the sorry aftermath of any military action against civilians: a renewed, reinforced hatred.

The israeli fanatics who read this blog will argue that I am anti-semitic: this is false, of course, and it equates to an accusation of racism. I hate racism as much as I hate wars, whomever moves them, and whomever argues that the attacking side has the right on their side.

Comments

1. Tony Smith - January 15, 2009

As to a realistic end-game for Israel and Palestine,
I think you have to connect some dots which requires an attention span beyond 10-second sound bites about how evil are the Israelis/Palestinians and how that evil justifies actions of Palestinians/Israelis.

I saw an interview of Peter Schiff by Russia Today at
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UIKVseq97DU
( I found out about it from Mahndisa Rigmaiden’s blog )
and
in the interview Peter Schiff said:
“… “… the dollar is going to implode … nobody is going to want it … The only reason we [Americans] can buy anything now is that foreigners will send us stuff in exchange for our dollars. When they don’t want our dollars anymore we’re not going to get their stuff and we don’t have the factories to produce the stuff ourselves …
America is going to lose its …[position]… as the dominant player in the global economy,
our entire military presence around the world could come to a very abrupt end …
once the dollar collapses our military might is going to follow our economic might …
the new wealth creation is taking place … in Asia …”.

If Peter Schiff is correct, then it seems that Israel is soon going to lose its advanced weapon superiority, which has been financed and supplied by the US.
If Israel’s adversaries thus obtain technological parity, that might force a settlement of the political structure of the region and end that hell of war/terrorism,
hopefully with both populations living tolerantly with each other.

Tony Smith

PS – As to “… the new wealth creation … taking place … in Asia …”, that probably means that bankers with real influence will be in Shanghai, not in New York or London.

PPS – As Mahndisa said on her blog “… Schiff has a bearish view on the dollar but he predicted this crash a few years ago and provided some action plans. Nasem Taleb saw it coming but was too into the mathematical details to provide solutions. …”.

2. estraven - January 15, 2009

I think you are not antisemitic. But one has to be careful because this world we live in, and even the country you live in, has enough antisemitism, and criticism of Israel way too often degenerates: have you heard about the proposal to boycott jewish-run shops in Rome?

I have seen circulating petitions condemning Israel’s attacks with no mention of Hamas violence at all. I find such petitions dishonest.

I think everybody agrees that the civilian deaths in Gaza should be stopped. If you believe that a UN intervention with sanctions for Isreal is the best method, I can only say I don’t know; you may be right. At least it wouldn’t add to the death toll, which is already something.

3. singlino - January 15, 2009

I totally agree. To sum up…statistical graphs and charts are better than 1000 words and pictures

http://www.ifamericansknew.org/

I dn’t think that most israeli people or generally jewish people around the world agree with what the israeli government is doing…It has been always said, about democracy in the middle east, that Israel is the most democratic country in the region and that it is the role model ..etc, I suppose that means the government is doing what people want, is that what israeli people really want from their government ?

the only reason in my openion why the world is not taking any action against israel is because palastinians are muslims, and since they r muslims they are potential terrorists (thats the psychology after september 11), so their lives are worthless!

4. Amos - January 15, 2009

I’m sorry, Dorigo, but you should really stick to the physics.

Targetting Hamas while accepting that civilians will, sometimes, be hit too, is, so long as reasonable efforts are made to avoid civilian casualties, consistent with the rules of war. This is not a human rights violation by Israel, and is not sanctionable.

On the other side, the random firing of unguided rockets and mortars aimed at civilian locations, is an act of terrorism.

The reason you are likely to be accused of anti-semitism is that to say that Israel cannot act to stop the rocket fire — or is required to refrain from targetting Hamas where Hamas hides among civilians — is tantamount to saying that Israel does not have the right to self-defense, which is a human right.

Finally, it is important to remember why Gaza is in the situation it is in: Because after Hamas was elected by popular vote, it (a) Refused to recognize that Israel has a right to exist, holding instead that Israelis should all be killed; (b) Refused to abandon the use of violence against civilians to achieve political ends; and (c) Rejected, and refused to abide by, prior peace agreements between Israel and the Palestinian side.

This is their own fault.

5. Luboš Motl - January 15, 2009

UN joining Hamas could be a great idea because it is hard to find a better justification of bombing the PC bastards in the UN who effectively support the Hamas thugs, much like you.

Death to them, and death to the Arabs who harbor the Hamas terrorists.

6. singlino - January 15, 2009

death to nobody lubos, can’t we all live peacefuly together ?! human race is losing its humanity as time progresses

7. Amos - January 15, 2009

There’s a thin line, and “death to the U.N.” and “death to the Arabs” are a couple of steps over it. Like 25.

I prefer “Good luck to Israel in exercising its right of self-defense, as set forth in the U.N. Charter, while taking reasonable steps to avoid civilian casualties and to alleviate conditions of privation, in a manner consistent with recognized international law.”

8. singlino - January 15, 2009

just for the records, deaths records in gaza/palastine according to the “authentic media” are the simple people and women and children……dn’t try to justify what israel is doing by saying all the dead are from terrorists, islamists, hamas, or arabs who support hamas, or all that BS you hear in cnn and fox news all the time……it is pure BS…..the point is that, israel is kicking palastinians from their homes/destroying their homes, and taking over their lands and houses, what do u expect palastinians to do ? giving you their stuff and properties as gifts? and if they refuse, call them terrorists ? lol

imagine someone is kicking you and your family out of your home, and force you to live in the streets homeless, and might get your family killed or broken or harmed in the process, strip your wife and daughet naked in check points, how are you ganna feel about it? what are you ganna do about it? that is exactly what is hapenening in palastine all the times

jewish and arabs used to live peacefuly together in the middle east for long time, and they still peacefuly live together in every country in the middle east but palastine, why not palastine? because of Israel’s “illegal” occupation to palastine…..and as long as this is going on in palastine between israel government and palastinians, any kind of peace will be just an unstable equilibrium

9. changcho - January 15, 2009

I am 100% with you on this Tommaso.

“…have you heard about the proposal to boycott jewish-run shops in Rome?”

That would be stupid, not to mention anti-semitic. What do the jewish-run shops in Rome have to do with the Israeli goverment?

“I have seen circulating petitions condemning Israel’s attacks with no mention of Hamas violence at all. I find such petitions dishonest.”

Like Tommaso said, terrorists are Hamas and terrorist is the goverment of Israel: that is plain for the world to see, in spite of the the fact that the so-called IDF are trying to control the information that gets out of Gaza: but in these times you cannot hide the truth:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7831757.stm

10. Luboš Motl - January 15, 2009

The difference between Hamas and civilians is unfortunately not qualitative, it’s a continuum. See this video about the military abuse of the Arab children by Hamas:

http://www.michaeltotten.com/archives/2009/01/a-dialogue-with.php

It’s on the blog of my African + Middle-East counterpart😉, a winner of the best continental blog, by the way.🙂 It’s very sad but the Arab people who are not safely isolated from the Hamas are naturally living in danger.

Probably a very tiny fraction of the casualties could be classified as “indisputable” civilians. A sufficient number of semi-fighters has to be removed for the situation to get peaceful.

11. singlino - January 15, 2009

I disagree with boycotting jewish shops anywhere in the world, many of them disagree with the israeli gov…I have jewish friends….. politics/what happens in palastine should not affect our relations

“Like Tommaso said, terrorists are Hamas and terrorist is the goverment of Israel”……..hi 5 to that

12. singlino - January 15, 2009

If Lubos were in charge of any country he would cause world war III, lol

13. Daniel de França MTd2 - January 15, 2009

Hi Tommaso,

Here is a very useful link for us that support boycott Israel products:

http://www.inminds.co.uk/boycott-israel.php

Pay close attention that a very useful target is Intel:
http://www.inminds.co.uk/boycott-news-0194.html
http://www.inminds.co.uk/boycott-intel.html

Cheers,

Daniel.

14. dorigo - January 16, 2009

Daniel, boycotting israeli products is silly, since it does not work against the government.

Cheers,
T.

15. cormac - January 16, 2009

Excellent post T., I couldn’t agree more. It is too simple to say both sides are wrong. It seems to me that one side has inflicted a totally uneccessary rate of civilian causalties, and indeed abandoned the norms of civilian protection respected by most states at war.

Irrespective of provocation, the very strength of Israel is alienating it from world opinion as the body count mounts….a dangerous development indeed.

16. reformislam - January 16, 2009

Let us pray for the safety of Palestinian civilians who held hostages by Hamas and the safety of Israeli soldiers. May this campaign end swiftly and may Hamas be annihilated. May moderate Muslims emerge victorious in the struggle for Gaza!

http://muslimsagainstsharia.blogspot.com/2009/01/israel-invades-gaza-in-attempt-to.html

17. Anonymous - January 16, 2009

try Yogic flying, it’s got as good a chance as any to make all the world’s troubles disappear…
http://www.alltm.org/zarticles/Bonn.html

18. Tripitaka - January 16, 2009

Its a brave post T and I admire your humanity. For years the UN votes on Israel/Palestine issues have seen the votes of hundreds of nations pitted against a few votes from USA+Israel+misc. coral atolls. Israel has basically run out of friends in this world. And it is solely because their foreign policy is so arrogant and harmful. Antisemitic… what a meaningless accusation.

19. Chris' Wills - January 16, 2009

Bad as it is I’m not sure that “…humanitarian catastrophe…” is the correct description.

What is happening in Darfur, Congo and especially Zimbabwe could be called humanitarian catastrophes, and perhaps the slaughter in Burma, but of course they don’t matter.
No jews involved, just muslims killing muslims, blacks killing blacks and Buddhists killing non-buddihsts.

It seems odd that Israeli actions always seem to bring out extreme comments. Is it because we expect better of Israel and hold them to a higher standard than others?

Don’t remember much opprobrium being heeped on Hamas when it was firing rockets specifically aimed at civilians.

dorigo - January 16, 2009

Chris, that’s exactly the point, as I am bored to repeat. Israel is a civilized country, and I expect it to behave according to principles that EU countries share (I do not bring in the USA since they’ve not exactly been a good example in the recent past). We have known arab terrorism for decades, but Israel is expected to start behaving differently.

Cheers,
T.

20. dorigo - January 16, 2009

Thank you Cormac, Tripitaka, for your support.
Reformislam, thanks for the interesting link.

Cheers,
T.

21. Luboš Motl - January 16, 2009

Dear Tommaso #20,

if you expect a civilized country to lethargically accept an arbitrary amount of deadly attacks by nasty, zealous, and barbarian terrorists, the only thing it proves is insufficiency of your brain to decide about strategic issues, but is surely doesn’t mean anything for the governments of sensible countries such as Israel.

I also agree with Chris that there are many other conflicts in the world, yet their black, Muslim, buddhist, or other perpetrators are never criticized by kibitzers similar to Tommaso Dorigo. It shows their bias and the real underlying reason behind their anti-Semitism and anti-Americanism is their hatred towards the civilizational values in general.

They will always stand on the side of the terrorists because the extreme communism that can never be removed from their souls leads them to believe that the civilized and successful countries, companies, and individuals are “guilty” and deserve to be constantly “punished”.

The opinion of the people in Hamas is very similar to that and I am sorry, when it comes to physical confrontation with the aggressive and jealous primitivism of this kind, the only good message is to kill, kill, and kill, just like the brave Jewish soldiers are trying to do.

So far, Tommaso Dorigo’s confrontations are of verbal character only.

Best wishes to the Israeli army
Lubos

22. Randall - January 16, 2009

Dear Lubos,

I hardly understood your point in the last post which is full of things you think that Tommaso thinks, but actually he never said. Now, because I don’t believe in telepathy I accept only two possibilities:

1. You have the skill of reading minds
2. You have the arrogance of pretending to read minds

The first is a nice and amazing skill, if true, the second is a very bad attitude which is rapidly spreading among people recently.

Cheers,

Randall

23. Luboš Motl - January 16, 2009

Dear Randall, I definitely do have the skill of reading minds: ask your friend Hopkirk.

Moreover, I didn’t have to write anything that Tommaso didn’t – he wrote all these nasty anti-Israel and anti-America things himself. Read the text above.

Israel surely has the moral and natural right to protect its citizens from primitive attacks of a terrorist movement.

Yes, I never write that Hamas has the same rights to fight against Israel because I don’t really think so. In the very same way, Tommaso never criticizes the Arab terrorists because he has really no problem with them.

He only has a problem with civilized nations such as the Jews.

24. Art - January 16, 2009

In the spirit of true freedom and openness, let me attach a link for those who think that it IS necessary to support Israel during these hard times.

http://www.ujc.org/page.aspx?id=33371

25. Chris' Wills - January 16, 2009

Tomasso, I understand the hope that a civilised country will act in a civilised way (defining civilised as desiring peace along with tolerance of the other and freedom of speach amongst other attributes).

But if attacked again and again by an opponent who claims to wanting your death and the destruction of all your kith & kin and holds that a “cease fire” (hudna) is a temporary cessation of fighting until they are strong enough to defeat you; what do you do?

Where the allies in WWI or WWII uncivilised? Perhaps yes, but what other choice did they have?

Say Hamas disarmed, would Israel slaughter them?
Say Israel disarmed, would Hamas slaughter them?

The asymetery of the answers to the above (assuming that both sides are honest in their public statements) is revealing.

26. dorigo - January 16, 2009

Of course you are right, Chris. What more do we buy with showing this asymmetry ? I do not find it really revealing. We know these things. We know the fundamentalist arabs want the death of all jews, we know they did not recognize Israel, we know they have bombed Israel as much as they could: we know everything.

A bit more revealing is going one step further, and trying to figure out what would be the most rational way to handle the Hamas Kassam missiles. Not what is being done, in my opinion. What is being done is a rather crude way of responding. Mind you, I do know that the IDF is making an effort than other armies would not normally make to try and limit civilian casualties. But that is not sufficient to me, because I hate what is happening anyway. I hate it because it is causing suffering for no cause. No cause because the survivors of today will be the terrorists of tomorrow. This not only is barbarous, it is really against Israel’s interest.

Israel needs to unilaterally offer a retreat, and to give land to the palestinian people, and repair the damage done, and offer peace unilaterally. They need to invite a interposition force to guard borders in place of its soldiers. Only by unilaterally showing the willingness of an acceptable peace, can the extremists be marginalized and defeated. Instead, they are doing the opposite: Hamas will be twice stronger by the time this absurd invasion ends.

Cheers,
T.

27. Chris' Wills - January 16, 2009

Tomasso,
It is fundamentalist muslims not arabs; many arabs are christian and/or jews. This isn’t a minor point, mixing up religion and race just leads to confusion.
I’m not even sure that the term fundamentalist is correct, but can’t think of a better one, many of the muslims I live and work with would claim to be fundamentalist and despise Hamas and those like them.

Handling the missiles, be interesting to find out how they got them into the country in the first place. Lots of money swilling around to bribe officials in neighbouring countries to turn a blind eye I guess.

Handling the Hezbollah missiles was left up to the UN in South Lebanon, doesn’t seem to have worked. But was worth a try.

Where should Israel retreat to? 1947 borders perhaps?

You would be asking the Israelis to put their fate in the hands of who?
The EU isn’t a likely candidate, they’ld underfund it and then abandon Israel to the mercies of the muslims at the first dead body (yes that is cynical but I can’t see the EU being effective in a policing role for any lengthy period nor would it be unbiased).
The USA is a non-starter given that they’re the great Satan, according to many muslims.
The UK doesn’t have the resources and has a history in the region, so wouldn’t be seen by everyone as an honest broker.
Apart from the UN that leaves Russia and China, perhaps India but the muslims don’t see eye to eye with them on many issues.

Neither side trusts or likes Russia much and would the Chinese want to take on such an onerous task.

The UN perhaps, but only so long as the countries supplying soldiers aren’t from muslim countries. A mix of South Americans and Asians might work.

On the giving up land, I would remind you that they gave up Gaza, they sent IDF in to forcibly remove settlers and left behind the settlements and farms in working order (Hamas smashed everything they left). What happened? Hamas hailed it as a victory of their aggression and used it to argue for more attacks.

I don’t know the answer, well not one acceptable to everyone, but asking the Israelis to surrender unilaterally won’t work because they won’t lie down and be trampled.

I do agree that the outcome is likely to be a politically stronger Hamas and that doesn’t bode well for the future.

28. Hatim Hegab - January 16, 2009

I would just sign this if I am given the chance. I agree with you 100%.

29. Hatim Hegab - January 17, 2009

For some people, death to ….. is an easy word to say! For others, it is nothing to worry about if more than 1000 people gets killed in 3 weeks of a brutal war against CIVILIANS. Tanks, War-planes, Rockets, and artilleries are agains few guns help by people who defend their right of living.

Their rockets were not smuggled using other’s boarders, they were home-made, if we can just read the news without our biased glasses.

Wars are signs that we just can’t get our problems solved reasonably, but it also means that one party may think himself invincible and has the power that would allow him to just defeat the other and take his rights.
It is very difficult to have the chance to tell your opinion without being “accused” of being biased. Even Tomoasso’s country was brought into question just because he spelled his mind out!
I have never thought that the free world is under such intense “sponsorship” from his own citizens who yell loudly to have the freedom of sponsoring other’s freedom!

30. Anonymous - January 17, 2009

Luboš Motl:

The problem is that IDF does NOT try to minimize civilian losses. They just blindly bomb everything that moves without any consideration for collateral damage.

That’s completely unacceptable and constitutes a war crime.

31. Just for the record - January 17, 2009

Dear Hatim Hegab

Not a single thousand killed, but many hundred of thousands poor Arabs have been killed by other Arabs during the last decade. Aren’t you feel sorry for these victims? They have all slaughtered by extreme Islamics. The war in Gaza is exactly against those extremists, and therefore directly for the benefit of the Arabs themselves, giving them some hope for a better future.

As an Arab, you should therefore be very thankful to the Israelis who were *forced* to do what they are doing. But for some reason, which is absolutely beyond any reason, you choose to take Tommasso’s childish point of view (embarrassingly childish, and hypocrite, I must say). The automatic rejection to Israel’s *no-choice* reactions in Gaza stands at the roots of the Arabic failure to prosper; you are simply not being sincere with yourselves, you are simply driven by tribal feelings rather than being rational.

Finally, let me say it clearly and loudly: no other military force adapt ethical standards higher than the IDF does. But if the local population supports the terrorists, it cannot avoid of being harmed.

32. Anonymous - January 17, 2009

“As an Arab, you should therefore be very thankful to the Israelis who were *forced* to do what they are doing.”

So by your logic… As a Jew you should be thankful to Hitler for his attempts to stop discrimination of Jews? Never mind that it involved their extermination as a side effect.

“Finally, let me say it clearly and loudly: no other military force adapt ethical standards higher than the IDF does.”

BULLSHIT! IDF does NOT care about civilian losses, they use indiscriminate weapons. Also, look at the recent reports of incendiary bombs with white phosphorous.

They could have used small arms and do building-by-building search for terrorists. It would have caused an order of magnitude less civilian losses.

33. Just for the record - January 17, 2009

Dear angry Anonymous,

You are not very good in logic. Believe me. And you are not very much familiar with the facts either. Believe me on that also. It is better for you to calm down and relax. Thank God you do not have to fight for your life and for the lives of your beloved ones. Not every one share this privilege these days, nor anyone can promise you this privilege in the future.

34. dorigo - January 17, 2009

Chris, thank you for your answer, which I appreciate for its several wise points. One thing I do not understand, though, is the following:

“Handling the Hezbollah missiles was left up to the UN in South Lebanon, doesn’t seem to have worked. But was worth a try.”

There was a war in southern Lebanon, and now there is an interposition force. I think Hezbollah is not causing problems there since then, but I might be not getting the correct press. In any case, it seems the only possibility to me in Gaza.

Cheers,
T.

35. Luboš Motl - January 17, 2009

Dear Anonymous #31,

I don’t see any evidence that IDF doesn’t try to minimize civilian losses. On the other hand, there’s a war over there and whatever is moving might be dangerous. That’s why IDF sometimes targets such moving objects.

So for all non-fighting subjects in Gaza: please don’t move excessively or suspiciously, to reduce the risk that you will be influenced by the war.

Best
Luboš

36. dorigo - January 17, 2009

Lubos, the above is one example of how a theorist’s mind sometimes works: given a premise, it elaborates freely on it, following syllogisms. When discussing the real world, however, most theorists realize that this is dangerous and meaningless, while you seem to be untouched by that doubt.
Let me remind you that the dozen women and children that were secluded in a building a week ago “for their own safety”, were hit by bombshells one day later. Most of them died, and it is reported that the IDF denied access to the wounded for a long time afterwards.

Cheers,
T.

37. Luboš Motl - January 17, 2009

Dear Tommaso,

you don’t have to convince me that “free thinking” and logical elaboration of premises is something that you viscerally hate, preferring your unelaborated communist dogmas instead.

I am not sure whether most experimenters folow your recipe but most bigots surely do. Indeed, I not only “fail to realize that thinking is dangerous” but I consider the people who think that “free elaboration of premises is dangerous” to be narrow-minded, limited hacks.

Clearly, no seclusion and no building is completely safe these days in Gaza. Do you really need me to understand this point?

By the way, some Israeli officials now claim that the goals have been pretty much achieved, so you may expect the end of the operations in a very near future.

Best wishes
Lubos

38. Luboš Motl - January 17, 2009

By the way, if you have an elementary respect for Obama whom you wanted in the White House, you should now worship George Bush

http://blogs.reuters.com/frontrow/2009/01/16/obama-says-bush-a-good-guy/

because according to Obama, Bush is a good guy who has made the best decisions he could at difficult times. So I expect you and similar extremist far-left hack websites to finally start to worship George W. Bush.

Thank you for your speed1

39. dorigo - January 17, 2009

speed1?

Obama will be the US President in a few days, and as such he is not expected to say what he thinks about his predecessor. What good would it do ? He has to be diplomatic, and he is being such. I have no need to do that, as I am sure even sociopaths (even sociopaths with a very successful and prized blog) understand…

Cheers,
T.

40. Chris' Wills - January 17, 2009

Tomasso,
Hezbollah have fired missiles into Northern Israel in the last week, not sure it made it into the European papers or TV and was only mentioned in passing by the local Mid East papers.
Not hundreds, just a few so far, but does seem to show that the interposed peace keepers are finding their task difficiult.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hatim,
I do know that Hamas make some of their own missiles, however they have also received Iranian misslies which is why they can now attack targets deep into Israel.
I only know this because Hamas have boasted of them (iirc it was either in the Gulf Times or Penisular News) and for all their faults they aren’t normally liars (devious dissemblers but not direct liars).

41. Chris' Wills - January 17, 2009

Hatim,
Did you actually mean this? They could have used small arms and do building-by-building search for terrorists. It would have caused an order of magnitude less civilian losses.

That isn’t sensible or logical from the Israeli point of view, you do not send your soldiers in to a war with lesser weapons than the opposition unless you have to.
There aren’t that many Israelis so sacrificing them on the altar on some perceived ‘fairness’ (to give Hamas a chance) is just silly and,might I say, un-Islamic.
Muhammed never started a war without having larger forces which is why he accepted hudna with the Quarayish (probably spelt that incorrectly) until he could muster a large enough force to attack Mecca and defeat them, he also broke the hudna, under some pretext or other, as he attacked before the 20 years was up.

42. dorigo - January 17, 2009

Chris, if those are the missiles you were discussing, yes, I do know about those, it was reported by italian media, but I do not think you consider that a real threat.
Cheers,
T.

43. Hatim - January 18, 2009

Chris, it seems you do know about the history of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and history of Islam in general. You also seems to know Arabic to me (I might be wrong) but a single question would solve the problem that you created here: Name a single battle in which Prophet Muhammad was engaged and in which he had the larger force (at any standard). Sometimes the problem is that history is not taught (in the west) with an unbiased point of view. What you said is misleading others to make their own minds based on some false info given by some people here or there.

44. Hatim - January 18, 2009

Chris,

If you want to have a private, calm discussion, I will be glad to have one with you. You seem to know very well, but alas, you know it completely opposite to what really happened. For the Hudna that you mentioned (Hudna=truce). He was not the one who broke it. I will not say anything here other than what were its conditions? two tribes (apart from Quaraysh) were given the chance to choose to which part should they belong. Bakr tribe chose Quaraysh, and Khoza’ah chose Prophet Muhammad (they were not Muslims yet!) Bakr attacked Khoza’ah, which means, judging by the terms of the truce (Hudna) (which said if either Bakr or Khoza’ah is attacked, the supporter will help) that Muslims are to help and defend their allies.

I do not want to go into the details here, but I will be very happy to clarify any ideas you may have, or want to discuss. Yet, the main theme of our host post was the inhuman attack of a professional army against the armless civilians of Gaza. As for Hamas, the only thing one can say is: Define resistance? (knowing that a single voice will never change what the media machine has already built)

45. Luboš Motl - January 18, 2009

Dorigo, what you write is just complete bullshit. Obama doesn’t “have” to be diplomatic i.e. hypocritical now. On a personal level, Obama is just similar to good people like George W. Bush, he does agree with Bush’s decision about the wars etc., and he will surely be doing similar things.

It’s just the far-left loons in the blogosphere like you who are parsecs on the left side even from Obama, who used to be the most left-wing Senator, who have problems to understand elementary facts about the real world such as the fact that George Bush is a great guy.

46. Luboš Motl - January 18, 2009

One more fundamental fact about the regions affected by conflicts that Dorigo – and his equally crazy pacifist readers – completely misunderstand is the following.

By imposing the unconditional peace without further specific rules, you’re not really fulfilling the dreams of virtually anyone who lives there. Those people just don’t want “any” kind of peace.

The Israeli mostly want the kind of peace that allows them their normal, prosperous, and safe life, without missiles from Gaza etc. On the other hand, the typical Arab civilians unfortunately want the peace in which the Jews rest in peace.

The idea that both groups should co-exist with the equal power is surely captivating but completely unrealistic and almost no one who lives there actually wants such a fuzzy solution. Such conflicts simply can’t get solved unless one side actually wins, dictates the broader rules to the other side, and can offer generosity to the other side.

And I personally want the winning side to be Israel.

47. Guess Who - January 18, 2009

I’m trying hard to stay away from inflamed political threads like this one, but the opportunity to draw fire from all sides is just too good to pass on: LM and TD, you are both failing to give Obama proper credit for his mastery of words.

What he said about Bush is that “he made the best decisions that he could at times under some very difficult circumstances”. What does that mean? To a Bush fan, that Bush made good decisions. To a Bush detractor, that Bush is a well-meaning dumbass who made bad decisions not because he is evil and wanted to do harm, but because those decisions were the best his feeble intellect was capable of.

Obama excels at saying things that make everybody think he agrees with them. Whether he is good at anything else remains to be seen.

48. dorigo - January 18, 2009

I must say that is a very good point GW. I agree, Obama is a master debater😉 but I also think he has the right ideas to lead the US out of the shame W has put them.

Cheers,
T.

49. Chris' Wills - January 18, 2009

Tomasso,
It seems we have a cessation of hostilities by both sides for now.
Long may it continue.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I did mention that it was only a few missiles, Hezbollah may have fired them as a show of solidarity and it did draw some IDForces to the North.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hatim,
I have read the Koran (three different interpretations) and some parts of the hadith (has anyone read all the hadith apart from scholars?).

I did mention that mohammed justified his action, though thank you for reminding me how.

I didn’t learn my islamic history in the west; can’t remember islam being discussed when I was at school a long time ago. I learnt most of it in Saudi Arabia at the local dawa centre plus a lot of reading elsewhere to try and get an unbiased view. Interesting discussions.

My arabic is terrible (almost non-existant to be honest though I am booked to start lessons), most of the discussions took place in English. Though some things stuck, such as hudna and tikfya and what they meant and how they could be interpreted and why muttawa are a bad idea.

50. Anonymous - January 18, 2009

Luboš #36,

I’m a trained military officer. IDF’s tactic itself is not the one for minimizing civilian losses.

To really minimize civilian losses you need to perform building-by-building search with light arms (only use tanks for support and aviation for intelligence gathering).

Right now, IDF just bombs the hell out of everything that moves.

“So for all non-fighting subjects in Gaza: please don’t move excessively or suspiciously, to reduce the risk that you will be influenced by the war.”

Doesn’t work. IDF recently has bombed a designated civilian shelter.

51. dorigo - January 18, 2009

Anon, although what you say makes sense, the very first sentence is really meaningless: “I am a trained military officer”. Get real. Until you attach a name and/or a link or email to your name, you remain background noise. I do not censor anonymous posts here, but those who post anonymously have to know their comments do not have the same weight of those who have a name.

Cheers,
T.

52. Just for the record - January 18, 2009

Angry anonymous #55,

The IDF soldiers indeed moved from house to house, step by step, entering through the walls because all doors and windows were booby-trapped. Hadn’t they do just that, Gaza could have been taken in one single day. The tanks where used as shelters against sniffers and gunners (thousands of sniffers and gunners, loaded with the best weapons). A focused fire was shot from the tank’s cannons whenever anti-tank missiles were shot at the tanks, or when troops were heavily targeted. Aircraft bombed houses where from missiles were launched towards Israeli civilian population, or otherwise, if used as ammunition stores. In few exceptional cases aircrafts destroyed houses in which leaders of Hamas found shelter. Helicopters targeted gunmen, suicide bombers, and rocket launchers. The Palestinian were informed before an attack took place, and this includes air attacks, in order to make sure civilians are evacuated. Obviously, this was done at the cost of risking the lives of soldiers. With all due respect, you couldn’t do it better.

53. Just for the record - January 18, 2009

sniffers –> snipers🙂

54. Anonymous - January 19, 2009

Dorigo:

“Anon, although what you say makes sense, the very first sentence is really meaningless: “I am a trained military officer”. Get real. Until you attach a name and/or a link or email to your name, you remain background noise.”

Uhm… I’ve always attached my e-mail to my posts. And it’s in ‘FirstName.LastName@gmail.com’ format, I thought you can see it. I’ll gladly e-mail it to you otherwise, I just don’t want to use my real name here for various reasons.

#53: “Aircraft bombed houses where from missiles were launched towards Israeli civilian population, or otherwise, if used as ammunition stores.”

THAT’S the problem. Bombings are a big NO-NO in city warfare.

Currently, civilian casualties ratio is even worse than in the battle for Berlin in 1945. And that’s a pretty poor achievement.

55. Michael Green - January 19, 2009

Hatim asked a question here which no one cared to answer!
Define “resistance”?
I would like also to ask a similar question: Define “Occupation”?
Please do not give me answers like “define …..” or some other history lessons. The questions are very simple, just define the terms.

I really hope that these terms have some definitions that we can accept, unlike the infamous term “terrorism” which lacks an international definition up to this moment.

I believe defining these terms is a very good start for us to understand what is going on in that part of the world.
LM:
You have made it clear that this is your “personal” choice, not the right/wrong or even a human or legal choice. That was nice of you, indeed.

56. Michael Green - January 19, 2009

#53:
It was a nice report from you I must admit. you have names the weapons of Hamas and pictured it as an army!!!
How many tanks Hamas has? How many F16? How many white phosphorus bombs did they launch? How many Israeli civilians got killed in this barbarous war against “CIVILANS”?
Do you want another proof?
Just go back in time for 2 years and compare what they did in Gaza to what they did in Lebanon (not only south Lebanon!)

give us a break, please.

57. Michael Green - January 19, 2009

GW #48

I do agree with you. Obama has the eloquence needed to make everyone happy, yet he has already shown some of what he is capable of when he kept silent giving no feedback on the massacre that took place in Gaza. I guess the excuse is that he is not yet in office, though he commented on some issues related to economy.
As you said, whether he is capable of anything else is remained to be seen.

BTW, the death toll of this massacre is more than 1320 lives, 60~70% of them are women and children including some UN locations.

58. Just for the record - January 19, 2009

Dear Mr. Green,

If your comment reflects your morality and intellectual capabilities, then, I must insist, there is no one to talk to. You will simply fail to understand. But perhaps it is that you are so full of yourself that you are making fool of yourself by raising such silly arguments.

Anyway, in such a righteous war, it is pity indeed that there were some Israeli casualities (10, if I am not mistaken). And it is pity that the Islamic extremists are still powerful enoughs to ignite a second round.

BTW, since you are fund of counting corpses, let me remind you that 1400 Israeli were murdered by Palestinians in the last decade and a half, most of which women and children. Had the authorities wouldn’t have taken precautions, the numbers would have been greater by at least an order of magnitude. Not to mention the terror atmosphere people were forced to experience in their daily life for so long.

Just for the record.

59. dorigo - January 19, 2009

#56: my apologies. I am so used to anonymous contributions here from people who do anything from saying how good they are to discussing the morality of their host, that I did not even check whether your email was true.

Cheers,
T.

60. Luboš Motl - January 19, 2009

Dear Anonymous #51,

your alternative strategy to “minimize civilian losses” might indeed minimize civilian losses in the short run but it is also a strategy to maximize the losses of IDF.

So even if you were an IDF officer yesterday, I would be pretty certain that you would be in a mental asylum today. Only a lunatic would recommend his own army to “minimize civilian losses whatever it costs”.

Best wishes
Lubos

61. Anonymous - January 19, 2009

“your alternative strategy to “minimize civilian losses” might indeed minimize civilian losses in the short run but it is also a strategy to maximize the losses of IDF.”

There are lot of other much more effective strategies to really maximize losses… “My” tactics will necessitate bigger military losses, yes. Probably not that much, since Hamas’ military power is virtually non-existent. However, such tactic will drastically (five to ten _times_) decrease civilian losses.

The current ratio of nearly 100 Palestinian civilians killed for each IDF soldier just has a stink of war crimes.

In the end, it’s a trade-off. Indiscriminate bombings will surely create MORE resistance and cause more suffering in the long run. Want to bet how long it’ll take Hamas to restore their power? I bet it’ll take them less than 2 years.

62. Noha Mansour - January 19, 2009

I did not think the two questions are som difficult to answer that everyone here refrains to answer! I agree these 2 questions will help us understand better what is going on there:

What is Resistance?
What is Occupation?

That’s it, smooth and simple.


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