Israel

Winners and Losers in the Gaza Strip

Hamas and Israel aren't the only outfits with an interest in this war.

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As the second week of combat ends in the Gaza strip, it still isn't clear what "winning" the war would entail. Unless Israel manages to eradicate Hamas entirely—a deed it was unable to achieve when it actually occupied the territory—the little war will end with both sides repositioning themselves in the rubble, each trying to claim victory.

But Israel and Hamas aren't the only forces with a stake in the conflict. Look beyond that dysfunctional duo, and you'll see some winners and losers already emerging.

Egypt. As Al Jazeera airs gruesome Gazan images and Arab anger intensifies, the region's "moderate" governments are suffering in the court of public opinion. (When Americans discuss the Middle East, moderation is defined not by a nation's domestic policies but by its willingness to make nice with Israel.) The result is instability, especially in Egypt, where the regime shares responsibility for the sad state of the Gazan Palestinians.

By sealing the strip's southern border, Hosni Mubarak's government played a central role in the blockade that preceded the present fighting. Then, once Israel's aerial attacks began, Egypt distinguished itself by shooting Palestinian civilians trying to flee across that border. Now it's facing the country's largest street protests in five years, and the militant Muslim Brotherhood is gaining traction. "I don't normally support the Brotherhood and don't actually like it that much," one secular Egyptian activist told the Media Line News Agency. "But in this situation, without any other actions that can be taken, I will support the Brotherhood and its continuous action against the government and Israel."

The only way such a country could walk away as a winner is by turning the situation on its head and coming up with a diplomatic solution that sticks. Egypt and France have produced a ceasefire proposal, with the Egyptians offering to follow up by hosting peace talks. If any of those efforts lead to genuine gains for ordinary Palestinian people, the moderates will be able to present themselves to their citizens as level-headed saviors. N.B.: Two of the scarcest commodities in the Levant are "a diplomatic solution that sticks" and "genuine gains for ordinary Palestinian people."

Fatah. In the West Bank, the Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority has broken up several solidarity demonstrations since combat began. On the fourth day of the Gaza war, Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic reported that his friends in Fatah were not just rooting for Israel; their organization "has actually been assisting the Israelis with targeting information." Fatah, you'll recall, was the dominant party in the old Palestine Liberation Organization. Now its violent rivalry with Hamas has grown so bitter that it's willing to side with its oldest enemy in a shooting war.

Under current circumstances, that won't earn the organization much support within the Palestinian public. And unlike Egypt, Fatah can hardly ride to the rescue with a diplomatic solution, though it can do its best to take advantage of whatever diplomacy eventually emerges.

Al Qaeda. In the meantime, it's not as though Hamas and Fatah are the only options for angry Palestinians. Marc Lynch, a political scientist at George Washington University and the author of the influential Abu Aardvark blog, has pointed out one potential beneficiary of the war: Al Qaeda. Like Fatah, bin Laden's loose network has no love for Hamas, which has prevented Al Qaeda–branded jihadists from getting established in the Gaza Strip. Unlike Fatah, Al Qaeda has nothing to gain from appearing to support the Israeli attacks. "Israel's assault on Gaza has really created an almost unbelievable no-lose situation for al-Qaeda," writes Lynch. "If Hamas 'wins', then al-Qaeda gets to share in the benefits of the political losses incurred by its Western and Arab enemies…and can try to take advantage of the political upheavals which could follow. If Hamas 'loses', al-Qaeda still wins. It will shed no tears at seeing one of its bitterest and most dangerous rivals take a beating at Israel's hands or losing control of a government that they have consistently decried as illegitimate and misguided."

Whether or not an organization appears calling itself Al Qaeda in Palestine, the attacks will give a boost to jihadism in general. Mustafa Barghouthi, the preeminent Palestinian voice for nonviolent resistance to the occupation—and a harsh critic of both Hamas and Fatah—worries that the invasion of Gaza will "provoke a new generation of suicide bombers."

America. Come on. Did you really think there was a way we could come out ahead?

While I suspect Israel is shooting itself in the foot with this operation, you can certainly spin scenarios in which it benefits more than it suffers. The U.S., by contrast, is helping finance a war in which we have nothing to gain. Hamas is fighting a local battle for a piece of territory, not a regional crusade to transform the Middle East; unlike Al Qaeda, it poses no threat to America. So why make more enemies around the world by taking sides in these interminable struggles among Israel, Hamas, Fatah, and their neighbors? Do the competing claims to the West Bank and Gaza deserve any more official attention than, say, the competing claims to Kashmir?

A center-left administration is about to take power in Washington; and right now, the conventional wisdom on the center-left says the U.S. should use its influence to bring peace to Palestine, stepping up its diplomatic efforts and attempting to restrain Israel's hard-core hawks. Such a policy would be an improvement over the status quo. But its advocates exaggerate our ability to bring the warring parties together, and they overlook our talent for making yet more enemies with hamfisted diplomatic maneuvers.

A lasting peace will have to emerge from the region itself, ideally without a superpower's hands on the scale. If none of the parties to the conflict are willing to make that peace, we may have to wait for a grassroots movement of fed-up civilians to force their hands. In the meantime, in Israel as in Iraq, the best option for American interests is withdrawal.

Jesse Walker is managing editor of Reason magazine.

NEXT: Domo Arigato

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  1. If none of the parties to the conflict are willing to make that peace, we may have to wait for a grassroots movement of fed-up civilians to force their hands.

    I wouldn’t expect it in my lifetime, say the next 45-50 yrs. People have too much invested in agitated citizens, on all sides.

  2. Well, Mr. Walker has proven that it’s possible for reasonoids to do sensible analysis of matters about which libertarian dogma has nothing to say.

  3. You left out Syria and Iran, who have been stoking much of violence against Israel over the years.

  4. Might another possible “winner” be Iran?

  5. Yes yes yes
    I move that ONLY Jesse Walker be permitted to write on all matters regarding the Middle East.

  6. As long as the US sends billions in military aid every year to the Israelis,its hand will always be on the scale.

  7. Great essay. It’s taken over a week and an independent magazine for someone in the media to finally state the obvious: every time something blows up in Palestine, America’s position in the world gets worse. And we are paying for the privilege.

  8. Withering Withering fun onions dance in the clouds when you see the moon fall over the diamond Henry will pick it up and see me to my maker.

  9. “Well, Mr. Walker has proven that it’s possible for reasonoids to do sensible analysis of matters about which libertarian dogma has nothing to say.”

    Taken from the LP website http://www.lp.org:

    The principle of non-intervention should guide relationships between governments. The United States government should return to the historic libertarian tradition of avoiding entangling alliances, abstaining totally from foreign quarrels and imperialist adventures, and recognizing the right to unrestricted trade, travel, and immigration.

    Sounds to me like they have something to say about it, and that it coalesces very nicely with Mr. Walker’s final summary.

  10. Holy shit, is there somethin’ goin’ on in the middle east?

  11. This may be an appropriate time to listen to an old Warren Zevon song that was written in honor of Philip Habib.

  12. Can’t we just send Tim Tebow to solve the problem?

  13. Can’t we just send Tim Tebow to solve the problem?

    Well, he’d do a better job than Sam Bradford but I still think Colt McCoy would’ve kicked his ass.

  14. Uh, huh. What happened to defense in the Big Twelve, anyway? Stoops had a great defense when he won the national title, and he was one of Florida’s best D-coordinators when they won the title in 1996.

    Wish we had playoffs. Didn’t Obama promise me a pony and an NCAA Div. 1-A Football playoff system?

  15. What exactly do the Jews have against Hummus and Feta? They seem like perfectly reasonable cracker-toppings. Or am I missing something here?

  16. NO PLAYOFFS! For one, the announcers were all but begging to give Tebow a blowjob last night. I couldn’t take another week of hearing that dreck.

  17. Whether or not an organization appears calling itself Al Qaeda in Palestine, the attacks will give a boost to jihadism in general.

    If you are non-Muslim and you exist, then you “give a boost to jihadism in general”.

    Not that the US should be involved in this little pissing contest, but it does sound a bit like some of our own problems.

    Perpetual motion doesn’t happen, just like perpetual peace has never erupted in the ME. And neither is ever going to happen.

    On the other hand, football is eternal.

  18. What would Brian Boitano do?

  19. Whether or not an organization appears calling itself Al Qaeda in Palestine, the attacks will give a boost to jihadism in general.

    If Hamas fires thousands of rockets and shells into Israel and Israel does nothing, then jihadism is boosted.

    If Hamas fires thousands of rockets and shells into Israel and Israel responds by giving Hamas what it wants, then jihadism is boosted.

    If Hamas fires thousands of rockets and shells into Israel and Israel mounts a military response, then jihadism is boosted.

    That about covers it, doesn’t it?

  20. Jihadism, like football, is eternal.

  21. Oh wait.

    I don’t remember hearing about any Egyptians (or anyone else in the Muslim world) getting all pissed off when Palestine was lobbing rockets and suicide bombers at Israel.

    Whatever is done to Israel, Israel deserves. Whatever Israel does in response, well, we know it’s not going to make any sense.

    In fact if I had to bet, I’d say that jihadism will outlive football by many centuries.

  22. “A center-left administration is about to take power in Washington”

    “Center” … left? Seriously??

  23. The more I hear of what Obama plans to actually do, the more I think we should all change our hope. Because what we’re going to get is four more years of the same old same old.

    Bush and Obama are at the Center of Nothing.

  24. The average Gaza citizen is the big winner here…we are helping to free thousands of palestinians from the Hamas maniacs.

  25. Walker brings up some interesting points, but his analysis is ultimately shallow. While giving his view of the consequences of Israel’s actions, he never dicusses he consequences of doing nothing or what alternative course Israel should follow. His analysis is a generic mainstream one: the use of force in response to violence only causes more violence. I can watch CNN for about 10 minutes and hear that. Unfortunately many at Reason live in denial about the kind of world we live in.

  26. Or on a second read, maybe his point is that the US has no interests in the outcome. He never supports that notion, though he states it at the end. Weak article.

  27. “every time something blows up in Palestine, America’s position in the world gets worse. And we are paying for the privilege.”

    This mode of thinking will end in approximately 11 days, at least amongst the liberal commentators in this country.

  28. I think it’s reasonable to say, “I don’t know how to fix this problem, but I know I don’t want to pay $3 billion dollars a year for it.” That’s totally in keeping with libertarian ideas (as I understand them).

  29. If we stopped sending military aid to Israel, it would help them in the long run as it will force them to seek a diplomatic solution which involves compromise.

    The biggest losers in this war are babies and children. Whenever there is bombing and shelling to kill Hamas terrorists, the terrorists themselves, being mostly younger men with a certain street smarts, are most likely to be able to run for cover.

    Children lack the instincts and experience, and so more of them are killed than terrorists. Babies are lacking in mobility altogether, and must rely on their mother to spirit them to safety, but such attempts are often unsuccessful.

  30. @douglas gray: “Babies are lacking in mobility altogether, and must rely on their mother to spirit them to safety, but such attempts are often unsuccessful.”- seems like every time a baby dies a mother would get taken down along with it. why this shameful neglect of mothers? do you hate your mother? or are you a coward, denigrating babies and children with ease but too fearful to call their mothers losers?

  31. “The biggest losers in this war are babies and children.”

    Outside of Johnathan Swift novels they tend to be the smallest.

  32. The average Gaza citizen is the big winner here…we are helping to free thousands of palestinians from the Hamas maniacs.

    -Talldave

    What I love about this is I have no idea if this is a spoof or not.

  33. Ron Paul is skeptical, to say the least:
    http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Paul_Expect_blowback_for_US_weapons_0109.html

    There’s a nice video of him talking about this on YouTube, too.

  34. A lasting peace will have to emerge from the region itself, ideally without a superpower’s hands on the scale. If none of the parties to the conflict are willing to make that peace, we may have to wait for a grassroots movement of fed-up civilians to force their hands. In the meantime, in Israel as in Iraq, the best option for American interests is withdrawal.

    Agreed. When Clinton tried to usher in a peace, we got the intifada, and the number is Israelis dying from terrorism sky rocketed. Arafat made a career of terroism, then he got invited to the White House and got to control billions in aid from DC. Setting this president has done more to encourage terroism than to build peace.

  35. Lefiti | January 9, 2009, 3:10pm | #

    Well, Mr. Walker has proven that it’s possible for reasonoids to do sensible analysis of matters about which libertarian dogma has nothing to say.

    Mr. Walker’s advice in the last paragraph is pure libertarian dogma, in a good way. Butting out of another country’s business is standard libertarian foreign policy.

  36. classwarrior | January 9, 2009, 3:28pm | #

    As long as the US sends billions in military aid every year to the Israelis,its hand will always be on the scale.

    And 1 1/2 billion to Egypt, and 1/3 billion each year to the PLO, and millions each to Bahrain, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Yemen. I favor eliminating foreign aid on general priciple, but let’s cut it across the board instead of singling out Israel.

    [Foreign Aid figures from http://www.swivel.com/data_sets/show/1002196%5D

  37. Douglas Gray,

    Actually, the majority of Gazan deaths have been Hamas members. That’s because Israel trys very hard to avoid civilian casualties. Israel even calls home owners before bombing to give them time to evacuate and drops pamphets warning citizens before entering a neighborhood.

  38. Ebeneezer Scrooge | January 9, 2009, 5:36pm | #

    Oh wait.

    I don’t remember hearing about any Egyptians (or anyone else in the Muslim world) getting all pissed off when Palestine was lobbing rockets and suicide bombers at Israel.

    Whatever is done to Israel, Israel deserves. Whatever Israel does in response, well, we know it’s not going to make any sense.

    In fact if I had to bet, I’d say that jihadism will outlive football by many centuries.

    Good point. Many apply a double standard towards Israel. Where were the protests during the past 8 years when Gazans were firing rockets on Serdot? Will the anti-war protestors turn arround and ask Hamas to disarm?

  39. Not this week on Hee-Haw.

  40. “A center-left administration is about to take power in Washington; and right now, the conventional wisdom on the center-left says the U.S. should use its influence to bring peace to Palestine, stepping up its diplomatic efforts and attempting to restrain Israel’s hard-core hawks.”

    I guess the Iraqi gov’t, using it’s strong desire to defeat terrorism, is going to step in and solve this crisis.

    Or the Iraqi PM could be spending time in Tehran while all this going sucking on the teet of it’s new patron. Which makes sense, since he got his political career kick-started by Tehran’s payroll (it is expensive to blow up our embassy in Kuwait).

    God, the Iraq war was a such a good idea. It really has solved so much and made every other problem in the region so much easier.
    And imagine if we actually found the weapons!

  41. Pull the troops and send in the suits. I for the first time feel Palestine/Israel would fare better with less U.S. influence.

    Time to pull troops and send in the suits. Take excellent care of returning soldiers while downsizing and reorganizing into a 21st Century outfit. The idea of being able to have troops everywhere fighting everything is bizarre. We have become the British during the Revolution.

  42. I looked at that link Walker offered on Marc Lynch.

    I notice a co contributor is the anti-Semite, Stephen Walt, who co authored a paper attacking Jewish supporters of Israel as magically putting down a false consciousness upon Americans, allegedly making America act against its own interests in supporting Israel.

    We Jews have such magic powers, eh?

    You Libertarians are trash! Maybe you’re John Walker Linds and Adam Ghadans in waiting.

  43. You Libertarians are trash!

    Evaluating all members of a group based on your perception of a single member or small group of members? Doesn’t this strike you as particularly and historically flawed?

  44. The world stands shocked at the magnitude Israel’s military actions. One thing we can learn from the last few years is that sometimes Israel goes nuts when rockets with explosive warheads are lobbed over its borders. They are irrational! Shoot rockets at them and who know *what* they’ll do? In the interests of peace, I suggest that—no matter how tempting, and regardless of perceived grievances—everyone refrain from firing rockets over Israel’s borders.

  45. It is absurd to think that Israel was doing nothing for eight years while enduring a daily barrage of rockets from Hamas. Israel blockaded Gaza and fully controls what goes in and out of Gaza. They even blockaded humanitarian aid. They also continued to target Palestinians during the so-called ceasefire.

  46. “It is absurd to think that Israel was doing nothing for eight years while enduring a daily barrage of rockets from Hamas.”

    The above quote is a type of criminal rationalization. Or to use it as a PC method, it would be called scholasticism (pre enlightenment thinking).

    Is this the reason Mary McCarthy said “anti-Semitism is the intellectualism of stupid people”?

  47. “Mr. Walker has proven that it’s possible for reasonoids to do sensible analysis of matters about which libertarian dogma has nothing to say.”

    That’s crazy. As fluffy has eloquently pointed out here consistent libertarianism has plenty to say about what’s going on in this situation. Libertarianism would have to frown on the collective punishment inflicted on all Gazans, whether they supported Hamas or not (remember, Hamas did not get over 50% of the vote in 2006) via the long standing Israeli embargo. That embargo involves telling all Gazan businessperons that they cannot move their goods nor recieve others goods. It also prevents Gazan laborers from moving to jobs they have and vice versa. All this is done via governmental force and as a result 85% of Gazans live below the poverty line.

    Worse, the Gazans, while controlled by the Israeli government, have no right to particpate in that government (they cannot vote nor run for for office). So they are the victims of a government force upon which they cannot exercise any political influence.

    Lastly, by anyone’s admission over a hundred women and children have been slaughtered in this offensive offensive and many more wounded, people whose right to life and bodily integrity, supposedly high libertarian values, have been violated via governmenal force.

    All of this I have to add would stop tomorrow if we simply threatened to do something that any libertarian principles would demand we do anyway: cut off the massive economic and diplomatic support we give Israel in our lunatic entangling alliance with them.

  48. “Many apply a double standard towards Israel. Where were the protests during the past 8 years when Gazans were firing rockets on Serdot?”

    Did those protests kill over 700 people? This double standard stuff is nonsense, or more correctly true in the reverse. If England had killed over 700 Catholic Irishmen in response to an IRA mortar attack the world would be in more of an uproar than they are now as the IDF slaughters hundreds of people.

    “The average Gaza citizen is the big winner here…we are helping to free thousands of palestinians from the Hamas maniacs.”

    This is TallDave’s Iraq reasoning on steroids. We are helping them by killing them until they act sensibly.

    The average Palestinian will not blame Hamas but, well, the IDF for killing their brothers, sisters, mothers and children. They will do this because the people who fired the bullets and missles that killed their families were members of the IDF. They will also note those weapons are US made and often US paid for.

  49. I mean “did those rocket attacks kill over 700 people?”

  50. anon | January 10, 2009, 5:18am | #

    It is absurd to think that Israel was doing nothing for eight years while enduring a daily barrage of rockets from Hamas. Israel blockaded Gaza and fully controls what goes in and out of Gaza. They even blockaded humanitarian aid. They also continued to target Palestinians during the so-called ceasefire.

    Gazans started firing rockets on Israel years before the blockade started. The blockade was an attempt to stop the rockets.

  51. MNG,

    The UK still has juristiction over Northern Ireland, which allows them to go in with police to secure a violent area. Israel withdrew from Gaza years ago to give Gazans a chance at self rule. Gazans kept launching rockets at Israel even after the withdrawl. If Irish Citizens in Ireland proper launched rockets across the Irish Sea at Protestants in Wales, how should the UK respond?

  52. A general question to anyone who cares to answer:

    Under what conditions is it permissible for a country to send tanks into another country?

    Unless we agree on fundamentals like this, the blog is just going to be a lot of shouting.

  53. According to Jesse Walker Israel, unlike all other nations, has no right to self-defense. Israel, a democratic country that wants to live in peace with its neighbors is attacked by terrorists whose declared purpose is the destruction of the state of Israel and the murder of its Jewish population.

    Yet Walker sides with the terrorists. Walker calls himself a libertarian, but National Socialism seems to be his real ideology.

  54. Of somebody was firing rockets over my border, I’d be thinking hard about going in with tanks. But that’s just me.

    OTOH, around here (and with the Western public in general), it’s just going to be a shouting match.

    But I agree that we should agree on some fundamentals. People seem to think libertarian dogma covers all the bases when, sorry, it just doesn’t.

  55. “Yet Walker sides with the terrorists. Walker calls himself a libertarian, but National Socialism seems to be his real ideology.”

    And amongst Libertarians, Walker has a lot of company.

    Israel has been the bete noir of the Libertarians for as far back as I can remember.

    I still remember Reason’s Steve Birmingham who suppored anti-Semitism along with kiddie porn.

  56. Libertarianism would have to frown on the collective punishment inflicted on all Gazans, whether they supported Hamas or not

    Libertarian dogma might frown. But you have to be blind to the particulars before you can frown.

    Lastly, by anyone’s admission over a hundred women and children have been slaughtered in this offensive offensive and many more wounded, people whose right to life and bodily integrity, supposedly high libertarian values, have been violated via governmental force.

    By anyone’s (honest) admission, Palestinian rockets and suicide bombers killed innocent civilians in Israel. And even those that missed, were intended to do so.

    But don’t worry your pretty little head about this part of the story. We all know the Israelis deserve whatever they get. I mean, look here.

    This double standard stuff is nonsense

    No, it’s simple reality. It’s standard, dogmatic, left-wing (Europe and US) foreign policy in today’s world. And to a large extent, it’s also standard dogmatic libertarianism.

    There may be “innocents” in Palestine. But the Palestinians, like other Arab terrorists, deliberately hide their fighters and weapons among the innocent civilians, using them as a shield. So if you say that Israel is “wrong” for what they’re doing, you are effectively saying that no matter what Palestine does to Israel, Israel is not justified in fighting back.

    Because, the way Palestine is playing this little game, Israel cannot hit back without hitting “innocents”.

    Although when things devolve to the point that you’re fighting a war, the whole concept of “innocents” is more than a little odd.

    They will also note those weapons are US made and often US paid for.

    And I would note that over the past few decades, US contributions to Israel have become a smaller and smaller fraction of their overall defense expenses. It’s highly unlikely those weapons they’re using were paid for by the US.

    If on the diplomatic front you’re bitching because the US doesn’t bash Israel in the UN, then I have disagree with you. I don’t care who did what to who back when, if you look at this mess we call the Middle East — there is only one player at the table that shows evidence of being genuinely civilized and that’s Israel. So that’s who I side with.

    Israel isn’t sending suicide bombers around blowing up innocents, and when it does hit civilians it’s only because the Arabs are using the civilians as a shield. Israelis don’t randomly lob bombs across its borders at other countries. And Israel has produced a country with the trappings of a real civilized state, unlike the Arab states in the region — and the failure of the Arab states to develop (in the region at large) beyond third world, dictator-ruled hell holes, is most certainly not Israel’s fault.

  57. Those non anti American and non anti-Semitic people who call themselves Libertarians should leave the Libertarians and start a different group with a different name and some well thought out principles. The Libertarian party is too saturated with anti-Semites, druggies, and whim worshiping crazies to be saved.

  58. OTOH, I also have to agree when Jesse implies he isn’t sure what the Israelis are going to accomplish with this venture. There’s little hope in sight for arriving at a final resolution to the whole thing.

    But if somebody keeps shooting at you, how long are you going to just sit there and take it?

    Libertarian dogma (around here) seems to be saying “well forever because Palestine is innocent and Israel is guilty”. Like it’s some metaphysical fact.

    I will note again that Ron Paul’s foreign policy was one of the things that insured he would never get the Republican nomination. He might have been able to sell his story with some on the left, but it was pure political suicide to take that stance with the RNC.

  59. The Libertarian party is too saturated with anti-Semites, druggies, and whim worshiping crazies to be saved.

    I’ll drink to that.

  60. Ebeneezer Scrooge | January 10, 2009, 1:04pm | #

    Of somebody was firing rockets over my border, I’d be thinking hard about going in with tanks. But that’s just me.

    OTOH, around here (and with the Western public in general), it’s just going to be a shouting match.

    But I agree that we should agree on some fundamentals. People seem to think libertarian dogma covers all the bases when, sorry, it just doesn’t.

    We’re on the same page for the most part. I agree that countries have a right of self-defense. Libertarianism has distain for the collective, which is a sticking point for foreign policy. Foreign policy by its very nature deals with the interaction of collectives (nations). Since we don’t like dealing with collectives, a libertarian foreign policy tends to be minimalistic. Don’t start a war is a great principle, but it doesn’t help when another nation attacks you first.

    I could accept America butting out of the fight, since we were not attacked. However, I would expect America to but out completely. Abstaining on the UN vote this week follows the libertarian ideal of not getting involved. Clinton should have never gotten involved in the 1990’s when he legitamized Arafat and pressed for policies that lead to a large jump in Israeli casualties to terrorism. Total deaths in the 1990’s were double those in the 1980’s. Obama is planning to negotiate with Hamas, thereby underminding Israel. Playing magistrate to settle disputes between other countries runs counter to libertarian ideals.

    I’m OK with eliminating aid to Israel. Donating to Israel is my job, not the tax payer’s. Just be sure to also eliminate aid to the PLO, Syria, and Iran. Aid to the PLO encourages PLO leaders to keep their people in poverty so they can keep collecting aid. For that matter, cut all foreign aid from the budget and send me a tax refund. Then I’ll give my own money to nonprofits in the countries I approve of.

    This settles what America should do as a country. Now to the question of what Israel should do. Israel no longer claims any of Gaza. So the rockets Gazans launch into Israel are coming from outside Israel. I ask those who complain about Israel, how should a country respond when it is being attacked from outside its borders?

  61. Thanks to Mr. Scrooge for some clear thinking and good writing.

    I don’t see how support for the right of Israel to defend itself against totalitarian, collectivist, terrorist enemies contradicts libertarianism..

    I suspect that a lot of people who call themselves libertarians are just the remnants of the Old Right at its worst, isolationist, anti-Semitic and ill-informed about the world beyond our shores.

  62. “I’m OK with eliminating aid to Israel. Donating to Israel is my job, not the tax payer’s. Just be sure to also eliminate aid to the PLO, Syria, and Iran. Aid to the PLO encourages PLO leaders to keep their people in poverty so they can keep collecting aid. For that matter, cut all foreign aid from the budget and send me a tax refund. Then I’ll give my own money to nonprofits in the countries I approve of.”

    The above is far more reasonable than focusing completely on Israel or saying that both sides are disfunctional (implying that Jews are bad for fighting back); however, Israel is worth more than the paper money we give it and any intelligence, weapons testing; etc., that Israel gives would have to be on a specific cash basis. Why should Israel share anything with us since we cut off money to them?

    Also, the timing of cutting off money to Israel would work to our disadvantage — not Israel’s.

    Contrary to what the anti-Semites think, the Muslim world would not appreciate such a gesture and would humiliate us if and when we do such a thing. The anti-Semites here and in other places are so focused on the Jews that they don’t understand how the Arab mindset works toward what they regard as appeasement from infidels or even sometimes from fellow Muslims. Former Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Prince Bandar, was a beloved and feted figure among the U.S. diplomatic set, but that didn’t stop his wife, Princess Haifa, from giving money to one of the 9/11 hijackers.

    The U.S. has been pushing to help the phony Palestinian cause for the longest time and all we get from these pretend people is pure hostility. I remember some State Department officials going to Gaza to give some of the fakestinians scholarships. They were blown up by the Palestinians that they were trying to help.

    For Reason intern, James Taranto, called it the Rachel Corrie Memorial Massacre.

  63. This settles what America should do as a country.

    I’d agree with you pretty much across the board.

  64. Underzog,
    Much depends on which Muslim country you’re talking about. Syria and Iran are big problems. Turkey is a friend of Israel. Kosovo is pro-Israel and pro-American. Kuwait refuses to make ties with Israel, but they aren’t too happy at Gazans who cheered for Sadam. Egypt has a cold peace with Israel, and the Sinai is a popular vacation spot for Israelis, although the Muslim Brotherhood is a problem there. Jordan made a peace treaty with Israel, and Jordanians have started visiting Israeli malls for shopping trips. There’s a whole range of outlooks within the Middle East. I do agree that it’s hopeless for the US to try to buy Arab allies. Even if we got a good deal out of an agreement, official state to state alliances tend to undermind the credibility of both states on the Arab street. Better to open up free trade and immigration, which fosters warm people to people relations all arround.

  65. underzog,

    I agree that appeasment only encourages more attacks. Cutting foreign aid to all countries and lowing taxes with the savings wouldn’t be appeasement. Appeasement is a short sighted retreat in response to a threat. When a policy is what your should be doing anyway, it’s ok. I agree that America’s enemies might see the aid cut as a retreat, and that we need to guard against that. When he signs the budget cut into law, the president should make a speech about how he is returning charity decisions to where they belong, with the individual, and encourage Americans to donate generously overseas.

    A state to state check from Uncle Sam hurts our image overseas, because people assume it goes to unpolular government policies in their countries. A person to person check from a cousin in the US helps our image, because people appreciate direct gifts and trust their relative’s good intentions.

  66. “Gazans started firing rockets on Israel years before the blockade started.”

    And Israel fired back in a variety of ways, often, killing far, far more Gazans than anything close to what the Gazan rockets did. That’s been going on for a good while.

    “Although when things devolve to the point that you’re fighting a war, the whole concept of “innocents” is more than a little odd.”

    This is incredibly stupid and we covered it on a thread about this topic weeks ago. It’s a spin off of the stupid “there is no morality in a war” routine. You don’t truly believe that there are no innocents in a war or that there is no morality. There obviously are. If a military commander advocated the dashing of infants to death as a tactic you would acknowledge it was wrong and they were innocent. Please.

    “If Irish Citizens in Ireland proper launched rockets across the Irish Sea at Protestants in Wales, how should the UK respond?”

    Not by killing 700 people. That’s pretty clear.

    “I don’t see how support for the right of Israel to defend itself against totalitarian, collectivist, terrorist enemies contradicts libertarianism.”

    Because libertarianism is supposed to be bitterly opposed to collective treatment of people. Not all Palestinians in Gaza are Hamas supporters (they did not get over 50% of votes in 2006). Some people oppose Hamas with their lives. And yet these people are punished by the blockade. In addition libertarianism in any consistent fashion cannot counteance the use of force by a government over which the people being effected have no say. Israel surrounds and virtually controls Gazan daily life but Gazans cannot run for office or vote in the Israeli government. Such a situation would be seen intolerable by any sane lover of human rights.

    “Contrary to what the anti-Semites”

    This is hilarious stuff. The anti-Semite card. Has anyone said anything anti-Semitic in this post or any here on this subject in teh last two weeks? Produce it or shut up about this. On the other hand several of the pro-Israeli side have shown demonstrable bigotry towards Arabs and Muslims (talking frequently of “the Arab mindset” and such).

  67. The pro-Israeli side has some pretty tough terrain to travel. I think it’s impossible for anyone purporting to be a consistent libertarian to do so, and mighty hard for any other ideology as well. It has to defend:

    1. The Occupation, which involves the control of hundreds of thousands of people who are allowed no voice in their control (even when Israel “handed over control” of areas to the PA they kept control over areas such as the airspace, borders, collection of duties, etc. that no autonomous people would accept).

    2. The blockade which exacts the same punishment of Hamas loyalists and Palestinians who had not only nothing to do with Hamas but bitterly oppose and opposed it.

    3. The current military action which, with a purported aim to stop rocket fire that posed at most the danger of a handful of Israeli citizens being hurt and killed (to be sure a horrible thing for which Hamas and other such groups deserve the strongest condemnation and which imo justifies many of the limited strikes against them that Israel has engaged in for a long time), has resulted in the slaughter of over 700 people. Major non-consequentialist ethical tools, like just war theory or the doctrine of the double effect all posit that actions cannot be justified unless the moral good they aim to cause would outweigh the moral harm caused, and that seems pretty impossible here (does anyone want to argue that the current killing of 700 Gazans will prevent that many or more deaths in the future in any way?). Any consequentialist line of ethics is going to face similar propotionality problems.

  68. “If Irish Citizens in Ireland proper launched rockets across the Irish Sea at Protestants in Wales, how should the UK respond?”

    Not by killing 700 people. That’s pretty clear.

    MNG,

    You didn’t answer the question. How should the UK respond in that hypothetical situation? Your inability to propose an alternative policy makes me suspect you just get your kicks out of denouncing whoever the crowd is shouting at in any given week. If we’re going to have a constructive debate, we’ve got to put several courses of action out there and weigh the pros and cons of each.

  69. http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1180527966693&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    All civilians living in Gaza are collectively guilty for Kassam attacks on Sderot, former Sephardi chief rabbi Mordechai Eliyahu has written in a letter to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
    According to Jewish war ethics, wrote Eliyahu, an entire city holds collective responsibility for the immoral behavior of individuals.

    Eliyahu ruled that there was absolutely no moral prohibition against the indiscriminate killing of civilians

    Eliyahu’s son, Shmuel Eliyahu, who is chief rabbi of Safed, said his father … advocated carpet bombing the general area from which the Kassams were launched, regardless of the price in Palestinian life.

  70. jtuf
    I think a more targeted response would be appropriate. I thought that was stated in my 5:21 post where I said:

    “rocket fire that posed at most the danger of a handful of Israeli citizens being hurt and killed (to be sure a horrible thing for which Hamas and other such groups deserve the strongest condemnation and which imo justifies many of the limited strikes against them that Israel has engaged in for a long time)”

  71. jtuf
    You also asked above in a more general fashion, when is it right to send in the tanks.

    I think the following oldie but goodie theory still has a good answer to that question.

    I also think the recent IDF actions are not in order with it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Just_war#cite_note-8

  72. Thanks for that link MNG. It referred to Childress, James F. (1978). “Just-War Theories: The Bases, Interrelations, Priorities, and Functions of Their Criteria”. Theological Studies 39: 427-45.

    Unfortunately, when I checked the Journal of Theological Studies website on Oxford Journals, the article on page 427 of the 1978 issue was “ORTHODOXY AND IMPERIAL RECONSTRUCTION IN ETHIOPIA 1854-1878”. There is a Jesuit run jounal called Theological Studies to which Childress constributed, but their online arcives only go back 5 years. Could you please summarize the principles Childress laid out in the article you’re refferencing? I appreaciate your efforts to inform me.

  73. MNG | January 10, 2009, 6:16pm | #

    jtuf
    I think a more targeted response would be appropriate. I thought that was stated in my 5:21 post where I said:

    “rocket fire that posed at most the danger of a handful of Israeli citizens being hurt and killed (to be sure a horrible thing for which Hamas and other such groups deserve the strongest condemnation and which imo justifies many of the limited strikes against them that Israel has engaged in for a long time)”

    I agree that targetted strikes against Hamas are best. Israel is trying to limit casualties to Hamas members, but it is difficult with Hamas hiding behind civilians.

  74. The Altantic bloggers are circulated a good idea this week. They suggested Israel set up MASH hospitals arround Serdot to treat wounded Gazan civilians.

  75. Israel did something similar when they were in Southern Lebanon in the late 70’s and early 80’s. They would take wounded Lebanese across the border to hospitals in Northern Israel for medical attention.

  76. I looked at that link Walker offered on Marc Lynch.

    I notice a co contributor is the anti-Semite, Stephen Walt, who co authored a paper attacking Jewish supporters of Israel as magically putting down a false consciousness upon Americans, allegedly making America act against its own interests in supporting Israel.

    Will you now be referring to fellow co-contributors David Rothkopf and Daniel Drezner as “trash” as well?

  77. I don’t trust wikipedia when it comes to the Middle East. Pro Israeli voices are cut out and bigots from the Muslim and David Duke factions are let in.

    Haj al Amin Mansour Nice Guy uses the biased wikipedia for just that purpose.

    I reproduced a letter from CAMERA on wikipedia’s mid east shenanigans in earlier Hit and Run:Camera Letter about Wikipedia

    (excerpt from the link)

    “Tellingly, those who volunteered to improve Wikipedia’s often-unreliable articles on the Middle East were themselves targeted for criticism by partisans who seem to prefer the Wikipedian status quo, including the pro-Palestinian Electronic Intifada and the bigoted David Duke.

    Joining them was Gershom Gorenberg, who was quoted in The Jewish Week echoing Electronic Intifada’s criticisms. Gorenberg, it seems, has not forgiven CAMERA for exposing serious errors and distortions in CNN’s “God’s Warriors” series with Christiane Amanpour, in which he played a prominent role. It seems to have irked him that CNN edited the program and rebroadcast it with most of the serious factual errors identified by CAMERA redressed.”

    Even more disgusting is Mr. Nice Guy’s claim that the rockets going into Sderot and Ashdot are no big thing. His complaints, at least, show that one of the good things about Jews defending themselves is anti-Semites don’t like it and scream about it.

    p.s. a just war and proportionate response is using enough force to end the threat (such as the constant, terrifying rockets into Israeli cities) — not some tit for tat, measuring cup idiocy that MNG and Fluffy (she wolf of the S.S.) allege.

  78. Those non anti American and non anti-Semitic people?

    I’d classify myself as one of those, and also as a libertarian (and at one point, a Libertarian).

    I’m sure the Republican and Democrat parties have their share of fringe adherents too. If one needs to generalize about the members of a given party, perhaps that party’s platform is a good place to start. Generally, Libertarians support very small government and personal freedom. When moving into other areas of opinion, the field can get as varied as most other parties.

    On Israel, for the record, I’d support a withdrawal of all financial and military aid from the U. S. government. I also support this for every enemy of Israel as well. Personal aid is another matter. Give your own property to any entity you like. I’ll do the same. I just won’t seize your life’s effort and property to fund my interests. And I’ll reject you seizing mine.

  79. Utter nonsense, Richard. One doesn’t find Free Republc, Atlas Shrugs, Little Green Footballs (you guys foam at the mouth at that one) bash Israel and support the pretend people, the Palestinians. One does find it in this misnamed “Reason” site.

    Also, the above sites and other Conservative sites don’t engage in the smears against Michelle Malkin (alleged murderess), Charles Johnson (Obama’s birth certificate opinions), and me (alleged holocaust denier) that Reason engages in.

    The fact that unReason online magazine engages in this type of shenanigans, including prejudging the innocent Haditha Marines guilty is reason enough for people who use reason and our rational to keep a good arm’s length away from them and the Libertarian party.

    Again, speak to Neal Boortz (another smear target) and find yourselves a new group!

  80. Underzog,

    I agree that wikipedia tends to be biased against Israel. I’m reserving judgement on the Theological Studies papers until I get a link to the actual journal article.

  81. For the record Jtuf, I heard the above explanation for Christian just war and proportionality from John Bolton.

  82. It hardly matters if Wikipedia is biased against Israel, as the link I used was about Catholic Just War theory and not Israel. If you think that page misrepresented Just War Theory or that Israel’s actions are not wrong under such a theory, then argue so, if you can.

    “Israel is trying to limit casualties to Hamas members, but it is difficult with Hamas hiding behind civilians.”

    Is this why there are over 100 women and children killed?

    “Could you please summarize the principles Childress laid out in the article you’re refferencing?”

    jtuf-I don’t think we need concern ourselves with who wrote what. It’s the principles that matter.

    I think Israel is wrong to occupy the Occupied Palestinian Territories (that is, that a full, autonomous state should have been granted decades ago), so I think they may likely fail the “just cause” provision in any event. But let’s skip that. Let’s assume they have a just cause because Hamas is firing rockets at it.

    I think they fail the following measures:
    1. Probability of success: I sincerly doubt the end result such an assault will not be either disporportionate or simply unlikely to bring about positive change (will make Hamas more popular and stronger).
    2. Proprtionality-both in the aims of the war (whatever Israel hoped to accomplish with this it is hard to argue it would outweigh over 700 lives the conflict has cost), and the conduct (the slaying of over 700 people, including a dozen Israelis, to combat the possible killing of 10-20 Israelis is nuts)

  83. One further thing Jtuf — I found this in the encyclopedia Brittanica on the concept of just war:
    “Most scholars agree that, to be considered just, a war must meet several jus ad bellum requirements. The four most important conditions are: (1) the war must be declared openly by a proper sovereign authority (e.g., the governing authority of the political community in question); (2) the war must have a just cause (e.g., defense of the common good or a response to grave injustice); (3) the warring state must have just intentions (i.e., it must wage the war for justice rather than for self-interest); and (4) the aim of the war must be the establishment of a just peace. Since the end of World War II it has become customary to add three other conditions: (1) there must be a reasonable chance of success; (2) force must be used as a last resort; and (3) the expected benefits of war must outweigh its anticipated costs.

    Since the Peace of Westphalia (1648), which ended the Thirty Years’ War, there has been a concerted effort in international law to develop binding laws of war and military codes of conduct. Since the 1860s these have increasingly taken the form of written rules governing the conduct of war, including rules of engagement for national military forces, the Geneva Conventions (1864-1949) and their protocols (1977), and various treaties, agreements, and declarations limiting the means allowable in war. Contemporary moral debate often has centred on jus in bello issues-especially the question of whether the use of nuclear weapons is ever just. The Hague Convention (1899 and 1907) and the Geneva Conventions attempted to regulate conflict and the treatment of prisoners of war and civilians by imposing international standards. Three principles established by the conventions generally govern conduct during war: (1) targets should include only combatants and legitimate military and industrial complexes; (2) combatants should not use unjust methods or weapons (e.g., torture and genocide); and (3) the force used should be proportionate to the end sought.”

    “…proportionate to the end sought.” certainly does not mean the alleged measuring cup nonsense (it’s not even accurate measurements as the discounted the rockets terrorizing Sderot and Ashdot) that the anti-Semites are trying to foist on us.

    I should add this is a Christian concept. Israel is a Jewish state it could very well adopt the Jewish Almalekian concept toward its enemies. As the world basically hates Israel what are they going to do?

    Scream?

    Gee… it’s good things aren’t like that now.

    “Jews go to the ovens. You need a big oven.”

    Pro pali terrorists protestors in Ft Lauderdale.

  84. “the force used should be proportionate to the end sought”

    Oh, come on underzog, surely you can make some defense of killing 700+ Palestinians to stop a rocket fire that had killed less than two dozen people over a year?

    Does it have something to do with the filthy “Arab mind” you speak of so much?

  85. underzog
    I also notice you have no answer for my points at 5:21. They are distinctly numbered so even you can address them one by one. Give it a try.

  86. Oh, yeah, if you want to know what a mighty joke “CAMERA” is, just click here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Committee_for_Accuracy_in_Middle_East_Reporting_in_America

  87. “Oh, come on underzog, surely you can make some defense of killing 700+ Palestinians to stop a rocket fire that had killed less than two dozen people over a year?”

    This is absolutely silly. The Palestinians, I assure you, intended to kill far more. Should the Israeli’s just stop when they have killed four Palestinians or should they keep going about their business until Hamas is utterly incapable of killing anyone else? The Israeli government would be negligent, criminally, if it ceased operations and allowed Hamas to go on another day and kill more Israeli civilians because whiny anti-Semitic apologists for terror complained about a dispropotionate response.

    And it is funny how the asshats who keep mentioning that 700+ number always fail to mention that a huge portion of that 700+ are murderous Hamas terrorists.

  88. Ok B. Man up. Tell us what ethical principle justifies the killing of 700 people because some minority of that number fired rockets into the territory of the killers.

    C’mon, it’s so obvious. Put it into words.

  89. Stop trying to drink Jewish blood and push the Jews into the sea as a result of your loathsome Muslim creed, Mr. Not so nice guy!

  90. OK, that’s it, underzog is an Urkobold creation, right? No real person is that crazy.

    Oh mighty Urkobold, reveal thyself!

  91. I will say this, as I’ve always said about Urkobld, underzog has always, always been funny.

    “Never fear, underzog is here!”

    And the zog part. That’s kind of a give-a-way.

  92. “On Israel, for the record, I’d support a withdrawal of all financial and military aid from the U. S. government. I also support this for every enemy of Israel as well. Personal aid is another matter.”

    What an obnoxious example of moral equivalence. Israel is a democratic nation beseiged on all sides by terrorist gangs seeking its destruction. The notion that they should somehow be treated equally by the United States government is absolutely insane.

  93. Muslim terrorists and their muslim terrorists supporters trying to lecture us on the killing of civilians?

    That’s rich. Incidentally, the hiding behind of civilians of the Hamas active terrorists is itself a war crime. That Mr. Not so Nice Guy refuses to call it that and blames the victims shows the complete evil and immorality of the Arab/Muslim terrorists.

    And, for that matter, Reason Magazine’s evil since it tacitly supports them.

    More comments from the new Nazis.

    “Hitler didn’t do a good job.”

    Pro Hamas protestors in Toronto.

    “Jews to the gas.”

    Pro Hamas protestors in Holland

    “Jews go to the ovens. You need a big oven.”

    Pro pali terrorists protestors in Ft Lauderdale.

    And as an antidote to the above garbage,

    “They (the Muslim Iranians) are savages. They steal our oil and try to murder us with it.”

    Ayn Rand in her final appearance on the Phil Donahue show, commenting during the hostage crises.

  94. “So why make more enemies around the world by taking sides in these interminable struggles among Israel, Hamas, Fatah, and their neighbors?”

    Why take sides? Anyone who has to ask that question is quite simply a moral retard, unless he thinks Israel, a democratic nation, is somehow equal to mass-murdering Islamofascist terrorist semi-states.

    It is becoming beyond obvious that anti-semitism is a huge part of the equation, whether Israel’s detractors want to admit it or not. How else can one rationalize placing a liberal democracy on the same footing as a gang of mass-murdering thugs?

  95. B | January 10, 2009, 8:53pm | #

    “On Israel, for the record, I’d support a withdrawal of all financial and military aid from the U. S. government. I also support this for every enemy of Israel as well. Personal aid is another matter.”

    What an obnoxious example of moral equivalence. Israel is a democratic nation beseiged on all sides by terrorist gangs seeking its destruction. The notion that they should somehow be treated equally by the United States government is absolutely insane.

    Libertarains oppose foreign aid and US involvement in other people’s fights in general. This doesn’t mean they believe the two sides are morally equivalent. It means they don’t think the US government should make any moral judgement on the case. It’s the difference between saying, “there all the same” and saying, “no comment”.

  96. “It’s the difference between saying, “there all the same” and saying, “no comment”.”

    When a liberal democracy, which happens to be an ally, is besieged on all sides by murderous thugs, saying “no comment” is essentially the same as saying “there is no difference”. Indifference in the face of terrorist murder is unacceptable, even if one can couch it in terms of libertarian ideology.

  97. One should not even say no comment. These creatures are worse than the Nazis, albeit more stupid and incompetent.

    Even the Nazis didn’t cheer and jump up and down when they killed the Jews. Even the German nazis did not dance and whoop it up as on Pearl Harbor as the Palis when the Muslim 9/11 terrorists smashed into the towers and the pentagon:

    Palis celebrating the fall of the twin towers
    More footage of Palis Celebrating

    We should help these clowns destroy Israel, push the Jews into the sea, and build them a state — yeah right….

  98. correction:

    Here’s the bottom link hyperlinked correctly:
    More footage of Palis celebrating 9/11

    Oh yes…. We must remain neutral /sarcasm

  99. If Hamas chooses to wage war in the midst of a civilian population, if Hamas launches rockets from the tops of people’s homes, if Hamas stores rockets in mosques, if Hamas makes weapons at public universities it only stands to reason that Hamas is responsible for the civilian deaths that follow, which by the way, never would have occurred if Hamas did not launch thousands of rockets into Israel. Are you detecting a pattern here?

    I will justify my belief in the rightness of Israel’s actions when you can explain to me how the death of civilians in Gaza is not the fault of the cowardly murderers who deliberately hide amongst them.

  100. I think Israel is wrong to occupy the Occupied Palestinian Territories (that is, that a full, autonomous state should have been granted decades ago), so I think they may likely fail the “just cause” provision in any event. But let’s skip that. Let’s assume they have a just cause because Hamas is firing rockets at it.

    MNG,

    Israel conquered Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula from Egypt and Judah and Samaria from Jordan in 1967. To understand the 1967 war, we have to review the 1956 war. Egypt violated its 1948 armistice agreement with Israel by barring Israel from the Suez Cannal and blockading trafic from Israel’s southern ports in the early 1950’s. Egypt also allowed fedayeen to enter Israel and kill hundreds of Israelis with terror attacks. In 1956, Egypt over played its hand by nationalizing the Suez Cannal, angering Britain and France. Israel fought Egypt with their help and took Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula. Under US pressure, Israel gave back this land and let an international UN force patrol the border.

    In 1967, Egypt told the UN forces on the border to leave and they did. (The UN force’s failure to hold their ground on the border is a big reason Israel is wary about putting it safety in the UN’s hands again.) Egypt also blockaded Israel’s southern port, while Syria increase border clashes in Northern Israel. Syria and Egypt signed a millitary pact, drummed up their war rhetoric, and moved their forces to their borders with Israel. Israel, fearing for it’s safety, made the first strike against Egypt and retook Gaza and the Sinai Peninsula. Jordan joined the fray, and Israel fought back against them, taking Judah and Samaria. Israel also won the Golan Heights in its battle with Syria.

    Israel offered to give the land back to Egypt, Syria and Jordan for a peace deal, but all three countries refused to negotiate. Israel kept the land as territories instead of integrating the region with the rest of the state, because Israel kept hoping that they would soon return the land in exchange for peace. Egypt eventually changed it’s mind under Carter and got the Sinai Peninsula in exchange for signing a peace treaty. Israel offered to also give Egypt Gaza, but Egypt didn’t want it.

    So, MNG, do you have complaints about Israel’s conduct during the 1967 war? If so, what are they, and what should Israel have done in 1967?

  101. underzog | January 10, 2009, 9:21pm | #

    Oh yes…. We must remain neutral /sarcasm

    I agree that Israel is in the right in this conflict. That’s why I support Israel personally, and I’m grateful that you do as well. I’ve also seen the how “help” from the White House can do more harm to Israel than good. During the 1980’s, Regan backed out of the Middle East conflict. Israel, unfettered from White House pressure, brought down the death rate from terrorist attacks and started building the economies of Judah, Samaria, and Gaza. In the 1990’s Clinton stuck himself in the middle of Israeli policy because he wanted a legacy. He legitamized Arafat, thereby signaling that terrorism works as a long term strategy. He also pumped billions into the PLO, much of it disappearing as soon as it got there. The death count from terrorist attacks on Israelis doubled. Bush Jr. changed US policy back to the hands off approach. Forced to stand or sink, Fatah got serious about stopping terrorism. Israel saw this, and started handing local areas to Fatah control. They still don’t have a peace agreement, but Fatah and Israel don’t have any hostilities at this point. So yes, backing off is the best US government policy.

  102. However, my point is that anyone who thinks a fuck-the-Jews policy will help them geo politically in the Middle East or anywhere else is completely mistaken.

  103. “Let’s assume they have a just cause because Hamas is firing rockets at it.”

    How fucking generous of you. All along I was laboring under the assumption that firing thousands of rockets at Israeli citizens didn’t provide adequate reason to launch a military response.

  104. “I think Israel is wrong to occupy the Occupied Palestinian Territories (that is, that a full, autonomous state should have been granted decades ago.”

    You mean the fully autonomous state that was offered to them at Camp David during the Clinton administration but was rejected by the terrorist godfather Yaser Arafat because he didn’t want to be seen as weak and conciliatory toward the Jews? Is that the state to which you are referring?

  105. “I think Israel is wrong to occupy the Occupied Palestinian Territories”

    Are you talking about the territories Israel occupied after they successfully defended themselves on multiple occassions against military assaults by multiple Arab nations? Those territories are occupied only in the same sense as the Germans consider the Alsace-Lorraine as being “occupied” by the French.
    This whole occupied territories nonsense is pure bullshit.

  106. you guys are really missing something. check out this article and be enlightned. it is not about the Jews or Muslums, it is about the failed Corporate Capitalist system.

    it is the same stuff joe has been telling you but mng needs to read it to get enlightened.

  107. if israel wants to stop getting rockets shot at them they should stop oppressing the Palestianans. end the occupation of gaza.

  108. Apparently, as usual, there is little chance of discussing the Middle East in dispassionate terms. With a conflict either 60 or 3400+ years old, it would be surprising if it was any other way. In such an argument, opinions are seldom changed by presentation of facts. Each side prefers to focus on its own facts and perspective.

    Is it possible that the Israelis see this as simply defending themselves? Is it possible that Hamas sees this as a war against an imperial oppressor? Will innocent people on both sides continue to die while the opponents try to kill each other? Probably yes to all these.

    Should we support killing all the Israelis, or killing all the Arabs? Are all Arabs terrorists? Are all Israelis warlike imperialists? Probably no to these.

    Is there any middle ground?

    The fact that I refuse to use your money to support either side means only that I acknowledge that your life’s work is not mine to spend. This is a libertarian concept. Can anyone clearly explain how this becomes anti-Semitic or anti-Arab?

    As to underzog’s concerns about Reason Magazine, I suggest he continue to decry them whenever and wherever he can and avoid patronizing their sponsors. As for linking support or opposition to Israel or the Arab nations by Libertarians in general, I see nothing in the platform, and hold no such conviction as a self-identified libertarian. Pick all the anecdotal cherries you wish, I’ll still reject that premise. Libertarians generally espouse limited government, personal liberty and personal responsibility. Find a phrase in the platform about Israel, any Arab nation or group, Jews, Muslims, etc, and we can talk. Until then it’s a smear of the same kind used against Jews when one of their members acts unethically. Blame the person. Nowhere in the Jewish body of laws does it say that to be a Jew means one must act unethically. Nowhere in the Libertarian platform does it say that Libertarians must be anti-Semitic (or anti-Arab).

    As most libertarians will tell you: It’s a person thing, not a group thing.

  109. Underzog —

    Muslims at protests shouting racist and anti-Semitic slogans damage their cause.

    You and your bigoted tripe damage yours.

    It’s behavior like this that drives many people to throw their hands up in frustration and wish fervently for something to just make the situation go away, with or without a body count.

  110. elemenope the muslims are frustrated at the situation.

  111. “This year [5767] Islam and Judaism’s holiest holidays overlapped for 10 days. Muslims racked up 397 dead bodies in 94 terror attacks across 10 countries during this time… while Jews worked on their 159th Nobel Prize”

    “There’s no need to fear. Underzog is here!”

  112. Hamas steals aid meant for Gazans and sells it at a profit

    “A number of reports from the Strip paint a picture of very difficult humanitarian conditions, not least because of Hamas itself. The suspicion is that the group’s operatives have seized control of any supplies passing through the crossings – including those sent by Israel and international organizations.

    Reports say Hamas takes a cut out of all aid that arrives, including flour and medicine. Supplies intended to be distributed without gain among the population are seized by the group and sold to the residents, at a profit to the Hamas government.

    One such incident was recorded Monday, when a convoy of trucks carrying supplies through the Kerem Shalom crossing was opened fire upon and seized by Hamas gunmen. Similar incidents occurred with trucks carrying fuel.”

  113. I challenged B and underzog to make a response to my points @ 5:21 and all we seem to be getting is “well, here is an awful quote from some Muslim or protestor” as an “argument.” I think Leftiti demonstrated how silly this is when he posted an awful comment from an Israeli. We can all find nuts on both sides. What I am arguing is that three specific policies of the Israeli government are immoral. And the responses, as apart from quoting some nut on the Palestinian side or claiming anti-Semitism (as I also said in a post above, please produce an anti-Semitic statement people here have made or shut up about this, please) are not adequate.

    1. “I will justify my belief in the rightness of Israel’s actions when you can explain to me how the death of civilians in Gaza is not the fault of the cowardly murderers who deliberately hide amongst them.”

    So you can’t defend the IDF actions. Because demonstrating the rightness of the Israeli actions should be a thing independent of the Hamas actions. You see, I condemn Hamas, so I don’t have any burden of defending their actions. But you defend Israel’s actions so you should give your reasons as to why they are right.

    2. “Is that the state to which you are referring?”

    No, that state was a pitiful example of autonomy. Even the Israeli PM at the time bragged that he only promised to “re-deploy” troops and still retained considerable control over the territories, but that now Palestinians would have to control the internal mess Israel’s long term occupation had created.

    3. “Are you talking about the territories Israel occupied after they successfully defended themselves on multiple occassions against military assaults by multiple Arab nations?”

    Yes, it is considered illegal in international law to retain land conquered even in a justly fought war, and for good reason. As John Locke pointed out centuries ago there is no justification for taking over and ruling the women, men, elderly etc. population of the defeated that did not make war upon you. The fact that the previous wars the land was gotten from may have been just does not justify ruling hundreds of thousands of people at gun point for decades after the wars are over. This answers jtuf as well: you don’t “keep” thousands of people for decades at gunpoint because you hope to “swap” these people for peace agreements. If Egypt didn’t want Gaza then Gaza should have been given full autonomy. Ruling over others at gunpoint is wrong.

  114. jtuf
    Perhaps you can now answer some questions for me.

    1. By what right does Israel keep Palestinian businesspersons, a majority of whom did not vote for Hamas in 2006, from shipping and recieving wares? By what right do they prevent laborers from crossing Gaza’s borders to work in jobs created via voluntary agreement with willing employers?

    2. Do you think Israel’s current military actions, which have resulted now in over 8oo deaths, many women and children, can possibly satisfy the proportionality element of Just War theory? Do you have some other ehtical theory that would justify this action?

    3. By what right did Israel rule over the Palestinians post-1967 without allowing them to vote or run for office? Do you generally think it is OK to rule over people without the consent of those governed?

  115. Hey! Nobody you know… the atrocities of the Joos against the Fakastinians are legion; e.g., Israel kills giant Jew eating rabbit.

    Add that to the earlier horror of the Joos murdering Farfour (a Hamas mickey mouse ripoff), 3.40 min. into the video)

    And before the Joos murdered Farfour (the Hamas Mickey Mouse rip off) the Jews ate Farfour’s homework

  116. http://www.jfjfp.org/background3_gaza-crisis_2008-09/ngo_reactions_0812.htm

    Rabbis for Human Rights (Israel)
    STOP HARMING CIVILIANS NOW

    RHR Rabbis-“Can we say the full Hallel on the 8th day of Hanukah in Light of the Events in Gaza?”

    The firing on Israeli communities adjacent to Gaza gives the State of Israel the right to defend her citizens, but both the Jewish tradition and international law do not allow the harming of innocent civilians.

    Many Israelis will quote from the Talmudic Tractate Sanhedrin, “When somebody is coming to kill you, get up earlier and kill him first.” However, few are aware of how the Talmud continues, teaching us only to use the minimum necessary force and drawing a sharp contrast between defending ourselves against those attacking us, and harming an innocent third party. These are also principles in International Humanitarian Law (IHL)

    “Not by might and not by power, but by my spirit says the Lord of Hosts.” Our Talmudic sages determined that these words from the prophet Zechariah would be read as part of the Haftarah (Scriptural reading from the prophets after the reading of the Torah) for the Sabbath of Hanukah, and edited the story of the war of the Macabees out of the Talmud. They understood that, in the long run, sustainable peace and security are not achieved through acts of war.

    RHR calls on the leadership of Israel and Hamas to act according to these standards. RHR calls upon Israel not to harm civilians either through firing on them or through the collective punishment of the ongoing closure severely limiting the amount of food, fuel and other basic goods entering Gaza. RHR calls upon Hamas to cease the intentional harming of civilians through firing on the residents of the Western Negev.

    Israel has actualized its right of retaliation and the defense of her citizens in the last 36 hours. Both the State of Israel and Hamas must now take a “time out” to determine whether the cease-fire can be reinstated. Otherwise, they will soon be plunged even deeper into a cycle of bloodletting, with neither side knowing how they will get out of it. We hope that, as we reach the end of Hanukah, the “Festival of Lights,” that we will see the fulfillment of the prayer, “May a new light shine upon Zion, and may we all speedily merit its light.” (Prayerbook)

    There are those who say that the Talmudic sages ruled that we do not recite the full Hallel (Festive psalms recited on holidays.) on the 7th day of Passover because that is the day that the Egyptians drowned in the Reed Sea. RHR asks whether this year it is appropriate to recite the complete Hallel on the 8th day of Hanukah (Monday) when the work of God’s hands are dying on both sides.

    For More Information:
    Rabbi Arik Ascherman Executive Director 972 50-5607034

  117. Before these anti-Semitic idiots justify Hamas war crimes by blaming the Jews for defending themselves, a little international law is in order on the practice of firing at enemy targets with civilians as shields:

    “Article 28
    The presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations.”

    Geneva Convention 1949

    I think the destroy Israel crowd knows about this International Law, allowing combatents to fire back at military targets even if the military target uses human shields to hide behind, but they hope no one else knows about it.

  118. MNG | January 11, 2009, 9:29am | #

    jtuf
    Perhaps you can now answer some questions for me.

    1. By what right does Israel keep Palestinian businesspersons, a majority of whom did not vote for Hamas in 2006, from shipping and recieving wares? By what right do they prevent laborers from crossing Gaza’s borders to work in jobs created via voluntary agreement with willing employers?

    2. Do you think Israel’s current military actions, which have resulted now in over 8oo deaths, many women and children, can possibly satisfy the proportionality element of Just War theory? Do you have some other ehtical theory that would justify this action?

    1&2. By the same rules of war that allowed Brittain to blockade Germany and send troops into Germany during WWI. Gazans started firing on Israel 8 years ago. Israel pulled out all presence in Gaza in 2005. At that time, Gazan’s border was open. Hamas, the government selected by the people of Gaza, kept launching rockets at Israel, because they are set on destroying all of Israel (a declared goal in their charter). When Gazans launched rockets at Israel post-pull out, they conducted an act of war. At that point, Israel had a right to respond to defend itself. Israel decided on a mild response out of humanitarian concerns. They responded with a blockage, even though they could have been justified in responding with rockets. Launching 6,000 missiles into Gaza would be the “eye for an eye” proportionality that anti-Israel protestors call for. Israel’s blockcade and current ops are less than proportional to Gaza’s actions.

  119. MNG | January 11, 2009, 9:29am | #

    jtuf
    Perhaps you can now answer some questions for me.

    3. By what right did Israel rule over the Palestinians post-1967 without allowing them to vote or run for office? Do you generally think it is OK to rule over people without the consent of those governed?

    3. Israel never granted citzenship to residents in Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, Judah, and Samaria, because they did not intend to keep that land. They planned to give it back in exchange for peace, like they did after the 1956 war with Egypt. It isn’t Israel’s fault that Jordan, Egypt, and Syria refused to negotiate and abandoned their citizens in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. Residents of the Sinai Peninsua do have citizenship. They have Egyption citizenship, because Egypt accepted them along with the Sinai Peninsula during the Camp David Accord. The Sinai Peninsula has a lot of oil put few people. Gaza has a lot of people, but little oil. Israel offered to give Gaza to Egypt as well, but Egypt did not want it. Israel was reluctant to create an independent Gaza at that time, because they wanted a reliable entity to police for terrorists there. If Gazans stopped letting their land be a center for terrorism, they would have gotten a country long ago.

    You argue that Israel should have imposed a Western style (Democratic) government on Gaza. However, Israel never wanted to be a colonial power. Britain uprooted the local governments in the lands they took and imposed parlimentary democracy there. The locals were not always happy about it. Gaza was not in an anarchical state of nature in 1967. Gazans had their own way of governing local affairs. I agree that democracy is the best form of government. How to build a democracy is a entirely different question. Is toppling an indigenous government and imposing a democracy by force the best approach, or should the larger power keep the non-democratic but indigenous government of a land in place?

  120. “So you can’t defend the IDF actions. Because demonstrating the rightness of the Israeli actions should be a thing independent of the Hamas actions. You see, I condemn Hamas, so I don’t have any burden of defending their actions. But you defend Israel’s actions so you should give your reasons as to why they are right.

    I can and will defend their actions when you can explain to me why they are to be condemned for killing civilians when those deaths should be laid at the feet of Hamas. If you continually blame the IDF for civilian deaths when in fact the individuals hiding amongst civilians are to blame, then it is impossible to resolve the argument no matter what anyone says.

    As for you not defending Hamas, you sure as hell could have fooled me.

    Furthernmore, anyone who links to wikipedia as evidence to what a joke CAMERA is, apparently unaware of the huge tussle between CAMERA and the editors of wikipedia, is too fucking clueless to even bother with anymore. What is next, a page concerning how horrible the IDF is on a Hezbollah website?

  121. MNG | January 11, 2009, 9:21am | #

    This answers jtuf as well: you don’t “keep” thousands of people for decades at gunpoint because you hope to “swap” these people for peace agreements. If Egypt didn’t want Gaza then Gaza should have been given full autonomy. Ruling over others at gunpoint is wrong.

    I plan to swap land and people for peace with Egypt in 1956 came from the US. Israel, Britain, and France opposed the idea, but the US pressured them into it and got their way. It’s yet another example of why the US should but out. If you want to be angry at someone over the land for peace policy, look in the mirror.

  122. “Because demonstrating the rightness of the Israeli actions should be a thing independent of the Hamas actions.”

    In other words, explain to me why you think Israel has a right to defend itself, or more fundamentally a right to exist at all. It seems you are trying to argue that as a sovereign nation, Israel is unique in that it has no right to take appropriate military action to defend itself against outside attack.

  123. “At that point, Israel had a right to respond to defend itself. Israel decided on a mild response out of humanitarian concerns. They responded with a blockage, even though they could have been justified in responding with rockets.”

    Israel fired many missles into Gaza during that entire time (245 Palestinians were killed this year alone before the current action). Most of those were justified. You seem to be missing the idea of proportionality I mentioned. Israel’s current actions are far out of proportion (800 dead). Hamas’ rockets were not going to do close to that damage, ever. Here’s what you are missing: yes Israel had a right to defend itself, but does that right allow them to do anything it wants? Surely you recognize some limit to what they can do (could they drop a nuke on Gaza for example in response to a rocket attack)? Now if you recognize a limit (and I’m sure you do), how does 800 deaths not fall in that realm?

    2. Who cares if Egypt and such would not take back certain land (you fail to mention that not all the land was offered back, part of why the Arab nations rejected the offer) and peoples? Once they said no Israel had two options: ruling a people via armed force and denying them a voice in their own affairs or letting them become their own autonomous people. “Because Egypt did not take them back” or “because they wanted a reliable state” are not reasons to deny people autonomy. That goes back to the Declaration of Independence.

    B
    You’re tiresomely repetitive. I have said over and over Israel can, like all nations, take appropriate military action to defend itself against attack. I’ve noted as justified the limited strikes they made all year (killing over 200 Palestinians, far, far more than any Hamas rockets have inflicted on them). But killing 800 people to stop rocket attacks that at worst would kill two dozen is not appropriate. If England did it to N. Ireland I’d be just as mad.

    I also have to thank you for the laugh you gave me with your CAMERA post. CAMERA has a beef with wikipedia and you claim therefore we can’t trust wiki on that subject. But we can trust CAMERA. Yeah, they’re a disinterested party…Besides, the wiki claims are footnoted to third party sources.

    “I can and will defend their actions when you can explain to me why they are to be condemned for killing civilians when those deaths should be laid at the feet of Hamas.”

    This is silly. Yes Hamas, if they are hiding among civilian targets (we have to take the IDF’s word on that as they are not letting foriegn press to cover the situation), are partly to blame when the IDF blows them all, Hamas and civilians, to hell. But certainly the IDF is to blame, they did not have to blow them up at all.

  124. > You Libertarians are trash!

    >>Evaluating all members of a group based on >>your perception of a single member or small >>group of members? Doesn’t this strike you as >>particularly and historically flawed?”

    Of course it is wrong. But such a way of thinking is part and parcel for tribalist and collectivist dogmatics.

  125. “Those territories are occupied only in the same sense as the Germans consider the Alsace-Lorraine as being “occupied” by the French.”

    The French gave the inhabitants of Alsace-Lorraine full citizenship when they took them back from Germany, so your analogy really doesn’t hold water.

  126. And, form 1870-1918, they had full German citizenship after they were annexed from France.

    There were no separation barriers, or “settlements”, or blockades, or denial of citizenship etc. of A/L by either side.

  127. They h ave the RIGHT to do whatever kind of response they want. They have the “Right”, I guess, to nuke Gaza if they wanted. Now, whether or not that would be a good thing or help their situation? That’s the correct question to ask.

  128. They have the “Right”, I guess, to nuke Gaza if they wanted.

    That’s downright silly. Capability != right.

  129. BDB-Good point on the Alsace-Lorraine thing.

    But I don’t think they have the “right” to nuke Gaza. Does a nation get to respond in any way to any attack on it and still be morally in the right? Put another way, if you slap me am I justified in shooting you? How about shooting to wound and then taking you back to my house to be tortured over a three week period and then enslaving you? There’s limits over what force a person or nation who is the victim of agreedly wrong aggression can respond with.

    But I agree with your overall point that even given the right this action isn’t going to help anyone, Israel included.

  130. “That’s downright silly. Capability != right.”

    Indeed. BDB meet Thrasymachus. Thrasymachus meet BDB. 😉

  131. Elmenope I was being ridiculous on purpose there. Who cares about the right of Israel to do this or that? It’s not like if someone tells them “Hey Israel, you have no right to bomb Gaza!” that they’re just going to say “O RLY? LOLz sry guys!”

    The right question is does their action move them towards to goal of having peaceful neighbors and fewer dead Israelis? The answer is “no”.

  132. I guess what I’m saying is, it’s a pointless discussion. Discussing whether Israel has the right to do this or that is like talking about angels dancing on the head of a pin.

  133. Late to the party.

    Great essay. It’s taken over a week and an independent magazine for someone in the media to finally state the obvious: every time something blows up in Palestine, America’s position in the world gets worse. And we are paying for the privilege.

    Not quite true. Check out Glenn Greenwald’s articles at Salon.com

  134. I also suspect that Hamas has probably gained a lot of ground in the West Bank, too. I suspect that they rise to power followed by an eventual Israeli involvement to eradicate them there, along with the eradication of, i dunno, 1000 Palestinians behind which “Hamas hides”. By that time, Gaza becomesa good place for “real democracy” and the moderate PA taking a hold there. But then, because of an Israeli incursions in the West Bank, Hamas (or whatever the hell equivalent group will be in existence at that time) gains a footing in Gaza, only to be attacked by Israel along with, I dunno, 10,000 civilian Palestinians (as time progresses, 1000 will sound too few, given current trends). But, you get the idea: Repeat ad infinitum.

    I’d recommend we get the hell outta this. Soon.

  135. Oh, those poor Palestinians. They democratically elect a terrorist organization who uses them as human shields, and continues to antagonize an enemy that they have already made clear they will never recognize under enemy circumnstances.

    Let’s see how many more appeals to emotion you guys can toss around on here. My tear ducts have yet to be awakened by the persistent use of the words “women,” “children,” and “slaughter.” It’s such an intellectual conversation.

    Do people who argue so passionately for a side in a war that they know very little about realize that the reason that Israel has controlled the flow of traffic in Gaza is because they were being attacked from that position?

    The situation in Gaza is not going to affect the war in the region. I am shocked that anyone even entertains that idea. It demonstrates a truly shallow understanding of the conflict.

    I mean, I know that the pathetic mind of a pacifist refuses to accept that aggression is ever necessary. However, it’s doubly comical when a self-described Libertarian claims pacifism. It makes them even more loathsome.

    We get the geeky, Left oriented fear of being punched in the face mixed with the horrid social skills of a prudent accountant.

  136. Oh, those poor Palestinians. They democratically elect a terrorist organization who uses them as human shields,

    Not true. They elected a coalition government of moderates and extremists.

    Do people who argue so passionately for a side in a war that they know very little about realize that the reason that Israel has controlled the flow of traffic in Gaza is because they were being attacked from that position?

    Not true. They blockaded the whole Gaza strip. Where they attacked along the entire Gaza border? I have very (very very) little sympathy for Hamas, but as I understand it, the rockets were a response to the violation of the truce when Israel blockaded the strip. They had popular support in Gaza because the population were being starved.

  137. “The right question is does their action move them towards to goal of having peaceful neighbors and fewer dead Israelis? The answer is “no”.”

    No, the real question is, is doing nothing going to move them closer towards peace, and the answer is obviously “no.”

    That has already been tested, which is why your statement is all the more bizarre.

    The lip service paid to the idea of peace in the region has probably cost more lives than an all out war would have.

    “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

    No matter what Israel does, it will not give them peace. Their presence in the M.E. is the only reason for the violence, and no sane person is going to advocate moving the entire country out of the region.

    Israel can get along with its neighbors. It’s neighbors can’t along with Israel because they’re Jews. Of course, anti-semitism is acceptable because the U.S. is involved.

    People honestly seem to think that the war in the region is over Gaza, and that’s simply not true. The war in the region is over Israel’s existance, period.

    The conflict over Gaza is a direct result of Israel’s attempt to defend themselves from attacks that were initiated from that position.

  138. no sane person is going to advocate moving the entire country out of the region.

    Well, some “sane” person decided to move them in. See what happened. Haha.

  139. Hey, Famous Mortimer. Here’s a quote for you:

    “The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.”

    You seem not to be full of doubt.

  140. “Not true. They elected a coalition government of moderates and extremists.”

    A colaition government that involves a terroist organization. The existance of moderates is symbolic, and a shoddy a politcal maneuver. It has no substance, and that is obvious by the continued aggression of Hamas.

    If your goal is peace, and you have moderates available to you, then Hamas should be nowhere near the discussion. If they are, then you are responsible for their policies that were made perfectly clear before you voted for their inclusion.

    Even if they didn’t democratically elect them into the government, it would have little relevancy to Israel’s need to defend itself.

    “Not true. They blockaded the whole Gaza strip. Where they attacked along the entire Gaza border?”

    It doesn’t matter where they were attacked. The military efforts were being orchestrated from the region, period. The attacks can occur from any position, and neither you, nor I have sufficient knowledge of the intelligence to know for certain what other threats were planned.

    When they do make attempts to pull back, they are attacked even more. So, there is no positive reinforcement for pulling out of the area entirely just so it will satisfy the delicate sensibilities of people who have little personal involvement in the conflict.

    The Palestinians are being starved by their own biases, and policies. The election of Hamas certainly doesn’t demonstrate that they have much interest in being peaceful with Israel.

    They’re Jews. That simple fact makes any hopes for peace seem as childish as a note to Santa Claus.

    Again, most of these responses are merely appeals to emotion. Israel’s primary concern should not be how their self-defense affects every last Palestinian. Their primary concern should be for the safety of their own population.

  141. If they are, then you are responsible for their policies that were made perfectly clear before you voted for their inclusion.

    I love it. Democracy at the point of a gun. “If you do not, in a free and democratic election, elect the people I demand you to elect, I am going to bomb the hell out of you.”

    They’re Jews. That simple fact makes any hopes for peace seem as childish as a note to Santa Claus.

    Again, most of these responses are merely appeals to emotion. Israel’s primary concern should not be how their self-defense affects every last Palestinian. Their primary concern should be for the safety of their own population.

    OK, whatever, dude. Your logic is, um, very appealing. Good for you.

  142. “Well, some “sane” person decided to move them in. See what happened. Haha.”

    Yeah, haha!

    It’s about as funny as watching Muslims kill more of their own people for religious purposes than their actual enemies.

    We might as well ship all Europeans back to Europe as well, since International Law makes their past migration into the America’s currently illegal. I was unaware that the idea of moving Israel somewhere else was actually entertained by Intelligent people. Hey, maybe it isn’t.

    Look, no paradoxical, Ghandi-esque quotes aren’t going to address the nuance of the conflict, which seems to be ignored by those who are forever attracted to Muslim underdogs.

    I assume it’s better to constantly treat the M.E. as a region where everyone else is responsible for the failures of Muslim culture, lest we offend anyone with “Western” logic, and the very basic concept of personal responsibility.

    People who argue blindly for peace continue to shoot themselves in the foot, and even endanger the lives of others in the process.

    They must be proud.

  143. “I love it. Democracy at the point of a gun. “If you do not, in a free and democratic election, elect the people I demand you to elect, I am going to bomb the hell out of you.”

    Yeah, Democracy at the point of a gun. It certainly worked for Hamas, and many other nefarious regimes.

    A group is free to elect whoever it wants. However, with freedom comes responsibility, and if the group that you elected to represent your interests violently attacks your neighbors day in, and day out because of their religion, then don’t be surprised when you’re caught in the cross-fire.

    War isn’t a perfect solution, but peace isn’t a perfect solution either.

    In either case, far too many innocent people are going to die. However, being seized by a weak stomach can be as morally reprehensible as the unintended consequences of the decisions that you do make.

  144. “Take off and nuke the site form orbit. It’s the only way to be sure.”

    Seriously, this steady attrition of low-grade warfare on both sides has eroded the patience and good-will of anyone who might otherwise be disposed to care.

  145. If a small child shot you in the shoulder with a BB gun and said he was going to kill you, is the proper response to blow his face off and point-blank range with a shotgun?

  146. Hell, scratch that. How about firebombing his parents house at 2 am and killing everyone else in it?

  147. MNG | January 11, 2009, 3:27pm | #

    “Because Egypt did not take them back” or “because they wanted a reliable state” are not reasons to deny people autonomy. That goes back to the Declaration of Independence.

    When our founding fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, they were not sending suicide bombers into London. The PLO started terror attacks on Israel a few years before the 1967 war, before Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula, Judah, and Samaria were in Israeli hands. It was founded to destroy Israel entirely, not to liberate territory. It’s unrealistic to start a campaign to destroy Israel and then expect Israel to stay out of your neighborhood. Israel’s security concerns have roots in terrorist attacks that pre-date the 67 war.

  148. MNG | January 11, 2009, 5:20pm | #

    BDB-Good point on the Alsace-Lorraine thing.

    But I don’t think they have the “right” to nuke Gaza. Does a nation get to respond in any way to any attack on it and still be morally in the right? Put another way, if you slap me am I justified in shooting you? How about shooting to wound and then taking you back to my house to be tortured over a three week period and then enslaving you? There’s limits over what force a person or nation who is the victim of agreedly wrong aggression can respond with.

    But I agree with your overall point that even given the right this action isn’t going to help anyone, Israel included.

    A slap in the face can’t kill you. A kasam rocket can. The approapriate level of force is the minimal level of force that stops the kasam attacks. So far, the kasam rocket attacks have not stopped. That means the current level of force is not excessive.

  149. “So far, the kasam rocket attacks have not stopped. That means the current level of force is not excessive.”

    You could carpet bomb all of Gaza and there would still be rocket attacks. That’s juts how it is.

    LBJ burned half of Indochina from the air and still didn’t get rid of the Vietcong.

  150. So what’s gonna happen is they’re going to kill a lot of people, lose a lot of goodwill in the world, radicalize moderates, and STILL get attacked by rockets at the end of the day. And there will be MORE dead Israelis.

  151. Ali | January 11, 2009, 7:21pm | #

    Oh, those poor Palestinians. They democratically elect a terrorist organization who uses them as human shields,

    Not true. They elected a coalition government of moderates and extremists.

    Do people who argue so passionately for a side in a war that they know very little about realize that the reason that Israel has controlled the flow of traffic in Gaza is because they were being attacked from that position?

    Not true. They blockaded the whole Gaza strip. Where they attacked along the entire Gaza border? I have very (very very) little sympathy for Hamas, but as I understand it, the rockets were a response to the violation of the truce when Israel blockaded the strip. They had popular support in Gaza because the population were being starved.

    The rocket attacks pre-date the blockade. Rocket attacks started 8 years ago. In 2005, Israel removed all settlers and presence in Gaza. Then Gazans had a few years blockade free when they still launched kasam rockets into Israel. Then Israel started the blockade to prevent Gazans from importing rockets. Gazans sneak most of the rockets in through tunnels under Gaza’s border with Egypt.

  152. Ali | January 11, 2009, 7:47pm | #

    If they are, then you are responsible for their policies that were made perfectly clear before you voted for their inclusion.

    I love it. Democracy at the point of a gun. “If you do not, in a free and democratic election, elect the people I demand you to elect, I am going to bomb the hell out of you.”

    I think it’s reasonable to expect Gazans to elect a government that doesn’t launch kasam rockets accross the border at civilians.

  153. I predict the blockade of Gaza will be as effective at removing Hamas as our embargo of Cuba has been at removing Castro. Which is to say, an epic failure.

  154. Those non anti American and non anti-Semitic people who call themselves Libertarians should leave the Libertarians and start a different group with a different name and some well thought out principles. The Libertarian party is too saturated with anti-Semites, druggies, and whim worshiping crazies to be saved.

    Maybe someone can give us our own country that used to be ours.

  155. BDB | January 11, 2009, 9:05pm | #

    If a small child shot you in the shoulder with a BB gun and said he was going to kill you, is the proper response to blow his face off and point-blank range with a shotgun?

    A small child is below the age of reason, Hamas members are not. A BB gun can’t kill you, kasam rockets launched by Hamas can.

  156. Are Kasam rockets at threat to the very existence of Israel? No.

    And BTW, a BB gun CAN kill you, it’s just not very likely to.

  157. BDB | January 11, 2009, 9:38pm | #

    “So far, the kasam rocket attacks have not stopped. That means the current level of force is not excessive.”

    You could carpet bomb all of Gaza and there would still be rocket attacks. That’s juts how it is.

    LBJ burned half of Indochina from the air and still didn’t get rid of the Vietcong.

    We stayed in South Korea and over saw 50 years and counting of truce. We left Vietnam and watched and 3 to 4 million Cambodians die from the regional political upheaval.

  158. North Korea still exists. We don’t move to destroy it once and for all, because the consequences would be such that to do so would be borderline insane.

  159. BDB | January 11, 2009, 10:03pm | #

    Are Kasam rockets at threat to the very existence of Israel? No.

    And BTW, a BB gun CAN kill you, it’s just not very likely to.

    Kasam rockets kill Israelis. A BB gun wouldn’t.

  160. BDB | January 11, 2009, 10:06pm | #

    North Korea still exists. We don’t move to destroy it once and for all, because the consequences would be such that to do so would be borderline insane.

    We sent troops to South Korea to protect it. We’ve accomplished that goal, because we stood our ground. We had troops in Germany and Japan for decades after WWII. Successful peacekeeping takes decades of perseverance. As the Veitnam and Cambondia example shows, pulling out troops prematurely can lead to genocide just across the border in the turmoil of the power vacuum you leave.

  161. “Israel can get along with its neighbors.”

    Which is why the keep invading them and killing so many of them.

    “The rocket attacks pre-date the blockade. Rocket attacks started 8 years ago.”

    And Israel launched attacks into Gaza during that entire period, killing far more Palestinians.

    “In 2005, Israel removed all settlers and presence in Gaza.”

    No they did not, they “re-deployed” their ground troops. They continued to control the borders and air space and other things.

    Your answer at 9:25 still makes no sense to me. Israel occupied these hundreds of thousands of people, some of which were Israel’s sworn enemies but many of whom had never raised a hand in violence against them. Now why can Israel then rule all of those people at gunpoint for the next forty+ years? We tend to think ruling people at gun point, denying them political and human rights, is wrong, even if you feel threatened (which is why even post-9/11 when we feel threatened we still accord (or are supposed to) the Bill of Rights to suspected bad guys).

    “The approapriate level of force is the minimal level of force that stops the kasam attacks.”

    Is that your ethical theory to justify military action? Whatever is the minimal level of force necessary to stop attacks, with no regard to other human values (such as human life)? For example, if the minimum level of force needed to make Israel stop killing Gazans included suicide bombings of schools, would you say that was then justified for Hamas to do? I think you probably would say no, but according to that idea you would have to say “yeah, that’s ok, entities can use whatever minimal level of force is necessary to stop any attack on it.”

    And Mortimer, you can stop with the “oh these weak hearted peace=niks and their silly emotions” stuff, like you and the pro-Israeli side are not moved by silly emotions. Put forward your arguments as I’ve done, clearly stated and asking for the netural principles on which we can evaluate Israel or any other nations behaviors and the arguments as to why those principles are correct or just shut up about your intellectual superiority and your unique willingness to stomach what “needs to be done” (boy, that is such a common stance of pro-Israeli apologists).

  162. There have from time to time been attacks from Lebanon into Israel. Would Israel be justified to occupy Lebanon, denying all of the Lebanese citizenship in any nation, because, you know, Israel feels threatened (and in some sense quite legitimately)? You know, using Lebanon as a buffer zone (that should sound familiar). And all the Lebanese that were then ruled by a foriegn force at gun point, denied citizenship and the basic political rights that come from that, they would not be wronged?

    What a trip. Israel brings out in its apologists the collectivist thinking motivating the position so bad, even a liberal like me can see it’s stink…

  163. How can one credibly make a statement like “… libertarian dogma has nothing to say” about Israel?

    Libertarianism is a philosophy that can easily be summed up as, “Thou shalt not initiate force,” (be that dogmatic or not).

    By libertarian standards, the initiation of force which occurred when Jewish terrorists originally stole the land from the Palestinian people in the 1940s, and when the State of Israel seized the West Bank and Gaza without paying for it, deprives Israel of any legitimacy.

    If the Jews had wanted a homeland, all they had to do was to pay for it, to get along with the neighbors, to not steal — but that is something they were not willing or not been able to do.

    So lets not have any talk about there not being any libertarian position on Israel. The libertarian position is that that NO state has a right to exist except through the auspices of the people, ALL of the people, without regard of their religion, or any other sub-indentification. Since that has never been the case in Israel, it has never been a legitimate nation, let a long a libertarian one. Israel is a Fascist theocracy pure and simple, and anyone who says otherwise is not a libertarian.

  164. Libertarians, call on the U.S. Government to disband and give back the land it stole from the Indians. You’re a fucking moron, Tharmes.

  165. Israel is on a path to self-destruction.

  166. To Tharms, dunnage and all the rest of the swastika boys: go crawl back under your rock.

  167. MNG,

    Israel has great regard for human life. That’s why it takes steps to warm Gazans before any bombings to give them a chance to move to safety. According to reports on http://www.jpost.com, Israel bombed houses along the southern border of Gaza to eradicate smuggling tunnels that open up in the houses. Before the bombing, Israel dropped pamphlets to warn the residents. This allowed 3,000 Gazans to move to safety.

    In contrast Hamas initiates battles in heavily populated civilian areas, because they know civilian Gazan casualties are a propaganda victory for them.

  168. Tharms | January 11, 2009, 11:31pm | #

    If the Jews had wanted a homeland, all they had to do was to pay for it, to get along with the neighbors, to not steal — but that is something they were not willing or not been able to do.

    Jews did pay for their land in Israel. The Jewish National Fund collected donations and used them to purchase land in Israel. Today, 93% of the land in Israel proper is owned by the JNF and leased out with long term leases.

  169. I don’t get Israel’s end game here. Sure, they have justification for invading. I mean, Jesus H Christ they have rockets flying into a large chunk of their country daily. However, strategically it makes no sense whatsoever.

    Then again, not responding with military force wouldn’t exactly solve any problems either. Israel is almost in a limbo-like state of existence where retaliating hurts them while inaction hurts them as well. I’d prefer them to adapt the option that kills fewer people.

  170. Israel is almost in a limbo-like state of existence where retaliating hurts them while inaction hurts them as well.

    Whether or not I agree with him, I have a lot of respect for someone like Max Boot–who peppers his comments in support of Israel’s actions with a healthy dose of realism, weariness, and/or pessimism.

  171. Read the Hamas charter here:
    http://www.acpr.org.il/resources/hamascharter.html

    Hamas is a mystical, death worshipping cult; anxiously pursuing the apocalypse it members believe in. It is explicitly anti-Israel, and anti-semitic; but more importantly, it is anti-civilization. Why would any civilized nation tolerate its presence near its borders?

    Negotiating with such a group is pointless. Israel has every justification to annihilate this group. The innocent people killed in Gaza are solely on hamas, as the innocent German, Italian and Japanese people killed by the Allies in WWII were solely on the hands of the totalitarian governments of those countries. To blame Israel for those deaths is wrong.

  172. @mng

    “If England had killed over 700 Catholic Irishmen in response to an IRA mortar attack the world would be in more of an uproar than they are now as the IDF slaughters hundreds of people”

    This common myth that’s being spouted by both the looney left (independent, gaurdian) and rascist right( daily mail, express) that the UK never treated the IRA the same as Isreal is treating Hamas is complete revisionist bollocks.

    The UK governement was funding and arming violent Loyalist paramilitaries who were doing a
    lot of their dirty work including the assassinations and bombings of civilians etc. The dramatic drop in IRA activities that occured in the 90’s was due to the UK military becoming ruthlessly effective at assassinating IRA personel.

    The final nail in the coffin for the IRA was 9/11. The majority of the IRA’s funds came from the USA, one of the funniest things I’ve seen in my life was Gerry Adams whimpering in front of a bunch of Irish Americans a few days after claiming that he’d never targeted civilians.

    The comparison between Northern Ireland and Gaza falls very flat as well as Catholics have always formed an ethnic minority in Ulster. There could never have been an election victory for reunification at any point after the original partition by Loyd George because the majority of people in the region were always protestant and unwilling to reunify with a state were a foreign church welded very strong political power. Furthermore there has always been freedom of movement between the republic of Ireland, Ulster and the rest of the UK.

  173. there were alot of Loyalist paramilitary groups

    * Ulster Volunteer Force and Protestant Action Force
    * Red Hand Commando
    * Ulster Defence Association and Ulster Freedom Fighters
    * Loyalist Volunteer Force
    * Red Hand Defenders
    * Ulster Protestant Volunteers
    * Orange Volunteers
    * Red Branch Knights
    * Ulster Resistance

    Statistics for killings by UVF
    I can’t be arsed to look up any of the others

    The UVF has killed more people than any other loyalist paramilitary organisation. According to the University of Ulster’s Sutton database, the UVF was responsible for 426 killings during the Troubles, between 1969 and 2001:

    350 of its victims were civilians,
    8 were civilian political activists, mainly members of Sinn F?in
    41 were loyalist paramilitaries (including 29 members of the UVF itself),
    6 were British Army, Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) or Prison Officers and
    12 were republican paramilitaries.

    Have no doubt the British Government were quite brutal in their campaign against the iRA

  174. Furthermore the IRA were never in control of Ulster as Hamas are in Gaza and the IRA never launched missiles into the UK. The IRA were in essence a “terrorist” group in the traditional definition, a group of individuals plotting bombings and assassinations.

    Hamas are closer to a governmental organisation, they control public administration in the Gaza strip and have an army responsible for security and law and order.

    A more reasonable comparison would be the Tamil Tigers who currently control the North of Sri Lanka. The Sri Lankan government is using the recent media focus on Israel to eliminate the Tamil Tigers without international criticism.

    Squeaky wheels do indeed get the most grease

  175. Squeaky wheels do indeed get the most grease.

    Good point. Why did the PLO start hijacking planes in the mid-20th Century? To get the world to side with them against Israel. And to some extent it worked. The Tamil Tigers don’t make it to the front page of international news, because the Tamil Tigers haven’t hijacked American and European planes. We have to stop incentivizing terroists if we want them to give up that strategy.

  176. The post is completely incredible. Thank you for all you posted and whatever you present to us! THANK YOU!!

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