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Thread: Gaza complicates Barack Obama's policy in Mideast

  1. #76
    Elite Member mrs.v's Avatar
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    Cockbitch.
    eat a hot bowl of dicks.

  2. #77
    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greysfang View Post
    OT: Aella, I absolutely love your new avi.
    Thanks, greys. As reluctant as I was to let go of the pig/cop combo, Bowie's just more pleasant to look at.

    Quote Originally Posted by effie2 View Post
    In mine Johhny Depp brings me flowers...
    That's a suspiciously chaste fantasy world, Effie.

    Good articles, btw. They really illustrate how complicated the issue is and the role bias and misrepresentation play.
    "Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck." - Joss Whedon

    "The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance." -Benjamin Franklin

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    Elite Member effie2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aella View Post
    Thanks, greys. As reluctant as I was to let go of the pig/cop combo, Bowie's just more pleasant to look at.



    That's a suspiciously chaste fantasy world, Effie.

    Good articles, btw. They really illustrate how complicated the issue is and the role bias and misrepresentation play.
    Yeah,but you can imagine how i would thank him for his polite gesture...
    "Effie is all kinds of awesome." - Some internet moderator


  4. #79
    Elite Member january's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fluffy View Post
    More oddities in the U.S. "debate" over Israel/Gaza

    Friday Jan. 2, 2009 05:34 EST

    This Rasmussen Reports poll -- the first to survey American public opinion specifically regarding the Israeli attack on Gaza -- strongly bolsters the severe disconnect I documented the other day between (a) American public opinion on U.S. policy towards Israel and (b) the consensus views expressed by America's political leadership. Not only does Rasmussen find that Americans generally "are closely divided over whether the Jewish state should be taking military action against militants in the Gaza Strip" (44-41%, with 15% undecided), but Democratic voters overwhelmingly oppose the Israeli offensive -- by a 24-point margin (31-55%). By stark constrast, Republicans, as one would expect (in light of their history of supporting virtually any proposed attack on Arabs and Muslims), overwhelmingly support the Israeli bombing campaign (62-27%).

    It's not at all surprising, then, that Republican leaders -- from Dick Cheney and John Bolton to virtually all appendages of the right-wing noise machine, from talk radio and Fox News to right-wing blogs and neoconservative journals -- are unquestioning supporters of the Israeli attack. After all, they're expressing the core ideology of the overwhelming majority of their voters and audience.

    Much more notable is the fact that Democratic Party leaders -- including Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi -- are just as lockstep in their blind, uncritical support for the Israeli attack, in their absolute refusal to utter a word of criticism of, or even reservations about, Israeli actions. While some Democratic politicians who are marginalized by the party's leadership are willing to express the views which Democratic voters overwhelmingly embrace, the suffocating, fully bipartisan orthodoxy which typically predominates in America when it comes to Israel -- thou shalt not speak ill of Israel, thou shalt support all actions it takes -- is in full force with this latest conflict.

    Is there any other significant issue in American political life, besides Israel, where (a) citizens split almost evenly in their views, yet (b) the leaders of both parties adopt identical lockstep positions which leave half of the citizenry with no real voice? More notably still, is there any other position, besides Israel, where (a) a party's voters overwhelmingly embrace one position (Israel should not have attacked Gaza) but (b) that party's leadership unanimously embraces the exact opposite position (Israel was absolutely right to attack Gaza and the U.S. must support Israel unequivocally)? Does that happen with any other issue?

    Equally noteworthy is that the factional breakdown regarding Israel-Gaza mirrors quite closely the factional alliances that arose with regard to the Iraq War. Just as was true with Iraq, one finds vigorous pro-war sentiment among the Dick Cheney/National Review/neoconservative/hard-core-GOP crowd, joined (as was true for Iraq) by some American liberals who typically oppose that faction yet eagerly join with them when it comes to Israel. Meanwhile, most of the rest of the world -- Europe, South America, Asia, the Middle East, the U.N. leadership -- opposes and condemns the attack, all to no avail. The parties with the superior military might (the U.S. and Israel) dismiss world opinion as essentially irrelevant. Even the pro-war rhetorical tactics are the same (just as those who opposed the Iraq War were demonized as being "pro-Saddam," those who oppose the Israeli attack on Gaza are now "pro-Hamas").

    Substantively, there are certainly meaningful differences between the U.S. attack on Iraq and the Israeli attack on Gaza (most notably the fact that Hamas really does shoot rockets into Israel and has killed Israeli civilians and Israel really is blockading and occupying Palestinian land, whereas Iraq did not attack and could not attack the U.S. as the U.S. was sanctioning them and controlling their airspace). But the underlying logic of both wars are far more similar than different: military attacks, invasions and occupations will end rather than exacerbate terrorism; the Muslim world only understands brute force; the root causes of the disputes are irrelevant; diplomacy and the U.N. are largely worthless. It's therefore entirely unsurprising that the sides split along the same general lines. What's actually somewhat remarkable is that there is even more lockstep consensus among America's political leadership supporting the Israeli attack on Gaza than there was supporting the U.S.'s own attack on Iraq (at least a few Democratic Congressional leaders opposed the war on Iraq, unlike for Israel's bombing of Gaza, where they virtually all unequivocally support it).

    * * * * *

    Ultimately, what is most notable about the "debate" in the U.S. over Israel-Gaza is that virtually all of it occurs from the perspective of Israeli interests but almost none of it is conducted from the perspective of American interests. There is endless debate over whether Israel's security is enhanced or undermined by the attack on Gaza and whether the 40-year-old Israeli occupation, expanding West Bank settlements and recent devastating blockade or Hamas militancy and attacks on Israeli civilians bear more of the blame. American opinion-making elites march forward to opine on the historical rights and wrongs of the endless Israeli-Palestinian territorial conflict with such fervor and fixation that it's often easy to forget that the U.S. is not actually a direct party to this dispute.

    Though the ins-and-outs of Israeli grievances and strategic considerations are endlessly examined, there is virtually no debate over whether the U.S. should continue to play such an active, one-sided role in this dispute. It's the American taxpayer, with their incredibly consequential yet never-debated multi-billion-dollar aid packages to Israel, who are vital in funding this costly Israeli assault on Gaza. Just as was true for Israel's bombing of Lebanon, it's American bombs that -- with the whole world watching -- are blowing up children and mosques, along with Hamas militants, in Gaza. And it's the American veto power that, time and again, blocks any U.N. action to stop these wars.

    For those reasons, the pervasive opposition and anger around the world from the Israeli assault on Gaza is not only directed to Israel but -- quite rationally and understandably -- to America as well. Virtually the entire world, other than large segments of the American public, see Israeli actions as American actions. The attack on Gaza thus harms not only Israel's reputation and credibility, but America's reputation and credibility as well.

    And for what? Even for those Americans who, for whatever their reasons, want endlessly to fixate on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, who care deeply and passionately about whether the Israelis or the Palestinians control this or that West Bank hill or village and want to spend the rest of their days arguing about who did what to whom in 1948 and 1967, what possible interests do Americans generally have in any of that, sufficient to involve ourselves so directly and vigorously on one side, and thereby subject ourselves to the significant costs -- financial, reputational, diplomatic and security -- from doing so?

    It's one thing to argue that Israel is being both wise and just by bombing the densely populated Gaza Strip. It's another thing entirely to argue that the U.S. should use all of its resources to support Israel as it does so. Those are two entirely separate questions. Arguments insisting that the Gaza attack is good and right for Israel don't mean that they are good and right for the U.S. Yet unstinting, unquestioning American support for whatever Israel does is just tacitly assumed in most of these discussions. The core assumption is that if it can be established that this is the right thing for Israel to do, then it must be the right thing for the U.S. to support it. The notion that the two countries may have separate interests -- that this may be good for Israel to do but not for the U.S. to support -- is the one issue that, above all else, may never be examined.

    The "change" that many anticipate (or, more accurately, hope) that Obama will bring about is often invoked as a substance-free mantra, a feel-good political slogan. But to the extent it means anything specific, at the very least it has to entail that there will be a substantial shift in how America is perceived in the world, the role that we in fact play, the civil-liberties-erosions and militarized culture that inevitably arise from endlessly involving ourselves in numerous, hate-fueled military conflicts around the world. Our blind support for Israel, our eagerness to make all of its disputes our own disputes, our refusal to acknowledge any divergence of interests between us and that other country, our active impeding rather than facilitating of diplomatic resolutions between it and its neighbors are major impediments to any meaningful progress in those areas.

    UPDATE: One related point: I have little appreciation for those who believe, one way or the other, that they can reliably predict what Obama is going to do -- either on this issue or others. That requires a clairvoyance which I believe people lack.

    Some argue that Obama has filled key positions with politicians who have a history of virtually absolute support for Israeli actions -- Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden, Rahm Emanuel -- because Obama intends to continue, more or less, the Bush policy of blind support for Israel. Others argue the opposite: that those appointments are necessary to vest the Obama administration with the credibility to take a more active role in pushing the Israelis to a negotiated settlement with the Palestinians, and that in particular, Clinton would not have left her Senate seat unless she believed she could finish Bill Clinton's work and obtain for herself the legacy-building accomplishment of forging an agreement between the Israelis and Palestinians (this morning's NYT hints at that scenario).

    I personally find the latter theory marginally more persuasive, but there is simply no way to know until Obama is inaugurated. Whatever else is true, the more domestic political pressure is exerted demanding that the U.S. play a more even-handed and constructive role in facilitating a diplomatic resolution, the more likely it is that this will happen.

    -- Glenn Greenwald

    More oddities in the U.S. "debate" over Israel/Gaza - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
    And this is suprising how? Most fundamental Christians vote Republican, and most fundamental Christians will NEVER go against Israel because of what their sacred text tells them. Most fundamental Christians are Zionists and will defend Israel to the ends of the earth because if Israel is destroyed, armageddon is upon us. Its completely contradictory because they are supporting a group that commits war crimes and kills innocent civilians in the name of their God. As a Christian, it sickens me. Most Christians I know won't even fathom a thought that Israel is ever in the wrong, and live in blissful ignorance, not wanting to know any different. I know this firsthand, because of my own family. Plus, anyone who only listens to Fox News thinks that Israel is a poor little victim who is always being attacked and can't catch a break.

    The U.N. stated today that there are at least one hundred civilian casualties so far in Gaza. Now, keep in mind Sasha's article, in which people identified as being pro-Hamas, and not terrorists, are possibly being identified as combatants (ridiculous). So the innocent civilian rate is inevitably much, much higher. Yet, Israel will NEVER face any consequences for this, plain and simple. This is classified as war crimes, but they will never face any international law because the U.S. has clearly stated that they will always stand in support with Israel, despite condemnation by every other civilized nation. It makes me absolutely furious.
    Women ain't gonna let a thing like sense fuck up their argument. - Chris Rock

  5. #80
    Elite Member NicoleWasHere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ravenna View Post
    Why do you insist on interjecting yourself into threads where people are having intelligent discussions on things you know nothing about and posting such foolish comments? This Grimm-wannabe act is getting old.

    Because it's a public message board, and I can say whatever I want. Also, it's not an imitation, I just really don't care if what I have to say is offensive, anymore.

  6. #81
    Elite Member january's Avatar
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    OH THE IRONY!!! I let out a huge string of expletives when I read this, which I won't repeat here. I AM FURIOUS. I guess these days terrorists can only be of one color and one religion? I am so sick of this fundamentalist shit I could scream. I am beside myself with anger right now. How we can call ourselves a civilized nation and not even lift a finger to help innocent people dying? Its beyond frustrating.

    BUSH: HAMAS ATTACKS ON ISRAEL AN 'ACT OF TERROR'

    WASHINGTON President George W. Bush on Friday branded the Hamas rocket attacks on Israel an "act of terror" and outlined his own condition for a cease-fire in Gaza, saying no peace deal would be acceptable without monitoring to halt the flow of smuggled weapons to terrorist groups.
    Bush chose his weekly taped radio address to speak for the first time about one of the bloodiest Mideast clashes in decades. It began a week ago. Israeli warplanes have rained bombs on Gaza, targeting the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which has traumatized southern Israel with intensifying rocket attacks.
    "The United States is leading diplomatic efforts to achieve a meaningful cease-fire that is fully respected," Bush said. "Another one-way cease-fire that leads to rocket attacks on Israel is not acceptable. And promises from Hamas will not suffice there must be monitoring mechanisms in place to help ensure that smuggling of weapons to terrorist groups in Gaza comes to an end."
    The White House released Bush's radio address a day early. It airs on Saturday morning.
    Despite Bush's account of a U.S. leadership role, with time running out on his presidency, the administration seemed increasingly ready Friday to let the crisis in Gaza shift to President-elect Barack Obama. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice briefed Bush on developments in Gaza, and she continued furious telephone diplomacy to arrange a truce. Yet, she said she had no plans to make an emergency visit to the region.
    More than 400 Palestinians and four Israelis have been killed in the latest offensive. The U.N. estimated Friday that a quarter of the Palestinians killed were civilians. In their waning days in power, Bush and Rice have been working the phones with world allies.
    Bush offered no criticism of Israel, depicting the country's air assaults as a response to the attacks on its people. The White House will not comment on whether it views the Israeli response as proportionate or not to the scope of rockets attacks on Israel.
    "This recent outburst of violence was instigated by Hamas a Palestinian terrorist group supported by Iran and Syria that calls for Israel's destruction," Bush said.
    The president said Hamas ultimately ended the latest cease-fire on Dec. 19 and "soon unleashed a barrage of rockets and mortars that deliberately targeted innocent Israelis an act of terror that is opposed by the legitimate leader of the Palestinian people, President (Mahmoud) Abbas."
    Hamas-run Gaza has been largely isolated from the rest of the world since the Islamic militants won parliamentary elections in 2006. Then Hamas violently seized control of the Gaza Strip in June 2007, expelling forces loyal to the moderate Abbas.
    Bush expressed deep concern about the humanitarian suffering of the Palestinian people in Gaza. U.N. officials say Gaza's 1.5 million residents face an alarming situation under constant Israeli bombardment, with hospitals overcrowded and both fuel and food supplies growing scarce.
    "By spending its resources on rocket launchers instead of roads and schools, Hamas has demonstrated that it has no intention of serving the Palestinian people," Bush said. "America has helped by providing tens of millions of dollars in humanitarian aid, and this week we contributed an additional $85 million through the United Nations. We have consistently called on all in the region to ensure that assistance reaches those in need."
    The White House has cautiously said Israel must be mindful of the toll its military strikes will have on civilians. Here, too, Bush blamed Hamas for hiding within the civilian population. "Regrettably, Palestinian civilians have been killed in recent days," he said.
    International calls for a cease-fire have been growing. Bush promised to stay engaged with U.S. partners in the Middle East and Europe and keep Obama updated. Obama is receiving the same intelligence reports on Gaza that Bush is.
    Rice has spoken to both Obama and his choice for secretary of state, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, about the situation at least once in the last week. Obama and Clinton have remained mum out of deference to Bush, who still has 18 days in office.
    There have been growing calls for Rice to intervene with Israel in person amid rising international concern about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza. Her decision to stay away will likely disappoint those calling for a more robust U.S. role, particularly as French President Nicolas Sarkozy intends visit the region next week.
    In recent days, U.S. officials had said that a Rice trip to the Middle East, as a first stop on a long-planned visit to China next week, was under consideration. But those officials said Friday that Rice would stay in Washington. They spoke on condition of anonymity because an announcement is not expected before the weekend.



    Bush: Hamas attacks on Israel an `act of terror' - Yahoo! News
    Women ain't gonna let a thing like sense fuck up their argument. - Chris Rock

  7. #82
    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    ^Oh, whatever, you subhuman, ignorant scum. Your time is up, so do try to STFU up.

    Someone should have thrown something heavier than a shoe at him.
    "Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck." - Joss Whedon

    "The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance." -Benjamin Franklin

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    Don't let Bush upset you. He can't help it. He was born with a silver foot in his mouth.
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


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  9. #84
    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    ^You'd think I'd be immune after all this time.
    "Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck." - Joss Whedon

    "The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance." -Benjamin Franklin

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    Elite Member witchcurlgirl's Avatar
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    He's one of those 'just when you think he can't get any dumber' guys

    To quote my mom "Where's a lone gunman when you need one"
    It's no longer a dog whistle, it's a fucking trombone


    All of God's children are not beautiful. Most of God's children are, in fact, barely presentable.


    If I wanted the government in my womb I'd fuck a Senator

  11. #86
    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    This Einstein quote seems to fit:
    "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe."
    "Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck." - Joss Whedon

    "The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance." -Benjamin Franklin

  12. #87
    Elite Member january's Avatar
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    At least don't pussyfoot around it. I would prefer at least a response along the lines of: "look, I'm a fundamentalist Christian so I can't go against Israel or else I'd offend God. So yeah, I don't care about how many people die in Palestine because I think its all God's will, obviously, because Israel is the chosen people and we have the responsibility to make excuses for them." At least then he'd be an asshole, but not a lying through his teeth asshole. Don't try to tell me that you are worried for the innocent civilians over there, you aren't. You never have been. But I do love the hypocrisy.
    Women ain't gonna let a thing like sense fuck up their argument. - Chris Rock

  13. #88
    Elite Member Rica's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by effie2 View Post
    confirmed again..great minds think alike..
    you're entitled to your opinion and i hope the ban bus misses you if it happens to come by...i like your posts
    but i'm also entitled to my opinion. however harsh it sounds, if they just blow each other to shit (innocents spared of course...im talking about the soldiers and others who wantthis stupid war) then when they are done, the world will be less a bunch of stupid idiotic men.
    honestly...i think the world would be a better place without religion...all it does is cause problems

  14. #89
    Elite Member Fluffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by january View Post
    And this is suprising how? Most fundamental Christians vote Republican, and most fundamental Christians will NEVER go against Israel because of what their sacred text tells them. Most fundamental Christians are Zionists and will defend Israel to the ends of the earth because if Israel is destroyed, armageddon is upon us. Its completely contradictory because they are supporting a group that commits war crimes and kills innocent civilians in the name of their God. As a Christian, it sickens me. Most Christians I know won't even fathom a thought that Israel is ever in the wrong, and live in blissful ignorance, not wanting to know any different. I know this firsthand, because of my own family. Plus, anyone who only listens to Fox News thinks that Israel is a poor little victim who is always being attacked and can't catch a break.
    The main gist of the article ISN'T the fundamentalist/Republican point of view. It's that there's NO DEBATE amongst U.S. political leaders INCLUDING the Democrats even though most Democratic voters aren't slavishly following Israel and their rationale for the current massacre of the Palestinians in Gaza. Of course the fundies are going to be lock in step with the Israelis, except that the majority of the country isn't fundamentalist Christian or Republican. We have a Democratic-led Congress currently. So why isn't there more of a debate about what the US's policy towards Israel should be when 100% isn't behind Israel?
    University of Maryland's Program on International Policy Attitudes -- July 1, 2008:
    A new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll of 18 countries finds that in 14 of them people mostly say their government should not take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Just three countries favor taking the Palestinian side (Egypt, Iran, and Turkey) and one is divided (India). No country favors taking Israel's side, including the United States, where 71 percent favor taking neither side.
    George Washington's warnings and U.S. policy towards Israel - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
    Quote Originally Posted by january View Post
    The U.N. stated today that there are at least one hundred civilian casualties so far in Gaza. Now, keep in mind Sasha's article, in which people identified as being pro-Hamas, and not terrorists, are possibly being identified as combatants (ridiculous). So the innocent civilian rate is inevitably much, much higher. Yet, Israel will NEVER face any consequences for this, plain and simple. This is classified as war crimes, but they will never face any international law because the U.S. has clearly stated that they will always stand in support with Israel, despite condemnation by every other civilized nation. It makes me absolutely furious.
    Until the US political leaders and the US national media begin more of a debate, we're not going to see a change in the US's policy and support against Israel. I've only read about one Democratic Congresswoman making a statement not completely in Israel's favor:
    UPDATE II: Donna Edwards, the newly elected, netroots-supported Democratic Congresswoman from Maryland, who removed the standard establishment Democratic incumbent Al Wynn from office this year, has the following to say about Israel/Gaza:
    I am deeply disturbed by this week's escalation of hostilities in the Gaza Strip, as I have been by the ongoing rocket fire into southern Israel. To support Israel and to ease the humanitarian crisis facing the people of Gaza, the United States must work actively for an immediate ceasefire that ends the violence, stops the rockets, and removes the blockade of Gaza.
    That's much further than most national Democrats have been willing to go. And it illustrates that primary challenges can -- slowly but meaningfully -- change the face of the Democratic Party.

    More oddities in the U.S. "debate" over Israel/Gaza - Glenn Greenwald - Salon.com
    Yet ironically, Israelis' will critique their own government over the latest war in Gaza.
    The neighborhood bully strikes again
    By Gideon Levy
    Israel embarked yesterday on yet another unnecessary, ill-fated war. On July 16, 2006, four days after the start of the Second Lebanon War, I wrote: "Every neighborhood has one, a loud-mouthed bully who shouldn't be provoked into anger... Not that the bully's not right - someone did harm him. But the reaction, what a reaction!"

    Two and a half years later, these words repeat themselves, to our horror, with chilling precision. Within the span of a few hours on a Saturday afternoon, the IDF sowed death and destruction on a scale that the Qassam rockets never approached in all their years, and Operation "Cast Lead" is only in its infancy.

    Once again, Israel's violent responses, even if there is justification for them, exceed all proportion and cross every red line of humaneness, morality, international law and wisdom.
    What began yesterday in Gaza is a war crime and the foolishness of a country. History's bitter irony: A government that went to a futile war two months after its establishment - today nearly everyone acknowledges as much - embarks on another doomed war two months before the end of its term.

    In the interim, the loftiness of peace was on the tip of the tongue of Ehud Olmert, a man who uttered some of the most courageous words ever said by a prime minister. The loftiness of peace on the tip of his tongue, and two fruitless wars in his sheath. Joining him is his defense minister, Ehud Barak, the leader of the so-called left-wing party, who plays the role of senior accomplice to the crime.

    Israel did not exhaust the diplomatic processes before embarking yesterday on another dreadful campaign of killing and ruin. The Qassams that rained down on the communities near Gaza turned intolerable, even though they did not sow death. But the response to them needs to be fundamentally different: diplomatic efforts to restore the cease-fire - the same one that was initially breached, one should remember, by Israel when it unnecessarily bombed a tunnel - and then, if those efforts fail, a measured, gradual military response.

    But no. It's all or nothing. The IDF launched a war yesterday whose end, as usual, is hoping someone watches over us.

    Blood will now flow like water. Besieged and impoverished Gaza, the city of refugees, will pay the main price. But blood will also be unnecessarily spilled on our side. In its foolishness, Hamas brought this on itself and on its people, but this does not excuse Israel's overreaction.

    The history of the Middle East is repeating itself with despairing precision. Just the frequency is increasing. If we enjoyed nine years of quiet between the Yom Kippur War and the First Lebanon War, now we launch wars every two years. As such, Israel proves that there is no connection between its public relations talking points that speak of peace, and its belligerent conduct.

    Israel also proves that it has not internalized the lessons of the previous war. Once again, this war was preceded by a frighteningly uniform public dialogue in which only one voice was heard - that which called for striking, destroying, starving and killing, that which incited and prodded for the commission of war crimes.

    Once again the commentators sat in television studios yesterday and hailed the combat jets that bombed police stations, where officers responsible for maintaining order on the streets work. Once again, they urged against letting up and in favor of continuing the assault. Once again, the journalists described the pictures of the damaged house in Netivot as "a difficult scene." Once again, we had the nerve to complain about how the world was transmitting images from Gaza. And once again we need to wait a few more days until an alternative voice finally rises from the darkness, the voice of wisdom and morality.

    In another week or two, those same pundits who called for blows and more blows will compete among themselves in leveling criticism at this war. And once again this will be gravely late.

    The pictures that flooded television screens around the world yesterday showed a parade of corpses and wounded being loaded into and unloaded from the trunks of private cars that transported them to the only hospital in Gaza worthy of being called a hospital. Perhaps we once again need to remember that we are dealing with a wretched, battered strip of land, most of whose population consists of the children of refugees who have endured inhumane tribulations.

    For two and a half years, they have been caged and ostracized by the whole world. The line of thinking that states that through war we will gain new allies in the Strip; that abusing the population and killing its sons will sear this into their consciousness; and that a military operation would suffice in toppling an entrenched regime and thus replace it with another one friendlier to us is no more than lunacy.

    Hezbollah was not weakened as a result of the Second Lebanon War; to the contrary. Hamas will not be weakened due to the Gaza war; to the contrary. In a short time, after the parade of corpses and wounded ends, we will arrive at a fresh cease-fire, as occurred after Lebanon, exactly like the one that could have been forged without this superfluous war.

    In the meantime, let us now let the IDF win, as they say. A hero against the weak, it bombed dozens of targets from the air yesterday, and the pictures of blood and fire are designed to show Israelis, Arabs and the entire world that the neighborhood bully's strength has yet to wane. When the bully is on a rampage, nobody can stop him. The neighborhood bully strikes again - Haaretz - Israel News

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    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1230937462/

    Molten Lead
    by Uri Avnery
    01/03/09


    JUST AFTER MIDNIGHT, Aljazeera’s Arabic channel was reporting on events in Gaza. Suddenly the camera was pointing upwards towards the dark sky. The screen was pitch black. Nothing could be seen, but there was a sound to be heard: the noise of airplanes, a frightening, a terrifying droning.

    It was impossible not to think about the tens of thousands of Gazan children who were hearing that sound at that moment, cringing with fright, paralyzed by fear, waiting for the bombs to fall.

    “ISRAEL MUST defend itself against the rockets that are terrorizing our Southern towns,” the Israeli spokesmen explained. “Palestinians must respond to the killing of their fighters inside the Gaza Strip,” the Hamas spokesmen declared.

    As a matter of fact, the cease-fire did not collapse, because there was no real cease-fire to start with. The main requirement for any cease-fire in the Gaza Strip must be the opening of the border crossings. There can be no life in Gaza without a steady flow of supplies. But the crossings were not opened, except for a few hours now and again. The blockade on land, on sea and in the air against a million and a half human beings is an act of war, as much as any dropping of bombs or launching of rockets. It paralyzes life in the Gaza Strip: eliminating most sources of employment, pushing hundreds of thousands to the brink of starvation, stopping most hospitals from functioning, disrupting the supply of electricity and water.
    Those who decided to close the crossings – under whatever pretext – knew that there is no real cease-fire under these conditions.

    That is the main thing. Then there came the small provocations which were designed to get Hamas to react. After several months, in which hardly any Qassam rockets were launched, an army unit was sent into the Strip “in order to destroy a tunnel that came close to the border fence”. From a purely military point of view, it would have made more sense to lay an ambush on our side of the fence. But the aim was to find a pretext for the termination of the cease-fire, in a way that made it plausible to put the blame on the Palestinians. And indeed, after several such small actions, in which Hamas fighters were killed, Hamas retaliated with a massive launch of rockets, and – lo and behold – the cease-fire was at an end. Everybody blamed Hamas.

    WHAT WAS THE AIM? Tzipi Livni announced it openly: to liquidate Hamas rule in Gaza. The Qassams served only as a pretext.

    Liquidate Hamas rule? That sounds like a chapter out of “The March of Folly”. After all, it is no secret that it was the Israeli government which set up Hamas to start with. When I once asked a former Shin-Bet chief, Yaakov Peri, about it, he answered enigmatically: “We did not create it, but we did not hinder its creation.”

    For years, the occupation authorities favored the Islamic movement in the occupied territories. All other political activities were rigorously suppressed, but their activities in the mosques were permitted. The calculation was simple and naive: at the time, the PLO was considered the main enemy, Yasser Arafat was the current Satan. The Islamic movement was preaching against the PLO and Arafat, and was therefore viewed as an ally.

    With the outbreak of the first intifada in 1987, the Islamic movement officially renamed itself Hamas (Arabic initials of “Islamic Resistance Movement”) and joined the fight. Even then, the Shin-Bet took no action against them for almost a year, while Fatah members were executed or imprisoned in large numbers. Only after a year, were Sheikh Ahmed Yassin and his colleagues also arrested.

    Since then the wheel has turned. Hamas has now become the current Satan, and the PLO is considered by many in Israel almost as a branch of the Zionist organization. The logical conclusion for an Israeli government seeking peace would have been to make wide-ranging concessions to the Fatah leadership: ending of the occupation, signing of a peace treaty, foundation of the State of Palestine, withdrawal to the 1967 borders, a reasonable solution of the refugee problem, release of all Palestinian prisoners. That would have arrested the rise of Hamas for sure.

    But logic has little influence on politics. Nothing of this sort happened. On the contrary, after the murder of Arafat, Ariel Sharon declared that Mahmoud Abbas, who took his place, was a “plucked chicken”. Abbas was not allowed the slightest political achievement. The negotiations, under American auspices, became a joke. The most authentic Fatah leader, Marwan Barghouti, was sent to prison for life. Instead of a massive prisoner release, there were petty and insulting “gestures”.

    Abbas was systematically humiliated, Fatah looked like an empty shell and Hamas won a resounding victory in the Palestinian election – the most democratic election ever held in the Arab world. Israel boycotted the elected government. In the ensuing internal struggle, Hamas assumed direct control over the Gaza Strip.

    And now, after all this, the government of Israel decided to “liquidate Hamas rule in Gaza” – with blood, fire and columns of smoke.

    THE OFFICIAL NAME of the war is “Cast Lead”, two words from a children’s song about a Hanukkah toy.

    It would be more accurate to call it “the the Election War”.

    In the past, too, military action has been taken during election campaigns.

    Menachem Begin bombed the Iraqi nuclear reactor during the 1981 campaign. When Shimon Peres claimed that this was an election gimmick, Begin cried out at his next rally: “Jews, do you believe that I would send our brave boys to their death or, worse, to be taken prisoner by human animals, in order to win an election?” Begin won.

    Peres is no Begin. When, during the 1996 election campaign, he ordered the invasion of Lebanon (operation “Grapes of Wrath”), everybody was convinced that he had done it for electoral gain. The war was a failure and Peres lost the elections and Binyamin Netanyahu came to power.

    Barak and Tzipi Livni are now resorting to the same old trick. According to the polls, Barak’s predicted election result rose within 48 hours by five Knesset seats. About 80 dead Palestinians for each seat. But it is difficult to walk on a pile of dead bodies. The success may evaporate in a minute if the war comes to be considered by the Israeli public as a failure. For example, if the rockets continue to hit Beersheba, or if the ground attack leads to heavy Israeli casualties.

    The timing was chosen meticulously from another angle too. The attack started two days after Christmas, when American and European leaders are on holiday until after New Year. The calculation: even if somebody wanted to try and stop the war, no one would give up his holiday. That ensured several days free from outside pressures.

    Another reason for the timing: these are George Bush’s last days in the White House. This blood-soaked moron could be expected to support the war enthusiastically, as indeed he did. Barack Obama has not yet entered office and had a ready made pretext for keeping silent: “there is only one President”. The silence does not bode well for the term of president Obama.

    THE MAIN LINE was: not to repeat the mistakes of Lebanon War II. This was endlessly repeated on all the news programs and talk shows.
    This does not change the fact: the Gaza War is an almost exact replica of the second Lebanon war.

    The strategic concept is the same: to terrorize the civilian population by unremitting attacks from the air, sowing death and destruction. This poses no danger to the pilots, since the Palestinians have no anti-aircraft weapons at all. The calculation: if the entire life-supporting infrastructure in the Strip is utterly destroyed and total anarchy ensues, the population will rise up and overthrow the Hamas regime. Mahmoud Abbas will then ride back into Gaza on the back of Israeli tanks.

    In Lebanon, this calculation did not work out. The bombed population, including the Christians, rallied behind Hizbullah, and Hassan Nasrallah became the hero of the Arab world. Something similar will probably happen this time, too. Generals are experts on using weapons and moving troops, not on mass psychology.

    Some time ago I wrote that the Gaza blockade was a scientific experiment designed to find out how much one can starve a population and turn its life into hell before they break. This experiment was conducted with the generous help of Europe and the US. Up to now, it did not succeed. Hamas became stronger and the range of the Qassams became longer. The present war is a continuation of the experiment by other means.

    It may be that the army will “have no alternative” but to re-conquer the Gaza Strip because there is no other way to stop the Qassams – except coming to an agreement with Hamas, which is contrary to government policy. When the ground invasion starts, everything will depend on the motivation and capabilities of the Hamas fighters vis--vis the Israeli soldiers. Nobody can know what will happen.

    DAY AFTER DAY, night after night, Aljazeera’s Arabic channel broadcasts the atrocious pictures: heaps of mutilated bodies, tearful relatives looking for their dear ones among the dozens of corpses spread out on the ground, a woman pulling her young daughter from under the rubble, doctors without medicines trying to save the lives of the wounded. (The English-language Aljazeera, unlike its Arab-language sister-station, has undergone an amazing about face, broadcasting only a sanitized picture and freely distributing Israeli government propaganda. It would be interesting to know what happened there.)

    Millions are seeing these terrible images, picture after picture, day after day. These images are imprinted on their minds forever: horrible Israel, abominable Israel, inhuman Israel. A whole generation of haters. That is a terrible price, which we will be compelled to pay long after the other results of the war itself have been forgotten in Israel.

    But there is another thing that is being imprinted on the minds of these millions: the picture of the miserable, corrupt, passive Arab regimes.
    As seen by Arabs, one fact stands out above all others: the wall of shame.

    For the million and a half Arabs in Gaza, who are suffering so terribly, the only opening to the world that is not dominated by Israel is the border with Egypt. Only from there can food arrive to sustain life and medicaments to save the injured. This border remains closed at the height of the horror. The Egyptian army has blocked the only way for food and medicines to enter, while surgeons operate on the wounded without anesthetics.

    Throughout the Arab world, from end to end, there echoed the words of Hassan Nasrallah: The leaders of Egypt are accomplices to the crime, they are collaborating with the “Zionist enemy” in trying to break the Palestinian people. It can be assumed that he did not mean only Mubarak, but also all the other leaders, from the king of Saudi Arabia to the Palestinian President. Seeing the demonstrations throughout the Arab world and listening to the slogans, one gets the impression that their leaders seem to many Arabs pathetic at best, and miserable collaborators at worst.

    This will have historic consequences. A whole generation of Arab leaders, a generation imbued with the ideology of secular Arab nationalism, the successors of Gamal Abd-al-Nasser, Hafez al-Assad and Yasser Arafat, may be swept from the stage. In the Arab space, the only viable alternative is the ideology of Islamic fundamentalism.

    This war is a writing on the wall: Israel is missing the historic chance of making peace with secular Arab nationalism. Tomorrow, It may be faced with a uniformly fundamentalist Arab world, Hamas multiplied by a thousand.

    MY TAXI DRIVER in Tel-Aviv the other day was thinking aloud: Why not call up the sons of the ministers and members of the Knesset, form them into a combat unit and send them off to head the coming ground attack on Gaza?

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