In Gaza war, lions led by donkeys?

By Bernd Debusmann
January 15, 2009

Bernd Debusmann - Great Debate- Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own -

It’s not often that a senior member of Washington’s usually staid and cautious foreign policy establishment likens Israeli political leaders to donkeys and questions their competence. But the fighting in Gaza prompted Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies to do just that.

“Will Israel end in empowering an enemy in political terms that it defeated in tactical terms? Will Israel’s action seriously damage the U.S. position in the region, and hope of peace, as well as moderate Arab regimes and voices in the process? To be blunt, the answer so far seems to be yes.

“To paraphrase a comment about the British government’s management of the British Army in World War I, lions seem to be led by donkeys…The question is not whether the IDF (Israeli Defense Force) learned the tactical lessons of fighting in 2006 (in Lebanon). It is whether Israel’s top political leadership has even minimal competence to lead them,” he writes in an analysis on Gaza.

In Cordesman’s view, the leadership lacks a grand strategic purpose. Are the tactical gains the IDF is making in its assault on Hamas to stop it from firing rockets into Israel worth the political and strategic costs to the Jewish state?

Strong words from a respected authority on the Middle East, a member of an influential network of scholars who migrate from senior government jobs (his included director of intelligence assessment for the Secretary of Defense) to think tanks and from there often move back to government in Washington’s revolving door scene.

With the prospect of fighting in Gaza dragging on past next week’s inauguration of Barack Obama as the next U.S. president, analyses and advice have flowed freely on how the new administration should deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a problem that has plagued a string of presidents and shaped Arab perceptions that the U.S. backs Israel, no matter what.

Will the U.S. shift course under Obama? In her confirmation hearing this week, his nominee for Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, ruled out negotiating with Hamas, the group Israel is fighting in Gaza, unless it renounces violence and recognizes Israel. “That is just for me an absolute,” she said. No change on that front from George W. Bush.

No word either on Israeli settlements on the West Bank. They will remain standing once the guns fall silent in Gaza. Their continued growth – in violation of international law – bodes ill for the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, the so-called two state solution. In the past 15 years, the number of Israelis living on the West Bank rose from 116,000 to almost 300,000. In addition, another 190,000 Israelis live in the formerly Arab part of Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics.

END WEST BANK SETTLEMENTS

If Obama is serious about making peace between Israelis and Palestinians, says Aaron David Miller, a scholar at Washington’s Woodrow Wilson Institute, he will need to tackle the settlement question. In the past, U.S. involvement has been largely rhetorical. Miller, a former adviser on Arab-Israeli negotiations to six secretaries of state, said he could not recall one strategic meeting with an Israeli Prime Minister to discuss the damage the settlements did to peace negotiations.

“But it is a fact that settlements are incompatible with creating confidence, let alone creating an atmosphere of serious negotiations.” Why didn’t the U.S. press harder? “For one, we didn’t want a confrontation.”

If future American attempts to help negotiate peace are to be successful, Miller says, the U.S. must be equally firm in dissuading actions on either side that wreck chances of an agreement – rockets fired from Gaza, or Israelis settling on the West Bank. Agreeing to every idea proposed by an Israeli Prime Minister, as happened in the past, is not the right way to go.

The cause of even-handedness would also benefit if American politicians (and pundits) took statements from Israeli leaders with a grain of salt. Such as the analogy Defense Minister Ehud Barak provided to explain why the IDF launched the war on Hamas in Gaza, opening with a bombardment reminiscent of the shock-and-awe assault with which the U.S. tried to decapitate Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003.

“Contemplate what would happen if Kassem rockets were fired for years from Tijuana in Mexico to San Diego.”

There is no excuse for targeting civilians but Barak’s Tijuana-San Diego analogy is severely flawed. Tijuana has not been occupied by a foreign power, its citizens do not belong to families that were dislodged by a war in 1948, and the flow of goods into and out of Tijuana has not been subject to blockades. Unlike Gaza.

You can contact the author at Debusmann@reuters.com. For previous columns, click here.

190 comments

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[...] In Gaza war, lions led by donkeys? [...]

Comparison of Israelis to lions and donkeys is on the conscience of Mr. Debusmann. I would though reserve the term “donkeys” to the upcoming US Administration – not only it seems more fitting in the context, but it’s the official mascot of their party. Lion, on the other hand, is quite appropriate – it’s the ancient symbol of Judea.
But then, what can Hamas be compared to? The only just comparison is rats – cowardly, mean, blood-thirsty, and dirty. Though in some sense this comparison is an insult – to the rodents. Unlike the animals, Hamas leaders must understand that placing a rocket launcher atop a civilian building makes that building a legitimate military target. Yet they do just that – and then scream about “Israeli war crimes” to everyone willing to listen. They extol martyrdom – yet they have no guts to stand up and fight like men. They hide in the tunnels, sewers, and basements. They shoot their rockets – not at tanks and planes of IDF, but at residential areas in Israel, deliberately trying to hit a school or a bus stop, and lamenting their rockets being insufficiently lethal. After the shooting they disappear underground, leaving their human shield to take the punishment. They are ready to fight to the last child of Gaza. They declare themselves winners – as if Hamas tanks encircled Jerusalem, and Tel Aviv lay in ruins.
And the worst part of it – there are fools swallowing Hamas propaganda whole, hook, line, and sinker, and not only in Tehran, but around the world. As long as Hamas thinks that the images of ruined houses and bloodied children are to their benefit, they’d do their utmost to increase the flow thereof by provoking IDF strikes. The suffering of innocents in Gaza is terrible, but the only way to really help them is to remove, or at least to limit Hamas capacity to sacrifice them for Hamas own political gain.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Hamas took over the power in Gaza illegally from palestinian authority in a coup. They don’t recognize the arrangements that were made by Israel, EU, Egipt, and palestinians on border control and the movement of goods. Therefore, Israel and Egipt have all the rights to close the borders until the legal authority of palestinians, who were kicked out, and European monitors are allowed to return according to previous agreement. Don’t forget, the Gaza borders were open until Hamas overthrew illegally the rule of president Abbas.

How is it possible to negotiate with Hamas when it doesn’t recognize any previous agreements, doesn’t recognize Israel right to exist. Peace process is suppose to be peace in exchange for land. Israel withdrew from Lebanon and Gaza completely, but instead of more peace, Israel got more terror, largely thanks to Hamas and their homocide bommings since 1990′s and rockets for the last 8 years.

There is no chance for peace and 2 state solution until Hamas and radicals like it will disappear from the region. All Hamas believs in a single state solution that doesn’t include Israel.

As to a comment about refugees from 1948 war. It is very important to remember how this war started. All major arab countries attacked Israel and tried to destroy it. When Germany started WWII and lost it, many germans were displaced from former German territory and other areas of Europe to a current Germany. These refuges are just being used to score political points by terrorists like Hamas.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

Mr.Debussman is right on the point.Israel has made a big mistake because it lost support all over the world,and now might have to face war crimes against humanity.
This crazy war will prove that Israel is making a mess into its own garden because in the long run Arab people will not trust the Israelis to make peace with the Jewish state.
Ok,you (Israel) hate HAMAS you kill and murder the whole people in the enclave what a shame,even people who have sympathised with Jews during WWII will rethink their position and wonder what the hek is Israel doing to the innocent ones who really dont give a damn about HAMAS or FATAH or Israel all they want is to have peace of mind and live happily with their children since you and I know the amount of suffering they have endured since 1946.
To be honest,it seems Israel thinks it is above all international laws and regulations forgetting that this is not the way to deal with others.
So Mr,Debussman,lions and donkeys can lead each other to disasters,but the lion knows at the end, will not tolerate the donkey no more and might eat him>>>>
Like the King of Jordan has said before Israel need to get out of its war and military mentality and extend its hand to peace,cause as he put it,Israel will not endure stability or peace unless it comes down and accept all UN resolutions and have peace with the Arab countries.

Posted by Abraham | Report as abusive

I don’t believe that opinions posted anonnymously should be published by any opinion posting sites.

Posted by Frank Austin | Report as abusive

Mr. Debussman is right. Hamas certainly started this war although the blockage against Gaza was a contributing factor. The tactical victory that Israel will achieve could be marginalized by the political dividends that Hamas achieves on the Arab street. The biggest loser will be the Palestinain Authority which sits on the sidelines. I believe that a serious approach to reinforce the two-country solution with direct involvement of the U.S. I hope that the day will come for peace in this region.

Well, if you don’t like the Tijuana example add people sneaking to your child school bus and bombing it.
Blockades are a necessity that saved a lot of lives.
There were many mistakes by both sides
but the difference is, Israel wants peace, one we can all live with. Every politician that wants to succeed in Gaza, have to at least pretend he wants all Jews in Israel killed… great start for peace, right ?
And all the Arab countries that are angry about the Palestinians, never helped them. The ones that are living in these countries are hated there too and sometimes badly mistreated.
It’s very easy to be smart from the outside.
People keep forgetting that the Palestinians don’t want peace at all. And they let groups of terrorists control their lives when all they do is use them as live shields
.

Posted by yael | Report as abusive

The question is what comes first, to stop the rocket firings which have basically paralyzed Southern Israel, meaning nearly a million inhabitants not being able to carry out their jobs, studies etc, aside from the psychological effects, or to give first priority to world opinion which is fed by a one-sided media, which commits the sin of omission,thus creating anger of the masses towards Israel, and at the same time inderectly encouraging the Hamas to still fire rockets when the “show” is over?
The government has an obligation to protect its citizens
and if it doesn’t, will find itself replaced by another party.
The settlements should be removed-besides being a direct insult to the Palestinians,they are a hinderence, and no end of millions of dollars have been wasted wherein that money could have been used for more important matters e.g. strengthening the defences of Sderot.
I have read articles on Britain’s reaction to the WW2 v1 and v2 rockets fired on them by Germany, the bommbings of Dresden, the NATO bombing of Yugoslavia and other similar articles. It seems that what’s okay for Europe to do is not okay for Israel to do i.e. exercising the basic right to self defence. As always European hypocrisy is alive and well.

Posted by paul k | Report as abusive

Mr. Debusmann doesn’t mention the fact that the Hamas came to power mainly by killing Fatach members in Gaza. He also don’t tell that Israel had redrawn it’s forces from Gaza a few years ago, and instead of good will got thousands of bombs. And what about Iran’s involvment in Gaza, sending it’s poissones arm directly to Israel’s heart trough the Hamas.

When will the world understand?
Hamas = Al-qaida
Busses being bombed in Israel =Towers falling in New-york

Stratigic purpose? How about defending thousands of Israelis from missiles. Strategic enough for me. And regarding the Arabs around us and their reaction to our actions. The moderate countries like Jordan and Egypt are not too sad we are kicking Hamas’s ass.

Posted by Ohad Itai | Report as abusive

Wrong, wrong, wrong. On all points.

The Palestinians in Gaza act like a bunch of wild animals, it is impossible for Israel to let them have open borders since they would attack Israel at every opportunity. In 2005, Israel left Gaza and the Palestians freely chose to install a regime that does not recognize Israel. They refused to follow the negotiated rules for allowing their border crossings to operate. They don’t follow the laws of war, they don’t wear uniforms, they hide behind civilians, and the reason that there are refugees in Gaza from 1948 is because even then they refused to recognize the right of the Jewish people to have a state there and turned down the chance to have their own state. Of course, when Egypt occupied Gaza from 1948-1967, they didn’t work with Jordan (who occupied the West Bank during the same time period) to establish a Palestinian state; they concentrated on destroying Israel.

The West Bank settlements are a red herring. With a negotiated peace treaty, Israel can dismantle settlements within weeks. But dismantling settlements or even freezing settlement construction is a big concession from Israel that should be accompanied by Palestinian concessions as part of negotiations.

The Israel strategy in this war is the same as the successful strategy Israel followed in 2006 in the war with Lebanon. Hizbollah claimed victory, but Nasrallah, the Hisbollah leader, also said that if he knew what the Israeli response would have been, he would have not kidnapped the Israel soldiers that started the war. Note that Hisbollah has been very quick to deny any connection with any weapons fired from Lebanon since the end of that war. Since 2006, a beefed up UN force has patrolled the same area in Lebanon that Israel occupied for a number of years and the border has been much quieter since the war than it had been in the 2001-2005 period after Israel’s withdrawl from Lebanon. Israel wants an international force to take over policing the Gaza border and to prevent the Palestianians from attacking Israel from there. I don’t know if they will get that, but the outcome is likely to be an improved security situation from Israel’s standpoint.

Posted by YM | Report as abusive

It is absolutly appaling to read what Anonymous had just finished writting . Describing HAMAS /Palestinian fighters with rats makes me think of another era and anotehr war and yes , acleansing of the very people that he belongs to to be Hitler. Hitler described your ancestors as rats , thus , dehumanizing them and killing and gassing them . Shame on you for using the very Nazi language that had given you the excuse to fool the Americans into helping you and your nation to become a lethal killing machine. Your zionist mind has been brain washed by swallowing teh zionist pill for ages. You can’t come and steal the land, remove”Cleanse”??” it’s people, submit them to absolute dependence ,and then ask them to give their God given right of self defense !!This is a mockery and nonsense and you ought to be ahsmed of your self andf start educating yourself of the real Zionist agenda andit’s stated goals since it’s inception. Jews, Muslims and Christians lived in harmony in the land of Palestine for centuries.. zioists like you brought the hate, racism , destruction and above all .. fealth to the land of Palestine and started to spread your filth . And you should read and learn teh facts, hamas was created by Isreal as an attemp to replace the PLO ..Hamas saw the light and realized that Isreal is teh true enemy and must be resisted … I guarentee you taht if HAMAS had the fire power .. they would be “have been;”‘ fighting you in Tel Aviv ..These men have no fear of your mechanized American Weapons .. These men are the true men of war .. they are brilliant in using what they can and improvising to inflict seriouse damage on Isreal from all sides of the globe. I predict that they will win the hearts and minds of all fair minded people all over the world.

Aaron Schlickman

Posted by Aaron Schlikman | Report as abusive

Reuters’ coverage of the war — just see the web site from today alone — is tremendously slanted towards the Palestinians, conveniently leaving out Hamas’ misdeeds and only pointing the finger at Israel. No objectivity here. But Debusmann’s story is really unfair, especially in its end. He continues to state the flawed point that Hamas is reacting to recent blockades. But Hamas for years has been undermining every serious peace effort, since Oslo, when every meeting between Israel and the PA was then preceded by some Hamas atrocity bombing or attack, just to poison the atmosphere. Hamas is on record as doing everything it can to undermine peace talks. And in its charter it articulates its aims to destroy Israel and drink the blood of the Jews. You don’t like Barak’s analogy to Tijuana? But Israel left Gaza over three years ago and instead of peace it got rockets. Where was the peace gesture from Hamas for Israel’s evacuation? Where were the confidence-building steps from the Palestinians? All Israel got was what it has always gotten — the lesson that leaving territory does not invite peaceful gestures but more attacks. Hamas is a vicious tyranny that brutally exploits and murders it own people, why not expose it? Hamas plays the media like a well-tuned fiddle, that’s why the world hates Israel now, not because of what Israel does. (Why doesn’t the world hate the Sudanese for slaughtering hundreds of thousands of civilians? Because people like Debusmann really don’t care about civilians, only about bashing Israel.) Debusmann takes anti-Israel propaganda and spreads it, and that’s what hurts Israel’s case, using the Reuters platform. As for the settlements, Israel has shown that it is willing to leave territory for peace, but it keeps learning that it gets no peace for leaving territory, just an attempt to wrest more territory, and greater vulnerability. Get real, Mr. Debusmann.

Posted by David Kronfeld | Report as abusive

I wonder if the anonymous is not aware that he/she is exactly doing what he/she is accusing hamas of? Hiding! But one cannot expect more from someone so full of hate against humanity.

Lets strip the conflict between palastine and Israel from the religious context of Hamas being a moslem group and Israel jewish becasue these emotionally charged badges obscures the facts.

We all have great sympathy with the jewish people for their sufferings throughout history and rightly so. But what is going on in Gaza is not much different with what Hitler and his SS men did to Jews themselves. Why we are closing our eyes on one of the gravest post WWII genosides letting it happen in a very similar manner to the systematic way as Nazis went about their crimes against jewish people. Would we tolerate what Israel does to Palastinians if it was done by another state?

I am aware that these are uncomfortable questions and it is also not easy for me to word them leave alone to have an answer to them, but I think it is time to leave our comfort zone and start thinking out of the box. As mentioned by Abraham, people want to live in peace, see their children grow and their grandchildren borne. They want to have a little garden with olive trees and enjoy a sunset in summer chatting with their neighburs while drinking tea. All of this is possible if we learn to recognise that human blood is the same, nevermind if it is flowing from an Arab, Jewish, black or white body. The problem is that the international law does not see the value of human life the same all over the world, therefore it is also not prepared to protect the ones it percieves to be of lower birht.

It is sad but again it is one those painful truths we live with.

Posted by Pouruchista | Report as abusive

Mr. Debusmann criticizes Israel, but offers no real alternative solution to what the Israelis are presently engaged in. The rockets attacks started about 7 years ago. The Israelis tried political pressure, economic pressure, they tried to get Arab countries to pressure Hamas, they tried limited military incursions,and most recently they tried a 6 month ceasefire, which Hamas chose not to extend. Prior to the present fighting the rockets were hitting Israel at a rate of 80 to 90 per day and they were aimed at civilian targets. The present Israeli strategy is really the only one Israel was left with. Unlike what people such as Mr. Cordesman may think, so far, it is working, not just from a military point of view, but in terms of a long term political strategy. Until now, Hamas has never been vigorously confronted, and the result has been to see its power grow (in particular it has crushed it opponent Fatah). It has become ever more belligerent and more determined than ever to destroy Israel. Now that it facing the prospect of losing this present war in a military sense, it will also suffer a political set-back. No one likes a loser, not even the Palestinians. Once extremist forces like Hamas are defeated, the Israelis and Palestinians will be able to negotiate a permanent peace treaty.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

I think that Mr. Debussman has a very good point in that the Israeli political leadership will be unable to achieve any lasting results from the recent military incursions in Gaza.

What will happen 6 months from now? 1 year from now?
Hamas (although weakened) is still there and the jewish settlements are still there…

Anonymous:
You are of course entitled to your opinion, but you are not making any sense!
“The suffering of innocents in Gaza is terrible, but the only way to really help them is to remove, or at least to limit Hamas capacity to sacrifice them for Hamas own political gain.”
Basically you say that the only way the Israeli armed forces can avoid civilian losses is by bombing Hamas and therefore causing immense civilian casualties.

Posted by Ahmad Hamada | Report as abusive

Israel was bomed 8 years, where were you ?
It is importantant that the western world will protecet itself. We cannot let not democratic teror to use the openess of the democratic . We need also to save as much pepole as we can in order to save the democratic

Posted by eran | Report as abusive

Actually neither Debussman or Barak is correct. The US occupies the California side of the Tijuana border – land it took forcibly from Mexico. But Barak’s point is correct – I doubt Mr Debussman would complain if the US responded to rocket fire from Mexico. But he does complain with Gaza – even though Israel left Gaza several years ago, only to find (predictibly) that withdrawal did not bring peace. It brought more rockets. This is because the Palestinians do not recognize Jewish claims to ANY of Israel, despite those claims being stronger than their own, because they do not recognizes Jews as a valid religion / people. And they will not settle for a negotiated solution to this conflict, settlements or no settlements, except only as a temporary measure to strengthen their position. To ask Israel to remove the West Bank settlements is more ludicrous (historically speaking) than asking the US to leave California.

Posted by seth | Report as abusive

To a previous unnamed poster:
I think you are off subject. This article is not about the actions of Hamas; I think most reasonable people can agree that Hamas committed war crimes by intentionally targeting civilians. Rather, this is about some policy experts pointing out that Israel may be harming herself in the long run through her current actions.

Posted by Shea W | Report as abusive

Not many people know but there are many muslim’s in the israeli army. I am muslem and served in the IDF. palestinian hamas tactics are simple – they do anything they can to kill israeli civilans and that’s a fact, they declared they will not stop until they distroy israel, on the other hand they hide behind their wiman and children, they shoot rockets from school’s and mosque’s to increase there civilian casualty’s – the world does not care when hamas kills israeli children becase hamas is teror orgenazetion and it’s “normal” for theme to kill civilian’s… for year’s they shoot missile’s into israel and the world did nothing. what were the options of israel? do nothing? wor is not the unswer? then what is? how could israel negotiat with hamas when they dont recognize israel’s right to exist!
I AM MUSLIM AND ISRAELI AND PROUD TO HAVE to serve’d in the israeli army, i am sure they do what they can to avoid civilian casualty’s but it’s impossible when you fight bloodthirsty organization like hamas.
The palestinian people should dicide if they want to live with peace – if they do – they should not appoint teror organization as their leader’s.
I AM A MUSLIM AND IN THE SAME TIME I KNOW I PREFER TO LIVE IN ISRAEL THEN ANY OF THE ARAB country’s.

Posted by Hasan | Report as abusive

Why not? Anonymous has a point. What would you have the IDF do? Have all the Israelis sit in their country having rockets rained upon them? How do you fight an enemy that hides among civilians and uses human shields? Would, say, Americans tolerate this in their country? Barak’s analogy holds true because the Southwest lands of the US were all once Mexican lands, seeing as how the people had lived there for many years before the US took over. Say the mexicans in the southwest US decided that it was unfair that the US took all that land and rose up and started killing civilians left and right and mexicans started fired rockets across the rio grande? What would the US military do? Exterminate them. What would the UK do if a group similar to Hamas rose up in Ireland but based on Catholicism and started firing rockets into London? The fact is, those sort of extremists groups will never be okay with Israelis living there. Those kind of people will always have festering hatred and recruit more people to fight an injustice served in the past. They will never choose to live amongst Israeli’s because they have developed such a hatred and that sort of environment is just too chaotic to live in for long periods of time. What would YOU do if you had to live in fear everyday, that some wayward rocket could kill your children, kill your family, take everything away from your that you have worked for all your life? I don’t blame them for wanted to get rid of Hamas. Step into their shoes.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Ha! These posts are ridiculous and Debussmans article is probably one of the worst, most biased pieces of journalism I have seen on this site. Reuters should be ashamed for letting him post such an article. While I could find holes in every argument this Mr. Debussman makes I just need to address his closing remarks. First of all Israel has not been an occupying force in palestine for 7 years! Secondly who started the war of 48′?? It certainly wasn’t the Israelis. Thirdly, if Tijiuana was importing weapons to fire at the US, you don’t think there would be a blockade on the flow of goods??? Debussman please think about what you post from now on instead of spewing out the garbage you do.

Mr. Cordesman remarks quoted in the article fail to recognize the potential danger to Israel’s populated areas of longer range missiles surely to be smuggled in to Gaza from Iran. The citizens of southern Israel are already traumatized and with the potential of longer range threats Israel had to strike Hamas to defend its citizens,-and we would do the same. Since Hamas thrives on martyrdom and playing up civilian losses to the media, it was clear that Israel would suffer on the diplomatic front. But it just had to be done. The deliberate use of civilian facilities for military actions shows the cowardice of these jihadist leaders. What does Debusmann think of setting up their control center in a hospital?

Posted by bert boyson | Report as abusive

Have you read any of the Hamas statements about Israel? Here’s just 1 example…
Fathi Hamad, Hamas Member of Parliament, to al-Aalam Iranian television in Arabic, 15 March 2007: (prior to the swearing-in of the Palestinian Unity government):
“Hamas rejects the Arab [peace] initiative and wants Palestine from the [Jordan] River to the [Mediterranean] Sea. If today Israel cannot be beaten militarily, it will be possible in the future.”

and you still think peace is up to Israel? I think not. Today Hamas would not even honor the 3 hour break from military action when Israel sends in aide and takes Palistinian injured to Israeli hospitals for treatment, no they fired more rockets at civilian targets in Israel during that period, too. Oh, and the term “Palistinians” for an Arab ethnic group, this is a modern political creation with no basis in fact – and had never had any international or academic credibility before 1967!

Remember Golda Meir, “We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”

Posted by Ann Arbeit | Report as abusive

Where were all of the commentaries when the rockets were raining down on Israel. Hamas needs to be stopped and nobody but Isreal seems to be willing to do so.

Posted by James Middleton | Report as abusive

israel left gaza, but arabs continued to shoot rockets at israel. Debusmann does not care if jews die. To the contrary from his comment it is clear he feels they deserve what they get. This is why i warn my children that another nazi period could come at any time.

Israel has not lost the support of the world, just the loud minority. I’ve actually wondered what took Israel so long to strike back at the seemingly never ending rocket fire. I certainly would not have waited so long. I feel for the innocent of Gaza, but they did elect them. The sooner Hamas is eliminated the better of the world will be.

Posted by Martin R. | Report as abusive

Finally an American journalist who is telling an honest story. People here tend to forget that Israel is invading another nation, blockading the people of Palestine, killing their industry, their economy. The fact that Palestine is referred to as ‘occupied territory’ says it all. There are boundaries made by diplomatic process that Israel ignores. Hundreds of thousands of Israelis build their home in Palestine. Perhaps a better comparison would be if Mexicans ignored the US border and just built towns in the USA, surrounded them by a wall and called it Mexican Territory. Firing rockets is wrong but when you have no economy left and no organized army you have no option. Imagine if a rich nation such as Saudi Arabia started giving the Palestinians the sort of wealth the USA gives Israel to buy weapons, there would be uproar. It is double standards all the way and needs to be stopped. Return Palestinian land to it’s people and work on co-habiting as peaceful neighbors.

Posted by richard. The | Report as abusive

Abraham -
“Even people who have sympathized with Jews during WWII will rethink their position”

I believe the state of Israel care less about sympathy and more about it’s citizens life. We have learned our lesson from the holocaust, you can keep the sympathy to yourselves. This time, when a nation wage against Israel, we are not waiting for the world to understand.

Posted by Moshe Saraf | Report as abusive

The Israeli communities in the disputed territories need to be handled, but in the opposite way from that suggested. The willingness of the Palestinian Arabs to accept the reality of land which is not judenrein is a litmus test for whether they’re actually interested in peace. It’s long past time for America to lay it on the line and tell the Palestinian Arabs to forget about their demands for ethnic cleansing; they simply have to be taken off the table.

Posted by Alan | Report as abusive

The crisis between israel and palestine prolonged so many years without final end. And the cause of the crisis is clear. it’s not about the question of egg and chicken..which comes first ? who start first ?. i don’t know why israel hostility againt arab palestine. in the early 1900, most of the jews spread all over the world particularly europe. most of them are treated badly, discriminated by european,,even mass killed by them (nazi). in the same time the jew live in peace among arab in jurusalem. I,m never heard palestine kill or expell the jew. but why the arab get poison when they give milk ?

Posted by wander | Report as abusive

It is heart wrenching to watch what Isarael is doing to the Citizens of Gaza. Let us adress the first issue of Hamas firing rockets into Isarael for the past eight years as claimed by the Isaraeli government. The numbers of people injured or killed and the property damage caused by these fireworks can be counted on fingers. On the other hand, the fierce bombardment of Gaza by Air, Sea amd Land has caused more than 1000 deaths and huge damage to infrastructure and private properties in a matter of few days. The Israeli response to the Hamas attacks is way out of proportion to the damage caused by their rockets. It has been repeated over and over again that what are the Israleis to do. For ONE they should behave like HUMANS. In no civilised society, police will go after criminals with their guns blazing if they were hiding behind civilians.

Mr. Debusmann is being kind in comparing Israeli leaders to donkeys. I think even donkeys are more intelligent. Israel has been trying to eliminate these problems by FORCE since it came into existance. And to date what have they to show so far only thousands of dead palestinians. If Jewish people need a homeland, so do the Palestinians. I would like to challange anyone can show that under the given status of the land – West Bank and Gaza seprated by Isarel, that a viable Palestinian state can be created. The palestianians will be at Isarel’s mercy for the rest of their lives.

Untill there is a fair settlement for the People of Palestine there is no hope of peace. It is a shame taht people who claim to be the Gods chosen one can so cruel and heartless.

A note for the Anonymous: If Hamas is coward and are hiding behind civilians, IDF is no better, they are dropping Bombs from palnes and tanks agianst which Hamas has no waepons to defend themselves. If IDF is so brave I would like to see them go in without Air and Artillary support. Level the battlefield and than make the claim that Hamas is coward.

Posted by Harinder Sahota | Report as abusive

There will never be a lasting peace, or even ceasefire in the land of Occupied Palestine, (now called Israel and the West Bank and Gaza) as Zionism is, at it’s core, a racist and fascist ideology. The World defeated Nazism and then it defeated Apartheid. Zionism is the last major racist outpost of Western Imperialism and it too, must now be destroyed for World Peace and for Justice to be achieved for the native indigenous population. the Palestinians, have suffered immeasurable at the hands of the Zionist Mass Murderers, who are now engaged in another one of their racist and genocidal murder sprees in the Gaza Strip.

Posted by Pipard | Report as abusive

Mr. Debusmann,
Thank you for the thought provoking article. I agree with you. Israel is destroying any hope for peace. The 6 month truce was destroyed by Israel’s vicious blockade of Gaza for 2 month, in violation of the conditions of the truce. By late Dec., Gazzans were out of food, fuel, electricity, and water. There is no doubt that Israel was implementing a policy of collective punishment on all the population in Gaza. In the recent events, it is very clear that Israel’s goal is to destroy civilian infrastructure, mosques, and hospitals. And the excuse is always ready, “they were firing at us from there.” Even the UN’s headquarters were not spared. If this is not criminal, I don’t know what is. Read articles written by Israelis themselves exposing the lies and propaganda of Israel:
http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/chan nels/avnery/1231625457/

The world’s silence towards the slaughter of innocent civilians is appalling.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

all of the emotion and blind allegiance to israel has to stop. calling names, as in the responses of some, is easy when the deck is stacked and usually fools always try to solve a problem by stating in the middle and NOT at the beginning.
the article is well written and it addresses the all-inclusive problem of the 1948 fiasco and the continued and supported violations by “poor misunderstood israel”. they act like a bunch of crybabies that if they are corrected they will take their marbles and go home. that would be fine if their intrusion into gaza were the marbles. hillary is a disaster waiting to happen and she will not properly work out a fair solution, for her comment bodes ill for negotiations and any hope of peace. i say this because backing israel at all cost is a failure and the problem of hamas firing rockets is a symptom, not THE problem. (kerry should have been the sos) no one mentions the kidnappings, tortures and land-grabbing by israel. the farce that they are so religious and blessed has played out and the kid-glove treatment needs to be over. the article and the writer are to be commended for not kissing israel’s bloodthirsty butt and finally being a courageous MAN to tell the truth. it is easy to sit in your homes and be racist and hateful to palestinians, but GOD, through HIS SON, JESUS CHRIST, will have the last say in this.

Posted by AARON LEWIS SR. | Report as abusive

I tentatively agre with Anthony Cordesman.

At first I was hopeful that Hamas could ACTUALLY be smashed, & Israel could return to dealing with Fatah. This does not seem to be the case any longer. I have lost my faith that rocket attacks can be stopped by force alone. Any extreme action taken by israel, leads to popular outcry.

Why? Because Israel is the \”Strong\” one, the \”opressor\” in this situation. Always upon the strong one rests the burden of the high moral ground. Yet always the strong cannot understand the limits of excercising raw power & force. You cannot beat the love of allah out of a fundamentalist muslim, only increase his resolve to die a martyr.

I cannot fault the jewish people for being slow in adjusting to the role-reversal here, please remember there are holocaust survivors STILL ALIVE! They were given this plot of land in good faith by the colonial powers. They should have gone with Alaska or whatever the 2nd choice was. I cannot fault the jewish people for defending their citizens from armed assault. Look at the Post 9-11 mess resulting from the military hawks gaining cachet in the USA. Well that is the permanent political state of affairs in Israel. The hawks are always right because there is always another rocket attack upon citizens. (remember the jewish psychology, someone is always trying to kill you, but this time they want to kill back!)

That said, the blockades & checkpoints & especially the settlements are THE problem.
If Israel removed these barriers to the way of life of the normal Palestinian, support for radical violence would begin to reverse. Unless Israel stands with open arms welcoming palestinians as brothers in the holy lands, they cannot JUSTIFY the use of force to hunt militants, because there will always be militants in opressed, gated, confined cultures. Especially those cultures OCCUPIED by settlers from the opressors.

I know that exposes Israel to potential danger. I know the loss of a single Israeli life is an untenable political position for any politician. (ahh \”democratic\” politics)

BUT! It has always been 10-1 or 100-1 Palestinians killed in any exchange of fire, so MAN UP Israel & take the hits to win Peace!

Otherwise, the moderate Islamic states will increase their funding to covert militancy, & this whole thing will end in 5, 10, or 15 years with a nuclear exchange in the cradle of civilization.

I hope they find another way, Inshallah.

Posted by Damon the Dove | Report as abusive

Yes, I agree with the author on the premise that fighting always advances to bloodier fighting on the next go around. And both sides have put each others in corners where the only option is to eliminating the other party, in order to live in peace. Both sides have not learned anything but more hate and more killing from each other. The state of Israel has become very affective in creating and furthering the goals of Iran in the eyes of the general Arab populist, by making the Sunni Arab governments look weak & ineffective,while Arabs in the Gaza being bloodied and destroyed by advanced weaponry- Iran will be be the big winner here, not Hamas or Israel. Israel & the Palestine peoples will be the losers if moderates on both side do not resolve this crisis, and do not allow fanatic elements, on both sides, which are running this war solely based on hate and racial profiling, similar to the Nazis in WWII, to continue down this road will only lead to the destruction of all concerned.

The statements by Mr. Cordesman and other residents of the diplomacy “establishment” simply demonstrate the decay into which this series of vested interests has fallen over a length of time. Falsification of the record of actual events with respect to al-Qaeda between 1986 – 2001, stating that Israel has no right to the West Bank or all of Jerusalem, and imposing ethnic segregation on two sets if diverse peoples is a position which combines racist elitism and automatically prevents the development of a common market as the eventual solution to the problem set. The Carter Peace Treaty implied the development of the Common Market for Jordan, Egypt, Israel, and Palestine. But there is, in reality, no Palestine other than as an historical remnant of the former Roman state, of which Britain, France, Spain, and Italy were provinces. We are heirs to that state. It is a part of that heritage that we inherit in our imposing Rome’s conquest of Israel, Herod’s murder of the last of the Macabbean family, and Vespasian’s attack on Jerusalem – to be followed by the subsequent actions of Rome. We today seek to impose our fundamental Greek Christian contempt for Jews, which we inherit at each Sunday School class and carry forward with us despite any subsequent changes in our thinking, on Israel by limiting the boundaries of Israel and claiming that a Palestine exists. Palestine does not exist and has existed as no more than a cultural artifact and fiction in fact since the Byzantine Empire in its southern provinces was conquored by the Muslim armies. The British continued the fiction in the imposition of colonoal zones of control after WWI, when the European powers and our Senate defeated Woodrow Wilson’s attempt to bring a rational solution to the problems presented to us by the unrepresented minorities of the former Ottoman Empire. That he died of a stroke is tribute to the grandeurs of french and British economic provenance and to the inheritors of that arrogance which we witness today in Anthony Cordesman and his ineffectual colleagues. They would rather enhance and legitimatize a balance of terror with Hamas and Hisbollah, as instruments of Iran and Syria, while serving gthe economic interest of France in its part in the trans-Syria pipeline from Iraq to Lebanon.

As we no longer listen to Mr. Kissinger and his “balance of terror” between Saddam Hussein and the Iranian Grand Council, so we can stop listening to Anthony Cordesman. As the popular saying goes, “Freedom is not free.” We shall always pay a steep price in our blood, our fortunes, and by risking our sacred honors. Mr. Cordesman cannot function in that milieu, which gave birth to our Nation, the new Republic of Iraq, and to the Magna Carta. When we remove Hamas from Gaza, we can begin work on creating a multi-ethnic State of Israel with the establishment of BASE, the Basis Assets Securities Exchange program. This is designed for the Palestinian people and provides them access to the Common Market with and within Israel, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Emirates.

Posted by Eruc Hands | Report as abusive

to mr anonymous, do you have any proofs for your allegations buddy. a lie is a lie no matter how many times you keep on repeating it. i think instead of making up stuff try to comprehend an important article like this one..

Posted by eddy | Report as abusive

And if it is then Hamas stop the rockets, would israel open the borders for humanitarian aid?. The answer is no, like in several months since Hamas won the parliamentary election. Today Hamas stops the rockets, but israel keep bombing Gaza.

I agree with James and I re-echo his question:where were all the commentaries when the rockets were raining down on Israel?Where the Arabs alseep when Hamas fired rockets were wreaking havoc on Israeli soil? Hamas is obiously no respecter of anybody and it shows in their actions. It is sad innocents have lost their lives during the attack by Israel, Hamas simply didn’t and still doesn’t care. If they cared, they would have stopped sending rocket missiles into Israel for the sake of people that might be injured or die. In spite of the rising casualties, they still continued sending rockets into Israel. If the Hamas cared less about innocent Palestine civilians, Israel shouldn’t care any more.

Posted by Ben | Report as abusive

Good article. As long as Israel denies the Palestinian people peace, justice and a land of their own they will resist, and if Hamas is crushed, an even more radical group will take their place. The only way to peace is to knock down the settlements, Israel to withdraw from the whole of Gaza and the West Bank and treat their neighbours as humans, with dignity.

Hamas are not rats, they are people who were democratically voted into power by a population who have been abused for 60 years. Israel will eventually reap what it has sown unless it actually works for peace

Posted by Put the war Israeli war criminals on trial | Report as abusive

WWI British soldiers were lions however the IDF are murderers, nothing more, nothing less.

Some WWI British commanders were donkeys however the Israeli leadership are war criminals, nothing more, nothing less.

I think your analogy has fallen down somewhat.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

How long would ANY country tolerate rockets launched by its neighbors toward populated cities? One week? Two weeks? One month?
How about EIGHT YEARS, as Israel suffers it? How about more than 3500 rockets in 2008 (the year of TAHDIYA, another version of ceasefire from the Arab culture , which means anything but ceasefire..)? Would YOU accept situation where over million of your citizens are rocketed on a daily basis, having some 15 second alert to run to a close shelter? Israel built shelters for every home, every school, every kindergarten, every store… For how long would you expect Israel to tolerate such conditions? Israel has warned time after time, that those attacks must end; Israel tried several other activities to try to stop it – for EIGHT YEARS!
In order to understand a conflict, one should go after the goals and heading of each side:
Israel wants peace, with all its neighbors . They say it. They write it. They sing it. With political, economical, cultural relations. If not acceptable – without it. But violence and genocide goals will not be tolerated.
What does the Hamas want?
Hamas goal is to destroy Israel and kill all Jews. They say it. They write it. They sing it. They pump their young children with it (so called “education system”, where even Mickey Mouse is fighting the Jews and asks to become a Shahid, where school children are promised to have 72 virgins in heaven if they kill Jews, where all songs lyrics admires the Shahids [martyr] and preaches for Jihad [holly war]..)
Why don’t you just read the Hamas Covenant?
The HAMAS Covenant holds more than 10,000 words: more than 90% of them are focused on the destruction of the state of Israel and the extermination of Jews!
Few examples are :”..our war with the Jews is pan-Islamic…the goal is JIHAD [holly war] by any Muslim in the world against the Zionists…. The war will end until Muslims will fight the Jews and kill them all, until Jews will hide behind a rocks and trees, and the rocks and trees will say “oh Muslim, the sun of God, there’s a Jew behind me, come over and kill him…… the land is holly and belongs only to Muslims, and we’ll fight until it is returned to Muslims and mosques all over it will announce the Islamic state……
Even the Nazis used “clean” terms, such as “final solution” for genocide: the Hamas does not need that-they say clearly and loudly that their goal is to destroy Israel and kill all Jews: Are you sure we should accept it as ‘internal use’? Would you?

The west bank occupation and two state solution is only in your imagination, I’m afraid: Jews has been murdered years before Israel controls the west bank (reminder: after a joint attack from all Arab countries… reminder: when attacker loss – he need to pay for it: in the Arab logic, if one succeeds to hold back a knife targeting his throat, the attacker deserve to get “back to the initial position” – meaning holding the knife next to your throat, while still declaring they want to kill you reminder: the west bank was occupied by Jordan prior to the 1967 war. Never in history there was any Palestinian State (though in their books they have invented one, since historical facts does not play any role in their education system).
Look at the big picture, for a change:
800 million Muslims.
Six million Jews.
The Muslims want to kill all Jews.
All the rest are just details. But the media always prefer to focus on the small details, and miss the big picture.
I wish you never face the threats and risks that Israel is facing, from its establishment, and those of the Jews in the last 3000 years.

Posted by Abe Ariew | Report as abusive

The Palestinians are victims of their own cultural dysfunction, exacerbated by the desire of the surrounding muslim nations to maintain the conflict due to there self described sense of “humiliation”. Of all the new nations and borders created after World War II, only in Palestine have the people been kept isolated and in refugee camps rather than being assimilated into the surrounding nations. The Palestinians who embrace terrorism are paying the price they deserve. They are wholly responsible for the isolation, and the misery of their people. Israel has a right to protect itself. The fact that the occupation arose from the on-going terror attacks against Israel is conveniently disregarded. “Side-line chatterers”, such as the author, describe the events in an aloof, academic manner. It is personal for the Israelis. Their very survival is at stake. A culture that embraces and glorifies terrorism deserves only extermination. The only hope for relief from their misery is for the Palestinians to condemn and reject terrorism.

Posted by Dan Detroit | Report as abusive

Lions led by donkeys? Ahem, it could be Lions led by “Elephant”.

Leaders cannot become Presidents or Prime Ministers unless they have a “political Brain” better than donkeys? However when advised by biased and bigoted “intellectuals”, they ultimately become “donkey” brained and make “donkey” mistakes.

Bush outsmarted Al Gore in Florida and served a second term which should have been the brainy Gore. Same with Israeli Prime Minister and so are the HAMAS leaders. What is so “donkeyish” is the World response to small conflict on a small piece of land? Both the Muslim and non Muslim world are raved up for proxy wars that we worry more about the survival of either Palestine or Israel without bothering about the of millions more in their own borders. Proxies sent in millions of dollars to feed peoples who hated each other for generations before.

We are the donkeys, I believe. UN looks like the “donkeys” as well for wasting so much time and money on “humanitarian” issues there. If HAMAS want to commit JIHAD and the population there voted for them and not PLO, doesn’t it mean that they ready to be that “human shield” so that the HAMAS leaders can shout and shoot their rockets just to provoke the Israeli attacks so that ?”DONKEYS” around the world rally to support them. Maybe if UN stop feeding them they may get tired of HAMAS? They may not be donkeys though. They may have their own Islamic agenda?

The strategic purpose that the Israeli government attempts to achieve is survival. This goal is clearly supported by the likely outcomes from the Gaza campaign. The military deterrence that was partially blunted in Lebanon 2006 is an aspect of that strategic view. A one sided removal of settlements from the West Bank would be as useful as the voluntary withdrawal from Gaza, it would merely be seen as a sign of weakness by Israel that invites more violence against it. The reality is that the Palestinians, in particular those supporting Hamas, are not ready at all for co-existence with Israel. When Hamas (or Hizbulla) calls for ‘resistance’ is not to occupation, as they not occupied by Israel or any other external power, it is resistance to the very existence of Israel. The Palestinians are being held as pawns to be sacrificed by their ‘brothers’ in the aim to ‘cleanse’ the Middle East from ‘infidels’. It is an infantile and sentimental approach based on values foreign to the West, but when coupled with money, religion and arms, it becomes a very dangerous mixture. Appeasement will not defuse this situation.

Posted by Rob Shaw | Report as abusive

I agree full to the extent of this article. The new administration will cater toward Isreal. Hillary Clinton is in relation of Jewish Descent. We are in for possible devastation in the Mid-east of higher escalation. Well written article.

To the comment regarding lack of analogy by the article author: Gaza was not occupied by Israeli troops for a significant amount of time prior to the initiation of this incursion, just like Tijuana; the border crossing of both entities are controlled, and Tijuan’s would certainly be even more so if it were firing rockets at the US; and the reason there are children of refugees in Gaza is that the Muslim countries, in order to create difficulties for Israel, using the UN as their agent, refused to re-settle them. So a pox on your house too.

Posted by Jonathan | Report as abusive

I’m with you on most of your comments, but as a Californian with a knowledge of US history, every time the Mexican state has given us problems, we have responded directly with military force, invading them (Veracruz ring any bells?) and forcing them to back off, not to mention taking land (like Texas and California). No right of return for the Mexicans displaced, either, but a complicated land-grant transfer system. This history goes back all the way to the Polk administration, a lot more history than Israel and Gaza (depending on your time frames, of course–Moses had his troubles too with the Egyptians and Caananites). What’s the conclusion? We all have a lot to learn about how to live in peace. Let’s get on with it.

Posted by Robert J. Muller | Report as abusive

Israel should just Finish It in the time-tested way similar problems were always solved in Europe: Send your army and drive all the Palestinians out into Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Then close the border.

After a few generations nobody would care to the point where they will recommend others to have their mortal disagreements decided by a UN committee.

Posted by fajensen | Report as abusive

Has anyone here bothered to ask the most important question of all? Why is Hamas firing rockets into Israel? WHY??? DO any of you truly think that these people are just psychotic Arabs who don’t want peace? Logically, if they are launching rockets into Israel, there must be a reason. Once this reason is known, most of your views will change. Do any of you know how many Palestinians have been murdered by the Israelis (IDF, Mossad, terrorist Israeli organizations that are unknown to the public, etc?) since the creation of Israel? I don’t have an exact number but I can tell you it is more than 4 times the number of Israeli deaths. Do you know how many Palestinian houses have been demolished since 1967 to the present day?? 18,147 houses have been demolished by Israeli bulldozers since 1967 (Source: Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions ). Israel is currently holding 10, 756 political prisoners while Palestine is holding 1 political prisoner (Source: The Mandela Institute for Human Rights – Palestine). Now just with these statistics I can tell you that Israel has instigated the response from organizations such as Hamas. For every action there is a reaction. If you treat people like animals they will in turn react like animals. You lock people in a cage, ration there basic necessities, and expect them to sit down and shut up?? Come on! That is simply unrealistic and sick!! What the Israelis are doing to the Palestinians is an obvious attempt to instigate the Arab world into reaction. Extremist groups like Al-Qaeda will fall for this attempt and will call for Jihad, and the Muslims who are not well informed will fall for this call of Jihad and the Israelis will be pleased since this will instill fear on the World (the best tool of war against the Arabs in general is to make sure the World is afraid of them). What the Israelis don’t realize is that the moderate Arab Muslims (which is the majority) will write and they will use there pens as the ultimate weapon and they will not allow the world to fall for this war of propaganda. While the Israelis continue this ethnic cleansing campaign (as a top Vatican official stated, Gaza resembles a concentration camp) they will continue to breed hate amongst the Arab world, Muslim and Christian Arabs alike. There is simply no justifications for the bombing of the UN headquarters, UN officials are adamantly stating that there were no Hamas fighters ever present at the UN headquarters…A mistake Mr. Olmert says? Ha, Israel is so proud of their state of the art military equipment (that was all funded by the American tax payer), yet they use the excuse of making a mistake, come one, who are you trying to fool??? This conflict will never end as long as Israel denies the Palestinians a right to live like human being and not animals in a cage. The illegal settlements must be dismantled, the blockades must be lifted, the Palestinians must be given every right that an Israeli has, and I am sure that there can be co-existence in Palestine/Israel.

Posted by Sherief | Report as abusive

please check out this website, it is worth the time:

http://www.ifamericansknew.org/

Posted by Sherief | Report as abusive

1- to the comment saying Israel was not occupying gaza for a long period before the incursion

Israel did in fact withdrew from gaza but it maintained control over borders, air ,sea and everything that comes in or out so they basically made them living in a big prison.

2- according to Israel ministry of foreign affairs the first Palestinian break of the cease fire was recorded on the 24 June 2008 , that is 5 days after the cease fire began, according to Hamas the Israelis fired at Palestinian fishermen 5 minutes after the cease fire started, on the same day they also fired on farmers and naval civil police. More over Israel closed all borders cutting gaza off the outside world on the 25th June in direct violation of the cease fire.

3- According to the same site (Israel ministry of foreign affairs) the first incidence were one part actually killed someone on the other side was when Israeli troops killed 7 Palestinian.

4- moreover Israel remains an occupying army for the entire west bank cutting it by hundreds of check points, gaza strip and the rest of the Palestinian land so anyone who is puzzled on why Hamas is shooting these missiles please use your intelligent and apply the same argument the US is using to defend Israel ; (the Palestinians also have the right to defend themselves ).

5-the Jewish propaganda that Hamas, Muslims , Iran and the entire world wants to kill every single Jew on earth is absurd, a significant percentage of the Jews who migrated to Israel came from Arabic & Muslim land, in Jerusalem and long before they stole Palestine , Jerusalem had thousands of Jews living in peace side by side with Muslim and Christians, why didn’t they kill us then ?

6- to the argument that arab states should house the refugee, daaaaaa, where did those million refugees come from then ? is it justice in the 21 century that when an invading army kicks people out of their homes and lands and send them to live in refugee camps is it justice to tell them go live somewhere else ? if Israel says it won the war and therefore Jews have the right for this land then what message does this send to the Arabs : you have to fight back to get it back ? I thought Israel is all about peace and democracy.

Posted by Shlomo bin Yatiz | Report as abusive

I have been reading the same rhetoric from the Zionist community for 50 years, & have watched while the Western Alliances, not just America, have lined up to shovel hi-tech weapons in the back door of Israel as fast as they used them on their Arab neighbors. I have witnessed them label anything & anyone who didn’t totally agree with their taking what they wanted, when they wanted like a spoiled youngest child “anit-semitic,” & watched the world take that label up as the watch-word of their support campaigns. In fact, if someone, or some country is “anit-semitic” it means that they are anit-Jew & anit-Arab, as the bloodlines are exactly the same, so enough with anti-semitic crap. The Zionists feel that they were “entitled” to Jerusalem, & that they are “entitled” to settlements on the West Bank, & that they are “entitled” to world support for their cause. They are not entitled to take someone elses land, any more that someone else is entitled to take theirs; problem is they never had any land to begin with. In 1917 the land was designated on every map of the world as Palestine. Then, after 31 years of lobbying & terrorism on their own part (i.e.the Irgun Gang, the Stern Gang, Haganah, etc), the Zionists finally got the world to agree to redraw the lines on the world map of Palestine, doing away with that country completely. Every since then, the Palestinians have had no one, not even their Arab Bretheren, in their corner. Terrrorism happens when there is no alternative. Had the Palestinians been given a voice in world affairs before & after 1949, instead of being dictated to by Britain, France, & America, the world might have seen a different situation that they are seeing now, but they weren’t & now the world, & the Palestians are still paying the price. How many Israeli’s have been killed by the pop-bottle rockets that are propelled by a lighted fuse? On the other hand, how many Palestinians have been killed by Western supplied artillery & aircraft, & the most modern weapons that money could buy? (although Israel didn’t have to buy them, as the West has been lining up to give them what they want from the beginning. The Palestinians were stupid for electing Hamas, & stupid for breaking any of the cease fires, if in fact they did break them, but when one is born & has lived their entire lives in a cess-pit of a refugee camp, being told when & if they could beg work from the Israeli’s, & watching their friends & families die from weapons that have “Made in USA, or Britain, or Germany” stamped on them, they grasp at whatever revenge they can get, & that revenge shows itself in the form of support for Hamas & suicide bombings. Wake up people. Stop the slaughter & do what is right. Give the Palestinians a homeland they can live in without having to look over their shoulders every waking & sleeping moment. Gaza is no better than the reservations we relegated the Native Americans to, & fighting them with F-18′s & Abrams Tanks is no different that the American Army slaughtering the Native Americans with Gatling guns & repeating rifles of the time. Let’s try to show our children that we have evolved, & support a homeland for the Palestinian people.

Posted by hloddjr49 | Report as abusive

I am amazed by those who cry so LOUD when someone criticzes ISRAEL….what,noone can say the truth.
All I hear is :

Germns killed the Jews,and I as an Arab sympathize greatly.

Arabs want to kill the Jews.
Muslims want to kill the Jews.
Iranians want to kill the Jews.
Al-Qaidah wants to kill the Jews.
Palestinians want to kill the Jews.
The world want to kill the Jews.

All of these are pure hallucinations,and I truly hope that Israel would rid itself of its ” donkey brained mentality” and accept the world so the world will accept it and live in peace with the Arabs.

And I advice all fellow intellectuals to try to aprt themselves from Isreals crazy and mad mentality and talk abouit real world solutions.

Posted by Abraham | Report as abusive

As we witness the destruction of terrorist strongholds in Gaza – we gaze upon the turning of the soil by those who were forced to leave Ganei Tal – Gush Katif – the Gaza. I headed a mission to Israel [Sderot and the Gaza specifically] two years ago. I lived amongst the Israeli settlers who had given up everything for Peace. We were shelled by Qassams as we spoke with Mayor Eli Moyal of Sderot. They received nothing from their own government and terror from Palestinian, Fatah, Hamas, Hezbollah [whatever] – the weak haters of Israel only hide behind the radicalism of the hard core Hamas. In short, there has never been any love lost between these biblical cousins except in Moorish – Sephardic Spain before the expulsion of 1492.

The enemies of the State of Israel will never win – if one seed will catch the wind and be watered by the morning dew – Israel will be reborn. Time and time again – this is the historical narrative that repeats itself for milenia for those who choose to persecute the Jewish People. Am Yisrael Chai! Israel lives on – forever!

Posted by Sir David montefiore | Report as abusive

Interesting to see in all the comments everyone relates to Hamas but not to Aaron David Miller’s comments: the settlements are incompatible with creating confidence, let alone creating an atmosphere of serious negotiations. Why didn’t the U.S. press harder? “For one, we didn’t want a confrontation.” If future American attempts to help negotiate peace are to be successful, Miller says, the U.S. must be equally firm in dissuading actions on either side that wreck chances of an agreement – rockets fired from Gaza, or Israelis settling on the West Bank.

In other words, the US Administration has appeased Israel, by not insisting that Israel do anything to promote peace.

And in all the talk of Hamas, if they have to recognise Israel, speaking as an Israeli peace activist I want to ask: On what borders, since we don’t have any? The PLO recognised Israel on the 67 borders, in 1988. Since then almost half a million settlers have made 67 borders history or fantasy. If peace is to stand a chance, we must go back to the 67 borders, because only then can Palestine be free, viable, contiguous and able to be at peace with us. Without water, borders, sovereignty, airspace, ability to trade, a shared Jerusalem (it equals 40% of the Palestinian economy due mostly to tourism), militant rejectionists such as Hamas will continue to grow, we will never have peace and another million (or more) Israelis will undoubtedly leave Israel – because THIS IS NOT WORKING FOR ISRAEL. The choice is ours. Olmert has shown he’s not willing or able to make peace. Frankly, shocked as I am by all the war crimes the IDF is committing (hundreds of dead children in bombing raids, not to mention those killed by Israeli snipers when emerging from buildings they were warned by IDF leaflets to leave), he’s not much good at war either. Will be very glad to see him go, probably to prison for all his corruption cases. The corruption of his policies should ALSO be addressed – the Winograd Commission severely faulted him on the 2nd Lebanon War. Maybe this time The Hague?

As long as Hamas continues to deny the Israeli people peace, justice and a land of their own, they will resist. The only way to peace is for Hamas to accept, permanently, the existence of Israel.

Israelis are not rats. The Middle East, due to world-wide anti-Jewish beliefs and behaviors, continues to pay for millenia of reaping what it has sown.

Posted by Put the Islamic terrorists on trial | Report as abusive

Every one of us is responsible for our own actions..

If you are living under occupation for 60 years and your kids and your families have no future. You will do exactly what Hamas and Palestinians are doing fighting for freedom and Survival. Israel has shown again that Israel has no value of Human life. Every one of us is responsible for our own actions.. If Hamas has killed four Israelis it does not mean Israel army go and killed over 1100 mostly women and children.

Israeli government and Army should get charged for WAR
CRIME and CRIME against humanity…… OR it should
Get labeled as Terrorist STATE OF ISRAEL…

Posted by speakamerica | Report as abusive

The Palastinians are Isreal’s little brothers and sisters that have been locked away in the closet. And when they kick at the door, crying to get out, the Isrealis drag them out of the closet and kick and beat their little siblings to the floor until the cries are silenced. Then the drag their younger kin back into the closet. And lock the door.
The Isreali’s use the Palistinians as test subjects to try out their newest weapons and tactics. They view them as toys and roleplayers for their latest sandtable and simulation exercises. And when the testing is over, they lock all their toys back in the toybox until someone comes up with some new systems to test.

Posted by jdeth | Report as abusive

reports 854 murdered by Israel in Gaza (50% of them are children & women) & 3680 injured.

You don’t know what you’re talking about! How about you look at the statistics and let that speak for itself. Isreal has been ethnically cleaning the population Gaza for 2 weeks and have been murdering woman and children without remorse. How about you put yourself in THEIR shoes and then come back to me. The IDF are the cowards for laying waste to a city while they sit in their tanks and planes far away. But at the end of the day, one mans terrorist is another man freedom fighter. Open your eyes, and don’t be bias, use your logic, i’m sure you have one!

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Lets us put some facts straight.
For all of you that complain about Hamas and Hizbollah and other groups that you consider terrorists, go look up some history facts before crying in support of Israel.
Hezbollah was founded in 1982 after Israel invaded Lebanon to fight palestinians in the Lebanese territory, knowing that Israel was occupying south Lebanon since 1978 with a UN resolution 425 to leave that was applied only in 2000. So do not blame Hezbollah of wanting every inch of the Lebanese land back.
For Hamas it is almost the same scenario repeated. Hamas was created after Arafat and Abbas failed to get workable solutions with Israel and their settlements, direct result to which Hamas was born. What do you people expect? someone takes your land life job and everything else you had and you are going to tell me you are going to stand still and thank them. It is not about the rockets fired into Israel, it goes way beyond that. Please do not be blind with the media coverage. Go look for yourself.
Having said that i am not pro Hamas or Hezbollah or Pro Israel, It is simple i am pro peace period.
If the Israelis really wants peace in the region, this is what they have to do (I am only saying Israelis as they are supposed to be the more mature civlized in the region according to the western world):
1) Remove all settlements, blockades, bullshit sanctions and other thing that create hate and let the palestinian have a piece of land that they can call home one day.
2) Give back Golan heights to Syria (occupied since 1967)
3) Give the last peace of Lebanon back small village (since 1967) also
4) All the prisoners that are in Israeli prisons without trials for years will have to be released. Convict them or free them.
and trust me at that point Iran would not want to build a Nuke and Osama Bin Laden and followers will not have any reason to exist, and all of the terrorist organizations that are against US / Israel will have no reason to exist.

Why cant the world be a nice place to live. I think the planet is big enough to let every human being coexist even if they do not share the same opinion.

This is what is called FREEDOM by the way.

I think i will not live long enough to see it. Hopefully my grand children will be able to witness it one day.

Posted by Sam | Report as abusive

Both Israel and palenstine are blockades to peace in the middle east. Both territories should be annexed and the people repaitriated. History tells us that a jewish state will not live in peace with non-jewish neighbors.

Posted by M. Arthur Willsey | Report as abusive

This is the normal clap trap. After 60 years, there is nothing to be gained by rehashing who was responsible for the plight of the Palestinians, they were forced to leave by the Israelis, they were enticed to leave by the attacking Arab countries or they fled to avoid war – or some combination of all three. They are one of the only groups of refugees post the second word war who have not integrated either into countries of co-religionists or others. The responsibility lies with the UN and with the arab countries. The equivalent number of Jews which were expelled from Arab countries have all been resettled without UN funding! Hamas has clearly stated and the Fatah constitution also talks about the destruction of the state of Israel. So as long as well intentioned people continue to allow them to believe that this is possible there will never be peace.

Posted by Beverly Lyons | Report as abusive

What a anti semitic comment.
Shame!

NEVER AGAIN

Posted by Jerry | Report as abusive

Politicians = Donkey
Normal people = stupid for falling into the donkey trap.

Both sides are blinded by political rhetoric which is killing hundreds and guess what – their blood is on your hand – since you did not do anything to stop it.

Posted by A US Citizen | Report as abusive

Hello,
My name is Anna and I live in Israel. I’m 18 years old and since I was 10 I have been bombarded with missiles. Some of my friend’s houses have been hit by rockets, my school secretary has died because of a missile attack and a rocket exploded near my mother when she was coming back from the mall.
This is the reality for 1 million civilians in Israel: constant bombardment, constant fear and anxiety. Instead of learning for my final’s I am practicing now sprints to the shelter in 15 seconds.
So you are telling me that Israel should do nothing, and let the Hamas fire rockets at me and my family, just to prevent the lose of some strategic and political points?
Isn’t the first duty of a country to protect its citizens?
Israel is finally protecting me and my family, the ceasefire wasn’t working, believe me, so what are we suppose to do?
How many times can u possibly turn the other cheek?

“Donkey’s learn to write!”
Missles are still launching from Palestine to this day, and their leaders refuse to cease fire. I don’t understand why so many people are trying to blame Israel for everything. Hammas leaders
Somebody made a comment that Israel should just ‘Man Up’ and take the missles while talks continue, but these missles have been flying for years now. That seems to be what this author has in mind as well. They are just missles right? How much harm could they possibly do?
Hammas doesn’t believe Israel has a right to existance and has vowed to continue it’s missle strikes. “Despite all the destruction in Gaza, I assure you we will not accept Israel’s conditions for a ceasefire,” is the latest quote from Khaled Meshaal. Those do not sound like the words of a man seeking peace. Mr. Meshaal is attempting to convince surrounding countries to actually cut off all ties to Israel INSTEAD of trying to broker a peace deal.

Posted by Mr Daubeny | Report as abusive

The great American humorist, Samuel Clemens (known to most as Mark Twain) remarked that when one refers to humans as donkeys, they do an injustice to the donkey. Donkeys are very intelligent, sensitive animals, both noble and humble. Humans can learn a lot of good things from them.

Yakov, USA

MJ Akbar (Editor, Deccan Chronicle,India) writes: Times of India Jan 14, 2009
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/Opini on/Columnists/MJ_Akbar/Blood_does_not_sl eep_stays_awake_as_nightmare/articleshow   /3961870.cms
poor governance has created a knowledge deficit; and knowledge is the key to strength. An Arab friend sent me some startling statistics; the email was captioned ‘A time for introspection’. Here are just a few: there are only 500 odd universities in the Muslim world. The United States has 5,758 and India has nearly 8,500. Literacy in the developed world is 90% against 40% in the Muslim world. If you removed Turkey from the list, the comparison would look grimmer. High tech goods and services constitute only 0.9% of the exports from Pakistan, and 0.3% from Algeria. They add up to 68% of Singapore’s exports.Unquote.

Remebber:Nazi Germany had elected Hitler in some democratic way and so did Hamas.
Alright.’Democracy’ only spreads the blame on entire nation; its no excuse for bad behaviour instead a burden, deservedly so, to be shared by all people that put such administrations in governance.

A note for the Anonymous: If Hamas is coward and are hiding behind civilians, IDF is no better, they are dropping Bombs from palnes and tanks agianst which Hamas has no waepons to defend themselves. If IDF is so brave I would like to see them go in without Air and Artillary support. Level the battlefield and than make the claim that Hamas is coward.
- Posted by Harinder Sahota
______________________

Did you read my post in full? If not, let me repeat: placing a rocket launcher atop a civilian building makes that building a legitimate military target. So who puts civilians in the harm’s way?
As for military supremacy of IDF, to each his own. Hamas should’ve known better that their homemade rockets and rifles are no match to IDF. Yet they did their utmost to make the war happen – now they’re getting the beating they deserved. Besides, Hamas uses (or used in the past) extremely destructive weapons that IDF doesn’t have and never will try to acquire – suicide bombers. While Israelis are trying to minimize collateral damage as much as it’s possible when using modern weapons systems, Hamas is deliberately targeting civilians – buses, restaurants, shopping malls. So who are war criminals?
IDF stands between the terrorists and their people. Hamas hides behind theirs, and in tunnels underneath schools and hospitals. So who are rats?
And to those who accused me for hiding behind “Anonymous” screen name: that’s the nature of Internet, and anyway better hiding from mailbombs behind a nic than hiding from real bombs behind children. Besides, think how democratic elections are conducted. They are anonymous to ensure political differences don’t grow into fist fight grow into gun fight. The same applies here.

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

Israel 2009 mirrors America 2003 : a “war on terror” deliberately meant to fuel hatred and secure the victory of hawks in upcoming elections1, outright propaganda with daily lines carefully edited by spin doctors, and media either kept in the dark or turned into weapons of mass disinformation.

In 2003, Americans overwhelmingly supported the invasion and in 2004, America embraced Bush’s Amerika.

Israeli moderates have a choice : making sure Israeli embraces post Nov 4th History, or remaining silent and letting their country vote for Bush-Cheney 2004.

From the beginning, the timing was set – an offensive between the 6 month truce and Obama’s inauguration, targetting the Feb. 10 elections. Barack Obama will have one shot and about 3 weeks to put his weight in the balance.

To me, the main conflict was not between the US and Saddam but between America and Amerika. As America starts restoring justice and democracy at home, Israel must deal with its worst enemy… the one from within :
http://e-blogules.blogspot.com/2009/01/b ushs-farewell-mission-accomplished-as.ht ml

“My name is Anna and I live in Israel. I’m 18 years old and since I was 10 I have been bombarded with missiles. ”

Dear Anna, I read your story and its seems like you are very smart girl at the ago of 10… I was lucky enough to visit Israel few years ago and I also visited Palestinians areas. Those millions of Palestinians are living in huge prison cell guarded by Israeli army. Have you every thought how it feel to live in such a big prison where kids have no future and their fathers have no jobs. How Israeli army will drop one ton BOMB on
7 story building full with women and children like your self so they can get one hamas leader. All Israel founding fathers were most wanted Terrorist in Europe.
your last Prime Minister Sharon was a war criminal. UN passed a resolution condemning his actions and calling him a WAR Criminal but USA vetoed that resolution…
Sharon ordered the bombing of Refugee camp in 80s and killed 2000 Palestinians children most of them under 10 years old… younger then you… How you feel if Israeli
Palestinians come to your house and take your home from you and your family that’s what Israelis are doing on Palestinians land that’s we call illegal Settlements…

I am sure this issue will never resolve there will be no peace there will be only one state one state only…. I am sure when you grow older you will wise up and realize reality on the ground….

Posted by speakamerica | Report as abusive

One commenter thinks that the present isn’t built on the past and calls reminders of the origins of the present conflict “clap trap”. That’s an excellent example of why there will be no solution to the problem of Israel and it’s neighbors. If only that meant that the rest of the world could forget them and their pains. Perhaps it’s all a delusion?

Maybe she and others should question the wisdom of creating such a religiously fundamentalist idea as a homeland for one religious/ethnic/cultural identity whatever that is? That kind of State could not be founded in either this country or any European country. And we are repeatedly reminded of the dangers of an Islam in that same image.

The Palestinian-Israeli conflict was invented by the British and approved by the UN to settle refugees. Those refugees like, millions of others in Europe and Russia at the time, could have gone back to their home countries, but only the Jews chose to leave. That choice was not a wise choice. The present government of the State of Israel took advantage of the more ambivalent territorial arrangements approved by the UN and created the present country with clear borders. That was an act of aggression and of theft. Arab speaking people who until that time expected to live within their linguistic and cultural areas intermixed with Hebrew speaking peoples in similar areas (isn’t religion and language the core problem?) found that the UN process was unilaterally made pointless by the creation of the State of Israel. And many of those displaced were made distitute. Why is that very basic point so hard for people 60 years later to remember? We are never permitted to forget was is due the survivors of that ever so well worn “campassionate industry”- The Holocaus. For that cause – memory can never fade. You have to forget many other very important issues of law and human rights to accept that basic flaw in the character of the State of Israel.

It would be a cultural and political travesty to have tried to create that single religious and cultural? Ethnic? Identity in any other country. No state in the US or in Europe can legally claim it is a religious homeland for anyone who can somehow prove “affiliation” How do they manage to do that in Israel anyway? Was Hitler right? There really was an issue of genetics in the issue of being “Jewish”. And why should anyone in one of those more enlightened states find much to sympathize with in Israel founding principal?

It is becoming fashionable to blame the losers. It makes the winners feel less despicable and gut selfish. And how convenient that will become the longer the blatant disregard Israel has for the people it wants to subjugate continues without severe criticism. Any other colonial power would have made many attempts to incorporate the occupied. The Israelis seem to be only interested in displacing the occupied even further or using them as a permanent underclass that must be shipped back to quarters when they aren’t needed. An extreme and even lunatic fringe clings to Biblical ideas of ancient territorial grandeur no less fanatic that the most religiously blinded Islamic militant. Perhaps the entire region has grown sick on religion. They seem to all want to create states very similar to the Israel model.

What surprise in there in seeing the success of the Israelis versus the Palestinians? Any kind of government can get its way with superior weaponry and a lot of foreign funding. We have to hope for a better example from people who presume to dominate a region and who so frequently flatter the US as the super power who can keep their “dream alive”. It has even been mentioned that if the settlements are ever turned over to the people who rightly own the territory they were built in -the Israeli government would expect the US to pay them for their loss. Something the Israeli government evidently never does for the landowners in the territories.

Posted by paul rosa | Report as abusive

Well said, or writen i should say.

Posted by Ricky Mormont | Report as abusive

Whenever I read a Jewish state supporter complain about the coverage of there invasion of a high density city with Jewish owned tanks I know it is not the coverage they complain of but raither in truth they complain about there own shame they can not help but feel. The same shame Americans should feel when we tell the story of bombing 2 densely populated Japaness cities with the first ever nukeclear weapons. The same shame we should feel when we tell of the fire bombings of Japaness cities. Same shame we should even feel when we Americans tell of the fire bombings of German cities. Reason we bombed those cities is because the military targets in those countries were so well protected they could not be successfully hit. So we Americans did what is called terroism to win. We also did it out of utter hate. In fact the generals that carried out the bombings knew and said in fact if we had not won WWII they would have been hanged as war criminals, same as Sadam most resently was. To our government to win means to have no negociations and for the loosing side to agree to anything demanded. Our government in fact can only act like a king or queen when in the throws of war, then the leaders can take as many lives as they please and in most cases are never questioned with there motives or reasons. Our leaders in fact get more of there own people killed in wars just out stupidity then the enemy the government is charged with defending against can. Also the number of rockets fired towards Jewish populations means alot less then the number of people killed or injured. From the reports, the rockets are falling on deserted land not people unlike the smart bombs and artilery of the Jewish army. There is aways 2 sides to every war, and neither side has a thing to do with right or wrong, it has to do with money, greed, wealth, honor, history, lies, and on and on.

Posted by Joe Plumber | Report as abusive

Much of what goes on becomes much more comprehensible if one assumes that the leaderships of both sides are, almost by mutual consent, locked in a deadly embrace: they earnestly believe that it is in their own best interests to prevent the people either wanting peace, working towards it, or achieving it and leaving them behind.

In such a situation, constant provocation of an enemy who can’t be eradicated becomes not only acceptable, but necessary. For two decades our leaders made the same mistake over Northern Ireland.

Posted by Ian Kemmish | Report as abusive

Humm – my sarcastic post about nuking Jerusalem & Mecca was edited out: so, talking about killing people with WMDs is a no-no while killing people with conventional weapons is OK??
Does not anyone see the idiocy of both sides plus that of the media that is feeding off of this?
Both sides have a long history of violence. Was anything solved? Has violence ever provided a permanent solution? Other than to temporarily reduce the human population?
Unfortunately, Robert Frost was probably right when he said “There will always be war.”

Posted by Jorj | Report as abusive

Britain’s ‘Iron Lady’ Margaret Thatcher once famously stated that the British Government would never talk to IRA terrorists but of course it did and a successful peace process evolved out of that dialogue.

We expect to hear claims about ‘never talking to terrorists’ from the Israelis as the US provides the State of Israel with billions of dollars in military aid every year for not solving their problems with the Palestinians as a sort of traditional kosher donkey reward scheme that’s never been or ever llkely to audited for effectiveness.

But why Hilary Clinton should be in such a rush to declare that she will not talk to Hamas is unclear as Hamas doesnt directly threaten the US whereas Israel’s disproportionate brutal miltary tactics and all round political incompetence clearly does and has.

It’s about time the US Government started to act in the interests of ordinary American taxpayers rather than Israelis as this unhealthy dependency where dollars flow one way and influence and clout the other seems to have deprived the US of the ability to think and act for itself.

As I read Debusmann’s piece, the point is that there is reason to question the wisdom of Israel’s current action in Gaza. No doubt, this is something that merits serious consideration. As I read the comments, Debusmann touched some very sensitive nerves by mentioning this subject at all. As far as U.S. policy towards Israel is concerned, the most overlooked fact is that Israel was an ally of the U.S. during the Cold War, while Arab nationalist states tended to ally themselves with the Soviet Union. The issue of loyalty is, it seems to me, the unacknowledged elephant in the room when U.S. policy in the region is criticized by Israel’s critics. A country such as the U.S., with interests in various parts of the world, needs allies. And the only way to get allies is to develop a track record of being loyal to allies. This takes generations, and one substantial act of disloyalty can be very costly. Further, because the so-called “Arab Street” appears to be so anti-American, there would be limited gain to the U.S. from any act of disloyalty towards its ally, Israel. One should also keep in mind the events the average U.S. voter associates with the Arab world’s support of the Palestinian cause against Israel: the Oil Embargo of the 1970s and 9/11. Add to this the Iranian hostage crisis during the Carter Administration (even though the Iranians are not Arabs, and even though the hostage takers did not specifically embrace the cause of Palestinian nationalism). Most Americans probably do not like what is happening in Gaza. At the same time, however, most Americans would be absolutely opposed to the abandoning a long-standing alliance with Israel in order to show support for people who, as it must appear to the average American, hate America and everything American (except our money). It’s hard to think of a reason for the U.S. to betray a long-standing ally in order to support a cause of those who despise us.

Posted by Bob | Report as abusive

Bernd Debusmann is missing the obvious. He should listen to what Hamas says and read what Hamas writes. They do not want a two state solution. They want all of Israel and all the Jews out (or dead). Removing West bank settlements will not placate Hamas. In fact it could make them stronger as they would claim it was their missile attacks that forced the Israelis to withdraw unilaterally from the West Bank, just like in Gaza.

Bernd Debusmann like many journalists has an inability to see what Islamic radicalism is: absolute intolerance. Acid thrown at girls faces in Afghanistan on their way to school, the Mumbai attacks, Sunni and Shia blowing each other up in Iraq. Thats right. Radical Muslims can’t tolerate each other. When was the last time Prostestants blew up a Catholic church? Or Hasidic Jews burned down a reformed temple?

Hamas is an extreme, radical Islamic movement. There is no negotiating with them.

Perhaps there will be peace when tens of thousands of people worldwide protests against Islamic and Hamas intolerance. People chanting, “recognize Israel’s right to exist”, “stop using woman and children as human shields”, “stop your eight year missile against Israel”, “accept the camp David accords”

But as long as Bernd Debusmann and other ‘liberal” thinkers perpetuate the myth that Israel can negotiate with the likes of Hamas there never will be peace.

Posted by marc weiss | Report as abusive

Men, I love this piece.. its informative and its stating the truth clearly.

Thank you.

I have read many of the posts on this page and many other news sites. This recent attack on Gaza has created an unmatched reponse from the anti-war movement.

Many of these posters believe that the attacks are in breach of UN law, or they assume this is the case. This is a case where assumption can be wrong.

The laws of war only bind parties to avoid casualties where possible, which is difficult when the enemy operates within a civilian area.

The UN prosecutor has already determined that the death of civilians alone is not a war crime, nor is it a breach of international law.

Civilian deaths only become a breach when it is obvious that the party is targeting civilians intentionally, rather then due to tactical necessity.

While some of the more passionate posters may claim that the Israel is targeting civilians deliberately, the level of casualties does not support this. When a population as large as Gaza becomes a warzone, a thousand casualties is quite small, even though from a humanitarian view it is serious.

An even more surprising view is the concept of proportionality. Some posters state that as the casualties between Israel and Gaza are so lopsided, this automatically proves the response is disproportionate.

What these posters essentially argue is that middle east peace is worth the cost of Israel constantly being shelled by quassam rockets.

The idea that a nation would be subjected to constant artillary attack from a hostile government, yet not be able to respond due to international law, seems to be a flawed argument.

At no point has the UN ever overborn the sovereign right of a nation to defend itself.

I think the main issue here is that people are merging the humanitarian crisis with the war itself. One is the situation on the ground, the other is political.

Posted by Spooky | Report as abusive

To Spooky, if you have been following the UN record for the past year you would have seen that the UN has made repeated complaints against Israel that the Gaza borders should be opened for full humanitarian aid. Most of the last year they have been closed. There are many voices at the UN calling the treatment of Gaza by the Israelis a case of collective punishment of the civilian population. I read their news bulletins at night and that was the constant complain along with the demand that Hamas must stop the rockets.

Weren’t those rockets remarkably inaccurate? When outright war broke out they got longer range and more deadly. Didn’t they? Its obvious Hamas was making a nuisance of itself as a protest. And Israel obviously never felt so threatened by them that they felt they needed to evacuate people from the danger zones.

The UN apparently didn’t and still doesn’t see a legitimate right of self-defense in this situation. A citizen of a country cannot decide that violence is justified without recourse to higher civil authorities. The UN is that higher civil authority in the conflict of Gaza and Israel. It is certainly not in the hands of those with the weapons and past dirty dealings that cannot be ignored.

If you are so confident in your superior take on the issue perhaps a better moniker than “spooky” would help sell your own flawed argument.

What we are really seeing is a violent confrontation between the very smug “haves” versus the wild eyed “have nots”. There is nothing more profound about it. And what I find idiotic about it all now – after hearing and reading about the Israeli/Palestinian problem for over 40 years – is that it is based rock bottom on institutionalized bigotry. And I think that the Israelis are/ were always the greater bigots. The fact that they want a state with a “Jewish” character as opposed to another statehood model that would be more inclusive of the indigenous population says bigotry to me. If they didn’t like the neighbors why push so hard to get in? That is not the way most people anywhere generally choose to live.

Maybe it was the biggest blunder the fledging UN made to approve of the “homeland” for the Jewish people. It is not some thing I think could ever be done today for any ethnic, religious or cultural minority. It would fly in the face of the Universal declaration of Human Rights that the UN also champions.

What no one ever seems to gather the wits enough to argue about is – why does the world need a “Jewish” state. What is so important about Jewish ness that it needs a state of its own? And yet would-be “Islamic” states are generally seen as the big evil? Don’t you since a lack of perspective here? And yet the US is a firm ally of many Middle Eastern regimes that are firmly Islamic in national character.

All I see in this issue now is the fact that the Jewish state owes a great deal of money by way of compensation to the victims of its mania and will use anything – including the very spurious argument “religion” as an excuse not to pay the bill and especially not to allow the appearance of anyone to get into the position of demanding payment on that bill. .

Posted by Paul Rosa | Report as abusive

The simple truth of the matter is that the Tijuana-San Diego analogy is not correct. A more accurate analogy would be – imagine if Al Qaida got democratically voted to rule Mexico and then started to shell San Diego. Would its actions be lawful? would Bernd Debusmann support their “just” struggle to free Afghanistan? Probably not.
The situation Israel is facing is similar to the above mentioned. Hamas, a radical faction of the Muslim Brotherhood, has vowed to destroy Israel and is responsible for the intentional murder of hundreds of Israeli civilians. The two state solution is not acceptable to it, nor will it ever be.
Hamas was voted into power by the citizens it now represents. Only it, and the population it represents, can be held accountable for the current situation. Israel does simply want peace! If its radical neighbors were to give it its wish, they would find it a good and supporting friend, should they continue attacking it…

Posted by Gilad Talmon | Report as abusive

PER DEBUSMANN: “There is no excuse for targeting civilians but Barak’s Tijuana-San Diego analogy is severely flawed. Tijuana has not been occupied by a foreign power, its citizens do not belong to families that were dislodged by a war in 1948, and the flow of goods into and out of Tijuana has not been subject to blockades. Unlike Gaza.”

Clearly not a historian of the US,Debusman ignores the claims of Mexicans that Texas and the US were stolen from them, and still belong to Mexico along with Arizona and California. They have been waging war with the US vis Drugs and Illegal Immigrants, both economic, but with often violent and military overtones. There are Texan as well as Mexicans living in border cities, on opposite sides as their nationality, and there are barriers at the border restricting the free passage and flow of goods without inspection and authorization..unless illegally crossing the borders. Should Mexico or the drug lords of Mexico attack civilians in the US border states, make no bones about it, should the US Government fail to militarily protect those American citizens, the border state militias, and even civilian defenders of their home territories, would take up arms and retaliate with deadly fire. This is too much think tank mentality, and no on the scene experience on the part of a bureaucrat/academic. Hamas is attacking the Isrealis. The are not putting up with it forever. The world opinion does not matter if you are a dead Isreali. Hamas and the militants can stop anytime they with to stop disputing the territorial ownership of Isreal (taken from wars they did not start) and whose occupation is merely defensive of the main national boundaries from outside attacks.
D

Posted by RUFUS | Report as abusive

by paul rosa: “What no one ever seems to gather the wits enough to argue about is – why does the world need a “Jewish” state. What is so important about Jewish ness that it needs a state of its own? And yet would-be “Islamic” states are generally seen as the big evil? Don’t you since a lack of perspective here? And yet the US is a firm ally of many Middle Eastern regimes that are firmly Islamic in national character. ”

Whatever the “world” wants is irrelevant to a sovereign nation. Why should the USSR have demanded a communist nation, or the Saudi Arabians demanded a Muslim nation, or the Chinese a secular nation? What the heck is it anyone’s business other than the majority of the nation..and Isreal is a democracy that has the freedom to be as they choose, without having to bow to the United Nations or any other outside body.

Your argument is enfantile.

Posted by RUFUS | Report as abusive

from Joe the Plumber “The same shame Americans should feel when we tell the story of bombing 2 densely populated Japaness cities with the first ever nukeclear weapons. The same shame we should feel when we tell of the fire bombings of Japaness cities. Same shame we should even feel when we Americans tell of the fire bombings of German cities. Reason we bombed those cities is because the military targets in those countries were so well protected they could not be successfully hit. So we Americans did what is called terroism to win. We also did it out of utter hate. In fact the generals that carried out the bombings knew and said in fact if we had not won WWII they would have been hanged as war criminals, same as Sadam most resently was. To our government to win means to have no negociations and for the loosing side to agree to anything demanded. Our government in fact can only act like a king or queen when in the throws of war, then the leaders can take as many lives as they please and in most cases are never questioned with there motives or reasons. Our leaders in fact get more of there own people killed in wars just out stupidity then the enemy the government is charged with defending against can. Also the number of rockets fired towards Jewish populations means alot less then the number of people killed or injured. From the reports, the rockets are falling on deserted land not people unlike the smart bombs and artilery of the Jewish army. There is aways 2 sides to every war, and neither side has a thing to do with right or wrong, it has to do with money, greed, wealth, honor, history, lies, and on and on.”

This is just stupid. Japan and Germany declared open warfare against the United states, both sovereign nations not acting out of religious ideology, and with uniformed military. They conducted open warfare, and took the task being to defeat the enemy and to totally subjugate his population. Nazi Germany did JUST THAT throughout Europe. They totally bombed London and civilian populations, sending over unmanned or guided rockets and areal bombs to hit and kill randomly. The US had no choice but to bring the entire German and Japanese nations to total surrender, as both countries had leadership dedicated to war until death by the last surviving soldier. The US bombed with conventional bombs and carpet bombing to assure the total annihilation of arms production. The A bomb was to insure immediate capitulation, rather than lose 500,000 American soldiers in trying to bring the island of Japan into a surrender. No American should feel ANY shame for the conduct of a war that was brought against the US and to its own shores, and which freed other world nations from becoming enslaved by tyrants.

I have read your ravings, and you, sir, are an uneducated fool!

Posted by RUFUS | Report as abusive

Well written article. Everybody should remember that neither Palestinians nor any other Arab Nation had anything to do with the holocaust. Yet, Palestinian Land was taken to establish the state of Israel.

Wouldn’t we as Americans be equally upset and defend our land if the same thing happened to us. What if Mexico decided to expand into Southern California or Cuba decided to take over Florida?

This conflict is about land not religion. Unfortunately, there have been some propaganda over time by Israel that has attempted to sway outsiders into thinking the conflict is about religion. They prey on Christians and quote the Bible to make everybody believe it is god’s will that Israel control all of the land in the region. This is hogwash!

I remember Nitenyahu (spelling is probably wrong), mentioning the Lord when speaking to the American public. Jews do not believe the Virgnin Mary is a Virgin and do not believe that Jesus was Lord. However, Nitenyahu intentionally misled the American Public by referencing “The Lord”. For those Jesus is a prophet born to the Virgin Mary. They believe that we are all sons and daughters of God and that there is only one God. Allah is simply the Arabic word for God; don’t let anybody tell you anything different. The Koran also notes that Christians and Jews are recognized in it’s writings.

People have long looked for differences in religion, culture, nationality, etc. It is time to look for SIMILARITIES so that we may move towards peace on earth as God intended.

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive

In response to Marc Weiss. I don’t believe in terrorism. That is why I personally object to Israel’s actions. They expand settlements in areas where they should not be. They block supplies to a population for long periods of time and wonder why the Palestinians are upset…pretty obvious to me. But I am American and I am a Muslim. You are probably a Jew and have your biases. Bottom line is that the UN made a horrible mistake years ago and Israel wanting a Jewish State speaks clearly of the faux democracy that they want in place.

Look for similarities instead of difference and you will encite less anger and may find the world living in peace someday.

Posted by Ali | Report as abusive

so what to say. everything is clear. everything what is happening on this planet is about that secret zionist book:

http://www.biblebelievers.org.au/przion1 .htm#TABLE%20OF%20CONTENTS

thats also everything we should know about the genocide in gaza. and its sad.

Posted by the truth | Report as abusive

Paul Rosa, when you claim a person’s argument is flawed, it is good to try and point those flaws out.

While certain members of the UN have denounced the actions of Israel as disproportionate, they are not in the position to make such a judgement. Their views are based on political agenda, rather then the rulings of the ICC.

Most members of the UN are taking a balanced stance, calling for calm and condemning both parties.

If these members choose to publicly support Israel, they risk high levels of anger among the Arab nations, as well as causing unrest in their own populations. Their neutral stance is a matter of political tact.

The president of the UN general assembly recently toned down a general resolution, after he himself had strongly condemned Israel.

He admitted that the reason was that a stronger resolution would have divided the assembly, which would be a “gift” to Israel. A possible sign that the president is using the General Assembly for political purposes.

The majority of your argument seems to focus on the idea that Israel is a nation of bigots, should not have been created by the UN, and does not have a right to exist. I find that argument flawed and quite alarming.

You are focusing on attaching lables to Israel to strengthen an emotive argument, when a legal argument would seem to fail.

Posted by Spooky | Report as abusive

I would say fools led by donkeys.

History teaches us to learn lessons. I humbly request to each one of you, please open Original Holy Books and read what God says.

There will never be justification to kill innocent people. Those who kill innocent will never be free from the Justice of God. God does not fail in His promise.

For those who do not believe in God and those who are on the wrong path … May God guide you to the right path.

Posted by Khaja Ahmed | Report as abusive

All I can think of the so-called unilateral ceasefire, especially after the MOU signed by Secretary Rice and Israel’s Foreign minister, is that Israel and the US can no longer ignore the world disgust with Israel’s atrocities in Gaza. I am sure parents in Israel are proud of their brave sons in butchering children.
To be qualified as a mediator, The US has to be impartial to both sides of the conflict. On the other hand, all the involving parties must realize that there is no military solution to the conflict. Interestingly enough, after killing more than 1200 people, more than half of them women and children, without stopping the rocket attack, it is rather face saving for the Israel’s prime minister to announce that they have accomplished all our targets for invading Gaza strip. Why he doesn’t say the invasion was for killing women and children to get even with Hamas?

Posted by john | Report as abusive

Get your facts right…

http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israele
https://www.cia.gov/library/publications  /the-world-factbook/geos/is.html

Anyway -
In general israel is about 800 km in length and less then 40 km in width at some points (which is a very very very small place).

When speaking of Arabs in Israel you need to know that there are two different “categories”: There are Arab-citizens and there is the “Palestinian-Authority”.

Israel’s population is 7 million, about 20% of them are Arab-citizens (muslim and christian Arabs) – we get along most of the time.

On the other hand there is the Palestinian-Authority which consists of about 4 milion people – all Muslim.

The palastinian authority consists of the Gaze strip on the west (with a border of 51 km with Israel) and the eastern part of “Yehuda and Shomron”.

On the west they have a border with Egypt and on the east with Jordan.
The Palestinian-Authority does not have a continuity in geography.

At 2004 israel cleared almost all the mixed teritories and left it to the internal Palestinian leadership.

In 2007 some form of “democratic” elections took-place at the Palestinian-Authority and a terror organization called the “Hamas” movement won most of the seats in their parliament.

the hamas movement began hunting and executing the Phatach representators in gaza and actualy took the leadership over the gaza strip by force.

After these elections – the Hamas trield and executed most of the previous parliament members and took hold of Gaza by force. so – Now we are talking about 2 prime-ministers of the Palestinian-Authority. The one on the east and the one on the west.

For the past 7 years – starting as early as 2001 – from the border of Gaza strip (which holds its indipendence since 2004) there are missiles and rockets showering the cities close to the border up to 40 km from gaza.

When the Hamas rose to power they began to fire more intensively.

About one month ago – trying to take advantage of the Israeli elections that are planned on the 10th of February – the number of rockets fired into Israel rose dramatically after a ceasefire of several months.

At 2008 Israel suffered from over 890 missiles – can you imagine living in such a place?!

See the graph (and this is only one type) : http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qassam
2001 4
2002 35
2003 155
2004 281
2005 179
2006 946
2007 783
2008 890

and these are only one type of rocket – and does not include the amount which was is use since this war started.

in addition – these are directed at Israeli civilians – so don’t come babbling about civilians being hit by accident on the other side.

After 7 years (!) we are finally doing something.

Our mistake is that we do not show the world pictures of our injuries, there had been a lot.
The Palestinian rokets are fired upon our civilian populations but we do not release such pictures as they do on the media.

I know the photos on the television look bad when we try to hit the terrorists in Gaza but they are everywhere – using mosque and kindergartens as places to launch and store missiles.

More about human shield in the gaza strip: http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_m ultimedia/English/eng_n/html/human_s_e.h tm

Posted by Haim Shafir | Report as abusive

About the so called some 890 rockets, though I do not support launching them, but lets face it, they are more like toys than weapons. Since many of them have landed in the population centers, Israeli casualties, specially in the latest wave, has been only three-not to devalue the life of any. It is obvious that the rockets act as propaganda than weapon. If they were the same type of weapons like those phosphorous bombs which were used by the IDF in the Gaza, the Israeli casualties were the same as the Palestinians. That is why all of the countries, even the ones that support Israel called this level of military actions as disproportionate.
Since we are at the subject, let’s point out that twenty years ago the level of technology and weaponry was not advanced enough to build such hand made rockets and aim at Israeli targets 40 kilometers inside. The Israelis should realize that taking the war in the neighbor’s yard does not work anymore, and their population is no longer immune from any of their war ambitions.
Lastly, concerning the so called terrorist that are everywhere including mosques and kindergartens, first of all these terrorists have certainly underestimated the level of IDF brutality that have no restraints from attacking civilian “targets.” Second, in many occasions, like the UN school which was attacked two days ago by the Israelis and civilians including two children were killed, the UN and the health agencies announced no “terrorists” were in the vicinity.
Have some regards for humanity.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

John,
It’s sad you’re doing a “head count” in order to compare who’s more brutal or inhuman. The reason for “so few” Israeli casualties is the fact that the Israeli government do care about its citizens, and it makes architects to add protected rooms in each apartment so that even if houses are hit directly (as happened numerous times during the war and before) mostly the citizens are not killed. Moreover, those “Toys” have hit several times at schools and kindergartens, but thanks to the orders of the Israeli Home Front Command, kids in the dangerous regions did not go to school during the war, so Israel (happily) did not have pictures of tens of killed children to show everywhere.
I think that most Israelis (at every nation there are some fanatics) are very sorry for the death of innocents, especially kids. The Israeli military can not gain anything from killing them, so I cannot believe that this was done on purpose. The Hamas, on the other hand, seems to care much more to its own “soldiers” and keep them safe in protected shelters and bunkers (especially the leaders), while letting the rest of the population suffer.
Concerning numbers, it’s quite agreed that about 1300 Palestinians were killed during the war, of which about 1000 men and the rest women and children. As far as I saw most sources (not Israelis) talk about half of the killed (about 600) being armed Hamas people, the other being innocent. If Israel did want to kill civilians, and given that out of about a million people in Gaza, 20,000 are Hamas personnel, it would have killed about 20 armed Hamas people on average. But even the Hamas itself count more than 100 casualties for itself!

Posted by Amir | Report as abusive

How can you compare? Israeli citizens that for so long had to run for shelter because the rockets that were lobbed? Where was the world condemming Hammas? Why did inoncent lives have to be shed than? Do you not see what started this? If Arafat had signed the Peace agreement would any lives been spared? Israel offered all the Arabs continually reject. TERRERORISM is there way of life. To say and act like animals to want to destroy a country and publicly anounce their terrerost intentions. Where do you stand on that issue? And how come the world remains so so silent?

Posted by Evan | Report as abusive

Thanks for the article. No doubt Israel has no idea what its doing, just donkeys with the most advanced weaponry the US could provide them.

Posted by Jake | Report as abusive

It’s people like you that add to the problem that causes and encourages the never ending conflict in the middle east. Your obsessive compulsive necessity to assess blame on the Israel continue to fan the flames of hatred. Who knows your real motivations and who cares. Perhaps the longer you keep pandering to the racism and antisemitism of extremest philosophies the longer you will have something to write about.

It’s pretty basic Bernard, you have a group within the Palestinians and Islamic countries at large that have a virulent hatred toward a people, a religion and a State whose express intent is to kill them. They live it breath it, are obsessed with it, teach it to their children and instill it in them in their schools of hate so that this agenda is promoted generation after generation. It’s always interesting to me that people like you have no solutions just a bunch of rhetorical garbage that refuses to address the basic problems of life and death and the issues of trying to teach basic humanity to your children. I cannot think of a group of people, that as a whole have done so little to improve their lot in life as the the Palestinians,who prefer to be called “refugees” and instead of teaching their children things to improve their lives, now even sacrifice them on the alter of hatred by strapping bombs on them and blowing them up or did you forget about that. The Tijuana analogy is correct. You just are having a processing problem. Your reference to the necessity of Israeli leaders to have a “grand strategic purpose” must have arisen in a seriously unused region of your brain. Perhaps you are suggesting a purpose espoused endlessly by Iran and Hamas. Now that would be a grand strategic purpose for Israel to espouse the same things that the Iranian’s get away with day after day. Then we could have endless war and endless hatred so you would continue be able to write your altruistic garbaaage. Sorry Bernard,your simplistic observations do nothing are nothing and are useless.

Posted by Mark Collens | Report as abusive

Israel got rid of every single settlement in Gaza, and it didn’t solve a single thing. If I was Israeli, I wouldn’t give up any ground except to a responsible government, like Egypt. Where there is no responsible government (Gaza, south Lebanon) terrorists immediately take over and instead of progressing they go in reverse.

The failure to discuss such an obvious fact (the takeover of Gaza by terrorists despite getting rid of the Gaza settlements) makes this column of little analytical value.

Posted by yosemitesam | Report as abusive

I highly recommend perusing and/or viewing a PBS Frontline program entitled “Israel’s Next War?” It’s about Israeli extremists (Kahanists Groups and the “Temple Mount Faithful”) dedicated to destroying all things Muslim:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/ shows/israel/

Only posted because I think we in this country get a preponderance of information on Muslim extremists and assume no equivalent exists within the Israeli community.

I also recommend a read through of an incredible book: “War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning.” Excerpt:

“…war forms its own culture. The rush of battle is a potent and often lethal addiction, for war is a drug, one I ingested for many years. It is peddled by myth makers – historians, war correspondents, filmmakers, novelists and the state – all of whom endow it with qualities it often does possess: excitement, exoticism, power, chances to rise above our small stations in life…”

I sense herein lies the real problem. And until we recognize such…no solution will work. Because so far our solutions ignore this basic dynamic – the dynamic of conflict as an addictive, adrenaline “high” for much of humanity.

Wishing everyone the very best.

Posted by Barbyrah | Report as abusive

I pretty much agree with Mark Collens, until you can stop the spread of hatred by the (I believe,) very load Fringe groups of both sides, there will never be peace. Both sides have small groups of folks who live and breathe death. They refuse to see anyone other than themselves as humans, with the right to live, and live free. They see anyone who disagrees with them as sub-human and undeserving of the natural (god given?) rights and respect that they themselves demand.

The majority of each side does not agree with that but go along out of a sense of fear and devotion. In times like these who wants to make more enemies. Just like the gang problems in inner cities across the world , these well meaning folk support the problematic groups by giving them places to stay, and meals to eat, etc. Not realizing that when you give a gang a place to sleep, you are saying not only that you agree but you support and encourage.

Posted by Robert Owens | Report as abusive

What? Are you kidding? No, Tiauana isn’t occupied by a foreign power but Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California are. In fact, in the minds of millions of Mexicans half of Mexico is occupied by a foreign power.
Of course Obama’s analogy is apt. Jeeze Louise!

Posted by dan stein | Report as abusive

For those interested from the Bible’s perspective, here is a passage worthy of your consideration.

Gen 12:1-3
Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee. And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing. <<>>

It has been fairly well documented in history what happens to those that opposed the God of Abraham.

Posted by Pro-Israel | Report as abusive

Dan Stein,
The analogy was Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s, not Obama’s.

Posted by carla | Report as abusive

Basically Israel needs to hold up to the original deal leave all tertiaries that most people even in Israel agree are Palestinian. They also need to open up trade routes. Then the international community needs to assist Palestinian to ensure that it can maintain its own security and stop any terrorist cells in their tracks. If this were done then there would probably initially be an increase in weapons fire into Israel as the dodgy organisations would have easier access to weapons but hopefully if all gave this a couple of years to bed in there would be a stable peaceful situation. If the above proved not to work then Israel can then take the moral high ground and I don’t think I or anyone else could criticise them for wiping Palestine off of the map. The fact of the matter is neither side has even tried and the start for the above to happen really needs to come from Israel.

Posted by JB | Report as abusive

To Rufus: My question may seem infantile to you but that is purely projection on your part. A sovereign state has its rights and obligations but it doesn’t define those rights and obligations by itself.

As for “infantile” – the whole idea that a state was consciously founded on a single religious or cultural tradition doesn’t argue for “maturity”. It screams bigotry and an even more “infantile” desire to live with only those one thinks one can trust. Israel didn’t grow from a long established presence in Palestine. It grew from that very infantile “Zionist” movement of the late 19th century and I think it is more than accurate to class Zionism with all the other fundamentalist tendencies in modern society, as a movement to break out of the more mature societies in which they live to create one where – only those with the same background can rule. That’s very much a childish desire.

I live in a country where, if any religious group tried to make an archaic – a liturgical language – like Latin for the Roman Catholics – the language of the state, more than a few people would wonder about that group’s grasp on reality. It would raise even more complaints and even hatred if anyone tried to make religious affiliation a prerequisite for full citizenship and the right to take part in the government. Israel does have it participants in government who are not Jewish but they are a small minority. The fact that the State of Israel is afraid of being out numbered by the Palestinians and does not want to loose its “Jewish” character is still a question worth examining. Neither and American nor a European politician could not utter sentiments like that and expect to occupy an elected office. There were a few who have tried – Le Pen in France comes to mind

And what the world wants does make a great deal of difference to a sovereign state. There are many countries living with economic sanctions today and perhaps the Israeli’s should be included with them?

And you don’t say anything to clear up a little confusion about what being “Jewish” means and how a secular state defines that for the purpose of granting citizenship rights. I am grateful I don’t have to live in one. That seems a perfect recipe for either hypocritical “religious” or opportunistic “secularists”.

But I won’t bow to the “infantile” charge until you include all such attempts by anyone in the world, whether Christian fundamentalists who want the make the Ten Commandments the law of the land – Islamic fundamentalists who want to make Sharia law the law of the land or any of the various cults and sub groups of the major religious traditions who want to create little sovereign entities of their own to make themselves their own “infantile centers of the universe” regardless of the constitutions and legal traditions of the countries they occupy or the rights and traditions of any of those around them and in Israel’s case – who preceded them.

I was told once years ago by a Jewish friend that “Jewish” was a “religion, not an ethnicity”. That evidently doesn’t apply in Israel.

Posted by paul rosa | Report as abusive

It looks to me like Israel has lost this one, too. The idea was evidently to destroy Hamas before Obama took office, and to pump up Kadima before the next election in Israel. The effort has evidently failed, at great strategic cost as Cordesman notes. The strategic cost will continue to increase as videos and accounts of the carnage virally circulate the world. This is something the present Israeli propaganda and influence machine, which is directed toward manipulating elites, does not seem able to counter — hence the rather widespread interest in boycotting Israel. I imagine the next thing will be some kind of Hamas play in the West Bank. The Israeli leadership seems bent on creating the monster which will destroy it.

Posted by Anarcissie | Report as abusive

Lastly, concerning the so called terrorist that are everywhere including mosques and kindergartens, first of all these terrorists have certainly underestimated the level of IDF brutality that have no restraints from attacking civilian “targets.” Second, in many occasions, like the UN school which was attacked two days ago by the Israelis and civilians including two children were killed, the UN and the health agencies announced no “terrorists” were in the vicinity.
Have some regards for humanity.
- Posted by John
______________________

John,
Don’t you understand that the laws must be either applicable to both sides or not applicable at all? The tactics of Hamas were, and still are, to insert themselves among the civilian population and use it as human shield. If the ratio of killed children to gunmen is not greater than it is, it can be attributed only to the effort of IDF to avoid collateral damage whenever possible, their skills, and precision of their weapons.
If the UN-marked buildings serve as Hamas rocket launching positions, they are fair game. If Red Cross marked ambulances are used to transport gunmen and Grad rockets, they are fair game. Announcements of “no “terrorists” were in the vicinity” don’t change the fact that there was fire coming from there.
If anyone must “Have some regards for humanity”, but sorely lacks it, it’s Hamas. There was another leader vowing to fight to the last man and last bullet, even when it was evident that the war was lost, and any continuation would result only in pointless slaughter. His name was Adolf Hitler. But even he had in the end the decency to commit suicide and thus open the way for his successor Doenitz to surrender. How low is Hamas leadership if even Hitler looks decent in comparison? And how low are defenders of Hamas?

Posted by Anonymous | Report as abusive

It’s sad when you have journalist like Bernd who’s views are so skewed and so called facts flawed, against Israel and its people in order to try and manipulate the less informed public majority. He’s making Hama’s a terrorist organization, sound like the “victims” and Israel are the “Monsters”. This is what Hama’s is counting on, people like Bernd and his selective groupies who he quotes, to create and regenerate this propaganda hatred towards Israel and its citizens. Im not saying Israel is perfect but imagine how the Arab people would react towards the Jewish people in Israel if the situation was reversed!!! Just look at history and there lies the answers. Arab states during ww2 were killing and threatening to kill those Jews that were in their Countries. There are no Synagogue’s in those Countries or other religions that are practiced other then their own. If the situation was reversed there would be no Jewish people in Israel. The Arabs would of “as they have tried to do since the rebirth of the State of Israel 60 years ago” practice genocide against the Jewish people. History tells us there has been Jewish people in Israel for at least as far back in time as the bible was written. Jewish people aren’t and never took land away from anyone and they fought for everything they have under the least ideal conditions. Britain promised in 1947 to give the jewish people back the land that they the Brits were in control of which not only inchuded Part of Israel today but also Jordan which didn’t exist until the Brits decided to please a Royal Arab King and at the last second give them that land. But of course that wasn’t enough for the Palestinians.
And Palestinians voluntary withdrew from Israel under the influence of other neighboring Arab states in 1947/8 because the Arab states told them to leave so they proceed with holy war against the Jew’s in Israel. Palestinians never ruled a Country!!! There were so many Arab Countries that could of taken in the Palestinians but not even their own people wanted them in there Country. They were instead like they are today used as Pawns to fight against Israel. However with Abbas as leader of the Palestinian’s there is some hope. With Hama’s who are controlled by terrorists in Syria and Iran there is not much hope. Hama’s is a puppet terrorist organization who even though they were elected to power, do not care or represent their own people in any positive way. They are corrupt, they care more about getting money and weapons from other militant arab countries then looking after the welfare of their own people!!!

Posted by marcus | Report as abusive

To yoseimtesam’s comment, it’s true that israel got rid of settlements in Gaza but that was replaced with sanctions on the strip….severe…in fact pretty much unacceptable…sanctions that would have ultimately left the most densely populated area on the planet a ghost town.

In other words, if you do some more research you will find out that your comparison of terrorist act is not valid. This is defense for life

Posted by get your facts straight | Report as abusive

Lets look at the problem Palestine problem. A search information on Palestine turned up an underlying problem for the Palestinians they have no country. Palestine was never recognized as a nation when borders were being established in the region in the 19th Century. Prior to that they had no country either. Much of what was a Palestinian area was absorbed by neighboring countries when European influences relinquished control of the region.
The West Bank and Gaza Strip are territories seized by Israel following the 6 Day War and had previously been claimed by Egypt and Jordan.
One of the interesting aspects of this latest conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is that Egypt which once held the Gaza Strip as its own kept its border closed, Palestinians could not flee the fighting to Egypt and Relief Efforts could not enter from Egypt. Even after its efforts to broker peace in Gaza their border is closed and Egypt is refusing efforts to patrol its border to prevent Hamas rearming.
The Palestinians are a people without a country and it appears that the Arab Nations dont want them to have one. Which makes me wonder at the Hatred they express for Israel.
I dont fault Israel for its assult on Gaza I fault the UN for not taking action to prevent HAMAS from gaining power in the region, for not interceeding when Palestinians (HAMAS) were firing indescriminatly into Israel. This Article indicates that HAMAS gained control of Gaza by a 75% majority vote. The casualties while unfortunate are the result of Palestinian actions and inactions. HAMAS has done nothing but attack and threaten Israel with total destruction since before it gained power in the region, despite being a recognized terrorist group. Where was the World outrage when that occured? Nonexistant because the news agencies and media werent splashing vivid images of the attrocities of HAMAS actions at them every hour.
Hamas has been refered to under every stripe here. It is an Islamic group (peaceful religious society) Palestinian when the casualty counts are made, and political group. Mention of its terrorist nature and ultimate goal get downplayed rather than adddressed. Perhaps that more than anything else influences my attitude about the situation in Gaza. You get what you pay for and the Palestinians are paying for HAMAS, where was Hamas when Palestinians were suffering for its actions, hiding under the porch like a cowardly dog. Now that the shooting seems to be ending, they are coming out to claim a victory that isnt theirs. Paid for by the blood of Palestinians many of who might have been innocent of wrongdoing, because 75% of them voted this terrorist group into power. Sadly hamas will probably come out of this with even more support from Palestinians and the international community.

Posted by Czar | Report as abusive

I thank you kindly, Mr. Debusmann, for the article “lions led by donkeys”. Seeing the bodies of the Gaza children, on the net, is reminiscent of my childhood during ww 2. There has to be a better way then this and I thank you for pointing in the right direction. I pray that the new President will have the guts to put his foot down on both parties in the middle East, and stop this carnage.
WW2

Posted by Peter Quiring | Report as abusive

You all seem to ignore the basic problem. Hamas is not interested in Peaceful coexistence. Defense is not the issue. Freedom is not the issue. Trade is not the issue. raising their people up from poverty is not the issue. Statehood is not the issue. Hamas has only one goal and that is the elimination of Jews and the destruction of Israel. It’s not guesswork. It’s not a secret. They make no bones about it. So, you non-donkeys of the world, explain please how you would deal with that.

Posted by Stan G | Report as abusive

Over 1100 hundreds PALESTINIANS are dead…Mostly women and children’s JUSTICE can be delayed but justice can not be denied we want Israeli Government and Army gets charged for WAR CRIME and CRIME against humanity…

They have shown no mercy they are Barbaric and Savage people……Apology Not accepted…Or lets Tel vive get bombarded day and night for few days and once over 1100 hundreds Israelis get killed then we all should Apologies
To the Israelis…..

Posted by speakamerica | Report as abusive

I applaud Mr. Miller’s analysis. I think he’s right regarding the lack of credibility of Israel (with US complicity) due to their continued settlement construction and defiance of UN resolutions regarding Israeli annexation of land since the ’67 war. Volumes have been written on this subject but it’s mostly omitted from American political discourse and certainly obscured or invalidated by most of mainstream media and it’s biased pundits.

Posted by R. Murad | Report as abusive

Israel has an agenda -”don’t mess with me or I’ll kick your ass”. The problem with this mentality is speaking to your opponent does not enter the picture. My solution for change is to cut Israel’s aid. MRG

Posted by moira reilly-gutridge | Report as abusive

Nice piece by Debusmann and nice comment by Robert J. Muller. His analogy to California and Texas starts in the right direction but ends before observing an important conclusion. If the Mexicans had been militarily strong and determined enough, they would have kept fighting and the US would not now have unchallenged possession. An important dimension of the history of human civilization is that of conquest and dominance. That consists of the taking of territory and the imposition of new authority. In many cases though, the conquered remained sufficiently intact to see the day when they gained the upper hand (in a bit of irony, the Jews themselves have gone through this a number of times). By not taking the right steps to marginalize Hamas or extremists in the West Bank, Israel guarantees that its opponents will have the motivation and ability to keep fighting (Israel is unwilling to take the steps that conquerors have taken in the past to deal with this kind of problem). Indeed, they keep the issue at a boiling point by continually building new settlements and imposing very restrictive conditions on the lives of people in both the West Bank and Gaza. I certainly don’t deny that Israel had the right to strike back at Hamas, but how much of a carte blanche does that give them? Their current action certainly contributes to radicalizing the entire population of Gaza (in case they weren’t already).

I am often reminded that Sharon’s stated philosophy was that every time a Palestinian threw a stone at Israel, the retaliation should be hard enough that the Palestinian would not think of picking up another stone! Given the human spirit (people don’t easily give up), that kind of attitude ensures continued fighting in the Middle East for a long time to come. Israel’s current strategy seems to be to stay militarily ahead of its opponents forever. Given its history, I’m not sure that that is wise.

pb.

Posted by pb | Report as abusive

According to the christian bible, the land in contention between the jews and arabs today particularly the palestinians, originally belong to canaanites. In a covenant with God, Abraham from Ur in Babylon (now Iraq) settled as a nomad and assimilated among the natives of Canaan. Abraham has 2 sons. The first, born by Hagar, was Ismael who became the father of the arabs. the second born by Sarah, was Isaac who became the father of the jews. And their family grew into a tribe, then a nation of 12 tribes who could not agree among themselves, therefore weak. But despite that, they were able to defeat some enemies, among them philistines (from Crete)where the name Palestine was probably derived. Due to disunity among the jews, they were conquered and made slaves by series of empire that stumbled upon them, egyptians, assyrians, persians, greeks etc. the worst were the romans, that the jews have to disperse to survive. For 2000 years diaspora, they had no country but roam around the world. What held them together was their tradition and culture, their torah and the hope to someday come home. Because of that, they were kicked around the world for being jews. The worst was Hitler who gassed and put them into ovens over 6 miilion in all. But before that,at the turn of century, jews had already trickled back into Palestine of what once was Israel, only to find the land in neglect and inhabited by arabs under turkish empire. Through the idea of Theodore Herzl, the land was occupied or bought by zionist international from arabs who gladly sold such semi-arid, “only for goats” unproductive land. The jews worked the land back to health and establish commerce, surprising the arabs who want the lands back! Riots erupted between the arabs and jews under the administration of the british empire who had succeeded the turks. The arabs just could not accept the british plan for the partition of Palestine between the jews and the palestinian arabs, they just want the land back. Then came the european survivors of Hitler’s holocaust stampeding back to the holy land of their patriarch Abraham. A big head ache and the hapless brits wants out in disgust. Israel thru UN recognition, prepared to establish the state of Israel on the eve of british departure, while the arabs encircled and prepared to attack the jews. On its birth on may 14,1948, Israel was attacked, but survived and won the war. Lands alloted for palestinians disappeared because the West bank was annexed by Jordan while Egypt absorbed Gaza and its people were not assimilated but turned into refugees for political purposes by arab states. Since then it was war and terrorism…always initiated by arabs, culminating in 6 day war of June 1967 where Israel captured Sinai and Gaza from Egypt, Golan heights of Syria and west bank and Jerusalem from Jordan. Due to “land for peace” policy of Israel, Sinai was returned to Egypt after they became friends. Same thing with Gaza and the West bank, after Arafat and Rabin shook hands at camp David. It was supposed to become the palestinian homeland, with Jerusalem under further negotiation. But after getting Gaza as initial turn over,(with West bank next) the palestinians sent suicide bombers, forcing Israel to fence off the borders. Then hamas took over and used missiles to fly over the fence and blast Israeli cities, forcing Israel to fight back in an ugly way.

Posted by zdrx | Report as abusive

Hello Paul Rosa,
Referring to your post “Israel is afraid to lose its Jewish character” you’re absolutely right it is. Israel is a Jewish state its main purpose is to grant all the Jews in this world a home, a place in this earth. Would u like me to explain to u why Jews need an independent state of their own? If u do I’ll refresh your memory: When Hitler came to power and time past and life for the Jews in Germany became unbearable thousands tried to escape and then when Germany started ww2 millions tried to escape and what did the world do? It let only a handful of Jews enter their countries leaving most to cope with their own fate. U know that during that period of time the United States lowered the capacity of emigrates that were aloud to come to America from Eastern Europe, a law that basically lowered the amount of Eastern European Jews that could enter the country? Oh lets not forget the heroic convention Roosevelt summoned were most of the western countries sent delegates in order to find a way to help the Jews in Germany. What exactly happened there? The answer is nothing. They all figured out that the best solution was to just allow the Jews to leave Germany and come live in their countries, but not even the USA, that initiated the whole convention, agreed to allow more Jews to come into the state.
Dear Paul Rosa why do u think 6 million Jews were murdered? Just because of the Natiz’s? Oh they did the most part but if the world would have acted sooner and really tried to help the Jews find sanctuary, definitely 6 million or more wouldn’t have been murdered. Out of the 6 million human beings that were murdered just because they were Jewish more then 1 million were kids.
That is why Israel needs and has to keep its Jewish character because the world hasn’t really changed its view about Jews, but now the Jews just don’t have to take it because they have a home anytime they need it! They don’t need to beg for help from anyone any more. That is what Israel stands for, a home for all the Jews in the world!!!!

It is a mistake for the govt of Israel to suppose that attacking any person who lives in Gaza is equivalent to attacking Hamas. When the govt of Israel kills a Gazan civilian, the dead person’s brother, cousin, son, father, daughter, spouse and mother become enemies of the govt of Israel, and if they aren’t very particular, of all Israelis or Jews or Americans or whatever group to which they assign responsibility.

Hamas fallaciously assumes that attacking any Israeli civilian is equivalent to attacking the govt of Israel.

In the case of both Hamas and the govt of Israel, they commit war crimes in attacking children and other unarmed civilians. Self defense requires the defender to assault the attacker, but doesn’t justify assaults on noncombatant bystanders. Self defense doesn’t justify the barbarities of Hamas and the govt of Israel. The individuals responsible should be tried as war criminals.

Posted by Daniel Brockman | Report as abusive

The thing is the state of Israel is a very new place. It creation involved the deadly bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946 and the removal of Palestinians from there home. Thus demonstrating that when it comes to terrorism Isreal is poacher turned game keeper. Now we have a Palestinian population that live in slums and have nothing but to fight for there own home, resembling apatite in South Africa. We also have a Jewsh population that have there home in these taken lands and it is clearly impractical to remove them from this area so therefore we have conflict. Israel has clearly taken this opportunity to launch a lethal attack against Hamas before the new US president becomes sworn in eg a few rockets < 1200 people dead. Its currently hard to see what this latest assault has achieved except to potentially prompt the Palestinians to take a less favourable deal that may be presented to them under the Obama administration. However it is fundamental that the Palestinians develop negotiation skills and take the opportunity to work off the back of the ill feeling that Israel has created in the world to obtain there realistic goals helped by the bombing of UN assets. However this will require realistic goals to be set by the Palestinians, the prevention of rockets been fired and above all diplomacy!

Posted by jimbob | Report as abusive

Mr. Debusmann,
Pro-Palestinian critics of Israel such as yourself still insist on
denying Israel’s right to self defense by asserting a false moral
equivalency: “… rockets fired from Gaza, or Israelis settling on the
West Bank”, attempting to equate the targeting of civilians with rockets
to be the same as building homes on land supposedly belonging to a
nation state not yet created. Land can be returned, lives cannot.
In addition,Pro-Palestinian critics of Israel such as yourself still
insist Israel “occupies” Gaza, despite its’ evacuation of the Strip in
2006:”Barak’s Tijuana-San Diego analogy is severely flawed. Tijuana has
not been occupied by a foreign power, its citizens do not belong to
families that were dislodged by a war in 1948, and the flow of goods
into and out of Tijuana has not been subject to blockades.” Israel is
under no obligation to trade with a hostile entity, just as the US is
not obligated to trade with Cuba and Iran.
Your call for “even-handedness” is the same call made by enemies of
Israel calling for its’ dissolution.

Posted by Kenneth Sigel | Report as abusive

The ones responsible for all this death is HAMAS. Not the Palestinian people, not Israel, not the Israeli Army. When if ever Hamas recognizes Israel right to exist, the Palestinian people will benefit the most. When Hamas will stop teaching the Palestinian people to blow themselves up in the name of Allah, the Palestinians will stop dying.

The death toll is reaching the 1300 Palestinians, of which 55% – Hamas militants. the other 45% – civilians are Hamas’s victims as well. The world, its leaders and its people can stand on their heads in protest against Israel… The UN and its useless politicians can call on Israel to stop and condemn its actions… Israel has and will do everything needed to secure her citizens from radical islamic groups like Hamas and its financiers: Iran. I wish for peace to all people, but as long as we have radical regimes like Iran (among others) fulling, training and financing groups like Hamas there will be no peace anywhere.

Overall the comments and thought process of Mr. Debusmann, are seriously mistaken. His views completely polarized and do nothing but to propagate the Jihadist fundamentals. “Kill yourself in the name of Allah… Kill as many infidels as you can and you shall go to heaven, further; you will be rewarded with riches and women.” That is the HAMAS way, disregarding life and glorifying death.

Posted by David Bercovici-Artieda | Report as abusive

There is no question Hamas is lacking competence in strategie;Fail to evaluate the strength of the opponant,in politique,the timing before the govt switch in the Us,in financial,during finance crisis in the world,And the full moon…?This ignorance make them more dangerous to predict.But the show of the Israely forces with the Us weaponery make a big Image in the world and he will boost the military sales.The civils casualties have differents effects,the democratic point of wiew ,Ugly,bad image,But for the extremists the message is clear,even if you used human shield we do not have a choice we will hit you the best we can,i am sorry to said that but it is a good image.Today the rockets stop…Andorra,liechtenstein,monaco,st marino,lot of small enclaves flourish since the middle age in peace,they politicaly neutral…

Posted by bernard | Report as abusive

the “think tanks” produce exactly this sort of inbred nonsense:

just for the record, the “formerly arab part of jerusalem” is formally called the “jewish quarter of the old city”, and was jewish long before the (illegal) jordanian occupation of jerusalem in 1947. in fact, jerusalem’s jewish population goes back to the time of king david, predating the greeks, the romans, and the arabs.

and also for the record, if israeli settlements in the west bank are such an obstacle to peace (as the plo claims), why did their absolute and complete uprooting from gaza not produce a “just and lasting peace”? in fact, this bit of incestuous groupthing flies in the face of all observable reality: there was a much greater chance of peace (or certainly a lesser chance of war), with 10,000 settlers in gaza, than without them, not to mention the economic and social benefits of gainful employment (other than rocketry). if gaza is to be the model, then this is a “peace process” that everyone, israelis, palestinian arabs, and americans could do without!

and while we’re bashing cliches, those “think tanks” need a dose of math and a little history. there already IS a “two-state solution”, because israel and jordan were set aside, as early as 1923, to be the jewish and arab parts of the british mandate of palestine. (trans)jordan contains 78% of the land area of palestine. what the arabs of the west bank and gaza are proposing now is “salami politics”: to split off part of the remaining 22% (the “jewish ” part) in order to create two more states: fatahland and hamastan. you see, that would be a “four-state solution”, which doesn’t have quite the same cachet, does it?

but i suppose it’s not a good idea to let facts spoil a good story…

I agree with those who believe that the Israeli perpetrators should tried for war crimes. And, for shame Americans for supporting them.

It is all very well to criticise Israel because the outcome of this latest middle east violence is not a clean decisive, unequivocal win to Israel and the end of Hamas and their terrorism.

But what does Messrs Cordesmann and Debismann think the wolrld is, a geopolicical Wal Mart where a vast range of silutions are just there on the shelf, each with a warranty and a returns policy attached?

The real problem here is the trite, smartypants commentary that is put about that looks at a comprehensive problem with the breadth of vision available by looking through a drinking straw.

But what the heck, they get paid to write such pointless tosh.

Posted by mike seward | Report as abusive

- Posted by Kenneth Sigel
“The thing is the state of Israel is a very new place.”

no, israel (then called the kingdom of judah) dates back about 2,500 years. really. you can look it up. the people of judah were called “judeans” or “jews” as first occurs in the book of esther. you can look that up, too.

“It creation involved the deadly bombing of the King David Hotel in 1946 and the removal of Palestinians from there home.”

actually, the bombing of the king david hotel (a hotel that was the headquarters of the british military occupation forces) was a little strange: the jewish bombers phoned in a warning to evacuate the building an hour before the bomb went off, in order to spare lives – the warning was ignored. can you imagine the palestinians doing such a thing”

as for the removal of palestinians from their home, please be more exact: prior to 1964, no arab called themselves “palestinian” – for 2,000 years “palestinian” meant a jew from palestine (occupied judea). also, it is difficult to understand why 500,000 arab refugees from jewish palestine couldn’t integrate into 5 neighbouring arab countries with the same language, religion and culture, whereas 500,000 jewish refugees from arab countries could be integrated into a single, small country with very little arable land. and why the arab refugees from palestine are the only third-generation “refugees” in the world, while in the meantime millions of other refugees from dozens of conflicts and countries have been resettled (including myself)?

and the facts don’t actually support that palestine was their home, either. the historians have a bit of trouble explaining where all the the arab population suddenly came from, once the european zionists started draining swamps and building cities. the increase in arab population is dramatic and follows the economic development closely.

“Thus demonstrating that when it comes to terrorism Isreal is poacher turned game keeper. Now we have a Palestinian population that live in slums and have nothing but to fight for there own home, resembling apatite in South Africa. We also have a Jewsh population that have there home in these taken lands and it is clearly impractical to remove them from this area so therefore we have conflict.”

even the arabs call israel “the land of the jews”, when they tell each other the truth. (“al-quds” is really “al-quds al yahoud”.) jews are not poachers in judea.

those palestinian refugee camps were not built by israel, but by the neighbouring arab countries who refused to allow the arab refugees from palestine to resettle. they have always been part of the arab strategy to exploit the refugees in the fight to delegitimize and destroy israel.

the comparison to apartheid is not even superficially valid: black people in south africa were citizens of the country who were denied their rights. the arabs of gaza and the west bank are citizens of an enemy country that has been at war with israel for 60 years. what “rights” does your country give to enemy citizens during a shooting war?

“Israel has clearly taken this opportunity to launch a lethal attack against Hamas before the new US president becomes sworn in eg a few rockets < 1200 people dead.”

perhaps you don;t follow events in the middle east very closely: over the last 8 years, the peaceful natives of gaza have fired over 10,000 rockets at israeli civilians. and deliberately firing at civilian targets is a war crime by the way.

in the three and a half years since the last israeli pulled out of gaza, they have fired over 4,000 rockets at israeli civilian targets, and in the last year alone, in spite of a six-month “ceasefire”, they fired 2,000 rockets at israeli civilian targets.

in the days following the december 20 end of the ceasefire, hamas fired 50-60 rockets A DAY into israel. that means that up to 50 times a day, you and your family would have 15 seconds warning to run to the nearest bomb shelter or be shredded by ball bearings and shrapnel.

“a few rockets”?

the fact that israelis value life, and do their utmost to minimize the loss of life, doesn’t make the islamists less barbaric, or their crimes less heinous. if hamas cared even a bit about their own people, they would put women and children in shelters, instead of on the roofs of buildings used to store munitions, and on balconies with snipers.

but what is saddest about the arab-israeli conflict is that the islamists manage to confuse stooges like you into supporting their cause – because in the words of the arab proverb, “after saturday comes sunday”; once they finish the jews, they’ll come for the christians.

If Israel has little humanity they should not invade Palastein and more over they violated international war laws.As common people we want to know what they gained by killing innocents, childs and women. From this the whole world understood that Israel is the real terror in the world.

Posted by mansoor | Report as abusive

The official media coverage in the West failed to expose the Israeli spin of “self defense”. It should be pointed out that self defense applies when you are under attack not when you are taking away more and more of other people’s land and water. This behaviour is usually called theft or aggression and any victim of it would be entitled right to self defense.

Posted by Akram | Report as abusive

Akram, during a conflict it is unusual for territory borders to remain the same. That is why nations avoid war.

This initial problem started because Palestine waged war against Israel shortly after its creation, and was defeated.

When land is seized during war, this land comes under the control of the holding party. That “occupied” land remains under the control of that nation, until the territory is dealt with under a peace accord.

An example is the Yom Kippur (or Ramadan) War. At the end of hostility, Israel held control over the Sinai. After the war, Israel relinquished the peninsula to Egypt as part of the formal peace agreement. Since then, Egypt has honoured the peace that was made.

If the Palestinian people seek a peace treaty, then this treaty will deal with the issue of “occupied” land. It may result in Israel keeping that land, at which point it is no longer “occupied”.

Given the strength of Israel’s position, and the risk of any peace deal, Israel is unlikely to relinquish territory now. They already pulled out of Gaza a few years ago with little result. Good faith has already been lost between the parties.

Palestine may very well need to focus on what is attainable. If they settle for Gaza and the West Bank, then there will be peace.

If they choose to hold on to a fifty year old territory dispute then nothing will change for them, and it will be the innocents who suffer.

Posted by Spooky | Report as abusive

Spooky, in trying to correct Akram, you say Palestinians
attacked Israelis shortly after they were formed. Did you not know that before that, the Israelis blew up the British HQ at that hotel, and also chased out all the Palestinians who then ended up living in camps in foreign countries. Your selective reporting of history, looks like the manipulative methods used by the Israel lobbies.

A few Israeli leaders are holding their populace by using the fear card, not unlike what our very unpopular president Bush has been doing.

Terrorists come up together, thats probably why we have Osama bin Laden, Bush and people like Sharon, Olmert and Netanyahoo spewing hate and violence.

Well at least the Israeli court finally convinced the Israeli president to step down after the allegations of him raping some woman, so theres some hope for justice.

Padme

Posted by Padme | Report as abusive

Israel’s response to the sporadic Hamas fire was to say the least excessive. It is stated that Israel had no choice is absurd. They invaded with infantry, yet leveled whole blocks on the chance someone who fired a rocket was in them, an let’s not forget UN compounds, hospitals, and schools. If rockets were fired from there, then use the infantry to root them out. That is one of the jobs of the infantry. The disproportionate nature of the response is evidenced by the casualty figures, 10 Israeli soldiers, 1500 Palestinians, 700 civilians. (Reuters figures).

I am not a armchair quarterback in these matters, besides my study of military science, I spent about 3 years in the Army including a tour in Vietnam, also, over 12 years in the Navy before injury forced me out. I have put myself in harms way many times.

Posted by Robert | Report as abusive

So what happened to all the Patriot and Arrow missles that Israel possesses, whgich capable/supposed to knock out incoming missles such “advanced” missles such as Cruise. Couldn’t these have been used to take out the basic and crude home-made missles that Hamas was firing into Israel?
Am i missing something here?

Posted by Imran Khan | Report as abusive

Padme, I recall that prior to the creation of the Israeli milita groups, the Palastinians had already begun attacking Jewish communities during the Arab Revolt.

The Jewish communities were forced to assemble milita, due to the lack of protection provided by the British. Both the Arabs and Israelis then attempted to gain independence in their respective regions.

Eventually the British pulled out, and the United Nations began the UN Partition Plan. The Arab nations objected to the idea of a Jewish nation living next to them, and decided to invade it and create a single Palastinian region.

Israel fought back and won. The rest is history.

Posted by Spooky | Report as abusive

Mean Spinners

Question for those who say ‘The Land’ belongs to ‘People of Judah’ …

To whom did the ‘The Land’ belong before ‘Kingdom of Judah’ i.e. before 2500 years and before that and before that?

There can never ever be justification to kill innocents and those who kill innocents can never ever escape from the justice of the “Owner of the Land”. I am sure everyone know who is the real owner of ‘The Land’.

Think about ‘Two Equal States’ and not ‘Two States’.

In these sad moments, please do remember poor native Indians of North America just like other countless innocents being killed in greed for power.

Posted by Khaja Ahmed | Report as abusive

What is rarley mentioned is the cost $$$ of Israeli military actions to the US tax payer.An example,Israel uses $50,000 US made missiles to assasinate individual Palestinians.US subsides that ofcourse.
In Israel’s 2006 attack on Lebanon.Israel asked and received rushed US Aviation fuel and precision guided munitions to finish bombing Lebanon.Extra HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS put on the Pentagons balance sheet not Israel’s.Coming and going,all bankrolled by hapless US TAXPAYER,No strings.
Christian Science Monitor article estimates that Israeli lobbies have been able to funnel 1.3 Trillion Dollars in US TAXPAYER AID to the Jewish state since 1948.

Posted by bruce | Report as abusive

Bruce, you think Israel just use’s U.S weapons and U.S. money to fight wars? You have no idea what your saying. Israel makes the best weapons and supply the U.S. as well with some of the most advanced technology’s available. It’s a trade off between Countries!!!Also the U.S. are far as the middle east is concerned can only rely on Israel as a friendly base to support U.S. military and supply’s sent in the region to combat war started by Iraq for example in the Gulf war. How about the millions or billions that the UN. relief for refugees pay out to Palestinians which the bulk is coming from the U.S and European Country’s not Arab Countries. Im not sure about your figures either, but if you are so upset where your tax dollars are going as a U.S. citizen then maybe you should move to Cuba then you can be more certain its not going to Israel. And Jewish people are U.S. tax paying citizens as well and have no more say where their money is going then you!!! Even when some go to Palestinian even Terrorist organizations!!! “Funneling”, you make it sound as if something illegal is going to Israel which is not the case. Usually the people that criticize Israel lobbyist are people who can not accept Israel as a state, therefore have antisemitic sentiments!!!The next conclusion they derive is that all the U.S. problems are due to Israel and Israel starts all the wars , and on and on …Israel blamed for everything that people can’t accept their own responsibilities for.

Posted by marcus | Report as abusive

Whether you are for or against Israel, they can’t win with this strategy. The more civilans they kill the more money people are inspired to give to Hamas, the more people that join Hamas, and the more that Fatah is marginalized for wanting to negotiate with Israel. And, maybe most importantly, there is a number of dead Palestinian civilians that will cause the American public to demand that their government stop funding Israel’s military. We don’t know what the number is, but I think we all know there is a number.

Posted by Winchester73 | Report as abusive

The United States forfeited its right to serve as an honest broker in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Our taxpayer dollars provided the bombs that have slaughtered thousands of Palestinian civilians, mainly women and children and the elderly. Israel has repeatedly derailed any attempt to establish an independent Palestinian state and has continued its illegal settlement, thumbing its nose at the world. The two countries, the U.S. and Israel, share imperialistic, militaristic, racist tactics that will eventually bring both down. A citizen and a patriot who is not afraid to speak the truth.

Posted by Lorena arker | Report as abusive

What Israel had done in Gaza shows the work of the American Tax payers’ money Killing innocent men women and children, which actions make America and the American taxpayers accessory to murders in any court of law.

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

Sometimes people use their emotions instead of seeing reality. Israel moved out of gaza as an experimment to see it could move out of the west bank and hand back settlements. they got rockets in return. they aren’t going to give back more, and would be crazy to do so, until one side shows it’s ready to live in peace. The uncomfortable truth that people don’t want to see is that hamas doesn’t want peace. when chanberlin gave hitler what he asked for it didn’t stop WW2. You can’t apply your western rational way of thinking to tribal societies. It doesn’t work. Please don’t forget that in many places in the middle east you shun your sister for getting raped (or even kill her) for the shame she has brought upon your family. You and I will never understand this way of thinking, so don’t think hamas, hezbulla, or other parties will think they way you do. This is a flse assumption, and one europe makes over and over along with many other so called experts. Hamas would rather have every palestinian die a martyr instead of living with the shame of a perminant secure isreal. The reason is because that would mean they would have to admit the failure of destroying israel, and it’s better to die than live with the shame of failure.

Posted by db | Report as abusive

Hamas can’t defeat Israel. They can only get Israel to defeat itself. Hamas runs on despair. Israel’s right wing runs on fear. But Hamas knows that despair can beat fear. The FLN did this to the French in Algeria and won. Israel can bomb its way with overwhelming force right into defeat. Israel needs to master its fear. For all its toughness, it hasn’t really done that. Hamas has done that, but it can only survive in the presence of widespread Palestinian despair. Israel’s strategy could be improved.

Posted by Winchester73 | Report as abusive

Donkeys alright, with their head in their behinds! What should really disturb everyone is how diabolical these donkeys are; They target the U.N., hospitals, doctors who are on t.v., Reuters journalists’ headquarters, civilians (babies). Isn’t it ironic the donkeys removed their heads in time for Obama’s Inauguration? What a challenge the President-elect has, as if Israel is saying kiss me!

Posted by rzarbldrnnr | Report as abusive

Iran has the last laugh here,its growing influence in muslimworld will invariably pose a deterrent to USA if not already has.
Many Muslim and Non Muslim countries are taking notice of Irans views in International forums. Iran is not in a doghouse as some folks want to believe in.Its position is worrisome, because of its cozy relationship with all terror outfits. Sauds have a different strategy, they send fat checks to keep terror outside its soil.
Terrorism is linked to religion without any doubt. A Global agenda is in the making, these groups will have a common leader in a decade, if go unchecked. Madarasas, Injured inoocent Children and suicide bombers are their strength. First victims are the nations with huge muslim populations.
————-
See the post in today’s Pakistani daily,Dawn
————–
“Suicide bombers are the atomic weapons of Muslims because Muslims do not have the latest weapons to fight enemies who are committing atrocities against Muslims in Kashmir, Palestine, Afghanistan and Iraq,”
http://www.dawn.com/2009/01/19/top17.htm

Are the 911 attacks and recent Mumbai massacre making world at large insensitive to suffering. Scary that terrorists can offset the mental equilibrium of entire human race, I sicerely hope the loving and tolerant minds will revert back to their kindness once the terror outfits are eradicated from the face of earth.The countries that suffer most are the ones that harbor them.
Its spine chilling that the Taliban in western Pakistan burnt down girls schools in swat area and declared war on girls.Should only Muslim countries address the issue ( since this was a proclamation of a religious party)or all concerned people ( world) join forces to protect the women.

Israel responded to thousands of Palestinian rockets being fired against Israeli civilians the way any American or European leader would have responded, but even more carefully to minimize Arab casualties. Hamas is a pimp organization for Iranian Ayatollahs and must be squashed or else Europe and the US will be within sights of Islamist supremacists. Support Israel! The Arabs and Iranians are gunning for the West. Hamas and Hizbollah are Murder, Inc for Iran, hired killers spreading a hateful Islamist creed of destruction.

Posted by Jared | Report as abusive

As the military action draws to a close, we can finally begin to look at this action from a reflective view.

Israel’s military suffered a few casualties. Gaza did not become an “Israeli graveyard”. The rocket fire has stopped for the first time in six months. A 12-month ceasefire is on the cards. The international community is attempting to prevent Hamas from re-arming.

What international mediation failed to do in three years, Israel managed in three weeks.

Remember the Lebanon War? Israel, by showing restraint and working with the UN, was jeered as losing the war by the world media.

Then we had the Georgian War. Within 24 hours of Georgian brigades entering South Ossetia, an entire Russian army had crossed the border. Russia used a massive unforgiving offensive to secure a swift victory against Georgia, followed by swift withdrawal.

Russia destroyed Georgia’s navy and military equipment. UN crisis talks were ignored. European “mediation” simply confirmed Russia establishing de facto military control over the contested regions.

The moral of the story? Military action needs to be quick and decisive. Attempting to work with the UN will only hinder your military goals. And don’t choose Sarkozy as your mediator.

Now Israel has learnt its lesson from the media, Russia and the UN. A swift overwhelming assault, followed by a quick withdrawal, seems to be the new way of warfare.

Posted by Defcon86 | Report as abusive

I find it pointless to discuss Israel to people who walk around with blinders on their eyes. History means nothing to them. Hamas parades a picture of a bleeding child and the world weeps. Never mind that the photo is posed and probably fake. Remember the photo of the slain boy being held by his father in an earlier skirmish with Israilis. That photo was seen all over the world – it was proven a posed scene – the boy was wounded by Masked, Arafat Fighters. Arabs and Hamas and Hezbelah fighters are always masked with only their eyes showing. Why? Are they afraid to be recognized???

Posted by bevjoy22l | Report as abusive

America needs to stop funding the Isreali military.
Isreal is no longer the threatened little state that could barely make it. It is one of the best equipped, trained, and experienced armies in the world.
By sending vast amounts of uncontrolled aid to Isreal we only make ourselves pariahs in the eyes of the rest of the world.
Redirect that money to education and health care domestically and material humanitarin aid abroad.

Posted by riverguide | Report as abusive

The conflict between Israelis and Palestinians has been going for way too long now, it is time for peace and negociations, leaving armies and armed groups in their barracks.

The Hamas is not only an armed group, but also a political entity active in many fields of palestine’s daily life. I would hope that with a State sharing power program with Mr Abbas they would simply switch to civil organization leaving their weapons for good.

At the same time Israel that stands countless UN security council resolutions not respected has to be understanding that negociations means both sides have to make efforts to find out a way that is simply acceptable for everyone (arrable land, water, settlements, and so on…)

None can really understand what life in Gaza means, not even the Israelis themselves, this is hell on earth even when there’s no fighting in their streets. The only way to see these people quit their stupid fundamentalism is to give them jobs and hope, and Israel is directly responsible for the level of misery palestinians have to deal with.

The US must support Israel that’s certain, but not unconditionaly, it’s been 60 years+ that we see them unable to provide conditions for peace to the arabs, we must help them to do so, being firm if needed.

Posted by jack | Report as abusive

Our late prime minister in the year 1969-1974 once said : “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children. We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children. We will only have peace with the Arabs when they love their children more than they hate us.”, (Golda Meir).
I’m sorry to say it is valid since those day and mostly today (!!).
If you don’t live this relationship you are not entitled to comment on it. We live it every day since we a born to this world and the only affect those extremists understand is power and demolition that we are FORCED to create.

Posted by Nir | Report as abusive

Israel reminds me of the bully who would snatch a prized possession of a weaker person and then try to resolve the matter by offering to exchange it with something else. You have, in your article, hit the nail on the head. As long as any U.S administration keeps imposing pre-conditions for a dialogue expecting Hamas to become nonviolent Gandhians while ignoring Israel’s ever growing hunger to grab more Palestine land, it may never succeed in bringing peace to the region or gaining world’s confidence as a peacemaker.

Who is not with us is against us.
If you are not on Israel side – you are anti-Semite
Jewish people are victims – always
The war is peace and the peace is a war
Who controls the past – controls the future
Question: could anyone write factually what was in the past or the history was re- written many times and we all forgot simple things? Answer is always very simple – find the TRUTH

I’ve read a number of comments and I keep hearing the term “Anti-Semitic” thrown around. Coming from both an Arab and Jewish background (weird huh?) I find the term “Aanti-Semitic” to be a bit misappropriated when applied toward Arabs. I’m not debating whether or not there is hatred from one party or another (frankly there’s hatred from ALL parties involved no matter what terminology is used to mask it), but the term “Anti-Semitic” itself seems, from its conception, to have been solely applied to Jews. The problem with the terminology is that both Jews and Arabs are Semitic peoples. So while you can say that some Arabs hate Jews and some Jews hate Arabs, to say that either group is “Anti-Semitic” is a bit stupid.

Needless to say, the loss of life from the current actions of both sides is awful. Religious differences aside, everyone would benefit greatly from a shared exchange of cultures. But this is an obvious ideal. I’m just speaking from the experience of having the benefit of both perspectives running through my blood.

Posted by G | Report as abusive

All this time majoring on hate has left the Palestinians with a hovel for a country. If they would concentrate on building a country, they would have a thriving metropolis. These rocket attacks & etc are only cutting off their noses to spite their face.

Posted by John | Report as abusive

so many millions have been spent since 1948 to ensure that the palestinians live in dignity .. they are still not living in dignity …. they have been driven to this situation by their corrupted leaders and the arab leaders who have been manipulating them (example assad) . israel in the meantime has thrived to become an economic, a military , a scientific power in the region.. palestinians have spent 60 years dreaming and waiting for hand out .. it is time they wake up and take their responsability and build a homeland by signing peace with israel .. all the rest is commentary

Posted by samir abukhdeir | Report as abusive

You have hit the nail exactly on the head. Israel needs to remove its settlements from the occupied West Bank as well as the wall and associated barriers it has created and to allow a corridor between the West Bank and Gaza to exist so that there can be a contiguous Palestinian state. The whole of the West Bank and Gaza (including Arab East Jerusalem) constitute 23 per cent of historical Palestine, without which the Palestinians cannot have a proper and viable state. If Israel really wants peace, it must recognise the injustices it has inflicted on the Palestinian people by establishing itself at their expense in 1947/48, further occupying what remained of it in 1967 and annexing those occupied territories piecemeal in all but name. This entails recognising the right of the Palestinians to genuine self-determination and sovereignty over 23 per cent of their historical homeland — the West Bank and Gaza. Without this, there will always be resistance amongst the Palestinian people. Such resistance will be led by Hamas or any other movement that might spring up.

It amazes me at how ignorant people are on history of middle eastern politics involving Israel and the Palestinians yet leave comments like they in fact know what their talking about. To blame Israel that the Palestinians haven’t got good jobs or education??? To blame Israel for not offering or giving up something for peace??? What rock have you people been living under??? Israel time and time again with the assistance of President’s from Kennedy to Clinton have given up land and terrorist prisoners for peace!!! But Arafat never wanted peace. Clinton was shocked how much Israel was willing to give up for peace but Arafat still would not agree to the agreement!!! Why, because if he did, his whole purpose would of been over!!! He was a leader of a terrorist organization and would of been seen as a weak person to agree with any agreement with Israel!!! The same is now true with Hamas and their leader. Under no circumstance will they ever give up fighting Israel!!! That is there soul mission to take over Israel. The Jewish people in Israel have had to fend for itself from its conception. Over the years Israel if they wanted to from wars could of ruled Egypt and taken over other Arab Countries if they wanted to but that’s not what the Jewish people wanted. They didn’t decide to destroy Arabs in those Countries that they were victorious over. Israeli Jews educated themselves and developed what was considered a worthless desert into a thriving amazing Country. The Palestinians could of done the same prior to rebirth of Israel but instead of doing things to better themselves they decided to fight with Israel. Israel also have over million Arabs in Israel that are part of the political system, are living better lives then the Arabs in some Arab Countries. They are also allowed to practice they’re religion and have Mosques in Israel. Israel unlike the Arab Countries, allows freedom of speech, and religion. Israel is a democratic Country like America. Why aren’t the Arabs that live in Jewish area’s of Israel leaving??? Because they have a better life there then in other Countries in the Middle East. They are not prisoners, they are not segregated, they are not being murdered at random, unlike Apartheid!!! IF Israel didn’t care at all about the Palestinian lives in Gaza and about genocide to their people they wouldn’t of risked they’re own soldiers lives on the ground, they would of just bombed them with nuclear bombs or other air bombs to cause total mass destruction to the whole Gaza region!!!

Posted by dave | Report as abusive

It surprise me over and over again to see articles whose writers sit behind their desks and write about issues they don’t know from the inside.

I do hope mr. Bernd Debusmann , that your home won’t be bombed for 8 long years by terorists, I do hope you won’t get shot by cowards hiding behind their own kids, I do hope your kids won’t need to get killed in the army trying to defend you.

Posted by tatale | Report as abusive

If Mrs. Clinton wants to go down in the history books with her time as Secretary of State being the pinnacle of her career, and as a visionary, then she should allow Hamas a seat at the negotiating table.

Posted by Hechicera | Report as abusive

The following is by Sir Gerald Kaufman, British Labour Member of Parliament

I was brought up as an orthodox Jew and a Zionist. On a shelf in our kitchen, there was a tin box for the Jewish National Fund, into which we put coins to help the pioneers building a Jewish presence in Palestine.

I first went to Israel in 1961 and I have been there since more times than I can count. I had family in Israel and have friends in Israel. One of them fought in the wars of 1956, 1967 and 1973 and was wounded in two of them. The tie clip that I am wearing is made from a campaign decoration awarded to him, which he presented to me.

I have known most of the Prime Ministers of Israel, starting with the founding Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Golda Meir was my friend, as was Yigal Allon, Deputy Prime Minister, who, as a general, won the Negev for Israel in the 1948 war of independence.

My parents came to Britain as refugees from Poland. Most of their families were subsequently murdered by the Nazis in the holocaust. My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszow. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed.

My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The current Israeli Government ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt among gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians. The implication is that Jewish lives are precious, but the lives of Palestinians do not count.

On Sky News a few days ago, the spokeswoman for the Israeli army, Major Leibovich, was asked about the Israeli killing of, at that time, 800 Palestinians — the total is now 1,000. She replied instantly that “500 of them were militants.”

That was the reply of a Nazi. I suppose that the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.

The Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni asserts that her Government will have no dealings with Hamas, because they are terrorists. Tzipi Livni’s father was Eitan Livni, chief operations officer of the terrorist Irgun Zvai Leumi, who organised the blowing-up of the King David hotel in Jerusalem, in which 91 victims were killed, including four Jews.

Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism. Jewish terrorists hanged two British sergeants and booby-trapped their corpses. Irgun, together with the terrorist Stern gang, massacred 254 Palestinians in 1948 in the village of Deir Yassin. Today, the current Israeli Government indicate that they would be willing, in circumstances acceptable to them, to negotiate with the Palestinian President Abbas of Fatah. It is too late for that. They could have negotiated with Fatah’s previous leader, Yasser Arafat, who was a friend of mine. Instead, they besieged him in a bunker in Ramallah, where I visited him. Because of the failings of Fatah since Arafat’s death, Hamas won the Palestinian election in 2006. Hamas is a deeply nasty organisation, but it was democratically elected, and it is the only game in town. The boycotting of Hamas, including by our Government, has been a culpable error, from which dreadful consequences have followed.

The great Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban, with whom I campaigned for peace on many platforms, said: “You make peace by talking to your enemies.”

However many Palestinians the Israelis murder in Gaza, they cannot solve this existential problem by military means. Whenever and however the fighting ends, there will still be 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza and 2.5 million more on the west bank. They are treated like dirt by the Israelis, with hundreds of road blocks and with the ghastly denizens of the illegal Jewish settlements harassing them as well. The time will come, not so long from now, when they will outnumber the Jewish population in Israel.

It is time for our Government to make clear to the Israeli Government that their conduct and policies are unacceptable, and to impose a total arms ban on Israel. It is time for peace, but real peace, not the solution by conquest which is the Israelis’ real goal but which it is impossible for them to achieve. They are not simply war criminals; they are fools.

Gerald Bernard Kaufman is a British Labour Member of Parliament. Sir Kaufman made the statement above during the 15 January 2009 House of Commons debate on Gaza in the United Kingdom.

This speech can also be seen on youtube: http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/kaufman1 70109.html

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

The following speech by Sir Gerald Kaufman sums up the truth nicely:

I was brought up as an orthodox Jew and a Zionist. On a shelf in our kitchen, there was a tin box for the Jewish National Fund, into which we put coins to help the pioneers building a Jewish presence in Palestine.

I first went to Israel in 1961 and I have been there since more times than I can count. I had family in Israel and have friends in Israel. One of them fought in the wars of 1956, 1967 and 1973 and was wounded in two of them. The tie clip that I am wearing is made from a campaign decoration awarded to him, which he presented to me.

I have known most of the Prime Ministers of Israel, starting with the founding Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Golda Meir was my friend, as was Yigal Allon, Deputy Prime Minister, who, as a general, won the Negev for Israel in the 1948 war of independence.

My parents came to Britain as refugees from Poland. Most of their families were subsequently murdered by the Nazis in the holocaust. My grandmother was ill in bed when the Nazis came to her home town of Staszow. A German soldier shot her dead in her bed.

My grandmother did not die to provide cover for Israeli soldiers murdering Palestinian grandmothers in Gaza. The current Israeli Government ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt among gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians. The implication is that Jewish lives are precious, but the lives of Palestinians do not count.

On Sky News a few days ago, the spokeswoman for the Israeli army, Major Leibovich, was asked about the Israeli killing of, at that time, 800 Palestinians — the total is now 1,000. She replied instantly that “500 of them were militants.”

That was the reply of a Nazi. I suppose that the Jews fighting for their lives in the Warsaw ghetto could have been dismissed as militants.

The Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni asserts that her Government will have no dealings with Hamas, because they are terrorists. Tzipi Livni’s father was Eitan Livni, chief operations officer of the terrorist Irgun Zvai Leumi, who organised the blowing-up of the King David hotel in Jerusalem, in which 91 victims were killed, including four Jews.

Israel was born out of Jewish terrorism. Jewish terrorists hanged two British sergeants and booby-trapped their corpses. Irgun, together with the terrorist Stern gang, massacred 254 Palestinians in 1948 in the village of Deir Yassin. Today, the current Israeli Government indicate that they would be willing, in circumstances acceptable to them, to negotiate with the Palestinian President Abbas of Fatah. It is too late for that. They could have negotiated with Fatah’s previous leader, Yasser Arafat, who was a friend of mine. Instead, they besieged him in a bunker in Ramallah, where I visited him. Because of the failings of Fatah since Arafat’s death, Hamas won the Palestinian election in 2006. Hamas is a deeply nasty organisation, but it was democratically elected, and it is the only game in town. The boycotting of Hamas, including by our Government, has been a culpable error, from which dreadful consequences have followed.

The great Israeli Foreign Minister Abba Eban, with whom I campaigned for peace on many platforms, said: “You make peace by talking to your enemies.”

However many Palestinians the Israelis murder in Gaza, they cannot solve this existential problem by military means. Whenever and however the fighting ends, there will still be 1.5 million Palestinians in Gaza and 2.5 million more on the west bank. They are treated like dirt by the Israelis, with hundreds of road blocks and with the ghastly denizens of the illegal Jewish settlements harassing them as well. The time will come, not so long from now, when they will outnumber the Jewish population in Israel.

It is time for our Government to make clear to the Israeli Government that their conduct and policies are unacceptable, and to impose a total arms ban on Israel. It is time for peace, but real peace, not the solution by conquest which is the Israelis’ real goal but which it is impossible for them to achieve. They are not simply war criminals; they are fools.

Gerald Bernard Kaufman is a British Labour Member of Parliament. Sir Kaufman made the statement above during the 15 January 2009 House of Commons debate on Gaza in the United Kingdom.

It can also be viewed on youtube:http://mrzine.monthlyreview.org/ kaufman170109.html

Posted by Peter | Report as abusive

Ask yourself this. If Hamas and Hezbolla mobilised an assault on Israel, what would the UN do? Ask them to stop? Demand a ceasefire?

If Hamas begins shooting rockets at Israel again, what is the UN going to do to stop it? What will the UN do if Hamas ignores them?

Is the UN going to arrest Hamas members now, for deliberately endangering civilians? Why not? Are they powerless to stop a terrorist group?

If the UN can’t stop Hamas, then they have no relevance to this matter. They and the anti-war protestors are just noise. Israel has more practical things to deal with.

This last conflict was a case in point. I felt sorry for the UN Security council president, as he came to grips with the true weakness of his position.

Posted by Tag | Report as abusive

I have to admit that you summed it up nicely.If only your government could see things the way you do, I am sure that all hostilities would be over in no time. Israel cannot talk in terms of defending itself for as long as it has military and civilian presence outside of its internationally recognized borders. Could we talk about Hitler defending himself when he invaded Poland? Saddam and Kuwait? There is more than half a million Jews living on land which according to the international law does not belong to them and that is the root of all evil in middle east. How can you talk about peace? How can you possibly justify shelling civilian compound ‘suspecting’ that militants might be hiding there? How can you shell UN school and execute 42 children? Would that shell be fired if Hamas was ‘allegedly’ hiding among Israeli children? I doubt that very much. How can you use white phosphorus ammunition against civilian population and sleep at night? Impartial observer would say that Palestinian lives are worth nothing and Israeli worth something. Who is the one to decide that? How can you set up a check point allowing everybody through and only keep Palestinians waiting for hours for no reason. Have we already forgotten WW2 and yellow star of David on Jewish sleeves? Not shelling every civilian house can be justified by saying that you saw a sniper on the roof. If Palestinians had so many snipers how come that only handful of Israeli soldiers died? I grew up watching black and white films about Nazis and WW2. I am watching the same film again but this time in color. What has changed? Uniforms and haircuts yes, but the ideology remains the same. Then there is Hamas. Hamas is product of 40 years of oppression, blatant violation of international law and total disregard for basic human rights of an entire nation. What annoys the hell out of me are comments from Israelis about how difficult life must be waiting for Hamas rocket to land on their roof. You invaded their country and took their land, what do you expect in return? Why are you building in East Jerusalem? Does it belong to you? No, it does not. Until recently, hatred of any kind never existed in my dictionary but it is so darn difficult to stay impartial and not to hate you right now. This is me who grew up in democracy, I can only imagine what those less privileged think of you and how much hatred you generated in the last 3 weeks. Olmert is talking about ‘victory’, what victory? Shelling Sderot and other Israeli towns cannot be justified either but what else can be done after 40 years of oppression and countless lies? The only thing that ever changes is the size of illegal settlements. I strongly believe that if illegal settlements were to be removed Hamas would have no legs to stand on, the whole Arab world would turn their back at them and rightly so. Until that happens they will always have a very strong card to play and Palestinians will continue to pay.

Posted by Damir | Report as abusive

Israel is on a path that has been walked down many times before.

Zionism opens the door to racism, and once that door is open anything can and everything will happen.

Israel is a tragedy.

A tragedy for the Palestinians, who have seen their land stolen and their lives truned inti hell on earth.

A tragedy for the Israelis, as they become monsters.

A tragedy for Jewish people all over the world, pushed to pledge allegience to Zionism, the cancer on their religion.

And perhaps some day, when the violence becomes impossible to ignore or rationalize, the propaganda of “Israel is Jewish, Jewish is Israel” will turn back uopn them as people say Israelis are bad so Jews are bad too.

They could always try explaining, saying “No, we’re the good Jews, they’re the bad Jews”.

I believe the Japanese Americans tried that during WW2.

Posted by rob | Report as abusive

Sir Gerald Kaufman’s comments sums up propaganda nicely not truth!!!

A friend of Arafat’s hmmm…If his grandmother hadn’t been killed by the Nazi’s he probably would of considered Hitler a friend as well! Because he is a Jewish turncoat he becomes the leader for those who have disdain for Israel!!! He omits, and grossly distorts a lot of facts about how Israel was created. They were not created out of terrorism, but self defense against pogroms against Jews by Arabs and guerrillas led by Syrians and also by British and U.N. agreements. There was rioting towards Jews in Palestine, incited by the Mufti’s who were in favor of Hitler’s policy’s. The Haganah were the major representatives for defending the Israeli Jews. They were not terrorist group!!!They acted according to the Jewish principle of havlaga or self-defense!!!Unfortunately like any or every Country , there are extremists!!! And out of riots in 1929, the Irgun Zvai Leumi, were created. They comprised about 1800 members versus 21,000 member of Haganah!!! The British executed some of the Irgun members and the Jewish Agency were outraged and demanded Irgun to stop. Please Lets have some perspective and context!!!

“The current Israeli Government ruthlessly and cynically exploit the continuing guilt among gentiles over the slaughter of Jews in the holocaust as justification for their murder of Palestinians”. Never have I heard one member of the Israeli Parliament express such a thought, nor would they or do they subscribe to that belief!!! Sir Gerald Kaufman’s grandmother must be rolling in her grave over that comment!!! This is strictly and exclusively his own view, his own opinion nothing else. After all he’s making headlines!

Here is what an Archbishop thought of Kaufman’s remarks!

Cranmer is sorry (quite genuinely) that Sir Gerald’s grandmother was shot dead in her bed, but begs him to understand that there are quite a few Palestinians who think Hamas have more in common with the Nazis than Israel ever could. And to dismiss Israel as ‘war criminals’ and ‘fools’ is folly itself.

Also check out what Wafa Sultan , a Arab-American Psychologist has to say about Muslems, Jews, and Christians on youtube!!!

Perhaps her most provocative words on Al Jazeera were those comparing how the Jews and Muslims have reacted to adversity. Speaking of the Holocaust, she said, “The Jews have come from the tragedy and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror; with their work, not with their crying and yelling.”

She went on, “We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people.”

She concluded, “Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them.”
http://switch3.castupnet/cunet/gm.asp?ai =214&ar=1050wmv&ak

Posted by Donna | Report as abusive

Dave, what are you drinking? Gaza is the largest concentration camp in the human history, not allowing food or medical supplies as a way of torture exceed those of Hitler’s days, sober up, right now there is a holocaust in-the-making in Gaza. Where is rest of the free world.

Posted by dan | Report as abusive

Dave, what are you drinking? Gaza is the largest concentration camp in the human history, not allowing food or medical supplies as a way of torture exceed those of Hitler’s days, sober up, right now there is a holocaust in-the-making in Gaza. Where is rest of the free world?

Posted by Dan | Report as abusive

Dan, whatever im drinking its not the hallucinogenic that you must be on. To compare what happening in Gaza as exceeding what Hitler did??? Learn Learn Learn, read up on the Holocaust before you make such abhorrent ignorant statements!!! You obviously have no clue in what your saying!!! Its not remotely in the slightest of ways, scratch the surface as a possible comparable. Israel wants peace with all Palestinians not to destroy all or any of them for that matter!!!There are unfortunately casualties in wars, especially when militants disperse themselves among their own citizens and create tunnels to smuggle in weapons for war. Its a impossible situation in Israel. It’s sad innocent people have died on both sides. Its sad Hamas won’t recognize Israel’s right to exist,something which even Arafat accepted. There is a cease fire now, that is what now needs to be the focus again, and hopefully a sustainable one can be achieved for good, without any more rockets shooting into Israel or terrorist acts of violence, and a agreement with the two state solution so people can move forward with their lives and the generations ahead can live in safety, not fear and war!!!

Posted by Dave | Report as abusive

I was wondering what happened to the boundry of original Israel and Palestinian state as in the link below. http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/co mmons/f/fe/1947-UN-Partition-Plan-1949-A rmistice-Comparison.png
I wonder who is the aggressor here. Then they should start from that point onward.

Posted by vj | Report as abusive

Thank you Burnd for summing quite fairly the situation. I am a Canadian and feel very sorry for many of our American neighbors who have been bombarded by one sides story mostly sympathizing with Israel (IDF) view of the story. Please wake up and try to read news stories from different prespective. BBC, Reuters, LeMonde, and many others from around the world. CNN, FoxNews, NBC, ABC news while they differ in reporting many of their stories, they seem to unite when reporting Middle East stories and they are hugely biased towards Israel.

Peace won’t simply come to the Middle East and to the rest of the world as matter of fact if US won’t look at this problem fairly (balanced way). The senate and Congress have been atrocioulsy pro-Israel for the past 40 or 50 years and they have been always the road block on any balanced peace initiative that has been proposed by some. Please wake up and don’t let the very strong proIsrael Lobby stain the presidency of Obama, whom the rest of the world is relying on to get things going the right direction.

Posted by Anthony | Report as abusive

Is it too much to make a call to someone that can really make a difference? As I recall, some time ago this guy got fed up with all concerned and washed the slate clean. Perhaps we can appeal for a limited repeat act, say a flood of the Southeastern Mediterranean. It’s worth a shot.

Posted by Guy Thompto | Report as abusive

End of the day, Israel occupies the Palestinian lands. Hamas doesn’t occupy any Israeli land. Israel is in violation of numerous U.N. Resolutions. If Hamas is a “terrorist” organization because it targets civilians than Israel is full fledged terrorist state, much worst than Nazi Germany ever was.

Posted by Jon | Report as abusive

There really are so many inaccurate and propagandist comments here. For those interested knowing the real truth, the scholar Noam Chomsky accurately describes the situation in his article
“Exterminate all the Brutes”: Gaza 2009

http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/203 16

Posted by Ron | Report as abusive

Here is an interesting analogy for consideration. The US continues to hit Pakistan with missles from time to time which causes far more death and destruction then those bottle rockets being fired out of Gaza.

So far Pakistan has yet to respond militarily. Here is the US double standar/hyprocrisy for all to see. Might makes right is the philosophy.

Posted by Cyric Renner | Report as abusive

What bothers me most in this whole eposide is the role of Egypt. Keeping the border closed whilst their bretheren get slaughtered. Such duplicity have rarely been seen in the Arab world.

I hope that after Israel gets finished with annexing Gaza and the West Bank that they move towards occupying the Sinai. That will be Mubarak’s just reward. However, Mubarak being the Quisling that he is, will likely assist in the occupation, just as the PA assists with the Israeli occupation in the west bank.

Posted by Wolfgang Brunner | Report as abusive

Two different groups have tried to create a home in Palestine. One has succeeded due to its determination and strength. The other has failed, due to its hatred and racism.

If the Palestinians had accepted the existence of Israel in 1948, this whole sorry state of affairs could have been avoided. They refused to share the land alongside the Jewish people, and rejected the UN Partition Plan. This is the result.

The Palestinians have repeatedly ignored the lessons of history. Every time they give in to hatred, they will lose more land, lives and homes to war. This is why they now live in shrunken enclaves, while Israel exists as a developed nation in the Middle East.

They should sit down, accept the UN aid, and build a life for themselves. If they can wean themselves off violence, then Israel will no longer need a blockade.

Posted by Tag | Report as abusive

Amos Gilad, the man who has been leading the ceasefire negotiations for Israel with Egypt, believes that in the end, Israel will have to destroy Hamas, because Hamas will never give up on destroying Israel. And if Amos Gilad says the ceasefire won’t last forever, you’d better believe him.

http://forecasthighs.com/2009/01/18/ceas efire-in-gaza-until-the-next-round/

Destroying Hamas would just lead to new, more violent, extremists. After Munich, I may have opted for same policy of finding those responsible and assassinating them. But the ultimate effect was that the power vaccuums left were filled by more extreme people. I know it’s easy for me to criticize Israelis for giving into fear, but Amos Gilad is not thinking beyond his fear. Israelis and Palestinians have both used “terrorist” tactics. It’s been that way since the bombing of the King David Hotel. The term is just an excuse to postpone real negotiations. This is a war, an ugly war that has gone on for a long time, but it can end.

Posted by Winchester73 | Report as abusive

Almost forgot my advice: let the Hamas leaders mellow a little with the years. Killing them off won’t bring about a more level-headed batch. The British didn’t opt to kill Menachem Begin after the King David Hotel bombing. If you think that was wise, you should see some utility in talking to Hamas.

Posted by Winchester73 | Report as abusive

Mr. Muller seems to be close to the mark. If Hamas refuses to accept Israel, this conflict will go on forever. Some of your commentators should be reminded that this war started because Hamas extremists had been shelling Israel for months. The Media had (has) a very biased view of what’s going on. And after 8 years of Bush we are to respect the Government’s Expert on the situation? One other media comment: Television news kept showing what I suspect is a BBC feed of children injured and dying during the conflict, as if to say that was the intent. Children and women have died in every war from the beginning of time. If Reuters had a TV Channel they would blow everybody else out of the market.

Posted by Andrew Franks | Report as abusive

The Israeli response to Hamas’ ineffective rockets was excessive and immoral. Why do the US and the EU continue to give unconditional support to Israel while it ignores international laws and basic human rights to the Palestinian people such as settlements in the West Bank and the fence built on Palestinians’ lands? The US can not negotiate peace in the Middle East if its uneven treatment continues. The UN should take the lead with full support of the EU and diplomacy persuasion with the US is the only hope. “Full support” means the implementation of UN resolutions is a MUST.

Posted by Nina Ruby | Report as abusive

The theory that Israel would disintegrate if peace is declared with the Arabs due to political and ethnic in-fighting might prove to be true soon.

The only unifying power in Israeli politics so far has been the war on the “enemy”. Once that is removed what possible unity could there be inside Israel.

Already serious rifts and cracks, quickly hushed up, have appeared between saphardi, Ashkenazi Israelis on one side and African/Indian and other ethnic “second class” Israeli citizens. These rift are bound to widen in the absence of a stronger survival threat were a peace treaty is signed.

The majority of critics of this theory are Israelis of course. But it provides the only logical deduction to forgotten internal religious and ethnic struggles threatening the very fabric of what is called Israel.

Posted by Ms Ada Bsiz | Report as abusive

going back to the tijuana vs. california statement, i believe he was purely using the idea of a border between the two countries rather than comparing gaza directly to tijuana. however, if you do want to compare them it is very possible. california is basically mexico’s version of israel. even though we bought california peacefully from mexico, we had to fight a whole war with them first (they were under spanish rule at the time). but for a while before that, there were many american’s living in california (occupation maybe?), granted, this isn’t the same as a military force, but it is similar. also, mexican families were displaced when california entered the union. i’m pretty sure there were a bunch of mexicans who didn’t want to live under US rule.

so basically, the comparison was pretty accurate, but again, i don’t belive he was going that far. he was just using a comparison that dealt with subjects close to home. he could have just as easily used a comparison between a city in canada firing rockets into michigan. there was some territorial disputes up there back in the day too.

anyways, israel is retaliating legitimately. just look at the ceasefire. a couple days in, hamas starts shooting more rockets into israel, and you expect them not to retaliate? ha. this war is never going to end. saying the phrase “peace in the middle east” is like saying “there’s a giant ice cube in the middle of the sun” it just doesn’t work.

Posted by L. Coleman | Report as abusive

Dave get YOUR fact straight, please, before regurgitating Zionist propaganda; the Zionists who make up the Israeli population have taken over the debate by framing it in their terms. Not all Jews agree with their agenda or their means remember Rabin (fyi a bonafide Israeli war hero assassinated by a Jew because he proposed a peace for land deal).
To put people in enclaves with no access; building walls around them and restricting all flow of goods and people through force; to invade and abuse the civil and human rights of a people because of their ethnicity guess whereof I speak sir.That is what the Germans did to the Jews and those European Jews have learned well but not well enough. Just as they were not crushed but were re borne so it shall be with the Palestinians. Mid East oil is not going to last for ever…

Posted by aqilmund | Report as abusive

There has been lots of talk about Hamas refusing to accept Israel’s right to… something. But Hamas does have a legitimate reason for refusing to register Israel as a state. Its because Israel has never restricted itself with known borders. This is a very peculiar situation and all known countries of the world has defined their boarders and yet Israel has not done this. So Hamas is right in saying no to an unknown sized country which has not brought nothing except misery and war to the region.

Posted by idrees from maldives | Report as abusive

Come on people wake up now… We have created this terrorist state of Israel by our tax money. So stop paying your tax money to Israel and this so called middle east problem will be solved. Simple as that.

This is certainly quite reasonable stage as elevated into the web log. Recognize referring to in the vicinity of.