Will we reap what Israel sows?

Once again, the world is forced to sit and watch the neighborhood bully—Israel—take out its collective fear and hate on an almost unarmed population in the Gaza strip, which a Vatican official recently referred to as a concentration camp. I think another horrific image is more appropriate: the Warsaw Ghetto. Then, as now, a brutalized people were isolated, starved, deprived and then bombed—ironically now by the descendants of those who suffered back then.

We can argue … about when the ceasefire was violated and who fired which homemade rockets where, but the real truth lies in the fact that Israel has been bargaining in bad faith for at least 40 years—since Fatah began the uprising of the indigenous people against the occupying Israeli forces. Even back to the founding of the state, popularized and glamorized in liberation struggle and biblical terms.

Since the ‘70s, there have been apparently serious peace initiatives, such as Kissinger’s shuttle diplomacy and Carter’s Rose Garden ceremony with Begin and Arafat. Since then, Middle East policy has always been in the top 10 issues facing American administrations. Mostly, as witnessed by the current state of affairs, these efforts have been failures. Why?

The U.S., as the major financial and military backer of the various Israeli regimes, has allowed this to happen. Israel is like an adopted orphan that was severely abused in its youth (the Holocaust), and because of its misguided upbringing by its parent (the U.S. government and military)—in which it was allowed to run roughshod over an indigenous people—it has developed into a dysfunctional abusing adult. Then, in the deliberations of forming a separate Palestinian state, Israel has consistently acted in bad faith, allowing settlements, building walls and misappropriating resources like water in the occupied territories. The actions have not matched the supposed peaceful intentions, and as the power broker, Israel intends to keep up the pressure for acquiring new territory until the will of the Palestinian people and the patience of the world community is broken down.

The timing of this attack is highly suspect. And what will be the legacy of this latest massacre? How many young Arabs are watching the footage of the slaughter in Gaza and dreaming of wreaking revenge for the horrific events we are enabling. When we will stop being so stupid and stop rationalizing immoral actions such as these?

— Tom Craig
Asheville

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134 thoughts on “Will we reap what Israel sows?

  1. Vrede

    While I agree with the letter’s author, I do wonder why the Mountain Xpress headline writer felt the need to bring tailoring into the topic.

  2. Sunny

    The why is OIL. That which sculpts most of our foreign policy. It’s time to get off the stuff. Ethanol is one great answer. Don’t believe the spin big oil has put on it. Look at Brazil, they got off of it using Ethanol and now export their oil. Why should $3 Billion a year of our tax dollars support Israel’s ethnic cleansing? And what will they do when they finally beat the life out of the Palestinians? Can they stop what they’ve always done?

  3. Dionysis

    “While I agree with the letter’s author, I do wonder why the Mountain Xpress headline writer felt the need to bring tailoring into the topic.”

    Evidently due to the fact that some confusion exists between the word ‘sew’ (as in thread-and-needle) and sow (as in planting seeds).

  4. Piffy!

    Israel is nothing more than a US military base, hiding behind a wall of Political Correctness, defending itself with everyone’s fear of being called “anti-semetic” for saying the truth.

  5. rationalinfidel

    “Israel is nothing more than a US military base, …”

    Nothing more?

    Imagine the thought that went into that one.

  6. dave

    Yes. Nothing More. As long as it continues to receive *billions of dollars* in military aid, *every year*. This is hardly a minority opinion, if you read any non-american newspaper, that is. There are thousands of Israeli peace activists who agree, whole-heartedly.

    I would think any self-respecting fiscal conservative would not be interested in spending billions in US taxpayer money to prop-up a Zionist Regime like the current Israel. But then, you wouldnt get your religious holy war with the Arab world, would you?

  7. rationalinfidel

    “There are thousands of Israeli peace activists who agree, whole-heartedly.”

    Thousands, you say, who agree that their homeland is nothing more than a U.S. military base?

    And, to top it off, you somehow know that I want “a religious holy war with the Arab world.”

    Boy, you’re a bright light, dave.

  8. dave

    I enjoy how you respond with snide comments instead of relevant information. It would be interesting to engage in informed debate, if anyone out there wishes to discuss the merits of giving billions of US taxpayer money to Israel every year.

    Feel free to check out some links that discuss this issue in much more depth than the US media.

    http://www.jewishvoiceforpeace.org/publish/article_17.shtml

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F91XF6bSDRQ

    http://www.globes.co.il/serveen/globes/DocView.asp?did=1000306191&fid=942

    Projected US aid to Israel for 2009: 2.5 Billion.

  9. Brad Johansen

    And to think our new “peace” president Obama has backed Israel in their illegal assault on Palestine. Too much. We need to march on Washington and demand that Obama stop supporting the neighborhood bully, Israel.

  10. John

    Those of you who think that Israel is a US puppet are completely disregarding the history of that country and must approve of and support the ‘ethnic cleansing/genocide’ that the Muslim world wants to carry out. Anti-Semites .. all of you!

  11. Dionysis

    “Those of you who think that Israel is a US puppet are completely disregarding the history of that country and must approve of and support the ‘ethnic cleansing/genocide’ that the Muslim world wants to carry out. Anti-Semites .. all of you!”

    This gets so tiring; any criticism of Israeli policies and practices immediately receives the standard, knee-jerk “anti-Semitism” label. Bunk. How, exactly, does having a problem with Israeli policy constitute “anti-Semitism” when the word means this:

    “Of or relating to the Semites or their languages or cultures.
    Of, relating to, or constituting a subgroup of the Afro-Asiatic language group that includes Arabic, Hebrew, Amharic, and Aramaic.”

    “Sem*it”ic\, a. Of or pertaining to Shem or his descendants; belonging to that division of the Caucasian race which includes the Arabs, Jews, and related races. [Written also Shemitic.]”

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Semitic

    Has the term ‘anti-Semitic’ simply been appropriated and re-defined, or is it simply a matter of the users not having a clue as to what it actually means?

  12. rationalinfidel

    dave writes, “I enjoy how you respond with snide comments instead of relevant information.”

    This comes from a guy who claims I want “a religious holy war with the Arab world” simply because I suggest that Israel might be something more than just a U.S. military base.

    Dionysis writes, “This gets so tiring; any criticism of Israeli policies and practices immediately receives the standard, knee-jerk “anti-Semitism” label.”

    Though I disagree with the anti-Israel sentiment being expressed in this blog entry, and in many of the comments, I do agree that the anti-Semitic label is a weak and tiring response. I won’t use it.

    That said, Israel has a right to exist and to do whatever is required to ensure its continued existence. Hamas and other neighbors have pledged their commitment to the goal of destroying Israel.

    Israel should take them at their word and respond accordingly, not proportionately.

  13. Piffy!

    “*How, exactly, does having a problem with Israeli policy constitute “anti-Semitism”*”

    The favorite tactic this go round seems to be to claim that anyone critical of Israel is somehow “supporting” Hamas.

  14. rationalinfidel

    dave writes, “I enjoy how you respond with snide comments instead of relevant information.”

    This comes from a guy who claims I want “a religious holy war with the Arab world” simply because I suggest that Israel might be something more than just a U.S. military base.

    Dionysis writes, “This gets so tiring; any criticism of Israeli policies and practices immediately receives the standard, knee-jerk “anti-Semitism” label.”

    Though I disagree with the anti-Israel sentiment being expressed in this blog entry, and in many of the comments, I do agree that the anti-Semitic label is a weak and tiring response. I won’t use it.

    That said, Israel has a right to exist and to do whatever is required to ensure its continued existence. Hamas and other neighbors have pledged their commitment to the destruction of Israel.

    Israel should take them at their word and respond accordingly, not proportionately.

  15. Dionysis

    “Though I disagree with the anti-Israel sentiment being expressed in this blog entry, and in many of the comments, I do agree that the anti-Semitic label is a weak and tiring response. I won’t use it.”

    Thank you for recognizing the inappropriate use of the term ‘Antisemitism’. With respect to the assessment of there being an “anti-Israel sentiment” in the post, to be clear, this sentiment has nothing to do with ethnicity (I have no bias at all in this area), nor with religion (I hold all organized religions in equal disdain as basically supernatural fairy tales). It has to do with Israel’s policies and practices.

    I think Israel does have a right to exist. I think Hamas is a terrorist organization (although democratically elected). I think Israel has the right to go after Hamas operatives that send those crude missiles into their country. Nonetheless, it is not possible for me to blithely accept the ghetto-ization of Gaza, the continued development of illegal settlements and the slaughter (yes, it is slaughter) of civilians pawns, mostly women and children. Israeli politicians and Israel-supporting Americans shed crocodile tears over this disgrace, but justify it’s continuation anyway. Some feel this is, as you put it, acting “appropriately.” Others do not.

    There are some other concerns about Israel. Israel continues to be the number one recipient of U.S. foreign aid (our taxpaying dollars), yet is among the most affluent countries. What are we getting from this largess (see below*)?

    There is a problem of Israeli/U.S. hypocrisy regarding nuclear weapons. We rant, rail and threaten Middle-Eastern countries over the specter of the development of nuclear weapons, yet we not only are silent on Israel’s (reportedly) over 150 nukes, but have issued over half of our vetoes against U.N. resolutions condemning Israel.

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article2000.htm

    *And what does this country get spades of in return? How about a decades-long history of espionage against the U.S.? Not just Jonathan Pollard, but even U.S. military personnel with dual citizenship have been spying for the Jewish state:

    http://whatreallyhappened.com/WRHARTICLES/motherofallscandals.html

    It’s hard to understand how these facts can be ignored in favor of complete support of Israel. It’s time for a more realistic and balanced approach by the U.S. to that region.

  16. Piffy!

    That said, Israel has a right to exist and to do whatever is required to ensure its continued existence. Hamas and other neighbors have pledged their commitment to the destruction of Israel.

    Totally, and those being bombed indescriminately by US-supplied munitions also have the same “rights” correct?

    Also, as a fiscal conservative, I dont fancy supporting a nation in “defending themselves” when it costs literally BILLIONS a year from my tax dollars.

  17. rationalinfidel

    “There is a problem of Israeli/U.S. hypocrisy regarding nuclear weapons. We rant, rail and threaten Middle-Eastern countries over the specter of the development of nuclear weapons, yet we not only are silent on Israel’s (reportedly) over 150 nukes, but have issued over half of our vetoes against U.N. resolutions condemning Israel.”

    This is not hypocrisy. The overriding concern is, and should be, who has these weapons.

    Nations that are essentially free nations have little to fear from other such nations, regardless of the nature of their weapons.

    A weapon is most dangerous in the hands of a criminal.

  18. rationalinfidel

    “So, you dont want a religious holy war with the arab world?”

    If there is an intellectually honest question in this formulation, I don’t see it.

  19. rationalinfidel

    ”Totally, and those being bombed indescriminately by US-supplied munitions also have the same “rights” correct?”

    No.

    First, it isn’t indiscriminate and it is irrelevant where the munitions originated.

    More importantly, they don’t have the same rights. Give it some thought and figure out why.

  20. travelah

    Israel’s policies are essential for it’s survival as long it is engaged with enemies that seek only it’s utter destruction. Hamas is a terrorist organization that has committed itself to Israels destruction and in it’s hit and run battles, they take refuge, intentionally, among civilian populations knowing that when Israel strikes and any civilians are killed, the world press and it’s detractors in the west will cry foul. That is evidenced here in this thread.
    Israel is a small, determined nation whose enemies are not only the murderers around it but their sympathizers in the west, including the supporters here at MountainX.

  21. rationalinfidel

    ”Also, as a fiscal conservative, I dont fancy supporting a nation in “defending themselves” when it costs literally BILLIONS a year from my tax dollars.”

    I can understand this sentiment. I would be interested in learning whether you, as a fiscal conservative, support U.S. government aid to any country.

    Also, do the billions each year literally come from your tax dollars alone?

    (Sorry, couldn’t resist.)

  22. Piffy!

    *”Israel is a small, determined nation whose enemies are not only the murderers around it but their sympathizers in the west, including the supporters here at MountainX. *”

    And right on cue t-ha claims anyone who doesnt support Israel’s Illegal war of aggression are “supporting the murderers”.

    Is this disgustingly inaccurate to anyone else?

  23. Piffy!

    So, by that logic, travelah, the large groups of Isarelis who are also against the Isareli government’s illegal actions also the “enemies of Israel”?

    Its too bad you cant argue facts, and instead have to rely on character assassination and bland, generalized statements.

  24. Dionysis

    “This is not hypocrisy. The overriding concern is, and should be, who has these weapons.”

    I beg to differ. Israel is in violation of 35 U.N. resolutions, most importantly Resolution 242, which states the Middle-East is to be a ‘nuclear free zone’. Israel is a Middle-Eastern country and was not excluded from U.N. Resolution 242.

    The overriding concern should be the uniform application of international law.

    Now, what about all of those Israeli spies? Good for America?

  25. Dionysis

    “Is this disgustingly inaccurate to anyone else?”

    Only to those who have eyesight and a functioning brain.

  26. rationalinfidel

    The (PFKaP) writes,

    Yes, it is to me.

    Describing Israel’s acts of self defense as an “illegal war of aggression” is certainly a disgustingly inaccurate portrayal.

    It makes one wonder about your fundamental moral principles.

  27. rationalinfidel

    ”The overriding concern should be the uniform application of international law.”

    No.

    “International law” does not trump morality.

  28. rationalinfidel

    “Now, what about all of those Israeli spies?”

    Irrelevant to the fundamental concerns of Israel’s right of existence and right to self defense.

  29. Dionysis

    “No.

    “International law” does not trump morality.”

    International law embodies broadly accepted precepts of morality. Israel has no claim of superiority that it can expect to be exempted from international norms. You’ve offered no objective reason for Israel to be immune from the laws which other countries are expected to follow, only your subjective view that somehow Israel’s ‘morality’ trumps everything else. It’s hard to find a current example of morality on display by Israel or any other country in that region.

    “Irrelevant to the fundamental concerns of Israel’s right of existence and right to self defense.”

    This is a telling remark. First, it tacitly acknowledges that Israel has in fact been spying on this country, although you offer no defense for it. Secondly, “Israel’s right of existence and right to self defense” is contingent, in large part, on continued U.S. political, economic and military support. That a country in that position would repeatedly spy on its benefactor is highly relevant. Expecting American taxpayers to continue to pump vast sums of dollars into a country that continues to spy on it hardly seems like money well spent. If the public at large knew of the extent of this well-documented activity, it’s likely support for Israel would decline significantly.

  30. travelah

    When an anti-jewish bigot states something similar to Israel engaging in an illegal war of aggression and considers striking terrorists to be acts of genocide against civilians, there is no value in their sentiments at all. They are part of the wickedness the people of Israel have to struggle against for their literal survival.
    Of course I bring my own bias as I am a zionist.

  31. tatuaje

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  32. rationalinfidel

    “International law embodies broadly accepted precepts of morality.”

    The UN includes as members a large number of tyrannical and totalitarian states. These states, who neither recognize the individual rights of their neighbors nor even of their own citizens, participate in the development of what you refer to as international law.

    You may accept any and all of their dictates as moral.

    I certainly do not and Israel certainly should not.

    “You’ve offered no objective reason for Israel to be immune from the laws which other countries are expected to follow, only your subjective view that somehow Israel’s ‘morality’ trumps everything else.”

    Not true, Dionysis. The objective reason is the right of self defense and I offered it. And I mentioned nothing about what you call “Israel’s morality.”

    Any individual (or group of individuals) has the right to exist, so long as he recognizes that right for all others.

    I wrote that claims of Israel spying on America are “irrelevant to the fundamental concerns of Israel’s right of existence and right to self defense.”

    Then you wrote, “This is a telling remark. First, it tacitly acknowledges that Israel has in fact been spying on this country, although you offer no defense for it.”

    Infer what you wish. But be clear on what I mean. This issue is irrelevant so it is reasonable that I do not debate the claim itself.

    That you want to focus on it is the telling part.

    You continued, “Secondly, “Israel’s right of existence and right to self defense” is contingent, in large part, on continued U.S. political, economic and military support.”

    No, you confuse again. Their right is not contingent on America’s support. Their ability to protect that right may be.

    “If the public at large knew of the extent of this (spying), it’s likely support for Israel would decline significantly.”

    It may be true that claims of widespread spying lessen support for Israel, though they shouldn’t. And this also may be why travelah might consider you to be a “sympathizer” of Israel’s enemies.

    Whether or not it is your intent, your words here do not help Israel exercise their right to exist and their right of self defense.

    Your words do assist Hamas in obliterating those rights.

  33. Piffy!

    RI–So its “moral” to bomb civilians targets, starve civilian populations, and then blame them for it?

    You condemn “Hamas” for the same things you support Israel doing.

    You morals are repugnant.

  34. vrede

    It is now proven that the IDF has used U.S.-made white phosphorous in civilian areas of Gaza, thus contravening international law, American transfer of arms law, and even the broadest definitions of morality:

    http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/01/22/incendiary-idf-kenneth-roth

    While Israel certainly faces dangers from hostile neighbors, the less than a score of its citizens that have been killed by Hamas rockets in the last year can hardly be considered a threat to its existence so grave as to justify the use of white phosphorous on civilians or the killing of some 2000 Gazans.

    I wonder how many enthusiastic haters of Israel have been newly created.

  35. Piffy!

    vrede- be prepared for someone to say that Hamas was “hiding behind” all those civilians.

    I guess 9-11 wasnt a terrorist attack, either, and the US Capitalist business interests were just hiding behind the citizens killed on that day.

  36. Chuck Johnston

    Barack Obama sided with Israels’ illegal assault on Palestine. Before he was elected even. For this we will pay dearly. And since Barack has already ordered Gitmo closed, many of those criminals will again join the conspiracy to destroy this country. Already, 60 released prisoners have already re-joined Al Queda. Gird your loins America. Unless Obama starts fulfilling his campaign promises to be a man of peace (including the Mideast) we will again be targeted by terrorists.

  37. rationalinfidel

    “RI–So its “moral” to bomb civilians targets, starve civilian populations, and then blame them for it?”

    I have not commented on Israel’s tactics. Only on their right to act to defend their right to exist.

    But I can see that you have difficulty applying this principle. Forgive me, but I can’t walk you through every possible application of a principle, but maybe I can nudge you a bit so you can begin to think on your own.

    When immoral aggressors, such as Hamas, seek to violate the rights of other individuals, or groups, innocents are often harmed in the process. When threatened individuals act in self defense, additional innocents can be harmed. Such is the nature of armed conflict.

    Now print this next part and paste it to your fridge, PK.

    The responsibility for such harm lies at the feet of the aggressors, the violators of rights – in this case, Hamas and those that voluntarily put them in power.

    Now if an agent of Israel purposefully targets innocents – as a primary target rather than an unavoidable consequence of eliminating the threat Israel faces – then that agent is acting immorally.

    “You condemn “Hamas” for the same things you support Israel doing.”

    This is just intellectually dishonest. You simply do not want to acknowledge the fundamental difference between these two parties.

    “You morals are repugnant.”

    Yes, you have shown your hatred of individual rights on this thread, and others, so it is not surprising that you find my morals to be repugnant.

    And I’m sure Hamas shares your view of my morals.

  38. travelah

    The accusations being made against Israel in this thread have no basis in fact. There were not 2,000 killed. There was no genocide against civilians. There were no phosphorus incendiaries launched against civilian targets. The entire propaganda is nothing short of a big lie. Then to bait the discussion with the suggestion of the truth as being devious (Hamas taking refuge among civilans, a long standing practice of both Hamas and Hezbollah)just exposes the Jew hating mindset of the comfortable southern leftist mentality.
    It would seem the Asheville variety of liberal antisemite is not much different than the southern variety of Klan bigotry. What is more amazing is that the enemy supported would reward such support by ripping the skin off your babies backs. … sheer ignorance and dangerous at that.

  39. tatuaje

    “There were no phosphorus incendiaries launched against civilian targets. The entire propaganda is nothing short of a big lie…”

    What’s your basis for this statement?

    Doctors in Gaza described today how they had struggled to treat dozens of patients with terrible and unusually deadly burns consistent with white phosphorus weapons, during Israel’s three-week war in Gaza.

    Nafiz Abu Shabaan, head of the burns unit at Shifa hospital and the most senior burns surgeon in Gaza, said 60 to 70 patients had died in his unit during the war from severe burns that were unlike any injury he had previously seen.

    Patients with only relatively small burn injuries, which ought to be survivable, were dying unexpectedly.

    His account, along with evidence from survivors, corroborates mounting evidence from groups such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International that the Israeli military fired phosphorus shells into populated areas of Gaza in direct violation of international humanitarian law. Amnesty said it believes Israel is guilty of a war crime.

    Read the entire article here:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/21/gaza-phosphorus-israel

  40. John

    It seems that the anti-Israel gang will be glad when/if the US withdrawals support and then all of Israel’s neighbors roll their tanks in and kills everyone with rusty knives live on youtube.

    The grim reality is that the end will be soon for Israel if they stop defending themselves and/or the US stops helping them.

    Those opposing aid for Israel .. just admit that’s what you really want. It will make you feel better.

  41. tatuaje

    There were not 2,000 killed.

    Then tell us then, Lil’ t, how many were killed? And where, and more importantly, from whom, do you get your figures?

  42. tatuaje

    What is more amazing is that the enemy supported would reward such support by ripping the skin off your babies backs. … sheer ignorance and dangerous at that.

    That might be the winner for best hyperbole evah…

    I really hope you come back and defend your statements. With facts. sources. logic.

  43. travelah

    tats, you can sit there and swallow your propaganda. The proper truth will come out just as it did with the Jenin falsehoods in 2002, printed by the same sources you quote now.

  44. tatuaje

    Yep. Just as I thought. No facts. No sources. No logic.

    Keep trying Lil’ t….

  45. tatuaje

    And you haven’t answered my question…

    How many were killed? And where, and more importantly, from whom, do you get your figures?

  46. tatuaje

    Hundreds were killed in the 22-day Israeli offensive, but it is the manner in which Sabah’s relatives lost their lives, and the weapon used, that has attracted attention.

    Sabah herself has suffered terrible burns on her arms, legs and torso and is considerable pain.

    “There was fire, and so much white smoke,” she says. “The missile melted my children. My daughter-in-law melted in front of my eyes.”

    Dr Nafiz Abu Shabaan, the head of the unit in which Sabah is being treated, says he has seen many victims with what he described as “strange burns”.

    “These burns were very severe, very deep, and became deeper and wider over time,” he says. “In some cases, smoke came out of the wound, even after hours.”

    The cause of these types of injuries is believed, by visiting medical officials, to be Israel’s use of shells containing white phosphorus.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7848768.stm

  47. tatuaje

    A warehouse in a UN compound in Gaza that came under Israeli fire Thursday was apparently hit by white-phosphorus shells, UN humanitarian affairs chief John Holmes said.

    “The main warehouse was badly damaged by what appeared to be white-phosphorus shells,” Holmes told reporters at a news briefing in New York. “Those on the ground don’t have any doubt that’s what they were. If you were looking for confirmation, that looks like it to me.”

    The compound belongs to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).

    http://www.vancouversun.com/Entertainment/Gaza+building+apparently+phosphorus/1195039/story.html

    How many more different sources do you need? Especially when Israel was keeping journalists out of Gaza….

    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5h0PvtGF62P_L_yA3fKUn7ENnQZ3wD95UCNR00

  48. John

    Tat – my thoughts are the truth is somewhere in between what you and Travelah are proposing. I’m waiting for your next link to come from Al Jazeera. The BBC and the UN aren’t exactly non-biased on this subject.

    The Palestinians have used bogus propaganda in the past. Don’t rule it out. Also don’t rule out that they use their own countrymen as shields. Nice guys.

    Phosphorus is nasty stuff. I’d rather Israel not use it anywhere near civilians

  49. tatuaje

    Questions & answers from Taghreed El-Khodary, New York Times correspondent in Gaza, to some of the many questions submitted by readers from a NYT Q&A;. Ms. El-Khodary, who was born in Gaza, has reported for The New York Times since 2001. During the recent conflict, Ms. El-Khodary was one of the few people reporting from inside Gaza, in part due to the fact that the Israeli military refused to give Western reporters access to the Palestinian territory during the fighting.

    Q. Have you seen evidence of the use of white phosphorous rounds or similar? Or of a weapon called Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME)? Was there use of any cluster munitions? — Bill Goedecke

    Q. U.N. officials, Human Rights Watch and Norwegian doctors in Gaza have said that Israel is using phosphorus and DIME in its Gaza attacks, and the devastating impact on civilian populations. Why is this issue not adequately covered by New York Times? Thanks — BP

    A. Taghreed El-Khodary responds:

    I could find evidence of the use of white phosphorus bombs but not DIME. As a result, we wrote about the use of the phosphorus. Israel used white phosphorus in densely populated areas. Regarding DIME, Red Cross doctors spoke about the amputations the weapons caused — cutting bodies in half. But I couldn’t find evidence proving that Israel used DIME, so I couldn’t report on it.

    Entire article:

    http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/01/19/q-a-with-taghreed-el-khodary-in-gaza/?scp=2&sq=white phosphorus&st=cse

  50. tatuaje

    I’m waiting for your next link to come from Al Jazeera.

    I respect them as a news organization…as do millions of other people.

    The BBC and the UN aren’t exactly non-biased on this subject.

    Ok…who isn’t…but that has nothing to do with what has been reported…by journalists, by doctors, by civilians, and by aid organizations…

    And my other sources?

    The Palestinians have used bogus propaganda in the past. Don’t rule it out. Also don’t rule out that they use their own countrymen as shields. Nice guys.

    Please don’t confuse “the Palestinians” with Hamas..That’s like calling all Americans conservative right-wing christian republicans…

  51. Piffy!

    “*Yes, you have shown your hatred of individual rights on this thread, and others… *”

    RI–Please point them out to me.

    Sounds to me like “John and “Chuck Johnston” is caught between the “defend Israel at all costs” stance and the “Criticize Obama at all costs” crossroads.

    Should be a fun four to eight years, eh?

  52. Dionysis

    “International law embodies broadly accepted precepts of morality.”

    The UN includes as members a large number of tyrannical and totalitarian states. These states, who neither recognize the individual rights of their neighbors nor even of their own citizens, participate in the development of what you refer to as international law.

    I agree, but nonetheless there are basic, agreed-upon norms codified in the form of resolutions that help form the rules of behavior among civilized countries. That there are “tyrannical and totalitarian states” among member states should not negate the compliance with international law.

    You may accept any and all of their dictates as moral.

    I don’t at all, but you may (and evidently do) accept anything Israel does as of a higher ‘moral authority’ than mere international law and basic human decency.

    I certainly do not and Israel certainly should not.

    “You’ve offered no objective reason for Israel to be immune from the laws which other countries are expected to follow, only your subjective view that somehow Israel’s ‘morality’ trumps everything else.”

    Not true, Dionysis. The objective reason is the right of self defense and I offered it. And I mentioned nothing about what you call “Israel’s morality.”

    I’m sorry, but saying the right of self defense absolves a nation from laws they willingly agreed to is not a valid argument in my opinion.

    Any individual (or group of individuals) has the right to exist, so long as he recognizes that right for all others.

    Israel doesn’t seem too concerned about the right of Palestinian civilians to exist, any more than Hamas cares about the right of Israelis to exist.

    I wrote that claims of Israel spying on America are “irrelevant to the fundamental concerns of Israel’s right of existence and right to self defense.”

    Then you wrote, “This is a telling remark. First, it tacitly acknowledges that Israel has in fact been spying on this country, although you offer no defense for it.”

    Infer what you wish. But be clear on what I mean. This issue is irrelevant so it is reasonable that I do not debate the claim itself.

    Huh? It’s “irrelevant” because you proclaim it so? And ergo, “it is reasonable that” you “do not debate the claim itself?”

    Well, I do find it relevant, and I don’t think you are the Keeper of the Law, so I’ll pass on accepting it is “reasonable” not to debate. And there is no “debate.” The facts are well documented.

    That you want to focus on it is the telling part.

    If you mean by “telling” that I do not share the same knee-jerk, ‘don’t question’ attitude towards Israel that you do, then you are correct. If (as I assume), you are implying something more nefarious, you’re wrong.

    You continued, “Secondly, “Israel’s right of existence and right to self defense” is contingent, in large part, on continued U.S. political, economic and military support.”

    No, you confuse again. Their right is not contingent on America’s support. Their ability to protect that right may be..

    I wasn’t confused, but I do concede that I should have written ‘Israel’s ability to exercise it’s right of existence…’.

    “If the public at large knew of the extent of this (spying), it’s likely support for Israel would decline significantly.”

    It may be true that claims of widespread spying lessen support for Israel, though they shouldn’t.

    You can’t be serious. Why shouldn’t people care about a foreign country spying on us? We’ve always cared, and spent vast sums of money to prevent it and prosecute for it. Tell us why it’s okay for Israel to do it.

    And this also may be why travelah might consider you to be a “sympathizer” of Israel’s enemies.

    Like I really care.

    Whether or not it is your intent, your words here do not help Israel exercise their right to exist and their right of self defense.

    Your words do assist Hamas in obliterating those rights.

    How so? Israel, as a democracy, can’t handle reasonable questions or any open criticism? “My words” included the very specific “Israel has a right to exist.”

  53. John

    Tatuaje – Those millions that ‘respect’ Al Jazeera understand their anti-Israel bias and agree with it.

    Interesting comment about Hamas. Do you agree with their actions here? Starting a mess that the Palestinian people are now paying for? They fired first knowing how Israel would respond .. knowing that the Palestinian people would pay dearly. They were used as tools/weapons by Hamas. Is Israel supposed to just take it?

  54. vrede

    “… the Jew hating mindset of the comfortable southern leftist mentality.
    It would seem the Asheville variety of liberal antisemite is not much different than the southern variety of Klan bigotry.”

    Again with the charge that disagreeing with the policies of the nation of Israel is the same as hating Jews. By travelah’s logic, if I disagree with a Nation of Islam policy I must be a black-hating, white supremacist.

    What a sad, paranoid, whiny, deceptive world travelah lives in.

    BTW, I’m 1/4 Jewish and have admired the religion and culture since I was a child.

  55. John

    Tat – you admit their bias and then claim it doesn’t affect their reporting? How is their bias reflected if not in their reporting? You have officially drank the cool aid.

    I think you may have also tried to say that Al Jazeera is a credible source for this conflict? OMG. There is no cool aid left.

  56. John

    “Sounds to me like “John and “Chuck Johnston” is caught between the “defend Israel at all costs” stance and the “Criticize Obama at all costs” crossroads.”

    PF – Where did I criticize Obama? Oh that’s right .. nowhere. What is your opinion here? How to rectify Israel/Palestine? All you’ve done is poo poo others ideas. That’s easy. Is that all you got?

    No one seems to be willing to deal with the stated objectives of all of Israel’s enemies .. to eliminate them! You don’t believe them? Don’t think they would really do it? They can be talked out of it? What would give you that impression? I have some swampland in AZ for you … cheap.

  57. travelah

    vrede, what in Hades is a 1/4 Jew??

    Absolutely amazing … he asks for proof 2,000 people were not killed and he quotes his own source stating hundreds ….

  58. tatuaje

    Starting a mess that the Palestinian people are now paying for? They fired first knowing how Israel would respond .. knowing that the Palestinian people would pay dearly.

    First of all, you have mistaken the facts. Israel broke the ceasefire…here’s a link to a video by CNN that does a great job of researching the time-line:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KntmpoRXFX4

    And for travelah, 2 things…

    1. Still no numbers or sources or facts from you…

    NO SURPRISE

    2. I’ve given you the ‘white phosphorous’ story from no less than 5 different sources…

    One more…this one with VIDEO…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/20/gaza-white-phosphorus

    I can’t wait to hear how you will keep refuting the claims of white phosphorous use…

    Even ISRAEL admits troops may have used phosphorus shells in Gaza…

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/21/gaza-phosphorus-shells

    Are you going to put up any facts in this thread? Any sources? My 5 year old nephew is a much better debater than you are…

  59. John

    Tat – that video supports the complexity of the situation there. Hamas was going to conduct a kidnapping that would have rocked the region … Israel responded by taking out the kidnappers … Hamas responded by randomly shooting rockets at Israeli civilians. Israel targeted gunmen, Hamas targeted civilians. I’m still pointing my finger at Hamas for instigating the escalation first with their kidnapping attempt. It might as well have been a shot.

    I was a weapons tech in the military. Israel was def using incendiaries. Even though Hamas embeds themselves in civilians, Israel shouldn’t use them there. They cover too broad an area and the fire can spread far from the target.

  60. tatuaje

    Hamas was going to conduct a kidnapping that would have rocked the region …

    perhaps…but we’ll probably never know…

    I’m still pointing my finger at Hamas for instigating the escalation first with their kidnapping attempt. It might as well have been a shot.

    We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one…It’s kinda like the ‘Bush Doctrine’..I don’t agree with the concept of premptive strikes…Hamas never actually attempted a kidnapping and we only have the IDF’s word that they were even talking about it…

    Israel was def using incendiaries. Even though Hamas embeds themselves in civilians, Israel shouldn’t use them there. They cover too broad an area and the fire can spread far from the target.

    yeah, it’s pretty nasty stuff…

    And I’m not defending Hamas. They do, and have done, some pretty despicable things…But punishing the innocent women & children of Palestine for Hamas’ atrocities is not the answer…

  61. rationalinfidel

    ”… I don’t agree with the concept of premptive strikes …”

    I’d like to better understand this position, tatuaje.

    If an aggressor has sworn a pledge for my destruction, and has the means for carrying it out, it seems completely irrational to me to not act preemptively and eliminate the threat.

    Where do I have it wrong?

  62. John

    Israel’s brutal responses to the attacks on them is all that’s kept them alive til now. Look at what they’ve faced since their inception …. repeated attacks from all sides and inside. Huge ones and little ones. How often will you punch a guy you know will crush you if you take a swing and don’t knock him out? Not very often.

    If Israel abandoned the concept of preemptive strikes, their civilians would be paying the price. Are they just supposed to wait for the rockets to kill people first when they know what’s up in advance? Its the job of their government to protect the citizens. Hamas and Hezbollah have decided that the Palestinian civilians are worth sacrificing for their cause. Who’s the worse guy here? Their own countrymen are throwing them under the bus.

    Israel has been ready to negotiate for over a decade and Hamas and Hezbollah won’t stop their madness. Israel and Egypt have been a peace for decades. Egypt just had to stop the aggression.

    FYI – there is no such thing as the Bush Doctrine. That is a term created in the media.

  63. rationalinfidel

    Help me sort out why you find my morals to be “repugnant,” PFK.

    My fundamental position in this discussion has been this:

    Any individual (or group of individuals) has the right to exist, so long as he recognizes that right for all others.

    Can we agree on this one, or does it go in your “repugnant” box?

  64. rationalinfidel

    Dionysis, I don’t mean to ignore your reply – I’ll get to it when I can.

  65. travelah

    tats, the video clip you presented showed Palestinians playing with a small phosphorous burn. It could have come from three easy sources: an incendiary shell from Israel, a smoke round or from Hamas themselves. I observed no phosphorous shell burst but I did see Israeli forces using smoke rounds for cover. Present me with shell burst video of a civilian target resulting from an artillery round. It will be a telltale starburst and seen around the world with as much news coverage this conflict received. Show that and I’ll be a believer and state clearly, Israel was in the wrong. I would not however call for anything less what they did and chide them for not being thorough enough.

  66. Vrede

    travelah: “vrede, what in Hades is a 1/4 Jew??

    Absolutely amazing… he asks for proof 2,000 people were not killed and he quotes his own source stating hundreds… ”

    I wrote “1/4 Jewish”, i.e. one grandparent. Also, I never asked “for proof 2,000 people were not killed”. I know better than to bother asking you to provide evidence for your claims.

    Knowing more now about your level of reading comprehension clears a lot up. Thanks.

  67. tatuaje

    Present me with shell burst video of a civilian target resulting from an artillery round.

    You won’t take statements from journalists, doctors, aid workers, civilians, victims, eye-witnesses, the UN, or ISRAEL ITSELF..

    And the only proof you will take

    is a camera shot of the actual detonation of a civilian target with a phosphorous shell?

    Dude, the UN GOT HIT BY A PHOSPHOROUS SHELL!

    From friggin’ Fox News…

    http://www.foxnews.com/wires/2009Jan15/0,4670,MLIsraelPalestinians,00.html

    Is there any source that you find acceptable?

    You are unbelievable…

  68. Nelda Holder

    Back to the original question: Sews or sows? The headline writer (ahem) was out of town when the question was asked. Oddly, our print version got that right (sows), so there’s a mystery about the Web version. Thanks for being so sharp, however. It has now been corrected.

  69. Piffy!

    Israel admits phosphorus bombing

    Israel has for the first time admitted it used controversial phosphorus shells during fighting against Hezbollah in Lebanon in July and August.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6075408.stm

    Gaza building apparently hit by phosphorus: UN

    http://www.vancouversun.com/Entertainment/Gaza+building+apparently+phosphorus/1195039
    /story.html

    Gaza phosphorus burn victim saw ‘bright stars’ fall

    http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/Gaza+phosphorus+burn+victim+bright+stars+fall/1205905/story.html

    I’m sure you will say those are all “unreliable” sources, though.

  70. Piffy!

    *”Any individual (or group of individuals) has the right to exist, so long as he recognizes that right for all others.”*

    But Israel *doesnt* respect the right of its neighbors to exist. They have them walled-off, the steal their land and place settlements there, they drop bombs, in defiance of regulations regulations, etc…

    If Israel’s neighbors treated Israel in the same way they find themselves treated, Israel would be starving, with hospitals, schools, and neighborhoods demolished by munitions.

    Instead, you have Israel “defending itself” from a few random rocket attacks by murdering civilians. Now, you can twist it in any direction you want, but the fact remains that Israel’s illegal settlements are a large reason for this hatred and aggression that you seem to think exists in a bubble. This isnt about Arabs hating Jews, despite whatever convoluted propoghanda you cut and paste,. It is about Israel’s neighbors being sick and tired of seeing Israel break every rule they themselves must follow, all the while being armed and funded by the US, an obvious enemy of their own states.

    Only in the US are you fed one-sided propoghanda that tries to make it sound as if this is a legitimate war against two opposing sides. It isnt. It is a war of aggression against Israel’s neighbors for the purpose of acquring new land. Israel needs groups like Hamas because it gives Westerns “Hawks” like you reason to think they can “defend” themselves by stealing land and breaking international laws and treaties. I highly suggest oyu read a newspaper from outside the US. This is 2009, you can get online and gain some perspective from your jingoistic, frightened, racist world-view.

  71. Dionysis

    “This is 2009, you can get online and gain some perspective from your jingoistic, frightened, racist world-view.”

    Yes, they could. But do you really think they even want to, much less will? They lash out at anything that challenges their Israel-first bias.

  72. Piffy!

    *”Yes, they could. But do you really think they even want to, much less will? They lash out at anything that challenges their Israel-first bias. “*

    More likely they will cut and paste a few out-of-context points to mercilessly attack instead of dealing with the meat of the issue.

  73. Dionysis

    “More likely they will cut and paste a few out-of-context points to mercilessly attack instead of dealing with the meat of the issue.”

    Yep, that’s exactly what will happen, if past experience holds.

  74. rationalinfidel

    I write this for any reader who might happen by this thread.

    Take a minute or two to read my posts – and just my posts.

    Then read what “The (PFKaP)” had to say on January 27, 2009 at 02:14 PM in reply to my question concerning rights and morals.

    And he ends it with the claim that I have a “jingoistic, frightened, (and) racist world-view.”

    Imagine the number of contradictions a man must accept to think this way.

    We are catching a glimpse of his soul.

    No wonder there is so much conflict in the world.

  75. travelah

    tats, the evidence you presented were standard bursts with phosphorus loads. As I stated, I readily admit Israel was wrong to use such loads in a dense population area.
    Now, advocate that Hamas remove themselves from such dense civilian areas.

  76. John

    “This isnt about Arabs hating Jews, despite whatever convoluted propoghanda you cut and paste”

    PK – I don’t need to cut and paste to tell you that your statement is wildly naive beyond belief. Did you take any history at all? You are ignoring 2000 years of history and especially that last 60. Do some reading and not on http://www.onesidedpointofview.com. Rights and wrongs have been committed by both sides here. Their situation is complex with many players on each side. Your view is juvenile at best.

  77. Vrede

    John: “FYI – there is no such thing as the Bush Doctrine. That is a term created in the media.”

    Debating the origin of the phrase is silly and irrelevant semantics. Unfortunately for America and the world, the policy has been real.

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bush_Doctrine

    rationalinfidel: “If an aggressor has sworn a pledge for my destruction, and has the means for carrying it out, it seems completely irrational to me to not act preemptively and eliminate the threat.

    Where do I have it wrong?”

    1. You presuppose that preemptive violence is the only and/or best response to the situation.

    2. By your reasoning the USSR should have ‘eliminated the threat’ posed by the U.S. and vice versa. It’s a good thing that wiser folks than you prevailed.

  78. Piffy!

    “Now, advocate that Hamas remove themselves from such dense civilian areas. ”

    My guess is you’ve never spent a week vacationing in Gaza. Where would you suggest they operate from?

    Not that i support Hamas. I am merely not interested in supporting Israel’s own abuses of human rights. Nor those of Hamas. But only Israel is directly funded by US dollars. And only Israel is murdering hundreds of civilians.

    If I criticize Hamas’ absurd, petty actions, will you be critical of Israel’s obvious disregard for the lives of men, women and children in Gaza and the West Bank? Of centuries-old farms uprooted for illegal Israeli settlements?

  79. Dionysis

    Contrary to the biased armchair ‘experts’, Israel has admitted it used phosphorous bombs in Gaza:

    “Israel has admitted – after mounting pressure – that its troops may have used white phosphorus shells in contravention of international law, during its three-week offensive in the Gaza Strip.

    One of the places most seriously affected by the use of white phosphorus was the main UN compound in Gaza City, which was hit by three shells on 15 January. The same munition was used in a strike on the al-Quds hospital in Gaza City the same day.

    Under review by Colonel Shai Alkalai is the use of white phosphorus by a reserve paratroop brigade in northern Israel.

    According to army sources the brigade fired up to 20 phosphorus shells in a heavily built-up area around the Gaza township of Beit Lahiya, one of the worst hit areas of Gaza.

    The internal inquiry – which the army says does not have the status of the full investigation demanded by human rights groups including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch – follows weeks of fighting in which Israel either denied outright that it was using phosphorus-based weapons, or insisted that what weapons it was using “were in line with international law”.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/21/gaza-phosphorus-shells

  80. Piffy!

    John said: “PK – I don’t need to cut and paste to tell you that your statement is wildly naive beyond belief. Did you take any history at all? You are ignoring 2000 years of history and especially that last 60. ”

    Actually, it is obvious *you* have no idea what has occurred in the mid-east in the past 60 years due to Western involvement in the regions politics. Perhaps you could take some of your own advice and research the reasons behind why the US has backed Israel from the start. Here’s a hint, it had nothing to do with giving a darn about the Jews.

    Also, I have never even seen the website you mention. If you will read the clips I have previously posted, you will notice they are all from either Israeli peace groups or internationally recognized news sources.

  81. Dionysis

    “I have never even seen the website you mention.”

    There’s a good reason for this; it doesn’t exist. It was made up.

  82. John

    Dionysis – I’m glad you recognized the satire.

    PK – I’ve been studying military history for decades and don’t need to run to web sites for the cut and paste contest. The facts are that the Arabs have repeatedly attempted to conquer Israel. That battle is ongoing. Iran and Syria are chomping at the bit. You want us to stop helping so that the Arabs can win?

    The one simple thing about this issue is that if those that are helping Israel exist stop, Israel is doomed.

  83. Piffy!

    “Repeatedly attempted to conquer Israel”.

    Well, if you are a history expert, then you must understand why an entire region might have some, er, apprehensions, about a Western-funded state placed down in their own land without any substantial input of their own. I know you have been taught that those nasty Arabs want to “destroy Israel”, but have you ever thought that it has nothing to do with anti-semitism, and everything to do with good, ‘ol fashioned anti-imperialism?

    Again, I ask, would US citizens stand for a Chinese-imposed Cherokee “State” in the Southeast? Perhaps with weapons and training supplied by the Russians? Tell me, how this example is ANY different than the US plopping down “Israel” in the middle east, on land belonging to other people?

    If Israel is “doomed to fail”, then perhaps it should. Certainly its current incarnation needs to fail, as it is based on an unsustainable formula of having to fight with all of its neighbors.

    This would *not* spell out doom for the Israeli’s who wish to live in Peace, and are currently fighting the Israeli government as much as others around the world. It would only mean an end to the US strategic military base that destabalizes the region to the benefit of Western Business interests like weapons manufacturers and oil companies. At the detriment to the majority of non-extremist citizens who just want their lives, homes, fields, families, and farms back.

    *”You want us to stop helping so that the Arabs can win?”*

    Ahh, so the truth comes out! You really do think this is about the West fighting the Arab world. I bet Obama speaking to Al Arabia the other day confused the heck out of you, huh?

    The US’s “fight”, if any, is with so-called religious “extremists”, not an entire religion, people or geographic region. For a self-proclaimed “expert”, you certainly have a lot of antiquated, simplified notions of the world and geo-politics.

    Welcome to the 21st century, “John”.

  84. John

    If you want Israel to fail, then that is your right to have that opinion. The Jews were allowed to escape Europe in WW2 only one way that Germany would allow. That is go to Israel. NATO gave them their spot after the war.

    We are where we are. How we move forward is the question. We can’t change the past and ranting about it does no good. Your thoughts on imperialism vs religious conflict is just looking at one component. Israel was given a state smack dab in the middle of Arab country. To boot, it is their religious enemy of 2000 years. Its more complicated than you say.

    You don’t seem to mind the obliteration of their country and people to put things back the way they were before WW2. Pretty callous if you ask me.

  85. Dionysis

    “Israel was given a state smack dab in the middle of Arab country.”

    And hence the problem:

    (from Jews for Justice in the Middle East)

    “The conventional wisdom is that, even if both sides are at fault, the Palestinians are irrational “terrorists” who have no point of view worth listening to. Our position, however, is that the Palestinians have a real grievance: their homeland for over a thousand years was taken, without their consent and mostly by force, during the creation of the state of Israel. And all subsequent crimes – on both sides – inevitably follow from this original injustice…

    The problem with this explanation is that it is simply not true… What really happened was that the Zionist movement, from the beginning, looked forward to a practically complete dispossession of the indigenous Arab population so that Israel could be a wholly Jewish state, or as much as was possible. Land bought by the Jewish National Fund was held in the name of the Jewish people and could never be sold or even leased back to Arabs (a situation which continues to the present).

    The Arab community, as it became increasingly aware of the Zionists’ intentions, strenuously opposed further Jewish immigration and land buying because it posed a real and imminent danger to the very existence of Arab society in Palestine. Because of this opposition, the entire Zionist project never could have been realized without the military backing of the British. The vast majority of the population of Palestine, by the way, had been Arabic since the seventh century A.D. (Over 1200 years)..

    In short, Zionism was based on a faulty, colonialist world view that the rights of the indigenous inhabitants didn’t matter. The Arabs’ opposition to Zionism wasn’t based on anti-Semitism but rather on a totally reasonable fear of the dispossession of their people…

    The mythic “land without people for a people without land” was already home to 700,000 Palestinians in 1919. This is the root of the problem…”

    http://www.cactus48.com/truth.html

  86. John

    The situation over there is very complex no doubt..

    The question is, “What do we do now and what are the repercussions?”

    Any answers anybody? We can’t change history, we have to move forward from here.

  87. who

    Rationalinfidel has one the debate, hands down. Truly rational. I’m a liberal and don’t quite get thae Israel/Palestine situation becoming a left/right issue. I’m no expert but I know enough to know that it is a real complicated situation where it is not so easy to point out the bad guys. I also think it is absurd for people here in Asheville to be so flippantly self assured about their opinion on the crisis.

  88. Piffy!

    “In short, Zionism was based on a faulty, colonialist world view that the rights of the indigenous inhabitants didn’t matter. The Arabs’ opposition to Zionism wasn’t based on anti-Semitism but rather on a totally reasonable fear of the dispossession of their people… ”

    Only in a nation with a relatively large, vocal group of citizens who believe in the literal translation of the Bible, would you find people who think that the “Jews” somehow have more claim over the land now called “Israel” than the people who have ACTUALLY LIVED there for the past 1000 some years.

    Only in a country controlled by backwards, Christian dogma, could you overlook an entire people and way of life, merely because they are Muslim. (Jews are honorary Christians in most American’s minds, since Jesus was one and everything).

    Perhaps china could force a “native” homeland on our soil, against our will, without our input?

    The US is not beholden to “defending” Israel. Remember the UN? It was only this most previous administration that somehow planted the notion in American’s minds that we must be the ‘police of the world’, disobeying multiple international laws and treaties in the process. Let the UN do their job, and make Israel follow the same rules every other country in the region has to follow, and you would most likely see quite a drop in animosity from the “Arab” world.

    Again, welcome to the 21st century, John. Americans are no longer forced to live with a bag over their heard, chanting “la-la-la” during history (or biology, or Politics, etc) class.

    Thank God we now have a President who knows enough actual history to speak *with* the Arab world, and not *at* them. Roughly 1/5th of the worlds population are Muslim, after all. They are not a “minority”.

  89. Piffy!

    *”The question is, “What do we do now and what are the repercussions?”

    Any answers anybody? We can’t change history, we have to move forward from here. “*

    Yes, as has been stated repeatedly on this thread already:

    Require that Israel follow the same international rules that all it’s neighbors are forced to follow. Divert the *Billions* a year in US military aid to Israel to more long-term, peace-promoting efforts (as opposed to bombs, guns, tanks, etc). Require that Israel return land it has stolen in the West Bank, and compensate the rightful owners for the destruction and illegal acquisition of their land. Require that Isarel take down the Wall that has been condemned by mutiple international aid groups. Allow the citizens of Gaza and the West Bank a normal life.

    If you read a newspaper from outside the US, you would already know that most of the world supports these actions, these ideas are hardly new, and only the US is still propping up Israel to the detriment of Peace.

    Not that mysterious, really.

  90. Dionysis

    “Rationalinfidel has one (‘won’?) the debate, hands down.”

    This ‘debate’ is hardly over, either here or anywhere else. That you feel his views prevailed is fine, but it’s your opinion, not an objective assessment.

    “Truly rational.”

    Do you really accept that “no one should be upset” that Israel continues to spy against this country as ‘rational’? How so? Do you think it rational that those who express different views on this ‘complex’ subject are ‘helping Hamas’? Why?

    “I’m a liberal and don’t quite get thae Israel/Palestine situation becoming a left/right issue.”

    Well, I’m a lefty going way back, and I agree it should not be a ‘left/right issue’, but I’m not sure it is. Some people who post here try and paint any opposing voice as some kind of ‘liberal anti-Semite’, but in fact, many liberals unflinchingly support Israel, not matter what, and some conservatives feel the Palestinians have been treated unconscionably unfair (Pat Buchanan, for example).

    “I also think it is absurd for people here in Asheville to be so flippantly self assured about their opinion on the crisis.”

    That’s interesting. I’ve read letters and blog posts from many different newspapers and websites, and don’t see how the opinions of locals are any more “flippantly self assured” than anywhere else. In fact, compared to some sites, the banter here seems downright civil (maybe because bad words aren’t allowed here, whereas some sites allow anything, and posters don’t hold back…talk about ‘flippant’).

  91. John

    PK – After all that you suggest happens, do you think that Hamas and Hezbollah will stop firing rockets into Israel and that Iran will stop helping them?

  92. Piffy!

    “John”,

    Do you think that killing over a thousand innocent civilians in order to kill a handful of terrorists will somehow “defeat terrorism”?

    No, it will empower it. When people see bombed neighborhoods, murdered children, destroyed mosques and UN hospitals, they will want revenge, without a doubt.

    The only way to defeat Hamas is to not turn Gaza and the West Bank into a breeding ground for terrorism. The way to accomplish that is to give the citizens of the areas the same rights that any human should have.

    The world picture you paint is very one-sided, and presumes that military power will prevail, nay, is the only way to prevail. It just isnt true. Hamas would not exist if the people of Gaza felt they had other options in life. Clean water, food, access to educational opportunities.

    Until Gaza is no longer a living prison, you will continue to have a people with a prison mentality. You can never kill all the bad people in the world. So far, Israel has killed over a thousand innocents to the 13 Israeli’s killed. This will only empower Hamas. If you want to defeat Hamas, you stop giving them a valid reason to exist.

    IS that that difficult to comprehend?

  93. who

    Actually, Dionysis, you have argued the best with rationalinfidel. You both had made concessions and tried to keep it from being extreme hence chaotic. But RI stuck to his/her guns and to the issue. I guess in a roundabout way the allegations of Israeli spies may be pertinent but not really central to the burning fire. And I think the same about all the other blogs with extreme and villifying views. I’m not trying to be above it all but isn’t it a wonder that we all forget, or just don’t really know, what it is like when the wood burning in the fire belongs to you. Wild arguing isn’t going to help them; their wild arguing isn’t going to help them. Maybe our taking sides is feeding the fire.

  94. John

    PK – I don’t like it when Hamas or Hezbollah fires rockets or kidnaps folks in Israel and I don’t like it when Israel shoots back too hard.

    I think that there will eventually be 2 states. Support from the world can start to help solve the economic problems in Palestine.

    Even if Palestine recovers, that region is still going to be hot. They are still not going to like each other and be a magnet for conflict.

    I’m comprehending the whole thing and you are only grasping part of it.

  95. Dionysis

    “Actually, Dionysis, you have argued the best with rationalinfidel. You both had made concessions and tried to keep it from being extreme hence chaotic. But RI stuck to his/her guns and to the issue.”

    Thanks. I agree RI stuck to “his guns” but I just see things differently. The issue includes (or at least spun off to include) U.S. support for Israel, which in large part enables their actions. To that point, issues like spying, foreign aid, etc. are relevant.

    “I’m not trying to be above it all but isn’t it a wonder that we all forget, or just don’t really know, what it is like when the wood burning in the fire belongs to you.”

    Certainly few, if any of us can know just how much these peoples endure.

    “Wild arguing isn’t going to help them; their wild arguing isn’t going to help them. Maybe our taking sides is feeding the fire”

    I guess I’ll have to disagree that the exchanges constitute “wild arguing.” Spirited debate perhaps. Both RI and John are clearly intelligent, and aren’t (IMO) trying to make wild assertions, and I don’t believe I am either. We just have different perspectives.

    As for “taking sides,” while I don’t agree with RI and John’s ardent support for Israeli policies, I do support the right of Israel to exist, but try to see both sides. And when I see so many civilians, especially women and kids, killed in large numbers needlessly (I do not accept this is just, sadly, ‘collateral damage’), it bothers me, as it does many throughout the world.

  96. Piffy!

    *” I don’t like it when Hamas or Hezbollah fires rockets or kidnaps folks in Israel and I don’t like it when Israel shoots back too hard.

    I think that there will eventually be 2 states. Support from the world can start to help solve the economic problems in Palestine.

    Even if Palestine recovers, that region is still going to be hot. They are still not going to like each other and be a magnet for conflict. *”

    John,

    Sounds like you agree with my post a few entries up.

    Thanks.

  97. rationalinfidel

    I have been gone for a few days and am just now catching up.

    I posed this question to tatuaje: If an aggressor has sworn a pledge for my destruction, and has the means for carrying it out, it seems completely irrational to me to not act preemptively and eliminate the threat. Where do I have it wrong?

    First, allow me to note the silence of tatuaje.

    Instead, Vrede offers me a two-part answer:

    First, “You presuppose that preemptive violence is the only and/or best response to the situation.”

    No. I said “eliminate the threat.” Preemptive violence is one of many actions that should be considered when selecting the best method(s) to eliminate the threat.

    Second, “By your reasoning the USSR should have ‘eliminated the threat’ posed by the U.S. and vice versa.”

    Well, no again, Vrede. When did the United States swear a pledge for the destruction of the Soviet Union?

    As far as the “vice versa” part of your answer, I believe the actions of some in the United States and elsewhere did eliminate the threat posed by the U.S.S.R.

    But I’m glad you brought this example up. It further reveals the moral equivalence game that is being played by the Hamas-defenders. You place aggressor and victim on the same moral footing. And then you compare body counts.

    Well, just as the communists wanted to rid the world of capitalists by force, Hamas and its like-minded allies want to rid the world of Israel by force.

    That is the fundamental issue – and the one you wish to ignore.

    And then you take a swing at me with, ”It’s a good thing that wiser folks than you prevailed.”

    Here, you finally get one right. Reagan and Thatcher, both certainly wiser folks than me, prevailed. And it was over the shrill voices of leftists, peaceniks, and no-nuke types the world over.

    Perhaps even over your shrill voice, Vrede.

  98. rationalinfidel

    Dionysis to Who: “Do you really accept that “no one should be upset” that Israel continues to spy against this country as ‘rational’? How so? Do you think it rational that those who express different views on this ‘complex’ subject are ‘helping Hamas’? Why?”

    And later, “The issue includes (or at least spun off to include) U.S. support for Israel, which in large part enables their actions. To that point, issues like spying, foreign aid, etc. are relevant.”

    I believe I wrote that a discussion concerning Israeli spies is “irrelevant to the fundamental concerns of Israel’s right of existence and right to self defense.” I believe I also wrote that such claims “shouldn’t lessen support for Israel.” And I have not mentioned my own position regarding foreign aid.

    It’s not the expression of “different views” that assists Hamas in reaching their goals. It’s your inability, or unwillingness, to recognize and focus on the fundamental issue involved: Israel’s right to exist and Israel’s right of self defense.

    Hamas, et al., are buoyed by the type of analysis that is taking place here, and on CNN and BBC broadcasts each day. Let’s just call it the Body Count Comparison (BCC).

    Once you engage in the BCC method, the fundamental issues are ignored and forgotten. And the side suffering the greater body count somehow deserves, and often receives, our sympathy.

    I don’t choose sides that way. Such an approach would have required support for Japan in WWII.

    If the Palestinians wanted peace with Israel, they could have it.

    Instead, they chose Hamas.

  99. rationalinfidel

    “Hamas would not exist if the people of Gaza felt they had other options in life. Clean water, food, access to educational opportunities.”

    What’s next from PFKaP?

    Maybe this: “Al-Qaeda would not exist if Osama bin Laden felt he had other options in life. Clean water, food, access to educational opportunities.”

  100. Dionysis

    “It’s not the expression of “different views” that assists Hamas in reaching their goals. It’s your inability, or unwillingness, to recognize and focus on the fundamental issue involved: Israel’s right to exist and Israel’s right of self defense.”

    This might come as a shock to you, Professor Infidel, but not everyone is an Israeli-firster. Some put the interests of this country ahead of a foreign nation.

    You are entitled to your opinion, that fealty to the Jewish state is sacrosanct and has an inherent moral ‘superiority’ to all other considerations. Many people do not buy this, and I am one of them.

    You have a right to your own opinion, but you hardly have the right to pronounce your biased view as somehow of greater veracity than other views. It’s worth no more or less than anyone other person’s view, in spite of the smug certitude you convey.

  101. Dionysis

    “If the Palestinians wanted peace with Israel, they could have it.”

    If Israel wanted peace, they’d quite building illegal settlements and quite walling in, Warsaw Ghetto style, the peoples who have lived that land way before the Jews decided that an ancient myth gave them license to take over the land of other peoples.

    And if they have such a moral superiority and their occupation is ordained by some mythical deity, then they clearly don’t need American taxpayer dollars. It’s all divine!

  102. rationalinfidel

    “This might come as a shock to you, Professor Infidel, but not everyone is an Israeli-firster. Some put the interests of this country ahead of a foreign nation.”

    It would help greatly, tuteeDionysus, if you tried to keep my position within sight. It’s odd that you find it difficult given how many times I’ve repeated it.

    “You are entitled to your opinion, that fealty to the Jewish state is sacrosanct and has an inherent moral ‘superiority’ to all other considerations.”

    Right. That’s what I wrote.

    You have quickly moved from sadly mistaken to intellectually dishonest.

    Lining up other positions and shooting aimlessly might make you feel like you are accomplishing something – but it’s best not to pretend.

    Particularly when others are observing.

    “Many people do not buy this, and I am one of them.”

    It doesn’t matter what “many people do not buy.” Numbers don’t determine truth.

    “You have a right to your own opinion, but you hardly have the right to pronounce your biased view as somehow of greater veracity than other views. It’s worth no more or less than anyone other person’s view, in spite of the smug certitude you convey.”

    Yes, just a bunch of opinions, disconnected from reality, none better or worse than any other.

    I would agree that you have described the foundation for your opinions quite well.

    But you shouldn’t assume that everyone approaches these things like you do.

  103. travelah

    Dionysis, you truly have no understanding of the history of Israel or what the Romans and English called Palestine. Jews have never ceased living in Israel even through several diaspora. It has only been in recent history that “Palestinians” sought the extermination of Jews. Jews had lived peacefully in Irael through centuries of Muslim dominance of the region.

    Study up on what you want to argue and perhaps the forum is a better place for the discussion.

  104. tatuaje

    So, been away from this story for awhile…Thought I’d give ol’ travelah an opportunity to step up an admit that he was wrong…..

    tats, the evidence you presented were standard bursts with phosphorus loads.

    The evidence I presented was the UN school being, clearly, hit with phosphorous shells and the carnage that ensued even though the UN provided coordinates to the IDF to prevent something like this from occurring.

    As I stated, I readily admit Israel was wrong to use such loads in a dense population area.

    Go back and read every post on this thread. I did. And then please point out where, exactly, you stated Israel was wrong for using such loads in a dense population area.

    You never did.

    Once again you show that you NEVER use facts or sources when debating on the Mountain X website. Once again you have shown that your arguments carry ZERO credibility.

  105. tatuaje

    As I stated in my prior post, I have been away from this story for awhile. Unfortunately, some have taken that as proof of some sort of intelectual ‘victory’…

    I posed this question to tatuaje: If an aggressor has sworn a pledge for my destruction, and has the means for carrying it out, it seems completely irrational to me to not act preemptively and eliminate the threat. Where do I have it wrong?

    First, allow me to note the silence of tatuaje.

    I wouldn’t say ‘you have it wrong.’ I would say that, perhaps, you’re not entirely ‘right’. I don’t believe that Palestine “has the means for carrying out” the destruction of Israel. Not to mention that, as we saw with the issue of WMDs in Iraq, the justifications for a preemptive strike can be flawed or even a downright fabrication. Millions of people have been injured, killed, and displaced because a mistakenly motivated preemptive strike. What if the Palestinians that the IDF claims were planning a kidnapping were actually talking about throwing a surprise birthday party for a friend?

    Not to mention that thinking or stating an idea or belief is very different from actually carrying that belief or idea to fruition. Thoughtcrimes should stay where they belong, in a work of fiction. I’ve always wanted to pull off the perfect heist a la ‘The Italian Job’. Does that mean I should be arrested for burglary?

  106. tatuaje

    Not to mention that, technically, preemptive war is illegal under international law.

    Article 2, Section 4 of the U.N. Charter bars the threat or use of force against any state in the absence of an acute and imminent actual threat.

  107. Piffy!

    rationainfidel seems to operate from a “anyone who doesnt blindly support Israel is a terrorist” standpoint.

    I thought most people are far more advanced in their political analysis. My apologies for making this assumption.

  108. rationalinfidel

    “rationainfidel seems to operate from a “anyone who doesnt blindly support Israel is a terrorist” standpoint.”

    Consider the dishonesty required for PFKaP to make this claim. Adding the “seems” to it is just evidence that he knows he is being dishonest.

    And up thread he calls me “racist.”

    Why? Because I recognize Israel’s right to exist and its right of self defense.

    Yes, you should apologize.

    If you had any integrity at all.

  109. rationalinfidel

    Thank you for your reply, tatuaje. I didn’t mean to imply that you had conceded anything, but I did want to evoke a reply. When I have more time, I would like to address the points you raised.

    For now, allow me to ask you to speak more directly to my question. In an effort to remove ambiguity, I will change it slightly:

    If an aggressor has (credibly) sworn a pledge for my destruction, and (credibly) has the means for carrying it out, is it morally right for me to act preemptively and eliminate the threat?

  110. travelah

    tats, pay attention as your reading composition and comprehension skills are lacking:

    As I stated, I readily admit Israel was wrong to use such loads in a dense population area.

    I stated I would admit that Israel was wrong if it was shown that they intentionally used phosphorus. As I stated, I readily admit Israel was wrong to do so.

    Now pay attention to what I wrote and let it sink in.

  111. John

    PK – There will have to be two states there. Its not such a stretch. Hold off on awarding yourself the nobel peace prize.

    I disagreed with your posts on the mindset of the participants, not the obvious solution. That and your naive solution to terrorism in the region, ‘The way to accomplish that is to give the citizens of the areas the same rights that any human should have.’ You might reduce is some that way. Eliminate it .. not a shot.

  112. tatuaje

    And one final nail in the proverbial coffin…

    From The Times (UK):

    The International Criminal Court is exploring ways to prosecute Israeli commanders over alleged war crimes in Gaza.

    The alleged crimes include the use of deadly white phosphorus in densely populated civilian areas, as revealed in an investigation by The Times last month. Israel initially denied using the controversial weapon, which causes horrific burns, but was forced later, in the face of mounting evidence, to admit to having deployed it.

    Entire article here:
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article5636069.ece

    I highly recommend this article. It gets into the confusing legal ramifications of Israel’s latest incursion into Gaza.

    From the same article:

    The case has wide-reaching ramifications for the Palestinian case for statehood. If the court rejects the case, it will highlight the legal black hole that Palestinians find themselves in while they remain stateless. However, it also underlines some of Israel’s worst fears about a Palestinian state on its borders. A Palestinian state that ratified the Rome treaty would then be able to refer alleged Israeli war crimes to the court without the current legal wrangling. The case could also lead to snowballing international recognition of a Palestinian state by countries eager to see Israel prosecuted.

  113. tatuaje

    And finally,

    travelah, gracious in defeat you are not…

    tats, pay attention as your reading composition and comprehension skills are lacking

    My reading composition? What the heck does that mean?

    Apparently my reading comprehension is much better than your english composition…

    But a badly worded admission of being wrong from you is better than none at all.

    Oh, and those pesky little things called FACTS & SOURCES? Check ’em out sometime, travelah. They might actually lend your arguments credence at some point.

  114. tatuaje

    If an aggressor has (credibly) sworn a pledge for my destruction, and (credibly) has the means for carrying it out, is it morally right for me to act preemptively and eliminate the threat?

    Again, I would have to say “no”.

    And I arrive at that answer from personal experience.

    A couple of years ago, there was a man that threatened to kill me. I knew this person well enough to know that this “pledge of destruction” was credible. I knew that he had “the means for carrying it out”. My personal response was to acquire a weapon and make the mental, emotional, and spiritual decision to protect myself and my loved ones if necessary. But I firmly believed then, as I still believe now, that it was not “morally right for me to act preemptively and eliminate the threat?”

    His “pledge” of destruction and capability of doing so did not give me the moral right to take his life.

    And it would have been illegal to do so. Just as a preemptive war is illegal in respect to international law.

  115. Piffy!

    As soon as the US stops funding Israel’s crimes, I, as an american, will stop being as critical of their actions.

    14 dead vs 1400 dead

  116. Dionysis

    In spite of RI’s efforts to define the debate in his/her own terms, it fails. I reject your interpretation completely.

    I am reminded of a series of interviews conducted by NPR immediately before the 2000 presidential elections. Among those interviewed was a man from Philadelphia who described himself as a ‘jewish businessman’. I sat in stunned silence as he stated that “John Kerry would be better for the U.S. as president, but that George Bush would be a better friend to Israel, so I’m voting for Bush.”
    My thoughts were “fine; his U.S. citizenship should be revoked and he be put on a plane with a one-way ticket to Tel Aviv.”

    To continue to claim that Israel can and should do what it wants, take out as many civilians as they feel they need to, all in defense of the ‘morally superior’ Israelis is indefensible (not to the Israeli amen corner, of course).

    And travelah, I don’t need a history lesson from someone who proudly describes himself as a ‘zionist’. The jews did live in relative peace with the Arabs in what is now Israel, but they were a minority. To come in centuries later and usurp another people’s lands, all because of some myth about the ‘promised land’ for the ‘chosen ones’ might make some feel justified in their land-grab, but it’s hogwash.

  117. Piffy!

    *”To come … usurp another people’s lands, all because of some myth about the ‘promised land’ for the ‘chosen ones’ might make some feel justified in their land-grab, but it’s hogwash. “*

    And yet, not that far off from how America was founded, hence the zionist’s lock-step support for Israel.

    Only in the US and Israel do you see such a blind, one-sided storyline in the Press concerning Israel.

  118. travelah

    Dionysis, yes you do need a history lesson. I did not use the word “proud” in stating I am a Zionist. I simply admitted my bias in this matter yet that did not prevent your typical ad hominem.
    An example of your ignorance in this matter is your understanding of the demographics of the region until recent times. A wonderful example to illustrate this is to point out that Yasser Arafat, for instance was a Cairo born Egyptian. There are not a great many “Palestinians” who can claim a true connection to “Palestine” prior to 1948. Both Amed Yassin and Ariel Sharon could claim to be natives of what is now Israel. Only Sharon could make the claim of possession. As a Zionist, I side with those of Sharon’s viewpoint and oppose those who follow after that of Yassin. You do not like it but then that doesn’t really matter does it?

  119. travelah

    As soon as the US stops funding Israel’s crimes, I, as an american, will stop being as critical of their actions.

    14 dead vs 1400 dead

    1,400 mostly Hamas militants …. I suspect were it reversed you would be claiming a victory for the terrorists.

  120. John

    PK – Are you saying the press in the US is skewed in the direction of a “pro-Israel” position?

    Pretty much all countries were founded on a dramatic enthusiasm behind their drive to expand. You have such disdain for Imperialism but most of the rest of the whole world was founded the same way. Aside from being newer, the US and Israel are no different than any other country in that respect. Such negative feelings about a basic part of human nature will grow you old fast. But, I guess somebody has to do it.

  121. Dionysis

    “Dionysis, yes you do need a history lesson.”

    If I ever decide to take one, it will not be from you.

    And while you are correct that you did not use the word “proud,” you could use a lesson or two yourself, such as throwing out the phrase ‘ad hominem’ (defined as attacking one’s character). I take issue with your views and interpretations, but I fail to see where your ‘character’ was impugned.

    “You do not like it but then that doesn’t really matter does it?”

    Surely you don’t think it matters to me, so I don’t see why it should matter to you either.

  122. Dionysis

    “1,400 mostly Hamas militants”

    What is your news source? Every source I’ve seen states that the number of civilian deaths is, at minimum, 700. Evidently, all civilians, including children, were “Hamas militants.”

  123. davedave@yahoo

    “1,400 mostly Hamas militants”

    Oh, I get it. This looks like a fun game. Let me try.

    Israeli soldiers only fight with their bare hands. Everyone in Gaza is an avowed Jew Hater with weapons supplied directly from North Korea. Not a single Israeli disagrees with their government’s actions. Only the American media tells the real truth about Israel.

    Oooh, that *is* fun.

    Also, Jesus wont return until all the Jews are in Israel, so supporting Israel is your Christian duty.

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