Israel

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Pez Dispens3r
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Re: Israel

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Sun Jan 04, 2009 4:22 pm UTC

Pi to the eighth decimal I can understand that you are making comments with the recent ground incursion of the Israelis into the Gaza strip, but your comments so far in this thread have been devoid of context. As such I don't know how to answer them.

IMHO what is happening right now is that Hamas is looking to A) inflict casualties on the Israelis to end the blockade and B) prompt retaliation from the Israelis to win international support. Either way the rocket attacks by Hamas hardly constitutes legitimate strategy and is bound to work as well for Hamas as it worked for Georgia to invade South Ossetia.
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Re: Israel

Postby westcydr » Sun Jan 04, 2009 5:50 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:Pi to the eighth decimal I can understand that you are making comments with the recent ground incursion of the Israelis into the Gaza strip, but your comments so far in this thread have been devoid of context. As such I don't know how to answer them.

IMHO what is happening right now is that Hamas is looking to A) inflict casualties on the Israelis to end the blockade and B) prompt retaliation from the Israelis to win international support. Either way the rocket attacks by Hamas hardly constitutes legitimate strategy and is bound to work as well for Hamas as it worked for Georgia to invade South Ossetia.

No, it will work for Hamas, because as the millions of folks that share pi's opinion indicate, it has in the past, and will in the future.. Some people are more than happy to look at the actions of the second, and not the context of them. Civilians are dead in Gaza today because Hamas has no concept of the sanctity of life, but knows that others do. To Hamas, dead Gazans are just another PR tool.
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Re: Israel

Postby Azrael » Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:13 pm UTC

This thread is in Serious Business and as such, needs to have valid and reasoned content, rather than your (collective) personal musings. Improvement is necessary.

If you had not been quoted and addressed as many times as you have, your comments would simply be deleted, Pi.

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Re: Israel

Postby westcydr » Sun Jan 04, 2009 7:29 pm UTC

The idea that Hamas has no concept of individual lives having meaning comes from their own propaganda on their television stations, praising the people that kill themselves to kill Jews, and making them heroes to children, even telling children to go out and spill their blood in this quest. It's no secret.
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Re: Israel

Postby dic_penderyn » Sun Jan 04, 2009 8:38 pm UTC

westcydr wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:Pi to the eighth decimal I can understand that you are making comments with the recent ground incursion of the Israelis into the Gaza strip, but your comments so far in this thread have been devoid of context. As such I don't know how to answer them.

IMHO what is happening right now is that Hamas is looking to A) inflict casualties on the Israelis to end the blockade and B) prompt retaliation from the Israelis to win international support. Either way the rocket attacks by Hamas hardly constitutes legitimate strategy and is bound to work as well for Hamas as it worked for Georgia to invade South Ossetia.

No, it will work for Hamas, because as the millions of folks that share pi's opinion indicate, it has in the past, and will in the future.. Some people are more than happy to look at the actions of the second, and not the context of them. Civilians are dead in Gaza today because Hamas has no concept of the sanctity of life, but knows that others do. To Hamas, dead Gazans are just another PR tool.


Innacurate at best.
Civilians are dead because they have been shot/ bombed by an armed force.
Whatever you think of the rights and wrongs of the incursion (I can sympathise with both sides), for you to draw a direct correlation between hamas's concepts[on sanctity of life] and the deaths of civilians........while happily ignoring the people behind the guns is quite frankly ridiculous.

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Re: Israel

Postby 3.14159265... » Sun Jan 04, 2009 11:41 pm UTC

Azrael, thanks for the warning. I do not believe I have made unreasonable or invalid comments.

Quite possibly but bad government does not equate with terrorist organisation by any means.
Hamas is a bad government and Israel is now a terrorist organization.

Comments like "Hamas is a bad government" are borderline when Az and I are at our most charitable. "Israel is now a terrorist organization" needs citation. Define "terrorist organization," at minimum, and tell us why it's an appropriate moniker for Israel.

~CM

Further edited to remove the snarky.

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Re: Israel

Postby ChickenOfDoom » Mon Jan 05, 2009 2:18 am UTC

It's very likely that Israels actions are terrorism. Terrorism is a violent act intended to coerce a population. Considering Israels lack of consideration for the well being of the citizens of Gaza, the dubious value of the recent bombings in terms of physically preventing the rocket attacks, and their strong propaganda campaign, I think that the main goal of their military actions is to beat the people into submission and reduce popular support for Hamas.

Or maybe they want their situation to become so unpleasant that they will be forced to leave and become refugees in an adjacent country. Much of the rhetoric I have seen specifically makes the argument that Israel is being attacked, and that the burden of humanitarian support should not be on them but on other nearby middle eastern countries.

Whatever it is, given historical precedent and their current actions, the idea that Israel has no ulterior motive beyond ending the attacks seems very suspect.

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Re: Israel

Postby Fett42 » Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:13 am UTC

When people refer to the motves and actions of "Israel" here, are they referring to the current government, the army, or its people?

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Re: Israel

Postby 3.14159265... » Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:17 am UTC

When people refer to the motves and actions of "Israel" here, are they referring to the current government, the army, or its people?


I personally refer to the Government of Israel that is in control of Israel's army and acts on behalf of its people (since Israelis claim to have a democracy).
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Re: Israel

Postby Fett42 » Mon Jan 05, 2009 3:27 am UTC

Well I have no doubt that Livni and Olmert do not have the sinister intentions that people attribute to them. Livni especially has been known for being a large proponent of peace befroe Hamas ended the ceasefire. Per Wikpedia (yes I'm too lazy to go grab a bunch of sources):

In Sharon's Cabinet, Livni was an avid supporter of the prime minister's disengagement plan and was generally considered to be among the key dovish or moderate members of the Likud party. She often mediated between various elements inside the party, and gained recognition for her efforts to achieve peace, particularly her successful efforts to have the pullout from the Gaza Strip ratified by the Knesset. On 12 November 2005, she spoke at the official yearly commemoration of Yitzhak Rabin's assassination.


Olmert has been been trying to find a legitimate two-state solution as well:

On 4 November 2007, he declared Israel's intention to negotiate with the Palestinians about all issues, stating, "Annapolis will be the jumping-off point for continued serious and in-depth negotiations, which will not avoid any issue or ignore any division that has clouded our relations with the Palestinian people for many years." On 29 November 2007, he warned of the end of Israel in case a two-state solution is not eventually found for the Israeli-Palestinian dispute. "If the day comes when the two-state solution collapses, and we face a South African-style struggle for equal voting rights (also for the Palestinians in the territories), then, as soon as that happens, the State of Israel is finished," Olmert said on the last day of the Annapolis Conference. "The Jewish organizations, which were our power base in America, will be the first to come out against us," Olmert said, "because they will say they cannot support a state that does not support democracy and equal voting rights for all its residents."


Israeli tactics can certainly be criticized but speaking as one who follows Israeli politics very closely and has also spoken extensively with many members of the IDF I find it difficult believe that Israel has a primary motive in this war other than stopping the rocket, mortar, and suicided attacks originating from Hamas. One IDF officer and combat veteran of over 20 told me that he had seen and done things in his career that he would take to his grave and that "no one who hasn't fought in a war will ever hate it more than someone who has, but these attacks have to be stopped". You can debate whether this war will accomplish it, but I think it's pretty clear that that's the goal. Israel has already indicated that it would be willing to accept a ceasefire if international observers were there to monitor it and prevent rocket attacks, something Hamas is against.

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Re: Israel

Postby GabrielF » Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:25 am UTC

ChickenOfDoom wrote:It's very likely that Israels actions are terrorism. Terrorism is a violent act intended to coerce a population. Considering Israels lack of consideration for the well being of the citizens of Gaza, the dubious value of the recent bombings in terms of physically preventing the rocket attacks, and their strong propaganda campaign, I think that the main goal of their military actions is to beat the people into submission and reduce popular support for Hamas.


I think that's part of it but not the major part. Israeli strategic thinkers do not believe that they will be able to force Hamas from control - that would be foolish. Who would replace them? Fatah is too weak in Gaza and even if they were stronger there's no way they'll be riding in on the back of Israeli tanks as today's New York Times pointed out. The last thing Israel wants to do is occupy the Gaza Strip itself and its hard to conceive of the international community or Egypt doing it. So if their main goal was to weaken political support for Hamas in Gaza they would be very foolish because there's no endgame there and Israeli strategic thinkers are not that foolish.

I think the Israelis would say that the situation after the truce expired was unsustainable and that they have to do two things: 1) reduce Hamas' military capabilities - this doesn't mean completely preventing the rocket fire but it does mean taking out the high-tech stuff and as much as the Katyushas as they can, as well as whatever leadership they can get and 2) demonstrating to Hamas that there will be a significant price to pay for launching rocket attacks. One important question is why has Hamas not used suicide bombers since about 2004? Part of it is the fence, but the Israeli security establishment believes that their targeted strikes on the Hamas leadership made them give up the suicide bombings and switch to rockets. After the 2006 conflict with Hezbollah, Hamas is under the impression that they can fire rockets with impunity. Israel wants Hamas to see that they will have to pay a very heavy price.

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Re: Israel

Postby GabrielF » Mon Jan 05, 2009 4:43 am UTC

westcydr wrote:
Pez Dispens3r wrote:IMHO what is happening right now is that Hamas is looking to A) inflict casualties on the Israelis to end the blockade and B) prompt retaliation from the Israelis to win international support. Either way the rocket attacks by Hamas hardly constitutes legitimate strategy and is bound to work as well for Hamas as it worked for Georgia to invade South Ossetia.

No, it will work for Hamas, because as the millions of folks that share pi's opinion indicate, it has in the past, and will in the future.. Some people are more than happy to look at the actions of the second, and not the context of them. Civilians are dead in Gaza today because Hamas has no concept of the sanctity of life, but knows that others do. To Hamas, dead Gazans are just another PR tool.


As to whether or not Hamas will succeed in gaining legitimacy and international support - it is very interesting to look at how the international community, including the Arab world is reacting. There is pressure from the Arab street as there always is, but the moderate Arab governments like Egypt have been pretty silent. Egypt has no interest in empowering Hamas, which is so closely allied to its own opposition Muslim Brotherhood movement. The Europeans are also giving Israel a free hand - witness the postponement of the security council meeting scheduled for Monday. What this all means is that while there are activists who are becoming increasingly enraged by images from Gaza, most governments are either ambivalent or downright hostile to Hamas and perfectly willing to let Israel pound them until the domestic pressure becomes so great that they have to step in and stop the fight.

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Re: Israel

Postby 3.14159265... » Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:20 am UTC

CM:

wiki wrote:A government is "the organization, that is the governing authority of a political unit,"[1] "the ruling power in a political society,"[2] and the apparatus through which a governing body functions and exercises authority.[3]


wiki wrote:Terrorism is the systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.[1]


In the post that I quoted Hamas was referred to as a terrorist organization, and Israel as bad government. Please check whether the above apply to both cases rather than one.

Edited: to correctly assign quotes.

Edited

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Last edited by 3.14159265... on Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:16 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Israel

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Jan 05, 2009 5:40 am UTC

ChickenOfDoom wrote: Terrorism is a violent act intended to coerce a population.


This is too broad to be a workable definition. It paints all modern warfare as terrorism and therefore does nothing to demonstrate the difference between uniformed soldiers guided by military strategy designed to inflict minimal civilian casualties, and small cells of insurgents dressed in civilian clothes trying to maximise civilian casualties.

From the Guardian:

Abu Bilal, commander of Islamic Jihad's forces in the Rafah Refugee Camp in southern Gaza admitted that his group's rocket attacks are mostly ineffectual against Israel, except psychologically, and that the group, which operates independently of the dominant Hamas movement, was literally praying for an invasion.

"We can't do anything (to hurt the Israelis) but fire the rockets and hope they enter Gaza," he said. "We are praying for the tanks to come so we can show them new things. We have made many preparations for the coming battle and all of our fighters wait for the chance to kill them."


It is important to understand that Israel isn't moving in just to be mean. They were deliberately provoked, and put in a position where they had to react or let their civilians be terrorized.
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Re: Israel

Postby 3.14159265... » Mon Jan 05, 2009 6:10 am UTC

Edited

-Az


Can you provide a definition of terrorism that separates Hamas and Israel? Make sure your definition does not leave room for me to argue that Israel's government does fall under the definition reasonably.
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Re: Israel

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Mon Jan 05, 2009 7:26 am UTC

Personally I don't like the word 'terrorism' at all because it is emotionally charged. I'll use the trite example that when the French resisted Nazi occupation they were freedom fighters but when the Algerians resisted French occupation they were terrorists.

And at the moment the United States has a vast conventional, uniformed, industrial military. When they became involved in Vietnam, the Viet Cong could not hope to win by using a conventional military force. They instead adopted guerrilla tactics. Guerrilla tactics aim to turn an occupation into a war of attrition, and compel the invaders to withdraw not because they risk total defeat but because the costs are too high, including the opinion of the people back home.

In this context I would define terrorism as the use of military force against civilian targets to produce a political outcome by the means of psychological coercion.

Under this definition, an insurgency that only used force against military targets wouldn't be terrorist. And a counter-insurgency that only concerned itself with military targets wouldn't be state terrorism.

The Israeli government has not been bombing civilian but military targets and under this definition aren't terrorist. The rockets being fired by Hamas do constitute terrorism.
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Re: Israel

Postby Maurog » Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:20 am UTC

Can you provide a definition of terrorism that separates Hamas and Israel?

Why not use the standard definition and be done with it?

Terrorism - intentionally targeting civilian targets for political reasons.
Not terrorism - everything else.

To elaborate - when you blow yourself up in a bus full of civilians, you're a terrorist. When you blow yourself up in a jeep full of soldiers, you're not a terrorist (you're a guerilla fighter). When you launch a rocket at a city and don't care where it hits, you're a terrorist. When you drop a bomb at a rocket stockpile and miss and hit a nearby orphanage, you're not a terrorist. And even if you intentionally drop a bomb at an orphanage because you klnow there is a rocket stockpile underneath it, you're still not a terrorist.

I think the definiton of terrorism is very clear, and not really vulnerable to semantics.
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Re: Israel

Postby Azrael » Mon Jan 05, 2009 2:00 pm UTC

In case it is not clear, this thread is being watched very closely to maintain decorum. Please make sure to read and follow the SB rules when posting in an SB thread.

Pi has been removed from this thread, please be aware that he will not be able to respond further.

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Re: Israel

Postby fjafjan » Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:09 am UTC

Maurog wrote:
Can you provide a definition of terrorism that separates Hamas and Israel?

Why not use the standard definition and be done with it?

Terrorism - intentionally targeting civilian targets for political reasons.
Not terrorism - everything else.

To elaborate - when you blow yourself up in a bus full of civilians, you're a terrorist. When you blow yourself up in a jeep full of soldiers, you're not a terrorist (you're a guerilla fighter). When you launch a rocket at a city and don't care where it hits, you're a terrorist. When you drop a bomb at a rocket stockpile and miss and hit a nearby orphanage, you're not a terrorist. And even if you intentionally drop a bomb at an orphanage because you klnow there is a rocket stockpile underneath it, you're still not a terrorist.

I think the definiton of terrorism is very clear, and not really vulnerable to semantics.

I'd say when you shoot at a hospital because there are people treated there who are enemy combatants you are very much a terrorist. Or maybe you're a war criminal. Hell maybe blowing up that Orphanage isn't terrorism, maybe it's just a war crime. I'd say in the end it doesn't matter. Basically that would be Israeli committing state level terrorism, while Hamas, not for whatever reason not fitting the description of a goverment, are simply terrorists.

Or what if you shoot an innocent civilian in cold blood, charge the person with a crime but let the off the hook with nothing, or a "dishonorable discharge"? Is that terrorism? If all the Hamas members who launched missiles were given a symbolic slap on the wrist?

Or what about that orphanage. Look at Vietnam, it was what the Viet Kong were forced to do, though they would hide in villages, or in fields, etc etc where innocent would get hurt when the US napalmed them.

But the heart of the problem is this: the definition of terrorism is very clear. Being exposed to terrirsm, or what might be classified as not so is not so clear.
In other words, you might not notice if you are being murdered, or manslaughtered, or notice if you are murdered of malpractised by a doctor. It's difficult to prove which is which, and in the case of terrorism it mostly depends on the actor.

Important to the conflict, is that it doesn't matter if it's terrorism or not, if you're causing unproportional suffering to civilians you are breaching international law, and you are with very good odds worsening the conflict. This includes closing Gazas borders, denying entrance for aid organizations etc.

Pez Dispens3r wrote:It is important to understand that Israel isn't moving in just to be mean. They were deliberately provoked, and put in a position where they had to react or let their civilians be terrorized.

Of course they are doing it, thinking they are being all clever and strategic. The truth is they are not strategic, they are killing innocent people, and this solves nothing. The solution to that terrorism is the soltuion to this entire thread (well, most of it anyway) and it's a peace settlement between Palestinians and Israelis that Israel has been unwilling to take. It's very much a short term solution, and I can bet my ass it's not going to be followed up by any longer term solution because those take real sacrifice and compromise from Israel aswell.

GabrielF wrote:One important question is why has Hamas not used suicide bombers since about 2004? Part of it is the fence

Be honest, it's not a fence. It's a wall. It's a semantical question, but it's silly calling it a fence when it's a wall.

Fett42 wrote:When people refer to the motves and actions of "Israel" here, are they referring to the current government, the army, or its people?

That's a good question, but it varies. Obviously in decision making and opinions, different governments have different opinions, and the opinion of the people (viewing the people as the majority of people) changes of time, but there are also constants. Essentially though it varies and you'll have to, atleast for me ask by case. But typically it is the military, but we also assume that the People chose the goverment, and the goverment controls the military. As far as we know Israel is pretty much a democracy. It's harder to say what the Palestinians are. (the Palestinians did X really means someone did X, and that someone was often not elected, or not doing what he(because there have not really been any important females elected) was elected "to do".
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Re: Israel

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:25 am UTC

fjafjan wrote:Be honest, it's not a fence. It's a wall. It's a semantical question, but it's silly calling it a fence when it's a wall.

Except for the parts that are not wall, but in fact, fence?

Pretend for a moment that I don't know what this barrier is made of. He said wall. You say part fence. Which is true? Without citation, this sort of back and forth is suitable for not much beyond the playground or 24-hour news channels.
fjafjan wrote:doesn't matter if it's terrorism or not, if you're causing unproportional suffering to civilians you are breaching international law, and you are with very good odds worsening the conflict

So is Hamas.
fjafjan wrote:Israel is a democracy... snip

Your aware there are a number of peaceful yet out voted parties in Israel, likely similar to how there are a number of peaceful Palestinians?

Those sentiments can be repeated almost verbatim as counter arguments.

Quote sniping: It sucks.

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Re: Israel

Postby fjafjan » Tue Jan 06, 2009 3:43 am UTC

Izawwlgood wrote:
fjafjan wrote:Be honest, it's not a fence. It's a wall. It's a semantical question, but it's silly calling it a fence when it's a wall.


Except for the parts that are not wall, but in fact, fence?

I'd say it's the same reason we call it the Berlin wall, even when that was just a fence, or the parts of it that were. It is a separation wall.
It's also called Wall or Barrier used by the international community, such as the world court(link), so I think we should try and not use words mainly used by clear partisans. Calling it a fence makes it sound like something that's symbolic in nature, and not a cause of human suffering.

Izawwlgood wrote:
fjafjan wrote:doesn't matter if it's terrorism or not, if you're causing unproportional suffering to civilians you are breaching international law, and you are with very good odds worsening the conflict


So is Hamas.

Yepp.

Izawwlgood wrote:
fjafjan wrote:Israel is a democracy... snip


Your aware there are a number of peaceful yet out voted parties in Israel, likely similar to how there are a number of peaceful Palestinians?

Oh I am very well aware of that, I am not quite sure how it is relevant to what I wrote. I realize of course that the actions taken by the state are not endorced by everyone, or even sometimes a majority of the population, nor would i fall into the fallacy of "they get what they deserve because they are a democracy", but rather I am saying that we can approximate that the government will do what the people want because it is a democracy.

.[/quote]
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Re: Israel

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Tue Jan 06, 2009 4:18 am UTC

IMHO there is conflict right now because both sides want it. The Israeli government knows they can rely on the US government at least until the handover (I'm not aware of the Obama administration's Israel policy), and they're facing their own elections soon so a decisive maneuver is good publicity. As for Hamas... see the Guardian article I linked in my second last post. A peace agreement won't work because neither side wants one. A ceasefire will just allow time for both sides to arm and prepare for more conflict.
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Re: Israel

Postby GabrielF » Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:15 pm UTC

fjafjan wrote:
Izawwlgood wrote:
fjafjan wrote:Be honest, it's not a fence. It's a wall. It's a semantical question, but it's silly calling it a fence when it's a wall.


Except for the parts that are not wall, but in fact, fence?

I'd say it's the same reason we call it the Berlin wall, even when that was just a fence, or the parts of it that were. It is a separation wall.
It's also called Wall or Barrier used by the international community, such as the world court(link), so I think we should try and not use words mainly used by clear partisans. Calling it a fence makes it sound like something that's symbolic in nature, and not a cause of human suffering.

[/quote]

Actually about 95% of it is fence and about 5% is a wall. Considering that, it seems more dishonest to refer to it as a wall.

The Berlin Wall is a terrible analogy as that was designed to keep people in whereas the fence is designed to keep people out. Since the wall has been completed suicide bombings have dropped to zero.

I'd suggest citations, and quickly. Much like [choose which ever side you have a political/moral/religious/philosophical bias towards supporting in this conflict], I have an itchy trigger finger today.

-Az

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Re: Israel

Postby Fett42 » Tue Jan 06, 2009 1:53 pm UTC

I was recently in Israel last week and I visually can attest to the fact that if we are going to use semantics, the "wall" portion of the separator (which is very easy to distinguish since it looks to be 20-30 feet high) is in fact a very small portion of the overall fence--my tour guide said 3-5% when I asked.

I found this in Wikipedia:

Most of the barrier (over 95% of total length) consists of a "multi-layered fence system" ideally 50 m in width. The IDF's preferred design has three fences, with pyramid-shaped stacks of barbed wire for the two outer fences and a lighter-weight fence with intrusion detection equipment in the middle. Patrol roads are provided on both sides of the middle fence, an anti-vehicle ditch is located on the West Bank side of the fence, and a smooth dirt strip on the Israeli side for "intrusion tracking".

Some sections (less than 5% of total length) are constructed as a wall made up of concrete slabs up to 8 m in height and 3 m in width. Occasionally, due to topographic conditions other sections of the barrier will reach up to 100 m in width. Wall construction (5%) is more common in urban settings, such as areas near Qalqilyah and Jerusalem, because it is narrower, requires less land, and provides more protection against snipers. In all cases there are regular observation posts, automated sensing devices and other apparatus. Gates at various points are controlled by Israeli soldiers.


Also:

Israeli officers (including the head of the Shin Bet) quoted in the newspaper Maariv have claimed that in the areas where the barrier was complete, the number of hostile infiltrations has decreased to almost zero. Maariv also stated that Palestinian militants, including a senior member of Islamic Jihad, had confirmed that the barrier made it much harder to conduct attacks inside Israel. Since the completion of the fence in the area of Tulkarem and Qalqilyah in June 2003, there have been no successful attacks from those areas. All attacks were intercepted or the suicide bombers detonated prematurely. In a March 23, 2008 interview, Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Ramadan Abdallah Shalah complained to the Qatari newspaper Al-Sharq that the separation barrier "limits the ability of the resistance to arrive deep within [Israeli territory] to carry out suicide bombing attacks , but the resistance has not surrendered or become helpless, and is looking for other ways to cope with the requirements of every stage" of the intifada.

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Re: Israel

Postby Telchar » Wed Jan 07, 2009 4:30 am UTC

fjafjan wrote:I'd say when you shoot at a hospital because there are people treated there who are enemy combatants you are very much a terrorist. Or maybe you're a war criminal. Hell maybe blowing up that Orphanage isn't terrorism, maybe it's just a war crime. I'd say in the end it doesn't matter. Basically that would be Israeli committing state level terrorism, while Hamas, not for whatever reason not fitting the description of a goverment, are simply terrorists.


I think based on the definition you just agreed with the hospital scenario, while morally reprehensible, is not terrorism. I think it's definitely possible that attacking designated wounded evac centers is a war crime.

On the orphanage point, I agree. And you are right, it is a war crime...but Hamas is committing it. Storing military products in civilian buildings in order to encourage civilian causalities IS a war crime. Putting civilians in harms way is a crime.

It's the exact same as any particular hostage situation. If a hostage gets killed, do the police get blamed? Do the hostage takers? Essentially, that material under the orphanage, whether it's bombs or guns or radios, are holding those people hostage.

Also, again Israel isn't committing terrorism based on the definition you just agreed with. It is military action against military targets. No deliberate targeting of civilians.

Or what if you shoot an innocent civilian in cold blood, charge the person with a crime but let the off the hook with nothing, or a "dishonorable discharge"? Is that terrorism? If all the Hamas members who launched missiles were given a symbolic slap on the wrist?


You want to charge everyone that participated in every conflict in human history with murder in some fashion? There is no war without civilian casualties, an extremely sorrowful and unfortunate consequence I don't mean to make light of, but every soldier goes in there knowing innocent people will get hurt. Knowing about a crime and letting it happen is generally accomplise-esque charges in most places.

Or what about that orphanage. Look at Vietnam, it was what the Viet Kong were forced to do, though they would hide in villages, or in fields, etc etc where innocent would get hurt when the US napalmed them.


Yes, and what the Vietcong did was absolutely and unabashedly reprehensible.

But the heart of the problem is this: the definition of terrorism is very clear. Being exposed to terrirsm, or what might be classified as not so is not so clear.
In other words, you might not notice if you are being murdered, or manslaughtered, or notice if you are murdered of malpractised by a doctor. It's difficult to prove which is which, and in the case of terrorism it mostly depends on the actor.


I'm not sure what the first part of that is trying to say, but the last part seems ridiculous. Deliberate target of civilians in no way depends on who is doing it. If Israel was deliberately targeting schools and blowing them up because they wanted to inspire fear, then that would be terrorism. When they blow up a hospital, after telling everyone to get out I might add, because Hamas is storing rockets underneath, that is not terrorism. There is a fairly clear distinction. The consequences, innocent casualties, are similar but the intent is very different.

Important to the conflict, is that it doesn't matter if it's terrorism or not, if you're causing unproportional suffering to civilians you are breaching international law, and you are with very good odds worsening the conflict. This includes closing Gazas borders, denying entrance for aid organizations etc.


I completely agree with most of this. However, what is unproportional? How much is acceptable? And no, you aren’t necessarily breaching international law or executing criminals would be breaching international law, which it isn't unless they are minors or mentally handicapped/unaware.

Edited: Your opinions about fellow participants are irrelevant. -Az

The truth is they are not strategic, they are killing innocent people, and this solves nothing.


It satisfies, at least temporarily, their most basic role as a government. They are trying to protect their people from rocket attacks. How would you propose they do that? Hamas has said they won't stop while Israel is raining fire and brimstone, we have testimony that they want Israel to invade to more bloodshed can ensue...do they ask really nicely? It's like debating the merits of evolution with hardcore creationists. If you don't have a reality you can both agree on, then there is no debate, just proselytizing.

The solution to that terrorism is the solution to this entire thread (well, most of it anyway) and it's a peace settlement between Palestinians and Israelis that Israel has been unwilling to take. It's very much a short term solution, and I can bet my ass it's not going to be followed up by any longer term solution because those take real sacrifice and compromise from Israel as well.


Israel has offered solutions that Hamas would not accept as well, or is this just a one sided peace process? Both parties need to agree, not just Israel. And it needs to start with Hamas. Isreal didn't start rocketing Hamas. Israel doesn't begin any of these conflicts but, somehow, Israel foots the blame for all of them.
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Re: Israel

Postby ChickenOfDoom » Wed Jan 07, 2009 5:12 am UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
ChickenOfDoom wrote: Terrorism is a violent act intended to coerce a population.


This is too broad to be a workable definition. It paints all modern warfare as terrorism and therefore does nothing to demonstrate the difference between uniformed soldiers guided by military strategy designed to inflict minimal civilian casualties, and small cells of insurgents dressed in civilian clothes trying to maximise civilian casualties.



It is important to understand that Israel isn't moving in just to be mean. They were deliberately provoked, and put in a position where they had to react or let their civilians be terrorized.


This is possible and if it is true it would mean that Israels military actions are not terrorism.

But I'm not convinced that their sole motive is to whittle down the physical resources of Hamas until they can't terrorize the Israeli population anymore. Why would they have denied aid and set up such a long standing blockade, economic and otherwise? As much as they say that their attacks are designed to minimize civilian casualties, how do we know this is more than a PR tool? A lot of public infrastructure has been destroyed; government buildings, schools, police stations. It seems like a primary intention of all of this is to make life more difficult in Gaza.

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Re: Israel

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed Jan 07, 2009 7:00 am UTC

Telchar wrote:
Or what about that orphanage. Look at Vietnam, it was what the Viet Kong were forced to do, though they would hide in villages, or in fields, etc etc where innocent would get hurt when the US napalmed them.

Yes, and what the Vietcong did was absolutely and unabashedly reprehensible.


Can you expand on this? The Viet Cong fought against the French collaborators in an act of self-determination, to have their independence movement confused for a communist wave looking to sweep over the world. You'll find that the civilians the guerrillas hid amongst were supporters. It's reprehensible to station troops with the populations that support them? How deceitful it was for them to do such a thing, instead of sitting in open fields so they could be duly napalmed.

Telchar wrote:I think this statement gives a very telling insight into exactly how you feel about the Israeli government.


It's irrelevant. If someone has an obvious bias you can simply appeal to sourced information to disprove their statements.

Telchar wrote:you aren’t necessarily breaching international law or executing criminals would be breaching international law, which it isn't unless they are minors or mentally handicapped/unaware.


Criminals get a trial.
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Re: Israel

Postby TheStranger » Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:22 pm UTC

ChickenOfDoom wrote:As much as they say that their attacks are designed to minimize civilian casualties, how do we know this is more than a PR tool? A lot of public infrastructure has been destroyed; government buildings, schools, police stations. It seems like a primary intention of all of this is to make life more difficult in Gaza.


Well first off, if Israel wanted to level Gaza it would be a parking lot at this point. Secondly, without some sort of concrete evidence of an Israeli policy to do just that it becomes a very hard claim to back up. Hamas has a long history of using such places as weapons depots and safe houses BECAUSE Israel is hesitant to strike at them (which has always seemed a little foolish in my book, any place where enemy combatants mass or store weapons is a valid target in my book).
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Re: Israel

Postby Fett42 » Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:48 pm UTC

Why would they have denied aid and set up such a long standing blockade, economic and otherwise?


Perhaps to try and prevent weapons getting in to Hamas and militants leaving Gaza to attack Israel? The primary difficulty with ending the blockade is doing it in a way that ensures Hamas doesn't just rearm and get even more weapons under what is supposed to be an aid program.

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Re: Israel

Postby Julle » Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:07 pm UTC

Telchar wrote:Israel has offered solutions that Hamas would not accept as well, or is this just a one sided peace process? Both parties need to agree, not just Israel. And it needs to start with Hamas. Isreal didn't start rocketing Hamas. Israel doesn't begin any of these conflicts but, somehow, Israel foots the blame for all of them.


Israel doesn't begin any of these conflicts?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDBiycEz12s

I also do recommend you to read this:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli-Palestinian_conflict#Casualties
to see what a one sided conflic it really is. In the last 20 years, 1400 israelis have died. Israel has managed to kill 650+ palestinians during the last 7 days.

There is no conflict, it's a genocide.

There really isn't any need for sensational posturing like that in SB.

-Az


EDIT: Sorry, I will adress that in my next post: http://forums.xkcd.com/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=3560&p=1284524#p1284524.
Last edited by Julle on Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:10 pm UTC, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Israel

Postby Fett42 » Wed Jan 07, 2009 1:24 pm UTC

Watching that video, Israel attacked militants in a tunnel that was going to be used to attempt to kidnap more Israeli soldiers... unless you really think that tunneling towards Israel was benign in its purpose.

And this isn't even close to genocide, which is defined as "the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group." Whatever you think about Israel's tactics in fighting the Hamas militants, there is no evidence that they are trying to exterminate the Palestinian people. Consider that ~3,000 people were killed in the 9/11 attacks, and that anywhere from 100,000 to 1 million Iraqis have died in the Iraq War, which is ~10-100 times greater casualties proportionally than what is going on in Gaza right now.* No one in their right mind is claiming that the U.S. is a conducting a genocide in Iraq, but its tactics are certainly up for criticism.

Bottom line: genocide has some very heavy connotations and is not a word that should be thrown around lightly. The civillian deaths in Gaza are not the result of an Israeli attempt to exterminate the Palestinian populace but the combined result of heavy-handed Israeli military tactics combined with Hamas' tactics of fighting in civillian clothing, enticing the Israelis into urban combat wherever possible, and using houses an mosques to hide weapons and tunnel entrances.



*Yes, I know there's no evidence Iraq was involved with 9/11, but it was the pretext for the invasion.

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Re: Israel

Postby Julle » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:07 pm UTC

Genocide is a very loosely defined term, I agree.

I will quote several definitions that I believe are applicable on this situation.

Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide wrote:Any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life, calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; [and] forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.


Irving Louis Horowitz wrote:[Genocide is] a structural and systematic destruction of innocent people by a state bureaucratic apparatus. . . . Genocide represents a systematic effort over time to liquidate a national population, usually a minority . . . [and] functions as a fundamental political policy to assure conformity and participation of the citizenry.


Jack Nusan Porter wrote:Genocide is the deliberate destruction, in whole or in part, by a government or its agents, of a racial, sexual, religious, tribal or political minority. It can involve not only mass murder, but also starvation, forced deportation, and political, economic and biological subjugation. Genocide involves three major components: ideology, technology, and bureaucracy/organization


Martin Shaw wrote:Genocide is a form of violent social conflict or war, between armed power organizations that aim to destroy civilian social groups and those groups and other actors who resist this destruction. Genocidal action is action in which armed power organizations treat civilian social groups as enemies and aim to destroy their real or putative social power, by means of killing, violence and coercion against individuals whom they regard as members of the groups


Genocide is not just "the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.".
I believe that bombing and imprisoning 1,5 milion inhabitants on 360km2 is genocide, but I guess it's a matter of definition.
And of course Hamas is fighting in civilian clothing, they are civilians, who are fighting for a country that was defined in the very same document that granted Israel the right to exist.

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Re: Israel

Postby Fett42 » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:28 pm UTC

First of all, Gaza isn't blockaded as an intent to destroy the Palestinian people. It is an attempt to restrict weapons to Hamas which unfortunately are smuggled in when other supplies enter, and an attempt to keep militants from entering Israel. Though there is a wall separating the West Bank, you'll notice that people can enter between there and Israel albeit with difficulty for security reasons. Its directed against Hamas, not the Palestinians.

As for Hamas being civilians, they clearly have a military wing, but it doesn't wear uniforms. Anyone who argues that this is for any other reason excep to to confuse Israeli soldiers as to who is a combatant and who is a civillian is flat out wrong. I have been to Israel, including being there when this all started in December, and have studied the Arab-Israeli conflict extensively for my thesis. Israel is not opposed to a Palestinian state. The diffiulty is getting both sides to agree on acceptable measures of security and trust (as well as the status of Jerusalem, which should be an international city as originaly proposed in the partition plan IMO).

Unlike Abbas' faction, Hamas disputes Israel's right to exist and its writings and the speeces of its members make it seem very unlikely that they are open to a true lasting peace with Israel. Per some wikipedia since I'm too lazy to go grab my research books:

The slogan of Hamas is "God is its target, the Prophet is its model, the Qur'an its constitution: Jihad is its path and death for the sake of God is the loftiest of its wishes." Hamas states that its objective is to support the oppressed and wronged and "to bring about justice and defeat injustice, in word and deed." Hamas believes that "the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf (trust) consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day," and as such, the land cannot be negotiated away by any political leader. Hamas' covenant states that "so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences" are "in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement", stating "there is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad".


According to one translation, the 1988 Hamas Covenant (or Charter) states that the organization's goal is to "raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine, for under the wing of Islam followers of all religions can coexist in security and safety where their lives, possessions and rights are concerned." It further asserts that "The Islamic Resistance Movement is a humanistic movement. It takes care of human rights and is guided by Islamic tolerance when dealing with the followers of other religions. It does not antagonize anyone of them except if it is antagonized by it or stands in its way to hamper its moves and waste its efforts. Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions - Islam, Christianity and Judaism - to coexist in peace and quiet with each other. Peace and quiet would not be possible except under the wing of Islam. Past and present history are the best witness to that."


The Charter asserts that through shrewd manipulation of imperial countries and secret societies, Zionists were behind a wide range of events and disasters going as far back in history as the French Revolution and that "There is no war going on anywhere, without having their finger in it." The Charter also selectively quotes Islamic religious texts to provide justification for fighting against and killing Jews.


According to Steven Erlanger of the New York Times, Hamas excludes the possibility of long-term reconciliation with Israel. "Since the Prophet Muhammad made a temporary hudna, or truce, with the Jews about 1,400 years ago, Hamas allows the idea. But no one in Hamas says he would make a peace treaty with Israel or permanently give up any part of Palestine.". Mkhaimer Abusada, a political scientist at Al Azhar University explains that “They (Hamas) talk of hudna, not of peace or reconciliation with Israel. They believe over time they will be strong enough to liberate all historic Palestine.”


Article 7 of the Hamas Covenant states the following: "The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (the Cedar tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews."


In 2008 Imam Yousif al-Zahar of Hamas said in his sermon at the Katib Wilayat mosque in Gaza that "Jews are a people who cannot be trusted. They have been traitors to all agreements. Go back to history. Their fate is their vanishing."
Sheik Yunus al-Astal, a Hamas legislator and imam, in a column in the weekly newspaper Al Risalah in 2008 discussed a Koranic verse suggesting that "suffering by fire is the Jews' destiny in this world and the next." Astal concluded "Therefore we are sure that the Holocaust is still to come upon the Jews.


Human rights groups and ordinary Gazans accuse Hamas of forcefully suppressing dissent. An August 26, 2007 article from British conservative newspaper The Telegraph accuses Hamas of using criminal means, including torture, political detentions, and firing on unarmed protesters who object to Hamas policies. In October 2008, Hamas announced it would release all political prisoners in their custody in Gaza. Several hours after the announcement, 17 Fatah members were released.

Hamas members have also been harassing and arresting Palestinian journalists in Gaza. On August 29, 2007 Palestinian health officials reported that Hamas had been shutting down Gaza clinics in retaliation for doctor strikes - Hamas confirmed that "punitive measure against doctors" who, according to Hamas, "incite others to strike and suspend services" have been taken.

In 2007 Hamas disbanded the Gaza Strip branch of the pro-Fatah Union of Palestinian Journalists, a move that was criticised by Reporters without borders.

On September 7, 2007 Hamas banned public prayers, after Fatah supporters began holding worship sessions that quickly escalated into raucous protests against Hamas rule. Hamas security forces beat several gathering supporters and journalists.

On November 14, 2007 Hamas arrested a British journalist and canceled all press cards in Gaza. No news photography is allowed without a license from Hamas.

On February 8, 2008 Hamas banned distribution of Al-Ayyam newspaper and closure of its offices in the Gaza Strip due to a caricature that mocked legislators loyal to Hamas. Hamas had later issued an arrest request for the editor.

In a 2002 report, Human Rights Watch stated that Hamas' leaders "should be held accountable for the war crimes and crimes against humanity" that have been committed by its members.

In addition to killing Israeli civilians and armed forces, Hamas has also attacked suspected Palestinian collaborators, and Fatah rivals.

On February 2007, members of the Palestinian Red Crescent, speaking on conditions on anonymity, said that Hamas had confiscated their humanitarian supply convoys that were destined for Palestinian civilians. Hamas claims the supplies were heading to former members of Fatah.

Human Rights Watch has cited a number of summary executions as particular examples of violations of the rules of warfare, including the case of Muhammad Swairki, 28, a cook for Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas's presidential guard, who was thrown to his death, with his hands and legs tied, from a 15-story apartment building in Gaza City.

Hamas and other Palestinian militant groups frequently extra judicially execute or otherwise punish those they consider collaborators with Israel. Frequent killings of unarmed people have also occurred during Hamas-Fatah clashes.


I'm certainly not saying Israel is blameless. But calling this a genocide or saying the Hamas is a legimitate and willing partner for a true sustainable peace is a tenous claim at best.

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Re: Israel

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed Jan 07, 2009 2:50 pm UTC

Julle wrote:Genocide is not just "the deliberate and systematic extermination of a national, racial, political, or cultural group.".


The problem is that the word 'genocide' carries an emotional bias. Invoking it in a discussion about counter insurgency is akin to using the word 'Nazi' in a political discussion.

To look at the Shaw definition Julle provided spoke of genocidal action as:

by means of killing, violence and coercion against individuals whom they regard as members of the groups


This is somewhat watered down. 'Killing, violence and coercion' were involved in the Nazi occupation of France but that wasn't genocide. Same can be said for, say, British imperialism in Ghana. Or Northern Ireland. Genocide is where you do your darnedest to make a whole population no longer exist. It involves either systematic mass murder, compulsory sterilisation, or a mix of the two. Anything else is garden variety state repression.
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Re: Israel

Postby mosc » Wed Jan 07, 2009 9:28 pm UTC

Maurog wrote:
Can you provide a definition of terrorism that separates Hamas and Israel?

Why not use the standard definition and be done with it?

Terrorism - intentionally targeting civilian targets for political reasons.
Not terrorism - everything else.

To elaborate - when you blow yourself up in a bus full of civilians, you're a terrorist. When you blow yourself up in a jeep full of soldiers, you're not a terrorist (you're a guerilla fighter). When you launch a rocket at a city and don't care where it hits, you're a terrorist. When you drop a bomb at a rocket stockpile and miss and hit a nearby orphanage, you're not a terrorist. And even if you intentionally drop a bomb at an orphanage because you klnow there is a rocket stockpile underneath it, you're still not a terrorist.

I think the definiton of terrorism is very clear, and not really vulnerable to semantics.

This definition is widely accepted and very clear, it's true. It's just faulty because the definition of "civilian" differs greatly between Israel, Hamas, and the Palistinians. Hamas thinks that every Israeli is culpable and thus there is no such thing as an Israeli civilian. Thus, since there are no civilians, it is not terrorism to attack them.

I'm not agreeing with their stance, it's just important to keep in mind that Hamas has not recognized Israel's right to exist which effectively means they have not recognized that there is an Israel and that it even has civilians. They view the >7 Million people living there as intruders, criminals, or worse. The definition of terrorism goes out the window when you effectively are dehumanizing.

Nobody sane thinks they're a terrorist. Nobody sane commits Genocide. They are just a simple result of dehumanization and disassociation. When you cannot view the people on the other side of the table as equals, you cannot move forward with anything but violence.

It is on this front. This central front. This most important of concepts that the two sides are vastly different. Israel and Hamas are not equals when it comes to human rights, recognizing other religion's right to exist, and the value of human life in general. Thus, you can talk all you want till you are blue in the face about how horrible Israel's actions are but you will be missing the point. Israel does lots of things I don't approve of. It does lots of things it's citizens don't approve of. However, there is an underlying respect for life that is not shared by their opposition. We must not be so quick to villainize the victim.

Israel has the capability to destroy all 1.5 Million residents of Gaza. It does not. Hamas has the capability to fire rockets at what targets it can. It does. Restraint is clearly not equal on both sides. Disagree with Israel all you want, I do plenty. Just don't lower them to Hamas's level. It is unjust. If Israel behaved as poorly as Hamas, or worse, there would be no Gaza. It wouldn't even exist.
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Re: Israel

Postby Pez Dispens3r » Wed Jan 07, 2009 11:34 pm UTC

mosc wrote:Israel has the capability to destroy all 1.5 Million residents of Gaza. It does not. Hamas has the capability to fire rockets at what targets it can. It does.


Israel couldn't afford the political/diplomatic cost of such a move. The government would loose all standing in international relations.

Hamas is sending off poorly manufactured rockets into Israel. I read today they'd managed to kill three civilians and a soldier. If their goal is to destroy Israel, they know the means isn't going to be by their firecrackers. It is not comparing apples with apples to view the situation this way.
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Re: Israel

Postby Faranya » Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:50 am UTC

Israel does have the right to defend themselves. However, they are seriously overstepping the bounds of appropriate retaliation. Over 600 dead Palestinians, and the bombing of a UN school is totally out of line.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/7815096.stm
"But Mr Hague said Tuesday's bombing of a UN school building, which killed 30 people and injured 55, "damaged" Israel's cause and called on "both sides" to accept a ceasefire. "

That's bad. But what really makes this situation unacceptable is the use of white phosphorus shells. This is a war crime when used as an offensive weapon, but apparently is okay if used as a 'smokescreen'

http://sify.com/news/fullstory.php?id=14830411

Israel admitted to using white phosphorus in Lebanon, which suggest strongly that reports of them doing so in Palestine are well founded.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/777549.html
"Israel has acknowledged for the first time that it attacked Hezbollah targets during the second Lebanon war with phosphorus shells. White phosphorus causes very painful and often lethal chemical burns to those hit by it, and until recently Israel maintained that it only uses such bombs to mark targets or territory."

It might be legal to use as a smokescreen, but sending clouds of incredibly lethal clouds of chemical substances into a civilian area, whatever the reason, is not simply a smokescreen. Launching napalm at the residents would certainly distract from troop movements as well, but people would clearly have an objection to that.

There is nothing wrong with Israel defending itself, but it is doing so in a manner that should constitute at least one war crime, likely more. Not to mention that they have been provoking this war for months with their ludicrous blockading of Gaza.
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Re: Israel

Postby mosc » Thu Jan 08, 2009 7:08 am UTC

3.14159265... wrote:Note: When the Muslims had the power to kill every Jew in their area, they didn't.

Hamas =/= "the Muslims"

Also, I assume you're referring to something prior to the fall of the Ottoman Empire? I mean, seriously?
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Re: Israel

Postby Azrael » Thu Jan 08, 2009 1:23 pm UTC

Temporarily locked for administrative purposes.

EDIT: Unlocked. You might notice some missing posts.

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Re: Israel

Postby Telchar » Thu Jan 08, 2009 6:55 pm UTC

Pez Dispens3r wrote:
Can you expand on this? The Viet Cong fought against the French collaborators in an act of self-determination, to have their independence movement confused for a communist wave looking to sweep over the world. You'll find that the civilians the guerrillas hid amongst were supporters. It's reprehensible to station troops with the populations that support them? How deceitful it was for them to do such a thing, instead of sitting in open fields so they could be duly napalmed.


Even hiding amongst supporting civilians is reprehensible. And armed fighting group purposely endangering the lives and well being of civilians is terrible no matter who does it. Those people, even thought they were supporters, did nothing more than think these people should win. That's not a crime, and is no reason to be involved in a war.

Also, I didn't say they shouldn't hide, and in fact they did. However, gambling that a government won't kill a bunch of civilians to get to you is a risk I consider criminal, and it turns out so does a lot of the international community.

Criminals get a trial.


Unless they are shooting at the police, which is fairly analogous to the situation here.

Edit to avoid double posting:

Pez Dispens3r wrote:Hamas is sending off poorly manufactured rockets into Israel. I read today they'd managed to kill three civilians and a soldier. If their goal is to destroy Israel, they know the means isn't going to be by their firecrackers. It is not comparing apples with apples to view the situation this way.


The goal of the rockets isn't to bring down Isreal though. Hamas knows no amount of rockets is going to annihilate Israel. They want the conflict to escalate because they know they have a better chance in the actual fight, as well as in the international pressure fight, if Israel invades. That's why they do this. So yes, I think it is fairly accurate to look at the conflict and ask the question "Who holds the most human life in higher regard?" and I think the question is unequivocally the Israelis. Yes, you can bring up the fact that the Israelis have killed a lot more Palestinians than the other way around, but that isn't for lack of trying on the part of Hamas, it's simply a lack of resources/planning. Do you believe if the situation were reversed Hamas would even think to allow Jews in Israel?
Zamfir wrote:Yeah, that's a good point. Everyone is all about presumption of innocence in rape threads. But when Mexican drug lords build APCs to carry their henchmen around, we immediately jump to criminal conclusions without hard evidence.


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