July 12, 2010

Selective Amnesia: Netanyahu on Peace, Palestine, and the 2005 Disengagement


Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly said that he’s willing to grant the Palestinians a state. Of course, his proposed state isn’t really a state at all; it certainly isn’t something that any reasonable person could expect the Palestinians to accept. Not only has he stated that Israel will retain large areas of the West Bank (including East Jerusalem and the Jordan Valley), but he has made it clear that any future Palestinian state will not be allowed to have an army and that Israel will maintain complete control over the area’s borders and airspace.[1] So, in other words, instead of offering the Palestinians an actual state, Netanyahu has offered them a second Gaza Strip, this one in the West Bank. Call it Gaza West.

Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations last week, Netanyahu defended his proposal, explaining why the Palestinians can’t be trusted with an actual state, why Gaza West is all they deserve. His explanation, in short: The Palestinians have shown that they don't want peace, that they won’t stop fighting until Israel has been completely destroyed. In support of this claim, he cited Israel’s 2005 disengagement from Gaza. “[W]e vacated every last inch of Gaza,” he said. “And that area was quickly taken over by Iran’s proxies. They poured missiles and rockets into them, and they were soon fired into Israel—12,000 rockets and missiles in total, in an area, I think, slightly smaller than New Jersey.” Consequently: All we’re going to give the Palestinians, all we trust them with, is Gaza West—so they can take it or leave it.[2]

Now it’s absolutely true that in September 2005 Israel “vacated every last inch of Gaza.” It evacuated its settlements in Gaza and redeployed its soldiers to the Strip’s borders. There’s no argument there. But to suggest that, by taking these actions, Israel somehow extended an olive branch to the Palestinians, that it went so far as to liberate Gaza, is simply ludicrous. As a result of the disengagement, Palestinians enjoyed more freedom of movement within the Strip,[3] but other than that, things remained essentially the same.

According to a B’Tselem-HaMoked report released six months before the disengagement, Israeli policies over the preceding four and a half years had turned Gaza into “one big prison.”[4] The report describes how Israel had imposed a harsh closure on the Strip, preventing all but a handful of people from entering or leaving. We read about Israel denying travel permits to students trying to attend college in the West Bank, patients needing medical care in Egypt, parents hoping to reunite with their children and husbands with their wives. We read about Israel denying one man’s request to go to the West Bank to visit his dying mother and then later rejecting his second request to leave so he could attend her funeral.[5]

The report also describes how the closure had devastated Gaza’s economy. By placing sharp restrictions on the number of Palestinians who could enter Israel to work, Israel caused many thousands of individuals to lose their jobs.[6] Furthermore, by forcing all imports and exports to pass through just one crossing and by requiring these items to go through an inefficient and “patently unreasonable” inspection process, Israel had stunted many businesses and destroyed many others.[7] Consequently, the Palestinian economy had fallen “into a deep recession, from which it [had] not recovered.” By the end of 2004, 35% of those in Gaza were unemployed and a full 77% were living in poverty.

So Gaza on the eve of the disengagement was much like it is today, the main differences being that Israel hadn’t yet completely destroyed Gaza’s economy, and it hadn’t yet launched those murderous, but oh-so-innocuous-sounding, military campaigns, Summer Rains, Autumn Clouds, and Cast Lead. Although Israel held true to its word and redeployed its troops to Gaza’s perimeters in September 2005, it maintained the closure and in so doing continued preventing Gazans from exercising many of their most fundamental human rights. It also reserved the right to freely enter Gaza for military purposes, even when those purposes involved taking “preventive measures.”

And while Israel kept its stranglehold on Gaza, it continued committing its crimes in the West Bank. From a September 13 UN report we learn that on September 12, the day the last Israeli soldiers left Gaza, the IDF “uprooted several olive trees on land belonging to Palestinians from Kafr al Labad for the construction of a fence around the Avnei Khefets settlement.” We also learn that the Israeli Archaeological Authority “levelled land and uprooted about 60 olive trees near Deir Ballut in search for archaeological artefacts in the area” and that in other parts of the West Bank the IDF continued leveling land for the construction of the Separation Wall.[8]

Subsequent UN reports detail more Israeli crimes,[9] all of which serve to confirm Dov Weisglass’ claim that the Sharon government initiated the disengagement in order to squelch the peace process and thus (we’re to assume) in order to give Israel more time to steal land in the West Bank. As Weisglass, who served as Ariel Sharon’s senior advisor, admitted to a Haaretz reporter in late 2004: “The disengagement is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that is necessary so there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.” He further noted that the peace process—which he described as “the evacuation of settlements,” “the return of refugees,” and “the partition of Jerusalem”—had “now been frozen…what I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns. That is the significance of what we did.”[10]

So although Israel gave the occupation a minor facelift, the occupation, with all its ugly, evil manifestations, raged on.[11] It shouldn’t have come as a surprise, then, when Hamas fired more than 30 Qassam rockets into Israel on September 25. Hamas said it was responding to a September 23 incident in which a Hamas truck “carrying rockets exploded, killing 15 Palestinians and wounding more than 80.” Hamas claimed that Israel was responsible for the explosion. “The Palestinian Authority and Israel said the blast was caused by Hamas explosives that went off accidentally.”[12]

Even if Israel didn’t cause the explosion, it’s not difficult to see why so many Palestinians believed otherwise and why some felt the need to respond with violence. For most of these men have lived their entire lives under the violence, humiliation, and injustice of the occupation. Every day they and their loved ones, in both Gaza and the West Bank, are victims of Israeli aggression. So when that truck exploded, killing 15 bystanders, these men reasoned that Israel was to blame, a conclusion which, given the context, hardly seems farfetched.

Although Netanyahu won’t admit that “the continued enmity toward Israel” is a response to the occupation,[13] the facts plainly suggest that it is. And until Israel admits this, and until its grants the Palestinians justice, real justice, there will not be peace in the Middle East.


Notes

[1] “PM’s Speech at the Begin-Sadat Center at Bar-Ilan University,” Prime Minister’s Office, 14 June 2009; Barak Ravid and Agencies, “Netanyahu: Israel will never share Jerusalem with Palestinians,” Haaretz, 12 January 2010; Jonathan Lis, “Netanyahu: Israel will never cede Jordan Valley,” Haaretz, 3 February 2010; “Netanyahu: Israel must have West Bank presence after peace deal,” Associated Press, 20 January 2010.

[2] “A Conversation with Benjamin Netanyahu,” Council on Foreign Relations, 8 July 2010.

[3] Gaza Access and Infrastructure Situation Report, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Occupied Palestinian Territory, 15 September 2005.

[4] One Big Prison: Freedom of Movement to and from the Gaza Strip on the Eve of the Disengagement Plan, B’Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, March 2005.

[5] Two more points to make about the travel bans. First, the report claims that, far from undertaking such actions for “security reasons,” Israel had in most cases arbitrarily prevented people from leaving Gaza. As proof for this, the report notes that Israel usually reversed its decisions when someone denied a travel permit was fortunate enough to have a lawyer or human rights organization intervene for them. “These reversals result from the state’s decision not to engage in an expensive, and at times embarrassing, legal challenge before the High Court of Justice.” Moreover, Israel had generally refused to provide any evidence that those banned from traveling were in fact security risks, further suggesting the arbitrary nature of its policies.

Second, Israel’s actions here clearly violated the 1995 Interim Agreement. For instance, the Interim Agreement mandated a “safe passage” route between Gaza and the West Bank, which the Agreement considered “a single territorial unit.” Although Israel opened a road connecting the two territories in October 1999, “[w]ith the outbreak of the al-Aqsa intifada in September 2000, Israel closed the safe-passage route, and it has remained closed ever since.” The Interim Agreement also provided “three [and only three] situations in which Israel is entitled to prevent a Palestinian resident from leaving the Occupied Territories to travel abroad. The three situations are: (1) for reasons specifically set forth in the agreement; (2) when a traveler does not have the required documents—in this regard, it was established that a passport or analogous document issued by the Palestinian Authority is sufficient to enable a Palestinian resident to leave the Occupied Territories; (3) where a warrant against the individual has been issued by the Palestinian Authority and forwarded to the Israeli authorities.”

[6] The report disputes Israel’s claim that it imposed these restrictions for security purposes: “The timing of the comprehensive closures and the reduction in quotas—which generally take place after attacks—together with the defense establishment’s characterization of these actions ‘as a response’ to attacks, are more consistent with a claim that these measures constitute collective punishment than that they are preventive actions. Since the outbreak of the intifada, Erez Crossing has been a target of several attacks that caused many casualties, including suicide attacks. However, Israel justifies its quota and closure policy on the fear of attacks inside Israel. This claim appears baseless. As far as B’Tselem and HaMoked know, except for one case that occurred at the beginning of the intifada, no workers from the Gaza Strip who entered Israel to work have been involved in attacks.”

[7] “If Israel had set up a reasonable alternative to Karni Crossing [the crossing which Israel required all goods to pass through] for moving goods when Karni was closed, some of the damage to the Palestinian economy would have been averted. One possibility was for Israel to enable goods to pass through Erez Crossing. Another possibility was increasing the capability of Sufa checkpoint to handle the crossing of goods. Israel also could have established a new land-crossing point, or permitted the construction of a seaport…

“Even if we accept Israel’s claim that it is necessary to prohibit the movement of trucks from one side to the other, existing technologies make it unreasonable to demand a container be unloaded to check its contents: a scanner could be used to carry out a thorough check of the contents. These devices are in use in many locations around the world, including Ashdod Port. In October 2004, Israel purchased one scanner for Karni Crossing, but it is only used to check empty containers.

“Not only has Israel not used existing technology to shorten the time it takes for containers to cross Karni, most of the goods intended for the Gaza Strip or which originate in Gaza are checked more than once before they reach their final destination. For example, goods from Europe intended for Gaza are checked first at Ashdod Port and again at Karni; goods made in Nablus in the West Bank that are intended for Gaza are liable to be checked three times: when leaving Nablus, at the checkpoint into Israel, and at Karni. Israel claims that the duplication is needed to catch weapons that are placed in the container after the first check. This problem, too, could be solved by modern technology, such as hermetic sealing of the checked containers, and instruments that can readily determine whether the seal has been broken.142 In most cases, these technologies would eliminate the need for duplicate checks and shorten the time needed to get the goods to the customer…

“Despite the heavy traffic at the crossing and the severe harm to the Palestinian economy resulting from the long lines, the crossing is not operated to its full potential.

“First, the crossing is open only about eight hours a day, during the daylight hours, and less on Fridays and Saturdays.143 From time to time, the crossing remains open for a longer time, sometimes until midnight, to facilitate the export of farm produce, clearly indicting that it is feasible to operate the crossing more hours of the day.

“Second, even when the crossing is open, it is not operated at full capacity. The more trucks being unloaded at a given time, the shorter the wait. The number of trucks being unloaded is reduced when there are insufficient examiners and guards. The State Comptroller’s Office conducted random checks a Karni Crossing over several months in 2001 and 2002, and each time, many of the crossing’s staff were absent. For example, ‘in December 2002, thirty-eight of the security staff and twenty-nine of the administrative staff, a total of sixty-seven personnel, were missing.’”

[8] Protection of Civilians, Weekly Briefing Notes, 7-13 September 2005, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Occupied Palestinian Territory, 13 September 2005.

[9] For example, a September 20 reports details the following crimes, among others:

  • 14-20 September: Teachers coming from the Palestinian towns of Yatta and Samu’ were unable to reach Imneizil elementary school as IDF soldiers managing Beit Yatir checkpoint denied them access and detained them for several hours. The teachers had previously been denied entry at this checkpoint on 7 and 8 September 2005 for not holding the correct permits and the school was closed for these two days.
  • 15 September: 31 fruit trees belonging to a Palestinian farmer from Khallet Zakariya were cut down adjacent to Alon Shvut settlement
  • 15 September: The IDF issued requisition order, T/157/05, for 21 dunums (2.1 hectares) of agricultural land belonging to Palestinian farmers from the towns of Al Khadr and Beit Jala. The land is to be used to expand the Tunnel checkpoint on Road No. 60.
  • 16 September: The IDF fired tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets at Palestinian, Israeli and Internationals activists demonstrating against the Barrier construction in Bil’in, Ramallah. Five Palestinians and four IDF soldiers were injured.
  • 18 September: IDF bulldozers supported by IDF armored vehicles entered approximately 200 metres into the Palestinian area east of Beit Hanoun near the border fence with Israel. The bulldozers started to establish what is believed to be a new buffer zone along the security fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel.
  • 20 September: After their home was demolished in Beit Hanina (Jerusalem) in April 2005 for being built with a permit, a family of seven have been living in a caravan on the same location of the demolished house. On 20 September the Israeli Jerusalem municipality confiscated the caravan.
  • 20 September: The IDF paved and surrounded with barbed wire an area of approximately 30 dunums (3.0 hectares) west of the Barrier near Dhaher al Malih village. [Protection of Civilians, Weekly Briefing Notes, 14-20 September 2005, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Occupied Palestinian Territory]

[10] Ari Shavit, “Top PM aide: Gaza plan aims to freeze the peace process,” Haaretz, 6 October 2004.

[11] As John Dugard has noted: “The jurisprudence of post-war Germany shows that the test for occupation is that of continued control. In the Hostages Trial (United States of America v. Wilhelm List et al., 1949) a military tribunal stated that it was not necessary for the occupying Power to occupy the whole territory so long as it ‘could at any time (it) desired assume physical control of any part of the country’” [Israeli practices affecting the human rights of the Palestinian people in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem: Note by the Secretary-General, United Nations General Assembly, 18 August 2005].

[12] Greg Myre, “Israel Strikes in Gaza After Hamas Rocket Fire,” New York Times, 25 September 2005.

[13] “PM’s Speech at the Begin-Sadat Center at Bar-Ilan University,” Prime Minister’s Office, 14 June 2009.

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am shocked, shocked that Israel doesn't have an open border with a region that is at war with Israel. Why, it would be like the U.K. denying Germans free entry into and out of the U.K. during WWII.

Seriously, do you actually think about what you say, or just repeat whatever mindless propaganda the Palestinians put out. "boo hoo, the people who's children we send suicide bombers and missiles to murder won't let us go into their country without permission".

"boo hoo, the country whose people we keep trying to murder doesn't give us as much food and electricity as we'd like. We could really use the electricity, the lack of power is really screwing up our rocket manufacturing shops."

Can you imagine the Germans complaining about the Allies not letting them pass through allied territory to get to a university?

It is sheer lunacy that people who are at war with a country are complaining that that country isn't being generous enough to them. Here's a hint, even countries that you are not at war with seldom have totally open borders.

Dear Palestinians, you choose to be at war with Israel (you elected Hamas when Fatah looked like they might give up the war). Any day Israel isn't bombing every military, governmental, and potentially war material producing factory is a day when they are being nicer to you than the state of war requires them to be. In a war, your enemies get to be mean to you, not just "not giving us enough electricity", but "bombing every potential military target". That's what makes it "war" and not "peace".

The strangest thing about this war is that only the Israelis and the Palestinians could have a modern war drag on this long (about 100 years, counting from Arab massacres of Jews in the earth 20th C). Anybody but the Palestinians would have made peace by now after seeing that they can't win militarily and that the struggle does them more harm than good.

Any country but Israel would have given up on the "military targets only" by now and be carpet bombing the enemy cities like Tokyo and Dresden in WWII until the enemy surrendered or was completely destroyed.

In fact, when the U.S. was faced with a similar situation in WWII (militarily defeated enemy who refused to surrender), we gave them an ultimatum (the Potsdam Declaration, recommended reading). When they still refused, we obliterated two of their cities. They surrendered (barely) only because they thought the U.S. had 100 more bombs and Tokyo was next. They tortured that out of a pilot (who made it up).

Don Emmerich said...

Well you haven't responded to any of my arguments, and you haven't really made any arguments of your own. You're basically just ranting. I imagine you sitting alone in a bar, downing another whiskey, angrily muttering under your breath, typing all this into your Blackberry.

You obviously have some major psychological issues to work through. Because, although I know you're an intelligent, sensible person (I really did enjoy our conversation last summer), some of your viewpoints are downright horrifying. I agree with you that terrorism is morally repulsive, but it’s sad to see you condemn an entire group of people.

Seriously, what’s your deal? Why do you hate Palestinians? Why can’t you admit that they’re suffering? Yes, some Palestinians have engaged in terrorism, but why do you conclude from this that the entire community deserves to suffer?

And what’s your solution to the Middle East conflict? Do you still favor ethnic cleansing?

Anonymous said...

LOL. Boy have you got the wrong guy. I’m pretty much a teetotaler, I don’t have a Blackberry or any other smartphone gadget, and I can’t remember the last time I was in a bar (too long ago, not too drunk to remember :-).

Which arguments would you like me to respond to?

Which viewpoints are horrifying?

I don’t condemn all Palestinians, just the 83% who support terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians (number from a poll of Palestinians that showed 83% support for a then recent attack on a yeshiva).

As for the other 17%, I feel sorry for them. Unfortunately, as was the case for the non-Nazi Germans in WWII, there is no way to stop the Palestinian governments (Hamas and Fatah) that will not injure innocent civilians in some way. Direct attacks on Hamas and other terrorist groups leads to casualties for the civilians they deliberately hide among. Indirect methods, like blockades that keep out weapons and non-vital supplies inconvenience the population.

Border closures to keep out suicide bombers also keeps out people who aren’t suicide bombers, etc. Even if you are correct about “no workers, except one, were suicide bombers” that is a remarkably qualified statement since the Palestinians sent many suicide bombers through the border who weren’t workers in Israel.

I don’t hate the Palestinians, I feel sorry for 83% of them like I would any other crazy people who want to kill other people because they are crazy. I feel sorry for about 10% of them because they don’t support terrorism, but do support continuing the war until they get the “right of return”, which is never going to happen. I feel really sorry for about 7% of them who are willing to give up the right of return in exchange for peace, because they are surrounded by lunatics. I do hate whatever small percent of them knows that attacking Israel is bad for the Palestinians, but do it to maintain power.

Anonymous said...

Feeling sorry for them for their craziness doesn’t mean that I would let them kill people. Of course they are suffering, I never said they aren’t. Some of them (the ones who oppose terrorism) don’t deserve to suffer from the necessary restrictions and security measures. However, this is war. The alternatives are not “people who don’t deserve to suffer are going to suffer” or “people who don’t deserve to suffer are not going to suffer”. The alternatives are “some of their innocents will suffer when we attack their guilty” or “we won’t attack them, and people on our side who don’t deserve to suffer are going to suffer because the terrorists who the Palestinians support will kill and maim them”.

The innocent kids of violent criminals don’t deserve to lose their fathers (or mothers). So why do we lock up their parents? Because the alternative is worse. Does that make the government evil for locking up violent criminals? Nope. BTW, that was argument by analogy, in case you think I wasn’t making an argument.

Out of curiosity, do you think that fighting a war against an enemy whose elected government chooses to be at war with your country is always immoral if innocents in that country would suffer from the results of that war? Were the Allies wrong to fight Germany? Not getting into controversial actions, like firebombing Dresden. Bombing runs aimed at German munitions factories killed kids. Were the Allies immoral to send bombing runs aimed at German munitions factories? Are you consistent in your positions, or is it just Israel that you would force to passively absorb acts of war and terrorism against itself?

Anonymous said...

I am fascinated by the conclusions you come to that somehow it isn’t OK to protect yourself from a generally hostile population if the innocents in that population will suffer. The end result of that line of thinking is that countries that don’t care at all about the suffering of innocents will win every war. The bad guys could just strap a baby on the front of each of their inferior tanks and the good guys can’t shoot at them. If the good guys did shoot back, guaranteed to kill babies, would you condemn them for doing so?

I also find it ironic that you ask if I favor ethnic cleansing, since you are the one advocating a plan (one state) which will inevitably lead to the ethnic cleansing of Jews from what is now Israel.

Anonymous said...

My favored solution to the conflict would be for Israel to give the Palestinians a state in Gaza and the West Bank. Mostly along the 1967 lines, with adjustments for major settlement blocks near the Green line, compensated by land in what is currently Israel. As to which land in Israel, I would draw a line that put the larger Israeli Arab areas on the Palestinian side and let the people in those areas vote on whether they wanted to be part of Israel or Palestine. If the vote said “Palestine” The Israeli citizens in that area could move into Israel and stay Israelis or stay with the land and be Palestinians (their choice). Any land the movers owned would stay their property, but be under Palestinian sovereignty (they could then sell it if they wanted). If the vote said “Israel” then give the Palestinians an uninhabited area big enough to equal the settlement blocks. Settlement blocks farther from the Green line go to the Palestinians, evacuating the Israeli residents unless the residents and the Palestinians both agree to have them stay.

In exchange: The Palestinians forever give up all claims to the rest of Israel. Period. Full stop. That’s their lot. No salami slices. No “phased jihad” no hudna. No right of return. Permanent “Israel belongs to Israelis”. The Palestinians control their own borders. Israel retains control of its own borders. If they don’t want the Palestinians coming through Israel, then the Palestinians don’t get to go into Israel and vice versa. East Jerusalem remains Israel and the Palestinians there have 5 years to either take Israeli citizenship or move to Palestine. Israel and Palestine will be separate countries. Palestinians who want to visit Israel, including Jerusalem, have to get visas at Israel’s discretion like Palestinians who want to visit America have to get visas at America’s discretion. Oh, build them a highway from the West Bank to Gaza, walled, no exits in between, with underpasses for Israelis.

All Israeli prisoners who are prisoners of Palestinians will be released to Israel. All Palestinians (who are not Israeli citizens) who are prisoners of Israel to be released to Palestine in the same condition as Gilad Shalit (alive or dead). The Palestinians agree to either lock them up as soon as they get them, or will turn them over (or execute them) if they commit any further terrorism, or Israel will have them assassinated (with possible collateral damage) if they commit any further terrorism and are not turned over or executed.

Palestine will have no military until 2020, or five years after the last Palestinian terrorist attack on Israel, whichever comes last. The U.N. can guard them from their neighbors if they want, but no Palestinian army, airforce, or navy. The importation or manufacture of military grade weapons (not including automatic rifles) will be considered an act of war against Israel and under the treaty, Israel will be authorized to take any means necessary, including re-occupation, to destroy them. Don’t worry; not having to pay for a military did wonders for Japan’s economy after WWII.

That is a solution that would work if all sides agreed.

In the real world, there is no solution. Not all problems have solutions. The Palestinians want all of Israel and will not agree to anything less. If you want to argue the point, find me one Palestinian leader who says they will drop the “right of return” in exchange for peace, heck, find me one who says they might possibly maybe agree to drop the right of return. The Jews in Israel will not agree to give the Palestinians all of Israel. So no deal is possible. It isn’t mistrust, it’s just that neither side will agree to terms the other one finds acceptable.

Don Emmerich said...

“I am fascinated by the conclusions you come to that somehow it isn’t OK to protect yourself from a generally hostile population if the innocents in that population will suffer.”

My problem is NOT that Israel wants to protect itself from terrorist attacks. My problem, as I made more than clear in this post, is that Israel has imposed collective punishment on the entire population of Gaza.

How is preventing students from leaving the Strip to attend college in the West Bank an act of self-defense? How is preventing medical students from leaving to receive treatment in Egypt an act of self-defense? How is preventing Gazan businessmen from exporting their goods an act of self-defense? How is preventing shoes and clothes from entering Gaza (something Israel did for a couple of years) an act of self-defense?

Don Emmerich said...

I find it very frustrating that you refuse to address any of my arguments.

In this article, for instance, I provided several pieces of evidence that, far from being necessary for its own self-defense, many of Israel’s actions in Gaza are indicative of a policy of collective punishment. But you haven’t addressed any of this.

Anonymous said...

OK, arguments addressed in following posts, but preliminary here:

What the Palestinians are experiencing is a natural consequence of their willingness to betray all civilized standards in pursuit of killing Israelis. Wars (in the civilized world) have rules, ever wonder about the question "why should we obey the laws of civilized warfare"? Why obey a rule that makes it harder to kill the enemy? Why not smuggle troops in an ambulance? Why not send terrorists disguised as civilians to attack the enemy? Why not smuggle weapons in a box labeled "organ for immediate transplant"? Why not fly a white flag, then attack the enemy soldiers who come near to accept your surrender? Why not fire from within a crowd of unarmed civilians who can act as literal human shields and make the enemy reluctant to fire back? The answer to all of these is that violating the rules gains you a momentary advantage at the expense of big disadvantages.

The Palestinians either don’t understand this or don’t care. Oddly enough, many of their Western supporters also utterly fail to grasp the concept. They think that because the Palestinians don’t have a conventional military that can attack Israel, anything goes (bus bombings, white flag fakeouts, etc.). The weird thing is, they also lambaste Israel for treating the Palestinians as what they are, a perfidious enemy that freely violates the laws of war.

I think the difference in our conclusions are due to different expectations. You expect Israel to act as though the Palestinians are not at war with them, don’t smuggle, send terrorists, etc. Basically, you want them to act like the U.S. acts toward Canada. I expect the Israelis to act like any country at war. So when Israel acts more trusting and nicer toward the Palestinians than any other country at war against a terrorist supporting enemy with no respect for the laws of war (targeting civilians, fighting out of uniform, etc.) would act, I see it as Israel being ultra-civilized. When Israel acts less trusting and less nice to the Palestinians than the U.S. acts toward Canada, you see it as Israel being awful toward the Palestinians. Well, sorry, but countries don’t treat perfidious terrorist nations the same way they do friendly nations.

Anonymous said...

As to your arguments about collective punishment: One thing you fail to understand is that "punishment" does not mean "anything that harms someone in any way". Americans are inconvenienced by security as a result of 9/11, but that is not a punishment. You also confuse "helping someone less than you were, or less than they would like" with "punishment". You also confuse "withdrawing a privilege" with "violating a right".

Israel is under no obligation to do its best to make life comfortable for the Palestinians. Their obligations under the rules of war are to allow enough basic foodstuff in to feed the civilian population, clothing, and medical supplies. That’s it. Anything beyond that is Israel being nice to an enemy that wants to destroy Israel. Even that obligation exists only because of the naval blockade (blocking all borders obliges you to let in food etc.). Without the naval blockade, Israel would be within its rights to simply close the Israeli border with Gaza, cut the power lines at the border, and stop providing aid. Same as the U.S. could simply close our border with Mexico or Canada.

As to the workers not allowed into Israel. Even in peacetime, no country is obligated by any international law to let a non-citizen into the country. If the UK decides not to let a harmless person from Russia into the UK simply because they happen to be annoyed at the Russians that day, that’s tough.

As to closures, the timing of the stepped up security after terrorist attacks is a non-issue. Security goes up after a terrorist attack. The same is true in every country. The U.S. shut down the entire air transportation industry for days after 9/11 and that affected mainly loyal U.S. citizens. The same goes for the inspections of goods at the borders. Palestinians have attempted to smuggle war materiel in harmless looking containers. For example, they smuggle potassium nitrate (used to make rocket fuel and explosives) labeled as sugar. The Palestinians are at war with Israel. Israel is acting accordingly, and you complain because Israel isn’t acting the way a nation at peace acts.

Anonymous said...

As to "scanners": What are the capabilities of the scanner? Can they automatically identify every variety of weapon and chemical precursor of weapons? Checking that a container is empty can be done fairly easily. Distinguishing contents in an entire truck trailer is not that easy.

Any technology for making hermetic seals can be circumvented by someone with a similar machine to the one used to make the original seal. Common criminals sometimes buy shrinkwrapped products, remove the contents, then reseal the box and return it. That doesn’t even count trick containers. As is, the seal is intact because they put the weapons in through the floor of the container, not the door.

Even if the technology could be made effective, Israel isn’t obliged to do everything in its power to make sure its enemies have a good economy. A good economy just means more money for them to buy weapons. That’s just crazy. It’s war, not a tea party. The Palestinians want to be at war with Israel, well that has consequences.

The crossings are open during daylight hours because it is easier to sneak up and bomb a place at night. Being open later on some occasions is not a right. As to long waits, well, waiting for security lines because staff are absent is a fact of life in any country. The reason most crossings are closed is because the Palestinians attack the crossings (in one case with a 4 ton truck bomb). The reason students and other supposedly harmless people aren’t allowed through is because the Palestinian terrorists disguise themselves as harmless people. Israel is doing a difficult job, trying to stop people who will seize any possible advantage to kill Israeli civilians. The Israelis used to let ambulances through unsearched, so the Palestinians started smuggling weapons and terrorists in ambulances. Now the Palestinians complain that the Israelis don’t let ambulances through unsearched. BTW, under international law, hospitals and ambulances lose their traditional immunities if the enemy uses them for military purposes.

Any other specific arguments you would like me to address?

Don Emmerich said...

“What the Palestinians are experiencing is a natural consequence of their willingness to betray all civilized standards in pursuit of killing Israelis…”

So where’s your evidence that “the Palestinians” have “smuggle[d] troops in an ambulance”? Or “smuggle[d] weapons in a box labeled ‘organ for immediate transplant’”? Or flew “a white flag” and then attacked enemy soldiers who came “near to accept [the] surrender”? Or “fire[d] from within a crowd of unarmed civilians”?

And even if you can prove that SOME Palestinians have committed some of the following actions, I don’t see your point. I can give you evidence that SOME Israelis have committed various crimes. I can give you evidence that the Israeli government has committed war crimes.

You see Israel’s actions against Palestinians as predictable consequences of Palestinian behavior. I agree. Given what we know about Israel, I agree that the blockade, Cast Lead, etc., are all predictable consequences. One of my points in this article is that Palestinian terrorism is also a predictable consequence; it’s a predictable consequence of Israeli aggression.

I just want people to understand that some Palestinians have resorted to terrorism as a response to Israeli aggression. When discussing the Israel-Palestine conflict, so many people began their narrative with Palestinian terrorism. “Israel bombed Gaza,” they’ll say, “BECAUSE some Palestinians fired rockets into Sderot.” But it’s ridiculous to imply that history began with the rockets being fired into Sderot, to say that Israel was responding to an attack. For it’s almost always the case that those Palestinian terrorists were themselves responding to an act of Israeli aggression. And, of course, the IDF soldiers who were responsible for that act of aggression can in turn say that they were responding to Palestinian terrorism, and so on, and so on.

I’m not trying to take sides here. I think every rocket fired into Israel is an act of terrorism and is completely unjustified. But I also think that every Israeli action which harms civilians is an act of state terrorism and is also completely unjustified.

Israel believes that if it does not respond to acts of terrorism with disproportionate force, then its enemies will be encouraged to carry out more attacks. But many Palestinians believe that if they do not respond to Israeli aggression with violence of their own, then Israel will be encouraged to perpetrate more aggression.

Neither Israeli leaders nor Palestinians leaders are right. They’re both wrong. So let’s avoid painting one side as the side of goodness, of reason, and the other side as the side of evil.

Don Emmerich said...

* * * * *

“As to your arguments about collective punishment: One thing you fail to understand is that ‘punishment’ does not mean ‘anything that harms someone in any way’.”

I’m using the definition of “collective punishment” provided by Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. According to a January report by Amnesty International, although Israel claims that the blockade is “a response to attacks from Palestinian armed groups, in particular the indiscriminate rockets fired from Gaza into southern Israel,” “by restricting the food, medical supplies, educational equipment, and building materials allowed into Gaza, the Israeli authorities are collectively punishing the entire population of Gaza, the majority of whom are children, rather than targeting those responsible for carrying out rocket or other attacks.”

And according to the International Committee of the Red Cross, “The whole of Gaza's civilian population is being punished for acts for which they bear no responsibility. The closure therefore constitutes a collective punishment imposed in clear violation of Israel's obligations under international humanitarian law” (June 2010).

Don Emmerich said...

“Their obligations under the rules of war are to allow enough basic foodstuff in to feed the civilian population, clothing, and medical supplies.”

But Israel hasn’t allowed in a sufficient amount of humanitarian goods. In March 2009, The Independent reported that Israel had banned hearing aids from entering Gaza. In July 2009, the UN reported that Israel had banned clothing and shoes from entering Gaza.

In November 2009, the World Food Program and Food and Agriculture Organization reported that, by restricting Gaza’s electricity supply, Israel had forced Gaza’s health facilities to “suffer from power cuts for eight to 12 hours a day or more,” which of course disrupted “the provision of health care for civilians in the Gaza Strip.” This electricity shortage, along with Israel’s refusal to allow an adequate amount of fuel into the Strip, had forced doctors to stop performing certain types of surgeries and had forced them to shut down several “oxygen-generating stations.” X-ray machines were only “running at 50% capacity,” and kidney patients were experiencing increased suffering “owing to disruption and stoppage of dialysis units because of power outages.”

In January 2010, Amnesty International reported that Israel had banned certain medical supplies from entering Gaza. In May 2010, the WHO reported: “The continuing Israeli blockade combined with the restrictions imposed on the imports of building materials and the rationing of medicines and medical appliances and equipment have led to a deterioration in the living conditions and the health situation of all segments of society in the Gaza Strip.”

Don Emmerich said...

Your main argument is essentially that Israel should combat Palestinian terrorism by committing terrorism of its own:

“Some [Palestinians] (the ones who oppose terrorism) don’t deserve to suffer from the necessary restrictions and security measures. However, this is war. The alternatives are not ‘people who don’t deserve to suffer are going to suffer’ or ‘people who don’t deserve to suffer are not going to suffer’. The alternatives are ‘some of their innocents will suffer when we attack their guilty’ or ‘we won’t attack them, and people on our side who don’t deserve to suffer are going to suffer because the terrorists who the Palestinians support will kill and maim them’.”

Now terrorism is the attacking of innocents in order to achieve a political end. When Palestinian militants fire rockets into Gaza, they’re attacking innocents in order to achieve political ends. But when Israel bombs the hell out of Gaza, or imposes a brutal blockade on Gaza, it’s doing the very same thing.

You can say: Oh, but Israel doesn’t INTEND to attack innocents. But when Israel, say, drops a bomb in a civilian neighborhood, it’s ridiculous to say that Israel didn’t intend to kill civilians. By dropping a bomb in a civilian neighborhood, Israel knew that it was almost certainly going to kill civilians -- and yet it did so anyway. So obviously Israel intended to kill civilians.

If a person commits an action knowing that the end result will be X, then it’s absolutely absurd for that person to say that, although he performed that action, he didn’t intend to bring about X. For since he know that X would result, he obviously, by performing the action, intended to bring about X.

Don Emmerich said...

I can provide you with many examples of Israel intentionally killing civilians. From my book review of "This Time We Went Too Far," Norman's Finkelstein's book about Operation Cast Lead:

To demonstrate that Israel targeted the civilian population and its infrastructure, Finkelstein first describes the level of destruction resulting from the invasion: “Beyond the civilian casualties, Israel destroyed or damaged 58,000 homes (6,300 were completely destroyed or sustained severe damage), 280 schools and kindergartens (18 schools were completely destroyed and six university buildings were razed to the ground), 1,500 factories and workshops, several buildings housing Palestinian and foreign media (two journalists were killed while working, four others were also killed), water and sewage installations, 80 percent of agricultural crops, and nearly one-fifth of cultivated land.”

Israel also destroyed 30 mosques, one of the Gaza’s three flour mills, and a chicken farm that supplied one-tenth of the Strip’s eggs. Noting that the destruction of the chicken farm resulted in the death of 65,000 chickens, he writes: “After the invasion was over Israel alleged that the death and destruction appeared indefensible only because ‘there is a limit to the amount of intelligence it can share with commissions of inquiry without compromising operational capabilities and intelligence sources.’ If the world only knew what was in those chickens….”

Finkelstein proceeds to point to statements by Israeli officials who claimed that Israel used “sophisticated precision weapons” during the conflict, that it possessed an “intelligence gathering capacity” that “remained extremely effective,” that “99 percent of the firing that was carried out [by the Air Force] hit targets accurately,” and that it only struck one building in error. “In other words,” Finkelstein writes, “Israel was able to pinpoint its targets on the ground and, by its own admission, could and did hit these designated targets with pinpoint accuracy. It thus cannot be said that the criminal wreckage resulted from mishap or from a break in the chain of command. What happened in Gaza was meant to happen—by everyone from the soldiers in the field who executed the orders to the officers who gave the orders to the politicians who approved the orders.”

Don Emmerich said...

I just wish you could see how you're contradicting yourself. You say that Israel is justified in harming Palestinian civilians because there's no other way for it to protect Israeli civilians. But you say that Palestinian terrorists are not justified in harming Israeli civilians -- even though it seems that these terrorists engage in these acts in order to protect Palestinian citizens. Militants from Gaza fire rockets into Israel in hopes of forcing Israel to end the blockade (which undoubtedly is hurting innocent Palestinians), of forcing Israel to stop expropriating land in the West Bank, of depriving Palestinians of their most basic human rights, etc.

Don Emmerich said...

You have a horribly racist view of Palestinians.

According to you, Israelis are justified killing innocent Palestinians because they're just practicing self-defense -- and sometimes self-defense is a messy thing.

But you assume that Palestinians who kill innocent Israelis are not, in their own way, trying to practice self-defense. You imply that Palestinians, or at least most of them, are a bunch of crazy, hateful people, who just want to kill Jews, who have taken up arms in order to "liberate" all of Historic Palestine.

Now sure, of course, there are some extremists, some sociopaths in the world. Obviously. But terrorism doesn’t arise in a vacuum. For the most part, terrorism is a response to aggression. And, let’s be honest here, Palestinians have every reason to believe that they’re under attack. For sixty years now, Israel has committed numerous crimes against them: stealing land, stealing water resources, demolishing homes, killing huge numbers of civilians, restricting the freedom of movement, torturing, etc., etc. Palestinian terrorism is in large part a response to all this. Obviously.

Anonymous said...

Quoting Normal Finkelstein, famous for being a rabid self-hating Jew opposed to Israel, just drops your credibility to zero. Might as well quote Goebbels.

The Palestinians are not remotely practicing any form of self defense. The Palestinians primary targets are innocent people, the Israelis primary targets are Palestinian terrorists and terrorist infrastructure.

If you can't see the moral difference between murdering a child in cold blood and accidentally killing a child while shooting at a terrorist or a weapons storage facility, you are either a naive fool if you think both are equally wrong or a monster if you think both are equally right.

I'm not contradicting myself. You are simply lying about what I said. I said Israel is justified in taking security measures that have the primary effect of helping Israeli security, and the side effect of harming civilians in response to Palestinian terrorism that has the primary effect of harming civilians and the side effect of harming Palestinian security.

Palestinian houses were destroyed because the Palestinians conceal military grade weapons in civilian homes and use those houses to attack from. Same for the mosques. If you don't want a building to be a legitimate target, don't store weapons there.

I would say that the polls that indicate 76% of Palestinians support suicide bombings and 83% support for terrorist attacks on a Yeshiva paint at least 83% of them as crazy, hateful people who want to kill Jews. Not "just" want to kill Jews, even the Nazis during the holocaust didn't "just" want to kill Jews. I'm sure most Palestinians want a good life, and all Jews dead.

You still haven't answered my question. Is it only Israel that isn't allowed to attack an enemy that hides behind civilians, or is it everybody? If it's just Israel, you prove your prejudice. If it's everybody, you prove you are a naive person who advocates turning the world over to anyone willing to use his own civilians as human shields.

Anonymous said...

As for the examples of perfidy above (the "why nots"). They are examples of things civilized people don't do, not examples of things the Palestinians have specifically done. Of those the ones I have read news reports of the Palestinians doing are false use of white flags to attack, smuggling troops and weapons in ambulances, firing from within crowds of civilians, and sending terrorists disguised as civilians to attack the enemy. Come to think of it, the only thing on that list that I haven't heard of the Palestinians doing is smuggling a weapon in a box labeled "organ for transplant". Of course they did send a bomb in the backpack of a 11-12 (stories vary) year old boy sent to a border crossing. They set up a remote detonator in case the boy got searched. The only reason the boy is still alive is that the detonator failed to go off. People willing to murder their own children to blow up a border crossing through which supplies flow into their country. These are what the Israeli soldiers are fighting and you complain about their security being too harsh.

Don Emmerich said...

“Quoting Normal Finkelstein, famous for being a rabid self-hating Jew opposed to Israel, just drops your credibility to zero. Might as well quote Goebbels.”

You’re committing the logical fallacy. It doesn’t matter if, as you say, Finkelstein is a self-hating Jew. What matters is the arguments he gives, the evidence he provides. But you refuse to deal with his arguments.

Don Emmerich said...

“The Palestinians are not remotely practicing any form of self defense.”

There you go again. You always talk about “the Palestinians.” It’s never “Palestinian militants.” It’s never “some Palestinians.” It’s always “the Palestinians.” The language of bigotry, my friend.

Don Emmerich said...

“[T]he Israelis primary targets are Palestinian terrorists and terrorist infrastructure.”

Again, you’re not providing any evidence, and you’re not dealing with the counterevidence I provided.

Don Emmerich said...

“I said Israel is justified in taking security measures that have the primary effect of helping Israeli security, and the side effect of harming civilians in response to Palestinian terrorism that has the primary effect of harming civilians and the side effect of harming Palestinian security.”

I know what you said. And I responded to what you said. So why then are you just reasserting your claim and not addressing my arguments.

Don Emmerich said...

“Palestinian houses were destroyed because the Palestinians conceal military grade weapons in civilian homes and use those houses to attack from. Same for the mosques.”

And what’s your evidence of this claim? Neither Amnesty International nor the Goldstone Report were able to find any evidence to corroborate your claims -- yet they found evidence that Israel -- not Hamas, but Israel -- had used Palestinian civilians as human shields.

Don Emmerich said...

“I would say that the polls that indicate 76% of Palestinians support suicide bombings and 83% support for terrorist attacks on a Yeshiva paint at least 83% of them as crazy, hateful people who want to kill Jews.”

You’re really being selective here. Opinions change over time. A more recent poll, for instance, shows that “[t]he majority of Palestinians support a peace agreement with Israel and believe that the Palestinian Authority should use non-violent means to achieve their political goals.”[1]

And opinion polls cut both ways. During Operation Cast Lead, when it was clear that the IDF was killing large numbers of civilians, 94% of Israelis supported the army’s efforts.[2] 94%! As I said last time, if we’re going to be consistent here, we need to acknowledge that terrorism is terrorism, no matter who perpetrates it.

I can also point you to a poll taken in 1994 which showed that 50% of all Israeli Jews supported Baruch Goldstein's massacre of 29 Muslims praying in a Hebron mosque.[3]


[1] http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/poll-most-palestinians-want-peace-with-israel-1.297196?localLinksEnabled=false

[2] http://www.bicom.org.uk/context/opinion-polls/war-and-peace-index--december-2008

[3] http://members.tripod.com/alabasters_archive/goldstein_significance.html

Don Emmerich said...

“You still haven't answered my question. Is it only Israel that isn't allowed to attack an enemy that hides behind civilians, or is it everybody?”

I hold Israelis to the same moral standards I hold everyone else.

Anonymous said...

I thought you might get confused and think that was a logical fallacy, lots of people don't understand the difference between disparaging the source of arguments instead of addressing the arguments (logical fallacy) and disparaging the source of "factual" statements.

The logical fallacy you are citing is the "ad hominem" attack. I.e. "Your reasoning is wrong because you are ". But logical fallacies apply to reasoning, not to facts.

"The idiot must be reasoning wrong" is a logical fallacy. "The liar's factual claims can't be trusted" is not.

Anonymous said...

ROFL. I love that you cite Amnesty International and the Goldstone report as "not being able to find any evidence. That's what happens when you close your eyes. Since the sole sources of information they used to gather "evidence" was Hamas and people under the control of Hamas, what you really demonstrated was "Hamas didn't confess". Except that in some cases, Hamas members did confess to things that the Goldstone report "found no evidence of" and Goldstone's little kangaroo just ignored their confessions.

As for evidence, video of the explosions of Palestinian houses and Mosques at the time showed secondary explosions when the Israeli bombs set off the Palestinian explosives stored in the buildings.

Anonymous said...

The Israeli's 94% of them anyway supported the army's efforts to stop the Palestinians (yes, Palestinians, they elected Hamas, which fired the rockets into Israel that triggered Cast Lead) from continuing to attack Israel. Very few Israelis support the massacre of Palestinian civilians. About 3.6% praised Goldstein. I wish it were 0%, but do you think there is any country at war where a certain percentage of the population wouldn't praise a massacre of enemy civilians?

As for the real Israeli reaction, "a poll of 500 Israeli adults for the International Centre for Peace in the Middle East found that 78.8 percent of people condemned the Hebron massacre while 3.6 percent praised Goldstein." (From Wikipedia, feel free to track down the actual poll though).

As for your Goldstein massacre "poll". What poll, performed by whom? You don't have a poll, you have multi-level hearsay about a poll. Shahak says that some guy name Katz said in some article that the vast majority of readers is not going to be able to track down that there was some poll, of whom, by whom, conducted how? No information.

"Patriarch's Cave operation" is a pretty distinctive phrase, and yet the only places it comes up on Google are people clearly quoting or paraphrasing the Israel Shahak article you cited. Funny since according to the article, that is what the settlers were calling it.

When you are a Jew who reads anti-Semite propaganda to see what the other side is saying, you start to get a feel for stuff that is just plain made up. The fact that all references clearly stem from Israel Shahak's article, when a real poll like that would be independently reported says to me that either Shahak or Katz just made it up.

So, got a single source for that 50% poll that doesn't trace back to Israel Shahak?

Funny how you are willing to just believe anything bad about the Jews that any anti-Semite says without checking your sources.

As for the 73% in the Fafo poll, that is 73% who say the Palestinians should rejoin negotiations, not who want peace on any reasonable terms. Since 87% (onevoice poll) of them have "all of Israel" through "right of return" as "essential" for a peace deal, the number willing to "negotiate" is rather irrelevant.
http://onevoicemovement.org/programs/documents/OneVoiceIrwinReport.pdf

Anonymous said...

I think that the 50% "poll" you cite was either made up by Israel Shahak (another lying anti-Semitic Jew, you seem to have a fondness for citing liars for your facts) or by the guy he is quoting, since the phrase "Patriarch's Cave operation," only shows up on about 10 sites and all of them are clearly quoting or paraphrasing Shahak's writings. If you want try to track down the actual poll, good luck, no indication that it exists outside of Shahak's imagination.

As for the actual Israeli support, 3.6%. So you are only off by a factor of 14 or so. I wish it were lower, but what do you think the American support for a massacre of Afghanistani civilians after 9/11 would be? (for the record, I wouldn't support that).

A poll of 500 Israeli adults for the International Centre for Peace in the Middle East found that 78.8 percent of people condemned the Hebron massacre while 3.6 percent praised Goldstein. (from Wikipedia, notice that the name of the poll is provided).

Anonymous said...

So as I was saying, actually you can't point me to a poll. What you can point me to is at least two layers of hearsay. A known anti-semite liar says that some random guy name Yuval Katz said that there was a poll with a specific phrase in it that shows up nowhere but Shahak and his quoters.

As for me, I condemn the massacre. It was a terrorist attack. Unlike you, I don't support terrorism when it is someone on the side I support doing it.

BTW, still dodging the question I see. "Is it only Israel that isn't allowed to attack an enemy that hides behind civilians, or is it everybody?"

If you like, you can answer "Is it ever legitimate for anyone to attack an enemy that hides behind civilians when there is no way to attack their fighters and military targets without incidentally killing civilians"?

Anonymous said...

As for weapon smuggling by boat, is 50 tons of weapons good enough for you or do you want other examples?

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

Gee, do you think the presence on the "peace" flotilla of Hilarion Capucci a known weapon smuggler, might have made the Israelis suspicious? Capucci had previously tried to use his status as an archbishop and to claim (nonexistent) diplomatic immunity when caught red-handed trying to drive a carload of grenades, TNT and automatic weapons to the Palestinians
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hilarion_Capucci

If you can't trust their frikken Archbishops, do you really think you can trust their "students"?

Don Emmerich said...

From the Dictionary of World Philosophy.

"Genetic fallacy argues from the goodness or badness of an item’s origin to the goodness or badness of the item. A particular case of this fallacy is the ad hominem fallacy discussed above.”

So my point stands. You argued that because Norman Finkelstein is bad (he’s a “self-hating Jew”) it follows that his argument (that the IDF targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure during Cast Lead) is bad. In other words, you committed the genetic fallacy.

Don Emmerich said...

“But logical fallacies apply to reasoning, not to facts.”

Right, and my whole point is that your reasoning here is flawed. You seem to reason that simply calling Norman Finkelstein a self-hating Jew is enough to refute his argument. But that’s a logical fallacy.

Don Emmerich said...

“I love that you cite Amnesty International and the Goldstone report as ‘not being able to find any evidence. That's what happens when you close your eyes.”

Yes, and what is your evidence that they closed their eyes?

Have you read the Amnesty or Goldstone reports? Do you actually know how they reached their conclusion?


“Except that in some cases, Hamas members did confess to things that the Goldstone report ‘found no evidence of’ and Goldstone's little kangaroo just ignored their confessions.”

Again, here you are making these assertions but not providing any evidence whatsoever.


“As for evidence, video of the explosions of Palestinian houses and Mosques at the time showed secondary explosions when the Israeli bombs set off the Palestinian explosives stored in the buildings.”

They do? Where’s your evidence? What homes and mosques?

Don Emmerich said...

The Goldstein poll comes from an article written by Yuval Katz in the March 4, 1994 issue of Yerushalaim. The article is cited by Israel Shahak in his 1999 book “Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel,” as well as a 1994 article he wrote for Middle East Policy, which is a respected, peer-reviewed journal.

You dismiss the poll because it’s referenced by Israel Shahak. Shahak was an Israeli Jew who taught chemistry at Hebrew University. He was a reputable scholar and a controversial human rights activist. You dismiss him as “[a] known anti-semite liar.” A nasty thing to say about a Holocaust survivor.

Don Emmerich said...

Since you’re so fond of the genetic fallacy, I thought I’d engage in it myself.

You’ve repeatedly referred to a 2008 poll showing that 83% of Palestinians supported an attack on the Mercaz Harav Yeshiva. Well…

…and I don’t mean what I’m about to say; I’m just showing you how ridiculous you’re being…

…you know, don’t you, that that poll was conducted by Khalil Shikaki? You know Khalil Shikaki, right? He’s a self-hating Palestinian liar. So therefore he’s poll can’t be trusted. So I’m right, you’re wrong -- hooray for me!

Don Emmerich said...

“The Israeli's 94% of them anyway supported the army's efforts to stop the Palestinians (yes, Palestinians, they elected Hamas, which fired the rockets into Israel that triggered Cast Lead) from continuing to attack Israel. “

Yes, 94% of Israelis supported defending themselves by supporting state terrorism, just as many Palestinians have often supported defending themselves by supporting non-state terrorism. What’s the difference?

Don Emmerich said...

By the way:

When I wrote yesterday that "You’re committing the logical fallacy," I meant to say, "You're committing the genetic fallacy."

Don Emmerich said...

“As for the 73% in the Fafo poll, that is 73% who say the Palestinians should rejoin negotiations, not who want peace on any reasonable terms.”

The poll revealed that “[t]he majority of Palestinians support a peace agreement with Israel and believe that the Palestinian Authority should use non-violent means to achieve their political goals.” My whole point was that you were being unfairly selective by only quoting that poll -- because other polls show that a majority of Palestinians reject terrorism and want to solve the conflict through non-violent means.

Don Emmerich said...

"Is it ever legitimate for anyone to attack an enemy that hides behind civilians when there is no way to attack their fighters and military targets without incidentally killing civilians"?

But this is the wrong question. You’re presupposing that the only way for Israel to defend itself is to militarily defeat Hamas. The right question would be: “Is it ever legitimate to solve a conflict through violence when there’s a good possibility you can solve that conflict through non-violence?” And the answer to that question is no.

But if you insist that I answer your question, then I will, and my answer is no, it’s never okay -- for anybody -- to achieve kill innocents.

Don Emmerich said...

“[T]he Israelis primary targets are Palestinian terrorists and terrorist infrastructure.”

You still haven’t provided any evidence for this, and you haven’t dealt with Norman Finkelstein’s arguments that Israel deliberately targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure.


“Palestinian houses were destroyed because the Palestinians conceal military grade weapons in civilian homes and use those houses to attack from. Same for the mosques.”

You still haven’t given any for this claim.

Anonymous said...

The same Palestinians who support terrorist attacks in practice are perfectly capable of supporting non-violence in theory.

Please rephrase "to achieve kill innocents". Something got lost there.

However, based on the rest of your answer, congratulations, if a group implements your "morality", they will quickly be wiped out by any group that doesn't care about civilian casualties. Unless they are protected by some other group that doesn't share their squeamishness.

I just have no respect for unworkable moral systems. Here's a hint, if your moral code sets up a society that practices it to get wiped out by any society that doesn't, no matter how otherwise weak the enemy is, it's time to go back to the drawing board.

As to yours specifically, the bad guys can come and stab your "moral" people in the face as long as the bad guys are all carrying a baby and a bomb on a deadman switch set to go off if the bad guy dies or lets go of the switch. Nothing you can do to stop stabby mcterrorist because that would kill the innocent baby.

Reductio ad absurdem. Follow the opponent's position to its inescapable conclusion.

So lets make it personal. If the only way to stop someone from killing your family would kill him and also incidentally result in the death of an innocent person, would you stop him?

Anonymous said...

As for Yuval Katz, do you have a copy of the article in which he supposedly said that? Then you can't say he said it, all you can say is that Shahak said that he said it. Multi-level hearsay. The poll could have been a poll of two people and one happened to be a kook, or Yuval could have got it wrong, or simply lied. Or he could be talking about a poll that someone told him that someone told them that someone told them that they heard.

Or Shahak could be lying about what Katz said. Do you start to see why we don't allow usually allow hearsay in court?

Anyway, I'm calling bullshit on this unless you can come up with the actual poll, not third- (or fourth- or fifth- or..) hand reporting of the poll through anti-Semites.

Genetic fallacy is something different. It brings up irrelevant facts about the origins of something to suggest that it is still the same way. "You can't eat that bread, it was cooked at 400 degrees (yesterday), it will burn you." Or, "he's a holocaust survivor".

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

I am bringing up an entirely relevant characteristic of the people you cite for your facts. They are anti-Israel liars who would say bad things about Israel whether they were true or not.

BTW, speaking of ad hominem attacks, you just used an inverse ad hominem, claiming that Shahak must be right or trustworthy because he was a holocaust survivor. Speaking of the Genetic fallacy.

Go look him up on Wikipedia, he was a nasty piece of work. Beloved of neo-Nazis and holocaust deniers.

"David Duke mourned Shahak [after his death]..."

Anonymous said...

BTW, attacking the enemy's military targets is not state terrorism. It is war. Terrorism is the targeting of innocent people, not the targeting of enemy military that happens to hit innocent people.

Do you know of any country where a vast majority of the people don't support attacking the military targets of the people that are trying to kill them? What do you think the U.S. approval rate for attacking the Taliban was right after 9/11?

Anonymous said...

BTW, as for "how ridiculous". There are a few significant differences. The pollster in that case wasn't infamous for being an anti-Palestinian. Finkelstein and Shahak (like Noam Chomsky) are infamous for being anti-Israel. The neo-Nazi's favorite Jews.

Also, I'm not arguing that the results of an actual poll are wrong, because you haven't provided any actual results, and no such poll can be found, or any citation to it, outside of one anti-Semite's writings. I'm disputing the existence of the poll. I'm disputing it in good faith too, if you honestly didn't believe my citation of a poll, I would go find it, or admit that I couldn't back it up. So go find yours or admit that all you have is what an anti-Semite says some guy said some poll (which he may or may not have read himself) said.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and as for "anti-Semite liar" being "a nasty thing to say" about Israel Shahak. It was a nasty thing for Israel Shahak to be. Saying it is just telling the truth.

Don Emmerich said...

Your statements regarding the genetic fallacy make absolutely no sense.

So let me again repeat myself: Norman Finkelstein has argued that the IDF deliberately targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure during Cast Lead. Even if Finkelstein is himself a self-hating Jew, the fact remains that he’s made a very powerful argument, one based on factual statements that can be verified, and the truth of his argument is in no way dependent upon his moral character.

I assume that you refuse to deal with Finkelstein’s argument because you know that you can’t.

Don Emmerich said...

Some of your points regarding the Goldstein survey are valid. I get the impression that tracking down the poll would require quite a bit of legwork. So until I can look at the poll, analyze the pollster’s methodology, etc., I agree that I shouldn’t use it as a piece of evidence.

But nothing I’ve said depends upon the results of that poll, as it was one of two examples I gave to make a point.

Don Emmerich said...

“BTW, attacking the enemy's military targets is not state terrorism.”

I never said it was. I said that attacking civilians in order to achieve a political end is state terrorism. I provided an argument that Israel did exactly this during Cast Lead. And you continue to refuse to address my argument. (Actually Finkelstein’s argument.)

Don Emmerich said...

“Oh, and as for ‘anti-Semite liar’ being ‘a nasty thing to say’ about Israel Shahak. It was a nasty thing for Israel Shahak to be. Saying it is just telling the truth.”

Again, you’re not providing any evidence.

Don Emmerich said...

“The pollster in that case wasn't infamous for being an anti-Palestinian. Finkelstein and Shahak (like Noam Chomsky) are infamous for being anti-Israel.”

How do you know the pollster isn’t imfamous for being anti-Palestinian? I’m sure many Palestinians and many pro-Palestinian activists feel he’s anti-Palestinian, especially after publishing that poll.

Don Emmerich said...

So, according to you, anyone who criticizes Israeli is anti-Semitic. Even if a well-respected Jew like Noam Chomsky criticizes Israel -- he's anti-Semitic. Even if a child of Holocaust survivors like Norman Finkelstein criticizes Israel -- he’s anti-Semitic. Even if a Holocaust survivor like Isarel Shahak criticizes Israel -- he’s an anti-Semtici.

Did it ever occur to you that maybe these people aren’t anti-Semites, that maybe there’s not self-hating Jews, that maybe they just happen to disagree with you?

Did you ever wonder why so many of the West’s most outspoken defenders of the Palestinians are Jews? Are they all self-hating, anti-Semitic Jews? Is every Jew who disagrees with your conclusions a self-hating, anti-Semitic Jew? Richard Goldstone, Sara Roy, Avi Shlaim, Hedy Epstein, John Mearsheimer, Matthew Yglesias, Glenn Greenwald, Dana Goldstein, Philip Weiss, Adam Horowitz, Anthony Lowenstein, Ezra Klein, Tony Judt, etc., etc., etc., etc. -- self-hating, anti-Semitic Jews, right?

Don Emmerich said...

If you want to debate one issue at a time, then I'm all for that. I'd say let's pick an issue and argue that issue in depth. But this jumping around is giving me a headache.

If you want to write an essay about one topic, I'll even be happy to post it on this site. But again, pick one topic -- for example, "Did the IDF intentionally target civilians and civilian infrastructure during Cast Lead?"

Anonymous said...

Go look up the genetic fallacy yourself. It means the false assumption that something that originates in some condition retains that condition, it is not about whether a source of information or argument can be trusted. "Roses must smell bad because they are grown in shit". is the genetic fallacy. "Bob's arguments are wrong because Bob is in the KKK" is an ad hominem attack, not an example of genetic fallacy.

Whether the ad hominem attack is a logical fallacy depends on the specifics. If it is used to say "the person must be wrong because of some characteristic" it is a falacy. If it is used to say "the person's stated 'facts' can't be trusted because of some characteristic that makes them unreliable on this point" then whether it is fallacy depends on whether that characteristic does actually make them unreliable.

"Well he would say that" about a prominent politician denying an illicit affair is the classic justified ad hominem attack. It says that his denials have negligible evidentiary value (because he would say that whether he was guilty or not), not that his denials are definitely false.

You are relying on Finkelstein not just for his reasoning, but also for his factual statements. Which, as I said, are unreliable. Find the sources of his "facts".

Don Emmerich said...

From the Dictionary of World Philosophy.

"Genetic fallacy argues from the goodness or badness of an item’s origin to the goodness or badness of the item. A particular case of this fallacy is the ad hominem fallacy discussed above.”

So my point stands. You argued that because Norman Finkelstein is bad (he’s a “self-hating Jew”) it follows that his argument (that the IDF targeted civilians and civilian infrastructure during Cast Lead) is bad. In other words, you committed the genetic fallacy.

Don Emmerich said...

I'm not basing any of my beliefs on Norman Finkelstein's character or his credibility. I'm not saying: "I believe X because Norman Finkelstein said X."

My point is simply that Norman Finkelstein has given a very good argument. I'm merely looking at his argument, which is all that matters, not his character. If you want to get into the specifics of Finkelstein's argument, if you want to look at the evidence he's using, at the sources he's citing, then let's do it.

All along, I've simply been trying to stick to the evidence, to debate the facts. But you love to go off on your little tangents. You love to generalize and come up with all this neat little analogies.