Gaza – human shields, ceasefire?

There are so many developments occurring in Gaza it is difficult to follow them all. There are reports that the IDF made locals in Gaza move into a house that they then proceeded to attack. Amnesty has criticised both sides for using human shields.

Israeli troops had forced Palestinian civilians to stay in their homes after taking them over as sniper positions or bases, it said quoting sources in Gaza.

“This increases risk to families and means they are effectively being used as human shields,” the group said.

Hamas fighters also put civilians in danger by firing from homes, it added.

“The use of these tactics at a time when armed confrontations are taking place in streets in the middle of densely-populated residential areas underlines the failure of both sides to respect the protected status of civilians in armed conflict,” said Amnesty’s Malcolm Smart.

The use of human shields in conflict is prohibited under the Geneva Conventions.

Article 51.7 states the presence of civilians “shall not be used to… shield military objectives from attacks or to shield, favour or impede military operations”.

In recent days we have had the UN Security Council call for a ceasefire, which was rejected by both sides (and where the US abstained):

Last minute intervention from the White House, under intense pressure from Israel, led to the surprise US abstention in last night’s UN security council vote calling for a ceasefire in Gaza, according to diplomatic sources.

PM Olmert:

“Israel has never agreed for any outside influence to decide on its right to defend its citizens,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said, according to a statement from his office.

“The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) will continue to operate in order to defend the citizens of Israel and will carry out the task it was given for the operation.”

Hamas official said:

…his group was also rejecting the UN resolution, because “it is not in the best interest of the Palestinian people.”

But is that true that we will not have a ceasefire? Paul McGeough in the SMH reports on The Economist’s Jerusalem correspondent, Gideon Lichfield who says:

When the question the world is asking is not ‘Who’s right?’ but ‘What works?’ the consistent impression Israel leaves is that it kills people because, at best, it simply doesn’t have any better ideas; and at worst, because some Israeli leader is trying to get the upper hand on one of his or her rivals.

And then you find that the three contenders for the Israeli PM’s job seem to be splitting over the way forward for Operation Cast Lead:

Mr Olmert, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and Defence Minister Ehud Barak, political rivals in the ruling coalition, held a special meeting before starting a security cabinet with other top ministers and military leaders.

The three key ministers are divided over how to continue Operation Cast Lead.

Mr Olmert is reported to be in favour of pursuing the military offensive, while Mr Barak wants a ceasefire.

Ms Livni has spoken out against any ceasefire with Hamas because this would give implicit recognition of the movement which Israel and most Western nations have on their terrorist lists.

Then again – we were told that this had nothing to do with the upcoming elections in Israel. Purely the defence (or should I be using the US spelling – defense) of Israel.

I do not care how complex the problems are between the Israelis and the Palestinians, innocent people should not die.

joni

Update: And now the IDF has admitted that they lied about the attack on the UN school:

On Thursday the United Nations suspended food aid deliveries after one of its drivers was killed by Israeli artillery fire. This followed Israel’s disastrous shelling of a UN school in Gaza on Tuesday that killed 40 Palestinians who had taken refuge there.

Israel said militants had fired shells at it from inside the school and that its soldiers were returning fire in self-defence. But the UN’s Relief and Works Agency spokesman, Christopher Gunness, says the Israeli Defence Force has now been forced to concede that it made a mistake.

“In briefings, senior IDF officers conducted for foreign diplomats, they admitted the shelling to which IDF forces in Jabaliya were responding did not originate from the school,” Mr Gunness told the Herald.

“The IDF admitted in that briefing that the attack on the UN site was unintentional.”

I am sorry, but it was not unintentional – they told us that they were there, and so it was deliberate.

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112 Responses

  1. Didn’t we have a topic only a short while ago, and this was called ethics. From: http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/ndtv/story.aspx?id=NEWEN20090079342&ch=1/9/2009%2010:36:00%20AM So far, more than 100 children have been killed..(and) An official at the Palestinian Health Ministry said 746 Palestinians have died in Israel’s 13-day offensive (and) Twelve Israelis, including nine soldiers, have died since the December 27 beginning of the offensive against the Hamas militants in charge of Gaza..

    Am thinking that the percent of children killed is extreme. Yes I know that it’s because of military personnel taking refuge in schools, hence the reason for so many children bombed. However, something doesn’t sound quite right.

    100 children versus 12 soldiers.

    Please excuse if I’m asking dumb questions..this situation is still a learning experience for me.

  2. Min

    I actually felt sick when I read that the IDF had lied about the UN school.

    And there are no dumb questions, we are all trying to learn as much as we can.

    (BTW – squish-hugs to you!)

  3. Well that’s odd..my name is coming up as Min&hellip. And who is hellip? Hope that he/she is good with housework as mine is sadly languishing.

  4. I am just seeing min min…

  5. Hello joni..it seems that hellip has invaded your household as well.

    I cannot understand a situation where one might murder a number of children in order to kill one enemy combatant. And yes I am certain that there are any number of justifications.

    But what is the solution. The only thing that I can think of is placing an embargo against both nations, but I fear that this isn’t going to happened because of the Jewish influence (aka money) especially in the USA.

    To me, this is the big fly in the ointment which prevents any reasonable solution to the Israel/Palestinian problem.

  6. The thingy coming up is: 2. joni&hellip | January 10, 2009 at 11:19 am

  7. My suggestion is to restart your browser. Mine is seeing the names OK.

  8. I am also being haunted by a “hellip” & on the other threads I’ve just looked at, sure enough, everybody is with hellip.

  9. I’m seeing it too Joni:

    7. joni&hellip | January 10, 2009 at 11:59 am

  10. Hmmmm…. mine is OK… I am using a Mac and Safari…. let me check firefox

  11. Min,

    Certain characters are not available on some keyboards, and some characters, if used in HTML code will be interpreted by the browser as code, rather than literal letters.

    … Occasionally it is better to use the proper ellipsis rather than to type three dots.

    &hellip = three dots which are triggering the &hellip elipsis code that have been replaced, for unknown reasons at your end, or those three dots represent the elipsis code, and yours is just showing the code and not the elipsis dots the code represents.

    I see “Min dot dot dot” and “Joni dot dot dot”.

  12. Firefox is OK… and I see three dots after everyones names, so maybe it is a rendering problem with Internet Explorer… anyone using Firefox or another browser?

  13. As for Gaza, the deliberate (or “unintentional” if you’re an IDF spokesmurderer) targetting of an AID convoy that they were forewarned about was telling. Similarly, the emaciated children found near their mothers corpses.

    Then there is the trusty US “abstaining” (alone) from making what I would consider to be a very reasonable, & overdue, resolution in the Security Council. True to form. What did they stand to lose for voting in the affirmative? apart from, presumably, putting Israel’s nose out of joint.

    How anybody can defend such antics, in light of the human tragedy involved, is absolutely beyond my comprehension.

  14. Legion

    So it does look like a HTML rendering problem… I think wordpress might have changed something, and we will have to see if they fix it in the coming hours.

    And toiletboss – I agree – this now beyond comprehension, but of course those responsible in the IDF will never have to face any punishment.

  15. Hi Toiletboss,

    Please humour me for a minute while I try and clarify my thoughts on this.

    What we are being told, and I think we can say for sure, is that a truck (or trucks) was hit by Israeli fire. What I can’t get my head around is why – when international sentiment is so vitally important in the propaganda battle that’s being waged – would Israel do this intentionally?

  16. 12. joni…

    I’m on firefox joni, just a name, no funny extras. i see you as joni…

    I don’t get a preview screen though, I remember in the FAQ someone said that a preview would be good, you replied that it shows up on the right, but I’ve never seen one.

  17. And Tony, yet again Fisk was spot on about the school (see your comment on the Truth in War thread comment 71).

    The IDF who you said were at the school lied.

    I am still sickened by the IDF’s actions. And yes – I still condemn the action of Hamas in both the rocket attacks on Israel and theier use of human shields.

  18. Kitty

    Do you mean a preview of comments?

  19. Tony. For what it’s worth, my opinion is that the nation of Israel has such momentus re backers especially in the US that bad PR doesn’t count for much.

    Only a UN resolution will help, which isn’t going to happen while the USA has a casting vote…that’s my understanding, but will stand corrected.

  20. I’m wondering if anyone gets the sense that this is going to be a long and very bloody war?

    Israel clamps down on Gaza

    ISRAEL last night escalated its offensive against Hamas as the UN Security Council called for an immediate ceasefire and the Jewish state was accused of its worst blunder of the 14-day campaign.
    Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said last night the Gaza offensive would be maintained despite the UN resolution.
    “Israel has never agreed for any outside influence to decide on its right to defend its citizens,” Mr Olmert said.
    “The IDF (Israel Defence Forces) will continue to operate in order to defend the citizens of Israel and will carry out the task it was given for the operation.
    “This morning’s rocket fire against the citizens in the south only proves that the UN resolution is not practical and will not be respected by the Palestinian terror organisations.”
    A Hamas official in Beirut, Raafat Morra, said his group was also rejecting the UN resolution, because “it is not in the best interest of the Palestinian people”.

  21. Joni,

    I have only just noticed your update. If that report is correct, and Israel lied about there being terrorists at that school, then I roundly condemn them for it. It also makes it harder for us to believe their new excuse that it was unintentional.

    But, my question above to toiletboss applies equally in this situation: what on earth would they have to gain by deliberately targetting a UN facility? Apart from causing the tragic deaths of tens of innocent civilians, it is just plain stupid from a PR point of view.

  22. And remember Tony, this is what the IDF said – just more proof that they LIED!

    After an investigation that took place over the past hour it has been found that amongst the dead at the Jabalya school were Hamas terror operatives and a mortar battery cell who were firing on IDF forces in the area. Hamas operatives Imad Abu Askhar and Hassan Abu Askhar were amongst terrorists that were identified to be killed

    .

  23. Thank you joni..was getting a bit worried especially when I read (ref: Urban dictionary) that ‘hellip’ is A lump of semiliquid substance, typically a mixture of saliva and mucus coughed up from the respiratory tract as a result of infection or disease.

    Apologies for being off topic.

    Joni: No apologies needed!

  24. Tony

    It is not and should not be about PR.

    I am just more and more convinced that this war is all about the upcoming election in Israel and nothing about stopping the rockets or destroying Hamas. Israel have deliberately de-humanised the Palestinians and just do not care.

    Disgusting!

    There must be a ceasefire and somehow a solution must be found.

    If only Mo Mowlam was still around. She was instrumental in getting the peace accord in Northern Ireland. She would take off her wig (after cancer) to get the politicians talking.

    As Northern Ireland Secretary, her habit of removing her newly-acquired wig during difficult meetings enchanted the public, but irritated or repelled many leading Unionists.

  25. 22. Joni,

    Yes, that’s what they said. Now I just want to see them confirm this latest report (you will excuse me if I don’t take that report as the final word on the matter). As I said at the time, none of us knows what actually happened, but that the facts would become known. That seems to be happening already.

  26. And double apologies given the seriousness of the original topic. Rocks in my head.

    I’m not certain what they mean about ‘amongst the dead there was a Hamas terrorist operative’. Do they mean that they found an adult amongst the children? And what proof is there that he/she was a terrorist operative? Perhaps he was dressed in garb and had equipment?

  27. Hamas operatives Imad Abu Askhar and Hassan Abu Askhar were amongst terrorists that were identified to be killed.

    Parse that sentence for verb tense. Noted that at the time. Cobbling things together on the fly leads to leakage. But to be fair, the IDF has still left open to itself the claim that their out-of-date circa 2007 intel wasn’t what caused them to attack a school while they were ‘smashing all of Hamas’ buildings’, but that they were in fact aiming at something nearby, and just unintentionally hit the school. What intrigues me is who were the anonymous sources making phonecalls to the Associated Press vouching for the Israeli not a lie version. 😉

  28. Don not misunderstand me. I am not saying it should be about PR. I am just applying the logic that at the very least, PR concerns should see that Israel avoids hurting innocents wherever possible.

    As for this being all about an election, and nothing about stopping the rockets: we will have to disagree on that point.

  29. “What I can’t get my head around is why – when international sentiment is so vitally important in the propaganda battle that’s being waged – would Israel do this intentionally?”ToSY

    Why indeed?

    If it proves to be “true” (& on past form I’d suggest that it is) then it is a grave PR mistake (obvious despicable loss of life aside).
    As I understand the situation, based on what I read last night, the UN confirmed its movements with the IDF prior to embarkation & was still attacked. I’m not sure that “unintentional” or “we’re sorry, it was a mistake, this is war y’know” is a valid excuse given the circumstances.

    Also, as mentioned above, the earlier “collateral damage” at the UN school has proven to be a case of the IDF being loose with the truth.

  30. min@23

    LOL, I knew that a hellip had to be something shifty or otherwise it wouldn’t be haunting moi.

  31. 19. Thank you Min. you might be right.

  32. I must admit that I’m very reluctant to believe any of it from any side.

    Perhaps a telling statement is: The UN Relief and Works Agency’s top official in Gaza, John Ging, said it was “wholly unacceptable” that Israeli forces were “firing at our workers”. (via The Age).

  33. 20. John McPhilbin

    No, I’d say it’s winding up and Israel has ‘lost’ (well, everyone in the entire world has lost, because that’s the nature of any and every war imho, but most especially those killed and harmed in the conflict, but Israel has really lost its war for hearts and minds and stands to lose a lot more if it continues for much longer). Unless Israel is more stupid than I give it credit for being and it has already been.

    Reasons…

    Israel’s Risk

    Risk well and truly crystallised in quite some detail, certainly far more than either Israel or the USA want going onto the table in open debate, going into resolution(s) by a General Assembly, or threatening to tear down the entire fabric, and the cosy relationships of power and control exercised by the permanent members of the SC, of the UN itself.

    Best guess…smash extensively, kill extensively, and vacate…like the closing days of Lebanon ’06.

  34. “But, my question above to toiletboss applies equally in this situation: what on earth would they have to gain by deliberately targetting a UN facility?”ToSY

    Min may be onto something. As Israel & its benefactor, the big daddy of all superpowers, are prone to mutually prostrate themselves before eachother (as evidenced by the US abstention in the recent SC vote [again])…perhaps Israel cares more about putting the frighteners into the inhabitants of Gaza (& anyone inclined to go to their aid) more than it cares about the fallout from the PR battle (which it is already miles behind in) as it knows that whilst sheltered beneath the US’s skirt hems it is virtually untouchable.
    Bad publicity (on the international scene) be damned, the war plays well at home.

  35. Toiletboss, The US ‘abstained’ which is bad but it could have ‘vetoed’ which would have been worse.

    “Rice apparently had assured the Arabs that the US would vote for the resolution but changed position because Bush interevened via a phone call.

    “Western and Arab diplomats said they had expected Rice to vote for the resolution and cited a phone call she had with U.S. President George W. Bush immediately before the vote.

    State Department officials did not immediately respond to e-mails and phone calls about why the United States ultimately decided not to back the resolution.

    Before taking her seat in the Security Council chamber, Rice huddled with Arab ministers and told them of the U.S. decision to abstain.”

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/burningIssues/idUKTRE50813J20090109?sp=true

    Only days to go!

  36. Legion

    I’m under the impression that the Israelis are committed to destroying Hamas. Whatever that is really supposed to mean.

    No doubt Bush also has his eye on Iran as well, perhaps hoping that this war will provoke them into getting involved. Lets face it, Iranian backed Hezbollah fired rockets from Lebanon just recently and It’s hard to tell just how far Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would be willing to go if the request is indeed real. It could just push him into a position where his bluff will be called.

    Iran says 70000 volunteer for Israel fight
    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — More than 70,000 Iranian students have volunteered to carry out suicide bombings against Israel, Iran’s state news agency reported Monday, but President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has not responded to their request for permission.
    Volunteer suicide groups have made similar requests in the past and the government never responded, giving the campaigns more of the feel of propaganda.
    According to the official IRNA news agency, hardline student leader Esmaeil Ahmadi said the students want to fight Israel in support of Hamas, Gaza’s Islamic militant rulers.
    Iran is Hamas’ main backer, though the country denies sending weapons to the Islamic militant movement that took control of the Gaza Strip in 2007. Iran considers Israel its archenemy, and Ahmadinejad has called for the destruction of the Jewish state.
    Five hard-line student groups and a conservative clerical group launched the registration drive for suicide bombers last week and asked the government to allow them to stage the attacks.
    In an open letter to Ahmadinejad, the students said “volunteer student suicide groups … are determined to go to Gaza. You are expected to issue orders to the relevant authorities to pave the way for such action.” A copy of the letter was made available to The Associated Press last week.

  37. Agree that a veto would have been much worse, & it’s not like they’re too scared to wield it. The abstention however is clearly indicative of the US strategic imperatives involved.
    I suppose that, in the same way Israel is fighting a parallel propaganda war, the US would have suffered a PR blow had it vetoed.
    I didn’t know of the Bush interference, but it is typical of the Bush/Cheney M.O..

    Good riddance to the chickenhawks. Here’s hoping that their replacements are a little more broadminded.

  38. Palestine, Afghanistan, and Iraq – all have hardened militants who don’t know life without hostility. The Irish fought the British for 800 years and what makes anyone think these conflicts will be any different.

  39. And who nurtured Hamas as a counter to Fatah?

    Few have the nerve to barge in like Dan Kurtzer. If he wanted something off his chest, he’d march into the highest office in the land. In the mid-1980s, as a US diplomat in Tel Aviv, Kurtzer did not like what he saw in Gaza.

    “Have you guys lost your minds?,” he yelled at then prime minister Shimon Peres’s most senior advisers. “Don’t you ever learn from history?”

    It was apparent to Kurtzer that Israel, despite denials, was nurturing an emerging Islamist movement in Gaza as a foil to Yasser Arafat’s secular Fatah movement.

    Oh yeah, Israel.

    Just like the US nurtured the Mujahadeen in Pakistand – which the became the Taliban.

    The US and Israel just seem intent on not learning from history.

  40. “More than 70,000 Iranian students have volunteered to carry out suicide bombings against Israel”

    It doesn’t take genius to realise that such things will only deepen the sh!t that ordinary citizens of Gaza find themselves up to the neck in.
    Stupid, stupid, stupid. Hopefully the Iranian powers that be (the Ayatollahs?) are a little more sensible than to follow through with such inflamatory tactics.

  41. Great link Adrian.

    Obviously Israel has nothing to hide, cough.

  42. The M/E, in general is a quagmire and frankly I don’t think things are going to improve anytime soon, simply because it’s being involved in conflict for so long and the damage and hatred passes on from generation to generation. You could say, violence and hatred is well and truly part of their cultures.

    And the idea of diplomacy at gunpoint by the US and Israel only serves to inflame tensions. Having said that there is a significant portion of the M/E who would like to see the complete destruction of Israel and how are they suppose to respond to the hostilities they face?

    Between Iraq and a hard place
    John McPhilbin
    Wed 06 Dec 06 (04:30pm)
    http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/geoffelliott/index.php/theaustralian/comments/between_iraq_and_a_hard_place/

    History, combined with a little knowledge of Middle Eastern culture and ethnic tensions, as well as a basic understanding of the adverse consequences of social and political breakdowns under hostile conditions, seems to have been all but ignored in the planning and execution of the Iraq invasion and subsequent occupation, in my opinion.
    We Westerners also find it hard to comprehend parents encouraging their children to be suicide bombers, or civilians willingly forming human shields around militants to prevent attacks (which has been the case recently in Palestine). Our problem is that we tend to underestimate the resolve of people who live in the war-torn Middle East.
    Why on earth would someone strap a bomb to themselves and detonate it in crowded places, or drive a vehicle laden with explosives into military checkpoints? With an estimated 150,000 civilians killed since the invasion it’s not hard to see why this may be happening.
    Life is cheap, that is the lesson they have learned. “

  43. ToSY the deliberate targetting of Palestinian civilians by Israel has been a tactic they have unsuccessfully been engaging in for decades now. It is collective punishment and a message that if you don’t tow our line, support who we tell you to support and don’t protest against our injustices against you. If one of you commits an atrocity or attack against us all of you will suffer. If one of your children is a culprit then the whole family and friends will suffer under our revenge.

    Israel believes it can get away with it because it has control of most of the Western media cycle and much support from Western governments, most importantly from the US. It also believes it can get away with it because it has a large and sophisticated propaganda unit (I think I read the second biggest in the world), and it attempts to strictly control the media of its actions, including that of NGOs. It has regularly attacked (and killed) foreign activists, aid agencies, NGOs and media that have been in the vicinity of its actions, especially where atrocities against Palestinians have taken place.

    It believes it can get away with it because it believes its side of the story will be believed by those who count.

  44. Joni@39 – what a wicked web that has been weaved.

    Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Palestine all predominantly (overwhelmingly)Islamic countries and all embroiled in conflict with the West – you can almost guarantee that the divide between Islam and the West will continue to grow and intensify.

  45. Indeed Adrian – I think the world is beginning to wake up to the MO of the Israelis, that by spreading only one side of the story they can win the PR war.

    There is even an article in today’s SMH by Vic Alhadeff, chief executive officer of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies.

    He even says:

    Finally, since there has been no Israeli presence in Gaza since 2005, why does Hamas use its resources to attack Israel, instead of building up Gaza?

    Um, perhaps the blockade had something to do with it? You know, the blockade that was to be lifted under the ceasefire agreement? And what about the fact that Israel stopped the tax money going to Gaza which would have helped to rebuild Gaza?

  46. John @ 43.

    Life is cheap, that is the lesson they have learned.

    No – that is actually false.

    Death is cheap. That is the real lesson.

  47. 40. & 42.

    This just confirms what I’ve been saying. Public opinion is ivitallly important to Israel. Please forgive me if I repeat something I said on another thread the other day: “Israel learnt a lesson in Lebanon. That is, if you lose the propoganda battle, you lose the war – no matter how just your cause.”

    Adrian’s article is just proof of what we all knew intuitively was going on. So I ask again: If, as we now know, PR is so important to Israel in legitimising the war to the watching world, why would it then undo all its efforts in this area by deliberately targetting innocents on the field of battle? It just doesn’t make any sense.

  48. Tony

    Maybe they believe their own propaganda?

    The rest of the world seems to be seeing through it this time.

  49. 44. Adrian, don’t worry about answering my question at 48. This explains your view well enough.

  50. Because Tony they believe the world will believe their side of the story as that is the only real source. All other stories are either Palestinian civilians (to be automatically discounted of course) and NGO, UN etc. which are biased according to Israel (as they said for the umpteenth time last night) and which is what they go to great lengths to continuously put out across the media.

    By refusing to allow any media that they don’t control to cover their actions Israel believes it can do what it likes and get away with it.

    Thing is their continuous efforts to cower the Palestinians by brute force and terror fail every time, yet it doesn’t stop Israel from doing it time and time again. Also it is the Israelis that investigate all these incidents in closed and stacked enquiries, usually the IDF investigating the IDF.

    The worst incident of the lot and the one the Israelis are currently having the most problem with is where for four days they did not allow the Red Cross to help children who were besides their dead mothers who were killed by the IDF. Apparently in the room of many dead there were 14 survivors, including the children with their dead mothers, and the IDF just ignored these survivors knowing they were their, but worst would not allowed aid to go them.

    The firing by the IDF on the aid convoy during a ceasefire killing a forklift driver is also very damning, as the IDF were given the coordinates of the aid being set up (as they are for all aid movements), all the vehicles were clearly marked and had tall flags (including the forklifts) and it was coordinated by the IDF, including the IDF being the ones who ordered what contractors were to be used.

    That attack on that convoy caused all aid to be suspended as the safety of the agencies could no longer be guaranteed, which was probably Israel’s aim as it is a tactic they have often used in the past, and again the aim is to cause as much suffering to the Palestinians as possible. Again coming back to a mass punishment for them daring to get ahead in Gaza despite their harsh blockade of two years and oppression by Israel.

  51. Good example Tony is last night where the Israel spokesperson (can’t remember who) said the infamous massacre at Jenin wasn’t of Arabs but Jews.

    They are now also attempting to rewrite the history of several other mass killings as that of the Jews who were the one aggrieved.

  52. Thanks anyway Adrian. By the way, haven’t noticed you around these parts for a couple of days. Welcome back. 😉

  53. Had to rethink my life, seriously. Still some more contemplation to come but will cross that bridge when I get there.

    The two recent stories, with the one of the deliberate denial of aid for many days to survivors, some seriously wounded and some children who were in a room full of dead, apparently because of an IDF attack, really had my blood boiling, which got me posting again. I had planned a hiatus until I crossed my bridge. Then I have read that the IDF were around that building for many of the days they denied aid to those people and children sitting next to their dead mothers, yet those Israeli soldiers didn’t lift one finger to help or call for help, stating “operational reasons” as their excuse.

    I’ll ask anyone here who believes those four children who sat next to their dead mothers and witness them being killed by Israelis won’t grow up hating Israelis and won’t jump at the chance becoming a suicide bomber when older. And thus Israel sows the next crop of terror against it.

    Thanks for the welcome back, it is appreciated.

  54. Adrian, your passion is to be admired, and I, like you, truly despair for the innocents caught up in all of this.

    But seriously Adrian, if you’re not getting at least some enjoyment from all this – debating, blogging, whatever you wish to call it – you have got to ease up.

    As much as we would all like to think we can make a difference, the reality is that you’ll rarely change anyone’s mind, and you definitely won’t alter the course of the events you’re commenting on.

    So please Adrian, spar with me as much as you like, because I enjoy it. But remember: with me, it’s never personal..

  55. Oh no you have me wrong Tony it is not this blog, or the other blogging and fora I engage in that has caused a rethink of my life, it is my life or more precisely a threat to it that has done that. Please leave it at that and I might elucidate when I cross my next bridge.

  56. OK, no probs. Didn’t mean to pry.

  57. No probs Tony I didn’t think you were prying. My god blogging and debating is what makes me alive, I love this shit, and as you and many can see I am passionate about it.

  58. Originally published in the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle. The editor who accepted the article for publication was promptly fired

    Quest for Justice

    http://www.connexions.org/CxLibrary/Docs/CX5256-QuestforJustice.htm

    Hopefully, somewhere deep inside, every Jew of conscience knows that this was no war; that this was not G-d’s restitution of the holy land to it’s rightful owners. We know that a human atrocity was and continues to be perpetuated against an innocent people who couldn’t come up with the arms and money to defend themselves against the western powers bent upon their demise as a people.

    We cannot continue to say, “But what were we to do?” Zionism is not synonymous with Judaism. I wholly support the rally of the right of return of the Palestinian people.

  59. This piece is called Quest for Justice, originally written in 2002, by a person of the Jewish faith.

    I will try and post the link in a minute. Either the site I entered is not letting me post the link, or you guys have blocked my posts.

    Hopefully, somewhere deep inside, every Jew of conscience knows that this was no war; that this was not God’s restitution of the holy land to it’s rightful owners. We know that a human atrocity was and continues to be perpetuated against an innocent people who couldn’t come up with the arms and money to defend themselves against the western powers bent upon their demise as a people.

    We cannot continue to say, “But what were we to do?” Zionism is not synonymous with Judaism. I wholly support the rally of the right of return of the Palestinian people.

  60. Page cannot be found Angel.

  61. Funny that, isn’t it? I cannot post the link ANYWHERE, so here is the full article.

    Quest for Justice. – By Judith StoneNovember 2002 . Originally published in the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle. The editor who accepted the article for publication was promptly fired.

    I am a Jew. I was a participant in the Rally for the Right of Return to Palestine. It was the right thing to do. I’ve heard about the European holocaust against the Jews since I was a small child. I’ve visited the memorials in Washington, DC and Jerusalem dedicated to Jewish lives lost and I’ve cried at the recognition to what level of atrocity mankind is capable of sinking.

    Where are the Jews of conscience? No righteous malice can be held against the survivors of Hitler’s holocaust. These fragments of humanity were in no position to make choices beyond that of personal survival. We must not forget that being a survivor or a co-religionist of the victims of the European Holocaust does not grant dispensation from abiding by the rules of humanity.

    “Never again” as a motto, rings hollow when it means “never again to us alone.” My generation was raised being led to believe that the biblical land was a vast desert inhabited by a handful of impoverished Palestinians living with their camels and eking out a living in the sand. The arrival of the Jews was touted as a tremendous benefit to these desert dwellers. Golda Mier even assured us that there “is no Palestinian problem.”

    We know now this picture wasn’t as it was painted. Palestine was a land filled with people who called it home. There were thriving towns and villages, schools and hospitals. There were Jews, Christians and Muslims. In fact, prior to the occupation, Jews represented a mere 7 percent of the population and owned 3 percent of the land.

    Taking the blinders off for a moment, I see a second atrocity perpetuated by the very people who should be exquisitely sensitive to the suffering of others. These people knew what it felt like to be ordered out of your home at gun point and forced to march into the night to unknown destinations or face execution on the spot. The people who displaced the Palestinians knew first hand what it means to watch your home in flames, to surrender everything dear to your heart at a moment’s notice. Bulldozers leveled hundreds of villages, along with the remains of the village inhabitants, the old and the young. This was nothing new to the world.

    Poland is a vast graveyard of the Jews of Europe. Israel is the final resting place of the massacred Palestinian people. A short distance from the memorial to the Jewish children lost to the holocaust in Europe there is a leveled parking lot. Under this parking lot is what’s left of a once flourishing village and the bodies of men, women and children whose only crime was taking up needed space and not leaving graciously. This particular burial marker reads: “Public Parking”.

    I’ve talked with Palestinians. I have yet to meet a Palestinian who hasn’t lost a member of their family to the Israeli Shoah, nor a Palestinian who cannot name a relative or friend languishing under inhumane conditions in an Israeli prison. Time and time again, Israel is cited for human rights violations to no avail. On a recent trip to Israel, I visited the refugee camps inhabited by a people who have waited 52 years in these ‘temporary’ camps to go home. Every Palestinian grandparent can tell you the name of their village, their street, and where the olive trees were planted.

    Their grandchildren may never have been home, but they can tell you where their great-grandfather lies buried and where the village well stood. The press has fostered the portrait of the Palestinian terrorist. But, the victims who rose up against human indignity in the Warsaw Ghetto are called heroes. Those who lost their lives are called martyrs. The Palestinian who tosses a rock in desperation is a terrorist.

    Two years ago I drove through Palestine and watched intricate sprinkler systems watering lush green lawns of Zionist settlers in their new condominium complexes, surrounded by armed guards and barbed wire in the midst of a Palestinian community where there was not adequate water to drink and the surrounding fields were sandy and dry. University professor Moshe Zimmerman reported in the Jerusalem Post (April 30, 1995), “The [Jewish] children of Hebron are just like Hitler’s youth.”

    We Jews are suing for restitution, lost wages, compensation for homes, land, slave labor and back wages in Europe. Am I a traitor of a Jew for supporting the right of return of the Palestinian refugees to their birthplace and compensation for what was taken that cannot be returned?

    The Jewish dead cannot be brought back to life and neither can the Palestinian massacred be resurrected. David Ben Gurion said, “Let us not ignore the truth among ourselves… politically, we are the aggressors and they defend themselves …The country is theirs, because they inhabit it, whereas we want to come here and settle down, and in their view we want to take away from them their country…”

    Palestine is a land that has been occupied and emptied of its people. It’s cultural and physical landmarks have been obliterated and replaced by tidy Hebrew signs. The history of a people was the first thing eradicated by the occupiers. The history of the indigenous people has been all but eradicated >as though they never existed. And all this has been hailed by the world as a miraculous act of G-d. We must recognize that Israel’s existence is not even a question of legality so much as it is an illegal fait accompli realized through the use of force while supported by the Western powers. The UN missions directed at Israel in attempting to correct its violations of have thus far been futile.

    In Hertzl’s “The Jewish State,” the father of Zionism said, “…We must investigate and take possession of the new Jewish country by means of every modern expedient.” I guess I agree with Ehud Barak (3 June 1998) when he said, “If I were a Palestinian, I’d also join a terror group.” I’d go a step further perhaps. Rather than throwing little stones in desperation, I’d hurtle a boulder.

    Hopefully, somewhere deep inside, every Jew of conscience knows that this was no war; that this was not G-d’s restitution of the holy land to it’s rightful owners. We know that a human atrocity was and continues to be perpetuated against an innocent people who couldn’t come up with the arms and money to defend themselves against the western powers bent upon their demise as a people.

    We cannot continue to say, “But what were we to do?” Zionism is not synonymous with Judaism. I wholly support the rally of the right of return of the Palestinian people.
    Originally published in the Kansas City Jewish Chronicle. The editor who accepted the article for publication was promptly fired.
    (CX5256)

  62. Thanks Angel. When I lived in Israel I came across many like minded Jews and was surprised by the amount of open criticism of Israeli government policy in both the media and by people I met and worked with.

    Anyway I’ll give the link a go just to make sure there isn’t a block on it:

    Quest for Justice

  63. 56. Adrian of Nowra

    Deep apologies if I added to any personal anguish, Adrian

    My comments the other night were not intended as a personal attack, I was angry at the way Shane had been hounded…

    I finished my remarks to you with “cobber” hoping that a matelot would understand – in my “circle” it has a particular meaning…

    Keep, those post comin’ cobber!

    …and that’s the last of my apologies, blogocrats…

  64. And Aye to you too TB.

  65. Nah TB it wasn’t you even though the way you came across had pissed me off, it was just a matter of coincidental timing.

    Please don’t stop pulling me up if you believe I have overstepped the mark with you or anyone else. If I believe I have I’ll apologise and say so. If I believe I haven’t then you’ll get an eyeful of irate typing.

  66. Joni, it’s a bit late to be dusting off the Geneva Conventions, don’t you think? It’s been a long time since they were adhered to by any nation.

    It won’t be long before both sides claim a Pyrrhic victory.

  67. For TB..just an update, the young bloke has made LS but doesn’t have to go down to Sydney as the boss stood up for him and insisted that he wanted J to stay with the crew. Instead just 2 months down at Cerberus.

  68. MIn as you probably know I was also a pusser for 22 years and am still in the Active Reserves.

    I would be interested t know how long it took him to get to killick and what rate he is?

    I paid off a chief and with my reserve time am only a year away from WO. I have been told that because of the shortage and demand that if I signed up for CFTS I could probably have the seniority time waived and make WO within a few months. I love my current job but you don’t know how tempting this is with the huge pay and conditions increase the move will entail along with having a good chunk of my mortgage paid for each month.

    Anyway OT and all the best for your young fella.

  69. Thank you Angel. One thing that I do no understand is why Israel/the Jewish nation in spite of all the terrible suffering inflicted upon them in decades and centuries past, why do they want to inflict the same suffering on others? Surely the diaspora has taught something. Why do they want others to become another diaspora?

  70. Min.

    Do you think this could be some type of whole race Stockholm Syndrome where today they believe the answer to their conflict is what was perpetrated so horribly on them?

  71. Adrian..coming up 7 years. Started off avtech Wagga Wagga and supposed to go to Nowra, but you know what happened re the Sea Sprites. AB prior to the 2nd tour to the Gulf and East Timor and a long space to make LS.

    Very scarey Adrian is almost a WO.

  72. I spent five years all up at Albatross. Won’t bore you al with the details. Liked the area (South Coast NSW) so much I moved here after spending some time in Victoria when I paid off.

  73. Adrian. No idea. The Stockholm Syndrome suggests loyalty of the victim. That is unless you are suggesting that the Israeli people are victims unto themselves.

    Apologies, must go as duty calls.

  74. Isn’t Stockholm Syndrome also a sympathy with the perpetrator as per Patty Hearst, where the victim takes up the cause and actions of the perpetrator?

  75. Min,

    I have no idea. I find the brutality utterly appalling, and they come accross as money and armament backed bully boys.

    I was about to say I can’t believe they can get away with this, but that’s a silly thing to say. Money and Power can get away with anything. Look at Iraq.

    I have a CD by Natasha Atlas, called Diaspora. I don’t think I will ever use the music again.

  76. Adrian @ 77

    And now more truth comes out, the lies of Israel keep getting revealed.

    And Stephan @ 68. No – I do not think that it is too late for the Geneva Conventions.

  77. This latest round of bloodletting in Gaza is disgusting to say the least, sinking to a depth of depravity the world should roundly condemn, and act upon to halt immediately, by placing UN peacekeepers at the borders of Gaza thereby taking control of the situation; and yet, again, the US abstains from voting the UN motion to do same. Typically US under the rule of Bushco.
    Israel has just given birth to the next generation of Israel hating Palestinian youth, most of whom by now will find that one of their family members is no longer living, disenfrachised, homeless or imprisoned along with the other 8000 Palestinians Israel holds in prisons, without formal charge. Children without hope. Nothing is more disgusting. Let us not forget we are speaking of people residing in a large refugee camp.
    Israel was aware of Palestinian tunnel systems for the purpose of smuggling goods and arms some time ago. Yet Israel chose to attack innocent civilians, at large.

    Palestinians without a homeland have nothing to lose but their lives, which history tells us they willing give up in the face of overwhelming military might and resources of Israel and the US.
    One may question if Israel is in fact acting in its own best (safety) interests by not encouraging the creation of a Palestinian state. I think not. Missiles from Lebanon, of late, would back my notion. Yet again, we, the citizens of the world are subjected to daily news vision showing outright slaughter.
    All this after the dishonest Bush/Cheney/ Rice team of criminals assured us that ‘I will work toward the creation of a Palestinian State by the end of my term in office’.

  78. Israel has aerial dropped leaflets over Gaza telling all people to get out as soon as possible.

    This is apparently in response to the string of atrocities against civilians being blamed on the Israelis (for which the MoI has gone into overdrive across the world media, denying it was their fault and the accusations are lies).

    So now they manufacture an excuse to keep committing atrocities instead of just stopping them. It goes like this:

    Most of the Palestinians can’t get out of Gaza, with the Egyptians stopping them on one side (and shooting Palestinians who attempt to enter Egypt) and the Israelis blocking them on the other. So just where are 1½ million of them supposed to go? Nowhere of course, but it now gives the Israelis an excuse for when the next mass killings of civilians takes place.

    “We more than adequately warned them to get out so it is their fault they chose to stay.”

  79. Israel employing the Ariel Sharon siege tactic once more. This is as much an Israeli psychological war against Palestinian women and children as it is a hot war against Hamas.

    American news media and blog writers had suggested in the months prior to Xmas 2008 that Israel may attack Iran’s nuclear facility around Boxing Day as there was no moonlight, the Shrub and Obama in an administrative state of flux, an election in Israel approaching.
    Seems Gaza was their (Israeli) preferred target all along, planned to the minute.
    So what we have is a press release by Israel, stating that in the past 6 to 12 months over 3000 missiles have been fired upon Israel from the Gaza strip, leaving us to believe that it takes 3000 missiles to draw a military response from Israel.
    During those 6 to 12 months however, Israel does not truthfully relate the demoralising impact of its eternal control of traffic in and out of Gaza.
    With the onset of the Obama administration, I fear more of the same lame duck adherence by the US to whatever Israel wishes to do on the question of Palestine, especially when one takes into consideration that Obama’s advisory panel consists in part of Rahm Emanuel and Martin Indyk. Its time the US ceases to take orders from Israel.
    Time for the international community, particularly Europe, east and west to take the lead on this issue, relegating the US to its true position of Israel’s servant.

  80. But Europe is explicit in aiding Israel to oppress the Palestinians.

    During the nearly two year blockade of the Palestinians in Gaza many European countries, including those in the EU, increased trade with Israel (not with the Palestinians) hugely to the favour of Israel. Europe is now increasingly purchasing more Israeli goods and services and one country has signed a free trade agreement with Israel.

    This increased European trade with Israel saw its economy improve by over 7%, yet aid to Israel increased substantially whilst it decreased to the Palestinians.

    So Israel, though a relatively wealthy nation, receives aid as though it is a third world country. So it lives in relative luxury whilst right next door millions live in an abject poverty amongst the worst in the world.

  81. How many days has Teh Village Idiot got left?

    By the looks of the current situation in Gaza it isn’t going to be over & done with any time soon. This leads me to wonder how soon the incoming POTUS will make a categorical statement about the mess & what tone that statement may take.
    I gotta say that I’m not overly confident that the US stance will change by anything but the barest of increments, perhaps some more concessionary rhetoric but little of tangible value to those under seige.

  82. TB. Obama in his most recent speech, the one after he his economic plan, stated he would make the M.E. his first priority and would begin working on it the moment he took office.

    Won’t be long until we find out just how much of Obama is decisive action and how much is elegant speech.

  83. Good points Adrian. Thanks. Time for a changing of the guard.
    Israel must be held to account for its criminal actions in the same way Israel holds to account Palestinian transgressors.

    More later.

  84. “Won’t be long until we find out just how much of Obama is decisive action and how much is elegant speech.”Adrian

    The disillusioned cynic in me isn’t holding his breath.

    Particularly in the case of the ME Obama will be damned if he does & damned if he doesn’t, coupled with the deeprooted problems in his own patch I don’t think he’ll be able to do a lot unless he’s really willing to break with many, many years of the US’s traditional selective ignorance applied strategically in the ME.

    I hope to stand corrected by his affirmative action but I don’t reside in fantasyland, still, gotta give the guy a chance.

  85. How long do you think Iran can remain at arm’s length without being implicated in retaliatory efforts?

    Anger growing over Gaza war
    Thousands of Lebanese Shi’ites who turned out for the Muslim Ashura festival in the southern Lebanese town of Nabatiyeh also protested against the Israeli offensive, carrying Hezbollah and Palestinian flags.
    “We tell the people of Gaza and the elderly in Gaza and the heroes of the resistance, you are not alone, we are with you … victory is yours, God willing,” Mohammed Raad, a senior Hezbollah official, told the crowd. ”

    This was almost inevitable don’t you think? A larger regional war may just be seen as an opportunity for Iran to gain a upper hand over Israel and the US. They don’t want to be fighting wars on multiple fronts and there are many Shiites in Iraq who support Iran, which could upset efforts in Iraq if Iran come under fire..

    Attacked on two fronts
    “The military source said Israel had to weigh whether it was in its interest to escalate the conflict.
    “We are concerned that Hezbollah, working closely with Iran, may be seeking to provoke Israel and turn this into a major regional conflict.”

  86. I’m wondering whether this assault on Gaza hasn’t been engineered to provoke a regional war that would include Iran and therefore force the incoming Obama administration to continue hostility in the region.

    Frankly anything Bush and Cheney would be willing to try to try and justify their past actions wouldn’t surprise me.

  87. Is the main game Iran?

    http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,24892396-28737,00.html
    ” Barak leads the Labor Party, which only a few weeks ago was facing a wipeout at the February 10 election.

    Polls had Labor winning as few as seven seats; now the polls have them winning as many as 16 seats.

    Barak is a creature of the Israeli military: he has spent his entire adult life in the army, rising to become its chief of staff. He tapped the public mood in Israel last week with one line when he announced the air strikes against Hamas targets in Gaza: “We believe it is our primary contract with our citizens to protect them against terrorist attacks.”

    Given there are about 800,000 people in Israel living within the 40km range of Hamas rockets from Gaza, Barak was speaking to a strong constituency. Barak is in an extraordinary position, in that whoever wins, he is almost certain to remain Minister for Defence, which in Israel is a hugely influential position, given the country’s strategic realities.

    Around the country during the past week, thousands of young Israelis were called up for military service, “reservists” who have other jobs but are called on when Israel goes to war.

    While soldiers engaged in a brutal ground war across the border in the south of the country in Gaza, other troops went on alert in the north of the country, alert to the possibility that Hezbollah, with strongholds in the south of Lebanon, may deploy some of its missiles to take advantage of the fact that Israel has its attentions elsewhere. While Hamas and Hezbollah are formidable opponents, the extraordinary feature of Middle Eastern politics is that for Israel they are not the main game: that title rests with Iran.

    This is Israel’s year of living dangerously. After a relative two-year calm since the end of the war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Israel is beginning a year that could determine its future. When I told an Israeli official a few months ago that I was coming to Israel to work, he quipped: “Are you going to get there before the war starts?”

    He meant war with Iran, not Hamas.

    It was before Obama was elected US president, and he went on to say: “Israelis are watching every word Obama says about Israel. Have you noticed all the European leaders going to Israel at the moment? They don’t want Israel to feel isolated. An isolated Israel is a dangerous Israel.”

    The official’s argument was that if Israelis sensed Obama would not support, or at least turn a blind eye to, an air strike by Israel against Iran’s nuclear research facilities then they would act alone. “

  88. Israel’s ‘other voices’ go unheard:

    …”Many people in Israel call us traitors and war criminals because we talk about the war while it is still going on,” said Teddy Katz of the Israeli peace group, Gush Shalom.

    “But the truth is that this government ordered a criminal war.”

    Alternative voices

    Gush Shalom is one member of a coalition that held a news conference on Wednesday, January 7, 2009, to brief the media on peace camp positions.

    Some speakers at the news conference focused on what they held to be Israel’s real motives for the war – election success and also, according to Katz, sanitising corrupt political reputations is also a factor…

    …Analysts say that the fate of the Israeli combat soldiers on the ground in Gaza is the factor most likely to turn public opinion about the war.

    “The value of a soldier is perceived as greater than the value of a civilian,” said Professor Tamara Hermann, the co-author of a monthly poll that monitors Israeli public opinion.

    “The media and public discussion on Israeli soldiers relates to them as children, as sons and not as actual soldiers in tanks and so on. There is an understanding that Israeli soldiers are all our children – so that’s why they are so dear to us.”

  89. Perhaps things have now changed?

    US ‘rejected Israel’s plea for Iran strike’
    January 11, 2009 – 2:34PM

    http://www.smh.com.au/news/world/us-rejected-israels-plea-for-iran-strike/2009/01/11/1231608508907.html
    US President George W. Bush last year rejected a secret Israeli request for an air strike against the main Iranian nuclear complex using US bunker-busting bombs, The New York Times reported on its website late Saturday local time.

    But citing unnamed senior US and foreign officials, the newspaper said Bush had authorised a new covert operation aimed at sabotaging Iran’s suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons.

    The request was made last year by Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who wanted US bunker-busting bombs and permission to fly over Iraq to attack Iran’s major uranium enrichment complex at Natanz, the report said.

    But top US administration officials led by Defense Secretary Robert Gates had convinced Bush that any overt attack on Iran would prove ineffective, lead to the expulsion of international inspectors and drive Iran’s nuclear program deeper underground, the paper said.

    Bush and his aides also discussed the possibility that an airstrike could ignite a broad Middle East war in which US troops in Iraq would inevitably become involved, according to The Times.

  90. JMcP, I’m not sure that the US is well advised to open up another (to me unnecessary) front with Iran (whose teeth are far sharper than Iraq or Afghanistan).
    I think that they’ve found out that, despite their military technological prowess & domination, they are stretched & cannot fight multiple protracted battles. I think that this is ultimately why the PNAC covets the domination of the orbital theatre of space as one of its stated goals, this would allow almost instantaneous engagement from a geosynchronous orbit anywhere on the globe & would remove applepie eating GI’s from all but absolutely critical ground engagements.
    Occupying invaded countries however, is another story.

    Iran would be well advised to stay out of current conflicts as its adversaries are doing a pretty damn good job of burning their candles at both ends now. Whether such restraint will be exercised as Iranians perceive a great injustice being perpetrated against their “brothers” by their sworn enemy is indeterminate at this stage. Despite the rumblings against the US/Israel, surely Iran’s leaders are prudent enough not to give a prime excuse for putting their own citizens in the line of fire?…or not.

  91. Toiletboss

    “JMcP, I’m not sure that the US is well advised to open up another (to me unnecessary) front with Iran (whose teeth are far sharper than Iraq or Afghanistan).”

    Perhaps the US are counting on Israel to cover the Iran problem.

    The threat of attack has been looming for so long – the downside for the US is most certainly the vulnerability of Iraq and US troops there.

  92. “The threat of attack has been looming for so long – the downside for the US is most certainly the vulnerability of Iraq and US troops there.”JMcP

    Agreed, Israel are a very convenient proxy whereby the US can have it’s agenda fulfilled from armslength & maintain (im)plausible deniability.
    Also agree that a conflict with Iran clearly puts US troops in Iraq in jeopardy & reignites that whole cauldron of currently simmering blood.

  93. Toiletboss

    I think the concept of ground-wars beyond current levels as far as the US and Israel are concerned are limited to what they’re currently involved in – beyond this they’d be too stretched and quite frankly to not have the level of resources to conduct invasions and occupations without the assistance of NATO or the UN – and that most certainly is not going to happen.

    Any major strikes would conducted from air and sea against specific targets.

    I just don’t like the smell coming from all of this and hope that it can be contained without spreading across the region.

    Its also heartbreaking when so many innocents are being killed

  94. After all the propaganda of saying that Hamas was firing at them from the UN school in which 39 Palestinians were killed, Israel has now admitted that one of their “stray” mortars caused the deaths.

    Of course according to Israel this is perfectly understandable as this is war and innocent people always get killed, and anyway it is Hamas’s fault.

    Israel is stating the offensive is coming to an end and in their usual spin they have overwhelmingly achieved their objectives (without specifying exactly what these objectives were), and the IDF have done a magnificent job. I’ve lost count over the last 30 years of the amount of times Israel has claimed overwhelming victory.

    So I’m honestly asking just what has Israel achieved if they say they have met all their objectives? The rockets are still being fired albeit at a greatly reduced rate and Hamas in all likelihood still exists as a force. They state they have destroyed hundreds of tunnels (tunnels that kept Palestinians from starving) and hundreds of ammunition storage depots. Is that the objective that has been achieved, the starvation of 1.5 million people.

    I have my idea of exactly what the objective is and even in that Israel has failed, but they have achieved one objective and that is to put back the Palestinians in Gaza for at least a decade or more, just at a time they were beginning to build infrastructure and education facilities. Note that every primary and tertiary education facility in Gaza has been destroyed, and all religious centres (also a standard psychological target of the Israelis).

    So as Olmert is crowing about a great and decisive victory against Hamas in Gaza, just what has been won?

  95. I still think, Adrian, that the offensive in Gaza was all about the upcoming Israeli elections. And of course, when playing chess the pawns are sacrificed easily.

  96. Adrian,

    Note that every primary and tertiary education facility in Gaza has been destroyed, and all religious centres (also a standard psychological target of the Israelis).

    You really should provide a reference when you make a statement like that – so we can all see the evidence – otherwise it might just sound like partisan propaganda.

  97. Yes joni, the elections have a lot to do with it. Labor in Israel was on the nose (I think polling down around 16%) and have now more than doubled that figure on the back of attacks on Gaza.

    ———————
    Oh you mean Tony like how you challenged my assertion that Israel targets journalists, yet when I provided the sources and links you just went on to ignore them?

    What Israel Has Done

    Gone from public memory are the destruction of Palestinian society in 1948 and the creation of a dispossessed people; the conquest of the West Bank and Gaza and their military occupation since 1967; the invasion of Lebanon in 1982, with its 17,500 Lebanese and Palestinian dead and the Sabra and Shatila massacres; the continuous assault on Palestinian schools, refugee camps, hospitals, civil installations of every kind.

    Palestinian schools hit hard by conflict

    In one room of the Palestinian Ministry of Education, the litter of papers, glass, paper clips and periodicals was ankle-deep. The filing cabinets had been ransacked, and some toppled. Personal computers sat on the desks, their hard drives ripped out.

    In another room, the Israeli soldiers had blasted open the safe. The explosion brought down the suspended ceiling there and in adjoining rooms, leaving a mess. Dr. Naim Abu Hommos, the deputy minister of education, said the safe had been used to keep all school test records since 1960. All were gone, he said, along with 40,000 shekels — about $8,500 — that had been kept there for petty cash.

    11/21/2002

    One Israeli force broke into Hebron university and confiscated the electronic equipment and scientific documents and destroyed the offices of the teaching staff and burnt the furniture of the sciences faculty under the pretext that the executors of al-Khalil operation studies at that university.

    I’ll scour the net for many more examples if you want Tony but the fact is that every time the Israelis attack the Palestinians one of the first things targeted and destroyed are schools. This can only be a deliberate policy of denying Palestinians education. Just about every new university that the Palestinians have attempted to construct, usually given by outside investors, Israel has destroyed, sometimes before construction has been completed.

    Early Monday morning, the IAF obliterated symbols of Hamas power, bombing the Islamic University, closely affiliated with Hamas.

    And lets not forget, as the media seems to be in concentrating on the single UN school where all those civilians died, Israel attacked three UN schools on that day, not just the one the Israelis now admit was a “mistake”. Where the destruction of all the other schools and universities also a “mistake”?

  98. Come on Adrian. Those links are all from 2002.

    You stated that “every primary and tertiary education facility in Gaza has been destroyed, and all religious centres”. Now the right thing to do is back up that statement, or withdraw it.

  99. Hang on Tony, I deliberately chased up older items on Israelis attacking the Palestinian education infrastructure to illustrate that this is a standard Israeli tactic.

    Now Tony were or were not all three of the UN educational facilities attacked in Gaza?

    Wait until the aftermath Tony, when the Israelis pull out and the media can go in and you will find not a single school left undamaged with every tertiary facility that was not completely destroyed being ransacked with computer systems and records destroyed or taken.
    Israel Destroys American School in Gaza, Kills Guard

    In addition, at least three to five schools were damaged by Israeli shelling of nearby targets

  100. Just on ABC Breakfast News.

    Schools have been turned into shelters as the Palestinians were told they would be safe, but one distraught woman said her son was killed soon after they sheltered in the school when it came under attack from the Israelis.

  101. Wait until the aftermath Tony

    OK we”ll wait, but that does make your assertion just a little premature.

    Now Tony were or were not all three of the UN educational facilities attacked in Gaza?

    At this stage I only have your word for it. Perhaps you do have a link for that one?

  102. United Nations suspends operations in Gaza after schools and trucks are hit by Israeli forces

    The United Nations (UN) suspended all of its operations in Gaza from yesterday, after the bombing of a convoy of UN aid trucks which killed one Palestinian driver, and wounded three others. Thursday was the second day of attacks on UN targets after three UN schools housing refugees were bombed on Tuesday, killing over 50 civilians…

  103. OK sorry Tony.

    Israel has a history of deliberately attacking and destroying Palestinians educational and religious institutions. Current Indications in Gaza are this is a policy they continue.

    The extent of the damage done to the Palestinian education base in Gaza is to be ascertained but early indications are that it’s extensive, and several instances have shown a deliberate targeting of the Palestinian education organization, whether this is provided by the UN, US, outside investment agencies or Hamas.

  104. OK, fair enough, except for this:

    and several instances have shown a possibly deliberate targeting of the Palestinian education organization,

  105. No Tony, deliberate.

    They do it once, OK, even two or three times then it might be possible, but over three decades, that’s deliberate.

  106. Oh and by the way Tony the Israelis even discriminate against the education of Palestinians who go to Israeli schools. Look it up but I can chase up the links if you want.

  107. 96. johnmcphilbin

    They aren’t about to attack Iran; nor is Iran about to attack Israel. The BS about a nuclear-armed Iran is an end-run to generate and impose a cartel for nuclear fuel and nuclear fuel cycle technologies for when the oil runs out. It’s pre-emptive hegemony based in energy economics, rent-seeking, and a unilateral re-writing of what the NNPT means without having to put that multilateral instrument, or the proposed new one-sided international framework which is already violating NNPT as it suits that same unilateralist, to discussion. You also need to add the interests of Russia, China, and a Europe which sources much of its oil and gas from Iran vis-a-vis Iranian interests into your equation.

  108. I am closing this thread now as I have a new one up.

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