Palestine – Crisis? What crisis?

The  Special Raporteur for the Palestinian Territories Occupied Since 1967, Richard Falk, last week made a presentation at the UN Human Rights Council. In the report he details how he was denied access to perform first-hand observations as he was:

…denied entry to Israel on 14 December 2008, detained for some 15 hours in a holding cell  at Ben Gurion Airport, and expelled on the next day. Such treatment of a UN  representative would seem to raise serious issues for the Organization as a whole, bearing on the duties of a member state to cooperate, and to deal with those carrying out UN work with appropriate dignity.

So Israel now blocks the UN Special Raporteur!

He goes on to detail that the Israeli foreign minitser, Tzipi Livini says that there is no need for a “humanitarian truce” as there is “no humanitarian crisis” in Gaza. His report details that:

  • about 75% of the population lack access to sanitary water and has no electric power (which are supplied by Israel)
  • 45% pf children are suffering from acute anemia

So what does constitute a “humanitarian crisis” then?

As Adrian pointed out over the weekend, Hamas offered to extend the ceasefire by up to 10 years provided that Israel would lift the blockade.

Falk says:

It is also relevant that Hamas repeatedly offered to extend the ceasefire, even up to ten years, provided that Israel would lift the blockade. These diplomatic possibilities were, as far as can be assessed, not explored by Israel.

So were Israel really wanting to resolve this without resorting to the use of force?

Now – supporters of Israel contend that Hamas must stop the rocket attacks on Israel, but when the IDF was in Gaza even they were unable to stop the attacks. So how is Hamas expected to stop any independent militia from launching rockets? And why are we still being told that Hamas rejected to extend the ceasefire?

The final part of the report details how allegations have been made by qualified observers that the IDF is using “legally dubious weaponry that violate the customary international law” on such weapons. Weapons such as:

  • phosphorous gas in shells and missiles that burn flesh to the bone
  • dense insert metal explosives that cut the victim to pieces
  • depleted uranium bombs

Of course – a lot of this cannot be verified as Israel still refuses to obey their own Supreme Court and to allow foreign journalists  and other independent observers into Gaza. The NY Times notes that it’s people are denied “access to see the humanitarian aspects of the military operations in Gaza” but are encouraged to view “any harmful effects of the rocket attacks on civilians in Israel”.


PS. Thanks to scaper for the headsup on this report.


177 Responses

  1. 108. kittylitter

    It is indeed interesting watching the Y’Israel part of Eratz Y’Israel tear itself apart from the inside out, leaving only the Eratz to be fought over. But dialectics are like that…a faulty thesis contains within it the seeds of its own destruction (its own antithesis), and, if allowed to flourish, the weed which takes root in the temple and is nourished with blood will end up strangling the very forgotten thing once considered most important, until the weight of the overgrowth brings the whole temple down. I do note that the State of Israel keeps talking itself up as a land and a people of peace; but peace defined in terms only of Israelis. One imagines that a one-sided peace will forever be blind to that other kind of peace, the one had relationally between peoples. And so it goes.

  2. Using White Phosphorous gas is not illegal under the Chemical Weapons Convention if used to produce ‘obscuring smoke’. Israel uses this ‘escape clause’ as did the US in Iraq.

    Notice how often Israel uses this ‘obscuring smoke’ in the middle of the night.

    The slaughter continues.

  3. Honestly, I reckon Israel simply no longer cares about the world’s opinion of them. So long as they can keep the American politicians from openly revolting against their actions – they feel (and for intents & purposes are) completely safe.

    No-one is going to go against the USA and anyone deciding to attack Israel (as any military defense of Gaza/Palestinians would be interpreted as) would be classified as an enemy of the US. I reckon that Israel diplomats have secured some concession from Obama’s incoming administration along the lines of “No criticizing IDF’s actions without applying a double-standard to Hamas in the same press release”.

    Simply put, Israel has nuclear weapons (a well-known fact), the USA continually supports IDF’s actions by (at a minimum) refusing to call them to task on atrocities such as their current actions, and the UN has been shown to be a toothless tiger by USA’s defiance of any & all resolutions going against their wishes. Much as I hate to say it, I truly believe that Palestine (as a nation & a people) is simply kept around as a threat to justify Israel’s military buildup and behaviour.

    Sad really, but I have yet to see anything from Israel’s side of the equation that even suggests they care what others think.

  4. B.Tollput. The number of UN resolutions passed to force compliance upon Israel, and the eventual non-compliance to those resolutions by Israel over many years proves beyond doubt that Israel cares not of other nations in this world, or the opinions of those family of nations.
    The US will obey the wishes of Israel at every turn, as usual.
    Both a law unto themselves.

  5. B. Tolputt,

    Sad really, but I have yet to see anything from Israel’s side of the equation that even suggests they care what others think.

    This article suggests at least some concern that the pro-Israel message is disseminated (link provided by Adrian on another thread):

  6. *each, a law unto themselves

  7. Tony of South Yarra,

    I believe they are only interested in controlling the media enough to keep the American politicians from saying “enough is enough”. so long as there is enough “cover” for the US politicians to cower behind – the rest of the world can go shove it.

    An interesting (albeit only slightly related) subject would be the fact that the latest movie from Tom Cruise, “Valkyries”, receives major critic panning from the jewish side of Hollywood yet is actually rated pretty good by the Germans (who are more anti-Nazi than Israel, if that is possible).

    I get the feeling from this and other “situations” that Israel is targetting their media manipulation to the US public (and pretty much them alone). So long as the average US citizen is not calling on their government to deal with Israel – that’s all they need.

  8. B.Tolputt, I reckon your observations are a good call.

  9. BT I like the way you decipher things.
    you just made me feel like an amateur at why i didnt think of that. 🙂

  10. common thought:

    They had Bush for twice, they’ll believe anything.

    (Thats what i hear a lot off)

  11. common thought:

    They had Bush twice, they’ll believe anything.

    (Thats what i hear a lot off)

  12. Bloody hell now this tops the cake.

    Joe the Plumber has turned up in Israel at the behest of the US right wing media. Is he there to lend support for all the injured on both sides, and to tell the world how wrong this war and the violent actions of both sides are? Don’t be stupid.

    Joe is there to give the world’s media a spray and to fully support the Israelis and their right to keep secret whatever the heck it is they are doing in Gaza. How dare the world’s media be parasites and try to uncover the truth of Gaza, that’s not their job. What do they want, newsreel footage of dead and dying Palestinians in the movie theatres as a warm up to the main event, as occurred after WWI? How evil is that according to Joe, who is there to support the Israelis and to give their side of events.

    Please, just when you thought America couldn’t sink lower, or their right wingnutjob media couldn’t become more base, they do in attempting to turn the Gaza conflict into a circus. Now we just need Sarah Palin to go over there and give those evil terrist Hamas a good talkin’ too, and she should know how cause of expertise in foreign affairs, especially the M.E. which is just a lick spittle few thousand kilometres from her home town after all.

  13. ‘common thought, they had Bush twice’

    And by the time the Shrub’s time expires, the US Supreme Court will be set with evangelical ‘good ol boys’, oil drilling will commence on Rodeo Drive, abortion will be totally outlawed, every known right-wing criminal will receive a presidential pardon, Wall Street crooks will go to the free money tank, business al la Bush, as usual.

  14. Palin cannot go to the M.E…. she is busy keeping an eye on the Russian Bear from the beaches in Alaska.

  15. Oftenbark @ 13,

    And you forgot to add – those homosexuals will not be able to get married as they will lead to the downfall of civilisation as we know it.

  16. Or to put it another way:

    The founder of conservative internet group Pajamas Media, in a clever marketing ploy, has hired Joe the Plumber to file a series of reports from Israel on the Gaza situation. The move is no doubt designed to promote his fledgeling PJTV website.

    Move along folks, nothing to see here.

  17. @ 13 so unexpected when i started reading i burst into a fit of laughter.

  18. ToSY,

    Except for all those dead and injured people from both sides who he is exploiting for commercial gain.

  19. Yes, a tragic situation indeed, Joni. But how is what PJTV is doing any different to CNN, or Reuters, or any other commercial news organisation?

  20. Well is surelt no surprise if Israel behaves like this. I mean their great and eternal buddy the good ole US of A gave them the greenlight (and incidentally any other warmongers) by their actions over Iraq. Ignore the UN, sure. Negotiate to end the disagreements – fuck off! Refuse access tio humanitarian gfroups – now who would have countenaced that sort of pussy behaviour…. I MEAN REALLY. WHAT”S FUCKEN DIFFERENCE????

  21. Except ToSY that Joe the Plumber has made it into news footage of the mainstream media and in that footage he is giving the real media a spray and made reference to WWI newsreel footage.

    If Joe had stayed on PJTV and not gotten his mug onto worldwide news footage (again) then there would have been nothing to see here, but he has and he’s made ludicrous comments especially against the world’s media, so there is something to see here.

  22. Joe the plumber or his alter ego McCain are hypocrits. Either Joe was a genuine Joe or he was a setup via the McCain media group or that the whole scenario was a setup from the start.

    Am thinking the latter. Interesting is that the US press is reporting ‘stole the limelight’ from McCain. Yet McCain during the election campaign positively drooled over Joe the plumber.

    Now it seems that Joe (the average Joe) the plumber is a pro-Israel activist.

    Maybe this is just an amazing coincidence, but one does have do wonder how a pro-Israel activist suddenly turns up on McCain’s campaign trail pretending to be an average Joe.

  23. Joe the Plumber has made it into news footage of the mainstream media

    And plenty of publicity for PJTV as well – just what Roger L Simon hoped for, I suspect.

  24. TofSY,

    Fair point re PJTV.

  25. I think professor Falk has too much ‘baggage’ and can’t be relied on to deliver an impartial assessment. The Huffington Post has contradicted itself so it can hardly be relied on for accurate reporting.

    Maybe bloggers are the only honest people left to report on the situation in the ME.

  26. Gee Stephan, so now only the people that support your position have accurate reporting.

    Did you actually read his report or just shoot the messenger without reading? And how is he supposed to make a “impartial assessment” when he is not allowed into Israel and/or Gaza?

    And how has the Huffington Post contradicted itself? Do you mean that it had opposing views?

    Oh – and any comment on the lies by the IDF about the UN school, which continue to be on the IDF propaganda website?

  27. You could be right, Stephan.

    I seem to have some suspicions which differ from Tony’s…

    Wikipedia: Pajamas Media, briefly known as Open Source Media, is a startup company founded in 2004 by mystery writer, screenwriter and blogger Roger L. Simon, and Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs “with the intention of… aggregating blogs to increase corporate advertising and creating our own professional news service.”

    Wikipedia: Little Green Footballs (LGF) is a political blog run by American web designer Charles Johnson….Media observers have described the site as “right wing”; observes Johnson: I’m not pretending I’m giving equal time to both sides. But I do think what I’m advocating, and what I believe in, is the right side….For “promoting Israel, and Zionism” and “presenting Israel’s side of the conflict,” LGF won the “Best Israel Advocacy Blog” award from the Jerusalem Post in 2005. According to Gil Ronen, a reporter for Internet news outlet, Israel National News: If anyone ever compiles a list of Internet sites that contribute to Israel’s public relations effort, Johnson’s site will probably come in first, far above the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s site.

    Joe’s unbias credentials on the campaign trail: Joe the Plumber – A vote for Obama is a vote for the death of Israel

    Pajamas TV and examples of PJTV unbias, which seem strangely oppositional to, and defined by, a “focus on exposing both bias and deception by the typically liberal Main Stream Media as well as bias and deception by groups exploiting the media”: PJTV

    What did Marshall McLuhan say about the medium being the message, again?

  28. In Defence of Humanity: Let Gaza Live:
    Snippets from the above:

    Apparently Venezeuala’s Israeli Embassador has been expelled.??

    And despite the obvious facts of an Israeli-sponsored terror campaign against Palestinians in Gaza, a piece of territory roughly twice the size of the District of Columbia, they see the U.S. Congress support a resolution totally supporting Israel, even though Israel is in violation of U.S. and international law.

    Israel Watns Gazans of New Phase of War:

    If you want recent pics, you know where to look. Bloody awful, enough to make any parent dissolve.

    Who is hellip? Can someone please tell me how to post a link in words, rather than the way I do it? Please?

  29. 25. Stephan

    The Huffington Post has contradicted itself so it can hardly be relied on for accurate reporting.

    Can you tell us where it contradicted itself or what that contradiction was?

    Bloggers being the only accurate people, how can that be when 99.9% of bloggers get their info from either side, especially the very sophisticated propaganda organisation of Israel that has a specific area for seeding the internet.

    The only bloggers that are anywhere near accurate where the one in Israel within range of Hamas’s rocket and the Palestinian who was right in the middle of the conflict. All other bloggers are making it up as they go or just putting forth personal opinion.

  30. Understanding the Gaza Catastrophe

    A flicker of hope emerged some six months ago when an Egyptian arranged truce produced an effective ceasefire that cut Israeli casualties to zero despite the cross-border periodic firing of homemade rockets that fell harmlessly on nearby Israeli territory, and undoubtedly caused anxiety in the border town of Sderot. During the ceasefire the Hamas leadership in Gaza repeatedly offered to extend the truce, even proposing a ten-year period and claimed a receptivity to a political solution based on acceptance of Israel’s 1967 borders. Israel ignored these diplomatic initiatives, and failed to carry out its side of the ceasefire agreement that involved some easing of the blockade that had been restricting the entry to Gaza of food, medicine, and fuel to a trickle.

    Professor Falk is hard to understand. The extract above has professor Falk reporting on homemade rockets falling harmlessly in the Israel outback. He also says that those rockets were falling during a cease-fire (*see definition). Wouldn’t the firing of rockets negate a cease-fire? He then amusingly tells us that an offer of a ten-year truce was on the table. Maybe there was a special clause in the truce that said something like “Hamas reserves the right to fire rockets into Israel when and if it wants”. That doesn’t come under the umbrella of a cease-fire so what sort of paltering is this professor guilty of? I think the public can distinguish veridical perceptions from illusory ones.

    It was Nature 5 who linked to The Huffington Post which carried a story about Israel breaking the cease-fire in November 2008. Professor Falk wants to use the The Huffington Post to contradict The Huffington Post. He says rockets were being fired into Israel during what is amusingly called a cease-fire. Anyone giddy yet?

    Gee joni, take it easy on me. I’m only pointing out the fog of war that now surrounds events.

    Legion @27, you’re so right about the medium being the message. Professor Falk has underscored that quip. Maybe professor Falk should read back issues of THP before he puts pen to paper.

    Adrian@29 you are right about the bloggers on the ground in the ME. Abdul is the only one who can comment on his wretched life. And Ariel in his bomb shelter tells the outside world what is happening in his country. They’re the ones I was meaning in my earlier post.

    *Cease-fire order to stop firing; suspension of active hostilities; a truce

  31. […] 12 January, 2009 by Tobias Ziegler Transparency FAIL (hat-tip to joni @ Blogocrats): The quality of this report is undoubtedly diminished by the absence of first-hand observations of […]

  32. So you did not read the report then Stephan. That much is obvious. Or perhaps you are being deliberately biased and provocative?

  33. joni, I got up to the part where he contradicted the earlier story and at that point I recalled what Nature 5 had posted. I put his ‘report’ away and started reading Little Red Riding Hood: at least that story doesn’t pretend to be factual.

  34. PEACE for the people of Israel and Gaza please, The peace can win !

  35. Befor you write me off as “emotional”, may I suggest you all read some of the works of the historian and Israeli Jew, IIAN PAPPE”?

    It will give you a lot more insight than The Huffington Post, and contradictory reports will ever do.

    Ilan Pappe, born in Haifa in 1954 is currently a Chair in the Department of History, the University of Exeter and a co-director of the Exeter Center for Ethno-Political Studies. He was the academic head and founder of the Institute for Peace studies in Givat Haviva Israel (1992-2000) and the Chair of the Emil Touma Institute for Palestinian Studies in Haifa (2000-2008).

  36. Angel forgive my ignorance in not reading the link, Is that the lady whom renounced he Israeli citizenship?

  37. He was the academic head and founder of the Institute.

    Lol i just answered it myself..

  38. plus my keys are sticky and the keyboard makes me look like a dope..
    (thats my story and im sticking to it)

  39. Wait, Stephan – where did he contradict the earlier report. Please show me slowly because I really think that you are not being factual in what you are posting. So let’s just deal with what Falk wrote.

  40. And the Israeli part of the truce/ceasefire was to lift the blockade. Did that happen?

    Falk states clearly that he considers the rocket attacks on Israel as being war crimes.

  41. Falk says:

    It should be pointed out unambiguously that there is no legal (or moral) justification for firing rockets at civilian targets, and that such behavior is a violation of IHR, associated with the right to life, as well as constitutes a war crime.

  42. And how can you dismiss Hamas offering to extend the ceasefire as “humorous”. Do you have facts that this did not occur?

  43. Aqua, he is definitely a he. Promise. Clean your keyboard!

  44. Joni, you must learn to become undoctrinaire. An unshakable faith in velleities is admirable but a confrontation with truth can be more refreshing.

    I have no life vests to throw your way. You’ll have to grab a piece of driftwood and cling to that and hope for the best.

    Don’t you find the firing of rockets under the umbrella of a cease fire humorous? Would you sign up for 10 more years of a cease fire as open-ended as that?

  45. No – sorry I do not find it humorous. Just like I do not find the blockade that has led to the suffering of the population humorous.

    We have consistently condemned the rocket attacks.

    You seem to really have a problem with the fact that both sides broke the ceasefire during the six months, but you seem to only want to view one side as being in the wrong.

    Is your truth the ones that come from the IDF that time and time again have been proven to be false? I am still waiting for your response to your “confrontation with the truth” about the bombing of the UN school. You know – the one that the IDF said they killed Hamas terrorists immediately after (as a fact) and now admit that they lied.

    Let me state clearly – both sides are guilty of war crimes, but only one is deliberately following a policy of “collective punishment”.

  46. Israeli reservists join Gaza war

    Israel has confirmed sending thousands of army reservists into Gaza, raising concerns that a “third stage” of its offensive – going deeper into urban centres – could soon begin.

    …The total number of Palestinian deaths since Israel began its war on December 27 climbed to 905, about a quarter of them children…

    …Giroa Eiland, a former Israeli national security adviser, told Al Jazeera that there was a debate within the Israeli government and security establishment about what the goals of the operation should be at this stage.

    “The main question is how to conclude and accomplish the missions,” he said.

    “As far as I can understand one of the reasons the military option might be expanded is in order to give an Israeli solution to the situation.”…

  47. Say, Stephan, your posts are following patterns quite similar to those being used by Israel’s “media police”. You wouldn’t by any chance be a plant would you?

    No, I am not serious. I do however think you are deliberately being obtuse and as such don’t need to be taken seriously.

  48. You know – the one that the IDF said they killed Hamas terrorists immediately after (as a fact) and now admit that they lied.

    To show how you cannot take a single piece of information that comes from Israel as fact is that not only did the Israeli MoI go into overdrive asserting that there were two Hamas militants amongst the dead at the school, they later came out and actually named them.

    Yet all the eye witness accounts that the Israelis dismissed out of hand as being lies have turned out to be accurate.

    There were never any Hamas in the vicinity of the school at the time of the Israeli attack, something the Israelis have now admitted, and eye witness accounts turned out to be true, so there is no way you can believe anything the Israelis state as being fact without third party independent observation, which the Israelis bluntly refuse to allow.

  49. And the IDF website still has the original lies.

  50. There were never any Hamas in the vicinity of the school at the time of the Israeli attack, something the Israelis have now admitted


    We have had the SMH quoting the UN’s Relief and Works Agency spokesman Christopher Gunness, but to date I have not read or heard any Israeli official admit to this:

    “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.”

    To be fair, though, I haven’t heard them deny the report either.

  51. You know what’s bad about the perpetration of the lies by the IDF and Israeli government (which are most likely continued for local consumption as there is an election coming up), is that if you attempt to point out the deliberate misinformation and lies you often get jumped on as being in sympathy with terrorists and an anti-Semitic.

    The latest is Joe the Plumber who I just saw in an extended piece on ABC Breakfast where he was formally interviewed. His whole raison d’être for the trip to Israel is based on that premise, to not believe Israel’s side of things is to love terrorists and hate Israelis. He quoted Obama’s statement on if it were his daughters living under rocket attacks as justification for Israel’s harsh stance. But I’ll put the shoe on the other foot and say what if Obama’s daughters were living in Gaza for the last two years?

    There is one other fact I am so glad is now beginning to get wider dissemination, and that is the one that proves it is overwhelmingly Israel that is the first to break ceasefires. I’ve lost count of the number of times the accusation of the Palestinians being the initial provocateurs has earned me personal abuse and of being a terrorist supporter.

    This breaking of ceasefires does not cover the fact it is mostly Israel who provokes outrage and attacks against it. The second intifada (which continues to this day) was started by a deliberately provocative act by Ariel Sharon with the sole aim of causing a violent uprising after a relatively long period of calm.

    And so it continues until the Palestinians are completed ousted into the neighbouring Arab countries to become their problem and the ones remaining totally subjugated.

  52. Adrian,

    The so-called cease-fire – a cease fire is when you actually Cease. Firing. – never happened. You will concede, I’m sure, that throughout the entire ‘lull’ in hostilities, there was continuous – although vastly reduced – rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.

    There was no caese fire to break.

  53. I’ll chase it up Tony, but I read the IDF are now saying their attack on the school was in response to one of their smart bombs going astray which led them to believe there was an attack on them from the vicinity of the school.

    After first saying there were Hamas militants in the school firing at them and even naming two as among the dead., they then changed that to militants being in the ‘vicinity’ of the school, to now admitting there were no militants in the school and the targeting of the school was an accident.

    The first Israeli change of story: Israelis admit militants not in UN school

    Also this is always a good reminder: Israel admits: “No Hamas rockets were fired during ceasefire”

  54. Or you could look here (PDF):

    Summary of rocket fire and mortar shelling in 2008

  55. Adrian,

    Your link to the Guardian is quoting Chris Gunness. Interestingly, the same article has Benjamin Rutland saying the opposite.

    I will reserve my judgement on this until Israel makes an official public admission. You will excuse me if I don’t rely on a second-hand report of a “private” one.

  56. Why would the IDF want to admit publicly that it lied?

  57. Sorry Tony as the video shows, and as has been pointed out here previously (which you obviously ignore), there was a period of no rocket fire, there was a peace that the Israelis broke, and for the smattering handful of rockets previous to that the Israelis have admitted they were not fired by Hamas.

    As has been pointed out Israel is the first to break the peace around 79% of the time whilst Palestinians break it 8% of the time. You appear to be regurgitating Israeli Ministry of Information stuff Tony.

    The overwhelming resumption of rocket attacks occurred after Israel’s incursion into Gaza killing six Palestinians on the pretext of destroying a tunnel.

    Now look at their propaganda where they have boasted their current attack has destroyed vast tunnel networks (of course used for smuggling weapons and lions, but no mention of the desperately needed food and medicine that came through the tunnels). So what was the incursion that broke the ceasefire about if there were so many tunnels, yet they went in to destroy just one? The only conclusion I can come to is a deliberate provocation.

    So whilst the Israelis claim it is Palestinians who deliberately put their citizens in harms way for political gain, the Israelis have had no hesitation in provoking a violent response leading to their citizens being harmed.

    So this admission by Israel that the smattering of rockets fired from July through October were not from Hamas, and they are now hell bent on destroying Hamas and probably will, how is that going to stop future rockets that will be fired from people other than Hamas?

  58. And when Israel was in Gaza prior to 2005 – did they stop the rocket attacks?

    And I still say – he rocket attacks on Israel emanating from Gaza are war crimes and are comdemned.

  59. Joni,

    How do we know they did, if the supposed admission was made privately to foreign diplomats, and reported by someone who wasn’t there?

  60. Well – maybe if Israel allow foreign journalists into Gaza as per their own Supreme Courts judgement we could determine the truth.

    But wait – the IDF have said that they were there – not nearby, but there? So of course the IDF would not be lying about that too.

  61. Joni,

    I’m trying to stay open minded on this. As I said on the other thread: if this report is true, and Israel lied about terrorists firing from the school, I roundly condemn them for it. However, I want more concrete evidence than a second-hand report of an unwitnessed conversation.

  62. Hang on Tony, the Israelis blatantly lied in the first instance, calling the UN and witnesses liars for saying there were no militants in the school. The Israelis even named two Hamas militants as being amongst the victims.

    Now they are saying the attack on the school was ‘accidental’, so have changed their story.

    Yet you still take Israel’s story as being true until something comes out to disprove it. As has been proven so many times with Israel, it is best to take their story as a lie until something comes along to prove it as the truth.

  63. Adrian,

    I repeat. I am yet to see any such admission from Israel.

    Allegations of Israeli admissions, made by a UN spokesman, yes. Admissions by Israel, no.

    I will willingly concede the point if such admissions materialise.

  64. Correct me if I’m wrong on this, Tony, but are you stating that Israel is a more dependable public source on IDF-initiated atrocities than the United Nations?

    If your answer is “yes”, you are knowingly being ignorant (as I know from other discussions, you are more intelligent than that). This is not to insult you, but to end the discussion that seems to be about a dead parrot (for the Monty Python fans).

  65. B. Tolputt,

    In a nutshell, if Israel has already made this admission privately to foreign diplomats, as is alleged, they should have no trouble confirming it publicly as well. It is the lack of any such public admission that troubles me.

  66. Maybe because a public admission proves that they lied and is not very good propoganda for their cause?

    When the truth does come out (and it will be confirmed I am sure) the fact that the IDF did not come public on their lies will only compound their crime.

  67. You are avoiding the question, Tony. Especially given the fact that you know that many things are told to diplomats that never make it into the public arena. That is the reason we have diplomats, so nations & international organisations can have non-public channels of communication.

    In a nutshell, you find Israel (with it’s known foreign ministry propaganda units) more dependable than the organisation dedicated to international peace and human rights. You do realise how ridiculous that looks in a logical debate/discussion, right?

  68. Adrian, I agree entirely with you that Sharon provoked the 2nd Intifada. In fact, I would go further and suggest that Sharon was well aware of the entire consequences of his action. My question though is this. Does this not ever make you wonder about the mindset of the Palestinians? Why is it so accepted that the act of visiting a site claimed as “holy” by Jews, Christians, and Muslims would be so provocative to just one of these groups? Why is their “known in advance” reaction one that is acceptable or even one that should be taken into account? Does this kind of mindset ever make you wonder at the point at which fundamentalist Islamists might agree to live in peace and tolerance with those who don’t share their religious views?

    As to honesty, every side in every war fights a propaganda battle as much as a physical one. Cock ups and cover ups are as much a part of war as all of its other grotesqueness. And Hamas (and for that matter, Hezbollah) are no strangers to disseminating utter bullsh1t in their battle for hearts and minds.One thing is certain, though, they don’t even pretend that their attacks are on anyone but civilians, and they don’t even bother to pretend that they don’t use their own civilian humans as shields, taking advantage of a respect for human life that they clearly do not share.

  69. Joni,

    It is clear you have made up your mind on this – “the fact that the IDF did not come public on their lies will only compound their crime” – based only on the same flimsy evidence available to me. Such hearsay wouldn’t be admissable in a court of law, but in the court of public opinion, I’m afraid it often is.

  70. B. Tolputt,

    In a nutshell, you find Israel (with it’s known foreign ministry propaganda units) more dependable than the organisation dedicated to international peace and human rights. You do realise how ridiculous that looks in a logical debate/discussion, right?

    Please don’t tell me what I’m thinking. I do not consider Israel a more reliable source, or a les reliable one. But why should I automatically believe Christopher Gunness as reported by the SMH?

  71. Tony,

    I notice you ignoring the logical fallacy in your own argument to make an attack on Joni’s opinion. I find it amusing that you would use the “mind already made up” line when you suffer from the same condition.

  72. Sorry, last post was made before your reply.

    Also, you are (again) avoiding the issue. The issue isn’t whether Christopher Gunness of the SMH is more reliable than Israel, it’s whether the United Nations is.

    Christopher Gunness is a citizen & a journalist – he would need proof of his claim that a United Nations spokesman made the comments he claimed they did. Israel, on the other hand, has a history of lies & distortion and, even if it didn’t, is currently fighting a war against whom they are accused of an atrocity. Pray tell, what is the logical foundation of you continuing to support their story above that of a United Nations spokesman?

  73. B. Tolputt,

    I find it amusing that you would use the “mind already made up” line when you suffer from the same condition.

    Then you are choosing to ignore my various statements that contradict you, such as: “if this report is true, and Israel lied about terrorists firing from the school, I roundly condemn them for it.”

    Does that sound more like someone whose mind is made up, or who is open-minded?

  74. B. Tolputt,

    Just FYI: Christopher Gunness is from the UN. Jason Koutsoukis of the SMH wrote the article.

    No point to be made, just correcting factual errors.

  75. My apologies (RE: Christopher Gunness), but as you said – it does not change the point being made.

    A spokesman for the UN (who has yet to repudiated by the organisation he represents) makes a claim regarding an abuse of human rights and/or a wartime atrocity. Israel, the nation attacking Gaza, denies this but has already been forced to change it’s story on the issue. So we have on one side, an organisation dedicated to world peace and human rights, and on the other side a nation that is attacking Gaza and consistently/frequently uses religion to back up claims to land they are illegally occupying.

    You do have your mind made up, as the only thing that appears will change your opinion on the issue is an open admission to a wartime atrocity by a nation actively engaged in an attack on another (against whom the atrocity was allegedly committed)… which would go against everything learnt about wartime propaganda that humanity has learnt over the last few hundred years.

    Please note, none of this is to say Hamas is guilt-free in the current war… just pointing out the logical infeasibility of your position on this particular war crime/mistake.

  76. B. Tolputt,

    Please do me the courtesy of accepting me at my word. I do not have my mind made up, and am awaiting more convincing (to me) evidence. Full. Stop.

  77. Oops, sorry seems the *blockquote* html tags have produced the entire post as a link

  78. kittylitter,

    That report uses the same source: Christopher Gunness said…

    Nor have they sought comment from the IDF.

  79. Tony,

    Fine, your mind is not made up. You are simply waiting for an unrealistic event to convince you one way or another. Until then, you’ll claim we should doubt a United Nations spokesman until the IDF come up with (yet another) hopefully more convincing story.

    For the record, it isn’t that you wish to give the IDF the benefit of the doubt in the current war/attack on Gaza. It is the fact that you are fine with casting dispersions on a man/organisation who are dedicated to bettering life for all mankind. Until you realise just how sick that is, no-one on these forums will be able to help you on this subject.

  80. Tony

    And an admission now by the IDF will make them look very very bad. So they will just ignore the reports and try to hope that everyone forgets.

    But we will not forget.

  81. The thing is Tony, are the IDF ever going to admit culpability? When have they previously?

    The IDF always clear themselves of any wrongdoing in any internal investigations. They act with complete impunity.

    There’s a reason that there are no reporters allowed.

    What makes you think they will ever admit anything? ‘Unintentional’ is all that the world will get out of them.

  82. Kittylitter,

    Note the last paragraph.

  83. Kittylitter,

    What makes you think they will ever admit anything? ‘Unintentional’ is all that the world will get out of them.

    But that won’t stop Adrian and others claiming they have admitted to this:

  84. James,

    That article is talking about problems in the “running” of the army. It is a report dedicated to finding out why they lost a “war” they should have won, it is not an investigation into an individual atrocity committed during such a war.

    There is nothing wrong with finding “systematic failures” in an organisation. That is done whenever there is a #$%&-up by a company, army, or government. It’s applying blame to individuals and making them take responsibility for them that they have issues with. The referenced report was somewhat short of them (mentioned in said article) and there would be no way out of making someone take responsibility for the school atrocity if there was an admission of guilt.

  85. The article says that Israel publishes reports of ‘systemic failures’ and then because of those failures not implementing them.

    The report is supposedly harsh on the IDF (re Lebanon War). But:

    “…the commission’s final report avoids naming names. That, said the commission, was because it wanted to focus on systemic change…”

    To me, that says ‘we will not lay blame on anyone.’ It is a shelter to protect individual wrongdoing.

    ‘Systemic’ failures are not the same as accepting the personal, criminal liabilty of a soldier(s) who commits a war crime and should be put on trial.

  86. ……..yes of course, the report doesn’t go far enough, anyway, we’ll wait for Hezbollah’s report to see what they have to say.

  87. Interesting…the latest, latest version…
    <a href=”
    IDF investigation shows errant mortar hit UN building in Gaza


    Story A: We blew up terrorists in the building which we meant to hit because there were terrorists there and it was good.

    at the Jabalya school were Hamas terror operatives and a mortar battery cell who were firing on IDF forces in the area

    Story B: We meant to blow up terrorists somewhere near the building, and blowing up the building was unintentional, but overall killing terrorists is good, so don’t ask too many questions.

    The shift in story IS the admission.

    P.S. Hands up anyone who knows why the latest version is still a lie, because GPS selective availability was switched off years ago, and if Israel is claiming that its military is operating under conditions of selective availability, then its GPS patron must really not like it?

  88. Legion,

    That new report, which cites a probe by the Paratrooper Brigade, does not help Israel’s credibility on this matter at all. I’m not up with “selctive availability” of GPS sysems, but what struck me immediately was the claim that they were firing on a team launching rockets into Israel. The original report – from memory – had them returning direct mortar fire. That discrepency alone is enough for me to disregard the IDF’s version of events on this particular matter.

  89. James of North Melbourne #comment-14836

    we’ll wait for Hezbollah’s report


    If I have great difficultly in believing outright whatever Israel has to say without third party confirmation, then there is absolutely no hope in believing what Hezbollah has to say, even with third party confirmation.

  90. I want to add that with all of this “real time” reporting, there seems to be an element of Chinese whispers which could make the “original” story wrong, thereby giving no conflict in reports at all.

  91. “That discrepency alone is enough for me to disregard the IDF’s version of events on this particular matter.”

    LOL Yet the previous ‘discrepancies’ were completely unconvincing to Tony. Sorry for laughing, Tony, but I don’t see why this particular discrepancy has convinced you yet the previous ‘discrepancies’ including naming 2 terrorists supposedly killed by the attack and subsequent ‘admissions’ it was a mistake didn’t? Or is it more a matter of now the discepancies are starting to stack up as they keep changing the story?

    Wonder if the IDF are working from the Bush plylist of shifting excuses. Next they’ll be claiming they are only doing it for the benefit of the Gazan residents.

  92. the previous ‘discrepancies’ including naming 2 terrorists supposedly killed by the attack and subsequent ‘admissions’ it was a mistake didn’t?

    If you care to read Legion’s link, they are still claiming two terrorists killed, thus no discrepency with their original report.

    And yes, an accumulation of facts does make a difference to the balance of probabilities. Like I said all along, I have an open mind and await further evidence – no inconsistency there.

  93. I love it. The IDF did not lie, just had a “discrepancy” on the events.

    1. Missile fired from the building – false
    2. Hamas terrorists killed at the school – false
    3. IDF were there and verified the deaths – false

    Apart from that – everything the IDF reported was truthful.

  94. Yet you didn’t have an open mind as to whether it was Hamas that broke the ceasefire. You were adamant the blame was on them even though there was conflicting data that firstly Hamas hadn’t fired any rockets for three months and Israel had killed six Palestinians in an incursion thus being the ones to break the ceasefire, which bought an immediate response from Hamas, which was then used by the Israelis to form the excuse for the invasion of Gaza.

  95. Adrian, can I suggest that unless you have good reason to believe that no tunnel was being built by the Palestinians to smuggle weapons, then you really don’t know who broke the ceasefire.

  96. ToSY #comment-14865

    But that is the original report dated the 6th. They have just left their original story unchanged on their website. Since then they have admitted they ‘accidentally’ fired on the school.

  97. I stand by what I said, Adrian, word for word.

    The so-called cease-fire – a cease fire is when you actually Cease. Firing. – never happened. You will concede, I’m sure, that throughout the entire ‘lull’ in hostilities, there was continuous – although vastly reduced – rocket fire from Gaza into Israel.

    There was no caese fire to break..

  98. You do know that those rockets weren’t fired by Hamas don’t you Tony?

    Israek really did break the ceasefire first.

  99. Sorry James you are not up on events it appears.

    Tunnels were used to smuggle weapons but mostly to smuggle in much needed food and medicine (and once two lion cubs).

    A timeline of events shows that apart from one rocket September and one in October which were not launched by Hamas (as stated by Israel), Israel launched an incursion into Gaza that killed six Palestinians. It was the death of these Palestinians during a ceasefire that caused a Hamas reprisal.

    As the link I have posted shows it is Israel 79% of the time that breaks a ceasefire and the Palestinians 8% of the time.

  100. You do know that those rockets weren’t fired by Hamas don’t you Tony?

    Israel really did break the ceasefire first.

  101. sorry for the double post – was an unintentional discrepancy!

  102. Some more loose ends, or loose cannons, or loose canons, or summin…

    Israel’s Parliament blocks Arab parties from contesting general election

    I thought this bit was choice: It came after Israel’s domestic intelligence agency had described a radicalisation of Arab Israelis as a “strategic threat” to Israel’s existence.

  103. Two lions? I read the first time you wrote that Adrian and was trying to work out what the typo was – but it was fact. hehe.

  104. Indeed, Kitty…the preponderance of statistical evidence suggests that the ceasefire between the parties to the ceasefire was indeed kept by the parties to the ceasefire excluding that party to the ceasefire making military incursions and not opening up the border crossings. Other parties not party to the ceasefire are statistically the most likely source of remainder rockets, on the basis that the ceasefire resulted in a large downward trend in rockets when the ceasefire was being kept and a large uptrend in rockets after the ceasefire with Hamas was broken by Israel on 4th November. Perhaps if that ceasefire had been undertaken with a view to allowing the provisioning of Hamas as effective governmental entity with all the usual articles for law enforcement, instead of an embargo on said, that downward trend might have trended even more downwards, perhaps as far as the wanted none.

  105. Israel made a big deal about the tunnels being so large that the Palestinians even smuggled in two lions for a zoo in Gaza.

    What they don’t say is that the lions were two drugged cubs and they went to a private zoo. By the way I find this cruel but nowhere near as cruel as the killing and maiming of civilians on both sides.

    As I keep stating you must take anything that Israel says with a grain of salt. They have in place a very sophisticated propaganda and misinformation unit, only second to the one in America.

  106. *discrepancy*

    /not a user of spell check 😳

  107. Still doesn’t look right


    /right the first time

  108. “right the first time”

    LOL Those ‘ancy’ v ‘ency’ endings are a bugger.

  109. Adrian, what timeline, from who? Please don’t link any more idealogically motivated crap from The Guardian. If they were smuggling weapons to use against Israel, then Israel had every right to knock ’em over. Please stop presenting opinion as established fact. I mentioned already a couple of times that it’s near impossible to establish anything as fact in this situation, with multiple sources and ongoing commentary. But it appears many here are seeking for Israel to conduct themselves in this confrontation in a manner not expected of their opponent. Kind of like trying to win a game of AFL without being allowed to tackle, against an opponent who is. I get heartily tired of the bleating from the poor oppressed Islamics. Look on a map to see how much land they control in that area. Compare it with that controlled by the Jews. Perhaps the League of Nations didn’t have the right to create Israel as they did. But create it they did, and short of moving an entire population of Jews somewhere else, that decision is going to be defended. Israel/Palestine is a shit of a place. Infertile, rocky, dusty hell hole. The settlements in Gaza have been dismantled. Yet still the rockets get fired. I’m tired of all this “Allah willing” crap. I’m sick of them using Western human decency as a weapon against the West. Whether they hid militants in this school is beside the point, they have done it plenty of other times. There is absolutely zero to gain by Israel deliberately firing on kids, so it was a cock up. One that would never have occurred if Palestinian militants waged their war on a front, rather than behind civilian lines.

    I simply don’t get that out of all of the religions in the world, the “enlightened atheists” on this weblog choose the most violent, the most sexist, the most racist, the most hate fuelled, the most cruel, the most void of any reason and the least adaptable to reform religion to side with in world conflict.

  110. I think I went out with those two guys years ago, Huh… (ancy and ency – they tended to mince a lot).

  111. I just treat them as acceptable either way, it’s not important (ent).

  112. Kind of like trying to win a game of AFL without being allowed to tackle, against an opponent who is.

    Pretty much explains the palestinian quest for their own land and state.

    Look on a map to see how much land they control in that area. Compare it with that controlled by the Jews.

    It’s about Palestinian land, not Islamic land – like saying look how much land the western countries have and control, Australia should be given to China or indonesia, ‘let all those Aussies live in Tasmania’.

  113. Ahh James falling back on the old accusation that to criticise one side means we must side with the other, never fails.

    The tunnels were mostly used to keep Palestinians from starving and so they could carry out some type of normality in life. You would want them to just sit there and starve instead of finding some way to get food. I guess that means James if you were ever starving because you were blocked in you would just site there and do nothing.

    The attack on the tunnel wasn’t legitimate in that it broke the ceasefire. It was in direct contravention of the ceasefire conditions whatever the reasons for it. You are saying one side should be allowed to break a ceasefire at whim (which they have most of the time) yet the other must just site there and be oppressed, and if they do anything they are to be globally punished in the harshest way possible.

  114. “It’s about Palestinian land, not Islamic land – like saying look how much land the western countries have and control, Australia should be given to China or indonesia, ‘let all those Aussies live in Tasmania’.”

    I disagree. This is, in its entirety, a religious conflict. Jews don’t much like Arabs and Arabs can’t effin’ stand Jews, otherwise there’s plenty of land for all. Good point though about China and Indonesia. It does make me wonder just how long those overpopulated nations can sit there all squashed watching us enjoy our wide brown land.

  115. They’re all religious conflicts.

    …“enlightened atheists” on this weblog choose the most violent, the most sexist, the most racist, the most hate fuelled, the most cruel, the most void of any reason and the least adaptable to reform religion to side with in world conflict.

    And that differs from fundamental christianity, how?

  116. I disagree. This is, in its entirety, a religious conflict. Jews don’t much like Arabs and Arabs can’t effin’ stand Jews, otherwise there’s plenty of land for all

    Except Israel can’t keep it’s hands off Palestinian land.

    A religious conflict in which the extreme Zionists of Israel feel threatened by their neighbours, so they keep running to their bully boy mate the US, telling them lies and fearmongering so that the US will give them UN vetoes, money, weapons, ammo and a licence to use them when the others aren’t allowed to.

  117. Ah the good old Adrian, only ever attacks one side, then cries at accusations of bias. When you, Adrian, apply the same expectations to your idealogical allies as you do to those you oppose, then I’ll stop accusing you of bias. Look at this phrase “break a ceasefire at whim”. But it wasn’t at whim, now, was it. They were smuggling more rockets to fire at more Israeli civilians. If I was boss of Hamas, I’d call on all my citizens to stop firing. Then I’d go to Israel and tell them what I’d done and go about explaining how I plan to enforce it, and ask for humanitarian aid to be let through. Then I’d set about asking for UN assistance to help enforce it and to work on negotiating a lasting settlement. Problem is, you don’t get to be boss of Hamas unless you hate the effing Jews, now do you?

  118. How do you know they were smuggling rockets, do you have access to some deity or have third sight?

    As has been stated the tunnels were overwhelmingly used to smuggle in goods, mostly food and medicines, because Israel was starving the population. But no you believe the Palestinians should starve and suffer as much as possible, it’s only just.

    And attacking just one tunnel in what Israel has claimed is a vast network of tunnels makes no sense. How do you explain that? It just happens attacking that tunnel provoked a response that gave an excuse for an attack on Gaza and the suffering of the Palestinians even greater.

    Hamas and the Palestinians have been asking for humanitarian aid to come through for nearly two years and have been rewarded by having it cut off even more.

    The Palestinians have been begging for UN assistance for decades but it is Israel that refuses to allow it.

    Hamas had called on the citizens to stop firing and for the most part they had. Rocket fire had dramatically dropped off to only one a month, and Israel admitted those weren’t from Hamas. OK James I want Rudd to tell the Australian people to stop all crime, as according to you political leaders have total control over their citizens. I want Israel to call for all their illegal settlers to stop shooting at Palestinians and poisoning Palestinian crops. Apparently you are saying that is all it takes.

    Here is a perfect illustration of just how much Israel calls the shots with the US and the tail does wag the dog

    “Rice shamed over UN Gaza vote: Olmert

    “He gave an order to the Secretary of State and she did not vote in favour of it, a resolution she cooked up, phrased, organised and manoeuvred for. She was left pretty shamed and abstained on a resolution she arranged,” he said.”

    I’ll chase this up but I have just read that US soldiers are helping the Egyptians in stopping goods going into Gaza and have threatened Egypt with sanctions if it doesn’t tow the Israeli line.

    Don’t know about that last part but there might be something in US troops being on the ground at the Egypt/Gaza border.

  119. Now Adrian, that point I made earlier when I said I agreed with you about Sharon? The 2nd Intifada?

  120. Sorry James, missed that. I’ll ignore your ignore of my ignore.

    That can be equally levelled against the Zionists who actually engaged in terrorism and attacks on Westerners on the formation of Israel (which was their choice and insistence over other locations).

    Religious extremism is not exclusive but you always come back to pointing out Islamic extremism, but worse paint the entire Arab race with that brush.

    Now this doesn’t surprise me: Oz correspondents flown to Israel as part of PR offensive

  121. I ignored your ignore of my ignore………..because the Rudd comparison was ridiculous, and I don’t know what weapons were smuggled but I assume they were of the killing variety. As to why I appear to focus on Islamic extremism above others? Simply because it is visible everywhere and consistent with their behaviour historically. Every race throughout history has been guilty at least to some degree of a level of xenophobia, and I reckon if we were honest we still are, but most of us are at least trying to live in harmony with our neighbours. On the evidence I see, not just in the ME but in Africa, Europe, Asia, right down to Cronulla Beach and Broadmeadows, I see a race of people who are not content to live harmoniously or peacefully, or at the very least, are not prepared to condemn sufficiently those of their race who won’t. The biggest influence on people is the judgement of their peers. I can walk through Caulfield and aside from thinking the Orthodox Jews look a bit funny with their suits and curly hairstyles, I feel perfectly safe. The same simply cannot be said for other suburbs of high Islamic populace. And this has nothing to do with terrorism, but a propensity towards violence, towards others and towards their own. So back to Sharon’s march, it was stupid because the reaction was extreme, and it was known that it would be extreme. Just as the Danish cartoons were stupid, just as any Muslim insult is stupid. But why is it so acceptable for one particular religious group to react in such an extreme way when others don’t. Jews cry all too often “anti-Semitism!!!” but you never see them rioting in the streets, perhaps in the 1940s but not now. Christians wrote a few letters to the editor and staged the odd poorly attended march when the “Piss Christ” thing was displayed. Christ, to Christians, is God. Mohammed, to Muslims, is a prophet. So back to Palestine. Perhaps the establishment of the Jewish state was a bad idea. Let’s go further and say it was the worst solution ever. Still, it’s done. The Israeli nation is stronger than its neighbours, because they have strong mates. It’s still an effing small peice of pretty shitty land and not worth the many many lives that have been lost. It’s done and can’t be changed. If the Hamas Government really gave a toss about the wellbeing of their constituents, they’d be (seriously) looking for a peaceful, political solution. But here’s the thing, they don’t. The wellbeing of their constituents is secondary to winning an impossible war against their neighbouring infidels, and that’s a fight that threatens to be replicated the world over, and it’s endless.

    Beyond that, starving a nation should be obvious to Israel to be inflammatory rather than a solution, for the reasons stated above.

  122. Someone is bending the truth into a pretzel…

    U.S.: Olmert never asked us to abstain from UN vote on Gaza truce

    The U.S. State Department on Tuesday flatly rejected an assertion by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert that he had convinced the Bush administration to abstain from last week’s United Nations resolution calling for an immediate truce in the Gaza Strip. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack also denied that the abstention embarrassed Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. McCormack said the comments attributed to Olmert “are wholly inaccurate as to describing the situation, just 100-percent, totally, completely not true” and suggested that the Israeli government might want to clarify or correct the record.

    Who was embarrassed by the UN resolution, minus thede rigeur US veto, again, Mr Olmert?

    Meanwhile, in other places…

    Turkish PM denies anti-Semitism, says ‘Jewish-backed media’ spread false info on Gaza

    Turkey’s prime minister defended his outspoken criticism of Israel’s Gaza offensive on Tuesday and said it did not mean he was anti-Semitic, though he also remarked that the “Jewish-backed media” was falsely suggesting that Hamas uses civilians as human shields in the Gaza Strip….”There are people who are disturbed by me speaking of my discomfort over the killing of civilians, (including) children … If we do not state what is just and lawful, then we will lose our self-respect,” he said. “I am (also) a leader who has said that anti-Semitism is a crime against humanity,” he said. Erdogan said some media, which he did not name, were spreading false information about the Gaza offensive. “Excuses are found for mass killings of children at schools, hospitals and mosques, especially by Jewish-backed media,” he said. “News stories saying that terrorists hide among children or (describing bombings) as technical errors or accidents are aimed at making fun of the world (public opinion).”

    Note to Jewish Israelis: criticism of the State of Israel’s actions are not to be automatically deflected through claims of anti-Semitism, nor does Israel have a monopoly over Semitism, many of the involved Arabs being Semites, too.

  123. Olmert ignoring calls from Barak, Livni for immediate Gaza truce

    You know things are going well: a) when you’re bunkering down against your own Security Cabinet; and b) when your political rivals are giving you full credit for your continuation of your very successful war. Several cognitive biases at play there, methinks, not necessarily least of which may be the irrational escalation meets need for closure biases, per the Fat Bastard’s excellent estimations of the psychological fogs of war.

  124. Café Paris, on January 12th, 2009 at 8:58

    Paix! And greetings to Paris.

  125. also hello Paris..

  126. Thanks Legion I was just about to raise that as it’s making the morning news at the moment and both the UN and Red Cross are livid.

    The Israelis have yet again destroyed a clearly marked UN complex, this one a large compound for all the food and medicine aid for the Palestinians. The warehouses are on fire and one after another are being destroyed. Apparently phosphorous bombs were used to deliberately start fires in this complex.

    And the usual misinformation from Israel starts yet again with Olmert saying that absolutely their troops were fired upon from that complex, yet Barak saying it was a terrible mistake.

    Here was Israel just the other day saying how they have the well being of the Palestinians in mind and only want to destroy Hamas, and to prove it they have allowed aid to go through in the middle of the fighting. Now in one strike they have destroyed most of the humanitarian aid they so “kindly” allowed through.

    This is a collective punishment on a group of people, nothing more nothing less. A spokesperson on ABC Breakfast this morning detailed the eight years of escalating punitive actions by Israel on the Palestinians in Gaza, a set of actions never before perpetrated on a single group as they were deliberately fenced in, embargoed and then starved.

  127. Adrian,

    Apparently phosphorous bombs were used to deliberately start fires in this complex.

    Of course you probably just forgot to provide a link to the source of that information, which happens to contradict the Red Cross:

    GENEVA – The international Red Cross said Tuesday that Israel has fired white phosphorus shells in its offensive in the Gaza Strip, but has no evidence to suggest it is being used improperly or illegally.

    The comments came after a human rights organization accused the Jewish state of using the incendiary agent, which ignites when it strikes the skin and burns straight through or until it is cut off from oxygen. It can cause horrific injuries.

    The International Committee of the Red Cross urged Israel to exercise “extreme caution” in using the incendiary agent, which is used to illuminate targets at night or create a smoke screen for day attacks, said Peter Herby, the head of the organization’s mines-arms unit.

    “In some of the strikes in Gaza it’s pretty clear that phosphorus was used,” Herby told The Associated Press. “But it’s not very unusual to use phosphorus to create smoke or illuminate a target. We have no evidence to suggest it’s being used in any other way.”

  128. In line with your earlier comments about deliberate targeting of the press & media facilities in the past, Adrian, I also read overnight that the IDF had attacked a building containing numerous TV networks in Gaza.

    I read it at the OZ online

  129. Oh that makes it all OK then Tony and all those innocent Palestinians flooding in hospitals with horrible phosphorous burns should be glad to know that they are suffering terribly because it’s legal. Of course those coming into hospitals with horrific disfiguring burns must also be glad to know there is little or no medicine to treat them as the Israelis burnt down the warehouse containing the medicines, and not only that, hit a hospital as well, so if they don’t kill you outright in the street or in your home they’ll get you in the hospital.

    Conadaleeza Rice has now stated the attack was an accident and Israel must take more care (in how they kill, maim and make Palestinians suffer).

    And it doesn’t take away from the fact that Olmert stated categorically that his troops were fired at from the UN compound in yet another lie stacked upon lies.

    And yes Toiletboss, the Israelis are now “accidentally” targeting any news agencies within Gaza that can get pictures out of what they are doing. Proves more than ever that Israel has a lot to hide in this. Strange that in every conflict Israel “accidentally” hits media sources other than its own. And how coincidental that during the invasion of Baghdad by the US they also “accidentally” hit well marked and known media centres and accidentally shot reporters (in fact the most reporters killed in a conflict).

  130. Adrian,

    all those innocent Palestinians flooding in hospitals with horrible phosphorous burns

    If you want others to take these claims seriously, you should provide references. Until then, I’ll leave it to objective readers to decide whether you’re just making stuff up as you go along.

  131. Oh for stuff’s sake Tony. You say to provide references as though I always lie, but when I do provide references you deny them or just ignore them. I got that from an ABC news piece yesterday, so how am I supposed to link to that?

    Just goto the ABC news website and see if they have the footage from their news yesterday that showed people being bought into a hospital with phosphorous burns, one man with his chest burnt out and doctors frantically working on him. Footage that probably won’t come out anymore as Israel is attacking the news agencies reporting these things.

    And this demand for proof on every single sentence goes both ways Tony, so you better be prepared to put up instead of always accusing me of being a liar. It is very telling that nearly all of your sources in this are directly IDF or from the Israel government.

  132. I think I heard on the news this morning that Israel has apologised for attacking the UN Warehouses.

    Now it is ridiculous. Gaza is a very small area and the Israelis have technology to avoid hitting these type of targets.

    This is a total disgrace on Israels behalf, they would have to know it was a UN building.

    While I no longer comment on these stories for previous obvious reasons I just want to voice my anger at this action.

  133. It is no coincidence Shane that at a time more pressure is being bought against Israel to end this, even a little by the US, Israel has greatly upped the ante, using the largest bombs in their arsenal and the most destructive weapons including a large increase in the use of things like phosphorous in very crowded areas knowing what that means. Also now increasing “accidental” attacks on UN compounds and other agencies that can help the Palestinians, along with attempting to shut down as much media reporting as possible.

    This also is standard Israeli tactics for the end game. Inflict as much final damage on the Palestinians as is possible and you can get away with. The idea is to so demoralise the Palestinians and obliterate so much of their infrastructure that it will take them a decade or more of suffering to rebuild, if they can every rebuild. This is collective punishment, nothing less, and continues eight years of escalating oppression of the Palestinians in Gaza.

  134. Adrian,

    Indignation as a debating tactic doesn’t wash.

    However, I await with bated breath the same scrutiny applied by you to my comments.

  135. I was indignant because on several occasions you have pulled out a single sentence in my posts, insinuate I am not being honest and ask for references. Nothing wrong in asking for references yet when I do supply them you mostly ignore them anyway or come back with blatantly biased references as a counter. Maybe you also need to do a bit more to be taken seriously.

    I’m glad you wait with “bated breath”, and I won’t insinuate you are a liar or be facetious whilst applying scrutiny.

    Back on subject.

    I would be interested if you believe Olmert or everyone else, which includes Barrack, the IDF, the UN at the compound and Rice, on the explanation for the attack on the UN storage and administration compound.

    I also gather that Israel will not replace the large amount of aid they destroyed in that attack?

  136. Adrian,

    It does appear that a UN compound has been hit. Why this happened is unclear, but my own guess is it was probably collateral damage.

  137. I’m running with the ‘res ipsa loquitur’ gambit. It doesn’t matter ‘why’ the hospital and the central warehouses which feed and provide medicine to 750000 Gazans were hit by ‘collateral fire’. It matters that they were hit, or, that they were not not hit. How many times does one have to hear ‘oops, oops, oops, oops, oops, again’ before one realises that its system(at)ic?

  138. And what makes all these oopses worse is that they are committed by an defence force with the most advanced weapons on the planet and who brag about how precise they can be. Yet for nearly every battle they have been in there is a pattern of collateral damage that always appears to damage the same types of infrastructure. You can almost produce a check list on it.

    There is also the same pattern of at first blaming the enemy firing from the place they attack, then blaming ‘terrorists’ using civilians in general and finally if it is revealed there were no enemy in the area they attacked it was an ‘accident’ and they will investigate it. Every investigation run by their own either finds absolutely nothing wrong, or finds mistakes they promise will not happen again only for them to happen time and time again.

    As I have stated, this is all about a collective punishment to induce as much suffering on a people as possible and to keep them permanently oppressed by ceaselessly destroying their infrastructure and services.

  139. For the record, Adrian, it seems best to ignore Tony on Israel-related topics. He simply ignores evidence when possible or bends things in the best possible light for Israel when he can’t ignore it any longer.

    It’s not worth the stress involved. I tried the logical method of convincing him, but if he can’t ignore an issue/evidence – he gets offended. Better all round to ignore it *shrug*

  140. It’s OK BT, Tony keeps me honest and makes me research my stuff instead of relying on my ageing memory. And though he normally plays devil’s advocate in attempting to defend the indefensible he does come up with some very valid points.

    It’s partly what arguingdebating is about.

  141. B Tolputt

    Adrian and I have been jousting for a long time now. We have a mutual understanding (respect?).

    We both understand that in discussions like these, facts and logic are your friend. It’s when you introduce opinion and exaggeration that you run into trouble.

    (BTW Adrian, apologies for my snarkiness earlier. It was out of line. ;-))

  142. B Tolputt

    You are probably wasting your time “convincing” me. And also, nothing anybody says here “gets” me “offended”, regardless of what you may think.

  143. …and I’ve never been snarky?

  144. I wonder when they’ll sign a deal to stop the torrential downpour of US armaments into Israel?,27574,24924117-23109,00.html

  145. America has now signed a deal with Israel to stop armaments going to Hamas, now matter what the source and wherever in the world they have to go to do this. Seems more of America pushing its weight around and Condi is in the middle of it. This entails America aiding in closing any tunnels and stopping any new ones being constructed. Remember these tunnels are the sole source of food and medicine along with goods for business for around 70 to 80 percent of the Gaza population.

    It appears Israel is going to implement a unilateral peace treaty without giving the Palestinians anything whilst completely ignoring Hamas, which basically means it is do what Israel wants or suffer even more. It also means Israel will continue to embargo and blockade Gaza indefinitely thus prolonging the suffering of the Palestinians, a suffering now made exponentially worse with the total destruction of most of their infrastructure and with no way of repairing it without Israel’s go ahead.

    The Gazans will be under the total control of Israel for everything, which was most likely Israel’s aim from the start, the trammelling of an entire people. Next move, gradually dispossess the Palestinians in Gaza.

  146. Yes indeed, a lovelly creed to the unilateral mutual masturbation that the two recalcitrants are engaging in; presumably indicative of their “the more things change, the more they stay the same” policy of subjugation extending towards the futures bleak horizon.

    Notably, what Israel & the US deem appropriate is fiat & all other parties stand condemned, even pseudo-peacemaking third parties are superfluous apparently.

  147. When failure to achieve objectives because they are unachievable is the continuing objective to continue down that same path, but on a larger scale…

    Contain Iran: Admit Israel to NATO

    ….basic deterrence theory tells us that it is more credible and effective if those commitments are clear and unambiguous.

    The best way to provide Israel with that additional security is to upgrade its relationship with the collective defense arm of the West: NATO. Whether that upgraded relationship culminates in membership for Israel or simply a much closer strategic and operational defense relationship can be debated. After all, a classic security guarantee requires clear and recognized borders to be defended, something Israel does not have today. Configuring an upgraded Israel-NATO relationship will require careful diplomacy and planning.

    Israel takes part in NATO intelligence discussions

  148. The Israelis have just called a Peace but not before shelling another UN school that was clearly marked and known to the IDF as a shelter. Again civilians, including children were killed.

    Is this yet another ‘accident’ of collateral damage Tony, and just when does hitting known and marked school after school go beyond collateral damage to become deliberate targets?

    The Israelis have stated they have achieved all their goals, whatever they are. I guess the complete subjugation and collective punishment of 1.5 million people has been achieved.

  149. Further to that shelling of another UN school being used as a shelter. Two boys, one aged nine and the other seven were killed and their mother had both legs blown off by that Israeli shell that was ‘accidentally’ aimed at a clearly marked school.

    From what I gather in the brief news report I heard just a short while ago, though Israel has called a unilateral truce they will remain as occupiers for an indefinite period and the blockade and embargo will remain. So I guess this means the now undemocratic ruler of the Palestinians in Gaza is Israel, who took control by force.

  150. “The Israelis have stated they have achieved all their goals, whatever they are”

    To conclude the massacre discretely prior to The New Guy taking over at the Whitehouse & to claim victory as a trophy to wave at their own (israeli) voters; beyond that, shellshocking the marginalised seems to have been high on the agenda.

    “So I guess this means the now undemocratic ruler of the Palestinians in Gaza is Israel, who took control by force.”

    No, no Adrian…you misunderstand. They were liberating the people of Gaza from teh terrorists, removing some brutal dictators & spreading freedom to the ungrateful.

  151. But those so called terrorists at one time were freely elected in an open and fair democratic election, one of the most fairest elections according to the army of observers that were present.

    So after being thrown out of power for the sole reason of being the “wrong” party, and being replaced by a corrupt and non-democratic party (the ones who lost the election because of their deep corruption), the wrong party are declared terrorists and 1.5 million people horribly punished for allowing this party to operate freely amongst them.

    Isn’t it discrepant that all this terrible suffering and collective punishment is being meted out by a democratic government so they can have a better chance of winning a democratic election. A democracy can’t get much more base and corrupt than that.

  152. “These claims of war crimes are not supported by the slightest piece of evidence,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said.

    I suppose murdering 410 children is not a crime.

  153. It is the one thing Israel has always managed to do well, convince itself that there is absolutely nothing wrong in their breaking of international laws, UN resolutions, human rights and morality.

  154. The very essence of “democracy” has been perversely corrupted since the inappropriate government got elected fairly against the wishes of those looking in from the outside who had no say in the vote.
    Apparently democracy is only to be held up as a beacon when it serves the interests of the more dominant “democracies” & is easily condemned & disregarded when it doesn’t.

    I don’t comprehend how the absolute farce of disqualifying the legitimate result of a monitored election can be reconciled as “fair”. The blatant dismissal of the verifiable “will of the people” is fundamental to understanding the current disgrace in the correct context.

  155. Toiletboss, on January 18th, 2009 at 12:43 pm

    I’m amazed you have just discovered this, HD!

    My own “personal” gripe was the USA propping up South VN (had this never happened I could have enjoyed quite a different life, probably made more money to retire on and got back two years of my life, The Minister’s life and my first born’s life!)

    However, propping up “dummy” democracies became an art form for the British and French long before the Yanks developed their own unique approach (eg CIA) after WWII…

    …in all fairness and balance they (we?) also prop up dictatorships (that don’t even pretend to be democratic) and monarchies, oligarchies…a couple decades later we seem to change sides…all very confusing…

    …but very enriching for some… 😉 😉 (…know what I mean…)

  156. “I’m amazed you have just discovered this, HD!”TB

    I discovered it the day that it happened, I’m also aware of, & agree with, the other examples you cite.

    I suppose what really irks me is the way that it is completely absent from the MSM commentary & thus virtually lost as a motivating factor or point of conflict.
    It pisses me off that Teh West goes around spouting the glory of democracy & then thinks that the world is too disconnected to notice the flagrant hypocrisy evidenced.
    You can’t promote democracy, by the sword no less, & then ignore democratic outcomes that don’t suit your agenda…yes US Hegemony I’m looking at you & your proxies.

  157. Did anyone watch the footage of the strikes and the so called secondary explosions from supposed weapons stored at the sites?

    Find them on your search engines and you will see what I’m alluding to.

  158. you will see what I’m alluding to

    Could you please make your allusion explicit. You may have better eyes and insights than me, who only knows about these sorts of things in the abstract.

  159. Just back from the Gaza/israel protest in Sydney – massive crowd. I am no good at estimating but it was at least two times bigger than the one two weeks ago. Will now be editing the video and hope to have a clip up on youtube by the end of the evening.

  160. Legion, I’m referring to the fact that these secondary explosions on at least two different targets look to be of the same magnitude.

    I’m going to stick my chin out here and say that Israel has possibly developed ordnance that detonates on impact then a second delayed detonation to give the allusion of munitions on the ground exploding.

  161. Could be right, scaper. I’ve seen similar ideas presented elsewhere. Along with questions about what propane/diesel/gasoline explosions might look like vis-a-vis an area reliant on hydrocarbons of all sorts for cooking, heating, refrigeration, etc. (And unless I’m mistaken, the terrorists do seem to think that filling cars with gas bottles and leaving them outside nightclubs will create a bang, so who knows what industrial/community strength gas stores in community-grade buildings, like those going boom as secondaries near Bali nightclubs, might achieve).

    Thinking simply in the abstract, though, there would seem to be an incentive, given the high self-justificatory and propaganda worths, for a modern armed force wanting carte blanche on targets to simply develop munitions packages with primary and secondary devices on differential timing and/or detonation trains. I guess, in that instance, the only way to tell either way would be to do the on-site forensic analysis.

  162. I will state upfront that I have seen one bit of IDF footage purporting to show secondary munitions exploding, and from (defence) experts appraisal I have read the IDF claims of an ammunition or rocket storage are probably correct. That footage was from the first day of the IDF air attacks on Gaza.

  163. I’m with you on that one Adrian.

    I find the idea of such theatrical weapons preposterous. The truth is somewhere between what we are fed by Israel on one side & Hamas on the other.
    There is no need for elaborate conspiracy theories when reality is frightening enough, if not improperly disseminated for a public with a short attention span.

  164. Adrian, I’ll stick my chin out further and put forward that there was no primary first impact…similar to the MOAB developed by the US that explodes at a predetermined altitude which could allow for secondary ordnance to detonate on impact.

    The only possible observance would have to be of a lateral view to ascertain my theory…because of Israel’s obstruction of journalists in this conflict there will be no credible claims of my out there suspicions.

    As legion says it is a matter of forensics…by whom?

  165. But there was no MOAB used by the Israelis anywhere. In fact a MOAB used in the confines of Gaza would cause so much destruction and innocent deaths that even the US would be outraged against Isreal.

    The footage I saw and which was expertly analysed was that of a GBU (probably a GBU-12) hitting a target in Gaza. The explosion from the bomb is clearly identifiable and an analysis of the footage shows a different type of explosive igniting immediately after the bomb hits. Even to an untrained eye it is clear to see that there are two distinct types of explosions here, one immediately following another.

    As to other footage. Unless you provide a link so I can have a look or have someone else look at it I can’t comment.

  166. Adrian, a MOAB would wipe Gaza off the map!

    It is the concept of this that I was referring to…detonation at altitude to create the vision of a ground explosion.

    As I said…I’m sticking my chin out here and I believe that Israel is playing out an exacted propaganda campaign to justify their actions which are no better in my eyes than the blatent actions of past states that have been proven to be engaging acts of genocide!

    These people will instigate WWIII!

  167. “I’m sticking my chin out here and I believe that Israel is playing out an exacted propaganda campaign to justify their actions which are no better in my eyes than the blatent actions of past states that have been proven to be engaging acts of genocide!”scaper

    This I am in total agreement with!

    Blatant as hell.

  168. I’m not saying the footage you have seen is what you purport. The only definitive footage I have seen from the IDF was from the first day of air raids and it clearly shows what they purport it to. An expert in defence imagery analysis (which I had a little to do with on the periphery when in the Navy) states that footage clearly shows a typical GBU (Paveway 12 or 16) explosion and a secondary explosion of a different type of munition or fuel.

    But your general premise of the Israelis setting up imagery for propaganda and the general thrust of their misdirection in this action against the Palestinians is noted and correct.

  169. Wagging the dog is their special talent.

    Cue histrionics about Palliwood…

  170. Adrian, I’m kind of flying blind as far as expert opinion is concerned but my personal sirens and whistles are going off!

    My go to man on this is in Afghanistan on a tour of duty.

    I therefore will have to stand by my instinct.

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