No. What Happened in Gaza Won’t Go Away.

Gershom Gorenberg

My new article on the latest, and most extensive, testimony from soldiers who served last winter in Operation Cast Lead is now up at The American Prospect:

“We didn’t see a single house that was not hit. The entire infrastructure, tracks, fields, roads — was in total ruin,” an anonymous soldier says, describing his days in the Gaza Strip during Operation Cast Lead, the Israeli incursion last winter. “Nothing much was left in our designated area … A totally destroyed city … The few houses that were still inhabitable were taken by the army … there were lots of abandoned, miserable animals.” The destruction continued daily, he testifies, though Palestinians — fighters and civilians — had fled the area.

So much lay in ruins, says another Israeli soldier, that it was hard to navigate. “I entered Al Atatra [in the northern Gaza Strip] after seeing aerial photos and didn’t identify anything … I remembered that 200 meters further on down the track there should be a junction, with two large houses at the corners, and there wasn’t. I remembered there was supposed to be a square with a Hamas memorial … and there wasn’t. There was rubble, broken blocks.” Later, he says, he was in an operations room where soldiers were directing air strikes. Landmarks that were supposed to serve the pilots as reference points had already been destroyed, he says, making it harder to direct the planes, more likely that they would hit the wrong building.

The two soldiers are among 26 whose first-hand accounts appear in Operation Cast Lead, a book released today in Hebrew and English by the Israeli veterans’ group, Breaking the Silence. Half the soldiers were serving in the regular army at the time of the fighting; half were called up as reservists. To protect them, their names do not appear — only their words. A brief introduction notes that the Israel Defense Forces spokesman’s office has argued consistently since the war that if any moral problems arose in Israel’s conduct in Gaza, they were due to “delinquent soldiers.” The soldiers’ testimony presents a very different picture — of a policy set by top commanders that led to unnecessary civilian deaths and massive physical damage.

Read the rest here, and return to South Jerusalem to comment.

35 thoughts on “No. What Happened in Gaza Won’t Go Away.”

  1. It is a fundamental precept of due process that one has the opportunity to face one’s accusers and is afforded the opportunity to question them.

    Here you present a book compiled by anonymous people recounting the tales of other anonymous people, apparently without fact-checking . One story has already been debunked–one soldier claimed another used a Palestinian as a human shield, and it turns out he wasn’t in Gaza at the time! It was a rumor he heard which is reported in this book as fact.

    This is much akin to the Rabin Academy fiasco where much was made of “war crimes” soldiers “confessed” to only to later find out that the soldiers were merely repeating rumors they had heard and had no first or even second hand evidence of any of the matters recounted.

    If Breaking the Silence or any of the contributors to this apparently mendacious piece of propaganda were truly interested in stricter rules of engagement or a wider debate about that issue, then why aren’t they going public with their identities? Why are there only (supposedly) 26 of them? Surely if what happens in Gaza is so reprehensible (and I’ve read plenty elsewhere that it wasn’t) there should be willingness of these young men to come forward and lead a public outcry.

    The fact that they lack the courage of their convictions condemns their veracity.

    Why are you promoting a book that has all the reliability and veracity of an anonymous statement from the Star Chamber?

  2. Aliyah06- You can question the soldiers reports but you cannot discount them ( which is what you do) until you know they are false even if elsewhere and at times what went on was not reprehensible. YOu cannot discount them even if they come anonymously, presumably out of fear of the consequences.

    Comparing what these soldiers say to some other incident in the past where rumors may have been passed also does not put these particular reports to rest. No court would accept that argument ( speaking of due process).

    Nor is the question resolved about what orders were given or not given or what orders should have been given regarding a certain standard of morality that we hear so much about.

    Breaking the Silence says this is to get people’s attention first. Due process comes after, if it comes after all the denials.

    How are we supposed to feel about how Gaza was laid waste, how innocents were unable to leave not knowing where to go, how they were sitting ducks. How should we feel about the use of white phosphorous? And what do we make of the gross kill rate of 13 Israelis to 1400 (give or take 2oo-300) Palestinians including a large number of women and children?

    To accomplish what? To teach them a lesson?

  3. “No court would accept that argument ( speaking of due process). ”

    On the contrary. Hearsay is generally inadmissible in court except under certain tightly controlled exceptions which contain particular indicia of trustworthiness.

    Due process comes first or else what you have is libel in the kangaroo court of left wing media, not justice.

    How did you feel about the daily rocket and missile attacks on southern Israel? About children who didn’t get under shelter quickly enough and died because of it? (and how many letters to the editor did you write expressing your outrage over those attacks? and how many demonstrations did you go to or organize to protest the blitz on noncombatants?) Or is your “justice” merely a numbers game, i.e. Jewish deaths aren’t as important because there weren’t as many? Jewish children and their families living in terror of random attack 24/7 apparently doesn’t strike you as obscene. The idea, as a mother, that every time I send my child to walk to school or play outside with his friends, he might die, while appalling to me, is something you apparently are ready to shrug aside.

    Gaza was not laid waste and there is plenty of journalistic commentary to back that up if you want to read something other than The Guardian and that ilk. There are ample photos on the internet of Gaza City, mostly intact. That there are deaths at all is a tragedy, but the difference between Israel and Hamastan is (1) we tried to minimize civilian deaths whereas they herded their civilians into holding areas and invited return fire to those locations, trying to create a war crimes scenario; (2) we leafleted and telephoned neighborhoods to warn them to take cover, whereas Hamas and their subcontractors fire at will and deliberately aim for homes and schools; (3) we withdrew from Gaza to give peace a chance–they are still intent on conquest and genocide.

    Your numbers are wrong. The fatalities are 1,160 dead, 70% of whom are combatants. The remaining 30% are the victims of a military junta intent on war as policy. “But for” 8 years of incessant rocket, missile and mortar attacks, the Gaza operation would never have happened. Direct your outrage to Hamas.

  4. Some of the BtS statements corroborate Palestinian testimonies that B’Tselem sent to the authorities weeks ago, with the names of the witnesses. Guess what, nothing happened.
    http://www.btselem.org/English/Press_Releases/20090715.asp
    Three of the soldiers were grilled by Haaretz and found tentatively credible (and indeed to have served in Gaza).
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1100736.html

    So, aliyah06, unless you want to believe in a conspiracy between BtS, Gaza Palestinians, and Amos Harel, there’s evidence for you.

    The other point is, if you believe that an obscenity committed by the other side entitles you likewise, you have forfeited the right to claim that obscenities are bad.

    Haaretz, in a beautiful non-sequitur, illustrates the point, however unintentionally:

    IDF soldiers give testimonies to counter Gaza war crimes claims

    A newly released collection of anonymous accusations of alleged human rights abuses by Israeli soldiers in Gaza has prompted reservists who served there to deliver signed, on-camera counter-testimonies about Palestinian terrorists’ use of Gazans as human shields.

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1100740.html

    If they used human shields, then whatever we did can’t possibly be war crimes, right?

  5. Suzanne: interesting remark you make “And what do we make of the gross kill rate of 13 Israelis to 1400 (give or take 200-300) Palestinians including a large number of women and children?

    The British are lamenting the rising number of their soldiers being killed fighting the Islamist Taliban in Afghanistan. Still being killed…still counting. I bet the British would have been deliriously happy if the death count had stopped at 13…They don’t tell us how many Afghanis they have killed.

    Curiously the lamenting hypocritical British criticise Israel for its “disproportionality” and its methods used fighting those other Islamists, Hamas, in Gaza citing the low number of Israelis killed to justify their criticism.

    Strange world.

  6. As a trial lawyer for over 35 years ,I find the discussion of the Gaza events amusing. (The first casualty of war is the truth.) It has been shown to me repeatedly over the years that supposed eye-witness accounts are not to be taken as truth until I have had an opportunity to validate them myself by subjecting them to my version of the scientific method.I distrust most journalistic accounts of such inflammatory events as that alledgedly took place in Gaza, because the reporting agency’s sometimes subtle or overt bias. Call it the Dan Rather syndrome
    There are always casualties sometimes unintended but casualties all the same.Combat is not an exact science,( having been there) and sometimes you get your own people.
    Having said that all I can say is Gaza is an impossible situation. It is akin to a three-sided concentration camp with the sea making up the fourth side. It is an impediment to any peace process and would or could serve as a land swap for land that could be annexed and geographically attached to the Palestinian state.

  7. Charlotte: “The British are lamenting the rising number of their soldiers being killed fighting the Islamist Taliban in Afghanistan. Still being killed…still counting. I bet the British would have been deliriously happy if the death count had stopped at 13…They don’t tell us how many Afghanis they have killed.

    What’s your point? That the British are jealous of the Israeli kill rate?

    I am talking about the unknown number of innocents killed in essentially a fishbowl, trying to get at some mostly unknown militants of unknown number. I am not talking about the vast territory of Afghanistan where there are plenty of places to run and hide for those who are not Taliban militants.

    Aliyah06- regarding the daily rocket attacks on southern Israel, I blame the policies of the Israeli government. They are boomerangs. For the few Israeli’s that were killed or harmed during this period of attacks from Gaza thousands of Palestinians have suffered or given their life to support protest of the siege and occupation during a period that Israel says it used restraint. Too many Israeli’s would prefer to know nothing of that.

  8. ALL of our dead prior to the Gaza operation were innocents; the vast majority of Gazan dead were armed combatants. There is no comparison.

    The policies of the Israeli goverment are designed to secure the lives and well being of Israelis, just as the policies of the British (or any other government) are to secure the lives and well being of their own citizens. Gaza is closed because the treaty with the PA was abrogated by the Hamas coup, and when Hamas seized the borders, we closed them. We have no duty to import Hamas “martyrs” whose ideology is that mass murder of Israeli civilians is a act worthy of praise. We have no duty to keep “open borders” with an entity which considers Jewish genocide a religious duty. When Hamas agrees to abide by prior agreements and renounce terror attacks on Israelis, we can then discuss “normalization” (please note that humanitarian aid has never stopped, nor have we turned off the electricity).

  9. Israel has no duty to go in and lay waste to get at Hamas. I beg to differ, this does not “secure the lives and well being” of Israel’s own citizens. Ultimately it does a great deal of harm to Israel. Aliyah06- your notion of “Jewish genocide” puts you in a territory beyond rational argument. Perhaps you believe this hyperbole or use it to emphasize outsized fears. Don’t you think that after Gaza Palestinians have a right to fear their own genocide?? Don’t register or acknowledge the gross imbalance in the numbers of those killed on each side? Does placing blame make you feel better?

    No, Israel is not required to import “martyrs” but as occupiers (regardless of denials to the contrary)Israel is responsible to a degree also for the well-being of those people it occupies.

    The worsened conditions in Gaza the international community holds Israel responsible for.

    Finally, Hamas has said it will abide by any agreement that the Palestinian people agree to. Hamas must be tested on that because Hamas will not be erased. Not doing so is also not in Israel’s long term security interests.

    The Gaza seige and the war have been proven not to be answers.

    Where is the movement now that “terror attacks” are not happening? Today we hear of more settlements going ahead in East Jerusalem.

  10. We’re not occupying Gaza. Read the Hague Convention. (If we were, there wouldn’t be any rocket attacks.)

    I’m repeating myself–my goverment has a duty to protect Israeli citizens from Hamas’s blitz.

    We did not “lay waste” to Gaza as responsible (and inadvertantly by some) photojournalists have shown. What the Allies did to Berlin and Tokyo is “laying waste” — selected rocket launch sites and ammo dumps is not “laying waste.” “Laying waste” does not result in 1160 dead — “laying waste” is more like what is going on in Darfur, or the Congo or Sri Lanka, where hundreds of thousands (millions in the Congo) have died. Baseless hyperbole is a poor substitute for rational discussion.

    No, we don’t need to “test” Hamas’s pronouncements–go read their Charter. It hasn’t changed. The downside is that if we “test” their pronouncements and they turn out to be a pack of lies, then we’re dead.

    You are suggesting we “test” the pronouncements of an entity who during their “cease-fire” never ceased firing. Why would we trust them on broader life-and-death issues?

    You are suggesting that we “test” the peaceful pronouncements of an entity who faked black-outs and lied about receiving international aid and colluded in murdering people delivering that aid so that they could then claim they didn’t receive it.

    Terror attacks in the West Bank have decreased, not stopped. They have NOTICEABLY decreased since the end of the Gaza op, which you may interpret any way you want–I interpret it as people of the West Bank deciding they don’t want to be Gaza II and they like the slowly increasing stability and economic revival of their region. Tony Blair et al are making progress. The checkpoints have come down to the extent that one can drive from Nablus to Hebron without going through one.

    You hear of more settlements going ahead in East Jerusalem? But you fail to mention yesterday’s rocket attack from Gaza. I suggest you have your priorities backwards.

    “your notion of “Jewish genocide” puts you in a territory beyond rational argument.” On the contrary, your complete denial of this factor puts you in a territory outside of reality. Until you “get” that Hamas and other Palestinian extremists promote genocide as part of their platform, you will never persuade Israelis of your point of view because you utterly ignore one of the realities of surviving here.

  11. Destroying enemy property en masse, while keeping your own losses way down, seems like a reasonable way to fight a war.

    The number of people killed in Gaza could easily have been a thousand times larger.

    To sort things out, it would be good to know how many of the dead were killed by rifle fire, how many by artillery, and how many by air power. I doubt this is possible, but if we had the info, we could make a deeper analysis. The emphasis on “Soldiers” testimony assumes the deaths were mostly by rifle fire, but that might not be true.

  12. Fred, you’re fighting a straw man. The issue is not that the destruction of life and property could have been greater (what, do you expect the victims to be thankful for this?), but that war crimes have been committed in Gaza. The fact that there were instances where the soldiers’ actions did not constitute war crimes does not disprove this.

  13. Note to Star Chamber afficiondos: More accurately, “war crimes are ALLEGED to have been committed in Gaza.” That’s the whole point here. The allegations are anonymous, apparently not reported to anyone other than BTS and B’Tselem (they say), some already disproven, and as a result the allegations are a bit, well, questionable. They remain to be proved by something other than anonymous and sometimes outright mendacious claims.

  14. Suzanne, you posted “…Finally, Hamas has said it will abide by any agreement that the Palestinian people agree to. Hamas must be tested on that because Hamas will not be erased. Not doing so is also not in Israel’s long term security interests.”

    1. Are you an Israeli?

    2. Are you Jewish?

    3. Are you personally in the line of fire if you are wrong?

    “Today we hear of more settlements going ahead in East Jerusalem.”

    What is your objection? Are you in favour of race laws excluding Jews – apartheid? How bizarre, antisemites usually accuse Israel of being apartheid, but of course the truth is that it is the Arabs who practise apartheid against Jews.

  15. Charlotte- I shouldn’t let you put me on the defensive. You should answer those questions about yourself. But the point is that it does not matter what the answers are: I may be Jewish or not. I may be an Israeli or not. I may be personally in the line of fire or not.

    None of those answers would provide you with any good reason for discounting my views which are legitimate especially if I were a Jew in the US who has dear friends and relatives in Israel, especially knowing that the US is very much also responsible as an enabler and for financial and geopolitcal support of Israel. You know israel could not survive and would not have survived without support, especially from the US and Jews in the US. So it’s reasonable that Jews and even non-Jews in the US and elsewhere should care about what goes on. After all there is international law. Are you aware of international law?

    A question for you: Why would you be posting on this website on this post in particular whose heading is “No. What Happened in Gaza Won’t Go Away”? Clearly this is the opinion of Jews in Israel who have views that are more similar to mine than yours. Are you an Israeli?

    Aliyah06:I do believe that the Hamas charter is irrelevant. In fact it’s a boilerplate excuse used by those who don’t want any compromise or solution to the conflict. And I don’t deny that this feeling (of not wanting a solution but endless war instead) exists on both sides amongst some. But it’s disappointing to hear it here.

  16. Don’t put words in my mouth. I am on record in many places as favoring compromise and peace—but on terms that will provide security for both Palestine and Israel and NOT some quasi-Yugoslavian “forced solution” at the hands of the EU , the Quartet or the Arab League. I simply want dreamy-eyed westerners who think you can order up “peace” like you order up a burger and fries to be more attuned to the real issues that are at hand, rather than making grandiose but empty statements and gestures that, in reality, are simply designed to make themselves feel good.

    If you believe the Hamas Charter is irrelevant, I’d like to know why? Other than an immature desire to discard inconvenient facts?

    I gather from your dodge that you’re not Jewish, not Israeli and don’t have a personal stake in getting killed here if your proposed program turns out wrong? You are, of course, entitled to your opinions in any regard, but I think Charlotte’s point is that those of us who must suffer the consequences of your mistakes might not be in such a hurry to embrace them.

  17. If you believe the Hamas Charter is irrelevant, I’d like to know why? Other than an immature desire to discard inconvenient fact

    Since the charter, much has happened. There have been many signs from Hamas of a softening and that they are willing to moderate. To choose to point only to what their charter says ( and I am not even sure what it says are you? ) tells me about you- that you are more interested in supporting the hopeless route of more confrontation…in the hope that they will go away, that they can be taught a lesson. This is a proven fantasy.

    By the way I am Jewish- and have family and friends in Israel, have said so online before. Was again in Israel a couple of months ago. Was also in Israel during the suicide bombing period and felt what it was like to not be able to go out and feel safe. I am married to someone who spent time on a a kibbutz pre 67 and knows what Israel was like prior. Half of my very large family are in Israel. Our dear friend in Israel fought in 5 wars, including the first war for independence.

    Israeli governments have done everything to prolong this conflict and still don’t have a clue about how to really make Israel secure. A lot has to do with the attempt to gain more land than is just, than the international community will support as legal. Support of settlements, occupation and military excursions ( under the guise of” security”in the hopes of subduing or getting rid of Palestinians altogether have changed Israel over the years from a place I might have want to live to one I can only visit and not without some sadness and disappointment.

  18. Yes, I do know what the Hamas Charter says. It’s online for everyone to read. It has never been modified or revoked. It is still a document Hamas refers to (as recently as this year) as justification for on-going war against Israel. Hence, I consider it a valid and current document and not something that is to be shunted aside because you would prefer to believe they don’t really mean what they say.

    I’m a firm believer in acts rather than words. I support actions which support peace. I do not support Hamas (or Israeli, or European or American, for that matter) diplomatic double-speak used to manipulate facts in order to gain a strategic or tactical advantage–which is all Hamas’s words amount to. “Cease fire” while still firing, for example.

    I, too, am married to a product of the pre-67 kibbutz movement. He, too, is an army veteran. Nonetheless both his and my view of Israel is far different from yours. I personally don’t know anyone who wants the Palestinians to “go away.” I know many who, with good reason, don’t trust the Palestinian leadership or rhetoric, since it has repeatedly proven treacherous and led to more Israeli deaths.

    I don’t think “Israeli governments” have “done everything” to prolong this conflict. I think Israeli governments have been inept at seizing the initiative in peace-making, but after the Oslo Fiasco, I also don’t blame them for being twice wary. Everyone expected peace after Oslo–instead we got the Second Intifada. You may be prepared to overlook that since you didn’t have to worry about whether your children would come home alive on an un-blown-up bus, but it strongly turned the Israeli public against a peace-process-for-the-sake-of-a-peace-process. We are now every bit as cynical as the Palestinians in that regard.

    There is nothing the Israeli government has done that cannot be undone for peace. Settlements can be evacuated (Yamit, Gaza); walls can come down (although their existence is due solely to the tactic of suicide bombings, which have virtually stopped since its construction).

    OTOH, the Palestinian Authority simply promulgates more and more impossible “non-negotiable demands,” to Israel while inciting war against Israel in its schools and media. This is what disappoints me and others who would like to see some progress towards a two-state solution.

    I lay fully 50% or more of the blame on the Palestinian Authority and their supporters (Western as well as Arab) for the prolongation of this conflict, which is in reality nothing more than a continuation of the 1948 war, replayed again and again in the hopes of finally defeating Israel and eliminating it as a sovereign entity.

    Apart from signing the various documents, whose obligations they promptly ignore, what has the Palestinian Authority done to make any of us believe that there is a genuine desire for peace? I don’t see it — I see instead a pattern of rejectionism that appears to posit that the Palestinians cannot agree to peace because it would mean the end of their Reconquista of Israel.

    It’s not about land. It never has been — it’s about our right to exist in a sovereign state of our own.

  19. Suzanne, your comment re Hamas “To choose to point only to what their charter says (and I am not even sure what its says are you?) points out the fundamental – and fatal – flaw in all your thinking. You are arguing in ignorance.

    I suggest you read the Hamas Charter, available online, and also read up on the history of 1400 years of Islamic conquest; Koran and modern Islamism. Dr Andrew Bostom is a good starting point.

    By the way, when you say “there have been many signs from Hamas of a softening and that they are willing to moderate”, they are merely willing for a “hudna”, which is a temporary truce to their advantage, enabling them to regroup and rearm, not peace. An Islamist can never abandon the quest to reconquer territory previously conquered for Islam in holy jihad – Israel.

    You are playing the Useful Idiot in aid of Islam.

  20. Charlotte- You can’t go forward by looking backward. And to rephrase Aliyah above- it’s actions not words that matter- both sides.

    We both can read up- endlessly but in the end you have to let go. The Hamas Charter is from 1988. Since then many have come and gone and we know there are divisions.

    To read the Koran and the Bible also begets more warfare depending on interpretation as there are also peace messages in both.

    What you don’t get- and I am sorry to put it this way- is that changing the situation is not about what they say ( see aliyaho6 who backs me up on this) but about changing the atmosphere and the chemistry. This begins one step at a time. And it is not idealism- it has to do with courage, willingness to risk realizing that the status quo ( which is not really a status quo) is the greater risk.

    Once you attain some peaceful grounds- even on a so-called temporary “hudna” you get people used to it and then they change because they want the normality, they want the better conditions and they are not willing to fight to get what is unrealistic. But the “temporary peace” has to be a just one- not simply removing settlement from Gaza ( for instance) leaving the occupation essentially still in place.

    This business about regrouping, rearming etc etc. may be so in the very short term but soon militants will lose most of their support. Not only that the majority who want peace will oppose them. Risk? Yes. But not so much as this present trajectory.

    Aliyah o6 – you neglect to acknowledge that Oslo ‘s failure was also on the part of Israel- neither party lived up to the agreements. Palestinians also, with just cause, do not believe in Israel’s sincerity. I am sorry to say I lately have come to this conclusion myself.

    There is much else to answer in your long post suffice it to say that Israel has allowed settlements to become so entrenched that day by day they really become more difficult to remove. If you accuse me of fantasy- this is yours. Many hopeful on both sides have lost that hope because of this. But there is hope if the settlements and settlers are left to be part of Palestine- and it is heartening to read that this is a recent offer being made by Palestinians.

  21. “But there is hope if the settlements and settlers are left to be part of Palestine- and it is heartening to read that this is a recent offer being made by Palestinians.”

    I’ve actually suggested this myself for decades…why not a Jewish minority in Palestine as there is an Arab minority in Israel? I, too, was amazed to hear that from the PA recently but even MORE amazed that the MSM totally ignored it.

    We’ll simply have to disagree on some of the other fundamentals. I don’t believe the Palestinian leadership (heck, I don’t really believe anyone’s leadership) because much of what is pronounced is for political advantage only, oftentimes internal, having nothing to do with Israel. I also can’t make the moral equivalence implicit in “both sides failed to live up to the Oslo agreements” — I see a fundamental difference in completing a neighborhood already under construction versus blowing up a bus full of civilians. Technically you’re statement may be correct–morally, it is indefensible.

    Nothing is entrenched–if nothing else, the last 100 years in the Middle East and Europe has proven that beyond a shadow of a doubt. You see settlements as THE Issue….I think the fate of settlements will be part of an overall agreement at the end…..reasonable minds can differ.

    Our major disagreement underlying this premise is that you believe Hamas et al are ready for peace….I think they’re intent on war. Our discussion here won’t make a difference one way or the other–only time will tell.

  22. Aliyah06– this is a straw man argument-: ” I see a fundamental difference in completing a neighborhood already under construction versus blowing up a bus full of civilians. Technically you’re statement may be correct–morally, it is indefensible.

    I won’t link but you can find the numbers of dead and compare them side to side. And you can compare any other measures of normality. I will stop short of accusing you of not knowing what goes on in (presumably) your backyard. If you were a Palestinian you would be mighty angry at the losses of life and land, the terror of occupation. Morally I too find something indefensible about the lack of empathy.

    The issues are regarding more than just settlements and (don’t forget) the infrastructure, the taking away of land that is to be a state for Palestinians. This looks pretty permanent to many. And there are fervent settlers who have supporters in government to prove that point. We out here saw the imbalance in might clearly in Gaza. That, which will not go away, is morally indefensible in the eyes of the world.

    Palestinians have been fighting and protesting lately more and more from the position of moral high ground even while using effective but weak tactics suck as rockets ( no suicide bombers lately) growing gradually in strength with help from Iran and Syria. There is a growing realization and organization even amongst Israel supporters that the Palestinian problem is not only Israel’s problem but an outgrowth of the creation of Israel for which others in the world also have a moral responsibility. So it’s a moral problem that must be solved because of Israel’s existence and for Israel’s sake. Ending the conflict also weakens Iran; Obama’s approach to insist on a settlement freeze I believe is correct and I hope he sticks to it and threatens consequences to Israel if there is resistance.

    —–

    What I miss in comments and I think this is true of too many Israeli’s and supporters and by no means all (b/c I am not in a position to know) is a sense of humanity for those who suffer from the creation of Israel onward, an acknowledgement of and responsibility for that. Never mind due to whom as there is blame to go around. More I feel too much of a hubris and unconcern in the Israel of late or worse, a hatred and belligerenc that has grown behind the walls and checkpoints and blockades. It’s so much easier since you now don’t have to know these Palestinian people as people, only as enemy. The present government is representative, ostensibly, the choice of a people who don’t anymore bother themselves with what goes on “over there” in Gaza or the West Bank. They just want not to be rudley awakened by a a suicider or rockets growing in range. And when they are fears take hold… not rationality. So in turn, we who sit here and watch this tragedy, who have the luxury of caring about human rights become very disillusioned and disappointed and even angry too. My idea about victimhood has changed. My idea about responsibility is different.

    I may not be an Israeli but I feel, as a human being, no less as a Jew that has come through history. In the US Jews have pride in their humanitarianism. It’s extraordinary because we are blessed here.

    I have a strong feeling for what it must be like to be a Palestinian in Gaza. My feelings don’t begin and end with and for Jews. And anyway Jews cannot stand alone. And anyway Jews are a mixed bunch. I care as another human about other human beings. So it disturbs me, when I go to Israel now I do not see or hear about suffering past walls and checkpoints. Again, I don’t go to Gaza and I don’t go to the West Bank. But I know it’s there. And I read reports and see pictures. I wonder how many Israeli’s, so close, pay any mind, except when a rocket flies in… a rude intrusion on normal life. It’s not taken as a message of suffering.

    It’s not possible to really care about Israel from this vantage point and not also care about the situation in Gaza maybe precisely because I am not there.

    Charlotte– it is not the Hamas charter -written in 1988- still an excuse. Those who are pointing to that shows me how this conflict has replaced humanity with fear and inhumanity and short-sighted selfishness. Israel’s well being is bound to Palestinian well-being.

    Question: How are those Jews who want an Israel from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea ( or even from the Euphrates to the Sea) different from those however many Islamists in Hamas who still believe the words of the charter ? And how much does that matter in terms of the overriding desires of all of the rest on both sides?

  23. Suzanne, you remind me of my students – all emotion and no facts.

    Have you read the Hamas Charter yet?

  24. Eliyah06, you wrote “why not a Jewish minority in Palestine as there is an Arab minority in Israel?”

    Are you aware that under the Palestinian Authority’s Basic Law (available on-line), the national religion is Islam and the legal system is SHARIA. !!

    The fictional State of Palestine is listed (online) as a member of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) since 1967. In 1990 the OIC rejected the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights for its Judeo/Christian/Secular values and in its place adopted the discriminatory Cairo Declaration of Human Rights in Islam which states that its sole authority is Sharia. (available online, as well as critiques, also in Wiki).

    How do you think Jews would fare in a Palestinian state under a discriminatory Sharia legal system and a discriminatory Sharia human rights regime? You must know that women are discriminated against under Sharia, and that non-muslims are discriminated against as dhimmis.

  25. Oh, please. “An Islamist can never abandon the quest to reconquer territory previously conquered for Islam in holy jihad”? I guess this explains their obsession with conquering Spain.

    This focus on the Cairo Declaration is also pretty silly. The membership list of the OIC includes very secular countries like Albania and Azerbaijan where religious minorities do pretty well, in spite of those countries having implicitly signed the declaration.

  26. “I guess this explains their obsession with conquering Spain.” Don’t laugh. I was on an off-season trip up to Hazor and stopped to see the ruins. The Arab supervisor was in charge of three young Arab guys who were doing maintenance on the site. The younger men asked where I was from, etc. We had a discussion going until the supervisor yelled at them. I stopped at the main office and asked the supervisor why he had a beautiful poster of the Alhambra on his wall–had he lived in Spain? He said solemnly that it was Waqf land and would one day be returned to the Righteous and the Infidels who stole it would be vanquished. There are Islamist websites that promote the idea that Spain and the Balkans and Hungary and sourthern Ukraine are indeed Islamic lands stolen and in need of jihad to be redeemed.

    Religious minorites in Azerbaijan don’t feel very comfortable there–I wouldn’t necessarily equate “do pretty well” with an absence of discrimination and fear…..much like in Jewish history.

    In answer to one of Suzanne’s questions: Jews differ from Hamas in this respect–the overwhelming majority of Israelis think a two-state solution is possible and desireable, and believe that an end to war would be positive for both peoples. Hamas is supported by a large plurality of Palestinians who support the conquest of Israel and the killing of her people.

    “Those who are pointing to [the Hamas Charter] shows me how this conflict has replaced humanity with fear and inhumanity and short-sighted selfishness.” We’ve argued this before, but I will reiterate: we have every reason to be fearful of a proxy army bent on our deaths, and distrustful of a political entity whose internal agenda still promotes war and racism. This is still an incredibly caring, humanitarian country–much more so than the US. But our cautions are based on experience, whereas your breathless embrace of an idealized humanity is pure naivete. You really need to go read the Charter instead of dancing around it.

    And no, I’m afraid I don’t take a missile launch as a “message of suffering” — I take it as a message of hate and intent to kill. I think my interpretation is the correct one.

    “I won’t link but you can find the numbers of dead and compare them side to side. ” Well, using this kind of illogic makes the Allies monsters for defeating Hitler. Neither morality or disproportionality are determined by the number of casualties — the key difference is that we try to minimize civilian casualties whereas Hamas et al tries to maximize civilian casualties–they’ve publicly stated that this is their aim. (IF we were as monstrous as you and the other Hamas fans claim, then Gaza would be a smoking ruin with uncountable casualties. We have air superiority and there is nothing to stop us from carpet bombing Gaza except for our own compassion for the Palestinians, which we recognize as a captive people who have been indoctrinated in hate and fear and used as political pawns by countless powerbrokers in the Arab world.)

    Charlotte–I was NOT aware that Sharia law and the OIC had such a grasp; I was aware that the official religion of any future Palestinian state would be Islam (which is why I am always puzzled when westerners scream bloody murder about Jewish holidays and laws being integral to a Jewish state….?)

  27. Since there are about 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide you will probably find a large number, not a large percentage necessarily, who think or dream like Aliyah06’s Arab supervisor. Do we have a number percentage of how many Jews would like to move further East than the 67 lines by right? As well I would be willing to venture these ideas amongst Arabs relate to present circumstance, feelings of humiliation, the need to reclaim a period when Islam was great and on the rise. Moorish Spain is as magnificent as ancient Biblical ruins.

    You can react to that to mount evidence of the need for endless war against Islam. I don’t react to that which is no real threat. But the unresolved Palestinian issue, being oppressed and at war, feeling hopeless, promotes such dreams and especially the settlements keep the feelings alive of the need to be vigilant against encroachments from the West. This needs to be understood, not argued against.

    “Jews differ from Hamas in this respect–the overwhelming majority of Israelis think a two-state solution is possible and desireable, and believe that an end to war would be positive for both peoples. Hamas is supported by a large plurality of Palestinians who support the conquest of Israel and the killing of her people.”
    Above you compare a subset of all Palestinians with all Jews. This is indicative of the poor case made. Need I go on except to ask you where you get this? And even if you were to cite me some poll ( which?) I would still have to say that polls are taken at specific moments in time and that they vary with the wind. They vary in Israel as well.
    we have every reason to be fearful of a proxy army bent on our deaths, and distrustful of a political entity whose internal agenda still promotes war and racism. This is still an incredibly caring, humanitarian country–much more so than the US. But our cautions are based on experience, whereas your breathless embrace of an idealized humanity is pure naivete. You really need to go read the Charter instead of dancing around it.

    The first sentence applies equally to the other side- they also fear that Israel is bent on their annihilation and they feel strong racism, correctly. And what proxy? This is an honest anger, martyrdom and picking up of arms coming out of humiliation and repeated trauma. Your second sentence are of words not born out by consistent actions with regard to Palestinians who are the closest to Israel most in need. Are you talking about the Israeli’s that go to disaster areas like earthquakes to help out? Yes that is admirable. To the contrary, strong objections are made by Israel to humanitarian aid coming from elsewhere to Palestinians.

    And no, I’m afraid I don’t take a missile launch as a “message of suffering” — I take it as a message of hate and intent to kill. I think my interpretation is the correct one.

    You are correct but you don’t go far enough. This is reciprocation in kind for what is felt from Israel- the real threat of annihilation of Palestinian identity, the desire on the part of some in Israel to be rid of it’s Arabs ( racism, intolerance)- which provokes the very same desire in them to struggle for justice to survive and prevail that Jews know so well.

    Instead of trying to understand- you to tell me to read the Hamas charter.

    And what about the relative calm now? What’s stopping Israel now? What about the conciliatory messages that have been coming from the other side?

    To seriously blame this on Hamas’ 1988 charter and whatever else – is to choose to deny that the conflict is now more and more in the eyes of the world about Israel’s occupation and taking land that is Palestinian and to be a Palestinian state. It seems more and more that this is about the need for some form of justice also for Israel’s sake.

  28. from Wikipedia on Hamas Charter:

    The charter’s current status within Hamas is unclear. For example, Mousa Abu Marzook, the deputy of the political bureau of Hamas, in 2007 described the charter as “an essentially revolutionary document born of the intolerable conditions under occupation” in 1988. Marzook added that “if every state or movement were to be judged solely by its foundational, revolutionary documents . . ., there would be a good deal to answer for on all sides,” noting as an example that the U.S. Constitution engaged in codifying slavery.[58] Senior British Diplomat and former British Ambassador to the UN Sir Jeremy Greenstock stated in early 2009 that the Hamas charter was “drawn up by a Hamas-linked imam some [twenty] years ago and has never been adopted since Hamas was elected as the Palestinian government in 2006”. Greenstock also stated that Hamas is not intent on the destruction of Israel.[59] Finally, according to investigations by Israeli daily “The Jerusalem Post” in 2006, representatives of Hamas in Beirut, Damascus and London had intended to rewrite the charter. Azzam Tamimi, Director of the London-based Institute of Islamic Political Thinking, told the newspaper in a telephone interview: “All the madness from the Protocols of Elders of Zion and the conspiracy theory must be eradicated. It should never have been there in the first place”.[60]

  29. Yeah, it’s a funny story, but I don’t really see its significance. If you look in the right places, you can find people and websites advocating the expansion of Israel to the Tigris.

    Your comparison of Israeli public opinion with Palestinian election results is also inapposite. You can either compare Israeli polls with Palestinian polls—in which case majorities of both sides consistently support a peace settlement—or you can compare Palestinian election results with Israeli ones—in which case both sides elected parties whose official lines (according to their respective charters, since we seem to be going by that) are opposed to a two-state solution.

    I imagine it’s true that many religious minorities in Azerbaijan don’t feel very comfortable there. I also know that many Muslims and Christians don’t feel very comfortable in Israel. Such is the universal lot of minorities.

  30. As well- let us look by comparison at the Likud charter or party platform written in 1999 and probably ( correct me please) unchanged ( unrevoked) since except maybe verbally maybe also insincerely ( who knows). What if Palestinians, Arabs, focussed on this?:

    “The Jewish communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values. Settlement of the land is a clear expression of the unassailable right of the Jewish people to the Land of Israel and constitutes an important asset in the defense of the vital interests of the State of Israel. The Likud will continue to strengthen and develop these communities and will prevent their uprooting. 
…


    The Government of Israel flatly rejects the establishment of a Palestinian Arab state west of the Jordan river.”

    You can find the whole document at the Knesset website.

  31. From the Hamas Charter:

    Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.

    Hamas is one of the links in the Chain of Jihad in the confrontation with the Zionist invasion. It links up with the setting out of the Martyr Izz a-din al-Qassam and his brothers in the Muslim Brotherhood who fought the Holy War in 1936; it further relates to another link of the Palestinian Jihad and the Jihad and efforts of the Muslim Brothers during the 1948 War, and to the Jihad operations of the Muslim Brothers in 1968 and thereafter. [Note: even Hamas admits that this conflict is an outgrowth of the 1948 war, which the combined Arab forces lost.]

    [T]he Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!

    Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief.

    As to the objectives: discarding the evil, crushing it and defeating it, so that truth may prevail, homelands revert [to their owners], calls for prayer be heard from their mosques, announcing the reinstitution of the Muslim state. Thus, people and things will revert to their true place. [i.e. Israel will be destroyed and replaced with an Islamic state].

    The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine has been an Islamic Waqf throughout the generations and until the Day of Resurrection, no one can renounce it or part of it, or abandon it or part of it. No Arab country nor the aggregate of all Arab countries, and no Arab King or President nor all of them in the aggregate, have that right, nor has that right any organization or the aggregate of all organizations, be they Palestinian or Arab, because Palestine is an Islamic Waqf throughout all generations and to the Day of Resurrection.

    [Peace] initiatives, the so-called peaceful solutions, and the international conferences to resolve the Palestinian problem, are all contrary to the beliefs of the Islamic Resistance Movement. For renouncing any part of Palestine means renouncing part of the religion; the nationalism of the Islamic Resistance Movement is part of its faith, the movement educates its members to adhere to its principles and to raise the banner of Allah over their homeland as they fight their Jihad…There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad.

    For Palestine is an Islamic land where the First Qibla and the third holiest site are located. That is also the place whence the Prophet, be Allah’s prayer and peace upon him, ascended to heavens….[T]he liberation of that land is an individual duty binding on all Muslims everywhere.

    ****

    In short, there is no peaceful solution; war is a duty of all Muslims; killing Jews is religiously ordained and part of the duty of jihad; Israel must be destroyed and replaced with an Islamic state in what is religiously-ordained “Waqf” land; no peace agreements or treaties contrary to this goal are or need to be recognized.

    So, you are comparing apples to oranges: Likud has (finally) stated that a two-state solution is in the future and that the Arab Peace Initiative is a good starting point for negotiating towards such a solution. AT NO TIME did Likud’s platform ever call for the murder of Moslems as a holy duty. Likud implicitly rejected the portion of the platform you quote when they evacuated Gaza (as those “communities in Judea, Samaria and Gaza are the realization of Zionist values”). Apparently being a settlement, however emblematic of “Zionist values” doesn’t stop the government from dismantling it and relocating its population in order to proceed with realpolitik.

    There is no comparable offer from Hamas.

    “Instead of trying to understand- you to tell me to read the Hamas charter.” I understand just fine–you are the one in denial. That’s why you should read the Charter.

    “If you look in the right places, you can find people and websites advocating the expansion of Israel to the Tigris.” — ok, direct me to one, please. I’ve only heard this from Evangelical Christians (who don’t live or vote in Israel)–I’d like to see an example of such a site by mainstream Jews. Seriously. I’ve looked before without success.

    “I would be willing to venture these ideas amongst Arabs relate to present circumstance, feelings of humiliation, the need to reclaim a period when Islam was great and on the rise. Moorish Spain is as magnificent as ancient Biblical ruins. ” Wrong. These ideas have been around since the latter days of the Turkish Empire and came fully into bloom through the Moslem Brotherhood in 1928–well before the establishment of Israel.

    “To seriously blame this on Hamas’ 1988 charter and whatever else – is to choose to deny that the conflict is now more and more in the eyes of the world about Israel’s occupation and taking land that is Palestinian and to be a Palestinian state.” You fail to understand me: I don’t blame this on “Hamas..and whatever else.” I do say it has nothing to do with the settlements, which are simply the latest of a long line of red herrings. It has everything to do with the irridentist nationalism of pre-1948 Arab and Moslem states, organizations and militias, which believe that having lost 4 wars and two uprisings against “the Jews,” they can continue a war of attrition by proxy (Hezbollah and Hamas) with no risk to themselves and through a propaganda barrage portraying themselves as the eternal victims of a long term war which they started and apparently have no intention of ending: skip the Hamas charter for now–Olmert’s offer of 100% plus was rejected, and now new non-negotiable demands are being made before the PA will engage in talks. This is not the behavior of an entity seeking peace–they are stalling tactics until such time as they believe they can reinstitute full scale war, and win.

    “…especially the settlements keep the feelings alive of the need to be vigilant against encroachments from the West.” The settlements were a direct response to the Khartoum Conference–ok, you won’t negotiate with us, we’ll build. It was state-less land, having been rejected as a state by the Arabs living there, and illegally annexed by Jordan (who later renounced any claim to it). It remains to be negotiated. Like Gaza, it could be evacuated in whole or in part. The Palestinians now focus on the settlements (40 years too late) because they see the demographic threat, not because they are “an obstacle to peace.”

    “the desire on the part of some in Israel to be rid of it’s Arabs…” OK, let me understand your illogic here: if during the Civil Rights movement, a fringe minority of extremists at a KKK coffee clatch said “They should all be deported to Africa!” that would justify thousands of random rocket attacks by the Black Panthers on bedroom communities of white suburbia? That’s the argument you’re making: some right-wing fringe nut says something racist, so the entire country should be rocketed. Isn’t this collective punishment? Aren’t you just a little ashamed of justifying Palestinian war crimes against Israeli civilians? Or, as I’m beginning to suspect, you are one of those people who engage in the soft racism of lowered expectations: it’s okay for Palestinians as brown people to engage in war crimes because its against evil white people? The problem with this is that it is inherently racist, and it’s factually wrong–the majority of Sderot is Mitzrachi and Ethiopian (brown as the Palestinians and black).

    “strong objections are made by Israel to humanitarian aid coming from elsewhere to Palestinians. ” No, they’re not. Circuses like Free Gaza which bring their own press corps and celebrities and very little aid are diverted and searched for weapons, but international aid by the ton goes into Gaza daily (it’s also searched, since we’ve found weapons being smuggled in with it). BTW, Palestinians, when you talk to them, are disgusted with Free Gaza’s celebrity romps which do virtually nothing to help them but only make symbolic contributions which accomplish nothing.

    We don’t trust the Palestinians based on nearly 110 years of incitement to murder us, along with the many wars launched. Want peace? Put some pressure on the Palestinians to engage in some confidence-building measures–maybe start by returning Gilad Shalit to his family.

    From today’s Jerusalem Post regarding Israeli distrust of Palestinian promises: ” When asked what they believe the ultimate intention of Abbas and other leaders is when striving for a Palestinian state, 62% said the PA leaders want to establish a state instead of Israel, while only 27 said Palestinian leaders want the two nations to live side-by-side. In total, 58% said they believe any pledge from Abbas would not bind future Palestinian leaders, while 18% gave it a “so-so” chance, and only 12% thought it would bind them. ”

    You continually tell me to “understand.” Practice what you preach–try to understand why Israelis, after a century of Arab incitement, war, broken promises, threats of extermination, attempts to exterminate, and future promises of extermination, might be just a tad wary of Palestinian and Western promises.

  32. For Muslim apologist Suzanne who refuses to read the Hamas Charter because it does not fit in with her Israel -as -aggressor/Muslim Arab-innocent-victim agenda:

    The principles of the Hamas are stated in their Covenant or Charter, given in full below. Following are highlights.

    “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” (The Martyr, Imam Hassan al-Banna, of blessed memory).

    “The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Muslim generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. ”

    “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

    “After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying.”

    The charter is a rather classical Islamist document, applied to the local issues. It declares that Jihad (in the sense of armed battle) is the only solution. It cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a ludicrous anti-Semitic forgery.
    One of the most ominous aspects of the Charter however, is this Hadith:

    Moreover, if the links have been distant from each other and if obstacles, placed by those who are the lackeys of Zionism in the way of the fighters obstructed the continuation of the struggle, the Islamic Resistance Movement aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take. The Prophet, Allah bless him and grant him salvation, has said:

    “The Day of Judgement will not come about until Muslims fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Muslims, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews.” (related by al-Bukhari and Muslim).

    The implication is clear: Allah promised that the Jews will be murdered, and the Hamas “aspires to the realisation of Allah’s promise, no matter how long that should take.”

    Some observers deny the relation between the Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood. However, the Charter states:

    The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine. Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a universal organization which constitutes the largest Islamic movement in modern times. It is characterised by its deep understanding, accurate comprehension and its complete embrace of all Islamic concepts of all aspects of life, culture, creed, politics, economics, education, society, justice and judgement, the spreading of Islam, education, art, information, science of the occult and conversion to Islam.
    Moreover, the Charter quotes Hassan Al-Banna, a Nazi sympathizer who founded the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. There is no doubt that the Hamas views itself as a part of the Muslim Brotherhood and an ideological heir of al Banna.

    The Muslim Brotherhood spawned a number of radical Islamist movements including Al-Qaeda.

    Some analysts insist that the Hamas is becoming more pragmatic in its ideology following assumption of a political role. The evidence for this is view is conflicting, and it is beclouded by the practice of dissemblance that was copied from Al-Banna and Sayyed Qutb. Recent statements by leaders include the following:

    Imam Yousif al-Zahar of Hamas said in his sermon at the Katib Wilayat mosque in Gaza that “Jews are a people who cannot be trusted. They have been traitors to all agreements. Go back to history. Their fate is their vanishing.” Ref IHT 1 April 08

    Sheik Yunus al-Astal, a Hamas legislator and imam, in a column in the weekly newspaper Al Risalah in 2008 discussed a Koranic verse suggesting that “suffering by fire is the Jews’ destiny in this world and the next.” Astal concluded “Therefore we are sure that the Holocaust is still to come upon the Jews.Ref IHT 1 April 08

    “We will not rest until we destroy the Zionist entity” stated Hamas leader Fathi Hammad in Gaza on Friday January 2nd 2009 – ref — BBC 2 January 09

    In a sermon aired on Hamas’ Al-Aqsa television, cleric Yunis Al Astal stated, “Today, Rome is the capital of the Catholics, or the Crusader capital, which has declared its hostility to Islam, and has planted the brothers of apes and pigs in Palestine in order to prevent the reawakening of Islam.

    “I believe that our children, or our grandchildren, will inherit our jihad and our sacrifices, and, Allah willing, the commanders of the conquest will come from among them”
    He maintained that Rome would become, “”an advanced post for the Islamic conquests, which will spread though Europe in its entirety, and then will turn to the two Americas, even Eastern Europe.” Ref- Fox 14 Apr. 2008

  33. aliyah06,

    It’s my understanding that this expansionist viewpoint is common among various Kahanist groups. See, for instance, this interview with Rabbi Kahane. Search for the words “Let me tell you what the minimal borders are”.

    The Kahanists aren’t mainstream, of course. But the whole point of contention is whether the guys who dream of a modern Al-Andalus are part of the Muslim mainstream.

  34. Charlotte: I don’t read past “For Muslim apologist Suzanne” which is name-calling (part of the larger problem) and a conversation stopper.

  35. People who object to Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem, or in other places outside Israel’s 1967 borders, are not advocating that Palestine should be an apartheid state.

    What they want is for Palestine to be an independent nation with control of its own borders, and they find Jewish settlers in East Jerusalem objectionable for the same reason they would find Jewish settlers in Amman objectionable.

    Of course, this is a failure to take responsibility for the plot to drive Israel into the sea that was averted by the Six-Day War, and for the terrorism that has blocked the road to peace. But it isn’t apartheid, any more than the refusal of Jews to submit to living as a minority among Muslims under the rules of Shari’a is apartheid.

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