January 12, 2009

Hamas is Responsible

Steven Erlanger wrote a revealing article in the New York Times about the methods of urban warfare used by the Israel Defense Forces and Hamas in Gaza. He shows that Hamas is committing war crimes against both Israelis and Palestinians, and that Hamas knows better than most that Israelis take great care to avoid harming civilians despite propaganda saying otherwise.

“Unwilling to take Israel’s bait and come into the open,” he wrote, “Hamas militants are fighting in civilian clothes; even the police have been ordered to take off their uniforms.”

Hamas is in clear violation of the Geneva Conventions here, but that’s nothing new. Hamas never agreed to uphold the Conventions in the first place. Its raison d’être is the destruction of an entire country, after all. The laws and ethics of civilized warfare are anathema to groups like Hamas.

Nevertheless, everyone should be familiar with what the Geneva Conventions actually say. The Society of Professional Journalists provides a good summary explanation that most of my colleagues should know well by now:

The Geneva Conventions and supplementary protocols make a distinction between combatants and civilians. The two groups must be treated differently by the warring sides and, therefore, combatants must be clearly distinguishable from civilians… In order for the distinction between combatants and civilians to be clear, combatants must wear uniforms and carry their weapons openly during military operations and during preparation for them… Combatants who deliberately violate the rules about maintaining a clear separation between combatant and noncombatant groups and thus endanger the civilian population are no longer protected by the Geneva Convention.

These protocols have been carefully crafted by leaders of civilized nations and are not to be lightly dismissed. It may be convenient to blame the Israelis when civilians are killed by their air strikes in Gaza, but the Geneva Conventions clearly state that Hamas fighters endangered those civilians by disguising themselves.

Not only do Israelis have a harder time figuring out who is a target and who needs protection, we all have a harder time identifying those who have already been wounded and killed. Hamas says mostly civilians have been wounded and killed in the fighting in Gaza, but its fighters look just like everyone else. They can trot out the bodies of two dead terrorists in front of the cameras and say they’re civilians, thus easily fooling just about anyone. The number of civilian casualties, therefore, appears much higher than it really is. But even if that weren’t the case, far more civilians are being killed in this war because Hamas is fighting dirty.

Israelis, in the meantime, go far out of their way to avoid harming the civilians of Gaza. They have even developed weapons for precisely this purpose.

“A new Israeli weapon,” Erlanger writes, “is tailored to the Hamas tactic of asking civilians to stand on the roofs of buildings so Israeli pilots will not bomb. The Israelis are countering with a missile designed, paradoxically, not to explode. They aim the missiles at empty areas of the roofs to frighten residents into leaving the buildings, a tactic called ‘a knock on the roof’.”

If Israelis were targeting civilians, as Hamas and hysterical critics like to claim, it ought to go without saying that they would never have developed a “weapon” that scatters civilians away for their own protection.

Activists, professors, journalists, bloggers, and other uninformed individuals may believe Israelis kill civilians either negligently or on purpose, but even Hamas knows that’s a lie. Otherwise, Hamas would not ask “civilians to stand on the roofs of buildings so Israeli pilots will not bomb,” as Erlanger reports.

Hamas knows the truth but uses its lie as a weapon. And it works. Millions all over the world believe Israel massacres civilians in Gaza and that claims to the contrary from the military are disinformation and smokescreen.

Israelis, by contrast, don’t use human shields to deter Palestinian rocket attacks. The very idea is absurd. Hamas aims at civilians on purpose, as much as it can aim its crude rockets. A congregation of Israeli human shields would only make a bulls-eye at which Hamas could aim.

Read the rest in Commentary Magazine.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at January 12, 2009 10:18 AM
Comments

It seems to me that Israel can make it "easier" on both sides by simply rounding up all military aged males in civilian clothes they encounter in Gaza and placing them into "protective custody" until the end of hostilities.

Posted by: crosspatch Author Profile Page at January 12, 2009 2:06 PM

Activists, professors, journalists, bloggers, and other uninformed individuals may believe Israelis kill civilians either negligently or on purpose, but even Hamas knows that’s a lie.

This sounds a lot like you're claiming that Israel does not kill civilians. So if it doesn't kill them negligently, how does it kill them? With the greatest of professionalism and care?

“Unwilling to take Israel’s bait and come into the open,” he wrote, “Hamas militants are fighting in civilian clothes;

What? Have guerillas ever worn uniforms in the history of guerilla warfare?

Is every guerilla army in history solely responsible for every person killed by its opponent? For example, since the Chechnyans didn't wear uniforms and fought inside their city, is Russia completely without blame for the half-million people they killed? How did the Kurds fight against Iraq? Did they wear uniforms? Is Saddamn off the hook? You know, I have a feeling he's not. But that's how the Geneva Conventions are written. In other words, guerilla warfare is illegal. But law that makes any kind of ethical or common sense does not absolve Individual B, Israel, for all responsibility for anything he does to Individual C, civilian, because he's mad at individual A, terrorist, or even confused.

It's a lot like a law that would, for example, claim that if a criminal has taken steps to conceal his identity, you can therefore shoot anyone you want in the face because you believe they're the criminal, and we blame it all on the criminal. In other words, it's cross-talking badger spit. It's completely bankrupt. It's as dead of a letter as the Dred Scott case. And if it's not, the United States of America and the Government of Israel must, by your own logic, be supporters of war criminals, because WE CREATE, ARM, and FUND GROUPS WHO DON'T WEAR UNIFORMS.

Were the Jews of 1948 war criminals for fighting inside Jerusalem, thus endangering the civilians living inside it and exposing them to Jordanian attacks? Was the United States a bunch of war criminals by locating its coastal defense forts inside major cities? Seriously, where is Hamas supposed to defend Gaza city from, other than from inside Gaza city?

Furthermore, let me tell you a story. I know of a military base where there are civilian houses within 100 feet of it. In Washington DC, there are DoD offices with soldiers in them colocated with shopping malls. Is the US committing a war crime by mingling its military and civilian facilities?
Does all Hamas need to have its actions be completely legit is start making announcements that its rockets were actually aimed at the Israeli military facilities scattered all over their country, in close proximity to shopping malls?

Of course not.

They can trot out the bodies of two dead terrorists in front of the cameras and say they’re civilians, thus easily fooling just about anyone. The number of civilian casualties, therefore, appears much higher than it really is.

You are way too blithe about stating your guesses as facts. Why don't you find out how many of the claimed civilians are women and children under the age of, say, 12? Then you'd have some kind of baseline.

You're using ethical precepts that are fundamentally and unsalveageably flawed. You're taking them to gruesome extremes. And you're hiding behind the Geneva conventions, The US Senate, etc. But it doesn't matter what solemn totem pole of Wise Old Dudes stands behind you and tells you that it's okay. It doesn't give them a free pass. They're trying hard - some of them, at some times, and we have no real idea who is and is not - to avoid doing it because it's bad and it's wrong. But they're still doing it.

It's a nice idea to keep fighting separate from the civilian areas. But the biggest guy on the block does it.

Everything else- faking dead terrorists as civilians, killing civilians and blaming it on the other guy, human shields - that's all a different story. Indecent, unethhical, possibly brutal and inhumane, potentially war crimes, etc. And we don't know how much or what of that is going on. But while forcing civilians to act as human shields is a war crime, recruiting them voluntarily - I don't give a f*ck what the Geneva Conventions do or do not say - is the same as lying down in front of bulldozers. Those civilians are not war criminals, and they're not combatants. You don't get to just kill them indiscriminately - and you bear some responsibility when they die.

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at January 12, 2009 3:27 PM

For further insight into how crazy this standard is, under it all U.S. Special Forces would be war criminals. That doesn't make any sense, either. (Can I be fairer than that?) And the Israelis conduct acts of violence without using uniforms all the time. It's extremely common. And yes, I can document it, but I don't think I have to.

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at January 12, 2009 3:31 PM

"What? Have guerillas ever worn uniforms in the history of guerilla warfare?"

Che became the Left's poster child guerilla. He wore a uniform. Hamas terrorists are terrorists because they target the innocent and kill them whenever and wherever they can. Theirs is a terrorist war waged against civilians. When you use the G-word you come across as a Hamas apologist.
=================================

"Furthermore, let me tell you a story. I know of a military base where there are civilian houses within 100 feet of it. In Washington DC, there are DoD offices with soldiers in them colocated with shopping malls. Is the US committing a war crime by mingling its military and civilian facilities?
Does all Hamas need to have its actions be completely legit is start making announcements that its rockets were actually aimed at the Israeli military facilities scattered all over their country, in close proximity to shopping malls?"

Huh? Point not taken. Contortions don't make for clarity. Bottom line: Hamas seeks out civilians for murder. The IDF does not. Shill all you want - it doesn't matter what you say.
=============================

"You don't get to just kill them indiscriminately - and you bear some responsibility when they die."

The IDF doesn't kill "indiscrimately" when they have to engage in mortal combat. You make lame and stale equivocations right out of the How To Make Excuses For Hamas handbook. Enough already. If the Arabs of that pathetic strip of prime Mediterranean beachfront property took even a fra ction of the charity the appeasing Euros throw at them every year to build a future instead of trying to destroy their neighbors' future, we wouldn't be reading your tedious amoral parlor game rhetoric.

Posted by: Li'l Mamzer Author Profile Page at January 12, 2009 4:49 PM

This sounds a lot like you're claiming that Israel does not kill civilians. So if it doesn't kill them negligently, how does it kill them? With the greatest of professionalism and care?

glasnost, I think English is not your native tongue? "Negligence" implies wrongdoing... for instance, if a negligent parent is one whose carelessness places their child in danger. A negligent driver is one whose carelessness causes injury or death to somebody else. These are criminal offenses. Not every unintended outcome is the due to negligence, and I doubt you would claim that it is, so I won't belabor this one any further :)

I don't give a f*ck what the Geneva Conventions do or do not say

That was obvious when you defended what the Russians were doing in Georgia, despite your criticism of Israel's past and present actions. You cheer on your team in the most effective way you can, and you don't much care about morality or legality.

For further insight into how crazy this standard is, under it all U.S. Special Forces would be war criminals.

That is nonsense. You watch too much television. I've been in the field with Army Rangers, Army Special Forces, and Navy Seals. Guess what? They wear uniforms. Are you confusing Blackwater and other private mercenary outfits with the US Military?

You have a point on this one, but you argued it very poorly. Further reading of the Hague conventions will show that they made provisions for informal militias and other non-military combatants. It isn't necessarily illegal to fight while not wearing a uniform. This is one argument that legal scholars try to make that I don't think is very strong.

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at January 12, 2009 6:18 PM

This is always the issue with any war/battle involving 1) A Western liberal democracy and 2) a terrorist group/autocratic dictatorship. Standards of behavior are different for the two sides. The end result of all this pointing fingers is making future wars more and more barbaric. I write about it here:

http://columbiagorgedispatch.wordpress.com/2009/01/12/hamas-terrorists-and-war-crimes/

These standards were put into place for a reason. Bad actors are allowed to disregard those rules -- there's no law of nature not allowing it -- as long as they are willing to deal with the consequences.

Posted by: jasonholliston Author Profile Page at January 12, 2009 8:19 PM

To lighten things up, after a conversation about responsibility with a single mom of a teenager, I came back here, saw "Hamas is Responsible" and burst out laughing. Maybe even glasnost can appreciate the humor.

Posted by: Paul S. Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 12:38 AM

Several points here,

One yes perhaps glasnost isnt arguing is point very strongly, but no matter how 'clean' a war the IDF might be fighting, and trying to avoid civilians, it dosent excuse that thus far almost 40% of the dead are women and children. And i'm sorry, but the IDF is one of the best forces in this world in terms of fighting, I just cannot beleive that they confuse a 5 or 12 or 15 year old child or an old woman with a Hamas soldier. I wont argue that Hamas is fighting dirty, yes they are, but in the light of what they are facing they are fighting back the best they know how. Is it right, no of ocurse it isnt, but by saying all civilian deaths are Hamas' fault and letting the Israeli's off the hook isnt going to solve anything or move in any positive direction.

And to Lil'Mamzer and your line "If the Arabs of that pathetic strip of prime Mediterranean beachfront property took even a fra ction of the charity the appeasing Euros throw at them every year to build a future instead of trying to destroy their neighbors' future, we wouldn't be reading your tedious amoral parlor game rhetoric."

SERIOUSLY?? Firstly if that strip was land was so pathetic why does everyone else seem to want it so badly. and excuse me but have you heard of something called a BLOCKADE? There is no aid, water, food, supplies or ANYTHING allowed into that little strip of prime realestate. Do you know that every year, if you calculate saying that an average of 20,000 people travel across a checkpoint, for example Ramallah, then with the waiting and the stopping and the searches almost 12 MILLION man hours are wasted everyyear.
Exactly HOW do you propose a people rebuild anything with your pathetic Euros if they are stuck at a checkpoint. How are children supposed to learn and grow to build a nation, if over 1300 schools were shut down by the IDF and Israel with held $800 million in taxes that was due to the OPT in 2006 alone. And if you want more figures I'm just getting started!

Yeah, lets talk about that before you decide that those Arabs are sunning themselves on the beach and pissing their aid money away!

Posted by: ambika Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 3:18 AM

You cheer on your team in the most effective way you can, and you don't much care about morality or legality.

You're right. Israel is my team, and I cheer them on in the most effective way I can. Palestine is also my team. I don't cheer them on in the same way because they aren't listening. I do, in fact, care rather a lot about morality. The Geneva Conventions are an effective substitute for morality in some ways and at some times. Then I use them. In other ways, they're not. Then I don't.

What is not my team is your, or America's, insignificant and pissy emotional need to be right, morally or otherwise. I could give a flying f*ck about that. I know what I think is right and wrong. I also have a sense of the self-interest of Western nations. It's not undoubtedly not the same as yours, but those two factors drive my commentary.

Maybe even glasnost can appreciate the humor.

It was funny. Ha ha! I love the Internet, no way to tell the slant there :-D

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 5:39 AM

OK, Hamas is 100.00% responsible. It made Israel go in heavy, inflict a lot of collateral damage, kill a lot of civilians, create fertile recruiting ground for Hamas and other radical Palestinian organizations and turn world opinion (with the notable exception of the U.S.) against Israel. Israel had NO CHOICE but to react in precisely the way it reacted. Taken to its logical conclusion, this means that Hamas (not the Israeli Government) controls Israel’s policy decisions. Now it all makes sense to me. Thanks for clearing things up.

Posted by: Persephone Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 6:03 AM

These are criminal offenses. Not every unintended outcome is the due to negligence, and I doubt you would claim that it is, so I won't belabor this one any further :)

I'm not alleging criminal liability, but I'm using it in the moral sense.

Not every unintended outcome is due to negligence?
Is that true? I think the meaning of the word negligence comes from to neglect - to fail to consider. I think, in many individual cases, Israeli commanders are morally failing to due that.
My evidence is the results. I think that a certain degree of negligence in most matters is socially tolerated, even "unavoidable", or costly beyond what people choose to pay.

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 6:33 AM

I'm not alleging criminal liability, but I'm using it in the moral sense.

What is greater, the moral obligation of the Israeli government to avoid civilian casualties, or the moral obligation of the Israeli government to protect the lives of Israeli citizens?

Sometimes there is no good option- all you can do is choose between bad and worse.

In the end, the responsibility for this is on Hamas. All they have to do to end this is quit trying to kill jews.

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 7:11 AM

"the IDF is one of the best forces in this world in terms of fighting, I just cannot beleive that they confuse a 5 or 12 or 15 year old child or an old woman with a Hamas soldier."

Right, they were all killed in hand-to-hand combat.

"by saying all civilian deaths are Hamas' fault and letting the Israeli's off the hook isnt going to solve anything or move in any positive direction."

Oh yes it is. Hamas uses Palestinian civilians as human shields in large part because it knows people like you will blame Israel while overlooking or excusing their savagery.

Posted by: Gary Rosen Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 8:16 AM

The Thunder Run has linked to this post in the blog post From the Front: 01/13/2009 News and Personal dispatches from the front and the home front.

Posted by: David M Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 1:29 PM

Persephone,

turn world opinion (with the notable exception of the U.S.) against Israel.

You are right. The exception of the US is quite notable. Your assumption is that under these circumstances, it means the US is in the wrong, eh? :)

Hmmm.... well... your "rest of the world" seems to be a code word for Muslim countries and Western Europe. If you think Japan, India, China, Russia, etc are genuinely outraged by Israel's conduct in Gaza I'm going to have to disagree with you on that one.

Glasnost, you seemed to be claiming that every death in Gaza was either a result of deliberate intent on the part of Israelis, or negligence. I was just pointing out those aren't the only two possibilities.

Posted by: programmmer_craig Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 4:58 PM

ambika wrote:

SERIOUSLY?? Firstly if that strip was land was so pathetic why does everyone else seem to want it so badly. and excuse me but have you heard of something called a BLOCKADE? There is no aid, water, food, supplies or ANYTHING allowed into that little strip of prime realestate. Do you know that every year, if you calculate saying that an average of 20,000 people travel across a checkpoint, for example Ramallah, then with the waiting and the stopping and the searches almost 12 MILLION man hours are wasted everyyear.
Exactly HOW do you propose a people rebuild anything with your pathetic Euros if they are stuck at a checkpoint. How are children supposed to learn and grow to build a nation, if over 1300 schools were shut down by the IDF and Israel with held $800 million in taxes that was due to the OPT in 2006 alone. And if you want more figures I'm just getting started!

Yeah, lets talk about that before you decide that those Arabs are sunning themselves on the beach and pissing their aid money away!

Yes, that strip of land is pathetic - tragically so - pathetic meaning: having a capacity to move one to either compassionate or contemptuous pity. So you tell me: who else besides the current residents of Judenrein Gaza want that land? You think the Israelis do? Get real - the last Jew left Gaza years ago and they don't want to look back. And you couldn't pay the Egyptians to take it back (where it belongs, by the way).

Yes, there has been an intermittent and very porous blockade for very good reasons: 6,000 missiles fired at Israeli towns, homicide-bomber attacks, shootings...must I continue? During this current fighting alone, Israel has allowed more than 700 trucks carrying 17,000 tons of food, medicines, and other essential supplies INTO Gaza. I've read accounts of Hamas stealing this aid and selling it for profit. What other nation on this planet feeds a hostile population who knowingly elected a genocidal regime promising (and delivering) war and death? As for "wasted man-hours" at checkpoints in Ramallah, I choose Israeli lives over Arab inconvenience any day.

You have missed my point entirely, so I'll try and rephrase it for you. The Gazan Arabs live on prime beachfront property, don't know how to develop it into something economically viable and productive. But they do knew enough to elect Hamas, whose stated goal is to make endless war against the Jews, and in that they have succeeded. Don't you think Gaza would be better off today if the people's goal was to better their own lives instead of tearing down the lives of others? They have situational resources in Gaza (climate and geography) and have been the recipients of huge amounts of unearned cash flowing from Europe (and the US), and they have squandered everything.

Posted by: Li'l Mamzer Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 6:31 PM

I was disappointed that most of Erlanger's assertions went unattributed. Or if attributed, it was to "Israeli intelligence officials."

By banning the international media, Israel gets to spin stories its way, but then it all stays at the level of spin because no one knows for sure.

I personally think that as a group dedicated to defending the Palestinian people, and willing to die for that cause, Hamas would be unlikely to act like the the Israeli spokesmen say.

They say the first casualty of war is truth. Truth and 1000 Palestinians.

Posted by: David Gorowitz Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 6:45 PM

I personally think that as a group dedicated to defending the Palestinian people, and willing to die for that cause, Hamas would be unlikely to act like the the Israeli spokesmen say.

Wherever did you get that naive idea? Some local Hamas members may feel that way, but Khalid Mesha'al and his level don't give a damn about the Palestinian people. I assure you -- Hamas is no different than Taliban, Hizbullah, AQ, or any other terrorist operation. Civilians are a PR weapon and a useful screen, and their poverty serves a purpose.

It is Palestinians online saying Hamas is stealing food and supplies.

Hamas has spent tens of millions on their tunnel networks -- not on helping the poor. All of Gaza's infrastructure is subterranean. Hamas has made not one single concrete effort to promote a peaceful, effective civil society in Gaza since winning in Jan 2006.

Posted by: AZZenny Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 6:55 PM

OK, AZZ. Since you assure me.

(Still, you have to admit it would have been nice if the NYT had actually SOURCED something.)

Posted by: David Gorowitz Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 7:47 PM

Superb article by Jeffery Goldberg!!

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/14/opinion/14goldberg-1.html?_r=1

Posted by: AZZenny Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 9:14 PM

Lil'Mamzer,

Ofcourse i missed your point, because at first, i'm sorry to say, you didnt make a point, you ranted. and lets not go on and one about prime beach front property ok, as much as you might side with Israel and hate Hamas, which is clear enough and i dont have a problem with that, you are effectively reducing the lives of people who live on that strip of land to nothing.

And its not about Arab inconvinience, I;m sorry you asked as to why people, those people, wouldnt develop, i responded by saying that it is hard to do anything economically viable and find employment if you spend half the day standing at a checkpoint.

Of course you've read accounts of Hamas stealing food and medicines, but I hope to balance your viewpoint you;ve also read accounts of what the Red Cross, the UNRWA and others have to say about the blocakde. Look at both sides of the story before you decide to pass judgement. But then again perhaps an ISraeli life for you holds more value than an Arab, in which case its just sad that for people a life, a childs life, has to be put into boxes.

"Don't you think Gaza would be better off today if the people's goal was to better their own lives instead of tearing down the lives of others? They have situational resources in Gaza (climate and geography) and have been the recipients of huge amounts of unearned cash flowing from Europe (and the US), and they have squandered everything."

Yes anyones life would be better off if they tried to live, but do you honestly believe that every single Gazan out there is simply out to kill the others. Really?
Yes they have resources, goegraphy and climate as you say, but its hard to use when you have no electricity, over 65% of the water is diverted to ISrael, and over thousands of identity cards are revoked so you cant legally get a job.

Posted by: ambika Author Profile Page at January 13, 2009 9:57 PM

Ambika, it seems to me that the biggest problem is that the Palestinian private sector and educational system are disasters. Most of Palestinian government spending is not funded by tax revenues (which are very limited) but by grants from foreigners. If Palestinians could get rich; Israel and the whole world would bend over backwards for them.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at January 14, 2009 12:22 AM

Anand,

Yes ofcourse education is a major issue, but your stating the obvious. When over 1300 schools have been accupied by the IDF in the past, and 10% of all children in Gaza have witnessed the killing of a teacher then yes the educational system is going to be in a disarray. Out of 6 million population (2007) 4.5 million are refugees. Now you tell me exactly how they are supposed to get their act together with these kind of statistic?
And Anand, most of the tac revuew owed to the Palestinian people are withheld by the Israeli, which is why they are so dependant on foreign aid.

Lets look at the other side as well..over the last decade on an average over 20,000 kids in Israel have been dropping out of school, and some 30% of them fear just about everything.

Thats just plain sad for a whole generation that is suffering because the adults cant and wont get their act together. Both sides are paying huge costs for this conflict which will just go on forever it seems.

Yes everyone will just about bend over backwards for the rich kid, but you have to give him a chance to get rich first.

Posted by: ambika Author Profile Page at January 14, 2009 2:56 AM

Sometimes there is no good option- all you can do is choose between bad and worse

Sometimes there isn't. But not this time. For the moment, I haven't been provoked enough to spend the time making that extremely lengthy case again, but I've made it to Mike offline. I could forward it to you.

What it boils down to is that, a), this wasn't the only way to do this operation, and b) peaceful alterantives, either in the specific or in the general, have not in fact been exhausted with Hamas.
Blah, blah, if one Hamas member ever smiled when he saw a child play in a lipitor commercial none of this would be happening, but actually peace processes are more complicated than that and frankly no one has really bothered to stick to any of the bargains that have been struck, neither Ham nor Issy, and that was a mistake. The whole priority structure - which is focused 50/50 on not just rocket fire but rearmnament - is a mistake. and the target set is a mistake.

But the "bad vs. worse" phrasing is one that Mike would have been better off starting with. He may be.. slowly.. getting there. As I've said, dumping the whole thing off on "Hamas eats babies etc" doesn't really get to the point of actual current events.

You've mellowed, ros. I gotta say I appreciate it. High-fives. I remember when you sounded more like programmer craig.

Posted by: glasnost Author Profile Page at January 14, 2009 3:13 AM

Mellowed? Me?

Dunno about that, my position hasn't changed all that much. I just hope the Israelis have a specific objective in mind, instead of just making life miserable for everyone in Gaza. Screwing around a la Lebanon '06 isn't going to accomplish anything.

They've got 6 more days.

Posted by: rosignol Author Profile Page at January 14, 2009 7:18 AM

>>Palestinian terrorists continued to attack Israeli civilian areas on Wednesday, firing 18 projectiles by late afternoon, including a phosphorous mortar shell that hit the Eshkol region.<<

Per today's JPost -- Hamas using phosphorus deliberately against Israeli civilian targets. (The international media outrage is - in the way only sudden silence can be - deafening.

Posted by: AZZenny Author Profile Page at January 14, 2009 11:52 AM

ambika, Israel's many mistakes have contributed to the suffering of Palestinians.

I wish all of us (the international community and Israel) would focus on improving the education of Palestinians, facilitating private sector business development, and improving the physical infrastructure of Palestine.

The Palestinians should focus on economic development more in the short run than on immediately ending occupation (which can remain their long term primary objective.)

Later on, a more prosperous Palestine would have more leverage in its negotiations regarding a final settlement with Israel.

If only Hamas could be persuaded to adopt this course of action.

Posted by: anand Author Profile Page at January 14, 2009 6:03 PM
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