Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Israel/Hamas War Discussion

At the height of the Israel/Hamas war, a friend on Facebook changed his status to:

“Condoleeza Rice just made a statement.1st 3 mins were about Hamas rockets into Israel. Nothing about Israeli war crimes, bombing UN buildings, white phosphorous.”

Here is the anonomised discussion.  I’ve moved it over here because I want to answer all the points raised, and there’s no space on Facebook!

Commentator 1 at 16:50, on 16 January.

the usual stuff, really. Won't be missing her anymore than Bush.

Commentator 2 at 17:07, on 16 January.

she's a glove puppet, sadly she has a one size fits all policy

Commentator 3 at 17:20, on 16 January.

Heard on the news the israelis are hoping to wrap it up in Gaza before Obamas inauguration. I no longer think this is 'cos Obamas foreign policy is going to be more sane, it just avoids making him look bad as their ally. He'll be able to live off PR and false hopes for a bit longer.

Nick P at 17:34, on 16 January.

Yes, Condi is right - "No rockets, no problem". Let's talk about phone calls to civilians, leaflets and radio messages to the people of Gaza. How many of those do Hamas use? Let's talk about the Israeli withdrawal in 2005. How many Schools did Hamas build? How many hospitals? OK, now let's ask how many rockets were imported and how many tunnels were dug.
This is the clearest moral question of our age. Do we support the terrorists of Hamas who want to destroy the Jews, or do we support Israel, who wants to protect its civilian population from a barrage of rockets?

Commentator 3 at 17:58, on 16 January.

Have a look at this to get some historical perspective, Nick, especially the stuff lower down pre 2000. It doesn't include the current fighting and I don't think it includes the massacres of thousands of palestinian refugees in camps in lebanon in the '80's. Hamas didn't emerge from nowhere to spread beardy islamist terror cos they're on the axis of evil-

OK, let’s talk about that.  The article linked to talks about “since the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza (the Occupied Palestinian Territories) and the Golan Heights (Syria) in 1967”, which is BULLSHIT of the highest order.  Why were those territories occupied?  Perhaps it was because all the countries surrounding Israel attacked it in a co-ordinated surprise attack, and were massively defeated in a war.  The Golon Heights and the West Bank and Gaza are the spoils of war.  And not even a war of aggression – a war of self defence.  Furthermore, the West Bank and Gaza are not “the Palestinian Occupied Territories”.  The West Bank was (formerly) Jordon and Gaza was (formerly) Egypt.  There NEVER has been a country called “Palestine”.

It is tragic that many thousands of “Palestinians” have suffered over the decades.  No-one wants that.  Well, actually, that’s not true, is it?  The Arab governments of the surrounding countries want it quite badly.  They use the fate of the Palestinians to beat Israel, yet they take no actions to resettle that populations in their own borders.

Facebook Friend at 20:33, on 16 January.

Nick, phone calls, leaflets and radio messages saying what, exactly? "We are about to begin bombing, please leave your homes, we'll be destroying them, and head to, err, how about a UN school or HQ, you'll be safe there"?
Where do you get the money to build schools and hospitals when Israel is blockading your country so businesses cannot "do business".
How about "no occupation, no rockets, no problem"? Seems a little short sighted of Rice to miss out the first step?

Opps!  You can’t believe anything that the Palestinians tell you during a war.  Now it transpires that the UN School WAS NOT HIT, and no-one was killed there.

You also forget, don’t you, that there was NO OCCUPATION.  Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005.  Yes, they did introduce a blockade.  Why?  To reduce the amount of materiel that Hamas were importing and to stop suicide bombing.

So is your position that Israel can’t try to stop Hamas importing weapons (by imposing a blockade) nor can they defend themselves from people who are trying to murder their citizens?

Facebook Friend at 20:34, on 16 January.

not to mention international law and the Geneva Convention . . . . .

Commentator 1 at 20:43, on 16 January.

And the expulsion of Palestinians from their lands and from Jerusalem, the illegal settlements to grab even more land, the "separation wall" that goes beyond Israeli borders.... Palestinians are being pushed in corner, they're being choked for 40 years.
Hamas did not come out of nowhere indeed.

As I mentioned before, the Palestinians weren’t really expelled.  They left and hoped to return soon when Israel was destroyed by its Arab neighbours.  They were then let down by those same Arab neighbours who preferred to use them as political pawns and a stick to beat Israel with.

I agree that the wall in the West Bank is unhelpful, although it has been very successful in reducing suicide attacks on civilian populations.

Nick P at 22:19, on 16 January.

Can we agree on one thing? That it's wrong to indiscriminately target civilian populations. If that's the case, then what course of action do you recommend to Israel given that the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza was such a disappointment, and by withdrawing from the West Bank then virtually the whole of Israel is in range of Quassam-type rockets? It would be lovely to hear what options you think are realistically open to Israel.

Commentator 4 at 00:43, on 17 January.

Nik, u talk about Israel's 'unilateral withdrawral' from Gaza - the test for occupation under international law remains 'effective control' and seeing that Israel maintains complete control of Gaza's airspace, territorial waters, border crossings and population register not to mention an 18 month blockade on the Gaza Strip which has plunged 1.5 million Palestinians into poverty, turning the area into an open air prison with a lack of essential supplies such as electricity, medicines and denying youth their right to education and study opportunities abroad - not to mention financial and economic sanctions placed on the democratically elected representatives of and oppressed and occupied peoples- yes, Israel's unilateral disengagement from the territory was indeed a disappointment. Possibly, just possibly, ending the occupation would end the desire to fire Qassam rockets into Israel or as i understand it the legitamate right to resist occupation, oppression and apartheid. Cheers.

Key sentence: “Possibly, just possibly, ending the occupation would end the desire to fire Qassam rockets into Israel”.

Answer: No, it’s clear that Hamas were doing all they could to stockpile weapons which they have used to attack the civilian population and infrastructure in Southern Israel.

Commentator 4 at 01:01, on 17 January.

Hey, and another thing: you ask 'how many schools and hospitals did Hamas build?' erm, well, it looks like you are missing some information in your argument- coz as far as i am aware Hamas rose to power exactly because of the charitable work it did and its funding of social, educational and medical institutions- maybe we can start with Al-Mujamma Al Islami University, or the Islamic University or establishing free medical clinics in many mosques or numerous mobile health clinics that visit rural areas. Erm, facts are sometimes more powerful than propaganda! Salaam!

Yes, Hamas were famous for their health clinics, and I acknowledge that this was a factor in their electoral success.  But as I recall, Hitler built the autobahns and Mussolini made the trains run on time.  Totalitarians sometimes can do good, but they’re still totalitarians.  Read the Hamas Charter which says much more about creating a Sharia State than building health clinics.

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