Since it's been a while since we had an Israel/Palestine thread...

vimothy

yurp
Officially, by condemning Israel, with a few remarks to the effect that Hamas haven't helped matters.

Unoffically, there are unconfirmed reports that fatah are being extremely cooperative in providing info to the IDF.

I have heard similar rumours. Intra-Palestinian conflict continues apace. But ultimately, won't prolonged operations inevitably push Fatah and Hamas closer together? Continuing with this for any length of time would be a strategically disastrous move on Israel's part, IMHO.
 

vimothy

yurp
More resources: Andrew Sullivan round up; Josh Landis round up.

Some observations: Liberal Fatah (Mourid Barghouti faction) will not emerge as long as Abu Mazen and gang are subsidised by Israel and the US.

Gaza's supply lines are the central issue. Not just in the sense of Hamas and Israel's limited objectives, but also in that as formal economic activity is shut down, the tunnel economy is all that is left, and Gaza is locked into a mode of development that is ultimately incompatible to Israel's interests, but also incentivised and seemingly inevitable. There will be no end to Hamas's collapsing quasi-state while this dynamic remains in play.
 

sufi

lala
can't resist to point out murdoch press intensive coverage of these important issues

notw tomoro front page:

o that gazza ?!
 
D

droid

Guest
i read this recently; the author holds their hand up about partiality in the source he is using.

What happened during the ceasefire?

Youve got to be joking... his source is the IICC:

The Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center opened in 2001. It is part of the Israel Intelligence Heritage & Commemoration Center (IICC) , an NGO dedicated to the memory of the fallen of the Israeli Intelligence Community and it is located near Gelilot , north of Tel Aviv. It is headed by (Col. Ret.) Dr. Reuven Erlich.

Which makes the entire article completely worthless seeing as that organisation is run by a bunch of ex-torturers and scumbags who are about as anti-Palestinian as it is possible to be.
 

vimothy

yurp
So, the ground assault has begun. Limited excursions make a kind of military sense in that they might encourage Hamas positions to reveal themselves. I do not believe that Israeli decision makers desire a prolonged presence in Gaza, but these things have a way of snow-balling. If the rockets keep falling, if Hamas remain defiant... who knows? Certainly the failures of the (in many ways strikingly similar) Lebanon '06 campaign will be ringing in the ears of Barak and Olmert.

Labour and Kadima making gains: http://news.yahoo.com/s/csm/20090102/wl_csm/opolls

Somewhat wrong-headed, but nevertheless interesting, article on geopolitical context, focusing on Egypt: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/03/egypt-israelandthepalestinians

IDF actions in Gaza will embolden Hamas and those in the ME who reject negotiation will Israel: http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090102/REVIEW/132352422/-1/NEWS
 
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droid

Guest
'If Hamas remain defiant'. Interesting choice of words. The actions of Israel have little or nothing to do with the rocket attacks, and sure why would 1.5 million people who have been under a siege for nearly a year and are being attacked by one of the most powerful military forces in the world have any right or motivation to fight back? I guess they should just rollover and let Israel continue the slow strangulation of Gaza?

Offensive's real objectives hidden behind rhetoric

THE FIRST bombardment took three minutes and 40 seconds. Sixty Israeli F-16 fighter jets bombed 50 sites in Gaza, killing more than 200 Palestinians and wounding close to 1,000 more.

A few hours after the deadly strike, Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert convened a press conference in Tel Aviv. With foreign minister Tzipi Livni sitting on his right and defence minister Ehud Barak on his left, he declared: "It may take time, and each and every one of us must be patient so we can complete the mission."

But what exactly, one might ask, is Israel's mission? Although Olmert did not say as much, the mission includes four distinct objectives.

The first is the destruction of Hamas, a totally unrealistic goal. Even though the loss of hundreds of cadres and some key leaders will no doubt hurt the organisation, Hamas is a robust political movement with widespread grassroots support, and it is unlikely to surrender or capitulate to Israeli demands following a military assault. Ironically, Israel's attempt to destroy Hamas using military force has always ended up strengthening the organisation, thus corroborating the notion that power produces its own vulnerability.

The second objective has to do with Israel's coming elections. The assault on Gaza is also being carried out to help Kadima and Labour defeat Likud and its leader Benjamin Netanyahu, who is currently ahead in the polls. It is not coincidental that Netanyahu's two main competitors, Livni and Barak, were invited to the press conference - since, after the assault, it will be more difficult for Netanyahu to characterise them as "soft" on the Palestinians. Whether or not the devastation in Gaza will help Livni defeat Netanyahu or help Barak gain votes in the February elections is difficult to say, but the strategy of competing with a warmonger like Netanyahu by beating the drums of war says a great deal about all three major contenders.

The third objective involves the Israeli military. After its notable humiliation in Lebanon during the summer of 2006, the IDF has been looking for opportunities to re-establish its global standing. Last spring it used Syria as its laboratory and now it has decided to focus on Gaza. Emphasising the mere three minutes and 40 seconds it took to bomb 50 sites is just one of the ways the Israeli military aims to restore its international reputation.

Finally, Hamas and Fatah have not yet reached an agreement regarding how to proceed when Mahmoud Abbas ends his official term as president of the Palestinian National Authority on January 9th. One of the outcomes of this assault is that Abbas will remain in power for a while longer since Hamas will be unable to mobilise its supporters in order to force him to resign.

What is clearly missing from this list of Israeli objectives is the attempt to halt the firing of Qassam rockets into Israel's southern towns.

Unlike the objectives I mentioned, which are not discussed by government officials, this one is presented by the government as the operation's primary objective.

Yet, the government is actively misleading the public, since Israel could have put an end to the rockets a long time ago. Indeed, there was relative quiet during the six-month truce with Hamas, a quiet that was broken most often as a reaction to Israeli violence: that is, following the extra-judicial execution of a militant or the imposition of a total blockade which prevented basic goods, such as foodstuff and medicine, from entering the Gaza Strip.

Rather than continuing the truce, the Israeli government has once again chosen to adopt strategies of violence that are tragically akin to the ones deployed by Hamas; only the Israeli ones are much more lethal.

If the Israeli government really cared about its citizens and the country's long-term ability to sustain itself in the Middle East, it would abandon the use of violence and talk with its enemies. - (Guardian service)

Neve Gordon is the chairman of the department of politics and government, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Israel, and is the author of Israel's Occupation, University of California Press, 2008. His website is israeloccupation.com

http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2008/1230/1230581467167.html
 

vimothy

yurp
Which makes the entire article completely worthless seeing as that organisation is run by a bunch of ex-torturers and scumbags who are about as anti-Palestinian as it is possible to be.

You could say something similar about the veracity of Hamas's claims. But it seems to me that the essential point (which you gloss over in your post upthread) is that both sides have (please do not misconstrue this as support for either side) understandable objectives in the conflict, and both sides have understandable objections to the so-called cease-fire status quo.

Prof Mkhaimar Abusada at bitterlemons.org:

The truce between Hamas and Israel ended in the early hours of December 19, but the accusations over why it ended have followed the missiles and rockets across the border.

Hamas accuses Israel of not complying with the terms of the six-month Egyptian-mediated truce under which Israel was expected to end its siege and blockade of the Gaza Strip, re-open the commercial border crossing between Gaza and Israel and halt its military activities against Gazans.

Israel holds Hamas and other Palestinian groups responsible for not respecting their part of the truce. Israel claims that the firing of Qassam missiles and mortar shells did not stop and accuses Hamas of exploiting the truce by conducting more training and building better fortifications along the border between Gaza and Israel. Israel has also said straight out that the border crossings would not be fully re-opened without the release of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, captured by Hamas in 2006.
 

vimothy

yurp
'If Hamas remain defiant'. Interesting choice of words. The actions of Israel have little or nothing to do with the rocket attacks, and sure why would 1.5 million people who have been under a siege for nearly a year and are being attacked by one of the most powerful military forces in the world have any right or motivation to fight back? I guess they should just rollover and let Israel continue the slow strangulation of Gaza?

de·fi·ant (d-fnt)
adj.
Marked by defiance; boldly resisting.​

But semantics aside, I am not questioning either the right or the motivation of Gazans to fight back, even of Hamas to fight back. I am making an observation, namely, that if Israel do not achieve their objectives (return to the ceasefire on better terms), the scale and duration of the operation/s may well increase, in a large part because of the Israeli political situation (Leb '06 and the forthcoming elections).
 
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droid

Guest
You could say something similar about the veracity of Hamas's claims. But it seems to me that the essential point (which you gloss over in your post upthread) is that both sides have (please do not misconstrue this as support for either side) understandable objectives in the conflict, and both sides have understandable objections to the so-called cease-fire status quo.

Yes you could. And Im sure you would laugh if someone here used 'an organisation dedicated to the memory of fallen Hamas fighters' as a source.

Regardless of what Hamas said, countless humanitartian agencies, the UN, and various other groups all testified to the appalling situation on the ground as a result of Israel continuing its blockade on Gaza throughout the ceasefire (thus violating the terms). And Israel's incursion and attack into Gaza on Novemeber 4th was also widely reported by sources other than Hamas.

Saying that 'both sides have understandable objectives in the conflict' misses the point that this carnage was initiated by Israel. If I was attacked by a baseball bat wielding neighbour and I defended myself with my bare hands, would it be appropriate to discuss my 'motives' in the conflict?
 

vimothy

yurp
Saying that 'both sides have understandable objectives in the conflict' misses the point that this carnage was initiated by Israel. If I was attacked by a baseball bat wielding neighbour and I defended myself with my bare hands, would it be appropriate to discuss my 'motives' in the conflict?

You could go back through these proximate causes all day long still not resove this argument. 'Yes, but if you've been repeatedly throwing stones at your neighbour....' And so on. Hamas have their objectives; Israeli decision makers have theirs. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are well served by their leaders. Hamas want their supply lines, be they tunnels or the crossing at Rafah. The Israelis don't want them to have access because, not unreasonably, they want to halt transport of materiel (i.e. military) goods into Gaza.

Palestinian presidential and parliamentary elections are scheduled for 2009, and they will present a further opportunity for Hamas to solidify its control of Palestinian politics. If Hamas, already in control of the parliament, can take more seats and the presidency, the remaining moderate Arab regimes will be unable to ignore them.

At the same time, regional shifts in the balance of power appear to favour Hamas. In a recent column, Hussam Tamem, the editor of IslamOnline, a pro-Islamist website, argued that Hamas’s decision to align itself with Syria and Iran was a sign of the changing times, a reflection that Egypt at present has little to offer as an ally. The Egyptian regime, burdened with a poor economy and preoccupied with a possible succession crisis, is weak and unable to resist American pressure. With the Obama administration expected to seek a rapprochement with Iran and Syria, Tamem wrote, Hamas has bet on the right horse.

Hamas, for its part, actively sought an escalation in violence at the close of the six-month ceasefire, perhaps with an eye toward the victory of the Likud hardliner Benjamin Netanyahu in Israel’s upcoming elections – which would surely lend credence to the argument that no negotiations with Israel are possible. Well before the expiration of the ceasefire Hamas leaders made their opposition to its renewal clear, with the expectation that a return to violence would create conditions to bolster their support and diminish Fatah.

The mood today in the Palestinian territories is one of anger and desire for revenge. Fatah has been pushed to the margins of Palestinian politics and seems likely to suffer a permanent dent to its reputation. So far the widespread, though perhaps predictable, consensus in the Arabic media is that Hamas is the chief beneficiary.

The moderate Arab regimes, according to Abdel Bari Atwan, the editor of Al Quds al Arabi, have lost the most from this week’s carnage – and, it must be said, Egypt is foremost among them. On Tuesday alone protests were reported outside Egyptian embassies in Syria, Libya and Yemen.

The fury of the protesters was given voice by the Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, who called openly for the Egyptian people to reject their government’s policies in Gaza – an unprecedented public attack that brought harsh criticism from Egypt. But most Egyptians prefer Nasrallah to their own leaders, and his salvo will only further damage the regime’s popularity.

Egypt, ironically enough, had been attempting in recent months to set up a rapprochement with Hizbollah as a means of increasing its influence in Lebanon, but those plans now seem a distant dream.

Sometimes the best advice is “be careful what you wish for”. Israel may manage to destroy the Hamas infrastructure in Gaza and seriously damage its ability to fight back, which may in turn further divide the Palestinians. But it could also open the door for factions more extreme than Hamas to hijack the mantle of resistance, including those that share the worldview of al Qa’eda. Given the anger coursing through the Arab world, they would not have to search hard for new recruits.

http://www.thenational.ae/article/20090102/REVIEW/132352422/-1/NEWS
 
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droid

Guest
You could go back through these proximate causes all day long still not resove this argument. 'Yes, but if you've been repeatedly throwing stones at your neighbour....' And so on. Hamas have their objectives; Israeli decision makers have theirs. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are well served by their leaders. Hamas want their supply lines, be they tunnels or the crossing at Rafah.

Nonetheless, there was a recent ceasefire, and the ceasefire was egregiously breached, and then unilaterally ended by Israel when they attacked Gaza on November 4th sparking a response form Hamas and other groups. Thus repeating a pattern which is almost as old as the conflict itself. Israel has repeatedly and flagrantly breached ceasfires, truces, treaties and agreements over the last 40 years. The ongoing creation of settlements is illustration enough. Skewing perspective to ask what 'the motives on both sides' are implies an equality of causality, ignoring the flagrant Israeli aggression in this case.

Israels' aim is not to 'stop the rocket attacks', but rather to crush all civic, political, economic and military organisation in Gaza. As Moshe Dayan said in 1969: "We have no solution, you shall continue to live like dogs, and whoever wishes may leave, and we will see where this process leads." Not much has changed since.

The Israelis don't want them to have access because, not unreasonably, they want to halt transport of materiel (i.e. military) goods into Gaza.

So it would not be unreasonable for Palestinians to attack US military planes shipping arms to Israel? Or as we are told that this operation is also to destroy 'Hamas infrastructure', would it also be legitimate for Hamas to attempt to destroy the political infrastucture of Israel and murder its representatives?
 

scottdisco

rip this joint please
Droid.

there's not much space for a cigarette paper between you and i on this entire subject, but i just wanted to quote something re the author of that link i post up-thread.

With this in mind, I’ve read over a detailed report issued by the IICC. Some readers may note that the IICC is firmly in the right-wing camp. To this criticism George Orwell’s famous dictum comes to mind: just because it’s in the Daily Telegraph, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong. In short, a priori objections are not sufficient, although I’d be happy if readers send me equally sober analyses from the left-wing camp. In the meantime, here’s my summary of the report’s key findings.

(multiple narratives are the way forward. that just happened to be something i read, found of some worth, and shared. here's Paul Reynolds from the BBC, for instance.)
 
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droid

Guest
Fair dues Scott, but I really don't think that disclaimer gives him license to go on and take the IICC's version of events at face value. Seeing as there are his main source it makes his entire post essentially worthless. Anything that comes from the propaganda wings of aggressive terrorist states (be they Jewish or otherwise) should be taken with a few tons of salt or at the very least some corroborating evidence. Of course there is room for more than one narrative, but there are so many officialy sanctioned myths and so much disinformation about Israel/Palestine, but there are also some unassaible facts... its important to at least attempt to seperate the two.
 

vimothy

yurp
Nonetheless, there was a recent ceasefire, and the ceasefire was egregiously breached, and then unilaterally ended by Israel when they attacked Gaza on November 4th sparking a response form Hamas and other groups. Thus repeating a pattern which is almost as old as the conflict itself. Israel has repeatedly and flagrantly breached ceasfires, truces, treaties and agreements over the last 40 years.

To give but one example, rockets were fired into southern Israel on June 24th, a full five days after the ceasefire began. From AP:

Palestinian militants fired three homemade rockets into southern Israel yesterday, threatening to unravel a cease-fire days after it began, and Israel responded by closing vital border crossings into Gaza.

Despite what it called a "gross violation" of the truce, Israel refrained from military action and said it would send an envoy soon to Egypt to work on the next stage of a broader cease-fire agreement: a prisoner swap that would bring home an Israeli soldier held by Hamas for more than two years.

And so began the tit-for-tat of the 'ceasefire' proper, continuing in that vein (militants not aligned to Hamas keeping up a steady if much reduced supply of rockets and mortars into Israel; Israel closing the borders), and culminating in the Nov 4th counterterrorism operation (and I think the second of its kind during the ceasefire?), which Israel describes as being undertaken in order to prevent an attack through one of Gaza's tunnels by Hamas with the aim of kidnapping IDF soldiers.

From The Economist:

THE scale and ferocity of the onslaught on Gaza have been shocking, and the television images of civilian suffering wrench the heart. But however deplorable, Israel’s resort to military means to silence the rockets of Hamas should have been no surprise. This war has been a long time in the making.

Since Israel evacuated its soldiers and settlers from the Gaza Strip three years ago, Palestinian groups in Gaza have fired thousands of rudimentary rockets and mortar bombs across the border, killing very few people but disrupting normal life in a swathe of southern Israel. They fired almost 300 between December 19th, when Hamas ignored Egypt’s entreaties and decided not to renew a six-month truce, and December 27th, when Israel started its bombing campaign.

So it would not be unreasonable for Palestinians to attack US military planes shipping arms to Israel?

You expect the Israelis to just lie down and die? Keep shelling them with rockets and there is bound to be a response. I don't have to think it is a good thing to recognise its inevitability. Hamas didn't police its borders (a condition of the ceasefire). Following one (perhaps two) IDF raids, Hamas started firing its Qassams again. Where do they think escalation will lead?

And surely, yes, it is not unreasonable for the Palestinians to want to do anything to stop the slaughter. It does not therefore automatically follow that any response will be right and good. Similarly, Israel's Gaza operation is neither morally right nor good for the long term health of the area, but wanting to stop the rocket fire into Israel is not unreasonable.
 
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scottdisco

rip this joint please
from that Observer article Vimothy has just posted

Abu Bilal, commander of Islamic Jihad's forces in the Rafah Refugee Camp in southern Gaza admitted that his group's rocket attacks are mostly ineffectual against Israel, except psychologically, and that the group, which operates independently of the dominant Hamas movement, was literally praying for an invasion.

"We can't do anything (to hurt the Israelis) but fire the rockets and hope they enter Gaza," he said. "We are praying for the tanks to come so we can show them new things. We have made many preparations for the coming battle and all of our fighters wait for the chance to kill them."

this seems a key theme atm.
 
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