View From a Palestinian Leader: Palestine’s Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood

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mustafa.barghouthi.stopped.by.israeli.soldiers.from.entering.hebron.jpg
This is a guest post written by Mustafa Barghouthi, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative. These comments and views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Washington Note or Huffington Post. Barghouti is a former secular candidate for President of Palestine and has been a strong advocate of non-violent responses to Israeli occupation. Barghouti is thought by many to be a leading contender in the next Palestinian presidential election. The Washington Note has also solicited perspectives from various national leaders and incumbent Knesset leaders in Israel.
Here is a link to an interview that Steve Clemons did with Barghouti in July 2008 regarding Barack Obama’s trip to Israel and Palestine.

Palestine’s Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood
The Israeli campaign of ‘death from above’ began around 11 am, on Saturday morning, the 27th of December, and stretched straight through the night into this morning. The massacre continues Sunday as I write these words.
The bloodiest single day in Palestine since the War of 1967 is far from over following on Israel’s promised that this is ‘only the beginning’ of their campaign of state terror. At least 290 people have been murdered thus far, but the body count continues to rise at a dramatic pace as more mutilated bodies are pulled from the rubble, previous victims succumb to their wounds and new casualties are created by the minute.
What has and is occurring is nothing short of a war crime, yet the Israeli public relations machine is in full-swing, churning out lies by the minute.
Once and for all it is time to expose the myths that they have created.
1. Israelis have claimed to have ended the occupation of the Gaza Strip in 2005.
While Israel has indeed removed the settlements from the tiny coastal Strip, they have in no way ended the occupation. They remained in control of the borders, the airspace and the waterways of Gaza, and have carried out frequent raids and targeted assassinations since the disengagement.
Furthermore, since 2006 Israel has imposed a comprehensive siege on the Strip. For over two years, Gazans have lived on the edge of starvation and without the most basic necessities of human life, such as cooking or heating oil and basic medications. This siege has already caused a humanitarian catastrophe which has only been exacerbated by the dramatic increase in Israeli military aggression.
2. Israel claims that Hamas violated the cease-fire and pulled out of it unilaterally.

Hamas indeed respected their side of the ceasefire, except on those occasions early on when Israel carried out major offensives in the West Bank. In the last two months, the ceasefire broke down with Israelis killing several Palestinians and resulting in the response of Hamas. In other words, Hamas has not carried out an unprovoked attack throughout the period of the cease-fire.
Israel, however, did not live up to any of its obligations of ending the siege and allowing vital humanitarian aid to resume in Gaza. Rather than the average of 450 trucks per day being allowed across the border, on the best days, only eighty have been allowed in – with the border remaining hermetically sealed 70% of the time. Throughout the supposed ‘cease-fire’ Gazans have been forced to live like animals, with a total of 262 dying due to the inaccessibility of proper medical care.
Now after hundreds dead and counting, it is Israel who refuses to re-enter talks over a cease-fire. They are not intent on securing peace as they claim; it is more and more clear that they are seeking regime change – whatever the cost.
3. Israel claims to be pursuing peace with ‘peaceful Palestinians’.
Before the on-going massacre in the Gaza Strip, and throughout the entirety of the Annapolis Peace Process, Israel has continued and even intensified its occupation of the West Bank. In 2008, settlement expansion increased by a factor of 38, a further 4,950 Palestinians were arrested – mostly from the West Bank, and checkpoints rose from 521 to 699.
Furthermore, since the onset of the peace talks, Israel has killed 546 Palestinians, among them 76 children. These gruesome statistics are set to rise dramatically now, but previous Israeli transgressions should not be forgotten amidst this most recent horror.
Only this morning, Israel shot and killed a young peaceful protester in the West Bank village of Nihlin, and has injured dozens more over the last few hours. It is certain that they will continue to employ deadly force at non-violent demonstrations and we expect a sizable body count in the West Bank as a result. If Israel is in fact pursuing peace with ‘good Palestinians’, who are they talking about?
4. Israel is acting in self-defense.
It is difficult to claim self defense in a confrontation which they themselves have sparked, but they are doing it anyway. Self-defense is reactionary, while the actions of Israel over the last two days have been clearly premeditated. Not only did the Israeli press widely report the ongoing public relations campaign being undertaken by Israel to prepare Israeli and international public opinion for the attack, but Israel has also reportedly tried to convince the Palestinians that an attack was not coming by briefly opening crossings and reporting future meetings on the topic. They did so to insure that casualties would be maximized and that the citizens of Gaza would be unprepared for their impending slaughter.
It is also misleading to claim self-defense in a conflict with such an overwhelming asymmetry of power. Israel is the largest military force in the region, and the fifth largest in the world. Furthermore, they are the fourth largest exporter of arms and have a military industrial complex rivaling that of the United States. In other words, Israel has always had a comprehensive monopoly over the use of force, and much like its super power ally, Israel uses war as an advertising showcase of its many instruments of death.
5. Israel claims to have struck military targets only.
Even while image after image of dead and mutilated women and children flash across our televisions, Israel brazenly claims that their munitions expertly struck only military installations. We know this to be false as many other civilian sites have been hit by airstrikes including a hospital and mosque.
In the most densely populated area on the planet, tons upon tons of explosives have been dropped. The first estimates of injured are in the thousands. Israel will claim that these are merely ‘collateral damage’ or accidental deaths. The sheer ridiculousness and inhumanity of such a claim should sicken the world community.
6. Israel claims that it is attacking Hamas and not the Palestinian people.
First and foremost, missiles do not differentiate people by their political affiliation; they simply kill everyone in their path. Israel knows this, and so do Palestinians. What Israel also knows, but is not saying publicly, is how much their recent actions will actually strengthen Hamas – whose message of resistance and revenge is being echoed by the angry and grieving.
The targets of the strike, police and not Hamas militants, give us some clue as to Israel’s mistaken intention. They are hoping to create anarchy in the Strip by removing the pillar of law and order.
7. Israel claims that Palestinians are the source of violence.
Let us be clear and unequivocal. The occupation of Palestine since the War of 1967 has been and remains the root of violence between Israelis and Palestinians. Violence can be ended with the occupation and the granting of Palestine’s national and human rights. Hamas does not control the West Bank and yet we remain occupied, our rights violated and our children killed.
With these myths understood, let us ponder the real reasons behind these airstrikes; what we find may be even more disgusting than the act itself.
The leaders Israel are holding press conferences, dressed in black, with sleeves rolled up.
‘It’s time to fight’, they say, ‘but it won’t be easy.’
To prove just how hard it is, Livni, Olmert and Barack did not even wear make-up to the press conference, and Barak has ended his presidential campaign to focus on the Gaza campaign. What heroes…what leaders…
We all know the truth: the suspension of the electioneering is exactly that – electioneering.
Like John McCain’s suspension of his presidential campaign to return to Washington to ‘deal with’ the financial crisis, this act is little more than a publicity stunt.
The candidates have to appear ‘tough enough to lead’, and there is seemingly no better way of doing that than bathing in Palestinian blood.
‘Look at me,’ Livni says in her black suit and unkempt hair, ‘I am a warrior. I am strong enough to pull the trigger. Don’t you feel more confident about voting for me, now that you know I am as ruthless as Bibi Netanyahu?’
I do not know which is more disturbing, her and Barack, or the constituency they are trying to please.
In the end, this will in no way improve the security of the average Israeli; in fact it can be expected to get much worse in the coming days as the massacre could presumably provoke a new generation of suicide bombers.
It will not undermine Hamas either, and it will not result in the three fools, Barack, Livni and Olmert, looking ‘tough’. Their misguided political venture will likely blow up in their faces as did the brutally similar 2006 invasion of Lebanon.
In closing, there is another reason – beyond the internal politics of Israel – why this attack has been allowed to occur: the complicity and silence of the international community.
Israel cannot and would not act against the will of its economic allies in Europe or its military allies in the US. Israel may be pulling the trigger ending hundreds, perhaps even thousands of lives this week, but it is the apathy of the world and the inhumane tolerance of Palestinian suffering which allows this to occur.
‘The evil only exists because the good remain silent’
From Occupied Palestine. . .
— Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi

Comments

118 comments on “View From a Palestinian Leader: Palestine’s Guernica and the Myths of Israeli Victimhood

  1. Greg Oz says:

    Unlike Chaim, I do not believe that the ‘world’ owes Israel anything. Israel is a free nation and as such has certain rights and responsibilities in common with all other nations. They have the right to make decisions in the best interests of its citizen and to the detriment of others if those interests conflict with the interests of its own citizens. It has, in short, every right in the world incommon witgh every other nation.
    These are the rigts that Hamas denies. These are the rights that Hamas spurns for its own people Hamas has come to power at the barrel of a gun and will be undone by the same. They may represent the ‘will of the people’ for revenge and prejudice, but as far as the aspirations of Palestinians for a good life without violence, they are not the ones.
    Greg

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  2. Humane says:

    A fact often missed is that the Israeli Defense Ministry stubbornly refused to employ or even test technological means to intercept the Kassam rockets fired from Gaza.
    To make a long story short, Israel refused to protect its attacked citizens with a C-RAM system based on the Phalanx canon or a laser canon. Both said to be tested successfully in Iraq for similar aims.
    There were serious public objections to this policy, even a semi-campaign led by the Haaretz newspaper to at least try one of these weapon systems but the MoD stood firm.
    Why? Some says the MoD is afraid that using these systems will harm future export of a currently developed anti-missile missile system called Kipat Barzel. This system has already proved unsuitable for intercepting Kassams due to its very long response time.
    Another theory is that the Kassams provide an excuse for the Gaza siege and a campaign of “targeted assassinations” against the Hamas. This campaign already took about 1000 lives before the current war started. Hiding political interest behind humanitarian concern seems to be a trait of both Israel and the US.

    Reply

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    Reply

  4. arthurdecco says:

    A whole sentence got left off the following paragraph, if anyone cares.
    Tell me again, rich, why Israel, an undeniably racist, bigoted, criminal construct, erected on the lands left abandoned after hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were forced to run from their homes and livelihoods because roaming gangs of Jewish thugs – terrorists by anyone’s definition, were rampaging through their lands and even their homes in 1948, killing indiscriminately, should be given a pass on their monstrous criminality with the unthinking or cowardly use of the usual canards like “Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself”.
    That’s Rubbish.

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  5. arthurdecco says:

    “Again: I’ll adamantly demand Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself…”posted by rich
    In the final paragraphs of your impassioned essay on the perfidy of Israel in it’s criminal relationship with the real owners of the land they’re systematically stealing and the just-now recorded war crimes in Gaza planned by the leading fascists in Israel’s political and military elites and executed by the IDF in order to influence a national election, I read this. From YOU, rich, no less.
    Tell me again, rich, why Israel, an undeniably racist, bigoted, criminal construct, erected on the lands left abandoned after the Palestinians were forced to run from their homes and livelihoods because roaming gangs of Jewish thugs – terrorists by anyone’s definition, in the employ of fanatical Zionism, were rampaging through their lands and even their homes in 1948, killing indiscriminately. The unfortunate, who didn’t run, were either murdered or marginalized over the past 60 years for staying. Those Jewish terrorists wanted their racist dream of Israel to rise from the ashes of the egalitarian order that had long existed in the lands of Palestine. They wanted to control the land and its rightful occupants to their will and their vision. And they are still largely succeeding.
    Israel, as presently constituted, has no more right to exist than any other criminal/racist enterprise in the world. Did apartheid South Africa have a right to exist? This stupid, stupid, stupid insistence that Israel has a right to exist is crap. Shouldn’t all of the citizens of the territory made up of Israel and Palestine be awarded the right and responsibility to choose the government they want? If they were, Israel, a state designed with bigoted Jews in mind, would cease to exist with the next fair election.
    If the UN is going to continue to be ineffective in clipping the wings of terrorist Israel, perhaps we should consider what Interpol could contribute to the investigation of Israel’s blatant war crimes? Can’t we prosecute them for their criminal acts in criminal courts?
    Gaza and the West Bank are certainly crime scenes worthy of a hundred thousand Las Vegas’ crime lab teams. Let’s get to it.

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  6. varanassi says:

    much talk here and much nonsense. two words sum up the sorry state of affairs in the middle east:
    war sucks
    btw, i´m still waiting for a march in the muslim world against jihadism. is this too much to ask?
    nary a word to be said in condemnation of the maniacs and their theology

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  7. arthurdecco says:

    “To hint even the most thin and distant association of the present bombing of Gaza by the Israelis with the bombing of Guernica by the Nazis, is intellectually dishonest and dishonourable. Dr. Barbouthi has just, by the most friendly fire, bombed his own intellectual integrity.” Posted by kotzabasis
    Dr. Barbouthi has done nothing of the sort. If “intellectual integrity” was understood to mean “inflexibility” or “unimaginativeness” or “resistance to change”, I would be forced to agree with you. But because it really means “striving for truth” and “respecting minority opinions”, I think I’ll stand with your opposition, thanks.
    Just like always.

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  8. JohnH says:

    “I think the plight of the Gazans has gotten through” But to whom? Politicians are the last to see what is obvious to all…
    Upton Sinclair quote: “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
    The rot is pervasive and deep.

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  9. alan says:

    I note the many posts taking Israel to task, and those defending Israel. I think the plight of the Gazans has gotten through; and the SOP of expressing sympathy for Israel almost reflexively has diminished. What comes across is that Israel is not the victim any more. It is being looked at very much the way we are viewed: the bully on the block.

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  10. Carroll says:

    Going by what I see in comments all over the net and what I heard on c-span this morning Americans have truely had enough of both the US zionist and Israel and our own government on the Israel deal. A lot of pent up and long time simmering resentment about Israel and the US support coming out in the public….the gloves are definitley off.
    If wigwag thinks POA is anti-semitic she must be really wigged out about the other 300 million Americans who all agree with POA.
    Btw..I am getting ready to waste my time once again and call my new senator,my old congressman and Peliso’s office….anyone got message they want me to pass on?

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  11. susan says:

    From Wolcott
    http://www.vanityfair.com/online/wolcott
    “…To understand how frightening it is to be a Gazan this morning, you need to have stood in that small slab of concrete by the Mediterranean and smelled the claustrophobia. The Gaza Strip is smaller than the Isle of Wight but it is crammed with 1.5 million people who can never leave. They live out their lives on top of each other, jobless and hungry, in vast, sagging tower blocks. From the top floor, you can often see the borders of their world: the Mediterranean, and Israeli barbed wire. When bombs begin to fall – as they are doing now with more deadly force than at any time since 1967 – there is nowhere to hide…”
    “…The Israelis surrounded the Strip and refused to let anyone or anything out. They let in a small trickle of food, fuel and medicine – but not enough for survival. Weisglass quipped that the Gazans were being “put on a diet.” According to Oxfam, only 137 trucks of food were allowed into Gaza last month to feed 1.5 million people. The United Nations says poverty has reached an ‘unprecedented level.’ When I was last in besieged Gaza, I saw hospitals turning away the sick because their machinery and medicine was running out. I met hungry children stumbling around the streets, scavenging for food.
    Those enduring the blockade have been issuing their own distress calls, to no avail.”
    “Perhaps because they’re but pawns in a bigger, uglier game. Gaza is being used as a burning pinata to concentrate the minds of a certain incoming freshman class, argues Antiwar’s Justin Raimondo:
    …the real focal point of the Israeli assault isn’t Gaza – it’s Washington, D.C. The whole point of this exercise in futility – which will not create a single iota of security for Israel, will not topple Hamas, and will not prove any more successful than the second Lebanese war – is to set the terms by which the Israelis will deal with the incoming U.S. president. Before he even gets a chance to appoint his Middle East team, his special envoys and advisers, the Israelis will have sabotaged the peace effort they can clearly see coming – and put the Americans on notice that whatever “change” is in the air will have to be to Israel’s advantage. In short, the Gaza massacre is a preemptive strike against the prospect of American intervention on the Palestinians’ behalf, or, at least, a more evenhanded policy framework.”

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  12. ... says:

    >>It is a proven fact that Israeli life is worth hundreds of times more in the eyes of God than a Palestinian life.<< only a religiously intolerant idiot would say that…

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  13. rich says:

    “…” @ 12:57PM
    “wigwag responds to poa’s posts but not to dan kervicks.. the character of the posters here is sometimes quite revealing for what they do or don’t respond to…”
    wigwag never responds when s/he’s been beaten on the facts or called on spurious rhetoric. S/he does respond when there’s a chance to catapult the propaganda. It’s very opportunistic.
    But the defeats are stacking up. Key is, noting there’s never really evidence offered, just a series of aggressive attempts to shore up the decrepit, imploding ideological line.

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  14. festering says:

    WigWag is right, if the Israelis need to kill a couple of thousand Gazans to stop these annoying missiles for a while it is all for the better and perhaps these Palestinians will learn not to harass Israel with their ineffective weaponry. It is a proven fact that Israeli life is worth hundreds of times more in the eyes of God than a Palestinian life. If it were not so why would God have at least 100 to 200 Palestinians killed for each Israeli in every conflict between the two. It is quite apparent that God favours the Israelis. The Palestinians should listen to what God is telling them through fatalities suffered by each side during these conflicts.

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  15. rich says:

    susan,
    How can a hammer claim to be a victim?
    It’s ludicrous: the 57 rockets are not the problem–nor do the rockets offer refuge or rationale for Israeli bombing. Of course the Israeli violations of the cease-fire and continual attacks are going to provoke a a defensive response (rockets). Israel needs to look in the mirror.
    Tom Segev gets the counterproductive result of that continual military offensive. But doesn’t he miss the basic point? NO one can win a political struggle using military means. Israel can’t overcome a politically unjust position using bombs and propaganda. Note well the ugly, horrific path Israel has taken: They’ve gone from taking out Arafat militarily; to radicalizing the entire population which ensured Hamas won the election; to denying the legitimate results of that democratic election; to eviscerating Hamas and its rightful ability to govern; to waging attacks that provoke Hamas rockets.
    One thing is crystal clear. Israel is closing off every path to survival in Gaza. The Warsaw Ghetto had warrens and tunnels. The Gaza Strip has warrens and tunnels. No one in or out; no food or medicine in or out. In either case. Germans referred to Jews as vermin; on this very website we see pro-Israel comments referring to Palestinians as rabid dogs.
    Don’t they get it? What’s saucy for the goose is saucy for the gander. Yet we had to listen to the Israeli Ambassador to the US lie on the Newhour, and claim the bombing was in self-defense. I don’t see him enforcing the law when it comes to ‘settlers’-terrorists on the West Bank.
    Israel is now waging open war on an entire populace — though previously it was a war of to throttle the economic and resource lifeblood of Palestinians. If Tom Segev really did grasp the concept, he’d point out Israel has to resolve the political issue, get its own house in order, and restore the rule of law and the rule of humane decency. No one but Israel is responsible for their own hatred, their own refusal to act in good faith, and their own unlawful apartheid policies and the resulting carnage wrought. It’s called responsibility.
    From Juan Cole:
    “Israel blames Hamas for primitive homemade rocket attacks on the nearby Israeli city of Sederot. In 2001-2008, these rockets killed about 15 Israelis and injured 433, and they have damaged property. In the same period, Gazan mortar attacks on Israel have killed 8 Israelis.
    “Since the Second Intifada broke out in 2000, Israelis have killed nearly 5000 Palestinians, nearly a thousand of them minors. Since fall of 2007, Israel has kept the 1.5 million Gazans under a blockade, interdicting food, fuel and medical supplies to one degree or another. Wreaking collective punishment on civilian populations such as hospital patients denied needed electricity is a crime of war.
    “The Israelis on Saturday killed 5% of all the Palestinians they have killed since the beginning of 2001! 230 people were slaughtered in a day, over 70 of them innocent civilians. In contrast, from the ceasefire Hamas announced in June, 2008 until Saturday, no Israelis had been killed by Hamas. The infliction of this sort of death toll is known in the law of war as a disproportionate response, and it is a war crime.”
    Did everybody get that?
    –In 6 months, NO Israelis were killed by Hamas.
    But 360 Palestinians (TPM) were killed by Israel in the last 3 days.
    –In 8 years (01-08), “rockets killed about 15 Israelis and injured 433,” and “Gazan mortars .. . have killed 8 Israelis.”
    Yet, “Israelis have killed nearly 5000 Palestinians, nearly a thousand of them minors,” “since the Second Intifada broke out in 2000.”
    And the Israeli Ambassador has the gall to lie to us on the Newshour last night, saying there is no blockade. He is certainly not acting in good faith — and he badly undermined his cause. Israel either fixes the problem — or there is no recourse to the ‘self-defense’ excuse.
    Again: I’ll adamantly demand Israel’s right to exist and to defend itself — but it’s even more important now to insist that Israel live up to the standards to which every nation is held. And live up to its national and international responsibilities. No one gets a nation without taking those obligations seriously, and Israel continues to abuse those standards, abuse the reality of the political dynamic in Palestine and in Israel — and most tellingly, abuses its staunchest American supporters in the process.
    The tide is turning — and Israel is running out of time to set things right. Unless it does that, it will pay a fearsome cost. And neither I, nor any student of history, want to see that happen. It’s possible to take things too far. And Israel is already a long ways over the line.

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  16. susan says:

    A suggestion for ending the violence:
    The US will not aid or sell Israel weapons until
    1. Israel dismantles all settlements outside the 1967 borders.
    2. Israel agrees to respect those borders.

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  17. ... says:

    wigwag responds to poa’s posts but not to dan kervicks.. the character of the posters here is sometimes quite revealing for what they do or don’t respond to…

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  18. WigWag says:

    “But can Israel’s military leaders accept a cease-fire, after all this carnage, when 57 missiles have just fallen?”
    Only 57 missiles have fallen because Israel has seriously (but only temporarily) degraded the ability that Hamas had to launch these missiles.
    But for this campaign far more missiles would have been launched.

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  19. susan says:

    The indispensable Tom Segev, on teaching miltary lessons as a way to establish deterrence.
    And here are only the most important past examples of lessons taught and learned: Qibya, 1953, Samu’a, 1966, “Security borders,” 1967-73, Aerial bombing of Lebanon, 1974-5, Litani Operation, 1978, Lebanon War, 1982, “Iron Fist” suppression of the Intifada, 1988, Operations Grapes of Wrath, 1995, Defensive Shield, 2002, Second Lebanon War, 2006.
    ALL OF THESE operations have in common serious provocations from Palestinian and, after the extended occupation to South Lebanon, Hezbollah insurgents; provocations including the loss of Israeli lives. The response of Israeli military professionals, in all cases, was that Israel’s response would have to be disproportionate; that the attack was coming because Israel was perceived as weak and needed to improve its deterrent power.
    But in no cases did the Israeli attack deter further attack and in many cases it unleashed unanticipated violence, prompting new alliances against Israel which then led to new, more complex attacks, along with increasing diplomatic isolation.
    This morning, another Israeli was killed, as 57 rockets were launched from Gaza. Hezbollah is threatening to be drawn in. Israeli radio is reporting that Israel’s ambassador to Jordan is being asked to leave “for his safety,” and four Israelis were stabbed in Modiin. Meretz leader Haim Oron is arguing that Israel must immediately work to establish a new cease-fire, that if the shock of this attack leads to a firmer, better calm, Israel should accept this; that there is no military solution to Palestinian insurgency.
    But can Israel’s military leaders accept a cease-fire, after all this carnage, when 57 missiles have just fallen? When you are a hammer, is not every problem a nail?

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  20. Jeremiah says:

    Poor, poor, Obama. He had to go kow-tow to the Jews and Israel to get elected and right away they fucked him. Now he has to kow-tow again and support Israel’s slaughter. He must feel sick knowing that he is beholden to Israel and that they will always be one step ahead of him playing him like a fiddle and diminishing the USA all the while. In the end, it will be the USA and Israel against the world and the average American still won’t realize how things got so lonely, only that they are right, on the side of the Jewish God and His Son, waving their little American flags. It’s all written in stone.

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  21. WigWag says:

    Oh, and POA, I’ve followed your posting since I arrived here, and see, in you, nothing more than a smooth talking fraud, anti-Semite to the core, who will resort to ANY sort of intellectual gymnastics to justify and rationalize the actions of Hamas, and the stranglehold they and their kind have over the prospects for peace in the Middle East.

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  22. WigWag says:

    POA, You need not respond to my posting with your glib crap, unless it is to sell your shit to others here. Focusing a comment in my direction is a waste of your time, because I don’t believe or trust a damned thing you say. To me, you’re just another spammer. Others here seem more than willing to respond to your braying, so your time weould probably be better spent inticing them into wading through your crap.

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  23. alan says:

    Just a thought: remember the Warsaw Ghetto and what the Germans did there? Recall the resistance? There are tunnels and warrens in Gaza.

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  24. DonS says:

    The notion of disproportianlity of violence seems lost upon most defenders of Israeli action. The proprortionality issue spells crime against humanity in violation of the laws of war, despite commenters here who continue to assert the time-honored “Israel the victim” line.
    Faint words of hope for restraint from the administration only reinforce it’s complicity.
    Sorry Wigwag, being a Jew doesn’t give anyone a higher status as to the value of life. That you feel “personally” threatened is just a way of trying to leverage emotion on behalf of that arrogant notion. You know well and good that the “terrorists” aren’t coming to personally seek you out and target you because you are a Jew, anymore then “they” threaten and seek out other individuals in this country. And you don’t sound like a person who has felt personally threatened for a long time.

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  25. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Here is what REAL change looks like. Those of us that watched Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich get marginalized, ignored, shut out and silenced by both the media and the process have been well aware that Obama is a fraud, and would never have been allowed to ascend to the Oval Office if he truly intended to instill change.
    Note that this marrionette Obama has not included ANY people in his cabinet selections that have TRULY advocated for change or accountability. All his players are status quo, and his top people are completely and irreversibly complicit with Israel’s efforts to lie to the American people, drain our coffers of ever increasing amounts of money, and exterminate the Palestinian people.
    Washington will not allow change. You no longer have a representative government.
    http://thehill.com/leading-the-news/kucinich-criticizes-israel-wants-u.n.-probe-2008-12-29.html
    Kucinich criticizes Israel; wants U.N. probe
    By Ian Swanson
    Posted: 12/29/08 01:48 PM [ET]
    Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) is calling for a United Nations investigation into Israel’s attacks on Gaza, criticizing Israel for a disproportionate response to Hamas rocket attacks.
    The criticism stands in stark contrast to the statements of other Democrats, who have offered near-unanimous support for Israel amid the latest violence in the Middle East.
    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and other Democrats have blamed Hamas for the violence, which has left more than 300 people in Gaza dead. One person in Israel has been killed by a Hamas rocket.
    Kucinich likened the Israeli attacks on Gaza to its war with Hezbollah in southern Lebanon in 2006. In both cases, he said, civilian populations were attacked and “countless innocents” were killed or injured.
    “All this was, and is, disproportionate, indiscriminate mass violence in violation of international law,” Kucinich said in a statement. “Israel is not exempt from international law and must be held accountable.”
    Pelosi and other Democrats have refrained from criticizing Israel’s government, which has responded to the Hamas attacks with a rocket assault on Gaza.
    “Peace between Israelis and Palestinians cannot result from daily barrages of rocket and mortar fire from Hamas-controlled Gaza,” Pelosi said in a statement posted on the Speaker’s website on Monday.
    “Hamas and its supporters must understand that Gaza cannot and will not be allowed to be a sanctuary for attacks on Israel.
    Reid said he “strongly” supported Israel’s right to defend its citizens from the Hamas rocket attacks and to restore its security. He also blamed Hamas for any humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip.
    “Hamas’s failure to stop these attacks only exacerbates the humanitarian situation for the residents of Gaza and undermines efforts to attain peace and security in the region.”
    In March, the House voted 404-1 for a resolution condemning Hamas and other Palestinian groups for rocket attacks on Israel. It also condemned the use of Palestinians as human shields. Hamas has been criticized repeatedly for shooting rockets into Israel from civilian areas in Gaza, which leads to the deaths of civilians when Israel counterattacks.
    The only member of Congress to vote against the resolution was Rep. Ron Paul (Texas), a Republican candidate for president in 2008. Four Democrats, Reps. Jim Moran (Va.), Neil Abercrombie (Hawaii), Michael Capuano (Mass.) and Jim McDermott (Wash.), voted present. Kucinich was not present for the vote.
    Kucinich said the perpetrators of attacks against Israel should be brought to justice, but that Israel “cannot create a war against an entire people in order to attempt to bring to justice the few who are responsible.”
    Pelosi said the U.S. must continue to do everything it can to promote peace in the region and a negotiated settlement between Israelis and Palestinians. She said humanitarian needs of all innocent civilians must be addressed, but added that when Israel is attacked, “the United States must continue to stand strongly with its friend and democratic ally.”
    Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said Israel had a “duty” to defend itself in response to the attacks. “The loss of innocent life is a terrible tragedy, and the blame for that tragedy lies with Hamas.”
    Similarly, Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.) laid blame with Hamas.
    “Hamas is abusing the people of Gaza by using their homes as a base for terror operations,” he said. “The world should no longer tolerate a terrorist government in the Gaza Strip.”
    President-elect Obama has yet to weigh in on the violence, although top adviser David Axelrod on Sunday noted statements Obama made over the summer that respected Israel’s right to defend itself.
    Kucinich said in his statement that he had sent a letter to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon requesting an independent inquiry. He said the attacks on civilians represented collective punishment, which he said was a violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

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  26. alan says:

    Steve: I seem to recall that we wanted Palestinians to have democratic elections. Hamas has two sides: the political which is totally against Israel’s existence and a social services arm that looked after people by providing food, health care and schools. Hamas won the election which was supervised by international observers. Does one ignore that inconvenient fact because one does not like Hamas?

    Reply

  27. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Wigwag, insincere horseshit on your part, about your “regrets” about the humanitiarian situation in Gaza fall on deaf ears with me. I’ve followed your posting since you arrived here, and see, in you, nothing more than a smooth talking fraud, racist to the core, who will resort to ANY sort of intellectual gymnastics to justify and rationalize the actions of Israel, and the stranglehold that these lying propagandizing foreign agents in AIPAC have over our foreign policies in the Middle East.
    You need not respond to my posting with your glib crap, unless it is to sell your shit to others here. Focusing a comment in my direction is a waste of your time, because I don’t believe or trust a damned thing you say. To me, you’re just another spammer. Others here seem more than willing to respond to your braying, so your time weould probably be better spent inticing them into wading through your crap.

    Reply

  28. steve m says:

    are any of you aware that Hamas has absolutely no agenda for Palestininas except to incite hatred of Israel?

    Reply

  29. Cee says:

    I’m glad that CNN allowed McKinney to speak.
    http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2008/12/30/am.lebanon.aid.boat.mckinney.cnn?iref=videosearch
    Date : 12-30-2008
    The Dignity, a Free Gaza boat on a mission of mercy to besieged Gaza, is being attacked by the Israeli Navy in international waters. The Dignity has been surrounded by at least half-a-dozen Israeli warships. They are firing live ammunition around the Dignity, and one of the warships has rammed the civilian craft causing an unknown amount of damage. Contrary to international maritime law, the Israelis are actively preventing the Dignity from approaching Gaza or finding safe haven in either Egypt or Lebanon. Instead, the Israeli navy is demanding that the Dignity return to Cyprus – despite the fact that the ship does not carry enough fuel to do so. Fortunately, no one aboard the ship has yet been seriously injured.
    http://www.freegaza.org/index.php?module=latest_news&id=ea798749aeed49271e3b58adf6d89db6&offset=

    Reply

  30. questions says:

    Dan Kervick,
    It might be worth going even further than you do just above. That is, would Israel and Hamas simply re-invent one another over and over again even if many political facts were to change? No settlers, say, and no rockets. Yet I get the feeling that there are deep fantasies that would resurface again and again. NYTimes has an op-ed today by Benny Morris (?) hitting on the population time bomb and so on. If a people feels demographically threatened, feels desperately that it must be continued as it has been, if, that is, it has a fantasy of being a THING that must preserve its “thingness”/existence in the world, then many actions become justifiable even in the absence of concrete, immediate threats of death.
    This fantasy of continuance, of the very worthiness of identity, is a problem. And it’s a problem on both sides. And it’s not just a religious problem.
    I’m sure that there are numerous other fantasies that support the violence. Just one more bombing run should be sufficient…. THEY are such a hateful people….. WE are the true sufferers…. This is OUR land…. WE cannot trust THEM…. It goes on and on. Who knows if any of it is valid, but validity matters less than felt validity.
    So how does one undo fantasy when it is precisely fantasy that creates reality? I wish the world well, despite its seeming intentions to do ill. I think we are beyond policy, since policy is just another fantasy of saving/redemption anyway.

    Reply

  31. Marty Peretz says:

    dwg, you forget that Palestinians are sub-human devils, so their lives don’t matter. – Marty Peretz

    Reply

  32. dwg says:

    wig wag,
    wah wah.
    what an ego. you’re the victim?
    while you talk about hypothetical throat cutting, REAL victims are dying in the hundreds – and in heavy disproportionality – currently about 3 israelis (a least one an Israeli arab, not a jew) for just under 400 palestinians for than 10:1
    As Avram Burg postulates – get over your (in my view, false) victimhood. Radicalizing MORE palestinians does nothing to make you safer in your sunny florida bunker.
    Security and human rights are not the exclusive province of jews. They are – as the phrase implies – the right of all humans.

    Reply

  33. alan says:

    Dan K: You have set out in some detail the essential contradiction, and hypocrisy, of Israel’s policies vis-a-vis a viable Palestine State. It is also worth noting that the US politicians who make their regular pilgrimage to AIPAC Conferences are beginning to be noticed. I believe word has got around the country that AIPAC is putting inordinate pressure of our politicians which results in our unconditional support for Israel. The debates in Israel on this issue are impressive. Here it is ” follow my leader”.

    Reply

  34. Dan Kervick says:

    WigWag,
    You make a reasonable case. But I think the problem is that you are falling for the same error in thinking that was common during the opening years of Bush’s “war on terror”. That error was to think that the problem is just a few bad actors and evil organizations, and that the problem will be solved if the people who constitute that organization are destroyed.
    I doubt Hamas can be destroyed by these airstrikes, even if it is temporarily weakened and some of its leaders are killed. But that’s not the issue. There will be other Hamases. They might have different names, and a different charter, with somewhat different ideological goals. But their existence is a natural causal consequence of the underlying political situation. As long as the Israelis are engaged in a war of aggression and expansion and occupation against the Palestinian people, there will be violent resistance to that aggression. There will be more rockets. And if the flow of rockets is stopped it will be something else. Maybe they will use catapults. And Israel can’t keep all the Palestinains in jail forever.
    If Israel gets out of the occupied territories completely; if they accept some reasonable power sharing and division of Jerusalem; if they permit the establishment of a real Palestinian state – not just a couple of fully encircled prison camps that they try to *call* a state – then we can see which Palestinians are willing to compromise for peace. We will be able to separate Palestinians who are willing to compromise from those who are simply bent on the maximalist goal of destroying Israel entirely. The latter will be severely marginalized, and Israel’s attempts to defend itself will gather significantly more global legitimacy and sympathy.
    But so long as we have a muddy situation in which Israeli defensive strikes, however legitimate they might seem as isolated incidents, are at the same time part of a broader campaign of expansion and aggression against the Palestinian people, those strikes will be seen by many, many people as illegitimate. And that problem of illegitimacy will continually limit Israel’s options for defending itself, and continually erode its global standing. You can’t separate these battles from the larger war.
    From where I sit, I find it very difficult to trust claims by some Israelis and by some American friends of Israel that they oppose the colonies in the West Bank. That’s because the expansion of those colonies never stops, no matter what kind of government they have in Israel. There is always some excuse for them, like “land for peace”. Yes, we are to believe that land must continue to be appropriated, and colonies must continue to be built, so that it can all be traded back later. Who can believe that!
    It looks to me like a majority of Israelis, whether they experience pangs of guilt over it or not, are as committed as their ultra-religious brethren to the long-term goal of gradual expansion, and of unremitting pressure contraction and confinement on Palestinian territory that will eventually induce Palestinians to give up and either accept life in a few small prison ghettos, or migrate elsewhere. And as long as that is going on, I find it difficult to support actions that destroy so much as a Palestinian pea-shooter in Gaza or the West Bank, much less actions that kill several hundred more Palestinian prisoners.
    I am sorry that you believe that your life in the US would be less safe without a strong Israel. My impression is the contrary. It seems to me that the attachment of many American Jews to Israel and its oppressive, expansionist policies has damaged the reputation of American Jews immeasurably. And it strikes me that there is an increasingly absurd and unconvincing gap between the official positions of American politicians, which is determined by the influence of money and lobbying pressure, and the views of the American public. It is having an effect. Notice the difference between the media coverage of this latest assault and the much more sympathetic coverage of the 2006 war with Hisbollah.

    Reply

  35. rich says:

    alan,
    you’ve put your finger on it. If Israel was also acting to remove the source of their political disadvantage, the source of international dismay and Palestinian national anger — by removing the ‘settlers’ and enforcing the law — we could all see some consistency and integrity in Israeli national policy. Instead, they have the gall to feed us propaganda. No wonder their situation grows more untenable each day, with each military attack. Israel is on an accelerating downward course, and they have no one to blame but themselves.

    Reply

  36. alan says:

    What I find difficult to understand is how tough Israeli governments are on Gaza and Hamas and how they cower before their settler’s illegal settlement expansion. The focus on Gaza and Hamas takes our eyes off the slow and steady expansion of Israel with settlement activity into land that is occupied, but which, in fact, is part of the West Bank. Bit by bit Israel is diminishing Palestine’s ability to become a viable state. And no amount of Israeli double talk onlimiting settlement expansion can cover the fact that successive Israel goverments have never confronted settlers other than getting them to leave Gaza. Same with sqeezing East Jerusalem to make it impossible for Palestine to have that as its capital.

    Reply

  37. kotzabasis says:

    To hint even the most thin and distant association of the present bombing of Gaza by the Israelis with the bombing of Guernica by the Nazis, is intellectually dishonest and dishonourable. Dr. Barbouthi has just, by the most friendly fire, bombed his own intellectual integrity.

    Reply

  38. TonyForesta says:

    All of this jibberish is a fruitless, meaningless, nonsensical exercise in futility.
    Nothing will change.
    We all endure this horrific spectacle every two or so years as Israel responds brutally to constant harrasment from the occupied territories.
    The world bemoans all the suffering. There is much wailing and gnashing of teeth. The US, and other pro Israel nations intevene after oceans of innocent blood are spilled to demand a cessation of hostilities. Palestinian and Israeli factions comply shouldering their weapons for another day. A global masquarade is conjured pretending to work toward peace. Meaningless, fruitless, and ineffective negotiations transpire.
    Talk results in nothing but more jibberish and babel.
    Nothing changes.
    And two years later the same horrible gruesome spectacle repeats ad infinitum.
    What would have happened had the international community and Israel recognised Hamas as the legitimate freely elected representative of a new Palestine? Would Hamas discontinue it’s missile assault and terrorist operations? Would Israel and America benefitted from redirecting resource from warfighting to nationbuilding? Would a new Palestine have emerged that would have recognized Israel’s right to exist and joined the community of nations? We’ll never know because – instead – we all denied the legitimate voice of the Palestinian population and chose to erect a counter puppet government more favorable to the nefarious interests of the predators class in Israel, America, and Europe.
    The fascists in the bushgov pushed for democratic elections in Palestine. The Palestinian population chose Hamas to run their government. The US and their proxy Israel then reneged and breached its’ hollow promises and laws and decided to nullify the legitimate voice of the Palestinian people and the rest is history.
    There are no winners in the conflict, only loosers. If Israel wants peace it must give, compromise and relent. If Palestiine wants peace it must also reject, renounce, and recant mass murder as political means for gain.
    Humans prefer the blood and wars and the rockets red glare the bombs bursting in air, and young impressionable desperate martyrs sent to the death mass murdering innocents for the ridiculous delusion of 72 browneyed virgins. There is no hope.
    Until humanity turns away from violence and rejects all those who perpetuate violence and the slaughtering of innocents for the this or that flag, or book, or prophet, or icon, or parcel of turf, – there is no hope. We will continue slaughtering each other until the end.
    Idiots!

    Reply

  39. ... says:

    there are some great quotes from the haaretz link from rich, and i too thank rich for the links…

    Reply

  40. WigWag says:

    Let me address your point directly, POA. I am sorry that people are being killed by the Israeli bombing campaign and I regret that there are even more innocent Palestinians who have been injured. I think it is awful that even prior to the bombing campaign Palestinian people in Gaza lived in deplorable conditions in what amounts to little more than a large prison camp.
    However I think that while Hamas cannot be destroyed their capabilities can be diminished and that doing so is critical to Israeli survival. If a movement like Hamas that espouses a radical version of militant Islam becomes as strong as Hezbollah has become, millions of Israeli lives would be endangered. While Israel has by far the strongest military in the region, crude rockets are hard to defend against and if their range is extended enough, they do enormous harm. Israel needs to prevent Hamas from strengthening its capability in that area in any way possible. Because I care about those Israeli lives, attacking Hamas is a necessity for the Israelis and I support it completely. I am not convinced that negotiating with Hamas will accomplish anything. I believe that confronting Hamas militarily as often as necessary will make Israel more secure than negotiating with them will.
    I also consider militant Islam a threat to me personally even though I live in South Florida. I understand that radical Muslim organizations whether they be Shiite or Sunni are profoundly anti-Semitic and they have called for Jews to be killed everywhere not just in Israel. I am perfectly aware that most Muslims don’t share those views and that even most Palestinians don’t; they just want to live in peace and security. But I have read the founding documents of Hamas. I know that they want Israel destroyed and that they want me dead.
    I know that like Daniel Pearl, if I was a hostage of one of these militant Islamic groups with lets say you and Steve Clemons, the captive who would get his throat slit first would be me; because I’m Jewish and you’re not (as far as I know).
    I know that there is a qualitative difference between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority under President Abbas. I believe that Abbas wants compromise like a large segment of the Israeli population does while the Hamas ideology (which is available for anyone to read if you have access to the internet)will never accept compromise (despite the wishful thinking of Daniel Levy). Fatah is a secular movement; that means there is a chance they are reasonable. Hamas is a radical religious movement; religious radicals are rarely reasonable or safe to be around for anyone who doesn’t share their views.
    Allowing Hamas and organizations like them to become stronger is a threat to Israel; it’s a threat to my personal safety and it’s a threat to the safety of Jews everywhere.
    I want Hamas destroyed and if that is not possible, I want it weakened as much as possible. I am glad that after thousands of years of exile and slaughter at the hands of Christians and Muslims in both Europe and the Middle East that Jews now have the military and financial and intellectual resources to protect themselves. Even living in the United States, the only reason I feel safe as a Jew is because a strong Israel exists.
    And in case your wondering, I think Israel’s religious settlers are repulsive and in many ways they are as bad as Hamas. I have no sympathy for them and I think they are a real threat to Israel’s long term viability. About the only thing I can say on their behalf is that at least they don’t think all Muslims should become Jews in the way that the Hamas Charter calls for Islam to have dominion over Jews and Christians living in he Middle East.
    So yes, I regret what’s happening to the Palestinians especially in Gaza. I also regret what’s happening in Darfur, in Somalia, in Tibet and Zimbabwe.
    But despite my sorrow about what’s happening to the Gazans, I think Israel is doing the right thing.

    Reply

  41. Paul Norheim says:

    rich,
    thanks for the links to the portrait of, and especially the Haaretz
    interview with Avraham Burg. Very interesting stuff.

    Reply

  42. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Steve is to be commended for giving Dr. Barghouthi a forum. To be honest, earlier in the day, when I was beseeching Steve in my posts to give the Palestinians a voice, I had little faith he would do so. My respect for Steve has increased considerably due to his inclusion of Dr. Barghouthi’s essay.
    Again, upon reading the comments, I am struck by the fact that the defenders of Israel’s actions cannot seem to bring themselves to address the issue of the humanitarian situation in Gaza. It is as though they are in complete denial, convinced that an entire population can be deprived of dignity and the essentials of humanity, and not react in violence. When I imagine what it must be like to try to raise a child in Gaza, I am forced to admit to myself that it might well be me that could be driven to lobbing a missile or two into Israel. I cannot imagine the pain that must come with being unable to provide substenance, security, and dignity to my children due to inhumane treatment administered by a people that treat us like animals.
    Read through the myriad of comments on the few threads here addressing the Isr/Pal issue, and note the complete absence of comment on the humanitarian situation in Gaza when the defenders of Israel offer their comments.

    Reply

  43. ... says:

    Paul Norheim – kudos to you and your political leadership in norway who show honesty and forth-rightness… these traits are lacking in almost all other political leaders around the globe when it comes to issues involving israel, but especially the americans..

    Reply

  44. viktor says:

    Hammas does not “sit down” with Israel, they sit down with Egypt, because they don’t acknowledge Israel as a sovereign country. They simply don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist. So whenever its convenient, they sidestep treaties / cease fires with this mentality at the core of their rationalizations.
    That said , I do agree that Gaza can be aptly compared to a prison camp.

    Reply

  45. Billy says:

    Look, like anybody else in the world it is politically correct to say that we love the Jews, are 100% behind Israel, and think Israel is our best buddy. When the microphone is in our face, or the survey taker is taking down our responses, we say what will get us into the least amount of trouble, and Sweet Jesus, if anybody knows anything, you want to steer way clear of getting into trouble with the Jews, because you ain’t seen trouble until you’ve crossed the Jews. In a word, you will be destroyed. No politician, no anybody, not even Steve Clemons is gonna publicly cross the Jews. Only a Jew can speak out against Israel and not be afraid of reprisal. So that’s how it is in this country. We have been conditioned by guilt, and the ongoing suppressed anti-Semitism cultivated by that same guilt, to instinctively say nuttin’ against the Jews unless you are crazy or masochistic. Yeah there are nutcase anti-Semites that just don’t care what they say, but for most of America they just don’t want any trouble so they say the politically correct thing. That is my opinion about how things are. A microcosm of the whole charade is how you can get arrested in Europe for talking against the Jews and the Holacaust. They got us over a barrel, what can I say. Oh, and before I close I would just like to say that I support Israel 100% and I think the Jewish people have given the world much to be thankful for. Shallohm.
    Whew, glad I thought to included that last part.

    Reply

  46. rich says:

    But Paul, ‘interpretation’ is wigwag’s fort-hey.
    re wigwag @ 10:05PM
    Mead is not the arbiter of American political opinion.
    It doesn’t take a lot of agility to understand that the American people may zupport Israel — “take the Israeli side in virtually all conflicts” — but still “not support the position of their government in the Israel/Palestine conflict.”
    It’s too inconvenient for a propagandist to say aloud. Of course we support Israel and its right to exist. But we’d be insane to support our government’s blind backing of Israel’s reckless policies, which have bankrupted any appeal to a political high ground or defensive posture, and corroded the vitality of its people and their children.
    Reflect awhile on the Avraham Burg’s interview in Haaretz:
    Are you concerned about a fascist debacle in Israel?
    “I think it is already here.”
    Israel’s scion knows it. It’s openly discussed in Israel. But even PBS’s Newshour clings to the notion that the Gaza rockets were the provocation, rather than the Israeli violation of the cease-fire and the chokehold on 1.5 million people. It’s just not journalism.

    Reply

  47. WigWag says:

    A plea to Steve Clemons!
    Steve, why don’t you see if you can get Rashid Khalidi to do a guest post? The Barghouthi and Levy posts and the Nir Rosen comment (on the other thread) were interesting but didn’t have alot of heft.
    Professor Khalidi on the other hand is a “heavy weight” and at one time he was a friend of Barack’s. He might even have some insight into what his former friend might do once he’s ensconced in the Oval Office.
    If you don’t know Khalidi, I’m sure your friend Rita Hauser can get him for you. After all, she endowed his chair at Colombia.
    The Khalidi perspective would be interesting to hear and fun to debate.
    Anyway, it’s just a thought.

    Reply

  48. Paul Norheim says:

    “The University of Maryland’s Program on International Policy
    Attitudes — the premiere organization for surveying
    international public opinion — released a new survey a couple
    of weeks ago regarding public opinion on the Israel-Palestinian
    conflict, including opinion among American citizens, and this is
    what it found:
    A new WorldPublicOpinion.org poll of 18 countries finds that
    in 14 of them people mostly say their government should not
    take sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Just three countries
    favor taking the Palestinian side (Egypt, Iran, and Turkey) and
    one is divided (India). No country favors taking Israel’s side,
    including the United States, where 71 percent favor taking
    neither side.”
    “Similarly, when asked “How well do you think Israel is doing its
    part in the effort to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict,”
    citizens around the world, by a large margin, believe that Israel
    is doing either “not very well” or “not well at all” (54% —
    compared to 23% that say it’s doing “very well” or “somewhat
    well”). And there, too, that worldwide view corresponds to
    American public opinion as well. 59% of Americans say Israel is
    doing either “not very well” or “not well at all” — compared to
    only 30% that say it’s doing “very well” or “somewhat well.” And
    Palestinians don’t fare much better worldwide (38-49%) and fare
    worse in the U.S. (15-75%).”
    Feel free to interpret it as you want, WigWag.

    Reply

  49. WigWag says:

    Paul, quoting polls that use different methodologies and ask different questions is pretty much a waste of time. You could just as easily have quoted this Gallup poll from early 2008:
    “Americans remain most favorable towards English-speaking countries – Canada (92 percent view it as mostly favorable), Australia (89 percent) and Great Britain (also 89 percent). Additional countries the majority of Americans view favorably are Japan (82), India (69), Israel (63), Mexico (60), Egypt (55), Russia (53) percent and Jordan (51).
    The country viewed as least-favorable by Americans is Iran (9 percent), followed by North Korea (12), Iraq (15), Palestinian Authority (16), Syria (21), Afghanistan (23), Cuba (25), Pakistan (28), Saudi Arabia (35), Venezuela (41) and China (48).
    The poll surveying US opinion on geopolitics singles out Israel as only foreign nation Americans feel favorably toward and also say that what happens there is vitally important to the US.”

    Reply

  50. rich says:

    Great portrait of Avraham Burg in the NYTs. Burg speaks the truth — people will always remember his name, though they will forget wigwag’s deceits by morning.
    Once a Political Riser, an Israeli Challenges His Country’s Identity
    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/20/world/middleeast/20burg.html?_r=2&ref=world&pagewanted=all
    From an interview in Haaretz:
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/868385.html
    –The end may be optimistic, but throughout its entire course the book repeatedly equates Israel with Germany. Is that really justified? Is there sufficient basis for the Israel-Germany analogy?
    “It is not an exact science, but I will describe to you some of the elements that go into the stew: a great sense of national insult; a feeling that the world has rejected us; unexplained losses in wars. And, as a result, the centrality of militarism in our identity. The place of reserve officers in society. The number of armed Israelis in the streets. Where is this swarm of armed people going? The expressions hurled publicly: ‘Arabs out.'”

    Are you concerned about a fascist debacle in Israel?
    “I think it is already here.”

    Reply

  51. bangzoom14 says:

    Maybe we should just do away with all this religious nonsense aka hokus pokus. After money, it’s also the root of all evil. Then when all the smoke clears, re-examine all sides in the middle-east and then and only then we’ll be able to see who is the real culprit of mistreatment and violence.

    Reply

  52. Paul Norheim says:

    “American citizens overwhelmingly — 71% — want
    their Government to be “even-handed” in the Israeli-Palestinian
    conflict.”
    There is a possible big range of positions even within being “pro-
    Israel. Bot Clinton and Bush and father Bush are pro-Israel; but
    some of them are a bit more “even-handed” than others.
    I suppose what the majority of Americans would characterize as
    “even-handed” would tend to be pro-Israel anyhow, but perhaps
    not with such extreme and unashamed bias as today.

    Reply

  53. WigWag says:

    “This has been said before here, but it’s worth repeating in these circumstances: most Americans do not support the position of their government in the Israel/Palestine conflict.”
    That simply isn’t true. If you think it is, go and read the Walter Russell Mead article from the July/August, 2008 issue of Foreign Affairs. It demonstrates that the American public takes the Israeli side in virtually all conflicts the Israelis have with the Arab world. It also explains why. Wasn’t it just last week that Steve Clemons was telling us how great Walter Russell Mead is?
    But regardless of what Americans believe, one thing is irrefutable; they keep electing politicians who favor the Israelis and are very suspicious of the Palestinians. In fact, they’ve just elected one of those politicians as their next President. And they’ve elected a House of Representatives and a Senate that feel the same way.
    There’s a reason very few politicians will run for office on a platform of an even-handed approach. No one would vote for them. Well maybe a few Washington Note readers would, but there are far too few of them (or people who agree with them) to elect anyone.
    If you don’t believe it, ask Barack Obama. Remember Robert Malley? Remember Rashid Khalidi? You think Obama’s consulting them about what to do next in the Middle East?
    The most successful politician in America, Barack Obama threw both of his former friends under the bus. Why? Because he knows that Americans find their views unacceptable; and Obama wanted to win.
    ps: Rashid Khalidi was asked by the New York Daily News last week if he would be attending the inauguration. He replied that he wouldn’t be because he hadn’t been invited. So there you have it. Barack Obama has shunned Rashid Khalidi but he’s invited Rick Warren to give the invocation. Tells you everything you need to know, doesn’t it?

    Reply

  54. StarsStripesForever says:

    Hey, Real[NOT]ist, the U S of A could kick your cuntry’s ass with one hand tied behind its back. I guess you have forgotten that we have the mightiest military in the history of the world that dwarfs anything ever seen now or ever. So STFU unless you and your mewling ilk wanna taste some uranium tipped projectiles up your wahzoos, thar Pilgrim.

    Reply

  55. Realist says:

    “Red,White,Blue” is a blind, deaf fool. Everyone and their mom despises the U.S. Why, you ask? Because they’re a bunch of eye-gouging, South Park watching, freakish, cultureless, lying war criminals. That’s why. And they’re going to continue to lie, although they might tone down their war crimes a little now that they’ve been busted on that. Their hyperpower status is gone forever, thank God. Hey America, how has turning over your foreign policy to Israel for 8 years worked out?

    Reply

  56. Rams horn says:

    I dare any American politician to ever utter one word against Israel, for if they do millions upon millions of dollars will flow to their opponent in their next election who will know how to properly speak about Israel. Any American politician who outwardly becomes an enemy of Israel through tough language will be politically destroyed. The true third rail of American politics Israel is. Have no doubt about it.

    Reply

  57. Wordie says:

    Many thanks, Steve, for publishing this important article. Whether or not one agrees with it, it’s so important to air the ideas of those on both sides of the conflict. Glenn Greenwald made the point in a recent article at Salon.com:
    Can’t the exact same mentality [the idea that countries have a right to defend themselves] be deployed to justify everything Hamas has done and is doing, to wit: “if a foreign power were brutally occupying my country for four decades — or blockading my country and denying my children medical needs and nutrition and the ability even to exit — I’m going to do everything in my power to stop that. And I would expect Palestinians to do the same thing”? But the last thing that our political class ever extends is reciprocal, two-sided analysis to this dispute.
    http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/2008/12/28/peretz/index.html
    I just pray that the Obama administration will have the wisdom and the will to genuinely assist these two peoples to achieve a lasting peace.

    Reply

  58. Paul Norheim says:

    And Greenwald ends the article JohnH quoted from by saying:
    “Meanwhile, American citizens overwhelmingly — 71% — want
    their Government to be “even-handed” in the Israeli-Palestinian
    conflict. Yet that view is simply ignored, disregarded, not even
    viable for any American mainstream political leader to express.”
    This has been said before here, but it`s worth repeating in these
    circumstances: most Americans do not support the position of
    their government in the Israel/Palestine conflict.

    Reply

  59. DonS says:

    I keep wondering about Obama, and the few bleats from his camp. Even Papa Bush “froze loan guarantees” at certain points to bring Israeli excesses to heel in certain instances. Are we today in a time when the younger Bush approach — blame the Palestinians, blame Hamas, blame the ‘terorist’ muslims — is the undisputed currency?
    Mr. Obama, we are listening.

    Reply

  60. JohnH says:

    “Scathing criticism of Israel’s behavior can — and does — appear in one of Israel’s leading newspapers, but not a paragraph of it could ever be uttered by any American politician, in either party, of any national prominence.” –Glenn Greenwald
    http://www.commondreams.org/view/2008/12/29-5
    It does make you wonder if there is any amount of death and destruction that would make American politicians finally say “enough.” Judging by the fact that the very same politicians have turned a blind eye to a million Iraqi deaths, Israel is apparently free to do whatever it wants. After all, why should the lives of a few million Palestinian be worth any more than a million Iraqi lives?
    The moral decay in Washington is deep and pervasive.

    Reply

  61. Red,White,Blue says:

    And lest Norway forgets, the United States is still the greatest country in the history of the world !!!

    Reply

  62. Northern Observer says:

    Yes, Iran, Syria, and Norway did recognize Hamas and the
    Palestinian Unity Government as the legitimately elected
    government.
    And as a Norwegian, I would say that this is one of the wisest
    decisions the current Norwegian government has ever done.
    I`m proud of them having the courage to do the right thing,
    Norway has demonstrated that liberalism taken to extremes leads to nihilism and death. When toleration becomes a virtue to the exclusion of all others it is inevitable that you will tolerate evil at some point, you have let all judgment all discrimination pass out of your hands and into the hands of the other. Sooner or later malevolence will find you.
    Shame on Norway and all Norwegians for tolerating evil. Then again the 1940-1945 record of this nation says a lot as to their ‘values’ of the here and now

    Reply

  63. Claire says:

    Hey Cee, you are joking right? The Messiah has shown up, he showed up 2008 years ago born in a manger to the Virgin Mary. His name is Jesus Christ !
    And the Second Coming of the One True Messiah, Jesus Christ, will come AFTER Israel suffers Armageddon, which is nigh upon us, hopefully, for all of our sake, although I will not be around to see it since I will have Raptured up by then (another story.)
    Any way the Jewish people are waiting for Godot if they are waiting for their Messiah, ’cause he already came and they did not heed his Coming, instead they killed him (no wonder they are having perpetual troubles).
    So those anti-Zionist you are telling about are mistaken by 2008 years and counting. They will be waking up to the Truth soon, real soon.

    Reply

  64. Cee says:

    All they want is to gain possession of the land that God rightfully bestowed upon them.
    You’re joking, right? If not, I’m with the anti-Zionists who believe that you good people aren’t supposed to be in Israel until your messiah shows up.
    You need to study that word. LOL!

    Reply

  65. God says:

    Ha ha, I enjoyed Nathan’s satire.
    This is for WigWag, may the whole world become thorns in his throat:
    http://www.maannews.net/en/index.php?opr=ShowDetails&ID=34366

    Reply

  66. Nathan says:

    The Israelis are good people for the most part. All they want is to gain possession of the land that God rightfully bestowed upon them. The people living there now must be made to understand that they are living on anothers land and they must leave. It is very simple to understand if you read the Bible. Those who do not read the Bible do not know the truth of the matter and have been misled by deceivers. Would you not evict someone squatting on your land? Would you Americans not be aggrieved if the Indians tried to take what God had given you as a reward for your earnest worship? These are simple matters to understand, and when something is wrongfully taken from you, something that was given you by God, then any means to take it back is rightful in the eyes of God. Again, please read your Bible and submit to the Word of the One True God.

    Reply

  67. WigWag says:

    “Ye shall know them by the company they keep. ”

    Reply

  68. Paul Norheim says:

    Yes, Iran, Syria, and Norway did recognize Hamas and the
    Palestinian Unity Government as the legitimately elected
    government.
    And as a Norwegian, I would say that this is one of the wisest
    decisions the current Norwegian government has ever done.
    I`m proud of them having the courage to do the right thing,
    against the rest of the “international community”.

    Reply

  69. lighthouse says:

    Norway does not think Hamas is Evil ??
    Iran, Syria, and now Norway ?
    OMFG, you cannot be serious.
    Norway?, seriously? LOLOLOL

    Reply

  70. OilMan says:

    WigWag,
    Could you please explain to me how Israel’s latest bombings in Gaza help the U.S. convince Iraqis to sign pro-American oil deals? Because I don’t see it.

    Reply

  71. carol says:

    Of course Israel and the US do not like the idea that Norway recognized Hamas….it does not fit into their plans as they believe they have to have the last word.
    It’s pathetic how far up the backside of Israel we really are….they can do no wrong and when they say jump we say “how high”.
    The time for this love affair with Israel to come to and end once and for all, they hold too much power over the US.

    Reply

  72. JohnH says:

    The correct spelling is Barghouti. Arab has what I consider to be two letter “R’s,” one made with the tongue and the teeth (like Spanish: r) and the other guttural (like French: gh). Barghouti has both.

    Reply

  73. Paul Norheim says:

    “The only people who think Hamas isn’t evil are the Iranians, the
    Syrians and a few well intentioned and passionate (but deluded)
    people at websites like the Washington Note. The rest of the
    world has decided that it’s Hamas that’s evil.” (WigWag)
    For the record, and for what it`s worth, Norway actually
    recognized Hamas in April 2007:
    OSLO (Reuters) – Norway told visiting U.S. Secretary of State
    Condoleezza Rice on Thursday that its recognition of the
    Palestinian unity government was designed to help diplomacy in
    the Middle East.
    Last month Norway became the first Western state to recognize
    the Islamist Hamas-led Palestinian government — prompting
    U.S. and Israeli criticism — and said it would restore direct
    budget aid to it as soon as international banking sanctions were
    relaxed.
    The United States and Israel say the Palestinian government
    must first recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence
    and adhere to the principles set by the Quartet of peace
    mediators — the United States, European Union, United Nations
    and Russia.
    “Norway has normalized relations with the government, which
    means that we talk to them,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Jonas
    Gahr Stoere told a news conference with Rice.
    “Norway will not be issuing carte blanche in any direction. We
    will be trying to pursue policies which draw in the right
    direction and which can also open (the way) for negotiations,
    and we also place very clear expectations on Israel.”
    “The Quartet’s principles are Norway’s principles,” Stoere said
    and added that Israel also had obligations to fulfil under
    previous agreements, which he said the Quartet also
    recognized.
    He said Norway, which has said it expects its total aid to the
    Palestinian territory this year to reach about $100 million
    including direct budget support and other aid, had not been
    able to resume payments yet but hoped to do so soon.
    Rice, on a 24-hour visit to the Norwegian capital during which
    she will attend a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, refrained
    from criticizing Norway and praised Stoere’s efforts.
    “We are in agreement that a Palestinian government that fully
    recognizes the Quartet principles would be a very good step
    forward, and I know the minister has worked very hard in the
    contacts that he has had to try to push forward towards that
    goal,” she said.

    Reply

  74. Jeremy says:

    The following post made by Kelvin (if that is actually your real name) at 5:47pm must be removed please as it is abhorrent!!
    “I once read there are approx. 15 million jews on earth.
    Can you imagine the wonders 15 million bullets would do?
    Now I know not every jew is a born evil, inbred vermin, murdering terrorist.
    More power to that quintet.”

    Reply

  75. Kelvin says:

    I once read there are approx. 15 million jews on earth.
    Can you imagine the wonders 15 million bullets would do?
    Now I know not every jew is a born evil, inbred vermin, murdering terrorist.
    More power to that quintet.

    Reply

  76. Paul Norheim says:

    Posted by WigWag Dec 29, 1:45PM – Link
    This is a small question but in the post the author’s name is
    spelled two different ways, Mustafa Barghouthi (in the text at the
    top of the page) and Dr. Mustafa Baghouthi at the bottom of the
    page. Does anyone know which is correct?

    Reply

  77. susan says:

    Nir Rosen has written a piece that, in my opinion, is excellent:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/dec/29/gaza-hamas-israel

    Reply

  78. ... says:

    blackmail is very effective..

    Reply

  79. susan says:

    Israel “Absorbs” Bombs
    The Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a possible Foreign Military Sale to Israel of GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs as well as associated equipment and services. The total value, if all options are exercised, could be as high as $77 million.

    Israel will have no difficulty absorbing these additional bombs into its armed forces. The proposed sale will not affect the basic military balance in the region.
    Defense Security Cooperation Agency – Israel – GBU-39 Small Diameter Bombs, Sept. 9, 2008
    The bombs now get “absorbed” by people in Gaza.
    The Israel Air Force used a new bunker-buster missile that it received recently from the United States in strikes against Hamas targets in the Gaza Strip on Saturday, The Jerusalem Post learned on Sunday.
    The missile, called GBU-39, was developed in recent years by the US as a small-diameter bomb for low-cost, high-precision and low collateral damage strikes.
    Israel received approval from Congress to purchase 1,000 units in September and defense officials said on Sunday that the first shipment had arrived earlier this month …
    IAF uses new US-supplied smart bomb, Dec. 29, 2008
    Notice the fast, just in time, delivery …
    http://www.moonofalabama.org/

    Reply

  80. w. r. campbell says:

    worth remembering is, even the timid 911 report mentions our policy toward israel and the palestinians as a significant cause of our problems in the middle east and, indeed, world wide. with respect to the current butchery of palestinians in gaza it is the us that has supplied the weapons used by israel in this pogrom as we supplied the cluster bombs used by the israelils in lebanon; which makes us accessories both before and after the fact of israel’s murderous rampages.
    in 1937, hans morgenthau, a german jew, escaped nazism to america. in 1948 he published a book called “politics among nations.” in its first pages he made the following point: a french communist is realy a russian nationalist. same in america for a zionist, whether christian or jew. zionists do not have america’s interest in their heart, they are israeli nationalists. they are not america’s friends.

    Reply

  81. Franklin R. Teebow says:

    Hey buddy, it is ME that Obama owes, not you! I’m an evangelical black went the extra mile to overlook the liberal attitudes a fellow like Obama will help flourish in our already profligate land. He owes ME to do that which is moral at all times regardless of who elected him. He best be doin’ God’s work, or he will be answering to ME and my mojo, Good God Almighty !

    Reply

  82. Matthew says:

    Correction, Marionette: The only person Barack Obama owes for his election is ME. That’s right a white catholic man from Texas! He didn’t get my electoral vote, but he got my mojo!

    Reply

  83. Marionette says:

    The only person who owes the Jewish people in this country right now is Barrack Obama, and he better come through by saying the right things like he did during the election.
    And, yes, as Liz said, you have to give a tip of your cap to the Israelis for putting Obama’s feet to the fire early and making him embrace this tar baby thrown early in his path to becoming a straight honest talking President, who did not just give lip service to the Jewish folk to get elected.
    Marionette.

    Reply

  84. DonS says:

    Josh, Dan, Wigwag, etc., the way I’ve expressed it is that I am tired of having the blood of my murdered relatives hijacked by those who would support policies that betray the essence of Jewish humanity. That includes Jews and non-Jews, secular and religious alike, American and Isareli-Zionist politicians, enablers, collaborators and dupes, who have political agendas that seek to trade in the “guilt” business” and have, indeed, turned into it into an international industry (hopefully Dan’s right that the effect lessens over time). Jews, of course, are divided on this too between those who still ride the guilt crest, and those who have evolved, some might say actualized a higher truth that see all humans as equal.

    Reply

  85. Liz says:

    Right Dan. My Shiksa-iness likewise would be disqualifying in making comments about the current slaughter.
    One really has to admire the people of The Chutzpah.

    Reply

  86. jjlynx says:

    And Jewish retirees in Florida don’t get to defend and cheer on Israel’s killing in Gaza ?
    They have every right to post here and voice their opinion as does any other civil commenter.
    As Joe Biden would say, “God bless’em.”

    Reply

  87. carol says:

    Thanks for adding another voice to this conflict, as we only ever see one victim and that is Israel.
    I don’t know about the Palestinians wanting Israel wiped off the map, they aren’t doing a bad job of doing the same to Palestine are they??
    Israel holds all the cards in this conflict, they send tanks to the borders when they like, send planes to drop bombs when they like and nobody condemns any of it.
    Time for some kind of fairness brought to the table I think…Israel have had a free pass for way too long with no accountability.
    Israel has played the victim for too long, they want all the attention on them as the only ones being hurt in all this and that is far from the truth.

    Reply

  88. Dan Kervick says:

    “Wig Wag is a Jewish retiree in Florida.”
    “All that needs to be said.”
    Irrelevant. There are plenty of Jews, retired and non-retired, occupying all sorts of different positions on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
    If WigWag’s Jewishness is a reason for discrediting WigWag’s pro-Israel position, then my goyishness is a reason for discounting my Israel-skepticism position.
    Everybody has a perspective influenced by their background. If we apply this discrediting-by-identity tactic across the board, all we are left with is the chirping of crickets.

    Reply

  89. ... says:

    Mr 1:29pm post… obviously you didn’t read the article posted above. perhaps chaims post and the Mr post have a friend in wigwag, or there aren’t that many folks posting here after all… geez even tahoe editor has appeared, lol…

    Reply

  90. LBM says:

    Wig Wag is a Jewish retiree in Florida.
    All that needs to be said.

    Reply

  91. Cee says:

    Rick Sanchaz is doing a wonderful job of countering the silly claims of the Israeli Ambassador to the UN Gabriela Shalev.
    She said the election has nothing to do with this slaughter.
    She’s a bad liar.
    Turn on CNN.

    Reply

  92. Dan Kervick says:

    Chaim, Israel’s position is indeed precarious. I am a long-time supporter of the classic two-state solution based on the pre-1967 borders, and oppose Palestinian rejectionism and maximalism. If Israel would dismantle all of its colonies on the West Bank, and withdraw its forces and people back inside the pre-1967 borders, I would fully support my country having Israel’s back. However, so long as it continues to push forward its colonization of the West Bank, and hold onto the colonies it has already established, Israel’s precarious position is partly of its own making, and it is not entitled to such unqualified defense by Americans.
    You are quite casual in the way you throw around terms like “you” and “us”. But if you insist on viewing things that way, here is how I see the situation:
    In order to make up for “our” offenses against Jews in the West, “we” Westerners grabbed a chunk of the old Ottoman empire and gave it to “you”, even though it wasn’t really “ours” to give. In order to help “you” establish a state on that land, “we” accepted, and even assisted, in your removal of “them”, i.e. the people who lived on that land, the descendants of people who had lived there for hundreds of years. Now “we” have two sets of sins on “our” hands: the ones “we” committed against “you” and your people over the centuries; and the ones “we” committed against “them” over the past century.
    I think you will find that this guilt-tripping approach is not as effective as it once was. Because, speaking more literally now, most of US were not around 60 years ago or more; and neither were most of YOU.

    Reply

  93. Josh says:

    I started writing a rebuke of Chaim’s post but I decided it would take too long, and certainly not worth my time. So I’ll just say this… As a fellow Jew I must say I’m embarrassed by your post Chaim. Just think through the logic of your argument for a while. Try looking at the situation from an outside perspective. Do some reading about current events (you could start by reading this blog for 15 minutes a day) Until then please do yourself and the rest of the Jewish community a favor by not sharing your ridiculous views.

    Reply

  94. neo control says:

    Chaim, go away.
    –NHQ

    Reply

  95. Chaim says:

    How can there be only one comment posted here in support of Israel ?!!!
    After what the Western world let happen to the Jews in the ’30s and ‘4os why is there not more sympathy and understanding of Israel’s precarious position.
    Do nor forsake us; you still all owe us big time !

    Reply

  96. WigWag says:

    Dr. Barghouthi makes some interesting points, but his comments are filled with half-truths and for the most part don’t hold up to scrutiny.
    1. Israelis have claimed to have ended the occupation of the Gaza Strip in 2005.
    The Israelis isolate Gaza economically because they have no intention of allowing Hamas, which has after all, called for Israel’s destruction, to develop the infrastructure that Hezbollah developed in Lebanon. Hamas and Hezbollah are both fundamentalist Islamic regimes (one Sunni and the other Shiite) committed to killing Israelis (and Hezbollah has called for the killing of Jews all over the world). While Israel’s detractors would like the Israelis to allow Hamas to grow stronger the way Hezbollah has, Israel will never allow this; nor should they. Isolating Hamas is the most effective strategy to protect Israel. The Israelis are smart to do it. And yes, Hamas was elected in a free and fair election. That’s irrelevant to whether the Israelis have any obligation to allow a party dedicated to their destruction get more militarily competent. I wonder if President Abbas will be happy to see the degradation of the Hamas military capability.
    2. Israel claims that Hamas violated the cease-fire and pulled out of it unilaterally.
    No, it’s not just the Israelis. It’s the Egyptians who brokered the first cease fire who claimed that Hamas violated the cease fire and pulled out of it unilaterally. And it’s also the Palestinian President, Mr. Abbas who blamed Hamas for breaking the cease fire and for not renewing it. In fact, President Abbas has gone so far to say that “every drop of blood” spilt by the Gazans was spilt because of Hamas.
    3. Israel claims to be pursuing peace with ‘peaceful Palestinians.’
    President Abbas seems to think Israel is pursuing peace. He’s held scores of negotiating sessions with Olmert and Livni and his own representatives say progress has been made. Abbas has also said that he looks forward to accelerating the talks once Obama is in office.
    4. Israel is acting in self-defense.
    Dr. Barghouthi claims self defense is “reactionary.” The Israelis are reacting. They are reacting to rockets being fired into their territory and they are reacting against an organization that in word and deed suggests that their country should be obliterated. That is the very essence of self defense and Dr. Barghouthi knows it.
    5. Israel claims to have struck military targets only.
    No, Israel claims to have “targeted” only military installations and installations critical to the operational infrastructure of Hamas. Hamas is Israel’s enemy and Israel is attempting to degrade it.
    6. Israel claims that it is attacking Hamas and not the Palestinian people.
    Hamas stores military ordinance in the basements, homes, shops and places of worship of civilians. They shoot missiles from the center of densely populated communities. There is no way to attack Hamas without injuring innocent people.
    7. Israel claims that Palestinians are the source of violence.
    Hamas is committed to the destruction of Israel so it is perfectly appropriate for Israel to be committed to the destruction of Hamas. Neither party is likely to accomplish its goal. But unless Hamas capitulates and accepts the reality that Israel isn’t going away, they will be condemning Gazans to a terrible life. If the Israelis don’t capitulate to the reality that Palestinians aren’t going away they too will suffer but not nearly as much as the Palestinians will.
    Dr. Barghouthi says that ‘The evil only exists because the good remain silent.’ Presumably this is his attempt to site the great English conservative, Sir Edmund Burke (“the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing).
    But the good have not remained silent; they’ve condemned the evil that Hamas represents. There is a virtual world-wide consensus that Hamas needs to be ostracized. The world has turned Hamas into a pariah. It’s not just George Bush and the Americans. It’s the Canadians, the Europeans, the Australians and even the Arab regimes that have decided that Hamas is terrorist organization not worthy of recognition. There’s been no silence. The world has spoken; they’ve just decided that it is Hamas who is the enemy of peace. And by the way, America’s new President has also spoken. This is what it says on his website (barackobama.com) right now:
    “I opposed Hamas’ participation in the 2006 Palestinian Authority elections, and I continue to insist that Hamas recognize Israel, abandon violence, and abide by previous agreements made between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. Until they do that the United States will not recognize Hamas as a legitimate actor…”
    The only people who think Hamas isn’t evil are the Iranians, the Syrians and a few well intentioned and passionate (but deluded) people at websites like the Washington Note. The rest of the world has decided that it’s Hamas that’s evil.
    Dr. Barghouthi also says “To prove just how hard it is, Livni, Olmert and Barack did not even wear make-up to the press conference…”
    That comment is just about as smart and insightful as everything else he said in this post.

    Reply

  97. DonS says:

    “reaching out” What a concept, eh Wigwag. Versus demonizing. Now if we could only implant the “reaching out” gene in more politicians perhaps AIPAC would be a little less successful.

    Reply

  98. Matthew says:

    Thanks Steve for the showing the courage and decency to post this article.
    invade
    • verb 1 enter (a country) as or with an army so as to subjugate or occupy it. 2 enter in large numbers, especially intrusively. 3 (of a parasite or disease) attack and spread into (an organism or bodily part). 4 encroach on: his privacy was being invaded.
    — DERIVATIVES invader noun.
    incursion
    • noun an invasion or attack, especially a sudden or brief one.
    Notice the media never uses the word “invasion.”

    Reply

  99. Matt says:

    WigWag,
    I doubt there is a universal standard for transliterating Arabic script into English. Chinese has at least 5 or 6 ways of being pressed into English letters and Arabic is probably much the same. You say Usama, I say Osama.

    Reply

  100. Dan Kervick says:

    Yes, WigWag, if those two networks gave Dr. Barghouthi equal time, it was courageous. I did see another Arab commentator on CNN as well.

    Reply

  101. Cee says:

    Thank you Steve.
    I must say that I’m pleased with what I’m seeing on CNN.
    They showed the father of the four dead girls.
    Someone needs to tell Livni that civilians are being murdered.

    Reply

  102. WigWag says:

    This is a small question but in the post the author’s name is spelled two different ways, Mustafa Barghouthi (in the text at the top of the page) and Dr. Mustafa Baghouthi at the bottom of the page. Does anyone know which is correct?

    Reply

  103. Tahoe Editor says:

    Yes, slaughtering hundreds of innocents is the right message to send and will certainly end the problem.

    Reply

  104. Syed Qamar Afazl Rizvi says:

    It is an irony that the current Israeli incursion into the Palestinian land of Gaza,causing the death of innocent Palestinians yet recieves no serious note of concern by the UNSC.Dr Barghouti thesis aside, the international community seems totally helpless at the helm of US-Israeli strategic partnership aiming at underminig every norm of humanity, at the altar of their vested interests.

    Reply

  105. Mr says:

    Isn’t this simple?
    Rockets are being fired into Israel.
    Idiots are doing it.
    Israel cannot continue to allow this; nothing seems to work in preventing this. What else can Israel do? Plead? Persuade? Forge a peace deal?
    None of that works.
    To allow rockets to come blasting into their country sends a signal: Israel is easy game.
    As terrible as this is – Israel is forced to retaliate.
    Wake up and see who the real culprits are
    HAMMAS

    Reply

  106. Steve Clemons says:

    Hi WigWag — I think it is great that CNN and Fox reached out to Barghouti. best, steve

    Reply

  107. Matt says:

    WigWag may have a point, but then again it’s also true that a disproportionate number of Palestinian people have died, right?

    Reply

  108. WigWag says:

    “Thank you for putting a Palestinian voice here.”
    “Thank you so much for posting Dr. Barghouti’s essay. It is a welcome voice and I’m sure a relief to them to have an outlet NOT governed by Israeli censors.”
    “steve, thanks for posting an alternative view then what we get usually.”
    “But at least his voice will be heard. It is sad to acknowledge that in the current US political and media environment the mere act of allowing a prominent Palestinian to speak where US ears can hear his voice counts as a courageous…”
    Dr. Mustafa Baghouthi appeared on both CNN and Fox News (of all places, Fox News) yesterday and said exactly the same thing.
    Baghouthi appeared shortly after the Israeli Ambassador and was given exactly the same amount of time.
    So here’s the question; if it was “courageous” of Steve to post the Baghouthi essay, was it equally “courageous” of the cable news channels that interviewed him to give him a forum?
    Inquiring minds want to know.

    Reply

  109. Lurker says:

    Steve,
    Thank you. This is a very interesting alternative take on the grimness in Gaza.
    This should be referenced on every news station.

    Reply

  110. Dan Kervick says:

    Steve,
    Thanks so much for allowing Mr. Barghouthi to post here. There is much I agree with in the post; some I disagree with. But at least his voice will be heard. It is sad to acknowledge that in the current US political and media environment the mere act of allowing a prominent Palestinian to speak where US ears can hear his voice counts as a courageous act. So you are to be commended. If only our politicians could muster even a one-tenth amount of the same courage.
    My hope is that somehow, through some miracle, three big picture facts will finally be allowed to emerge above the din of debates about rockets vs. missiles, death counts, and tit-for-tat exchanges, and penetrate into the the consciousness of the US public:
    1. There is a long, patient war of colonization and conquest taking place in Israel-Palestine. In this war, the Israelis are clearly the aggressors, expropriating land and dispossessing Palestinians dunam by dunam. They attempt to cover up and distract attention from this colonization movement with an endless series of manufactured crises and noisy fights, such as the current one, in which there is always some proximate Palestinian bogey-man to point to.
    2. The Israelis will, as usual, point to various violent acts by Palestinians and plead with the world to recognize that no government can be expected to tolerate unprovoked assaults on its citizens. But until the Israelis dismantle their colonies in the West Bank and remove their soldiers and colonists from Palestinian territory, their please have no justice whatsoever. Short of that, they are engaged in a war of colonial aggression against the Palestinians and their territory.
    3. Gaza is a prison camp. The Palestinians are the prisoners and the Israelis are the jailers. All the security issues that arise there are exactly the sorts of issues one would expect to find in a prison camp – even including the digging of tunnels by the prisoners and the destroying of those tunnels by the jailers. The problem is that most of the people shut up in that prison are not criminals, and their only crime is to have been born Palestinians in Gaza.

    Reply

  111. TWN Fan says:

    Mustafa Barghouti’s piece is really must read. I just noticed that this piece and Daniel Levy’s article from yesterday are both front-paged and featured on Huffington Post.
    What we really owe TWN and Steve Clemons is not just this excellent venue for discussion and debate, but it’s fascinating to watch the strings of Clemons’s and Levy’s influence in the new power centers of Washington and the nation.
    They are doing a very good job of creating alternatives and better thinking.

    Reply

  112. ... says:

    steve, thanks for posting an alternative view then what we get usually.. i get a kick out of how you mention >>These comments and views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Washington Note << … i don’t recall seeing you do that on other articles, but it is interesting you feel the need to do it on this one..
    at any rate it is pretty clear from the article we are not being told the full story on what is going on and none of the major news outlets have the ability to cover any of it honestly…

    Reply

  113. questions says:

    Always in search of apt metaphors, since we don’t have direct experience of the world but know it only through metaphors, I offer a new one. Let all Israelis and all Palestinians put their fantasies of power, manliness, religiosity, and whatever else, into hospice. Make the fantasies comfortable, give them morphine and a favorite pet, let them watch tv when they’re conscious. Let them die. All the fantasies have to die. Something new must come to be. Have babies. Invent something. Being-towards-the-future rather than being-towards-death.
    Without the change in fantasy, there will be no change in policy, no change in the mutual death-dealing. And yes, it’s mutual, even if for the Palestinians it’s weak death-dealing from the lower end and without resources. It’s death-dealing in the face of being given death, but death-dealing nonetheless.
    Can we be tired of death? Can we allow people better deaths? Can we fantasize a more gentle world?

    Reply

  114. dwg says:

    almost forgot….
    Israel also controls electricity in Gaza. And shuts it off at will.

    Reply

  115. dwg says:

    Steve,
    Thank you so much for posting Dr. Barghouti’s essay. It is a welcome voice and I’m sure a relief to them to have an outlet NOT governed by Israeli censors. The internet is their only hope of getting out reports to the international community in a timely fashion.
    Your readers should know that Israel still controls – and since their “withdrawal” have always controlled:
    access to Gaza – imports and customs are collected at ASHDOD Israel and controlled via Israeli customs agents.
    currency. Trade – such as it is – in Gaza is in the Israeli Shekel.
    ingress and egress for both people and goods.
    On this last point it should be made known that Egyptians control the border at Rafah and are somewhat complicit in the humanitarian crisis that has engulfed Gaza and kept them on the verge of starvation since Israel “withdrew.”

    Reply

  116. Carroll says:

    But Americans do care…the ones who know the truth of this conflict.
    However we citizens don’t have any power to stop this. America is controlled by the Israelis and US zionist neos who have infiltrated our congress and every aspect of our government and media.
    Don’t look to the US for help,there is no America anymore…we are now another Jewish State.
    BURN WASHINGTON TO THE GROUND AND START OVER
    Obama isn’t going to ‘change’ anything.

    Reply

  117. Matt says:

    Thank you for putting a Palestinian voice here, Steve. That is a meaningful gesture.

    Reply

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