Israel and Gaza

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Frelga
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by Frelga »

Yeah, I agree with both LM and PtB.

As with Ukraine, this is not an abstract question for me. It's my family, my friends, my sister-in-law who are ducking into the bomb shelter several times a day. And so I think less in terms of moral values and more in terms of how to keep them safe.

Tangent. Last year, I was in Eilat (swimming in the Red Sea!) when rockets were fired from Egypt. They fell in the desert, harmlessly, and the Israeli response was a big shrug. Just think for a second about that. Think what would happen if Mexico fired rockets that fell harmlessly in Arizona desert. (That was also the day that Boston Marathon bombing happened, which put a whole new perspective on the meaning of safety.)

Now, the question of how to keep innocent people in Gaza safe is also important to me. And the answer is real simple. Hamas needs to stop shooting rockets into Israel. That's it. It is not reasonable to expect any country not to respond to being fired at. But simple is not by any means is easy, anywhere, and especially not in Middle East. If Hamas won't stop shooting, and continues to put their rocket launchers among the most vulnerable of civilians, then what can be done?
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by Teremia »

I think it's just plain wrong to kill children, even if they're being used as shields. I am against the US drone strikes for the same reason.

(I also think it's wrong to shoot rockets at anybody.)

One evil does not excuse or justify another evil.

How can the cycle ever end if both sides always feel "justified" in lashing out because the other side has done something cruel?

Despairing pacifist, that's me.
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by Frelga »

Actually ...never mind. For the first and last time in my board life I am deleting my post because it is pointless and painful to have a discussion which is about abstract ideas to some people and survival of my family to me.
Last edited by Frelga on Sat Aug 02, 2014 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by yovargas »

That whole "acceptable casualties" line of war.....I just can't buy it. Sure, Israel has the right to defend itself just like any country or person can but if your actions are leading to the deaths of innocents, including children, that can no longer be called self-defense from my perspective. That's just murder, even if unintentional.
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

Frelga, I understand why you removed your post, and I support your right to do so, but I would have liked to have seen what you said.

:hug:

Edit: I also have family that lives in Israel, though not close family, so it is not completely abstract for me, either
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by nerdanel »

Me too, Frelga. I didn't see it either, and I think that the insights of those for whom the conflict is three-dimensional and personal are particularly valuable in educating those who may be dealing in the realm of abstract ideas (or ideals).
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by superwizard »

River wrote: It looks to me almost like the Palestinians are committing the population equivalent of suicide-by-police. I'm not sure you can get more self-destructive than by taking the actions they have taken...but given the economic blockade Israel has imposed they probably feel like their backs are to the wall and they've nothing to lose but their lives. At least, that might be what the leadership is thinking. Your generic civilian in Gaza might have a different opinion.
This perfectly sums up my understanding of what's going on the Palestinian side. I wish I could say that I felt any hope but I really don't. It absolutely breaks my heart to see so many dead civilians (including undoubtably distant relatives) and while I understand Israel's reaction and support its right to defend itself, I cannot help but believe that it has been too heavy handed in this instance and that it has utterly failed when it comes to diplomacy with the Palestinians. I have no love in my heart for Hamas but at the same time I believe that it and its tactics were formed out of desperation. That doesn't, mind you, excuse their actions. You cannot fire missiles across the border with no regard to human life or to operate from densely populated neighborhoods.

In the long term Israel needs to show the Palestinians that Hamas is not the solution, that negotiations will eventually lead somewhere. Otherwise the moderates demanding peace and cohabitation will look impotent. It cannot do so with force, it must be through diplomacy. In the immediate future I believe that they need to be much more careful and restrained when they carry out their operation. It is simply unacceptable and inexcusable to bomb a UN school filled with terrified children. It should, above all, try to find a way to peace with as little bloodshed as possible. I do not trust Netanyahu to do that and I most definitely do not trust Lieberman.
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by Voronwë the Faithful »

I very much appreciate your thoughts, superwizard. I think this statement in particular bears repeating:
In the long term Israel needs to show the Palestinians that Hamas is not the solution
When Hamas first surprisingly won the election in Gaza, I thought that they would eventually be moderated by the needs of governing. That has not really happened. But Israel's actions make alternatives seem non-existent, particularly the economic blockade. As long as their as little to no hope of a better life, people will turn to desperate violence, which will then be answered by far more effective violence, which in turn makes more people willing to turn to desperate violence. It seems to be an unbreakable cycle. But somehow, some day, it will be broken.
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by Túrin Turambar »

yovargas wrote:That whole "acceptable casualties" line of war.....I just can't buy it. Sure, Israel has the right to defend itself just like any country or person can but if your actions are leading to the deaths of innocents, including children, that can no longer be called self-defense from my perspective. That's just murder, even if unintentional.
My issue is that there are times where you simply cannot take that line. The most obvious one is that, had the Allies not been willing to kill hundreds of thousands of German and Japanese civilians, they would not have defeated Fascism. And as appalling as the deaths of so many innocent people was, many of whom were burned to death in the fire-bombings of German and Japanese cities, I have yet to see someone make the argument that it would have been a better alternative for the Axis to have won the war.
Voronwë the Faithful wrote:I very much appreciate your thoughts, superwizard. I think this statement in particular bears repeating:
In the long term Israel needs to show the Palestinians that Hamas is not the solution
When Hamas first surprisingly won the election in Gaza, I thought that they would eventually be moderated by the needs of governing. That has not really happened. But Israel's actions make alternatives seem non-existent, particularly the economic blockade. As long as their as little to no hope of a better life, people will turn to desperate violence, which will then be answered by far more effective violence, which in turn makes more people willing to turn to desperate violence. It seems to be an unbreakable cycle. But somehow, some day, it will be broken.
I also think that there is an issue when it comes to the imbalance of political stability between Israel and Palestine. Or, to put it in practical terms, I am not sure if there is an authority in Gaza that has the power to negotiate, make and then uphold a lasting ceasefire, let alone negotiate a long-term peace. I don’t know how much control whomever is running Hamas has on the people who are firing the rockets or carrying out the suicide bombings, but I suspect it is far less than the control that the Israeli government has over the IDF (the militant settlers are another matter, but they seem to be less of a problem in absolute terms). So even if the majority of Palestinians wanted a lasting peace, I’m afraid a minority would be able to continue to sabotage it.
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by Passdagas the Brown »

Frelga,

Just as an FYI, I also have both colleagues and friends (though no family) who are directly affected by events in eastern Ukraine (Donetsk), within Russia (Moscow), Israel (Tel Aviv for most of the year) and southern Lebanon. Also, on some of these questions (moreso nowadays with Ukraine than Israel) dealing with these issues is a day-to-day thing for me. So these are far from abstractions. Just wanted to make that clear, and to encourage you to be forthcoming about your perspective (as much as you feel comfortable with).
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by Frelga »

PtB, I am grateful to you, and V, and nel, for being tolerant of my post-posting editing. I am trying to get this words putting together thing to work. Because when you contemplate a sentence like, "Of course it's not all right to kill children," a realization tends to hit that something is terribly wrong with the world, especially if the world "but" then tries to work its way in.

s'wiz, I appreciate the perspective you bring here. You and PtB may both be right that the current government of Israel is the obstacle to peace. I do have a sense that one of the reasons Israel now has this government is because all the things that have been tried before failed to bring about peace or security.
His philosophy was a mixture of three famous schools -- the Cynics, the Stoics and the Epicureans -- and summed up all three of them in his famous phrase, 'You can't trust any bugger further than you can throw him, and there's nothing you can do about it, so let's have a drink."

Terry Pratchett, Small Gods
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by Passdagas the Brown »

You and PtB may both be right that the current government of Israel is the obstacle to peace.
I would say that the current Israeli government is AN obstacle to peace, among many. Other serious obstacles are Hamas (esp. Mohammed Deif), the al-Assad regime in Syria, the lack of a real authority in Gaza, Iran's continued support for Hezbollah in southern Lebanon, some factions among the Israeli settler community, and a lack of trust between the Obama Administration and the Netanyahu government.

Though I agree that one of the main reasons Israel has the government it has is that there is a perception of failed policies by less hardline governments of the recent past, including Olmert's.

It has become cliched to say it, but the situation is as bad as it's ever been. I believe only conflict exhaustion on both sides will lay the groundwork for a peaceful settlement. Though a two-state solution is, in my mind, absolutely necessary.
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Re: Israel and Gaza

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Frelga wrote: s'wiz, I appreciate the perspective you bring here. You and PtB may both be right that the current government of Israel is the obstacle to peace. I do have a sense that one of the reasons Israel now has this government is because all the things that have been tried before failed to bring about peace or security.
And Frelga I'm always thrilled (and enlightened) to hear your perspective as well. As I mentioned in another thread, this board really aided me in my growth as a young adult. A place where sensible and well meaning people can talk about contentious issues and share their personal views in an honest and polite manner? Who thought the internet had such a place?!

I agree with you that one of the reasons that this Israeli government is in power is because things tried before haven't led to peace. Forever the optimist, I'd argue that we can't just shrug our shoulders and accept that. One talking point I really dislike is when people talk about how this conflict has been going on for thousands of years. First of all I find that statement intellectually lazy but second of all I don't see any point of saying that except to imply that the situation is hopeless.
V wrote:When Hamas first surprisingly won the election in Gaza, I thought that they would eventually be moderated by the needs of governing. That has not really happened. But Israel's actions make alternatives seem non-existent, particularly the economic blockade.
I think it's important to note that before this conflict Hamas was quickly losing ground. They were running out of allies in the region and people were unhappy with the way they were running Gaza. I fear that this most recent round of violence might have increased their popularity again...
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by Passdagas the Brown »

One talking point I really dislike is when people talk about how this conflict has been going on for thousands of years.
Agreed. And on a purely factual basis, it's also dramatically wrong. The conflict has only been going on for roughly 100 years, and that's a liberal estimate that includes the years of organized Jewish settlement of Palestine in the early 20th century, which contributed to Palestinian rioting in around 1920 or so, and the creation of the Haganah. So those commentators are off by...oh, I don't know...THOUSANDS of years.

A minor nitpick, I suppose... :roll:
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by Impenitent »

So much of the commentary (not here; in the media) is historically shallow and based on fallacious assumptions. The unwillingness to see complexity, and the pointing of the media finger at The Villain, is closely allied to the need for sensational stories and tag lines that grab attention.
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by Alatar »

Its strange to watch this unfolding from the "outside", so to speak, because so much of both positions is intimately familiar to those who lived through the 70s and 80s in Ireland. The IRA were terrorists, yes, but there was justification for their actions based on the conditions in the North. Just as there are justifications for the actions of Hamas based on conditions in Gaza. Terrorism doesn't happen in a vacuum. There were atrocities on both sides and violence begets violence. But when people talk about the intractability of the Israeli/Palestinian issues, I can't avoid a wry smile. The Republicans wanted nothing less than complete withdrawal of the British, didn't recognise the Republic as a legitimate government and would accept only an unconditional United Ireland. The British held fast on the line that the North was predominantly British and would not under any circumstances consider a withdrawal unless the majority agreed to it, which was patently impossible given the makeup of the population.

People seem to forget that in order to achieve the peace in Northern Ireland things had to get so bad that everyone was willing to come to the table. Without the actions of terrorists/freedom fighters/inserttermofchoicehere that would never have happened. Hamas' rockets don't cause many casualties, but they provoked the Israeli response. If that brings everyone round the same table, it will have been considered justified.
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by yovargas »

Passdagas the Brown wrote:
One talking point I really dislike is when people talk about how this conflict has been going on for thousands of years.
Agreed. And on a purely factual basis, it's also dramatically wrong. The conflict has only been going on for roughly 100 years, and that's a liberal estimate that includes the years of organized Jewish settlement of Palestine in the early 20th century, which contributed to Palestinian rioting in around 1920 or so, and the creation of the Haganah. So those commentators are off by...oh, I don't know...THOUSANDS of years.

A minor nitpick, I suppose... :roll:
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by JewelSong »

I abhor war. And I have always been kind of amazed when people talk of "war crimes" and "rules of war."

War is killing people. Blowing up buildings, razing cities, bombing various targets and basically wreaking havoc and violence upon the "enemy" who is trying to do the same thing to the "other side."

In war, people get raped, tortured, maimed, disfigured, buried alive, dismembered, starved, beaten, stabbed, shot, flayed and killed outright. War IS killing other people.

So it kind of boggles my mind when people become all righteous because certain people in a war have been killed. To me, it seems like we do our best to justify all the violence and killing by having "rules" - it's okay if THOSE people die, but NOT okay if those OTHER people die. Just the soldiers should die. Just the government buildings should be destroyed. "Innocent" civilians should not die. Children should not die.

Look, it's war. In war, people die. All kinds of people. There is no way to make it nice and neat. There is no way to have a war and control who dies. War is NOT nice. War is NOT neat. War is abhorrent and disgusting and barbaric. The fact that we, as a species, continue to wage war is hideous and obscene.

War is not glorious. War is blood. Nothing but blood.
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by Impenitent »

And the latest is that Hamas has started shooting again.

I am sick to the stomach knowing it's started again.
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Re: Israel and Gaza

Post by Passdagas the Brown »

Jewel,
So it kind of boggles my mind when people become all righteous because certain people in a war have been killed. To me, it seems like we do our best to justify all the violence and killing by having "rules" - it's okay if THOSE people die, but NOT okay if those OTHER people die. Just the soldiers should die. Just the government buildings should be destroyed. "Innocent" civilians should not die. Children should not die.
This thing that boggles your mind is one of the most fundamental marks of human progress over the past century. Rules about war crimes, and the killing of civilians, many of which emerged after World War II and the unholy massacre of millions of people, are international norms and laws that can sometimes be the only thing standing between a civilian and his or her indiscriminate death. Yes, soldiers in war are fair targets, as are other military entities/ structures, and the deliberate targeting of civilians should indeed be illegal. It boggles my mind that anyone's mind would be boggled over this, to be honest.

However, there are certainly realities of civilian casualties that are part of warfare, and have to be swallowed. But the last thing we should do is loosen up on our outrage over war crimes. I mean, does anyone want to go back to a pre-WWII world on this front?
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