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it's not just about the ships

by the stormy present Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 01:47:36 AM EST

Sure, let's talk about the raid on the ships and whether it's a declaration of war. But let's also not lose sight of the reason those ships were going to Gaza.  The debate shouldn't just be about the boats, but about the blockade.

The International Crisis Group gets it:

the incident is an indictment of a much broader policy toward Gaza for which Israel does not bear sole responsibility.

For years, many in the international community have been complicit in a policy that aimed at isolating Gaza in the hope of weakening Hamas. This policy is morally appalling and politically self-defeating. It has harmed the people of Gaza without loosening Hamas's control. Yet it has persisted regardless of evident failure.

"The flotilla assault is but a symptom of an approach that has been implicitly endorsed by many", says Robert Malley, Director of Crisis Group's Middle East Program. "It is yet another stark illustration of the belated need for a comprehensive change in policy toward Gaza."

It would take a long time to list the "many in the international community" who have endorsed, supported or tolerated the blockade of Gaza -- a list that includes Egypt (which has kept its own border with Gaza closed to legitimate traffic for most of the last four years), the United States, most if not all of Europe....

If you plunked me down in a meeting of the entire world and asked me to point to those responsible, I'd feel like Dorothy at the end of the Wizard of Oz:  "And you were there, and you were there, and you were there...."


Here's a reminder from Cairo-based former ICG analyst (and my friend) Issandr El Amrani:

For the last 24 hours, Israel has putting forward the argument that the blockade stops rockets from reaching Gaza. This is a ridiculous and patently untrue argument. As countless NGOs and the UN have shown, Israel is engaging in a policy of deliberately withholding construction materials and basic necessities in what one senior official under the previous Israeli government described as a policy of "putting the Palestinians on a diet" back in 2006:

Israel's policy was summed up by Dov Weisglass, an adviser to Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister, earlier this year. 'The idea is to put the Palestinians on a diet, but not to make them die of hunger,' he said. The hunger pangs are supposed to encourage the Palestinians to force Hamas to change its attitude towards Israel or force Hamas out of government.

This is a policy of collective punishment, it is what the flotilla was fighting against, and what must end.

Issandr also points to this (somewhat surprising, IMHO) statement from UK Foreign Secretary William Hague:

   This news underlines the need to lift the restrictions on access to Gaza, in line with UNSCR 1860. The closure is unacceptable and counter-productive. There can be no better response from the international community to this tragedy than to achieve urgently a durable resolution to the Gaza crisis.

    I call on the Government of Israel to open the crossings to allow unfettered access for aid to Gaza, and address the serious concerns about the deterioration in the humanitarian and economic situation and about the effect on a generation of young Palestinians ."

But to go back to the ICG's argument:

The policy toward Gaza is in need of thorough re-examination. The US, EU and Quartet as a whole have been calling for relaxing the siege on Gaza. That is welcome, but opening the humanitarian tap is not an appropriate answer to a policy whose fundamental premise is morally callous and politically counter-productive. Instead, Gaza should be open to normal commercial traffic with adequate international end-use monitoring.

Our governments have supported the blockade.  Demand that they stop.

Display:
It's 4 a.m. here.  I couldn't sleep, so I did this.  I may try to actually get some sleep now, though.
by the stormy present (stormypresent aaaaaaat gmail etc) on Tue Jun 1st, 2010 at 07:40:19 PM EST
Slept rather badly too.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Tue Jun 1st, 2010 at 10:35:06 PM EST
Thank you, Stormy. This provides badly needed context and perspective. In a better world it is the Likud Party that would be "put on a diet". Likud governing policies towards the Palestinians are a standing mockery of any "Holocaust Memorial" and of the noxious slogan "Never Again". Likud has taken the tactics of the Nazis and used them as object lessons to be learned. And if you delete the first letter of the slogan you get the current policy.

But in our world we have governments of, by and for the sociopaths enabling and covering for other sociopaths. We all will be fortunate indeed if we get out of this situation without another holocaust. I have never been a fan of religiously oriented governments, but I find myself increasingly pleased with Erdogan. As Bruce McF pointed out, this situation could end up pitting the Likud lobby against the MI lobby in the USA. I can only hope it is a fight to the death for both groups.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 1st, 2010 at 11:13:32 PM EST
I see. You seem to be a fan of Hezbolah and Hamas. Would you like to have these guys as your neighbours?
You also seem to be a Nazi revisionist. I mean, comparing the Likud to the Nazis is like saying that WWII was a party. That's really out of line.
by Lynch on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 04:33:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The one out of line is you. "You seem to be a fan of Hezbolah and Hamas"?...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 05:06:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Both are more or less recognised, legitimate political parties in their respective states. I'm no particular "fan" of Hamas, Hezbollah or the American Republican Party, but that doesn't prevent me from recognising that they are legal political parties in the relevant countries.

What's really out of line is the accusations of holocaust denial. In certain European jurisdictions, that amounts to an accusation of a criminal offence. Godwinning the comment would have been a more appropriate way to get the point across.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 06:31:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Godwinning the comment would have been a more appropriate way to get the point across.

Calling "Godwin" should be reserved for inappropriate comparisons to the Nazis. Einstein, Hannah Arendt, Sidney Hook and others signed the letter to the NYT I cite in my response in which the similarities between Irgun and Nazi and Fascist parties are clearly noted. The problem is that inappropriate references diminish the impact of the comparison when it is deserved. Else we must conclude that we have so advanced that there are no existing organizations that are appropriate for such a comparison.  I wish.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 10:37:37 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Since ARgeezer said nothing about Hezbollah and Hamas, already the start of the whole flamebait was a baseless claim and thus wholly out of line.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 04:15:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Either you believe that Israel has a right to exist or you believe that it doesn't have a right to exist. Hamas, Hezbollah and Ahmedinejad believe that Israel doesn't have a right to exist and as such are hostile to any peace initiative, while continuously calling for the Jewish state's destruction. When Israel's neighbors openly call for its physical destruction, and systematically refuse to negotiate a peaceful compromise, that's tantamount to a declaration of war... by Hamas, Hezbollah and Ahmedinejad against Israel.
Israel is defending its basic right to exist. The fact that it is militarily stronger than those around it who openly and regularly call for its destruction doesn't make Israel's case weaker from a moral perspective. When your very existence is threatened, you have the moral right to protect yourself. That said, Israel's tactics are often extreme and result in the regrettable suffering of many innocent individuals.
The visceral criticism of Israel on this thread and the nonchalant comparisons of its political leaders to the Nazis completely fails to grasp the broader geopolitical situation in the Middle East and is grotesquely one sided. Being one sided in this conflict implies support for the likes of Hamas, Hezbollah and just a stretch away... Ahmedinejad.
If you don't support these terrorist groups, why don't you clearly state you hostility to them... instead of saying "I'm no particular fan of Hamas..."? That reads like "I tolerate Hamas" which in itself is intolerable.
by Lynch on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 06:29:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't see any evidence that Israel believes Palestine has a right to exist Looks like you don't either.



aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 06:59:07 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Reminds me of a story: There were three policemen whose existence was threatened by a cocker spaniel. So they tazed it six times and then shot it.
And really who can blame them?
by generic on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 07:24:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
While I fail to see a relationship between cocker spaniels and Hamas, the link does seem obvious with Hezbolah.
by Lynch on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 01:48:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A cocker spaniel can bite and draw blood, but is highly unlikely to be able to kill a policeman.

Hamas and Likud seem to be much like the hardline Republican and Unionists in Northern Ireland ... each uses the other to excuse what it does because of what the other does.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 09:39:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ahmadinejad has never called for the physical destruction of Israel. Hamas has stated that it is prepared to recognise Israel within the '67 borders if and when Israel is prepared to recognise a sovereign Palestinian state with full control of its airspace, territorial waters and foreign and internal commerce according to the '67 borders. Hezbollah is a Lebanese political party which is not markedly more belligerent than the American Republican Party. Nor are Ahmedinejad, Hamas or Hezbollah actually relevant to the discussion.

But if you want to make a point, as opposed to repeating factually challenged far-right talking points, perhaps you would be so kind as to answer three simple questions about the conflict in question:

a) What are the legitimate borders of the state of Israel?

b) What should be done with the Israelis who currently live outside the legitimate borders of the state of Israel?

c) What should be done with the non-Israelis who currently live inside the legitimate borders of the state of Israel?

Thank you in advance for taking the time to enlighten the users of European Tribune.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 08:17:06 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not so arrogant as to believe that I have a solution to the problems of the Middle East. But I do understand the Israelis for wanting to end suicide bombers on their buses and cafés, wanting to stop rocket attacks from Hezbollah territory and Lebanon and wanting to retain some form of guarantees that the West Bank and Gaza don't become Iranian military breeding grounds.
by Lynch on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 01:52:32 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Should I take that to mean that you do not want to clarify your position on the legitimate borders of Israel and the future prospects for those Israelis and non-Israelis who currently live on the "wrong" side of the border?

retain some form of guarantees that the West Bank and Gaza don't become Iranian military breeding grounds.

This insinuates that such a development is within the realm of possibility. Are you smoking something unhealthy?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 02:08:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If you want to embark on a campaign of looking at historic borders and past demographic structures you're gonna be in for a rough ride. It's a Pandora's box.

I'm not smoking anything unhealthy... and I don't know what you're drinking, but how on earth can you insinuate that the risk of Iranian militias on Israel's borders is inexistent?

by Lynch on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 02:22:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because there is no good evidence that it exists.

Iran probably supports Hezbollah, but your claim was that stopping the ethnic cleansing of the West Bank would result in an entry of Iranian militias into the West Bank. There is no good evidence that the Palestinian militias are in close cooperation with Iran. Any outside support is normally attributed to Iraq (before that country ceased to exist), Saudi Arabia and assorted Arab Sunni groups that do not particularly love the Persian Shias.

Now, are you going to answer my questions about the legitimate borders of Israel? You can hedge as much as you like, just give me an answer that's slightly more precise than "somewhere between the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf," which is what you seem to be saying at present.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 02:52:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now, are you going to answer my questions about the legitimate borders of Israel?

Hm. Apparently not. Let's make it even simpler, then.

I'm going to throw out some answers. Why don't you tell me whether these borders are too large or too small in your view, and we can take it from there?

a) What are the legitimate borders of the state of Israel?
The 1967 borders, excepting mutually agreed modifications that preserve the territorial continuity and viability of both states.

b) What should be done with the Israelis who currently live outside the legitimate borders of the state of Israel?
They should be given the option of either giving up Israeli citizenship and accepting full citizenship with full and equal civil and economic rights in the country where they currently reside, or repatriation to Israel along with a monetary compensation. The monetary compensation should be ponied up by the European Union, the US and the Gulf States, because they've done their level best to keep this problem alive and kicking for the last sixty years. Those who accept Palestinian citizenship should realise that there will likely be substantial land reforms upon the founding of a Palestinian state, and that such land reforms will likely be contrary to their interests.

c) What should be done with the non-Israelis who currently live inside the legitimate borders of the state of Israel?
The same as b), modulo a sign convention.

How does this compare with your preferred answer?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 10:01:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No. There's no point in getting embroiled in a discussion about where legitimate borders of a nation should be. Why don't you try answering the following:
  • where should the legitimate borders of Cyprus be?
  • where should the legitimate borders of Kurdistan be?
  • where should the legitimate borders of Ukraine and the Crimea be?
  • and what about Kosovo and Albania?
  • and what about Mongolia, Tibet, Taiwan?
  • and on and on...
You can argue all of these both left and right. In many cases, might is what makes right... whether its just or unjust, right or wrong.
by Lynch on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 10:07:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There is the rather compelling difference that all those examples are stable. Palestine is undergoing an ethnic cleansing as we speak. This makes a discussion of borders rather more urgent, because until and unless final borders are settled on, all belligerents have a strong incentive to continue to pursue policies of racial purity in those territories they control.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 10:23:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But for the record, I think that North Cyprus should be recognised in exchange for monetary compensation to the displaced Greek Cypriots, and with a view to eventually obviating the border by absorbing North Cyprus into the European Union. If and when North Cyprus is accepted into the European Union, my preference would be to unify the island, in order to reduce the number of mini-states in the Union.

Assuming that a sovereign Kurdistan is required to safeguard the political and economic rights of the Kurds, its borders can be decided by referendum, the same way the Danish-German border was settled after the first world war.

Ukraine's borders are not in dispute. The treaties pertaining to the dissolution of the Soviet Union are quite clear on this: The member states of the former Soviet federation are recognised as sovereign entities along the administrative borders.

Albania's borders are not disputed.

Mongolia's borders are not disputed.

I am not sufficiently well informed about Tibet to separate fact from propaganda. But if they should be recognised, then the pre-1950 borders would be applicable, except in the case of a wholesale dissolution of China, in which case I would expect the Soviet precedent to be applicable.

Taiwan is a sovereign state, the Chinese party line notwithstanding.

Kosova is the only remotely controversial item on your list, because its independence is so recent, was surrounded by so many irregularities and resulted in something that can only charitably be described as a failed state. Eventually, Kosova should be absorbed into the EU, which would obviate the question (administratively, it should be united with either Albania or Serbia, under the same logic about mini-states applicable to Cyprus).

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 10:41:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If we are not arguing about fairness or justice, what are we arguing about? We all agree that Israel has enough fire-power to enforce a blockade except maybe if Turkey sends its navy. If you say you are not interested in discussing justice what were you doing up till now?
by generic on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 10:29:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So you support terrorism so long as it's successful?
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 10:34:18 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now I'd be interested in understanding how you came to that conclusion based on what I said on this thread...
by Lynch on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 11:01:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Because anybody who has been paying attention knows that refusal to discuss final borders is an Israeli gambit to continue the settlements ethnic cleansing.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 11:13:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Might makes right.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 12:22:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not endorsing it. I'm just saying that's the way it is. That's the way it has been for centuries. That's the way it's going to continue being in the forseable future.
by Lynch on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 01:18:22 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Well - the freedom flotilla is saying - we're going to try and change that.

Looks to me like you are endorsing it.


aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 01:21:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No. The freedom flotilla has nothing to do with changing human nature. It's all to do with PR.
by Lynch on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 01:39:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course - to counteract Israeli PR. Doncha understand nuffink?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 01:41:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The PR that Might makes right?

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 05:44:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Lynch:
The freedom flotilla has nothing to do with changing human nature.

That sounds amazingly like what the Southern Segregationists used to say, prior to the Civil Rights Act. History has shown that, while you might not be able to change the minds of many people, you can change their behavior. But you don't want to change the behavior of Israelis who are engaging in ethnic cleansing, do you?

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 11:10:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah - the old 'There is no alternative' argument.

Well. Thanks to the magic of progressive thought, we have now have ideals that we didn't have a few centuries ago - ideals like real peace, real security, real freedom, real democracy, and real social justice, real human rights, and real accountability.

The point of any progressive movement is more of the above.

If you want to retreat to some idealised medieval view where none of those matter, feel free to continue arguing along the same lines you've been failing to make points with so far.

But this is a progressive blog. We tend to believe that a retreat to medievalism isn't a terribly good idea - no matter how many conservatives and proto-fascists would like to persuade us otherwise.

You're trying to argue for the morality of murder by saying that it's always been done, and always will be done, and therefore - hey, why not?

I think anyone who isn't a plastic monkey on a stick can instantly see why that's a non-argument.

Murder by predecent doesn't really work all that well as a moral principle - although admittedly if you're a dedicated Washingtonian medievalist, you may have a difficult time understanding why.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 01:34:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your soliloquy is cute. But stop pissing yourself off. I never endorsed the way the world is... let alone endorsed murder. I'm just pointing out the obvious. If you're view of international politics is playing in Alice's Wonderland that's fine by me. I just see a different show out there.
by Lynch on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 01:47:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Why is their no point in discussing the legitimate borders of the nation of Israel? A blockade beyond the borders of ones own country without the permission of the United Nations security council is an act of war, justifying any rocket attacks from Gaza

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 07:11:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That would rather depend on what they're shooting those rockets at.

War or no war, you are not allowed to shoot rockets at schools full of little kids. If, OTOH, they are shooting at roadblocks or armed "settlers," then the action seems well motivated and in accordance with the laws and customs of war. One of the persistent problems in this conflict is that Israel insists on conflating entirely lawful and well motivated shooting at Israeli soldiers and armed Israeli militias with bombing buses full of civilians, making it a little hard to tell which is happening with the greater frequency.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 07:31:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
There's also the question how do you know. Based on what has been published, I've got the feeling that Hamas have mostly been firing missiles at random, whereas the Hezbollah missiles often hit towns or villages with major IDF bases nearby. Censorship makes it hard to know how many actually hit the targets, but I have seen hints that some did.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 07:40:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Either you believe that Israel has a right to exist or you believe that it doesn't have a right to exist.

This is a blatantly false dichotomy and frame having only the virtue of justifying Likud policies and goals. So you would describe the >40% of the Israeli population that favors a two state solution and peace with Palestine and that opposes policies such as the invasion of Lebanon and repeated incursions into Ghaza and the west bank as not believing Israel has a right to exist?
Israel is defending its basic right to exist.
From an unarmed flotilla carrying medical and construction supplies to relieve an oxymoronic "blockade" that disregards U.N. resolutions and violates the Geneva Conventions! You conflate "Israel's right to exist" with Likud's desire to do whatever it wants with and to the Palestinians. You should read Arendt's The Origins of Totalitarianism. She describes megalomania and a tendency to paranoia as leading characteristics of totalitarian and would-be totalitarian organizations. But Likud has learned that it can hold such attitudes and indulge in such practices while still maintaining power in "democratic" elections. Wall Street has learned the same thing regarding US politics, where we now have the substance of a totalitarian "national security" state while retaining the form of representative democracy, the future of which is questionable.
If you don't support these terrorist groups, why don't you clearly state you hostility to them... instead of saying "I'm no particular fan of Hamas..."? That reads like "I tolerate Hamas" which in itself is intolerable.

Not agreeing with Likud is intolerable? "You are either with us or against us!"?  "If you don't like the [(Vietnam War) or insert "national security" operation de jour here] why don't you just leave the country!"? It is not hard to see why Likud and the right wing of the Republican Party are such natural allies. But it is sad that even centrist Democrats, such as Obama, buy into it, or are bribed into acceptance via recycled US tax dollars used to pay Israel its annual US subsidy. But I tolerate the Republican right wing even as I continue to oppose them.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 11:09:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Either you believe that Israel has a right to exist or you believe that it doesn't have a right to exist.

I don't believe any nation states have any rights, least of all the right to exist. Individuals have rights.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 12:23:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does the Iroquois Confederacy have a right to exist?

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 01:18:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
That's nonsense. The state is the collective expression of the individuals that live in it. It has the right to establish the rule of law within its borders. It has the right to issue currency. It has the right to police it's citizens. It has the right lo levy taxes. It has the right to wage war - legitimately or not.
by Lynch on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 01:37:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does the Republic of Palestine have a right to exist?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 01:41:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
While I'm not an expert in the history of the Jews and Israel, I thought I'd share this e-mail that I received from a friend today giving some historical context to the current conflict. Very interesting:

  1. Nationhood and Jerusalem: Israel became a nation in 1312 BC, two thousand (2000) years before the rise of Islam.

  2. Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

  3. Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 BC, the Jews have had dominion over the land for one thousand (1000) years with a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years.

  4. The only Arab dominion since the conquest in 635 lasted no more than 22 years.

  5. For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital.  Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. Even when the Jordanians occupied Jerusalem, they never sought to make it their capital, and Arab leaders did not come to visit.

  6. Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish Holy Scriptures.  Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Koran.

  7. King David founded the city of Jerusalem. Mohammed never came to Jerusalem.

  8. Jews pray facing Jerusalem.  Muslims pray with their backs toward Jerusalem.

  9. Arab and Jewish Refugees: in 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders promising to purge the land of Jews.  Sixty-eight percent left (many in fear of retaliation by their own brethren, the Arabs), without ever seeing an Israeli soldier. The ones who stayed were afforded the same peace, civility, and citizenship rights as everyone else.

  10. The Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab lands due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms.

  11. The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is estimated to be the same.

  12. Arab refugees were INTENTIONALLY not absorbed or integrated into the Arab lands to which they fled, despite the vast Arab territory. Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own people's lands. Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel, a country no larger than the state of New Jersey...

  13. The Arab-Israeli Conflict: the Arabs are represented by eight separate nations, not including the Palestinians. There is only one Jewish nation. The Arab nations initiated all five wars and lost.  Israel defended itself each time and won.

  14. The PLO's Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel. Israel has given the Palestinians most of the West Bank land, autonomy under the Palestinian Authority, and has supplied them.

  15. Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and the Jews were denied access to places of worship. Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths.

  16. The UN Record on Israel and the Arabs: of the 175 Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel.

  17. Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed against Israel.

  18. The UN was silent while 58 Jerusalem synagogues were destroyed by the Jordanians.

  19. The UN was silent while the Jordanians systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.

  20. The UN was silent while the Jordanians enforced an apartheid-like a policy of preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.
by Lynch on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 10:56:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The UN Record on Israel and the Arabs: of the 175 Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel.

Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed against Israel.

And that's supposed to be an argument for Israel?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 11:02:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Well the book I have here says that until 2003 there were 43 security council resolutions endorsed that were aimed at Israel,

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 02:37:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Instead of posting vile pro-Apartheid propaganda, why don't you tell us whether you believe that the Republic of Palestine has a right to exist? In your own words, either you believe that the Republic of Palestine has a right to exist or you don't believe that the Republic of Palestine has a right to exist.

It's a simple binary question. Why won't you answer it?

Nationhood and Jerusalem: Israel became a nation in 1312 BC, two thousand (2000) years before the rise of Islam.

Lie. The modern concept of "nation" did not exist prior to the early 19th century.

Arab refugees in Israel began identifying themselves as part of a Palestinian people in 1967, two decades after the establishment of the modern State of Israel.

Unsupported assertion.

Since the Jewish conquest in 1272 BC, the Jews have had dominion over the land for one thousand (1000) years with a continuous presence in the land for the past 3,300 years.

Irrelevant.

The only Arab dominion since the conquest in 635 lasted no more than 22 years.

Lie. Arabs have continually inhabited the area since the defeat of the crusades.

For over 3,300 years, Jerusalem has been the Jewish capital.

Lie. "Jews" do not have a unified government, except in the fantasies of wild-eyed anti-semites.

Jerusalem has never been the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity.

Irrelevant.

Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish Holy Scriptures.

Irrelevant.

Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Koran.

Irrelevant.

King David founded the city of Jerusalem.

Unsubstantiated.

Mohammed never came to Jerusalem.

Unsubstantiated.

Jews pray facing Jerusalem.

Irrelevant.

Muslims pray with their backs toward Jerusalem.

Lie.

Arab and Jewish Refugees: in 1948 the Arab refugees were encouraged to leave Israel by Arab leaders

Lie. Arab refugees were ethnically cleansed by proto-Israeli terrorists (Irgun, et al) in 1948.

Sixty-eight percent left (many in fear of retaliation by their own brethren, the Arabs), without ever seeing an Israeli soldier.

Irrelevant. The majority of the ethnic cleansing was conducted by fascist militias like Irgun.

The ones who stayed were afforded the same peace, civility, and citizenship rights as everyone else.

Lie. Vast tracts of Arab common land was declared the possession of the Israeli state and sold to Israelis.

The Jewish refugees were forced to flee from Arab lands due to Arab brutality, persecution and pogroms.

Tu quoque argument.

The number of Arab refugees who left Israel in 1948 is estimated to be around 630,000. The number of Jewish refugees from Arab lands is estimated to be the same.

Irrelevant to the question of ongoing ethnic cleansing on the West bank.

Arab refugees were INTENTIONALLY not absorbed or integrated into the Arab lands to which they fled,

Irrelevant to the question of continuing ethnic cleansing of the West Bank.

despite the vast Arab territory.

Irrelevant.

Out of the 100,000,000 refugees since World War II, theirs is the only refugee group in the world that has never been absorbed or integrated into their own people's lands.

Lie.

Jewish refugees were completely absorbed into Israel,

Irrelevant.

a country no larger than the state of New Jersey...

Irrelevant.

The Arab-Israeli Conflict: the Arabs are represented by eight separate nations, not including the Palestinians. There is only one Jewish nation.

Irrelevant.

The Arab nations initiated all five wars

Lie. Israel launched the Suez war.

The PLO's Charter still calls for the destruction of the State of Israel.

Lie by omission. All relevant PLO factions have agreed to mutual recognition.

Israel has given the Palestinians most of the West Bank land, autonomy under the Palestinian Authority, and has supplied them.

Lie. Israel continues supporting the settlement of armed fascist paramilitaries on the West Bank, and restricts Palestinian movement across more than two thirds of the West Bank.

Under Jordanian rule, Jewish holy sites were desecrated and the Jews were denied access to places of worship.

Irrelevant.

Under Israeli rule, all Muslim and Christian sites have been preserved and made accessible to people of all faiths.

Lie. Palestinians face continual Israeli harassment when entering Israel and moving around on their own territory.

The UN Record on Israel and the Arabs: of the 175 Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel.

Of the 690 General Assembly resolutions voted on before 1990, 429 were directed against Israel.

Entirely appropriate. Israel maintains an apartheid state, supports armed fascist militias, engages in ongoing ethnic cleansings and unlawfully disrupts the civilian commerce of the Republic of Palestine.

The UN was silent while 58 Jerusalem synagogues were destroyed by the Jordanians.

The UN was silent while the Jordanians systematically desecrated the ancient Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.

The UN was silent while the Jordanians enforced an apartheid-like a policy of preventing Jews from visiting the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.

[Citation needed]

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 11:38:29 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I see you're very fond of vile islamic terrorist fascists. Why don't you tell me what motivates you to support these people?
by Lynch on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 01:51:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is there some good reason why you dont answer questions and resort to insults? Here there is  a culture of replying to questions, especially when faced with unsupported assertions. If you turn up and provide such, your questions will be  worked through and criticised. and if you then resort to insults you will be mocked.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 02:44:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I'll accept that the "vile" and "Islamic" bits apply to Hamas. Unlike the case of Irgun/Likud I have seen no substantial case made that Hamas is organised along the lines of classic fascist paramilitaries, but I suppose that it is not beyond the scope of imagination. "Terrorist" is a meaningless term, which may be translated without loss of generality into "person or organisation that the US State Department does not like."

I'd have to ask you to provide a link to where I declared sympathy with Hamas or any other paramilitary organisation.

And while we're in the business of providing substantiation to your arguments, you've accumulated quite a list of unanswered questions:

a) What are the legitimate borders of the state of Israel?

b) What should be done with the Israelis who currently live outside the legitimate borders of the state of Israel?

c) What should be done with the non-Israelis who currently live inside the legitimate borders of the state of Israel?

d) Does the Republic of Palestine have a right to exist? Yes or no will do.

e) Would Hamas et al have the right to do "anything in their power" to prevent weapons from reaching Israel, up to and including attacking civilian commerce in international waters?

Are you going to start answering those questions, or are we to conclude that you dislike direct questions?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 05:10:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Down-rated for ad-hominem.

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 05:18:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What on earth are you talking about?
by Lynch on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 01:55:27 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Your claim about another poster's supposed "fondness".

You know what an ad hominem is, Lynch. Don't compound the insult by pretending to be innocent.

by afew (afew(a in a circle)eurotrib_dot_com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 02:01:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish Holy Scriptures.  Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Koran.

There are 74 references in the book of Mormon. Does that entitle them to a piece?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 12:05:28 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A few points JakeS missed.

King David founded the city of Jerusalem. Mohammed never came to Jerusalem.

According to the Bible, or in real life? According to the Bible, David stole it from the Jebusites. As for real life, Mohammed, whatever he actually did, at least existed. Despite the best attempts of Israeli and other archeologists, nobody has been able to document the existence of any king before (I think) Hezekiah, and they don't know much about what he did either.

Jews pray facing Jerusalem.  Muslims pray with their backs toward Jerusalem.

If they happen to live on the straight line from Jerusalem to Mecca. Otherwise, praying facing Mecca, and with your back to Jerusalem, will result in some really weird contortions.

Israel, a country no larger than the state of New Jersey...

Which has a population of 8.7 million. In other words, room for at least one million Palestinian refugees (you are talking about Israel proper plus the Golan Heights and East Jerusalem).

of the 175 Security Council resolutions passed before 1990, 97 were directed against Israel.

The last resolution in 1989 was number 646. You should learn how to count. In order to get to 97, you have to count every resolution that even mentions Israel, even an even-handed one directed against all sides, and even routine annual renewals of the mandates of UN troops.  My rough estimate is that these count for well over half of these resolutions.

Most of the resolutions look quite reasonable, the one glaring exception being resolution 138 (I'd forgotten that the U.S. was in favour, with only the Soviet Union and Poland against....)

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 04:36:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
only the Soviet Union and Poland against

Should read "abstaining".

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 04:51:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I've half a mind to read through all of the security council resolutions and see how they are actually aimed.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 04:24:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Despite the best attempts of Israeli and other archeologists, nobody has been able to document the existence of any king before (I think) Hezekiah, and they don't know much about what he did either.

I seem to recall that there is archeological/written evidence that a David existed, but no evidence of Solomon, will look that up. In addition,

  1. there is no evidence that Israel and Judea were ever united under the same king,
  2. there is no archeological evidence of a bloody conquest,
  3. there is archeological evidence of local development, including a local development from politheism to monotheism.


*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 06:36:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I seem to recall that there is archeological/written evidence that a David existed

Ah, here it is:

David - Wikipedia

A fragment of an Aramaean victory stele discovered in 1993 at Tel Dan and dated c.850-835 BC clearly contains the Aramaic phrase ביתדוד, bytdwd. This phrase can be translated as either 1) beytdwd (reading the w as a long-o vowel)--meaning "house of kettle," "house of uncle," or "house of beloved"--or else 2) beytdawid (reading the w as a consonant), meaning "house of David."[80] "If the reading of בית דוד [House of David] on the Tel Dan stele is correct, ... then we have solid evidence that a 9th-century BC Aramean king considered the founder of the Judean dynasty to be somebody named דוד" [David]. Since the stele recounts the victory of an Aramean king over a "king of Israel" [81] the translation of "BYTDWD" as "House of David" is not illogical.[82][83]

...but I learn that even that is challenged as indication of a historical person:

Tel Dan Stele - Wikipedia

Philip Davies writes:

But let's leave this wishful thinking and return to the critical six letters, BYTDWD, to see what they really might mean. Admittedly there are two verbal elements here, of which the first is beth, house. But the probability is that the second element completes a place-name, such as Beth Lehem (House of Bread) correct translation or Bethlehem (one word), as it is commonly written in Latin letters. Also a substantial minority believes that the correct reading and translation are, Bet Lachmu, (House of the God Lachmu) recognising a popular (and verified)local god. It seems intrinsically more likely that a place-name composed with beth would be written as one word, rather than a phrase meaning "House of David," referring to the dynasty of David. Such a place name could be Beth-dod (the w serving as rudimentary vowel, a so-called mater lectionis; the same last three letters are consistently used to spell the last syllable of the Philistine city of Ashdod) or Bethdaud (with a slightly different vowel pronunciation). All these place-names are quite reasonable suggestions...There are other possibilities...For example, in a contemporaneous inscription, the famous Mesha stele or Moabite stone,c the phrase 'R'L DWDH (‏אראל דודה‎) appears. The second word remains somewhat of a puzzle. Some scholars, though a minority, translate it "David" and regard it as the name of the founder of the ruling dynasty of Judah...But the final heh makes this meaning unlikely. The noun dawidum is also found in a cuneiform text from Mari (18th century B.C.E.), offering another possible clue, though the meaning of this term remains unclear. In the Bible DWD can mean "beloved" or "uncle," and in one place (1 Samuel 2:14), it means "kettle." So a number of ways of understanding DWD present themselves, most of them more plausible than translating "David." [11]

A more complete list of possible interpretations of the Tel Dan stele can be found here (that book concludes that the historical dynamsty founder David interpretation is the only realistic one, though).

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 11:52:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Juan Cole had a good post of the history of area.

With respect to David:
Top Ten Reasons East Jerusalem does not belong to Jewish-Israelis | Informed Comment

Jerusalem not only was not being built by the likely then non-existent "Jewish people" in 1000 BCE, but Jerusalem probably was not even inhabited at that point in history. Jerusalem appears to have been abandoned between 1000 BCE and 900 BCE, the traditional dates for the united kingdom under David and Solomon. So Jerusalem was not `the city of David,' since there was no city when he is said to have lived. No sign of magnificent palaces or great states has been found in the archeology of this period, and the Assyrian tablets, which recorded even minor events throughout the Middle East, such as the actions of Arab queens, don't know about any great kingdom of David and Solomon in geographical Palestine.

In particular I liked his conclusion:
Top Ten Reasons East Jerusalem does not belong to Jewish-Israelis | Informed Comment

The Jews of Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine did not for the most part leave after the failure of the Bar Kochba revolt against the Romans in 136 CE. They continued to live there and to farm in Palestine under Roman rule and then Byzantine. They gradually converted to Christianity. After 638 CE all but 10 percent gradually converted to Islam. The present-day Palestinians are the descendants of the ancient Jews and have every right to live where their ancestors have lived for centuries.


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 04:54:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course, it must be remembered that archaeology in that part of the world is highly politicised. My father recalls showing an Israeli colleague an issue of Skalk, at which point she expressed combined bemusement and disbelief that the dating of the artifacts discussed could possibly be anything other than political spin and one-upmanship.

That attitude is probably a little paranoid, but it does go to show that what we may consider innocuous technical questions, other parts of the world consider subjects for political debate.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 09:22:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lynch:
Jerusalem is mentioned over 700 times in Tanach, the Jewish Holy Scriptures.  Jerusalem is not mentioned even once in the Koran.

This one struck me as rather odd. It would be kind of hard for Muhammed to explain why they should no longer face Jerusalem when they pray, without mentioning Jerusalem.

WikiAnswers - Is Jerusalem in the Koran

Is Jerusalem in the Koran? In: Jerusalem, Qur'an [Edit categories]
[Improve] Absolutely; but you will not find it mentioned by name. This is standard for the Koran. For example, Muhammad is mentioned in the Koran only one time by name, only once and yet there are many references to Muhammad in the Koran without mentioning his name. The same is true for Jerusalem whereby the stories of Solomon in the Koran (Solomon is mentioned in the Koran over 20 times) mention the building of the temple; the stories of Moses and the Exodus (Moses is mentioned over 160 times) refer to finding the holy land; the Kingdom of David (David is mentioned 17 times); the mount of olives (in east jerusalem) is sworn by in the quran; Also the farthest house of worship (the temple in Jerusalem) is mentioned several times, in one instance to explain why muslims should no longer face towards Jerusalem in Prayer.
The most mentioned (explicitly) place name in the Koran is "Egypt" (mentioned by name four times; more than Mecca which is mentioned by name only once), but this does not mean Egypt is holy in Islam or diminishes Mecca and Jerusalem's place in Islam one iota.


Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Thu Jun 10th, 2010 at 04:46:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Justifications for a Jewish state are based on random, irrelevancies. They are just time wasters. When disproved, the people who spout them do not change their mind, they spout new garbage.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 07:57:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Disproving the arguments has no direct consequence, and if it is a live debate, even entering a discussion on those terms might constitute a loss.

In text however, there is no limit to parallel threads, and deconstruction political arguments has both a value as an intellectual exercise and a long term value in framing the debate.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se

by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 11th, 2010 at 08:19:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You seem to be a fan of Hezbolah and Hamas.
Where do you get that impression? Or is it the standard "You are either with us or against us" BS? I noted in the comment that I am generally not a fan of religious governments. That includes Likud as well as Hamas. But Likud had the vast preponderance of power in the relationship and thus the vast preponderance of responsibility. Hamas and the Palestinians in Ghaza find themselves in a situation analogous to that of my Cherokee ancestors with respect to the Government of the United States, which repeatedly and shamefully ignored those provisions of treaties and agreements that were in the favor of the Cherokee. Likud appears to prefer that the Palestinians just quietly disappear. Then Likud politicians corrupt deals with developers could proceed unhindered. So it is not just to the Nazis that I compare Likud.

But the Likud was never the student of 19th Century US Bureau of Indian Affairs bureaucrats, while many of its leaders, including Begin, had brutal exposure to the lessons of the Nazis, including the lesson of collective punishment and the ruthless methods of the SS. Israel does not have the same degree of impunity that the Nazis arrogated unto themselves, so, instead of a final exterminating assault, as on the Ghetto of Warsaw, they are proceeding more slowly and with lower intensity with Ghaza. But both operations involve collective punishment. Likud claims to want the Palestinians to elect a government more to their liking. As they are so obstinate as to refuse, they have placed them under seige and blockade. It is impossible for me and many others to believe that the Likud government has any concern for Palestinian lives other than that they leave or die. Leibensraum? Freud could have described this response as "a repetition-compulsion neurosis"--doing unto others as you have been done unto. Einstein said of the Palestinians "If we don't treat them better than the Germans treated us we will deserve what ever befalls us" to    

Likud is the political successor of the Irgun, which officially disbanded in September 1949 under an ultimatum from the new Israeli Government. There was a religious component to the Zionism championed by Irgun and there is a religious dimension to Likud. To me, and, I believe, to the early governments of Israel, the methods and practices of the Irgun were incompatible with a democratic society. Likud leaders would proclaim that they had and have no alternative to the violent and ruthless methods they and Irgun have employed. I and a large minority of Israelis appear to disagree.

Albert Einstein the last word on the subject of Irgun and fascism: (From an Open Letter to The New York Times to which he, Sidney Hook, Hannah Arendt and others were signatories:

"Among the most disturbing political phenomena of our time is the emergence in the newly created state of Israel of the 'Freedom Party' ... a political party closely akin in its organization, methods, political philosophy, and social appeal to the Nazi and Fascist parties. It was formed out of the membership and following of the former Irgun Zvai Leumi, a terrorist right-wing chauvinist organization in Palestine.

The current visit of Menachem Begin, leader of this party, to the United States is obviously calculated to give the impression of American support for his party in the coming Israeli elections, and to cement political ties with conservative Zionist elements in the United States. Several Americans of national repute have lent their names to welcome his visit. It is inconceivable that those who opposed fascism throughout the world, if currently informed as to Mr. Begin's political record and perspectives, could add their names and support to the movement he represents ... A shocking example was their behavior in the Arab village of Deir Yassin ... this incident exemplified the character and actions of the Freedom Party. Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultra-nationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority. Like other fascist parties, they have been used to break strikes, and have themselves pressed for the destruction of free trade unions.

The discrepancies between the bold claims now being made by Begin and his party, and their record of past performance in Palestine, bear the imprint of no ordinary political party. This is the unmistakable stamp of a Fascist party for whom terrorism (against Jews, Arabs, and British alike) and misrepresentation are means, and a 'Leader State' is the goal.
In the light of the foregoing consideration, it is imperative that the truth about Mr. Begin and his movement be made known in this country. It is all the more tragic that the top leadership of American Zionism has refused to campaign against Begin's efforts, or even to expose to its own constituents the dangers to Israel of support to Begin. The undersigned therefore take the means publicly presenting a few salient facts concerning Begin and his party, and of urging all concerned not to support this latest manifestation of fascism." [pp. 352-353]

A scanned image of this Open Letter from the New York Times is available at this link.

The Official Einstein Archive contains the draft of an address Einstein prepared for a dinner for the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra in 1950. Zionists seem to have drafted an earlier version of the text, which contained "eulogistic expressions" about Israel. The original draft stated: "The people of America will welcome this great orchestra because it is sent to us in a spirit of gratitude for the part we have played in helping to establish a democratic state of Israel. Israel's contribution to the beauty of living, like all artistic creations, will help not only Israel, but the entire Middle East." Einstein crossed out parts of the original draft, including the reference to Israel as "a democratic state," and stated his consistent view that "The meaning of Israel lay always and still lies in the spiritual values which it creates and embodies. The new state should only be seen as a means to serve these ends efficiently, not as an end in itself or even as an instrument of political ambitions." The document is dated almost two years after the State of Israel was founded. It seems Einstein did not consider Israel to be a "democratic state" and did not see the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine being a "help" to the "entire Middle East." Einstein had a different dream than the dream of political Zionists. His early support for a Jewish presence in Palestine clearly did not extend to Jews seizing control of the region and subduing or displacing the Palestinians. While some commentators seem to see Einstein as either an ardent political Zionist, or a man who vacillated on the subject of a Jewish state, to me he seems remarkably consistent. His dream was always of a form of Judaism that lived up to the visions of the Hebrew prophets who called for chesed [mercy, compassion, lovingkindness] and social justice. As he saw the nature of the Jewish state that emerged, he distanced himself from the racism, nationalism and militarism which soon became its watchwords. Einstein turned down the presidency of Israel when it was offered to him, and he continued to give voice to his fears "for the soul of Israel." A few months before his death, he remembered his "great hopes that Israel might be better than other nations," only to conclude that "it is no better."

From the same link:

Just before he died on April 18, 1955, Einstein signed what became known as The Einstein-Russell Manifesto. In it, the theoretical physicist and the philosopher-mathematician Bertrand Russell went beyond vague moral arguments for pacifism. Instead they posed political choices: "There lies before us, if we choose, continual progress in happiness, knowledge, and wisdom. Shall we, instead, choose death, because we cannot forget our quarrels? We appeal as human beings to human beings: Remember your humanity, and forget the rest. If you can do so, the way lies open to a new Paradise; if you cannot, there lies before you the risk of universal death."

I am extremely concerned that my country, the United States of America, in its embrace of the Likud party of Israel and its policies, is proceeding even further down the path of death. This is not the fault of Likud. It is the folly of US politicians ever since Menachem Begin became Prime Minister of Israel, at least. Democracy in both countries is being sacrificed to the same idol of "national security" which is tending towards national destruction in both cases.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 10:21:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
A little correction:

I am generally not a fan of religious governments. That includes Likud as well as Hamas.

Likud's origins are secular, among secular far-right terrorists. The relation with the ultra-orthodox is tactical alliance and takes the practical form of coalitions.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 04:17:54 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the open letter to the NYT, re Irgun:
Within the Jewish community they have preached an admixture of ultra-nationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority.

Hannah Arendt was one of the signatories. While The Origins of Totalitarianism was first published in 1951 I have no doubt that the understanding of the facts of the situation in Europe and Palestine/Israel were well known to and understood by Arendt in Dec. 1948 and that she would have insisted on a change in the letter if she believed the above assertion was unsupportable. I will not speak to the issue of the extent to which leaders of Irgun and subsequently Freedom Party and Likud personally believed the "mysticism" referenced in the letter. The phrase "Eretz Israel" was used by Irgun and continues to be used in Likud circles. I will be happy to take my stand with Hannah Arendt on this.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 10:09:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
An "an admixture of ultra-nationalism, religious mysticism, and racial superiority" hardly qualifies as religious government. (In fact you could have described the Nazis with the same admixture.)

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 03:27:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What I said was:
There was a religious component to the Zionism championed by Irgun and there is a religious dimension to Likud.

I suspect that it would have been impolitic for them to self reference as a religious party but they have championed the causes of religious parties and formed coalition governments with them. "A religious component".

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 03:40:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The part I reacted to wasn't what you quote above, but this stronger claim:

...religious governments. That includes Likud as well as Hamas.

Either way, religion is not central to Likud's own ideology, it's more that by the noughties they became hostage to the religious parties, and the settler movement they created has been largely taken over by the religious ultras.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 03:48:31 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I agree that it is possible that Likud leaders have a relationship to religion similar to that of Regan to the Moral Majority. Willing to take advantage of religious fervor without partaking of it themselves and playing coy about their own beliefs. I don't really know. But I do agree that what was probably accurately described in the Open Letter as an "element of mysticism" had become an embrace of Orthodox sects and a reliance on them for votes. In the same way the US Republican party has become hostage to fundamentalist in the USA, without the leaders necessarily being personally religious. That is probably an insufficient basis for identifying any of them as "religious parties". I should have better qualified my statement. Thank you.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 08:35:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"element of mysticism"

A further note on this: I think the element of mysticism is a trait of nationalisms that makes them similar to religion, and it doesn't matter if it is rooted in actual religion or not: what matters is establishing the notion of the community of the nation and its claim to the territory of a Greater X. Consider:

  • the mysticism of Germanic, Nordic legends (not to mention Aryan symbols) imported into Nazi imagery;
  • the Serbian Orthodox coloured national mysticism built by Radovan Karadžić;
  • the Holy Crown ideology of Hungarian irredentists.

an embrace of Orthodox sects and a reliance on them for votes

There is a difference with majority-voting USA, though: in the Republican Party, the Religious Reich is within the party, and basically all Republican politicians running for office campaign to get their votes; in proportional-voting Israel however, the religious ultras have their own parties, and the major secular parties have no way around them simply because they canŰ't gather enough votes on their own.

By writing "major secular parties", I implied that it's not just Likud (all Labour governments in the past two decades needed one or two of the religious parties for majority, too). Nor can the rise of the Israeli religious right be blamed solely on Likud: there was a consensus among Zionists upon the formation of Israel to give the orthodox special status, which the majority of the Orthodox used to live on benefits, demand ever more public recognition for their own version of Sharia Law, and to expand their share of the population by having many children. Thus the rise of Orthodox political influence was legally and demographically pre-programmed, regardless of the settler movement.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 08:12:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
there was a consensus among Zionists upon the formation of Israel to give the orthodox special status,

Not to mention exemption from military service, which has been made more deadly by the policies followed by governments they have supported.

But when a group claims an area based on a three to four thousand year old supposed covenant with God, this becomes "an element of mysticism" indistinguishable from religion, at least for me.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 10:13:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Does Likud reference a covenant with God? Or, in the European tradition of land-people-continuity nationalism, a historical Israel belonging to Jews, with added religious imagery?

This is similar to the references to old monasteries in Serbian claims to Kosovo, or the sacral treatment of the Pope-given crown of the kings of Hungary to colour the claim to all the area of that historical kingdom.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 01:49:29 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Does Likud reference a covenant with God?

I don't have a quote to offer, but I would be amazed if no Likud leader has ever made such a claim. I expect that several have. But it is possible I would be amazed.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 02:14:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Quotes:

NETANYAHU AT AUSCHWITZ SAYS PROPHECIES OF EZEKIEL 37 HAVE BEEN FULFILLED

"[After the Holocaust," the Jewish people rose from ashes and destruction, from a terrible pain that can never be healed. Armed with the Jewish spirit, the justice of man, and the vision of the prophets, we sprouted new branches and grew deep roots. Dry bones became covered with flesh, a spirit filled them, and they lived and stood on their own feet. As Ezekiel prophesized: `Then He said unto me: These bones are the whole House of Israel. They say, `Our bones are dried up, our hope is gone; we are doomed.' Prophecy, therefore, and say to them: Thus said the Lord God: I am going to open your graves and lift you out of your graves, O My people, and bring you to the land of Israel.' I stand here today on the ground where so many of my people perished -- and I am not alone. The State of Israel and all the Jewish people stand with me.  We bow our heads to honor your memory and lift our heads as we raise our flag-a flag of blue and white with a Star of David in its center. And everyone sees.  And everyone hears.   And everyone knows - that our hope is not lost."

Monday, 11 May 2009

"I hope these talks will indeed start up again in the coming weeks. Israel yearns to reach peace with its Palestinian neighbors, and with all the Arab nations; we all live in this region, and we are all the sons of Abraham."

Netanyahu on Jerusalem in the Bible

JERUSALEM - Beset by questions about Jerusalem's future in talks with the Palestinians, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reached for the Bible on Wednesday to stake out the Jewish state's contested claim on the city.

Netanyahu told a parliamentary session commemorating Israel's capture of East Jerusalem from Jordan in the 1967 war that "Jerusalem" and its alternative Hebrew name "Zion" appear 850 times in the Old Testament, Judaism's core canon.

"As to how many times Jerusalem is mentioned in the holy scriptures of other faiths, I recommend you check," he said.

Citing such ancestry, Israel calls all of Jerusalem its "eternal and indivisible" capital -- a designation not recognised abroad, where many powers support Arab claims to East Jerusalem as the capital of a future Palestinian state.

The dispute is further inflamed by the fact East Jerusalem houses al-Aqsa mosque, Islam's third-holiest shrine, on a plaza that Jews revere as the vestige of two biblical Jewish temples.

Heckled by a lawmaker from Israel's Arab minority, Netanyahu offered a lesson in comparative religion from the lectern.

"Because you asked: Jerusalem is mentioned 142 times in the New Testament, and none of the 16 various Arabic names for Jerusalem is mentioned in the Koran. But in an expanded interpretation of the Koran from the 12th century, one passage is said to refer to Jerusalem," he said.

 

Not Likud, but highly unlikely to be disavowed:

"This country exists as the fulfillment of a promise made by God Himself. It would be ridiculous to ask it to account for its legitimacy."
-- Golda Meir, Le Monde, 15 October 1971

Given the foregoing quotes, were I to search with sufficient dilligence, I expect I would find a similar quote by a Likud leader. At a minimum, Likud leaders are very adept at blowing fundie dog whistles.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 03:13:27 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Greater Israel - Wikipedia
The opposition Revisionist Zionists, who evolved into today's Likud party, sought Eretz Yisrael Ha-Shlema -- Greater Israel, or literally, the Whole Land of Israel.[1] The capture of the occupied territories during the Six Day War in 1967, led to the growth of the non-parliamentary Movement for Greater Israel and the construction of Israeli settlements. The 1977 elections, which brought Likud to power also had considerable impact on acceptance and rejection of the term.

This was not about establishing religious government, but land grab, pure and simple. (Analogies: Greater Serbia, Greater Hungary, etc.)

Movement for Greater Israel - Wikipedia

The Movement for Greater Israel (Hebrew: התנועה למען ארץ ישראל השלמה‎, HaTenu'a Lema'an Eretz Yisrael HaSheleima) was a political organisation in Israel during the 1960s and 1970s which subscribed to an ideology of Greater Israel.

The organization was formed in July 1967, a month after Israel captured the Gaza Strip, Sinai peninsula the West Bank and the Golan Heights in the Six-Day War. It called on the Israeli government to keep the captured areas and to settle them with Jewish population. Its founders were a mixture of Labor Zionists, Revisionists, writers and poets...

In the 1969 Knesset elections it ran as the "List for the Land of Israel", but earned only 7,561 votes (0.6%), and failed to cross the electoral threshold of 1%. Prior to the 1973 elections, it joined the Likud, an alliance of Herut, the Liberal Party, the Free Centre and the National List. Likud won 39 seats, of which one was allocated to the Movement for Greater Israel, and taken by Avraham Yoffe.

Yoffe, like Ariel Sharon, was a radical Zionist born in Palestine, whose career steps were terrorist - war hero - pro-settler politician.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 03:38:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The Legal Position on the Israeli Attack  Craig Murray (From Stormy's "declaration of war" link above.

To attack a foreign flagged vessel in international waters is illegal. It is not piracy, as the Israeli vessels carried a military commission. It is rather an act of illegal warfare.

Because the incident took place on the high seas does not mean however that international law is the only applicable law. The Law of the Sea is quite plain that, when an incident takes place on a ship on the high seas (outside anybody's territorial waters) the applicable law is that of the flag state of the ship on which the incident occurred. In legal terms, the Turkish ship was Turkish territory.

There are therefore two clear legal possibilities.

Possibility one is that the Israeli commandos were acting on behalf of the government of Israel in killing the activists on the ships. In that case Israel is in a position of war with Turkey, and the act falls under international jurisdiction as a war crime.

Possibility two is that, if the killings were not authorised Israeli military action, they were acts of murder under Turkish jurisdiction. If Israel does not consider itself in a position of war with Turkey, then it must hand over the commandos involved for trial in Turkey under Turkish law.

In brief, if Israel and Turkey are not at war, then it is Turkish law which is applicable to what happened on the ship. It is for Turkey, not Israel, to carry out any inquiry or investigation into events and to initiate any prosecutions. Israel is obliged to hand over indicted personnel for prosecution.


Erdogan should bring civil and criminal charges against the leadership of the Likud Government in International Court of Justice. Turkey would then be in charge of the investigation and the prosecution. Then countries signatory to the relevant treaties would be obliged to apprehend any officials convicted of criminal charges and civil claims could be enforced by seizure of Israeli goods and assets. Turkey would not have to be concerned with who was appointed to the whitewash investigation team by the USA and Israel.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 1st, 2010 at 11:41:44 PM EST
Turkey would then be in charge of the investigation...
if Israel disavowed the acts of the commandos. The International Court of Justice would be in charge of war crimes prosecution. Perhaps Benjamin Netanyahu could have a cell next to  Slobodan Milosevic. At a minimum this could complicate travel plans for Israeli officials.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Tue Jun 1st, 2010 at 11:58:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There is currently some question as to which country the ship is registered in. It may or may not be Turkey that is directly the grieved party. In fact it may be the Comoros Islands. In which case Israel will be on somewhat familiar ground - small, manipulatable, an helpless.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 06:49:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This thing delves deeper into the surreal as the hours tick on by ...

Israel and Egypt signaled a temporary easing of the Gaza Strip blockade Tuesday following harsh international condemnation of the deadly Israeli raid on an aid flotilla en route to the sealed-off Palestinian territory.

Israel committed an Act of War to prevent the blockade from being broken and has now broken the blockade its own self through agreement with Egypt.

She believed in nothing; only her skepticism kept her from being an atheist. -- Jean-Paul Sartre

by ATinNM on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 01:54:41 AM EST
This is because they have erred, significantly, and they know it.  Israel fucked up here, no two ways about it.  
by paving on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 03:03:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It sounds like Israel fucked up royally.

Craig Murry as more info inside Nato:

I was in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office for over 20 years and a member of its senior management structure for six years, I served in five countries and took part in 13 formal international negotiations, including the UN Convention of the Law of the Sea and a whole series of maritime boundary treaties. I headed the FCO section of a multidepartmental organisation monitoring the arms embargo on Iraq.
There are already deep misgivings, especially amongst the military, over the Afghan mission. There is no sign of a diminution in Afghan resistance attacks and no evidence of a clear gameplan. The military are not stupid and they can see that the Karzai government is deeply corrupt and the Afghan "national" army comprised almost exclusively of tribal enemies of the Pashtuns.

You might be surprised by just how high in Nato scepticism runs at the line that in some way occupying Afghanistan helps protect the west, as opposed to stoking dangerous Islamic anger worldwide.

But what kind of mutual support organization is NATO when members must make decades long commitments, at huge expense and some loss of life, to support the Unted States, but cannot make even a gesture to support Turkey when Turkey is attacked by a non-member?

Even the Eastern Europeans have not been backing the US line on the Israeli attack. The atmosphere in NATO on the issue has been very much the US against the rest, with the US attitude inside NATO described to me by a senior NATO officer as "amazingly arrogant - they don't seem to think it matters what anybody else thinks".

It is amazing what Israeli hubris can accomplish.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 07:48:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
with the US attitude inside NATO described to me by a senior NATO officer as "amazingly arrogant - they don't seem to think it matters what anybody else thinks".

the reason that they think nobody else's opinion matters is, to put it plainly, they don't. The US can act alone, it has acted alone by blocking the condemnation of Israel in the UN.

The US doesn't need NATO; NATO, or rather the european countries, need the US. Without them they are a leaderless rabble (as opposed to just a rabble) and would be reduced to a military bloc of little consequence, something that the egos of our leaders could never tolerate. So europe will endure any humiliation to keep the US in and if that means screwing the Turks, the palestinians, the afghans, the Iraqis or whoever, then it will be done.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 09:55:50 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but this is good bargain in EU/NATO leaders' eyes even if this means humiliation from time to time. they think they can buy costly security by mere sycophancy. of course that also implies that they abdicate their own voice (hypocritic condemnations of Israel notwithstanding) and forward decision making to Washington. They have no right to speak out and criticize US or Israel, they sold it.
by FarEasterner on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 10:58:25 AM EST
[ Parent ]
European leadership is doing anything BUT screwing the Turks. They've been playing to the Turkish tunes for the past two decades and I don't see any change of policy as yet.
by Lynch on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 04:37:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Please elaborate...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 05:06:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I think he's referring to the way they rushed to admit them to the EU and the Euro, ahead of more deserving countries like Poland.
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 05:11:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Over the past 20 years, Turkey has been viewed by the West and NATO as a key stabilising factor in the Middle East, a geostrategic military ally (never mind reality) and a partner to bridge Muslim-Western divide. As a consequence, the country has been given a voice in political and military forums that it otherwise would not have deserved being in.

Given the EU's continuing slow paced negotiations with Turkey, the current leadership is changing its policies and seeking to distance itself from Europe and the US and gain a position as a leader of the Muslim world... something that will be extremely difficult for it to do given historic animosity between the Turks and the Arabs.

by Lynch on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 05:26:15 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Israel will help Turkey overcome any obstacles that might exist.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 05:34:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Your second paragraph doesn't make it sound as though they are dancing to Turkey's tune as you said in your previous comment....

There's also historic animosity between Turkey and Russian, Turkey and Armenia, Turkey and the Kurds, Turkey and Greece, Turkey and <did I forget anybody?>. So far Erdogan seems to be doing a excellent job of balancing all of these, even giving Israel another chance if it starts to behave properly. There's no guarantee that he'll succeed, of course, but historical animosities don't have to remain constant, and he's doing a pretty good job of at least somewhat reducing tensions (the distancing from the U.S. started in earnest after the insane invasion of Iraq and Erdogan's decision not to have anything to do with it, and I find it hard to see it as primarily a decision of Turkey).

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 05:38:08 PM EST
[ Parent ]
it was unenviable legacy Erdogan had inherited from generations of generals and civilians which ruled Turkey for centuries. especially difficult is relationship with armenia, prospects at reconciliation appear slim because of strong nationalism on both sides. but he improved relations with Russia (not only historic enemy but also officially recognized Armenian genocide in 1995), there were some positive vibes with Greece, Cyprus.

For example I cannot escape comparison with india which still adheres to outdated concept of Mandala where immediate neighbours are posing threat or becoming enemies. That's why India has very difficult relations with all her neighbors, even having territorial disputes with Nepal, her virtual protectorate.

As for Turkey and the West I think it is difficult but working relationship. It's not really alliance, rather marriage of convenience. Both sides have their trumping cards, many here already wrote about them. Both sides have needs and wishes, which are not always convergent as in the case of Israel. So it remains to be seen where Western powers and Turkey will proceed from here.

by FarEasterner on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 06:40:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Turkey and the Serbs? Turkey and Bulgaria?

Could we just through a blanket over all former Ottoman Empire neighbors and subject peoples?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 07:38:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Over the past 20 years, Turkey has been viewed by the West and NATO as a key stabilising factor in the Middle East, a geostrategic military ally (never mind reality)

Please elaborate.

and a partner to bridge Muslim-Western divide.

What Muslim-Western divide? Since when are "Muslims" and "The West" two monolithic power blocs confronting each other. Methinks somebody here never got past the "cold war" propaganda...

As a consequence, the country has been given a voice in political and military forums that it otherwise would not have deserved being in.

Such as?

It deserves being given a voice in Europe on account of being more or less democratic (certainly on the same level as Russia, which is also given a voice in Europe). It deserve being given a voice in the UN because it is a member in good standing of that organisation (certainly in better standing than, say, Israel). It deserves being given a voice in NATO for the simple reason that it's sitting on the fourth or fifth most valuable piece of real estate on the planet. If being less than fully democratic were an impediment to NATO membership, then why did the Americans push for NATO membership for a third-rate banana republic like Georgia?

But perhaps you had some other forum in mind?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 06:24:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Over the past 20 years, ... the country has been given a voice in political and military forums

Turkey joined the UN in 1945, the Council of Europe in 1949, NATO in 1952, and signed the Association Agreement with the EEC (the EU's predecessor) in 1963. What the hell are you talking about?

geostrategic military ally (never mind reality)

The reality is that Turkey was used as air base and nuclear weapons stationing point by the USA throughout the last few decades. That's as strong a geostrategic ally as it comes in military terms.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 04:29:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
otherwise would not have deserved being in

I also wonder what's your standard for "deserving" to be in a political or military forum. For example if it has anything to do with moral/lawful behaviour, I don't think the USA would "deserve" membership at any military or security forum.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 04:36:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Since 1915 Turkey has exterminated over 1.5 million Armenians, Greeks, and other non Muslims. Successive governments, including the current one, refuse to recognize that nation's role in these crimes. That alone is enough grounds not to be deserving of any sort of partnership in Western European forums.
by Lynch on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 01:46:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Do remind me, when did the US acknowledge its deliberate genocide of the Cherokee and Apache? When did Israel acknowledge its deliberate ethnic cleansing of Palestine (1947 to present)? Do you propose that we exclude these countries from international fora until and unless they acknowledge their genocides?

Oh and "Since 1915 Turkey has" implies that the activity is still ongoing. Please stop lying.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 02:04:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As a matter of fact I do.
by Lynch on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 02:14:35 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So in your world, the "international community" consists of Germany and Finland?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 02:54:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Now wouldn't that be a New World Order?
by Lynch on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 06:23:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So why are you defending Israel's right to rob humanitarians aid convoys and murder sitting and handcuffed NATO members at point-blank range with automatic weapons?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 09:14:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That's a silly question. It's as if I asked you: why are you defending murderous islamist terrorists who bomb civilians?
by Lynch on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 10:01:28 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Then I'd ask you to provide a quote.

You, however, were defending Israel's right to rob a humanitarian aid convoy. And I haven't heard much in the way of condemnation for Israel's deliberate murder of several of the crew, as documented by their post-mortems.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 10:04:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm defending Israel's right to rob...?
No. I'm defending Israel's right to do everything it can to prevent arms reaching those who seek its total obliteration. What do you suggest the Israelis do? Put a target on their foreheads and ask Hezbollah to shoot?

That said, I regret any loss of innoncent life.

by Lynch on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 04:34:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
So, your defense for the robbing of a humanitarian convoy is that it is an arms transport to those who seek Israel's total obliteration... you can't make this up.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 04:56:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Lynch:
That said, I regret any loss of innoncent life.

that extra 'n' in innocent, typo or newspeak?

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 05:20:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if Hamas found a serious backer to supply it with weaponry I fail to see how that could lead to "total obliteration".
But that is beside the point since the express purpose of the blockade is collective punishment.
by generic on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 05:39:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
That said, I regret any loss of innoncent life

Which is where we differ. I regret any loss of life. "Innocent" is superfluous here.

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 05:57:22 AM EST
[ Parent ]
By the way, if I wanted to cause Israel's total obliteration, I'd be following their current path, which can only end in disaster.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 06:08:42 AM EST
[ Parent ]
What does Hezbollah have to do with Gaza?

By laying out pros and cons we risk inducing people to join the debate, and losing control of a process that only we fully understand. - Alan Greenspan
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 06:40:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I assume that this means that you also support Palestine's (including its more or less democratically elected government Hamas') right to do everything it can to prevent arms reaching those who seek its total obliteration? Including, but not limited to, sinking Israeli commercial vessels in international waters?

That aside, you seem a little confused as to who the belligerents are. Here's a hint: Hezbollah operates in Lebanon and parts of southern Syria. Gaza is next to Egypt.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 07:35:21 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and by the way, in what fictional alternative universe did Israel have any reasonable grounds to suspect the convoy of carrying weapons?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 07:36:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The absurdity of this path of factual analysis begins with the conundrum, law of war. That is, the idea that war --mass murder-- is socially acceptable conduct. War is agreeable. Murder is not murder, if the act occurs after a murderer declares war. Piracy is not piracy, if the act occurs after a pirate declares war. A blockade is not a blockade, if a government erects a barrier to trade within its own jurisdiction, is it? This action, "legally speaking," must have another name; what the fuck is that jurisprudence which sanctifies the beneficence of the state in regulating commerce among its citizens and between its provinces. Oh, wait. "Diet"? No, no, ah!: abnormal "commercial traffic with adequate international end-use monitoring."  More important, an officer of government in declaring war arrogates to an intangible legal entity every intention and right of every member of within territory. I suppose, that provision explains why ET "analysts" accept without question, the murders that didn't occur on several vessels, one of which is known registration to be Turkey, signify an Act of War. By Israel against Turkey?

This is the language of psychopathy. Law of war is codified because psychopaths, by and large certified, control institutional power such as money and land and legislature. Treaties like the Geneva Convention represent an admission among them that a few rules to conserve manpower  limits the probability of premature and mutual assured termination of the "game." Otherwise the entertainment value to spectators is innumerable. Why, the murder is immediately buried to accommodate the versimilitude of strategic options available to the players!

For example, this particular quote implies governments of Israel and Egypt cooperated to re-open a border to Gaza. No; review what little reporting is available: Mubarek made a unilateral decision (being a dictator, no?) yesterday to break Egypt's agreement with Israel to close the border even as Israel's ministers broadcast threats of violence on whomsoever violated Israel's regulation of "commercial traffic with adequate international end-use monitoring" in Gaza.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 07:47:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
"commercial traffic with adequate international end-use monitoring"

source

I bet nutella is on the unabridged lists. It's a kind of pesticide.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 08:43:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm not sure exactly what you're trying to say, but "commercial traffic with adequate international end-use monitoring" is not a euphemism for the blockade. The phrase comes from a statement by the International Crisis Group thinktank:
The policy toward Gaza is in need of thorough re-examination. The US, EU and Quartet as a whole have been calling for relaxing the siege on Gaza. That is welcome, but opening the humanitarian tap is not an appropriate answer to a policy whose fundamental premise is morally callous and politically counter-productive. Instead, Gaza should be open to normal commercial traffic with adequate international end-use monitoring.
by Gag Halfrunt on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 11:02:55 AM EST
[ Parent ]
If the European powers believe that the law requires Gaza ports to be open and they support the opening of Gaza ports, they could send ships to Gaza.

If, on the other hand, they find it useful to wring their hands about the situation while doing nothing, they can continue on their current path.

by rootless2 on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 12:23:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
What I intend to illustrate is the incoherence of nomenclature invented for law of war. I know where the phrase comes from; the reference is in the body of stormy's post. And it is a euphemism for blockade, as the language --under color of law-- describes prohibition of free trade (commerce) established by the Palestinian Authority. Whether the frequency, composition, and value of "commercial traffic" is qualified and certified ("monitored") by some third-party "relaxes" Israel's "siege" on the occupied territory is the most pernicious question. For the siege and all hostilities that this particular, artful prerogative entails is not eliminated.

Let us consult The Word for common understanding of siege, prosecuted within the boundaries of sovereign territory (e.g. civil war, police action) or those of some foreign nation.

siege: A siege is a military blockade of a city [OMG!] or fortress with the intent of conquering by attrition or assault. The term derives from sedere, Latin for "to sit".[1] Generally speaking, siege warfare is a form of constant, low intensity conflict characterized by one party holding a strong, static defensive position [OMG!]. Consequently, an opportunity for negotiation between combatants is not uncommon, as proximity and fluctuating advantage can encourage diplomacy. A siege occurs when an attacker encounters a city or fortress that cannot be easily taken by a coup de main and refuses to surrender [OMG!]. Sieges involve surrounding the target and blocking the reinforcement or escape of troops or provision [OMG!]of supplies (a tactic known as "investment"[2]), typically coupled with attempts to reduce the fortifications by means of siege engines, artillery bombardment, mining (also known as sapping), or the use of deception or treachery to bypass defenses [OMG!]. Failing a military outcome, sieges can often be decided by starvation, thirst or disease, which can afflict either the attacker or defender.

I don't think Israel is fooled either by ICG-Bliar nuance. Which is why the military is STILL rejecting tests of its authoritay  to "pacify" the populace into a mass of uranium-depleted protoplasm.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 03:17:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The nuts might be pistachios from Iran. No wonder they are banned.

For those who don't get the reference, Israel was (is?) importing pistachios from Iran, while pushing for stronger sanctions on Iran. Since Iran's main competitor is California, the U.S. was not pleased...

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 02:03:44 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I understand a lot of the forbidden / allows items as taking the, "give a man a fish, he eats once, teach a man to fish, he can feed himself" and adding the minor premise, "and, of course, we don't want the latter!"

But ginger? nutmeg? What in the hell does Israel have against Grenada?

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 07:45:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I also note that dried food is banned, while frozen is ok. Because frozen food spoils if the power goes out?

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Fri Jun 4th, 2010 at 06:52:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Because Israel produces frozen fruit for export to Europe? In any event, too many Arab countries dry figs and dates.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.
by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Sat Jun 5th, 2010 at 09:35:09 PM EST
[ Parent ]
this particular quote implies governments of Israel and Egypt cooperated to re-open a border to Gaza.

From the depth of media mental capture by Likud, no opportunity will be missed to buy into face saving Likud spin. This is an especial problem in the USA. The default position on Law of War has always been, realistically, that of the sociopathic national actor. The USA has been chief amongst those opposing any improvement there.  

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."
by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 09:46:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
From the Official Israeli Army flickr stream, title: Pictures of weapons found aboard the Mavi Marmara

Pictures of weapons found aboard the Mavi Marmara

A 'centrist' is someone who's neither on the left, nor on the left.

by nicta (nico&#65312;altiva&#8228;fr) on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 09:53:08 AM EST
Mostly kitchen knives. I see 6 actual weapons there;
 one is more ornamental than offensive
one is actually dangerous
four are the sort of flick knives teenagers carry around to impress themselves.

But I am impressed by the Israeli equation that if you are attacked and defend yourself, it is you, not the aggressor who is at fault.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 10:01:38 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, and a kitchen steel. They could make a nasty noise on your helmet with that. Or poke you in the eye. If you weren't wearing goggles.

That's the IDF just telling the world to fuck off, isn't it?

by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 10:15:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I remember a similar display after a police anti-New Age Traveller operation back in the late 80's early 90's where a selection of "Weaponry" was produced to show how violent and dangerous they were by the local UK constabulary. All of the weapons were either kitchen implements, or axes and chainsaws to load the vehicles wood burning stoves.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 09:50:43 AM EST
[ Parent ]
In the War on Terra craze, both Spain and Italy arrested supposed cells of Islamic terrorists preparing chemical attacks. In both cases, the chemicals were presented to the media with great fanfare. In both cases, the chemicals proved to be... chemical detergents, used in the normal day job of the arrested as... cleaners.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 06:31:56 AM EST
[ Parent ]
This very dangerous weapon was found on the Mavi Marmara:

NB: it can be very dangerous. You just have to convince the IdF commando to put his finger in it.

"Ce qui vient au monde pour ne rien troubler ne mérite ni égards ni patience." René Char

by Melanchthon on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 11:10:47 AM EST
[ Parent ]
although from the videos released by the IDF, to be fair, the elite units of the IDF are perhaps really in danger from motivated antagonists armed with tuning forks or butter knives.
by rootless2 on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 12:26:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The IDF must be really going downhill. I once had one of these tiny screwdrivers

confiscated at Newark airport. But when I showed one to a security guard at an Israeli embassy, explaining that the Americans thought it was a weapon, he just laughed. I guess things have changed.

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 12:44:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The fourth "knife" from the right is actually a whetting iron.

Makes you wonder how many of these weapons were found safely stowed away in a kitchen drawer...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 01:49:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You mean stockpiled for use in a kitchen drawer.

Beside the chemical weapons - chilli powder.

I'm trying to diagnose some problems with ET performance that affect users and admins differently. ColmanTestUser is Colman.

by ColmanTestUser on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 01:51:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Don't forget that chilli powder may be harboring one of the banned spices.

And if you allow ginger or nutmeg or coriander ... that's the thin edge of the spice wedge.

I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 07:50:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
You really have to love the way they put those horrendous weapons on the horrendous flag of mass destruction.

Never underestimate their intelligence, always underestimate their knowledge.

Frank Delaney ~ Ireland

by siegestate (siegestate or beyondwarispeace.com) on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 02:35:12 PM EST
[ Parent ]
wow, such arsenal. AP reported that Israelis found cash in pockets of activists and alleged that money was intended to fill the coffers of Hamas.
by FarEasterner on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 04:27:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Shades of those Iraqi metal tubes that were evidence of a nuclear weapons program.

you are the media you consume.

by MillMan (millguy at gmail) on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 04:28:19 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not only photos of kitchenware, but three to six-year old photos of kitchenware, if date-stamps are anything to go by

The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom - William Blake
by talos (mihalis at gmail dot com) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 06:47:39 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I've seen accounts that claim the datestamps have now been fixed...
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 07:01:05 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Those were not the date stamps you were looking for.

The flotilla event was pure horror, but I have to say I'm enjoying how incredibly bad the Israeli follow-up has been.

I expect future photos will now have duly edited EXIF data. But this has destroyed the current and future credibility of the Israeli PR machine.

It's been like catching Winston Smith red-handed with his air brush.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 08:10:15 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I think the nature of the "weapons" is more convincing. How many people adjust their camera clock to display the proper time?

No reason to jump on a scandal that may not be true when we have plenty of certainly true scandal at hand.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 08:20:51 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But isn't it either factory set (so maybe out by a few hours due to time zone and possibly a few days due to leap years) or to some arbitrary starting point which is unlikely to work out as 2006 today?
by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 08:27:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
The factory setting is usually near the date when the bios was coded. Users are expected to set the time themselves, so why bother updating the clock with each batch?

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 08:34:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You're right. I checked the picture I posted last year of the offices of the Communist Party in Venice, with the shrine to the First Communist.

The relevant data from the camera is

Date Time Original: 2005:01:27 03:30:37
I claimed I had taken them a few days before. I guess I was faking it too.

When you said

Users are expected to set the time themselves

you were joking, right?

by gk (gk (gk quattro due due sette @gmail.com)) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 11:55:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Users are expected to set the time themselves

you were joking, right?

"Expected" in the same sense that European governments "expect" the Americans to observe the human rights of the "terrorists" we remand into their custody.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 06:37:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Maybe, but the fact is that the narrative has been established and all the players are acting the parts.

It doesn't matter that these "facts" are false or modified, it only matters that those who decide what happens next have established a new "reality" and behave accordingly. the flotilla was attacked because it was a clear and present danger to the nation of Israel, they deserved what happened to them because we have the photos of all the evidence collated.

Everything else is inconvenient and therefore irrelevant

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 08:29:08 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It seems that some of the photos of weapons published by the Israeli government were taken several years ago - the EXIF data gave the game away.

For what it's worth, this photo doesn't have a date in its EXIF data. Is that normal, or has the date been deliberately removed?

by Gag Halfrunt on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 07:13:48 AM EST
[ Parent ]
No one has ever been able satisfactorily to explain to me the difference between "blockade" and "collective punishment".

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...
by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 09:33:05 PM EST
In principle, you can use a blockade to enforce an arms embargo. Not permitting weapons to pass into the hands of belligerents hardly qualifies as collective punishment.

In practise, of course, that's rarely how they're used.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Wed Jun 2nd, 2010 at 09:39:30 PM EST
[ Parent ]
When the banned goods consist of things like guns, grenades, mortar rounds, missiles ... that's a blockade.

When the banned goods consist of things like ginger, nutmeg, dried fruit, fresh meat ... that's a collective punishment.


I've been accused of being a Marxist, yet while Harpo's my favourite, it's Groucho I'm always quoting. Odd, that.

by BruceMcF (agila61 at netscape dot net) on Thu Jun 3rd, 2010 at 07:54:35 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok Collective punishment is in the 4th Geneva convention

International Humanitarian Law - Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention

Art. 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

Pillage is prohibited.

Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.

Art. 34. The taking of hostages is prohibited.

And the second Additional Protocol

International Humanitarian Law - Additional Protocol II 1977

Part II. Humane Treatment
Art 4 Fundamental guarantees

1. All persons who do not take a direct part or who have ceased to take part in hostilities, whether or not their liberty has been restricted, are entitled to respect for their person, honour and convictions and religious practices. They shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction. It is prohibited to order that there shall be no survivors.

2. Without prejudice to the generality of the foregoing, the following acts against the persons referred to in paragraph I are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever:
(a) violence to the life, health and physical or mental well-being of persons, in particular murder as well as cruel treatment such as torture, mutilation or any form of corporal punishment;
(b) collective punishments;
(c) taking of hostages;
(d) acts of terrorism;
(e) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment, rape, enforced prostitution and any form or indecent assault;
(f) slavery and the slave trade in all their forms;
(g) pillage;
(h) threats to commit any or the foregoing acts.

Israel however isn't a signatory for the second additional protocol (from a quick scan)

An interesting discussion here about the legal status of the Israeli Blockade

Opinio Juris » Blog Archive » Why Is Israel's Blockade of Gaza Legal? (Updated)

know that will sound like a provocative question, but it's not meant to be.  According to the Jerusalem Post, Israel justifies its interdiction of the "Freedom Flotilla" by reference to Article 67(a) of the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflict at Sea, which permits the attack of neutral merchant vessels that "are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture."  The interdiction thus depends on the legality of the blockade of Gaza -- and I am genuinely confused as to why that blockade is legal.  The Jerusalem Post says the Israeli government is arguing that "Israel was in a state of armed conflict with Gaza and therefore entitled by international law to blockade Gaza."  But that defense ignores a critical question: what kind of armed conflict?


Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Mon Jun 7th, 2010 at 05:48:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Craig Murray - Why San Remo Does Not Apply

Every comments thread on every internet site on the world which has discussed the Israeli naval murders, has been inundated by organised ZIonist commenters stating that the Israeli action was legal under the San Remo Manual of International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea.

They ignore those parts of San Remo that specifically state that it is illegal to enforce a general blockade on an entire population. But even apart from that, San Remo simply does not apply.

The manual relates specifically to legal practice in time of war. With whom is Israel at war?

There is no war.

Israeli apologists have gone on to say they are in a state of armed conflict with Gaza.

Really? In that case, why do we continually hear Israeli complaints about rockets fired from Gaza into Israel? If it is the formal Israeli position that it is in a state of armed conflict with Gaza, then Gaza has every right to attack Israel with rockets.

But in fact, plainly to the whole world, the nature and frequency of Israeli complaints about rocket attacks gives evidence that Israel does not in fact believe that a situation of armed conflict exists.

Secondly, if Israel wishes to claim it is in a state of armed conflict with Gaza, then it must treat all of its Gazan prisoners as prisoners of war entitled to the protections of the Geneva Convention. If you are in a formal state of armed conflict, you cannot categorise your opponents as terrorists.



Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Sun Jun 6th, 2010 at 08:43:06 PM EST


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