Third Party & Independents Archives

Punishing Palestine...

Earlier today, CNN reported that Syria has fired upon Israeli warplanes that flew over the home of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It was reported that Israel has bombed bridges and a power plant in the Gaza. This is being done in retaliation for the kidnapping of at least one, possibly three Israelis. What is the expected outcome of this and what will be the reaction of the US government as well as the UN?

Prior to Israel using military force it was reported in the Jerusalem Post on the killing of two Israeli soldiers and the kidnapping of one:

The attack came only hours after sources in Gaza City reported that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh were close to reaching an agreement on the document, which had been dismissed by Hamas because it calls for the establishment of a Palestinian state only in the territories captured by Israel in 1967.

"It's obvious that those behind the attack wanted to destroy any chance of reaching an agreement between Fatah and Hamas," said a senior Fatah official. "We are convinced that the Hamas leadership in Syria and Lebanon was behind it. They want to prevent any agreement."

Another Fatah official and close aide to Abbas told The Jerusalem Post that the attack was aimed at embarrassing both Abbas and Haniyeh.

Abbas's spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudaineh, said the attack "brings the Palestinians back to square one." He too expressed fear that Israel would exploit the attack to step up its military operations.

According to the sources, the political leadership of Hamas was also surprised by the attack. "Those who planned and carried out the attack did not consult with the political leadership of Hamas in the Gaza Strip," the sources claimed. "The attack places Prime Minister Haniyeh in a very difficult situation."

If this is true, and if this is public knowledge then why would Israel take the steps it did today in the Gaza? Granted while Israel is supposedly being kind enough to drop flyers from planes to let residents know they need to leave or be bombed, the majority of those being punished by this had nothing to do with it. Especially if this attack was done by forces outside of Palestine.

What is the US response? In reading this morning's Washington Post:

In Washington, a senior U.S. official said that while he was not privy to many details about Israel's intentions, he expected the incursion would be "pretty significant."

"This is in the category of a major operation," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. "This isn't just 20 commandos."

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for Israel to allow more time for international diplomacy to secure the soldier's release.

I realize that kidnapping Israeli soldiers and citizens has been a way of negotiating prisoner exchanges in the past and it appears this Israeli government is not finding that an acceptable option any longer. I'm not suggesting I support that as a reason if the group who is responsible for the kidnapping is doing this for the publicized reason of demanding the release of women and children being held in prisons by Israel. Personally I tend to agree with this being done to destroy any chance of Abbas accomplishing even small steps to create peace with Israel.

This will increase the hostility, this will increase the likelihood Cpl. Gilad Shalit will not be returned to his family alive, this will increase the struggle most who live in the Gaza strip already have to endure. It has been stated that it will take almost three months for the power plant that was destroyed to be rebuilt, sixty-five percent of Gaza is without power. Water supply in this area will also be affected and with Gaza closed off? The Palestinians have no place to go as well as not be able to access humanitarian aid. This will also increase support of terrorism because it will be viewed rightly or wrongly that Israel is acting in a manner that very few of it's Arab neighbors could do without US or UN sanctions/military intervention.

Haaretz is reporting:

Lebanese Foreign Minister Fawzi Salloukh criticized the "suspicious silence" of the world and called on the UN Security Council "to take a firm stand that ends the aggression on the Palestinian people."

In the Gulf, the Arabic daily Akhbar Arab in Abu Dhabi also called the soldier's case an excuse by Israel "to launch an all-out criminal operations against the Palestinian people and assassination of its leaders."

No matter what your opinion of Israel or Palestine, continuing to feed the fires of hatred is not going to help the US or the rest of the world diminish terrorism.

Posted by Lisa Renee Ward at June 28, 2006 6:35 PM
Comment #163034

Israel believes that if it uses Force, they can break the will of their enemies. When Force doesn’t work, Israel uses even more Force.

This Force Strategy worked when Israel was fighting other Arab Countries. It has become the basic principle of Israeli Policy.

Sadly, Israel will not succeed since the Palestinians have nowhere to go and have nothing left to aspire to. All they have left is to fight.

So we play the game once again.

btw… did you know the US will be the one who rebuilds the Bridges and the Power Plant? Despite International Law, Israel has succeeded in palming off her responsibilities as Occupiers to the US of A.


Posted by: Aldous at June 28, 2006 9:57 PM
Comment #163042

I had read that Aldous, thanks for confirming it.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at June 28, 2006 10:04 PM
Comment #163051

Only problem with your theory Dave, is there are innocent women and children as well as adult males who live in the Gaza that are not Hamas. It’s not like they have a huge range of options as to where they can go. Continuing this sort of destruction and taking out power as well as water does nothing but encourage even more acts of vengence and continues the cycle.

Not to mention the US will continue to fund what needs to be rebuilt as well as continue to financially assist Israel.

It’s a bit more complicated than Palestine started killing, this cycle has been going on for quite some time and it’s obvious that there are forces outside of Palestine that don’t want peace to happen either.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at June 28, 2006 10:16 PM
Comment #163058


1. HAMAS was formed in 1987.
2. Israel does only what is best for Israel including spying on the United States and bribing US Politicians.
3. The last Israeli Hostage was killed only when Israel attacked and surrounded the House he was held in. Before that, he was treated decently.
4. Israel attacked the last time there was a Hostage. The Kidnappers killed the Hostage just as the IDF was breaking down the door.
5. Israel left Gaza because demographics all say the Palestinians will outnumbered Jews in a few years. The Israelis have never stopped bombing Gaza.
6. HAMAS was/is the principal provider of basic services like health and education and food in the West Bank and Gaza. It was why they got elected.

Ignorance can be cured by Google. Try it.

Posted by: Aldous at June 28, 2006 10:29 PM
Comment #163079

Nice to see that this thread’s got a better tone (so far) than the other one across the column. Unfortunately that one is going to get hundreds of post while this one doesn’t.
Not that we’re going to solve conflict in the Middle East (remember the good old days when that only meant Palestine?) on this humble little blog. But by way of debate, what do people say about a force (and I say big, bigger than that of Kosovo) of UN soldiers to keep the two apart? Clearly both sides have demonstrated that they are incapable of restraint.

Posted by: loki at June 28, 2006 11:14 PM
Comment #163083


A UN Force was proposed but Israel rejected it.

Posted by: Aldous at June 28, 2006 11:28 PM
Comment #163089

I would like to have seen the expression of Assads face when Israeli jets flew over his summer home.

The entire conflict is madness.

But I do admire an eloquently delivered message.

Posted by: phx8 at June 28, 2006 11:43 PM
Comment #163101
A UN Force was proposed but Israel rejected it.

yah, I know. Just needed to say something more than Israel=bad or Hamas=bad.
I realise we’re a long way from some sort of global war of civilisations, but why is it that every day we seem to step closer to that nightmare, rather than away from it? Madness indeed, does any one actually doubt what will happen the moment before the rest of the world gets fatefully sucked into that conflict?

Posted by: loki at June 29, 2006 12:11 AM
Comment #163102


I doubt it bothered him. Israel has done this before. Its one of the reasons Iran wants a Nuke.

Posted by: Aldous at June 29, 2006 12:12 AM
Comment #163113


I am surprised to knew about the 3rd Party UN Force Proposal. Its not common knowledge.

You wanna bet the guys to the Right side don’t know that?

Posted by: Aldous at June 29, 2006 12:42 AM
Comment #163121

It’s also worth pointing out that the US didn’t support the concept either. I agreed with Annan at the time and still do that it is probably the only way some of this will end. (If you are talking about the 2003 call for UN security forces.)

I don’t mind my posts getting less comments, I had written this earlier but waited then almost didn’t post because I saw this topic was posted about during my “real life” stuff. Then I decided I had a bit of a different view so? I’d go for it anyway.

While I understand the reasons stated behind not supporting Hamas I also have felt since the elections in Palestine that the easiest way to end this situation was to actually make Hamas have to lead. As long as they can point to Israel as the reason for their failure it prevents them from actually coming to the realization that it’s going to be very difficult to continue to not recognize Israel’s right to exist and actually develop a workable peace plan.

While Israel can’t be expected to “turn the other cheek” all the time, they could be a bit less tank/warplane happy as well as providing information as to why minors especially are still being held in Israeli prisons. Not to mention simple things like if they are truly after those who are involved in the kidnapping and attacks on Israel not take out power plants and bridges.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at June 29, 2006 1:09 AM
Comment #163124

The idea of a religious state is a terrible idea in the first place; whether it is a Jewish State, and Islamic Republic, or a Christian nation, it is simply a bad idea.

But this is a realization people need to reach on their own. It is not one which can be forced upon other countries.

In the case of Palestine, it is a Bantustan which has zero chance of ever becoming a viable nation. If the current artificial borders persist, this will be resolved by one side wiping out the other.

Until all parties come to the same realization about what is necessary in order to live with each other, side by side, until people define themselves by their shared humanity, rather than their religious or ethnic affiliation, the place is simply doomed.

Personally, I would like to see the US stay out of it, but be prepared to offer services as a go-between, or peacekeeper (with the help of the UN).

Posted by: phx8 at June 29, 2006 1:26 AM
Comment #163137

I will reiterate my point made in the Red column on this topic.

These recent actions are precisely what the word ‘escalation’ means in the real world.

If Bush had provided even a token of backing for the democratically elected Hamas Government, things might not have gotten this desperate. But, his abject fear of terrorists prevents his ability to engage in diplomacy or compromise with Hamas even in the hope of steering them away from terrorist activity. Of course, now we will never know if it would have improved the situtation. This is called Bush’s preemptive failure execution. Similar to his plan for Iraq.

In fairness to the White House though, I will hasten to add that taking the tough stance on halting money to Palestine had some wide appeal. But, so far, any hopes attached to the government giving up the dissolution of Israel, have been totally dashed.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 29, 2006 2:26 AM
Comment #163160
Personally, I would like to see the US stay out of it, but be prepared to offer services as a go-between, or peacekeeper (with the help of the UN).

While I agree, looking at the US vetos at many UNSC resolutions regarding Israel I’ll bet it’s not tomorrow such US-backed UN peacekeeping operation will happened…

Posted by: Philippe Houdoin at June 29, 2006 8:42 AM
Comment #163168

And what about American support for Terrorism Rhinehold, or doesn�t that count? And what about the 3600 Palestinians killed by the Israeli Defence Forces in the last five years? At least 1,600 of whom were not engaged in fighting, of whom 580 were children. Isn�t it strange that the weapons they used were supplied mostly by the US? That their policy of ethnic cleansing is sanctioned by the US? If Americans were prepared to investigate what is actually happening in Palestine, people being killed carelessly,people being thrown out of their homes, their land being confiscated, being herded into bantustans, instead of taking their propaganda from a media terrified of criticising Israel for fear of being branded anti semitic, they would be disgusted with their own countrys� support for terrorism. You wonder why the Mid East is seething with rage? If I was a Palestinian, bereft of a potent way of defending my people, my community, my family, would I don a suicide belt? In a New York minute. You talk about terrorism, and yet you do not know what you own Government sanctions by its political, military and economic aid to a fascist Israel. And you wonder why they hate you? You who boast of your freedom, and many of you who say that if your Government acted in a way to reduce your freedoms, you would arm up, and defy your Government, in your ignorace you are prepared to call decent people, who want to live in dignity, terrorists for trying to defend themselves from a goliath. If you think I exaggerate, check out the Israeli Human Rights Organisation B�Tselem at this link;

America, the country that demands respect for human rights around with world, can tolerate a lesser holocaust perpetrated by one of its allies, and not only tolerate it, but give it great succour. For shame America!
Posted by: Paul in Euroland at June 24, 2006 04:39 PM

I posted the above contribution on the red side a few days ago. I didn’t get one single response, not one! Not from any side of the political debate. How can Americans, who traditionally have admired the little guy standing up to the schoolyard bully, call those who resist oppression terrorists? The Hamas attack was on a military force, and the captive was a soldier. Now we all know that most of the Palestinians victims are non military, at least in so far as any Israeli in non military. However, when your land is taken from you, your water is taken from you, when your people are killed daily and dismissed as collateral damage, when you are unable to move around your own land without being held up, and often refused permission to pass, to go about your daily work, school, university, hospital - HOW CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT NORMALLY SANE PEOPLE CAN REMAIN SANE IN SUCH AN INSANE WORLD? When they have pea shooters to resist against tanks, jet fighter aircraft, state of art helicopters, missiles etc etc etc, surely they will use whatever means they have to resist? Because the human spirit can only take so much before it lashes out with anything to hand. As the Irish poet William Butler Yeats said, “too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart….” A highly respected retired head of an Irish university who visited the region recently said that the Israelis treat their animals better the the Palestinians. And you wonder why they resort to “Terrorism” Tell me, please tell me, what is their alternative???? And how can America, which provides so much of the military and economic power that Israel uses to oppress the Palestinians, find no wrong in Israeli defiance of UN resolutions, and no wrong in Israeli nuclear proliferation? And you wonder why the arabs hate you when their brothers are suffering a catastrophe at the hands of americas proxies.
Posted by: Paul in Euroland at June 28, 2006 08:22 PM

So far I’ve posted the above on both the red and blue sides, with practically no response. What is it about America that it seems to be blindsided when it comes to an even handed approach to Israeli/Palestinian conflict? Why is it that Israel gets to write US policy for this region? Why is it that Israel gets unrestrained US financial and military aid despite continuing Israeli settlement of Palestinian lands in the west bank, and effective annexation of Palestinian lands by the apartheid wall, leaving unviable towns, villages and communities and farms in its wake? If you are driven to despair, then even the unthinkable becomes reasonable. The word terrorist was always one with a very elastic definition. One mans terrorist, is anothers freedom fighter. And although I have never thank God been on the receiving end of missiles, tanks, helicopters etc ad infinitum, I can imagine that the unrestrained use of these weapons of mass terror must indeed be terrifying. How many civilians killed, how many homes destroyed, how many communities atomised by Israel, a so called civilised goverment, do we have to see, before we can justifiably attribute that big T word?

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at June 29, 2006 10:15 AM
Comment #163189

Paul, I’m not sure what kind of a response you are looking for. Do I agree with you that the people of Palestine have suffered huge losses when it comes to innocents killed? Yes. Do I agree with you that not enough has been done by not only the Arab Nations but the UN as well? Yes.

All you have to do to see the inequity is to realize what the average family income and lifestyle is of a person in Palestine versus one in Israel. Then the fact that everything from electricity to water to even basic humanitarian needs is controlled by Israel. If access points are blocked? The people of Palestine are affected.

Israel makes “stragetic killings” under the guise of defense of their nation, if a few innocents get killed along with them? Not much attention is paid yet this increases the feeling of hostility and increases the vengence. Most of the suicide bombings done by Palestinians in Israel are based on this feeling of revenge. Which then creates the Israel response in a never ending show of force that almost always Palestine pays a bigger price.

However, the Arab nations that claim to be so concerned about Palestine are just as guilty in keeping this situation as it is. Look at the numbers of Palestinians still living in refugee camps that have been denied a home by both the refusal to create a right of return and by the nations that are “hosting” them. Look at how little has been done by some of these rich OPEC nations to make living conditions in Palestine better. Historically you can go even further than that to place blame on the whole creation of Balfour in the first place.

So, there is more than enough blame to go around, and unfortunately there seems to be just as many nations who are not really creating solutions either. Including the US.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at June 29, 2006 11:17 AM
Comment #163203

The foreign policy of the United States has been held hostage by the Israeli/Palestinian conflict for a generation and a half. The question to ask is who is benefiting from the continuation of this conflict?

Posted by: jlw at June 29, 2006 12:05 PM
Comment #163232

Aldous, yep this is complete nonsense that we are paying for.

Lisa great post.

Frankly, though, I don’t have much use for Hamas.

Posted by: gergle at June 29, 2006 1:45 PM
Comment #163240

I can’t say that I have much use for Hamas either, to me it’s says quite a bit about what is happening in Palestine that people were so tired of the corruption and problems that they felt Hamas would be more desirable.

Hamas could have very well become more “mature” if the right support would have been given. I didn’t expect the US to welcome Hamas with open arms but it could have been handled better.

Then again, that’s pretty much the one statement that could be used when it comes to most of the situation between Palestine and Israel - “it could have been handled better”.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at June 29, 2006 2:09 PM
Comment #163279

Paul, you make one of the most salient points ever made about terrorism. Terrorism, whether conducted by the Irish Catholics, British Protestants, KKK fundamentalists, Islamofascists, or Chechynans, is the only effective tool a self-described oppressed people have against wealthy major media-military nations.

Should our own government continue down the GOP path toward ever more authoritarian executive power, there is not doubt in my mind that terrorism will become the method exercised by an oppressed American population. Why, because it is the only way they can access the media. A revolution in America would be quickly defunded through government tracking of funds. Communications would tapped and monitored. This has the effect of cutting revolutionaries off from media access and assembly to address their grievances. Hence, their only avenue to media will be through terrorist acts which the media cannot and will not ignore, and journalists will write about the motives for the acts. It is the only means left a self-described oppressed people against regime which controls the money and communications avenues.

This understanding has implied within it, alternative strategies for addressing terrorist concerns. The Catch 22 for terrorists is, once they commit terrorist acts, reasonable people usually no longer care what their grievances are, only the consequences of their actions.

And this is why terrorist wars are intractable and enduring. Communication with understanding literally ceases to exist. Peaceful accord depends directly upon communication with understanding.

Posted by: David R. Remer at June 29, 2006 3:14 PM
Comment #163343

Terrorism - legitimate for war against democracies?

Here’s a question to ponder. The rulers of democratic nations are “the people”. In war it has always been ok to try to kill the ruler (king, general, whoever). So if the military that is doing the killing gets its orders from “the people” are they not valid targets?

Th religious of our country pretend to obey the 10 commandments, yet whenever they get a choice they will glady elect government officials that will kill others in our interest. Thou shall not kill applies to me, but if I elect someone else to do it for me - its ok…

We didn’t learn a whole lot from the story of Jesus. Jews don’t believe in executing people, yet they were more than happy to have the Romans do it for them. We do the same thing today under the guise of the Republicans being the party of morality…

Clinton lies about getting a BJ from someone who wanted to give it to him and is impeached. Bush lies about the need for a war and gets 10s of thousands of people who would rather be doing something else killed. Yet many of “the people” that vote in elections are proud of Bush.

Those people who elect Bush and start unprovoked wars are “innocent”? The people being attacked are supposed to “fight fair” against the stongest military in the world instead of going after the people giving the orders?

Now I don’t agree with the radical islamic agenda, and I do think they are wrong. But one man’s terrorist is another’s freedom fighter.

Posted by: anonymous at June 29, 2006 5:16 PM
Comment #163355

This understanding has implied within it, alternative strategies for addressing terrorist concerns. The Catch 22 for terrorists is, once they commit terrorist acts, reasonable people usually no longer care what their grievances are, only the consequences of their actions.

And this is why terrorist wars are intractable and enduring. Communication with understanding literally ceases to exist. Peaceful accord depends directly upon communication with understanding.
Posted by: David R. Remer at June 29, 2006 03:14 PM

David, the resolution of the apartheid war in South Africa and indeed in the north of my own country says you’re wrong. It only takes pragmatic people such as, I think it was FW De Klerk, to recognise that current strategies aren’t working. In the case of my own country, constitutional Republican politicians, led initially by John Hume, started a dialogue with the IRA and their political wing. At the same time, Irish Governments engaged the British in a process, which particularly blossomed under John Major and latterly Tony Blair. This process led to the acceptance of strictly constitutional means by all sides in Ireland in furtherance of political objectives. On the part of the British, they declared that they had no selfish interest in the North of Ireland, and that they would support whatever the majority in the North of Ireland wanted. The guns and bombs have been largely silent since 1994, though reconciliation in the North of Ireland has yet a sad distance to travel. The point being that the terrorist acts of the IRA did not stop reasonable people from trying to find acceptable solutions to end the violence. It did not stop the Irish people amending our constitution to drop cherished articles in order to contribute to the ending of the violent stream in Irish politics. Where the is a will, there is a way. And if we listen to each other, we can find solutions. as long as the will is there to find just accomodations.

Posted by: Paul in Euroland at June 29, 2006 5:53 PM
Comment #163398

It’s kind of hard to ignore millions of people marching on Washington. Let’s hope we don’t get to the terrorism stage. The marches and riots of the sixties worked pretty well.

Posted by: gergle at June 29, 2006 7:42 PM
Comment #163413

That pretty much ends any doubt that this was not because of the kidnapped solider, that part of this is a much larger plan. Arresting 64 people, some of which are cabinet members of the Palestine Government should do more than just cause “concern”.

Posted by: Lisa Renee at June 29, 2006 8:05 PM
Comment #163876

Hamas is truly an Islaic Party, and i do not agree with their ideology at all,

however, the United States and Israel are fully responsible for murder and segregation policies against the various peoples of the world.

from Vietnam to Chili to Iraq to Iran to Kuwait to tens of African Countries to Lebanon to Eastern Europe The united States has violated all codes that maintain human rights.

Israel has been murdering Palestinians since 1948. it has kicked them out of their lands, burned and demolished their homes, murdered children, women, and the elderly; segregated the Arabs and the palestinians and even the Arab Jews and forced them into camps in neighboring countries.

This TERRORIST Policy adopted by the state of Israel has created resistance, and resistence has created the PLO and Hamas, regardless of their ideologies.

Resistence is a legitamite right for this people, and the only terrorists in the world are the United states and the state of israel.

the war against terrorism is a war against human rights. against justice, and against peace. terrorism is the product of opression. if we are supposed to find a solution to terrorism once and for all, we need to stop torturing the people of the world or we might be seeing many more septemper 11’s.

and by the way, we should have seen it coming. the united states has opressed so many peoples that it was time for someone to retatiate.



Posted by: Bored at July 1, 2006 11:29 AM
Comment #164133

This whole situation can be solved in a simple manner.

Israel is holding Palestinian women and children in its jails.

Palestine demands the release of these people in exchange for the hostage.

Israel should just do the right thing and free the women and children.

I always thought Israel shouldn’t be given weapons. They have become gun-happy and paranoid. Someday, Israel is going to nuke us all.

Posted by: Katie M. at July 2, 2006 9:06 AM
Comment #166591

As an Arab Christian I can tell you that Israel is doing the right thing. If you read the news in the days leading to this you will see that HAMAS has spared no effort to provoke some sort of Israeli reaction that will lead to this. Firing missiles and kidnapping civilians and soldiers was the needle that broke the camel’s back as we Arabs say. HAMAS is a fascist regime that needs to be uprooted that was elected in the same fashion Hitler was elected by Germans. They have been seeking to provoke an Israeli response knowing full sure that the liberal media and the liberal international media and Israel haters everywhere will broadcast Israel ‘atrocities’ and with the intent to use that to say to the world ‘Israel destroyed our power plant give us more money to build a new one’, money which will for the most part go towards arming HAMAS terrorists. God bless and protect Israel, the last best hope for peace in the Middle East وفق الله إسرائيل
ستيف ديكيتر

Posted by: Steve at July 11, 2006 3:51 PM
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