Monday, December 29, 2008

Israel is Right to Defend Its People

Hamas are a bunch of murderous thugs. Over the past few years they have fired 5,000 rockets on Israel from residential parts of the Gaza strip, killing and injuring dozens of innocent Israelis. Israel has done its best not to react, but in the end their patience has snapped - and understandably so. They have acted using the only kind of force Hamas can understand.

According to Conservative Friends of Israel, over the past week more than 300 rockets, missiles and mortar rounds have been fired from Gaza by Hamas and other militants at Israeli villages and towns. More than 560 have been fired since Hamas escalated rocket firing on 4 November. This is on top of the 5,000 which have been fired from Gaza this year. The media seem to think these rockets are fairly harmless. They are not. They are weapons of terror.

BBC reports suggest that in recent days none of these rockets has resulted in any Israeli deaths or injuries. Not true. CFI report today that: "An Israeli man was killed and four others were seriously wounded when a missile hit a house in Netivot. Another man was seriously wounded when a rocket struck at the community of Mivtahim later this afternoon." Over the last four years, 92% of Sderot residents (a town of 20,000 people) have experienced a Qassam rocket falling on their or an adjacent street. Sixteen Israelis have been killed by Qassam rockets and hundreds have been injured and maimed.

Israel should have dealt with this situation long before now. Instead, it allowed itself to be persuaded to call a truce with Hamas. It may have gone down well in the international community, but all it achieved was to allow Hamas time to regroup and rearm. According to CFI:
Under cover of the truce, Hamas engaged in a major campaign to upgrade its terrorist capabilities, manufacturing and smuggling massive quantities of weapons into Gaza – including rockets, explosive charges and machine guns – and constructing a network of underground tunnels for combat purposes. Israel cannot acquiesce to the presence of a Hizbullah-like organization on its southern border.

Hamas broke the ceasefire by firing more rockets into Israel. Imagine if this had happened here. Imagine if France fired rockets onto Dover from Calais. Would the British people expect its government to stand idly by and do nothing? Of course not.

British politicians are calling on both sides to act with restraint. Fine words, which are totally hollow. It is not right to treat both sides equally. Israel is a democratic ally, while Hamas are nothing more than an Iranian backed terror group, which is subjugating the people of Gaza in order to radicalise them. Once they have done that they intend to repeat the experience on the West Bank. The Palestinian Authority, led by Fatah's Mahmoud Abbas are well aware of this and their condemnation of the Israeli action is notable for its reticence. It's easy to understand why. They know full well what Hamas is like, and what its endgame is. This report is from the Press Association...

In a news conference today from Cairo, Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas placed the blame for the violence in the Gaza Strip squarely on the shoulders of Hamas. He described how he repeatedly made contact with Hamas and implored them not to break the ceasefire. He lamented that the violence in the Gaza Strip could have been avoided had Hamas not broken the ceasefire. The following is Mahmoud Abbas's statement at a joint press conference with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmad Abu al-Gheit.

"I say in all honesty, we made contact with leaders of the Hamas movement in the Gaza Strip. We spoke with them in all honesty and directly, and after that we spoke with them indirectly, through more than one Arab and non-Arab side... We spoke with them on the telephone and we said to them: We ask of you, don't stop the ceasefire, the ceasefire must continue and not stop, in order to avoid what has happened, and if only we had avoided it."

The US ambassador to the US Zalmay Khalilzad has suggested Hamas held the key to restoring calm. "We believe the way forward from here is for rocket attacks against Israel to stop, for all violence to end," he said. CFI reports that Khalilzad was "implicitly backed up from Cairo by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who claimed the current situation could have been avoided had Hamas renewed the ceasefire before it lapsed and ceased all violence towards Israel."

If you doubt my interpretation of Hamas's motives and are deluded enough to think that they are genuine freedom fighters, just click HERE. To the horror of the Egyptians Hamas are not even allowing ambulances in to Gaza to treat the injured.
Egypt's Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the wounded were "barred from crossing" and he blamed "those in control of Gaza" for putting the lives of the injured at risk.
And we shouldn't forget who funds Hamas - the Iranians. Without their money and weapons Hamas wouldn't be half the force it is today, either in Gaza or in the Lebanon. Hamas is classified as a terror organisation by the UN. Virtually every Middle East country won't have any dealings with Hamas, yet in this country they seem to be treated by many as a legitimate organisation with whom the Israelis should negotiate. The only country which exalts Hamas is the one to whose President Channel 4 disgracefully gave a platform on Christmas Day.

People blame Israel for the terrible state of living standards in the Gaza Strip. They are wrong. Hamas is to blame for keeping its people in abject poverty. Israel handed over the governmental administration of the Gaza Strip in 2005 to the Palestinian Authority. They had an opportunity to run it themselves. Instead, since Hamas took power, they have done everything in their power to keep their people in poverty and use it as an excuse to radicalise those who are inclined to believe their propaganda. But even despite this, Israel was providing huge amounts of humanitarian aid to Gaza - more than 4,000 truck loads a month as well as fuel and electricity (despite the ongoing rocket attacks). Conditions were by no means good, but there was no humanitarian crisis, according to Khaled Abdel Shaafi, director the United Nations Development Programme in Gaza. He said this month that "this is not a humanitarian crisis... It's an economic crisis, a political crisis, but it's not a humanitarian crisis. People aren't starving."

It is highly regrettable that more than 250 people have been killed over the last few days. If Hamas hadn't been firing their rockets from residential areas the death toll would have been much lower. But Hamas have sited them there deliberately, so they can portray any Israeli response as heartless and disproportionate.

Gordon Brown was absolutely bang on with his response to what's happening in Gaza. He said: "I call on Gazan militants to cease all rocket attacks on Israel immediately. These attacks are designed to cause random destruction and to undermine the prospects of peace talks led by president Abbas. I understand the Israeli government's sense of obligation to its population."

William Hague, though, was perhaps a little less unequivocal, which I think is a shame. He said: "We deeply regret the loss of civilian life in Gaza today. We call on the Israeli government to show restraint. At the same time we call on Hamas to stop the rocket attacks which are an unacceptable threat to Israel's security, so that the ceasefire, which Hamas failed to renew, can be urgently restored."

The trouble is that any Hamas backed ceasefire isn't worth the paper it is written on. If we have learned nothing from recent history, surely we have learned that. Israel will only be able to restore open borders with Gaza and cease its military action when it is clear that no further rockets are being fired. In the meantime they should have the backing of every right thinking democrat in destroying the sites from which rockets are being fired and the tunnels through which Hamas are smuggling arms from Egypt.

As you can tell, I support Israel 100% in their actions in Gaza. But I fully recognise that there is an opposing viewpoint, which others are espousing on other blogs - mostly on the left. Whenever I write about Israel or the Middle East it provokes the loonies to come out of hiding. Let's keep the debate moderate and insult free in the comments please.

UPDATE: Courtesy of Dizzy...

Quote of the Day by the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Ahmed Aboul Gheit

The Israelis have been warning you that this was coming if you continue your cross border rocket attacks. Egypt has been imploring you to stop firing rockets into Israel, but you ignored our words. We have been urging you to renew the cease-fire with Israel, but you refused. You have brought this upon yourselves. You are responsible for what is happening to the people of Gaza.

180 comments:

jane said...

Spot on. Hamas is a terror group which is occupying Gaza illegally. Where are the marches against it? Where is the Not In My Name against Hamas terror attacks and a platform for its chief backer on UK TV?

strapworld said...

Well said Iain. At least Israel has shown it will not be stopped from protecting themselves.

Unlike British politicians that have opened the country to anyone be they friend or foe, and handed our beloved country to an unelected quango of, mainly retreaded communists, in the United States of Europe!

Howard said...

Yes yes yes Iain. All this is true, although the killings has been rather one sided. But where is your solution? What will the latest bombing do to bring about a peaceful end?

As usual Fisk (and he has lived in the Middle East for years) is spot on in the Indy this morning.

What is this bombing going to achieve? Nothing that is what.

Desperate Dan said...

I knew there'd be a quid pro quo for that free holiday you took to Israel.

ashann said...

Iain,
Any one who says they support either side "one hundred per cent" is being naive and simplistic. This is not a football match where one supports one's side "come what may". Yes the UN defines Hamas as a terrorist organisation but Israel is also in breach of international law (both the Hague and Genva conventions)in respect of its settlement policy un the West Bank.
Blind adherence to either the Israeli or Palestinian cause achieves nothing.

Dick the Prick said...

It's been on the cards for ages. It's just a crying shame really that they use their own people as props and human shields and then scarper as soon as the weather turns inclement. They're not warriors - just gangsters, same the world over.

polaris said...

Iain you appear to be advocating a solution that cannot work, and has never done so - in any modern campaign against terrorism; violence begets violence. We need arbitrated talks and serious independent peace keeping to solve this horrendous situation and loss of life, not more violence.
Neither side is devoid of blame...

Letters From A Tory said...

I agree with the above comments which point out that there is no 'right' or 'wrong' here.

Suicide bombings and rocket attacks are inexcusable, but so is cutting power supplies and food supplies on a regular basis to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who are effectively forced to live in barbed wire compounds with no means of supporting or defending themselves.

david kendrick said...

The Israelis will always win a military encounter.

But the propoganda fight is much more even.

The huge number of rockets fired into Israel, and the low number of Israeli casualties, suggests that those rockets are 'a statement', not a war.

Its tough to see how Israel can win the 'political war'. But until they do, they'll always have to shoot-to-kill. And that will leave them looking like bullies.

Mark Pack said...

"BBC reports suggest that in recent days none of these rockets has resulted in any Israeli deaths or injuries."

The BBC (radio) reports I've heard have covered Israeli deaths and injuries. And - quick check - so does http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/7802515.stm

Oscar Miller said...

Brave post Iain - much needed in the present assymetric media environment. Even when Israel pulled out of Gaza, patiently negotiated with their enemies, supplied all kinds of resources (from hospital care to food and energy supplies) to help the beleagered people of Gaza they still got a bad press. There were no calls for a cease fire when Hamas was firing rockets over the border and no chorus of disapproval when Hamas failed to renew the cease fire agreement. Now Hamas is reaping the inevitable consequences of its insane and inhumane terror tactics - and the MSM blames Israel. We need a lot more posts, articles and broadcasts like this one to set the record straight.

John Moss said...

Hamas, Hezbollah and their sponsor Iran, have no interest in a negotiated settlement over the future of the "Palestinian Territories". They do not recognise Israel's right to exist and they are committed to seeing it destroyed. Ahmedinijhad said it plainly, they want to see Israel wiped off the map.

As Israel came into being at the behest of the UN, perhaps our UN representative should demand that Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah, pledge to them that they will support the continued existance of Israel, before any more mealey-mouthed, hand-wringing, apologist resolutions are passed in either the General Assembly or the Security Council?

No, I thought not.

Lady Finchley said...

Right on, Iain. Unfortunately the bleeding heart, anti-Semetic crybabies at the BBC will paint the Israelis as the villians of the piece as usual.

If the Israelis are cutting food and power supplies (and we don't know if this is Hamas/BBC propaganda) then it is only aiding Hamas who are happy to starve and subjugate their own people to make a point.

ranter said...

I am pleases to read an article like this. I agree with every word. There is no solution other than the removal of Hamas - completely. Talking can commence once this has been achieved. Hamas simply uses the Palestinian people. It makes unrealistic demands. Talking/negotiation etc is not on their agenda. I am also appalled at the anti-semitism that still exists in this country, in the press, and across the political spectrum. BBC bias is breathtaking.

Nick said...

It's very simple. If your land is occupied by force, you are allowed to use force to regain it.

Israel has occupied another countries land.

What do you expect?

It's the same as Britain retaking the Falklands

dalesman said...

Well said Ian. A brave post.

To those who have commented above that Israel is wrong because violence begets violence - what the hell are we doing fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan ?

John Moss said...

http://johnmossblog.blogspot.com/

And the more of us who put our heads over the parapet and tell it like it is, the better!

Iain Dale said...

Nick, Gaza is Israeli territory. Israel withdrew from it in 2005. I'd love to know how you can say Israel has occupied another country - or is it that you don't thinK Israel has a right to exist?

CityUnslicker said...

I can see no end to the conflict. hamas, like Bin-Laden, will not seemingly ever negotiate in good faith. If they do nto get what they want they resort to violence.

Witness not just there attacks on israel but also Fatah and the Democratic government in Lebanon.

Our solution to Northern Ireland will not work here. There can be no hard negotiations.

My only hope is that ordinary palestinians rise up to throw off their oppressors. Sadly there is little precedent in history for this either.

Perhaps instead the economic crisis in Iran will reduce financial support for hamas.

polaris said...

Iain, you cannot seriously argue that Gaza is Israel? Gaza is one of the most ancient cities in the middle east, after WW1 it was given to Great Britain by the league of nations. After the 1929 Palestinian riots, Britain banned Jews from living there. Egypt occupied it from 1948 to 1967 and after the 6 day war the Israeli's occupied it until 2005...

Me vs Maradona vs Elvis said...

Spot on Iain - I can't disagree with a word of that. Very interesting about Hamas not allowing ambulances into Gaza - bet that doesn't get a mention in the BBC reports...

Old Holborn said...

Glad you enjoyed your stay in Israel courtesy of the Conservative Friends of Israel recently. Looks like they got value for money eh?

So, if Israel can murder 300 people with F-16's because they've been chucking rockets at them and threatening their citizens, can we clusterbomb a few council Estates in South London?

Clive said...

Iain, under the 1947 UN Partition plan, Gaza was to form part of an Arab state. The Strip as we know it today, was formed as a consequence of the 1949 Armistice between Israel and Egypt.

Israel seized it during the Six Day War in 1967, a pre-emptive strike against Egypt after the latter ejected the UN Peace Keepers from Sinai. The UN presence was itself a consequence of the Suez campaign in 1956.

So Gaza is Israeli territory only as a result of war. Perhaps we should retain a claim on all those territories the British have occupied as spoils of war over the years eh?

Iain Dale said...

Let me be clear on Gaza. I think it should be part of the two state solution, or even three state solution, but while rockets are being fired into Israel, that isn't going to happen is it?

JMB said...

Perhaps Ireland would be a better comparison than France? When London was being bombed by IRA terrorists based in Ireland and supported from Ireland, what would the reaction be if the RAF had bombed IRA "security compounds" (this seems to cover anywhere that HAMAS might have an office) in Dublin and brought down whole blocks of flats because someone from the IRA possibly lived in them.

Collective punishment is a war crime whatever the provocation.

As far as I am concerned the IDF is as bad as the Palestinian terrorists.

Old Holborn said...

Israel denies Gaza a harbour, an airport or any infrastructure at all. It is, in effect, a prison camp.

Until that changes, of course they can expect the inmates to get uppity now and again. I know I would.

Clive said...

Iain, I'm glad you clarified that point, because your original comment was that "I'd love to know how you can say Israel has occupied another country." I hope you now know how Israel has occupied another country.

strapworld said...

Such a stupid, childish statement and one that, perhaps, should be disregarded.

But in memory of the brave soldiers and sailors who lost their lives fighting to regain the Islands and the brave peoples of the Islands that wanted, and still wish to remain British I find the sentence by Nick at 9.50
"It's the same as Britain retaking the Falklands" highly offensive!

Obviously written without any thought or research.

It was the only time in the past forty years that Britain acted like Israel. Showed its steel and won the day!

Chris said...

Quite right, Iain.

Did anyone else notice the BBC news at six last night saying that the tunnels from Egypt into Gaza are used to smuggle 'goods'? One man's terrorist is another man's shop assistant.

Lorcan said...

Iain, if you cannot comprehend the fact that Israel forcibly evicted Palestinians from their lands, forced them into refugee camps and denied them the rights of citizenship then your interpretation of events is missing a pretty important component. Just because the situation has persisted for 50 years does not make it right.
Of course Hamas are a crowd of terrorists, but they were democratically elected by a population who continued to see their family lands occupied and given to recent immigrants from other regions of the world purely on the basis of religion.
Until Israel behaves like a proper country and not a loony, fundametalist religious state (yes, like Saudi Arabia, Iran etc.) they shouldn't be treated like a proper country. Self-defence is one thing, almost 300 people dead with F-16s is over the top.
To use your France analogy, if France occupied London, evicted you and confiscated your land and brought in Francophone settlers, would you not feel you had some right to use violence as a form of resistance while restricted to the Norwich strip?

Jeremy Jacobs said...

"It is highly regrettable that more than 250 people have been killed over the last few days". Looks as though the figure is nearer 50.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Lorcan

You said

"Iain, if you cannot comprehend the fact that Israel forcibly evicted Palestinians from their lands"


on what dates and when?

(I don't suppose you give two hoots to the fact that getting on for a million Jews were expelled from Iraq, Morocco, et al from 1948 onwards.)

Clive said...

Jeremy, "Looks as though the figure is nearer 50." Your source for this figure being?

Alex said...

Iain, it is obvious that you and many other Conservatives sell out to the CFOI and take their line without giving the matter deep consideration.

Let me start by saying that I take no particular side in this affair and that I find the claims of both sides unreasonable and their respective unwillingness to acknowledge the grievance of the other side is a barrier to peace. Rather than giving 100% support to one side, I probably give 15% support to both sides.

The parallels with Ireland and in particular are striking. An "indigenous" population resented the historical presence of "incomers" and a paramilitary group tried over several years to weaken the resolve of the perceived "occupiers" in the province through asymmetric warfare.

Despite much provocation, the British Army never reacted in the way that the IDF has done. Bombing Gaza would be the same as blowing up the Bogside or West Belfast, an act likely to satisfy the more hot-blooded, but unlikely to lead to peace. Fortunately for the rest of us, our political leaders had the good sense to use other means to bring about some sort of a resolution, which even if we think it is unsatisfactory in some respects, has at least led to greater normality of life in N. Ireland.

When faced by terrorists, hitting back with military force that is likely to hit the civilian population is always going to be counterproductive.

Oscar Miller said...

Clive - Israel did NOT occupy "another country" in 1967. There has never been a state of Palestine and Gaza has never been part of such a state. Gaza went from being part of the Ottoman Empire to being under British mandate rule to being under Egyptian rule - when no-one complained it was "under occupation". In fact when the PLO was constituted in 1963 they explicitly EXCLUDED both Gaza and the West Bank from the territory of a Palestinian homeland (not wanting to antagonise Egypt and Jordan). At that time it was only the land of Israel as constituted after the the 1948 war, that the PLO wished to 'liberate' (and annihilate the so-called Zionist-entitity). It was only after the 1967 war, when Gaza and the West Bank fell under Israeli rule that the PLO changed their demands and the famously disputed UN resolution 242 became the official basis for PLO demands. Before 1948 there was a long history of Jewish settlement in Gaza (as there was across Palestine) - the Egyptians kicked Jews out of Gaza and some returned to their old homes after 1967 - along with mostly economic migrants who set up homes, farms and businesses in Gaza giving employment to many Palestinians and developing the economy. Until the first Intifada Gazans flocked into Israel proper for work making them amongst the most affluent people in the Arab world, with a higher standard of living than the average Egyptian. The 1988 Intifada put an end to that - leading to a long slow decline made massively worse after the muderous second Intifada launched in 2000. Israel bowed to international pressure in 2005 when it forcibly removed the well-tended Jewish homes and businesses from Gaza in 2005, which were regarded as a prime obstacle in the 'peace process'. The day after the pullout the rocket attacks started. Hamas came to power in February 2006, proving how wrong the international community had been. The Palestinians had yet another huge opportunity to improve the lives of Gazans with massive aid from the international community which they utterly blew - just as they have blown so many opportunities in the past. I don't dispute the misery of the current living conidtions of ordinary Gazans - but this is a misery imposed on them by their own vicious corrupt leadership. But the ideology of Israeli "occupation" has disastrously misrepresented and distorted any proper historical understanding of what has taken place.

Unsworth said...

Iain you're probably right as to Hamas being 'murdering bastards'. What do you feel about 'colateral damage and deaths'?

Israel has repeatedly attempted to subdue Hamas by military force - and repeatedly failed to do so. Do you think it's time for the Israelis to try some other means of neutralisation of Hamas? Clearly it ain't working and this latest assault is a manifestation of abject failure. What it has done is given Hamas an enormous platform in all Moslem countries and communities. So, does Israel really want to take on all of them, too?

Iain Dale said...

Alex, how dare you. I have sold out to no one. I write my own views and call it as I see it. Take your blinkers off.

canvas said...

Iain, this reminds me of your views on the Georgia/Russia situation. I'm afraid that you are probably off track once again...Israel should stop the attacks immediately. They only make the situation worse by their disproportionate reaction.

Jeremy Jacobs said...

Clive

"Jeremy, "Looks as though the figure is nearer 50." Your source for this figure being?

December 29, 2008 10:56 AM"


Not the usual media sources

Alex said...

Jeremy Jacobs:
"(I don't suppose you give two hoots to the fact that getting on for a million Jews were expelled from Iraq, Morocco, et al from 1948 onwards.)"

Since when did 2 wrongs make a right? It is a rather curious notion that the expulsion of one racial group in one country should be the justification for the expulsion of another group of the same ethnicity as the first in a different country.

"on what dates and when?"

Don't be silly. On every day since 1947. If you want an example, the "security wall" built deep into Palestinian territory.

Andrew said...

Wasn't Tony Blair supposed to be sorting all of this out? Haven't heard much from him lately.
I think "the boot of history" should be applied to his rear-end as soon as possible.

Oscar Miller said...

Unsworth - I don't agree. Hamas has very very little support in the Arab world. I think you'll find that Egypt, Jordan and the Fatah leadership are quietly happy at Israel's action - they all have reason to detest Hamas (and their Iranian backers). Of course they won't say so in public. As for a diplomatic solution, the truth is for the most part Israel has worked tirelessly at negotiations alongside the Egyptians. It's just that the media have hardly reported this fact. It's only when Israel takes military action that the world takes notice - and the calls for "diplomacy" start up. Hamas simply are not amenable to diplomacy. And since the civil war with Fatah and taking Alan Johnston hostage Hamas has decimated support from pro-Palestinians that used to be a mainstay of the cause. I see no boost for Hamas as a consequence of the current action whatsoever.

polaris said...

How to stop getting stung...

Old Holborn said...

Over 80% of Tory MP's are members of CFOI.

I think I understand where Iain's loyalties lie. And there's nothing like being lavishly entertained at someone elses expense, is there Iain?

let me declare that this whole trip has been arranged by the CFI and they have paid for my flight and accomodation.

Clive said...

Oscar, if you check, you'll find that I didn't state that Israel occupied "another country" so quite why you bothered to imply that I did escapes me. However, Gaza was intended to be part of an Arab state under the 1947 UN Partition Plan. Significant areas of land which were intended to form this Arab state are today an integral part of Israel.

And examine the objectives of the Yishuv during the 1947/48 Civil War. Whilst initially desiring to avoid another Holocaust, their aims soon grew to expanding Israel's border beyond those of the partition plan and to reduce the size of any Arab minority within Israel.

Iain Dale said...

Old Holborn, I'm tempted to use the only sort of language you seem to understand, but sadly have to obey my own rules.

So you are effectively saying that I am easily bought. Indeed, you seem to be accusing me of being bribed. Careful. It's pathetic stuff. My views on Israel were well known before I went there and if you really believe I am bought that easily I cannot understand why you would even waste your time reading my blog.

Clive said...

Jeremy, "Not the usual media sources" is being more that just a bit disingenuous. I ask what your source for the 50 figure was, not what your source wasn't.

And regarding the forcible expulsions from Morocco et al, as someone else pointed out, 2 wrongs don't make a right. Consider all the people displaced as a consequence of the various Highland Clearances is Scotland.

Richard Willis said...

Absolutely right Iain!

I have written an article in similar vein on my blog here: http://richardwillisuk.wordpress.com/2008/12/28/the-stupidity-of-hamas/

Darrell G said...

Iain,

I have written a longer piece on my blog so will restrict myself to a couple of comments here. Israel broke the ceasefire; it crossed into Gaza on November 4th. Also, you could argue that the economic blockade in and of itself constitutes an act of agression.

You cannot escape the fact that Hamas is a much more complex organisation than you suggest. It won a democratic election and whether you like it or not that is an established fact.

I am sorry but I have to agree that expressing 100% support for either side in this equation is incredibly simplistic.

Oscar Miller said...

Clive - this is what you wrote at 10.17am

"Iain, I'm glad you clarified that point, because your original comment was that "I'd love to know how you can say Israel has occupied another country." I hope you now know how Israel has occupied another country."

I was responding to that comment. And yes - Gaza was intended to be part of Arab territory under the UN proposal - but you leave out the salient and over-riding fact that the Arabs said NO. All 'two-state' solutions were unacceptable to them. While Jews jubiliantly agreed to the tiny patch of land offered to them under the proposal, the much more substantial territory offered to the Arabs was deemed an affront. Any Jewish land at all was too much for them. It was one of the many lost opportunities in the saga of lost opportunities for the Palestinian people.

Old Holborn said...

Wherever will you spring up next Iain?

A Conservative Friend of Russia sitting on a billionaire's yacht?

I notice with interest that Israel is the only country in the Middle East you have ever visited in your entire life (and then paid for and controlled by the UK Zionist lobby), yet you are happy to praise Israel using F-16's to bomb children in a prison camp.

I look forward to your report on how wonderful the Burmese Military are after recieving some free tyres for the Audi from the Burmese Rubber Company.

When do we get to indiscriminately bomb Bradford and Luton? They killed 54 of us on the tube after all, it only seems "right" eh, Iain?

Clive said...

Oscar, my bad for failing to be successfully ironic in my reply to Iain. I should have used quotes to better indicate that my perception was that Iain's original statement was flawed, but oh well, sometimes the web isn't the best medium for debate.

And I agree that the Arab rejection of the 1947 plan was probably one of the greatest missed opportunities in the modern history of the region. Doesn't excuse Israels subsequent conduct though (nor that of the various Arab parties either).

Iain Dale said...

Old Holborn. You're making yourself look an idiot. How do you know Israel is the only Middle East country I have been to? You're wrong. I have been to Lebanon too. In any case, you don't have to have been somewhere to hold a view on it.

Your views seem to be that Israel shouldn't even defend itself after 5000 rocket attacks. Perhaps you think Israel shouldn't even exist.

Your reference tot he UK zionist lobby also seems to indicate a latent anti semitism.

Old Holborn said...

Bingo.

I must be a Jew Hater.

Iain, Israel is a supremacist society. It is a country founded on a religion. If you are not of that religion, you are not welcome. Some may be tolerated, but Israel is for the Jews. It even deports the children of mixed marriages. How very progressive.

I detest Hamas. Whether I like it or not, the people of Gaza elected them, democratically. I have to live with that and will they. But many in Northern Ireland elected Sinn Fein MP's and didn't expect to be bombed from the air by the British every time the IRA let one off.

Israel has every right to exist and every right to defend itself. But it must be seen as what it is. A supremacist, fundamentalist, elitist, apatheid state that can only by it's very formation and existence, cater for Jews exclusively. Or will you be the one to tell them God didn't mean it to be taken literally?

PS I am an idiot. I take it as a compliment.

Craig said...

Iain

In the interests of trying to pour some oil on these troubled waters (I read both you and OH) - your action in declaring that some of your expenses for your trip to Israel were paid for you is highly commendable but there's also a school of thought that agrees with some of the more sensationalist themes adopted by OH.

As for my opinion: as an ex-soldier (and therefore used to sitting on the fence) I've indicated before that I believe Israel have in the past behaved like a schoolyard bully who have, only recently, sulked towards the two-state solution.

The creation of the modern state of Israel at the end of WW2 by the Allied powers was driven by a form of providing limited restitution for the Holocaust. On this basis the limits of Israel at that time should be provided for. Forgive my not being a history graduate (maths) but any move beyond these borders without the express permission of its neighbours might be considered an act of aggression, n'est pas?

This is not to forgive the acts of Hamas (who, unlike we British, are a wholly elected government) - failure to clamp down on missile attacks on Israel at this, one of the Holiest times of year for the Abrahamic faiths, is a ridiculous deviation from duty.

wildgoose said...

Well said Iain, I agree with every word.

wildgoose said...

Well said Iain, I agree with every word.

Chris said...

Perhaps Old Holborn would care to explain how come there are Arab MPs in the Knesset, and how come Arabs serve - voluntarily; they are exempt from conscription - in the Israeli army?

Old Holborn said...

Chris,

South Africa did the same during apartheid.

Let's not forget Transkei eh?

Oscar Miller said...

Old Holborn - the canard about Hamas being democratically elected should have been dropped into the dustbin of history when Hamas staged its coup against Fatah in Gaza. At that point their democratic figleaf was discarded and they lost all credibility as leaders with any intention of democratic leadership. And your "Zionist lobby" taunt is straight out of the book of Stalinist propaganda.

Savonarola said...

Interesting floater from OH - Transkei. The articial 'state' manufactured by Vorster based on the Verwoerd model of segragation of not only blacks from whites but tribe from tribe. Vorster funnelled in cash to keep the Mantanzimas in Mercs, women and whisky.

Given the state of Africa I wonder if old Verwoerd had something.

Chris said...

What South Africa did is not an explanation of what Israel does, OH, except in your logic-free world.

Old Holborn said...

"Zionism is an international political movement that originally supported the reestablishment of a homeland for the Jewish People in Palestine (Hebrew: Eretz Yisra'el, "the Land of Israel"), and continues primarily as support for the modern state of Israel.[1]

Zionism is partly based upon strong historical ties and religious traditions linking the Jewish people to the Land of Israel, where the concept of Jewish nationhood first evolved somewhere between 1200 BCE and the late Second Temple era (i.e. up to 70 CE).[2][3] The modern movement was mainly secular in its origins, beginning largely as a response by European Jewry to antisemitism across Europe.[4] It is a branch of the broader phenomenon of modern nationalism.[5] At first one of several Jewish political movements offering alternative responses to the position of Jews in Europe, Zionism grew rapidly, and after the Holocaust became the dominant Jewish political movement."

From Wiki

Hardly Stalinist? What do you call people who campaign for a homeland for the Jews?

Old Holborn said...

Can any of you answer whether we should use our new Eurofighters to drop bombs on Bradford?

They continue to threaten us and killed 54 Londoners on the Tube a little while ago.

Surely, we should be following Israels example? Would you support that "100%"?

Unsworth said...

@ Oscar Miller

Your comments would have greater credibility if even a single Moslem state publicly supported Israeli action. I'm not aware of any Moslem state or community that does. Until that happens Hamas will continue its war against Israel. Taking but one of the examples you put forward to support your hypothesis - has Egypt condemned Hamas actions, ever?

Please also note that I have not discussed or even mentioned 'diplomatic solutions'. That was your insertion.

Iain Dale said...

Unsworth, many middle eastern states privately support many of the stances Israel takes. They know that Islamic fundamentalism threatens their own existence just as much as Israel's. For obvious reasons they cannot say so publicly. It's the same as the situation in 1990 when many Arab states supported the US action against Saddam Hussein.

Darrell G said...

Iain,

Slight quibble with your last sentence too. I think we have seen that this issue, from the comments here, cut's across the left/right divide; though it's true that the left has been generally more inclined to take a pro-Palestinian stance I don't think it is a 'left/right' issue. At times to be totally honest the left becomes too 'pro-Palestinian' and often won't recognise that legitmate grivence exists on the Israeli side too...something I am happy to concede.

However, this current course of action is as damaging for Israel as it is for the Gazans and I think at times people who want to be Israel's friend have to remember that the best friend is often a critical one...

What we have is an issue where one-sidedness on both sides tends to produce it's mirror opposing view...

yellowbelly said...

Just a thought, and I am being non-partisan here, but it seems to me that where land has been fought over historically, and occupied by different sides, both sides will stake a claim to it, and use certain historical dates to validate their viewpoint.

The question should be: How far back in history do we go to establish who has a legitimate right to occupy certain land?

There are so many instances that are relevant even today. I am no history scholar, and offer no personal opinion, but from my memory the same question also applies to Great Britain/ Ireland, UK/ Falklands/ Argentina, Gibraltar/ UK/ Spain, Iraq/ Mesopotamia, Yugoslavia/ Balkans, Russia/ Prussia/ Germany, and I am sure many more worldwide that better educated people than me could cite.

The question remains, how far back in history should you go to decide who has a divine right to occupy a certain area of land?

Tim said...

Iain, please keep up your defence of Israel and in as many as fora as possible. The whole country knows Gordon Brown is a clown but sadly many are deceived into thinking that there is some kind of moral equivalence in the Middle East.

It was perhaps once true that the Jewish lobby was a powerful force in British public discourse. Today, the shrill Muslim lobby is a much louder force and they need to be counteracted.

Alex said...

Iain Dale said...
"Alex, how dare you. I have sold out to no one. I write my own views and call it as I see it. Take your blinkers off."

Sorry Iain, but if you accept CFOI hospitality and then reprint their press releases verbatim and without criticism then you invite such accusations.

If the state of Israel sepnt less time cultivating friendships in US and European political and media circles and more time cultivating friendships with its Arab neighbours, we wouldn't be in the current predicament. Unfortunately we have spent the last 60 years heading in the wrong direction, and the blame for this lies with both sides of the conflict.

The very existence of groups such as AIPAC and CFOI are designed to give Israel greater leeway in pursuing their own interests at the expense of the Palestinians.

I for one would not join such an organisation (nor would I join a "Friends of Palestine"). Any elected representative should be very wary about doing so given the situation in the Middle East. It does not contribute to peace when powerful people openly show uncritical support for either side.

Iain Dale said...

Alex, I am not an elected representative. I live in a free country and I will choose which charities or lobby groups to support on my own thank you very much.

I support Israel's right to exist, and I support the right of Palestine to have its own State. I also support the Conservative Middle East Council. The CFI and CMEC are friendly and cooperate.

Are you really saying that pressure groups should not exist?

What a strange world.

Guthrum said...

Israel has every right to exist and every right to defend itself. But it must be seen as what it is. A supremacist, fundamentalist, elitist, apatheid state that can only by it's very formation and existence, cater for Jews exclusively. Or will you be the one to tell them God didn't mean it to be taken literally? OH

I went to Israel, and I worked there twenty years ago, I went there full of admiration for the Israeli's achievements, I came away vowing never to return. Israel has a barely disguised expansionist herrenvolk philosphy backed by US dollars. Gaza is besieged by land and sea, spraying civilians with HE is about domestic Israeli politics about who is the 'hardest' to be Prime Minister in the upcoming elections.

Remember Remember said...

Israelis are amongst the biggest racists on the planet. They actually kill far more women and children than the Palestinians do and hold the world record for braking UN resolutions. Most of the Pal gas cylinder "rockets", their ONLY means of recourse, never hit a thing and just fall in the desert.(Check out Gaza on google earth.)
Adolf would be proud of your Zionist chums.
Meanwhile the terminally duped will go on rooting for the perpetual "victims of the holocaust" and draw the understandable wrath of 1.3 billion Muslims for the dirty crimes against humanity of zionist Loons.

Andy said...

I'm all for self defence, but I don't see why Israel picks on an alcoholic ex football player like Gazza when all he has done is beat his wife and she isn't even Jewish. Surely they could attack some of those Palestinians instead?

Unsworth said...

Iain,

"For obvious reasons they cannot say so publicly."

Exactly my point. Until they do there will be no resolution. However, you're making the mistake of believing that those 'not saying so' are actually representing the majority view. I think that's extremely debatable. Just listen to what is being said in the mosques.

And I'll take your word as to the level of 'private' support there may be. Middle Eastern politics are extremely complex. It's not just about the Middle East though, is it? Let's not forget Malaysia, India, Pakistan, Turkey, Afghanistan, Indonesia, Bosnia, Uzbekistan, Senegal, Nigeria, China, Bradford, Leeds etc, etc ad infinitum.

Does Israel believe that military action of this nature will have a beneficial effect on public perceptions in these other countries and communities? Democracy has a toe-hold, but Islam has their souls.

It's by no means the same as the Iraq situation. Why? Because this is about religion. Arab (mostly tacit) support for the US was based on their reasonable fear of Saddam as a danger within the region. The Jews attacking Hamas is presented in an entirely different light, and Hamas has taken great care to ensure that it is seen as fighting a Jihad. Similarly the Israelis in seeking support from other countries have taken great care to present Hamas attacks as a war against the Jewish State. Thus it will continue until religion is taken out of the equation and until they are tired of killing each other.

Oscar Miller said...

Oh My God - the rabid lying bigots in the shape of Guthrum and Remember Remember have come out of the woodwork. I suppose it was only a matter of time.

Old Holborn said...

Oscar, could you point out which part of Guthrums post is a lie?

"I went to Israel, and I worked there twenty years ago, I went there full of admiration for the Israeli's achievements, I came away vowing never to return. Israel has a barely disguised expansionist herrenvolk philosphy backed by US dollars. Gaza is besieged by land and sea, spraying civilians with HE is about domestic Israeli politics about who is the 'hardest' to be Prime Minister in the upcoming elections."

Thanks

Oscar Miller said...

Old Holborn - I was referring to the campaign by Stalin to turn 'Zionism' into a perjorative term. The propaganda campaign to smear the term 'Zionist' has been one of Stalin's most successful exports - initially adopted by the PLO and the Arab world and now prevalent worldwide. Unfortunately, whatever it's original meaning, 'Zionism' has become a perjorative term in this country. Referring to a 'Zionist lobby' was a clear attempt to evoke this propagandised meaning and to pretend otherwise is simply disingenous.

Correspondent said...

Craig Murray had a good posting about Palestine a couple of days ago at http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/

Mr Dale, as one who purports to be a well informed and connected commentator on public affairs, it ill behooves you to display such slavish and disingenuous support for Israeli actions - unless of course that is the entry fee to Establishment circles.

Murray raises another point which may be of more relevance to British politics, namely electoral fraud through postal voting. He thinks New Labour may be making extensive use of this tactic. Perhaps you should investigate.

Oscar Miller said...

Old Holborn - Everything about Guthrum's post is a lie. After all the posts by Dolly's gang that begin "Having been a member of the Conservative party for the past forty years I will now never ever vote for them again" or some such tosh, I thought you would have spotted the well-worn tactic used by bigots everywhere of claiming some past fervent admiration before sticking in their prejudiced boots. It's a variation on the "some of my best friends are xxx BUT" theme. Sadly you seem eager to believe this nonsense which has dulled your critical faculties.

Ian said...

Hamas were democratically elected to govern the Gaza strip from which Israel withdrew some time ago. If a majority of the people in Gaza voted for Hamas and Hamas allows thousands of rockets to be fired on southern Israel, regardless of the 'cease fire' arrangements, then it is reasonable to assume that the rocket firing is generally supported by the people of Gaza.

Israel, not unreasonably, reached a point where the continual firing of rockets from Gaza required an appropriate warning to be given that there would be a very firm response if the rockets didn't stop. Hamas ignored the warning and Israel responded accordingly.

Hamas knew what would happen and has cynically allowed its own people to be sacrificed in the bombings and I gather has prevented the wounded from being treated in Egypt.

There are now many hours of video showing the 'innocent civilians' being taken for 'treatment' by whatever means in chaotic, disorderly and overcrowded circumstances being played out on the news programmes. The trouble is that there are no 'innocent civilians' in this war. The Gazans voted for and support Hamas. Hamas adopts a totally unrealistic political position, supported by the people, the result of which is death and destruction on the grand scale which Hamas could stop now if it felt so disposed.

So next time you see video of blood soaked people being 'rushed' to what's left of the hospitals remember that the victims, all of them, are not innocent, They are victims of the democratically elected AK47 waving 'government' who know as much about governing as I do about the wonders of particle acceleration.

I don't know what else Israel could practically do to stop this war in it's tracks. Nor, it seems, does Hamas.

There's none so blind as those that won't see.

David Lindsay said...

Israel is preparing to invade the Gaza Strip, and nobody seems to mind. But then, why would they? Who is there to mind?

The Arab governments, including Fatah in the West Bank, regard Hamas as riffraff (the view of many in the Arabian Peninsula where all Levantine Arabs are concerned), and will welcome not only the putting down of Hamas, but also any sympathetic uprising on their own streets, an excuse to do at home what the Israelis are doing in Gaza.

Behind the scenes, relations with Israel have long been more than cordial. Indeed, Israel and the Gulf monarchies have a history of running joint candidates for President of the United States. The latest has been made Secretary of State as her prize for coming third out of two.

The real bother would come if Israel ever felt the need to go into the West Bank against Fatah, although there is not much chance of that.

And the real bother will come when Israel feels the need to go in against the Judean People’s Front or the People’s Front of Judea, her financial dependants who nevertheless despise her to the extent of raising against their hands against the teenage conscripts of her Defence Force, which they themselves refuse to join.

The Judean People’s Front and the People’s Front of Judea have noticed that, if it makes enough of a fuss, any sufficiently, even if not terribly, large and distinctive group gets its own statelet, carved out of what has been one of the most multiethnic places on earth since everlasting (if you don’t believe me, then read the Bible). Well, they want some of that.

And who can blame them for expecting it? After all, Fatah has been given the West Bank, regardless of who else lives or used to live there. Hamas has, at least at the time of writing, been given Gaza, regardless of who else lives or used to live there.

And the secular Ashkenazi nationalists and their allies were given the land inside the pre-1967 borders.

Regardless of who else lived or used to live there.

What goes around, comes around.

Oscar Miller said...

Unsworth @ 1.15

There have been numerous occasions when Arab states have colluded with Israel behind the scenes while condemning them in public. Egypt loathes Hamas (the euphemism in our press is "run out of patience"). Read David Lindsay's post which is I fear pretty accurate. You can't underestimate the complexities of ME politics - and the gap between what is spouted in public and what goes on behind closed doors. As for the 'diplomacy' thing - you're right - you didn't mention it. Sorry.

DespairingLiberal said...

I think you are missing several quite important things Iain.

1/ An Israeli general election is imminent. There is now a rather unfortunate history of Israel going to war against it's neighbouring terror cells just before an election. To prove how tough the governing party is.

2/ Hamas did try after they were elected to put out peace feelers. These were roundly rejected by Israel and Bush. Hence the current state of play.

3/ Hamas are not quite the loony terrorist robo-slaves of Iran you paint them. On the contrary, they were elected because Palestinians were sick of the corruption associated with Al Fatah and they have been effective in office in many ways.

I think you take your pro-Israeli stance too far Iain. I am not against Israel's right to defend itself, but you also need to see that there is a great deal of history here to contend with. The Palestinian people have many justified complaints and too many times have simply been bullied by Israel when there could have been give and take.

The Palestinians and Hamas are far from innocent but Israel is also far from the clean hands player you project.

Alex said...

"Alex, I am not an elected representative."

Iain, I never said you were, although you have had aspirations that way and you cannot deny publishing political opinions.

"I support Israel's right to exist, and I support the right of Palestine to have its own State."

Interesting one this. I support the existence of Israel and an independent Palestine, but I am always wary when anyone says that a country has a "right" to exist.

A country exists when it is recognised as a country by its people and by other countries, and is thus a process of consent rather than an inalienable right. States become independent from or merge with other states when interested parties decide that it is expedient for them to do so, which is typically a combination of internal and external recognition. I am not conscious of any "right" for a state to exist, whether it be Israel, Luxembourg, the Holy Roman Empire, the USSR, the USA, the UK or Scotland, to name a few, to exist as an independent state.

Israel exists because the general consensus at the time of its formation was that it would be a "good thing". I still think that is the case. If Israel wants long term stability it has to work towards a greater consent of the Palestinians.

"Are you really saying that pressure groups should not exist?"

Not at all. But I do think that political commentators and politicians, whilst welcoming their publications and considering their points of view objectively, should hold themselves independently of such groups. The reason that they welcome you and offer to take you on "fact-finding" trips is to pre-dispose you to a particular point of view, and by getting you to sign up to their pressure group they reduce the likelhood that you will listen to the opinions of their opponents.

Guthrum said...

I did admire Israel's achievements having read about them in the press,having read biographies of Golda Meir,Ben Gurion etc etc Not a lie so far.

I did live and work there, not a lie so far

My car was stoned on the sabbath by bigots dressed in fur hats in 90 deg of heat. Not a lie so far

I was arrested three times 'for looking German' Not a lie so far

I saw the remains of arab villages bull dozed by equipment that I was responsible for importing. Not a lie so far. Not a lie so far

Most of the 'settlers' in the west bank had strong New York accents, had plenty of money and firepower, plus the notion it was God's will that those not of the blood should be exterminated from Eretz Israel.
Not a lie so far

I saw 'settlers' kicking the crap out of a Falasha, the reason given being that this particular group had left the Bronx to get away from godamn Blacks.

Not a lie so far

I was told at Yad Vashem that the British were responsible for the Holocaust

Not a lie so far

Ad infintum- yet I still defend Israel's right to exist, but not to annexe other people's land, nor to bomb the crap out of people because there is an election looming.


Guthrum
rabid lying bigot

Paul Halsall said...

The problem with HAMAS is that Israel was respionsible for promoting it as a "divide and rule" tactic against the more secular Fatah/Arafat/PLO.

HAMAS actions are wicked, but Israel's actions are an overreaction.

I am a long time supporter of Israel, but you get more criticism of Israel in the Hebrew and Israeli/English press than you do here.

The Holocaust is not a "Get of Jail" card for the morality of Israeli state actions.

Since, I am afraid, my solution is to revive the Ottoman Empire, I don't have that much to contribute to a solution.

racist country said...

Wow, how incredibly faulty. Apartheid israel is the biggest terrorist organization in the world and you consider it "ok" for a killing ratio of 300 to 1, of late, and 15 to 1 for the norm over the past 9 years?

Worst country I've even visited, lived in or worked in while spending 7 years in the Middle East. Thugs, bores, and thieves. That's the norm for our dear friends, the terrorist nation of israel.

Unsworth said...

@ Oscar Miller

"There have been numerous occasions when Arab states have colluded with Israel behind the scenes while condemning them in public. Egypt loathes Hamas (the euphemism in our press is "run out of patience")."

A few points:

Yes collusion takes place, and not only with Arab states. That is the status quo since these states were formed. Prior to that it was the norm between tribes.

Yet you refer only to Arab states - what about other Moslem states and communities? What is the relationship between the Taleban in Afghanistan and Hamas? What about Moslem states and communities elsewhere? Those are matters which you should also consider.

Then you say that 'Egypt' loathes Hamas. What do you mean by 'Egypt'? Do you include the 90% of the populace who are Moslems? I'd like to see some decent research which shows this to be so. Don't quote newspaper headlines - they mean nothing. When politicians speak they do so for a whole variety of reasons, not all of them immediately apparent.

As I have indicated above, in my view it's not about politics, it's about religion - at least, that's certainly what the protagonists would want us all to believe.

Northern Monkey said...

Utter drivel, even for you.

Iain, I'd love to see who you'd vote for if you lived in the absolute hell-hole that is the Gaza Strip.

Israel illegally occupies the land which it invaded in 1967 and still oppresses the people who live there til this very day.

It's the equivalent of us invading the Irish Republic, then denying the people who live there British citizenship or suffrage, and then acting all surprised when they start shelling us from across the Irish Sea. Only to then get revenge by carpet bombing Ireland back to the stone age.

The fundamental principle here is that Israel is the one who is illegally occupying Palestinian territory - NOT the other way around.

And until Israel gives up the Golan Heights to Syria and allows the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip to break away in full to form it's own independent nation of Palestine then there will never be any hope for peace in the Middle East.

If we followed your way of thinking, Northern Ireland would still be in the mess in used to be too.

Israel is the one in the wrong here. The people in the Gaza Strip wouldn't need to vote for Hamas if they weren't being illegally occupied.

Oscar Miller said...

Unsworth @ 4.37

I think you're confusing a whole load of disparate elements and stirring them into one big pot. There is of course a major distinction to be made between the real politic of Israel's neighbours in the Arab world and the rhetoric (undoubtedly popular)in Muslim countries of rampant 'anti-Zionism' which is often openly expressed as anti-Semitism (complete with high sales of the Protocols of the Elders of Zion). There is also a distinction to be made between the machinations of regional politics in the ME and the beliefs of ordinary people.

I was not attempting to address these massive issues in my posts, but simply making an observation about the complex relationship between Israel and neighbouring Arab governments. There is ample evidence proving that the leaderships in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt are more threatened by Islamism and Islamist ideas than they are by Israel. Jordan had a long history of conflict with the PLO (and showed no restraint in their bloody purge of the PLO in 'black September'). That has now been superseded by conflict with Islamists (witness the bloody suicide bomb attack in Amman in 2006). Egypt post-Nasser and post-1967 defeat found it expedient to make a cold peace with Israel and have had to deal with the backlash that produced. Even though widely regarded as 'moderate' Egypt was the birthplace of the Muslim brotherhood and has longstanding links with Al Qaeda. Islamists trade on their 'evil Zionist' conspiracy theories, but not even a moderate Muslim government would risk saying anything positive about Israel in public. But that's just political expediency. It might all be cloaked and served up as a religious conflict, but in fact it is profoundly political and much more slippery than the headline rhetoric would have us believe. These subtleties tend to bypass us in the West.

Oscar Miller said...

The people in the Gaza Strip wouldn't need to vote for Hamas if they weren't being illegally occupied.

December 29, 2008 4:57 PM


Northern Monkey - Gazans voted for Hamas in a (misguided) attempt to eliminate the rampant corruption of the PLO-run Palestinian Authority. They did so after the 2005 pull-out from Gaza when all Jewish settlements were evacuated and reduced to rubble. How on earth does that translate into having to vote for Hamas because of "the occupation"?

Northern Monkey said...

Oscar Miller -

Do you not understand that just because there are no Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip, that doesn't mean the Gaza Strip is in any way free.

Israel still controls everything that goes in and out of the Strip and controls its airspace, territoral waters and offshore marine access.

In January, Israel curtailed the amount of goods and fuel that could enter the Strip.

So yes, that's very clearly an occupation. Would you be happy if France controlled our borders, airspace and territorial waters and restricted our vital imports against our will? I imagine not.

Omar said...

The war is on and civilian are killed and children are slaughtered by f-16, we should all know that the civilian police who were killed were actually funded and trained by the international community and not Hamas forces.
The Israelis won't be smarter than the Americans who after toppling TALABAN and after seven years of troops on the ground and all sort of weapons used are now pegging Mula Omar to enter negotiations.
I thank the foolishness of the Israeli diplomacy for undressing the moderate Arabs - their friends- in front of their people and giving them this slap as a fruit for their efforts in mediating the peace. The rising star from now on will be Bin Laden who is warming his hands and laughing at all of us for this precious gift and to all his allies to pave the ground for onther 922 933 944 s , don’t say no body warned you.
Abbas will Re-enter Gaza but on an Israeli tanks but no flowers or roses thrown at him but rotten Eggs and disgrace.
This is ladies and gentlemen is Israel, the modern day Hitler, the pharos of this time who will bring the world to its knees and play the victim role as always.

Born Today said...

Iain has a right to an opinion.

While I might disagree in part, he is right - this is a reaction to the actions of Hamas.

If Hamas wanted peace they could end this tomorrow. If a day passed without any rocket attacks...then two...then three...

How long would Israeli action continue for?

Jeff said...

a lot of people seem to be saying that Isreal is wrong to respond to these rocket attacks.

If the UK say they should stop then they should expect and allow extremist to carry out terrorist attacks on this country.

If one terrorist group is allowed to use rockets as a form of negotiation then why not all.

why not allow them to select a city at random and they can fire off their rockets at a different city in the UK each week.

How long before the same people would be demanding the same response from Labour that the people of Isreal are asking for?

dmc said...

this is just what hamas wanted,They had a ceasefire and a chance to negotiate a better world for their people but their masters in iran would never agree.

OH,comparing a few bombers working inside our country to 5000 rockets fired is rather stupid.Our bombers had a city of unsuspecting targets so could maximise damage(and the evil bastards did).They are firing rockets that could have caused huge harm if they were not so innacurate or homemade.It is only luck that they didnt cause more deaths.Would you sit back and let them get away with firing rockets at you.I think not judging by you own blog advocating string em up solutions.Libertarian,i think not,your just as biased as the rest of us.
As for not allowing ambulances from egypt,are they manipulating the casualty firgures again.

Chris Paul said...

Why do you support the actions of the state of Israel 100% Iain? Supporting their premise 100% is one thing but their actions ...?

It is one thing to support their right to defend their citizens but quite another to support collective punishment and incredibly poorly targeted assassination attempts, with humungous collateral damage to non-combatants and children.

Even pretending - as the SoI do - that the only incitement or provocation has been on one side is seriously lacking in balance.

There is a very good argument to support the best way of defending their citizenry of whom 17 have died from Hamas rockets in 8 years ... other than by killing more than 300 people in little over 24 hours.

Is killing 300 and injuring 1000 - many of whom may have opposed the Hamas military/terrorist campaign themselves - really the best way for Israel to defend her citizens?

Thankfully the UK Government did not raze a block of the Bogside everytime there was a republican killing in SlashCity.

Can you imagine if they had killed 300 Catholics every time one Protestant or member of the security forces was killed?

Would that have helped matters do you think? How will it help in Gaza?

Three Palestinians have apparently been shot dead in the West Bank in the last 48 hours. No rockets, no Hamas, just peaceful demonstrations.

This reminds me of that old duffer Albright and her unfortunate "Price Worth Paying" soundbite. You have to have a very strange exchange rate for human life to accept that.

I don't think you have that Iain. But I do think you are being swept forward by those that do.

Unsworth said...

@ Oscar Miller

On the contrary, my views are simple enough. You seem to regard the issue as some sort of local political dispute between neighbours. I regard the issue as altogether different - a religious confrontation on a global scale. Whether that is a convenient mask for individual (or local) political aims is another discussion.

You simply cannot isolate the events in Gaza from others in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bali, Madrid, London etc etc. They are all proclaimed as Jihad. Equally the Israelis proclaim that this war is a fight for survival of the Jewish nation (and, hence, religion) - in much the same manner as their previous wars with other neighbours. Neither of these positions is tenable or true. But since when did truth have anything at all to do with these disputes?

Oscar Miller said...

Northern Monkey - before the dismantlement of the settlements in Gaza they were seen as a major obstacle to the peace process. After the extremely painful pull-out which involved making thousands of Israelis homeless and destroying their livelihoods the left wing press could only find fault. They seamlessly went on to describe Gaza as "one big prison" and seemed to find it an outrage that Israel took any security measures at all.

In fact the momentous dismantling of houses, synagogues and military installations was simply obliterated and buried by yet more demonisation of Israel. The longtime lament that Israelis were taking up all the space in the overcrowded strip was suddenly never mentioned again. In short, according to people like you, nothing had improved at all.

On the day after the pullout, instead of taking advantage of the new political, economic and social opportunities, the rocket attacks from Gaza into Israel began. There was no dividend for Israel's extraordinary efforts. Instead people like you attacked Israel for protecting itself in the face of overt, persistent attacks. It amazes me how the Jewish settlements in Gaza are hardly referred to at all, now that they are gone. But before their destruction they were a permanent source of angst-ridden reporting by our press blaming them for for all the ills of Palestinians in Gaza. And even though all the problems the settlements were supposed to cause are just as prevalent (in fact worse) than ever, there hasn't been even a glimmer of doubt that the anti-settlement analysis might have been wrong.

As for Hamas' victory in 2006, polling research into why Gazans voted for Hamas shows it was overwhelmingly in reaction to PLO corruption and a belief that Hamas would be less corrupt (something you make no mention of). Yet another one of those inconvenient truths you'd rather wipe from the record?

Oscar Miller said...

Unsworth - profoundly disagree. You simply cannot equate the global jihad with the Israel/Palestine conflict in this way. If Israel was wiped from the map tomorrow as Ahmadinejad dreams - it wouldn't make a jot of difference to jihadist struggles across the globe (apart from encouraging them). It would do nothing to help end conflict in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Russia, Indonesia, London, Paris, Madrid and Rome. If that is what you are suggesting. If it isn't, then I'm at a loss to understand what you are suggesting.

Northern Monkey said...

Oscar - what on earth are you on about?

You've moved away from the fundamental principle that Israel is still illegally occupying four territories that don't belong to it - the Golan Heights, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip.

Why do you not condemn Israel for this?

Israel dismantling its illegal settlements in the Gaza Strip was a positive move, but its only the tip of the iceberg considering it still has 500,000 citizens in the West Bank.

Israel needs to move ALL of its citizens and settlements out of all territory which doesn't belong to it. Not only this, but Israel needs to let Palestine go so it can become its own independent, sovereign nation.

Only when that happens can Israel be at peace. If Palestine is free and the surrounding Arab countries recognise Israel's borders (which they would, if Israel let Palestine be free), then there would be no legitimacy and reduced sympathy for Hezbollah, Hamas and even Al-Qaeda.

But Israel has to make the first move, since IT is the one who is illegally occupying another country's territory.

Israel has a simple choice - withdraw completely from the territories it illegally occupies or face eternal bombing from those who have suffered under Israeli occupation.

Omar said...

Oscar Miller: you are wrong Hamas was elected because Israelis killed their leaders one after the other the same gift that Israel is giving in a form of disgrace to all the Arab moderates who are the friend of Israel, if elections is held any time now Hamas will have a swift victory on the elections, no need to tell you that all people of Palestine voted for Hamas on 2006.

Dick the Prick said...

Gunthrum - someone said the Brits were responsible for the holocaust?!?!? That's a wee hop, skip and a jump capable of taking the gold medal in the 'WTF Olympic final'. Glad I don't live there.

OH on the Bradford thing, point of order, it was Dewsbury (Batley East), and Beeston in Leeds. I went to Bradford the other day - geez, it was most upsetting.

Mared said...

Israel is not defending itself at all, it simply executes a very wide killing operation against a group of people most of them are civilian. Hamas throws 40 rockets that kills only two and wounded about 8 people, but Israel makes about 80 jet killing about 350 people and wounded about 1500.If somebody has a small common sense, he can understand that this is not self-defense, it is a wide killing operation

Oscar Miller said...

Northern Monkey - you are writing claptrap. It just aint true. I am writing a precise, factual historical account. You are engaging in ideological soundbites signfying nothing but your own fantasies.

Omar - you are probably right. Palestinians have a long history of being easy to manipulate and reactionary in just the way you describe.

Raedwald said...

One thing is certain - you and I will end up paying for the damage Israel is causing in Gaza through our taxes.

The DFID details the damage caused by the IDF to EU funded infrastructure in Gaza in 2001/2002 at http://tinyurl.com/7skkot

The EU poured money in repairing the damage and building more infrastructure at least until 2007 when Hamas took over. The IDF will have been busy over the past few days destroying it all over again.

Which means we will have to give the EU even more tax money to build it all over again .....

Can't we send the bill to the Knesset?

Chris Paul said...

Interesting that Jeremy Jacobs who RIDICULOUSLY (ho ho) claimed "only" 50 dead (vs one Israeli citizen) has gone quiet now that the UN are saying 320 plus?

The way this disproportionate violence is accepted in the case of the State of Israel seems to be unique. No one else could get away with killing 300+ people in this way, almost unanswered, without being roundly condemned.

And that Ron Prossor fella appears to be making a joke of it all. As he says: "It ain't Ma Teresa" (ho ho) which is a reference of course to an Albanian nun rather than to the cuddlies in either Hamas or the War Knesset.

Chris Paul said...

Iain Dale:

"you don't have to have been somewhere to hold a view on it"

Hallelujah, that has not always been your line ...

Oscar Miller said...

Raedwald - Hamas took over in February 2006 (not 2007) and they should be the ones footing the bill for the British taxpayers mispent dosh. Money supposed to be spent on infrastructure has been spent on weapons. They haven't even managed to rebuild the settlements dismantled at their request or make use of the philanthropic money donated to transfer Israeli greenhouses to Palestinian management. Most stinking of all, metal given by Israel to help reconstruct the sewerage system was diverted into arms manufacture. That is one reason why Gaza is now such a cesspit.

Iain Dale said...

Chris Paul, Gaza authorities are saying 50 civilians have been killed. The rest are apparently Hamas security personnel.

tankus said...

Haganah, the Irgun Zvai Leumi and the Stern Gang were all running around in the late forties , blowing up stuff ....bloody terrorists

Begin was the Bin laden of his day .. from a British viewpoint ...

Should we have walked away (we were weak from the ravages of WW2) or bombed the crap out of them ?

nasties on all sides ...got to take the weapons out of the equation

no one is morally in the right ,which is fairly odd considering its the epicenter of so many religions .

or maybe it isn't

Northern Monkey said...

Ah given up the argument Oscar, I see.

The fundamental point of all of this is that Israel is still illegally occupying territories which it invaded in 1967.

Until Israel gives them back, they should get no sympathy.

If I was a Gazan, I'd hate Israel too considering they are the occupying force.

Dick the Prick said...

None of my business really. 350? Well, fair amount of airplay eh? Darfur, Chad, Somalia - whoa, slow down, that ain't news.

Hold the front page - war in the Holy Land? Nope, Abi Titmuss has had a boozy night out.

This is just the standard smoke & mirrors crap that's been going on for ever. Nice to divert attention from stuff that doesn't have a strategic significance though.

Oscar Miller said...

Northern Monkey - ah reverting to pre-written formulas and scripts? Any kind of 'thinking outside the box' eludes you entirely.

Omar said...

Raedwald: Dont forget that you have to replace the saline police forces and train other batches and send them across to Gaza but this time with a note totaling the value of their lives plus the petty cash of their uniforms, we need now to send back their m-16 rifle back to Israel who supplied it.

AProlefrom1984 said...

The tragedy of Israel and Palestine would only be resolved when Westerners and Arabs stop supporting one side or the other. And with America's imminent bankruptcy, it'll just have to let the Middle East look after itself.
Hamas has killed a dozen or so Israelis over a number of years, and Israel kills about 300 Palestinians in a couple of days. The toddlers killed today weren't militants. How could anyone support their killing 100%. Israel is doing this as there's an election soon and Olmert (the worst Israeli PM to date) feels he has to appeal to extremists in his country.
Let's hope the Israeli army doesn't suffer the same embarrassment it did in Lebanon 2 years ago.

Another Day said...

Iain,

I know you're a fan of Peter Allen on Radio 5, but he did an news interview with the Israeli Ambassador today and it was one of the most disgraceful pieces of journalism I've ever heard. He absolutely failed to hide the fact that he was absolutely opposed to Israeli actions over the last two days and his contempt towards the ambassador. He ended up arguing with and berating the ambassador.

At one point he said to the Ambassador that they weren't going to agree about a certain point. Why is a BBC news presenter seeking to get an agreement to his views? Interviews should be unbiased an objective, he absolutely should not be advocating any point of view that should be agreed or disagreed with!

Do try and listen to it on iPlayer...

Northern Monkey said...

Oscar you clearly don't understand any of the history behind the conflict.

You just see it as Israel v. evil Muslims.

I'll ask you a question:

Do you think it's acceptable that Israel still illegally occupies territories that don't belong to it?

Curt said...

Hamas acts cowardly: they hide in heavily populated areas and then cry over collateral damage. Hamas is thus responsible for the civilian casualties.

Unsworth said...

@ Oscar Miller

I do not 'equate' anything. I do say that this local issue has much wider ramifications and is seen by many as part of a global confrontation.

You seem to believe that there is no commonality of thought and sentiment across the multiple Moslem communities. That is plainly wrong. They all believe in the same tenets. Thus you cannot separate the actions of Hamas from the wider views of Moslems. Hamas say they are indulging in a Jihad. As such other Moslems are a) obliged to support it, and b) probably do. Indeed many imams worldwide openly preach support of Hamas against 'the enemy' Israel.

No one has suggested that a defeat by Hamas of Israel - if that were remotely possible - would signify an end to hostilities elsewhere. (And I think you agree that latter point). It wasn't the Israelis who were blown up in Bali or in London or Madrid.

Hamas capitalises on the perception that Israel is supported by America and is therefore a bad thing for all Moslems. Israel capitalises on the perception that it is fighting for the very existence of the Jewish Homeland - which is plainly untrue. Hamas could not survive without active (albeit clandestine) support from Moslem nations and communities. Israel might, just, survive without support from Jewish communities and from countries such as America.

Oscar Miller said...

Northern Monkey - why not actually read the multiple posts that I've written throughout the day rather than engaging in nasty attempts to smear me? If you did you would realise that I am arguing, based on a detailed knowledge of the history, that the entire "occupation" argument is bogus, misleading and has been the prime factor in the failure to agree a settlement in the ME. I haven't written anywhere AT ALL about "evil Muslims" or implied anything of the sort! Where on earth did you get that one from? Please show me textual evidence from anything I've written to back up this crazy libel. You are clearly very adept in the arts of disinformation.

JMB said...

"There are now many hours of video showing the 'innocent civilians' being taken for 'treatment' by whatever means in chaotic, disorderly and overcrowded circumstances being played out on the news programmes. The trouble is that there are no 'innocent civilians' in this war. The Gazans voted for and support Hamas."


I can imagine a similar statement being issued by AQ after a bomb in London against the "innocent citizens" who voted for and support Labour, at least from an their point of view.

I just get annoyed at all the PR spin from Israel, apologising for civilian casualties - this from a country that will fire a rocket a car in a busy street knowing that many people will be killed.

Whenever I hear Israeli spokespeople pontificating about terrorism I remember that the state of Israel was run by ex-terrorists for many years and some of them had murdered British soldiers.

Brahim said...

Spot on. Israel is an illegal state that is committing a genocide in Gaza, Palestine. Killing women and children randomly with F16s is no war but a massacre of innocent civilians. In 4 years or more, the rockets from Hamas did not kill more than 20 people and the criminals in Israel kill more than 350 people in less than 2 days? who are the terrorists here, who are the criminals here?
This aggression will fail as it failed in 2006 and the criminals will be punished. Remember that there is no apartheid system that resisted the test of history, ever. There is only one God for this world and he is watching.. This aggression will fail. you can not fool the world any more with your lies as you will get only more hatred and despise. This aggression will fail

This massacre must stop

David said...

If I lived in an area where simple everyday travel was interfered with, and, where access to medical supplies and groceries was restricted by a foreign country... where I was surrounded by a concrete wall and treated as a prisoner... I would become a terrorist. Shame on Israel for their policies that foster hatred and violence, and then stand back and act as though their hands are clean and they were attacked for no reason.s

david said...

the ireland/IRA is to Great Britian as Gaza/Hamas is to Israel analogy doesn't hold much water if you ask me. maybe because of the IRA's lack of a rocket arsenal or the distance the North Channel gave between the oppressor and oppressed.

although of low quality and poorly aimed, if you are killed by a hamas rocket you are just as dead as if you were killed by an F-16. if hamas could deliver deadlier attacks... they would.

you can only turn the other cheek so long.

my proposal: israel declare an immediate cease fire that is nullified for 24 hours after any rocket fired from gaza lands in their territory. all rocket attacks are documented and immediately posted on the web. massive marketing campaign should be used so that the people of Gaza know exactly what the name of this rocket post web site is. post all available info in arabic. let the people of Gaza know unequivocably that their leaders in an attempt to satisfy their egos and idiotic pride continue to reign misery down upon their own people and have the ability to stop it at any time.

the people of israel cannot defeat hamas. the people of gaza must.

britologywatch said...

Iain, your argument boils down to saying that one wrong justifies another: that Hamas's violence justifies Israel's. That is clearly moral and logical nonsense. Neither Hamas nor the innocent Gazan victims of Israel's actions are to blame for them: Israel is. To say Hamas is responsible is bad faith and is an example of the type of arguments oppressors have used throughout history to justify their actions. Hitler blamed his invasion of the Sudetenland on the 'persecution' of the ethnic Germans by the Czechs. Did that make it OK?

And how does one measure one life against another? Does the loss of dozens of innocent Israeli citizens' lives justify the deliberate killing of hundreds of Gazan Palestinian civilians? Or even one? It seems to me that implicit in many of the apologies for Israel's actions is an assumption that any number of Palestinian civilian casualties is excusable in the interests of protecting Israel's security and ensuring its survival. This is clearly the result of the West's historical guilt towards the Jewish people in the wake of the Holocaust. But where does it stop?

Clearly, also, the suffering of the Palestinians, and the Gazans in particular, does not justify the random shelling of Israeli civilians. But Israel's actions are hardly going to bring that sort of violence to an end. They might temporarily bring a particular tactic used by Hamas to an end - and even then . . .. But they won't stop violence against Israel per se. On the contrary, this can only stoke up the cycle of mutual hatred, vengeance and violence, which will imperil the long-term security of Israel (and make the West more vulnerable to Islamically inspired terrorism) not ensure it.

The only thing that can protect the long-term security of Israel is a peace deal with the Palestinians, which must include Hamas in some form. And this is precisely what the Israelis are trying to prevent. They're laying down a marker ahead of the Obama presidency and preventing him from frog-marching the Israelis into talks with Hamas. This is what explains the timing and the methods. 'No talks with terrorists'. Hard for a US president, even Obama, to contradict that and set himself against Israel in such circumstances.

Very clever - and very wicked.

Math Campbell said...

I've got a fantastic idea...
Why don't we take all those troops currently defending oil in Iraq, and once they can be safely re-deployed (after a tea break, natch), redploy them all in Israel/Palestine.
Have them takeover all security in the contested areas, maybe even erect a wall (ala Cyprus) betwixt the 2.
Declare a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine and have it that anyone violating it will be dealt with by the peacekeepers, not the Israeli F16's or the Palestinian rockets.

I suspect if you said "You can do what you want in your bit as long as it doesn't violate the ceasefire, the palestinians may be happy, since their main beef is really being controlled/held prisoner by the Israelis.

Problem loved.

Oh, wait, srael would never agree and the US would do whatever they demand. Israel wants to kill off anyone in Palestine with the will to fight/disobey them and move in, establish control over the areas and forget them pesky palestinians ever existed. And the USA will do what it's told, as any US politician saying otherwise will feel the wait of the angry Jewish vote come next election.

רינת said...

To David klimneck who wrote :
"The huge number of rockets fired into Israel, and the low number of Israeli casualties, suggests that those rockets are 'a statement', not a war"
how is it just a statement ? rockets are meant to kill ! and it has killed already ! if firing rocket's isn't a war then what is?
I am sure you wouldn't want to be anywhere close to such a rocket !!! would you ?
would you agree for someone to do something that can danger your life in order to make a point ? a statement? come on get real !
stop that blindness that you are so deeply in !!! you know bin laden was also just making a statement against the Western culture and against America !!! and the same goes for all the Islamic terror , don't you people see that what's going on here ,and all around the world, is a Battle between good and evil ? it's happening all over!! if you'll keep allowing the hamas terror to rise it's ugly head against Israel , without fighting it with a firm and strong response, then the same terrorism will happen all over the world and keep terrorising people , Innocent people , children and women ! it will keep terrorising everyone including you and me !
we just saw an example in India (and many more places , it's difficult to keep track because there were so many of them !!! )
the hamas is nothing more than a bunch of murderers just like bin laden , or any other terrorists around the world !
and just a thought for you - maybe the rocket's aren't killing , not because it's meant to " not kill " but because there is a go-d above whose watching his children , the nation of Israel !

Paul Pinfield said...

"Iain Dale said...
Chris Paul, Gaza authorities are saying 50 civilians have been killed. The rest are apparently Hamas security personnel."

That's OK then. For a moment I thought we were talking about human beings Iain.

BTW: No wonder the Palestinians feel so aggrieved:
http://bastardoldholborn.blogspot.com/2008/12/lets-rumble.html

Iain Dale said...

Oh that's so very clever Paul. Must have taken you ages to come up with that. I was pointing out the facts, not playing semantics.

Omar said...

Paul Pinfield

"The rest are apparently Hamas security personnel."
they are not security personnel they are police forces trained and funded by the international community, they are Palestinians not Hamas or Gazans.

Jimmy said...

I think the question was why does it matter? Is killing policeman a desirable goal from Israel's perspective? Does it achieve something?

Paul Pinfield said...

Iain, that fact is that innocent people are dying on both sides, and both sides should be condemned for their lack of regard for human life. Israeli civilians are human beings, as are Hamas police officers.

There is a distinct lack of humanity on both sides, and we should all be able to see that.

As for how long it took me "to come up with that", we are busy thinking and evolving up here old chap. These things come to us in a flash. Must be the Northern air...

Northern Monkey said...

Oscar Miller - you still haven't answered my question:

Do you think it's acceptable for Israel to still be occupying the lands it invaded in 1967 (including the Gaza Strip) despite the fact that the people there don't want to be under Israeli rule and the UN has declared it illegal?

Paul Pinfield said...

Omar, that is the point I was making. A human being is a human being is a human being, no matter whether they are Israeli, Palestinian or a Hamas member.

Omar said...

Keep hearing the Echo of your voice and disregarding facts you think it make you pass time.
its not a movie its people who are killed.

Omar said...

No who will control the streets tomorrow?

Iain Dale said...

Paul, stating that a human being is a human being is rather stating the bleedin' obvious. But in one way it's not true.

A civilian death is far more tragic than the death of someone working a Hamas rocket launcher, I would venture to suggest. One is an innocent victim of war - the other is not.

Omar said...

Only 50 civilians are killed, even if they are 1m they are still innocent and should not be targeted under whatsoever circumstances.
Even if they are from Hamas, its a political party and its part of the spectrum same like the extremist right or left parties in Isreal.
publishing cartoons mocking prophet Mohammad is a freedom of speech and joining a party is a crime, i am right or wrong here?

Jimmy said...

Are you saying the policemen were operating the rocket launchers?

JMB said...

I though the figure of 50 killed came from a UNRA official. I doubt think it is a definitive figure for the total number of casualties which the difficulties in communications in Gaza, Arab practice of burying the dead immediately. There was no evidence in Lebanon that the Israelis were particularly effective at killing Hezbollah and most of the dead there were also innocent civilians.

Michele said...

No wonder that the England is expected to the first western 'democratic' nation that will fall to Islam - with real heroes like Old Holborn et al - you'll just roll over and let them walk all over you.

Thankfully I got out before the light go out.

Andy Taylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Underscore said...

Over 300 deaths "regrettable".

You're dead inside.

The vicarious thrill the right wing get in the West from watching Israel commit sustained and unchecked slaughter with Western weapons is beyond evil.

F*ck Hamas, I'd gladly see them lined up and shot, but for the vicious Israeli authorities to engage in sustained ethnic cleansing on the justification of capturing Hamas is the kind of stark evil I would have hoped memories of the 1940s would have eliminated.

Unloading all their weapons in the fear that an Obama state department may be less single-mindedly vindictive is an act of craven cynicism.

oneuni222 said...

Thank you Iain for the article.

The reign of Hamas needs to be ended - democratically elected or not, they are too depraved.

Hamas 'motivational' video
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe5L5of2rPM

WB said...

Northern Monkey asks:

Do you think it's acceptable that Israel still illegally occupies territories that don't belong to it?

Get your hand off it mate. The correct terminology is "do you think it acceptable that israel maintains control of land it has won in wars?"

Answer - well gah, yah, of course.

The UN gen assembly stacked with Arabs and commies and other jewhaters always always resolve that Israel's in the wrong bout something or other.

Fight the good fight Iain - these people, OH, NM et al are horrible Mitfords. But I will disagree with you - I don't believe in a two state solution. I reckon the palis have abrogated their right to have a country by their disgusting behaviour, right down to the mufti of jerusalem who sided with Hitler. I think Gazans into Egypt and West bankers into Jordan. As for Lebanon and Golan Heights - the israelis won it in a war but maybe a a sop give it to Lebanon and watch the Syrians spew.

So many palestnians live in Israel and live well. Vote, enter parliament, live. No naqba for them - they weren't stupid enough to believe the Arabs would deliver the mother of all ethnic cleanising in 48 and gthy've reaped the rewards ever since.

I mean this most seriously - hanging on to your keys for a right of return after you lost war after war? Calling yourself a refugee when you're living exactly where you've been for 3 gens. Calling your circumstances genocide when there are more of you now than ever before? Calling your life apartheid when you can see Arabs living in Israel and in its parliament? Nuts.

Omar said...

From down of history and from the time god decided to send us his word, we started building our mandate and through our march we gain experience and then we adjust, whats have we accomplished so far is the UN mandate and now it seems we will start all over again, "what was taken by war can only be taken back by war" the war between Israel and the Arabs is not borders but existence, all of this is on our back now.
What WB is saying is what we Arabs have but on our back for over 58 years.
Leave on your dreams and sleep tight.

Northern Monkey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Northern Monkey said...

Don't worry WB.

Israel failed to cling on to the Sinai. It will lose all of its other illegal territories too before long.

The world is getting increasingly pissed off by Israel fueling the fire in the Middle East conflict. Good to see the government here finally calling their response 'disproportionate'.

Eli said...

To all those who say that Gaza was/is a prison, and that the movement of goods was impossible, there is but one simple question. How is it that material for thousands upon thousands of rockets managed to find its way in? Surely whoever was bringing in this material could instead have been bringing in medical supplies, fuel and food? If you can't draw the conclusion from this simple question then you are either stupid, biased, or both.

Mentiroso said...

The solution always existed and was always there. The problem is that the Zionist Jews prefer stilling to peace. Peace would come when and if the Zionists accept to retreat to the territories that were initially given to them, give up colonizing another country and behave as civilized people. Nothing else has ever been important. This is basic and other ideas are just silly and utopia. Subsequently, the facts have proved the Zionists do not want peace. There is nothing else to say or to speculate about.

OnlyMe said...

I am neither a Jew nor an Israeli, but I find it despicable and hypocritical that those bleeding-heart liberals cry ‘wolf’ when Israel strikes back at the Hamas who has been provoking and needling the Israelis all along with rockets. Israel, or any other country, has the right to retaliate and deflect aggressors. Some of those Palestinians would be worthy of Oscars the way they openly complain about Israel while secretly harboring the Hamas among civilians and supporting them! I am sure those Israeli-bashers have not had a rocket land on their house or home. How would those naysayers decrying Israel feel if their neighbors denied them the “right to exist”? Would you move or fight back? Think about that?

Unsworth said...

Iain

"A civilian death is far more tragic than the death of someone working a Hamas rocket launcher, I would venture to suggest. One is an innocent victim of war - the other is not."

OK let's accept that (slightly dubious) proposition, but how many of those injured or killed were actually firing rockets? Is it OK to kill indiscriminately or are the majority just 'colateral' deaths and injuries - and therefore acceptable?

jailhouselawyer said...

"Hamas are a bunch of murderous thugs".

Wasn't it an Israeli rocket attack which killed 5 innocent sisters whilst they slept in their beds?

Israel is not right to murder innocent civilians. They are a bunch of murderous thugs.

6p0105369cb031970b said...

Once again I see that anyone who does not support Israel is hailed an anti-Semite. This is simply not true and is aimed to inflate tension and inhibit rational discussion.

Well done to those who recognise there is more to simpmle right and wrong in this and that blindly adhering to one side or other while hurling insults and seeking to blame achieves nothing.

Faustus said...

WB wrote;
"Fight the good fight Iain - these people, OH, NM et al are horrible Mitfords. But I will disagree with you - I don't believe in a two state solution. I reckon the palis have abrogated their right to have a country by their disgusting behaviour, right down to the mufti of jerusalem who sided with Hitler".

Neither WB, nor Iain Dale, nor anybody else supporting the murderous Israeli government, appears to know the simple fact that David Yisraeli, a member of the Stern Gang, wrote the following in late 1940, as part of a proposal to Hitler. It was delivered in 1941 to two German diplomats in Lebanon.
“3. The establishment of the historic Jewish state on a national and totalitarian basis, bound by a treaty with the German Reich, would be in the interest of a maintained and strengthened future German position of power in the Near East”.

The Likud are successors of the Stern Gang and Irgun. "Tzipi" Livni is the daughter of an Irgun terrorist.

The Israeli government comprises racist, fascist murderers.

That is all anyone needs to know.

Tony

Jimmy said...

Of course there is a fine line to be drawn when it comes to what is and is not an acceptable response to Islamic fundamentalist terrorism. This blog's position appears to be:

Arial bombardment c.350 fatalities - justifiable and proportionate

42 days detention - unacceptable and excessive.

Have I got this right?

Iain Dale said...

Jimmy, quite how you can draw a parallel between the two is beyond me. So it's impossible to answer.

Anorak said...

GRIM stuff from Israel and the Gaza Strip. This is war. And war is never pretty. Hamas is the underdog, and the world likes those. When Israel was weak in 1967, it was cheered. Now Israel is the stronger side and tolerance will be tested.

The killing must stop. But do both sides want it to?

Israel must know that none of its operations have brought about peace, nor stopped attacks on it lands and peoples. And the Palestinians and their sponsors must realise that acts of extreme provocation create only casualties, many innocent.

The Jerusalem Post’s Khaled Abu Toameh wrote of a leaflet dropped by Hamas’s armed wing, Izzadin Kassam:

Boasting that it had fired dozens of rockets and mortars at Israeli towns in the past few days, the group pointed out that Israel was “hopeless and desperate” because it doesn’t know what to do to stop the attacks.

“The enemy is in a state of confusion and doesn’t know what to do,” the leaflet read. “Their fragile cabinet has met in a desperate attempt to stop the rockets while thousands of settlers have found refuge in shelters which, by God’s will, will become their permanent homes.”

And most of us only see the war through the media filter. And what does that tell us?

DocRichard said...

An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.

Jimmy said...

Iain,

I would have thought it was perfectly clear. Both are responses to life threatening security issues where the proportionality of the response has been questioned. I'm curious as to what set of principles, consistently applied, could regard 6 weeks in a cop shop as an overreaction but 350 corpses (and counting) as reasonable. Two explanations immediately spring to mind, one is that arab lives are of less value, the other is that the tory party's expressions of concern for civil liberties in opposition are feigned and opportunistic. In fairness to you there may be a more charitable explanation but I'm struggling to think what it might be.

Iain Dale said...

Jimmy, sorry, but it's preposterous what you are arguing. And then you say "one is that arab lives are of less value".

Well thanks a lot. If you really think I believe that I cannot understand why you would bother ever visiting my blog.

And frankly, the remark doesn't make me want to continue this exchange.

Jimmy said...

Iain,

Actually I don't think that and I apologise. It wasn't intended to come across quite as offensive as it did, but I'm genuinely curious as to how you square these two positions.

Iain Dale said...

Jimmy, thanks for being big enough to apologise. However, I still can't get my head around the parallels you have drawn so I'm going to leave it there if you don't mind and get back to watching Das Leben der Anderen!

WB said...

Faustus Tony - You have one frickin' letter from a perfidious jew in 1940 against 60 years of palestinian disgrace? Jeez mate - you wanna lift your game. Swear to God this stuff is rancid. Is this the kind of BNP approach? I am in Oz so I don't know where this is comng from. Urgh.

Faustus said...

WB.

You ask "where this is coming from".

The charge against you and Iain Dale is being "useful idiots" for the Zionist project.

"This is coming from" someone who wants Israel to live within its 1967 borders and in peace with its neighbours, and to abandon Zionism.

The voice to listen to is not that of Olmert, Lipi and Netanyahu, but that of Richard Falk, UN Human Rights Council Special Rapporteur on the occupied territories.

Falk is what you might call a 'self-hating Jew". He describes Israel’s atrocities in Gaza, and calls for immediate protective action “to offset the persisting and wide-ranging violations of the fundamental human right to life.”

Falk also calls for an International Criminal Court investigation to “determine whether the Israeli civilian leaders and military commanders responsible for the Gaza siege should be indicted and prosecuted for violations of international criminal law.”

You and Iain should support Falk.

Tony

DocRichard said...

Israel has a right to defend its people, but the question is, Is the current action a form of defence? In the first place, it is not defence, but counter attack. Apologists could construe it as defence in the sense that it is designed to cripple and topple a hostile regime, albeit a democratically elected one.

Whether or not the Israeli Government is successful in their objective, you must accept that the grief, anger and hatred caused by the current action is storing up further attacks against the Israeli people. That is why this action is not the right way to defend the Israeli people.

Glasgow said...

Very good post Iain, you don't miss a trick.

The commenters rambling about killings being "one sided" are falling into the disproportionality trap again. As if Israel should only kill the same number of Hamas terrorists as Israeli civilians that Hamas have managed to kill?

Get a grip people, this isn't a boxing match, it's war. It doesn't have to be a fair fight.

To maintain the boxing analogy, Hamas repeatedly comes out swinging. They mostly miss because they're uncoordinated, and Israel ducks and dives a lot, but when they hit it hurts a lot.

Israel wants the fight to stop, but throwing in the towel has no effect, Hamas keeps on swinging. So Israel hits back in the most accurate and firm way it can, and somehow this is unacceptable?

Moving away from boxing, if Israelis stood out in the street to be killed by rockets rather than making for their air raid shelters, would Israel then be permitted to kill more Hamas terrorists?

killemallletgodsortemout said...

Will the nice Mr Tony Blair be giving a refund for a job badly-done?


Thought not.

Neil Williams said...

Only one in 500 Qassam rockets causes a fatality. How many thousands of Israeli bombs, missiles, rockets, grenades and tank-shells have been blasted into the crowded city and towns of the Gaza Strip by Israel’s high-tech weaponry?


And since when has assassination of men, women annd children got anything to do with self defence? (when Nizar Rayyan was assassinated today with the full support of the USA and UK both his wife and three children were murdered by Israel) - these are War Crimes and nothing to do with self defence!

It appears that "terrorism" is OK so long as the USA and UK remain silent about it.

Neil Williams said...

Update:
Got it wrong - the Israeli War Crime today was not the killing of four people in one family but 14!
See this news item from Al Jazeera.net

"Israel destroys the home of Nizar Rayyan, a senior Hamas figure, killing him and 13 members of his family in the Jabaliya refugee camp in Gaza".

So what had the CHILDREN in this family done to Israel that deserves assassination? Is this not a War Crime?(the attack on Gaza had been planned for months as admitted by IDF even while a peace truce was in operation).

Lucy said...

The principles of the Hamas are stated in their Covenant or Charter. Following are highlights.

"Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it."

"The Islamic Resistance Movement believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgement Day. It, or any part of it, should not be squandered: it, or any part of it, should not be given up. "

"There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors."

"After Palestine, the Zionists aspire to expand from the Nile to the Euphrates. When they will have digested the region they overtook, they will aspire to further expansion, and so on. Their plan is embodied in the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", and their present conduct is the best proof of what we are saying."

Ami Isseroff

Lucy said...

And if you really believe that those who sign up to the above charter want to have a 'peaceful resolution' to the conflict, you are mad or simply dumb.

Rob said...

Spot on with your comments. What I always fail to understand, however, is why Israel is continually portrayed as the unrestrained bully in these matters. The United States and the UK are now no longer strangers to the devastating consequences of terrorism, yet Israel has lived with the threat, and reality, of terrorism for years, and continues to do so. Despite this, it would seem that it's expected to sit on its hands and take it on the chin. If Wales suddenly started firing rockets into England, would the world expect the English to sit back and not react? Of course not - so why is Israel expected not to respond? This is a PR war by Hamas - they wish for Israel to look like a mindless, bullying thug, and it seems that too many journalists are happy to go along with this portrayal. Too bad for Hamas if Israel's firepower is greater - don't pick a fight unless you're prepared for the consequences. As for Israel - does it really care how the rest of the world perceives it? I suspect not. I suspect all Israel cares about is survival - a sensible reaction, I'd say, in a world where too many people from the Middle East speak daily about Jihad and the obliteration of other peoples (including those within the UK) who do not subscribe to their own beliefs or way of life. Perhaps it is only a matter of time before other countries are faced with what Israel is facing now, then let us see if their response will be one of restraint ...

Black P said...

I think this blog is so out of order. You are all mouthing of about Israel rights to Kill.

When the Rockets are going in to Israel they cause damage. Even 1 life is too much. But come on, Israel response will lead to much sucide attacks all over the world.

Also what will be Israel response be if a Hamas bomb kills 300 hundred Israelies. Considering if 4 people die, they kill 574.

Right to defend, not an excuse for Genocide. No one is saying to turn the other cheek, but hey it is a Jewish state. What does that mean nowadays. Peace , tolerance, forgiveness, Or Murder, hate, arrogance.

susu2731 said...

Every country has a right to defend itself, BUT Only when that country a legit excuse to defend itself. Every Israeli supporter seems to dismiss the fact of WHY those rockets were being thrown in Israel. Israel has initiated a blockade in the gaza border, which eliminated palestinians from buying food, medical needs, lack of electricity and other necessities.. NOW WHAT KIND OF LIFE IS THAT???? EVEN before the blockade, Israeli soliders were torturing palestinains by aimlessly killing innocent civilians that they "thought" were hamas members.. THEN AGAIN you have recognize that Hamas IS Palestine's ELECTED GOVERNMENT.
And you know what really gets to me, is the fact that Israel says that they will try not to target children and women, yet the next day they target a UN school which kills 40 children and women.. what kind of trusted country is that? WHAT LEGIT REASON DOES ISRAEL HAVE TO DEFEND ITSELF WITH THE HORRIFYING THINGS THAT IT HAS DONE TO PALESTINE, TO GAZA! This is all Proganda, an agenda to get their goal: eliminate the palestinians and get more land!
By the way, OFCOURSE a group like hamas is going to form, when they see their families and relative starve to death and get killed by ruthless Israeli soliders!
ALSO, Hamas is now asking that Israel open the border for gazans to get food and other necessities and they recognize thier right as a government, and they will cease fire.. but the refusal of Israel to this proposition just shows you what a disgusting country it is, what black hearted government officials they are, and what a world this has become to support such a blodshed and horrific situation!!

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Qoooze said...

People who support the Palis here should check out the hatred they teach their kids. Compare that to our politically correct schools. It's all on youtube, and it's sickening. There will be no peace; Palis are jihadists. Hudna is not peace.

Oracle said...

Complete & utter rubbish! Its like reading a Israeli news brief. hang on, is it?