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Israel and Gaza on a summer mind

AxisofLogic - Israel and Gaza on a summer mind, Scott Ewing in New Zealand. Axis of Logic
“The root cause of the conflict between the Zionists and the Palestinians is as follows. Israel is expanding and has done so since it was established by force as a nation state more than 60 years ago. Palestinian House Demolitions + Israeli Settler Colonies = Israeli Border Expansion.  The unfortunate concentration of ownership of commercial news media outlets and the self censorship of the people within those organizations means that consumers of western press are more likely to believe that Hamas & Islam are directly to blame for the conflict. Thanks to the lack of historical context provided, shooting rockets at Israel is not widely understood as a potential downstream effect of occupation and abuse of dominance. Israel's "war" was not about rockets. They served the same role in its narrative as the non-existent weapons of mass destruction did as the pretext for the American-led invasion and occupation of Iraq (and I'm still waiting to be carefully led through a clear explanation for that one).”

 

Comments

It should be explicitly pointed out (again) that Israel's wrongs do not justify the violence perpetrated by the Palestinians, and pointing out those wrongs does not equate to condoning said violent response.

Just thought I'd throw that out there for the shades-of-grey impaired.

I like your comment about shades of grey.

It seems that this conflict, perhaps more than others, suffers from a stark polarization, where mainstream perception forces one to be "pro-Palestinian" or "pro-Israel." This is a false choice and should be rejected out of hand. Any discourse on this conflict should show an awareness that there has been suffering all around, and that both Palestinians and Israelis deserve equal rights, justice, and peace.

That being said, I don't think the author is trying to justify Palestinian violence (if I understand you correctly). The piece takes on the tone of a polemic, which I see as a reaction to the overwhelming Israeli bias in mainstream US (and Western) media. As I'm sure you know, this bias tends to paint the Palestinians as the absolute aggressors, while the Israelis are seen as the consummate victims.

Given the extreme power imbalance between these sides, which is reflected in the much higher Palestinian death toll, and the on-going abuses and illegal occupation and expropriation of land (which the vast majority of member States of the UN routinely condemn) we need more people to point out this hypocrisy.

But as you say, it must be done with shades of grey. Both Arabs and Muslims and Jews have been subject to horrendous colonialism, imperialism, and racism over the last 100 years (and beyond). The suffering and violence of their situation is as much (and arguably more) the responsibility of the West (in particular the US today) as nations who controlled these lands prior to partition, who dominated these peoples for a variety of reasons, and who continue to use this situation NOT in support of justice for all, but largely in support of their own political, strategic, and economic gains.

In this sense, I would argue that any serious critique of Israel or Palestine must also include a critique of the major players: chiefly the US, Canada, Britain, France, Germany, etc., along with various Arab states and Iran, whose positions on this conflict (such as Egypt's pro-American stance) are also affecting the possibilities for justice and peace.

I don't think the author is trying to justify Palestinian violence

I didn't either, which is why I pointed out that what the author was saying "does not equate to condoning said violent response". (It sounds like maybe you misunderstood and thought I was criticizing the article.)

I am glad the last part of my comment struck the right chord, despite that it was concise and... informal.

It would certainly be fair to say the the use of rockets by Hamas is providing pretext for responses by Israel that are disproportionate. This begs the question: why give such a pretext? I can only surmise that Hamas hopes that sufficient civilians casualties among their own people will have some positive propaganda value with regard to world opinion and their own recruiting among the Gazans. That's not a very ethical strategy either.

why give such a pretext

It seems to me that when they honor a cease fire it never results in anything positive. their actions may just be out of frustration. If it is a strategy it doesn't work, but then nothing works. There was a day when progress was being made but that was years ago and now it seems that Israel has no interest in a two state solution and believe their lobbying efforts here will forestall any significant pressure from the US. I don't see anyone in government willing to stand up to the lobby.

You are absolutely right when you say "nothing works". With the right wing ascendant in Israel it is unlikely anything ever will. That being said Hamas should at least adopt a strategy that minimizes harm to the Gazans and takes the wind out of the sails of the Israeli right wing. Ineffective rocket attacks serve no useful purpose and harm Gazan interests far more than Israeli interests. Unfortunately adopting such a strategy, failing to take the fight to Israel, has bad political implications for Hamas. So extremism feeds extremism. I don't know that the solution to this dilemma lies in the US. There has been a divergence of US and Israeli interests that started, in my opinion, with the end of the cold war. In theory this should allow the US to take a more even-handed diplomatic approach that may bear fruit. But there are, as you point out, the powerful (yet perfectly legitimate) pro-Israel lobbies that oppose a more balanced approached. That's why I think that any significant diplomatic advance will be glacial, at least in Obama's first term. This is a second term, "nothing-to-lose" battle. There have been some subtle shifts in tone vis-a-vis US-Israel relations that I find hopeful. In any event Israeli pre-conditions about the US dealing with a largely imaginary Iranian nuclear threat before any negotiations with the Palestinians can take place has probably pushed progress back for years (as intended). With the world economic crisis, a world wide environmental disaster looming I'm afraid the Palestinians are about to get back-burnered yet again.

I don't see anyone in government willing to stand up to the lobby.

His name is Ron Paul, but alas, to join his team is to join ranks with Stormfront, and the never-ending accusations of antisemitism.

Or, if you are "biologically Jewish", you become a "self-hating Jew" or simply a "traitor".

Nonsense. Only a small portion of his supporters,the ones who apparently wrote his newsletter, are anti-Semitic. Most are merely delusional.

I dislike Israel's government as much as I did Bush and I think they are just as bad. That said - this article starts off with a line highlighting one of those comments about Israel I never get and stops me in my tracks.

"Established by force as a nation" As opposed to what? As opposed to the formation of which nations?

As opposed to the formation of which nations?

Good point.

Interestingly, the article seems to have expanded. your quote passage is now in the middle.

I still remember a quote from a clip that was linked in the forum thread on the Arab-Israeli conflict: "We can not unscramble this egg." So is their enough of a sentiment around Gaza to share it?

We should look at Gaza with caution. The way attacks are justified - on both sides - the failed cease fires, countries taking one side of the other. When Norm says nothing works, it rings as a testament to complete policy failure: every time there's a fork in the road, the path taken is the more destructive one. I'm wondering where our settler at large, Jonathan Becker, is these days?

Iceland wasn't established by force (except ~maybe the eviction of a few irish monks). So there's one out of a few odd hundred.

I think a lot of the misunderstanding and disagreement from those of us standing outside the immediate area come from an oversimplification of the two sides - presenting them as "Israel" vs. "the Palestinians" or even vs. Hamas. The reality is that there are multiple subgroups within each, all with different points of views, values, and goals. We (I at least) have better visibility into Israeli politics, but I'm sure Hamas is broken into peace-minded and blood-thirsty just like the Israeli political class (though not necessarily in the exact same proportion). In addition, some of them on both sides really are functionally irrational (acting from premises we can't or won't accept).

I believe there is a strong and almost irresistible tendency for all of us to look for over-simple answers to these horrible problems. For some of us, the simple answer is that Palestinians (or hamasians) are pure dagnasty evil, standing in the way of peace. For others, the simple answer is that Israel is overwhelmingly the driver of ongoing violence. If Israel would just divest itself of it's colonial/racist ways, peace would arise almost naturally.

I suspect the reality is something like world war 1 - for the most part individuals on both sides (both civilians and leaders) hate this situation. But there are enough individuals committed to 'victory', and enough ambient animosity to keep this cycle going. I'm not nearly old nor wise enough to know how you break that, but I don't think a simple retreat of Israeli settlers is sufficient (good thing that may be on it's own)

This is the same old tired misconception repeated over and over, I don't know why I even bother to respond any more.

The Islamic world has declared, with no uncertain terms, that they have as their implicit intention, the complete and total annihilation of both Israel and the Israelis. The also state, for the record, the intention for destruction of the west and total domination of the world under the total unconditional rule of Islam.

Now, I take that as a formal declaration for war. If it were a rogue Nazi regime making these claims, we would all band together to oppose them, but for some odd reason, we seem to think that Islam is an exception? Why?

The fact remains, that Israel is a modern western democracy, and also an ali of the west. Israel is a tiny country surrounded by comparatively enormous Islamic states who make it abundantly clear that they deny Israel's right to exist, and we think that under these circumstances Israel can perform some sort of miraculous peace process, LOL, what a lot of pretentious nonsense.

Israel will never be able to entertain peace with Islam, so long as Islam insists on annihilating Israel, it just isn't going to happen, sorry.

Israel has right to exist and Israel also has a right to defend its people and its borders from the threat of destruction, period.

Tyga - Just to get you to clarify (I know you said you have gone over and over it apparently not here) Your analogy seems to be "Nazi regime" (I'm ignoring the "rogue" here because I think Nazi covers it) = "Islam". Do you mean some rogue Islam regime? Or do you mean all of Islam? And what are you trying to say? That we should consider it a declaration of war and we should go to war with them? And, if you don't think Israel should try and attain peace, do you think they should just maintain a low level of war at all times or should they escalate it? What do you actually see as the ideal outcome here or do you not see one?

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The point of the full article - click on the link above to read it - is that the root cause of the conflict is that Israel is expanding over time.

Palestinian House Demolitions + Israeli Settler Colonies = Israeli Border Expansion

(this also results in the animosity that you refer to from people already living in the region)

Your generalisations and cultural misperceptions about Islam are not helpful nor relevant in solving this conflict.

That was suppose to be "explicit" not "implicit" in my previous post.

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