Israeli-Palestinian cease fire lasts four hours, broken by Hamas rockets and kidnapping an Israeli soldier

I’m sure that all of us were relieved at the sudden onset of a 72-hour cease fire between Israel and Palestine. The agreement was brokered by both the U.S. and the U.N. Even if we see no ready solution to the conflagration there, at least both sides can stop the killing for a while.

Unfortunately, according to the Jerusalem Post and the IDF (Israeli Defemse Forces), Hamas broke the cease fire within four hours by firing rockets into Israel. [See below; this has now been verified by the United Nations as well.] Israel retaliated by returning artillery fire. The Post, and now the New York Times also reports that an Israeli soldier dismantling the tunnels in Gaza has also been kidnapped.

According to The New York Times, the dismantling of tunnels was permitted under the terms of the cease-fire:

Under the terms of the temporary truce, Israeli forces were permitted to remain in place inside Gaza to continue destroying the labyrinth of tunnels that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said were the prime target of the Israeli ground operation. Both sides said they would respond if fired upon.

We know what will happen next: Hamas will bargain the life of that one illegally abducted Israeli soldier–if he is still alive–for the release of over a thousand incarcerated Palestinians. This is what happened last time, on 2011. In exchange for one Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, Israel agreed to release 1027 convicted bombmakers, murderers of Israeli Jews and Arabs (mostly civilians), and committed suicide bombers back into the Palestinian population. You can see their names and their crimes here and here.  The huge number of released and convicted Palestinians was of course, a demand of Hamas, who wanted even more terrorists released.

If you want to talk about disproportionality, consider that Hamas would never sanction a one-to-one prisoner exchange. It has to be a thousand to one. And, at the time of the exchange, some on the Western left even carped about that disproportinality, saying it showed that Israel viewed the lives of one of their own as more valuable than hundreds of Palestinan lives. How can Israel be judged fairly under such attitudes?

I’ve just heard that the United Nations has condemned Hamas for breaking the cease fire, so that is not Israeli propaganda. As the Jerusalem Post reports:

Robert Serry, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, condemned Palestinians for breaking the agreed-to ceasefire, which was supposed to last for 72 hours.

“If corroborated, this would constitute a serious violation of the humanitarian ceasefire in place since 8 am this morning by Gazan militant factions, which should be condemned in the strongest terms,” the UN statement said.

He said he is concerned about what the results of breaking the ceasefire could be for Gaza.

The statement said that Serry called on the Palestinian parties that agreed to the ceasefire to reaffirm their commitment to the ceasefire as soon as possible. “He [Serry] is deeply concerned regarding the serious consequences on the ground that could arise as a result of this incident.”

One might almost think that Hamas doesn’t want a cease-fire, but prefers the carnage to continue so that it can gain the approbation of the West that comes fromIsrael’s retaliation. What other explanation is there for breaking this agreement by firing rockets and kidnapping a soldier?

 

 

 

 

128 Comments

  1. NewEnglandBob
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Hamas is truly the scum of the earth and needs to be wiped out with no more ceasefires. They have broken every ceasefire attempted.

    Instead of trading 1000 Palestinian muderers for the soldier, the Israelis should arrest 1000 Palestinians per day until his release.

    • GBJames
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:32 am | Permalink

      Not a good suggestion. Hamas is already winning the propaganda war by virtue of the relative scale of losses among Palestinian civilians.

      (Note: IMO Hamas is largely responsible for the unbalanced casualty numbers. They don’t emphasize protections for civilians because they see casualties as martyrdom and bad PR for Israel.)

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Yeah, GB is right. Social media is positively abuzz with Israeli Apartheid canards and screeds describing this conflict nothing other than an example of western imperialism. For all of its irrationalities, Islam has some very effective PR hacks.

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        And this has been going on for decades as proven by the mostly one sided UN resolutions because there are many Muslim countries to support the terrorism.

        PR works 2 ways. Egypt, Saudia Arabia, Jordan and others now oppose Hamas, either outright or quietly.

        • Posted August 2, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

          I wonder what it would take for them to oppose Hamas outrightly? It would make quite a difference in undermining that Hamas PR.

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps a better idea would be to release one prisoner, though not the most dangerous, per day with some fanfare. Emphasise how many have been released each time.

  2. Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:31 am | Permalink

    Let me be unfashionable. The Shalit deal was total folly. If the thousand Palestinians released did not really pose a threat to Israel, they should not have been in prison. If, as WEIT so powerfully argues here, they did, then they should not have been released for the sake of one individual.

    Moreover, as we are now seeing, paying for hostages generates a market, by creating the expectation that repetition will be similarly rewarded.

    • gravityfly
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Good point. Negotiating with terrorists is a losing gamble.

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      These are good points. Additionally, under the assumption these thousand prisoners have done and intend to do damage, it would seem there are some pretty high statistical odds that they may end up harming far more than the one person the exchange was made for. It is probably also likely that many of these prisoners are involved in the current assaults and lack of adherence to the ceasefires.

  3. Malgorzata
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    sub

  4. Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    For the record, Serry’s statement as reported in this piece is incomplete. It begins:

    “The UN is not in a position to independently confirm these reports. However, if corroborated, this…”

    Hamas are terrible, the cease-fire may indeed be directly the fault of the Palestinians, but litigating this issue in real-time requires some degree of reservation.

    Complete reportage is important.

    Also note, JP calls Palestinians “terrorists” and the Israelis “IDF soldiers.”

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      Really, do you think that the IDF (which hasn’t ever lied about a cease-fire) and the Jerusalem Post wouldn’t report if Israel initiated hostilities, or that the US and the UN would both condemn Hamas for breaking the ceasefire (from the New York Times).

      On Friday, the White House condemned the apparent capture of the Israeli soldier. Tony Blinken, President Obama’s deputy national security adviser, said Hamas had used “the cover of a cease-fire to conduct a surprise attack through a tunnel, killing Israeli soldiers, and perhaps taking one hostage.”

      Speaking on MSNBC, Mr. Blinken said American officials “strongly, strongly condemn it.”

      “Israel has the right to defend itself,” he said, “and it’s obviously taking action to do so. But this is an outrageous action, and we look to the rest of the world to join us in condemning it.”

      I will of course correct myself if Israel is found to have broken the ceasefire, but somehow I don’t think anyone would be raising these caveats if Israel was reported by the UN to have broken the ceasefire. If you think people would be calling for reserved judgement in that case, you’re living on another planet. Grania has already reported the double-standfard of reportage here.

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

      Also note, JP calls Palestinians “terrorists” and the Israelis “IDF soldiers.”

      If you exchanged the word Palestinians for Hamas or the Palestinian Authority, I’d say that is an entirely accurate statement. IDF soldiers may, in fact, be guilty of bad acts, possibly even war crimes, but they are, in fact soldiers and Hamas is, in fact a terrorist organization with expressly genocidal intentions towards Israel.

  5. NewEnglandBob
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    The propaganda war is meaningless. The world has been against the Jews for thousands of years. No matter what they do, they are hated, so Israel needs to play hardball.

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:39 am | Permalink

      This is a response to GBJames.

    • GBJames
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      Most of the world responds to propaganda. And this includes supporters of Israel who can’t help but feel sorry for the deaths of innocents. Israel needs all the friends it can get. To call it is “meaningless” seems like a comment from bizarroland to me.

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      While I am wary of dismissing public opinion with the wave of a hand, I cannot find logical fault with your statement. I think one of the chief problems I have with the dialogue surrounding this conflict is that it so rarely acknowledges that the Jews suffered a diaspora that lasted for many generations. They are just as much a people fighting for a peaceful homeland, something that was repeatedly and brutally denied them by the rest of the world, as much as the Palestinians. Should they really be faulted for having greater resources? That doesn’t mean that I blindly support Israel and it’s defense policies, I do not. The Israeli Apartheid crowd is the same very much the same group, and by that I mean many of the exact same individuals, as the 9/11 truthers. There positions on issues are based entirely on emotional appeals and a willingness to always cast western power as the bad guy. They really shouldn’t be taken seriously.

  6. Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    I cannot understand the logic behind such a 1000:1 prisoner exchange. Surely the future carnage that the release of 1000 committed terrorists will produce represents a far greater social wrong than the terrible pain of incarceration for one soldier and his/her family. If I were that soldier I would certainly hope that I would not desire this exchange to take place – even at the sacrifice of my own freedom or my life. Of course it’s easy enough to say this, not being that soldier involved or a member of the family… but to those authorities who must agree to this exchange the benefit/cost of the decision must surely preclude the agreement to it.

    • eric
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      What’s there to understand? Its a negotiation, and Hamas tries to get as much as they can.

      If you’re asking why Israel would accede to such demands, well, that’s a good question.

  7. Ian Hewitson
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    I’ve read and heard so many reports and comment pieces over the last few days but I’ve yet to hear anyone who’s got even the slightest idea about how to stop it before it has run its course. This time Israel seems hell bent on wiping out Hamas and their arsenal irrespective of the suffering of the civilian population of Gaza. Hamas doesn’t care about the civilians and Israel views collatoral casualities as a price worth paying for its own security – although the ‘payment’ is hugely disproportionate providing its key ally holds its nerve and keeps sending the dollars and the bullets – which it always will.

    • Charles
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      +1

    • eric
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      Agree. I don’t think Hamas is going to completely honor any cease-fire so long as Israel uses the time to destroy tunnels. The only workable cease-fire would be if Israel agrees to pull back and pause their tunnel destruction efforts. They aren’t going to do that, so cease fires at this point are probably not going to be anything more than short pauses Hamas uses to rearm and reposition troops while not under fire.

      • Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:41 am | Permalink

        Excuse me, Eric, but let me get your position straight. Both sides agreed to a cease fire with the proviso that Israelis could continue to dismantle the tunnels from Gaza. And then, when they do that, the soldier gets kidnapped, and you are saying that’s okay because Hamas is JUSTIFIED in kidnapping soldiers and violating the agreement that they agreed to?

        What kind of logic is that? You’re still managing to exculpate Hamas even though they broke the agreement?

        • Daoud
          Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:56 am | Permalink

          I think Eric is just saying that a cease-fire is essentially impossible, not faulting either side.

        • Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:09 am | Permalink

          Maybe I’m misreading him, but I didn’t get that at all from Eric’s comment. I don’t think he was trying to say Hamas is justified; only that he thinks they are going to keep doing it and use it to their advantage. He seems to be putting the blame entirely on Hamas for going back on their word and predicting that they will continue to do so. I don’t necessarily agree with him; but I think you may have misread him. Of course, I could be completely wrong.

    • Paul S.
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      I don’t understand your point. Are you saying this is Israels fault? Should Israel not defend itself? Hamas was asked to go three days without killing anyone and they couldn’t or wouldn’t do it.
      If anyone was wondering what Hamas would do if Israel retreated in the slightest, you have an answer.

      • eric
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

        The question wasn’t specifically addressed to me, but since I agree with Ian’s position I’ll give you my take on it: Israel’s destruction of the tunnels is fully justified. There’s nothing unethical or immoral about them destroyng those tunnels. However, cease fires and peace agreements typically require concessions to work: both sides must be willing to give up some action or some property that they think they are fully justified ind doing/holding. Neither side is willing to do that right now, so IMO cease fires are going to fail. If Israel wants a cease fire to work, they’re going to have to give up some tunnel destruction as part of that agreement. But if they decide that’s not a price they’re willing to pay, I can’t fault that decision.

        • Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:38 am | Permalink

          The tunnel destruction by Israeli soldiers in Gaza was PART OF the cease fire agreement, as I noted above. So it was part of a done deal. See it? Or do you simply think that Hamas shouldn’t have agreed to that stipulation?

          • eric
            Posted August 1, 2014 at 10:16 am | Permalink

            Jerry,
            Daod and Paco read my posts correctly. I do not think Hamas will abide by any cease-fire that has the stipulation in it that the Israelis can keep destroying the tunnels. They will make such agreements, sure, because it gives them a bit of breathing room to rearm. But (IMO) they do not intend to honor them.

            I am not saying they (Hamas) are justified. I am not exculpating them. I am not saying that Israel should agree to a cease fire that includes them stopping the tunnel destruction.

            Israel has a choice: offer a cease fire with terms that are tempting enough that Hamas will honor – which likely means withdraw from Gaza and no more tunnel destruction – or fight until their goal of complete tunnel destruction is met. I frankly don’t fault either choice. I think Israel would be in the right if they did either. However, I don’t think they will be able to accomplish both goals at the same time: they will not be able to accomplish a long-term cease fire and the tunnel destruction at the same time.

            I hope that makes my position clear.

        • Paul S.
          Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:04 am | Permalink

          We’re not talking about a long term cease fire, three days, just three days. Hamas was asked to stop killing people for THREE days and they wouldn’t. Do you seriously need concessions to stop killing people for three days?
          I am completely flabbergasted.

        • Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

          “However, cease fires and peace agreements typically require concessions to work: both sides must be willing to give up some action or some property that they think they are fully justified ind doing/holding.”

          Wasn’t that already done, otherwise why would Hamas have signed the agreement in the first place? Hamas gives up some concessions, and Israel must have too in order for Hamas to agree to it! Unless you are implying that Hamas was strong armed into the agreement?

          “If Israel wants a cease fire to work, they’re going to have to give up some tunnel destruction as part of that agreement”

          So there needs to be another agreement, negating the first one?

          • Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

            That’s apparently the idea. I’m actually quite appalled at some of the rhetorical and logical evasion that is going on with such statements.

            When Palestinians break the agreement, that’s okay. If Israel did it, they’d be universally excoriated. The old double standard.

            • Daniel
              Posted August 1, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

              But eric explicitly said he didn’t think it was ok for Hamas to break the agreement. He’s making a practical judgement, not a moral one.

              • Daniel
                Posted August 1, 2014 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

                I beg your pardon, I see that your post predates the one in which eric gave a further explanation.

          • eric
            Posted August 1, 2014 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

            Wasn’t that already done, otherwise why would Hamas have signed the agreement in the first place?

            I think Hamas signed the last cease-fire with no intention of honoring it.

            I also think that whether Hamas honors any cease-fire is of lesser concern to the Israelis than destroying those tunnels. So at this point I expect what will happen is that there will be on-and-off fighting until Israel destroys the tunnels. Then they’ll withdraw, and both sides will claim some sort of victory.

  8. bonetired
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    What is wrong is not so much the fact that Israel has reacted against the perpetual atacks by Hamas but rather, how they are doing it. Tanks make very bad policemen ( as indeed do F-15s) because they are not designed for what is known as COIN (COunter INsurgency) warfare. Plonking a tank in a street and asking it to be used as a precision weapon is just ludicrous – urban warfare is just not what tanks are designed for.

    Even the US military accept this. In their COIN Manual they actually say that “Sometimes, the More Force is Used, the Less Effective It Is

    7-5. Any use of force produces many effects, not all of which can be foreseen. Using substantial force also increases the opportunity for insurgent propaganda to portray lethal military activities as brutal. In
    contrast, using force precisely and discriminatingly could strengthen the rule of law that needs to be established. The key to successful counterinsurgency operations is knowing when more force is needed,and when it might be counter-productive. This judgement involves constant assessment of the security
    situation and a sense of timing regarding insurgents’ actions. ”

    http://fas.org/irp/doddir/army/fm3-24.pdf

    “Using substantial force also increases the opportunity for insurgent propaganda to portray lethal military activities as brutal”

    is precisely what has happened.

    I am just an arm-chair general but it seems to me that the techniques ( as opposed to the action itself ) in use are completely wrong. A lower key, police action might have a far greater return in terms of stopping the rockets, than this ham fisted use of force that is losing ( and in some cases lost) the sympathy of the world.

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      “A lower key, police action might have a far greater return in terms of stopping the rockets, than this ham fisted use of force that is losing ( and in some cases lost) the sympathy of the world.”

      This would be very foolish for the IDF to place many troops in as a police action against an anemy that hides amongs women and children, used RPG and mortars against the ground troops and hides in tunnels and uses suicide bombings. Would it make people feel better if the IDF casualties are more equal, which is what this would accomplish?

      No one gives Israel credit for using leaflets and making phone calls to tell residents to abandon a neighborhood or to leave a house that is to be destroyed. Also no one is chastising Hamas for making the civilians stay in place and hiding rockets in schools, mosques and UN shelters.

      The 1500 casualty figure is completely bogus as all figures given by Palestinians for the last 70 years. (It is a virture of Islam to lie (see the koran)). I suspect the casualties are 35% to 50% of what is reported.

      • bonetired
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        Bob You have just made my point exactly. The use of tanks and heavy artillery in an environment when the civilians are used as shields is precisely why you should NOT use such weapons. This IS a police action – effectively anti-terrorist – and it should be based ( as all COIN should be ) on a clear intelligence basis so that small, pinprick operations that are clearly defined. I have no objections to Israel killing terrorists that it sees as a threat to itself but this is just crazy. Tanks and F-15s are never ever going to win a battle against Hamas – in fact it is going to act as a first class recruiting officer for them. They will now go from strength to strength, making a bad situation dire …..

        • bonetired
          Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

          Update: it is frequently better to use a stiletto rather than a bludgeon.

        • NewEnglandBob
          Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          No, I didn’t make your point. I am completely opposed to your point

          • bonetired
            Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:13 am | Permalink

            I assume you missed the sarcasm.

            • NewEnglandBob
              Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:25 am | Permalink

              I did miss it. I should stop reading and responding while running errands.

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      I agree with you, Bonetired. The fundamental issue is that, whether the IDF’s tactics are correct or not, the US has no authority in the process. We furnish materiel that kills without any input in the process. This is the classic entangling alliance that George Washington had warned against.

      I think you make a good point about how the US’s military policy may be directly opposed to Israel’s actions. If Israel has different data on efficacy, fine, but we are involved in this war up to our gonads and as a US citizen it’s more than a little disconcerting that my tax dollars are funding this mess.

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      I think your point is valid, but if the IDF puts a grunt toting a rifle on every street corner of the West Bank, I think casualties on both sides will escalate dramatically.

  9. DV
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Everyone values Israeli lives more. That’s why Hamas demands and Israel agrees to the exchange. And that’s why 1400 dead Palestinians doesn’t generate as much outrage as 1 kidnapped Israeli soldier.

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Your comment is completely ignorant. Why won’t Hamas agree to a 1:1 exchange if Hamas values the lives of its people as much as Israeli lives (and, as you know, Hamas doesn’t value Israeli lives very much.

      And, of course, in the court of world opinion, you’re just flat wrong about this calculus.

      Are you really so obtuse to think that Hamas asks for that deal because they don’t value the lives of their people, rather than knowing that Israel wants to rescue their soldiers at immense cost?

      • Jack
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:02 am | Permalink

        The exchange is basic economics, they will bargain for the highest price the seller is willing to part with, it has nothing to do with the “value” of a life.

        • Jack
          Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

          I should say “relative value”.

      • Daoud
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        Israel values Israeli lives more, while Hamas does NOT value its own people, Hamas values Hamas. Hamas is also aware of the Israeli value, so from a purely capitalistic perspective, you can’t fault Hamas for “charging” as much as it can for an Israeli life.

        • Daoud
          Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:18 am | Permalink

          Actually, you couldn’t ever fault any side for negotiating the best deal they could, regardless of the “relative value placed on life”. If Israel could have negotiated a trade of 100 (hypothetical) captured soldiers for 1 Hamas prisoner, they would. It is, as Jack said, basic economics.

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      1400 dead Palestinians is generating quite a bit of outrage in social media. And the imbalance in loss of life is most directly attributable to the fact the Israel and the IDF have greater resources, are we to fault them for this. Should they improperly equip their soldiers and fail to protect their citizens out of a misguided sense of fairness?

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        Where is the outrage for 150,000 civilians murdered in Syria? The hypocrisy is laughable.

        • colnago80
          Posted August 1, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

          It’s now around 175000 with more then 4 million refugees, both external and internal.

          • Posted August 1, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

            I never thought about it in that context before, but you’re absolutely right. It is incredibly hypocritical to decry the Israelis as barbarians because of Palestine and yet make no comment about sectarian violence amongst muslims in Syria and Iraq. Why is it moral to care about deceased muslims only if they are killed by Jews and not if they are killed by someone from a different branch of islam? I’m glad you guys brought that up.

            • colnago80
              Posted August 1, 2014 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

              Furthermore, there have been reports that thousands of Christians have been fleeing Mosul in Iraq in fear of their lives from the ISIL forces. Apparently, nobody seems to care about them.

              • Posted August 2, 2014 at 6:42 am | Permalink

                I’ve concluded that the general lack of concern for the violence in Syria and the horrific accounts of life in ISIS controlled territory on the part of western commercial media is a vile permutation of the little people argument. As if Muslims killing each other is business as usual, but the IDF ought to know better. From a media critic perspective, I can’t ignore the fact that Jews are clearly being held to a different standard in regard to the use of force than Muslims. The Israeli Palestinian conflict is more easily identified as an ethnic conflict than is sectarian violence between two groups of Muslims. When filtered through the prism of a media culture that doesn’t concern itself with depth and would much rather be wrong first than right second, this conflict is being framed with the IDF as racist western aggressors and the Palestinians their hapless victims. In my opinion these factors are the cause of the unbalanced public opinion on the subject.

        • Daoud
          Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          Nonsense. The civil war in Syria and Iraq is horrifying and is very much in the forefront of my thoughts and I am sure many others. I have been far more upset by it than Israel-Gaza. I don’t know about American media, which does have a very poor reputation.

          And with the date being August 1 2014, it could be plausibly argued that the Syrian-Iraq civil war is the latest front in the Great War, which began 100 years ago today and still continues…

          • NewEnglandBob
            Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

            Your personal anecdote is meaningless. There are thousands all over the world protesting and rioting against Israel and virtually no one protesting or rioting about Syria/Iraq. Are there swastika equivalent signs on Paris protestors? Did the foolish UN file war crimes today against Syria and ISIS?

            That situation is 100 times as serious and get 1/100000th the attention.

            • Daoud
              Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

              My personal anecdote is just that. Though it’s also proof that not *everyone* is focused solely on the Israel-Palestine conflict, I’d have to believe I am not unique in this. It is sad that it draws disproportionate attention.

  10. Mal
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    subscribe

  11. Jack
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Could a Palestinian (Hamas or otherwise) arrest an Israeli? Or is it always kidnapping?

    “t was not immediately clear if the possible abduction was linked to the heavy shelling in Rafah, which sent families fleeing from apartment blocks that had pillars of smoke rising from them.”

    Kidnap a soldier, bomb an apartment complex.

    http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2014-08-01/3-day-gaza-cease-fire-goes-into-effect

    That being said, obviously unfortunate Hamas is so against long term cease fires. Agree with Ian above regarding their view of their own civilians.

  12. kraut
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Here someone who has been fighting for Israel as a former “terrorist”:
    remember – it was “terrorist” who fought against the mandated government of England in Palestine.

    http://zope.gush-shalom.org/home/en/channels/avnery/1406902487

    http://www.avnery-news.co.il/english/index.html

    • colnago80
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      Ah gee, the Hun has shown up. Prof. Coyne should be aware that this individual posts on other blogs and is a 2 fisted Israel basher in the style of Phillip Weiss and Max Blumenthal.

      • kraut
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        And you are one advocating nuclear war against Iran…

  13. Paul Lurquin
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    What’s more ethical, a 1000:1 prisoner exchange ratio or a 30:1 kill ratio?

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Could you tell me the kill ratio that you would find ethical, given that Palestine increases casualties by using its people as human shields?

      I knew someone would say this. Prisoner exchanges are not the same as warfare, and you should know that, especially when one side conducts warfare in a way that will guarantee the maximum civilian casualties.

      • Ian Hewitson
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        I have no reason to doubt that Hamas uses civilians as human shields but there have been several reliable stories over the past few days of attacks on civilian targets where this was not the case. It would appear to me that at the moment Israel is unconcerned about the level of casualties but surely there has to come a point where the number becomes unacceptable. How bad does it have to get before Israel and it’s supporters decide enough is enough or is any number acceptable as long as the Hamas threat is neutralised? What would it take for President Obama to stand up and say that the US can no longer support this?

    • Malgorzata
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      There were over 500 casualties among civilians (not to counting almost 400 combatants)in the Operation Allied Force in former Yugoslavia. The casualties among Allied Forces was exactly 0. Was the action to save the lives of Muslims in the former Yugoslavia immoral?

  14. Kurt Lewis Helf
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Abba Eban’s 1973 quote regarding the fact that Palestinians “never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity” remains true to this day.

  15. Grania Spingies
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Tellingly, Twitter was alight this morning with people furious that Israel was guilty of breaking the cease-fire. This afternoon, there is a deafening silence about how Palestine broke the cease-fire. The double standards shown by the self-righteously outraged critics of Israel are quite revealing.

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Don’t worry: Hamas apologists are like theologians: they’re endlessly creative in the way they can defend the indefensible. We’ve seen at least one example on this thread.

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Yes. And of course anti-semitism has NOTHING to do with people’s opposition to Israel. Like the Belgian doctor who refused to treat a woman because she was Jewish and told her to “go to Gaza and you’ll feel better.” http://www.jpost.com/Jewish-World/Jewish-Features/Belgian-doctor-refuses-treatment-to-Jewish-patient-369591

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      The other day when I was over on Pharyngula defending Sam Harris’ article and the position he takes, I said the only way out of this (though the chances are slim) is to have outside help from the UN and allies call for a ceasefire and negotiate a deal. Not that this has a very high chance of succeeding, but without some more objective outside help, this situation will not resolve itself without much more loss of life.

      As it happens, it’s played out precisely this way. The only other “solution” I saw offered up in my discussion over there was for Israel to immediately stop firing and integrate all Palestinians as citizens, apparently with the honest belief that there would be no further aggression on either side were this scenario to play out.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

      Sadly, many in the West seem to side with Hamas because they haven’t looked at this critically enough. Meh, I’m always taking licks for having a different perspective from other liberals.

  16. Lurker111
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Two religions and two goals. Mental illness vs. mental illness.

    There’s no point to trying to make sense of this.

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      That’s an idiotic comment. Israel isn’t fighting Hamas because they want to wipe out Islam. It’s because Hamas keeps firing rockets at their cities. Hamas, on the other hand, has repeatedly stated its desire to rid the world of Jews on behalf of Islam.

      Really, if you’re stupid enough to write things like that, I’m surprised you’re able to operate a computer.

      • Lurker111
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Granted the current crisis is Hamas’ fault–a simply political gambit to keep the pot stirred.

        But don’t forget Israel’s continuing encroachment on Palestinian land with illegal settlements; the Israelis are trying for a de facto annexation where a military one would be politically untenable. Also, the creation of the state of Israel from Palestine was not well handled. If you want to assign land ownership by who was in a spot first, we in the U.S., e.g., would have to give all the land back to the indigenous tribes.

        That _God_ is the one who “gave” the land of Israel to the Israelis isn’t helping matters either. This belief rules out much compromise.

        Perhaps my original post wasn’t as well stated as it should be.

  17. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    1. Israel has a right to live in peace without fearing rocket attacks or suicide bombers and certainly has a right to defend itself.
    2. Hamas is an evil organisation that has no interest in peace and no interest in playing by any ‘civilised’ rules.

    That is clear but where do we go from there? Israel’s mailed fist approach to Hamas is not working and will bring, at most, temporary respite. Hamas is like a hydra where chopping off one head results in the growth of two more. Palestinian people are inherently no more or less evil than any other people on earth so why do they continue to support Hamas? Clearly, the extreme misery that is imposed on the Palestinian people through the total economic blocade on Gaza and now the horrendous bombardment and the carnage that has ensued, act as the most effective recruiting sergeant Hamas could wish for.

    In the long term the only hope for peace is for the Palestinian people to stop supporting Hamas but that will only happen if they see something to gain from peace with Israel, not through being bludgeoned into it. It is hard to see how we can move towards that from the current situation but in the long term Israel will have to take some courageous steps to offering Palestinian people some genuine concessions and the chance to live with peace and prosperity. I am not suggesting that this is easy but past Israeli leaders have shown such courage and gained peace as a result so it is not impossible. The alternative is decades more of periodic eruptions like the present one.

    • colnago80
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      Israel’s mailed fist approach to Hamas is not working and will bring, at most, temporary respite

      That’s because the mailed fist is wrapped in multiple layers of cotton. Time to take off the gloves and really hit the Hamas terrorists hard.

      • NewEnglandBob
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        +1

      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        “That’s because the mailed fist is wrapped in multiple layers of cotton”

        Patently not. It would doubtless come as news to anyone in Gaza that the gloves have been on up till now. I am sure you are right that Israel can hit harder and probably will but more children, old and sick people will be killed and Palestinian hatred will be further cemented and even more young Palestinian men will be drawn to the Hamas ’cause’ (I hesitate to dignify it with the term and certainly do not intend to imply there is anything right or noble about it). I don’t believe long term peace can be achieved in this way.

        • Malgorzata
          Posted August 1, 2014 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          I just can be grateful that during the WWII there were not many people seeking other ways to defeat Germany than tanks, planes and artillery fire. If there were my country, Poland, which lost 6 milion citizens (of which 3 milion were Jews) out od 30 milion strong population, would be not only without Jews but without Poles as well because Poles were next in the queue for extermination.

          • Daoud
            Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

            As a Pole, I am sure you are ultimately very unhappy with how WWII ended up for Poland. It’s sometimes a great and tragic reminder to point out that France and England (and Canada/New Zealand/Australia/South Africa) declared war on Germany *because it invaded Poland*, but at war’s end, the Poland which they had declared war to save, was sacrificed to the Soviet Union *who had also invaded Poland in pact with Nazi Germany* and the Soviet Union went on to slaughter many Poles (in 1939, and again in 1945+), particularly the intelligentsia and Polish resistance and supposed ally-supported government who did not stay in exile.

            History is just so much more complex than soundbites and media make it out to be.

        • colnago80
          Posted August 1, 2014 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

          Oh really, let me describe to you what happened in the Syrian City of Hama in 1982. The Syrian Army surrounded the place with hundreds of artillery pieces and subjected it to a bombardment lasting several days. Estimates of the number of people killed range upwards of 25,000. In his book, From Beirut to Jerusalem, Thomas Friedman describes this horrific event and christened it Hama Rules. So indeed, the IDF could apply Hama Rules to the Gaza Strip which would make their current activities look like love taps.

  18. Rhetoric
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Wait, so as a hardline member of Hamas, you are telling me I just have to set off a bomb any time there is a negotiation and the entire process will have to start again? Talk about the easiest job in the world.

  19. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    Sadly, I’m so cynical about the cease fire that I’m not surprised it was broken. Every time there is a cease fire, rockets continue to be fired at Israel.

  20. Posted August 1, 2014 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    There is a huge moral difference between Israel and Hamas that the world seems to ignore. Hamas have always been specifically religiously motivated to kill Jews. They recite the Khaybar story i the Qu’ran where Muhammed exiled the Jews and the story where a tree would whisper to a good muslim when a jew was hiding behind it and the earth would implore the good muslim to kill the jew. Hamas have a functional logic which Netanyahu rightly called telegenic, it is made for the partial and ignorant viewer and distorts the fact that Israel have legitimate goals.

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Another baffling point is that many critics of religion have no problem pointing out centuries old instances of anti-Semitism, frequently involving attacks on Jews by Christians, with the main justification being religious doctrine. Why is this so hard to grasp today and why does the argument always come down to accusations of someone pointing out Islamic ideology’s role in something being equivalent to saying all one billion people on Earth who call themselves Muslim have the same goals? The fact that the majority of these are not carrying out violent jihad does not mean that there are not people with explicitly religious reasons who are carrying it out. There’s often not even acknowledgement that such motivations should at least be considered.

  21. Posted August 1, 2014 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    One thing I haven’t seen any discussion about from either side is the logical absurdity of temporary ceasefires. Does anyone else agree that calling for a stop to launching missiles for a finite period, with the tacit implication that it is okay to commence firing again once it is over makes no sense at all?

    Only in the paradoxical notion of justified human warfare can this make sense in today’s world. In the United States, we’ve moved past this on an individual scale, but strangely have not moved past it on a large scale. At the individual level, we used to sanction duels, which may be the closest analogy to a ceasefire in another context. The idea was that people should try to settle disputes via other methods, but when those are sufficiently exhausted, whatever that means, it is not only permissible to then fight to the death, but it was considered dishonorable not to. Currently, such “solutions” are rightly considered to be atrocious by society at large.

    No matter what either side does in a conflict there is no way to respond to an attack that can be considered good when it results in loss of innocent life. This is not to say that both sides are equally culpable, far from it. In terms of moral or ethical goodness, I think the only solution that qualifies is a permanent ceasefire and negotiating the differences without threats to take more lives.

    I realize that often neither side in a one-on-one conflict is necessarily in position to do something like this without severe risk, but outsiders, such as the UN, are in position to propose this. In this context, the idea of just temporarily stopping the killing seems absurd, especially for a period as short as three days, when there’s no reasonable argument that a decades long conflict could be solved in this short of a time frame.

    • Adam M.
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

      I think these short (“humanitarian”) cease-fires are just for the civilians, since it gives them a chance to get food, bury the dead, rest, and generally catch their breath.

      • Posted August 1, 2014 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

        The concept of humanitarian ceasefires truly is an incoherent as honorable warfare. What bothers me most in any conflict aside from the obvious tragedy of human deaths is the fervor with which people root for a side, as if it is a sporting event. The whole concept is tragic. This site is one of the rare places where everyone seems to grasp the tragedy, even in Israel’s justified military responses.

      • Posted August 3, 2014 at 7:39 am | Permalink

        You are wrong. A cease fire is a cease fire. What’s humanitarian is the purpose.
        If Hamas does not cease operating while hiding behind civilians and attack us, Israel has no choice but to attack the terrorists and the inevitable result is that civilians will be hit.

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      That’s a good point, but a bit simplistic. I will speak from an Israeli point of view, and I am quite confident that, at least to a degree, this is true for Hamas as well.
      There is fighting. If we could, we would end it now, but the other side isn’t willing to accept terms acceptable by us. The ongoing war is very difficult for the local population. They cannot buy even the most basic products and it difficult and dangerous to get to a place where those who need it can get medical treatment, A humanitarian cease fire allows them to do those things.

      • Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

        I think you misunderstood. I am not speaking from the point of view of Israel. I’m not sure how much they can do differently, other than what I’ve said before in that I hope they are continuously re-evaluating what the options are as death tolls rise.

        My criticism here is leveled at UN proposals for temporary ceasefires. Outside observers should want nothing less than for the deaths to stop, especially the innocent ones. The initial call should be for a full ceasefire and for negotiations to be had. Failure to comply and come to the table in good faith should result in the strictest penalties the UN can apply. Likewise, failure to respect a ceasefire of any sort should result in the same level of reprimands. There simply should be no excuses be made for Hamas breaking the ceasefire today. Likewise, if Israel were to break an agreement, the UN should condemn them just as harshly.

        The history is so long that the UN should not be involved nor care about the back and forth accusations of the past. It is simplified as you point out, partly due to the nature of commenting on a website, but I don’t see why this position of zero tolerance for continued warfare shouldn’t be the starting point for UN proposals.

        • Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

          In my opinion, even for a neutral mediator or and outside observer, a temporary humanitarian cease fire is better than no cease fire at all.
          I am an Israeli and know that our military does morally and legally better than any other military in history, but it’s undeniable that the situation is extremely difficult for the Palestinian population and if we can somehow ease the pressure, then I don’t think that this not being as desirable as a complete truce shouldn’t be a reason to give it up.

          • Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

            What would you say could reasonably be accomplished in a period as brief as 3 days that would not result in the fighting immediately starting again? I realize that a UN proposal for an immediate full ceasefire would probably be met with counteroffers, but as I said this should be the starting point.

            At this juncture, when we face reality, I don’t think it matters what the UN or US says or does in the situation. Looking at this current report, I see hear words like, “holy warriors” and “martyrs” coming from Hamas and no such terms in the statements by Israel. How people can continue to claim that there is no religious motivation on the Palestinian side is stunning. Combine this with the refusal to revoke or change the charter for “internal reasons” and it is quite clear that this is not going to end until Hamas’s ability to launch missiles is neutralized.

            Unfortunately, I don’t know that there’s a realistic way of getting the many innocent citizens completely out of harm’s way either. Perhaps, there can be enough resolve on the Palestinian side to get Hamas to stop, but if their resolve is as it appears, that would merely result in civil war and even more casualties. The UN may also need to consider whether there is a way for allied forces to start getting citizens to safety in some neutral place.

            • Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

              (Just to give you an idea about our experience, we have just had a siren. I had to wake up my 6 years old daughter and take her to the shelter).
              I am not sure what Hamas wants. The media say that they want a release of prisoners and removal of the blockade. Things got complicated for us after the capture of our officer yesterday. It will be politically very difficult for the government to make concessions to Hamas.
              Israel says that it want demilitarization of the Gaza strip. Everybody in Israel knows that we won’t get it. I guess that we will settle for destruction (by us) of the tunnels infiltrating Israeli territory and stopping the rockets and mortars from Gaza.
              The Israeli public would agree to a cease fire now, if that meant that we could continue the destruction of the tunnels, and if not, then a cease fire after we complete that. The idea of tunnels allowing Hamas to enter Israeli settlements unnoticed and attack our civilians and something we cannot live with. The military says that they need a 3-4 more days for that. After yesterday, the release of our officer is a top priority mission. In a normal war, it would end when the fighting is over with a mutual release of the POWs, but this is not a normal war and Hamas does not respect the Geneva convention.

  22. Posted August 1, 2014 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    Let me upset everyone by drawing attention to Kenan Malik’s perceptive essay on the history of Hamas:

    http://kenanmalik.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/the-monster-that-israel-helped-create/

    I am not optimistic. Things could only get better along the lines that Jerry has suggested here many times if Israelis were persuaded that Palestinian hostility towards them was not implacable, and there are many reasons, both good and bad, why they are unlikely to take such a rosy view.

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      So, since Israel tried to help by setting up humanitarian support and then got stabbed in the back, it their fault? That is not even worth a response.

      • Posted August 1, 2014 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

        The article claims that Israel encouraged the development of Islamist groups like Islamic Jihad, of which Hamas is a descendant, in order to undermine the authority of the PLO, which was at that time a rejectionist terrorist organisation. I remember being surprised, at the time, in the years immediately following 1967, that Israel allowed Islamic Jihad to operate schools in Gaza. I thought of this as negligence. If Malik is correct, it was policy.

        And perfectly understandable policy too, given that the PLO position was at that time absolute and uncompromising.

        • Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

          It was not “Islamic Jihad” but more conservative Islamic elements which seemed at the time more moderate than the radical PLO. It looks foolish now, but it was before the radicalization of Islam we see today.

    • Rhetoric
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      The situation is similar to when the US backed specific groups to help combat the Soviets in Afghanistan. And similarly, the idea that the US shares even a modicum of responsibility for what those groups did after we trained, armed, and put them in power is completely ridiculous.

      • Daoud
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 11:54 am | Permalink

        Sarcasm I hope?

  23. Posted August 1, 2014 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    Take a look at Google maps, and you will see a huge empty space in Egypt next to the Gaza strip. All empty land – virtually no one lives there.

    Look at Jordan along its border with the West Bank. Lots of empty land there.

    If the Arab world truly cared about the Gaza Palestinians, they would erect housing in Egypt for them. And if Jordan actually lived up to its charter, they would be obligated to absorb the displaced Arab Palestinians living in West bank settlements.

    And the only reason the nation of Islam doesn’t take care of these, their own people, is because they hate Israel more than they care about the lives of the Palestinians, who for more than sixty years have been their useful idiots.

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Absolutely. Of all the peoples displaced in the late 1940s – Germans from Poland and Czechoslovakia, Poles from the expanding Soviet Union, Hindus and Muslims within the Indian self continent, and Jews from the wreckage of Europe and from the Arab world, the Palestinians are the only ones still regarded, two or three generations later, as refugees.

      Unfortunate in their enemies, still more unfortunate in their friends, and even more unfortunate, if such be possible, in their leaders.

      None of which is much help right now.

  24. Shwell Thanksh
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Oops, it’s was totally unintentional!

  25. Heather Hastie
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    As long as Islam is in the mix, no peace deal will last. It is the goal of Islam to convert the whole world – they consider this a holy goal and the only way to peace. As long as a significant proportion of Muslims retain this ‘convert or kill’ mentality, long-term peace simply isn’t possible.

    For Israelis, knowing there are huge numbers of people living close by who want to kill you for no other reason than religion has to have a major effect on their collective psyche.

    Of course, there are extremists in all religions, but in most societies their numbers are small enough that control of them can be largely be left to law enforcement and the rest of us don’t have to worry about them much. This is not the case for Israel.

    There are criticisms that can be directed at Israel too, but considering the circumstances, their actions are understandable. We need to put ourselves in their shoes.

    The suffering of the Palestinians is terrible. I don’t want this to be construed as blaming the victim, but as long as they bring up their children to hate Jews, even to the extent of doing it via children’s education shows on television, they need to recognize these are the consequences.

    Religion Poisons Everything.

    • Mark R.
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      As long as Islam is in the mix, no peace deal will last. It is the goal of Islam to convert the whole world – they consider this a holy goal and the only way to peace.

      Yup…Sam Harris ended his article perfectly.
      “The truth is, we are all living in Israel. It’s just that some of us haven’t realized it yet.”

  26. mordacious1
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    The real reason why there won’t be a peaceful resolution to this conflict is that the leaders of Hamas are getting rich and will continue to do so as long as they are perceived to be standing up to the Jews. Arafat used to serve this same role and he died a billionaire. His widow now lives in luxury in Paris. Not a bad gig, if you can get it. With all the money poured into Gaza by various entities over the years, the inhabitants should have a much higher living standard than they do now.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted August 1, 2014 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Ugh. It’s always about the “standing up to” and the ego. I’ve said it once & I’ll say it again: many world leaders need to be spanked & put to bed early!

      • Daoud
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

        Are there any politicians anywhere in any system and nation who truly are worthy of their jobs?

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted August 1, 2014 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

          A friend of mine who did his MA in history, said that there hasn’t been one worthy since Churchill. I’m not so sour in my outlook as I liked Pierre Trudeau (but I grew up under him) and I appreciated Khrushchev for being the bigger man during the Cuban Missile Crisis so I could be born. 🙂

          • Daoud
            Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

            I think Khrushchev was (relatively) the best leader of the Soviet Union, though interestingly (or sadly) he is not looked upon well by Russians today (neither is Gorbachev). You’d find more Russians today praising Stalin than either of those 2…

            Churchill is hardly a saint either, but “worthy” doesn’t (and can’t) mean infallible.

            I would think Eisenhower to be one of the better modern presidents.

            Ghandi and Mandela are the exceptions that prove the rule.

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

              I think Gorbachev will become fashionable in Russia again. I suspect right now he is seen as a big ally of the West and the West=evil. He did so much in such a short time and was able to influence people mired in decades of established thinking. It is amazing he got as far as he did.

  27. Mark R.
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I’m 45, so have lived through many wars between Israel and her enemies: PLO, Syria, Hezbollah, Jammoul, Hamas. I know the Lebanon wars were the longest in duration since I’ve been alive, but I can’t shake the feeling that this war is the most ominous in my lifetime. Perhaps I’m just more immersed in this one. I’m not adding a lot to this particular discussion, and I’m late to it, but the more I read, the more cynical and fearful I get that this war is going to go on for a long, long time. I hope I’m wrong, but this time seems “different” somehow. Can’t put my finger on it.

    • Posted August 1, 2014 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      Keep in mind that I am Israeli, so my perspective is very well defined.
      I think that the media is becoming a more important component in wars. It has always been there, but now coverage is closer than ever.
      Urban warfare has always been the nastiest, and when Hamas, on the one hand, uses hospitals, schools, mosques, UN facilities ambulances and other things which are supposed to be off limits for fighting sides, and orders civilians, sometimes by force, to stay in fighting zones, and Israel, on the other hand, see Hamas’ activity as a direct immediate threat to its own civilians, you must expect things to get much worse.
      But I have great doubt if this will last for long. Hamas resources are limited and its very difficult for them to renew them, now that Egypt effectively closes it border with Gaza, and nobody in Israel (well, “nobody” is not literally accurate, but you get the idea) wishes to occupy the whole Gaza strip or stay there for long, it will end in a matter of a few weeks at worst.
      As they say, we will be home for Christmas 😉

      • Daoud
        Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

        Yes, however nothing will have changed. Except Gaza will be an even worse place to live. Israel security and long time prospects wont be improved, and we can probably set our clocks by the next Gaza war…
        😦

        • Posted August 1, 2014 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

          This is the consensus here. It’s not a very pleasant thought, but I guess that that we have no choice.

          • Mark R.
            Posted August 1, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

            Your perspective is much needed. You live there, simple as that. Thanks for the first-hand description and learning. I think you made me feel better. I’m still scared. I fear for Israel…so strong, yet in the midst of an edict for your utter destruction from all sides. ? Not that it is new, but so f’n dumb.
            Have always hated the absurdity. Reason for guilt= being born. Makes me crazy in a way.

            But thanks for calming me down as far as calling this war “the worst war ever”. I don’t know enough to understand all at stake or at hand, but I trust what you say as a direct participant. Either way, it must be beyond intense. Stay rational and strong! Sorry ’bout the bullsheet from the west and our media sociopathy. Hype creates the money that has gotten a hold of our media and common sense…at least for now. We’ll see…

  28. Adam M.
    Posted August 1, 2014 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    I’m not convinced that Hamas’ leaders actually have control over all of its members, even in theory, and they certainly don’t control other militant groups. It’s unknown whether the attack and capture were committed by members of Hamas, it’s just assumed. (Hamas leadership denies ordering the attack.) It’s unfortunate that there’s no single entity with authority over all the Palestinian fighters, since it makes it almost impossible to negotiate agreements with the Palestinian side as a whole.

    I don’t see that the rockets were involved in breaking the cease-fire. According to Israel, the Palestinian attack and capture of the soldier reportedly happened within 30 minutes of the cease-fire starting (at 9:30), after which IDF forces immediately retaliated and soon began heavy artillery fire (at 10:00). The rockets were reportedly fired several hours after that, after both sides had already resumed fighting.

    Also, it’s not a “kidnapping” or ‘illegal abduction’ to capture an enemy soldier in a time of war. (It’s not even known that the soldier was captured, although I think that’s a fair assumption.)

    I agree that the breaking of the cease-fire so soon is shameful, especially if Hamas was behind the attack, but the article in the Jerusalem Post reads like propaganda.

    An unbiased report would be: “Unknown Palestinian fighters attacked Israeli soldiers. Two soldiers are dead. One is missing and presumed captured. Israel retaliated with heavy artillery fire and began an immediate operation to recover the soldier. Both sides have resumed general fighting. Hamas is suspected but has denied involvement in the attack.”

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted August 2, 2014 at 2:34 am | Permalink

      FWIW, That’s the way I read it.

  29. Posted August 2, 2014 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    Not only breaking cease fire, but setting explosives in Palestian houses to get Israel blamed!
    At least 33 Tunnels for invading Israel and storing explosives.
    They do not want to stop the war, just to follow the Quran and destroy Christians & Jews!
    The world has lost its humanity, all thanks to religion…

  30. Posted August 2, 2014 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    An update about the captured officer:
    The IDF informed the family that he is dead.

    • Adam M.
      Posted August 2, 2014 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

      It turns out that he wasn’t captured at all, but died in the battle along with the other two men.

      • Posted August 2, 2014 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

        I hope you’re not saying that this is more justifiable than if he was captured. He was killed inspecting a tunnel, which is not a “battle,” but a cease-fire violation by Hamas. That has now been recognized (and condemned) by both the U.S. (President Obama) and the UN.


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