Ali Rizvi talks sense on Israel and Palestine

Unbeknownst to me, Ali Rizvi, author of The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to Reason (I blurbed the book) wrote a fine article on the Israel Palestine crisis that was published in PuffHo on July 28, 2014. (Click on screenshot below to read it, and you should.) Normally I’d kvetch about his publishing this on a regressive site like PuffHo, but the readers there really need this kind of thoughtful article. Why is it that ex-Muslims, often raised—as was Rizvi—to hate Israel and Jews, always turn out to be more pro-Israel (or at least more balanced) than are American Regressives Leftists? I suppose that’s because the apostates thought their way out of Islam, and thus can more easily see through the propaganda of the Israel bashers, including people like Linda Sarsour and organizations like CAIR, the BDS movement, and Jewish Voice for Peace.

I’ll list Rizvi’s seven points (he by no means excuses Israel, criticizing Netanyahu and the expansion of settlements on the West bank), and also excerpt some of what he says, with all his words indented. Where I’ve commented, I’ve put that in brackets:

1. Why is everything so much worse when there are Jews involved?

Over 700 people have died in Gaza as of this writing. Muslims have woken up around the world. But is it really because of the numbers?

Bashar al-Assad has killed over 180,000 Syrians, mostly Muslim, in two years — more than the number killed in Palestine in two decades. Thousands of Muslims in Iraq and Syria have been killed by ISIS in the last two months. Tens of thousands have been killed by the Taliban. Half a million black Muslims were killed by Arab Muslims in Sudan. The list goes on.

But Gaza makes Muslims around the world, both Sunni and Shia, speak up in a way they never do otherwise. Up-to-date death counts and horrific pictures of the mangled corpses of Gazan children flood their social media timelines every day. If it was just about the numbers, wouldn’t the other conflicts take precedence? What is it about then?

If I were Assad or ISIS right now, I’d be thanking God I’m not Jewish.

Amazingly, many of the graphic images of dead children attributed to Israeli bombardment that are circulating online are from Syria, based on a BBC report. Many of the pictures you’re seeing are of children killed by Assad, who is supported by Iran, which also funds Hezbollah and Hamas. What could be more exploitative of dead children than attributing the pictures of innocents killed by your own supporters to your enemy simply because you weren’t paying enough attention when your own were killing your own?

This doesn’t, by any means, excuse the recklessness, negligence, and sometimes outright cruelty of Israeli forces. But it clearly points to the likelihood that the Muslim world’s opposition to Israel isn’t just about the number of dead.

2. Why does everyone keep saying this is not a religious conflict?

There are three pervasive myths that are widely circulated about the “roots” of the Middle East conflict:

Myth 1: Judaism has nothing to do with Zionism.
Myth 2: Islam has nothing to do with Jihadism or anti-Semitism.
Myth 3: This conflict has nothing to do with religion.

3. Why would Israel deliberately want to kill civilians? [JAC: They do nearly everything they can to avoid it because they know the consequences for Israel’s image.]

4. Does Hamas really use its own civilians as human shields? [JAC: Rizvi’s answer, which is a fact well known but often hidden, is “yes.” And that’s why so many more Palestinians die than Israelis, for rather than protecting the Palestinian people, Hamas, a truly odious organization, deliberately tries to get them killed as a propaganda tool. So much for the “disproportionate” reaction of Israel (see #3 above).]

5. Why are people asking for Israel to end the “occupation” in Gaza? [JAC: People forget that Gaza was once Israel and was given to the Palestinians, who failed to develop it.]

6. Why are there so many more casualties in Gaza than in Israel? [JAC: see #4.]

7. If Hamas is so bad, why isn’t everyone pro-Israel in this conflict?

Because Israel’s flaws, while smaller in number, are massive in impact.

Many Israelis seem to have the same tribal mentality that their Palestinian counterparts do. They celebrate the bombing of Gaza the same way many Arabs celebrated 9/11. A UN report recently found that Israeli forces tortured Palestinian children and used them as human shields. They beat up teenagers. They are often reckless with their airstrikes. They have academics who explain how rape may be the only truly effective weapon against their enemy. And many of them callously and publicly revel in the deaths of innocent Palestinian children.

. . . However, if Israel holds itself to a higher standard like it claims — it needs to do much more to show it isn’t the same as the worst of its neighbors.

Israel is leading itself towards increasing international isolation and national suicide because of two things: 1. The occupation; and 2. Settlement expansion.

Remember, this is the take of an ex-Muslim who has no political reason to love Israel. He says that, instead of us taking sides, it’s more productive to foster peace initiatives than to put all the blame on one side or the other. The only solution, I think, is the two-state solution, but I’m slowly beginning to realize three things: a. it’s not going to happen, at least not in the next several decades, b. Neither Hamas, Fatah, nor the Palestinian Authority wants it to happen, even if they get most of what they want, and c. Israel only exacerbates the situation by continuing to expand settlements.

Finally, re the Jerusalem issue, Ali published the bit below on his public Facebook page (click on screenshot to go there). It doesn’t take sides, but faults everyone for fighting about a city that symbolizes three delusional religions. But aside from the delusions, he fails to consider that these sites are also important in the history of all the main Abrahamic religions as sites of worship, and they’re fighting not just over which delusion is true, but who has access to their history.

h/t: Grania

63 Comments

  1. Posted December 8, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Living in Central Florida, that facebook post really hits close to home!

    In the context of my family, I am akin to the Pope, in that I intentionally delude my 3-year-old into thinking that Mickey is real (not to mention Santa, the tooth fairy, etc.)

    • dabertini
      Posted December 8, 2017 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      What would xmas be like without children? Enjoy when Santa comes to town and brings the little ones their toys.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 8, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Nice to hear you kvelling instead of kvetching, boss.

  3. steve oberski
    Posted December 8, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Hopefully his book will appear in my stocking this xmas.

  4. Posted December 8, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Did you see news reports where there were huge posters/banners with ‘JerUSAlem’ written on…?

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 8, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    I despair that we shall ever see a two-state solution. That possibility has never seemed more remote than it does now. It is essential, I think, that Israel be a Jewish democracy. The rock-bottom reality is that, unless it separates from the Palestinian people, it cannot remain both.

    • Posted December 8, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Your first two sentences, + a big number.

    • Posted December 9, 2017 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      All four sentences, + a big number.

  6. colnago80
    Posted December 8, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Relative to the civil war in Syria, it is estimated that the total number of people killed exceeds a quarter million. This is in addition to some 1/2 the population being displaced, either internally or exiled.

  7. Posted December 8, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Sam Harris talks about how the Palestinians can (effectively) use human shields because the Israelis are trying as hard as they can to avoid civilian casualties (while still defending themselves).

    He contrasts that with the thought of the Israelis using human shields. Which is absurd because the likes of Hamas would gleefully kill as many Israelis as possible.

    Which says a great deal about the motivations of each side.

    • Jake Sevins
      Posted December 8, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

      Sam also talks about western restraint and asks his listener to image what would happen if ISIS held control in the region. Would they try as hard to avoid civilian casualties?

      And yet people like Noam Chomsky still say that the US and Britain are the greats evils the world has ever seen. Self-hate and regressive politics resonate with some on the left, it seems.

  8. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 8, 2017 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    Sounds like a true atheist to me. Love it.

  9. kirbmarc
    Posted December 8, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    There’s no happy ending to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s too much intersected with religion, tribalism, politics and national mythologies in the area to find a peaceful resolution.

  10. Historian
    Posted December 8, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    The essence of the Middle East conflict is that two different cultural/religious groups believe that the same piece of land is theirs, due to religious and historical reasons, and they are entitled to rule it as they see fit. No compromise is reachable that would be acceptable to both sides. In particular, Israel is wary of any settlement that would endanger the Jewish identity of the country. The region has been a major world trouble spot since at least the establishment of Israel in 1948. There is no reason to believe that peace can come to that part of the world any decade soon.

  11. Posted December 8, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Could you clarify your statement that Gaza was “once Israel.” Israel occupied it after the six-day war, but I don’t think it was ever part of Israel.

    • Gabrielle
      Posted December 8, 2017 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Israel took control of the Gaza strip and the Sinai peninsula from Egypt in the 6-day war in 1967. At some point (I don’t recall when) the Sinai was ceded back to Egypt. The Gaza strip at some point became part of the Palestinian Authority.

      • Posted December 8, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        in 1994. See the Oslo Accords

        • Posted December 8, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

          Israel occupied and controlled Gaza from 1967 to 2005 and even built some settlements there but never annexed it. Why would they? It is populated with Palestinians and they would have had to expel them or make them citizens.

          • Posted December 8, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

            The Palestinian Authority was ceded control of the strip in 1994 pursuant to the Gaza-Jericho Agreement worked out in Oslo, though the transition didn’t officially end until 1999. Israel withdrew from (most) of the Gaza Strip and Jericho in 1994.

  12. Malgorzata
    Posted December 8, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    sub

  13. Posted December 8, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I despise Trump and everything he stands for. But he made the right decision here.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 8, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Even if you accept (pace the counsel Trump received from his own Sec State, Sec Defense, CIA chief, and all our US allies) that the Jerusalem gambit makes for sound policy, he blew it as a matter of pragmatism by failing to obtain at least some some small concession from the Israelis that would’ve moved the ball incrementally down the field toward a two-state solution.

      Trump cares not a whit about a Jewish state, only about his own perverse self-aggrandizement. He made this move solely to distract public attention from his plummeting poll numbers and the tightening noose of the Mueller investigation.

      With this guy Trump, it’s all circus, no bread.

      • Posted December 8, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

        Everything you said is true. But it was the right decision, nonetheless.

      • Malgorzata
        Posted December 8, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

        In the last days of his presidency, in December 2016, President Obama broke with longstanding American policy to veto one-sided resolutions against Israel, and allowed Security Council to pass a Resolution 2334 which stated that Temple Mount, Western Wall and Jewish Quarter of the Jerusalem Old Town are “occupied territory” and any building there is against international law. The two first are Judaism’s most holy places, in the third Jews lived for millenia. When 1948 Jordan attacked Israel and conquered this part of Jerusalem they killed a lot of Jews and expelled the survivors. They demolished 56 sybagogues, schools etc., and brought in Arab settlers. There was conspicuous lack of resolutions condemning this behaviour for all 19 years of Jordanian occupation of Jerusalem which never previously was divided in it’s 3,000 years old history. Of course, Christians with Vatican in lead, couldn’t swallow the Jewish rule in Jerusalem and sharply resisted it. It became the status quo: nobody will admit that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital, but also nobody will say that it belongs to Palestinians. President Obama destroyed this status quo and gave Palestinians a potent weapon: why should they negotiate peace when they can get what they want from UN by using a few threats. So they continue to refused to negotiate. Trump’s decision restored the balance.

        • Posted December 8, 2017 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          Well, to be precise CONGRESS made the right decision. The US congress, nearly unanimously, voted to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capitol in 1995. Trump is the first POTUS to see it enforced.

        • Joe Kosiner
          Posted December 8, 2017 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

          Too many people either don’t know this or choose to ignore this history. Thank you for pointing it out.

        • busterggi
          Posted December 8, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

          Land ownership should not be based on three-thousand year old myths – there never was a great kingdom of Israel, it was just a dinky tribal squatting ground that kept getting captured and ruled by the actual imortant kingdoms that existed.

          • Malgorzata
            Posted December 8, 2017 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

            Israel is the homeland of Jews not because of 3,000 years ols myth but because of the history. Jews lived there and had their kingdom there (no matter whether it was a “dinky tribal” kingdom or not): they had kings, capital, they governed themselves. Yes, they were a tiny minority in the region and all surrounding empires took their land one after the other. These empires expelled the Jewsih population but, 1. they never managed to expell all Jews; 2. Jews returned there whenever possible. Those Jews who lived in Diaspora, retained their culture, religion, language and yearning to one time return to their homeland. Most probably, had they not been persecuted in other countries they would assimialte and lost their identity, like so many other ancient nations did. But they didn’t. And after IIWW even nations of the world understood that if they want to avoid the next genocide of Jews they have to allow Jews to return to the only place in the world Jews called their homeland. And they didn’t return to a place where other people has built its state: it was a part of Ottoman Empire which was dissolved. Arabs got 21 states out of it and Jews got one state. There were no Palestinians as yet: Arab living in this terrirtories called themsleves “Arabs” and both Jordan and Syria wanted the whole place or at least part of it for themselves, not for any “Palestinian State” nobody thought about then.

            • busterggi
              Posted December 8, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

              So when will you be turning your home over to the local First Nations people?

              Or would walking your talk be too much for you?

              • Malgorzata
                Posted December 8, 2017 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

                Well, I’m not an American and I can’t turn my home over to First Nations people. I doubt they would want to emigrate to Poland. However my mother is from a town called Lwow which was a Polish town before the war but shouldn’t have been because Poles took it from Ukrainians many years earlier. After IIWW Lwow returned to Ukraina and my mother, who prefered to live in Poland, left her beloved town to Ukrainians and went to Poland. I was born too late to consciously make this decision but does it counts in your books?

              • Posted December 8, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

                I don’t get it, buster. Are you suggesting USans (and Canadians) should return the land to Native Americans or are you playing a rhetorical game where you think you’re being clever? If you aren’t, what, exactly, is your point? Are you saying because Israel was recently created that it isn’t a legitimate nation in the same way the US and Canada are?

              • Posted December 8, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

                Lay off the snarky remarks, Busterggi, especially when the person you’re addressing isn’t an American.

        • josh
          Posted December 8, 2017 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          In 1948, when Jewish and Arab fighting broke out in Israel/Palestine, both parties captured part of Jerusalem, which was supposed to be an international city according to the 1947 partition plan. Refugees on both sides fled/were driven to their respective allies. In the 1967 Six-Day war, kicked off by a preemptive attack on Egypt by Israel, Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan. As far as I am aware, Israel’s de facto annexation of that part of the city has no legal international standing and it remains officially occupied territory.

          Resolution 2334, which condemns violence, including terrorism specifically, on both sides, is primarily directed at the building of Israeli settlements in the occupied areas. The Obama administration abstained as a response to Israel’s unabated settlement building.

          I don’t see how Trump’s move helps the situation at all. It is just an undiplomatic provocation that prompts violence and accomplishes nothing.

          • Malgorzata
            Posted December 8, 2017 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

            Resolution 2334 states explicitly: “any changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem,” have “no legal validity and constitutes a flagrant violation under international law.” Which means that Israel has no right to Temple Mount, Western Wall and Jewish Quarter. The myth about expanding settlements is not getting any more truthfull by repetition. Since decades the settlements take well under 5% of West Bank’s area and while more people are living there, they are practically not expanding into new land. What this resolution was saying was that suddenly the sk. disputed territories, which were supposed to be the subject of negotitations with Palestinians, became “illegally occupied territories”.

            The UNGA’s partiton plan (inclusive the concept of corpus separatum for Jerusalem and Bethlejem) was just a recommendation and was not binding because the resolutions of UNGA are never legally binding until the parties it concerns accept it. In this case Jews accepted, Arabs rejected and the resolution lost any validity.

            Moreover, the idea of corpus separatum was not an Arab idea. It was Vatican who pushed for it, not accepting the horrible thought that Jews could ever again rule in Jerusalem. This was the stance of Vatican very well stated by Pius X in his talk with Theodor Herzl in 1904. Herzl asked the Pope to support Zionists. Pope refused. Herzl asked what is Pope’s position on Turkish rule in Jerusalem and Pius X answered:

            “I know, it is not pleasant to see the Turks in possession of our Holy Places. We simply have to put up with that. But to support the Jews in the acquisition of the Holy Places, that we cannot do.”

            Jerusalem was never a religiously important place for Muslims and without Christian support they would give it up.

    • Posted December 9, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      + 1

  14. Posted December 8, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Gaza, under Hamas, effectively seceded from the PA, and since then has been in a state of war against Israel. Under international law, Gaza merits Belligerent Entity status, its attacks on Israel constitute a causa belli, and Israel is actually showing great restraint in merely imposing a blockade, which is entirely justified under international law.

    There is no occupation.

  15. Posted December 8, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    The Regressive Left is anti-Israel for the sole reason that they consider Palestinians “brown” people.

    • Jake Sevins
      Posted December 8, 2017 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s more than that: the left views Palestinians as beleaguered, poor, downtrodden people who are ruled by a rich and powerful overlord. Americans have a strong cultural tradition of pulling for the underdog (except when the underdog is fighting the U.S., and sometimes even then).

      • Posted December 9, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Yes, even then. The USA keeps losing wars because the American public is concerned first and foremost with the enemy.

  16. Malgorzata
    Posted December 8, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    In #7 Ali Rizvi writes that Israel commits many crimes, and he ennumarates them and they are horrible. The problem is that they are not true. This is Arab propaganda amplified by “very respectable” organizations like UN, Amnesty International, Human Right Watch and others (among them an Israeli organization which lies were many times debunked, recently by a court of justitie). All these stories (Israel torturing children, beating up teenagers, is reckless with airstrikes) were debunked long time ago. The story about Israeli professor, Mordechai Kedar, who allegedly recommended rape is very simple: the propagandists distorted what Professor Kedar said. The only statemnet which is true is that inhabitants of the town Sderot, pummeled days and nights by Hamas’s rockets, were full of joy when IDF finally went into Gaza to stop the rain of metal falling on their town. And I’ve never heard about Israelis who reveled in the death of innocent children. The link Rizvi gives is not working. However, it sounds absolutely improbable.

    • murali
      Posted December 8, 2017 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      In fact, in the article, he is quoted as saying, ‘I’m not talking about what we should or shouldn’t do. I’m talking about the facts. The only thing that deters a suicide bomber is the knowledge that if he pulls the trigger or blows himself up, his sister will be raped. That’s all. That’s the only thing that will bring him back home, in order to preserve his sister’s honor.’

      I don’t get the impression that he is advocating rape.

    • Al
      Posted December 8, 2017 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      I agree, #7 seemed very biased and I’m surprised that Rizvi didn’t check his “facts”.

      I note that there are asymmetric incentives in this conflict that are to the advantage of the Palestinians. The international community expects a Palestinian state and pressures Israel to reach an agreement. Israel itself (except for religious fundamentalists) wants to separate from the Palestinians. However, the Palestinians can just refuse any proposals for a state (as they have done already in 2000,2001,2008) and hold out for a better offer. Meanwhile, pressure on Israel mounts both within (from Israelis tired of conflict) and without (from other countries including Israel’s ostensible allies). Basically, it takes two to tango and it takes two to reach peace. The world and a lot of Israelis are rational, they don’t understand the importance of religion (by the way, that’s why a lot of leftists excuse jihadism by saying it has nothing to do with Islam) and they don’t understand the power of nationalism (that’s why the elites we’re shocked by Trump and Brexit). The world thinks that if the Palestinians refuse an offer of a state it’s because it wasn’t generous enough and puts more pressure on Israel. Whereas the Palestinian society has never accepted the national rights of the Jewish people and it will continue to refuse any offers because their national narrative requires there to be no Jewish state in Palestine. Unfortunately, the only way this conflict can end is if one side overwhelmingly defeats the other side, similarly to how the unconditional surrender of the Axis powers in the WW2 enabled Germany and Japan to become pacifist.

    • nicky
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:48 am | Permalink

      Maybe I got him wrong at no 7, but I think he meant to say that although these things happened (which itself can be argued about, of course), Israel does not consider these things as par for the course, that they are unacceptable, that it holds itself to ‘higher standards’. That these deplorable incidents are a cause for a lot of discussion, blame & shame and investigations in Israel itself.

  17. busterggi
    Posted December 8, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Ownership of real estate should not be based on three thousand year old myths.

    • Posted December 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      The myth of “Palestinian” identity is very recent, nevertheless it is the base of UN policy.

  18. nwalsh
    Posted December 8, 2017 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Just love Rizvi’s FB post above.

  19. Vaal
    Posted December 8, 2017 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    Oh man that FB post is a zinger!

  20. Jake Sevins
    Posted December 8, 2017 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

    I ask this in all sincerity: why have the Palestinians not developed Gaza into a rich and thriving seaside community? Why is it so impoverished and downtrodden?

    I often wonder the same thing about Haiti: it could be a paradise, filled with tourists and bustling with activity. But instead it’s a crime-ridden slum, the poorest country in this hemisphere.

    The only thing that comes to mind in these cases is that corruption imbues their power structures to the point where proper development is impossible.

    • mordacious1
      Posted December 8, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      In the case of Haiti, a major problem is lack of population control. They are 60% Catholic and were taught to breed like rabbits. Similar problem with Gaza, with the added issue that the hatred of Jews is more important than improving your standard of living.

      • Malgorzata
        Posted December 8, 2017 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

        Well, in the case of Gaza you could add that their hatred of Jews is very costly. Terror tunnels take cement and other building material and, of course, workforce, from possibility of building homes, schools and hospitals. Plenty of young people are working on constructing weapons and material for them is not free either. Hamas can get weapon for free form Iran and (previously) Syria but smuggling it into Gaza costs money. Chilren and youth at schools are learning more about Koran and have more hours military training than subject which could help them become doctors, engineers etc.etc. So much money, raw material and human resources are engaged in this hatred that there is not much over for improving standards of living of the population.

        • Posted December 8, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

          In the case of Gaza you can add the indifference of Arab/Muslim countries. For all the spit and bile they throw out about Israel and her (alleged) treatment of the Palestinians you’d think they lend them a hand. Invest. Develop. Instead they leave them twisting. It helps make their case, I suppose. As long as they keep the Palestinians down they can blame Israel.

          • Posted December 9, 2017 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

            I think that we, the Western world, must prepare a very fat bag of money… one that nobody could refuse… and offer it to Egypt, under the condition that it takes back Gaza as well.

        • mordacious1
          Posted December 8, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

          Also, the fact that Arafat died a billionaire. Where does all the money go?

    • busterggi
      Posted December 8, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      “why have the Palestinians not developed Gaza into a rich and thriving seaside community?”

      i dunno, maybe they’re saving thier energy for when they get their country back?

      • Posted December 8, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

        It was NEVER “their country”.

        • BJ
          Posted December 8, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

          Unless buster here is claiming they ruled the Ottoman Empire. But that would be too stupid…right? One hopes buster is simply very, very misinformed.

    • nicky
      Posted December 9, 2017 at 2:54 am | Permalink

      Interesting to see why Haiti and the Dominican Republic are so different. According to Jared Diamond (IIRC), the dictator Mr Trujillo was instrumental in preventing the deforestation of the DR, while in Haiti it raged unabated, mainly for the production of charcoal.

  21. Steve Pollard
    Posted December 8, 2017 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Most Arab countries don’t give a stuff about the Palestinians. They are content simply to use them as a stick to beat Israel with; and to exploit them as expat slaves when it suits them. When they are perceived to be a problem, they are kicked out (eg in Kuwait after the Iraqi invasion was ended). The Saudis, Turks and others were quite prepared to negotiate with Israel once they perceived they had a common enemy, in the form of Iran and its satellites.

    The problem is made much worse by the incompetence and venality of most of the Palestinian leadership. Mahmoud Abbas is an old, tired man who can barely keep the PLO together. The Hamas leaders sit on their fat arses in hotels in Qatar while their people in Gaza suffer through lack of governance.

    And while I’m at it, the Israeli Army’s claim to be the most restrained in the world is undermined by their continued use of non-precision weapons, such as artillery and mortars, in built-up areas.

    I don’t see a solution in the near future, other than managing the status quo; but Trump’s unnecessary and ill-considered announcement sure hasn’t helped.

    • mordacious1
      Posted December 8, 2017 at 4:20 pm | Permalink

      Modern day artillery is very precise, at least the type used by the IDF and the US is. Ten years ago, an accurate round would land in a 200 meter radius of the target. Then it went to 50 meters. Now it’s 30 meters at 15 miles. The Excalibur system precision is 10 meters firing from 15 miles. And all this doesn’t come cheap, a 120mm Excalibur round costs $80,000/each. I think the IDF hits what it is aiming at. The problem comes when Hamas uses civilians as human shields. That’s on Hamas, not the IDF.

      • mikeyc
        Posted December 8, 2017 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        A minor quibble. Precision and accuracy are not the same thing. You are correct that modern artillery is more accurate but precision varies widely with weapons systems. They *can* land a round within a few meters of the target just not every time. This is, in sime cases anyway, where these awful incidences happen.

    • mordacious1
      Posted December 8, 2017 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

      BTW, the Arabs residing in Gaza lob rockets into Israel. Rockets are not accurate or precise. It almost seems like they don’t care who they kill.

      • Posted December 9, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

        They don’t care who they kill, because they presume it will be Israelis. Even if the victims happen to be Israeli Arabs, they are proclaimed “martyrs for Palestine”, so no problem. (I remember this for 2 Arab-Israeli brothers, 3 and 9, killed by Hizbullah.)


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