Just sayin’

From today’s New York Times (click on screenshot):

JERUSALEM — Gaza militants fired at least 28 mortar shells into southern Israel on Tuesday morning, setting off sirens, activating Israel’s air defenses and sharply raising the stakes after weeks of deadly protests, arson attacks and clashes along the border.

The barrage was the heaviest to be fired out of the Palestinian coastal territory since the 50-day war in the summer of 2014, although Iron Dome antimissile system intercepted most of the projectiles on Tuesday, according to the military, and there were no casualties.

Speaking at a conference in northern Israel at midday on Tuesday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that Israel held Hamas responsible for the mortar attacks and that the military would respond “forcefully.”

Tensions have been spiraling along the border in recent weeks, during a Palestinian protest campaign called the Great Return March. The protests were intended to challenge the 11-year blockade of the Gaza Strip and to press Palestinian claims to lands in what is now Israel, which has responded to certain events with airstrikes against military targets in Gaza.

. . . One of the mortar shells fired around 7 a.m. crashed into the yard of a kindergarten in an Israeli border community shortly before the children were to arrive. Television images showed the fortified walls of the kindergarten pockmarked with shrapnel; hunks of metal from the mortar shell jutted out of the sand in the playground.

Soon after the initial barrage of 25 mortars, the Israeli authorities announced a return to normal and schools and kindergartens in the area opened, suggesting that the military was not expecting, or planning, an immediate escalation into a broader conflict.

Half an hour later, sirens sounded again as two more mortars were launched. Around 9:30 a.m., sirens blared again, and a new mortar landed in open ground.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility from Gaza militant groups, but suspicion immediately fell on Islamic Jihad, an extremist group backed by Iran that sometimes rivals Hamas, the Islamic militant group that controls the territory, but sometimes works in concert with it against Israel.

Haaretz (by no means a pro-Israeli newspaper) also reports that the projectiles fired into Israel include not just mortar shells but rockets made in Iran.

Will there be condemnation of Palestine, by the Left or the UN, for using “lethal force”, and firing mortars at a school? I don’t expect to see that. Remember, these are unprovoked attacks on civilians, designed to kill civilians. You can say, “Well, yes, Israel provoked this by firing on the terrorists trying to cross the border,” but then you’ll have to show that the border breaching, largely by members of Hamas, and some armed with Molotov cocktails, was not a provocation.


  1. BobTerrace
    Posted May 29, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    The UN has become a useless agency. The inmates run that asylum.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 29, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Onliest thing our president knows about the UN is that its building in the toney Turtle Bay neighborhood on the east side of Midtown keeps property values high at the nearby Trump World Tower.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted May 29, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      Sometimes, perhaps.

      I may remember details here wrong, but: The UN commission on human rights complained about Sweden not suppressing bigotry, but their complaint concentrated on Mohammedans being attacked. Though last time I checked the Jewish community was attacked at twice the rate – as in US – and they, not the Mohammedans, are starting to say they will leave. IIRC the UN commission is lead by a Saudi Arab politician…

      • BJ
        Posted May 29, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        And those attacks against Jews spiked severely after the refugee crisis.

      • Posted June 9, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        I remember the Arab League picking on Sweden after the Swedish foreign minister condemned the flogging of Raif Badawi.

    • Posted June 9, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

      + 1

  2. Christopher
    Posted May 29, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Of course there won’t be any condemnation. The Palestinians are launching “up”, not launching “down”!

  3. Posted May 29, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Is “lethal force” condemnable when it is used in self defence against very much lethal attacks on unarmed civilians who are protesting? How many children were killed in that school? How many Israeli children have been killed by Palestinians in the past 70 years, and how many Palestinian children have been killed by Israelis in the past 70 years, anyway?

    • Malgorzata
      Posted May 29, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      First, there were no “unarmed protesting civilians”. There were terrorists and their organizations, Hamas and Islamic Jihad, organising this “protest” in order to breach Israel’s border under the cover of thousands of civilians – some of them sharing the idea of “kill the Jews”, others, just hostages of the terrorists. Of the killed, over 80% were members of these two terrorist organizations. And I can comfort you if you need more dead Jews: quite a lot of Jews were killed during these 70 years, and quite a lot of Jewish children. The difference is that while Palestinians use Palestinian children as human shields and in very difficult situation Israeli soldiers, trying to save their own life or life of Israeli civilians, killed these unfortunate Palestinian children, Jewish children had their throats cut while sleeping in their own beds, were blown up while eating pizza or going to the cinema. It’s a slight difference, don’t you think?

      • nicky
        Posted May 29, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        This using of women and children as human shields, is that a specifically Islamic tactic?
        It was used too in Iran, in the late seventies against the Iranian (Shah) soldiers, who were therefore reluctant to shoot.
        It was used too in Lebanon, where machine gun posts were placed in schools or on top of hospitals.
        Are there any instances where this despicable ‘tactic’ was used by non-Muslim fighters?

        • Posted May 29, 2018 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

          It was used in Vietnam. The North Vietnamese frequently used citizens as shields. My uncle was forced to gun down a child as he ran towards the troops – the NVA sometimes put live grenades on the children and told them to go say hi to G.I Joe. A former Air Cav pilot I knew (who later became a pilot for a air ambulance service and was killed in a crash, along with a nurse and a doctor) told how early in the war the NVA would *chain* women and children to anti-aircraft guns so as to discourage firing upon them.

          • Malgorzata
            Posted May 29, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

            It seems that where ideology is more important than human life this tactic can be (and was) used. Children’s Crusade comes to mind.

        • Sarah
          Posted May 29, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

          During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, Iranian children were sent to clear mine fields–by running through them and being blown up. They were given plastic keys as a token of the “key to heaven” they would enjoy in the afterlife.

      • Posted May 29, 2018 at 1:45 pm | Permalink


        • Posted May 29, 2018 at 1:52 pm | Permalink

          That is not an argument. Either counter the arguments made, make some other contribution, or go away. “Nonsense” is not an argument, nor a contribution to this discussion.

          • Posted May 29, 2018 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

            I am tired, very ill and losing my eyesight, so “nonsense” was the best response I could make.

            • Posted June 9, 2018 at 3:15 pm | Permalink

              So you are not able to participate fully in the discussion.

      • Sarah
        Posted May 29, 2018 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

        Golda Meir once said, “We can forgive the Arabs for killing our children but we cannot forgive them for making us kill their children.” And that was back in the 1970s.

    • BobTerrace
      Posted May 29, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      To me, that logic is twisted. Just because they are inept, they shouldn’t be condemned? Palestinians came to Israel’s border to protest and are demanding Israelis leave. Israel has nearly always reacted to Arab aggression. Implying otherwise is malicious lying in my opinion.

      You know damn well that if the roles were reversed, Israelis would have been wiped out.

    • Posted May 29, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Oh, you’re going to play THAt game, are you?

      How many times have the Arab states tried to invade Israel in the past 70 years?

      More to the point – in the past 70 years how many car bombs have the Israelis set off? How many cafes have they shot up? How many busses have they bombed? How many airplanes have they highjacked? How knife attacks have they launched? How many tunnels to smuggle in bombs and guns have they dug? How many civilians have they used as human shields while they exact their violent rage?

      The Palestinians and their Arab puppeteers have rivers of blood on their hands.

    • Posted May 29, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      Who sends their children into a violent ‘protest’ action organized by terrorists?

      How Palestinian children have died digging those tunnels into Israel?

  4. Jon Gallant
    Posted May 29, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

    The Jerusalem Post has just reported: “Israel struck tens of targets belonging to Islamic Jihad and Hamas across the entire Gaza Strip after several mortar and rocket barrages were fired towards Israeli communities on Tuesday [in a ] major escalation in the southern part of the country.” We can no doubt expect the UN to leap into action NOW, and call on Israel for Christian restraint and turning the other cheek. The Left, for its part, will organize demonstrations against Israel for its “disproportionate” response to the Palestinian Arabs’ peaceful mortar fire.

  5. Posted May 29, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    This is what *always* happens. Palestinians protest. A few do stupid or violent things. Israel retaliates, usually killing or wounding a few innocents on the other side. Palestinian retaliation is violent.

    A pox on both houses, though I still side with the innocent on *both* sides, which exist and their needs must not be ignored because the violent on both sides makes that hard.

    • Paul S
      Posted May 29, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      “A few do stupid or violent things”

      What makes you think those few aren’t representative of the whole? The prevailing Palestinian view, as is much of the middle east, is that Israel should not exist.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 29, 2018 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

    Nice to see Jared’s brought peace to the Levant. Guess it’s time for him to turn his attention to one of the other matters in his White House portfolio, like solving the opioid crisis, or reforming the criminal justice system, or reinventing government.

    • Posted May 29, 2018 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

      No one can bring peace to this cursed place. Come back in fifty years and they will still be at it.

      • Derek Freyberg
        Posted May 29, 2018 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

        Quite possibly, if the place still exists to be fought over. One need only look at the former Yugoslavia, with complaints about injustices going back to the Middle Ages; though fortunately, and by the heavy application of external force (after far too many innocents died), it seems to have stabilized now.

        • Posted May 29, 2018 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          Operative word is “seems”. Long-term, it is a disaster.

          • Posted May 29, 2018 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

            This is an article describing a potential lawsuit. It describes a way in which a lot of people can cash in on dubious claims but nothing at all about the political stability of the region.

            • Posted May 29, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

              The point is that it is a fact that tons of depleted uranium were used on Yugoslavia by NATO. Depleted uranium has a half-life of 4.5 billion years (yes, billion with a b). Used militarily, the depleted uranium vaporizes into microscopic particles which enter the soil, the water, penetrate the aquifers, are present in animals (meat), etc., and is very harmful. Besides the relatively immediate effects on the body, it also affects the DNA negatively, and this is passed on down the generations who continue to eat and drink it. So, the long-term effects are disastrous.

              Depleted Uranium in the Human Body

              It is the poisoned gift that keeps on giving… forever (by human standards… 4.5 billion years…)

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 29, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        Probably so. Still, it seems foolhardy to trust the process to the portfolio of an outright dilettante — especially a dilettante with a yooge conflict of interest in that he’s desperate to raise money from foreigners for his failing family business, including from Arab states.

        • Posted May 29, 2018 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

          Corruption permeates the White House. It seems the purpose of foreign and trade policy is to extract pay-offs from countries where such behavior is expected and normal.

        • BJ
          Posted May 29, 2018 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

          If I was President, I would entrust it to several kittens. The best hope of solving this is having both sides say, “Awwww, they’re SO CUTE! Guys, I don’t want to fight any longer. Let’s just sit here and pet these kittens. Look, that one’s playing with a ball of lint! OH MY GOODNESS.”

  7. Posted May 29, 2018 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    Well, this won’t go down well, but hey, I don’t like echo chambers. I think a discussion of whether Israel uses disproportionate force is in order. Yes, the stupid Palenstians throw rocks, send out mortar shells and attack inocents, but does Israel not use more deadly force than necessary? Israel is far more powerful than the Palestinians.

    I say this as a supporter of Israel. It seems to me that Israel under its current government tends to shoot itself in the foot in terms of world opinion. At least it does in my opinion.

    Just sayin’.

    • Posted May 30, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      I am neither opposed to nor supporter of Israel (or the PA, or any other country involved), but I tried to bring that up too – see above.

      “Collective punishment” is certainly immoral, if not illegal.

    • Posted June 9, 2018 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

      There is little real motivation for Israel to cater to “world opinion”, because the summarized world opinion says that Israel should cease to exist.

      As for whether force is proportionate or not, I think that as long as Palestinians are happy to take it, it is not disproportionate. It would be disproportionate for people who value their lives or the lives of their family members.

      • Posted June 9, 2018 at 8:20 pm | Permalink

        Yes, Maya, the Palestinians are crazy. But that doesn’t mean Israel has to be crazy too. Responding to rocks with bullets only hurts Israel. Israel seems to realize this with its controlled response to the latest Palestinian craziness.

  8. Richard
    Posted May 29, 2018 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    It was not even mentioned on the UK’s Channel 4 news last night. Somehow an interview with Joan Armatrading was considered more worthy of air-time. Yet a few days ago they had no problem in devoting several minutes to grilling a representative of the Israeli government and criticising Israel for the violence at the border fence.

    Political bias? No, of course not!

  9. Vegaz
    Posted May 30, 2018 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    Dear Jerry,
    I think it’s offensive to say that Haaretz is not a pro-Israel newspaper. It IS an Israeli newspaper. A liberal and, on the whole, an excellent one. Your phrase seems to suggest that if you are not right wing you are not patriotic. I know very well that this is not what you think, but your phrasing suggests that.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted May 30, 2018 at 3:23 am | Permalink

      Ha’aretz is barely an Israeli newspaper. The circulation of the Hebrew printed edition is only 3,9%. And that in spite of the fact that the Hebrew edition is much “milder” than it’s English edition (which is widly popular in all anti-Israel groups). Ha’aretz can hardly be calle liberal – far-left is more fitting description, especially it’s star journalists, Gideon Levy and Amira Haas. Many times Ha’aretz published unsubstantiated slanders on Israel (pure inventions and lies) and was forced to retract them. Excellent?

    • Posted May 30, 2018 at 5:45 am | Permalink

      What I meant, which you already know is true, is that the paper is not a staunch supporter of the Israeli government. I’m sorry you’re “offended” not by the meaning of what I said, which you already understand, but by my phrasing.

      If you’re offended by my phrasing when you already know what I mean, well, I suggest you go read other sites whose word usage doesn’t offend you so much.


      • Vegaz
        Posted May 30, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        Certainly not offensive for me Jerry. I understand that the use of the verb “offend” is very problematic in the US today, but that was certainly not my intention. I was not offended. I simply think that your phrase was grammatically wrong and suggested a meaning that I do not think you implied.
        If you think it’s okay for you to leave the phrase as it is, you certainly have every right to do so.

        • Sarah
          Posted May 30, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

          Vegaz,I am curious to know where the grammatical mistake is in Jerry’s sentence about Ha’aretz. I can’t see anything wrong with it.

    • Posted June 9, 2018 at 3:27 pm | Permalink

      Even if printed in Israel by Israelis, it is definitely not pro-Israel. It is self-hating. After the recent arrest of a blond Palestinian teen girl known for her staged confrontations with Israeli solders, the Haaretz defended her passionately, “Imagine if she was your daughter” etc.

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