In Gaza, International Law Is Up in Flames

israel-gaza-protective-edge-idf-ceasefire-hamas-international-war

Israel is imposing collective punishment against all Gazans, attacking hospitals, schools, and power stations. (Photo: Imgur)

As Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip rages on, ceasefires come and go. Most last just long enough for Palestinians to dig out the dead from beneath their collapsed houses, get the injured to overcrowded and under-resourced hospitals, and seek enough food and water to last through the next round of airstrikes.

“There is nothing left but stones,” Palestinian journalist Mohammed Omer quoted an old woman saying as she searched desperately through the rubble of what had been her home.

Casualties are soaring. By late July, Israel had killed more than 1,100 Palestinians — at least 73 percent of them civilians, including hundreds of children. Fifty-six Israelis, almost all of them soldiers, have died too.

July 28 poll shows that 86.5 percent of Israelis oppose a ceasefire. Yet we continue to hear that Israelis want peace.

It’s true that at least some of them do. An Israeli protest in Tel Aviv brought 5,000 people into the street. That’s good — though a far cry from the 400,000 who poured into the streets to protest Israel’s invasion of Lebanon back in 1982.

And when a young Palestinian teenager was kidnapped and tortured to death — burned alive — in Jerusalem after the bodies of the three kidnapped young Israeli settlers were found, many Israelis tried to distance themselves from the horrific crime. “In our society, the society of Israel, there is no place for such murderers,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed.

But in fact, there is a place for those who call for murder — at the highest political and military levels of Israeli society.

Meet Ayelet Shaked, a member of the Knesset — Israel’s parliament. She belongs to Israel Home, a far-right party in Netanyahu’s governing coalition. She issued on Facebook what amounts to a call to commit genocide, by deliberately killing Palestinians, including women, children, and old people.

“The entire Palestinian people is the enemy,” Shaked posted. “In wars, the enemy is usually an entire people, including its elderly and its women, its cities and its villages, its property and its infrastructure.”

The Knesset member went on to say that the mothers of Palestinians killed should follow their dead sons to Hell: “They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

Her language reminds me of a chapter in our own history — the genocidal Indian Wars. U.S. military leaders had called on their troops to wipe out all the Native American. Col. John Chivington was asked on the eve of the Sand Creek Massacre about killing Cheyenne children. “Kill and scalp all, big and little — nits make lice,” he replied.

Shaked’s comments also echo the words of an Israeli colonel who testified under oath at the wrongful death trial of Rachel Corrie, a young U.S. peace activist killed by an Israeli soldier driving an armored bulldozer in Gaza. “In a war zone there are no civilians,” said the military officer — who was responsible for training Israeli soldiers to serve in the occupied territories.

There’s no question that Hamas’ primitive rockets violate international law. They can’t be accurately aimed at military targets. But that doesn’t justify Israel’s violation of its own obligations under international law as the occupying power in Gaza.

Israel has the region’s strongest military, the only nuclear weapons arsenal in the Middle East, and the unconditional backing of the United States. Its assault on Gaza violates the Geneva Conventions. Israel is imposing collective punishment against all Gazans, attacking hospitals, and using disproportionate force.

Israeli officials know full well that the best way to protect their citizens is to implement a real ceasefire — a breakthrough that would require opening Gaza’s borders. Some of them also know the best way to keep their citizens safe long term is by ending the occupation altogether. Problem is, not enough of them will admit it.

U.S. taxpayers also have a stake in this conflict because Washington keeps sending Israel billions of our tax dollars and refuses to push Tel Aviv to stop violating international law.

For real peace, both of those things must change.

Phyllis Bennis directs the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies.

  • dubinsky

    International law doesn’t exist where Hamas is in control and Bennis’ essay is a joke.

    • certop

      i must have missed the “except in gaza” clause of the geneva conventions. at any rate, it should be abundantly clear that hamas is not in control of what happens in gaza.

      • dubinsky

        you probably have missed any number of things, but you certainly shouldn’t try to blather about Gaza not being in the control of Hamas. no one working for a site about world events should be quite that ignorant…. or untruthful.

        perhaps you might try reviewing the cease-fire agreement of Nov 2012 that Hamas accepted on behalf of Gaza.

        • certop

          1) the 2012 ceasefire was supposed to start negotiations about lifting israel’s blockade of gaza, which never happened.

          2) israel had hit gaza with several airstrikes *before* hamas resumed its rocket fire, which had been quiet since the 2012 agreement.

          3) israel’s airstrikes followed its ransacking of hamas offices in the west bank, arrests of civilian politicians, and recapture of prisoners released under previous agreements based on the completely baseless claim that hamas ordered the murder of three settler teenagers.

          4) israel controls gaza’s borders, airspace, coast, airwaves, and population registry. in the eyes of international law it’s an occupying power.

          5) even inside gaza, hamas was putatively engaged in transferring governmental authority to a technocratic unity government that lacked any actual members of hamas. if anyone thinks israel’s demanding the PA’s cooperation as it ransacked the west bank and then started bombing gaza wasn’t aimed at sinking the fatah-hamas unity pact, they’re kidding themselves.

          6) this is all important context, but it doesn’t really matter. bombing civilian infrastructure–especially crucial infrastructure like power plants, hospitals, and UN designated bomb shelters–is a war crime, full stop, even if you claim there are rockets in the basement (which has yet to be proven in most cases).

          • dubinsky

            1) why not?

            2) incorrect. sporadic rocket attacks led to sporadic air strikes in return. you can research that.

            3) you have not a dam reason to claim that Hamas had nothing to do with the kidnappings/murders and the US State Dept has said that there is some evidence that Hamas WAS involved.

            4) Israel controls most of Gaza’s periphery. Hamas controls what happens inside Gaza. stop bullspitting. stop trying to invoke a legalism to deny the actuality. that’s a cheap attempt to weasel away from the truth.

            5) again, you’re weaseling. Hamas was attempting to shift responsibility for making payroll onto Abbas…and not anything else. this wasn’t the first reconciliation deal announced and it wasn’t going to result in any real change of any real elections. hamas has no intention of holding any elections unless and until hamas is sure to win.

            6) you’re an ignorant person or you’re simply untruthful.

            the Geneva Accords are quite explicit in declaring that it is NOT a crime to attack schools or hospitals or anything if they are being used for military purposes ..and weapons storage is a military purpose.

            http://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/press-releases/unrwa-condemns-placement-rockets-second-time-one-its-schools

          • certop

            israel has produced no proof that hamas’ leadership was involved in the kidnapping. furthermore it order a huge manhunt for the kids and whipped the public into a frenzy even though they already knew the settlers were dead. the murders were a terrible crime, but israel’s use of them was purely political. it was designed to provoke hamas and drive a wedge between hamas and fatah. the current war on gaza is nothing less than an extension of the same.

            i don’t think you or anyone else really believes that all the civilian infrastructure in gaza has been used for “military purposes.” the burden of proof is on the party killing the civilians, instigating blackouts, knocking down hospitals, and shelling UN-flagged bomb shelters and refugee housing, not the people caught in the crossfire.

            israel has issued a blanket no-go zone over 44 percent of the territory, which is already smaller than the city of detroit. it’s sealed the borders and bombed the bomb shelters, and yet it blames hamas for civilian casualties. it’s simply shameful.

          • dubinsky

            ” israel has produced no proof that hamas’ leadership was involved in the kidnapping.”

            and what does that prove, Certo? intelligence agencies are supposed to publish proof because enquiring minds want to know?

            go to school, kid. they’ll teach you that offering proof is a requirement of trials, and not something done for PR.

            and even without that, you’re still fulla spit to claim that the absense of a public publication of intelligence material gives you scope to claim that there IS no basis for claiming Hamas to be involved.

            if you won’t learn law, at least try to pick up the rudiments of logic.

            might be useful for you somewhere down the line.

            =============

            ” i don’t think you or anyone else really believes that all the civilian infrastructure in gaza has been used for “military purposes.” ”

            no one made that claim and no one need make it.
            the fighting in the vicinity of other buildings is cause enough to explain some buildings being hit. there’s no crime in that.

            and again, stay away from legalisms such as “burden of proof”. there is no such thing in the absence of trials. give “onus” a try next time

            —–

            you wanna make this a more general discussion of the wisdom and ethical basis for Israel’s policies concerning Gaza and we might find points of agreement. there’s a heck of a lot not to like about those policies.
            but please try to avoid the sort 1+1=11 level of argument that you’re attempting here.

            thanks for the discussion

          • certop

            although i appreciate your dedication to cataloging all that i’ve yet to learn, i think you’ve missed my point. i don’t really mean to invoke the presence of a court of law when i say that i’m deeply skeptical both of israel’s claims about the murdered kids and its rationalization for the massive proportion of civilian casualties it’s inflicting in gaza.

            perhaps, in lieu of the evidence you don’t feel israel should feel compelled to provide, you’re inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt. i’m not. i suppose the sticking point is as simple as that.

          • dubinsky

            I DO feel that Israel is compelled to provide evidence should they capture and put on trial any person they feel bears responsibility for the murders.
            and I dam sure am not inclined to trust the Israeli government about much of anything.

            I have quite a bit more trust in the US government and State has said that they have good reason to believe Hamas is connected to the crimes.

            sorry if you’re insulted but I’ve got a kid who is a far more accomplished journalist and better schooled in logic and I would answer him no differently if he would write the things that you have written.

            heck, I even kept at him to go to law school until a few months ago when he was a warded a share of this year’s public service Pulitzer.

          • Bluhorizons

            Since you have a child I surmise you would do anything to protect him. If he went out and threw rocks or fire bombs at cops and endangered himself you would tan his hide. If anyone expoed your kid to war you would be angry. But apparently you do not carry tho natural protective feeling to the children of others who have had their families exposed to attack by attacking Israel relentlessly for more than a decade.

          • dubinsky

            what the heck are you talking about??

            you seem to understand little or nothing of what I’ve written

          • Bluhorizons

            Sorry, that post was for certop

          • dubinsky

            it was perplexing

          • Bluhorizons

            That’s what happens when you multitask and try to fry eggs at the same time.

          • dubinsky

            hopefully the eggs ended up in your mouth and not all over your face.

          • Bluhorizons

            I guess you have not seen the TV clips of Hamas rockets being fired form civilian caters or that they store rockets in Mosques, schools, homes. Pure disregard for their own people. They are fanatics intent on only one thing, destroying Israel–ain’t gonna happen. And there will be a whole lot more killed until Hamas is either destroyed, stops or is run off by an enraged population. Until then all your bull is just water over the dam.

          • Bluhorizons

            Well, if they were transferring power, why did they smuggle in tens of thousands of rockets and start a war and then kill anyone who disagreed with them, just as they did when the seized power They killed off their opposition in Fata, machine-gunned them and threw them off roofs. And you support terrorists like this?t

        • vc50er

          It is the duty of those being occupied to RESIST.

          • dubinsky

            it remains the duty of those under occupation to avoid attempting to murder random civilians of the occupying power and none but a moron wouldn’t understand that.

            firing rocket bombs isn’t resistance, it’s attempted murder.

      • Bluhorizons

        Not Hamas? Then, who?

  • Bluhorizons

    We can always count on the FPIF anti-Israel neo-liberal post about Israel, refreshingly free of rebuttal except from readers. The prejudice of the editors eliminates them as commentators except to express their narrow views. You guys don’t have the guts to publish anything else. If 17000 rockets were fired into your town maybe you would feel different.

    • George Walker

      If 1700 ineffectual rockets were fired at my homeland, when I devastatingly use all modern weaponry against the people that fire the rockets, I would question if this is a war or an annihilation.

      • Bluhorizons

        If you are saying that the Arab are not as good at war as the Israelis you are right. That is why the Arabs use Hamas as their rabbit. In fact the Arabs do not much like the Palestinians at all. The Jordanians remember Black September. The Saudis expelled them when Arafat sided with Saddam. The jails in Kuwait still hold many Pals from all those year ago. The Syrians never allowed them to become citizens. The Grand Mufti of Lebanon said such hateful things observers said it was good no-one was armed. And, ah yes, Egypt, who, some say, would like to se Hamas crushed. They are considered by the Arabs to be troublesome tribe, not to be trusted.

    • certop

      the rocket attacks are plain violations of international law (as this piece clearly acknowledges), but they don’t hold a candle to the violence israel is currently perpetrating in gaza. i don’t doubt at all that the residents of southern israel are weary of running for the bomb shelters. certainly no one deserves to live with that kind of insecurity. but perhaps you would feel differently too if your nuclear-armed neighbor kept you in an open-air prison and bombed it to smithereens every two years or so.

      • Bluhorizons

        If they do not like being attacked by the IDF all they have to do is stop shooting. But Hamas will keep on attacking Israel until they think they have exhausted all the sympathy they can get from people like you or when they are wall killed, whichever comes first.

  • TSIndiana

    Israel and their backers in the US are bloodthirsty killers, stealing Palestinians land. They have become what they hated in the nazi’s.

    • Bluhorizons

      And a lot more is coming. Last week the US congress funded an additional (almost) $1B for joint US/Israel defines projects.

  • fjwhite

    It’s one thing to say what “must change”, it’s quite another to “effect change”.

  • Namaimo

    I am amazed that there is anything left to destroy in Gaza after these horrific attacks. I am appalled and disgusted by the shameful lawlessness displayed for the world to see. We must stop giving arms and funding for these atrocities. NOT IN MY NAME!!

    • Bluhorizons

      Nice to know that thru you taxes you leo participate in everything. Write to your congressman.

  • vc50er

    Israel must end the occupation. As occupiers the welfare of the people is Israel’s duty. Every person being occupied must resist.
    If Israel ends the occupation they could pull out completely. If they want to take land in the process they can do so. Then if a rocket hits Israel they are well within their rights to attack.
    To slaughter unarmed civilians is cowardly and a crime against humanity. Anyone attacking Israel at this point is well within their rights. A crime against humanity should be retaliated by humanity.

    • dubinsky

      ” To slaughter unarmed civilians is cowardly and a crime against humanity……..”

      even unarmed civilians of an occupying power.

      how could you fail to understand that?

      • certop

        last i saw approximately 3 israeli civilians had been killed. i will agree that even 1 is too many, but let’s have some perspective about the palestinian civilian casualties that are rapidly approaching 1000.

        incidentally, you should check out noura erekat’s piece on israel’s obligations as an internationally recognized occupying power: http://www.jadaliyya.com/pages/index/8799/no-israel-does-not-have-the-right-to-self-defense-.

        • dubinsky

          OK Certo, I’ll look at it later tonight….and get back to you.

        • Bluhorizons

          You seem to think of war as a sort of game, like golf, where the better player gets a handicap. A UN official should run out, hold up a red card and then shot a few Israelis “to be fair.”

      • Bluhorizons

        When a terrorist group fires 17000 rockets into another country they have to expect retribution. Those 17000 rockets were fired without warning indiscriminately launched into population enters and the people of Gaza knew about it. Those rockets made ever man, woman and child in Israel combatants. Turn-about is fair play.

        • dubinsky

          no. every human being and every group of human beings remain ethically obligated by avoid targeting civilian non-combatants and to make efforts to minimize harming civilians…even if the other side fails in their duties.

          when those three teenagers were murdered, soon thereafter an innocent palestinian teenager was gruesomely murdered. if that murder was committed by some person or persons as a reaction to the murders of the three, it later murder was every bit as vile and disgusting as the others.

          you idea of “fair play” is horrendously wrong and you probably need to do much deep re-thinking.

          • Bluhorizons

            When tensions are high people often respond out of proportion to the event. In Burma, an alleged rape of a Buddhist woman by a Muslim man triggered a wave of ethnic cleansing involving millions.

            The loss of those three kids was bad enough but the Palestinians expressing joy for their deaths was apparently the tipping point. To the Palestinians killing a Jew, any Jew is a cause of celebration. Killing Jews is part of both the PA and Hamas charters. What do you say about that? Nothing.

            I think the only thing that would satisfy you would be if the IDF was armed with tweezers instead of guns, so they could carefully extract the combatants like in-grown hairs, without disturbing the other hairs. But in this case the people of Gaza supported the in-grown hairs, knew about the rockets (how could they not) and so you make a fine claim against Israel but omit any comment about Hamas. Is that because they are less capable in war? Or is it more likely that you dislike Israel? Turn-aboiut IS fair play!

          • dubinsky

            Blu, you really, really, REALLY don’t understand anything that I’ve written.

            I loathe Hamas and consider their leadership to merit sudden, violent death.

            and I also believe that the people of Gaza deserve a chance to see their children have a decent future. the Gazans will have to ride themselves of hamas and will have to choose to end the wars and accept israel’s right to exist in peace, but the Gazans deserve a chance to make their choice,

    • Bluhorizons

      The word “occupied” means “land taken from a sovereign.” Crimea was occupied by Russia. Iran was occupied by the US. Since the sovereign of the area, Britain, gave up its mandate and departed, the land was not “occupied,” it was “up for grabs.” Israel won. Today, Israel is a sovereign nation recognised by the UN and most non-Muslim states. Every inch of Israel, including Jerusalem and the West Bank is part of Israel.

      When writers use the word “occupied” is is a code word to demonise Israel. It reveals the writer’s prejudices and eliminates their credibility. Herr Goering once said that if you repeat a lie often enough even you will think it is true. Apparently the author falls into this category. But no matter how often he says it, it still isn’t true.

  • Gerry

    It’s a great pity Phyllis Bennis doesn’t consider the extent
    and illegality of the Hamas provocation that causes Israel to respond with the
    present Operation Protective Edge. Ever since Israel withdrew from Gaza in
    2006, her citizens have been subjected to over 11,200 indiscriminate rocket
    attacks, initially directed to towns near the Gaza strip like Shderot, and
    latterly much further away, with rockets nearly reaching Haifa some 150 km
    away. Such attacks are contrary to international law (Article 25, Hague
    Regulations; Article 48, 51 and 54 of Protocol 1 to the 4th Geneva Convention.)

    Phyllis Bennis is naive if she expects Israel to sit back and not respond
    she is mistaken. Israel has such right under Article 51 of the UN Charter and
    has an obligation to defend here citizens.

    She is also misinformed both factually and legally of the conflict now being
    waged in Gaza.

    While she gives a token acknowledgement “that Hamas’ primitive rockets
    violate international law
    … that doesn’t justify Israel’s violation of its own obligations under
    international law as the occupying power in Gaza.” She wrongly asserts
    further that “Israel is imposing collective punishment against all Gazans,
    attacking hospitals, and using disproportionate force.”

    First: Israel is not an occupying power in Gaza. Occupation is defined in
    the Geneva 4th Convention, Articles 2-4. It arises when a High Contracting
    Party exercises “the functions of government” in the territory. Ever since
    2006 when Israel withdrew all her civilian and military personnel from Gaza, it
    is Hamas, not Israel, which exercises such functions.

    While Israel operates a no fly zone, a naval blockade and controls the land
    crossings between Israel and Gaza, these actions do not constitute
    “functions of Government”. They are in fact functions of belligerency
    which Israel is fully justified in exercising in circumstances where Hamas
    attempts to smuggle thousands of weapons and ammunition, including rockets,
    into Gaza through tunnels from Egypt and marine shipment. Military
    superiority over a neighbour does itself constitute “occupation”

    Second: Israeli actions do not constitute “collective punishment” as
    Bennis wrongly asserts. The closure of border crossings by Egypt and Israel is
    the sovereign right of every state to determine who may or may be permitted to
    enter. The fact that it imposes hardship on Gazaans does not amount to
    “collective punishment”.

    The Convention prohibits “the imposition of penalties on individuals or
    groups on the basis of another’s guilt or the commission of acts ( Article 33
    Geneva 4); all measures of intimidation or terrorism with regard to
    protected persons wherever they may be or otherwise violate the laws of
    distinction and /or proportionality” defined as understood in
    international law.

    Thus Israel is under no obligation to supply Gaza with electricity or water.
    Neither is she under any obligations to allow construction materials into the
    Strip- especially since Hamas misappropriates such supplies for the purpose of
    tunnel building rather than for residential and commercial construction
    purposes for which they were intended.

    The reality, to which Bennis is blind, is that notwithstanding the absence of
    any “occupation” Israel allows foodstuffs and medical supplies and
    even fuel stores to be transferred to Gaazans without distinction despite the
    fact that Geneva 4 does not demand this of her.

    However, if Israel’s fears – as she does with a high degree of certainty
    - that the consignments will be diverted from their civilian destination or
    that the consignments of goods- especially fuel- may give an advantage to
    Hamas’ military efforts, she may withhold such supplies.

    Third, Bennis implies that Israel acting immorally and illegally in “attacking
    hospitals, and using disproportionate force.”

    The immorality is to be found in Hamas action -not Israel’s. Hamas uses
    hospitals, for military command centres and other military purposes contrary to
    Article 19 of Geneva 4, thus removing their immunity from legitimate
    Israeli attack.

    Furthermore, Hamas commits war crimes by placing weapons, ammunition stores and
    tunnel entrances in civilian populated areas, and using the civilian population
    as human shields against Israel strikes. Geneva 4, Article 28 declares that the
    presence of a protected person may not be used to render certain points or
    areas immune from military operation. Article 51 (7) goes even further. It states

    “The
    presence or movements of the civilian population or individual civilians shall
    not be used to render certain points or areas immune from military operations,
    in particular in attempts to shield military objectives from attacks or to
    shield, favour or impede military operations. The Parties to the conflict shall
    not direct the movement of the civilian population or individual civilians in
    order to attempt to shield military objectives from attacks or to shield
    military operations.”

    Hamas’ action against
    its own population is more grotesque when it increases the rate of its own civilian
    casualties. There is clear evidence demonstrating that Hamas militants have
    actively prevented civilians from escaping from buildings whose occupants have
    been warned by telephone and leaflets, to evacuate and which are to be targeted
    by Israel because of their use by Hamas for military purposes.

    Finally, Bennis accuses Israel of using “disproportionate force”
    Again she demonstrates a clear misunderstanding of this concept as used in
    the international law of armed conflict.
    ‘Proportionality’ is not determined by comparing one side’s losses with those
    of the other side. The fact that Black side has suffered only 10 fatalities and
    Red side has absorbed 1000, does not necessarily Black has acted disproportionally.
    Black may have provided shelters for its civilians, while Red may have used its
    civilians as human shields to ‘protect’ its military installations and
    equipment on the mistaken assumption that the presence of its civilians in
    the close vicinity renders Red’s installations, equipment and associated personnel
    immune from Black attack.

    As between “combatants” the amount of force to eliminate an enemy is irrelevant-
    provided that the weapons are not those which cause unnecessary suffering. If
    overwhelming force were not permissible wars could never be won – stalemate would
    ensure and unless a peace agreement could be concluded, the conflict would likely
    continue at a later date.

    “ Proportionality” as such, is not specifically defined in
    the Geneva Convention. Rather, the concept falls within the definition “indiscriminate
    attacks” against civilians- attacks which are prohibited.

    Article 51(5)(b) of the 1st Protocol to Geneva 4 provides that among
    others, the following types of attacks are to be considered as indiscriminate:

    “an attack which
    may be expected to cause incidental loss of civilian life,
    injury to civilians, damage to civilian objects, or a combination thereof,
    which would be excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage
    anticipated.

    Israel has taken steps far beyond those which other
    armies of Western states have taken in military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq
    and elsewhere to minimise civilian casualties, by telephone warning, leaflets
    and ‘knock on roof’ missiles that carries little or no explosive load aimed
    at the roof of a building, rarely causes casualties, but warning the occupants to
    leave because the building is about to be heavily bombarded. Where
    civilian casualties are unavoidable, the IDF has often aborted an attack at the
    last moment.

    The so called “disproportionality” among the Gaazan fatalities arises from the
    fact that Hamas operatives fail to distinguish themselves as ‘combatants’
    contrary to international law. Instead they disguise themselves as civilians
    and mingle with the general population. Hence the apparent disproportionate number
    of civilian casualties.

    Phyllis Bennis does her readers a disservice in
    disseminating biased and inaccurate information

    Gerald Adler

    [email protected]

    • dubinsky

      excellent comment

    • Ron4405

      Your detailed comment above presents Israel as a hapless victim, and you don’t really address the many background provocations that have led to this latest conflict. To name just a few, Israel has refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Hamas government in Gaza, it has sealed the borders, it has attacked aid ships in international waters, and done all that it can to cripple the infrastructure and economy in Gaza. Netanyahu’s Likud dominated administration has continued to resist a meaningful two-state solution. No one questions whether Israel is entitled to “respond” to the low-tech and inaccurate rockets sent by Hamas; however, the crux of of the matter that has drawn international criticism is precisely how Israel has responded. Israel has vastly superior military technology and it sits back in relative safety and launches air strikes against U.N. schools in Gaza, hospitals, public utilities, fishermen’s warehouses, and even children playing along the coast, etc. There is a long accepted body of international law that defines appropriate military actions, Air strikes that result in massive civilian deaths are not appropriate and Israel deserves to be soundly criticized for such actions. They can legitimately close tunnels that exit on their side of the border, they can send in squads of soldiers to surgically take out specific targets, but they cannot legitimately launch massive air strikes or use tanks to blow up large buildings inhabited by civilians from a distance. Sending in leaflets urging civilians to abandon targeted areas does not absolve Israel from humanitarian responsibility, especially when there are no safe havens for Palestinain civilians to retreat to. We have all seen how civilians flee to U.N. schools, then are blown up there. The insensitivity to massive Palestinian civilian deaths by Netanyahu’s administration is flat out racist, as is clearly shown by the disgusting remarks made in the Knesset. Netanyahu comes to the U.S. to drum up support each time that a conflict rages with the Palestinians. Rather than negotiate in a meaningful fashion with this oppressed ethnic minority, he prefers to manipulate support in the U.S. This provides much anger and resentment in the Islamic world.

      • Bluhorizons

        Hamas is a terrorist group that came to power by being voted in and then murdering their opposition in Fata. They constantly whine about the control of materials into their country but now we can see the reason for the shortage was that they were using these materials for war.

        If Hamas cared a bit for their people they would have never started a war that would be waged in the middle of a city, a city whose population was neither prepared for nor protected by them. Clearly it was the plan of Hamas to used the sympathy of people like you to force Israel into a compromise that would allow Hamas to continue its relentless campaign against Israel. Isn’t going to happen.

        What I cannot understand most of all is why foolish people like yourself do not see that in reality this conflict is actually part of a much bigger conflict being repeated all over the world by Muslim fanatics and eventually if people like you win (most unlikely) they will eventually be knocking at your door. Are you comfortable being in the House of War? That is the place where all non-Muslims live.

      • Val Cocora

        ron4405 i make ii the goal of a lifetime to exterminate you and your whole family with extreme prejudice, as my arab invented god commands.
        but until then, wanna be friends?

  • Bluhorizons

    We have to understand that the conflict in Israel is a small part of the big picture. Hamas is not alone. Hamas is part of a huge network of extremists throughout the Middle East working to overthrow democratic governments and replace them with an Islamic caliphate operating under sharia law. Their goal is basically anti-democratic and they do not care a bit about our friendship beyond how it directly benefits the caliphate.

    Even though the US is their main benefactor, they hate us, they hate religious pluralism and their friends have greatly denuded the Middle east of both Christians, Jews and even Muslim sects. The Palestinians danced in the streets and gave candy away during 9/11. To kill a Jew, any Jew for any reason is cause for celebration.

    It is one thing to feel sympathy for an oppressed people, oppressed by terrorists they elected. It is quite another to not see who our friends are and how we are all in the same boat.

  • fahrender

    These facts remain:

    1. Many Palestinians have died. Far, far fewer Israelis have died.

    2. Gaza is, in effect, a concentration camp. It is a concentration camp and Israel’s primary method of killing Palestinians are bombs.

    3. Israel is in a position of great strength yet it makes demands of the Palestinians which are humiliating.

    4. Israel refuses to stop taking more Palestinian land even though these acts of aggression are the main reason Palestinians reject Israel’s demands.

    5. From both sides we get talking points. Israeli talking points are more facile but equally disingenuous.

    6. Whatever moral high ground Israel may have had deteriorates daily as the death toll and destruction continues.

    The Israeli Government has blood on it’s hands. The whole world is watching.

  • Val Cocora

    speaking of snakes, i wonder what happened to martyr mouse?