A joke, or some form of Israeli PR right?
The normal Israeli approach to the privacy rights of Palestinian civilians, is to subtly dodge the question by depriving them of their lives.
Israeli politicians and a former military intelligence commander have hit back at reservists who criticized Israel for spying on ordinary Palestinians. Last week, 43 Israeli military intelligence reservists signed a letter refusing to serve in the occupied Palestinian territories over fears snoops were planning to blackmail …
Utter bollocks of the kind usually spewed out by the Grauniad.
The inhabitants of Gaza voted for Hamas knowing their stated aim is the eradication of Israel, so they are just as responsible as the droves who voted for the NSDAP in Germany in the 1930's.
Hamas are renowned for siting missile-launchers, arms dumps etc. right by schools and hospitals - and even have their HQ underneath a hospital. As their supporters and fighters do not wear any recognisable uniform, pray differentiate between a terrorist & a civilian.
Is Israel supposed to just say "Tut, tut" to a daily rain of indiscriminate rockets?
The IDF uses its weapons to protect its people: Hamas uses its people to protect its weapons.
Awaits deluge of downvotes from the student politicians of the sixth-form common room...
My downvote isn't because of "student politicians of the sixth-form common room", it's because the article clearly states the protested sigint is in "occupied Palestinian territories" AKA West Bank (who never voted Hamas into power), not the Gaza strip (who did).
Gaza has not been "occupied" for many years now
And my reply was to the previous (AC, of course) poster (A joke, or some form of Israeli PR right?) and not a general or otherwise repudiation of the article.
His rather broad statement "The normal Israeli approach to the privacy rights of Palestinian civilians, is to subtly dodge the question by depriving them of their lives." also makes no mention of Gaza, West bank or occupied territories - it is the statement as a fact that deprivation of Palestinian life was an Israeli objective. That of course was the bollocks in question and not the article which gave birth to this forum.
Had you taken the trouble to read the two in conjunction, that would have been clear.
I agree. Can you be occupied if you don't have the army [or police] in your land? The Gaza has its own [corrupt] version of a government. Everything from police [if you can call them that] to health to education. doesn't sound like occupied to me.
While at it, you can't blame just Israel for their problems. Egypt has also blocked Hamas/Palestinians from leaving Gaza on their border as well as goods going in and out.
".....AKA West Bank ....." And, in your alternate universe, there are no HAMAS members (including suicide bomber recruiters) in the West Bank, nor other terrorists (the whole PLO beng made up of terror groups) that have previously mounted terror attacks against Israeli civilians.
a) I didn't say that there was no Hamas in the West Bank. I said that any threats to Israel from the West Bank can be dealt with without installing settlements there, and in any case, such threats are threats to some of Israel's population, NOT existential threats to the state of Israel.
b) Calling people 'funny' names by twisting their real names is teh behaviour of an immature 8-year old boy. Just sayin'
".....any threats to Israel from the West Bank can be dealt with without installing settlements there...." There is no such sovereign state as 'Palestine', all the land on the West Bank short of Jordan is up for grabs by negotiation. Which means, by your statement, all Palestinian Arab building work in the West Bank is also 'settlement building' and must stop until a final set of borders have been agreed. By legal definition, Israel not 'occupying' anywhere as the international law on occupation refers to one sovereign state occupying the land of another, and the only sovereign state involved is Israel. The Fakestinians could have had their sovereign state in 1948 but they stupidly preferred invading that of the Jews to accepting the UN Partition Plan.
".....such threats are threats to some of Israel's population, NOT existential threats to the state of Israel...." All UN nations have the right to protect their citizens from external aggression. They do not have to wait until the threat is one to the existence of the entire country. Once again, you fail to understand international law.
"....Calling people 'funny' names by twisting their real names is teh behaviour of an immature 8-year old boy...." Your whining is exactly what I'd expect from uneducated child.
some of us aren't student politicians.
some of us are old enough to remember Israel trot out this same stuff time and again for decades.
whether it's PLO, Fatah, Hamas, Hezbollah, or whoever. the same accusations are made by Israel. and all that time, Israel expands, and consumes, and expands, and kills, and expands, and colonises.
anonymous cos there's a very real chance I could lose my job for saying something that any fool can see if they look at Israeli history.
"Israel expands..." Ya? What did they grab this time?
Israel defends itself from the incompetence known as Hamas. You have to be a real fool to think that all those killed last month were innocent. Everyone knows that the percentage of dead that are "civilians" reported by the health ministry [an arm of Hamas] is ridiculously high. How do you define a Hamas member versus a civilian? Someone is a member of Hamas only if they have a rocket launcher or a gun?
".....and all that time, Israel expands, and consumes, and expands, and kills, and expands, and colonises...." Yeah, like when they gave back the Sinai to Egypt in return for peace, exited Southern Lebanon, and exited Gaza, you mean? Maybe you should have actually read some of those history books you mentioned.
>>"Awaits deluge of downvotes from the student politicians of the sixth-form common room..."
I like the pre-emptive attempt to dismiss your critics. Middle-aged engineer downvoting you right here.
And if you want sixth-form politics, your own arguments are tired and have been refuted more times than I can remember. They're the standard fallbacks for justifying the killing and displacement of Palestinians, just a variation on the eternal classic - they were asking for it.
h4rm0ny, you may be an engineer but historian you are not. You should read a little history of the area in question before glibly saying everything has been 'refuted more times than I can remember' and ask exactly what was the political affiliation of those doing the refuting and what axe did they have to grind.
Now the down votes will start for the simple reason most people don't like their political shortcomings being exposed.
>>"h4rm0ny, you may be an engineer but historian you are not"
I didn't claim to be a historian, I claimed to be old. (well, hitting middle-age, sadly). What I said was that I had seen those same arguments trotted out decade after decade and the counter arguments to them are long since known to most of us. The whole 'they're asking us to bomb them' line of reasoning is false and always has been. However it is spun, one cannot have hundreds of Palestinian deaths, homes demolished, people displaced, power shut off to schools and hospitals and homes, and a handful of deaths on the Israeli side and present it as Israel defending itself.
>>"Now the down votes will start for the simple reason most people don't like their political shortcomings being exposed."
Again the attempt to pre-emptively dismiss any downvotes by claiming without evidence they're for bogus reasons. You didn't "expose" any shortcomings. You just said I needed to read more, that I was glib, and should look for bias. Basically ad hominem, ad hominem and an implication of bias / statement I'm misled. None of these contain the slightest scrap of argument that would expose anything.
THAT is why you're getting downvotes, just as the previous post wasn't getting downvotes because we are all sixth-form history students.
"However it is spun, one cannot have hundreds of Palestinian deaths, homes demolished, people displaced, power shut off to schools and hospitals and homes, and a handful of deaths on the Israeli side and present it as Israel defending itself."
So in your view, if this doesn't constitute Israel defending itself, what does? It's not like Hamas don't know how Israel will respond.
When rockets rain down upon the heads of their children, how should Israel respond? With a polite rebuke? Maybe some harsh language? An appeal to the UN? Perhaps they should limit themselves to the same level of technology employed by their aggressor? (though if you choose this, bear in mind that the only reason there are not vastly more Israeli dead is that Hamas lack the capability to achieve it, not the ambition) Perhaps they should limit the use of their military arsenal to some other arbitrary level?
Now, whatever level of response it is you end up proposing, consider if you might prefer a stronger response if it were to be your child who next meets a rocket.
Obviously, the deaths of Palestinian civilians are equally tragic, but they differ in some important aspects. 1) Palestine is already deploying its full military capability against Israel, it's just that the capability isn't great. 2) When you allow gunmen to hide amongst your children, in their schools, hospitals, and homes, you must realise that more of them will die when the counter attack comes. How could it be otherwise?
>>"When rockets rain down upon the heads of their children, how should Israel respond? With a polite rebuke? Maybe some harsh language? An appeal to the UN? Perhaps they should limit themselves to the same level of technology employed by their aggressor? (though if you choose this, bear in mind that the only reason there are not vastly more Israeli dead is that Hamas lack the capability to achieve it, not the ambition) Perhaps they should limit the use of their military arsenal to some other arbitrary level?"
The aim should be to end the rockets. For that you look at why there are rockets. Reasonable enough?
You ask what I think Israel should do? Happy to answer. Withdraw from the Occupied Territories, stop blockading supplies into Palestine, stop bombing power stations, schools, homes, stop carrying out assassinations, invite the UN to negotiate a proper peace and accept it. This would undermine support for attacks on Israel by the common Palestinians who just want peace and to live their lives.
But this would be "defeat" or "giving in to terrorists" and is thus untenable by the Israeli government and its supporters. So unable to retreat, they attack. Against a populace and people who have nowhere to retreat to and thus cannot be the ones to end the conflict. It's simply not possible for the Palestinians to end the conflict when every time they are the ones being occupied, deprived of power, building materials, freedom.
But Israel cannot countenance losing a "pissing contest" - they have declared another faction their enemy and thus cannot let it "win". It is petty emotional-territorial human behaviour at its basest. As a species we should be better than this.
>>"When you allow gunmen to hide amongst your children, in their schools, hospitals, and homes, you must realise that more of them will die when the counter attack comes. How could it be otherwise?"
Israel is bombing and attacking an urban area. Where exactly do you expect to find the people you're attacking other than in the place you're attacking? If there's a "gunman" in a home, there's a good chance that's because he LIVES there. This is what happens when you invade somewhere people live.
Again, you have come to us with the same argument as both times before, re-phrased: "they're asking for it". No Palestinian has the power to force the IDF to bomb schools and powerstations or to bulldoze homes. No Palestinians had the power to cause this
You acknowledge that the Israeli army is vastly more powerful than the Palestinians. Only the most twisted logic could argue that a group so much weaker is forcing a far more powerful and well-funded body to murder it in such numbers. Ergo, the greatest capacity to end the conflict is on Israel's side. It's like watching a huge guy pin a much smaller one to the ground, continually apply painful pressure and just the smaller guy's occasional attempts to push him off as justification for staying on top.
"The aim should be to end the rockets. For that you look at why there are rockets. Reasonable enough?"
There's a problem with that aim. Israel can't end the rockets. Only the Palestinians can, and they simply don't want to. Nothing Israel does will ever be enough for them unless it nukes itself, which would be a tad unusual as an approach to ending conflict.
"You ask what I think Israel should do? Happy to answer. Withdraw from the Occupied Territories, stop blockading supplies into Palestine, stop bombing power stations, schools, homes, stop carrying out assassinations, invite the UN to negotiate a proper peace and accept it. This would undermine support for attacks on Israel by the common Palestinians who just want peace and to live their lives."
And here you go massively off track. I asked how Israel should respond, in essence, militarily.
Stoping bombing powerstations, schools, and homes first requires that Hamas stop launching rockets from those locations and hiding their stockpile of weapons in such locations.
Stopping assasinations as you call them is easy. Palestine simply needs to hand over for trial all of the terrorists within its midst, such as the entire leadership and membership of Hamas.
"Against a populace and people who have nowhere to retreat to and thus cannot be the ones to end the conflict. "
So, so very wrong. The conflict can be over tomorrow. Palestine simply never fires another bullet, bomb, or rocket at Israel, and the war would be over forever. Contrary to your suggestion, the possibility of peace exists solely within the hands of the Palestinians, for it is they whom are always the aggressor.
"Israel is bombing and attacking an urban area. Where exactly do you expect to find the people you're attacking other than in the place you're attacking? If there's a "gunman" in a home, there's a good chance that's because he LIVES there. This is what happens when you invade somewhere people live."
Again you have this arse-about-face. Palestine is launching the attack from those locations, so where exactly is it you expect the military response to fall? Stand in the street behind your wife and children and start shooting up the place. When the police arrive, it'll be no good moaning if your wife catches a bullet because its your fault for hiding behind her while firing a weapon.
"No Palestinian has the power to force the IDF to bomb schools and powerstations or to bulldoze homes"
Every single Palestinian with a gun, rocket launcher, or who allows the use of their home for military or terrorist purposes has that power and has caused the response they have received. Every. Single. One.
"Only the most twisted logic could argue that a group so much weaker is forcing a far more powerful and well-funded body to murder it in such numbers. "
Only most deluded mind would fail to grasp that launching a military campaign from a civilian area will result in many civillian dead. Yet still they choose it and you defend it.
Bear this in mind: Hamas have killed more Palestinians in this conflict than they have killed Israelis.
"As a species we should be better than this."
I suspect this is our only possible zone of agreement on this issue.
".....For that you look at why there are rockets....." There are rockets because HAMAS has the stated aim of eradicating the state of a Israel. That was obviously too simple for you to understand.
"....invite the UN to negotiate a proper peace and accept it...." The Jews did, in 1948, it was the Arabs that refused to accept the UN Partition Plan. The UN solution is the two state solution, which HAMAS rejects. You really don't have a clue about what you are dribbling on about.
"the deaths of Palestinian civilians are equally tragic"
Except it seems to you that they're not.
There's a thing called "proportionality" in military law. To put it bluntly, the law states that only the force necessary should be used to defeat any given foe. Anything more is not only disproportionate, it is a waste of military force. And there's no defending Israel's assault on Gaza as "proportionate".
" 2) When you allow gunmen to hide amongst your children, in their schools, hospitals, and homes, you must realise that more of them will die when the counter attack comes"
Right, so where are they to hide? Tunnels? So they're hiding in tunnels, and your pet military the IDF comes along and demolishes a hospital where there may be injured Hamas military men getting treatment. Read up on the British response to the German Empire's policy of unlimited submarine warfare in relation to hospital ships in WWI.
""the deaths of Palestinian civilians are equally tragic"
Except it seems to you that they're not."
Then you have misunderstood or ignored what I have written.
"There's a thing called "proportionality" in military law. To put it bluntly, the law states that only the force necessary should be used to defeat any given foe. "
Given that peace has not been achieved, your statement allows for a significant escalation of the military response.
"And there's no defending Israel's assault on Gaza as "proportionate"."
Really? I view it as rather restrained myself. Israel hasn't known a decades peace since WWII. It is attacked without mercy and without rest.
"Right, so where are they to hide?"
They are not to hide. Terrorists hide. If they wish to behave a soldiers, waging war upon an enemy, then they should bloody well stand and fight the battle they started. Hoping to defray your losses by hiding behind civillians is the mark of a coward. It also makes increased civillian deaths unavoidable.
"So they're hiding in tunnels, and your pet military the IDF comes along and demolishes a hospital where there may be injured Hamas military men getting treatment"
The IDF are nothing to do with me, and certainly not my pet. Are you always so emotional?
I presume you're referring to the hospital whose basement was ebing used as a military HQ and weapons cahce? That hospital? Well, what exactly did you think would happen?
Until the people of Palestine learn to love their children more than they hate Israelis, they will continue to die. For as long as the people of Palestine allow men of war to hide behind them, they will continue to die alongside them. If this is news to you, then you haven't been paying attention.
As has already been said, legitimate armies use their weapons to protect civilians: Hamas use civilians to protect their weapons. And you have the gaul to blame the IDF for that?
"You should read a little history of the area in question... "
Thing is, no knowledge of history is any help at all to resolve the situation without acknowledging the present. And the present situation is this - Israel has de facto complete control over all Palestinian territories. It chose to exit Gaza because it was more trouble than it was worth, has a pretty successful blockade going there, and every few years flattens everything and anything that got through the blockade anyway. In the West Bank, it builds settlements with complete impunity, it controls water supply, it controls roads and transport, imports are also severely restricted, and there is a giant wall separating Israel + their settlements from "Palestinian" lands. The threat level that Israel faces is, for all practical purposes, zero. There might be a slight threat to some of it's citizens, but that is something that can never be eradicated, as people of New York, London, Madrid etc etc know very well. But there is NO existential threat to Israel, there hasn't been for many many many years, and there will not be for the foreseeable future.
So, whatever the end solution to the question is, Israel is the ONLY actor in the region that can do anything towards that solution.
And Israel has, by it's actions over the past few years, repeatedly shown that it's preferred solution is NOT a 2-state solution with Israelis and Palestinians living in peace*, nor is it a 1-state solution with Palestinians as full and equal citizens. It is a 'Greater Israel' where Palestinians are second-class Apartheided citizens, or else 'exported' to neighbouring Arab countries. This spying on innocent Palestinians is just a tiny part of an ongoing process.
*Otherwise why the continued expansion of settlements in the West Bank? Why even start building settlements in the first place, when a simple military presence + wall on the original border would have sufficed for security?
".....Thing is, no knowledge of history is any help at all to resolve the situation without acknowledging the present....." And you can't hope to understand the present (as you obviously do not) without studying how we got where we are. The present state is that Israel is willing to talk peace and discuss the two state solution, but groups like HAMAS do not want to accept the idea of any Jewish state.
".....But there is NO existential threat to Israel....." Apart from technically still being at war with the Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, you mean? Then there is HAMAS and Hezbollah, both of which have the stated aim of eradicating Israel, plus the dozens of nutty Islamic terror groups (AQ, IS, Islamic Jihad, etc.) that just want to kill Jews.
"The present state is that Israel is willing to talk peace and discuss the two state solution"
Actions speak louder than words. If Israel was ever serious about peace it would never have built settlements in land that it knew it would have to give back as part of any peace agreement. Israel SAYS it's willing to have a 2-state solution, but only if it's allowed to annex parts of West Bank that it wants, and 'is willing' to give Palestine unwanted parts of it's territory in return. Wow, what generosity.
If Israel is serious about peace it would have frozen settlements a long time ago. Instead, in the last 10 years it has accelerated them.
Re Hamas greenhouses etc, yes you are right, Hamas are scum who do not want peace, I wasn't arguing anything different. My point is that Hamas have power only in Gaza, very limited influence elsewhere. Israel has all the power in the region, nothing can change unless they take the lead.
"....If Israel was ever serious about peace it would never have built settlements in land that it knew it would have to give back as part of any peace agreement....." Once again, you fail at the first hurdle. Please do go show any agreement that Israel has signed that commits it to giving any land in the West Bank back. The whole borders question has been pushed down the road because the two sides are too far apart in their stated positions, the Arabs insisting on the 1967 ceasefire line as the basis for negotiations whilst knowing that is unacceptable to Israel on security grounds. Until final borders are agreed, which won't happen until the Fakestinians live up to their commitments to end terror attacks and incitement, all the land is still up for negotiation. And, seeing as Fakestinian actions consist of continual terror attacks and incitement, Israel is under no obligation to resume peace negotiations. Despite that, Israel has twice frozen all building in the West Bank as a precursor for talks only for the Fakestinians to waste their time.
"....Israel SAYS it's willing to have a 2-state solution, but only if it's allowed to annex parts of West Bank that it wants, and 'is willing' to give Palestine unwanted parts of it's territory in return. Wow, what generosity....." Apart from the fact that is what happens when one side wins a war (numerous wars caused by Arab aggression in this case). Go look at a map of Europe from 1914, then look at one for 1935, then another for 1946 - you might notice the Allies made a few changes. And seeing as the Fakestinians do not have a sovereign state of 'Palestine', there was NEVER a sovereign Fakestinian state for Israel to annex the land from.
".....My point is that Hamas have power only in Gaza...." And again you are wrong. HAMAS was voted for by the majority of the Fakestinians, in the West Bank and Gaza. Their current co-operation with the PNA is a sham with HAMAS running a complete shadow government in Gaza and refusing to hand any control to the PNA, whilst trying to do the same in the West Bank.
You obviously have a lot of reading to catch up on, I suggest you start here: http://www.camera.org/index.asp?x_article=2831&x_context=9999
"....no knowledge of history is any help at all to resolve the situation...." More like you prefer to ignore history as it allows the Palestinians to paint themselves as victims. The Palestinians put themselves where they are, especially in Gaza, and their continued support of HAMAS says they are the ones not willing to give peace a chance.
".....It chose to exit Gaza because it was more trouble than it was worth, has a pretty successful blockade going there, and every few years flattens everything and anything that got through the blockade anyway......" Israel pulled out but left the crossings open to those that wanted to work in Israel. They left the settlements with acres of agricultural land and miles of greenhouses. The majority of Gazans with jobs actually worked in Israel, many in the joint Israeli-PNA campus at Erez. The first thing HAMAS did, before the Israelis pulled out, was attack the Erez campus and threaten any Gazan that worked in Israel, forcing many of them to become suicide bombers. HAMAS trashed the agricultural land and left the greenhouses to rot. Israel imposed the blockade because of repeated attempts at terror attacks from Gaza. HAMAS had no intention of making things better for the Gazans, quite the opposite. HAMAS deliberately killed all co-operation with the Israelis, both economic and political, because they have one stated aim - the destruction of Israel. And that is not history, that is HAMAS's current stance and single goal. Your denial of that simple fact is truly too obtuse for words.
I upvoted you.
Hammas' stated aim IS the eradication of the state of Israel.
Israel was made war on about 5 minutes after it was formed after WW2.
It was subsequently made war on several times by its Arab neighbours up until the 70s, each of which it won, and could have occupied these neighbours if it chose.
Israel beleives that without the buffer zones of the lands it occupies it would be made war on again.
Israel did not exist before it was formed! There were a couple of right wing groups in Palestine with small membership who undertook terrorist activities such as the Stern Gang and Lechi. It was never the policy of the main independence movement which condemned and abhored their activities.
"Israel made war on the UK for some years BEFORE it was formed after WW2....." The British were stuck in the middle after taking up responsibility for the region after defeating Ottoman Turkey in WW1. Between the declaration of the Mandate and the British pull out in 1948, they were routinely attacked by both Jewish and Arab terrorists.
"......They were the original terrorists in the region." Rubbish. The first recorded terror event in the region under the Mandate was the attack on Jewish farms at Tel Hai in French-controlled Upper Gallilee on 1st March 1920, by Arab villagers taking a break from fighting the Franco-Syrian War to get in a little ethnic cleansing by murdering Jews. The Battle of Tel Hai (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Tel_Hai) is considered the start of the Arab-Israeli conflict and shows a simple and oft repeated pattern - armed Arabs, encouraged by their religious leaders and Arab nationalists, made an unprovoked attack on the Jews. The Jews at Tel Hai had actually been neutral and stayed out if the fighting between the Arabs and the French. The Battle of Tel Hai was followed by a second act of Islamic terror, the riots in Jerusalem (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/1920_Palestine_riots) a few weeks later. The first attacks recorded on British forces in Mandate Palestine were by Arabs during the May 1921 Jaffa riots (http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jaffa_riots). Attacks on the British by Jews only became more common than attacks by Arabs after the British arrested many of the Arab leaders in 1928.
"Israel was made war on about 5 minutes after it was formed after WW2."
Correction: the Zionist project implied the expulsion of the Palestinian Arab population. It was modelled after the expulsion of the American First Nations during the "Winning of the West" by the United States. Before the State of Israel was declared on the 14the of May, the Yishuv had already expelled most of the Arabs in the parts of Mandatory Palestine it controlled. And that expulsion accelerated after the pogrom at Deir Yassin on the 9th of April. There was a month between Deir Yassin and Israel's Declaration of Independence. It took that long for the reluctance of the Arab League leaders to be overcome.
"It was subsequently made war on several times by its Arab neighbours up until the 70s, each of which it won, and could have occupied these neighbours if it chose."
Like the 1956 Suez Crisis? I've seen Zionists refer to that as an Israeli existential crisi. Tell that to Eden.
"Israel beleives that without the buffer zones of the lands it occupies it would be made war on again."
Yeah right. Like the occupation of Soutehrn Lebanon? Like the occupation of the Sinai? I suppose that is why the Egyptians are constantly making war on Israel? Because Israel returned the Sinai?
I've got a Brooklyn Bridge to sell you. How much is two times two?
@Tom13 - By no stretch of the imagination is Hamas an existential threat to Israel. Just like IRA with Britain, they can kill some civilians and cause some havoc. But Hamas has negligible military force compared to IDF, close to zero international political clout compared to Israel who has the US bent around her little finger.
Just because Hamas want Israel to be completely destroyed does not mean that it is in any way possible for them to do it.
"....Did we flatten the Republic of Ireland in response to their attacks?" The Israelis could have flattened Gaza but did not, they instead chose to send troops in to find and dismantle HAMAS's rockets and tunnels. But, GCHQ did use exactly the same techniques against the Irish as Unit 8200 does against the Palestinians, to allow MI5 and MI6 to recruit or blackmail informers into giving up IRA terrorists.
>>"Frankly i think every jew & every palistinean want each other dead, so where will this end?"
Jew =/= Israeli. There are many non-Zionist jewish people just as there are a large number of Zionists non-Jews. Especially amongst American Christians, large numbers of which believe that Israel MUST be Jewish in order that God's plan can be complete. John Ashcroft, former US Attorney General belongs to a Church which preaches this for example. And I'm fairly sure he's not Jewish.
As long as you keep using Jewish and Israeli interchangeably (which is something the Israeli government vigorously encourages), you're undermining your own case against Israel and increasing anti-Semitism by equating Jewish people with the government of Israel (and a particular position of it, in fact).
"Frankly i think every jew & every palistinean want each other dead....." So you missed the bit about how this is Israeli reservists refusing to spy on 'innocent Palestinians' in order for them to be blackmailed into spying on Fatah, Islamic Jihad, HAMAS, Black September, etc., etc.? You also missed the reason for their objection - the majority of such spies end up being summarily executed by Fatah, Islamic Jihad, HAMAS, etc., etc.. That's because the informers are very useful in identifying the terror leaders and facilitating Israeli targeted assassinations, which is why HAMAS and chums always make such public executions of anyone even suspected of being an informer - they don't mind martyring their civilians as human shields, but they really don't like their leaders getting chopped.
".....where will this end?" It could have ended in 1948 if the Arabs had not been greedy and so dead set against there being any Jewish state. Since, the Palestinians have artfully thrown away every chance at peace. The Egyptians learned, the Jordanians learned, but too many Palestinians have not. As Golda Meir put it, this conflict will only end when all the Arabs learn to love their children more than they hate the Jews. HAMAS, elected by the majority of Palestinians, including those in the West Bank, obviously still prefer 'opening the gates to Hell' and herding their own people through said gates.
I have a lot of respect for those that risk themselves to resist oppression of themselves. But I have even more respect for those that resist it from the inside when they could so easily stay quiet and look the other way. It takes a special kind of courage to stand up against your own "side" for what is right. Their actions do more to stop people demonizing Israelies then any amount of its government's propaganda.
H4rm0ny, as much as I agree with the sentiment of what you state I think that the current state of affairs in Israel is so "complicated" that is is impossible to determine "what is right" or "what is wrong".
I lived and worked there for several years, as a "goy", but was introduced headlong into the culture of both sides , Israelis and Palestinians.. albeit more so the Israeli side.
It's a catch 22 situation, there are no "right" or "wrong" ways to do things, there is always a contra-partie that upsets one or the other sides. Neither party wants to see their children die, the people that live there are normal people with the same desires as you and I. The difference lies in those that govern them.
The Jews and the Arabs lived on that piece of land for many without problems, it was only when other nations decided to occupy the lands that the problems started. The Ottomans, the British, the Jordanians, the Americans all helped create the instability that exists today..
The Americans are probably more to blame for the current situation than any one else today, the do after all, supply Israel with several Billion dollars each year for "defence" purposes, so in effect they are the ones footing the bill for Unit 8200.
The fire of hatred that exists within that small piece of land is continually being doused with petrol, from the upper echelons of both sides. In order to resolve many of the problems it would be necessary to remove the politicians and war mongerers who have vested interests in continuing this pseudo war.
I met many good people from both cultures unfortunately we only ever here about the tainted ones...
>>"H4rm0ny, as much as I agree with the sentiment of what you state I think that the current state of affairs in Israel is so "complicated" that is is impossible to determine "what is right" or "what is wrong"
I disagree with this. Things are so complicated and messy there that it is impossible to determine which "side" is right or wrong. But that's not quite what I wrote. There are good people and bad people all around. You can say whether an action is right or wrong, or a person good or bad within reasonable parameters. You only get in a mess when you start saying one arbitrarily defined group of people are good or bad. The worst and cheapest trick the Israeli government has ever pulled is the way it endlessly tries to portray itself as speaking for Jewish people and pretend criticism of it is criticism of Jewish people. That's one reason I called out the bravery of these Israelis, because to go against that sort of propaganda, the sort of propaganda that tries to make you out as a traitor to your country or your people if you disagree, takes a special type of courage, an active courage. Not the sort that reacts against an external threat, but the leads you to stand up when you could have just kept quiet. That's where I was coming from with the sides.
I agree with what you are saying but I don't think that it gets at the point of why people are in the position that they are in.
The catch 22 situation lies in the fact that the "military prowess" of the Israeli army is what has allowed these young Intelligience Officers to live in Israel. Should that same fighting machine step down or reduce it's tactics then it would likely result in the complete loss of the lands/state.
Yes, I agree that it takes a hell of a lot of courage but they are fighting against the machine that put them there.
These officers don't agree with the dirty tactics of Unit 8200 but at the same time there are no clean tactics in a war situation. What would they suggest to do otherwise ? There appears to be no solutions at this level.
This is one of these lose/lose situation where there are no winners. The odds are stacked against everyone. If the Israelis want to remain they have to continue to defend themselves. If they don't they will have to leave.. It's a position that I am glad that i don't have to deal with.
Lookup Edward de Bono's rather original ideas for solving the conflict
1) Promote the distribution of Marmite (high in Zinc) to reduce people's aggressive tendencies (perhaps a little silly).
2) Continue donating foreign aid to the Palestinians but subtract 50 million USD every time a rocket is fired into Israeli territitory. Actually not a silly idea at all. No finger pointing, no breast beating, just cold hard cash giving peace a chance and concentrating minds wonderfully.
On the flip side and in the interest of fairness, the US could take an equally large whack out of its foreign aid to Israel each time they are perceived to do something bad (such as building illegal settlements on the occupied territories).
But such ideas are far too radical and simplistic... of course.
".....2) Continue donating foreign aid to the Palestinians but subtract 50 million USD every time a rocket is fired into Israeli territitory...." The US and EU already tried that, but it is being undermined by countries like Qatar who are sending 100s of millions of dollars to HAMAS. The UN is further hamstrung by Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Malaysia, Indonesia, etc., etc., who only pay lip service to the right of Israel to exist.
I think it's clear that wholesale spying on every Palestinian is useful to Israel. Yet I see wholesale spying on a populace as wrong whether in China, Israel, the US or anywhere else. I really like Israel, and that makes the call even tougher from my armchair, but I have to come down on wholesale spying as wrong even given Israel's terrible situation and Palestinian groups that seek nothing less than the death of every Jew in Israel.
Independent political though and democracy need private nonpublic communication as well as public communication to thrive. Additionally possession of power inevitably leads to abuse of power. If the power to spy on everyone wholesale didn't exist it couldn't be used. So this comment is a wandering mess, it merely shows my thoughts on the situation.
"Palestinian groups that seek nothing less than the death of every Jew in Israel."
And your views on the Jewish Israeli groups that seek the death of every Arab in Palestine and Israel? Ever hear of a low-life called Kahan? And his band of vicious thugs called the Kahanists?
"I always thought that fighting in the name of your god is huge insult to that god, like they are too weak and cowardly to do it themselves."
Agreed, but the idiocy only really begins when you consider that it is the same God. So one group of followers is killing the other group of followers, in an argument essentially about which of Gods messengers was right. Apparently it has occurred to nobody that were the confusion worth killing over, God would probably have sent a further messenger to clarify the position.
"Agreed, but the idiocy only really begins when you consider that it is the same God."
It was a lot simpler before monotheism came along. Then, you would have what amounted to two 'teams' with two supporting gods, one per side. The side that won the battle was the side with the stronger god, obviously. The losers didn't have much incentive to stay with the losing god, and often switched to the winner. Why not?
Now, besides the actual battle, there's a bitter struggle over possession of the one and only god, and nobody's happy. The losers can't switch and have to rationalize their loss as a 'test', leading to further battles, and the winners have to demonize the losers as liars who don't really worship the one god correctly, or at all. And the winners know the losers won't be giving up easily, so to be safe the winners have to utterly crush the losers, rather than assimilate them.
Is it just me who thinks that "intelligence reservists" is a rather bad idea from a military perspective?
From a humanitarian perspective, it's great because all military forces should have a healthy dose of civilians or, where less possible, people with a firmer hold on normal, every-day life. I must confess to being utterly ignorant of Israeli military doctrine and recruitment practices but one can expect that reservists have other, day-to-day jobs that require critical thinking and decision making rather than the ability to say "yes sir" and push your scruples to the background to keep your conscience company.
For the record (not that it matters) I have nothing against those who serve in the military, just the command and the politicians calling the shots.
In a way, we should think of civilians and reservists as a kind of circuit-breaker, with a lower threshold for questionable practices than perhaps other components may have. We should thus use them liberally to prevent unchecked surges causing greater damage.
Israel has conscription. So the military is full of civilians. They also have a cadre of career military professionals. But they seem to use their reserves a lot. Even in cases like the recent conflict with Gaza, where they weren't using all that many troops - and so ought to have been able to just use the standing army. I suspect they also make up lots of the support services from reservists.
That probably makes sense as a pay-off too. You do your military service in a front-line formation, you've got a high chance of actual combat, plus you get to spend lots of time getting muddy (I guess sandy in their case), and living in tents. But then less chance of getting called-up again afterwards - particularly now Israel is less likely to get invaded.
Whereas if you get an intel job on conscription, you probably get an easier time, more spent in an office, and a better chance of weekend leave. But then a higher chance of getting called-up for conflicts with Hamas or Hizbollah for however long you're on the active reservist list.
There was a decent sized movement a few years ago of troops refusing to serve in the occupied territories. I seem to remember it was older reservists and obviously on political grounds. I don't know how that's panned out, as I don't really follow Israeli news. I'd imagine they're going to have increasing problems in the future with people's willingness to fight. Particularly as quite a lot of the more bellicose parties pulling Likud to the settler point of view are of the orthodox religious right, and lots of them have exemption from military service. That's not exactly wonderful in PR terms either...
My feeling after the Oslo process collapsed was that no-one would make peace for years. They so nearly got there, and then didn't. And they only got to that stage because everyone was exhausted after the first Intifada. So now they won't get peace until the more militant 'we can win' types on both sides are proved wrong again, and until ordinary people are so sick of the bloodshed that they're willing to accept unpalatable compromises.
Conscription gets you lots of people, but also lots of problems. It's much easier to keep a professional military fighting, even in the face of strong public disapproval.
in a few weeks time. Just as almost everything else that Israel does as it slowly takes more Palestinain land to build more 'settlements'. It is a simple fight for land and resources that the rest of the world does nothing more than wring its hands muttering 'how terrible'. However genocide in other countries does get action.
Neither side comes out of it smelling of roses, but Palestinian fighters are called 'terrorists' and Israeli ones 'the army' -- in the sound bite media 'armies' are OK, 'terrorists' are not. But does it make a difference what they are called - they still kill people, the Israelis kill far more than do the Palestinians.
Israel has been condemned in 45 UN resolutions but the rest of the world looks the other way: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_UN_resolutions_concerning_Israel_and_Palestine
What is going on is a form of aparteid: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=93hqlmrZKd8
Not that I wish to defend Israel's recent bombing of Gaza, but you oversimplify vastly. There are no settlements in Gaza - they were removed in 2005. The conflict with Hamas is about other things.
Settlements are a problem in the West Bank. And will have to be removed to get a viable peace settlement. Israel is storing up trouble for itself by putting them there. But then there is a segment of Israeli society who either don't want a fair peace deal, or don't believe it's possible. That's equally true of the Palestinian side, or the Oslo process would have worked, and we wouldn't be in this situation.
AC for a change -
There's a reason there are no settlements in Gaza. Israel moved the boundaries beyond the settlements and then erected a fence around what remained. As for why Hamas exists, you may as well ask why the IRA existed. It's pretty much the same reason, persecution based on ethnic grounds. There will be no peace while Israel's only roadmap to peace is the complete assimilation of Palestine within the boundaries of the state of Israel. Minus the Palestinian population. You just have to look at the Speaker of the Knesset to understand the Israeli mentality. How can anyone of the Jewish faith seriously call for concentration camps and the extermination of the population as a security solution?
Israel may or may not have moved the boundaries around when they pulled out of Gaza. I've not looked into it enough to say. And obviously they maintain a no-man's land inside Gaza's territory, rather than theirs. However they actually did remove many settlers and settlements. If the only problem was borders or settlements a deal could have been struck. But that's not Hamas' only objective, and therefore settlements almost certainly isn't the main problem in Gaza. The blockade is surely a much more important issue there.
There's a big difference between Hamas and the IRA. The IRA had an achievable objective. It's unlikely that Israel is going to consent to ceasing to exist. It was possible that the UK would dump NI on the Republic and wash its hands of the whole messy problem. However, when the IRA realised they had no hope, they made a deal. Hamas still aren't even clear that they're happy with any deal that leaves Israel standing.
There are many voices within Hamas who accept they're going to have to go for a two-state solution. But I'm not sure they're a majority. And even if they are, if a significant minority of the military wing don't accept the reality that they can't win, then peace will be impossible.
There will be no peace while Israel's only roadmap to peace is the complete assimilation of Palestine within the boundaries of the state of Israel.
That's certainly true. However that isn't Israel's only road to peace. Even Netenyahu has had to publicly accept that a 2 state solution is the only way they're going to get a deal. He may not like it. He may not be honestly trying to achieve it, certainly some of his coalition partners are actively working against it. And personally I think he's a total arse, who poisoned any remaining hope of re-starting the Oslo process ten years ago.
However it's a ridiculous simplification so say that Israel wants to annex all the territory and kick the Palestinians out. Israel is a pluralist society, and the opposition parties definitely want a two-state solution. However the peace process failed on their watch, hence they got the blame, and the ones who said it couldn't work got back in. They're now showing how there is no military solution. My personal suspicion is that Israeli opinion will shift as soon as it looks like there's any realistic chance of a working peace process. But that will need the Palestinian side to be more united than they currently are.
Oslo happened because everyone was sick of the previous bloodbath. Hopefully enough blood has been spilled since to prove to the extremists that they can never 'win'. Or if not, then prove to the general population that supporting the extremists will just get them more blood. And maybe it's worth a try at peace again. But these shifts take years, because it seems that people have to be sick enough of the slaughter for the nasty compromises required to get peace to look bearable.
>>"There are many voices within Hamas who accept they're going to have to go for a two-state solution. But I'm not sure they're a majority"
Hamas did signal they would accept a two state solution and peace with Israel some years back. I think in 2005. They were serious (at least the USA certainly seemed to think so) but then Israel started a new campaign of assassinations and bombing and then the more extreme elements gained the upper hand again - as they obviously would. I have little to no doubt that this was the intended outcome of the Israeli government of the time.
"Hamas did signal they would accept a two state solution and peace with Israel some years back. I think in 2005. "
The didn't. It was the wishful interpretation of some western journalists and false claims by Mahmoud Abbas, who also claimed that Hamas would follow his directions. (They didn't.) Read Khalid Abu Toameh on this: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/4298/hamas-abbas-jihad
"Hamas did signal they would accept a two state solution and peace with Israel some years back...." Bullshit. HAMAS deliberately had so many conditions on their two-state option it would have meant the end of the Jewish state and the erasure of Israel. It was the equivalent of the Israelis saying they'd have a two state solution with two Jewish states and no Palestinians. HAMAS has never had any intention of ever letting Israel exist as a Jewish state.
The total arse who poisoned the Oslo peace process was not a Jew. He was a Palestinian. His name was Yasser Arafat. He was handed the two state solution as he proposed it with one small exception: The PLO was required to change its charter to admit Israel had the right to exist. Yasser Arafat rejected that deal.
The total arse who poisoned the Oslo peace process was not a Jew. He was a Palestinian. His name was Yasser Arafat. He was handed the two state solution as he proposed it with one small exception: The PLO was required to change its charter to admit Israel had the right to exist. Yasser Arafat rejected that deal.
He did what now? Are you pulling random crap out of your arse or reading too much of the fascist sheets that call themselves "Israeli newspapers" these days?
What was rejected was the statement that Israel shall be a "Jewish State". That was around 2008 or so. The "right to exist" question had been put to rest around 1988.
And also, by a guy who was actually around:
Yasser Arafat said about Oslo: "This is the best agreement that could be achieved in the worst situation." He meant the balance of power, with Israel’s huge advantage over the Palestinians.
For the sake of fair disclosure: I may have contributed in a small way to the shaping of his attitude. At my meetings with him in Tunis, I advocated again and again a pragmatic approach. Learn from the Zionists, I told him. They never said "No." At every stage they agreed to accept what was offered to them, and immediately went on to strive for more. The Palestinians, on the contrary, always said "No" and lost.
The Oslo Agreement (officially the Declaration of Principles) was based, from the Palestinian point of view, on this assumption. It was supposed to give the Palestinians a minimal state-like basis, which would evolve gradually until the sovereign state of Palestine would be established.
The trouble was that this final aim was not spelled out in the agreement. That was its fatal defect.
The long term Palestinian aim was perfectly clear. It had been fixed by Arafat long before: the state of Palestine in all the occupied territories, a return to the borders existing before the 1967 war (with the possibility of minor swaps of territory here and there), East Jerusalem (including the Islamic and Christian shrines) becoming the capital of Palestine, dismantling of the settlements on Palestinian territory, a solution of the refugee problem in agreement with Israel. This aim has not been and will not be changed. Any Palestinian leader who accepted less would be branded by his people as a traitor.
But the Israeli aim was not fixed at all, and has remained open to this day. That is why the implementation of practically every part of the agreement has aroused such controversy, always resolved by the immense Israeli superiority of power. Gradually, the agreement gave up its soul, leaving behind only dead letters.
"There's a reason there are no settlements in Gaza. Israel moved the boundaries beyond the settlements and then erected a fence around what remained."
This is a false statement. The boundaries of the Gaza strip haven't changed one millimeter since they were established in 1948. Anyone can easily verify this through maps, which makes the number of up votes both astonishing and sad that anyone would agree.
Add to that your false accusation that anyone with any credibility on the Israeli side is calling for "concentration camps" or "the extermination of the population".
Rabid nonsense like this is pure propaganda that serves to derail discussion and inflame.
If Israel wanted peace, they would have made it happen. They have complete logistic and economic control of the Palestinian proto-state. On the Palestinian side they have no reserves, no way to move back on one axe and move forward on another. However the Palestinians have tried, and each time Israel has taken what they've given up but returned nothing.
Specifically Israel doesn't want peace because they would have to give Palestinian the fair share of the fresh water the Israel is currently using for farming.
Hamas is the elected government of the Gaza strip. Therefore they are a state militia, not a terrorist organization. Any media blandly declaring them to be terrorists are accepting the Israel worldview as the only one possible.
Hamas were elected ten years ago. I'm not sure that mandate still stands, and they've not exactly been in a hurry to allow another election. Or in fact allow any kind of opposition.
Would Gaza elect them again? They've not exactly made a sparkling success of governing. The place is in ruins, under blockade and the economy's collapsed. They seem to have fallen out with their mates in Iran and Syria, and obviously Egypt is back under military rule so they're on the outs wiht them as well.
Possibly it's time for a different policy?
Some bits of Israel certainly do want peace. They signed up for Oslo after all. Whether that could still command a majority is a question I don't have the answer to. Whether it's possible to get Israeli, Palestinian and Gazan governments in power simultaneously who want to give peace a try is another matter entirely.
Eventually it'll happen. Because no other solution is viable. The question is, how long will it take, and how many people will die first.
You can't "make" peace. You can only agree to it. Using your argument, if the Palestinians wanted peace they would have managed to come to an agreement with the Israelis. Privately, as the leaked "Palestine Papers" have shown the Palestinian Authority has been willing to make some concessions. Publicly they have not - the "official" public position is to turn the 1949 ceasefire lines into borders and then continue negotiations from there. When the "Palestine Papers" were leaked the PA denied what they said, the reason being public backlash. For example, some areas of Jerusalem and next to the Green Line were to be ceded to Israel. Today, when Israel announces infill expansion in these same areas, the PA along with their supporters in the press (ie: The Guardian) raise a big huff of indignity, IMV over nothing.
The enemy of peace is polarization, and to achieve that one presents a one sided case. Hamas is the elected government of Gaza, but elections were due 5 years ago - they need to be held to account for their actions. Elections were supposed to be held in the fall - they've been "postponed" yet again.
When Hamas kidnaps Israeli teens on their way home from school and murders them, that's terrorism. When it fires rockets in the general direction of Israeli communities hoping to terrorize civilians and possibly kill them , that's terrorism When they fire rockets or mortars at the Israeli military, then and only then is it a military operation.
Eavesdropping is one thing. Spying completely different. Spying means recruiting agents on the ground to get you intelligence. That's got its even more morally dubious side.
Remember Hamas aren't averse to shooting spies, or people suspected of it. I'd imagine that ends up being like witch-hunting, where you just pick a likely candidate and
burn shoot them. Because they were nearby when it happened, or no-one likes them.
However if you're forcing random Palestinian people to spy for you because they're gay, and then get them killed because they get caught, that's surely immoral. It's one thing if people are willing agents, because they're opposed to Hamas and give you information freely. Even then there may be an element of coercion involved. It's another to blackmail people into it. Particularly if you're blackmailing people who were completely innocent and previously uninvolved. I doubt spying can ever be nice, or morally unambiguous. But there have to be limits.
John Bagot Glubb 'A soldier With The Arabs; well written in a scholarly style in as balanced a way as you could hope from some one who was in charge of one of the sides, you get the feeling he did everything he could in writing the book to not sound like a case of sour grapes.
An article with links to all the quotes given.
Neither side is guilt free here but over the years since the 6 Day War Israel has made a habit of hitting back harder than they have been hit; Something that is basically understandable but over the years as the Palestinians have been reduced in power as a military force and a political force Israel has become the bully.
I'm not saying there is necessarily nothing to retaliate against but it always seems to be with excessive force and often done in a way to provoke more aggression from the other side.
About ten years ago I worked with a young guy who had an Israeli passport, he described himself as an Arabic Jew. His family had always lived in Northern Palestine in an area with a mix of about 50/50 Jews and Palestinian Arabs.
According to Danni they had always got along like neighbours in any village until the non Palestinian settler were moved into the area, and even then the problem was not the settlers.
Danni always blamed everything on the (as he called them) Black Jews!
When I asked him what he meant he explained that the Hasidic Jews were the force behind most of the divisive politics and the over use of force in achieving whatever the Right Wing Hasidics and their political supporters wanted.
He was obviously too young to have been there at the time, it was what he had learned from his parents but I can honestly say that he despised the Hasidics and the ultra right wing governments of Israel for destroying what had been his parents home,
The last time I was in contact with him he was in the Far East and had no intention of ever returning to Israel, his words he considered it 'A broken Country'.
As for the bible in Numbers 13; if this god created the world and according to the Christians is so full of love what was he doing playing favourites with the children of Israel and kicking peole out of their homeland for them. Is that the act of a moral, ethical, loving god?
Come judgement day if there ever is one and I turn out to be wrong and there is a god, I may have a few questions for him to answer before he has any chance of my respect.
There! damned in writing !
Not a bit of history there. One anecdote and a bunch of unsupported speculation.
I don't speak for the love-god promoting Christians. Theirs is as much a caricature of God as the atheist's sky-god. Anyone foolish enough to think they comprehend God has no idea who He is. At best we comprehend parts of Him and strive to live according to His will. Yes, the New Testament puts more emphasis on the love and forgiveness aspects of God while the Old Testament seems to emphasize the Vengence is Mine aspects of God. However both are manifestations of Him and ignoring either is to deny part of who He is.
The poster to whom I was responding made an absurd assertion based on a caricature. I responded with a fact. Numbers 13, which is clearly both a Christian and Jewish religious text states God ordered the use of spies. Since the question was couched in the assumption God exists, it seems exceedingly relevant to check what that God (at least according to the religious texts associated with that God).
You of course have the right to not believe in this God. But at least have the courtesy to know what believers in Him believe instead of making up lies about what they believe.
As for anecdotes, I too have a friend who recently returned from Israel. He shared photos from a recent trip. Many were sort of landscape shots of houses on the terrain. Throughout Israel Arabs and Jews live next store to each other. In the pictures, it was always easy to tell the Jews from the Arabs though they flew no flags. Trailing down the slopes from the Arab houses are trails of garbage. There are no such trails from the Jewish houses. The same sanitation services are available to both because they are municipal services. One chooses to use them, the other does not.
I am firmly convinced that the Jews would choose peace if the Arabs would only let them But the Arabs are only willing to allow the Jews to choose suicide.
There is an Egyptian proverb relayed to me from a friend who visited there. There was a man in a village who wished to sit under a tree in the square, but there were many children playing under the tree who would disturb his respite. So he told some of the children that a nearby town was giving away free ice cream. Those children told their friends and they all left so the man settled under the tree. Half an hour later someone walked up to him and told him they were giving away free ice cream at the same nearby town he used when he lied to the children. Hearing this he said to himself "why am I resting hear under a tree when I could go to that town and get free ice cream."
Here's some things that I've gleaned lately whilst trying to read beyond the headlines and MSM:
The main motive for the latest Israeli attack was not rockets, but tunnels: that Hamas has been digging/building in order to raid/kidnap inside Israel. These are not the same as the smuggling tunnels into Egypt.
By Israeli accounts, this tunnel-building has used mountains of concrete, which could (for example) have been put to better use as bomb shelters, as Israel has. (An even better use, on both sides, would be building buildings, but for that everyone would have to stop lobbing rockets at each other). I say 'by Israeli accounts', but I don't see any reason to doubt that tunnels made of concrete require concrete. You may chose to deny the existence of those tunnels, I guess, but if that is your first reaction, maybe you should question your bias, as Hamas apparently doesn't deny them: (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/08/19/us-mideast-gaza-tunnels-exclusive-idUSKBN0GJ1HS20140819).
Also, many people talk about Israel not accepting a two-state solution, or not respecting UN resolutions. The original 1947 UN plan for partition *was* a two-state solution, and it was the surrounding Arab nations who rejected it, by invading.
I think that it's also unfair to confuse 'Hamas' and 'Palestinian Arabs'. By all accounts, living in Gaza would be fairly hellish even without Israeli 'oppression'. Have you seen justice done Hamas-style? The reports of journalists who aren't free to say (or Tweet) what they think/see until they leave? The common mortals in Gaza may have voted for Hamas 10 years ago, but they haven't been given a chance to vote ever since.
As we all know, positive news doesn't sell well, which is a shame, because we get too war-weary and jaded to even care if we don't also get to hear the stories about people who do care: http://forward.com/articles/201500/families-of-slain-israeli-and-palestinian-teens-tu/
There has been talk in this thread about it being 'those damn politicians' and not 'normal' people at fault. This may make us feel better, but I wonder if this is really the case. I suspect that at the very top level, these people can get on quite well, and probably agree, as witnessed by the leaked PLO documents. (And despite the vitriol and claims that Israel deliberately kills Palestinian children, Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh's granddaughter was treated in an Israeli hospital last year, albeit unsuccessfully.) It is more likely that, as in any large organisation, the people at the very top and the people at the very bottom feel equally powerless, it's the middle management which pulls all the strings.
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