newprotest.org: 21 DAYS

21 DAYS

January 16, 2009
by: jovial_cynic

Image from REUTERS

From democracy now!:

It's Day 21 of Israel's assault on Gaza. Israeli warplanes attacked forty targets across Gaza overnight, as Israeli troops backed by tanks have pushed deep into the heart of Gaza City.

...

Since Israel started its bombardment of Gaza, over 1,100 Palestinians have been killed, more than 5,200 wounded. At least 700 civilians are among the dead, including more than 350 children. Thirteen Israelis have died, ten of them soldiers, including four by so-called "friendly" fire. (emphasis mine)


As I've asked before, when the "good guys" kill more innocent civilians than the bad guys do, can they still be called "good guys?"

COMMENTS for 21 DAYS


Ken said:
J, based on conversations you and I have had about these conflicts in the years we've known each other I feel pretty well aware of where you stand on it, I know you don't disagree with me.

It's just frustrating for me. I don't look at things in the "end times" rapture kind of perspective, so I'm always hoping we're going to figure things out and put this stuff behind us.

Then these things happen and it reminds me that we're still young. We only just put down our clubs, and that's merely because we figured out how to make steel.



January 16, 2009


Luke said:
For me the conflict (this time) began when Palistinians fired rockets until Israel wouldn't take it anymore.

Then the losers go and hide amongst civilians where they continue to launch a barrage of fire on Israel. In order for Israel to protect it's own people they have to fire on the places where civilians are because that's where the cowards fight from.

If the civilians cannot say no or die then they're seriously up a creek but if they can and don't then they're part of the battle to me.

January 17, 2009


jovial_cynic said:
Luke -

Gaza is completely isolated from the rest of the world, with Israel on one side and a body of water on the other. Israel prevents most trade going in and out, so the civilians don't really have the option to get out. Israel's argument is that they're preventing Hamas from importing/exporting items that could aid them in their fight against Israel... and that may be true. However, it does prevent people from being able to get out.

Up a creek is an understatement. We're talking largely about children, here.

January 17, 2009


Luke said:
Well when your attackers hide themselves in the midst of battle among their own children then that will happen. But it's the Hamas and sympathizers that are bringing that on themselves.

I don't start firefights with the police from my front door and have my kids and wife standing there with me in a cowardly attempt to prevent their return fire.

January 19, 2009


jovial_cynic said:
Luke -

Well, to carry the analogy further, if you were shooting at the cops while standing there with your wife and kids, and there were ten neighbor kids in the yard, are the cops allowed to blast their way through your family and neighbor kids to kill you?

January 19, 2009


Luke said:
No of course not because there are civil laws that require police to provide safety at all times.

However they also wouldn't catch the guy. In war you either sit back and allow the enemy to attack you hoping that 'diplomacy' will work, or you fight back knowing that your enemy has chosen this fight and knows the risks. One of the reasons war is hell.

I wonder out of curiosity (not saying anything derogatory to you at all) where you would have stood in the days when God called Israel to kill an entire people and while they were at it 'step on all the ants' as you would say? Those children were innocent as well.

January 20, 2009


jovial_cynic said:
Luke -

Those civil laws there in place to protect the innocent from those who have power. I mean - that's why we have the entire government system we have - to protect the people from the government system. It's all about balancing power.

War is hell, which is why I hate it. But I think that Israel has the ability to be more precise in their attack, and because of the leverage of wealth and technology, they should be held accountable to it. I feel like they marched on Gaza with the plan to flatten everything in their way... just to make a point. It's like the dad who pins his kid to a wall while yelling at him, as a way to demonstrate his power. This is bad parenting. And I think it's bad governing, and I think it's a bad way to conduct war, because kids die as a result of it.

As for the OT reference to the Amalakites, we read that the Amalakites were a cursed people (much like most of the descendents of Ham). Such curses were lifted after Christ, so that salvation and freedom were no longer restricted to Israel, but available to people of all nations. Prior to Christ, enemy nations under the curse had no moral choice but to act in aggression against Israel, because they were cursed with wickedness. Israel understood correctly that the Amalakites, from their birth, were destined to try to destroy Israel, and were destined to be destroyed by Israel. That's no longer the case.

January 20, 2009


Luke said:
Okay, I see your pointe. However consider Israel's geographical position. It is literally surrounded by countries 100 times it's size that want to see it destroyed. The countries are all Islamic and much of it militant.

Then these Palestinians demand part of what little land Israel even has. As if the Muslims don't have enough as it is. Then they continually attack Israel from their own citizen's homes. I say that even though it sucks, that Israel is more than 'in the right' in putting a stop to this even when it includes 'innocents'.

Israel is in a very defensive posture and has a very thin line to walk. Diplomacy versus military action...

January 21, 2009


jovial_cynic said:
Luke -

The Palestinians in Gaza have a plot of land 360 square miles large, and is fully occupied by Israel, with more than 25 Israeli settlements. These Palestinians aren't demanding Israel's land. They're demanding their OWN land that's currently occupied by Israeli settlers. Gaza is being pushed off the map.

January 21, 2009


The Conservative Manifesto said:
"They're demanding their OWN land that's currently occupied by Israeli settlers. Gaza is being pushed off the map."

I think your version of history is skewed by rhetoric, not fact.

You've fallen victim to the absurd belief that the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is about "occupied territories" (referring to the West Bank and the Gaza Strip) and Israel's refusal to give them up. However, doesn't it seem odd that during the first 20 years of the Israeli/Arab conflict, Israel didn't even control the West Bank or Gaza Strip?

Arabs weren't outraged over Jordan's annexation of the West Bank because the majority of Jordan's ethnic makeup was Palestinian Arabs. Even though Palestinians were disgruntled with the ruling of the Hashemite minority, there was no call for a Palestinian state or "self-determination" in Jordan -- like there is today.

It is quite simply the presence of Jews that causes Palestinian outrage.

Besides, it is a time-honored tradition among nations that victorious nations have the right to annex captured land from their aggressors. So when Israel defeated Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian aggressors in '67, it only makes sense that they lay claim to the land. Israel captured the West Bank and Gaza Strip fair and square. In fact, Israel also captured the oil-rich Sinai desert, but gave it back under the Camp David accords.

If you ask me, Israel has been too soft about giving land back to its Arab aggressors.

January 22, 2009


The Conservative Manifesto said:

p.s. You would be remiss to believe the inflated death toll numbers pushed by a terrorist organization like Hamas in the first place.

What really is behind the numbers reported on the number of civilian casualties in the Gaza Strip? Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera reported Thursday that a doctor working in Gaza's Shifa Hospital claimed that Hamas has intentionally inflated the number of casualties resulting from Israel's Operation Cast Lead.


"The number of deceased stands at no more than 500 to 600. Most of them are youths between the ages of 17 to 23 who were recruited to the ranks of Hamas, who sent them to the slaughter," according to the newspaper article.

The doctor wished to remain unidentified, out of fear for his life.

January 22, 2009


jovial_cynic said:
It is quite simply the presence of Jews that causes Palestinian outrage..

As you insert your own rhetoric.

Mark, you appear comfortable encapsulating the situation in a hermetically sealed box that defines the situation as "fair and square," which is rather disheartening.

While it's very easy to talk about "time-honored tradition" from afar, the practice of ignoring the human condition is something that I think people should avoid. I'm interested in the innocent people who are being destroyed in order to uphold the principle of those "time-honored traditions."

January 22, 2009


jovial_cynic said:
TCM -

Regarding that ynet article you linked... you pulled from the article the only thing that supported your claim, and left out the second half of the article that renders that information rather worthless. This is worthless spin. It's shameful.

Perhaps you should post the rest of the article, which goes on to say that not even the IDF, nor the agencies that are on the ground (United Nations and Red Cross official) agree with that report.

January 22, 2009


The Conservative Manifesto said:

"Mark, you appear comfortable encapsulating the situation in a hermetically sealed box that defines the situation as 'fair and square,' which is rather disheartening."

You've always been eloquent, my friend. But sadly, you do not appear comfortable coming to grips with the historical underpinnings of the conflict -- which so obviously point in the opposite direction of your arguments.

Did you purposely not respond to any of the facts I submitted to you?

"I'm interested in the innocent people who are being destroyed in order to uphold the principle of those 'time-honored traditions."

As am I. And I'm willing to bet the mortgage I have seen this conflict from a much closer distance than you.

;-)

But I don't allow my sympathy for the innocent to cloud my judgment as to who is actually perpetrating the violence -- and who is to blame for the majority of innocent deaths. Your blog appears to contain not one post of condemnation for the thousands of terrorist-launched rockets fired at innocent Israelis. Yet as soon as Israel mobilizes its forces to track down and destroy its aggressors, you're quite on top of it.

War is ugly. This I know. But while one side diverts launched rockets to save innocent lives, the other side hides in hospital basements.

Further, when Jewish settler Baruch Goldstein walked into the Cave of the Patriarchs on February 25, 1994, and massacred 29 Palestinian Muslims - currently the only incident of its kind - his "actions were immediately condemned by the Israeli government, the mainstream Israeli parties and the Israeli populace in general. Spokespeople for all the organized denominations of Judaism denounced his act as immoral and as terrorism. The Kach movement, to which he belonged, was outlawed as a terrorist organization. The victims of the shooting received financial compensation. The cabinet agreed to take away the weapons of some right-wing extremists and put them in administrative detention.

"In an address to the Knesset, Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin denounced the US-born Goldstein as a 'foreign implant' and an 'errant weed.' He continued, 'We say to this horrible man and those like him: you are a shame on Zionism and an embarrassment to Judaism.' Binyamin Netanyahu, head of the Likud party declared, "'This was a despicable crime. I express my unequivocal condemnation.'"

However, when a Palestinian suicide bomber walks into a marketplace crowded with women and children and blows himself up (which happens quite frequently), he is considered a martyr. He has almost always been trained -- and will be praised -- by Palestinian leadership. His neighbors will come to honor his courageous act and his family will receive payment for a job well done.

Only to the modern Left is it difficult to note which side acts with moral superiority -- especially given the great divide between each side's battlefield conduct and response to such incidents.

January 22, 2009


jovial_cynic said:
Did you purposely not respond to any of the facts I submitted to you?

Yes. But that's mainly because it has nothing to do with my point, which is that war is terrible, and that when the people who are supposed to be in the position of moral superiority are killing more innocent people than the "bad guys," it kind of forces us to redefine moral superiority.

But here - if you want me to address the issue of "fair and square" and the facts behind the Israeli occupation of Gaza, ok. The issue is that the principle of capturing land is a government-to-government issue, which makes it easy to speak about it from a lofty position. It says nothing about the person-to-person issue. So in the capturing of land, homes in Gaza (which has been captured, "fair and square") get razed and Israeli settlements are errected. People get displaced, and they get angry, and they target their anger at the Israelis who now occupy their former home. This makes sense to me. I don't justify violence, but I understand the anger. The human piece here must be addressed. To view the thing as "your government lost, so tough luck to you and your family" is inhumane. There is no moral superiority in such a perspective.

As to claims about my bias - perhaps you haven't been reading closely to the way I view all such conflicts. I've made a point to condemn all acts of violence. My specific criticism is directed at those who, while claiming to be the "good guys" in a situation, are as violent and bloody as those they call the "bad guys."

Perhaps you'll recall the phrase I often use to describe the middle east violence: "There are no good guys." I use such sentiment in every post I bring up about this sort of situation:

Laying Blame
From the Other Side
Missiles, Missiles, Everywhere
The New Islamic Fundamentalist
Resisting with Rockets

etc., etc. etc.

So please don't act as though I'm writing from a pro- or anti- stance. I've only written one post on the current Israel/Gaza conflict, the only words that I used are:

As I've asked before, when the "good guys" kill more innocent civilians than the bad guys do, can they still be called "good guys?"

January 22, 2009


The Conservative Manifesto said:
"My specific criticism is directed at those who, while claiming to be the 'good guys' in a situation, are as violent and bloody as those they call the 'bad guys.'"

Kind of like how the Allied Forces were just as bloody as Hitler's Nazi Germany. Right?

Also, I apologize for jumping to the "you don't appear to write about terrorist rockets" meme. You clearly do. I was wrong.

=)

January 22, 2009


jovial_cynic said:
Kind of like how the Allied Forces were just as bloody as Hitler's Nazi Germany. Right?

But they weren't. I wouldn't make such a claim. If you want to use raw numbers, the Axis forces were responsible for more deaths than the Allied Forces. Also, please note that I'm primarily concerned about civilian deaths in this conversation.

Here's a handy chart.

I do, however, take issue with the use of the nukes in Japan, which I mentioned here. But that situation was rather scoped to the conflict between the US and Japan.

January 22, 2009


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