Top Ten Myths about Israeli Attack on Gaza

1. Israeli hawks represent themselves as engaged in a ‘peace process’ with the Palestinians in which Hamas refuses to join. In fact, Israel has refused to cease colonizing and stealing Palestinian land long enough to engage in fruitful negotiations with them. Tel Aviv routinely announces new, unilateral house-building on the Palestinian West Bank. There is no peace process. It is an Israeli and American sham. Talking about a peace process is giving cover to Israeli nationalists who are determined to grab everything the Palestinians have and reduce them to penniless refugees (again).

2. Actions such as the assault on Gaza can achieve no genuine long-term strategic purpose. They are being launched to ensure that Jewish-Israelis are the first to exploit key resources. Rattling sabers at the Palestinians creates a pretext for further land-grabs and colonies on Palestinian land. That is, the military action against the people of Gaza is a diversion tactic; the real goal is Greater Israel, an assertion of Israeli sovereignty over all the territory once held by the British Mandate of Palestine.

3. Israeli hawks represent their war of aggression as in ‘self-defense.’ But the UK Israeli chief rabbi admitted on camera that that the Gaza attack actually ‘had something to do with Iran.’

4. Israeli hawks demonize the Palestinians of Gaza as “bad neighbors” who don’t accept Israel. But 40% of the people in Gaza are refugees, mostly living in refugee camps, from families in pre-1948 Palestine that had lived there for millennia.

They were expelled from what is now Israel in the 1948 Zionist ethnic cleansing campaign. Israelis are now living in their homes and farming their land, and they were never paid any reparations for the crimes done to them. [pdf] “Israel’s failure to provide reparations to Palestinian refugees over the past six decades is in blatant violation of international law.” Israel does not accept Palestine’s right to exist, even though it is constantly demanding that everyone, including the displaced and occupied Palestinians, recognize Israel’s right to exist.

5. Israeli hawks and their American clones depict Gaza as a foreign, hostile state with which Israel is at war. In fact, the Gaza strip is a small territory of 1.7 million people militarily occupied by Israel (something in which the UN and other international bodies concur). Israelis do not allow it to have a port or airport, nor to export most of what it produces. Palestinians cannot work about a third of its land, which is reserved by Israel as a security buffer. As an occupied territory, it is covered by the Hague Regulations of 1907 and the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 on the treatment of occupied populations by their military occupier. Indiscriminate bombing of occupied territories by the occupier is clearly illegal in international law.

6. Israeli hawks see themselves as innocent victims of bewildering Palestinian rage from Gaza. But Israel not only has kept Palestinians of Gaza in the world’s largest outdoor penitentiary, they have them under an illegal blockade that for some years aimed at limiting their nutrition without altogether starving them to death. I wrote earlier:

“The food blockade had real effects. About ten percent of Palestinian children in Gaza under 5 have had their growth stunted by malnutrition. A recent report [pdf] by Save the Children and Medical Aid for Palestinians found that, in addition, anemia is widespread, affecting over two-thirds of infants, 58.6 percent of schoolchildren, and over a third of pregnant mothers. “

If any foreign power surrounded Israel, destroyed Haifa port and Tel Aviv airport, and prevented Israeli exports from being exported, what do you think Israelis would do? Oh, that’s right, it is rude to see both Palestinians and Israelis as equal human beings.

7. Israeli hawks demonize the Palestinian residents of Gaza as followers of Hamas, a party-militia of the Muslim religious right. But half of Palestinians in Gaza are minors, who never voted for Hamas and cannot be held collectively responsible for that party.

8. Israeli hawks justify their aggression on the Palestinians on grounds of self-defense. But Israel is a country of 7.5 million people with tanks, armored vehicles, artillery, helicopter gunships and F-16s and F-18s, plus 400 nuclear warheads. Gaza is a small occupied territory of 1.7 million which has no heavy weaponry, just some old guns and some largely ineffectual rockets. (Israelis cite hundreds of rockets fired into Israel from Gaza in 2012; but until Israel’s recent attack they had killed not a single Israeli, though they did wound a few last March when fighting between Palestinians and Israelis escalated.) Gaza is a threat to Israel the way the Transkei Bantustan was a threat to Apartheid South Africa. As for genuine asymmetrical threats from Gaza to Israel, they could be dealt with by giving the Palestinians a state and ceasing the blockade imposed on them, or in the worst case scenario counter-terrorism targeted at terrorists rather than indiscriminate bombing campaigns.

9. Israeli hawks maintain that they were provoked into the attack. But actually Ahmad Jabari, the Hamas leader the Israelis assassinated earlier this week, had been engaged in talks with the Israelis about a truce. Assassinations achieved by the ruse of openness to peace talks are guarantees of no further peace talks.

10. Although most American media is a cheering section for the Likud Party, in fact the world is increasingly done out with Israel’s aggressiveness. Boycotts and sanctions will likely grow over time, leaving Israeli hawks with a deficit…

75 Responses

  1. Thus seems to be recurring cycle with every Israeli election, no?

  2. You seem to be totally out of touch with what is happening in the Mid East, and have many wrong facts published above. We left Gaza as we want nothing to do with it, the Egyptians also refuse to take Gaza into their State.
    I suggest you read a little history and lean about the San Remo Accords that were signed in the early 1920’s and were signed by all Arab leaders of the times.
    Then, perhaps you will write with a few ascertainable facts that can be proved without a shadow of a doubt, and change your rather hysterical tune that seems mostly to be lies and unproved facts.

    • This is laughable. The Arabs were exiled by the British rather than allow them to attend Versailles. They did not sign San Zremo! And which Arabs? Certainly not Palestinians. Gaza is not in Egypt and Palestinians are not Egyptians. You have withdrawn; you have them under blockade.

    • San Remo was an agreement only between Britain, France, Italy, and Japan. Moreover, Britain had already agreed in the McMahon-Hussein agreement that Palestine would be part of the terrorory in which they would recognize Arab independence.

      link to

      As Lord Curzon summed it up in December 1918:

      “The Palestine position is this. If we deal with our commitments, there is first the general pledge to Hussein in October 1915, under which Palestine was included in the areas as to which Great Britain pledged itself that they should be Arab and independent in the future . . . the United Kingdom and France – Italy subsequently agreeing – committed themselves to an international administration of Palestine in consultation with Russia, who was an ally at that time . . . A new feature was brought into the case in November 1917, when Mr Balfour, with the authority of the War Cabinet, issued his famous declaration to the Zionists that Palestine ‘should be the national home of the Jewish people, but that nothing should be done – and this, of course, was a most important proviso – to prejudice the civil and religious rights of the existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine. Those, as far as I know, are the only actual engagements into which we entered with regard to Palestine.”

  3. Wish this could be printed in a color off-set box on the front page of every newspaper in the world. Thank you, professor.

    • I posted this excellent piece on Facebook since I don’t have editorial rights to every newspaper in the world.

  4. I think, today in Gaza, the lesson that will be received by Israel, will be completely differ from previously received, but, the positive point for the Israeli side is that the Arab world, especially for the time being, is ragged & torn.
    As for the Occident, he is drugged, benumbed, narcotized & anesthetized, where the Democracy today, is ethical hypocrisy, the same as the Arabism in the brains of most of the Arab Countries rulers.
    What a pity.

  5. I am sympathetic to the Palestinians. Why bother with ineffectual rockets that give Israel cover for attacks?

    • To the extent that civilian population centers are targeted by Gazan rockets, they are war crimes – this was correctly concluded by the Goldstone Commission Report.

      However, the major effect upon Israel is psychological and economic – all Israeli communities in the range of the missiles must shut down and take cover. The past reserve call-ups have depleted the Israeli treasury and the Operation Cast Lead offensive cost $1 billion to prosecute which resulted in social programs in Israel being scavenged.

      The thousands of rockets fired by Hezbollah in 2006 during the Second Lebanon War caused 2 million Israelis to seek cover in shelters. There was a citizen backlash that hurt Israel’s leaders politically.

      • Mark Koroi talked about people seeking shelters from the kitchen made rockets. And that Israel is not doing anything but applying psychological and economic pressure!!!
        The thousands if rockets you are talking about killed 3 people and injured a dog. Israel however with is “psychological” F16 and “economic” 5tons bombs have killed over 50 Palestinians mostly civilians and children.
        Please tell the truth of shut up!

        • Israeli casualties are 3 killed in Kiryat Malachi, over 50 injured and there have been a sharp number of El Al and hotel cancellations on tourist bookings to the Holy Land;the city of Jerusalem is now within Hamas rocket range Explosions were heard in the tourist resort of Eilat recently.

          The “kitchen-made rockets” are not being fired at Tel Aviv, these are Iranian-manufactured Fajr missiles with 200-lb warheads. Military-grade Russian Grad rockets are also being employed by Gazan militants.

          I will agree that many children in Gaza have been killed in the airstrikes.

        • This is the truth. This is what wars look like between the First World and the Third World. First worlders throw increasingly advanced techno-terrors at the Third Worlders and run up ever more one-sided kill ratios, but consequently their taxpayers feel entitled to fewer and fewer body bags coming home. Why? Because their politicians can’t honestly explain why the conquest of Third Worlders is worth genuine sacrifices. They can only hint that the enemy are so subhuman that the life of one of our boys is truly worth the lives of 100 of theirs.

          Thus to paraphrase how Willard put it in Apocalypse Now, we’re in suburban high-tech pushbutton warfare comfort growing softer, and Charlie is squatting in the bush growing stronger. Charlie, in the global sense, is outreproducing the ability of our robot killers and smart bombs to hold him back.

    • The rockets are like the frog in the mouth of the Heron, with it’s hands wrapped tightly around the Heron’s neck. The seeming insanity is a sane reaction to the insanity suffered upon them.

    • Why bother with ineffectual rockets that give Israel cover for attacks?

      A good question. The best answer I’ve been able to suss out is that the rockets are being launched by dissident groups that take a harsher line on negotiations with the Israelis than does the Hamas government, and which therefore benefit from escalating the violence.

      IOW, the rockets are being launched for the purpose of giving the Israelis cover for their attacks, by people who want those attacks. Note that this is not “the Palestinians” in the aggregate doing this. Most Palestinians are just keeping their heads down and trying to put food on the table.

  6. As the IDF continues to kill innocent Palestinians with their heavy handed retaliation, an old joke about Israeli denial comes to mind….

    The mother of an IDF soldier, who is headed into war, instructs her son he should “kill a Palestinian and then rest.” She continues..”The next day you kill another Palestinian and then you rest.”

    The son interrupts his mother and ask, “What if I get killed mama?”

    The mother responds…”Why should anyone want to kill you?”

  7. Thank you for this posting. It appears that the United States is utilizing its preeminent position in the world to support the destruction of a sovereign people. The beat-down goes on…

  8. Question about 2: “. . . Israeli sovereignty over all the territory once held by the British Mandate of Palestine.”

    The Likudnik hasbara one sees about this issue make much about two points: the partition resolution approved by the UN General Assembly (which the Zionists accepted for tactical reasons and the Arabs rejected) and the fact that the British Mandate originally included both sides of the Jordan (“The Palestinians already have a state, it’s Jordan!”).

    The latter ignores the fact that Britain divided their Mandate into two parts and applied the Balfour Declaration only to the western part, with the approval of the League of Nations.

    Wouldn’t it be more precise to write, ” . . . Israeli sovereignty over the part of the territory once held by the British Mandate of Palestine to which the Balfour Declaration was applied .”?

    This may seem like quibbling, but there is a lot of legal hair-splitting going on, with Israelis making much of a UN resolution which refers to “occupied territories” rather than “the occupied territories”.

  9. Proof yet again (as if we needed it) that the Two State Solution is a ruse. Can you imagine a “viable” Palestinian state next to Israel? Ponder the true meaning of the word “viable” in this context.

    Let us, those on the side of peace and human rights, not be fooled by those on the Israeli left that a Palestinian state is the solution. One wonders how different is the Israeli left from the Israeli right? Their enlightened position seems to be “oppression lite”, i.e. more humane oppression, not equal rights.

    The solution is to re-make Israel: one state with equal rights. End the idea of a state where one type of people are on top and the rest are ground into the dirt on the bottom. The terms “Jewish State” and “Jewish Democracy” should be recognized for what they are.

  10. Furthermore this is exactly your worst case scenario “targeted anti terrorism.” As even a cursory glance at the operation would show. This is not an indiscriminate campaign. What if rockets were falling on your house every day?

    • Then why don’t you leave that stolen land if rockets are falling on it? Sderot is stolen Palestinian land, quite simply thieved, without compensation. The people who own that land were driven into Gaza and are probably among those firing rockets with the aim of coming home. So your best defense would be to depart.

  11. the rabbi you mention isn’t “Israel’s chief rabbi;” he’s chief rabbi for a UK organization.

  12. As an American Jew, it angers me to have to say this but every day, in every way, Israel makes me ashamed of my heritage. On a few occasions, I received unsolicited e-mails from AIPAC and sent them back with an angry note attached.

    Under what stretch of anyone’s imagination can people still maintain that Israel represents American values and interests in the Middle East? The attacks on Gaza are inexcuseable, and the US should be telling Bibi to back off.

    Well, Netanyahu wanted a war, any war, in the worst way. Since Shelley Adelson’s hand picked candidate for president didn’t win and Pres. Obama is going to keep Israel in check for another four years, I guess Bibi figured that he might as well pick on the Palestinians again.

    What a nightmare.

    • Charley what would you do if Rockets were raining down on your home? Why, if Palestinians want peace so badly, do they not renounce the right of return and agree to Israel as a Jewish state. Indeed, they refused to sit down with Netanyahu in 2009.

      • Simon,

        They refused to sit down with Netanyahu because he refused to stop the aggressive annexation, destruction and construction on Palestinian lands. Why would they sit down with someone who never has been, and certainly isn’t now, an honest broker for peace? Netanyahu is the most dangerous man in the Middle East, and that is saying something.

      • They are supposed to agree to second class rights in Israel? Isn’t that asking a bit much?

        If Jews are entitled to a “Jewish State” does that mean other countries can declare themselves Christian states and treat Jews the way Israel treats the Palestinians? Isn’t that the history of Jews in Christian Europe? Do you really want to give validity to that argument?

        Jews are most secure in countries that have equal rights. Israel is the prime example of the opposite: i.e. no equal rights and Jews are insecure.

      • Because they have every right to resist the illegal expulsion and seizure of their homeland and being forced to live in Gaza which is under illegal blockade and subject to Israeli bombardment at any time.

      • ahmed jabari, the one israel assasinated kept the south of gaza calm about firing rockets and ensured the ceasefire in the first place. if i wouldnt want rockets raining down, i certainly wouldnt have done such a thing. they refused to talk? this man was talking to them and they murdered him.

      • Hey Simon, you actually used “right of return”. Meaning you admit that Israelis stole Palestinian homes.

        Why does the Hebrews’ right of return count but the Palestinians’ doesn’t? Does the Dred Scott Decision still live?

  13. When oh when will the US cease to be an accomplice of this ethnic cleansing and land theft?

    • Maybe sooner than we think.

      American support for Israel has never been about national interest. Israel doesn’t provide us with anything we need. Their soldiers have never fought side by side with our own, like the British or Turks or Canadians. All they ever do is get us into trouble.

      American support for Israel is purely sentimental. We felt bad for the European Jews after the Holocaust. Our habit of rooting for underdogs made us sympathize with poor little Israel when it was threatened by hostile, more-powerful enemies in 1946, and 1967, and 1972. Israel was (allegedly) the only democracy in the Middle East for decades. All of these factors combined to lead Harry Truman, and most of the rest of the American political leadership and populace, to have a great sympathy for Israel.

      But look where we are now. “Poor, besieged little Israel” is an expansionist, occupying regional power. “The only democracy in the Middle East” has now been surpassed by Tunisia, Libya, Turkey, Egypt – hell, arguably even Iraq! And the blowback we endure because of this relationship is only becoming greater over time, and now it’s coming from democratic governments with whom we actually do have important national interest reasons for cultivating.

      I’m not sure sentimentality is going to be enough to maintain American support over the long haul, in the face of those considerations. Israel needs us a lot more than we need them, and they’d better clean up their act or risk losing us.

      • Thanks for your reply.

        They can still accuse critics of being “anti semites” and “self hating Jews.” And that charge may still have some bite. Tied to the “sentimentality” you mention. The horror of the Holocaust and of centuries of anti Semitism having prepared the moment which Zionists could exploit to establish themselves in Palestine. Criticism could be depicted as resounding of that immediate past: of anti Semitism in the shadow of the Holocaust. What’s more, a form of cultural contempt for the Arabic world was still widespread in the west at the time. The Jews were seen as superior.

        But all that is changing. And the brutality of Israeli attacks on Arabic civilian populations is having its effects on American public opinion. Let’s hope the hold on Washington breaks, and breaks soon.

        I hope you’re right……

  14. Correction: The person who said “I think it has got to do with Iran” was the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the British Commonwealth, not of Israel. And then the supine BBC apologized to him for allowing him to say it – apparently he thought he was off air. BBC’s pro-Israeli coverage of the carnage in Gaza continues.

  15. Al-Akhbar Arabic reporting on a supply line of rockets to Gaza, including a quantity that arrived in the last few hours. According to the article, Hamas has learned how to broadly distribute the hiding places, and rockets are arriving from various paths, not just from Sudan via Sinai.
    link to

    I don’t know if this is real, or just Israeli hasbara designed to justify a broader war.

    Al-Akhbar is usually pretty good, so if I had to bet, I would say that Netanyahu has his hands full. Perhaps Egyptian authorities have decided that covert operations can work both ways–if the US and Gulf States can covertly supply the rebels in Syria, they can do the same for Gaza.

  16. Great, Juan. Let’s use all of our accumulated leverage we’ve gained by blindly supporting the Democratic Party and the President to…what?

    If you give someone a blank check, don’t be surprised if they cash it. Cue hand washing…

  17. (Concerning 3.) Jonathan Sacks is chief rabbi of British Orthodox synagogues, not Israel (so his comment about Iran is most likely his own speculation) :)

    • Yeah, I heard the remark by Jonathan Sacks at the time. I was very surprised. I don’t believe the story that he thought he was off air. I felt he thought he was being asked for a political comment on Gaza, rather than a spiritual one (he had just given a brief homily in the series ‘Thought for the day’) and came up with his personal opinion until shooed back to spirituality by the anchors.

  18. Thanks. Clarity is needed. Occupation, ethnic cleansing- big words. They barely cover the extermination of a people. Here it is strangely a denial, an unconscious policy. The Nazis were overt. The results, line up & we wind up comparing Holocaust & Al Nakhba- two things most people do not wish to hear.

    • or wish to say. its sad how these fanatics affect not only their people and gaza but also yourself. :/

  19. “Boycotts and sanctions will likely grow over time, leaving Israeli hawks with a deficit…”

    Don’t worry, I’m sure the good old friends in the United States of America will find some money for that.

    • The BDS movement against Israel has taken root in the State of Washington and is receiving plenty of public support, especially in the capital of Olympia – which is the hometown of Rachel Corrie.

  20. How even the USA/UK can spout on about “self defence” is so extreme that no rational human could aept it.

    • Notice, Rosemerry, that Obama’s carefully-worded diplomatic statement did not actually say that the means Israel was using were appropriate, merely that they were going to choose their own. The implication there is “whether we like it or not.”

      Diplomat-speak is a very finely-crafted, delicate affair. What is not said is just as important as what is said.

  21. With regard to your last point, I hope sir, that you are correct…

  22. Thank you, ProfessoR Cole; I’ve been wondering when this would be said.
    It’s an election year in Israel so let’s go to war.

  23. Overlooked in all comment is the fact that Israel is systematically treating the Palestinians, esp. the Gazans, in precisely the best way to produce a violent response. See Preventing Violence, by James Gilligan (2001), a psychiatrist with decades of experience working with the most violent of prisoners. He amasses a great mass of empirical evidence that depriving a person of self-respect, human dignity, and any other way to assert himself works on both the individual and group level to incite violence. It does not occur to the Israeli governing people that Arabs are in fact human beings and if relentlessly persecuted will fight back with their final strength. Their current policy is, therefore, completely counterproductive.

    • Exactly, just like how African-Americans were treated during the Jim Crow era culminating in the civil rights movement. It spawned blank militancy and rioting in U.S. cities.

      Same with the treatment of Irish in Ulster. It gave rise to the Provisional Irish Republican Army. Decades of deadly violence followed.

      The Israeli PM’s continual threats of “crushing responses” and extrajudicial assasinations amount to what Israel’s leaders term “deterrence”. Operation Cast Lead, for example, led to a significant decrease in the level of rockets fired from Gaza. The Gazan public witnessed $2.6 billion in property damage and the approval rating of Hamas by the Gazan people according to one poll conducted just after that IDF military operation concluded, plummeted to 28%. The approval by the Israeli public of that IDF operation was 94%. In 2006, however, the reverse occurred for the IDF against Hezbollah.

      After the South Lebanon War, Ehud Barak indicated there was no longer any deterrent effect upon Hezbollah by the IDF.

      • I think inciting violence is exactly the goal of racist leaders, both the Israeli and US examples given. They need the occasional slave revolt to keep the masters desperate for their brand of leadership, and the provocations that cause the revolts are very profitable acts of economic exploitation. There is no downside for the bad guys until stronger forces intervene.

  24. @Wendy: “…Why bother with ineffectual rockets that give Israel cover for attacks?”

    They are very ‘effective’ indeed.
    Hamas (on whose orders?) should give you the answer.

  25. Thanks, Professor Cole. I’m so sick of CNN, Ajami and the rest of the MSM with their lies. For them not a word about blockade or illegal colonization, only so-called self-defense.

  26. The most disturbing point here is the suffering of Gazan children.

    During WWII, the Quakers organized relief efforts to help feed the German people, irrespective of their government’s actios.

    Following the Berlin Airlift, its commander, General Clay received a ticker-tape parade in New York for supplying foodstuffs and other necessities in response to a Soviet blockade.

    Israel’s ongoing conduct in stifling relief efforts toward Gazans in utterly inhumane.

  27. Very informative article. The bias exposed in the hypocrisy of views is utterly amazing.

    I’d like to hear how people view this in terms of racist imperialism and its support of “western” capitalism and hegemony in the region with Israel as a proxy for the US. How much of it is that and how much of it is Zionism’s need of lebensraum and apartheid.

    • Before the regency of Dick Cheney, oil company heads were no friends of Israel. I guess their old ties to the Arab monarchies and the fact that their industry was not particularly staffed by Jewish-Americans made them very nervous about Israel disrupting their production arrangements.

      However, before Cheney became VP he gave a speech to a petroleum group in his Halliburton capacity in which he warned that state-owned oil companies would interfere with the need for massive increases in oil production in the 2000s. Simultaneously his PNAC cabal argued for the takeover of Iran and Iraq to give America permanent global hegemony, and some of that cabal worked for the Likud developing a new paradigm of replacing Arab regimes with pro-Western puppets.

      It seems that Cheney masterminded the conversion of the oil elite to active support of Israeli-US conquest of the oil states as a final solution to the problem of Arab instability and resistance. This simplified the GOP’s ideology by putting Big Oil and Christian Zionists and militarists on the same page.

  28. Dear Sir,

    Retired Colonel Patrick Lang, former special forces officer, fluent Arabic speaker who set up West Point’s Arabic program had this to say:

    “Yes, the Gaza attacks are about Obama and not about HAMAS. Natanyahu is demonstrating to BHO that he can do as he pleases and that the Congress will back him and not the president of the United States. It will be interesting to learn what Obama will do about that, if anything. pl ”

    link to

  29. Well written – impressed. Question for you: I tweeted the article and received a rather blunt response from a [completely unrepeatable and hot-headed individual] stating that “Point 1 is such a lie it makes me sick”. Clearly I can’t fathom how it could be, but it got me thinking, if you’ve got some other articles at your fingertips that can flesh out and corroborate that statement, I’d enjoy reading them :)


  30. 20% of the population pushed on to 1.8% of the land, how can this be fair, please spread this fact

  31. This is not a self defence from Israel, self defence does not include killing the innocent childs with rockets. If someone hurting you, you must punish only the guilty, not everbody!

  32. re 1. According to this view, Israel risks bloody warfare, international condemnation and economic boycott/embargo, and the destruction of their public image and standing among nations just so that they can steal some thousand square kilometers of barren desert from penniless Palestinians. This must appear to any rational person as prima facie a rather unconvincing interpretation of the frustrated peace process. It really does not seem to be a plausible account from any perspective, other than, of course, the familiar one that sees jews as the essence of evil in the world, as the authors of the protocols of the elders of zion, as eager to murder palestinian children in order to make jew pastries with their blood. I suppose from this perspective it does make perfect sense that chief among Israel’s national goals is the keeping of Palestinians impoverished for its own cruel sake and in perpetual refugee status.

    re 2. Diversion tactic? Greater Israel? What is the evidence that Israel (israelis? the gov’t? which gov’t? does the author realize, or maybe just ignores, the fact that Israel’s is a democratic gov’t of multiple and ever shifting parties w/ diverse, non-unitary ideologies and policies?) secretly harbours goals of waging wars against Jordan to win the whole of their barren, oil-less land? What purpose would this serve?

    re 3. I simply don’t understand this point. Moving on…

    re 4. This point seems a little frantic, desperate, a few too many non sequiturs to tease apart precisely what “myth” author desires to dispel. Author says, “Israel does not accept Palestine’s right to exist…” Palestine is the name of a geographic region. How is it that someone denies its right to exist?

    re 5. Again, what exactly is the myth that author is trying to dispel here? It seems like he wants to claim that Gaza is not a hostile entity, but then he goes on about how small and poor it is and so on, which all seems quite beside the point unless you still live in the 20th c. when the only conceivable threat could come from a economically robust nation with a large, well-equipped standing army. The insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan are poorer than Gazans yet they seem to be doing quite well against ..umm.. one of the strongest military forces in the history of the world. Next..

    re 6. I doubt any fair minded observer of the situation in Gaza is bewildered by their rage, so this seems like a red herring. No one disputes that the Palestinians are poor and subject to demoralizing Israeli security protocols. The issue is whether these protocols are rationally related to any legitimate state interests of Israel’s. Israel supporters say yes, and the Author would say no. That is one aspect of the larger debate. Let us not get off track and confuse an already fraught issue with pointless red herring arguments.

    re 7. Gazans are not “followers” of Hamas any more than Americans are followers of Democrats or Obama after US elections. The fact that minors do not vote, as in most other democracies, has nothing to do with the fact that what political entities a demos elects into power does and must say something about the political dispositions of that demos, whether one wants to play semantic games with the word “followers” or not.

    re 8. refer to point 5. Indiscriminate bombing campaigns?

    re 9. I read and reread this short point searching for a coherent argument until I finally realized it was another non-sequiter in the garb of argument. And…

    re 10. Well, I guess our “informed comment” author just plain ran out of steam here — didn’t even try to dress this point up as a “myth”, so there is really no substance to respond to here.

    My primary aim is not to win points or win an argument. I sincerely do not understand many aspects of the position that people such as the author of this list have re the conflict in Palestine. By “do not understand” I mean to say that it is not merely a matter of I have my facts and you have yours, but more that I truly do not even comprehend the subjective logic of some of the positions people take against israel. Please help me understand the logic of your positions.

    • Speaking of “do not understand,” what a wonderfully obscure bit of writing by whoeveryouare, a person such as you are. I, for one, after reading your takedown of the post, am now just full of questions and doubts about the relative positions and roles of the Likudniks and that fraction of the people in Israel who are all about working out that destiny written way back in the Pentateuch to “slay all them other Nations with the sword take their stuff,” on the one hand, and them horrible gigantic world-democracy-crushing Palestinians. With all their nuclear weapons hidden away in the tunnels under what’s not been occupied in Gaza.

      Too bad this is the best too many of us humans can manage, all the lying and little sneaking around and killing and gathering in all the healthy wealth in the world for their personal pleasure and the aggrandizement of their little tribe.

    • The logic is that Israel has always intended to make the Arab population of Palestine disappear (see: Jabotinsky’s remarks that the Zionists must do unto the Arab as the U.S. of Americans did unto the Indians). All Israeli actions are consistent with making the lives of Palestinians impossible so that they all move away, yet avoid outside retaliation. Why else did Israel help to create Hamas as a way to destroy a PLO that was getting too much outside support, then several years ago send weapons to the PLO to overthrow an elected Hamas government? Over and over again, until they’re all dead?

      If you refuse to accept that this is the logic of the Zionist historical mission, then I don’t understand you either. Now that mission might be amended one day, but Israelis have been too richly rewarded up to this point to reverse their reenactment of white America’s Manifest Destiny.

  33. 1. Hamas denies Jews’ right to have a state in their historical land (to which Arabs came at one point as occupiers by aggression – let’s not forget this simple fact about “natural” rights of anybody to any land) and rejects peace talks outright. Until Hamas and its like do not change, Israel – as any other state caring about its interests – will continue to use and expand its West Bank settlements. The peace process is being killed by Palestinians voting for Hamas, not by Israel.

    2. Action such as current assault on Hamas is a simple matter of maintaining deterrence against terrorists. Any country experiencing border attacks would do everything it could to expand its deterrence force factor. And it does help in the short and the long run. Hamas and Hizballa always think hard before provoking Israel. “Greater Israel” is a concept that one can hear mostly among Israel-haters, it gives them a good justification for biting Jews. But in Israel herself very few people ever talk or bother to care about it.

    3. First of all, a UK rabbi does not represent Israel. Israel is a very secular state. More importantly, this war IS about Iran: Iran wages a war against Jewish state through its paid clients, Hamas and Hizballa.

    4. Palestinians lost all war(s) they have been fighting against Jews, including 1948 war that they started in order to eliminate the newly-born Jewish state. This is why there are millions of Palestinian refugees now. The only question is why are they still living in garbage camps? Apparently, the “powers” of the land, Fatah, Hamas, Hizballa, etc. do not care about Palestinians as human beings and only need them as “refugees”.

    5. Palestinians have never cared about international law and so Israel does not care about it either – when it is dealing with Palestinians. You want to blame Israel? Go ahead. I blame Palestinians, though.

    6. Ha, the blockage is actually legal according to international law. And nobody is starving in Gaza either. You are sorry that they a zoo and a Olympic-size swimming pool but that they don’t have enough chocolate? Visit the neighborly Egypt first and then we will talk.

    7. Hamas controls Gaza. If the majority of Gazans are against Hamas they should rise up and throw it off as Egyptians did with Mubarak. In fact, Hamas stores missiles and weapons in residential buildings, mosques and hospitals – if Gazans don’t really like Hamas very much, they have had enough time to do something about it.

    8. Israel is much stronger and there is nothing bad about it. Rather, it is admirable that such a small country surrounded by very hostile neighbors since day 1 of its history has achieved to become strong. And what’s the point of being strong if you can’t defend your citizens? Every country wants to be strong and aspires to be and to do what Israel does for its citizens. Many Arabs look up to Israel and dream to one day be on par with her.

    9. Hamas rejects Israel and will never commit to a permanent – in the Western sense of it – peace agreement with the Jewish state. All pro-peace proclamations by Hamas are a ruse and if you read Arabic newspapers you see this double-talk every day. Killing Jabari was no different than killing bin Laden.

    10. Israel’s high-tech products are in high demand and in the end the world cares about that. In the long run the boycotts will affect not Israel but Palestinians. Israel will grow more resolute and will move more unilaterally to settle the conflict on its own terms and Palestinians will be left with “leftovers” finding themselves in the same hole they are now. They only way to move on is for Palestinians to genuinely accept the idea that Jews have a claim to a part of this land. This would take time even in peaceful circumstances but with Hamas and Hizballa making their bravado stances it will take ages.

  34. The Israeli and Palestinian leaders are equally puffed up when they find a way to sneak into yet another session of putting each other in the firing line. The rest of the world shakes its head and groans at the pathetic abject insanity they demonstrate every time this happens. It has to be the most idiotic but barbaric slice of history ever.

    But it was the English who left the mess behind. Everywhere they stepped while they had the power had the same result. War, civil war. And they have done nothing to correct it but sit back and watch what is to them, fun.
    The international community has a responsibility to physically get between them and stop Israel from bullying Palestine and we haven’t done it because we have leaders who are beholden to Israel because Israel threatens to blow the Middle East to kingdom come. So they all stand still and profess allegiance to Israel while it commits genocide to the Palestinians.

    And the media, like a bully’s audience, lap it up.

    It isn’t as if no one knows what’s going on. No one could miss this. But no one has the courage to stop the madness. What a mess.

    • Thanks for your post Janet. It made sense to me.
      I sit in my sanitized “perfect” life here in rural NZ and find myself totally bewildered by this Middle East situation’

  35. Max, the only logic you need is the logic of human rights. Israel is acting like Kit Carson. Destroying the Navajos food supplies and land in order to lock them up on a reservation. Half a million ancient olive trees destroyed by the Israelis is the proof. There is no need to destroy farmlands if you are interested in peace, the Palestinians are right to resist.

  36. I am deeply troubled by the hate speech from both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, particularly from my friends and family. Palestinians are not “god-less killers.” Israelis are not trigger-happy sadists.
    Both are human. Both are being killed in far greater numbers than is acceptable.
    Pray for peace and understanding, not revenge in the name of justice.

  37. Dear Professor Cole,
    Thanks for your top ten list. Today I posted the late Christopher Hitchens speech about Gaza. A now ex-ex friend of a friend, who is a Russian Jewish Emigre to the USA, started an argument with me and quoted all the things you stated in your top ten list.
    The point of my argument was and still is this is a one sided turkey shoot and that the current status Quo of sitting by and not saying anything was going against conscience. I went to Boston and studied with Prof Henry Shocklee and something just clicked in my head… that this was all very wrong. My recollection of International History from my International Relations degree jump started.
    This person and his wife began yelling at me, calling me every name in the book. I have been labeled an anti-semite for even saying, I did not agree with the policy decision of Israel. He even told me to go back to Puerto Rico..being born in Manhattan, I did not know what he meant at first. I am Puerto Rican by descent.
    Thanks for the information and thanks for this site. I have posted your top ten list and getting good responses. Have a great week and a happy Thanksgiving.
    I am reading your punch list of books.
    GREG segarra
    I though it was good Idea to suggest and international referee may needed to be put between the IDF and the people of GAZA . That is when my ex-friend and his wife lost thier minds.

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