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Author Topic: Gaza Blockade Question
Seneca
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So what? The US trained and armed OBL. That doesn't mean Al Qaeda is off limits to us when they start attacking us. Regardless of retroactive finger pointing, today, in current times, Hamas is a terrorist organization dedicated to killing Jews and wiping out Israel and they border Israel!

If Al Qaeda had a microstate that bordered us do you think we'd practice even 1/1000th the restraint that Israel has done? No!

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seagull
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Greg,

Your continued refusal to look up actual facts means that there is not much chance in continuing an informed discussion with you until you do.

You obviously chose not to look up how many children were killed by Hamas in digging their terror tunnels. I suspect that your choice not to do it is because what you would find would conflict with your pre-conceived notions.

Please note that phrasings like "I suspect that ..." above are not my usual style because it is a speculation about your motive that I do not feel comfortable with.

What is my style, however, and the reason for my use of that phrase in spite of the fact that I am uncomfortable with it is to reflect your own words at you.

Greg:
You attributed a motive to Israelis like me who disagree with Netantyahu's right wing agenda and agree with your analysis that the Hamas goal is to encourage extremism on both sides. However, I happen to think that in this case Netanyahu is curbing in the extremists and that for once he is right and you are wrong (on the facts). You used the phrase "I suspect that ..." to cover the majority of Israelis who feel like me, it is time you got a taste of your own medicine.

Greg, what part of "Hamas cells receive their orders from the media" do you not understand?

quote:
that the group thought to be responsible, a "lone cell," may not have been under direct orders from Hamas's leadership, but was loosely affiliated with the group.
Greg, did you bother to find out which clan the demented murders of the three boys belonged to. Are you aware of the fact that the cell was formed by Hamas and that the demented murder's mother said to the media that she was proud of what he did.

By contrast, family members of the demented Israeli who lead the killing of the Palestinian boy tried to have him committed even before this happened and by no means support his actions.

Culpability and responsibility for the kidnap and murder of the Israeli boys rests not only with the individuals that performed the deed but with the Hamas network that created their cell and helps them hide and with the family that raised them and encouraged them to do it.

By contrast, culpability for the Israeli murders rests on the individuals alone. I may disagree with the political agenda of their families but blaming them for something the are themselves opposed to and that they publicly denounce is not "justice". Blaming them is a distorted attempt to look for balance where it does not exist.

quote:
will you adjust your position in light of the evidence that undermines several of your central arguments?
I continuously re-evaluate evidence and look for other perspectives and sources of information in order to be able to "adjust my position" to fit the most credible facts I can find.

The real question question Greg, is whether YOU are even willing to adjust your position in light of the abundant evidence on the web that undermines several of your central arguments.

People are generally much more likely to "adjust their position" when they find information on their own than if they are spoon fed with it. Spoon fed information always feels suspect and that is why I refuse to spoon feed you information to counteract the spoon feeding you currently receive from the extremely self destructive views of the "Haaretz" newspaper.

The Haaretz English version, is especially notorious for the false reports and intentionally incorrect translations which they do not dare to publish in Hebrew because they know they will be exposed. When they are exposed they post the retractions in Hebrew but "neglect" to do in in the English version.

Greg, you have a brain, stop looking for spoon fed information from either side and see what you can find out on you own with a Google search on some of the questions I raised.

If you want to have an informed discussion, start looking for some information and stop listening to spin.

One of the reasons I like this Forum is that it has a large number of intelligent people with points of view that are different from mine and with the intellectual capabilities to find meaningful and relevant information on issues that I care about.

Regretfully, up until now Greg who shows obvious sign of intelligence does not seem to want to be one of these people that I respect.

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seagull
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Greg:
quote:
the evil principles of some extremist Israelis regarding the need to "mow the lawn" every few years.
I wonder where that quote comes from and what the context is, The expression "mowing the lawn" is often heard in Israel by academics who study the culture, tradition and history of it's neighboring Arab states and refer to the common practice in countries like Egypt, and Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Hafez Assad's Syria, for handling demonstrations that threaten the regime.

"mowing the lawn" when it works results in a few hundred deaths (mostly civilians) and quells rebellions for several years. People in these countries consider these death to be a sad price to pay for stability but they prefer it to alternatives like the wholesale massacres going on in Syria right now.

Israeli academics who discuss the "mowing the lawn" strategy are observing it and the population's response to it. An overwhelming majority of these academics (even the right wing ones) would never imaging Israel using such tactics purposely and state that doing so would be contrary to Israeli values.

The claim that this kind of violence is the "only language they understand" does not automatically lead to the false conclusion that "Israel should be using violence". As a matter of fact it is one of the leading arguments for disengagement (let them kill each other rather than force us to do the killing).

Israel has no qualms about killing our enemies in self defense. But when it comes to police action, we'd rather let them kill each other than do the killing ourselves.

References to "mowing the lawn" are more of a practical observation that this is what happens in the neighborhood we live in than a proposed way of action.

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Greg Davidson
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Seagull, the context that I raised the Haaretz story about Lieberman was not that it was true, but merely that Seneca's proposed policy of a death sentence for all who were members of a terrorist organization would require sifting through evidence to determine who was and was not a terrorist. What is the standard of proof that would be necessary to justify anti-terrorist killing? And if that standard of proof had not been established, any killings committed would be considered wrong.

With respect to the story about the West Bank murderers not be directly under control of Hamas leadership in Gaza, I draw my information from what I have read, which comes from several sources, not just Haaretz. For example, from June 30th:
quote:
And for now there's still a chance that the kidnapping was the work of rogue Hamas cells, rather than a conspiracy ordered by the organization's top leadership.

"I don't think that we know enough to say anything conclusively as of yet," an Israeli Defense Forces source told Business Insider. "We do know that the two suspects and their support staff are Hamas operatives, Hamas activists and Hamas affiliates...

On his Facebook page, Netanyahu was clear in assigning responsibility. He wrote that the three were "murdered in cold blood by human animals," and he promised that "Hamas is responsible, and Hamas will pay.

link

Seagull, since you have not yet adopted Seneca's proposal that all Hamas members should be arrested or killed, this implies that you are advocating for the military action against Gaza on the assumption that the behavior of the murderers of those three kids was the direct responsibility of Hamas leadership. How sure are you about that connection, and what is the basis of your convictions?

[ August 04, 2014, 09:54 AM: Message edited by: Greg Davidson ]

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Greg Davidson
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quote:
Your continued refusal to look up actual facts means that there is not much chance in continuing an informed discussion with you until you do.
Seagull, the information that I am working with may be wrong, but at least I am actually providing the sources for my assertions. If you have sources which provide specific, contrary information that would call into question the assertions I have raised, then show us all your evidence. It is unpersuasive to assert that my sources are wrong, and if only I searched in undisclosed locations on the internet I would be persuaded how correct you are.

And as yet another example, here are a few mowing the lawn/grass references, from 2014, 2013, and 2012:

Jerusalem Post

Christian Science Monitor from 2012 with some strong quotes from Gilad Sharon that make "mowing the grass" seem moderate

US Congressman in support of Israel

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seagull
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Greg, thank you for posting the links to your sources for the phrase "mowing the grass". Apparently the meaning of the phrase in these recent articles is very different from the one I have been hearing for years where "mowing the grass" referred to firing machine guns into a crowd of violent demonstrators as a form of crowd control (a common and effective strategy in many Arab states and in China).

It seems that in these articles, the meaning of "mowing the lawn" refers more to the futility of trying to completely stop the cycle of violence and an acceptance of the need for periodic treatment instead of searching for a permanent solution.

I find the overlap between the two interpretations of the phrase very disturbing because it could easily lead to justification of the previously unthinkable interpretation that "firing machine guns into a crowd of violent demonstrators" is an acceptable thing to do.

Sadly the milder "mowing the lawn" analogy which implies that the is no permanent solution is an accurate description of the situation in this area. The collateral damage from killing today's Hamas militants will inevitably create a new generation of people whose only goal in life (and in death) is to kill Jews.

Israel's attempts to minimize the number of civilian casualties will not affect that sad reality and we have to learn to live with it. Foolishly trying to negotiate with organizations that are committed to our destruction, repeatedly violate negotiated agreements and openly mock us for believing their false promises will not help either.

Israel has had to fight wars every decade or so since it's creation. We dream and pray for peace but we are not foolish enough to think that our dreams and prayers are anywhere close to coming true. If we had been that foolish we would not have lasted even a few years in this neighborhood.

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seagull
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Greg have you even bothered to enter the words "Gaza children Hamas tunnels" into a google search bar and look at the results?

I do not want you to believe me. I want you to use your brain.

You may choose to follow up different links from the ones I do and I would be very interested in seeing what you choose to quote from them. I am much less interested in spoon feeding you with information that you refuse to see anyway.

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Seneca
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I heard an interesting point today. Hamas says that for prisoner exchange purposes they think one Israeli life is worth 1000 Hamas lives. I wonder why they don't apply this logic to the death count for the war they launched...
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Greg Davidson
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A different line of Gaza inquiry. Using wikipedia as a source for Gaza demographics ( link ), there are ~1.6 million people in Gaza. Of that total

~700K are 14 years old and younger - did not vote in 2006

~90K are 15-26 years old - did not vote in 2006

~740K were of voting age in 2006, 76% of eligible voters (562,000 Palestinians) actually cast a ballot link

The Hamas group got 44% of the votes overall , or 250,000 people now living in Gaza. If we increase the Gaza total for Hamas to about 50%, it's still only about 300,000 of the 1,600,000 million living in Gaza.

So currently in Gaza, there's ~300,000 people who voted for Hamas in 2006, ~300,000 people who voted against Hamas, and 1,000,000 who did not vote in that election.

I have no reason to believe that the casualties have not primarily come from the Hamas-voting 300,000


If we accept that Hamas is a group that frequently commits evil and violent acts in support of their goals (which I have never denied), then this suggests that at least 1.3 million people in Gaza are subject to oppression from Hamas without their consent.

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Seneca
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Sounds like they need to overthrow Hamas then. Of course, many of the young who didn't vote in that election now support Islamic Jihad AND Hamas and would probably vote for either of them, and they are both pretty bad. If an election was held they'd probably form a coalition government to keep down Fatah. Together IJ and Hamas poll over 60% of Gazans. What does THAT say about the will of the Arabs there? They support terrorist groups!

[ August 04, 2014, 11:06 PM: Message edited by: Seneca ]

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Greg Davidson
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Can I see a citation for that polling data?
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seagull
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quote:
I have no reason to believe that the casualties have not primarily come from the Hamas-voting 300,000
The reason to believe that the casualties come primarily from the militants (and regretfully their families) should be obvious.

Of the 1800 Palestinians killed Israeli forces killed “approximately 900 militants in combat".

People can CHOOSE to believe different numbers. You can choose to believe the numbers posted by Hamas activists who purposely inflate the number of "innocent civilians" among the dead and injured.

Many of the Hamas Militants, terrorists and suicide bombers are under 26 years of age which means that they were not eligible to vote in 2006. Choosing to skew the statistics based on the 2006 voting records obfuscates the issue and reflects more on the pre-conceived biases and agenda of the person editing the statistics than on anything actually going on in Gaza.

You can choose to believe the obviously flawed numbers posted by the Hamas propaganda machine and ignore the numbers posted by the IDF. You can choose to dismiss the fact that the free press in Israel exposes propaganda whereas reporters in Gaza operate under constant threat of retaliation from Hamas if they publish anything that Hamas does not like.

But even if you choose to do all these things ask yourself this question:

Israeli soldiers firing at targets in Gaza do not check the voter's registration of the people visible at these targets. They try to avoid hitting women, children. IDF policy, orders and the soldiers who follow them actively try to avoid non-combatant casualties.

Do you really think IDF soldiers are so incompetent?

[ August 05, 2014, 04:30 AM: Message edited by: seagull ]

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NobleHunter
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seagull, it's possible to doubt the numbers provided by the IDF without accepting Hamas' count either. Both sides have reasons to employ methodologies that define 'civilian' in ways that will encourage certain results.
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Greg Davidson
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I messed up the sentence I wrote, but you grasped the point.

But I can't understand why you think that every argument that questions your position is designed by Hamas. You write
quote:
You can choose to believe the obviously flawed numbers posted by the Hamas propaganda machine and ignore the numbers posted by the IDF.
I was curious about the demographics myself, so I dug around for information and performed that set of calculations. I am unaware that the IDF has any different numbers regarding the demographics, voter participation, or vote count of the population of Gaza.

It seems to me that you are not as interested in fact as you are in loyalty - if data might be in an unfavorable context, you assert that it is Hamas propaganda. As you state
quote:
People can CHOOSE to believe different numbers
I'd rather not choose data based on loyalty. I have never disagreed that Hamas is an organization founded on evil principles that commits many evil actions.

But the evil actions done by Hamas does not justify retaliation against those who are not morally responsible for those evil actions. Part of my concern is that many innocent civilians may be dying in retaliation for actions that they did not commit. And numbers are relevant to this discussion

quote:
Many of the Hamas Militants, terrorists and suicide bombers are under 26 years of age which means that they were not eligible to vote in 2006.
Can you unpack this sentence, because you combine three groups. Of those 790,000 under 26 years old, how many of them alive today have committed terrorist acts including suicide bombings? I recognize that we don't know for sure, but are you thinking that about 100 have done so? Can you come up with a logic that5 substantiates a significantly higher number, like 1,000? How many terrorist incidents have their been? And then you use the category of Hamas militants - how do you define a non-terrorist Hamas militant? How many of that 790,000 fit in that group? I find it hard to get to a quantitative basis that has anything other than a relatively small minority of the 1.6 million people in Gaza to have significant moral responsibility for the actions of Hamas. I'd be interested in seeing if you have another set of numbers.

I would trust a death-toll estimate of “approximately 900 militants in combat" from Israel substantially more than I would a similar estimate from Hamas, but we should not ignore that Israel is not a disinterested party either. Although you may disagree, I would have relatively the same level of skepticism for an Israeli estimate and a UN estimate, and see what differences there might be between the two. The Israeli estimate also depends on the definition of "militant", and under the circumstances that is probably a very hard definition to be precise about.

Finally, you assert

quote:
Israeli soldiers firing at targets in Gaza do not check the voter's registration of the people visible at these targets. They try to avoid hitting women, children. IDF policy, orders and the soldiers who follow them actively try to avoid non-combatant casualties.

Do you really think IDF soldiers are so incompetent?

I tend to focus on actions, because we cannot truly measure the intent in the minds of everyone who performs an action that kills others. I find it likely that the IDF is like every military force in history, and it includes a wide range of soldiers, including a percentage who have less competence, and probably even have a small percentage who under combat circumstances behave poorly. This is not an adverse comment on the IDF, it is a comment about human nature, and the risks when you start a shooting war. I certainly like to think that it was incompetence rather than intent that resulted in killing the young children on the beach early in the fighting.
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seagull
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quote:
It seems to me that you are not as interested in fact as you are in loyalty - if data might be in an unfavorable context, you assert that it is Hamas propaganda.
Can you please show me something that I posted which gave you that impression?
Please try to avoid using strawman arguments when you do it so we can keep the discussion focused on information rather than futile accusations.

quote:
I'd rather not choose data based on loyalty.
So would I.

quote:
the evil actions done by Hamas does not justify retaliation against those who are not morally responsible for those evil actions. Part of my concern is that many innocent civilians may be dying in retaliation for actions that they did not commit. And numbers are relevant to this discussion
I agree with almost everything you said in that quote. My only problem is with the bolded phrase "in retaliation for" which ascribes motive for the action of the people whose actions lead to the unfortunate death. Would you agree that replacing the phrase "in retaliation for" with "as a consequence of" would only make your statement stronger?

quote:
Of those 790,000 under 26 years old, how many of them alive today have committed terrorist acts including suicide bombings?
ROTFL, what a loaded question.
To answer in the same spirit that the question was phrased I would presume that the number of people alive today that successfully committed suicide bombings is exactly zero! Is that what you want to base your statistics on?

Seriously, I do not think the numbers you digged up are relevant because Islamic Jihad militants who would presumably vote against Hamas should be considered legitimate targets. Anyone who poses an immediate threat to the life on an Israeli soldier (or civilian) is a legitimate target in a war zone like Gaza.

quote:
how do you define a non-terrorist Hamas militant? How many of that 790,000 fit in that group?
Estimates from various sources (both IDF and pro-palestinian media) put the total number of militants in Gaza (Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Al-Aksa and salafists) somewhere between 18,000 and 30,000. I assume that most of these militants are under the age of 26.

I believe that the percentage of the overall population that these militants represent is small enough to make your humanitarian argument without resorting to theatrics like asking how many suicide bombers are alive today.

quote:
I certainly like to think that it was incompetence rather than intent that resulted in killing the young children on the beach early in the fighting.
What a horrible thing to say!

Why do you choose to ignore the tragic but obvious explanation that it was due to incomplete information, fog of war or just pure but understandable human error that does not imply incompetence.

If the people who fired the weapons that resulted in killing the young children on the beach were incompetent they should never have been allowed anywhere near the weapons in the first place. That does not sound anything like the IDF that I know.

The people who fired those weapons are likely to have nightmares for the rest of their lives, reliving the incident, second guessing their actions and regretting their consequences. I do not "like to think" about the fact that these nightmares will make them living victims of this war just as much as the boys who died. Still, I prefer that to the alternative that you stipulate which makes them seem like incompetent monsters.

I do not know the people who fired the weapons in this specific incident. I do have friends and relatives who faced much easier moral dilemmas in previous IDF wars and still had nightmares about them for years after that. Killing another human being is not an easy thing to live with, even if it is done in self defense,

For those victims of the war who were forced to kill in self defense, the only healing comes from reminding them when they wake up in the middle of the night with cold sweat that the responsibility for these deaths rests on the people who started the "shooting war" and forced them to kill in self defense.

[ August 05, 2014, 11:38 AM: Message edited by: seagull ]

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velcro
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Greg,

Here's some evidence that the "lone cell" was following the direction of Hamas leadership, if not direct orders, since that leadership does not give direct orders.

quote:
In his May 20 Nakba Day speech, Mashaal [Hamas political chief] read a letter from a Palestinian prisoner and added that he was aware of the hardships of Palestinian inmates in Israeli jails. Then he said that Hamas’s military wing would “provide a response.” He also clarified in the speech that a recent reconciliation deal with Fatah did not signal an end to Hamas’s violent struggle against Israel.
Times of Israel

Right now the best way to get Palestinian prisoners out of Israeli prisons is to kidnap an Israeli. Not a smoking gun, but a pretty strong hint given the nature of the communication.

I understand and agree with your revulsion at the civilian deaths in Gaza caused by Israeli soldiers. I personally think the soldiers themselves share that revulsion, and wish with all their hearts that they did not need to do it. So I have a question.

With all due respect, and with no intent to offend or judge - how would you suggest Israel respond?

Enemy soldiers are shooting at your civilians from schools, hospitals, and apartment buildings. You know that if you try to stop the shooting by returning fire, civilians in the enemy country will die. You also know that the enemy soldiers don't care about their own civilians. Most important, you know that if you don't try to stop the shooting by returning fire, civilians in your country will die.

Maybe there were missed opportunities to prevent the situation. There are certainly non-violent ways to move forward long term to reduce the likelihood in the future. But today, with enemy soldiers firing at your civilians, what do you do? How do you respond in a way that is different from what Israel is doing now?

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velcro
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Getting back to the OP:

Why is Hamas attacking Israel?
-Occupation? Nope, Israel unilaterally withdrew years ago.
-Blockade? Well, Israel has reduced that over time, and the rockets have continued. It is perfectly clear that the attacks make the blockade worse, and the way to stop the blockade is to stop the attacks. Not to mention that Egypt is blockading, but Hamas does not seem to address that with even a fraction of the effort they exert on attacking Israel.
-Desire to destroy Israel? That's about the only thing left. Maybe it is just a boogieman they need to keep power, but it is the only reason that stands up to scrutiny.

Is there a fault in my reasoning here? If not, what is the solution when you are fighting someone who wants nothing but to kill you?

I think I would do the least harmful thing that will eliminate their ability to harm you. (e.g. demilitarization).

I do know that negotiating with them is very unlikely to be productive, unless they really want something besides your destruction. So until Hamas convinces Israel that their destruction is not a significant goal, negotiation is not something that is likely to be successful. Not that it shouldn't be attempted, but it is nowhere near to being the primary solution to the problem, especially in the short term.

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Hannibal
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"
Seagull:
"The comments from the Israeli spokesperson in question indicate that the group thought to be responsible, a "lone cell," may not have been under direct orders from Hamas's leadership, but was loosely affiliated with the group."

Greg:
"Show me that my understanding of the facts are wrong, and I will change my views"


Well Greg - here are new facts coming to public views - apprantly the team that kidnapped and murdered the 3 Israeli teens in cold blood indeed acted from orders and funding from Hamas Gaza :

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4555463,00.html

"
...
Kawasmeh received funding for the terror attack from Hamas members in the Gaza Strip. He was arrested by Yamam, an elite counter-terror unit, following a tip from the Shin Bet.

After the discovery of the bodies of Gil-Ad Schaer, Eyal Yifrach, and Naftali Frenkel, the suspect left his home and went into hiding, relying on his family members, with the hope of reaching Jordan using forged documents.
...
"

Whoops - I guess Hamas Gaza was involved in everything after all...

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LetterRip
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Hamas is not synonymous with al-Qassam Brigades, and al-Qassam Brigades are not a unified body.

Hamas has limited influence and no control over any of the groups that identify as al-Qassam Brigades.

Members of al-Qassam are predominantly unemployed young men who lived in refugee camps after having their homes destroyed.

The funding and supplies for al-Qassam bridgades are mostly foreign.

So when Hamas negotiates a peace treaty - they are trying to influence the al-Qassam groups to cease fire, but they have no ability to enforce it.

Think Sein Finn and IRA for a similar relationship.

Worse, the members of al-Qassam are delusional, believing they can 'defeat' Israel through military action.

http://www.vox.com/2014/7/18/5916105/how-hamas-military-wing-is-driving-the-gaza-war

If you want to end the violence against Israel the most effective way would be a jobs program.

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seagull
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quote:
Hamas is not synonymous with al-Qassam Brigades
True, they are the military wing of Hamas.

quote:
al-Qassam Brigades are not a unified body.
True again.

quote:
Hamas has limited influence and no control over any of the groups that identify as al-Qassam Brigades.
This may be true about the "Hamas political leadership in Gaza" but it is inaccurate if you recognize that the al-Qassam brigades are an integral part of the Hamas structure.

quote:
So when Hamas negotiates a peace treaty - they are trying to influence the al-Qassam groups to cease fire, but they have no ability to enforce it.
The latest cease-fire argeement which has now been in place for more than 18 hours demonstrates that the Hamas military wing does have the ability to enforce a cease fire not only on it's own members but on other factions as well.

As a matter of fact, they made a point of demonstrating that ability by firing a large salvo of rockets just before the cease fire started and enforcing complete quiet since then.

The important distinction between this cease-fire and the previous ones that failed is that this time the Hamas military wing in Gaza chose to side with the political leaders in Gaza (who wanted the cease-fire much earlier) rather than with the Qatar based leaders who refused to agree to a cease fire (and coincidentally are not welcome at the Egypt negotiation table).

quote:
If you want to end the violence against Israel the most effective way would be a jobs program.
I wish it was that simple.
The corruption levels in Palestinian society (and UNRWA) are so high that even a jobs program would not solve the problem.

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LetterRip
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As I said Sein Finn (political) and the IRA (militant) is analogous to Hamas and al-Qassam. IRA often adhered to Sein Finn negotiated treaties for varying periods, but there was zero ability for Sein Finn to force IRA to adher to them. Also the IRA was not a single unified body - some four or five different groups claimed to be IRA.

quote:
The latest cease-fire agreement which has now been in place for more than 18 hours demonstrates that the Hamas military wing does have the ability to enforce a cease fire not only on it's own members but on other factions as well.

As a matter of fact, they made a point of demonstrating that ability by firing a large salvo of rockets just before the cease fire started and enforcing complete quiet since then.

See above discussion of Sein Finn and the IRA. Voluntary compliance is not the same as enforced compliance.

All that can happen is that the political group announces something and the various military groups decided to comply or not. If the largest militant group complies, the smaller ones will often follow suit.

quote:
The important distinction between this cease-fire and the previous ones that failed is that this time the Hamas military wing in Gaza chose to side with the political leaders in Gaza (who wanted the cease-fire much earlier) rather than with the Qatar based leaders who refused to agree to a cease fire (and coincidentally are not welcome at the Egypt negotiation table).
Which is sort of my point - these are not the same groups - they are disparate groups that make their own decisions and may agree with and adhere to the decisions of any other particular group but the groups that negotiate treaties are not the same as the militant groups that decide to adhere to a treaty or not adhere to it. Also there are multiple independent acting militant groups, so even if one or more decided to adhere to the cease fire in a location - that doesn't mean that others might choose to not adhere to it.

quote:
I wish it was that simple.
The corruption levels in Palestinian society (and UNRWA) are so high that even a jobs program would not solve the problem.

So don't have UNRWA administer it. Do direct deposits, use cell phones to monitor movement with random check ins.

If Palestinian young men have jobs, where do you think the al-Qassam will get the labor to engage in terrorism?

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Greg Davidson
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velcro, may I lay out some alternative hypotheses?

quote:
Why is Hamas attacking Israel?
-Occupation? Nope, Israel unilaterally withdrew years ago.
-Blockade? Well, Israel has reduced that over time, and the rockets have continued. It is perfectly clear that the attacks make the blockade worse, and the way to stop the blockade is to stop the attacks. Not to mention that Egypt is blockading, but Hamas does not seem to address that with even a fraction of the effort they exert on attacking Israel.
-Desire to destroy Israel? That's about the only thing left. Maybe it is just a boogieman they need to keep power, but it is the only reason that stands up to scrutiny.

First, it depends which attacks you are talking about (a minor point), and then I'll talk about what I think the rationale may be. I disagree with your rationale regarding the blockade and the rocket attacks (the severity of the blockade has been reduced and the rockets have continued). Not sure if a marginal change in blockade rules is widely accepted as eliminate of a cause for retaliation. 2013 and 2014 had fewer rocket attacks than in previous years until Israel arrested of hundreds of Hamas members in response to what was at the time believed to be a kidnapping of the three kids. So maybe they got rationally (or irrationally) upset at the arrests and decided to escalate the rocket attacks in response.

There are several reasons why I believe that Hamas attacks Israel. First of all, there are nasty evil people in the world who get off on violence and killing. The often feed on resentment, make an mythology of past harms, and dedicate them to obliterating what they see as the ultimate evil in the world. There are even those who have real mental illness - for example, earlier I think it was seagull who asserted that those Israelis who killed the Palestinian boy after the Israeli boys were killed was "demented". I suspect that there are a few seriously demented people in almost every population, and that might account for some Hamas support. I also believe that there are some Hamas "pragmatists", in the sense that they are not driven as much by irrational rage and rational pursuit of their objectives. A violent conflict with Israel where there are civilian casualties can improve the domestic political support for the most anti-Israeli political party in Palestine (and right now, with Egypt as an enemy, Hamas was vulnerable and could use more internal political support).

Although it does not speak directly to the question of violence, I did find this quote telling regarding how one Hamas official believed they had scored so well in the 2006 election:
quote:
In a 2008 interview with one of the authors, a senior Hamas official said that his movement’s electoral success boiled down to a single question the movement posed to Palestinians during the 2006 campaign: “Israel and the U.S. say no to Hamas – what do you say?”
link
Hamas had been substantially behind Fatah in the polls (by more than 10%), then very late in the campaign Israel took some overt anti-Hamas measures that they were able to exploit politically.

[ August 05, 2014, 09:45 PM: Message edited by: Greg Davidson ]

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Greg Davidson
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That is new and important information on the link between Kawasmeh and Hamas, although I would like to see if the details are validated over time. We are reliant on the wording in the story - getting money from "Hamas members" may not be the same as not being "under direct orders from Hamas's leadership" which was the earlier claim. The reporting is unclear, and the difference is very important. I suspect we will learn more in the days to come.
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Greg Davidson
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Great questions, velcro

quote:
With all due respect, and with no intent to offend or judge - how would you suggest Israel respond?

Enemy soldiers are shooting at your civilians from schools, hospitals, and apartment buildings. You know that if you try to stop the shooting by returning fire, civilians in the enemy country will die. You also know that the enemy soldiers don't care about their own civilians. Most important, you know that if you don't try to stop the shooting by returning fire, civilians in your country will die.

Maybe there were missed opportunities to prevent the situation. There are certainly non-violent ways to move forward long term to reduce the likelihood in the future. But today, with enemy soldiers firing at your civilians, what do you do? How do you respond in a way that is different from what Israel is doing now?

Once you are in a shooting war, that changes the environment significantly. That's why there should be a very high threshold for getting into a shooting war. The strategic objectives for Israel should have been to isolate the extremists and build the strongest possible coalition to do so. Neither Netanyahu nor Abbas acted particularly well in the recent peace talks - that's both of them not missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity (but relatively speaking, Netanyahu missed the greater opportunity - while ABbas is flawed, it may be a long time until Palestinians have a leader closer to a peace agreement than Abbas). Even after the attacks on the three Jewish kids, and the retaliation attack that killed the Palestinian kid, the right response would have been to build on the attitudes of the parents of the victims and make the extremists the enemy. Go after those who committed the evil actions.

Now, with enemy soldiers firing at Israeli soldiers, I would get out of Gaza. And I would counter the increasingly extremist rhetoric that is becoming acceptable in Israeli society (see below). I don't see Netanyahu doing that, because as far as I can tell he is benefiting politically from the conflict. And what I fear in the month of the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I, that there are a lot of people around the globe right now who are promoting war because of its domestic political benefits (see Putin). Given fallible humans, we are at risk that some member of someone's army will probably go too far, the energized opposing populations will be pushed to a fever pitch, and suddenly we will have a level of warfare that we have not seen in a while. Meanwhile, here's a sampling of the extremist edge of Israeli opinion from public figures

quote:
We are seeing now that despite the IDF’s impressive fighting, despite the absolute military supremacy, we are in a sort of “strategic tie.” What would have been the right thing to do? We should have declared war against the state of Gaza (rather than against the Hamas organization), and in a war as in a war. The moment it begins, the right thing to do is to shut down the crossings, prevent the entry of any goods, including food, and definitely prevent the supply of gas and electricity … why should Gaza’s residents suffer? Well, they are to blame for this situation just like Germany’s residents were to blame for electing Hitler as their leader and paid a heavy price for that, and rightfully so.
-- Giora Eiland, former head of Israel’s National Security Council [note: compare this to my math showing about 15% of the current population of Gaza voted for Hamas] link

quote:
a) The IDF [Israeli army] shall designate certain open areas on the Sinai border, adjacent to the sea, in which the civilian population will be concentrated, far from the built-up areas that are used for launches and tunneling. In these areas, tent encampments will be established, until relevant emigration destinations are determined. The supply of electricity and water to the formerly populated areas will be disconnected.

b) The formerly populated areas will be shelled with maximum fire power. The entire civilian and military infrastructure of Hamas, its means of communication and of logistics, will be destroyed entirely, down to their foundations.

c) The IDF will divide the Gaza Strip laterally and crosswise, significantly expand the corridors, occupy commanding positions, and exterminate nests of resistance, in the event that any should remain.

Moishe Feiglin, Deputy Speaker of the Knesset link


quote:
The Palestinian people has declared war on us, and we must respond with war. Not an operation, not a slow-moving one, not low-intensity, not controlled escalation, no destruction of terror infrastructure, no targeted killings. Enough with the oblique references. This is a war. Words have meanings. This is a war. It is not a war against terror, and not a war against extremists, and not even a war against the Palestinian Authority. These too are forms of avoiding reality. This is a war between two people. Who is the enemy? The Palestinian people. Why? Ask them, they started...

Behind every terrorist stand dozens of men and women, without whom he could not engage in terrorism. They are all enemy combatants, and their blood shall be on all their heads. Now this also includes the mothers of the martyrs, who send them to hell with flowers and kisses. They should follow their sons, nothing would be more just. They should go, as should the physical homes in which they raised the snakes. Otherwise, more little snakes will be raised there.”

Ayelet Shaked, Knesset member from the Jewish Home Party link
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Greg Davidson
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I am going to the airport tomorrow morning at 4:30am and may be out of touch for over a week, so I may not follow up here for a while
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Seneca
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quote:
Now, with enemy soldiers firing at Israeli soldiers, I would get out of Gaza.
So this is what Israel should do to respond to rockets being shot at it? Run and let them keep shooting rockets?
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seagull
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quote:
And I would counter the increasingly extremist rhetoric that is becoming acceptable in Israeli society (see below). I don't see Netanyahu doing that
Netanyahu did it over and over several times during the war. Of course Greg does "not see Netanyahu doing that". Apparently Greg is incapable of seeing things that conflict with his pre-conceived notions.

quote:
Now, with enemy soldiers firing at Israeli soldiers, I would get out of Gaza.
Guess what, Netanyahu just did that, I wonder if Greg will be able to see it.

[ August 06, 2014, 01:37 AM: Message edited by: seagull ]

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seagull
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quote:
If Palestinian young men have jobs, where do you think the al-Qassam will get the labor to engage in terrorism?
As I said, I wish it was that simple. There are 1.8 million people in Gaza, even if half of them enrolled in a jobs program, as long as money earmarked for terrorism keeps flowing in from Qatar al-Qassam will have no problem paying more than a legitimate jobs program would.

Another problem is that immediate and direct threats of violence are much more effective than financial incentive. If Hamas wants to derail the jobs program, all they have to do is kill a few of the people administering it and maim some of the people working in it. They did it to the PLO (which was not exactly a jobs program) what is to stop them from doing it again?

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seagull
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quote:
the various military groups decided to comply or not. If the largest militant group complies, the smaller ones will often follow suit.
In the middle East when the most dominant militant group (measured by their ability and willingness to exert force rather than by their sheer size) demands compliance the weaker factions (even if they are larger) follow suit or get decimated.

This is the reason that Israel chose not to eliminate Hamas:
quote:
There's an Israeli interest to have one address in Gaza, we don't want a Somalization in the Strip, but rather one group to enforce its control of the Strip. This is why the collapse of Hamas was not defined as one of the objectives
There are groups in Gaza that are even worse than Hamas. Hamas may be bad for the Palestinian, but over the last year and a half they have demonstrated that - when they want to - their military wing can enforce quiet on other factions and even cooperate with the IDF in doing so.
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velcro
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Greg,

I agree with your several reasons for why Hamas attacks Israel. But my point is that there is no reason that is both defensible by outside supporters of Hamas and true. For example, the blockade reason is defensible but false. The "inciting violence to maintain conflict and therefore power" is true but not defensible.

As far as what you would suggest Israel do, I think you essentially said "turn the other cheek". Do you think that is something that Netanyahu, or any leader in his position could actually do?

Regarding civilian casualties, and who voted when, I think it boils down to a few questions.

Is there an identifiable State in Gaza?

Does that State attempt to separate itself from the structures, goals, and actions of the perpetrators of the violence?

If the answer to those questions is yes and no, then you are justified in fighting a war against that State. If the means of attacking you are in civilian areas, you are justified in destroying the means.

That is what your "extremist edge" is saying. A State is attacking us, we should treat it like a war.

I think that it is an oversimplification, but there is a logic to it. If it were Syria firing rockets from military bases instead of Gaza firing rockets from hospitals, Israel could declare war and flatten the launch sites and only the most vehement Israel haters would complain. The fact that Gaza is under (self-inflicted) blockade, and is so much weaker than Israel sways sympathy unfairly.

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kmbboots
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A balanced piece. Worth the read.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/08/05/israel-gaza-best-columns_n_5631823.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000013&ir=Politics

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velcro
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Greg,

BTW, I hope you have a good trip.

Here is another interesting piece of information
Hamas Combat Manual

And this detailing how, according to Hamas officials, 160 children were killed building tunnels as of 2011

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velcro
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km,

Here's my takeaway:

quote:
What would you do if your neighbor across the street sits down on the balcony, puts his little boy on his lap and starts shooting machine gun fire into your nursery?

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kmbboots
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Move? Put up a wall? Find out why your neighbor is shooting at you? There are other options than shooting up the neighbors building.

There is a lot more to take away in that article. Seems like you might just be taking away what you brought.

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D.W.
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Or, continue the metaphor. Take careful aim?

However you should ALSO expand it a bit. Your nursery has bullet resistant glass and steel lined walls... So maybe you do have time to consider your response.

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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
Move?

The whole state of Israel pick up and move? Where, exactly?

Are you proposing ethnic cleansing of Jews from Israel, or just lost in the metaphor?

quote:
Put up a wall?
They did that. Glad you're OK with that. The wall did reduce casualties.

quote:
Find out why your neighbor is shooting at you?
He wants you to move or die. And historically you've moved before to get away from folks who wanted to kill you. One of the reasons you moved here was that you were promised a right to be able to defend yourself here. You'd have no such right anywhere else.
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velcro
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km,

I really did look at the other 16 things. They are all instructive on how we got to this situation, and how to move forward in the future.

But as far as what Israel is doing at this exact moment, the quote I gave is the focus. Everything else is a second order consideration until the man on the balcony puts down his gun.

So if you can't move, and you can't build a wall, please tell me what you would do different than what Israel is doing.

Israel is taking careful aim. Look at the Hamas manual - even they acknowledge that.

As far as time - as long as your kids never, ever leave the bunker, they might be safe. Maybe. How many years do you spend trying to get the man to put down the gun?

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kmbboots
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I don't know? How long do you stay living under occupation? The problem I have with the balcony analogy is that it presumes that the guy on the balcony just started shooting for no reason. It gives no context for why the guy on the balcony is willing to risk himself and his child. Until that is at least addressed you are going to be shooting children on that balcony forever.
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D.W.
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I worry most that at some point the negative PR that Israel is getting will build to such a level that showing any restraint seems pointless. Then they will do what they feel is needed to be secure and just live with the bad reputation for being perceived as the bad guys. In some ways, I’m surprised it hasn’t already come to that.
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Pete at Home
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quote:
Originally posted by kmbboots:
I don't know? How long do you stay living under occupation? The problem I have with the balcony analogy is that it presumes that the guy on the balcony just started shooting for no reason. It gives no context for why the guy on the balcony is willing to risk himself and his child. Until that is at least addressed you are going to be shooting children on that balcony forever.

It's been addressed: Hamas' stated purpose is ethnic cleansing of all Jews from the area.

Or by "addressed" did you mean knuckling under to the murdering child-shield-using Hamasoid's demands? I must admit that I'm not up on all my hip leftspeak. Still trying to wrap my head around systematic rape and child-murder being "resistance." Is "address" leftspeak for capitulation?

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