Gaza situation discussion

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by hongi » 2008-12-30 07:48pm

"Disproportionate force" is often mentioned in news reports and articles, but what would be "proportionate" force in this situation?
That sort of thinking is odd to me...if disproportionate force is necessary for victory, what military (especially one as stone-hearted as Israel) wouldn't use it?

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Coyote » 2008-12-30 11:20pm

Fuck, they hit Beer-Sheva? My "Israeli home town"?

Where did the rockets land? MSNBC said they hit Beer-Sheva...
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Axis Kast » 2008-12-30 11:41pm

According to News 6 in the Wilmington area, the attack on Beer-Shiva resulted in destruction of a kindergarten building, unoccupied at the time.

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by MKSheppard » 2008-12-30 11:53pm

The ideal "proportionate force" would be to hook up a MRLS battalion to a computer taking inputs from a firefinder radar. If a rocket is detected coming from Gaza or the West Bank, the computer slews the launchers and launches a single rocket back at the launch point.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by The Grim Squeaker » 2008-12-31 12:01am

Coyote wrote:Fuck, they hit Beer-Sheva? My "Israeli home town"?

Where did the rockets land? MSNBC said they hit Beer-Sheva...
Haaretz wrote:Gaza rockets strike Be'er Sheva for 1st time; 34 treated for shock
By Yanir Yagna, Haaretz Correspondent, Haaretz Staff and News Agencies
Tags: Gaza, Hamas, Israel news

Two Katyusha rockets fired by militants in the Gaza Strip exploded Tuesday evening in Be'er Sheva region, 37 kilometers from the coastal territory. This was the furthest point eastward which a Palestinian projectile has managed to reach.




One of the rockets on the area struck a children's playground.
Nobody was wounded in the attack, but 34 people were treated for shock.

More than 40 rockets at the western Negev on Tuesday, including one which reached the vicinity of the Bedouin town of Rahat and Ofakim, both west of Be'er Sheva.


Hamas took responsibility for the Katyushas aimed at Be'er Sheva, and its military wing said last night that it plans to fire at Israeli targets that are even further away as long as the IDF operation continues.

Rockets exploded continuously throughout the day, with a number striking the northern Negev cities of Ashkelon and Ashdod. One person was lightly wounded when two rockets exploded in Ashkelon in the late evening.

A rocket fired in the afternoon scored a direct hit on a kibbutz dining hall in the Sha'ar Hanegev Regional Council. There were no injuries in the incident, but the building sustained severe damage.

Channel Two television reported earlier Tuesday that rockets exploded in the western Negev towns of Kiryat Malachi and Kiryat Gat.

A Qassam rocket struck a home in the western Negev town of Sderot on Tuesday. One person sustained minor shrapnel wounds, and three others suffered shock.

No occupants were at home when the projectile slammed into the house. Another Qassam rocket hit the backyard of a Sderot home, while five others exploded in open areas near Sderot.

Other rockets caused some damage to hothouses in the Eshkol region.

The attacks came after Palestinian rockets had killed three Israelis on Monday, and wounded nine more, one of them critically.


Home Front Command chief praises civilian response

The head of the Israel Defense Forces Home Front Command, Yair Golan, convened a press conference in the western Negev town of Ofakim on Tuesday.

Golan praised the resiliency of western Negev residents who have absorbed rocket barrages and the alertness displayed by municipal workers in responding to the citizens' distress.

Golan also warned civilians to take greater heed of Home Front Command directives instructing those within range of Palestinian rocket fire to enter bomb-proof shelters immediately upon hearing the warning sirens.

"These directives save lives," Golan told reporters. "The civilians who were killed in Netivot and Ashkelon - if they had followed the directives perhaps they would have saved their lives. I call on all civilians in the south not to enter a state of complacency and to understand that the directives are a question of life and death."


Husband of rocket fatality expresses shock at loss

The husband of one of three Israelis killed Monday in rocket attacks from Gaza said Tuesday that although strikes had been expected in Ashdod, more than 30 kilometers from Gaza, the family never thought that it would affect them in such a tragic manner.

Irit Sheetrit, 39, was killed after she got out of her vehicle when she heard the early warning siren, and sought shelter in a bus stop on the side of the road. She sustained critical shrapnel wounds, and later died of her injuries. Another passerby who also ducked into the bus stop for shelter is in serious condition.

"We are stunned, it came as a bolt from the blue," Herzl Sheetrit told Army Radio. "All the family is together and we can't digest what has happened. We are comforting one another."

"There was a sudden blast and I heard screams," Sheetrit said. "When I arrived at the site of the rocket strike, the ambulances had already evacuated her."

Irit was laid to rest Tuesday at the cemetery in Ashdod. On Tuesday afternoon, the funeral also took place for Sergeant Major Lutafi Nasraladin, 38, from Daliat al-Karmel, who was killed Monday evening by mortar fire on a military base in the Negev.

The third victim of Monday Gaza attacks was named as Hani al Mahdi, a 27-year-old construction worker from the Bedouin village of Aroer, who was killed while working at a building site in Ashkelon. He was fatally wounded by shrapnel from a Grad rocket when he was caught in the open en route to a protected area.

At least 80 rockets have were fired into Israel on Monday. Several of the rockets hit Ashkelon, while others struck Sderot and other rocket weary communities in the western Negev.

Three rockets hit the city of Yavneh Monday evening, the northernmost point a Palestinian rocket has hit to date.
Well, let's see if any foreign media sources bother to point out that so far Bedouin (Arab Israeli citizens) and Palestinians have been affected by the Hammas rocket attacks. Unlikely. And that this is the equivalent for Israel of Manchester or LA being attacked (Beer Sheva is the "Capital" of the Southern 2/3 of Israel with a large population, university and the strongest large economy in that area of Israel. It's also an infrastructure hub).
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by The Grim Squeaker » 2008-12-31 02:22am

BBC wrote: Gaza diplomatic pressure boosted

A concerted diplomatic drive is under way to try to end Israeli air strikes on the Gaza Strip and Palestinian militant rocket attacks.

Both the Quartet of Middle East peace-brokers and EU foreign ministers called for an immediate ceasefire after urgent talks on Tuesday.

The Arab League is due to meet in Cairo later to discuss the crisis.

A possible 48-hour ceasefire plan was raised during a four-hour Israeli leadership meeting late on Tuesday.

Reports of that meeting - attended by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and his defence and foreign ministers - suggested any pause in fighting would be accompanied by a threat to send in ground troops if rocket fire into Israel continued.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner had proposed the 48-hour truce to allow aid in to Gaza.

Fifth day

Israel's cabinet will consider all its options at a meeting later, says the BBC's Mike Sergeant in Jerusalem.

While the ceasefire request will be discussed, so too will the possibility of widening and deepening this campaign, our correspondent says.

An extra 2,500 reservists have been called up by the Israeli army and, on the frontier with Gaza, preparations continue for a possible Israeli ground operation.

A statement by Hamas has warned any invasion would see "the children of Gaza collecting the body parts of Israeli soldiers and the ruins of tanks".

For a fifth day on Wednesday, Israeli missiles pounded tunnels along Gaza's Egyptian frontier, as well as an office of former Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh and other buildings linked to his Hamas movement.

Some 374 Palestinians have died in Israeli air strikes since Saturday; four Israelis have been killed by rockets fired from Gaza, which is under Hamas control.

Israel has warned it is ready for weeks of action to end the threat posed by rockets, one of which on Tuesday landed in Beersheba, 46 km (28 miles) from the Gaza Strip.

The UN says at least 62 Palestinian civilians have died since Saturday, while humanitarian agencies say they are struggling to contend with both the air strikes and a lack of medical and food supplies.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is expected to travel to Paris on Thursday for talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Ground operations?

The Quartet - which comprises the US, UN, EU and Russia - called for a ceasefire "that would be fully respected" and for all parties to address "the serious humanitarian and economic needs in Gaza", a UN spokeswoman said.

The EU foreign ministers echoed that call following a meeting in the French capital, Paris.

A separate proposal from Egypt and a number of other Arab countries has called on Israel to reopen its border with Gaza.

The US - Israel's strongest ally - has called for a long-term solution beyond any immediate ceasefire. But the White House reiterated that the onus was on Hamas to act first to end the violence.

Mr Olmert said earlier that the air assault on Gaza was "the first in several stages" of operations against Hamas.

Israel has massed forces along the boundary with Gaza and has declared the area around it a "closed military zone".

Correspondents say the move could be a prelude to ground operations, but could also be intended to build pressure on Hamas.

The Israeli air strikes began less than a week after the expiry of a six-month-long ceasefire deal with Hamas.

Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005 but has kept tight control over access in and out of Gaza and its airspace.

Story from BBC NEWS: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/ ... 805558.stm
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by weemadando » 2008-12-31 02:36am

The IDF started a YouTube channel to get more of their side out there.

They are winning the media war hands down this time.

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by The Grim Squeaker » 2008-12-31 02:54am

weemadando wrote:The IDF started a YouTube channel to get more of their side out there.

They are winning the media war hands down this time.
A twitter account too (complete with a Twitter press conference):
twitter.com/israelconsulate

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by [R_H] » 2008-12-31 06:13am

Found and interesting articleon ynet. (bolding done by me)
Six clichés you are likely to hear constantly in the coming days, and why they’re false

1) “Israel’s response in Gaza is disproportionate”


Since when is war a mathematical equation? The basic objective of any warring party is to inflict maximal damage on the enemy while minimizing its own casualties. Was there anything proportional about the US war in Iraq? Or about Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait for that matter? Or about Russia’s recent war against Georgia? Israel is doing exactly what any other country has done in the past. This is how war works.

Would a British citizen complain that “too few” British soldiers are being killed in Iraq? Probably not.

And on a more elementary note: Palestinian military inferiority is not an indication of moral superiority. Palestinian insistence on resorting to violence despite this military weakness is an indication of poor judgment perhaps – yet it is by no means an indication of moral virtue. Being militarily weak does not make the Palestinians right.



2) “But Qassams don’t kill”


Actually, Qassams do kill. Not too often, perhaps, but dozens of Israelis were killed and wounded by rocket fire in recent years. Moreover, at this time the Palestinians are firing long-range Grad rockets with even greater explosive power. Such rockets killed 2 Israelis Monday.

Yet beyond the casualty figures, the psychological damage caused as result of living under an ongoing rocket threat is immeasurable. Would anyone in the West agree to have their family live under constant rocket attacks and be regularly woken up by sirens in the middle of the night? Would anyone living under such conditions appreciate being told that “these rockets don’t kill?” Probably not.


3) “It’s all because of Israel’s siege. Israel should allow aid into Gaza.”


Israel has allowed goods into Gaza regularly throughout the “siege”. Palestinians have been able to complement these deliveries with supplies smuggled through hundreds of tunnels (of course, they would likely be able to bring in even more food had they not used the tunnels to smuggle in missiles.).

The day before operation “Cast Lead” got underway, Israel allowed dozens of trucks carrying aid to enter the Strip. On Tuesday, another 100 trucks – double the normal number –are expected to enter Gaza after Defense Minister Barak approved the move.

In short, Israel is allowing aid into the Strip (but guess who has kept Gaza crossings mostly closed thus far? That’s right, Egypt.)


4) “Why didn’t Israel just agree to renew the Gaza truce?”


First, what truce? Terror groups continued to fire rockets throughout the lull, even if somewhat infrequently, and even if the world didn’t seem to care too much. Nonetheless, Israel clearly declared that it is interested in extending the truce. Our top officials made it clear time and again.

Yet Hamas leaders clearly declared that the truce has ended on December 19th, and proceeded to bombard southern Israeli communities with dozens of rockets daily. In short, it is no wonder that even the Egyptians are blaming Hamas this time.


5) “But Hamas was elected democratically – why can’t Israel accept it?”


Although Hamas won the Palestinian elections, it took Gaza by force, in the process hurling rival Fatah members down to their death from high-rises and shooting others in the knees with the declared aim of maiming them. Some democracy.

In any case, Israel in fact “recognizes,” de facto, Hamas’ rule in Gaza, which is precisely why it is justified in attacking the Hamas-ruled Strip, recognizing that it is indeed being governed by a terror entity. Israel did not launch the operation because Hamas is in power there – rather, it did so because Hamas is a terrorist organization that has deliberately targeted civilians with thousands of rockets over the past 8 years.


6) “Israel is targeting civilians”


You mean to say that “one of the most powerful armies in the world” has been bombing Gaza for days, deploying massive air power, dropping hundreds of bombs, and ultimately killing a grand total of 50 civilians or so in the “most crowded place on earth?”

There are two options here: A) The Israeli army is not targeting civilians, or B) Israeli pilots suck. We tend to go with option A.

Indeed, Israel goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties, by deploying precise ammunition and specialized techniques. In fact, nobody in the world does this better than the Jewish State.

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by eyl » 2008-12-31 07:06am

Fingolfin_Noldor wrote:Is there a possibility that Israel might just bomb the crap out of Hamas and just use its ground forces to growl and not invade?
I'd expect limited ground actions, mainly in the launching sites outside the towns and possibly a few short raids, rather than taking and holding large amount of territory - both to hamper Palestinian operations and to make the point that Israel will be willing to send in ground troops despite their preperations.
Sarevok wrote:Sooo how many battalions worth of fresh cannonfodder can Hamas look forward to when the dust settles ?

Imagine airstrikes and artillery wiping out 300 people in your town and the ensuing bloodlust and call for revenge. Palestinians are likely not going to be any more rational in the kneejerk "kill ten of them for each of us" line of thinking. Especially given their past record.
That assumes that the limits on their operations so far have been due to low numbers of recruits rather than limited materiel.
Coyote wrote:Fuck, they hit Beer-Sheva? My "Israeli home town"?

Where did the rockets land? MSNBC said they hit Beer-Sheva...
Looks like I get out just in time then :(

(I lived in Be'er Sheva until last April and worked there daily until about three weeks ago)

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Beowulf » 2008-12-31 08:36am

[R_H] wrote:"Disproportionate force" is often mentioned in news reports and articles, but what would be "proportionate" force in this situation?
Well, it seems that many are of the belief that proportionate force would be Israel collectively pointing at gun at themselves, and pulling the trigger.

Part of the problem with proportionality in the context of this conflict is that Hamas (and other terror groups) has deliberately used the civilian population as shields for their rocket launchers. Civilian casulties are a necessarily a regretable side effect of taking those launchers out. Proportionality does not mean that civilian deaths are always disproportionate. Rather, it's whether the civilian deaths from taking out a military target are greater than it's military value.

In contrast, Hamas does not even attempt to hit targets of military value, but rather lob rockets at cities in general, resulting in nearly exclusively civilian deaths. This is part of the concept of distinction: you should avoid hitting civilian areas with no military targets. Failure to apply this concept constitutes a war crime.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by CJvR » 2008-12-31 08:42am

MKSheppard wrote:The ideal "proportionate force" would be to hook up a MRLS battalion to a computer taking inputs from a firefinder radar. If a rocket is detected coming from Gaza or the West Bank, the computer slews the launchers and launches a single rocket back at the launch point.
Considering that Hamas likes to shoot from civilian buildings and areas that policy would produce a huge non-combatant casualty list in a hurry. Also Hamas, like the Hizbs are not stupid enough to stick around and wait for counter battery fire.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Chardok » 2008-12-31 08:50am

Why doesn't Egypt step in and do something? Can't Israel broker something with Egypt such that Egyptian soldiers man the border between Israel and Gaza and maybe even give Egypt a chance to respond to any attack from Hamas upon Israel - BEFORE the IDF "takes care of business"? The way I see it - Hamas would probably be much more receptive to solders seen as friendly or at least neutral on the borders and their very presence may reign in the threat of attack.

It seems that Egypt's limp-wristed "Ceasefire" agreement did Frick-all to shore up good relations and may have even simply made attacking Israel even easier during the 6 months it was in effect, thus causing Israel's response to be more massive and far-reaching than it otherwise would have been.

PS - Disproportionate my ass.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Axis Kast » 2008-12-31 09:46am

There is an old joke that no Egyptian was ever heard to cry over the lost territory of Gaza.

While the prestige value of a successful peace mission would be high, the Egyptians would have hell to pay coming to blows with the Palestinians. Arabs fighting Arabs? No way.

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by eyl » 2008-12-31 10:05am

Axis Kast wrote:There is an old joke that no Egyptian was ever heard to cry over the lost territory of Gaza.

While the prestige value of a successful peace mission would be high, the Egyptians would have hell to pay coming to blows with the Palestinians. Arabs fighting Arabs? No way.
Arab fighting Arab has happened (see forex Yemen, where Egypt went so far as to use poison gas) but what would Egypt have to gain by patrolling the Palestinians to Israel's benefit?

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Axis Kast » 2008-12-31 10:07am

It's happened, but in the context of Gaza, it would appear to be Arabs fighting Arabs for Israel's benefit. And, in Yemen, Egypt could claim that it was fighting a regime, not a whole people, whatever the truth. In Gaza, it will be much harder to make that distinction -- Israel hasn't been able to pull it off, for example.

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Chardok » 2008-12-31 10:25am

Axis Kast wrote:It's happened, but in the context of Gaza, it would appear to be Arabs fighting Arabs for Israel's benefit. And, in Yemen, Egypt could claim that it was fighting a regime, not a whole people, whatever the truth. In Gaza, it will be much harder to make that distinction -- Israel hasn't been able to pull it off, for example.

My line of thinking in this context is that Hamas fights Israel not only because it is an occupying force, but because Israel is full of not muslims. Were Egypt to patrol the border/police Gaza in a peacekeeping mode - would not Hamas be loathe to attack them at least - and by proxy be loathe to mortar Israel specifically to avoid incurring the wrath of Egypt and potentially lose the goodwill of the rest of the Arab world who has staunchly supported them, by and large, up to this point? (That is - Hamas would be initiating the Arab-on-Arab Violence by Mortaring/rocketing Israel.)

I mean, it isn't as if Egypt hasn't bucked Arab will before; wasn't Egypt the first Arab country to recognize Israel in the first place (their reasons for doing so notwithstanding)?
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Simplicius » 2008-12-31 10:34am

This was discussed on NPR yesterday afternoon. The specific context was the possibility of Egypt easing their border for humanitarian traffic, but the upshot was that Egypt does not want to make the Palestinians their problem - something that would happen if they opened their border with Gaza, and something that would happen if they stepped in to help police the area.

Never mind that Mubarak is hardly in the best of graces with the rest of the Arab world; he would probably prefer to avoid the bad opinion from both within and without that such a move would bring him.

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Axis Kast » 2008-12-31 12:23pm

Were Egypt to patrol the border/police Gaza in a peacekeeping mode - would not Hamas be loathe to attack them at least - and by proxy be loathe to mortar Israel specifically to avoid incurring the wrath of Egypt and potentially lose the goodwill of the rest of the Arab world who has staunchly supported them, by and large, up to this point?
I think that Egypt would quickly come to be regarded as depriving the Palestinians of their means of last resort. HAMAS and others argue that only by violence can they obtain justice. If Cairo plays constable, the net benefit is to Israel if a tidy diplomatic solution cannot be reached. And we all know that there is strong support for an outcome that sees the Jewish state destroyed, not bargained with. That will, as it always has, breed spoilers who make the Egyptians pay in blood and treasure, and who are sheltered by Gazan sympathizers that regard the violence as a juridical and spiritual requirement.

To give you an example, think about the Palestinian, and later the Syrian, willingness to trade make war on other Muslims in Lebanon, and Jordan's past trouble managing East Jerusalem.
I mean, it isn't as if Egypt hasn't bucked Arab will before; wasn't Egypt the first Arab country to recognize Israel in the first place (their reasons for doing so notwithstanding)?
You're certainly right that Egypt is a trend-setter, but for that, Sadat paid with his life. Today, his successors show little interest in Gaza, which is a liability that Egypt can't pay, so to speak.

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Coyote » 2008-12-31 01:35pm

Egypt has serious problems with Muslim Brotherhood and other jihadi activity in its borders (tourist attacks in Luxor, for example) and a many jihadis feel that Egypt is a "Israel appeaser".

Sending Egyptian troops to guard Israel from the Palestinians? Damn, Mubarak may as well call the Muslim Brotherhood himself and ask when would it be convenient to stage the uprising.

Plus, I doubt Israel would really trust the ordinary Egyptian troops to do the job. Many are sympathetic to the Palestinians in general, if not Hamas and the Gazans in specific. Remember, the Gaza Strip is considered a shithole, and this was true well before the whole Israel thing came along. This is like the Compton of the Arab world; not a friendly resort town that was unfairly treated. Nobody wants it, and nobody wants to be responsible for it.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Chardok » 2008-12-31 02:15pm

Why couldn't they spin it as "We will not allow the zionists to continue bombing our muslim brothers. If we move in, they will not DARE bomb us (The Egyptians) But Palestine MUST honor the Cease-Fire (Which is, indeed Egypt's stance.)"

Then everyone wins - Egypt is seen as the savior of thousands in Gaza, and Israel gets a cease-fire that is much more likely to stick - at least temporarily.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Coyote » 2008-12-31 02:42pm

Chardok wrote:Why couldn't they spin it as "We will not allow the zionists to continue bombing our muslim brothers. If we move in, they will not DARE bomb us (The Egyptians) But Palestine MUST honor the Cease-Fire (Which is, indeed Egypt's stance.)"

Then everyone wins - Egypt is seen as the savior of thousands in Gaza, and Israel gets a cease-fire that is much more likely to stick - at least temporarily.
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by Fingolfin_Noldor » 2008-12-31 06:39pm

Axis Kast wrote:There is an old joke that no Egyptian was ever heard to cry over the lost territory of Gaza.

While the prestige value of a successful peace mission would be high, the Egyptians would have hell to pay coming to blows with the Palestinians. Arabs fighting Arabs? No way.
That ain't a joke. They were offered Gaza back in the last war as part of peace talks, but they didn't want it.
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hongi
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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by hongi » 2008-12-31 07:37pm

Why is Obama silent? He commented on the Mumbai attacks didn't he? And made regular addresses about the economic crisis. So what's the deal Mr. Pres-elect?

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Re: Gaza situation continues on third day

Post by The Kernel » 2008-12-31 07:45pm

All of this talk about disproportionate force being used needs to be put into context. Gaza is a defacto part of Israel and retains no sovereignty (with its borders controlled by the IDF) which means that this isn't a war, it's more akin to a police action.

This is exactly the same sort of objections that came up during campaigns by the US military inside of Iraq when we flattened entire cities to get rid of nests of terrorists when we should have been kicking down doors and making arrests. The only thing that Israel is demonstrating by these attacks is that they feel that the lives of the people living in Gaza aren't as valuable as those of the Israeli military who would be at risk doing a proper police action.

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