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Old 01-10-2009, 12:06 PM   #361
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II can't help but wonder how much of this comes down to latent (or perhaps even blatant) anti-Semitism; 2,000 years of institutional anti-Semitism isn't going to evaporate in one event, no matter how atrocious it was. Or how much of it comes down to a cultural bias in favour of "the underdog," even if our "underdog," in this case, are terrorists. Or how much of it is a proxy Cold War between American cultural imperialism (embodied in how the U.S. and Israel are always mentioned in the same breath) and other competing hegemonies. Or how much of it boils down to well-intentioned, but misplaced ideals, where the Palestinians are a revision of the "Noble Savage." Either way, the global response to the Middle Eastern conflict has always seemed very one-sided and amiss to me, particularly considering how both Hamas and even the "moderate" Fatah treat their own citizens, which is grossly intolerant. It's no wonder that, for all the "noble savagery" and "Israeli Nazism" that Israel still gets very real asylum requests from Palestinians stating that they will be killed if they go home.

this is a very good distillation of the various impulses that so turned me of from the European Left, especially in regards to this specific issue.

anyway, for me, the anti-semitism in this issue arises not really out of the direct criticism of Israel -- though the quickness with which many go to the "Jews are the new Nazis" is quite blatant -- but the absolute obsession some have with this issue, certainly in what's known as the "Muslim World" (and just how well are the Palestinian refugees treated in Jordan and Egypt, i wonder), but also in Europe as well. this thread alone has some passionate posters who don't seem to get nearly as upset about any other issue as they do about this one. as i've said in the beginning, there is far worse tragedy in the world, people who live in vastly worse conditions than they do in occupied Gaza since 2005, and yet ... where's the outrage on that? i understand that we can't give equal time to every tragedy for a variety of reasons (why does Sri Lanka not get attention?). but this particular issue seems to be a part of nearly every other issue that comes up.

why?

i can see some of it having to do with the fact that this is "the Holy Land."

but it seems to be much more than that.
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:10 PM   #362
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What a load of tripe. I mean honestly, he starts with a lie (the causality numbers) then gets worse. For all his talk of context, he fails to mention, Israel broke the ceasefire first by killing 6 Palestinians on the 4th of November, and arguably had broken it with the ongoing blockade.



to be fair, you see John freaking Pilgar as any more of a credible source on this issue?
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:38 PM   #363
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to be fair, you see John freaking Pilgar as any more of a credible source on this issue?
Apart from Jenin, Pilgar has usually backed up his claims with investigative work. Of course he's past the 3 anti-Israeli articles you're allowed before your officially an anti-Semite. What particular claim of Pilgar do you take issue with?

The article posted got it's figures wrong in the first sentence, and then went on to talk about context with without actually giving any.
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:46 PM   #364
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Israel: The Bernie Madoff of Countries
Posted by Taki Theodoracopulos on January 07, 2009

Israel can now safely be called the Bernie Madoff of countries, at it has lied to the world about its intentions, stolen Palestinian lands continuously since 1948, and managed to do all this with American tax payer’s money. Every American taxpayer, starting with George W. Bush, has Palestinian blood on their hands thanks to the butchers that run Israel.

Sderot, where a few homemade harmless missiles have landed, was once an Arab village called Najd, whose 600 Arab inhabitants were expelled by Israelis in 1948. Jewish settlers built over the old town in 1951. Having been ethnically cleansed, the Arabs moved to the Gaza Strip, along with some other 750,000 Palestinians who had been removed from their lands—or murdered, like the villagers of Deir Yassin—before the first Arab-Israeli war had even begun.

UN Resolution 194 and Article 13 of the UN Declaration of Human Rights say the people of Najd and Palestine’s other 384 demolished villages must be allowed to go home. But they can’t because Israel confines them in a small stretch of coastal desert that the Egyptian army held onto in 1949 and became a dumping ground for the displaced population of southern Palestine. Ninety per cent of Gaza’s 1.5 million people are refugees and their descendants. Israel won’t let them come back, nor will it let them have a state of their own in Gaza and the West Bank even if they relinquish their right of return.

When Israel pulled out 8000 Israelis from Gaza in 2005, it funded immediately 12,000 new settlers in stolen Palestinian lands on the West Bank. In other words, while neocon Zionists like Frum, Podhoretz and Kristol trumpeted Israel’s withdrawal in the American media (neocon Zionists should be made to register as foreign agents—which they are—of a terrorist state, to boot) Israel was stealing and settling more Palestinian lands.

If Israel hopes to stop rocket fire—probably the most inefficient in history—it is going about it the wrong way. Israeli Goebbelses keep asking Americans what they would do if someone fired rockets at them. Well, let’s ask the same Americans what they would do if most of their towns and cities were cleansed of Americans and driven into little strips along the Mexican border. What would Americans do if the Israelis sealed off one of those refugee strips for 18 months and did not allow any medical or food assistance in or the people out—legally an act of war. I can tell you what Americans would do, and it would be a damn sight harsher and more effective than what the humiliated but not yet defeated Palestinians have been doing. Americans have been totally brainwashed and lied to by Israel’s agents—the neocons and their useful idiots. As soon as the murder of Palestinian children stops, Israel’s PR machine will go into overdrive, just as it did following the killings of Lebanese and Palestinians in 2006. Next time a swaggering oaf like Frum, Kristol or Podhoretz opens their mouth, stuff a bag of rotten eggs into it.

UPDATE: In 2005, Israel removed 8000+ settlers from Gaza. The number of 800, which appeared when this column was originally published, was a typo. We regret the error.
Taki’s Magazine, edited by Taki Theodoracopulos
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Old 01-10-2009, 12:48 PM   #365
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this is a very good distillation of the various impulses that so turned me of from the European Left, especially in regards to this specific issue.

anyway, for me, the anti-semitism in this issue arises not really out of the direct criticism of Israel -- though the quickness with which many go to the "Jews are the new Nazis" is quite blatant -- but the absolute obsession some have with this issue, certainly in what's known as the "Muslim World" (and just how well are the Palestinian refugees treated in Jordan and Egypt, i wonder), but also in Europe as well. this thread alone has some passionate posters who don't seem to get nearly as upset about any other issue as they do about this one. as i've said in the beginning, there is far worse tragedy in the world, people who live in vastly worse conditions than they do in occupied Gaza since 2005, and yet ... where's the outrage on that? i understand that we can't give equal time to every tragedy for a variety of reasons (why does Sri Lanka not get attention?). but this particular issue seems to be a part of nearly every other issue that comes up.

why?

i can see some of it having to do with the fact that this is "the Holy Land."

but it seems to be much more than that.
The UK and especially the US posters have every right to be more up in arms about Israeli actions than anything else. For one the US and the UK are direct enablers of Israeli action, the US especially which directly funds the Israel war machine to the tune of 2.7 billion a year. The UK government being almost directly responsible for the whole mess in the first place. France also has it's fingers in the pie due to its provision of Nuclear weapons.

And at various times (1967 for example) it's suited the Israeli's to publicise their 'plight'. Also the spectre of Isalmist terrorism, and the fact being that one of the main reasons the US is so unpopular on the Street in the middle-east is due to it's unflinching and frankly counter-productive support of Israel all factor into the mix. In short, it's not just another conflict in a far flung land, as Sharon says it's another front on the war on terror (however not in the way he meant).
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:04 PM   #366
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Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
this is a very good distillation of the various impulses that so turned me of from the European Left, especially in regards to this specific issue.

anyway, for me, the anti-semitism in this issue arises not really out of the direct criticism of Israel -- though the quickness with which many go to the "Jews are the new Nazis" is quite blatant -- but the absolute obsession some have with this issue, certainly in what's known as the "Muslim World" (and just how well are the Palestinian refugees treated in Jordan and Egypt, i wonder), but also in Europe as well. this thread alone has some passionate posters who don't seem to get nearly as upset about any other issue as they do about this one. as i've said in the beginning, there is far worse tragedy in the world, people who live in vastly worse conditions than they do in occupied Gaza since 2005, and yet ... where's the outrage on that? i understand that we can't give equal time to every tragedy for a variety of reasons (why does Sri Lanka not get attention?). but this particular issue seems to be a part of nearly every other issue that comes up.

why?

i can see some of it having to do with the fact that this is "the Holy Land."

but it seems to be much more than that.
I think it's the other way around, the racism is usually in media representations of Palestinians as opposed to Israelis (the former are bearded and dress funny, therefore suspect, the latter dress more or less like us, ergo are probably the good guys. Some even have American accents - not surprisingly as some are actually Americans).

But, as apparently we're now in the business of suggesting FYM'rs who are angered at Israel's actions are antisemites, though I doubt if you are a racist, if we really want to talk of racism, some of your posts re Hamas are rather curious. To me saying that Hamas are deliberately getting their own kids killed is a shocking thing to say and potentially a racist slur, and strikes me as worryingly similar to the 'blood libel' slurs that used to be said by anti-semites against Jews. ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blood_libel )

Assuming your complaint that the conflict gets disproportionate attention refers to the media in general rather than this forum, in my opinion, saying that Israel doesn't get a fair hearing in the media is just delusional.
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:30 PM   #367
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What is this even supposed to mean?



Yes, in fact, the UN Human Rights Council has been noted as such too, on the basis of its disproportionate emphasis on Israel, especially considering the slap on the wrist they have given other human rights offenders that are not under debate.

United Nations Human Rights Council - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia



It's funny how much of this echoes what I've been saying all along:

That Israel does not deserve a free pass on criticism, but the sheer lack of a balanced response is downright appalling.
Let me put it this way. Let's say there is an office where, for the most part, there are harmonious relations, except for one employee. This employee, according to his colleagues, consistently creates problems by bullying other staff members and ignoring the rules that others try to abide by. Well then, isn't it at least worthy of consideration that the person the other employees say is causing the the problem is, in fact, the source of the problem?
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:34 PM   #368
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Let me put it this way. Let's say there is an office where, for the most part, there are harmonious relations, except for one employee. This employee, according to his colleagues, consistently creates problems by bullying other staff members and ignoring the rules that others try to abide by. Well then, isn't it at least worthy of consideration that the person the other employees say is causing the the problem is, in fact, the source of the problem?
This could be the silliest post in the thread.
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:36 PM   #369
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This could be the silliest post in the thread.
Why?
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Old 01-10-2009, 01:41 PM   #370
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Why?
Because there's not just one employee causing problems in this office, so the comparison/analogy just does not strike me as apt. This office has never been harmonious; I, sadly, am sure that it never will. I literally mean never.

And, to be fair, let me add that heretofore, while I might not completely agree with your perspective on this, I've certainly understood where you and others landing on your side of the argument are coming from.

Re: anti-semitism. I think that Europe and other parts of the world continue to suffer from it, mostly in latent form, as opposed to blatant. I base this on my own travels, reading and first hand accounts from friends (So, that evidence could be readily dismissed, I'm sure, but what else can I go on?). But, it's not something unique to Jews, a cultural/racial/theological bias, and I simply do not think that it's playing a major role in the international community's reaction this time around. Most of my Jewish friends here in the States are irate with Israel (sympathetic to Israel's historic situation but not at all condoning current actions/tactics).

Sorry if my post was antagonistic, didn't mean to be......
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Old 01-10-2009, 02:13 PM   #371
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What is the definition of ownership of land?

To be frank, our modern borders and claims of ownership has always been through the gun. So that has to be considered.

There is also the claim of civilian settlement in a particular locality. That too is also an acceptable criteria.

However, history and politics recognises not civilian settlement as a basis for ownership but the political ownership of the land by the power of the day.

So let us apply these commonly accepted elements in the idea of who's land is it.

1. Palestinians claim it is their land because the Arabs have conquered it in the 7th century.

That is true.

However, the Arabs have only ever held the land for only around 4 centuries (641 - 1099) whereas the Crusaders, Mamluks, Ottomans have collectively held it for 800 years or more (1099 - 1917). Comparatively, the Arabs have ruled it for around 4 centuries, whereas the last 8 centuries has been under non-Arab rule and ownership. Even if we were to break the 8 centuries of so down between the Crusader, Mamluk and Ottoman periods, the Ottoman would have fallen short of just 50 years of continually rulership of the land that is now disputed by Israel and the Palestinians.

The claim that Israelis have taken Palestinian land is untrue. Technically and factually the Crusaders had taken Palestinian land in 1099 (capture of Jerusalem and beginning of the Crusader States).

The Israelis have therefore acquired their current state from:

a) the British (British Mandate and British duh!)
b) Kingdom of Transjordan (Bedouin and Hejazi Arabs of the Hashemite clan)
c) The Republic of Egypt (They are not Palestinians, but a mixture of native and Arab Egyptians)

2. Palestinians claim continual settlement in the land as proof of ownership. Some even claim they are descendants of the ancient Philistines.

Jews have also lived continually in the lands disputed by Israelis and Palestinians even during the Roman diaspora since Jews lived in nearby localities to the area they were banned from. The Israelite/Jewish presence in the land therefore precedes Arab settlement by a comfortable length.
What this means is that Jews have been in the land alongside Palestinians (and before them for centuries)and proves nothing of the sort in terms of "I came here" first rhetoric.

The claim that Palestinians are descendants of Philistine is misleading from an etymological and phonetic point of view.

The ancient Philistines disappeared as a distinct civilisation and people by the time the Romans conquered the region known as Judea or Iudea. This means the Philistines had been extinct as an independent people and a distinct people for close to around 200 years or more before the arrival of the Romans.

Note how the term Palestine had not existed prior to Roman occupation of the land then known as Judea. Also note that the term Philistine has always historically referred to region corresponding to the Gaza strip and further north around the Ashkelon region but never inland to the areas we now know as the West Bank.

The term "Palestine" came to first use after the Jewish rebellions. The term was used as an insult to the Jewish historical memory of settlement in the region by renaming it after their ancient enemy.

There is also no notable reference to a significant Arab population around that time until well after 641 AD.

Moreover, Philistines are not Semitic, their origins are from the Aegean region and not Arabia. Modern day Palestinians are Semitic because they are Arabs.

3. Palestinians claim the land is theirs because the Arabs conqueered it.

But so have other powers in the past and present. SO what is it about their occupation of the land in the 7th century that merits special attention as opposed to others?

4. Palestinians were a majority in the territory under the British Mandate.

They made themselves a majority over the centuries at the expense of others living in the same land. That is the basis of their historical claim. Ok, lets work with it.

The Israeli Jews are now the majority at the expense of the Palestinians...what is the difference, or are the Palestinians special and exempted any objective judgement?

5. It is not right for people to be kicked out of their homes that they have been living in for centuries.

You know what? That is true!

So lets talk about the Jews who were kicked out of Arab lands after the 1948 war of independence or "al-nakhba" to the Arabs. The numbers of Jews expelled matches those of Palestinians expelled from the state of Israel.

Mind you, the Jews that have been expelled from various parts of the Middle East have lived there centuries before the Arabs even arrived there through conquest.

Lets take a step back through time. Jews have lived in places like Mauretania, Numidia, Punic Africa, Cyrene, Misr, Mesopotamia and the Levant for centuries before the Arabs. Don't recognise the name places? Thats because these are the pre-Arabic names for Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria!!!!!

So when the Arabs kicked the Jews out, they were kicking out people who have lived there before they even did!!!!!!

If that is an acceptable thing for the Arabs to do, why should the expulsion of the Palestinians cause them to scream injustice?

Palestinians demand right of return to their homes.

Fair?

Perhaps, but not simple.

What about the Jews right of return to their homes they lived in for centuries preceding Arab rule?

So what is my point?

Think carefully about the history and context of the conflict before naively assuming Israel is the villian in the picture.

Think carefully about what is considered "ownership" and criteria it consists of.

I'm not anti-Palestinian, I support a two state solution. But when Palestinians support organisations that seek the destruction of Israel, it no longer becomes a fight for freedom. It just becomes a plain old conventional war of "who's left standing wins, Jew or Arab?".
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Old 01-10-2009, 02:23 PM   #372
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Originally Posted by Shaizari View Post
What is the definition of ownership of land?

To be frank, our modern borders and claims of ownership has always been through the gun. So that has to be considered.

There is also the claim of civilian settlement in a particular locality. That too is also an acceptable criteria.

However, history and politics recognises not civilian settlement as a basis for ownership but the political ownership of the land by the power of the day.

So let us apply these commonly accepted elements in the idea of who's land is it.

1. Palestinians claim it is their land because the Arabs have conquered it in the 7th century.

That is true.

However, the Arabs have only ever held the land for only around 4 centuries (641 - 1099) whereas the Crusaders, Mamluks, Ottomans have collectively held it for 800 years or more (1099 - 1917). Comparatively, the Arabs have ruled it for around 4 centuries, whereas the last 8 centuries has been under non-Arab rule and ownership. Even if we were to break the 8 centuries of so down between the Crusader, Mamluk and Ottoman periods, the Ottoman would have fallen short of just 50 years of continually rulership of the land that is now disputed by Israel and the Palestinians.

The claim that Israelis have taken Palestinian land is untrue. Technically and factually the Crusaders had taken Palestinian land in 1099 (capture of Jerusalem and beginning of the Crusader States).

The Israelis have therefore acquired their current state from:

a) the British (British Mandate and British duh!)
b) Kingdom of Transjordan (Bedouin and Hejazi Arabs of the Hashemite clan)
c) The Republic of Egypt (They are not Palestinians, but a mixture of native and Arab Egyptians)

2. Palestinians claim continual settlement in the land as proof of ownership. Some even claim they are descendants of the ancient Philistines.

Jews have also lived continually in the lands disputed by Israelis and Palestinians even during the Roman diaspora since Jews lived in nearby localities to the area they were banned from. The Israelite/Jewish presence in the land therefore precedes Arab settlement by a comfortable length.
What this means is that Jews have been in the land alongside Palestinians (and before them for centuries)and proves nothing of the sort in terms of "I came here" first rhetoric.

The claim that Palestinians are descendants of Philistine is misleading from an etymological and phonetic point of view.

The ancient Philistines disappeared as a distinct civilisation and people by the time the Romans conquered the region known as Judea or Iudea. This means the Philistines had been extinct as an independent people and a distinct people for close to around 200 years or more before the arrival of the Romans.

Note how the term Palestine had not existed prior to Roman occupation of the land then known as Judea. Also note that the term Philistine has always historically referred to region corresponding to the Gaza strip and further north around the Ashkelon region but never inland to the areas we now know as the West Bank.

The term "Palestine" came to first use after the Jewish rebellions. The term was used as an insult to the Jewish historical memory of settlement in the region by renaming it after their ancient enemy.

There is also no notable reference to a significant Arab population around that time until well after 641 AD.

Moreover, Philistines are not Semitic, their origins are from the Aegean region and not Arabia. Modern day Palestinians are Semitic because they are Arabs.

3. Palestinians claim the land is theirs because the Arabs conqueered it.

But so have other powers in the past and present. SO what is it about their occupation of the land in the 7th century that merits special attention as opposed to others?

4. Palestinians were a majority in the territory under the British Mandate.

They made themselves a majority over the centuries at the expense of others living in the same land. That is the basis of their historical claim. Ok, lets work with it.

The Israeli Jews are now the majority at the expense of the Palestinians...what is the difference, or are the Palestinians special and exempted any objective judgement?

5. It is not right for people to be kicked out of their homes that they have been living in for centuries.

You know what? That is true!

So lets talk about the Jews who were kicked out of Arab lands after the 1948 war of independence or "al-nakhba" to the Arabs. The numbers of Jews expelled matches those of Palestinians expelled from the state of Israel.

Mind you, the Jews that have been expelled from various parts of the Middle East have lived there centuries before the Arabs even arrived there through conquest.

Lets take a step back through time. Jews have lived in places like Mauretania, Numidia, Punic Africa, Cyrene, Misr, Mesopotamia and the Levant for centuries before the Arabs. Don't recognise the name places? Thats because these are the pre-Arabic names for Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria!!!!!

So when the Arabs kicked the Jews out, they were kicking out people who have lived there before they even did!!!!!!

If that is an acceptable thing for the Arabs to do, why should the expulsion of the Palestinians cause them to scream injustice?

Palestinians demand right of return to their homes.

Fair?

Perhaps, but not simple.

What about the Jews right of return to their homes they lived in for centuries preceding Arab rule?

So what is my point?

Think carefully about the history and context of the conflict before naively assuming Israel is the villian in the picture.

Think carefully about what is considered "ownership" and criteria it consists of.

I'm not anti-Palestinian, I support a two state solution. But when Palestinians support organisations that seek the destruction of Israel, it no longer becomes a fight for freedom. It just becomes a plain old conventional war of "who's left standing wins, Jew or Arab?".
Sorry you can't just come back after 500 hundred years and say now that things have gotten dicey elsewhere, you'll need to piss off and die so we can live here.

The founders of Israel wanted a Jewish state, some because they thought it was their divine right, some because of what happened to the Jewish people elsewhere. As soon there was a critical mass they started a campaign of 'independence', or by it's true name ethnic cleansing. The zionists were very clear on this they couldn't have an Israel with 750,000 Palestinians in it. For a small window before the 'independence' both sides where living in relative peace, it wasn't until the Zionists upped the ante things went to shit.

No prior claim to the land excuses them for their actions.
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Old 01-10-2009, 02:26 PM   #373
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Hamas weren't firing the rockets though it was Islamic Jihad and some Fatah factions. Hamas believe it or not were actually arresting the launchers (don't get me wrong they were letting them go the next day) You saw what happened when Hamas decided it wanted back into the rocket game after the 4th of November.
That's not good enough for me. Your argument seems to be based on how much damage is done. If I was living in Israel it definately wouldn't be good enough. If they seriously punished those guys then that would be something but as you say they didn't.

FOXNews.com - Rocket Attacks Threaten Mideast Truce, Israel Shutters Gaza Crossings - International News | News of the World | Middle East News | Europe News

Quote:
Rocket Attacks Threaten Mideast Truce, Israel Shutters Gaza Crossings
Tuesday , June 24, 2008

JERUSALEM —

Palestinian militants fired three homemade rockets into southern Israel on Tuesday, threatening to unravel a fresh cease-fire, and Israel responded by closing vital border crossings into Gaza.

Israel condemned the attack as a "gross violation" of the truce that went into effect on Thursday. Late Tuesday, it decided to shut the crossings, cutting off shipments of basic supplies that had been increased as part of the truce deal, according to defense officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because the decision had not been made public. There was no word on when the crossings would be reopened.

But signaling it would still honor the truce, Israel said an envoy would soon head to Egypt to work on the final stage of the agreement: a prisoner swap that would bring home an Israeli soldier held by Hamas for more than two years.

Despite the rocket fire, Hamas, the militant Islamic group that rules Gaza, said it remained committed to the truce and urged restraint by all sides.

The endorsement by both sides indicated they each had high stakes in play. Hamas wants to show it can break the Israeli blockade and provide much-needed relief to Gaza's beleaguered residents, while Israel wants to stop the daily rocket fire that has disrupted the lives of thousands of its citizens.

The midafternoon barrage, which lightly wounded two people, capped a day of violence that presented the truce with its first serious test. Just before midnight, Palestinian militants fired a mortar shell into an empty area in southern Israel. And in a pre-dawn raid, Israeli troops killed two Palestinians in the West Bank city of Nablus.

Islamic Jihad, a militant group backed by Syria and Iran, claimed responsibility for the rocket fire from Gaza. Although the West Bank is not included in the truce agreement, the group said the rockets were retaliation for the Nablus raid, which killed one of its area commanders.

"We cannot keep our hands tied when this is happening to our brothers in the West Bank," the group said.


A neighbor said a Palestinian bystander was also shot to death by troops when he opened the door of his apartment during the raid. The Israeli military said the man was a militant killed during a gunbattle with troops.

Hamas accused Israel of provoking the rocket fire but moved quickly to lower tensions and said it would talk to Islamic Jihad to ensure quiet.

"We in Hamas are committed to the calm. We will talk and we will make sure that all of the factions are committed to the calm, too," said spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri.

Israeli government spokesman David Baker called the rocket fire "a gross violation of the calm."

The Egyptian-brokered deal aims to end a year of violence that has killed more than 400 Palestinians, including dozens of civilians, and seven Israelis in a bloody cycle of Palestinian rocket attacks and Israeli reprisals.

In its final stage, Egypt hopes to mediate a deal in which Israel would release Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Sgt. Gilad Schalit, an Israeli soldier captured by Palestinian militants in a cross-border attack in June 2006.

Hamas' larger goal is for Israel to reopen Gaza's strategic border crossing with Egypt. The Rafah crossing has been sealed since the Hamas takeover, preventing the vast majority of Gaza's 1.4 million people from traveling in and out of the area. Israel has said Rafah will open only after the captured soldier returns home.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak held talks Tuesday in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheik, focusing on the issues of the soldier and the crossing. An Israeli official with Olmert's delegation said Egypt gave "assurances" that Rafah would not open without the soldier's release.

Israel has balked at Hamas' demands that some 450 prisoners be released in exchange for the soldier. Israel, which holds some 10,000 Palestinian prisoners, says the list of names submitted by Hamas is full of militants involved in deadly attacks.

After the summit, officials from all sides said Egypt is working to bring Israel and Hamas into proximity talks in the coming days to negotiate the exchange and solidify the truce. In the talks, which could start late this week or early next week, Egyptian mediators would shuttle between Israeli and Hamas delegations in separate locations in the Egyptian capital, Cairo.

In an interview with Israel TV, Mubarak said it would have been "unrealistic" to condition the truce agreement on release of the soldier, as some critics of the agreement demanded.

He said it was more important to stop the killing on both sides. "We must remain optimistic," Mubarak responded when asked if he thought the truce would hold, but warning, "both sides can make trouble if they want."

Israeli officials said the top Israeli negotiator on the prisoner swap, Ofer Dekel, is to travel to Cairo on Thursday. Despite Tuesday's rocket attack, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's spokesman, Mark Regev, said there were no plans to alter Dekel's schedule.

A Hamas official said the proximity talks could begin Sunday, and underlined that its delegation would not be in the same building as the Israelis.

"Our demands are still the same, that the prisoners whose names we handed over to the Egyptians previously must be released," said Osama al-Muzzini, a Hamas spokesman in Gaza.

The cease-fire is meant to avert an Israeli invasion of Gaza, a tiny, impoverished seaside territory of 1.4 million people that Israel evacuated in 2005 after a 38-year military occupation. The deal extends beyond Hamas to all militant groups operating in Gaza but does not include the West Bank.

Israel continues to arrest wanted men in the West Bank, saying the Palestinians have not done enough to control militants there.
Born in Israel: Palestinian Twins Under Rocket Fire from Gaza - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Quote:
Palestinian Twins Under Rocket Fire from Gaza
By Christoph Schult in Ashkelon

When a Palestinian woman gave birth to twins in an Israeli hospital she experienced what it is like to be the target of rocket fire from the Gaza Strip.

One of the Palestinian twins from the Gaza Strip attended by an Israeli nurse.
The humming noise in the sky over Beit Lahia grows slowly louder. It sounds as if the buzzing of a hornet were being amplified by loud speakers in a football stadium. Residents of the Gaza Strip call them "Sannana," or the humming ones, the small unmanned drones that the Israelis use to scan the border region for rocket commandos -- and then to liquidate them with precisely targeted missiles.

Ashraf Shafii has climbed onto the roof his house and is looking across strawberry fields toward the border wall. The smoke-belching towers of the power plant in the Israeli city of Ashkelon jut into the sky along the horizon. His wife is over there in Ashkelon today.

Shafii, a 34-year-old lab technician at the Islamic University of Gaza, glances at his six-year-old daughter. "We were so desperate to have more children," he says. For years, he waited in vain for his wife to bear a son. When she turned 30, the couple decided to get fertility treatment.

Iman Shafii finally became pregnant. During an ultrasound examination, doctors discovered four small embryos. The first died in the fifth month of pregnancy and the second died a few weeks later. Shafii was admitted to the Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City, but the condition of the two remaining embryos became increasingly fragile. "You have to go to Israel," the doctor told her.

Because Israel refuses to engage in any contact with the authorities in Hamas-controlled Gaza, patients turn to private brokers who submit their entry applications to the Palestinian Authority of moderate President Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank city of Ramallah. But it can be a lengthy process.

The Shafiis were lucky. Iman was permitted to enter Israel after only 24 hours. She took a taxi to a spot near the Eres border crossing, and then she was pushed in a wheelchair across the last 500 meters of bumpy ground. She reached the Barzilai Hospital in Ashkelon just in time. She gave birth on Feb. 25, by Caesarean section, to a girl, Bayan, and to the couple's long-awaited son, Faisal.

Iman Shafii, 32, wearing a headscarf and oval glasses, and speaking in a soft voice, sits on a chair between two incubators. Today is the first day she is permitted to hold her babies in her arms. A nurse brings out the boy first, then the girl. As the tears well up in her eyes, Shafii kisses her children on their foreheads. "If the children had stayed in Gaza, they would not have survived," she says.

Her only impression of Israel has been the one she gets on Palestinian television, which usually shows tanks and soldiers, and celebrates attacks, like the recent shooting inside a Talmud school in Jerusalem, as acts of heroism. But now a doctor wearing a yarmulke walks into the room, says "Shalom" and asks her in English how she is feeling.

Dr. Shmuel Zangen, the director of the hospital's neonatal unit, doesn't care who he treats. "As a doctor, I enjoy the privilege of not having to think about it," he says. "It certainly is odd that we take care of Palestinian children while they shoot at us. It's the sort of thing that only happens in the Middle East."

'Not a Just War'

In the past, Shafii saw the Israelis exclusively as perpetrators, but in Ashkelon she is encountering, for the first time, victims of the acts of terror committed by her own people. One of them is nine-year-old Yossi, who is sitting in a wheelchair. A steel frame holds his left shoulder together. It was fractured by shrapnel from a rocket that landed in the city of Sderot. "The people in Sderot are suffering just as we are in Gaza," she says.

There was a sharp increase in the Palestinian rocket attacks after Israel cleared the Jewish settlements in the Gaza Strip in September 2005. The Israeli military counted 2,305 hits last year, and there have already been 1,146 in the first two months of this year. Until now, almost all of the missiles have been Qassam rockets, which are made in the Gaza Strip and have a range of about 12 kilometers (seven miles).

But the breaching of the border fence between the Gaza Strip and Egypt by Hamas in January made it possible to bring in Russian and Iranian rockets with longer ranges. This means that cities considered safe in the past are now threatened. One of them is Ashkelon. On the second day after the birth of Bayan and Faisal, a Soviet-made "Grad" rocket landed on the hospital grounds. "I heard it hit, 200 meters away from me," says Shafii. The neonatal unit was moved to a bunker the next day. "The groups that are firing the rockets are not fighting a just war," says the Palestinian mother, adding that they are not abiding by what the Prophet Muhammad said: that wars may only be waged between soldiers, but not against civilians.

The buzzing drone in the sky over Beit Lahia has flown away to the south. The sound of an Israeli missile striking its target can be heard a short time later. Within a few minutes, there are reports that a member of the group Islamic Jihad was killed.

Ashraf Shafii describes how young, masked men repeatedly set up their rocket launchers under the cover of houses in Beit Lahia. "They shoot at Israeli civilians, which is completely unacceptable," says Shafii. "And they put us Palestinian civilians in grave danger, because the Israelis shoot back."

Why doesn't he object? "They are armed," says Shafii, "and they shoot at anyone who gets in their way."

The father is holding the first photos of his newborn twins in his hands. He is worried about the rockets being fired at Ashkelon. He says that he would never have believed it possible that he could be indebted to the Israelis for anything. "What a confusing situation," he says.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan
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Old 01-10-2009, 02:27 PM   #374
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Originally Posted by Irvine511 View Post
this thread alone has some passionate posters who don't seem to get nearly as upset about any other issue as they do about this one.

why?
I think if you want to imply that some people here are suffering from some form of anti-semitism, you should point them out so we know who is being accused by you.
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Old 01-10-2009, 02:27 PM   #375
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And there was no 'Jewish' people, as a distinct racial subset if we wish to get into semantics. It's a religious affiliation, one which has always accepted conversions, and at the moment with the influx of Russian "Jews" (who are nominally Jewish if even that) makes any racial claim to be that much more spurious. Does conversion to a religion bestow a land claim? And if not any racial claim would be muddied to the point of nonsense by the converts to the religion.
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