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Old 12-30-2008, 11:06 PM   #31
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To financeguy and Muldfeld,

I would like to apologize to you for my harsh words.
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Old 12-31-2008, 10:54 AM   #32
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Somehow I feel indiscriminately firing missiles into civilian residential areas would not be high on my list of possible solutions.
What about simple rockets?

It would be a proportionate response, shoot a few hundred of the unguided things at Palestinian population centers, or maybe send in some suicide bombers for good measure.
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:21 PM   #33
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So Israel attacks Gaza and the news is all over it.

Israel says the reasons for the attacks is due to numerous rocket attacks against them in recent days.

Why were there no reports on this? Does the media only think it is news when it is Israel doing the attacking, or did these attacks just never happen?

Or did I simply miss it?

Someone enlighten me, please.
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Old 12-31-2008, 12:59 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by phanan View Post
So Israel attacks Gaza and the news is all over it.

Israel says the reasons for the attacks is due to numerous rocket attacks against them in recent days.

Why were there no reports on this? Does the media only think it is news when it is Israel doing the attacking, or did these attacks just never happen?

Or did I simply miss it?

Someone enlighten me, please.
300+ people die at once when Israel attacks, single digits die over the last couple years by Hamas attacks. Do you really need to jump to bias to explain this?
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Old 12-31-2008, 01:04 PM   #35
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What about simple rockets?

It would be a proportionate response, shoot a few hundred of the unguided things at Palestinian population centers, or maybe send in some suicide bombers for good measure.
Or perhaps - maybe I'm just batshit crazy - killing civilians isn't the answer??!?
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Old 12-31-2008, 01:19 PM   #36
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Somehow I feel indiscriminately firing missiles into civilian residential areas would not be high on my list of possible solutions.
what would then?
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Old 12-31-2008, 01:21 PM   #37
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300+ people die at once when Israel attacks, single digits die over the last couple years by Hamas attacks. Do you really need to jump to bias to explain this?
Do you really need to jump to conclusions?

I have no bias on this whatsoever. I honestly wanted to know why there is so much coverage when Israel attacks, while you can hear a pin drop when Hamas attacks.

Israel says it is counterattacking due to recent Hamas attacks. Is there any information out there as to the nature of these attacks? Or is Israel making it more than it really is?

And really, does it matter if there are lesser amounts of people dying in one attack vs. the other? It's still an attack.
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Old 12-31-2008, 01:33 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by phanan View Post

I have no bias on this whatsoever. I honestly wanted to know why there is so much coverage when Israel attacks, while you can hear a pin drop when Hamas attacks.
I think it's because random rocket shelling from the Palestinian territories is not unique and goes on relatively regularly (and frequently), but with very few casualties. This is because the areas that are just north of Gaza are not particularly populated, and because the rockets are crude and unguided. I am not sure what the numbers are, but I think that Hamas has killed less than 20 Israelis while in power in Gaza, and something like 2 or 3 in the recent rocketing. Not to say that this is not a tragedy and not to say that because they are crude and ineffective, this is okay, but just due to the way our media works, I don't think they much care to report a handful of stray rockets a week in the Middle East when most of the readership probably doesn't care either at this point.

My best guess, anyway.
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Old 12-31-2008, 01:41 PM   #39
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I think it's because random rocket shelling from the Palestinian territories is not unique and goes on relatively regularly (and frequently), but with very few casualties. This is because the areas that are just north of Gaza are not particularly populated, and because the rockets are crude and unguided. I am not sure what the numbers are, but I think that Hamas has killed less than 20 Israelis while in power in Gaza, and something like 2 or 3 in the recent rocketing. Not to say that this is not a tragedy and not to say that because they are crude and ineffective, this is okay, but just due to the way our media works, I don't think they much care to report a handful of stray rockets a week in the Middle East when most of the readership probably doesn't care either at this point.

My best guess, anyway.
I figured this was the case, but wasn't sure. I'd say you're pretty much on the ball there.

Well, I can understand Israel's frustrations then, but at the same time, they need to find a better way to deal with those attacks than just a straight pounding of Gaza. Time and time again, it just makes it worse.
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Old 12-31-2008, 01:50 PM   #40
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I think it's because random rocket shelling from the Palestinian territories is not unique and goes on relatively regularly (and frequently), but with very few casualties. This is because the areas that are just north of Gaza are not particularly populated, and because the rockets are crude and unguided. I am not sure what the numbers are, but I think that Hamas has killed less than 20 Israelis while in power in Gaza, and something like 2 or 3 in the recent rocketing. Not to say that this is not a tragedy and not to say that because they are crude and ineffective, this is okay, but just due to the way our media works, I don't think they much care to report a handful of stray rockets a week in the Middle East when most of the readership probably doesn't care either at this point.

My best guess, anyway.

It's also because an alarm system exists in those areas. Every time a rocket is fired from the Gaza strip, the alarm is triggered and people have 10-60 seconds to take cover, depends from where exactly the rocket was fired from.
There's a very narrow time gap for taking cover, that's why parents won't allow kids to just play outside. Many homes have a `safe room` with thicker walls etc. there are concrete structure spread out in the towns over there, so people can take cover if the alarm is on when they are outside.

I believe all of this helped to decrease the number of casualties from the numerous attacks in the last 8 years.

Besides that, after each attack many people are diagnosed as trauma victims, many of them are children. There was an intensive care unit in the city of Shderot to treat people who are damaged mentally; I think it got cancelled because of budget issues.
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Old 12-31-2008, 01:59 PM   #41
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Here's some right wing opinions on the current struggles.

Hamas Fantasy Rules by The Editors on National Review Online

Hamas Fantasy Rules
By the Editors


Israel has been extremely dilatory in responding to the aggression of Hamas, but nobody doubted that the day of reckoning would come. Hamas is never going to change its belief that it has a God-given mission to destroy Israel, and the capacity to do so.

Since 2001, something on the order of 4,000 missiles, and the same number of mortar shells, have been fired from Gaza at civilian targets miles into Israel. Since taking power in Gaza, Hamas has split the Palestinians into two irreconcilable camps, with themselves as Islamists and Fatah under Mahmoud Abbas as putative nationalists (albeit with their own jihadist elements). While the latter camp has been negotiating for a peace settlement, Hamas has been preparing openly for the final war its leaders envision, asserting at every opportunity that it will never under any circumstances settle for the two-state solution that most of the world hopes for. The truce Hamas offered was an opportunity to stockpile weapons and undergo training. Hamas interpreted Israeli restraint as evidence that Israel was unable to defend its sovereignty and was therefore actually on the path to defeat and national dissolution.

For Hamas, the decision to resume hostilities carries no political risk. At best, they will kill some Israelis, boast of their heroic stature, and crow that Fatah can no longer claim to represent Palestinians. At worst, they will suffer a mass of casualties and make propaganda out of that, as though they themselves were not responsible for these horrors. Hamas is already cashing in on opportunistic pronouncements by the likes of President Nicolas Sarkozy of France that the Israeli measures are “disproportionate,” or the burbling of Ban Ki-Moon, the ineffable United Nations secretary general, that “violence” is “unacceptable” — as though Israel and Hamas were moral equivalents.

An essential factor in this tragic situation is the readiness of Arabs and Muslims everywhere to take the Hamas fantasy for reality. In Cairo, Damascus, or Tehran, many evidently think it right and proper and normal for Hamas to keep up a barrage of missiles and rockets while Israelis are supposed to accept the punishment, while measures of self-defense on the part of Israel are to be considered criminal. The 2006 spell of fighting between Israel and Lebanon ended without a sufficiently clear-cut resolution, and this has led to the widespread delusion in the Arab and Muslim world that the destruction of Israel is indeed a real prospect.

Israel wants there to be no mistake about that again. At present, its ground forces are in position to complete any mopping up of Hamas military equipment that the air force has not dealt with. The disarmament of Hamas is an essential prerequisite of peace, for unless and until that happens, the Palestinian state must remain stillborn. The Israelis are fighting to free themselves from an unscrupulous opponent, but over and above that, the great hope is that they eventually will be able also to free the Palestinians — not only from leaders who are terrorizing them, but from the delusion that choosing such leaders can lead to anything but ruin.
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Old 12-31-2008, 02:00 PM   #42
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Wrong Story by Michael Ledeen on National Review Online

Wrong Story
The real problem is Iran.

By Michael Ledeen


Everyone in the Middle East knows that the serious component of the Battle of Gaza is all about Iran. The Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak, recently warned that Iran is trying to “devour” the Arab world. Mohammed Abdallah Al Zulfa, of the Saudi Arabian Shura Council, reminded Alhurra’s viewers that “Iran is the big threat in today’s world, supporting all the terrorists from Hamas to Hezbollah to some other terrorists that we don’t know their names yet,” and that “Iran destabilized the region by supporting all the illegal activities and activists such as Hamas.” Ahmed Aboul Gheit, the Egyptian foreign minister, in a press conference in Anakara, ranted against Hezbollah’s leader Hassan Nasrallah, saying that the Iranian-run terror organization had “practically declared war on Egypt.”

So it is not totally surprising that Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman reportedly told the Israelis that Egypt wouldn’t oppose a quick strike designed to bring down Hamas, or that Palestinian Authority chief Abu Mazen blames Hamas, which is largely an Iranian proxy, for the fighting. Israeli opposition leader Binyamin Netanyahu called for “toppling the Hamas rule over the [Gaza] Strip and uprooting the Iranian base there,” which is probably what most Arab leaders want, even as they prepare to denounce Israel at the upcoming Wednesday meeting of the Arab League (the best portrayal of which can be seen in David Lean’s magisterial film Lawrence of Arabia). It is also what the United States should want, instead of pursuing the mirage of a Middle Eastern peace that cannot possibly be accomplished so long as the mullahs rule in Tehran. They will continue their 30-year proxy war against the infidels until they either win or lose, and Israel will always be one of their prime targets. David Horvitz implores us to remember the Iranian connection, and he rightly says that at least some countries might support an action that defeats a major Iranian initiative.

The less serious component of the war has to do with domestic Israeli politics. The current crowd, Olmert/Livni/Barak, is facing an election in a couple of months and has no chance of being returned to office if mortars, missiles and rockets continue to fly into Israeli towns and cities from the Gaza Strip. Ergo, the air attack. There are those who believe that the Israeli Army will soon move into Gaza as well. As the 2006 war against the Iranians’ Hezbollah demonstrated, you can’t destroy a terrorist organization from the air alone, and Olmert/Livni/Barak lost a great deal of public support when they failed to eliminate Hezbollah. They certainly don’t want a repeat of that political debacle.

I would be surprised if the army does invade. These Israeli leaders have been minimalists, and an invasion of Gaza would require both a kind of nerve they have not shown before and the courage to challenge the global community of negotiators (a/k/a appeasers) and thereby risk losing their seat at the big dining-room tables of world capitals. Still, life is full of surprises, and if the air war fails to stop the missile, mortar, and rocket attacks from Gaza (and as of Monday evening, Washington time, they were still flying and still killing Israeli civilians), Olmert/Livni/Barak may feel compelled to take further risks.

Meanwhile, what of the terrorists? Some may be surprised that most of the pictures Hamas has provided to the international media have shown dead fighters, officials, and police, rather than civilians. True, very few civilians have been killed, but that has never stopped Hamas and its ilk from providing photographic “evidence” that later turned out to be phony. The presentation of their own dead is of a piece with their ideology; it is a glorification of martyrdom, part of a broader call to arms, a hymn to the cult of death that inspires the jihad. And the high priest of that cult is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has often spoken of martyrdom as the highest calling (for others, mind you, certainly not for himself). Please do not tell me that this cannot be, since the Iranians are Shiites and Hamas is Sunni; radical Shiites and Palestinian terrorists have been in cahoots for at least 37 years. Hamas gets weapons, training, intelligence, and money from the mullahs in return for doing their bidding. It’s all about Iran, you see.

And please don’t tell me that this only proves the urgency of diplomacy. It proves the opposite. There cannot be peace in the Middle East so long as the mullahs wage war and think they’re winning. All those martyrs are viewed as signs of progress in Tehran.

The Israelis know all this, just as they know that the mullahs are building an atomic bomb destined for Israeli territory. But Israel is a small country, despite the paranoid visions of some Western ideologues who think the Israelis run the world through espionage and lobbying. Iran is more than ten times the size of Israel, and even the most feisty Israeli shrinks from the thought of an open war with Tehran. So they are left to contend with the tentacles of the terrorist hydra, while the main body remains untouched. They may chop off a piece of Hamas or Hezbollah, but it will regenerate and grab them again.

Not that the defeat of Iranian proxies is a small matter. The United States thrashed their proxy, al-Qaeda in Iraq, and in so doing rounded up a considerable number of Iranian military and intelligence officers who were playing their usual role of consiglieri to the jihadis. Some senior Iranians have defected to the West, and the mullahs have still not managed to break the will of the pro-democracy dissidents in their own country, despite a record pace of killing that puts Iran in the running for the world’s leading executioner (they are currently running second only to China, whose population is about 20 times Iran’s).

This bespeaks a profound insecurity. It is the behavior of a regime that knows its people despise it, and, like all such tyrannies, it combines domestic terror with foreign adventure in order to preserve its position. For extras, the Iranian zealots at the top of the oppressive pyramid embrace an apocalyptic vision according to which the Last Days are upon us and the hoped-for coming of the Twelfth Imam will be best catalyzed by global bloodshed and chaos.

Thus, the best Israel can hope to accomplish is to buy time, praying that somehow or other the Iranian regime will fall before the mullahs launch their promised genocidal attack, or that the Israelis will find a way to destroy the atomic weapon before it is used against them, or that the West will, at the eleventh hour, recognize that Iran is a global threat and find a way to thwart it.

It’s a hell of a position to be in, and discussions of tactics and methods in Gaza address only a small part of the problem. The real problem isn’t even being discussed.

—Michael Ledeen is Freedom Scholar at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
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Old 12-31-2008, 02:07 PM   #43
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Some sarcasm from Victor Davis Hanson

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Some Moderate Proposals [Victor Davis Hanson]


1) Request that 50% of Israel's air-to-ground missiles be duds to ensure greater proportionality.

2) Allow Hamas another 1,000 free rocket launches to see if they can catch up with the body count.

3) Have Israeli soldiers congregate in border barracks so that Hamas's random rockets have a better chance of killing military personnel, to ensure it can claim at least a few military targets.

4) Redefine "holocaust" to refer to deaths of terrorists in numbers under 400 to give greater credence to Hamas's current claims.

5) In the interest of fairness, allow Hamas to establish both the date that war is supposed to begin and the date when it must end.

6) Send Israeli military advisers to Hamas to improve the accuracy of their missiles.

7) Take down the barriers to return to Hamas a fair chance of getting suicide bombers back inside Israel.
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Old 12-31-2008, 03:56 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by phanan View Post
Do you really need to jump to conclusions?

I have no bias on this whatsoever. I honestly wanted to know why there is so much coverage when Israel attacks, while you can hear a pin drop when Hamas attacks.

Israel says it is counterattacking due to recent Hamas attacks. Is there any information out there as to the nature of these attacks? Or is Israel making it more than it really is?

And really, does it matter if there are lesser amounts of people dying in one attack vs. the other? It's still an attack.
Oh, I read you asking people to "enlighten" you as sarcasm. There's a general argument made that Israel is the victim of anti-Israeli media bias that never reports the Palestinian attacks, only the Israeli reprisals.

If that was an honest question then mea culpa. Sorry. What anitram said.

I would hope as a ludicrous extreme people would realize that deaths do matter. A militant takes a potshot at an Israeli soldier, killing him. In retaliation, Israel nukes the Gaza Strip. If that response would be inappropriate, then we're just haggling over the exchange rate of Palestinian lives to Israel lives to figure what each side's life is worth.
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Old 12-31-2008, 05:05 PM   #45
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Ezra Klein:
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This blog is on a light schedule today and tomorrow due to various New Years related program activities, but it's worth quickly responding to Jonathan Chait's post on Israel and Palestine. Chait makes a common claim, which is that all analysis of the Israel/Palestinian conflict has to begin from a place of intentionality. "Hamas has a problem with Israel because Hamas believes Israel has no right to exist," he writes. "Israel has a problem with Hamas because Hamas believes Israel has no right to exist. If Hamas lay down all its weapons, Israel would lift its blockade. If Israel lay down all its weapons, Hamas would kill as many Israelis as it could."

There's truth to this. But it can also obscure more than it can reveal. One important disconnect in Israel/Palestine debate is that Israel's supporters tend to focus on what the Palestinians want while Palestine's supporters tend to focus on what the Israelis do. Israel's defenders, for instance, make a lot of Hamas's willingness to kill large numbers of civilians. Palestine's defenders make a lot of the fact that Israel actually kills large numbers of Palestinian civilians.

To make it more concrete, in July, the Israeli human rights organization B'Tselem reported that 123 Israeli minors had been killed by Palestinians since the second intifada began in 2000, compared with 951 Palestinian minors killed by Israeli security forces. Israel's supporters emphasize that the children were not killed purposefully, but were collateral damage of targeted operations. By contrast, Palestinian suicide bombers have targeted children directly. Israelis define their struggle in contrast to the intentions of Hamas. Palestinians define their struggle in terms of the actions of the Israelis.

Without understanding this distinction, it's hard to understand the two sides of the conflict. Hamas survives because Palestinian society is radicalized against Israel. Palestinian society is radicalized against Israel because Israel's operations have devastated their society. Be assured that when Palestinians look at the 1,000 or so children killed by the Israeli armed forces, they do not comfort themselves with the fact that those deaths were accidental. And, indeed, a case can be made that collateral damage from air strikes in dense urban areas are not accidental. They are expected.

Conversely, Chait is correct to say that the Israelis see little hope of negotiation with an enemy that denies their basic claim to existence. They feel rightly threatened by the presence of Hamas, the oppressive reality of terrorism, and the hatred of their Arab neighbors. Israel is far stronger than Palestine, but it judges itself in constant danger.

There's no easy way to bridge the distance between these perspectives. As Aaron David Miller has written, "the prospects of reconciling the interests of an occupied nation with those of a threatened one [are] slim to none." The Israelis see themselves as threatened innocents, not oppressors. They point to the public statements of Hamas, and they are right. The Palestinians see themselves as an occupied people, not aggressors. They point to their death toll and the settlements, and they are right.

There is nothing specifically incorrect in the argument Chait draws. But the intellectual clarity of the distinction is so far from the lived experience from the Palestinians as to be meaningless. He says Hamas would kill more children if they could. The Palestinians say the Israelis kill more children. Which is why Israel's attack on Gaza was so unwise. The Palestinians just watched the Israelis slaughter dozens of children, mothers, and other innocents. Protestations that they deserved it because Hamas threatens to kill Israeli innocents will not make sense to them. And so the battle will continue, with Israel's supporters comforting themselves by looking at Hamas's stated intentions and Hamas's supporters justifying themselves by pointing towards the fresh graves of their dead. I don't know how you reconcile the interests of a threatened nation with an occupied one. But you have to start by recognizing the lived experience on both sides, not just one.
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