According to UN reports the IDF did exactly the same thing using palestinian civilian families as shields by forcing them to stay in houses that they occupied so as to reduce risk to their soldiers so dont be so bloody hypocritical. Neither side has the moral high ground but this time the world is beginning to realise this at last. Livni's father was a terrorist and involved in the bombing of the King David Hotel I believe that left 91 people including women dead. He would be really proud of her achievemnts in Gaza!
Yahya, I have only one thing to say to this. Three months ago an Israel Lieutenant Colonel was arrested and sits in prison for shooting a Palestinian prisoner in the toe with a rubber bullet, something very painful. If any of what you cite is true, Israel will investigate and those responsible will be punished. That is the hallmark of Israeli democracy. The numbers you cite come from the Palestinians, and the main thing wrong with them is that nobody has yet had a chance to investigate, so it is clearly numbers that somebody has drawn from their sleeve. Itallian journalists who have made the rouds of Gazas hopitals claim it to be a wild exaggeration, with large numbers of empty beds, and put the number of dead at 400-500. Israel disagrees with this, and puts the number at close to the Palestinian claim, but that about two thirds of the dead were Hamas fighters. Also Israel is doing something it has never done before, and compiling a list of names of all the dead (or as many as they can find), so that there can be a realistic accounting. Certainly a large number of civilians died, and that is heartbreaking, but blaming Israel when Hamas broke some six international laws in using civilians as human shields is disingenuous. It must be clear that if Hamas wasn't firing on Israelis from schools hospitals etc, cilians simply would have died. even as I write this the Hamas leadership is cringing in bunkers under Gaza's main hospital. It is clear that Hamas is prepared to fight to the last Palestinian, and that's where the major problem lies.
As to successes, the rockets have stopped as they did in the north from Hezbollah ever since that incursion. That was the purpose, and that was achieved. Israeli civilians are safe and can go about their business. With the rockets stopped and aid coming through the borders, the Gazans can get on with rebuilding, and if there are no further attacks there is no reason that there cannot be a peaceful coexistence as there once was.
I would hope that there will be Palestinian elections organised in the near future, and would hope that the Palestinian seize that opportunity to get rid of Hamas, who led them into these tragic events with its implacable desire to destroy Israel, and they may choose representatives who actually have their interests at heart, and will be prepared for two nations sitting side by side in peace and harmony. That is certainly my dream, and that of all the Israelis I know ... and there are very very many.
Basil, I don't think that it's the fault of the Palestinians or the Arabs, but I do think that Hamas is so single-minded in its desire to destroy Israel that it really doesn't care about Palestinian lives or suffering. Like a single-minded hunter hunting a lion that tries to get away, this hunter cries foul when the lion finally has no choice but to turn on him to protect itself.
I firmly believe that were it not for terrorist groups there would have been peace a very long time ago. In the early 1970s Israel tried to have talks with West Bank mayors as the only elected representatives, as opposed to the PLO, a terrorist group still committed to Isrsael's destruction. When 3 mayors finished up dead and the mayor of Nablus with his legs blown off by a car bomb, there was no alternative but to talk to the PLO ... and the rest is a very sad history. Palestinians spiralled quite qickly from an enviable lifestyle ... I guess that's all just history, but the par in lifestyle is heartbreaking, and one has to wonder exactly what good these terrorist groups (9 terrorist groups including Fatah, Hamas, PLO, Islamic Jihad, PFLP, DFLP etc make up the PA) have brought the Palestinian people. All I see is grief and heartache for both Palestinians and Israelis.
There is much in what you say, Basil. Many oppressed people reacted with violence as you say, but where are most of them now? Contrast that to Ghandi in India who chose peace and achieved so very much more. Sabra and hatilla is clearly your view, and not shared by the Kahan commission who investigated and found that nobody knew there was a massacre going on. The Phalange had said they would clean out "fighters", it was their country Lebanon, and there was no reason to doubt them. The wisdom is entirely in hindsight.
Yes Begin did want to hold onto Judea and Samaria, and Barak offerd Arafat 95% of the West Bank and was not only refused, but walked out on with no counter offer. And Sadat refused to accept Gaza.
Basil, you conveniently ignore Hamas' stated aim to not only destroy Israel, but to kill Jews worldwide. The blowing up of the Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires, for example, in which over 80 died, was carried out by Hamas in conjunction with Islamic Jihad, another member of the PA. Hamas is implacable in their determination to destroy Israel. It's a religious imperative for them that they're prepared to die for. Even the lion can say nothing to deter the hunter determined to hunt him.
In your version of events, you ignore history, Palestine was partitioned very fairly after WW1 amongst its residents (and that word includes the Jewish residents). Just so I make it very clear, we are not talking about privately owned Palestinian land. The land the League of Nations allocated was the 70% of Ottoman public lands that now belonged to nobody. It is that great majority of land that ultimately defined nations, and Syria, Lebanon, and Iraq were formed at the samre time. Transjordan was the Palestinian share (80% of Palestine) that was formed at that time too. The problem lay with Arab inability to accept that Jews were entitled to any share, or to self-determinattion at all. This is still voiced in article 31 of the Hamas Charter that only "Under the shadow of Islam it is possible for the members of the three religions: Islam, Christianity and Judaism to coexist in safety and security".
We can debate the meaning of history till the cows come home. I guess the bottom line is, Basil, that you must decide whether Jews have the same right to self-determination as Palestinians. If you think not, then we have little left to discuss. If you think yes, then we can both agree that peace can't happen as long as Hamas, who believes that Jews don't have that right, and that Israel must go so that Jews can be a minority in a Moslem society, has any say.
That was more than one thing Mick!! I hope the rockets have stopped as they were useless anyway! And wrong! However it will not be long before they are back if Israel thinks it is business as usual. Live the good life while keeping Gaza a concentration camp. If the crossings are not opened pdq, Hammas will be back to business as usual and you are dumber than I think if you dont realise that, It was Abba Evan who said 'You dont make peace talking to your friends, you make peace talking to your enemies so if you wont listen to me, listen to your own wiser heads and keep an eye open for Obama'snew ME Envoy too. Hamas is not going anywhere soon. The Stern Gang did not nor the Mau Mau in Kenya, equally nasty people who became governments eventually. You cannot make peace by imposing the government YOU like on a people. It dont work that way Mate.
I am not sure there is enough lad left for a 2 nation solution unless you can persuade Egypt to give Sin'ai to add to the few sq meters Israel has left them!
Hi Yahya, what exactly do you mean by "open crossings"? If you mean allowing humanitarian aid and food through, that's something Israel and Israelis would agree with. One of the problems has been Hamas bombing crossings as soon as they opened. But, if that's what you mena, then I definitely agree. If you're talking "open borders", it's Israel's border, and Israel's right to decide who and what will pass into Israel, just as every autonomous state does.
Hamas will be back as usual anyway, Yahya, did you miss the part where they are wholly fixated on destroying Israel to the point where what happens to the Palestinians doesn't matter to them at all. It is both their ideology and their religious belief. You have read their Charter and listened to their speeches? There are limitations to what Abba Rban said. Neither he lion nor the deer can make friends with the hunter, because it is the hunter's singlemende aim to kill them. Israel will only be able to interact with Hamas when Hamas realises that Israel is going nowhere, and stops its nonstop attacks. I'm not holding my breath. Hamas' parent group, the Moslem Brotherhood has been terrorising Egyptians with the same aim of bringing Egypt down. They even killed that wonderful peacemaker Sadat.
In today's news from AP, Osama Hamdan, Hamas representative in Lebanon, and apparently very close to top leader Khaled Mashaal, just called on Abass to abandon all peace talk and join the "armed struggle" as the only path to reconciliation.
Basil, a charter describes what you stand for, what you live for, and what you're prepared to die for. The Hamas charter describes it all too well. Forget Israel for one moment, are you aware that Hamas is an Islamist group whose only interest is to dismantle nation states throughout the Middle East and replace it with one single Moslem nation. They have already said that if the Palestinians achieve a state, one of the first things they will do (after destroying Israel and killing Jews all over the world) is to dismantle it. Together with Islamic Jihad, Hamas blew up the Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires.
Perhaps most importantly from a Palestinian perspective, a few weeks ago Hamas introducd Islamic hudud punishments to the Strip, from amputations and stonings, to crucifixions and hangings. Is this really the state people want for the Palestinians. Personally, I think it's time new elections were called so that the people could either renew the Hamas mandate, or make the choices for representatives that they really want.
Hi Basil, Israel's offer at Taba was rejected. It represented the most Israel would give, making further discussion pointless. Events overtook discussions anyway, with Hamas elected, and the Palestinian camp split, there really wasn't, nor is there currently, anybody who speaks for the Palestinians. Hamas, "the government" has already pronounced that it will not honour any deals made in previous discussions, and has just called on Abass to abandon talks and join the Jihad against Israel.
Until the Palestinians have a leadership that has a modicum of interest in peace, that Israel can trust to keep its word, talks are pretty pointless. When I looked at Anwar Sadat, I saw a man to trust, a man who would keep his word, and I wasn't wrong. The same was true of King Hussein. After Oslo allowed the PLO to return from Tunisia, they invited almost every single terrorist group who had ever killed Israelis to be part of the Palestinian Authority. Even Naif Hawatmeh was coaxed out of Syria. I don't understand why. Perhaps you can explain it to me. How did 9 groups totally dedicated to Israel's destruction leading the Palestinians add anything to the peace process started at Oslo. It certainly surprised the Israelis, I can tell you that.
Who is Israel to trust? The Palestinian government that kowtows to Mashaal?
Mick... I have only one thing to say to you about your Lt Col sitting in jail... Lt Caley & My Lai. And as I wrote earlier, as long as apologists for Israel allow people to use lies to defend Israel's actions; you can not be an instrument of peace.
As long as Israels and it's apologists base war on lies; the whole policy is a lie.
Regarding elections; the world is hoping Israeli's will vote for people of peace and honor instead of those who rush to killing civilians because as has been noted here; it's the easiest way to diplomacy.
I have had some contact with mepeace for quite some time and it is obvious that there are several people who are only interested in disrupting any attempt at talk of peace. Israel has actively avoided all attempts for a peaceful solution as it is not 'politically correct'. Any Israeli politician who starts to talk peace is sidelined in one way or another. The hard liners have their agents, paid or otherwis, on every peace site making sure that they will not be successful. Sideline the hardliners and only spend time in discussions with people like this.