Terror in Israel, Death in Gaza, Israeli Occupation and Palestinian Resistance

Israel/Palestine will be a continuing topic covered here……

I am torn watching the news.  I support Israel, but just like with our government here in America, I cannot sit idly by and accept what any government says when there is evidence that shows otherwise.  Yes there is propaganda on both sides of the conflict, but there is also truth that needs to be told.

While I cannot justify Hamas launching rockets into civilian Israeli cities, I also cannot condone Israel bombing homes, schools, mosques, hospitals, etc and defending every bomb dropped by Israel saying simply that “Hamas is to blame because they are firing rockets at Israel and using human shields.”

International law does not say that this is legal either.

The statements used to defend Israel should also apply to Palestinians, and are even wrong when applied to Israel using historical examples.

  • “Israel has a right to defend itself” (but apparently Gaza does not)
  • “No country would tolerate rockets raining down on its civilians” (even though when Iraq was bombing Israel in the Gulf War with (believed to be Gas or Chemical weapons) George HW Bush told Israel not to respond, and they didn’t respond, but took actions to defend it’s civilian population.

For Gulf War, see for example CFR “Friendly Restraint”

The U.S. decision to side-line and restrain Israel was successful due to a balanced strategy of positive and negative inducements. It was carefully crafted and executed by President George Bush and his most senior advisors.

continued

Once the war started and Scud missiles began to fall, the Israeli leadership came under increasing pressure from top government and military officials to retaliate. Some members of the Israeli cabinet, as well as the Air Force chief of staff, lobbied Prime Minister Shamir to take military action.(34) Shamir was also under the pressure of precedent — Israel had never before stood idle while under attack.

BBC News 1991: Iraqi Scud missiles hit Israel

Iraq has attacked two Israeli cities with Scud missiles, prompting fears that Israel may be drawn into the Gulf War.

The American President, George Bush, issued an appeal to Israel to hold back from retaliation for the attack.

Foreign Minister, David Levy, told journalists no decision had yet been taken on whether to retaliate.

“Israel reserves the right to retaliate in the manner and with the scale and method of its own choosing,” he said.

Amnesty International responds to questions about the Israel/Gaza Conflict
Amnesty International 25 July 2014

This applies to Israel

The principle of proportionality requires that an attack must not be launched if it would cause excessive civilian casualties or damage to civilian objects in relation to the concrete military advantage anticipated. 

This is why Iron Dome plays such an important role in the conflict, not just in defending Israeli lives but also in determining proportionality.  If Israel is bombing a weapons cache in a home, hospital, or mosque, claiming that these dozens of rockets would cause harm to Israelis, Iron Dome proves them wrong because it is effective in preventing damage and death in Israel, even if it is not as effective as claimed.

For Iron Dome analysis, see for some examples

Billion Dollar Boondoggle: Israel’s Iron Dome Misfires

Less than two weeks after the US announced yet another $429 million in funding for Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system (which had already gotten over $900 million from the US), the system malfunctioned badly on Tuesday, resulting in the firing of two interceptor missiles by the system. The mishap frightened citizens in Eilat, where the incident took place around 7:30 am. Iran was quick to note the event and picked up on an important point: initial reports inside Israel claimed another “success” from the Iron Dome system, saying three rockets were incoming to Eilat and two of them were destroyed. The report later was withdrawn and the firing was blamed on an accident.

As Debunking Continues, Congress Pushes for US Contractors to Profit Off Iron Dome

With more rockets now being fired fired from Gaza and Israel responding by massacring Palestinians who have no escape, the Iron Dome system is getting renewed attention. And as with much in the Israel-Palestine situation, there is the propaganda we see in much of the main press and then there is the stark reality behind it that is vastly different.

Writing in The Atlantic, James Fallows noted a week and a half ago how the Washington Post had swallowed the propaganda completely, putting up the headline ‘Israel’s “Dome’ changes the fight”

No one wants Israelis to die (other than Hamas) but the fact that Israelis are not being hit by rockets does affect what the world sees.  If Israelis were dying in larger numbers (besides IDF soldiers who are in Gaza) then the proportionality and justification would be easier to say that the bombing in Gaza was worth it, even with higher deaths in Gaza than in Israel.

This applies to Hamas

Firing munitions which cannot be precisely aimed at military targets, such as artillery and mortars, into densely populated residential areas does not comply with the obligation to take all feasible precautions, even if they are aimed at  military targets located in these areas, and would constitute indiscriminate attacks. 

This applies to Hamas AND Israel 

co-locating military objectives in the vicinity of densely populated civilian neighborhoods. This means the parties should avoid endangering civilians by storing ammunition in, and launching attacks from, populated civilian areas.

This applies to both Hamas and Israel, as Hamas places bombs in civilian buildings, and Israel has its army headquarters in downtown Tel Aviv, as well as the argument that “every Israeli is obligated to serve in the military, and is therefore a military not civilian target.”

This is from a Democracy Now! interview with Israeli Army Reservists who refused to fight

continued from Amnesty International

In addition to the points listed above, Israel continues to have obligations as the occupying power and as a party to the conflict during the hostilities, including ensuring the welfare of the population of the Gaza Strip and adhering to the prohibition on collective punishment.

The Daily Show explains Iron Dome and retaliation in Israel from 2012
November 26, 2012
http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/sk307z/conflict-in-the-gosling-stripped

“The conflict started last week when Hamas fired rockets into Israel, although it was retaliation for the killing by Israel of a Hamas leader, which was retaliation for the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit, which was retaliation for expanding settlement building, etc etc”

See Also 
In Gaza, Who is a Civilian? 2009

A Glance at Israel’s Blood Soaked History in Gaza 2014

The Long History of Gaza’s Tunnels 2014

In the long history of conflict in Israel, it is never as easy as “take the government at its word.”  The media is full of defenders of Israel no matter what they do.  But as Rula Jabreal said regarding the larger context of the current conflict

“What do you think is happening?” they will tell you, “Well, Israel was minding its own business. The Palestinians started shooting missiles out of the blue.” This is not the reality. This is not what’s going on. And the context of this is what’s leading the public opinion to support unconditionally Israel. And politicians will do what’s popular, not what’s right. We need to do what’s right. We, in the media, have a mission. Whether it’s MSNBC, Democracy Now!, CNN, we have a mission. We are truth tellers, and we can shape public opinion to protect public interest.

Explaining the larger context Rula said that

this policy with Gaza has been failing for the last eight years. We had six bombardments in the last eight years, and this did not topple Hamas and did not limit, weaken Hamas. Actually, it empowered more and more Hamas. And moderates like myself—and, for me, Hamas is the ultimate liability for the Palestinian people—but this did not empower moderates. Moderates have been telling Israel over and over, “We want a peace deal. We will agree on most conditions that you want.” And as Gideon Levy said in this venue, in this same venue, the problem with our policy, that we want to keep the status quo. That means military occupation in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and Gaza under siege.

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