Doug's Darkworld

War, Science, and Philosophy in a Fractured World.

Why They Hate Us

with 16 comments

idf_gaza

Ah, a new year and a new war. OK, the Israeli attack on Gaza isn’t a new war, it’s just another chapter in an old war. And what a crappy ugly misunderstood war it is. I have pretty much avoided commenting on the Palestine situation, partly because it is such an unpleasant and controversial subject…but mostly because the general level of ignorance about the topic is almost breathtaking. So, might as well wade into the new year by trying to dispel some of the miasma that drips from the so called news media.

The first thing that is ridiculous about this situation is that it is presented as some sort of conflict between two more or less equal parties, as if the Palestinians had some say in the matter. The West bank and the Gaza strip are Israeli occupied territory, they conquered them in 1967 and have ruled them since. Israel controls their borders, their airspace, their power, their water…everything. Israel has also simply seized much of the West Bank and has built settlements and crisscrossed it with roads and security walls that the Palestinians may not use or cross. The Palestinians have citizenship in no country and live in stateless limbo and grinding poverty completely at Israel’s mercy. Think about that, millions of people born in Israeli occupied territory…and they can’t even get passports.

And the situation in Gaza is far worse. It’s one of the most densely populated strips of land on Earth, completely cut off from the outside world. Most of the population lives in near starvation, medical supplies are almost non-existent, and just in general it is simply an open air prison camp run by Israel. And yet somehow, it’s the prisoners fault that the Israeli’s have unleashed the world’s fourth largest military on them? A military assault that was in the planning stages for months? Yes, Hamas or someone fired some toy rockets at Israel, a stupid and counterproductive thing to do. Of course Israel also violated the cease-fire on numerous occaisions as well as committing other crimes against the people of Gaza…but that’s completely overlooked in the western news.

Let’s discuss the Hamas “rockets” while we are at it. The media makes it seem like these rockets are some sort of fearsome weapon that is a terrible threat to Israel. They speak of “barrages” of rockets, and rockets “raining” down on Israel. In fact, these are home-made rockets with a few pounds of home-made explosive that fly a few miles. Despite firing hundreds of them over the years they’ve only killed and wounded a minuscule handful of people. A single Israeli warplane carries more explosive than every rocket Hamas has ever launched added up. To put it mildly, the Hamas rockets aren’t a threat to Israel, Israel’s response is like machine gunning your neighbour’s home because his kid fired bottle rockets into your yard. To call Israel’s “response” disproportionate is too mild a word.

And I say “response” because this operation has been planned for months. And it has nothing to do with stopping Hamas’s toy rocket attacks. This is first and foremost about Israeli politics. There’s an election coming up and the ruling party was down in the polls, and since Israel is easily the most militant country on Earth, nothing like killing some Palestinians to get votes. It’s working like a charm, they are going up in the polls about a point for every 50 dead Palestinians. Yeah, democracy at work. This was also timed to occur before Barack took office, Israel knew Bush wouldn’t do a thing and now Barack is basically checkmated before he even swears in.

This was also about gutting the Saudi proposed peace plan that was actually making a lot of progress. The Saudis had proposed that all Arab governments would recognize Israel, guarantee peace, and would recognize Israel’s control of Jerusalem in return for Israel returning to the 1967 borders. Phew, close call, but that’s pretty much a dead letter now. And shows pretty much what the Israeli rulers are all about, they don’t want peace, they want all of Palestine for themselves without the people living there.

I should also mention that this attack is guaranteed to fuel anti-Americanism and anti-Israeli extremism everywhere. It won’t hurt Hamas of course, if anything it will make them more popular than ever. Which is why Israel funded and encouraged Hamas from the beginning, Israel desperately  needed extremists in Palestine after the PLO recognized Israel and wanted to make peace.

A a final note, American foreign policy in the Middle East. There hasn’t been one for at least a decade, the US under Bush is simply a cheerleader and sponsor for Israel. What Israel wants and does, the USA supports whole hog. It’s obscene actually because it serves neither the interests of the USA or Israel to simply give carte blanche to whatever the Israelis do. There was a time when people in the Middle East saw the USA as a party who was trying to solve the problems with Israel and Palestine, those days are long gone.

You want to know why Arabs and Muslim’s hate the USA in ever greater numbers? Just turn on the TV and watch the world’s greatest military pounding defenceless Palestinian slums with barrages of  US made and supplied weapons and munitions.

Happy New Year everyone, fasten your seat belts and hang on, 2009 is going to be quite a ride.

(The above image is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It’s not being used for profit and is central to illustrating the post. I think it’s a Getty or AFP image. I just love the dog.)

Written by unitedcats

January 5, 2009 at 9:34 am

16 Responses

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  1. I couldn’t put it better myself. You have detailed the points I missed raising in my discussions with people on this. Some Jewish friends of mine continually spark the discussion. The main thing they say in Israel’s defence is that they are afraid of Iran acquiring a bomb and they want to stop Hezbollah and Hamas who are funded by Iran. Firstly, its not Iran that has nukes, its Israel, some 250+ of them. Secondly, Iran has been taking a defensive posture publicly. They mention iranian protests…Now of course in Iran they will protest the killing of defenseless palestinians, every humane country is – only Iranians sometimes yell ‘death to america’ ‘death to israel’ which is their way of saying stop killing us and our allies with your superfirepower. They don’t really think that death will come to israel or america by their hands or anyone elses. Finally, I think its a lameduck move to display your obsession with weaponry like this, it will backfire and in a bad way and no enemy or should I say fabricated enemies will even have to lift a finger. It’s an implosive timeclock Israel has started. Moses will cast his tablets from G-d down on you oh people of Judah.

    Joe

    January 5, 2009 at 10:05 am

  2. At the risk of oversimplifying…

    1. This is one more reason I would abolish religion and erase any and all concept of a deity from the human mind were I granted ultimate authority and magical powers for a day.

    2. As I will never be granted ultimate authority and magical powers, I vote for putting them all on the North Pole to kill each other. I am so SICK of the Middle East and their idiotic wars over their religions I could just vomit.

    Pandionna

    January 5, 2009 at 12:34 pm

  3. You nailed it, my friend.

    Israel has bought itself and the world another couple of generations of misery and bloodshed and insanity with this move.

    Whatever emotional and political capital the Jewish people garnered from the Holocaust was used up long ago. They are thugs in jackboots running the world’s largest concentration camp, and they’ve been thugs since 1948.

    And Israel is no friend to the United States, despite what the kowtowing politicians in Washington say. Israel has been a cancer in United States policy, and there’s nothing to indicate that that will change.

    Ric

    January 6, 2009 at 9:10 am

  4. Israel SHOULD have NO sympathy anymore.

    They are clearly treating the Gaza like the Nazis treated the warsaw ghetto. I for one am sick and tired of it.

    Sadly, Israelis RUN the american government, so expect NOTHING different from Obama. Heck, his chief of staff is an Israeli citizen and mossad agent.

    Buy no products or services from the Nazis of the middle east. This is the only real way to punish them.

    Remember the sinking of the USS Liberty by our ‘friends’ the Israelis ! Ask why the US congress refuses to do a congressional investigation of the sinking !

    ET

    January 6, 2009 at 12:38 pm

  5. The jews have become one with those they fled from in the 1930’s and 1940’s. They are this century’s nazis and should be referred to as such. Let’s face it, do you have any ‘nice’ jewish friends in the US who can be objective about israel and its actions? The long term goals of israel are to kill all its neighbours and perhaps nuke most of the middle-east. Perhaps uncle sam will help in selling the oil they grab.

    The Maharaja of Madras

    January 6, 2009 at 5:19 pm

  6. The previous comment expresses opinions not shared by the author, and pushes the envelope in terms of my comment policy. I know many fine Jews and Israelis who are working with Israeli and Palestinian peace groups, Israel’s actions in Gaza are by no means supported by all Jews/Israelis. And Israel’s militarist’s long term goal is expulsion of the Palestinians from Palestine, IE ethnic cleansing, not genocide. Comparisons to the Nazis are over the top at this point, although I can understand them. —Doug Stych

    unitedcats

    January 6, 2009 at 7:41 pm

  7. Doug,
    I’m an Israeli that happened to stumble upon your post (from another post’s related posts). Since comments on this post seem very one-sided, I’ll add my voice.

    There are so many issues worth responding in what you talk about, I don’t even know where to start, so I apologize if this will be a long comment.

    If you go back in history to 1967, you could also go further back. Palestinians never had a state, also before 1967. Before 1967, Gaza was occupied by Egypt, and the west bank by Jordan. Israel took these territories in the 1967 war with those countries, and since then signed peace agreements with them, but both Egypt and Jordan refused to take the territory back and preferred that Israel deal with this hot potato.
    Despite a long history of conflict, since 1993 we attempted to hold peace talks with the PLO. A growing measure of autonomy was given to much of the Palestinian territory, and the PNA was formed. In the 2000 Camp David summit, a final accord was within reach, but the draft was rejected by the Palestinians and instead Arafat chose to try and achieve more by resuming the conflict. I quote from the link above:
    The failure to come to an agreement was widely attributed to Yasser Arafat, as he walked away from the table without making a concrete counter-offer and because Arafat did little to quell the series of Palestinian riots that began shortly after the summit.[10][12][13] Arafat was also accused of scuttling the talks by Nabil Amr, a former minister in the Palestinian Authority.[5]

    Hamas indeed began as a charity organization, with high moral values and without the corruption that characterized the PLO, and was therefore not considered a threat by Israel. But as soon as it started its terrorist attacks, our attitude naturally changed. You should also view Hamas in the broad context of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, to which it belongs, which appeared well before Israel was created and has an agenda of Sunni Islamic rule.

    Now to the details: these harmless rockets as you depict them, have killed “only” about 20 people simply because Israelis installed an early warning that gives people about 15 seconds to run to shelters before the rocket hits. Imagine the death toll without such an early warning. They are also aimed purposefully at civilians, never at army bases or other military targets.
    The amount of explosives is not what matters, it’s how you use it. A suicide bomber carries a similar amount of explosives, and “in average” has killed 5-10 people in each attack, sometimes even 30 in one go, and in all 542 innocent civilians were killed in 140 such attacks, many of which originated in Gaza. The only reason the number is low in recent years is effective defense measures, no lack of attempts.

    Election has nothing to do with it. All polls show that Netanyahu, the current opposition is going to be the next prime minister, regardless of the operation. The defense minister Barak is the one most lagging in polls, and the war hasn’t change that a bit, and won’t. We are not that stupid, we have been a democracy since 1948 and we have very tough press, the people here know the complicated reality a lot more than you think, try reading Israeli press.

    Arabs hate Israel and America (and Europeans for that matter) for many other reasons. Looking at the successful western democracies, they are reminded of their own great past, and how miserable their standing is today. We have our western values which they loath. And we are a threat to their traditions, as their young generation get more and more attracted to these western values.

    Ofer

    January 7, 2009 at 12:58 am

  8. This morning on NPR I heard an Israeli official justifying and rationalizing the current brutality by saying that when Israel ‘left’ Gaza three years ago the Gazans could have turned the Strip into a Singapore (tourists and industry and so forth). What he didn’t talk about was the Israelis keeping the airport closed, the port closed, controlling access, controlling food and water, and assassinating at will any Gazan politician they wanted. The only sense in which Israel withdrew from Gaza was limited at best, and to call it a withdrawal is delusional.

    And I doubt very much that Arabs hate Israel (and America) because of Western values and suchlike. They hate the Israelis because the Israelis stole their land, their homes, their businesses, and have treated them like dogs for sixty years; the Israelis continue to build settlements on Palestinian land; they bulldoze the homes and farms of Palestinians; they control the roads; they abuse Palestinians at the multitude of checkpoints established to control Palestinian movements; and on and on and on. The Arabs hate the Israelis for enforcing a structure of apartheid. And they’re not real fond of being called rats by the Israeli leadership (Sharon et al).

    No, pal, you’re not a threat to their traditions. You’re a threat to their lives, to their children, to the quality of their lives, to their ability to make a living, to their chance to live in peace without the heel of your boot on their necks.

    Of course, the Israelis are too stiff-necked and arrogant to see any of this, despite doing these things for sixty years. Their only solution is to demean, degrade, and kill Palestinians, and wail about how badly the world and the Palestinians treat Israelis. You send a modern mechanized army against a civilian population whose security forces are armed with minimal weaponry. You attack the most crowded place on earth and then dare talk about how much care you take when you drop thousand pound bombs on apartment buildings. You blow up schools and children. You kill civilian police. Your kill rate is 150 to 1 at this point, and your injury rate is equally ludicrous. And you want sympathy? Talk about a psychotic culture! Keep building that wall around Israel, but remember when it’s done to pad the inside of it.

    Ric

    January 7, 2009 at 12:13 pm

  9. And if you don’t want to hear me ranting about Israeli mendacity and brutality, read it from someone who knows the facts from day one.

    Robert Fisk at Common Dreams

    And before you get on your ‘anti-Semitic’ hobbyhorse I’ll tell you right out that I am anti-Israel and that’s not the same thing. For all I care the Jews can worship the Giant Avocado. But Israel? That’s a violent and vile rogue nation, deserving of condemnation.

    Ric

    January 7, 2009 at 12:41 pm

  10. Once again,

    Remember the USS Liberty !

    And the US Congress and Senate are full of dual citizenship Israelis.. is it any surprise Israel gets the most US foreign aid?

    Think about that for a minute ! Enough already. Oi!

    ET

    January 7, 2009 at 1:38 pm

  11. I would call shelling and bombing a concentration camp ‘genocide’.

    ET

    January 7, 2009 at 1:40 pm

  12. I’m not sure where you’re getting schematics on the “home made rockets,” but it rather sounds like saying that the IEDs we’re seeing in Iraq are “home made” explosively-formed penetrators.

    Surely, you can see the numerous amateur rocketry clubs in the US, the very large engines available (M, N, O, etc), and the payloads they can carry. Very simple incendiaries like napalm or thermite can be incredibly damaging, even in quantities of a few pounds. More exotic explosives like nitrogen tetroxide and triacetate triperoxide, which have been used by these same people, most definitely qualify as high explosive. We’re not talking about firecrackers being dropped on people’s homes.

    What exactly is an appropriate response from Israel in this case? To have their civilian population build their own rockets, to give the other side a fair fight?

    Alex J. Avriette

    January 8, 2009 at 2:00 am

  13. The could negotiate with Hamas. They could implement the Saudi backed peace plan. They could allow the occupied territories to become independent. They could annex the occupied territories and grant the Palestinian’s Israeli citizenship. ( I know, real democracy, that’s scarier than terrorism apparently) And if they and the USA can build defence systems that can shoot down far more sophisticated rockets coming from Iran or Russia, why can’t they build a defence against Hamas’s rockets? Instead they chose the one option the USA and Israel almost always choose…overwhelming indiscriminate military force. The one option that is absolutely fucking guaranteed to make the situation worse. If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, the rulers of Israel and the USA are indeed insane. Or maybe they don’t want to a actually halt terrorist attacks on Israel, because the entire Israel military and political machine would lose it’s raison d’etre. In any event the idea that Israel’s response to these attacks was the only possible response doesn’t pass the laugh test, Israel has all the options and all the power in the equation with the Palestinians.

    unitedcats

    January 8, 2009 at 8:55 am

  14. They don’t make home made bombs anymore. Some or most bombs get smuggled in through tunnels. 100+ tunnels all over.

    Alfrido

    January 11, 2009 at 3:16 pm

  15. […] of traffic due to current event sin Gaza. For my thoughts on th current situation in Gaza start wih Why They Hate Us.  Doug Stych, 13 January, […]

  16. How ironic that Israel is becoming the new “Germany of WWII” and the “Citizens of Gaza” are quickly becoming the new “Jews Under Hitler”.

    The plan is to wipe each country’s citizens out.

    Tom

    January 13, 2009 at 11:51 am


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