Israel on the defence against defenceless Palestinians

The Israeli politicians say that their war on Hamas will go on whatever it takes. This means they have given themselves the right to have a free hand. But as long as there are the laws of wars, going beyond them must be a crime against humanity.

However as long as it’s unlikely that Israel can face international sanctions from its allies, mainly the EU and the USA – its major economic and political partners, it will continue to bombard Gaza at will. The irony is that NATO was able to intervene militarily in ex-Yugoslavia to stop ethnic cleansing there and the international forces led by the USA invaded in Iraq. Now the international community is watching Israel pound its bombs in civilian areas and “calmly” asking for a ceasefire. As such Israel isn’t just defending itself but it’s being defended by its allies on behalf of which it is waging a war against Hamas.

In short, Israel in its history of bloody attacks is used to the pattern of diplomatic condemnations and angry wide public protests. It has a deaf ear to them because the drones of the engines of its weapons and the sounds of the explosion are louder than them. Israel doesn’t need justifications as it has no one to account for its actions. It’s the law of the strong against the weak, not the modern laws of war.

Israel has the right to defend itself, but not at the expense of the innocent civilians caught in the fire attacks. The Israelis exposed to Hamas rockets have only fear to deal with, considering the casualties when contrasting 14 Israeli killed by Hamas rockets versus 5,000 Palestinians killed by Israel sophisticated weapons in the past seven years.

Israel can reserve the right to respond to those who attack it, but not through indiscriminate killing which it euphemistically can call collateral damage.

The best way for Israel to defend itself is not to allow extremism grow around its borders and beyond, by being realistic about its approaches to its conflict with the Palestinians. One of the approaches can be for it to speed up the establishment of a Palestinian state and not to use Hamas and Iran as an excuse for further delays.

part one

part two

Part three

Part four

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9 Comments

  1. Reg said,

    January 9, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    “But as long as there are the laws of wars, going beyond them must be a crime against humanity. ”
    Hamas does not abide by the so-called rules of war. It is guilty of indiscriminate rocketing of Israeli territory for over six years. Israel is not guilty of this crime.
    Hamas fights from within built-up areas and deliberately invites retaliation that will kill innocents – it hides behind the bodies of uits women and children.
    “It’s the law of the strong against the weak, not the modern laws of war.”
    It’s assymetric war – If Israel was really strong and really brutal, it could wipe out the whole of the built-up area of Gaza at a stroke. Its strength is limited – it cannot wage war to its fullest extent against Hamas, precisely because it has concern for civians. But it cannot allow a terrorist group to wage war unchecked. The modern rules of war do not deal with this sort of guerrilla warfare.
    “Israel has the right to defend itself, but not at the expense of the innocent civilians caught in the fire attacks. The Israelis exposed to Hamas rockets have only fear to deal with, considering the casualties when contrasting 14 Israeli killed by Hamas rockets versus 5,000 Palestinians killed by Israel sophisticated weapons in the past seven years.”
    I agree with your first sentence, but when Hamas launches rockets from within built up areas, what else can they do but attack the launch sites, wherever they are? 30+ rockets per day for six years, forcing Israelis to remain within 15 seconds reach of a bomb-shelter, is an unacceptable burden. Israel put up with it for as long as the rocket range affected only a small area, but increased range created increased pressure to react.
    “The best way for Israel to defend itself is not to allow extremism grow around its borders and beyond, by being realistic about its approaches to its conflict with the Palestinians. One of the approaches can be for it to speed up the establishment of a Palestinian state and not to use Hamas and Iran as an excuse for further delays.”
    I agree with you, and by and large I think that Israel is genuinely a partner for peace. The problem is that both Hamas and Hizbollah are not capable of a different mindset and not prepared to accept less than their maximum demand – the destruction of Israel and the restoration of Arab hegemony. Israel can and has made peace with some of its neighbours. It can do so with the Palestinians, but at the moment, Hamas and the Palestinian authority at at odds, cannot act with one mind and are unable to negotiate.

  2. Hisham said,

    January 9, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    Very interesting TV slot of WHYS I’ve missed it because very honestly I’ve been very disappointed by BBC’s coverage so far, but the program you’ve posted is quite balanced and Ros’s and Chloé’s performances were great. Anyway, I was wondering: will the BBC now make it a permanent WHYS TV show Abdelilah?

  3. January 9, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    Hi Hisham,
    As far as I know, they have plans for further TV shows. This is the second one after the one they made about global financial crisis last November.

    I think the BBC has a balanced coverage of the situation in Gaza. Its correspondent Jeremy Bowen in his reports shows the likelihood of Israel failure in Gaza as Hamas is in the hearts and minds of the Palestinians . Alan Johnston has said a report aired on BBC radio that almost every Palestinian has a cousin who sympathises with Hamas.

  4. Hisham said,

    January 10, 2009 at 11:48 am

    Well of course in other circumstances, I would have admitted a “balanced” reporting. The problem is: this onslaught is not balanced. the use of words here is very important. I wouldn’t call it a “WAR” “CONFLICT” “CLASH” “CONFRONTATION” if I were objectively balanced. You have on the one hand one of the most powerful armies in the world with a pouvoir-de-feu capable of literally wiping all of the Arab world off the map; and on the other naked, unarmed, famished, impoverished, people resisting illegal occupation of their land, legitimately fighting back, using home made rockets that -I agree- should never be pointed at civilians.

    And yet, the BBC keeps depicting a picture of comparable forces confronting each other. Yes they allow space for the Palestinian narrative but that is diluted into a sea of subtle propaganda.

    I understand your standpoint but objectively, you must look at the bigger picture.

    I would have agreed with you Abdelilah, were not the BBC conspicuously unbalanced on other issues. the language used to describe (often correctly) the Zimbabwe regime is so un-journalistic, un-professional; and when confronted with the ridiculous tepidness of the language used for the Mideast it leads to one conclusion: BBC journalists are not free to use the language they on their own, see fit… they have indeed what they call “The BBC Editorial Guidelines” which “outline the standards the BBC expects of all BBC content on TV, radio and online. They are designed for everyone who makes content for the BBC, to help them deal with difficult editorial decisions.” Many think they really are designed to frame the limits of language permitted.

    I love to think that the BBC is a golden standard of global journalism, but as I said before: watch, listen, read everything, but keep the filter on!

    • January 10, 2009 at 2:39 pm

      I agree with you Hisham. The BBC can’t cater for all opinions, especially when it comes to sensitive issues like those in the Middle East. But i think the Arabs themselves should have a powerful media. Currently there is only the Aljazeera international which can do the job to reach a wider international audience.

      Concerning to the coverage of Zimbabwe, I agree with you more time is given to the opposition views and the hardship under which the Zimbabweans lives, which forms in the mind of the BBC audience that what Zimbabwe has come to is the total responsibility of Mugabe and his entourage.

  5. Hisham said,

    January 11, 2009 at 1:12 am

    Fair enough!
    I would recommand Presstv.ir
    try it out
    watch george galloway’s programs in particular

    http://www.presstv.ir/

  6. January 11, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Thanks Hisham for the link. I have just visited the site.

  7. Hisham said,

    January 12, 2009 at 1:35 pm

    Hi Abdelilah!
    I’ve just come across this article that, I think, is just fine for enriching our earlier discussion. Check it out!

    http://www.counterpunch.org/idrees01072009.html
    Good reading.

  8. January 12, 2009 at 2:27 pm

    Thanks Hisham for the link.
    I will read it.


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