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01/15/2009 05:01:18 PM · #101
Originally posted by Spazmo99:


The one thing I don't understand, and it's pretty clear that no one else does either, is how to reasonably resolve the conflict without eradication of one side or the other.


This is why I am not the president of any country, and neither are you (right?)
It does take bright mind, visionary leadership skills, and some hard power to back up your views.

What I know from my experience, it has to hurt both sides equally. (As it cannot be good for either one). Having views that seem biased (as is the present state) leads nowhere. I have no idea if Obama will do something different in a couple of days (I really would like to but do not believe a single moment that anything will change). The only other force to be reckoned with is China, but they have been silent on the issue. Russians are in the region, but like europeans, they realize that they were the part of the problem (by expelling all those Jews that live in Israel today) so they do not want to solve it by hurting them again.

As you mentioned - tough problem.

I understand both sides' issues, but I disagree and condemn both sides' actions they attempt at mitigating their issues. It leads us to where we are.
01/15/2009 05:07:57 PM · #102
Originally posted by srdanz:

Originally posted by Spazmo99:


The one thing I don't understand, and it's pretty clear that no one else does either, is how to reasonably resolve the conflict without eradication of one side or the other.


This is why I am not the president of any country, and neither are you (right?)
It does take bright mind, visionary leadership skills, and some hard power to back up your views.

What I know from my experience, it has to hurt both sides equally. (As it cannot be good for either one). Having views that seem biased (as is the present state) leads nowhere. I have no idea if Obama will do something different in a couple of days (I really would like to but do not believe a single moment that anything will change). The only other force to be reckoned with is China, but they have been silent on the issue. Russians are in the region, but like europeans, they realize that they were the part of the problem (by expelling all those Jews that live in Israel today) so they do not want to solve it by hurting them again.

As you mentioned - tough problem.

I understand both sides' issues, but I disagree and condemn both sides' actions they attempt at mitigating their issues. It leads us to where we are.


I don't think any president of any country has a viable plan for peace.

They have to try however, since the alternative is to simply sit back and let them fight it out.
01/16/2009 07:17:26 PM · #103
Israel send in F16's and Abrahms tanks against fireworks, they killed 100:1 (with more than 50% of that civilian casualities. It is out of line, unreasonable. They violate every UN sanction put against them, while the UN is the reason why Israel exists in the first place.
They shot at a UN deposit, bombed a hospital, used phosphor and cluster-bombs on high density civilian populated areas.

They have made a huge mistake.
A human tragedy.
A PR tragedy.
They have become what came upon them.

If their god was still with them he would turn against them.


01/16/2009 07:20:57 PM · #104
Originally posted by srdanz:

Russians are in the region, but like europeans, they realize that they were the part of the problem (by expelling all those Jews that live in Israel today) so they do not want to solve it by hurting them again.


Expelling!?!?!?
Live standard in Israel is simply a little bit higher than in Russia, so anyone who can easily get an Israel passport to leave Russia will do so. Nobody is expelled.

And an Israel passport gives easy access to a European passport.


01/16/2009 08:43:59 PM · #105
Originally posted by Azrifel:

Israel send in F16's and Abrahms tanks against fireworks, they killed 100:1 (with more than 50% of that civilian casualities. It is out of line, unreasonable. They violate every UN sanction put against them, while the UN is the reason why Israel exists in the first place.
They shot at a UN deposit, bombed a hospital, used phosphor and cluster-bombs on high density civilian populated areas.

They have made a huge mistake.
A human tragedy.
A PR tragedy.
They have become what came upon them.

If their god was still with them he would turn against them.


Hmmm. How many have died in Afghanistan and/or Iraq with respect to those who died on 9/11?

Is the ratio of the dead on each side even important?

How did that become a valid metric for armed conflict?

Was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also a mistake?

How about the bombing of Germany?

01/17/2009 08:40:23 AM · #106
I think this is a different school to the one they bombed last week. I'm losing track at this stage;

Anger Over Strike On UN School

"The United Nations has condemned an Israeli airstrike that killed two boys sheltering in a UN-run school in northern Gaza. They were among 1,600 people taking shelter in the building in Beit Lahiya, reports said. Several shells landed in the compound while the roof took a direct hit.

A UN spokesman said there was no excuse as Israel knew the locations of all its operations in Gaza.

"There have to be investigations to see if war crimes have been committed," he added."


---

UN Investigations into Israeli war crimes? Right. I'm sure the US will give any investigations their full backing. </sarcasm off>

It looks like Israel are taking this to the wire. They'll probably drop their last incendiary device on a hospital or school minutes before Obama takes the oath.

Message edited by author 2009-01-17 08:40:52.
01/17/2009 10:38:26 AM · #107
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

Originally posted by Azrifel:

Israel send in F16's and Abrahms tanks against fireworks, they killed 100:1 (with more than 50% of that civilian casualities. It is out of line, unreasonable. They violate every UN sanction put against them, while the UN is the reason why Israel exists in the first place.
They shot at a UN deposit, bombed a hospital, used phosphor and cluster-bombs on high density civilian populated areas.

They have made a huge mistake.
A human tragedy.
A PR tragedy.
They have become what came upon them.

If their god was still with them he would turn against them.


Hmmm. How many have died in Afghanistan and/or Iraq with respect to those who died on 9/11?

Is the ratio of the dead on each side even important?

How did that become a valid metric for armed conflict?

Was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also a mistake?

How about the bombing of Germany?

I'm glad you point out Afghanistan & Iraq. Way too many people died in Iraq because the US should not have been there in the first place. The US had better justification to tie Afghanistan with 9/11, but yes, too many civilians have been needlessly killed in Afghanistan also. The US has committed war crimes in both of these countries with regard to mindless killing of innocent civilians, but I don't believe there is anyone who has the necessary combination of political stomach & authority to bring US war criminals to justice.

The ratio of the dead is particularly important when it appears that the side doing by far the most killing seems to be doing it with inadequate discrimination between enemy combatants and innocent civilians. I don't believe many people would be troubled by the US killing 15,000 Afghans (just picking a number) compared to the 3,000 9/11 civilian deaths IF the US were clearly attacking the group responsible for 9/11 and avoiding civilian casualties. Of course, ratios don't even need to be used if we're talking about an incident where US forces just wiped out an entire village from the air because some Taliban fighters might be present in it. Context is important.

If Gaza was filled more with an army of violent Palestinians rather than a small handful of ill equipped Hamas militants interspersed among a downtrodden civilian population, then I would not be quite as horrified at what Israel is doing. You can get mad at Hamas for "hiding behind Palestinian womanand children", but that is not an excuse to blindly kill those women and children. How would you like to see law enforcement in the US start behaving that way with hostage situations or when dangerous criminals are just hiding amongst civilians? Is it justifiable to kill the civilians that are in the way then?

"Is the ratio of the dead on each side even important? How did that become a valid metric for armed conflict?"
I'd agree that ratios are not important statistics in isolation, but they can be compelling depending on the context as I mentioned above.

"Was the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki also a mistake?"
Again, context matters, and this case is obviously different in many ways than what is being talked about in this thread. First of all, many people will argue that the use of nuclear weapons was a mistake just on the basis of the powerful fact that the US used weapons of mass destruction on a civilian population and lit the fuse to the following arms race of the cold war (although I'd argue the arms race would have happened either way). Other people will argue that not using the bombs would have resulted in a far higher number of casualties because the war would have been dragged out much longer. I'm not going to get into which side was right in this thread because it is a red herring to imply that the two situations are relevant to eachothe for the reasons I just explained.

"How about the bombing of Germany?" How about it? Are you really equating the Gaza strip with WWII's Germany?!? Again, context matters. In what possible context can you argue that this is relevant to the killing ratio discussion? Put aside the fact that war technology and civilization's expectations & rules for war have evolved over the last half century and just focus on the issue of ratios for a moment. Did allied forces kill more Germans than the Germans killed in that conflict? I have not looked up the casualty numbers, but somehow I'd bet that even by the end of the war the Germans killed more people than they lost. The Soviet Union alone probably had more casualties than Germany in the war.

If by "bombing of Germany" you meant the Bombing of Dresden, then there is more controversy to consider and that particular incident may have been immoral (I don't know enough about the details to make an argument one way or the other off the cuff). This still comes across as a red herring with regard to Gaza since the two situations have very little context in common.
01/17/2009 11:08:05 AM · #108
Originally posted by Azrifel:

If their god was still with them he would turn against them.


I don't know about that... "Their" God is the Old testament God, the God of Israel, the fire-and-brimstone God, the smite-your-enemies God, at least historically. I'm aware that, worldwide, Judaism usually seems a tad more ecumenical than that, but still... These conflicts DO seem Biblical both in their scope and in their execution.

R.
01/17/2009 02:00:05 PM · #109
Originally posted by JMart:

If Gaza was filled more with an army of violent Palestinians rather than a small handful of ill equipped Hamas militants interspersed among a downtrodden civilian population, then I would not be quite as horrified at what Israel is doing.

If Hamas fought as an army rather than hiding amid the civilian population, Israel would not be killing civilians. The idea that Israel wants to kill civilians is offensive. There is only one party in this conflict which has called for the extermination of the other, and it is not Israel ...
Weighing Crimes and Ethics in the Fog of Urban Warfare
01/17/2009 02:12:17 PM · #110
Originally posted by GeneralE:


Weighing Crimes and Ethics in the Fog of Urban Warfare


Quoted from above:

Question of Proportionality

Under international law, proportionality is defined as a question of judgment, not of numbers: Is the potential risk to civilians excessive in relationship to the anticipated military advantage? That puts the weight on military advantage, since civilian risk is a given and must only not be “excessive.” Even if the target is legitimate, was the right weapon used to try to minimize civilian damage? The key is the expected damage the commander anticipated from the use of a certain weapon, and not what actually happened when it was fired.

The other key legal principle is discrimination: has a military struggled hard enough to hit only military targets and combatants, while trying to avoid purely civilian targets and noncombatants?

Deciding requires an investigation into battlefield circumstances that cannot be carried out while the fighting rages, and such judgments are especially difficult in urban guerrilla warfare, when fighters like Hamas live among the civilian population and take shelter there. While Israel is the focus of most criticism, legal experts agree that Hamas, a radical Islamic group classified by the United States and Europe as terrorist, violates international law.


********

Am I the only one that finds it both paradoxical and depressing that "international law" is used to provide "rules" for armed conflict? Wouldn't be wonderful if all the nations of the world stood up, collectively, and said "There's never any excuse for aggression on each other!" Shades of John Lennon... Dream on, Bear...

R.

Message edited by author 2009-01-17 14:12:35.
01/17/2009 02:13:37 PM · #111
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by JMart:

If Gaza was filled more with an army of violent Palestinians rather than a small handful of ill equipped Hamas militants interspersed among a downtrodden civilian population, then I would not be quite as horrified at what Israel is doing.

If Hamas fought as an army rather than hiding amid the civilian population, Israel would not be killing civilians. The idea that Israel wants to kill civilians is offensive. There is only one party in this conflict which has called for the extermination of the other, and it is not Israel ...
Weighing Crimes and Ethics in the Fog of Urban Warfare

You seem to have missed my point then. I was not making an argument in support of the Hamas strategy of hiding behind civilians, I was pointing out that having an its enemy hiding behind civilians does not give Israel the moral authority to kill the civilians that are in the way without taking great care to mitigate their casualties. That's just my opinion of course, since moral authority is subjective, but I hope it becomes the opinion of a growing number of rational an humanist minded people.
01/17/2009 02:47:32 PM · #112
Originally posted by JMart:

... having an its enemy hiding behind civilians does not give Israel the moral authority to kill the civilians that are in the way without taking great care to mitigate their casualties.

I agree, but I'd contend that, under those circumstances, they are likely doing the best possible job of minimizing civilian casualties -- the implication that they don't care or are not exercising such caution is what I find offensive. As you point out, the primal cause of civilian casualties is the Hamas strategy of fighting from within civilian areas ...

How would you approach negotiating with a "government" whose stated policy calls for your extermination? What "moral authority" does Hamas have for attempting genocide?
01/17/2009 04:17:45 PM · #113
Originally posted by JMart:

Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by JMart:

If Gaza was filled more with an army of violent Palestinians rather than a small handful of ill equipped Hamas militants interspersed among a downtrodden civilian population, then I would not be quite as horrified at what Israel is doing.

If Hamas fought as an army rather than hiding amid the civilian population, Israel would not be killing civilians. The idea that Israel wants to kill civilians is offensive. There is only one party in this conflict which has called for the extermination of the other, and it is not Israel ...
Weighing Crimes and Ethics in the Fog of Urban Warfare

You seem to have missed my point then. I was not making an argument in support of the Hamas strategy of hiding behind civilians, I was pointing out that having an its enemy hiding behind civilians does not give Israel the moral authority to kill the civilians that are in the way without taking great care to mitigate their casualties. That's just my opinion of course, since moral authority is subjective, but I hope it becomes the opinion of a growing number of rational an humanist minded people.


The Israelis do take great care to avoid killing innocent civilians, but when a Palestinian civilian allows Hamas to fire rockets from their house or otherwise use their location, that location becomes a target. If the Palestinian civilians don't want their buildings to become targets, perhaps they should let their government and military know that they don't like their homes being made into targets.
01/20/2009 10:30:00 AM · #114
Originally posted by Azrifel:

Originally posted by srdanz:

Russians are in the region, but like europeans, they realize that they were the part of the problem (by expelling all those Jews that live in Israel today) so they do not want to solve it by hurting them again.


Expelling!?!?!?
Live standard in Israel is simply a little bit higher than in Russia, so anyone who can easily get an Israel passport to leave Russia will do so. Nobody is expelled.

And an Israel passport gives easy access to a European passport.


Just to clarify: I meant during Stalin years, not in the 80s...
01/21/2009 09:25:09 AM · #115
Originally posted by GeneralE:

I agree, but I'd contend that, under those circumstances, they are likely doing the best possible job of minimizing civilian casualties -- the implication that they don't care or are not exercising such caution is what I find offensive. As you point out, the primal cause of civilian casualties is the Hamas strategy of fighting from within civilian areas ...

How would you approach negotiating with a "government" whose stated policy calls for your extermination? What "moral authority" does Hamas have for attempting genocide?


Well I certainly don't condone the approach to Israel contained in Hamas' constitutional documents, or in the speeches of some of its leaders. However, by casting all members and supporters of Hamas as simple genocidal maniacs you are falling prey to the carefully crafted, sloganeering PR promoted by Israel.

The reality is that it is a political mess, with moderates and extremists just like US politics. The supporters of Hamas have elected the political party (not the militia) under a democratic process - but support for stronger resistance to Israel than was being offered by Fatah is hardly grounds for certifying the whole nation as a terrorist state.

It is also one thing for extremists within a nation to loudly declaim its neighbour when they have no capacity to enact their threats, but quite another to invade, contravene UN resolutions and to use a degree of force that results in a humanitarian disaster and claims of war-crimes.

The UK government, when faced with a terrorist organisation resisting occupation in N. Ireland, met with and negotiated a truce then peace with the political wing of the terrorist organisation. The solution in the ME will be to legitimise moderates within the political arm of the terrorist organisation and negotiate peace based on a compromise.

As I understand it, Israel has steadfastly refused to meet with any element of Hamas despite offers to do so.
01/21/2009 09:54:42 AM · #116
Originally posted by Matthew:

Originally posted by GeneralE:

I agree, but I'd contend that, under those circumstances, they are likely doing the best possible job of minimizing civilian casualties -- the implication that they don't care or are not exercising such caution is what I find offensive. As you point out, the primal cause of civilian casualties is the Hamas strategy of fighting from within civilian areas ...

How would you approach negotiating with a "government" whose stated policy calls for your extermination? What "moral authority" does Hamas have for attempting genocide?


Well I certainly don't condone the approach to Israel contained in Hamas' constitutional documents, or in the speeches of some of its leaders. However, by casting all members and supporters of Hamas as simple genocidal maniacs you are falling prey to the carefully crafted, sloganeering PR promoted by Israel.

The reality is that it is a political mess, with moderates and extremists just like US politics. The supporters of Hamas have elected the political party (not the militia) under a democratic process - but support for stronger resistance to Israel than was being offered by Fatah is hardly grounds for certifying the whole nation as a terrorist state.

It is also one thing for extremists within a nation to loudly declaim its neighbour when they have no capacity to enact their threats, but quite another to invade, contravene UN resolutions and to use a degree of force that results in a humanitarian disaster and claims of war-crimes.

The UK government, when faced with a terrorist organisation resisting occupation in N. Ireland, met with and negotiated a truce then peace with the political wing of the terrorist organisation. The solution in the ME will be to legitimise moderates within the political arm of the terrorist organisation and negotiate peace based on a compromise.

As I understand it, Israel has steadfastly refused to meet with any element of Hamas despite offers to do so.


Yet, despite agreements and treaties and cease-fires with the Palestinians, the rhetoric of the political side of Hamas has done nothing but escalate and the rocket attacks carried out by Hamas militia have not abated. It's not hard to see how the Israelis would regard such agreements and any negotiations as useless.

Either the Hamas leadership has no control over the militia or they condone attacks by their militia while denouncing them publically. If the former, then why aren't the militia members denounced, branded as criminals and arrested by the Palestinians? I think the latter case is most likely.

Personally, I see little divide between the political and "military" branches of Hamas. One provides the rhetoric of Jewish extermination, the other takes action to carry it out. They're pretty much of one mind.
01/21/2009 10:08:09 AM · #117
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

The Israelis do take great care to avoid killing innocent civilians, but when a Palestinian civilian allows Hamas to fire rockets from their house or otherwise use their location, that location becomes a target. If the Palestinian civilians don't want their buildings to become targets, perhaps they should let their government and military know that they don't like their homes being made into targets.


What nonsense. If armed militia decided to use your location to stage an attack, how would you stop them?

The sweeping generalisation that Israelis take great care to avoid civilian casualties are as offensive as the sweeping generalisation that Palestinians are all terrorists or too stupid to stop the extremists from using them as human shields. Stories like this one demonstrate that there are deliberate, targetted and merciless killings of civilians by the Israeli military as well.
01/21/2009 11:05:44 AM · #118
Originally posted by Matthew:

Originally posted by Spazmo99:

The Israelis do take great care to avoid killing innocent civilians, but when a Palestinian civilian allows Hamas to fire rockets from their house or otherwise use their location, that location becomes a target. If the Palestinian civilians don't want their buildings to become targets, perhaps they should let their government and military know that they don't like their homes being made into targets.


What nonsense. If armed militia decided to use your location to stage an attack, how would you stop them?

The sweeping generalisation that Israelis take great care to avoid civilian casualties are as offensive as the sweeping generalisation that Palestinians are all terrorists or too stupid to stop the extremists from using them as human shields. Stories like this one demonstrate that there are deliberate, targetted and merciless killings of civilians by the Israeli military as well.


I wouldn't, but I also wouldn't vote for a leadership that would do such a thing. If they did, I surely wouldn't hang about waiting for the incoming artillery.

Didn't the Palestinians elect Hamas, ousting Fatah? Maybe that wasn't such a great choice after all.

01/21/2009 11:52:40 AM · #119
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

Yet, despite agreements and treaties and cease-fires with the Palestinians, the rhetoric of the political side of Hamas has done nothing but escalate and the rocket attacks carried out by Hamas militia have not abated. It's not hard to see how the Israelis would regard such agreements and any negotiations as useless.

Either the Hamas leadership has no control over the militia or they condone attacks by their militia while denouncing them publically. If the former, then why aren't the militia members denounced, branded as criminals and arrested by the Palestinians? I think the latter case is most likely.

Personally, I see little divide between the political and "military" branches of Hamas. One provides the rhetoric of Jewish extermination, the other takes action to carry it out. They're pretty much of one mind.


Well, Israel appears to have broken the latest cease fire - so the the latest escalation is Israeli in origin.

Bear in mind that Hamas is seen within Palestine as resistance fighters - with a degree of legitimacy given the occupation of Palestinian land and oppression of the Palestinian people by Israel. I would suspect that the milita has strong links into the political wing, and that there is a combination of low level unwillingness to prevent Hamas from resisting Israel (a popular cause that cannot be ignored in a democracy) and in specific situations, an inability to do so.

In this context, Israel does not permit Palestine to have a standing army that could be used to enforce the peace and has long resisted the creation of an effective Palestinian police force. I have also read reports that Palestinian police killed are reported as non-civilian kills (because they are employed by the government - which is considered by Israel a terrorist organisation) which can't do much for their recruitment needs.

01/21/2009 11:59:41 AM · #120
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

I wouldn't, but I also wouldn't vote for a leadership that would do such a thing. If they did, I surely wouldn't hang about waiting for the incoming artillery.

Didn't the Palestinians elect Hamas, ousting Fatah? Maybe that wasn't such a great choice after all.


I don't deny that resisting Israel is a popular cause - that's what tends to happen to oppressed people denied access to basic education, food, energy etc.

I think that you are suggesting that the Palestinians should ask their leadership to be more conciliatory towards Israel.

Out of interest, if you perceived that another country might be a threat to the US, or if it invaded the US, would you vote for leaders who would fight back or leaders who would give in more easily?


01/21/2009 12:07:31 PM · #121
Originally posted by Matthew:

Originally posted by Spazmo99:

Yet, despite agreements and treaties and cease-fires with the Palestinians, the rhetoric of the political side of Hamas has done nothing but escalate and the rocket attacks carried out by Hamas militia have not abated. It's not hard to see how the Israelis would regard such agreements and any negotiations as useless.

Either the Hamas leadership has no control over the militia or they condone attacks by their militia while denouncing them publically. If the former, then why aren't the militia members denounced, branded as criminals and arrested by the Palestinians? I think the latter case is most likely.

Personally, I see little divide between the political and "military" branches of Hamas. One provides the rhetoric of Jewish extermination, the other takes action to carry it out. They're pretty much of one mind.


Well, Israel appears to have broken the latest cease fire - so the the latest escalation is Israeli in origin.

Bear in mind that Hamas is seen within Palestine as resistance fighters - with a degree of legitimacy given the occupation of Palestinian land and oppression of the Palestinian people by Israel. I would suspect that the milita has strong links into the political wing, and that there is a combination of low level unwillingness to prevent Hamas from resisting Israel (a popular cause that cannot be ignored in a democracy) and in specific situations, an inability to do so.

In this context, Israel does not permit Palestine to have a standing army that could be used to enforce the peace and has long resisted the creation of an effective Palestinian police force. I have also read reports that Palestinian police killed are reported as non-civilian kills (because they are employed by the government - which is considered by Israel a terrorist organisation) which can't do much for their recruitment needs.


Al Qaeda are also seen as resistance fighters and I'm sure they have their own justifications and legitimizations as well. Does that justify their activities? Or condemn activities to suppress them?

Simply being popular doesn't justify the endorsement of a cause. Prop 8 was popular in California, does that make it right?
01/21/2009 12:19:23 PM · #122
Originally posted by Matthew:

Originally posted by Spazmo99:

I wouldn't, but I also wouldn't vote for a leadership that would do such a thing. If they did, I surely wouldn't hang about waiting for the incoming artillery.

Didn't the Palestinians elect Hamas, ousting Fatah? Maybe that wasn't such a great choice after all.


I don't deny that resisting Israel is a popular cause - that's what tends to happen to oppressed people denied access to basic education, food, energy etc.

I think that you are suggesting that the Palestinians should ask their leadership to be more conciliatory towards Israel.

Out of interest, if you perceived that another country might be a threat to the US, or if it invaded the US, would you vote for leaders who would fight back or leaders who would give in more easily?


If by conciliatory, you mean abandoning an extremist position and seeking a less violent, more practical path to co-existence with the Israelis, then yes. Hamas' position, rhetoric and actions have called for the extermination of Israelis and the complete destruction of the Israeli state, which they claim as illegitimate. It should be obvious to anyone that position is untenable and unrealistic. Israel and the Israelis aren't going away. Until the Palestinian government pulls their head out of their collective bottom, realizes that and takes a different tack, they're simply asking for more of the same.
01/21/2009 01:11:39 PM · #123
Originally posted by Spazmo99:

If by conciliatory, you mean abandoning an extremist position and seeking a less violent, more practical path to co-existence with the Israelis, then yes. Hamas' position, rhetoric and actions have called for the extermination of Israelis and the complete destruction of the Israeli state, which they claim as illegitimate. It should be obvious to anyone that position is untenable and unrealistic.


Like the US position on North Korea?
or the US position on Iran?
or the US (Bush) position on Iraq and Afghanistan?
or the US (Reagan) position on the USSR?
or the US (Kennedy) position on Cuba?
or the US (Truman) position on Japan?
or the US position under numerous governments towards a bunch of South American countries?

01/21/2009 01:50:05 PM · #124
Bear in mind that civilian casualties are strategic for both sides. Hamas shoots from hospitals, schools and mosques knowing that return fire on those positions would result in international condemnation and bolster local support. Israel generally avoids civilian casualties where practical or convenient, but I don't think it's a huge priority because they have long viewed such losses as a strong disincentive (if your actions result in your family being hurt or house being bulldozed, then you won't be so eager to keep doing it).

I think Hamas' policies and rhetoric have made peace essentially unattainable by now. They've called for nothing less than Israel's utter destruction for so long that settling for anything less would cause them to lose face and the respect of their supporters. But if that's the only acceptable outcome, then negotiations are pointless because Israel's certainly not going to agree to its own destruction. Hamas will simply try to maintain the status quo (and thus their image) unless some major event allows them to claim "victory" in the face of compromise.
01/21/2009 05:56:02 PM · #125
1) Israel can kill or imprison every last Hamas member. The very next day another Hamas would emerge. What needs to be eradicated is the mentality, the ideology that feeds it and that ideology is Wahhabism. That kind of "paradigm shift" will not happen overnight, obviously. One of the first short-term steps would be to "deal with" the number one sponsor and propagator of Wahhabism; the Saudi government.

2) Israel itself has to go through an important paradigm shift too. That is; the military olygarchy that has ruled the country since the founding of Israel has to be replaced by a true civilian oligarchy (I'd call it democracy just to be politically correct. However, democracy, just like any other form of government, is still oligarchy). Obviously that's not going to happen overnight either.

Undoubtedly, it's going to be a long process but it can be done. A resemblance of peace did not come to Europe until about 50 years ago. KKK in the US was still very much active at that time. That was after roughly 12 thousand years of evolution of sedentary life style and 40 thousand years of evolution since the Cro-Magnon came out of Africa to Eurasia and slaughtered the Neanderthal and then promptly began to slaughter one another. But it's going to happen; Middle East will one day have what can be charitably called "peace" just like any other part of the world.
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