The Latest Gaza Catastrophe: Will They Ever Learn?

18 Nov


            [This post is an updated version of an article published in the online English edition of Al Jazeera, 17 Nov 2012, taking account of some further developments in the new horrifying unfolding of violence in Gaza.


            President Obama, upon his arrival today in Bangkok at the start of a state visit to several Asian countries, reminded the world of just how unconditional U.S. support for Israel remains. Obama was quoted as saying, “There is no country on earth that would tolerate missiles raining down on its citizens from outside of its borders. We are fully supportive of Israel’s right to defend itself.” Much is missing from such a sentiment, most glaringly, the absence of any balancing statement along the following line: “and no country would tolerate the periodic assassination of its leaders by missiles fired by a neighboring country, especially during a lull achieved by a mutually agreed truce. It is time for both sides to end the violence, and establish an immediate ceasefire.”


            But instead of such statesmanship from this newly elected leader what we hear from Ben Rhodes, his Deputy National Security Advisor, who is traveling with the president in Asia is the following: that the rockets from Gaza are “the precipitating factor for the conflict. We believe Israel has a right to defend itself, and they’ll make their own decisions about the tactics they use in that regard.” Of course, these tactics up to this point have involved attacking a densely urbanized population with advanced weaponry from air and sea, targeting media outlets, striking residential structures, and killing and wounding many civilians, including numerous children. Since when does ‘the right to defend oneself’ amount to a license to kill and wound without limit, without some clear demonstration that the means of violence are connected with the goals being sought, without a requirement that force be exclusively directed against military targets, without at least an expression of concern about the proportionality of the military response? To overlooks such caveats in the present context in which Gaza has no means whatsoever defend itself indicates just how unconditional is the moral/legal blindfold that impairs the political wisdom and the elemental human empathy of the American political establishment.


            The statement by Rhodes signals a bright green light to the Netanyahu government to do whatever it wishes as far as Washington is concerned, and omits even a perfunctory mention of the relevance of international law. It presumes American exceptionalism, now generously shared with Israel, that doesn’t even have to bother justifying its behavior, conveying to the world an imperial directive that what would be treated as unspeakable crimes if committed by others are matters of discretion for the United States and its closest governmental associates.


            And what Netanyahu proposes is as chilling as it is criminal: to “significantly expand” what he calls Israel’s “Gaza operation” and what I call “the killing fields of Gaza.” This idea that a state defends itself by such an all out attack on an undefended society is humanly unacceptable, as well as being a mandate for future retaliation and festering hatred. Operation Cast Lead was launched in December 2008 to contribute to Israeli security, but instead led Hamas to acquire the kind of longer range rockets that are now posing genuine threats to Israel’s major cities. The unfolding logic of the conflict is that in a few years, Israel will be confronted by more sophisticated rockets capable of eluding the Iron Dome and accurately pinpointing their intended targets. This deadly logic of the war system continues to guide strategists and military planners in Washington and Tel Aviv, and ignores the string of political failures that marks recent American history from Vietnam to Afghanistan. The world has changed since the good old colonial days of gunboat diplomacy, and the history-making reality of military superiority. Will they ever learn?


            What should have been clear long ago is that Israeli security is not achieved by guns and missiles, nor incidentally are Hamas’ goals reached by rockets. The only clear path to security is to follow a ceasefire with some mutual assurances of nonviolent coexistence, a lifting of the blockade of Gaza, an acceptance by Israel (and the United States) of both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority as political actors, freezing all settlement construction, and a revival of negotiations on the basis of a commitment to produce a sustainable and just peace in accordance with Palestinian and Israeli rights under international law, above all the Palestinian right of self-determination. Depicting such a moderate approach to security for these two peoples highlights just how pathological present patterns of ‘acceptable’ behavior have become.


            Israel’s policies seemed almost calculated to increase future ‘insecurity’ for its people and the region. There is a slow ongoing mobilization of the region in support of Palestinian claims well expressed by the diplomatic re-positioning of Egypt and Turkey.  It will be become much more difficult for the United States to insulate Israel from the consequences of its future aggressions against the Palestinians. This is partly because it is likely that the next time, militants hostile to Israel will be better armed, as was true for Hezbollah after the 2006 Lebanon War and for Hamas since the 2008-09 Gaza attacks, and partly because the balance of regional forces is tilting quickly against Israel.


            These speculations make such obvious points that most Israeli strategists must be assumed to have appreciated them. It makes one wonder whether it is wrong to think of this latest surge of Israeli violence as primarily motivated by security considerations. Perhaps other motivations have greater weight: diverting attention from annexationist moves in the West Bank; reinforcing the Netanyahu claims to be the gallant protector of the nation; removing any pressure on Israel to uphold Palestinian rights; reminding Iran yet again of the militarized fury of an antagonized Israel assured of U.S. support.]


**************the text of the AJ article is reproduced below—————————


            The media double standards in the West on the new and tragic Israeli escalation of violence directed at Gaza were epitomized by an absurdly partisan New York Times front page headline: “Rockets Target Jerusalem; Israel girds for Gaza Invasion.” (NYT,  16 Nov 2012) Decoded somewhat, the message is this: Hamas is the aggressor, and Israel when and if it launches a ground attack on Gaza must expect itself to be further attacked by rockets. This is a stunningly Orwellian re-phrasing of reality. The true situation is, of course, quite the opposite: namely, that the defenseless population of Gaza can be assumed now to be acutely fearful of an all out imminent Israeli assault, while it is also true, without minimizing the reality of a threat, that some rockets fired from Gaza fell harmlessly (although with admittedly menacing implications) on the outskirts of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. There is such a gross disproportion in the capacity of the two sides to inflict damage and suffering due to Israeli total military dominance as to make perverse this reversal of  concerns to what might befall Israeli society if the attack on Gaza further intensifies.


            The reliance by Hamas and the various Gaza militias on indiscriminate, even if wildly inaccurate and generally harmless, rockets is a criminal violation of international humanitarian law, but the low number of casualties caused and the minor damage caused, needs to be assessed in the overall context of massive violence inflicted on the Palestinians. The widespread non-Western perception of the new cycle of violence involving Gaza is that it looks like a repetition of Israeli aggression against Gaza in late 2008, early 2009, that similarly fell between the end of American presidential elections and scheduled Israeli parliamentary elections.


            There is the usual discussion over where to locate responsibility for the initial act in this renewed upsurge violence. Is it some shots fired from Gaza across the border and aimed at an armored Israeli jeep or was it the targeted killing by an Israeli missile of Ahmed al-Jabani, leader of the military wing of Hamas, a few days later? Or some other act by one side or the other? Or is it the continuous violence against the people of Gaza arising from the blockade that has been imposed since mid-2007? The assassination of al-Jabani came a few days after an informal truce that had been negotiated through the good offices of Egypt, and quite ironically agreed to by none other than al-Jabani acting on behalf of Hamas. Killing him was clearly intended as a major provocation, disrupting a carefully negotiated effort to avoid another tit-for-tat sequence of violence of the sort that has periodically taken place during the last several years. An assassination of such a high profile Palestinian political figure as al-Jahani is not a spontaneous act. It is based on elaborate surveillance over a long period, and is obviously planned well in advance partly with the hope of avoiding collateral damage, and thus limiting unfavorable publicity. Such an extra-judicial killing, although also part and parcel of the new American ethos of drone warfare, remains an unlawful tactic of conflict, denying adversary political leaders separated from combat any opportunity to defend themselves against accusations, and implies a rejection of any disposition to seek a peaceful resolution of a political conflict. It amounts to the imposition of capital punishment without due process, a denial of elementary rights to confront an accuser.


            Putting aside the niceties of law, the Israeli leadership knew exactly what it was doing when it broke the truce and assassinated such a prominent Hamas leader, someone generally thought to be second only to the Gaza prime minister, Ismail Haniya. There have been rumors, and veiled threats, for months that the Netanyahu government plans a major assault of Gaza, and the timing of the ongoing attacks seems to coincide with the dynamics of Israeli internal politics, especially the traditional Israeli practice of shoring up the image of toughness of the existing leadership in Tel Aviv as a way of inducing Israeli citizens to feel fearful, yet protected, before casting their ballots.


            Beneath the horrific violence, which exposes the utter vulnerability, of all those living as captives in Gaza, which is one of the most crowded and impoverished communities on the planet, is a frightful structure of human abuse that the international community continues to turn its back upon, while preaching elsewhere adherence to the norm of ‘responsibility to protect’ whenever it suits NATO. More than half of the 1.6 million Gazans are refugees living in a total area of just over twice the size of the city of Washington, D.C.. The population has endured a punitive blockade since mid-2007 that makes daily life intolerable, and Gaza has been harshly occupied ever since 1967.


            Israel has tried to fool the world by setting forth its narrative of a good faith withdrawal from Gaza in 2005, which was exploited by Palestinian militants as the time as an opportunity to launch deadly rocket attacks. The counter-narrative, accepted by most independent observers, is that the Israeli removal of troops and settlements was little more than a mere redeployment to the borders of Gaza, with absolute control over what goes in and what leaves, maintaining an open season of a license to kill at will, with no accountability and no adverse consequences, backed without question by the U.S. Government. From an international law point of view, Israel’s purported ‘disengagement’ from Gaza didn’t end its responsibility as an Occupying Power under the Geneva Conventions, and thus its master plan of subjecting the entire population of Gaza to severe forms of collective punishment amounts to a continuing crime against humanity, as well as a flagrant violation of Article 33 of Geneva IV. It is not surprising that so many who have observed the plight of Gaza at close range have described it as ‘the largest open air prison in the world.’


            The Netanyahu government pursues a policy that is best understood from the perspective of settler colonialism. What distinguishes settler colonialism from other forms of colonialism is the resolve of the colonialists not only to exploit and dominate, but to make the land their own and superimpose their own culture on that of indigenous population. In this respect, Israel is well served by the Hamas/Fatah split, and seeks to induce the oppressed Palestinian to give up their identity along with their resistance struggle even to the extent of asking Palestinians in Israel to take an oath of loyalty to Israel as ‘a Jewish state.’ Actually, unlike the West Bank and East Jerusalem, Israel has no long-term territorial ambitions in Gaza. Israel’s short-term solution to its so-called ‘demographic problem’ (that is, worries about the increase in the population of Palestinians relative to Jews) could be greatly eased if Egypt would absorb Gaza, or if Gaza would become a permanently separate entity, provided it could be reliably demilitarized. What makes Gaza presently useful to the Israelis is their capacity to manage the level of violence, both as a distraction from other concerns (e.g. backing down in relation to Iran; accelerated expansion of the settlements) and as a way of convincing their own people that dangerous enemies remain and must be dealt with by the iron fist of Israeli militarism.


            In the background, but not very far removed from the understanding of observers, are two closely related developments. The first is the degree to which the continuing expansion of Israeli settlements has made it unrealistic to suppose that a viable Palestinian state will ever emerge from direct negotiations. The second, underscored by the recent merger of Netanyahu and Lieberman forces, is the extent to which the Israeli governing process has indirectly itself irreversibly embraced the vision of Greater Israel encompassing all of Jerusalem and most of the West Bank. The fact that world leaders in the West keep repeating the mantra of peace through direct negotiations is either an expression of the grossest incompetence or totally bad faith. At minimum, Washington and the others calling for the resumption of direct negotiations owe it to all of us to explain how it will be possible to establish a Palestinian state within 1967 borders when it means the displacement of most of the 600,000 armed settlers now defended by the Israeli Defense Forces, and spread throughout occupied Palestine. Such an explanation would also have to show why Israel is being allowed to quietly legalize the 100 or so ‘outposts,’ settlements spread around the West Bank that had been previously unlawful even under Israeli law. Such moves toward legalization deserve the urgent attention of all those who continue to proclaim their faith in a two-state solution, but instead are ignored.


            This brings us back to Gaza and Hamas. The top Hamas leaders have made it abundantly clear over and over again that they are open to permanent peace with Israel if there is a total withdrawal to the 1967 borders (22% of historic Palestine) and the arrangement is supported by a referendum of all Palestinians living under occupation. Israel, with the backing of Washington, takes the position that Hamas as ‘a terrorist organization’ that must be permanently excluded from the procedures of diplomacy, except of course when it is serves Israel’s purposes to negotiate with Hamas. It did this in 2011 when it negotiated the prisoner exchange in which several hundred Palestinians were released from Israeli prisons in exchange for the release of the Israel soldier captive, Gilad Shalit, or when it seems convenient to take advantage of Egyptian mediation to establish temporary ceasefires. As the celebrated Israeli peace activist and former Knesset member, Uri Avnery, reminds us a cease-fire in Arab culture, hudna in Arabic, is considered to be sanctified by Allah, has tended to be in use and faithfully observed ever since the time of the Crusades. Avnery also reports that up to the time be was assassinated al-Jabari was in contact with Gershon Baskin of Israel, seeking to explore prospects for a long-term ceasefire that was reported to Israeli leaders, who unsurprisingly showed no interest.


            There is a further feature of this renewal of conflict involving attacks on Gaza. Israel sometimes insists that since it is no longer, according to its claims, an occupying power, it is in a state of war with a Hamas governed Gaza. But if this were to be taken as the proper legal description of the relationship between the two sides, then Gaza would have the rights of a combatant, including the option to use proportionate force against Israeli military targets. As earlier argued, such a legal description of the relationship between Israel and Gaza is unacceptable. Gaza remains occupied and essentially helpless, and Israel as occupier has no legal or ethical right to engage in war against the people and government of Gaza, which incidentally was elected in internationally monitored free elections in early 2006. On the contrary, its overriding obligation as Occupier is to protect the civilian population of Gaza. Even if casualty figures in the present violence are so far low as compared with Operation Cast Lead, the intensity of air and sea strikes against the helpless people of Gaza strikes terror in the hearts and minds of every person living in the strip, a form of indiscriminate violence against the spirit and mental health of an entire people that cannot be measured in blood and flesh, but by reference to the traumatizing fear that has been generated.


            We hear many claims in the West as to a supposed decline in international warfare since the collapse of the Soviet Union 20 years ago. Such claims are This is to some extent a welcome development, but the people of the Middle East have yet to benefit from this trend, least of all the people of Occupied Palestine, and of these, the people of Gaza are suffering the most acutely. This spectacle of one-sided war in which Israel decides how much violence to unleash, and Gaza waits to be struck, firing off militarily meaningless salvos of rockets as a gesture of resistance, represents a shameful breakdown of civilization values. These rockets do spread fear and cause trauma among Israeli civilians even when no targets are struck, and represent an unacceptable tactic. Yet such unacceptability must be weighed against the unacceptable tactics of Israel that holds all the cards in the conflict. It is truly alarming that now even the holiest of cities, Jerusalem, is threatened with attacks, but the continuation of oppressive conditions for the people of Gaza, inevitably leads to increasing levels of frustration, in effect, cries of help that world has ignored at its peril for decades. These are survival screams! To realize this is not to exaggerate! To gain perspective, it is only necessary to read a recent UN Report that concludes that the deterioration of services and conditions will make Gaza uninhabitable by 2020. 


           That is, completely aside from the merits of the grievances on the two sides, for one side to be militarily omnipotent and the other side to be crouching helplessly in fear. Such a grotesque reality passes under the radar screens of world conscience because of the geopolitical shield behind which Israel is given a free pass to do whatever it wishes. Such a circumstance is morally unendurable, and should be politically unacceptable. It needs to be actively opposed globally by every person, government, and institution of good will.     


57 Responses to “The Latest Gaza Catastrophe: Will They Ever Learn?”

  1. Barry Meridian November 18, 2012 at 1:33 pm #

    Looks like Falk after his 82nd birthday continues to be an apologist and liar for Hamas.
    First Falk says this, The reliance by Hamas and the various Gaza militias on indiscriminate, even if wildly inaccurate and generally harmless, rockets.

    How about I fire 1000 missles where you live Falk?
    Do you know the psychological hell Israelis in the South are going through.
    Richard Falk has to understand, Israelis are not going to accept living under Arab terrorism. The South of Israel looks like the Warsaw Ghetto with Israelis hiding in bunkers.
    Since the beginning of 2012 the Palestinians launched 1,200 rockets toward Israeli civilians. These are crimes against humanity.
    There also to terrorize Israelis into leaving Israel so the Palestinians can commit ethnic cleansing against the Jews in Israel as the Palestinians racist leaders call for.
    Just go on Palmediawatch and see what the Pal leaders in Hamas and Fatah say.

    Israel has every right to respond to Hamas terrorists in Gaza firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians.
    2nd, Israel does not control Gaza.
    Israel does not control the border with Moslem Brotherhood Egypt and Gaza.
    But Terrorists in Gaza are not going to be able to cross into Israel from Gaza and kill Jews.
    Sorry Mr Falk.

    • Lorenzo San Clair November 19, 2012 at 1:12 am #

      This article by Richard Falk is an excellent summation of the situation as the majority of the thinking world see it. It is unfortunate that the ignoramous Mr Barry Meridian has such a purile concept of the situation, he must be an Israeli propagandist!!

    • Gareth W R Smith November 20, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

      Why are Israelis living in Ashkelon and Sderot which are on stolen Palestinian land? Look at the death and injury toll: Gaza 115 dead and 900 injured, Israel 3 dead. How many Israeli buildings have been blitzed? All we have seen so far are some holes in roofs and floors! We’d have to say Hamas is far more adept at surgical strikes than israel and perhaps their rocket attacks are designed to provoke Israel and thus raise the continuing brutal military occupation of Palestine and the 6 year illegal siege of Gaza to headline status in the world’s media. Think: what exactly is the difference between the Warsaw Jewish ghetto uprising (which killed Germans) and the Gaza Palestinian ghetto uprising?

      • Orit July 25, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

        Why are Americans are living on stolen lands? Why are the Brazilian are living on stolen lands? Why are the Australians are living on stolen lands?
        How dare you to compare getto Warsaws uprising, which was the last breath of air for those young Jewish people before dying, against an army and nation that said in words! That it aims to kill them, to destroy them, to wipe them from the face of the earth, how dare you compare them to the Hamass , that are saying in words! That they want to kill the Israeli nation, to destroy us, to wipe us from the face of the earth? SHAME on you!

  2. Barry Meridian November 18, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Falk then says, The Netanyahu government pursues a policy that is best understood from the perspective of settler colonialism. What distinguishes settler colonialism from other forms of colonialism is the resolve of the colonialists not only to exploit and dominate, but to make the land their own and superimpose.

    Earth to Falk, Jews are not Colonialists. The Arabs are.
    The Arabs are all invaders from Saudi Arabia.
    The Arabs went from 1 country, Saudi Arabia, to 22 countries, after Mohammad and his Jihadi armies invaded and colonized the entire Mideast and North Africa in the 7th century
    Jews have been living in Israel for 3500 years with their ancient Capital Jerusalem.
    Jerusalem was never in history the capital of any Arab country.

    The only violent people are the Arab settlers who have been trying to kill Jews to implement their jihadi dreams of annihilating Israel..
    Just the other day, Israel arrested Arab settlers in Jerusalem who were part of a terrorist plot to stab and kill as many Jews as possible in Jerusalem.,7340,L-4305614,00.htm
    Suspicion: Arab youths set up Jew stabbing cell
    Arrest of 17-year-old east Jerusalem resident suspected of stabbing Abraham Tau two weeks exposes terror cell
    Noam Dvir

    • monalisa November 18, 2012 at 2:29 pm #

      to walker percy:
      I think that Barry Meridian is a paid poster. Paid by the Israel government/secret service. This happens quite often on the Internet. As otherwise no one would post as he does.

      So I would never go into a dialoge with such an individual lacking enough characterial traits not to do such a thing.


      • walker percy November 18, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

        I’m sure you are right, monalisa. I suppose that’s one of the things they are spending the 100’s of billions they have extorted from America. But, do you think they have can hire enough Barry Meridians to block ALL of our voices? I doubt it. Their computer networks are being taken down right now by a worldwide consortium. Look at the comments on JPost where they complain that their computers are not working so well anymore. They find it very annoying now, but I am hoping that it gets much, much worse. Let’s turn them off, just like they threaten to turn off electricity and water to Gaza (leading to mass death, presumably). Hackers from all of the world must unite to bring them down this bunch before it is too late for all of us.

      • monalisa November 19, 2012 at 8:15 am #

        To walker percy:

        I am not overly optimistic for the time being concerning Gaza and its Palestinian population. And in general the whole Palestinians as well as other minorities within Israel. They are all somehow a target for the next few years: Israels government heads towards an apartheit state with one religion only. Christian churches as well as mosques have been demolished the past years.

        Anyhow, whatever the outcome will be one is for sure:
        USA cannot allow itself to loose Turkey. Its already Egypt which is going to be lost for USA. At least I see it so but I am not a political active person. I just follow-up what is going on.
        So if Turkey and Egypt together put some sort of pressure onto Israel USA will know to be a little bit careful about any action Israel might have in its mind.

        Thats my point of view for the time being.

        But in general: countries like USA overburdened with debts and a too big military complex as well as Israel with its ignorance and arrogance have might be lost their perspective. These factors could proof to be extremely dangerous for both countries and others too. Those factors led usually to war – bigger ones to be accurate. Not to forget the EU as a puppet of USA.


      • walker percy November 19, 2012 at 9:05 am #

        monalisa, Obama is now letting down all of us who believed that things would change once the elections were over. The Zionists are trying to humiliate him by proving how powerless he is to do anything to halt their insolent, murderous behavior, which apparently will never end until the whole world is ablaze. They are finally and shamelessly revealing themselves to be the enemies of humanity,which is also helping us to better understand earlier episodes, which have always ended badly for them. Due to some apparent brain damage, they appear to be oblivious to the fact that they are a tiny island in a sea of seething hatred that they have incited, and they will never be left to enjoy their solitude. Anyway, once they have cleansed non-Jews, they will start cleansing one another. The thing that most people don’t get is that hating is empowering and feels good (for little a while). Once you have a taste for it, it is hard to turn off, and you start looking for new targets.

        I agree with you that Turkey may be our only hope. As a member of NATO with a very large and capable military, they should take steps now to rescue Gaza, even if it means drawing Israeli firepower on themselves. Then, NATO can bring its full force to bear on the Zionist world-wreckers, and we can finally start rebuilding from the immense damage we have sustained. NATO must remove all of their WMD, and dismantle their spy network. The rest of us must expose all Sayonim (helpers) around the world who are secretly stabbing their non-jewish neighbors in the back so that they can reap material rewards and enjoy their delicious feelings of superiority.

        The really ghastly part of all this is that these horrors are caused by a group of racial supremacists who feel they should be allowed to expel millions of impoverished folks from their homes so that they may live out a biblical fantasy, in which, unsurprisingly, they take the starring role. What a sick bunch. We can only look forward, eventually to their demise, which is inevitable. I only hope we don’t all go down with them (again).

      • monalisa November 19, 2012 at 10:21 am #

        to walker percy:

        Turkey as a member of NATO cannot “sidestepping” too much.
        Don’t forget NATO is under the command of USA.
        NATO committed already crimes with its “humanitarian wars” and its spying aspirations.

        But a little bit Turkey can do. Maybe this will be enough.
        I don’t know.

        I do hope –
        nevertheless I am still pessimistic.
        Its the arrogance and ignorance which in its combination with the burden of debts constitutes a danger.


      • walker percy November 19, 2012 at 11:04 am #

        It may be that America is waking up. Rather than just reading the news articles and editorials, you have to check out the comments made anonymously, when people feel they can speak the truth without risking retribution that can take many forms, including employment termination, which is cataclysmic for most people in today’s job market. But, if a critical mass of Americans figure out they are being played by the monsters in Israel, things may change rapidly. Hang in there, and keep fighting. Your voice is important, and you must make your objections heard. It is not that hard now with the Internet, and it is so easy to demolish the bogus “arguments” used by Zionists to support their nasty behavior. Keep on writing and convincing others. We have to win for the sake of future generations.

      • Rabbi Ira Youdovin November 19, 2012 at 10:03 pm #

        The good exchange between Fred Skolnik and Prof. Falk proves two things. First, it is possible for two people with vastly different views to converse in a civil manner, even if their positions are unbridgeable. Second, a dispute over who bears primary blame for the conflagration in Gaza is ultimately futile. Both sides can provide compelling evidence to support its accusation of the other’s guilt.

        (Apropos, in praising Fred Skolnik I must take issue with monalisa’s accusation that he’s a paid hack. In fact, the truth is much uglier. There are lots of us “scoundrels” out here in Cyberspace (Walker Percy’s generous appraisal) who are eager to do it pro bono, because, according to the Mr. Percy, we suffer from a “peculiarly Jewish neurosis, the mother of all self-fulfilling prophecies, and one of the greatest dangers that human civilization has ever faced…and thus practice a “religion that is evil and false.” (And here I thought that character defamation was being deleted from this blog. I guess it all depends on whose character is being defamed.)

        Prof. Falk’s narrative can be turned on its head simply by exchanging Israel for Hamas, and vice versa. When Hamas shelled an Israeli patrol vehicle driving on the Israeli side of the border, did its leaders not know what the Israeli response would be, particularly in the light of statements by Prime Minister Netanyahu cited by Prof. Falk? Of course they did. Consequently, Prof. Falk’s argument that Israel wanted to ignite the situation applies equally to Hamas. But nobody can know for sure which side bears responsibility.

        There’s also no point in swapping accusations regarding violations of the Geneva convention. Yes, the rules condemn firing on civilians. But both sides do it. And Hamas violates yet another Geneva rule by placing firing platforms in heavily civilian areas, thus guaranteeing that civilians will be killed and maimed as “collateral damage” to legitimate Israel self-defense measures.

        On the other hand, I’m deeply impressed by paragraph #5 of Prof, Falk’s posting, in which he urges both sides to accept that their conflict cannot be resolved by violence. This is a wonderful statement. At the same time, however, I must ask why Prof. Falk did not state this point with equal clarity in the portion of the post he submitted for publication by Al Jazeera, where it might do some good?

        Similarly, while Prof. Falk does characterize Hamas’ shelling of Israel civilians as “criminal acts”—a very strong condemnation—-he then goes on to inject so many disclaimers and mitigating circumstances that his stern condemnation of violence dissolves into something akin to a very ambiguous “guilty with an explanation.”

        And why tell Palestinians you are urging to negotiate that a two-state solution is impossible, thus removing any incentive they have for negotiating?

        Prof. Falk is sending a very mixed signal to the Palestinians, urging them to negotiate for peace while, at the same time, warning that there’s no point in negotiating and that’s its okay to fire rockets at civilians, even though he knows that many more Palestinians than Israelis will die or be wounded by the tactic. That’s questionable advice coming from someone who watches the war on television from his comfortable home in Santa Barbara, CA.

        But as I said, I believe that Prof. Falk’s higher angels urge negotiation instead of violence. My hope is that these will prevail over the impulses within that urge jihad.

        Rabbi Ira Youdovin

      • peri pamir November 20, 2012 at 6:24 am #

        “Lets turn them off” is a great idea.. İf we could do that globally, on even a modest scale, we could go a long way in giving them a taste of their own medicine, as you say…

  3. Barry Meridian November 18, 2012 at 1:49 pm #

    Why does Hamas and Islamic Jihad fire rockets from a school at Israel praying that Israel return fire and kill some of it’s children. Thats Gaza today. The Palestinians are the only people in the world that go out day by day figuring ways to get their children to die in front of the world press.

    • Barry Meridian November 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

      What does Falk think Israel should do when Hamas terrorists are firing hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians?
      Send Swiss chocolate in return for every rocket?

      • Barry Meridian November 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

        Someone told me a funny joke.
        If we sent the Swiss chocolate Falk would accuse Israel with poisoning the Arabs giving them an unhealthy quantity of sugar and damaging their teeth.

      • Gareth W R Smith November 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm #

        Stop the brutal, illegal military and settler oppression of the Palestian people and stop the continuing theft of Palestinian land! How’s that for a start, Barry?

    • Gareth W R Smith November 20, 2012 at 2:08 pm #

      Given that 1.6 million Gazans are crammed into the most densely populated place on Earth I suggest they do not have too many opportunities to loose rockets in civilan safe areas. If only Hamas were supplied with the kind of weaponry that the U.S. pours into Israel they would be able to bomb Israel from the air and safeguard their civilians! Woul;d that satisfy you?

  4. Barry Meridian November 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    Hamas stores its missiles near schools and mosques in Gaza. They fire these missles out of residential areas, so civilians are killed.
    Golda Meir 40 years ago talked about this Arab child abuse.
    Even Falk should be horrified by these Islamo fascists.

    • Barry Meridian November 18, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

      Its amazing that Falk thinks Israel is only country in the world that shouldn’t be allowed to defend themselves

      • Barry Meridian November 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm #

        What did Golda Meir say 40 years ago about Arab child abusers?
        Hamas missile launch pad next to mosque, playground. Civilian factories, gas station also half a block from Fajr-5 firing site.
        Aaron Klein
        November 16, 2012

  5. Barry Meridian November 18, 2012 at 1:53 pm #
    UPDATE: BBC and CNN React to Pallywood Video Footage
    NOVEMBER 18, 2012
    The footage of a beige jacketed Palestinian man making a miraculous recovery after appearing to be injured in an Israeli airstrike was broadcast not only on the BBC but also on CNN.

    HonestReporting’s video of this sequence has now been viewed over a quarter of a million times on YouTube, helping to expose Pallywood to an audience beyond our regular readership.

    The reactions from the BBC and CNN when confronted with the evidence could not have been more different.

    CNN’s Anderson Cooper made an on-air statement (Hat tip: Elder of Ziyon):

    Anderson Cooper’s statement:

    The video we aired came from the news agency Reuters and their feed to us did not include the image of the man standing. We asked Reuters about it today. They say they don’t know the source of the image of that man standing or when that image was shot. They also say they never saw or shot any similar image. The bottom line is that we cannot independently verify when the image of the man standing was taken… whether it was taken before or after.

    The other image was taken of the man being dragged away. We obviously will not be using either of these images again. It is not only a traditional military conflict but also one that is being waged in the media as well and our only goal, as always, is to report the truth, the facts on all fronts and that’s why we’ve sent so many of our own reporters and producers into the field.

    But what about the BBC? The Guido Fawkes blog published the BBC’s response:

    To the best of our knowledge the pictures do not show any kind of ‘staged’ event – and were run in good faith. The footage shown by BBC News was edited from a longer sequence provided by the Reuters news agency in which the man in question is shown being lifted from the ground. He is then given attention at the roadside, before appearing later having recovered.

    We ran a shorter edit of those pictures, and would point out that some re-uses of our output by others online have compressed the sequence further. Steps have been taken to ensure any re-broadcast reflects the full sequence so that it is absolutely clear to our audiences.

    In response, HonestReporting’s CEO Joe Hyams said:

    How is it that Reuters does not know the source of its own footage? It’s completely unacceptable for a supposedly respectable news agency to package unsourced and unverified footage, particularly when the Pallywood phenomenon is a known possibility.

    It’s disturbing enough that outside media outlets evidently do not bother to check the footage that is supplied to them by Reuters and other agencies but it is even worse that the BBC cannot bring itself to admit the obvious even when it is staring them in the face.

    Muddying the waters by questioning the credibility of HonestReporting and others who republished the sequence of footage is simply a poor attempt to divert responsibility from where it really lies.

    While the BBC may be unrepentant, this episode has served to put the media on alert for any further instances of Pallywood staging going on in Gaza.

    You can see the footage below if you have not already viewed it.

    Keep up to date on all the latest breaking news and media bias on HonestReporting by checking our homepage and live blog as events happen.

  6. Barry Meridian November 18, 2012 at 1:55 pm #

    How awful! It’s a shame that Hamas thinks of their children as weapons instead of as human beings.

  7. Barry Meridian November 18, 2012 at 1:59 pm #

    If you attack Israeli civilians with rockets, expect to be attacked right back. And if you attack with barrages of 1200 hundred rockets, expect a war.
    Not a single Gazan would be killed or injured if Hamas and Gaza would stop attacking Israel. Its that simple. There is nothing else to talk about.

  8. Barry Meridian November 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    No country would tolerate relentless firing of rockets & missiles at its cities. Hamas terrorists have brought nothin but misery & suffering to the Gazans whom they use as human shields like cowards. Israel always goes to great lengths to avoid civilian casualties & makes phone calls, drops leaflets and dummy bombs before they attack Hamas terrorists operating in populated areas.

  9. Barry Meridian November 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    What do the Palestinians think they will accomplish by sending rockets into Israel? 72 virgins.
    Are they not asking for what they are getting? The Palestinians are making their own bed. The blood is on their hands.

  10. Barry Meridian November 18, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    A must article for Falk.
    Foreign Ministry slams UN human rights chief for ‘ringing silence’ on Gaza rocket fire.
    High Commissioner does not care for Israelis’ human rights, spokesman charges
    November 15, 2012

  11. Barry Meridian November 18, 2012 at 2:01 pm #

    Israel has not only survived but also thrives in-spite of all the horror, lies, and hatred she has endured from the Arab/Palis by a sheer MIRACLE, and the resilience of the Jewish people and her supporters.
    Islamo fascist supporters like Falk will not break the spirit of Israel.

  12. monalisa November 18, 2012 at 2:22 pm #

    Dear Richard,

    in response to your header on this essay “Will They Ever Learn?”: No, I don’t think they will.
    It will might be, in my opinion, go on until USA will run either out of money and will have to stop “helping hands” or the US government will be forced to do so by its own people or from outside. Then Israel will have “learnt”. Maybe. I am not sure. Israel didn’t stand on its own right from the beginning. It depended on the outside support in every direction. And maybe therefore its governments didn’t see the necessity to implement and study diplomatic ways and fields how to deal with neighbors. And especially how to deal with its indigenous people.
    Israel showed the world how “poor” they are in the meaning of the murders commited in Nazi Germany/Austria. Its like a magic trick and it worked for quite a time extremely well – naturally under the umbrella of USA or better to say under the active Israel Lobby in USA “influencing” the political agenda of US foreign policy.

    A state as Israel, founded on the premisses of its forefathers, accepted mostly (but not completely) because of the Holocaust desaster by the political powers and reminding the world permanently how disastrous it was, is committing crimes since its foundatation. It will not stop. I think this is the course of mankind: commiting crimes towards innocent people if own groups of people experienced desasters/murder.
    Its the recipe of the weak lacking better solutions as for example: a person got some problems in his/her workplace is very much frustrated and upon coming home this person will immediately, if he/her is weak and lacks selfconfidence, put some blame onto this person which is unable to defend itself within his personal cricle/family etc. (usually children).

    In my opinion Israel’s government (and maybe some of its people) is (are) permenently reminded how strong the selfconfidence of the Palestinians is. How through all these years under circumstances which were and still are on the extreme of extremes they managed to survive ! Maybe this too is a point which Israel’s government doesn’t like to be reminded of! Could be !

    In my opinion Palestinians, especially in Gaza, are the most versatile people I can see on our earth. Under such extreme life conditions to manage to get an increase in the GDP of about 7% which is I think more as Israel can count for itself shows how versatile and willing Palestinians are.

    The WHO – as you also stated – is stating that the circumstances in Gaza reached an alarming point ! I don’t think that Israel will break the selfconfidence which these Palestinians own. They will be coldblooded murdered by Israelis, yes, but they will not loose their selfconfidence and their belief that a God for justice exists.
    Maybe Palestinians especially in Gaza will be all dead after a while because of the circumstances Israel’s government implemented – open prison with fresh air but not enough drinking water and food and certainly lacking medical treatments. But those strong and versatile people will not loose their selfconfidence – I think.

    Im my opinion Israel’s government acts not to the best for its country: to murder/bomb such versatile and hard working people instead of looking for solutions to have their extraordinary personalities integrated for the benefit of Israel is really more than silly.
    It is lacking a foresight for the country which might be in need of such strong people as already too many people in Israel have dedicated themselves to religion only and not to work for the benefit of the whole country of Israel.

    I am really shocked how Israel is acting: bombing, murdering.
    Again and again and again. As you said: there is no balance at all.

    PS: I am sorry, it went maybe too long what I wrote.

    Take care of yourself,


    • walker percy November 18, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

      monalisa, as an admirer of your heartfelt, informed and perceptive commentary, I feel your distress in digesting this latest nightmare. It is now clear that the Israeli gov’t, and by extension the vast majority of its inhabitants are simply scoundrels. But there is a change, and it only requires you to check out the comments pages on JPost to see how irreversibly these folks have forfeited their humanity; but their insolence and lies, where every sentence seems to be an exact inversion of the truth, will bring them down. With each passing year, these voices more brazen in announcing their belief in their own status as super humans, entitled to snuff out the lives of lesser beings on their whim, and no one can touch them. Even the President of the United States, they seem to say, quivers with fear that he might say something that goes against Israeli pronouncements. But this arrogance belies the truth, which is that world can no longer operate with this tiny, tiny group of miscreants who are causing so much unhappiness, pain, and the killing of any hope for future peace and prosperity, continuing to act with impunity. The writing is on the wall, but those lunatics can’t read. Either the Jewish State is converted to something less lethal, or I am afraid the whole world will go up in flames (again).

    • Gareth W R Smith November 20, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

      Thanks Monalisa i much appreciate your contribution.

  13. rehmat1 November 18, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

    The leader of Lebanese Islamic Resistance, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah on Thursday condemned the western leaders for their support for the latest genocide of 1.5 million Gazans by the Jewish army. “The bloodshed in Gaza shows the true face of the United states and the West,” he said in a televised speech aired in Beirut.

    Nasrallah urged the 57 Muslim nation-states to sever all form of relations with the US while calling upon Cairo, Amman and Ankara to break diplomatic relations with the Zionist entity. He also claimed that the Zionist regime is taking revenge for its failure to bring regime changes in Syria and Lebanon by attacking the coastal enclave.

    Hizballah is the only Arab millitia which defeated the Jewish Army in Summer 2006.
    Barack Obama (US), David Cameron (UK) and Stephen Harper (Canada) have all given their unwavering support to the Zionist regime’s new air raids on Gaza while condeming retaliatory rocket attacks on the “pece-loving” Israeli Jewish settlers by the Palestinian resistance groups like Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
    Egyptian president Dr. Morsi who is affraid to anger his western backers – sent prime minister Hisham Kandil to Gaza Strip on Friday. During his visit, Zionist prime minister Netanyahu ordered Israeli air-strike to stop. They were resumed once Hisham Kandil left Gaza.
    Israeli air attack which started on Wednesday, has killed at least 21 Palestinian including Ahmad Jaabari, head of Ezzedin Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas. Most of the victims of Israeli air-strikes have been Palestinian children. The Zionist regime has declared emergency and have recalled over 30,000 army reserves for a possible ground attack.
    Hamas has claimed downing of an Israeli F-16 fighter-jet and capturing its two pilots. Russian Television (RT) has confirmed Hamas claim. Israeli Channel 2 has reported that the Jewish army has indeed lost contact with the two pilots. Israeli military officials have warned Israelis to prepare for upto seven weeks of war on Gaza.
    The Israeli military frequently carries out airstrikes and other attacks on Gaza Strip, saying the actions are being conducted for defensive purposes. However, in violation of international law, disproportionate force is always used and civilians are often killed or injured.
    Hamas leader in exile, Khaled Mishaal who is attending the 8th General Conference of Sudanese Islamic Movement in Khartoum, has condemned the killing of commander Ahmad Jaabari. The conference is attended by more than 170 Islamists from around the Muslim world.
    Jewish academic and author, Dr. Norman Finkelstein, in an interview at RT called Netanyahu ” a Maniac”. Watch the video below.
    British veteran journalist and author, Alan Hart, has posted a brilliant article, entitled ‘Excuse me while I vomit’.
    “I imagine I am not the only one who feels the need to vomit (dictionary definition – “to throw up the contents of the stomach through the mouth”) when Israel’s Goebbels justifies the Zionist state’s ferocious and monstrously disproportionate attacks by air and sea on the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip, the prison camp which is home to 1.5 million besieged and mainly impoverished Palestinians. The Israeli to whom I am referring is, of course, Australian-born Mark Regev, the prime minister’s spokesman, for which read spin doctor. The more I see and hear him in action, the more it seems to me that he makes Nazi Germany’s propaganda chief look like an amateur,” wrote Alan Hart. Read full article here.

  14. Judy Deutsch November 18, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    The human side is far more clear. Israel has long murdered or displaced Palestinians and confiscated their land and water — the planned ethnic cleansing of 1948, the wars of 1967, 1973, the massacre of up to 20,000 Palestinians in Lebanon 1982-84 with no Israeli casualties, the 2006/08-09 Cast Lead, and 2012 massacres, One outstanding feature is Israel’s outright, flagrant sadism: the use of unimaginable weapons, terrorizing children, defecating on people’s personal property. The “peace process” has long been called “formaldehyde” — a screen that supposedly conceals expanded settlement activity in the West Bank and Jerusalem. People exist — and it’s possible that there is a “need” to exist, especially when from early on life offers some gratification, pleasure, and safety; but nation states and corporations do not have a “right” to exist.

  15. Fred Skolnik November 19, 2012 at 1:09 am #

    You are misrepresenting, to what I can see is a very receptive audience, the way Israel has responded to massive rocket attacks against its civilian population, which you yourself define as “criminal,” though with a great many qualifications.

    You write:

    “Of course, these tactics up to this point have involved attacking a densely urbanized population with advanced weaponry from air and sea, targeting media outlets, striking residential structures, and killing and wounding many civilians, including numerous children. Since when does ‘the right to defend oneself’ amount to a license to kill and wound without limit, without some clear demonstration that the means of violence are connected with the goals being sought, without a requirement that force be exclusively directed against military targets, without at least an expression of concern about the proportionality of the military response?”

    First, what you call Israel’s “means of violence” are certainly connected with a goal: to stop the terrorist rocket fire and convince the terrorist organizations that they have more to lose than to gain from murdering Israeli civilians, just as Hizbollah learned this lesson and has not aimed so much a water pistol in Israel’s direction in the last 6 years, to the benefit of Lebanon as much as of Israel.

    Secondly, as you surely know, Israel’s air attacks are in fact being directed exclusively against military targets, despite the fact that the terrorists are shooting their rockets from residential neighborhoods and stockpiling these rockets in schools, hospitals, mosques and apartment buildings. The great irony of this conflict is that while Israel makes a supreme effort to minimize civilian casualties, warning Gazans of imminent attacks, the terrorists do everything in their power to maximize casualties among its civilian population for their media value.

    You also seem to think that Israel’s success in minimizing civilian casualties among its own population somehow trivializes the terrorist attacks and makes Israel’s response disproportionate. You might as well argue that the Allies used disproportionate force against the German army in World War II. These arguments read like parodies of inverted logic, as does your definition of the killing of a Hamas military commander (Jabari) running around Gaza organizing and coordinating rocket attacks against Israel as “extra-judicial.”

    Hamas’s actions have very little to do with the condition of the Palestinians: they are aimed, ideologically, at the ultimate destruction of the State of Israel and “pragmatically” at scoring points in its own struggle for power by stealing some of Abu Mazen’s thunder as he prepares to go to the U.N. Otherwise you would have to view the Hamas attack as simply crazy. And by the way, Barry Meridian is perfectly right in pointing out that Gaza has a common border with Egypt, meaning that it is not hermetically sealed by Israel, as it is represented as being by people who have not even bothered to look at a map of the region, and should be able to get whatever supplies it needs, just as it has managed to import thousands of rockets from Iran and Libya. Furthermore the so-called humanitarian flotillas can also send as much food and medicines as they like by docking at Ashdod, having their cargoes inspected and transshipping them to Gaza via the Israeli crossings, whose capacity the Palestinians do not even utilize fully. Even the U.N. has declared time and again that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. This is not to say that its population is not suffering. But the cause of its suffering is its own leaders’ unwillingness to accept the existence of a non-Muslim state in the Middle East. That is the root of the problem and not anything Israel does or does not do.

    • Richard Falk November 19, 2012 at 6:17 am #

      I believe the Israeli narrative is overlooking several elements of the situation:
      –Israel under international law continues to ‘occupy’ Gaza, and has a legal responsibility to protect the people living under occupation;
      –maintaining the blockade for more than five years is a continuing violation of the prohibition against collective punishment set forth in Art. 33 of the 4th Geneva Convention;
      –there exists a diplomatic alternation to this attack: Hamas has indicated its readiness for a long-term truce;
      –Israel disrupted the truce negotiations by assassinating a high-profile Hamas leader;
      –the right of self-defense must be exercised in a manner that is proportionate and limited to military targets; Israel acknowledges targeting
      Palestinian journalists.

      • Fred Skolnik November 19, 2012 at 6:58 am #

        You are again inverting logic when you demand that Israel protect the residents of Gaza when the residents of Gaza are firing rockets at Israel’s civilian population.

        A blockade as such in an armed conflict is not illegal. Your interpretation that it constitutes collective punishment is incorrect as all supplies other than war materials can reach Gaza via Israel’s Ashdod port, not to mention the Egyptian border crossing.

        Hamas can indicate whatever it likes for its own purposes but as long as it continues firing rockets at Israel, Israel will fire back. The only real indication they can make is simply to stop shooting.

        Israel killed Jabari after the terrorists had fired over a hundred rockets at Israel’s civilian population. I would sooner trust Israel’s evaluation of what Jabari was up to than some hostile journalist’s.

        Israel did not “target” Palestinian journalists but attacked Hamas’s al-Aqsa television station, a propaganda organ. with no reported casualties.

  16. monalisa November 19, 2012 at 2:31 am #


    It seems very interesting looking back to 2008 soon after the US election count out finished the “Cast lead” of Israel against its occupied Gaza strip started. Yet Israel shows with its fast amount of military against Palestinians in Gaza repeating somehow the same “war game”.
    Its like Goliath = Israel against David = Gaza strip and Palestinians.

    According to Reuters Israel broke on the 14th of November the border silence.

    To think the whole action is just somehow “accidental” shows maybe a lack of political understanding when political powers enforce “special ways to be carried out”. While actions have to have some sort of a shadow cast upon it in order to put the blame onto the “other” side.


  17. monalisa November 19, 2012 at 2:35 am #

    A short addendum:

    To target with bombs offices of foreign journalists shows the way Israel is working with its political agenda.

    Such a target can never be accidental. It was coined out.


  18. peripamir November 19, 2012 at 7:09 pm #

    I lend my voice and support to the “morally unendurable” politics of Israel as described by Richard above. It seems to me that Israel has by now forfeited all the goodwill and empathy it had ever amassed for the tragic fate of its forefathers..

    The most depressing development in this chain of events is the seemingly incontestable enslavement of the newly reelected Obama admin to Israeli politics. For as long as Israel enjoys unconditional US support, it will essentially do as it pleases as that will serve to offset all the disadvantages of growing regional isolationism.

    In response to comments above, Turkey has no leverage with Israel anymore, not since the Mavi Marmara incident ruptured diplomatic relations between the two countries. Nor would it’s domestic opinion allow the government to involve NATO by “drawing fire upon itself”. The fire which actually came from Syria was deftly underplayed precisely for the same reason. It simply has too many internal problems and burdens today to assume such a risky role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. So for now, it’s bark will be louder than its bite, unfortunately…

    Another disappointment is the silence to date of the Arab League and the OIC..

    I found Richard’s mention of Jabari’s efforts to seek a long term ceasefire solution at the time of his assassination interesting, adding another inexplicable twist to this unending tragedy.

    Lastly, I don’t read Barry Meridian word for word, in fact I’ve stopped doing so altogether and i suspect others on this blog have done also. He shouldn’t bother to contaminate here. How could anyone possibly believe they could attract anyone’s attention with such foul language ?!

    • monalisa November 20, 2012 at 1:56 am #

      to peripamir:

      I am aware of these points that’s why I wrote “sidestepping”.

      We all know which countries are in the Arab League. The OIC is in my opinion still too slow.

      Therefore it doesn’t wonder.


  19. peripamir November 19, 2012 at 7:16 pm #

    Addendum. Last phrase of my entry should read not “foul”, but “biased language”…

  20. monalisa November 20, 2012 at 1:47 am #

    To Rabbi Ira Youdovin:

    The world (= Internet) reads that a clergyman representing the Mosaic Religion of the Jews tries to obscure truth and well known documented facts insofar as to rectify actions of the occupying power/oppressor and putting the blame of the oppressor’s/occupying power’s defense onto oppressed people. Those oppressed people don’t have enough drinking water, not enough food and lack the necessary medical treatments. Those opressed people should get help by the oppressor or in other words: the oppressor and occupying power has the responsibility to provide and help to build the necessary equipments for medical treatments, clean drinking water and enough food in order to minimize a collaps of a population of one and half million people.
    The oppressor and occupying power bears the legal responsibility if those one and half million people die of hunger and/or poisoned drinking water and/or not enough medical treatments.

    The oppressor/occupying power bears too the responsibility of the results of their bombings and murderings by its military personnel of those occupied and oppressed people in their autonomous area.

    Additionally the oppressor/occupying power should be aware of the picture showing the world community when speaking deceitful: to say being interested on negotiations and peace talks while murdering a political individual of the occupied territory who expressed the readiness of peace talks as well as at the same time the occupying power allows new buildings for its own people within the occupied territory and on stolen land.
    What could be the opinion of the world community if the oppressor/occuping power doesn’t resume responsibility ? Neglecting Geneva convention too ???

    PS:Those fred skolniks and barry meridians in our world speak for themselves in their writings.
    Paid or unpaid – that doesn’t matter and isn’t the point.
    Each post carries/conveys an essence.
    Each post shows the distinctive expression of the writer.
    Those posts speak for themselves as I said and don’t need accusations as black on white is visible. So I hardly can accuse as those posts are served in the Internet on a visible ready to read “golden” plate and cannot get “mistaken”. Therefore I can only state and not accuse.


    • walker percy November 20, 2012 at 7:53 am #

      Well stated, monalisa. The world is coming around to our view, regardless of complaints of “too much freedom of speech” from Rabbi Youdovin and others. We should never listen to people like clergymen whose livelihoods depend on maintaining superstitions and traditional power structures. I am not sure that Rabbi Youdovin is intentionally lying; he appears to be a good and well-intentioned gentleman. But his world view is warped by pre-judgement, apparently a requirement for maintaining one’s religious faith in spite of all countervailing evidence. He, like many religious people, cannot process the obvious truths of this matter, which is that they have done something terribly wrong, and their lives’ work is based on organized prevarication, and has resulted in the (hopefully temporary) reversal of human progress on Earth. I understand the deep conflict and pain faced by a thoughtful person in his position, who can no longer escape the horrible truth, that this belief community is directly responsible for destabilizing the world, just as it seemed (pre 9-11) that humanity was entering a golden age, where violence would be slowly forgotten as a means of conflict resolution, and all people would be allowed to live up to their full potential. When a reasonable person like Rabbi Youdovin determines to try to publicly mis-lead, we must ask if he will ever be able to claim innocence, and I worry for his soul.

  21. rehmat1 November 20, 2012 at 6:35 am #

    The current Israeli slaughter of innocents will, at least, teach Hamas leaders they’ve been betrayed by their newly found Arab allies – all of whom are nothing but US-Israeli poodles.

  22. Björn Lindgren November 21, 2012 at 3:24 am #

    Dear Richard,

    First, thank you for straigthforward comments
    on what´s now, again, is going on in Gaza.

    Second, if Palestine is recognized as a state
    by UN, then the unpropotional Israeli violence
    against a defenceless people and the illegal
    occupation of Palestine can be tried in the

    The Israeli reaction will be uncertain, but the
    support from American Jews will continue to
    decrease even further.

    If diciplined Hamas leave the use meaningless
    violence, and enter the path of courageous
    nonviolence, peoples in Palestine, Israel, and
    the region will benefit greatly.

    Best regards, Björn Lindgren

    • monalisa November 21, 2012 at 4:07 am #

      to Björn Lindgren:

      Are you sure that Israel could be indicted by The Hague ?

      If Israel could be USA could be too –

      both are inflicting and breaking laws: starting with the International Law and going further to other laws acknowledged internationally, for example in the Mediterran Sea where the Flotillas had been “captured” and “searched” by Israeli troops/marines.

      USA and Israel are “great” when it concerns other countries, especially the other big powers discrediting as well as poor defenseless countries.

      Both countries fall extremely short when it comes to show our world that they are on the top of all countries to keep laws: quite contrary, permanently broken laws are their left “footsteps” together with murder and deaths of innocent people.


      • Björn Lindgren November 23, 2012 at 2:08 am #

        Hi Mona Lisa,

        Thank you for useful comment.

        I have no illusions about Israel, the U.S., power, and Realpolitik (spelled Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Netanyahu and others).

        However, not only the tide of war, extrajudicial killings, and covert operations is rising, also global popular demands for justice, equality, and democracy is rising and spreading.

        We are already informed, we already know, we are well educated, we don´t need more information. But are being treated like servants. This is, step by step, changing.

        Maybe the U.S. and Israel will aviod being dragged to the Hague in the short run, but the threat of being taken to court could be effective in two ways: forming a global consciousness about these issues, and make political and military leaders think thrice.

        Our task is to form deep values, norms, goals, and good hypothesis about reality, and to step out of misuse of apathy, “psychology”, privacy, and consumption, and enter the great field of common sense, communal individuality, cooperation, healthy lifestyle, resistance, and a clear view of the world. And organize!

        I agree with Arne Naess, Norwegian philosopher and author or “Ecology, Community, and Lifestyle,” who said, “I am very optimistic! About the 22nd century!….We need activism on a high level immediately.”

        We already know; we are already informed.

        Cheers, Björn Lindgren


  23. rehmat1 November 22, 2012 at 6:52 pm #

    Some American commentors has called the cease-fire as Obama’s “sweet revenge”!

    Personally, I believe, the US-Israel latest fiasco has accomplished in stitching together a divided leadership and people together around a common cause. It has brought pro-USrael Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayaad closer to anti-Assad-Hizballah Khaled Meshaal and pro-Iran Ismail Haniyah.

  24. Brad Brzezinski November 28, 2012 at 12:28 pm #

    Professor Falk:

    The Palestinians claim Jerusalem on religious grounds. When Hamas fired rockets towards Jerusalem, they risked destroying their religious site. I found no Islamic condemnation of this act. If I accept your argument that Israel causes rocket attacks by its intransigence, that still does not explain Jerusalem being a target.

    Given that the Waqf was left in control of Al-Aqsa after the 1967 war, I can only conclude that Israel has the greater respect for Islam’s holy places and must maintain its control of Jerusalem.


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