Who recognizes Gaza’s “right to exist”? (repost)

[Sorry for yet another re-post.  Was dissatisfied with the wording, as usual.]

Haroon at avari-nameh has summed up well the profoundly immoral doublestandards on lurid display in the standoff between Israel and the Palestinians at the moment.

In order to bully the Hamas-led government into forcing some militants to hand over an abducted Israeli colonel–At the very same time that it continues to blow up people’s cars from the air, it should be noted–Israel has intentionally bombed the electricity and water facilities of the Gaza Strip, leaving 1.3 million people without these crucial utilities at the height of summer in the Middle East.

It has also kidnapped a number of elected Palestinian government officials, openly trampling on due process, democratic governance, and Palestinian sovereignty.  Once again, Israel’s periodic professions of outrage at the lack of democracy or rule of law in its neighbors are shown to be cynical PR ploys.

As if that were not enough, Israel has openly begun to target the whole civilian population.  The military has been intentionally creating terrifying sonic booms over the Gaza Strip at night and early morning.  In addition to generally terrorizing and traumatizing innocent people (children in particular), these "sound bombs" have been known to cause miscarriages.   (Tellingly, this illegal and inhumane practice began last year with the departure of the last remaining full fledged human beings…I mean, "settlers"…from Gaza. )

A fundamental question needs to be answered by Israel’s blind defenders:  Is this the behavior of a peaceful neighbor, or a wartime enemy?  That is not meant as a slogan to rally its opponents (Israel makes that easy enough through its actions).  I’m asking a simple and legitimate question.  Is this not the behavior of a declared enemy?

I emphasize this point because one of the biggest problems with Western coverage of this conflict is that implicit assumption that only one side is fighting.   Palestinian violence is often discussed as if it occurs in a backdrop of peaceful coexistence rather than the vicious cycle of escalating violence and mutual demonization that they find themselves in.

Also, please remember these telling little incidents next time you hear this sanctimonious preaching about Palestinians not "recognizing Israel’s right to exist".  Or outraged reports of the prevalence of hatred of Israel among Palestinians.

Why should Israel expect formal recognition from the Palestinians when it behaves with such impunity and lawlessness towards both their elected government and even its civilian population? 

It’s time for the international community to ask, "When will the Israelis recognize Palestine?"

  • http://www.blogistan.co.uk/blog/ Yusuf Smith

    As-Salaamu ‘alaikum,
    It’s the action of people who regard the local Arabs as a subject people of a lesser breed of human to themselves – Üntermenschen, that is. The fact is that “peace” for Israel means the natives accepting permanent Israeli overlordship.

  • http://abusinan.blogspot.com Abu Sinan

    Good point. The government in the US is demanding that the Palestinians recognise Israel’s right to exist, but Israel, the country occupying Palestine, has yet to recognise the right for an independent Palestine to exist.
    The hypocrisy is astounding. If any country in the world was doing what Israel is doing the US would be bombing them, yet we, America, send the arms and weapons to continue their crimes.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/dbrutus/ TM Lutas

    There’s an old phrase, be careful what you wish for, you might get it. There are very bad, scary consequences of engaging in certain behavior if you are a state that don’t entirely apply if you’re just a non-state movement. This is why the world over loud mouths and the impulsive rarely have long careers as diplomats. We’re all terrified of the trouble they can get us into.
    War sucks, really, really sucks. Israel, as far as I can tell, provided a brief window, right at the beginning of this mess, for the Hamas government to demonstrate that this was all a very big mistake. When Hamas didn’t comply, it was the pebble that started the landslide.
    All I can pray for is a minimum of funerals. So far, I believe there are more of them on the Jewish side than the Arab side. That is very likely to change.
    As for permanent Israeli overlordship, let us be realistic. The militarily most powerful country in the region *deserves* a bit of deference. This is true for *every* major regional military power. If someone would explain to me why Israel should be the one exception, I’d love to hear it.
    The CIS nations took quite a long time before they started sticking thumbs in the Russian bear’s eye and they always do it with a calculated measure and an exit strategy for a back down if necessary. Take a look at the GUUAM challenge if you want to see how it’s done without an invasion resulting. I believe Russia still has troops on Moldovan and Georgian soil so things are somewhat similar to the territories though the religious dimension is not so prominent.
    Hamas blew it. At best it’s command and control of its militants is deficient and at worst they courted this on purpose for reasons that escape me. The palestinians need a better political class that provides a decent chance at a government not made up of kleptomaniacs (Fatah) or other incompetents (Hamas).

  • thabet

    The latest Israeli actions have only strenghtened the hands of those who say all Israelis, mothers, children etc. are legitimate targets.
    And TM Lutas, more Palestinians, including hundreds of children, have died in the conflict than Israelis. People condemn Palestinians for suicide bombing tactics, but the same people remain strangely silent when Israel fires rockets into populated areas to tagret one man, whilst killing half a dozen others.

  • http://www.snappingturtle.net/jmc/tmblog/ TM Lutas

    thabet – Please define your dates. I was starting my count from the start of the current operations.
    The laws of war and the laws of media/political spin provide two different moral lessons. If you hide behind the skirts of innocent civilians and fire, the legitimate return fire killing bystanders is morally assigned to the hider by the laws of war and the firer by the laws of media spin and politics. Where does Islam put the moral blame?

  • http://abusinan.blogspot.com Abu Sinan

    TM writes “If you hide behind the skirts of innocent civilians and fire, the legitimate return fire killing bystanders is morally assigned to the hider by the laws of war and the firer by the laws of media spin and politics.”
    Sure, but the problem is YOUR own argument makes suicide bombs in public places in Israel legitimate.
    ALL Israeli men are REQUIRED to serve in the Israel military, hence any place where Israeli men between the ages of 18 and 55 are present would be legitimate targets according to your idea. Israeli society is militarised, from top to bottom. It is unlike any society in the West. The military in Israel is a part of the popular culture and mainstream society.
    Nice of YOU to give the argument for suicide bombers. You know, maybe if Israel did involve the military in EVERY aspect of Israeli life, and require every Israeli male to serve, maybe then this wouldnt be an issue now would it?
    The resistence in Palestinian is just as much a part of society, from top to bottom, as is the military in Israel. Any argument that would justify attacks on Palestinians that kill civilians, can, and if done equally, must then justify attacks on Israelis that kill civilians.
    As a matter of fact, I think such an argument is actually MORE detrimental to Israel than the Palestinians. The Palestinian authorities do not require, by law, all Palestinian men to be a part of the resistance movement. Israel does, hence militrising ALL Israel males.
    You can plausibly argue that every Israel male, from infancy on, will be a part of the military infrastructure destined to be used in the illegal occupation of Palestine. One cannot make a similar argument that all Palestinian males will become part of the resistance.
    Your argument is best used against the Israelis, but I reject your claim as it justifies violence against civilians. But I doubt you saw how devistating your argument is when applied to the Israelis.

  • http://www.snappingturtle.net/jmc/tmblog/ TM Lutas

    Abu Sinan – Suicide bombings are illegitimate and I said nothing to make them legitimate. I argued against one war crime. That does not legitimate another war crime. A bombing campaign is legitimate resistence. The IRA, fascist thugs though they are, certainly showed how something like that can be done without the abomination of these suicide bombings.
    The militarisation of Israeli society is somewhat similar to the militarization of Swiss society, were Switzerland to come under attack. The conscription ideal is similar, everybody serves. It is simply not true that everyone serves in the military in actuality. Israel does have its civilians and a decent enemy would take it into account.
    Suicide bombings are an abomination for several reasons. First is that they involve suicide, which is forbidden in both our faiths or did Islam suddenly do a theological makeover and I missed it? Bombs *can* be placed without suicide but are not. This needless embrace of suicide is disgusting and should be morally condemned. Second, such blasts (pizza shops, hotels, etc) are indiscriminate and often catch children in their blast radius. Again, the IRA has shown that you can have blasts while striving to minimize the loss of innocent life. Third, the use of poisons to attempt to increase casualty rates is a primitive form of chemical weaponry and is banned by civilized peoples. You do not lace your bombs with rat poison just as you do not use saw tooth bayonets.
    The first objection is a moral one, one of religion. The second and third ones are war crimes if done in a war.
    There is a difference between running an intelligence operation, identifying a high value target, and firing a missile whose blast radius regrettably kills nearby innocents and identifying a popular pizza place, walking inside and blowing yourself up regardless of how many kids are inside.
    It is morally indefensible to say that an infant is a legitimate military target. It is nowhere near plausible. That child may choose to be a concientious objector and drive ambulances. He may choose to go to Europe and not come back to Israel. He may renounce his citizenship. He may emigrate. He may come down with a disease or suffer an accident that excuses him from military service. Such facile reasoning that ignores the many ways an israeli might never serve in the IDF shows a lack of seriousness or damnably poor moral instruction. I don’t know where you picked up the idea from but it seems a rather poor source of wisdom.
    Arguably, I should have served in the Romanian army. I was born there, my US naturalization notwithstanding. Had I visited during certain years and come to the attention of the authorities, I would have had an 18 month vacation from my planned life. People make these choices all the time. I’ve met a dodger from the French draft in CT, for instance. One day, he got a knock on the door and was asked by the French military team whether he would come to France to serve. He said no. He was asked to sign a paper stating he would not come to France for X years (I forget the term, it was many years ago) his older brother, not so wise, was in Italy when he turned 18. Italy has an extradition treaty in this regard. His knock on the door had bigger men who simply dragged him off to France for his service. In neither case did these two people have French passports. They were simply French citizens by birth and US naturalized citizens.
    So am I part of the Romanian military machine? Was I as an infant? I don’t think so. Are jews who can walk in to any Israeli embassy and claim an Israeli passport automatically legitimate targets? Of course not, otherwise there would be bombs blowing up all over Brooklyn among the Hasids and Satmars there and Westchester County would be as militarized as Tel Aviv. Such a chain of logic would entangle you in war with the entire civilized world.

  • ajsuhail
  • A wise reader

    TM Lutas is [...] arrogant, heartless [...and...] has defended the internment of Japanese on this blog. Engaging in a debate with him is a waste of energy.

  • http://profile.typekey.com/dbrutus/ TM Lutas

    Too bad ‘A wise reader’ is too anonymous to address directly. Typing in internment and several other likely strings I could never find the post he protested against. When Michell Malkin’s “In Defense of Internment” came out, I do recall looking at the idea to see whether there was anything worthwhile there. Ultimately, I decided that there wasn’t, that Malkin, talented writer though she is, couldn’t carry her case and that another solution to the Imperial Japanese plans to use 1st and 2nd generation ethnic japanese to sabotage US war plans (a real threat that we were reading in intercepted traffic) should have been used. Along the way, I participated in several discussions, trying out various positions. Perhaps our potty mouth writer saw me at one of those moments and has taken me for someone who doesn’t think, develop arguments over time, or change his mind.
    A pity. If he were brave enough to provide an email address, I would have corrected that mistaken impression.