Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yeah, it's just not cool

Seriously though, you could, like, stopping killing people.

Oh, and banning democracy from your elections doesn't look good.


Red Pill Junkie said...

Not long ago, Israel's Ambassador in Mexico told the press that the accusations of disproportionate retaliation for the home-made rockets Hamas was launching were stupid, because in 2001 America didn't respond to 9/11 by going to Afghanistan to blow their 2 biggest buildings, didn't they?

But after a second thought one should ask: Did America's response work?? Last I checked, Bin Laden is still out there. The Taliban too. And everybody boarding a plane still have to take off their shoes for inspection.

Hamas' terrorist attacks on Israel's civil population are unforgivable, but if Hamas ever came to power was because Israel kept pressuring the Palestinian people and undermining the power of the moderates; and the vacuums of power are often filled by the radicals who respond to the public's sense of outrage.

My personal solution for the Middle East mess is swift, simple, and utterly preposterous: destroy the heart of the problem—Jerusalem.

Yes, it is an historical jewel, and the sacred core of the three Abrahmanic religions; but are a bunch of rocks worth the blood and tears of so many generations?

If they can't share it in peace, they should blow it. I think a very wise king of old would have come to a similar conclusion.

Toole said...

Israel faces complete extermination. Remember the film Independance Day? The Hamas "15 mile wide ship" "hovering over" Gaza is cloaked in a "human shield"

Avi said...

Hey Bitter Animator,
I like your blog in general, but I've got to respond to this.
1. How is targeting, and killing, the people who are firing rockets into Israel an "atrocity"? If you've looked YouTube, you'll see that the bombs were (and are) being dropped with pin-point accuracy.
2. What about the fact that Israel even warns civilians (through papers drops, phone calls and text messages) to leave the area that's going to be bombed, BEFORE they do it!
3. Why should civilians living in southern Israel have to live with rockets being fired into their cities and towns for 8 years?
4. What about the fact they Hamas terrorists force civilians to stay near them during fights, so they can claim civilian casualties. Furthermore, what about the fact that Hamas terrorists DRESS like civilians when firing rockets.
5. Where was everyone the last 8 years when over 14156 rockets were fired into southern Israel by Hamas, AT civilians?

5. I'd also love to know where you got this from: "Oh, and banning democracy from your elections doesn't look good."

Bitter Animator said...

Hi Avi,
I always welcome repsonses and do hope that differences in our views won't turn you off the rest of my little blog.

I'll answer your questions as briefly as I can, starting with the last one - the banning democracy accusation comes from the news that Israel has banned two (was it only two?) Arab parties from their elections, thus ruling out internal political solutions. That is not democratic, plain and simple.

On to the others -

1. This doesn't fit with reports or indeed your question 4, which wouldn't be a problem if Israel did indeed have 'pinpoint' accuracy. Reports actually seem to show that the military are using massive shells in civilian areas which they know would cause civilian casualties. Israel has been accused of doing exactly what you accuse the Hamas of in question 4 - using Palestinians as human shields.

How's this from the Guardian - "Israeli military actions prompted an unusual public rebuke from the International Red Cross after the army moved a Palestinian family into a building and shelled it, killing 30. The surviving children clung to the bodies of their dead mothers for four days while the army blocked rescuers from reaching the wounded."

That, in my mind, is an atrocity in any sense of the word.

2. If this is the case, how have almost (or possibly at least) 1000 people died. Did they not get the memo?

The IRA used to call in before bomb attacks. That didn't make them any more than terrorists.

3. I'm honestly not sure. Is it that they're living in a conflict zone created by Palestinans getting pushed out of their homes? Is it that they don't seem to recognise the rights or sometimes even the existance of Palestinian people as they are squeezed out, often for 'security reasons'? I don't know. I'm not sure what the best answer is here.

4. I imagine some Hamas terrorists dress like civilians because they are civilians. And when civilians take up arms against you, the question always needs to be 'why?'. As for using human shields, well, see the answer to question 1. Oh, and this from someone in Amnesty International: "It's standard practice for Israeli soldiers to go into a house, lock up the family in a room on the ground floor and use the rest of the house as a military base, as a sniper's position. That is the absolute textbook case of human shields."

5. We were here, too busy wondering why every accusation of human rights violations by Israel was being vetoed by the US.

Personally, Avi, I think the world seems to have turned a blind eye to what Israel has been doing for far too long and it's about bloody time they woke the hell up and sorted that shit out. Personally speaking.

Avi said...

Hey Bitter Animator,
I’m going to keep up the numbering system from before, my response to the two Arab parties being denied election entry is number 6.

1. I’ve never heard of this case you mentioned from the Guardian, do you have a link to the article? I’d like to see it.

2. The way Hamas works, like I mentioned before, they like having civilian casualties. The reason being is that it makes them look better in the eyes of the world. Hamas doesn’t allow people to leave even when they know they are going to be attacked. After all, think of all the headlines they’ll get! Now, based on that, I’m sure you’ll say that if Israel knows this then they shouldn’t attack in these areas, right? Well, then, tell me how exactly they are supposed to stop the threat to their civilians in the south of Israel? Snipers? It’s not that simple; remember that about a week ago Hamas killed 25 (and disabled even more) Palestinians living in Gaza because they thought they might give information to Israel. Also, just some side information, the UN does a count of how many civilians are killed over all in the casualties. The number they have is far less than what you are assuming, the amount of civilians killed in comparison to terrorists is minimal, still sad nonetheless, but still nothing compared to what you think. A big difference between Hamas and the Israeli Army is that Hamas targets civilians and celebrates when they are killed, while the Israeli Army targets terrorists, and mourns every civilian casualty.

3. Only if you consider the conflict zone to be the fact that Israel exists as a country. I’m not sure if you know, but two years ago Israel pulled out of Gaza (forcing their own citizens, not Palestinians, out of their homes) in exchange for peace. Instead Israel got MORE rocket attacks targeted at their civilians and the people living in Gaza decided to elect Hamas (a terrorist organization) for their government. Another thing I need to clarify here, because it is incorrect, is that you say that Israel doesn’t recognize the rights or existence of Palestinians. In reality, Palestinians have full legal rights in Israel - they are full-fledged citizens. As far as existence is concerned, I’m afraid you’re getting mixed up here. It is actually Hamas and Arab countries that do not recognize Israel’s existence. In fact, if you look at any Arab map, Israel will be labeled either as nothing, or something called “Occupied Palestine”.

4. Remember that Hamas is a government. Part of International Law is that if you are fighting with a war, you must wear a uniform of some kind so that your enemy knows not to fire at civilians. If someone is a Hamas terrorist, they should be wearing a Hamas uniform of some kind. Dressing like a civilian can be considered a type of human shield. As far as the case you mentioned from Amnesty Intl, I don’t know of the basis for that. It is not standard practice of the Israeli Army to do what you said. Actually, that’s what Hamas does.

5. If you’re referring to all the times the UN has condemned Israel, you may want to remember that every time was about an Israeli response to an attack carried out by a terrorist organization. Note that Hamas and organizations like them, have never been condemned a single time by the UN, and most likely never will. Regardless of their human rights violations.

6. I have to admit that I hadn’t yet heard about the banning of the two parties before you mentioned it. But there is one interesting piece of information about why they were banned: they are opposed to the existence of Israel. How can you have people run in an election if they want to destroy the country they're running for power in if they win?

Red Pill Junkie said...

Avi, there are several other things we have to consider:

1)Not only —as Bitter has pointed out— are Israeli forces not having pin-point accuracy with their targets; there have been some indication that leads to suspect Israel is using white phosphorus in their ammo, something that's banned by International laws. Yes, Hamas also use 'illegal weapons' don't they? But then how does getting to the level of the 'bad ones' help Israel to maintain their moral high ground?

2)You say Israel warns civilians to move away from the targets. Move WHERE exactly? The problem in Gaza started because after Israel pulled out they however did not open the land or sea borders; people need to pass through multiple checkpoints—and only a few do have transit passes—to get out from Gaza. This is a closed camp we're talking about here; and make no mistake: the policy of Israel was clear in having Hamas loose popular support by making the life conditions in Gaza intolerable. Living with no running water, no gas, no electricity, no medicines is the quickest way to make people desperate—and in this world there's nothing more dangerous than a man who has nothing to loose.

3.- In this point you have my agreement. Living with fear is no life at all. But that can be said on both sides of the confrontation.

4.- The idea that since Hamas use human shields makes it OK to have civilian casualties is, IMO, as outrageous as the attitude of a cop, that in a hostage situation, decides to shoot down both the criminal and the hostage. Once again we come back to maintaining amoral high ground.

5.- No only was Israel the ones who broke the cease-fire first on Nov 2008, but —as I pointed out in #2—they had from the beginning a clear intention of making Hamas unpopular by keeping a steady pressure on people. When you pressure things, the energy necessarily needs to escape somehow; this is not only a sociological fact, but a law of Physics.

Why is Israel doing this now? Simple: next week there's a change of power with the Gringos, and that's why Ehud Olmert decided not to waste anytime, and he's even bragging that he personally persuaded Bush to force Condolezza Rice NOT to sign the UN resolution that condemns the attacks—a paper she helped to draw!


Avi said...

Hey Red Pill Junkie,
1. I looked up the thing you said about white phosphorus. What I found is that there is no evidence that Israel is using it in any malicious way that is prohibited under international law. (They are allowed to use it to create smoke or illuminate a target, and that is what they are doing. This by the way is according to the International Red Cross)

2. Move to another part of Gaza. I’m not going to pretend that living in Gaza right now is pleasant. Unfortunately, you are mistaken in saying that Israel is the one making conditions in Gaza intolerable. Israel has been providing electricity and water to Gaza during this entire conflict. I don’t know how there can be no medicine when international aid groups asked Israel to suspend shipments of supplies into Gaza because their storehouses were full. (A bit of background: 400 trucks with food and medical equipment went into Gaza the first week of Israel’s operation there). Also, why doesn’t Egypt open their border to the people in Gaza?

3. Glad you agree.

4. You have to remember that Israel is fighting a war. Unfortunately, civilians die in war. Especially when the side you’re fighting against forces them to stand in front of them. I would love to know what you think Israel should do instead of what they are doing. Should they just let rockets fall into southern Israel (rockets that are intentionally targeting and killing civilians) and terrorize their citizens? The example you’re giving doesn’t really work because there is another party in here. So I’m going to make your example fit: A cop comes in and sees a criminal pointing a gun at a bunch of people, the cop wants to shoot the criminal, but he is holding a person as a shield. Should the cop let the criminal shoot all those people so that this one person can survive and get to be a shield another day?

5. Unfortunately, this is incorrect again. During the cease-fire Hamas actually fired 362 rockets into southern Israel before Israel finally attacked back on November 4, 2008 (an attack that blew up tunnels Hamas uses to smuggle weapons into Gaza). After that Hamas used the attack as an excuse to fire more rockets into Israel. Every time a cease-fire is made the only group that seems to be obligated to keep it is Israel. After all you only hear about it when Israel breaks it, but not all the attacks leading up to the Israeli response.

Bitter Animator said...

Well RPJ has answered most of what I would have but, Avi, here is that Guardian link - http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/jan/13/gaza-israel-war-crimes

It's simply one of the articles I read the day you posted so was fresh in my mind. I don't go trawling for that type of article any more - not good for the depression!

susan said...

Agree. Stop killing people.

Oh Animator, i cannot wait to see your caustic wit in action next Tuesday........when the whole world seems like it will stop, and cheer.

Hope it's not abnormally cold where you are.

Red Pill Junkie said...

Well Avi, right now there are dissenting reports about the white phosphorus issue. UN officials maintain Israel is using shells coated with that stuff; bet let's take that aside and move on:

The fact that civilians die in battles is a rather modern development. Hundreds of years ago the way humans engaged in battle were the two factions congregated on a plain or a field and going at it until one of them take hold of the field, or they declared a temporary truce to bury their dead or whatever. Modern warfare is war of attrition, where the objective is not only to finish with your opponent's forces, but also with their industry and resources that would allow them to maintain hostilities toward you. That's why the bombs and bullets began to fly down once again over urban settlements.

Incidentally, there's a story about a truce between Allied and German forces on Christmas during WWI; both sides agreed to end hostilities during the holiday and even managed to display a camaraderie with their 'enemies'. Later the generals of both armies found out and were enraged. Maybe we should let those old assholes take the bullets instead of sending children to do their dirty deed...

So what would I do then? Let's look at another recent event: the Mumbai terrorist attacks. I was just finishing watching the interview between Fareed Zakaria and Jon Stewart on the Daily Show; he says that India has shown a lot of restraint because they are aware that retaliating and bombing the training camps in Pakistan would only radicalize the problem—and between two NUCLEAR powers, that is not the smartest thing to do! Incidentally, why is it that ONLY Israel is allowed to have Nuclear weapons in the Middle East? It is a 'sotto voce' secret, but everybody knows they have them; but I digress...

So, getting back to Mumbai: right now they are fast showing the Terrorists that they are resilient and can continue with their lives. Because if you think about it—and that's something Zakaria also said— Terrorism is defined by the response of the onlooker; if you let yourself be terrorized, or even worse, if you lower yourself to the standards of the Terrorists —e.g. bombing UN schools, hospitals and ambulances to get to the bad guys, or torturing prisoners in clandestine prisons, etc— then they have already won, and the principles on which your Nation was founded have crumbled to the dust. If you go to that point, then go all the way and Nuke Gaza, because only an ultimate action would cease the never-ending cycle of violence (Hmmm... 'Final Solution', now what does that remind me of?)

...Or, you compromise; you help the people attain a better quality of life, you help educate them and show them you bear no ill will toward them, and I GUARANTEE you those idiots with the green scarves will have a really tough time finding dupes that can be convinced to carry a belt full of dynamite to a market.

Here in Mexico we are experiencing a level of insecurity and violence the likes of which had never been witnessed since the end of the Revolution. The Government is hard on giving battle to the drug cartels—with the endorsement of the Gringos of course—but I can assure you that this problem will NOT go away until the majority of the people in this country attain a better quality of life.

Economical disparity is also a form of violence. Maybe it is the core of all the other types of violence. That, and fear.

Bitter Animator said...

In total agreement with your last paragraph, RPJ.

Avi said...

Hey Guys,
Sorry, I was busy yesterday and I didn’t have time to respond.

The stuff you mention about civilians not being killed in past wars I can’t really dispute because neither of us were there to check. Media is very different now from what it used to be and for all we know the same stuff that’s happening now, happened then. But I digress…

What’s really new is not that civilians die, but that civilians, rather than soldiers, are targeted. The civilians are not even targeted by soldiers; terrorists are the ones that target them. These terrorists have been showering rockets into the southern part of Israel for the last eight years. Let me say that again, EIGHT YEARS. What Israel is doing now, is finally sticking up for its citizens and trying to stop this threat once and for all. They have no desire to take Gaza over again, that’s why they got rid of it in the first place.

You mention that Israel should give the people in Gaza the means to a better quality of life. What if I told you Israel has done that countless times? The sad thing is that, the leaders of the Palestinians (who the money is given to for them to distribute) take that money and rather then spend it to better the lives of the people, use it to buy bombs and rockets or use it to sustain their own high standard of living. And for the little bit they use for the people? They use it to buy textbooks for the children that teach them to hate Israel and that being a terrorist is something to celebrate!

Now in relation to Mumbai, tell me, how often are there terrorist attacks there? This is the only one in recent memory. Do you not recall that there have been constant terrorist threats to Israel since it’s founding in 1948? It’s one thing to have one attack and move on. It’s a whole other story to have terrorist attacks EVERY DAY and carry on as if nothing is happening. If you are in that situation you need to do everything in your power to show the terrorist that your not just going to sit around and do nothing while they slowly destroy your country. Remember the Lebanon War two years ago? After that, when some rockets came in from the north, Hezbollah wanted nothing to do with them, because they knew if Israel attacked back, it would be the end of them. You have to get rid of the people who are threatening your citizens. It is the responsibility of the government of a country to do so.

Look at these videos; tell me what you would do in these situations. Would you just walk over to the terrorists and talk to them? Or maybe just let them fire at you?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MAR_Iwq9-R0 - Hamas using a UN ambulance to smuggle terrorists
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zmXXUOs27lI - Hamas terrorists firing rockets from UN school

Side note: Captured terrorists are not tortured in Israeli prisons (also, Israel does not have secret prisons) I think you might be getting mixed up with other countries. (Or maybe you are referring to the jailed terrorists torturing each other)

Once again I must stress the massive difference between Israeli Army and Hamas. The Israeli Army attacks what they attack to kill TERRORISTS. Hamas attacks what they attack to kill CIVILIANS. Israel doesn’t want civilian casualties, that’s are why they don’t go in and flatten Gaza. Hamas wants civilian casualties, that’s why they celebrate every time a Israeli civilian dies. There is a massive difference there and it should be taken into account.

Red Pill Junkie said...

Hey Avi, sorry for my late response but I couldn't sit in front of the computer during the whole weekend.

Ok, let's begin:

"You mention that Israel should give the people in Gaza the means to a better quality of life. What if I told you Israel has done that countless times? The sad thing is that, the leaders of the Palestinians (who the money is given to for them to distribute) take that money and rather then spend it to better the lives of the people, use it to buy bombs and rockets or use it to sustain their own high standard of living. And for the little bit they use for the people? They use it to buy textbooks for the children that teach them to hate Israel and that being a terrorist is something to celebrate!"

How is keeping ALL borders in Gaza closed intended to give the people in there a better quality of life? Even the sea is closed to trade and only small fishing boats are allowed to go out. You mentioned once that Egypt also has their borders closed to Palestinians; I thought about it and came to the conclusion that the reason they do this is because they don't want to have a direct international dispute between them and Israel; Israel would go and claim that Egypt agrees to the smuggling of weapons from their borders and that could escalate very rapidly into another 6-day war.

Also, giving out money to crooked politicians is no way to ensure the betterment of a people. The West has done that to Africa for decades, and so far it has gotten us nowhere. We have to come up with a better solution; I suppose that's the goal behind the schools the UN keep—kept—in Gaza.

"Now in relation to Mumbai, tell me, how often are there terrorist attacks there?"

Terrorism in India is pretty frequent. What was different in the Mumbai attacks is that now they deliberately targeted high-class hotels and establishments. Nobody gives a damn when a bomb explodes in a market killing dozens of poor women; but if you take foreigner tourists as hostages then everybody pays attention! The terrorists know this, but have you seen how little we hear now about what happened in Mumbai? Did people get tired of this particularly story—how many weeks did the news media exploit 9/11?— or did India try to move on while quietly investigating the case?

Do you not recall that there have been constant terrorist threats to Israel since it’s founding in 1948? It’s one thing to have one attack and move on.

Not only I'm aware of that, but I'm ALSO aware that Israel relied on Terrorism to ensure the foundation of their nation. Oh, yes! Israelis once bombed a hotel and killed several British citizens back in the old days. Nobody remembers that now, right?

You have two ways to deal with organized crime/terrorism: you go and kill the criminals or you deprive them of their resources. Here in Mexico the drug cartels are better equipped than the Army. What should be done? Either engage in a life-costly direct war against them that could last decades; or you ask the US to stop selling weapons to the Drug Lords—oh! and if the Americans stopped consuming drugs, that wouldn't hurt either...

So maybe an indirect tactic should be required when dealing with the Palestinian problem. It would of course take many years, but since you already pointed out, they have already endured 6 decades doing the same thing over and over. What's that thing they say about madness? That it is doing something over and over again expecting a different result?

I wish Israel should stop behaving like Wile E. Coyote, that's all :-)

PS: when I referred to the torturing of prisoners, I was speaking broadly about the dealing of Terrorism by the western world; not specifically about Israel.

Avi said...

Hey Red Pill Junkie,
In relation to the hotel bombing by Zionist groups in pre-1948. It was not Israel’s only thing they did to get a state, and unlike with Arab countries, it is an event looked down upon in the history of the country. But, nonetheless, I know exactly what you’re talking about. But once again, it is different then what Hamas and other Islamic terror groups do now. The bombing you are referring to was carried out by the Hagana and, aside from all Israel related groups condemning it, unlike the Islamic groups, the Hagana leadership was upset that people ended up getting killed since they had sent notice the day before that the building would be bombed. The point of that attack was actually not to kill people, but rather, to attack the base of operations of the British (who controlled the region at the time). They had actually taken over The King David Hotel (Jewish owned) for their base, so the Hagana planted a bomb to make a statement. As for those British citizens, they were also British officers. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s certainly not the same kind of terrorism.

While we’re on this subject I do need to make one thing clear. Terrorism from Palestinians is not something that started with the creation of the Jewish state. Jews were being killed in Arab riots for years before a Jewish state was even mentioned. Right now it looks like Israel is in the wrong because in comparison to Gaza, Israel is bigger. But zoom out for a minute, and you’ll see that Israel is tiny in comparison to the rest of the Arab countries. Why can’t the Palestinians go live in one of those countries if things are so horrible for them in Israel? I guarantee you that if Egypt had let Palestinians into their country during this conflict; the Israeli’s wouldn’t have cared at all. They’re not stupid, they know who’s supplying Hamas with weapons (Iran), and they don’t want civilian casualties. Do you know what happened to any Palestinian who tried to escape into Egypt from Gaza? They were shot on the border.

Think about it, Israel is the smallest country in the entire Middle East, why do people only care when Israel defends itself. The Arab countries have killed ten times more Palestinians then Israel ever has; yet no one cares when they do. There’s an unfortunate double standard, Israel is held on a pedestal in comparison to the rest of the world, and frankly it’s not really fair.

Also, about the UN schools, interestingly enough, that’s where hatred of Israel happens to be taught.

Red Pill Junkie said...

Hey Avi,

"I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s certainly not the same kind of terrorism."

But you see, you do agree it can be considered a form of Terrorism. And the problem with Terrorism, is that by definition once you take that road, someone somewhere will be willing to take it a step farther. So in 1948 someone thinks it's OK to blow up a building, & in 2006 someone thinks it's OK to cut off the head of a man and show the video on the Internet. Years go by and Marlon Brando's horror (in Apocalypse Now) engulfs us more and more.

You say the actions perpetrated by Hagana were condemned by the rest of Israel-related groups, and yet some of their members managed to get very important positions in the newly formed state of Israel after it was founded. Menachen Begin was the 6th Prime Minister; I suppose that at that time their decisions were driven by a sense of desperation; which is something shared by all groups that resort to violence to resolve their disputes.

So all that opens a can of worms:

At what point is it permissible to fight an unjust law or regime, and how far are you willing to go?

"Jews were being killed in Arab riots for years before a Jewish state was even mentioned."

Sadly, the killing of jews by rioting mobs has been a quite common epidemic in most of the world.

"Why can’t the Palestinians go live in one of those countries if things are so horrible for them in Israel?"

For the same reason, my friend, that the Jews decided to return to their ancestral land after so many centuries of exile:

Because they think God gave them that land.

Which brings us to the very first of my comments in this thread: the very root of all this debacle is the Holy Land and Jerusalem. Even if a two-state agreement gets to be signed in the near future, there will be left the most difficult issue of all: how to split the Holy City; that's why I say that if they can't share it in peace then perhaps it is better if it is blown out and erased from the face of the Earth for good.

"Think about it, Israel is the smallest country in the entire Middle East, why do people only care when Israel defends itself. The Arab countries have killed ten times more Palestinians then Israel ever has; yet no one cares when they do. There’s an unfortunate double standard, Israel is held on a pedestal in comparison to the rest of the world, and frankly it’s not really fair."

The world is not fair. And Nobody said being righteous was easy; that's why that even though America's enemies act much worse, the concept of Guantanamo feels so abhorrent: because it blurs the difference between both sides of the conflict.

That's why we judge the US & Israel so harshly: because they're supposed to be the good guys!

Please understand: I'm not anti-semitic, but I do question the wisdom of having created a Jewish state right in the middle of the Arab world, after so many centuries of absence.

If the Jews had the historical right to reclaim their land, would that also be true for the Mexicans that are migrating to California, a land that used to be part of MY country (and more recently compared to Israel)?

But that is a futile rethorical exercise. Israel is a reality and it's not going anywhere. Fine. But they should remember that because of their history and suffering they will ALWAYS be demanded to show a higher standard than the rest of the world.

Because they know what it is like to be on the side of the oppressed, they should forever be on the side of the just.

Peace be upon you, my friend :)