Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Israel and the Palestinians

with 29 comments

The latest move against the Palestinians was Israel’s decision to open new settlements in Jerusalem, a move condemned by the US and even by Jews. The move is especially problematic in context. Noam Chomsky writes:

An old man in Gaza held a placard that read: “You take my water, burn my olive trees, destroy my house, take my job, steal my land, imprison my father, kill my mother, bombard my country, starve us all, humiliate us all, but I am to blame: I shot a rocket back.”

The old man’s message provides the proper context for the latest episode in the savage punishment of Gaza. The crimes trace back to 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled from their homes in terror or were expelled to Gaza by conquering Israeli forces, who continued to truck Palestinians over the border for years after the official cease-fire.

The punishment took new forms when Israel conquered Gaza in 1967. From recent Israeli scholarship (primarily Avi Raz’s “The Bride and the Dowry: Israel, Jordan, and the Palestinians in the Aftermath of the June 1967 War”), we learn that the government’s goal was to drive the refugees into the Sinai Peninsula – and, if feasible, the rest of the population too.

Expulsions from Gaza were carried out under the direct orders of Gen. Yeshayahu Gavish, commander of the Israel Defense Forces Southern Command. Expulsions from the West Bank were far more extreme, and Israel resorted to devious means to prevent the return of those expelled, in direct violation of U.N. Security Council orders.

The reasons were made clear in internal discussions immediately after the war. Golda Meir, later prime minister, informed her Labor Party colleagues that Israel should keep the Gaza Strip while “getting rid of its Arabs.” Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and others agreed.

Prime Minister Levi Eshkol explained that those expelled could not be allowed to return because “we cannot increase the Arab population in Israel” – referring to the newly occupied territories, already considered part of Israel.

In accord with this conception, all of Israel’s maps were changed, expunging the Green Line (the internationally recognized borders) – though publication of the maps was delayed to permit Abba Eban, an Israeli ambassador to the U.N., to attain what he called a “favorable impasse” at the General Assembly by concealing Israel’s intentions.

The goals of expulsion may remain alive today, and might be a factor in contributing to Egypt’s reluctance to open the border to free passage of people and goods barred by the U.S.-backed Israeli siege.

The current upsurge of U.S.-Israeli violence dates to January 2006, when Palestinians voted “the wrong way” in the first free election in the Arab world.

Israel and the U.S. reacted at once with harsh punishment of the miscreants, and preparation of a military coup to overthrow the elected government – the routine procedure. The punishment was radically intensified in 2007, when the coup attempt was beaten back and the elected Hamas government established full control over Gaza.

Ignoring immediate offers from Hamas for a truce after the 2006 election, Israel launched attacks that killed 660 Palestinians in 2006, most of whom were civilians (a third were minors). According to U.N. reports, 2,879 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire from April 2006 through July 2012, along with several dozen Israelis killed by fire from Gaza.

A short-lived truce in 2008 was honored by Hamas until Israel broke it in November. Ignoring further truce offers, Israel launched the murderous Cast Lead operation in December.

So matters have continued, while the U.S. and Israel also continue to reject Hamas calls for a long-term truce and a political settlement for a two-state solution in accord with the international consensus that the U.S. has blocked since 1976 when the U.S. vetoed a Security Council resolution to this effect, brought by the major Arab states.

This week, Washington devoted every effort to blocking a Palestinian initiative to upgrade its status at the U.N. but failed, in virtual international isolation as usual. The reasons were revealing: Palestine might approach the International Criminal Court about Israel’s U.S.-backed crimes.

One element of the unremitting torture of Gaza is Israel’s “buffer zone” within Gaza, from which Palestinians are barred entry to almost half of Gaza’s limited arable land.

From January 2012 to the launching of Israel’s latest killing spree on Nov. 14, Operation Pillar of Defense, one Israeli was killed by fire from Gaza while 78 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire.

The full story is naturally more complex, and uglier. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

4 December 2012 at 12:07 pm

Posted in Mideast Conflict

29 Responses

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  1. An old man in Gaza held a placard that read: “You take my water, burn my olive trees, destroy my house, take my job, steal my land, imprison my father, kill my mother, bombard my country, starve us all, humiliate us all, but I am to blame: I shot a rocket back.”

    …which likely killed an innocent Israeli, and goaded the Israeli military to flatten the area from which it was launched. Which, in turn, killed innocent Palestinians and prodded militants to launch more rockets into Israel. And so on. The line between the good and the bad is often blurred in that troubled region. The ugly, unfortunately, is readily observed.

    “The crimes trace back to 1948, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians fled from their homes in terror or were expelled to Gaza by conquering Israeli forces, who continued to truck Palestinians over the border for years after the official cease-fire.”

    The Palestinians could have accepted the 1948 UN partition, as the Israelis initially did. They gambled, went for broke and lost. The Israelis could have accepted the Saudi’s Arab Peace Initiative, but did not. So who is the bad guy, really? Perhaps the crime was the promising of the same land, long before 1948, to two different groups of people. If that isn’t lighting the fuse on the dynamite, I don’t know what is.


    4 December 2012 at 6:20 pm

  2. The Balfour Declaration probably started it, but in the 1917 declaration it does say:

    His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

    I’m not so sure the civil rights of the Palestinians are being respected—I’m speaking of the women, children, and noncombatants. But I agree: it’s a mess. However, the strength seems to be on the side of Israel, which continually builds illegal settlements in Palestinian territory, throwing Palestinians out: provocative, to say the least.


    4 December 2012 at 6:31 pm

  3. LeisureGuy,

    Did you saw the video with the Hamas thugs on motorcycles dragging headless bodies on the streets of Gaza ? If not, you can watch it here :
    Do you think those Hamas “persons” if you can consider them humans have any intention of making peace ? It’s a rhetorical question, of course.
    I’m sure sitting thousandth of miles away from Middle East makes you some kind of expert in the region businesses…What a hypocrite can you be…


    6 December 2012 at 6:27 am

  4. No, I didn’t see that. It’s a horrendous sight. Those Hamas are criminals and should be sought and punished—but that does not mean group punishment of all Palestinians.

    No, I’m not an expert on the Middle East. Are you?

    I don’t quite see the hypocrisy, but I’m open to an explanation. The actions of the Israeli government have received strong criticism even within Israel—people right on the scene, which is important to your notion that location can impart expertise.

    I would say that you are a hit-and-run debater, not really interested in a true dialogue.

    I would add that it takes no expertise to know that Israeli’s settlements in Palestinian territory are illegal: even the Israeli government admits that, as it encourages more.


    6 December 2012 at 7:22 am

  5. For a difference I actually live in Israel. What I don’t understand is why people living thousands of miles from here take a sudden interested in this conflict and are very sure they know all the answers and know all the truths. In Syria, in the last year, 40000 people died, the Assad regime butchers his own citizens but who cares,right?!? All you care is about bashing Israel. That’s about hypocrisy.
    Maybe it has simply skipped your attention but Israel has left the Gaza region six years ago. Gaza is no occupied territory. They are free to live their lives as they want. Any good explanation why they keep firing missiles in our towns ?


    6 December 2012 at 11:22 am

  6. You say that those Hamas are criminals and should be sought and punished. That’s good and that’s what I think also. They rule Gaza. They intimidate and kill they own people, the arab population of Gaza.
    If somebody thinks he can shoot and kill Israelis because of the illegal settlements, instead of negotiations he is very wrong. I lot of those settlements are build on land official bought from arab persons.


    6 December 2012 at 11:29 am

  7. Ah, then with location-based expertise, you’re far more expert than I. I don’t understand your reference to “sudden” interest though. Drawing upon my own US-based expertise, I can say that the Mideast conflicts between Israel and its neighbors have always been of interest, nothing “sudden” about it. I don’t quite recognize your comment about those people who are very sure they know all the answers and know all the truths. There is someone in this dialogue who seems to fit that description, but it’s not me (if you get my drift).

    Again, not living in the US, you don’t know the situation (does that allow me to accuse you of hypocrisy?), but many in the US are deeply opposed to Assad and the actions of the Syrian government, without losing sight that some of the rebels are themselves guilty of barbaric acts—the rebels are not a homogenous group and include both fanatical jihadists and liberal Syrians. But the Syrian government—the Assad regime—seems bad regardless of the character of its opponents.

    You make a great many unsupported statements—for example, the one about my attitude toward Assad, which you got completely wrong, and the statement that all I care about is bashing Israel, also completely wrong. Israel is not uniformly bad—nor are the Palestinians—but the illegal settlements are clearly wrong and highly provocative. Do you take the position that Israel should never ever be criticized, regardless of its actions? That would be strange, but you’re getting close.

    I won’t go into all the actions Israel has taken to make the lives of the Palestinians miserable. It’s a long list. And the actions of the Palestinian terrorists are also despicable (as are the actions of the Jewish terrorists in establishing Israel: terrorism is terrorism and is wrong—or do you support the past terrorist actions of the proto-Israelis?). But what about those illegal settlements? Are the Palestinians supposed to simply accept that? Do they have legal recourse? (No.) What about water supplies?

    You’re very good about ignoring things that would harm your ideological framework. Did you know that in Israel there are people—Israelis—who strongly objection to the harsher actions of the Israeli government vis-a-vis the Palestinians? That object to Likkud? and Bejamin Netanyahu? What about his latest decision to build 3000 homes in a new settlement near Jerusalem?

    You are a zealot, I fear.


    6 December 2012 at 11:37 am

  8. I read most of your entries about the israeli-palestinian conflict and it’s clear that all you’re interested in is bashing Israel. Now, I can clearly see that you really have no idea about israelis and about how is it to really live here. I didn’t vote for Likud and my political views are somewhere left-center, I still debate for myself if to vote(elections are on 22Jan) for the left Labour party or a more center-based one.
    I’ll try to provide you with some facts but my time is limited : we provide Gaza with water, electricity and much more.
    Hamas, who rules Gaza do not recognize Israel, they simply say we don’t have any right to exist here so there can be no negotiations. they just throw rockets and send suicide bombers. If you think those are legitimate actions and killing innocent men, women and children indiscriminately is a legitimate answer to illegal settlements tell me now and I’ll stop visiting your blog.
    Yes, Israel has build illegal settlements and I think they need to go. Water supplies ? you make me laugh. You should not believe every lie the Palestinian propaganda is putting on.
    The decision to build 3000 houses came as a response to the Palestinian decision to avoid the peace negotiations with Israel and go straight to UN. Do I agree with it? No. But I can see from were it came and I definitively don’t agree with the UN decision.
    You need to understand that not all is white and black, it’s not that simple as the arabs want you to believe.


    6 December 2012 at 12:08 pm

  9. Your viewing of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is very simplistic and based on Nom Chomsky & comp, which clearly is a very very biased person. If you take for granted all his bashing then it will be very hard ,if not impossible, for you to believe be. And BTW I’m 1000 light-years away from being a zealot or even a religious person. I don’t fit your stereotype you’re such fond of.


    6 December 2012 at 12:26 pm

  10. “I don’t quite recognize your comment about those people who are very sure they know all the answers and know all the truths.”

    A lot of the information we get from US mass media is half-truths or sensationalized sound bytes. Even information on the Internet is often biased or even unvetted. The result is a generally misinformed American public, although that does not necessarily mean you personally are misinformed (or any other given individual). The truth is that there is a lot of violence and attacks we never hear about. I hear about these accounts firsthand from coworkers who are sent to Israel on a regular basis. Their accounts are often backed up by smartphone photos – pictures don’t lie.

    Maybe Larry007 is a zealot. I know I would be if rockets were launched at me, my family and friends.


    6 December 2012 at 12:39 pm

  11. So you don’t like being stereotyped? Neither do I. Thanks for commenting.


    6 December 2012 at 12:39 pm

  12. “Thanks for commenting.” End of story for you, I guess. For you it’s only a theoretical conversation, for me it’s personal, it’s about how we live our day-to-day life. When someone wants to kill my children because he believes he has the right to revenge building of illegal settlements, I will defend myself and my family and my country. Yes, thanks for commenting…


    6 December 2012 at 12:52 pm

  13. You sort of ignored the fact that Israel relied upon terrorist activities and indeed had former terrorists in high government posts. From the outside, Israel’s anti-terrorist position seems inconsistent with its own practices. That, I guess, is not visible to you. I don’t like terrorists of any stripe, but Israel seems quite accepting of its own terrorist activities. That’s the sort of thing that strikes me as hypocrisy.

    Israel’s actions of collective punishment and killing 100 Palestinians for every Israeli that falls goes well beyond “defense.”

    Let’s end this. You by your own admission don’t know what’s going on here, thousands of miles away.


    6 December 2012 at 1:12 pm

  14. @Tbone: the problem is that the Palestinians feel the same way: once your family members are killed by the enemy, whether you are Israeli or Palestinian, you tend to want revenge and believe it is fully justified. As noted, more Palestinians are in that situation than Israelis (the 100:1 kill ratio).

    I agree that we do not get the full story. And firing rockets into civilian areas is stupid as well as evil. But to deny that Israel has done anything wrong is, I believe, incorrect. I mention the illegal settlements frequently because even Israel admits that they are illegal.


    6 December 2012 at 3:48 pm

  15. You only repeat again and again cheap anti-Israeli propaganda without understanding what you write, at least. I can spend hours upon hours of trying to let you see things more balanced but you are kinda of locked in your beliefs.

    Your ideas about collective punishment is laughable, should I remember you Irak or Afghanistan or even WWII ? Should we let our civilians be butchered by arab terrorists just to get the numbers higher so it would appear in your eyes a smaller ration. You talk about rations , I talk about real human lives. You are just a hypocrite self-important person who does not think for himself, just relay on others(Chomsky&co) to do the thinking that matches his world opinions.


    6 December 2012 at 9:37 pm

  16. I am not interested in the level of argument that you employ (ad hominem responses, pure and simple). FWIW, I opposed the US war in Iraq and I opposed many of our actions there. Your response to my observation that Israel kills 100 Palestinians for every Israeli death shows that the only response you can imagine is for more Israelis to die, not fewer Palestinians (the obvious answer to anyone who’s not blinded by hatred). Please desist. You have no substantial arguments, merely insults. Get an education.


    7 December 2012 at 7:50 am

  17. Golda Meir told once that peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us. I think you can learn something from this phrase.

    I prefer to stay alive and be criticized than be sympathized.


    7 December 2012 at 2:05 pm

  18. Thank you for a comment without a personal insult. Here’s some more cheap anti-Israeli propaganda: an editorial in Ha’aretz. Apparently they also are hypocrites, but at least they’re on location.


    7 December 2012 at 2:26 pm

  19. I said previously that I don’t agree with what Bibi decided about the construction, but I can see from where it’s coming and I can see what he wants to achieve with it. Personally I don’t think it will work and it will backfire on Israel. Most of the Israeli political commentators agree that the move to build now is actually meant for domestically political reasons. I will try to explain : Likud(Netaniahu) is viewed a center-right party, lately shifting more right. On his right wing there is a right party named Bait Yehudy, means The Jewish House with a new political star named Naphtali Bennet which is supposedly bitting into Likud’s voters. So, Bibi shifts more right to try to gain his voters back and declares about the settlements construction. Actually what Bibi is doing is jeopardizing Israel’s security and long-time interests for achieving short-terms victories for his party in the coming elections, in one month.

    There is another very good Israeli site for English readers :,7340,L-3083,00.html


    8 December 2012 at 2:42 am

  20. Good explanation; thanks. It sounds quite a bit like our own Right-wing movement, which goes for short-term gains even if those sacrifice long term goals—in the extreme, winning a primary election (with an extremely conservative Republican beating a moderate Republican, who is not sufficiently “pure” for the fringe conservatives (the Tea Party)) only to lose the general election to the Democratic candidate because the winning Republican is so extreme. This has happened in several cases, and has to be an extreme of going for short-term gain.

    I suspect that in Israel, which indeed is threatened on all sides, the pressures push extremes to new highs, with problems erupting that we in the US simply don’t have to deal with. One example: the refusal of the extreme religious to serve in the military. In the US we recognize conscientious objectors, but that number is relatively small and the military in the US is relatively not so critical as in Israel. So Israel faces a problem there that we simply do not have, not to mention the threats from all sides.

    I do think the US resembles some aspects of Israel in taking actions that increase the threats. Our drone warfare and our continual killing of bystanders (women and children) undoubtedly reinforces the ranks of those who want to commit terrorist acts against the US. And the Iraq was a disaster in every respect. The US should never have done that.


    8 December 2012 at 8:20 am

  21. Yes, I can understand the similarities that you see regarding the right wing. It is a little bit like that, I agree.

    The Israeli political map has actually been more balanced between right and left until 2000. In May 2000 (I think, don’t remember the exact month) the Israeli prime-minister Ehud Barak (left-wing Labour party who won the majority in those elections) decided to withdraw from south Lebanon unilateral after long armed confrontations with Hezbollah.
    The arab world, including the palestinians viewed it as a victory and as a sign that only violence could defeat Israel . Then in August 2000 Yasser Arafat which at that time conducted negotiations with us on the terms of “Land for Peace” decided to start a second intifada in order to force Israel to agree to his terms, based on the model of Hezbollah from Lebanon.
    Buses explosions with suicide bombers and cafe and restaurants explosions, Pizza Hut in Jerusalem, suicide bombers in malls and everywhere. Barak resign or lost the majority in the Knesset, I cannot remember now.

    Public opinions shifts swiftly from a trusty view of the palestinians and from hope that peace is really around the corner to a realization that we cannot trust the arabs anymore and nothing good will come from dealing with them. The right parties won the elections and it stayed like that until now. The left is beaten out, their message of peace with the palestinians has lost almost all its supporters in the terror wave that Arafat had released. The palestinians made a bet and lost, they hoped that terror will force Israel to make more concessions but it achieved the opposite goal.

    In 2006 Israel decided to withdraw from Gaza Strip unilaterally. We evacuated all the settlers, destroyed all the settlements and left the entire Gaza to the arabs. Bibi Netanyahu, then in opposition warned that withdrawing from Gaza will bring rockets all the south Israel, but public opinion was in favor and Ariel Sharon went on with the withdraw. Now, 6 years after turns out Bibi was right, the terrorists in Gaza not only didn’t stop, they now have medium-range Iran’made rockets that threaten all the south of Israel and can reach the central dense-populated Tel Aviv region and Jerusalem.
    So, now the Israeli public ask themselves why should we evacuate the illegal settlements if what we get in exchange is only more terror and no peace from the other side ?!? Hard questions and right now nobody has the answer.

    Ok, that’s a big post, hope nobody gets bored but things must be explained put into the right historical context.


    8 December 2012 at 11:14 am

  22. Good explanations. I notice in the NY Times this morning that the leader of Hamas is again promising to destroy Israel utterly and turn everything over to the Palestinians. I condemn that heartily, and of course it will only serve to strengthen Israel’s resolve not to deal with Hamas. A stupid and counterproductive statement made for short-term benefit to him, is how it strikes me.

    It is good that Israel’s defenses against incoming rockets have grown much strong with their “Iron Dome” defense, which will get better quite rapidly, I imagine. That may help bring the Palestinians back to the bargaining table.

    The problem with the illegal settlements has always been that they are illegal. It’s hard to demand that a government (the Palestinian government) obey the law when the government making the demand is happy to break the law.

    The suicide bombers are obviously fanatics, but we do remember that Menachem Begin and Irgun set off a bomb in a hotel, killing many civilians. Terrorism, once begun, is hard to stop, and Israel is in an awkward position (it seems to me) to condemn terrorism so strongly. Perhaps it condemns its own terrorism equally strongly, but that is unclear to me. I make this observation not to provoke you, but because such actions bother me, regardless of which side performs them. This does not mean I support Hamas in its efforts to attack Israel.


    8 December 2012 at 11:39 am

  23. Tomorrow I’ll have more time to address those issues.


    8 December 2012 at 12:23 pm

  24. I lost a lengthy comment I wanted to post. Can I use BB codes in the comments ? Maybe that’s why it didn’t post it ?


    9 December 2012 at 2:40 am

  25. I don’t think BB codes work, but they should not stop the comment from posting. Sometimes WordPress hiccups and loses things—rarely, but I’ve also lost posts that way. I just looked in comments to see if it was being held as a draft, but nothing was there. Sorry. Maybe create the post in a text editor then paste it into comment? In the meantime I came across this article this morning.


    9 December 2012 at 8:11 am

  26. How do I link pages without using BB codes ?
    Thomas Friedman has a very good piece today on NY Times :

    I had some youtube videos I wanted to post here on that comment, I’ll need to find them again.

    Personally I don’t think that Bibi will build in E1, he has a history of making grand proposals, a lot of hot wind balloons but not everything he says and promise will be, like most of the politicians. As I wrote yesterday, it seems he takes a chance in regaining right wing voters. In the same strategic move, today the government decided not to draft into army religious boys who reached army age. Again, a move in attracting sector voters.

    It’s a good idea to write in an editor and then copy/paste it here.


    9 December 2012 at 12:01 pm

  27. While BB codes don’t work, HTML does work. For example, this article seems interesting and reasonably well-balanced. (I blogged it this morning.)


    9 December 2012 at 12:35 pm

  28. BTW, I’m still interested in your thoughts on Irgun’s terrorist acts. You mentioned that you would address that.


    9 December 2012 at 12:44 pm

  29. Irgun and Lehi, I’ll address that


    9 December 2012 at 8:38 pm

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