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to not understand how you can fire missiles targeting civilians and it not be a war crime

(540 Posts)
Itsaboatjack Thu 15-Nov-12 23:46:53

now I'm not especially knowledgable about the problems in the middle east but surely firing missiles into a city intentionally killing civilians is some kind of war crime?

Thisisaeuphemism Sat 17-Nov-12 16:21:08

But nailak, no one questions Somalias right to exist, or belgiums, or Kuwait or Nigeria, or South Africa yet they are all artificial states.

What would you like to see happen next?

ElaineBenes Sat 17-Nov-12 16:27:58

The Palestinians are certainly not innocent in all of this. While the Israeli government does have much to answer for, and I would unfortunately agree that the current administration does not genuinely want compromise (although previous ones have and the Palestinians managed to undermine it all), this does not absolve the Palestinians of responsibility.

The Palestinians are also not pushing for peace. Most Palestinians in Gaza do support Hamas. There are no demosntrations AGAINST firing the missiles while in Israel there are plenty of demonstrations against what is happening in Gaza (although increasingly unpopular as it is seen as unpatriotic when the country is under fire). In fact, one demonstration in Tel Aviv had to disperse due to an air raid alert (rather ironic).

I don't believe for a second that Ahmed Jabari was some kind of secret peace negotiator. That's BS. He was a child murdering bastard. I agree it probably wasn't prudent of Israel to kill him at this moment and wonder about the reasons for it but I have no rose tinted glasses about who he was and what he did.

Sorry Nalaik, the Palestinians are not some innocent party in all of this but have equally created the conditions for all that has happened. The south african ANC was lucky to have Nelson Mandela to lead them to peace, the Indians had Gandhi, the Israelis had Ben Gurion - all of these leaders were visionaries and contributed to the success of the national campaigns for freedom....the Palestinians got stuck with Yasser Arafat who instead of genuinely negotiating a peace deal when the time was right and Israel was in a position where there was support for compromise, fucked it all up and dragged the Palestinians back down into the abyss.

THe first intifada was completely justified, the second intifada was simply futile and unecessary

dreamingbohemian Sat 17-Nov-12 16:31:32

He's a Track 2 negotiator (unofficial but operating with the knowledge of the Israeli government). He helped negotiate the release of Gilad Shalit as well.

He didn't meet with Jabari because Jabari would not ever meet with Israelis. He met with his representative.

Negotiations such as these are always short on proof. You can only rely on what people say happened. To this day the main participants at Camp David disagree over what happened.

Would Jabari have agreed to it? Would Netanyahu have agreed to it? Who knows. But clearly some kind of negotiation was in the works, and the Israelis didn't bother to wait to see how it turned out.

ElaineBenes Sat 17-Nov-12 16:31:34

If I were a Palestinian, Nalaik, I think I would ask myself if 60 years of fighting or retaliating against Israel has really done me any good and maybe if I'd have had a bit of foresight and accepted the UN partition plan of 1947 or the ISraeli offer of peace (all the WB and Gaza prior to the settler movement starting up) in 1967 or the Olso accords of 1992 - or maybe if I'd have pushed for more democratic institutions and civil society - maybe my life would be a lot better than it is right now.

dreamingbohemian Sat 17-Nov-12 16:43:43

But Elaine, again, which Palestinians are you talking about, when you say they're not innocent?

Supporting Hamas does not make you a legitimate target of war, not unless you are actively involved in military activities.

In the same way that UK civilians don't deserve to be blown up because their government commits violence against others.

Unless you want to argue that all 1.5 million Gazans are actively involved in the military struggle against Israel, then what Israel is doing there is illegal.

I find it disturbing because I sense sometimes -- and I hope you are not arguing this, I'm not saying you are -- but sometimes it seems as if some Israelis feel that if you are Palestinian and don't agree that Israel has the right to exist, then you deserve to be harmed or killed.

But merely thinking Israel should not exist does not make you a target under international law. Unless you directly contribute to armed violence, you are a civilian and should not be harmed.

BegoniaBampot Sat 17-Nov-12 16:49:21

Nailak - if I were Palestinian I might very well strap on a suicide vest and throw rocks at the soldiers, rejoice if our rockets hit civilian targets - but feeling 'right' and justified and put upon with no control over my destiny is not going to improve things for Palestainans stuck in Gaza. They will continue to be stuck in this terrible situation but at least they will have the comfort of feeling that they are the only victims and are morally right while the Israelis are the evil aggressors. And nothing will change.

squoosh Sat 17-Nov-12 17:31:12

'The Palestinians caused their own tragedy.'

Anyone who comes out with a statement like that can have absolutely no credibility.

edam Sat 17-Nov-12 18:06:01

Does everyone in Britain deserve to be blown up because we were led by a war criminal, Tony Blair? (I voted for him, had no idea he'd start an illegal war and help the Americans conduct a campaign of kidnapping and torturing people.) Blaming the Palestinians when the Israelis have far superior power - three Israeli dead, 20 Palestinians - is deliberate blindness to the facts.

dreamingbohemian Sat 17-Nov-12 18:10:29

If you can accept that you can be Israeli and not agree with Netanyahu, even though he's been voted into office, why not extend the same idea to the Palestinians? And acknowledge that whatever terrible things are done by their leaders and terrorist groups, not all Palestinians are responsible for them.

crescentmoon Sat 17-Nov-12 19:55:04

the unfortunate thing for the Israelis is that the Palestinians are both Muslims and Arabs.

they had hoped that they would go the way of the native indians of america, the aborigines of australia, the diego garcians turfed out of their island to make way for american bases. that they could just do what america, britain, australia had done with the 'natives' of the lands they had conquered, that it would be an internal matter - that it was part of their national sovereignty to do to the palestinians whatever they wished.

the palestinians were either supposed to disappear off into the sunset or be grateful for any scraps from the table and grateful that they were only massacred instead of decimated.

but the palestinians are muslims, and they are arabs, and they are the semitic cousins of the Israelis.

and whatever it is in the jewish heart that kept them going through all the years of persecution, is what is in their semitic cousins heart.

ElaineBenes Sat 17-Nov-12 20:05:48

Dreaming - I'm not sure who you are referring your question to. I don't think anyone here has said that all Palestinians back Hamas. I'm sure there are quite a few who don't (Dr Izzeldin Abuelaish is an inspirational example) but it would be nice if those voices were heard a bit more. Certainly no one said that because Palestinians think Israel shouldn't exist, Israel has the right to bomb them, you're making things up!

What I do say is that Palestinians as an entity, just as Israel is spoken of as an entity, are just as responsible for the situation they are in as Israel is. This doesn't give Israel the right to violate the Palestinians' human rights or engage in war crimes, and where these things happen censure is correct, ideally from within Israel as does happen.

But please don't paint the Palestinians as innocents as they are no more innocent than Israel is. They had opportunity, time and time again, to reach a peaceful solution with Israel. They didn't want to. They've never missed an oppotunity to miss an opportunity. Now things are shit on both sides so peace is even further than it ever was and the Palestinians are just as responsible for this situation as Israel is.

ElaineBenes Sat 17-Nov-12 20:19:52

That's total rubbish Crescentmoon. The Zionist movement never intended to displace Palestinians. The land was bought and land was settled usually where no one else wanted to live.

Following the rejection of the UN partition plan, Israel (or what was to become Israel) was involved in a battle of survival with the Arabs although many Palestinians did stay put and did not become involved in the conflict - and they became citizens of the new State of Israel. There was no masterplan to expel all the Palestinians, indeed the mayor of Haifa went out into the streets begging Palestinians to stay. That's not so say there weren't massacres (on both sides - ever heard of the massacre of the Hadassah medical convoy???) and expulsions but it wasn't because that was some kind of Zionist plan. It was in the middle of what was, for Israelis, a battle for survival (imagine what would have happened to them if the Arabs had won).

I do hope you're equally concerned about the equal or even higher number of Jews who were expelled from Arab countries in retaliation. If you don't hear much about them, I think it's because they just got on with their lives.

dreamingbohemian Sat 17-Nov-12 20:58:49

I was asking based partly on some posts on this thread, and also just the wider discourse on this, where people are putting equal or more blame on the Palestinians and noting that they support Hamas and elected Hamas and don't think Israel should exist, and that they are 'not innocent' in all this.

It's a key point because in many conflicts, people justify attacks on civilians by finding ways in which they are not 'innocent' and somehow brought their suffering on themselves.

I see now that your interpretation of 'not innocent' is based on Palestinian rejection of partition plans, and not their feelings toward Israel. As I said, I didn't think you were making the argument I noted, I just wanted to ask.

dreamingbohemian Sat 17-Nov-12 21:01:56

I came back as I've just read some speculation that Israel may have kicked off this latest round as a means of reducing the stockpile of rockets and weapons in Gaza, so that it poses less of a threat should they attack Iran.

Now that is pretty terrifying.

I'm not sure I buy it, but it's worth thinking about.

edam Sat 17-Nov-12 21:05:18

It reminds me of the battles over Yugoslavia. The Serbs had held on to some long-ago feelings of injustice dating back to the middle ages IIRC and saw themselves as persecuted. This, they felt, justified slaughtering Muslims in Bosnia - horrific war crimes against civilians including children, women and the elderly. The Serbs had an image of themselves as the oppressed and used this to justify not just oppressing but torturing and murdering others.

Some people justify Israeli aggression in the same terms - millions of Jews were killed in WW2 so everything Israel does is right, including exterminating Palestinian civilians, women and children. It must be scary in their heads.

crescentmoon Sat 17-Nov-12 21:10:35

i will assume that you honestly do not know elaine, the zionists sought to ethnically cleanse palestine of the arabs as early as the late 19th century. the population of palestine was 86per cent muslim, 10 per cent christian and 4 per cent jewish at the turn of that century. but the zionists with the aid of wealthy backers and a mass migration programme sought to takeover palestine by fair means or foul, long before the events of the 2nd world war...

Theodor Herzl, the founder of Political Zionism wrote:

“We shall try to spirit the penniless population across the border by procuring employment for it in the transit countries, while denying it any employment in our own country. The property owners will come over to our side. Both the process of expropriation and the removal of the poor must be carried out discretely and circumspectly. Let the owners of immoveable property believe that they are cheating us, selling us things for more than they are worth. But we are not going to sell them anything back.” Herzl, entry for 6-12-1895, Complete Diaries, vol. 1, p. 88.

Berry-Philo, p. 5: “Israel Zangwill, who had coined the Zionist slogan ‘a land without people for a people without land’, informed a meeting of Zionists in Manchester in 1905 that ‘[We] must be prepared either to drive out by the sword the [Arab] tribes in possession as our forefathers did or to grapple with the problem of a large alien population.”

Tom Segev, 1949, The First Israelis, p. 80: “More than half a million acres were thus expropriated from their owners. A few thousand of these owners were actually living in Israel, yet the law defined them as absentees, even if they had only left their homes for a few days and stayed with relatives in a nearby village or town, waiting for the fighting to end. Later they came to be referred to as “present absentees."

Brycie Sat 17-Nov-12 21:11:26

Edam - both sides use the same type of justification - it's an endless cycle of "you started it". Talk of "response" and "retaliation" is so loaded. Also I think pointless. It's a good thing most of the people on this thread aren't anything to do with any possible resolution.

Brycie Sat 17-Nov-12 21:13:24

Dreamingbohemian: the militants have been getting new deadlier weapons from Iran that can reach Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, obviously you know this. I don't think Israel would need an end objective to want to remove them. Removing them would be an objective in itself.

crescentmoon Sat 17-Nov-12 21:13:39

"I do hope you're equally concerned about the equal or even higher number of Jews who were expelled from Arab countries in retaliation. If you don't hear much about them, I think it's because they just got on with their lives."

nearly a million arabs were expelled from palestine so israel needed manpower to fill the labour market - were the jews from the arab countries pushed or were they pulled into israel as jews from all over the world: eastern europe, russia, south america, were called on to emigrate and settle the land?

Brycie Sat 17-Nov-12 21:15:23

I think the answer would be no, then Crescent. Just say no if you want to.

Thisisaeuphemism Sat 17-Nov-12 21:54:13

What would you like to see happen then, crescent moon?

crescentmoon Sat 17-Nov-12 22:02:45

one state solution.

dreamingbohemian Sat 17-Nov-12 22:18:34

Brycie -- yes, they have, in which case escalating the conflict (as Israel did with the assassination) is more likely to see those rockets put into use (as they have been) than going for some kind of ceasefire, which would hopefully lock them down for now, and leave disarmament to be negotiated later.

On the other hand, if you are planning to attack Iran within the next six months, then you actually do want those rockets launched (and shot down luckily) now.

I don't really buy it though, Hezbollah is a much closer proxy of Iran and has thousands and thousands of rockets.

At any rate there are now reports in the news that a ceasefire may be imminent, which would be terrific.

dreamingbohemian Sat 17-Nov-12 22:26:01

Haaretz (Israeli paper) now reporting that the Israeli interior minister has said:

"The goal of the operation is to send #Gaza back to the Middle Ages"

Now to be clear, I am sure Palestinian officials are saying equally nasty things

But if he did really say this, then it sort of knocks a hole in the whole narrative of 'it's only self-defence'.

spotsdots Sat 17-Nov-12 22:31:43

IMO governments of both sides are war criminals Its bullshit to say the civilians are not the target, unless you are 2metres away from your so called intented target.

I don't support either side, but I'm less sympathetic with Israel because they remind me of playground big bullies.

I lost in total 20 family members in the Nairobi and Kampala Al-Shabab bombings but I will never support any government that will fire missiles in Somalia. Why? Because I know there will be an innocent person who will be killed just like my innocent beloved ones.

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