Update on Gaza

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The New York Times, WNYC contributor and author of Confront and Conceal: Obama's Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power, provides an update on the growing Gaza conflict, and frames the situation in terms of the president's overall stance on Middle Eastern foreign policy.


David Sanger
News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Comments [29]

Sam Feldman from NYC

David Sanger uses the word "interesting" over and over. And often he uses the word "fascinating". He sounds like a man who speaks about observing species of butterflies. Detached. Curious. There is a war going on, people being blown to bits, danger of lots more. Mr. Sanger, get real. Your prissy concern for "interesting" is not only annoying, it prevents you from being a good reporter who gets to the essences, instead of the mildly interesting.

Nov. 21 2012 11:20 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

To Noah Rothstein....

Oh, please, grow up, you little putz.

Nov. 20 2012 08:20 PM
Noah S. Rothstein ("Noach of Brooklyn")

jgarbuz from Queens wrote,

"Israel is Jewish land."

I must ask: On what basis, specifically, do you make this assertion? (And what, exactly, do you mean by "Jewish land"?)

If you are claiming that Jews have a _historical_ claim to the land, then I might begin (at the risk, perhaps, of resorting to a cliche`) by invoking the Native Americans, the people indigenous to the very land that you and I now dwell upon right here in these United States of America. How ready and willing would you be to cede your home to these original inhabitants, were they to come and demand it back from you now?

As for the _theological_ claim that the Land of Israel ("Eretz Yisrael") belongs to the Jewish people, having been given to them by none other G-d himself, a proper response to this would quickly go well beyond the scope of the topic and venue at hand. I will simply note here that the Talmud states that the Jewish people were banished from the Land of Israel and forbidden from re-establishing sovereignty over it until the arrival of the Messiah by the very same G-d who had given it to them in the first place. I would refer those interested in more information and discussion on this topic (Torah-based opposition to Zionism and the State of Israel) to the web site ** **.

"The Arabs were the colonizers."

_Which_ Arabs? _When_?

Nov. 20 2012 07:57 PM

Leo, I sort of agree w you... but if this is a civil war, an Abraham Lincoln is needed.

The Muslim and Arab powers that came together so seamlessly to condemn Israel and aid Hamas have reportedly gained political capital. Perhaps they can spend some of it on helping their Arab, Muslim -- and human -- brethren in Syria.

Nov. 20 2012 06:29 PM
Noah S. Rothstein ("Noach of Brooklyn")

Matt from Williamsburg wrote,

"Won't a resolution to the immediate conflict be difficult to achieve because Israel will perceive any concessions to Hamas as, "rewarding bad behavior"?"

What about the deal that freed Gilad Shilat in exchange for the release of over a thousand Palestinian prisoners?

I'm still trying to figure out how _that_ wasn't considered not only "rewarding" but actively "encouraging" bad behavior". (And, if, as Israel claims, many of the Palestinian prisoners had indeed committed acts of violence, how releasing such individuals wasn't a major security breach.)

Nov. 20 2012 05:13 PM
Noah S. Rothstein ("Noach of Brooklyn")

Leo from Queens wrote,
"while also giving lots of coverage to the narcissistic situation in the Middle East."

Perhaps I am misunderstanding you but I must say that this statement comes across as quite cavalier.

Somehow I suspect that were _you_ in the line of fire-- on _either_ side of the border, that you would be taking a very different tone now.

Nov. 20 2012 04:31 PM
Noah S. Rothstein ("Noach of Brooklyn")

@Edward of Washington Heights:

First of all, where did I even defend Hamas, much less claim that they are "tolerant" or "multi-cultural"?

Secondly, why would I even feel _entitled_ to live in Gaza in the first place?

How could there be any sense or justice in Jews further encroaching upon the Palestinians land and resources by settling in Gaza-- one of the most densely-populated and battered places in the world, where every bit of the already scarce and strained resources are desperately needed by the Palestinians?

Is there not already plenty of such encroachment in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, where the _expansion_ of Israeli settlements continues, while Palestinian homes are demolished, etc., etc.?

Your question is a complete non-sequitur.

Nov. 20 2012 04:08 PM
art from nj

To Brian Lehrer: While I generally respect your NPR work, I was startled at some of your language during today's Sanger interview. Both of you ignored the fact that thousands of rockets have fallen into Israel over a span of half-decade. Life in Siderot and other towns has been pure torture for years. Israelis have been killed and injuried by these rockets.

Instead of taking advantage of Israel's departure from Gaza, including the farming and small business infracture which was left for the Palestinians to start to build an economy, they devote their attention to killing Jews. Instead of living side-by-side as neighbors, they became rabid haters. If you think the death of Jabari triggered this conflict, first count the number of rockets that had previously fallen onto Israel's soil.

Also, I must address your language upon hearing there would be a cease fire at a particular time, but it would become official three hours later. Your cavalier question was whether Hamas and Israel wanted more time to kill as many people as would be possible in three hours. What a terrible read of the entire course of events. Israel must attack certain targets. Hamas locates its rocket launchers in civilian polulation centers such as schools, hospitals, and public buildings. Prior to most attacks, Israel alerts the residents that an attack is coming. Some innocents have been victims of the bombings. Conversely, Hamas aims its rockets at schools and commercial sections. It seeks to inflict civilian casualties.

While you might think this is hairsplitting, my belief is that responsible journalists such as yourself, who generally maintain balance in coverage, should consider this serious conflict in a thoughtful manner.


Nov. 20 2012 03:57 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Noach of Brooklyn,

Would you be willing to relocate and live in Gaza, as an Orthodox Jew, with all the necessary support systems like synagogues, kosher markers, schools/yeshivas?

Let's see how tolerant, multi-cultural Hamass will be towards you and your community.

Nov. 20 2012 03:02 PM
Noah S. Rothstein ("Noach of Brooklyn") from Brooklyn, NY

As a NON-Zionist Orthodox Jew, I would like to take this opportunity, first of all, to extend my sympathies and condolences to the Palestinian people for their tremendous loss and suffering.

At this time, especially, I would like to plead with the Palestinians, especially, but also with all people of the world to recognize and bear in mind the following.

The fundamental difference between the Zionist _State_ that calls itself "Israel" and:
-the _people_ of Israel, i.e. the Jewish people
-the religion of _Judaism_; the faith of the _Torah_

In fact, the greatest Rabbinic sages and authorities have, since the inception of Zionism, considered it, in _all_ of its various forms, a grave violation of the Torah. (For an overview and introduction to Torah anti-Zionism, I recommend the web site )

There are many Jews, from devoutly Orthodox to completely secular and everything in between, who, for any number of reasons, completely reject Zionism.

Furthermore, even among those who consider themselves Zionist, there are many dissidents and fierce critics of the policies and actions of the State of Israel.

(But how often do you hear such dissident voices on WNYC?)

To the Palestinians, whose immense pain and misery I surely cannot begin to fathom, I nonetheless plead: Do not meet injustice with further injustice; seize the moral high ground by _rejecting_ and _renouncing_ violence and terror against civilians. Embrace non-violent resistance. If not for _moral_ reasons, then at least do this for _pragmatic_ ones of self-interest: Does not every act of violence against Israeli civilians strengthen the arguments of those who defend Israeli occupation and actions on the grounds of "security" and "self-defense"? Even if these are merely pretexts, why not deprive rejectionists of such excuses?

Nov. 20 2012 02:43 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Leo from Queens,

Bill Ayers, former member of the Weather Underground, wrote a book titled "Prairie Fire". In the dedication section, one of the people named was Sirhan Sirhan. The assassin of Bobby Kennedy.

It takes some gall to write a book and dedicate it to an assassin of a US Senator and Presidential candidate.

Nov. 20 2012 01:27 PM
Leo from queens

Edward, you are saying Jews don't commit any crimes? and if someone commits a crime we should blame and punish the whole population from which the criminal originates from?

Who killed Rabin? A Jewish Religious nut.. Just like Hamas. Should all Jews be punished because a Jew committed a terrorist act? Is that what you are arguing?
There are extremists on both sides and until the sensible human beings on both sides are allowed to take over the narrative this problem will not be resolved. You can't have peace with religious zealots on both sides promoting violence and intolerance.

Why are you bringing Bill Ayers to this discussion?

Also, as in the Hamas Charter there are writings from members of the Israeli cabinet and religious 'leaders' calling for the 'removal' of all Arabs from Israel.

Nov. 20 2012 12:29 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Let us never forget who shot and killed US Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968.

It was a palestinian.

Bill Ayers wrote a book, dedicated to people, one of whom was the assassin.

Nov. 20 2012 12:10 PM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

Leo from Queens, Please read the Hamass Charter of 1988, (coincidentally the same year that Pan Am 103 was bombed, killing 270 people) to get an idea of the Hamass ideology.

If Hamass can't create a workable economy that is not based on hating Jews, Christians and the wrong kind of Muslim, then Gaza is doomed forever.

Nov. 20 2012 12:04 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

to qwert

Jewish colonialism? Israel is Jewish land.The Arabs were the colonizers.

Nov. 20 2012 11:50 AM

This is typical soft core defense of Jewish colonialism by loyal employees of propaganda entertainment complex.

Nov. 20 2012 11:39 AM
Jf from Ny

What about the grieving parents holding their beloved toddlers shredded by israeli bombs and israeli soldiers using children as human sheilds? You come off as being heavily censored when we see these images all over the internet and even abc news has stories about children who were being killed by chemotherapy before they were illegaly cured by cannabis oil. Thanks sloan kettering cancer profiteers!

Nov. 20 2012 11:38 AM
Leo from Queens

Superf88 - It's called a civil war!. Throughout history you have had these brutal wars amongst the same people fighting for power and control and is usually driven by a small click of greedy individuals that want power and wealth at all cost.

Are you aware of the US civil war? the Irish civil war? the Civil wars in Africa? the Korean War? The Chinese Revolution? the Russian Revolution? the Vietnam war? the 100 Years war? the Wars in Europe? I can go on....

We human beings are evil scum - regardless of race or religious belief.

Nov. 20 2012 11:32 AM

Why do we even need forensics to know Iran is behind this?

Nov. 20 2012 11:29 AM
Matt from Williamsburg

Question for David Sanger:

Won't a resolution to the immediate conflict be difficult to achieve because Israel will perceive any concessions to Hamas as "rewarding bad behavior"?

Nov. 20 2012 11:29 AM
Leo from queens

Good point Dennis Lonergan. And for that matter why is the media paying attention to the idiocies spewed by Donald Trump?

It bothers me that for a country of over 300 million people where we have at last 50 million well educated and articulate individuals with great ideas that we we keep going back to the same clowns for 'wisdom'.

Nov. 20 2012 11:28 AM
Dennis Lonergan from Manhattan

Will someone please ask the question, now or sometime down the road, why someone like Newt Gingrich is still getting booked on talk shows? How bad a campaign does someone have to run, how much of a fool does he have to make of himself, before he gets deemed unworthy of being put forth as some sort of legitimate spokesperson with anything helpful to say? This would be a great segment sometime.

Nov. 20 2012 11:25 AM
kal wagenheim from millburn nj

My best source of information on the Israel-Palestine conflict is Jorge Klainman, a Polish Jew who lost his family during the Holocaust. After surviving several narrow escapes from death while in a Nazi forced labor camp, he came to Argentina as a teenager and since then has divided his life between Buenos Aires, and Israel, where he and his wife now reside, close to their daughter. When I asked him about the crisis, he told me that the vast majority of Israelis and Palestinians are decent people, willing to live in peace with each other. "But," he adds, "there are extremists on BOTH sides that make it difficult to achieve a permanent peace."

Nov. 20 2012 11:24 AM
Elaine from usa

This is how Hamas gains ground. They bombard southern Israeli towns and try to hit major towns & cities like Tel Aviv & Jerusalem. Israel must defend her boundaries & population, and to end this, Hamas' face needs to be saved so pressure on Israel is mounted. If the blockade is ended.... does anybody really believe Hamas will start exporting flowers to Israel?

Nov. 20 2012 11:23 AM

Since u seem to be able to suddenly get these Arab and Muslim power brokers on the phone for a change -- any chance on tossing in a question regarding the Arab on Arab holocaust currently taking place in Syria? The subject seems forbidden or politically repulsive to media and politicians alike.

Nov. 20 2012 11:19 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

There is no "conflict of interests." The business of 56 Muslim including 21 Arab countries is not Israel's business! Israel's business is simple: All Israeli children will live and sleep in peace in their own beds and not in shelters down in the ground anymore! If not, then no children in Gaza will be able to safely sleep in peace either.

Nov. 20 2012 11:13 AM
Leo from Queens

Edward from Washington: I would not accept it - I would try to resolve the situation instead of forcing the Terrorist loving Liberals in Manhattan to live in frustration with no means to support their families and live with dignity as a human being.

I would probably start launching rockets or more in rage and frustration if I were being denied the ability to provide for my family.
My point is that both sides are to blame for their hate and ignorance and lack of respect for humanity and they should be forced to compromise instead of encouraging this behaviour.
you fail to mention that most Israelis are negatively affected and that the ones that continue to be intransigent is because they have homes, businesses and citizenship in other countries and they benefit financially from the status quo.

Nov. 20 2012 11:10 AM
Leo from Queens

Did anybody notice that this escalation in violence was timed to coincide with President Obama's trip to South East Asia. As a result, everyone is talking about Israel and Palestine and the president's visit is not getting the attention it deserves.

It is reassuring to see how much the BBC covered his trip and his speeches while also giving lots of coverage to the narcissistic situation in the Middle East.

The US media has been lacking in giving this visit the attention it deserves - Specially to help us ignorant Americans to understand the significance of SE Asia.

Nov. 20 2012 10:34 AM
Edward from Washington Heights AKA pretentious Hudson Heights

As long as Hamass fires rockets into Israel, Israel has the right to fire back and neutralize the attacks and eliminate the rocket launchers, weapons stores, command centers.

It is the height of hypocrisy for Hamass to launch rockets from civilian centers, to store rockets in civilian centers and then cry when civilians are hurt or killed.

Using children, using civilians as Human Shields is a Crime Against Humanity.

The response by Israel will stop when the Hamass rockets stop.

If only the so called "anti-war" activists would live up to their ideals and demand that Hamass stop attacking Israel.

Nov. 20 2012 09:52 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.