Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak declared "an all-out war against Hamas." Chris Dickey, Middle East regional editor for Newsweek, analyzes the escalating violence in Gaza.


Chris Dickey

Comments [77]

brooklyn woman from brooklyn

this Newsweek reporter provided a very good analysis of the political landscape, in my opini on, thank you, brian

Dec. 31 2008 01:48 AM
DAT from Nathan Straus Projects

American bombs dropped on Palestinian people,
by the Israeli and our politicians too
afraid of the powerful Israeli Lobby=AIPAC
to speak out against this atrocity.

Israel blocks food, medicine, fuel,
from Gaza, turning Gaza into a prison
and our politicians okay this in the USA.

Dec. 30 2008 04:07 PM
hjs from 11211

i can't believe this guy thinks peace should come after "all 56 Muslim states have to fully recognize that Israel is jewish soil," with that logic in place, is there any doubt that this war will go on for 50 more years? why should the palestinian state be held hostage by 56 foreign ministers.
it's more likely that the red sea will part !
with a 1:5 kill ratio when will israel run out of palestinans to kill?

Dec. 30 2008 03:35 PM

right on, you have a happy new year, too.

Dec. 30 2008 02:56 PM


"Many more died in Afghanistan than in the 9/11 attacks; yet that war was necessary to destroy the Taleban."

I was unaware that the Taliban had been destroyed. Or were they simply undergoing a corporate "restructuring" before roaring back into Afghanistan?

As for the necessary casualties to defeat Hitler, I agree, it was worth it, undeniably. But it's also right to recognize what a huge cost that was to so many families. And how "disproportionately" say, the Russians sacrificed their own - civilians and military - to defeat Hitler. (It's not like they had a choice, I just think that Americans have a dangerous tendency to see themselves as the big heroes of WWII. We were essential, but we entered late, and Hitler was exhausted from fighting the Russians.)

Dec. 30 2008 02:51 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

This is my last post on the subject, as I have other things to do. SO,

to eva I will finally respond, that the very words when the UN General Assembly voted by 2/3rds vote on Resolution granting the Jews to proclaim their state (and the Arabs in their allotment) was that the greatest slaughter since the Mongols would begin. There is no doubt, no question, that had the Arabs won the war they started in 1948, there would not only be no JEwish state, but no Jews to be found alive, except maybe a handful.
But there were always Jews who survived in the Land of Israel, from Biblical times down to today. Just like the American native Indians, the Jews became a tiny minority in their own homeland,but we clung for centuries to the hope and prayer that some day we would be free in our own homeland once again, and not have to depend only on the kindness of strangers.

So with that, I wish you all a Happy New Year, and my best hopes for peace.

Over and out...

Dec. 30 2008 02:43 PM

"As for Jerusalem, there can only be one Jerusalem, the Jewish capital. However, if we give up a tiny piece for peace, and if they rename it to Al Kuds, or something like that that would be okay by me, but JERUSALEM is the Jewish capital exclusively. They can call their secton "Al Quds" but not Jerusalem."

I think that, as grownups, we should move past the naming issues. Do you realize how moronic the Greeks look for insisting that a bunch of former Yugos call themselves the F.Y.R.O.M. instead of just "Macedonia"?

"As for the Temple mount, in exchange for Muslim recognition that they recognize that there were Jewish temples underneath, I would agree that we will not touch their Dome of the Rock or their Al Aksa mosque. What is under the ground is Jewish; what is above ground I would grant to the Muslims."

Solomonic enough for me.

"That was part of the Clinton plan, but the Arabs rejected it."

Clinton has been out of office for 8 years and Arafat is dead, dead, dead. Let's move on.

"So that's the bulk of it. The rest are just more little details. What counts is the attitude. If the Palestinians come with a respectful attitude and stop dissing us and propagandizing, then peace is possible. But if not, then not."

What is this "dissing" thing? Are we in a gang? Both sides have been doing it. Let's not get caught up in this tit-for-tat, let's talk about hard details of living together in peace. Not "dissing".

Dec. 30 2008 02:39 PM

Okay, jgarbuz, now you're talking.

"First, all 56 Muslim states have to fully recognize that Israel is jewish soil, and respect our right to have a peaceful homeland."

What if they recognize that Israel is Jewish soil, and at least metaphorically Christian and Muslim soil, and that is exactly the reason they must respect your right to have a peaceful homeland?

"They must stop thinking like Muslim fundamentalist fanatics for a start."

Let's not hold our breaths, but an end to violence is a hard, practical thing to ask for. We can't even get the fundamentalists in this country to stop acting like fanatics, (and some of those US fundamentalists are neither Christian nor Muslim.)

"The offer made by Barak in 2001 was more fair than anything I could have dreamed of, and yet Arafat turned that down."

Arafat is dead, thank God, let's move on and stop complaining about losers past.

"Fundamentally, that the area that will belong to the Palestinians will be their homeland, and not the State of Israel. Those who want to return, can only return there. SImilary, Jews will not be able to settle in Judah and Samaria or Gaza either, but those who are already there should be at least offered the right to equal citizenship in a democratic Palestinian state."

I'm not getting the disconnect between these two ideas. If you can have equal citizenship in a demo. Palestinian state, then why can't they have their part of the homeland as part of Israel?


Dec. 30 2008 02:39 PM
samir from Bay Ridge

Those "humanists" on this board who when Israel retaliates have suddenly woken up to attack Israel - but somehow were silent durig the last few years of Hamas & Palestinian Jihad butchering of innocent Israeli & Palestinian civillians - and are now screaming ‘disproportionate’ think – grotesquely -- that not enough Israelis have been killed. But that’s in part because Israel cares enough about human life to construct air raid shelters where its beleaguered civilians take cover; Hamas deliberately stores its rockets and other apparatus of mass murder below apartment blocks and in centres of population in order to get as many of its own people killed as possible as a propaganda weapon. Hamas is thus guilty of war crimes not just against Israelis but against the Palestinian people. Yet on this there is – fantastically, surreally – almost total silence in the west, which blames Israel instead. Historical resonances, anyone?

In any event, if by ‘disproportionate’ is meant merely an imbalance in the numbers who are killed on either side, this is actually inescapable if the infrastructure of aggression is to be defeated. Many more died in Afghanistan than in the 9/11 attacks; yet that war was necessary to destroy the Taleban. Many more died in Nazi Germany or Japan than in Britain or America during World War Two. Yet the scale of the Allied offensive was necessary to defeat Nazism and prevent yet more carnage amongst its designated victims.

Dec. 30 2008 02:37 PM

You're repeating what I said, essentially. Such an action would have demoralized and outraged Jews precisely because it is not part of their history to behave so viciously.

I can't judge what the Arabs would or would not have done had they won that war - that's an "if-ology" that we don't know.

But my point wasn't that someone besides the Jews would have stopped such an action - my point was that, like any pragmatic, logical group of people, the Israelis understood that the elimination of nearly 1 million surrounding Arabs would have been essentially self-destructive to the young state.

And unless I'm missing something, or you typed so quickly that it's been posted while I type this, my question remains unanswered.

For those of us who would like to see peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis, what are the necessary compromises that both groups can make, while saving face, in a way that will create a peace, however fragile?

Dec. 30 2008 02:23 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

What is the compromise to get peace?
First, all 56 Muslim states have to fully recognize that Israel is jewish soil, and respect our right to have a peaceful homeland.
They must stop thinking like Muslim fundamentalist fanatics for a start.
As for the details (and the devil is always in the details), that is what negotiations are always about, details.
The offer made by Barak in 2001 was more fair than anything I could have dreamed of, and yet Arafat turned that down.
Fundamentally, that the area that will belong to the Palestinians will be their homeland, and not the State of Israel. Those who want to return, can only return there. SImilary, Jews will not be able to settle in Judah and Samaria or Gaza either, but those who are already there should be at least offered the right to equal citizenship in a democratic Palestinian state.
As for Jerusalem, there can only be one Jerusalem, the Jewish capital. However, if we give up a tiny piece for peace, and if they rename it to Al Kuds, or something like that that would be okay by me, but JERUSALEM is the Jewish capital exclusively. They can call their secton "Al Quds" but not Jerusalem.
As for the Temple mount, in exchange for Muslim recognition that they recognize that there were Jewish temples underneath, I would agree that we will not touch their Dome of the Rock or their Al Aksa mosque. What is under the ground is Jewish; what is above ground I would grant to the Muslims. That was part of the Clinton plan, but the Arabs rejected it. So that's the bulk of it. The rest are just more little details. What counts is the attitude. If the Palestinians come with a respectful attitude and stop dissing us and propagandizing, then peace is possible. But if not, then not.

Dec. 30 2008 02:17 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To eva.

Israel didn't kill them because it is not in our nature to do things like that. But in 1948, Israel, even though recognized by the US, Russia and a few others, fought all alone against 5 Arab armies. 6,000 Jews died in that war, or 1% of the JEwish population of Palestine at that time. If the Arabs had won, in their own words, they would have slaughtered every single Jew in Palestine. But if it had NOT been our nature to be humane and benevolent, I can assure you, no one could have or would have stopped Israel from doing so. Thanks Russian aid, Israelis got arms from Czechoslovakia which enabled it to turn the tide and go on the offensive. By early 1949, the Egyptian, Syria, and Jordanian regular armies were BROKEN. There was NOBODY who would have, or could have come to the aid of the Arabs if slaughtering was what we wanted to do. WHo stopped the genocide in Cambodia, Rwanda, Dafur, etc.? Anybody? In fact, in 1948, after the Holocaust, and the ARab cooperation with the Nazis during the war, and the wholesale attack on infant Israel fighting all alone, if ISrael had slaughtered instead of letting 700,000 Arabs flee, nobody would have bat an eyelash.
As for Israel living in an Arab sea, the Jews have been doing that now since 1918, and every day for the last 90 years, people have said the Arabs are going to wipe the JEws because they have the numbers. If the Arabs were capable of doing it, they would have done it with no compunction, and would do in the future if and when they think they can.
Their religion doesn't permit a Jewish or even Christian state to exist regardless of its size. Ask Lebanese Christians how life has been for them since the SHia became the majority there.

Dec. 30 2008 02:06 PM

I totally agree that the European countries are hypocritical on this issue.

I also think many liberals in the US are hypocritical on this issue, as God only knows how many darling liberal bungalows have been erected on what should have been sovereign native territory. And I notice we're not giving those bungalows back.

But my question remains unanswered:

What are the necessary compromises on both sides to insure peace? Because regardless of who is or is not a hypocrite, it is not safe for anyone that this continues to serve as a potential tinderbox.

(The other obvious question being: how do you type so fast?)

Dec. 30 2008 02:01 PM
hjs from 11211

israel has killed 5 arabs from every jewish death during 2nd intifada. a handful of extremist on both sides hold peace hostage

Dec. 30 2008 01:57 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

How hypocritical of all those European states who did very little to protect their Jewish citizens from being murdered wholesale, and even in most cases had own their police cooperate with the Nazi occupiers in turning them over to them, today self-righteously condemn Israel and throw up the holocaust in ISrael's face when all Israel is doing is defending itself from those vipers. I was born in a refugee camp. My parents, who met after the war in the camp, when though hell that no "Palestinian" could even imagine. We were waiting to go to Palestine in 1947, but as luck would have it, Truman signed a decree letting 50,000 Jews in. I came to America as an infant on a boat, the Marine Flasher, and landed here on Feb 1 1949.
The Palestinians have created 95% of their own hell. I'm not saying that ISrael didn't have some responsibilities, but 95% of it is the fault of the so-called "leadership" of the Palestinians, going all the way back to the Grand Mufti, Haj Amin al Husseini, who spent most of WWII in Berlin urging Hitler and Eichmann not to let any Jews escape to Palestine alive. I am sympathetic to the plight of those who wish me no harm. I am not going to shed tears over those who want to kill me and my children.

Dec. 30 2008 01:55 PM


Per your post, I think there is an obvious reason why Israel did not kill all the Arabs in its midst - besides the fact that 1) such an act would have outraged and demoralized most Israelis as well as Jews not living in Israel, it 2) would have incited a holocaust of unknown proportions by the Arab world against the Jews.

I'm sure you're aware of the fact that Israel exists in a sea of Arabs? So maybe it's disingenuous to pose the failure to eliminate the immediately surrounding Arabs as some kind of generous favor to the Arab world.

After reading all these comments from you and others, my question is:

How can we find peace?

What are the necessary compromises from both sides to ensure/insure peace?

Dec. 30 2008 01:53 PM
samir from Bay Ridge

the Native Arguments are a weapon of mass distraction

Please stay on topic. Israel began forceful action this past weekend to quell Hamas’ terrorist threat to Israeli civilians. Since Israel’s 2005 withdrawal from Gaza, Hamas has indiscriminately fired more than 6,300 rockets and mortars—including 600 in the past six weeks—at Israeli population centers. Last spring, Israel tested whether Hamas would move toward peace by accepting Egypt’s proposal for a six-month lull in the fighting. Instead, Hamas significantly enhanced its arsenal, and ultimately resumed its rocket assaults. Despite Hamas’ aggression, Israel continues to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance and is acting to limit civilian casualties in Gaza.

Dec. 30 2008 01:49 PM
Rob from NYC

How I feel, you should ask the Native Americans how they feel oh, that's right almost none to be found!!

Yes those Natives can cause a lot of trouble!!!

Dec. 30 2008 01:31 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

I meant illegal workers from Mexico, as an example. Although Israel has a huge number of illegals, not only Arabs but Africans and Asians who came into ISrael to work, because it has a higher standard of living compared to where they come from. I meant no disparagement of Mexicans, only trying to draw an example that most Americans might relate to. I don't think illegals have a right to be in any country against the law regardless of where they came from. My parents waited in a camp in Germany for 3 years before we were allowed in in 1949, and I don't see why anyone else should have the right to hop over just because things are tough where they came from.

Dec. 30 2008 01:30 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

I wonder what Americans would feel if Iran armed the native American Indians with rockets and antitank missiles, and the natives began to fortify their reservations and turn them into terrorist bases from which they would fire home made rockets into nearby European America settlements, or suburbs as we call them, and started a campaign of suicide bombings to get the European settlers out of here? I wonder if bombs going off in American shopping malls, or rockets, even small homemade ones, came raining down from time to time. I just wonder how "humane" the response of the US military would be. Going by history, I don't think it would be very.

Dec. 30 2008 01:26 PM

1:16 pm :

(I don't think it's necessarily an effective argument to compare the Palestinian situation to that of Mexican workers.)

The terror may be 99% the fault of the Arabs, but Israel is swimming in a sea of them, so we need to find a way for both groups to find a situation that works for both.

BTW, I have no idea how to do that but I'd like to see something work out before the situation becomes worse.

Like a lot of people who have no stake in the conflict, I'm concerned that for either group to blame the other entirely for the current situation is just perpetuating an unworkable and increasingly volatile situation.

How do you break the deadlock - in a way that demands real compromise from both sides? And that will allow both groups to live in peace?

Dec. 30 2008 01:26 PM
Rob from NYC

Wow "Just like Mexicans" now I know were you are coming from we should all be treated so well!!

I want to join you so we can call people like Mexicans as a normal way of thinking and speaking...I love progressive thinkers.

Dec. 30 2008 01:23 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To Nicholas Veccio

The Philistines had been mostly broken by King David around 1000 BC, though the coast down in Ashdod and Ashkelon remained mostly populated by the descendants of the Philistine. But their power and ability to threaten anyone was long gone.
In the 5th century, there was already a Jewish Babylonian exile, and it is only natural for a Greek historian to refer to a territory by the name of an old Greek-like people, the Philistines. Recall, the Assyrians had depopulated the Kingdom of Israel (Samaria) back in the 8th century BC and replaced them with foreign people who came to be called "Samaritans." Would anybody remember the Indian names in this country? Such as Manhattan or Delaware, etc.?
The 5th century BC was already more than 500 years into Israelite history.

Dec. 30 2008 01:23 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The Palestinians live in a situation that they themselves created. Before the first intifada in 1988, my father in law would take his car to be repaired in Gaza for half price. Hundreds of thousands of Arab travelled daily into Israel to work, and got paid relatively well in many case. When I was working as technical writer for $25 a day, a Palestinian day laborers were getting about $15 a day. Just like Mexican laborers today in America. Only they had to go back across the Green Line at night, as they are not citizens of Israel but of the territories that were controlled by Jordan and Egypt prior to 1967. The West Bankers held Jordanian passports for many years under which they travelled. But in 1988 we go the intifada, and then the 20 years of terrorism since. I had a little kid in Rehovoth in 1988 living in Rehovoth, and there were bomb scares, and I didn't want my little boy blow up. WOuld you? The terror is 99% the fault of the Arabs. If they really wanted peace, they could have it any day of the week, if they get real and don't make ridiculous demands.

Dec. 30 2008 01:16 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

Israel is a democratic Jewish state the same way Ireland is a democratic Irish state, or that Sweden is a democratic Swedish state. The label "Jew" comes from the NATION of Judea, not from the name of the tribal religion. In Israel, Jew is a national identity, like "Arab" or Vietnamese or Swedish. Israel has 25% non-Jewish citizens just as Ireland and Sweden have non-Irish and non-Swedish citizens.

I wish people would forget the idea that "Jew"means some member of some religion, and think of it as the member of a national group, just like Irish or Polish. There are religious Jews and Jewish atheists as well. Like in any tribe, you have true believers as well as those who don't hold any religious beliefs.

Dec. 30 2008 01:10 PM
Rob from NYC

Funny I have many Jewish friends that say the exact same thing except in regards to Israel!

Funny how that is...

Dec. 30 2008 01:08 PM

The answer is to stop this idea that Israel should only be a Jewish state, let all people live side by side even if it means that Jews no longer are the majority, this after all is the holy land let it become so.

The truth is many groups can make a claim to this area!!

It should be the Provence of the entire world.

Dec. 30 2008 01:02 PM

"The Arabic word "Filastin" is derived from this Latin name."

I'm pretty sure that the Latin name comes from the Greek (as do so many Latin words). I just looked it up, and it says that this Greek name actually comes from Hebrew, which probably came from what the Philistine people called themselves. But that's from Wiki, which is obviously not 100%.

Merriam Webster's 10th collegiate mentions neither Romans nor Greeks. The word comes from Philistia, per the MW 10th collegiate (hardly the ultimate answer), which, per MW, was an ancient country in Southwest Palestine.

So: Arabic from Roman remnant of Greek remnant of Hebrew word? Or just named for the area and the people who lived there?

Anyway you slice the etymology, I wish for peace between the Jews and the Palestinians. I truly fear that this is a tinder box that threatens all of us.

Dec. 30 2008 12:49 PM

For the second time...

The same argument was used 500 years ago to disenfranchise the Native Americans from the entire western hemisphere they also never had a state!

500 years later the same argument is still being used to take the land away form another group today the Palestinians also never had an "official" state.

Some things never change!

Dec. 30 2008 12:44 PM
samir from Bay Ridge

The term "Palestine" is believed to be derived from the Philistines, an Aegean people who, in the 12th Century B.C.E., settled along the Mediterranean coastal plain of what are now Israel and the Gaza Strip. In the second century C.E., after crushing the last Jewish revolt, the Romans first applied the name Palaestina to Judea (the southern portion of what is now called the West Bank) in an attempt to minimize Jewish identification with the land of Israel. The Arabic word "Filastin" is derived from this Latin name.

The Hebrews entered the Land of Israel about 1300 B.C.E., living under a tribal confederation until being united under the first monarch, King Saul. The second king, David, established Jerusalem as the capital around 1000 B.C.E. David's son, Solomon built the Temple soon thereafter and consolidated the military, administrative and religious functions of the kingdom. The nation was divided under Solomon's son, with the northern kingdom (Israel) lasting until 722 B.C.E., when the Assyrians destroyed it, and the southern kingdom (Judah) surviving until the Babylonian conquest in 586 B.C.E. The Jewish people enjoyed brief periods of sovereignty afterward before most Jews were finally driven from their homeland in 135 C.E.

Jewish independence in the Land of Israel lasted for more than 400 years. This is much longer than Americans have enjoyed independence in what has become known as the United States. In fact, if not for foreign conquerors, Israel would be 3,000 years old today.

Palestine was never an exclusively Arab country, although Arabic gradually became the language of most the population after the Muslim invasions of the seventh century. No independent Arab or Palestinian state ever existed in Palestine. When the distinguished Arab-American historian, Princeton University Prof. Philip Hitti, testified against partition before the Anglo-American Committee in 1946, he said: "There is no such thing as 'Palestine' in history, absolutely not."

Dec. 30 2008 12:35 PM
Nicholas P. Vessio from seaa Cliff, New York 11579

Hey jgarbuz ... From the 5th century B.C. the Greek historian Herodotus referred to the Eastern coast of the Mediterranean "Philistine Syria" During the Roman Empire Hadrian named Palestine "Provencia Syria Palestina" nice try... NPV

Dec. 30 2008 12:18 PM

I have been to Israel and the Palestinian territories...I have seen first hand the conditions that Palestinians live under a nightmare military occupation, the true conditions which are hidden from Americans!!!

It is a new Holocaust.

and I am neither Cristian, Jewish or Muslim/Arab

Dec. 30 2008 12:14 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The Palestinians can travel anywhere they want. All they have to do is get an airline ticket and a permit from the Israeli authorities that they are not troublemakers or terrorists.
Nobody in Israel is stopping Arabs from leaving, or even traveling, if the purpose of doing so is not for nefarious purposes.

Dec. 30 2008 12:08 PM

The same argument was used 500 years ago to disenfranchise the Native Americans from the entire western hemisphere they also never had a state!

500 years later the same argument is still being used to take the land away form another group today the Palestinians also never had an "official" state.

Some things never change!

Dec. 30 2008 12:03 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The right of Israel to exist, and Jews to resettle it came in 1920 from the League of Nations, and is international law since.
There was never any nation or state called "Palestine" in all of history. The Arabs eagerly sold land to Jews in the 1920s and 1930s. My mother wanted to go to Palestine in the early 1930s along with some of her girlfriends, but my grandmother stopped her, feeling it to be a hard and dangerous life, with Arab terror and general poverty. So my mother stayed, married and had her first child. In 1941 the same grandmother, my mother's first child, her brothers, her first husband and other were murdered because they didn't go to Palestine in the 1930s when they had the chance.

Dec. 30 2008 11:56 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Regarding the Balfour Declaration, that was only a British war policy in their fight against the Ottoman empire. What is MOST significant is that the Council of the League of Nations accepted the Balfour Declaration at the San Remo conferences as part of international law, and issued the Mandate for Palestine to the British to administer it for the very purpose of establishing the "Jewish National Home" in 1922. It gave Jews the right to return, settle "wastelands" and state lands, and to purchase lands for settlement. But it also provided for full civil and religious rights for the non-Jewish inhabitants. It was legal under international law. Naturally, it was violently resisted by the Arab hotheads starting in 1920, and the violence has been endemic ever since. But Israel, and its resettlement by the JEwish people, is fully sanctioned by international law as far back as 1920. See San Remo text League of Nations 1922.

Dec. 30 2008 11:52 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

Until the Palestinians submit to a permanent peace treaty fully recognizing Israel's absolute RIGHT to exist in peace, and commit themselves to live quietly and peacefully, like a Canada or a Costa Rica, alongside Israel and with its other neighbors, Israel has every right to keep those territories it acquired in the 1967 war tight in its grip for as long as necessary. The US still has Puerto Rico from the Spanish-American war, as well as other territories it gained in war. The end of "occupation" comes soley with the end of all war and threats from the Palestinians, Arab and Muslim states.

Dec. 30 2008 11:44 AM

I feel for your lose during WWII, which perplexes me to how could you defend the exact horrors that are being bestowed on the Palestinians from the group who was at the receiving end in the second world war.

Is their any hope for humanity!!

Dec. 30 2008 11:44 AM
hjs from 11211

so say mexico takes over the US and tells u to resettle in england or canada, u would be OK with that?
by compromise u ask the palestinians to live on reservations or bantustans like native americans. i would not give up if i were them. no man would. i would fight for my freedom.
neither side wants peace.

Dec. 30 2008 11:44 AM
Nicholas P. Vessio from seaa Cliff, New York 11579

First... To BL Show... This is a very hot topic , so much so that this conflict between Israel and the Palestinian goes back to the first Zionist Congress in 1897 which was conveniend by Theodor Herzl in Bazel Switzerland. Please note I am one quarter Jewish (mothers side)and the facts are the facts and the truth hurts... I know history so those of you who do not should learn about the fact that in 1909 Jewish immigants in Palestine began building the first all-Jewish city called Tel Aviv. In 1917, British forces drive the Ottoman Turks out of Jerusalem and occupied it. The British Foreign Secretary Arthur Balfour favored the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people. this became known as the Balfour Declaration. David Ben-Gurion Israel's first prime minister spoke up for Palestinian rights noting that "The Arab community has certainly the right for self determination , for self rule. It is inconceivable of us to deny this right or diminish it." 1920 Haganah the Jewish Defense Organization was founded. In 1931 Etzel the Jewish underground organization was founded. In 1936 Zionists extremist groups were founded and attacked the British. The Stern Gang was created in 1940. The National Military Society was led by Menachem Begin in 1942 They were also known an the Irgun who bombed the British Headquarters at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem in 1946 killing 91 people. Menachem Begin won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1978 ... Amazing. Then during the 1967 Six Day War the
Israeli military killed 34 U.S. Sailors on board the USS Liberty. There was NEVER A CONGRESSIONAL INVESTIGATION.
Enough said... NPV

Dec. 30 2008 11:40 AM
samir from Bay Ridge

After squandering tens of millions of dollars in aid from the US, EU &others on weapons of death instead of medical supplies and food, Hamas and it's supporters are now "shocked, shocked" that Israel is trying to root out the Hamas terror machine from Gaza.

Palestinian rocket attacks targeting Israeli civilians have been commonplace for years, did not end during the supposed ceasefire with Hamas and were resumed in increasing strength last week before Israel responded.

Under the terms of the former ceasefire, the only thing that Hamas consented to do was to stop firing rockets into southern Israel – and even that it did not fulfill.

Instead, Hamas used the breather provided by the ceasefire to entrench its fortifications, build bunkers, import weaponry and prepare its armed forces to strike ever deeper into Israel.

What do they expect?

Dec. 30 2008 11:40 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

What gave the US the right to impose democratic constitutions on Germany and Japan, which it occupied for a number of years after winning WWII, and leaving US forces on their soil for decades afterwards? All wars create refugees and occupation, which end only when permanent peace treaties are signed! I was born in a Bavarian refugee camp after WWII, and my family lost everything, including their flesh and blood, but they did not teach me to put on a suicide belt to take revenge. We resettled thankfully in America, by 1949, starting from scratch, and that was the end of our refugee status. How can people be called "refugees" 60 years after the fact? And if so, weren't Jews refugees for nearly 2000 years? The Palestinians were given many chances to compromise and have a state next to Israel, but they refuse and keep blowing it by constantly making unreasonable demands that Israel cannot and should not meet.

Dec. 30 2008 11:35 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

When the first Zionist Jewish settlements began back in the 1880s, the Arab population in that Ottoman backwater was less than a half million mostly subsisting. Today it is over 10 million, or an increase of 20-fold. By contrast, the US population increased since the 1880s from around 60 million to over 300 M, only a five-fold increase, or 1/4 that of the Palestinian increase. Much of the increase was due to health services and investments brought in by Jews and the British during the Mandate period. Rather than wiping out the natives, as was the case here in America, the Jews actually helped spur the increase. My own ex-mother in law, an ob-gyn in Beershaba personally delivered 10,000 Bedouin babies in '70s and 80s. Jews helped the Palestinians to flourish.

Dec. 30 2008 11:25 AM
Sara from Springfield, NJ

The attack on Gaza is brutal: how long was Israel supposed to wait while Palestinian missiles rained down on civilian populations going about their daily activities? Were school children from Ashdod(or their fathers) launching missile attacks from their backyards as Hamas is doing?

Dec. 30 2008 11:23 AM
samir from Bay Ridge


Hamas deliberately stores its rockets and other apparatus of mass murder below apartment blocks and in centres of population in order to get as many of its own people killed as possible as a propaganda weapon. Hamas is thus guilty of war crimes not just against Israelis but against the Palestinian people.

Dec. 30 2008 11:20 AM
hjs from 11211

thanks for adding an enlightened point of view to the board today. glad everyone in NYC is not in 'the israel can do no wrong camp.' in this war both sides are to blame and guilty.

Dec. 30 2008 11:17 AM
samir from Bay Ridge


Nimr Hammad, an advisor to Mahmoud Abbas, told Al-Akhbar (Lebanon) on Dec. 28: "The one responsible for the massacres is Hamas, and not Israel, which in its own view reacted to the firing of Palestinian missiles. Hamas needs to stop treating the blood of Palestinians lightly. They should not give the Israelis a pretext." He called upon the leaders of Hamas to stop carrying out "operations which reflect recklessness, such as the firing of missiles."

Dec. 30 2008 11:16 AM
Leo from Queens

Palestinians and Hamas Are NOT a government - They are political groups operating within the control of the Israeli government. How do you expect them to have military basis separated from civilians when they are NOT allowed to have a military- They have no military trucks, tanks, planes or ships. - The 'dangerous' Palestinians are nothing more than guerillas operating in the confined ghettos setup by the corrupt, abusive, racist state of Israel in what is one of the most densely populated areas in the World.
So it is very disengenious and cynical of you to bring up the Geneva convention when Hamas and the Gaza strip are NOT a state

Dec. 30 2008 11:11 AM
Leo from Queens

Egypt is ALSO a dictatorship that does not believe in Democracy and that is being propped up by the US taxpayer just as the Israeli right wing dictatorship is being propped up by Billions of US Taxpayer dollars every year.
Shameful disgrace

Dec. 30 2008 11:06 AM
Moishe from Rockland from Rockland County

I forgot...
Both Protocol I and Article 28 of the Geneva Convention (IV) make clear that "the deliberate intermingling of civilians and combatants, designed to create a situation in which any attack against combatants would necessarily entail an excessive number of casualties is a flagrant breach of the Law of International Armed Conflict," according to international law scholar Yoram Dinstein (see his The Conduct of Hostilities under the Law of International Armed Conflict, Cambridge University Press, 2004, pp. 129 - 130).

Dec. 30 2008 11:04 AM
Humanity from NYC

That 2005 agreement was never viable, If any one would see a map that indicated the partitions between Israel and the Palestinians territory which gave Israel full control of Palestine and created small pockets of land, sealed off from each other, that would never Constitute a viable Palestinian state!!

It is disingenuous to even state such a comment!

Dec. 30 2008 11:03 AM
Leo from Queens

How did Israeli troop withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 provide Palestinians with self-government? - Is like the US granting Manhattan independence and then moving quickly to undermine moderates by preventing trade - sealing all bridges and tunnels into Manhattan, preventing access to airports, and the use of piers and intentionally holding off exports and imports at the border for days and weeks for the purpose of letting them spoil. Controlling access to potable water and electricity. Then when the radical elements gain power through open democratic elections blaming the Palestinians.
The purpose of the last 2 corrupt right-wing Israeli administrations is to slowly choke and starve Palestinians and ensuring that moderates are set aside so they can claim that Palestinians are criminals and that they don't have someone to negotiate with.
What's shameful is that we as taxpayers are paying for these human rights atrocities

Dec. 30 2008 11:03 AM
Moishe from Rockland from Rockland County

1) Israel had the borders open but were being rocketed.
2) Bibi isn't far right. He followed through with giving away "terrortory" & hasn't been re-elected since. He's been losing ground in this election because the right is unhappy with his dangerously accommodating statements made toward the Arabs.
3) Abbas' PLO also comes from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Arafat was born there.
4) Notice that only once in history has there been a city, Gaza, called a "refugee camp." For 60 years!?
5) Israel's problem with the savage barbarians in Gaza is a direct result of Israel's & the "international communities" liberal policy of not doing what is always done after a war, repatriating the enemy across the new border. Gaza was Egypt from 1948-1967.
6) Required reading, "From Time Immemorial," by Joan Peters.

Dec. 30 2008 11:03 AM
samir from Bay Ridge

IRAN is the root of Middle East Violence

It is impossible to address the Arab/Israeli conflict by itself, for the context is all wrong.

Nobody in Gaza or the West Bank, nor in Amman or Cairo, can guarantee peace for Israel. Today, that decision rests in the hands of Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Dec. 30 2008 10:59 AM
samir from Bay Ridge

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit launched a scathing critique of Hizbullah chief Hassan Nasrallah on Monday, after Nasrallah had called on Egyptians to protest their government's response to Israel's attack in Gaza.
Aboul Gheit said, "They have practically declared war on Egypt via several satellite stations. The Egyptian people reject and opposes this....I tell this man: No, no! Our armed forces can defend our homeland from people like you."
On Monday, Nasrallah called for uprisings throughout the Arab and Islamic world and said he supported a third Palestinian intifada.
Gamal Abdel Gawad, head of the international relations unit of the Al-Ahram Center for Strategic and Political Studies, said, "The Palestinian cause is a major bribe used by the radicals to legitimate their aims and further Iranian hegemony in the Middle East."

Dec. 30 2008 10:55 AM
Michael Whalen from Crown Heights

Dickey is a barbarian, and a shameless apologist for state violence. His portrayal of Gaza children as unavoidable casualties of this necessary bombing makes the mind reel in horror.

Can we please get a recognizably humane perspective next time this show devotes a segment to the subject of mass death and destruction?

Dec. 30 2008 10:52 AM
samir from Bay Ridge

The Israeli withdrawal from Gaza in 2005 provided the Palestinians with a chance to truly govern themselves within a territory that the Israelis would no longer patrol. Yet when faced with the opportunity to further the two-state solution, the Palestinian people chose Hamas instead. When faced with the task of building a peaceful state in Gaza, Hamas instead chose war, firing thousands of rockets over the years into southern Israel.
As Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas acknowledged after Israel's bombardments of Gaza began, Hamas invited the attacks when it rejected any extension of a six-month truce with the Jewish state.

Dec. 30 2008 10:49 AM
samir from Bay Ridge

the earlier commentator conveniently forgets abuot the Gaza border with Egypt ---

but so does anyone who wants to sling the "stranglehold"smear on Israel...

very telling....

Dec. 30 2008 10:48 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

Hamas won the parlimentary elections and the Israeli and US government have done everything possible to prevent Hamas from taking its rightful place at the table.

Dec. 30 2008 10:47 AM
Sivan from manhattan

please mention that the sanctions on gaza are the result of the constant terrorist attacks from hamas and gazans on israel. this is all their fault and they had it coming to them.

Dec. 30 2008 10:47 AM
samir from Bay Ridge

Chris Dickey may be a writer for Newsweek, but he sounds like a great spokesperson for Hamas.

Dec. 30 2008 10:46 AM

As usual the retaliation far outweighs the initial breach.

Here here to the speaker's comments.

Dec. 30 2008 10:46 AM
Owen from Rochester

This guest is excellent. Very informative and as unbiased as possible. Please have him back in the future to discuss this topic.

Dec. 30 2008 10:45 AM
salvatore principato from manhattan

this conversation totally evades the major cause of the current violence & that's the stranglehold Israel has imposed on Gaza strip
solely because the Israel goverment didn't agree with Hamas winning parlimentary elections
Palestinian civilians were being targeted firstly by restricting the movement of essential goods and people then to terrorize the population by saturation bombing

Dec. 30 2008 10:42 AM
Humanity from NYC

Israel it's self is an entire land grab that is fair to say!!

Dec. 30 2008 10:42 AM
Susan from Kingston, New York

What give Israeli the right to re-engineer the Palestinian government?

Dec. 30 2008 10:41 AM
David Deblinger from Brooklyn

The current conversation is so clearly biased against HAMAS. I heard on CSPAN Israel could very well be seen as breaking the truce through assasination attempts and the lack of coming through with making changes at check points to make life more livable, your newsweek guest clearly sides with Israel and does not look at the situation with an objective eye. I am a Jew, born and raised in nyc.

Dec. 30 2008 10:41 AM
samir from Bay Ridge

Palestinians lives and deaths are being used as political currency for the decade old power fight between Hamas & Fatah.

Dec. 30 2008 10:37 AM
samir from Bay Ridge

Hamas' disdain for the suffering its policies cause the Palestinian residents of Gaza is exceeded only by its open, and even proud, infliction of atrocities on Israeli civilians. This year alone, Hamas, which expressly calls for the obliteration of Israel, has launched approximately 6,000 rockets and mortar bombs into Israeli civilian centers, always for the purpose of killing and maiming Israelis if possible, and terrifying those who are not actually hit. Under these circumstances - which would have continued without end had the Israelis failed to act - it seems clear that the Israeli military response was not merely a necessary one. It was, regrettably, the only one left.

Dec. 30 2008 10:36 AM
Humanity from NYC

Palestinians lives and deaths are being used as political currency for the upcoming Israeli elections.

Dec. 30 2008 10:34 AM
Alex from NYC

God does not like the killing of any one, not only civilians! Men in uniform should not be killed ether!
That said, you were busy speculating how many civilian casualties ‘will be’ not ‘what happened’ but what ‘might happen’ it looks like the ‘civilian’ talking point is with you even when it doesn’t happen.
In the last 4 days the ratio of civilian death in Gaza is much less the in Iraq or Afghanistan. It looks like reporters are just having talking points ready and cannot go away from it, even when the story did not happen. There are no reports of major civilian casualties, but you just went on and on.
By the way, if you wish to talk about civilian casualties, talk about how many women and children were killed in the last 4 days in Gaza due to the Hamas faulty rocket launchers. That actually did happen.

Dec. 30 2008 10:31 AM
Humanity from NYC

By Christopher Dickey

George W. Bush's neoconservative administration and Osama bin Laden's messianic terrorist organization may, in a perverse way, have deserved each other. But French scholar Gilles Kepel, in his new book, "Beyond Terror and Martyrdom," argues that the rest of us can do better than delusions of global democracy and the glories of suicide bombings.

Dec. 30 2008 10:30 AM
hjs from 11211

war without end

Dec. 30 2008 10:29 AM
O from Forest Hills

Hamas is giving people in Gaza food and building schools and hospitals, that is why the people are responding to them.

We need to respond to this with love. I like the approach of the author of the book "Three Cups of Tea" he built schools and hospitals in a community in the Himalayas that saved him from death and he has made a difference in that community.

I am pro peace and pro Israel.

Dec. 30 2008 10:21 AM
O from Forest Hills

So what is your point?

The Bible says lots of things. The Bible says that if you eat shellfish that is wrong, it says fornication and gay marriage is wrong, it says divorce is wrong, it says if you are not born again you will not go to heaven, it says many things.

It also says that we are to live in peace and to love one another and live a life like Christ of laying down our lives for others and to live in peace, not war.

Dec. 30 2008 10:19 AM
BL Show from Varick St. Studios

[[BL Moderator Writes: This is just a preemptive reminder to remember the WNYC posting policy and keep your comments civil and on topic. This is a difficult and heated subject, but we should strive to make this comments page a place where we can achieve a productive exchange of ideas. Thank you.
-BL Show]]

Dec. 30 2008 10:18 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

The acronym "HAMAS" in Arabic stands for "Islamic Resistance Movement." Coincidentally, in Hebrew the word "hamas" literally translates to "violence." The root of the conflict is embodied perfectly in the following:

Genesis 16:10-12 The angel said to Hagar, "I will so increase your descendants that they will be too numerous to count." "You are now with child and you will have a son. You shall name him Ishmael, for the LORD has heard of your misery. He will be a wild donkey of a man; his hand will be against everyone and everyone's hand against him, and he will live in hostility toward all his brothers."

Dec. 30 2008 10:06 AM

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