“Peace for Ashkalon?”

GazacityI know.  They have some other name for this one.  Yes.  The Palestinians are idiots for firing rockets into Israel.  The Israelis want revenge.  I understand that, but this seems a bit excessive.

Gaza is a small, very populated place.  Anyone who has been there knows that you can’t throw a lot of air ordnance into Gaza without killing a great many civilians.  Any idea that you can do "surgical strikes" in Gaza is either egregious or intentionally deceptive.  The effect here is something like the bombing of London, Rotterdam or Guernica.

Golda Meir used to say that there are no Palestinians ony "South Syrians."   This punitive air offensive in Hannukah is either ineptly timed or eerily ironic when considered in the context of the story of the Maccabees.  Maybe it just reflects contempt for the Palestinians?  How dare they elect these "illegitimate" "Khamas teghoghist"s (quoting the lovely Livni).  Why is it that a native speaker of Hebrew can’t pronounce Hamas correctly?  I am told that there is an aspirated "H" in Hebrew.

So far it sounds to be a Douhet style aerial attempt to bghaek the will of the Aghabs a la all over Lebanon in ’06.  The Palestinians (like the Lebanese then) have no anti-air defense to speak of so the bombing part should be pretty easy.  The "will breaking" part always eems to be a little difficult. Has the IDF-AF lost any aircraft yet?  This is always a good indicator of what is really happening.

So, they are going to beat up Gaza; 21 days to Obamaland (this should tie his hands!), Natanyahu leading in the polls, a good chance to put some space between the Americans and those pesky Muslims, an opportunity to prove that the IDF hasn’t lost its wog bashing mojo. 

Will there be a ground effensive into Gaza?  I dunno.  Have the Hamasniks been digging in Hezbullah style?  You tell me.  pl


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40 Responses to “Peace for Ashkalon?”

  1. Lysander says:

    I’m not a military man, but it seems Gaza has zero depth, is flat and entirely indefensible, except in an urban setting which would bring Palestinian into the 10s of thousands. Beirut 1982 all over again.
    This wont have the same result as Lebanon ’06 since Hamas really can’t force the Israelis to pay a price the way Hizb did.
    Indeed, I suspect much of this Attack is precisely because Gaza is a much easier target than Lebanon. The Israelis are taking out the frustrations of the 2006 war in Gaza in much the same way a pathetic man beats his wife after a bad day at work.
    But to speak of this in military terms is to give credence to the idea it is a “war.” This is a prison uprising, where the guards have machine guns and the inmates have sharpened objects. And the prisoners have been on 1/4 rations for a year or two.
    Full disclosure; I’m Egyptian by birth. And Egypt’s government, shooting at fleeing Palestinians today, is one of the greatest criminals in this whole affair.

  2. curious says:

    Last neocon hurrah..
    but the damage will last for at least another 2-3 yrs.
    Bush last gift to the free world before leaving office. Further painting america as neocon’s tool.
    Naturally, we can expect Hamas to retaliate with something big. Or if Israel decide to invade gaza, a long and bloody low intensity war ala Lebanon.
    Hamas Must End Its Attacks on Israel, Restore Cease Fire, White House Says The Bush administration is calling on Islamic militants who control the Gaza Strip to halt rocket attacks on Israel and restore the cease-fire that expired on Dec. 19.
    Israel May Call Up Army Reserves After Second Day of Air Strikes on Hamas Israel’s cabinet agreed to call up as many as 7,000 army reservists, signaling that two days of air raids on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip may be followed by a ground invasion to halt rocket attacks.

  3. Jose says:

    Message to Obama: “You are either with us, or against us.”
    Funny this came after Shimon Peres issued a “warning” to Obama:
    Hopefully this is the Neocons last gasp at power and Obama can see through this madness through American interest rather than those impose from abroad.

  4. J says:

    Israel’s actions towards the Palestinians are nothing short of a Nazi Bully! What Israel is doing is a War Crime and Crime Against Humanity as they are ‘collective punishing’ the Palestinians. The German Nazis pioneered the modern use of “collective punishment” against innocent civilians. The Germans wiped out whole villages in Czechoslovakia, in France, in Lithuania, and in Greece in retaliation for attacks on German forces. The individuals responsible for the collective punishment atrocities were tried as war criminals. Israel’s military command staff needs to face the same War Crimes prosecution as the German Nazi Third Reich did.

  5. Mike Martin, Yorktown, VA says:

    Is this the foreign policy “test” that Biden warned would happen w/in six months?
    With the current administration apparently well & truly FIGMO, perhaps this is a chance for Obama to “prove his love” for the Israelis. I recall that AIPAC was about the first stop he made after announcing his candidacy.
    Very difficult to disagree w/ other comments re this being the work of the neocons/Likudniks.

  6. Eliot says:

    Using air power to break the will of the enemy? This really is first rate madness.
    If Guernica didn’t prove that idiocy then the Second World War certainly did.

  7. Really far more than a message to Obama. Really message to Americans generally but again won’t be read and understood. World politics generally is now all about American life and decision making and influence. With foreign nationals now on Congressional staff, little policing of foreign campaign contributions by the FEC and others the name of the game is to lobby and influence the US and hope to hope that some fools errand like the Georgian fiasco doesn’t unloose the US ability to search and destroy even if not to repair and recover or establish democracy. Amazing that the most educated of the Arabs, the Palestinians, and the most knowledgeable about the US (Israel) and a country with many US passports and dual citizens could not wait to provide fodder for a new cut of the salami that hopefully would draw in the new administration. After all as far as I know the first IDF veteran will serve as Chief-of-Staff to be in the White House and leading Israeli candidates are often born and raised in the US, so hey why not try and manipulate the Americans? Time to manipulate back. Force the wealthy ARAB nations to provide jobs, medical care, housing and opportunity to all Palestinins by offering dual citizenship in their own countries. Prohibit dual citizenship for all US citizens so that people have to decide finally whether they are or are not worthy of everything from the ultimate sacrifice for America’s future or to commit to the US future. Guarantee the ’48 borders of Israel. And the Israel pattern of adopting collateral damage linguistics (as have the Palestinians) should be put to an end as well as the practice. The Israeli reliance on Airpower is as ridiculous as that of the US. We are captives of our own armaments as are the Israelis. Oh yes, and help internationalize and police weapons pouring into the GAZA strip through tunnels and smuggling. Only the innocent are the victims of this charade and personally I don’t believe there are degrees of innocence. You are or you are not. Both Israelis and Palestinians again are trying to jerk around the US. Time to isolate the tumor for good. If the Arab nations won’t help then the US should explain that it cannot help anymore to prevent the revolutions and turmoil underlying the surface in most of the Islamic world. If we are going to help out where needed most it is for the 900 Million people of Sub-Sahara Africa. The 1.9 Billion worshipers of Islam (some clearly in Black Africa) can find more to do than pick on the residue of the holocust which unfortunately worked only too well. A note for the record, the current release of the movie Valkerie indicates that assassination efforts may well sometimes be in a good cause. Let’s make sure that the peacemakers in Israel, the GAZA, and the US live. That is the US role. Not spurring on dubious militarism and violence. The LIKUD are NOT peacemakers. Nor are HAMAS.

  8. Patrick Lang says:

    Ruined towns and cities make wonderful defensive terrain. pl

  9. mo says:

    There are no words.
    The world looked on as Israel cut off food, medicine, fuel and all essential supplies from the Gazans and then blamed the Gazans for their suffering.
    When the Gazans see that the world will do nothing to alleviate their plight they try to fight back, with pathetic little rockets and the world looks on and blame the Gazans for the bombings that are killing indiscriminately.
    The world has told the Gazans that they mean nothing; Are worth nothing.
    They have been abandoned by the “moral” West. They have been abandoned and betrayed by the leaders of their Arab “brethren”.
    And then the world will wonder what it is exactly that makes these young Muslim men so angry.
    There is a clear and obvious plan, a plan that involves the West, Israel, Jordan, Saudi and Egypt. This is the beginning of the end game. A zero-sum game. But it won’t turn on the battlefield. Hamas in not Hizballah and has none of the advantages Hizballah has. And Hizballah won’t be able to come to Hamas’ aid this time. Its own political positiion is too precarious for that. But last week, some Katyusha rockets were discovered only minuted from blast off in Southern Lebanon, indicating that Israel is trying to set a pre-text for expanding this little jaunt.
    So the only people that can make this operation fail will be the people of the Arab world and specifically of Egypt and Jordan (the Saudis in general don’t give a damn). Will they go to the streets in enough numbers? Will they be loud and angry enough to scare their governments?
    Sadly, the answer is no.

  10. Jon Tupper says:

    I say Obama send Colin Powell, Richard Armitage, and several other large combat veterans who can also speak several languages softly and emphatically both to Israel immediately, off the record, to say “cease and desist”. That’s stunad because Pilate Cheney and his Parliament own the world (horizontal plane) and we the people can only rely on the true spiritual light (vertical plane) to have faith that somehow the crucifixion will be allayed.
    I am livid that the Israelis are standing where they are and saying what they are saying. It is incendiary. And they act like they are entitled.
    There is nothing to do to stop the insanity of human self destruction save to be the change I wish to see, as Gandhi said. And be willing to follow B. Bhutto much as I do not want to do that. And what does self immolation get? Really? It is in the Hands of a Power Greater Than US, I hope.
    All those who have only free market non constitutional Americanism at heart, from Cheney to Yoo, need visit Leavenworth, without protection. Of course they will not as there is no will to do that here and no Telford Taylor to carry it out. We have no moral compass to say to corporations: stand down – youth are too profligate and self absorbed. The Christians, of whatever stripe, are too involved in their own insular views and communities to foster a Daniel Berrigan, much less a Dietrich Bonhoeffer. American culture is victimized by our own success: iPods and Blackberries; movies and music; professional sports. Its our way and who cares. Our Marines will defend it. If you’re not on board, heaven help you.
    Send this out as a broadsheet and prove me wrong.

  11. pbrownlee says:

    May have much more to do with appearing “strong” and outflanking Netanyahu/Likud and the menagerie of ludicrous “coalition” ministers since it is virtually inconceivable that the dud rocket “barrages” will cease.
    “Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni vowed on Sunday to end Hamas’s rule in the Gaza Strip if she is elected prime minister in a February election.
    “The state of Israel, and a government under me, will make it a strategic objective to topple the Hamas regime in Gaza,’ Livni told members of her centrist Kadima party. ‘The means for doing this should be military, economic and diplomatic.’
    “The barrage of Qassam rocket fire(d) by Gaza militants and what Israel’s response should be dominated the discussion at Sunday’s weekly cabinet meeting.
    “Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said during the opening of the meeting that the government had agreed to the cease-fire with Hamas last June with little doubt or hesitation.
    “Israel has always hoped for and wanted quiet for the residents of the south and that they should enjoy genuine calm and be free of the threat of unceasing Qassam and mortar attacks that have disrupted life in the south for a very long period,’ Olmert said.
    “During the meeting, politicians from across the political spectrum pointed fingers at and criticized one another over the deteriorating situation along Israel’s border with the coastal territory.
    “Vice Premier Haim Ramon also on Sunday said that there is no need for a wider operation in Gaza, but that Hamas must be removed from power.
    “Ramon, Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz and others harshly criticized Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s handling of the situation.
    “I suggest that the person sitting on the 14th floor of the Defense Ministry wake up from the illusion that the cease-fire is good for Israel,’ Mofaz told Army Radio. ‘It is time to act. What are we waiting for? What else needs to happen? Are we waiting for children to die, for people to be injured?’
    “Mofaz continued by saying that the fact that Gilad Shalit is still being held captive by Hamas is the heavy price Israel has already paid for the truce, which was brokered by Egypt.
    “Barak and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert called for calm at the meeting. ‘I won`t compete with hysterical voices [over Israel`s action in Gaza],’ said Olmert. He added that he, Barak and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni have discussed the situation in depth.
    “A responsible government is neither eager for battle, nor does it shy away from it,” said Olmert. ‘We will take the necessary measures with the necessary responsibility. I will not go into detail about the steps; neither will I raise the volume, since this has no bearing on reality, but only on the atmosphere that cannot be a basis for the conduct of government policy, especially during this sensitive and important time.’
    “During the meeting on Sunday, Barak asked Olmert to call for quiet.
    “We are listening to and feel the pain of those living in southern Israel,’ Barak said, ‘but some of the impassioned voices are harmful, unnecessary and hurt our endurance.”
    Not just the Qassams are duds — Livni is yet another — as her colleague Rice has noted with, presumably, unconscious irony:
    “Little did I know how intertwined our lives and work would become. Last May, Tzipi, like me, became the second woman ever to hold her nation’s top foreign policy job. Those early months were anything but easy: violence in Gaza, a war in Lebanon, a radical President in Iran. Tzipi’s strength to endure, indeed to excel, in what were difficult, often heartbreaking, conditions was a testament to her character.
    “Tzipi and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have the foresight to know that a Palestinian state is in Israel’s greatest interest, and that they must pursue the cause of peace with their Arab neighbors. President Bush and I deeply share this goal. And for Tzipi and me, it is now the focus of our work together.
    “Tzipi has not just been my colleague; she has become my friend. We have sat together for hours debating ideas—freely, openly, even combatively at times. I have learned of her deep pride in her children. We share an abiding respect for our now deceased fathers—mine, a successful son of the old segregated American South; hers, a defender of the Jewish homeland in its first days of independence.
    “Tzipi, 48, is a woman of conviction, intelligence and peace. I deeply respect her. I like being around her. And I know that long after we have both exited the world stage, we’ll still be friends.”
    Yes, adults can attempt to communicate in this cloddish “what I did in my summer vacation” manner without a glimmer of intelligence or spark of wit.
    Livni is now telling the BBC that the Gazan operation is a success (without, of course, saying — or being asked — what metrics she is using — other than bluster, naturally) and with her characteristic smirk that is even more inappropriate than usual.
    Perhaps the only terrorists to take advantage of the holidays/POTUS interregnum are state terrorists…

  12. john stack says:

    We sit and watch the murder of civilians by a Jewish state and complain that nothing can be done. The USA has failed and in fact is supporting the crimes
    Firstly we must now boycott all Israeli goods.
    Secondly everyone NOW call on Mr Putin and Russia to lead non USA forces to a “World with Peace and Justice” :-
    A) occupy Israel and disarm her nuclear and conventional forces
    B) Guarantee her 1967 Borders
    C) Call a meeting thro the UN that the USA cannot veto to agree a long term solution to the Area
    This solution will have the agreement of all decent Countries and US citizens who want to keep their taxes to pay for education and health. The USA has lost its mandate to police the world.

  13. trstone says:

    I remember sitting on my patio watching the Isrealies bomb Beirut in ’82 and thinking that this is the 20th century and problem solving is not done with bombs. I guess I was wrong, as it is now the 21st century and Isreal’s problem solving skills haven’t evolved.
    My real question is, how does this latest over response advance America’s interest in the ME and how are we ever going to perceived as the champion of justice and all those other ideals we bleat about when our “friends” act like they did in biblical times?

  14. Mad Dogs says:

    Shorter Israelis: “Our solution to our problem is that the hole must be deeper. Dig! Dig! Dig!”

  15. J says:

    How do we know that Palestinans fired rockets into Israel? And they expect U.S. to take Israel’s word for it?
    Every time I hear about the Palestinans doing this and that, I am reminded by the picture of a purported masked Hamas type figure demonstrating against Israel, and when one examines the photo closely, one finds that a star of david necklace being worn by the purported Hamas demonstrator.

  16. eakens says:

    The Israelis seem to be laying the groundwork for a conflict beyond Gaza. Given what happened during the war with Lebanon, it is difficult to imagine the public and military psyche in Israel would be well oiled for another adventure.
    Unfortunately for the Palestinians, they will pay the price for the repairs.
    …also interesting is that a week ago the Israelis expelled the UN’s chief human rights official, Richard Falk.

  17. J says:

    Ran across this one on the net, and it fits the current Israeli agression to a ‘t’ —
    How would America and Americans react if we were under a foreign military occupation. Them saying it was the will of their god to do it would hardly find an accepting ear. Oh “god” told you to kill my children and demolish my house, oh well in that case it’s oK…. Not going to happen.

  18. Peter says:

    If a ground assault really occurs, I’m quite certain that it will result in a sea of Gazan blood, much worse than the already barbaric blockade and air assault. The Gazans, poor souls, are in an infinitely weaker situation than the Lebanese.

  19. doug says:

    I don’t think this is about Gaza, but rather Iran which is seen as an existential threat in Israel. Peres also said Israel would not attack Iran. That only leaves one candidate for the job. Gaza is one lever. How it is intended to be applied, an interesting area of speculation.

  20. Arun says:

    Off-topic – there is a rumor (see orbat.com) that India is preparing to offer to the US a 120,000 troops deployment to Afghanistan. I think such a deployment of necessity requires Iranian cooperation.
    What does this do to the South Asian situation?

  21. J says:

    Israel’s ‘collective punishment’ of the Palestinians needs to be stopped, and their IDF military command staff and civilian leadership tried under the same standards that we tried the German Nazi Third Reich for their war crimes.
    We as a nation cannot allow a double standard to exist, and remain credible that is.
    Israel’s actions are one of a thug, not a professional military.

  22. Cold War Zoomie says:

    I’m absolutely stumped. Most topics that Col Lang brings up here will ignite even a faint spark of ideas in the old noggin. But our relationship with Israel and the consequences of that relationship are beyond my understanding. What do we gain?
    The need for Realpolitik during the Cold War at least makes sense to me regardless of my views. What benefit is there for us to continue supporting Israel now, especially during our own financial meltdown?
    It is completely over my head.
    (I’ve tried to understand. I really have.)

  23. SubKommander Dred says:

    “an opportunity to prove that the IDF hasn’t lost its wog bashing mojo.”
    A more descriptive phrase of what’s going on in Gaza I have yet to see…

  24. TJ Scully says:

    Cui Bono, Col, Lang…. Cui Bono…
    Report: 19 Israeli families control one-third of the economy …The total income of the nineteen richest families in Israel was NIS 248 … 61 percent of the income of these 19 families – up from 54 percent in 2005 …
    Obama Tries to Smooth Jewish-Black Relations and Quell Incorrect Stories About His Faith
    ….”Obama replied that Brzezinski is an informal, not a key, adviser, and “I do not share his views with respect to Israel. He said he has other foreign policy advisers….who share his belief that Israel has to remain a Jewish state with special ties to the U.S. and that the Palestinians have been irresponsible. And he said critics’ e-mails never mention Lester Crown, a member of his national finance committee who is “considered about as hawkish and tough when it comes to Israel as anybody in the country.””
    Boeing and General Dynamics report strong quarterly profit …Apr 23, 2008 … General Dynamics, the largest producer of armored vehicles for the … “Both results from Boeing and General Dynamics look very good,” said …
    William J. Haynes II sworn in as General Counsel.
    M2 Presswire – AccessMyLibrary.com – Jun 5, 2001
    William J. Haynes II was sworn in as the general counsel of the Department … associate general counsel, General Dynamics Corp. from 1996-1999 and general …”
    Global Security Institute/.
    PR Newswire – AccessMyLibrary.com – Sep 26, 2000
    … read “Lester Crown, Chairman of the Board’s Executive Committee, General Dynamics Corporation,” rather than “Lester Crown, Chairman, General Dynamics …
    William J. Haynes II. General Counsel Department of Defense … Mr. Haynes twice was a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of Jenner & Block … as staff vice president and associate general counsel of General Dynamics Corporation, …
    http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/12/22/BUGC14SMVV.DTLTuesday, December 23, 2008
    “Report rips ex-Defense counsel, now at Chevron
    Andrew S. Ross
    ……The Journal’s editorial and the GOP letter came a day after a New York Times editorial, which said the Senate report provides “a strong case for bringing criminal charges against … Rumsfeld; his legal counsel, William J. Haynes; and potentially other top officials.” The editorial doubted that such a step would be taken, but hoped the incoming Obama administration would “appoint an independent panel to look into these and other egregious violations of the law.”…”
    And We are All Mortal: New Evidence and Analysis in the John F. Kennedy …‎ – Page 388
    by George Michael Evica – 1978 – 465 pages
    “The Jenner-Henry Crown connection alone should have suggested conflict of
    interests to those responsible for selecting the Warren , Commission’s counsel,..”

    (END CAPS)
    Possibility of a Johnson Role in TFX Contract Raised by Senator at… – New York Times – Nov 20, 1963
    The fact that the winning contractor plans to do most of the production of … and inconsequential examples” of hia work for General Dynamics over two and …
    Deputy Says TFX Choice ‘ Right One ‘ WASHINGTON (#> ) —…
    Daily Collegian (1940 – 1987) – Penn State University – Nov 19, 1963
    … I – ed Read Findings Gilpatric said he read a – page summary of findings by Navy and Air Force experts on the competing bids over the weekend of Nov. …
    GILPATRIC’S ROLE IN TFX QUESTIONED; McClellan Raises an Issue of… – New York Times – Nov 19, 1963
    … from the initial order of 23 planes may rise to $8 billion or $9 billion. … denied that he had intended to equate his work for the two companies. …
    Long Before the TFX contract was awarded to General Dynamics, the lobbyists and contractors has begun pulling and tugging on every
    possible political string to land this biggest military contract with the Kennedy administration — $5,600,000,000.
    General Dynamic’s board chairman, Henry Crown, slipped around Washington buttonholing Politicians he knew. One was Lyndon Johnson.
    Crown, who contributed money to Eisenhower and Nixon in 1952 and 1956 when they were certain to win, hedged his political bets in
    1960 by putting money on both sides. He also took pains to put $1,000 behind LBJ’s campaign for the democratic nomination. The
    vice president had friends at General Dynamics’ Ft. Worth plant and was anxious to have the contract go to Texas.”
    TFX Inquiry Seems Ended as McClellan Delays Hearings indefinitely;..
    New York Times – Dec 15, 1963
    Senator John L. McClellan has indefinitely postponed hearings on the TFX airplane contract. The Arkansas Democrat, who is chairman of the Senate Permanent …
    The Colonel’s Second Battle
    Nov. 02, 1970
    Few episodes in his half-century as an industrialist and financier have made Chicago’s Henry Crown prouder than the work he did a decade ago at General Dynamics Corp. As executive committee chairman he helped manage the company’s recovery from a $435 million loss on its Convair jetliners; it was the largest financial setback on a single product line ever sustained by a U.S. corporation.
    Pay-Per-View – Chicago Tribune – ProQuest Archiver – Aug 11, 1969
    John J. Crown, vice president of Henry Crown & Co. and a partner in the law firm of Jenner & Block, was elected a director of the…
    John J. Crown, judge, philanthropist
    – Chicago Sun-Times – NewsBank – Mar 6, 1997
    John J. Crown, 67, a former Cook County Circuit Court judge and youngest son of … In 1959, he joined the law firm of Jenner & Block. …
    How Kennedy Assassination Affected Some Stock Prices
    “Nov. 18, 1996
    ….But the facts speak tellingly about how accidents of history can affect great fortunes.
    A postscript for assassination buffs: No individual stood to lose more from the TFX scandal than Chicago investor Henry Crown, who owned 20 percent of General Dynamics. His personal attorney, Albert Jenner, became a senior staff attorney on the Warren Commission, in charge of investigating the possibility of a conspiracy….. “

  25. Patrick Lang says:

    Just to be clear:
    -The Palestinians are idiots for provoking the Israelis and providing what the Israelis see as justification for their murderous attacks on the Gaza Strip. Why are they idiots? It is because their attacks are mere expressions of anger. This is a childish reaction akin to the stupidity of Americans after 9/11 in wanting to lash out at anyone and everyone in the Islamic world. Now, if the rocket attacks are intended to lure the Israelis into a ground action in Gaza which Hamas is prepared to deal with, that would provide a real rationale for the rocket attacks. Somehow I doubt that this is the case.
    – A desire for revenge is an emotion, not an action. It is undersandable that one might have the emotion. It is not justifiable to act on that emotion as both groups are addicted to doing.
    Don’t waste your time writing to threaten me with charges of “racism.” I could care less. “A pox on all your houses.” I have no dog in this fight. pl

  26. zanzibar says:

    Faisal: Why are you determined to invade Iraq?
    Cheney: “Because its do-able”.
    The same logic applies to attacks on the Palestinians by Israel. Unfortunately for the Palestinian people they are too weak and are considered “expendable” by the West and the Arab regimes in power. They have no leverage. Its a testament to their will that no matter the “beatings” they have yet to be completely enslaved. So as Pat has observed here every time they act out emotionally to their oppressive environment they get badly bloodied by Israel. There is likely no end to this cycle unless Israel carries out the “final solution” which is near impossible or in the very long term when demographics asserts its own rule of the jungle.
    One can only feel for the innocents caught in this senseless violence.

  27. Ormolov says:

    No, not racism, but a rebuttal to your assertion that “the Palestinians are idiots for provoking the Israelis…”
    What the hell are the Palestinians supposed to do? Let’s say Abbas ruled all Palestinians and worked closely with the Israeli leadership to find a peace. There would still be a giant elephant in the room called THE SETTLERS. This all begins and ends with the crackpot religious claim to all the land. The Israelis have proved themselves incapable of dealing with their right-wing nationalists.
    We no longer need Israel to be our military outpost in the Middle East. We don’t need the damn oil. Pull out our “national interests” and we’ll see if the Israelis will treat their settlers differently. Anything short of that is a waste of time and of lives.
    On Ha’aretz the commentary is depressingly similar to the tough talk running up to Lebanon ’06. Warmongers never learn.
    It’s the settlers. THE SETTLERS!!!

  28. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    Larry J at No Q is distinguishing the tactics of the USM from IDF. Thank goodness. The more the distinction is drawn, the better for the US, in my opinion.
    And CWZ sums it up best, imo. I just don’t see how our alliance with the GOI-IDF gives any benefits to the US. Seems our pre-1967 approach , which was predicated upon the Tripartite declaration of 1950, better serves the American people.
    And in an attempt to take a look at this most recent Gaza incursion from a different angle, the more the IDF engages in such blitzkriegs, the more the IDF appears to prove the wisdom of Satmar Grand Rebbe Teitelbaum.
    Rabbi Teitelbaum all but predicted this horror and how it could adversely affect the US. Among other things, Rabbi Teitelbaum disapproved strongly of dual loyalty. America was his home. And he and others of similar view were convinced that Zionism, particularly that of Likud, would destroy the spiritual beauty of Judaism. Furthermore, if militant Zionism became associated with the Jewish people, then we would see a rise of anti-Semitism.
    Ergo, if militant Zionism is associated with America — which is the primary goal of AIPAC — then we will see a rise of anti-Americanism. Events of the past few years have proven him correct.
    With that in mind, if US national security is the paramount concern, then it seems to me that odds are increasing that US foreign policy analysis should rest upon the assumptions that arise out of his worldview. At a bare minimum, it would offer a different analytical framework upon which policymakers could consider. And based on the events of the past few years, arguably such analysis would offer much greater accuracy than that which relies on the assumptions of AIPAC. Therefore, such a shift in analytical assumptions better serves the US people and our national interests.
    Is there even one analyst working for the USG that relies on assumptions arising out of the Satmar view on the Middle East? Doesn’t look that way to me but who knows…

  29. Cieran says:

    I agree with Doug. Given the insanely disproportionate response, this looks to me like an attempt to draw other mideast players into the hostilities, perhaps ultimately to rationalize an Israeli strike on Iran before the end of the Bush administration.
    One way to cease these hostilities would be for the U.S. to start enforcing its own laws.
    Since Israel is arguably in violation of federal statutes such as the Symington Amendment, all U.S. aid to Israel (including the weapons being used to inflict collective punishment on the citizens of Gaza) should be immediately stopped until such aid can be demonstrated as legal under current U.S. law.
    Such an action would put the brakes on subsequent Israeli belligerence. And since our president-elect is a legal scholar, he ought to be able to figure this one out.
    Anyone care to lay odds on whether he will?

  30. b says:

    “Why are they idiots? It is because their attacks are mere expressions of anger.”
    Not anger, despair.

  31. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    As you and CWZ have implied as have the wide range of comments this is clearly a topic that doesn’t lend itself easily to rational understanding. The parties are plainly trapped in unique irrational world views driven by emotion that have no room for compromise. At an individual level our conscience is shocked when a 45 y/o engineer slaughters nine people, burns their house down and kills himself in the aftermath. As a society we don’t address the irrational emotional conflicts inherent in that problem very well either. We continue to assume that the inability to be rational particularly when it’s associated with destructive outcomes is one of those unfortunate consequences of being human.
    I hate to state the obvious, but we aren’t going to get very far in modifying any of these behaviors unless we can change the outlook of the protagonists so that the possibility of compromise becomes a viable part of their solution.
    A tentative thought: I wonder what contribution an HTS team might make to laying the groundwork for understanding how best to get everyone to reframe their thinking so that a solution becomes possible?

  32. Patrick Lang says:

    Until the US is willing to act creatively by brokering a Syrian/Israeli peace and a general agreement with Iran, there will be no possibility of changing the essential hopelessness of the Palestinian situation.
    I agree with b that the irrationality of Palestinian action in these rocket attacks is as much a product of despair as anything else.
    It isn’t the “settlers” who control US policy in this matter. It is the galaxy of US Jewish organizations and wealthy political donors. We will see if those who backed Obama are looking for real peace. pl

  33. Duncan Kinder says:

    Given its financial dependence upon Arab sovereign wealth funds, the United States no longer has the discretion it once had to support Israel.
    The largest such fund is Abu Dhabi’s, with an estimated $700 billion $1 trillion in assets.
    Even if Arab governments were to remain willing to continue financing the U.S., ( thereby indirectly supporting Israel ) they themselves would be vulnerable to terrorist attacks upon their financial infrastructure.
    This vulnerability is so striking that we may predict such attacks regardless of how the current Hamas / Israel dispute may pan out.

  34. COL,
    Not unlike our “pre-occupation” with Saddam Hussein and Iraq, this latest round of IDF “wog bashing” seems to be intimately rooted in the Israeli domestic political struggle. Sadly, these days that struggle appears mainly between the crazy and crazier with no sight of compromisers or the compassionate.
    Perhaps as they have walled their enemies out, the Israelis now find themselves walled in – both mentally and spiritually?
    In any case, only a few weeks ago there was some serious rioting and threats to Livni’s re-election chances over a very small but quite vocal and violent settlement in the West Bank (Nablus?). To shore up her shaky chances against Bibi, Tzipi is now compelled (as Ehud was in Summer 06) to show he “cahones”. That said, like Ehud, she better win. Too bad for her, unless she’s ready to engage in a complete “cleansing” of Gaza, there is nothing that will approach a “win” for her (or Israel) in the end.
    I am still considering that opportunists among the militant Israeli foreign policy community see this Hanukkah gift as a temptation that Nasrallah, Asad or Khatemi can not ignore. All three have made serious bones — internally and externally — about helping out their Palestinian brothers. I sincerely doubt any of the three will be goaded to action, even in the face of these despicable war crimes.
    Bin Laden and the radicalized taqfiri gangs? An entirely different matter. This latest round of “wog bashing” might be enough to rouse even Al Qaeda into renewed action — or at least some of those despairing, disconnected and angry muslim youths in Europe’s ghettos.
    Most interesting of all is how Mubarak will handle this. Although there is not great love by the common Egyptian for the common Palestinian, the lesson Israel is administering on Egypt’s border is well and truly heard in the slums of Cairo, Alexandria and the Delta. And Mubarak’s weakness and lack of support to the Gazans (despite their Hamas-leanings) will feed the hidden fire burning in the Pharoah’s land. True, Egypt is not in a very good position when it comes to Gaza, but, when Egyptians complain that no one in the Arab World respects them anymore, one merely has to point at their shooting of refugees at the Philidelphi Corridor to explain why this is so.
    As for our new government, it would surely be nice to see some invocation of Symington or even the threat of sanctioning the one-way stream of billions of taxpayer each year to Israel. Like others, I’m doubtful such action (or even stern words) is in the offing. Then again, just shutting up would be an improvement over the current D.C. crew who still persist – after hundreds of non-combatant casualties – to blame the “rocketeers” for all of Gaza’s problems. If I happen to recall correctly, it was this same crew of “smarties” who advocated for elections in the newly “de-settlerized” Gaza back in 2005 — and were surprised when the most popular and least corrupted group (Hamas) won the balloting!!!!

  35. patrick says:

    I just read a news bulletin that stated the price of a barrel of oil is now above $40.00 due to the war in Gaza.
    Why? I understand the reasons the price of oil rises when Israel and Iran are threatening one another (Iran produces oil, possible shut-down of the Straits of Hormuz, etc …).
    Israel and Palestine do not have oil and the adjacent countries produce little oil (Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon). Why the increase? Thanks.

  36. Kevin Brideau says:

    I see a different motivation for the rocket attacks: they are the only leverage Hamas has over Israel, and they intended to use the cessation of attacks as a bargaining chip to end the siege of Gaza.
    The terms of the ceasefire that was called for Hamas to end the rocket attacks in exchange for a lifting of the economic blockade of Gaza and the end of targeted assassination of Hamas officials. Hamas did indeed cease the firing of rockets into Israel, but in return there was no lifting of the blockade by the Israelis. They were perfectly willing to leave the siege in place despite the control of Hamas over the rocket fire. It is this blockade that is the unbearable thing for the Gazans, and Hamas will not return to a ceasefire that leaves it in place.
    In the wake of the ceasefire expiration, the renewal of rocket attacks is their resistance against the economic blockade, resistance that will only end in return for a reciprocal agreement that sees the end of the siege of Gaza. These latest attacks increased the cost of wielding that card, but that card still remains and it’s their only one. I don’t mention Shalit as another point of leverage for he is a one time use only card, whereas the rockets are an ever expanding capability the threat of which Hamas can use to keep the Israelis in check.

  37. Larry Kart says:

    Colonel —
    A genuine question or questions from someone who doesn’t know enough to answer them:
    Does not Hamas have fairly close control of Gaza these days, such that rocket attacks cannot be launched from there without Hamas’ approval? And are the leaders of Hamas themselves primarily moved by anger, despair, and a desire for revenge? If not, isn’t it likely that their goal is to provoke a repeat of Israel’s move into Lebanon, with themselves in the role of Hezbollah?
    I could be quite wrong, but in line to some degree with Kevin Brideau above, I see the leaders of Hamas as the most “rational” actors in this whole ghastly drama — though by rational I don’t mean that they’re wise or accurate in their thinking, just not driven by irrational emotions. If so, that’s in part because they have more room to engage in such calculations than the political players in Israel do. The leaders of Hamas aren’t facing elections.

  38. kao_hsien_chih says:

    I don’t think the Palestinians are “idiots,” per se, but I do think they are (and perhaps by extension, the Israelis are also) a doomed people.
    It seems to me that, first and foremost, Israelis don’t want to bother with the Palestinians: they want them to stay quiet behind the walls, whether figuratively or literally, so that no one has to pay attention. I suspect that was the principal motivation behind their original “withdrawal” from Gaza in the first place. The problem with this is that it presupposes Palestinian cooperation–that they should stay quiet so that no one important has a reason to pay attention to them. They want to make deals with anybody who can keep the place quiet–such was the rationale, I suspect, behind backing Abbas. It, too, was the rationale behind the last attempt at Hudna with Hamas, I suspect. But, Hamas is still the enemy–and it cannot be allowed to claim credit and gain political capital, so it must not be allowed access to anything useful (certainly not military, and even civilian goods whose distribution Hamas can control)–thus the blockade.
    The problem with this, assuming my read on the Israeli strategy is anywhere near accurate, would be that Hamas is left with only “extreme” solutions. I don’t think the rockets are the main solution–they only set up the attack currently underway. Rather, they are counting on popular support in other countries–both in ME and elsewhere, knowing that Israel will pound hard, especially with Livni, Barak, et al waiting for an election. How much political capital they can gain through this, especially given the damage they would doubtlessly suffer is dubious–especially since, from what I’ve seen, Hamas’ PR operation, at least outside the ME, seems rather incompetent (but this is based on a rather cursory observation.) I don’t know if they could have had chance to develop anything like what Hizbullah had, given their relatively isolated state. So, they are, I think, gambling, essentially, on international pity and anger–i.e. a rather desperate ploy.
    But is Israel made any better off by bombing? With millions in the neighboring countries watching the bombings on their TV’s, Israel’s prospects for any long term peaceful settlement are disappearing by minutes–not that there was much to begin with. I wonder if it can last even a full century in a situation like that.

  39. fnord says:

    Sir: Are there any contigency plans for US occupation of Gaza? It could function, if you went in with swimmingpools and cash and Gaza on the beach… “We come to relieve you from this nightmare, we have cokacola.”…
    Petreaus saying about “money equals Ammunition” is very true in the new cyber-hell battlespace.

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