LibLink: David Ward writes about a non-violent path to peace and security

David WardDavid Ward has been a little, shall we say, controversial in his statements about the conflict in Gaza. Today he has written about his petition calling for and advocating a non-violent solution.

On his website he writes:

I unreservedly condemn the use of military action by both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. But how do we arrive at peace in a non-violent way?

He continues:

I whole-heartedly welcome Nick Clegg’s recent call for Israel to begin immediate and genuine negotiations with Hamas. Would this be rewarding terrorists? Of course not. We all know of many examples of terrorists becoming former terrorists after they were engaged within negotiations.

Whilst I welcome Nick’s call for negotiations with Hamas I believe it misses one vital ingredient. What if they don’t? Unless there is a change in the international community’s continued acceptance of Israel’s behaviour, where is the imperative for Israel to change?

At the time of writing this 70,000 people have added their name to my e-petition calling on our own Government to consider the use of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel if it fails to comply with those things that could lead to a lasting peace. This would include complying with UN Resolutions, ending illegal settlement expansion, ending child detention, lifting the blockade on Gaza – the list goes on and on. When will we learn that when it comes to Israel – words are not enough?

 

 

* Mary Reid is a contributing editor on Lib Dem Voice. She was a councillor in Kingston upon Thames and is a member of Federal Conference Committee.

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38 Comments

  • David Evershed 5th Aug '14 - 5:47pm

    Hamas is deliberately targeting civilians – with random rocket attacks.

    Israel is not deliberately targeting civilians – if it was then it could have wiped out the Gaza population.

  • Jayne Mansfield 5th Aug '14 - 6:00pm

    @ David Evershed,
    The Israeli government must know that many civilians will be caught up in the bombing, including children. The question I and others are asking is , where is there a place of safety where civilians including children can go to escape the bombing?

    Two wrongs never make a right.

  • Tony Dawson 5th Aug '14 - 6:02pm

    @David Evershed:

    Hamas is deliberately targeting civilians ”

    It seems Hamas cannot target anything. And until this latest Israeli invasion, the rocket attacks were largely not from Hamas.

    “Israel is not deliberately targeting civilians”

    Israel IS deliberately targeting civilians. It is targeting all those civilians in areas where it is blasting anything and everything which may or may not be connected with trying to kill specific people who may or may not be ‘terrorists’. See a single Greenfly in the middle of a bed of flowers and then drop a lump of concrete on the flowers. You may kill the greenfly. But you are targeting the whole bunch of flowers.

    How much ‘collateral damage’ are you prepared to accept on behalf of the corrupt occupiers and invaders? It seems like the deputy speaker of the Knesset wants all Gazans either dead, detained or deported.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2715466/Israeli-official-calls-concentration-camps-Gaza-conquest-entire-Gaza-Strip-annihilation-fighting-forces-supporters.html

  • stuart moran 5th Aug '14 - 6:13pm

    David Evershed

    Personally I find your opinion on this distasteful – whatever Israeli intentions and there are some unpleasant one going round if you look in the Israeli media, they still killed civilians and it seems that this was acceptable collateral damage

    I ask myself what ever happened to ‘right to protect’ which seems popular to invoke whenever we want to get involved but is not even discussed when our allies are involved

    Would it be acceptable to bomb a building where terrorists have hostages…accepting the death of the hostages as acceptable?

    By the way, we are not discussing Hamas here. Both sides are, in my view, guilty of criminal acts.

    Neither side will be brought to task though

    Hamas’s leaders will be assassinated – usually on the street with an Apache helicopter
    Israeli leaders are protected

  • A Social Liberal 6th Aug '14 - 12:31am

    Tony
    Your post is less than truthful. Grads canbe aimed to land within a certain area – say, a grid square? This mean s that Hamas CAN target civilian areas – any large settlement which is of a certain size

  • David Ward’s suggestion is very welcome. It has been the Party’s policy since the 2008 invasion of Gaza, as Nick Clegg pointed out yesterday, that the EU Association Agreement should be suspended until the Gaza Blockade has been lifted. So far all the EU has done is forbid Israel from labelling goods from (illegal) settlements as produce of Israel, although Lib Dems in the European Parliament pressed for much stronger action.

    LDFP policy for sometime has been in favour of wider economic sanctions – hesitating only about boycott of universities. The latter is difficult – some of the strongest opposition to the racist policies of the present government of Israel is to be found in universities. Yet at the same time we don’t want to see European scientists cooperating on arms research for instance. As public opinion everywhere else in the world moves against the Netanyahu government, Israeli public opinion seems to be holding firm on his side. Israelis need to understand that if they continue to support the oppression of the Palestinians including the Gaza blockade and illegal occupations of the West Bank and East Jerusalem it is going to have serious economic consequences. This is what changed the mind of the Apartheid warriors of South Africa; it seems now to be necessary to change minds in Israel.

    John Kelly is Vice Chair of the Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine http://www.ldfp.eu

  • Miranda Pinch 6th Aug '14 - 8:51am

    We are still continually hearing the mantra that Hamas targets civilians while Israel just kills them as collateral damage. Israel says that houses where Hamas operatives live are suitable targets, as are any places where weapons are stored, or anywhere close to where weapons are fired. In an area the size of Gaza, that, in real terms, means anywhere at all. Most Israeli homes contain a member of the Israeli army and many keep weapons on the premisses. I have even seen off-duty Israeli soldiers carrying their weapons while site-seeing or socialising. I too am against all violence and certainly against targeting civilians, whoever they are, but as always there are huge double standards here. Israel demolished whole apartment blocks in the West Bank as well as Gaza where a possible member of Hamas lives, even if he is not there at the time of the demolition. That is quite common. Forgetting about Gaza, Israel has been murdering and imprisoning Palestinians men, women and children without charge or trial for a long time. In this present debate about Gaza, we forget, possibly conveniently, how and why all this began. It originally began with the occupation and blockade of the Palestinian people by Israel and more recently by Israel accusing Hamas of a crime (the abduction of the 3 Israeli students) that they did not commit and embarking on a spree of demolitions, abductions and murders as collective punishment for that. I have to keep asking why it is OK for Israel to have security and peace at the expense of a whole other people who, it seems are not entitled to security, peace or the most basic human rights?

  • Miranda Pinch 6th Aug '14 - 1:38pm

    Hi Matthew, I can explain easily why Israel and Palestine should not be treated equally now and possibly never. It is like equality legislation. If you treat everyone the same you are in fact not being equal because someone with a disability requires extra help. Israel is occupying Palestinian land, and where it is not in theory actual occupation, it is blockading to such an effect that the result is even worse as there is no freedom of movement, commerce, or even of agriculture (the best land is in the Israeli created no-man’s land) or fishing (as Israel does not allow fishing beyond 3 nautical miles). There is also plenty of evidence of Israel collectively punishing Palestinian civilians in both the West Bank and Gaza. It is also a FACT that Israel is allowed to have a state of the art equipped army and that even illegal Israeli settlers in the West Bank are allowed to be armed. Palestinians on the other hand are imprisoned, often without charge or trial, for so much as demonstrating or picking up a stone in self-defence. This is not about 2 equal sides. It is about a brutal occupier and an oppressed people. This mantra of security, peace and justice must apply equally to the Palestinians and until it does the treatment of the 2 people’s need to be different in order to give the Palestinians a chance of a decent life. Israel has labelled Hamas as terrorists and refused to negotiate with them. That has never been a way forward in any conflict. Israel’s actions actually create generation upon generation of Palestinian children who only recognise Israel as a Nation out to make their lives a total misery, where they are not actually murdered or imprisoned by it. It is about time that Israel stopped crying ‘wolf’ and ‘Victim’ and accepted some responsibility for any insecurity it may currently feel. Collective punishment and violence towards the Palestinians has not worked. How about trying something different?

  • Before the Battle of Caen, the Allies dropped leaflets asking the French to leave. The Germans subsequently asked French citizens to leave. What saved French citizens who stayed were the deep cellars . Gaza is only 30% urban. Why cannot HAMAS move citizens either to move at least 500m away from any rocket site, munition store or military building or fire and store rockets 500m away from civilians? If HAMAS have the resources to construct tunnels into Israel , they have them to build bomb shelters.

    During the battle of Caen , the Germans did not site military stores and sites next to schools, hospitals , etc. I suggest people look at Egyptian websites which do not support the Muslim Brotherhood, they are critical of HAMAS.

    The HAMAS Charter proses the extermination of Israel . Sadat was murdered by the MB( HAMAS is an off shoot) for signing a Peace Treaty with Israel and Egypt had the Sinai returned.

    On some videos one can hear explosions after an Israeli strike , indicating explosions of stored munitions.
    HAMAS are prepared to kill Palestinians they disagree with, after all they came to power by killing members of FATAH.
    Perhaps it is time people spoke to those living in GAZA as to whether they wish to continue to live under HAMAS’ rule?

  • Miranda Pinch 6th Aug '14 - 7:50pm

    Charlie, do you realise how small Gaza is? It is smaller than the Isle of Wight with 13 times the population. On top of that Israel had a no-go areas around the perimeter that covers some of the best farming land, not to mention the reduction in fishing to just 3 nautical miles. Fishermen and farmers were/are frequently shot at and sometimes killed for attempting to make a living. Israel also had/has drones continually hovering over Gaza and frequently assassinated members of Hamas without any concern about the collateral damage of civilians being in the way. Since Hamas has been in power (democratically elected and originally encouraged by Israel to destabilize Palestinian politics) Israel has refused to speak to them at all and instead collectively punished Palestinian civilians on a daily basis as well as the blockade. Many of the tunnels were not new, they were built to smuggle goods in as were the ones on the Egyptian border. If Hamas had placed rockets in the small areas of open space they would have been sitting ducks. It is on record that Jewish resistance fighters stored weapons in Synagogues and other places. It might be wrong, but it is rather hypocritical to blame Hamas for doing the same. Tell me why it is all right for those serving in the Israeli army to take their weapons home when off duty and to walk around the streets with them and why Israeli settlements in the West Bank actually have armouries and the settlers are allowed to carry weapons? Did you know that? Why is is OK for Israel to have security and a good standard of living on stolen land and the Palestinians are not allowed security and any standard of living on their own land? Your point would be valid if Palestinians were trying to take land that did not belong to them instead of resisting a terrible injustice that has been done to them. Once Palestine has an autonomous state with all that implies, then you have the right to criticise them, but until then, it is the Nation that is occupying their land with a sophisticated modern army funded by the USA and the UK among others that should be criticised. And by the way, Hamas has accepted the 2 State solution on the 67 borders several times, offered a 10 year truce and changed its manifesto. There are plenty of Israeli politicians now and in the past whose racism towards all Arabs makes anything that Hamas has said in the past quite time. The time has come that Hamas is brought to the negotiating table and that the Palestinians are treated as human beings with the same rights as Israelis expect.

  • Miranda Pinch
    If HAMAS wanted to reduce civilian casualties they could do the following
    1. Assess damage to buildings from explosions of up to 1000kg of explosive and ensure all munitions are stored at suitable distance. Detonators and explosive can become unstable and mistakes in handling occurs: consequently they should not be stored near habitation.
    2. Use tunneling skills to build bomb shelters
    3. Move civilians away from firing sites.
    If one looks at Google , there are sites in Gaza which are more than 200m away from habitation as the area is only 30% urban. These actions may increase risks to HAMAS fighters but they would considerably reduce risk to civilians.
    What you are implying is that HAMAS are prepared to use civilians to protect their rockets.

    HAMAS came to power by using violence to overthrow FATAH. HAMAS supports the MB who are intensely disliked by many Egyptians and Jordanians and therefore reduces support from these countries for Palestinians .

  • Miranda Pinch 7th Aug '14 - 4:08pm

    Charlie. Hamas did not come to power through violence. they came to power through proper democratic process and were legally elected. The violence followed an attempted coup.
    Hamas is actually an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood and their rise to power was supported by both Israel and the USA in order to destabilize Palestinian politics at that time.
    It is true that the present regime in Egypt is very much opposed to the MB and therefore no friends with Hamas, but on their present performance they are hardly much of an improvement. Their dislike of the MB says very little in the circumstances, but the effect of increasing the blockade on them is rather key to their need for alternative means of smuggling goods into Gaza.
    Many of the tunnels were built to smuggle much needed supplies and have existed for a long time. Hamas has not been at fault in breaking the many cease-fires. There is a great deal of evidence to show that Israeli assassinations and incursions occurred prior to the launching of rockets every time including this occasion.
    What you seem to be suggesting is that Israel be allowed to continue its blockade of Gaza untroubled by those suffering conditions similar to a giant concentration camp? You are suggesting that despite the constant Israeli drones overhead, assassinating Hamas members at will, Hamas should be able to organise a proper defence system and sophisticated response to fire from Israel? You are suggesting that although virtually every single household in Israel is the household of an active, inactive or reservists IDF fighter and that Israeli settlements in the West Bank actually have armouries, that Hamas should take a more moral line then Israel does, who consider households of Hamas fighters whether they’re active or not, as legitimate targets. .
    If Israel wanted to prevent civilian casualties, they would not fire on children on a beach, hospitals full of patients, UN buildings offering sanctuary etc. They would also destroy the tunnels from the Israel side, avoid destroying the infrastructure, agriculture and fishing boats and be prepared to negotiate directly with Hamas rather than shun them and attempt to destroy them at every turn.
    Hamas has actually agreed to the 2 State solution on the 67 borders several times as well as offering a 10 year truce. Israel has offered nothing except to stop bombing in return for the security of Israel. Sadly for many in Gaza, Israel has now driven their support of Hamas higher as it has deprived them of all other options other than a slow death ignored by the world.

  • Miranda Pinch 7th Aug '14 - 10:17pm

    Matthew. Hamas are no angels. They do things that I don’t like. But then the USA and even the UK do things I don’t like. And of course, for that matter Israel has some rather unpleasant habits. Not sure the relevance of what Hamas does to its own people? Do their crimes make Israel’s crimes OK? I did say that more people have been driven to support Hamas by Israel’s actions, though I do know that many support Hamas, or did, in the Hebron area, because many felt they were more trustworthy and not in Israel’s pocket, as they suspect Fatah of being. Is anyone without sin in this situation? The argument is about whose sins are greatest, not whether anyone is spotless sadly.

  • Richard Dean 7th Aug '14 - 10:41pm

    Surely the argument is not about whose sins are greatest, but about how to stop the sinning?

  • Miranda Pinch 8th Aug '14 - 2:45pm

    Richard. Totally agree. Do you know of any government/regime that does not sin at all even by selling arms, torturing people etc? I would really like to know. power sadly tends to corrupt. How do you stop the sinning?
    Matthew, what I am saying is that there is no excuse for any country, Nation or group of people to occupy, suppress, blockade , collectively punish etc, another. The fact that the people are being suppressed, occupied or blockaded may already be suffering to some extent, does not give anyone else the justification to make their suffering many times worse! Had Gaza been treated differently, the people there would not now be suffering as they are and there would be a non-violent unity government between Fatah and Hamas operating. In fact, that might possibly have happened long ago, if Israel and the USA had been prepared to speak to Hams rather then trying to destroy them.

  • A Social Liberal 8th Aug '14 - 7:30pm

    Miranda Pinch said
    ” . . . . if Israel and the USA had been prepared to speak to Hams rather than trying to destroy them”

    According to you Miranda, they did, as you stated ” . . . and their rise to power was supported by both Israel and the USA”.

    So Israel WAS, according to you, prepared to speak to Hamas. Hamas obviously did something wrong – carried on terrorising Israeli civilians perhaps?

  • A Social Liberal 8th Aug '14 - 7:43pm

    Miranda

    Given that you are willing to argue Hamas’ case, can you explain why in their charter Hamas says

    ” Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.”

  • Here’s one for all the Israeli apologists out there: I believe Hamas to be a terrorist organisation whose missile attacks on Israel are close to 99% ineffective due to the Iron Dome system. Now is there anyone out there able to defend and explain the Israeli shelling of UN shelters despite their co-ordinates having been given to them several times?

  • jedibeeftrix 8th Aug '14 - 9:27pm

    oh jimble, i just can’t resist!

    as a humble israel apologist i can only point out that in democracies people are responsible for their governments actions, for after all they have assented that another may act in their name, and thus that they will be bound by the result.

    so, understanding that israel does everything it feels is reasonable to target militants and avoid civilians, if civilians die in the the legitimate act of defending against militant attacks conducted from within the populace, then it is a tragedy.

    i think it is a tragedy, and i believe israel is foolish in being so callous of wider public opinion, but i support its right to proportionately defend it citizens; the first duty of the sovereign nation-state.

    i’m not interested in being liked, so i remain unfazed at being categorised as an israeli apologist.

  • Miranda Pinch 8th Aug '14 - 9:27pm

    Your first point, A Social Liberal. is easy to answer. Israel and the US helped and supported Hamas in order to destabilize Palestinian politics because at that time they did not like Fatah. However, having encouraged an election, they did not like the result. That is a common problem when the West dabbles like that. No inconsistencies in my account!
    Although I can’t answer your second question, I can point out that although Hamas has not actually recognised the State of Israel, it has accepted a 2-State solution on more than one occasion, offered a 10 year truce and recently altered its charter.
    I however, quote from an interesting article that answers a number of questions about their original charter very well:
    ‘Hamas is a political organization that won the most recent Palestinian elections in 2006 (new elections planned for 2014); called “completely honest and fair” by President Carter. Historically, Hamas was initially encouraged and supported by Israel in effort to divide Palestinian government from unified voice in having a two-state peace between Israel and Palestine. However, peaceful coexistence with Israel is what Hamas proposes (and here), including a 10-year truce……..’.so from the charter:
    “The Islamic Resistance Movement is a humanistic movement. It takes care of human rights and is guided by Islamic tolerance when dealing with the followers of other religions. It does not antagonize anyone of them except if it is antagonized by it or stands in its way to hamper its moves and waste its efforts.

    Under the wing of Islam, it is possible for the followers of the three religions – Islam, Christianity and Judaism – to coexist in peace and quiet with each other. Peace and quiet would not be possible except under the wing of Islam. Past and present history are the best witness to that.

    Islam confers upon everyone his legitimate rights. Islam prevents the incursion on other people’s rights. The Zionist Nazi activities against our people will not last for long. “For the state of injustice lasts but one day, while the state of justice lasts till Doomsday.”

    “As to those who have not borne arms against you on account of religion, nor turned you out of your dwellings, Allah forbiddeth you not to deal kindly with them, and to behave justly towards them; for Allah loveth those who act justly.” (The Tried – verse 8).

    The charter continues argument that peaceful coexistence is possible despite a history from the Crusades forward to remove Palestinian political voice through foreign military invasions.
    In 2012, Israel assassinated Palestinian Ahmed Jabari, the second-in-command of those leaders in Palestine with military intent, while they were negotiating with him to end hostilities. If that had happened to Israel’s second-in-command of the IDF, Israel would use that rhetoric forever to justify armed attack upon Gaza.

    Ok, so the threat to Israel is… ? The part of the 1988 Hamas Charter apparently referenced as a threat is a quote in the preamble from Hassan al-Banna in 1948:

    “Israel will rise and will remain erect until Islam eliminates it as it had eliminated its predecessors.”
    Let’s put the insertion of that quote into context; both from 1988 and 1948:
    The 1988 charter was written as the First Intifada began with Palestinians’ political stated goal of a peaceful two-state solution between Israel and Palestine.
    Hassan al-Banna, like Gandhi, was a leader against British colonial rule (his stated philosophy). He was a leader in the 1936-1939 attempt to remove British Empire in Palestine.
    al-Banna’s 1948 statement was directly related to the 1948 Palestinian exodus, whereby over 700,000 Palestinians fled their homes in fear of their lives or were forcefully expelled by Israel’s military. One-hour documentary here from Professor Ilan Pappe; 28-minute debate here.
    The Palestinians removal from their homes without compensation is a key unresolved point in current Israel-Palestinian conflict, and a primary cause of Gaza’s crowded conditions.
    al-Banna was shot and assassinated just a year after Gandhi was shot and assassinated. His last public statement emphasized terrorism is rejected in Islam.
    So, given the context that al-Banna was justified in opposing colonialism, spoke against the use of terror, made his quote in response to over 700,000 Palestinians removed from their homes when my own parents were in their early 20’s of age, and Hamas directly advocates for a peaceful two-state solution with honor to all religions, it seems most likely that this quote is being used as propaganda to demonize Hamas.’

    I hope these quotes help to put my previous comments into context.

  • jedibeeftrix 8th – oh jimble, i just can’t resist!

    At least you tried. How is firing on UN shelters populated by civilians displaced by Israeli warnings proportionate defence, or is the UN now a legitimate Israeli combatant and target?

  • Miranda Pinch 9th Aug '14 - 7:35am

    jedibeeftrix, putting aside our differences for a minute in relation to Israel and Palestine, we may have a democracy in the UK, but I was totally opposed to going into Iraq and we are reaping that action now. I do not believe in torture, yet we learn that the UK government has been complicit in such actions and I do not believe in selling arms to rogue states, yet we do that all the time. There are many Israelis who feel similar and worse feelings about their own government. Based on your logic, once a government is in power, there should be no opposition to anything!
    That also, of course, applies to Hamas, which is the legitimate and democratic government of Gaza. They are certainly not universally liked, but to label any terrorist government a terrorist organisation and then assassinate them at will, while refusing to speak to them, is indeed the actions of a Pariah State.

  • Miranda Pinch 9th Aug '14 - 7:40am

    Whoops. I changed the sentence half-way through. I will now be told that I believe Hamas is a ‘terrorist government’., which I don’t. No way to correct unfortunately. Comes of responding too fast. If you feel my arguments destroyed over such a mistake, then you you were closed to them anyway.

  • Miranda Pinch 9th Aug '14 - 10:03am

    I think the problem here is facts. The fact is that it is not Hamas that has repeatedly broken the ceasefires, unless of course, you think it OK, that having called Hamas a terrorist organisation, you consider it within reason to blockade the Gaza strip and assassinate Hamas members and their families (as collateral damage) at will rather than trying to negotiate with them, while Hamas trying to protest and defend itself is not?. Israel tried to destabilize Fatah by supporting Hamas. Unfortunately for Palestinians Hamas offered them rather more in social care and defence then Fatah did. Like Israelis they want security and a just peace, so their choice was logical. So now Israel is determined to pin accusations on Hamas such as the murder of the 3 Israeli students, which Israel knew well was not true, and then later the kidnapping of a soldier that Israel had already killed itself, and then conducted a regime of collective punishment terror on both Gaza and the West Bank, killing innocent Palestinian children in the process and demolishing family homes and apartment blocks as well as looting money and goods. This by the ‘most moral army in the world’. Had Israel been prepared to negotiate with Hamas we may not be in this situation now. Hamas has not been the one to break all the previous cease-fires, it was Israeli assassinations and incursions in each case.. Please at least get your facts right!

  • Miranda Pinch 9th Aug '14 - 11:02am

    Give some time – rather busy right now, and I will post some links for you.

  • Miranda Pinch 9th Aug '14 - 1:26pm

    This will be rather long, but is is a fact sheet I produced using many sources. I hope it helps and I can answer any questions based on it. Since recent developments it probably needs updating, but I hope it explains where I am coming from. Given time I could also give the source links, but that is rather a huge task. I am working on several documents at the moment so maybe in time…..:
    1) Most Palestinians in Gaza today are the children or grandchildren of Palestinian Arabs who were expelled from their homes in the Nakba (Catastrophe) in 1948.
    Gaza, 141 sq miles, with a population of 1.82 million (of which over 1.2 million are refugees from what is now Israel and Israeli controlled West Bank) = population density of 13, 069 per sq mile. The Isle Of Wight, 148 sq miles, with population of 140,000 = population density of 940 per sq mile. Israel, 8522 sq miles, with a population of 8.14m = population density of 1004 per sq mile
    2) The Gaza Strip isn’t occupied by Israel?
    Boston Globe: Before the July 2014 conflict, “Israeli-imposed buffer zones.. absorb nearly 14 % of Gaza’s total land and at least 48 percent of total arable land. The sea buffer zone covered 85 % of the maritime area promised to Palestinians in the Oslo Accords, reducing 20 nautical miles to 3. Israel has now increased the land buffer zone to 3km taking 44% of Gazan land, increasing the population density considerably.” Human Rights Watch: “Israel continues to control the population registry for residents of the Gaza Strip.” B’Tselem, 2013: “Israel continues to maintain exclusive control of Gaza’s airspace and the territorial waters, just as it has since …… 1967.”
    Israel PM, Sharon, saw advantages to withdrawing settlers from Gaza to:
    1. save money, since Israel was deploying a high number of soldiers to protect a relatively small number of settlers.
    2. (supposedly) rid Israel of responsibility for millions of Palestinians.
    3. to prevent the administration of George W. Bush from embracing the Saudi or Geneva plans, and push for a Palestinian state. Sharon’s chief of staff, Dov Weisglass: “The significance of the disengagement plan is the freezing of the peace process. And when you freeze that process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem…”
    Israel has not supported Palestinians willing to pursue statehood through nonviolence and mutual recognition, refused to seriously entertain the Arab and Geneva peace plans, refused to support a Palestinian unity government that could have given Abbas the democratic legitimacy, and a blockaded Gaza, destroying its economy and breeding hatred and despair .
    3) Hamas seized power in Gaza unlawfully?
    Hamas was democratically elected in 2006 and called for a national unity government with Fatah “for the purpose of ending the occupation and settlements and achieving a complete withdrawal from the lands occupied [by Israel] in 1967, including Jerusalem. Though they still refused to recognize Israel.
    To suggest that Hamas “seized power” ignores the fact that Hamas’ brutal takeover occurred in response to an attempted Fatah coup backed by the United States and Israel. In the words of David Wurmser, who resigned as Dick Cheney’s Middle East advisor a month after Hamas’ takeover, “what happened wasn’t so much a coup by Hamas but an attempted coup by Fatah that was pre-empted before it could happen.”
    4) Hamas destroyed Greenhouses and other structures left by Israel to help the Gazan economy?
    Jewish businessman James Wolfensohn, who served as the Quartet’s Special Envoy for Gaza Disengagement noted that “some damage was done to the greenhouses [as the result of post-disengagement looting] but they came through essentially intact” and were subsequently guarded by Palestinian Authority police. What really doomed the greenhouse initiative were Israeli restrictions on Gazan exports. “In early December [2005], “the much-awaited first harvest of quality cash crops—strawberries, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet peppers and flowers—began. These crops were intended for export via Israel for Europe. But their success relied upon the Karni crossing [between Gaza and Israel], which, beginning in mid-January 2006, was closed more than not. The Palestine Economic Development Corporation, which was managing the greenhouses taken over from the settlers, said that it was experiencing losses in excess of $120,000 per day… This lost harvest was the most recognizable sign of Gaza’s declining fortunes and the biggest personal disappointment during my mandate.”
    5) Hamas rule, not Israel’s blockade, is to blame for the humanitarian crisis in the Gaza Strip?
    US State Department cable: “Israeli officials have confirmed.. on multiple occasions that they intend to keep the Gazan economy on the brink of collapse without quite pushing it over the edge.” The Guardian: “The Israeli military made precise calculations of Gaza’s daily calorie needs to avoid malnutrition during a blockade imposed on the Palestinian territory between 2007 and mid-2010, according to files the defence ministry released under a court order. through the work of the Israeli advocacy group Gisha. Its members say Israel calculated the calorie needs for Gaza’s population so as to restrict the quantity of food it allowed in.”
    6) This current Gaza conflict began with Hamas rocket fire on 30 June 2014?
    Nathan Thrall, senior Mid East analyst at the International Crisis Group, writing in the New York Times: “The current escalation in Gaza is a direct result of the choice by Israel and the West to obstruct the implementation of the April 2014 Palestinian reconciliation agreement.” Henry Siegman, former national director, American Jewish Congress, writing for Politico: “Israel’s assault on Gaza.. was not triggered by Hamas’ rockets directed at Israel but by Israel’s determination to bring down the Palestinian unity government that was formed in early June, even though that government was committed to honouring all of the conditions imposed by the international community for recognition of its legitimacy.”
    Times of Israel: “Hamas operatives were behind … rockets which slammed into Israel …, the first time in years, according to Israeli defence officials.. The security sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity, assessed that Hamas had probably launched the barrage in revenge for an Israeli airstrike several hours earlier.. Hamas hasn’t fired rockets into Israel since Operation Pillar of Defence ended in November 2012.” The Nation: “During ten days of Operation Brother’s Keeper in the West Bank [before the start of the Gaza conflict], Israel arrested approximately 800 Palestinians without charge or trial, killed nine civilians and raided nearly 1,300 residential, commercial and public buildings. Its military operation targeted Hamas members released during the Gilad Shalit prisoner exchange in 2011.” All on the pretext of hunting for the 3 Israeli students when they already knew that the Hamas leadership were not responsible for the killings and that the boys were already dead.
    7) Hamas has never stopped firing rockets into Israel?
    Jewish Daily Forward: “Hamas hadn’t fired a single rocket since [2012 Gaza conflict], and had largely suppressed fire by smaller jihadi groups. Rocket firings, averaging 240 per month in 2007, dropped to five per month in 2013.” International Crisis Group: “Fewer rockets were fired from Gaza in 2013 than in any year since 2001, and nearly all those fired between the November 2012 ceasefire and the current crisis were launched by groups other than Hamas.”
    8) Israel wanted a ceasefire but Hamas didn’t?
    ” Jerusalem Post: “One day after an Egyptian-brokered cease-fire accepted by Israel, but rejected by Hamas, fell through, Hamas proposed a 10-year end to hostilities in return for its conditions being met by Israel on condition of the release of re-arrested Palestinian prisoners who were let go in the Schalit deal, the opening of Gaza-Israel border crossings in order to allow citizens and goods to pass through, and international supervision of the Gazan seaport in place of the current Israeli blockade.”
    9) Israel, unlike Hamas, doesn’t deliberately target civilians?
    The Guardian: “It was there that the second [Israeli] shell hit the beach, those firing apparently adjusting their fire to target the fleeing survivors. ” UN high commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay: “A number of incidents, along with the high number of civilian deaths, belies the [Israeli] claim that all necessary precautions are being taken to protect civilian lives.” and later, “There seems to be a strong possibility that international humanitarian law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes,”
    UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict, 2009: “The tactics used by the Israeli armed forces in the Gaza offensive are consistent with …. A concept known as the Dahiya doctrine, involving the application of disproportionate force and the causing of great damage and destruction to civilian property and infrastructure, and suffering to civilian populations….. a review of the facts on the ground that it.. appears to have been precisely what was put into practice.” Human Rights Watch: “Israeli forces may also have knowingly or recklessly attacked people who were clearly civilians, such as young boys, and civilian structures, including hospitals, schools and UN run buildings – laws-of-war violations that are indicative of war crimes.”Amnesty International: “Deliberately attacking a civilian home is a war crime, and the overwhelming scale of destruction of civilian homes, in some cases with entire families inside them, points to a distressing pattern of repeated violations of the laws of war.”
    10) Hamas use the civilians of Gaza as ‘human shields’?
    Jeremy Bowen, BBC Middle East editor: “I saw no evidence during my week in Gaza of Israel’s accusation that Hamas uses Palestinians as human shields.” The Guardian: “In the past week, (we have) seen large numbers of people fleeing different neighbourhoods.. and no evidence that Hamas had compelled them to stay.” The Independent: “Some Gazans have admitted that they were afraid of criticizing Hamas, but none have said they had been forced by the organisation to stay in places of danger…” Reuters, 2013: “A United Nations human rights body accused Israeli forces on Thursday of mistreating Palestinian children, including by torturing those in custody and using others as human shields.”
    11) The Israeli government, unlike Hamas, wants a two-state solution?
    Times of Israel: “[Netanyahu] made explicitly clear that he could never, ever, countenance a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank.. Amid the current conflict, he elaborated, ‘I think the Israeli people understand now what I always say: that there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.'”

  • Miranda Pinch 9th Aug '14 - 3:19pm

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G3P4lR2Ols

    Try watching this. I am sure nothing will change your views so I won’t put more work into it, but just listen to this Norwegian doctor.

  • Miranda Pinch 10th Aug '14 - 7:09am

    Maybe because one situation follows an other? Maybe, if the Palestinian people were free and autonomous, they would have a less divided government, which did not need to concentrate on survival and defence. What Israel has done has lead to more extremism and radicalisation. It certainly has not lead to peace and security for anyone.
    Everyone is conveniently forgetting that Fatah and Hamas recently joined forces to create a unity government. Before then Israel refused to engage with Hamas and also said it could not engage with a divided Palestine. When they got together, Israel said it could not engage with the Unity government because of Hamas. Basically Hamas has never been given the chance to govern with any sort of stability. When your members are being constantly attacked and assassinated it does not help towards moderation. The Unity government might have achieved that. Not only did Israel condemn it, but it then accused Hamas of the abduction of the Israeli students, knowing that it had not in fact been Hamas, and collectively punished, demolished, murdered, and looted Palestinians in the West Bank and assassinated Hamas officials in Gaza. That is what started this latest violence.

  • jedibeeftrix – Thank you, that really was nice of you. None of it changes my opinion as stated in the two primary posts above.

    Yeah – why let facts get in the way of blind belief.

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