September 27, 2003


It makes sense to Reuters:

Palestinians regard Jewish settlements in the West Bank and Gaza Strip as major obstacles to peace and have regularly attacked them.

Brilliant. David Kaspar has more on the evasions of the newsagencies.

(Via reader Yoseph Malkin.)

Posted by Tim Blair at September 27, 2003 07:15 PM

There is nothing so Righteous, Holy or Pure
Than to stand in the bar of a pub with no beer

Posted by: Salim Dusty at September 28, 2003 at 12:25 AM

True, the use of terminology as a means of perception management is an unethical tool. However, it is one wielded expertly and liberally by both sides.

'Both sides' is a key term, one that so many pundits of the ongoing middle-eastern shitfest just seem totally unable to assimilate.

They are, simply put, as bad as each other. Those atrocities that we abhor most personally are those that we can experience ourselves. They are, therefore, almost always the ones that transpire publically.

Up until recently, this meant that the greatest part of our discontent would be aimed squarely at the various Palestinian groups, for Israel generally had a better awareness of the need for discreet conduct.

Now however, IDF units seem to have been given the green light for less-than-surgical operations. Decades ago, I applauded the efforts made by the Mossad 'Kidon' teams to precisely eliminate the growing threats from the PFLP-GC and other affiliated groups, in the wake of Munich.

Now, the IDF hits buildings in crowded civilian districts with hellfire anti-tank missiles, fired from hovering Apache Gunships that may be as far as 2-3 miles away.

Do I feel appalled by the notion of executive action? Of course not. It is the way these things are done - and have always been done.
Traditionally, the side that either acts most discreetly and/or surgically, with an eye to the minimization of innocent collateral death is regarded as the most civilized, and its war aims therefore more open to outside sympathy.

I can understand the support that civilians tend to feel for one side or the other. It is what people do. They want to believe in the concept of good Vs evil, and do not like to contemplate the complexity that may be involved in a war that only involves two contesting sides, each as malignant as is the other.

Yes, Israel is (almost) democratic. It also regularly shells and bombs towns with a total disregard for the resultant, undeniable civilian casualities, many of whom don't care a fig for the goals of Hamas or Arafat. They have facilities, set deep in the hills of the Golan Heights, where human NBC testing has been conducted for more than a decade. Their roadblocks deliberately attempt to impede the progress of Arabic-Service Ambulances, and not always for reasons of security. Factions within the IDF, the Mossad & Shin Bet have made it painfully clear that the idea of a territorially contigous Palestine is not only unacceptable, but bad for business. When the IDF occupies a region, then leaves, what the cameras do not show are the school interior buildings smeared with faeces and Anti-Arabic slogans. Even the environment suffers in these brief periods. Crops are deliberately run over by Merkava tanks and olive trees are run down, irrespective of their poor-as-shit owners, who would on any earlier given day, rather have some produce to sell than a stone to hurl at Israeli soldiers.

I can also understand why some people would favor the Palestinian side. People love to root for the underdog, which no-one can deny the Palestinians are. They are however, devoid of any concept of just conduct in war. Whereas cruelty and inhuman treatment are phenomena occasionally found in the IDF, the notion of fair treatment for any captured Israeli would simply not occur to any member of any militia or terrorist organisation. This action deprives them of legitimacy, and makes them just as bad as the worst that the Israelis have to offer. They have seen the media might wielded by Zionist lobby groups in the west, and simply never bothered to attempt to fight a far more important war - the one for the hearts and minds of the west. Mandela knew the importance of this, Arafat and the leaders of Hamas it seems, do not. They are therefore dooming themselves by continually targeting civilian sites and personnel. They gain nothing materially from these strikes, even when successful, and only damage themselves politically. One day they will go too far, perhaps an emulation of 9/11, and the world will hand Mr Sharon or someone like him a blank cheque. This in view, it would seem that the admiration of such people, their methods and their cause, is the folly of desensitized disestablishmentarianist jerk-offs.

What then do I advise? I advise not to get too wrapped up in supporting either side. If, like me, you had the gross misfortune to become intimately acquainted with both sides, you'd only be disappointed in your imagined paladins.

In essence, don't love Caesar, because Caesar was a self-obsessed genocidal maniac. Don't love the opposing barbarians either though, because they want to put you to the sword, burn down your house, and steal your womenfolk.

Focus on your own patch of ground, your own people, and their ultimate interests. They are, after all, yours also.

Posted by: Mick at September 28, 2003 at 01:04 AM

I have an item on my site regarding a brave palestinian freedom-fighter who shot a 28 month old baby in the face in an Israeli settlement.
What a hero, and a credit to his religion.

Posted by: Habib at September 28, 2003 at 01:35 AM

Just because we support one side over the other, doesn't mean we have to consider the side we support "paladins." The Israelis may be no angels, but they are far removed from the total depravity of the Palestinians.

If the Palestinians laid down their arms, there would be no war.
If the Israelis laid down their arms, there would be no Israel.

Posted by: Tatterdemalian at September 28, 2003 at 01:45 AM

A more accurate description would be;

The paleosimians see the Jews who live in the settlements as the "major obstacles to peace".

Posted by: DeadED at September 28, 2003 at 02:14 AM

Apparently, Reuters has redefined the terms "settlement", "West Bank", and "Gaza" encompass all of Israel.

DeadED, your statement becomes more accurate by removing the phrase "in the settlements".

Posted by: Ken Summers at September 28, 2003 at 02:28 AM

Thank you, Tatterdemalian, for your succinct explanation of the Palestinian/Israeli war. You've bottom-lined reality. I'm going to use it when I find myself talking to folks who argue that if Israel would just dismantle one more settlement, or just release more prisoners, or just do one more thing Arafat wants, then the Palestinians would quit killing babies in pizza parlors.

Posted by: Polly at September 28, 2003 at 03:23 AM

Those awful World Trade Towers were major obstacles to peace so the Palestinians cheered when they were attacked, knocked down and thousands died.

Posted by: perfectsense at September 28, 2003 at 03:43 AM

With reference to "perfectsense" comment above;
It was reported that there were muslims in Lakemba and also on some Uni campuses who also danced for joy at the Sept 11 massacre.
But these of course would not be the "moderate muslims" we keep hearing about and are required to accept into our community!

Posted by: Lawrie at September 28, 2003 at 01:23 PM

Simple minds and their simple answers. A pity reality is not more accommodating to your subjective veiwpoints.

Posted by: Mick at September 28, 2003 at 05:17 PM

{{{Just because we support one side over the other, doesn't mean we have to consider the side we support 'paladins.' The Israelis may be no angels, but they are far removed from the total depravity of the Palestinians.}}}

So you are of the opinion that it is better to place your firm support behind what you subjectively judge to be the lesser of two evils? I can understand how one might credibly engage in such geopolitical time-wasting if one was only mildly interested in the conflict. It is, however, quite different, I think, to ardently argue for a side, when it is still freely acknowledged by said arguer, that their favored protagonist is only a few steps above being a pack of rockspiders.
Yes, Palestinians shoot children. But so do IDF soldiers. Israelis also herd them into camps, reduce their schools and homes to rubble, and occasionally bomb the shit out of them. You, carefully indocrinated as you are, only abhor the protagonist that goes out and shoots them, or blows them up in a suicide attack. I, however, see very little difference, in terms of explosive ordinace or degree-order detonations between the man that uses himself to deliver a warhead, or the man that fires one attached to a laser-guided delivery system. The end result is still the same, and a conscious act was being made by the individual(s) behind it. If you see a difference, then at least acknowledge that it is, at best, cosmetic.
I make no attempt to justify or support Palestinian actions, as was the central theme of my post.
I further allow that, on the whole, the Israelis have tended to conduct themselves in a more civilized manner.
The Israelis are though, by virtue of their deliberate continuance of inhumane, indisiminant methods, not worthy of my uncritical support. Uncritical support is what too many people unflinchingly offer Israel, and it is utterly incorrect. As it would have been, had our nation uncritically supported the Apartheid Regime in South Africa.

{{{If the Palestinians laid down their arms, there would be no war.}}}

And, quite possibly, no Palestine. It would be an issue that was, as it has always truly been, at the whim of the Israeli governing power in the Knesset. Subject to alteration or negation without any notice.
Please, do try to look at the situation with a more balanced, mature eye. If the Palestinians stopped all forms of offense against the Israelis, and "laid down their guns" as you put it, they would also loose what little leverage they have. Such has been the case of every single conflict in the history of humankind. Negotiation leads to compromise, surrender however, is just surrender. They won't do that, and sensible people know that the problem has to worked through with that acknowledged.

{{{If the Israelis laid down their arms, there would be no Israel.}}}

Most likely. A potential eventuality that I touched on in my earlier post. But the same could have been said of any territorially-based conflict at any time in the past.

Posted by: Mick at September 28, 2003 at 05:48 PM

Hi Mick. Your posts are the biggest heaps of SHITE i've had to digest in ages. EFF OFF!

Posted by: roscoe p coltrane at September 28, 2003 at 07:25 PM

The Jewish settlements are a totally different status of legitimacy from the state of Israel proper. The fact that killing settlers is not right doesn't alter the fact that they *are* a major obstacle to peace, that israelis would be better off if they did not have to sacrifice their conscripted children and their image and their dignity in order to deal with the repercussions of protecting the recalcitrant, and crazed Jewish fundamentalists who continue building these settlements. Sometimes I wish all the religious nuts would just piss off to another planet and kill each other all they want and leave the rest of alone.

Posted by: Jason Soon at September 29, 2003 at 01:03 AM

> the recalcitrant, and crazed Jewish
>fundamentalists who continue building these

Most people who live in the largest West Bank settlements like Ariel and Maale Adumim are suburbanites - some aren't even particularly nationalistic.

Posted by: Tal G. at September 29, 2003 at 07:05 AM


I have a mixed response to your post. I am glad to see that you are aware of Palestinian hatred and brutality, but your description of the Israeli side is totally unrealistic.

You make fairly bold assertions about Israeli actions and intentions, as if they were all evident truths.

* Since when have IDF troops been given the "green light for less than surgical operations" ? You couldn't be referring to the targetted assassinations of Hamas leaders last month. Just because Israel uses gunship helicopters to target its enemies, it does not mean that its indiscriminate. Last month, many Hamas leaders survived an Israeli strike because Israel was afraid of civilian casualties and thus armed their missiles with a much smaller payload than usual.

* How is it that you are certain about Israelis stopping Palestinian ambulances for reasons other than security ?

* I also wonder how you can claim that the Mossad and Shin Bet consider a Palestinian state "bad for business". To me this sounds like a rehash of the American conspiracy theories which suggest that the FBI/CIA was behind 9-11 because its "good for business".

* Also, how is it that you get the idea that there are Israeli atrocities that are not covered by the media ?

You claim that there is a Zionist media lobby giving only pro-Israeli media coverage. This is sheer nonsense - have a look at how the Western media report on issues:

* They refer to the territories that are disputed under international law as "occupied territories".

*They refer to terrorists as "militants" and they whitewash most Palestinian actions.

* Every week, there are sermons in Gaza mosques calling for the death of all Jews. The Palestinian media and education system incite their children with a fanatical bloodlust. The leadership is corrupt and the terrorist factions are genocidal. Very little of this is shown in the politically correct western media.

I think I agree more with the wider theme of your post, which suggest that people shouldn't be too wrapped up with either side in the conflict.

I might be appalled by Palestinian society, and I might be slightly sympathetic to the Israeli point of view. But this is because since 1990, Israeli leaders have tried EVERY approach with the Palestinians, even negotiating whilst suicide bombings continued, to no avail. Its time to place some responsibility on the Palestinian side in order to give peace a chance.

It might sound like I take the Israeli side, but in the end, I support an outcome where both Israelis and Palestinians have peace, security and prosperity.

I believe that if Israel believes in negotiating a peace deal, they should repeat what Ehud Barak did and offer as many concessions as possible to acheive this but only after a state of security has been reached.

But to acheive security, this can only come about through complete separation and well defined borders, so the security fence serves this purpose well.

Peace could also come about if the Palestinian culture changed entirely to accept Israel's existence and stopped employing violence as the primary means to getting a state, but I believe this will take at least 30 years.

After reading through various sides of the media for many years, I believe that the pro-Arab media is rampant with lies, propaganda and distortions that set out to make Israel look like Nazi Germany. Some of this, maybe only 10%, filters through to the Western media.

I recommend you read Thomas Friedman's book, "From Beirut to Jerusalem". He describes an incident where 30 photographers followed an IDF soldier at a checkpoint and the minute he shoved a Palestinian, the cameras clicked and the photo made the front page of the NY times.

Posted by: Jono at September 29, 2003 at 10:49 AM