The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict in a Nutshell

Saturday, May 3, AD 2014

A brilliant and concise explanation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict by Dennis Prager.  It is impossible to make peace when one side wants the other side dead, dead, dead. Until that changes, this conflict will never be resolved unless the Palestinians succeed in defeating Israel followed by a pogrom on an epic scale, or the Israelis expel all Palestinians.

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I Give Up, Here's a Links Round-up

Friday, June 18, AD 2010

“The Vatican” endorses the Blues Brothers.

North Korea embraces neoliberalism (baby steps).

Matt Yglesias is my kind of liberal.

The Onion channels Bertolt Brecht.

Israel further loosens border restrictions with Gaza.

A lot of people seems to think this is good news for Afghanistan. Have they never heard of the resource curse?

The menace of friendship. Paging Eve Tushnet.

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Israel to Loosen Gaza Blockaid

Wednesday, June 9, AD 2010

Palestinian official Raed Fattouh, who coordinates the flow of goods into Gaza with Israel, said soda, juice, jam, spices, shaving cream, potato chips, cookies and candy were now permitted. He said Israel rebuffed Palestinian requests for construction goods, raw materials for factories to operate and medical devices.

Israeli officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were discussing internal policymaking, said their goal in allowing more goods into Gaza was to defuse pressure for an international investigation of the sea raid.

More.  Since the blockaid is essential to Israel’s security and right to defend itself, one can only assume that the country will now cease to exist.

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0 Responses to Israel to Loosen Gaza Blockaid

  • Since the blockaid is essential to Israel’s security and right to defend itself, one can only assume that the country will now cease to exist.

    Heh.

  • Since the blockaid is essential to Israel’s security and right to defend itself, one can only assume that the country will now cease to exist.

    Ummm, but the blockade still is in place – they’ve only decided to loosen some of the restrictions – something you were whining about last week.

  • I also am not sure that many said the blockade was essential to Israel’s existence, only that it was a reasonable course of action to take in order for the country to protect itself.

  • I take the argument to be that given Israel’s decision to loosen the blockade either:

    a) The blockade was in fact, as claimed, more daconian than it needed to be in order to effect Israeli security or

    b) Israeli security is now going to be seriously compromised.

    It seems hard to claim b), so that leaves us with a).

  • I apologize in advance.

    Is Egypt also blockading Gaza?

    Since soda, juice, jam, spices, shaving cream, potato chips, cookies and candy could not be delivered from Egypt via two roads running into Rafah, running the blockaid(sic) was essential to Gaza’s survival and its right to launch rockets into Israel . . . that Gaza of the terrorists, by the terrorists, and for the terrorists shall not perish from the Earth.

  • Is Egypt also blockading Gaza?

    Not anymore.

  • Then none of this should be a problem any more.

  • It is of course as predictable as night follows day that Hamas will hail this as a great victory and intensify their war against Israel. Israel will then respond by toughening the blockade once again. That is assuming the story is not complete hooey. As for Egypt, I will hold to my prediction that their land border will be sealed with Gaza again by the end of the month.

  • The loosening of the blockade means that the land based crossings into Gaza will be operating more hours per day than before.

    Those crossings are regularly attacked by Hamas. So IDF soldiers will be risking their lives, for more hours, to ensure the long suffering citizens of Gaza can have raspberry jam and coriander.

    The blockade itself,however, is still in place. And Israel has every right to keep it in place.

  • In the mean time, perhaps the commenters here can tell us how they feel about the Reverend Archbishop Capucci, who was on the boat? This is a man who committed repeated acts of perfidy in smuggling arms to the PLO, and since those arms were used to murder civilians, he is an accomplice to multiple murders.

    This, His Eminence openly acknowledges, and has never repented.

    And yet, he deems himself in a state of grace, takes communion, and has never suffered any action against him by the Holy See.

    Pardon us Tribals if we continue to view Rome with suspicion on account of this.

  • Someone, please, correct all uses of “blockaid” to “blockade.”

  • Given some of the items on the list, I’m not certain correction is needed.

    Not that I would be completely against a blockade of items reasonably calculated to assist in terrorist acts, but potato chips and shaving cream? (although shaving cream is a bit puzzling, I thought Muslims didn’t shave?)

  • Every additional truck going into Gaza is another few minutes of an IDF border crossing guard putting himself in the line of fire. Ask yourself, C. Matt, would you put yourself at risk of Hamas sniper fire just so your enemy can have a clean shave? Those goods are not delivered under a flag of truce, you know.

  • Remember the warsaw ghettos now its the gaza ghettos.Divide and conquer!

0 Responses to If You Heard Palestinians Playing the Violin, You'd Understand

  • It sure seems like the Israelis allow the basic life necessities to enter into the Gaza Strip.

    I don’t think that either a donkey or a violin is a necessity for living.

  • I imagine it is some Israeli Min of Finance bureaucrat’s idea of promoting self-reliance among the Gazans. Hay, fertiliser and animal feed for the local industry. Pepper, rice and chickpeas don’t grow well in the dry Mediterranean climate. No metals though for improvised weapons. Little here that an agrarian can find fault with.

  • Ivan

    What? They are not given the materials (like lumbar) nor the resources (like hatcheries) to actually be agrarian, to be self-reliant. Look what is forbidden. They are not being given what is needed to be anything but indebted to aid.

  • I don’t think that either a donkey or a violin is a necessity for living.

    Neither is prohibiting them necessary for Israel’s security.

  • Ah, but now the Gazans can import whatever they want from Egypt, until the Egyptians slam the border shut again which I predict they will do before the end of June. The Israelis are not the only state to have a great many problems with the Gazans and their Hamas government.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2007%E2%80%932010_blockade_of_the_Gaza_Strip

  • Donald,

    I keep hearing people make this point, but I’m not sure what to make of it. Is the idea that if Egypt does something it can’t be bad?

  • The idea BA is that Hamas is a noxious terrorist group that is abhorred by not only Israel, but Egypt and the Palestinian Authority. You can also toss into that mix Jordan. The main backer of Hamas is Iran with Damascus having an on again-off again relationship. The problem in this case isn’t Israel or the blockade, but that the people of Gaza chose to have their state led by a gang of terrorists. Political decisions have consequences and the people of Gaza are reaping what their ballots sowed.

  • Anyone who follows the Vatican knows the Pope’s stand here.

    He has been against the blockade: http://presstv.com/detail.aspx?id=94604

    http://sify.com/news/pope-condemns-israeli-raid-on-gaza-aid-ships-news-international-kgcvuffdeij.html his reaction has been that of those some people call “liberal.” Funny that.

  • The idea BA is that Hamas is a noxious terrorist group that is abhorred by not only Israel, but Egypt and the Palestinian Authority.

    And by me. But what does that have to do with whether Israel allows fresh meat to be imported into the Gaza Strip?

  • Everything BA. Israel will maintain the blockade as will Egypt until Hamas is no longer in power. The Gazans have it within their power to correct this situation, a power I am certain they will not exercise. In regard to fresh meat as opposed to packaged meat, I assume the distinction has to do with the smuggling of arms and ammunition. When one state has chosen to be in a state of war with another state, a choice the Gazans manifestly made when they picked Hamas, they have to put up with a lot when they end up losing the war.

  • In regard to fresh meat as opposed to packaged meat, I assume the distinction has to do with the smuggling of arms and ammunition.

    Thanks, Donald, I needed a laugh.

  • So BA, you simply assume that the Israelis are being irrational and doing it for the hell of it? Smuggling arms and ammunition would be far easier in meat carcasses than in pre-packaged frozen meat. Thank you for the returned amusement. Libertarian ideals and the real world so often have such a poor fit, such as your obvious belief that the solution to the Gaza problem is trade.

  • Awe come on. You know how “creative” terrorists are these days. If a person can hide drugs within their own self, then terrorists could probably figure out a way to use an animal and sneak in a donkey bomber (sarcasm).

  • So BA, you simply assume that the Israelis are being irrational and doing it for the hell of it?

    The restrictions are irrational if the goal is to stop arms from coming into Gaza. They aren’t irrational if the goal is simply to punish Palestinians for electing Hamas (some of the restrictions also appear to be based on a protectionist motive). Since punishing Gaza residents is one of the explicit aims of the blockaid, trying to figure out how nutmug poses a security threat while cinnamon does not is a fool’s game.

  • Megan McArdle had a good post on this on Tuesday:

    “Many of my commenters seem to think that the point of the Gaza blockade is simply to keep war materiel from reaching insurgents in Gaza. That is not the reason for the Gaza blockade, though it may be one goal. But the strategy is much farther reaching than that: it is to topple Hamas by immiserating the people who elected them. […]

    “I know that terrorists can be fiendishly clever, but there is no real evidence, only unconfirmed rumors among the intel community, that Hamas actually has the Coriander Bomb. Most experts put them at least 5-8 years away from developing that sort of destructive technology. […]

    “But whether or not you agree with the policy, this was not particularly about keeping Hamas or other groups from getting weapons–the “weapons cache” found aboard consisted of knives, slingshots, and wooden batons, which pose no threat to Israeli civilians even if they make it to Gaza. This was about control.”

    http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2010/06/what-is-israels-blockade-for/57574/

  • Considering how the number of terrorist incidents against Israel have plunged, I’d say that the blockade from an Israeli standpoint is quite rational and working swimmingly. The blockade is a problem for the Gazans and not for the Israelis, unless one takes seriously world public opinion which the Israelis are rational enough not to.

  • I can certainly imagine that one of the pleasant side-effects of having a complex and nonsensical list of banned items for the blockade is that enforcing those restrictions involves the Israeli’s inspecting enough of what goes in and out that they end up being pretty effective in blocking weapons as well. However, there are a couple obvious points here:

    1) If Israel enforced a blockade that really did ban only weapons, it would he harder for people to work up international sympathy about the cruelty of it all. There’s a certain amount of international opinion (out of Europe and some parts of the American left) which is always going to be dead-set against Israel, but they’ve also always recognized that a certain amount of international support is necessary to their survival in a region which would much rather see them exterminated.

    2) Enforcing a blockade (as opposed to an embargo, such as the US embargo of Cuba) means you have to be prepared to sink or board any ships which are attempting to run the blockade. Against the determined opponent, this will mean killing a lot of people. I think that raises a legitimate moral question as to whether it’s acceptable to kill a large number of people in support of crippling Gaza’s economy in order to put pressure on the Gazans to replace their government. Surely, having the Gazans replace their government would be a good thing. But killing a number of people in support of such an indirect means (We had to sink their ship to keep our coriander and musical instruments so they’d get rid of their government!) of achieving that objective seems morally problematic. If it’s really worth killing a number of people over, the traditional way of getting rid of a government is via invasion and occupation. (Though in this case, the Israeli’s have tried that as well and it didn’t work out well.)

    It would arguably be more moral and just as effective to embargo (rather than blockade) Gaza, clear a dimilitarized zone around it, point artillery at it, and be very clear that if they manage to kill Israelis with their cross border attacks, they’ll be hit back hard.

  • Considering how the number of terrorist incidents against Israel have plunged, I’d say that the blockade from an Israeli standpoint is quite rational and working swimmingly.

    Actually this plunge occurred before the blockaid, as can be seen by this data compiled by the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

  • I think that raises a legitimate moral question as to whether it’s acceptable to kill a large number of people in support of crippling Gaza’s economy in order to put pressure on the Gazans to replace their government.

    There’s also the question of whether making Palestinians suffer is actually an effective means of making them turn against Hamas. From what I know of human nature, I would say not.

  • The Chart you reference BA includes the West Bank and the Second Intifada. Rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza plunged from 2,048 in 2008 to 566 in 2009, only 160 of which were fired after the Gaza War. The Gaza War caused Hamas to shoot off most of its rockets and the blockade have prevented them from doing much to replenish their supply.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Palestinian_rocket_attacks_on_Israel,_2009

  • But the blockade also includes things that have *nothing* to do with munitions, Donald.

    I can understand trying to keep explosives and their ingredients away from Hamas.

    I can’t understand trying to keep dried bananas and ginger away from the people in Gaza.

  • Rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza plunged from 2,048 in 2008 to 566 in 2009, only 160 of which were fired after the Gaza War.

    I don’t know why people keep citing statistics comparing 2008 to 2009 when the blockaid started in early 2007. The number of rocket attacks increased significantly after the blockaid was imposed, and the plunge of which you speak happened after the Gaza war. So clearly it was a blockaid and not the war that caused the decline.

  • “The number of rocket attacks increased significantly after the blockaid was imposed, and the plunge of which you speak happened after the Gaza war. So clearly it was a blockaid and not the war that caused the decline.”

    It is both the war BA and the blockaid that has caused the decline. In the war Hamas depleted their arsenal of missles and the blockaid has prevented Hamas from replenishing their missles to the same extent pre-blockaid. Without the blockaid rest assured that Hamas would be rapidly replenishing their missles for another round of lets-see-if-we-can-provoke-the-Israelis-into-flattening-us-again.

  • Some parts of the “concentration camp” are not doing so poorly though.

    http://www.bivouac-id.com/2009/12/06/attention-photos-insoutenables-gaza-affamee/

  • Thanks for that link, Phillip. Yeah, it looks just like Buchenwald there. I didn’t spot coriander amongst the foodstuffs piled high. That proves the Israelis are terrible, terrible oppressors.

    The list of “forbidden items” unwittingly shows how truly petty the complaints of the Israel-haters are. People who had the misfortune to live under Japanese or Nazi rule in 1943 would have been thrilled if the only thing they had to worry about was a ban on spices and violins.

    Why is it that when it comes to Israel, otherwise sensible people completely lose all sense of proportion? What is it about that potato-chip sized country that drives folks around the bend? They want so badly to believe that a tiny bunch of Jews who have faced an existential threat since the day their country was founded are heartless Jack-the-Rippers. Why, it seems like just yesterday I was reading breathless accounts of bodies piled to the sky in Jenin – a report that turned out to be utterly false. Now we’re supposed to feel indignant because Gaza residents can’t toss a bit of coriander in the tabbouli.

    As for violins, it seems to me what Mark Steyn calls the “world’s most comprehensively wrecked people” (wrecked not by Israelis, but by their own hatred, addiction to violence, and status as Left-wing victims par excellence) have been playing the world’s smallest one since 1948.

  • On the other hand, Donna, it seems that any criticism of the actions of the state of Israel means that the person making the critique has lost all sense of proportion and been driven around the bend.

    I’m fairly confident that BA supports the right of Israel to exist, and I know that I do. But that obviously doesn’t mean that their actions can’t be critiqued.

    In this case, the point is that this blockade is *not* simply about keeping explosives out of the hands of those who hate Israel, but rather is about squeezing the civilian population as an indirect attack on Hamas. Can we at least agree on that?

  • If we also agree Gaza isn’t a “Concentration Camp.”

  • Sure, but no one here has said that anyway, Phillip.

  • Chris, it’s true that some of the items on the list are puzzling. But in this world of manifest evils, I see the list as a mote in the eye, not a beam. I’m sorry – in a world in which news of female circumcisions, honor killings, beheadings, etc are met by our enlightened elites without a blink of an eye, while Israel gets pilloried for – coriander bans, well, all I can say is we are truly living in the Age of Stupid. If I seem knee-jerk to you, it’s because I’ve gotten awfully tired at hysterical Internet assertions (I am not saying BA is guilty of this) that the Israelis are committing “genocide” in Gaza and that they’re every bit as brutal as the Nazis. I’ve read enough about the extermination camps to know what an absurd and wicked comparison that is.

    You know, maybe I am a bit reluctant to come down hard on Israelis because I have no idea what it is like to live in a postage stamp of a country surrounded by millions of people who hate me and wish me dead and to have the question of whether my country has a right to even exist debated daily by the world and answered in the negative by most of the world. That’s quite apart from what Israelis do or don’t do. It’s not like they get any credit when they make concessions. I expect that after 60 years of constant attacks, Israelis (who are just human like the rest of us) sometimes make mistakes, just as Americans do. I’m sick of Israelis and Americans getting condemned because they don’t always live up to impossibly high standards, while our enemies are not expected to live up to any standards of humane behavior whatsoever.

  • Chris, here is another reason why I am unmoved by Gazans who have to endure life without coriander:

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9331863/

    Israeli settlers in Gaza had created a booming greenhouse business, one that competed with the Dutch. And what did the Palestinians do when they took control of Gaza in 2005? Their first act was to strip and smash those greenhouses, to utterly destroy that thriving business. And now we’re supposed to feel pity because they don’t have spices? Well, gee, maybe if they hadn’t trashed the greenhouse business they wouldn’t have to worry about lack of nutmeg or coriander.

    That’s the thing that maddens me. The Palestinians destroy. They destroy innocent people at Seder dinners and on buses and discos, they destroy Israeli homes with bombs, they destroy infrastructure, even infrastructure that can be used to their advantage. That is all they do. That seems to be all they know how to do. And why should they create, when the more they destroy, the more the world sympathizes with their troubles and takes pity on them. The Israelis create and build, make the desert bloom,develop businesses and trades – and my, how the world hates them.

  • The defense of the list is “spices aren’t a big deal.” They ignore what is the big deal.. typical.

  • You a quite correct, Chris. No one said it here. But it is a continuation of a conversation which you clearly did not read here:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/01/israel-vs-the-freedom-flotilla/#comments

    One even provided a link to the innane comments of the Cardinal that originated the quote.

    But its good that we can agree that such a comment is false and unconstructive in discussing the topic.

  • It’s true that a lot of criticism of Israel is overwrought. On the other hand, I think a lot of those supportive of Israel have fallen into the somewhat lazy habit of dismissing any criticism of Israel as based in Jew-hatred or as otherwise illegitimate. Israel has the complete right to defend itself, but a ban on musical instruments isn’t necessary to protect Israel’s security and in fact has the potential to seriously harm Israel’s security interests long-term.

  • It’s a hard balance to hit because of the way that we normally tend to think about contentious issues, in terms of faction. On the other side, we see this in some of the folks who come over here from other blogs and while insisting that they “abhore violence”, defend anything and everything that thugs like Hamas do because “it’s understandable given all they’ve suffered.”

    As someone who is pro-Israeli in outlook, I want to avoid making the same mistake. As such, I think it’s important to be able to criticize individual Israeli actions, without in the process being taken to support Hamas or those who tacitly support its violence.

  • Much of the world jumped to conclusions right off the bat and declared that Israel was in the wrong. I stated in my own post that I would need to wait and see as the facts unfolded and became clear, and then I would decide whether Israel was in the right or wrong in this matter. Maybe, the Israelis could have handled this situation better? But, it seems that Israel was in a no win situation here, where if the Israelis did something different and acted in a more peaceful manner there could have been many more dead, and with the situation that did occur Israelis were more prepared, and maybe they saved more lives from being killed because of taking more of a proactive role, but in the end many in the world condemned their actions.

    I think these no win situations also apply to the blockade and what items the Israelis allow to be brought into Israel. Should they allow public opinion to sway how they conduct their national security or should they do what they perceive to be best to save lives in Israel?

  • Blackadder:

    A ban on musical instruments is not going to harm Israel’s security in the short, medium, or long run.

    Darwin:

    I would agree with you with one caveat: few of us have granular knowledge of what the likely implications are of undertaking or failing to undertake certain sorts of action with regard to security. So, unless you are making a normative argument that such and such an action is inherently wrong, you generally have to be very alive to the possibility you misunderstand what is being done and why.

    Evaluating police shootings presents similar problems for the layman. There can also be key facts left out of common narratives. The arrest of Rodney King in 1992 would be relevant here. (King’s companions were unmolested by the police and a short segment of the film in question which showed King charging the officers was not broadcast).

    As for functional pacifists who busy themselves filing lawyers’ briefs for the gratuitously violent, you might consider the possibility that both poses could serve similar ends, with little to do with politics and war in the Near East. (See Political Pilgrims by Paul Hollander and Vision of the Anointed by Thomas Sowell). The reluctance of some of these characters (any I have ever talked to) to delineate for you what is their idea is of an agreeable equilibrium in the Near East is instructive.

  • “As for functional pacifists who busy themselves filing lawyers’ briefs for the gratuitously violent,”

    Thank you Art! That goes right into my little black book of memorable quotes I have stolen.

  • As such, I think it’s important to be able to criticize individual Israeli actions, without in the process being taken to support Hamas or those who tacitly support its violence.

    Fair enough and I hope you realize I do not consider either you or Blackadder to be in the pro-Hamas club. No country is above criticism. At the same time, nobody can say Israel is in danger of being under-criticized.

  • At the same time, nobody can say Israel is in danger of being under-criticized.

    Ain’t that the truth…

  • At the same time, nobody can say Israel is in danger of being under-criticized.

    DarwinCatholic said “Ain’t that the truth…”

    I second that.

  • Teresa,

    Thanks for joining in the many conversations we have here.

    Want to add a pic to your icon?

    http://en.gravatar.com/

  • There ya go!

    Your husbands next.

  • Thank you very much, Tito.

    Yes. I’ll get him to add a pic also.

  • A ban on musical instruments is not going to harm Israel’s security in the short, medium, or long run.

    I would imagine that being known as a country which is willing to kill foreign nationals in order to enforce a ban on things like musical instruments and coriander would in fact be damaging to one’s security in some term or other.

  • Certainly Israel is in no danger of being under-criticized, although various individuals may be in danger of either under-criticizing or over-criticizing.

Israel Confronts the Freedom Flotilla

Wednesday, June 2, AD 2010
NOTE: This roundup will be continuously updated with further information

This past Memorial Day weekend, “Israel boarded a Gaza-bound ‘Freedom Flotilla’ and killed an indeterminate number of innocent bystanders as they attempted to take control international waters.”

Well, at least that’s the take of Henry Karlson of Vox Nova — who appears to be taking his talking points from Egyptian passenger Hazem Farouq:

“It was hell on the sea. I saw Israeli soldiers killing activists in cold blood and then walking on their bodies … The Israeli soldiers sprayed bullets as if they were a mafia in an American film.”

Unfortunately, as with such accounts of Israel’s actions, the facts tend to get in the way. Let’s examine the various claims of this Catholic blog regarding what happened this weekend …

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74 Responses to Israel Confronts the Freedom Flotilla

  • Great Post! It is very informative. Over at Vox Nova, the moderators and some of their commenters woudn’t want to let the facts get in the way of their anti-Israeli sentiment.

    Over at Vox Nova they even like to think that a Cardinal from the Vatican when speaking out on political matters that have to do with the Middle East is speaking for the whole Church. Vox Nova lets their liberalism supercede their Catholic faith and they consistently show how they like to circumvent and tinker with 2000 years of Church Tradition.

  • Christopher,

    If you aren’t careful, you ae going to be persona non grata at Vox Nova like me. The Thought Police there amost never let my comments through anymore, no matter how toned down they are.

  • The Israelis were rather reckless with the lives of their commandos. I saw the clip, it was like landing on a lynch mob.

  • “The Israelis were rather reckless with the lives of their commandos. I saw the clip, it was like landing on a lynch mob.”

    I think the Israelis were extremely careless and gullible — according to a quote that’s circulating, attributed to a “Free Gaza” spokesperson:

    We were not going to pose any violent resistance. The only resistance that there might be would be passive resistance such as physically blocking the steering room, or blocking the engine room downstairs, so that they couldn’t get taken over. But that was just symbolic resistance.

    They fell for it.

  • Well I don’t think they fell for it, it looks like a major snafu with 20 year olds, ordered to hold the line with minimal violence being unable to do so.

  • Let me attempt a more objective recitation of the facts.

    Tantamount to Piracy?

    Israel’s action was illegal. Even if we grant that Israel is at war with Gaza, a blockade cannot extend into international waters.

    A disproportionate or justified use of armed force?

    Israel’s explanation here is plausible at the very least. I think the video evidence is pretty damning.

    Humanitarians and “Peace activists”

    IHH is an extremist organization. Turkey banned the organization from providing humanitarian assistance after the 1999 earthquake.

    Against the Distribution of Humanitarian Aid?

    Israel does not allow adequate aid through. This is a fact that even the Obama Administration acknowledges. Maybe we can get international monitoring of aid.

    In sum

    Hamas is not “wholly committed to the eradication of Israel.” They regard as an acceptable agreement the 1967 borders, right of return, and the capital at Jerusalem. Beyond that, Hamas says it will respect the will of the Palestinian people if they wish to stop there or demand more. True, Hamas may not stop there but at the very least they aren’t “wholly committed” to further action.

  • Forgive me, I was assuming such based on Hamas’ own charter:

    Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it”

    The Islamic Resistance Movement is a distinguished Palestinian movement, whose allegiance is to Allah, and whose way of life is Islam. It strives to raise the banner of Allah over every inch of Palestine…

    Initiatives, and so­called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement.

    There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors. The Palestinian people know better than to consent to having their future, rights and fate toyed with.

    Of course they might have distanced themselves from the letter and spirit of their founding statement — but I remain skeptical.

  • Yes, they have distanced themselves from the charter.

  • Christopher,

    Well done. What you keep saying is “Israel says it was good, therefore it must be.” I mean, you start with:

    For what it’s worth, the Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs provides a page explaining….

    Iran can explain the legality of their nuclear program… would you accept their claims?

    So, let’s see what others have to say on the legality: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/01/AR2010060102934.html

    Now in this situation, Israel has already been caught lying, several times, about what happened. People who watched it live saw Israeli fire which came upon the ships even before they boarded the ship. This is also what those who were released have said:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/01/gaza-flotilla-eyewitness-accounts-gunfire

    Do you think that might have made the people aboard the ship jumpy and willing to react self-defense when someone boarded the ship?

    Here is former US Ambassador Edward Peck’s account:

    http://beforeitsnews.com/news/71/741/Former_Freedom_Flotilla_US_Ambassador_Held_by_the_Israelis_Speaks_Out.html

    Israel gave warnings, and told people to stop
    Yeah, so? I am sure many a thug says “I told them to give me the money. They didn’t. It’s their fault.”

    The soldiers were not well armed
    FALSE. Again, I love how Christopher first of all accepts ALL that Israel has to say of the matter without question. This is how Israel keeps lying to the world. Now if one looks to the matter, one can begin to see Israel has been caught already lying about the situation: http://www.politicaltheatrics.net/2010/06/the-gaza-flotilla-how-israel%E2%80%99s-ministry-of-foreign-affairs-fakes-photos-of-seized-weapons/

    And this is what the ambassador said about the paintball guns, which shows how much of a joke it is:
    http://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/2/israels_explanation_for_deadly_gaza_aid

    In our little boat, a couple of them had paint guns attached to their submachine guns, along with stun grenades and the pepper spray and the handcuffs and the pistols, you know. So this is sort of a twisting reality, which of course I understand why they’re trying to do it. I’ve been a diplomat. But it’s laughable..

    Paintguns don’t kill; the soldiers were armed with more than paintguns.

    And I love how Christopher completely and utterly ignores the disaster on the ground in Gaza. MM discusses this well:

    http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/06/01/israel-vs-the-freedom-flotilla/#comment-45805
    —-

    And Christopher, btw, I wrote the original article. I wonder what that says about the rest of your points.

  • http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jyuAfrswzcOz1plxmxQSsxZEhinA

    Pope saddened by flotilla raid violence

    (AFP) – 21 hours ago

    VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI said violence during an Israeli raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla carrying aid left him with “a heavy heart.”

    “Violence does not solve disputes, but increases their tragic consequences and generates more violence,” the Pope said at the end of his Wednesday audience in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican, according to Vatican Radio.

    “With great trepidation I followed the tragic events that occurred near the Gaza Strip. I feel the need to express my heartfelt condolences for the victims of these painful events, which worry those who care about peace in the region,” he said.

    Israeli commandos boarded the aid flotilla bound for the Gaza Strip in a pre-dawn raid on Monday that left at least nine passengers dead and sparked global outrage.

    The Israeli military accused activists aboard the ship of provoking the bloodshed by attacking its soldiers as they boarded.

    “I appeal to those who have political responsibilities, locally and internationally, to relentlessly seek just solutions through dialogue, to ensure the people of the best living conditions, harmony and serenity,” the pope said.

    A Vatican document leaked Tuesday called the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories a “political injustice,” Italy’s ANSA news agency reported.

    The occupation is a “political injustice imposed on the Palestinians,” said the Instrumentum Laboris, a working document on an upcoming synod of bishops on the Middle East, embargoed for release until Sunday, when Pope Benedict is to present it during a visit to Cyprus.

    The Vatican has said the raid “will not influence” the pope’s trip to Cyprus, from which the flotilla set off.

  • http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition/opinion/gaza-flotilla-drives-israel-into-a-sea-of-stupidity-1.292959

    From Gideon Levy:

    The Israeli propaganda machine has reached new highs its hopeless frenzy. It has distributed menus from Gaza restaurants, along with false information. It embarrassed itself by entering a futile public relations battle, which it might have been better off never starting. They want to maintain the ineffective, illegal and unethical siege on Gaza and not let the “peace flotilla” dock off the Gaza coast? There is nothing to explain, certainly not to a world that will never buy the web of explanations, lies and tactics.

    Only in Israel do people still accept these tainted goods. Reminiscent of a pre-battle ritual from ancient times, the chorus cheered without asking questions. White uniformed soldiers got ready in our name. Spokesmen delivered their deceptive explanations in our name. The grotesque scene is at our expense. And virtually none of us have disturbed the performance.

    The chorus has been singing songs of falsehood and lies. We are all in the chorus saying there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza. We are all part of the chorus claiming the occupation of Gaza has ended, and that the flotilla is a violent attack on Israeli sovereignty – the cement is for building bunkers and the convoy is being funded by the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood. The Israeli siege of Gaza will topple Hamas and free Gilad Shalit. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yossi Levy, one of the most ridiculous of the propagandists, outdid himself when he unblinkingly proclaimed that the aid convoy headed toward Gaza was a violation of international law. Right. Exactly.

    It’s not the siege that is illegal, but rather the flotilla. It wasn’t enough to distribute menus from Gaza restaurants through the Prime Minister’s Office, (including the highly recommended beef Stroganoff and cream of spinach soup ) and flaunt the quantities of fuel that the Israeli army spokesman says Israel is shipping in. The propaganda operation has tried to sell us and the world the idea that the occupation of Gaza is over, but in any case, Israel has legal authority to bar humanitarian aid. All one pack of lies.

    Read the rest on the link.

  • Yes, they have distanced themselves from the charter.

    Isn’t that cute?

  • Christopher, here you go again, taking a subject of blog rants and turning it into a suject of research, careful study and dispassionate analysis. When will you learn that blogs are for shoot-from-the-hip commentary, no reflection and emotional diatribes? 🙂

  • “Yes, they have distanced themselves from the charter.”

    I assume that was a comedic statement restrainedradical? Any one who does not think that Hamas remains entirely dedicated to the destruction of Israel simply has not been paying attention to Hamas.

  • Straight from the mouth of Khaled Meshaal just last week:
    “Hamas accepts a Palestinian state on the borders of 1967 with its capital Jerusalem and with the right of return. This stand by Hamas is announced, practiced, and it signed an agreement with Fatah, which is the national compact document. So, the whole world should deal with Hamas, with what it practices, its political stance that it declared, and not on the charter that was put 20 years ago.”

  • Completely meaningless restrainedradical. Everyone on the ground in the Middle East knows that Hamas will never give up its war against Israel, including Palestinian President Abbas.

    http://www.upi.com/Top_News/International/2010/05/06/Abbas-decries-Hamas-weapons-smuggling/UPI-26911273179949/

  • I think you posted the wrong link, Don. That article says nothing about Abbas believing that Hamas will never give up its war against Israel. Even if Abbas did say that (which he didn’t), it should be taken with a grain of salt considering they’re political rivals. And how does “everyone on the ground in the Middle East” know Hamas’ intentions? You just made that up.

    I take “wholly committed” to include verbal commitments. Instead, we have the opposite. Even if Hamas wants to eradicate Israel, it’s clear they aren’t “wholly committed.”

  • Don’t be deliberately dense restrainedradical. Abbas knows why Hamas is smuggling arms into the West Bank and stockpiling them and it isn’t as a sign of their peaceful intentions towards Israel.

  • Oh and the quote you have from Meshaal is from an interview with Charlie Rose. Here is what he said later on in the interview:

    CHARLIE ROSE: But just within the territories of the `67 boundaries?

    KHALED MESHAAL: In other words —

    CHARLIE ROSE: This is an important point.

    KHALED MESHAAL: Don`t request the Palestinian people to have a certain stance from Israel while living under the Israeli occupation. Give the Palestinian people the opportunity to live in a normal situation in a Palestinian state, and then the Palestinian people with complete freedom will decide.

    http://www6.lexisnexis.com/publisher/EndUser?Action=UserDisplayFullDocument&orgId=574&topicId=100023528&docId=l:1197225133&isRss=true

    This by the way is an old tactic of Hamas. They make moderate noises to foreign language sources in hopes of convincing gullible foreigners of their moderation. In Arab language sources they are much more forthcoming as to their ultimate plans for Israel, which have not changed one whit.

  • The best evidence of what people intend to do is their abiding habits, dispositions, and patterns of response. You would not, on reviewing the history of the last 60 years, expect constructive collective action from the populations in question. That aside, the last episode of trading something palpable for promises ended badly.

  • Henry,

    I’m unclear what you’ve added here other than the obvious, “Oh yeah, well anti-Israel activists say otherwise.”

    Yes, if you believe everything that Hamas and other Gaza activists say, then Israel was universally the bad guy in this. If you believe everything that the Israeli government says, then they had very little fault in this. Clearly the truth lies somewhere in between — at least to those not wholly wedded to one viewpoint or the other.

    I think the best move for Israel would be to drop the blockade — both for their reputation and for the good of the population. But those taking the Palestinian side so wholeheartedly in this need to admit the truth of the situation: One of the main imports that Hamas will bring in will be weapons, which they will use against Israel. Which will bring the next outright military conflict between Israel and Gaza that much closer. Hamas and their fellow activists have pulled off some nice theatre through this whole series of events, but anyone who imagines that their primary aim is anything other than to be able to get heavy weapons shipments under cover of “aid” is being terribly gullible.

    And I think Israel is being quite forthright in their motives for the blockade: they want to keep out weapons, and they want to make things miserable enough in Gaza that the population will throw Hamas out of power and elect a better government. This strategy is totally backfiring, however, and so they should drop it and realize that war will be that much sooner.

    It’s a lousy region…

  • DC

    1) Evidence exists that Israel is making things up and lying about the events.
    2) People who watched it live, and officials for many nations, and reporters from many nations, have said Israel’s claims of the events are false.
    3) Israel is saying “We don’t want external reviewers, just believe us.” If they are the one suspect, then they need an external reviewer. Why are they saying no external review? It’s like a police officer accused of murder saying, “I didn’t do it. I will review my actions and report to you what I find out.” Come on.

  • To whoever wrote this jaded neocon propaganda – I did not write what you claim I have written. Please correct, thanks.

  • This post argues: “I believe Israel has the right to protect its citizens from harm by way of a blockade of assistance to Gaza.” It then goes on to shocking talk about how Israel is really doing nothing wrong to the inhabitants. I guess the following is all OK:

    – 80 percent of Gazans dependent on humanitarian aid.
    – Massive spike in poverty and unemployment. UN: 60 per cent of households are “food insecure”.
    – Over 90 per cent of Gaza’s factories shut or operate at less than 10 per cent of capacity.
    – Exports reduced to almost zero.
    – Severe restrictions on fishing activity.
    – Only half the weekly fuel needed for Gaza’s only power plant let in, and less than half of needed monthly gas supply. Widespread electricity shortages.
    – Humanitarian aid at whim of Israelis. WHO trucks repeatedly turned away.
    – Almost no movement of people. Familes ripped apart. West Bank students and seminarians trapped.
    – Medical emergencies that cannot be dealt with in Gaza require a permit to leave, which is often delayed or denied. Some deaths resulted.
    – Banned list includes basic goods, including food.
    – Banned list designed in part to protect the profit margins of Israeli producers.
    – Widespread shortages, including of basic goods like soap, school materials and clean drinking water.

    What I find absolutely shocking is the continued dominance of the pagan neocon mentality among the Catholic right. They will support the instrinic evil of collective punishment of a civilian population for consequentialist reasons. They will support the immiseration of 1.5 million children of God to make a point. And they paint Hamas as the devil, while giving a free pass to those in the Israeli government (such as foreign minister Avigdor Liberman) who have made statements just as inflammatory as any Hamas official.

  • 1.5 million children…consequentialist reasons…why does that seem so familiar?

    Oh yeah, something to do with voting for Obama being OK.

    Not that I think Israel did the right thing in this case, but it’s rather ironic condemning consequentialist thinking on this issue, yet being rather blind to it in other situations.

  • Assuming Israel had the right to enforce the blockade in international waters (a questionable assumption at best), why didn’t they disable the ship as someone else suggested?

  • And they paint Hamas as the devil, while giving a free pass to those in the Israeli government (such as foreign minister Avigdor Liberman) who have made statements just as inflammatory as any Hamas official.

    I’d be interested to hear the Israeli official who said something akin to this:

    Allah will also dignify the whole Islamic Nation. Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him said: “You will keep on fighting with the Jews until the fight reaches the east of Jordan River. Then the stones and trees will say: ‘Oh Muslim, of (servant) slaves of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him.”

  • what other consequentalist reasoning do you refer to, cmatt?

    Let me go a little further – any person who supports this blockade cannot be described as pro-life.

  • What I find absolutely shocking is the continued dominance of the pagan neocon mentality among the Catholic right. They will support the instrinic evil of collective punishment of a civilian population for consequentialist reasons. They will support the immiseration of 1.5 million children of God to make a point.

    No, MM, those who support the blockage (and several of us have said we don’t) don’t support it “to make a point”, they support it because they believe that it’s necessary in order to keep weapons out of the hands of Hamas and to try to put pressure on the Hamas government in order to topple it and achieve a more reasonable government there.

    I don’t think the blockade is being successful in the latter, and I don’t think it’s worth the former, but I can hardly see how someone of your political commitments is in a position to cast stones on this one.

  • I would like to highlight this paragraph from the Yaacov Lozowick post, as I think it makes an important point that otherwise risks getting lost in the scuffle:

    We all know that the threat from Hezbollah is greater than from Hamas, yet we don’t blockade Lebanon. The price would be too high, so we grimly prepare for the next war in the hope that being prepared well enough will postpone it for a while, and in the meantime it’s not an international detriment; on the contrary, perhaps we gain a measure of goodwill that we’ll cash in on eventually. So why blockade Gaza? Is the blockade essential? Six months from now, or six years, we’ll lift it, and Gaza will still be full of people who fervently wish for our destruction, just like in Lebanon: nu? At that point the defunct blockade will no longer be essential?

  • Mornining’s Minion,
    So, you would be okay with Hamas “owning” and controlling Israel and Palestine and doing whatever else they wanted — like fundng all sorts of terrorist activities — as long as there was food and water?

    You must like having the Devil in charge of the common good?

  • “Let me go a little further – any person who supports this blockade cannot be described as pro-life.”

    Coming from a fellow who proudly voted for Obama, the most pro-abort president in our nation’s history, I find that statement both pathetic and laughable.

  • Let me go a little further – any person who supports this blockade cannot be described as pro-life.

    Let me one up you by saying anyone that continues to support a pro-abort President, while also excusing the actions of Palestinian terrorists and subtly yawning over the Holocaust, cannot be described as sane.

  • “on the contrary, perhaps we gain a measure of goodwill that we’ll cash in on eventually.”

    That statement is delusional BA. Any Israeli who thinks that Israel can cash in on “international good will” under virtually any circumstance is just not operating in this frame of reality.

  • Paul

    Your logic is, like usual, quite flawed. Supporting the blockade is supporting the evil itself, as would be supporting abortion. Supporting someone who is pro-blockade or someone who is pro-abortion is different from supporting the blockade or abortion.

  • That bit of Lozowick’s post struck me as well, BA, and I think that it is dead-on.

    Certainly, there are many in Europe and a smaller number in America with whom it is impossible for for Israel to gain any goodwill. But although that group can make a lot of noise in a combox, that does not mean that it is not important for a nation to act in the best way possible. And Israel’s continued support by countries such as the US is in part determined by it’s continuing to appear more sinned against than sinning, though people are willing to give Israel a fair amount of benefit of the doubt.

    Israel should lift the blockade — despite the full knowledge of the fact that Hamas is much more interested in bringing in weapons than food, and that those weapons will bring war with Hamas that much sooner.

  • You should read some statments from Avigdor Liberman, Paul. This is the foreign minister who used to belong to the terrorist Kach group (then again, many Israeli politicians used to be terrorists, didn’t they?). This is the man who repeatedly talks about the ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Israel (by force), and the execution of Arab members of the Knesset. He once spoke of busing thousands of released Palestinian prisoners to the Dead Sea to drown them. He thinks that Putin in Chechnya is a role model for how Israel should deal with Palestine. And he suggested that the Americans had the right approach in Japan.

    This is the foreign minister of Israel. He was democratically elected and enjoys widespread support. So why the double standard?

    But I’m not done, Paul. You yourself link on your blog to one Robert Stacy McCain, and have quoted him with approval on occasion. Here is what this McCain had to say about Israel/ Palestine:

    “Swear to God, if they ever want a Gentile prime minister, my first order would be to deploy the IDF in a north-south line, facing east. My second order would be “forward march” and the order to halt would not be given until it was time for the troops to rinse their bayonets in the Jordan. After a brief rest halt, the order “about face” would be given, and the next halt would be at the Mediterranean coast.”

    Over and over again, I see the bloodlust of the American right being reflected by American Catholics. But I guess RS McCain and Avigdor Liberman are no “pro-abort” so that makes then OK.

  • Over and over again, I see the bloodlust of the American right being reflected by American Catholics.

    Exactly how have you seen American Catholics reflect this bloodlust? In your mind, does one have to either fully support the Palestinian cause and hate Israel, or else by default endorse genocide? Bit of dualism there…

  • Darwin – one needs to condemn violence, respect life, and defend human dignity. That’s all. Sounds simple, but it would be a big step.

  • “Over and over again, I see the bloodlust of the American right being reflected by American Catholics.”

    You give your whole hearted support to the most pro-abort President in our nation’s history, and are, to put your position in the best light possible, a “useful idiot” for blood drenched Jihadists. Once again, my reaction to this statement by you is that it is both pathetic and laughable.

  • one needs to condemn violence, respect life, and defend human dignity. That’s all. Sounds simple, but it would be a big step.

    Oh, indeed, it would be a big step. And if you seemed more interested in doing that consistently rather than taking a selective view of the world in order to reinforce your prejudices and paint your opponents in the worst possible light, I would have very little issue with you.

  • Sanctimony on stilts + blinkered ideology = MM

    Even when people here are criticizing Israel’s tactics (boarding) and strategy (blockade), you still cry “bloodlust.” Get a clue.

  • This is Christopher’s thread and I know he likes his threads to concentrate on debate over the topic and not get involved in personalities. Therefore I have place in moderation Morning’s Minion’s comments and the responses made to him, including my responses. Morning’s Minion is being placed in temporary moderation for a cooling off period. Christopher may appove the comments I have placed in moderation or delete them as he wishes. Everyone else, dial it down a few notches and concentrate on debating the topic of the thread. I include myself in that last admonition.

  • “one needs to condemn violence, respect life, and defend human dignity. That’s all. Sounds simple, but it would be a big step.”

    Have you ever condemned the violence being committed against Israel? Have you condemned other terrorist oragizations? You seem to be giving Hamas a pass because of their claims that they had humantarian aid. Have you ever heard of a rouse? Or plausible deniablility? Hamas could have planned the whole thing and had some items of humanitarian aid on hand for the sole purpose of plausible deniability? Why do you have faith that a known terrorist group is telling the truth?

    I guess condemning violence is great as long the violence doesn’t involve using metal pipes to attack Israelis armed with paintball guns.

    Okay, so as far as Karlson’s concerned supporting evil and supporting murder (abortion) is okay as long as it as least “once removed” from the direct source.

  • You are free to moderate as you wish, and I have no objection (unlike some here who complain about being moderated at Vox Nova!). But I would say that: (i) my responses, while admittedly taking on various people directly, have been focused on the core issue at hand; (ii) the tone has not been heated (certainly, I was not angry when writing, and am not angry now); (iii) I’m still awaiting a correction for false attribution in the post itself — thanks.

  • Don, I never said Hamas was peaceful, only that they’ve softened their position over the decades.

  • Okay, it seems that as far as Karlson’s concerned supporting evil and supporting murder (abortion) is okay as long as it is as least “once removed” from the direct source (voting for Obama, who is a pro-abortion president).

    If the blockade was not one of Israels primary forms of safety from Hamas’ violence then I am sure that Israel would stop the blockade. If Hamas would stop lobbing rockets and committing other acts of violence than it would seem logical and would think that Israel would then lift the blockade.

  • Teresa

    Do well NOT to lie about others. I do not support evil, nor support abortion — though Teresa, and her husband, have both supported abortion of Canaanite children (!!!). I did not vote for Obama. I am, however, making the point, which is a moral point, which is well within the domain of moral position — that a support of a person (the person) does not mean one supports all the evil they do. This is exactly what is shown to us by God, whose love for us, is a love for us as a person, and he supports us, continuing our existence, despite our sin. His support for us is not a support for sin. This is also true about the Church’s declaration of saints. Proclaiming St Mary of Egypt a saint does not make her prostitution any good. Teresa, in the whole, is following the way of the Pharisee, which is quite typical — they will demand great virtue of others, on a level which they don’t follow themselves. Indeed, she also confuses various forms of cooperation with evil. The Church has consistently said that we cannot support a politician because of an evil they support, but it has also said we can despite such evil they hold to.

  • I think we can support the existence of Israel also without supporting all they do.

  • Phillip

    Agreed. I indeed support the existence of Israel, I have said the place needs reformed.

  • Karlson,
    If you can read, then you’ll notice that I never said that you voted for Obama. Plus, Karlson believes in limited inerracy, where the Bible is concerned, which is not adhering to Church teachings. But, that shouldn’t surprise too many people here- the Vox Nova crew not adhering to Church teachings prior to Vatican II is a pretty “orthodox” thing for them.

  • If the blockade is immoral, then I would also agree with Darwin that Israel should be allowed to defend itself, even with just war, if and when Hamas uses weapons shipped to them to attack Israel.

  • Karlson,
    Are there any reforms that you would support for Hamas?
    What kind of reforms would you propose for Israel?

    Israel should end the blockade but it should be contingent on Hamas stopping their terrorist activities and denouncing their official charter. If Hamas has already distanced themselves from their charter then it wouldn’t be too much to expect that Hamas denounce their official charter publicly.

  • And they paint Hamas as the devil, while giving a free pass to those in the Israeli government (such as foreign minister Avigdor Liberman) who have made statements just as inflammatory as any Hamas official.

    Mr. Liberman does not object per se to an Arab state on the West Bank and Gaza (much less an Arab state anywhere else in the world) and has suggested that sections of the Galilee be included in any hypothetical territorial deal.

    This is the foreign minister who used to belong to the terrorist Kach group

    The KACH Movement was an electoral vehicle for the Jewish Defense League. KACH itself did not engage in any sort of direct action. He wasn’t a member for very long.

    (then again, many Israeli politicians used to be terrorists, didn’t they?).

    If you are referring to the Irgun, it was dissolved in 1948. So, unless it be your contention that Israel’s corps of working politicians is chock-a-block with octogenerians, no.

  • Art Deco,

    You are forgetting that service in the IDF = terrorism to this crowd. Never mind the fact that Hamas bombs Passover seders and then names a soccer tournament after the murderer… It’s the Israelis who are the “terrorists.”

  • The IDF shouldn’t be a problem since Israel has a right to exist and when legitimate means to deter aggression have failed, they can invade Gaza.

  • Teresa continues to misrepresent many factors, and indeed, many people from diverse positions on the net have seen the fundamentalism of Teresa when it comes to Scripture and have said she and those with her are in error. She has been shown to be ignorant of what the Church actually teaches, or, at other times, so say she doesn’t care what the Church says she is right, she will do as she wills! She has said as much – no Church will tell her what to do! Enough with that.

    Philip: should Gaza be able to defend itself?

  • Henry & Teresa,

    Whatever your history about Canaanites and scriptural interpretation and such is — it’s not the topic here and none of us know anything about it. Please take it elsewhere. The topic of this thread is not people’s past run-ins.

  • DarwinCatholic-Thank You for saying that because I didn’t bring up the topic to begin with. Karlson did. The only reason I responded was because I didn’t want to be rude by not responding and the fact that he continues to impune and slander me across the net is just plain unchristian.

    From now on I will stay on topic.

  • Against unjust aggression. Yes. But the whole point of the conversation is that Israel is trying to deter aggression. If the blockade is immoral, and if weapons are imported and used against Israel, then the IDF can most certainly and justly wage war.

  • Phillip

    On the other hand, all the people suffering in Gaza are also trying to deter the unjust aggression on them. The Vatican has spoken out against it many times.

  • On the other hand, all the people suffering in Gaza are also trying to deter the unjust aggression on them.

    To a point, yes. And in that sense, it’s okay.

    The most recent source of the problem is that when Israel withdrew from Gaza, having Gaza to themselves was not enough for Hamas — they started launching rockets across the border at Israel all the time. Which may have made them feel better about their wrongs for a while, but resulted in bringing the IDF back across the border after a while to stop them.

    These things are not as simple as you’d like to imagine.

  • [Morning’s Minion]: To whoever wrote this jaded neocon propaganda – I did not write what you claim I have written. Please correct, thanks.

    MM – oh, dear — my apologies. And here I was trying to be careful with direct citation from the post. I guess I expected Henry’s writing to be more “academically inclined” and mistook this pathetic rant for your own. My apologies!

    CORRECTION — the following statements are properly attributed to Henry Karlson, Vox Nova:

    “Israel boarded a Gaza-bound ‘Freedom Flotilla’ and killed an indeterminate number of innocent bystanders as they attempted to take control international waters.”

    Israel is claiming the massacre is justified because their soldiers were attacked. They fail to point out they were attacked when they were boarding a vessel they had no lawful authority to board, acting like pirates who think they control the seas.

    Probably those who attacked the soldiers were acting reflexively without thinking. Let alone the moral question, in all practicality, this was not the wisest thing to do, because the soldiers were heavily armed and could take control of the ship without difficulty.

    Here we see the situation involves not just Muslim nations, but many of the nations of the West, such as the United States. We also see that the retired Archbishop of Jerusalem is on board the ship, indicating the active role the Church has had in this humanitarian aid.

    Having just gotten home I’ll review today’s comments and respond accordingly. I would request that people try to stay on topic and address the specific content of the post.

  • Henry,

    Ditto what Darwin said. But I’m glad you agree with Darwin and I that, when Gaza starts using weapons that arrive past a blockade that is seemingly contra international opinion, that Israel will be justified in waging war with Gaza.

  • Okay, Tony, as long as you’re going to play the guilt-by-association game and continue to link Paul to some outlandish comment made by R.S. McCain simply because Paul has quoted McCain on his blog in the past, how about we hold you to the same standard?

    On January 9, 2010, here’s what someone with the moniker “Morning’s Minion” wrote at Salon.com about Helen Thomas:

    “We have few journalists of Helen Thomas’ quiet dignity, fierce journalistic instincts to ask the hard questions, and resolution to follow stories where they will take her. Seeing how frail she has become gave me a pang. The thought that Bill Moyers and Helen Thomas might both retire in one year is a disquieting proposition; they are two of the few holding the diminishing line between real journalism and chaos.”

    http://letters.salon.com/b23f022e31a83dc9b2b9160cb4fa902f/author/index93.html

    Meanwhile, here’s your girl Helen holding the line on “real journalism” by telling the Jews in Israel to “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go back to Poland and Germany”:

    http://gatewaypundit.firstthings.com/2010/06/far-left-reporter-helen-thomas-tells-jews-get-the-hell-out-of-palestine-and-go-back-to-germany-poland-video/

    That would be the Germany and Poland where approximately 6 million of their fellow Jews were systematically roasted in ovens in an effort to exterminate every Jew in Europe. Not that such an occurrence was particularly unique in history or anything.

  • Helen Thomas is awfully opinionated for someone who is unawares that the majority of Israel’s Jewish population derives from immigration streams originating in the Near East and North Africa.

    On, R.S. McCain. IIRC, his subsequent elaboration upon his remarks was as follows: absent something akin to Sherman’s March through Georgia, the war between the Jews and the proximate Arab population simply will not end.

  • Jay – that “Morning’s Minion” was definitely not me. Seems like this post is becoming a platform for claiming I said stuff I did not!

  • Well, I guess if you decided to stop using a fake name and had the courage to put your real name to stuff you wrote, it would be a little less confusing, right?

  • Tony, I apologize, then. It’s not a common pseudonym, so I made a faulty assumption. My mistake.

  • Paul, he would still potentially be subject to petty identity theft.

  • Absolutely terrifying I felt it in missisauga

Deal Hudson on Israel and Palestinian Christians, Revisited

Sunday, April 19, AD 2009

In his latest article for InsideCatholic.com, Deal Hudson presents Ten Hard Facts Confronting Benedict XVI in the Holy Land concerning the plight of Palestinian Christians.

One would expect that — when presenting a list of “hard facts”, particularly a topic as provocative as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict — elementary journalistic standards would require the citation of a source.

Furthermore, one might expect the placement of such statistics in context to further enable a moral evaluation.

That Hudson completely neglects to do this is frustrating, to say the least.

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5 Responses to Deal Hudson on Israel and Palestinian Christians, Revisited

  • The Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group is a good source. The group is very critical of Israel, Hamas and the Palestinian Authority and seems quite even-handed. There is a wealth of material on the site.

    http://www.phrmg.org/

  • Jerusalem Fever, that malady that frequently affects traverlers to the Holy Land seems to have bitten Deal.

  • Christopher,

    Good post but you may want to go back through and clean up the formatting. It’s a little unclear when you are quoting others and when you are writing in your own voice.

    Again, good post and one I plan to share with friends.

  • Mark,

    Thanks — For some reason I always have this difficulty w/ WordPress. (I tend to write in straight HTML to my other blogs, cut/paste into WordPress; for some reason the latter has trouble interpreting multiple-paragraph blockquotes. I’ll have to be more vigilant. =)

  • Good information. I remember a Lebanese Christian family I once knew. They were terrified of their Muslim countrymen.

Should Pope Benedict visit Gaza? – A response to Deal Hudson

Monday, April 13, AD 2009

In February, a group of Palestinian Christians asked Pope Benedict XVI to call off his planned visit to Israel and the West Bank, concerned that his visit would “help boost Israel’s image and inadvertently minimize Palestinian suffering under Israeli occupation.” (Haaretz).

Adopting a different approach, Ma’an News Agency reports that a petition raised by the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California, the University of San Francisco, and several other U.S. peace organizations asking Pope Benedict XVI to make a stop in the Gaza Strip has received over 2000 signatures.

In a recent post to InsideCatholic.com, Deal Hudson raises the question: Should Benedict XVI Include Gaza in his Holy Land Visit? — answering in the affirmative:

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12 Responses to Should Pope Benedict visit Gaza? – A response to Deal Hudson

  • Well- here is the problem I have with the case made by those American Catholics who pretty much toe the pro-Israel line in these type of discussions. The 800 lb. gorilla in the room is the Palestinian Catholic and Christian community point-of-view. This is the point-of-view I champion because first- these are my brothers and sisters in Christ- many American Catholics act as if the mostly secular Jews of America and Israel are their spiritual soul mates- this smacks of the distorted theology of fundamentalist Christian Zionism.

    Secondly, I took up the challenge of coming to a position on events in Israel-Palestine, by going to live in Galilee with a Palestinian priest who started a school for children- Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim. I spent about 3 months in this community, and travelled with some of the high school studentsand teachers around the region. The history teacher kept pointing out where former Palestinian villages were destroyed or taken over by Israelis and given new names and new residents. The bitterness was palpable. I also was offered work as a teacher for U.S. AID, in Hebron, West Bank- I went to scout it out and found a nightmare. About 500 Jewish settlers took over some buildings in the downtown of a town of around 100,000 Palestinians lived. They were supported and protected by the Israeli military- they even have holidays where the Jews are allowed to march down the streets shouting racist tripe while the military keeps the Arabs off the streets at gunpoint- sounds like something American Catholics should be rallying against, not supporting to the hilt. Needless to say I turned down the job because I felt that I would be a legitimate target for Arab violence, representing the U.S. government who sponsers and supports Israel like it was a U.S. state, not a foreign country.

    I really just don’t get how American Catholics can so easily overlook the obvious best source of information on the Israel-Palestine conflict- the local Catholic community. I suspect it is because most Americans go to the Holy Land as tourists seeking personal spiritual fulfillment, not as comprehensive truth seekers. And of course, American Catholic poll just the same as all other Americans on every major issue, seemingly, so it is apparent that most are not doing much homework to dig into Holy See viewpoints, let along the Holy Land’s Catholic Hierarchical views. And so, the AIPAC/CAMERA narrative wins the propaganda war, dominating both major parties, all the major media, and with strong footholds in Christian Zionist and conservative Catholic niches, it is a slam-dunk for Israel, All-Israel- all the time. The Palestinians are ignored during long stretches of relative non-violent resistance- with no attention given to the checkpoints, the land and resource grabs by extremist Zionist settlers until some Palestinian resistance turns violent, then the idea that Palestinian lives are anywhere equal to an Israeli life is completely rejected- the Palestinian civilians are not even equal to an Israeli military personnel- any attack from the Palestinian side is terrorism no matter the target, and the Israelis can indulge in assassinations of Palestinian leaders and attack civilian centers and call it unfortunate collateral damage. It is all such a sham.

    The only way to see this dark story more clearly is to actually listen and learn from the one community in the area that should be our natural go-to partner- the Palestinian Catholics. That’s what I did, and that is the basis for my confidence in my own position- and because I made it personal by staying with actual Palestinians, and actual Israelis, I don’t have any truck with the propagandists and those with anti-Arab prejudices, and see Islam only through the lens of 9-11- Where have you been? I will take every opportunity to defend the Catholic community in the Holy Land- it seems that the American Catholic community is bent on a self-fulfilling prophesy that pits Palestinian Muslims in a holy war against Palestinian Christians- that may end up happening thanks to U.S. and Israeli power politics, but it will be mostly on the souls of Americans and Israeli apologists- I am convert to Catholicism, so maybe I’m missing something- I thought that it was the first responsibility of the Pope to help nurture and cultivate the seeds of the Church, the small oppressed Catholic communities- I would think the Holy Land Catholics would qualify- but it seems the interest in their plight- like that of Iraqi Christians, is really not a high priority for the American Catholic community- I, for one, won’t just sit on my hands fearing the accusation of anti-Semite. I will stand with the jewishvoiceforpeace.org forces within the Jewish community, I know that Jews are very much conflicted about the politics of Israel, just as patriotic Americans are very much conflicted over American wars and foreign policies- for very good reason.

  • Tim,

    I’d agree that it’s important to listen to the voices of local Christian populations, but it can hardly be the only factor. The obvious counter-example would be the situation ten years ago in Bosnia, where the US intervened against Milosevic and the local Christian populations in one of the very few US military actions in the last 30 years which the Vatican specifically endorsed the justice of.

    Yet having been in Greece at the time I can assure you that the local Christian (Orthodox) populations were absolutely livid, and thought that the Bosnian Muslims had simply been getting what they deserved. Being Christian does not save one from having one’s viewpoints poisoned by nationalism.

  • It also has to be said that Palestinian Christians will collaborate with whatever terrorist regime they have to, even their own persecutors, if they believe it will redound to their material benefit.

    It’s the same for our Catholic brothers in Iraq. They spend decades actively collaborating in Saddam’s genocidal regime, putting their stomachs before their souls, and then they’re shocked, SHOCKED!, that once that government is toppled their Church is revealed to be decrepit, irrelevant, and dwindling.

    If Palestinian Christians are oh-so concerned about the dwindling nature of their communities, they have none but themselves to blame. Arab Catholics, and their leaders, are ALWAYS going out of their way to protest how strong they DISCOURAGE conversions and REFUSE to evangelize their Muslim neighbors. Bishop Hinder of Saudi Arabia and Patriarch Delly of Babylon are two major examples of prelates who publicly and explicitly dissent from Christ’s Great Commission, and I read interviews ALL THE TIME from Christian leaders (mostly Catholics!) in Muslim countries who say all they want are Muslims to be better Muslims, that they TURN AWAY people who come to them asking for baptism.

    There’s also the issue of long-standing anti-Semitism, some Christian and some Islamic, which Arab Christians by and large have failed to shake off in the years since Vatican II.

    I don’t do tribal politics, and neither I suspect does Mr. Blosser. A cause is not just and right, and neither is a perspective accurate, just because it happens to be embraced by someone who calls themselves Catholic. Palestinian Catholics are wrong to embrace Hamas and Fatah, just as American Catholics were wrong to embrace Barack Obama and the Democrat Party. Blind tribal politics are for the uninformed and the ignorant, and to pretend that Palestinian Christians do not act out of base, selfish motives, and even out of a kind of cultural Stockholm syndrome, is VERY naive.

    Shame on Dr. Hudson for his LATEST hackjob report on Arab Christianity, failing to take even the smallest steps toward reporting in an objective and balanced manner. We are all dhimmis now.

  • Agreed on the point that the local Catholic community is not to be the only point of reference- but the problem here in the U.S. is that I hear almost no mention of the Palestinian Catholic viewpoint on this important U.S. foreign policy concern. I found that having a view from the ground of the Holy Land really helped me to get some clarity- no one in their right mind wants to risk being labeled anti-Semite- and since I grew up in a suburb that was heavily Jewish, I didn’t want to offend people I grew up with, and a really close Czech Jewish friend who I spent a great deal of time with during my year’s stay in Czech. But all of the evidence from my stay with Palestinian Catholics, and also a couple of weeks with an American married to a Russian Jewish emigrant- combined with a lot of reading from multiple perspectives- led me to see a convergence of evidences- as is the path to our certainties as taught by Father Dubay.

    I just wanted to point out that we should be doing all we can to get the perspective of brother/sister Catholics whenever there is a big conflict going on where we are neck-deep with our tax monies and powers of state and commerce- I don’t want anything to do with supporting the oppression of Catholics anywhere in the world- we must be extra-aware, and extra-cautious.

  • Mr. Shipe:

    It’s Islamdom which is oppressing our Catholic brothers and sisters, both directly and indirectly. Everybody would live happily ever after if only Palestine would accept a two-state solution and stop behaving like savage barbarians. It really is THAT simple.

  • Benedict XVI simply repeats the itinerary of John Paul II. “There will be bad consequences for the Church if he does this,” Abu Zuluf told me.

    This smacks of Stockholm Syndrome, and might at least partly explain the attitude of many Palestinian Christians. They are powerless against the Islamo-fascists who couldn’t care less about world opinion, so they seek to turn world opinion against the Israeli’s, essentially trying to ransom themselves by spreading their tormentors propaganda.

    Tim,

    many American Catholics act as if the mostly secular Jews of America and Israel are their spiritual soul mates- this smacks of the distorted theology of fundamentalist Christian Zionism.

    Can you tell me where you read this in the above posting? This is not responsive in any way to the posting, it’s simply a liberal talking point.

    The history teacher kept pointing out where former Palestinian villages were destroyed or taken over by Israelis and given new names and new residents.

    Did he point out any places where Jewish villages were destroyed or taken over by Arabs? Just curious, it seems you’re only interested in one side of the story.

    I felt that I would be a legitimate target for Arab violence,

    Sounds like you suffered from a little Stockholm Syndrom yourself. It seems to me that unarmed civilian workers sent to AID THE PALESTINIANS are not “legitimate targets” by Catholic doctrine.

    the Palestinian civilians are not even equal to an Israeli military personnel- any attack from the Palestinian side is terrorism no matter the target, and the Israelis can indulge in assassinations of Palestinian leaders and attack civilian centers and call it unfortunate collateral damage

    Since Palestinian attacks rarely successfully target Israeli military personnel, they’re successful attacks are overwhelmingly terrorist in nature. When they are successful in killing Israeli troops it’s usually at a border crossing. Interesting, the very place where IDF is vulnerable is the place that they allow goods to travel into the Palestinian territories… Do you think Israel provides for these goods to benefit some Zionist goal? It would certainly be safer for the IDF to simply wall them up permanently. Remember these attacks are the work of the legitimate government of Gaza, they can’t be blamed on some isolated group of extremists.

    This argument is getting tired. If Israel was bent on genocide they would simply get it done, nobody doubts their ability to make a clean sweep. Does anybody doubt that if Hamas had the power to do a clean sweep of Jews from all Israel/Palestine it would wait 1 hour before doing so? Try and look at things more objectively.

  • I strongly agree with both Matt and Lex. Might does not automatically make right, but that does not mean the weaker party automatically has moral superiority. If the Palestinians laid down their arms, they would have peace – and their own state. If the Israelis laid down their arms, they would perish.

    The Hamas charter specifically calls for the destruction of Israel. The Palestinians, and the Arab world in general, have stated openly time and time again that their ultimate goal is to drive the Jews into the sea. Why is it so hard for so many people to take them at their own word?

  • A good article here as to how Palestinian Christians are often treated by Palestinian Muslims.

    http://www.jcpa.org/JCPA/Templates/ShowPage.asp?DBID=1&LNGID=1&TMID=111&FID=381&PID=470&IID=2406

    Blaming Israel for the plight of Palestian Christians ignores the simple fact that native Christians are usually treated as third class citizens throughout the Arab world. The best assistance that native Christians in a majority Arab muslim culture can receive from their fellow Christians in the West is a one way ticket to the West. 35% of Palestinian Christians have emigrated in the past four decades. They are the fortunate ones.

  • If the Israelis suddenly left life wouldn’t be any better for the Arab Christians. Indeed, the Palestininas would just have more time to persecute them.

  • The Holy Father doesn’t need to go to Gaza. A symbolic gesture of solidarity such as allowing a little Catholic child from Gaza to visit the Pope in the Holy Land would suffice. The persecuted and suffering members of the Church Militant are spread throught the world, not always telvised and without lobby groups, from the gang-infested barrios of East LA to the terrorist-infested slums of Southern Philippines.

  • I actually live in Israel and work as an interfaith represenative in Haifa. Most Jews, Christians, and Muslims in Israel live together in peace. Most people on both sides of the border have been unfairly stereotyped. The Pope should have the right to go anywhere that he chooses without the political hot air getting in the way. His visit could help promote peace; but I did not know that he represents the United Nations? He is the leader of The Catolic Church

  • How can Catholics of the world show such utter disdain for the brave Catholics of Palestine? They’re suffering terribly from the failed state they’re living in (including attacks from their traumatised neighbours). But they’re trying to hang on, trying not to be forced from their homeland by the occupation. The Catholic father in Gaza, running his mixed school, is Manuel Musallam, a courageous man indeed. If he ever leaves his flock, Israel has told him he’ll never be able to get back in. He goes months with no visitors able to come and see him. Shame on the Pope for deserting a man of the cloth in such need!

A Catholic Narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Wednesday, April 8, AD 2009

A Catholic Narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Over a decade ago, I read the story of a Palestinian priest living in a small village in Galilee. His name was Father Elias Chacour, and the book’s name was – Blood Brothers-. I made pilgrimage to the Holy Land and volunteered at Fr. Chacour’s school for some months, and traveled into the West Bank as well. What I saw and heard during my experiences there changed my life forever. I realized then that the Palestinians truly are the “victim’s of the Victims”, as Edward Said so eloquently phrased it, referring to the fact that the Jews, who were the biggest victims of World War II, were now in the position of the oppressor with respect to the Palestinian people.

From a Catholic vantage point, the American policy of pretty much one-sided support for the Israeli State is both detrimental to the cause of Holy Land Christians, and is a primary root cause of Middle Eastern anger and terrorism directed at otherwise innocent Israelis and Americans.

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39 Responses to A Catholic Narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

  • The State of Israel encompasses 78% of historical Palestine…the remaining 22% was occupied by Israel in 1967, and this is all Palestinians want- a small part of what they had before 1947. They want that 22% to be free of occupation

    If only this were really true.

  • Considering that the PLO was founded in 1964 and under its original charter declared its intention to “liberate” all of Palestine, I’d say the ultimate goal of the PLO is to ensure that Jews rule in no part of Palestine. Everything else is for Western consumption. The evidence for this is overwhelming. For example Fatah is the largest component of the PLO. In March Muhammad Dahlan, former Fatah security commander, called on Hamas not to recognize Israel’s right to exist because Fatah never has done so, distinguishing Fatah from the PLO.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1237114855755&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    Of course all of this is part and parcel of Palestinian politics. Hamas controls Gaza, and the PLO controls the West Bank. They hate each other only a little less than they hate the Israelis, and have frequently murdered members of the other group. Dahlan in his statement was attempting to refute the frequent Hamas refrain that the PLO are sellouts to the Jews. Of course the simple truth is that if it will get them something they want, the PLO will be willing to recognize the right to exist of Israel, until they have the power to destroy it. This does not mean they will not continually engage in a terrorist war against Israel, as in a Fatah attack which killed 8 yeshiva students in March.

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull&cid=1204546441603

  • “PRESIDENT CLINTON was preparing last night to cut short his visit to Japan and fly back to the United States after Israel conceded a key principle by publicly accepting that Palestinians could control part of Jerusalem.

    Point of agreement: Ehud Barak, Madeleine Albright, the US Secretary of State and Yasser Arafat enjoy a lighter moment at Camp David

    The Israeli move was viewed as an important breakthrough and US officials said that Mr Clinton would press Yasser Arafat, the Palestinian leader, to give up his demand for Palestinian sovereignty over the city.

    Mr Clinton, who had already delayed his arrival in Okinawa for the G8 economic summit because of the Camp David talks, decided to return early after an Israeli cabinet minister revealed that Palestinians could be granted control over an autonomous East Jerusalem.

    Michael Melchior, who had been part of Israeli premier Ehud Barak’s negotiating team, said that Israel was prepared to accept an American plan on the future of Jerusalem. The talks had continued under Madeleine Albright, the US Secretary of State, since Thursday but officials said that another concerted push for an elusive deal was only possible with the president at the reins.

    White House officials said that if Mrs Albright told Mr Clinton that the Palestinian and Israeli positions were moving closer then he could be back at Camp David, where Mr Barak and Mr Arafat had remained, as early as tomorrow.

    But Hanan Ashrawi, the Palestinian spokesman, said that Mr Arafat believed that the US plan was unacceptable. He said: “What the Israelis are trying to do is find formulations whereby they would maintain an illegal Israeli sovereignty over occupied Jerusalem.”

    Seems like there was some give by Israel over the Jerusalem question in 2000.

  • I’m not buying, either. The “Palestinians” may have peace at any time once they stop attempting to wipe out the Jews.

    If they put half as much effort into agriculture, animal husbandry, industry, and the elimination of their political corruption as they put into trying to kill Jews, I might be willing to consider the argument.

    That many “Palestinian” Christians and fellow travelers continue to spread this sort of propaganda invites uncharitable thoughts regarding dhimmitude.

    Islam means submission. And neither Jews nor Christians should be willing to submit. That is the crux of the problem, not the policies of the State of Israel or the United States of America.

  • I am attempting to represent a Catholic perspective on the Holy Land conflict, not a Christian/Jewish Zionist perspective- so my information reflects my own on-site observations taken over several months, and a wide-ranging research that began by seeking counsel from local Catholics who actually live in Israel proper- I suggest all Catholics who are seeking the true circumstances, begin by reading Father Chacour’s Blood Brothers book, followed that with – We Belong to the Land. It is incorrect to frame the root cause of this political conflict between the majority Israelis and majority Palestinians as primarily a Muslim problem- any more than the story of Northern Ireland’s “Troubles” were primarily a Catholic problem. I personally want to see Jews, Christians and Muslims all live and take care of their families in peace- and I think the jewishvoiceforpeace.org perspective is a much better one than that put forth by the AIPAC establishment.

  • Flame,

    Are you serious?

    “If they put half as much effort into agriculture, animal husbandry, industry, and the elimination of their political corruption as they put into trying to kill Jews, I might be willing to consider the argument.”

    Every incursion against the Palestinian people I have ever read of in the whole history of this bloody conflict has involved Israeli troops uprooting and destroying their agriculture – their olive trees, their farms, etc.

    Does anyone think the Palestinian people choose to live in over packed ghettos with no access to basic human necessities? When you treat people like animals, they become animals. Then they become rabid.

    I’m not ashamed to say that I am anti-Zionist, that that the terrible crime of the Holocaust should have been paid for by the German government, not Palestinian goat herders and peasants.

  • I think Flame’s assessment is about as balanced as Tim Shipe’s.

  • This is not a “Catholic” perspective, it is a personal perspective. Period.

    Every incursion against the Palestinian people I have ever read of in the whole history of this bloody conflict has involved Israeli troops uprooting and destroying their agriculture – their olive trees, their farms, etc.

    In response to what? Tell the truth. Israel has been under almost constant terrorist attack since before 1967 from those “peace loving Palestinians”. Do you want them to just give in?

    Let me ask you this. If you’re a Christian Arab would you feel safer living in Israeli controlled territory or Hamas/Fatah controlled territory?

    What happened to the greenhouses that Israel left intact when it voluntarily left Gaza???? They were destroyed out of hatred. Until the Palestinians change their focus they will not have peace.

    Stop spreading lies about the denial of “basic human necessities”, if this were true would be all dead. Where does Gaza get it’s electricity from?

    The US has provided massive assistance both financial, technical and diplomatic to the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank… in response, what happens? They elect an avowed terrorist organization and fall into civil war…

  • Israeli policy on settlements has been wrong, to be blunt. It’s a legitimate gripe of the Palestinians, as is the expropriation of land for security purposes. Moreover, there are influential personalities in Israeli politics (Avigdor Lieberman) who are repellent bigots, not to put too fine a point on it. People who are pro-Israel (I count myself among them) have to be vigilant to the problems Israel creates for itself through its own wrong-headed actions, and not wave them away or give blank checks for retaliatory actions.

    Of course there’s a qualifier coming.

    But we need to look at the wider picture here. Israel is perfectly capable of giving back land and establishing modus vivendi with neighbors who are rational actors. Egypt, Jordan, and even Syria (although the last is shaky, but still workable) are all nations with whom the Israelis have managed to establish functioning relationships despite multiple bitter shooting wars and Israeli occupation of portions of each of their land. All three have one thing in common–resolutely secular, if unpleasant governments.

    What’s different with the Palestinians? Increasingly radically Islamicized leadership which will not agree to the existence of Israel. Less so in Fatah, obviously, but when you have an auxilliary called the “Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade,” the writing’s on the wall.

    Look, I think much of Soren’s analysis deserves thoughtful consideration, but shrugging off the religious element of the problem does it no credit.

  • Dale,

    good point. I concede that Israel has not always been as innocent as a lamb (not sure there’s many nations out there that could claim such), but as you have done, there has to be a clear distinction made between those who seek peace and those who seek the destruction of others.

  • Thanks Joe and Dale for your analysis- just so you know Dale- SorenAugust is just my user name- my real name is at the bottom of the piece- I don’t like anonymous comments, I like to stand by my own words so I will see if I can change my user name to reflect that.

    Dale- I know that the situation has deteriorated since I was in the Holy Land- the religious factor has become a much bigger player- just like the jihadist-type movement in general- this larger problem has come into the Palestinian problem- and this is something we Americans must also take a lot of responsibility for- I’ve been reading Steve Coll’s book on our involvement in Afganistan and the short-sightedness in our policy elites who played games with pakistani and saudi intelligence agencies to promote the heck out of the jihadist movement because at the time it was being directed primarily at the Soviets- our policy wizards thought they could control these elements just to make the Soviets “bleed”- they didn’t really think they could defeat the Soviets, and when they did they naively thought they could just waltz in and control the Taliban with some Unocol pipeline opportunities! And Israel has a little history of promoting jihadist elements as well- Hamas was initially supported by Israel’s policy makers in order to drive a wedge in the Palestinian community- the dominant PLO was secular- and like the PA today they have major difference with radical Islamists- Dreyfuss wrote a book everyone should read- Devil’s Game- which traces a lot of this.

    I notice that no one who is attacking my positions here is calling Archbishop Elias Chacour or former Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah liars or jihadist sympathizers- so I have to ask my critics- if my line of thinking on this correlates to the local Catholic Hierarchy in the Holy Land- how is it I am accused of not offering a “Catholic” narrative? What are your Catholic sources in the Holy Land? Wouldn’t these be the best sources of information for the worldwide Catholic community to draw upon? Are American Catholics more sympathetic and interested in Israeli Jewish community sources than in Palestinian Catholic community sources? If so why? Is this the new anti-Semitism, to take the side of Jews over Christians in the Holy Land because the Christians happen to be Arab??

  • Oh, shoot–sorry, Tim. I’ll note that for next time.

    An actual substantive response later–am a bit pinched for time.

  • soren,

    no one who is attacking my positions here is calling Archbishop Elias Chacour or former Latin Patriarch Michel Sabbah liars or jihadist sympathizers

    because there is no need for anybody to engage in ad hominem.

    Wouldn’t these be the best sources of information for the worldwide Catholic community to draw upon

    not necessarily. People embroiled in a situation do not always have the most accurate perspective.

    Were you going to answer the question on where you would prefer to live if you were a Palestinian Christian, under Israeli control or Hamas/Fatah?

    BY the way, do your sources in Gaza have an accurate count of the number of Christian Churches burned down by Hamas since they took over control? How many Israeli soldiers are currently occupying Gaza?

    ps. the answer to the last question….exactly 1 he is held hostage and denied access to the Red Cross to see to his needs.

  • Matt,

    I ask you again, what is your problem? Accusing me of “spreading lies”, as if the Palestinian people don’t live in overcrowded ghettos that are blocked off on all sides by the Israeli military?

    Let’s say I was wrong about that – why would you assume I was lying, and that perhaps I myself have not been lied to? You have a real attitude problem.

    “Israel has been under almost constant terrorist attack since before 1967 from those “peace loving Palestinians”. Do you want them to just give in?”

    The European Jews that settled in Israel committed dozens of acts of terrorism against the British to establish their power there. One good turn deserves another, doesn’t it? Israeli settlers have been violently expropriating native Palestinians since the beginning, and you wonder why they are reacting with terrorist violence?

    Why do the Palestinian people get denied valid human emotions and reactions? Why does their history get entirely erased, wiped out of the books? As if the European Jews just started showing up and declaring, “we wish to leave peacefully, side by side with you”, and the Palestinians said “no, never!” That’s the lie here.

    And don’t talk to me about Christians living in the Holy Land. I still have family in in Northern Lebanon, Maronite Catholics who may well be targeted by jihadists for ethno-religious cleansing in the future. But none of that excuses the obscene violations of human rights that the Palestinian people suffer at the hands of the US-backed Israeli war machine.

    And no amount of shrill accusations of “liar!” or whatever else from you is ever going to change my mind. The facts are what they are. You can’t sanitize this or justify it. The European Zionists made their bed when they came to Israel and decided to expropriate the Palestinians by force.

    In the same way I don’t blame Native Americans for fighting American troops, or for that matter, Polish and Russian partisans for fighting Nazi invaders, I’m not going to say that the Palestinian people have no right to be angry about the invasion of their homeland. To expect anything less is to expect these people not to be human. Its insane.

  • Well, this is certainly a Catholic perspective on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, I would hesitate very much to say that it is the Catholic perspective on it.

    The big problem here (and the reason we’re unlikely to see peace there any time soon) is that the conflict is deeply rooted in nationalism, both Zionism (Jewish nationalism) and Palestinian nationalism.

    While I’m hesitant to lay out “the Catholic position” on things, it seems to me that nationalism (in the sense of holding that a particular people have by virtue of their ethnic and historical background a God-given right to rule a particular region) is not a Catholic point of view. In this sense, it is not necessary from a Catholic point of view that Palestine be either an explicitly Jewish or a an explicitly Palestinian/Arab state. Whatever state is in that region should provide due representation and human dignity to all residents.

    However, with the dissolution of Turkey and the brief colonial period in which the Brits ran things, the powers that be unhelpfully promised sovereignty to both Jewish and Palestinian leaders. And the borders that were originally set up by the UN in 1947 took two nationalist states and created such a patchwork of them as to make the situation naturally unstable.

    The borders at the end of the 1949 war were arguably pretty reasonable, but this made the “occupied territories” part of Jordan (arguably the most stable solution) and for Palestinian nationalists this was not acceptable as they wanted to explicitly be Palestinians not Jordanians. (And the West Bank territories have been either occupied or semi-autonomous since Jordan, along with Israel’s other Arab neighbors, attacked Israel and lost in 1967.)

    While, as Dale says, I certainly would not defend everything that Israeli leaders have said or done, I find myself sympathetic to Israel these days since they seem quite willing to be peaceful so long as they are not attacked. And I think it would be a mistake to endorse the actions and desires of Palestinian nationalists simply because they are Christians. The fact is, nationalism is always a false and dangerous ideology.

    I recently had the chance to pick up A Peace to End All Peace by the always interesting David Fromkin, which I’m very much looking forward to reading. It centers on the origins of this whole mess: the breakup of the Ottoman empire, the British and French colonial period, and the various nationalistic groups that were played off each other in the process.

  • The Jews accepted the Partition Plan of the UN. The Arabs were sure that they could drive the Jews into the sea and rejected it. Considering the subsequent invasion of Palestine by the armies of every neighboring Arab state, I can understand why they were confident. Unfortunately for them, the Jews decided that one Holocaust in a century was more than enough for them. Here is a link to a map of the partition plan.
    http://domino.un.org/unispal.nsf/9a798adbf322aff38525617b006d88d7/3cbe4ee1ef30169085256b98006f540d!OpenDocument

    A good chunk of the land allocated to the Jews was desert in the Negev. The Arabs should have taken the deal.

  • I ask you again, what is your problem? Accusing me of “spreading lies”, as if the Palestinian people don’t live in overcrowded ghettos that are blocked off on all sides by the Israeli military?

    That’s not the lie you spread, while I disagree with this characterization as well, they are blocked on the west by the sea, and the south by Egypt (such as it is).

    Let’s say I was wrong about that – why would you assume I was lying, and that perhaps I myself have not been lied to? You have a real attitude problem.

    I said “Stop spreading lies”, there is no judgment as to whether you are aware they are lies… YOU have a real attitude problem.

    http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Peace/aidgaza.html
    On December 29 alone, Israel sent 63 trucks (1,545 tons) of humanitarian aid goods into the Gaza Strip including rice, yeast, flour, sugar and 64 tons of medical supplies. On December 31, 98 trucks and 2,366 tons of food and supplies were delivered in Gaza. On January 5, 80 trucks delivered goods to the area. On January 6, 49 trucks were sent into Gaza by means of the humanitarian unit of the IDF. 100 trucks and 500,000 liters of diesel fuel were sent in through the Kerem Shalom crossing on January 7.

    This data from the recent Israeli anti-terror action so it is obviously limited due to the logistical difficulty in bringing aid into a combat zone.

    “Israel has been under almost constant terrorist attack since before 1967 from those “peace loving Palestinians”. Do you want them to just give in?”

    The European Jews that settled in Israel committed dozens of acts of terrorism against the British to establish their power there. One good turn deserves another, doesn’t it? Israeli settlers have been violently expropriating native Palestinians since the beginning, and you wonder why they are reacting with terrorist violence?

    No, one good turn does not deserve another. Those terrorist acts you’re referring to (from the 40’s) are condemnable (while generally designed to avoid civilian deaths), but they do not justify THOUSANDS of terrorist attacks SPECIFICALLY targeting civilians. Surely you recognize the difference?

    Why do the Palestinian people get denied valid human emotions and reactions? Why does their history get entirely erased, wiped out of the books?

    I don’t see anyone here suggesting that.

    As if the European Jews just started showing up and declaring, “we wish to leave peacefully, side by side with you”, and the Palestinians said “no, never!” That’s the lie here.

    Well the former is true mostly and the latter is false mostly, but the situation changed when the Palestinians allied with the Arab states in an invasion of Israel (the Israeli Arabs who did NOT ally with the Arab States are referred to not as Palestinians but as Israeli citizens).

    And don’t talk to me about Christians living in the Holy Land. I still have family in in Northern Lebanon, Maronite Catholics who may well be targeted by jihadists for ethno-religious cleansing in the future.

    Where not the Maronite’s supported and aided by Israel? I’d advise to not personalize this discussion.

    But none of that excuses the obscene violations of human rights that the Palestinian people suffer at the hands of the US-backed Israeli war machine.

    Where human rights have been violated it is condemnable, but that occurs wherever there is conflict, in this case one side uses human rights violation as it’s principle action, the other side does not.

    And no amount of shrill accusations of “liar!” or whatever else from you is ever going to change my mind.

    Didn’t make such accusations… you’re the one sounding a little shrill.

    The facts are what they are. You can’t sanitize this or justify it. The European Zionists made their bed when they came to Israel and decided to expropriate the Palestinians by force.

    That’s just not so, the “Zionists” took unoccupied underutilized land which they settled legally and made it prosper, they did not expropriate it by force.

    In the same way I don’t blame Native Americans for fighting American troops, or for that matter, Polish and Russian partisans for fighting Nazi invaders, I’m not going to say that the Palestinian people have no right to be angry about the invasion of their homeland. To expect anything less is to expect these people not to be human. Its insane.

    What’s insane is to call it human to strap dynamite to a teenage girl and sending her to blowup other children.

  • Yes- definitely A Peace to End All Peace is a fantastic read- there is a great section on the Christian Zionism of some very powerful British leaders- Lloyd George and Winston Churchill- the influence of religion cuts in many directions all at once- and the HOly Land is awash in all kinds of conflicting religious motives and theological interpretations. I have found the Vatican and Palestinian Catholic Hierarchies to be very convincing indeed on the large questions pertaining to what needs to happen for a secure and lasting peace in the Holy Land. The Vatican-PLO Accord of 2000 shows that there was a general line of agreement between the Palestinian establishment and the highest reaches of the Church- what happened? The view that I subscribe to is that the Israeli settlement expansion into the West Bank, which doubled the number of settlers AFTER the Oslo Treaty- this broke the back of the Palestinian peace makers like Hana Ashrawi- they lost credibility, the level of Palestinian resistance/violence/terrorism after Oslo was incredibly low- the wide majority of Palestinians were willing to give peace another chance- hope was sky high- but the Israelis used the peace to advance more “facts on the ground”, they gave the palestinians a police force, a flag and post offices, but they didn’t give up the occupation and the aggressive territory expansion, along with resource control and all the rest that came with expanding the settlements. The awareness of this cruel hoax is what I believe led to the explosive 2nd intifada- and let’s not forget that the first Intifada was hardly a hard-core jihadist terrorist movement- it was kids and young men throwing rocks at Israeli tanks and soldiers and getting slaughtered or imprisoned and tortured- it was this generation that became the hardcore leaders of the next generation ‘no holds barred’ terrorists. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking that this is some kind of war between equals- Israelis live like Europeans, they have an internationally respected military funded to the hilt by the U.S.,they have MOSSAD intelligence service that is a global force, they have nuclear weapons without any inspection demands from the Western powers- and the Palestinians? Come on. It doesn’t matter that the population of the Israelis is something like 5 million to 500 million Arabs in the Middle EAst, the U.S. has only 6% of the world’s population but has the military might of the next 20 some nations, and has the economic clout to match. Israel is a regional superpower, the Palestinians are treated like dirt by the Arab leaders who are allied with U.S. interests- which of course leads them to find common cause with those opposed to U.S. interests- see Iraq, see Iran, see Osama Bin Laden. Hamas found favor with most Palestinians in Gaza because they found ways to provide real material support and charity to the poor- this is the reality from the Palestinian perspective.

    I lived with Palestinians living in Galilee in Israel proper, and the village was one-third muslim, one-third Catholic, and one-third Orthodox, the people there saw the Israelis as their oppressor, and yet the claims of the jihadists have become increasingly popular because the Christians and the Americans have not brought anything positive to the Palestinians- everyone who isn’t radically connected to Christian or Jewish Zionism knows that both of America’s major political parties is extremely pro-Israel- by that I mean they go out of their way to please the AIPAC lobby- there is no competition between the lobby strength of Palestinians vs. Israaelis here in America. I believe that American Catholics have the potential to break this monopoly, but it may indeed be too late- the Christian Palestinians are now beginning to get it from all sides- from muslim Palestinians as well- but this is a self-fulfilling prophesy of those who have pushed the Palestinian people right up to the wall- literally- the Separation Wall, the check-points, the land grabs by racist settlers, with American Christian Zionists cheerleading every stolen acre and home- wow- what a mess.

    Please everyone read Fromkin’s A Peace to End All Peace- the Great Game must end- the Middle East is not a video game, not a chess match- it is full of actual people, mothers, fathers, and children- if you want to hate muslims and arabs that is your sin- not mine. I want what the Church has long proclaimed- a Two-State Israel and Palestine, with Israel going back to the 67 borders, and all international law and UN resolutions dealt with fairly- the right to return of palestinians must be respected in some way- perhaps with generous compensation and with trade-offs in terms of territory and the like- and Jerusalem should be either an International City as the Church long suggested, or a capital for Israel in West Jerusalem and a capital for Palestine in East Jerusalem. It remains to be seen if President Obama will throw the Palestinians under the same bus he has thrown the unborn- he and Hillary made their deep bows to AIPAC on the campaign trail- so I’m not too optimistic, but at least he doesn’t seem infected with the ethnic-cleansing religious beliefs of the Christian Zionists who surrounded George W. (who may be one himself).

  • soren,

    if you want to hate muslims and arabs that is your sin- not mine

    If YOU want to hate Jews and Israelis that is your sin, not ours. What’s so ridiculous is that you acknowledge the same people which you accuse of “ethnic-cleansing religious beliefs” are supporters of Arabs and Muslims in many other countries who are not part of the death cult.

  • Matt,

    I don’t have to approve of the particular tactics of the Palestinian resistance to understand the reason that the resistance exists at all.

    If the Palestinian militants were fighting a “conventional” guerrilla campaign, would that legitimize their cause in your eyes? Somehow I doubt it.

    The Muslims understand the meaning of “total war” and many would rather die than live under Israeli rule. As a Christian I think suicide in general is a mortal sin, and I would choose to live under occupation before blowing myself to bits – but Muslims believe different things, and hence no one should be surprised by their tactics.

    I’m not surprised when a vicious attack dog bites some kid who teases it, and I’m not surprised when Muslims living in utterly hopeless conditions, humiliated and impoverished, blow themselves up in the hopes of getting to Paradise. You can’t oppress people and expect them to smile about it. It’s never happened in history and it isn’t going to happen now. The European Zionist Jews did not want to be partners with the Palestinian people, but overlords. European nations went along with it because they wanted an outpost in the Middle East.

    In the final instance Zionism is colonialism, there is no justification for it, and there are orthodox Jews who agree. And as for attacking civilians, there are hundreds of documented incidents of the Israeli military deliberately targeting civilians. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Red Cross, the UN, all of them have extensively documented these war crimes. But thats all a part of the global liberal conspiracy agenda, I suppose.

  • Bryan Caplan recently posed four hypothetical questions that he would like to ask Palestinians. I’ll leave out the first (which I suspect would only promote needless controversy), but I find the other three to be pretty apt:

    2. The Israelis could easily have killed or exiled every Palestinian. Why didn’t they? What does that say about their objective function – and/or the objection functions of other Western countries that put pressure on Israel?

    3. Suppose all the Jews left Israel tomorrow. What would greater Palestine’s GDP per capita be ten years from now? Want to bet on that?

    4. Suppose all the Jews left Israel tomorrow. How many Palestinians would still die violent deaths during the next ten years? How many political prisoners will there be in ten years? Want to bet on that?

  • Tim,

    I think you’re missing a bit of perspective there, though:

    1) You say “the population of the Israelis is something like 5 million to 500 million Arabs in the Middle East”, but within Israel itself the breakdown is 5.4M Jews to 1.6M others. Plus 2.3M in the West Bank and 1.5M in Gaza, if you want to include those.

    2) Israel isn’t just made up of European Jews who have moved in during the last 120 years — not only are there Jews native to Palestine but the surrounding Arab countries expelled (through hard or soft methods) roughly 800,000 Middle Eastern Jews who ended up in Israel between 1948 and 1970. They and their descendants now make up, by some estimates, around 40% of Israeli Jews. And like the Arabs pushed out of Israeli territories in the 1940s, their land and possessions were left behind in the countries they came from. (They’re not agitating for a “right of return” because going back to Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, etc. is not exactly a fun plan for Jews these days and they’ve made new lives for themselves in Israel.)

    3) While it’s true that now the money and military might are all on the Israeli side, it’s important to understand this was not the case prior to 1970. Indeed, up until the 1967 war (in which Israel’s Arab neighbors tried to wipe them out) it was pretty widely expected that the Arab nations could (and indeed would) crush Israel. Coincidentally it was after 1970 that opinion turned much more heavily against Israel in Europe, leading some cynics to remark that everyone was fine with Israel so long as it was doomed.

    Again, I don’t hold truck with Jewish nationalism, though I can certainly sympathize with the desire for a Jewish state after the way that the Jewish people were treated in the first half of the 20th century. But I don’t see Palestinian nationalism (or Arab nationalism more generally) as being any more valid. There is no right for a specifically Arab state to control the region of Palestine.

    It’s all very well to point out that it’s only natural and human for Palestinians to resist what they see as Israeli domination. (Though again, I think it’s important to recall that we cannot accept ethnic nationalist ideas of what constitutes “domination”.) But at the same time, it’s also only natural and human for the Israelis to take serious security measures when militants are constantly trying to attack them. When Israel has existed for 60 years and has had its current borders for roughly 40 years, one eventually has to accept it as a reality and work within it as an accomplished fact. Otherwise, nationalist strife will never end.

  • Man, I gotta stop, but a couple points for Joe:

    The Muslims understand the meaning of “total war” and many would rather die than live under Israeli rule.

    As I see it, though, this is precisely the problem. Being a member of a country which is predominantly of another ethnic or religious group should not result in total war. That’s nationalism of the worst sort.

    Catholics only make up 20% of the US, should we fight to get out own country?

    Hispanics used to dominate the South West and are demographically close to doing so again: should they fight a war to get their own country?

    That way lies madness.

    You can’t oppress people and expect them to smile about it. It’s never happened in history and it isn’t going to happen now. The European Zionist Jews did not want to be partners with the Palestinian people, but overlords. European nations went along with it because they wanted an outpost in the Middle East.

    I think this is an overly simplistic and negative reading. The early Zionist leaders were actually very optimistic about how they would live with and work with the Palestinian Arabs, albeit in a somewhat patronizing fashion. If I may quote the post I linked to above:

    Thus, while encouraging both piecemeal Jewish immigration into Palestine and diplomatic attempts to secure sponsorship of a Jewish homeland in Palestine from one of the great powers, the early Zionists mostly attempted to assure themselves that the sparse Arab population in the area would be glad to see them. Herzl published a speculative novel entitled The Old New Land in 1903 charting out the way in which the founding of a Jewish state might go, and in it presented a local Arab character who said of the new state, “The Jews have made us prosperous, why should we be angry with them? They live with us as brothers, why should we not love them?” In the novel, political rights of Jews and non-Jews were the same, and local Arabs gladly adopted the hybrid Jewish-European culture of the new country.

    By the 1940s things were obviously on a much more violent footing, but even so a major part of the problem is that both Jews and Arabs had undergone a nationalist awakening, and so Arabs saw the mere existence of Israel as oppressive regardless of how it treated them.

    Needless to say, so long as both groups consider it oppression for the other group to even exist, there will never be peace. (And the Jews in Palestine exist as surely as the Hispanics in California do.) At this vantage point in history, it seems to be the Israeli’s who are willing to play the liberal democracy game and give rights to everyone who isn’t intent of killing them. The Palestinians show no such promise at this time.

  • I would recommend a couple of Israeli historians who present the case that the threats from the Palestinians and the neighboring Arab states historically was way overblown- check out Benny Morris and Tom Segev’s books- funny thing about Benny Morris is that he readily acknowledges that the Zionist forces basically went about ethnic cleansing operations, using a few massacres and massive propaganda to good effect, but he apparently is arguing that they probably should have just gone all the way with the ethnic cleansing- now it would seem that many American Catholics would agree- even though the Church clearly teaches that you cannot even do something good by use of evil means- and I don’t think one could really argue that any ethnic cleansing is ever a good idea for starters.

    Now another must read is John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy- they make a very solid academic case for the facts I have stated earlier- this is really about lobby power here in the U.S.- the fact that every mainstream candidate for President and even Congress makes ridiculous efforts to come across as being absolutely in adoration of the State Of Israel, pretty much completely connecting the fate and state of Israel to America’s- well that says quite a lot. And there isn’t even a difference between Republican candidates and Democratic ones in this regard- why is this? It’s not a conspiracy that is hidden, it is a very open ‘secret’- if you read – They Dare to Speak Out- you will get even more specifics from actual former Congressmen and others. Now the whole point here is that the truth is that the current state of affairs does not serve anyone- not majority Jews in Israel or America, certainly not Arabs/Palestinians, and not majority Americans – if we look at long-term interests in security and economics.

    I also spent time living with an American married to a Russian Jewish emigre in West Jerusalem- and it is not the majority view, but there are more Israelis who seem to hold very different views on the status quo policies of Israeli-American establishments than we are led to believe. It is certainly not anti-Jewish to choose the viewpoints as represented at Jewishvoiceforpeace.org and American Jewish scholars like Noam Chomsky and Norman Finkelstein is it? I am very critical of many establishment American policies regarding other countries- particularly poor and third world countries- am I to be thrown in with anti-American zealots? Are Jewish critics of Israeli establishment policies re: the Palestinians all self-loathing Jews? I will answer to the above- certainly not. I am one who served in the National Guard for 6 years, I am patriotic, but I am Catholic first, I belong to Jesus Christ and I will stand on principle always- I may be missing some things, but my motives are clear as best I can declare them- I hate no one, but if the truth leads me to take unpopular positions, then so be it. I have offered my personal eyewitness testimony and I have given an extensive paper trail of books, authors, and web sites- I will have to leave it at that- I will leave all the bloggers here with some goodwill- I will assume that everyone here is not motivated by racism towards Arabs any more than I am motivated by hatred of Jews- if you know more of my background which is quite personal, you would have even more reassurance on that score! So this is a Catholic blog with a Catholic disagreement of the facts of history and ongoing facts on the ground. We should be having this argument, we should be challenged with the various claims- that is all to the good- I only wish this argument was taking place all over the mainstream media- I do think I have made some pretty serious claims with substantive backing- that doesn’t win the day outright, but it should offer a case that the mainstream Catholic and secular media isn’t presenting much of this for the public to receive a proper education as to the real choices available to us- and this is something we all should know from our pro-life work! God Bless – let’s recall Christ’s command to love our enemies even as we try to perfect them through correction, and let us be open to charges of sounding as clanging gongs at times with our righteous truth-telling. This may come down to a democratic exercise just as the lobby wars go on- each of us should take our civic responsibility serious enough to engage the media with our case for or against the standard Israel or Palestinian narrative. I once wrote an open letter asking Pope John Paul II to go and take up residence in the Holy Land during the second Intifada as a sign of the ultimate peacemaker in action- I may ask Pope Benedict to please make this an even greater priority for his papacy to restore trust among Christians, Jews and Muslims, and offer more public commentary on the path to peace.

  • So Darwin,

    Are books such as Ralph Schoenman’s “The Hidden History of Zionism” just totally wrong?

    This is another one of those cases where we can cite historical texts to one another and still disagree. Were there European Jewish settlers who wanted to live in peace and solidarity with their Palestinian Arab neighbors? Undoubtedly. But was this the impetus behind the project as it was presented to the leading governments of Europe, particularly the British Empire? Certainly not!

    Zionism was a colonialist, imperialist venture right from the beginning. To say that the Zionist leaders was “patronizing” is to say the least – of course they weren’t going to admit outright the violent nature of their endeavor. But you don’t move in and occupy a country without bloodshed. You don’t expropriate thousands of people from their homes, their farms, their orchards and villages without massive resistance.

    Early in the Zionist project it may have been possible for the settler Jews and Palestinian natives to co-exist because the migration hadn’t occurred in great numbers. But after WWII there was an explosion of immigrants and once the British were driven out the Zionists turned against their Arab neighbors. Starting in 1948 hundreds of villages were razed to the ground as thousands fled before the Israeli military.

    So I repeat – you can’t uproot a people and oppress them and expect them not to fight back. I hate the tone this debate takes, as if the Palestinians have zero justification for taking up arms against Israel and even resorting to terrorist methods, lacking as they do the “civilized” methods of massive aerial bombardment – as if some people can’t even fathom it. I’m not accusing you of this, Darwin, but there are some people who do go that far and its infuriating.

  • Now another must read is John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt’s book The Israel Lobby and US Foreign Policy- they make a very solid academic case for the facts I have stated earlier

    Haven’t read the book, but did read the original paper which became the basis for the book. As I recall, Noam Chomsky found the Walt / Mearsheimer’s thesis not sufficiently anti-American (and, on its own terms, unconvincing); and Benny Morris took offense at their abuse and misuse of his historical research.

    http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/4134 [Chomsky]
    http://americanfuture.net/?p=2159 [Benny Morris]

    I do think I have made some pretty serious claims with substantive backing- that doesn’t win the day outright, but it should offer a case that the mainstream Catholic and secular media isn’t presenting much of this for the public to receive a proper education as to the real choices available to us

    You mean like the BBC or CNN?

  • I mean, if quotes like this are accurate, who can blame the Palestinians?

    “We came here to a country that was populated by Arabs, and we are building here a Hebrew, Jewish state. Instead of Arab villages, Jewish villages were established. You do not even know the names of these villages and I do not blame you, because these geography books no longer exist. Not only the books, but also the villages do not exist.”

    –Moshe Dayan, former Chief of Staff and Minister of Defense

  • Joe,

    Starting in 1948 hundreds of villages were razed to the ground as thousands fled before the Israeli military.

    you’re suggesting that the Arabs are innocent of attacking the Jewish villages? You are aware that there remain many Arab villages in Israel, and that the inhabitants are full citizens with voting rights and even a number of members of the Knesset? This story of yours doesn’t ring true.

    as if the Palestinians have zero justification for taking up arms against Israel and even resorting to terrorist methods, lacking as they do the “civilized” methods of massive aerial bombardment – as if some people can’t even fathom it.

    There is no justification for resorting to terrorist methods:

    2313 Non-combatants, wounded soldiers, and prisoners must be respected and treated humanely.
    Actions deliberately contrary to the law of nations and to its universal principles are crimes, as are the orders that command such actions. Blind obedience does not suffice to excuse those who carry them out. Thus the extermination of a people, nation, or ethnic minority must be condemned as a mortal sin. One is morally bound to resist orders that command genocide.

    I’d like to ask a question. Do we all agree that if ethnic cleansing was attempted by Israel at any time since crushing the Arabs in the 67 war, they would have had it wrapped up before anyone could say or do anything to prevent it. Why wouldn’t they simply do this? One fell swoop and the whole Palestinian question is moot, a few years in the doghouse, and they would apologize, and go on with life, by now everyone would love them. Instead they repeatedly make attempts to return territory to the Palestinians and the troubles drag on. If the “Zionists” are so “evil” why wouldn’t they do this?

    By the way, who is the Zionist project to be considered colonial and imperial? That doesn’t seem to make any sense to me. If I was going for empire, I’d set my sights on something a little bigger a place the size of New Jersey, 2/3 of which is desert, the rest can only be cultivated with great effort due to minimal rainfall.

  • Army of Shadows: Palestinian Collaboration with Zionism, 1917-1948 (UC California Press, February 2009)

    Inspired by stories he heard in the West Bank as a child, Hillel Cohen uncovers a hidden history in this extraordinary and beautifully written book—a history central to the narrative of the Israel-Palestine conflict but for the most part willfully ignored until now. In Army of Shadows, initially published in Israel to high acclaim and intense controversy, he tells the story of Arabs who, from the very beginning of the Arab-Israeli encounter, sided with the Zionists and aided them politically, economically, and in security matters. Based on newly declassified documents and research in Zionist, Arab, and British sources, Army of Shadows follows Bedouins who hosted Jewish neighbors, weapons dealers, pro-Zionist propagandists, and informers and local leaders who cooperated with the Zionists, and others to reveal an alternate history of the mandate period with repercussions extending to this day. The book illuminates the Palestinian nationalist movement, which branded these “collaborators” as traitors and persecuted them; the Zionist movement, which used them to undermine Palestinian society from within and betrayed them; and the collaborators themselves, who held an alternate view of Palestinian nationalism. Army of Shadows offers a crucial new view of history from below and raises profound questions about the roots of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

    Sounds like another book one might read for an education into Israeli-Palestinian relations.

  • Matt,

    Are you trying to suggest, by invoking the Catechism in the way that you do, that Palestinian attacks on an occupying force constitutes attempted “genocide”? It’s a perversion of moral logic. If you came into my home with the intent of forcing me to live out in my back yard and I responded with force, would I be the criminal?

    The Zionist settlers – like every other colonial invading force in history (so it has nothing to do with their being Jews) – instigate bloodshed and destruction to carve out a place for themselves in a land that isn’t theirs, and to which the native inhabitants did not invite them.

    They and their European backers initiated the cycle of bloodshed. Suicide bombing is the fruit of colonialism in the Muslim world, just as the scalping of white settlers was the fruit of colonialism in the United States. The aggressor bears the moral burden.

    It has always been justified as “the white man’s burden”, the task of bringing “civilization” to the backward natives whether they want it or not. Do you think this is a valid theory? If you do, why? If you don’t, how do you defend Zionism?

    “If I was going for empire, I’d set my sights on something a little bigger a place the size of New Jersey, 2/3 of which is desert, the rest can only be cultivated with great effort due to minimal rainfall.”

    Do you really know absolutely nothing about the history of Zionism as a movement, or are you just trying to be cute?

  • They and their European backers initiated the cycle of bloodshed. Suicide bombing is the fruit of colonialism in the Muslim world, just as the scalping of white settlers was the fruit of colonialism in the United States. The aggressor bears the moral burden.

    Justifying Palestinian suicide bombing of civilians as a valid response, Joe? — are you serious? Some ‘Catholic’ moral narrative.

  • No, I don’t “justify” it. I think I stated pretty clearly before that I believe suicide is a mortal sin and contrary to any rational understanding of natural law.

    Here I am speaking of simple cause and effect. Don’t want suicide bombings? Don’t herd a bunch of Muslim fanatics into an impoverished ghetto.

    Was the “shock and awe” bombing of Baghdad and other Iraqi cities a “valid response” to some vaguely stated case for WMDs? Is a bomb dropped from 20,000 feet on a densely populated city somehow “more moral” than a suicide bombing in a cafe?

    Or is it just a case of, “when its for my cause, its right, and their cause, wrong”?

  • By the way, are the collective punishments inflicted on the Palestinian people by the Israeli military – incidents documented by major human rights organizations in clear violation of international law – a “valid” response?

  • Sigh. I hate this debate, because of what I just did – pointing out the evil others commit in response to the evils someone else already commented on. It’s no way to get at moral truth.

    It’s all disgusting to me – suicide bombings, civilian deaths, aerial bombardment, “shock and awe”. If I were completely wrong about the Palestinians being the victims and the Israelis being the aggressors, then I’d rethink my views.

    I don’t want to justify any atrocities, but the rational part of my brain says, “these Palestinians are desperate, they’ve been terrorized and humiliated and they are lashing out like madmen”. I see a method in the madness, and if I were Muslim, and not Christian, I’m not sure how I would respond to the situation.

  • By the way, are the collective punishments inflicted on the Palestinian people by the Israeli military – incidents documented by major human rights organizations in clear violation of international law – a “valid” response?

    I’ve wrestled with this previously (see Thoughts on Israel’s war with Hamas American Catholic 12/30/2008), and I think it would depend on the specific action taken (I’m inclined not to issue a general condemnation of Israel’s actions until I know the facts).

    As I stated then, in ascertaining moral culpability, I think you’d have to address several pertinent questions:

    Did Israel adopt all other means at its disposal to prevent the attacks before resorting to armed force?

    In resorting to armed force, did Israel deliberately target Palestinian civilians, or target a site with the specific intention of killing civilians?

    Did Israel take necessary precautions to prevent harm to civilians?

    However, I cannot fathom any moral justification for bombing with the deliberate attempt to inflict mass casualties upon civilians, as is the intent and product of suicide bombing.

    Benny Morris’ books give accounts of terrorist acts of this nature by both Israelis and the Arabs. Both were gravely wrong in doing so.

  • Benny Morris is an interesting case. He began his career on the far left of Israeli historical thought and was one of the “New Historians” who took a highly critical, and I thought highly selective, view of Israel’s history. However, Morris has developed into perhaps the best Israeli historian of his generation. His 1948 is the most accurate history I have read about that conflict, and I think generally gives a good overview of the war, although on the military aspect his lack of military experience shows. His political views have largely become more conservative over time. This Wikipedia article gives a decent overview of him and his work.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benny_Morris

  • Zionism was a colonialist, imperialist venture right from the beginning. To say that the Zionist leaders was “patronizing” is to say the least – of course they weren’t going to admit outright the violent nature of their endeavor. But you don’t move in and occupy a country without bloodshed. You don’t expropriate thousands of people from their homes, their farms, their orchards and villages without massive resistance.

    Well, come to that, we could probably have a pretty extensive argument about colonialism and imperialism too — but that’s for another day. (Say, not in Holy Week.)

    I don’t have any interest in justifying the actions of the Stern Gang and other various Jewish militias back in the 30s and 40s. (Nor, I imagine, do you have any interest in doing so for the Arab militias.) Unquestionably things got very ugly and there is plenty of blame to go around on both sides.

    However, I think it’s problematic to denounce the whole project of Jews having moved into Palestine in the late 19th and throughout the 20th century, or to denounce their wanting to stay there and maintain a stable government at this time. Going back to the late Ottoman period when all this got started, there were sizeable Jewish and Arab and Christian populations in the area, and it was honestly pretty sparsely settled. I don’t think we can say that the Jews had no right to move there seeking to create a better life for themselves anymore than we can say that Jews had no right to move to the US in the 30s and 40s, or that Hispanics have no right to move to the US now.

    (As a half-Hispanic from California, this strikes me as particularly relevant. A lot of towns in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and California are now almost entirely Hispanic, and major cities have very large Hispanic populations. However, thankfully, both nationalist Hispanics of the La Raza sort, who insist that the Southwest should become a Hispanic ethnic state, and anglo nationalists who insist that its a violation of their rights for so many Hispanics to move in, are distinct minorities in our country. Nationalism of this sort has never been much of an American phenomenon.)

    So unless we’re to accept nationalist assumptions about particular ethnic groups having a divine right to a specific piece of land, I don’t think we can say that Jews immigrating to Palestine was any kind of a problem. What did create strife was the fact that both the Jewish and Arab populations in the region became caught up in ethnic nationalism such that by 1947 both wanted to have a specifically ethnic state in the same place.

    What impresses me about Israel is that despite its occasional paranoia and excesses in self defense (and at a human level, who can blame them given their history over the last 60 years) it has moved beyond this ethnic nationalism to become a pluralistic democracy. And what I think would be by far the best thing for the Palestinians would be if they would do the same — either on their own or simply reconciling themselves to Israel and its existence.

    The comparison is telling: nearly a million Jews were expelled from surrounding Arab states, and they forgot about what they’d lost and absorbed into the Israeli population — making up roughly 40% of the current Jewish population in Israel. The Arabs who were expelled (or left thinking that the Jewish state would soon be wiped out and they could return) from Jewish territory have not been absorbed by Jordan, Syria and Egypt — those countries have been quite happy to keep them on Israel’s doorstop, in poverty, as a political and military tool against Israel.

    Hard as it may be to swallow, Israel is now a 60-year-old fact (as old as many countries in the world right now) and fighting against it now is not necessarily more reasonable from a just war perspective than if the descendants of the plains Indians were still fighting against the US in the 1930s and 40s.

  • If the Jews should leave Israel because of colonialism and imperialism, then I assume the same would apply to the Arabs who should return en masse to Saudi Arabia? If the same logic would apply to the US I’m not sure what would happen to me. Perhaps my Cherokee blood would allow me to stay?

  • With my Yaqui blood I have a choice of Northern Mexico or Arizona. I think I’d choose Arizona.

    Anyway, why didn’t the Palestinians welcome all those Jewish immigrants to Palestine. It is required per Catholic Social Teaching. 😉