Jun 29, 2006

Middle East Veers Toward Wider War

Empty Palestinian parliament Left: Portraits of detained Hamas politicians in the empty Palestinian parliament; photo courtesy of Muhammed Muheisen/AP

(West Bank) Israeli troops arrested Palestinian ministers and lawmakers from the ruling Hamas party on Thursday, while simultaneously pushing forward with a military campaign in Gaza designed to win the release of an Israeli soldier held by militants.

Israel reoccupied areas of southern Gaza yesterday, bombing bridges and an electricity plant in an attempt to pressure Palestinian militants to free abducted soldier Gilad Shilat. Electricity for half of Gaza has been severed, and supplies of fuel and food have been halted to the region.

Israeli jets also flew over the summer house of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad yesterday. The move was ostensibly a show of force against a country that has been accused of harboring senior members of Hamas in the past.

State-run Syrian television said two Israeli fighters had flown over the country’s Mediterranean coast in an “aggressive act and a provocation," claiming that “national air defences opened fire in the direction of the planes, and they dispersed."

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan warned of the danger that the conflict in Gaza and the West Bank will spread across the Middle East.

"The Israeli government has a responsibility to protect its citizens, but it has to do so with restraint and, of course, it is understandable that they would want to go after those who [had] kidnapped the soldier," he said. "But it has to be done in such a way that civilian populations are not made to suffer."

The Israeli human rights organization Btselem warned that cutting eletricity would jeopardize water supplies and health care for civilian non-combatants.

"Israel has the right to all legal measures to free the abducted soldier, Corporal Gilad Shalit," the group wrote on its website. "However, Israel must refrain from using measures which contravene International Humanitarian Law, which categorically prohibits all sides to a conflict from attacking 'objects indispensable to the survival of the civilian population.'"

A Hamas official described Israel's detention of the Palestinian legislators as "hostage-taking," but would not discuss whether Hamas would turn over an Israeli soldier for the release of the arrested politicians.

"It is premature to discuss this matter," Osama Hamdan said. "If the Israelis want to trade them [the Hamas politicians] for the soldier then let them say it frankly and then we will react."

Also, a body found early Thursday near the Gaza town of Ramallah was identified as that of 18-year-old Eliyahu Yitzhak Asheri, a West Bank settler seized by Palestinian militants.


Anonymous said...

Condi Rice had better stop sucking up to the Israelis and do some srerious diplomacy before this thing explodes into World War III.

Anonymous said...

Whose sucking up to the Israelis?

Usually, all we do is beg the Israelis to "restrain" their response to Palistinian terrorism.

If the Israelis wanted to, they could handle the Palis and be done with them as a threat. That they DONT do that, in the face of hundreds of Israeli victims of suicide bombing, just goes to show the level of restraint and humanity the Israelis possess as a nation.

If it was U.S., I can promise you, we would have wiped the map with an indigenous terrorist group like this.

The Palis create their owb problems...

liberal_dem said...

George H. W. Bush gathered together a multi-national force and a U.N. resolution when Saddam invaded Kuwait.

Israel invades Gaza and kidnaps elected Parliament members and we yawn.

I don't get it.

LTLOP said...

Sorry, don't buy the U.N. resolution crap. If U.N. reso's had any power/effect/teeth/whatever, do you really think that the U.S. would be where in Iraq today? Seventeen(17) U.N. reso's regarding the dreaded WMD's, also don't forget the oil for food scandals upon which Kofi's son made money. So let's face it the U.N. is nothing more than a pan-national eunuch that allowed such countries as Libya and Cuba to serve on the Human Rights committees.
Also, what did Kuwait do to precipitate the Iraqi attack? They supposedly/allegedly drilled under the Iraqi border for oil. What precipitated the Israeli attack? Hamas kidnapped an Israeli soldier and from the quotes do not make an attempt to dispel the notion that they are holding the soldier. If they are holding him do you really think they are looking to the Geneva Convention for his treatment? At least the U.S. based their treatment of prisoners with the G.C. in mind.

Pink_Slip said...

I wouldn't say Israel is completely innocent in all this. And I think we do suck up to them. Our staunch support of them as a Middle Eastern ally has created a ton of anti-US sentiment. I say let Israel handle there own problems....

Dariush said...

"If the Israelis wanted to, they could handle the Palis and be done with them as a threat. That they DONT do that, in the face of hundreds of Israeli victims of suicide bombing, just goes to show the level of restraint and humanity the Israelis possess as a nation."

Oh, brother. Poor, poor poisecuted Izzies. Eternal victims they are. Such "restraint" they show in the face of that "indigenous terrorist group" known as the Palestinians. All they have to defend themselves from those rock-throwing kids and "suicide bombers" are tanks, helicopter gunships, bombers, warships that blast entire families to smithereens, nuclear submarines, etc. All paid for courtesy of the American and Joiman taxpayer. Not enough, apparently, for the more frothing elements of their American cheering section, who also, apparently, love to quote Bibi Netanyahu.

"What precipitated the Israeli attack? Hamas kidnapped an Israeli soldier and from the quotes do not make an attempt to dispel the notion that they are holding the soldier."

The kidnapping of the Israeli soldier was precipitated by this massacre, which has, conveniently enough, already been relegated to the memory hole.

"Hamas has said it will end its 16-month agreement not to launch attacks on Israel in response to the incidents."

Well done Israel! Now we can look forward to lots of reports of how Hamas has broken the ceasefire...

Dariush said...

Courtesy of Eli Stephens:

In today's news:

"Israel turned up the pressure on Palestinian militants to release a captive soldier Wednesday, sending its warplanes to bomb a Hamas training camp after knocking out electricity and water supplies for most of the 1.3 million residents of the Gaza Strip."

Not that Israel is doing anything the United States didn't perfect in its bombing of Yugoslavia and Iraq (notably the first Gulf War; by the time of the 2003 invasion there wasn't much left). Attacking civilian targets is, of course, a war crime.

Without exception as far as I've seen, the media reports that the current Israeli attacks are a "rescue attempt." This is nonsense. Their chances of rescuing the captured soldier alive are as close to nil as can be imagined. This assault is, as the actual actions cited above demonstrate, all about collective punishment of the Palestinian people, and has little if anything to do with attempting to save the life of Cpl. Gilad Shalit.

Update: "Collective punishment" may be a bit too abstract. Let's make it concrete. Last month, 3-year-old Mariyah Amin was left paralyzed and on an artificial respirator for life. Without electricity, Mariyah Amin, and many others in similar circumstances, will die. Or, to be more accurate, will have been murdered by the Israelis, as were her brother, mother, and grandmother.

More from the Peace Palestine blog.

LTLOP said...

Who attacked who. Here we go the poor persecuted Palestinians, they merely want to live in the land that they have lived in for centuries. Never mind that the bible (used as a historical document not religiously, hence lowercase) clearly shows that Jews were there prior to the Palestinians. This entire argument always degenerates into a an elementary school "but he hit me" (insert whiny voice) scenario.
Why negotiate with a group that in its charter advocates the destruction of Israel, nobody seems to take offense at that.

"All they have to defend themselves from those rock-throwing kids and "suicide bombers" are tanks, helicopter gunships,"(sorry don't know how to do the cool boldy quotey thingy) Thats right, the suicide bombers only go for military targets, they were merely riding the bus to their military target when a bump accidentally set the bomb off killing all those innoocent Jews .

Don't get me wrong Israel has its fair share of blood on their hands but it also seems to me that they have made more concilliatory gestures than the Palestinians.

Kate said...

Well, how far back in history do you want to go? This isn't a new argument.

Muslims are not anymore dangerous than the automobile (drum roll please) I present to you - facts.

ANNO DOMINI 613 Muhammad's declaration at Mt. Sara inviting the general public to accept Islam.
624 Battle of Badr. Expulsion of the Jews from Madina.
627 Battle of the Trench. Expulsion of the Jews at Banu Quraiza.

And on and on it goes. Where it stops, nobody knows...

Dariush said...

Kate: "Muslims are not anymore dangerous than the automobile."

Now, I finally get what Pink Slip what was talking about here:

"Now now Kate...I have read some anti-Muslim talk coming from you before, so don't play holier than thou...."

Dariush said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Dariush said...


I was wondering if you could help me out with something.

My memory is a little fuzzy and I don't remember the exact passages in Deuteronomy wherein Jhvh commands Joshua to do something to Jericho and its populace and he proceeds to do that certain something in a most "glorious" manner. If you could point me to those passages I would be ever so grateful.


I wonder whatever became of those pesky, swarthy, "anti-Semitic" Canaanites?

Anonymous said...

You're too late. After investigation, it was determined that the poor, oppressed Pali picnic family were killed by a HAMAS landmine.

The Palis create their own problems. After fifty years of "people's struggle", you'd think they'd wise up to that.

Ayatollah Assholla said...

Personally, I hope the Israelis show NO restraint whatsoever...

"The Arabs have two modes: Whine and Destroy."

Anonymous said...

Quran Sura 9:5 :

"KILL the nonbeliever wherever you find him...."

Millions of Damn Moonbats said...

It's all about Iraq, isn't it?

Yep, it's all about Iraq and...

India and the Sudan and Algeria and Afghanistan and New York and Pakistan and Israel and Russia and Chechnya and the Philippines and Indonesia and Nigeria and England and Thailand and Spain and Egypt and Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia and Ingushetia and Dagestan and Turkey and Kabardino-Balkaria and Morocco and Yemen and Lebanon and France and Uzbekistan and Gaza and Tunisia and Kosovo and Bosnia and Mauritania and Kenya and Eritrea and Syria and Somalia and California and Kuwait and Virginia and Ethiopia and Iran and Jordan and United Arab Emirates and Louisiana and Texas and Tanzania and Germany and Pennsylvania and Belgium and Denmark and East Timor and Qatar and Maryland and Tajikistan and the Netherlands and Scotland and Chad and Canada and...

...and pretty much wherever Muslims believe their religion tells them to:

"Fight and slay the Unbelievers wherever ye find them. Seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem of war."
Qur'an, Sura 9:5

millions of damn moonbats said...

For fourteen hundred years Islam has terrorized the world, invaded and brutalized nations, repressed human liberties, invoked wars and ethnic cleansing, and generally held back advancement for society.

I'd rather be DEAD, and the whole world would be better off dead, than coverted to the "religion" of pedophile pirate Mohammed.

Let's roll!

Brian1984 said...

C'mon Dariush. You can offer more than links to other blogs. I'm sure you have an opinion here.

You once succesfully challenged my thinking on Middle East politics. Do it again!

Dariush said...

"Millions of Damn Moonbats",

Feel better now that you've, literally and figuratively, shot your wad?

You forgot to post a link to another one of your favourites, Gates of Vienna.

I suspect that between surfing all these wonderful, educational sites and photoshopping Michelle Malkin's head onto the body of the latest Maxim babe, you must have your hands full.

As for this:

"You're too late. After investigation, it was determined that the poor, oppressed Pali picnic family were killed by a HAMAS landmine."

Yes, that's right. The IDF investigated itself and found itself to blameless in the incident.

Quite a shocking turn of events, that.


...Palestinian leaders described the army's conclusions as a cover-up and a former Pentagon analyst, sent by a US human rights group to investigate the deaths, said the military has ignored evidence that leaves little doubt the family was killed by a stray Israeli shell that Israel admits is unaccounted for.

The Palestinians accused the army of rushing to clear itself to save the Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, embarrassment as he tours Britain and other European countries to win support for his plan to draw the Jewish state's final borders by annexing part of the West Bank.

Television pictures of 10-year-old Huda Ghalia wailing on the beach over the bodies of her dead father and five siblings on Friday had threatened to derail Mr Olmert's public relations drive and severely embarrassed the army at home. Mr Olmert initially said he regretted the killings but in London on Monday sought to distance Israel from responsibility.


But a former Pentagon offical sent by the New York-based Human Rights Watch to investigate the death of the family has concluded that there is little doubt they were killed by an Israeli shell. "All the evidence points to the fact that it couldn't have been a mine," said Marc Garlasco, a former Pentagon expert on battlefields who led the US military's battle damage assessment team in Kosovo and worked for its intelligence wing, the Defense Intelligence Agency.

"You have the crater size, the shrapnel, the types of injuries, their location on the bodies. That all points to a shell dropping from the sky not explosives under the sand."

More from Human Rights Watch here and here.

Dariush said...


"You once succesfully challenged my thinking on Middle East politics. Do it again!"

I'll admit to having a poor short term memory, but I honestly don't remember ever having any discussion, argument or anything of the sort with you. Not unless you're plain "Brian" posting under a new handle. There's a handful of Brians on these forums, and it's hard sometimes to make out which is which.

"C'mon Dariush. You can offer more than links to other blogs. I'm sure you have an opinion here.'

Well, linking is a major part of this whole blogging thing. So many people on the net write so well, so often and about so many topics that it's hard, personally speaking, to feel motivated to re-invent the wheel, so to speak.

Writing, especially political writing, is hard, thankless work. In order to be done right, it requires (at the bare minimum) some hours of research, several drafts, proofreading, editing, etc. How many hours does one really have in a given day, between work, personal responsibilities and what have you?

Anger is really the only thing that can motivate me to write a long, well-researched post. If I come across something that really pisses me off, I'll put in the time to research and compose a reply.

Otherwise, I think linking to other writers with a gift for making cogent, well-thought out, right to the point arguments is just as effective, without being so personally draining and without that bothersome carpal tunnel.

For example, with this story Ron Jacobs, Mark Elf, Alexander Cockburn, Juan Cole, Jason Miller, and most especially Justin Raimondo, have all done an excellent job of laying out the reality of the situation and how it affects all of us. But perhaps, Dennis Perrin does the best job of succintly summing things up in one brief paragraph here:

So here we are, some two decades on, witnessing the same murderous bullshit again and again. The one real difference is that, as I've said before, the Palestinian plight can be discussed at greater length and is taken seriously by more and more people, which naturally drives those who like watching Palestinians die into even deeper states of derangement (check some of the comments at Max Sawicky's joint). That Israel commits war crimes on a regular basis against a caged population is really not in dispute. I've encountered Greater Israel apologists who openly embrace this reality. To them, the Palestinians are subhuman and worthy of the most hideous forms of collective punishment. They make this plain through "words, mere words," but the aggression they support renders their loudest cheers mute, for what is going on in Gaza is simply unspeakable.

Kate said...

dariush - I think you're looking for this: Joshua 4: 1

Anonymous comments that the killing was from one of their own landmines. I couldn't care and it doesn't make it any less horrific.

The back and forth is bloody, violent and how much does it matter where it started? Isn't it what's happening today? It needs to stop. All of it.

Dariush - I understand your comments very well. I did not and would not say that God or any of his servants are non-violent. It cannot be said so truthfully.

Even in the garden on the evening that Jesus was taken there was violence when one of his apostles cut off a guards' ear when he laid his hands on the Lord.

But the Lord then healed the guard in his mercy.

Did God order war? Yes, he has. Did he rig things up so a little boy could stand up to a giant and become King? Yes he did.

Did he annihilate entire cities in anger? Yes he did.

Did he get SO angry that he flooded the world? The WHOLE world? Yes, he did that.

Dariush if you're trying to build an argument that Christians believe that God is soft or weak somehow - you're barking up the wrong tree. He's a vengeful God. He said so himself.

Zombie Moonbat Circus said...

Of course, Dariush doesn't give a damn about the Israeli victims of palistinian terror.

No that's all fine and justified. Just like it was justified to kill Americans on 9/11, wasn't it Dariush?

That sort of thing is just fine for the Islamics,
who kill eachother off faster than we could ever hope to.

I'd be the first to fork over money so you can jump on the next flight out, Dariush. Of course, I'd be a little scared of allowing you on any sort of flight at all.

You don't like the States, GET THE FUCK OUT!

Dariush said...

Mike's post was about the current situation in Gaza. The comments were quickly filled with so much deliberate obfuscation and vicarious tribalism that Gaza was soon moved to the side and the preternatural evil of this entity known as "Islam" became the topic of choice. And now it's about Luvitorleaveit and me "not liking the States."

Amazing how that works out.

Say there "Zombie Moonbat Circus" do we, ah, "know" each other? I get the impression that we've crossed paths before, somewhere.

Of course, I could be wrong. You could be just another of the many chips off the Doishowitzian block.

Kate said...

actually everyone seems to have the same understanding. War is bad - man makes war continuously. For religious purposes, primarily. So under any circumstance is this going to come to be right? What's happening now?

Pray for the people in this region. All of them.

Pink_Slip said...

Prayer? I prefer a mediator to conduct some serious hard-line diplomacy...

Kate said...

are you offering? I'd certainly be happy to provide you with airfare


historymike said...

Zombie Moonbat Circus:

Please keep the discourse civil, or I will have to delete future rants of the previous nature.

Frankly, I do not see much difference between the rhetorical style of Zombie Moonbat Circus than that of the radical Islamists he bashes.

historymike said...

Agred that prayer is worth a try, Kate.

I believe that we operate in only a few of the planes of existence, and that there are other dimensions of life beyond our ability to comprehend.

Asking for intervention from the divine cannot hurt, and if the population of the entire planet was simultaneously praying, no one would be occupied with the business of killing.

Kate said...

Well said Mike. Very well said.