Israel's Offensive

Russell Street

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It's odd how much more even-handed the press on this issue is outside of the United States.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jul/21/gaza-crisis-obama-ceasefire-fighting-goes-on
Gaza crisis: Palestinian death toll climbs past 500 as hospital is hit
  • Palestinian officials say four killed in hospital
  • Israel launches fresh air strikes after bloodiest day
  • UN security council holds emergency meeting
  • John Kerry flies to Cairo to seek peace formula
As the death toll in Gaza passes 500, UN chief Ban Ki-moon calls on Israel to 'exercise maximum restraint' and spare civilian lives
The Palestinian death toll in the conflict between Hamas and Israel reached 548 on Monday as officials said four were killed when a Gaza hospital was hit by Israeli fire.

It followed the bloodiest day of the conflict so far on Sunday when at least 120 Palestinians were killed in Shujai'iya, a third of them women and children. Thirteen Israeli soldiers were also killed – two of them US citizens – in the heaviest loss of life for the Israeli military in years.

Staff at the al-Asqa Martyrs hospital were said to be in shock that the building was hit. "People can't believe this is happening – that a medical hospital was shelled without the briefest warning. It was already full with patients," said Fikr Shalltoot, director of programmes at Medical Aid for Palestinians in Gaza city.

"Five people, I gather, were killed, and 15 were injured, including medical staff. I know the staff very well. My nephew is a medical doctor there."

The US president, Barack Obama, has called for an immediate ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

Israel continued its action on the Gaza City neighbourhood of Shujai'iya on Monday, where bombardment and fierce fighting on the ground the day before had left shattered streets littered with bodies.

Mounting international pressure for a ceasefire came amid continuing violence in Gaza. Overnight, Israeli strikes hit Gaza city, and the south and centre of the coastal enclave, home to 1.8 million people.

Twenty-five members of the same family were reported killed in an air strike in the south of Gaza, and a further 10 people were killed near Khan Younis.

In the West Bank, Palestinians began three days of mourning for the dead in Gaza. A general strike was under way on Monday.

The Israel Defence Forces said it had foiled attempts by Hamas fighters to infiltrate Israel through two tunnels from Gaza on Monday. Ten militants were killed in air strikes. The IDF also suffered casualties, Israel Radio reported.

Meanwhile, army spokesman Peter Lerner said the IDF could not rule out the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier by Hamas, despite denials late on Sunday by the Israeli ambassador to the UN, Ron Prosor. Investigations were continuing, the IDF said.

By Monday morning, 43 access points to 16 different tunnels had been discovered by Israeli troops on the ground. Military sources said the “sophisticated network of tunnels” within Gaza and under the border to Israel was much more extensive that originally thought.

The conflict is rapidly threatening to turn into a major humanitarian crisis hitting electricity and water supplies and seeing large numbers driven from their homes. The UN agency for Palestinian refugees, UNRWA, has opened 60 of its schools to shelter more than 83,000 people who have fled so far.

Obama's appeal came as the United Nations security council opened urgent talks on efforts to strike a ceasefire deal as Israel ramped up a major military offensive with fresh strikes on Monday in the Palestinian territory.

"The members of the security council expressed serious concern about the growing number of casualties. The members of the security council called for an immediate cessation of hostilities," Rwandan UN ambassador Eugene Gasana told reporters after an emergency meeting of the 15-member council.

Amid signs of mounting pressure on both sides to end the conflict, the UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, who is in the Middle East in an attempt to help broker a ceasefire, condemned the Israeli assault in Shuji'iya as an "atrocious action".

The call of a halt to the fighting came as the US secretary of state, John Kerry, was due to fly to Cairo on Monday for meetings with senior officials from Egypt and other countries, as diplomatic efforts to end the two-week long conflict appeared to be gaining some momentum.

The state department said Kerry would leave early on Monday for Egypt where he will join diplomatic efforts to resume a truce that had been agreed to in November 2012.

In a statement on Sunday evening, department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US and its international partners were "deeply concerned about the risk of further escalation, and the loss of more innocent life".

Ceasefire discussions between Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal and the Palestinian president were due to take place on Monday after being delayed by a day.

UN chief Ban was also in Doha where he urged Israel to "exercise maximum restraint".

"Too many innocent people are dying … [and] living in constant fear," he told a news conference in Doha.

Speaking to the Israeli prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, by telephone early on Monday, Obama expressed his concern over the deaths on both sides, the White House said in a statement.

In their second call in three days, Obama "reaffirmed Israel's right to defend itself" and called for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

David Cameron also spoke to Netanyahu, reiterating "the UK's strong support for Israel's right to take proportionate action to defend itself from" Gaza rockets, while expressing condolences over the Israeli deaths and concern over the "mounting civilian casualties in Gaza".

Cameron agreed with Netanyahu that the way out of the "spiral of violence" was through the Egyptian ceasefire initiative, a spokesman for the British PM said.

So far, truce efforts have been rejected by Hamas, which has pressed on with its own attacks, undaunted by the Israeli bombardment by land, sea and air.

The Doctors Without Borders charity urged Israel to "stop bombing civilians trapped in the Gaza Strip", noting the majority of the injured arriving in the Al-Shifa hospital were women and children.

"While the official line is that the ground offensive is aimed at destroying tunnels, what we see on the ground is that bombing is indiscriminate and that those who are dying are civilians," the French NGO said in a statement.
 

Russell Street

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If, and I say if because Israeli intel is less reliable and honest than our own unreliable and dishonest intel, there is a human shield violation, one is put in a damned either way position. The only way out is to walk away. And really, why don't they? What do they stand to gain that warrants such bloodshed?

This annihilation is similar to how we botched Iraq. Every time a rich overbearing foreign military comes in and devastates civilians, every survivor within a few degrees of separation gets radicalized and now has great reason to devote their lives to avenging the travesty. Win a battle, lose a war.
 
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Russell Street

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In that there are gobs of similar scaled wars across the globe? There is media bias and then there is national bias. I'll speak on the national side by saying that we largely fund Israel's military with our tax dollars, so that is of interest.
 

OfficePants

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The media bias one is interesting because it triggers all these groups to go up in arms about antisemitism, so there's that. We don't fund their military exactly, we create social welfare for ourselves because the 'aid' must be spent on American military equipment, so there's that too.

I'm with the media bias camp... it gets so much attention because of the Jewish influence working/running the media today. These people have been at each others throats for 50 years... that story would get boring with a typical news cycle.

See the documentary The Gatekeepers. It's an interview with 6 former heads of Shin Bet, the Israeli CIA. All 6 say this is over the top and needs to come to an end. A close Jewish friend says its the ultra-conservative elements of the population that won't let the issue get settled, and she feels that Jews, after what happened to them, are oppressing the Palestinians and should be the last people on Earth to do it. I happen to agree with the heads of Shin Bet and her. I don't really care about human shields or whose right anymore, just give those people some land and put this tiresome bullshit to an end.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2309788/
 

Russell Street

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This seems right, as American Jews that I know tend to be dismissive of the whole affair or rather tepid in their support.
What I find hilarious are the evangelical Christians that confuse biblical Israel with the modern state and think there is some literally rapturous interest involved.
I'm also unsure how the right wing calls Israel a democracy and ignores the whole Jewish state thing.
 

OfficePants

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We don't have any business being there in the first place, so it's none of our concern. But it's been a while since the Jews chopped off the head of one of our people so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt.
1st part is true, 2nd, Serbs were pretty competitive, chopping off heads wise.


50 years? More like a thousand.
Since the homeland was formed, before that they were still wandering.


This seems right, as American Jews that I know tend to be dismissive of the whole affair or rather tepid in their support.
What I find hilarious are the evangelical Christians that confuse biblical Israel with the modern state and think there is some literally rapturous interest involved.
I'm also unsure how the right wing calls Israel a democracy and ignores the whole Jewish state thing.
From what I can tell, over the last decade the most support lost for Israel has been in Europe.
 

Russell Street

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From what I can tell, over the last decade the most support lost for Israel has been in Europe.
This is one of those silver lining things for me. Unified, pussified EU is a total mess of centralized totalitarianism, but the plus side is their disdain for rogue nations like Israel that don't play nice.
 

Rambo

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This is one of those silver lining things for me. Unified, pussified EU is a total mess of centralized totalitarianism, but the plus side is their disdain for rogue nations like Israel that don't play nice.
How is Israel a rogue nations?
 

Russell Street

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The UN basically condemns their actions except for the US being their toadies on the Security Counsel.
It happened again last month!
US prevents UN condemnation of Israel over West Bank deaths
Samantha Power calls criticism of Israel a ‘red line’ after Ramallah appeals for Security Council statement; dozens rally against PA cooperation with IDF
June 23, 2014, 11:09 pm
Read more: US prevents UN condemnation of Israel over West Bank deaths | The Times of Israel http://www.timesofisrael.com/un-fai...nian-deaths-in-west-bank-raids/#ixzz38EJxgc33
 

Russell Street

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Speaking of the UN, the bloodthirsty Israelis might try not to shell UN schools there. Oops.
Bloodthirsty savages pure and simple. Absolutely not defense.
The International Committee of the Red Cross is rather pissed about things too.
Just to be clear, they are definitely condemning Israel's action here.
RC condemns the shelling of Gaza’s Al Aqsa Hospital
21-07-2014 News Release 14/124
Geneva / Tel Aviv (ICRC) – The ICRC condemns in the strongest terms the shelling today of the Al Aqsa hospital in Deir El Balah, Gaza, which killed at least four people and injured scores of others.
http://www.icrc.org/eng/resources/documents/news-release/2014/07-21-gaza-al-aqsa-hospital.htm
 
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Rambo

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Was Hamas using it as a front? Israel doesn't exactly go around bombing things willy nilly you know.
 

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There are reports that weapons are being transported in ambulances and stockpiled in hospitals. This is being reported on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation which - unlike other media outfits and the Canadian Government - has an anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian bent.
 

Russell Street

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It would be nice if Israel would make some claim of making any effort to avoid damage to medical staff, facilities, and patients. I'm unaware of such a statement.

I'm wondering what their excuse is for the girls's school dormitories, or the four little boys killed by gunboat.
“It’s a shame they didn’t identify them as just kids with all the advanced technology they had been using,” he said. “I don’t know what justification they will use for what they did, but our boys are now gone.”
The fishermen who are based there strenuously deny that any arms, including rocket launchers have been based there.
Mohammed Fares, a 33-year-old waiter at al-Deira Hotel, watched what happened from the terrace.
“We often see boys playing on the beach, this is quite common. Suddenly there was an explosion and I could see a group of them fall. Some people working in cafes on the beach came out to help,” he said. “As they trying to look after the kids there was another explosion, it must have been aimed at them.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...ars-of-imminent-ground-incursion-9609788.html
 

John Lee Pettimore III

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This annihilation is similar to how we botched Iraq. Every time a rich overbearing foreign military comes in and devastates civilians, every survivor within a few degrees of separation gets radicalized and now has great reason to devote their lives to avenging the travesty. Win a battle, lose a war.
The Palestinians were just about to live peacefully (right after they used up this last shipment of rockets). And then those damn Jews had to start fighting back again.

It would be nice if Israel would make some claim of making any effort to avoid damage to medical staff, facilities, and patients. I'm unaware of such a statement.

I'm wondering what their excuse is for the girls's school dormitories, or the four little boys killed by gunboat.
“It’s a shame they didn’t identify them as just kids with all the advanced technology they had been using,” he said. “I don’t know what justification they will use for what they did, but our boys are now gone.”
The fishermen who are based there strenuously deny that any arms, including rocket launchers have been based there.
Mohammed Fares, a 33-year-old waiter at al-Deira Hotel, watched what happened from the terrace.
“We often see boys playing on the beach, this is quite common. Suddenly there was an explosion and I could see a group of them fall. Some people working in cafes on the beach came out to help,” he said. “As they trying to look after the kids there was another explosion, it must have been aimed at them.
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/w...ars-of-imminent-ground-incursion-9609788.html
Our own military in Iraq and Afghanistan inflicted many, many more civilian casualties per legitimate ones in a much less densely populated area.
 
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John Lee Pettimore III

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There are reports that weapons are being transported in ambulances and stockpiled in hospitals. This is being reported on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation which - unlike other media outfits and the Canadian Government - has an anti-Israel, pro-Palestinian bent.
Yes, I much prefer getting fair and balanced news coverage from outlets like Reuters.
 

John Lee Pettimore III

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It's not. It's a rogue nation.
Jews have been a rogue nation for about 2,000 years.

The UN basically condemns their actions except for the US being their toadies on the Security Counsel.
I'm not sure that means anything. I think I'd really need to hear what the UN Human Rights Council has to say about the issue.
 
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OfficePants

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The UN is shit. Always has been, always will be.

"Today, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA discovered rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip. As soon as the rockets were discovered, UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the premises, and so we are unable to confirm the precise number of rockets. The school is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently each accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons."

http://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/press...placement-rockets-second-time-one-its-schools

Obviously the Jews planted them there to incriminate Hamas.

EDIT - And this is not an isolated incident.

http://www.unrwa.org/newsroom/press-releases/unrwa-strongly-condemns-placement-rockets-school

"Yesterday, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA discovered approximately 20 rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA strongly condemns the group or groups responsible for placing the weapons in one of its installations. This is a flagrant violation of the inviolability of its premises under international law. This incident, which is the first of its kind in Gaza, endangered civilians including staff and put at risk UNRWA’s vital mission to assist and protect Palestine refugees in Gaza."
I don't think a case can be made that either party is any better than the other.
 

Russell Street

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One party established a mostly-secular democracy that respects individual citizens' rights in a desert wasteland over the course of 50 years.
Well, it's the most racist nation on earth, but the reasons you state are why they should be held to a higher standard.
 

OfficePants

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One party established a mostly-secular democracy that respects individual citizens' rights in a desert wasteland over the course of 50 years. The other is populated with camel shit and fanatics who murder homosexuals and still don't have a functioning government despite having the run of the place for over a millennia. To say the parties are on equal footing is disingenuous in the extreme.
A country to be held to that standard should not be oppressing another population. Part of the responsibility of being a nation state is human rights, which Israel flouts regularly. Israel is really the only party here that can stop this. With American backing, they can drag this tomfoolery out another hundred years.

That's why they are on equal terms to me. All the stuff you are saying about Arab leadership is basically true. I don't see a winner here.
 

John Lee Pettimore III

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A country to be held to that standard should not be oppressing another population. Part of the responsibility of being a nation state is human rights, which Israel flouts regularly. Israel is really the only party here that can stop this. With American backing, they can drag this tomfoolery out another hundred years.

That's why they are on equal terms to me. All the stuff you are saying about Arab leadership is basically true. I don't see a winner here.
You know who treats Palestinians as shitty as Israel? Every Arab country. But Israel is as bad as them because.......
 

Russell Street

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With American backing, they can drag this tomfoolery out another hundred years.
With the setting of the American Empire and dwindling repopulation rates over there, it's pretty much just a matter of time till Israel is history.
Wha? You do know there are countries outside the Western World, right?
Really, the things Israel gets flamed for are a typical Tuesday in China or Russia.
Israel is more on par with African tribalism.
http://www.thenation.com/blog/177697/racism-israel
Here is a shocking fact from a poll conducted by the Israel Democracy Institute and reported by the Times of Israel: fully one-third of Israelis say that unlawful, vigilante violence against non-Jewish African immigrants is fine with them.

Equally, 86 percent of Israelis who voted for the right-wing Shas party and 66 percent of Likud voters agree with the statements of far-right Israeli politician Miri Regev that African immigrants, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, are a “cancer” in the Israeli body politic.
http://thebilzerianreport.com/worlds-most-racist-nations/
The association for Civil Rights in Israel(ACRI) took a poll in 2007 which found that 66% of Israeli teens believe Arabs are less intelligent, uncultured, and violent. Fifty percent of the Israelis taking the poll said they would not share an apartment with an Arab, befriend an Arab or let their kids befriend Arabs, or even let Arabs into their homes. A poll taken by the ACRI in 2008 found that these trends were increasing. Another poll taken in 2007, by the Center Against Racism found that 75% of Israeli Jews did not approve of Jews living in the same apartment buildings as Arabs, and that more than 50% of Jews would not have an Arab boss and thought that marrying an Arab was tantamount to national treason. Fifty percent of Israelis also thought Arabs should not be allowed in the same entertainment sites and 40% wanted Arab’s voting rights rescinded. In 2012, a majority of Israelis said they would support apartheid. Racism in Israel is not just limited to anti-Arab bias unfortunately, Israeli racism against blacks has actually surpassed anti-Arabism. The racism in Israel has become so severe that Yuval Diskin, the former head of the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet), recently admitted that Israel has become “more and more racist.” A full report on Israeli racism can be found here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racism_in_Israel#Existence_of_racism_in_Israel
 

OfficePants

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You know who treats Palestinians as shitty as Israel? Every Arab country. But Israel is as bad as them because.......
That's sorta how a big brother treats a younger brother shitty.

I really have no skin in this other than being really tired of it interfering with my perusing of LiveLeak and other newsworthy pursuits.
 

Fwiffo

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I'm confused why I saw people moan on television that there was a flight ban going to Tel Aviv. Did those people forget about the Ukrainian crash? One of them cited the rights of human beings and freedoms. If a vehicle is dangerous and recalled, would you be clamouring to buy and drive it?
 

OfficePants

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How do you think Israel could stop this? How do they stop people from launching rockets into their backyards? Israel may overreact at times but they are not the initial aggressors in this most recent action.

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not in any way advocating US involvement, it's none of our fucking business. But the world will not be a better place if the Jews acquiesce to being killed.
Israel could stop this by settling the situation, which they have the power to do. Either the Palestinians give up and agree not to have some desert or Israel gives up and lets them have some desert. P's wont accept no desert, and because their nuts, they'll never stop fighting.

It's a convoluted history that can be looked at from many perspectives, but it's hard to settle a situation when god tells 2 people they can have the same desert. I may not have all the facts, but my Jewish friend says it's the religious conservatives that are unwilling to give up any desert and tend to go crazy at the talk of it. Less religious I's kind of want this shit over with too.

Lastly, if the US would stop meddling, it would force Israel to settle. You're right, its none of our business and we're part of the problem.

Lastly, lastly, the UN is indeed a useless piece of shit.
 

Rambo

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Yes, Israel is united by religious traditions, but the government is pretty damn secular.
Was. Was pretty damn secular. The ultra orthodox movement has been slowly gaining ground in the Israeli government for a few years now. Partly given to racial purity and hatred, partly given to the fact that the ultra orthodox breed like crazy.
 

OfficePants

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Israel already settled with Fatah in Gaza, they left in 2005. Then they elected Hamas, that won't accept Israel as a nation and regularly fires rockets into it. This is truly a defensive action on their part.

I'm not Israeli so perhaps your friend has a better understanding of Israel's internal politics than I, but I was always under the impression it was the nationalist wing of Israel that refuses to give up land, and that the religious side doesn't have much to do with it. The Jews have not declared a Jihad on Muslims, it's the other way around. Yes, Israel is united by religious traditions, but the government is pretty damn secular.
Per Rambo, its not so much anymore. I don't want to talk out of my ass because I don't know the details, but both the ultra religious and nationalists are dead set against a settlement that gives the P's contiguous desert as far as I understand it. I think my friend might have been talking about the rise of the religious side, rather than entrenchment.

I might be stupid for thinking this, but if Israel offered them a viable contiguous state, they'd give up the fight.

Was. Was pretty damn secular. The ultra orthodox movement has been slowly gaining ground in the Israeli government for a few years now. Partly given to racial purity and hatred, partly given to the fact that the ultra orthodox breed like crazy.
Yeah, sorta this. And with the breeding, they give NBA players a run for their money.
 

Fwiffo

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Pretty sure the Holy Land is home to three religions. I'd love to see Buddha in there but truth be told, it's three religions who are acutely aware of each other's prophets. It makes you wonder.

I'm sure the Hindu and Buddhists didn't cite the prophets.
 

Russell Street

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There is the phrase "people of the book" referring to Islam, Christianity, and Judaism, which have relation via sacred texts. By which I mean scriptures, not cell phone typing.
I remember some P.J. O'Rourke book, possibly Give War a Chance, where his Israeli cab driver denounces the orthodox as Pharisees and takes his meat into the milk section (or vice versa) in the cafeteria of some holy attraction.
And for no good reason...
 
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