Smoke, Slingshots, and Spongebob: the Middle East crisis in photos


#38

Everyone here’s rooting for the poor widdle Hamas who just happen to have the destruction of Israel as their primary goal, and are apparently setting off fireworks and not weapons that would cause plenty of destruction had there been no Iron Dome.
This Israeli blogger says it best.


#39

I didn’t mean to be an ambassador for Israel here, just to give my personal perspective. I support peace and I wish the Israeli government would have found a way to settle this diplomatically before it became, AGAIN, a bloodbath. But that didn’t happen yet and I can’t change it. Here’s how myself, a typical Israeli, views things, for what it’s worth:

I’m 35, married and a father of a 1 yo baby girl. I work as a software developer in a startup and live about 20 miles south of Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest city. It pains me to see children die, Palestinians included, it really does.

We’ve been living with sirens for the last 22 days, meaning that several times a day we have to take the baby (which had a high fever in the middle of all this due to an infection) to a safe room, day and night. We decided to leave the house as seldom as possible, so as not to risk her. Even so, when we drove to visit friends on Friday, there was a siren on the freeway, and exactly as I stopped the car and we were taking the baby out of her chair, there was an explosion right above us, of the Iron Dome intercepting the Hamas rocket. My wife and I shielded our daughter with our bodies, for fear of shrapnel, which thankfully didn’t hit us.

My mom’s car got hit by part of a missle and was partially smashed (thankfully she was in a bomb shelter at the time).

Even so, I want peace and I want quiet for us and the Palestinians. However, I fully expect my government to protect us, by any means necessary. Since the Hamas doesn’t honor any kind of cease fire (Israel respected three cease-fires which the Hamas didn’t), the Israeli army has to continue the fight to stop this by force. Now, since Hamas hides behind civilians, Palestinian civilians are regretfully killed, and it’s a tragedy.

So, Israel may be in an unfortunate situation, but it’s not evil. Comparing the systematical slaughter of innocent people, by the millions, to a country defending its citizens from rocket fire, that’s incredibly misinformed, if not terribly cynical.

I do hope that once the fight stops the two sides can diplomatically find a solution for this conflict once and for all, but first it has to stop.


#40

Has anyone cheered for Hamas, who as far as I am concerned deserve the same contempt as their Israeli counterparts calling for the destruction of the Palestinians? Because it seems to me that people have been condemning Israel for killing large numbers of civilians, many more than them, which is not the same at all.

Indeed. You speak eloquently at length about the suffering from the sirens and rockets, but for the bombardment of Palestinians - which again is many times worse - all you have is that it’s a tragedy but it’s on them, you’ve washed your hands, so what are you gonna do.

Well, sorry, but  I can’t care about your suffering and not also care about Palestinians facing the same on a larger scale. Hamas are despicable for using human shields, but that doesn’t excuse people who would simply shoot through dozens of them on the off chance it might someday save a life of someone on the right team.

And like I said, incursions like this are a bad way to protect Israelis, that only serve to keep the hatred warm. It’s fighting a hydra by cutting off heads and stabbing hundreds of villagers on the way. Israel should protect its citizens, but that is not what is happening here.

So you brought up whether Israel is evil, but I think that’s a bad way to look at it. Like everyone else, Israelis are individual people, and they each do good things and bad things. But the ones who are calling for the deaths of children above are doing something bad, the people who say any means necessary are doing something bad, and the military killing mass numbers of civilians is doing something bad, in fact war crimes.

Whereas the Israelis opposing such things are doing something good, and given what a political disaster Palestine is, I think they are the best real chance to someday come up with a resolution and end the perpetual sirens. So I’m sorry if it’s true as you say that they aren’t the typical ones.


#41

As far as I can tell, Israel pulled out of Gaza a decade ago, both ‘settlers’ and IDF, and left them to their own devices. Since then it’s Hamas that continues to fire rockets at them, and it’s Hamas whose charter and openly stated goal is to exterminate Jews from the world and destroy the Israeli state. You don’t get to talk or negotiate with someone like that.

Well, sorry, but  I can’t care about your suffering and not also care about Palestinians
facing the same on a larger scale. Hamas are despicable for using human
shields, but that doesn’t excuse people who would simply shoot through
dozens of them on the off chance it might someday save a life of someone
on the right team.

So what do you expect Israel to do, sit on their hands while rockets keep coming in by the dozens? These aren’t firework rockets either and Iron Dome isn’t going to save them from a zerg rush barrage of rockets from the other side. This is war, and civilians die, as they have since the dawn of human history. If today’s liberal media had been around 70 years ago, we’d never have won against Hitler either, in fact they’d probably dismiss Auschwitz as a conspiracy theory and howl about German/Japanese civilians dying in bomb attacks.

Why in holy hell should Israel alone have to play by the rules and minimize civilian casualty count when Hamas has no such intention (and when they offer fair warning for people to evacuate before the counter attack)? Blame Hamas, and only Hamas for what the Palestinians have to face. Hamas doesn’t give a shit about the welfare of Palestinians, they will simply use them as cannon fodder to achieve their goal - the destruction of Israel. Ask them why they use schools and hospitals as rocket launch sites. It’s not as simplistic as the stupid angry flower comic.


#42

I expect Israel to take what measures it can to protect its citizens. The iron dome is a good part of that. The blockade has been a humanitarian crisis but I could see arguing some portion of it is valuable here. You dismiss the idea of talking to people out of hand, but in the past it’s also been a very helpful measure; like I noted the 2008 truce saw an almost complete cessation of rockets until they decided to go with an incursion instead.

I would hope they would build on such successes instead of on failures. Again, my main point is that incursions like this aren’t really part of helping protect civilians. They undermine anyone who would ever work toward peace, they reinforce the sway of terrorists like Hamas, and they renew efforts to pummel Israel with rockets, in addition to killing far more civilians than Hamas has ever managed on their own.

If the only options are sitting on your hands and making things worse, you sit on your hands; but I think that’s a false dichotomy brought by people who would like to excuse masses of deaths as unavoidable.

Because human lives are worth preserving wherever possible. This is both sensible strategy, in that killing Palestinian children is why groups like Hamas find support, and basic ethics that ought to guide all our actions. It’s ridiculous to claim Israel isn’t evil and that it should fight with just as much disregard for lives as terrorists.

Contrary to what is sometimes implied, Israel is not fighting for its existence here. It has in other conflicts, but in this one the question is over the lives of Israeli and Palestinian people. I care a lot about those, and I would like to see whatever actions possibly taken to preserve them. As I keep saying, incursions like this do not fall into that category at all.

But hey, it’s war and civilians die and always have, so nobody should care. I wonder if a war crime something that even makes sense in that philosophy, or if the Geneva convention can all just be written off as some idiotic suicide pact. Maybe it’s just another thing the “liberal media” made up? I wouldn’t know, because the media aren’t actually so liberal in any country I’ve visited.

Are you actually getting your information from sources that think they are?


#43

You were the one who started comparing the situation and got the argument slapped back into your face!

The whole “but they shoot rockets at us” is an hollow excuse for the massacre. Yeah they shoot rockets and it’s a crime but the response is an overreaction. Thats the point here. 1 Israeli got killed by rockets … thousands palestinians die. It looks like the rockets/murders were an wished for excuse to start another war against a whole ethnic group.

It’s still an occupied territory by international law. Israel controls the access by air, land and sea. It’s not a war by international law. I suggest you watch the video of the lecture by Norman Finkelstein Ashen_Victor posted.

Pay close attention to the part where israeli ex-ministers (as recently as 2000) admit that a) apart from the war for independence no war by Israel was a war of necessity b) Israel is culpable for ethnic cleansing.


#44

Israeli war supporters chase peace protesters, try to beat them up & mace them:


#45

I don’t know if it means anything to you or not, but there are people in Japan saying tefilah for the safety of you, your family and your neighbors right now.


#46

According to the NPR story I heard last week Hamas did not participate in the cease fire because it did not trust the Egyptian government. Apparently Egypt did not consult Hamas in the matter.


#47

Except that now its the Philistines using slings to fight against a vastly superior enemy.


#48

You’ve skipped over the whole point of the comment, which was entirely about results and not at all about intentions. Sure, a thousand deaths is tragic for all involved. Hundreds of thousands of deaths, which would be the result if the superior military power in this conflict exercised the type of evil behavior that the (thank God) inferior one does, would be hundreds of times more tragic.


#49

Look the word up in any English dictionary.


#50

Nonetheless, Hamas has NO friends among all the Arab countries who lost chunks of land to Israel in all those wars they started. They appear to be giving tacit approval to the Israelis to deal with Hamas as it should be dealt with.

I think that Israel is carefully considering what its many purported opponents are actually doing (not much) and paying little attention to the usual chorus of international yammerers. I would likely do the same.


#51

Maybe Israel should shut down the Iron Dome. Media coverage of hundreds of dead Jewish children would even up the propaganda war, amirite??

Nah, never happen. The media coverage, I mean.


#53

Calling stuff evil in discussions like this is pointless and intellectually lazy. Either that or it’s invoking religion, which is even worse.

See, what you’re doing here is creating a theoretical (a.k.a. imaginary) scenario that’s extrapolated from the supposed intentions of the Palestinians.

You’re not saying they have done this, nor that there’s a real threat that they might. You’re claiming that they would do this in some bizarro world where circumstances were radically different. And so you want them to be judged on those intentions, rather than what they’ve actually done.

Similarly, supporters of Israel’s war doctrine often claim that they don’t intend to kill so many civilians, but since terrorists hide behind “human shields”, it just ends up happening. The implication here is that since Israel’s supposed intentions were good, they should be judged on what they were trying to do, not what they actually did.

This kind of reasoning leads to strange and disturbing positions. Like the idea that it’s justified to take military action against people simply because they hate you. Or that if you mourn the deaths you cause as truly tragic, you are somehow less culpable for them.

Killing is killing. Each death is a dead person. It needs to stop. And since the Israeli military is doing almost all the killing, they particularly need to stop.


#54

One thing that has always confused me regarding Israel & all of the trouble it’s existence in the current format has caused.

It is often stated that it exists to protect the existence of the Jewish people.

But since when has putting all the eggs into a basket like that been a good idea?

The fact is that as societies emerge & evolve, diaspora has become better & better protection as time goes on.

After all, unless a World Govt were to emerge & decide to try & eliminate this culture, that religion or that ethnicity, diaspora prevents absolutely the end of the existence of the Jewish peoples. Further, should such a force to emerge, Israel could not hope to defend it’s people.

Do you want to know where Jews are safe? En Masse? Without having to kill others?

It’s North America. It’s most of the Western World. It’s also in most developed countries as well as some undeveloped countries. It’s most of the world with some few notable & obvious exceptions.

It is not Israel.


#55

And part of those measures are destroying the launchers themselves. Iron Dome is an extremely expensive defense system compared to the unguided rockets being used against it. Your argument as applied to WW2 would mean that each side should’ve simply concentrated on shooting down incoming bombers instead of themselves bombing the factories and supply lines that produced them because civilians happened to be working those factories.
Modern war is about economics as much as anything else. WW2 was won in large part by breaking the industrial back of Germany, destroying dams and depriving them of electrical power to run their factories, apart from bombing the factories themselves to halt the production of military hardware that was to be used against the Allies. And obviously there would be civilian casualties. (America got very lucky by having its factories on a separate continent where there was never any danger of attack)
The objective of war, once begun, is to win with minimal cost to your side, not for some bullshit glory or rules. More so when only side seems to care about following them. Israel’s only optimal response would be to glass the rest of the hostile Middle East , but far from doing that they’re actually warning locals to evacuate before the counter fire. In which war until now have you seen that happen?

Key words - whenever possible. You’re sounding as though Israel is deliberately shelling places where children live, and not because the same rocket launchers are sited there.
You still don’t say why Hamas isn’t held to the same standard for preserving human life when they have no qualms about sending suicide bombers apart from the rocket bombardment. Last time I checked, Hamas wasn’t firing on exclusively military targets either.
Groups like Hamas are committed to the destruction of Israel, and of Jews worldwide. They’re not doing it to ‘liberate’ Palestine or anything else.

And finally it’s fucking hypocritical of the liberal press to wail about Gaza when 200k Arabs have died in the ISIS run conflict in Iraq/Syria. Where is the indignation towards Hamas, a terrorist organization that is cynically using the people of Palestine to further its goal of destroying Israel?


#56

For real? Just about every mention of Hamas on this or the other thread has pointed out that they’re horrible. There is no love for Hamas here. But you keep arguing as if there were, because it apparently doesn’t occur to you that people could object more to an organization killing dozens of times as many civilians without being pro-Hamas.

Or hey, ISIS, you sure never see anyone condemn them! That’s not an idiotic strawman, no sir. Don’t we know there have been casualties, and even a person killed? If Israel has the restraint not to “glass” the rest of the Middle East over that - that’s usually spelled g-e-n-o-c-i-d-e, by the way - why would anyone think they deserve less than our full endorsement?

And then we can wonder how, when Israel is so nice it even gives people the chance to evacuate to who-cares-where before destroying all their infrastructure, disgusting hate-mongers like Hamas keep getting power in the first place. Sure is a mystery. Sure wouldn’t help save even Israeli lives to figure out why, and take measures that might gradually reduce rather than renew the conflict.

This isn’t a war the way WW2 is, rexdude, it is a case of two people who are stuck with each other. If you can’t see the differences that entails, and you’re too busy assuming everyone who condemns one side supports the other to understand explanations otherwise, we are done here.


#57

Not sure why everyone is getting all anxious. After all, John Kerry is ON THIS.


closed #58

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