Sunday, July 09, 2006

They Started It...

Who's "they"? The Palestinians, stupid, everybody knows that... Not quite.

Gideon Levy with his usual candour in Ha'aretz:

They [the Palestinians] are also "breaking the rules" laid down by Israel: We are allowed to bomb anything we want and they are not allowed to launch Qassams. When they fire a Qassam at Ashkelon, that's an "escalation of the conflict," and when we bomb a university and a school, it's perfectly alright. Why? Because they started. That's why the majority thinks that all the justice is on our side. Like in a schoolyard fight, the argument about who started is Israel's winning moral argument to justify every injustice.

So, who really did start? And have we "left Gaza?"

Israel left Gaza only partially, and in a distorted manner. The disengagement plan, which was labelled with fancy titles like "partition" and "an end to the occupation," did result in the dismantling of settlements and the Israel Defense Forces' departure from Gaza, but it did almost nothing to change the living conditions for the residents of the Strip. Gaza is still a prison and its inhabitants are still doomed to live in poverty and oppression. Israel closes them off from the sea, the air and land, except for a limited safety valve at the Rafah crossing. They cannot visit their relatives in the West Bank or look for work in Israel, upon which the Gazan economy has been dependent for some 40 years. Sometimes goods can be transported, sometimes not. Gaza has no chance of escaping its poverty under these conditions. Nobody will invest in it, nobody can develop it, nobody can feel free in it. Israel left the cage, threw away the keys and left the residents to their bitter fate. Now, less than a year after the disengagement, it is going back, with violence and force.
Instead, under cover of the quiet, we built the enormous, criminal settlement enterprise. With our own hands, we are now once again pushing the Palestinians into using the petty arms they have; and in response, we employ nearly the entire enormous arsenal at our disposal, and continue to complain that "they started."

We started. We started with the occupation, and we are duty-bound to end it, a real and complete ending. We started with the violence. There is no violence worse than the violence of the occupier, using force on an entire nation, so the question about who fired first is therefore an evasion meant to distort the picture. After Oslo, too, there were those who claimed that "we left the territories," in a similar mixture of blindness and lies.

Gaza is in serious trouble, ruled by death, horror and daily difficulties, far from the eyes and hearts of Israelis. We are only shown the Qassams. We only see the Qassams. The West Bank is still under the boot of occupation, the settlements are flourishing, and every limply extended hand for an agreement, including that of Ismail Haniyeh, is immediately rejected. And after all this, if someone still has second thoughts, the winning answer is promptly delivered: "They started." They started and justice is on our side, while the fact is that they did not start and justice is not with us.

Also in Ha'aretz, the author of perhaps my favourite book ("The War of the End of the World"), and ex-presidential candidate, Mario Vargas Llosa, has this to say:

"Israel had become a powerful and arrogant country, and it is the role of its friends to be highly critical of its policies," Vargas Llosa said.

On the Israel Defense Forces operation in the Gaza Strip, Vargas Llosa told Haaretz that "my impression is that among military and security circles there is a lack of confidence in your new Defense Minister. He was soft and moderate during the election campaign, and it looks like the current activity of the IDF is being used by the army in order to test him and the new government, and push them to take more extreme measures in order to prevent any change of Israel's policy toward the Palestinians."

"Israel's response to the abduction of the soldier and the firing of Qassam rockets was excessively severe," he said.

"Undoubtedly the abduction of the soldier is an unacceptable move, and the firing of Qassam rockets proves that there are radicals on both sides, but the Israeli response is out of proportion. Paradoxically, the extremists on both sides have a shared agenda and its purpose is to prevent any chance for negotiations and mutual concessions."

In the mean time a majority of Israelis will continue to believe that Israel's actions vis-à-vis the Palestinians aren't only justified but also effective. And after all, they started it, didn't they? Or didn't they?

14 Comments:

At 4:22 PM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Morning Gert,

I know you hate that i think some of your previous posts were shouting fire in a theatre, but that's the problem when you put yourself on a soap box, everyone has a right to shout back at ya...

who started it?

depends on WHEN... but if you look back at 1966, you will find gaza and west bank were NOT in israel's hand and yet, somehow those pesky arabs were still stabbing, murdering and killing jews...

maybe reading this is an important step to educate you on some non-jewhating pov

Hebron: Murdered Twice?
By David Wilder November 6, 2005


On March 26, 2001, an Arab sniper shot and killed 10 month old Shalhevet Pass. As a result of that murder, Hebron residents redeemed, renovated and repopulated Jewish property stolen from Hebron's Jewish community following the 1929 riots, massacre and expulsion. That neighborhood, "Mitzpe Shalhevet" is presently on the brink of obliteration, not by Arabs, rather by the Israeli government.

In 1807, Haim Bajaio purchased, on behalf of the Hebron Jewish community, a five dunam plot of land adjacent to the centuries old Jewish Quarter, for '1,200 grushim'. The deal was witnessed and signed by no less than 22 Hebron Arab notables. This property served Hebron's Jewish community and later accommodated the home and synagogue of Hebron Chief Rabbi Eliyahu Manni.

Following the Jordanian occupation of Hebron in 1948, the entire Jewish Quarter, founded by Spanish-Jewish exiles in 1540, was razed to the ground. Among the structures destroyed was the ancient Avraham Avinu synagogue. In the early 1960s, an Arab fruit and vegetable market was constructed on the property bought by the Hebron community in 1807.

Following the liberation of Hebron during the 1967 Six-day War, these structures continued to function, having been rented to the Hebron Arab municipality by the Israeli government. The property contracts for these buildings expired in the 1990s, and the site was gradually closed over a period of several years, due to security precautions. It was finally shut down following an attempted terror attack: Arabs placed a booby-trapped teddy bear in a plastic bag in the market near the entrance to the Jewish neighborhood, hoping a Jewish child, finding it, would play with it and be killed in the ensuing explosion.

Despite numerous Hebron Jewish Community requests to rent the structures, they were left vacant.

Following the murder of Shalhevet Pass at the beginning of the Oslo War, Hebron children began utilizing the structures as a place to play and take cover during the constant shooting attacks from the overlooking Abu Sneneh Hills. Over a period of time, the Hebron community invested tens of thousands of dollars to convert the former fruit and vegetable stalls into livable apartments. Presently, the former 'shuk,' renamed the "Mitzpe Shalhevet Neighborhood," houses Hebron families, and a Torah study hall opened in Shalhevet's memory.

Four years ago, in response to an Arab demand to reopen the market, the attorney general's office notified the Israeli Supreme Court that: 1) the Arabs no longer had any legal rights to the shuk and 2) the Israeli "trespassers" would be evicted from the site. The Israeli High Court never ruled that the former market's Jewish population must be expelled from their homes.

The reason behind the Attorney General's decision can be summed up in his words: "The criminal must not be rewarded." The criminal, in this case, was not defined as the Arabs who murdered 67 Jews, decimated the Jewish Quarter, shot at Hebron Jews from the surrounding hills and killed Shalhavet Pass. Rather, the criminal, was defined as Hebron's Jews, who had 'usurped' vacant buildings belonging to the State of Israel.

Following issuance of an expulsion order, Hebron's Jewish Community appealed to the courts, claiming private Jewish ownership of the property. An appeals committee of three judges ruled, two to one, that the land did legally belong to a private Jewish organization, but that the buildings legally fell within the jurisdiction of the Israeli government. Concurrently, two of the three judges ruled that the optimal solution to the problem was to lease the structures to Hebron's Jewish community.

The Defense Minister delayed executing the expulsion order for over two years, due to security issues and other concerns. However, recently, following the successful expulsion of 10,000 Jews in Gush Katif and the Northern Shomron, the present attorney general, Manny Mazuz, has exerted tremendous pressure on Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz to execute the expulsion orders and evict Hebron's families from the Mitzpe Shalhevet neighborhood. Most likely, Mofaz is under the mistaken impression that the Israeli Supreme Court ruled that the structures must be evacuated. This is, as previously noted, not true. To the contrary, the easiest and most just solution, as recommended by the judges, is to lease the buildings to Hebron's Jewish community.

Hebron's Jewish Community asks: Who is the criminal and who should be rewarded? Following years of terror, shooting attacks and blood-shed, will Hebron's Arabs receive a prize for their aggression? Will they be privileged to again witness Jewish men, women and children being forcibly evicted from their homes? Will Jews again be expelled from their property in Hebron, this time at the hands of the Israeli government? Will Jewish land again become Judenrein, at the initiation of the Israeli government?

A Jewish-populated "Mitzpe Shalhevet neighborhood," filled with men, women and children, families dedicated to redeeming the Land of Israel for the Jewish people, living on one hundred percent Jewish-owned property -- this is the just response to Arab violence, blood-shed, theft, and destruction, whose goal is the annihilation of Israel.

In the words of Yitzhak Pass, Shalhevet's father, "eviction of the Mitzpe Shalhevet neighborhood will be, for me, as if they killed my daughter a second time."

Will Shalhevet be murdered twice: once by Arabs and once by Jews?

who started it...

ismael...

 
At 4:43 PM, Blogger Gert said...

what is "occupation":

I suggest that you vent your comments over at your own budding blog, where they might attract much more likeminded readers.

As regards the conflict, I don't need an eduction in it but thanks all the same. I've been following, studying even and debating on this matter for over twenty years.

I'm not about to reconstruct the whole episode from biblical times up to today with a complete stranger. We would really both be wasting our time.

So, if you want to write verse, chapter and tome on the matter of Israel/Palestine, please do it over at yours.

 
At 5:20 PM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

then why have a blog...

 
At 5:22 PM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

gert: I'm not about to reconstruct the whole episode from biblical times up to today with a complete stranger. We would really both be wasting our time.


who asked for that?

you make the point that all is ill because gaza and the west bank are stolen "palestinian" lands...

I make the point that there are no such thing as palestinians if you go back to 1966...

hardly biblical

but if you read the koran or the new testament or even the torah you will also see no name of a people called palestinian, only in those books it DOES say how the JEWS have a homeland in Israel

 
At 5:51 PM, Blogger Gert said...

what is "occupation":

A blog is an online diary. The comment section can be used constructively as a debating section but isn't primarily intended for that purpose.

Also, threatening to set the police on someone isn't a debating tactic: it's a feeble attempt at intimidation.

Cutting and pasting large tracts of text into someone's comment box isn't a form of debate either.

I've been blogging a long time now, and I've seen and suffered it all: blogstalkers, comment spammers and worse. Don't join that league.

If you're truly interested in my opinions regarding Israel/Palestine, seach my blog using these keywords and read the relevant posts.

You, neither hindered nor helped by any knowledge of my views have already made up your opinion of me. Again, that's very feeble...

I will not hesitate to hit "delete" if somehow you intend to abuse this blog's comment section, and yes, this is MY blog and I decide what I consider to be abuse.

If you're going to make a "case" for "the Palestinians don't exist", then don't bother doing it here, I've long ceased to respond to that kind of arguments...

 
At 6:16 PM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

you dont seem to like anything i say,

if i respond rationally and point by point you dismiss it as "dont shoot the messenger"

when i actually tell you when i think you are being over the line and feeding an islamic hate machine with lies again, no debate just your scolding

when i simply post ONE article of a counter pov you say i aint going to get into a biblical pov

when i make the point that recent history proves there were no palestinian that were arabs that called themselves that in 1966 again, no debate...

hmmm

me thinks you cannot stand actual historic facts...

personally i dont care if you dont care for me, i seek you no harm, whereas i do think you'd sleep better at night if the "jewish" question were solved forever..

let me ask you this simple question..

do the israeli deserve there own state?

if so, what borders?

try that simple fun topic...

 
At 7:02 PM, Blogger Gert said...

what is "occupation":

I'm in favour of an Israeli state, on pre-1967 borders and a Palestinian state based on Gaza the West Bank and the shared capital of Jerusalem. I could expand on this for much more but not for you.

If you'd followed my advice and looked up a few posts you'd know all that already.

I'm not anti-Israel, anti-Zionist or anti-Semitic.

"[...] whereas i do think you'd sleep better at night if the "jewish" question were solved forever.."

Why don't you actually come out and say what you think, huh?

Carry on with these insinuations and a lifelong ban of your commenting will quickly come into effect.

I really urge you to start propping up your own blog, instead of trying to crap on mine: your first and last post so far wasn't exactly a sizzler...

 
At 9:33 PM, Blogger What is "Occupation" said...

Gert said...

I'm in favour of an Israeli state, on pre-1967 borders and a Palestinian state based on Gaza the West Bank and the shared capital of Jerusalem. I could expand on this for much more but not for you.

so you want israel to go to PRE 1967 borders, sounds fine, would this settlement include the arab states returning all property stolen in 1948 to today?

I guess i wont know, because you wont tell..

Gert: If you'd followed my advice and looked up a few posts you'd know all that already.

I DID read many of your posts, and what i saw was amazing... not very friendly to anything israeli...


gert: I'm not anti-Israel, anti-Zionist or anti-Semitic.

wow, i am shocked to learn that, really...

I stated: [...] whereas i do think you'd sleep better at night if the "jewish" question were solved forever.."

Gert: Why don't you actually come out and say what you think, huh?


my response: Actually gert, your posts and other statements actually gave me the impression that you do think the solution is genocide of the jews.

gert: Carry on with these insinuations and a lifelong ban of your commenting will quickly come into effect.

dont ban me because when i read your blog i get the direct feeling you support people who wish all jews dead.

gert: I really urge you to start propping up your own blog, instead of trying to crap on mine: your first and last post so far wasn't exactly a sizzler...

so far, you have actually said very little in response, except it seems like i am the only one actually talking to you, most i guess dont bother....

now back to pre 1967, so do the jews have a right to the temple mount?

do the jews get an EQUAL reading of UN resolution 181 that requires the arab countries to offer the right of return as FULL citizens, or is Israel only required to provide equiality within their nations?

 
At 2:28 PM, Anonymous David Zarnett said...

what is "occupation":

Unfortunately, you arent really serving much of a purpose on this blog. I don't see what your point of debating here is - you aren't going to convince people if you continue to write in the way you do. Gert and I have experienced conversations with a blogger who was not commenting for the sake of putting an idea out there for discussion but rather to pick a fight and to feed an ego. Maybe its a syndrome of being bored at work?

If you want to get your message out, focus on your own blog and comment on Gert's if you are actually willing to engage him and hear an opposing point of view. Otherwise, you aren't allowing for the types of discussion that are actually interesting, respectful and worthwhile.

 
At 2:34 PM, Blogger Gert said...

"What is occupation:

"Actually gert, your posts and other statements actually gave me the impression that you do think the solution is genocide of the jews."

Now you've called me an anti-Semite of the most virulent type, the type that is looking for a second Holocaust, please do not be surprised that I regard this as practically the biggest insult that's been levelled at me in a very long time (and that is saying something).

In fact, you are calling me a Nazi or the uequivalent thereof. I'm therefore invoking the principle of Godwin's Law.

In plain English: you're banned.

 
At 10:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did Israel start the aggression against Hizbullah, which captured Israeli soldiers today? The Israelis are out of Lebanon! Hizbullah can no longer claim any legitmacy.

 
At 3:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what SHOULD Israel do when the Palis start it by firing Kassams at us? Sit back and say "thank you sir, may I have another?"

Those Kassams are going deeper and deeper into Israel- and this is the pre-1967 borders you advocate.

Why should we just take it, silently? Would any other country? If terrorists in Belfast started firing Kassams into Yorkshire one day, would you tell your government to sit back and do nothing? Of course not.

 
At 5:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For thirty years the UK was bo9mbed by the IRA.

Did we send tanks in? Did we employ air stikes?

You retarted neanderthal.

Violence BEGETS violence. Period. Get that through your thick skull. If you mob had done, years ago, many more Israelis would still be alive today and likewise Palestinians.

If you are the civilised ones you claim to be, and 'they' are the animals you claim they are -- prove it. The world awaits.

 
At 10:37 PM, Blogger Behemoth101 said...

Gert,

Your kind of sophisticated sensibility is something I believe the Qur'an calls "divine conscientiousness." Thank you for your comments, and I hope to read many more from you in the future. I will likewise keep in touch.

 

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