Monday, May 31, 2010

Gaza Flotilla

I've been offline most of the day, and anyway don't feel the need to respond to last night's events off the cuff. Later, perhaps tonight, I'll get to it.


Anonymous said...

Ron Ben-Yishai's account and responsible criticism:,7340,L-3896796,00.html

Anonymous said...

having been online all day my first recommendation for getting an overview coming late to it would be Elder of Ziyon - CIFWatch has been great too, but too much noise if you lack time.

NormanF said...

Those who organize a violent provocation against Israel in support of terrorists are themselves terrorists and should pay the price.

The IDF was far too gentle with them.

AKUS said...

Solomania has had great coverage

Victor said...

NormanF, none of this is an issue of who won the beat up contest. It's ALL propaganda war, from beginning to end, and Israel botched it up big time, as usual. Instead of looking strong, which was the point of commandeering the ships, it looks weaker than ever! Do us all a favor and try not to leave comments like "we should have killed them all" everywhere on the internet. Think, man!

The naivete with which the operation was planned and executed is stunning, and endangered the lives of all involved. When was the last time you saw an American SWAT team going in with paintball guns into the arms of a mob armed with bats? If I were in the US military, I'd be starting to question whether the IDF can be trusted to execute basic operations in a competent way.

If the IDF can't adequately plan to control the deck of a boat, what should we expect for bombing Iran?!

Lee Ratner said...

NormanF, you are not helping; you're really aren't. All your extremist stances will result in is Israel being seen and increasingly treated as a pariah state like South Africa. Quite frankly, Israel is not populous enough or powerful enough to deal with that level of isolation. There is no way Israel can survive for long if it followed your stance. The only thing your radical solutions would lead to is a world without Israel.

Lee Ratner said...

Victor is right on this won. Whatever happened to the IDF that could do rescue missions with out many injuries let alone deaths on both sides? What ever happened to diplomats like Abba Eban who explained Israel's position with elegance rather than with bluntness?

Zach said...

Guys, the whole reason why the IDF went in lightly armed was to avoid a confrontation of this kind. The Free Gaza people told them there would be no violence, and they reacted accordingly.

The whole reason why there was so much violence was because the "peace activists" ambushed the soldiers and used deadly force against them. I don't know how much damage this will do to Israel's image but no amount of spin will change the fact that it was the activists who started the violence. The IDF got them on camera this time. I hope they can make it count.

Anonymous said...

What else is new? This is the story of Israel's relationship with the world.

Palestinians/Hezbollah/Hamas or self-appointed outsider "peace activists" act provocatively. Israelis are patient but finally provocateurs go too far. Israel responds, not perfectly but with due attention to rights of non-combatants. Israel wins the battle if not the war. Provocateurs scream that Israel has overstepped, are wanton killers, wanted to shed blood all along, etc.

And so it goes.


Sergio said...

I understand NormF outrage. Maybe the operation was disastrous, who knows, but no matter what had happened we know Israel would have been blamed anyway. The blockage was on, they were given the choice of a port, they were warned repeatedly, but they chose confrontation because it suits their propaganda objectives.

Maybe the navy should have thrown, I dunno, paralysing gas, or something. But then someone there would have complained of allergy.

Victor said...

Abu Muqawama has it spot on:

Putting ourselves in the shoes of an Israeli naval commander, let's assume the most malevolent of motivations for the people participating in the peace flotilla. If I am in charge of doing that for the Israeli Navy, I am going to assume these people are smart and are deliberately trying to provoke a crazy response from my sailors and soldiers that will produce ready-for-television images that both isolate Israel within the international community and further raise the ire of the Arabic-speaking and Islamic worlds. I mean, that is my base assumption for what this group is trying to do.

The Israelis went into this with a naivete that is astounding.

Lee Ratner said...

Sergio, I do not understand NormF's outrage. Just because many of the Palestinian's allies encourage the Palestinians to engage in their worst behavior does not mean that Israel's allies have to do the same with Israel. If Israel acted like NormF wanted it to than Israel would disappear.

To paraphrase Emperor Hirohito, "Israel and its supporters must bear the unbearable." Palestine needs to become an independent country with its own government, army, economy, education, foreign relations and all the other obligations of sovereignty soon. The West Bank settlers have to go back to Israel. The new Palestinian state could be very hostile to Israel, it could become a client of Iran, and could teach the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as fact from pre-K to graduate school but anything would be better. If the new Palestinian state commits continually acts of violence against Israel years after gaining full sovereignty than it would be an act of war against a fellow sovereign state rather than an act of resistance against an occupying power. Palestinians would have a much harder time getting support if they had full sovereignty.

Yaacov said...


What world have you been living in the past 17 years? Surely not the one I live in, and too many friends of mine have died in.

Sergio said...

Well, it's hard for me even to imagine what israelis had to endure to survive and I can understand that enough is enough.

Frankly, why should Israel bear the unbearable? Contrary to Hiroito, who led his country do a disastrous war of aggression, killing I don't know how many chinese, korean and filipinos, and sacrificing million of its own people, Israel didn't do nothing of the sort to deserve the barrage of slender from the pathetic western media.

And can't you see it would make no difference whatsoever if pals had their state: they only would have better shooting positions and when Israel moved to defend herself the BBChit & caterva would complain of how a poor just-born country was being savagely attacked, etc, etc, etc.

Barry Meislin said...

The new Palestinian state could be very hostile to Israel, it could become a client of Iran, and could teach the Protocols of the Elders of Zion as fact from pre-K to graduate school but anything would be better.

You're quite sure about that, eh?.... (The "Could be" part was for laughs, right?) But you are right about one thing: having to defend oneself against those who wish to kill you really sucks. (And by they way, welcome to the Peter Beinart School of "The Way Things Ought To Be"?.... Or should that be the school of "If Only They Would Love Us"?)

Palestinians would have a much harder time getting support if they had full sovereignty.

Indeed. And thank you for explaining so concisely and clearly (one of the major reasons) why the Palestinians do not want full sovereignty.

Lee Ratner said...

Barry Meislin, what I really meant to say is that the Palestinians should be let go with no strings attached. By could be I meant that they should be allowed to do whatever they want with their new state. If they want to become a client state of Iran than let them be that. If they want to teach the Protocols of the Elders of Zion in their school than let them.

Yaacov and others will accuse me as not being really affected by this because I'm an American Jew and not an Israeli. However, its clear that the current situation is not tenable. It can't go on anymore. Just let them go there own way whether they want it or not. We realistically can't kick them out and we can't get any meaningful concessions from them. The continuing occupation only makes Israel look bad. The world doesn't care about Jewish rights to Jewish holy places.

Sergio said...

Well, if the world does't care about the Jews, why should Israel care about pals? In fact, Israel seems to be the *only* one that was ever interested!

Now, your idea is : let the palestian have their way, like little children. What a crazy logic.

Yaacov said...

Lee -

I'd love to. Matter of fact, I started publicly advocating that to happen almost immediately after getting out of the army, in 1978, back in the days when the PLO refused to recognize Israel's existence. But even more, I want to live. And I want my descendants to live, too. Sadly, your suggestions and my wish to live are incompatible.

Tenable, untenable: I don't know how you know. There has been very little in the story of the Jews these past 2200 years which has been tenable. Still, we're the only ones still standing, while all the more tenable folks have long since turned to dust. I expect our descendants will still be kvetching a thousand years from now, or three.

Anonymous said...

Now you are starting to get it.

Victor said...

Lee, this is not the time to be discussing final status issues. You're reacting to a perception that Israel has lost the narrative war and is facing an immediate threat of international isolation.

We need to see how the situation develops, and if the narrative can be regained, and those of us who support Israel should work to that end. This isn't about the nuances of policy, it's an information war. The videos help. Someone better be doing background checks on every person that lifted a club or knife, getting them on camera confessing to planning a violent confrontation in advance, etc.

Because flotilla #2 is coming, and the unwinding of the blockade of Gaza, along with engagement of Hamas by Europe and the US is on the horizon.

Sergio said...

Israel should prepare a humanitarian flotilla to protest turkish occupation of north-cyprus. Just for precaution, a nontripulated vessel, except for Noam Chomsky that could travel in the first class.

Victor said...

Sergio, I understand how you feel, but we need to focus. Destroying Israel's relationship with Turkey, or other regional states, is not in Israel's best interests. What is just doesn't matter. This is an information war. Unless Israel is going to raise a coalition of 30 nations, by tomorrow, to condemn Turkey's anti-Kurdish behavior, then there's nothing to talk about, and we should move on to something more effective.


Lee Ratner said...

Victor, I do not think that the video helps. People are already defining it as an act of self-defense against pirates, by which they mean the IDF. Basically, yeah I think that Israel lost the narrative war because Netanyahu's government has been absolutely a disaster when it comes to handling these sorts of situations. Netanyahu needs to either get a better, less aggressive and more elegant foreign minister or resign or their should be a vote of no confidence against him.

Yaakov, Jews might be still standing but that doesn't mean we will be still standing with a state. We have basically survived by having a lot of kids and not fighting back but by accepting some sacrifices so more Jews could live.

My position might be seen as radical by many but at this point letting the Palestinians loose. The world would find them much less tolerable and pitiable if they had full sovereignty and could no longer blame the Israeli occupation for everything that goes wrong. Segio says that I'm letting the Palestinians have their way like kids but I prefer to see it as a divorce in a really bad marriage.

Victor said...

And the Livni/Olmert government before Netanyahu was good at it?

Yoram Ettinger said...

1. The radical Islamic, anti-Western IHH - the chief supporter of the flotilla to Gaza - poses as a humanitarian relief fund (Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation), while supporting Hamas and several Jihadist organizations in Bosnia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Algeria, Chechnya, etc..

2. The IHH initiated a number of “humanitarian aid” convoys to anti-US Islamic terrorists in Iraq’s Fallujah Triangle.

3. According to the Danish Institute for international Studies, IHH is connected to Al Qaeda and global Islamic terrorism. The Istanbul office of IHH was raided, and IHH activists were arrested, by the Turkish security services. Explosives, IED (Improvised Explosive Device) manuals, weapons and Afghanistan-oriented documents were confiscated during the raid.

4. According to a French intelligence report, Bulent Yildirim, the president of IHH, recruited “Jihad warriors” and transferred money, firearms and explosives to Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists in various countries. Yildirim made telephone calls to European “shelter apartments,” which were used by Islamic terrorists, including Abu el-Ma’ali, known as “Junior Ben-Laden.” IHH produced documents, which facilitated air travel by Islamic terrorists, posing as relief workers. IHH was connected to Ahmed Ressam, an Islamic terrorist, who attempting to smuggle 1320 pounds of explosives and plant them at the Los Angeles International Airport.

5. Bulent Yildirim embraced the world view of the Muslim Brotherhood (the mentor of Hamas in Gaza) and has been a systematic supporter of – and collaborator with – Hamas. He has transferred significant amount of money to Hamas and its “charitable societies” and has promoted – during major Hamas events in Turkey – armed struggle against the Jewish State.


1. Gaza is a bastion of Iran and Syria-supported Hamas terrorism, launching thousands of missiles at Israel, kidnapping Israel’s Gilad Shalit and smuggling into Gaza terrorists, more precise and longer range missiles, explosives and other lethal elements. Efforts have been made to minimize such smuggling via Sinai and from the Mediterranean.

2. Israel’s aim of cooperation was demonstrated by Jerusalem’s offer to allow the “Gaza Flotilla” to reach its destination (in spite of the daily flow to Gaza – via Israel - of food, oil, cement and multitude of products) following a thorough examination of its content.

3. The “Gaza Flotilla” aim of confrontation was demonstrated by its rejection of Jerusalem’s offer and by the handguns, knives, screwdrivers, iron pipes and a gun employed by terrorists on board. Confrontation has been the goal of the “Gaza Flotilla,” as evidenced by the campaign of anti-Israel incitement carried out by its personnel and sponsors.

4. The Israeli soldiers were prepared for a peaceful-takeover in face of (erroneously-assumed) civil disobedience. Therefore, they were equipped with paintball guns as the primary weapon and handguns as an emergency weapon, to be used only if facing death. They resorted to handguns in response to an attempted lynch by the scores of terrorists, who assaulted the soldiers with iron pipes, knives, screwdrivers and a gun. Handguns were snatched from soldiers, by the lynching mob, and were directed at the soldiers. Five boats were taken over peacefully and one (with 600 passengers) became an arena of confrontation between Israeli soldiers and terrorists. Israeli restraint minimized fatalities among terrorists.

5. The responsibility for the fatalities and casualties lies at the doorstep of the IHH, other supporters of the “Gaza Flotilla,” the UN and multitude of governments, which could – but would not – stop the Flotilla.

6. Would NATO allow a “humanitarian aid” convoy, organized by the radical Islamic anti-Western IHH, to travel unchecked to a Taliban stronghold?! 7. The “Gaza Flotilla” highlights the role of the Jewish State as the outpost of Western democracies in face of Islamic terrorist offensive.

Lee Ratner said...

Victor, the Livni/Olmert government wasn't particularly brilliant either. Israel is in serious need of better politicians and leaders. The ultra-nationalists think that Israel can keep the West Bank and Gaza forever either cause "God says so" or just by sheer force and "the righteousness of the Zionist cause". They remind me a lot of the Japanese nationalists at the end of WWII that found national suicide preferable to defeat and surrender. Note, I am not comparing Israel to the Japanese Empire but just observing a similarity between the ultra-nationalists on each side. The Israeli ultra-nationalists would prefer for Israel to go down in flames rather than accept a relatively minor defeat of just loosing Gaza and the West Bank. I'd rather have 80% of Eretz Israel than none at all.

The Pro-Peace Camp is delusional in their own way but a bit more realistic about the actual situation. What Israel needs is a politician that can deliver some harsh truths to Israelis and get them to go along with an independent Palestine without much of a guarantee of peace.

Sergio said...


I understand what you say and maybe there were other strategies to tackle such "flotilla"-crap. Fortunately I'm not the decision maker in charge! Maybe floating mines? Paralysing gas? I dunno. And I don't know how to fight the media war. On the other hand, after a couple of months people's interested will move elsewhere, maybe Congo...nah!

Anonymous said...

Why are so many of you so keen to embrace the naivity mantra? Does any of you have naval fighting experience? anyway it is way too early - any military operation is a messy enterprise and takes time to be shaped into a narrative.

Michael Totten slyly or more knowingly than all of us unfolds a different and to me much more likely scenario which all the Israel-did-it-all-wrong-again-moaners on here may then label they did it the way they did it out of hubris. Read it carefully and think again ... Somehow it seems much more likely to me that the first group felt confident they could handle the situation after all the ship's crew is said to have answered the IDF's message with cries of Jihad, Jihad, Jihad - btw I have seen a picture of the "peace"fighters praying while expecting combat.

"Before Gaza blockade runners violently attacked UNARMED Israelis and were SUBSEQUENTLY SHOT by prudently ARMED ISRAELI BACKUP, they heard the following announcement:"

BTW I think fighting on a ship casuality free is a lot more difficult than in already tricky urban warfare - if there is any comparison at all it is fighting on the roof of a high-rise and the "peace"fighters wanted to do to the soldiers exactly what Hamas did to its co-Gazans i.e. throw them overboard which at night in a choppy sea is quite dangerous as I was assured by the Greek fishermen I worked for.

also Victor - I have been following George Friedman for a long time and have listened carefully and read whatever I got - finally I decided there is too much hot air mixed in.


Anonymous said...

it is the genius of the war against Israel. they are constantly damned if they do or dont.

damned if they do or do not respond to rocket fire launched from civilian areas. damned if they do or do not leave gaza, the west bank, the golan heights.

the details do not matter, not as long as western will recedes on a daily basis. the downside, of course, is that millions of their people live in self impopsed poverty.

it is true to an extent that Israel seems to be falling into traps set by Hamas, Hezbollah and the anti Israel forces. But as long as the left in the West takes an anti Israel stance regardless of facts, its all a trap and theres no way out for Israel but to defend itself more effectively. Efforts such as this do not create deterrence.

Anonymous said...

I am a non-Jewish European and your proposals seem so far away from any European reality - it is so easy to talk like you, if one lives in a huge country with an ocean left and right, a really friendly neighbour to the north and one a bit troublesome but in no way belligerent to the south.
By contrast Europe and let alone the Mediterranean is an area where balances of power and borders have shifted all the time. That we had such gorgeously peaceful years since 1945 is largely thanks to the US (and probably the Cold War).

So forgive me, but your scenarios have for me more than a whiff of "let them eat cake"


Anonymous said...

there are traps one can't avoid falling into one way or another - the Greeks called them tragedies and my teacher told us they were all about becoming guilty while being innocent or if you want it less pompous there is Joseph Heller's Catch 22 to make it clear that there are unavoidables and no matter what one does one will have done wrong.


Lee Ratner said...

Silke, all I know is that Israel can't blockade Gaza forever or maintain a presence in the West Bank with settlers forever. Eventually, the demographics are going to change and Israel will be a state where a Jewish minority rules over an Arab majority that might be slight at first but will increase. They will eventually change the demand for independence to a demand for the vote and the Jewish State will end that way. It would be like the situation in Algeria only without the benefit of the Mediterranean Sea between France and Algeria.

The Palestinians might not want full sovereignty but they don't want to be ruled by Israel partly or fully either. Its best just to let them go. It'll get rid of a lot of non-Jews living under the jurisdiction of the Jewish State and I believe that an independent Palestine would serve Israel's diplomatic position better at least among non-Muslim nations.

Sergio said...

What recent history shows is that Palestinians want Israel's destruction. Maybe part of them would tolerate a cold peace (for a while), but the leadership is too divided about that. Meanwhile they excell in propaganda (which only works with the help of western media).

In any case, Lee, either you are delusional or your solution amounts to Israel self-destruction.

Anonymous said...

what baffles me no end is why everybody who is going on about the demography conundrum leaves the geography conundrum totally out of the picture.

Believe me it is not so long ago that Israeli geography was dominating the discourse.

Just because everybody (belatedly in my book) has discovered that there is a demography problem ALSO doesn't mean that it is smart or savvy to regard the geography all of a sudden as negligeable.

Intelligent people should be able to be aware that opposite from Scylla is Charybdis.

So why is it that all these oh so worldly wise pundits let only one of the two dominate the media at any given time.

Either these people are not as savvy as they tell me they are or they do it voluntarily and that makes me ask for what purpose? in whose service? to please whom?


Lee Ratner said...

Sergio, what is your solution. Kicking out all the Palestinians is immoral and not possible. Even if it was possible would basically have Israel be as isolated as North Korea currently is, a small state with near nothing in terms of diplomatic relationships with the rest of the world. Israel can't keep keep ruling over the West Bank and Gaza forever because eventually pressure would be put on Israel to give the Palestinians a vote, ending the Jewish State via the ballot. We live in a world where conquests and ethnic cleansing are no longer supported internationally even if these principles aren't consistently applied. This means that Israel's only practical choice is to let the Palestinians go and I say the sooner the better.

Silke: I've noticed that a lot of the advocates of the one-state solution pay a lot of attention to geography and argue geography prevents a two-state solution. They seem to have no idea how Israeli Jewish and Palestinian Arab nationalist ambitions can be dealt with though.

Michael LeFavour said...


Israel cut the people of Gaza loose, but they clung to war and violence instead of going their own way, maybe going the way of Taiwan. Your argument is full of nonsense. Israelis must defend themselves for as long as it takes and if you care about the Jewish people you claim to be a part of you should allow the ones in danger to get on with that defense without trying to throw up some pseudo-intellectual interference Israel's many enemies can use as fodder to hide behind.


Nice synopsis. I found the information informative and timely. Do you have any links to more details?


Maybe you can share with us what your expertise in either planning, coordinating, or commanding high profile special forces operations with extenuating political ramifications riding on the outcome of them are aside as an arm chair Captain second guessing those that were actually involved? I am not angry with you, I was Marine reconnaissance (peace time) myself, I just want to know because I am not sure that you have considered every factor in your harsh criticism of the operation.

I am old now, but my heart got pumping when I saw the video. With my years of melee weapon training and fighting in the SCA I would have loved to have been the first one off the rope. I have nothing but deep, deep admiration for those that boarded that vessel with crippling rules of engagement to adhere to. From what I understand at this point, one was unconscious and two were shot before they used deadly force. What an absolutely fearless and heroic sense of discipline.

Victor said...

I have no professional qualifications on the subject to speak of, Michael, you're right. Neither do 99.99% of the rest of the people commenting on this event, and making decisions that will impact fellow citizens and policymakers. We're in an age where perception, in some matters, counts for more than facts. We don't need a professional special forces commander to tell us this went horribly wrong. The rest of us, who are not professional military, are engaged in a less immediate and actionable, but no less important war.

Lee Ratner said...

Sometimes the best action to take is no action even if it looks like you are defeated. What the IDF did only looks bad regardless of the facts as Victor said. Its a cliche but the typical Israeli response seem to be following the expression "if all you have is a hammer than all your solutions look like nails." They are favoring the military solution to every problem they face. Not every problem can be solved with a military solution and sometimes something else is necessary. Letting the flotilla land would have been the least damning solution.

Michael LeFavour said...


Fair enough. It remains puzzling which side you are fighting for though. To me it seems clear that the manner the insertion was conducted was made due to a political decision, which heightens my respect for the first roper on deck. No doubt he knew this, accepted it, and descended into hell anyway.

I am not a Jew or an Israeli, but I clearly fight for Israel to be strong on self defense for my own reasons. For what it is worth I support the statement of Norman F, if perceptions matter then a perception of weakness is something I oppose for the safety of all Jewish Israelis living under perpetual threat. I am a nobody though.


You are still making no sense at all. The main weakness to what Israel is doing is they have to react to things they have no control over. There are steps that can be taken to gain control, but the squeamish Lee Ratners of the world will have a fit if they do. It is a political decision.

Letting the flotilla land would have been the absolute worst thing that could have happened. So what a few terrorist supporters got killed? The Israeli team acted in an honorable and restrained way that no neutral observer can deny. As intended, those that are going to condemn Israel had their minds made up in advance. I hope you can come to terms with that some time because you sound very confused at a moment in history when Jews need to be supporting each other more than ever, maybe.

Yaacov said...


The problem with your position is that we've repeatedly tried it, and each time is was a catastrophe. We unilaterally left Lebanon and got war (with a larger one looming); we started moving out of the territories and offered to move out of them all (yes) and got war; the unilaterally got out of Gaza and got war (with another one looming).

My theoretical positions are very close to what you're stating. The problem is, that reality has repeatedly and very bloodily disproved them. Unlike you, my family and friends pay a price each time we're wrong.

Gavin said...

Michael. I think you've been a little unfair on Lee there. He was merely making the point that Israel has better success fighting against other states than it does against terrorist organisationss. The present situation is outside the rules of war and Israels enemies are using that to their advantage. Israel achieved concrete conclusions against Jordan, Syria and Egypt. It could be proposed that Israel may be better off being at war with the state of Palestine than it would be against nebulous enemies such as Hamas & Hezbollah etc. A peace with Hamas is worthless, they'd just be replaced by another Islamic mob. If Hamas was rhe government of Palestine however then it would be a different ballgame for them.

You can't really make peace with the likes of Hamas, you can on the other hand make peace with a state. You may have to fight another war to get that peace, but at least there's someone to negotiate with at the end of it. Rather than appeasement it could be viewed as shaping the battlefield more in Israels favour. You can beat other states. Might well make things worse, but it shouldn't be discounted entirely.

I agree with Lee on one point. Israel can't go it alone. Israel needs to keep it's friends.

And folks; bickering amonst ourselves isn't going to help. This whole scene is a bit depressing but what's done is done.


Anonymous said...

Google couldn't help - what is SCA?

and repeating myself:
I think the first batch of soldiers going on that ship expected what we Europeans know as football hooligans (they can be really vicious. They beat one policeman into a terrible state) but when all is said and done they are weekend blood sporters and the IDF, probably rightfully so, felt up to them.

But then the surprise: from all the videos I have looked at the guys on the ships were professionally trained street fighters and nobody expected or could expect to meet a paramilitary commando on board.

There was a long piece on the attempts to try soldiers for treason in Turkey and it contained no hint that something like training a parallel "army" might exist somewhere in the country. As the authors were relatives of the soldiers accused I guess they would have loved to hint at it, had they known about it.


Anonymous said...

IDF-Video a soldier telling how it was seems to prove me right - they came prepared for riot control not for trained fighter control

Lee Ratner said...

Silke, the SCA is the Society for Creative Anachronism. They are basically a group of people in the United States and Canada that get together to "recreate" the Middle Ages and the Renaissance in a somewhat creative fashion. A lot of them are into learning how to use swords and other weapons of the time.

Gavin sums up my point. When a state fights a non-state actor, the non-state actor always ends up looking like an underdog because it usually is less armed and lacks uniforms. This means that the state usually ends up looking bad. This true with the UK against the IRA during the Troubles, with Sri Lanka against the Tamil Tigers and with Israel against Hamas or Hizbollah. A fight between states is generally assumed to be a fight between equals and rarely does a state achieve underdog status. If Israel was in war with the State of Palestine than Palestine would have a harder time gaining international sympathy than Hamas.

Anonymous said...

I remember the reporting on the last Lebanon war somehow as being totally different i.e. perfectly in sync what is on offer now.
From which I conclude that even if there is a state, if the state is so weak that it has to let a terrorist organisation range freely the end result is the same.

As to SCA - if they happen to be one of those serious re-enactment groups mentioned in my Ancient War Magazine podcasts then I am full of respect for them. I was surprised to learn how much serious academic and non-academic work is done in those groups.

I agree - no bickering but I at least need a bit of help to be able to stand my own elsewhere and thanks to all I am getting that around here.

Barry Meislin said...

Bickering amongst ourselves isn't going to help.

All very true, but the situation has to be understood for what it is:

1. The Palestinians (Hamas and the Palestinian Authority) do not want a Palestinian state to exist together with Israel. Their primary goal is not a Palestinians state. Their primary goal is the destruction of Israel. (To be sure, they have other lesser goals, e.g., political authority, which translates into greater access to money, power, etc.)
The reasons they don't want a state are:
a. It would mean (at least in theory) that they would have to be accountable, financially, socially, and politically, etc. In real terms, it means that they would, inevitably, reveal themselves as just another lying, corrupt, nepotistic, oppressive,
intimidating, murderous, inept Arab "State". That is, until they are "absorbed" (with much bloodshed and destruction) by one of their Arab neighbors,
b. It would mean (at least in theory) that they would have to be accountable militarily, that they would have to face the consequences of their attacks on Israel. In real terms, it means that they would "blame non-state actors" and accuse Israel
of war-crimes and crimes against humanity when trying to respond to "non-state" attacks that would inevitable come from "Palestine" (see: "Hamas"; "Gaza"; "Lebanon"; "Richard Goldstein")
c. It would mean (at least in theory) that they would no longer be able to scream the mantra of oppression an pose as victims. In real terms, they would still scream "oppression" and pose as victims, demanding money to alleviate their self-imposed (or so-called) "impoverishment" and extorting global funding by threatening violence, claiming despair and, of course, oppression.

2. Although they do not want a state, they will continue to insist they do want a state.
The reasons they will insist they do want a state are:
a. It makes them sound reasonable, to a West and an Israel that desperately wishes to believe, as willing to come to negotiate, as desiring an agreement, as finally seeming to agree that Israel has a right to exist.
b. It makes it appear as though the reason they have no state is because Israel hasn't offered them what they want, thus casting Israel as the perennially intransigent party, as the major reason why there is no peace in the region.
c. It makes them eligible for massive infusions of global cash; that is, by appearing reasonable, they will be able to declare themselves "desperate" and "exasperated" by Israeli intransigence, by Israel's refusal to give them what they want, i.e., "justice". By insisting on their "desperation," they can always extort further moneys by threatening to respond to Israeli "intransigence" with violence ("their only resort" and/or "the only language that Israel understands," etc.)

Barry Meislin said...

(Continued from previous...)

3. How do we know they absolutely want the conflict to continue?
a. As far as Hamas is concerned, Hamas is determined to fight until Israel is destroyed, if one believes their charter, their rhetoric, their plans and their consistent actions.
b. The Palestinian Authority insists that Israel return to the May 1967 cease-fire lines, that Israel return E. Jerusalem, and that Israel allow Palestinians the "right of return" to pre-1967 Israel. All of these demands can and will be used to refuse negotiations or refuse a state. All of these demands can and will be used to find a pretext to continue the conflict.
c. The PA refuses to recognize Israel as a Jewish State. To do so is not only impossible to reconcile with their world view but it also would provide Israel (and whoever is left of Israel's supporters) with a very good reason to refuse the Palestinian demand for "right of return" (see "b", above).
d. And no, the Palestinian demands are not "negotiating tactics" if by "negotiating tactics" one means that they hope to get a deal. They are reasons to provide the Palestinians for "legitimate" excuses to prolong the conflict.

4. Why do they want the conflict to continue?
a. Since they continue to be "opressed" and "occupied," Israel gets bashed with greater and greater frequency and seriousness (colonialist, racist, apartheid regime, etc.), by more and more earnest humanists, politicians, countries, professors, students, journalists, union members, religious leaders and people in the street joining the campaign against the Jewish State with each passing day/week/month/year/decade.
b. Since they continue to be "oppressed" and "occupied", they continue to get more and more funding and increased sympathy because of their "plight".
c. Because of the attrition, Hamas, Hezbullah, Syria and Iran continue to stockpile more and better weaponry, increasing the military and political pressure on Israel.
d. The pressure on the Israeli populace builds to the breaking point, so that Israeli see no future, no hope, no way out.
e. Ultimately the attrition will cause, one way or another, the destruction of Israel.

5. At the same time, Israel is compelled not to attack its antagonists, since war is frowned upon by a hypocritical international community, which chooses to disregard not only the threats made to destroy Israel but the military buildup that is intended to achieve it. To be sure, the "morality" of certain countries are motivated by fear of significant internal violent elements, which can, and will create havoc at home.

6. The Palestinians (and others of Israel's neighbors) believe that Israel is a historic mistake, a historic injustice imposed on the Middle East because of European guilt. A mistake that must, and will, ultimately be corrected in the name of justice and morality.

And so Israel could continue to give up territory for reasons of "practicality" and/or "morality" or desperation; but the conflict will not end until Israel is destroyed. (There is another possibility that would not be acceptable to decent, liberal.)

The war to destroy Israel will continue from within narrower and narrower borders such that it is indeed possible that merely the threat of war, at a very high level even now, will loom so large that Israel, it is hoped, will surrender without a shot being fired.

After all, Israel's neighbors have learned that patience is an integral part of one's arsenal.

But even if Israel were to resist, it is expected that, with the sheer quantity of weaponry amassed against it (from near and far), and the growing consensus of the world come (either ecstatically, righteously, or grudgingly) that it no longer deserves to exist, that it will be relatively quick work.

Remember: Justice, morality, peace.

Barry Meislin said...


Richard Goldstein should be Richard Goldstone...(and apologies for all the various other language mistakes).

Michael LeFavour said...


No doubt the rules of war need to be updated, to include modern terrorism. This I agree with, fully. Where I disagree with you or anyone else is that allowing a terrorist sanctuary to form will have any positive side effects for the Jewish people in the battle for survival they face. So what if Israel has had better success fighting set piece battles against conventional forces? Is that some sort of twisted rationale to appease an enemy by giving away land that is rightfully and morally yours? That is the voice of defeat to my ears and I reject it with everything I am made of. We can only speculate what would happen if another Arab state is formed on Jewish soil, but nobody has yet shown me, with logic, any good that we can likely expect. And even though my children are not at risk, the issue consumes me with urgency as if they are. Once a claim of Arab sovereignty over parts of the Jewish ancestral homeland is recognized by the world it will be the opening of Pandora's box. In front of a large crowd of American Jews, I told Yossi Olmert that appeasement only encouraged Hitler to launch WWII and asked him to tell the crowd what Israel was prepared to do when the Arabs calling themselves Palestinians are a recognized nation and allowed to arm under the pretense of self defense with all the weapons their brethren can flood them with? All he could do is stutter my name several times "Michael, Michael, Michael, let's save that one for another time". Well the time is drawing near and Jews with Lee's ideas are not helping. Allowing a second Arab state to form on land that was mislabeled Palestine is the last thing in the world I would hope for as an Israeli Jew and if you need to discuss that, by all means lets.

As to the bickering, I don't get that either. Israeli forces defended the country. End of story. If you Israelis don't feel pride in your men, I will do it for you. My hat is off for them and my middle finger is raised for anyone that doesn't like it. It is a failure of anyone that supports Israel if we allow them to dominate the information. I have great comfort that when I speak on behalf of Israel I speak from the moral and legal high ground looking down. You should come on up here with me.


The SCA is the Society for Creative Anachronism. I have been a heavy weapons fighter for over 20 years now. Here is a little video to show you what it is like to be in a melee. I have been in dozens just like the one in the video and have spent literally thousands of hours in hand to hand training. When I was younger, I was once considered good by SCA standards. The average person would not be able to lay any part of a weapon on me if I am carrying something to block with. I would love to see Israeli soldiers embrace the sport, but I fear the average person would think it foolish or a waste of time.

Anonymous said...

thanks Michael that was very interesting - it seems that you mixed time periods in this event quite freely to which I a history addict must of course object ;)

- but especially these head first attacks into a crowd
were interesting they reminded me of and taught me something about the for me very interesting talk you find in one of these when they go on about the berserker phenomenon -