Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Diplomatic Entebbe

One of the first things I learned at the very beginning of my managerial career was not to pick fights that can't be won. Some of the things I wished to have happen could be achieved, others couldn't, and I had to figure out which were which and drop the hopeless ones no matter how nice they might have been to have.

There are some fights Israel can win, others that are hopeless - and there may be a very small group that seem hopeless but are so crucial we'll have to fight for them no matter what. The malignant idea that dividing Jerusalem will bring peace may be one of those.

The blockade of Gaza, however, isn't. To the best of my knowledge no Israeli government since the onset of the blockade in early 2006 has clearly stated what it's for, what it's intended to achieve, and what benchmarks are in use to determine its extent, duration, and eventual lifting. It started, I think, as a response to the electoral victory of Hamas; it was strengthened, if memory serves, after the kidnapping of Gilad Shalit; it has been tightened or loosened in some form of correspondence to the rocket fire from Gaza. At one point Ehud Olmert, then prime minister, said clearly that the blockade would be lifted when Shalit came home; if that's the policy still then it isn't about smuggling weapons - but perhaps the policy has changed. I honestly don't think it has ever been publicly discussed.

Israel is great (sometimes disastrously so) at audacious military moves. So here's a suggestion for an audacious diplomatic move that we can afford, on the one hand, and that would be likely to have the same sort of outcome as a brilliant military move: it would throw the other side off balance.

Benjamin Netanyahu should make a phone call to Obama, and tell him that he's about to make the following short speech:
Israel recognizes that the blockade of Gaza is causing human suffering, and wishes to end it as soon as possible. Since there are no Israeli forces or citizens in Gaza, and the border between it and Israel is undisputed, all that remains for Israel to fully desist from any sort of intervention in the lives of the Gazans is that they not interfere in the lives of Israelis. This means they must return the single Israeli still in Gaza, Gilad Shalit; they must desist from any form of aggression against Israel; and they must pay the bill for whatever services they receive from Israel such as electricity or medical bills of Gazan citizens. Should these terms be met, the blockade will be lifted completely and immediately.
Israel now turns to the United States, to Turkey, and to the United Nations. We hereby announce that it is our urgent wish to lift the blockade from Gaza so as to enable the Gazans to live their lives independently of us. We will take this measure as soon as you can assure us of the following:

1. There will be no attacks from Gaza on Israel.
2. Imports of aggressive weapons into Gaza will not happen.
3. Gilad Shalit has returned to his family.

Israel has decided that Gaza is the test for the continuation of the peace process. Should the international community in collaboration with the Palestinians be able to deliver the three simple conditions described above, Israel will be eager to move forward in negotiations regarding the West Bank. If these three simple conditions cannot be met by the Palestinians, or cannot be guaranteed by the US, Turkey and the United Nations, how can Israel lower its defensive abilities on the West Bank?

The onus is now on you: Gazans, the United States, Turkey, and the United Nations. Please hurry, since the populace of Gaza is suffering, and we wish to end our part of that suffering as soon as possible.

As Prime Minister of Israel, it is my intention to repeat this short speech once a week, every Monday morning New York/Washington time, until we are able to lift the blockade.


Barry Meislin said...

The onus is now on you: Gazans, the United States, Turkey, and the United Nations.

Such breathtaking naivete. Do you really think that Gaza is the real issue here?....

Anyway, here's something to suck on.

They ain't gonna to stop til Bibi's gone (Haaretz will certainly wax exultant)---though, of course, not even then. (Turkey can insult but doesn't like to be insulted---and besides, it's terrific politics, both internally and externally.)

Not that that will change anything.... except to righteously enrage all of those (of us?) who the world would like to see gone in any event.

Erdogan and Obama, the UN and the Progressive Humanists (Inc.) of the world are on a roll. Do you really think they are going to stop with the stakes so high and the hand they hold is (they believe) unbeatable?

Truly breathtaking.

A. Jay Adler said...


I think you know far better than I that, of course, even if some remarkable show could be organized of an agreement to meet these three conditions, first the weapons smuggling and then the attacks would soon resume.

I take it the point, then, is what more and more people are advocating - a clever, aggressive campaign to get off the defensive. Every act, every public statement or demand directed at Israel(for this agreement, this concession, this suspension - whatever) has to be turned back around in statement, demand, sometimes act. The weekly repetition of the Gaza condition you suggest is crucial. Actual conditions, the true source of rejection needs to be rung home repeatedly the way "occupation" and "apartheid" and "humanitarian crisis" have been driven into peoples minds for years. Not occupation and not apartheid, etc. is a useless defensive tactic.

For instance, how many Americans, how many Europeans do you think know that the reason there are "proximity" talks is because the PALESTINIANS refuse to to talk directly. Virtually no one. Of course, the professionals and the leadership do - all the more shame. But this needs to be a campaign on the ordinary consciousness.

It won't be magic. It took a long time to get into this hole - likewise getting out.

Barry Meislin said...

THIS is how it's done.

Israel can't hold a candle to that.

Clearly, the world applauds only genuine and audacious talent. (And why not?)

Barry Meislin said...

In this corner: Bibi!!:

The onus is now on you: Gazans, the United States, Turkey, and the United Nations. Please hurry, since the populace of Gaza is suffering, and we wish to end our part of that suffering as soon as possible.

And in this corner, the Right Honorable Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey, Mr. Tayyip Erdogan!!:

Now, if you were a betting man....

Avigdor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Avigdor said...

Barry and A. Jay Adlery, you're missing the point again. No one expects Hamas to stop trying to kill people, or the Turkish president to stop trying to use Israel in Turkey's Arab outreach. This is precisely the kind of public diplomacy that Israel needs to be doing, instead of retrenching and taking punches.

Remember how personally upset Erdogan was when Olmert launched the war on Gaza, right in the midst of negotiations with the Syrians? He took it as a personal insult.

Everything you wrote + we will take the personal word of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, in respect to Turkey's great influence in the region, that not a single bullet or rocket or act of aggression will be launched against Israel from Gaza.

Barry Meislin said...

Would that were the case.

It's true but it's a bit too late for that. (No point in saying "too little, too late" because everything at this point would be too little. The world has been "softened up" for years now, according to Arafat's stratagem, brilliant man that he was, and there is nothing to do except to prepare ourselves for the inevitable.)

Indeed, the world has gone mad (and the 30s will be seen to be child's play in comparison).

So what I'm saying (probably not very well) is that the Israeli leadership has to:
1) Make sure that Israelis understand this.

2) Make sure that Jewish communities in the diaspora understand this.

#2 is, of course, much harder. But is even #1 possible? That is the crux of the matter.

A. Jay Adler said...

Victor, you misread me. We are on the same page here.

Steve M said...

That would be great, Yaacov. However, Netanyahu is likely to see an end to the blockade as an unacceptable climbdown and a personal one. His successor can lift the blockade.

Barry Meislin said...

If you end the blockade, you get in Gaza what you have in South Lebanon.

Actually, in much of Lebanon.

Which is the point of the entire exercise.

(A reassuring thought for many, though.)

Saul Lieberman said...

It would be a good start for Bibi to bring such a message to the Israeli people. (Clarity and unity among Israelis greatly advances our hasbarah.)

I've got problems with "as soon as you can assure us" (assurances are not sufficient) and consider "pay the bill for whatever services they receive from Israel" a distraction from your main message... but it is a good start.

Lee Ratner said...

Israel used to have a diplomat capable of describing Israel's actions, beliefs, goals, and positions with great elegance and wit. His name was Abba Eban. Other Israeli diplomats have really failed to learn much of anything from his example and I think this is why Israel is so bad at public diplomacy.

When Abba Eban passed away a few years ago, I read in one of the obituaries that more than a few Israelis were less appreciative of Abba Eban than people outside of Israel because they say his charm, elegance, and sophistication as being against the Sabra persona that many Israeli's considered to be the essential national character of Israel. I think the Sabra-persona might be what is hindering Israel's attempts at public diplomacy because bluntness is supposed to be part of the Sabra persona. Bluntness is not really good in people engaged in any type of diplomacy. What Israel really needs to do is fine Israelis with similar personalities to Abba Eban and get them involved in the Foreign Affairs ministry and public diplomacy.

Barry Meislin said...

Noah Pollack has some cogent comments and suggestions.

And yet, I'm not persuaded that the problem lies with diplomacy or explanations or clarifications or videos, since, as Pollack says, one is dealing with huge numbers of people who are willing to believe lies and to perpetuate them.

Moreover, for most of them, the core of the problem is Israel's "oppression" of the Palestinians and Israel's refusal to enable Palestinian statehood.

To these huge numbers of people, it doesn't matter what you say, explain, or clarify. For them, the answer is simple and straightforward.

Most importantly, Israelis (or at least most of them) must be able to persuade themselves and to persist in understanding what's at stake. This is the real challenge.

Gavin said...

I'm with Yaacov, Victor & A Jay. Can't comment on the actual conditions but taking a firm stance with stated objectives and achievable terms, and sticking with it, is a positive move. It's what we in the west understand, and what Israel is not doing at the moment.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant, Yaacov, spot-on!

Yes, the conversation has to move forward. In all the punditry heard here (US), no one has offered a way to move forward. Only assigning blame. No one has even broached the question of how to insure that "humanitarian aid" remain humanitarian.


NormanF said...

Ya'acov, the world isn't interested in Israel's lifting the blockade - it is interested in disarming Israel. That is what it really wants in view of the reaction in the West this week. And Israel cannot surrender its sovereignty. As for the blockade, if Israel's critics are willing to prevent the importation of arms to Hamas, Israel is willing to hear any alternative. No one has presented one. That said, Israel should stop sending in aid to Gaza, cut off electricity and fuel and make Gaza's survival the responsibility of Hamas and the world. Israeli taxpayers should not subsidize a regime sworn to Israel's destruction. Complete the disengagement and get Israel out of Gaza for good.

Gavin said...

Norman, The world isn't that simple. An example. Take a quiet & sober look at the media coverage of the flotilla incident today and compare it what was there yesterday. Ever since the release of the video showing the (unarmed) soldiers being mobbed & beaten as they descended the ropes there has been a very noticeable relaxation of the shrillness in media commentary. It's not pro Israel but it's not that anti either now. A lot of reporters & editors out there still had the integrity to change tack midstream when the true story was revealed. It still ain't perfect but there is plenty of hope for the world yet.


ruth said...

International assurances are worthless. Latest proof resolution 1701.
My understanding is that Iran needs the sea blockade lifted in order to be able to deliver longer range rockets and higher quantities of all sorts of weapons to Hamas. They would like to build up Hamas as a second Hizbollah in Israel's south.
Turkey is already Iran's ally.

I don't think it would be wise to allow such a build-up for some PR points. How long did Israel enjoy international good-will after leaving the Gaza strip?!

Empress Trudy said...

I listened to Mark Regev today who stated un-categorically that searching all traffic into Gaza is a matter of national security. This leaves them an opening, in that Israel should maintain the operations to search everything going in at the same time they can eliminate the cessation of shipment of materials and goods which are NON military.

Lee Ratner said...

NormanF and Barry Meislin, what do you think that the ultimate end goal should be? Do you really think that Israel can achieve a future where the West Bank and Gaza would be part of Israel and where the Palestians leave en mass for other Arab countries or accept a system where they are never citizens? Whether you like it or not there is eventually going to be a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza and its better that Israel have some say in its creation. At the very least we can keep the Jewish Quater in the Old City rather than have it taken away from us.

Finally, Gavin is right. After releasing the video, the tone in a lot of the media has change. Its not necessarily pro-Israel but its not anti-Israel either. People are basically now admitting that the situation is not clear cut of good activists and evil Israel or vice versa excet for those heavily invested in one side of the conflict. Israel is getting its point of view across better by engaging with the media rather than ignoring the media.

Sergio said...

Yaacov proposal is good only for PR purposes, but in any case it creates a fact a tiny little bit of dissonance in some minds.

However, I agree with critics: it is hopeless for the forseeable future to try to convince the so-called "international community". There is a confortable consensus that years of pals propaganda, leftism mendacity and intellectual dishonesty that will be extremely hard to fight (en passant, check the book "Tyranny of guilt: an essay on western masochism", by Paul Bruckner, that help understand the current climate).

The amount of ignorance from journalists (nothing new) but from academics is huge. Yesterday I saw a debate on TV and one of the debaters, a typical self-styled sociologist (the other was much better) said things as "Hama's terrorism is the same as Israel's", "Hamas was elected and has great popularity", "Israel's acts cleary shows they she doesn't want a Pals state", etc, etc. How can one even begin with that kind of crap? There's no context, there's no history, and people want to understand the situation in 30 mins by spewing platitudes.

Anonymous said...

I like it very much as an outline/starting proposal, in fact there are very few sentences where I'd say a bit more brain-storming may be advisable.
As to the substance I like it unreservedly:
one because it makes clear that assurances are only acceptable AFTER Gilad Shalit has returned and second because of this

"pay the bill for whatever services they receive from Israel"

what a great website that would make detailing in full transparency all the benefits Gaza is getting
- only when reading that sentence I realized how abstract the information about tons is and always has been for "normal" money-pinching me.


Anonymous said...

Lee on Abba Eban

this morning I read a piece from Goldberg who demanded "elegance and subtlety"

this stuff really gets to me ...
(David Harris whom I otherwise like very much demanded the other day a new Churchill - nobody would allow Churchill to do what needs to be done today - Netanjahu's rightful indignation "outburst" before the UN was up there with some of Churchill's really good speeches, does anybody appreciate this talent of his as one of his assets?)

and while I'm at it who is demanding of the other side to stop the cunning and the deviousness, not to mention the slyness?

but the Sabra bluntness - oh no we don't want that
- why? it isn't good for our image?

Ghadaffi is allowed to do potentate wherever he wants in the most ridiculous fashion and they still all suck up to him.

If I would meet a Sabra-blunt Israeli maybe I would hate the encounter but would it change my view of the political/military situation? You bet it wouldn't

- I am way too selfish a person for that. Israel's well-being is vital for streets in my country to remain quiet, never mind the "Muslim street threat" - what do you think they'll be up to if the blunt Sabra stops keeping them in check?

I admit the soldier speaking to the flotilla with his unshaved neck shocked me and made me realize what a stuck-up person I am at heart
- but would I demand that Israel became a Disneyland-version of a Belle Epoque salon as a consequence of that? Of course not!


Anonymous said...

Gavin at 2:56
I had my windows cleaned today - my cleaner is an educated man from former East Germany who takes in predominantly German state TV - they had him convinced that there is a good chance that the videos may have been faked
(which is absurd if you think that in that piece on Wikileaks the NewYorker has this week it is told that a crew of them needed a whole WEEK of isolation to get the Iraq video into media-fit shape)

- which makes me fear that too much of that stuff doesn't reach the non-anglo world i.e. Germany, France, Italy, Spain etc etc. (because: even those of my colleagues who could function well at work with their level of English always said that they found reading an airport novel in English too strenuous!)

In my country it seems they have found some GermanGerman islam academics who wag their head at "give to think that" maybe this and maybe that it has been edited/faked.


Anonymous said...

I don't buy as yet the story of Turkey and Iran being a packet - it doesn't seem to sync

- it may as well be that there is a rivalry going on between the two who becomes muslim world No. 1 darling. After all if you want to stab somebody successfully in the back you have to get real close.
My inner eye keeps seeing more and more often a billard table with the ball hitting several walls before ending in the hole. Not that I have an inkling of the aimed for hole yet because in real life there will be several balls trying the same stunt at the same time.

in short I can imagine neither Turkey nor Iran playing second fiddle for even a minute but that is what has to be tolerated inevitably in any kind of partnership every now and then.


Anonymous said...

I think in real life very little of Yaacov's proposal is going to happen, except I hope with all my might that Gilad Shalit gets home. That boy's face makes me well up whenever I come across it.

Other than that I think it is a really smart move to take back the iniative and leaves enough wiggle room if the partners should decide to really hammer it out.

And let me add a wish for the blunt Sabra with the intolerable manners - I hope he'll prove to be a match for the most sly and cunning and devious once he/she is at the negotiating table. Actually that's qualities I am much more concerned of having the "Sabra" enough of than of elegance and sophistication.


PS: when I had just moved to a remote country village I swallowed again and again at how "rude" people were, but when I visited Frankfurt after a few months I was disgusted by how friendly people were there. That's why I vote for letting the world get used to the "Sabra"s way of doing it

Avigdor said...

A. Jay Adler, I apologize, I did misread.

To the naysayers - and I say that with a smile - you're right. So what? The blockade doesn't exist for the sake of the blockade, but to achieve specific goals.

Everything Yaacov wrote ties the credibility of the United States and Turkey into achieving Israeli goals - reasonable goals that reasonable people can agree with, like an end to Palestinian violence, weapons buildup and the release of Shalit.

Let's tie Erdogan's personal credibility and Turkey's national honor into containing Hamas and releasing Shalit. If they deliver, fantastic, Israel wins. If they fail, or don't participate, their arguments against Israel are neutered - they had their chance to end the violence, and didn't.

The next time a donkey is detonated near the Gaza border with Israel, I want Erdogan in front of the cameras condemning Hamas for spitting in Turkey's face.

We have a running conversation about Israeli PR. Many people think Israel simply doesn't explain its situation. That's not it at all. Israeli spokespeople are routinely on Al Jazeera giving their side, and being drowned out. Nine dead in Iraq is a slow day in Baghdad. Nine dead at the hands of Israel and embassies are under siege. We don't have a problem with facts, we have a problem with narrative.

Instead of having Turkey work against Israel in ending the blockade of Gaza, let's have Turkey working FOR Israel in ending the blockade of Gaza.

It's precisely the kind of win/win maneuvering Israel should be doing.

Sergio said...

And don't forget that al Qaida guy, killed with wife and children, by american drones and missile in a foreign country. Horror! And nobody says shit.

Gavin said...

Victor has some good points. If Turkey wants to take a stake in the game then Turkey needs to be put in a position whereby they take on all the burden and responsibility. I can't see any benefit in swapping one enemy (Hamas) for a bigger one (Turkey) so call their hand. Make a deal. "Ok, we'll listen... here's our requirements.... what guarantees will you give if we do lift the blockade".

There's no question that any deals with Turkey are fraught with risk, but ignoring them is just as risky. There's not a lot of options here. Israel has been going it alone for too long now and maybe, just maybe, there's a chance to bring in a strong partner who can be diplomatically manouvred into pursuing the same goals as Israel.


Anonymous said...


You suggest to turn the tables?
That's brilliant. :-D



Barry Meislin said...

Except that you fellas haven't been listening to what's been coming out of Turkey for the past 10 years, but particularly over the past two.

Turkey and Israel? It's over. At least for as long as AKP rules. And they plan to rule for a long, long time.

Or don't you believe the Turks?

Not only is it over. Turkey has made it crystal clear that it is an enemy of the Zionist Entity.

So give Turkey responsibility? You're more delusional that Lee (even if they are all nice delusions).

Actually, for that matter, the Obama administration is no longer an ally of Israel's.

We are living in interesting times....

Avigdor said...

Barry, I hope you have a strong support system my friend :)

Here's my impression of your remarks: We're alone, surrounded, and our only recourse is to nuke everyone else and die.

If this is how you feel, and I'm talking from personal experience, maybe it's time to give the internet a rest for a few days. Breathe some fresh air, play hide and seek with some little kids, take a boat out and go fishing.

Gavin said...

Barry. You're jumping to conclusions, which is the worst thing to do. You might be right, you might just be wrong too. If Turkey is genuinely on the road to conflict with Israel then there isn't much Israel can say or do to stop it. But if the whole mess has arisen because Erdogan feels insulted then Israel can do something to stop it. You don't race into a major confrontation based on assumptions. It is not a given that Turkey is in cahoots with Iran. They could also be competing against each other for influence.

I'm mindful of Yaacovs comments about sitting in comfort a thousand miles from the action. But this is getting serious now and I just don't want to see Israel in yet another war with yet another enemy when it could be avoided.


Christian Zionist said...

the personal word of Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, in respect to Turkey's great influence in the region, that not a single bullet or rocket or act of aggression will be launched against Israel from Gaza.


Lee Ratner said...

Why are so many of my fellow Zionists constantly in a rat in a corner mode? Why do they want an Israel that is under seige from all sides? An Israel with no allies and whose only choice is to take on everybody in a fight to the death? Its not a very pleasant Israel that these people want. This is not the Israel I want or anybody should want.

Barry Meislin said...

Cute, Victor, but a wee bit of a leap. Imaginative though. (And what have you been thinking of lately? Except that Turkey can be turned back into allies?)

In any event, not only have you not been paying attention, but you seem to be proud of it.

I can understand why. The reality is not pleasant. In fact it really sucks. It sucks for Israel (but it really, really sucks for Turkey, at least those Turks who believe in secularism).

And it will soon get worse. (Never underestimate a self-righteous fundamentalist politician approaching an election cycle)

So let's ignore that reality (while we can)? Or pretend that we have it in our power to convert some of the most chauvinistic people in the world back to our side, to our point of view....

Do you have any idea the kind and amount of propaganda the Turks have been lappping up over the past half decade? It's gotten to be so horrendous that even the Palestinians felt they had to complain---about the prime-time TV serials showing how Israeli gang rape Palestinian women prisoners (you see, the Palestinians felt it demeaned their women.)True, they didn't bother complaining about the made for TV movie about the Israeli
soldiers mowing down Palestinian kids---that was, evidently a lot more palateable.

Do we want this? Um, no, I don't believe we do.

How are we going to stop it? By stopping the siege of Gaza and letting them get the kind of weaponry that Hezbullah has.

That, I'm afraid, is the only way.

And it doesn't matter a whit how many times we recite with utter and complete devotion, with full and perfect faith, "Turkey is our friend; the Turks are our friends...or they would be if only we tried harder"....

Barry Meislin said...

Yes Lee, we could always pretend it's 1993 again.

That would be most useful, and far less discouraging.

Let's do it!

Lee Ratner said...

Barry Meislin, whats your end point? Where do think this is going? Do you think that Israel is going to end up as Roland defending the West from Saracen hordes?

Anonymous said...

Israelinurse has news from the soldiers at CiFWatch and they are terrible

"He told of a soldier hit on the head with an axe with such force that his helmet was split into two and his skull fractured. He told of another soldier who was stabbed in the stomach with a knife some 30 or 40 centimetres long which penetrated the entire width of his body and came out the other side."

Anonymous said...

Churchill told in his WW1-books how often Roumania switched alliances
- all kinds of things may happen to make Turkey decide to switch sides
- I agree it looks bleak right now but Yaacov's proposal has the advantage of getting the initiative back to Israel i.e. attack instead of defend, getting her talked about in a positive way
- and yes I fear too that it smells bad - but Gavin is right it may as well be that they decide to compete with eachother which may to lead to all kinds of terrible stuff but maybe make Israel a bit less interesting to them.

Now lets all concentrate our thoughts on wishing the injured soldiers well.

Barry Meislin said...

Blowing our trusty, IDF-issue shofars?

Gosh, you might actually be onto something....

....though we'll probably be a bit too busy to even think about saving Western Civ.... Besides, don't you think they really ought to think about saving themselves? But who knows, we might just have to do it; after all, once all the dust (and fallout?) settles, we're going to want to go to our favorite museums, chateaux and department stores, theaters, restaurants and clubs, pubs and, of course, hash cafes, creatures of habit that we seem to be.

Lee Ratner said...

You know one problem with most pro-Israeli blogs is their limited readership. One thing that people who take Israel's side could do is try to get an article or two posted on the blogs with much larger readerships. Currently at a lot of the bigger blogs and websites, most pro-Israel posting is left to people whose tactics in the comments section are less than optimal and designed to generate a lot of heat without much light.

Kung Fu Jew 18 said...

Bravo, Yaakov. Bravo.

4infidels said...


"Why do they want an Israel that is under seige from all sides?"

I don't think anyone here wants an Israel that is under siege, but that is the reality. If the Palestinians behaved like Canadians, and the rest of the Arabs and Muslims like Japanese and Australians, I would be fine with Israel giving up all of the West Bank to gain peace and/or international acceptance.

However, it takes two sides to live in peace, but you only need of the parties committed to war to have an absence of peace. The Palestinian leadership and the majority of the Palestinian people have not given up their thirst for destroying Israel. Now you can pretend that if you would just weaken yourself by giving up more land, the situation would somehow change. Or you can deal with reality, keep yourself strong, explain the justice of your cause, and most of all, stopping living with illusions about your enemies.

And the "international community" will continue to take the Arab side, regardless of further Israeli concessions, out of self-interest: oil, financial/economic and fear of terrorism.

This isn't the reality I want...this is the reality that Israel has to face. Making the same mistakes as the past 20 years won't result in a better outcome this time around.

Anonymous said...

somebody in Moscow has a clear head

and here is from my preferred informant on Lebanon a lesson on the real Hezbollah - what a mess in the making for those in that country with whom Israel could probably do business


Anonymous said...

Should the international community in collaboration with the Palestinians be able to deliver the three simple conditions described above, Israel will be eager to move forward in negotiations regarding the West Bank.

Not that I'd bet on the fulfilment of any of the three conditions, but would such an announcement not be a bit unfair towards the Palestinians in the West Bank?

Apart from that, it would be a fine move, I guess. Especially if accompanied by information about subsequent attacks on Israel – about each and every one, aloud, promptly and with figures, heart-rending pictures, interviews and all.

I think so because though I have no clue for which country Sergio speaks, he is spot on for the six European countries in which I have lived so far: The ignorance about Israel and Palestine seems to be huge and widespread. Especially the young and the middle-aged people usually tell me that Israel had been founded on Palestinian property, had oppressed the Palestinians for more than sixty years, justified this with the Holocaust, attacked its neighbouring countries without reason and targeted at babies, innocent women, old people and now also "solidarity activists" who heroically tried to bring "humanitarian aid" to "suffering Gaza". – That is what you learn here in the news and also at school and university.

If you ask these people, they know next to nothing about the Jewish population of the region before modern Israel, the Ottoman Empire, the subsequent powers in the region, the Balfour Declaration, the Mandate for Palestine, the foundation of Jordan, the Partition Plans, the Independence War and the following attacks on Israel, the PLO terror, the history of Gaza, the reason why Israel intervened in the Lebanese Civil War, the Palestinian support for Saddam Hussein's attacks in the nineties, the intifada terror and its victims in Israel.

They do not know about the brainwash and the diatribes in the PT, have no clue how many people in Israel were killed or wounded by terror attacks or how many rockets have hit the country. Neither do they know the content of Hamas' charter and its support among the population. They cannot imagine good reasons for the barrier or the blockade and do not know about the decrease in suicide attacks during the last few years.

They do not know because they do not come across such information here. (Of course it is available, but you have to seek for it, while the heart-rending pictures and stories of Innocent Palestinian Victims™ are omnipresent, served in morsels so easy to ingest.) When it comes to Israel and Palestine, the common Austrian, British, French, German, Italian, Swiss journalist (or history teacher) seems to be an adherent of something I'd label 'concernment journalism'. Its maxime is "give the victims a voice" (whomever they identify as the victim), "firmly believe that nobody else does so, and never, ever scrutinise what they tell you." No matter how absurd it is.

Anonymous said...

Oh dear – apologies! That was much, much longer than intended.


Anonymous said...

don't apologize you did a great job it describes my experience
- even though I never subscribed to the victim-mantra and distrusting by temperament whiners also having become pro-Israel sometime in my teens when I became a news-junkie during the last Lebanon war I fell from one oh no this sounds absurd into the next when thanks to the internet I could first read up enough sources to come to a consistent picture of my own.
you are spot on from A to Z

Anonymous said...

the London Times has done its reporting and it looks like they agree with Israel's truth and the ship has cost IHH 900.000 € - is it an irrational hope that Israel may keep that ship?

Anonymous said...

Is the blockade actually causing suffering in Gaza? Everything I've seen says it's not. If so, offering to end it due to palestinian suffering is a huge mistake that will make israel concede to a crime it hasnt committed. What is needed is to get the message out about how much aid is actually getting to gaza, the photos of palestinian supermarkets overflowing w/ goods need to be more widely distributed. Etc. Never concede to their claims of suffering when they are untrue. The naarative is about victimhood and israeli aggression and a statement that we are sorry for the suffering in gaza and wish to end it can only be made if the suffering is real, not if its trumped up. Its a massive mistake to legitimize palestinian delusions and propaganda. If you disagree and think that gazans are suffering due to the blockade, thats a different story, but if so, can you document the suffering?

4infidels said...


Those Michael Young column's are outstanding. He is someone who understands the region, unlike say Thomas Friedman who thought that if Israel pulled out of Lebanon, Hezbollah would fold up its tent and disappear. Apparently, Hezbollah has more of a reason for existing that fighting the Israeli occupation of southern Lebanon.

You too could be an award-winning New York Times columnist, but you would have to be consistently wrong for decades.

4infidels said...


The blockade is not causing suffering in Gaza. No one is starving, and unlike poorer populations throughout the rest of the world, everyone gets food and other necessities through international aid to the UN that enters Gaza through its border with Israel as well as electricity and fuel supplied directly by Israel.

The people of Gaza can then spend their days plotting ways to destroy Israel, cursing the Western infidels who fund their lifestyle and having dozens of children for future martyrs and demographic conquest. Heck they can even spend time at Internet Cafes and phone banks encouraging Muslims in America to vote for Obama. Many of the homes, even in the refugee camps, have satellite TV, internet access, DVD players, etc. Meanwhile, the PLO leadership that came back to Gaza impoverished from Tunis has built themselves mansions with the foreign aid that was supposed to help build a modern economy. Arafat said repeatedly throughout the 1990s that he could not build under "occupation," yet amazingly managed to die as one of the world's richest leaders.

It is no less than a crime when one thinks what the world sends to Gaza, always supposedly on the verge of a non-existent humanitarian crisis, when one sees how people are suffering and starving in Haiti and other places where a fraction of that money could do so much for so many in need.

Yes, lots of Gazans live below the poverty line. But I am almost certain that is measured by income. You have to remember that all their needs are taken care of by the UN with our tax dollars, so a family living below the poverty line in Gaza can have plenty of food and other necessities. Plus the UN workers have every reason to fudge the numbers as their jobs depend on portraying the worst possible situation. And of course with so many illegal militias, weapons and black market smuggling, I am sure that there are many people living well who don't list their employment with any official agency or are paid out of PLO and Hamas slush funds.

People are suffering in Gaza from the authoritarian rule of Hamas and the decision by the Palestinian and Arab leadership to keep them in refugee camps as political pawns. I wouldn't want to live in such a place even if it was ruled by angels rather than the devils of Hamas. But in comparison to the Egyptian bedouin in Sinai, the Gazans are rich, and no one cares to bring humanitarian aid to Sinai as the bedouin there aren't lucky enough to be considered victims of the Jews.

Barry Meislin said...

How can Israel be blamed? Let us count the ways. The spokesmen aren't any good. The government isn't any good. It can't even manage to provide Israel with a state. It really makes us feel super uncomfortable.

But this takes the cake. Have a good look at this (just another of many) Israeli provocation.

And in downtown LA no less.

(I mean you would think that people should be able to urge Israel's destruction without having to deal with crap like this.)

Barry Meislin said...

Shoud be, "...provide Palestine with a state..."

Avi said...

This already old news to you all i assume, but you should read Seth Freedman on CIF.
I normally do not bother reading CIF in general or Mr. Freedman in particular, but in this case there is a basis to believe that good old fashioned "objective truth" can actually win out over "the narrative".

Anonymous said...

This is such a hollow post. Why the Blockade? Here go to this site(Gisha Legal Action Centerr for Freedom of Movement) To quote from their report: With the passage of a September 2007 Security Cabinet decision authorizing restrictions on the movement of goods and people into and out of the Gaza Strip, Israel declared that the entrance of goods would be limited to a "humanitarian minimum"

Now that makes it clear that the purpose is COLLECT PUNISHMENT of the people of GAZA

4infidels said...


They get far more than the minimum. Why should they have a right to anything from Israel when they are in a state of war? Providing your enemy with humanitarian aid, food, medicine, electricity, etc. is hardly collective punishment. And its not occupation, racism, genocide, ethnic cleansing or any of the other buzzwords you can throw around to excuse the genocidal Hamas regime in Gaza and its population which is divided between a majority that support Hamas and a substantial minority that support Fatah and are also commmitted to Israel's destruction. Why don't they use their days producing something for themselves in Gaza rather than importing weapons, having dozens of children and plotting the destruction of Israel. And why don't you help people in Haiti or some other place where people are suffering rather voicing your support for the people in Gaza, who by comparison, are living quite well off international aid.

Anonymous said...

"the London Times has done its reporting and it looks like they agree with Israel's truth and the ship has cost IHH 900.000 € - is it an irrational hope that Israel may keep that ship?"