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SHAME! ISRAEL, SHAME! March 26, 2009

Posted by wmmbb in Israel-Palestine.

Look at this video from The Guardian,(via War In Context) and then conclude whether Israel is a fit country to have any dealings with whatsoever:

I am assuming most Israelis will find the behavior of the IDF and their Government disgraceful. I stand to be corrected but I suspect that these weapons are American rather than Israeli in origin. This is heedless murder. War seems to have become a video game.

Incidentally this evidence places the deaths of civilians murdered in Afghanistan by drone attacks in a new light.


Al Jazeera records that a Human Rights Watch Report suggests that the use of White Phosphorus by Israel in the Gaza assault was a war crime. The case in essence:

“In Gaza, the Israeli military didn’t just use white phosphorus in open areas as a screen for its troops,” Fred Abrahams, senior emergencies researcher at HRW and co-author of the report, said.

“It fired white phosphorus repeatedly over densely populated areas, even when its troops weren’t in the area and safer smoke shells were available. As a result, civilians needlessly suffered and died.”

It seems that Palestinians and Israelis not just have separate tables, but separate lives. Sometimes the social distance is closed, as Associated Press reported in Ha’aretz:

The Palestinian youths from a tough West Bank refugee camp stood facing the elderly Holocaust survivors on Wednesday, appearing somewhat defiant in a teenage sort of way. Then they began to sing.

The choir burst into songs for peace, bringing surprised smiles from the audience. But the event had another twist: Most of the Holocaust survivors did not know the youths were Palestinians from the West Bank, a rare sight in Israel these days. And the youths had no idea they were performing for people who lived through Nazi genocide – or even what the Holocaust was.

“I feel sympathy for them,” said Ali Zeid, an 18-year-old keyboard player, who added that he was shocked by what he learned about the Holocaust, in which the Nazis killed 6 million Jews in their campaign to wipe out European Jewry.

“Only people who have been through suffering understand each other,” said Zeid, who said his grandparents were Palestinian refugees forced to flee the northern city of Haifa during the war that followed Israel’s creation in 1948.

I suspect that “ghettoiazation” does not happen other than by design. Ending this process, might represent strategic leverage for a sustainable peace process. Violence tends to reinforce divisions. Outside public opinion may usefully help people caught up in the social trap to break through the misunderstanding, even ignorance, created by social distance.



1. abbeyg - March 26, 2009

What do you know of Israel, or Palestine, Ian, and does stealing a quick vid from the Gaudian make you feel better?

Unless you have been there, then leave it to those more learned.

2. wmmbb - March 26, 2009

Nice to hear from you Abbey. I mean that.

To be “learned” to draw conclusions is not a necessary condition subject to the qualification that the video and the reporting is accurate. Are you suggesting, and I know you are not, that the behavior depicted is acceptable?

Clearly, the Israelis may justify their actions as anti-terrorist, in which case as the video suggests they have the evidence to do that. Who is a terrorist, or who is a person acting in self defence?

Ordinary people serve on juries are expected to determine innocence or guilt on the basis of the evidence. All the evidence on this issue is not available, so there is license taking in drawing conclusions. If I am too provocative, then the issue here is not unimportant.

Then again public opinion is important in a democracy, and in that spirit this blog is an open forum. While my views may be biased and incorrect, they are open to criticism. I like yourself undertake to respect people whose views on any subject are more informed and more intelligent, since that is the way democracy works. In doing so, I do not forgo my own judgment – nor do I expect anyone else to.

Israel is a country we might be able to influence with public opinion, and if the Israeli people and their government were to accept the Palestinians as full human beings with legitimate claim on their land that would be an extremely positive development for the Middle East and the World.

I welcome your criticism, even if it is strident criticism – and thanks for commenting.

If you must know the reason I take liberties here is that I do not think there are many readers anyway. You are correct to remind that in these matters there are standards, and I accept that is an appropriate criticism.

3. Prott - March 26, 2009

Abbey – do you remember “a pox on both their houses”? These people are scum and deserve to be called so. So are suicide bombers. Our nation should have no truck with either.

4. Judith Ellis - March 27, 2009

Ugh! This is so very painful to watch. The statistics are horrifying. Painful, painful. War is painful. Rules of engagement still suck. But when they are broken the international community must speak out. In war lives are destroyed, families devastated.

5. wmmbb - March 27, 2009

Judith, your comment about rules of engagement reminds that in 2006 Lebanon conflict that Israeli pilots who refused to attack civilians were supported by their superiors.

Israeli ( I presume most are Jewish) soldiers are now speaking about what they did.

Retaliation, or the game theory of tit for tat, if that is the overt reason for the actions of Israel becomes part of a expanding, perpetual, almost perpetual, cycle of violence, that includes the blockade of medical supplies and food.

The problem is that often that when I try to understand these things, I become distant from the effects on people. Far better then to be “unlearned”.

6. Judith Ellis - March 28, 2009

When I try to understand these things, wmmbb, my focus is the exact opposite. I tend to think of the effect on people first and then policy.

7. wmmbb - March 28, 2009

I am suggesting that the analytical modality and the feeling modality are disconnected. That probably should not be, but that seems to be the way it works.

I suppose in some way this goes to the issue raised at the beginning by Abbey who suggests that only experts should comment upon issues and decide on them. Whereas I tend to think that everybody has part of the picture which might be drawn together. Furthermore, the technological, measured world view creates an existence devaluing human scale, diversity and in a deep sense, responsibility.

8. Judith Ellis - March 29, 2009

“I suppose in some way this goes to the issue raised at the beginning by Abbey who suggests that only experts should comment upon issues and decide on them.”

I categorically disagree with this statement. Many experts are idiots. I refer you to Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s thoughts on this subject.

Although, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. 🙂

By the way, did you ever finish The Black Swan?

9. wmmbb - March 29, 2009

Shamefully, I have to admit I have not yet read Nassim’s book. I will remedy that deficiency and report on it here just to confirm I have read it. I will then refer to the Being Brand to your library of videos. Thanks very much for that Judith.

Subject to reading The Black Swan, my thoughts on expertise run like this, and I use a medieval analogy. The cobbler, who is the specialist, makes the shoes, and the peasant, who may have large feet and be clumsy, wears the shoes. As has been said the wearer knows where the shoe hurts. They both have access to experience and knowledge about the shoes, including importantly self knowledge. When both these elements are combined a mutual understanding is created. By continuing the process, perhaps with the interception of people with the relevant capacities, the big picture can be drawn, and from that story a common purpose can be discovered.

10. Judith Ellis - March 30, 2009

Very nice, wmmbb.

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