Israel strikes at HamasSomervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas

Middle East Hostility

Israel strikes at Hamas

27 December 2008 at 10:37:28 AM

Israel retaliates against Hamas
Israel retaliated against [the recent rocket fire by] the Palestinian organization Hamas with air attacks in the Gaza area.  Hamas and various Arab nations refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist.
For those of you who know little or nothing of Hamas, here is a brief excerpt taken from an article in The New York Times outlining the organization:

"Hamas is one of the two main Palestinian political groups. Since June 2007 it has been in de facto control of the Gaza Strip, after seizing power from the Fatah party in a series of bloody clashes.

Hamas derives its name from an acronym for the Arabic words ''Harakat al-Muqawama al-Islamiya," which translates into English as the Islamic Resistance Movement. It was founded in 1987 during the first Palestinian uprising with its roots in Muslim Brotherhood politics in Gaza and became more active in the second Palestinian uprising which started in 2000.

The groups' 9,000-word charter, written in 1988, includes a description of the struggle for Palestine as a religious obligation, saying the land is an endowment that cannot be abandoned.

It recognizes the fact of Israel but refuses to recognize its right to exist, and has been responsible for many of the deadliest suicide attacks in Israel."


As a tiny nation in the Middle East surrounded by hostile influences, Israel is forced to fight for its survival daily against the hatred of most of its Arab neighbors.  Religious differences, prejudices and hatred stemming from ancient times along with ongoing contemporary political and geographical volatility make any attempt of negotiations, peaceful coexistence and any form of truce virtually impossible.

It appears that these issues and conflict will continue to make the Mid-East region an area of unrest and military actions for many more generations.


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1 - anon   27 Dec 2008 @ 8:21:52 PM 

Nothing like creating a war on the way out of the kitchen--after they have stolen all the money in the kitchen cabinets!   More troubles for the incoming administration. 

2 - pstern   29 Dec 2008 @ 8:35:41 AM 

While the Bush administration certainly has done its share to cause us alarm on many issues, with all due respect, we can NOT blame them altogether for the volatile Mid-East crisis between Israel and its Arab neighbors.

The ongoing and escalating conflicts with Israel have been brewing since that nation's statehood back in 1948.  Furthermore, animosities among Arabs and Jews date back to and before biblical times when the Jewish people were slaves in the Pharaoh's court.

The problems will remain for future generations because neither Arabs or Jews are able to get past all the old hostility, animosity, arrogance, hatred and prejudices each group has for the other.

Many truce pacts have occurred over the years and all eventually have failed.

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3 - salon   29 Dec 2008 @ 10:03:41 AM 

On the other hand-from

Now we have the end of "disengagement" in Gaza and the opening up of a new front in Israel's relentless war of expansion.

It is a war that has been financed by U.S. tax dollars and fought with American weapons, with the active collaboration and support of our government. We have paid for the radical expansion of the Israeli "settlements" by armed bands of ultra-nationalist fanatics, Israel's version of the Taliban. Indeed, Israeli opinion is moving rapidly in the radicals' direction, and the victory of Benjamin Netanyahu and the far-right Likud Party in the upcoming election is virtually assured – with even more extreme elements waiting in the wings for their moment...

The Israelis – and the U.S. – rail against Hamas as a gang of terrorists, yet most of the governments of the region started out as "terrorist" gangs. Two were called the Irgun and the Haganah, the revolutionary movements that carried out attacks on civilians, including the British as well as the Arabs, in their battle to establish the state of Israel. Hamas will do no more, and no less, in their bid to establish a Palestinian state.

If nothing else, this fresh paroxysm of Israeli aggression ought to debunk, once and for all, the neocon talking point that democracies never go to war with each other.

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4 - pstern   29 Dec 2008 @ 4:20:18 PM 

This is not anything new.

Every few years the Israelis engage in tactics to extend their borders and after a while via various truces they give back some of the territory.

Most Arab nations want to exterminate the Jewish state because they don't want Jews in the Mid-East.

What I stated in this original commentary holds true.  It is both Arabs and Jews who can NOT get past the anger, prejudices, hatred and warring instincts in order to achieve some sort of real peace in the Mid-East.  It's just not going to happen.

These hostile and volatile issues and emotions have plagued the area since biblical times.  It's not going away.

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5 - humanbeing   30 Dec 2008 @ 9:05:44 AM 

 Here is some interesting history of Palestine from the United Nations website:

Of particular interest, to me at least, is the Balfour Declaration which was concocted by some members of the British cabinet and the Zionist Federation.

From the UN site: The Palestine  problem became an international issue  towards the end of the First World War with the disintegration of the Turkish Ottoman Empire.  Palestine was among the several former Ottoman Arab territories which were placed  under the administration of Great Britain  under the Mandates System adopted by the League of Nations pursuant to the League's Covenant (Article 22) .

All but one of these Mandated Territories became fully independent States, as anticipated. The exception was Palestine where, instead of being limited to "the rendering of administrative assistance and advice" the Mandate had as a primary objective the implementation of the "Balfour Declaration" issued by the British Government in 1917,  expressing support for "the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people".

During the  years of the Palestine Mandate, from 1922 to 1947, large-scale Jewish immigration from abroad, mainly from Eastern Europe took place, the numbers swelling in the 1930s with the notorious Nazi persecution of Jewish populations. Palestinian demands for independence and resistance to Jewish immigration led to a rebellion in 1937, followed by continuing terrorism and violence from both sides during and immediately after World War II. Great Britain tried to implement various formulas to bring independence to a land ravaged by violence. In 1947, Great Britain  turned the problem over to the United Nations.

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6 - salon   30 Dec 2008 @ 10:46:50 AM 

I just can't wrap my head around this history. Humanbeing, you seem to be saying that Palestine was treated unfairly or at least differently by the Balfour Declaration, and that the influx of Jews to Palestine were unfair to Palestine. I would agree with you if that's so, because why should Palestine not have achieved independence and sovereignty, unlike other states created at that time? On the other hand, after just having finished reading Constantine's Sword, I feel for the Jewish populations that have been hounded all over the world and wanted, at least the Zionists, to have a Jewish homeland in which they could feel safe, and couldn't be kicked out or turned away. All that said, RIGHT NOW, what Israel doing is not any better than what Hitler did to the Jews in Germany, that is attacks on the country that are mass genocide. People CAN read and DO pay attention and have seen how Israel has marginalized Palestinians and encroached on their land. They have become the epitome of a wrathful people who have no legitimate reason to kill Palestinians. and the world knows it.

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7 - humanbeing   30 Dec 2008 @ 11:46:52 AM 

 I definitely believe the Palestinians have been screwed. Why is it OK for Britain and the Zionists to decide the Jews can move to Palestine? I'm not clear why Palestine did not form an autonomous country at the end of WW I, however, before the end of that war, 50,000 jews had already  relocated to Palestine, before the formation of the League of Nations and its 'mandate' arrangement which allowed Britain and France to call the shots. 

I believe that the formation of Israel in Palestine just may be the single most important strategical blunder to come out of WW I. It was totally against the wishes of the people who were living there and their other Arab neighbors. No one argues that the Jews have suffered terribly. But the actions of the Zionists (and the western countries that support them) could hardly engender good relations with the Arabs. I believe the real agenda here was to establish an ally for the West in this oil-rich area while meeting the needs of the Zionists, whose primary agenda was to find a place for the Jews to live.

In the first Arab-Israeli war, 1948-1949, Israel captured even more Palestinian land and displaced 750,000 Palestinians, creating a huge humanitarian crisis. I have not yet read Jimmy Carter's Book, Peace, Not Apartheid, but the Israelis are not some kind of innocent victims here.  

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8 - pstern   30 Dec 2008 @ 3:34:21 PM 

I'm just curious.  Have either of you [Salon or humanbeing] lived in Israel or an Arab nation?  Or even visited that nation for a certain period of time?  To me, it doesn't sound like you have.

It is easy to get certain ideas into your head reading all sorts of news media here and from overseas.  However, once you have been there for a while you get a different reality and point of view.  Most Americans really don't have a clue regarding the Arab/Israeli conflicts.

As I have already stated, both groups have the right to live there and both have created undo hardships and travesties against each other.  Innocent people on each side have died and/or suffered great tragedies.

There needs to be an ONGOING peace table negotiation among Mid-East nations --- NOT just during hard times, but ALL THE TIME so that communications are continuous and conflicts are dealt with right away before they become escalated into chaos.

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9 - salon   30 Dec 2008 @ 3:46:27 PM 

No, and you're correct that my impressions are driven through the media. And I also agree with you that there should be a peace process, but heck, it has been FAILING. Until there is, Israel needs to cut out the genocide.

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10 - pstern   30 Dec 2008 @ 4:53:27 PM 

Again, "its a 2-way street".

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11 - humanbeing   30 Dec 2008 @ 7:49:36 PM 

 No, I have never traveled the Middle East. But my search to understand the beginnings of the state of Israel was prompted by my questioning of America's seemingly blanket support of Israel and the unspoken rule that none of us here may even discuss this support. I have sought out sources of information that would be as unbiased as possible.

I don't know what you mean, pstern, by 'certain ideas'. Of course I could never know what it is truly like living in Israel or Palestine.

 Obviously, the reality there is very polarized. I do know, however, that war is obsolete and not productive. I also know that something very fundamental in this situation is wrong. I do question the Israelis right to live there and I believe that the Israelis are not doing enough to make peace with their neighbors. Perhaps, after almost 100 years, there is too much blood under the bridge. This fact, however, does not absolve the participants from resolving their animosities for the sake of peace in the world and for themselves.

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12 - salon   31 Dec 2008 @ 11:05:21 AM 

On the *unspoken rule*. That's the part I don't understand. At one point recently I started looking into the history of what happened with Israel. I don't understand why the United States and the media is so reluctant to take the side of Israel instead of Palestine. I've watched a lot of Link video from middle eastern stations showing the walls, the border police, the illegal taking of Palestinian land... and I don't see why we should favor Israel more than any other country. Is it just that we need all the buddies we can get?

I don't want to see the Jews marginalized and I think there's been too much of that down through history.. and quite often from so-called christians. But aside from that, Israel didn't gain control of the territory until the mid-1960's in a war. Why does that give them any more right to the area than anyone else? In other words, it was only through the might-makes-right of war that Israel has a small country there now-which they continue to expand to the detriment of their neighbors.

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13 - pstern   31 Dec 2008 @ 6:03:39 PM 

I think you meant that the U.S. is reluctant to take the side of the Palestinians.

I don't think the U.S. should "take sides".  We need to become a more neutral pressure to facilitate peace in that region if it ever will happen.  However, we do need to support each nation in their efforts to evolve.

If it were up to the Arab states they would kick Israelis into the sea and reclaim all the current Israeli land without hesitation or violence. 

Among other reasons for supporting Israel is that it is a democratic nation in the midst of an area inhabited and ruled by monarchies or dictatorships.

And what about other areas of the world where the U.S. still maintains stupid relationships, e.g., our close neighbor of Cuba.  Isn't the embargo the most ridiculous policy we have?  Well, maybe next to "bailing-out" industries, waging a TRILLION dollar no-win war in Iraq and keeping friendly relations with Saudi Arabia who was not held accountable for the 9/11 terrrorists who had ties to the Saudi government.

We have a long way to grow; hopefully, we will start to change with Obama --- for the better.

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14 - humanbeing   31 Dec 2008 @ 7:05:44 PM 

 The tragedy is that we have taken sides in this country and most do not even know why.

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15 - salon   1 Jan 2009 @ 8:10:52 AM 

humanbeing-that's exactly what I mean. (yes, I meant palestine in my previous comment, pstern). Hub is of the opinion that the reason we've joined with Israel is that 1. we have a ready market for all our military weapons and 2. they are our foothold into the Middle East. IF that were so, would have nothing to do with whether we as a country agree with Zionism, the idea of a homeland, or whether their policies are just. Also has nothing to with democracies-the US supports plenty of countries that aren't democracies (take, for example, Pakistan, until the near past-maybe we still are supporting them or your example of Saudi Arabia, where we KNOW the 911 terrorist came from) and scorns plenty of countries that *are* democracies (Hamas won in a democratic election). The whole *bringing democracy to the world* argument is BS, not to mention that the US has no room to talk with so many anti-democratic practices under the previous 5 or 6 administrations.

And IF it were that we had sympathies or guilt over what happened to Jews in the past, we would not have, during FDR's administration, turned away Jews who were trying to immigrate from Europe to escape Hitler.

So, right. I don't know why we have taken sides with Israel, but the issue is that the world sees that we have, and that what is happending in Palestine is grossly wrong... and is leading the world, again, to take sides against us. Will Obama be able to change that? Definitely Bush will not in the last days of his reign.

P.S. on the Cuba embargo. Yes. Ridic!

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16 - salon   1 Jan 2009 @ 9:28:38 AM 

Incidentally, Al Jazeera has their news streaming online on the site and of course they have a lot of coverage from the Arab/Palestine POV.

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17 - pstern   1 Jan 2009 @ 12:11:55 PM 

Israel, Palestine and other Arab nations will continue to fight among themselves because each side firmly believes they must eliminate the opposition completely, that there is no room for peaceful cooexistence.  They also don't communicate well with each other.

What you stated about the "democracies" also may be stated about providing arms and weapons, which we do for Jews and Arabs.

As for military proximity to the Mid-East, we also have bases in Turkey, Iraq, Greece, Egypt, etc., etc.  All are minutes away via jet fighters and missile launchers to the Mid-East areas, so we really don't need Israel as much as that nation needs us.

It's a real plight and travesty for the common people who just want to live their lives in peace and yet they also have the hatred and prejudices that the leaders have.

The only way I see any improvement is as I stated before, to force Jewish and Arab leaders to sit down at a table at least once every 2 weeks to discuss various economic, political and social issues that effect their relations.  There must be an agreed upon mediator to facilitate these meetings and the main objective is to deescalate any conflicts and thus maintaining peaceful relations.

At least, that's my opinion based on all I've read, what I've seen when I lived in the Middle East and my knowledge of mediation tatics.

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