Gaza Blockade Forces Citizens to Eat Grass for Survival

by matttbastard

The Sunday Times (of London) reports from Gaza, where, thanks to the recent tightening by Israel of its ongoing military blockade, purportedly in response to continued rocket attacks launched from the Strip by Palestinian fighters, humanitarian conditions have grown increasingly dire:

“We had one meal today – khobbeizeh,” said Abu Amra, 43, showing the leaves of a plant that grows along the streets of Gaza. “Every day, I wake up and start looking for wood and plastic to burn for fuel and I beg. When I find nothing, we eat this grass.”

Despite the increasingly desperate situation residents of the poverty-stricken territory now face, the diplomatic impasse at the heart of Gaza’s deterioration (summed up with tragicomic succinctness by the Times: “Israel says it will open the borders again when Hamas stops launching rockets at southern Israel. Hamas says it will crack down on the rocket launchers when Israel opens the borders.”) appears unlikely to be overcome anytime soon. Which pretty much guarantees continued strife for Gazans over the coming months:

Israel controls the borders and allows in humanitarian supplies only sporadically. Families had electricity for six hours a day last week. Cooking gas was available only through the illegal tunnels that run into Egypt, and by last week had jumped in price from 80 shekels per canister (£14) to 380 shekels (£66).

The UN, which has responsibility for 1m refugees in Gaza, is in despair. “The economy has been crushed and there are no imports or exports,” said John Ging, director of its relief and works agency.

“Two weeks ago, for the first time in 60 years, we ran out of food,” he said. “We used to get 70 to 80 trucks per day, now we are getting 15 trucks a day, and only when the border opens. We’re living hand to mouth.”

He has four days of food in stock for distribution to the most desperate – and no idea whether Israel will reopen the border. The Abu Amra family may have to eat wild grass for the foreseeable future.

A little bit of unsolicited diplomatic advice from yours truly: You know it’s beyond time for Hamas and Israel to hammer out their fundamental differences post haste when the citizens of Gaza are reduced to eating grass in order to survive. Let’s just hope the incoming leader of Israel’s most generous and supportive patron recognizes the importance of helping broker an agreement sooner rather than later, both for reasons of pragmatic national interest and– most importantly–because crafting a solution is, perhaps now more than ever, morally imperative.

h/t Sylvia/M via IM

Related: In a recent op-ed published by the San Jose Mercury News, Darlene Wallach, a member of the Free Gaza movement who was recently detained by Israeli forces while attempting to enter Gaza, points out the elephant in the room:

Israel’s military occupation of Gaza did not end with the withdrawal of its soldiers and settlers from Gaza in 2005. Israel still controls access of people and goods into and out of the Strip. It controls Gaza’s airspace, borders and, as my capture attests, territorial waters.

Last year, Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza, hoping to turn Gazans against Hamas. In early November, it tightened the blockade and is denying an entire population access to trucks laden with humanitarian provisions, food and gas.

[…]

This collective punishment is illegal under international law. Article 55 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, for example, states that “to the fullest extent of the means available to it, the Occupying Power has the duty of ensuring the food and medical supplies of the population; it should, in particular, bring in the necessary foodstuffs, medical stores and other articles if the resources of the occupied territory are inadequate.”

In other words (borrowed from Fred Clarke, who has been forced to repeat them far too often over the years):

You’re not allowed to kill civilians.

Killing civilians is against the law. Killing civilians makes you a criminal.

Yes, but …

No buts about it. You’re not allowed to kill civilians.

And, also: You’re not allowed to kill civilians.

Recommend this post at Progressive Bloggers

21 thoughts on “Gaza Blockade Forces Citizens to Eat Grass for Survival

  1. “Fundamental Differences”

    What a nice, antiseptic term for the fact that Hamas doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist. How, exactly, do you “hammer out” that difference?

    Yeah, in a perfect world Gazans would have a government capable of negotiating with Israel. A government that didn’t attack the very supply convoys at Nahal Oz and the Karni crossing. A government that didn’t appropriate the majority of what comes through those tunnels. A government that doesn’t alienate the OTHER COUNTRY (Egypt) that borders Gaza.

    The fullest extent of means doesn’t mean putting your personnel at risk. When those two guys got killed at Nahal Oz it made it clear that there are very few means to safely transfer goods to the civilian population of Gaza when Hamas is in control.

    But they don’t. And until Hamas radically changes its tactics and ideology nothing will change.

    You can’t expect any country to accept constant rocket attacks. It’s asking too much out of a government. When they respond with a blockade it’s awful, when they respond with targeting killings it’s awful.

    Yeah, you’re not allowed to kill civilians. So what do you propose? Because right now the blockade’s the only thing Israel can reasonably do.

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  2. Annnnd, as if on cue, in comes the trolls–enter stage right.

    At this point, let me make it crystal clear that this thread will be stringently moderated without warning or prejudice — that goes for both Israeli and Palestinian partisans.

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  3. Yeah, you’re not allowed to kill civilians. So what do you propose?

    For both sides?

    Negotiate.

    Seriously.

    All options on the table, with full unbiased support from the US, EU, Arab states and UN (yes, I know–and a pony). Ideally, UN peacekeepers to maintain security in the Occupied Territories.

    Further, acknowledge that Hamas, though not the most desirable option, was duly elected by the citizens of the Occupied Territories (after the Bush admin insisted that free elections take place, over the objections of both Israel and the Palestinian Authority), and, thus, have been given a mandate–and, conversely, that Israel isn’t going anywhere, that its existence has to be accepted as well. Return to pre-1967 borders. Above all, abide by international law (both sides).

    Easy to say, I know–but collective punishment (in which civilians serve as scapegoats for the sins of the state) only sets up an infinite feedback loop of grievance and retribution. And at this point, the cycle of violence isn’t going to be broken any time soon if the status quo is maintained.Both sides have to be willing to make serious diplomatic concessions in order move forward.

    And, frankly, the reflexive dehumanization of the respective opposition further perpetuates the ongoing chaos and instability.

    But that’s just my pie-in-the-sky plan.

    What do YOU propose, apart from (apparently) advocating genocide of all Gaza residents (the logical outcome of an unending blockade on the part of Israel)? Please, no one-sided propositions in which the burden of compromise is unfairly placed upon Palestinian factions.

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  4. The blockade has to end. It doesn’t help agianst the rocket attacks. Reapeat. IT DOES NOT HELP. I doubt it will stir up people to oppose Hamas; you don’t get sympathy by hurting people. The Palestinians are far more likley to see Hamas as the only people “protecting” them from Israel rather than them as the reason Israel is harrassing them. That said the rockets need to stop too. THEY DO NOT HELP. If I was in Israel’s shoes I’d try to resolve this by flooding Gaza with aid. People with clean water, food, good medicine and some kind of stability will be far less likley to support anyone who goes messing that up (Hamas). If I was in Hamas’s shoes…… well I don’t know what I’d do. They exist to fight against Israel as far as I can see. If the fight is over they will cease to have a need to exist. because of that I don’t expect they are ever likley to seek a meaningful peace. I think Israel will essentially have to go over their heads and straight to the Palestinian people. I know this pretty much puts all the burden on Israel (which is not fair), however I think that is how it will have to be.

    Frankly I think all Hamas has to do for an immediate (if likley to be temporary) peace, is stop the rockets. Problem is I don’t really see that happening. Or lasting. I trust Hamas not to renew hostilities about as much as I trust Isreal not to. That is to say as much as I trust a spider in my shoe not to bite.

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  5. Whether or not the blockade helps against rocket attacks, the attacks on the Nahal Oz fuel depot and the Karni crossing make it clear that for Israel to get aid across the border means risking the lives of Israeli soldiers and citizens. If that’s not putting the onus on Israel then what is? When you bite the hand that feeds you you’re not going to continue to be fed.

    And how, exactly, do you propose that Israel makes sure that the aid isn’t appropriated by Hamas? The only way to do that is to reinvade Gaza and set up distribution mechanisms run by Israel within Gaza. And this would piss off Gazans because it would be, of course, occupation.

    Matt, if we acknowledge that Hamas was elected by the Palestinian people we have to acknowledge something else: that the mandate they created is one that abhors negotiation. Hamas can’t negotiate with Israel, and they refuse to do so directly because doing so acknowledges Israel’s right to exist.

    Did the Palestinian people decide? Kind of. But that decision was one that stated, “We are electing a government that exists to conquer all of Israel, deny negotiations, and eventually expel all Jews from the region?”

    Hardly a decent negotiating partner.

    The burden of compromise is on both sides, but don’t act like Hamas is some great deal-maker. The Palestinians added the burden to themselves when they elected Hamas, it wasn’t foisted upon them.

    Collective punishment was the only logical result of what Hamas did in Gaza. You’ve got a faction that was elected, but the goal of the faction is utter domination of Gaza and war with Israel, while simultaneously refusing to negotiate with Israel or recognize that it’s a country, or even recognize that there’s a difference between Israeli soldiers and citizens.

    What’s the realistic solution? Israel will not put its soldiers or citizens at risk by opening up crossings for extended traffic. Hamas will not back down in asserting control over Gaza, which will make the crossings dangerous. It’s a stalemate.

    The only realistic solution is for the stalemate to break, either by invading Gaza and deposing Hamas or by Hamas radically changing its ideology in the face of public sentiment shifting.

    It’s nice to say, “Oh, they should negotiate.” or “Oh, Israel should flood Gaza with aid.”

    The reality is that that won’t work until the ideology in Gaza ceases to be one in which the populace elects a government whose sole purpose is to wage war with Israel.

    Gaza chose war, and they’re getting war. If and when they get tired of war things will change, and not a moment sooner.

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  6. I’m not saying that Israel has some sort of moral obligation to put flood aid into Gaza (although actively preventing aid from entering is a different issue). What I am saying is that if the citizens of Gaza actually had a bit more to loose they might be a bit less willing to risk it. Putting aid in (or letting it get in) need not constitute a risk to Israeli military or citizens. They just have to let Palestinians drive the trucks. Yeah Hamas will get its hands on alot (if not all) of the aid but what are they going to do with all that food? They can only eat so much themselves. They have to either give it back to the people or sell it back to the people (or hoard it; but I doubt even Hamas are bastards to that degree). Yes that will probably mean some gain to Hamas. Whether monetary or support. But if the people of Gaza’s lives improve then that will sap as their power base to a far greater degree. DaveNJ, you say that Gaza chose a war? Why? Hamas is willing to fight it for them, why? This current situation plays into Hamas’ hands. They chose it. Isreal is playing into their hands at them moment. If it is too foolish or stuborn to stop then this will never end.

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  7. Putting aid in and letting Hamas control all the aid is just going from one method of control to another. You go from an angry Palestinian populace that sides with Hamas for now, but not necessarily forever, versus a Palestinian populace utterly dependent on Hamas for the bare necessities of life. If that doesn’t increase the popularity of Hamas I don’t know what will.

    Quality of life improvements in Gaza because of Hamas-distributed aid won’t diminish their power base, it’ll strengthen it. Mightily. It’s how Hamas gained power in Gaza in the first place by distributing goods and services in the face of a largely corrupt Fatah government. Improving conditions won them Gaza, along with militant Islam.

    Israel is never going to create gains for a terrorist group that denies its existence. You’re asking too much of the country, or of any country really.

    Israel is not playing into Hamas’ hands in that it’s exercising a lot of military restraint right now. Playing into their hands would be reinvading. Hamas chose war, but Israel is generally avoiding fighting and choosing blockade as well, hoping that eventually public support will turn on Hamas.

    This won’t end until one side caves, and Hamas doesn’t have the military strength to win the war they’re fighting. They hope that eventually persistent, sporadic terrorism will break Israel’s will, even if it takes generations.

    It’ll end, just not necessarily in our lifetimes.

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  8. The civilised countries of the world should send a fleet of ships there and use force to end the Israelis barbarism.

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  9. Yep John, let’s replace Israeli “barbarism” with the sweet, magnanimous control of Hamas. They certainly never use military coercion, torture, execution of dissidents, or take control of strategic resources, do they?

    It’s statements like that that make this issue impossible to solve. When only one side gets blamed nothing is achieved.

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  10. This book seems interesting.

    Hamas (and other Palestinian parties) have trouble recognizing Israels right to exist, because it would acknowledge that all that has happened is just. Arafat (and some Hamas spokespeople) have recognized Israel’s right to exist in peace, which is something different.
    Another problem with asking reaffirmation of Israels right to exist is that the borders of Israel aren’t clear to all parties. The Israel of 1948? Of 1967? The current wall/fence? Borders that will assure a viable independent Palestinia?

    When only one side gets blamed nothing is achieved.
    I don’t hear a lot of people protesting the ongoing building of illegal colonies by Israel, nor do I hear a lot of protest about colonist violence, resource distribution in the occupied territories or similar infringements of human rights by Israel.

    I hear a lot of people stating that the Palestinians should just stop with the rockets. Though I absolutely agree with that (not just because they cannot be navigated properly, but also because they are often launched near civilians) their is a matter of proportionality. I looked up the figures at B’tsalem and with all the thousands of rockets fired, exactly 18 people have died in 3.5 years. In that same period 19 people have died following an infringement of the right to medical treatment in the Occupied Territories.

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  11. Dutchmarbel, read Hamas’ charter and you’ll see exactly why they have trouble recognizing Israel’s right to exist. It’s not a border dispute, but a religious one. The Hamas charter makes explicit their goal of the eventual subjugation and expulsion of Jews from land they consider to be Muslim. Borders are insubstantial in comparison to an overarching statement like this.

    Settlements are a problem, and possibly the biggest obstacle to peace, but Hamas does the Palestinian people no favors when Israel finally decided to remove EVERY SINGLE SETTLEMENT IN GAZA and Hamas responded with a concerted campaign of terrorism. Land for peace is acceptable to many. Land but no peace? Not an appetizing proposition.

    Proportionality is important in matters of war, but it is not the only principle in just war doctrine, and strict proportionality has never been regarded as the true intent of any reasonable just war philosophy. The difference between Kassams and medical treatment is this: Israel’s policies may result in civilian casualties, but the casualties may be foreseen but unintended. That meets just war criteria.

    Conversely, Hamas’ attacks on civilians are both foreseen and intended, clearly a flagrant violation of just war conduct.

    In war you can kill civilians. No war is wholly free of civilian casualties. However, it is up to both sides to minimize these casualties. When one side develops weapons to specifically reduce civilian casualties (like Dense Inert Missiles and shrapnel-reduced explosives) and the other side shoots rockets loaded with shrapnel and ball-bearings indiscriminately at civilian communities it makes one thing clear:

    One side agrees to just war theory, even if its practices can at times come into question.

    The other side cares not a bit for the theory.

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  12. DaveNJ: I know about Hamas. Did you ever read about how they came into existence and who sponsored them because it suited them to have a religious competitor for the PLO? Just like it suits that same party to have infighting between Fatah and Hamas?

    I assume that you have no idea how skewered your information is. Since I assume that you would therefor consider all palestinian and arabic sources tainted I’d recommend that you read some more background info from general human rights oragnisations (Human Right Watch, Amnesty), or from Israeli human rights organisations (B’tsalem, but there are more). Maybe read an Israeli newspaper (Ha’arez) or the info from a few Jewish dissidents. The refuseniks have sites with testimonies, the shministim have their own experiences they share online.

    If you actually *do* realize how one-sided your information is you might consider subscribing to palestinian blogs/newsletters. Though they are often one-sided too they still report facts.

    After all, you were the one who said “When only one side gets blamed nothing is achieved”. Or was that just a nice soundbite?

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  13. Dutchmarbel, I’m not blaming only one side, and certainly Israel played a role in Hamas’ formation.

    That doesn’t, however, make Hamas a valid partner for peace, or a good representative for the Palestinian people.

    You’re shifting the argument here to ignore the basic problem in Gaza: one side believes in just war theory and one does not. If we believe that an affirmation of just war doctrine is necessary for any fighting factions it is important to apply this standard universally.

    Where do you think I get my info from, DM? I’ve read Haaretz on a daily basis for over half a decade. I read B’Tselem and HRW. I also read the other side, be it Yediot Ahronot or the Post. I read Al Jazeera, and I read The Economist. Why would I consider all Palestinian sources tainted, and why would you assume that I do? I read Palestinian sources and I weigh their credibility before forming an opinion. I read Ramzy Baroud, but with a firm understanding of his bias, just as I read someone like Avigdor.

    But attacking one’s sources when you don’t know their sources is the height of bad argument. It’s borderline ad hominem, because you’re attacking me and my credibility, as opposed to a legitimate moral argument.

    Even if Israel holds some responsibility in the formation of Hamas it doesn’t make Hamas a group that will in any way bring peace to the region.

    Blaming one side is useless, but so is trying to find complete proportionality on both sides. Both sides can shoulder blame without ignoring that one side clearly desires to use immoral and inhuman tactics like terrorism, human shields, and of course crushing political dissent.

    You accuse me of one-sidedness, yet you fail to show any proof. My criticism of Hamas doesn’t absolve the Israeli government of any blame, but please, criticize my points. It’s a fact that Hamas’ response to the Gaza pullout was horrible. Israel actually pulled out of an entire Palestinian territory, and instead of capitalizing on that historic move with a drive for peace and a cessation of hostilities to further the pullouts Hamas turned the land into a rocket pad. How is that supposed to convince the Israeli people that land for peace is possible?

    And not some tahadiyeh, actual, lasting peace that acknowledges Israel’s right to exist in the Middle East.

    When you can show me even one way that Hamas improves the chances for peace or acknowledges the principles of just war maybe I’ll change my mind. ‘Til then, though, I know exactly how much good Hamas has done for the people of Gaza.

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  14. You’re shifting the argument here to ignore the basic problem in Gaza: one side believes in just war theory and one does not.
    I disagree. The militant Palestinians engage in rocketfire and suicide bombings, which are war crimes. They launch from civilians homes, which is a warcrime too.
    The Israeli’s however don’t believe in just war theory either. They use palestinians as human shields (their courts had to explicitly forbid it but it still happends afterwards), they torture (their courts had to explicitly forbid it and it still happends, though some feel that if you don’t call it torture it isn’t torture), they punish the whole community which is definately a war crime and they use excessive force with disregard of the civian victims regularly. Here is for instance a (pdf) report about the children killed by the Israeli army, here are the B’Tsalem figures about minors being killed. And though some were involved in fighting it is hard to justify killing (from a helicopter) four children under 5 and their mother wilst they were picknicking in their back yard.

    Hamas indicated that they would accept Israel in 2006 and in 2008>. There is a difference between the ‘right to exist’ and the right to exist in peace. Don’t you think that the latter is good enough for now? How can you justify keeping a big part of the democratically elected Palestinian government in detention for years?

    Hamas is a political entity with hugh popular support (the celebration of their 21th year, last week). You have to negotiate with them if you want to accomplish anything, or you have to continue to choke the life out of the palestinian population.

    Israel actually pulled out of an entire Palestinian territory, and instead of capitalizing on that historic move with a drive for peace and a cessation of hostilities to further the pullouts Hamas turned the land into a rocket pad.
    They kept control over all the borders, the sea and the air. Nothing can come in or out, so in effect they changed the Gaza into one big prison and Israel keeps everybody who might report about it out: journalists, photographers, aid helpers and even the a href=”http://www.reuters.com/article/newsMaps/idUSTRE4BF5DZ20081216″>special UN investigator after he made these comments:

    “It is an unfolding humanitarian catastrophe that each day poses the entire 1.5 million Gazans to an unspeakable ordeal, to a struggle to survive in terms of their health,” Falk said when I reached him by phone in California shortly before he left for Israel. “This is an increasingly precarious condition. A recent study reports that 46 percent of all Gazan children suffer from acute anemia. There are reports that the sonic booms associated with Israeli overflights have caused widespread deafness, especially among children. Gazan children need thousands of hearing aids. Malnutrition is extremely high in a number of different dimensions and affects 75 percent of Gazans. There are widespread mental disorders, especially among young people without the will to live. Over 50 percent of Gazan children under the age of 12 have been found to have no will to live.”

    Gaza now spends 12 hours a day without power, which can be a death sentence to the severely ill in hospitals. There are few drugs and little medicine, including no cancer or cystic fibrosis medication. Hospitals have generators but often lack fuel. Medical equipment, including one of Gaza’s three CT scanners, has been destroyed by power surges and fluctuations. Medical staff cannot control the temperature of incubators for newborns. And Israel has revoked most exit visas, meaning some of those who need specialized care, including cancer patients and those in need of kidney dialysis, have died. Of the 230 Gazans estimated to have died last year because they were denied proper medical care, several spent their final hours at Israeli crossing points where they were refused entry into Israel. The statistics gathered on children-half of Gaza’s population is under the age of 17-are increasingly grim. About 45 percent of children in Gaza have iron deficiency from a lack of fruit and vegetables, and 18 percent have stunted growth.

    Here is the report of a young palestinian journalist about the current situation in Gaza.

    Maybe you should look at this video about the malnutrition of children in Gaza. It was taped in june, the current situation is worse.

    These pictures (video) are about the hopelessness in Gaza. No power to eeven pump the sewage so it is overflowing in the streets, no light, no heating, no money.

    All the occupied territories are in an abysmall state. How many people will visit Bethlehem this year?

    Quite a number of my resources are in Dutch so I can’t use them in international company. They range from a blog of a Dutch women who lives in Bethlehem to the website of our former Prime Minister who radically changed his opinions after visiting the Occupied Territories for the first time.

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  15. So have you ever been to the West Bank, DM? I have. And let me tell you, upon my second visit I saw improvement over the span of three years. And the World Bank agrees with me. Since Abu Mazen started full-fledged negotiations with Israel economic development is on the rise in the West Bank, and conditions improved.

    Hamas, well, they chose another course. Don’t tell me a tahadiyeh or a hudna conflates with acknowledging Israel’s right to exist. It doesn’t. The belief that they will eventually conquer all of “Palestine” (including, you know, Israel) means that any “recognition” is not the kind the international community demands, specifically a permanent and lasting recognition. A hudna is no such thing. All a hudna recognizes is that Israel is a powerful entity.

    Hamas is an entity with huge popular support, but so is Israel. Israel is also far more powerful. If Hamas wants to negotiate there’s a bare minimum of terms to be met. One of those terms is a cessation of terror. Another is recognition of Israel’s right to exist. Until that happens negotiations are useless.

    Your problem is you’re conflating all war crimes, ignoring the motives behind war crimes. Israel certainly does commit war crimes, but they acknowledge the principles of just war doctrine.

    Major efforts have been made to reduce civilian casualties in Gaza through development of new technologies like DIME and limited shrapnel explosives.

    Has Hamas made an effort to reduce civilian casualties? Just the opposite. Their fundamental lack of regard for just war doctrine and human life that isn’t Muslim speaks volumes about their hatred and malice.

    Israeli courts say using human shields in tactical ops is illegal. Hamas fighters dress in women’s clothing and go through a procession of women, daring Israel to kill civilians. But yeah, there’s NO DIFFERENCE. Right.

    Conditions in Gaza suck. And they’ll continue to suck until a terrorist organization, no matter how lawfully elected, either steps down or changes its tactics, because right now it’s impossible to expect Israel to transfer fuel from Nahal Oz or open up Erez when doing so means their civilians die.

    Hold Hamas and the Palestinians to the moral standards you hold Israel to. Anything less and your moral position falters.

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  16. Israel certainly does commit war crimes, but they acknowledge the principles of just war doctrine.
    We disagree completely. Seeing the number of victims, seeing the result of their policies I do not understand that you can call that following the principles of just war doctrine.Their current treatment of the population in Gaza is clearly wrong. You can claim mitigating circumstances, but to not even recognize that it is wrong makes you a bad person. I cannot change that, especially not in an exchange at an blog, and I’m not going to put effort into fighting windmills.

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  17. Of course it’s wrong that Gaza’s civilians suffer. Nobody should have to go through what they go through. Our difference is where we ascribe blame. Gaza’s civilians are being held hostage by Hamas, essentially one big human shield that they’re using to feed their inept and depraved movement.

    Mitigating circumstances are just that, mitigating. Just war doctrine allows for mitigation in the face of groups that attack the supply givers.

    What possible reason does Hamas have to attack the fuel-givers at Nahal Oz? What possible reason do they have to attack the Karni crossing?

    There is no reason other than their goal of shutting down crossings and keeping Gaza poor, impoverished, and united against a common foe. Hamas can’t succeed without hate, so they cultivate it.

    Again, one group consciously upgrades its technology to create weapons that minimize civilian casualties. The other does the opposite.

    Does that mean nothing to you? Just because Hamas is democratically elected doesn’t mean it’s not evil, and it doesn’t mean it’s good for the Palestinian people.

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  18. Our difference is where we ascribe blame
    You said “Hamas is an entity with huge popular support, but so is Israel. Israel is also far more powerful.”. The division of responsibilities follows the division of the power, which is why the party with more power carries more blame.

    ‘Just war’ talks about proportionality and about avoiding civilian victims. A claim that ‘they upgraded their technoligy’ doesn’t mean a thing; you have to look at the victims – how many, where they were and what they did when they were injured or killed. I gave you plenty of links to see that they are definately not interested in minimizing civilian victims.

    Israel still is an occupying power in the Gaza Strip because it fully controls Gaza’s airspace, sea space, and land borders. Under the Fourth Geneva Convention, an occupying power is obligated to ensure the provision of food and medical supplies to the civilian population to the fullest extent possible.

    Collective punishment is expressly forbidden under international humanitarian law. According to this principle, persons cannot be punished for offenses that they have not personally committed. In its authoritative commentary on Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, the International Committee of the Red Cross has clarified that the prohibition on collective punishment does not just refer to criminal penalties, “but penalties of any kind inflicted on persons or entire groups of persons, in defiance of the most elementary principles of humanity, for acts that these persons have not committed.”

    Just war principles make violence and war a last ressort. But Israel doesn’t aim for peace, it aims to ‘freeze the peace process’. To quote some more Dov Weinglass:

    “When you freeze [the peace] process, you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state, and you prevent a discussion on the [Palestinian] refugees, the borders and Jerusalem.

    “Effectively, this whole package called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed indefinitely from our agenda.

    “And all this with authority and permission. All with a [US] presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress.”

    You want Hamas to acknowledge Israels ‘right to exist’ and say that ‘right to exist in peace’ is not enough. Yet I’ve not heard you say *which* Israel should be acknowledged. The 1967 borders? The borders given by the UN in 1948? The borders mentioned by Ben-Gurion when he said “Our right to this land, in its entirety, is enduring and eternal. And until the coming of the Redemption, we shall never yield this historic right”?
    Shouldn’t Israel declare *which* state it wants acknowledged? And schouldn’t they acknowledge what they want to do with Palestinia? Should it be an independent viable state or should the land be part of Israel?
    If we state the demands we have for Hamas, we should state the demands for Israel too.

    But as long as people are willing to justify Israels actions, no matter the victims, nothing will be achieved. Israel refused to negiotiate with Arafat, they did all they could to make sure Abbas had no power and where did that get them?

    Anyway, as I said I’m not inclined to end up like Don Quichotte. Too many things to do in these busy times to argue with someone who can morally justify harming innocents and children this way.

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