Monday, August 24, 2015

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Isratin or Palestrael?

The Uri Avnery Column looks at the two state/one state debate.


There Was this guy who had an earth-shaking invention: an airplane that flies on water.

No more gas. No more pollution. No more astronomical prices. Just fill it up with water, and it will fly to the end of the world.

"Wonderful!" people cried out. "Show us the plans!"

"Plans?" the man said. "I have had the great idea. I leave it to the engineers to work out the technical details."

The inventors of the "One-State Solution" remind me of this genius. They have a wonderful idea. But there are a few questions left open.

First Question: how can it be achieved?

The obvious answer is: by war.

The Arab world will mobilize its armies. Israel will be conquered. The victors will impose their will.

This may be possible within a few generations. I rather doubt it. In a world of nuclear arms, wars may end with mutual annihilation.

Well, if not war, then "outside pressure".

I doubt this, too. The international boycott movement is quite effective, in its way. But it is far, far from being able to compel Israelis to do something that is opposed by every fiber of their being: to give up their sovereignty. The same goes for political pressure. It may hurt Israel, it may isolate it – though I don't believe this is possible in this or the next generation – but this, too, won't be enough to bring Israel to its knees.

Convince the majority in Israel? One has to be very remote from Israeli reality to believe that this can happen in the foreseeable future. For more than 130 years, now, the core of the Zionist and Israeli raison d'etre has been Israeli (or "Jewish") statehood. Many people have died for it. Every child in Israel is indoctrinated from kindergarten on, through school and the army, to see the state as the highest of all ideals. Give it up voluntarily? Not likely.

But for argument's sake, let's assume that one way or another, the One-State Solution becomes possible. Perhaps by divine intervention.

How would it function?

In all my dozens of debates with One-Staters of all kinds, I have never, not even once, received an answer to this simple question. Not once. Like the inventor of the water-fueled plane, they leave that to the engineers.

Let's try.

How Will the state be named? Not an easy question.

The late Muammar Gadddafi proposed "Isratin" (why not Palesrael"?) I can think of "Holyland", "State of Jerusalem" and other names. Perhaps just "The United State of Israel and Palestine" (let's call it USIP).

Various flags and national anthems have been proposed., some of them really inventive. Will anyone sacrifice their blood for them?

But that, too, is not the real problem. It's when we approach the realities of the state the questions multiply.

How will the state function on a day-to-day basis?

How difficult that may be is illustrated by a simple historical fact: since World War II, there is not a single instance of two states or two peoples voluntarily coming together in one state. But there are ample instances of multinational states breaking apart.

Let's start with the Soviet Union, a mighty world power. Then Yugoslavia. Then Serbia. Czechoslovakia. Sudan.

Other countries are threatened with breakup. Who would have thought that the venerable United Kingdom might become Disunited? Scots, Catalans, Basques, Quebecois, East Ukrainians are waiting in line. Only the Swiss, united by centuries of history, seem immune. And also Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Be that as it may, let's look more closely at the thing itself.

The State must have a united army. How will it function?

Will Jews and Arabs serve in the same squad? Or will there be separate battalions or separate brigades? If there is trouble in Jewish neighborhoods, will Jewish units follow orders against their brethren? In a war against an Arab state, how will Arab units act?

Will the Chief of Staff be a Jew or an Arab? Perhaps by rotation? And the General Staff – half and half?

That's easy, compared to the police. Will Jews and Arabs serve side by side, as they did during the British Mandate, when practically all local policemen belonged to secret nationalist organizations?

How will this police force investigate nationalist crimes? Who will be the Inspector General?

Then there is the question of taxes. As of now, the average income of Jews in Israel is 25 times higher than that of Arabs in occupied Palestine. No, that is not a typo. Not 25% higher. 25 times higher!

Will they pay the same taxes? Very soon, Jewish citizens would complain that they pay for nearly all the welfare and education of the Palestinian citizens. Trouble.

Then There are the problems of the political structure.

Of course, there will be universal and free elections. How will citizens vote – according to their class interests or along ethnic lines?

Experience in many countries indicates that the ethnic identity will take precedence. In today's Israel, that is the rule. During the British Mandate, there was only one joint party: the Moscow-line Communist one. On the eve of the 1948 war, it split between Jews and Arabs. In the new State of Israel, they reunited (as ordered by Moscow) but then split again. Now it is in practice an Arab party, with a few Jewish followers.

In 1984 I took part in the foundation of a new party, the Progressive List for Peace, based on strict parity: our Knesset list was Arab, Jew, Arab, Jew, up to 120.

In two successive election campaigns we entered the Knesset. But a curious thing happened: almost all our voters were Arabs. Soon after, the party disappeared.

I strongly suspect that in USIP the same will happen. In Parliament, two blocs will face each other in a climate of perpetual mutual animosity. It will be extremely difficult to form a working government coalition composed of elements of both sides. Look at Belgium, another problematic bi-national state.

Some One-Staters admit that the project is only feasible if both peoples change their basic attitudes completely, and a spirit of mutual love and respect displaces the present nationalistic hatred and contempt.

Some 50 years ago I had a conversation with the then Indian ambassador in Paris, Kavalam Madhava Panikkar, a very respected statesman and scholar. We talked, of course, about Israeli-Palestinian peace, and he said: "It will take 51 years!"

Why exactly 51, I asked, surprised. "Because we need a new generation of teachers," he said. "That will take 25 years. These new teachers will educate a new generation of pupils, who will be able to make peace, That will take another 25 years. Making peace will take one more year."

Well, 51 years have passed, and peace is further off than ever.

Matchmakers tend to say: "They don't love yet, but once married and having children, they will come to love each other."

Perhaps. How long will it take? A hundred years? Two hundred years? Long before that, we shall all be dead.

The main argument against the One-State vision is that it will soon become the battlefield of a perpetual conflict, like Lebanon. There will not be a day of internal peace.

The greatest danger is that in such a state, with a growing Arab majority, affluent and highly educated Jewish citizens will slowly leave (as some are already doing now). In the end, only the poor and ill-educated will be left –a small Jewish community in another Arab state.

I have a lurking suspicion that some of the Arab One-Staters embrace the idea for this reason alone: to put an end to Israel.

Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs are two of the most nationalist nations in the world. One has to be an extreme optimist – even more extreme than I – to believe that it will work.

Honest disclosure: I did once believe in the "One-State solution", long before the term was invented. In 1945, when I was just 22 years old, I founded a group that was devoted to the idea that the new Hebrew nation in Palestine and the Arab nation in Palestine, bound by common love for the country, could become one joint nation and live in one common state.

Our ideology caused an uproar in the Zionist community in the country. We were universally condemned. But during the 1948 war, when I came into immediate contact with the Palestinian reality, I gave up this beautiful idea for ever and from 1949 on was one of the creators of the concept of the Two-State Solution.

I have a great respect for the adherents of the One-State Solution. Their motives are admirable. Their vision lofty. But it is disconnected from reality.

I Would like to make one point quite clear: for me, the Two-State Solution is not a recipe for separation and divorce, but on the contrary, a kind of wedding.

From the first day on, 66 years ago, when we, a tiny group, raised the banner of the Two-State Solution, it was clear to us that the two states, living close together in one small country, must live in close cooperation. Borders must be open for the movement of people and goods, the economies closely intertwined. Some kind of federation is inevitable. Attitudes will slowly change on both sides.

Connections will be formed. Friendships will be established. Business interests will convince people. People will work together and come to like each other. As the Arabs say: Inshallah.

When I am asked whether this is the best solution, my answer is: "It is the only solution."

54 comments :

Wolfsbane said...

Very helpful analysis and experience. Lessons for us in N.I. too.

I believe nationalisms can be held so as to accommodate each other, whether in a bi-national state or in close proximity - with good-will. Without good-will, nationalism must end in war, with winner take all.

But I think the real Israel problem is religion, a totalitarian religion that cannot by its foundation doctrines accommodate other than an Islamic and Arab rule in the Middle East. Until that is changed, no accommodation can be reached.

Ozzy said...

Two states have been tried in Ireland and India/Pakistan.
It hasn't worked either.

David Higgins said...

Wolfsbane.
. wise up. Does this blame it on Islam mentality know no bounds? Don't get me wrong I'VE no time for fascistic beliefs but I am afraid I include your religion in being on the wrong side of liberty and freedom of expression.

Henry JoY said...

"I have a great respect for the adherents of the One-State Solution. Their motives are admirable. Their vision lofty. But it is disconnected from reality."

But what if 85% of the people voted for a two state interim solution solution? What then?

After such an event, to what degree would the adherents of a one-state solution retain significant respect?

What legitimacy could those adherents to a one-state solution then rightfully claim?

For what purpose would they continue with their campaigning?

Would their justifications be understood, never mind respected?

What's the likelihood that prisoners jailed for activities in support of a one-state solution, but counter to popular mandate for a two-state one, would garner or retain any significant modicum of respect, understanding or sympathy for their various campaigns (as prisoners and their campaigners had achieved previously)?

Ozzy said...

Also wrong about the point that since WW2 not two seperate Countries have voluntary decided to unite.
Germany for one.
Also Vietnam was re united..It might not have been so voluntary but thee you go.
It depends on the definition of voluntary. The VietCong in the South didn't come from nowhere.

Ozzy said...

Henry Joy.
The GFa is between 70 and 80 pages long.
So it's completely bogus for you to state what the people voted for.
Which one of those pages did they even agree/disagree with.

The Irish people have never been offered a Yes/No vote on soverignity.

And if you think you can mention Articles 2 and 3 to me. Then I suggest you read the Irish constitution.
It holds that the desire of the Nation is to be reunited in one single entity.so you'll have to take that up with those who wrote/voted for it.

chchlc2222 chchlc2222 said...

Ozzy
Vietnam and Germany are both very homogenous countries. Unlike the situation in Israel/Palestine. One could also point to 1956 to 1962 when Egypt and Syria were united.

Henry JoY said...

Absolutely correct Ozzy, the 26 county government's territorial claim was rescinded. Sure aspirations for unity are in the bunreacht still ... but with a clear recognition through legislation that there'll be no realisation or attempted realisation of those aspirations without the consent of a northern majority.

Regardless of how many pages people read or understood, there's no escaping the way they voted, nor the implications of the votes. That those who vehemently oppose those votes are likely to be perceived and characterised as anti-democratic, if not necessarily true, is hardly startling.

Its now clear where the attentions of those who aspire to a united Ireland ought be focused.

Wolfsbane said...

Ozzy said:
'Two states have been tried in Ireland and India/Pakistan.
It hasn't worked either.'

It's worked better than trying to impose one would have.

Wolfsbane said...

David Higgins said:
'Wolfsbane.
. wise up. Does this blame it on Islam mentality know no bounds? Don't get me wrong I'VE no time for fascistic beliefs but I am afraid I include your religion in being on the wrong side of liberty and freedom of expression.'

David, I think you will find a big difference today between ANY significant form of Christianity and the most significant form of Islam in the Middle East. We are not dealing with the Imperial Roman Catholic Church, the Magisterial Reformation, or with moderate Islam.

If Romanism or the Magisterial Protestantism were a threat today, I would be pointing out the same things as I'm doing with resurgent Islam.

Wolfsbane said...

Henry JoY said:
'"I have a great respect for the adherents of the One-State Solution. Their motives are admirable. Their vision lofty. But it is disconnected from reality."
But what if 85% of the people voted for a two state interim solution solution? What then?
After such an event, to what degree would the adherents of a one-state solution retain significant respect?
What legitimacy could those adherents to a one-state solution then rightfully claim?
For what purpose would they continue with their campaigning?
Would their justifications be understood, never mind respected?'

Indeed! What (Dissident Republicans)have done is to appeal to an already dead majority as their mandate. Voo Doo politics.

'What's the likelihood that prisoners jailed for activities in support of a one-state solution, but counter to popular mandate for a two-state one, would garner or retain any significant modicum of respect, understanding or sympathy for their various campaigns (as prisoners and their campaigners had achieved previously)?'

Hopefully very little. But then human nature is often perverse and can be blinded by well-crafted rhetoric. May the Lord deliver us all from that.

Wolfsbane said...

Ozzy said:
'Also wrong about the point that since WW2 not two seperate Countries have voluntary decided to unite.
Germany for one.'

They were one nation. The Jews and Arabs are not.

'Also Vietnam was re united..It might not have been so voluntary but thee you go.
It depends on the definition of voluntary. The VietCong in the South didn't come from nowhere.'

Again, one nation. Divided by religion and ideology, but one ethnic nation (85% Viet, with 54 minority groups making up the rest).

David Higgins said...

Wolfsbane,
Christianity has been dragged into a more liberal way of thinking, yet it still continues to be a negative influence on peoples lives. The gay community for example. Regarding Palestine, as long as people like you continue to justify genocide the more radical Islam will become. Henry Joy can you not comment without having some stupid dig at republicans?

Wolfsbane said...

David Higgins said:
'Regarding Palestine, as long as people like you continue to justify genocide the more radical Islam will become. '

I justify Israel's right to self-defence. There is no genocide, just brutal war. The Palestinians need to accept Israel's right to exist, and Israel the right of Palestinian Arabs to their part of the land.

That's the problem and the solution. Otherwise one lot must be driven into the sea or the river. I'm opposed to that solution.

As to Christians and gay-rights, both should have their rights. Gays to live and believe as they please; Christians likewise. But the gay fascist element are determined to make everyone confess that gayness is good, contrary to the sacred doctrines of Christianity. That is not acceptable.

David Higgins said...

Jesus suffering wolfsbane, you contradict yourself in the same sentence. One the one hand gay people should be allowed to live their lives but on the other hand if they advocate homosexuality or contradict a storybook they're what? Sinners? What happens in Gaza is genocide prattling on about self defence just makes you sound like a lunatic. What threat do schools and hospitals pose Israel?

Henry JoY said...

Wolfsbane,

"But then human nature is often perverse and can be blinded by well-crafted rhetoric."

Agreed. That's why the rhetoric pushers ought be regularly confronted.


"May the Lord deliver us all from that."

Apart from the fact such beliefs about the 'Lord' may also be the product of well-crafted rhetoric I'd also caution, that if indeed faith moves mountains, chances are that 'Lord's' part is minimal ... in the end of the day you'll still have to find your own of digging tools and wheelbarrow!

DaithiD said...

...in the end of the day you'll still have to find your own of digging tools and wheelbarrow!...

Or just one Adams figure to insist the mountain has moved, and to initiate a new set of traditions that honour his great feat.

Henry JoY said...

David Higgins

"Henry Joy can you not comment without having some stupid dig at republicans?"

Surely what you meant to say David was 'HJ can you not comment without having some dig at stupid republicans?'

Or if you really did mean it as you wrote it see my reply to Wolfie above.

Wolfsbane said...

David Higgins said:
'Jesus suffering wolfsbane, you contradict yourself in the same sentence. One the one hand gay people should be allowed to live their lives but on the other hand if they advocate homosexuality or contradict a storybook they're what? Sinners?'

Yes, sinners. But as consenting adults they are free to do so. I'm a believer in God, the resurrection of the death, etc. What does that make me with you? A deluded fool? But you say (I hope) that I'm an adult and should be free to believe nonsense if I like. You're not persecuting me, and I'm not persecuting gays. Now if I demanded that you say my religion is right and good, you might consider me a religious fascist, and you would be right. Same for me and the gays.

'What happens in Gaza is genocide prattling on about self defence just makes you sound like a lunatic. What threat do schools and hospitals pose Israel?'

They pose a threat when they are occupied by enemy soldiers. Deliberately so.

David Higgins said...

Wolfsbane,
Even the u.n Israel's apologist reported there was no soldiers in the school that was hit or the hospital. Here's the thing though, even if your propaganda was true and hospitals and schools were being used by soldiers, functioning hospitals and schools, you think it's o.k to strike them? Wolfsbane believe whatever you want. My point was Christian groups who picket and protest gay marriage are restricting freedom of expression. H.J this thread wasn't even about republicans but still you go. If people believe in the purity of the republican ethos what business is that of yours?

Henry JoY said...

David H.,

surely you see the parallels between the two-state solution favoured by Uri in Palestine/Israel and ongoing pulls between pro-partitionists and anti-partitionists in Ireland. And yes, yet again I took the opportunity to highlight the futility of an aggressive rather than an aspirational attitude to a one-state solution.

The republican ethos/position is as much my business as that of any other adult on this island. I have the same right as everybody else to express a preference for the way we are collectively governed. Not that there's much to be happy about either government's performance in either state but at least children and innocent non-combatants are no longer being sacrificed in pursuit of nationalistic dogma by any party.

Anthony wrote recently that as a man approaching sixty he no longer holds the same views as he did at sixteen. It would be a poor reflection on any man or woman who did. I am at a similar point of life's journey as AM. Are those of us of a similar disposition expected to be silent on such matters despite the futility we see?

David Higgins said...

Henry,
let me put it another way
you say you try to highlight the futility of certain, as you would see them, rigid positions. However how do people engage with you when your analysis is arrogant, almost sneering. Republicans are not stupid. We understand the political landscape that surrounds us but what is the alternative? Accept what your given? There is parallels in most struggles however there is always massive differences it is a bit too complex to lump them all together

Wolfsbane said...

David Higgins said:
'Wolfsbane,
Even the u.n Israel's apologist reported there was no soldiers in the school that was hit or the hospital.'

I watched it happen on TV - during an interview on a station unfriendly to Israel, rockets were launched just outside the walls of the hospital.

'Here's the thing though, even if your propaganda was true and hospitals and schools were being used by soldiers, functioning hospitals and schools, you think it's o.k to strike them?'

Yes. Regrettable - but the alternative would have been too costly in Israeli army lives. Same with America and the Bomb vs Invasion of Japan.

'Wolfsbane believe whatever you want. My point was Christian groups who picket and protest gay marriage are restricting freedom of expression.'

I'm not aware that we do picket them. We should let them do what they please, as its between consenting adults. But we are entitled to politically protest the amendment of Marriage to include homosexual couples. But I'm not uptight about it - as long as we can make clear what our marriage is, then that would do me. My real beef is the attempt to make all of us say that homosexuality is moral. It may be legal, but not moral by my standards.

Henry JoY said...

David

sometimes we win ... and sometimes we learn.

Republicans couldn't win and won't win a united-Ireland. Many of them still insist on repeating the same rhetoric ad nauseam, they're in denial about the wishes of the people ... the acceptance of partition until a majority in the north decide otherwise. As far as I can see they can't make themselves relevant in any significant way and for as long as they remain bound to their theological dogma they won't.

Some of those unfortunates who swallow their deluded dogma are going to do jail time ... for what? Worst case scenario their sabre rattling will lead to a return of violence and more death and destruction. If I come across as 'arrogant and almost sneering' so be it. If the worst happens, the record will show that it was not done with my support nor encouragement, if I should have to stand with the bereaved, I shall be able to do it with integrity.

AM said...

Wolfsbane,

are you saying children and patients are legitimate targets?

Wolfsbane said...

AM said:
'Wolfsbane,
are you saying children and patients are legitimate targets?'

Only when it is impossible to stop the enemy otherwise. If defeat is not an option, and civilians are used to protect the enemy forces, then they suffer with the enemy. That's not justifying the targeting by preference of civilians.

I don't know of any war that was conducted otherwise.

AM said...

Wolfsbane,

To me that is war crime.

It is never legitimate to target children.

David Higgins said...

Wolfsbane
I don't see any point carrying on a conversation with you. your myopic, partisan drivel disgusts me. Henry, like many others you don't want to see a return to violence, fair enough. What it not be more constructive to attempt to change peoples minds through logic rather than describing anyone who has a more militant outlook as a mind controlled moron?

Wolfsbane said...

AM said:
Wolfsbane,
To me that is war crime.
It is never legitimate to target children.'

Selecting them in preference to combatants, I agree would be a war crime. But having to include them in the target, that's normal war. If you let your enemy hide behind children and kill you, then you have lost. Can you think of any nation that has done so and survived?

AM said...

Wolfsbane,

the threat to Israel from those rockets was minimal. In the view of Norman Finkelstone, not only minimal but strategically provoked by Israel. Whatever the accuracy of that, the deliberate slaughter and massacre of children was not borne out of military necessity.

If you agree with war crimes I will oppose your opinion. I do wonder if the biblical justification of infanticide has shaped your thinking on this. It seems the state rabbinate in Israel are among the most vocal advocates of child murder. Given your measured views on many other things your legitimising of child murder surprises me greatly and disappoints me in equal amount.

Henry JoY said...

David

Tony de Mello tells a yarn about a guy who walks into a bar in the early evening. He notices as he comes in that there's only one other punter sitting at the bar; the after-work crowd have gone home and its a bit early for the night-trade.

As he orders his drink and he's sizing up whether or not he'll engage the company down the counter he notices the guy has a banana stuck in his ear. His first instinct is to let him be but after a few minutes of reflecting on it he decides perhaps he ought draw the guys attention to the fact that there's a banana sticking out of his ear.

He edges hesitantly along the bar closer to the guy with the banana in his ear and takes up a stool two positions away; he leans towards the guy and says " Excuse me, but do you realise you've got a banana in your ear"?

The guy with the banana in his ear turns and says "Sorry, what did you say"? So the other guys closes the gap between them and sits on the stool immediately beside him and repeats once again "Do you know you've got a banana in your ear"?

To which the guy with the banana in his ear replies "Speak up! Can't you see I've got a banana in my ear".

You're absolutely right David about the futility of attempting to tell people what they know full well. Time to leave them with their bananas in their ears. They have their reasons and 'justifications' for their strange behaviour and of course aren't able to hear so well until they take the bananas from their ears.

Those still supporting the out-dated 'Irish Republic' just seem to like, and like too much having a banana in their ear.

Wolfsbane said...

AM said:
'Wolfsbane,
the threat to Israel from those rockets was minimal. In the view of Norman Finkelstone, not only minimal but strategically provoked by Israel. Whatever the accuracy of that, the deliberate slaughter and massacre of children was not borne out of military necessity.'

They had the choice of doing nothing, allowing the murders to continue, or hit Gaza hard. Hitting it soft would have caused more Israeli casualties doing it hard.

What do you suggest they should have done? Or do you say the Hamas campaign was insignificant?

'If you agree with war crimes I will oppose your opinion.'

And rightly so.

'I do wonder if the biblical justification of infanticide has shaped your thinking on this.'

No, for Israel is not the theocratic nation under God is was back then.

' It seems the state rabbinate in Israel are among the most vocal advocates of child murder.'

They are a danger to Israel's freedom. But not because they support any military action.

'Given your measured views on many other things your legitimising of child murder surprises me greatly and disappoints me in equal amount.'

As I said, I see the military action as reasonable in the circumstances. I've yet to hear an alternative that would not lead to Israel's defeat.

AM said...

Wolsfbane,

murdering children playing soccer on a beach is reasonable in the circumstances? Like David Higgins, I am coming to the conclusion this exchange is going nowhere.

David Higgins said...

Henry,
There's the problem of people undoubtedly benefiting from constant conflict on all sides. I am assuming you don't want seventeen year olds signing up so from your perspective would it not make more sense to offer alternatives rather than belittle people they admire? Not saying its your responsibility just you obviously feel strongly about it, obviously intelligent so would that not be more productive than the name calling nonsense. Here's a thought considering unionist penchant for fenian blood would it ever be wise for republicans to be completely impotent?

Henry JoY said...

David

obviously the name calling is not productive. In truth it only drives people back into a defensive position, ironically its less than productive insofar as they cling tighter to their beliefs when they perceive they and their dog's ma are being attacked. So agreed, hurling abuse is counter-productive.

So what's the alternative? There is an alternative but its too bitter a medicine for most CRN's to swallow ... we must educate people to be more discerning in their beliefs ... people must be encouraged and facilitated to de-construct their old belief systems. At some level that's already slowly happening but not in an overt manner.

The coming centenary is an ideal opportunity to review our history around the 'Rising'. We must acknowledge its importance in gaining a substantial degree of independence from our coloniser masters. However we must also consider if anything other than partition was realistic and achievable. We must also explore the alternative histories as to what might have happen had the Brits abandoned Unionism completely ... or what if they (the Brit establishment) had colluded with Irish Nationalists to force northern Unionists into an all-Ireland Home Rule arrangement. Through such discourse CRN's might come to see what was proclaimed in 1916 wasn't realistic nor achievable ... not unless you're prepared to countenance ethnic cleansing.

The myth of an all-Ireland Republic needs to be de-constructed both at a personal and communal level. As Peter, I believe it was, pointed out Republicans have lost every time, except for the significant but partial success of the treaty. They lost the ensuing civil-war, they failed miserably with 'Operation Harvest' in 56-62 and lost the long war from '69 to '94. Its a failed model. Always was and always will be. The 'one more push lads' and 'our sons have sons' has no purchase any longer except for those who those with feeble minds. (I'm sorry if that sounds harsh but its as honest as I can call it).

There's a few points of the top of my head. On a coffee break right now. I may return to this later.

Wolfsbane said...

AM said:
'Wolsfbane,
murdering children playing soccer on a beach is reasonable in the circumstances? Like David Higgins, I am coming to the conclusion this exchange is going nowhere.'

No, I did not say every Israeli action was justified. That beach incident seemed debatable at the very least. And other incidents in the West Bank were similar or undoubtedly unrighteous kills. Such is the nature of all wars. Those responsible for the incidents should be punished - but it does not invalidate the nation's fight.

I'm sure you agree that Kingsmills or Darkley did not invalidate in your mind the republican war. How much more then the Israeli nation's struggle for existence.

AM said...

Wolfsbane,

this discussion is not hinged on Israel's right to exist. Even if it were, no existential threat was posed to the ability to exist by rockets.

The discussion is about the murder of children. There is no right in any war to murder children. Once we concede that there is then forget the moral outrage about Jewish children lined up along the ravine of Babi Yar: it is only war - and the Nazis made enough propaganda about an existential threat to Germany belong posed by Jews. Rubbish but the type f rubbish that led to mass murder.

Wolfsbane said...

Anthony, the rockets and on-going terrorist campaign by Hamas posed a real threat to Israel's existence. They cannot afford a war of attrition - they will certainly lose such. Only the Arabs can succeed in it.

The Nazis did not not kill children as a consequence of their attack on enemy soldiers - they took the kids out and killed them. The Israel forces do not do that, only Israeli terrorists, matched by Palestinian terrorists.

I'm genuinely interested in your solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict - what should the Israelis do that would bring peace?

AM said...

Israel has afforded a war of attrition for decades. It is a war economy and can cope. In war there is the issue of proportionality. The IDF display many similarities to the Nazis in their murderous attitude to children. Killing them at the side of a ravine or at a school (when they knew it was a school and had been told so by the UN) hardly differs. The UN described some of Israel's attacks as criminal. Children in Gaza were not the collateral but the target. The Israeli attack on Gaza was state terrorism. The Palestinians hold no match to Israel when it comes to terrorism. I don't have any solution for the conflict. But I know mass murder when I see it, whether it be against the Palestinian children of Gaza or the Jewish children of Toulouse.

David Higgins said...

Henry,
I don't think you can label Republicans feeble minded, it's a complex issue. I will always be a republican I can't imagine me ever disregarding my beliefs because they become outdated or impossible to achieve. I believe you are what you are, and after all the inner mental roundabouts you still end up back with your core beliefs. The current violence doesn't seem to have an endgame and therefore hard to justify. I agree with you on that, where I disagree is I believe republicans should always be armed. Peace or not. Unionists call continuously for republicans disarmament while the r.u.c/p.s.n.i, unionist paramilitaries are still fully armed. Reforms or no reforms first bit of trouble wait and see who the peelers guns are pointed at.
As for the "one more push lads" philosophy I disagree. It completely ignores the socio- economic impact. We still live in a society where flying a Irish flag is considered an outrage. K.A.T is frequently plastered on walls. If republicans decide violence isn't the answer, the next time unionists decide to blow a fuse who is going to halt them? The cops once bitten on that I am afraid. Finally a lot of people see a united Ireland as common sense, myself included, to convince them a unionist veto is not only acceptable but justified will be a gargantuan task.

Henry JoY said...

David

thanks for you're fulsome reply ... raising many points worthy of discussion.

Somewhat in reverse order, a united Ireland as common sense; sure at an economic level and just on the economy of scale side of things it makes a lot of sense, less administrative duplication resulting in cost saving if not increased overall efficiencies. All the more reason to acknowledge the right of Unionists to be Unionists. Give them permission to be just that. Its only if you grant them that that real trust will evolve. Its only with such levels of trust that equal conversations can evolve. Only then will some of them be persuaded of the merits of unity.

The standing of what you call the 'Unionist veto' has changed considerably since the Good Friday Agreement. The Brits are on record as having stated they have no vested economic or strategic interest in Ireland and the agreement says that any change to the constitutional status of the North will come about only with the support of a majority. Implicit in all that is that unification could come about if that were the wish of a majority in the six counties. That is a substantial change. Read this way, the veto is no longer cast in stone. The union isn't guaranteed for ever and a day. Unity, although in my opinion highly improbable, is indeed possible within that framework.

Sure there's offensive graffiti still painted on the walls. But I'm sure there's parity there too. Which leads me on to the flying of the tricolour (symbolically representing peace between the two traditions!). The new parity of esteem aspects of the agreement allows for expressions of cultural identity in equal measure so your point about flags is somewhat less than substantial. I remember an incident in the town I grew up in, in 1966, when Nationalists were having an election rally or something of that sort, and because of increased fervour at that time (50th anniversary of the rising) an uncle of mine unfurled a tricolour. This precipitated a RUC/Specials baton charge to remove it. So things have moved substantially on that score too.

With regards to the need for republicans to be armed, not unsurprisingly, you'll find I disagree with you on that score too. For the largest part, unionism and loyalism accepted the GFA. They were satisfied to trade their 'forever and a day' veto for a relinquishment of articles 2 & 3 from Dev's constitution. The threat to and hence from loyalism is nowhere as significant as it was pre GFA. Sure there may be the odd confrontation at certain interfaces but nothing much more serious. I think its important too to make a distinction between moves for community defence and military campaigns for a united Ireland. In the highly unlikely event that there were ever to be reason for the former its unlikely that it would ever again extend to the latter. There are far too many vested interests in maintaining the current status quo to ever let things get so far out of hand. Too many lessons learnt to let it happen yet again.

And finally to your original point around core beliefs; the vast majority of what we call core beliefs are attributable to conditioning. We're conditioned by the home, the community and culture we're born into and most likely further re-enforced by religion and education Its merely an accident of birth that I was born into a republican family. In the broadest sense, I didn't freely choose my 'Irish Republicanism'. Its unlikely you did either.

Good news though David ... with time and effort that blinding conditioning can be unpicked.

Free at last, free at last (Lol)!

David Higgins said...

Henry,
Your correct in terms of condition. I think it was Lincoln who said " if we were born where they were born, taught what they were taught, we would believe what they believe" I don't know who he was talking about it just stuck in my head. Indoctrination is a problem I agree on that. For me though, being as rational as I can, I can only see republicanism as morally justifiable. Given our history I don't see what other road was viable. I hope your right on the Unionist mentality. I would to call unionists my fellow countrymen and take it from there but I don't trust them. Maybe that's my failing. Hypothetically, lets say 50 years from now the majority of the 6 want to be united, I just don't see unionists accepting these conditions. Maybe they'll prove me wrong. I think it is in unionist psyche to feel superior. I think it is their nature to believe might is right not just on the topic of Ireland but global affairs the same attitude sooner or later comes to the fore. They can't even accept that there was Brit and police brutality. That there was pogroms in their wee god fearing " protestant state". So yes they have vested interest in the g.f.a but as soon as they feel they are getting a raw deal, from their perspective, their attitudes will change, If history is to be believed. To finish that point I can't bring myself to accept an undemocratic administration of my country.
To go back to your point on indoctrination. Your 100 per cent our upbringing plays a role in who you are. It seems to me though that it is fine to have generational beliefs, just as long as it's not republicanism. Christians can believe in fairies. muslims in a heaven brothel, loyalist in the purity and right of a single, dysfunctional family to rule, but republicans believe in the effort and essence of the 1916 proclamation and were outdated, delusional and a threat to peace. It just seems the same old tired class systems of beliefs. Fine let unionists be unionists but also let republicans be republicans and lets practice democracy instead of quoting it when it suits us.

David Higgins said...

Henry,
Your right on indoctrination. I think it was Lincoln who said " if we were born where they were born, taught what they were taught we would believe what they believe". I don't know who he was talking about but it stuck in my head. It seems to me though that generational beliefs are fine as long as they are not republican. Christians can believe in fairies, Muslims in heaven themed brothels, unionists in the unquestionable belief that one dysfunctional family can rule supreme but republican believe in the endeavour and spirit of 1916 and we are delusional, outdated and a threat to peace. I wish I had your faith in unionism. they might have a vested interest in the g.f.a just now but as soon as that perspective changes and the see themselves as having the raw deal attitudes will change. I don't trust unionists. Maybe that's my failing. I believe the unionist psyche believes in their own superiority. I believe they aspire to the might is right concept, not just on Ireland but on all global affairs. Sooner or later on any given subject the old mentality comes to the fore.
Lets just say hypothetically 50 years from now people in the 6 vote to be united, I don't think unionists will just accept that. I believe they will return to violence. We are dealing with a people so steeped in arrogance they question every allegation of Brit and r.u.c brutality regardless of how much evidence supports the allegation. A people who still argue that pogroms didn't take place in their wee god fearing protestant state. I can't bring myself to accept such a blatant undemocratic administration of my country. Every historical political decision has been designed and implemented to bolster the minorities will. So fine let unionists be unionists but also let republicans be republicans. Lets be democratic instead of spouting about democratic values when it suits our agenda.

Henry JoY said...

David

thank you for your response. You make several valid points about what could be described as 'supremacist tendencies' in some quarters of the PUL community. There's no denying that it did exist and continues to exist, I'd hope though, to a lesser extent. I'd hold that the current framework holds more potential for a healthy out-working of the old resentments. Certainly much more so than anything the republican model offers ... and as such deserves to be let run its course. Impatient hankering for an overly 'idealistic' solution is to my mind a juvenile attempt to avoid the historical complexities that exist in the north eastern counties. I'm not so sure I'd agree that the administration of our country is undemocratic. I am curious as to how you consider it undemocratic ... its undemocratic as compared to what? Undemocratic as compared to where? As unpalatable as the arrangements may be for you, and until recently were for me, we can't get away from the fact that 85% of the electorate of the island accepted the agreement. If some folks want to rewrite the agreement they need to organise, campaign for support of their proposals and let the electorate(s) decide. That's how democracy works. If you have some other definition of democracy then we can discuss that too.

I liked your Linclon quote. I believe it speaks of and to every-man and of every society. I believe one of the fundamental questions any human-being must explore is that of 'Who am I?'. That of necessity requires the addressing of all the labels we apply to ourselves. One of the labels I applied to myself until recently was 'Irish Republican'. At one time much further back I would have described myself as 'Catholic' too. Here's the thing though David having stripped them back and undone much of the conditioning, I can never go back to the magical thinking involved in Catholicism nor indeed the myth-making of the 'Irish Republic' as proclaimed in 1916.

With regards to Irish Republicanism we now stand on different sides of that chasm. With regards to Christianity I stand on the opposite side of the chasm from 'Wolfsbane'. I respect yours and 'Wolfsbanes' right to stand where you stand on these issues and claim the right for myself to stand where I stand. Sure, on occasions in the heat of a debate or an argument I have stated my position in less measured terms than I do on this occasion. It may be poor etiquette on my behalf David but I reject your suggestion that merely exposing the opinions and dogma of others to criticism, or indeed ridicule for that matter, is of itself undemocratic. Opposition and challenge are central planks of democracy and must be recognised and tolerated as so.

Wolfsbane said...

AM said:
'Israel has afforded a war of attrition for decades. It is a war economy and can cope'.

Can any country allow multiple missiles to strike day after day and do nothing about it? Sure, most of them missed human targets - but should Israel wait for mass casualties before acting to stop it? It was evident Hamas was not going to stop the assault. So what should Israel have done?

'In war there is the issue of proportionality.'

Agreed.

'The IDF display many similarities to the Nazis in their murderous attitude to children. Killing them at the side of a ravine or at a school (when they knew it was a school and had been told so by the UN) hardly differs. The UN described some of Israel's attacks as criminal. Children in Gaza were not the collateral but the target. The Israeli attack on Gaza was state terrorism.'

What should they have done to stop the rockets and the kidnapping? What proportionate response would you suggest?

'The Palestinians hold no match to Israel when it comes to terrorism'.

Obviously a State has greater resources of fire-power than terrorists, and civilian casualties will be greater when the terrorists operate in the midst of the population - but you need to offer an alternative to the Gaza invasion if you classify it as terrorism.

'I don't have any solution for the conflict. But I know mass murder when I see it, whether it be against the Palestinian children of Gaza or the Jewish children of Toulouse'.

Aside from one or two possible wilful selective incidents, al the rest of the assault was within normal bounds of war in a city. so let the perpetrators of the selective murders be prosecuted - but accept that the other actions were unavoidable.

Republicans view the IRA war as valid, despite Kingsmill, Darkley, the murder of the kids when the IRA targeted Mountbatten, etc. So why do you invalidate the Israeli defence of their nation?

AM said...

Wolfsbane,

a society has the right to defend itself but not wage aggressive war. Israel wages aggressive war on Gaza and in the view of many observers provoked the Hamas actions. I don't think Hamas targeting Israeli children is any more justified than Israel targeting Palestinian children.

Israel's defensive shield was more than a match for the rockets described as firecrackers. An invading army has a moral responsibility to the citizenry of the occupied area. Israel did not assume that responsibility, instead it shirked it and then lied via the myth of the most moral army. Thankfully, they were exposed so often that it pretty much amounted to limp defence. Luckily the oral history project put together by the Breaking The Silence Group (comprised of former Israeli soldiers) has been crucial in exposing the myth.

What could Israel have done? Decided that if it had to take action it would not murder children and civilians; decided that a policy of humiliation and subjugation was not desirable and would ultimately prove counter productive; cease the occupation; discourage the widespread racism within its own society rather than promote it; desist from the type of lying it disseminated in the wake of the horrendous kidnappings and murders of Israeli teens - there is a range of methods Israel could have employed but chose not to, opting for child murder in a strategy of exemplary terror.

The evidence is overwhelming by now that Hamas were not operating from schools and hospitals as Israel claimed. Where it happened it was no where near the scale suggested by Israel - Israel again chose to ignore the facts it had, that were presented to it on numerous occasions by the UN, and launched murderous attacks against the sick and young.

One or two selective willful incidents? Israel's war of terror against the civilian population of Gaza was the wilful incident that is self selecting for universal condemnation. It was not within the bounds of war within a city and for that reason is now widely regarded as a war crime.

Wolfsbane said...

AM said:
'Wolfsbane,
a society has the right to defend itself but not wage aggressive war.'

Responding to repeated rocket attacks and kidnappings is a defensive war.

'Israel wages aggressive war on Gaza and in the view of many observers provoked the Hamas actions'.

That's part of the debatable big picture. Where do we find the beginning of the Israeli/Palestinian War? Both sides can keep pointing to previous incidents.

'I don't think Hamas targeting Israeli children is any more justified than Israel targeting Palestinian children'.

We agree on that.

'Israel's defensive shield was more than a match for the rockets described as firecrackers'.

THe IDF figure issued at the start of the Gaza operation says, "The operation is ongoing, and since the start of the operation over 1000 rockets have been launched at Israel. Of those, 754 have hit Israel and approximately 201 were intercepted by the Iron Dome Missile defense system." Have you reason to doubt that figure? The Qassam rocket has a 9kg warhead.

'An invading army has a moral responsibility to the citizenry of the occupied area. Israel did not assume that responsibility, instead it shirked it and then lied via the myth of the most moral army. Thankfully, they were exposed so often that it pretty much amounted to limp defence. Luckily the oral history project put together by the Breaking The Silence Group (comprised of former Israeli soldiers) has been crucial in exposing the myth.'

But see also the deliberate use of civilians to cover military operations:
https://www.idfblog.com/hamas/2012/02/27/cover-hamas-illegitimate-human-shield/

'What could Israel have done? Decided that if it had to take action it would not murder children and civilians;'

Agreed, murder by selecting is a crime - but collateral killing is not, if it is necessary.

' decided that a policy of humiliation and subjugation was not desirable and would ultimately prove counter productive; cease the occupation; discourage the widespread racism within its own society rather than promote it; desist from the type of lying it disseminated in the wake of the horrendous kidnappings and murders of Israeli teens - there is a range of methods Israel could have employed but chose not to, opting for child murder in a strategy of exemplary terror.'

Would ANY and ALL of those being removed have stopped Hamas' terrorist campaign? I agree that the Israeli State should do much more to accommodate the Palestinians, but surrendering to them is not an option.

'The evidence is overwhelming by now that Hamas were not operating from schools and hospitals as Israel claimed. Where it happened it was no where near the scale suggested by Israel - Israel again chose to ignore the facts it had, that were presented to it on numerous occasions by the UN, and launched murderous attacks against the sick and young.'

From the Hamas boast given above, your claim is at least debatable.

'One or two selective willful incidents? Israel's war of terror against the civilian population of Gaza was the wilful incident that is self selecting for universal condemnation. It was not within the bounds of war within a city and for that reason is now widely regarded as a war crime.'

I see the condemnation more political than judicial in nature. I've watched Al Jazeera and RT commentaries on the Gaza War and they led me to my present views on the nature of that war. An ugly necessity in general, with abuses by both sides at times.

AM said...

Wolfsbane,


Responding to repeated rocket attacks and kidnappings is a defensive war.

It is useful in this regard to remember how the Nazis began their war against Poland with the The Gleiwitz incident. And Israel likes to copy the Nazis as some of its own commanders have on occasion stated.

Your statement is only of merit if the defender has not provoked the attacks and undermined peace moves or understandings for strategic purposes as has been the case repeatedly with Israel. As was once said in relation to Hamas attacks, given the aggressive and illegal expansion of settlements as part of Israeli Lebensraum policy coupled with the policy of grinding Gaza into the ground, they would look pretty pathetic were they not to respond. Not that I think their response is worthwhile and if it involves targeting children, wholly unjustified. An essential difference between you and I is you support Israeli terror whereas I do not support Hamas terror.


Me:I don't think Hamas targeting Israeli children is any more justified than Israel targeting Palestinian children.

You: We agree on that.

But we don’t agree on that at all, given that you have said the slaughter of Palestinian children is legitimate. My position is pretty straightforward: regardless of what Israel does to the Palestinians any attack on Israeli children by Palestinians is wrong and never legitimate.

Have I any reason to doubt the IDF?

You jest? May as well cite Gerry Adams as an IDF blog.

One of the greatest lie machines in the world and you ask me that. Have you any reason to believe a word that comes out of the mouth of Mark Regev or his military equivalent Pete Lerner. Time after time both have been shown to lie and mislead. How many times has Regev been hammered on Channel 4 alone for his lying?

Probably better to rely on the Jerusalem Post or Bloomberg Business (hardly anti –Israeli) which claimed Iron Dome takes out 9 out of 10 rockets that would otherwise have hit populated areas.

Would ANY and ALL of those being removed have stopped Hamas' terrorist campaign?

Given that the Hamas terrorist campaign is a response to the state terrorism of Israel it might have gone some distance towards it.

I agree that the Israeli State should do much more to accommodate the Palestinians, but surrendering to them is not an option.

But you want the Palestinians to surrender to Israel and you defend the murder of their children because they refuse to surrender.

From the Hamas boast given above, your claim is at least debatable.

A boast. Probably to be taken as seriously as Israel's "moral army" claim and not supported to any serious degree by Amnesty International or external observers.

It is hard to challenge the evidence when it is so pronounced.

Hamas has been found to violate international conventions by locating its weaponry too close to civilians but not to the extent claimed by Israel. Israel has used Palestinian civilians as human shields. It has bombed locations it knew were not military installations.

I think can't claim to be opposed to terrorism and not oppose Israeli state terrorism. The Israeli state is one of the preeminent war crime entities in the world today. In terms of war criminality Hamas does not compare. The statistics simply do not allow it. Netanyahu/Assad - much of a muchness.

But let’s not confuse the issue or ponder the imponderable. What separates us in this discussion is your support for the slaughter of children and my unremitting opposition to it.

It really is that simple.

What remains to be said?

David Higgins said...

Henry,
First off I made two comments there saying practically the same thing. Thought the first one didn't go through, so sorry. What I mean by by undemocratic is simply a reference to the inception of this state. Which was imposed upon the people of Ireland. You could argue that people supported The treaty and blah but the fact remains the majority of the people of Ireland wanted all of Ireland to be free of Brit rule. That's history, you want to deal with the here and now. Fine. There is no denying the majority of people supported the g.f.a. Correct. There is no support for the continuation of violence that's also correct. A lot of you say is reality and no arguing with. My point however is expecting people just to abandon their beliefs is unrealistic. People who believe in the essence of their cause will rise to challenges rather than conform. So what do we do, where do we go?
You speak in hopeful terms of different cultures excepting each others point of view. I don't know somebody has to lose and live with conditions of the victor. There in lies the problem you ask people to abandon their whole structure in exchange for peace. I am not so sure. You ask valid questions about what it means to be a republican and where if anywhere that can lead. I don't have the answers I can only say what's in my heart. Maybe all of this one day will immaterial as some day we see each other as only fellow beings. More likely however is they'll still be having this argument in a hundred years

Henry JoY said...

David

sure, its a big ask, for people to reconsider their position vis a vis Irish Republicanism. There's unlikely to be wholesale abandonment by any large numbers right away. But positions are changing.

Have a look here at Anthony's searing critique of 'Irish republicanism'.

Thanks for engaging David. We'll just have to agree to disagree on some of these matters. Our views are on the record and only time will tell who's assessment is more accurate.

David Higgins said...

Henry,
Likewise thanks for your time.

Wolfsbane said...

AM said:
'Wolfsbane,
Responding to repeated rocket attacks and kidnappings is a defensive war.
It is useful in this regard to remember how the Nazis began their war against Poland with the The Gleiwitz incident. And Israel likes to copy the Nazis as some of its own commanders have on occasion stated.'

No doubt all skilled nations have taken on board lessons taught by German experts. We can all learn from our enemies as well as our friends. As long as it's not their moral ways.

'Your statement is only of merit if the defender has not provoked the attacks and undermined peace moves or understandings for strategic purposes as has been the case repeatedly with Israel. As was once said in relation to Hamas attacks, given the aggressive and illegal expansion of settlements as part of Israeli Lebensraum policy coupled with the policy of grinding Gaza into the ground, they would look pretty pathetic were they not to respond. Not that I think their response is worthwhile and if it involves targeting children, wholly unjustified. An essential difference between you and I is you support Israeli terror whereas I do not support Hamas terror.'

I do not support Israeli terror. I do support Israeli defensive war. You have failed to say where you an I differ on collateral damage; we do not differ on selective targeting of children.


'Me:I don't think Hamas targeting Israeli children is any more justified than Israel targeting Palestinian children.
You: We agree on that.
But we don’t agree on that at all, given that you have said the slaughter of Palestinian children is legitimate.'

Only if it is collateral, not selective.

'My position is pretty straightforward: regardless of what Israel does to the Palestinians any attack on Israeli children by Palestinians is wrong and never legitimate.'

The IRA campaign when it targeted UDR and RUC men with under-car bombs, knowing a child would well be(and were)killed in the process? The known presence of children on the boat with Mountbatten did not stop the action - was it legitimate? My position is I would consider those as wilful murder of the kids, for the targets could have been attacked otherwise. But the Israelis were in the position the IRA would have been if the UDR/RUC/Mountbatten had been firing at them.

'Have I any reason to doubt the IDF?
You jest? May as well cite Gerry Adams as an IDF blog.'

I did not suggest we should believe all the IDF say - I only asked if you doubted the figure given: " over 1000 rockets have been launched at Israel. Of those, 754 have hit Israel and approximately 201 were intercepted by the Iron Dome Missile defense system."

'One of the greatest lie machines in the world and you ask me that. Have you any reason to believe a word that comes out of the mouth of Mark Regev or his military equivalent Pete Lerner. Time after time both have been shown to lie and mislead. How many times has Regev been hammered on Channel 4 alone for his lying?
Probably better to rely on the Jerusalem Post or Bloomberg Business (hardly anti –Israeli) which claimed Iron Dome takes out 9 out of 10 rockets that would otherwise have hit populated areas.'

That's strange. This in Bloomberg has the IDF claiming 90% effectiveness, but that being challenged:

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-07-21/israel-s-iron-dome-isn-t-working-a-weapons-expert-s-warning



Wolfsbane said...

AM said:
'[Would ANY and ALL of those being removed have stopped Hamas' terrorist campaign?]
Given that the Hamas terrorist campaign is a response to the state terrorism of Israel it might have gone some distance towards it.'

Not if Hamas are sincere in their ideological statement of purpose - Israel must be overthrown, regardless of how it deals with the Arabs.


'[I agree that the Israeli State should do much more to accommodate the Palestinians, but surrendering to them is not an option.]
But you want the Palestinians to surrender to Israel and you defend the murder of their children because they refuse to surrender.'

No, I don't want the Palestinians to surrender to Israel - just to reach a compromise with them on sharing out the land.

'[From the Hamas boast given above, your claim is at least debatable.]
A boast. Probably to be taken as seriously as Israel's "moral army" claim and not supported to any serious degree by Amnesty International or external observers.'

I can only go on what I saw on the docs. - and I bear in mind the different reports from those on the ground, both Israelis, Palestinians and reporters.

'It is hard to challenge the evidence when it is so pronounced.
Hamas has been found to violate international conventions by locating its weaponry too close to civilians but not to the extent claimed by Israel. Israel has used Palestinian civilians as human shields. It has bombed locations it knew were not military installations.'

Any such violations are to be condemned and punished - Palestinian or Israeli. But in the real world all with probably be forgotten or buried in the past for the sake of peace, as it is in NI.

'I think can't claim to be opposed to terrorism and not oppose Israeli state terrorism.'

I agree.

'The Israeli state is one of the preeminent war crime entities in the world today. In terms of war criminality Hamas does not compare. The statistics simply do not allow it. Netanyahu/Assad - much of a muchness.'

Israel is fighting for its existence - Hamas is fighting for victory. Assad is fighting for his existence, his enemies for victory.

'But let’s not confuse the issue or ponder the imponderable. What separates us in this discussion is your support for the slaughter of children and my unremitting opposition to it.
It really is that simple.'

As I said, I'm against the slaughter of children where it can be avoided.

AM said...

... where it can be avoided


seems such a cop out.

Adds nothing to the discussion, changes nothing