Notes On The Gaza War Part I – War Crimes and the Killing of Civilians

This morning’s bomb attack on a bus in Tel Aviv – for which Hamas’ military branch has claimed credit – drives home the fundamental moral distinction between Israel and Hamas in their ongoing war in Gaza.

For many of Israel’s critics, the death (or wounding) of civilians in Gaza is prima facie evidence of Israel’s evil and a war crime.  Mind you, those critics were notably quiet in response to repeated Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel over the past 4 years or, to the extent they do condemn such attacks, their condemnations are sotto voce and rather late in the day. But today’s events underscore the false equivalence between Israel and Hamas.

Here we have an attack targeting a civilian bus.  That’s a war crime. Period.  There is no plausible basis for suggesting that the bus was in any way a legitimate military target or that attacking it would assist Hamas in achieving its legitimate war aims (assuming Hamas does have legitimate aims beyond killing Israelis – let’s assume they do for the purposes of this discussion), nor can Hamas argue that it made any effort to minimize civilian casualties.  Causing civilian casualties was the sole purpose for this attack.  There’s no way around that truth.

Similarly, the rocket attacks on Israel serve no obvious military purposes.  The weapons are too crude to be be aimed at military targets – they’re launched for the purpose of terrorizing, and with luck, killing, Israeli civilians.  Again, that truth is indisputable.

In contrast, no fair-minded critic of Israel (although Israel has no shortage of unfair-minded critics) would suggest that Israeli attacks in Gaza are targeted at civilians.   According to the IDF, roughly two-thirds of the people killed have been Hamas militants and, while Palestinian accounts vary (and given the practice of Hamas militants of not wearing uniforms, should be taken with a grain of salt), on their accounts between a third and half of the casualties have been Hamas militants (it’s worth noting, at this point, that it is far from clear that all those casualties were caused by Israel – there are confirmed reports of Palestinians having been killed by Hamas rockets which landed in Gaza).

More to the point, though, given the massive number of bombing raids and artillery strikes launched by Israel over the last week, the total number of deaths – roughly 140 at this time –  is too small to be consistent with an effort on the part of the IDF to kill civilians (unless we believe, contrary to all evidence, that the IDF is the most profoundly incompetent military in the world – even then, the profoundly incompetent Syrian Army has had no trouble killing tens of thousands of civilians over the past year).  Indeed, the (relatively) low number of civilian casualties is consistent with Israel’s claim that it makes every effort to minimize civilian casualties (particularly in light of Hamas’ – illegal –practice of hiding amongst Palestinian civilians when launching attacks on Israel).

Mind you, that Hamas targets civilians and Israel doesn’t is likely to be small comfort to the families of those killed or injured.  For the victims, each death or injury is a tragedy, regardless of the motives of the killer.  But not every tragedy is a crime.  Both legally and morally, intent matters.  Recognizing the tragedies of both Israeli and Palestinian victims, doesn’t take away from the very different moral (and legal) standing of their Israeli and Palestinian killers.

12 thoughts on “Notes On The Gaza War Part I – War Crimes and the Killing of Civilians”

  1. According to the logic of the 3rd and 4th paragraphs, Israel should inflict lesser casualties because their weapons are advanced enough to eliminate the element of terror with striking targets with pinpoint accuracy. Yet the largest omission and refutation of this farcical and perfunctory piece is, the numbers of casualties are disproportionately disadvantaged to those who have more primitive weapons. A bomb is a bomb, attached to a person or dropped from aircraft. It just so happens that in addition to the casualties of this bus, the Israeli government has killed thousands more innocent civilians than Hamas. I call that uncivilized, possibly even terrorism.

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    1. Well, let’s take those various arguments in stride, shall we. First, it doesn’t follow that Israel should inflict lesser casualties than Hamas. Israel’s weapons can strike targets with pinpoint accuracy, yes, but outside of the video game world that too many live in, no one has every invented a weapon that only kills soldiers. That Hamas has a well documented habit of fighting amongst civilians and not distinguishing its fighters from civilians (in violation of the provision of the Geneva convention intended to protect civilians), makes that problem worse.

      Second, the number of casualties are entirely irrelevant to the question of moral culpability. Killing 1 civillian intentionally is a prima facie a crime, killing 100 inadvertently is not prima facie a crime (of course, it might be a crime, if the killing was negligent or if it was disproportionate to the military goals to be achieved, but it isn’t neccesarily a crime). That Hamas has killed fewer Israelies than it has Gazans (whereas Hamas summarilly executed 6 palestinians earlier this week, allegedly as Israeli collaborators, and several of its rockets have landed in Gaza, killing more Palestinians, it has only managed to kill 5 Israelies) is a testament to its military incompetence (and to the technological superiority of the Israeli Iron Dome system) not to its moral superiority. If you spray down a kindergarden with a machine gun, you’re still evil, even if you fail to kill anyone.

      Third, according to PALESTINIAN sources, Palestinian casualties are in the low hundreds, not thousands. Get your facts straight.

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      1. In regards to striding, a very accurate depiction of this article. Kudos 🙂

        Now onto the relevant premises of debate as opposed to emotional expressions of inert determinants for this article.

        Those who have power, must use it responsibly. Therein lays a valuable lesson from the African American civil rights movement in America. When the majority (those who have control according to Sociology’s definition) understand this dictum in conflict resolution, then actual peace begins. I believe a synchronous dialogue between an imaginary Israeli and a Palestinian would serve as a telling microcosm:

        Israeli: You slapped me first. Aha! I am now a victim. I will slap you, your friends, your family, and your filthy neighbors!

        By the way, how much land do you have?

        In that small dialogue, we see the repeated pattern of Israeli victim complex to overwhelming response to any modicum of perceived threat by Palestinians. Even on unaccountable occasions, when the threat is farcical at best. If we attached a Palestinian scarf to a donkey and slapped its rear to coax it toward an Israeli border, no doubt the reaction by the Israeli government would be to hit it with a massive artillery barrage. Very concerning because it is indicative of a society that MUST survive by over-exaggerating the fear even when that terror is incredulous at best – that is Israel 🙂

        COIN (Counter-insurgency) doctrine posits that punishing the enemy with more inflicted casualties will deter more attacks. In other words, kill more of them than us and they will get the lesson or we will survive. However, history has shown that recently, it is not the case. It failed miserably in Nicaragua against the FSLN, in El Salvador against the FMLN, in Vietnam against the PAVN and NLF, in Iraq, Afghanistan, and also the perfect example – Israel/Palestine. What is the logic behind it?

        If I drop a bomb on your house, I have created at least sympathizers for the opposition, a WHOLE FAMILY! Then when you blockade the same city making the lives of the constituents within so difficult to survive , it transforms those sympathizers into active supporters or participants. This is human nature. It is true everywhere in the world throughout history and till this day. A tragedy indeed that one can not understand why those with power have more responsibility to employ such power.

        If this premise does not convince you, then at least look at how Israel is losing miserably because it forgot another axiom of warfare, war is only a continuation of politics. And in the latter, Israel has an F.

        Perhaps you should reconsider your statement 🙂

        Furthermore, the ploy you intend to make about the accuracy of weapons has no relevance to reducing casualties is really confusing. Why is it that humans and government make weapons that are precise if we are not to lay responsibility and blame toward the accumulation of civilian casualties in higher numbers by those who employ them? What is the purpose of “precision” guided weapons? Why not drop an A bomb on Gaza? Your statement has no logical rationale. It doesn’t make sense.

        Again, I will break it down for you in kindergarten logic – we have big weapon! We have A bomb. We have enemy called Hamas. We can use A bomb. But we make “precision” weapons. Why we kill more civilians than Hamas? hmmmm

        I hope that was clear enough. If I have insulted your intelligence or if you have dry humor, let me rewind back to the vernacular in which we began:) We have advanced and “precision” weapons in order to be “precise” In other words, to reduce civilian casualties and solely strike the intended target. On the contrary with Israel, it has pounded the innocent Palestinians with so many “precision” bombs in a negligent manner that they inflict more casualties with those advanced and “precise” weapons. Why? I reiterate, because of the antiquated doctrine that conservative military men continue to use which is inapplicable in today’s Low Intensity Conflicts – the body count heuristic of kill and punish them more than they us. IT DOESN”T WORK ANYMORE!! Win the hearts and minds, unless the real objective of Israel is NOT to do this, but instead to ethnically cleanse all Palestinians out of the lands

        So please, save me the BS about every weapon kills civilians. Although true, Israeli weapons kill more civilians than the less “precise” Hamas weapons continuously. I call that irresponsible and inhumane. I call that the gravest breach of international law. Were you seriously considering anything other than killing more innocent humans a worse infraction of international law? I wouldn’t be surprised from the many years of brainwashing but I thought I would ask 🙂

        If we were to talk about international law, let’s brush up about the Fourth Geneva Convention that clearly states an

        Moral culpability and killing innocent and defenseless humans not relevant. I really should not respond to this bc this statement in itself is suicidal to the entirety of this argument. WOW! That should be my only reaction. However, i will entertain you bc despite how non-normative and disgusting your thoughts may appear, I hope I may provoke something, even the tiniest, spark of logic and morality in you.

        Let’s first begin with your use of Latin. I have an antipathy toward those who confuse intellectual fiber with a dictionary. If any word is ever overused to flex the intellectual muscles of dilettantes of argument and debate, Latin is such a victim.

        I think your comparison of numbers in regards to killing one person intentionally is a crime and killing 100 unintentionally is not, is nothing more than you rephrasing the common adage about Stalin from World War II, paraphrase, “Kill one person, it is murder. Kill a million, it is a statistic.” I wish you would use more creativity in thought than regurgitating cliches. One could surmise you are guilty of Cum Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc bc you nor I know the true intentions of those who have killed or are killing. Unless you are prepared to claim you can read minds 🙂 According to your own logic, Adolf Hitler is not a war criminal, we have no proof of his intentions which is the primary premise you use to make a distinction between one entity that kills less and another that kills more repeatedly. It is also salient to mention that Israeli Prime Ministers such as Ariel Sharon, Goldameir, and much more have made statements echoing that of the German Nazis of World War II. Statement such as Palestinians never existed, Palestinians must be wiped off the land of Israel, and so on. I would declare that the German Nazi regime is VERY close to the type of hate indoctrination we all see in Israel today, including its pundits on the internet and elsewhere.

        For me, as a history author and teacher, sadness is my only response. Pity is reserved for you.

        Therefore, you reliance on “intentions” as a refutation when it is impossible to know the intentions of protagonist and antagonist in addition to the callous and vicious comments by leaders of Israel, at the very least place suspicion upon this nation as a culprit of inhumanity and violations of some of the gravest international laws of war and humanity.

        May I remind you if you remain unconvinced:

        It is not the Palestinians who have imposed an apartheid.
        It is not the Palestinians who ARE killing more innocent people.
        It is not the Palestinians who are being forcibly removed into other surrounding countries making the largest refugee population in the world.
        It is not Palestinians who are invading Israeli territories
        It is not Palestinians who prevent food, blankets, and more necessities of life from entering their lands.

        It IS however Israel, provoking attacks, responding with excessive force while screaming victim, and taking more land in a process that mirrors the Native American genocide of North America. Coincidentally, the US funds this same sick cycle of injustice now.

        In regards to you calling Hamas “military incompetent” while simultaneously calling them morally malignant, that is a clear example of Ad Asburdum 🙂 How is my Latin? Does it make me seem more intelligent? I hope I am keeping up 😉

        Now on to the real heart of debate. (*sigh*)

        You have serious logical coherence with basing your assumptions on the unknown – intentions. You also have serious flaws in averring observations without any REAL knowledge or research. The true goal of war is not victory in a destructive sense. As Gen. Westmoreland, author Bernard Fall, Secretary of Defense McNamara, leader Vo Nguyen Giap, and many more declared in relation to why the Us lost in the Viet-nam War, it was because of politics. It is a tragedy to assert I see the same with Israel 🙂

        In this recent conflict between Hamas and Israel, we all see with the protests around the world, the hacked parody IDF account on twitter, anonymous hacking Israeli computers, the massive blogs about Israeli terrorism, and more; that the only puny victory that Israel can claim is thanks of gratitude to America for an Iron Dome Defense. If one were encapsulated into a tiny bubble with puny minds, one would forget what is happening all around them, totally void or ignorant of the political context of public opinion in the world as if in an iron utopia – Israel.

        Much applause for that Iron Dome defense at behest of my own country’s tax dollars. It is the only space or world you may crawl into to pretend that everything is perfect, like a city on a hill.

        In regards to your “kindergar’T’en” example. Forgive the mispelling. It is an example of Non-sequitur where you suppose that because one attempts to kill but doesn’t, it still translates into killing. On the contrary, a failed attempt does not mean a kill, it means just that, a failed attempt! It indicates the inability for an adversary to fight on equal footing as its opponent, it indicates weakness. As with all of Israeli and US propoganda in the War on Terrorism, a country must make a small flee appear to be a giant tarantula with venemous claws. Preposterous! Hamas and the Palestinians have never been a real threat. That is very clear to the world. Another thing which is clear to the world is Israel continues to benefit massively via aid and new housing developments from the lands stolen at behest of this nightmare dissembling. Israelis MUST survive by living in a constant society of fear and paranoia and hate, without such a mystique upon the psyche of every Israeli, and US citizen, a government could not continue unabated with ethnic cleansing and blatant violations of human rights.

        Even if in your fantastical world a failed attempt of murder was the equivalent meaning of an actual murder, the amount of explosive damage in the explosives used by Hamas in comparison to that used by Israel is yet negligible. In all aspects, your logic fails, by facts alone and without interpretation. Let me break away from the boring language of a failed empire, Rome. I will use another to describe the entirety of all of the enumerated fallacies I have listed as BAKA. A very poignant Japanese word to describe you 🙂

        As for the last premise,

        5 times as many Palestinians have been killed than Jews, by Jewish statistics 🙂

        http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/History/casualtiestotal.html

        It will be a succinct tingle of the mind to retort to your next reply young Jedi. May we engage in a dissertation length of premises and arguments. I honestly need the practice as I have become rusty as they say.

        Nevertheless, you really need to peer into the opposite side’s view in order to come closer to a truth. In that, you have failed miserably and so has Israel and the US, politically. I hope for peace, but the stupidity and ignorance that is bred in that land with that beautiful star must be corrected before an lasting peace is to be attained.

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      2. Well, let’s pull that little (well, not literally little) screed apart, shall we?

        “Furthermore, the ploy you intend to make about the accuracy of weapons has no relevance to reducing casualties is really confusing. Why is it that humans and government make weapons that are precise if we are not to lay responsibility and blame toward the accumulation of civilian casualties in higher numbers by those who employ them? What is the purpose of “precision” guided weapons?”

        What is the purpose of “precision” guide weapons? To miminize civilian casualties. And they achieve that. 50 years ago Israel would have had to flatten Gaza to acheive the same objectives it does now with double digit civilian casualties.

        “Why not drop an A bomb on Gaza?”

        Well, that would no doubt end the war in Gaza, wouldn’t it? Mind you, it would also kill millions of Palestians. I’m not sure why you think that undermines my argument, quite the contrary, the fact that Israel doesn’t use nuclear weapons is entirely consistent with my thesis that it actually cares about minimizing Palestinian casualties.

        “I think your comparison of numbers in regards to killing one person intentionally is a crime and killing 100 unintentionally is not, is nothing more than you rephrasing the common adage about Stalin from World War II, paraphrase, “Kill one person, it is murder. Kill a million, it is a statistic.”

        Actually, it’s nothing of the sort, it’s quite the opposite. My point is that immoral or illegal killings are immoral or illegal regardless of whether you kill one person or one million. Moral or legal killings are moral or legal regardless of whether you kill one million people or a single solitary person. You’ve missed the entire thrust of my post – it’s the intention of the killer that matters, not the body count. Attacking civilians is a war crime (and profoundly immoral). Killing civilians in the course of attacking legitimate military targets is not. This should be obvious, intent goes to the moral element of criminality.

        ” I reiterate, because of the antiquated doctrine that conservative military men continue to use which is inapplicable in today’s Low Intensity Conflicts – the body count heuristic of kill and punish them more than they us.”

        What an utterly counter-factual claim. Do you believe that Israel was only capable of killion 140-odd Palestinians in a week of air and artillery attacks? It’s worth noting that in similar circumstances in Jordan in 1970, and Syrian-backed Lebanese forces in 1976 killed thousands (or tens of thousands, depending on who you ask) Palestinians. If Israel – the dominant military power in the Middle-East -was intrested in running up the body-count in Gaza, casualties would be in the tens of thousands (as it is in Syria), not the hundreds (many of whom, even on Palestinian accounts, are Hamas fighters).

        “Let’s first begin with your use of Latin. I have an antipathy toward those who confuse intellectual fiber with a dictionary.”

        My use of Latin terms, like prima facie, is a function of my being a lawyer, and prima facie being a legal term of art. Mind you, calling my arguments “foolish” in Japanese doesn’t suggest much intellectual fiber on your part.

        “It is not the Palestinians who are being forcibly removed into other surrounding countries making the largest refugee population in the world.”

        I suspect you mean “it IS the Palestinians”, though given the confused nature of your rant, I can understand if you can’t figure out what you’re saying. Mind you, it is also true that many Israelis are, or are the descendents of, people who were forcibly removed from surrounding countries. Indeed, the experience of many Israelies mirrors that of the Palestinians, as they were forced out of their historical communities in countries like Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc. (all countries with Jewish communities dating back before the birth of Christ) after 1948. It’s a sad irony that the current head of the Israeli Air Force, a descendent of Iranian Jews, might one day bomb his parents homeland.

        “It is not Palestinians who prevent food, blankets, and more necessities of life from entering their lands.”

        Actually, yes, it is. Food and medicine deliveries to Gaza – facilitated by Israel – were held up yesterday after Hamas fired (I presume inadertently) on the trucks on the Israeli side of the border. Of course, Israel has also continued to provide power and water to the Gaza strip throughtout the conflict and to provide medical treatment to Gazans injured in the fighting. Strange conduct for an allegedly genocidal country.

        “Hamas and the Palestinians have never been a real threat. That is very clear to the world.”

        I wonder if the people in Southern Israel, who have been dodging rockets for the past 6 years feel differently.

        “Even if in your fantastical world a failed attempt of murder was the equivalent meaning of an actual murder, the amount of explosive damage in the explosives used by Hamas in comparison to that used by Israel is yet negligible.

        As a matter of law, a failed murder attempt is the equivalent of an actual murder. That isn’t a “fantastical world” that’s the criminal law in every civilized country in the world.

        “I honestly need the practice as…”
        Agreed.

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    1. Nice point. Too bad, the fourth convention was enacted 1 year after Israel was formed – making it more or less irrelevant to the formation of Israel. Also, not particularly helpful in the context of the war in Gaza, given that Israel ceased to occupy it in 2006 – not coincidentally coinciding with the commencement of Hamas rocket attacks.

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      1. Correct, it was enacted one year after the Declaration of the State of Israel when Israel was in its nascent stages. Meaning it , it meaning Israel, began as a tiny land without three-fourths of the area it has now which it gained after ethnically cleansing Palestinians off their land and taking it by coercion and force, thus breaking this law SEVERAL TIMES.

        If over-generalizations, reliance on the unknown, and equivocations are your best – Israel does not need Hamas as an enemy, they have you 🙂 I sleep tight tonight secure with this fact. Good luck.

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      2. Except Israel’s current borders – with the exception of Jerusalem (where, of course, Palestinians continue to live – no doubt wondering if someday a Hamas rocket will crash through their front door) – were established in 1948. Which kind of undermines your claim that the fourth protocol would apply to the creation of Israel’s current borders Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza strip in 1967 (before that time those territories were occupied by Jordan and Egypt, respectively), but has never claimed those territories as being part of Israel (although some of its citizens do live there), no doubt because that would be illegal. It’s worth noting that on two occasions in the past, Israel has made a point of removing settlors from occupied territories – the Sinai in 1982, as part of the Israel-Egypt peace treaty, and Gaza in 2006, as part of the unilateral Israeli withdrawal from that territory.

        You know, to discuss the Israel-Palestinian conflict it might help to know a thing or two about the facts surrounding it

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      3. I strongly disagree.

        There was NO Israel state before 1948 if you desire to go further into history and peer into the actual beginning of Israel (I chose the word “beginning” instead of “origin” in order to ephasize it lack of continuity in history as a people and land – Edward Said’s distinction).

        The land was Palestine, a British mandate which was carved from piece of land ignoring all of the cultural, religious, and ethnic population within its confines. It is the same sick chess game of imperialism and colonialism we witness in every corner of the world from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, etc. Rwanda is a modern example 🙂 It seems farcical at best and unconscionable for you to proudly imply the historical continuity of Israel. Why? You fail to acknowledge the fact that Israel in history, was a land which was overtaken by Assyrians and Romans, its ONLY two major wars it had in history 🙂 At the end of BOTH failed empires, Arabs ruled the land much LONGER than the Jewish. Those two failed attempts do not give Israel the right to lay claim as the original inhabitants or ruling entity over the land.

        Furthermore, the honest truth is that Muslims, Christians, Jews, and more lived peacefully in the region for melleniums until recent events which have created the apartheid and ethnic cleansing of Israel today.

        Although you may have a small command of a few facts, it is clear you trade significant ones for the tiniest facts that support your fantastical bubble of an Iron Dome, that Israel actually existed before this conflict. The truth of the matter is that massive and illegal immigration as a result of European persecution of Jewish allowed the State of Israel to come to fruition. Don’t believe me! Just ask the CIA who determined the progenitors of Israel were “terrorists”:

        Declassified CIA document 1940s 🙂 How is that for a fact?
        http://sirajdavis.wordpress.com/2012/11/19/cia-document-declared-israel-founded-upon-terrorism-11/

        Moreover, you say that Israel’s current borders were established in 1948, with the exception of Jerusalem. (* cough- uh hugh uh hugh bull*) Are you engaged in the use of recreational drugs?

        It is clear to an amateur of the history of this conflict what the Golan Heights are. In case you meet that criteria, here is some help:

        “Construction of Israeli settlements began in the remainder of the territory held by Israel, which was under military administration until Israel passed the Golan Heights Law extending Israeli law and administration throughout the territory in 1981. This move was condemned by the United Nations Security Council in UN Resolution 497,which said that “the Israeli decision to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration in the occupied Syrian Golan Heights is null and void and without international legal effect.” Israel asserts it has a right to retain the Golan, citing the text of UN Resolution 242, which calls for “safe and recognised boundaries free from threats or acts of force”.However, the international p community rejects Israeli claims to title to the territory and regards it as sovereign Syrian territory.

        Israeli Prime Ministers Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak, and Ehud Olmert each stated that they were willing to exchange the Golan for peace with Syria. Approximately 10% of Syrian Golan Druze have accepted Israeli citizenship.[20] According to the CIA World Factbook, as of 2010, “there are 41 Israeli settlements and civilian land use sites in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golan_Heights

        I would also like to know why Israel is expanding its jurisdiction and land settlements in the West Bank as well as you type:

        http://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com/2012/09/26/more-illegal-land-grabbing-israel-to-build-new-settler-road-near-qalqilia/

        Israel has continued to ascertain control of ALL of the lands it has today since 1948 in uncountable violations of the Fourth Geneva conventions, while using equivocations, like you, in order to dissemble its real actions. For example, no one Israel has not moved settlers into the lands and only controls it but makes the conditions of living so intolerable that it coerces Palestinians to move and then when there are no Palestinians on the land for a period of time after becoming sick of racism and persecution by the Israeli government, Israel moves in to claim the land was abandoned.

        As seen on the map below, Israel has restricted movement, life, and government of Palestinians to small enclaves. In other words, Palestinians can not assert ANY type of control in the original borders of regions it had but instead, Israel through conniving manipulation of words and facts, like you, pushed the civil administration and movement of Palestinians into this tightly packed enclaves while simultaneously claiming it is not taking lands. Poppycock!

        For you to assert that Israel has not violated the Fourth Geneva protocol since 1948 is unconscionable for an average academic and disgusting as a human. Let’s go further please:

        “The international community considers the establishment of Israeli settlements in the Israeli-occupied territories illegal under international law, but Israel maintains that they are consistent with international law because it does not agree that the Fourth Geneva Convention applies to the territories occupied in the 1967 Six-Day War, due to lack of a legal sovereign of these territories. The United Nations Security Council, the United Nations General Assembly, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Court of Justice and the High Contracting Parties to the Convention have all affirmed that the Fourth Geneva Convention does apply.

        Numerous UN resolutions have stated that the building and existence of Israeli settlements in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights are a violation of international law, including UN Security Council resolutions in 1979 and 1980. UN Security Council Resolution 446 refers to the Fourth Geneva Convention as the applicable international legal instrument, and calls upon Israel to desist from transferring its own population into the territories or changing their demographic makeup. The reconvened Conference of the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Conventions has declared the settlements illegal as has the primary judicial organ of the UN, the International Court of Justice and the International Committee of the Red Cross.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_law_and_Israeli_settlements

        SURVEY SAYS, “Israel is a war criminal!” – i loved that game show 🙂

        In all honesty, I think you have a lot more reading to do kimosabi 🙂 You lack in the intellectual fiber of meaningful facts and are a marathon’s distance from a wealth of information.

        Nice try.

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  2. Well, let’s pull that little (well, not literally little) screed apart, shall we?

    My response:
    If a “screed” is a response to foolish demogoguery, than well put 🙂
    Ben stated:
    What is the purpose of “precision” guide weapons? To miminize civilian casualties. And they achieve that. 50 years ago Israel would have had to flatten Gaza to acheive the same objectives it does now with double digit civilian casualties.
    My response:
    Than why does Hamas achieve this objective with less “precise” weapons? Consistently for over 50 years? Kind of places a damper on that military machisimo of the Israeli Defense Forces in your past comment, doesn’t it?
    Israel kills MORe civilians to follow COIN doctrine that if we kill mor eof them than us, they will either stop or we will be the last ones left. PLease research Counter-insurgency. Try reading the greats, Douglass Pike, Edwin Moise, Bernard Fall, and more. You might begin to understand exactly why Israel is killing more innocent civilians than Hamas with more “precise” weapons.

    Ben stated:
    Well, that would no doubt end the war in Gaza, wouldn’t it? Mind you, it would also kill millions of Palestians. I’m not sure why you think that undermines my argument, quite the contrary, the fact that Israel doesn’t use nuclear weapons is entirely consistent with my thesis that it actually cares about minimizing Palestinian casualties.
    My response:
    My refutation stands, and it stands taller than your blandishment and prevarication 🙂 I will not retort to this statement because I have full confidence that a normal human with average intelligence would agree that the purpose of “precision” weapons is to reduce innocent casualties to avoid using an atom bomb. Add this to the fact, the glaring fact, that Israel persistently kills more innocent civilians WITH “precision” bombs than Hamas with more primitive bombs. All of this reaches the pinnacle of the mountain you have shovled which echoes off the mountains below, you don’t look so good in this argument brother 🙂 The more effort you put forth, the larger the precipice 🙂

    Ben stated:

    Actually, it’s nothing of the sort, it’s quite the opposite. My point is that immoral or illegal killings are immoral or illegal regardless of whether you kill one person or one million. Moral or legal killings are moral or legal regardless of whether you kill one million people or a single solitary person. You’ve missed the entire thrust of my post – it’s the intention of the killer that matters, not the body count. Attacking civilians is a war crime (and profoundly immoral). Killing civilians in the course of attacking legitimate military targets is not. This should be obvious, intent goes to the moral element of criminality.

    My response:
    I disagree also. The intentions are important, but not when using massive damage and overwhelming force to punish a whole population at the behest of the actions of a few. Israel is battling insurgents , dressed in civilian attire, heavily equipped, and more savy with political warfare than Israel. Israel creates its own enemies by amalgamating civilians and opposition inot one huge coagulation of pathetic “evil” that it wants the world to believe in. The world remains unconvinced as the recent events have shown 🙂
    I think journalists Charles Mohr and others would shiver and lay their faces in their hands from lessons unlearned at a repeated misconception from the Vietnam conflict you just restated. That killing innocent civilians negligently by massive bombing is NOT the same as killing innocent civilians. We lost the Vietnam Conflict and we will also lose this one. No doubt as a result of such stupidity.
    it sounds as if you want Israel to hide like a coward and liar behind the premise of “intentions” (not really a surprise because this is normal barefaced behavior and indicative of Israel’s use of nasty tactics the US used in the past including its formula for genocide of Palestinians like the NAtive Americns of North America),. I reiterate, be careful with this argument. You are unintentionally or intentionally asserting that you and Israel read the minds of people. That is absolutely unfathomable as a refutation or premise. Israel nor any country nor a singile individual can assert that they know the intentions of a person, a gorup, or a country. That places Israel and you above God.Work with facts, not comical assumptions 🙂
    In regards to numbers, you caim that killind 1 person is just as immoral as killing 5. I am sorry. Your logic is beyond skewed and irreprehensible and illogical. Claiming that a person who has killed one person would ahve killed more and is more of a danger than a person who has killed is like making the lunatic assertion that Jeffrey Dalmer is a normal criminal because all murderers would have killed more if given the chance.
    It is more than apparent, Israel intentionally kills innocent Palestinians in order to coerce them to leave their lands so as to take those lands.
    The consistent cliche and one that brings pains to the eardrums of the world is the demand that the world accept ISrael’s Right to Exist while simultaneously never wshipering or averring the Palestinians’ Right to Exits. A tragic hypocrisy and frankly, a boring and redundant and repetitive statement by Israel and its pundits. When will this madness and comedy stop to alleviate the hearts of the world that a country CAN act civilized and fair?
    It is clear that you are from a erudite of law.
    http://definitions.uslegal.com/a/attempted-murder/
    Attempted murder carries with it an entirely different legal definition, criteria, AND punishment than murder. I am sorry I broke the noise of your horns and stepped on the confetti, but sometimes the truth is necessary to avoid the world witnessing, or bloggers reading, a party in its actual state, insanity 🙂

    Therefore, you proclaimed super-human or extraoridnary ability to distinguish intentions or thoughts which you attach as qualities of the State of Israel as well, is just bull 🙂 The facts, which you yourself claim to be a proponent for speak mu;titudes against your premise of intentions. The fact – ISraelis kill mor einnocent civilians than Hamas with more “precise” weapons. Also, Israel has taken land orginally recognized by everyone as owned by Palestinians from 1948 until now. Those are facts 🙂 Try indulging in them, as you can see, a perfunctory research using Wikipedia can enlighten one 🙂 God forbid if you actually do some research and read books 🙂

    Moreover, I still remained unconvinced that you did not copy the quote on Stalin. It is suspiciously the same structure and your lack of creativity throughout our discussion warrants such suspicion as well 🙂 However, honesty is not a characterisitc to place my faith in in regards to yours and Israel’s statements.

    Ben stated:
    What an utterly counter-factual claim. Do you believe that Israel was only capable of killion 140-odd Palestinians in a week of air and artillery attacks? It’s worth noting that in similar circumstances in Jordan in 1970, and Syrian-backed Lebanese forces in 1976 killed thousands (or tens of thousands, depending on who you ask) Palestinians. If Israel – the dominant military power in the Middle-East -was intrested in running up the body-count in Gaza, casualties would be in the tens of thousands (as it is in Syria), not the hundreds (many of whom, even on Palestinian accounts, are Hamas fighters).
    My response:
    Another fallacy. Because Israel has not committed its fullest capability of arsenal, this translates into Israel using its smaller arsenal responsibly. Again, this logic goes back to my question about the A bomb. When you fully understand or comprehend, we might get somewhere. Until then, I am stuck in the labrynth of insanity you have on this blog 🙂
    Question. Are your thoughts a product of American or Israeli indoctrination?

    Be stated:
    My use of Latin terms, like prima facie, is a function of my being a lawyer, and prima facie being a legal term of art. Mind you, calling my arguments “foolish” in Japanese doesn’t suggest much intellectual fiber on your part.
    My response:
    For a lawyer not to understand the distinction between “attempted murder” and “murder”, it is a tragedy in itself. If the courts do in fact employ your services, we have a far more serious problem than the recent debacle in Gaza. Actually, “baka” means stupid – it was an ad hominem fallacy. I intentionally used fallacies to retort to yours. Nice translation 🙂 If you want it in other langauges – Arabic – ghabee, Japanese – Baka, Spanish – estupido , English – stupid, and in Chinese – Ben 🙂
    The last Chinese words is the truth, all arguments aside 🙂 Look it up!

    Ben stated:
    I suspect you mean “it IS the Palestinians”, though given the confused nature of your rant, I can understand if you can’t figure out what you’re saying. Mind you, it is also true that many Israelis are, or are the descendents of, people who were forcibly removed from surrounding countries. Indeed, the experience of many Israelies mirrors that of the Palestinians, as they were forced out of their historical communities in countries like Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Syria, etc. (all countries with Jewish communities dating back before the birth of Christ) after 1948. It’s a sad irony that the current head of the Israeli Air Force, a descendent of Iranian Jews, might one day bomb his parents homeland.
    My response:
    I know the difference between “attempted murder” and “murder”, and I am not a lawyer 🙂
    In regards to Israeli persecution, I can not nor do I desire to attack that argument. I love Judiam and Jews, and I feel deep regret for the response by Arab countries in response to the declaration of Israel in the 1940s. HOwever, if the persecuted of the persecuted, as JEws call themselves, are to be recognized and venerated, the hypocrisy and inhumanity in ISrael/Palestine must change. All people of the area need a home with EQUAL RIGTHS! Call the land what you want, EQUAL RIGHTS brother. I love the color blue and my refutations and diatribe is for the benfit of these beautiful people before they destroy and shame themselves. Hwoever, that aspiration is a difficult one 🙂 To help those who hate you because you tell the truth……. schalom

    Ben stated:
    Actually, yes, it is. Food and medicine deliveries to Gaza – facilitated by Israel – were held up yesterday after Hamas fired (I presume inadertently) on the trucks on the Israeli side of the border. Of course, Israel has also continued to provide power and water to the Gaza strip throughtout the conflict and to provide medical treatment to Gazans injured in the fighting. Strange conduct for an allegedly genocidal country.

    Israel provides the worst of water and supplies while giving its own, the best. This has to change. EQUAL RIGHTS.
    In addition, the blockade of Gaza stymies ten times the amount of supplies that you claim was “attempted” to be delivered to Gaza. THis blockade continues today unabated and fules the very same problem Israel is battling now. Penury creates such conundrums, it was true in many struggles across the world and is now. History does not lie unless manipulated byu the powerful – Israel and the US.
    Ben stated:
    I wonder if the people in Southern Israel, who have been dodging rockets for the past 6 years feel differently.
    My response:
    How may of them have died in comparison to Palestinians in Gaza? How may of them can move around freely? How many of them can trade with outside corporations and companies with being atrophied in that endeavor? How many are treated like humans in SOuthern Israel?

    The weak argument that their intentions are malicious and that one can compare a bandaid to lacerations is antiquated and no longer a believed propaganda ploy. Be reaosnable, rational, and look at it from both persepctives. That is peace, if Israel and you desire it.
    Honestly – yes you need more practice. I schooled you 🙂 I still lvoe you as a brother, but you are wrong in significant aspects of this struggle. PLease respond, I feel we are becoming closer 🙂

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    1. For future reference a “screed” is defined as “a long monotonous speech or piece of writing”, a “diatribe” or a “ranting piece of writing”. All of which, I think, perfectly capture your comments.

      Also, for future reference, I might take your otherwise inarticulate, poorly reasoned, and badly written comments seriously if you (a) got my name right, it’s “Bob“, not “Ben”, (b) did not make use of smiley faces, and (c) are not deliberately insulting – calling people “stupid” (in any languge) is a lousy way to win friends and influence people. Moreover, if you’re going to call people stupid, you’d better make sure you get it right. Baka, in Japanese means, inter alia “fool; idiot; jerk; dolt; imbecile; foolish; stupid; worthless; absurd; ridiculous; idiotic; dumb ass”. I assumed, apparently incorrectly, that you were not so rude as to use the term “Baka” to mean “stupid”.

      In any event, beneath all your hand waiving (much of which indicates a pretty tenuous grasp on Middle-East history), you fail to grasp the moral distinctions between Irael and Hamas . This is evident from your focus on the relative number of casualties. Numbers have no moral element, they are an accounting game. People who focus on numbers, on body counts, are either unable or unwiling to make moral assessments. Large numbers of casualties may be indicative of immoral conduct, in that immoral people might want to maximize (or, at least, not minimize) casualties (as is the case, for example, in Syria), but it’s the intention of the killers that matter. Morally (and legally) intention matters. Body counts don’t.

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