Open thread: the escalation of tensions in Israel and Gaza

I promised an appropriate discussion post concerning the flare-up of tensions in the Holy Land, but my darling bride (of 33 years, 5 months and 29 days) has other plans for my services this afternoon, so I will be unable to write much of an opening post on the subject for several hours. So, instead of doing that, consider this an open thread on the topic.

The Comments & Conduct Policy shall be strictly enforced on this post.


  1. Hamas throws rocket after rocket into Southern Israel. Israel strikes back and Hamas cries like a baby that big bad Israel is fighting back. Hamas, if you don’t like the game you started, QUIT. And you cowards Hamas, stop placing your gun emplacements on schools, playgrounds, churches and mosques.

  2. I cannot think of another situation in history where one of the warring parties could win their fight by simply not fighting anymore, but that’s the situation the Palestinians have: all that they have to do is stop fighting, and they’ll have their independent Palestinian nation.

    But, what they won’t have is an independent Palestinian nation which encompasses the entire region; they’ll have one side-by-side with Israel, and for too many of them, that is not victory, but defeat.

  3. York, Islamic terrorists aren’t going to stop putting their rocket launch sites and their gun emplacements in protected places they know Israelis refuse to attack.

    And, they know pressure will mount in the Israeli towns and villages under murderous rocket assault from Gaza and now Egypt, and soon from Syria and possibly Jordan as well, and eventually Israel will have no choice but to reverse their retaliation policies and both invade Gaza and launch counterattacks on the schools, playgrounds, and Mosques harboring Islamic fire-teams which will of course produce the photos and video tapes (both real and “enhanced”) of sympathetic children and elderly blood soaked victims of Zionist aggression that Islam’s allies in the Western CorruptMedia can use to condemn Israel and to demand the establishment of a Palestinian State with it’s capital in Jerusalem.

    So, as usual, Israel will be put in a no-win situation and slowly squeezed till they’re subject to the next round of UN inspired condemnation. Better they fight back now while they still have a fighting chance rather than wait till their implacable and merciless enemies have atomic weapons to use against them.

  4. From Bruce Kesler:

    Dispatch From Israel

    Below is a dispatch from Israel, bold emphasis added, from — who woulda believed it — the frontline in Jerusalem. Yesterday, an Iranian supplied missile landed just miles from the holy sites of Judaism, Christianity and Islam. I haven’t seen a mention in the press reports of this that fanatic Muslims are indiscriminately targeting not only civilians but the holy sites of billions of people.

    Bill Berk is a transplanted American in Jerusalem, Israel. In his earlier career, Berk was rabbi of a large congregation in Phoenix, Ariz. Now he leads educational cultural tours within Israel. He will be the rabbi for my son’s Bar Mitzvah in Jerusalem on April 8.

    Dear Friends,

    Many of my friends have emailed and asked about my welfare and to share a few words about what is going on. Batya and I are safe. This has been a tense few days. You are watching television and suddenly you see the words at the bottom of the screen “Siren in Ashdod” and then you hear the siren on the television and a few seconds later you might hear a “boom.” For those of us who grew up in quiet suburban American communities it is jarring, to say the least. But, hey, Ashdod isn’t Tel Aviv or Jerusalem. You worry about the folks in Ashdod but it seems far away. After all it takes an hour to drive from Jerusalem to Ashdod. As the crow flies it is 34 miles away. And then suddenly we got the news—rocket heading to Tel Aviv. That certainly raised the blood pressure a bit. Then a few minutes after Shabbat came in we are luxuriating in the soft light of Shabbat candles and enjoying Jerusalem quiet when suddenly for the first time ever, we hear the dreaded siren. Its not on t.v. It is directed at us—a rocket is headed towards us. Quickly we made our way to the stairwell and went down a few floors where it is considered safer. After what happened in Kiriat Malachi (3 dead in a 4th floor apartment) we have learned it is not good to be in an apartment that is on the upper floors. We wait a few minutes and head back to our apartment. I have heard the sounds of war before—on the border with Lebanon and during the 2nd Intifada. But this is the first time somebody is aiming at me. Needless to say we were stunned, along with all the other Jerusalemites.

    It is important to know that between January 1, 2012 and the day before Israel killed the Hamas military commander they shot 750 rockets into Israel. Over the past few days they have shot another five or six hundred rockets at us. These rockets are aimed at all of us—civilians—all over the country. What are we supposed to do? What would the United States do if UCLA was closed due to rocket fire from Mexico? What would America do if Canadian terrorists shot rockets into Minnesota and they had to close the University of Minnesota? My step-daughter was sent home from her college in Ashkelon. The whole school was evacuated. She said the scene on the buses and the cars fleeing Ashkelon reminded her of World War II movies where people grab a few belongings and run.

    Of course this is not 1939. We have a very strong army, navy, and air force. We know how to defend ourselves and we will defend ourselves. I’ll add one overtly political comment. I think it is fair to criticize Israel for not being as creative as we might be in dealing with the Palestinians. But the whole world, especially the Islamic countries, has been totally unresponsive to the thousands of rockets fired at Israel since we left Gaza. The news is full now of reports of world leaders coming here—now. Where were they when hundreds of thousands of Israelis were huddling in stairwells and shelters? Now you come? It’s a bit late. It is uncomfortable for the world, apparently, when we defend ourselves. This, however, is now squarely on our agenda. Let us pray that soon we’ll have some Islamic creativity and some new thinking—it’s time to accept the fact that Israel is here to stay.


    Rabbi Bill Berk
    Marketing Coordinator and Tour Educator
    Keshet: The Center for Educational Tourism in Israel

  5. Editor says:
    November 18, 2012 at 08:42

    York, don’t you understand? If such a thing did happen, it would be Israel’s fault!

    In the hate Israel and all Jews world we live in, it’s always Israel’s fault. Yet in a very weird way, Saudi is bulldozing some sacred islamic shrines and the world hears crickets. In the near future I wouldn’t doubt that the muslims would blame Israel for that.

  6. From Marc Ash:

    Mr. President: Call Off Benjamin Netanyahu

    By Marc Ash, Reader Supported News | 18 November 12

    Dear Mr. President,

    Understand this now, the ongoing assault of Gaza by the Israeli military harms the people of Gaza, harms the people of Israel and harms the people of the United States, and that may only be the beginning. You will either confront the Israeli right wing now, or confront them after unimaginable carnage and global security destabilization.

    The rockets fired by Hamas have no military significance. Their sole aim is to focus world attention on the situation. It is a classic Gandhian strategy, not – as you well know – a realistic threat to the safety of Israeli citizens.

    So, shooting at people is perfectly OK, as long as there is no “realistic” threat you might actually hit one? Great logic!

    Hamas’ military commander Ahmed Jabari was targeted after truce was negotiated. His assassination was an act of Israeli retribution, and was intended for the sole purpose of provoking a military confrontation.

    If Israel’s fortunes are harmed they are harmed by their gun-toting right-wing. There is a vibrant Israeli-left-resistance that the US has for years utterly ignored. Lend your voice to the Middle Eastern peacemakers, rather than the war makers. Act quickly, time is of the essence.

    Marc Ash was formerly the founder and Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

    Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

    OK, I have fulfilled my obligation, as specified by the author, for credit and a hyperlink. But if Mr Ash thinks that President Obama can “call off” Prime Minister Netanyahu, he’s got another think coming. Israel will do what her leaders believe to be in her own national interest, period. Mr Netanyahu has already called for early elections, and Haaretz has noted that the Prime Minister’s political opponents have little choice but to support the actions against Hamas:

    Netanyahu’s election rivals can’t help but support Gaza war

    To oppose the military operation in the Gaza Strip would be political suicide for Shelly Yacimovich and Yair Lapid – they have jumped on the Barak-Netanyahu bandwagon.
    By Yossi Verter | Nov.16, 2012 | 1:44 AM |

    One day into Operation Pillar of Defense, Ehud Barak appeared solemn but not gloomy, focused but not impatient. The defense minister had just given an improvised pep talk to soldiers operating the Iron Dome anti-missile battery in Be’er Sheva.

    A surprising, successful and effective military operation of this type, which also involved a classic deceptive ruse, suits Barak to a T. Secrecy, slyness and a constant desire to mislead and to throw up a smoke screen are among Barak’s most conspicuous traits. For the man whose abrupt defection from the Labor Party left then-Industry, Trade and Labor Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer in shock, putting together a stratagem to cause an arch-terrorist like Ahmed Jabari to throw caution to the winds is child’s play.

    It was Barak who suggested, at Tuesday’s meeting of the forum of nine senior cabinet minsters, that minister without portfolio Benny Begin should say on Israel Radio that the current round of hostilities in the south was over. Begin signed on eagerly, and did the deed. At the start of the meeting Thursday of the security cabinet Begin ran into the defense minister’s media adviser, Barak Seri. “Who would have believed Benny Begin would lie to the public?” Seri joked.

    “I didn’t lie,” Begin replied. “I said the fighting round ended today. Tomorrow is a new day.”

    During the meeting someone complimented Barak on the ruse. “Look,” Barak said modestly. “In this jungle there are quite a few bad people and you can’t fight against such people with nuns’ school rules.”

    More at the link, mostly about the political changes which address some of the weaknesses from 2006. But the article concluded:

    Netanyahu and Barak have relegated their main rivals, Shelly Yacimovich, Yair Lapid and Shaul Mofaz, the heads of Labor, Yesh Atid and Kadima, respectively, to the role of their cheerleaders. Wandering from one television or radio studio to another, doomed to singing the praises of the prime minister and defense minister into eternity.

    Faced with an area in which they lack authority and an issue on which there is a consensus of public support − to oppose the military operation in the Gaza Strip would be political suicide − Yacimovich and Lapid have jumped on the Barak-Netanyahu bandwagon. They will ride it out, shouting their enthusiastic support while waiting for the national agenda and the election season to return to the issues they hold dear.

  7. Here’s the thing: The Dome will fall. In its place will be a new Mohammedan unholy place alongside a new “David’s Temple”. On the Temple Mount where the Mohammedans intentionally defiled that specific spot with their unholy mosque.

    I have this information from a very, extraordinarily, reliable source, which has never been wrong about anything.

  8. I certainly hope that Mr Hitchcock enjoys the current banner panorama, of Jerusalem as seen from the Mount of Olives. I’m at work now, and using an old, standard CRT monitor, so I don’t get much width, but on my big monitor at home, I can see the whole thing: the panorama is 1603 pixels wide.

  9. I have this information from a very, extraordinarily, reliable source, which has never been wrong about anything.

    Would this be the same source that told you about Romney winning at least 300 EVs, and about the mobile WMD labs you still claim the US captured?

    Wingnuts can’t face reality.

  10. It is a classic Gandhian strategy, not – as you well know – a realistic threat to the safety of Israeli citizens.

    A classic Gandhian strategy? What kind of Orweelian doublespeak is this? Gandhi practiced nonviolent resistance to authority, with the emphasis on “Nonviolent”. What does that have to do with terrorists firing rockets at civilians, terrorists who cowardly hide their munitions among schools and hospitals, so as to assure “Collateral damage” when Israel strikes back?

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