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178 thoughts on “Gaza Conundrum

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  • Mary

    This is what Aaronovitch has had to say, 11 days on needless to say. Jeering at Greg Philo. Par for his course.

    ‘The thing to notice here is how the argument is not about itself but about something else. It becomes detached from questions of evidence and exploration and attached to matters of faith and harm. At which point any deviant observation is somehow impermissible. Two of the issues that have preoccupied us recently illustrate, I think, this process at work. The first is the situation in Gaza. For nearly a week impassioned people – British people – have been tweeting past each other passionately, stopping only for the occasional insult. It’s all dead children talk one way, and rocket talk the other. Anyone getting in the way of these narratives will be done over for not caring about dead children or not caring about rockets.

    The BBC’s job, if it does it right, is precisely to get in the way. So yesterday morning I walked the dog with a professor from Glasgow in my headphones complaining about the BBC’s supposed bias against Palestinians. This came a few hours after I’d experienced the sight and sound of Jeremy Bowen and Lyse Doucet bending over backwards to make sure that the Palestinian viewpoints were understood.

    But the professor – who is a professor of communications – wasn’t having it. The problem was the BBC wasn’t giving the whole story. “The issue is the roots of the conflict. The problem of the coverage is that it doesn’t refer to the history of it, that the Palestinians are a displaced people, that they were forced to flee from Israel, that they lost their homes, that the occupation is illegal …” And so on. The professor of communications studies wanted the BBC to constantly communicate to its viewers and listeners that Israel was not only wrong now, but was intrinsically wrong. Wrong since its foundation. On the wrong side of international law. If it didn’t then the BBC itself was wrong.

    On the same programme the leader of the opposition Israeli Labour Party gave another BBC presenter a bit of a caning for not understanding properly about the rockets. Hamas is terrorist, they fire rockets, they won’t sign a ceasefire, so what would you do? This was a fair rhetorical question to the Professor of Lopsided Communications but not to someone who was simply exploring the idea that there were possibly alternatives that might not involve the deaths of quite so many civilians. To someone like that this retort was, in effect, a closing down of debate. It was saying “let’s not think about this”.’

    A scribbler in a rag that was once a great newspaper.

  • Mick

    Can’t say I disagree with AA on the nature of twitter discussions surrounding Israel / Gaza. Any attempt to intervene between the pro-Israel or pro-Palestinian narratives and you are condemned by both sides for supporting the other. Zero sum game, like most of the Middel East at the minute.

  • Mary

    Did anyone notice his distortion of the facts? ‘The Palestinians were forced to flee from Israel’.

    The entity known as ‘Israel’ (it has no borders and knows no laws) did not exist prior to 1948. Then the Zionists occupied the Palestinians’ country and stole their homes and land. Then they took more in 1967. Then they occupied the Golan Heights. And so on.

  • Ba'al Zevul (With Gaza)

    Terribly sorry, Mary. Did I step on your toes?

    You must read all of Mary’s posts, and fix the wisdom therein firmly in your mind, before posting, Dre. Lest your transgressions multiply. (When I jarred her for one of several duplicate posts to mine, she advised me that she didn’t read my posts at all)
    Habbabreak is your friend here.

  • Mick

    I didn’t read the Professor’s comments as a distortion of facts. I read the line ‘that Palestinians were forced to flee from Israel’ to mean flee from areas within the borders of the 1948 state of Israel. I don’t know why a Professor who was attacking the BBC for pro-Israel bias would attempt a clumsy bit of pro-Israel revisionism.

    The study of history is a truly wonderful thing but with regards to the Israel / Palestine issue it will not be of much use in finding a settlement. Regardless of desire, Israel will not cease to exist. The Palestinians will never regain what was once ‘theirs’. Once that premise is accepted then actual negotiations can begin concerning what is required to break the repetitive cycle of death and destruction.
    Both sides will need to concede much in order to find a lasting peace. Israel will need to stop building settlements and will have to redraw their borders in order to create a viable Palestinian state. The Palestinians will have to accept that they will never defeat Israel through force of arms and need to negotiate for what they can achieve now. Both seem very unlikely now, but then in 1988 no one would have thought a decade later Sinn Fein would sign the Good Friday Agreement with the British Government.

    Anyone who believes that taking to twitter, the internet or even the streets to protest against Israel and who cite ‘history’ as a reason it is illegitimate are deluding themselves that they are doing anything to contribute towards peace. Note that I am making a clear distinction between protesting and criticising the acts of Israel and the issue of protesting against the legitimacy of the state. It has been founded, it has endured for 66 years and it has becoming stronger each year. Accept the reality of the situation rather than wishing history had produced a different outcome.

  • Ba'al Zevul (With Gaza)

    Mick – wouldn’t you say that a large part of Israel’s “strength” is dependent on the willingness of the US to veto legitimate UN resolutions and supply it with very advanced military hardware – better, indeed, than it allows NATO to have? Its indifference to international legislation designed among other things to prevent another Holocaust?

    Negotiating ‘for what they can achieve now’ has been a constant theme of the Palestinian political response. And every time they get near it, talks collapse, and the goalposts are moved away for next time. As you say, the Israelis are not going to stop building settlements on (continuously) annexed – read stolen – land. As you don’t say, Israel has no intention whatever of accommodating any kind of Palestinian state. At best what may emerge is an apartheid state in which Palestinian second-class citizens are graciously permitted to exist beside Jewish citizens with full rights. Nothing happening in the last decade begins to contradict that assumption.

    To achieve something approaching a fair resolution for the Palestinians, the US free pass and aid would have to be withdrawn, and actual pressure applied to the Tel Aviv regime. Exactly because it is immune to Western public opinion, indeed. But opinion can be translated into action: for this reason, no protest is wasted.

    On your scenario, the Pals will still be bargaining in 2050, for permission to live in their own villages and the right of return for residents who have left them for the day to clean the toilets in a Jewish settlement. And the talks will break down…

  • Ba'al Zevul (With Gaza)

    As I imagined, dep’t.

    Or, in clear but just a little bit slanted…

    Yes, Toni, Bibi and Sisi put the ceasefire proposal together. I can confirm the timing of the Blair flights, but I am still a little mystified as to his day in Baku in the midst of his negotiations.

    It’s depressingly predictable that the corporate media have swallowed the line of Israel accepting the “ceasefire proposal” and Hamas rejecting it. What Hamas did was reject a US-Israeli diktat to sign away the rights of the people of Gaza to end a siege that cuts them off from the rest of the world.

    Not actually sure of Kerry’s involvement. He seems to have been handling this with a pair of tongs and a dog poo bag. Blair could have fouled this up by himself.

    And one might reasonably ask whether Hamas has even yet been consulted as to the possible terms of a truce between it and its opponent. And be answered, no. Mr. Tony doesn’t go there. As if there was the faintest possibility it would work…

    ‘Hey, evil Islamist terrorist guys, me and Netanyahu, and, you know, the guy who rounded up your guys in Egypt and sentenced them to death, have just come up with an idea for a truce which makes Bibi very happy.’

  • Mary

    Stop stirring it Ba’al. Dreoilin does not need much encouragement as I know to my cost.

    Do you see my posts as some sort of competition? I do read all your posts and although the BLiar travelogue is fascinating, it becomes repetitive. I don’t really care where the shit goes or whom he meets.

    Anyway I imagined that we were ALL on the same side, or should be.

    PS Habbabreak results in superfluous and sometimes duplicated comments/links.

  • Mary

    Hope this holds. ‘Purported’ is a strange word to use??

    Israel-Gaza ceasefire deal ‘reached’

    A ceasefire deal has been reached to end fighting between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza, an Israeli official has told the BBC.

    He said it was due to take effect on Friday at 06:00 local time (03:00 GMT).

    Hamas has not yet officially commented on the purported ceasefire, said to have been reached after talks in Egypt.


  • Ba'al Zevul (With Gaza)

    Not long ago I mentioned that Tony Blair had apparently taken a day out from his (futile) negotiations with Israel and Egypt, to go and visit Azerbaijan. I wondered why.

    Now I know.

    Scroll to ‘COMPETITION FOR RUSSIA’ to find Tony, the Vampire Squid and Genscher newly and happily appointed to paid positions in connection with the proposed TANAP pipeline from Azerbaijan to Europe via Turkey.

  • Ba'al Zevul (With Gaza)

    Beyond-risible excuses department:

    Yes, the reason Hamas rejected the truce proposal was not that it was prepared by Sisi (Hammer of the Muslim Brotherhood) Bibi (Shoot First and Ask Questions Never) and Toni (Y’know, Guys, Israel’s Really Cool) and as far as anyone can tell, an utter stitch-up which did not begin to address Palestinian concerns. No. It was all Turkey and Qatar’s fault.

    Brilliant. This from Liebermann (Let’s Invade Gaza). Who, it seems, was as much against any truce as the Hamas leadership…

  • doug scorgie

    16 Jul, 2014 – 7:30 pm

    “You’re a sick man.”

    And you’re a thick man Je.

    I was mocking Habbabkuk’s attitude to Palestinian children who get shot for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers.

  • doug scorgie

    Resident Dissident

    16 Jul, 2014 – 9:23 pm

    “And where is all this concern for the Palestinians when they are being bombed and starved by Assad?”


    All refugees should be protected from harm whether from Syrian forces or the rebels. You, ResDis, are only interested in supporting Israel.

    That is why you keep trying to deflect discussion of Israeli crimes.

    How did Palestinian refugees end up in Syria in the first place ResDis?

    Yes, they were driven out of Palestine by the Zionists in 1948.

    They and their descendants have the right of return under international law but Israel refuses that because it would water down the Jewishness of Israel.

  • Dreoilin

    “Habbabreak is your friend here.”

    Oh I do use it, Ba’al. My (little) problem is that this Mac came with Chrome and Safari installed. I didn’t have Firefox for a long time. So I developed a habit of clicking on Chrome when I wanted a browser, and then I’d come here and realise I didn’t have Habbabreak at my disposal.

    As long as I’m in Firefox I’m fine. Habbabreak works a treat.

  • Mick

    Completely agree with you that Israel’s military strength can be partly attributed to US money and technical expertise. Agree with you as well on the UN and the use of the US veto. Both these points raise the issue of the Israeli lobby in the US, and to a far lesser degree, the UK. However, since I think we will agree on that influence I don’t see the need to deal with it in depth.

    You may be correct that at this moment in time there is no desire among the Israeli government to accommodate a viable Palestinian state but that is the logical outcome of any peace deal, a peace deal which will have to come eventually. I think you are being somewhat disingenuous by claiming the Israelis are always responsible for the talks collapsing and subsequent moving of goalposts. I would also contest your assertion that nothing in the last decade has demonstrated Israel is willing to countenance a Palestinian state. A promising start was made, just within your timframe of the last decade, by Sharon through the removal of settlements in the Gaza Strip and West Bank. However since then there has been no movement on the part of the Israelis but what progress has there been from the Palestinian side?

    Both sides will need to negotiate. Yes, the Americans will have to play tough with Tel Aviv but they can’t remove their support completely, otherwise no more Israel. To the same extent the Palestinians and their supporters will need to realise that their Palestine, the one pre 1948, is gone and is not coming back. So either they realise they need to talk or Hamas and its successors can continue taking pot shots at Israelis and Israel can continue flattening Palestinian areas at will. Doesn’t seem like a terribly thought out plan.

    I don’t agree with your last point either, protesting the legitimacy of the state of Israel and its right to exist is a pointless endeavour, again for the sake of clarity I am not suggesting that protesting against the acts of Israel is pointless.
    I have offered up what I think requirements for a successful scenario are. What is your realistic credible version?

  • Ba'al Zevul (With Gaza)

    …claiming the Israelis are always responsible for the talks collapsing…

    I didn’t. But each set of peace talks has been based on reduced concessions to the original inhabitants, from the previous set. It’s highly convenient for Israel to keep taking ground, and not at all for the Pals to keep giving it. I draw the logical conclusion, personally, but in fact I let that issue float.

    protesting the legitimacy of the state of Israel and its right to exist is a pointless endeavour,

    I wasn’t actually disputing that, either. Though it would be as well to bear the point in mind the next time someone, with a tragic history and a deed poll signed only by God, comes looking for a country to own.

  • Ba'al Zevul (With Gaza)

    Oh, suggestions.
    US to pull all assistance until completion of project irrevocably under way. Sanctions by EU and US equally applied to either side in breach. Recognition of Hamas as at least legitimate party to all discussions as clearly stated corollary of cessation of rockets: intelligence re splinter groups still firing to be made available by Israel to Hamas as police authority in Gaza. On compliance with this all border controls with Gaza to be lifted, both by Egypt and Israel.

    Contiguous state on W. Bank, with corridor to Gaza. Israel, if not back to 1967 lines, back to nearest contiguous defensible positions. Possibly militarised zone beyond this, as militarised zone on Jordan/Dead Sea clearly offensive. Jerusalem or extension thereof as Palestinian capital, though I would optimistically try and find some other location. And fail.

    Oslo accords, or something like it. Remember?
    Wing of pork, anyone?

  • Mary

    How Long will Obama Support Israel’s Delusion?
    Mowing the Lawn in Gaza
    17th July 2014

    The Palestinians of Gaza are guilty of that new post-Cold War misdemeanor: voting while Muslim. The punishment for this crime has been eight years of economic hardship, international isolation, and periodic Israeli bombardments.

    Like the Algerians in 1990 and the Egyptians in 2012, Gazans went to the polls in 2006 and voted for the wrong party. Rather than supporting the secular choice, they cast their ballots for Hamas. Not all Palestinians are Muslim (6 percent or so are Christian). But by opting for the Islamic Resistance Movement—Hamas, for short—Gazans had effectively nullified their own ballots.

    It didn’t matter that the EU and other institutions declared the elections free and fair. The results were what mattered, and Israel’s judgment carried the day. Even though the newly elected government extended an olive branch to both Israel and the United States, the Israeli government didn’t consider Hamas a legitimate political actor.


  • Mick


    I think we have exchanged more ideas on how to create soemthing workable than Blair has managed in the last six years.

  • Mary

    Three more Palestinian children have been killed today in Gaza in an Israeli air strike.
    Gaza crisis: New exchanges of fire after truce ends


    Three charged over Palestinian Mohammad Abu Khdair murder
    One Jewish man and two youths have been charged by Israeli prosecutors with the murder of Palestinian teenager Mohammed Abu Khdair, the justice ministry says.

    The 29-year-old from the West Bank settlement of Adam and two 16-year-olds from the same family were not named.

    The Israeli settlement known as Adam.

  • Mary

    One more unbearable news item on a day of horror, death, destruction and killing.

    It goes on.

    Gaza Breaking news
    Israel starts ground offensive
    Israeli prime minister orders military to begin ground offensive in Gaza

    The poor people.

  • Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    Mr Scorgie

    “I was mocking Habbabkuk’s attitude to Palestinian children who get shot for throwing stones at Israeli soldiers.”

    “my attitude to Palestinian children..etc” ? Chapter and verse please, Doug.

    When you tell whoppers, you tell big ones don’t you. 🙂

  • Resident Dissident

    “All refugees should be protected from harm whether from Syrian forces or the rebels. You, ResDis, are only interested in supporting Israel. ”

    If you bother to look you will see I am happy to condemn abuses by Israel – and have already condemned their disproportionate action against Gaza.

    No one has yet answered the question as to why there is general silence when it comes to condemning Assad’s actions against PAlestinians.

  • Ba'al Zevul (With Gaza)

    I think we have exchanged more ideas on how to create soemthing workable than Blair has managed in the last six years.

    Not hard, really…

    But what’s baffling me is this: Tony Blair, whose appointment by the Quartet was almost certainly through Bush’s influence, and probably by Blair’s request, must have been based on something for which Blair is ostensibly qualified. This could only have been the results achieved by his administration, building on better mens’ work before him, in Northern Ireland. It’s now well-known that he not only talked to the IRA but legitimised their existence, as well as secretly providing them with get-out-of-jail-free cards (and no doubt did this for the Unionists too, though that seems to be less of an issue with the media).

    Why, then, is Blair the great peacemaker ™ (rofl) going nowhere near Hamas, declining to recognise them as the legitimately elected government of Gaza, and in short following every instruction issued by Israel to the West to ignore and marginalise the only significant force in Palestinian politics?

    We have to assume he’s a crook and a stooge on this basis alone.

  • Abe Rene

    Would you prefer Turkey as a mediator? Or how about the Vatican? Here’s some more possibilities: The UN secretary-general, Jordan, South Africa, India, Ghana, Brazil, Malta.

  • Ba'al Zevul (With Gaza)

    Any mediator is probably useless. History is clear on this point. As soon as negotiations approach a possible fair resolution,they are terminated, and Israel continues to pursue its policy of land theft and settlement building – clearly intending that any future attempts at mediation will have even less to work with. Two conditions have not yet been explored, and without them, there is no hope whatever. First, as much external pressure must be applied as consistently to the Israelis as to the Palestinians. IOW, the US must cease to underwrite the Israeli military budget. and to provide trade concessions which are not available to Palestinians in the occupied territories. Second, Hamas must be included in all talks and negotiations. (Northern Ireland would be alight to this day if the IRA had remained outside the discussion).

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