ONTD Political

They say when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. But when you are a politician and all you have is a hammer, you must convince voters every problem looks like a nail. This is the only thinking that can explain Israel’s behavior in escalating bombardment of Gaza.

The Israeli spin machines are out in full force in the hopes of convincing Israelis and the rest of the world that the attacks on Gaza are in self-defense. But anyone following the situation closely and over time will tell you that cannot be the case.

Gaza is a tiny territory where 1.7 million Palestinians, most of whom are refugees, are denied the right to return to their homes simply because they are not Jewish. It is from this besieged territory that militants have fired mostly rudimentary projectiles at Israel. While Israeli officials are quick to rattle off the numbers of projectiles fired from Gaza, rarely do they tell you what they fire into Gaza, what the effects of this fire is and what the fallout from it is.

For example, in 2011, the projectiles fired by the Israeli military into Gaza have been responsible for the death of 108 Palestinians, of which 15 where women or children, and the injury of 468 Palestinians, of which 143 where women or children. The methods by which these causalities were inflicted by Israeli projectiles breaks down as follows: 57 percent, or 310, were caused by Israeli aircraft missile fire; 28 percent, or 150, where from Israeli live ammunition; 11 percent, or 59, were from Israeli tank shells; while another 3 percent, or 18, were from Israeli mortar fire.

Through September 2012, Israeli weaponry caused 55 Palestinian deaths and 257 injuries. Among these 312 casualties, 61, or roughly 20 percent, were children and 28 were female. 209 of these casualties came as a result of Israeli Air Force missiles, 69 from live ammunition fire, and 18 from tank shells. It is important to note that these figures do not represent a totality of Israeli projectiles fired into Gaza but rather only Israeli projectiles fired into Gaza which cause casualties. The total number of Israeli projectiles fired into Gaza is bound to be significantly larger.

For context, consider this: more Palestinians were killed in Gaza yesterday than Israelis have been killed by projectile fire from Gaza in the past three years.

But the Israelis are also keeping another issue quiet. If you follow the dynamics of fire you will learn two things. First, the vast majority of projectiles from Gaza result in no injuries or deaths. Second, most of them are fired during “flare ups” which are initiated, more often than not, by Israeli strikes which cause significant casualties. Hamas has in the past worked to clamp down on factions firing projectiles, like Islamic Jihad and others. But when Israeli strikes target these organizations and kill and injure Palestinians in Gaza, it ignites responses that lead to flare ups.

In short, what this means is that if it chose to modify its strategy, Israel could have likely dropped the number of projectiles it saw coming from Gaza significantly. Israel could coordinate with Hamas through third parties like the Egyptians; positive things like truces and prisoner exchanges have happened in the past. But the strategy Israel chose was not one of restraint or diplomacy.

The problem Gaza presents for Israel is that it won’t go away—though Israel would love it if it would. It is a constant reminder of the depopulation of Palestine in 1948, the folly of the 1967 occupation, and the many massacres which have happened since them. It also places the Israelis in an uncomfortable position because it presents a problem (in the form of projectiles) which cannot be solved by force.

Israel does not like to admit it doesn’t have the military might to accomplish something. But when it comes to relations with Palestinians, and with Gaza in particular, there is no military solution.

Israel has tried assassinating Palestinian leaders for decades but the resistance persists. Israel launched a devastating and brutal war on Gaza from 2008 to 2009 killing 1,400 people, mostly civilians, but the resistance persists.

Why, then, would Israel choose to revert to a failed strategy that will undoubtedly only escalate the situation? Because it is far easier for politicians to lie to voters, vilify their adversaries, and tell them ‘we will hit them hard’ than to come clean and say instead, ‘we’ve failed and there is no military solution to this problem.’

With Israeli elections around the corner, the right-wing Israeli government chose the counter-productive path of escalation even though civilians would pay the price and their domestic opposition rallied behind them.

Trading bodies for ballots is an equation Israeli leaders are happy to be engaged in, especially since all the ballots are Israeli and the bodies are almost always Palestinian.

lilyginny27 16th-Nov-2012 02:48 am (UTC)
"Gaza is a tiny territory where 1.7 million Palestinians, most of whom are refugees, are denied the right to return to their homes simply because they are not Jewish."

blueboatdreams 16th-Nov-2012 03:16 am (UTC)
I see it as a form of gentrification. The Israeli government pushes out the Muslim population from Palestine land, consume it, and get upset/offended when they get angry.
sesmo 16th-Nov-2012 07:59 am (UTC)
Really? You think it's just because they're not Jewish? Nothing to do with that little war? Suicide bombers? Nope? It's all about religion in your mind? This is such bullshit I can't even.

20% of Israel's population is Arab.
tabaqui 16th-Nov-2012 03:06 am (UTC)
It's just mind-boggling that this *keeps happening* and the world seems to shrug and move on. Wtf.
ms_maree 16th-Nov-2012 03:11 am (UTC)
I think it's because it keeps happening, after a certain point it becomes white noise that just happens elsewhere. Same with Afghanistan, same with what Russia was doing in Chechnya, what China is doing in Tibet. People who are in a position of not being directly affected (and who have the most power to change things) just don't listen, and care less.
skankattack 16th-Nov-2012 03:50 am (UTC)
This article is bs.
maenads_dance 16th-Nov-2012 04:11 am (UTC)
What about it do you object to?
skankattack 16th-Nov-2012 05:48 am (UTC)
Great comment.
violetrose 16th-Nov-2012 06:13 am (UTC)
Good comment and I completely agree.
slurp 16th-Nov-2012 11:09 am (UTC)
IA, but since when do the people in government want to better the lives of everyone? Better to put a Band-Aid on a problem than go fix the roots.
bellichka 16th-Nov-2012 12:51 pm (UTC)
They had a territory agreement. Israel violated it in 1967. And not a single fuck was given that day.
gruimed 16th-Nov-2012 08:11 pm (UTC)
What you write sounds reasonable, but it is completely disconnected from reality:
1. The ONLY territory dispute Israel has with Hamas in Gaza is the mere fact of Israel existence. Israel have pulled out of Gaza COMPLETELY, but Hamas keeps fighting because they do not recognize Israel right to exist in ANY territory.
2. Yes, reaction should be proportional. The problem is that ANYTHING Israel does is called disproportional. The ONLY reaction that would not be called disproportional would be watch silently how our population is being terrorized.
hera_bearrra 16th-Nov-2012 07:31 am (UTC)
Example of media bias, just look at the headlines:

beetlebums 16th-Nov-2012 07:49 am (UTC)
The same thing happened when Israel was in Gaza in 2008.
koshkabegemot 16th-Nov-2012 12:59 pm (UTC)
I just can't with this shit.

And of course if I come out and say I'm anti-Zionism, I'm automatically anti-Semitic (lolwtf I'm Jewish).

I'm sure the rest of my family is applauding what Israel is doing right now whereas I'm absolutely horrified that this is being allowed to happen . . . and I wish that there was something I could do.
cozmic_oceanz 16th-Nov-2012 01:11 pm (UTC)
ugh. I just can't deal with any of this, or attempt to express my feelings on it, or anything. However, I think the user "anikotevet" captures my feelings best.

It's just so hard being an extremely liberal American Jew who has best friends in Israel and loves the country of Israel but hates the politics and leans towards "Pro-Palestine" but so anti-terrorism and just UGH.

cozmic_oceanz 16th-Nov-2012 02:16 pm (UTC)
OK, referring to my comment above, an lj user (whom I have never seen post comments here), just messaged me the following. I will respond to this user not through private messaging, because I found his/her message completely offensive, and also because if I am going to take the time to respond, I would like other people to see it.

This was the message:

" you should be ashamed of yourself, you're jewish and you're against your people? we are in Israel suffering from terror more than 10 years, people living under rockets every single day, children can't sleep a whole night because of the alarm every 5 min. we are protecting our country, while all of the arabs around us what to see us dead! we want to live in peace with them but how is it possible while there is no one to talk with? they use their children and teach them to hate us from the moment their born. IDF never kill innocent people like they do, like they bomb in our buses, is it normal that i'm afraid to be in a bus when I see a man comes with a big bag and I automatically think that he will now explode?"

1. First of all, perhaps I was unclear in my comment above. I said I LEAN TOWARDS Pro-Palestine, but what I really meant was, compared to other Jews (at least many that I know, and clearly this lj user who messaged me), I am far more empathetic towards Palestinian civilians and have ill feelings towards the occupation. All the same, I know the situation is complicated and I don't think either side can or should be 100% blamed. Therefore, even saying I lean towards pro-Palestine was quite an exaggeration. I would more so call myself: Willing and desiring to see every side of this issue as best I can, empathic, and mostly desirous of peace for all.

2. The user anikotevet talked about the kind of shit us Jews get to hear. And now we see, much of the time it is from other Jews. I grew up in a very Orthodox Jewish community, and I am very quiet about my views on the Israel/Palestinian conflict, because while it is true that this is not the case for *most* Jews, a lot of the friends and families I grew up with earnestly believe all Palestinians are evil (just as a select number of Palestinians believe all Israelis are evil.) Anyway, this is part of why I was expressing so much grief in my comment above. It is hard being a Jew and loving the country of Israel and its people but also fiercely disagreeing with so much of what the government there chooses to do, and it is painful knowing that this opinion causes other Jews to believe, I quote "I should be ashamed of myself."

3. Perhaps #2 sounds a bit disparraging towards my Jewish people. I love my culture, my religion, and my Jewish community, but I refuse to be blind to the issues within it/the country that is SUPPOSED to represent us (but when did I get to have input on that?) just because it is part of my identity. It is because I care about Judaism so much that I don't want to turn a blind eye to our current shortcomings.

4. In the end, it is very offensive and out of line that you told me I should be ashamed of myself. I think you should find some shame in yourself for equating all Arabs into one, and you should be ashamed for not opening your mind to realizing that Palestine is not 100% at fault for everything, and that Israel has in fact been killing many Palestinian civilians, not to mention occupying their land. And it hurts me that you said that because I empathize with Palestinians and do not agree with all of the Israeli government's actions that I am "against my people." Please climb out of the cave I was in when I went through Orthodox ELEMENTARY SCHOOL (believing ALL Arabs wanted me dead and that Palestine is evil), and managed to climb out of when I was a teenager. One can embrace their religion and people and still disagree with a (to me) completely separate *political/government* entity which other people decided represent your religion chooses to do.

Someone, please show me some support here.

Also, random lj user, I hope you, your family, and friends stay safe. I care for you and support you. To me, the Israeli government does not define my Judaism or the Jewish people. This is what I am trying to say. Please understand where I am coming from, please try to.
stellaglam 16th-Nov-2012 02:24 pm (UTC)
Great response! The conflict is definetely not black and white, which is why it's so so important with an informed discussion...not abusive and angry PMs being sent just because someone sees the shades of grey! The lj user clearly has a very narrow view of both Jewish and Arab identity and comments like that shouldn't go unanswered!
owl_eyes_4ever 16th-Nov-2012 02:43 pm (UTC)
Found this on Reddit today:

stellaglam 16th-Nov-2012 02:51 pm (UTC)
Nicely summarizes it! I've yet to hear anyone claim that the rockets are acceptable but it seems like people are pretending this conflict would be over if the Palestinians would only stop sending rockets....

I refuse to believe that anyone with the smallest understanding of geopolitics and the going-ons in Israel and the OPT actually think Israel's continued aggression and expansion has anything to do with rockets from Gaza!
mycenaes 16th-Nov-2012 04:32 pm (UTC)
This conflict is like, a million times more complicated than most white, Western Christians (and I include "culturally Christian" folk in there too, tbh) understand it to be.

I feel really uncomfortable when people who aren't directly involved in the conflict (read: white, Western Christians, religious or otherwise) feel the need to give their Incredibly Important Opinions on it. And I say this as someone who doesn't have a direct stake in the conflict, but who does have a friend living in Haifa. I'm concerned about her safety, even though I know that's in northern Israel.

I just hope that this violence ends soon.
stellaglam 16th-Nov-2012 06:03 pm (UTC)
I'm neither Israeli nor Palestinian but I have friends on both sides, and even if I didn't I'm pretty sure it's still important to speak out when you see injustice....
bonesnapdeez 16th-Nov-2012 11:17 pm (UTC)
Well, it didn't take the Zionists long to show up here.
apostle_of_eris 17th-Nov-2012 05:57 am (UTC)
Gaza is a tiny territory where 1.7 million Palestinians, most of whom are refugees, are denied the right to return to their homes simply because they are not Jewish.
biased much?
Oh, poor, poor Hamas! Randomly shelling and hoping they kill, knowing full well that this would be the result.
Israel is predictable. This response is totally predictable. If it is totally predictable, why was it provoked??
When the Palestinians have “leadership” who are not thugs and crooks, they'll have more of a chance.
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