Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 10, 2009

Israel Has Lost The War


One State Department official told us: “We are increasingly concerned that Israel wins all the battles but is losing the war.”

It is well too late for such concern.

As Tony Karon writes: The War Isn’t Over, But Israel Has Lost

[T]o borrow from the casual callousness of Condi Rice during the last such display of futile brutality, we are witnessing, again, the “birth pangs of a new Middle East.” Israel failed in 2006, just as in 2002 and 1982. This time, they tell us, will be different.
The Israelis — and their backers in the American political establishment — appear incapable of grasping that which is empirically obvious: Hamas and its ilk grow stronger every time Israel seeks to eliminate them by force.

But of course Israel continues to do what it does best: increase its useless violence:

The Israel Air Force has dropped leaflets on the Gaza Strip warning residents that it plans to escalate its two-week-old offensive.
The notice says Israel is about to begin a "new phase in the war on terror." It says it will "escalate" an operation that already has killed more than 800 Palestinians.

What do the Israelis think the people in people in Gaza will do with such notices but wipe their asses with them?

The IAF has bombed anything that can be bombed by now. The IDF can try to go into the cities. Many IDF soldiers would die in those. The election would then certainly be lost for Livni and Ehud Barack as the Israeli public abhores casualties on its own side.

The only realistic option for Israel by now is to sue for a cease-fire with Hamas. But then - realism is something that seems to be not koscher, or it is simply scarce supply in Israel and in Washington DC.

Posted by b on January 10, 2009 at 15:19 UTC | Permalink


Speaking of elections...

J.L. Talmon’s influential The Origins of Totalitarian Democracy as prescient then as now.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 10 2009 15:56 utc | 2

With the world economy in free-fall and the many regional conflicts in and near the middle east, I don't think the Israelis have or even need any sort of comprehensive plan to deal with Gaza.

Who will complain if they wipe Gaza off the map? America? Doubtful, even if the public were convinced Israel is/was guilty of crimes against humanity, they'll probably keep silent. Americans have proven they can keep ugly secrets and not ask too many hard questions.

Also if there were ever a global war tribunal assembled that could take-on the israel/american corporate powers, it would not only need to examine what israel has done in Gaza, but also what the U.S. has done in Iraq.

Very few americans want to see their once great country drug through the mud publicly because it will prove what we all know in our hearts; We have let our country become the playground for insidious corporate scoundrels who have manipulated the public into giving it the keys to the kingdom.

As for the EU, they have yet to show themselves affective in doing anything to fight corporate interest in their part of the world. Look at how easily they have capitulated to U.S./israeli plans for everything from Iraq to even the recent skirmish in Georgia. Their leaders might shout hollow threats and a few angry citizens might protest, but in the end the killing continues.

I've been programed from my youth to believe in some final confrontation between good/evil. But this is only a myth used to give the people false hope that they have chosen the right side. The folks printing history books are the ones who decide "right and wrong" regardless of how we might feel now.

I think the worst thing is that America's government has proven to be as corrupt as any banana republic, no doubt it has always been, but at least in the past, enough citizens gave a shit to do something about it.

I think the rest of the world knows (if it didn't already) that america is full of fat, sacrificial sheep who bleat in our boarders about this and that while we wait for our turn at the alter.


Posted by: David | Jan 10 2009 16:17 utc | 3

CNNi has just reported the dropping of leaflets: stay away from Hamas, leave buildings, bombing will intensify. Where do people in a concentration camp run to?

Us-Israel air attacks are now using Egyptian air space. The reporter could verify the direction of flight. He also said there had been a violent demo today in Egypt and suggested the public outcry would worsen once it was obvious Egyptian air space was given over to this genocide. Is Mubarek so confident he will survive this provocation, his complicity?

Today's rally is Britain's biggest pro-Palestine demonstration and has been organised by groups including Stop the War Coalition, the British Muslim Initiative and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. ...

What is the progress of that Iranian aid ship? Yesterday it had passed through the Suez Canal, someone reported. Will they bomb that too?

Bernhard, do you know of any demos planned for Hamburg?

Posted by: Hamburger | Jan 10 2009 17:19 utc | 4

Yo, mohammed allah,

Here is a link to a bunch of examples of muslims protesting violence, you ignorant fleck of feces!


Posted by: David | Jan 10 2009 17:32 utc | 5

The terms war and win or lose, or or that matter, terrorists and peace or treaties, negotiations re. Israel and their colonial expansion in a pocket sized territory are inappropriate. Fake, evil lies like that murmured by evil witches to little children...

There is no war and no end can be achieved with peace. That framing is for the TV...

There is only a colonial power, supported by the mega powers, grinding on and on killing and killing.. It is ethnic cleansing or genocide, impunity for the powerful, sanctioned, allowed, left to proceed.

Israel cannot lose or win the war though it may withdraw waiting for a while until it strikes again.

War actually implies there is an opponent who can effect some actions, something to be fought for, etc. Of course Americans have been trained to accept a wide definition of war, like the war on drugs...

Posted by: Tangerine | Jan 10 2009 18:23 utc | 6

Israel's ruling cliques have several outcomes in mind from this splendid little war, cleverly launched and concluded in the interregnum between two American Presidents, during a time when there's no one in Washington to do anything about it.

They will continue to hit Gaza's populace hard, very hard, ignoring all calls from the world at large to stop their attacks, until a couple of days before Obama's coronation, at which point peace will break out with a ceasefire signed and troops withdrawn.

The American media will crow that Israel has suddenly and amazingly managed to unshit the bed. That what is past is past. That a bright new day has arrived, and that everyone is just fine again, and -- hey look over there, it's Obama's crown!

Of course, several clever outcomes will be in place on that marvelous, new morning:

* further degradation of the Gaza ghetto, with much tighter controls on smuggling routes, so fuel, food, water, weapons, medicine are even less available. The Gazans will be a little bit closer to a starving rabble fighting back with sharpened sticks.

* military and political weakening of Hamas.

* a consequent strengthening of Fatah as the only 'serious' alternative to Hamas, the only possible political entity to sign future surrenders for all Gazans.

* a deal with Egypt to control the border town of Rafah, where 90% of the tunnels that supply Gaza and Hamas are located. It may involve UN monitors to stop the smuggling.

* unarmed international troops throughout Gaza to monitor Hamas (but not to monitor Israelis), which actually means international troops for Hamas to shoot in order to bring Israel sympathetic publicity for years to come.

You see, after a python coils around its prey, it waits for its victim to exhale. Then it tightens its grip, relentlessly making each subsequent breath smaller, shorter, and harder to accomplish.

The relentless Israeli policy toward the Palestinian people since 1948 has not evolved, nor gone through any crisis or upheaval. It has never been hidden or credibly denied. It is exactly and precisely what it was in 1948 --

Get them the hell off our Land, even if it means killing babies in their mother's arms. Just get them the hell off our Land.

Americans did the same thing to the natives cluttering up their Land, everywhere between two shining seas. At every encounter, every treaty signed, every conflict, every discussion the natives lost, and lost, and lost relentlessly until they had no homes, no territories, no means of surviving except the charity of their reservation bosses. Thus America fulfilled its Manifest Destiny.

Like a python tightening its coils with every attempt to breathe. It took a couple of centuries, but the outcome was never in doubt.

Israel's Manifest Destiny is to rule all of Gaza, all of the West Bank, the entire lower half of Lebanon up to and including the Litani River, as well as a fine chunk of Syria, and a handsome slice of Jordan. All of it free of natives and aboriginals, all of it Greater Israel at last.

It's been sixty years getting this far along on the project. Come back in 2068, and relentless progress will have accomplished so much more.

No one has ever stopped them. No one will stop them now.

If Israel is ever stopped from this plan, it will not be words that stopped them.

Posted by: Antifa | Jan 10 2009 18:50 utc | 7

Bernhard, do you know of any demos planned for Hamburg?

One was today at 2:00 around the Alster.
A big one is planned in Berlin tomorrow.
Next one in Hamburg I am aware of is next Saturday, 18:00, Ida-Ehre-Platz (Mönkebergstrasse.)

Posted by: b | Jan 10 2009 18:55 utc | 8

I have much more to say when I have time, but, in a word, Tangerine is correct.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 10 2009 19:00 utc | 9

And, in the time it took to post, Antifa, too.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 10 2009 19:04 utc | 10

no, it was a war and Israel lost it big time.

read the US press available on the web - suddenly nobody understands Israel anymore from CNN / Time, the New York Times to the editorial of the Washington Post.

read statements of supposed Middle East allies from Turkey to Saudi Arabia, maybe lip service but if you have to pay lip service the power has shifted.

Israel now has no exit strategy left, they badly miscalculated the interests of Egypt, they badly miscalculated the - desparate, and pushed to the limit - determination of Hamas. They will not dare to carpet bomb because that would be the final straw breaking the camel's back. it would not only make their country unsafe, they have done that already, it would make their leadership unsafe from international prosecution.

the US has virtually no hegemonial soft power left, neither money nor good will (except for the one and only bridging personality of Obama), nor technological advantage. they have concentrated their army in places with supply routes through potentially hostile places. if Hamas can do this type of fighting within 300 square km of fairly flat country, in a situation of a blockade that has been going on for decades, with their own families closeby, no escape routes whatever, imagine what can be done in mountaineous areas with caves.

now if an armchair strategist like me, who is a fairly good chess player, knows some history and has some insight into what motivates people, but is by no means a professional and nobody would really listen to on this subject, can figure this out, just by reading comments in the internet, what do you think is going on amongst professional army people and strategists now?

the majority of people play it safe and try to end up where the power is as early as it is clear where the power is going to be. just watch what is going on and what is going to be the majority position in the west.

I think Fisk's statement that you don't give equal time to the slave and the slave trader will have been the finishing line in this PR war.

Posted by: outsider | Jan 10 2009 19:43 utc | 11

oh and by the way the best comment I read on Iran was that they have been a pain in the neck since the Thermophylae.

google it what that means.

and then reflect on what kids in Iran are likely to learn in school, compare it to what kids learn in school in Europe and in the US.


Posted by: outsider | Jan 10 2009 19:48 utc | 12

You see, after a python coils around its prey, it waits for its victim to exhale. Then it tightens its grip, relentlessly making each subsequent breath smaller, shorter, and harder to accomplish.

Posted by: annie | Jan 10 2009 20:02 utc | 13

Europeans Protest Gaza Violence

Tens of thousands of people turned out to protest the ongoing violence in Gaza Saturday in demonstrations in Western European cities.

In London, protesters massed outside the Israeli Embassy, waving Palestinian flags and calling for an immediate end to Israel's military strikes on Gaza.

In France, tens of thousands of people took to the streets of the capital, Paris. Protests were also held in smaller cities around the country.

In the German city of Duisburg, an estimated 10-thousand people marched through the streets to call for a lifting of the blockade and for an immediate end to the violence in Gaza. The protest was peaceful, although several demonstrators did throw snowballs at an Israeli flag.

Posted by: annie | Jan 10 2009 20:14 utc | 14


Posted by: | Jan 10 2009 20:19 utc | 15

what does FUFMPoS mean?

oh my la times

Thousands protested in Ankara, the capital, outside an arena where visiting the Israeli basketball team, Bnei Hasharon, was warming up to play Turk Telekom.

Indoors, the mood was red-hot with crowds chanting slogans against Israel and supporting Hamas.

Although police were present, things didn't cool down, and when fans threatened to charge the court, the Israeli team retreated and took cover in the locker rooms for three hours before being safely extricated.

At 3 a.m., the team was escorted by armed policemen from its hotel to the airport, where police continued to chaperon the players until boarding. Upon returning to Israel, the team said that the general mood had been less than friendly from the start, but that protesters in the arena had "murder in their eyes" and that they feared for their lives. They called the event "a Turkish nightmare." The Union of European Leagues of Basketball intends to penalize the Israeli team with a technical loss for refusing to play after the mess had been contained.

Posted by: annie | Jan 10 2009 20:24 utc | 16


as usual their numbers are far off there have been hundreds of thousands throughout europe - 100,000 in london alone & in the rest of the world it is millions of people - turkey & morrocco have had monumental demonstrations of millions

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 10 2009 20:25 utc | 17

Way more than 100K in Barcelona today. Organizers say between 200K and 300K. After a week raining (and even snowing, which is a very rare here) today the weather was perfect and we could even see the full moon while marching.

Of course the local media is either ignoring the march or reproducing some fake police numbers (30K). That even taking into account that groups from the local governing parties, and that had to wait 2+ hours to start the march because the large amount of people joining half way the march, were supporting the march.

Posted by: ThePaper | Jan 10 2009 20:40 utc | 18

Australia demonstrations

Hundreds of protesters have converged on Canberra with a strong message for the Federal Government to end its support for Israel in the current conflict. Protesters gathered outside the Israel embassy shortly before 1pm (AEST) today carrying signs that read: "Enough is enough", "Free Gaza Now" and "Israel, enough with the victim act"...

In Brisbane, more than 2000 people marched through central Brisbane in protest at Israel's incursion of Gaza...

Posted by: Ensley | Jan 10 2009 21:06 utc | 19

It's particularly impressive to see such numbers in Europe, since the media, though less obviously servile than the US ones, have been quite biased towards Israeli positions.

Posted by: CluelessJoe | Jan 10 2009 21:19 utc | 20

Can't you even put the letters in the right order?


Posted by: biklett | Jan 10 2009 21:26 utc | 21

With regards to the war, not a war issue, Israel has lost the war because they have failed to convince the world that what they're doing is a war. It is essential that the world be convinced that their actions be perceived and justified as self defense, in the sense of war. If their actions fail to be seen as war, then the only other explanation is it's a massacre, or a genocide. Virtually every news coverage I've seen on this thing is reinforced with Israeli officials painting the action as a war, beginning with the rockets and their "damage". But then the footage of Israeli actions will follow with images of fighter bombers, gunships, battle tanks, white phospherous falling from the sky, massive explosions, and bleeding and screaming people running with wounded or dead children in their arms. But as of yet, I've not seen even one image of an armed Palestinian, let alone anything resembling an army, fighting back. Ironically, most of the Palestinians shown, are even military age men but instead of appearing as fighters, they are usually shown caring the wounded or frantically digging in the ruble for survivors. If the Israeli and western propaganda machine cannot, with all their resources, present this thing as a believable "war" and not simply a massacre - then Israel has lost the war. And judging from the reaction developing around the world, they have not only lost the war, but have lost it BIGTIME.

Posted by: anna missed | Jan 10 2009 21:37 utc | 22

The notice says Israel is about to begin a "new phase in the war on terror." It says it will "escalate" an operation that already has killed more than 800 Palestinians.

The bolded word should read "of," as Israel is enacting a war OF terror on a massive scale. It should not be labeled a "war" as it is simply acts of subjugation and terror.

The government of Israel has become what they once hated: tyrants, genocidists, terrorists, murdering thugs.

In early 2003, I marched in NYC with some Israelis joining to protest the US move to invade Iraq, along with thousands of fellow Americans protesting Bush's itch for war. We see little of Israelis' protests in their country, but I would imagine the powers that be influence the media as it did and does here.

This horror show is disgusting and, even for an onlooker, terrifying. An enactment OF terror.

Posted by: jawbone | Jan 10 2009 22:09 utc | 23

Re: Hamburger's question at #4--Where is indeed can anyone in Gaza go to avoid the Israeli dropping of bombs, bombardments of terror?

These are war crimes, are they not?

Who will call them that, other than the Red Cross?

Posted by: jawbone | Jan 10 2009 22:11 utc | 24

I'll try and re-iterate what I was discussing yesterday about why Israel has lost this action, but in doing so I acknowledge that some of us have a need to see only darkness and despair even when evil assholes are getting kicked. If I cared enough about why that is so ,or could be bothered with the lengthy tirades and heaps of invective that we would all have to wade through, I would argue why it is that some who fight against the greed of established tyranny need to believe each day is worse than the one before, but I don't, so I wont.

The mere fact that Israel has begun it's pamphlet campaign about arcing up the violence even further, betrays two things. That this is a seat of the pants exercise where this attempt to scare the prisoners of gaza is another forlorn roll of the dice ,and that the Israeli's know they are losing so have turned inwards, ignoring world opinion against cranking up the violence in the hope that by confining their discussion to fellow colonists and their barrackers amongst the diaspora, they will reinvigorate somehow and re-gather momentum.

It is unlikely that either will be successful. One of the primary tactical objectives of this action was to drive a wedge between Hamas and the people. Israel's murder planners convinced themselves that by attacking Gaza that the ordinary people would blame Hamas and turn on them. This is ploy which Israel and many other aggressors who have the technological capability but not the hearts and minds, do have success with in conflicts.

One could argue that the attacks on Palestinian refugees and low level PLO fighters in the first invasion of Lebanon was moderately successful in stirring up factional divisions within the PLO because when the massacres of Sabra and Shatilla occurred, the PLO senior leadership was safely ensconced in exile in Libya, or at least that is how the zionist propagandists played it.
Israeli murderers in charge forgot one thing when they set about terrorising the people of Gaza in the vain hope they could drive a wedge between Gazaains and the Hamas leadership, that is that the leaders of Hamas are in Gaza, in the thick of the horror experiencing it along with every other Gazaain. There are no bunkers buried a mile below the surface and a hundred miles behind the lines for the Hamas leadership, to be rumoured to be cowering in, they are side by side with everyone else at a time.
As a consequence every terrorist bomb, shell or rocket israel throws at them increases the feeling of solidarity between Hamas and the people.

It is true that Israel has the technological ability to slaughter every one of the 1.5 million people of Gaza, and equally true that many israelis would like to do just that, but does anyone really think they will?
Time is against them, they have another 10 days before Obama the shilly shaller has to make a stand and if the rest of the time up until then is dominated by a horror genocide, then he will have no choice but to put an end to it by the time he is inaugurated.

Do you really think the rest of us are going to sit on our asses if such and outcome looks likely? I don't know about other MoA -ites but I have no intention of letting that go by with an incisive post or an angry letter. This is a horror which ordinary peeps around the planet can effect the outcome of because as even much as they would like it not to be so the israeli leadership isn't anywhere near as impervious to world-wide reaction as shrub was.

One of Obama's biggest selling points to his backers was that he would win back the the support of non-amerikan consumers. Unless the rest of us outside amerika also see the emperor's clothes, amerika's projection of power beyond it's day to day capability cannot work. That is amerika can barely fight one war at the moment, it has 2 boiling and more likely so cannot afford to be seen to support the obliteration of Gaza.
Whatever his personal views or that of his staff, Obama won't want the memory of his coronation to be 1.5 million dead. Same same for his corporate backers, this awfulness in Gaza may be right up their alley, but for sure there isn't a dollar to be made out of it in the short term, and the long term benefits aren't particularly obvious either, so many particularly those teetering on the edge desperate to convince foreigners to bail out again, won't see this horror as a plus either.

Many of the same posters argued that amerika hadn't lost on Iraq, well they can't have it both ways. Once/if the empire is established in the ME, much closer to Iran, and without the drama and divisiveness that Israel creates, why would amerika still need Israel?
That is the conundrum for Israel's leadership, one of the reasons they are acting so irrationally. They can't survive on their own in the ME but equally once allies for the amerikan empire are established in the Mid East, Israel becomes superfluous, dangerous in fact because Israel's continuing presence makes amerika's new friends uneasy.

Equally if amerika doesn't yet have a secure position in Iraq, and Saudis are wavering, the one thing amerika cannot afford is to make support for amerika by ME leaders untenable because amerika was complicit in such a horror as the obliteration of Gaza.

Anyway to all the pessimists out there, I have no belief that Obama will make much change at all to the ongoing oppression of humanity but I also reckon that israel is beginning to recognise the limits on it's power. Like a maddened junk-yard dog, the zionists have galloped barking and slavering at any threat, this time right up to the fence in the corner, but already they can feel the collar gripping as their chain grows taught before it finally viciously snaps them back to their kennel where they will lie whimpering on the ground for a while, hoping to rouse the owners sympathy once more and hopefully a bone, before getting up and going to repeat the attack. Except next time the 'enemy' will know exactly where the chain runs out.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 10 2009 23:31 utc | 25

Classic rule of conflict in the mid-east: you never invade a city, you only encircle it, or destroy it outright. The Israelis understood this with Cairo and even (though not so clearly) with Beirut. I wonder why they've forgotten this--unless they regard the American adventure in Iraq as a success of some kind....

Posted by: alabama | Jan 11 2009 0:24 utc | 26

That Karon piece is fascinating. Reading the thing reminds me why the conflict is so treacherous because there are no just resolutions available to jew or arab.

Karon's piece is sort of an a priori argument which rejects the concrete reality of the present in order to rectify a historical mistake. The concrete reality is 50 years of modern Israel which cannot be abdicated by the will of anyone, mistake or not.

On the other hand, this idealism is what may force Israel to bargain for a peace which includes a right of return and abandonment of settlements, etc. The result is a reconciliation pleasing to no one. Karon didn't intend this meaning, and so his analysis seems to me a mess.

In light of the necessity of the only reconciliation that is possible, but seems to me to be misapprehended by Karon (who I respect a lot), impresses me again the dangers of the present conflict. A really fucked up situation.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 11 2009 1:36 utc | 27

Anyone care to take a crack at the intended message/purpose of this NYT piece? It can't be good...

WASHINGTON — President Bush deflected a secret request by Israel last year for specialized bunker-busting bombs it wanted for an attack on Iran’s main nuclear complex and told the Israelis that he had authorized new covert action intended to sabotage Iran’s suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons, according to senior American and foreign officials.

Last year, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel asked President Bush for bunker-busting bombs and permission to fly over Iraq to attack the plant.

White House officials never conclusively determined whether Israel had decided to go ahead with the strike before the United States protested, or whether Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel was trying to goad the White House into more decisive action before Mr. Bush left office. But the Bush administration was particularly alarmed by an Israeli request to fly over Iraq to reach Iran’s major nuclear complex at Natanz, where the country’s only known uranium enrichment plant is located.

The White House denied that request outright, American officials said, and the Israelis backed off their plans, at least temporarily. But the tense exchanges also prompted the White House to step up intelligence-sharing with Israel and brief Israeli officials on new American efforts to subtly sabotage Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, a major covert program that Mr. Bush is about to hand off to President-elect Barack Obama.

This account of the expanded American covert program and the Bush administration’s efforts to dissuade Israel from an aerial attack on Iran emerged in interviews over the past 15 months with current and former American officials, outside experts, international nuclear inspectors and European and Israeli officials. None would speak on the record because of the great secrecy surrounding the intelligence developed on Iran.

Several details of the covert effort have been omitted from this account, at the request of senior United States intelligence and administration officials, to avoid harming continuing operations.

The interviews also suggest that while Mr. Bush was extensively briefed on options for an overt American attack on Iran’s facilities, he never instructed the Pentagon to move beyond contingency planning, even during the final year of his presidency, contrary to what some critics have suggested.

Posted by: bea | Jan 11 2009 1:37 utc | 28

Culling is what the Jewish State is doing. Taking out the latest slate of Palestinian leaders, and reducing the population.

We need to call it what it is. Culling.

Posted by: dia | Jan 11 2009 2:02 utc | 29

Posted by: Stephane | Jan 11 2009 2:04 utc | 30

bea: it seems to be a whitewash, making Bush seem like a basically sane person. In the years when the Dems were too stupid to take a stand against the war, I always worried that finally Bush would outflank them and declare peace.

Debs and Antifa both make convincing cases, arguing opposite sides. Debs wins with his viscious guard dog metaphor.

Jonathan Nitzan and Shimson Bichler (York University) observe Israel's capital beginning to emigrate, following the trend of globalization. Educated young people are reportedly also emigrating, looking for less stressful lives elsewhere. The Zionist fantasy may eventually just run out of gas, though not before inflicting bloody mayhem on its neighbors.

Posted by: seneca | Jan 11 2009 2:10 utc | 31

what dia says is quite correct

if there is one feature integral to u s imperialism since its inception both internationally & domestically - is the genocide of generation after generation of 'leaders' or even possible leaders

the murder of my beloved fred hampton tells part of a continuing story - deprive the people of leadership - of those who would transform the innate honour of the people into a political force

the world has lost so many, many gifted young men & women - arabs, africans, asians europeans & american - people who could have given more of their promise instead were transformed into a history - a history of loss

perhaps, this is at least one reason why this world is so fucking dark

what u s imperialism has done will never efface the memory of patrice lumumba, nguyen van troi or che guevara from building resistance inside people's heart

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 11 2009 2:30 utc | 32

israel has lost a battle, not "the war".
There is no official declared war, there is no opposing army (Hamas has no army, no weapons, no fleet, no aircraft etc.)

the only thing israel has lost is the war on emotions and pictures.

As for the US, even they have not lost the war in Iraq/Afghanistan. Obama will have enduring bases (like Germany, Japan, etc), once the americans are there, they are hard to get rid of. There are like parasites.

Look at our spineless politians in germany, would they dare say, thanks guys, your time is up, relocate back to alabama?
Nope, never.

Israel will escalate to its heart content with usamerican complicity because they as well as the us don't give a shit about world opinion.

And we the world mainly demonstrate, and shout into the void, because we are scared witless, and wonder deep down, silently when it will be us.

Make no mistake it will be us eventually. When food runs short, unemployment goes thru the roof world wide, natural disasters etc. Then it will be us.

This is no war to defend a country against another, this is the slaughter of people for resources, scares resources. And everyone who is not with them.......will be deaded eventually.

I don't consider myself depressed, but a realist, a worker, a non person in the greater scale of things, and as such i know that to these people, the corporations, the polititians i have no value other than my productivity and my tax payer status.

I said it before, i say it again:
There are no human rights, never were, never will be. It is a ruse designed to keep us believing in the "american" dream of liberty and happiness, and to stay obedient.
But if i am out of a job, out of money, out of support (which goes hand in hand with lack of job and money) than i am nothing more than a street bum, a looser, a slacker, lazy, and so on.

We need to believe in human rights because otherwise the wast majority of human kind would despair, and most likely stop being civilized. And our overlord can't have that now, that would be bad taste.

Posted by: sabine | Jan 11 2009 2:35 utc | 33

Alex Cockburn shares the POV that this Gaza genocide has become a nightmare for the israelis.

Entitled Israel's Onslaught on Gaza: Criminal, for Sure; But Also Stupid Alex begins:

In contrast to the grim forecasts of many fine contributors to this site over the past days, your CounterPunch editors have been inclined to take the view that Israel’s onslaught on Gaza, appalling though the carnage has been, is not only a crime but a blunder, like the attack on Lebanon in 2006, which demonstrated Israel’s military weakness, and the corruption of its armed forces after long years of bravely tormenting unarmed Palestinian peasants at check points, sawing down their olive groves and crushing their homes with bulldozers and high explosive.

The left has a tendency to demonize its enemies in terms of proficiency in administering their dastardly onslaughts. Through this optic, the claims of the arms manufacturers are always taken at face value, whether about the effectiveness of bunker busters, or devices to detect Hamas’ Qassams. In our latest newsletter we print a long interview with Hamas’ leader in Damascus, Khaled Meshal, conducted by CounterPuncher Alya Rea, myself and others, including former US Senator James Abourezk. Meshal made a case for Israel’s decline in military effectiveness:

read the entire piece because it does contain segments of Cockburn's interview with Khaled Meshal who says in part:

Since 1948, you may notice that Israel has defeated 7 armies. In ’56 they defeated Egypt. In ’67 they defeated 3 countries: Egypt, Syria, and Jordan. In ’73, the war was somewhat equal in both sides between Egypt and Israel, if not for Nixon’s airlift to Israel’s forces at that time, the map of the world would be different. In ’82 Israel defeated the PLO in Beirut.

But since ’82, 26 years ago, Israelis has not won any war. They did not defeat the Palestinian resistance, and they did not defeat the Lebanese resistance. Since that time, Israel has not expanded but has contracted. They have withdrawn from southern Lebanon and from Gaza. These are indicators that the future is not favorable to Israel. Then today Israel, with all its military capabilities – conventional and unconventional – are not enough to guarantee Israel’s security.

Yes it is true Alex Cockburn like his brother Patrick is just another ME commentator, but and this is prolly why my POV tends to coincide with the Cockburns', Alex and Patrick form their views from studying the situation and demeanour of ordinary humans, rather than listening to some a la mode academic's theory.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 11 2009 3:22 utc | 34

Israel makes Hannibal Lecter appear to be a good least he eats what he kills.

There are no human rights, never were, never will be. It is a ruse designed to keep us believing in the "american" dream of liberty and happiness, and to stay obedient.

Ummm, I don't understand this statement. Humans have "rights" because we are supposedly creatures that can reason. This little-used ability to reason is what everyone claims separates our lives from those of the animals. Because of this elusive ability for us to reason we are able to make plans and not act from instinct or impulse. Being able to think about how ones actions affect others and also how other's actions affect us is what allows us to have "human rights." But these rights will only exist if both humans agree to them, otherwise it is the law of the jungle, which is less about rights and more about superior firepower.

Words are funny things...I suggest reading, The Wizard of the Pigeons by Megan Lindholm, a work of fantasy that captures how important language is in defining the way we interact with each other and the world at large. I say this as a counter to sabine's remarks about being out of money and out of support and the words he uses to describe how the situation would feel to him.

Remember the words of Kris Kris Kristofferson, "Freedoms just another word for nothin left to lose..." And vise versa.


Posted by: David | Jan 11 2009 3:25 utc | 35

David Sanger. I think billmon vouched that Sanger was really stupid? I think it was Sanger.

he never instructed the Pentagon to move beyond contingency planning, even during the final year of his presidency, contrary to what some critics have suggested.

Seems the aim ("critics") is Hersh, no?

Also, Sanger has done his bit passing along the latest prop about Iran. Compare this to his little>ditty.

Kind of a tangled web he's woven over the years.

Posted by: slothrop | Jan 11 2009 3:37 utc | 36

I remember a mere what, two years ago? when Billmon took me to task in a comment for saying Israel was way worse than South Africa... wonder what he thinks now.

Posted by: bea | Jan 11 2009 3:48 utc | 37

demo today in tel-aviv also, although not nearly as impressive as Europe.

and sweden

and milan

And look what's up in Norway:

Norway has been the site of a flurry of Palestine solidarity activism and BDS initiatives over the past week, as tens of thousand of people have called for the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador to Oslo, and major trade unions are mobilizing in support of a comprehensive boycott and divestment campaign.

Demonstrations have now been held in at least 28 cities:

Oslo, Stavanger, Sandnes, Fredrikstad, Trondheim, Hamar, Sortland, Namsos, Arendal, Norheimsund, Mosjøen, Bergen, Sarpsborg, Tønsberg, Harstad, Tromsø, Kristiansand, Notodden, Vadsø, Mo i Rana, Alta, Kirkenes, Røros, Volda, Halden, Gjøvik, Lillehammer, Selbu.

The numbers of participants have never been bigger.

Union activities:

POLITICAL STRIKE: Thursday ALL trains in the whole of Norway, and all trams and subways in Oslo, will stand still for two minutes as a result of a political strike organized by the Norwegian Locomotive Union and the Oslo Tram Workers Union in protest of the Israeli invasion of Gaza.

A large selection of Norwegian trade unions and organizations has endorsed a new campaign for the withdrawal of all State investments in Israel. The call is endorsed by so far 6 of the largest national trade unions.

The Union of Trade and Office Workers calls on all members to ask their employers to remove Israeli products from stores. The union is the by far largest union of workers in all types of private and public stores in Norway.

The confederation of Norwegian Trade Unions (LO), with apr. 1/5 of the whole Norwegian population as members, condemns the Israeli bombing and invasion
in Gaza and calls for demonstrations.

take hope annie my friend.

Posted by: bea | Jan 11 2009 3:56 utc | 38

And more -- just a small selection of the many across the world... (broken into multiple posts, sigh)

Boston 1 week ago

Boston 2 days ago

Posted by: bea | Jan 11 2009 4:10 utc | 39

whenever the USA has allowed Israel to do what it wants to do, Israel has effectively dug itself deeper in the hole.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jan 11 2009 4:10 utc | 40

Toronto (and Washington) yesterday

Toronto today

Posted by: bea | Jan 11 2009 4:11 utc | 41

Lebanon a few days ago

And a site where many of these photos are collected to view:

Demos Around the World for Gaza

Posted by: bea | Jan 11 2009 4:13 utc | 42

damn did NONE of those links work again??? I think the blog police have me marked. Actually I just followed the directions that are written above the posting field -- is there maybe an extra slash in there? Is that why this keeps happening to me?

Try this:

Demos Around the World for Gaza

Posted by: bea | Jan 11 2009 4:19 utc | 43

I've tried to do a search of google and also of youtube for any information about Saturday's protest. It was amazingly hard to find any of the american protest...they are there, but they seem (at least to me) hard to find using these two sources.

I'm not bright enough to do the linky thing so I'll just list the U.S. ones I found and watched: Phoenix, Denver, Modesto, Manhattan, Washington D.C., Detroit, Murfreesboro(TN), Mission Viejo(CA), Chicago. There were several others too, but I only watched these few and some from overseas(the oslo protest looked crazy).

The smallest looked like about 100 people and the largest were un-countable from watching the video. Suffice it to say there were a lot of folks out braving cold, snowy weather to let israel know they weren't going to ignore the Palestinian suffering.

It seems that the best way to get videos out is to have a massive amount of video of an event, like of all the london protests, which had good coverage and were easy to find during searches of both google and youtube.

Part of my issue is that I was probably looking for videos of protest that may not have ended yet and so there weren't as many videos up-loaded online. I guess I just like kooky conspiracy theories more than dull reality.

I did take the time to read many of the comments posted under the videos and I'll have to say there are a lot of angry, ignorant supporters of israel's actions who will probably never understand why the world holds israel in such contempt.

I found an online political map and painted the countries that are in the midst of war/political problems red and it wasn't a pretty picture (I've never learned to color in the lines) but beside my poor artistic ability it shows that things aren't looking good for stability in any region, with the exception of maybe parts of south america. The U.S. has momentary chose to ignore much of the rest of the Americas, but I doubt this will last long.

Ever since israel invaded Gaza, my stomach has been acting like I'm a stockbroker, why all the killing ? It is all so pointless.

Posted by: David | Jan 11 2009 4:58 utc | 44


supposedly we have human rights, such as a right to shelter, work, peace, pursuit of happiness, right to safety, to not be killed, a right to education (yeah right...if you are of the right colour, the right gender, in the right country, with the amount of right cash).

but in order to support the human rights of some, we (western civilised world) are quite happy to take away rights from others.

We have created 'human rights' by reasoning that if we give a little to all, it will be better for all.
But as i said, these human rights can be lost (job loss, sickness, war), oh for sure, society (our elite) will argue that we have to protect our needy, those less well of, but in order for them to get help, we let them jump thru hoops to the point of discouraging/insulting/offending to a point were many don't even apply for help from the society. (how many unemployed in the US are off benefits, nor seeking benefits? Welfare Queens anyone, lazy brown people - stereo typing human rights away.)

We are depending today on corporations to produce our food, maintain our infra structure, and even keep the peace - all while we hope that our food is safe, our infra structure is maintained, and the police/security forces does not kill us simply because they can. All these services these corporation provide for money, hard coin - and in order to keep these service agreements they will do everything thinkable and unthinkable. (Seed cleaner in the US versus Montesano etc). For us its quite simple: can't pay for the services, you fall thru the net so to speak, you have pretty much lost all rights.

All we can hope for us Menschen, is that we create a community around us that adheres to the same set of believes that we do, that we create a community that uses reasons to our benefit.
But that society that i speak of is not based on so called human rights, this society is based on common sense.
Human Rights are not carved in stone, nor are we given a certification of our rights by birth, if we would, we would spent our time at the moon discussing other things.

Posted by: sabine | Jan 11 2009 5:22 utc | 45


Posted by: Thrasyboulos | Jan 11 2009 5:26 utc | 46

Why all the killing? Refer to post 15.

Posted by: ben | Jan 11 2009 5:29 utc | 47

Sorry, I ment post 7.

Posted by: ben | Jan 11 2009 5:31 utc | 48

this media bloodhound piece shows how the associated press "frames" the dialogue.

Oh, and fuck Harry Reid and all the spineless demoshats drafting their non-binding resolutions in total support of Israel--don't want to get "out-hawked" by the rethugs, right, you miserable shits?

Israel doesn't even pretend killing a UN driver was a mistake, and why should they? Gaza right now is an honest declaration from Israel that extermination of people is the whole point. If it's bad enough maybe people here will be forced to acknowledge US complicity. If this slaughter is still happening on January 21st, and Obama doesn't flat-out threaten to cut funding and arms shipments to Israel, then the wait-and-see crowd will have a difficult time arguing their blunted points at this bar.

Posted by: Lizard | Jan 11 2009 5:43 utc | 49


I agree with you and I think it is the damn language thing that gets in the way of our thoughts. We use words differently to get to the same basic place.

This is one thing I really like about the exchanges here, is the way we choose the words we do to describe our environment. I am rather new to lurking around here, but I get the idea this is one of those bars located in a deep hidden recess at an international airport. Because of this fantastic location there seems to be patrons from all over the earth interacting intelligently with one another about the events of the day.

I appreciate the fact everyone writes so well in english; it makes me a bit embarrassed I don't have an equal command of my sole language when many here are writing in a language that is not native and are doing such a fine job of it.

Back to my original thought; being able to tap into so many different cultural view-points by reading these post is really refreshing when it seems more and more people in my life are only regurgitating whatever someone who seems smarter tells them.

This feels like the sort of place where people are trying to make some sense out of what is happening without resorting to flag-waving or simple-minded ignorance. This is the sort of environment where real ideas are born out of these tragic times. By having debates and dialog develop between people who aren't in leadership roles from different countries, different cultures, everyone finds they have more in common as humans than the differences in politics or religion that keep us fighting.

Posted by: David | Jan 11 2009 6:09 utc | 50

bea!!!! i wonder if askod was was my first day since chrostman eve since going out due to a flu..

i put signs on my car. tommorrow i will search for the local protests. i know SF had them daily last week, marching thru the streets.

i love seeing the solidarity thruout the world. we will prevail, we must. it is very very sad palestinians are taking the brunt of the domination, but they are fighting for all of us. they are at the forefront, the first lines of battle right now. the walls in iraq are just the beginning there..of what is in store for them, only the beginning.


anna missed..22

as of yet, I've not seen even one image of an armed Palestinian, let alone anything resembling an army, fighting back. Ironically, most of the Palestinians shown, are even military age men but instead of appearing as fighters, they are usually shown caring the wounded or frantically digging in the ruble for survivors. If the Israeli and western propaganda machine cannot, with all their resources, present this thing as a believable "war" and not simply a massacre - then Israel has lost the war.

exactly the point i made today on another site. maybe the reason they don't allow journalists is the story is one of only a massacre. no battles in the street, no victorious israelis fighting the terrorists, just civilians getting murdered.

Posted by: annie | Jan 11 2009 6:33 utc | 51

thank you sabine and david for that exchange

building consensus is critically important, which makes my lashing out at potential allies seem counterproductive.

the tension is lethal in so many places around this globe, but still far enough for folks like me, living in privilege and safety, that it manifests as a mixture of guilt, frustration, and shame that i'm continuing to benefit in so many ways from the inhuman policies of our tax-supported war machine, and its many friends.

Posted by: Lizard | Jan 11 2009 6:37 utc | 52

god. typos and all that. sorry. christmas, obviously. tomorrow..

and the last paragraph was not supposed to be in italic.

Posted by: annie | Jan 11 2009 6:38 utc | 53

annie, i hope you are better now than a couple of days ago. We need you here.

Posted by: sabine | Jan 11 2009 7:45 utc | 54

aw thanks, i always worry that i don't have enough vocabulary to properly express myself, but one can always try.

I think the only way to counteract the negativity and brutality shown and felt in this world of ours is by sharing, bread and words.
Feeling guilty of still having a job and a bit of security has helped no one ever, but sharing, volunteering, demonstrating, writing strongly worded letters, bartering/trading and such will help, we can not defeat the beast head on, but we can undermine it at all times and this is our duty.

peace, to all

Posted by: sabine | Jan 11 2009 7:52 utc | 55

o well this guy here seems to think Likud wags the US


somehow I do think this is unlikely. by the way why was the news spread that the Bush administration refused their support for an Israeli strike on Iran?

Posted by: outsider | Jan 11 2009 8:34 utc | 56

The monolith may be crumbling from the Guardian:

Leading British Jews call on Israel to halt 'horror' of Gaza

A group of Britain's most prominent Jews has called on Israel to cease its military operations in Gaza immediately, warning that its actions, far from improving the country's security, will "strengthen extremism, destabilise the region, and exacerbate tensions inside Israel". . . .

Although individual Jewish writers and religious figures have expressed their opposition to the conduct of Operation Cast Lead, the letter represents the most significant break with Israel's tactics from a group of UK Jews.

Prominent rabbis, academics and political figures are among the signatories, including Rabbi Dr Tony Bayfield, head of the Movement for Reform Judaism; Sir Jeremy Beecham, former chair of the Labour party; Professor Shalom Lappin of the University of London; Baroness Julia Neuberger; Rabbi Danny Rich, chief executive of Liberal Judaism; Rabbi Professor Marc Saperstein, principal of Leo Baeck rabbinical training college; and lawyer Michael Mitzman, who set up Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for the Home Office.

Their demand comes amid increasing pressure on Israel from the diplomatic community to halt its operations, and rising criticism of the humanitarian impact on Palestinian civilians, including allegations of potentially serious breaches of international humanitarian law. Demonstrations around the world yesterday called for a ceasefire.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 11 2009 8:58 utc | 57

I think many MOA's would be wise to catch the following, especially with all the change coming...

How Did Reality Get On My TV?

This week Keith Olbermann had on former National Security Council staffer Hillary Mann Leverett. In a deeply shocking maneuver, she told the truth about the US, the mideast, and the incoming Obama administration:

OLBERMANN: The other thing that will change, if not on the 20th then shortly thereafter, is the identify of the secretary of state. And here is Hillary Clinton coming in to the middle of this with a last name certainly that is, to some degree, magical, influential at least in the Middle East. How is her appointment going to shape Obama`s efforts for Middle East peace? And how will it be received by both sides in the Middle East?

LEVERETT: Her name is magical and influential to an extent in Israel. But throughout many capitals in the Arab world, where I served at the US embassy in Cairo and in the Gulf, there is a lot more skepticism that she is going to be even handed. There is considerable fear about the advisers that she is going to bring with her, people like Martin Indyk or Dennis Ross, Ken Pollack, people that I would call neo-conservative fellow travelers, people who brought us a failed peace process between the Israelis and Palestinians by the end of the Clinton term in 2000, people who cheered and championed the invasion of Iraq under this administration.

There is a lot of fear and consternation that the advisers, in particular, that Hillary Clinton is bringing with her are going to make us long for the Bush days.

Here's the complete video of the segment, plus the full transcript below the fold. The above exchange is right at the end.

Hillary Mann Leverett on Countdown - The Middle East-interview only cont reading at the link...

I have to say, I am in full agreement with a commenter there in that while replying to another commenter who states, "The above exchange is right at the end". Said commenter replies, " I think there's a reason it's at the end, or rather, that particular quote is the reason the discussion ended when it did.

Olberman's response to the claim that Hillary Clinton was "going to make us long for the Bush days" was, "Hmm. Goodness." And then, "Thank you," as in: "Thank you, now please stop talking, I beg of you."

Olberman is clearly not ready for the idea that Obama might, in some respects, be worse than Bush. And I doubt Ms. Leverett has much of a future in television, on the Keith Olbermann show or anywhere else".

Be sure to read the whole thing, it made the hair on the back of my neck stand up to sing the National anthema or the Change song...

And welcome Stephane @#30

Oh, and Thrasyboulos,Galloway indeed... to the consternation of some here, I like Galloway's moxie, there has not been a time that I didn't enjoy his full on disembowelment of the knuckle draggers in politics both here and in IsUsk. He spanks em like nobodies bidniz.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 11 2009 9:25 utc | 58

sabine We need you here.

and i need you, and everyone, more than you know. i may not comment much sometimes, but i am always around. i'm a diehard.
praise b to b and y'all, amen.

Posted by: annie | Jan 11 2009 9:26 utc | 59

As As'ad AbuKhalil at Angry Arab might say, saying that the massacre has been too bloody is different from demanding UN resolution 242 be implemented immediately. Actually what he would say is "3000 casualties too bloody? Perhaps 300 would be more acceptable to the International community."

I liked this quote from rally attendee in Dresden from xymphora: "I also enjoyed and found it titilatingly risqué the cry of "Stop the Holocaust in Gaza", something bound to lead pavlovian conditioned Germans to some moral confusion."

Hope to have time to respond to your challenge tomorrow, Did.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 11 2009 9:30 utc | 60

I have said this atrocity on Gaza will end just like the war on Lebanon in 2006.

Then the military leadership fell apart with the politicians and the infighting began to hinder any further effort. Exactly the same thing is happening now:

Haaretz: ANALYSIS / Synching IDF and government over Gaza

"The army cannot go on like this forever," former National Security Council head, Maj. Gen. (Res.) Giora Eiland, said. "We need to reach a decision: Either reach a cease-fire in two to three days, or start a big military operation that will take at least two weeks. We've been beating around the bush for a week, and we need to make a decision now."

Eiland's anger and directness stems from his realization that the military and the government are out of synch. Soldiers have been in Gaza for eight days now. Given their small area of operations around Gaza City, their room for maneuvering is limited.
Meanwhile, reservists called up after the operation began have completed training in an army base close to Gaza and are awaiting orders, but they cannot be held on standby forever.

On the diplomatic front, the IDF was caught off guard by the UN's decision to call for a cease-fire in Gaza. Only hours before the decision was announced in New York, an army official in Israel covering international developments said the IDF still had time before diplomatic pressure curbed its scope of operations.

Also in that piece criticism of the IDF's chief rabbi. Another sign of broken Israeli unity.

Posted by: b | Jan 11 2009 13:51 utc | 61

Two important pieces:

- New term coined to describe Israel's actions against education in Gaza

A new word emerged from the carnage in Gaza this week: "scholasticide" – the systematic destruction by Israeli forces of centres of education dear to Palestinian society, as the ministry of education was bombed, the infrastructure of teaching destroyed, and schools across the Gaza strip targeted for attack by the air, sea and ground offensives.

Prominent Legal Figures: Israel's bombing of Gaza is not self-defense, it's a war crime

ISRAEL has sought to justify its military attacks on Gaza by stating that it amounts to an act of “self-defence” as recognised by Article 51, United Nations Charter. We categorically reject this contention.

The rocket attacks on Israel by Hamas deplorable as they are, do not, in terms of scale and effect amount to an armed attack entitling Israel to rely on self-defence. Under international law self-defence is an act of last resort and is subject to the customary rules of proportionality and necessity.

The killing of almost 800 Palestinians, mostly civilians, and more than 3,000 injuries, accompanied by the destruction of schools, mosques, houses, UN compounds and government buildings, which Israel has a responsibility to protect under the Fourth Geneva Convention, is not commensurate to the deaths caused by Hamas rocket fire.

For 18 months Israel had imposed an unlawful blockade on the coastal strip that brought Gazan society to the brink of collapse. In the three years after Israel’s redeployment from Gaza, 11 Israelis were killed by rocket fire. And yet in 2005-8, according to the UN, the Israeli army killed about 1,250 Palestinians in Gaza, including 222 children. Throughout this time the Gaza Strip remained occupied territory under international law because Israel maintained effective control over it.

Israel’s actions amount to aggression, not self-defence, not least because its assault on Gaza was unnecessary. Israel could have agreed to renew the truce with Hamas. Instead it killed 225 Palestinians on the first day of its attack. As things stand, its invasion and bombardment of Gaza amounts to collective punishment of Gaza’s 1.5m inhabitants contrary to international humanitarian and human rights law. In addition, the blockade of humanitarian relief, the destruction of civilian infrastructure, and preventing access to basic necessities such as food and fuel, are prima facie war crimes.

We condemn the firing of rockets by Hamas into Israel and suicide bombings which are also contrary to international humanitarian law and are war crimes. Israel has a right to take reasonable and proportionate means to protect its civilian population from such attacks. However, the manner and scale of its operations in Gaza amount to an act of aggression and is contrary to international law, notwithstanding the rocket attacks by Hamas.

Ian Brownlie QC, Blackstone Chambers

Mark Muller QC, Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales

Michael Mansfield QC and Joel Bennathan QC, Tooks Chambers

Sir Geoffrey Bindman, University College, London

Professor Richard Falk, Princeton University

Professor M Cherif Bassiouni, DePaul University, Chicago

Professor Christine Chinkin, LSE

Professor John B Quigley, Ohio State University

Professor Iain Scobbie and Victor Kattan, School of Oriental and African Studies

Professor Vera Gowlland-Debbas, Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

Professor Said Mahmoudi, Stockholm University

Professor Max du Plessis, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban

Professor Bill Bowring, Birkbeck College

Professor Joshua Castellino, Middlesex University

Professor Thomas Skouteris and Professor Michael Kagan, American University of Cairo

Professor Javaid Rehman, Brunel University

Daniel Machover, Chairman, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights

Dr Phoebe Okawa, Queen Mary University

John Strawson, University of East London

Dr Nisrine Abiad, British Institute of International and Comparative Law

Dr Michael Kearney, University of York

Dr Shane Darcy, National University of Ireland, Galway

Dr Michelle Burgis, University of St Andrews

Dr Niaz Shah, University of Hull

Liz Davies, Chair, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyer

Prof Michael Lynk, The University of Western Ontario

Steve Kamlish QC and Michael Topolski QC, Tooks Chambers

Posted by: bea | Jan 11 2009 14:04 utc | 62

Al Jazeera just reported that German FM Steinmeier visited the Egyptian side of Rafah today, a visit supposedly co-ordinated with the Israeli's. The Israeli's proceeded to bomb on the Gaza side so that the crossing building itself was damaged. Haven't seen any other report for it yet. Will this give him second thoughts about sending troops there?

Posted by: ww | Jan 11 2009 14:10 utc | 63

Steinmeier appeared calm while watching the Israelis bomb Gaza, must be kind of a weird deja vu for him.

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 11 2009 14:42 utc | 64

Steinmeier is an spineless idiot. Merkel send him to 'help' the Israelis. He would do so even the cut of his nuts. Under Merkel it is German Staatsräson to do whatever the Israelis says because of some faked permanent Holocaust guilt.

BTW the request for German troop involvement came form the head of the Jewish lobby in Germany. The Zionists want Germans because they think Germans will never shoot at them.

That was the same after the Lebanon war and the Germany send some ships to the Lebanese coast. The first thing the Israelis did there was to make fake bomb runs on those with active target radar. The German navy fumed but neither Steinmeier nor Merkel said a word.

Posted by: b | Jan 11 2009 15:40 utc | 65

Andrew Cordesman The War in Gaza - Tactical Gains, Strategic Defeat?

As we have seen all too clearly from US mistakes, any leader can take a tough stand and claim that tactical gains are a meaningful victory. If this is all that Olmert, Livni, and Barak have for an answer, then they have disgraced themselves and damaged their country and their friends. If there is more, it is time to make such goals public and demonstrate how they can be achieved. The question is not whether the IDF learned the tactical lessons of the fighting in 2006. It is whether Israel's top political leadership has even minimal competence to lead them.

Posted by: b | Jan 11 2009 15:50 utc | 66

Hey b, looks like the Bavarians are getting refresher training in guilt. Wonder how long until it spreads to the other Lander?

Posted by: dan of steele | Jan 11 2009 16:19 utc | 68

I was convinced a week ago that the best analogy was not Lebanon 2006, but Lebanon 1982. Israel IS going to reoccupy Gaza and place its toy Palestinian Abbas in power. If Abbas isn't up to it, they will find someone else. Daghlan, maybe. Doesn't matter who, puppets are not hard to come by. This has been their plan since Hamas won the election. To accomplish this, they tried political isolation, they tried backing a coup by Fatah, they tried economic strangulation, they tried targeted killings and periodic attacks. None of that worked so now they will resort to invasion.

It's silly to think that this is "impossible." Israel has been occupying Gaza for 40+ years.

This will be very bloody for the people of Gaza. Israel does not care. Many hundreds of thousands will protest around the world. Israel does not care. It did not care in 1982 when condemnations were loud and furious. What government is willing to break with them? Venezuela? What about Germany or England? No? So quite honestly none of them care what the rabble think. Let them protest to their hearts' delight.

With Hamas "gone," There will be no Palestinian leadership. Abbas or his replacement will be paid to keep the masses in line. They are doing that in the West Bank, why not in Gaza?

So maybe 10 years from now it will seem like a defeat, but for the next while you will see the Israelis acting like the cock of the walk for a while.

This is a sad fact. But it will happen. No one will be happier than me if I'm wrong.

Posted by: Lysander | Jan 11 2009 17:07 utc | 69

Good morning to all on this 17th day of the Gaza pogrom.

And what are the morning headlines . . .

Right on time, Israel lets the press know that "the end of the Gaza operation is in sight."

Right on time, President Obama lets the press know that he plans "to take swift action on the Middle East peace process" on his very first day in office. He owns it from that moment. Oo-rah!

Well, right on time.

The plan is to see the international media focus on the groovy new American President, and on the glorious new morning he ushers in for the Middle East.

(Of course, Obama is also promising to spend his first day on restraining those crazy Iranians and their mad quest for a nuclear bomb to wipe Israel off the map with, and he's also going to promise to close Guantanamo on that day, but the main message is right on time, and right on target -- there's a new President inside the Beltway, so be sure to wrap up all this Gaza shit before his big day.)

There are many around the world protesting and organizing to stop what Israel is doing. Regrettably, they will receive from the ruling parties of Israel and America the same giant finger that was offered to the huge and historic protests that went on before the Iraq War began. Protest all you want -- you are "fringe elements" relegated to the fifteenth paragraph of any news article that covers your incoherent shrieking and marching. To protest is to declare yourself a non-serious human being. A powerless human being. That's how the media will report it.

The only organizing that will have any real effect on Israel is a worldwide trade and economic embargo on the scale that was applied against South Africa during its apartheid era. Such an effort will be years in taking its toll, during which time all memory of the current little war will fade to oblivion. Hell, Israel may be able to squeeze in a few more little ops like this one. They do need to expand in three of the four directions of the compass. There's room for flexibility.

There are some who think Israel is floundering right now, flying by the seat of their pants in this Gaza op, grasping at straws, trying to salvage something valuable out of this fustercluck they've surprised themselves with. As if Israel doesn't know Hamas intimately. As if Israel has stepped in a cow pie, and is flailing for balance before they sit down in it.

Nothing could be further from the facts on the ground.

Israel does not fight theater wars, they plan and fight on all available fronts, just the way the American military does nowadays. All these modern 4th Generation Warfare concepts were developed between Israeli and American think tanks, military colleges, defense contractors and intel agencies. They fight on every front, every time. Press releases are right up there on the strategy list with willy pete. Both are very effective weapons.

Full spectrum warfare includes the press, the bullets, the diplomatic front, the political chits called in, the contracts and careers provided the Pentagon and Defense industry, the internet, the UN, the blogs, and even the hackers. On and on.

Israel is running this splendid little war right to plan, and these protests were all anticipated, these diplomatic noises were all agreed upon ahead of time. Sure, there's a few days of leeway built in, room to cool things off when needed, stop shooting for three hours every day if necessary, and maybe close up and go home a day or two early if the heat gets to the red line, but none of what is happening is outside the operation's parameters.

Those fresh leaflets being showered over Gaza are not being printed up late at night by harried military press operators -- they were printed and stacked on pallets weeks ago, long before the first shell was fired.

Just you watch -- Israel will withdraw from Gaza, and the media and the protesters and the outraged people around the world will go back to sleep, all about four days from now, as the focus gradually switches to the Messiah arriving in Washington, and taking charge of peace in the ME.

Just you watch -- Israel will gain iron clad control over the smuggling through and underneath Rafah as a result of this operation, with that tightened control given either to the Egyptians or to international monitors to do for Israel. Israel won't stop tossing explosives around until they get that concession. Obama will not get a happy First Day if Israel doesn't stop, so Israel will be given this condition.

This op is right on time, right on target. Israel is just tightening the noose on Gaza, yet again, and even twice this level of international flak is still worth it to Israel because all this flak will go away in two weeks tops.

By February 1st, there will be no discussion of this splendid little war in the American press, and very little of it internationally.

It is not right, fair, legal, moral, or just, but the Palestinians are Geronimo's Apache clan for the modern era. There simply aren't enough people in the world who care about their eventual fate, and Israel will not ever inflame quite enough people to effectively protest or dissuade Israel from their original, final solution to the Palestinian question -- get them the hell off our Land.

Israel planned straight up mass murder, is carrying it out, and will get away with it.

Posted by: Antifa | Jan 11 2009 18:04 utc | 70


you are correct to call this a pogrom but it is a pogrom whose scale would have been unimaginable to the cossack or the league of baltic barbarians

the murder on mass of the palestinians possesses exactly the same race-hating character of the pogroms of the 19th & 20th centuries

& if there had been a media then the cossacks would have had the same cynical & sneering faces of the whole crew of spokesmonsters of the state of israel or of the i d f

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 11 2009 18:23 utc | 71

if only eichmaann in jersualem - had used the arguments of the spokesmonsters for israel who speak of the palestinians "dying inadvertantly"t then we wouldn't need jurisprudence at all

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 11 2009 18:49 utc | 72

Rachel Corrie's father, Craig Corrie speaking in Seattle at a rally in support of the people of Gaza

One thing that bothers me the most out of all this, is why Hamas launch rockets into a hornets nest? Wouldn't they wisely make better use of anti-tank and or anti-aircraft missiles? Unless of course, that's it's not Hamas firing these rockets..

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 11 2009 19:08 utc | 73

@dan - that's already the norm in Germany - sometimes even several such visits - the kids yawn at it as the Holocaust point is made too often and they see similar stuff happening today on the TV.

Posted by: b | Jan 11 2009 19:22 utc | 74

Later than I thought. I guess too late because now Israel will have to go into Gaza city and other build up areas. And not with crackpot troops, but with reservists. Hmm ...

IDF begins deploying reservists into Gaza as part of ground op

The Israel Defense Forces on Sunday began deploying reservist troops to the Gaza Strip, for the first time since Israel began its offensive on the Hamas-ruled coastal territory 16 days ago.
The location of the ground fighting, on the southwest side of the Hamas-ruled territory's biggest population center, suggested Israel was intensifying a more than two-week-old offensive. Troops had previously kept to the outskirts of urban areas in Gaza.

Posted by: b | Jan 11 2009 19:29 utc | 75

as i've sd often enough before - austria & bavaria ought to have been tranformed into the jewish homeland - that would have been the most organic geopolitical response to the destruction of european jewry. it would have confronted europe with its historical wrongs & it would have meant that europeans bore the cost

immoral, as capitalism inherently is - they shifted the bame & the cost on to a people who had nothing & i mean nothing to do with that historical wrong

it is not ironic that israel behaves like the nazis - it is completely & utterly consistent

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 11 2009 20:11 utc | 76


There simply aren't enough people in the world who care about their eventual fate, and Israel will not ever inflame quite enough people to effectively protest or dissuade Israel from their original, final solution to the Palestinian question -- get them the hell off our Land.

I do not think you are write about this. You may not be seeing the massive unprecedented roiling the world over due to this operation. And it is having an effect. It is giving them pause. If Mubarak falls they will be in deep shit. Also the boycott is picking up steam very fast these days.

It's true that this operation was all planned and is going according to plan -- except I don't believe they planned on having 24 hours a day live footage broadcast all over the world, and I don't believe they expected the response to that. This has resulted in a complete and irrevocable loss for Israel in its precious image. The mask is off - the true brutality of this regime is clear to all.

Posted by: bea | Jan 11 2009 20:24 utc | 77

@74 U$,
Thanks for that video. As I mentioned a while ago, I met him on a plane. If he can channel his loss to continue to fight for peace and justice, the least we can do is try. When a former insurance actuary says 'hang on to your soul with both hands,' you'd better listen. He reminds me of Catholic Worker people I knew in the 70's- Cutting right to the core of what it means to be human.

Posted by: biklett | Jan 11 2009 20:39 utc | 78

"scholasticide" indeed, a useful neologism.... thanks bea.

Posted by: Uncle $cam | Jan 11 2009 20:39 utc | 79

In two weeks no one will be shouting, or marching.

Posted by: Antifa | Jan 11 2009 20:41 utc | 80


i don't know where you are but i am in a provincial french city - & the manifestations are intensifying daily in a way that is very similar only to the manifs before the illegal & immoral american invasion of iraq

the resonances of what is happening will not be forgotten so easily

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 11 2009 21:07 utc | 81

So... let's take a vote.

Who thinks that Israel is about to hit Iran?

I do. The biggest 'tell' was that phony bogus NYT piece. It is trying to dissociate Bush from the hit that he well knows is about to happen.

Posted by: bea | Jan 11 2009 21:08 utc | 82

I'm with you bea.

That "I wouldn't go along with it" headline is all over the place. Another one of W's "accomplishments".

Posted by: Hamburger | Jan 11 2009 21:21 utc | 83

I have no idea what will happen. I tend to agree with the positions mapped out by Tangerine, Antifa, and Lysander.

Debs is dead writes:

I acknowledge that some of us have a need to see only darkness and despair even when evil assholes are getting kicked. If I cared enough about why that is so ,or could be bothered with the lengthy tirades and heaps of invective that we would all have to wade through, I would argue why it is that some who fight against the greed of established tyranny need to believe each day is worse than the one before, but I don't, so I wont.

In this case, it is because I feel that the ultimate disposition of this conflict is still not even in the near future. Many more will die and suffer before this is over. It may eventially end up like two punch-drunk fighters going at each other until the bitter end. There is nothing pretty or hopeful in this situation. Gazan's (yes, that is the proper term, not Gaziaan) resistance is certainly brave and heroic. But it is hard to read any hope into this situation.

I do see Cockburn's position, but then he is not personally under fire. It is a lot easier to bristle with bravado after your second cappuccino of the morning.

Many of the same posters argued that amerika hadn't lost on Iraq, well they can't have it both ways. Once/if the empire is established in the ME, much closer to Iran, and without the drama and divisiveness that Israel creates, why would amerika still need Israel?
That is the conundrum for Israel's leadership, one of the reasons they are acting so irrationally. They can't survive on their own in the ME but equally once allies for the amerikan empire are established in the Mid East, Israel becomes superfluous, dangerous in fact because Israel's continuing presence makes amerika's new friends uneasy.

Equally if amerika doesn't yet have a secure position in Iraq, and Saudis are wavering, the one thing amerika cannot afford is to make support for amerika by ME leaders untenable because amerika was complicit in such a horror as the obliteration of Gaza.

The US has not achieved its maximal goals in Iraq, but it has not completely failed either. We are aware of the scorecard, the bases, the neo-liberal restructuring of the economy under Garner, etc. The game is not over here yet (as it never really is anywhere in the world), and the future could bring many surprises.

Yes, Israel can look bad for the US. But there are deep structural ties between the two nations, many powerful Zionists with tons of cash in the US, so I do not see the possibility of Israel becoming "superfluous" in the near future. Likewise, other alliances can also fray without breaking, and can be mended.

What can happen, which would greatly change the situation, and the balance of power, very rapidly, would be for a coup of one of the arab puppets, especially Mubarak, followed perhaps by another quick coup. Panic would set in very quickly in US/ISR and an opening could grown for other nations to publicly change sympathies very rapidly.

As it is, Bolivia, Venezuela, Cuba have come out publicly against the massacre. Have any other nations been so vocal that I am not aware of?
I believe that it is not accidental that this offensive occurred after the "Financial Crisis" which strengthened the US's hand worldwide and weakened many other countries by wiping out their reserves.

It is sadly notable how powerless UN General Assembly President Miguel d'Escoto of Nicaragua -- a better man who could not be found -- has been made to look.

@slothrop #27-

It is nice to see you write a post that I can understand. Keep it up!

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 12 2009 0:31 utc | 84

There is no Iranian Bomb, and everybody knows it.

Israel knows that Iran lacks the equipment to make even a baby nuke in less than five years. They also know that Iran needs to move on from burning oil and natural gas for their electricity to burning their substantial uranium reserves, and all before 2020.

Which means Israel's strategic purpose in hitting Iran's nuclear facilities is to hold Iran back economically, so that in ten years, when there is precious little oil and gas left in the Middle East, Israel will be the economic powerhouse in the region, not Iran. Iran will supply melons and housemaids to Tel Aviv, and that's all.

Might Israel announce this week that the rockets coming out of Gaza show clear signs of being supplied by Iran, and so to save their own women and children they have no choice but to blow Natanz to shit?

The rub is airspace. How to fly from Israel to Iran? And refuel a couple times on the way over and on the way back? There is Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia and Iraq between Israel and Iran. None of them are down with Israel doing a drive by so far from home.


Yes, protests are cooking off spontaneously all over the world, and in Israel itself. Keep in mind, however, that this is in reaction to gross crimes against humanity and international law. Reaction to Israel's action.

When Israel closes up this operation by this weekend, all this reaction will simmer down. The hardliners in Israel know this from long experience. It is their way of setting the terms of conflict, of setting the agenda. It is the same approach Dick Cheney takes -- 'whatcha gonna do about it?'

Public protests are noise. Not force. To paraphrase Stalin, "And how many divisions do these protesters have?"

Posted by: Antifa | Jan 12 2009 0:44 utc | 85


precisely because the conditions today in 2009 are different - the conditions - in & of themselves - insurrectionary - we see the beginning of it in greece but it can also be felt in france

the system is so clearly fucked - the 'elites' are inevitably corrupt but so transparenty incompetent - there are only two choices from hereon in - fear or fight

& as i've tried to say in my clumsy way - i think people are making connections between their own parlous circumstances & that of criminal use of violence elsewhere

i think there are genuinely revolutionary conditions or at least insurrectionary ones & it is going to get a lot worse & everybody know that while they hold on to the figleafs of their faith - but there is no vanguard - perhaps the people xan create their own formations - in fact i'm sure they will but it will be a war. anybody who does not understand that is sleeping at the wheel

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 12 2009 1:01 utc | 86

You are both correct and neither is mutually exclusive.

Posted by: Malooga | Jan 12 2009 1:09 utc | 87

Thanks to all for a really good thread.
Several minor points:

  • I have been watching PressTV's coverage, which may be roughly summarized as "all Gaza, all the time". Hearing Galloway with Bari Atwan and Cynthia McKinney is a far cry from the "politically correct fare" dished up by ever more deplorable mainstream Western media. Nevertheless, I question the wisdom (and accuracy) of the graphic displays showing the presumed (or simulated) trajectories of Hamas Khassams onto Israeli military targets. In a perfect mirror image of Israeli hasbara, Hamas is portrayed as launching rockets only against military targets, and the rockets (as depicted in the on-screen graphics) strike with pin-point accuracy. I share Uncle's doubts about the rockets coming out of Gaza in the last 15 days, but, over and above that debatable question, I am not sure that Press TV's "cartoon" rockets serve a useful propaganda purpose.
    This point, too, is, of course, debatable.
  • A non-binding resolution supporting Israel's actions in Gaza received unanimous vote of the U.S. Senate. A similar resolution in the House of Representatives received 390 favorable votes with only 5 opposing with a clear-cut no, while 22 voted "present" and 16 who did not vote. The five no voters were D. Kucinich, R. Paul, Representatives Gwen Moore from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Maxine Waters of California, and Nick Rahall of West Virginia. The first two are well-known mavericks, the second two are black women representatives, and the last is, perhaps surprisingly, from West Virginia. I tried to send Rahall a congratulatory e-mail, but his site seems to accept only constituent addresses. The gist of that message was
    Congratulations for your courageous vote on the Gaza resolution. You will be criticized for it, but I find it a historic vote, right up there with votes like those of Wayne Morse and Gaylord Nelson against U.S. involvement in Vietnam. ...

    Posted by: Hannah K. O'Luthon | Jan 12 2009 11:55 utc | 88

  • whenever the USA has allowed Israel to do what it wants to do, Israel has effectively dug itself deeper in the hole. jonny b cool wrote at 40.

    Certainly Lebanon 06 and now. The US, to maintain its foothold and proxy statelet, has to give it some independence, has to allow it to fulfill its own aims to so some degree. That is the deal...The US joins the discourse against Hezbollah, Hamas, Syria, etc. (‘Arabs’ > anything goes and is good) but certainly the perception that Israel is a poor ally and a very expensive one exists.

    The US secretly (imho) disapproves of these minor territorial and uniquely LOCAL quarrels and sorties for postage stamp territorial expansion - bad for image, leads nowhere, tiresome, stops economic development, doesn’t lead to soft power, bargaining, credible threats, augmented influence, expansion on the continent, etc.

    Why can’t the Israelis have a ‘democracy’ and a ‘free market’ like ‘we’ do and absorb all those ppl and send them to sleep with TV and hamburgers? Second class citizens can vote, it is no problemo. One even wonders if Israel’s stance against Iran is fake pandering to US interests.

    The two parties are using each other and are somewhat at cross purposes, and the US is now in the position of paid-up-patron displeased with vicious-dog child, left off the leash.. Still the symbiosis will hold, see Obama, yet allies that coordinate they are not. Letting the Israelis murder the ppl of Gaza is a favor offered...

    --this is just one pov, one angle, prism, amongst many, perhaps not even that relevant..

    Posted by: Tangerine | Jan 12 2009 17:46 utc | 89

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