What did the Jewish terrorist’s neighbors know?

Nahum Barnea, the dean of Israeli columnists, offers the following on Yaacov Teitel, the American immigrant who was arrested for murdering at least two Palestinians and the attempted murder of several Israeli Jews, whom he chose because of their sexual orientation, political orientation or religious beliefs. It’s a translation from Yediot Aharonoth (source: Israel News Today):

..One must not pin responsibility for his actions on the entire sector of religious settlers or even partially so, nor should it be pinned on the residents of the settlement on which he lived, Shvut Rahel. That settlement, to the north of Ramallah, is not considered to be particularly extreme. Its residents most likely do not feel much sympathy for Professor Sternhell, Jews for Jesus, the gay community or their Palestinian neighbors, but they are decent people. They haven’t even a smidgen of intention to vent their opinions by means of terrorism.

That said, solitude is a relative concept in a small settlement such as Shvut Rahel. People know minute details about their neighbors. They share the pew at synagogue with them, meet in the aisle in the grocery store, give one another a lift into the city and see each other’s laundry hanging on the line. Anyone who suspects that I am exaggerating my description of the intimacy of life on a settlement is invited to read Tris [Shutter], a novel by Emily Amrusi, the former spokeswoman for the Settlers Council. The inspiration for that novel was life on Dolev, a settlement located not far from Shvut Rahel. It is difficult to keep a secret in a place like that, and certainly so over the course of years.

All the more so since Teitel did not act like a secret agent. He hung up posters on the street in public. He smuggled guns in his suitcase and shipment container. Those are the actions of a man who yearns for attention; those are the actions of a man who deep in his heart wants to be caught.

All of which brings us back to Teitel’s neighbors in Shvut Rahel. Did they really not know about his mysterious outings, about the large weapons cache, about some of his deeds? It is hard to believe so. They are all now certainly asking themselves now what they saw but preferred to ignore. They are all now certainly asking themselves now: had I known, would I have reported it to the police or the GSS? Would I have done something to stop the madness?

58 thoughts on “What did the Jewish terrorist’s neighbors know?

  1. Typical hypocrisy by Leftist journalist Barnea. First he says “no, they are not guilty in a collective sense”, then he turns around and says “they must have known, they must be guilty, too”.
    Here, I’ll make it easy for him and the rest of you who agree with him.


    I don’t like Sternhell, so I must want him dead, right? After that was the justification Stalin and the NKVD used during the mass terror…if you disagree with Stalin we should extrapolate and assume at least the possibility that you want him dead.
    I have close relatives living in YESHA. According to Sternhell, they might have know what Teital was going to do, and in any event they are “Right-wingers” so they must be guilty.
    I opposed Oslo. I attended many demonstrations against it…so therefore I must have wanted Rabin dead, right? Even though killing him was the best thing that ever happened to Oslo…it saved it. Rabin was trailing in the polls when he was killed, everyone saw all the terrorist bombings and Rabin was despised by most people in the country, he certainly would have lost the upcoming election, just as Peres did ins spite of the sympathy he inherited from the murder…thanks to Yigal Amir he became a martyr and everyone was ordered to “honor his legacy” by continuing the Oslo madness.

    So let’s summarize…
    Right-wing views, pro-settler views are bad. People who have these views are bad. Thus, all are responsible if one gets up and then carries out an act of violence, because it can be assumed that all are just waiting for someone to carry out such an act, even if it damages our own cause. We are all guilty. All of us.

    But, wait a minute. How do you define the circle of “collective responsiblity” and collective guilt? Barnea says it is the “settlers” and the political Right. But, what does Goldstone say? Goldstone says the State of Israel carries out war crimes. These crimes were carried out by Olmert, Barak, Livni, and going back further to the Lebanon II war, by Peretz, Halutz. All secularists, most Leftists. War criminals. Should be put on trial. The state of Israel is a “war crime state”. Ask Phil Weiss or MagnesZionist when these crimes started. Did they start in 2006 or 2008? Weiss and MagnesZ will tell you they started in 1948, when many Palestinians were forcibly ejected from their homes. Hundreds of thousands, and NOT by “Bible-toting settlers”, but by Marx-quoting Palmachniks, among others.
    Thus, Weiss and MagnesZ will tell you the whole Zionist enterprise is immoral, and it has been educating generations of children and then inducting them into the IDF and justifying its actions which they view are illegitimate. So maybe Teitel got his views from Zionism which itself uses violence, teaches violence, and not just from the “settler” movement. This means not only am I guilty, not only are the settlers and we settler-supporters guilty, but ALL ISRAELIS ARE GUILTY. But, let’s not stop there….not just all Israelis are guilty but all supporters of Israel around the world are guilty, and that includes J-Street which defines itself as “pro-Israel”. Not only am I guilty, but YOU are guilty as well. Think about it.

  2. What about the larger issues? What about what is happening to the country? Where has the cycle of violence driven Israel?

    The Silent Jewish Majority in the US is rising. There were quite a few prominent Israelis at the J Street conference. Of course, I am guessing most are activists.

    Israel is one of the flash points of the current global religious conflict. Perhaps that is a good thing for Israel. Perhaps this will give the sane among us an opportunity to help save Israel as a democratic and Jewish state while also supporting the Palestinian struggle for statehood. The prominence attached to this struggle may help because it is in the larger interest of many nations to see a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I take these thoughts from the President of the United States.

  3. Lee Diamond-
    Did you notice how Hillary Clinton praised Israel when she was visiting us here in Israel, and then when she visited Morocco she changed her tune and was more critical. This is because the Obama Administration is now learning what we have known for a long time….the Arabs perceive the Arab/Israeli conflict as a zero-sum game, which then makes is so, no matter what Israelis think. Thus, the mantra that J-Street and the “progressives” going around declaiming that “one can be pro-Israel AND pro-Palestinian” is nonsense. Pressure on Israel simply makes the Arab side increase their demands. One can NOT support the “struggle for Palestinian statehood” and “save Israel as a democratic and Jewish state”. If the Arabs were to think, as you and Olmert and Livni think-that a Palestinian state is GOOD for Israel, then there must be something wrong with it as the Arabs see it. If Olmert says “we have to create as Palestinian state as soon as possible in order to save Israel”, then why, for heaven’s sake, should the Arabs/Palestinians agree to it, since getting rid of Israel is what they want. That is why they will never agree to reasonable terms for a settlement. No matter what concessions Israel makes, the Arab side will demand more because they do NOT want a Palestinian state…that is not the goal of the struggle. The goal is to eradicate Israel, even if it takes generations. Thus, a “Palestinian state living side by side in peace with Israel with both prospering” would be viewed as a defeat and sellout by the Arab side and any Arab who agreed to such a thing would be viewed as a traitor…(remember what happened to Sadat who agreed to a separate peace with Israel?).

  4. A self-fulfilling ideology.

    There is an element of yesha complicity in the multiple murders (Goldstein, Amir, Teital) as there is an element of Hamas complicity when a deranged militant is encouraged by ideologs to “act” rather than be silent.

    Its sad to me to hear your dismiss the criminality of those three by ANY political calculation.

    Again, the palette of “we must suppress, in order to be secure ourselves”, is a very limited skill-set, negligently so.

    I assume that you think that Begin was rational, righteous in forming a peace treaty with Egypt, even though there are prominent very violent anti-Israel organizations in Egypt (that are both prosecuted and socially accepted).

    And, I hope that you are aware that Sadat didn’t originate as inviting treaty, that early in his career and even months before his shift, was alligned with Nasser’s ideology and a mostly loyal lieutenant.

  5. YO Y. Ben-David,

    It is called THE PROPAGANDA WAR.

    Welcome to college brother. May you study hard and prosper for many years.

  6. YBD,
    Again you present your own views and project them on to the other side. You may be right that many Arabs view the conflict as zero-sum, so do Jews. This is true in most deeply entrenched conflicts right up to, and sometimes after, a settlement has been introduced. And those most threatened by a settlement will constantly try to raise threat perceptions of the enemy among their own side.

    Sadat was assassinated. Mubarak took over, the peace treaty continued, the regime continued.

    Your attempts at conflating Islamist positions with Arab positions is similar to Arabs in the 1949-67 period conflating Lehi territorial claims with Israeli positions. Because Israel Eldad was an Israeli, who they thought played a major role in 1948, he must be representative of Israel as a whole.

  7. I guess robot warfare is the effective way (at last) to combat guerrilla warfare.

    I’m all for peace negotiations and a Palestinian state…but history and my instincts tell me it won’t happen until somebody screams uncle.

  8. You know, YBD, it’s pretty hilarious that after a long diatribe about collective judgement of the settlers you then treat us to multiple posts telling us what “the Arabs” think. And telling us that the Arabs don’t really want peace because look what happened to Sadat immediately leads to the question, what happened to Rabin?

  9. Mr Burns-
    Let’s look at how each society views terrorism. In the Arab world everyone remembers the street parties that took place after 9/11. The Palestinians held public celebrations after suicide bombings. The terrorists are celectrated by having streets named after them. Arafat himself praised suicide bombers. Saddam Hussein distributed $25,000 to the family of each suicide bomber in a public ceremony.
    How is Bin-Laden viewed by most Muslims. As a hero? Or maybe as a fellow “who means well, but maybe went a little too far”? Or is he viewed as pariah? I recall polls a few years ago showing a clear majority in the first two categories.

    In contrast, how are the Jewish assassins viewed in Israel? Are streets named after them, are public celebrations held after their actions? Sure, there may be a small number of supporters, but among the settlers, the vast majority view
    them as despicable.

    No doubt there are Arabs who genuinely want peace with Israel. But we see how the official media in the Arab countries INCLUDING those like Jordan, Egypt and the Palestinians are filled with Judeophobic propaganda. The New York Times correspondent in the recent past in Egypt, Michael Slackman, pointed out in several articles that the average Egyptian blames Israel and Jews for all the problems the country faces (I posted links here to some of them).

    Regarding Sadat….is he viewed in most of the Arab world as a hero for making peace with Israel, or is he viewed as a traitor? In Egypt he is not mentioned, it is Nasser who is viewed as a hero, because he fought Israel, not because he made peace. How is Saddam Hussein viewed in most of the Arab world? Positively. He fought Israel. The fact that he terrorized his own country is a minor factor in how most Arabs view him.

    In Jordan and Egypt (Israel’s “peace partners”), there have been recent incidents where public pressure in various organizations have demanded that citizens of those countries who have had conncections with Israel be reprimanded or expelled from professional organizations.
    No Egyptian dentist will treat Israelis from the Israeli embassy in Cairo, they all have to come back to Israel for treatment.

    So, yes, it is possible to discern general Arab views about Israel, and they are not positive.

  10. Y. Ben-David,

    The truth of the so called street parties that took place after 9/11 were questionable and exaggerated at best.

    As for holding public celebrations after terrorist attacks, Israel celebrated the 60th anniversary of the bombing of the Kind David Hotel, and not only did Netenyahu attend the festivities, he was the only political leader in the world who described the 911 attacks as “very good”, aside from maybe, Bin Laden. What other country rejoices over a terrorist attack 60 years after the fact?

    Interestingly, the most somber expression of solidarity came from Iran, where 1 million Iranians marches in sympathy for the victims.

    Israel celebrated the terrorist achievement of Menachem Begin and Yitzak Shamir, by election them to the highest office in the land. Praise doesn’t get any better than that. Were they not Jewish assassins? Just look at their credentials: Deir Yassin Massacre, Count Bernadotte, 70 postal bombs to British MPs, offer of collaboration to Germany, assassination Lord Moyne.

    Even Avigor Lieberman was a member of the terrorist Kach group and then there’s Tzipi Livni’s father.

    In Hebron, Goldstein’s grave has become a shrine for the settler movement.

    Bin-Laden was regarded as an extremist by most Muslims, only gaining some popularity when the US invaded Iraq. When Bush referred to teh invasio as Crusade, Bin Laden became somewhat of a prophet for predicting that America would unleash a religious war on the Arabs.

    If you do recall polls showing a clear majority supporting Bin Laden, then I suggest you produce them, because I suspect you are telling tall tales.

    The argument about who wants peace is a meaningless one without context. One could argue that Hitler would have preferred to achieve his deranged objectives without firing a bullet if that were possible. Israeli supporters often cite polls that show most Israelis want peace, and that most Palestinians do not, but then again, why wouldn’t Israelis want peace under the current circumstances?

    It’s likely that most Egyptian blames Israel and for all the problems the country faces, but then again, the US is keeping the tyrannical leader of their country in power, and it’s no secret that the US essentially bribes Egypt’s leader to play nice with Israel.

    Nasser was viewed favorably in the Arab world because he was aiming to achieve Arab unity, which inevitably included fighting Israel. Most of all Nasser aspired to Pan Arabism, which frightened the daylights out of Israel and the US, which is why the 1967 war brought Washington and Tel Aviv closer together.

    There is no evidence that Saddam Hussein was viewed positively in the Arab world. After all, Desert Storm was paid for by the Saudis and supported by Egypt, Jordan and the Emirates.

    There’s no doubt there is a great deal of resentment in the Arab world towards Israel. Sadly, you don’t get to start half a dozen wars with your neighbors and not put a few noses out of joint. I doubt the massacres Israel unleashed in Gaza and Lebanon won them too many brownie pints either.

  11. Yakov,
    My impression of referring to what was done, is that it is past.

    Using Sadat as an example again, Sadat was an enthusiastic Nasserite, but changed his mind. He reasoned that Israel’s presence in the Sinai was intended as purely defensive, and that there was no designs on the land, so it was easy for him to adopt a rational Egyptian self-interest policy of removing war from one of his frontiers.

    Strategic, incremental. He still had conflict on Egypt’s southern and western borders, but resolvable in the east.

    Israel now appears to have political designs on the West Bank. In that setting, the most possibly accommodating approach possible is Abbas’.

    That the Arab League has offered normalization to Israel is a new world. The contexts that you described in the past, are fundamentally changed. Even if the reaction on the Arab Street is negative, and multiplied by mean agitation, a large cause of that sentiment is Israel’s continuing incremental annexation of the West Bank, and particulalry of East Jerusalem. (There is now a fundamental conflict on the status there, whereas before it was incidental conflict. That is the application of annexation, firmed by very weakly principled application of law.)

    It looks to the world (including me, a Zionist), that Israel is pursuing an annexation end-game strategy.

    You yourself stated that you believe that Israeli should continue its incremental annexation, combined with reluctantly harsh defense, until the reality on the ground is undeniable and Palestinians/Arabs accept that, and move on.

    Maybe that is best. Maybe the Arab world should just absorb the 4 million Palestinians in the West Bank, and accept that.

    I don’t expect it. And, in the process of pursuing that, I observe Israel’s status in the world as a whole very dangerously diminishing, especially with the now possible prospect of renunciation of treaties with Egypt and Jordan.

    1949 – 1967 were not all that attractive years to Israel. Blockaded, boycotted, isolated, security council vetoed by Russia so that there was no possible improvement.

    Better to move forward, noting dangers in each choice.

  12. Shingo,

    Fuad Ajami, the Lebanese-American political science professor, would disagree with you regarding Saddam Hussein. Although he was opposed by Arab leaders for their own reasons, most ordinary Arabs outside of Iraq seemed to look up to him.

    You are correct regarding the celebration of former terrorists in Israel, but not all of those celebrated are/were terrorists. The King David Hotel was British occupation headquarters and the Irgun/Etzel only attacked the wing housing the British offices. Thus, I would argue that it was no more terrorism than an IRA attack on a British base in Northern Ireland. What distinguishes terrorism from guerrilla warfare or sabotage is the targeting of ordinary civilians or targets that would not be considered valid targets between two countries at war. Assassinations of British politicians or Count Bernadotte or the attacks on ordinary Arabs constitute terrorism, the King David Hotel attack does not.

  13. I remember being skeptical about accounts of the table-dancing celebrations that took place in Arab communities in New Jersey and Brooklyn when the WTC was attacked. I mostly did not want to believe it–and was unaware of the jihadi mindset. But the eyewitness accounts came from all over and were consistent.

    I still carry a smidgeon of skepticism as none of it was caught on tape to my knowledge. Although Palestinians were caught on film passing out celebration candy.

    Has the Netanyahu remark been corroborated? I seem to recall it was either taken out of context or never happened.

  14. “Maybe that is best. Maybe the Arab world should just absorb the 4 million Palestinians in the West Bank, and accept that.

    I don’t expect it. And, in the process of pursuing that, I observe Israel’s status in the world as a whole very dangerously diminishing, especially with the now possible prospect of renunciation of treaties with Egypt and Jordan.”

    I agree with this whole statement.

    Israel is taking a calculated risk here, it seems.

  15. Tom,

    What Fuad Ajami has to say is pure conjecture in the absence of any survey. Of course, there was a time when Saddam Hussein’s popularity was healthy, following the decade long war with Iran, though he was also a darling of Capitol Hill at the time.

    The King David Hotel bombing killed mnay civilains, including Jews, but in any case, there is no disputing the fact that the attack was an act of terrorism, especially seeing as the British were there to administer British Mandate Palestine.

    Was the attack on the Army u Barracks in Lebanon not a terrorist attack?
    Was the bombing of the USS Cole not a terrorist attack?

    Unlike Northern Ireland, the British were in Mandate Palestine long before the State of Israel was created, so your comparison fails to hold up on all counts.

    Even if you want to narrow your definition of terrorism to the targeting of ordinary civilians, Israel’s reputation stil lies in tatters.

    Ze’ev Shiff, Israeli journalist and military correspondent for Ha’aretz, had this to say about the Isreli military:

    “The Israeli army has always struck civilian populations, purposely and consciously. The army has never distinguished civilian from military targets, but has purposely attacked civilian targets.”

    Nice try, but it’s still a fail.

  16. Suzanne,

    As I recall, there were at least 5 Israelis doing their fare share of dancing during 911. They went so far as to video themselves high fiving each other while the buildings burned in the background. Their antics weer so over than they were arrested and deported to Israel.

    The Netanyahu was pretty much corroborated, though you’d have to ask the students at Bar Ilan university that attended the talk he gave.

  17. Shingo,

    No, the attack on the Marine barracks wasn’t a terrorist attack but an act of war. The U.S. had intervened in a civil war on one side and so should have expected to be targeted by the other side. The Marine barracks was a military target.

    The attack on the USS Cole was a terrorist attack because there was no state of war or de facto war between the U.S. and Yemen.

    In mandatory Palestine there was a declared state of war between the Etzel and Lehi on one side and the British on the other. Begin had declared war in February 1944. This doesn’t mean that the attacks were legal or that those who made them shouldn’t have faced punishment.

    Those instances where the IDF has targeted ordinary civilians as primary targets rather than as collateral damage would be terrorist attacks. But I don’t consider terrorist leaders as ordinary civilians. You don’t provide any citation for the Schiff quote so I can’t check the context.

  18. Tom,

    The attack on the USS Cole was not carried out in Yemmen, not by Yemmen.

    Osama Bin Laden has declared war on the US, so it could be argued that while 911 was illegal, it wasn’t strictly terrorism.

    I appreciate your honesty however in this discussion. My point is that Israel and her supporters routinely throw around the term “terrorism” to malign enemies, but in reality, it’s just a derogatory term to label those we don’t like.

    As for Schiff’s comments, they are hardly controversial. There is not disputing that the bombing of Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and Dresden were aimed at civilians populations.

    Just read Tom Friedman’s explanation of the 2006 war with Lebanon, and you’ll realize this is a common theme. He explains that the bombing of Lebanon was, contrary to conventional wisdom, a great success. According to Friedman, the deaths of innocent Lebanese civilians was not an unfortunate and undesirable by-product of that war, but rather, was a vital aspect of the Israeli strategy — the centerpiece, actually, of teaching Lebanese civilians a lesson they would not soon forget.
    “Israel’s counterstrategy was to use its Air Force to pummel Hezbollah and, while not directly targeting the Lebanese civilians with whom Hezbollah was intertwined, to inflict substantial property damage and collateral casualties on Lebanon at large. It was not pretty, but it was logical. Israel basically said that when dealing with a nonstate actor, Hezbollah, nested among civilians, the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians — the families and employers of the militants — to restrain Hezbollah in the future.”]

    Friedman has argued that the same policy applies in Gaza.

    So let me ask you, if targeting civilians is terrorism and a state like Israel adopts such a policy to influence a population, is Israel not a terrorist state?

  19. “Israel basically said that when dealing with a nonstate actor, Hezbollah, nested among civilians, the only long-term source of deterrence was to exact enough pain on the civilians — the families and employers of the militants — to restrain Hezbollah in the future.”]”

    It worked!

    Gaza likely worked too.

    By your own admission, you acknowledge that what’s going on is perpetual low level war–waged on both sides. Suicide bombings etc are not terrorism to you…but rather a means of combat in an ongoing war.

    Fair enough. I agree. It will unfortunately continue until one side is destroyed. I’m sure you’re banking on Iran to save the day but the odds are stacked against that dream.

    Saner minds would rather work out a peace. The fringe is definitely not among that group. That means you, Phil, and the pipedreaming red robin.

    In any case, you can’t have your cake and eat it too. If you endorse guerrilla warfare–or whatever you’re calling it this month–then understand one side will have to lose in a blood bath. It’s inevitable.

  20. BTW–I’m starting to think both sides have dug their heels in and could care less about peace.

    Peace is not the objective. That much is clear.

  21. Suzanne,

    The winner of a war is decided on who’m achieves their strategic objective.

    In 2006, the stated objective was to destroy Hezbollah, which didn’t happen. Hezbollah’s was to survive, which they did. It actually made Hezbollah more powerful. 51% of Israelis believed that Israel lost.

    You could argue that Hezbollah has not attacked Israel since, but then again, Israel hasn’t invaded Lebanon since then either, so you can spin it whichever way

    In Gaza, that too is debatable. Israel haven’t been clear what their objective was in Gaza. If it was to destroy Hamas, then that failed too.

    The number of rockets being fired today from Gaza is about the same number as were being fired during the 2008 ceasefire, so in that regard, it was a zero sum game. All Israel achieved was the massacre of 1,400 Palestinians and to soil their already tattered reputation.

    I never dismissed suicide bombings as terrorism, though Israel’s supporters tend to obsess about the suicide part because for Israelis, suicide has never been necessary. If you really are that concerned about suicide attacks, write to your member of Congress and request that some shiny F-16’s be sent to Gaza. I’m pretty sure that suicide attacks would dwindle

    Would you still call it terrorism if the bombs were lazer guided and landing on Sderot from 30,000 feet in the air?

    You see, your nauseating hypocrisy rests on this primitive concept that any action is legitimate so long as it is carried out by a man in uniform. So an Israeli trained pilot who dumps cluster bombs n Southern Lebanon from the comfort of an air conditioned cockpit 30,000 feet in the air is a hero whereas a man with an Kalshnikov and robes rolling in a cave is a terrorist. The Top Gun brand has been a winner.

    I tend to agree that Iran won’t be saving anyone, though it’s clear Israel is obsessed with launching a war against them, whether it be based on nukes that don’t exist or the fact that their president is a Holocaust denier. I suspect that if Israel does begin that FUBAR, it will be the last war it starts for quite some time.

    As for endorsing guerrilla warfare, well, it worked out splendidly for the founders of Israel. They got what they wanted, which is why they are no longer resorting to it.

    That’s the terrible irony. Israelis complain about terrorism, but Israel stands as a constant reminder of it’s success.

    Who ever said terrorism doesn’t pay?

  22. Hamas has a voluntary moratorium on shelling Israel currently, which I had heard that they were enforcing on other factions. Has that changed?

    If in Lebanon the result of the war is cessation of violence, that is a good outcome. Is it permanent? Unlikely.

    Similarly in Gaza.

    If Hamas is continuing shelling Israel currently, that will result in war again at some point in the future.

    And, civilians ALWAYS bear the brunt of hotheads’ agitations.

  23. Shingo,
    In regard to the USS Cole, the definition is problematic because of the nature of Al Qaeda. Al Qaeda doesn’t appear to be a defined organization, at least not after the Northern Alliance/U.S. defeated the Taliban in 2001. Rather it is a philosophy. There is no answerable authority but simply individuals acting out–in this it resembles the anarchists of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. And in any case Al Qaeda was clearly carrying out what is mainly a terrorist war.

    I don’t agree with the blanket use by Israel of the term terrorism. There are others, however, such as political scientist and historian Walter Lacqueur who label any irregular warfare that does not follow the pattern of classical guerrilla warfare to be terrorism. I disagree. I define it by the type of targets.

    Israel since approximately 1953 has used attacks on state infrastructure of the host nation as a counter-insurgency (COIN) strategy. Sometimes it is effective, sometimes it is not. In Lebanon it is not effective because Hezbollah is partially a Syrian surrogate or client that protects it from the Lebanese state. Therefore bombing is ineffective. To see my argument on this matter developed fully you should go back about 6 months or more to where I did a guest column on the morality of Israeli cluster bomb use in Lebanon.

  24. I suppose it’s true that bombing Lebanon was only a temporary solution. Apparently Israel intercepted an Iranian arms shipment yesterday intended for Hezbollah.

  25. “Hezbollah is partially a Syrian surrogate or client that protects it from the Lebanese state. ”

    In other words, Israel is involuntarily caught up in the ongoing hostilities among Arab states. She doesn’t just carry her own burden.

    In some way or another (for reasons that are too politically and militarily complex for me to understand) that must contribute to Israel’s modus operandi.

  26. Too early to tell…but was the Fort Hood massacre a Palestinian-inspired shaheed attack on American soil?

    Kinda looks that way.

  27. His heritage is Palestinian. So who knows what drove him.

    It’s already starting to look like his motive is jihad. Definitely Muslim motivated. His writings are starting to emerge online.

  28. Tom,

    Al Qaeda has never been a defined organization. Any suggestion that it was is thanks to post 9/11 propaganda that tried to depict the movement as such to market the war on terror to the public and frame it as another Cold War. The American public never cared for nuance.

    Suggesting that attacks on infrastructure are part of a counter-insurgency strategy makes no sense. Insurgents, by their very nature, do not rely on convetional assets to provide transport, distrubition and arry out attcks. Attacks on infrastructure are and have always been a means of inflicting collective punishment, so as to alienate the targetted group from the society at large. That is was tOm Friedman and Shiff were alluding to.

    To dismmiss Hezbollah as a Syrian surrogate is to miss Hezbollah’s raison d’etre. Hebollah came into being as resitance movement to Israel’s occupation. They rose to the occasion, so to speak, when the Lebanese military had given up on the idea of repelling the Israeli occupation.

    As such, Hebollah extablished itself as a credible, capable and commited outfit that was prepared to do what the Lebanese military was not or unabel to. Even if the Lebanese miliatry could take on Hezbollah, they wouldn’t because Hezbollah has more credibility, even among critics. In fact, while there is a UN Resolution passed to disarm militias in Lebanon, the Lebanese government has never enforced it with respect to Hezbollah and expoloited a loophole by refusing to designate Hebollah as a militia – much to the chargrin of Israel and it’s supporters.

    I look forward to reading your column on the Israeli cluster bomb use in Lebanon.

  29. “Apparently Israel intercepted an Iranian arms shipment yesterday intended for Hezbollah.”

    Apparently that is Israel’s story yes. The story seems to have lost momentum though, and given the lack of evidence that this was indeed destined for Hebollah, no one seems to be paying much attention.

  30. Is Hezbollah a credible outfit? Reliable as Norman Finkelstein or “incorruptible” as Richard Silverstein described them to me.

    I think their performance in the Lebanon War was morally and politically reprehensible. They opened a third theator of conflict when Israel was dealing with Shalit and a prior attempted abduction in the West Bank (three in a week), potentially coordinated timing, nearly certainly at least opportunistic.

    They opened the escapade by shelling a military site and an Israeli civilian village (as a diversion from their long planned raid into Israel). They lied about the site of the abduction for a week, with similarly reliable Juan Cole repeating the assertion. They knew that their hostages died on what was reported as the second or third day, but continued escalating the conflict by shelling large Israeli cities.

    I get that you add that up to Israeli aggression, but I include a LARGE component of willfully putting Lebanese civilians into a status of war, where it was avoidable. They CHOSE and confirmed that status, by escalation, rather than by deescalation.

  31. “I get that you add that up to Israeli aggression, but I include a LARGE component of willfully putting Lebanese civilians into a status of war, where it was avoidable. They CHOSE and confirmed that status, by escalation, rather than by deescalation.”

    That’s the jihadi mindset all the way. They are consistent.

    By the way I hope the interception of Iranian arms DOES turn out to be a false positive because I’d hate to think Hezbollah would be so stupid as to submit the Lebanese to another round of hell.

  32. Shingo,
    You are historically wrong regarding COIN strategy. Many insurgent organizations benefit from a host country providing them with sanctuary. Attacking the infrastructure of that country is a means of forcing the host country to either withdraw that sanctuary or put limitations on the insurgents. This strategy worked in Southern Africa in forcing Mugabe to agree to the Lancaster House settlement and worked against Jordan in the late 1960s. It was also successful in Angola in forcing the ANC out in 1989 as part of the regional peace agreement between Pretoria and Luanda. It is successful when the host country is in charge of its own territory and not fully commited to the insurgency that it is hosting.

    Hezbollah was founded in Lebanon in 1982 by Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Beka’a Valley. It is more of an Iranian proxy than a Syrian one, but has been used by Damascus as a means of putting pressure on Israel. As long as Iran and Syria remain allies there is no contradiction in it being both. If they part ways, however, there could be problems.

  33. Richard,

    Yes, Hezbollah are credible among many in the region. They are actually part of the Lebanese givernment, in case you didn’t know.

    If their performance in the Lebanon War was morally and politically reprehensible,the Israel’s was an order of magnitude worse. The entire war was fought on the Lebanese side of the border. No one forced Israel to cross into Lebanon.

    Israel was never dealing with Shalit. The day before Shalit’s capture, Israel kidnapped 2 Palestinians in Gaza. The capture of Shalit was a response to that kidnapping. Shalit’s parents have stated that the Israeli government has done nothing to secure Shalit’s release.

    Heznollah only began shelling a military site and an Israeli civilian village AFTER Israel began bombing southern Lebanon. Isn’t it funny how you always leave that part out?

    The only planned raid was the one conducted by Israle, as Olmert admitted when tesifying tot he Wonigrad Commision. Before any hostilities broke out, both Blair and Bush were informed that this attack on Lebanon was about to take place.

    The site of the abduction remains ambiguous too as many reports suggested it took place in Lebanon. The fact that Israel never recovered the damaged tank suggests that it did in fact, take place in Lebanon, so Juan Cole is correct.

    The only party that willfully putting Lebanese civilians into a status of war, was Israel. The Lebanese civilian areas were nowhere near the site of the inciting incident and had no role in it. Israel simply did what they do, and all they kow how to do – punish the civlian population.

    Of course it was avoidable, but it’s what Israel wanted.

    Last nut not least Richard, I find it laughable that you always accuse the opther side of escalation. IN the case fo Gaza, Isral broke the ceasfire, but you blame Hamas for escalation. In the case of 2006, Hezbollah capture a few Israeli soldiers, and and that too is escalation. I realize that ion your mind, escalation is that people do to Israel by definition.

    They CHOSE and confirmed that status, by escalation, rather than by deescalation.

  34. Tom,

    Your thesis appears to ignore a simple fact. Insurgents are, by and large, made up of the local population. The host country, as you put it, happens to be their home and thus they are not being provided sanctuary, so much as taking up the fight to their occupiers.

    Attacking the infrastructure of that country, therefore, is nothing more than collective punishment. The occupation is never legitimate, so it follows that neither is the policy of forcing the host country to withdraw sanctuary or put limitations on the insurgents.

    The Lancaster House settlement established independence for Nigeria. It certainly didn’t uphold the right of anyone to occupy it.

    Obviously the ANC were not comprised entirely of the local population in Angola. It’s surprising that you don’t realise the contradiction in your own argument. Since when was the leadership of Gaza ever in charge of its own territory? Since when has Lebanon ever been ruled by proportional representation?

    Insurgencies grow when the country is no that it is hosting.

    Hezbollah was founded in Lebanon in 1982 by a conglomerate of parties, including disallusioned Lebanese miliatry personal.

    It has never been an Iranian proxy, much less a Syrian one. Hyperbola would never have been created had it not been for Israel’s 18 year occupation of Southern Lebanon.

    If anything, Damascus’ support fro Hezbollah has become a matter of political necessity for domestic consumption in Syria. While there is no disputing that Iran and Syria do support Hezbollah, there is no evidence that Hebollah are simply panws of with government.

  35. Suzanne.

    Has the Israelis leadership ever been guilty of submitting the Israeli population to a round of hell, or does that charge exclude the Israelis by definition?

  36. “No one forced Israel to cross into Lebanon.”

    An astounding and frankly ludicrous statement.

    “The capture of Shalit was a response to that kidnapping. ”

    Also false, the effort to abduct an Israeli soldier was similarly planned long in advance. And, the two Hamas persons, what were they doing? Who were they in fact? I don’t know. Do you?

    “Heznollah only began shelling a military site and an Israeli civilian village AFTER Israel began bombing southern Lebanon.”

    This is false. The first round of shelling was initiated by Hezbollah as a diversion to draw troups away from the their planned site of the abduction, in Israel.

    The authoritative report by UNIFIL clarified that sequence of actual events.

    From wikipedia

    The Zar’it–Shtula incident was a cross-border attack committed by Lebanon-based Hezbollah special forces on an Israeli military patrol on 12 July 2006 on Israeli territory. The operation was originally named “Freedom for Samir Al-Quntar and his brothers” by Hezbollah, but it was shortened to “Operation Truthful Promise”.[1] Using rockets fired on several Israeli towns as a diversion, Hezbollah militants crossed from Lebanon into Israel [2] and ambushed two Israeli Army vehicles, killing three Israeli soldiers and capturing two.

    JERUSALEM, Thursday, July 13 — The Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah surprised Israel with a bold daylight assault across the border on Wednesday, leading to fighting in which two Israeli soldiers were captured and at least eight killed, and elevating recent tensions into a serious two-front battle.

    Israel, already waging a military operation in the Gaza Strip to free a soldier captured by Palestinian militants on June 25, immediately responded by sending armored forces into southern Lebanon for the first time in six years.

    You carry around a great many stories that you seem to regard as facts.

    Whenever I describe Hamas as the responsible party that shifted the status of the Gaza cease-fire from tension to active war, you site the November 4 skirmishes as proof that Israel dropped the cease-fire and an active state of war originated then, with the Hamas shelling in mid-December some sort of retaliation.

    The sequence of the Hamas shelling conflicts with that thesis. That is that Hamas shelled incrementally further into Israel, with larger and more accurate rockets, onto larger cities. The INTENTION was to escalate.

    They might of thought, “Israel is not responding militarily, I guess they accept this”, but as Israel warned Hamas for ten days that continuing would lead to war, there is really no excuse for Hamas.

    ALL rationalizations that Hamas was “innocent” really in any way, or even “did not desire war”, are ludicrous.

    They dared Israel to conduct a ground war, assuming that they would realize a “victory” like Hezbollah claims in guerilla warfare, didn’t happen. Instead the exposed the Gazan population to an air war first, in which then Hamas militants could not even fight a guerilla war, and were forced to hide, again thoroughly exposing Gazan civilians to military action without logistical guidance, any protection, social services, anything.

    It was dumb, evil, corrupt (as their strategy, as in the past, was to attempt to gain street cred by “sticking it to Israel”).

    Only the gullible seek to rationalize their efforts as “resistance”, as frustrated as they are.

    ALL of the prospective good will of primarily keeping the cease-fire for the period that they did, was lost in an instant.

    Again, you know that I believe that the shelling so close to the Israeli election, pushed the election at least 4-5 seats to the right.

    So, rather than likud in power, kadima would be. And, rather than neither major Palestinian party having any credibility in Palestine, Israel, or the world as currently, both would have after an actual calm.

    I don’t know but I expect, that if Hamas had retained or returned to the cease-fire after the formal ending of it, that Israel would have soon relaxed the borders. (There is very very little likelihood that Israel would have allowed an open port, without years of voluntary quiet.)

  37. “An astounding and frankly ludicrous statement.”

    Is that it? The substance of your argument is to state that it is astounding and ludicrous?

    “And, the two Hamas persons, what were they doing? Who were they in fact? I don’t know. Do you?”

    2 brothers in Gaza City minding their own business, unlike Shalit, who as a member of the IDF, is a legitimate target.

    Israel Kidnaps Two Brothers

    “The first round of shelling was initiated by Hezbollah as a diversion..”

    Hezbollah did not resort to rocket attacks until the IDF began bombing Southern Lebanon.

    Furthermore, as was reported in the Christian Science Monitor, Israel and Hezbollah had been trading rockets and shell attacks since 2000, so it was Israel that chose to escalate this into an all out war on Lebanon. In fact, just lie Cast Lead, Bush and Blair had been informed that Israel had decided to attack Lebanon and were awaiting an “opportunity” to carry out this place.

    Israeli PM says Lebanon war was pre-planned: report

    On 12 July, 2006, two Israeli soldiers were captured in Lebanon.

    It all started on July 12 when Israel troops were ambushed on Lebanon’s side of the border with Israel. Hezbollah, which commands the Lebanese south, immediately seized on their crossing. They arrested two Israeli soldiers, killed eight Israelis and wounded over 20 in attacks inside Israeli territory. [Asia Times 7/15/06]

    The militant group Hezbollah captured two Israeli soldiers during clashes Wednesday across the border in southern Lebanon, prompting a swift reaction from Israel, which sent ground forces into its neighbor to look for them. The forces were trying to keep the soldiers’ captors from moving them deeper into Lebanon, Israeli government officials said on condition of anonymity. [Forbes 7/12/06]

    Israel were not waging any operation to free Shalit. Nothing they did that followed Shalit’s capture was consistent with an effort to rescue him and Shalit’s parents stated that the Israeli government were never concerned with securing his release.

    As for contradictions, one could just as easily direct those accusations at you. When I argued that Hams retaliated to Israel’s raid on November 4th, you accused Hamas of escalation, yet when Israel responded to the cross border skirmish, you again accused Israel’s foes of escalation.
    There was no incremental shelling by Hamas into Israel, becasue not one of those rockets produced any casualties.

    Israel had already broken the ceasefire. From that moment, on, warnings are of no consequence. 7 Palestinians had been killed. War had been waged by Israel. There are no excuses for Israel.
    No one has suggested that Hamas was “innocent” or “did not desire war”, but having observed a ceasefire for 4 months, only to be rewarded with a military attack, it’s understandable why they would have felt it futile to remain quiet and let Israel continue to attack them. Like the attack on Lebanon, this was planned by Israel long in advance and Israel were determined to carry it out. The siege was timed to coincide with the US Presidential elections and the attack was time to coincide with the Israeli elections.

    It was Israel that dared Hamaz to retaliate. Yes, Hamas took the bait, but what were their choices? Die silently while Israel sticks the knife in, or make a fight of it? Your Darwinian logic comes down to the simple premise that because Israel is stronger, and might makes right, their actions are legitimate. Astounding to say the least.

    Once could easily turn the tables and argue that if Hamas had state of the art missile capable of serious destruction, then it would be the IDF and the Israeli government that was exposing the Israeli population to deadly missile attacks, in which then IDF could not defend the population. Israel have always resorted to aerial bombardment. It keeps casualties to a minimum and ensured maximum destruction to lives and property.

    It was only dumb, evil, corrupt because they didn’t have the weapons that Israel have. That’s all it comes down to and that’s all your argument is based on.

    What value is good will “of primarily keeping the cease-fire” when that good will does not prevent military raids by Israel? I know Richard, you believe the Palestinians should simply walk around with targets on their back and wave at those spanking F-16’s and they rain down 500lb bombs and white phosphorous on the population. Your argument being that maybe, the IDF will be haunted by a twinge of guilt and restore their basic sense of humanity.

    Olmert times the attack to coincide with the election. He gambled that it would work in favour of Kadima. Historically, the public usually rally around the incumbent government during war, but on this occasion it backfired.
    Kadima was finished. Olmert was a sitting duck and plagued with accusations of corruption. The Lebanon debacle had wounded him and he was trying to recoup those losses. Np Palestinian party will ever have credibility because Israel will always seek to undermine whoever is in power. Remember that Israel helped nurture Hamas to offset the influence of the PLO. They pressured Abbas into pulling out of unity talks with Hamas, and to undertake a coup to overthrow Hamas instead.

    We can confidently say that Israel were never going to relax the borders. As Tzipi Livni said to the world, a long ceasefire is not in Israel’s strategic interests. The ceasefire had latest 4 moths already, with the agreement that a long ceasefire would be negotiated.

    A long ceasefire is not what Israel wanted. It wasn’t in Israel’s strategic interests.

  38. Shingo:
    “Your thesis appears to ignore a simple fact. Insurgents are, by and large, made up of the local population. The host country, as you put it, happens to be their home and thus they are not being provided sanctuary, so much as taking up the fight to their occupiers.”

    1)The Vietnamese weren’t the locals in either Camobodia or Laos.

    2) The Guineans weren’t the locals in Senegal.

    3) The Ovambo of PLAN weren’t the locals in Angola.

    4) The Ndebele of ZIPRA weren’t the locals in Zambia.

    5) The Shona of ZANLA weren’t the locals in Mozambique.

    6) The South Africans of the ANC weren’t the locals in Angola.

    7) The Palestinians weren’t the locals in Jordan or Fatahland (southern Lebanon).

    “The Lancaster House settlement established independence for Nigeria. It certainly didn’t uphold the right of anyone to occupy it.”

    While several African colonies had their independence agreements negotiated and signed at Lancaster House, in America the reference to the Lancaster House agreement is to the December 1979 agreement that gave independence to Zimbabwe. Several authors report that Mugabe wanted to reject the agreement on offer and continue fighting but attacks by Rhodesian special forces on the transportation infrastructure in both Mozambique and Zambia persuaded those countries to make Mugabe an offer he couldn’t refuse. He was told to sign the agreement or retire to a villa someplace in the country. Unfortunately Britain never enforced the terms of the agreement and disqualify Mugabe’s party for massive intimidation. Since then Mugabe has never taken any British threats seriously and his population has paid the price for it.

  39. Tom,

    Insurgents by definition are local to the region. In the cases you cite, they are are not insurgents. if you look at any definition of insurgency, they refer to the groundswell of local opposition to a government or occupation.

    The insurgents in Iraq were overwhelmingly home grown.

  40. Shingo,
    When Reuters misreported that the abduction occurred in Lebanon, they corrected that later.

    Again, the UNIFIL report, and all major press identified later clarified the location of the abduction in Israel, and FOLLOWING the NEW shelling of a military base and town.

    Israel’s first responses were to undertake limited military actions to attempt to retrieve the abducted soldiers, and although they included some actions against very local roads and communications, were not the poster child assaults that the left (you) attribute to “the plan”.

    Again, Hezbollah confirmed that they desired to be in a state of war, by shelling cities.

    You seem to think that that is innocuous.

    Your repitition “Reuters says that Israel operation in Lebanon was pre-planned” is meaningless at this point. EVERYONE has agreed that Israel had plans for conditions that they considered plausible, multiple plans. That is saying NOTHING.(If anything the Lebanon war was criticized within Israel for its negligent absence of sufficient planning. Perhaps you didn’t read that in the three weeks that it was vociferously argued in the Israeli and world press.)

    I’m not sure what you are talking about “Israel was not trying to recover Shalit”. Is that relative to Hezbollah? Or, about some event that you imagine that I am commenting on about Gaza?

  41. “Has the Israelis leadership ever been guilty of submitting the Israeli population to a round of hell, or does that charge exclude the Israelis by definition?”

    Shingo…if you had to live a hell, would you prefer what Israel has to live with or what the Palestinians have to live with?

    The situation is bad for Israel–but clearly the threshold is higher because it is a stable, thriving state. (please spare me your editorials about how Israel is about to cave in on itself. Thanks in advance)

    In fact, your willingness to sustain the status quo of Palestinian suffering with your sympathies towards factions like Hamas and Hezbollah is really no different their willingness to wage war in urban area so that civilians are destined to become casualties.

    You know that’s their strategy. I know it. The world knows it. And you’re ok with it. You’re swell.

    Your droning on about how Israel is 100% at fault is all blah blah blah to me. I read past it. It’s not useful dialogue–and it’s why the Left will never be part of the conversation at the top levels of discourse (namely Washington and elsewhere).

    All that said and done, given that both sides probably don’t want peace at this point, maybe the US et al should back out.

    Let the two parties fight this out on their own. To hell with it. It’s like one big enablement party.

  42. Shingo,
    Here is the definition from the Merriam online dictionary:
    Main Entry: 1in·sur·gent
    Pronunciation: \-jənt\
    Function: noun
    Etymology: Latin insurgent-, insurgens, present participle of insurgere to rise up, from in- + surgere to rise — more at surge
    Date: 1765
    1 : a person who revolts against civil authority or an established government; especially : a rebel not recognized as a belligerent

    This would apply to the Palestinians against whom Israel developed its strategy of putting pressure on host governments through infrastructure attacks. It would also apply to the other situations I mentioned. I never mentioned Iraq.
    I would argue that it also applies to Hezbollah as Hezbollah has refused to disarm in accordance with agreements calling on all extending party militias to disarm. Therefore Hezbollah is in a state of rebellion against the Lebanese government. And it is attempting to draw Israel into the Lebanese morass again for its own purposes or those of its paymasters as Pancho Villa raided Columbus, New Mexico to involve the U.S. in Mexico’s civil war for his benefit.

  43. Richard ,

    I have seen no evidence of Reuters misreporting that the capture occurred in Lebanon, nor a retraction. In fact, the Forbes reports cites an Israeli official confirming that the capture took place on the Lebanese side of the border.

    Israel made no attempt to retrieve the abducted soldiers, and immeditately attaked Southern Lebanon as they had told Blair and Bush they woudl do.

    The plan was to inflict damage on Lebanon and pressure the public into turning against Hezbollah. As the war progressed and it became obvious that this was not working and that Hezbollah were not retreating, Israel escalated attacks to the point of insanity and bombed everything from tissue factories to buses carrying the people they had ordered to leave their homes.

    Israel were the ones shelling cities, not Hezbollah. Again, Hezbollah’s rockets were primitive and had no guidance system. ore fo them landed in teh desert than on any cities which debunsk your claim that they were targettign cities. Were they targetting empty desert regions too?

    The fact that the operation in Lebanon was pre-planned is very core of this debate. That truism debunks the notion that Israel were acting in self defense. It’s one thing to argue that Israel has contingencies for possible atatcks, it’s quite another for Olmert to admit to the Wonigrad Commission that the war was planned and that Bush and Blair had been informed of those plans ahead of time.

    Just becasue the war didn’t go according to plan, does not mean it was an intentional action on Isrl’s part. One need onyl look at the disaster in Iraq to realize that planner don’t always get it right.

    The debate in Israel was not about Israel’s acitons, but Israel’s startergy. There would have been no debate had Israel not been humiliated.

  44. You were reading different daily press than I was “Israel made no effort to retrieve the prisoners”.

    You are far to generous to terrorists Shingo. Shelling Haifa is terror, especially if Hezbollah knew that the abducted soldiers were already dead.

    There were a couple reports that I read that published that the abduction was in the Lebanon theatre, NOT in Lebanon itself.

    I know you hate wikipedia, but there are maps.

    At around 9:00 a.m. local time (06:00 UTC), on 12 July 2006, Hezbollah initiated a diversionary Katyusha rocket and mortar attack on Israeli military positions and border villages, including Zar’it and Shlomi.[7][8][9][10][11][12]

    A ground contingent of Hezbollah fighters crossed the border into Israeli territory and attacked two Israeli armoured Humvees patrolling on the Israeli side of the Israel-Lebanon border between the villages of Zar’it and Shtula. The attackers took advantage of a “dead zone” in the border fence not visible from any of the IDF lookout posts and may have used a wheeled ladder to climb the fence.[7] After hiding in a wadi on the Israeli side of the fence they attacked with a combination of pre-positioned explosives and anti-tank missiles. The team knocked out the trailing Humvee, killing three soldiers inside, and captured two soldiers from the first vehicle.[6] “Another soldier was seriously wounded, another lightly wounded and a third suffered a shrapnel scratch.” The entire incident took no more than 10 minutes.[7]

    A total of seven army posts “reported taking fire at the same time, coordinated attacks that knocked out surveillance cameras.” The attack had knocked out command communications with the convoy. Twenty minutes passed until Staff Sgts. Ehud Goldwasser, 31, and Eldad Regev, 26, were confirmed to be missing from the first vehicle, while the gunmen “fled through olive orchards to the Lebanese border village of Aita al-Shaab.”[6]

  45. Tom,

    The definition for insurgents still remains vague, but it’s safe to assume that in most cases, a true insurgency is home grown.

    Hezbollah are under no obligation to disarm, seeing as the UN Resolution in question referst o militias and the government of Lebanon has refused to classify Hezbollah as a militia. It’s technicality I know, but then again, it’s not like Israel hasn’t benefited from loopholes throughout its history.

    Hezbollah is also part of the Lebanese government, so no, it is not in a state of rebellion against the Lebanese government to which they are a member.

    There is no evidence that Hezbollah are attempting to draw Israel into any conflict, aside from the fact that they exist and Israel is obsessed with dealing with them. On the contrary, so long as Israel remains in it’s side of the border, there is no problem.

    In fact, it appears that Israel is the party that is itching for another fight. They’re motivated by a number of agendas.

    1. They want to settle the score with Hezbollah, who has had the better of them in every conflict.

    2. They want the Litani.

    3. They want to attack Iran, and see Hezbollah as a foil that needs to be taken care of before addressing Iran.

    But I guess it’s Hezbollah’s fault that Israel want to attack Iran based on nukes that don;t exist right?

  46. Richard,

    Which terrorists am I far to generous towards? You yourself have admitted that Israel is guilty of state terrorism, so which terrorists are you referring to? Are you falling for the canard that terrorist are anyone who happens to oppose Israel?

    Arguing with you is like debating a goldfish with a 3 second attention span. Do you not realize how hypocritical you look when you describe the shelling of Haifa as terror, but omit the far greater destruction Israel unleashed on civilians in Southern Lebanon?

    Whether the captured soldiers were already dead is of no consequence to this debate.

    What is the difference, may I ask, between the the Lebanon theater and Lebanon itself.

    It was obvious that Israel were itching for a rematch. Israel were routinely violating Lebanese and Syrian air space, a provocation which itself could have escalated into a war had either had anti aircraft missiles capable for downing an F-16.

    Your Wikipedia entry is interesting an all, but far from conclusive and there are numerous counter analysis that place the location of the skirmish on the Lebanese side of the border.

  47. Suzanne,

    You asked me “…if you had to live a hell, would you prefer what Israel has to live with or what the Palestinians have to live with?”

    That’s a false choice. Why should either side have to suffer?

    I never heard of a stable and thriving state who’s viability relies on the largest aid contributions int he world and free arms.

    Sorry I couldn’t humor you, but some realities cannot be avoided.

    Palestinian suffering predates the existence of Hamas so it’s patently false to suggest that Hamas are the cause of it.

    The only difefrence between Hezbollah waging war in urban areas and Israel is the fact that Israel have had the luxury of not fighting wars on it’s side of the border. When an army invades you, it’s inevitable.

    BTW. Even that claim against Hezbollah was debunked.

    Amnesty and HRW Claims Discredited in Detailed Report

    Human Rights Watch: Troubling Report

    Israeli ‘human shield’ claim is full of holes

    Civilian casualties has been Israel’s strategy, not Hezbolla’s. need I remind you of Shiff’s quote and Tom Friedman’s analysis? Collective punishment is Israel’s signature strategy and one that you yourself believes has been effective.

    I don’t expect you to accept what I’ve written. You made up your mind a long time ago (or someone made it for you) that Israel is blameless and justified in all it does. That’s fair enough and I respect your honesty, but don’t pretend that opposing arguments, especially the inconvenient ones is not useful dialogue. It’s essential.

    It might well be true that the left has not been involved in the conversation at the top levels of power, but then again, Washington is a cesspool of corruption, bought and pad for by lobbyists and arms contractors. Arguing that the left are not a party to this is like arguing that honesty is irrelevant becasue it has no role in the justice system.

    It’s hardly a point to be proud of.

    I agree that the US should back out. They have never been an honest broker and simply fulfilled the ole of being an enabler to Israeli excesses. Of course, with backing out, the US should also stop handing out blank cheques to such a stable, thriving state.

  48. Shingo,
    You spoke of the “facts” of the Hezbollah abduction occurring in Lebanon. I presented you with documentation of the abduction occurring in Israel.

    You spoke of Hezbollah as part of the Lebanese government, which is EXACTLY the reasoning that Israel gave in attacking all of Lebanon after Hezbollah shelled Northern Israel.

    You gotta pick one and stick to it consistently.

    You don’t have to of course. You can stick to contradictions, adopt a religious miracle view that defies logic.

  49. Just for clarification, I NEVER made up my mind that Israel was blameless. I did observe that Hamas and Hezbollah were very blameful, and that solidarity that sought to divert attention from their gruesomely violent opportunism and political ineptitude, were delusional and seeking to spread the delusion across the globe.

  50. The difference between the Lebanon theater and Lebanon proper is that press frequently report of events that occurred in the Lebanon theater as Lebanon, meaning the border of Lebanon.

    I’ve made those errors as well.

    It explains the Reuters mistake, and others that have been sited as authority, but later clarified when asked.

    Please show me an analysis that supports the view (that even Nasrallah renounced) that the abduction itself occurred in Lebanon, and not Israel.


  51. “Just for clarification, I NEVER made up my mind that Israel was blameless. I did observe that Hamas and Hezbollah were very blameful, and that solidarity that sought to divert attention from their gruesomely violent opportunism and political ineptitude, were delusional and seeking to spread the delusion across the globe.”

    In his narrow prism, that means you think Israel is blameless.

  52. Richard,

    Yes you presented me with reports of the abduction occurring in Israel. I presented a statement from an Israeli governess official that said otherwise.

    Israel did not use the fact that Hezbollah as part of the Lebanese government to attack all of Lebanon. Israel were demanding that the Lebanese military disarm Hezbollah, while simultaneously bombing their barracks, so clearly Israeli policy came unhinged early on.

    And with due respects, for someone who supports the blockade of Gaza but while insisting that BDS is counter productive and plays into the hand of hard liners, you are the last person who should be preaching to anyone about consistency.

    Also, which you claim to never have suggested that Israel was blameless, you refer to only one side as terrorists.

    Your explanation for the border of Lebanon vs Lebanon theater is also vague. The borer of Lebanon happens to be the border of Israel too, so it can’t be Lebanese theater without it being Israeli theater also.

    Is there any statesman from Nasrallah alluding to where the capture of the soldiers occurred?

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