Saturday, January 10, 2009

This is Gaza.

Tonight, Duke University held a vigil for Gaza. I was invited to speak, even after certain campus groups said they were displeased at the choice of speakers, saying they found my comments offensive last time I spoke.

Here is a rough copy of my speech:

Imagine if you will a land teeming with refugees; a land of the dispossessed, closed off from the outside world; where smuggling is often the only source of subsistence; where families who are not disappeared-are on the brink of starvation; surrounded by an army and bombarded by that army.

The year was 1943. The place: the Warsaw Ghetto.

The description is hauntingly familiar. But it is now 2009.

And this is Gaza.

As we speak tonight, more than 800 Palestinians have and 14 Israelis have lost their lives over the course of the past two weeks.

17 mosques have been destroyed, a church seriously damaged; Over 12 medics and a journalist killed; ambulances; schools; houses; women, men, children.

In fact-entire families-entire families have been eliminated from existence.

This is Gaza.

Roughly the size of this nation’s great capital, Washington DC, it is s closed in on all sides. There is no escape. There is not entry.

And it’s residents-already stateless after 40 years of occupation and a majority of them refugees - are at once being blockaded and bombarded by land, sea, and sky: it is a situation that is unprecedented in modern history.

Gaza-where acute malnutrition rates, after 3 years of Israeli blockade, are now on scale with the poorest nations in the southern Sahara, according to the UN; where half of all Palestinian families eat one meal a day; Where the siege has killed not only lives, but hopes and dreams and futures.

Today in Gaza, no where is safe. That is what friends and family have been repeating to me day after day after day for the past two weeks. They are trapped, terrorized, and traumatized.

The parliament building down the street from my parents’ home; the mosque around the corner; the university my cousin attends; the ambulance my friend drives; the pier where we get our fish; the playground my son used to play in; the farm my colleague's father grew; the restaurant I had my evening coffees at.

Everything living, beautiful, and ordinary has been a target.

"You don't know who is alive, you don’t know what is a target next; you feel you are in a trap, and where do you run to.. the Israeli navy is shelling from the sea, the F-16s from the sky, the tanks from the ground...where to?" my friend repeated again and again.

This is Gaza.

I have learned that my comments are considered offensive to some. For this, I do NOT apologize.

Sometimes, we need to be offended in order to wake up to the brutal realities around us; realities which we helped create-with our taxes, with our votes, with our silence;

And I say: Occupation is not only offensive; it is lethal;

The United Nations has described what is happening in Gaza as a Crime Against Humanity- both in terms of its Deliberateness; its Scope; and its Disproportionality

That an occupied territory-and yes-Gaza is still recognized as occupied- is not only subject to a deliberate siege after free and fair elections-depriving an already impoverished and dispossessed people` intentionally of electricity, aid trucks, and medicines, is then bombed, is not only unfathomable, it is indefensible.

It is incumbent upon all of us to speak out for peace and justice for all.

For Israel can only achieve the security is seeks by providing that same security to Palestinians.

In order to realize a sustainable resolution to this conflict, we must not only call for an end to arms: whether they are Palestinian rockets or Israeli laser guided missiles.

But we also also address the underlying cause of it all: We must demand an end to Israel’s siege and illegal occupation of Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem. This is an obligation, not a concession.

We cannot continue to speak of it as an event occurring in a vacuum; or as though the firing of rockets onto Israeli towns was simply an event on its own, without context. As though Gazans were not dying a slow death by way of siege before this; or suffering under occupation throughout.

It is about the denial of basic Palestinians rights. the right to statehood; the rights of refugees to return to their homes; the rights of family to reside together and to visit one another; the right to travel freely; to receive medical treatment; to education; to a childhood free of violence; the right to worship; the right to live free of occupation and siege.

Palestinians must be allowed to realize their most basic human rights-freedom and self-determination, the same concepts this country was founded on.

The United States must change its long-standing policy of blind support for Israel.

It must become an even-handed broker in this conflict, addressing Palestinian needs for justice, equality, and yes, security just as they do Israel’s. It must demand that Israel end its illegal occupation, running on 40 years, of the Gaza Strip, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem.

And friends don’t let friends run an occupation.

I end with a rough translation of a poem by the late Mahmoud Darwish, titled,

"silence for Gaza"


"Gaza has no throat.
Its pores are the ones that speak in sweat, blood, and fires.
Hence the enemy hates it to death and fears it to criminality, and tries to sink it into the sea... And hence its relatives and friends love it with a coyness that amounts to jealousy and fear at times, because Gaza is the brutal lesson …and the shining example for enemies and friends alike.
Gaza is not the most beautiful city.
Its shore is not bluer than the shores of Arab cities.
Its oranges are not the most beautiful in the Mediterranean basin.
Gaza is not the richest city.
It is not the most elegant or the biggest, but it equals the history of an entire homeland, because it is more ugly, impoverished, miserable, and vicious in the eyes of enemies.
Because it is the most capable, among us, of disturbing the enemy’s mood and his comfort. Because it is his nightmare. Because it is mined with oranges; children without a childhood; old men without old age; and women without desires. Because of all this it is the most beautiful, the purest and richest among us and the one most worthy of love."


Blogger Yonit said...

Is it possible that there is more to this than what you describe? There is nothing illegal about conquering a country-a territory. Such is war, just like the Israel independence war in 1948.

Just like Obama said-if someone was targeting my country and children like Hamas was and is targeting southern Israel, I'd want to protect myself too.

Laila-you live here in peace, and you used to live in Gaza as well. Why was your family there if it was so bad? And why are you still here if the US is so bad and protecting Israel?

Is it possible that the US, the most powerful country in the world, is actually right in backing Israel? Hamas is a terrorist organization, and must be stopped. It is ashamed that innocents are hurt in this mission to stop the terrorists, but sometimes that happens.

After 9/11 here, US went and attacked Afghanistan and Iraq. And they had every right to. Same with Israel and Gaza.

5:57 AM  
Blogger Yonit said...

You and I live in the same city, and I would really like to talk to you more and hear more of what you have to say. I am leaving my email address, with hopes that you will write to me and we can put aside the hostilities and just hear each other out.

6:04 AM  
Blogger JohnB said...

Well said Laila.

Often the truth makes us uncomfortable and it that feeling is misinterpreted as a feeling of being "offended."

What is being "offended" is the "truth" that we have constructed for ourselves. The one that makes us feel comfortable. The one that lets us sleep at night. The one that lets me believe that the F-16s that we "sell" are to defend against other fighter jets. That the the missiles, the tanks, the mines that we sell will fight armies.

Not be used to starve. To quarantine. To isolate. To limit the flow of power and medicine. Not to debauch daily life or to demoralize or dehumanize.

But they are. We can see it now, on CNN, on YouTube. And we can even say the nameless people in the building that is no longer there somehow "deserved" what happened to them - whatever it was in that last horrible moment.

But for me, those justifications no longer carry any weight.

The new truth is not easy to live with, but it is better than living with a lie.

In Solidarity Laila,


6:06 AM  
Blogger Kelly Kilmer said...

Well said, to the point and right on.

*Thank You, Laila*

6:10 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

El-Haddad, 2012

6:38 AM  
Blogger Dragonfly said...

Altruism is lost on you Yonit. You are free to visit Coby's grandfather in Israel, if he lived in Gaza you would not dare, do you know what happens to relatives visiting Gaza under occupation?

7:02 AM  
Blogger Yonit said...

You're right. I am free to visit Israel as I please, and whether I would dare to visit relatives in Gaza-I don't know. I do know that I have family and friends living in and around Ashkelon, and they have had to leave-leave work, school, their homes-in order to escape the missiles that have constantly been fired on them for years-more so in recent weeks, obviously. I myself am from the North-in a town right near Nahariyah, where Katyusha rockets were just fired a couple of days ago, and many more during the Lebanon war.

When I grew up in Israel I grew up with and among Arabs living in my home town. We went to the same schools, played together, and visited one another. The second language taught in Israeli schools is Arabic (also English, btw.) I grew up knowing that Muslims/Arabs were friends, not enemies of Israel, but that there are some extremists, terrorists, who want to destroy Israel and all Israelis.

War is an ugly, terrible thing. The people in Gaza, the majority of them, are certainly innocent victims. Please do not think I have anything but sympathy for them.

However, Hamas is the enemy. If the people in Gaza rose up against them, Israel would help them more. Hamas is fighting among the people, launching rockets from homes, schools, and mosques. What is Israel to do? They have an obligation to protect themselves.

Hamas has no regard for the civilians around them. THEY are the enemy-not Israel.

7:22 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Yonit - Hamas would not have existed if Palestinians were not forced to live in exile, in inhumane conditions, enduring suffering and humiliation. Israel took their homes, their villages, forced them into a ghetto, like Warsaw, and expected them acquiesce. In my opinion, Palestinians have been quite patient for 60 years. Did you and your fellow Israeli's expect them to just vanish? I know Israel has been effective in dehumanizing the Palestinians, but is Israel still expecting the Palestinians to just go away. Be realistic, address the root cause, which is justice for the Palestinians.

In the end justice will prevail... why not have a hand in it now. Palestinians have suffered and lived in humiliation for the past 60 year for the sake of the creation of Israel.

"I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation." Elie Wiesel

8:05 AM  
Blogger Dragonfly said...

GoodCarma your response is what mine would have been, thank you.

8:18 AM  
Blogger נובאמת said...

I'm sorry. I honestly cannot fathom how a nation that had only sixty years ago survived the Nazi death machine can now commit such crimes against another nation. It shames me to be Israeli nowadays. I truly hope this unnecessary war ends as soon as possible and that a true solution to the conflict will soon be found.

8:24 AM  
Blogger umkahlil said...

I have nothing but admiration for your principled efforts, Laila.

9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yonit says: Just like Obama said-if someone was targeting my country and children like Hamas was and is targeting southern Israel, I'd want to protect myself too.

Of course you would, but this is totally disproportionate. Bombing schools, hospitals, densely populated areas, leaving 800 Palestinians and 14 Israelis dead. How can anyone think that this is a solution?

Laila, I have just discovered your blog. Really interested in what you have to say. I'll be marching in London this afternoon.

11:30 AM  
Blogger clubber plex said...

I allowed myself to translate part of your comment into Spanish at my blog.

Finally we'll get it! Madrid is marching on and on from a couple of weeks ago. And we will...

Kisses from Spain.

1:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About the US being attacked by a neighbour, here is what a retiring marine said. The US would defend itself, but probably not the same way. I feel like they mixed up the words "defend" and "attack".
I also don't see clearly why the US had all right to attack Afghanistan or Iraq. The pilots came from Saudi Arabia, or? I think in Afghanistan many thousands of people have died in the last years, many civilians too. It's just less known than in Palestine.
In any case, thanks for blogging.

1:53 PM  
Blogger Dean Whitbread said...

Thanks for this. There is widespread revulsion and horror at what is happening now in the UK, from all sides. My single hope is that the Israeli atrocities spark some kind of reaction wordlwide and inspire a coordinated peace movement, because we need one.

3:49 PM  
Blogger -Inner Peace- said...

January 08, 2009 11:30 am
Israel has and always will be the unwanted guest at the party, the person who should demonstrates what un he is by standing on the furniture and terrorizing the cat. If Israel *truly* wants peace, it'll stop its idiotic political and physical attacks on any- and everyone in the Middle East. Let's get real, okay? The Six Day War was a land grab, nothing more, the first in a series of moves cute little Israel has made to utterly annoy and enrage its neighbours. It has *never* chosen to play nice. It has *always* considered itself "special" and "above everyone else"... and then it wonders why no one likes it very much.

How delusional can one country be???
— Sean Martin, Mebane, NC

Recommend Recommended by 6 Readers

Ηi!!!I'm Roula from Greece...
I pressed on the link in Hamoid's answer....
I transfered to the New York times site,and look what I found!!!
Hope for the new year the new American President to stop the coverage to the Neonazis Israelis!
I only cry for the hundreds of angels that dying wondering why...
God bless us all....

3:50 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I think this speech is a real wake up call for people, and hearts who will really listen. It is a crime what is happening to the people of Gaza, and the Palestians as a whole. Thank you so much for being an acvtivist, by way of journalism.

3:54 PM  
Blogger נובאמת said...

I'm not sure whether I should enter this discussion, but while Laila's protest cannot be more justified, I hardly think this is a one-sided conflict. And before anyone attacks me- no, I don't mean the current events on Gaza, but the Israeli-Araby situation.
Where were you when my grandparents were murdered in the gas chambers? Where were you when they were tortured, raped, made to hide, experienced on? Why didn't the British air-force bombarded Auschwitz although having received detailed maps?
Where were you when the Fidayun had infiltrated the Israeli southern border, killing woman and children in their sleep? When the Syrian bombarded Israel's north-east border for years? When nearly all Jews of Hebron were massacred? When, for years, taking a bus in Israel was like playing a Russian Roulette, never knowing if you'd climb down – at all?
Sympathizing with one side and one side only is the easier thing to do. It saves you from dealing with the complexity these situations usually comes with; of the fact that usually- singling out transgressor and innocent victim is impossible. Because both sides are right, and both has been very very wrong, for many a time. And this is something the human mind find hard to deal with.

5:40 PM  
Blogger JohnB said...

Yonit, yet there has been not one bit of evidence offered to prove that weapons are being stored in these places. Even if there were, does that then justify the deaths of the innocent people who take shelter in the UN schools or in a mosque?

Please also keep in mind that many of the weapons in Gaza were delivered from the US (my country) via Israel to Fatah to be used against Hamas. Whether you like it or not, Hamas won the 2006 elections. Whether you like it or not, Fatah lost the attempted coup d' etat against Hamas.

When Fatah was expelled from Gaza, they left the weaponary that had been provided them by the US/Israel. Now the "unintended consequence" must be dealt with, I suppose.

Perhaps things would have been somewhat different if Israel had lived up to any of the agreed-upon arrangements for the opening of the border crossings that would have allowed food and supplies to flow into and out of Gaza. Perhaps if commerce rather than poverty had been encouraged, the people of Gaza would have been occupied with the notion of making a living and caring for their families. Denied that, anger and frustration set in.

I suggest, Yonit, that you study your own history and review how the whole of Palestine was ethnically cleansed by Haganah, Irgun, the Stern Gang and the IDF from 1948 and going forward.

Israel's own policies, Yonit, are coming back to haunt them.

You reap what you sow.

Read Ilan Pappe's "The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine" - you may find it illuminating.


1:40 AM  
Blogger Yonit said...

JohnB: There HAS been evidence that weapons were stored in the targets, and Israel has been bombing tunnels used for smuggling weapons from Egypt as well. And unfortunately, YES-if weapons used to bomb my country and hurt my people are stored somewhere and need to be destroyed, my country needs to destroy them to protect its people. It's sad that innocents have to get hurt, but such is war.

The people in Gaza live in poverty, but it wasn't always the case. Many Arabs live in Israel proper today, and they live in peace with the Israelis-do business together, and have the same rights as any other Israeli.

There was a time when Gaza was open, and people could go in and out freely to do business, work, shop, etc. However, when suicide bombers started going into Israel and performing acts of terror, the border had to be closed and monitored.

The Palestinians are reaping what they sowed. The allowed Hamas into power, allowed suicide bombers to go into Israel and murder freely, and now are suffering for it because they have to deal with the wall surrounding Gaza, the borders closed, etc.

1:51 AM  
Blogger said...

The reaction to your words is more indicative of the current focus of the American psyche than an intentional opposition. In fact, college campuses may be the only segments of the population that realize the war is going on.

Not many people I associate with know or speak of it. To some degree it is just being overshadowed by local political and economic concerns...

... but there is also a general sense of middle-east fatigue. The Iraq war is almost over, and with it the focus of more Americans will return to concerns outside of the region.

The argument of who is right and wrong in the Palestinian plight is, for Americans, becoming less relevant. We support Israel with funding, and we feed Gaza with funding. Whatever the outcome, I don't any of us see either of those payments becoming less expensive anytime soon.

4:05 AM  
Blogger ekran0plan said...


cant help but wonder, in your last line, whose land are you talking about?

actually no, we dont even have to get into that.

this is not a war. it is outright murder. any rational person can see the total imbalance of power in this confrontation.

i'm not saying hamas is right, but what kind of response is israel giving by flattening a whole neighbourhood, or neighbourhoods, for that matter?

they'll get what they deserve, all in good time.

i wish the best for the innocent in palestine, god bless you all.

10:22 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Michael You say -
"in order to get their house back..."

So you agree that Israeli land is originally Palestinian land.........

2:04 PM  
Blogger said...

I believe Mervyn is correct. This is not so much a war as it is using an army to exterminate a criminal gang.

Hamas is a gang. They are not nice people. They do many things that are inappropriate. But they are also not an army, and could never invade Israel in the same way Israel has invaded Gaza.

So, Israel's ground operation is excessive. An army attacking a gang.

Not that it changes anything, because Hamas and the Palestinians are starting to look very similar.

The Palestinians are going to have to acknowledge that Israel has a right to defend its own people. Israel has a right to find and kill the individuals launching rockets. I don't think most Palestinians are emotionally ready to accept that fact. The hate is too deep.

Were the residents of Gaza to help Israel in tracking down and punishing the true criminals, it may be easier for both sides to come to peace.

It took a long time for the Irish to acknowledge that the IRA was not working in the people's best interest. In that situation, the IRA itself recognized it was time to change. They kept their right and ability to respond to violence with violence, but matured into using political and economic power as the first option. They did that because the Irish people required it of them.

Israel is very much in the wrong in this war. But I don't see anyone stopping them as long as the Palestinians continue to irrationally rally behind Hamas.

Lawyers always talk about coming to equity with clean hands. Israelis and Palestinians need to reach for the soap, or this will continue for generations.

4:31 PM  
Blogger said...

actually, it is common for gangs to provide social infrastructure. In fact, most sociologists will tell you this is a core aspect of the gang self-definition.

Odd of you not to know this and be from a Roman Catholic background... Hamas is very similar to Cosa Nostra.

Look, I'm not taking sides in the disagreement. But both sides need to begin looking at themselves with honesty. Israel is acting like the imperial Nazis it so deeply despises, and Palestinians are supporting a criminal organization.

Both sides can give you a thousand reasons as to why they "have" to behave this way because of the historical trangressions of the other side. Whatever. Just take a deep breath, ignore history for 5 mins, and look at the CURRENT behavior of both sides.

Whatever acts got us here. Here is not a good place to be.

5:11 PM  
Blogger MIchael said...

Mr. John B, I want to make a point.
Israel didn't declare itself as a country, the UN did it, there was a voting for it.

The plan was very simple, one state for the jews, and one for the arabs (not palestinians or watsoever).
The arabs did not agree with that plan which was set by UN (!!!!!). The plan's name was "United Nations Partition Plan for Palestine", you can read on it.

Fact :"On 29 November 1947, the United Nations General Assembly voted 33 to 13, with 10 abstentions, in favour of the Partition Plan, while making some adjustments to the boundaries between the two states proposed by it."

Fact 2: The next day after the UN voting, arabs started war against Israel. The consequences were that the arab armies lost in this war, and the state of Israel could have started its life.

7:30 PM  
Blogger JohnB said...

Laila asked us to be civil, and I will be, but I would like to know what there is about Catholicism that would give one intimate knowledge of La Cosa Nostra? If this is not stereotyping, what is?

Secondly all human social activity can be characterized as "gang" activity since what is any organization but a gang?

Third, while the UN did indeed set up a partition plan, they did not include in the plan any support or authorization for the young Zionist State to include the use of Plan Dalet, which encouraged forced expulsions and executions of the indigenous population. There is a difference between political control of an area and the exclusive control of an area. The UN did not and has never authorized or sanctioned the removal of the Palestinians from Mandate Palestine. The UN has never sanctioned or authorized that Mandate Palestine would be a living area for Jews only or Presbyterians only or Druze only or Seventh-Day Adventists only.

Sadly, Israel has written history to suit itself as it has gone along and even more sadly, it has engaged in acts that has sown the seeds for retaliatory acts by the people who were evicted from their homes in 1947 - 48, the 50's and again in 1967 and in various encroachments up until today.

Nowhere has it been the stated goal of the UN or anyone but the state of Israel or the Zionist movement that Palestine be the home of anyone but Jews only. Currently, the ethnic cleansing of the occupied territories is a clear violation of the Geneva Conventions and if it 9ethnic cleansing) was wrong in Poland and wrong in Bosnia and wrong in the Sudan it is also wrong in Palestine.


8:12 PM  
Blogger said...

As a fellow Roman Catholic, no offense intended. Cosa Nostra is not just an organization, it is a type of organization that Catholic culture has re-invented in every country it has entered. Nothing wrong with that - just part of our religion's history.

And no, not all organizations are gangs. Or maybe they are, but you know that is now what we are talking about. We are talking about groups that use illegal activities to collect funding for violence and social welfare.

This is a civil conversation. I am not accusing anyone of anything that is not already out there in the public consciousness. Which is exactly the point.

No amount of denial is going to solve the problem. There are only four alternatives: (a) Israel will subdue the Palestinians, or (b) the Palestinians will subdue the Israelis, or (c) the two groups will establish a meaningful peace, or (d) this killing will continue every few years forever.

I don't live there, so which alternative ends up being selected by Hamas and Israel is not really any of my business.

The people should just know that "c" is a real option. It is not easy. But there are historical precedents of groups slowly and akwardly coming to grips with each other's right to exist and prosper.

The claim that history determines or fate is false. We are not are fathers. The sins of prior generations to not condemn us to violence and hatred.

Both sides can on any day simply say "ENOUGH!" and begin anew. Hey, if you don't like your life... the first step is to change your mind.

11:46 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

John B - Well stated. I ditto your comments. Thank you.

1:08 AM  
Blogger ChaiTime said...

Michael - In your comments - I honestly cannot fathom how a nation that had only sixty years ago survived the Nazi death machine can now commit such crimes against another nation.

Neither cn most of the world! The Israeli's have turned in the biggest murderers of today's world. Since when did killing women and children become an honorable method of defense?

5:26 AM  
Blogger MysticHarpooner said...

Chai time: you are a fool!

Comparing any two tragedies is a disservice to what makes each one unique. This is especially true here because this whole thing could have been avoided if we had just made the arabs in Gaza go back to Egypt when we "returned" Sinai to Mitzraim. The Sinai peninsula is ten times the size of Gaza......go home diet-Semites!!!

Also: every "palestinian" claims to have a key or a deed in the land they want to go home to. Yet every historian of pre-1948 made a note of how sporadic and sparse the arab population was. There is just no way the arabs had parked their camels and sheish-besh cafes in every single square inch of the land. Just be honest and admit that you can't deal with Jews coming home to their land ebcause the Koran says you cant allow land that was once walked on by muslims return to its rightful owners! I have read the passages about it, I can speak about it I alone?


6:50 AM  
Blogger MysticHarpooner said...

We more than walked on it Chai, we built it, nurtured it and sustained it. We were pushed away by foreign forces and returned every year, Jews always came back, small in numbers sometimes, but always there in Tzsfat, Hevron, Yerushaliyim etc.

The IDF soends so much time and money warning people about pending strikes, going door to door with soldiers, picking out the proper targets.......if they were cowards they would just sit at home and let Hamas pound them. If they were callous they would just fire-bomb the entire thing end to end. Yet we value life to much, even the lives of those who seem to glorify those bent on taking it.

Stop using the word Chai, you know nothing about life and its precious balance.

7:28 AM  
Blogger ChaiTime said...

Gregory - I am for Peace - you just can't accept peace means a world with less of Israel's bullying.

Talking about Peace - it appears Israel needs to learn about Peace. Since conception, it has been a source of agression, murder, misery and war.

The IDF uses Palestinian children as human shields. How is that humane?

What bothers me is that the Jews should be the first people who want peace, instead they behave no better than the Nazis behave towards them. It's sad. But Israel has started the 2nd Holocaust. Shame on a community that was once known for it's justice and culture - you have decended to no better than perpetuators of genocide.

As for Jews nurturing the land of Palestine - excuse my while I LMAO. Read your history books - Jews were trying to run trade, make fame and fortune in Europe. That's why millions of Jews were there and only a mere handful in Israel in the 1930s. Just incase you did not know - it was sadly the success of the Jews in Europe that lead Hitler to the community. So don't tell me they were nurturing the land that belongs to Palestinians! Get your facts straight before you start demanding what was never rightfully yours.

7:40 AM  
Blogger jhimmi said...

I keep trying to give Gazans and Gaza sympathizers the benefit of the doubt. Unfortunately, I, too am well acquainted with their religious mandates.

What I'd really like to know is the answer to a hypothetical: Let's say Israel gave in to every Palestinian demand, except the one about the destruction of Israel. What, then, should Israel do when suicide bombings, riots, missiles, etc. are deployed in Gaza, instigated from as far away as Iran and Pakistan? We all know it would happen, it's mandated by Islam. So then, what? Would it then be OK for Israel to nuke Gaza? Syria? Iran? Pakistan?

The Palestinian apologist's failure to address these basic security issues always strike me as a form of taqiyaa, deception, dissimulation.

4:14 PM  
Blogger JohnB said...

Gregory, no offense, but Israel itself is able to document the expulsion of 750,000 "Arabs" from Mandate Palestine in 1948.

This is not what I would call a "sparse" population. Further, over 450 villages were destroyed during that time - villages that had been in existence for hundreds of years.

The problem, Gregory, is that the Zionists have created their own historiography - one that bears little resemblance to the actual facts of what transpired.

No one in their right mind is going to deny the Holocaust. But we should not forget that along with 6 million Jews almost 6 million Poles, Gypsies, Slovaks, Catholics, Intellectuals, Communists, Mentally Retarded and other people were also exterminated at the hands of the Nazis in the Camps.

No one who saw what happened or who agrees that ethnic cleansing such as we saw in Poland and Czechslovakia (not to mention in the Ukraine/Russia) during WWII and more recently in Bosnia and Sudan want to stand idly by and watch the Palestinians be ethnically cleansed.

Israel was supposed to be peacefully settled. The Nakba is very much to the Palestinians a disaster where they were forced from their homes. Where they were executed, expelled and refused the right of return to their homes. Now, they have been caged. Someone is dropping bombs on the cage and withholding food and water from the cage.

And the jailor wonders why those inside are throwing things at them.

I challenge you Gregory, to study your own history. Read Ilan Pappe, if you dare.


2:19 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...

Greetings from Ireland. I am horrified by what I see on my TV screen every evening. I am tired of hearing Israel's defence and their description of this as a defensive "war". Is bombing one and a half million people - a people who have already been denied medical supplies - who are locked into a tiny area, with no means of escape, a defensive mission? Is bombing a people who have no way to protect themselves war? To me it looks like genocide. BBC World News report from the border with Israel. Both yesterday and today they showed little groups of Israelis watching the bombing over Gaza and cheering. How can a nation live with so many innocent deaths on its conscience? It is barbaric. Why use such force in response to these rockets? Did Britain bomb Ireland in response to the IRA? No. Are we well on the road to peace? Yes. Violence is never the answer.

All over Europe people are marching in protest at what has happened. They are well educated people. They know the history. They are not anti-Semetic or anti-Jewish. They are simply demanding an end to the carnage. The world is watching the actions of Israel, just as it watched what happened in Apartheid South Africa. It said no then. It says no now. Trade embargos hurt. As another mother, I am so so sorry for what has happened in your country. I will continue to protest peacefully and to voice my opinion. I will also provide a link to your blog on my blog. Again, I am genuinely shocked at the force that has been used against your people. There is NO justification for the slaughter of innocents. I am 50 years old. This is the darkest moment I have witnessed.

Peace to you,

2:24 AM  
Blogger Yonit said...

Lucky for you that this is the darkest moment in your 50 years of life that you have witnessed. I am 31 years old, and have witnessed 9/11, and a few suicide bombers (not really doing anything bad, ya know, just slaughtering innocents in Israel.) My brother was on a bus that was bombed by a suicide bomber. Oh yeah-but that was justified, right?

Southern Israel has been suffering FOR YEARS getting hit by rockets from Gaza. Israel tried to stop the rockets but after such a long time and no end in sight they had to do something.

Look-there is no doubt that the people in Gaza live in poverty, and their losses are terrible. Any innocent lives lost are just horrible! It's very sad. But remember that each person has their own troubles and pain, and their troubles are THEIRS, ya know? Can't really compare it because they are living through it. When you're living in fear of bombs or rockets or missiles, it doesn't matter if you're on one side or another of the border.

The people in Israel are suffering just as much as the people in Gaza. Each family that loses a member, or that loses their home, or that has to flee-the pain is the same nomatter where they live.

And BTW, Wendy-about the Israelis cheering? Ever watch the news after a suicide bombing in Israel? They'll show people in Gaza passing out candy and treats to everyone on the streets, shooting rifles in celebration, and dancing and singing.

3:05 AM  
Blogger Yonit said...


Here is a link to a video of Gaza celebrations after a horrid attack in Israel on a Yeshiva (Jewish learning center) It's commentated in Hebrew but the video says it all:

Here's another link-in English-after double suicide bombing in Israel-Again-Hamas celebrating:

3:11 AM  
Blogger JohnB said...

Yonit, I question why anyone would be cheering the death of anyone at all.

You see, from the perspective here, you are claiming the land of Israel as "yours." Further, despite paying lip-service to religions being equal, the only religion that counts in Israel is Judaism.

For 60 years there has been an on-going and systematic ethnic cleansing of "Israel." Some of the earliest bus-bombings were carried out by groups like Haganah, Irgun and the Stern Gang. When villages were taken by the Zionist fighters in 1948, Plan Dalet required that the homes of the "Arabs" be demolished and the occupants expelled or executed.

You say that the lands could be cleared of Arabs immediately. Surely they could, but doing such a thing "immediately" would be far too brazen. So it is done a bit at a time. Village by village. Special road by special road. Checkpoint by checkpoint. Special operation by special operation. targeted assassination by targeted assassination.

I am not relieving any group of their responsibility to live a morally correct life. Killing is wrong. But just as blowing up buses was wrong in the 1930's and 1940's was wrong and blowing up the King David Hotel was wrong to achieve an end; the suicide bombings and such are wrong too.

But as I have said before, both sides are reaping what they sow. Israel's drive to dehumanize the Palestinians and create their own version of Apartheid South Africa is shameful. You declare ownership of the moral high ground, but your actions are pages right out of the worst of what humankind has done to each other.

If, as you say, you are so cultured and so just and so mighty; act like it.

Anyone with explosives can blow up innocents. It takes intellect to defuse the explosives.


1:04 PM  
Blogger Yonit said...

You claim there is ethnic cleansing-then why are so many Arabs/Muslims living in Israel? They don't live in Gaza-they live in Israel proper-they live among the Jews, they work, the eat in the same restaurants, and their children play together. They have the same rights as anyone else. They get government funded medical care, schooling, and a special stipend given monthly to each child in the household.

In my hometown in the North (Akko), it seems like at this point there are more Muslims than Jews. There is nothing wrong with that. My point is that there is a way for everyone to live in peace.

2:32 PM  
Blogger CTedone said...

The analogy to the Warsaw ghetto is insulting from beginning to end. The polish were not endlessly firing rockets into Germany. They were not strapping children with bombs and sending them into sausage restaurants or beer gardens to blow up Germans. The polish were under attack from an invading force they had not been hostile towards. The people of Gaza take every chance they get to kill Israelis, then cheer in the streets when they kill a few. Just because Hamas is incompetent at killing, does not mean its for a lack of desire to kill as many as they can. Hamas, and the people who support them, and cheer them on, are getting the justice they have been begging for.

11:02 PM  
Blogger JohnB said...

It is equally insulting to see the parts of the analogy that do apply: the inability to travel, the inability earn a living, being treated differently simply because you are a minority group, having a wall built around you, having the amount of food allowed in controlled, having the amount of water controlled, having special identification papers, not being able to marry someone outside of Gaza without "permission."

No, it is insulting to do all these things and say you are different.

I have had to own up to what my government has done wrong in Iraq. I have had to own up to what my government and my neighbors have done wrong and still do wrong to African Americans, Native Americans and Minorities.

It isn't easy to look into that mirror.

But if you no longer want to be insulted, stop engaging in a "war" with people who are walled in. Stop denying people who are non-combatants food, water, shelter and medicine.

And please, stop insulting the 12 million who died in the Holocaust both Jew and non-Jew by saying "never again" and then going out and showing that the powerful will take advantage of the weak. Don't dishonor every person who has been forced to leave their homes or been beaten or executed because they did not, by invalidating that the Palestinians don't want to leave theirs either.

If Hamas is incompetent at killing, then dare I say Israel is incompetent at being Humane.


2:17 AM  
Blogger Yonit said...


Israel is the most humane army in the world. Where else would you get warnings to leave before the attack? The fact that people don't heed the warnings is not Israel's problem. When Hamas stops using human shields, stops bombing from their own backyards, Israel will be able to stop bombing neighborhoods.

It is a shame that millions of people in Gaza have to suffer for the acts of the few Hamas terrorists. But those innocent people need to stand up to Hamas and tell them that this will not be tolerated. Why are they letting Hamas launch rockets from homes and schools? Take a stand!!!

5:47 AM  
Blogger ChaiTime said...

The most Humane army in the world is in Canada. Israel is pretty destructive - just watch CNN for that.

And what is the purpose of the Israeli army telling people to leave when they have closed all the borders? Where would they go? Nothign is safe. The murderous IDF bomb schools and homes after telling people to take refuge there.

Tell me where the innocent should go and then tell me that the Israeli army warns them to leave.

5:52 AM  
Blogger Wendy said...


I have already heard all of your arguments. Again, there is no justification. Again, did Britain bomb Ireland and lock the Irish people into an area a third of the size of Dublin before doing so? The fact remains: your nation is a disgrace in the eyes of the world. And yes, I obviously lived through 9/11. It was shocking. Any terrorist act is shocking. Negotiations are the only answer.
Where is your compassion? Why aren't you grief-stricken for the hundreds of dead children and thousands of wounded? Shame on Israel.

11:30 AM  
Blogger ChaiTime said...

"But we can't negotiate with terrorists. That's not just an Israeli rule."
You support genocide instead of negotiating with Hamas? You really want the death of all those kids on the conscience of all Jews who support IDF?

As for your comment of Hamas killing Jewish kids for no reason - this is EXACTLY what IDF thugs do to Palestinian kids - and yet you support them.

The unbalanced nature of all Jewish arguments in support of the genocide in Gaza is total denial. I cannot believe that Jews who were known for culture, trade and education and sufferred in the Holocaust because of that, are today committing another Holocaust with the support of their community.

For heaven sakes stand up and speak out against the genocide in Gaza - Hamas or no Hamas - children never need to die. Israel needs to stop creating another ghetto and start to open up all borders and break down that concrete wall. Peace comes hand in hand with prosperity - people tend to not shoot down their neighbors if they are going to make more money with them alive.

I am disturbed that any person would support actions that kill kids.

3:55 PM  
Blogger JohnB said...

I read with interest today that in democrtatic Israel, the last three Arab political parties were banned from participating in the upcoming elections.

Further,Avigdor Lieberman, leader of the Yisrael Beiteinu party, has made his next goal making the National Democratic Assembly illegal.

Please, all of you who keep writing that Israel is a democracy where you can protest freely - to put it bluntly: save it for those of us who are more likely to believe these stories. Israel as a government and a people has very little interest in equal rights or democracy.

You have much more in common with the aparthied government of South Africa or the former Rhodesia than any "democracy."


2:59 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

JohnB - Thank you very much for your comments/responses. You are articulating my position very well and I am grateful to know that your voice is intelligent and well thought out. Please continue, because I'm tired of the Israeli propaganda and wish for more articulate voices like yours. Thank you!

3:31 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

JohnB - Thank you very much for your comments/responses. You are articulating my position very well and I am grateful to know that your voice is intelligent and well thought out. Please continue, because I'm tired of the Israeli propaganda and wish for more articulate voices like yours. Thank you!

3:31 AM  
Blogger JohnB said...

Yonit, so based on your own first two sentences you are apparently saying that while you don't like the idea of killing kids it is just fine as long as Israel is doing the killing seeing as how they have good reasons.

So in the absence of God, Israel has put themselves in charge of decisions such as who lives and who dies.

When one goes to the synagogue on the Sabbath in Israel; who does one pray to? Themselves?

Even with all the boneheaded things we did after 9/11, we actually tried to get bin Laden rather than shelling UN compounds. But now that you have clarified who the final authority on moral issues is in your neighborhood, I can see why there is such a problem.


4:10 AM  

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