Friday, January 9, 2009

The Blame Game

LA Times has a wonderful column that should be read, below is an excerpt:

. . . Israel style

Never pass up a chance to rub salt in open wounds. Keep on building settlements in occupied territory. Stuff like that. Ya know?

Undermine and isolate potential interlocutors who might be able to represent the Palestinians. First, destroy Palestinian Authority infrastructure and withhold funds and supplies needed for critical social services, thus helping to push ordinary Palestinians into the arms of Hamas, with its ample social services programs funded by Iran and private Arab donors. Then, when Hamas wins Palestinian elections, isolate Gaza and undermine Hamas.

Be trigger happy. A recent statistical analysis by three academics (one at MIT, one at Harvard and one from Tel Aviv University) found that an overwhelming majority of lulls in violence since 2000 (when the second intifada began) ended when Israelis killed Palestinians, sparking renewed tit-for-tat violence. According to Nancy Kanwisher, Johannes Haushofer and Anat Biletzki, "79% of all conflict pauses were interrupted when Israel killed a Palestinian, while only 8% were interrupted by Palestinian attacks." The pattern was "more pronounced for longer conflict pauses. ... Of the 25 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than a week, Israel unilaterally interrupted 24, or 96%." Always give war a chance!

Carry out intense aerial attacks on densely populated civilian areas. Civilians in the Gaza Strip are fenced in -- the sea on the west and heavily guarded borders on the land perimeter. As Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian surgeon working at a Gaza hospital, put it, the aerial bombardment of Gaza is like "bombing 1 1/2 million people in a cage."

Heavy civilian casualties are inevitable -- like those from the Israeli strikes on Tuesday that damaged three United Nations schools, killing at least 48.

Complain about unfair media coverage, but don't let any Israeli or foreign journalists into Gaza (in defiance of the Israeli Supreme Court, which has ordered that a limited number of journalists must be allowed in). That way, nearly all news coming out of Gaza will come from Palestinian journalists.

Don't have a plan. Start bombing Gaza to eliminate the Hamas capacity to fire rockets and mortars at Israel. Realize, as the Palestinian death toll approaches 700, that Hamas rocket attacks on Israel are still ongoing, there's no obvious military solution short of leveling Gaza, international dismay is rising, and you don't really have a game plan. Continue to play it by ear -- it's just a war.

Also you should visit my blog on and read "Why We Care" and "Muslims and Palestine".

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