Sandmonkey on Gaza

“So, to break the news to you: Hey, Palestinian leaders, no matter how many homemade rockets you fire, the Israelis will retaliate with 100 times more weapons who are 1000 times more effective in killing their targets, so yeah, you are not winning here. And hey, Israeli leaders, No matter how many bombs you drop on Ghaza, the people there will continue to lop homemade rockets at you, because – and you should’ve noticed this the first time one of them stood against one of your tanks with nothing but a rock and a slingshot- they are willing to see 1000 of theirs die for 1 death on your side. You know who gave them that idea? Who set that fabulous exchange rate? You, when you decided that you would trade 1000 of their living for 1 of your dead. And hey, Israeli and Palestinian people, newsflash: Your leaders couldn’t give a rats ass about you or your livelihood or your well-being. THEY DON’T CARE IF YOU LIVE OR YOU DIE, OK?”

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14 thoughts on “Sandmonkey on Gaza

  1. Dear Qifa,

    I have a personal question for you: in your (and Abass’ :-)) assessment, what is the chance or the conditions under which Hizballah will “come to the rescue” of Hamas and start launching rockets into Northern Israel?

    It’s a personal question because my wife plans on visiting her family in Haifa next week and she wonders whether she is going to spend the vacation in the shelter like she did in 2006 😦

    Your opinion is much appreciated!

    Posted by Rumyal | January 6, 2009, 2:45 am
  2. Hi Rumyal,

    I’ve been meaning to post on this subject for a couple of days.

    I hope for our own sake that Hizbullah will not elect to get involved.

    In fact, Nasrallah has made it clear that they “will not be dragged into the conflict.”

    I think they understand that there is too much to lose and very little to gain by firing rockets at Israel. The IDF will happily take the bait and deal another crushing blow to our infrastructure.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 6, 2009, 10:43 am
  3. QN,

    Yes, the price of war. What worked in Lebanon will work in Gaza.

    I think since things have gone better for Israel in Gaza that now is a good time for a ceasefire. I don’t see much more political gain being achieved by Israel in continuing. I think before Jan 20 it will all be over with the fighting dying out much sooner.

    Trying to think a step ahead, what will Syria and Iran use in the future as leverage against Israel? Perhaps they will try to actively topple a “moderate” Arab regime instead. One thing is sure, Syria is going to come to the negotiating table with Israel with basically nothing to offer.

    Posted by AIG | January 7, 2009, 12:29 am
  4. Qifa,

    We’ve heard the calls inside Lebanon to not get involved, have there been opposing calls urging Hizballah or the Palestinian organizations to enter the fray?

    BTW, my wife cancalled her travel, so now it’s just my curiousity…

    Posted by Rumyal | January 7, 2009, 1:03 am
  5. Rumyal,

    Besides the street protests, no one has really called for Hizbullah to get involved. There was a story in the press yesterday about Israel uncovering a possible retaliatory strike by Hizbullah via a Palestinian organization, but now that the ceasefire may be upon us (hopefully?) I think it’s unlikely.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 7, 2009, 8:48 am
  6. QN,
    I am “moderated” (aka censored) at SC so let me answer you here. What you say is almost correct. I will accept the Arab plan but I want complete clarity that the right of return is renounced. What exists now is a fudge. You know very well that for example, Lebanon would never accept its Palestinians so will not accept the plan you propose.

    You say what you think the plan is regarding this point, but the truth is that this has NEVER been clearly articulated. I think there is no agreement in the Arab world on this point and also no agreement between the Palestinians. Show me that I am wrong, and I accept the plan with both hands as a basis for minor tweaking and then peace.

    Posted by AIG | January 9, 2009, 2:50 pm
  7. AIG,

    Sorry it took your comment a while to appear… you had a typo in your email address, so the blog did not recognize you.

    I heard Jimmy Carter discuss this issue when he was in Beirut last December. He seems confident that the reparations could be processed by the International Criminal Court.

    There is no agreement in the Arab world on this point because there is no leadership and the region is in total disarray. Plus, why put yourself out on the excommunication limb with discussions of renouncing the right of return when Israel is giving the moderates a very bad name? You have your electoral politics to contend with, and we have our dictatorial politics.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 10, 2009, 9:20 am
  8. QN,

    In talks between Alon Liel and Ibrahim Suleiman, one of the things the Syrians offered, is to make their 400,000 Palestinian refugees full-fledged Syrian citizens. That’s a huge step, symbolic and not, towards Israel. I imagine that most other states in the region that will wish to make peace with Israel, will follow suit. If a state of Palestine will be created, and if one Arab nation after another will begin formal relations with Israel, I seriously doubt Lebanon will be the last NOT to make peace.

    Do you, as a Lebanese, think otherwise? It might be important for AIG to hear your answer, and not only follow his “hunches” on what Lebanon will or will not accept.

    Btw, the Arab Plan states the following regarding the Right of Return:

    “Achievement of a just solution to the Palestinian Refugee problem to be agreed upon in accordance with UN General Assembly Resolution 194.”

    Key words: “… to be agreed upon”. In plain terms – “This is up for discussion.” No reason for Israel to reject negotiations with the entire Arab world that not once, not twice, but three times unanimously SUPPORTED this plan. Israel is an expert at missing opportunities, except that in three cases, it’s hard to miss the message the Arab world is sending us (i.e. “WE WANT PEACE”). So, to both not ignore, and yet not deliver, we simply add a few tiny preconditions, like “complete clarity that the right of return is renounced”. Ya’ani, we know you (the Arab world) said “agreed upon… in accordance with resolution 194…”, but we don’t like that very much, we want it perfectly clear, in advance!

    So what’s to negotiate about? Where to place the new KFC’s? What kind of fancy housing the ambassadors will have? What kind of expressions of love will and won’t be allowed between the peoples of the region?

    Believe me, if the Arab world got on its knees, screaming “no right of return”, AIG would come up with another tiny “clarification” requirement…

    Posted by Shai | January 10, 2009, 11:24 am
  9. Shai

    I agree with you, except for one thing. Lebanon’s case is different from Syria. Our 400,000 refugees represent 10% of our population, and our political system is not evolved enough to deal with the sectarian balance problem that a nationalization solution entails.

    But this does not mean that Lebanon cannot sign on to a peace deal. The vast majority of Lebanese want peace, but many are afraid about absorbing the Palestinians wholesale. We would have to find some kind of solution, hopefully one that involves reforming our own political system. Of course, this is not in the interest of the big political players.

    Posted by Qifa Nabki | January 10, 2009, 11:30 am
  10. QN,

    The fact of the matter is that the Arab peace plan is not as advertised. The right of return is such a crucial issue that entering a discussion about it will lead to an Oslo like failure. So why bother?

    I see Israel compromising on Jerusalem and settlements, but Israel will NEVER compromise about the right of return. As the parallel discussion on SC shows, neither will the Arabs. It may well be that even 80% of Palestinians would agree to a compromise, but the 20% could easily disrupt any peace process. All they have to do is shoot rockets at Israel from the West Bank. There will always be some extremist country willing to bankroll them.

    The operation in Gaza will buy Israel several years of quiet on its southern and northern borders. We will use these years to develop anti-missile systems and train ourselves better to fighting guerillas. That is the best we can do. Any other plan at this point is wishful thinking. Our ability to plan ahead is very very limited.

    Posted by AIG | January 10, 2009, 6:03 pm
  11. Shai,
    Over the last 2 weeks you have become hysterical. Look yourself in the mirror and calm down. 91% of Israelis support what the IDF is doing in Gaza. If you think all Israelis are stupid and racist, I do not understand why you want to be an Israeli. Really, renounce your Israeli citizenship and that’s it. Instead you have even resorted to justifying antisemitism on SC. Take a couple of valium and figure out what you really believe in. If you have nothing in common anymore with fellow Israelis, then just accept that and move on.

    The fact is that Israelis by and large are not stupid and racist. They are reacting normally to verbal and physical provocation which with Hamas started in 93. Now is the showdown. If Hamas does not care about Palestinian civillians, neither should we. Of course, we should try our best not to harm any, but also we should be persistent about going after Hamas. It is Hamas that wrote the rules of this battle, not we.

    Posted by AIG | January 10, 2009, 6:15 pm
  12. AIG,

    Thank for the psychological and physiological analysis. But I think you’re the last person to suggest to me about remaining patriotic. To remind you, it is you that spends a “bit more time” in the safe shores of the United States than in “Ramat Hasharon”. I can indeed move to the U.S., as my wife and kids are also American, and live a nice and quiet life that surely you’re well aware of. Yet I choose to stay here, in my country. Don’t lecture me about what an Israeli is. To me, an Israeli is, first and foremost, someone that lives here!

    As for Israelis being “stupid and racist”, I fail to see the lack of patriotism in giving one’s own people such criticism. I don’t think my people are “stupid” (at least no more than any other people on earth are), but I do think they’re misguided and many do suffer from innate racism. If you’ve been in Israel long enough, you’d know that few Israelis would seriously argue against that claim. We are racists towards our own, certainly towards Arabs. To me, the UNPATRIOTIC thing to do, is to continue living in denial, instead of trying to change such a reality.

    Posted by Shai | January 11, 2009, 5:30 pm
  13. Shai,

    Israeli’s are innately racist??? Sorry you are sick, big time.

    Israelis are no more racist than any other people. If Israelis were racist like the Arabs, there would be pogroms against the Israeli Arabs. But there are not. Israelis are more tolerant than most people would be in the difficult situations they find themselves.

    It is time you kicked away the nasty habit of being an elitist and understand that you are mostly wrong and most Israelis are mostly right.

    As for patriotism, the way you kiss up to antisemites and your willingness to give up on the essence of Israel, which is being a JEWISH state, make you not much of a patriot. You are for the one state solution, if that were practical. You are therefore against a Jewish state. So please explain, why are you an Israeli patriot? You want to destruct Israel and create another, non-Jewish country in its place.

    Posted by AIG | January 11, 2009, 6:07 pm
  14. AIG,

    Patriotism is expressed in many ways. Believe it or not, even in ways you may disagree with. You might, for instance, argue that by continuing to support Israel, even when you’re not in “Ramat Hasharon” but rather safe and sound in your American residence, that you’re still remaining patriotic. I would disagree with that, especially as you’re criticizing someone who remains in Israel, as opposed to yourself. In your black-or-white, with us-or-against us, view of the world, people who think differently, even about the future of the state of Israel, are unpatriotic.

    What if I actually felt that for my country, Israel, to survive, it needed to first be accepted in our region, it needed to first resolve the Palestinian people’s legitimate national aspirations, it needed to first withdraw from all occupied lands since 1967? What if I felt that Israel’s security was better served through peace, even with cheating lying cruel dictatorships, than through continued war? According to this, someone like you, who refuses to make peace with anyone who isn’t a democracy, YOU are the unpatriotic one. You’re the one willing to endanger Israel’s existence, not me.

    Don’t put words in my mouth. I didn’t say a one-state solution is a good idea now, I said quite the opposite – that it’s an impossibility now, and that a two-state solution should first happen. I said that maybe, in 15-20 years time, a so-called UME could be formed (like the EU, or the US), where a de facto (not de jure) one-state could exist. You’re trying to make it seem like I want a one-state solution now, and that’s simply not the case. In my wildest fantasies, I do wish Israelis didn’t fear Arabs (and the other way around), and that at some point in the future, that we could indeed shed away the “Jewish state” condition that would never allow a non-Jewish majority. To me, by the way, Israel will always be the Jewish state, even if more non-Jews were under Israeli rule. To remind you, that’s where we are today! Have a look at the Central Bureau of Statistics report from just recently, add up the numbers, and find that more non-Jews exist under Israeli rule, than Jews.

    You view non-Jewish majority, at any point even in the future, as the end of the state of Israel. I actually view it as the exact opposite. But, I conceded that we are nowhere near ready for that today, nor will we be for at least a generation or two. And, if things do continue like they have been for the past 60 years, we won’t be ready for another 60 years. Unlike you, however, I am still here, still serving my country in every way I know how, I still raise my children in this “innately racist” nation, because I still have hope.

    If you think you have any moral right to judge whether I’m a patriot or not, you’re wrong. First come live here for a while, live with all the wonderful and less-than-wonderful things we Israelis have to deal with day in day out, and then start “judging” (as if anyone is inviting to do so). In the meantime, I’d say you’re much more of a New England Patriot (or wherever the Hell you live), than I am.

    By the way, I didn’t say Israelis were more racist than other people were. You of course again put words in my mouth – you seem to like doing that. But to claim Israelis aren’t racist towards our Arab population inside, and of course outside Israel, or that we aren’t racist towards our own, in various ways, not necessarily in pogrom now ways (there are other ways, you know, to be a racist), is to pretend not to know us. I’m not afraid of admitting this fact, I was part of it until I faced the mirror once, saw my true face, and decided to change it. If I thought we couldn’t change, I wouldn’t be here. I’d be, for instance, where you are.

    Try to stick to the issues, AIG, you’re not gaining the moral ground here by going back to labeling me, as you so often like to do on SC. Try to learn that indeed people around you think differently, and that it’s not always a bad thing. Even if they think you’re COMPLETELY wrong in your approach, in fact, if they think it is YOU that is endangering Israel’s security and ability to survive. I never once thought of labeling you unpatriotic. Be careful in throwing around words so easily. It also says something about a person, not just his views.

    Posted by Shai | January 12, 2009, 1:02 pm

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