Webdiary - Independent, Ethical, Accountable and Transparent
header_02 home about login header_06
sidebar-top content-top

Thoughtful wishing: in the days of terror from the air, patriot acts on the ground

B.A. Brown is a newcomer to Webdiary, having been seduced by his good friend Hamish Alcorn. He was a fixture on Brisbane's 4ZZZ radio through the 1990s, coordinating their 'Peace & Environment Program' and helping on Arts, morning and World Music shows for brief spells. He writes:

"this built on activism that outgrew student film-making in the 80s which began with an opinionated exploration of the bridge to Straddy issue. He still seeks maturity as a 'change agent' and returned to live on Minjerribah where he studies Language."

Thank you for this contribution, Baz - glad you decided to write it instead of going surfing yesterday ...


Thoughtful wishing: in the days of terror from the air, patriot acts on the ground
by B.A. Brown

From the ground on down, Gaza militants are an attractive bunch. They see themselves as patriots offering themselves as targets of yet another ‘scorched earth’ policy; one aiming to suppress an insurgency that burrows under the skin of the greater part of Israel. So attractive a target are these persistently wily patriots for Palestine, that the IDF chose to break a ceasefire that saw “rocket fire decrease 98% in the four and a half months between Jun 18 and Nov 4 in comparison with the four and half months preceding the ceasefire”. I return to those figures in due course.

How the news is shaped, and how activists on both sides are rallied to attention is part of the conflict, perhaps its non-lethal complement.

Here is what the experienced correspondent for one of the most reliable English language news sources reported about Tuesday 4th November, (Gobama! Day):

Ceasefire under threat as six die in Gaza raid
Rory McCarthy in Jerusalem
The Guardian, Thursday 6 November 2008

A four-month-old ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militants in Gaza was in jeopardy yesterday after Israeli troops killed six Hamas gunmen in a raid into the territory.

Hamas responded by firing a volley of rockets into southern Israel, although no one was injured. The violence represented the most serious breach in a ceasefire agreed in mid-June. Despite the bloodshed, both sides suggested they wanted to return to a period of calm.”

That article has remained unchanged since then, but by the end of the year, the Guardian correspondent’s history of the ceasefire breakdown reads:

“Eventually, after much mediation by Egypt, a ceasefire between Israel and militants in Gaza was again established in June. It ran until November, when it began to break down with violations on both sides, and collapsed in mid-December to bring the latest Israeli bombing campaign of Gaza, codenamed Cast Lead, which has so far killed at least 360 Palestinians.”

One strange benefit of heavily partisan “hacktivists” and history-writers going fact-for-fact on Wikipedia and Facebook (and even GoogleEarth, according to an Haaretz article) is that figures and facts are probably ironed into centre ground; beaten into shape by hourly to-and-fro refinement. Here is the current version of what happened to the ceasefire in the first week of November:

“On 4 November 2008, Israeli troops raided a border area of the Gaza Strip, where the Israeli military claimed Hamas had built a tunnel which they claimed Hamas was planning to use to capture Israeli soldiers. Six members of Hamas were killed. Hamas considered this attack a ‘massive breach of the truce,’ and Hamas rocket attacks increased sharply in November 2008, approaching the pre-truce levels.”

So their intelligence was so solid that they could predict an action by a splinter group they assumed to be Hamas. Opposing combatant death ratios are about the same as the ratio of ‘rockets’ launched into Israel before and after the truce began (over 50:1).

Is that good politics?

Casualty table hits to the body politic (at time of writing)


Casualty typeIsraeli side Palestinian side ratio Palestinian over Israeli
Total killed13854 65.7
Soldiers10550 (fighters)55
Total wounded1493,49023.4


Casualty type Israeli side Palestinian side ratio Palestinian over Israeli

The news filters through of daily atrocities from a behemoth, a Golem monster surging through a densely occupied subject peoples. Critics are many, including from liberal or secular, critical Israelis. One of the heaviest blows to the spin empire is from England-based Professor Avi Shlaim:

“The resort to brute military force is accompanied, as always, by the shrill rhetoric of victimhood and a farrago of self-pity overlaid with self-righteousness. In Hebrew this is known as the syndrome of bokhim ve-yorim, ‘crying and shooting’.”

He compares the disproportionate responses as “the logic of an eye for an eyelash.”

I have been watching the old classic on this subject of imperial ‘scorched earth’ policies. “Burn!” or “Queimada!” by Gille Pontecorvo in 1969 has Brando turning on his former comrades, burning out peasant villages and ferreting out the radicals among slave communities.

“Decimation” was first used in military terms for the Roman legions being toughened up, or freaked out, by every tenth centurion being killed; just counted off and killed. If the legend is true, it serves as an ironic example of disproportion in trying to toughen up the oppressed peasants of Gaza, such that they somehow break ranks in support of Israel’s desire for peace, and squeal on or close their door to anyone who might be a militant.

Here is an analysis of Gaza from that same article in the Guardian:

Gaza is a classic case of colonial exploitation in the post-colonial era. Jewish settlements in occupied territories are immoral, illegal and an insurmountable obstacle to peace. They are at once the instrument of exploitation and the symbol of the hated occupation. In Gaza, the Jewish settlers numbered only 8,000 in 2005 compared with 1.4 million local residents. Yet the settlers controlled 25% of the territory, 40% of the arable land and the lion's share of the scarce water resources. Cheek by jowl with these foreign intruders, the majority of the local population lived in abject poverty and unimaginable misery. Eighty per cent of them still subsist on less than $2 a day. The living conditions in the strip remain an affront to civilised values, a powerful precipitant to resistance and a fertile breeding ground for political extremism."

It is not only critics of Israeli Right policies who enjoy quoting such views. Sadly, knee-jerk reactionaries hold such morsels close to their chest to open a path for espousing less informed, more habitual animosity to the whole Israel project; not just the military machine, the mad Zionists and the opportunists they attract. For this reason I am prompted to write this article as a discussion starter. Let us not fall into ritual response, but seek serious answers if not tomorrow, then within the week.

If we wish an end to terror, then we need to act to halt terror from the sky. Well-resourced airstrikes, slowly improving blasts from Gazan shanty-towns and mad mullahs invoking the gods; they all reign over terror, with innocent civilians too often on the receiving end.

Bearded cult-leaders from all three Apocalyptic or Messianic faiths have to be reined in. Their ill-considered orthodoxies, centred on out-dated doctrines damage children, be they blasted bodily as cost of war, or blitzed conceptually by head-rocking rote drills from holy scrolls of one era or another.

Who can affect restraint from the main aggressors on both sides? With the Bush dynasty enjoying the last days of global chaos-creation, many look to a new progressive intervention from Obama and his Secretary of State. The way is spelled out in an editorial titled: “Toward Peace in Gazafor the first post-Inauguration issue of The Nation magazine:

“If Obama were to take swift and courageous steps toward peace once he took office, he would encounter resistance, but he would also find promising new wellsprings of support. J Street, the new Washington lobby that brands itself as "the political arm of the pro-Israel, pro-peace movement," has called for an immediate cease-fire and in general set itself up as a counter to the right-wing AIPAC lobby and its Christian Zionist allies. J Street is joined by other good activist groups, such as Americans for Peace Now and Jewish Voice for Peace. Most of Congress has been shamefully quiescent, but Representative Dennis Kucinich has spoken out courageously against the violence, as have several other members lauded by J Street. And on the first day of Israel's ground invasion, 10,000 Israelis took part in a massive peace demonstration.” (emphasis added)

The new administration would have the momentum that global goodwill carries, given Obama’s popularity. Moving with the times to shape the times, Obama’s team could embrace the Arab Peace Initiative, repeatedly endorsed by all 22 member states.

“In November 2008, The Sunday Times reported that American president-elect Barack Obama is going to support the plan, saying to Mahmoud Abbas during his July 2008 visit to the Middle East that ‘The Israelis would be crazy not to accept this initiative. It would give them peace with the Muslim world from Indonesia to Morocco'."

The essentials are converging for a real new deal for just and lasting peace. Even old Cold Warriors agree the time is now:

“On November 21, 2008, Brent Scowcroft and Zbigniew Brzezinski supported the initiative in an article in the Washington Post, in which they wrote that:

‘The major elements of an agreement are well known. A key element in any new initiative would be for the U.S. president to declare publicly what, in the view of this country, the basic parameters of a fair and enduring peace ought to be. These should contain four principal elements: 1967 borders, with minor, reciprocal and agreed-upon modifications; compensation in lieu of the right of return for Palestinian refugees; Jerusalem as real home to two capitals; and a non-militarized Palestinian state. Something more might be needed to deal with Israeli security concerns about turning over territory to a Palestinian government incapable of securing Israel against terrorist activity. That could be dealt with by deploying an international peacekeeping force, such as one from NATO, which could not only replace Israeli security but train Palestinian troops to become effective’.”

Before the latest shaky ceasefire was broken, all channels were aiming for convergence around this deal:

"Support for the Arab Peace Plan was also expressed by Andre Azoulay, a Jewish adviser to Moroccan King Mohammed VI. On October 28, 2008, Mr Azoulay said at a conference in Tel Aviv that: 'I am a Jew with a commitment,' said Andre Azoulay. 'I'm an Arab Jew. I advise the king of Morocco... The Arab mainstream sees Israel as the party responsible for preventing peace, not the Arabs. [...] [The Peace Plan] is something that the Israelis hoped for ten years ago. But who knows about it in Israel today? Who will take the initiative and explain it? The momentum will not last forever. This is a dangerous situation. Tomorrow something could happen in the West Bank and blow the whole deal, and we'll have to wait again'."

Since then, of course, history has changed. But the fundamentals remain in place. Perhaps the next threat to embracing this way forward is the wretched detour taken in Iraq and, to a certain extent, Afghanistan. UN security provision may be harder to rally after the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld debacles. How to police provisional borders as a viable new Palestinian state is established next to the old enemy is the key question for Israel. How to build a stable nation from the wreckage after decolonisation is the quest for the Palestinian side of the 1967 Green Line (with its minor and agreed wobbles). Massive funds invested on a matching dollar/Euro basis would have to flow in from key players to compensate those caught between history’s wheezes.

The USA, the UN and the EU all played a role in supporting the rise of an Israeli State, so they can fix what they or their precursors (The League of Nations) delivered onto the Palestinians. They could add to Israeli supporters of funds for West Bank Settlers who leave the Palestinian State, buying their infrastructure where not damaged. If IDF conscripts supervise the great dismantling, then they should be joined by the religious youth of the Ultra-Orthodox sects or Parties who typically escape such service to their State. More buildings and grounds could then be re-used by returning Palestinians. In some cases, complexes could be assigned for use as new, generously-funded secular boarding schools.

The Arab State supporters could match donations from their constituents and allies and compensate the refugees who miss out on “right-to-return” guarantees and have to establish themselves in new communities in a free and secure Palestine. Foreign Affairs and Defence would have to be handled by the likes of Egypt, Jordan, Turkey, and, hopefully, Lebanon. Syria may regain the Golan Heights, or be duly compensated in return for a truly complete withdrawal from Lebanon. There IS goodwill around the basic framework of the A.P.I. Here is a Guardian editorial:

“In London last week Mr Peres praised the Arab League's peace plan, which was originally proposed by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia in 2002, but has recently regained currency. Israel would get full recognition from the Arab world in return for a full withdrawal from the territory it captured in 1967, including East Jerusalem, and a solution to the refugee problem. Mr Olmert, who belatedly declared that anyone who still believes in Greater Israel was deluding themselves, is on a similar mission in Washington today…a settlement based on the 1967 borders should be exactly that, with as little deviation as possible. If the Palestinians concede Israel's boundaries for Jerusalem (an area which extends into the heart of Bethlehem) in return for a land swap in the Negev, that is all of the post-1967 territory they should be expected to give.”

The facts on the ground remain as: occupation is unpopular, expensive and counter-productive. The Settlers and their Texas Taliban supporters among the Evangelical Right are more to blame for the turmoil around this situation than the Hamasniks with their main path to glory being provided by the likes of “Bibi” Netanyahu and his shadowy Ultra-Nationalist and Ultra-Orthodox backroom boys. Their agenda can only be supported in democratic Israel while a siege mentality prevails. Clear the West bank of transmigrants and look to the skies. Let there be no more Quassam trails, no sonic booms or other terrifying F-16 sorties.

[ category: ]

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

truly they should have been held to account already for deeds

Well done you, Mr Brown, sending a post and writing articles bringing people to discuss and realise what is going on.

Eliot says stop the missiles, but I say give them proper SAM defences and help their nation become prosperous with the Gaza gas field off the coast and secure Or don’t the Palestinians deserve to be secure and fed?. Which will stop such slaughters happening again? And if the Israel regime can resist perpetrating murderous attacks from the air against elected members of the Palestinian parliament, killing all around as well, then perhaps the ceasefire can hold forever. But how can that please the racist right wing who call Palestinians insects etc and want them into to the sea. Things they have said would never be tolerated in proper western democracies they are so racist and vile.

Yet what of this claim about Iranian rockets? Maybe or ... maybe not. Trust the IDF? Sure. But Eliot does. He trusts an unnamed former Pentagon official ...ahuh ... in the article he quoted.

Good old Eliot, if an unnamed source tells Spiegel and Fleishman that those Grads are from Iran then heck they must be, so clever, no other alternative, no other country has Grads have they? Or have they? Seems this is one of the most popular ex-Soviet short range rocket system and is just about everywhere, but Iran is blamed automatically of course by the mouthpieces. Any proof? Remember these are the same buffoons that told us “we hit the UN school because the militants were firing from it” … certainly that changed , like the “we never used phosphorus weapons” – “Ok yeah sure we did” later, and the “it wasn’t and Israeli shell that hit the family on the beach” remember that one that Eliot ran all the way with...turns out it was an “errant” shell accidently fired ... “hey I wonder what happens if I push this button ... oops, phew it was just Gaza”.

No credibility from the Israelis, they have lied through the teeth every time.

So what of Eliot’s Iranian Grad’s? No-one else has them do they?

Few systems in the world’s artillery arsenal can boast such a wide spread as the Grad (Hail) MLRS developed in the USSR in 1963...." and these are all the known countries with such:


Central African Republic5
Democratic Republic Of Congo6


So one must wonder at the sourcing of Messrs Peter Spiegel and Jeffrey Fleishman who lead their article with a picture of a "traumatised girl"in Israel of course, from the noise of one. At least she still has her limbs, but no picture of a traumatised Gazan who has just lost all his family, or the bloody bodies of Gazan children...and then these "journalists" quote "a former Pentagon official"" unnamed of course ,saying they come from Iran.....Sure.

If Saddam was still there it would have been Saddam wouldn't it? And don’t you love the "former Pentagon official" – why the SMH gives by-line to such crappy Zionist propaganda I do not know

Journalism used to be proper sourcing and quoting and both sides given equally but that was pure Hasbara BICOM would have been proud of.

We have recently read about BICOM in Britain, and how (delightful) naughty activists raided their offices and stop for a day their Hasbara protecting the massacres.

Perhaps that is what has freed the BBC up a bit more. Something has shut the SMH and ABC down, one would think the attack was finished and no more dead, reading their papers.

No story of the doctor murdered by the IDF as trying to get out casualties from a building nor the UN headquarters hit there.

Or the fact that the UN has described the situation as desperate, no food , no water, fuel for the hospitals about to run out, lack of medicines, and aid ships being turned away by Zionist military and Ambulances being denied safe passage to pick up the wounded children, nor of women and children being mowed down despite obeying the order to come out.

A little girl paralysed and her younger sisters murdered along with her grandma who held the white flag.

All by Israeli murdering soldiers who should all be hung just as the Nazis of previous time were., or just taken out and shot as the camp guards were by the Americans when they arrived.

Full turn of history is due, now to the accountability – yet the brutality and murders continue, huge plumes of phosphorus clouds in daytime-chemical weaponry, illegal, as the news is chilled out of our “managerial sphere.”

These are not the normal people one might meet, to kill children in cold blood means a very dangerous type of person. These are truly animals pretending to be Israelis. I wonder if they have hydrophobia.

Where the Grads came from is interesting but irrelevant to the exact issue of the massacres by the IDF in GAZA right now. Truly a genocide chillingly ignored by our Media and justified by our Rudd and Gillard. No doubt their medals for Israel, like Howard’s four and the forest named after him there, are what they hunger for.

Will they send us off to war like Howard did for Israel again? I see nothing to indicate otherwise yet, if the management order comes.

Ok, I made the mistake of going to the red cross site and being disgusted with the horrors inflicted upon the people of Gaza by the Israelis. Seeing the protests does give hope in this world that some have the courage to care and raise their voice.

What power do people wield to chill our news down such? To keep the photos out, the stories sterilised. To chill our politicians down as they did? To chill the US president down of the podium and take orders from Olmert? Chill out guys,, it's just a genocide, back to the "economic crisis" that Obama has been told to revert to. Hooo ha a stooge already.

Chilling how our "western managers" are so under the thumb.

Back to the beach, and hope all here with the courage to do so, copy Mr Brown and his letters.


PS Today Russia picked up the phone to the terrorist's daughter(Israel FM) and told of the concern there about the death toll and carnage, "oh, no civilians targeted". No doubt the terrorist’s son (Rahm Emmanuel) in charge of Obama's offices is using soothing lies too at present to his charge.

What is chilling too is that they still play the" Iran is the source of the problem canard", when the problem is the violent occupation and slow genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Iran is obviously still in the crosshairs, despite the China signing today. I wonder if they will give and inauguration present to farewell Bush with a bang.

All those nations' navies in the Mediterranean just hanging around , yeah, relaxing, jamming, heck just one big party there at present, more Aircraft carriers than in a long long time. One can see how the Axes are reforming rapidly as nations realise there is no such thing as international law and might is right, NATO being one.

Cheers again in these sad times of evil deeds, time for troubled sleep.

er, BTW

B.A. Brown: "... fanatical leftist underground guerilla cells in the early 1970s ..."

Actually, point of order. 

Look up Operation Gladio.


point of order

Angela Ryan, I looked up Operation Gladio and it looks a worthwhile, lengthy read. I am aware of CoIntelPro campaigns of assassination on Panthers Black, Red ... and Earth Firsters. OK, so I struggled to find examples of victims of ideological fanaticism. Even all the documentaries I've seen on US militants, like the Weather/men or Underground etc, I can't easily recall an example of a victim as commonly known as Moro (in Italy). I made a lazy reference. Fair point. I am sure Eliot or some other bug-bear will aid in listing all the victims of leftist militancy and/or 'terror' campaigns. 

My point is that assassination of leading humanitarian figures by fanatics often involves either a covert State scheme and/or a crazed sect or individual from the target's own apparent cultural demographic.

Here is a Wikipedia quote about some Unquiet American goings on in Europe. Thanks for the tip:

General Maletti told the Italian court that "the CIA, following the directives of its government, wanted to create an Italian nationalism capable of halting what it saw as a slide to the left and, for this purpose, it may have made use of rightwing terrorism," and continued on by declaring: "I believe this is what happened in other countries as well." Gianadelio Maletti also said to the court: "Don't forget that Nixon was in charge and Nixon was a strange man, a very intelligent politician but a man of rather unorthodox initiatives."

Bearded extremists and their youth brigades

Whether it was Gandhi (Hindu fringe extremist), Malcolm Shabbazz (ex-Malcolm X contract-killed allegedly by US-based Nation of Islam extremists), John Lennon (an apparently lone, unguided ex-Beatles fan extremist), one of the many prominent victims of crazed racist cells in USA, victims of fanatical leftist underground guerilla cells in the early 1970s or doctors at an abortion clinic, innocent people die by the hand of fanatics.

It is so often fundamentalist doctrine and the nervous repression surrounding it that leads to "religio-ideological" violence. This is often entrusted to or adopted by disturbed fringe persons demonstrating their apparent adherence to a new-found group or doctrine; one that seems to or actually does provide them with safe haven.

In political terms, wild demonstrations that need arms-length (plausible) deniability are delegated to youth wings. Recall those vociferous anti-Australia rallies in Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur at the behest of Suharto or Mahathir in former times, and in some instances recently. Well, the same happens in many situations.

This week especially, security for the inauguration of US President would require massive and extensive psychological profiling of leaders and fringe members of the USA's great diversity of hate groups. Imagine the task if elections in a future Palestinian state and in Israel saw pro-peace parties assume a popular mandate. The convolutions of extremist ideological 'purity' on both sides of the Green Line are legion. For example, the Ultra-Orthodox 10% of Israel's population typically hold that Zionists are their opponents, though ethnic comrades. They see the nation as an entity or impure construct. Sound familiar?

I was reading an excellent historical or anthropological essay by Menachem Friedman just now.

In it he explains how the Haredi, most visibly clustered in Mea Shearim, the ultra orthodox quarter or ghetto in the centre of Jerusalemhave many factional evolutions over time have variably strong traditions of confining violence against their many oppnents. Sometimes that restraint falters. Friedman writes [note: all subsequent quotations are from Friedman’s essay]:

“According to the Halakhah, one who endangers the Jewish collective is considered a ‘pursuer’; one may either kill him or turn him over to one of the (non-Jewish) authorities. ...Following 1993 the term ‘rodef’ was increasingly used by religious political opponents of the Oslo process to de-legitimate those in the Government who supported and promoted the Peace process- most notably Prime Minister Yitzhack Rabin, who was assassinated in Nov 1995. The operative political implication of the concept of ‘din rodef’ (the law regarding the pursuer) was to provide a religious justification for Rabin’s assassination.” (note # 7)

One can discern similarities in such groups with the Taliban or the Iranian theocratic youth brigades- in the way dogma and leadership affect junior and devout scholars. Both have a morality police with official but muted sanction. Both have problems with women and temptation. Sound familiar?

Here is more from the fairly neutral academic study by Friedman:

“In sum, violence is the direct outcome of haredi society’s definition of its situation as being under constant threat by outside forces. At the same time, however, violence in haredi society results from the fact that it is internally divided and lacks a powerful and accepted leadership with the authority to make binding decisions on the fateful questions confronting it. These conditions afford various zealots the latitude needed both to use violence and to obtain the required protection and support among the various autonomous and competing Torah authorities.”

Is that not much like the apparent psychology of the Hamas militants and their Islamic extremist support network?

What about the holy legions from the US who have to be constantly supervised by Israeli security guards at contested sites that are sacred to Islam and crucial to kicking off those outrageous Biblical literalist prophecies so prized by the demented follower of received truths?

My point here is that the core of any struggle, eternal or immediate, against extremist violence nestles amid the mangled psychologies of religio-ideological schools of thought. They can study in scripture colleges, madrassas, yeshiva (yeshivim) or kolel schools; it is the rote holy book, one truth business that can lead to trouble once guidance by respected Elders fragments.

Note the warning bells, from the 2002 study, that resonate from an insightful observation of an increasingly crucial factor blocking the peace process within Israel. The key element is controlling influence and maintaining restraint. These are common themes and goals across the spectrum in the Middle East situation, past and present.

“Given a number of dramatic changes in ‘haredi’ society, such restraints and limits may well break down. Two important factors bear mentioning in this regard. First, because of the socioeconomic crisis in haredi scholar-society, large segments of haredi youth are exposed to the ‘street’. More and more young haredi men (and even women) totally drop out of or remain only formally enrolled in, their educational institutions, thus becoming more exposed to the secular influences of secular society.

Second, the manifestations of religio-ideological violence among Islamic extremists and Christian fundamentalists also provide models for conscious and unconscious emulation, some signs of which are already evident in the relatively large number of haredi youth attracted to the various ‘Kanahist’ movements (extremist political movements related to the Kach movement founded by the late Meir Kahane).

The violence of extremist Jewish settlers on the West Bank provides another model for violent haredi zealotry. But perhaps even more significant is the greater susceptibility to violence of newly religious haredim (ba’alei teshuvah) who have not yet internalized traditional haredi restraints upon zealotry and whose newfound religious enthusiasm often moves them to extremes. Furthermore, some newly religious haredim are former criminals. While the violence of some of these ba’alei teshuvah is a new and ‘foreign branch’, it has nevertheless made serious inroads into haredi society. Indeed, the Tel Aviv brothel arsonist was himself a recent ba’al teshuvah (influenced by another recent ba’al teshuvah).

This violent crime must surely be a warning sign to the haredi leadership. The fact that they have not yet responded is worrisome- as is the fact that Moshe Sheinfeld has no apparent heir."

Friedman here refers to a strict, but deep-thinking Haredi leader with strong views about restraint and holding to nonviolence).

If the Palestinian leadership is required to behave as virtual "pursuers" of the anti-Peace Accord militants among their own people, what then will the secular/modern-orthodox Israeli majority do to wind in all their ideological extremities? Are they more advanced in this regard than Ataturk? Can we outsiders hope or even expect a degree of secular Constitutional reform in the coming nation State/s of the Middle East?

last would be first

So, it's Eliot and Alan vs Justin and Paul, with Marilyn's references helping the main arguments advanced in the article.

Angela Ryan is being worse than impolite by using that Polish martyr fellow's quote in such a way. It could have been Primo Levy, or Walter Benjamin, but it was an activist unknown to most outsiders from the history of WW2 resistance:

"*S. Zygielbojm committed suicide early on the morning of May 12, 1943."

That said, is anyone nervous about the prospect of tunnels, and bunker-busting (at 15 metres below ground) becoming the focus of the official line in this PR and actual war?

"Bunker-busters" has that gaming ring to it so beloved of weapons marketers.

But is it not true that the chase in the mountain peaks of Afghanistan has opened the way for the current administration in the US (another week yet to wreak indirect havoc) to develop and maybe market nuclear 'bunker-busters'?

I forget just now the kind of buzz name such devices have or would have: limited fallout..., containable.., micro-nuke..., mini-nuke..., etc until we get too soft, or eventually

"Peace and Security Underground device".

Are not Phosphorus weapons akin to napalm? OK, when fallout from those terrors from the sky hit flesh, are they not akin to napalm?

Eliot quotes an article from the LA Times, reprinted in the SMH. If the article's reportage is accurate, then maybe this section at the end of the article could have been quoted. Well, here it is:

"When the Israelis were in total occupation of Gaza they admitted they couldn't stop the smuggling," said Karim Haggag, a spokesman for the Egyptian embassy in Washington. "It's much more difficult to do in the context of a war zone."

Egypt has agreed to spend $US23 million ($32.6 million) of its annual US military aid on advanced detection equipment, including sensors and remote-controlled robots. Egyptian officials said it had drastically reduced the amount of smuggling, and that Israel had acknowledged the fact.

Israel's own experience shows the difficulty in shutting down the tunnels on the Gaza side. Operation Rainbow in 2004 drew widespread condemnation when armoured bulldozers demolished hundreds of homes suspected of concealing tunnels. Dozens of Palestinian protesters were killed during the raids.

Given Egypt will be a key player in future peace accords and security treaties, I think it best not to defame them by implying they are deliberately allowing the alleged Iranian weapons in, bundled alongside supplies of a civilian nature. I mean, peace between a democratic Israel and a new (largely secular) State of Palestine (around approximate '67 borders) is what we all want, isn't it?

Or are the two variations on how much land and how much access each side has, and will have, more important than the current opportunity for widespread support of a peace plan?

Worse still, are some passionate commentators so frustrated by or hateful of either side they prefer the militants keep at it? Several commentators have expressed dismay that militants are serving their opponents’ ends. Quite so. The logic of war.

by their words we shall know them, Hi Mr Brown

Mr Brown: "worse than impolite"? Interesting you do not like the massacres of Gaza related to the massacres of the Warsaw ghetto. I had thought such .

Politeness that protects war criminals and murderous acts is evil in itself. 

Rude and loud shouting to defend the vulnerable is what the Polish martyr wanted for his people and so would anyone watching such genocides.

The Israeli leadership has outdone any terrorist acts it purports to protect against. Defence of such  shames the brave ones who come out in protest even from within Israel . Defence of such , by their deeds we shall know them as we know you .But it has been clever Hasbara. Some of us get the alerts from Megaphone mate.


Less than polite

Angela: "Interesting you do not like the massacres of Gaza related to the massacres of the Warsaw ghetto. I had thought such. Politeness that protects war criminals and murderous acts is evil in itself. Rude and loud shouting to defend the vulnerable is what the Polish martyr wanted for his people and so would anyone watching such genocides."

OK, so I am cushioned by a measure of non-involvement from the horrors of the current atrocity (ie TV footage, demos etc). Still, my point remains, if that Warzsaw suicide protester has family alive, I am sure they would take offence that their particular Shoah is conflated with the vicious terror-from-the-air on Gaza. Perhaps I should have written your comment was "less than polite".

It was just a bit of megaphone-amped calling for respect for someone regarded as a 'martyr' in times of war.

Apparently megaphone call-outs are preferable these days? OK, full honours to the actively engaged. Do you not think the Israeli war machine factors in scales of opposition to its latest imperial adventures? I believe their new strategy is akin to guerilla (assymetrical) warfare, in that they hit and run, over and over. So one or two month wars, with retreats when the US or UN is finally dragged closer to raising some concern with Israeli diplomats.

I called it violent haggling once and still do.

Quoting bible stuff at me doesn't help. I only know those quotes from Dylan and such pop re-phrasing. Am I defending Israel? No. Are you suggesting I am hoping to get citizenship there one day? No, I am not and could not.

Do I compare Israel to Pakistan? Yes I do.Not enough separation, in 1948, between established Church and newly-created State.

Just because one lobbies for long-term agendas does not mean the immediate agenda (ie stop the bombing) is not important to me. I contribute on the fringes. We all do what we can. 

By the way, the regular and brave who get out onto the streets in such times on these issues are wonderful allies and hard-working folk. That's my actual position.

Bunkum busting

B.A. Brown: "That said, is anyone nervous about the prospect of tunnels, and bunker-busting (at 15 metres below ground) becoming the focus of the official line in this PR and actual war? "

The tunnels are gigantic and complex, costing Iran many millions to build for the Hamas "freedom fighters".

Also, they are probably built too deep, and too heavily reinforced, to be busted by bombing of any sort.

They are big enough to ship Iranian Grad missiles for God's sake, and  therefore are to the "tunnels food comes to the hungry" through as are the Grad missiles themselves to the "home made rockets" of the propaganda puff spawned by "peace" activists like Bob Ellis.

And certainly, Hamas and their Iranian "advisers" are not going to waste the tunnels on something silly like food or medicine when so many "happy martyrs" are available for picture opportunities and sound bites at ground level.

Hence, the Israeli infantry and tank incursions will be needed to root them out one by one.

So, no. The bunker busters are a PR sideshow.

Anyway, any surviving Hamas "leadership" not cowering in Damascus or otherwise slaving over hot word-processors in "peace" group PR offices are by now beginning to wish for a change of underwear sometime soon - so it may all be over fairly soon.

Egypt-Gaza border

One of the benefits of debates like this, and blogs like this, is that a lot of informed discussion helps upgrade our awareness of issues like the current assault on Gaza, and its prelude.

After reading the Uri Avnery article (from Gush-Shalom) posted on the other thread by Marilyn, I see now that Egypt has already been defamed for its border policies by many Arab nations, as a 'collaborator' with the vicious blockade by Israel.  How far should such countries be expected to go in preventing weapons smuggling? How much longer could the terror from the sky continue without shame falling upon the rest of us, much less the militant/guerilla allies who would send surface-to-air weapons to a locked-in Gaza, defenceless from the F16 sorties?

The US and the UN Security Council must carry shame, urgent shame that increases the longer they give the IDF their green-light. Alongside the militants among the Palestinian hardliners, they all prevent peace getting any traction.

Propaganda value

Perhaps the heroic Arab nations would like instead to make a seaborne landing of humanitarian supplies on the Gaza coast under UN supervision?

I don't think so, somehow.

They need the Gaza "massacre" as a propaganda diversion almost as much as they need that 60 percent of the total number of UN Human Rights Council resolutions passed being directed solely at Israel - while in Iran they strangle adulterers to death and in Somalia they execute child rape victims.

a few batteries of S-300PMU2 at Toys r US are needed

According to today's news from Gaza:

"Ma’an - In a statement sent Tuesday morning the Al-Mujahideen Brigades, affiliated with Fatah, announced that they launched two projectiles at the Be’eri area south west of Gaza City Monday night."

So, er, Fatah affiliated are also firing rockets at Israel? Gee, but I thought Fatah were against Hamas and it is Hamas only fighting and shooting rockets blah blah blah. Has there been a bit of a unification of the Palestinians while under attack? Gee, a tactic so often used domestically, make a threat to unify. Did Israel think anything else would happen?

But they are doing Abbas a favour! Aren't they? Here Abbas, take the poisoned chalice, power at the barrel of the Israeli tanks, welcome indeed for you .Don't cancel the "blackwater" protection . People don’t usually like Vichy governments.

Abbas has run out of Presidential time, and has not been re-elected .His mandate finished, two days ago. There was a report of a Zionist think tank assessing that Abbas would not win the next election. May be another reason for attempting to remove the more politically popular Hamas, not so tainted with corruption and (?) Shin Bet complicity as Abbas' Henchmen, it appears.

Significantly, before this attack ,there was quite a bit of back and forth about whether there would be elections etc and the power grab wish by Abbas, the incarceration of nearly a thousand Hamas on the West Bank, elected government remember, by Fatah forces trained in Jordan by the US with Israeli agreement. Hmmm. Perhaps Hamas has to go because it fails to kowtow to foreign powers and blocks Abbas the stooge. It may have worked without the three week massacre of Gaza ghetto. Now who will get the gas contract off Gaza? Egypt did so want a piece. And Jordan now has control of the holy sites in Jerusalem. Nice pay.

One might almost think there was a conspiracy of right wing Zionists, mightn't one? Throw in the duplicitous Arab regimes. Lucky the only conspiracies acceptable to our minds are that cave-dwelling Saudis .Perish the thought. It is just a coincidence that the "Israel a Clean Break Paper "has been so accurate about international events. Lucky for the PNAC writers sitting high up in powerful Neocon Bush regime positions that such things are only a coincidence or there would be a valid treason case now. People will do anything for medals and Forest namings.

I agree with Alan that the Palestinians do not need bunker busting bombs, those are for an attacking or invading nation and the Palestinians have never done that, have they? Every nation deserves the ability to DEFEND, but not to attack.

What they need are a few batteries of S-300PMU2 to DEFEND against rogue nations who DO attack their neighbours savagely, fail to obey ICJ rulings about removing Apartheid Walls and UN resolutions. (Is it the regime or is it the people in full knowledge? I suspect the former with powerful Hasbara, just like Goebbels and the Germans.)I hear these toys are soon to be made in China so will be available in the Go-Lo equivalent weapons shopping malls soon. Africa is full of such.

I am surprised at Israel using illegal armaments like White phosphorus. Even more so at the disclosure that they lied about its use in the Lebanon attack:

Based on his observations last week, HRW military analyst Mark Garlasco determined that the IDF is using the material, although the army has not confirmed its use.

In 2006 Israel acknowledged for the first time that it had attacked Hezbollah targets during the second Lebanon war with phosphorus shells. Until then Israel had maintained that it only used such bombs to mark targets or territory.

What this means is they have form for illegal weapon use and lying about it. The use of such in Gaza has already been photographed well, even appearing front page in Xinhua. In daylight too, so much for visibility enhancer etc. over urban land. Quite disgusting of the Israelis, and deserving of international condemnation.

That is what is interesting, the power of the Israeli lobby to silence protests by international leaders. If this was Syria responding to Israel's unprovoked bombing (last year) and Tel Aviv had a thousand dead and three thousand maimed, over a third women and children, with illegal weapons methinks the response would be cacophonic. Are Jewish/Israeli deaths more important than Arab deaths?

The world allows some peoples to be rounded up, walled in, starved and then murdered. That was what happened to the Jews of Europe .That is what is happening to the Palestinians. There is no point learning Holocaust studies if we fail to act when it happens before our eyes. We should not allow a small evil group to turn Israelis into the new Nazi killing machine.

We do indeed, all of us, need to study the European Jewish Holocaust, and the Palestinians’ Holocaust as well, to see many many regimes who write their own Mein Kampfs and want Lebensraum at the expense of "subhumans" and who will, if the world is foolish enough to back them and fail to hold to account, put it into practice.

I leave you with this disturbing echo from history (with my reminder of current day):

I cannot continue to live and to be silent while the remnants of Polish Jewry [Palestinians], whose representative I am, are being murdered. My comrades in the Warsaw ghetto [Gaza ghetto] fell with arms in their hands in the last heroic battle. I was not permitted to fall like them, together with them, but I belong with them, to their mass grave. By my death, I wish to give expression to my most profound protest against the inaction in which the world watches and permits the destruction of the Jewish [Palestinian] people....

Today, consider the mass graves at Gaza.


It's over

The sympathy spreads. Even the US MSM is getting in on the act:

This from that commie rag The Wall Street Journal.

This from that ultra commie rag The New York Times.

This is a little map and name of places that were once Arab towns and villages.

And this little quote that makes sense of the above map and name places:

"Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist. Not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either. Nahlal arose in the place of Mahlul; Kibbutz Gvat in the place of Jibta; Kibbutz Sarid in the place of Huneifis; and Kefar Yehushua in the place of Tal Al-Shuman. There is not a single place built in this country that did not have a former Arab population."

Moshe Dayan; this statement, made in an address by Dayan to students at the Technion in Haifa was reported in Haaretz on 4 April 1969.

And this and this regarding worldwide protests etc.

The sympathy spreads.

Israel has lost.


Justin Obodie, you are starting to sound like Hamas Government spokesman Taher al-Nunu, who stated that victory was close whilst his towns were crumbling to dust around him. I think this time it will be over when the Israelis say it is over, and if the Palestinians are dumb enough to think otherwise that's their problem.

Yes, over

Alan, there will be no military victory on either side. The only way the Israelis can do that is permanently occupy Gaza, place a platoon on every corner, or simply level the place while the world looks on. And they neither have the time nor the will to do that.

Anybody who thinks bullets and bombs are going to bring peace is very naive indeed.

The victory is a psychological one and that appears to be won already. 

Alan old chap, you appear to be missing the point altogether. Could it be that delightfully youthful mind you have?

Face up to it Alan; the Israelis got sucked in on this one and the world has got sucked in by Hamas and the plight of the home team - for particularly creditable reasons that more and more people (across the planet) are discovering.

Hamas has achieved its objective. Israel is stuck in the mud. And the children die.

What about the bombs being sent to Israel?

Eliot, Israel got 360 F16's from the US not to mention 250 pound bunker busters, phosphorous bombs and so on.

Why should the Palestinians sit in their cage and take the bombings and abuse landed on their heads by Israel for 60 years?

Bunker busters

Marilyn Shepherd , what would the Palestinians do with 250 pound bunker busters? They do not fit into the boot of a car that can be driven into a crowded market place or be taken on a bus. No, they are doing enough damage with the strap-on type.

Hard to fight in formaldehyde though

Haaretz Magazine, 8 October 2004 – Dov Weisglass, counsel to Ariel Sharon in an interview with Ari Shavit:

Shavit: I still don't see how the disengagement plan helps here. What was the major importance of the plan from your point of view?

Weisglass: The disengagement plan is the preservative of the sequence principle. It is the bottle of formaldehyde within which you place the president's formula so that it will be preserved for a very lengthy period. The disengagement is actually formaldehyde. It supplies the amount of formaldehyde that's necessary so that there will not be a political process with the Palestinians.

Shavit: So you have carried out the maneuver of the century? And all of it with authority and permission?

Weisglass: When you say 'maneuver,' it doesn't sound nice. It sounds like you said one thing and something else came out. But that's the whole point. After all, what have I been shouting for the past year? That I found a device, in cooperation with the management of the world, to ensure that there will be no stopwatch here. That there will be no timetable to implement the settlers' nightmare. I have postponed that nightmare indefinitely. Because what I effectively agreed to with the Americans was that part of the settlements would not be dealt with at all, and the rest will not be dealt with until the Palestinians turn into Finns. That is the significance of what we did. The significance is the freezing of the political process. And when you freeze that process you prevent the establishment of a Palestinian state and you prevent a discussion about the refugees, the borders and Jerusalem. Effectively, this whole package that is called the Palestinian state, with all that it entails, has been removed from our agenda indefinitely. And all this with authority and permission. All with a presidential blessing and the ratification of both houses of Congress. What more could have been anticipated? What more could have been given to the settlers?"

But this is Israel’s "withdrawal from Gaza":

17.  Following the elections for the Palestinian Legislative Council at the beginning of 2006, political, economic and social conditions deteriorated sharply across the occupied Palestinian territories, but particularly in Gaza. This situation has been described elsewhere in detail, particularly in the reports of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 (see A/HRC/4/17). Suffice it to say here that ordinary Palestinians are the main victims of this crisis. According to the World Bank, poverty (based on household income) has risen to almost 67 per cent of the population, with about 80 per cent relying on some form of United Nations humanitarian assistance.

18.  Over the same period, increased military activity added a climate of fear for an already fragile population. According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, from the disengagement until 9 November 2006, the Israeli military fired approximately 15,000 artillery shells and conducted more than 550 air strikes into the Gaza Strip. Israeli military attacks killed approximately 525 Gazans and injured 1,527. According to Israel, the majority of its military operations in Gaza are aimed at stopping rocket-launching activity. Over the same period, at least 1,700 Kassam rockets were fired into Israel by Palestinian militants, injuring 41 Israelis.

Next, Barak Ravid reported in Haaretz on Sunday this statement about the recent "revenge" attack by Israel and the zionist diaspora in Australia all jump to the defence of this monstrosity by blaming Hamas:

"Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago, even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.

The plan of action that was implemented in Operation Cast Lead remained only a blueprint until a month ago, when tensions soared after the IDF carried out an incursion into Gaza during the ceasefire to take out a tunnel which the army said was intended to facilitate an attack by Palestinian militants on IDF troops.

Richard: Marilyn, we're having trouble working ot the starts and stops of excerpts. Could you do us a favour and indent them please? It's too darn hot for indenting!

Palestinian civilians wanted ceasefire - not Hamas rockets

Marilyn, you quote a source stating: "Over the same period, increased military activity added a climate of fear for an already fragile population."

Well then, in that case Hamas firing the rockets into Israel was a remarkably stupid thing to do. How would that reduce fear?

According to a survey that was held in the Palestinian populace and was published in “Al Hayat” newspaper, 74 percent of the Palestinians supported a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas.

So, why is Hamas stupidly providing Israel with a pretext for its attacks?

Especially given that the Hamas (ie Iranian) rockets serve no strategic military purpose whatsoever and can only ever harm civilians?

Yet, still they fire them. Are Hamas completely stupid? Or did they want to create this situation?

Pretty obvious

"Or did they want to create this situation?"

Eliot, of course they wanted to get clobbered. They are helpless save their fire crackers. Like the Jews pre WW2 no one gives a shit.

But a whole heap more care now.

They have learnt (from the Jews) that you have to get clobbered rather badly to get sympathy. And make damn sure everyone knows about it.

As more people pay attention Hamas get sympathy; as such they have already achieved the only goal possible.

The fact is, no country in the Middle East is a military threat to Israel, thanks to the US taxpayer. Neighbours and groups like Hamas can only be a nuisance.

Israel (or the puppet masters) should simply abort their territorial ambitions and allow the punters to get on with the job of living like normal people. Easy.

Same goes for the puppet masters on the other side. Easy.

Or are we addicted to WAR?????????

Groundhog day

Marilyn Shepherd's research crystallises most of all what has dismayed this writer about Palestine, long term.

The Dov Weinglass interview was so instructive of the Satanic reality of Zionist misanthropy, sadism and cynicism.

Israel's terrorism is premeditated: time and time again, following formula, it's commenced then shut off like a tap, once the rest of the world becomes aware of what really goes on, while the legions of spin doctors begin black propagandising the situation back onto the hapless Palestinians.

Israel's humanitarian ideals.

B. Brown, thanks for the effort. Nicely fleshes out, if that's not too egregious a pun, the nub of the atrocity.

Dr.Gary Sauer-Thompson at his blog Public Opinion prefaced his thread "Humanitarian relief Israeli style" (11/1), with the following observations:

The Palestinian death toll has climbed towards 850. Israel shelled a school that had been turned into a refugee centre near Gaza City [cites the Israeli broadsheet Haaretz], killing 42 people who had fled the fighting. The International Red Cross broke its usual silence over an attack in which the Israeli army herded a Palestinian family into a building then shelled it, killing 30 people and leaving the surviving children clinging to their dead mothers. The Israeli army prevented recuers from reaching the survivors for four days.

It has been sickening watching this stuff on TV news services. The only thing more sickening has been the deafening silence of Western "democratic" leaders, although the lies told about the Palestinans as sole provocateurs by much media commentary is a good match, as B Brown's descriptions amply demonstrate.

I know. Stop sending long-range Iranian-made missiles

Perhaps if Egypt opened its borders with Gaza for humanitarian purposes?

And was prepared to host monitors to prevent the trans-shipment of long-range Iranian missiles through cross-border tunnels into Gaza?

As Israeli officials debate how far to press their campaign in the Gaza Strip, one of their chief goals is to slow or halt the flow of arms to Hamas through the complex of tunnels under the "Philadelphi Corridor", the strip of land separating Gaza and Egypt.


Long-range Iranian-made missiles, such as the Grad rockets that struck the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon last May, are relatively large weapons that could only be moved through tunnels of considerable scale, a former Pentagon official said.

Then maybe the "sickening" democratic leaders could do something?

Instead of the sickening Hamas leaders who stupidly go on and on firing missiles against Israel? Just for the fun of having Palestinian human shields caught in the cross-fire?

God on their side

Just before the closure of the historic Khyber Pass last month after a series of attacks on NATO's supply lines, Kevin Rudd dropped into Oruzgan to express sympathy for our young men and women having to spend Christmas in such a "godforsaken part of the world", which he also described as a hellhole. Those who have spent any time in that part of the world will know that Afghanistan is not at all godforsaken. The majority of Afghans practise Islam peacefully, most pray to God five times a day and have historically lived by the moderate Hanafi and mystical Sufi doctrines.

How arrogant of us, given our hedonistic society riddled with depression, alcoholism and failed relationships, to describe Afghanistan as a godforsaken hellhole.

The Afghans, more than anyone, believe they have God on their side. Perhaps that's why they're winning the war.

An interesting piece in the OZ today by Benjamin Gilmour.

The problem with the war on terror currently raging in the Middle East is that all sides believe they have God on their side.

Kevin Rudd is asking Australian troops to fight and kill in a country which he describes as a "godforsaken hellhole".

Until all nations pull back their troops to their respective UN recognised borders and stop trying to change people by increasing acts of violence we will all be living in a godforsaken hellhole.

Australian piece

That quote from the article by GIlmour has value in that it reminds or educates us that Islam is diverse and that some tribes in Afghanistan are typically committed to those relatively moderate forms (Hanafi, Sufi). John Pratt makes the telling point that any claim to have a "God on our side" is one of the key factors in so much of this trouble;  trouble spanning history past AND too much of the future.

There must be pockets of paradise in the lands of that nation, otherwise those tribes would not have bothered fighting off invaders and making it seem a "God-Forsaken hellhole" to them, the outsiders with guns.

Having said that, if Australian and other forces' presence there can somehow bring some control over and subsequent restraint by the worst hardheads of the Taliban, then I see no reason not to support the majority of actions commanded by Australian military in Afghanistan, because it was backed as an alternative to their presence in Iraq. Folk like me naively went with that line (of Rudd and Obama), so I am going to live with it a while longer.

As for US military drones over Pakistan, I think Obama has to get real and rein in his military on that kind of misadventure. The signs from his appointments are not so good, esp with Dennis Blair in a box seat for such issues. He did nothing to help the Timorese during the wretched occupation and subsequent dirty-tricks campaigns there. 

One-sided US summaries of obstacles to 2-state solution

At the foot of this post is an exact and full copy of an email I sent, oh about 2 hours ago, to the US Embassy in Canberra. I expect that if a reply comes, it will involve a measure of clarification about policy in speech form on live or live-ish radio.

It may also include some useful links or suggestions about the various non-violent forms of zealotry among Haredi (Ultra-Orthodox Jews in among Israeli society). That is a world of complexity inside the historic and internal debates on how far zealots may "pursue" those they see as threatening them.

Eliot, are the Hamasniks pursuing the dominant oppressors surrounding their community, a minority in terms of land and weaponry?

To outgoing the US Ambassador's office I asked for more info on whether not only the Palestinian militants were obdstacles to an agreed 2-State solution.

(copy of letter sent 10.45am 14-1-09)


I request a clarification on comments, made on the fly, by Ambassador McCallum this morning on ABC radio (with Steve Cannane, 7.40am QLD time).

I was asked by a media & politics blog to write a discussion starter on the 2-State Solution that is emerging as a consensus position for Peace Treaties etc in the Middle East.

I was asked to do this because I tend to try a balanced, or at least considerate, approach to such tricky issues, especially in times of war or active conflict.

The website for the politics blog is: /cms/.

It was founded by a former Chief Reporter in Canberra for a Fairfax broadsheet.

Here is the article link: /cms/?q=node/2682

Following the prompting article, as I was warned would happen, a series of controversial positions are put, often by really vitriolic opponents of Israeli policy, and also by vitriolic defenders of the official line adopted by defenders of Israeli conservative politics.

My query relates to the follow-up sentence after a standard summarising of the US Admins, past and present, regarding neutrality. Working with both sides, as mentioned in the sentence preceding the focus of this query is expected from the US. It is also expected as a comment from the US Ambassador on these matters.

What is not expected is an apparent overlooking of that same neutraity when it comes to referring to fringe elements blocking peace.

Here is the comment by Ambassador McCallum this morning on our National Broadcaster:

“..a two-state solution now appears to be acceptable to all, except for certain terrorist group activities, ah... within the Middle East.”

I ask: are there NO Israeli terrorist group activities included in that apparent position?

More importantly, is it the understanding of the US State Department that Israeli Right figures like Benjamin Netanyahu and Likud broadly accept the 2-State solution?

If so, does that meaning the Likudniks and their occasional Ultra-Orthodox and/or Ultra-Nationalist coalition partners (like the Shas Party) agree to focus on the "Arab Peace Initiative" in its current form and have only minor quibbles with that position?


Then, whether or not those fringe elements are linked to terrorist group activities, is it not better diplomacy to actually include a reference to THAT Israeli position when naming or referring to obstacles to the 2-State Solution?

I would like to quote your answer in any follow-up commentary I make in the discussions that follow the article on Web Diary (link cited above).

I am happy to restrain such reporting to nominated quotes if so requested.

I also appreciate that expression on live radio is limited by language and timing, such that unintended omissions and inferences can be carried without full recourse to immediate clarity.

For this reason, and with respect for the Ambassador's interest in dialogue- even with opponents- I ask for clarifying statements.


B.A. Brown

for Webdiary


(ends copy of letter sent to US Embassy Canberra)

"too many people have died"

UN chief Ban Ki-moon has demanded that Israel and Hamas immediately stop the fighting in the Gaza Strip, saying "too many people have died."

"The fighting must stop ... To both sides, I say: just stop now. Too many people have died," Mr Ban said in his first press conference of the year, a day before he was due to leave on a week-long Middle East tour to press for a Gaza truce.

Ban Ki-moon has demanded an immediate stop to the fighting in the Gaza Strip. Neither Israel nor Hamas are not going to win by force. They should withdraw to UN agreed borders. Israel should remove all blockades and Hamas should stop firing rockets into Israel. If either side fails to comply the UN should impose sanctions. It is time Israel was penalised for the indiscriminate use of military power on a civilian population. 

If the UN stands for peace now is the time for it to act.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.
© 2005-2011, Webdiary Pty Ltd
Disclaimer: This site is home to many debates, and the views expressed on this site are not necessarily those of the site editors.
Contributors submit comments on their own responsibility: if you believe that a comment is incorrect or offensive in any way,
please submit a comment to that effect and we will make corrections or deletions as necessary.
Margo Kingston Photo © Elaine Campaner

Recent Comments

David Roffey: {whimper} in Not with a bang ... 12 weeks 6 days ago
Jenny Hume: So long mate in Not with a bang ... 12 weeks 6 days ago
Fiona Reynolds: Reds (under beds?) in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Justin Obodie: Why not, with a bang? in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Fiona Reynolds: Dear Albatross in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Michael Talbot-Wilson: Good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 1 day ago
Fiona Reynolds: Goodnight and good luck in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 3 days ago
Margo Kingston: bye, babe in Not with a bang ... 13 weeks 6 days ago