05
Jan
09

On- air: Does there come a point when Israel loses its right to defend itself ?

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Israel says it carried out 30 air strikes overnight – and 4 thousand infantry are on the ground.

Palestinian medical sources say more than 500 people have been killed since the military action began, and civilians are running out of bread because of gas and electricity shortages.

We can’t verify any of this as Israel has barred foreign reporters from entering Gaza- and restricting their activities on the border. A policy, according to Robert Fisk in the Independent, simply won’t work..

That aside, how far can this military campaign go ? If you speak to suomeone who supports the action, they’ll say  it’ll stop when the rockets stop and they can live in peace and security.

So far, the rockets haven’t stopped . The Israelis say another twenty were fired into the south of the country , making an estimated 500 in the last week.

Or this is how Seumas Milne in the Guardian sees it :

“During the last seven years, 14 Israelis have been killed by mostly homemade rockets fired from the Gaza Strip, while more than 5,000 Palestinians were killed by Israel with some of the most advanced US-supplied armaments in the world”

Every politician i hear interviewed here prefaces their answers by saying “of course every country has a right to defend itself” ,so without recourse to using the “p” word (proportionate – and i know some of you find the use of it and it’s implied meaning, difficult and even offensive), at what point will Israel say “ok, that’s enough now ” ? 

In crude terms, how many people will have to die to justify Israel’s right to defend itself.?  Despite the support of the U.S, will there be a time when the weight of international opinion becomes too great even for a nation as strong and as resilient as Israel ?


159 Responses to “On- air: Does there come a point when Israel loses its right to defend itself ?”


  1. 1 Hari.K.G.
    January 5, 2009 at 12:29

    I think that it’s high time that there is a lasting peace in the Gaza Strip. It’s only legitimate that the south of Israel should be rid of the fear of rockets , and the Gazans can be sure of a peaceful governance without the fear of Israeli interference.

    So, in my opinion, it is possible only by getting Hamas to guarantee that they would stop firing of rockets. Why not Israel get a third party such as Egypt into this matter, persuade them to have the Hamas allow for a legal entity in the Gaza Strip that would be responsible for disarming the Hamas and monitor and check the smuggling of arms. The work should be done by a body under the control of Egypt and monitored by world bodies like the UN and the EU.

    Also,Israel has to be guaranteed of no rockets being fired but at the same time a plan worked out that would guarantee Israel would keep out of Gaza, unless and until its citizens are under threat.

    Egypt can play a lead role, Israel may be allowed video surveillance of the borders, but barred from intervening in the region if Gazans decides to mind their own business.

    Hari.K.G., Kerala, India

  2. January 5, 2009 at 12:45

    That link to the Fisk article is worth reading, as is this earlier piece by the same author that I found by clicking links: http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-the-self-delusion-that-plagues-both-sides-in-this-bloody-conflict-1218224.html

    I fear this discussion will turn into the usual series of people defending the actions of one side or the other in this dispute.

    Well, frankly both sides are equally to blame and, as Fisk points out, they are guilty of self delusion which causes them to fall into a never-ending spiral of violence and death. It’s time the rest of the world stopped offering support…be it money, arms or just kind words in a blog…and crack some metaphorical skulls together telling all those involved that we will no longer tolerate their deadly nonsense.

  3. 3 ben's younger brother
    January 5, 2009 at 13:28

    I think we have to go back beyond the ‘stop firing rockets’ argument: this is surely a result of a situation that needs to be rectified. I believe that Israel should withdraw from illegally occupied territory and stop the horrendous abuse of an enslaved an starved people. Also allow free access to the press – if the Israelis have nothing to hide, what is their problem?

  4. 4 steve
    January 5, 2009 at 13:32

    How come this question is only asked of Israel? We killed a lot more Germans and japanese than they killed of us, yet we don’t worry about proportionality. The British killed a lot more Argentines in the Falklands then the Argentines did of Brits, yet we don’t question proportionality. Only when ISRAEL is involved, does this question come up, now would someone care to answer WHY?

  5. 5 John in Salem
    January 5, 2009 at 13:41

    I’m not a particularly big fan of Israel but watching all this carnage makes me wonder – did the people firing all those Qassam rockets expect some OTHER response? Did the neighbors who watched them do it and said nothing expect that their homes and families would NOT be in jeopardy because of it?
    Is there really anyone in Gaza who did NOT see this coming?

  6. January 5, 2009 at 14:00

    No way. If hamas had stuck to the cease fire there would be no blizzard of explosions in Gaza. However I think its too much there should be moderation but then again, Hamas seems hell bent to destroy Israel. Its a tricky situation all founded on religious ideology.

    James

    Kenya

  7. January 5, 2009 at 14:05

    Hi gang ! :-)… 1stly I must say that the extremely biased stances of the US government when it comes to the issue of the Israeli aggression on Gaza and its people are truely disgusting, or let’s be more “polite” here and say “xtremely disappointing”… I have been living in Baghdad, Iraq since I was born, and for the past glorious 22 years of my life I can claim that the good days that both I and my Iraq have experienced are actually few in number… Sadness, grief, despairation, fear, horror, loss, starvation, hopelessness, helplessness, I do know all of these stuff very well, I am so familiar with them because I and so many of my fellow citizens have personally experienced them over lengthy periods of time, and so let me here say to my brothers and sisters in Gaza : “I do feel you guys, and I do totally understand what you guys are going through… I sense your ordeal because trust me, everything that you guys are going through at the moment, everything, I have been through it and personally experienced it at many points during my life, and it’s the same thing for so many of my fellow citizens… So please you guys, just stay alive OK ?! Don’t despair, and do not lower down your heads, keep up hope and faith in better tomorrow alive… “… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  8. 8 Mark Sandell
    January 5, 2009 at 14:12

    For new WHYS contributors/readers – and Steve, who isn’t : the asking of a question doesn’t imply we think one way or the other. If i ask somebody “would you like something to eat ?” doesn’t mean i think that person is fat or thin. It’s a question. It’s a helpful device to invite people to express their opinions. Yes, even some opinions you think are wrong.

    Oh, and Steve – i know you are convinced we have an Israel- hating agenda ( though amazingly there are people just as convinced as you that the opposite is true – but they’re wrong obviously) and you’ve made it clear in many of your posts.

    And just a point of fact ; there was a huge debate in this country about the “proportionality” of the Falklands War.

    As you might say, do your homework before you comment.

  9. January 5, 2009 at 14:15

    Of course Israel–like any sovereign country–has the right to defend itself. However, the question has to be asked: “is the present action really defence”? Or did Israel in fact provoke the Palestinian rocket attacks through the blockade of Gaza and a series of cease fire violations? Is the motive really defence…or a cynical attempt to muster support in the forthcoming Israeli election?

    There are no innocent parties in the mideast spiral of violence.

  10. January 5, 2009 at 14:24

    Israel has the right to defend itself, but not at the expense of the innocent civilians caught in the fire attacks. The Israelis exposed to Hamas rockets have only fear to deal with, considering the casualties when contrasting 14 Israeli killed by Palestinian fighters versus 5,000 Palestinians killed by Israel sophisticated weapons in the past seven years.

    Israel can reserve the right to respond to those who attack it, but not through indiscriminate killing which it euphemistically can call collateral damage.

    The best way for Israel to defend itself is not to allow extremism grow around its borders and beyond, by being realistic about its approaches to its conflict with the Palestinians. One of the approaches can be for it to speed up the establishment of a Palestinian state and not to use Hamas and Iran as an excuse for further delays.

  11. 11 Kelly, from Chicago, IL, USA
    January 5, 2009 at 14:24

    I echo other comments that say both sides are to blame for the violence. Despite my sympathy for both sides, I have anger at both as well for continuing the violence and refusing to come to some solution.

    I am very disappointed to see that Israel, obviously better equipped and having the upper hand, is taking the same route that the US does too often. We need countries to “be the bigger person,” to step down or away instead of pursuing violence and aggression. There is a myriad of options on how to deal with conflict–why does it have to be out and out war? Even some sort of top secret spy mission or providing resources to stage a coup would be preferable to this, even though those wouldn’t be the best option either!

    If Israel, the US, and other countries don’t do this, I fear we have a future to look forward to that only promises more and more conflict.

  12. 12 Slowriver
    January 5, 2009 at 14:28

    Every death of a human bein is a tragedy, regardless of race, gender, nationalty etc
    When Mr Mahmoud Abbas openly blamed Hamas for the current situation, I thought “at least, here is a honnest Arab who clearly understands what is going on”. The people in Gaza should be helped in getting rid of Hamas which has only been cynically using chaos it created on its own people to advance their agenda. In the same time, Israel should understand that it’s not gaining much on having too many innocent civilian dying. There should be a possible way to inflict Hamas severe blow and in the same time keep the sympathy of objective observers.

    PS: Apologies for the grammar

  13. 13 Ramesh
    January 5, 2009 at 14:28

    Does there come a point when Israel loses it’s right to defend itself ? yes, definitely. I just don’t understand what they want to achieve through the ground assault.

  14. January 5, 2009 at 14:31

    Hi again gang ! :-)… May I say here that Hamas had stuck to the ceasefire for six months, and what did Israel do in return ?! I guess that the answer to that question is well-known : More siege, more blockade of the crossings, more isolation, more hunger, more despair… Yeah, this is how Israel had generously rewarded Gaza and its people for the six months of ceasefire declared by Hamas and the other Palestinian factions in Gaza, not to mention of course the continued Israeli assassinations of Hamas field leaders during the period of ceasefire, so what on earth is the point of a ceasefire that was meant to secure only Israel while ordinary Gazans are barely alive ?! With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  15. 15 Dan
    January 5, 2009 at 14:37

    This is very disappointing to see the bias in the question and against Israel. Every legitimate country has the right to defend itself against naked aggression.
    Hamas launched THOUSANDS of rockets into Israel and there wasn’t a whimper on WHYS.
    This notion of proportionality is similarly pure nonsense. The object of war is to win, not to be politically correct.
    Since 1948 the Arabs have waged war against Israel. How about changing the question to “Does the world have the right to dismantle the schools that preach hatred of Jews in the Arab countries so that there can finally be peace in the Middle East”.

  16. 16 Venessa
    January 5, 2009 at 14:39

    I fail to see how this conflict will be resolved. Pointing fingers instead of finding solutions delude each side. Until the blame game ends, which I highly doubt will, this clash will continue.

  17. 17 Roy, Washington DC
    January 5, 2009 at 14:43

    The line has to be drawn between Israel defending itself and being the aggressor. Few will argue that any country, including Israel, has the right to defend itself…but as Mark mentioned, many people believe that Israel’s response is far out of proportion. This makes them seem to be more of an aggressor.

    @ Steve

    The difference is that we didn’t continue bombing Germany and Japan, using the excuse that they killed a few more of our people. Whether our use of WMD against Japan was justified is another debate entirely, but the point is that we stopped bombing them, and eventually made peace with them.

  18. 18 Anthony from Cleveland
    January 5, 2009 at 14:45

    Of course they a right to defend themselves. The problem is this, Does anyone know for sure Who fires first. They each blame one another. Does anyone REALLY Know who fired first?

  19. 19 Steve
    January 5, 2009 at 14:46

    @ Mark

    I disagree. The “controversy” was over the sinking of the General Belgrano (and resulting sinking of British ships) due to controversy over the “exclusion zone” which the Belgrano wasn’t in, but even the Argentines said that the attack was legitimate. Talks of proportionality exclusively are put on the doorstep of Israel. And when did I limit this to the BBC?

    If you look to history, look up the Cap Arcona, or other naval disasters of WW2, where allied forces destroyed german ships (not knowing they were full of POWs), where many, many thousands drowned. They believe over 5000 died just from the sinking of the cap arcona, from ONE attack. Say instead if the ship weren’t full of allied POWs and concentration camp prisoners, and was full of German soldiers, and the allies had killed 5000 german soldiers in a single attack (not 500 palestinians over a week), would we be talking about proportionality? I don’t think so. Do you see my point? This issue ONLY comes up with Israel.

  20. 20 nengak
    January 5, 2009 at 14:47

    Admitted, southern Israel need to be free from rockets and the fear of rockets. But Palestians, epecially those in Gaza deserve a meaningful life too. The Israeli army have a record of not being able to root out rocket-firing militants from across the border, so I doubt if Israel expects this operation to stop Hamas from firing its rockets, except if the excercise is aimed at completely destroying Gaza.
    Ordinary Gazans should push out the Hamas militants from their community and help Israeli ground forces to locate their hide outs. I know that will be a hard request, but that is the only way to end, and avoid future Israeli assault.
    Israel looses its power to self-defence when it can no longer justify that the evil it is fighting threatens its existence.It is time for all the world to join hands and ask Israel to stop the bombardment THEN also ask Hamas to stop the rockets.

  21. 21 Steve
    January 5, 2009 at 14:49

    @ Bob

    The blockade was in response to Palestinian rocket fire. I ask anyone, even though there obviously is a humanitarian crisis there, I’m curious how they can get in all these mortars and rocket making supplies but not food or medicine? Seems like something doesn’t add up or at least they in Gaza have the wrong priorities. They need to worry more about building a nation than destroying Israel.

  22. 22 Dan
    January 5, 2009 at 14:51

    Since 1948 the Arabs have attacked Israel and before Israel could complete the job people screamed “cease fire…cease fire” and after a few years of the Arabs rearming during the cease fire the war starts again.
    Israel has the right to defend itself from Hamas launched rockets and go deep enough to perhaps finally end this nonsense.

  23. 23 Tarek
    January 5, 2009 at 15:03

    1. Israel lost its right to “defend itself” when it chose to continue to occupy and colonise another poeople’s land. The often spoken statement by the Isrealis that “no other country would put up with rockets being fired at its citizens” is tru, but they forgot to insert the words “that is not an occupying power” in that sentence.
    2. There ius nho evidence to suggest that moderation on the part of Palestinians leads to benefits. Look at Fatah in the West Bank – where has their moderation left them?

  24. 24 Nelson
    January 5, 2009 at 15:13

    No country including Israel can ever lose it’s right to defend herself but the manner and means she goes about it is a matter of grave concern.

    Innocent civilians are being killed on both sides(both sides are culpable), with Israel having the upper hand because of their superior military might. Assuming Hamas had more military might we may have seen a different conflict.

    The only country that can probably influence Israel is the US, but with powerful Jewish lobbyists in all echelons of Government, that’s unlikely to happen.

  25. January 5, 2009 at 15:17

    The Israeli politicians say that their war on Hamas will go on whatever it takes. This means they have given themselves the right to have a free hand. But as long as there are the laws of wars, going beyond them must be a crime against humanity.

    However as long as it’s unlikely that Israel can face international sanctions from its allies, mainly the EU and the USA – its major economic partners, it will continue to bombard Gaza at will. The irony is that NATO was able to intervene militarily in ex-Yugoslavia to stop ethnic cleansing there and the international forces led by the USA invaded in Iraq. Now the international community is watching Israel pound its bombs in civilian areas and “calmly” asking for a ceasefire. As such Israel isn’t just defending itself but it’s being defended by its allies on behalf of which it is waging a war against Hamas.

    In short, Israel in its history of bloody attacks is used to the pattern of diplomatic condemnations and angry wide public protests. It has a deaf ear to them because the drones of the engines of its weapons and the sounds of the explosion are louder than them. Israel doesn’t need justifications as it has no one to account for its actions. It’s the law of the strong against the weak, not the modern laws of war.

  26. January 5, 2009 at 15:19

    When Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni says that she is trying to make Israel a better place, it simply doesn’t fit. This is precisely what fundamentalist hardliners are saying in Iran. It is nothing to do with religion. It is nothing to do with civil rights. It is nothing to do with humanitarian concerns for Israel proper.
    This is wanton carnage, killing for the sake of it, and simply indefensible.

  27. 27 Barry
    January 5, 2009 at 15:24

    Hi,

    I would say what came first the egg or the chicken?

    People seem to ignore that a month before the so called ceasefire ended Israel warned that if there will be more attack it will have to mount a military operation.
    Hamas chose to ignore it and try to get a better deal by using Rockets.

    i don’t expect Hamas to fight the IDF face to face it’s not their way! but i would point out that Israel has in the beginning fight battles with much bigger and better armed armies and won, we did not use out kid and wife’s as cover and we did not hide underground while letting our people die.

    it stupid, what did they think they will get from picking a fight with someone bigger and stronger, it like walking into the lion’s den and complaining after you poke him in the eye and he eats you.

    Mohammad a zahar said today that even doe it cost 500 people lives they will not stop sending rocket to Israel

  28. 28 Steve
    January 5, 2009 at 15:29

    @ Tarek

    So did Egypt and Jordan lose their right to defense when they took other people’s lands and colonized and annexed them like they did with Gaza and the WB from 1948-1967? That’s right. we should ignore that little bit of history, that the Palestininan’s own arab brothers wouldn’t even give them independence. The greatest irony of this entire situation, is if Hamas disapears, it was the arabs that took Palestine away by invading in 1948, and the Jews that will give it back. Isn’t that ironic? Or perhaps I’m mistaken? Why didn’t their arab brothers give them independence when they were occupied by Arab nations? That’s right, because the Palestinians are a pawn for the arab nations.

  29. 29 Nelson
    January 5, 2009 at 15:40

    @ Abdelilah Boukili

    It’s simply a case of double standards, one rule for the conflict between Israel and Palestine, another rule for conflicts elsewhere depending on the location and what’s at stake.

  30. 30 Steve G
    January 5, 2009 at 15:44

    Robin Lustig’s interview with a top Hamas official this morning was quite enlightening.

    He said:
    1) Hamas has no intention of stopping assaults until Israel is destroyed.

    2) Palestinian civilians will continue to die until Hamas’s political goals are attained.

    As Robin said, “Write to World Have Your Say and tell us what you think of THAT.”

    Instead of listening to the mostly skewed coverage here at the BBC, why not listen to the actual words of Hamas?

    Their intentions seem very clearly to make every Palestinian a ‘martyr’ , whether they want to be or not.

  31. 31 Kelly in Lebanon, OR
    January 5, 2009 at 15:48

    While I do not question Israels right to self-defence when it is defense, but also recognize the Palestinians right to the same. When Israel left Gaza the first thing Hamas did, which few seem to remember, was to say that Gaza and the West Bank were one entity and that the West Bank was still under Israeli military control through roadblocks and illegal IDF-protected settlements that were still expanding- attacks on the civilian persons and character of Palestine. When Israel denied that Gaza and the West Bank were one, that was like subjugating California and not expecting Oregon to respond. Not gonna happen. We have differences, but will look past those for the greater goal.

    The non-proportionality agrument from the Israeli side is worthless unless we are also to forget the number 6 million as being significant. Without that number, the jewish victim of Hitler’s genocide would just be another name on the list, no more or less important than any other.

    The only real solution is a comprehensive peace.

  32. January 5, 2009 at 15:50

    There can never ever come a point when Israel loses its right to defend itself. Every country in the world has the right to defend its citizens and itself as laid down in the United Nations Charter.
    The problem arose when Israel left Gaza hopeing for peaceful coexistance with palestinians and reaching a peace settlement for the future, instead of which, Hamas seized power in Gaza and broke away from Fatah in the West Bank and began to infiltrate and carry out terrorist activities against Israel. Hamas openly stated they hoped for the destruction of Israel. Subsequently Israel had no choice to blockade Gaza so as to avoid Hamas carrying out their terrorest activities across the border. There was a truce for about 6 months which Hamas used to smuggle into Gaza, arms and rockets in large quantities supplied by Iran and Syria, Since the ending of the truce Hamas has fired into Israel hundreds of rockets aimed at Israeli citizens. Therefore Israel has the right to to take the necessary military action against Hamas terrorists who fire these rockets from areas of schools, mosques and apartment buildings so that Israel would not attack them there. Accordingly there is bound to be some civillian casualties which should be blamed squarely on Hamas. Israel’s only aim is to stop the firing of rockets endangering Israeli citizens and not occupying Gaza so that there can be peace in the area. There can never be any peace as long as Hamas operate with authority in Gaza.

  33. 33 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    January 5, 2009 at 15:52

    While the Israeli death toll has been low, the thousands of missiles and mortars that Hamas has rained down on Israeli CIVILIAN targets in an on-going terrorist attack.

    Israel has an absolute right to not be bombed and terrorized by its neighbor, and it has the right to take whatever action it must to stop the rain of bombs and reign of terror.

    The BBCWS reported today that Gaza is running out of food and medical supplies. Is it also running out of missiles and mortars? Did Hamas think to stockpile food and medicine while it was stockpiling weapons? How much money and effort has Hamas spent on items intended to kill its civilian neighbors, instead of putting that money and effort to work for its own impoverished population? These are the questions we should be asking.

    Donnamarie in Switzerland

  34. January 5, 2009 at 15:52

    @ Steve

    The blockade was in response to Palestinian rocket fire.

    The Palestinians will, of course, say that the rocket fire was in response to the blockade and a number of other Israeli violations of the cease fire, such as IDF soldiers shooting at farmers.

    My intent is not to say that Israel is the sole cause of the problems; rather both sides are engaged in a pointless spiral of violence. As the Fisk article points out, both sides are deluding themselves if they think military or terrorist action will buy them land or peace. I don’t hold out much hope for a change in the situation anytime soon, but justifying the actions of EITHER side will just prolong the problem.

  35. 35 Michel Norman
    January 5, 2009 at 15:56

    Let’s put the proportion into scale – The british army is fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq, thousands of miles away, after those countries fired exactly 0 missiles at the UK. We have had 7,000. Britain and the US killed 7,000 civilians as against 3000 soldiers fighting in the open. We have unfortunately killed 100 against 400 terrorists who hide among civilians. We telephone warnings ahead so as to avoid civilian casualties. There are only 2,000 taliban in Afghanistan and they have no tanks or aircraft – are you going to send yours home? We are willing to accept the same proportion of missiles fired at our cities as Britain will – exactly 0. You are facing an enemy which wants you to go back to your country, we are facing one that wants to expel us from ours. We are using a fraction of our force – they are using all of theirs. Please tell me 1 war that has been fought proportionately. The fact that they have more deaths is because Hammas spends its money on weapons, we spend ours on shelters. Sheamus Milne’s comments are to be polite insulting.

  36. 36 Steve
    January 5, 2009 at 15:57

    @ Bob

    Why is israel NOT attacking or blockading the west bank right now? That’s right! Because they aren’t launching rockets at Israel.

  37. 37 Michel Norman
    January 5, 2009 at 16:02

    Tarek – Israel left Gaza in 2005 – It is not occupoying gaza – yes there is a blockade aimed at stopping Hammas stockpile missiles. you can argue that that is wrong – but it is no different from the Arab blockade of Israel for 60 years, sanctions on Iraq ans Zimbabwe. The innocent aresuffering but with due repsect – enough gazans claim that Hammas was democratically elected for us to see that Gaza chose Hammas knowing where it would lead. Indeed look at the West bank – the economy is flourishing, security cooperation is working, terrorism is down, in fac tthe only reason that there is not a Palestinian state now is becuase Hammas has convinced us that giving up land is a bad idea – look where it got us in Gaza!!!

  38. 38 Michel Norman
    January 5, 2009 at 16:11

    If you look at the proportions demanded by the Hammas for releasing a kidnap victim – they want 1,500 for 1- does the ratio sound familar?

    TheUN says that 20 -25% are civilians – which means of the 500 dead 400 are terrorists. Firing 8000 rockets declaring that your aim is to destroy Israel – is in anyone’s book’s a declaration of war. So we have killed 400 terrorists in a fight they started – What should we do tell our soldiers to make easier targets. Look at Iraq – how many Iraqi soldiers dies compared with British – should you have told your soldiers to get killed to make the numbers better? We are 6 million people on a slither of land surrounded by 300 million arabs – there armies are several times larger than ours – so sorry we cannot manage perfect draws – this is not littlewoods!

  39. 39 Justin from Iowa
    January 5, 2009 at 16:19

    Lets face it, Israel is run by a bunch of idiots. You don’t end an insurgency and terrorism by grinding down the civilian population. The terrorists are the ones that always have food and resources regardless of your blockades or interdictions. You just feed the insurgency by using those methods.

    But, lets also be honest about the other side of the coin here. You don’t pick a fight with somebody and then expect sympathy when they crush you. Palestinian terrorists, freedom fighters, whatever you want to call them – they chose to fight, and what’s more fight against civilians rather than the Israeli Military. Israel is completely justified in going into Palestinian areas and hunting down the people who do this. France would do no less, China would do no less, the USA would do no less.

  40. 40 Mark Sandell
    January 5, 2009 at 16:26

    Thanks for the thought-provoking comnments but can i ask just one thing ? Please, read the question. It doesn’t say “Does Israel have a right to defend itself ? ” does it ?
    Though that’s the question some of you are answering.
    (mind you, at least you’re answering an invented question, some people don’t even do that !)
    As i explained in the original post, some people want to know at what point the military action is seen to be over, or won.
    No-one has – as far as i can see- questioned any country’s right to defend itself , we’re asking whether there comes a time when the action of defending your country crosses over into something else., and therefore in some people’s eyes, that country loses it’s right.

  41. 41 Steve
    January 5, 2009 at 16:31

    So mark, should you mean to rephrase the question as “how many Israelis need to be killed before Israel uses it’s military might to defend itself?” Apparently people are upset that not enough israelis are getting killed. See the thing is, with Groups like Hamas, the intelligent person would not attack a more powerful neighbor that can deliver a devestating blow. It’s really not Israel’s problem that Hamas leaders are either mentally retarded or insanely irrational.

  42. 42 Mark Sandell
    January 5, 2009 at 16:31

    Right , one more and i’ll disappear back into my box ;

    a) to those who ask “you didn’t ask this question when it came to the U.S in Iraq ? ” – er, we did. Several times. And may well again.

    b) and of course i wasn’t talking about the Belgrano or i’d have said so. There were many questions raised as to whether sending a huge great task force to the Falklands was “proportionate” long BEFORE a shot was fired.

  43. January 5, 2009 at 16:36

    No, humas is not terrorist orgnisation,
    it has been in power,elected by the palestine people,

    As for as rocket firing is concerned,
    it is acceptable reality,
    they have been doing so,
    but in reaction of unjustified blockade by Israel.

    in case,
    rocket-firing is wrong,
    blockade is also wrong,
    but the present incursion is the voilation of all principles enacted by the United Nations.

  44. 44 Patti in Florida
    January 5, 2009 at 16:38

    I have listened to other shows on WHYS, NPR, CNN, and other sources, and all I ever here from both sides (Palestine and Israel) is that they both want peace, that they understand the pain of loss and don’t wish to inflict that on others. So much for the relationship between two peace-loving peoples. Nobody wants peace badly enough I guess…

  45. January 5, 2009 at 16:39

    Of course Israel has a right to defend itself but I don’t think this is a case of ‘defence’.
    Even if it were, surely there are more intelligent ways of doing it than this. What happened to Mossad, that wonderful intelligence service run by the Israel?
    They should be able to pinpoint every firecracker in Gaza and take appropriate action. Like remove them while peoples backs are turned. Or how about a bit of international back up and negotiate something with Hamas –
    Israel was founded on terrorism, they shouldn’t forget that and be a little more sympathetic. As it is, sooner or later the plug is going to be pulled on Israel in such a way they will not be able to ‘defend’ themelves.

  46. 46 viola
    January 5, 2009 at 16:42

    I frequently hear that if you have never experienced the occupation of your country by a foreign power, you have no right to have an opinion regarding Israel’s right to defend itself against attacks. I reject that reasoning. Believe it or not, there are people in the world whose imagination is strong enough that they don’t have to experience pain to know it hurts. The most you can say is that the actual experience of pain is worse than the imagining of it. Bear in mind, if you are an onlooker in a card game who can see everyone’s hand, aren’t you in a better position to predict the outcome than are those sitting at the table? Objectivity can be a big advantage.

    It’s similar to another argument I frequently hear that the American victory in World War II was less honorable, somehow, than Russia’s participation in that same conflict because America suffered fewer casualties. It’s true– Americans did not suffer as much death and destruction from World War II as other nations did. They should be proud of that fact because the nation did what it was supposed to do–it protected its citizens.

    The survival of the nation and its citizens overrides the issue of proportionality. War is about killing people and it long ago ceased being about battles between armies only. Sad but true. Citizens can no longer pass off the necessity to learn peacemaking by relying on their military arm to protect them while they continue to harbor hate and vengeful desires. Citizens, too, are accountable. Hamas clearly believes this; hence, their rocket attacks against civilians. So they have no basis for crying foul when they not only are unable to protect their citizens but do not even try and, indeed, use civilian casualties to drum up world indignation

    People who use civilian casualties as a war tactic to terrorize the enemy and their own civilian casualties to drum up support are deeply immoral no matter what their religion or ideology is.

    Pacifists believe no one should kill anyone else. Unless you are a pacifist who would not dream of responding to injustice by killing another human being, you have no right to declare rocket attacks against a civilian population to be less horrific than killings done in an effort to stop those attacks.

  47. 47 Steven
    January 5, 2009 at 16:43

    What an anti-semitic question to pose. The BBC has reached a new low in discrimination, hypocrisy, double-standards, and anti-Israel sentiment. When does ANYONE lose the right to defend themselves from constant rocket attacks?

    Your tone in reporting this conflict since it began has been nothing short of repulsive.

  48. 48 Vijay
    January 5, 2009 at 16:44

    Well 4 deaths are a tragedy ,500 are a a mere statstic.

  49. 49 Savane, Nairobi
    January 5, 2009 at 16:44

    How about NOW!
    Stop now Israel and Hamas.

    History has shown us many times that conflict is resolved around a table when minds and NOT arms (pun intended) meet.

    Has there ever been conflict between countries that has been resolved in any other way? Or is this latest war, the ‘intermission’ between CR meetings?

  50. 50 Roy, Washington DC
    January 5, 2009 at 16:46

    @ Mark

    Given the long history of conflict in what so many billions of people see as their holy land, the military action in that area will most likely never be “over, or won”. Comparing this to a traditional military conflict doesn’t really work when you throw in religion. The argument about proportionality does still apply, though, and Israel’s disproportionate response (as many view it) seems to only be escalating things.

    Brett had a good point a week or two ago on one of the “Ask Israel” shows that WHYS did…his question was “Do you not understand that violence begets violence?”

  51. 51 gary
    January 5, 2009 at 16:49

    To Israel and to Hamas: You may, indeed you must, defend yourselves. Why don’t you try doing this in some effective way? May I please suggest conversation? Though talking sometimes doesn’t work, killing never does!
    g

  52. 52 Donnamarie in Switzerland
    January 5, 2009 at 17:03

    @ Steve

    “Why didn’t their arab brothers give them independence when they were occupied by Arab nations? That’s right, because the Palestinians are a pawn for the arab nations.”

    Exactly. And the longer as the Arab nations can keep outrage focused on the Israeli’s, the longer they can avoid being held to account for their own gross failures to their own people.

    Donnamarie in Switzerland

  53. 53 Ramesh
    January 5, 2009 at 17:29

    @Dan ref: The object of war is to win, not to be politically correct.
    May be you are right. But do you think Israel is going to win the current war? How long it will take to win? Can you guarantee there wont be any problem with Hamas to the Israelis in future which means there wont be any need for israel to conduct this kind of violent attacks again in future? I am just wondering what the term ‘WIN’ means in the present context. Srilnkans are almost confident of wiping out LTTE in their ongoing war currently. I think Israelis could not achieve even 10% of the results of the Lankan army. Yes, Israelis have the right to react to aggression whether they could achieve anything or not!

  54. 54 archibald in oregon
    January 5, 2009 at 17:31

    Having not been to Gaza, as I am sure many on this blog have not, I can only comment as an outsider.
    The living conditions in Gaza seem to be slightly less than one might find at the zoo. Israel, the zookeepers, are angry and suprised that many of their fellow zookeepers have been killed by angry animals inside the zoo, despite the appalling conditions they force the animals to live under. Driven by blind insecurity and the nagging questions that come along with being the keepers of any zoo, Israel decides to stop the animals once and for all, killing the ring leaders as their children watch and die in horror. Hate wells up in the hearts of the animals that are left and they vow never to submit, because they know that soon the zoo will be empty, no matter what they do. They are in a cage with few options, the fight continues…….animals and zookeepers alike die for no good reason at all………

    Israel is the aggressor, backed by the biggest aggressor on the world stage…….zookeeper all.

  55. 55 David in Oregon
    January 5, 2009 at 17:42

    All religionist/nationalist “us or them” fanatics on both sides of this and all race/religion/culture-based conflicts should have the right to defend themselves to the death under the flags of their unreconcilable differences. They should not, however, have the right to do it in public.

    All willing combatants and their political counterparts should be shipped to an uninhabited island somewhere and left to fight it out with stones and clubs. No need to inform us of the results, because the peace-loving will have moved on to the much more critical defensive strategy: That of hammering the intolerance out of our beliefs and making amends.

    Since this and so many of our globe-threatening conflicts could probably be traced back to a lethal rock-fight over a sheep pasture several thousands of years ago, our hope clearly lies in a future that does not involve doing the same things over and over again, expecting a different outcome.

  56. 56 Alem
    January 5, 2009 at 17:47

    Israel must protect the lives of its people and at the same time protect the lives of the palestinian population.

  57. 57 Anthony
    January 5, 2009 at 17:58

    @ everyone condeming Israel

    1. What about Egypt? They closed their borders also.
    2. You don’t see Israel bombing the West Bank.
    3. Hamas are the ones who didn’t remew the cease fire.
    4. If Mexico was shooting rockets over the border to the States, should the U.S. just take it? Most countries would be 10 TIMES as worse than Israel has been!

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  58. January 5, 2009 at 17:58

    Does there come a point when Israel loses it’s right to defend itself ?

    No – and I believe that of any nation regardless.

    The essence is this, Hamas has sent rockets into Israel to kill civilians – if they had targeted military outposts would I think differently, probably – but they aren’t. No civilised nation would allow their population to be bombed from their neighbour – I would hope not. I cannot understand the mindset of Hamas – Israel has been recognised by a multitude of nations, even some Arab ones. You can only negotiate from the point you are at now – not 1948. And that is where it must begin – both sides have to put the bullets and bombs down – that is the first step, after the secret one that is going on under the radar – yet civilians are dying.

    I have read many of my fellow liberals blogs, and most state that Israel have to stop – I am of the opinion that Hamas has to stop!

    And, although I am surprised I am saying this – I agree with the point that Hamas could have used the cease-fire to ‘smuggle’ medicine and petrol, supplies into Gaza and chose not to, rather more powerful rockets that could travel further – that shows the real intention of Hamas, not political bull that they keep spouting.

  59. 59 Kelly in Lebanon, OR
    January 5, 2009 at 18:04

    Excuse me, my previous post should have read, ” while I DO recognize Israels right to defense… ” insteaf of what was printed.

  60. 60 Alem
    January 5, 2009 at 18:07

    Israel must not value the life of an Israeli much more than that of a palestinian. Let them act responsibly and not anger God.

  61. 61 Trent West
    January 5, 2009 at 18:16

    No. A country keeps its right to defend itself until the threat has been neutralized. It is a shame that people are dying but the only way for this incursion to end is for the said people demand Hamas stop firing rockets. Yes, Israel’s response is not propotional but if someone keeps throwing rocks at my car I will run him over and not loose any sleep.

  62. 62 Steve
    January 5, 2009 at 18:23

    They don’t have cooking gas, food, or electricity but seem to have rockets to fire at Israel. Hmmmmm…

  63. 63 Alem,Belgium
    January 5, 2009 at 18:24

    At what cost will Israel continue to defend itself? Its going out of hand and they should be stopped immediately. the world can’t continue to watch the killing of innocent lives.

  64. 64 Alex, Leeds
    January 5, 2009 at 18:25

    Israel may be seen as defending itself but that is just another word used by the media to help describe and differentiate whats happening. I am not in support of the action that either side is taking but surely it’s been overlooked that in fact Hamas may be defending themselves from this Apartheid like situation that Israel has been forcing upon Palestine for years.

  65. 65 brinda Rao
    January 5, 2009 at 18:25

    I have a question to the guy in Gaza who’s brother is wounded…..I feel for you situation, but do u support Hamas? if so why? and how are they helping the ordinary people living in Gaza.What are they doing to protect you?

  66. 66 Mercedes
    January 5, 2009 at 18:26

    @Alem: Please leave God aside in this discussion…This horrible situation is because a lot of reasons, but one of the strongest is the idea of having different gods..

  67. 67 Bruno
    January 5, 2009 at 18:27

    This affair is sickening. I feel like I am seeing the Lebanon scenario unfolding again :
    a totally disproportionnate aerial bombardment, a ground invasion, a carnage, and in the end the reinforcement of extremists
    As for Israel not deriberatly targetting civilians, some NGOs had their doubts about that in Lebanon.

    Do you also remember the million of cluster bombs that were sprayed in the south of Lebanon 3 days before the end of the war ? How to ever justify that ?

  68. 68 Justin from Iowa
    January 5, 2009 at 18:29

    Question:

    What is wrong with Israel shifting from defense to attack?

    That is war. War isn’t just sitting in your borders trying to shoot down the enemy’s missiles. War is keeping your people from being killed, and then KILLING the enemy. Which is an attack.

    And don’t forget, the palestinians, those peace loving people, are harboring terrorists within their midsts every day. They choose to be Hamas human shields, they can choose not to be at any time.

  69. 69 Robert
    January 5, 2009 at 18:30

    War is ugly, and let us hope that never changes, because if it does we won’t hesitate to engage in warfare more often. Since the beginning of war tactics have evolved. When the American revolutionaries hid behind trees and shot at British troops they were regarded as savages.

    Now Hammas uses Mosques, schools and hospitals and stores for military supplies and even launches rockets (at civilian targets) from these areas. Then they want sympathy when Israel targets these areas.

    What did they expect to happen when they refused to renew the cease fire? When they refuse to talk to Israel about conditions? If they want to be recognized as a government they need to act like one. When the cease fire ended and rockets started flying into Israel did they really expect Israel to do nothing?

    Finally leaders must act like leaders. A cease fire does not mean “oh, those rockets being fired to Israel aren’t Hammas’ rockets, they are from Islamic Jihad, you don’t have a cease fire with them.”

    Sorry, this is a little off topic but I feel I have to say it:
    Since Corporal Shalit was kidnaped two and a half years ago why has he not been allowed to see the Red Cross, or similar. This is why I use the word kidnapped. If Hammas wants to be treated like a government they need to act like one. The Geneva conventions are clear about captured military in a state of war, as is claimed. Until Hammas acts like a “civilized” government then why should treat them like one? (There are more points, but as I said this is already a little off topic.)

    –Robert
    San Diego, CA
    USA

  70. January 5, 2009 at 18:32

    Hamas sets the rules about how much is enough. Not the U.S. Not the Brits. Hamas must stop. They can never blow up another person. Not another rocket. Not another stone thrown.

  71. 71 Justin from Iowa
    January 5, 2009 at 18:36

    People act as if Hamas aren’t a major reason for all these deaths. Hamas chooses civilian targets, then hides within the civilian population, because they know that it is a way to get new recruits, a surefire way to drum up more support for itself. They are cold-heartedly trading the suffering of their own people for more power. That is their strategy to “beat” israel.

    And nobody seems to care about this.

  72. 72 Erdal in Washington, DC
    January 5, 2009 at 18:36

    I hear a lot of the Israelis commenting that Hamas use civilians as shields; my question is how do they know that? Reporters are not allowed into Gaza, hence the only news they get is from Israeli Military.

    Both Hamas and Israel are guilty, and don’t think either side cares about the civilians. As Hamas is blindly firing rockets, and Israel is targeting homes and schools, claiming that Hamas is hiding behind civilians; when you have 1.4 million people living in a 360 square kilometer area, people are living on top of each other.

    Killing more Palestinians does not provide any solution, short term or long term. One of the major issues is that, no one has mentioned why Hamas broke off the cease-fire; even though there was cease-fire for a long time, Gaza strip was suffering due to the closed borders, lack of resources…

    We should look all the facts….

  73. 73 richard
    January 5, 2009 at 18:37

    hamas is using women and children as shields for a world pity play.
    anyone sane person , state or country would of course defend itself from a group bent on their destruction. defense is a right and duty.

  74. 74 Emmanuel
    January 5, 2009 at 18:37

    While I believe that no one has the right to kill anyone I see the situation as one fights cancer. While one tries to hit the cancerous cells it is inevitable that healthy cells are killed as well.

  75. 75 Justin from Iowa
    January 5, 2009 at 18:38

    I love how your palestinian supporter on the air refuses to answer the question about how Israel should respond to rockets flying in.

  76. 76 Jim in Boston
    January 5, 2009 at 18:38

    We are all forgetting some important facts here – look at the number of rocket attacks that have happened in Israel since 2005; over 6300.

    Just because these rockets have not killed as many people; does not take away from the fact that they are being continually fired into Israel –

    Israel has the right to defend itself without limit until the conflict is resolved…

  77. 77 Henricus, The Netherlands
    January 5, 2009 at 18:40

    Israel will say enough is enough when they will have the power in what they call ‘the promised land’, hopefully without Palestinians. That is what they themselves say!

  78. 78 Daniel Weiss
    January 5, 2009 at 18:40

    Israel should have had a proportional response. Over the years, each time a missile came across its borders, three or four should have gone back, just randomly targeted.
    Would that have been better?

  79. 79 Cormac Gannon, California
    January 5, 2009 at 18:41

    The root of the problem is the on going illegal occupation of Palestinian lands which is denying the Palestinian people their basic humane rights. Israel dose not want a Palestinian State and without the support of the U.S.A. would not be able to continue the occupation. President Obama needs to put an end to the occupation by simply telling Israel that the billions of dollars they receive in aid every year will cease if they do not abide by U.N. resolutions and return to 1967 borders.

  80. 80 brinda Rao
    January 5, 2009 at 18:41

    To all the people who blame Israel ( i am not supporting everything Israel is doing but) Have you ever questioned Hamas ? Why was Hamas firing rockets at its neighbor ?

    The reason for people being hurt is not only Israel but Hamas too .Why is Israel being singled out?

  81. 81 Bert
    January 5, 2009 at 18:42

    Seems to me quite disingenuous of the Hamas supporters.

    The reason for this Israeli offensive is that for years now, no matter what cease fire may have been in place, the rockets from Hamas never stopped. There comes a point when something needs to be done.

    Certainly, Israelis should never have attempted to settle into Gaza or the West Bank. That’s a perfect excuse for the Arab extremists. But even removal of those settlers did not stop the rockets being fired into Israel.

    Sooner or later, Israel had to do something. Israel will say “enough is enough” when it has found and obliterated all of the rockets stored in Gaza. Why didn’t everyone yell “cease fire” in the past many years, as thousands of rockets were being fired into Israel? Is it because NOT ENOUGH Israelis died as a result? So just how many Isaelis have to be maimed or killed by these rockets, before world opinion allows them to defend themselves?

  82. 82 Jelena ,Serbia
    January 5, 2009 at 18:43

    I dont know who is right and who is wrong,but i tink that Hammas and Israeli goverment are almost the same.Saying that,they are the same but they are not equal,and the whole world can se that,Israeli goverment say we will bomb you you better run away and hide!Hide where exactly?run where?Somebody has to stop killing innocent people,that have to be priority!!!!

  83. 83 Sahar
    January 5, 2009 at 18:44

    I am a Palestinian living in the US.
    I can’t beleive that your guest is saying that Israel never attacked civilians! Why then thousands and thousands of Palestinians have been killed over the years since 1948? Is he saying that those men, women, and children were all armed?
    attacking Palestinian does not only mean bombing. it’s the illegal occupation, the confiscation of land, the obstruction of movement, the oppression through siege and closures and kicking people out of their lands. The reason Hamas sends rockets to Israel is the illegal occupation. If Israel ends the occupation and gives Palestinians their land and freedom back, according to International law, Hamas will stop.

  84. 84 M. Carter, Larnaca
    January 5, 2009 at 18:47

    Israel has lost it’s soul and the war along with it. The actions of militant Israel will make a solution to Iraq’s, Afghanistan’s and Pakistan’s problems much, much more difficult to resolve.

  85. January 5, 2009 at 18:47

    I have one question that I wonder why has not been answered or even raised during the discussion.

    Is armed resistance against an aggressive armed occupation legitimate? Or is it an act of terrorism?

    I wonder if the word armed resistance is forbidden on BBC?

    S. Samir
    Berlin
    Germany

  86. January 5, 2009 at 18:47

    Anger and resentment are byproducts of apartheid, and peole will use whatever means they have at their disposal to fight back. , regardless of how futile or inadvisable the retribution. As long as the Gaza Strip remains an open air prison, where a million and a half people are oppressed and denied human right, there will never be peace in the Middle East. While I decry the loss of life on both sides, the brutality and disproportionality of the Israeli attack in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, etc. will only cause anti-Semitism to rear its ugly head once again.

  87. 87 Chris, Berlin
    January 5, 2009 at 18:47

    The point was reached when they occupied somebody’s land. If it had been any other country other than Israel the world would have been shouting war criminals a long time ago.

  88. 88 Bob Macala, Miami Beach Florida
    January 5, 2009 at 18:48

    Israel is a unique colonial experiment. It is still trying to define its borders, still trying to suppress the native population.
    It took America several centuries to pacify indigenous peoples.
    That’s what happening now. Except this is the 21 Century, with open communication around the world. In the past colonial powers usually erased indigenous people without world wide witnesses.
    Now indigenous people have rockets and weapons are equal to the colonial powers. Both Israelis and Palestines are victims of historical conditions. Modern weapons and modern communications make this colonial struggle unique and eternal…

  89. 89 GB
    January 5, 2009 at 18:50

    Ignoring the religious underpinnings of this conflict is a grave mistake. I don’t think either side has clean hands and both sides have legitimate aims (excluding Hamas’ stated desire to eradicate Israel) that will not be achieved by military or violent means – it appears to be strengthening resolve on both sides.

    Israel, like any other nation, certainly has the right defend itself but the current action appears to have gone beyond reasonable interpretations of “defense.”

  90. January 5, 2009 at 18:51

    The Palestinians have choosen Hamas to govern Gaza, knowing, more or less, Hamas agenda. so I guess ‘people you made your choice, this is the consequence you must accept.’

    On the other hand, how does the Israel soldiers/government know that the Hamas are using civillians as human sheild? How can we confirm that Hamas are hidding among the civillians.

    But at the end of the day, every minute that we are talking, typing, making comments, an innocent civilian is dying. I think it is more important to find a solution to this conflict than to discuss whether will it come to a time when a country lose the right to defend herself. Those who are supose to talk are not talking (ie Israel and Hamas), and those who are suppose to be doing something are just merely making statements( UN security council, other so called ‘major power’ .

  91. January 5, 2009 at 18:52

    I come from Northern Ireland and although hatred is still deep in the hearts of a lot of people we (in the main) have freed ourselves from our history. But the UN gave the dear Jewish people and the Arab world a trap in 1947, a political-romantic trap of impossibilities which means that there will never be peace in the Middle East. The poetries and histories are too heavy for either side to bear and both sidea will only burn together.

  92. 92 Linda, France
    January 5, 2009 at 18:53

    Dear World have your say,
    In the 70s I was in Athens Airport and struck up a conversation with an American student on her way back home. She had been on a project in Isreal working in a hospital. She told me that the Palestinian doctors in this hospital were treated like second rate citizens they had to eat in a different restuarant. Don’t you thing that situations like this can build up in the minds of the Palestians.
    I think what is happening now is appauling on both sides butshould not there be forgiveness on both sides.

  93. January 5, 2009 at 18:55

    Hi! The whole mess in the Middle East is so irritating! I just can’t stand it anymore! International Community have to force two parties to sit tat the table once and for all!

    Re current crisis:

    1) every country has the right to defend itself – also Israel!
    2) Violence feeds violence, and Hamas or Israel is not really fighting for a long term solution
    3) IF Israel wants to show the world they are a peaceful and intelligent society and they really want peace, they should fulfill without waiting for Palestinians all their obligations required by UN, US etc, like withdraw to their pre 1967 border, stop settlements etc!!!

    4) If Hamas is still violent, after they have fulfilled their obligations, at least then it makes a a just war!

    5) At the moment, the war in Gaza is like squeezing out the violence in the prison!

    6) To all those comments, that Israel life is terrible because of those hamas rockets:
    tough! You have a 1.6 million people locked up in the prison next door! What do you expect?? they have the same rights as other human being! and yet they are not treated as such by Israel or International Community! they have the right to fight for their freedom!

    Regards

    Kris

  94. 94 Tom D Ford
    January 5, 2009 at 18:56

    I sure don’t see any good solution to that problem over there.

    I note that both sides are worshipers of the “One God”, both are of the Abraham Religion.

    Some “God”, some “Religion”.

    Oh yeah and the American Christians are in it up to their teeth too. All three branches of the One God Religion stealing each others land and murdering each other.

    Geez, wouldn’t you change Gods?

  95. 95 Ore
    January 5, 2009 at 18:57

    I’m an Israeli-American dual citizen. I heard your guest speak about the fear of Israeli children and citizens to leave their homes due to the Qassam rockets. I’d like to know how he rationalizes inflicting the same kind of terror on Gazan civilians?

  96. 96 Justin from Iowa
    January 5, 2009 at 18:58

    Being elected doesn’t make a terrorit organization anything less of a terrorist organization. Not unless that terrorist organization makes an effort to change with the legitamacy of being elected.

    You started out as a terrorist organization, people don’t give you the benefit of the doubt, you EARN new consideration by changing the course of your actions.

    And the last caller commenting that the UN needs to be involved is EXACTLY right. Israel should not be fighting this war and deciding on the actions here. The UN should be stepping in and putting its foot down.

    Israel/Palestine is as great of a blight on the UN as anything in the world at the moment.

  97. 97 Helen Miller, Emeryville, CA
    January 5, 2009 at 19:00

    When will the citizens of Israel take responsibility for illegally occupying Palestine as per the United Nations mandate?

    The current attacks by Israel continues to take the focus off Israel’s illegal occupation. This show is also taking focus from the illegal occupation.

  98. 98 katarina slovakia
    January 5, 2009 at 19:03

    hi
    i will try to keep this as short as possible and maybe as neutral as possible.

    of course every country has the right to self defense. the problem comes when this right is abused and used as an excuse to launch an air- land attack on civilians, mostly children and women, who somehow happen to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. try to look at it this way. you live in a territory which has been isolated from the rest of the world for over a year now. just on the other side of the barricade, you can see infrastructure that works, hospitals that work, school that work, etc…and than there is you, standing there hopeless, on the wrong side of the barricade. what happened to your right for the same things? israel pulled out of Gaza almost 2 years ago. but what have changed. dont palestinians have the same right for their own state? i believe if there would be a reasonable proposal for an independent state on which both countries would agree, there would be a possibility of peace…
    it is stupid to ask question of who fired rockets first? who killed who first? israel was created 60 years ago on partially palestinian territory. now who gave what to them? they have been kicked out from their own land and somebody is asking why they just dont shut up and keep quite?
    as i see it, and as many of you who participated in this blog, both sides are to blame. but then the new question is not who should we blame and punish in this situation, but what are we- the international community- going to do to stop this bloodshed?

  99. 99 Barbara in Oregon
    January 5, 2009 at 19:12

    Why not stop settlements? Israel does not appear to seek peace as long as it continues to allow settlements, it looks more like a country that destroys Palestinian leaders and infrastructure at every opportunity, and then complains that they are incapable of ruling themselves so can’t be responsible for their own country. All US support should be contingent on stopping all settlements.

  100. 100 David in Oregon
    January 5, 2009 at 19:13

    @Photo at top of blogs

    Gee. Those Israeli munitions don’t look very “surgical” to me. What is that…? Napalm? Thousands of little cluster-bombs to blow off the feet of Palestinian children for months to come?

    As to Gail’s fear of anti-semitism, it’s already rearing it’s ugly head. All over America people are trying to remember just how exactly we came to be such steadfast supporters of this Zionist Homeland project….and if that’s not an anti-semetic question to entertain, I don’t know what is.

  101. 101 kelvin kamfwa
    January 5, 2009 at 19:18

    Israel has every right to defend it self from rockets fired by Hamas. Hamas does not listen through peacefull negotiations but only through the military language.

  102. 102 kpelly hezekiah
    January 5, 2009 at 19:35

    I don’t want to even look at the situation in the middle east in this light of rights and wrong now. Both sides must be made(compelled) to STOP their madness. This is not the time to be justifying actions on either sides. We are only prolonging the carnage as journalists by entertaining such commentaries. Where are the powers that be(the so-called international community) who are quick to act when it comes to developing countries? Where is the UN? I call on journalists everywhere in the world to exert all forms of preasure on their governments to make public statements and take actions to STOP this madness first going on in Gaza Immediately.

  103. 103 kpelly hezekiah
    January 5, 2009 at 19:38

    I am seeing a very dangerous precedence being set up in the world. I shall come back to it very soon.

  104. 104 James UK
    January 5, 2009 at 19:39

    I would like to pick up on somthing that was said about moderation (manifested in Mahmoud Abbas and Fatah in the West Bank) NOT bringing benefits to the Palestinian people. The Palestinian’s representatives are divided; Hammas on one hand and President Abbas on the other. President Abbas is often said to be ‘irrelivant’ and this is because Hammas undermines attempts at peaceful negotiation with Israel. While Hammas is not willing to recognise Israel’s right to exist and threatens the secruity of Israeli citizens through terrorism or rocket fire, then international actors will also refuse to engage in a dialogue with Hammas.

    If Hammas could make the necessary changes to allow it to come to the table legitimatly and unite with President Abbas, the Palestinian people would be in a much stronger position to pursue their interests – namely building a Palestinian state that would provide a peacful, secure and prosperious future for future generations of Palestinians.

    As things stand, the Palestinian people stand to suffer more devestation because of Hammas’s willingness to fight and the lack of unity and leadership among their representatives.

  105. 105 Ogola Benard
    January 5, 2009 at 19:52

    Too many people are dying in this war! But what is the stake? Peace or violence?

  106. 106 Justin from Iowa
    January 5, 2009 at 19:59

    The more I think about this and the concept of “proportionality” the more I think about this:

    Proportional would be Israel firing an unguided missile into Gaza every time a rocket flies into israel. That would be proportional. Anything less than that (like going after military targets over large civilian targets) is showing RESTRAINT.

  107. 107 Juan
    January 5, 2009 at 20:10

    Why is it that I keep getting censored?

    all I am trying to ask

    Why is it that anytime someone who supports GAZA is on the show

    the first question they ask is

    Does ISRAEL have a right to defend itself?

    - this question is bias, it implies that they are the INNOCENT ones.

    anytime anyone is speaking out against ISRAEL they are CUT OFF
    or like I had happen to me many times, they are simply left out.

    My point is that ISRAEL is no saint, they have been involved in
    many illegal undercover operations against Gaza
    they have held this little country under crippling sanctions
    and horrible border restrictions.

    everyone is so shocked at the actions that Hamas took
    but what other options did they leave them with

    Should Gaza not be able to defend itself?

    Did Israel live up to their end of the treaty?

    these are questions that are never asked on BBC

    Juan

  108. 108 Jonny
    January 5, 2009 at 20:18

    For those who have the fantasy notion that Hamas was abiding by a ceasefire surely they should have been spending money on civillians,health care and transportation instead of spending their time and EU money on smuggling weapons into Gaza.

  109. 109 Katie
    January 5, 2009 at 21:09

    “It’s” is an abbreviation for “it is”. “Its” is the possessiveof “it”. I know it’s not logical, but it’s a way of differentiating the two. It seems the BBC is encouraging mistaken English in the heading to this thread.

  110. 110 Solomon
    January 5, 2009 at 21:32

    Of Course!! Israel has the right to defend itself from terrorist. I can not believe the US media and some of the world media are defending Hamas and condemning Israel.
    The war is not with the Palestinian, it is between a cancerous terrorist group Hamas and Israel.

    The terrorist group of Lebanon is Hezbollah, in Colombia is the Farc, in Pakistan and Afghanistan is the Taliban and al Qaeda in Iraq. These are a cancer a nation state.

    The Palestinians need to stop their support for a terrorist group in their territory. The reason why the Palestinians don’t live in peace, it is because these terrorist group won’t allow it. The Palestinians need to open their mouth and ask for the terrorist group Hamas to go back to Iran. The UN needs to stop their support for dictators and terrorists around the world.

    Israel is not the problem. If I have a neighbor throwing rocks to my house everyday, the day will come when I have to say: enough.
    May God bless Israel and all those nations that are fighting against the evil of terrorism.

    Solomon
    USA

  111. 111 Robert, Canada
    January 5, 2009 at 22:29

    The earth is for all animals and plants. Do not know when the ownership of land is legalized. the claim of historical ownership based on the Bible (a historical book) is ridiculous. Here is a simple way to look at middle east conflict without the religious mumbo jumbo. If the power to be (i.e.,the British) put a stranger ( i.e.,Israel) into your house and gave him a part of your house ( i.e., the creation of Israel) based on religious or political preference. You ( i.e., the Palestinian) was not happy and had a fight (i.e., six days war) with the stranger and lost. The stranger got the whole house and banished you to the basement. He controls your movement and the supplies of your daily living requirements and wants to build few more rooms in the basement for his relatives. What can you do but throw some pots and pans (i.e., the missiles) to vent your frustration and bruise him. He retaliates with big clubs (i.e., bombs and air strikes) and breaks your arms and legs while the power to be and his cronies unconditionally cheer him on. How can the basic human decency in the view of this simple description? How many more years required for human to evolve to be truly human not the stupid talking apes? I wonder if there is a solution as long as religion is involved. Moreover, there is a significant chance to increase the conflict between the two religions and the terrorism created by Bush, is there not? I am afraid that many innocent bystanders will be the victims of this stupidity.

  112. 112 Steven in Philadelphia
    January 6, 2009 at 00:13

    @Kris

    You, and all the other palestinean supporters have to understand a few things.

    1. All Islamic extremists believe that the lands Israel was given to by the U.N. IS ONLY MEANT FOR ISLAMIC PEOPLE, based on the original land they used to own from southern spain to Afghanistan and northern africa.

    2, Islamic extremists believe that western countries allowed Israel as a new form of colonial imperialism, and/or a form of new crusade to destroy Islam.

    3. As an extremist group, Hamas does not want peace. They never did. They never will. Their leaders say over and over they only want to destroy Israel so their lands can be back in the hands on “God’s people”

    4. You can not ask someone who refuses peace to attend a peace conference.

    5. If the extremist islamic world did not accept Israel with its pre-1967 borders in the first place, and had 4 wars over it, what makes you think they’d accept Israel still existing if it went back to its 1948 borders again?

  113. 113 Kristina
    January 6, 2009 at 00:57

    I absolutely agree with those comments explaining polity the reason this conflict has reached its ripeness. This is not a matter of question as some put it: “Which came first, chicken or an egg.” We all know what came first – History. One can argue about the land dating 2000 or more years ago, but at the time Jews, Muslims and all other coexisted in the whole region that today is separated by states. So, the question is not whether Israel should exist or not – which I have noticed most Muslims bring to light. Israel exists and there is nothing to change that. The emotion from most Muslims comes towards the fact that Israel finally decided to stage an offensive to Hamas. As a sovereign state Israel has all the right to defend its borders.

  114. 114 Kristina
    January 6, 2009 at 01:41

    A comment to Kris:

    Dear Kris, the question is not about “1.6 million people locked up in the prison next door!” – the whole business here is about HAMAS. Have you been to Palestine? Well, I have. The situation there is one of chaos. It is not a country yet – it is just a place. They have enough space to live happy, what they need is good leadership, foreign investment, and finally A STATE!! Yes, they need to be declared a state, and then they will have an army and everything else a state has. Israel will continue to exist next door, and that’s it. Palestine needs to be rebuild from the inside with the help of outside, maybe some rich countries like Saudi Arabia, or Bahrain would want to show some solidarity and help a little?

    Hamas has been the destructive force so far, they have not been furthering the Palestinian cause. Palestine is not a prison, nobody keeps them in prison. The reason they where not allowed into Israel lately is because of aggression of Islamic Jihad and Hamas.

    regards,
    kristina

  115. 115 Valerie
    January 6, 2009 at 03:26

    Dear Steve,
    You are 100% correct about the anti-Semitism and double-standards here. As a New Yorker, I saw first-hand what Islamic radicalism and hate can do. I lost three friends in the Twin Towers, and Islamists around the world are still dubbing this unprovoked terror attack a “Jewish Conspiracy.” FYI – many Jews and many foreigners also died on 911. Can you imagine the horror and disgust I felt when I saw on television Arabs around the world dancing and celebrating in their streets as their Arab TV stations replayed the Twin Towers collapsing over and over? And once again dancing and celebrating when Islamic terrorists brutally murdered the young, unarmed Chasidic couple in Mumbai? What the hell is wrong with these people? Perhaps the anti-Semites on this board would prefer the disappearance of Israel, that region’s only democracy?
    Steve, here’s another question: Would the British tolerate shelling from Ireland or France? Would they tolerate criticism of the “world community” if they responded?The only mistake Isreal has made was not responding to Hamas’ attacks earlier.
    One last point: In the media war, people aren’t so easily fooled. Hate-mongering Islamists can demonstrate as much as they like. When we see photos of WHO IS demonstrating, it’s not the Europeans, it’s the Turks and other Muslims that Europe made the mistake of letting in as “guest workers” a couple of generations ago. Pictures of “demonstators” in Berlin, Paris and London look like a suicide-bomber convention. Maybe they can try to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to someone else.

  116. 116 DENNIS
    January 6, 2009 at 03:38

    [Palestinian medical sources say more than 500 people have been killed since the military action began, and civilians are running out of bread because of gas and electricity shortages.]

    I think that the international community needs to do more about the continuing crisis: of the food i.e. bread and the shortages of gas and electric services….

    ~Dennis Junior~

  117. 117 DENNIS
    January 6, 2009 at 04:47

    [steve January 5, 2009 at 13:32]

    How come this question is only asked of Israel?

    Because of a simple thing called a double standard…..I also agreed with your remarks about the killings during other wars….

    ~Dennis Junior~

  118. 118 Eric Chmielewski, Cleveland, OH
    January 6, 2009 at 04:56

    Israel certainly holds more of the blame here, they are certainly the bigger aggressors here, as is the case 90% of the time when it is engaged in combat against others. Here is an analogy that I think represents the current situation very well. I am a Palestinian Muslim Arab, and I punch you, an Israeli Jew, in the the chest or jaw. You respond by knocking me over the head, causing me to lose consciousness proceed to tie me up and gag me and then run me over with a car while I am still unconscious, killing me in the process. Sure, what Hamas did was stupid and wrong, and Israel has a right to defend itself, but Israel has gone way too far! Myself and my fellow Americans should be ashamed that our government gives/sells weapons to Israel to be used in such a way against the Palestinian people and demand that it stop immediately! I am outraged! After all, our tax dollars largely pay for these weapons to be used in these war crimes, and especially with America’s bad economy these tax dollars should be put to much better use here at home! Why do we not give such large amount of military aid to any of out other allies? What the hell makes Israel so special? When any other country acts in a manner similar to how Israel is currently treating the Palestinians, that country is condemned by the civilized international community. Why is Israel continually allowed to get away with war crimes?

    Many of the leaders of Israeli military and government deserve to be tried for international war crimes and crimes against humanity in the world court right alongside people like Osama Bin Laden, Vladimir Putin, Mugabe, the dictators who run China, the Bush administration, and also certain members of Hamas. The Israeli government, the Bush Administration and many others in the U.S. government and some members of the Palestinian Authority/Fatah are now in large part reaping what they sowed, when they largely ignored the free will of the majority of the Palestinian people when they freely elected Hamas to power about 3 years ago. The ignorance of these parties in ignoring the free will of the Palestinian people and their not even attempting to give Hamas a chance or to trying to work with Hamas when it was elected is appalling and should be condemned to the fullest! This ignorance certainly plays a large role in the current situation in Gaza. I am rooting for the Palestinians here more the the Israelis because Israel is certainly the bigger villain.

  119. 119 abe
    January 6, 2009 at 05:02

    The latest we hear from the Israeli side is this was meant to be a lesson for Iran. That is don’t mess with us or we’ll come down hard on you. What do you think Ahmadinejad is thinking now? Run away like a scared rabbit? Wrong. He’d be giving out orders now to change “friendly” nuclear programme to a “defensive” nuclear programme. And then say it has the right to defend itself. How then would US and Israel react to such a scenario?

  120. January 6, 2009 at 05:10

    Mark, “it’s” means “it is.” The word “its” is possessive.

    It is not so much a question of whether or not Israel has the right to defend itself. Every country has the right to defend itself from attackers. The question is how a country goes about defending itself. Some methods are acceptable by most moral standards. Others are not acceptable by any moral standard. And, of course, we have that little thing called international law.

  121. 121 Roberto
    January 6, 2009 at 06:21

    RE “” If Hamas is still violent “”
    ——————————————————————————————————————————————

    ———– What “If”?

    The Hamas charter is committed to the forcible spread is Islam and destruction of Israel. Any literate person in the world can read understand that. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

    Fact: There had been years of peace with no Israeli attacks on Palestinians until Palestinans relaunched the infitad with more than a hundred suidide bombing attacks and rocket attacks.

    No Palestinian attacks, no Israeli attacks. Very simple math, zer0 = zer0 but some just don’t get it.

  122. January 6, 2009 at 06:36

    Does Hamas have the right to defend itself? Do the people of Gaza gave the right to live in peace and justice, or are they to be treated like prisoners in the world’s largest concentration camp, under a cruel economic and military blockade forever?
    And why does the BBC continue to describe Palestinian fighters as ‘militants’, while the Israeli invaders are simply ‘soldiers’. Anyone who fights the US or Israeli forces are automatically ‘militant’ on the BBC, yet the US and Israel are the most militant nations in recent history….
    I hate to see such bias on the BBC because it is my favourite news source…

  123. 123 james
    January 6, 2009 at 07:47

    you all make me laugh.
    poor palestinians getting caught in the cross-fire! BLAME HAMAS.
    They put all Civilians in the middle.
    Blame Israel for everything! How about blaming the Arab world for not giving Nationality to all refugees who have lived in their countries for decades.
    How about Blaming Yasser Arafat back then, for stealing all the Moneys aided for the Palestinian people by the rest of the world.
    How about STOPPING the demonstrations of the attack on Gaza and send a real Message to HAMAS that the world doesn’t respond sympathy to Terrorist Systems.

  124. 124 femmefriday
    January 6, 2009 at 08:04

    Ghandi and Mandella showed us the way reach out to your neighbour, even though he had brutally occupied your country for two hundred years, or thrown you into prison for 27 years. But this behavior requires humanity and intelligence, never present in any act of violence. Israel was born through violence and hence their inherent violent behaviour.
    Brutally bullying their small neighbours with complete lack of humanity, and their complete lack of awareness that they are creating hate amongst surrounding 200 million bigger neighbours confirms their low level of intelligence.
    That day when these 200 million neighbours get their act together, and the USA join the civilized world with and cease their blind support of Israel – will surely come.

  125. 125 Jeff in Portland Oregon
    January 6, 2009 at 08:13

    Military assault can be justified only as a last resort for self-defense. Crude rocket attacks that, until recent days, had killed no one cannot justify the massacre of Palestinians with the latest US military technology that is currently under way. Moreover, by maintaining a crippling blockade agaiunst Gaza that amounted to a siege in itself, and by refusing to engage in any diplomatic talks with the elected government in Gaza, Israel relinquishes any right to use militrary force for self-defense.

  126. 126 Arch Stanton
    January 6, 2009 at 08:17

    Firstly, Israel has a lot to gain from maintaining the conflict– without Arab adversaries, they could never justify marshaling their citizenry for combat readiness. They could never justify their refusal to sign NPT. They could never justify the amassing of an arsenal which effectively serves as a check to Russia, Iran and China. And they could never justify their manifest destiny to extend all the way to the Mediterranean sea.

    Of course they have a right to defend themselves because it is their dubious “homeland”. But I extend that same right to the Palestinians as well, and I see no reason to stop either side should they believe it is right. History is filled with people fighting over “homelands” where those last hold-outs refuse to surrender to political treaties enforced by a Judeo-Christian and Eurocentric system. Of course rules of war against other nations are irrelevant when it comes to Gaza since Palestine is no longer recognized as a sovereign state, and Hamas will not recognize Israel, so nobody will recognize Hamas. Faced with a stonewall from all sides, there is little else to do but fight to be heard.

    If the numbers are true, there are at least 2 dead Palestinians per square mile of Gaza in less than a week. Pretty high crime rate compared to other places around the world.

  127. 127 sylvia finzi
    January 6, 2009 at 09:21

    What right does Israel have to demand that Hamas stop amassing weapons? – When did any country ever stop preparing to defend itself?

    On the other hand Israel has every duty to ensure that these weapons are not used.

    Hamas has said clearly that it will stop bombing Israel if Israel opens the borders of Gaza and gives a guarantee to stop the Occupation. There have been no demands that the Occupation be stopped today. Everyone realises that this will take time.

    Hamas has kept to previous ceasefire agreements, so there is no reason to assume it would not do so again.

    So why is Israel not agreeing to these very justified and understandable demands?

    This is what we must all ask ourselves.

    Israel says that Hamas broke the ceasefire. Yet one does not have to look far to see that Hamas’ first breaking of the ceasefire agreement was in retaliation for Israel’s breaking of the agreement.

    Throughout the 5 months of relative calm, Israel continued to keep a firm hold over all Gaza’s borders including air and sea, preventing the entry of sufficient food, fuel, medical supplies, and the exit of citizens for medical treatment, studies abroad, and much else that is every human being’s right.

    Yet the international community, or at least those who represent it on a diplomatic and political level, expect the Gazans to peacefully accept being starved of food, clean water, electricity, medical treatment and education, to not get angry, to not vote for the party that they feel will really stand up for their rights.

    Why should they? Who would?

    Why does Israel continue to call Hamas a “terrorist organisation” that siezed power and not recognise that the party was democratically elected?

    It is time that we all looked more closely at Israel’s reasons for continuing the massacres and bloodshed.
    That we stop accepting it’s justifications of self defense. If Israel truly wanted to defend its citizens, it would negotiate honestly.

    If Israel wanted to stop weapons being smuggled through tunnels, it would open its borders. Almost all other countries have borders with the facility to check what goes in and out, allowing normal people such as tourists, family, journalists, and normal supplies such as food and medicine to go through. Why does Israel keep its borders closed?

    We must ask this and ask it NOW.

  128. 128 Tonesse
    January 6, 2009 at 10:45

    HI! I think that nobody around the world can accept to see rockets from another country striking the town in which he lives,that person would certainly ask his government to do something in order to put an end to that.What Israel is doing is for protecting its people that live with the fear of being killed by terrorists rockets from Gaza.If those terrorists stop throwing rockets then the israeli government will also stop its attacks.Since they don’t want to stop throwing rockets,I totally support those military operations.

  129. 129 mahfoudh
    January 6, 2009 at 10:57

    hi, i sieze tihs opportunity to express my opinion on the issue by saying that if we look back on time nobody ever can deny the fact that the name of israel in the middle-east was non-existent and that the palestinian people lived in this land from the dawn of civilization up to the present time but problems begun to fall on them when the british helped the jewish to creat false stories tha the land intrinsically belongs to israel and now we see and hear them saying the so-called self defence

  130. 130 Bryan
    January 6, 2009 at 11:12

    Seumas Milne of the Guardian somehow omitted to mention well over 1000 Israelis, 70% of them civilians killed between late 2000 and 2007 by Palestinians in suicide attacks, drive by shootings and the like. Israel is not simply responding to a few mostly harmless firecracker-type missiles lobbed over the Gaza fence, as so many would have us believe, but to the latest manifestation of Hamas’ relentless terror against Israeli civilians. And missiles that can travel 40 kilometers are not constructed in someone’s garage.

    Start from that more accurate perspective, and we can have a fair debate.

  131. January 6, 2009 at 11:20

    i think UN was supposed to be the REFEREE to judge when real things and not just games happen.a referee with wisdom is still needed.

    THE LAST DAD

    tambua,hamisi,kenya

  132. January 6, 2009 at 11:36

    What is real definition of aggression?
    what is real definition of aggressor?
    it need to reconsider the relevant paragras of the law enacted by the United Nations,
    then we will be able see the real picyure,
    who is aggressor and committed the crime.

    Voilation of international law is crime,
    who committed liable to punishment,
    because, as have seen large number of innocent civilians are died and more injured,
    so voilation of internation is heinous crime.

    Who has committed this crime,
    Humas, by firing rockets,in the civilians population,
    or Israel by blocking the ways leading to Hazans.

    The abovementioned matter require investigation by the powerfull authority that is must be impatial and has representatives of both side.

    United Nations is the best form for this purposes,
    in case any one ignore it is also liable to punishment,

    Once gain the session of security council is expected,
    we are hopefull they will take a unanimous decision in regard to ceasfire in Gaza,
    tehe parties in war should accept it,
    they will rsolve the issue of rocketfiring and unligitimate blocked of gazan people.

  133. 133 Hernesto
    January 6, 2009 at 12:32

    I`ve been thinking and suffering this all week, and I suddenly realized that there`s nothing we can do. Though the well known american speech of the rigth to defend it self against terroris (of wich we all are well indoctrinated) Israel will achieve what it needs; Private Palestine of the last gate to the Mediterraneo and set up clearly to the arab world the they count with the support of the so-called “international comunity” ( it is no that international, only ruling countrie’s opinion matters) despite the several calls of cease fire, made by them. This is my humble opinion; hoping not to be censured.

    The only one to blqme for the conflics in the world are ourselves, sitting in our computers, in our peacefuls homes, with our Tv and our toaster…
    Please stop killing children; all over the word (by hunger or war, cold or explotation). They are the future.

    They are the Future, only them.

  134. 134 Ilana Levy
    January 6, 2009 at 13:01

    Your question “Does there come a time when Israel loses the right to defend herself ?”
    My answer:-
    How would Winston Churchil have answered you in Great Britain’s battle against Germany ?
    NEVER NEVER NEVER give in ! This must also be Israel’s motto regardless of world opinion.

  135. 135 C Harris
    January 6, 2009 at 14:17

    If Hamas has been getting weapons in surely shouldn’t a better tactic be to smuggle food instead of weapons…

    If Hamas where only smuggling food in I’d support them but because they are smuggling weapons in to kill people I don’t see how any government can support them.

  136. January 6, 2009 at 15:35

    In reply to your question my answer is NEVER.

  137. January 6, 2009 at 16:06

    Hi WHYSers!

    I am wholly convinced, especially with the bombing of two (?) schools in Gaza, which were being used as UN refugee sites, today, that this time has definitely come when the issue of “self defense” is no longer plausible in this “all out war” by Israel on Hamas.

  138. 138 Fred S.
    January 6, 2009 at 16:06

    Uuuhm – I have now had 2 posts here censored. Maybe I should stop calling the Israelis terrorists? Or calling it an apartheid regime? Or mention all the stolen land they occupy? Who knows?

  139. 139 Fred S.
    January 6, 2009 at 16:12

    I now hear that they´ve just killed 40 people sheltering in a UN school. Reminds me of the UN observers killed in Lebanon. Terrorist state. I rest my case.

    Thank you.

  140. 140 Mark Sandell
    January 6, 2009 at 16:33

    Fred, maybe “tone” and “making the same point” could have had something to do with it ?
    rgds
    Mark Sandell.

  141. 141 Rockne
    January 6, 2009 at 18:46

    No, no one ever loses their right to defend themselves.
    The people of Gaza voted for Hamas and they hide among civilians they send suicide bombers to Israel, E.G. they fight like cowards. How can the Israelis fight back? When they do the only thing they can to fight back civilians die

  142. 142 Brett Thorburn
    January 6, 2009 at 18:59

    Israel lost its right today, when it chose to deliberatley bomb a UN sanctioned school and the resulting death of innocence incurred. In the eyes of the world, Israel and unfortunatley its people, many fair and good will be isolated in the world view and will be held in contempt, by generations sympathetic to the Palestinian cause. As a result the so called terrorist group, Hamas will only become stronger. It appears the Israel government struggles with logic, common sense and basic human nature. As America has historically walked over the UN to suit its principals, is this not a humanitarian cause now to intervene, or does religion hold sway in Washington? Such a shame…..

  143. 143 Fred S.
    January 6, 2009 at 19:00

    Mark – ok, I understand, but what is going on makes me angry as no one seems to be learning from history here.

    And Rockne – how are they expected to fight? Why not give them some f16´s, tanks and proper missiles and see what happens! If you treat people like 2nd class citizens (and terrorists), I fear that they will ultimately fulfill your expectations.

  144. 144 Robert, Canada
    January 6, 2009 at 20:11

    Evolution continues. Until the day, we recognize that there are only humans not Israelis or Palestinians. No chance for peace unless an asteroid comes calling and makes a big hole there. we are all biased in our opinions based on our experiences and learnings. One must examine one’s head to see why? Holding on to the tradition, culture and religious and political belief without the willingness to change with new knowledge is like living in the caveman days. suggest reading, Blank Slate by Steven Pinker, to understand how your mind is evolved.

  145. 145 John LaGrua/New York
    January 6, 2009 at 20:12

    Does a criminal who enters your house ,murders your wife and children and tries to drive you out claiming your property have any right to blame you for resisting.The travesty of the last 60 years has been the cowardice of the political leaders who stand silent when this genocide in Palestine has gone on..The West has demonstrated a disregard for the Arab world illustrated by Truman’s cynical statement when he was warned that recognition of Isreal in 1948 would prejudice US interests in the Mid-East “How many Arabs vote in the US.?This Isreali attack is a further move to strangle Gaza using the pretext of self defense..Resistance to an invader is legitimate The theory of” “Reality on the ground”cited by Bush and others to justify the Isreali occupation is thoroughly unjust and immoral.If that idea is valid ,then the tens of thousands of US soldiers buried in France at Courville sur Mer ,Normandy and elsewhere were decieved and sacrificed in vain.in the war to free Europe from the Nazi yoke.The unseen casualty is the moral fibre of America which has has been eroded by political deceit and indifference to the complcit US role in this tragedy!

  146. 146 Kristina
    January 6, 2009 at 22:26

    The following comment was posted openly calling Israel a terrorist state. I have posted comments below which were censored by BBC, I would like know why?

    Fred S.
    January 6, 2009 at 16:12
    I now hear that they´ve just killed 40 people sheltering in a UN school. Reminds me of the UN observers killed in Lebanon. Terrorist state. I rest my case.
    Thank you.

    Kristina
    We are dealing with state and non-state actors therefore, what rules should apply in this case? Israel is a state – Hamas is a terrorist non-state organization. What is the question, should a state lose its legitimacy, or what? Should we make non-state actors rule our business? I really don’t get the question, because then we can just disregard any international law and rule governing the behavior of sovereign states and just do what? Bomb each other or do whatever? No, we have rules as states. In this case Israel has been behaving very patently with Hamas, and finally they saw that the international community is not paying attention to the fact that Israel, as a sovereign state is being violated daily, and they did what any other sovereign state would do.
    So, Palestine, or Gaza became a heaven for fundamentalist breeding. Did the world do anything to help Palestine? NO! And what happened now? All of a sudden all the Muslims around the world are demonstrating against what, the fact that Hamas has been using their own Palestinian people as a human shield, and now many of them died? This was a given, this is exactly the reason Hamas is a TERRORIST ORGANIZATION.

  147. 147 Bryan
    January 7, 2009 at 00:08

    Fred S. at 16:12,

    You could rest your case if you had one. Hamas was firing mortars from that UN school. The Israelis fired back. And Hamas had rigged the school with explosives. The IDF reported seeing secondary explosions after they fired on the school. That’s why so many people were killed.

    More information on this tragic incident will come to light soon, I’m sure. Do try to keep an open mind.

  148. 148 Bryan
    January 7, 2009 at 07:05

    Bob in Queensland January 5, 2009 at 14:15

    You ask,

    “Or did Israel in fact provoke the Palestinian rocket attacks through the blockade of Gaza and a series of cease fire violations?”

    I guess you missed Hamas’ attempt to tunnel under into Israel near the end of the cease fire to capture more soldiers and Hamas’ placing of explosives at the fence. The Israelis then reacted by targeting those groups. So who violated the cease fire?

    Anyway, it’s a moot point. Hamas terrorists don’t exactly hide the fact that they are committed to the destruction of Israel and any truce, from the terrorists’ point of view, is simply an opportunity to regroup and rearm.

    “Is the motive really defence…or a cynical attempt to muster support in the forthcoming Israeli election?”

    Probably 90% defence and 10% political. It’s only the anti-Israel crew that takes the cynical view of Israel’s actions. Even if your country had to defend itself from the same terror attacks that Israel has endured since her establishment, I’m sure you would still doubt that in Israel’s case this is defence.

  149. 149 eduardo de la cruz
    January 7, 2009 at 16:27

    with the Hamas calling for the eradication of Israel,and proclaming the same intention and bombarding Isarel with rockets right after the lapse of the ceasefire who can blame Israel in launching the offensive. the civilians who are now asking the proportionality of the response were the same civilians egging on Hamas to destroy and eradicate Israel.

  150. 150 Gabrielle
    January 7, 2009 at 16:53

    When Britain was under attack by the IRA, which was sending mortars across the border and killing civilians in London and across Britain, we did not invade the Republic of Ireland. We did not attack Dublin. We did not use F16 fighters to bomb civillian areas, we did not kill hundreds of women and children.
    We behaved like a civilised nation, not a rogue state.
    We fought the terrorists and we also talked to the IRA to address the causes of the conflict.
    That is why we have peace, and the Israelis have war after 60 years.
    The reason rockets are being fired at Israel is that Israel is illegally occupying Palestinian land in defiance of UN resolutions, and is oppressing an entilre people.
    When the occupation ends, the attacks will end.
    One day Israel will have to leave Gaza and the West Bank and allow a Palestinian state to be founded. Until then, they will have war.
    It’s the occupation, stupid.

  151. 151 eddie
    January 7, 2009 at 17:27

    I can understand the right for a country to defend itself from outside attack however Israel cannot act by itself it has to rely on the United States to supply arms and armaments. The U.S. supplied a special kind of bomb to the Israelis in October last year. These bombs, designed by the Boeing corporation, while limiting collateral damage, which is commendable, spread a toxic mixture of heavy metals into the environment. Anyone within range of the explosion may ingest or be penetrated by micro-fine shrapnel of Titanium, copper, cobalt and other heavy metals. The signature of these metals has been found by analysis on those unfortunate enough to be in the area of detonation. The injuries from these weapons are horrendous, causing multiple limb amputations and metallic burns. The ghetto that Israel is now creating may eclipse its own ghetto from the point of view of morality and suffering. Israel should act with humility and compassion with regard to others suffering especially in light of the historical context of the suffering of its own people under Nazi oppression

  152. 152 Lina, from Israel
    January 7, 2009 at 21:12

    Gabrielle, I didn’t know that IRA sent their rockets on England from the Irland, thank you for information.
    You think you are in peace – it is false hope. You and other europeans are STILL in peace, up to the moment when terrorists start to launch their rockets on your houses. Those rockets are going to be launched not from Gasa ( for sure), but from your own countries- unfortunatly, you provided enough place for people who would be glad to do this.

  153. January 8, 2009 at 00:14

    What if it was Britain and not Israel when would it be time for Britain to give up its right for self defense?

  154. 154 Elliott
    January 8, 2009 at 04:35

    Curious how they always invade the Palestinian territories just before an election, irrespective of the apparent progress of an eventual (supposedly desired) two-state solution and lasting peace settlement. You have to wonder what kind of political status quo is in operation when the deaths of over 600 innocent civilians actually serve as political currency.

    The internal machinations of Israeli politics are such that they constantly feel the need to be delivered to salvation ( incidentally, by the next hawkish leader that is prepared to fill the void). I suppose that is the kind of mentality that accompanies anyone who has taken land by force and pushed its former inhabitants to the fringes of existence.

    They are the oppressive and agressive regional actor in the chaotic stage that is the Middle East. It is the Palestinian people that suffer from intolerable conditions; without adequate food, water, medical supplies and dare I say it FREEDOM.

  155. January 8, 2009 at 15:23

    The Israelis learned well in the 1930s and are now recreating the Warsaw Getto in the Gaza Strip. Might does not make Right, regardless of how they choose to verbally defend this overt seizure, subjugation and potential extinction of a nation of people. .

  156. 156 Ron
    January 8, 2009 at 15:38

    The best solution to resolve this conflict is for the Khazars, who are 92% of the so-called “Jews” should leave Palestine, which includes the illegal State of Israel, and return to their ancestral, genetic home of Khazaria, in the country of Georgia. They have no genetic link to Abraham, or ancient Israel. They can build their “New Israel,” and their “New Jerusalem” in Khazaria. That way they will be a thousand miles from the Middle East, and maybe then, we can all get some rest, and they can stop the massacre in Gaza.

  157. 157 Luci Smith
    January 9, 2009 at 15:09

    I have a hard time with this massacre/final solution masked as defense. Even Moshe Dyan and Golda Mayer would have had trouble with this offensive-defense.

    From black hole to galaxy to black hole again?

  158. 158 Kim
    January 12, 2009 at 08:01

    I find it interesting that no one until date manage to mention the actual reason for this conflict, this conflict well never be solved unless we get to the bottom of the problem, illegal occupation of land and a ruthless and disgraceful way of treating other human beings, Israelis has so absolutely no respect for their Palestinian neighbors and they just want them gone and that’s not going to happen, it is about time we all put an end to Israel’s lack of respect and ruthless behavior, it is a shame and a crime against us all

  159. 159 Lian khan muan
    January 17, 2009 at 08:06

    No no never!Israel have every right to push ahead the self defence to avoid ‘civilians targetting rockets’.Never had too much been done to do away with terrorism in this world. Trying to halt the Israelis in their war against terrorism would mean showing a ‘baby face’ to terrorist. I think the U.S. and the world should come forward to help the I.D.F.


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