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Here we go again: Gaza conflict.


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I can't help watching the news on the latest Gaza conflict, man it's so heartbreaking. Hundreds of dead Palestinians, dozens of dead Israelis. Peace looks like a pipe dream at this point.

It's a tragedy that affects both sides, but you can clearly see that Gaza has paid a much higher price for this war. I think it's something like 80% dead in the Gaza strip were civilians who are counted as "collateral damage" and  all the Israeli casualties have been soldiers, occurring after the ground invasion into, and happening in, Gaza.


Do you think Israel is right to do this? Do you you think it has gone too far to defend itself?

I honestly think this  has gone way beyond self defense.  With the Israeli missile defense dome, It's kinda like the big kid, who can keep is attacker at arms length, but can't resist dishing out an absolute walloping at the same time. :/


What can end this conflict?

Do you think that ending the Israeli occupation of Gaza, allow the Palestinians to leave, import food and medicines more freely than they can do at present, and engage in world commerce might go some way toward it? That's my thinking. Allow the Palestinian people to live freely, have a land to call home, and they might not be so desperate that it's leadership would attack the Israelis, foolishly, as a zebra poking a lion with a stick.


Discuss. ;) [/kuja]

Edited by Kuja
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Controversy is back on OB! Hehe.


I've been thinking about this a lot lately because of the news. The biggest thing that makes me angry about this conflict (and those in Syria and Iraq) is the way that children are caught in the crossfire. That really upsets me the most. Children don't understand what's going on, and they have no stake in political or religious arguments on either side, yet they suffer horrifically...and that suffering perpetuates a cycle of hatred and violence. Children who have abusive parents are more likely to become abusive adults - this situation is like that one, writ large.


One of the problems here too is that regardless of the symptoms (i.e. the invasion of Gaza), there's a lot of confusion about the causes because they keep going back in time seemingly infinitely (Israel is responding to Hamas rocket attacks, but Hamas's rockets are a response to Israeli oppression, but Israeli oppression is a response to terrorism, but terrorism is a response to-- and so on).


So it seems to me that the only way to really resolve the issue is to have a circuit breaker, and that circuit breaker probably needs to involve serious compromise - that's almost politically impossible for both sides.


The more I think about it though, the more I actually have a major problem with Hamas in particular, as being a major cause and contributor to the above-mentioned cycle.


That is...Hamas doesn't seem to recognise some basic facts:


1. It's impossible for Hamas to destroy Israel. They should stop trying.


2. Even though the Israeli response to Hamas is disproportionate, Hamas knows that provocation will create an excuse for such a response. True, Hamas can't control Israel's response - but it can control its own actions.


If Hamas invested its resources in establishing good public systems in Gaza (e.g. focusing on anti-corruption, police and security, health care, economic development, etc...) then it would be in a far stronger position to negotiate with Israel.


I suspect that the ideology of the organisation prevents it from taking interim steps to resolve issues. For instance, the blockades on the borders - what if Hamas proposed joint patrols and joint security, where Israeli and Palestinian border authorities work collaboratively for a period of time in order to build confidence? Then there could eventually be a handover plan to full Palestinian control.


I know none of those ideas are new, but I think we won't see any improvement until a more reasonable, centrist (dare I say, secular) political party is in control of Gaza.

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If this kind of shit was happening on a regular basis in my homeland, I'd never stop fighting, regardless of how big or undefeatable the enemy may be. Hamas may be complicit in some of this too--it takes two to tango--but Israel is far, far more at fault here in my eyes. Hamas is like an angry child, throwing rocks; Israel is like an adult who turns around and launches a hellfire missile at the child in response. 


Israel has one of the largest most well-equipped, most technologically advanced miltiaries in the world, and they are obliterating Gaza at the moment--have a look at these before & after satellite pictures to see the extent of the damage. Were all those crops & houses Hamas strongholds? Even if a single one of those buildings were, is this really the kind of situation you can take a unilateral "bomb everything, sort it out later" approach to?


And just as Hamas must know they cannot destroy Israel, Israel itself must know that they are not destroying Hamas, merely fuelling the fire and ensuring that more and more Palestinians will take up arms, and guaranteeing conflict for generations to come. And with the United States spouting condemnation of the school shelling while simultaneously supplying billions of dollars of ammunition to Israel, I think there is a heavy dose of the military industrial complex at work here as well.


Regardless of cause or blame, my heart bleeds for the innocent families of Gaza caught in the crossfire, and I sincerely hope this latest round of hostilities comes to a close soon--a sentiment I think we can both agree on.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I see this situation in the same limelight as James for the fact that Hamas is acting like a little whiny child in the supermarket. It's unfortunate that it is going to this much length in order to try to handle the situation. The way I see it is that Hamas is playing as dirty as it can in order to win. Since they know they cannot really win against the strength of Israel, they are doing their namecalling, putting weapons in schools and putting the kids in harms way to make Israel appear like the bad guy. It is also unfortunate that they are getting away with this to some extent by getting the sympathies of folks throughout the world and the fact that antisemitism is the worst it has been since WW2. As we all know, they have had a long history of opposition against each other for several thousand years. It's not going to get sorted out any time soon very likely.

Edited by Japan
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Honestly, the Hamas are relatively a bunch of kids put next to Israel. Israel has the guns, the organization, decades of Western support, et cetera. Hamas are just one of a few groups that are pissed off, stuck in a rut, and feel obligated to right the wrongs done to them and their country. It probably isn't hard to be antisemitic when you grow up in Palestine, under the big thumb of a nation that was (in your nation's eyes) wrongfully given its land in the first place.


I've seen some footage of what the Israeli army did to a town when they thought the Hamas held one of their soldiers prisoner (turned out to have died in combat), and it isn't pretty. It wasn't a case of "they bombed a school because Hamas was hiding weapons underneath it" because a large part of the town was bombed flat. Most of the Gaza strip doesn't have working electricity or proper water. They get their supplies from Egypt through tunnels. There are basically tunnels everywhere through the Israel area connecting Palestine parts, because there are Israeli walls and fences everywhere separating them. I know several people who visited Israel and/or Palestine, and from what I hear, it's really not easy for Palestinians to grow up and stay positive about a peaceful resolution, especially in the Gaza strip. And that's not even considering the immense pressure from freedom radicals or fanatical imams and their followers. 


But both sides are under a constant burden of cultivated fear and hate, constantly being fed by the media and crazy religious people, so I don't see them properly working together sometime soon.


A big thing to consider in the whole situation is that generally on the Israeli side it's rich, well-educated politicians making decisions, whereas on the Hamas side it's poor, hate-fueled radicals making the decisions. Hamas aren't actually the Gaza government. They're a militant organization, based in Gaza. There is an actual State of Palestine, that Gaza falls under. James makes pretty valid points, but I don't think Israel will want to cooperate with what they consider a terrorist organization, (that has quite a list of antisemitic lines in their rule book) and I don't think this same organization would like to patrol borders that violate their people's human rights.


Of course, the whole situation would change much for the better if the whole Israel area would just disappear, and take Iraq and Syria along with it. ******* hell, that Islamic State situation is flying out of control fast. 
Edited by Boo
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Keep in mind that this particular area of the world has been embroiled in territory wars for its entire history.  For Israel's history alone: migrated there, settled (with some minor tribal bloodshed), grew, moved to Egypt to escape a drought, live there long enough to become a large enough group of people to comprise a nation-state of their own, were enslaved out of fear of uprising, won their freedom, returned to their previous land (which was now inhabited), conquered it, grew more, and at various points were captured and released over and over and over again by countries including Edom, Syria (and Asyria), Babylon, Persia, Rome, Greece, and Turkey, were scattered, settled across Europe, were almost wiped from the face of the planet, and were just handed their old "ancestral lands" back because that's what we (yes, we) thought they should have to live on.
Yeah.  We kinda kicked the Palestinians out of Palestine.  Remember that.  This particular century of conflict is in no small part the fault of the winners of WWII.  That was us: Britain, Russia, the US, whoever made up the UN.
But if you look even further back in history, you realise that the conflict is even more complicated than that.  You know how Israel is incredibly proud of being descendents of Abraham?  He had another son.  His wife was mad about not having a kid and told him to knock up her maid, basically. 
And ... he did.  Kid's name was Ishmael. But then Abraham's wife had a son of her own, and got jealous and effectively had her maid and the boy chased off.  He went on to become the ancestor of the nation of Edom, and basically everyone else in the area. 
So, when you listen to news in the Middle East area, especially around Israel and Jordan and Palestine, keep in mind that this isn't just about people who want the same place to live.  This is, quite literally, a blood feud. And it's been going on for over four thousand years.

Edited by Allamorph
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  • 2 weeks later...


And just as Hamas must know they cannot destroy Israel, Israel itself must know that they are not destroying Hamas, merely fuelling the fire and ensuring that more and more Palestinians will take up arms, and guaranteeing conflict for generations to come. And with the United States spouting condemnation of the school shelling while simultaneously supplying billions of dollars of ammunition to Israel, I think there is a heavy dose of the military industrial complex at work here as well.



I think that this points to the additional layers of complexity involved. For example, we know that Hamas launches rockets from civilian areas (including houses and schools). I suppose that because they are essentially a guerrilla force, they use these civilian areas for cover and so on. I believe that Israel attempts to target its strikes as accurately as possible - but we know, of course, that in highly crowded civilian neighbourhoods, there's always going to be sizable civilian casualties.


And this is why, in large part, I take issue with Hamas. If you compare Hamas to the Palestinian Authority (West Bank), it's like night and day. There are clear reasons for that, and I think part of it is that Hamas is to Palestine what the ultra-orthodox settlers are to Israel (i.e. the "fringe" group that is behaving in a way that continues to spark conflict).


You are right to talk about Israel being more powerful and so on, but you have to consider a further point - there have actually been a couple of Israeli prime ministers who seriously talked about negotiating over items that many in Israel consider non-negotiable (for example, Ehud Olmert was prepared to negotiate over the status of Jerusalem, where most Israeli PMs are not).


But there's a catch 22 in all of that - when rockets are fired into Israel, there is enormous pressure on the Israeli PM to respond. If he does not, then he can rightly be accused of not defending his citizens (and thus, in a country where there are volatile and ever-shifting political coalitions in government, it is rather easy for a sitting government to be pushed out). The risk, of course, is that hard-line conservatives assume office and ratchet up the military intervention even further.


The latest round of cease fire is a good example of the above. The cease-fire was agreed by both sides, and it held for a while - until Hamas broke it. Given that they were not being fired upon by Israeli forces, why did they break the cease-fire? What could they possibly hope to achieve, other than to plunge their people into a second invasion in as many months? It's utter selfish foolishness.


Recent polls in Gaza suggest that many people simply want the violence to end, and in fact, many are angry at Hamas. But you will note that it's also difficult for Gazans to speak out against Hamas, as well. 


In case I need to add a caveat, then I should say that there are many things I believe Israel needs to swallow by way of compromise - it needs to stop settlement activity entirely, it needs to probably dismantle some settlements in the West Bank, and it also probably needs to cede more territory than it is prepared to at the moment. It also needs to back-off the idea of Jerusalem being entirely Israeli. These are not small compromises for Israel, but I believe they need to happen.


However, I think the Palestinians need to find some way to boot out Hamas and have another political party running both Gaza and the West Bank. A moderate party with serious political leaders. There are many great and professional Palestinian MPs (who are currently unable to operate due to the suspended legislative council - a result of the Fatah/Hamas conflict). This needs to be urgently resolved or there is really no chance to move forward I think.


In amongst all of the above, though...you have the personal cycle of loss and tragedy. This is where the ultimate challenge for political leaders on both sides come in - they will both have to face their people in the eye and say "I know you have lost a family member, but today we are laying down arms and are not retaliating". I can understandably see how difficult this would be for even the strongest politician. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

Eh, I really can't add anything notable or significant to this conversation/discussion that hasn't already been stated, but I will throw my two cents in.


Like those before me have already stated, this feud has been going on throughout history, I don't believe it will diplomatically be resolved(peacefully) anytime soon.  Or ever. I may not fully understand the "land feud" between Israel and Palestine, this has happened to people in other countries throughout history, and we(man), still does it to tribes in remote regions. North America was inhabited before our pompous white asses came and took over. ;)


Israel is such a tiny country, it still amazes me that after thousands of years they are still fighting to keep it(I realize it didn't "officially" become a country until 1948). 


The religious feud between Israel and the Arab world(I apologize if I am not politically correct)I actually understand more because different beliefs can make people crazy. Both sides are always right, "you don't believe me, you should die."


Off topic a little...


I researched a lot about Israel before I went(in doing so is what made me even want go). It's a beautiful country. It was peaceful while I was there, however there were still pockets of areas we were not allowed to go(Jericho). I went through check points, and I've seen the giant wall seperating Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Going into Bethlehem(Palestinian side) was like entering another world compared to Jerusalem. It's run down and dirty, Jerusalem is much cleaner and kept(building weren't vandalized and falling apart).

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