Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Gaza, Stop the bullshit !

I have had enough. I have just had enough of the bullshit. I can not look at any more reports from Gaza or listen to any of the debates because right now I feel that everybody is an idiot except for me. I attended the demonstration outside the Israeli embassy yesterday. It was bullshit. I have just spent about an hour looking through the Israeli blogs on my blog roll. They are all bullshit. Let me explain why the debate about this conflict makes me want to eat my own face. Firstly, from Israel's point of view.

Why Israel is right.
1.Israel is not committing genocide in Gaza. Anybody who says this is only telling everybody that they do not know what genocide is.
2. Israel is not engaging in ethnic cleansing. While they may have in previous conflicts there is no evidence that they are doing it now in Gaza.
3. Israel have not, as far as I know committed a war crime in Gaza. It is a war crime to intentionally target civilians in warfare. I have seen no evidence that Israel has done this. If I do , I will report it.
4. One of the reasons so few Israeli civilians have been killed (four so far) is because Hamas have failed in their attempts to slaughter many more thanks to Israel's excellent defence systems. Israel goes to extreme lengths to protect its half a million citizens in range of Hamas rockets, they should be applauded for this, not condemned.
5. Israel is not a terrorist, rogue or criminal state. Whatever about an enraged citizen of Gaza saying this, and they are entitled to, it is ridiculous for an Irish person to come to this conclusion. Israel is a parliamentary democracy. Is it flawed, yes, is it illegitimate, absolutely not. It is truly unbelievable that at protests around the world, including today's one in Dublin, people are calling into question the legitimacy of the Israeli state. Well let me tell you, I have been there and I can tell you its going nowhere. The case for Israel has been made and its a solid one. If you don't get that then you are not in this debate realistically.
6. It is wrong to compare Gaza to the Warsaw Ghetto or to compare any of Israel's actions to the Nazis. There is only one objective here and that is to insult Jews. I don't think that when the Nazis were liquidating the Warsaw Ghetto that they phoned civilians in advance warning them to flee. Nor do I believe were the Jews of the Ghetto firing rockets into Poland or Germany. The comparison is absurd.

Why Hamas is right
1.Hamas may be sending rockets into civilian areas of Israel which is wrong but their actions are not unprovoked. Israel may have withdrew from Gaza in 2005 but the siege imposed since then would provoke a violent reaction from any people. The Palestinians of Gaza are not in control of their own power grid and the Israelis can turn it on and off at their leisure (this is before the war, right now there is no power).
2. They are not in control of their own borders meaning the government cannot have imports or exports rendering it an economic no go.
3. This is a blatant attempt to turn the people of Gaza against Hamas through collective punishment. This is wrong.
4.The "Hamas are using civilians as human shields" argument is running a bit thin at this stage. In unconventional warfare all guerrilla fighters blend in with civilians. That is in fact what they do.

Where I stand
Both sides have and continue to have legitimate grievances in this war. The main agenda of every reasonable person should be to see a viable ceasefire. One in which rockets stop and the siege of Gaza is ended. But for some reason that does not appear to be enough for many in Ireland. Many are taking the opportunity to call into question the Israeli states legitimacy and call instead for a one state solution to the conflict, something which even Yassir Arafat had given up on.

The Israeli Palestinian conflict is not a football match. It is not about picking a side. When my football team is playing I always think the other side are scumbags and the referee is a bastard. But some Irish people think that because we are Irish and a part of our island remains occupied that we should automatically jump in behind the Palestinian cause and support it unconditionally. This is not how I see it. I come from a country that has overcome one of the most intractable conflicts that the world had known. We instigated probably the world's most successful peace process. This should be our contribution to the middle east conflict. We should certainly never make it more difficult to solve than it already is. We do this sometimes when well known Irish personalities take radical stances.

Any reasonable person knows that for peace in the Middle East to be achieved the following two things have to happen. The Palestinians and the wider Arab population have to abandon the idea that they will one they be in a position to deliver a final fatal knock out blow to Israel. Israel is going nowhere and many Palestinians just cannot accept that. And Irish people should most definitely accept this and not encourage Palestinians to take a hard line stance by taking a radical position themselves. Remember being more Irish than the Irish themselves, well there is such a thing as being more Palestinian than the Palestinians themselves.

Likewise there are many Israelis who have one objective, to make life utterly impossible for Palestinians in the hope that they will all one day leave and head off to Jordan (as may already have) or that they will resist the occupation at a level that the IDF can contain. Because this is the environment in which Jewish settlements continue to expand and the dream of a greater Israel between the river Jordan and the sea with which so many right wing Jews and christian Zionists aspire to becomes closer to reality.

There is no winner takes all solution to the Middle East conflict. The Irish realised this in the north, the blacks and whites figured in out in South Africa and the penny finally dropped in the Balkans. Unfortunately neither the Israelis or the Palestinians have reached this stage of enlightenment yet. Until they realise this nothing will really improve and peace will remain a far away goal. In the meantime Gaza burns. I just hope that the world will one day get tired of these two tribes fighting in such a primitive way over this scrap of land and force them to make peace. Who knows, with Obama, the new Saudi peace plan backed up by Tony Blair's team, which basically stipulates that there will be universal Arab recognition of Israel in exchange for a complete return of post 1967 land, perhaps 2009 will be the year.


J Mc said...

Good Stuff Leddy, I like your stance. Good article I must say

Anonymous said...

I think it is a bit naive to compare the Peace process in Ireland to the situation facing Israel and Palestine today. I would agree with you that the position Irish protesters take with regards to Israel is fundamentally wrong. The see a David and Goliath situation and they are backing the little guy. Palestine is not as transparent in its actions as those who disregard Israel would like to believe. The problem is we are dealing with fundamentalists here, in ideals, religion and politics. They have a diametrically opposite view of each others place in the region and in the World. There is even less of a common ground on which to meet then there was in the North of Ireland. Retrospect is a wonderful thing Ted and while it may appear that the example set in other regions(though I disagree that the apartheid regime should even have been mentioned in the same breath as this situation). This is an exceptional situation in an enormously hostile environment being driven by people who have an unwavering belief that they are in the right and being persecuted for their stance.

I have to say that your Knowledge of the region and your dedication to this issue is a exceptionally researched and I don’t mean to disregard what you are implying for the sake of it. This is a discussion blog first and foremost and if someone has to play devils advocate then so be it.

If you could, could you please post an article on this peace process/bargain package being formulated by Mr. Blair and his Saudi buddies?


Ted Leddy said...

Thanks John Boy

Keep checkin in, some good stuff coming up.

Ted Leddy said...


I only compare the North and the Middle East in the sense that people said they were both unsolvable.

You say there is less common ground to work on. That is true. Israeli pessimists often make that point to me. But the Israelis and the Palestinians have different jurisdictions. Its not about them all living happy ever after together. Its about two states living beside each other with agreed borders. They can have totally different societies and forms of governments. In this sense Northern Ireland and particularly South Africa were far more complicated and the warring sides had far less common ground because they had to figure out how to live together in the one country. This is why I remain optimistic about the future.

Thanks for the compliment, your understanding of the Muddle East is not bad either.

I will do a post shortly about the 2009 peace plan. Keep an eye out for it

Who are you ? Do I know you. Do not fear judgemen here. Identify yourself.

Anonymous said...

Accepted; the situation in the North was perceived as being virtually unsolvable, apart from Michael Moore who seemed to have it all figured out before the rest of us!
Your argument that the fact that because these two "groups" as we'll call them for the purpose of this situation don’t have to share the one country only borders I feel does not hold true. Why? Because for starters was this not the case with the North? The fact that Israel had to and will possibly have to again, should this Saudi/Blair deal go through, give up land that they see as Israeli suggests that this is essentially one country with two nations(Technically two states but two groups vying for the same pieces of land). Secondly if we are to look at it as you describe, as in two states living side by side with agreed borders, one can argue that there is less impetuous to acquiesce to each others requirements because they don’t have to live under the one roof!(as in South Africa). They can continue to fight their fight because they are not killing their own!
What pressure is on peace in the Middle East, who is pushing for it? America? Are they not too pro Israeli to be partisan enough for the Palestinians to sit at the table with? The UN? Let’s face it one word answer to that No! Where is it going to come from? If you look at the two previous examples of yours you can see that it was vital that international pressure was exerted. A lot is spoken about the situation and talks are often aimed at bringing both sides to the table to deal with it diplomatically but always to no avail. You cannot not blockade Gaza or the West bank because what is there to Blockade? You cannot do it to Israel neither because Uncle Sam has their back. The situation has to be dealt with internationally bit there is no Organization capable of achieving this.

Do they want peace? Seriously do they? This, as I have stated before is not like any other War, it is till the Death because as I said we are dealing with Fundamentalist, I know people like to put countries or states into convenient boxes and mark them as terrorists’ or fundamentalists’ but at some point you have to call it like it is as you say. We cannot perceive the amount of hatred that the opposition in this conflict instils in the individuals and groups involved. The Military Industrial complex itself can be seen as a reason for Israel to continue the course; this may be seen as Naive, stupid and misinformed or might just be right on the money. Has it come so far now that the Palestinians only exists to fight Israel?
I look forward to your response. As for remaining Anonymous... I might just be you, only different?

Ted Leddy said...

Allow me to clarify

The peace processes in Northern Ireland and South Africa required power sharing institutions and all sorts of mechanism similar to afirmitive action (in the USA)in order to make sure there was equal access to jobs, housing ect. This as we know proved agonisingly difficult. And it is a process that the Israelis and Palestinians will not have to go through.

Because, Israel can be a Jewish country with all its unique laws and customs. Palestine can be Muslim state. No compromise in that sense is required.

"They can continue to fight their fight", some extremists probab;y will. The Al quada types will never accept Israel, thats a given. But a secure Israel and a viable Palestine, which we never have had before, can live side by side.

I believe there is pressure on them. First of all, both the Clinton and Bush administrations only initiated peace talks in the final year of their administrations. Obama has pledged to do so in his first. Also as we all know the global economy is in its worst downturn since the 1930s. Last week Iran attempted to lobby the Arab countries to initiate an oil embargo against the west because of the situation in Gaza. They failed. But more war in the region has the serious potential to worsen the economic crisis. As a result I really think the world is running out of patients with the Israelis and the Palestinians. There are bigger things hapening globally right now and they are going to come under real pressure from the international community to accept a deal if a solid one is put in front of them.

Do they want peace, some clearly do not, see "where I stand" above.

"Has it come so far now that the Palestinians only exists to fight Israel"? That is a very interesting comment. I do not know, I suppose its possible in which case, you win, I am wrong and there will be no peace.

Garrett Roche said...

You referenced "The Case for Israel" - I'd recommend the more balanced "Israel Lobby" - It explains much about why the US seems to act against its own interests at times, and also explains why Israel is a special case much of the time too.
With regard to the proportional response arguments, which are heard battered around. I ask: Were the US only entitled to bomb some Tokyo destroyers after Pearl Harbour, or were they entitled to elimnate the threat that existed ? All Israel are doing is acting as have all countries under threat. The other side of the coin however, is that if Hamas embedded in Ireland, and the Irish Govt or Gardai could not root them out, but they used it as a launching platform for terror in Israel, would the latter have the right to bomb Ireland ? Would Thatcher and her predecessors have had the right to bomb Ireland in retaliation for UK mainland IRA bombings ?
Until the Israel Lobby and its enormous power over US law makers is addressed, I think all those who opine here are likely missing the real point -
This is a proxy war between Iran and the US. That's why it seems so hard to understand or explain and is so everlasting.
Israel is a US client state, and law makers do not even debate Israel in Congress - Ever wonder why not ?
The Palestinians should have taken the two-state peace process and like Ted says, emulate Ireland in the "stepping stone to the ultimate freedom" - Instead the hardliners rejected the peace process and returned to an all or nothing, Israel must be swept into the sea, approach. In the same way Britain could have crushed the IRA rebellion in 1919, but decided to temper the rebellion with a land censure. The Israelis were doing the same thing under the Oslo accord. And their right-wing fundamentalist end up assassinating Rabin for it too.
Pretty rough trying to lead people to peace when you own wing kill you and the opposition still don't take the peace deal and want to fight til the end.
There is the whole, I'm so hopeless that after-life fairytales would make me do anything element too.
Are we not seeing the makings of a Christian fundamentalist side, hoping for rapture, fighting with Islamic fundamentalists, who again are happy to die foir their cause.
The Israelis probably wonder what the beef with them really is sometimes. "Just leave us alone" they shout.

Anonymous said...

Ted Leddy Ted Leddy bam-alam.

A very measured and insightul arrtcle Ted. Whil comparisons with Northern Ireland may be slightly oversimplistic I think youare right that there are many parallels.

Keep up the good work.

long time listener, first time caller.


Daniel said...

Hi Ted. The blog is looking good! You've got some interesting stuff there. I don't know nearly as much as I would like about the history and motives behind the ongoing conflict.

I suppose I've never been able to identify comfortably with either side.

I can only imagine that what Israel is doing will only succeeding in driving a generation of could-be moderates to extremes. Then again who could grow up to be moderate in Gaza? It sounds like a mosque come prison-city.

I can see Israels right to safegaurd themselves from Hamas. Living that close to a bunch of Muslim extremists sworn to wipe me off the map would make me want to blow them up too.

Then again, didn't the Jews just steal the country from the Palestinians? Or something like that.

I think its fine to have Israeli soldiers and Hamas fighters die for there causes and I hope they all have a nice time in whatever heaven they believe in.

However both sides are risking innocent civilian life. The Israelis are only killing hundreds more children because they have the fire power. I'm sure Hamas would do the same.

The whole situation is disgusting. I think both sides will pay a huge and terrible price in the fullness of time.

Like I said I don't understand the situation but I kind of want to say; fuck them all, but thats not very insightfull or PC.

What I do know is I feel sick watching the images of wounded and dead children in Gaza on the news.

Ted Leddy said...

Hello Gareth

Thanks very much for your articulate comments.

The Israeli lobby is a very complicated and sensitive issue. Some people like yourself clearly think that Zionist influence over American foreign policy is so great that the US will always tow the Israeli line. I prefer to think that America supports Israel because it is a military and strategic partner in the middle East much like Georgia, South Korea and Taiwan are in other parts of the world. I wonder, why do people never go on about the South Korean lobby in Washington.

Proportionality, now here is a thorny one. Your pearl Harbour point is excellent. But regarding Hamas, its not like some greater Palestinian authority is failing to "root them out" in Gaza, they are the authority in Gaza. For the record, if Maggie had of decided to go after the IRA in the republic, she would have had to deal with me.

A proxy war between Iran and Israel. Thats true but this brings a lot of baggage with it. The rest of the Arab world are extremely uneasy at Persian Shia Iran trying to influence the Arab Sunni Palestinian cause.

You hit the nail on the head Gareth. Its holding onto lofty goals that killing this thing. Some Israelis wont be happy until every Palestinian has been expelled from sacred Jewish land and some Palestinians still consider Tel Aviv to be a Jewish settlement whose inhabitants must be pushed into the sea.

You say "Are we not seeing the makings of a Christian fundamentalist side, hoping for rapture, fighting with Islamic fundamentalists, who again are happy to die foir their cause." Sometimes I think you are right. I wish we could put them all on an island together somewhere and let them have their rapture, just keep the rest of us out of it. I must say though I have always found the Christian fundamentalist/Zionist side (the likes of John Hagee in the US) to be the worst. They don't even live in the place yet they are fanatically against the creation of a Palestinian state and are constantly lobbying the US state department not to put pressure on Israel to remove settlements, divide Jerusalem ect...make me sick, they will never have to live with the consequences of a failed peace process.

Gareth, are you Eoghan's friend from college, If so Hows it goin, thank for dropping in to Gubu World and drop by anytime. I often discuss these issues that you are obviously very interested in.

Ted Leddy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ted Leddy said...

Big bad BD thanks for stopping by. Sorry it took so long to get back to ya but their have been a few Gremlins in the system here. I reckon the Jews are behind it. Anyhow drop by anytime Brian.

Ted Leddy said...


Thanks very much for the comments. Don't sell yourself short Daniel. You know more about the situation that you realise. You certainly know more than half the pundits on TV most of whom just pick a side and swallow their entire line.

You hit it spot on when you say that this will only harden future generations. In fact I'm sure that right this minute Hamas are planning a wave of suicide bombings for the coming year.

You say "Then again, didn't the Jews just steal the country from the Palestinians? Or something like that." The circumstances surrounding the birth of Israel in 1948 are extremely contentious. I intend to do a detailed post about this shortly so keep an eye out for it.

You are right about civilians. Whatever happens they are the ones that are gonna get it the worst. And I agree, sometimes the debate goes endlessly back and forward that I too wanna just say "fuck em all" or as my Grandad used to say "shoot em all and let God sort em out".

My hope is that in 2009 Obama will say to them, "make peace.. and I'm not asking I'm telling". The world is experiencing the worst global recession since the 30s and another ten years of Israeli Palestinian violence has the potential to significantly worsen it. So I hope the world puts pressure on them both to do what needs to be done. Thanks daniel.