The moratorium on bad news is over, I am sorry to say.

Yahoo News:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – Israeli ground forces made their deepest foray yet Sunday into Gaza’s most populated area, with tanks rolling into residential neighborhoods and infantry fighting urban warfare in streets and buildings with Hamas militants who kept up their rocketing of southern Israel.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said residential neighborhoods in Gaza are riddled with homemade bombs and booby traps, including mannequins placed at apartment entrances to simulate militants and rigged to explode if soldiers approach.

Well, that doesn’t sound too nice. A nice way to end the hostilities would be if Hamas stopped firing rockets into Southern Israel. Anyone else see a different solution?

CNN: More reserves called up by Israel. Thousands more on both sides of the issue rally in US streets.

More Yahoo News:

Human Rights Watch said Sunday that Israel’s military has fired artillery shells with the incendiary agent white phosphorus into Gaza and a doctor there said the chemical was suspected in the case of 10 burn victims who had skin peeling off their faces and bodies.

Researchers in Israel from the rights group witnessed hours of artillery bombardments that sent trails of burning smoke indicating white phosphorus over the Jebaliya refugee camp in northern Gaza. But they could not confirm injuries on the ground because they have been barred from entering the territory.

The chief doctor at Nasser Hospital in southern Gaza said he treated several victims there with serious burns that might have been caused by phosphorus. He said, however, that he did not have the resources or expertise to say with certainty what caused the injuries.

The substance can cause serious burns if it touches the skin and can spark fires on the ground, the rights group said in a written statement calling on Israel not to use it in crowded areas of Gaza.

Is this what is meant by disproportional force? Is there a military reason for using this substance? When does a weapon on war become ‘overkill?’

[UPDATE MONDAY JAN 12 LINKS FROM NYTIMES]
As Troops Enter Gaza City, Israel Sees an Opening

FEAR OF CONFLICT SPREADING PLUS TIME TABLES
Crisis in Gaza Imperils 2 State Plan

32 Thoughts to “And the News Gets No Better…”

  1. Firedancer

    Can’t we keep talking about the moon? I have no idea how this awful situation can be resolved.

  2. Moon-howler

    I sort of agree. And I have no idea about a solution either but it isn’t going to go away.

    We got 24 hours of nothing to talk about but the moon. I guess that was our reprieve.

  3. Thousands more on both sides of the issue rally in US streets.

    And how long before they start killing each other in US streets. In fact, it’s already begun if you go back and look at the incidents over the years.

    This religious conflict has nothing to do with us. If one side wipes out the other, or vice versa, or they learn to live in peace, will not make one iota of difference to American national security.

    However, our continued mindless unequivocal support for Israel and it’s militaristic expansionist policies definitely undermines our security. It is one of the recruiting planks for organizations like Al Queda. We ought to divest completely from this eternal conflict. Israel has chosen to declare war on the Islamic faith. Why should we follow them into national suicide?

  4. Moon-howler

    So much for a dialogue.

    Elena, I hate war also. This one seems so hopeless, but from our vantage point, so avoidable.

  5. The “white phosphorus” shells being used are smoke rounds. Small bits of phosphorus do fly out but this is not an incendiary round. If “willey pete” was being used, Gaza would be an inferno….

  6. Arpaio’s First Victims of 2009.

    Sheriff Arpaio started his first racial profiling sweep of 2009 on Friday, January 9.
    He used 200 deputies and posse members armed with heavy artillery, several buses,
    over 60 vehicles from 9:00Am to 10 PM to arrest 8 people, four of which were undocumented.
    It was an incredible waste of tax dollars and only destroyed families. No dangerous criminals were caught.
    These children, however lost their mother as a result.

  7. SecondAlamo

    I may be wrong about this, but didn’t Israel give up a portion of Gaza years ago to try and promote peace? If so, is that the same area where Hamas is now launching rockets? I have no clue, just wondering if someone who has followed this may know.

  8. Moon-howler

    SA, yes and it has been in stages. Most recently, I believe they ended an occupation. However, the borders aren’t open and I am going to rely on Gainesville Resident to fill us in because I only know bits and pieces, and there isn’t much continuity in my data bank.

    From the NY Times this am.

    On Saturday, the Hamas political director in exile, Mr. Meshal, said in Damascus that Hamas would not consider a cease-fire until Israel ended the assault and opened all crossings into Gaza. He said that the ferocity of the Israeli campaign had crossed the line and called it a “holocaust,” adding, “You have destroyed the last chance for negotiations.”

  9. GainesvilleResident

    SA – you are correct, Israel did relinquish the Gaza strip to the Palestinians. Unfortunately Hamas took over there instead of the Fatah regime, and it has backfired on the Israelis since Hamas is now using it as a launching pad for missile attacks on Israel. However, Israel would have been severely criticized if they hadn’t given the Gaza strip over to the Palestinians – it is sort of a no-win situation for the Israelis.

    That’s really rich what the Hamas political director had to say. He neglects to mention the fact that Hamas broke the cease fire and launched the first wave of missiles into Israel, which provoked Israel to fight back in their latest offensive. Also he neglects to mention how Hamas uses innocent chlidren as Human shields – see a video posted in the last thread on this topic. If Hamas thinks it is a holocaust, it is one of their own making.

  10. GainesvilleResident

    The video I was referring to is at http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=42281953533 and scroll to the very bottom of the page. Under video it is the first of two at the bottom of the page – the one titled “Hamas Using Palestinian Children as Shields” – it is only 14 seconds long but it is long enough to be very shocking to watch.

    How dare Hamas talk about a holocaust when they are doing stuff like this!

  11. Moon-howler

    That was a horrifying, but short video. The closest word I can think of is that abducted those children. The children looked horrified.

    I don’t understand about the border crossings. What is Hama’s beef? Is there tight border security because of terrorism or is it a weapons smuggling sort of thing? I read that part of the peace that was brokered by Egypt made the border between Egypt and Gaza open.

    Help us out there Gainesville. Fill in the blanks.

  12. Gainesville Resident

    I’m not sure about the facts on the border crossings, I’ll have to see what I can find out about that.

  13. Moon-howler

    Thanks Gainesville. I know that the borders are somehow related to firing those rockets but I cannot tell you what that link is.

  14. Pat.Herve

    Gaza is bordered by the Mediteranean to the west, Israel to the north and east, and Egypt to the south. Hamas is an extremest group who does not want Israel to exist. There is no negotiating with these people. Since Iraq has been removed as a power in the region, Iran has been able to subsidize and smuggle weapons into Gaza during the past 6 years (since Israel wihtdrew). Hamas is the extremesst group in Gaza, while Hezbollah is the group in the West Bank.

    The main problem with Hamas and Hezbollah, is that they have one issue, and one issue only – the existance of Israel.

  15. Leila

    Pat.Herve, did you perhaps mistype? Hezbollah is a political party/militia force in Lebanon. It is Lebanese. It is not Palestinian.

    Hezbollah fought the Israelis in the 2006 LEBANON war. The West Bank in terms of the Palestinian population is dominated by Fatah, the faction that was once led by Yasir Arafat. The leadership is actually one that has had some negotiations with Israel, unlike Hamas.

    As for the border crossings alluded to. There was indeed an Israeli withdrawal from Gaza a couple of years ago. However because Hamas was elected there, there was a total Israeli blockade of Gaza border crossings. That is a source of complaint of Gazans in general, not just Hamas. While the tunnels on Gaza’s border with Egypt have been used to smuggle weapons, they have also been used to smuggle ordinary goods.

    Forgive me. Although I have seen a great number of factual errors in this and other threads on the Middle East, I haven’t responded. But the placement of Lebanon’s Hezbollah in the West Bank, well that was too much 😉 !

    Can I make some suggestions of sources. Well I could make dozens, but I would recommend people read Haaretz Daily, which is the English version of a newspaper that is kind of like the Israeli New York Times. Google Haaretz Daily and you will find a constantly updated relatively evenhanded source on the conflict. It even has some Israeli columnists who totally oppose the operation, although they are in the minority.

    For another perspective, I would also note a recent NYT article by a Palestinian-American academic who might shed some light on the Gaza grievances. More, as many as you want, available at will.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/opinion/08khalidi.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=khalidi&st=cse

    If this doesn’t work, go to nyt.com and search Khalidi What you don’t know about Gaza.

    Cheers.

  16. Leila

    PS to Pat Herve, I am just reading you again and getting more and more confused. You mention 6 years since the Israeli withdrawal from Gaza, but the Israelis withdrew in September 2005. Where do the six years come in?

  17. simon

    This is very sad. And, what is more sad is that there seems to no solution. I think we have seen this movie before.

  18. If Israel is shrewd enough to bar journalists from going into Gaza until the Presidential Inauguration steals all the headlines, they are certainly savvy enough NOT to use white phosphorous on civilian, or even militant targets.

    This is most likely a tactic to sway public opinion against Israel in parts of the world where fact checking is optional. The United States went through such a period, but thankfully it ended in 2005.

  19. Moon-howler

    Part of the problem when discussing Israeli conflicts with anyone is the huge amount of disinformation floating about, some of it intentional.

    Leila, can we please revisit the blockades. I understand this issue is one of the reasons Hamas says it is firing rockets into Israel. What is the upshot of the blockades? Are some Gazans allowed to go through the check points and some not? Is everyone kept in Gaza?

    I don’t always give Israel a free pass and I have been critical in the past of some of their behavior. However, in this case, what other choice do they have? They either take the rockets, and hope no one is hit or they go to war.

  20. Gainesville Resident

    Some news: Hamas is taking advantage of the daily lull where Israel stops firing into Gaza each day for 3 hours to allow humanitarian aid to flow through. Hamas is using that time to fire back at Israel.

    Also, an article “How Badly Has Hamas Been Hurt In Gaza?” in Time Magazine at http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1871112,00.html?xid=rss-topstories-cnnpartner

    At the bottom of that article is a link to a good article – “A Brief History of the Gaza Strip” and mentions some of the things that have been talked about here such as the blockade, etc.

  21. Pat.Herve

    Leila,

    from what I read, Hezbollah is infuencing what is happening in the West Bank – http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2008/03/13/africa/ME-GEN-Palestinians-Hezbollah.php – and Fatah is getting pushed to the side.

    Hamas – from what I read – wants no Israel – http://www.nationalreview.com/mccarthy/mccarthy200603010741.asp

    I agree that what the Israelies do is not always correct, but, if your number one criteria is to abolish Israel, well, then I do not belive they have anything to negotiate.

    While we have been infusing democracy in Iraq, we have been ignoring Iran, who IS the dominant player in the area.
    Do you think it is true that Hamas is entering schools and hospitals to get sympathy when attacked? One does not know what is true anymore, as most of our reporting is either slanted in a particluar (political) direction or lightly reported so that we can get to the latest gossip of Casey Anthony or Natilee Holliway.

  22. Moon-howler

    Ok, I read the article and took a long look at the Gaza sub-section. Something popped out at me:

    “Following the battle, Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza in an attempt to strangle the strip’s economy and undermine Hamas’ abilty to govern.”

    Is this a true statement? Why would Israel attempt to strangle the economy?

    As I see it, Israel sealed off Gaza along with Egypt sealing off the southern border. The Gazans don’t like being sealed off (and who could blame them) so their government is firing rockets into Israel. Did I grasp the current situation correctly?

    What happens if Israel stops sealing off those borders? Is it people or arms that are the problem or is it both?

  23. Gainesville Resident

    One of the reasons the border was sealed was to stop the flow of arms into Gaza – but that was primarily from the border with Egypt. I think the Israelis hoped to hurt the economy and Hamas. I’m not sure how successful those goals have been.

    Howver, if they unsealed the borders, I don’t think it would stop Hamas from firing into Israel – they were going to do it sooner or later and this just gives them an excuse to do so. If they would back down from their claim of wanting to destroy Israel – then it might be OK to unseal the borders – assuming with them no longer being for the destruction of Israel. Then maybe they’d stop firing if the borders were unsealed.

    The whole Gaza strip is a mess. Egypt never wanted a lot of these people either.

  24. Moon-howler

    Weren’t the current Gazans from places that are now Israel? They are not allowed back.

  25. Leila

    Pat.Herve, i read the article, but it doesn’t say what you suggest about Fatah, and it especially doesn’t say what you suggested in your original post. Hezbollah’s profile is definitely getting higher in the West Bank and anywhere Palestinians are, especially because of their relative success against Israel in Lebanon, but in terms of running things in the West Bank, Fatah still does that. Palestinians live their lives like anyone else, they go to school, work, etc. (altho all that is made a great deal more difficult through checkpoints, etc.) but the Palestine Authority (identified with Fatah) acts as an ordinary government in the West Bank. Hamas acts as a regular government too, or did before this war. Along with its obvious goals that you mention, it has other functions. You said in your original post that Hamas and Hezbollah have “one issue” and “one issue only.” That’s just goofy.

    Hezbollah has lots of issues/functions, particularly vis a vis other Lebanese political forces. It’s focus is very much Lebanon. It’s both an armed force adn a regular political party based in Lebanon’s Shiite Muslim community. But as I am sure you know, there are political parties in Lebanon grounded in Christian, Druze, and Sunni Muslim communities too.

    Palestinians are generally Sunni Muslim, with Druze adn Christian minorities. Hamas is a political party with roots in the Muslim Brotherhood, a Sunni Muslim group that originated in Egypt. But obviously when common interests intrude, the Shiia influence of Iran or Hezbollah from Lebanon is going to have some effect.

    I didnt’ speak to the other things you mention, but I would say our “infusing” democracy in Iraq is a very small part of the story of what has happened there. I don’t agree Iran is the dominant power in the region by any means. But it certainly wants to be and is a very important one. But I think Arab suspicion of a non-Arab power whose Islam is a minority sect continues. While I would never want to see Iran get a nuclear weapon, I don’t see any reason it would use it against Israel.

    Israeli is a nuclear power with a very developed arsenal, although as one of the few countries in the world that hasn’t signed the Nuclear Non-Prolieration Treaty, there is no inspection of Israeli nuclear weapons. I don’t think Iran would use a nuke against Israel because I don’t think an Iranian leader would want his country to disappear. Ahmadinejad says a lot of abhorrent things, totally disgusting, but A. There is no evidence that this is more than rhetoric in terms of total destruction, and B. This is crucial, Ahmadinejad does not hold the actual power in Iran.

    Gaza is one of the most densely populated places on earth. There is plenty of evidence of civilians being killed who were not sharing quarters with Hamas fighters, but I don’t doubt that sometimes occurs. In terms of media coverage, I would suggest Haaretz again.

  26. Gainesville Resident

    An interesting article in Time this morning – “Is Israel Losing the Media War in Gaza?” at http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1871487,00.html?xid=rss-topstories-cnnpartner

  27. GainesvilleResident

    Latest news – Egypt is trying to broker a cease fire. Turkey agrees to place troops along the Egyptian border with Gaza to stop the flow of smuggled Iranian arms from Egypt to Gaza. A sticking point is Israel wants a 10 year truce but Hamas only wants one year. Why does Hamas only want one year?? The article is at http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1871729,00.html?xid=rss-topstories-cnnpartner

  28. Moon-howler

    Godo question, Gainesville. And why can’t they compromise to at least 5 years of a truce?

    I fear that the hostilities will get swept up and buried in all the Inauguration excitement. Keep us posted.

  29. Gainesville Resident

    OK, MH. Yes, 5 years would be a good compromise. I don’t think we have to worry about this getting lost in all the innauguration news, however. The UN Secretary General is over there trying to negotiate a cease fire, and also generating headlines with his daily criticsim of Israel (but never any of Hamas).

  30. Moon-howler

    I saw that this morning. The UN Secretary General has been whining for several weeks now. I wouldn’t mind the criticism of Israel on this one if he were equally critical of the rockets being fired into Israel. Both groups need to stop. Criticize both or keep his mouth shut and just broker a peace.

    I think there is plenty of room for compromise between 1 year and 10 years. I vote for 5. If neither side accepts that, then they are both being stubborn.

  31. Gainesville Resident

    A new article talks about 3 possible scenarios for ending the conflict – it is interesting reading: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1872142,00.html?xid=rss-topstories-cnnpartner

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