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Israel Shells U.N. Building in Gaza and Media Center -- Charged With Using White Phosphorus

 
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jan, 2009 02:13 pm
@Steve 41oo,
Steve 41oo wrote:
I think this latest illegal disgusting and wholly disproportionate action by the Israelis has finally extinguished any sympathy I might have for their Zionist project in the Middle East.


"Illegal" and "disproportionate" are claims of a factual nature, and can be proved or not.


Can you show any law that says that what Israel did was illegal?

I don't think you can, since there is no such law, but I'm willing to be proven wrong.


Disproportionate would mean that the expected collateral damage from a given attack was excessive compared to the expected military gains from the attack. Can you show that this was the case in Israeli targeting calculations?


"Disgusting" is more the realm of opinion, but how exactly is it disgusting for Israel to defend themselves?
Cycloptichorn
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jan, 2009 02:17 pm
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:

Steve 41oo wrote:
I think this latest illegal disgusting and wholly disproportionate action by the Israelis has finally extinguished any sympathy I might have for their Zionist project in the Middle East.


"Illegal" and "disproportionate" are claims of a factual nature, and can be proved or not.


Can you show any law that says that what Israel did was illegal?

I don't think you can, since there is no such law, but I'm willing to be proven wrong.


Disproportionate would mean that the expected collateral damage from a given attack was excessive compared to the expected military gains from the attack. Can you show that this was the case in Israeli targeting calculations?

"Disgusting" is more the realm of opinion, but how exactly is it disgusting for Israel to defend themselves?


What are the military gains from destroying villages and killing women and children? Are they quantifiable, or did someone just decide that would be a good idea at some point?

Cycloptichorn
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jan, 2009 03:08 pm
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:
That is an inevitable consequence of the road going through Israeli territory.


True, but you also neglect that it's also the inevitable consequence of Israel appropriating the territory for themselves.

It wasn't their territory in the partition plan.

http://img71.imageshack.us/img71/7748/israelstealingpalestinexw9.jpg

They've systematically settled Palestinian land and settlers often do so very strategically, denying Palestinians access to roadways, water and the like.

That the land is not contiguous is largely a function of a conscious effort on the part of Israeli extremists to make it so.

Quote:
Barak had such a mandate, at least until the Israeli people got sick of suicide bombing being the only result of the negotiations.


I think he had a tenuous mandate at best, with significant opposition to any negotiation with the PLO, but this is clearly a subjective matter of personal interpretation.

Quote:
Yes, but you were referring to the terms that *Israel* was willing to offer. Israel is never going to offer that.


Israel, under Sharon, did express the need to offer more. What "painful concessions" do you think he was talking about? The ones they already offered? No, he called for more settlement evacuation and though the negotiations never got into specifics there were many indications that Israel has come further along in acceptance of a two-state solution with 1967 borders.

That he was building the barrier roughly along the green line is a very real indication of willingness to make the green line the "facts on the ground", literally.

Quote:
Israel's current positions offer a lot less than what they offered at Taba.


Israel has no current offer on the table except that Palestinians should manage to quell their extremists while they put an economic blockade on them that, in the words of Ehud Olmert's adviser Dov Weissglass, is "an appointment with a dietician." "The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won't die," he claims.

So yes, their current position is not as attractive an offer as Sharon seemed ready for, they systematically destroy the civil institutions of the authority they require to demonstrate control over extremists and prevent them from receiving the resources to rebuild.

But there is near-universal (with the sole exception of Israel) consensus on the basis for a two-state solution and it's a more generous offer than was submitted in Camp David.

Essentially, it's very simple. 100% of the West Bank and Gaza Strip (at 1967 borders) is to be the Palestinians state. A fair, and equitable, 1-for-1 swap should be made where that is not viable. At camp David Israel's initial offer was for about 74% of this territory in a manner that would have officialized some of the Israeli expantion into the Palestinian territory.

For Palestinians to accept this offer would be for them to begin to sanction the encroachment on their territory by Israel themselves.

It was as unreasonable a proposition to Palestinians as "right of return" is to Israelis.

Quote:
That is one consequence of unilateral separation. One side gets to decide what they will keep and what they will give up, and the other side doesn't get a say.


That's one consequence, I would say the attacks are another.

Unilateral separation was a good first step, but continuing to try to marginalize Palestinian extremists through collective punishment is also part of that strategy so far. And it's unreasonable to disconsider the blockade.

Legally, such a blockade is an act of war. I understand it, but it can't be ignored in the big picture. Israel disengaged in that it took boots off the ground and put the strip under siege from without.

This is hardly a resolution of the problem, or even a real disengagement. If I were putting you and your family on a "diet" though seige I imagine you would object as well, and I imagine you would do so violently.

If Israel aims to secure their own security, as opposed to more land, they should take steps toward resolving the conflict. As long as they have their neighbors under siege they will be at war with them.

In this conflict, people often neglect to realize that cross-border settling, and economic blockades are an act of war. Just as it's unreasonable to expect Israel to accept attacks on their civilians it's unreasonable to expect any people to react to these acts of war without war.

If anyone tried to blockade the United States, or systematically settle our borders we'd be at war with them in a heartbeat.

Now I understand Israel's motivations for doing so, but my point is that you can't consider this a full disengagement as long as they are actively committing acts of war against the Palestinians.

Quote:
It is a rather definite fact that the Israeli offers were getting close and closer to what was acceptable to the Palestinians, and there is no basis for assuming this trend would not have continued had negotiations continued.


Yes, there is. Israel flat out stated that they would not accept "we can't accept the demand for a return to the borders of June 1967 as a pre-condition for the negotiation" and in effect were saying that the green line was simply not on the table at the time, because they were insisting on Palestinian crack down on their extremists first.

The Palestinian Authority had absolutely no chance of being able to crack down on the extremists without any political captital in return. And asking them to agree to 74% of the land that the whole world says is their (including a couple of UN resolutions) represented a loss of political capital.

With Hamas already rejecting the negotiations the PA has no chance of subduing all extremists without being able to come to the Palestinian street with something to show for their negotiations.

What Israel offered was that they'd get the chance to lose additional land from the green line basis of negotiations. This is hardly an attractive offer.

Israel was telling Arafat to demilitarize and crack down on Hamas, while they reserved the right to keep attacking Palestinians, assasinating them and operating militarily in their territory.

This is in addition to controlling their airspace and sea access.

To portray this as a reasonable offer is really a stretch, it was only different from the status quo in that they'd officially have less land to negotiate for and would get to call themselves a state (without any of the benefits of sovereignty).

It was an offer that borders on disingenuous. You get 74% of your house back and get to call it your house, but I get to come in and kill who I want, and you can't have any weapons of self defense but you are still responsible for keeping your really pissed off lunatic son under control or we'll keep attacking.

That just wasn't reasonable oralloy.

Quote:
The maps I saw showed more and more territory being offered to the Palestinians as newer offers were made.


If I start a negotiation with you for your house back, and go from offering you 70% of it back to 74% it's still not a reasonable basis for discussion.

Furthermore, you favorite parts of your house (East Jerusalem issues) would not be on the table.

This is a negotiation tactic, it's not a fair offer and they made clear that they had a ceiling of less than 100% of your house back.



Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
The Taba offer would have given the Palestinians 95% of the West Bank (in one contiguous block), East Jerusalem as their capital, and it would have transferred some Israeli land to Gaza to compensate for what land they would have kept in the West Bank.


This is simply false. The offer was for an initial 73% of the West Bank with only an eventual 91%.

The Israeli's final offer was to annex an additional 10% of Palestinian land.


Quote:
Here again is the Taba offer:

http://www.fmep.org/maps/redeployment-final-status-options/final-status-map-presented-by-israel-taba-mar-2001/final_status_map_taba.pdf

95% of the West Bank, in one contiguous block, with a land swap to compensate for the 5% Israel would have kept.


Only after years, and Palestinians were expected to be able to stop attacks on Israel. This offer was not what they'd initially receive. Arafat was supposed to walk back to the Palestinian street with 73% of the West Bank, demilitarize and then squash Hamas.

That was not a politically viable option for the PA. They just didn't have the political capital to do that. Furthermore, Israel rejects the use of international peacekeepers to help Palestinians keep their end of the bargain.

If I told you you had to stop Hamas without weapons in exchange for accepting 73% of the West Bank initially how well do you think you'd be able to do so? With an offer that would have infuriated the Palestinian street. With a proposal to swap good strategic land for much less valuable land?

It just wasn't a fair offer. Israel shouldn't be negotiating over what they are already legally obligated to return.



Quote:
Robert Gentel wrote:
False. They offered "religious sovereignty" but not the legal definition of the term. They were offering custodianship but not the legal concept of sovereignty.


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article/article?f=/c/a/2000/12/23/MN14590.DTL


This occurred well after Arafat walked out on Camp David negotiations at a point when any negotiations were a long shot, and after the Palestinian street had already exploded.

I was speaking of the Israeli offer at Camp David where they were only offering "religious sovereignty". The attacks were just not in response to this offer, like you've characterized.


Quote:
Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
And second, there are "no Palestinian religious sites" in Jerusalem. There are instead Jewish religious sites that Muslims illegally occupy.


Ok, name the law then.


Trespassing.


What is Israel's legal basis to these sites? You can't claim it's "trespassing" when the only international law on the matter says it's not their territory.

Quote:
The Muslims are on a Jewish holy site and they have no business being there.


I see. It doesn't look like you are using a legal basis for this, but more of a gut thing. And I can't argue with your personal feelings about what they should or should not be doing when it's so arbitrary.

Quote:
Why should Muslims be allowed to steal other people's holy sites?


It's a bit disingenuous not to recognize that the holy sites are often holy for both peoples, furthermore what some religion considers "holy" does not a legal basis for territory ownership make.

If some Indian claimed your house was on his holy burial grounds would you give it to him?

Quote:
It's their holiest site. It belongs to them.


Land ownership is simply not based on religious holiness oralloy. If you feel this way we'll have to agree to disagree. Because many of these holy sites are holy to both peoples UN resolutions and peace proposals have called for them to remain neutral or shared.

Land doesn't become legally yours based on the strength of your conviction, and you can not call this "trespassing" in a legal sense if your basis for land ownership is merely spiritual or religious.

Quote:
Their control over West Jerusalem predates the 1967 war. How is that unrecognized?


When Israel took control of Jerusalem and made it their capital even the US refused to recognize it and refused to move the embassy there till the territorial dispute is resolved. See here:

Haaretz wrote:
Congress enacted legislation in 1995 calling for the United States to move its embassy to Jerusalem, but the president can postpone the move every six months due to national security interests. The waiver has been used every six months since the law was passed.

Israel captured East Jerusalem in the 1967 Six Day War and annexed it in a move not recognized internationally. Palestinians want East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state, while Israel considers the entire city as its capital.

There are no embassies in Jerusalem. El Salvador and Costa Rica were the last countries to transfer their embassies to Tel Aviv from Jerusalem, announcing their decisions in August.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/802711.html


Quote:
Negotiations that make Israel give up the Temple Mount need to be undermined.


Well, I can't argue with religious views. But if both sides take up such petulant and stubborn positions then there's simply not much reasonable chance for a solution.

Something has got to give. Each side will need to make their "painful concessions" and if either side is unwilling to do so then there's not much of a basis for peace.

Quote:
If my neighbor's kids were throwing stones at me like that, I'd open fire on them without a second's hesitation.


And if your neighbor killed 4 of your kids for throwing stones like that you's also fire on him. Your empathy is very one-sided.

Quote:
Kadima is planning for unilateral separation. That does not require negotiating any land swaps. They just plan to put up the wall and call it a border without asking anyone what they think of the new border.


That's not how it works. If Mexico unilaterally decided to move their border into US territory it would represent an act of war and would be responded to in kind.

Territory and sovereignty are not matters that can be declared unilaterally, and they require broader recognition to be anything other than someone's private fantasy.

For this reason Sealand is not a sovereign nation and for this reason not even the US, Israel's staunchest ally, is going to recognize any such unilateral declarations.

And remember, Israel's goal can't just be defining their borders. It needs to bring them comprehensive security.

Their people are not hurting for lack of a few more square miles of Palestinian land here and there, but from the terrorism and attacks such expansionism has provoked.

Israel's objectives should more to do with security than land. It's pointless for them to have the extra territory if the conflict rages on and their citizens are still under attack.

Reasonable people are willing to give land for peace, and unreasonable expansionists have long stood in the way of this process. You apparently seem to fall in this category of caring more about Israel's territorial growth than the safety of its citizens.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jan, 2009 03:13 pm
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:
Can you show any law that says that what Israel did was illegal?

I don't think you can, since there is no such law, but I'm willing to be proven wrong.


Yes. The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and the Geneva Convention forbid the use of incendiary devices against civilians or in civilian areas.

Israel has already conceded (and I already posted this information to this thread) that some of the use of WP may have been illegal, and are probing 20 such instances specifically.
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jan, 2009 06:08 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Can you show any law that says that what Israel did was illegal?

I don't think you can, since there is no such law, but I'm willing to be proven wrong.


Yes. The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons and the Geneva Convention forbid the use of incendiary devices against civilians or in civilian areas.


It has not been established (that I've seen) that Israel has used WP as anything other than a smoke device. If Israel is to be accused of using it as an incendiary, it would help if it were shown that they actually used it as an incendiary.

Also, the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons actually only requires that there be extra measures to prevent collateral damage when using incendiaries in a civilian area. It doesn't forbid such use if those extra measures are undertaken. (On the other hand, Israel probably didn't take those extra measures.)

But most importantly, that convention does not apply to Israel in any way, since they are not a party to it.


Which part of which Geneva Convention do you think covers incendiary weapons use?
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jan, 2009 06:49 pm
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:
It has not been established (that I've seen) that Israel has used WP as anything other than a smoke device. If Israel is to be accused of using it as an incendiary, it would help if it were shown that they actually used it as an incendiary.


That you haven't seen it appears to be willful. I've posted an article where the Israeli military announced an investigation into a case where they admit it might not have been legal. In fact, in the very post you are responding to I linked to it again. Here it is again in case you missed it:

Quote:
The Israel Defense Forces is investigating whether a reserve paratroops brigade made improper use of phosphorus shells during the fighting in Gaza.

The brigade fired about 20 such shells in a built-up area of northern Gaza.

Aside from this one case, the shells were used very sparingly and, in the army's view, in compliance with international law.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1057361.html


Here's a picture of the incident:

http://img159.imageshack.us/img159/3766/boemdichtbijxe3.jpg

And in the same article, there is even a count of how many of the non-smoke screen devices were used:

Quote:
According to senior army officers, the IDF used two phosphorus-based weapons in Gaza. One, the sources said, actually contains almost no phosphorus. These are simple smoke bombs - 155mm artillery shells - with a trace of phosphorus to ignite them.

Alkalai's probe is thus focusing on the second type: phosphorus shells, either 81mm or 120mm, that are fired from mortar guns. About 200 such shells were fired during the recent fighting, and of these, according to the probe's initial findings, almost 180 were fired at orchards in which gunmen and rocket-launching crews were taking cover.


The 180 shells in orchards would seem to be in accordance with International law. However the use of the white phosphorus on the UN compounds is something they seem close to admitting was an illegal mistake.

Amnesty International has said they encountered “indisputable evidence of widespread use of white phosphorus in densely populated residential areas in Gaza City and in the north.” In a statement, it said its investigators “saw streets and alleyways littered with evidence of the use of white phosphorus, including still-burning wedges and the remnants of the shells and canisters fired by the Israeli Army.” Read this NY Times article for multiple such claims:

Outcry Erupts Over Reports That Israel Used Phosphorus Arms on Gazans - Jan 21, 09

And hell, you can even watch a video of what really does appear to be incendiary use in Gaza right on YouTube:



With the limited access journalists have had, there is a wealth of evidence of WP use as an incendiary weapon in Gaza, if you haven't seen it you just aren't paying very much attention.


Quote:
But most importantly, that convention does not apply to Israel in any way, since they are not a party to it.


This is just not true oralloy. They ratified it on 03/22/95

Quote:
Which part of which Geneva Convention do you think covers incendiary weapons use?


My understanding is that it doesn't address it specifically, but instead generally prohibits the targeting of civilians, and that the incendiary weapons clause in the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons sought to reaffirm this more general clause from the Geneva Conventions and delcare the use of incendiary weapons in civilian areas to be a violation of the more general protections for civilians in warfare.
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jan, 2009 07:34 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
That is an inevitable consequence of the road going through Israeli territory.


True, but you also neglect that it's also the inevitable consequence of Israel appropriating the territory for themselves.

It wasn't their territory in the partition plan.

http://img71.imageshack.us/img71/7748/israelstealingpalestinexw9.jpg

They've systematically settled Palestinian land and settlers often do so very strategically, denying Palestinians access to roadways, water and the like.

That the land is not contiguous is largely a function of a conscious effort on the part of Israeli extremists to make it so.


Also a function of them not accepting the Taba offer -- which would have made it contiguous.

The map sequence is also misleading in that it implies a continuing erosion of Palestinian land. There should be a slide after 1967 that shows it all white. The slide for 2000 represents land that Israel gave back to the Palestinians.



Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Yes, but you were referring to the terms that *Israel* was willing to offer. Israel is never going to offer that.


Israel, under Sharon, did express the need to offer more. What "painful concessions" do you think he was talking about? The ones they already offered? No, he called for more settlement evacuation and though the negotiations never got into specifics there were many indications that Israel has come further along in acceptance of a two-state solution with 1967 borders.


Sharon didn't mean "offer more than Taba". He was thinking it would be painful for Israel to offer less than what Barak offered at Taba.



Robert Gentel wrote:
That he was building the barrier roughly along the green line is a very real indication of willingness to make the green line the "facts on the ground", literally.


The Taba offer was even closer to the Green Line.



Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Israel's current positions offer a lot less than what they offered at Taba.


Israel has no current offer on the table except that Palestinians should manage to quell their extremists while they put an economic blockade on them that, in the words of Ehud Olmert's adviser Dov Weissglass, is "an appointment with a dietician." "The Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won't die," he claims.


Well, their position may not be an offer per se, but they are very likely to declare the wall as their border -- and annex more land than they would have annexed had the Taba offer been taken up.



Robert Gentel wrote:
So yes, their current position is not as attractive an offer as Sharon seemed ready for, they systematically destroy the civil institutions of the authority they require to demonstrate control over extremists and prevent them from receiving the resources to rebuild.


Sharon was also planning to just unilaterally make the wall Israel's new border, without actually extending an offer to the Palestinians.



Robert Gentel wrote:
But there is near-universal (with the sole exception of Israel) consensus on the basis for a two-state solution and it's a more generous offer than was submitted in Camp David.


But only slightly more generous than Taba.



Robert Gentel wrote:
Essentially, it's very simple. 100% of the West Bank and Gaza Strip (at 1967 borders) is to be the Palestinians state. A fair, and equitable, 1-for-1 swap should be made where that is not viable. At camp David Israel's initial offer was for about 74% of this territory in a manner that would have officialized some of the Israeli expantion into the Palestinian territory.

For Palestinians to accept this offer would be for them to begin to sanction the encroachment on their territory by Israel themselves.

It was as unreasonable a proposition to Palestinians as "right of return" is to Israelis.


The Taba offer was a lot different from that.



Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
That is one consequence of unilateral separation. One side gets to decide what they will keep and what they will give up, and the other side doesn't get a say.


That's one consequence, I would say the attacks are another.

Unilateral separation was a good first step, but continuing to try to marginalize Palestinian extremists through collective punishment is also part of that strategy so far.


There is no collective punishment being imposed on the Palestinians. They just like to make bogus war crimes claims.



Robert Gentel wrote:
And it's unreasonable to disconsider the blockade.

Legally, such a blockade is an act of war. I understand it, but it can't be ignored in the big picture. Israel disengaged in that it took boots off the ground and put the strip under siege from without.

This is hardly a resolution of the problem, or even a real disengagement. If I were putting you and your family on a "diet" though seige I imagine you would object as well, and I imagine you would do so violently.

If Israel aims to secure their own security, as opposed to more land, they should take steps toward resolving the conflict. As long as they have their neighbors under siege they will be at war with them.

In this conflict, people often neglect to realize that cross-border settling, and economic blockades are an act of war. Just as it's unreasonable to expect Israel to accept attacks on their civilians it's unreasonable to expect any people to react to these acts of war without war.

If anyone tried to blockade the United States, or systematically settle our borders we'd be at war with them in a heartbeat.

Now I understand Israel's motivations for doing so, but my point is that you can't consider this a full disengagement as long as they are actively committing acts of war against the Palestinians.


The reason for the blockade is to prevent more rockets from being smuggled in to fire at Israeli civilians. If there were no rockets, there would be no blockade.



Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
It is a rather definite fact that the Israeli offers were getting close and closer to what was acceptable to the Palestinians, and there is no basis for assuming this trend would not have continued had negotiations continued.


Yes, there is. Israel flat out stated that they would not accept "we can't accept the demand for a return to the borders of June 1967 as a pre-condition for the negotiation" and in effect were saying that the green line was simply not on the table at the time, because they were insisting on Palestinian crack down on their extremists first.


The Taba offer was pretty close to the Green Line.



Robert Gentel wrote:
The Palestinian Authority had absolutely no chance of being able to crack down on the extremists without any political captital in return. And asking them to agree to 74% of the land that the whole world says is their (including a couple of UN resolutions) represented a loss of political capital.

With Hamas already rejecting the negotiations the PA has no chance of subduing all extremists without being able to come to the Palestinian street with something to show for their negotiations.

What Israel offered was that they'd get the chance to lose additional land from the green line basis of negotiations. This is hardly an attractive offer.

Israel was telling Arafat to demilitarize and crack down on Hamas, while they reserved the right to keep attacking Palestinians, assasinating them and operating militarily in their territory.

This is in addition to controlling their airspace and sea access.

To portray this as a reasonable offer is really a stretch, it was only different from the status quo in that they'd officially have less land to negotiate for and would get to call themselves a state (without any of the benefits of sovereignty).

It was an offer that borders on disingenuous. You get 74% of your house back and get to call it your house, but I get to come in and kill who I want, and you can't have any weapons of self defense but you are still responsible for keeping your really pissed off lunatic son under control or we'll keep attacking.

That just wasn't reasonable oralloy.


It also wasn't what was offered at Taba.



Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
The maps I saw showed more and more territory being offered to the Palestinians as newer offers were made.


If I start a negotiation with you for your house back, and go from offering you 70% of it back to 74% it's still not a reasonable basis for discussion.


Yes, but Taba was 95%, in a contiguous block, with other land to compensate for the other 5% (although admittedly not a 1-to-1 swap).

Given the direction of negotiations, it is not unreasonable to presume that a 1-to-1 swap might have been achieved had negotiations continued.



Robert Gentel wrote:
Furthermore, you favorite parts of your house (East Jerusalem issues) would not be on the table.


Actually, Israel went so far as to offer up their own holy sites in East Jerusalem.



Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Here again is the Taba offer:

http://www.fmep.org/maps/redeployment-final-status-options/final-status-map-presented-by-israel-taba-mar-2001/final_status_map_taba.pdf

95% of the West Bank, in one contiguous block, with a land swap to compensate for the 5% Israel would have kept.


Only after years, and Palestinians were expected to be able to stop attacks on Israel. This offer was not what they'd initially receive.


What makes you think that Taba would only offer the land after years?

I've never heard any such claim about the Taba offer.



Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Robert Gentel wrote:
False. They offered "religious sovereignty" but not the legal definition of the term. They were offering custodianship but not the legal concept of sovereignty.


http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article/article?f=/c/a/2000/12/23/MN14590.DTL


This occurred well after Arafat walked out on Camp David negotiations at a point when any negotiations were a long shot, and after the Palestinian street had already exploded.


So? The Taba offer occurred after Camp David too.

That is not a reason to accuse Israel of not having offered it.



Robert Gentel wrote:
I was speaking of the Israeli offer at Camp David where they were only offering "religious sovereignty".


Why aren't you speaking of the offer Israel made at Taba?



Robert Gentel wrote:
The attacks were just not in response to this offer, like you've characterized.


I haven't characterized the attacks as a response to any offer, but a response to the negotiations as a whole.



Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Why should Muslims be allowed to steal other people's holy sites?


It's a bit disingenuous not to recognize that the holy sites are often holy for both peoples,


When a religion deliberately steals another religion's holy site (especially for the purpose of showing their superiority over the other religion), they have no right to claim it as a holy site of their own.



Robert Gentel wrote:
Reasonable people are willing to give land for peace, and unreasonable expansionists have long stood in the way of this process. You apparently seem to fall in this category of caring more about Israel's territorial growth than the safety of its citizens.


Maybe when it comes to the territory of the Temple Mount.

Mostly though I am arguing against unfair allegations regarding what Israel offered before.
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jan, 2009 07:40 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Cycloptichorn wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Steve 41oo wrote:
I think this latest illegal disgusting and wholly disproportionate action by the Israelis has finally extinguished any sympathy I might have for their Zionist project in the Middle East.


"Illegal" and "disproportionate" are claims of a factual nature, and can be proved or not.


Can you show any law that says that what Israel did was illegal?

I don't think you can, since there is no such law, but I'm willing to be proven wrong.


Disproportionate would mean that the expected collateral damage from a given attack was excessive compared to the expected military gains from the attack. Can you show that this was the case in Israeli targeting calculations?

"Disgusting" is more the realm of opinion, but how exactly is it disgusting for Israel to defend themselves?


What are the military gains from destroying villages and killing women and children? Are they quantifiable, or did someone just decide that would be a good idea at some point?

Cycloptichorn


The destruction of the village would be the collateral damage.

The military gains would be whatever they were targeting in the attack(s). It could have been a military figure, a weapons stash, a tunnel for smuggling, or something I'm not even thinking of.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jan, 2009 08:26 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
It has not been established (that I've seen) that Israel has used WP as anything other than a smoke device. If Israel is to be accused of using it as an incendiary, it would help if it were shown that they actually used it as an incendiary.


That you haven't seen it appears to be willful.


I haven't seen that any incendiary effects appear to be willful.



Robert Gentel wrote:
I've posted an article where the Israeli military announced an investigation into a case where they admit it might not have been legal.


The word "might" is significant.




Robert Gentel wrote:
In fact, in the very post you are responding to I linked to it again. Here it is again in case you missed it:

Quote:
The Israel Defense Forces is investigating whether a reserve paratroops brigade made improper use of phosphorus shells during the fighting in Gaza.

The brigade fired about 20 such shells in a built-up area of northern Gaza.

Aside from this one case, the shells were used very sparingly and, in the army's view, in compliance with international law.

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1057361.html


Here's a picture of the incident:

http://img159.imageshack.us/img159/3766/boemdichtbijxe3.jpg

And in the same article, there is even a count of how many of the non-smoke screen devices were used:

Quote:
According to senior army officers, the IDF used two phosphorus-based weapons in Gaza. One, the sources said, actually contains almost no phosphorus. These are simple smoke bombs - 155mm artillery shells - with a trace of phosphorus to ignite them.

Alkalai's probe is thus focusing on the second type: phosphorus shells, either 81mm or 120mm, that are fired from mortar guns. About 200 such shells were fired during the recent fighting, and of these, according to the probe's initial findings, almost 180 were fired at orchards in which gunmen and rocket-launching crews were taking cover.


The 180 shells in orchards would seem to be in accordance with International law. However the use of the white phosphorus on the UN compounds is something they seem close to admitting was an illegal mistake.


If the shells hit the UN compound by mistake, it would not be an illegal act, but just one of the many accidents that happen in the fog of war.




Robert Gentel wrote:
Amnesty International has said they encountered “indisputable evidence of widespread use of white phosphorus in densely populated residential areas in Gaza City and in the north.” In a statement, it said its investigators “saw streets and alleyways littered with evidence of the use of white phosphorus, including still-burning wedges and the remnants of the shells and canisters fired by the Israeli Army.” Read this NY Times article for multiple such claims:

Outcry Erupts Over Reports That Israel Used Phosphorus Arms on Gazans - Jan 21, 09


I'm not disputing that it was used widely. I'm disputing that it was used illegally (and questioning whether it was used for any reason other than smoke).



Robert Gentel wrote:
And hell, you can even watch a video of what really does appear to be incendiary use in Gaza right on YouTube:

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UVY4NUKowzg[/youtube]


I see no evidence of incendiary use there.

Maybe it is the distance of the camera, but I didn't see as much smoke from that as I would have expected from white phosphorus. Was probably the distance though.




Robert Gentel wrote:
With the limited access journalists have had, there is a wealth of evidence of WP use as an incendiary weapon in Gaza, if you haven't seen it you just aren't paying very much attention.


I'm paying attention. I'm just not seeing the evidence that the intent was necessarily incendiary.

I'm not ruling out the notion that they used it, legally, as an incendiary. But I haven't seen anything convincing yet.



Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
But most importantly, that convention does not apply to Israel in any way, since they are not a party to it.


This is just not true oralloy. They ratified it on 03/22/95


Well, only untrue in that I used the wrong word and referred to the wrong thing. I should have said that that "protocol" does not apply to Israel in any way.

In addition to joining the convention, states also have to ratify an individual protocol of the convention before that particular protocol applies to them.

Israel is not on the list of countries that have joined that particular protocol:

http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/WebSign?ReadForm&id=515&ps=P




Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Which part of which Geneva Convention do you think covers incendiary weapons use?


My understanding is that it doesn't address it specifically, but instead generally prohibits the targeting of civilians, and that the incendiary weapons clause in the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons sought to reaffirm this more general clause from the Geneva Conventions and delcare the use of incendiary weapons in civilian areas to be a violation of the more general protections for civilians in warfare.


The prohibition against targeting civilians is more the province of the Hague Conventions.

The 1977 Geneva Conventions covered the ground that the Hague Conventions covered in addition to the usual Geneva Conventions topics. But neither the US nor Israel are a party to the 1977 Geneva Conventions.


The 1980 Protocol III says:

Quote:
3. It is further prohibited to make any military objective located within a concentration of civilians the object of attack by means of incendiary weapons other than air-delivered incendiary weapons, except when such military objective is clearly separated from the concentration of civilians and all feasible precautions are taken with a view to limiting the incendiary effects to the military objective and to avoiding, and in any event to minimizing, incidental loss of civilian life, injury to civilians and damage to civilian objects.

http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/FULL/515


That is not so much an outright ban as it is a requirement of extra measures to prevent collateral damage.

It may well be that, IF that protocol applied, and IF Israel used the weapons as incendiaries, they would have violated the provisions. But it isn't exactly an outright prohibition of use in a civilian area.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jan, 2009 08:36 pm
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:
Also a function of them not accepting the Taba offer -- which would have made it contiguous.


The Taba offer was from a lame duck administration and the negotiations were over in days because of the upcoming election that Sharon won, and because Sharon intended to stop the negotiation process, and he made clear the offer was no longer available when he took office:

Quote:
Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak clarified this evening that the ideas which were brought up in the course of the recent negotiations conducted with the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, including those raised at the Camp David Summit and by President Clinton towards the end of his term in office, are not binding on the new government to be formed in Israel.

http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2001/2/Barak%20to%20Bush-%20Sharon%20is%20not%20bound%20by%20negotiating


Quote:
The map sequence is also misleading in that it implies a continuing erosion of Palestinian land. There should be a slide after 1967 that shows it all white. The slide for 2000 represents land that Israel gave back to the Palestinians.


If you've been following along with history it's not misleading. You said that the fact that Palestinians would not have contiguous land, and would need a roadway to connect the West Bank and Gaza was a function of them rejecting recent negotiations, while ignoring that the partition plan called for them to have contiguous land, but Israel's annexation of land to engulf Jerusalem separated the West Bank and Gaza through systematic settling of the territory allocated to Palestinians in the partition plan.

Quote:
Sharon didn't mean "offer more than Taba". He was thinking it would be painful for Israel to offer less than what Barak offered at Taba.


Taba was an offer with no mandate, it was a pointless PR excercise. And Sharon never got the chance to negotiate these specific details in earnest, so we'll never know what he would have offered and can only speculate. I speculate differently than you do.

Quote:
The Taba offer was even closer to the Green Line.


But the Taba offer had no authority. Negotiations had to stop because an incoming administration had no intention of honoring the offer.

Quote:
Well, their position may not be an offer per se, but they are very likely to declare the wall as their border -- and annex more land than they would have annexed had the Taba offer been taken up.


Had the Taba offer been taken up, it would not have had time to be ratified before Sharon was elected and rescinded it. It was an offer from a lame duck with no mandate.

Quote:
Sharon was also planning to just unilaterally make the wall Israel's new border, without actually extending an offer to the Palestinians.


Those were the plans for the initial disengagement, yes. But we can't say what the nature of any final status negotiations would have been, or even if he'd intended to pursue it.

My read on him was that in his fading years, he had his legacy in his sights and wanted nothing more than to be the man presiding over the "final status" resolution.

Quote:
But only slightly more generous than Taba.


Taba, the completely pointless political stunt, yes. Taba's about as relevant as what you or I think, an offer without a mandate, and without any time to become binding before a hostile administration comes to power is not a very relevant fork in the road.

Quote:
The Taba offer was a lot different from that.


Yes, I think the reason is that I've been talking about Camp David, and missed when you clarified that you were talking about Taba, with the weight you were giving to the negotiations we were talking about it didn't occur to me that you were talking about taba (though upon re-reading, if I'd read one of the links you first provided I'd have known this all along, so for that I apologize).

Quote:
There is no collective punishment being imposed on the Palestinians. They just like to make bogus war crimes claims.


I guess Ehud Olmert's adviser Dov Weissglass also likes to make these claims, as he's said that the "the Palestinians will get a lot thinner, but won't die."

Quote:
The reason for the blockade is to prevent more rockets from being smuggled in to fire at Israeli civilians. If there were no rockets, there would be no blockade.


That's just not true. The blockade was a response to the election of Hamas, and an attempt to make the people dislike their rule. If Israel wanted to curb arms imports they could have agreed to the international monitors that they've long objected to, this is an economic blockade as much as it is an arms blockade.

The good news is that Israel may now be willing for such a monitoring program. The bad news is that as you gun guys like to point out, guns are easy to make. Well these rockets are even easier.

The blockade can prevent some of the more sophisticated rockets from coming in, and the difference in the range makes that a very valid strategic pursuit, but it just can't stop the rockets completely.

The basic Qassam rockets are fueled by sugar and a common fertilizer. They'll always be able to make and fire the low-grade rockets and for this reason they've had more success with dialogue and negotiation than any military activity of blockades.

Israel often touts that asking her to have a cease fire with Hamas is like asking us to have a cease fire with Al Qaeda, but this ignores both that these are dissimilar situations with Hamas a legitimately elected extremist group with legitimate territorial gripes as well as the fact that they do, in fact, negotiate and enter cease fires with Hamas and that these negotiations are statistically shown to bring more security than any of their military actions have.

Quote:
The Taba offer was pretty close to the Green Line.


So is mine, but it has about as much chance of realization as did the Taba offer.

Quote:
It also wasn't what was offered at Taba.


Yes, as I've acknowledged I've been referencing the Camp David discussions, and though I feel very differently about the Taba offer, it was made as a hail mary at the end of a lame duck administration's term. It was not a politically viable offer due to the impending elections.

Quote:
Yes, but Taba was 95%, in a contiguous block, with other land to compensate for the other 5% (although admittedly not a 1-to-1 swap).

Given the direction of negotiations, it is not unreasonable to presume that a 1-to-1 swap might have been achieved had negotiations continued.


But negotiations could not continue, the impending election made them moot.

Quote:
Actually, Israel went so far as to offer up their own holy sites in East Jerusalem.


That's not true. In Taba both sides acknowledged failure to come to agreements on the Temple Mount.

Quote:
What makes you think that Taba would only offer the land after years?

I've never heard any such claim about the Taba offer.


Yes, apologies again for my carelessness. I am talking about Camp David, and the Taba negotiations, though more generous, would not have yielded Palestinians anything, even if they had accepted.

Quote:
So? The Taba offer occurred after Camp David too.

That is not a reason to accuse Israel of not having offered it.


Well I wasn't talking about Taba.

Quote:
Why aren't you speaking of the offer Israel made at Taba?


When you spoke of the negotiations, putting so much of an onus on Palestinians not having accepted, I made the mistaken assumption that you were speaking of the Camp David summit, that took place during a time where an agreement could have been ratified. I didn't imagine that you would be unreasonable enough to be blaming Palestinians for an offer that Israel would not have honored and that would have been off the table in days.

Quote:
I haven't characterized the attacks as a response to any offer, but a response to the negotiations as a whole.


Some groups did have the intention to disrupt the negotiations through talks, as did elements of Israeli society (e.g. Sharon, with his incitement and opposition campaign against negotiations).

The Palestinian extremists deserve their share of blame for their attacks and attempt to disrupt the process, but if Israel and Palestine want peace they need to accelerate the process through parallelism, as reaching a comprehensive agreement will take a lot of the fuel out of the extremist camps.

Quote:
When a religion deliberately steals another religion's holy site (especially for the purpose of showing their superiority over the other religion), they have no right to claim it as a holy site of their own.


Regardless of your opinion on what constitutes valid holiness, it isn't a legal basis for territory ownership, nor is it a legitimate moral one.

Quote:
Robert Gentel wrote:
Reasonable people are willing to give land for peace, and unreasonable expansionists have long stood in the way of this process. You apparently seem to fall in this category of caring more about Israel's territorial growth than the safety of its citizens.


Maybe when it comes to the territory of the Temple Mount.


Well, I disagree with that position, as you obviously know. Due to the shared heritage of the site, I believe it should be open to all to worship and pray as they wish, and personally prefer that it remain under neutral or mutual administration.

Quote:
Mostly though I am arguing against unfair allegations regarding what Israel offered before.


I am sorry for the confusion and for talking about a wholly different offer than what you were speaking of, it was sloppy of me. But I really don't consider Taba a legitimate offer that provided Palestinians a viable opportunity to resolve the conflict. Negotiations were over within days, with failure to reach understandings on some key issues with an impending election that brought to power an opposition candidate opposed to the negotiations.

Even if they were able to resolve all those issues in less than the week they had of negotiations, they would not have had time to ratify the agreement before Sharon rescinded it.
Robert Gentel
 
  1  
Reply Fri 23 Jan, 2009 08:59 pm
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:
Quote:
That you haven't seen it appears to be willful.


I haven't seen that any incendiary effects appear to be willful.


You are playing with my words, I said that it seems willful that you haven't seen it.

Quote:
Robert Gentel wrote:
I've posted an article where the Israeli military announced an investigation into a case where they admit it might not have been legal.


The word "might" is significant.


Yeah, when multiple witnesses from Palestinians claim it, and when international observers claim it and even Israel is investigating it and defending the other uses while admitting this "might" have been improper, I think that it is a pretty significant admission.

Given that I've seen very solid evidence, at least to my satisfaction, I am inclined to believe the multiply-sourced reports.

Quote:
If the shells hit the UN compound by mistake, it would not be an illegal act, but just one of the many accidents that happen in the fog of war.


I don't think it hit by accident in the sense that the UN compound was not their target, but I do think they will characterize this as a lapse in the chain of command faulting the "reservists".

Quote:
I'm not disputing that it was used widely. I'm disputing that it was used illegally (and questioning whether it was used for any reason other than smoke).


But they've all but admitted that it was used for reasons other than smoke, and using it for reasons other than smoke isn't illegal except in a setting where this can reasonably be expected to harm civilians.

They've said they used two types of shells, one that's primarily a smoke screen and another that is an artillery shell. The use in orchards is consistent with the tactical objectives of an incendiary weapon, burning them out of cover instead of providing obfuscation.

I don't know why you'd reflexively doubt what they seem so ready to admit, and that isn't even illegal (though roger's opinion on it prompted research on my part that I found very convincing, and I am unsure whether it should be legal).

Quote:
I see no evidence of incendiary use there.


Well, I'm no expert in such video analysis, but it does seem consistent to me with the other images I've seen of incendiary uses.

Quote:
Maybe it is the distance of the camera, but I didn't see as much smoke from that as I would have expected from white phosphorus. Was probably the distance though.


Given the arsenal employed in the conflict I have little doubt it's WP, the only doubt I have is whether it was intended as a smoke screen or not. Since it was at night, you can't really see the smoke, but that's just another reason I do not think it's being used there as a smoke screen.

Quote:
I'm paying attention. I'm just not seeing the evidence that the intent was necessarily incendiary.

I'm not ruling out the notion that they used it, legally, as an incendiary. But I haven't seen anything convincing yet.


Not even when they said they fired 200 of the incendiary shells?

Quote:
Well, only untrue in that I used the wrong word and referred to the wrong thing. I should have said that that "protocol" does not apply to Israel in any way.

In addition to joining the convention, states also have to ratify an individual protocol of the convention before that particular protocol applies to them.

Israel is not on the list of countries that have joined that particular protocol:

http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/WebSign?ReadForm&id=515&ps=P


It seems I had this wrong then, that they did not exempt themselves from that protocol in the ratification that they did make made me believe they were party to it. I just want you to know I wasn't trying to play gotcha with you for using "Convention" instead of "Protocol".

In any case, as I've explained I think that use of this incendiary device in proximity to civilians violates more general clauses of protection of civilians that they are a party to.

Quote:
The prohibition against targeting civilians is more the province of the Hague Conventions.

The 1977 Geneva Conventions covered the ground that the Hague Conventions covered in addition to the usual Geneva Conventions topics. But neither the US nor Israel are a party to the 1977 Geneva Conventions.


I am speaking of the Geneva conventions of 1949. Israel signed off on this clause that Israel ratified in 1951:

Quote:
(3) Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.


See: http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/NORM/35D52356F487FC85C1256402003F9563?OpenDocument

Quote:
That is not so much an outright ban as it is a requirement of extra measures to prevent collateral damage.

It may well be that, IF that protocol applied, and IF Israel used the weapons as incendiaries, they would have violated the provisions. But it isn't exactly an outright prohibition of use in a civilian area.


I think it's fairly obvious that those requirements were not kept, either due to incompetence or willful neglect. The UN had been very clear about their locations, and provided exact GPS coordinates. Civilians were using their shelters. I think that using an incendiary weapon on such a facility does not qualify as legitimate use.
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Jan, 2009 07:00 am
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:

Steve 41oo wrote:
They only care about one thing, and that's Eretz Israel. That aim is incompatible with a viable Palestinian state. So they do anything in furtherance of that goal.


Was Israel's attempt to negotiate the creation of a Palestinian state an attempt to avoid the creation of a Palestinian state?

Was Israel's attempt to pull out of Palestinian areas unilaterally an attempt to avoid the creation of a Palestinian state?
You are very naive. I said the Zionist-colonialist project, which calls itself Israel, is incompatible with a viable Palestinian state. The Israelis never negotiated in good faith, preferring continued war than giving up on their designs for "greater Israel". The withdrawal from Gaza and the election of Hamas enabled the Israelis to look good whilst providing the perfect excuse not to talk (to Hamas).
BumbleBeeBoogie
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Jan, 2009 10:45 am
@Steve 41oo,
If you missed 60 Minutes on Ssunday 1/26/09, watch the portion on why Israel won't agree to a two state solution. You get the visual reality of Israel's goal of taking over more land. Disgusting, and really damages my long support of Israel.

Video:
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=4752358n

BBB
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Jan, 2009 02:25 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Sorry BBB cant get that prog. But interested that it seems to support my view.

I used to side with Israel. But many years observation of what they do has led to a reassessment of why they do it. And I cant agree with it.
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Jan, 2009 02:43 pm
@oralloy,
oralloy wrote:

Steve 41oo wrote:
I think this latest illegal disgusting and wholly disproportionate action by the Israelis has finally extinguished any sympathy I might have for their Zionist project in the Middle East.
Can you show any law that says that what Israel did was illegal?
Contravention of the Geneva Conventions.
Quote:
Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, warring parties are obliged to do everything possible to search for, collect and evacuate the wounded and sick without delay...The ICRC believes that in this instance the Israeli military failed to meet its obligation under international humanitarian law to care for and evacuated the wounded. It considers the delay in allowing rescue services access unacceptable.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 09:00 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Also a function of them not accepting the Taba offer -- which would have made it contiguous.


The Taba offer was from a lame duck administration and the negotiations were over in days because of the upcoming election that Sharon won, and because Sharon intended to stop the negotiation process, and he made clear the offer was no longer available when he took office:

Quote:
Prime Minister and Defense Minister Ehud Barak clarified this evening that the ideas which were brought up in the course of the recent negotiations conducted with the Chairman of the Palestinian Authority, including those raised at the Camp David Summit and by President Clinton towards the end of his term in office, are not binding on the new government to be formed in Israel.

http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/MFAArchive/2000_2009/2001/2/Barak%20to%20Bush-%20Sharon%20is%20not%20bound%20by%20negotiating


Yes, but that is getting back to my original point. Negotiations continued up to the point when the Israeli government collapsed under the weight of all the suicide bombings.




Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
The map sequence is also misleading in that it implies a continuing erosion of Palestinian land. There should be a slide after 1967 that shows it all white. The slide for 2000 represents land that Israel gave back to the Palestinians.


If you've been following along with history it's not misleading.


It gives the impression that Israel has always taken land, and the Palestinians have always lost land.

If there were a slide showing that after 1967 Israel controlled all the land, it would be apparent that the green areas in the 2000 slide was "land that Israel gave back".




Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Sharon didn't mean "offer more than Taba". He was thinking it would be painful for Israel to offer less than what Barak offered at Taba.


Taba was an offer with no mandate, it was a pointless PR excercise.


Not at all. If Arafat had taken the Taba offer, Barak planned to make the offer, and the fact that Arafat had accepted it, the centerpiece of his campaign.

Had Arafat taken the offer, Israeli voters would have not been choosing between "Barak's failure to achieve anything from negotiations and failure to stop the suicide bombings" verses "Sharon's promise to stop the suicide bombings".

They would have been choosing between "a concrete peace offer with the Palestinians" and "continued conflict with the Palestinians".

It is fairly likely that Barak would have been reelected had Arafat taken the deal.


(Just for clarity though, my criticism of the Palestinians is not so much for rejecting the Taba offer, but for doing the suicide bombings that brought down Barak's government before negotiations could be completed.)




Robert Gentel wrote:
And Sharon never got the chance to negotiate these specific details in earnest, so we'll never know what he would have offered and can only speculate. I speculate differently than you do.


I think the details of Sharon's thinking are generally known -- mostly the idea was to withdraw settlements on the Palestinian side of the wall, but keep the Jordan River Valley under Israeli military control.

Control of the Jordan River Valley and Israel's keeping Ma'ale Adumim would have combined to sever the Palestinian West Bank into northern and southern blocks, but the blocks would have been otherwise contiguous.



Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
The Taba offer was even closer to the Green Line.


But the Taba offer had no authority. Negotiations had to stop because an incoming administration had no intention of honoring the offer.


Yes. And I blame the Palestinian suicide attacks for that election, and the results of that election.



Robert Gentel wrote:

oralloy wrote:
Well, their position may not be an offer per se, but they are very likely to declare the wall as their border -- and annex more land than they would have annexed had the Taba offer been taken up.


Had the Taba offer been taken up, it would not have had time to be ratified before Sharon was elected and rescinded it. It was an offer from a lame duck with no mandate.


Had it been taken up, Barak would have won the election, with a mandate to implement the offer.

And more importantly, had the Palestinians not brought down Barak's government with their suicide bombings, there would have been enough time for negotiations to continue until they got something the Palestinians could agree to.




Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
When a religion deliberately steals another religion's holy site (especially for the purpose of showing their superiority over the other religion), they have no right to claim it as a holy site of their own.


Regardless of your opinion on what constitutes valid holiness, it isn't a legal basis for territory ownership, nor is it a legitimate moral one.


If you don't deal with the fact that it is Israel's holiest site, and the fact that the Muslims stole it with the intent of taking over a rival religion's most holy site, you can't come to a resolution of the issue.

The Muslims like to steal other people's holy sites as well. The same guy who took the Temple Mount did the same for the Cathedral of St John the Baptist in Damascus.

And of course there is Hagia Sophia in Constantinople. (No need to correct me on "Constantinople" -- that was intentional.)


I recall a few years back, Hindus in India rioted and demolished an ancient Muslim temple to reclaim the original Hindu religious site that the Muslims had stolen. We need more of that sort of thing around the world.

Legitimate Muslim religious sites should of course belong to Muslims. But they have no claim to other people's religious sites.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 09:39 am
@Robert Gentel,
Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Robert Gentel wrote:
That you haven't seen it appears to be willful.


I haven't seen that any incendiary effects appear to be willful.


You are playing with my words, I said that it seems willful that you haven't seen it.


Sorry -- I misread. I see now you are referring to my own will.

The thing with white phosphorus is the "smoke use" looks just like "incendiary use". It is the same shell going off in the same way.

It is a question of intent that isn't really resolved by appearances.

As far as I can see, no one has made a convincing case that the use was either for smoke purposes or for incendiary purposes.



Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Robert Gentel wrote:
I've posted an article where the Israeli military announced an investigation into a case where they admit it might not have been legal.


The word "might" is significant.


Yeah, when multiple witnesses from Palestinians claim it, and when international observers claim it and even Israel is investigating it and defending the other uses while admitting this "might" have been improper, I think that it is a pretty significant admission.

Given that I've seen very solid evidence, at least to my satisfaction, I am inclined to believe the multiply-sourced reports.


The reports only show that it was used, not that anything was illegal about its use.



Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
If the shells hit the UN compound by mistake, it would not be an illegal act, but just one of the many accidents that happen in the fog of war.


I don't think it hit by accident in the sense that the UN compound was not their target, but I do think they will characterize this as a lapse in the chain of command faulting the "reservists".


It is hard to know absent an investigation, but it is possible that the UN compound really wasn't the intended target. There are many possibilities.



Robert Gentel wrote:
oralloy wrote:
I'm not disputing that it was used widely. I'm disputing that it was used illegally (and questioning whether it was used for any reason other than smoke).


But they've all but admitted that it was used for reasons other than smoke, and using it for reasons other than smoke isn't illegal except in a setting where this can reasonably be expected to harm civilians.

They've said they used two types of shells, one that's primarily a smoke screen and another that is an artillery shell. The use in orchards is consistent with the tactical objectives of an incendiary weapon, burning them out of cover instead of providing obfuscation.

I don't know why you'd reflexively doubt what they seem so ready to admit,


I haven't seen anything like an Israeli admission that it was used for incendiary purposes.



Robert Gentel wrote:

oralloy wrote:
I'm paying attention. I'm just not seeing the evidence that the intent was necessarily incendiary.

I'm not ruling out the notion that they used it, legally, as an incendiary. But I haven't seen anything convincing yet.


Not even when they said they fired 200 of the incendiary shells?


The incendiary shells are only incendiary when used with that intent. The very same shells are smoke shells when used for smoke purposes.



Robert Gentel wrote:
I just want you to know I wasn't trying to play gotcha with you for using "Convention" instead of "Protocol".


I know. I just had to word it that way because of my previous sloppiness.

I couldn't just say "no, this is wrong" because on a technical level you were right.



Robert Gentel wrote:
In any case, as I've explained I think that use of this incendiary device in proximity to civilians violates more general clauses of protection of civilians that they are a party to.

Quote:
The prohibition against targeting civilians is more the province of the Hague Conventions.

The 1977 Geneva Conventions covered the ground that the Hague Conventions covered in addition to the usual Geneva Conventions topics. But neither the US nor Israel are a party to the 1977 Geneva Conventions.


I am speaking of the Geneva conventions of 1949. Israel signed off on this clause that Israel ratified in 1951:

Quote:
(3) Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.


See: http://www.icrc.org/ihl.nsf/NORM/35D52356F487FC85C1256402003F9563?OpenDocument


That convention is more about protecting enemy civilians in areas under your control (occupied territory, your own territory, etc).

The conventions dealing with actual combat (and avoiding civilians in actual combat) would be the 1899 and 1907 Hague Conventions.


But regardless, the rules protecting civilians do not say you can never cause a civilian death. Collateral damage is allowed so long as it is proportional to what is being attacked.

In order for the deaths of civilians to be illegal, they would have to balance "how many civilians are expected to die" against "how important is the target" and find that civilian deaths outweighed the target's importance.
0 Replies
 
oralloy
 
  1  
Reply Thu 29 Jan, 2009 09:44 am
@Steve 41oo,
Steve 41oo wrote:
oralloy wrote:
Steve 41oo wrote:
They only care about one thing, and that's Eretz Israel. That aim is incompatible with a viable Palestinian state. So they do anything in furtherance of that goal.


Was Israel's attempt to negotiate the creation of a Palestinian state an attempt to avoid the creation of a Palestinian state?

Was Israel's attempt to pull out of Palestinian areas unilaterally an attempt to avoid the creation of a Palestinian state?


You are very naive. I said the Zionist-colonialist project, which calls itself Israel, is incompatible with a viable Palestinian state.


It if it so incompatible, why did they offer the Palestinians a viable Palestinian state?



Steve 41oo wrote:
The Israelis never negotiated in good faith,


Yes they did.

And all they got for it was suicide bombings and people falsely claiming that they didn't.
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