The Least, First

Monte Asbury's blog

Why I’m more vocal about Israel’s actions than Hamas’s

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Simply put, Israel has given much more suffering than it’s received.

Robert Fisk writes it in TruthDig (originally published in The Independent) like so:

clipped from
< Tonight Israeli troops are poised on the Gaz...
Image by cactusbones via Flickr

It all depends where you live. That was the geography of Israel’s propaganda, designed to demonstrate that we softies …don’t realise the horror of 12 (now 20) Israeli deaths in 10 years and thousands of rockets […]

[M]y favourite journalistic justification for this bloodbath [is] “The death toll from Gaza is, of course, shocking, dreadful, unspeakable … Though it does not compare with the death toll amongst Israelis if Hamas had its way.”

Get it? The massacre in Gaza is justified because Hamas would have done the same if they could, even though they didn’t […]

I’m waiting for the same writers to ask how we’d feel if we … came under sustained attack from supersonic aircraft and Merkava tanks and thousands of troops whose shells and bombs tore 40 women and children to pieces outside a school, shredded whole families in their beds and who, after nearly a week, had killed almost 200 civilians out of 600 fatalities. [since the original article, the numbers have risen to almost 500 civilian deaths out of 1000 Palestinian fatalities – M.] […]

I pointed out that journalists should be on the side of those who suffer […]

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The death toll today since this conflict began?  Israelis, 13.  Gazans, 1,000.

Murder is murder,” some will say.  Yet the two are not the same.

The slaughter of hundreds of defenseless, malnourished people is a crime of a different order.

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Written by Monte

January 14, 2009 at 11:39 am

3 Responses

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  1. If Hamas laid down their weapons today there would be peace. If Israel laid down their weapons today there would be no Israel. Right or wrong?

    Do remember that many in Israel – doubtless some in the Knesset – believe that Palestine independent of Israel has no right to exist – that, like American “manifest destiny,” ALL the territory is Israel’s. This is not about “bad guys” and “good guys.”

    Both Israel and the Palestinian people have influential elements in their populace who grant the other no right to exist. Israel is not benign. Palestinians have no reason to assume they would be safe if they “laid down their weapons.”


    January 15, 2009 at 2:35 pm

  2. Wrong, IMO. I’m glad you asked!

    1. Hamas successfully participated in a year-long cease fire, that ended some weeks ago. During that time, Israel so fiercely and completely blockaded Gaza that Gazan children are stunted in growth from malnutrition. From the Gazan point of view, what you get from stopping the shooting is starvation. When Hamas stops shooting, as they have often done, they do not have peace, but disaster.

    2. Hamas was legitimately elected to rule the Palestinian people in elections that the Bush Administration pressured them to have. When Bush didn’t like the results, they pulled US financial support, empowered Fatah, and drove Hamas into the Gaza enclave.

    Terrorist groups rarely stop terrorist activities as a result of military pressure; by far the most common transition means is for them to become part of the political process. Hamas was moderating; it was elected because Palestinians thought it would govern more wisely than Fatah; it wasn’t seen as a vote for violence.

    3. Further, Israel continues to absorb more and more Palestinian land, in violation of UN demands. Palestinians see their homeland going away and their children starving – and see that as the result of “laying down their weapons.”

    Yes, Israel has a right to protect itself. But don’t the Palestinians have the right to defend their borders and resist a blockade that starves their children and dooms them to abject poverty?

    4. Both sides have been unable to control their radical elements; some form of outside intervention is needed. The Bush administration virtually dis-engaged the USA from peace negotiations (though scrambling around for a solution at the end of his term), and lost the momentum that had been gained in the previous eight years – which is why we have this mess today.

    The USA must broker a deal that guarantees security for both sides, recognizing that allowing Israel to exercise its overwhelming military advantage not only radicalizes Hamas, but increases terrorism risks to the USA itself.


    January 15, 2009 at 2:15 pm

  3. If Hamas laid down their weapons today there would be peace. If Israel laid down their weapons today there would be no Israel.

    Right or wrong?


    Derin Beechner

    January 15, 2009 at 8:06 am

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