Israel doesn’t take the bait.
The rocket attacks could have only been meant to trigger an invasion.

Israel Postpones Ground Assault to Give Talks a Chance

By Gwen Ackerman and Alisa Odenheimer

November 20 (Bloomberg) — Israel postponed a decision on launching a ground invasion into the Gaza Strip, giving international negotiators a chance to craft a cease-fire, a government official said as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton headed to the region.

28 Responses

  1. Right, probably because the Gazans wanted to stimulate their economy.

    Actually, it looks like this latest conflict is going to boost exports of Israel’s missile defense technology, so maybe Keynes was really on to something with his “broken window” talk.

    1. @Thomas Bergbusch, What we can conclude is that a number of instinct-driven grand-standers can be found in all populations and their willingness to be reckless often over-rules common sense. They are, perhaps, even seen as dispensable–sort of like our fungible troops.
      Letting them rant in the halls of Congress and on FOX TV seems eminently preferable, as is spending two billion dollars on a political campaign.

  2. Hadn’t thought of that angle Warren – but sounds very plausible. I thought the timing wrt the US Election was interesting; perhaps Hamas et al waited to see if Romney would win and, when he didn’t, felt their chances of taking on an isolated Israel were higher…
    Very intriguing.

  3. So what is going on here? At the most basic level, Israel’s actions in Gaza are inextricably bound up with its efforts to create a Greater Israel that stretches from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Despite the endless palaver about a two-state solution, the Palestinians are not going to get their own state, not least because the Netanyahu government is firmly opposed to it. The prime minister and his political allies are deeply committed to making the Occupied Territories a permanent part of Israel. To pull this off, the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza will be forced to live in impoverished enclaves similar to the Bantustans in white-ruled South Africa. Israeli Jews understand this quite well: a recent survey found that 58 per cent of them believe Israel already practises apartheid against the Palestinians…

    Israel’s leaders have a two-prong strategy for dealing with their Palestinian problem. First, they rely on the United States to provide diplomatic cover, especially in the United Nations. The key to keeping Washington on board is the Israel lobby, which pressures American leaders to side with Israel against the Palestinians and do hardly anything to stop the colonisation of the Occupied Territories.

    The second prong is Ze’ev Jabotinsky’s concept of the ‘Iron Wall’: an approach that in essence calls for beating the Palestinians into submission. Jabotinsky understood that the Palestinians would resist the Zionists’ efforts to colonise their land and subjugate them in the process. Nonetheless, he maintained that the Zionists, and eventually Israel, could punish the Palestinians so severely that they would recognise that further resistance was futile.

    Israel has employed this strategy since its founding in 1948, and both Cast Lead and Pillar of Defence are examples of it at work. In other words, Israel’s aim in bombing Gaza is not to topple Hamas or eliminate its rockets, both of which are unrealisable goals. Instead, the ongoing attacks in Gaza are part of a long-term strategy to coerce the Palestinians into giving up their pursuit of self-determination and submitting to Israeli rule in an apartheid state.

    What is Israel Really Up to in Gaza?

    1. @Jim,
      This excerpt takes a certain view on Israel’s ultimate goals and motivations, but I find it incredibly distortionary on a number of points, and it omits some highly material ones:

      -Hamas substantially escalated its rocket bombardment of southern Israel on November 12th (see: and don’t worry about trusting the credibility of this Israeli news source – unlike ALL its Arab neighbors, Israel as the lone democracy in the Middle East actually has a free press) which preceded the hit on Ja’abri. So do not reverse cause and effect there.

      -Israel withdrew from Gaza in 2005, forcibly removing Israelis from the region, precisely in order to give the Palestinians a viable area in which to develop a society. It was an extremely controversial decision that divided the country, but again, something that could only happen in a democracy. (see's_unilateral_disengagement_plan)

      -Instead of using its new autonomy to improve the standard of living in Gaza through economic development and honest governance, Hamas instead chose to make Gaza a launchpad for terrorism, which brings up the next few points…

      -There is no moral equivalency between Israel and Hamas. Israel targets military installations and combatants and goes to extreme lengths to avoid civilian casualties. I know people who have served in the IDF and this is a highly emphasized part of any training manual. Hamas, on the other hand, gleefully targets civilians and celebrates death. I repeat, they celebrate death, on all sides. And they repeatedly commit war crimes by using their own civilians as human shields to protect military installations. Here are some enlightening videos:

      Hamas TV announcer prays to see body bags following the recent bombing of an Israeli bus today, and explains how everyone in the mosques is rejoicing.

      Hamas MP proudly admits to using women and children as human shields and glorifies death. One particularly chilling quote is “We desire death as you [Israelis] desire life.”

      There are hundreds of other such videos, such as children’s television shows where young Palestinian children are taught to hate Jews and regard them as sons of pigs, and to count how many of them they would like to kill.

      Hamas’s official charter calls for the destruction of Israel, by the way.

      Israel is not perfect like any democracy but it is held to a ridiculously unfair standard and is fighting an enemy that glorifies death, does not care about its people, and does not genuinely desire peace. The Palestinian people themselves may want peace, but unfortunately they have been hijacked by extremists that leave Israel no other option but to defend itself. How would any country react if a significant portion of its population were under threat of rocket bombardment on a daily basis? Israel’s forbearance is actually unbelievable and vastly exceeds that of any other civilized country.

  4. Israel shouldn’t have taken the bait of killing Jabari on the 14th. Gershon Baskin on NPR’s “The Story” last night called in from Israel and gave the other side of the story you’re not hearing in the press. He recounted conversations he was having with retired Israeli generals who decried Netanyahu’s decision to kill Jabari. I don’t know who Baskin is other than that he was involved with the Gilad Shalit negotiation with Jabari. He said Jabari was no saint but kept his word and kept Shalit alive and well cared for during the five years of his captivity. Baskin said Jabari was ‘our best hope of negotiating with Hamas’.

    Baskin is currently involved with negotiations with Egypt, I believe. Jabari was assassinated one hour after the truce (or cease-fire) was signed with Egypt., which has damaged relations with Egypt as a result. The language in the truce specifically stated that Jabari and three others were not to be killed. That triggered what happened since Nov 14th.

      1. @MRW,
        Very good post, especially the paragraph on Kanwisher’s research:

        “It is overwhelmingly Israel that kills first after a pause in the conflict,” writes Kanwisher, who analyzed the entire timeline of killings between Palestinians and Israelis from September 2000 to October 2008, to determine if there was a historical pattern. “Seventy-nine percent of all conflict pauses (during the study period) were interrupted when Israel killed a Palestinian, while only 8% were interrupted by Palestinian attacks (the remaining 13% were interrupted by both sides on the same day). In addition, we found that this pattern — in which Israel is more likely than Palestine to kill first after a conflict pause — becomes more pronounced for longer (ceasefires). Indeed, of the 25 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than a week, Israel unilaterally interrupted 24, or 96%, and it unilaterally interrupted 100% of the 14 periods of nonviolence lasting longer than nine days.”

        My assumption, NOT having examined Kanwisher’s research, but should it prove accurate, is that this is actually a permanent doctrine of “pre-emptive strikes” on the part of the Israeli Government, following the logic of the six-day war. But, if we accept that logic, does it not raise the obvious question of whether the Palestinians do not have a similar, possibly greatly, right to arm and defend themselves? (Not necessarily that that would be an INTELLIGENT or useful response on their part, merely a legitimate one.)

  5. There are several explanations possible and I am not entirely convinced that Hamas missiles were a “bait”.

    1. The conflict is an opportunity to test and fine-tune the missile defense systems / civil defense before the actual decision about a war with Iran and Hezbollah is made. Netanyahu might have wanted to prod Morsi/Islamic Brotherhood and check how they would react. It could have been about prodding Obama, too. At the same time the stock of missiles in Gaza has been depleted. If this is the case there will be a speedy exit from the campaign possibly along the lines mentioned in the following article:

    2. Another explanation is that Netanyahu wants to lance the boil with Hamas and buy a few years of “peace” at the South. This is desperately needed if Iran is to be attacked. Hezbollah has a formidable stock of missiles and during a war with Iran/Hezbollah the population of northern Israel might need to be temporarily relocated to the South. If this is the case, the ground invasion of Gaza is imminent.

    3. Appeasement and an illusion of “deescalation” is not a long-term option. Expect more bad news, I am afraid. A few more years of inaction and Israel might be surrounded by a network of enemies powerful enough to endanger the very existence of the Jewish state. Just imagine Hamas launching one nuke “borrowed” from Iran at Tel Aviv, killing 100000 people. How could Israel respond to such an act of genocide? Nuke Gaza and kill 1 million innocent Palestinian civilians? Or nuke Iran and get nuked by them?

    4. Building an equilibrium based on the threat of assured mutual destruction doesn’t mix with the doctrine of asymmetric warfare championed by Iran I am afraid. Israel might have no plan-B and may have to act alone or make a desperate attempt to drag America into a confrontation with Iran. We will see it over the next few months.

    5. I am not sure whether the majority of American observers understand the gravity of the current situation and the mentality of the Israelis. The reality could be much more grim than people think and the Israelis may feel cornered.

  6. Now it seems that #1 outlined above was correct, testing of Iron Dome has been completed – they also wanted Egypt to get involved.

    “Commending Egypt’s mediation, Clinton said: “This is a critical moment for the region. Egypt’s new government is assuming the responsibility and leadership that has long made this country a cornerstone for regional stability and peace.”

    She also thanked Egypt’s Islamist president, Mohamed Morsi, for his mediation efforts and pledged to work with partners in the region “to consolidate this progress, improve conditions for the people of Gaza, and provide security for the people of Israel”.”

    IMF has immediately dispatched a tasty morsel to Morsi.

    All the people criticising the current international order should realise that some elements and institutions are actually quite useful (from the Western point of view) in maintaining the stability. Just think what would have happened without IMF maintaining the state of half-bondage of some Arab Middle Eastern countries? Islamist or no islamist in power, this dependency won’t change if the main source of hard currency (tourism) in Egypt has dried out and they don’t want to allow for an disorderly adjustment in the exchange rates.

  7. Gaza 2012: On the Use and Abuse of Hatred and Violence
    Why Israel Desires to be Hated by Palestinians

    Yet another massacre is unfolding in Gaza, the largest prison in the world. We are surrounded by familiar chatter: ‘Israel’s right to defend itself’; ‘Palestinians’ legitimate resistance to (the 1967) occupation’; ‘who started it this time?’ Most insidious, however, is the stale refrain, sung by a chorus which includes President Obama, that the violence is disastrous for the ‘peace process’ aimed at a ‘two-state solution’.

    While it has been noted that one motivation for the Israeli government, in the run-up to elections in January, is to unite voters behind a ‘no choice’ rhetoric, there is a deeper motivation at stake here – to restrict the horizons of political debate, to control what should be regarded as a litmus test for ‘realistic’, ‘moderate’ and ‘reasonable’ voices.

    War is useful because the passion it arouses prevents people from asking two basic questions that must be addressed if the core of silencing and violence that we are witnessing is to be grasped and, in turn, if progress is ever to be made towards justice and enduring peace. First, what kind of state is Israel? Second, who are the Palestinians that this state is in conflict with?

    Israel was established to be a Jewish state. Its institutions have always been shaped and constrained so as to ensure the continued existence of a Jewish majority and character. Passing a test of Jewishness entitles someone to Israeli citizenship regardless of where in the world she lives. Furthermore, her citizenship comes with a bundle of political, social and economic rights which are preferential to that of citizens who do not qualify as Jewish. This inbuilt discriminatory premise highlights the apartheid nature of the state. Butapartheid is not an accidental feature of Israel. Its very creation involved immense injustice and suffering. Shielding and rationalizing this inbuilt premise prevents the address of past injustices and ensures their continuity into the future. It is a premise that, in matters of constitutional interpretation, takes precedence over, and thus involves the imposition of ‘reasonable’ limitations on, equality of citizenship.

    The Palestinians, we are told, are a people who live in the West Bank and Gaza. The impression forced on us is that the conflict concerns a compromise to be made the correct border between Israel and a Palestinian state. We are led to believe that a partition into two-states would satisfy both genuine and realistic aspirations for justice and peace. In this view, the violence in Gaza is just an unreasonable aberration from an otherwise noble peace process.

    But Palestinians actually comprise three groups. First, those whose families originate in the territories that were occupied by Israel in 1967 (Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem). Second, the descendants of the approximately 750,000 non-Jews who were ethnically cleansed in 1947-9 in order to ensure a Jewish majority in the new Jewish state. This group is dispersed around the world, mostly in refugee camps in the territories occupied in 1967 and the neighbouring states. Israel has persistently denied them their internationally recognized legal right to return. The majority in Gaza consists of refugees from villages which are now buried under Israeli towns and cities that were created explicitly for Jewish citizens, places which include Ashkelon and Tel Aviv that were hit by rockets in the current conflict. The third group of Palestinians, which Israel insists on calling by the euphemism ‘Israeli Arabs’, are the non-Jews who managed to evade ethnic cleansing in 1947-49 and who now live as second-class citizens of Israel, the state which likes to claim that it is ‘Jewish and democratic’.

    Until 1948, the territory of Palestine stretched from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean. The violence that has afflicted the area ever since is the direct result of an event whose true nature our society seems determined to deny. Violence keeps erupting because of the silencing and marginalization of a simple truth surrounding any partition policy: that the injustice that afflicts Palestine can not be partitioned. It is because of the desire to preserve a Jewish state that first, the legal dualism that exists in the 1967 Occupied Territories as well as the horror at the ‘Separation Wall’ have become the dominant political discourses of apartheid, second, that the refugees are remained dispossessed and, thirdly, that both actual and potential non-Jew Arab citizens do, and would, suffer discrimination. The two-state vision means that the inbuilt apartheid within Israel, and in turn the injustice to two groups of Palestinians, does never become the central political problem.

    The range of reactions to the current carnage shows just how successful violence has been in sustaining the legitimacy of Israel by entrenching the political focus merely on its actions rather than on its nature. These reactions keep the discourse that calls forcriticizing Israel rather than for replacing it with an egalitarian polity over the whole of historical Palestine.

    Israel desires to be hated by Palestinians. By provoking violence Israel has not merely managed to divert the limelight from itsapartheid nature. It has also managed to convince that, as Joseph Massad of Columbia University once captured, it has the right to occupy, to dispossess and to discriminate, namely the claim that the apartheid premise which founds it should be put up with and rationalized as reasonable. Would anybody allow such a right-claim to hold sway in apartheid South Africa? How come that the anti-apartheid and egalitarian calls for the non-recognition of Israel right to exist are being marginalized as extreme and unrealizable? What kind of existential fetters cause the world to exhibit such blindness and a drop of compassion? Is there no unfolding tragedy that anticipates violence against Jews precisely because past violence against them in Europe is being allowed to serve as a rationalizing device of an apartheid state?

    Israel has already created a de facto single state between the river and the sea, albeit one which suffers from several apartheid systems, one within Israel and another in the occupied territories. We must not let Israeli aggression prevent us from treating as moderate and realistic proposals to turn this single state into one where all would have equal rights.

    Oren Ben-Dor grew up in the State of Israel. He is a Professor of Law and Philosophy in the Law School, University of Southampton, UK. He can be reached

    1. So for me it’s a question of:
      1. does Hamas deny the state’s right to exist?
      2. does Hamas deny the individual Israelis who live there the right to exist?
      3. does Hamas deny the right of the individual Israelis the right to exist there?

      If 1. it becomes a matter of modifying the state to something more acceptable,
      and I doubt there’s any form of ‘state of Israel’ that has been proposed or would qualify?

      If 2. the Israelis living there are correct in their assessment of what they are up against
      and are acting in ‘self defense’ to stay alive, and will continue to do so.

      If 3. the only acceptable outcome for Hamas is
      for all the Israelis to somehow leave which isn’t going to happen and it’s back to 2. for all practical purposes.

      Conclusion- Hamas offers no practical alternative to what’s currently unfolding, nor is there one.
      And therefore the Israelis will, one way or another,
      continue to deal with their permanently hostile environment
      as they’ve always done.

      Ideally, imho, the Israelis would like to be ‘left alone’ but it isn’t going happen.
      Their neighbors categorically want them out.

      And not to forget that one of Hamas’s demands is, ironically,
      that the border be reopened to Palestinians,
      largely for the purpose of allowing Palestinians
      to resume commuting to jobs in Israel.

      1. @WARREN MOSLER,

        Point of order:

        The PLO and PA have formally recognized “the right of Israel to exist” and they have “accepted” Security Council resolutions 242, 338, and 1515. The PLO has entered into a number of international agreements and memorandums of understanding with the State of Israel on that basis.

        The PA is a creature invented by the PLO (which represents all of the Palestinian people). Both organizations refuse to recognize Israel as “the state of the Jewish people”, but they have both formally acknowledged Israel’s right to exist, it’s sovereignty, and its right to territorial integrity in-line with resolution 242. See link above.

      2. For whatever reason today’s leadership sure hasn’t gotten that across to the global press.

        Seems they should be repeating that continuously?

        I haven’t read about Hamas saying same?

        That is, Israel’s stance is that it’s existence is at stake.

        Without emphatically and meaningfully taking that off the table, not much changes.

  8. FYI,

    My policy continues to be that of deleting posts containing cheap shots, name calling, and the like.

    If you’ve been deleted feel free to clean up your act and repost, thanks.

  9. November 22 2012

    The Israeli notion of “deterrence capacity” is manifestly subjective.

    It denotes not to how many buildings you destroyed or how many people you killed—however much fun this might be–but whether you have instilled in the enemy sufficient fear that they will do whatever you say.

    Israel proclaimed at the inception of its latest murderous rampage that its goal was to restore its deterrence capacity in Gaza.

    The natives were getting restless, the locals were getting too uppity

    It was time to take out the big club to remind them who was in charge.

    Last night the people of Gaza poured into the streets and erupted in spontaneous celebration, while Hamas leader Khaled Meshal acquitted himself with Christiane Amanpour as if he were a Head of State.

    Now, here’s a simple question:

    Were Gaza’s people and leaders celebrating the fact that they were now more terrified of Israel than before Israel’s murderous assault began?

    It might appear absurd even to ask this question, yet to read the “expert” analysts in Israeli papers this morning, the only possible conclusion is that Palestinians were celebrating their renewed dread of the mighty Israel.

    One of these experts wrote:

    “From [Ehud Barak’s] point of view, Operation Pillar of Defense could not have turned out any better. It was a swift military success for Israel that for once didn’t get bogged down or lead to a diplomatic setback. Swift and sophisticated is how Defense Minister Ehud Barak likes to do things.”

    Another wrote:

    “But to achieve this quiet [in Gaza], the top officials ordered the Israel Defense Forces to draw up a precise, cautious and calculated operational plan. Last week the IDF carried out the plan with impressive success…. And so it turns out, surprisingly, that even under the difficult conditions of the new Middle East it is possible to terrify the Gaza Strip.

    For their sake and ours, let us hope and pray that Israel’s “thinkers” haven’t reached this point of terminal lunacy, and are just trying to put a good face on a historic defeat.

    Norman Finkelstein

    Also, a good article at C-Punch by Uri Avnery

  10. Warren is seems to me there is too much “belief”
    Belief that killing in revenge will change anything
    Belief that you can move people into an already populated area and not have conflict
    Belief that the globalists are not using peoples belief to destabilize the area for profit
    Belief god wrote a book
    Belief god gives a rip
    BTW Warren my comments in the “Palestinian development plan” have been adulterated somehow, I am not claiming conspiracy however if you cannot restore them please take them down……thanks

  11. @Dave Begotka,

    “Belief that killing in revenge will change anything”

    The desire for revenge is a product of evolution. It has a rational basis in the tit for tat strategy, which is known to be optimal in a repeated prisoner’s dilemma type game. I think both sides actually are playing this game correctly, but they have different goals.

    “Belief that you can move people into an already populated area and not have conflict”

    Depends upon the population density and the resources available. In theory, it could be a win-win situation. In fact, as Jews moved into Palestine, the average standard of living for everybody increased (a recurring theme in Jewish migrations). And prior to the 1948 war, Jews acquired land in voluntary transactions. Hardly a zero-sum game.

    “Belief that the globalists are not using peoples belief to destabilize the area for profit”

    Call me a believer. Almost everybody wants stability in the region except dictators who benefit from the distraction.

    “Belief god wrote a book”

    Neither Christians nor Jews believe God wrote the bible.

    “Belief god gives a rip”

    There is apparently a fundamental human need to believe in a powerful entity to whom one can swear fealty and submit or belong. G. K. Chesterton wrote that when people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing – they believe in anything. As somebody who does not actually believe in God, I disagree with him, but it is true that non-religious people have plenty of substitutes to choose from, and they do. It seems to me that we could do considerably worse than having people believe in the God of the New Testament.

    1. @ESM,

      “The desire for revenge is a product of evolution. It has a rational basis in the tit for tat strategy, which is known to be optimal in a repeated prisoner’s dilemma type game. I think both sides actually are playing this game correctly, but they have different goals.”

      And an eye for and eye and a tooth for a tooth leaves us all blind and toothless

      “Depends upon the population density and the resources available. In theory, it could be a win-win situation. In fact, as Jews moved into Palestine, the average standard of living for everybody increased (a recurring theme in Jewish migrations). And prior to the 1948 war, Jews acquired land in voluntary transactions. Hardly a zero-sum game.”

      Sorry but I cannot even see how any of this applies the current situation is a train wreck

      “Call me a believer. Almost everybody wants stability in the region except dictators who benefit from the distraction.”

      For this on I will share Karl Young’s view on your belief………

      “Neither Christians nor Jews believe God wrote the bible.”

      I spent nearly 18 years sitting and the pew and SHUTTIN UP at a Roman Catholic church, many years of religious night school, and even got kicked out of a Catholic school in the 7th grade………..YES THEY DOOOO!!!

      “There is apparently a fundamental human need to believe in a powerful entity to whom one can swear fealty and submit or belong. G. K. Chesterton wrote that when people stop believing in God, they don’t believe in nothing – they believe in anything. As somebody who does not actually believe in God, I disagree with him, but it is true that non-religious people have plenty of substitutes to choose from, and they do. It seems to me that we could do considerably worse than having people believe in the God of the New Testament.”

      I will refer you to Quantum Physics and my research shows the god of the Bible, Koran and the Torah or the Tanakh is more likely some evil space lord than a all-powerful creator watching from the clouds.

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