Sunday, December 28, 2008

Conservative Friends of Israel: Justify Punishment of Gaza Children

The Conservative Friends of Israel have been quoted verbatim and without criticism at ConservativeHome. Tim Montgomerie is responsible and is pictured above on a fact-finding mission (June 2006*). Reproduced below. Here is my immediate response which I would repeat at any similarly ignorant, unbalanced, disingenuous and uncritical posting on behalf of Labour Friends of Israel. In fact I posted a quick response to an uncritical post at LabourHome yesterday. Friends tell friends when they're wrong. Israel could hardly be wrong-er IMO:

17 people have been killed by Hamas Rockets in almost 8 years.
This is inexcusable. Just one old bloke in the period since the cease fire ended.
c 350 people have been killed by the state of Israel in 24 hours.
Including c 100 civilian police recruits and c 50 small children and, according to the State of Israel, 40 Hamas people.
This takes inexcusable to a new level.

"Key points: Latest update on rocket launches against Israel, and humanitarian supplies to Gaza:

* 110 rockets have been fired into Israel since Saturday. In the past week over 300 rockets, missiles and mortar rounds were fired from Gaza by Iranian backed Hamas and other militants at Israel. More than 563 were fired since Hamas escalated rocket firing on 4 November. Israel maintained restraint until now hoping for a return to calm.
* The recent escalation is the result of Hamas’s decision to renew attacks after the end of the Gaza ceasefire. Since then, Israel refrained from military actions and continued talks with Egypt to broker understandings. Hamas rejected diplomacy and chose to deliberately escalate the situation.
* 250,000 Israelis in the south of the country are in range of Gaza rockets.
* On Friday, Israel allowed approximately 90 trucks of medicine, fuel, cooking gas and other vital goods into Gaza. The shipment included more than 500,000 litres of fuel and 200 tons of natural gas.
* On Saturday, 27 December, over 40 rockets were fired at the cities of Ashkelon, Netivot, Kiryat Gat, Ashdod and additional communities through the south. Hamas has ordered its operatives to attack Israel with missiles, rockets and mortar rounds. Israeli residents throughout the south of the country have been ordered to remain in bomb shelters.
* An Israeli man was killed and four others were seriously wounded when a missile hit a house in Netivot. Another man was seriously wounded when a rocket struck at the community of Mivtahim later this afternoon.
* Hamas unilaterally broke the truce with Israel: hundreds of rockets have been fired at Israeli towns in past week
* The truce provided cover for massive Hamas rearmament campaign
* Israel strikes at terrorist infrastructure – as would any other sovereign nation in its position
* The international community should lend its support to the war on Hamas terror

Israeli Action:

* Israel has exercised maximum restraint, but – after eight years of missile barrages from Gaza – must come to the defense of the 250,000 Israelis living within range of Hamas attack. Any other sovereign nation would do the same.
* The objective of the IDF operation is to cripple the terrorist infrastructure in Gaza, impairing the ability of Hamas and its allies to launch attacks on the citizens of Israel; IDF action would have been unnecessary had Hamas abandoned the path of terror. Israel is engaged in self-defense, and will respond assertively to any provocation by other parties in the region.
* Israeli air strikes were launched on Saturday (27.12) against Hamas targets in Gaza, a week after Hamas decided not to renew the six-month-long ceasefire.
* Israel has hit targets in all Gaza's main towns, including Gaza City in the north and Khan Younis and Rafah in the south.
* All the targets of Israeli attack are purely militant, which Hamas uses for its terror activity.
* More than 210 targets were hit in the first 24 hours.
* "Israel will continue until we have a new security environment in the south, when the population there will no longer live in terror and in fear of constant rocket barrages," Israeli Government spokesman Mark Regev.

Fatah Reactions:

* US ambassador to the UN Zalmay Khalilzad has suggested Hamas held the key to restoring calm. "We believe the way forward from here is for rocket attacks against Israel to stop, for all violence to end,"
* Khalilzad was implicitly backed up from Cairo by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas who claimed the current situation could have been avoided had Hamas renewed the ceasefire before it lapsed and ceased all violence towards Israel.
* Israel is committed to working towards achieving a peaceful solution for Israelis and Palestinians. Fatah continues to be a partner for peace and real inroads have been made towards a peace deal
* Israel has always been committed to giving up land for peace and withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005 precisely to further this goal, however Hamas seized control of Gaza, turning the area into a launch pad for terrorism against Israel.
* Hamas refuse to accept the Quartet principles (recognition of Israel, renunciation of violence and acceptance of previous peace agreements).

Background: The Hamas threat to Israel

* Israel withdrew all military and civilian presence from Gaza in August 2005. Since then, more than 5000 rockets and mortars have been fired from Gaza at Israeli civilian neighbourhoods. In the first four months of 2008, the rate of rocket attacks was one every three hours.
* Under cover of the truce, Hamas engaged in a major campaign to upgrade its terrorist capabilities, manufacturing and smuggling massive quantities of weapons into Gaza – including rockets, explosive charges and machine guns – and constructing a network of underground tunnels for combat purposes. Israel cannot acquiesce to the presence of a Hizbullah-like organization on its southern border.
* Since 2004, 92% of Sderot residents (a town of 20,000 inhabitants) have experienced a Qassam rocket falling on their or an adjacent street. 16 Israelis have been killed by Qassam rockets and hundreds have been injured and maimed.
* Israeli civilians have 15 seconds of warning period before the rocket strikes.
* Hamas are opposed to the peace process being conducted between Israel and the Palestinian moderates under Mahmoud Abbas and committed to the destruction of Israel.
* Hamas belongs to the "A" League of extremism, alongside Iran, Syria, Al Qaida and Hizbullah. The United Nations and a majority of its member states have designated Hamas a terrorist organization and will not engage in any contact with its representatives."

* PHOTO: You may recognise the five MPs on the June 2006 trip with Mr Montgomerie.

POSTSCRIPT: Labour Friends of Israel on the web has no comment. But this is the second paragraph of their standing comment:

We are fundamentally sympathetic to Israel’s position as a liberal democracy facing constant security dilemmas and existential threats. But we are not uncritical. Positive engagement with all sections of the Israeli political spectrum is important, as is an effective working relationship with Palestinian representatives. We are friends of both an Israel, secure and at peace with her neighbours, and of a viable and democratic Palestine.


schmoo said...

i really do not understand how a blog with the word 'love' in its name could possibly support the racist, homophobic, terroristic, torturing, murdering Hamas organisation. They broke the cease fire, they brought this on themselves and they are guilty for bringing this terrible tragedy to their people which was in their power to avoid.

Yousuf Hamid said...

Come on schmoo Chris said he was against what had happened to the people of Gaza, he didn't say he 'supported' Gaza and I'm sure he doesn't

benchiltory said...

this just sums it all up,
“..The scene is a basement in the City. Cinderella, a redundant investment banker, is sobbing because she has been forced to take on a cleaning job. Suddenly, after a blinding flash, Gordon Brown is standing before her.

“Don’t be afraid, Cinderella,” he says, holding a magic wand aloft. “For I am your fairy godfather.”

“Oh, fairy godfather,” says Cinderella. “Please will you wave your magic wand and help me to escape from this life of drudgery?”

So Gordon waves his magic wand . . . and absolutely nothing happens.

“But everything’s still the same,” sobs Cinders.

“Oh no, it isn’t,” says Gordon.

“Oh yes it is,” cries the audience

bechiltory said...

worry not,Obhama will be different

schmoo said...

Even the Israeli left-wing Meretz party is supporting the attack on Hamas. They issued a rare statement calling for military action last Thursday; "The time has come to act without compromise and without narrow political considerations to protect the residents of Gaza-area communities and Sderot". Meretz, which usually calls for negotiation and dialogue with Palestinian militants, said the current escalation in rocket attacks has left Israel with no choice but to work on two fronts simultaneously. "Strike Hamas in a targeted manner and work for a new cease-fire," it said.

Chris Paul said...

"Escalation in rocket attacks"? One dead this week, four injured? Seventeen dead in eight years? I cannot support what they are doing though interestingly Mr Lightning Barak was quoted in today's Guardian saying he would become a terrorist if an accident of birth had found him on the other side.

So very alike.

It is like bazooka'ing a would be murderous little boy flashing a pen-knife about, instead of grabbing him and locking him up, and then what's more strafing to death 300+ of the gobby kid's neighbours - many of whom hated the little bastard just as much as you did Schmoo - to make sure the message of no more pen knifes gets through.

Instead 300 dead and 1000 wounded have 10s of 000s of relatives with reason to hate the state of Israel. Even if they also hate or hated Hamas.

There is no military solution to this. And I'm not sure Meretz would be happy with the "no compromise" that involves the murder of so many innocents, including kids etc ... and also the unarmed police recruits that were to police Hamas militias.

The majority of those who have been killed by the State of Israel are not as far as I can see formally or informally identified with Hamas military activity.

BHT - I think you are perhaps prattling on the wrong strand here.

AV said...

Tell you what Chris. I'll find where you live, and set a bomb off every day, fifty or sixty times a day for about a week, followed by a couple of weeks respite, followed by another 70 or so within your town or housing estate.

See if you find it "disproportionate" when all you can do is cower in fear in your bunker, not leave your house, or do anything with your life because of the fear of rocket attacks.

Anonymous said...

Israel is defending itself just like anyone would. I am always flabbergasted when a Brit has the audacity to criticize Israel's response to terrorist attacks.

WW2: When Germany was rocketing London, Churchill's response in Dresden (rightly so) was, shall we say, 10,000 times greater!

Everybody Hates Chris said...

I can't believe that anyone is using the shameful example of Dresden to excuse what is going on in Gaza.

Chris Paul said...

Israel is NOT "defending itself just like anyone would" anonymous. Obviously not a means of making the people of Israel safer. Even in the short term. As my mate EHC says your Dresden example is shameful and it is no wonder that you hide behind anonymity and will not take responsibility for your vile utterances.

But even Churchill's shame was not as assymetric as the State of Israel's attacks on the elected public authorities and the innocent citizens of Gaza.

Dick the Prick said...

What's wrong with a bit of asymmetry? Israelis don't go round detonating suicide bombs in cafes. They've got military superiority, the Palestinian's don't want to negotiate regardless of how much money the EU gives them. Hamas is a UN mandated terrorist organisation - screw 'em.

Glad I don't live there - a brilliant quote I heard was that extremists always shout louder than moderates.