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Has Amnesty International Lost Its Way? Part 3
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Amnesty’s citation of official Israeli sources produces skewed results that validate Israeli propaganda at Hamas’s expense. In some instances more credible contrary evidence is simply ignored. In its hyperbolic inventory of Hamas’s arsenal, Amnesty quotes the Israeli allegation that it intercepted a vessel carrying Iranian rockets “bound for Gaza.” It omits the widely reported finding of a UN expert panel that the weapons were bound not for Gaza but Sudan.[1] Amnesty also repeats the official Israeli claim that the ground invasion was launched to “destroy the tunnel system…, particularly those with shafts discovered near residential areas located in Israel,” and that Israeli troops repeatedly preempted Hamas infiltrators from targeting civilian communities. It ignores compelling evidence, including statements by a senior Israeli army source and an Israeli military analyst, that Hamas fighters exiting the tunnels targeted Israeli soldiers, not civilians.[2] According to 2014 Gaza Conflict, the tunnels exited “in or close to residential communities,”[3] yet every instance of Hamas infiltration via tunnels climaxed, not in a headlong assault on civilians but, instead, an armed engagement with Israeli combatants.[4]

Amnesty’s use of official Israeli sources becomes particularly problematic when the net effect is to magnify Hamas’s and diminish Israel’s criminal culpability. This distortion partly results from another of Amnesty’s strategic “balancing” acts. Israel barred Amnesty (and other human rights organizations) from entering Gaza after OPE. Amnesty “consequently had to carry out research in the Gaza Strip remotely, supported by two fieldworkers based in Gaza.” As a practical matter, this Israeli-imposed constraint prevented Amnesty in multiple instances from checking the veracity of official Israeli exculpations. How did Amnesty resolve this forensic challenge? It typically reports the allegation of an Israeli war crime, then the Israeli denial, and then “neutrally” proceeds to call for a proper on-the-ground investigation—which, as Amnesty knows full well, Israel will never permit. The reader is thus left in perfect and permanent limbo as to where truth lies. When assessing allegations that Hamas violated international law during OPE, Amnesty treats incriminating prior conduct by Hamas as corroborative evidence.[5] Shouldn’t Amnesty have also contextualized Israeli denials of culpability with the caveat that in the past these denials consistently proved on inspection to be flagrant lies? Indeed, the UN Board of Inquiry investigation of Israeli attacks on UN facilities during OPE repeatedly put the lie to Israel’s pleas of innocence. Amnesty’s neutrality ends up incentivizing Israeli noncooperation: if granting human rights organizations entry into Gaza will enable them to document Israeli crimes,[6] isn’t it prudent state policy to bar these organizations altogether and settle for an agnostic verdict from them? Finally, one aspect of Amnesty’s posture of balance deserves special notice. It cites in abundance the junk claims of Israeli hasbara (propaganda), but not once does it report the pertinent findings of Gaza’s respected human rights organizations such as the al-Mezan Center for Human Rights and the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.[7] The methodology section of Unlawful and Deadly states: “Amnesty International studied relevant documentation produced by UN Agencies, the Israeli military and Israeli governmental bodies, Israeli and Palestinian NGOs, Palestinian armed groups, and media reports, amongst other sources, and consulted with relevant experts and practitioners before writing the report. Amnesty International would like to thank the Israeli NGOs and other Israeli bodies that provided assistance to its researchers.”[8] Whereas the report amply represents the claims of Israeli military and governmental bodies, one searches in vain for a single reference to Palestinian NGOs.

Amnesty’s biased use of evidence in Unlawful and Deadly subtly shifts to Hamas a portion of culpability for Israel’s most egregious crimes during OPE:

Hospitals. Seventeen hospitals and 56 primary healthcare centers were either destroyed or damaged during OPE.[9] Unlawful and Deadly points to Hamas’s alleged misuse of three of these facilities.
  1. Al-Wafa. Israel repeatedly attacked and then reduced to rubble al-Wafa hospital, the sole rehabilitation facility in Gaza. This wasn’t the first time Israel targeted the hospital. During Cast Lead, al-Wafa sustained direct hits from eight tank shells, two missiles and thousands of bullets, even as Israel, in blatant contradiction, declared that it did not target “terrorists” launching attacks “in the vicinity of a hospital.”[10] This time around, Amnesty cites the Israeli allegation that al-Wafa was a “command center.” It could have noted that “command centers” was Israel’s default alibi for targeting civilian objects during OPE,[11] and that in other contexts Amnesty itself treated this pretext as baseless.[12] Displaying an aerial photograph, Israel alleged that Hamas fired a rocket from al-Wafa’s immediate vicinity. Amnesty found, however, that “The image tweeted by the Israeli military does not match satellite images of the al-Wafa hospital and appears to depict a different location.” This finding would seem to dispose of Israel’s alibi, except that, ever-so-evenhanded, Amnesty concludes that it “has not been able to verify Israeli assertions that the hospital was used to launch rockets” and the Israeli claim should be “independently investigated.” In other words, even if the only evidence on which Israel based its claim was demonstrably false, it still remains an open question whether or not the claim is true. As it happens, Israel itself eventually dropped the rocket allegation.[13] Amnesty further notes that “according to media reports” an “anti-tank missile was fired from al-Wafa.” The “media reports” cited by Amnesty turn out to be little more than an official Israeli press handout dutifully reprinted by the Jerusalem Post.[14] It is equally instructive what Amnesty elects not to cite. If it adduces Israeli hasbaraas credible evidence, shouldn’t it also have cited al-Wafa’s director, who told Haaretzthat Israeli claims were “false and misleading,” or the representative of the World Health Organization in Gaza, who acknowledged the probable presence of a “rocket launching site in the vicinity” of al-Wafa, but contended that “it was more than 200 meters away from the hospital”?[15] “Israeli forces contest having directly and intentionally targeted [al-Wafa] hospital, claiming that they sought to neutralize rocket fire originating in the vicinity of the hospital,” an International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) delegation observed after entering Gaza and sifting through the evidence. “However, various elements indicate that the hospital was in fact the target of a direct and intentional attack on the part of Israeli armed forces.”[16] But, quelling doubts that might linger of Israel’s innocence, Amnesty reports, “An internal investigation by the Israeli military into its attacks on al-Wafa…found that the attacks had been carried out in accordance with international law.” Shouldn’t it also have mentioned that all major human rights organizations, Amnesty included, have dismissed the results of Israeli internal investigations as worthless?[17]
  2. Al-Shifa. On the basis of “credible” evidence that Hamas fired a rocket from behind al-Shifa hospital, Amnesty called for an independent investigation. It then proceeded to call for an investigation of “other reports and claims that Hamas leaders and security forces used facilities within the hospital for military purposes and interrogations during the hostilities.” Israel leveled allegations similar to these during Cast Lead, but the evidence it adduced in support of them was razor thin.[18] This time around, Amnesty cites many sources of varying quality.[19] What it emphatically does not do, however, is cite sources that dispute the allegation. It ignored the compelling and nuanced testimony of two respected foreign surgeons who volunteered in al-Shifa during OPE: while “able to roam freely at the hospital,” they observed no indication that it was a “command center for Hamas.”[20] At this writer’s request, one of the world’s leading academic specialists on Gaza, Sara Roy of Harvard University, consulted a clutch of her own Gaza-based sources, whose personal and professional integrity she attested to. The consensus among them is that, although rockets had been fired in the vicinity of al-Shifa (but not from hospital grounds), it was highly improbable that Hamas made military use of the hospital building.[21] How did it come to pass that Amnesty found no place for such contrary opinions by impeccable sources? Amnesty also reports the supposedly incriminating tidbit that “a Palestinian journalist…was interrogated by officers from Hamas’ Internal Security in an abandoned section of the hospital.” During OPE, al-Shifa was filled to the brim with as many as 13,000 homeless people. Because it enabled access to satellite news gathering (SNG) equipment, the hospital also served as a hub for the media, political spokespeople, UN officials, human rights organizations and other NGOs. One can’t help but wonder why, amidst a murderous foreign invasion, it should be deemed intrinsically sinister, indeed, warranting a human rights investigation, if the besieged party questions—not physically abuses or intimidates; just questions—someone in a facility packed with a vast throng of people, some among them presumably spies, saboteurs and provocateurs who hoped, prayed, and actively endeavored for Hamas’s defeat.[22] Is Hamas not even allowed to carry out ordinary security functions? In its report, “Strangling Necks”: Abductions, torture and summary killings of Palestinians by Hamas forces during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict, Amnesty flatly states, “Hamas forces used the abandoned areas of al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, including the outpatients’ clinic area, to detain, interrogate, torture and otherwise ill-treat suspects.” The evidence Amnesty adduces for the most sensational of these asseverations—i.e., Hamas systematically tortured suspects at al-Shifa—underwhelms.[23] It also perplexes how this torture chamber had escaped the notice of swarms of journalists, UN officials and NGOs ensconced at al-Shifa until Amnesty’s solitary fieldworker in Gaza came along to scoop all of them. Indeed, even 2014 Gaza Conflict, which is replete with the most egregious propaganda and lies, doesn’t go beyond alleging that Hamas used al-Shifa for “security service interrogations.”[24] One cannot help but recall Amnesty’s peddling of Kuwait’s sensational “baby incubator” propaganda during the buildup to the First Gulf War in 1991.[25] But wherever the truth lies, it is in any event not germane to the question at hand, unless Amnesty wants to assert that Israel targeted Gazan hospitals as a humanitarian gesture to protect alleged collaborators.

[1] Louis Charbonneau, “UN Panel: Arms ship seized by IDF came from Iran, but not bound for Gaza,” Haaretz (28 June 2014). 2014 Gaza Conflict repeats the Sudan misinformation (para. 54).

[2] Emanual Yelin, “Were Gaza Tunnels Built to Harm Israeli Civilians?,” +972 (11 August 2014), citing Alon Ben David, “Inquiry Nahal Oz: The gate of the military post was unlocked, the pillbox door was open,” Channel 10 News (July 30, 2014;, and Tal Lev Ram, “‘It is Possible to Accomplish the Destruction of the Tunnels within 48 Hours,’” Army Radio (July 31, 2014; See also Amos Harel, “The Last War—and the Next,” Haaretz (1 July 2015).

[3] 2014 Gaza Conflict, paras. 91, 109, 119 (cf. paras. 56, 85, 91, 220, and p. 42n130).

[4] Ibid., paras. 96, 119.

[5] “[T]he numerous specific incidents of attacks launched in close proximity to civilian buildings reported by the Israeli authorities, together with accounts of journalists in Gaza during the conflict and the findings of Amnesty International researchers documenting previous rounds of hostilities, indicate that attacks by armed groups in Gaza launched from within residential areas were far from isolated occurrences” (Unlawful and Deadly; emphasis added).

[6] Amnesty itself points out that “governments who wish to hide their violations of human rights from the outside world have frequently banned Amnesty International from accessing the places in which they have been committed” (Amnesty International, Families under the Rubble).

[7] The Medical Fact-Finding Mission paid tribute to the “independence and credibility of local civil society groups such as Al Mezan, PCHR” (p. 100).

[8] The list of specific Israeli organizations assisting Amnesty is omitted.

[9] See esp. Al Mezan Center for Human Right et al., No More Impunity: Gaza’s health sector under attack (2015).

[10] Finkelstein, “This Time,” p. 76.

[11] 2014 Gaza Conflict, paras. 54, 129, 145, 151, 153, 254, 275, 277, 278, 280.

[12] Amnesty International, “Nothing Is Immune.

[13] 2014 Gaza Conflict, para. 129. Incidentally, the report depicts Israel’s razing of al-Wafa as having “returned fire in a precise and discriminate manner” (para. 285).

[14] “Terrorists in Gaza fired an anti-tank missile at the IDF from the Al-Wafa hospital on Thursday, using the structure as an attack base despite Israel’s air strike on the structure on Wednesday following previous gunfire and missiles fired from it by Hamas. The IDF fired back, killing two terrorists, and the air force later struck the building from which the missile was fired. The air force also struck a structure near the Al-Wafa hospital used to store weapons, and as a command and control center” (Yaakov Lappin, “Terrorists Fire Anti-Tank Missile from al-Wafa Hospital in Gaza,”Jerusalem Post, 25 July 2014).

[15] Gili Cohen et al., “Israel Bombs Empty Gaza Hospital, Calling It Hamas Command Center,”Haaretz (23 July 2014); Medical Fact-Finding Mission, p. 50. In another context of Unlawful and Deadly, Amnesty does quote a “senior Hamas official” to the effect that rockets were fired “200 or 300 meters away” from schools or hospitals, and also that “there were some mistakes made and they were quickly dealt with.” The evidentiary value of a self-interested statement by a “senior Hamas official” is, of course, equal to that of an Israeli Foreign Ministry press release—zero.

[16] International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), Trapped and Punished: The Gaza civilian population under Operation Protective Edge(April 2015), p. 40.

[17] See e.g., B’Tselem (Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories),Israeli Authorities Have Proven They Cannot Investigate Suspected Violations of International Humanitarian Law by Israel in the Gaza Strip( In his cover letter to the summary of the UN Board of Inquiry report, Ban Ki-moon “welcomes the efforts of the Government of Israel in establishing criminal investigations into certain incidents which occurred during the conflict.” It’s unclear why he’s so enthusiastic about “investigations” that, based on all past experience, will be shams.

[18] Finkelstein, “This Time,” p. 76.

[19] One foreign correspondent both Amnesty and 2014 Gaza Conflict (p. 76n234, p. 91n269, p. 214n496) leaned on for the more sensational charges against Hamas was William Booth of the Washington Post. Booth’s creative journalism had earlier caught up with him when he was suspended by the Post for plagiarism (Paul Farhi, “Washington Post to Suspend William Booth over Panama Canal Story,” Washington Post (18 January 2013)).

[20] “I have been able to roam freely at the hospital and take the pictures that I wanted and talk to whomever I wanted. I can of course not say that I have been in every corner of the hospital, but concerning what I and [Dr.] Erik Fosse have seen, then none of us have seen that it is a command center for Hamas” (Norwegian surgeon Mads Gilbert, cited in (

[21] Email correspondence, 15 and 17 April 2015, forwarded by Sara Roy from three of her contacts.

[22] Hamas alleged that the Palestinian Authority provided Israel with targeting information collected via its agents in Gaza. Elhanan Miller, “Hamas: PA gave Israel nearly a third of its Gaza targets,” Times of Israel (5 February 2015).
[23] Of the 17 cases documented in the report, the relevant ones mentioning al-Shifa are these:

  1. “The officers took Saleh Swelim to their Jabalia detention facility, known as the al-Sisi centre, and then to the outpatients’ clinic at al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, which Hamas forces were using to detain and interrogate suspects. M.S., a younger brother of Saleh Swelim, told Amnesty International that Internal Security officers also detained him that day and that he saw Saleh Swelim both at the al-Sisi facility and at al-Shifa hospital, and that Internal Security officers tortured both of them. [A lengthy testimony by M.S. follows describing his torture, but it ends on this note:] ‘We were both made to confess by being beaten. We remained in the al-Sisi camp until the following day then were transferred to the al-Shifa hospital. We were received respectfully there in the outpatients’ clinic. They did not beat us and treated us with respect, especially after they saw the burns on my body and the marks from the beatings. They applied ointment to my wounds and gave me medical treatment.’”
  2. “The three men took both Ali Da’alsa and M.D. away in a black Hyundai car but after about 10 minutes, during which they assaulted him, the three let M.D. go, dropping him near al-Quds Open University. The next day, M.D. went to the part of al-Shifa hospital used by Internal Security to inquire about Ali Da’alsa. He told Amnesty International: ‘I went to al-Shifa hospital outpatients’ clinic where the Internal Security had a room. I knocked on the door and nobody answered. I kept on knocking on the door until they [Internal Security] finally arrived. They grabbed me and hit me and insulted me and treated me harshly, and increased their beatings of me.’”
  3. “A.H., 43, a member of Fatah, activist and former PA senior officer, told Amnesty International that members of Hamas’s Internal Security force detained him as he left a mosque in the eastern area of Gaza City on 17 August 2014 and took him to the outpatients’ clinic at al-Shifa hospital. There, he said, they tortured him for about two hours by tying his hands behind his back, blindfolding him and beating him, including with a hammer and plastic pipes, causing him to lose consciousness several times, and verbally abused him, before asking him about his links to the PA’s security forces: ‘It was not really questioning, just a torture session.’”

The second of these three testimonies doesn’t appear to rise to the practice of torture, at any rate, as human rights organizations define it; otherwise, every Israeli soldier who roughs up a Palestinian in the West Bank would be guilty of torture—a charge Amnesty has, wisely, never leveled. Thus, only the third testimony would appear to be evidence of torture, but it comes from a “member of Fatah, activist and former PA senior officer,” not necessarily the most reliable of sources.

[24] 2014 Gaza Conflict, para. 129.

[25] John R. MacArthur, Second Front: Censorship and propaganda in the 1991 Gulf war (Berkeley: 2004).

(Republished from Byline by permission of author or representative)
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  1. Stogie says: • Website

    Your pro-Islam bias is disturbing, and I can only conclude that you are, in fact, antisemitic. I have linked you at my blog because of your support for Confederate heritage, which I wholeheartedly support. However, I will be watching you and will not hesitate to erase that link should your anti-Israel, pro-terrorist articles continue.

    • Replies: @Tom_R
  2. Sounds like the hospital was a constant PITA for Israeli forces. Terrorists knew Israel would hesitate to fire on it, the terrorists would use the building as a safe haven and the people inside as unwitting human shields.

  3. Tom_R says:


    Thanks for the great article, Dr. Finkelstein. Excellent work!

    Like they say, the proof is in the pudding—Israelis killed Palestinians more than the other way round. Here is the finally tally in the graphics on the main page here:

    And it abused its super power abilities in oppressing Palestinians, who are basically without any credible weapons. This is asymmetric warfare, 21st century modern weapons versus basically bare hands and stones.

    Israel is a nuclear power which owns and operates another nuclear power, the USA, a banana republic under Jewish control, from which it loots 10 million dollars per day (ibid). This “foreign aid” is actually looting as the politicians are threatened and blackmailed, unless they pay the Judaists and Israel money, disguised as “financial aid”, bogus grants, etc. as below.

    What the Jewish media does not tell you is how the congressmen are “softened up” when taken to Israel, then placed at the wailing wall, and a skullcap is placed on their head and a photo taken to denote their ownership by the Jewish lobby.

    As far as your opinion of Mr. Finkelstein, you are entitled to your opinion, but in the eyes of many, he is a hero. He suffered tremendous damage to his career and was illegally fired from DePaul University for speaking out against Jewish evil and has suffered significant financial losses. The fact that the Judaists would do that, get people fired for speaking, shows that they are people without morals or culture and anti-human.

    You can “watch” Dr. Finkelstein, but the whole world is watching the Judaists and Israel and are realizing more and more that they are uncivilized and anti-human sociopaths. Israel and Judaists are becoming the pariahs of the civilized world.

  4. Labayu says:

    The problem Finkelstein’s narrative here is the lack of explanatory motive for Israel’s actions. What benefit would Israel gain from targeting hospitals?

    • Replies: @alexander
    , @Wally
  5. alexander says:

    Dear Labayu,

    It is a good question…perhaps this synopsis provides the answer.

    Gaza’s population is composed of roughly 1.7 million people, 70% of whom are refugees or descendants of refugees from what we know as Israel today….

    Over 1.2 million Palestinians within Gaza are in possession of the full legal right to return home to Israel.

    The Demographic “catastrophe” to Israels Jewish majority were all Palestinians allowed to return , would effectively lead to the “end of the Jewish State” ….No longer in command of a Majority, Jewish self determination ( the right to control their own destiny) would dissolve!

    The refugee population in Gaza represents a sizeable portion of all Palestinian refugees..

    The “Right of Return ” for Palestinian refugees is enshrined in international law..

    Israel has been UNABLE to overturn or liquidate that law…

    The Palestinians refuse to relinquish that ‘right”.

    If you cannot remove the “right of return” from the Palestinian…remove the Palestinian !

    Israels “calculus” is to liquidate” the refugees’!

    It is an extremely cruel and brutal Logic….but it is a “logic’ all the same !

    The bombing of all the hospitals, the UN facilities, the schools and the people is an expression, not only of Israels exasperation with the” Refugee Threat”…but with the United Nations and the laws that empower their status…….

    Israels goal , Labayu, is culling the herd….culling the herd of Palestinian “refugees”.

    Leaving hospitals unbombed undermines the entire enterprise of that “liquidation “…It is giving the “wounded”refugees a chance to heal….not to die !

    I didn’t say it was pretty,I didn’t say it wasn’t evil, or horrible, but it is a synopsis that provides an answer !

    • Replies: @Labayu
  6. Wally says:

    I cannot assume you are serious here.
    Hospitals or killing women & children who throw stones at tanks, it’s all the same objective.
    What the immoral Israelis gain is killing more Palestinians in a Zionist ethnic cleansing campaign to eliminate – exterminate the indigenous population and thereby take possession of their land and resources.

    Want to talk about that big gas field just off the coast of Gaza?

  7. Labayu says:

    The problem with that angle is that Gaza doesn’t present a demographic threat to Israel in that Israelis don’t believe that the right of return will ever be implemented beyond possibility of paying reparations. Furthermore the number of Palestinians killed in the conflict is large from a humanitarian perspective, but insignificant compared to the total population. Certainly the civilian deaths are more damaging to Israel’s status in the court of world opinion than they would be beneficial to any other agenda.

    Unlike the West Bank, Gaza is also not particularly important to even the religious Zionist ideology or seen as essential to Israel’s security. While the West Bank includes the high ground overlooking the entirety of Israel’s major population and economic centres situated along the relatively narrow coastal plain, threats from Gaza are more manageable for them. As such there is almost no internal political pressure on Israel to annex Gaza. Hence, Gazans don’t create a perceived demographic threat to Israel.

    Gaza’s population may include 1.7 million descendants of refugees from what is now the state of Israel. Israel’s Jewish population is about half descended from Jews who fled or were driven out of Arab (and to a lesser extent other) Muslim countries. That is the argument Israel will use, and they believe it is reasonable, which is all that really matters in assessing their intentions.

    No government really cares that much about the Palestinians other than as political pawns or distractions from their own corrupt behavior, otherwise they wouldn’t be the only population in the world that is kept in continual hereditary refugee status even in places like Jordan and Lebanon. Between 1944 and 1950, many more Germans fled or were driven out of Poland than Palestinians who fled or were driven out of Israel in 1948 to 1949. The difference is that the two Germanys simply granted them citizenship rather than forcing them to be perpetual refugees. The same can be said for Jews who fled to Israel from Egypt, Iraq, and so forth.

    Finkelstein’s claims here remind me of the claims of a graduate student I know who is arguing in her MA thesis that US policy in the Middle East is actually a long term plan to commit genocide against Arabs. It’s the same sort of convoluted appeal to emotion when much more simple explanations exist. For the Israeli leadership, there is immediate internal political pressure to make the rockets stop whenever there is a flair up. Fighting very carefully building to building on Hamas’s home turf would negate Israel’s technological advantage and lead to very high Israeli casualties, so airstrikes and occasionally artillery are also employed. If you do some research, you’ll find that Israel’s enemy combatant to civilian kill ratios are similar to those of Western armies fighting similar enemies in urban environments.

    • Replies: @alexander
  8. alexander says:

    Dear Labayu,

    I think at this juncture in time, the sacrosanct quality of Jewish self determination, post Holocaust, is overpowering.

    There is no way that Israel will relinquish the control it has over its destiny by submitting to an influx of six millions Palestinian refugees….It just is not going to happen !

    But that does not negate the right the Palestinians have to return to the homes they were forced out of …..That right belongs to them, not the Jewish people and not the Jewish state !

    The fact that Israel will refuse to permit it does not abrogate its existence !

    The idea that “Israel doesn’t believe in something” doesn’t just make that” something “go away.!

    But” exterminating” the Palestinians sure does !

    Do you see my point, Labayu ?

    .Your next point…The fact that Jews were expelled from Germany , Egypt, Iraq, or wherever else, has little to do with the” Palestinian Expulsion” or Nakba…..Jewish expulsion from those areas was not a result of any”intentionality ” on the part of Palestinians…..Two wrongs don’t make a right….Its a bogus (Cat in the hat )argument, Labayu , and it always was !

    The suggestion that people don’t really “care” about Palestinians, even if it were true…means what?…that their permanent “statelessness” is acceptable?.Why wouldn’t, for that matter, their extermination be acceptable too?..That is like saying the Holocaust was acceptable because nobody really “cared “about the Jews….Another bogus argument !

    Israels “real” argument is a good one.!…..”NEVER AGAIN !”……and they mean it.!…Jewish self determination is non negotiable……They will fight and Kill before they give up the right to control their own destiny !

    Fair enough !

    If it is ‘a fair enough” argument for Israel (and it is ) than how can it be somehow “Less” fair an argument, for anybody else….especially the Palestinians !

    The Bottom line…nobody deserves to be expelled from their homes OR exterminated…even if nobody “cares” about them !

    That should be the one true and lasting lesson of the Holocaust…It is in my book !

    A compensation package to the Palestinians..and a big one…is needed for any people to accept “they can never go home again !”

    I would like to know the number the World Community and Israel has in mind?

    Perhaps the world community could add a “universal visa”… a right to live or work anywhere , for Palestinians….that would seem to add a real acknowledgement to their willingness to permanently forsake their homeland !

    If the Palestinians won’t accept that and they don’t have to…

    .What choice does Israel have but to kill them ?
    They cannot quarantine them forever….
    Which is why the quarantining takes on an asphyxiating quality over time…a slow death born out of the intransigence of the deadlock combined with Israels overwhelming military superiority !

    The Gaza “exterminations”, over the past six years, are a manifestation of the resulting violence from that impasse !

    Given the undeniable FACT that “quarantined Gaza” and its inhabitants represent ZERO threat to Israel, militarily, the carnage wrought on Gaza is an expression of Israels ‘exhaustion with the “process’ and its desire to hasten a result…It is an expression of Israeli “self determination”…Not SELF DEFENSE….Sorry, bogus again !

    As a matter of fact it makes MORE sense, given the obscene disparity in each sides “hurting power” for Israelis to dig tunnels into Gaza, pretend to be Jihadists, and fire a few dozen rockets into the fields of Sderot…. to initiate the conflict..than it does for the starving and emaciated Palestinians !

    As to your argument about Gaza representing nothing that Israel might COVET…. Hmm….I am sure there are dozens of land developers waiting in the wings to put in(well connected) bids on new Israeli seaside resorts in what was once” Gaza”……And , may I add, it is well documented that British Gas was able to find, on behalf of Palestine, the largest deposit of natural gas within the entire region….inside Gaza territorial waters !…But that was before Palestinians were restricted from entering their own patch of Sea !….There is much to” covet” in Gaza…were the Palestinians to “disappear’ from the scene !

    I find it fascinating , labayu, that when seeking to equate Palestinian expulsion, of all things ,you chose German expulsion from Poland post WWII, as though Germany had not invaded and occupied Poland during the war and sought its expansive Lebensraum (living space) from the “inferior” Polish “Untermenchen”…much the same way Israel is expanding its Lebensraum into much of the Palestinian ‘Untermenchen” territories today….not a good fit , Labayu !

    Perhaps the Post -Zionist ideology, and its “humanist’ position centering on “equal rights for all” is becoming most attractive to all those who find the brutal treatment of the Palestinians completely unconscionable…and intolerable…..Better to have a real democracy, where a bill of rights is centered on the Individual, not their ethnicity, ( like the good ole USA, at least pre 9-11) then to have another Holocaust of Palestinians or Jews !

    In so many ways, it makes a lot of sense !

    • Replies: @Labayu
  9. Labayu says:

    You responded as if I was making a moral argument, but I wasn’t. My point is that since Israelis don’t believe that there will ever be a return of refugees to Israel, that belief or concern doesn’t motivate their actions. It doesn’t make any sense that they would take actions that damage their diplomatic standing in order to forestall something they believe will never happen anyway.

    Since I wasn’t making a moral argument, I certainly wasn’t claiming that two wrongs make a right. My point was as I said, Palestinians are the only people in the world that inherit their refugee status over generations. As far as the UN is concerned, all the world’s refugees fall under the jurisdiction of the UNHCR except Palestinians which are managed by the separate UNRWA. Whereas the UNHCR’s finds homes for refugees so that they can move on with their lives, the UNRWA keeps the Palestinians in a state of permanent victimhood over the span of multiple generations.

    Without getting into the details of why (which should be obvious), the bottom line is that any Israeli ruling government has to react to the rockets, or else they will be voted out of office and replaced by people who will. No other explanation is really necessary.

    I find it fascinating , labayu, that when seeking to equate Palestinian expulsion, of all things ,you chose German expulsion from Poland post WWII, as though Germany had not invaded and occupied Poland during the war and sought its expansive Lebensraum (living space) from the “inferior” Polish “Untermenchen”…much the same way Israel is expanding its Lebensraum into much of the Palestinian ‘Untermenchen” territories today….not a good fit , Labayu !

    I chose that example because the ethnic Germans fled or were driven out at about the same time as the Palestinians fled or were driven out. There are many parallels. Silesia, Pomerania, and Prussia had been home to Germans since the Middle Ages. Though the inhabitants were thoroughly German in their identity, they were probably descendants of both the invading Germans and local people, just as the Arabs of Palestine identify as Arabs despite descending from both the invaders and the local people. Germany did invade Poland just as the Arab armies invaded the Jewish held areas of Palestine, both Germany and the Arabs lost and civilians who may or may not have been involved in the fighting lost their homes. Poles only became the predominant ethnic group in Silesia, Pomerania, and Prussia in the late 1940s when the Germans lost their home. Silesia and Pomerania had not been Polish since the early Middle Ages, just as Palestine had not been Jewish since ancient times other than a few communities. The difference is that Germany took in the ethnic Germans refugees, while the Arab countries mostly kept the Arab refugees in camps.

    • Replies: @alexander
  10. alexander says:

    Dear Labayu,

    Germany invaded Poland in 1939……the Arab armies you are referring to did not INVADE the British Mandate of the same time!..They certainly didn’t invade Israel…because Israel did not exist !
    IT WASN”T UNTIL 1948 when the British relinquished control to the newly bifurcated Israel /Palestine.. which precipitated the brutal and sadistic ethnic cleansing and expulsion of Palestinians from the areas earmarked for the future Jewish State, that brought the invasion of the Arab armies….and yes you are correct…THE ARABS LOST ! BAD ! But they lost nine years after Germany’s invasion of Poland…Not at the same time ! And not for the same reasons!

    The British Mandate of Palestine, between 1939 and 1948, was never besieged by “Arab armies”…if anything they were besieged by JEWISH TERRORISTS,!
    The Stern Gang, The Irgun Svi Leumi, and the Haganah were ruthless in their bombings, assassinations, and assorted terrorist attacks against both the British and the Palestinians !
    if you don’t believe me ask the Brits !
    They can tell you , first hand ,just how “nasty” and “despicable” “Jewish Terrorism” was, in the run up to creation of the state of Israel… A most notable example was the bombing of the King David Hotel in , I believe, 1946 !
    There was no Muslim , Arab, or Palestinian” terrorism” going on.AT was all” Jewish terrorism.”..and they were good at it ! They were vicious ! So vicious and cunning, in fact, the Palestinians had no idea what hit them ! No idea at all!

    Most of the TERROR techniques, which have been employed by nasty “Hamas” , and are globally condemned TODAY,were taken “whole cloth” from the Irgun and the Stern gang !

    Just because very few, if any, Americans know this , doesn’t mean it isn’t true !

    if you don’t believe me…..just GOOGLE it !

    • Replies: @Labayu
  11. Labayu says:

    Again, you’re not responding to what I actually wrote. This is a strawman. I made no such historical errors. What I said was Germans fled or were driven out of Silesia, Pomerania, and Prussia between 1944 and 1950. This at about the same time Palestinians fled or were driven out of what is now Israel in 1948 to 1949. That the preceding wars were of a different length and that the invading armies had different motivations is irrelevant to the refugee situations, as in both cases many of the refugees were non-combatants. Interestingly though, the stated casus belli was quite similar. Germany claimed to be invading Poland in order to protect ethnic Germans. The Arab armies claimed to be invading Palestine to protect ethnic Arabs. The number of Germans displaced from just those regions was about four times the number of Palestinian Arabs, but they haven’t been forced to stay in camps or refused citizenship elsewhere over the course of generations.

    What is clear is that Palestinian refugees are treated differently than the rest of the world’s refugees, as previously noted, even having a separate UN agency devoted to them which keeps them in a state of perpetual victimhood throughout their entire lives and over the course of generations.

    While Irgun committed terror attacks beginning in 1936, your claim is partially false. The military wing of Hamas is named after Izz ad-Din al-Qassam who started a terror organization in 1929 called al-Kaff al-Aswad (The Black Hand). They killed Jewish civilians, British policemen, and Arabs who sold land to Jews. They carried out attacks such as throwing grenades into the home of a sleeping family. Qassam was eventually hunted down and killed by the British authorities. His death was one factor that helped spark the Arab revolt of 1936-39.

  12. alexander says:

    Dear Labayu,

    I think you seem to forget that Nazi Germany began its quest to conquer the world and nearly succeeded…..Almost 60 million people died and most of Europe was in ruin ! The Nazi ideology of world conquest, global domination and its unquenchable desire for Lebensraum (living space)nearly destroyed all of Western Civilization.
    the Nazi expansionist zeal , their unflinching belief in their own “Aryan ” exceptionalism, their right to conquer, kill and take others peoples land and homes, and their super powered military , nearly destroyed Europe .
    furthermore if there was one country , above all others,that “mastered the art of creating “REFUGEES’ it was Nazi Germany ! And those refugees were ,for the most part, JEWS !

    I am “shocked” that you do not know this ?

    if there is any parallel AT ALL with the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from
    ISRAEL…it is the expulsion and ethnic cleansing of JEWS from Nazi Germany !

    The Idea that you are trying to create some fumbling linkage with Polands desire to expel Germans from their country AFTER the Nazi rampage of all of Europe, with Israels desire to expel Palestinians is very weak , very weak !

    When the REAL analogy to the expulsion of Palestinians, staring everyone right in the face, is Nazi Germany’s expulsion of the JEWS!

    How could you miss that one?

    I will certainly look into “the Black hand” and its history…but you seem to be suggesting by your inference that Hamas was NOT formed in 1988, fully 40 years after the expulsion of Palestinians in what became Israel… and 21 years after the invasion and occupation of the Palestinian territories….That somehow Palestinian “terrorism” is not a direct response to Israels ongoing brutal occupation but preexisted in the Palestinian DNA, only to march out when needed, by Israel ,to point their finger at the bad guy !

    Not so sure it is true….but it might be ! I just don’t see any substantive rational for Palestinian terrorism before 1948…were they resisting their own occupation of themselves in their own land ?

    It is interesting that you mention the Irgun, and seem to acknowledge, somewhat grudgingly, that they may have committed a little eensie weensie baby terror, maybe ! But you do not mention the Haganah and the Stern gang ! two terrorist organizations notorious for their cruelty and “hurting power” !

    There was real purpose to” Israeli terrorism” in the run up to 1948…and it was to make life extremely uncomfortable for the British so they would LEAVE and it served as the onset of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians, post 1948, to pave the way for a Jewish majority in a newly minted democratic Israel !

    Certainly from the perspective of Palestinians, (and their perspective is as valid as anyone else’s.)..the creation of the State of Israel was one giant “Terrorist Act” foisted ON them, their freedom, their self determination, and their dignity as a people !

    From the perspective of the Jews, the creation of Israel was the culmination of a two thousand year journey to get back home ! To finally, and especially after the Holocaust, reunite with their their ancestral lands, their heritage, and to forge a nation that was truly their OWN !

    • Replies: @Labayu
  13. Labayu says:

    There is nothing to be shocked about, of course I know the history. I think you missed the point again, which is about how the Palestinian refugees are treated differently than all other refugees.

    Of course Irgun engaged in acts of terror and revenge killings. It’s a simple fact of history. You are mistaken about Haganah, they did not. In fact the reason Irgun split from Haganah is because of Haganah’s policy of restraint. Up until 1941, Haganah was a defensive militia – their name means “the defence”. They collaborated with the British until 1943. Irgun split from Haganah in 1931, but didn’t start carrying out attacks until 1936. In 1937, they started carrying out terror attacks against Arab civilians which prompted about half their membership to return to Haganah. In 1941, Haganah formed an elite offensive force call the Palmach, who were trained by the British and fought with the British against the Vichy French in Lebanon. In 1948, Haganah became the IDF and Irgun was forced to disband. The Palmach’s last military operation was against members of Irgun who refused to turn over their weapons.

    Palestinian terrorism began as a reaction to Jewish immigration and British rule. Haganah was formed in response to the 1929 Hebron Massacre in which 67 Jews were killed and the Safed Riots which happened at about the same time and left 18 Jews dead. The anti-Jewish riots were spurred on by Haj Amin al-Husseini, the Mufti of Jerusalem. The Arabs fought a major revolt against the British from 1936 to 1939 in which many more Jews were killed. Though the British killed about 5,000 Arabs putting the revolt down.

    From 1933 on, al-Husseini worked to ally the Palestinian resistance with Nazi Germany. The Germans sent the Palestinians some aid and weapons starting in 1937. In 1941, al-Husseini met with Hitler and Ribbentrop and told them that Arabs were Germany’s natural allies because they had the same enemies – the British and the Jews. During the war, al-Husseini helped recruit Bosnian Muslims for the SS. He also tried to convince the Nazis to bomb Tel Aviv, but they considered such an operation to be infeasible based on the strategic situation. Throughout the war, al-Husseini was paid a salary by the Nazi’s which was twice the rate of a field marshal in order to work to spread Nazi propaganda throughout the Arab speaking world. During a radio broadcast on March 1st, 1944, al-Husseini urged Arabs to “rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor. God is with you.”

    So while the Arab resistance during the mandate period was understandable to some degree, it also had a colorful history, especially its two most important leaders Izz ad-Din al-Qassam and Haj Amin al-Husseini.

    • Replies: @alexander
  14. alexander says:

    Dear labayu,

    Thank you so much for that response.!..
    .I enjoyed it and learned alot !

  15. alexander says:

    dear Labayu,

    I know you have a desire to link Palestinian resistance to Nazi Germany..all Israelis do !.

    It has always soothed the souls of Israelis who exterminated innocent Palestinians and stole their homes and land just like the Nazis exterminated Jews and stole their homes and land…to feel like they were fighting the good fight against the Nazis…when they were really just doing to the Palestinians what the Nazis did to them.

    Its the same” mind set” as the complete denial that any Palestinians existed at all.

    ” A land without a people for a people without a land “…was practically the National anthem of Israeli diplomacy for fifty years !

    Joan Peters ” From Time immemorial”, which was definitive reading on the topic did the same thing….

    There were never any” Palestinians” at all…..and if their were any Palestinians they all worked with the Nazis !…There…. we feel so much better now !

    You also do a nice rewrite on Israeli terrorist attacks against the British…It makes perfect sense you would…how could Jewish terrorists possibly attack allied forces?….lets just turn the Brits into Nazis. or lets turn the the Jews into Palestinians..There we go, all better now !

    And of course it was the Palestinians who Bombed the USS LIBERTY in 1967.!…..Lets see… I know …..They had kept a secret Aryan scroll from the Fuhrer himself… tucked away for decades in a Terror tunnel in Susiya…which ,of course,instructed the Palestinian Nazis how to commandeer an Israeli fighter jet to attack the United States Naval vessel ….There… that’s a good one..”.The Palestinians did it !”……..I feel so much better now …
    Don’t you !

    lets all go on our merry way……. knowing we can do no wrong !..

    • Replies: @alexander
  16. alexander says:

    Dear Labayu,

    Your fascination with the “special ‘” status of Palestinians refugees is also quite revealing. It suggests, by your bringing it up ,there is something “wrong” with the international process that would bestow a heredity privilege on the right of return ,to Palestinians ….As if to say, Shucks, if only the Palestinians could be integrated into their respective refugee societies, all would be okay today…

    Meanwhile the assured privilege of any person of Jewish ancestry anywhere in the world having the absolute guarantee of their right of return to Israel , some how does not confer that ‘special ‘ privilege on Jewish people.?..

    .Not really worth a mention if it does!?

    Kinda like the pot calling the kettle black …..

    wouldn’t you say . Labayu ?

  17. Labayu says:

    Okay thanks for the first response there, but now you’ve gone into crazy talk and a long list of strawman arguments. Really, anyone can read what I actually wrote, so there’s no need for a response. With your own massive penchant for hyperbole and appeal to emotion fallacies, I can see why you appreciate Finkelstein’s writing.

    I am also not Israeli, though I witnessed the last conflict because I work as an archaeologist in Israel on a tel with a view of a large span of the coastal plain including northern Gaza.

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