The Region

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spot
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The Region

Post by spot »

If I refer to "The territory bounded by Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt" as "The Region", am I being both explicit and neutral in describing the area? Because that is my intention.

I'll give it a try anyway. Depending on your historical outlook there's some vocabulary you'd consider natural, some you'd find unacceptable. Which is why for or the purposes of this thread I'm using The Region.

Practically nobody will accept all the words in the following list: Israel. Palestine. The Gaza Strip. Jerusalem. East Jerusalem. So-called East Jerusalem. The West Bank. The Occupied West Bank. West Jerusalem. Israeli. Palestinian. The Occupied Territories. Settlements. The Disputed Territories. So, for the thread it's The Region. Any other term used here in specific contexts is specific to the context and not a claim for or against its adoption.

There is major trouble this weekend in The Region but it will get a lot worse. The UN Security Council will meet tonight in closed session, the format being chosen to exclude representation from both Israel and Palestine. There have been over a thousand deaths reported so far. Only an incurable optimist would think the figure will stop short of five figures by November. The preponderance of the dead are civilians and that proportion will only increase.

An entire US carrier group is hot-footing from Italy into the Eastern Mediterranean to intercept President Trump's next assault on whoever occupies the Oval Office at the moment. I'd describe an entire carrier group as overkill but that, after all, is the theme of the weekend already. President Biden has until tomorrow afternoon to decide which side the carrier group is there to protect and whether he wants to announce his intentions in public. Given only one side has adequate weaponry to bring down a full-grown carrier his decision might already be foregone, the USS Liberty incident notwithstanding. Keep that sonar pinging, gentlemen.

My evening reeding this week has been The Magnolia Forest by P D East. I commend it to anyone passing through or contributing here. It describes Mississippi between 1920 and 1960. It describes a segregated society in which few people's interaction with those on the other side extends to the social. I offer it as a model of how well people can actually get along with each other in a segregated environment where one side holds all the power and the other knows justice will eventually prevail. I also note that, at least in Mississippi, it clearly hasn't yet, seventy years later, but I venture to suggest that some progress has been made.

For anyone expecting that a statistic here and there might help inform the discussion, "According to the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, as of 2021, the population of Israel was approximately 9.3 million. The total area, not including the occupied territories, is about 20,770 square kilometers, which gives a rough population density of around 448 people per square kilometer". The population density of the Gaza Strip per square kilometer is given as 5,479. The figures come from ChatGPT, by all means find your own instead.

I reckon it unlikely that The Region will come to reflect the tranquillity of post-Confederacy Mississippi any time soon, but one can at least hope it might.
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Re: The Region

Post by spot »

Matters have taken a turn for the worse overnight, with war being formally declared - the government website issued a press release to that effect https://www.gov.il/en/departments/news/spoke-war081023 . Delving into what a declaration of war against a non-state entity means, I came up with this:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s security cabinet has officially declared war against Hamas under Section 40 of the Basic Law. There have been multiple addresses to the Israeli public by Israeli officials. Opposition leader Yair Lapid has urged the formation of an emergency unity government in the country to better direct the war effort following over 10 months of anti-government protests. The casualty estimates will only increase as this war goes on.

https://www.jurist.org/news/2023/10/isr ... s-history/
The Jerusalem Post, which has the webpage blocked outside Israel for some reason, announced that 'Article 40 allows the government to order “significant military action that may lead, with a level of probability close to certain, to war." The prime minister will be able to make certain decisions with only the approval of the security cabinet as well'. This is the first time Israel has declared war since 1973.

I note Sky News writing:
The declaration of war foreshadows heavier fighting ahead, and a major question is whether Israel will launch a ground assault into Gaza, a move that in the past has brought increased casualties.

Meanwhile, in northern Israel, a brief exchange of strikes with Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group fanned fears that the fighting could expand into a wider regional war.

https://news.sky.com/story/israel-forma ... t-12980754
News channels collectively speculate that Israeli troops will consequently be deployed into Gaza. I'm not sure deployment was dependent on the declaration - there was deployment into Lebanon back when Ariel Sharon was a General and that needed no such step beforehand, during or after. I also note the population of the Gaza Strip when last counted was 2.4 million, that "since 2000 Palestine does not possess any airport on its territory" and that there is no open border across which any of them they can flee.

I offer two observations from Clausewitz "On War":
"What do we mean by the defeat of the enemy? Simply the destruction of his forces, whether by death, injury, or any other means—either completely or enough to make him stop fighting. [...] The complete or partial destruction of the enemy must be regarded as the sole object of all engagements. [...] Direct annihilation of the enemy's forces must always be the dominant consideration."

[...] “No one starts a war--or rather, no one in his senses ought to do so--without first being clear in his mind what he intends to achieve by that war and how he intends to conduct it”.
These come with provisos from https://www.clausewitz.com/readings/Cquotations.htm where you are also advised: "beware that any quotation, taken out of context, may not mean at all what you think it does. This is especially the case with Clausewitz, whose dialectical methods required the assertion of arguments that constituted useful propositions but were, in themselves, inadequate reflections of a useful understanding."
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Re: The Region

Post by spot »

“There are not two sides to these events,” the UK prime minister said on Monday.

"There is no question of balance. I stand with Israel. We stand with Israel, the United Kingdom stands with Israel against this terrorism today, tomorrow and always."

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/ ... -supernova

To be frank, I have little idea why this chap was chosen by his party to be Prime Minister in the first place other than him being rich. Not even Liz Truss was so incompetent in the role.

Given the massive firepower directed into Gaza the preponderance of the dead by tomorrow will be Palestinian and, as Benjamin Netanyahu said today, ‘We are just getting started’. I doubt Rishi Sunak is capable of reining him in but he surely needn't so blatantly egg him on. The history of reprisal operations is well-established and clearly hasn't been abandoned. The only possible message from Britain's Prime Minister should be "everyone cease firing immediately".
Nullius in verba ... ☎||||||||||| ... To Fate I sue, of other means bereft, the only refuge for the wretched left.
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Re: The Region

Post by spot »

There is a point which needs making before the imminent invasion of the Gaza Strip starts. It stems from asking why Hamas mounted its disgraceful, deplorable and immoral operation four days ago.

I suggest Hamas intended to invest a proportion of its limited resources into triggering a massive knee-jerk response from Israel, to gain increased future support from within its potential recruitment pool and consequent increased backing from potential sponsors. The preponderance of the dead are Palestinian, and Hamas in planning their brief coup cannot possibly have expected otherwise.

Israel invariably reacts in a predictable way to any provocation. This being so, Hamas can gauge their intended response and know how to bring it about. Israel's government has compared this week's events to America's 9/11 and rightly so - the provocation and the reason for the provocation is directly comparable. A very small effort on the part of Al Qaeda leading up to 9/11 generated immensely more fuel for fundamentalist extremism across the entire Middle East. The provocation of 9/11 relied for its success on the disproportionate power of the people it goaded and, make no mistake, the provocation was very successful, it achieved its goals.

Only a superpower like the United States had the ability to push so many destabilized recruits into the welcoming arms of the fundamentalists. Only a regional superpower like Israel has the ability to do the same all over again this year. If Israel were to pursue the atrocity as a criminal act, just as the USA should have pursued 9/11 as a criminal act, it would avoid achieving the fundamentalists' purpose. Sadly Israel is incapable of stepping away from its predictable course. Hamas will consequently get the reaction it designed - the deaths of large numbers of Palestinians at the hands of Israel's armed forces in the full glare of world publicity.

If anyone can suggest a more likely motivation for either 9/11 in America or the events of this week in Israel, by all means offer them for discussion. I've failed to detect one. Similarly if anyone thinks I'm posting disinformation I'd hope they'd make that clear. Hamas or its successor organization can only emerge stronger from what is about to occur - I don't imagine the name on the headed stationery matters much to anyone. I have no idea why the government of Israel believes its next step is rational, necessary, desirable or in its own best interest, it appears instead (like the immediate decision of the US in 2001 to invade Afghanistan and Iraq) to demonstrate a cyclical inability to achieve successful long term outcomes.

The populations of each group list grievances they have felt throughout their lifetimes. The governments of each group rely on those heartfelt and legitimate grievances to justify their decision-making. In both cases their decisions are appalling and self-serving, and inevitably perpetuate and deepen the underlying legitimate sense of grievance of the other population. Governmental choices are being made which entirely fail to reduce the long-term problem in exchange for short-term bragging rights whenever elections come around. The problems are not inherent in the populations, they are the governmental tactics of the most unappealing politicians on the planet. What is required is empowered diplomacy instead of this obdurate posturing.
Nullius in verba ... ☎||||||||||| ... To Fate I sue, of other means bereft, the only refuge for the wretched left.
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Re: The Region

Post by spot »

We could throw in a Press Release while it's still warm.
Oct. 10, 2023

Release Number 20231010-01

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TAMPA, Fla. - The USS Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group arrives in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea in order to deter any actor seeking to escalate the situation or widen this war. The forces in the area include the U.S. Navy aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN 78), with its 8 squadrons of attack and support aircraft, and the Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser USS Normandy (CG 60), as well as the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyers USS Thomas Hudner (DDG 116), USS Ramage (DDG 61), USS Carney (DDG 64), and USS Roosevelt (DDG 80).

Efforts to increase U.S. posture continue, including the rapid movement into theater of U.S. Air Force F-15s, F-16s and A-10s to augment existing fighter squadrons in the region.

"The arrival of these highly capable forces to the region is a strong signal of deterrence should any actor hostile to Israel consider trying to take advantage of this situation," said General Michael "Erik" Kurilla, commander, U.S. Central Command.

https://www.centcom.mil/MEDIA/PRESS-REL ... anean-sea/

Thank you CENTCOM, it's good to know the President has covered his back in his bid for a second term. I've no idea who you're meant to bomb if any actor hostile to Israel considers trying to take advantage of this situation though. The Egyptians? Seriously? Türkiye? I don't believe you can actually reach Iran from where you're anchored.

And if I can quote an even more witless contribution than my own,
"What will the aircraft carrier of the U.S. do near Israel, why do they come? What will boats around and aircraft on it will do? They will hit Gaza and around, and take steps for serious massacres there," Erdogan said in a joint press conference with Austrian Chancellor Karl Nehammer in Ankara.

https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-ea ... 023-10-10/

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, President of the Republic of Türkiye, is in fact younger than President Biden but you'd never know it from listening to his press conferences. Karl Nehammer, Chancellor of Austria, is not yet as old as either of them, rarely bothers to shave and may even have flown into Ankara for a long weekend beach break. Neither Erdoğan nor Nehammer would figure prominently in a list of significant European statesmen.
Nullius in verba ... ☎||||||||||| ... To Fate I sue, of other means bereft, the only refuge for the wretched left.
When flower power came along I stood for Human Rights, marched around for peace and freedom, had some nooky every night - we took it serious.
Who has a spare two minutes to play in this month's FG Trivia game! ... My other OS is Slackware.
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Re: The Region

Post by Bryn Mawr »

spot wrote: Tue Oct 10, 2023 4:35 pm There is a point which needs making before the imminent invasion of the Gaza Strip starts. It stems from asking why Hamas mounted its disgraceful, deplorable and immoral operation four days ago.

I suggest Hamas intended to invest a proportion of its limited resources into triggering a massive knee-jerk response from Israel, to gain increased future support from within its potential recruitment pool and consequent increased backing from potential sponsors. The preponderance of the dead are Palestinian, and Hamas in planning their brief coup cannot possibly have expected otherwise.

Israel invariably reacts in a predictable way to any provocation. This being so, Hamas can gauge their intended response and know how to bring it about. Israel's government has compared this week's events to America's 9/11 and rightly so - the provocation and the reason for the provocation is directly comparable. A very small effort on the part of Al Qaeda leading up to 9/11 generated immensely more fuel for fundamentalist extremism across the entire Middle East. The provocation of 9/11 relied for its success on the disproportionate power of the people it goaded and, make no mistake, the provocation was very successful, it achieved its goals.

Only a superpower like the United States had the ability to push so many destabilized recruits into the welcoming arms of the fundamentalists. Only a regional superpower like Israel has the ability to do the same all over again this year. If Israel were to pursue the atrocity as a criminal act, just as the USA should have pursued 9/11 as a criminal act, it would avoid achieving the fundamentalists' purpose. Sadly Israel is incapable of stepping away from its predictable course. Hamas will consequently get the reaction it designed - the deaths of large numbers of Palestinians at the hands of Israel's armed forces in the full glare of world publicity.

If anyone can suggest a more likely motivation for either 9/11 in America or the events of this week in Israel, by all means offer them for discussion. I've failed to detect one. Similarly if anyone thinks I'm posting disinformation I'd hope they'd make that clear. Hamas or its successor organization can only emerge stronger from what is about to occur - I don't imagine the name on the headed stationery matters much to anyone. I have no idea why the government of Israel believes its next step is rational, necessary, desirable or in its own best interest, it appears instead (like the immediate decision of the US in 2001 to invade Afghanistan and Iraq) to demonstrate a cyclical inability to achieve successful long term outcomes.

The populations of each group list grievances they have felt throughout their lifetimes. The governments of each group rely on those heartfelt and legitimate grievances to justify their decision-making. In both cases their decisions are appalling and self-serving, and inevitably perpetuate and deepen the underlying legitimate sense of grievance of the other population. Governmental choices are being made which entirely fail to reduce the long-term problem in exchange for short-term bragging rights whenever elections come around. The problems are not inherent in the populations, they are the governmental tactics of the most unappealing politicians on the planet. What is required is empowered diplomacy instead of this obdurate posturing.
Sadly my reading of the situation is very much the same, using the predictable deaths of thousands of innocent civilians to strengthen support for the cause. I do not believe that the majority of the people of Gaza support Hamas or would have agreed to this massacre had they been asked. It is notable that Hamas have not risked an election since 2006 when they were first elected, that suggests that fully half of the populating has never had the opportunity to have a say.

A pox on all politicians, their intransigence destroys us all.
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Re: The Region

Post by spot »

I note widespread headlines resembling "Every Hamas member is a dead man, Netanyahu says" emblazoned on every continent this morning. I'm sure he has a far better understanding of the structure of Hamas but an indication of what "member" means in this context would provide clarity.

Wikipedia's entry gives no indication. There is apparently a leadership. Comparisons are often made between Sinn Fein's distance from the IRA back when people were shooting at each other, and Hamas' distance from the military wing. I think it's clear I have very little idea what "member" could mean. Hamas has apparently provided military training for 17,000 volunteers (again from Wikipedia) - are they members? Or is the vagueness of "Every Hamas member is a dead man" intended as a sound bite in front of the press cameras while whipping up hysteria.

There's another headline to go alongside it - "Israel says no electricity, water or fuel for Gaza until hostages released". This is usually, in the real world, called painting yourself into a corner. Hamas has one objective at the moment which is to get news footage of suffering Palestinians in Gaza onto every bulletin, day after day and week after week. The promise that there will be no electricity, water or fuel for Gaza until hostages are released is scarcely going to bring matters to a speedy conclusion and having made the announcement the war cabinet of Israel can scarcely unsay it. Both sides are set on capturing prime-time coverage and nobody has a veto.
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Re: The Region

Post by spot »

Two stories heading today's news, the first being progress with major arms shipments into Israel from America:

The Guardian
US to send more arms to Israel before expected Gaza invasion
Ground forces are gathering near the border, as UN says that Gaza is dangerously close to running out of food and water.
.
2 hours ago
AP News
US begins delivering munitions to Israel as the American death toll rises to 11 in Hamas attacks
The U.S. has already begun delivering critically needed munitions and military equipment to Israel, the White House said Monday, as the...
.
2 days ago


The other story being AP's discussion on the circumstances in which a northern front will erupt:
Israel is especially worried about Hezbollah’s precision-guided missiles, which are believed to be aimed at strategic targets like natural gas rigs and power stations. Hezbollah is also battle-hardened from years of fighting alongside President Bashar Assad’s troops in neighboring Syria.

At the same time, Hamas and Hezbollah have grown closer as Hamas leaders have moved to Beirut in recent years. While Hezbollah has largely remained on the sidelines, people close to the group say an Israeli ground offensive could be a possible trigger for it to fully enter the conflict with devastating consequences.

Qassim Qassir, a Lebanese analyst close to the group, said Hezbollah “will not allow Hamas’ destruction and won’t leave Gaza alone to face a ground incursion.”

“When the situation requires further escalation, then Hezbollah will do so,” he told The Associated Press.

https://apnews.com/article/hezbollah-is ... 788f11857b

- Perhaps that explains the repositioning of the US carrier group to within easy bombing distance of Lebanon. Not to actually bomb anyone, just to offer a little persuasion to the local decision-makers. Who's next, as Mr Lehrer once put it.

The UK does actually own a floating 100-bed medical complex, Royal Fleet Auxilliary Argus, currently en route to the Eastern Mediterranean. I'll be annoyed if it just sits there and watches. As the Guardian delicately puts it, 'The Ministry of Defence said this was “a contingency measure” to support humanitarian efforts, although it was not immediately spelled out who they would be assisting.' - https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/ ... ort-israel

The Gaza Strip's bakeries have stopped due to the absence of fuel. And the water pumps, the sewage pumps, all the electricity distribution networks and the power station. There is no running water. Israel would lose too much face to lift the siege. ‘We are just getting started’ isn't likely to be revoked.
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Re: The Region

Post by Bryn Mawr »

And this morning Israel are expecting 1.1 million people to move out of northern Gaza within 24 hours.

Given the population density, the lack of fuel and the general destruction of all infrastructure, the questions how and where to spring to mind.
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Re: The Region

Post by spot »

From what I can see, we have

What: Evacuation of Gaza City, which is the major population center of the northern half of the Gaza Strip
and Why: "for their own safety and protection", according to IDF spokesperson Jonathan Conricus
and When: 1.1 Million in Gaza Should Evacuate Within 24 Hours"
and How: On foot, clearly. They have no supplies, an average 20km to cover, they must not leave the Strip through any exit, and they must all end up south of Wadi Gaza
and Where: To the southern half (all the land up to 25km north from the Egyptian border and already home to another million Palestinians) which the IDF is also bombing at the moment
and Who: Everyone currently near Gaza City, which presumably includes those in hospital and the 1,500 women expecting to give birth over the next four weeks

- all of which comes from Voice of America at https://www.voanews.com/a/israel-1-1-mi ... 09101.html

The spokesman observed "You will be able to return to Gaza City only when another announcement permitting it is made. Do not approach the area of the security fence with the state of Israel", which is called dotting your "i"s and crossing your "t"s. I think the message implies that if you're still there when IDF forces enter the city, it's your own fault.
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Re: The Region

Post by spot »

The window for evacuation of the northern half of the Gaza Strip has been extended by 6 hours. The UN humanitarian office, OCHA, estimates that 90%-98% of the population of the northern half of the Gaza Strip has stayed put and not gone south - the words used are "tens of thousands" obeyed the IDF command.

If for once I offer the thread a personal opinion as opposed to a quote from news outlet: I would not be surprised if the current desire of Israel is to empty the northern half and seal it off permanently so that nobody has access to the area, and that the whole of the population of the Gaza Strip will become permanently confined below the sealed off section. Not much else would make sense of their instructions. But that's merely a rare moment of speculation on my part with nothing to support it.

To get a perspective on the figures, Northern Ireland saw around 3,700 people killed during sectarian violence over a 30 year period. Terrorism killed around 3,300 people in the USA during the last 30 years. The American South saw around 3,000 racist murders, predominantly lynchings, in the century between the civil war and desegregation. As of last night, 3,769 Palestinians have been killed by Israel in a seven day period including 614 children. Yet Benjamin Netanyahu keeps announcing "Our enemies have only just begun to pay the price. I won’t detail what will come next. But I’m telling you, it’s only the beginning". I'm pretty sure all my figures are accurate approximations with sources.

Either the Gaza Strip is under the control of Israel or it isn't. Either it is an enclave within Israel or it is foreign territory. The population has never been allowed to vote for representation in Israel's parliament or for any other sovereign government. The borders and population registry for Gaza are controlled by Israel, not the Palestinian Authority. When the crossings have allowed transit, several thousand Gazans received permits to work as cheap labor in Israel on a daily commute basis but beyond that a Gazan needs to be a dual national or maritime sailor to leave the Strip at all. I may, of course, be mistaken in which case I would appreciate better information here.

None of these restrictions are reasonable. Israel appears not only to have explicitly declared war on Hamas but also, implicitly but effectively, on Gazans in general.

I'll also note, without even bothering to describe the action:
"The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights, along with a number of other NGOs, has sent a letter to Israeli authorities “demanding an immediate reversal of the decision to cut off water and electricity to the security wings” to Palestinian prisoners in the ‘security wings’ of Israeli prisons."

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/ ... op-of-blog
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Re: The Region

Post by spot »

Anyone concerned at the possibility of a lack of balance in UK government demands can be reassured by today's news reports:
Police have arrested a 22-year-old woman in England suspected of having made a speech backing Hamas, despite laws forbidding explicit support for banned organisations, the local force said Friday.

The woman was detained under the terrorism act Thursday following an investigation into a speech given at a protest on Sunday in the southern English city of Brighton, police said.

Police want to speak to anyone who attended the demonstration, particularly those who may have footage of the protest and speech, said a statement from the Sussex force.

Hamas, whose gunmen launched the deadliest ever attack on Israel, is a banned terrorist organisation in the UK. The group's weekend assault from Gaza has triggered a war that has already claimed thousands of lives.

Hamas members -- or those who are found guilty of inviting support for the group -- can be jailed for up to 14 years under British law.

The arrest comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak vowed earlier this week to "hold people to account" if they were found to be supporting Hamas.

https://sg.news.yahoo.com/uk-woman-arre ... 27373.html
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Re: The Region

Post by spot »

Without wishing to prejudice outcomes, I note several news commentators have suggested Israel's War cabinet should end up with named warrants from the International Criminal Court in The Hague on a charge of ethnic cleansing. The deaths in just a single event of 70 Palestinians obeying the IDF command to head south down the main connecting road to below Wadi Gaza probably triggered the idea, along with the astonishing number of children who figure in the overall statistics of the last week. President Putin has already shown himself constrained in his foreign travel plans for similar reasons, so it's clearly not an obsolete charge.
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Re: The Region

Post by Bryn Mawr »

spot wrote: Sat Oct 14, 2023 4:36 pm Without wishing to prejudice outcomes, I note several news commentators have suggested Israel's War cabinet should end up with named warrants from the International Criminal Court in The Hague on a charge of ethnic cleansing. The deaths in just a single event of 70 Palestinians obeying the IDF command to head south down the main connecting road to below Wadi Gaza probably triggered the idea, along with the astonishing number of children who figure in the overall statistics of the last week. President Putin has already shown himself constrained in his foreign travel plans for similar reasons, so it's clearly not an obsolete charge.
Seconded
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Re: The Region

Post by Bryn Mawr »

A quote :-
O Israel, You were meant to be a land for survivors Now you are the perpetrators. Put down your guns You are inflicting what was inflicted- On your ancestors- Repeating a cycle. O Israel Holy land of hell? You are not defending You are destroying You are letting the NAZIS WIN. AGAIN AND AGAIN AND AGAIN O Israel You did not let love in You only allowed hate to enter your- Holy heart How can you the abused not see you have became the Abuser? The world shakes in pain The vibrations from your terrain take over And the hatred begins between one another Mother Earth cannot take this much longer THERE ARE CRIES FOR PEACE! PLEASE GOD BRING THIS TO THE MIDDLE EAST.

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Re: The Region

Post by spot »

The USS Eisenhower carrier group ought to be joining the Gerald R Ford on station by Friday morning, having deployed out of Boston over the weekend. There will then be more uniformed Americans in theater than Hamas members.
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Re: The Region

Post by spot »

I've just listened my way through the most unprofessional hissy fit I've heard in years on Radio 4. This was from Colonel Daniel Hagari, a spokesman for the Israel Defense Forces, and it was effectively one long scream against anyone and everyone daring to quote Hamas with regard to a large explosion at Gaza's main hospital, especially Jeremy Bowen.
Summary

Israel says a blast at a hospital in Gaza on Tuesday evening was caused by a rocket misfired by Palestinian militants
The IDF says it has evidence which shows a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket, fired from a cemetery, landed in the hospital car park
Hamas, Palestinian authorities, and other countries blame Israel for the explosion, which Hamas says killed 500 people
Israel has carried out air strikes on targets across Gaza since the Hamas attacks on 7 October
The IDF says at least 450 rockets fired from Gaza since then have landed on Gazan territory
US President Joe Biden will visit Israel on Wednesday - but a planned summit in Jordan with Arab leaders has been cancelled

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/live/world-m ... t-67141589

This was hours before President Biden arrived in Israel in an attempt to broker changes in current events after his original envoy, Anthony Blinken came back empty-handed before the weekend. I note that one consequence of the explosion is that none of President Biden's diplomatic objectives now seem possible and he might as well turn around in mid-air as spend days tapping his feet away from his office.

I'm not in the slightest qualified to assess the damage a Palestinian Islamic Jihad rocket might be expected to achieve (online estimates assume an injury radius of only 5 meters from impact: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10. ... 014.872024 ) but the hospital explosion last night caused a lot more damage than any of the rockets out of Gaza appear to have made anywhere since the fighting started, while Israel has been causing explosions of that magnitude in Gaza for the past week. There were ceilings fallen in, fires in the hospital buildings, burned-out cars in the car park and no hint that a single blast could have achieved all of that. All Colonel Hagari was asked was whether the IDF would submit their evidence to independent scrutiny and he went ballistic on a trajectory entirely of his own, refusing to address the question. It sounded more like a rehearsed nervous breakdown than an interview.

The hospital explosion has had a major effect on any potential American intervention in the near future despite the two carrier groups stationed immediately offshore. Setting aside the possibility that the explosion was accidental or mere carelessness, one might legitimately wonder which side had more to gain by sending President Biden home with no positive outcome. Yesterday's Pentagon announcement that "Approximately 2,000 U.S. troops have been ordered to be ready to deploy in response to the escalating conflict between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas" - https://www.militarytimes.com/flashpoin ... tensifies/ - won't have helped matters either.



eta: https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2023/10 ... tal-blast/ suggests that the hospital blast was a misfired Palestinian rocket, and Bellingcat is a very credible source.
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Re: The Region

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spot wrote: Sat Oct 14, 2023 1:55 amIf for once I offer the thread a personal opinion as opposed to a quote from news outlet: I would not be surprised if the current desire of Israel is to empty the northern half and seal it off permanently so that nobody has access to the area, and that the whole of the population of the Gaza Strip will become permanently confined below the sealed off section. Not much else would make sense of their instructions. But that's merely a rare moment of speculation on my part with nothing to support it.

I might even have speculated correctly, at that. The idea is definitely afloat at cabinet level.
Israel’s foreign minister, Eli Cohen, hinted that Israel may annex part of Gaza in a radio interview on Wednesday.

Cohen was reported by the Times of Israel as saying:

At the end of this war, not only will Hamas no longer be in Gaza, but the territory of Gaza will also decrease.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/ ... st-updates
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Re: The Region

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I'll offer a side-note to the Al-Ahli Arab hospital explosion on Tuesday, responsibility for which has been denied on all sides. I find it notable that there are two clusters of estimates for the number of dead, one provided by Arab sources, one by the IDF. The IDF estimate is between a quarter and a half of the other.

It is also necessary to keep track of the ratio of civilian to targeted deaths. I note there are different definitions of "civilian" on both sides of current events in the region. If it were up to me to make such a definition I'd probably suggest civilians are people who haven't planned or attempted to kill anyone. As a working definition it's not bad. I note that an Israeli strike killed the head of the Hamas-led national security forces, Jehad Mheisen, and members of his family in their house. No news source I've seen has said how many children or wives that strike killed, nor their names. Those details should be common practice and they never are.

For anyone wondering, there have now been over 1,500 children killed in Gaza in the last ten days. They were in the path of an astonishing amount of explosive damage thrown into Gaza during that period, and 1,500 children is a number which already demands an independent internationally-led criminal investigation. Nobody should just shrug them off as "collateral damage", as the American military routinely describes such deaths. 42% of Gaza's occupants are aged 14 or under, they are blameless by any criterion.

If the statistics of the last 20 years are a fair guide, we can expect roughly five times the current number of Palestinians will be killed by the IDF before things go back to a simmer. There's a summary on the first graph of https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_ ... ct_in_2023 which shows, I suggest, that a reprisal policy is still operated by Israel. Any alternative interpretation would be welcome.
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Re: The Region

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I think it is necessary, before the ground invasion of the Gaza Strip begins, for the international community to demand extreme care not to harm any civilian resident. My own impression is that the number of civilian dead is going to increase dramatically, and that this is in fact a policy decision on the part of the government of Israel which is being obeyed by the IDF.

I suggest the order, written or merely understood, is illegal. I also suggest that those responsible for the policy should face trial if they fail to conform to international law as far as the treatment of civilians is concerned, just as various leaders in the former Yugoslavia did. The present number of dead in the Gaza Strip is already an outrage and scandal and, as Benjamin Netanyahu stated repeatedly, "I emphasize that this is only the beginning".

Mr Netanyahu and his associates cannot keep believing themselves invulnerable to such prosecution. They need to be told explicitly in advance, by those they consider friends and allies, that they are mistaken. What has been happening is a massacre that no professional enlisted fighter should ever engage with, ordered by a government that has clearly dehumanized its victims.
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Re: The Region

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Posters went up online overnight calling for religious Jewish settlers to go to pray at the sacred enclosure around the Al-Aqsa mosque, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, a provocative act that has the potential for triggering unrest in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/ ... mosque-hit

As flashpoints and provocations go, that's extreme.
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Re: The Region

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Israel is never held accountable and the world walks away: King Abdullah

More from the Jordanian king:

“Today Israel is literally starving civilians in Gaza but for decades Palestinians have been starved of hope, of freedom and of future.

“Because when the bombs stop falling, Israel is never held accountable, the injustices of occupation continue and the world walks away until the next round of violence.

“The bloodshed we are witnessing today is the price of that; of failing to make tangible progress towards a political horizon that brings peace for Palestinians and Israelis alike.

“The Israeli leadership must realise that there is no military solution to its security concerns. That it cannot continue to sideline the five million Palestinians living under its occupation denied of their legitimate rights and the Palestinian lives are no less valuable than Israeli lives.”

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/liveblog ... -from-gaza

King Abdullah, king of Jordan, speaking at the Cairo Peace Summit, stating a succession of unarguably true facts.
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Re: The Region

Post by Bryn Mawr »

For as long as the US and the UK react to Israel’s demands for “revenge” with “We are 100% behind you, here are the weapons you need” there will never be justice or accountability.
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Re: The Region

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As an indication of how effective the targeting in the Gaza Strip has been so far, prior to the anticipated major ground attack, I offer the following sum.

To date, 5087 people have been killed by strikes within the Gaza Strip during this month's event. 2055 of those are children (14 years and under), 1119 are women and 1913 are men.

Assuming the population of the Gaza Strip had a gender balance and that none of the women and children have been targets, roughly 794 of the deaths are targeted men.

That comes to 16% targeted deaths, and 84% "collateral damage". It suggests to me that the IDF is not very effective at minimizing civilian casualties, even in the unlikely event that all those targeted were in fact members of Hamas which is immensely improbable - "targeted" means "aimed at" which, with an air strike, presumably means members of Hamas but with a rifle means an adult male in the wrong place, both would be deaths specifically of males. A more convincing interpretation of these figures is that the IDF is engaged in a reprisal operation, regardless of any claim made on their behalf to the contrary.

The figures are all sourced, the sources are all listed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2023_Isra ... 3Hamas_war
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Re: The Region

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spot wrote: Sat Oct 21, 2023 5:42 am I'll offer a side-note to the Al-Ahli Arab hospital explosion on Tuesday, responsibility for which has been denied on all sides. I find it notable that there are two clusters of estimates for the number of dead, one provided by Arab sources, one by the IDF. The IDF estimate is between a quarter and a half of the other.

I note UK intelligence has now also attributed the hospital blast to "a rocket fired by a Palestinian militant group rather than by an Israeli airstrike". That and the Bellingcat report at https://www.bellingcat.com/news/2023/10 ... tal-blast/ make it the more likely assertion.

US intelligence has already said Washington believes the hospital blast last Wednesday was most likely because of a failed rocked fired by the militant group Islamic Jihad.

The Hamas-ruled territory has said 471 people were killed. US intelligence estimates put the toll at between 100 and 300 people, while saying this assessment could change.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/ ... -palestine
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Re: The Region

Post by spot »

1.
UN chief says humanitarian law being broken in Gaza

Let's look back at more of the remarks of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York earlier.

He said:

"The protection of civilians is paramount in any armed conflict.
Protecting civilians can never mean using them as human shields. Protecting civilians does not mean ordering more than one million people to evacuate to the south, where there is no shelter, no food, no water, no medicine and no fuel, and then continuing to bomb the south itself."

He goes on to say:

"I am deeply concerned about the clear violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing in Gaza.
Let me be clear: No party to an armed conflict is above international humanitarian law."

He did not mention either Israel or Hamas by name.

https://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-mid ... t-67201465

2.
Israel calls on UN chief to resign

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, has called on UN secretary-general, António Guterres, to resign after his remarks earlier today saying the “appalling attacks” by Hamas inside Israel on 7 October cannot justify the “collective punishment of the Palestinian people”.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/ ... st-updates
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Re: The Region

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spot wrote: Sun Oct 22, 2023 2:50 am
Posters went up online overnight calling for religious Jewish settlers to go to pray at the sacred enclosure around the Al-Aqsa mosque, known to Jews as the Temple Mount, a provocative act that has the potential for triggering unrest in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/ ... mosque-hit

As flashpoints and provocations go, that's extreme.
The Wafa news agency reports that today in Jerusalem Israeli police shut down access for Muslims to al-Aqsa mosque.

It says: “Authorities tightened entry into the mosque since the morning, where only the elderly were allowed to enter. However, this quickly changed and all worshippers of all ages were denied entry into al-Aqsa mosque, which was an unusual move not taken for months.”

It reports that Jewish residents wishing to pray within the compound were allowed entry, “in violation of the status quo”, which has been that the compound is only available for Muslim worship.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/ ... op-of-blog
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Re: The Region

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Here we have Admiral John Kirby, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications, speaking to the press today:
In a breathtaking admission that more civilians would be killed in this conflict, Kirby said:

I wish that that wasn’t going to happen. But it is. It is going to happen. And that doesn’t make it right. Doesn’t make it dismissible. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t going to still express concerns about that and do everything we can to help the Israelis, do everything they can to minimise it. But that’s unfortunately the nature of conflict.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/ ... st-updates

Well no actually, Mr Kirby. At best it's the consequence of trying to kill Hamas members in the Gaza Strip, more likely it's yet another instance of Israel's standard reprisal policy.

To repeat my comment from two weeks ago in this thread, "If Israel were to pursue the atrocity as a criminal act, just as the USA should have pursued 9/11 as a criminal act, it would avoid achieving the fundamentalists' purpose. Sadly Israel is incapable of stepping away from its predictable course. Hamas will consequently get the reaction it designed - the deaths of large numbers of Palestinians at the hands of Israel's armed forces in the full glare of world publicity". Of course the deaths in the Gaza Strip are avoidable and always have been. All it takes is for Israel to stop striking the Gaza Strip.

If I could also repeat my observation on October 8th, the opening post in the thread: "There have been over a thousand deaths reported so far. Only an incurable optimist would think the figure will stop short of five figures by November. The preponderance of the dead are civilians and that proportion will only increase". It's an absolute certainty that the number of Palestinian dead will be in five figures by the start of November and that - the deliberate reaction - is directly Israel's choice and responsibility. The correct answer has always been the arrest and prosecution of the Hamas leadership and those responsible for planning and taking part in the atrocity. The atrocity was a criminal act. The Israelis have made their "declaration of war" instead of a criminal investigation, as a cloak for what is happening today. The lessons of the US response to 9/11 have been totally ignored.
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Re: The Region

Post by Bryn Mawr »

spot wrote: Tue Oct 24, 2023 10:25 am 1.
UN chief says humanitarian law being broken in Gaza

Let's look back at more of the remarks of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres in New York earlier.

He said:

"The protection of civilians is paramount in any armed conflict.
Protecting civilians can never mean using them as human shields. Protecting civilians does not mean ordering more than one million people to evacuate to the south, where there is no shelter, no food, no water, no medicine and no fuel, and then continuing to bomb the south itself."

He goes on to say:

"I am deeply concerned about the clear violations of international humanitarian law that we are witnessing in Gaza.
Let me be clear: No party to an armed conflict is above international humanitarian law."

He did not mention either Israel or Hamas by name.

https://www.bbc.com/news/live/world-mid ... t-67201465

2.
Israel calls on UN chief to resign

Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, has called on UN secretary-general, António Guterres, to resign after his remarks earlier today saying the “appalling attacks” by Hamas inside Israel on 7 October cannot justify the “collective punishment of the Palestinian people”.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/ ... st-updates
I’d suggest the the Israeli ambassador should resign on humanitarian grounds. He might be doing his job but …
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Re: The Region

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spot wrote: Tue Oct 24, 2023 10:25 amIsrael’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan, has called on UN secretary-general, António Guterres, to resign after his remarks earlier today saying the “appalling attacks” by Hamas inside Israel on 7 October cannot justify the “collective punishment of the Palestinian people”.
And a further comment by Israel’s ambassador to the UN, Gilad Erdan:
Erdan said Guterres should resign, calling the speech “shocking”, saying “he views the massacre committed by Nazi Hamas terrorists in a distorted and immoral manner”.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/ ... op-of-blog


This is sheer hysterical ranting. "Nazi Hamas terrorists"?

There was no Palestinian involvement in the Holocaust, and the sole justification any Israeli has in using the word "Nazi" is to invoke the Holocaust.

In the context of this month's deliberate flensing of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, that is more likely to backfire than to get world opinion on-side. Those in Hamas who were involved in the massacre of Israeli citizens on October 7th are criminals and should be tried as criminals, there's no possible reason for tagging them "Nazis".
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Re: The Region

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In this time of war, the health ministry in Gaza has been given its own health warning. Joe Biden has questioned the reliability of its reporting of the number of people killed and wounded during the Israeli assault on Gaza – because the health ministry is run by Hamas.

“I have no notion that the Palestinians are telling the truth about how many people are killed. I’m sure innocents have been killed, and it’s the price of waging a war,” the US president said. “But I have no confidence in the number that the Palestinians are using.”

On Thursday, the ministry said the Israeli bombing of Gaza had killed 7,028 Palestinians, including 2,913 children, in the nearly three weeks since Hamas killed about 1,400 Israelis and abducted more than 200 others in its cross-border attack.

In a move to head off allegations of fabrication, the ministry also issued a 212-page list of the names and identity numbers of every Palestinian it says has been killed in the Israeli bombardment.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Biden to apologise for his “shocking and dehumanising” remarks.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/ ... h-ministry

President Biden is clearly a shoddy excuse for humanity if that's the best he can offer.

The question is, who else are you going to believe? Who else is allowed into Gaza to report on what happens there? None of the professional press corps unless they happen to be Gazans and live there to begin with. There are local controllers of UN agencies there who verify the conditions. Is President Biden trying to imply these deaths in the Gaza Strip have not happened?

The Council on American-Islamic Relations called on Biden to apologise for his “shocking and dehumanising” remarks.

The council’s director, Nihad Awad, said: “Journalists have confirmed the high number of casualties, and countless videos coming out of Gaza every day show mangled bodies of Palestinian women and children and entire city blocks levelled to the ground.

“President Biden should watch some of these videos and ask himself if the crushed children being dragged out of the ruins of their family homes are a fabrication or an acceptable price of war. They are neither.”

President Biden should be reminded, in case he's forgotten, that he has 10,000 armed uniformed military personnel sat on their larded backsides within an hour's ride of the Gaza Strip. The President might start redeeming his country's abysmal military record by ordering them to the border crossings, preventing the current air strikes and incursions and sending every relief truck through the Rafah entry point as efficiently as possible.


But Thursday, in response to U.S. doubts over its figures, the ministry released a 212-page report listing every Palestinian killed in the war so far, including their names, ID numbers, ages and gender. A copy of the report shared with the AP names 6,747 Palestinians and says an additional 281 bodies have not yet been identified. The list did not provide a breakdown by location.

The ministry never distinguishes between civilians and combatants. That becomes clearer after the dust settles, when the U.N. and rights groups investigate and militant groups offer a tally of members killed. The Israeli military also conducts post-war investigations.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/20 ... story.html

And since I can do trivial sums just as well as a roomful of American analysts can do them, the 7028 deaths listed include, to within 50 or so, 700 males at targeted locations who may be presumed to be Hamas members. That leaves 9 out of every 10 dead in the Gaza Strip as civilians. My sole assumption is that all the women and children on the list are counted as civilians, nothing else.
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Re: The Region

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More than 250 British lawyers, including eminent KCs and professors of law, have called on the UK government to press for a ceasefire in Gaza, saying serious breaches of international law are being committed.

The lawyers have written to the prime minister, Rishi Sunak; James Cleverly, the foreign secretary; and Grant Schapps, the defence secretary, setting out what is in effect legal advice regarding the Israel-Hamas war.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/ ... re-in-gaza


The letter can be downloaded at https://lawyersletter.uk/

The British government can't claim it wasn't told.

The letter is definitely worth reading end to end. It's extremely clear.

The reason Israel has not mounted its full-scale invasion of the Gaza Strip is speculated widely in the wider world to be that the leaders of the IDF have insisted on explicit orders from Israel's war cabinet before moving in, and Israel's war cabinet members are reluctant to put those orders in writing as evidence against them later in court. If this were true it would be both surprising and welcome, though quite why the IDF leadership should dig their heels in after all these years of arrogant complicity is a bit of a puzzle.
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Re: The Region

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UN General Assembly votes to call for immediate humanitarian truce in Gaza

The UN’s general assembly has overwhelmingly called for an immediate humanitarian truce in Gaza.

The resolution, drafted by Arab states, passed with 120 votes in favor, while 45 abstained and 14 - including Israel and the US - voted no, Reuters reported.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/ ... op-of-blog
The UN agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) said 14 additional staff members have been killed in Gaza in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 53 staff killed since 7 October.

Among those killed were 13 staff members who were killed in their homes with their family members during strikes, it said in its latest update on Friday.

- and that does not sound even slightly accidental.

Internet and mobile connections have now been cut off and remain off throughout the Gaza Strip.
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Re: The Region

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spot wrote: Sun Oct 08, 2023 10:08 amThere have been over a thousand deaths reported so far. Only an incurable optimist would think the figure will stop short of five figures by November. The preponderance of the dead are civilians and that proportion will only increase.


The quoted text was posted in this thread's OP on October 8th. This is a review of the first 25 days between the start of the present conflict on October 7th and deaths up to and including yesterday. Two or three times as many Palestinians have now been killed by the IDF in the Gaza Strip in just 25 days than died there of Covid-19 during the entire three year pandemic. Wearing a mask doesn't protect against air strikes, facing a viral outbreak in one of the densest populated areas on earth is trivial by comparison.

The total number of reported killed, Israelis and Palestinians, as of yesterday, is 12,317.

Of those, the number of Palestinians reported killed is 10,576 and the number of Israelis reported killed is 1,744.

Palestinians killed within the Gaza Strip are currently reported as 9,061. Some of these were men targeted and killed by the IDF as criminal Hamas members, the others have been described with the euphemism "collateral damage".

To break that figure into targeted and collateral I make the following assumptions:
  • No woman has been targeted in the Gaza Strip by the IDF as a criminal Hamas member (or for any other reason)
  • Nobody aged 14 and under has been targeted in the Gaza Strip by the IDF as a criminal Hamas member (or for any other reason)
  • The demographics of the Gaza Strip show a roughly equal proportion by gender, so the number of untargeted men killed will be roughly the same as the number of untargeted women killed, currently 2,326.
  • The number of Hamas members in the Gaza Strip is roughly 40,000 male adults (see https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-ea ... 023-10-13/ )
I would appreciate and will address all criticism of these assumptions. It is possible, for instance, that Hamas has a hidden graveyard where members are buried without being counted by the Gaza Ministry of Health as dead, but that sounds contrived. It's equally the case that there may be a thousand dead Palestinians under the rubble for whom the ratio differs to some unknown extent, in which case their number will become evident later - certainly there must be some, though reasons why the ratio for those bodies might differ from the majority accounted for are not immediately obvious.

On the basis shown, roughly 649 men have so far been targeted and killed by the IDF as Hamas members. Of other men killed without being targeted, approximately 130 were also randomly Hamas members. The other 8,282 are "collateral damage" non-Hamas Palestinians making up 91.4% of the Palestinians killed within the Gaza Strip, of whom 4,522 were aged 15 and over and 3,760 aged 14 and under. The number of Hamas members killed in the Gaza Strip, 779, is 8.6% of Palestinians killed within the Gaza Strip and 1.95% of the estimated Hamas membership in the Gaza Strip of 40,000. The ratio of non-Hamas people killed within the Gaza Strip to the number of Hamas members killed within the Gaza Strip is 10.6 to 1.

To implement "Every Hamas member is a dead man, Netanyahu says" will take, at the current rate, somewhere between 3.5 years and 18 years. That's 3.5 years if the IDF can continue to identify a location for each of the 39,221 remaining Hamas members within the Gaza Strip and Hamas accepts no new recruits, or 18 years if it takes the killing of every Palestinian currently confined within the perimeter wall in which case fresh local recruitment into Hamas will become irrelevant. Or, who knows, the IDF might just speed matters up instead.

If, on the other hand, an unstated and publicly denied reprisal policy is being enacted, we can expect the killings to all be over by Christmas with a death toll of Palestinians killed within the Gaza Strip roughly either side of 30,000. Short of evidence to the contrary, that seems the likely present intention. The evidence in favour is previous IDF responses over the last generation or two, and I don't believe Netanyahu is adequate to achieve his ambitious "Every Hamas member is a dead man" policy because overblown extremist politicians rarely are.

The criminal Hamas leadership will undoubtedly try to extend the deaths of Palestinians within the Gaza Strip at the hands of the IDF for as long as possible, having managed to kick it off in the first place. For as long as Israel's politicians continue to allow Hamas to dictate the agenda, Hamas will remain in charge of events. I would much rather Israel's politicians broke that link but they seem incapable of even acknowledging that it happens much less taking back control.

spot wrote: Tue Oct 10, 2023 4:35 pm Sadly Israel is incapable of stepping away from its predictable course. Hamas will consequently get the reaction it designed - the deaths of large numbers of Palestinians at the hands of Israel's armed forces in the full glare of world publicity.
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Re: The Region

Post by spot »

I should, I suppose, document the present setback to the political career of Israel's heritage minister Amichai Eliyahu.

Should I? Any encouragement there from the back of the circle?

Let's.
Israel’s Heritage Minister Amichai Eliyahu was suspended indefinitely after he said in an interview that dropping a nuclear bomb on the Gaza Strip was “one of the possibilities,” the government announced on Sunday.

“Eliyahu’s statements are not based in reality,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement on X.

Israel and its military “are operating in accordance with the highest standards of international law to avoid harming innocents,” the prime minister added.

A member of the ultra-nationalist Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) party, Eliyahu earlier on Sunday claimed in a radio interview that since there were “no non-combatants in Gaza,” using an atomic weapon on the Palestinian enclave was “one of the possibilities.”

Eliyahu later sought to rectify his statement, saying it was “clear to all sensible people” that his reference to nuclear weapons had been “metaphorical.”

https://www.politico.eu/article/israel- ... hamas-war/

Since there were "no non-combatants in Gaza", the man says. All of the adult women are, he notes, combatants. All the children aged 14 and under, down to babes in arms, down to those supposed to be given birth next Thursday, they are all combatants. Because, by contrast, if they were actually non-combatants then they would not deserve death, but because they are in fact all combatants then killing every one of them is a perfectly acceptable solution. Provisions of international law notwithstanding, of course.

None of that bothers me at all. That is within the meaning of a reprisal operation. If someone kills one of yours, obviously you kill the entire village instead of arresting the criminal. Pay attention at the back, I am clearly the voice of ironic disgust here, I don't actually suggest any of these excuses are valid, okay? Amichai Eliyahu is unhinged, he is demented but he was also a minister in Israel's government when he made his statement though inexplicably he wasn't then taken out of the building in a straitjacket. This is the minister in charge of Israel's heritage, how ironic do things have to get.

None of that is the story. I'm getting there, I just need to calm down a bit first. Right, here we go.

It has to be clear to all sensible people that his reference to nuclear weapons had been "metaphorical", he says while clawing back from this pit he had just dug.

And I have to ask, what exactly is dropping a nuclear bomb on a populated strip of land containing two million people a metaphor for, exactly. Because if it's not a metaphor for genocide I'm a bit stuck, my mind doesn't stretch to any variant metaphor. You drop a nuclear bomb on something because it's both indiscriminate and non-survivable. It kills everyone. Killing everyone is the action for which dropping a nuclear bomb on them is the metaphorical suggestion.

Except, of course, Israel and its military “are operating in accordance with the highest standards of international law to avoid harming innocents,” the prime minister added.

Well he would say that, wouldn't he. For anyone wondering how much he or his war cabinet goes along with that pious sop, his Defence Minister is relevant too:

Defense Minister Yoav Gallant says he has ordered a “complete siege” of the Gaza Strip, as Israel fights the Hamas terror group.

“I have ordered a complete siege on the Gaza Strip. There will be no electricity, no food, no fuel, everything is closed,” Gallant says following an assessment at the IDF Southern Command in Beersheba.

“We are fighting human animals and we are acting accordingly,” he adds.

https://www.timesofisrael.com/liveblog_ ... d-or-fuel/

And for those with short memories as far as metaphor goes, the following quote refers to the Rwandan precedent:

during the 100 days of the genocide, derogatory terms and coded euphemisms were used to direct killers to their victims. Understanding these speech acts helps to illuminate the important ways that power is enacted through discourse, how speech acts can prepare the way for physical and material acts, and how speech generates permissions for actions hitherto uncountenanced.

https://academic.oup.com/book/34639/cha ... m=fulltext
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Re: The Region

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People will note there has been very little to say about the Gaza Strip over the last two weeks. The British public have protested in large numbers to try to embarrass British politicians into attempting to do something political internationally. Britain's politicians have refused, so no difference there. No difference in Ukraine either, come to that.

The end result in the Gaza Strip is now down to four possible outcomes. If I may, I'll describe them.

For those who have not been paying attention, the criminal Hamas members who organized and performed the events on 7th October did so in order to force Israel's government to kill Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in large numbers. The consequence is that Israel's government ordered the killing of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip in large numbers, because that's predictably what Israel's government does every time in these circumstances, their reaction is automatic, Israel's government invariably reacts that way, it's the only reason criminal Hamas members organize and perform these atrocities which kick-start the reaction the criminal Hamas members desire.

So - end result number one. An international political intervention. It isn't going to happen. If it were to happen then the killing would stop. Without it the killing will only stop when Israel inexorably reaches its reprisal ratio of 20 dead Palestinians for every dead Israeli which has been a standard average throughout the present century. Before anyone would like to claim otherwise, perhaps they'd like to go and check first. It's the same standard average that the US and UK armed forces used throughout the present century when fighting in occupied territory, it's what happened during the occupation of Afghanistan for example. I suggest it also applied in Iraq but it's hard to know - "We don't do body counts", if anyone remembers that despicable professional merchant of death General Tommy Franks.

Where were we. Result numbers 2 and 3, which are terribly similar. Number 2 is called "It'll all be over by Christmas", when the number of Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip will reach around 27,000. It's really bad form to make estimates without showing your workings but there you go, just assume Mystic Meg has prognosticated and check back with the thread next year. My very unpleasant rough spreadsheet is called Gaza Strip projected 18/11.ods, you can ask for it in 2024. Number 3 is a couple of columns to the right and during January would take the number of Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip to around 30,000 with a full 20 to 1 ratio instead of just 18 to 1. Results 2 and 3 are effectively the same thing. In either case the number of Hamas members killed within the Gaza Strip will remain fewer than 10% of the number of Palestinians killed in the Gaza Strip but then, that's the nature of reprisal killings. It's why they're outlawed, which in turn is why Israel's government denies ever operating such a policy. Result numbers 2 and 3 do not require any increase in the rate of deaths since the IDF began killing people in the Gaza Strip, just more of the same.

I offered a fourth result, which would involve Israel's war government actually going ahead with Benjamin Netanyahu's promise when he ordered the attack, the military execution of every Hamas member within the Gaza Strip. I don't believe the IDF would implement that if he ordered it but it would take several more years to get even half way through such a policy.

I hope every medic on the two US carrier groups and the UK's Primary Casualty Receiving Ship Argus, all within a helicopter's ride of the Gaza Strip, will feel personally culpable for the rest of their lives by just spectating instead of saving life. If they're not morally compromised by all this then there's no meaning to the word.
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Re: The Region

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I have another observation I think worth making, though it is not necessarily a helpful one to make. It stems from Jeremy Corbyn's quote and the article in the Guardian:
Corbyn wrote that he “deplore[d] the targeting of all civilians”, including Hamas’s killing of about 1,200 people in Israel on 7 October.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/20 ... s-demurral
People do hedge their vocabulary a lot in these discussions, including me. I haven't mentioned those who planned and executed the killings on 7th October as anything other than criminal Hamas members, for example. And while I don't find the label "terrorist" particularly helpful in any political context, yes of course they're also terrorists. Terrorists kidnap and kill people to provoke a disproportionate reaction from those opposed to them. I don't engage in terrorism. Terrorism is a means of effectively opposing an occupying force and my country isn't occupied. When we approve of it we call it resistance, like the French resistance or the Norwegian resistance. Even when we disapprove of it we can legitimately refer to the Taliban resistance. All three instances employed terrorist methods because they lacked the power of a national military force. The Vietnamese resistance was sufficiently well resourced that it actually had an army, though no air cover and no navy as far as I recall, which is why the term "Vietnam War" distinguishes that occupation from the earlier three conflicts, because South Vietnam was fighting a real army in a real civil war with the North.

As to "collateral deaths" though, I would suggest the criminal Hamas action of 7th August was clearly more aware of the distinction between civilian and armed targets than the IDF reaction has since been in the Gaza Strip. At first sight that might appear unlikely, since I don't recall seeing it suggested anywhere else. Even so, the 1444 deaths and kidnappings of people outside the Gaza Strip around October 7th involved fewer than 3 civilians for every service (339 IDF, 58 police and 10 Shin Bet) target or random victim. The IDF reaction in the Gaza Strip, by direct contrast, has killed in excess of 10 civilian Palestinians for every targeted or random Hamas (or any other militant organization's) member. I think I'm using a reasonable definition of civilian as someone who has neither planned nor practised the death of anyone. I exclude the entire membership of both Hamas and Islamic Jihad from the civilian category - together they form 2% or 1 in 50 of the residents of the Gaza Strip.

I note in passing that around 2.5% or 1 in 40 of all 40,000 Hamas and 8,000 Islamic Jihad members in the Gaza Strip have been killed by IDF targeted and untargeted strikes, in addition to the approximately 3.5% or 1 in 30 of the combined memberships who died on or around October 7th outside of the Gaza Strip.

I have never liked the word "terrorist", it has always struck me as inflammatory and biased. Whenever you're in a place which has lost a war and has no national armed force and is under military occupation or detention by a foreign power and you take up arms against them, the appropriate word is invariably resistance fighter. Churchill thought the same with regard to activating British Auxiliary Units after a German occupation. Every American I've ever spoken to has thought the same so long as they were discussing foreign armies occupying the American Homeland. Either the conversation is balanced or it depends on which side you blame for the overall situation. I think everyone should try hard to be balanced when discussing these issues.
The MP for Islington North added: “If we understand terrorism to describe the indiscriminate killing of civilians, in breach of international law, then of course Hamas is a terrorist group.

“The targeting of hospitals, refugee camps and so-called safe zones by the Israeli army are acts of terror too; and the killing of more than 11,000 people, half of whom are children, cannot possibly be understood as acts of self-defence.

“We should not entertain questions from those who have no interest in applying this basic consistency.”

[...] “Ultimately, we do not just have a responsibility to end the bloodshed.

“We have a responsibility to stop bloodthirsty voices from dictating the terms of debate, and to push back against cynical attempts to distract us from our urgent goal: bringing about an immediate ceasefire.”
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Re: The Region

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According to the Government Media Office, as of 18:00 on 23 November, more than 14,800 people have been killed in Gaza, including about 6,000 children and 4,000 women. This office, which is under the de facto authorities in Gaza, has been reporting casualties since the Ministry of Health in Gaza stopped doing so on 11 November, following the collapse of services and communications at hospitals in the north.

https://reliefweb.int/report/occupied-p ... -update-51

I'd note that the total estimated here is just 11 different to the independent projection on my spreadsheet for the same date. The estimated number of children differs by 97 and the estimated number of women differs by 34.
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Re: The Region

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The total number of dead within the Gaza Strip became uncountable once the IDF occupied the North and then below Wadi Gaza. There is now no mechanism for recording all the deaths in all the hospitals, which is what was being done until then. Most of the hospitals are unable to treat anyone. I would be surprised if the criminal Hamas government's employees at the Ministry of Health are still working, or that their office workstations are still usable.

I can project the figures that existed before the ten-day hostage exchange period to estimate the total number of deaths of Palestinians within the Gaza Strip resulting from IDF strikes and occupation from October 7th to today. It has two portions, those buried by rubble still to be located, but recordable as missing, and those buried by relatives and volunteers and currently listed in more and more scattered and currently inaccessible records.

A reasonable minimum of those buried by rubble still to be located is around 6,000. The alternative figure published yesterday by Al Jazeera yesterday quoting a criminal Hamas spokeman is 8,000 - https://www.aljazeera.com/news/liveblog ... journalist and I would assume a couple of thousand of those, at most, would be targetted criminal Hamas fighters.

The same source yesterday offered 18,787 for the remainder. My estimate, made before checking the Internet and still displayed on my calculator, was 18,600. That would include roughly 7,500 children and 5,000 women. I would assume it also includes up to 800 additional criminal Hamas members caught up in the strikes while not being targetted.

Rishi Sunak used the word ceasefire today. He claimed he'd been calling for one for a long time now, which is a barefaced lie. He then named conditions which includes no more rockets out of the Gaza Strip which is pure fantasy land, partly because some of the rockets are from organizations not under the criminal Hamas organization's control but mostly because the criminal Hamas leadership has no desire whatever to reach a stalemate - the more pressure they can put on Israel's government to keep their self-declared war going in the face of mounting world pressure the happier the criminal Hamas leadership will get, which is why they provoked it in the first place. There is no possible endgame in which the criminal Hamas organization will cease to exist, and Israel is stuck with their knee-jerk promises to keep on fighting until the last criminal Hamas fighter is dead and all hostages, dead or alive, returned. As it stands, any time anyone pops off a dozen rockets out of the Gaza Strip, Israel is incapable of standing aloof and not responding with overwhelming retaliation in which mostly civilians will die. These inevitable responses are ill-judged, stupid and self-harming, but that won't prevent Israel's war cabinet from ordering them.

The underlying problem is the rest of the world refusing to take matters in hand. Israel claims that the Gaza Strip is a separate sovereign country which just happens to have no recognition. That's the lie which needs to be determined by the world at large. The Gaza Strip is clearly not a sovereign country. It has no control of its own border, it has a continuous fence completely enclosing it (including Israel's naval squadrons blocking international movements at sea), the correct description of the Gaza Strip is an internment camp created and externally policed by Israel. There are international treaties breached by governments maintaining internment camps. I would take issue with those who try to use the historically charged, deliberately offensive and inaccurate term "Ghetto" and I consider it a deflection from the point, The point is that eventually, if Israel's government and IDF continues to kill such a disproportionate number of extremely innocent Palestinians in reprisal attacks, an international tribunal is going to place those responsible in a dock and try them for it. For the record, the number of demonstrably innocent Palestinians killed is now more than double the deaths during the Srebrenica massacre.

The "Ghetto" spat is documented here:
Masha Gessen, a Russian-American writer and activist, has been awarded a German literary prize in a scaled-back ceremony after a backlash over an article that compared Gaza to a Jewish ghetto in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe.

Gessen had been due to receive the Hannah Arendt Prize for Political Thought at city hall in Bremen, northwest Germany, on Friday, but the ceremony was called off after the Heinrich Böll Foundation, which sponsors the prize, and the city’s Senate withdrew support.

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/liveblog ... journalist
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Re: The Region

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31m ago00.35 GMT

Israel will appear before the international court of justice (ICC) in the Hague to defend itself against accusations of genocide lodged against it by South Africa last week in relation to its attack on Gaza, the newspaper Haaretz reports.

The decision was made during a meeting chaired by prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and followed consultations with the justice ministry, the military and the national security council, the Israeli paper reported. Israel will now try to prevent the court from issuing an interim order seeking to halt its campaign in Gaza.

At the end of a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu – and following a series of consultations between the Justice Ministry, the IDF and the National Security Council – it was decided that Israel would try to prevent the court from issuing an interim order that would seek to halt the campaign in Gaza.

In its application, South Africa said:

The acts and omissions by Israel complained of by South Africa are genocidal in character because they are intended to bring about the destruction of a substantial part of the Palestinian national, racial and ethnical group.

In response, Israel’s foreign ministry accused Pretoria of spreading a “blood libel” and said its accusations lacked “both a factual and a legal basis”.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/live/ ... l-southern
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