Israel-Palestine Round 2014: Mutual Assured Destruction not the correct recipe

Israel-Palestine Round 2014:

Mutual Assured Destruction not the correct recipe

The latest round of violence in the Israel-Palestine saga reinforces a few timeless truths.

They are:

  1. attempts at mutual slaughter achieve nothing but mutual slaughter;
  2. persisting with a politically-biased external mediator returns nothing but frustration; and
  3. an unreformed United Nations wringing its hands on the touchline ensures the continuation of a politically-biased external mediator.

The latest round of violence was sparked by the abduction and murder of Israeli teenagers.  The script for the next act can immediately be written, scene-by-scene.  The IDF launches unfriendly incursions into Palestinian neighbourhoods.  Hamas fires rockets into Israel, which ineffectually bounce off the Dome.  The Israeli military machine is woken from its light sleep and dutifully rains destruction on Palestine-Gaza. The world stands witness, silent and impotent.

At no stage does any relevant leader possess the insight, and display the courage, to go against the default atavism that so deeply characterises the relationship, and appeal for self-restraint, staking his/her office on it.

At no stage does the Palestinian leadership marry a rhetorical condemnation of abduction with a policy of non-violence.  At no stage does Israel marry its insistence on democracy and secure borders with a readiness to abide  by the rule of international law, as determined by others and not by itself.

Israel has ignored the latest calls from the UN secretary-general for restraint.  Collateral damage or civilian casualties from Operation Protective Edge continues to climb.  Latest reports have the death toll rising towards 100 civilian casualties with over 500 injured.  Should Israel decide to invade Gaza with a ground force the potential for far more civilian casualties will grow.

When Israel invaded the Gaza strip in 2009 more than 1400 people were killed. The United Nations condemned their actions in a 500 page report.  The world and New Zealand needs to act now to prevent such a terrible loss of civilian life occurring again. As depositary government of the 4th Geneva Convention on the Protection of Civilians in Time of War, Switzerland should convene a special meeting of the parties to consider potential violations of the Convention, particularly Common Article 1 and Art. 146.

The bilateral military relationship between Israel and Palestine is highly asymmetric – the USA makes sure about that.  In any exchange, the number of Palestinian deaths far outnumbers Israeli deaths.  But the political relationship is not asymmetric.  And mutual destruction is assured in an existential sense, because pride, along with fear and grievance, drives the relationship, and that will not be altered by rivalry in numerical death.  That is the final truth to be entered into the political-moral calculus that  shapes the relationship between two great peoples.

New Zealand should condemn the rocket attacks by Hamas and by Israel; call on Israel to abide by all decisions and advisory opinions made in international law; and call on the United States to halt military assistance to Israel and to abide by majority vote on the subject in the Security Council.

37 Comments Posted

  1. “No Sam, fights for territory and the resources contained therein have been a single constant in human occupation of earth. To think we have reached a higher plateau in naive.”

    Complete nonsense. The vast majority of human beings have not, and do not, spend their time trying to conquer other people.

    Your simplistic dichotomy – assimilate or fight is easily proved false – there are many other options, as Maori proved in their decision to give up warfare. They didn’t give up struggling in other ways.

    “If the Greens were to get 51% of the vote in September (get the MIGHT) they will exercise their vision of how to govern the country (enforce the RIGHT”

    Much as I disagree with electoral processes, gaining the consent of the governed through an election isn’t an example of employing might.

  2. SPC,

    The struggle resource allocation is happening in the campaign to the September election. It is not just between two peoples but between the haves and the others.

    Absolutely true, situation normal. No different to the situation in Gaza. Unpalatable as it may seem to Sam, MIGHT IS ALWAYS RIGHT.

    If the Greens were to get 51% of the vote in September (get the MIGHT) they will exercise their vision of how to govern the country (enforce the RIGHT).

    For is that not the whole reason for being of, not just the Greens, but every political party?

  3. Co-exist means that a compromise or accommodation is made, however it is still assimilation by the minority into the majority.

    Maori assimilated into the dominant European culture and the resultant compromise is currently assimilating (though very slowly) into an Asian culture.

  4. More a case that Israelis would suggest Palestinians go to other Arab lands, and the Arabs that the Jews go back to Europe or go to the New World. The Maori would suggest Oz to us.

    However having become so practiced to decide things via the vote, we merely nibble on our victories rather than swallow whole the defeated, so we co-exist.

  5. Actually it is an interesting scenario that Sam raised. Armed Maori retake their colonised land back.

    What will Tauiwi do and what will Maori do to control Tauiwi. Israel have successfully “warehoused” Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.

    What will the re-coloniser do? “Warehouse” all Tauiwi where?

    Should be a fun discussion possible outcomes, for Tauiwi have two choices. Fight or assimilate as Tauiwi in Maori culture.

  6. The struggle resource allocation is happening in the campaign to the September election. It is not just between two peoples but between the haves and the others.

  7. Sam,

    I guess we wouldn’t see any complaints from you if groups of Maori decide to get armed up and re-take this country?

    You mean “try” and retake?

    Yep, no problem but don’t expect me to sit around and do nothing, will arm myself along fellow like minded citizens.

    Just like Hamas is doing with the Palestinians (or Gazans?)

    They are choosing to fight so either live (and re-occupy what they consider is theirs and push the Israeli’s into the Lebanon, Syria and and Iran, or die (as in bombed and shelled into extinction) by the sword.

    Only alternative is assimilation (and that can mean a number of optional outcomes from taking the Jewish faith (extreme and unlikely) to agreeing to a self ruled but friendly, autonomous region under the protection of Israel.

    That was my point to Tony.

    I’m surprised in this day and age to see ‘might is right’ accepted as ‘just the way things are’.

    Really, bearing in mind 40,000 years of human occupation on earth and the history of conquest and vanquish?

    No Sam, fights for territory and the resources contained therein have been a single constant in human occupation of earth. To think we have reached a higher plateau in naive.

    Just look at the bun fight in the Ukraine. Civilised we never will be to the point you envisage. Humans are too selfish.

  8. Sam, Gerrit is tolerating globalisation and that alone is colonising our culture. The immigration that companions it will do so as well over time. He has already noted this.

  9. Well, I wouldn’t consider Hamas to be ‘colonising’ Israel, given they are reclaiming territory that was taken from Palestinians.

    And yes – I was expecting a different answer. I’m surprised in this day and age to see ‘might is right’ accepted as ‘just the way things are’. Backing the right to colonise is a scary thought, though at leaat you aren’t hypocritical. I guess we wouldn’t see any complaints from you if groups of Maori decide to get armed up and re-take this country?

  10. in fact Sam, is that not the stated aim of Hamas?

    This is worth a read

    Towards the end of the 2nd Intifada for example, plans offering a 10 year cease-fire plan were offered in exchange for a return to the 1967 borders, pre-occupation. This would include a Palestinian State in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem as well as a long term commitment to “the right of return”. Similar cease-fire offers were made in the following years but Israel believes that demands would not stop there it sees Hamas as an extremist, Pan-Islamic group set on its destruction.

  11. Sam,

    I’m waiting for those who consider colonisation part of the natural order to declare Hamas’ right to use armed force to comquer Israel and displace the people living there, and demand the Israelis ‘assimilate’ into Palestinian culture. If colonisation is acceptable (which I emphatically deny), surely it must be OK for everyone?

    Absolutely, if they can and they believe they can, go ahead colonise.

    You expecting a different answer?

  12. I’m waiting for those who consider colonisation part of the natural order to declare Hamas’ right to use armed force to comquer Israel and displace the people living there, and demand the Israelis ‘assimilate’ into Palestinian culture. If colonisation is acceptable (which I emphatically deny), surely it must be OK for everyone?

  13. Tony,

    Your “holier than thou” attitude is unbecoming, you wont debate but will debase.

    Well don’t reply, but you are not comprehending what I wrote. Deliberate? I think so for your writing is extensive but shows little understanding of what is being said.

    History of colonisation shows the colonised either assimilate or perish. There is no third alternative called peace. Never has been, never will be.

    Palestinians have shown under Hamas rule that they would rather perish. So be it. Israel will and is obliging.

    Problem you and Lois have is that you see colonisation in a very narrow corridor in time and even narrower range of (European) perpetrators. Open your mind to the full history of mankind and you would be aware this colonisation has been a trait displayed time and time again by ALL civilisations. Even before the European arrived and “colonised” New Zealand, Maori were not averse to a bit of colonisation amongst themselves or against the Moriori.

    Yet you cannot, or more likely, will not see it.

    More off you don’t even recognise that colonisation by infiltration is occurring as we speak around the world including here in New Zealand.

    Though I suspect you do but wont face the truth. For an example of colonisation by infiltration, look no further than the Islamic religion. It is “my way” (Islam) or the highway. I don’t need to quote the Koran for you to know that one either assimilates into Islam or perish. Mind you, Islam had a good teacher in colonisation by infiltration, Christianity showed how to do it.

    That is not spoken out of fear, just understanding what colonisation is.

    Another colonisation by infiltration is Chinese. Look around the world and see examples of Chinese expansion though infiltration.

    Colonisation by infiltration alongside the physical colonisation that China will undertake in the next 50 years

    Infiltration can take many guises (physical, economic or terror) and may be by either nationalistic (think Russia in Crimea), commercial (think McDonalds) or a combination of both entities (think Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement).

  14. Kia Ora Mike,

    Thanks for your last post. Here are a few final responses to your last piece before I sign off. I am not interested in ‘winning’ a debate or scoring points, Mike, but I do hope to engage with you. I disagree with your political and historical positions on Israel, war, 1948, the Palestinian Arabs, and Islam. Despite this, it is made obvious in your posts that you harbour a passionate concern for Israel and Jewish people.

    I have decided to reply to your last post largely because of your comments about me saying one thing, and meaning another regarding Israel and Jewish people. I should have clarified my position with more care, so I will do so below. But I will reply to no more posts here.

    Finally Mike, in this preliminary part of my post- have the guts to argue your case, rather than hiding behind your fears, insults, antagonism, racial stereotypes and mythology about muslims in your next post. The issues we are debating are important, why not treat them with the intellectual respect they deserve and argue your case. I am not interesting in trampling upon your mana, or disrespecting your arguments, even though I disagree with them.

    You claimed to ‘know’ that the Arabs left Palestine in 1948 because they assumed they would win the war and would then be able to return to their homes. Even Israeli historians do not support that argument anymore, as Miko Peled has stated. You claim to ‘know’ me when you state that despite my ‘polite’ words I am plotting the death of Israel and Jews in my heart-that is your own fear, insecurity, and antagonism talking.

    When Edward Said wrote about the ‘Two State’ solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict in the United States, some Zionist Jewish Americans claimed his denotative words of peace hid deeper connotative meanings- that hidden in his words were a deeper level of meaning seeking the destruction of Israel and Jewish people. But many Jews in America were open to Said’s words of peace, Mike. I speak my truth, and put my full name behind it to back that truth up.

    I am saying this to you straight up Mike, if you can hear through your fears. Palestinians have a right to defend their communities and homes when attacked by a colonial enemy. Secondly, the long term solution to this conflict must lie in establishing peace with justice. You believe there can only be endless war and the extension of access to ‘the empty’ land of Palestine for the Israeli state. You do not believe in a peace built on justice, or any real recognition of human equality between Palestinian or Israeli- whether the Palestinian is Christian or Arab ( Christian Palestinians are oppressed and have been killed alongside Palestinian muslims). I respect your honesty, Mike even if I disagree with you on every political and historical point.

    I have made it clear that in my opinion Palestinians as a colonised people have the right to defend their lives, homes, and communities when under attack from a colonising enemy. If one’s enemy will not consider peace with justice the only alternative is to go to war to defend one’s people. Whether Hamas is destroyed or crippled in this period of conflict is irrelevant long term. Another generation of Palestinians will rise from the ashes and continue the fight against Israel because these Palestinians live in continuous and terrible conditions of poverty and oppression- and that would be a tragedy for all people.

    War is ugly and destructive. But the lessons of Frantz Fanon and ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ still stand. Bullets, Police officers, torture, and violence smashed into the colonised do not lead to the colonised surrendering- such violence reminds colonised people to attack in return and find their humanity. Colonised people around the world have fought against their oppressors, in order that the colonised can win their humanity and freedom- Jewish communities in the Second World War in Europe are a case in point.

    Palestinians are defending their communities against attack from Israel. The road to peace is largely in the hands of Israel. If Israel was to offer peace with justice ( as I have defined briefly in previous posts- by pulling out of occupied territories, ending all extensions of Jewish settlements, et al) there would no longer be a need for perpetual war, ad infinitum.

    I have also made it clear that the only long term solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict is for peace accompanied by justice to prevail. I do not support the destruction of Israel or the deaths of Jews, Mike, as I have said in my post above- that is your fear talking when you claim this as my position. There is no contradiction in saying the Palestinians have a right to defend themselves in a colonial war and saying peace is the only long term solution between Palestinian and Israeli. But on the road to peace the state of Israel must be radically transformed. It was wonderful news to hear left wing Israeli’s protesting in Israel against the war in Gaza!

    The radical transformation of Israel could be done peacefully, and in several ways. Israel could change its constitution, laws, and culture and could include all Palestinians in Israel, the Occupied Territories, and the Palestinian Diaspora as equal citizens- with the same rights and obligations as Jews- in one shared and enlarged state. The other alternative is to allow for twin Israeli and Palestinian states to come into being- built again on peace, justice, fraternity, equality, mutual recognition of borders.

    Learned people such as Edward Said and Noam Chomsky have written about such issues, and the complexities and problems associated with a smaller Jewish community co-existing with a much larger Palestinian population in the future. The United Nations, or other sanctioned parties could enforce such a peace with justice to ensure there was no betrayal by either people of an agreed upon peace- with peacekeepers, et al. South Africa suffers from terrible economic and social inequality today, especially with a fat cat ANC ruling class in charge. But the transition from an apartheid state to a post-apartheid rainbow nation was done in relative peace Mike, despite people saying there would be a bloodbath with white South Africans driven into the sea. Peace can come out of war.

    The pathway to such a peace is largely in the hands of Israel. Israel cannot wage a war in the Occupied Territories while telling the world it really wants ‘peace’. Palestinians have the right to defend themselves against an invading colonial army until a peace with justice can be won by Israeli and Palestinians together. More and more economic pressure is being placed on Israel in terms of the economic divestment campaigns- so peace with justice can prevail.

    Your points about colonisation are weak, self serving, and superficial as are Gerrit’s on the same issue above. They have a triumphalism of tone, the triumph of the colonial master exalting over the colonisation of another people. You and Gerrit know the history of colonisation in this country, and the injustices committed against Maaori. Colonisation has been a historical reality for human beings for thousands of years. But this does not make the colonisation of one people by another a ‘natural’ state of affairs. Colonisation of Aborigine, Maaori, or Pacific Island people was not ‘natural’ even if it occurred in history.

    Jewish people have been victims of colonisation and oppression in the Jewish Diaspora for thousands of years. Are you arguing such oppression and colonisation of Jews through history was ‘natural’ and in the sacred order of things? If your answer to this question is no- then why is Palestinian colonisation and oppression in the Occupied Territories acceptable or ‘natural’ today? You can’t claim Jewish people have been colonised through history while refusing to acknowledge the colonisation of Palestinians, Mike- because then all talk of ‘human rights’ ‘democracy’ ‘equality’ are rendered meaningless.

    Gerrit’s comments regarding assimilation of Palestinians into Israel were disingenuous and you supporting his argument on this matter. Palestinians cannot assimilate into the state of Israel- even Palestinians living in Israel are non-Jews that cannot buy land or homes in the state of Israel, nor do they enjoy the same legal rights as Jews. It is a nonsense to suggest the state of Israel can, or is willing to politically and legally assimilate Palestinians. Palestinians from the Occupied Territories can only come in and out of Israel if the borders are opened to them.

    Jewish people have been oppressed, killed, and colonised throughout the history of their diaspora- look at the pogroms waged against defenceless Jewish communities in the Middle Ages. Jewish people had to fight against being assimilated into dominant cultures throughout history, especially in Christian Europe- holding onto their faith and culture bravely in the process. I have read sections of Chaim Potok’s ‘Wanderings: Chaim Potok’s History of the Jews’ a wonderful book. Why should Palestinians be forced to accept political or cultural assimilation with Israel on any level today, even if this were offered?

    It is obvious you and Gerrit are talking about another kind of assimilation in your posts. You and Gerrit expect Palestinians to assimilate into a colonial reality in Palestine designed and set by Israel- where Palestinians enjoy second class status in employment, education, employment, and under the law. You are saying Palestinians should assimilate themselves to the reality they will remain in bondage to the state of Israel. Neither form of assimilation here, whether cultural or existential is ‘natural’. Jewish people have resisted both forms of ‘assimilation’ in their long history. Palestinians are rejecting your definition of assimilation and demanding equality and justice. Israel could grant this and live at peace with Palestinians if it wanted to.

    Your arguments regarding Islam lack evidential support and therefore any substance. It is obvious you harbour deep seated fear, distrust, and antagonism towards all muslims. Mapping out the road to peace will require courage, a belief in other human beings, and a willingness for Israeli and Palestinians to trust one another, Mike. Colonised people that fought against their oppressors in war became great leaders in times of peace- Amilcar Cabral, Nelson Mandela, Te Kooti in Aotearoa.

    This is my last post here, Mike. If you choose to reply, argue your case, man. Don’t present your fears, insults, and antagonisms and try and hawk them as arguments. With respect,


  15. Lois,

    But the age of colonisation is over except in Israel.

    No, colonisation (or conquest by force or infiltration) is alive and well in the Crimea and the Ukraine today.

    Wont be long before Taiwan is on the list.

    Though more likely the Paracel Islands will be first for China to colonise.

    Colonisation in New Zealand is happening by infiltration as is happening in European countries.

    USA is suffering the same.

  16. Fala
    I think Gerrit said it all, all are colonisers at some time. All.

    Your seemingly polite prose is a camouflage for your wishing to remove Israel and the Jews from where they are and all the violence that will bring to the Jewish people.
    I understand and accept that is in you, even if you can’t be honest and state the truth in your heart.

    Your position is evil.
    For if the Muslim Arab’s didn’t attack the Jews there would be peace.
    They attack because Israel is an affront to Islam and it’s existence proves Muhammad was either incorrect or a liar.
    There will be no peace until one or tither is destroyed. Mike

  17. Europeans colonized much of the world in the 18th, 19th centuries , early 20th century. But the age of colonisation is over except in Israel. India gained its independence in 1948, Ghana led the liberation of Africa in 1957. The agenda of Zionism, roundly critiqued and condemned by many Jews by the way, is and has always been: take the land, take the resources but get rid of the natives. Even within Israel itself, within the Green Line that Israel does not recognize, whole villages are classified as ‘unrecognized’, with no schools, clinics, electricity, water piped in etc. I’ve visited one of them in the Negev area, I know what I’m talking about.
    Back to Gaza, Robert Fisk has raised an interesting point. The world should be asking, why are so many people, 1.8 million, crowded into such a tiny space?
    In 1948, people in the surrounding area were forcibly driven out of their homes, their villages, their farms ..driven into Gaza. When men tried to sneak back across the Zionist guarded lines, to gather crops they had planted themselves , harvest their own fruit trees , to feed their starving families, they were called ‘infiltrators’ and shot.
    The oppression of Palestinians began in 1948 and will continue until
    international civil society takes a stand.
    By the way, some Palestinians are Christians, many are Muslim,
    some no doubt secular. They have always lived together.

  18. Tony,

    Your elegantly written prose fails to contain an in-palatable but fundamental truth.

    Colonisation or conquest has been a human trait since time immemorial.

    Just making it an “imperial” aberration is flawed as every society or “civilisation” has colonised it’s neighbour.

    Be it the Genghis Khan Mongolians, The Roman Empire, Pre-European Maori ( read, English, Dutch, Spanish, in the middle ages, or more modern day, China in Tibet or Russia in Crimea.

    Humans are colonisers.

    You may take the attitude that colonisation is wrong, and yes, it is not good being colonised. But it is a fact of life.

    Palestinians have but two options

    Fight till the last person or assimilate into the colonising power society.

    They have chosen to fight so will have to till the end or are prepared to fully assimilate (and that does not include sending suicide bombers onto buses the last time Israel opened its borders to Palestinians assimilation). Simple really.

    Now that notion will stir the sleeping!!

    You are of course aware that as we speak, New Zealand is being colonised again?

  19. Kia Ora Mike,

    Thanks for your post. I have chosen to keep my reply respectful here. There is a colonial war being imposed on Gaza here, and tempers are frayed. I believe in taking responsibility for my words, so I always put my full name in Green Blog posts. All people are equal on Green Blog posts, my korero is not special or unique, nor am I interested in preaching to people. But I do stand behind my words. Here are a few points to provide context, before I reply to your points.

    I do not support the destruction of Israel, or the death of Jewish people. But the state of Israel will have to learn to co-exist with Palestinians so that Palestinians enjoy the same rights and privileges as Israeli’s do- inside Israel and in the Occupied Territories long term. People such as Edward Said have argued for this for many years.

    I believe Israel is a state that has been waging a colonial war upon Palestinian people for many years. Palestinians whose houses are being bombed, whose people are being killed have a right to self defence and should do so, with arms, right now. I am not a supporter of bus bombings, and do not support the deaths of civilians. But Israel has imposed a reign of terror upon Palestinians in the occupied territories for many years now. What did Israel offer Hamas in return for a ceasefire in recent days? Next to nothing.

    I believe in peace, but this must be accompanied by justice. Israel cannot continue its colonial war and tell the world it is genuinely interested in peace, is interested in ‘democracy’ ‘human rights’ ‘justice. What would the Jews of the Warsaw ghetto say to the Nazi’s suggestion peace be established- providing the Jews shut up and continue living walled up in the terrible Warsaw ghettoes? I respected the resistance of the Jews in Warsaw, and other places during the Second World War, great heroes. The destruction of Jewish life in WW2 is disgusting and should never be forgotten. Palestinian suffering and oppression should also never be forgotten today- people should be against destruction and violence against communities at all times, in all places.

    Here is my reply to specific points you raise, Mike.

    There is plenty of evidence to support the fact Palestinians were driven out of their homes in 1948. Miko Peled has done archive research on the matter in Israel itself. The narrative that the Palestinian people left voluntarily is no longer supported by evidence. I saw Miko speak at a conference on Palestine in 2013 in Auckland. There is video and youtube material from Miko available online if you wish to view it.

    It has been the standard Zionist position that the land of Palestine was ’empty’ just before the formation of the state of Israel. But there has been a Palestinian Arab population in Palestine since the 7th century, and through the period of the Ottoman Empire. Take a look at ‘The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict’ (2000). The Arab Palestinian population numbered 1,033,314 people in 1931, to 174,606 Jews, according to census figures from the above booklet, drawn from Edward Said’s ‘Question of Palestine’. All of this evidence challenges your point in your post- your point that implies the Palestinians have no long term history in Palestine, and therefore no right to return to lands that belong by biblical right to Jews looking to set up the state of Israel.

    You mention 700,000 Jews forced out of Arab lands. Edward Said and Noam Chomsky have never denied the Israeli narrative and suffering. I am not interested in denying the Israeli narrative- but I am interested in challenging Zionist dimensions of the story. This terrible history of displacement is appalling. But does such an terrible event justify the historical injustices visited upon Palestinians in Palestine since 1948? The point is to get both Palestinian and Israeli communities talking so both community narratives can be heard and respected- so peace with justice can occur in the future. But I believe that Israel is waging a colonial war upon the Palestinian people. Until that war is ended, the Palestinian people have a right to defend themselves. National narratives can only work in counterpoint to one another when colonisation and colonial war end. Peace with justice is the only long term solution to the conflict.

    I believe it is Noam Chomsky who has written about the suffering of Jews living in Arab nations as a result of the creation of the state of Israel. No one I respect ( like Said, or Chomsky) has denied Jewish suffering since 1948- but people have said Palestinian suffering since 1948 has been far greater- the loss of life, life as refugees, terrible poverty, the diaspora. I acknowledge Jewish suffering, and these matters should be tabled at peace negotiations between Israel and Palestinians. But does past, post 1948 Jewish suffering justify the invasion and destruction visited upon Gaza and the West Bank since the early 70s? Look at the casualties- Palestinian casualties are much higher than Israeli ones.

    You have spoken about the ‘eternal conflict Islam and the state of Israel’. But Palestinian Muslims and Jews do live in relative peace inside the state of Israel- those Palestinians living inside Israel, not in the occupied territories. Despite living in a society where they are second class citizens under Israeli law ( as non-Jews) they live at peace with Jewish Israeli’s. Miko Peled has spoken about how deeply racist, and secular Israel is as a state.

    It is obvious from your post you harbour a deep antagonism to muslim people, Mike. But I believe there is no ‘necessary’ metaphysical conflict between Islam and Israel as you characterise it, unless you are reading Bernard Lewis ( who writes books like ‘The Roots of Muslim Rage’) and believe in something called ‘the Arab Mind’- where Arabs are all religious fanatics, terrorists, and animals whom decent human beings cannot reason with. Hitler called Jews animals- I would stand with every Jew on the planet to fight that racist antagonism against Jewish people. Why is it acceptable that Palestinian Muslims should be treated like they are animals, Mike? The narrative of the ‘eternally violent Muslim’ is a poor mechanism with which to write about the secular history of conflict between Israel and Palestinians, Mike. Not all muslims follow the edicts to wage war on ‘the people of the book’. Similarly, not all Jews follow the edicts to kill and conquer the people inhabiting the promised land in the Old Testament of the Bible, Mike.

    You raise the point about Jews being in Palestine since time immemorial. Miko Peled addresses the myth that Jews have lived in Palestine since the beginning of time.

    It is clear from the last part of your post that you are a supporter of continuous long term war in Gaza, and the imperial extension of the state of Israel by right of biblical fiat. I respect your honesty- but there will be no peace while one side unilaterally chooses to see ‘an empty land’ over disputed territory. Endless war will not end the conflict between Palestine and Israel. Palestinians will resist as is their right and duty to do in a colonial war. Netanyahu cannot say he is suing for peace, unless it is a peace imposed without justice on a colonised Palestinian people.

    Israel could end this conflict quickly by stopping their invasion of Gaza, pulling out of the occupied territories, and by refusing to build more Jewish settlements on disputed lands. Then the pressure would be on Palestinians to come to the negotiating table. Forcing the Palestinians to the bargaining table by war will not help win a long term peace- look at the lessons of Frantz Fanon concerning conflict in a colonial land in his masterful ‘Concerning Violence’ in Wretched of the Earth. Peace can only come through justice.

    This is my last post on this particular page, Mike. I have provided my vision of peace, and colonial war and the right of self defence in war for the Palestinians here Mike. I support peace with justice long term. You have written about war. What is your vision of peace for both Israeli and Palestinian? I would be interested in your reply- not for me, but for the other odd, individual soul that may come across this page. Sincerely,

    Tony Fala

  20. nada nada tony.
    I’ve read some of them and don’t agree as that’s another interpretation, you’re just preaching to the converted and fellow deceived in an echo chamber.

    You could have been honest and said that the arabs who went, went because they thought they’d win and would come back and choose the Jewish houses and farms they wanted, after the jews had been vanquished and driven into the sea with British connivance.

    or you could have said that the arabs came increasingly into Palestine in the period from the turn of the century to 1948 as the Ottomans sold crap land to them which they developed.
    but wanted the Jews as Dhimmis.
    Which after 1948 it was to never be.

    But that’s not on message is it, it doesn’t fit the narrative.

    700,000 arab refugees who have no right of return?
    and absolutely for what they did and intended for the jews.

    but you don’t mention the 700,000 jews forced out of the arabic lands where they had lived since israel was a state, some of whom lived in tents for 10-20yrs until the state could house them.
    forced out with nothing, never to return.

    This is war and has been since Mohammed mandated it in the Koran.
    Israel is an affront to Islam and that’s it.
    Everything else is to remove Israel, no matter your involved explanations and verbosity from the learned you quote.

    It’s simple, if you’re not a muslim you’re a Kafir.
    and worthy of death or Dhimmitude according to Mohammed in the Koran.

    The Jews will never be Dhimmis in Israel as they were in arab lands.
    and from that we can all take strength to confront islam and the wickedness of sharia law and its useful idiots in the west.

    its war.
    I say all of the Palestine Mandate should be given to the Palestinians it was intended for.
    The Jews.

    They make up 1% of the Middle East and it was their land and they have lived on it since Time Immemorial.

    All who support the islamics against the Jews will go the way of the British Empire.
    As they took more than 70% of The Palestine Mandate and gave it to the Hashemite Brothers for trade favours.

    Look at how that’s worked out, now they are moving down to slavery under Islam in their own lands.
    Increasing no go areas for govt and security forces, sharia courts taking basic rights away from British citizens.
    maybe they’ll move to the Nordic countries level with their women being raped out of all proportion and the police stopping reporting who the assailants are.

    No The Jewish people are in Israel and will stay there.

  21. Kia Ora Kennedy,

    I heard your talk at the National Conference on Palestine 22nd/ 23rd June 2013 in Auckland. I think your perspective is honourable and principled regarding the Israel/Palestine conflict, Kennedy, like the Greens position on many issues. I think peace and justice are worthy matters to pursue- but justice has to underpin peace. Here are a few rough thoughts to add to the korero here.

    Like many people, I have read Noam Chomsky’s ‘Fateful Triangle’; Edward Said’s ‘The Question of Palestine’, ‘After The Last Sky’ ‘Blaming The Victims’, ‘The Politics of Dispossession’ ‘Permission to Narrate’; Miko Peled’s ‘The General’s Son’ amongst other writings on the conflict.

    Like many people, I have spoken in person with Palestinians and Jews regarding the long conflict in Palestine on and off, over the last 20 years. Like many others, I have heard people such as Roger Fowler and Harry Fear speak about conditions in Gaza on the ground in contemporary Palestine, and heard accounts from Al Jazeera in recent days on the Israeli bombing of Gaza. I have also listened carefully to the voices Israeli government and IDF people speaking from an Israeli perspective.

    I hope for a future where Palestinian and Israeli can live side by side in peace. But there cannot be a true peace unless there is justice for the Palestinian people. The issues of peace with justice would appear to underpin reasons why Hamas refuses to accept a ceasefire that wins Palestinians nothing- no end to the occupation of Gaza and the West Bank.

    There are a number of things that need to be said, especially since the Israeli’s have launched a ground invasion into Gaza this morning.

    Hamas were democratically elected into power. Israel calls Hamas a terrorist organisation. But Hamas is opposed to the Israeli occupation of Palestine- an occupation that has cost Palestinians many lives.

    The Palestinian people have endured colonial occupation in the West Bank and Gaza for more than forty years now, something Edward Said wrote about in works such as ‘Permission to Narrate’. Around 80% of Palestinians in Gaza are refugees forced out of their home villages in what is now the state of Israel. People in Gaza live in appalling conditions of poverty- while just across the border Israeli settlers live in high quality modern housing, and lead good quality middle class lifestyles. Border check points prevent free movement of Palestinian people outside their own territory.

    Palestinians are used as cheap and expendable labour in the Israeli economy when borders into Israel are open. Palestinians endure imprisonment, beatings, and torture at the hands of the IDF. Schools and universities in the occupied territories are regularly shut down at the whim of the IDF and Israeli settlement authorities. IDF forces have regularly mounted attacks on people in Gaza over the last forty years, from land, sea, and air. This is the context for Palestinian resistance.

    Palestinians driven out of their land from 1948-2014 have no right of return to home villages, lands, and homes now absorbed into the state of Israel- while Jewish people can return to the state of Israel from any part of the world and enjoy full citizenship. Edward Said writes about the catastrophe of 1948 where Palestinians were driven out of their home villages in his sombre, masterful, and haunting memoir ‘Out of Place’. Israeli negotiators at peace talks have always refused to allow for a Palestinian right of return as part of any settlement. You are right Kennedy, about the need for courageous leadership on all side of the conflict. But Israel needs to show the most courage, and give justice with peace to the Palestinians.

    Despite the destruction perpetrated on Palestinian civil society, culture and life, dominant elites in both the US and UK governments persist in supporting the narrative that Hamas are ‘terrorists’ ‘the Palestinians don’t want peace’ ‘ the bombings, killings, and destruction of property delivered to Palestinians are the fault of Hamas and Fatah’. US peace settlement policy in Palestine needs to be driven by justice,(justice and long term peace for both Israeli and Palestinians, not geo-political strategic interests). Many people are challenging the dominant US and UK elite narrative now because it is obvious the Palestinians are living in a colonial state and are an oppressed and colonized people. (Edward Said would have appreciated the change in the world’s view of Palestine in the time since his untimely death).

    Conflict between Israel and Palestine is routinely treated as a ‘war’ in mainstream media- as if the present July 2014 conflict is between two equally balanced combatants- but in the latest conflict more than 230 Palestinians have died, to 1 Israeli. The latest conflict in Gaza is not a war between two equal combatants. Israel is imposing its military will on a much weaker opponent- part of a long term historical and colonial occupation of Palestine.

    The loss of one life is a tragedy for all communities on both sides of the conflict. But it is not realistic to demand Hamas stop launching rockets while the IDF continues to bomb and kill Palestinians at will in Gaza as part of a historical policy of colonisation now more than forty years old. The tragic and terrible deaths of three Israeli and one Palestinian children must be seen in this wider historical and colonial context.

    Palestinians and other Arab nations sued for peace in the early 1970s, as Chomsky found in his research for his ‘Fateful Triangle’. The Arab people asked for a return to pre 1967 war border arrangements in return for peace. Israel refused this offer while continuing to claim to the world that the ‘Arabs did not want peace’. Palestinians have agreed to recognise Israel on many occasions, even when agreements such as the Oslo Accords put Palestinians at a terrible disadvantage to Israel in terms of outcomes.

    Israeli Labour and Likud governments over the past 20 years have continued to extend Jewish settlements into Palestinian territory despite claims they are interested in the peace process- part of a ‘creeping colonisation’ policy to appropriate as much land as possible before any lasting peace settlement can be reached. The United States has criticised this settlement policy, but continues to offer Israel soft loans into the billions of dollars each year. This issue has always been a sticking point for Palestinian peace settlement negotiators.

    Palestinian people live in grim conditions in Gaza- where borders are closed and there is no escape from the territory in times of conflict unless one has a passport to another country. I would like to see a lasting peace and an end to all conflict between Israeli and Palestinian. But I believe colonized and oppressed people have the right to defend themselves, even when their oppressors label such resistance ‘terror’.

    Palestinians have the right to defend themselves when attacked by an enemy who has superior military technology and weapons at their disposal. Nelson Mandela and his people chose to defend themselves through Umkhonto We Sizwe in 1961. (I do not support bombings of civilians, the killing of women and children). But I do support the right of oppressed people to bear arms and defend their communities against attack from their colonizers. This is something to bear in mind when Israel shows no sign of stopping its war of attrition into Palestinian territory.

    If Israel wants peace with Palestinians it should end the occupation of the occupied territories.

    End military incursions into the occupied territories.

    Allow people trapped in Gaza to get free access to supplies, food, and other essentials from Egypt or other parts of the Arab world.

    Stop extending Jewish settlements into Palestinian territory.

    Israel should recognise the catastrophe of 1948 for Palestinians.

    Deal with Palestinian negotiators in peace talks with integrity- and examine all the sticking points ( East Jerusalem, right of Palestinian return, et al) with honour and justice.

    Israel should operate with an open heart to Palestinians. If Israel did this, they could table their own concerns, and issues where they feel they have been treated with injustice and antagonism by Palestinians.

    If Israel was to approach Palestinians with honour, justice, and peace in all matters- this would be a foundation for a genuine and long term peace.

    These are some rough, improvised ideas Kennedy. The truth is, words are futile when people are killing, and dying in Palestine. But I think for there to be a lasting peace, there has to be justice underpinning the peace. All the best,


  22. Lois,

    The current murderous attack on Gaza, which was pre-planned and waiting for an excuse

    I guess the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teenagers by Hamas PLUS the sending of over hundreds of rockets from the Gaza Strip is not excuse enough for you.

    Off course the response is pre-planned. Expecting the Israeli’s to not pre-plan?

    Jeez, they have only been at war since 1948. Everything is planned for.

    Even the telephone calls to a house that harbours rocket launching infrastructure or known militants, shows the level of planning the Israeli’s are capable off. They know the cell phone numbers of house holders and residents in the Gaza Strip.

    During Operation Cast Lead in Gaza in late 2008, the Israelis often used telephone calls and leaflets to tell occupants to leave before striking. In some cases, the Israelis fired missiles without explosive warheads onto the roof to get Palestinians who had gathered there to leave. The Israelis called it “the knock on the roof.” But often, as in the Khan Younis case on Tuesday, people die in any case, because they ignore or defy the warnings, or try to leave after it is too late.

    Once the known rocket sites have been eliminated and the Hamas rockets arsenal emptied, a new lull will start that last till Hamas can rearm.

    However that my not happen as quickly as before. Egypt in turmoil, Syria fighting a civil war and Iran preparing to battle ISIS expansion, not many more new rockets or rocket making raw materials, may be forthcoming for quite some time.

  23. It will never be mutual destruction. Only one side will be destroyed and that is because international action against the aggressors is non existent.

    It is a literal land grab and genocide. The USA assists.

    NZ stays quiet.

    What is going on?

  24. If we are going to accept that it is too muddled to sort out then aggressive annexation of land wins with penalty to the disposesed.

    What is the next stage you accept.

    Oh yes “Might is right,”

    Money is power unrestrained.

  25. It is high time that the Palestinian Authority was dissolved. Their role has been to suppress any signs of West Bank Palestinian opposition to the status quo. The current murderous attack on Gaza, which was pre-planned and waiting for an excuse, is a reaction to Hamas & Fatah forming a unity government ,the last thing Netanyahu wants. Netanyahu deliberately stirred up hysterical hatred. It is being displayed by mobs of Israeli youths roaming the streets of Jerusalem looking for Arabs to attack and shouting ‘death to Arabs’. Anybody with any sense of history will shudder at the parallels to scenes in Europe in the 30s. The most informed, articulate, passionate opponents of Zionism are humanitarian Jewish people, in the UK and USA and even some brave souls in Israel itself.

  26. The Palestinian Authority led by Abbas is disintegrating and even its “police force” Fatah, is siding with Hamas.

    So as far as Abbas is concerned, “it all started when Israel fired back” in response to hundreds of rockets that were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip during the past few days.

    Why did Abbas refrain from condemning or calling for an end to the rocket attacks?

    First, Abbas does not want to anger Hamas by issuing a condemnation of its rocket attacks. Such a condemnation would certainly lead to the collapse of the “reconciliation accord” that his Fatah faction signed with the Islamist movement last April.

    Moreover the Palestinian Authority faces financial problems if aid money from Europe stops arriving due to Fatah’s involvement in the rocket attacks on Israel.

    That is why Abbas finds it difficult to condemn the rocket attacks on Israel. Such a move would put him on a collision course not only with Hamas, but also with Fatah, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Movement and at least 10 other jihadi cells operating in the Gaza Strip.

    Moreover, Abbas seems to be concerned that if the world hears about the role of Fatah in the rocket attacks, the news will affect Western financial aid to his Palestinian Authority, dominated by Fatah.


    So all in all, the insurgents are not doing the Palestinians any favours.

  27. I have to wonder if it is organized enough to be actually regarded as proxy warfare from the Palestinian side. The history of that region is so broken and distorted as to make it almost impossible to imagine it being peaceful, and I am not at all certain that Hamas, or anyone else, is actually able to stop on that side.

    On the Israeli side, stopping is a matter of accepting, yet again, the deaths of civilians without any hope of justice… which is in most places a state sanctioned vengeance. One has to remember that this most recent cycle of violence began with the deaths of Israelis.

    So I am not really optimistic. There is blame and error enough to tar both sides sufficiently that the feathers will stick, neither is blameless nor innocent.

    Do we want peace there? It surely cannot happen with Hamas and now Isis stirring the pot. Can we have peace in Iraq? Surely it cannot happen with the boundaries imposed from outside the region.

    The more I learn and observe this region, the less likely I see it as ever having peace. I have been watching it as long as anyone here, and no slightest sign of getting it sorted out has ever prospered.

  28. Kennedy Graham is an experienced international diplomat. His account here is fair, although does not account for the fact that Hamas are breaching all international laws by deliberately placing children and innocents in combat positions.

    International law is FULLY on Israeli side to defend themselves, whatever your internal biases may be. Israel complies and gives Hamas a political win by letting their own children be martyrs.

    Hamas are armed to the teeth by Iran. Just imagine what happens if they get nukes.

    Greenpeace movement is about freedom for all. Hamas oppress their own people more than the Israelis 100 fold! Murder their own people and drag them behind motorcycles.

    When Hamas love their children more than they hate Jews, then maybe there will be peace.

  29. “At no stage does the Palestinian leadership marry a rhetorical condemnation of abduction with a policy of non-violence. ”

    Be nice if somebody would call upon the Israeli government to practice a policy on non-violence sometime. But it seems taken for granted that states will stockpile arms and explosives, maintain a terrorist infrastructure and employ violence when they feel so inclined. This is just ‘business as usual’ and passes without comment. So-called ‘non-state actors’ are expected to maintain higher standards.

  30. “The latest round of violence was sparked by the abduction and murder of Israeli teenagers.”

    K.G. distorts the actual facts behind this violence, either purposely or because of his ignorance surrounding this current situation in the Gaza Strip, insinuating that Hamas fired rockets into Israel in retaliation for the Israel Defense Force’s (IDF) unfriendly incursions into the West Bank’s neighbourhoods looking for the murders of the three Israeli teenagers. In fact Hamas has been firing rockets into Israel since the beginning of 2014 trying to goad Israel into a violent confrontation.

    What is Hamas doing attacking Israel knowing full well that they cannot defeat Israel with its superior strike force and inviting counter-assaults by the IDF on Hamas’s headquarters and weapons warehouses which have conveniently been placed in the middle of Garza’s population and subjecting them to distress on whose behalf they are allegedly fighting for?

    Hamas is in a precarious position. When the terror group took over Gaza seven years ago, things were different and having a relatively friendly regime in Cairo that was willing to turn a blind eye to all the missiles Iran, Syria and Hezbollah were sending over to Gaza through Sinai with Hamas’s leaders comfortably ensconced in Damascus and enjoying warm relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran. International funds flowed freely into Hamas bank accounts from Fatah’s donor-financed Palestinian Authority budget, through the Arab Bank, headquartered in Jordan, through the UN, and when necessary through suitcases of cash transferred to Gaza by couriers from Egypt. Hamas used these conditions to build up the arsenal of a terror state, with schools open and Government employees being paid. Israel was bombed. All was good.

    Today, Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, faces an Egyptian regime that is locked in a life-and-death struggle with the Brotherhood. To harm Hamas, for the past year the Egyptians have been blocking Hamas’s land-based weapons shipments and destroying its smuggling-dependent economy by sealing off the cross-border tunnels. Syria and Hamas parted ways at the outset of the Syrian civil war when Hamas, a Sunni jihadist group, was unable to openly support Bashar Assad’s massacre of Sunnis. Fatah has lately been refusing to transfer payments to Hamas due to U.S. congressional pressure to cut off the now-illegal flow of aid to the joint Fatah-Hamas unity government. As for Hamas’s banker, stung by terror victim lawsuits, the Arab Bank now refuses to transfer monies to Hamas from third parties. The UN is also hard-pressed to finance the terror group’s bureaucracy.

    In Gaza itself, al-Qaida affiliates including ISIS (now renamed the Islamic State) have seeded themselves along with the Iranian proxy Islamic Jihad. These groups challenge Hamas’s claim to power. Lacking the ability to pay government employee salaries, Hamas is hard-pressed to keep its rivals down. Given these circumstances, it was just a matter of time before Hamas opened a full-on assault against Israel.
    Jew-hatred is endemic in the Muslim world. Going to war against Israel is a tried and true method of garnering sympathy and support from the Muslim world. At a minimum it earns you the forbearance, if not the support of the US and Europe. And you get all of these things whether you win or lose.

    As for Hamas, from the outset of Hamas’s previous missile campaigns in 2009 and 2012, the Obama administration made it clear to Israel that it would not tolerate Israeli strikes that were sufficiently comprehensive to wipe out Hamas’s capacity to continue attacking Israel. In other words, President Barack Obama chose to protect Hamas – an illegal terrorist organization, waging a war of indiscriminate, criminal missile strikes against Israeli civilians – from Israel. Today, Hamas has every reason to take heart from the responses it has received from its current offensive. Unfortunately, Obama misses the point completely. As the dozen agreements Israel already signed with the Palestinians show, pieces of paper are meaningless if they don’t reflect the underlying sentiments of the populations concerned.

    Peace can only come to Israel and its neighbours when the Muslim world liberates itself from its hatred of Jews. Until that happens, everyone from Hamas to Hezbollah to Fatah to al-Qaida to Iran and beyond will continue to view attacking Israel as the best way to make a name for themselves in the world, and the best way to get the attention – and support – of the West.

  31. Lois,

    The Gaza strip is used by Iran, Syria as a testing ground for its latest weaponry…..

    You are right it is not a conflict between the Palestinian’s and the Israeli’s.

    It is a conflict between Iranian and Syrian backed Hamas insurgents and Israel.

    My point is the Gaza strip and the Palestinians have been hijacked in becoming the battleground and human shields in a war not of their own making.

    Not siding with either the side, just pointing out simple facts.

    To me the situation is intractable and strategically Israel will keep destroying Gaze Strip and West Bank infrastructure so that the problem is (as your link refers quite rightly refers) “warehoused”.

    The end game will be when the Gaza Strip and the West Bank are emptied out of enemy combatants. Then a peaceful overture can be made.

    The best result for the Palestinians would be an autonomous Gaza Strip and West Bank as part of Israel.

    But while rockets fall on either side that is not a possibility.

    So who will stop first? Not Hams nor Israel so the Palestinians are to suffer.

    Worth a read for the “end game” (there is no end game).

    Ben-Yishai believes there is a permanent gain to be made, that repeated operations in Gaza will wear the enemy down.

    He hopes that the lulls between battles will get longer and longer, “until our neighbor realizes that they cannot make us disappear. They cannot erase us from the map.”

    Levy thinks Gaza militants won’t quit until the misery there ends.

    He predicts that military intervention will set the stage for the next bloodcurdling act — and then the next.

  32. The Gaza strip is used by Israel as a testing ground for its latest weaponry..see Naomi Klein..Israel is the number one exporter of drone weaponry.

    It is not a ‘conflict’,,the Palestinians have no army, no navy, no air force..The Israelis are not only armed to the teeth but have the full backing of the world’s superpower.

    The best analyst of the situation now that I’ve seen is from Jeff Halper of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions. He was in NZ not long ago..snubbed by most of mainstream media, interviewed by Earthwise on Christchurch Community Radio


    Do I have to spell it out? Jeff is an Israeli Jewish academic and activist for justice.

    Not that long ago, many Greens were vocal in their opposition to apartheid. South Africans including Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu say that apartheid was bad but what’s being done to the Palestinians is worse.

  33. Until the Hamas militants and Iran stop using the Palestinians as cannon fodder for their anti Jewish causes, the Palestinians can expect no let up from the terror inflicted on them by both sides.

    Suggested reading

    Since the 2012 Israeli attack on Gaza that crippled Hamas, “they have been re-equipped significantly by Iran and also by weapons from Syria,” Colonel Richard Kemp an analyst with London’s Royal United Services Institute told AFP.

    Along with thousands of short-range, Gaza-built missiles, Hamas has in its arsenal Iranian Fajr-5 missiles. which have a 75-kilometre reach. But the Syrian-made Khaibars represent the most deadly weapon in the hands of Hamas.

    The Gaza strip is nothing but a launching pad for the latest Iranian and Syrian made missiles and as such can expect to be continuously targeted WHILST THE ROCKETS ARE BEING LAUNCHED FROM THERE.

    This is a no end conflict that the Palestinians (as meat in the proverbial sandwich) are sure to lose due to the actions and reactions of both Hamas and Israel.

  34. You are absolutely right Kennedy Graham and I’ll be watching to see that you do the things mentioned that are within your power once the Greens are part of the Government after September!

  35. It’s not MUTUAL slaughter..and it’s not another round..the violence against Palestinians has never ceased since commonplace that it is not ‘newsworthy’
    I don’t understand the lack of outrage..over 1300 Palestinian CHILDREN have been killed over the last 13 years, an average of
    one EVERY 3 DAYS. (source,

    Another factor which should be considered , is that a large natural gas field has been located off the coast of Gaza. Israel will want all of this valuable resource just as it has taken possession of all of the West Bank mountain aquifers.

  36. Maybe the future nz govt should declare this country to be neutral in wars and provide a facility to the world as a place to conduct reconciliations in matters of conflict so that intellectual facilities we have can be used in full to assist nations in conflict and rid this country of its bias to SUPPORTING out dated military alliances which are increasingly becoming a stigma on this nation

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