It was only a ‘unilateral’ truce anyway

January 18, 2009

For Hamas, it’s business as normal:

Rocket fire continues despite ceasefire: Palestinian gunmen fired six rockets into Israel on Sunday morning. One of the rockets hit the Sderot area, another rocket hit a henhouse in a kibbutz and a third one landed near another kibbutz.

The three other rockets also landed in open areas. There were no reports of injuries.



  1. Exactly. Go Gaza. Israel’s tactic of always wanting the final word is worn to shreds. If it was serious about peace it wouldn’t have gone over the heads of Hamas or the people of Gaza and would have attempted a negotiated settlement. Such is its contempt it didn’t even attempt that. Ceasefire, peacefire. It’s a farce.

  2. It seems Hamas is having the ‘final’ word in this case. I doubt it will be their last.

  3. I certainly hope not. Hamas is the only thing standing between the IDF and the people of Gaza.

  4. But they aren’t attacking the IDF. They are attacking the people of Sderot.

  5. At least some of the people of Sderot were opposed to and petitioned the government not to attack Gaza as they understood, if you do not, that the attacks were aimed at Israel the persecuting state, not them personally and would only endanger them even more in the long run.

  6. That’s news to me. Do you have any evidence for that?

  7. It’s been reported. I can’t remember where. It might have been on a video I saw. Can I post it here?

  8. You can post the link, certainly. I don’t think WP allows embedded videos in comments.

  9. Ok, there are two links, two (choice) videos from Israel Social TV of a demo against the Gaza attack and interviews with refuseniks, and others.

    It may not have been in these. But I definitely heard/read about the Sderot petition from Israeli sources somewhere today.

    I may as well just post the blog link. He deserves to be known. A daily cathartic favourite.


  10. Thanks for the link. Very interesting. But as you suspected, there was nothing in either video about calls from Sderot not to retaliate for the rocket barrages, or refrain from attacking Hamas in Gaza.

  11. No, but don’t you think there might have been? I didn’t make it up about the petition. I’m not a propagandist but a truth seeker (I hope). And after all, most people everywhere just want to live their lives without the threat of attack from their close neighbours. And naturally Israeli citizens living closest to Gaza would feel most vulnerable and yearn more than anything to be safe.

    If I was living in Sderot I would never feel safe under the conditions Israel has constructed. I understand it’s a relatively poor or disadvantaged populace, in any case. It’s not really a great imaginative leap needed for us far away to know what at least some of those people would – rightly – think.

  12. The last eight years, especially the last three, haven’t been too kind to the people of Sderot and the southern towns. Something like three-quarters of the kids in Sderot have post-traumatic stress disorder. Many have grown up with the threat of random rocket attacks every single day of their lives.

    And you’re right – it’s a relatively poor area, so most of the inhabitants can’t afford to move north to Tel Aviv, or somewhere else out of range. Those that can, have done. For the remainder, well, yes, there’s no great leap of the imagination required to imagine how they must feel. You’ve watched the Dana video, I think.

  13. Rob, you can’t seriously think that what people living in Sderot have experienced is in any way equivalent to or as destructive, damaging, humiliating or traumatising to the much larger, far less mobile and even poorer population of Gaza?

  14. I certainly don’t argue but what over the past three weeks the people of Gaza have suffered far more than those of Sderot. But you have to ask why, and who brought it upon them.

    There is nothing that the people of Gaza have suffered that Hamas, PIJ and the PRC have not brought on them. Nothing.

  15. Anyway, to compare and contrast suffering is repugnant even if it does have some reason.

    And, as you have partially acknowledged, as usual the poorest, the least powerful, the expendable, those deemed surplus, suffer the most – but on both sides.

    The greater Israeli project is not in interests of the majority of Jews who wish to live there and it is certainly not in the interests of a vast swathe of other peoples and countries in the broader region.

  16. I can’t believe you have enlarged the photo of that Nazi collaborator in your gravatar. It gives me the creeps.

  17. I wondered when someone would say that. Not a Nazi collaborator, LZ. Almost a one-man resistance army. Read ‘The Devil’s Music Master’, by Sam Shirakawa.

  18. So István Szabó’s work is crap?

  19. I thought Szabo’s film was sympathetic to Furtwangler? I’ve not seen it myself.

    The film TAKING SIDES not only depicts one of the darkest hours in the life of a legendary public figure, but also addresses the difficult issue of the artist’s role in a totalitarian society. Wilhelm Furtwängler is widely regarded as one of the greatest conductors of the twentieth century, a monumental figure in the world of classical music whose name still has almost mythical resonance for music lovers and record collectors throughout the world. In this penetrating look at a critical chapter in Furtwängler’s life, it is not the genius of the man that is under scrutiny, but rather his moral stance and behavior in the face of a brutal, repressive regime – The Third Reich.

    In the film, Furtwängler says: “I walked a tightrope between exile and the gallows”, and indeed the story of his life under the Nazis is a mass of contradictions, contradictions that highlight the moral dilemma of an artist when his homeland falls under the rule of a criminal political system. To leave or not to leave, to perform or not to perform, to intervene or not to intervene, to fight or not to fight – these are the questions that haunt good people in terrible times. Furtwängler’s tightrope walk with the Third Reich almost certainly saved the lives of many other people, notably Jewish musicians in his orchestra, but his decision to remain in Germany is still controversial. Given his prominence and the Nazis’ attempts to exploit his talents, Furtwängler ultimately faced a no-win situation.

    After the Nazis came to power, he visited Arnold Schoenberg, who was Jewish and had already emigrated. He asked the famed composer whether he too should leave Germany. Schoenberg told him: “You must stay, and conduct good music.” By staying he could fight the system from within, use it to save others. Many artists of the twentieth century have been faced with this same dilemma, and of course not only during the Third Reich. The great Russian composer Shostakovich’s precarious situation in the Soviet Union is another example. István Szabó himself, the renowned Hungarian director of Taking Sides, knows very well what it was like to live and work as an artist under the yoke of a repressive regime. There are those who say that Furtwängler’s musical interpretations took on a unique quality during these dark years – more daring and iconoclastic – that he grew as an artist, perhaps owing to his own inner turmoil. His concerts during the Third Reich were considered by some as islands of resistance and for many ordinary Germans a reason for staying alive.

    At the end of World War II, the Allies attempted to ferret out the Nazis and their collaborators. This “denazification” process was aimed not only at politicians, businessmen and civil servants, but also at artists like Furtwängler, who were interrogated about their activities during the Third Reich and, in the case of performers, banned from appearing professionally until their case had been reviewed and decided. Taking Sides is a fictional – albeit meticulously researched – recreation of Furtwängler’s interrogation (Ronald Harwood’s screenplay is based on his internationally celebrated play of the same name). After finally being cleared in 1947, he was offered the post of chief conductor by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra the next year, but a massive propaganda campaign mounted against him, with threatened Chicago Symphony boycotts by a number of leading artists, forced him to withdraw from the appointment. He never performed in America again after the war and died in 1954.

    From DG.

  20. No, “Taking Sides” wasn’t at all “sympathetic”, though not one-dimensionally condemnatory either. I have to confess I knew and still know very little of Furtwangler apart from this film, but the memory of it is strong. Taking Sides was very like Szabó’s other films, Mephisto, Colonel Redl and Sunshine which were all about the pressures on artists, iconoclasts, homosexuals still living in Germany (or Hungary in the case of Sunshine) to conform to the Nazi regime and its ethos.

  21. “…all about the pressures on artists, iconoclasts, homosexuals still living in Germany (or Hungary in the case of Sunshine) to conform to the Nazi regime and its ethos.”

    I’m tempted to say that that brings us neatly back to Gaza, LZ, where just a couple of weeks ago Hamas proclaimed Sharia law.

    A cheap shot?

  22. Actually, I think István Szabó who is a genius and whose films are among the best ever made has great resonance and relevance today in understanding what is going on in Israel-Gaza.

  23. Perhaps someone should tell Hamas?

  24. You misunderstand me. I wasn’t talking about Hamas.

  25. Who then?

  26. Frightened conformists everywhere, in government, the bureaucracies, the media, the armed services, and all ordinary and extraordinary people who just really don’t want to know.

  27. if I find that link I’ll email it to you if you like.

  28. Last time I checked,it wasn’t the Israelis who were going to cut off hands for theft, introduce whippings for a multitude of offences, and make adultery and homosexuality capital crimes.

    Look, LZ, I can see you’re not a bad person or anything, even if we disagree, but I just can’t quite see where you’re coming from. Happy to discuss films, anytime (I loved Mephisto), but….

  29. ok. Guess you got a line to push.

    See ya next time.

  30. Long Furtwangler piece coming up!

  31. I guess I don’t hate him, but I feel damn sorry for him after Szabó’s film. You better watch it before posting.

  32. Well, it’s actually going to be a comparison of three performances of Beethoven’s 9th that he gave – in 1937, 1942 and 1951 – and what they say about peace, war and reconciliation.

    Primary sources, not secondary 🙂

  33. he gave? There was no orchestra?

  34. Just the usual expression….

  35. I have to say I think conductors who aren’t themselves composers are a pretentious intrusive waste of space. And as to having any special sensibility related to the music of the masters which they “conduct” – well Szabó’s has a lot to say about that too.

  36. Umm… Furtwangler was a composer, LZ. He wrote symphonies, concertos and chamber music. Not terribly good, but it was one of the reasons he was so great as a conductor.

  37. Big deal. You were talking about his conducting of Beethoven’s 9th. I may write poetry but I would never pretend to be able to channel, interpret or mimic the Masters (and Mistresses).

  38. Now that was WF’s supreme genius.

    Anyway, since we’ve managed to wrestle this thread down from high conflict to low disagreement, I think you owe me a beer. Or vice versa. Pax?

  39. Sure, ’twas quite an accomplishment 🙂

  40. “Anyway, to compare and contrast suffering is repugnant even if it does have some reason.”

    Yes, let’s not go down that path! You started on the comparisons but that’s a path the Palestinians can’t win when it comes to the historical record. Nice tactical withdrawal, there, LZ.

  41. Links, as promised.

    Sderot residents’ petition against Gaza attack from December 2008

    and Sderot woman speaks out against Gaza war



  42. Get a grip, AC. We didn’t develop language so you could abuse it by repeatedly equating entire groups of people, here Palestinians, as an evil abstraction expressive of some diabolic principle (death-cult terrorists, I think is your description du jour, no?) and thus deserving of whatever righteous retribution rains down on them. Shucks what schmucks.

    This is what war propaganda has always done.

  43. Hamas isn’t a fascistic middle aged death cult?

    It’s not me who has a problem with the language or interpretation of the facts, Pole.

  44. um, I didn’t write that AC. What you up to now?

  45. Take for example the whole Nazi doctrine. This would have been impossible if individual Jews had been regarded as what they were – each a separate human personality. But they were not so regarded, were they, hm?

    Instead each person was reduced to being merely an illustration of a pejorative label, in much the same way you doggedly elide the distinction between Teh Evil Hamas and the people of Gaza in all their complex glory.

    From such a mindset as yours it easily follows that Israel’s military victory, as you would have it, represents nought but the (temporary) defeat of a Really Bad Idea – and not the killing of precious, unique human beings much like you and me.

  46. I just realised I typed Tad Pole in error. It’s been a long day.

    Unfortunately I gained no insights from living vicariously in that nanosecond…

  47. Ah, so AC resorts yet again to insults, his default face to the world it would seem.

    Tis true, the frog’s universe to humans is unutterably strange, a continuous emergence and disappearance of objects. And it is hard for some to discern what a frog’s philosophy would be. The metaphysics of appearance and disappearance, perhaps? There may be frog Platos for all you know who would devise the most extraordinary systems to account for their fantastic reality.

  48. “From such a mindset as yours it easily follows that Israel’s military victory, as you would have it, represents nought but the (temporary) defeat of a Really Bad Idea – and not the killing of precious, unique human beings much like you and me.”

    You misrepresent me.

    I believe that the killing of innocent Gazans is an absolute tragedy.

    But I’m not so blinded that I don’t see that it was Hamas that intentionally put those people in harm’s way.

  49. How do you distinguish between teh Hamas and the other people of Gaza? They live in barracks do they? They find some space away from everyone else and signal to Israeli rockets, here we are? They stand, live, sleep, work separate and apart from government offices, schools, hospitals, streets, houses, apartments?

  50. Since at least half the population of Gaza is under 15 years of age and the shadowy Hamas soldiers likely to be not much more than a decade older, your ‘middle-aged’ tag alone lacks both accuracy and precision, sweets.

  51. “It was only a ‘unilateral’ truce, anyway.”

    It’s hard to make sense of such a statement. Is it sarcasm? And even if it is sarcasm, it raises the obvious question: does anything unilateral work in such circumstances?

    If the answer is “no, of course not, or, unlikely”, then what on earth is the point of so coldly saying such a thing?

  52. LZ, I don’t mean to be personal, but are you American?

  53. ? No.

  54. You seem to have endless unverified military intelligence, but if, as you say, “rocket fire continues despite ceasefire” then do you not think that this might have the tiniest bit to do with Israel’s latest ‘unilateral’ ploy?

  55. “I believe that the killing of innocent Gazans is an absolute tragedy.

    You admit then, AC, you have blood on your hands.

    That is a start.

  56. I’m going to be pretty much off-line for the next few days, so will not be able to join the fun for a while.

  57. “You admit then, AC, you have blood on your hands.”

    Wow, what a mind-boggling non-sequitur.

    Let me see if I can have a go…

    So, LZ, you admit you are responsible for the holocaust?

    That is a start.

    Gee, this is easy. But pointless and strangely unsatisfying. I think I’ll go back to logical thought processes if it’s all the same to you.

  58. To vociferously agitate on blogs as you have done for weeks now in support of Israel’s sadistic and cowardly torture of a defenceless people caged with no possibility of escape, while they are being pounded to dust by the most sophisticated products of US military technology, crikey yes and yes again, it certainly means you and others like you have blood on your hands, metaphorically speaking.

  59. Well if that were true then you are an anti-Semite for denying Israel the right to protect its citizens (since reason doesn’t seem to be effective with Hamas) and your support on blogs for Hamas over the last few weeks indicates you don’t accept Israel’s right to exist. You’re a racist and a fascist.

    See how this works?

  60. AC – there are enormous deficiencies in formal logic, a fact I imbibed at 17 when I studied it for my HSC.

    And you seem to be unaware there are two quite different uses of your apparent fave epithet, “non sequitur”. I suggest you do some personal homework on this and get up to speed so we can have some hope of communicating intelligently.

    It was illogical for the Nazis not to use Jews, homosexuals, Commies, etc., as slave labour, rather than kill them all. And yet they did. Why?

    In like vein, it is illogical for Israel to wage limited war against the Palestinians given, as you state, they want to drive the people of Israel “into the sea”.

    Wouldn’t it have been far more “logical” for Israel to just nuke Gaza? Furthermore, if Iran is the source of Israel’s security woes, as you state, wouldn’t it have been far more “logical” to nuke Tehran. Why is Israel, illogically, pussyfooting around with the tin-pot, barefoot, boy-fighters of Gaza?

    Enquiring minds want to know such things, AC.

  61. LZ – the Nazis did use Jews for slave labour. Remember the notorious clearing house at the Treblinka rail head, where those deemed fit to work were sent in one direction, to be worked to death, and those deemed otherwise sent in another, straight to the gas chambers, as not being worth the effort? The concentration camps were in fact a huge economic enterprise, delivering great financial benefits to the SS, which, as I’m sure you know, functioned as a state-within-a-state in Nazi Germany.

    As for Gaza, yes, if you apply what you (mistakenly) believe to be Nazi logic. Since the Israelis don’t the answser of course is “no”.

  62. “Wouldn’t it have been far more “logical” for Israel to just nuke Gaza?”

    Yet another non-sequitur from the king of the non-sequiturs.

    And why are you admitting you have deficiencies in your formal logic, which you note hasn’t advanced since you were 17? That’s very honest of you, LZ.

    But enough banter.

    Let me be clear, anyone who states that this blog supports the killing of innocents is manipulating the truth out of sheer mischievousness due to their failure to prove their own claims. It is a dishonest tactic and you bloody well know it. Shame on you.

    You can’t address the fact that Israel has the right to defend its citizens and was left with no recourse due to Hamas’ recalcitrance and recidivism but to strike back after relentless provocation over many years (in contravention by Hamas of any treaties). You can’t address the proven fact that Hamas positioned its military platforms and caches in locations that guaranteed collateral damage – a war crime. You can’t address the fact that the leadership established it’s operations centre under a functioning civilian hospital – another war crime and act of sheer cowardice. You can’t address the fact that despite this Israel continued to supply power, water and aid to Gaza. You can’t address the fact that Egypt and other regional powers tacitly support Israel’s action and show no willingness to assist Palestinians in a serious way and in fact discriminate against them in their own countries.

    You can’t address any of this so you play the simplistic emotional card, all the time failing to provide any balance in regard to what (equally innocent Israelis) have suffered.

    Show some moral honesty and look at the issue from both sides. And if you can’t spin it to suit your agenda, then have the courage not to descend into dishonest and cowardly slurs.

  63. I apologise for the accusation. It was hyperbolic and cruel.

    I apologise for nothing else.

  64. Conditional apology accepted. I’ll take what I can get.

  65. Exactly what countries in the region haven’t been attacked by Israel in the last half century or so?

  66. Turning that around, exactly what countries in the region have not attacked Israel the last half century or so?

  67. I can’t think of one.

    Oh wait – Cyprus?

  68. Iran?

  69. Give it up. Your history is fucked. You want to see another video speech, from a British Jewish Elder, knighted by the British establishment and an MP to boot and his excoriation of Israel’s latest bloodthirsty rampage?

  70. I think that’s it for this thread.

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