Saturday, June 24, 2006

Sederot, Kassam-rockets and the Symmetry of Terror

Achlama Peretz, a Sederot resident and the wife of Amir Peretz, said that Sederot needed more employment and education, before security. That's what I said when I lived in Kiryat Shmona.

The best defense that Israel can provide is to make peace. The Disengagement plan is not making peace, and my humble opinion is that whoever expected the fire to stop, doesn't understand the situation. If the Palestinians stopped the fire, then there was no reason to give them anything else. We in the left would be willing to give them, but we are not the majority and certainly this evil government (like all governments preceding it) isn't going to do anything without pressure.

Now if you think that I am justifying the firing of Kassam rockets on Sederot, then I must say this: I think that there's a difference between justifying, and realizing that an immoral measure, such as Kassam or suicide bombing, is effective, and maybe even the ONLY way for the Palestinians to achieve their goal; as for their goal, I think that it is a just one.
One can say, that in that sense, the Kassams are just like the bombing of Israel on Gaza. Because you can regard the Israeli bombing as either:
(1) A necessary evil, one that we cannot live without, therefore it is morally OK (I believe that this is the opinion of most Israelis, which I respect as a legitimate opinion).
(2) Immoral, but one that may be the only way to achieve some security to Israelis.
(3) Immoral, because there are other ways.
Suppose that I sided with opinion no. (2). Then I would say that we are no different from them. Here is why:
Imagine the following situation: A man is constantly harassed and intimidated by a gang of criminals. They beat him, steal from him, and the police is doing nothing to stop it. In his despair, he takes a gun and kills one of the gang. The harassment stops immediately. Was the killing justified? No!! Was there another way to do justice? Who knows. Would we do the same if we were in the same situation? I cannot swear that I wouldn't. Ehud Barak, in a rare moment of honesty for a politician, said (in an interview with Gideon Levy), that if he was a Palestinian he would become a terrorist. If one has the assertive character of Barak, and one is on this side, then he is brought up to be the opposite of the Jew of the Galut (Diaspora), he doesn't want to be a sucker, he becomes a super-hero and a brilliant General. But, if you are on the other side and you don't want to be a sucker, you become a terrorist.

Take Nasrallah (of Hezbollah) for instance. He is ordering to kill civilians, and so does Lieutenant General Halutz (IDF Commander-in-Chief). He wants to destroy Israel, and so do most of our politicians, to the Palestinians. So I think that there is no difference. We are not fighting now for our security, because this fighting will not bring us any security in the long run. We may kill Nasrallah, just like we killed Abas El-Musaui (his predecessor), but another one will come instead. We can't kill them all. Therefore we are only fighting for our stupid "honor", but in the meantime we are only being humiliated by a primitive guerrilla movement. I don't see an end to that until we really make peace with them. They are teaching us an important lesson, and that is: we cannot do everything by force. Therefore it's not a shame to say to them: "all right, you win, we were arrogant to think that we could solve all of our problems with force, now we realize that it can't be done. Let's give you your independent state and live in peace."

But of course this will not happen, because we will not learn this lesson. Because out "Dignity" is more important to us than the lives of young soldiers and a few hundreds of Israeli and Palestinians and Lebanese civilians. And because a guy like Nasrallah will not agree to that, and they will use our arrogance to keep fighting. I believe that most Arabs are willing to live in peace with us, but of course we wont be fooled by them... So the fighting will continue until your sons and mine and their sons will go to the military, and fight too until we will all say: enough.


  1. This morning I saw on TV an Israeli (Ben Yehoyada) who put "Wanted" posters against Haluz in Harvard (where Haluz studies) claiming that he should be arrested because he is a war criminal (yes, there are some people who think he is a war criminal).
    Later on I saw on Ynet that Kasams were fired on Sederot, and a woman was badly wounded.

    So, I do 2 + 2 and with my sick mind that's what I get.

    This guy is a "Non Wanted" in Israel. I want the Israeli government to say that he can hold his Israeli Passport but he is no longer a welcomed citizen. I know it will be sound crazy to Avner, but, I really believe that Israel has the right not to let people who hurt it in. That includes also people like Kahana and his likes but that's not the story right now.

  2. Of course Israel has the right to defend against people who want to hurt her.
    The only problem I see is - who is going to decide, who is "hurting Israel"? That's an important question, because I think that Dan Halutz is hurting Israel more than that guy who thinks that he is a war criminal (and you know that I think so too).
    Now you can report me to the consulate and ask that I wont be let into Israel.

  3. Now you becoming Polani (report me...) !!! Good

    But yes, I do think that putting posters against Haluz is a crime. I wish you have heard what the guy at KGO yesterday had to say about the bike riders in Berkely who during demonstration hit the car of a 70 year old man just because he did not let them drive in red light. He had something to say about the people who think that they are morally superior to the rest of us.

    Now, you are that kind too. There is a huge difference for me (for ME) between voting Merez, being a left wing and so on, and between calling Haluz a war criminal. Because if you start with that, then where do you stop ? Ben Gurion, Yigal Alon, rabin, ,,,, Yair Hadas,, we are all war criminals. Bullshit!!!

    A criminal is someone who wants to kill people just for the kill.

    A lousy example, but, when you get into your car, there is a chance you make an accident and kill someone, but still you drive. When we bomb rocket launches, there is a chance we will innocent people but still we have to do it (and by the way, lately we do nothing and still, the keep launching).

    So, just like we have to be careful using the Holocaust, we have to be careful using the term war criminals the way you do with everyone you don't like.

    My way of thinking that in a war there is usually the good side and the bad side (that's the way it's usually is) so, Hiroshima was NOT a war crime, and so is the bombing of Drezden and so is the bombing of Lebanon to ket rid of Katyusha launchers.

    Killing POWs is a war crime, not letting the Red Cross to meet POWs is a war crime, Iran Iraq war was full of war crimes and so on.

    Notice that a very small group of "righteous" people call Haluz a war criminal, not even Belgium government is using this term, so, what are you trying to prove, that you are morally better than us, yes, it all come to this. You, and the guy from Harvard think you are better.

    I don't think I am better (although I am :)), I think Haluz has a very very difficult job and all in all he was not as bad as he is described.

    Good day

  4. Helutz did not send bombers to kill civilians by accident. He sent pilots to bomb civilian neighborhoods (with the aim to kill a terrorist), in which he knew for sure that innocent would be killed. That is a war crime. And when asked how he felt, he said "just a little hit in the wing".

    By your definition, most Arab terrorists are not criminals. They believe that they kill jews to free their people. That is a terrible crime (you want me to repeat that?!), but we give them all the reasons to think that they are right in what they believe (since when were you for a palestinian state? Was it before or after the 1st intifada? Because if it was before, then you belong to a VERY small minority of visionaries, because most israelis before 1987 didn't approve a palestinian state, and now they do. That's because Israelis "only understand Force").

  5. As for me, I was for a Plestinian state in 1982 when I voted for Hatchia (no kidding). I was naive enough to believe that if we give them a state, they would live in peace with us. Instead, it seems they want to live in pieces with us (or next to us, on the street).

    Now, regarding Haluz, it was much easier for all if the Hizballa leaders and soldiers lived in army camps where we could have easily bomb them without killing civilians. Ma Laasot, and they chose to live among civilians. So, we (I believe) have no other choice but to bomb them there *and warn the civilians before). What proves to me you are wrong, Perez, who is not any less left wing than you are approved bombing Hizballa in Beirut, knowing that we are going to kill civilians.

    I really really really wonder what would Avner do if he is the defence minister, knowing that Kasam launches hide in a house (with kids so we can make it more interesting) and are going to launch a Katyusha/Kasam to Israel. I would have no hesitation whatsoever. And, please don't give me the bs of I would have talked to them before and evacuate a,b,c and not get to this point, that's not the issue right now, the issue is what do you do to protect your people. And I believe that Haluz as the commander of the army has the firt obligation to protect my family and moral comes second. I look around in the worls in any (naor) country and see the leaders doing EXACTLY the same (if not a lot more), and they are all enlightened leaders.

    Shada was a terrorist, an evil, and had to be killed, and to tell you the truth, I don't know why you care so much, the Palestinians teach their kids to be Shahids (I seea LOT of that staff on TV, the latest one is with a Mickey Mouse like figure who teaches suicide bombing), so, if that's the goal why do they moan so much if the kids become Shaids by us or by a bomb belt (Alla doesn't care). I know I sound terrible, it's just because I am losing patient with the Kasams on Sderot. I would be very happy i f the PM will say in a special note to the Hamas "you have a dealine, from Sun morning, every Kasam will be answered with a bomb to a CIVILIAN center in Gaza, one for one, you can stop it if you want, it's in YOUR hands". He is a war criminal anyway, so let him commit some crimes.

  6. If you voted for the Hatchia (no shame, so did My wife), then you were NOT for a Palestinian state. Give me a break. It doesn't matter what you "intended" or thought. It only matters what the people you sent to the Knesset DID.

    It would be much easier for the Hamas if they had an Army which could fight against our army. They don't, so they "have to" kill civilians. Just like the Jewish Underground ("Hagana," "Etzel," "Lechi") did in the 40's because they "had no choice", because "this is what the Arabs understand". Benni Morris admits all that, he only decided to become a racist and claim that it was OK, and he regrets that we didn't kill more civilians.

    I know that you think that the differences between Us and Them are fundamental, because WE "try" to avoid killing, but THEY want to kill because it's in their culture. I say that this is a "soft" version of racism. It is all because we can only see the ass holes of others, but not ours...

  7. Avner,

    I know that this is going to generate a controversy, but still. The last case when Israel returned fire at Kassam launchers (just after the launch), and two kids who according to IDF were near the area (they claim that they frequently are) were killed. Is it Ok for Israel to try to destroy the Kassams after a launch, or should we take into consideration that they send kids (I wouldn't rule out that they do it, knowing what could happen).
    So, what should we do here (to remind you, the Kassam hit an empty kindergarden in Sderot).


  8. חיים פומרנץSunday, 05 September, 2010


    Though you haven't asked for my opinion (but rather you were looking for the almost "obvious" response from Avner), I will say out loud what I've always believed in: "The aim doesn't always justify the means".
    I don't care what it takes, or what the challenges are that we'll face by realizing the limitations of reaching the goals (to stop the Kassams). There is no chance in the world that I (or any other human being) can justify killing children, even by mistake, even by accident.
    You know what? Even for practical reasons, did all the Targeted Killings help one bit to stop the Kassams?


  9. Haim,

    So, you identify the launchers that were used a second ago, and you refrain from destroying them because it might hurt civilians (there is no difference between a 30 year old and a kid, they are both human beings). But, do you really protect those whom you were sent to protect? If I use your logic, then I will NEVER try to defend myself, because there is a chance that I will hurt an innocent civilian. This logic doesn't work for me. This is a clear case where you find the launchers and I think you have any justification in the world to destroy them. It's THEIR responsibility not to send civilians there. What would you say to the parents in Sderot if the same launcher hit them the next day?

    As for the Targeted Killings, neither you, nor me have the answer if it helped or not. I think it did, it was quiet for a LONG time after we killed Rantisi and Yassin.

    Bottom line, I think that not only we have the moral right to destroy the launchers, we have the obligation.
    Once again we differ.

    Good day

  10. חיים פומרנץSunday, 05 September, 2010

    It's their responsibility not to send civilians? It's the other way around. They shoot the Kassams from within civilian neighborhoods. It's criminal, I agree. But why are you punishing those innocent kids?
    You know quite well how sophisticated our Army is (or should be), in terms of surveillance, intelligence, high-end technology, "state-of-the-art" weapons. If you can not clearly, unmistakably, identify those who are shooting the missiles, simply hold your fire.

    You missed my point about the Targeted Killings. I meant - those that are intended to hit the Kassam Launchers. What do you tell the parents in Sderot? That you try and try and try and kill and kill and kill and destroy and destroy and destroy, but guess what? Those damned Palestinians keep sending the Kassams.

    You and I know quite well that the only way to deal with the situation is political. And we know it's not easy, esp. with the Hammas. We've tried almost anything to stop the Kassams. Nothing helped. At the end of the day, just more innocent people are dead. More than anything, I can't stand the fact the children are dead. on both sides. I can only control (at least, in theory...) what our army is doing. Not much of a comfort that the Hammas are villains.

  11. Of course I liked Haim's way of putting it (as always).
    Here's my input:
    1. In the case that you described, Yair, at least I HAVE A DILEMMA. I can't definitely say one way or the other. Sometimes I would do things that I don't think are moral. Asa Kasher, the "ethical expert" of the Israeli Military, says that in those cases it is moral to kill some civilians.
    I don't agree.
    Maybe I would do it, but that doesn't make it moral.

    BUT -
    In most cases, I think, THERE IS NO REAL DILEMA. Too many times we risk innocent people for no good reason. Using another example, the "Ticking Bomb" is RARELY really ticking: usually it's already gone off, or the guy who you torture to tell you where it is – doesn't really know where it is, or if he knows - this knowledge can't prevent it from exploding, because it’s too partial, or it's too late, etc. etc. Nevertheless, people are being tortured using the Ticking Bomb as an excuse.
    Similarly, some times (too often) we just get civilians killed when there are other ways. I know that MANY times we try hard, really hard, not to do that. But that's not ALL cases.

    2. BUT even if there is no other way to stop the Kassams, I think that as long as we maintain the occupation, we completely loose our right to fight against them. And here is where I absolutely don't agree with you - the fact that we are out of Gaza does not mean that the occupation is over! This is exactly why I was against a unilateral withdrawal. My point is, you can't just ask "what do we do with the Kassams". As long as there's an Occupation, their battle is justified (although not at all means; Similarly, as Haim said correctly, we are also not allowed to use all means). If someone would aim a Kassam on a place where my kids were, and I could prevent that at the price of killing a poor kid - this is a terrible dilemma, in which I think I would kill the kid. But then, I would live with a terrible feeling, and I wouldn't have solved the problem.
    In the long run: (a) there is no justification to that, because we are doing NOTHING to stop the occupation; and (b), it doesn’t help, even if we disregard the moral question altogether!

    Bottom line, if we are justifying killing the innocent, because "we have no choice", then we give the suicide bombers an argument to use: “you also leave us no choice but to kill your civilians,” they would say, “because you are so stubborn and wont give up the occupation. On the other hand, after every massive terrorist activity, you (we the Israelis) always compromise.”