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Simon Leufstedt

Your views on the current Israeli aggression in Gaza

What is your view on the current Israeli aggression in Gaza where hundreds of people so far have been killed and injured by Israeli bombs?

And your view of the constant aggression of hamas firing rockets into Israel that caused them to defend themselves? I noticed that you did not show the pictures of the victums of those attacks! Religion has less to do with this, than the fact it is pure greed and politics. Wonder why you don't have the same concern for the innocent victums of the hamas rocket fire? <_<

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You clearly have not done your research on some of the underling factors.

I'd be fascinated to hear why you consider the conflict to be motivated by anything other than religion!

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And your view of the constant aggression of hamas firing rockets into Israel that caused them to defend themselves? I noticed that you did not show the pictures of the victums of those attacks! Religion has less to do with this, than the fact it is pure greed and politics. Wonder why you don't have the same concern for the innocent victums of the hamas rocket fire? <_<

"Innocent victims" you say? Of course are all deaths sad. But you cant honestly say that the Israelis are innocent!

These so called "innocent" Israelis first started with an ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians, then 40 years of illegal occupation and now they have even built an illegal wall of shame to keep the Palestinians out from their own occupied land. And then I haven't even counted in the constant bullying, aggression and racism towards the Palestinians.

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"Innocent victims" you say? Of course are all deaths sad. But you cant honestly say that the Israelis are innocent!

These so called "innocent" Israelis first started with an ethnic cleansing against the Palestinians, then 40 years of illegal occupation and now they have even built an illegal wall of shame to keep the Palestinians out from their own occupied land. And then I haven't even counted in the constant bullying, aggression and racism towards the Palestinians.

I really don't think that either side can be regarded as innocent in this conflict.

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I really don't think that either side can be regarded as innocent in this conflict.

Not entirely, but, you do have to agree that hamas has no "right" to continue to fire rockets into Israel. If they want peace they have to back off.

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Not entirely, but, you do have to agree that hamas has no "right" to continue to fire rockets into Israel. If they want peace they have to back off.

As was the case with Ireland, a solution could be easily found if both sides were to overcome their religious intolerance and bigotry.

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I really don't think that either side can be regarded as innocent in this conflict.

That comment holds some truth. But you can't say that people that are under siege and under an illegal occuption isn't allowed to fight back.

What if USA or China occupied parts of Canada while terrorising the inhabitants. Wouldn't you fight back?

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An interesting perspective on this conflict...

> Barack Obama is Losing a Battle He Doesn't Know He's in

Barack Obama's chances of making a fresh start in US relations with the Muslim world, and the Middle East in particular, appear to diminish with each new wave of Israeli attacks on Palestinian targets in Gaza. That seems hardly fair, given the president-elect does not take office until January 20. But foreign wars don't wait for Washington inaugurations.

Obama has remained wholly silent during the Gaza crisis. His aides say he is following established protocol that the US has only one president at a time. Hillary Clinton, his designated secretary of state, and Joe Biden, the vice-president-elect and foreign policy expert, have also been uncharacteristically taciturn on the subject.

But evidence is mounting that Obama is already losing ground among key Arab and Muslim audiences that cannot understand why, given his promise of change, he has not spoken out. Arab commentators and editorialists say there is growing disappointment at Obama's detachment - and that his failure to distance himself from George Bush's strongly pro-Israeli stance is encouraging the belief that he either shares Bush's bias or simply does not care.

The Al-Jazeera satellite television station recently broadcast footage of Obama on holiday in Hawaii, wearing shorts and playing golf, juxtaposed with scenes of bloodshed and mayhem in Gaza. Its report criticizing "the deafening silence from the Obama team" suggested Obama is losing a battle of perceptions among Muslims that he may not realise has even begun.

"People recall his campaign slogan of change and hoped that it would apply to the Palestinian situation," Jordanian analyst Labib Kamhawi told Liz Sly of the Chicago Tribune. "So they look at his silence as a negative sign. They think he is condoning what happened in Gaza because he's not expressing any opinion." Regional critics claim Obama is happy to break his pre-inauguration "no comment" rule on international issues when it suits him. They note his swift condemnation of November's terrorist attacks in Mumbai. Obama has also made frequent policy statements on mitigating the impact of the global credit crunch.

Obama's absence from the fray is also allowing hostile voices to exploit the vacuum. "It would appear that the president-elect has no intention of getting involved in the Gaza crisis," Iran's Resalat newspaper commented sourly. "His stances and viewpoints suggest he will follow the path taken by previous American presidents... Obama, too, will pursue policies that support the Zionist aggressions."

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An interesting perspective on this conflict...

> Barack Obama is Losing a Battle He Doesn't Know He's in

Obama has so many other important things he need to deal with when he gets into office, like the climate crisis for example. Bush could easily have stopped this slaughter on the Palestinians but he choosed not to and stopped the UN condemnation. He is saving this mess for Obama so that he will loose time and all the political support he has built up.

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That comment holds some truth. But you can't say that people that are under siege and under an illegal occuption isn't allowed to fight back.

What if USA or China occupied parts of Canada while terrorising the inhabitants. Wouldn't you fight back?

I'm simply saying that the area is a political mess and that it will be impossible for a solution to be found until both sides manage to overcome their racial/religious bigotry and hatred.

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Both!

And as long as one poster appears dedicated to pretending that the rocket attacks by Hamas have no meaning and are in some twisted way, justified, perfect example of why this mess has been going on as long as it has. For some twisted reason Hamas aggression is not counted <_<

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And as long as one poster appears dedicated to pretending that the rocket attacks by Hamas have no meaning and are in some twisted way, justified, perfect example of why this mess has been going on as long as it has. For some twisted reason Hamas aggression is not counted <_<

Yup. The Israeli response certainly is not proportionate, but then that's usually the case in military situations - one side invariably has the upper hand. Were Hamas to have more powerful weapons at its disposal, then I'm sure the Israelis would be being hit much harder.

Simon's sympathy for Hamas is similar to the sympathy that some Americans used to have for the IRA - it's based entirely on ignorance and would soon evaporate were he to find himself living in the middle of the conflict.

One of my first jobs was in Ireland during the so-called "Na Trioblóidí" (now there's an understatement for you!) and I encountered irrational bigotry on a daily basis. Even the simple act of buying a pack of smokes in a store could be a challenge - on numerous occasions, they refused to serve me until I explained that I wasn't English ("We don't have any, Sonny. What? You're not? Well, why didn't you say so sooner? Benson and Hedges, was it?). Remember the Holy Cross riots in which Catholic primary school children were stoned and spat at (and had to be protected by police with riot shields) because they were walking through a Protestant area to get to their school? They were some of the most shocking scenes that I have ever seen. Equally shocking was that there was an alternative route to Holy Cross school which didn't pass through the Protestant area. But some Catholic parents chose not to use that route and to instead expose their young children to a traumatic gauntlet of hate each day.

Racial and religious bigots - be they Irish, Muslim, Christian or Jewish - deserve no sympathy whatsoever.

"We will not rest until we destroy the Zionist entity." Fathi Hammad, Hamas.

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Israel broke the June agreement regarding blockade cut backs and targeting of Hamas. Hamas restarted rockets on Israel On Nov. 4 when Israel killed 6 in Gaza. Now Israel is slaughtering Palestinian children so that the government can win the election which is coming up soon.

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Hamas restarted rockets on Israel On Nov. 4 when Israel killed 6 in Gaza.

Erm, actually Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committee and whatever other extemist movements are in the Strip have been launching rockets into Israel pretty much continuously since 2005.

"We will not rest until we destroy the Zionist entity." Fathi Hammad, Hamas.

Sorry, but Hamas are certainly not innocent victims.

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Erm, actually Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committee and whatever other extemist movements are in the Strip have been launching rockets into Israel pretty much continuously since 2005.

"We will not rest until we destroy the Zionist entity." Fathi Hammad, Hamas.

Sorry, but Hamas are certainly not innocent victims.

Hamas had a chance for peace and instead started firing rockets again , face it, these people are the worst form of hate mongers and have zero respect for the people who they try to use as shields. Those dumb enough to support them are no better than they are. <_<

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Erm, actually Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Popular Resistance Committee and whatever other extemist movements are in the Strip have been launching rockets into Israel pretty much continuously since 2005.

"We will not rest until we destroy the Zionist entity." Fathi Hammad, Hamas.

Sorry, but Hamas are certainly not innocent victims.

It's a well-known fact that Israel broke the cease-fire by bombing tunnels in Gaza and started to target Hamas leaders while enforcing a blockade of Gaza.

After that Hamas started to launch mini-rockets, that hasn't even killed 20 people yet. Israel on the other hand has increased the suffering for the people living in Gaza while killing hundreds of innocent children and people.

Hamas had a chance for peace and instead started firing rockets again , face it, these people are the worst form of hate mongers and have zero respect for the people who they try to use as shields. Those dumb enough to support them are no better than they are. <_<

Are you stupid or do you just not want to face the truth that in this case Israel is the war and hate monger?

Would you bomb a school and kill innocent children and refugees because you THOUGHT someone was shooting from that direction?

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Are you stupid or do you just not want to face the truth that in this case Israel is the war and hate monger?

Sometimes it is said that were the Arabs to put down their weapons there would be no more war; but were the Israelis to put down their weapons there would be no more Israel - and there is certainly truth in that statement.

"We will not rest until we destroy the Zionist entity." Fathi Hammad, Hamas.

Hamas considers Palestine - which includes the territory currently occupied by Isreal - to be Islamic land and accordingly consider Israel to be illegal occupants. They want Israel to cease to exist. Permanently. Their only concession on that point has been to offer a 10 year truce should Israel withdraw to the lines that they held prior to the war in 1967.

It's a well-known fact that Israel broke the cease-fire by bombing tunnels in Gaza ...

... and what was the purpose of those tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, Simon?

The beehive of tunnels beneath the tent city has become a vital lifeline for Gaza, giving its 1.4 million residents a way around an Israeli blockade that has choked off supplies of gasoline, fresh meat and consumer goods ranging from washing machines to iPods. It may also turn into a bombing target for the Israeli air force following the expiration of a six-month cease- fire with the Hamas leaders who rule Gaza, Israeli strategists say.

“There is hardly any economy left in Gaza without the tunnels,†says Omar Shaban, an economist who runs a consulting group in Gaza City. “It is distorted to have an economy that is so completely dependent on the black market, but it’s a natural result of the borders being closed.â€

Ninety percent of all products entering Gaza each month --as much as $40 million worth of contraband -- comes through the tunnels from Egypt, Shaban says.
The underground network is also a crucial source of revenue and weapons for the militant Islamic Hamas movement
, which charges a one-time digging fee of 11,000 shekels ($2,750) for each tunnel.

Some comments from an Al Jazeera interview with Hamas' deputy head Abu Marzouq:

Al Jazeera
: Under what conditions will Hamas agree a ceasefire with Israel?

Abu Marzouq
: We have three conditions for any peace initiative coming from any state.

First, the aggression of the Israelis should stop. All of the gates should be opened, including the gate of Rafah between the Gaza Strip and Egypt. Finally, Israel has to withdraw from the Gaza Strip.

We are not saying we will stop firing rockets from the Gaza Strip to Israel - we are only talking about stopping the aggression from the Israelis against the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.

What if USA or China occupied parts of Canada while terrorising the inhabitants. Wouldn't you fight back?

What if Gaza/Hamas were next to Sweden? What if they wanted Sweden to cease to exist in the way that they want Israel to cease to exist? What if they continuously launched missiles into Sweden? What if they continuously sent suicide bombers into Sweden (List of Hamas suicide attacks)? Would you not want your government to block Gaza's border so that weapons couldn't be brought in and the suicide bombers couldn't get out? What if, even after the border had been blocked, they continued to bring in weapons via a series of tunnels? What if they wanted a unilateral ceasefire under which Sweden would have to agree to stop attacking them while they would not have to agree to stop attacking Sweden? What if they were being supported and helped by other terrorist organizations such as Islamic Jihad which had a single objective: to destroy the state of Sweden?

Tell me, in these circumstances, what would you want the Swedish government to do, Simon? What would you expect them to do if terrorists were killing members of your family because they wanted Sweden to cease to exist as a country?

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Sometimes it is said that were the Arabs to put down their weapons there would be no more war; but were the Israelis to put down their weapons there would be no more Israel - and there is certainly truth in that statement.

And some people say that Hitler was a good guy. People say a lot of things. And as I said before: Israel broke the cease-fire, not Hamas. So really, that saying should be the other way around.

... and what was the purpose of those tunnels between Gaza and Egypt, Simon?

Yes, I understand their frustration with the tunnels, which are used not only to smuggle in food, medicine and goods, but also to smuggle in weapons. But those weapons were not being used until Israel started bombing the tunnels.

What were they supposed to do? Wait until the weapons were used? Yes! That's the point of a cease-fire. I know Israel would not like any of their enemies to have any weapons. From their perspective that makes sense. But Israel doesn't need tunnels for weapons, the US just gives them to them and their weapons are a thousand times bigger.

So, yes, you do not bomb just because the other side might acquire one percent of the weapons you have. Otherwise, you will always be bombing, because it is logical for the other side to try to acquire those weapons for what they perceive to be self-defense.

If you're threshold for starting violence is that the other side is thinking about it (close to the rationale we used in Iraq), then you will always be starting wars. Self-defense, my ass. Those are called first strikes. If you think it's necessary, fine, but don't pretend that you didn't start the hostilities. [source]

Some comments from an Al Jazeera interview with Hamas' deputy head Abu Marzouq:

Experiencing such pain and misery like the people living in Gaza does every day for such a long period of time I dont doubt that I also would want to see those responsible dead.

What if Gaza/Hamas were next to Sweden? What if they wanted Sweden to cease to exist in the way that they want Israel to cease to exist? What if they continuously launched missiles into Sweden? What if they continuously sent suicide bombers into Sweden (List of Hamas suicide attacks)? Would you not want your government to block Gaza's border so that weapons couldn't be brought in and the suicide bombers couldn't get out? What if, even after the border had been blocked, they continued to bring in weapons via a series of tunnels? What if they wanted a unilateral ceasefire under which Sweden would have to agree to stop attacking them while they would not have to agree to stop attacking Sweden? What if they were being supported and helped by other terrorist organizations such as Islamic Jihad which had a single objective: to destroy the state of Sweden?

Tell me, in these circumstances, what would you want the Swedish government to do, Simon? What would you expect them to do if terrorists were killing members of your family because they Sweden to cease to exist as a country?

You did not answer my question.

The Rules of The Game

Rule #1: In the Middle East, it is always the Palestinians that attack first, and it's always Israel who defends itself. This is called "retaliation".

Rule #2: The Palestinians are not allowed to kill Israelis. This is called "terrorism".

Rule #3: Israel has the right to kill Palestinian civilians; this is called "self-defense", or "collateral damage".

Rule #4: When Israel kills too many Palestinian civilians, the Western world calls for restraint. This is called the "reaction of the international community".

Rule #5: Palestinians do not have the right to capture Israeli military, not even 1 or 2.

Rule #6: Israel has the right to capture as many Palestinians as they want (over 10,000 to date being held without trial). There is no limit; there is no need for proof of guilt or trial. All that is needed is the magic word: "terrorism".

Rule #7: When you say "Hamas", always be sure to add "supported by Hezbollah, Syria and Iran".

Rule #8: When you say "Israel", never say "supported by the USA, the UK, European countries and even some Arab regimes", for people (God forbid) might believe this is not an equal conflict.

Rule #9: When it comes to Israel, don't mention the words "occupied territories", "UN resolutions", "Geneva conventions". This could distress the audience of Fox, CNN, etc.

Rule #10: Israelis speak better English than Arabs. This is why it is called "balanced journalism".

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