Palestinian “Day of Rage” sees violence and deaths spread to West Bank

July 25, 2014

Today, Friday 25 July 2014, has been dubbed a “day of rage” by Palestinian factions. And at time of writing this (15:30 GMT), up to 6 Palestinians have been reported killed and scores injured by Israeli soldiers and settlers. The violence and killings have spread to the West Bank, where previously it was mostly concentrated in the Gaza Strip (a captive war zone, where Israeli and Egyptian border blockade allows Gazan militants nowhere they can retreat to other than their homes – then the Israelis pummel the residential areas with airstrikes and artillery fire, and blame the Gaza fighters for any civilian casualties that ensue – a disgusting “justification” for deliberately targetting homes, hospitals and schools).

46-year-old Hashem Abu Marieh was killed in the Palestinian village of Beit Ummar near the flashpoint southern city of Hebron by Israeli soldiers.

A 26-year-old man was also reported to have died in Hebron from gunshot wounds.

A group of settlers opened fire on protesting Palestinians after they threw stones at their car near the northern West Bank city of Nablus, Palestinian security sources said. An 18-year-old Palestinian named as Khaled Oudeh was killed.

Shortly afterwards, Israeli troops arrived at the scene and clashed with the Palestinians, firing live bullets and tear gas. The Israeli army fire killed a second Palestinian, 22-year-old Tayyib Oudeh, the security sources said, adding that three other Palestinians were injured by live fire.

Friday’s violence followed major clashes on Thursday, when 20,000 people took part in a march from Ramallah towards East Jerusalem in protest over the bloodshed in Gaza. Two Palestinians were killed and several hundred injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers, with 120 treated for gunshot wounds. [all from the Guardian]

And in Gaza the violence has continued. Israeli air force jets struck 30 homes in the Gaza Strip on Friday morning, killing a leader of the Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad and his two sons. There were heavy firefights between IDF ground troops and Hamas fighters. Israel confirmed that one of their soldiers was killed, and reported that 35 rockets were fired from Gaza, 10 of which were intercepted by its Iron Dome missile defence system.

The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-Moon, has called for a ceasefire, after several meetings with the US secretary of state, John Kerry, and Egyptian officials in Cairo aimed at ending the 18-day conflict that has killed more than 845 people, most of them Palestinian civilians. His office released a statement saying: “On this, the last Friday of Ramadan, I call for an immediate, unconditional humanitarian pause in the fighting in Gaza and Israel. This pause would last through the Eid al-Fitr holiday period.”

French lawyer Gilles Devers announced he had lodged a complaint at the International Criminal Court on behalf of the Palestinian justice minister accusing the Israeli army of war crimes. “Israel, the occupying power, is carrying out a military operation which in principle and form violates the basis of international law,” he said.

The Israeli security cabinet is review the ceasefire proposal and to discuss the option of expanding its eight-day-old ground operation in Gaza.

The Israeli airstrike on the home of a leader of Islamic Jihad and is 2 sons will no doubt be defended by Israel on the basis that it was a legitimate attack on the militant leader and it is that militant’s own fault that he was using his family as a “human shield”. I wonder: if the Palestians in Gaza had more accurate rockets, and destroyed the homes of Israeli commanders and politicians, killing those targets’ families in the process, would Israel accept the attacks as legitimate war actions? Or would they denounce the killing of the families as “terrorism”? Don’t worry, that was a rhetorical question. I know damn well what Israel would say. Their position is: if Palestinian civilians are killed by Israeli attacks, Israel says it’s Hamas’ own fault for hiding amongst civilians; if Palestinians kill Israeli civilians, it’s a terrorist attack.

Here’s a map, showing how Israel has devoured and settled Palestinian territories between 1946 and 2000. It misses out changes since 2000, but I think you’ll get the idea:

Fragmentation of Palestinian territory 1946-2000

Fragmentation of Palestinian territory 1946-2000. Map from here.

Will UN secretary general Ban Ki-Moon’s call for a ceasefire over Eid be listened to? I doubt it. This is going from bad to worse to even worse, inexorably approaching “worst”. Israel, look at yourselves. Is it right for the IDF to fire live rounds at stone-throwing youths and men? Is it right for Jewish civilian settlers on traditionally Palestinian land to kill stone-throwing demonstrators? If Palestinian militants are in civilian areas, is it right to shell those areas indiscriminately? Is it right to attack UN schools and hospitals containing thousands of civilians? Hundreds or even thousands of Palestinian civilian deaths, tens of Israeli deaths. I’m not saying this should be balanced with more Israeli deaths; what’s needed is less Palestinian deaths. Is this really too much to ask?

UPDATE 18:20 GMT
Israel’s cabinet on has unanimously rejected a US-backed proposal for a week-long “humanitarian pause” in the offensive on Gaza after 18 days of fighting that has claimed more than 800 Palestinian lives.

So, why the rejection? Judging from earlier rejections of ceasefire proposals, Israel probably will claim that any cessation of hostilities would give Hamas time to regroup and consolidate. This, despite the fact that the Kerry/Ban Ki-Moon proposal would have allowed Israeli troops to remain behind to to continue destroying cross-border tunnels.

The ceasefire would probably have been a non-starter anyway, as Hamas had already signalled its opposition to the terms of the US plan, which it deemed too favourable to Israel. It signals to the rest of the world that neither Israel nor Hamas are ready to stop the senseless slaughter. But that isn’t much of a surprise. And it shows that the USA (via Kerry) and the UN (via Ban) are running out of working ideas.

A ceasefire will come, eventually. But it will leave the situation in a worse position than ever before the Israel-Fatah agreement. Today’s protests, violence, and deaths in the West Bank show that Palestinian opinion is swinging towards a stronger stance against Israel, which Fatah will ignore at its peril. And then what? Back to intifadas? Full-scale occupations? Suicide bombings in Tel Aviv?

Bunch of idiots. The region will ignite into flames again if both sides (Israel especially) don’t move positions. Israel whines that Hamas refuses to recognize Israel as a legitimate state. But so what? Does Israel recognize Hamas as a legitimate political entity? No. They’re all “terrorists”, on both sides. And I would be quite happy to see them “terrorize” each other to extinction, if not for the innocents trapped between them. Irrational, insane bastards with guns and bombs. Like most governments, when I come to think of it…

Oh yeah, interesting piece in the Guardian: “In Gaza, Hamas fighters are among civilians. There is nowhere else for them to go.” Read it. And stop whining about “human shields”. Remember: Israel say how they have to attack residential areas, hospitals etc, because that’s where Hamas is holed out. But that’s bullshit. Israel don’t have to bomb the civilian areas. They choose to.


Bloody Israeli terrorists

July 20, 2014

As Israel’s “anti-terrorist” actions in Gaza enter their second week, I’ve decided to point out (again) that Israel is a terrorist state.

Back in the day of the British Palestine Mandate, one of the major anti-British, pro-Israeli state terrorist organizations was Irgun (aka Etzel), who wanted a Jewish Israeli state to be formed, laying territorial claim to Mandatory Palestine and the Emirate of Transjordan. One of their later leaders was Menachem Begin. a terrorist who later became a “respectable politician”.

Menachem Begin

Menachem Begin

From Wikipedia:

The Irgun has been viewed as a terrorist organization or organization which carried out terrorist acts.[3][4] In particular the Irgun was branded a terrorist organisation by Britain,[5] the 1946 Zionist Congress[6] and the Jewish Agency.[7] The Irgun believed that any means necessary to establish the Jewish State of Israel, including terrorism, was justifiable.[8]

The Irgun was a political predecessor to Israel’s right-wing Herut (or “Freedom”) party, which led to today’s Likud party.[9] Likud has led or been part of most Israeli governments since 1977.

And who is the leader of Likud? Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Benjamin Netanyahu

Benjamin Netanyahu

Also, Wikipedia points out that Irgun members were absorbed into the Israel Defense Forces at the start of the 1948 Arab–Israeli war. So, if Irgun was a terrorist organization, surely the IDF is also a terrorist organization. The “soldiers” who are killing Palestinians (including civilians, women and children who have never engaged in anti-Israeli actions) – surely these IDF “soldiers” are terrorists. A fact which is borne out by the IDF’s indiscriminate slaughter of those who live in Gaza.

Please please please do not think I am anti-semitic because I point out these facts. I know that some people think that any criticism of Israel is anti-semitism. but anti-semitism is (according to many sources including the US Department of State) as “hatred toward Jews—individually and as a group—that can be attributed to the Jewish religion and/or ethnicity.” I have absolutely no problem with Jews. I don’t even have a problem with “terrorists” per se (“one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” etc). I have a problem with people who lay claim to land because “God gave it to them” and who slaughter non-combatants in defence of that “claim”.

Sorry if I’m harping on tiresomely about this. But Israel’s actions in Gaza are really pissing me off; and my dog is sick and tired of me moaning at her about it all the time.

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Who’d fly Malaysian?

July 18, 2014

Until a few months ago, Malaysia Airlines had one of Asia’s best plane safety records. But 2014 changed all that. On March 8 Flight MH370, carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, lost contact with air traffic control and has yet to be located. A massive international search is now concentrated in the Indian Ocean to the far west of Australia. And now, MH17 has crashed, apparently shot down by a surface-to-air missile, allegedly fired by a pro-Russian separatist in Ukraine.

The MH17 death toll, at time of writing, is 298, including people from: Netherlands 173, Malaysia 44, Australia 27, Indonesia 12 (including 1 infant), United Kingdom 9, Germany 4, Belgium 4, Philippines 3, Canada 1, New Zealand 1. There are still 20 unverified nationalities.

A lot of the passengers were HIV/AIDS researchers, on their way to an international Aids conference in Melbourne, Australia. No names have been confirmed but it is believed leading HIV/Aids researchers are among the dead. Malaysia Airlines is still contacting the next of kin of the deceased passengers but said in statement it would release the passenger manifest when it had finished.

It is looking more and more like pro-Ukrainian were responsible, though they are denying it. The former US secretary of state Hillary Clinton however went further and said there were indications Russian-backed militia were to blame. TheAustralian prime minister, Tony Abbott, said it appeared the plane was shot down by Russian-backed rebels.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said Ukraine bore responsibility for the crash, according to a Kremlin statement issued early on Friday, but he did not accuse Ukraine of shooting the plane down. “This tragedy would not have happened if there were peace on this land, if the military actions had not been renewed in south-east Ukraine. And, certainly, the state over whose territory this occurred bears responsibility for this awful tragedy.” By that, does Putin suggest that the UK was responsible for the destruction of Pan Am Flight 103 because it was destroyed over Scotland?

Whether the pro-Russian separatists destroyed the plane or not, there are certainly signs that they are controlling access to the wreckage. Why are they doing that? What are they trying to hide? It was initially believed the separatists had taken away the plane’s black box flight recorder, but Ukrainian emergency workers have found the plane’s black box flight recorder, AFP has reported.

The separatists are thought by many to have shot down the plane. Th3e Guardian has published this:

Audio was being circulated on social media, apparently released by Ukrainian security services, purporting to be an intercepted conversation of pro-Russia rebels confirming they had shot down a civilian jet.

The conversation is apparently between a group leader and his superior and suggests that they initially thought they had brought down a military aircraft but later realised their error.

The group leader, “Demon”, tells his boss: “A plane has just been shot down. [It was] ‘Miner’s’ group. It crashed outside Enakievo. Our men went to search for and photograph it. It’s smouldering.”

After his men apparently inspected the crash site, Demon reports back. “Cossacks from the Chernunkhino checkpoint shot down the plane. The plane disintegrated in mid-air … they found the first body. It’s a civilian.”

He carries on: “I mean. It’s definitely a civilian aircraft.”

If it was separatists who did this, they have very likely shot themselves in the foot (if not the head). How many allies will they have now?

In the meantime, if you’re planning an international trp, remember the old adage: “Bad things happen in threes”….

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The “right to be forgotten” bites thief in ass

July 16, 2014

So people who have done dodgy crap in the past have a “right to be forgotten”… meaning Google, Bing, etc have to delete links to stories about what crooks and conmen have got up to in the past. Basically, Google etc have to delete links to online stories that might “damage the reputation” of people who have done stupid and even criminal things they’ve done in the past.

But as Dan Gillmor has pointed out in the Guardian, it’s basically a charter for crooks and idiots to hide their stupidity and criminal actions, censoring their past so it looks like they’re not idiots or crooks… info that potential employers, new acquaintances and the like could well need to know. Are you going to enter into business with someone whose ineptness or criminal behaviour is public knowledge? Probably not. But now people will be employing unsuitable people.

But what’s funny about this charade is the fact that the “right to be forgotten” by Google will mean other news outlets will report on these secretive idiots. Check out the story on Robert Daniels-Dwyer. He wanted Google to remove links to reports that he was was convicted of trying to steal £200 worth of Christmas presents from Boots in Oxford in 2006. Google removed the links… but the Oxford Mail’s editor, Simon O’Neill, argued that it is “an assault on the public’s right to know perfectly legitimate information,” and Dwyers’ naughty past has been re-publicised far more than it would have been before the ruling! The Oxford Mail’s editor, Simon O’Neill, argued that it is “an assault on the public’s right to know perfectly legitimate information.”

Check out the original Oxford Mail story here. If the idiot had kept his gob shut, no one would have known about it… it was in 2006 for goodness’ sake!

Calling it a “right to censorship”, editor O’Neill continued: “It is an attempt to re-write history… We often get complaints from convicted criminals that publishing stories about them invades their privacy or is unfair but the simple fact is if they didn’t go out committing crime and appearing in court then there would not be a story.”

The Guardian reported:

The paper reported that Daniels-Dwyer had previously attempted to have the story removed from the Mail’s websites via a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission.

He demanded that Newsquest “should purge the article from all databases, internally and externally available, and from any news databases to which it provides content.”

Two factual amendments were made to the article, but the PCC dismissed his case.

If Daniels-Dwyer was the complainant to Google then it has rebounded on him because the 2006 story has got renewed, and extra, publicity – a direct consequence of all such complaints about online coverage (see the Streisand effect).

The right to be forgotten could well turn out to be the right to be remembered.

So it looks like Daniels-Dwyer has well and truly screwed himself! Ha ha ha!!

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Net neutrality: a reasonable request or a pipe dream?

July 16, 2014

One of the email lists I’ve signed up for is EFFector, the email “newsletter” from the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). (If you want to subscribe to it, go to eff.org). The latest email (received today) concentrates on the issue of net neutrality, “the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all data that travels over their networks equally … a principle that EFF strongly supports.”

EFF says:

Without [net neutrality], companies like Comcast and Verizon will be permitted to give preferential treatment to some websites over others. This would be a disaster for the open Internet. When new websites can’t get high-quality service, they’ll be less likely to reach users and less likely to succeed. The result: a less diverse Internet.

Just think about all the ways an open Internet has transformed the world. It’s changed the way we communicate, learn, share, and create. Citizens have used it to organize against government oppression. Innovative companies have helped us to map our communities and connect Internet users to family and friends across continents. Likewise, the Internet has revolutionized education: students can access knowledge previously tucked away in university libraries, now readily available online.

We want the Internet to live up to its promise, fostering innovation, creativity, and freedom. We don’t want regulations that will turn ISPs into gatekeepers, making special deals with a few companies and inhibiting new competition, innovation and expression.

Net neutrality is under threat. the FCC (Federal Communications Commission), the US body that deals with this kind of issue, is considering a plan that would allow some Internet providers to provide better access to some websites that pay a fee to reach users faster. This kind of “pay-to-play” Internet stifles innovation. New websites that can’t afford expensive fees for better service will face new barriers to success, leaving users with ever fewer options and a less diverse Internet.

The FCC has a disappointing history on online issues. In 2010, the FCC’s rules would have allowed ISPs free rein to discriminate as long as it was part of “reasonable efforts to… address copyright infringement.” This broad language could lead to more bogus copyright policing from the ISPs.

They do sometimes take action against ISPs who flout the FCC’s feeble rules. The EFF point out, for instance, that

- Comcast was caught interfering with their customers’ use of BitTorrent and other peer-to-peer file sharing
- A Canadian ISP slowed down all encrypted file transfers for five years
- The FCC fined Verizon for charging consumers for using their phone as a mobile hotspot

But this only happens when the EFF or similar organizations hassle the FCC to take action. And right now, there’s “fast lane” discrimination that allows wireless customers without data plans to access certain sites but not the whole Internet, something that the FCC doesn’t seem to have dealt with. This is discrimination that is inexplicable unless you accept the worrying conclusion that the FCC don’t work to control ISPs but is actually in the pocket of the ISPs. EFF tells us

The FCC also has a sad history of being captured by the very industries it’s supposed to regulate while ignoring grassroots public opinion. In the early 2000s, for example, the commission essentially ignored the comments of hundreds of thousands of Americans who opposed media consolidation.

Net neutrality is dying at the moment. ISPs often do not let their customers to access sites and services offered by other ISPs, a vile form of online censorship designed to fill the ISPs’ pockets.

The EFF can see a way out of this mess, as explained at The FCC and Net Neutrality: A Way Forward. Unfortunately the EFF is not the statuary body empowered to enforce net neutrality. That is (in the USA, which of course affects the entire internet) the FCC. And they won’t do their job. ISPs continue to throttle or completely block their customers from using sites offered by other ISPs. EFF tells us:

EFF has long been critical of the Federal Communications Commission’s efforts to regulate digital technologies and services. We’ve warned against FCC rules and strategies that threatened to (or actually did) give the agency too much power over innovation and user choice. And with good reason: the FCC has a sad history of being captured by the very industries it’s supposed to regulate. It also has a history of ignoring grassroots public opinion. In the early 2000s, for example, the commission essentially ignored the comments of hundreds of thousands of Americans who opposed media consolidation.

When it came to the open Internet, the FCC’s confused legal arguments regarding the scope and limit of their power made us fearful that the FCC would abuse its power. With respect to net neutrality, it started out by claiming a broad “ancillary” authority to regulate the Internet – a claim that, if accepted, could be a Trojan horse for ever-expanding regulatory overreach. If the agency couldn’t articulate a reasonable and clear legal authority for its actions, how could we trust it to recognize the limits of that authority?

The FCC has even proposed rules that would allow companies like Comcast and Verizon to charge websites and web applications a fee to reach users more reliably. So what can we do to stop internet apartheid? EFF has proposed a “constellation of solutions, such as:

Rules that block non-neutral behavior… drastically enhanced transparency rules and community based solutions that promote competition, like municipal and community deployment of fiber. Network neutrality rules also must extend to mobile data networks, which is currently not the case [which is a dire situation, considering how many people use the mobile internet with tablets, smartphones etc].

Without detailed transparency into how providers are managing their networks, users will be unable to determine why some webpages are slow to load, while new services that hope to reach those users will have a harder time figuring out if there is some artificial barrier in place.

We also need more competition. Right now most Internet users have only one or two options for high-speed Internet for their homes and businesses. 20 states currently have anti-competitive laws that restrict the ability for community groups and municipalities from building their own networks. Fortunately, the FCC has said it will challenge these laws. But we can also organize locally to encourage more high-speed Internet options in our cities, like by urging mayors to light up unused fiber or building community networks.
[...]
The good news is we are speaking up. The FCC has opened a “rulemaking” process, where the agency has asked the public to weigh-in on its proposed rules. We created a tool, DearFCC.org, to help everyone take part in this important debate.

If the FCC embraces rules that allow wealthy incumbent companies to reach users at faster speeds, the services we see in the future could be the same companies that are popular today. But we want to expect the unexpected. To get there, we have to make certain new businesses and services are able to meaningfully connect to users.

This rulemaking process is one of our best opportunities to be heard. Visit DearFCC.org and tell your story today. The FCC needs to hear us loud and clear: It’s our Internet, and we’re going to fight to protect it.

Congress is trying to rush to pass an amendment that will kill net neutrality. We who care about our internet need to contact them, via https://www.dearfcc.org/call. Oh, and give EFF some money. In this horrible world, money talks. Go to www.eff.org to learn more. Net neutrality must not be allowed to die!

NB: Even if you’re not a US citizen/resident, it’d be a good idea to complain to them. A deluge of complaints from all round the world might remind the FCC that the internet is an international network of networks, and actions taken by the FCC will impact net users everywhere. Go to www.eff.org to find out more! Cheers!

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“Knock on the roof” absolves Israel over civilian deaths? Yeah right.

July 15, 2014

Stung by international criticism of their airstrikes in civilian residential areas in Gaza, Israel has adopted a “knock on the roof” system to warn civilians that their homes are going to be destroyed, launching a less destructive missile on the roofs of target buildings so anyone inside can evacuate before the real bombs come. Alternatively the Israeli Defence Force will phone with a warning. Thus Israel claim that they are doing all they can to avoid killing civilians.

I find this rather disingenuous. In the Guardian, Peter Beaumont spoke to 2 victims of this “warning” technique. Dr Nasser Tatar, director general of Gaza’s largest medical facility, the Shifa hospital, had his home and private clinic destroyed.

He says he had just returned to his family on Sunday night after working a week straight at an overwhelmed hospital short of resources. “We’ve had tens of deaths and hundreds of injured. I needed to be at the hospital,” he says. “It was just after the time for breaking the Ramadan fast at 7.50pm.

“The IDF called my nephew with a 10-minute warning saying that they planned to destroy my house. Because it took him several minutes to find me, it was less than 10 minutes. I got my family out quickly and warned my neighbours to take care. Then they hit my house with a rocket and then a second.”

And Beaumont witnessed a “knock on the roof” attack. He writes:

In a side street in Gaza’s Shati camp, an Israeli warning missile has just “knocked on the roof” of Alaa Hadeedi’s house, filling the road with a thin mist of smoke. A few ambulances have rushed to the scene and are waiting 100 metres or so from the house. Behind them, a crowd of wary neighbours gather to watch.

There is a sudden shout as someone hears the sound of the second missile – a live bomb this time – and the crowd surges backwards. Alaa Hadeedi’s house explodes in a billowing cloud of concrete and wood fragments.

A driver by trade, Alaa Hadeedi – who was not at home when the missile hit – stored gasoline inside his house. It ignites in an orange fireball

Israel claims this method of “avoiding civilian deaths” is a careful and humane practice, its drone operators and pilots holding back against the risk of collateral damage. But the fact remains that most of the casualties have been civilians. And now Israel has warned residents of northern Gaza to evacuate the area – a chilling warning.

During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, the IRA almost routinely phoned warnings to targets and the police and army before setting off their bombs. Did the warnings make the bombings okay? If I tell someone that I’m going to punch their child in the face, does the warning make the assault okay?

Israel is a terrorist state. So when will the UN sanctions and US military action going to start?

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Israeli “terrorists” bomb Palestinian “terrorists” including innocent civilians women and children “terrorists”… when will press and politicians stop calling everyone “terrorists”..?

July 12, 2014

As of today, 12 July 2014, Israeli bombings and airstrikes on Gaza have killed over 120 people, and 920 people injured. Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu says that the targets are all terrorist-related, and Hamas is responsible for any civilian deaths by putting legitimate targets like rocket launch sites and command and control centres in residential areas. However, one of the tactics being used is trying to kill Hamas leaders by bombing their homes, therefore killing the Hamas officers’ families. There are also reports of purely civilian locations being attacked, including a charitable association for the disabled in Beit Lahiya in northern Gaza where 2 civilians were killed. Various politicians including US president Obama have urged Israel to call a ceasefire. But Netanyahu has declared that the dramatically-named “Operation Protective Edge” will not stop until Hamas stops launching rockets at Israeli targets.

A big problem with Netanyahu’s statement is that it is not just Hamas that is firing rockets into Israel. Hamas is the official government of the Gaza Strip, but there are other groups who are involved in attacks. So if Hamas did stop its hostilities, rockets would still be fired from Gaza and Netanyahu would carry on with his brutal aerial assault that has been going on for more than 4 days now.

Another problem is the rhetoric that the Israeli authorities use. They call Hamas “terrorists”, even though Hamas has been officially in charge of Gaza throughout the long blockade of the Gaza Strip. Hamas obviously has support from the Strip’s population, otherwise it would have been removed from power long ago. Netanyahu would do well to remember that the Likud party he leads is directly descended from the Irgun terrorist organization responsible for atrocities like the King David Hotel bombing in 1946, in which 91 people were killed, many of them civilians, of various nationalities. Also it can be argued that “Operation Protective Edge” is itself an act of terrorism, as the Israeli forces are at best indifferent to the fact that they are killing civilians; it is probably more accurate to say Israel is deliberately killing civilians in an attempt to damage Hamas credibility in Gaza. The Israeli attacks are completely out of proportion to the rocket attacks that are the supposed provocation.

Hamas are popular, and in any case there are other groups firing rockets. And informed commentators have said (for instance on the BBC Radio 4 “Today” news programme) that Hamas has large stocks of weaponry and can probably carry on its attacks for months. If Netanyahu really wants to get rid of Hamas, he is going to have to order a ground invasion of Gaza. How long will his popularity and credibility last when Israeli conscripts start returning in body bags?

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