OT: Israel's military is immoral and out of control

You keep saying that but I think either way it makes little to no difference. Some will always fight. Which is why Israel wants to clear Gaza.

1 Like

Perhaps, but that’s not necessarily much of a factor. Because the capacity of a terror organization isn’t really dictated by having lots of bodies for cannon fodder. If Iran is shopping around for terrorist organizations to supply, they really just need them to be big enough to effectively use the financing, weapons, training, and other resources that Iran is going to provide. Have extra people that are surplus to requirements isn’t totally useless, of course. But it’s not really going to be a huge factor in the operational capacity of the group.

So Israel faces probably the same general level of threat if there’s 200K people that have enough of a desire to destroy it, than if that number were 150K or 100K people. Either way, that’s more than enough for Iran (or whomever) to find all the hands it needs to wage its proxy fight.

OK. But is it the same level of threat if there’s 2 million people with a desire to destroy Israel vs. 200k?

Because that’s how many people whose lives have been significantly changed for the worse by the Israeli invasion of Gaza.

And let’s not get distracted by other issues and ignore the Israeli failure to “mow the grass.”


Yeah, it’s probably not all that much of a greater threat. Again, a terrorist organization isn’t like a conventional army - you don’t need hundreds of thousands of people to staff it up.

That’s part of the problem with a containment security policy. To prevent an attack, your intelligence operations have to be perfect in their assessments 100% of the time, and the opposing belligerent just has to be successful once. The Israeli security forces looked at the plan and determined it was beyond the operational capabilities of Hamas. There will be a massive post mortem on that assessment at some point; certainly it was wrong in hindsight, and it’s very possible that it wasn’t supported by the information they had available at the time.

But it’s also very likely that Israel didn’t have nearly as good of visibility into Hamas’s operational capacity as they would need in order to implement a containment strategy. That despite the blockades and their surveillance technology and whatever human assets they had in Gaza, they couldn’t counter Hamas’ strategy of diverting resources to military use, constructing subterranean infrastructure, and concealing their operations.

And don’t forget, while it pales into comparison to the current conflict, it’s not like Israel inflicting more violence and tighter blockade controls on Gaza in the period before 10/7 would have been costless in terms of international standing and resentment among the populace.


But the Settlers, IDF and Netanyahu’s government are urging the attacking of PLO. It is not simply bad Jewish manners. It is total discrimination and systematic stealing of PLO homes, lands, and freedom by the Jews.

1 Like

More people is almost always better. Even in a terrorist organization.

I agree, a terrorist organization isn’t staffing an army. But every sympathizer helps the organization. They can provide intel. They can identify weak spots - both in Gaza and in Israel. They can help keep Israel from gathering intel. They can feed and house fighters (or their families) so that the fighters can focus on fighting and training.

Not all fighting is done on the front lines.

You do have to accept some failure with this approach. (It’s like birth control - only one little swimmer needs to get through to end up with a pregnancy.) And it does require constant vigilance. Of course, the payoff at the end is hopefully an erosion of the opposing belligerent’s desire to continue their plans and attacks. So you have to take steps towards that end as well. You don’t just monitor for potential attacks, you use diplomacy to improve relationships as well, and thereby reduce the frequency of potential attacks.


1 Like

You can’t kill an idea by force of arms.

Last Sunday night, I plopped down on the sofa and watched “King of Kings”. As offered before, I think Jesus was a real, living person, or, at the least, a composite of a small group of people. He/they were laying down a philosophy for living a moral life, as he saw it. Unfortunately, he lived in a place with state sponsored religion. What he advocated diverged from the official line, and the state came down on him, like a ton of bricks, trying to kill his personality cult. How well did that work?


Perhaps not, but you didn’t answer the question. Is the “idea” here the belief that Israel as a country should not be allowed to exist, or that the Palestinians need to be treated differently by it?

If the “idea” is the belief that Israel should not be allowed to continue existing, from Israel’s perspective it doesn’t really matter whether the “idea” can be killed. It’s an existential requirement that they keep fighting it, because there is no possible accommodation of it. Israel can’t eliminate the “poisoned well” (to borrow your metaphor) without destroying itself.

In that case, the best you can do is kill the organizations that are trying to implement the idea - or at least degrade them to inutility. The idea can’t be killed by force of arms, but the specific individuals who are working to implement the idea can be.


How about the Israelis stay in the parcels of land that the UN said was theirs at partition? How about everyone living side by side, in a pluralistic society, as they had during the British mandate? Remember Moshe Dayan? He was born in a kibbutz in what was then the Ottoman Empire, in 1915. If the environment was as toxic then as it is now, that entire kibbutz would have been wiped out within months of it’s establishment. Somehow, Muslims and Jews managed to live together. So, what the heck happened since then?


1 Like

Sure - but on the flipside, it doesn’t take an all-out war to get people to engage in the types of activities you’re describing. Lots of Gazans were sympathetic to Hamas prior to 10/7, because some of the essential elements of the containment strategy that we’re discussing as an alternative to all-but-destroying Hamas have negative consequences for the population. If “mowing the grass” consists of the pre-10/7 approach, but with more targeted violence and a tighter blockade, Hamas is also not going to lack for people who are willing to “help out” in ways short of picking up a rifle.

Is that realistic? Part of Netanyahu’s (failed) approach to Hamas in Gaza was a belief that if they didn’t engage in too much direct retaliation, and let Hamas de facto govern the area, that it might erode their desire to continue their plans and attacks. Obviously, that failed.

Unlike many (most?) other conflicts, you have some serious state actors who are pursuing significant geopolitical interests through fomenting and supporting these belligerents. Groups like Hamas aren’t going to lose their ability and resources to keep trying to destroy Israel if you make life more bearable for the broader Palestinian population, because they don’t need the support of the broader Palestinian population for their struggle. It helps, sure - but as long as they have the guns and other materiel, they don’t have to rely on popular support to wield power.

But would either of those measures end the violence? Would Hamas be satisfied with partition - even on the 1948 boundaries - or would they (and their Iranian supporters) continue to try to destroy Israel? Would they be content to cede power and abide by democratic elections (which they very well might lose) - or would they instead seize power through the barrel of a gun the way they’ve controlled Gaza the last two decades or so?

If “the situation” you describe above is anger over the lack of a Palestinian state (or lack of Palestinian rights in a single-state), then there is a possibility that Israel can remedy it. If “the situation” you describe upthread is anger over the presence of millions of Jews in the area, then there’s no way Israel can do anything to change “the situation” that gives rise to Hamas or the PLO or the PLPF.

Demographic trends tend to indicate that the Pals will, in the near future, outnumber Jews, thus probably winning any free and fair elections. Are the Israelis whipped up by “replacement conspiracy theory”, like some USians, afraid of losing control of what they regard as “their’s”? Do the Israelis see their way out of losing control in ethnic cleansing, much as some “thought leaders” in the US are proposing deporting tens of millions of Hispanics?


1 Like

No. They’re concerned that terrorist organizations like Hamas will seize power through violence - either within the Palestinian state in a two-state solution or within a single-state - and kill/expel all the Jews in the region. A rerun of the decimation of the centuries-old Jewish communities in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and Libya and other north African countries right after 1948.

If “the situation” that gives rise to terrorist organizations like Hamas is not merely the failure to give Palestinians a state, but instead the continued existence of a Jewish homeland, then there’s no way that Israel can ever fix the cause of that situation. The only possible responses would be to try to destroy the terrorist organizations that sprout up, and keep them from committing atrocities. That might be an unending struggle, but that wouldn’t be unique (for example, we don’t expect the police to “solve” crime, but continually resist it to keep it as low as possible).

1 Like

Yes, it is a difficult situation, and becoming more difficult with every war, as the growing piles of dead bodies feeds the hate. It should have been solved 75 years ago. The UN probably thought it had the problem solved with the partition.

Cyprus had a power sharing agreement between the Greek and Turkish populations, for years. iirc, it was the Greek junta that tried a wag the dog exercise, that backfired, and destroyed the balance, in the 70s. The island has been partitioned ever since. As far as I know, neither faction in Cyprus keeps trying to seize land from the other faction, otherwise, the island would have the same frictions as in Israel.


Yeah, they didn’t count on most of the surrounding countries trying to destroy Israel immediately - and then when that failed, holding onto the Arab-designated territories for themselves rather than giving the residents self-governance in a separate state. Egypt and Jordan had no interest in following the partition plan and allowing a separate Palestinian state - at least, not while they actually had the territory and the ability to create one.

But they did, and the fact that most of the regional actors spent the first several decades of Israel’s existence trying to destroy Israel, rather than follow the partition plan, definitely didn’t help the current situation. It also contributes to Israeli skepticism that the relevant parties’ motivation ends at the protection of Palestinian rights, and doesn’t still extend to also getting rid of the Jewish state contemplated in the partition plan.


What do your readings on WW2 tell you about that?


1 Like

I don’t know, why don’t we ask the latest iterations of neo-nazis and white supremacists?


This comment made me think a bit. That thinking has led me to believe this is the key problem here. My idea of a containment strategy and the strategy Israel has been pursuing are considerably different.

Israel has been blockading Gaza for almost two decades. Since the withdrawal in 2005, Israel has made the strip a living he!! for those stuck there. The people of Gaza have had a very limited ability to move in or out of the territory for quite a while. They’re mostly dependent on foreign supplies and aid for the basics of life. The economy is in shambles as is public health.

While some might consider that to be a containment strategy, I disagree. It is an oppression strategy. Oppression strategies are a breeding ground for revolt and attacks, and will eventually fail. I believe that failure is in progress now.

While we can do all sorts of Monday morning quarterbacking on the causes of the situation, what is really needed is to deal with the existing situation.

Unfortunately, I don’t see any easy paths forward here. Israel is probably going to continue with their war against Gaza unless the international community stops them. That will take serious military presence from the likes of the USA and UN. I don’t see that happening. Russia would be another possibility, but that’s not happening, either. China doesn’t have a dog in this fight, so they’re probably going to stay away, too.

Perhaps the best that can be done is via that pier the US has announced they are going to construct. Yes, it’s supposed to be a way to get humanitarian aid into Gaza. But it could also work as a way to get refugees out. The problem with that is finding a place for the refugees to go. Europe is already getting its fill of refugees from Ukraine. I don’t know enough to know if they might be welcomed in any of the North Africa countries. It would be political suicide to bring them into the US right now. (Perhaps after the elections. Or not, depending on the outcome.) South America? Asia? I just don’t know.

–Peter <== not feeling very optimistic at the moment.


Those Jewish communities were decimated and Jews were forced out because that is what the Jews did to the Palestinians in 1948:

The Arab view is that the Palestinians were expelled by Zionist forces and that the exodus of 1948 was the fulfillment of a long-held Zionist dream to ethnically cleanse Palestine so that the land could the transformed into a Jewish-majority state.(Causes of the 1948 Palestinian expulsion and flight - Wikipedia) Nur Masalha and Walid Khalidi notes that ideas of transferring the Palestinian Arab population to other Arab countries were prevalent among Zionists in the years prior to the exodus. In 1961, Khalidi argued that Plan Dalet, the Zionists’ military plan executed in April and May 1948, aimed at expelling the Palestinians.

Causes of the 1948 Palestinian expulsion and flight - Wikipedia.

1 Like

Just about what I was thinking. Have you noticed the documentaries on PBS over the last few years? These series are all presented to make the parallels with what is happening in the US, among other countries, now, obvious.

And the latest one, first ep ran this week.