Peoples Geography — Reclaiming space

Creating people's geographies

Joe Klein launches a truth rocket, but …

… doesn’t himself quite escape the gravitational pull of the Israel-first mentality. At least, so far.

First, credit where its due: Time’s political columnist Joe Klein joins a growing number of journalists (Chris Hedges, Jim Lobe, Justin Raimondo, Eric Alterman) and academics (Walt and Mearsheimer, James Petras) who are speaking up and out about the belligerent and unrepresentative group of neoconservatives in the US who happen to be mostly Jewish, a signal that this elephant in the room has finally moved into the mainstream discourse after the alternative press has long been ahead of the game.

Klein has done well to speak up for the majority of Jewish Americans for whom the neocons and the Likud Lobby (ADL, AIPAC etc) definitely does not speak nor represent. As a friend noted, he starts out like a rocket in a recent Atlantic interview (Joe Klein on Neoconservatives and Iran), standing by remarks that have got the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith (ADL) in such a tizzy. Statements like: “Neoconservatism in foreign policy is best described as unilateral bellicosity cloaked in the utopian rhetoric of freedom and democracy” and observations about the Jewish neoconservatives “divided loyalties”:

“There is a small group of Jewish neoconservatives who unsuccessfully tried to get Benjamin Netanyahu to attack Saddam Hussein in the 1990s, and then successfully helped provide the intellectual rationale for George Bush to do it in 2003. Their motivations involve a confused conflation of what they think are Israel’s best interests with those of the United States. They are now leading the charge for war with Iran.”

I welcome Klein’s comments and hope they do herald the start of a much needed public dialogue in which both Jews and Gentiles can openly and honestly discuss these urgent issues.

Here are my reservations about Klein’s comments.

First, although he refreshingly repudiates the claim that Iran poses an existential threat, he seems to suggest that the Jewish American neocons do genuinely buy their own propaganda and think Israel’s existence is under threat. Klein writes (When Extremists Attack):

“I believe there are a small group of Jewish neoconservatives who are pushing for war with Iran because they believe it is in America’s long-term interests and because they believe Israel’s existence is at stake. They are wrong and recent history tells us they are dangerous. They are also bullies and I’m not going to be intimidated by them.”

While we hear this line propagated enough by the neocons and Bush-Cheney, I do not think the neocons nor Israeli Likudniks believe for a minute Israel’s existence is actually at stake. It is an elementary fact that there is no country in the region equipped to threaten Israel’s existence militarily and the neocons, I’d suggest, are well aware of this. The only thing that might perhaps be challenged is Israel’s regional nuclear hegemony, not its existence. Let us importantly distinguish between these two vastly different things.

Second, while he does not shy away from identifying neocons as Jewish, he does not resile from their essentially bellicose and misleading ‘right to self-defence’ claim that ignores the military occupation and ongoing theft of Palestinian land as crucial causal determinants either:

JG: You seem very angry at people who you specifically identify as Jewish neocons.  And you’re using the word “Jewish” in ways that we haven’t seen Jewish reporters and Jewish columnists use.

JK: It’s about time.  I think everyone else is too afraid to do it.  Let me just make something very clear that you already know about me. I am a strong supporter of Israel.  I think Israel had a perfect right in 2002 to go into the West Bank and kick the shit out of those people who were making suicide bombs.  I think if they wanted to now go into Gaza and take out the people who were hitting Sderot, they would have a perfect right to do that.  I am not a Walt-Mearsheimer guy. I think Jews have a perfect right to have a lobby. I do believe that there is a group of people who got involved and had a disproportionate influence on U.S. foreign policy. There were people out there in the Jewish community who saw this as a way to create a benign domino theory and eliminate all of Israel’s enemies.

Third, he makes a rather curious remark about Israel’s failure in its heinous 2006 war on Lebanon. Having aimed beyond the stratosphere with his truth rockets, again he seems to fall back to Earth with a thud, when, after Jeffrey Goldman states, “But most Israeli politicians, left and right now, seem to be believing that Iran does pose an existential threat to Israel’s existence”, he opines:

JK: That’s because they fucked up the war in Lebanon.  The lesson here is, don’t let an Air Force guy run your military.

I would like to know what would qualify as a ‘success’ in destroying a country’s infrastructure and over 1000 of its civilians in a pre-planned war, all on the pretext of a border incident. Were the war a military success, would it have been justified?

As Nicholas Blanford notes meanwhile (Israel and Hizbollah ready to rumble?), Israel’s daily air incursions into Lebanese airspace with Israeli jets and reconnaissance drones have actually been ramped up. According to Timur Goksel, these provocations are aimed at Hezbollah: “The Israeli overflights have increased lately and it looks like the Israelis are provoking Hizballah into showing their deployments.”

Another important quibble comes courtesy of Philip Weiss. While applauding Klein (“Klein … opens up the essential conversation that I have been calling for for years…”), Weiss also takes Klein and Goldberg to task for their subtext suggesting that this is a Jewish dialogue and calls for political inclusiveness in the debate:

“What seems to make Klein not “a Walt and Mearsheimer man” is the religious issue that pervades the interview. He’s Jewish, they’re not. Nah Nah! Klein and Goldberg happily play their Jewish cards in this interview. But what if you’re not Jewish and don’t care for Israel? Or you’re an Arabist, or you’re a Jewish non-Zionist? Well, you’re not really invited to have an opinion that will be taken seriously. Imagine if only Christian evangelicals got to call the evangelicals out on their political agendas!”

Jim Lobe, Philip Weiss and my friend M. Idrees Ahmad rightly applaud Klein’s candour and courage. In a preambular comment, Idrees writes:

“People are now able to discuss this critical issue openly, and the hawks are on the defensive. The likelihood of a new war is diminishing. And none of this would have come to pass without the intervention of John Mearsheimer and Stephen Walt. We owe them — and other courageous men like Philip Weiss, Jim Lobe, Chris Hedges, Alex and Andrew Cockburn, Uri Avnery, Jimmy Carter, Justin Raimondo and Seymour Hersh — a debt of gratitude.”

Similarly, Justin Raimondo (Joe Klein Speaks Truth To Power: but how long will they let him get away with it?) rhapsodises:

“Good for Joe! – and good for “J Street,” and good for Philip Weiss, who has done yeoman’s work in this area: people are finally beginning to stand up in the Jewish community, and say: Enough with the extremism. Enough is enough. Let them join with the overwhelming majority of the American people who want to take back our foreign policy from a small but influential minority of Israeli-centric ideologues, and start putting American interests first, in the Middle East and everywhere.”

For more background on the dust-up, see also Jim Lobe and Daniel Luban’s coverage (Neocon Flap Highlights Jewish Divide) and for a thoughtful psychological profile of the neocons, see Jim Lobe’s Speaking of Humiliation.  In his most recent post (Klein-Neo-Con Conflict Gathers Steam), Lobe writes that he hopes the controversy “will hopefully soon move into the mainstream press” where a debate is so sorely needed, not least to prevent another war-disaster.

Joe Klein has gotten us off to a good start.

Related posts:

11 comments on “Joe Klein launches a truth rocket, but …

  1. Emmanuel
    1 August, 2008

    Were the war a military success, would it have been justified?

    The war itself was justified. Certain elements in it – such as the use of cluster bombs, and the high number of civilian casualties – were not.

    A success on Israel’s part would have been destroying Hezbullah’s capability to attack Israel, pushing them away from the border and deterring further kidnappings. The first two goals were definitely not achieved, the third one probably wasn’t either.

  2. Ressentiment
    1 August, 2008

    ROFLMAO. I was just thinking to myself, “where the Hell is Emmanuel with the fresh Hasbara?” And here you are with a huge steaming pile of it.

    This is how we colonize our minds as well as the West Bank and Gaza. Where important, foundational lessons could be learned, we perfect the lie instead of looking for the truth. While important advances are being made toward peace, we have to justify war as a means to get there.

    I use the royal we because we’re all capable of lying to ourselves, so Zionists shouldn’t be characterized differently from other categories of propagandists.

    After all, how good can the propaganda be if you don’t believe it yourself, right Emmanual?

    The important question here is not whether Israel’s existence is threatened by external phenomenon. The important question is whether Israel will ever stop lying about its intentions to complete the ethnic cleansing of Palestine.

    You see, Emmanuel. It’s not about their morality. It’s about what “we” do. We are obligated to clean up our own moral affairs before we can throw distractions at others.

    Israel has been justified by a whole chain of lies that started with the notion that it was acceptable for Britain or the UN to draw arbitrary political boundaries in the Middle East. It isn’t acceptable now to grant the UN authority to create new countries, therefore it was not acceptable then.

    What has happened since 1947 is that Jewish ownership of property in Palestine, as documented by professors Pappe and Khalidi, went from 6% in 1947 to 100% in 1948, without any financial transactions or transfer of deed ever having taken place. And since 1967, the remaining property of Palestinians is being displaced for Jewish settlers slowly and quietly by tearing down one house at a time, one West-Bank Settlers-Only Highway at a time.

    The definition of ethnic cleansing, widely accepted in other instances around the world, is the appropriation by force or finance of land which belongs to one ethnic group for use by an other ethnic group.

    Now the rhetorical defense of ethnic cleansing has been transformed into doublespeak as “self defense.”

    You need to roll back your frame of reference to take in a little more of history before you start comparing the relative merits of current rationalizations.

  3. atheo
    2 August, 2008

    Nice writing ressentiment.

  4. Emmanuel
    3 August, 2008

    My previous comment wasn’t published and as usual I didn’t save it anywhere. I hope it will still be published.

    In short, I said that if everything I say is dismissed as propaganda there can’t be a dialogue here.

  5. peoplesgeography
    4 August, 2008

    I share Ressentiment’s well-written view. I didn’t know where to start when you, Emmanuel, blithely make a statement like “the war itself was justified.” While this may reflect a common Israeli mentality or view, for myself it beggars belief that any sane or humane person could hold this position. I would equally repudiate the position if the tables were turned and over a thousand Israeli civilians had died (or even “just” ten) from a war that Lebanon had hypothetically launched that destroyed much of Israel.

    The implicit arrogance that you could push a major Lebanese group away from its own border is just the start. Hezbollah have a right to be anywhere on sovereign Lebanese land.

    Second, Hezbollah’s actions have largely been defensive, it is Israel that has been doing the “attacking”. As for capturing the Israeli soldiers (combatants, not civilians), it was expressly to secure the release of thousands of alive and dead Lebanese, which was ultimately successful two years later.

    The best way to ‘deter’ the capturing of Israeli soldiers is not to illegally hold Lebanese and Palestinian prisoners in the first place. Ceasing attacks on your neighbours would be a good start too, including illegal fly-overs and numerous other provocations, detailed previously on more than a few occasions.

    I expected more than your Dr Strangelovian comments, and you are right, a dialogue can not proceed in this context, if you start from a position that the wholesale destruction of a country’s infrastructure and the wanton killing of civilians, be it a hundred or well over a thousand as it was in reality, was “justified”.

  6. Emmanuel
    4 August, 2008

    You’re distorting my words. I never said the killing of civilians and destuction of infrastructure was justified. I believe an Israeli reaction to a Hezbullah act of war was justified, though the war should have been much more limited in scope and it should have focused only on destroying Hezbullah’s abilities to attack Israel. In short, my view is that reacting was ok, the way Israel reacted was seriously flawed.

    The implicit arrogance that you could push a major Lebanese group away from its own border is just the start. Hezbollah have a right to be anywhere on sovereign Lebanese land.

    Pushing back a threat to our civilians is arrogance? The Lebanese army has a right to be anywhere in Lebanon. A private armed militia is something else entirely. Its bases are there only to attack Israel. Nothing else.

    As for capturing the Israeli soldiers (combatants, not civilians), it was expressly to secure the release of thousands of alive and dead Lebanese, which was ultimately successful two years later.

    First of all, even it had an objective, it doesn’t mean it is justified. Second of all, you’re exaggerating with the numbers. Six Lebanese prisoners, five of which were taken prisoner during the war (after the abduction of Goldwasser and Regev, that is) and five Palestinian prisoners were released along with about 200 bodies. So in the end, Hezbullah’s attack released only one live Lebanese prisoner who was in an Israeli jail before the attack. Was Saleem Kuntar worth it?

    Also, now there are no more Lebanese prisoners in Israeli jails. Do you really believe that once Hezbullah’s other excuses for existence and for taking over de-facto sovereignty of Southern Lebanon – the Shabaa Farms and Rajar – are resolved, it will stop preparing attacks on Israel?

    Ceasing attacks on your neighbours would be a good start too, including illegal fly-overs and numerous other provocations, detailed previously on more than a few occasions.

    I agree Israel should stop the fly-overs, even if it is for defensive purposes (knowing where Hezbullah is and what its capabilities are). We can rely on satellite images.

  7. peoplesgeography
    4 August, 2008

    What constitutes an act of war is a very subjective and politicised thing. Governments are not automatons, they choose rather than are bound to respond in certain ways. Witness the serious border incident that occured in March this year when Colombia breached Ecuador’s border and killed twenty-four FARC fighters, including a top military commander. It seriously strained relations between the two (and Venezuela) but did not escalate due to conscious effort and political maturity. Restraint should be a measure of strength, not weakness. Astute military leaders are especially aware and heedful of this.

    The numerous incursions into sovereign Lebanese territory and past killing of Lebanese fighters and civilians also constitutes ongoing hostile acts which could be chosen to be viewed as acts of war going on the criterion you use. What you might see as Hezbollah “attacks” (though we’ve thus far only specifically referred to one, the 2006 border incident) are themselves responses to these hostile Israeli acts, though it is worth noting that the one we have mentioned was not retaliatory: it had a specific political objective to free Lebanese prisoners and return bodies, not to attack Israel per se or Israeli civilians. The action-reaction here does not constitute a chicken and egg causal ambivalence either, Hezbollah’s historical trajectory in responding to Israeli-initiated invasions and attacks is clear.

    In addition to the already mentioned violations, cluster bombs and bombing of infrastructure throughout Lebanon during the last Israeli invasion — bridges, factories, villages — here are a couple of the major Israeli provocations (“acts of war” on some reckonings) which include abductions and assassinations:

    * The kidnapping of religious leader Sheikh Abdul Karim Obeid in July 1989;
    * The killing of then Hezbollah leader Abbas al-Musawi, as well as his wife, son, and four others in 1992, with Israeli helicopters attacking a motorcade in southern Lebanon.

    Kidnapping and killing: the two very same things that happened in your vaunted “act of war”, and these were not combatants either.

    Do I see Hezbollah’s military wing cease reacting (not existing, HA is also a political party) once the still outstanding issues you mentioned are resolved? Yes, quite frankly, I do, provided Israel cease its hostile provocations and illegal incursions.

    I disagree the flyovers are for defensive purposes and you cannot make that claim with any reasonable certainty. The violations of sovereignty could not legitimately be justified on those grounds in any case.

    Its bases are there only to attack Israel. Nothing else.

    I’m not sure to what bases you refer and I would also dispute that HA’s militia is engaged in offensive or aggressive acts against Israel other than the border incident in July 2006. Do you know of any significant acts against Israel in the past two years since the 2006 war?

    Overall, I think you have got it in reverse. HA since its inception has been about beating back Israeli forces out of its occupation of southern Lebanon, an essentially defensive posture. The aggressive posture has been almost entirely Israel’s with its numerous invasions of Lebanon, to which Hezbollah has responded and achieved success militarily in forcing Israel out.

    It is obviously up to the Lebanese to decide Hezbollah’s role. You may proffer an opinion as an Israeli but you have no right as such to decide what or where Hezbollah can legitimately be. As well as a good deal of the Lebanese population, HA already have the implicit support of the Army and the President, also immediate past head of the LAF. Throughout recent military history it has been common for militias to be absorbed into the armed forces (the Jewish militias the Irgun and Stern Gang into the IDF for one) and I think that we will see that over time with Hezbollah’s armed wing and the LAF, already 40% Shi’a if I remember correctly. It is worth repeating however, that though HA are regarded both with admiration and resentment in the Lebanese political scene, they do enjoy much popular and official cross-sectional support.

    Of the 197 bodies released in the prisoner exchange, it is worth noting that only 9 were Hezbollah fighters, the rest were other Lebanese, Palestinians and from other countries in the region (eg Tunisia) who died fighting Israel’s attacks. Do I think Samir Kuntar, whose guilt incidentally has never credibly been established, was worth what– a war? Not worth a war, but definitely worth all efforts to release him after almost 30 years on nothing but a kangaroo court trial, as well as the rest of the bodies and prisoners (yes, the thousands refers to Palestinians, not Lebanese, correction acknowledged). The Israelis certainly are known for pursuing the return of their fighters and citizens, I think HA have done well to get them home.

    The border incident in 2006, justified or not, was but a pretext for an aggressive and unjustified war. Yes, it is true that I think wars generally are unjustified, but it bears repeating that a smart response to a border clash in which 4 combatants were killed could have been talks. Countless Lebanese have died at Israeli hands, and that is not automatically escalated into an “act of war”.

    Escalation into war is a deliberate political choice, not an inevitability, and a very poor and counterproductive one at that, evidenced here by the failure of almost all of Israel’s claimed military objectives.

  8. Emmanuel
    5 August, 2008

    Escalation into war is a deliberate political choice, not an inevitability,

    No, there is no obligation to respond militarily. In October 2000, a few months after Israel’s withdrawal from Southern Lebanon, Israel did not respond to the abduction of three of its soldiers. Prime Minister Barak didn’t think it was the right thing to do at the time. Less than six years later another abduction took place, so the govenrment thought that a military reaction would deter more abductions.

    Generally, I agree that talking is the best solution, but in this case, Hezbullah didn’t want to talk about anything other than the current prisoner swap. The best way to prevent further abductions would be peace with Lebanon, but the government didn’t want to discuss it with Israel, and Hezbullah certainly didn’t.

    While Israel was inside Lebanon from the First Lebanon War to May 2000, I can’t really complain about Hezbullah’s actions against the military (though even then its shelling of civilians in Israeli towns in the north was absolutely unjustified). Ever since May 2000 it is no longer a defensive force.

    You may proffer an opinion as an Israeli but you have no right as such to decide what or where Hezbollah can legitimately be.

    Well, if they’re at my border, ready to attack me, I sure have the right to take measures against such attacks. As we speak, they’re probably preparing at attack as revenge for the death of archterrorist Immad Mughniya, even though it isn’t even certain that Israel killed him.

    As well as a good deal of the Lebanese population, HA already have the implicit support of the Army and the President, also immediate past head of the LAF.

    I know. I find it very unsettling. This is a dangerous move for Lebanon and for the whole Middle East.

    Throughout recent military history it has been common for militias to be absorbed into the armed forces (the Jewish militias the Irgun and Stern Gang into the IDF for one) and I think that we will see that over time with Hezbollah’s armed wing and the LAF

    If this were the case, I’d be happy, but it is far from being like that. It doesn’t seem like Hezbollah is being absorbed into the military and accepting the primacy of the government and the rest of the chain of command. It just got a license to do whatever it wants without government intervention. It is another branch of the Lebanese military now, but it is still completely independent.

    […]Samir Kuntar, whose guilt incidentally has never credibly been established[…]

    Now you’re really pissing me off. In order to cleanse your guilt for your support for this heinous murderer’s release you have to propagate the lie that it isn’t certain he murdered a 4 year old girl. It has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt in Israeli courts, using the girl’s autopsy report as well as eyewitness accounts, that she was bludgeoned to death with Kuntar’s rifle. Of course, he wouldn’t admit it himself, since killing a little girl that way sounds horrible even to a terrorist. It seems to me that you just automatically can’t believe Israel.

  9. peoplesgeography
    5 August, 2008

    I’ll only address the point on Kuntar, leaving aside your entirely speculative “probably preparing” a revenge attack and other baseless claims about Hezbollah:

    In order to cleanse your guilt for your support for this heinous murderer’s release you have to propagate the lie that it isn’t certain he murdered a 4 year old girl.

    Not at all. Its a statement of fact that Kuntar’s guilt is not certain and in fact it’s you who clearly has accepted an unproven Israeli charge as “beyond the shadow of a doubt”, for which there has been a self-described Israeli PR campaign to propagate this worldwide.

    Here is what I’ve said only a few posts ago on Samir Kuntar:

    If Kuntar is in fact guilty of the crime that he is accused of committing as a 16 year old, that does justify a life sentence. But the facts cast a great deal of doubt on his never-proven guilt.

    Kuntar has always maintained he did not kill either of his two alleged victims, both for the record and in private to a fellow prisoner. Kuntar has insisted that his mission was to take hostages, not to kill people [to which I’d add his sworn testimony that it was Israeli forces who in fact killed the two, victims of that awful term “collateral damage”.]

    This is credible not only because it was the stated strategy and modus operandi of the Palestinian guerillas who sought to enact prisoner swaps at the time, but if Kuntar had in fact been so consumed with so much hatred as to smash the skull of a child, why would he then care to deny it? He clearly had nothing to gain from his denial. He had not denied killing a police officer, and had nothing to gain from denying the other charge if it wasn’t true. Yet he was convicted in an Israeli kangaroo court on the say-so of the police who had botched the mission to rescue the hostages, who obviously did have a rather large motive to lie.

    And the Israeli record? The whole trial, even after 30 years, has been sealed as “top secret” [therefore no independent investigation allowed]. Only now have parts of the file have been made public. Perhaps Israel could apply the same standards and stop the legalised killing of Palestinian children that numbers 948 Palestinian children in the last eight years alone, not to mention Lebanese youngsters.

    No, my comments on Kuntar come after some reflection and consideration of the facts as presented, they are not at all reflexively anti-Israel. I choose not to accept the official Israeli line before I examine the facts for myself, that goes for any government’s claims, especially ones which are used for PR campaigns for expressly political purposes. Governments lie and cover-up routinely. Do Arab and other governments lie? Yes, they assuredly do.

    The Israeli state’s record of fabrications about ‘enemy’ operations is established with a long record of deception and blatant lies. Israel lied about Munich. It egregiously lied about the six day wars and about Egypt “attacking” it — it was Israel who, again, was the aggressor. Israel lied about the “hundreds” of dead Hezbollah fighters it claimed it had, before finally admitting it only had five. It would have us believe it has made so many “mistakes” both in Lebanon and the OPT that it conducts a war of (t)Error, on Qana, on Beit Hanoun, and so many other atrocities.

    It has repeatedly lied even in the numerous prisoner exchanges set up; as Franklin Lamb describes:

    Often exchanges failed because Israel suspended talks over prisoners, changed their minds and insisted on renegotiating established criteria for their release, or unilaterally ‘switched the rules’. When negotiations did result in an agreement, Israel typically ignored deadlines set for the releases, released nonpolitical prisoners and claimed it had fulfilled its obligations, or simply dismissed or ignored agreements. … On 34 occasions Israel has released prisoners to get what it wanted but subsequently assassinated them. The most famous example was the revered cleric, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin.

    The catalogue of fabrications during the 2006 war is long and large, let alone the full catalogue of lies in Israel’s history since 1948. Until recently with the work of the Israeli New Historians, the Israeli state has also routinely lied and covered-up about zionist terrorism and ethnic cleansing of Palestinians (though this has continued even despite this) in its foundational myths. I’d be here for hours just listing them and I’m stating this seriously, not sarcastically. This is also not even to mention Mossad operations. Going on the litany of known lies and deceptions and dubiously distinguishing itself even from most other states, Mossad’s reportedly* original motto ‘by way of deception, thou shalt do war’ might as well describe the State of Israel’s whole operating principle.

    (*by Victor Ostrovsky, formerly a Mossad agent who has written a couple of books, including By Way of Deception).

    If Kuntar is guilty, he should remain locked up. Kuntar has absolutely nothing to gain from maintaining his innocence about the two Israeli civilians for almost 30 years. In contrast, the Israeli regime has everything to gain from insisting upon his guilt as given. I recommend you consider applying skepticism before (misplaced) outrage.


    Addendum (mid August): I recently re-read Alistair Crooke and Mark Perry’s How Hezbollah Defeated Israel: Part One (of Three) — recommended reading. They write, with my editorial emphasis:

    Nasrallah had himself long signaled Hezbollah’s intent to kidnap Israeli soldiers, after former prime minister Ariel Sharon reneged on fulfilling his agreement to release all Hezbollah prisoners – three in all – during the last Hezbollah-Israeli prisoner exchange.

    The abductions were, in fact, all too easy: Israeli soldiers near the border apparently violated standing operational procedures, left their vehicles in sight of Hezbollah emplacements, and did so while out of contact with higher-echelon commanders and while out of sight of covering fire.

    We note that while the Western media consistently misreported the events on the Israeli-Lebanon border, Israel’s Ha’aretz newspaper substantially confirmed this account: “A force of tanks and armored personnel carriers was immediately sent into Lebanon in hot pursuit. It was during this pursuit, at about 11am … [a] Merkava tank drove over a powerful bomb, containing an estimated 200 to 300 kilograms of explosives, about 70 meters north of the border fence. The tank was almost completely destroyed, and all four crew members were killed instantly. Over the next several hours, IDF soldiers waged a fierce fight against Hezbollah gunmen … During the course of this battle, at about 3pm, another soldier was killed and two were lightly wounded.”

    The abductions marked the beginning of a series of IDF blunders that were compounded by commanders who acted outside of their normal border procedures. Members of the patrol were on the last days of their deployment in the north and their guard was down. Nor is it the case that Hezbollah fighters killed the eight Israelis during their abduction of the two. The eight died when an IDF border commander, apparently embarrassed by his abrogation of standing procedures, ordered armored vehicles to pursue the kidnappers. The two armored vehicles ran into a network of Hezbollah anti-tank mines and were destroyed. The eight IDF soldiers died during this operation or as a result of combat actions that immediately followed it.

  10. Emmanuel
    5 August, 2008

    Here’s my theory: in the heat of the moment, when Samir Kuntar saw he wouldn’t be able to successfully kidnap Danny Haran he shot him and bashed the girl’s head in. Later he realized that what he did was wrong even by his own standards so he claimed he only killed the cop but not the Harans.

    From your comment it seems you base your belief in his innocence on two things: Kuntar’s own words and other lies Israel has told over the years. The evidence is there. Danny Haran was shot, but his daughter was not, so if anyone was killed by a stray police bullet it could only be the father. Or was the autopsy report also fabricated?

    What kind of evidence, other than Kuntar’s own confession, would make you believe Kuntar murdered the little girl?

    Israel lied about Munich.

    Did it lie about what happened during the hostage crisis in the Olympics or are you referring to the assassinations of members of Black September that came after?

  11. peoplesgeography
    5 August, 2008

    I don’t dispute the fact that Mr Haran was killed by a bullet, nor the autopsy report of his daughter. There’s no evidence proving beyond any doubt that it was Samir Kuntar who applied the blow to her head. Casting doubt and exercising skepticism is not the same as saying he is innocent. Your theory is just that, a theory. Neither of us can know for certain what happened and it could quite easily have been an Israeli who applied the blow to the girl’s head with Kuntar’s rifle in the kerfuffle. It comes down to whose word you believe. An Israeli, if guilty, would have much more to gain than Kuntar by denying it. Kuntar himself has testified that he did not see what happened to Mr. Haran’s daughter and that Israeli gunfire killed Mr. Haran. I would favour an independent commission of enquiry — independent of both the Israelis and Lebanese — to examine the case, though ideally this should have happened over a quarter of a century ago.

    Regarding Munich and Black September, I’m referring to the Israeli killing spree of innocents afterwards that Israel claimed were connected as planners, though there were quite a few German and Israeli porkies told during the events in September as well, mostly to cover up for official embarrassment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on 1 August, 2008 by in Dissent, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Judaism, Lebanon, Lobby watch, Neocons, US Foreign Policy, USA and tagged , , , , .

Timely Reminders

"Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes perceptibly worse than what it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself."
-- Aldous Huxley

"The only war that matters is the war against the imagination. All others are subsumed by it."
-- Diane DiPrima, "Rant", from Pieces of a Song.

"It is difficult
to get the news from poems
yet men die miserably every day
for lack
of what is found there"
-- William Carlos Williams, "Asphodel, That Greeny Flower"