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Israel has alternatives to this war

This war can end and the next one can be avoided by lifting the siege, allowing for imports and exports in and out of Gaza, relieving the pressure on the civilian population, and then embarking on a genuine effort to reach a fair compromise with the Palestinians.

This operation feels different from previous escalations. A ceasefire may come soon, but we could also be heading for a long period of violence and instability. Another escalation will not be limited to Gaza: the West Bank saw its largest protest since the Second Intifada last night, with two killed by army fire.

This round of violence should also be understood in the context of regional turmoil. The Palestinians were the only ones not to revolt during the Arab Spring, due to their unique circumstances under Israeli occupation. But one could see Gaza – especially if events spill over to the West Bank – as “the Palestinians’ turn” in the revolution. The Israeli-Egyptian alliance also points to the fact that Israel is no longer a bystander but party to the fighting taking place in the region.

Israel was, however, never a passive observer. It is the regional superpower and has the support of the world’s superpower. At any given moment, the Israeli leadership can choose from various policy options. This was the case following the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens, the escalation that preceded the military campaign, and this is also the case now.

I would like to discuss a realistic alternative, along with its cost and risks.

Funeral for the 26 members of the Abu Jame' family, who were killed the previous day during an Israeli attack over the Bani Suhaila neighborhood of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014. Reports indicate that 18 of the 24 killed were children of Abu Jame'  family. Israeli attacks have killed 550 Palestinians in the current offensive, most of them civilians. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Funeral for the 26 members of the Abu Jame’ family, who were killed the previous day during an Israeli attack over the Bani Suhaila neighborhood of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, July 21, 2014. Reports indicate that 18 of the 24 killed were children of Abu Jame’  family. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

A new policy must begin with a different strategic goal. The current Israeli goal is “peace for peace,” meaning a return to the status quo in exchange for an end to the military campaign. For Gaza, this means continued siege. As I wrote here before, Israel treats Gaza and the West Bank as a couple of open air prisons that occasionally get out of control; the goal of the military operations is to restore order. This is a policy that is supported by the Israeli opposition, which is sometimes still referred to as “the peace camp” but nevertheless supports all the wars.

An alternative strategic goal should include lifting the siege in the short term and reaching a fair and stable compromise with the Palestinian people in the medium to long term. I use the word “compromise” here because there won’t be a “solution” in Israel/Palestine that will end politics and history. Jews and Palestinians will continue to compete and cooperate on this land for the foreseeable future. But as long as maintaining the status quo remains the Israeli goal, the violent military campaigns, with all their horrors and losses on both sides, are an inevitable consequence.

There is no way around this. The “peace for peace” formula doesn’t work because the occupation is not peace. So what the Palestinians are getting is “a little less war for peace.” For this reason, the current war with Hamas is not an effort to “strengthen the moderates” and to “facilitate peace,” as some claim, but rather an alternative to peace.

The nature of this compromise should also be understood in a different way. This is much more important than the one state/two states debate. If the compromise must include the current assumptions of Israeli policy – that Israel should have veto power over Palestinian politics, over candidates and winners; that Israeli citizens should enjoy 100 percent security throughout the process and beyond; that Palestinians should accept the Zionist narrative and give up their own; that Israel will be able to dictate certain assets that it would retain for itself, from religious sites to strategic territories – if all this is to continue, then there is no solution, nor will there be one. Again, it’s worth mentioning that most of the Israeli “peace camp” never relinquished those demands, therefore its support for peaceful compromise cannot be taken very seriously.

If the strategic goal is indeed a compromise or a solution, Israelis must realize that they won’t be able to control Palestinian politics or the Palestinian economy, and that one should be prepared for the possibility of some casualties along the way. On the other hand, it’s not that we don’t have casualties now. The status quo offers endless rounds of violent escalation. Some of them will be cheaper for Israel in terms of human lives, and some more expensive. A compromise, on the other hand, will not guarantee complete security, but it does present a certain opportunity for a much better future.

Soldiers and relatives mourn at the grave of Israeli Sergeant Banaya Rubel during his funeral on July 20, 2014 in Holon, Israel. Sergeant Rubel was killed along with another Israeli army soldier on the twelfth day of operation 'Protective Edge,' when Hamas militants infiltrated Israel from a tunnel dug from Gaza and engaged Israeli soldiers. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Soldiers and relatives mourn at the grave of Israeli Sergeant Banaya Rubel during his funeral on July 20, 2014 in Holon, Israel. Sergeant Rubel was killed along with another Israeli army soldier on the 12th day of operation ‘Protective Edge,’ when Hamas militants infiltrated Israel from a tunnel dug from Gaza and engaged Israeli soldiers. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Israel can end the fighting now. For that, it can agree to lift the siege on Gaza. Egypt could, in theory, do that by opening the Rafah crossing, but ultimately it will not replace Israel. The siege is an Israeli policy, and Gaza is a Palestinian issue linked to historic Palestine.

Lifting the siege can take place in stages. Israel can open the ground crossings for people and goods immediately, since it supervises them anyway and could prevent the import of weapons. There should be no problem in allowing exports from the Strip and the movement of people in and out – two things Israel banned, save for unique cases. Naturally, Israel should also allow Gaza’s civil servants to be paid. Preventing the transfer of funds for their salaries is something that contributed to the current escalation.

Israel should also recognize the Palestinian unity government and encourage the strengthening of its authority all over the occupied Palestinian territories. This is in Israel’s interest too, and I never quite figured out why the government opposes it.

Once a ceasefire has been reached, the Palestinian Authority and Israel should quickly agree on a mechanism for allowing sea and air travel to and from Gaza. This is where Israel can demand international guarantees or the presence of some third-party monitors. It can also ask for international forces to be present along and around the border of Gaza. This could help deal with the tunnels issue that Israel is concerned about.

This is in the short term. Hamas already signaled that such measures would lead to a long-term ceasefire. More than anything, these terms would ease the suffering of the Gazan population, which should be on everyone’s mind. Naturally, such measures would not provide complete security guarantees for Israel; such guarantees do not exist. This is where we return to my previous point: If one is not ready for the risks involved in the potential collapse or violation of agreements, no agreement will be possible at all. The de facto meaning of such a position is support for the status quo.

At the same time, it is worth remembering that agreements are not always bound to collapse, and history is full of examples of diplomatic measures that succeeded. Some violations are inevitable, but the conflict can gradually take on a non-violent form.

For such a ceasefire agreement not to lead to another round of war, it must be accompanied by an immediate effort to reach a full-scale compromise; one that would end the occupation and touch all core issues, including Jerusalem and the refugees. As we learned in Oslo, interim agreements that are turned into permanent arrangements are a problem in and of themselves, and can, in fact, lead to further violence.

I will not go into the one state/two states/confederacy debate here. It should, however, be remembered that all these options include certain security risks and, more importantly, the Jewish public would need to give up considerable assets. In the two-state solution these are territorial assets. In the case of the one-state solution it means sharing state institutions and symbols, and the redistribution of land.

The alternative to those arrangements is not only the status quo, but perhaps a return to full Israeli control of the West Bank and Gaza. Even if Hamas is defeated and the previous order of things is restored, the Palestinians will return to fighting for their independence once they recover. The Palestinian Authority will not be able to do Israel’s police work for much longer – the Palestinians will topple it or they will force it to support the uprising, and then Israel will destroy it.

This is the choice we face as Israelis. The price of a compromise is undeniable, there are certainly risks involved, but it’s not an impossible challenge. Israel is wealthy and powerful, and has the support of the West; those challenging it are divided and isolated. It remains unclear how many of these circumstances will exist in the future.

Related:
Why do Palestinians continue to support Hamas despite such devastating losses?
This is a war of choice. Netanyahu’s choice
Why I object to this military campaign, even as missiles fall on my city

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  • COMMENTS

    1. CigarButNotNice

      The alternative according to this article: Israel to capitulate to Arab imperialist demands. Gosh, how unexpected. /s

      Regarding the non-option of “Palestinians” dropping their narrative in favor of the Zionist one, I gather the author thinks the other way round (Zionists “accepting” that theirs is not an ancient nationalism but a modern White European Colonialism) is all swell, right? Hypocrite.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Kolumn8

      Great. Lets open up the Gaza and have Iran and Syria flood it with missiles while giving Hamas a giant victory so that it can continue to brainwash its population towards its goal of destroying Israel and murdering the Jews. Lets allow Hamas to build as many tunnels as they want and to build more bunkers and launch sites under schools and hospitals. Lets allow Hamas to bring in more and more weaponry and train more and more of its people in guerilla tactics. What could possibly go wrong?

      This sounds like a wonderful idea. I am surprised that there isn’t massive support for such a brilliant idea among Israeli politicians.

      What planet are you on?

      When our people die you insist that in order to achieve your entirely imaginary “compromise” more need to be sacrificed and heaven forbid some of us understand that ideas from people like you only get us killed. What compromise? With who? With Hamas whose religious ideology is to destroy Israel? This is like trying to negotiate with the Haredim about them starting to drive on Saturdays while eating cheeseburgers. With Abbas who is as yet unable to accept the idea that Israel isn’t going to be flooded with Hamas-supporting Arabs in the case of a “compromise”?

      I once thought Oslo might create the conditions for peace. Now I see that it just allowed the Palestinians to kill more Israelis. That is all that people like you have accomplished with your “activism” – you and your ideas have led to the deaths of thousands of Israelis. Thank God we have stopped listening to you. Nor do I think that it has been a terribly positive experiment for the Palestinians as well.

      Reply to Comment
      • carl

        kolumn@ i dont know why you write just about gaza. west bank and gaza are part of 1 single territorial unit. what is going on beyond the green line has very little to with “security”. plus, while keeping the gaza strip in these conditions appear as a great option for israel, in the long term it will be a boomerang. finally, hamas didn’t come from the moon: it came out and grew mainly thanks to people like you.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn8

          Carl,

          1) I write about Gaza because Gaza is the territory that is effectively controlled by Hamas and the source of both the rockets and the tunnels that were designed to murder as many Israeli civilians as possible.

          2) The idea that Gaza and the West Bank are part of a single territorial unit is fiction. Look at a map. At best they are both claimed by the same groups, but a single territorial unit? Not so much.

          3) Hamas didn’t come from the moon. Hamas is the local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood hence the somewhat unfriendly relations it has with the Egyptian military (and the warm relations with Qatar and Turkey). It is the local Islamist movement and one of many powerful Islamist movements in the region. You can blame me (or people like me) for the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist movements and for their creation and growth but it does seem that you are strolling around on some rather thin ice.

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          • Goldmarx

            In a 2008 Wall Street article, “How Israel Helped Spawn Hamas”, Avner Cohen stated: “Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel’s creation.” He worked in Gaza for more than two decades, responsible for religious affairs there.

            Azzam Tamimi, author of a book on Hamas, told Grace Halsell of the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs(December 1998):

            And where does Hamas get its money? “In the West, this question generally is raised to create suspicion,” Tamimi said. While Israel today puts pressure on Washington to prevent money from any source in the U.S. getting to Hamas, Israel had a different agenda originally. Initially, it saw the PLO as the enemy. And, in its determination to undermine the PLO, Israel supported Hamas, financially as well as by other means. After co-opting the PLO, Israel then saw Hamas as the enemy.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn8

            Hamas is the organic extension of the Muslim Brotherhoid. Israel did not crush Hamas when it might have done so easily. This is true. Prior to the early 1990s Hamas operated primarily as a social welfare organization and seemed less threatening than the ‘secular’ terrorists of the PLO. Israel could not prevent Hamas from embracing the general trend among the Islamist movements in the Arab world towards embracing terrorism, nor could it prevent the growth of the Islamist movement as part of the general turn of the Arab world towards embracing religious ideologies.

            Reply to Comment
          • carl

            Hamas is a product of the conflict over Palestine going back to the 1920s. The Muslim Brotherhood has been active in Palestine since the 1930s and took part in the Great Palestinian Rebellion of 1936-39.

            As for the rest, this article might help you (but it wont):

            In 2006 following Hamas’s success in the Palestinian legislative elections, Ismail Haniyeh, the newly elected Prime Minister wrote a letter to President Bush. In this letter Haniyeh asked for his new government to be recognised, he offered establishing a border on 1967 boundaries and agreed to a long-term truce.

            Haniyeh wrote,

            “We are an elected government which came through a democratic process.”

            “We are so concerned about stability and security in the area that we don’t mind having a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders and offering a truce for many years.”

            “We are not warmongers, we are peace makers and we call on the American government to have direct negotiations with the elected government,” he wrote. Haniyeh also urged the American government to act to end the international boycott “because the continuation of this situation will encourage violence and chaos in the whole region.”

            President Bush never responded to the letter and the United States continued its boycott of Hamas and of Gaza.

            Since their election in 2006 Hamas made repeated efforts to establish diplomatic contacts with EU and American representatives. All of which were denied. Hamas were elected through a democratic process which the EU welcomed, paid for, monitored and declared to be free and fair. While secret or unofficial meetings continued to take place between Hamas and Western diplomats, the content of these meetings was always same. “Accept the Quartet’s principles or we will continue to treat you as an illegitimate actor and boycott you.”

            In a leaked 2007 correspondence with Washington, Israeli Director of Intelligence, Amos Yadlin stated that “Israel would be happy if Hamas took over Gaza, as then the IDF could treat Gaza as a hostile country.” And this is exactly what has happened. Hamas took over Gaza through democratic elections and Israel treats it as a hostile zone, which we can observe occurring at this very moment. Israel stated that Hamas were terrorists and Western leaders did not challenge this line. On the contrary, they refused to meet diplomatically with Hamas leaders, they cut off all possible financing to the newly elected government and they supported Israel’s complete sanction and seize of Gazan territory. Israel stated that Hamas were terrorists, so European and American governments responded accordingly.

            This line has become so powerful in Western government’s state policies and mainstream media outlets the entire discourse around Gaza has been reduced to Israel’s ‘right to defend itself’ against Hamas; Israel’s defense against terrorism. Hamas has become synonymous with terrorism and Gaza has become synonymous with ‘terrorist harbouring territory’. As such, Israel has endowed itself with the heinous luxury of unmediated, indiscriminate and radically disproportionate action, because it says that it is defending itself from terrorism. And western governments and western mainstream media outlets continue to buy, support and spread this violent misconstruction of Hamas’s identity.

            As someone who has met with many Hamas members and leaders I am deeply disappointed and disheartened, by mainstream western discourse’s reductionist and racist understanding of Hamas, its actions and of its position in Palestinian society. During a three month research trip in Gaza, September-December 2012, I had the opportunity to talk with Hamas members and leaders regarding the western response to their success in the 2006 elections. In my conversations they conveyed their own frustration and sadness at being so profoundly misunderstood and misrepresented.

            Ahmad Majdi, an area manager for Hamas in Gaza, told me they are very aware that many external powers view them as terrorists, which they explain are based on mistaken reports from Israel. Ahmed Yousef, an advisor to Prime Minister Haniyeh, said they know they have been dehumanised and demonised in the West, and so they encourage western officials to come and meet with them so they can get a better understanding of Hamas and its policies, rather than simply stereotyping it. Yousef said Hamas had an open door policy to Western diplomats; Hamas desired to be recognised and engaged with diplomatically. However, US and EU state representatives refused to recognise the newly elected government and they continue with their financial and diplomatic sanctioning of Hamas.

            Hamas leader, Ghazi Hamad told me, “when the EU opposed Hamas and squeezed them in a corner they wanted to make it fail. To show the world that we don’t want the Islamists in power. We don’t want democracy to come through the Islamists.”

            The obsessive focus on the Hamas charter

            Most often discussions regarding Hamas in the Western media begin with its notorious 1988 Charter. But have media outlets who spew obsessively narrow readings of Hamas’s military position even bothered to do any research into its political work?

            Have they bothered reading further analysis of this material by other experts, such as Menachem Klein, who wrote,

            “The differences between the party’s platform and the Islamic Charter do not represent an attempt at deception or the empty and unconsidered use of words. They are a product of a change and modification of lines of thought as a part of the process by which Hamas has become a political movement.”

            Klein explains that Hamas will not revoke their Charter because it represents an important historical document for the group, which was written at the time of their inception during the first Intifada. The Charter, however, is not representative of Hamas in its current form. There are more contemporary Hamas documents, such as their 2006 election manifesto, which describes Hamas’s broader vision for Palestinian society and which author Khaled Hroub states, “could be said that the document was designed to carry out exactly the kinds of reform that had been demanded by Western governments and financial institutions.” Still, US and EU officials continue to be obtusely obsessed with Hamas’s Charter. Through this reductionist and reified reading of Hamas, Western officials continue to be blind to Hamas’s politics. Hamas founder and current member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, Khalil al-Aya expressed in an interview,

            “Hamas gave lots of flexibility in lots of places. We had things that were strategic and things that were fixed. For example, we had that program with all the fractions of Gaza/ Palestine- we agreed for it. And until now the EU did not catch this initiative, and see that Hamas was already very flexible. And we have the agreements with Israel with the other parties and we accept 1967 borders- with the right to return. And this is big. But this did not affect them; it did not move them.”

            Hamas is a pragmatic and flexible political actor and focusing on its 1988 Charter completely misses Hamas’s contemporary identity. However, disgracefully the US and European states maintain their uneducated or purposefully misleading understanding of Hamas.

            It appears as though when discussing Hamas or reporting on its activities it seems sufficient to regurgitate Israel’s purposely scare mongering and racist discourse.

            Perhaps what is more troubling is how the general public is also swallowing this horrendous misrepresentation of Hamas. Tweets, blogs, comments left on news reports are also engaged in this continual equating of Hamas with terrorists and Gazans with terrorist supporters. People who know absolutely nothing about Hamas or about Gaza feel comfortable supporting the bombing of Gaza because Israel has stated that it has the right to defend itself. The public eye remains viciously blind to the destruction of Gaza and of Gazan lives because they appear to believe that they are all just a bunch of terrorists.

            Israel has been so tragically successful in pushing, publicizing and controlling this particular line that it has installed a state of delusion among Western leaders and Western publics.

            Palestinian unity

            In 2007 Hamas and Fatah agreed to form a national unity government after the signing of the Mecca Agreement. Hamas leaders had been encouraged to form this government in order to receive international recognition and ease the boycott on Gaza and their government. After signing the agreement Prime Minister Haniyeh dissolved the 10th government, which was composed primarily of Hamas representatives and formed a national unity government, which comprised of an equal number of Fatah and Hamas members, as well as a significant number of independent representatives. Despite these changes Western leaders continued their boycott of Hamas and the siege on Gaza. In an interview, Hamas leader Ahmed Yousef shared his frustration at the continued policy of boycott,

            “We are disappointed with the policies, because they are not fulfilling what they promised. They said to us, ‘when Hamas has the national unity government then the Europeans will open the door for Hamas. But unfortunately we had the unity government, and they didn’t open the door- they kept the door shut.”

            Now seven years later, after a violent policy of collective punishment on the people of Gaza for voting in Hamas, Fatah and Hamas have tried to give it another attempt. Unfortunately, today we are not talking about this unity government. Unfortunately, today Western leaders are not following up on their desire to engage with this unity government. Unfortunately, today Fatah and Hamas are not talking about how this united front will assist in strengthening Palestinian society in their attempt to salvage what may be left of their political sovereignty. Instead, we are talking about the bombing of Gaza which continues to be regarded as Israel’s right to defend itself. Israel’s narrative of terrorism has again destroyed Hamas’s opportunity to govern as a political actor and western leaders have been stupidly or maliciously complicit in this. The people of Gaza continue to be reduced to an Israeli discourse that depicts them as terrorists, which has allowed for endless bombing and incessant attacks that continue at this very moment.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn8

            Hamas along with all the other Muslim Brotherhood branches are the product of the Islamist revival that took place in the early 20th century starting in Egypt and spreading outwards towards the branches that movement has in Syria, Jordan, Israel and pretty much every Arab country where they have been able to operate. You are going to have a really hard time convincing me that the Muslim Brotherhood is the product of anything related to Israel and trying to isolate Hamas is problematic because it explicitly defines itself as part of the Muslim Brotherhood and is recognized as such.

            Article two of the Hamas charter:
            “The Islamic Resistance Movement is one of the wings of the Muslim Brothers in Palestine. The Muslim Brotherhood Movement is a world organization, the largest Islamic Movement in the modern era.”

            As for the article you posted, it is typical Mondoweiss apologia for any and every Muslim terrorist group in the world. They are just misunderstood when they blow up women and children on buses and in restaurants or shoot rockets at school buses. It is a cry for help. Really they are nice people that are perfectly happy with a “peaceful” outcome in which Israel is destroyed and the Jews are forced out while an Islamic state is built in place of Israel. Until then they will murder and massacre in the interests of their version of peace. You know, ISIS too is a peaceful organization that really just wants to establish a peaceful society under the rules of Islam. Those that disagree are welcome to have their heads cut off, but all ISIS is really interested in is peace.

            There is no fundamental difference between Hamas and ISIS or any other Islamic terrorist organization. They all wish to build Islamic totalitarian states and are willing to kill/murder/massacre anyone in their way and they are perfectly willing to sacrifice their own people to do so. Along the way they are willing to accept ceasefires that they by default define as being breakable by the Muslims at any point as long as such ceasefires allow them to build up power prior to the next conflict.

            There is literally nothing new here. Until they change their goals and change what they consider as acceptable tactics there is no reason to treat them any different from what they are – a terrorist organization with a goal of destroying Israel.

            Reply to Comment
          • Goldmarx

            You can babble on about the charter until you’re blue in the face. It doesn’t matter because Hamas would not be the power it is today if Israel hadn’t given it massive logistical and financial support. And who’s to say Israel didn’t arm Hamas, hoping it would assassinate Arafat?

            The responsibility for everything the Monster does lies with its creator, Dr. Frankenstein.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Richard Witty

      The siege is nearly entirely self-imposed.

      It results from Hamas making war on its two sovereigns over its sole trading routes.

      It is saintly, that Israel allows any trade or transit over the Israeli crossings beyond the bare minimum to survive.

      Hamas’ responsibility as a government was to establish and maintain good management relationships at least, to keep the trade routes open.

      They are asking, and sympathizers are enabling, to be permanently war mongering.

      They need to either fundamentally change their governing mode (unlikely), or be overthrown.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Zvi

      Israel seems very strong but I am afraid that on the long run it is just the opposite . Palestinians can sit and wait until the two states solution vanishes , and the PA / Hamas give up, exactly the way Israel handles the situation. Next step will be to demand a full Israeli citizenship a sort of Civil Rights Act 2014 ( instead of 1964 …. ) which will bring Israel to the real dilemma between Democracy and Discrimination . And above all, the misery and despair are so huge among Palestinians that they got nothing to loose.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn8

        Palestinians can demand whatever they want.

        They are not being discriminated against, they are being excluded and kept out and this is permanent. They are not second class citizens, they are not citizens and never will be. They are not Mexican Americans being discriminated against. The are Mexicans.

        They can march with Israeli flags and demanding that Israel annex the territories and grant them citizenship (unlikely). They can march with Palestinian flags and insist Israel be eliminated, which they are doing anyway. They can also resort to violence, which they do on a regular basis, but that only ensures that they are further excluded. Or they can settle the conflict and move on.

        There is a fundamental flaw in most political analysis that emanates from the West. It presumes that somehow Israel/WB/Gaza are a single territorial unit. A more pragmatic view would be to see that Israel has as its neighbors the states of Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in declining order of power. Israel has already made peace with the two most powerful states. The next two are in various forms of collapse. The last two are new and still adjusting to their power limitations and testing the limits of their power vis-a-vis their neighbors.

        Reply to Comment
    5. The way I see it, this is a very well thought-out article with different scenarios supported by solid facts. It shows little bias, and is entirely focused on solutions and possibilities. We can’t solve anything anywhere in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world without one side showing enough willingness to start a dialogue with the other. Recognizing that Palestinians are deserving of autonomy and peace is essential in any probable solution. No country, no power, no military in the whole entire world can carry on endlessly with infinite occupation while abusing legitimate hopes of an occupied nation. It may seem that a permanent status quo is possible, but surely a step toward peace will serve both sides very well even with the presence of major unyielding obstacles. It doesn’t matter how much support Israel gets from the west since the Palestinians are a nation that will not abandon hopes of being treated with humanness and dignity. The latest uprising in the West Bank is a proof that the problem is bigger than just a Hamas-Israel crisis. Israel stands to lose more in this, because the Palestinians have so little to lose since they don’t have a lot to hold on to anyway. Any rhetoric supporting violence and more killing won’t render good outcomes. A permanent cease-fire is the only solution. Allowing Gazans to experience life like any other people in the world would do Israel a world of good. It won’t erase the sentiments behind the wounds, but it would be a step forward nonetheless. – Nido Bandido

      Reply to Comment
    6. Sani

      Wish it was this simple. The reason this hasn’t happened is because of Israel’s fear of retribution. Anything but extreme suppression of Palestinian’s, risks hatred from years of persecution manifesting into a demand for justice. And the only way Palestinian’s will know how to do that, is through violence. Why? Because that’s what they’ve seen. What sort of quality education will they have received when they’re busy fearing for their lives and fighting for their rights.

      A terrible cycle of victims, hatred and violence.

      I think it could work… but it requires the leaders of Israel and Palestine to value humanity above land, religion and power.

      Reply to Comment
    7. JohnW

      Why is the writer assuming that the onus is always on Israel to make concessions? Including acceptance of casualties?

      Can’t the Arabs be expected to give up at least some of their demands?

      According to the author they just can’t. Presumably because it isn’t in their nature to give in. Fine then. Let there be endless war.

      Once they see that we too are able to put up with it, the Arabs will change their tune. Right now, they are under the mistaken impression that we are too weak spirited to put up with that. Let us show them that they are mistaken and that if they ever want a decent life, they will just have to give up stupid claims like the right of return.

      How do I know that I am right? Because every time that we made concessions, the Arabs took it as a sign of weakness and they punished us for it. For example:

      . Afted the unilateral withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000, Hezbollah made a new claim about Shebaa Farm. Then they crossed the border and kidnapped soldiers.

      . After Ehud Barak’s peace offer, the Arabs started the second Intifada.

      . After the unilateral Gaza withdrawal, the Arabs elected Hamas.

      They are boringly predictable. And they think that we are too. We need to show them that we are not and that we have more of a backbone than they think.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Goldmarx

      “Why is the writer assuming that the onus is always on Israel to make concessions?” Where does the writer say ‘always’?

      The side who started this and who has all the power is Israel. That makes them the side on this occasion to make concessions. Within the context of negotiations, Hamas can then make concessions.

      “Can’t the Arabs be expected to give up at least some of their demands?” Whine like a baby much?
      So now it’s about the “Arabs”, not about the Gazans, eh?
      Why is it not surprising that people who support this war have it in for Arabs in general?

      “They are boringly predictable. And they think that we are too. We need to show them that we are not…”

      Well, then, take the knife out of your drawer, go to the bathroom and face the mirror above the sink, and apply as previously instructed. Not boring, I can guarantee that.

      Reply to Comment
      • JohnW

        “The side who started this and who has all the power is Israel.”

        Nope. The side who started this are the Arabs. They made war on Israel even before the “occupation”. Hamas has been shooting rockets on Israel since 2001 before there was a blockade.

        Why? Because they don’t want an Israel. They don’t want Israel to exist anywhere, not even in a square inch of land.

        Stop lying about history.

        “That makes them the side on this occasion to make concessions.”

        On this occasion? What about the concession Israel made when it unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and dismantled all settlements in Gaza in 2005?

        What did Israel get for that? Rockets of course.

        “Within the context of negotiations, Hamas can then make concessions.”

        They can. But will they? They did not even accept the cease fire which Egypt proposed early on in this round of fighting.

        Oh and only in the case of Israel, the conventional “wisdom” according to haters of Israel is that the stronger party has to beg for mercy.

        In all other conflicts, the stronger party dictates terms. Time for Israel to try that approach instead of constantly pounding our chests and yell that we would do anything for peace.

        Time to show the war mongers of Hamas that they have a lot to lose if they persist with violence.

        The world is waking up to the Islamo-Fascists. Only puppies like you, Goldmarx, persist in following their instructions to the bitter end.

        “So now it’s about the “Arabs”, not about the Gazans, eh?
        Why is it not surprising that people who support this war have it in for Arabs in general?”

        So now it is not about sticking to the point for you, huh? Gazans are Arabs, just ask them.

        “Well, then, take the knife out of your drawer, go to the bathroom and face the mirror above the sink, and apply as previously instructed. Not boring, I can guarantee that.”

        For you ….. ? Nah.

        By the way, I’ll say it again. I am much more like Rabin than you are. Rabin was a Zionist who fought and died for Israel at the hand of a traitor.

        You are much more like Yigal Amir who killed a cherished son of Israel. You too want to see dead Israelis. Me included.

        Reply to Comment
        • Eugene

          The reason why Israel has terrorist rockets even after the unilateral concessions you mention is that these concessions were not nearly enough to satisfy the desire of Palestinians for justice and a decent life. As a result the violent elements within Palestinian society have been steadily growing in strength.

          You need to see things from their point of view. The Truth Against Truth PDF from Gush Shalom has a good summary although I don’t agree with it 100%.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Yea. The only concession which they would consider enough is the eradication of Israel.

            They didn’t even give it a try to use the infrastructure that Israel left behind for them when Israel withdrew unilaterally.

            The trouble for the Palestinian Arabs is that they have never accepted Israel’s right to exist. That needs to change. Once that change comes, they will have a lot of positive options.

            Reply to Comment
    9. The Sykes – Picot Treaty and the many British violations of the British Mandate for Paleestine by the League of Nations, due to oil imperialism is at the root of the problems finding a Middle East peace.

      Hence, THEY, must be forced to establish a green tech Marshall Plan for all the CITIZENS (not their corrupt politicians) of the Middle East.

      The Middle East Israel and Jerusalem Green Chambers of Commerce are standing by to immediately work with the British and French to implement their transforming, 27 program, Green Energy Project.

      In April 2014, the Norwegian, Business for Peace Foundation, run by past Nobel Prize winners, complimented the Green Energy Project GREEN TECH based, Middle East peace.

      Now is the time to give all Middle East citizens a just, and sustainable path to learn to live together in PEACE.

      FREE GAZA!!!
      FREE GAZA FROM HAMAS!!!

      Reply to Comment
    10. Peter Hindrup

      Eventually the Palestinians must get tired of Israel smashing them, and the world standing by, doing nothing to rein in the Israelis.

      At that point they must change their strategy. The obvious targets are the political leaders and their kin.

      When enough of their blood flows, then some real thought might go into
      facing the the problem which is, and always has been the creation of the Israeli/Zionists.

      Reply to Comment
    11. Goldmarx

      “The side who started this are the Arabs.”

      –>Again, with the ‘Arabs’, a designation that includes Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, etc. Racist much?

      “Hamas has been shooting rockets on Israel since 2001 before there was a blockade.”

      –>So? The Gazans were oppressed by Israeli settlers and soldiers inside Gaza then. Blocakdes are not the only kind of injustice.

      “What about the concession Israel made when it unilaterally withdrew from Gaza and dismantled all settlements in Gaza in 2005?”

      –>That was no concession – that was a change in tactics. Israel went from withdrawal to changing Gaza into an open-air prison. A chokehold from the outside may differ from a chokehold from the inside, but it’s a chokehold just the same.

      “They can. But will they? ”
      –> We won’t know until it’s tried.

      “They did not even accept the cease fire which Egypt proposed early on in this round of fighting.”

      –> I would not have accepted a ceasefire if I were not consulted beforehand either.

      “In all other conflicts, the stronger party dictates terms.”

      –> So might makes right?

      “Time to show the war mongers of Hamas that they have a lot to lose if they persist with violence.”

      –> And that’s really worked well so far, right?

      “So now it is not about sticking to the point for you, huh? Gazans are Arabs, just ask them.”

      –> Yes, and the typical Israeli is a Jew. But when statements similar to yours are made about Jews in the context of protesting this war, folks like you cry, “Anti-Semite”.

      “By the way, I’ll say it again. I am much more like Rabin than you are. Rabin was a Zionist who fought and died for Israel at the hand of a traitor.”

      –> You can say “1 + 1 = 3″ until the cows come home, but that doesn’t make it true. The traitor’s views on peace with the Arabs is no different from yours; your paean to Rabin is despicable hypocrisy.

      “You too want to see dead Israelis. Me included.”

      –>David Ben-Gurion ordered the killing of fellow Jews on the Altalena. Yitzhak Ben-Tsvi ordered the assassination of an Orthodox Jew in 1924 who tried, nonviolently, to get the Palestinian Arabs to agree to unlimited Jewish immigration to Palestine in exchange for the Balfour Declaration being revoked.

      Who’s to say I’m not simply following in the footsteps of these giants of the Zionist pantheon?

      Reply to Comment
    12. JohnW

      “Again, with the ‘Arabs’, a designation that includes Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, etc. Racist much?”

      The only racist here is you. You hate Jews. Now stop changing the subject. The Gazans are Arabs. Just ask them. They will tell you so in Arabic.

      “So? The Gazans were oppressed by Israeli settlers and soldiers inside Gaza then. Blocakdes are not the only kind of injustice.”

      Oppressed? Israel withdrew from Gaza and dismantled all settlements in 2005. But the rockets continued.

      “That was no concession – that was a change in tactics. Israel went from withdrawal to changing Gaza into an open-air prison. A chokehold from the outside may differ from a chokehold from the inside, but it’s a chokehold just the same.”

      No it did not you liar. Israel only started the blockade in 2007 after Hamas’s violent coup against the PA in which they murdered fellow Arabs (Fatah) and continued their rocket fire against Israeli civilians.

      “We won’t know until it’s tried.”

      We already tried in 2005 and it did not work. The rockets continued.

      “I would not have accepted a ceasefire if I were not consulted beforehand either.”

      Then you too, like Hamas would be guilty for the consequences.

      “So might makes right?”

      Seems to be the rule in other conflicts. Only in your racist anti Jewish world Jews have to be the ones who must beg for mercy when they get attacked by homocidal maniacs who on this occasion happen to be weaker.

      “And that’s really worked well so far, right?”

      Yes it has. It brought temporary cease fires. Your alternative only brought rockets immediately.

      “Yes, and the typical Israeli is a Jew. But when statements similar to yours are made about Jews in the context of protesting this war, folks like you cry, “Anti-Semite”.

      Typical Israeli Jew? Yep, that statement shows who is the real racist. You.

      “You can say “1 + 1 = 3″ until the cows come home, but that doesn’t make it true. The traitor’s views on peace with the Arabs is no different from yours; your paean to Rabin is despicable hypocrisy.”

      Rabin was not a surrender monkey like you.

      Here read what Amira Haas of Haaretz says about Rabin.

      http://www.haaretz.com/mobile/broken-bones-and-broken-hopes-1.173283?v=13009AE192F25FF61D482C5E5E1C521F

      “David Ben-Gurion ordered the killing of fellow Jews on the Altalena. Yitzhak Ben-Tsvi ordered the assassination of an Orthodox Jew in 1924 who tried, nonviolently, to get the Palestinian Arabs to agree to unlimited Jewish immigration to Palestine in exchange for the Balfour Declaration being revoked.

      Who’s to say I’m not simply following in the footsteps of these giants of the Zionist pantheon?”

      You can follow whoever you like, you snide little hater. Just be careful you don’t get your own medicine while you try it. Know what I mean?

      Reply to Comment
      • Goldmarx

        When you call Gazans Arab, you are implying that they are like Arabs in general. This implies opposition to peace treaties with any Arab country, including Egypt and Jordan. That makes you a racist troll who does not deserve to occupy an inch of this planet.

        “You hate Jews. Now stop changing the subject.”

        –>You don’t get to tell me what to do. I am a Jew and a Zionist, asshole; since you’re not a Jew but a Nazi troll, it is my sworn duty to see to it that scourges like you are eliminated from this planet.

        “Israel only started the blockade in 2007 after Hamas’s violent coup against the PA in which they murdered fellow Arabs (Fatah) and continued their rocket fire against Israeli civilians.”

        –>No, you’re the liar, swastika-breath. Hamas was democratically elected in 2006 but was prevented from assuming office by a Fatah coup aided by Israel. Hamas fought back using the only language Fatah could understand. Israel, the “only democracy in the Middle East”, never recognized the results of this democratic election.

        “We already tried in 2005 and it did not work.”

        –>No, it was not tried. Recognition of the results of the democratic elections in Gaza and negotiations with Hamas over all outstanding issues was never tried.

        “Then you too, like Hamas would be guilty for the consequences.”

        –>7No, because a cease-fire process which ignores the victims is not only bound to fail, but deserves to fail. Those who propose such an elitist cease-fire are guilty.

        “Only in your racist anti Jewish world Jews have to be the ones who must beg for mercy…”

        –> How is negotiating in good faith with one’s enemies begging for mercy? Begin did not beg for mercy with Sadat; Rabin did not beg for mercy with Arafat. But Yigael Amir thought of him as something like a “surrender monkey”, and you have failed how your attitude toward Arabs differ from Rabin’s assassin.

        “It brought temporary cease fires. Your alternative only brought rockets immediately.”

        –>And how are temporary cease-fires an example of something working well? People who have not spoken out against Israel before are now breaking their silence; Israel’s standing among women and other typical constituencies of the US Democratic party is lower than ever. Israel still has not stopped Palestinian resistance, which is as firm as ever. Abbas now supports the Hamas-led resistance, which has started to fire rockets against Egypt.

        “Typical Israeli Jew? Yep, that statement shows who is the real racist.”

        –> My statement was ‘the typical Israeli is a Jew’, which you intentionally distorted. In addition to being a Nazi, you are also a barely literate thug.

        Reply to Comment
        • JohnW

          “When you call Gazans Arab, you are implying that they are like Arabs in general.”

          When I call gazans Arabs, I agree with what they call themselves. I imply nothing.

          “You don’t get to tell me what to do.”

          And you don’t get to tell me what to do either.

          “I am a Jew and a Zionist”

          You are more likely a monkey’s arse.

          “asshole; since you’re not a Jew but a Nazi troll”

          Yea, right. I am pro Israel and pro Jews but I am a Nazi.

          You hate Israel and love Hamas who hate Israel and Jews but you are Jewish and Zionist?

          But you are not mixed up? Not much huh? LOL.

          “it is my sworn duty to see to it that scourges like you are eliminated from this planet.”

          Steady on old chap, you might rupture a spleen trying. I advise prozac instead. LOL.

          “No, you’re the liar, swastika-breath.”

          Impressive. Did you invent that phrase all by yourself?

          “Hamas was democratically elected in 2006 but was prevented from assuming office by a Fatah coup aided by Israel. Hamas fought back using the only language Fatah could understand. Israel, the “only democracy in the Middle East”, never recognized the results of this democratic election.”

          Yes Dr Irving, LOL.

          “No, it was not tried. Recognition of the results of the democratic elections in Gaza and negotiations with Hamas over all outstanding issues was never tried.”

          Hamas does not recognize the democratically elected government of Israel. ….Oops

          “No, because a cease-fire process which ignores the victims is not only bound to fail, but deserves to fail. Those who propose such an elitist cease-fire are guilty.”

          Guilty of defending themselves from supremacist Hamas Islamo-Fascists. Yep, we plead guilty to that.

          “How is negotiating in good faith with one’s enemies begging for mercy?”

          I have already answered that question of yours you silly old fart.

          Hamas openly state that their aim is to destroy Israel, murder as many Jews as they can and exile the rest. You want us to beg for mercy and ask them not to do it please?

          “Begin did not beg for mercy with Sadat;”

          No he did not. And Begin was a rabid Likudnik too. Yet he reciprocated Sadat’s gesture of visiting Israel and speaking directly to the Knesset and recognizing Israel.

          Did Hamas do that? Oops…

          “Rabin did not beg for mercy with Arafat.”

          No he did not. But did you read my link to the Haaretz article by Amira Haas and what she said about Rabin?

          “But Yigael Amir thought of him as something like a “surrender monkey”

          Like I said, Yigal Amir is a traitor. A traitor like you.

          “and you have failed how your attitude toward Arabs differ from Rabin’s assassin.”

          I failed at nothing. You are a poor listener or more likely a poor reader.

          “And how are temporary cease-fires an example of something working well?”

          It works better than giving up things and getting rockets in exchange immediately.

          “People who have not spoken out against Israel before are now breaking their silence; Israel’s standing among women and other typical constituencies of the US Democratic party is lower than ever.”

          The support for Israel is at record height both amongst Jews and non Jews in America. Read the polls.

          “Israel still has not stopped Palestinian resistance, which is as firm as ever.”

          And the Arabs have not broken our will either. Aren’t you sad?

          “Abbas now supports the Hamas-led resistance, which has started to fire rockets against Egypt.”

          Lets see where it will get Hamas, firing rockets into Egypt. There is one thing in which Israel could learn a lot from Egyptians. They know how to deal with terrorists better than we do.

          “My statement was ‘the typical Israeli is a Jew’, which you intentionally distorted.”

          LOL, you are a clown.

          “In addition to being a Nazi, you are also a barely literate thug.”

          So now I am a Nazi? I thought I am a typical Israeli Jew. Oh yea …
          I forgot … you think all Israelis are Nazis. Wasn’t it your co religionists/ideologues, the Soviet Communists who forced a resolution in the UN in 1975 which said that Zionism = Racism?

          That resolution was subsequently rescinded because even the corrupt UN became ashamed of it. But people like you never have shame. You just go on lying through your teeth.

          Reply to Comment
          • Goldmarx

            You have not substantially refuted anything I have said; you have been reduced to making playschool retorts. How Arb-like.

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            I will grant you that you reduced me to your level and that is not flattering to me either.

            But you say I have not refuted your perversions of reality? Are you kidding? I refuted all your lies and distortions. Here is just one about Rabin again. This is what Amira Haas of Haaretz said about Rabin:

            http://www.haaretz.com/mobile/broken-bones-and-broken-hopes-1.173283?v=13009AE192F25FF61D482C5E5E1C521F

            You have studiously ignored it. It shows who Rabin really was. He was a person who had Israel’s interests at heart, first and foremost. It also shows that he was human with human frailties, not the idealized Messiah that you tried to paint him as. And as a human, he made mistakes too. But his mistake was a necessary one for Israel. Because he demonstrated that Arafat was not a partner for peace.

            As for your comment:

            “How Arb-like”

            That is racism.

            Reply to Comment
          • Goldmarx

            “It also shows that he was human with human frailties, not the idealized Messiah that you tried to paint him as.”

            –> Show us where I painted him as an “idealized Messiah”. I did no such thing.

            “Because he demonstrated that Arafat was not a partner for peace.”

            –> More bullshit. Arafat kept to whatever promises he made to Rabin while Rabin was still alive. Even after, Arafat never took back his recognition of Israel.

            “How Arb-like”

            That is racism.

            –> Really? Arb is a fascist troll who posts here frequently, so how is racist if I liken you to him?

            Reply to Comment
          • JohnW

            “Show us where I painted him as an “idealized Messiah”. I did no such thing.”

            I tell you what I did show you. I showed you that Rabin was more like me than you. He believed in fighting Arab terrorists. You believe in apologising for them. Here, read what Mira Haas of Haaretz says about Rabin again:

            http://www.haaretz.com/mobile/broken-bones-and-broken-hopes-1.173283?v=13009AE192F25FF61D482C5E5E1C521F

            “More bullshit. Arafat kept to whatever promises he made to Rabin while Rabin was still alive. Even after, Arafat never took back his recognition of Israel”

            Arafat never recognized Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.

            Arafat never gave up the right of return.

            Arafat started the second Intifada in response to Ehud Barak’s offer which would have established an independent Arab state in the West Bank.

            It is worth pointing out that even Rabin did not offer Arafat as much as Ehud Barak offered. And look what we got in exchange? A violent Intifida which killed and maimed thousands of Israelis.

            “Really? Arb is a fascist troll who posts here frequently, so how is racist if I liken you to him?”

            You are an extreme leftist ideologue who hates Israel and wants to see Israel destroyed.

            Wanting the destruction of the only Jewish nation state in the world is racist.

            Reply to Comment
          • Goldmarx

            I read Amira Haas’ article, but it’s irrelevant to the point I was raising. I have no problem with Israel defending itself from anyone who refuses to negotiate with it; Hamas does not refuse negotiations and if Rabin were alive today, he would engage them with good-faith diplomacy just as he did with Arafat.

            The Rabin who “broke bones” was not the same man as the Prime Minister Rabin, as I showed in my rebuttal to you.

            “Arafat never recognized Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people.”

            –> No country does. Rabin never asked him to do that.

            “Arafat never gave up the right of return.”

            –> A demand supported by much of international law. While not endorsing that right, Rabin never asked Arafat or the Palestinian people to surrender that right.

            “Arafat started the second Intifada in response to Ehud Barak’s offer which would have established an independent Arab state in the West Bank.”

            –> There was nothing independent in the state offered by Barak, unless “Bantustan” is what you mean by independent. Barak offered separate, non-contiguous cantons segmented by a criss-crossing pattern of roads that led to Jewish settlements hogging the best land and resources. He did not negotiate in good faith, and that’s what led to the intifada.

            “You are an extreme leftist ideologue who hates Israel and wants to see Israel destroyed.”

            You project your anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism onto me because I (and the journalists here) are not intimidated by you.

            “Wanting the destruction of the only Jewish nation state in the world is racist” I agree, which is why you must be destroyed, since your warmongering will lead to Israel’s downfall.

            Reply to Comment
          • Leo

            I agree with what you wrote, except for a key point. There is currently international support (the vast majority of the states at the UN) for a Palestinian state alongside the Israeli state. There is currently no international support for the right of return.

            I would also like to point out even if this was such an international support, the emphasis on the right of return is clearly a tactical mistake.

            True there is an article in a UN Resolution (art. 11, resolution 194), but most legal experts agree that its very formulation shows that it cannot be legally binding in this implementation.

            Reply to Comment
    13. JohnW

      You claim Ehud Barak’s peace offer was unsatisfactory? Ok then you should be even less happy with what Rabin offered Arafat:

      http://www.timesofisrael.com/rabin-formally-opposed-a-palestinian-state-more-than-a-year-after-white-house-handshake-letter-from-1994-shows/

      “Rabin formally opposed a Palestinian state more than a year after White House handshake, letter from 1994 shows
      Asked what prime minister really intended, top aide Haber gives mixed response, says bitterly, ‘Perhaps you should ask the assassin’”

      As for your clap trap about Ehud Barak’s so called Banthustan offer. Bill Clinton clearly does not agree with you. He clearly blamed Arafat for missing a historic opportunity to create a Palestinian state on the West Bank:

      http://www.hnlr.org/2012/03/why-camp-david-ii-failed-a-negotiation-theory-perspective/

      “[2] Even Arab leaders admitted that they were caught off guard when Arafat cut off negotiations.[3] In his autobiography, My Life, Clinton reflected on an exchange he had with Arafat upon his abrupt departure. “You are a great man,” Arafat told Clinton after Camp David II. Clinton responded, “I am not a great man. I am a failure, and you have made me one.”[4]”

      Was Clinton a Nazi too for blaming Arafat, not Israel, Goldmarx?

      Reply to Comment
      • Goldmarx

        Rabin was just a shrewd negotiator – nothing wrong with that. Ironically, Amir sensed what many of us in the peace camp believed – that Rabin would have gone further in the direction of a meaningful 2-state solution. He had already gone much further that his former ‘broken bones’ persona, so optimism was justified.

        Who cares what Clinton thinks? Since when is he considered some reliable expert on these matters?
        Blaming Arafat doesn’t make one a Nazi – but being a warmongerer who launches personal attacks against those who dare disagree is very close.

        Reply to Comment
        • JohnW

          The facts speak of what Rabin was willing to do. And that was less than what Ehud Barak offered. The rest is just in the fantasies of people like Yigal Amir and people like you, Goldmarx.

          Who cares about what people like Clinton say? Most normal people do. He was only in the thick of the negotiations and he was a prime mover of it. So forgive me, but normal people tend to give him more credibility than to biased people like you who obviously made up their mind about who is right and who is wrong in advance and don’t want to let facts stand in the way of their pre-determined conclusions.

          As for your definition of who is a Nazi. Do you think threatening death on the person with whom one debates, qualifies as a personal attack? I think it does. You did that, so by your own definition, you are a Nazi Goldmarx. Hey, don’t shoot me, I am just a messenger.

          Reply to Comment
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