The Instigator
repete21
Pro (for)
Losing
7 Points
The Contender
TombLikeBomb
Con (against)
Winning
11 Points

Israel is Justified in Attacking Hamas' Forces in the Gaza Strip.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/29/2008 Category: Politics
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,807 times Debate No: 6369
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (30)
Votes (3)

 

repete21

Pro

Israel is justified in attacking Hamas' forces in Gaza. The attacks by Hamas and comparable groups have been unprovoked and are unjustifiable. Israel has every right to defend itself and has given Hamas more than enough opportunities to end conflict peacefully. Since it's inception Israel has not forced it's will on the people of Gaza, and barring the relocation of Palestinian peoples has done nothing to provoke attacks other than being Jewish (stated in regards to the feud between Islam and Judaism).

It is not only the duty, but the right of Israel to defend itself against the horrible attacks of Hamas on its people. Not only has Hamas provoked Israel but they have done so with total disregard for the Geneva Conventions. They have consistently acted violently using methods not of waging conventional war, but of purely terroristic nature.

It can no more be said that Israel can allow such attacks on its people than it could be expected that any government would turn a blind eye to the slaying of thousands of women and children in it's own country. Israel has been provoked, and after it has exhausted numerous peaceful measures in attempt to disarm Hamas it is inevitable that Hamas will continue to fight with terroristic violence.

From a tactical and political standpoint it is evident that the only way of stopping Hamas' attacks is to actively hunt Hamas. The old adage of the best defense being a good offense is certainly true in this scenario. All other measures have been tried and failed. It is no longer a decision of should Israel attack or not, but a decision of should Israel defend itself or not.
TombLikeBomb

Con

Implicitly, a normally unjustifiable act is justifiable only if
a)It is expected to put a stop to certain other unjustifiable acts, and
b)It is the least harmful of all possible acts that would satisfy (a).
The act in question is the Final Solution to the Islamic Problem. (b) is supported by the lonely assertion that the exhaustively "numerous" alternative measures "have been tried and failed." (a) is supported by nothing. The rest of your argument is only a case for a premise of (a), namely that Hamas is not so unique a government as to be free of sin. And that leads us to the missing property of justifiable injustice:
c)It is universally permissible.
But it cannot be true that, for example, it couldn't "be expected that any government would turn a blind eye to the slaying of thousands of women and children in it's own country,": the rhetorical target of the Israeli offensive, for example, has seen women and children in it's own country slain by Israel itself. In that contest, Israel out-kills women and children, not to mention the appropriate category (civilians generally), by a couple of orders of magnitude. And that's roughly consistent with the history of the broader conflict. Hamas, given Israel's benefit of the doubt, would prefer its victims to be only those Israelis most responsible for the siege of Gaza and, now, the women-and-children-slaying you're championing. But, like Israel, Hamas fears the heavy military sacrifice inherent to more precise destruction. Like Israel, it prefers to make its "chicken's footprint" from a comfortable distance. In fact, giving Hamas the benefit of the doubt is too conservative, as Hamas evidently wants nothing more than for Israel to come down from the sky and fight fair. This is natural, as the present tit-for-tat clearly favors the Israelis. And the actual targeting of civilians, as Israel continues to do, is not "conventional warfare". It happens to be a war crime. Israel and our own government, incidentally, are unique in being the only countries to vote against the UN General Assembly resolution that accompanied the first and consequently only World Court decision ever to order the cessation of state terrorism (both the US and Israel were complicit in said terrorism and continued to be, hence the present irrelevance of Geneva which you rightfully lament). In fact, Israel (matched only by the US) is far and away the greatest explicit opponents of Geneva, if votes speak. That should not encourage any force, particularly an underdog like Hamas, to observe "convention" when dealing with the rogue state.

It can't be true that "Israel has not forced it's [sic] will on the people of Gaza", for we only have to read on to immediately learn that Israel's rule of being unprovocative is proven by the exception "the relocation of the Palestinian peoples". Added to which, that relocation is part of a continuous, illegal occupation. Added to which, a blockade is (by your own favored conventions) considered an act of war. The current blockade is antecedent to the rocket attacks and uninterrupted by cease-fires. So a cease-fire here isn't peace. Because of the disproportionately (disproportionate to the demographics of the blockaded and, probably, to the demographics of the Qassam victims that you anachronistically mean Israel to be avenging) civilian, disproportionately child, deaths associated with blockades and previous warfare, and the anger they should generate, it should not be surprising if Hamas is correct in claiming independent groups broke the cease-fire. It is of course irrelevant that Israel doesn't recognize Hamas as legitimate, for the particulars of Hamas' rise to power are as in the past as original Palestinian Removal. Hamas was certainly elected, though, and is evidently more popular among its people than the Israeli government among Israelis.
Debate Round No. 1
repete21

Pro

Okay for this round I'm just going to respond to my opponents arguments then expand on my own. Also just as a disclaimer I'm thoroughly confused by my opponents eclectic arguments so sorry if I misinterpret the arguments but they were pretty vague and scattered.

My opponents first mistake was saying "The act in question is the Final Solution to the Islamic Problem". We are debating specifically whether or not Israel is justified in attacking Hamas, no other conflicts.

I would like to see your source of the information about "the rhetorical target of the Israeli offensive, for example, has seen women and children in it's own country slain by Israel itself. In that contest, Israel out-kills women and children, not to mention the appropriate category (civilians generally), by a couple of orders of magnitude". Unless you provide evidence I refuse to believe that Israel has 1- used military action against it's own citizens, and2- Kills more innocent people than Hamas.

You stated that "Hamas, given Israel's benefit of the doubt, would prefer its victims to be only those Israelis most responsible for the siege of Gaza". In case you didn't know Israel become a state in it's current location about 60 years ago. The people who did this are gone. Regardless the actions were approved by UN, and if Hamas is really looking to attack only those people why are they blowing themselves up in marketplaces instead of political buildings? I would like to see a good explanation of that one.

"In fact, giving Hamas the benefit of the doubt is too conservative, as Hamas evidently wants nothing more than for Israel to come down from the sky and fight fair." I think we can all agree that suicide bombing and targeting civilians, Hamas' strategy is not "fighting fair" and regardless this isn't the 1700s. Israel can't be expected to endanger it's troops just to pander to the wants of Hamas.

"Added to which, that relocation is part of a continuous, illegal occupation. Added to which, a blockade is (by your own favored conventions) considered an act of war." Again I would like to see evidence of this.

"Because of the disproportionately (disproportionate to the demographics of the blockaded and, probably, to the demographics of the Qassam victims that you anachronistically mean Israel to be avenging) civilian, disproportionately child, deaths associated with blockades and previous warfare, and the anger they should generate, it should not be surprising if Hamas is correct in claiming independent groups broke the cease-fire." I don't understand this sentence at all but if you're trying to say that Hamas was justified in breaking the cease-fire the fact of the matter is that Israel held up their end of the deal until the cease-fire was broken, Hamas acted first in regards to the breaking of the cease-fire, and you cannot honestly believe that they were going to be able to kill innocent civilians with impunity simply because of a contract which they had already broken anyway.

To sum up the arguments my opponent has made numerous false claims, and until we can see evidence his claims are true they should be dismissed. His whole argument is based around lies and they should not be taken as fact.
TombLikeBomb

Con

I'm meant to show that Israel "kills more innocent people than Hamas". Israel makes it easier on me by the day, of course, so excuse the following figures if they're outdated. And I invite you, for your last argument, to provide counter-evidence as accompaniment for your denials. My main source is the UN. Yesterday's situation report said a minimum of 101 children has been killed in the current Israeli offensive, and the current estimate is 130 children out of a total 350 civilians, "civilians" being a bit of a misnomer in that it doesn't include any of the 138 massacred policemen. The Israeli civilian death toll remains steady at 3, which is less than the number killed by Israeli friendly fire: this, despite the fact that the invasion has not achieved its pretended goal of stopping the rockets. 2 Palestinians were killed accidentally by Hamas rockets, meant for Israel. No Gazan faction killed any Israelis during the (2008) cease-fire. Starting from Islamic Jihad's retributive rocket attacks, and continuing at their current rate, all Gazan forces would have to fire rockets for almost another 32 years in order to rack up a civilian death toll equal to what Israel has effected in the past couple weeks alone.

If you prefer, we can compromise the present tense of "kills" in order to expand the sample period: Since the 2006 Israeli withdrawal, Israel has claimed the lives of a combined 450 Gazan civilians, as opposed to 11 Israelis killed in Gazan rocket and mortar attacks. At that rate, Gaza would have to fire rockets and mortars for about 45 years in order to equal the civilian death toll effected by 20 months of Kadima self-defense.

And the pattern continues. Notice that I start the sample periods just after the ends of the major Israeli offensives, thus given full weight to "Hamas provocation". And never mind that Israel expects to have technology that will render Gazan rockets completely impotent—as opposed to virtually impotent, as they have been—by 2010.

By "military action against its own citizens" I can only assume you're referring to the Battle for Gaza, in which 41 civilians were killed by the combined efforts Hamas and Fatah. This was nothing close to the proportion of civilian casualties in, for example, the American Civil War. And, unlike the American Civil War, Fatah was attempting not simply to secede, but to overthrow the legally elected party. Add the 41 to the 11, and we're still nowhere close to Israel. And let's be clear about what distinguishes "military action against one's citizens": that the actor has given the citizen citizenship. Israel being an apartheid state, its military action is something else.

You say that Hamas is "blowing themselves up in marketplaces", but you know very well that Hamas' militant wing hasn't committed a suicide attack since it achieved its goal of Israeli withdrawal 4 years ago. Hamas, in its history, has in fact chosen both civilian and military targets. The current Israeli offensive exemplifies that Israel has done the same. The idea that Israeli market-goers are guilty by association seems to me about as feasible as the idea that Gazan policemen are guilty by association, particularly when the latter are denied--by Israel's siege--the option of leaving, and denied--by Israel's embargo--the viable option of turning down employment opportunity. Which act of terrorism we dislike the most is rather irrelevant, the same way it's irrelevant that one serial killer in a serial-killing competition includes babies among his targets. If we're morally responsible, we condemn both serial killers, recognizing that the killings of either one do nothing to discourage the killings of the other.

Israel "become [sic] a state in it's [sic] current location about 60 years ago"? This is incorrect I'm afraid. The 1949 Armistice gave Israel neither the Gaza Strip, nor the West Bank, nor the Golan Heights, nor East Jerusalem. Those were all conquered decades later. And ever since that conquest, Israel has expanded Israel proper through the illegal encouragement of "settlement" of the occupied territories, which (if you'll consult a detailed map) was obviously done with the purpose of dividing the West Bank into little isolated bantustans (George H. W. Bush is the only president since Eisenhower to have seriously tried to stop general process). The United States did not complete American Indian Removal in less than 60 years, and Israel is no different. Even the wall so central to the current conflict, is an encroachment. "Those people" are not "gone": 60 years is less than a lifetime, and refugee camps are filled with the dispossessed and their children.

Incidentally, it's a lie that the siege is "approved by UN". In fact, the UN has repeatedly condemned it. At un.org, it's just 6 keystrokes away. Perhaps you are mistaking the siege, like the occupation, for the establishment of Israel.

"Israel can't be expected to endanger it's [sic] troops just to pander to the wants of Hamas"? I agree: Israel should stop the attacks altogether, thus pandering not only to Hamas but also the Gazan civilian population, the world at large, and (up until Israel invaded) Israel's population. That way, neither Israeli troops nor Gazan innocents would be endangered. Even if "attacking Hamas" is presumed, I would caution Israel not to "pander to the wants of Hamas" by continuing to kill innocents, thus enraging and radicalizing the Gazan population, thus consolidating support for groups like Hamas and worse.

As per the request of evidence that a blockade is indeed an act of war:

Encyclopedia Britannica—blockade--an act of war by which a belligerent prevents access to or departure from a defined part of the enemy's coasts.

As per the request of evidence that the occupation is indeed illegal:

http://domino.un.org...

http://domino.un.org...

The second UNSC resolution (1973) reaffirms the first (1967), which was satisfied neither "immediately" nor at all. Not the least of the trouble is that the Israeli government has since been divided between the Right (which is opposed altogether to Palestinian statehood) and the Left (which demands statehood be contingent on acceptance of gross annexations, among other conditions). The UNSC has since been explicit about such annexation (which happens to include the Arab portion of the Holy City), calling it "null and void" and "violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention".

Finally we learn that "Israel held up their end of the deal until the cease-fire was broken". This must be a reference to the 3 non-lethal rockets fired by Islamic Jihad, occurring subsequent Israel's killing one top member of Islamic Jihad and possibly another (the second victim may have just been a student). That Hamas would sign a cease-fire only to endanger it (for the sake of three measly rockets) 5 days later is an absurd proposal. All the more absurd, when one reflects that rocket fire in the total period of the cease-fire turned out to be 2% its previous level, despite the fact that Israel early-on violated the cease-fire by intensifying (as opposed to relaxing) the siege. But when we remember the Israeli political dynamic, it makes perfect sense. The real threat the Center-Left alliance faces (from Netanyahu) makes LBJ's Gulf of Tonkin look paranoid. And it's no secret that Israel was building up for a massive assault (which it called "inevitable") throughout the cease-fire. The offensive has evidently succeeded, not in making Israelis safer, but in making Livni's election safer.
Debate Round No. 2
repete21

Pro

repete21 forfeited this round.
TombLikeBomb

Con

Since my last argument, and as would be expected from a few days, hundreds of innocent Palestinian women, children, and elderly have been massacred by the Israeli government, with no further Israeli deaths. As would be expected, rocket attacks have not stopped, but have continued at their retributively intensified rate. As would be expected from a still new, politically timed offensive, the government continues to poll well with its previously more dovish constituency. Any reasonable person will conclude that:

a)The actual reason for "attacking Hamas" (electoral success) is nothing like the rhetorical one, and
b)Even the rhetorical reason is unjustified, because it punishes collective punishment with collective punishment, 100 times over, thus having no knowledge of the reason collective punishment is considered illegitimate in the first place.
Debate Round No. 3
30 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by TombLikeBomb 8 years ago
TombLikeBomb
Isn't it a bit redundant to vote for yourself? I guess it's more like 7-0 then.
Posted by repete21 8 years ago
repete21
VOTE ON IT!!! I'd be willing to bet it's just me and him that have voted, more votes please!
Posted by TombLikeBomb 8 years ago
TombLikeBomb
How would you know the targeting capabilities of Hamas? You thought Qassams' mortality rate was 200-300%! If the IDF put themselves in concentrations as close, dense, vast, and penetrable as their civilians', you would see a lot more army base hits. Hamas is trying to put pressure on the opposing government, which civilian deaths evidently accomplish. Pressure is the expressed rationale for the blockade as well. But the blockade, unlike the rockets, carries ONLY civilian casualties. Your professed concern for civilians would be more believable if it weren't exclusive to one side of the encroachment wall. Give Hamas tanks and helicopters and Israel only rockets, and we'll see if these two actors don't switch behaviors. Jewish primitive terrorism was very big before Israel became a high-tech outpost for the West.

The targeting of civilians is one of many violations of international law. Others include the use of white phosphorus bombs in civilian areas, failing to avert a humanitarian crisis in an occupied territory, disproportional response, collective punishment, the targeting of UN buildings, the occupation of Palestine, aggression, etc.
Posted by snamd 8 years ago
snamd
There are numerous army bases in the area that hamas could target, yet it chooses not to. It chooses to attack civilian centers and considers every civilian death a great achievement.
Posted by repete21 8 years ago
repete21
No votes lol...
Posted by TombLikeBomb 8 years ago
TombLikeBomb
"...Hamas the New..." should read "...Hamas like New...".
Posted by TombLikeBomb 8 years ago
TombLikeBomb
I'm afraid that's incorrect. Israel also targets places like police stations, with maximum intended casualties: Gazan policemen are affiliated with Hamas the New Jersey policemen are affiliated with the Democratic Party. Israel has also expressed its willingness to target Hamas' necessary charitable programs. In Gaza, people get civilian government jobs because the siege has made them the only way to make a living.

Also, I think it's a bit speculative to say Hamas "doesn't care" who it hits when you know their rockets simply lack the distance to go after, for example, the Israeli Knesset or military brass. For all we know, and it stands to reason, Hamas is dying to get at those responsible for the occupation, the siege, and the merciless assaults. Similarly, I'm sure that when Israel kills women and children sleeping in their beds, it's disappointed they weren't Islamic Jihad or Hamas militants (Israel's precise targets, Israel assures us). But Israel (like the U.S. under Clinton, viz a viz Iraq) rhetorically contends, explicitly and implicitly, that the Gazan people will blame Hamas for their suffering and remove it or at least pressure it to stop the rockets. Israel is thus like the child who hits her younger sister for making faces at her, perplexed that her parents (the world at large) don't understand that the younger sister is ultimately responsible for the violence. But what the child Israel doesn't understand is that she too has free will and is responsible for the disproportionality of her own actions; and that her "response" (by this time indistinguishable from stimulus) is not stopping and will not stop the behavior she's punishing, and is in fact what's causing its continuation.

Hamas' attacks, unlike Israel's, kill mainly soldiers. Because of the nature of this siege, there is simply a delay between the Israeli civilian dead and the Israeli military dead, whereas Israel kills militants and innocents simultaneously.
Posted by NeoConCommunist 8 years ago
NeoConCommunist
In defense of Israel, TombLikeBomb, Hamas does NOT care what targets it hits. Its goal is the destruction of Israel. Israel attempts to only hit those responsible, but that is exceedingly difficult while fighting an opponent like Hamas in a crowded area like Gaza.
Posted by Yraelz 8 years ago
Yraelz
If this is here tonight I'll take this issue. It's definitely a good debate. =)
Posted by brian_eggleston 8 years ago
brian_eggleston
I want to debate this but I am already debating the very same subject:

http://www.debate.org...
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by m93samman 6 years ago
m93samman
repete21TombLikeBombTied
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Vote Placed by JBlake 8 years ago
JBlake
repete21TombLikeBombTied
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Vote Placed by repete21 8 years ago
repete21
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